Filling in your own Tree of Life


In this forum there have been a number of people who have tried to make their own set of correspondences between the paths of the tree of life, astrological signs/planets/elements, and the Hebrew letters. The biggest difficulty is to find a non-arbitrary way of making the correspondences line up. The Golden Dawn (GD) system, for all its imperfections, is about as good as any system out there.

In case anyone reads this thread and doesn't know how the GD assignment works, here is a brief summary:

The Hebrew alphabet (or Aleph-Bet) has 22 letters, of which 3 are “mother letters”, 7 are “double letters” and 12 are “simple letters”. The letters of the Hebrew alphabet can be assigned to the trumps in order (with the Fool corresponding to Aleph), with the mother letters indicating the elements, the double letters indicating the planets, and the simple letters indicating the signs of the zodiac. The letters are also assigned to the paths of the true in an orderly pattern that, roughly speaking, is top to bottom and right to left on the tree of life. This results in each path having an astrological sign, planet or element as well as a trump and a Hebrew letter. (Note: the layout of the tree of life is according to Athanasius Kircher, not the Lurianic tree or the Gra tree)

Kabbalistic texts do not all agree on how the planets correspond to the double letters. The GD ordering of the planets is Mercury, Luna, Venus, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Saturn. This ordering allows Sol to be assigned to the Sun card, since the 20th letter of the alphabet (Resh) corresponds to the 20th trump (Trump 19, counting the Fool = 0 as first) and is a double letter.​

It is tempting to try to tinker with this system. For example, you might ask why the Moon cannot be assigned to Luna. The problem is that the 19th letter of the aleph-bet is qoph, which is not a double letter. If you assign (say) gimel to the Moon, then what will you assign to the High Priestess? A single change ends up starting a domino effect. There are any number of ways this can proceed:
jmd said:
Perhaps there are some letters that do have a 'better' fit to some cards than to others, but their respective exegesis and symbolic import are sufficiently broad for various plausible correlations to be suggested. After all, those who argue for (as an example) the Fool and its association with Alef, Shin, or Tav (the three most common attributions) present plausible reasons for so doing.
kwaw said:
I think the symbolism is multivalent enough to allow for any number of possible variations.
I think working out a personal system of correspondences is a noble challenge, akin to designing your own tarot deck. But if you do not use a GD-type system, you have effectively no way of linking together the main four components; paths, trumps, astrological signs/planets/elements, letters. I see two ways of proceeding:
  • Modify the GD system slightly. After all, the GD system interchanged Justice and Strength, and used an unusual order of the planets. A few tweaks to the GD system should be legitimate.
  • Adopt the system I will describe in the following paragraphs.
The planets are assigned to the vertical paths according to the Ptolemaic ordering (Luna, Mercury, Venus, Sol, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn) in a “middle, left, right” pattern that results in a balanced distribution of planets. Start at Malkuth (sphere 10) and work up. Planets are not assigned to the spheres.

Each planet is assigned the signs of the zodiac that they govern as follows:
Saturn: Capricorn and Aquarius
Jupiter: Sagittarius and Pisces
Mars: Scorpio and Aries
Venus: Libra and Taurus
Mercury: Virgo and Gemini
Sol: Leo
Luna: Cancer​

The first sign listed is assigned to the “upper” path that connects to the associated planet; in the case of Saturn, Capricorn is assigned to the right side, and Aquarius to the left. Leo is placed to Sol’s right, and Cancer is placed to the left. It turns out that the resulting diagram has an unusual property; there is a route (the “Moon’s Journey”) that transits every path on the tree and returns to the starting point with minimal retracing of steps, touching the spheres in reverse order (10, 9, 8, etc.), the planets in ascending order (Luna, Mercury, Venus, etc.), and the signs in ascending order starting from Cancer (Cancer, Leo, Virgo, etc.), all with only 28 steps. Given the geometry of the tree, no complete route can get back to its starting point in less than 26 steps; given the placement of the planets and the requirement that the sign each rules touch the planet’s path, the minimum length is no shorter (as far as I know) than 28 steps.

