K17: Revelation

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Aspect of Consciousness:    Revelation
The unveiling of truth which is the result of meditation.  Meditation is simply a focused concentration upon a subject that is of definite interest to us.  Meditation which is consciously undertaken in order to attain greater wisdom and understanding, however, requires a few additional things such as: universal tolerance, brotherly love for humanity, and of consciousness expanded beyond the strictly personal.
This is also the third stage of spiritual unfoldment. "It is the calm which follows the storm depicted by Key 16. It is a period of quest and search. "1 

Hebrew Name:    Tzaddi (fish hook)
Tzaddi means fish-hook, "signifying that which draws the fish (Nun-K13) out of the water (Mem-K12).  The water is reflected, personal existence, symbolized by the Hanged Man. It is also, in a sense, the ocean of [the universal subconscious].  The fish symbolizes transforming and reproductive power."2   Tzaddi thus indicates the activity of raising up the reproductive force (the raising of the Kundalini energy in meditation) and of tapping into a well-spring of knowledge out of the waters of subconsciousness.

"Meditation is the function attributed to Tzaddi. It has been defined as "an unbroken flow of knowledge in a particular object." It is a fishing for truth in the depths of subconsciousness"3 

Qabalistic Intelligence:     The Natural Intelligence
Meditation (mental concentration upon some object) is natural.  Desire naturally expresses itself through meditation.  In Hebrew "natural" means "to-sink".  "The connection with the fish-hook, which must be dropped in water to catch the fish, is obvious."4   Thus, we do not need to learn how to meditate.  What we need to learn what we've been doing with our powers of meditation.

Astrological Correspondence:    Aquarius
Aquarius, an airy, fixed sign, is attributed to Tzaddi. "It is represented by the Man among the "living creatures" of Ezekiel and the Apocalypse.  Its astrological symbol is shown on the Wheel of Fortune, two wavy lines, one above the other. This is also an alchemical symbol for dissolution, and we have already seen that solution is one of the ideas connected with the symbol of the fish-hook. "5  Chemically, to dissolve places matter in solution in a liquid medium, thus allowing the desired essence to be extracted via precipitation (making solid again).  This is analogous to meditation, where the problem (or subject of meditation) is dissolved in the waters of subconsciousness so that the essential principle or essence may be extracted (by the fish-hook).

Number:    17
The power of 7 acting through the agency of 1.  Receptivity to Divine Will in action.  When we meditate, all sense of separation between the meditator and the object of meditation dissolves, and it is us who is being meditated by the One.   Meditation means learning how to get out of the way so that meditation can occur through us as an instrument for the One who continually meditates ALL into existence.  The eternal truth that we of our (false, illusory, separate) self, do nothing.  Meditation is the activity by which this is ultimately revealed to us.  Also since 17 reduces to 8, meditation shows the means "whereby knowledge of the Great Secret is attained."6 

Color / Note:  Violet / A#


Tarot Key:  The Star

"Where Key 16 is filled with darkness, action and destruction, Key 17 is filled with quiet, peace and profound beauty [...] If we are to experience true peace, we must undergo the destruction of our false towers of isolation."7   Study of this tarot key helps one to develop greater receptivity to the Truth.

(Summarized from "The Tarot", by P. F. Case)8 

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The Scene:    A nude woman gazes into the water, solidifying it as she pours water from two vases.

Bird & Bush:    The red Ibis is related to the Magician and is perched at rest on a tree which symbolizes the brain and nervous system. This symbolizes the act of using concentration to bring intellectual activity to rest in order to meditate properly. When we stop thinking so hard, Truth unveils herself to us.

Woman:    She is Mother Nature, Isis who unveils herself to us through meditation.  She represents Truth revealed.  "The nude woman of Key 17 is freed from the materialistic identifications represented by the clothing of the two figures in Key 16. She dwells under the canopy of the stars, open to the revelations of the cosmos [so that she] may now experience Truth."9   
She is the High Priestess, The Empress, and the woman in Key 8, who tames the red lion.  Meditation utilizes deduction and imagination.  "The knowledge gained from meditation is gleaned from the record of memory of nature, symbolized by the scroll of the High Priestess [...] Meditation develops specific powers, and it does this by controlling the animal forces in human personality, as pictured in Key 8."10   
"Sensations derived from physical forms are the main support of meditation (weight on bent knee on earth), but these are balanced by experience gained direct from subconsciousness (balances on her right foot)."11   Note that her right foot balances on the water.  In meditation the the normally fluidic and unstable waters of consciousness are given stability.  In alchemy this is known as of the "fixation of the volatile."  

The two Vases:    Represent the Subconscious and Self-Conscious.  A stream falls from her right hand (self-conscious) vase and sets up ripples in the pool, showing that mediation stimulates the subconscious.  From her left hand vase a stream falls to the ground and splits into five streams representing the five senses.  Meditation leads to the perfection and purification of the five senses.

Pool:    "Universal consciousness, or reservoir of cosmic mind-stuff, which is stirred into vibration by the act of meditation. This is indicated by the water flowing from the right pitcher [...] The stream flowing from the other pitcher indicates that meditation also modifies sensation (5 senses, 5 streams), and unfolds higher and subtler types of sense experience."12 

Yellow Star:    A symbol of Spirit, which manifests as the Solar energy from the fixed stars of the universe.  "Meditation modifies and transmutes the personal expression of this cosmic energy."13   It also stands for the Quintessence of the alchemists.

Seven Stars:    The seven "interior stars" or chakras. They are also the "metals" of alchemy and the seven holy interior planets of esoteric astrology. These correspondences are:

Interior Star


Alchemical Metal


Saturn Base of Spine Lead Muladhara
Mars 3 fingers below navel Iron Svadistthana
Jupiter Solar Plexus Tin Manipura
Sun Heart Gold Anahata
Venus Throat Copper or Brass Visuddhi
Moon Brow just above eyes Silver Ajna
Mercury Above crown of head Quicksilver Sahasrara


The challenge is to consciously bring about the condition of Revelation in our everyday life:
bulletMeditation:  You reflect upon that which you passionately desire to know, and with each revelation you are rewarded with "The peace that passeth all understanding".


In "Living the Tarot", Amber Jayanti provides some suggestions for integration and application of The Star:

bullet The Imagery of The Star can be used as a reminder:14 
of the value of doing meditation exercises and prayer
to look to the Source within for sustenance
to renew hope after having your dream or plan shattered.

bulletAsk yourself the following questions:15 
Where am I experiencing new-found peace?
What have I unexpectedly discovered?
What truth do I wish to know, no matter what it turns out to be?
How am I carrying what I focus on in formal periods of meditation out into my life and ordinary interactions?
Why am I fearing or avoiding prayer and meditation?


Illustrations from the Universal Waite Tarot Deck reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright 1990 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited.