Tarot and Kabbalah – Chesed in Chesed

In honor of our new year, I have begun working through Mark Horn’s deep and excellent Gates of Light Tarot which invites us to explore the relationships between Tarot and the Sephirot within Kabbalistic Tree of Life, If covers a period of 49 days in which the user/reader explores the connection between card meanings, Kabbalistic meanings, and how what we learn reveals truths and makes changes in ourselves.

On the first day, we look at the minor arcana fours, which represent Chesed (mercy) in each of the four kabbalistic worlds (archetype, formation, creation, and manifestation.)

My cards above tell the following story:

Four of Wands: This is the gate through which we arrive and which is also our destination. Mercy or compassion, the act of giving to ourselves and others propels us along the path. It also marks what we receive as gifts along the path from our teachers, lovers, and the Spirits and Deities with whom we work. The moment we close any of this off (in the mystical sense) we lose some of what drives us.

Four Cups: Having both given and received through the Gates of Chesed, we now must learn to channel what we have been given from the archetypal (divine?) world into the next parts of our path. I love how the one cup descends from on high both filling the lower cups and allowing the magician (us!) in the card to work with them; to either give them to the world or fill ourselves from them as we need. This is where we form our intent which drives our action.

Four of Swords: Here we lay in our armor and both surrender to our will to carry out what has fed us in our cups as well as understand that ego is a two edged sword. We must separate greater will from lesser will and work to understand and realize the greater while understanding the transient nature of the lesser will. Note that the lesser will is still important, as we can’t connect to the next manifestation without it.

Four of Pentacles: For me, the pentacles here are all about building. A house, a tower, the structure of our dreams, the infrastructures and works which carry us through life. This is where we create both mentally and physically. We create with and from our bodies and minds.

Going back up the path from manifestation to archetype (Assiah to Atzilut) we build our pentacle tower and desire back into our will realization and from there seek the divine nectar in the cups and finally realize ourselves back to the Gate of Giving.

So, I ask myself – where do I need to realize more truth, learn more about each of these steps Where do I need to do more work or be less hesitant to fully realize these steps up the Tree and through the deck at the same time? In short, who am I in relation to the paths I walk and what are those paths in relation to me?

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