The rule for the assignment of astrological signs is orderly (top to bottom, right to left) and gives a pleasing number: 28 is the approximate number of days in a lunar month (the “28 mansions of the moon”) and is a perfect number in the mathematical sense of being equal to the sum of its divisors.

To follow the "Moon's Journey" go from sphere to sphere in the following order:

9 8 7 6 8 5 4
7 9 6 3 5 4 2
6 1 2 3 1 6 4
5 6 9 10 7 8

You may interchange the position of Capricorn and Aquarius if you like: just interchange right and left when moving among the top three spheres. You may also assign the elements to the horizontal lines at your discretion (I prefer Fire, Water and Air from top to bottom). Other than that, no other arrangement will permit the Moon's Journey to be completed in only 28 steps. Thus an order is imposed on the tree that is independent of the aleph-bet.

A jpg and pdf is attached of the tree with only the signs of the zodiac and the planets filled in.


  • Basic Tree.pdf
    40.4 KB · Views: 297
  • Basic Tree.JPG
    Basic Tree.JPG
    78.8 KB · Views: 263


My own assignment of trumps to the tree starts with the GD attributions, but has several deviations. The main ones include:
  1. The Moon is assigned to Luna (for obvious reasons)
  2. The Star is assigned to Virgo (because a maiden is portrayed on the card)
  3. Temperance is assigned to Aquarius (it depicts a water bearer, and an angelic figure is needed to balance the Devil)
  4. The World is assigned to Water (the middle row; Genesis says the world was water, and was divided into waters above and below; the philosopher Thales said that water is what everything is made of; 70% of the world is covered with water; most of the normal matter in the universe is hydrogen)
  5. The Hermit is assigned to Saturn (due to the association with Father Time)
These changes lead to other changes, which I have tried to keep under control. As jmd and kwaw have noted, there is enough symbolic leeway to allow a good deal of flexibility.

The assignment of Hebrew letters starts with matching up the letters with the trumps in order (aleph = 0, the Fool). However there were, again, several deviations, including
  1. gimel is assigned to the Moon (i.e. so the letter-planet correspondence is the same as in the GD)
  2. mem is assigned to the World (i.e. so the letter-element correspondence is the same as in the GD)
  3. tau is assigned to Saturn (as the last double letter, it goes to the last planet)
  4. zain is assigned to the Emperor (I thought he should have a sword)
  5. vau is assigned to the lovers (it symbolizes attachment)
In reassigning the Hebrew letters, I tried to keep in mind the idea of "referral". That is, if the Emperor had the 7th letter, it "refers" to the 7th trump (i.e., trump 6, since the Fool is first). There is thus a connection between the Emperor and the Lovers. The Lovers refer to the Hierophant, who refers to the Chariot, who refers to the Emperor. Any desirable symbolism from the GD letter assignment is thus preserved "at one remove". I also tried to make the referrals take a balanced and symmetrical pattern; what could have been a 2-step cycle (center-right, say) is made to be a 3-step cycle (center-right-left) for aesthetic purposes.

The result, what I call the "Cairo Correspondences" is here: jpg and pdf.


I'd like to reserve this post for the time being.

I have found several tantalizing suggestions in other threads concerning attempts to rectify the GD tree, or make one from scratch. I want this thread to be a resource for folks who might want to do this in the future, even if I am no longer frequenting the forum. And so I want to supply enough detail that what I have done is not completely mysterious. It would be best if this information were close to the original post.

I hope that the description and merit of the basic tree in the first post is sufficiently clear for someone to use it as a basis for their own work. The second post is a gesture towards how that might go.

I would like to point out some features of the tree, and explain some of my decisions (like why the Devil is on the "mercy" side of the tree), but not tonight.


Why should the emperor have a sword?

This post is an example of the kind of commentary I would be prepared to give on particular parts of the Cairo arrangement. I have seen explanations in this forum that puzzled me completely, although I presume they were clear as crystal to their authors. I don't want to write a book about the correspondences, but I do want to write enough that they make sense. If this work is helpful to anyone who constructs their own system of correspondences, I hope that they will also explain in enough detail to make sense.

