Pathworking - World or Universe card


I have had a little try with the Universe card. I imagined going in to the card and it was just green with walls (of the egg shape) that I couldn't get past. "You spin me right round, baby right round,like a record baby, right round" started playing. erm... Not sure what was going on with the eighties retro thing, Dead or Alive :laugh: which led to "brown girl in the ring tra la la la la... There's a brown girl in the ring, tra la la la la la... The song playing in the film Touching the Void ~ the only way up is down~ referring to one of the mountaineers breaking a leg and falling down a crevasse. He survives by going right down to the bottom and finding an exit. (Great film based on true story).

I had a quick read of Duquette and Crowley on the universe card for inspiration. This time I was for a second or two the figure ( with a sudden velocity?) and I felt the smooth skin of the serpent with slightly raised edges of the scales. It was huge and we were entwined briefly. I went back to thoughts of the purpose of the hook, bringing light and whether the snake dance on it's own was at the mindless level... Image of a snake birthing out of a cracked egg.

I fell asleep and had a lucid dream, though didn't have any connections to the Universe card. The only tiny relevance was a dream movement that had that the previous sense of velocity. There was a sexual undercurrent to the dream, ahem... so maybe a little serpenty.

On waking up I had another try asking the figure who she was or what she represented. She smiled maybe winked, not able to answer? and pointed outside of the card to a patch of yellow gold flowers with a few dark red ones. That was after reading the beginning of wake world, so I think that might have influenced that. ( thanks Jack of Wands, for the reminder)


All right. I worked with the Thoth deck (image here), although very little imagery from the card ended up manifesting in the pathworking itself. I did use the Tree of Life, even though I know that some others in this group may elect not to; I agree with Zephyros's contention that it's important to have a standardized Tree of Life for a group exercise like this, so I'll do all of my work with the traditional Kircher tree even though it's not usually my jam.

Below is a transcript of my pathworking. Be warned, it's quite long, and the language is a little weird. It reads as rather self-absorbed, artificial, and self-important, but I just transcribed things exactly as they happened. Part of this is probably that it's been a while since I've pathworked, so I'm a bit rusty. As we progress in this process, things will start to read more naturally, I'm sure.

At some later point, I'd like to go through and do a symbolic analysis of certain elements of the pathworking (in particular the name of the dragon; anyone have any ideas what this could mean?), but for now I'm exhausted. So I'll post the transcription, and come back to analyze at a later date.

Here goes nothing:

I sat alone in a dark room with a white candle lit before me. I spent a while meditating and emptying my thoughts until my field of vision narrowed and all I could see was the candle. Eventually—I’m not sure when—I became aware that something in my environment had changed. I looked up, and I saw that on the other side of the candle there was now a door carved out of ebony. I stood, stepped past the candle, and examined the door. It was intricately carved with the shapes of angels and with writing in languages I didn’t recognize. Its handle was made out of gold, and was cast in the shape of a lion’s head. I reached out and put my hand on it, and it said, Enter in the name of the highest.

I opened the door and walked through it, and found myself in darkness. Unsure of myself, I put my hands out before me and shuffled forward, trying to feel for any obstacles in front of me or any shift in the terrain that might trip me. Eventually, the darkness started to lift, and I saw an intersection ahead, where the darkness ended definitively and turned into a room. The room was made of marble, in the four colors of Malkut, laid out in an alternating pattern across the floor and ceiling. The room itself was small, and circular, but several passageways branched out from it into a labyrinth beyond.

A man appeared from one of the passageways to my right. He was short and balding, with cracked, yellowish skin and very sharp teeth. He wore a robe in the four colors of Malkut, and put his hand upon my arm.

Come, he said, gesturing to the passage from which he had come, I have many wonders to show you.

But I stopped short and shook my head. There was a door on the far side of the room, this time made of a somewhat lighter wood (mahogany or walnut), and I thought I was meant to go through it. The man (who called himself a priest of the temple) sneered at me.

Through that door lie the mysteries of the universe of mortal men, he said, You have discovered all these mysteries. There is nothing for you that way. Come with me and I will show you greater delights than are dreamed of by the men who walk through that door.

As he said this, his grip on my arm tightened. I looked down and saw that his hand was actually a claw, scaly and reptilian. At that point, I understood that he was not actually a priest of the temple of Malkut, but was the dragon that lived beneath the world and ate the souls of those who fell out of it. And I knew his name was Areshem.

No, I said, I will not come with you. I am a child of the spirit of the light, and my soul is not for you to devour.

Upon saying this, I ripped myself free from his grasp and started to run away, down one of the corridors to my left. But Areshem gave chase, and I found myself running through the labyrinth, past several closed doors of various colors and sizes, trying to escape from him. Eventually, I came to an open door, painted bright orange with a seven-pointed star on it, and I slipped inside. I found myself in a room with a large table, laden with tools and books. I ran to the far side of the table, but Areshem came into the room and confronted me.

You are my twin, he said, For I am also a child of the spirit of the light. Come with me, and we shall rule the darkness of the world.

He lunged towards me, but I reached out and grabbed a censer from on the table, lifted it and hit him over the head with it. His skull cracked and he crumpled to the ground. I saw that his blood was sticky and black.

