Kabbalah/Tree of Life system... and Tarot


So which system do you use?

When I search on the net, it seems that most sites use the Golden Dawn system for interpreting the Tree of Life along with Tarot. Now, if someone is to start studying the Tree of Life it seems that you have no choice but to learn the Golden Dawn references and allocations to the paths before being able to make you own conclusions. It seems that you need to learn that system before you can make you own mind up and, if applicable, change your mind and/or have an opinion.

Or is it best to just study the Sephiroth and forget Tarot until you haved an opinion? I am sure that most of the experts here will suggest just that, but how, how can you have an opinion before studying it? All the sites I see link it with the Golden Dawn.


I can't speak for anyone else, but I think I understand your question and will attempt to answer. The GD system using the Tarot is one system of working the paths. There are others, too. You're asking which one is best, or whether you can even assess what is best without knowing the GD system first.

I would relate this to any other major system we familiarize ourselves with in order to make an informed decision. Do you have to drive every car you're interested in before you make a purchase? Some people do. Others learn enough to make preliminary decisions about the various cars (and cars in general) before only test driving a small few or one, therefore eliminating the need to test all of the other cars that just from cursory examination do not meet their needs.

In this analogy, there is alot of information on the GD system, and lots of people have already "test driven" this system before you. There are other options. Eastern traditions offer a completely different way to climb the paths of the higher consciousness; not necessarily better or worse, but whichever system is most accessible, comfortable, and usable for them is what works for them. Kabbalah proper does not attach Tarot attributions at all to the Tree of Life. You could study it and learn fundamentals of the Tree without being influenced at all by the Tarot attributions using the wealth of books on Kabbalah before deciding for yourself whether Tarot attributions are the best way for you to proceed. It is my understanding that the basis for all further attributions is the Hebrew alphabet. Learn this, and you'll be able to make a more informed decision. The fitting analogy might be that learning the language of cars and car dealers is the first step in buying a car that will give you everything you want out of it (without wasting valuable time and getting ripped off!)

The GD system and it's use of Tarot may or may not be the system which will best suit you on your inner quest. Only you can answer that question, but I don't necessarily believe you must completely immerse yourself in every detail of GD before being able to know whether it's right for you. It seems to me you've already answered your own question with the idea of studying the Sephiroth without regard to the Tarot. With more time and accumulated knowledge of the fundamentals, you will gain instincts as to what other system(s) may work best for you.

Personally, I had to step back from the various magickal systems in order to learn the basics, which I am still learning. In my case tho, I already have a love and appreciation for the Tarot which somewhat colors my opinions of the GD system in a positive light. Regardless, I won't go into the deep waters of the GD system or any other pathworking until I'm fully ready intellectually (and spiritually) to know the majority of what to expect, and what I'm doing, and I know I'm not there yet personally.

Bill V


Hi Bill, thanks for your reply.

I was given a book on Kabbalah recently and I've started to read it, although this is a subject that I never thought I would have the time to learn, (along with other things that I am in the middle of studying). Its caught my interest though. I guess I'm a little concerned about learning a system which is not going to suit me, and then the possible re-learning process.

Your analogy with the car makes sense but I'm thinking that first I need to learn to drive! So perhaps the best way to approach any studies, at least in the first instance, is to learn about the Tree of Life without any Tarot attributions. Finding a site which is both simple to understand and doesn't incorporate a preferred system hasn't proven easy though. I also wonder why there aren't internet sites which show systems other than the GD way of pathworking.

Where to start.... its such a complex subject. I started by drawing the tree, with each of the four worlds and reading up on each Sephiroth. Perhaps the next stage is to meditate on each one starting at Malkhut.

earth en lady

Hi Moonbow
I too am a newbie to these studies ,for me the work written by R J Stewart "The Miracle Tree " works for me you can find his sites by googling his name ,mainly because as I understand it the Qabalah is an oral teaching and R J has lots of workshops in the Uk .This is now leading me into studies of William G Gray works and Dion Fortune . You may find it interesting for a more practical approach
Best Wishes for a lovely christmas


Thank you for the recommendation earth en lady, I'm reading a few reviews of his book now. He seems to take a more physical approach to learning about the Tree of Life which is very interesting and not something that I have heard much about.

Little Baron

Hi Moonbow ;)

Out of interest .. which book did you recieve?



Moonbow* said:
Where to start.... its such a complex subject. I started by drawing the tree, with each of the four worlds and reading up on each Sephiroth.
Qabalah can be a complex subject, but you probably know some Qabalah already. Working with and studying the Tarot is practical Qabalah. Everytime you pick up your Tarot deck you are literally holding the Tree of Life in your hand. The Minor cards, 1 - 10, correspond to the 10 sephiroth. The 4 suits correspond to the four qabalistic worlds.

If you want to understand the nature of Netzach in Briah, then study the 7 of Cups. Or Binah in Yetzirah, the 3 of Swords. Or maybe Malkuth in Assiah, the 10 of Disks.


Hi Aeon,

Thanks for your opinion about the cards and their relation to Kabbalah, but this is exactly what I want to avoid doing. I won't be assigning any cards until I know more about Kabbalah itself, and even then, I may not. To me, the 7 of Cups may not relate to Netzach for example. I am interested in the methods that others use, but also feel the need to be careful about being told that certain cards correspond with a path or Sephiroth. I'm thinking that practical Kabbalah is more about meditating on the Tree of Life and its various aspects, along with visualisation work, rather than comparing it to the Tarot... at least at this stage.


The Big Picture

If you begin with the concept of Time as illusionary,
with the reality being Past Present and Future as a
continuum... Kabbalah can be see like a clock with
the usual three hands...merely referencing eternity.

Of what "significance" are any of the clock's hands,
other than an agreed guide to our personal reality?
(Placing every card "somewhere" on the Tree fails.)

Analogically, 12:51:06 could be AM or PM, but also it
could be the right time or the wrong time. The saying
goes~ even a stopped clock will be right twice a day.

Unity is the Keyword of Kabbalah. Oneness in Allness.


Moonbow* said:
Thanks for your opinion about the cards and their relation to Kabbalah, but this is exactly what I want to avoid doing. I won't be assigning any cards until I know more about Kabbalah itself, and even then, I may not.
But it's not really my opinion, as such. I mentioned the minor cards and their relation to the sephiroth because they are a constant and common between all systems. It's essentially the assignment of the majors to the paths that makes one system different from another.