I want to emphasize that this is my personal take on the correspondences of the tarot. It is not the "one true kabbalah". That would be like saying that a particular deck is the "one true tarot deck", or that a particular card has "one true meaning".

Anyway, I want to talk about why I gave the Emperor a sword. Here goes:

Zain is an interesting word, since it means “weapon” or “sword,” but derives from a root word that means “sustenance” or “nourishment.” Vau represents man and Zain is the crowned Vau (i.e., the Crowned Man). This combination of "nourishment" and "weapon" seems to resonate strongly with the sense in which the Emperor is a benevolent dictator; a loving but controlling father; a kind but micromanaging boss. There is clear dominance and authority, but it is for the good of the one under authority.

The Emperor "refers" to the Lovers, in that it has the letter they should have. (Zain is the 7th letter and the Lovers are the 7th trump, counting the Fool as first) The letter the Lovers actually have, vau, means "hook" and refers to connective power. Love, but also all social bonds. The purpose of the Emperor's authority is in service to the community. Also, if the Emperor is a crowned man, then the vau of the Lovers means that they are his subjects.

The sign of the Lovers is Gemini, the twins. This can refer to one's soul-mate, but there is a different interpretation based on the card being on the "understanding" side of the tree. Twins are the same, yet different; the card can be read as being about the intellectual operation of finding commonality, of recognizing what is the same. The sword of the Emperor is to distinguish based on difference. Recognizing both commonality and difference is the essence of understanding. Understanding is the foundation of the Magician's work, and so the path of the lovers leads into and supports the path of the Magician.

In a marriage the vau and the zain symbolize the man and the wife. They are joined by a yoke to form the letter cheth, which is the letter I have assigned to the Hierophant. The Hierophant is a priest who witnesses the marriage bond (the yoke). The Hierophant also gives religious sanction to the bond between the emperor and the Emperor's subjects. Cheth is the initial letter of chai (life) and also chokmah (wisdom).

Cheth refers to the Chariot, to which I have assigned the sign Taurus. Its letter, heh, refers back to the Emperor. Its symbolism of victory is appropriate for the card which leads to Netzach (which means "victory") and supports the throne of the Empress, and the assignment of the letter which refers to the Emperor symbolizes a support of that throne, too.

The presence of contrary qualities shows that a particular dimension is present; left and right means width, up and down means height, front and back means depth. All of these are emphasized in the chariot's artwork, plus there are several other pairs; animal/human, the horses are light and dark, a chariot symbolizes movement but is stationary, it is both on land and on the sea, etc.. One way of interpreting the letter heh is to see the three strokes as symbolizing thought, word and action; the basic dimensions of human action. The chariot is thus victory in every human dimensions. The letter heh is in the form of a window, and thus symbolizes perception and enlightenment. This is appropriate for a path on the "wisdom" side of the tree.

The cycle between Emperor-Lovers-Hierophant-Chariot is one the two longest cycle in the arrangement, along with the World-Hanged Man-Death-Hermit cycle. It also happens to cover consecutive signs (Pisces, Aries, Taurus and Gemini), which is a nice feature. I haven't gone into any discussion (except briefly for the Lovers) about why the trumps are appropriate to the signs. I also haven't talked much about the "dark side" of the cards; the authoritarianism of the Emperor, the stubbornness and lack of compromise of the chariot, the deceitfulness of the Hierophant. Maybe in a later post.


What the devil?

