THE 17TH PATH

   “‘The Lovers’ is the doorway to the 17th path, connecting Tiphareth with Binah, which is another path between the soul, or conscious self of the enlightened individual, and the sphere of spiritual intuition, known as the neshamah. The card depicts Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with the Archangel Raphael, ‘Healer of God,’ above them. The sun, source of all life, shines above Raphael. The image essentially reveals the healing of the psyche, in the sense that all aspects of the individual are integrated--a return to Eden, so to speak.”
   “But I don’t see one harmonized individual in the picture--I see a man and a woman, an archangel, and the sun.”
   “The image makes more sense if you remember the basic divisions of the psyche. The incarnated personality balances polarities, containing both masculine and feminine characteristics. Adam and Eve in the picture, in other words, represent the lower personality. The Archangel represents the evolutionary personality or Individuality, which embraces both male and female characteristics and contains the essence of all incarnations, in what is more commonly called ‘the soul.’ The sun in the picture is the divine spark, the True Self, which manifests the spiritual sun of the Source. At this stage of integration, or ‘innocence,’ the conscious self is now more than the ruach--it is the entire integrated psyche of the individual, from the highest spiritual vibration to the densest physical matter of the body.”
   “But I thought that Kether was the highest spiritual vibration. Doesn’t this path connect with Binah, the third sphere?”
   “Yes, but remember, Binah, receiving the direct influxes of both Chokmah and Kether from other paths, combines the energies of all three, and therefore all three collectively are known as neshamah. Kether is the yechidah, the spiritual essence; Chokmah is the chia, the spiritual will; and Binah is the neshamah, the spiritual Understanding that combines all three, so all three supernal spheres together form a unit that is also referred to as the neshamah.
   “The astrological sign is Gemini, two mythological brothers, one mortal, and one immortal. Part of the ‘innocence’ of the fully integrated individual is the recognition that part of the self is mortal and part of the self is immortal, but nothing is lost in the mind of God. You will shed your lower personality like the snake sheds its skin, but the memory of it as well as the actual spiritual essence of the individual, remain, so there is nothing to mourn.”
   “Death kind of loses its sting, then, doesn’t it?”
   “Yes, it does, but that doesn’t mean you should just become lazy and complacent and not care about anything. The Hebrew letter is zayin, which means ‘sword.’ The sword, of course, is a symbol for the element of air and is associated with the intellect. In other words, you need to use your head to balance the whole self and cut away anything that interferes with the alignment of the divine spark, the evolutionary personality, and the lower personality.
   “The God-name is Jehovah, Yod, Heh, Vav, Heh, the Tetragrammaton, which refers to all the levels of being--spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical--all aligned to form the cosmos reflected in the individual.”
   “In the card, you see Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve stands in front of a tree bearing fruit, with the serpent entwined around it. Adam stands in front of a different tree with twelve fall leaves like orange flames. Adam looks at Eve, who is looking up at the Archangel. Raphael is either kicking them out of the Garden or welcoming them back in. The Fall, in Genesis, is the original trauma of humanity, and suggests the lack of connection between the soul and the personality that occurs so often in this world. The Archangel Raphael opens his arms, welcoming Adam and Eve back in; the serpent who brought self-awareness does not have to offer that fruit anymore. The serpent, instead, is symbolizing rebirth, the rebirth of the conscious awareness of the whole spiritual Self, and it symbolizes the kundalini, the serpent force coiled at the base of the spine that moves up through the primary chakras, making them blossom with the potent life-force. The tree with fall colors no longer symbolizes The Fall, but the cycles of birth and death and regeneration. Twelve leaves, symbolizing the energies of the zodiac, flame near Adam, and the tree, so close to Adam, suggests that he, as the archetypal human being, is manifesting all of the fiery energies of the cosmos. Even so, as the archetypal masculine being, Adam is looking at the archetypal feminine being, Eve, who is looking at the archangel for spiritual guidance, and there is a connection at all levels of being.”

CORRESPONDING COLORS
Atziluth: Orange.
Briah: Pale mauve.
Yetzirah: Light yellow.
Assiah: Reddish gray, tinged with mauve.

Take the next path.

Cards associated with Gemini:
Eight of Swords.
Nine of Swords.
Ten of Swords.
Cards associated with the sixth sphere, Tiphareth:
Six of Wands.
Six of Cups.
Six of Swords.
Six of Pentacles.
Knight of Pentacles.
Cards associated with the third sphere, Binah:
Three of Wands.
Three of Cups.
Three of Swords.
Three of Pentacles.