THE 25TH PATH

   "The 25th path is on the middle pillar of the Tree of Life, and is therefore a path of balance. The two side-paths leading to Tiphareth, which means Beauty as you recall, each contain dangers of unbalanced force. ‘The Devil,’ for instance, presents the temptation of using the intellect for personal gratification, of manifesting thought-forms as a sorcerer for selfish personal ends. The one that you will travel next, called ‘Death,’ contains the temptation of inertia, of passivity in the face of the forces of inevitable change. The middle path known as ‘Temperance,’ the 25th path, emphasizes the attainment of balance within our natures. The astrological sign associated with this path is Sagittarius, the archer, who is a centaur, a creature with both human and animal characteristics, a mixture of the transient and the eternal.”
   “So are you saying that the middle paths are the most important?”
   “The middle paths form the quickest route to Source, the Crown of Creation, and are by necessity the most balanced of the paths, but each path, remember, connects and balances the energies of two spheres on the Tree of Life. Each path helps us to harmonize certain energies within us. The Tree of Life, as you recall, contains three pillars: the left pillar, or the pillar of severity; the right pillar, or the pillar of mercy; and the middle pillar, or the pillar of mildness. The left side, the pillar of severity, is essentially about form, and the right side is essentially about force. Some paths present greater chances of missing the mark of union with God, because they are more oriented toward either form or force, but all paths, remember, are part of one creation. The middle paths create a balance of form and force at the different levels.”
   “So each path helps us to balance energies.”
   “Oh yes. In fact, the path of the serpent Nechustan reveals the best overall route to take up the Tree, because you ultimately experience and harmonize all of the energies of existence within yourself. The 25th path is called ‘the path of the arrow,’ suggesting the arrow that the centaur shoots heavenward. The centaur is similar to the God Horus in a very significant way. Horus, remember, contains the energies of the eternal and the transient within him--one of his eyes is the sun, the other the moon. Like Anubis, he is an important God for this age. Anubis, remember, guides you into the underworld, into the subconscious. Horus takes you from the subconscious to soul consciousness--the super consciousness of the higher self, which is found in Tiphareth, the sphere that balances all of the energies of the Tree.”
   “So balance is important everywhere on the Tree.”
   “In a sense, yes. Balancing the energies within you as you progress on the inner planes is essential. Whenever you touch a sphere, you open up the virtues and vices of that sphere. For instance, the virtue of Tiphareth is devotion to the great work, which is union with God, and its vice is pride. When you first touch the energies of the sphere of equilibrium, you open up the possibility of oneness with the Source, but you also experience the negative pole of that sphere, which is the selfishness that makes your individual ego central to the universe. You must balance those energies within you, retaining your individuality while recognizing that you are a reflection of the Source, one form of energy within a vast fabric of living energies all connected and interpenetrating. So many religious conflicts have occurred because people have touched the harmonizing energies of the Christ center, feeling a sense of oneness with creation, without realizing that they have to deal with the opposite tendency in their nature, which is separateness, the pride that makes them feel superior to others because of their personal experience. So what do we end up with? Wars and conflict between people who have essentially the same aims. The outer struggles reflect the inner struggles of people who are striving to harmonize the energies within them. One of the great challenges of spiritual development is the balancing of the polarized forces within our own natures while remembering that everything is divine energy, everything is holy, no matter where we are on the Tree.
   “In the card, you see the Archangel Michael, who rules the element of fire, with one foot on land and one foot in the water. He is mixing liquids in two jars, which suggests mixing water with wine as an act of temperance. In the background a path leads to a crown glowing like the sun, which reveals that this is the path to Tiphareth and the Source of all creation beyond. The energy flowing between the jars jumps out at you because it suggests the balancing of energy, the conscious creation of harmony. One foot of the Archangel is in the water, which suggests the subconscious mind, and the other is on the land, which suggests the conscious mind, and the Archangel is harmonizing them to create the heightened consciousness of the higher self.”
   Looking at the card, you may feel a sense of the oneness of all creation, a sense of harmony and balance that transcends human understanding--a sense impossible to explain because of all the conflict in the world. From that sense you might understand that sacrifice is involved, the sacrifice of attachments and desires that bind you to the lower personality.
   “The God Horus is also a centaur, a falcon-headed man. Like Horus, the higher self knows the harmony of all creation, and it struggles through sacrifice to balance all the forces of its nature. The higher self contains the balance of all forces, the harmony of the transitory and the eternal. The higher self knows the divinity within the manifested world and can rise and go down at will on the Tree of Life.”

CORRESPONDING COLORS
Atziluth: Blue.
Briah: Yellow.
Yetzirah: Green.
Assiah: Deep vivid blue.

Take the next path.

Cards associated with Sagittarius:
Eight of Wands.
Nine of Wands.
Ten of Wands.
Cards associated with the ninth sphere, Yesod:
Nine of Wands.
Nine of Cups.
Nine of Swords.
Nine of Pentacles.
Cards associated with the sixth sphere, Tiphareth:
Six of Wands.
Six of Cups.
Six of Swords.
Six of Pentacles.
Knight of Pentacles.