I assign the Devil card, trump 15, to a very prestigious position; the path between Kether (the Crown) and Chokmah (Wisdom). I have multiple reasons for doing so:
  1. Saturn, symbolizing time, governs both Aquarius and Capricorn. On the assumption that Aquarius is the future (e.g. the "Age of Aquarius"), Capricorn should be the past. The path it is on symbolizes creation, which is about as far in the past as you can go.
  2. When the Atbash cipher is applied to the word Sophia (Greek for "Wisdom") the word Baphomet is obtained. Baphomet is the demonic figure associated with the Knights Templar. Thus the Devil is naturally associated with the path leading to Chokmah ("Wisdom").
  3. The number of the Devil trump - 15 - when expressed in Hebrew is yod-heh. Yod-heh is one of the names of God. (For this reason yod-heh, when it would appear as a number, is usually rewritten as teth-zain) Thus putting this card in a high position is not inappropriate.
  4. The Kabbalistic notion of Tzimtzum ("contraction") posits a withdrawal of the divine to leave a space for creation. Or one could infer that since only God is perfect, creation involves the introduction of imperfection. Either way, creation is closely involved with the existence of evil.
  5. The Devil card is associated with materiality, especially bondage to the material. The introduction of materiality is pretty much synonymous with creation. Dealing with material attachment is necessary to overcome the challenge inherent in this card.
  6. Gnostic myths about the fall of Sophia also come into play here, too, supporting the reasons already alluded to.
Against these arguments was the impression that the right side of the tree was the "nice" side, and that the darkness of the card would more appropriately be associated with Binah rather than Chokmah. This reason is not strong enough to outweigh the considerations going the other way.


The High Priestess and the GD tree

I have tried to retain, when possible, the symbolic connotations of the GD system. This is behind my notion of "reference," whereby a path with the nth letter of the aleph-bet "refers" to the nth trump, even if that trump is not assigned to that path. The rulership of signs by planets and physical proximity are also ways of invoking GD connotations.

For example the Hierophant, which in the GD tree is between Chokmah and Chesed, is instead between Chesed and Tipheret. (See attached diagram) It is still connected to the path; moreover it has a sign (Pisces) ruled by the planet (Jupiter) assigned to the Chokmah-Chesed path. Furthermore the zodiacal sign given to the Hierophant, Taurus, is only one remove away from the Hierophant; the Hierophant has the letter Cheth, which refers to the Chariot, to which I have assigned Taurus.

Likewise the High Priestess is given the sign ruled by Luna (Cancer), is connected to the Moon/Luna path, and is referred to by the letter assigned to the Moon (gimel). The position of the moon under her feet (in the RWS deck) is absolutely perfect; not just below, but to the right. Most of the connotations of the High Priestess in the GD tree can be carried over on this basis. But not all of them: the position of the High Priestess on the tree is just too different.

On the GD tree the High Priestess is assigned the path from Kether to Tipheret. I have seen a commentary explaining the letter gimel (=camel) as referring to the length of this journey across the great abyss; a camel is required for long journeys across trackless, arid wastes. In my arrangement gimel is on a path that is embarrassingly short (Malkuth to Yesod), and passage through the High Priestess's path only leads to Hod. Which is splendid enough, I suppose, but hardly to be compared to Kether. In the GD tradition the High Priestess is the Tabernacle, and communion with her reveals to the initiate the Holy of Holies; the crown of the tree itself.

The initiatory significance of the High Priestess in my arrangement is certainly less, but it is not absent. She retains her iconography (in the RWS deck) of scroll and a veil revealing a glimpse of a fathomless ocean. This indicates that she will reveal part of what she knows to a seeker, but certainly not everything. Her position on the Cairo tree also supports another initiatory interpretation, as I shall now explain.

The Magician (in the RWS deck) is a hermetic magician, and is on the path assigned to Mercury (=Hermes). Opposite Mercury is Venus (=Aphrodite). These two pillars thus indicate male and female principles (cf. the word 'hermaphrodite'). But these paths are parallel, and do not meet. However the Magician (a young man) and the High Priestess (a virginal young woman) *do* meet, at a sphere (Hod) to which the path of the Lovers also connects. So perhaps the Magician is a virgin too (the path of Virgo also leads here), at least until initiated by the High Priestess; this initiation brings the happy couple to Yesod, whose appropriateness for such things is obvious.

The High Priestess is assigned the letter Teth, which is either a snake or a basket. Or maybe a snake in a basket. Perhaps it is too much to read a sexual significance to this symbolism; I think I prefer to think of the snake as wisdom, and the basket as meaning that it is concealed and inward. A tarot deck inside a pouch, and the High Priestess is the reader. But the other interpretation is still available.

I have seen Tipheret named the Bridegroom and Malkuth the bride; they come together in Yesod. Sol and Luna are better symbols of this union, I think, than the GD associations of Saturn and Sagittarius. edit: My mistake; it is spheres 6 and 9 that marry in the GD tradition; this marriage takes place in the path between them. I see now that Saturn and Luna are also on this central pillar. In fact, Luna is on it twice.../edit

Now as to the long journey of the camel (gimel). In the first post of this thread I proposed the Moon's Journey as a way of assigning the astrological signs and planets to the tree. Since gimel is assigned to the Moon/Luna in the Cairo tree, that means the camel will travel the entire tree before returning. That is an even longer journey. One might wonder why, if one is beginning at Kether, one even needs a camel to get anywhere.

Contemplation of Kether, in my opinion, requires at least three things: transcending one's connection to materiality (symbolized by ascending the devil card); transcending time (the Hermit = Chronos); and transcending duality (the blending worked by Temperance). One also has to have encompassed the lesser mysteries, such as death, fortune, etc.. This is what the layout of the Cairo tree says to me; I don't claim to have achieved this marvel.

So yes, the GD interpretation of the High Priestess does not completely correspond to the Cairo interpretation. But the difference does not necessarily mean the Cairo interpretation is inferior.


  • GD tree.jpg
    GD tree.jpg
    86.1 KB · Views: 195


Kabbalah and Tarot

I have not found any particularly close connection between Kabbalah and Tarot. Perhaps I am not looking in the right places (its mostly what I find with simple google searches), or perhaps modern Kabbalah has taken pains to avoid the astrological and numerological conceits of modern occultists. Or perhaps there never was any connection, and it is merely a coincidence that the number of Trumps is the same as the number of Hebrew letters. After all, there are also 22 chapters in the Book of Revelation. Does that mean that they correspond to the Major Arcana?

Some of the basic kabbalistic claims have to do with the meaning of particular letters. Some I happily adopt (cf my discussion of the Emperor et al in post 4). Others I don't know what to do with. For example, daleth is supposed to indicate a poor person. Is the Empress poor? Perhaps her authority is due to spiritual power that does not translate into the economic realm. Gimel, on the other hand, is supposed to indicate an eager benefactor (gomel), pursuing the poor man to give him (or her) material support. I have never heard that interpretation of any of the major arcana, much less the Moon card. Six of coins, sure, but that's it.

Still, some kabbalistic interpretations can yield interesting insights, or reinforce certain messages. For example, consider the Tower. It is either being struck by lightning, or else (in some older decks) is emitting some kind of divine energy. In the Cairo tree (as in the GD) the Tower is assigned the letter peh. Peh looks like a beth with a yod inside. The paths marked with a beth and a yod are, in the Cairo tree, adjacent to peh. Beth means 'house'. A yod is a spark of divine energy. With the Death card I interpret it as either a soul escaping its mortal vessel, or else as a surge of divine energy that changes, transforms or even ends life. The combination of 'house' and 'spark of divine energy' seems to fit the Tower; for a tower is a house and it is either emitting or receiving energy.

Peh means mouth, and I have seen it assigned to Mercury/Hermes, the messenger of the gods. It is appropriate that the path of Mercury is connected (via Geburah) to this path. However the planet assigned to Peh is Mars. It seems appropriate that Death, Command (the Emperor) and Destruction (the Tower) are all assigned to Mars. The proximity of Severity (Geburah) and Judgement are also appropriate.

In kabbalah the 20th letter, Resh, is associated with wickedness and evil (resh-aayin-heh). It seems odd that this letter be associated with the Sun. The 18th letter, tzaddi, is associated with a righteous person (tzaddi-daleth-yod-koph). The intervening letter, qoph (holy, from qoph-daleth-shin) is thus associated with repentence and conversion; with making a wicked person righteous. Qoph resembles the head of a needle; the biblical proverb about a camel and the eye of a needle probably refers to how charity (being a gomel) contributes to the forgiveness of sin. In the Cairo tree the paths occupied by these three letters form a triangle. Touching the corners of the triangle are paths marked by daleth (which could indicate poverty) and gimel (which could indicate the giving of charity). The Hierophant is in this zone as well, and so a religious interpretation is not unthinkable.

In a Tarot context the Sun card might be looked at as a positive card, but one that indicates that the person might be too self-sufficient, too comfortable, and so is not in right relationship with the universe. If someone's situation is represented by the Sun, they might be encouraged to be generous with their time and energy, lest the good fortune lead to selfishness.

Using Kabbalah with the Tarot is, I think, very much a matter of taste. I seriously considered either discarding the Hebrew letters entirely, or else using them solely as numbers to refer to the corresponding trump (according to their ordinal value; having resh be 200 wouldn't be any use!). But given that the tree of life represents how the world was created via letters and numbers, it seemed a shame not to have any letters on it.


Another day, another post

I was tempted, when assigning the trumps to the Cairo arrangement, to interchange the Star and Temperance from their current positions. (The zodiacal sign and the Hebrew letter would remain where they are).

For if Temperance connected Hod and Tipheret, then the virtues would all be together in the diamond formed by spheres 6, 7, 8 and 9. Strength (Leo) is Fortitude, Justice is itself, and the High Priestess could easily stand in for Prudence. As Paul Huson writes (drawing on Cicero's De Inventione),

Paul Huson said:
To the medieval moralist, Prudence was defined as knowledge of what was good, what was bad, and what was neither, whose parts consist of memory of the past, intelligence about the present, and foresight into the future.
In his Dame Fortune's Wheel deck, Paul Huson assigns Prudence to the World, but in my system of assignments the High Priestess certainly has the intellectual skills. The letter Teth assigned to her stands for tov ("good") and so she also has knowledge of the good. The four cards in the diamond correspond to signs which cover all 4 alchemical elements; they could easily be assigned to the four suits of the minor arcana. It just about fits. (Except Huson assigns Prudence to Coins; but the High Priestess, associated with Cancer, a water sign, should probably be Cups.)

However placing the Star between Kether and Binah messes the numbers up. Trumps 14 and 15 at the top of the tree parallels how trumps 4 and 5 are symmetrical at the middle, and trumps 6 and 7 at the bottom. As above, so below.

Also the reduced value of the Star (1+7 = 8) is the same as Justice, on the opposite side of the diamond (If you keep the GD numbering, replace "opposite" with "adjacent". The priestess (2) has the reduced value of its opposite counterpart, Strength (1+1 = 2). I like this. Just as I like how 9's appear in the central column; the Moon (1+8), the Sun (19), the Hermit (9) all involve 9.

What tipped the balance was the iconography of the RWS card; the great wings of Temperance balance the devil's wings, and both echo the wings of the Angel of Judgment. I might still use the four "diamond" paths as anchors for the minors - I'll just let the Star stand in for Temperance.

In the GD lamed stands for balance, since it is at the mid-point of the aleph-bet. For that reason it was assigned to Justice, which was renumbered to be at the mid-point of the trumps. However in kabbalistic thinking it seems that lamed is associated above all with learning: the literal meaning of the letter lamed is "to learn" (or "teach"). In The "Letters of Rabbi Akiva," the full spelling of the letter lamed (lamed-mem-dalet) is read as short for the phrase: "a heart that understands knowledge" (lev meivin da'at). The numerical value of this phrase (608) equals "heart" (32) times "Eve" (19), i.e. "the heart of Eve."

I really like the idea of learning contributing to the base of the Magician card. If the Priestess initiates one into esoteric knowledge (by as simple an act as reading your cards for you), then study is required to gain expertise yourself. The Star's pouring forth of knowledge is supported by the iconography of the card. Also note that these two cards, the Star and the Priestess, flank the Sun, which symbolizes a flourishing human existence. All in all, the pieces fit together.

Somewhere I read that the Priestess could symbolize a tarot reader, and the Magician symbolized the tarot deck itself. The letter beth ("house") is literally a house of cards!


I was reading some of the links in the note at the top of this forum - or trying to, as some of the links don't work for me - and I found some real gems by kwaw that I would like to present here. Mostly for selfish reasons, so I can refer to them more easily, but they are good examples of what one can aspire to when meditating on the Hebrew letters.

Beit and Lamed
Beit and Lamed (2)
More on Beit
Gimel and the Popess
Yod and Mem

There are many other excellent contributions in that thread, including a lot of back and forth on the Magician=Alef controversy, but for me these really shine.


I've been reading a bit about Thelema lately, and have started to consider additional nuances of the assignments to the Tree of Life.

The central pillar of the GD tree has the Sun and the Moon uniting in path 25: Temperance/Sagittarius/Samekh. Elsewhere on the pillar is Saturn/Tav. My arrangement also has the Sun, Moon and Saturn on the central pillar, but no Temperance. In its manifestation of "healing" I put Temperance above the minatory cards of Death and the Tower. It is also a card of reconciliation and blending, and a natural counterpart to the alienation and separation of the Devil trump.

A cabalistic association of Tav is marriage; the circularity of Samekh can be seen as a wedding ring. Thus the wedding symbolism is present in both the GD tree and the Cairo tree. In the GD tree the wedding is in path 25; in the Cairo tree the coming together of Tav and Samekh is at Kether. The arrow of Sagittarius, if I understand it correctly, is to symbolize the aspiration of the seeker to Solar consciousness. I place it on path 15, where the aspiration is to Wisdom (Chokmah).

Where the GD places Temperance, I place the Sun. I think the Sun is sufficient to sustain the symbolism of the K & C of the HGA. I also think that the hint of wickedness associated with Resh (see post 7) is also appropriate for Thelema. Crowley did very little, after all, to dispel the reputation of wickedness.

Path 32 is, for me, the Moon/Luna. It's number is 18; the number of life. Key 18 is a difficult and painful card, full of shadows, veils and illusions. The murky dreams, impulses and desires associated with this card can be vehicles for spiritual advancement, of course. In the GD tree the description of the challenges of GD's path 29 would largely carry over to this path.

Path 31 - the Lovers - is assigned to Gemini. Gemini is the twins, one of which is mortal, the other immortal. I think in this path one apprehends the existence of the HGA, one's true, immortal self, but perceives it as other. I think the apprehension of others as "stars" - suns in their own right - is also implicit in the meaning of this path. The over-arching meaning, of course, is still "love".

Path 29 is the Chariot. It is the vehicle for both mind and body, and is strongly associated with motion; but what moves the body and mind except the will? It is a thelemite belief that the True Will is irresistible; the universe cooperates in seeing that it is fulfilled. So the association with Netzach and Victory is obvious and appropriate.

Thus paths 31 and 29 can be seen as Love and Will, respectively. They are brought to completion in Hod and Netzach. They are unbalanced in that each requires the other; Love without Will is impotent, and Will without Love is purposeless.

Knowledge is mostly concentrated on the Hod side of the tree. There is the priestess, with her all important knowledge of Good and Evil. Teth is the first letter of "tov", good; also, it resembles a serpent, whose appearance in Genesis was to induce Even to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. There is the Star, who pours learning down; Hod is an over-flowing vessel of knowledge. (I wrote of the Priestess and the Star in a previous post.)

The virtues, on the other hand, seem to be clustered on the Netzach side of the tree. Strength is Fortitude and courage, Justice is, well Justice; good judgment as well as the ability to give each their due. The symbolism of Taurus (assigned to the Chariot) includes moderation and perseverance. But these virtues are useless if applied without knowledge.

To have both knowledge and a virtuous will, one will have to have attained both Hod and Netzach; to have penetrated the veils of life, one must have attained Yesod. I suspect that the Fool is the seeker who has achieved spheres 7, 8 and 9; the encounter with the HGA is where 25 and 27 cross.

I am reading the "True Self" as the irrational, largely unknown entity for whom the conscious self is a tool. Growth in knowledge and virtue can elevate it, somewhat, and it can become more conscious and integrated; it can move along path 25, ultimately reaching sphere 6. It would take a heck of a lot of work to make solar consciousness habitual and natural; I suspect it would be far easier to be based in sphere 9 (or the 25/27 crossing at best) and just imagine you have achieved solar consciousness. The wall in the Sun card to me indicates a barrier. You can circumvent it, but it requires a lot of travel along demanding paths.

I wish I knew more about the significance of the relative positions of the paths in the GD (and Thoth) arrangements. I have come across a snippet here and there, but my questions have met with silence.