I dropped the censer and backed away, but as I turned to run from the room, I saw two figures standing in the doorway. The first was a tall, beautiful man with the face of a lion, dressed in white robes. I understood that he was the true priest of the temple, and that he had been roused by the ruckus in the room. To his left stood a nude woman with dark hair and full lips, wearing a crown made of black wires on her head. She was a visitor from another temple, a temple that I did not yet have the right to see; she said nothing, but I saw judgment and fear in her eyes.

You have done murder in the holy place, the priest said. I protested that Areshem had been trying to kill me, but the priest shook his head and raised a hand to demand silence.

You have done murder in the holy place, he said again, This beast was like you, a child of the spirit of the light, and now he is no more. For while light begets light, it also must beget darkness, and now you have taken the darkness from the world. This is your sin, and for this you must atone. You must restore night to the outer reaches of the world.

How should I do this? I asked, and when I said this, the woman beside the priest smiled and whispered something in the priest’s ears.

He bowed his head and lifted a hand to me.

Come, he said, You must travel from this place. You are to see the mysteries of the universe, of the universe of men, for only then can you understand what you have done and how you can make amends. Your destiny is to become the dragon, the great destroyer that Areshem was, but in order to know destruction you must first have the power of creation. Come with me to the gates of the temple.

I wanted to protest, but I took his hand and he led me back through the labyrinth to the room where I had first met Areshem. Here, I saw the door again, and I saw clearly now that it was made of mahogany, not walnut. The priest’s companion walked up to the door and placed her hand on its surface, and it swung inward. On the other side, I saw a blinding light, and heard a noise like a choir singing.

Enter, the priest said, In the name of the mighty.

And so I bid him goodbye, nodded to the woman, and walked through the door.

Once I was through, I realized that the light I had seen was like the lightning inside the clouds of a storm. I was caught in the middle of a tempest, and pain pattered on my cheeks and plastered my clothing to my body. Wind caught at my ears, and I could hear the choir singing from a long way away, but I couldn’t make out their words.

I squinted my eyes against the raindrops and took a step forward, but my foot went into a puddle and I fell into it. The puddle was very deep, as deep as the ocean, and I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into it. I was worried that I would never find the surface again and that I would die. Something was swimming in the puddle with me, and I felt it graze against my leg. I thought that it was going to try to eat me, but then a mermaid appeared next to me. She looked much like the woman who had been with the priest of Malkut, except that her hair was much lighter and of course she had a fish’s tail instead of legs.

She took me in her arms and swam towards the surface, so fast that whatever else was in the puddle with us couldn’t catch up. When we reached the surface, I saw that the storm had ended. We were on an island in the middle of the sea, and it was a bright, sunny day. The sea was an electric blue-green color, and a single palm tree provided shelter and shade. The mermaid dropped me on the shore, then reclined on the beach with the end of her tail dipped in the water.

You have a long way to go yet, she chided, You’re not allowed to drown here.

Who are you? I asked, and she laughed.

I have many names, she said, As everyone in this place does. You have known me before as the Star, but today I am the Universe, and all my secrets are yours if you promise to love me.

She reached into the water and pulled out a conch shell, putting her lips to it and blowing. And out of the sea rose the choir I had heard earlier, a choir of mermaids singing in unison. I could understand what they were saying now; it was the song the sirens sang to Odysseus.

Do you want me to stay here with you forever? I asked the Universe. She pursed her lips and shook her head.

No, she said, Not here. You will be with me forever, for I am the bride of the dragon, but you aren’t the dragon yet and so we can’t be together. But know that in all you do, in all you pursue, you are really looking for me, for I am the creation to balance the destruction that is your inescapable nature. And only by finding me will you save yourself from the fate of your brother Areshem and prevent the destruction in your heart from turning on you.

I came and lay beside her, and put a hand to her face.

I love you, I said, and she laughed.

No you don’t, she said, Not yet. But you will. You will find me everywhere you go, and you will find me so many times that you won’t need to look for me anymore. Only then will you love me.

She sat up and pointed at the horizon.

But look, she said, The sun is setting, and it will soon be night in my kingdom. You don’t want to be here when night falls, for the choir gets very hungry and they will try to eat you if you are still here. They sing all day and they never have a chance to eat, so by night they’re famished. Leave now. I don’t want my husband to be eaten so soon.

I stood up and looked around the island.

How do I leave? I asked.

The Universe pointed out to the sea.

The same way you arrived, she said.

And so I stripped off all of my clothes and waded into the sea towards the singing choir. And as the water came up over my head, I closed my eyes and swam as deep as I could, until I hit something solid. I opened my eyes and saw that on the bottom of the sea there was a door, the same door that I had passed through in the temple of Malkut. I pressed my hand to it the way the priest’s companion had, and it swung open for me.

I swum through it and found myself in a small, dark room, painted a deep violet color. The room was illuminated by only one white candle, placed atop a wooden trunk. But as I saw the candle, I remembered the world I had come from, before I had entered the temple of Malkut, and I knew it was time for me to return. So I sat in front of the candle and meditated again, and the next time I looked up I was back in this world and the purple room was gone.


Interesting and inspiring experience today. I've begun home treatment for blepharitis, which is a bacterial infection of the eyelid follicles that causes the hairs to fall out. Part of the treatment is to wear an eye mask containing heated beads for 15 minutes, so I figured it would be a perfect opportunity for working on "building the temple." What I didn't anticipate was that the application of heat would energize my "astral vision." I was able to see the interior of the chamber more clearly and experience the sensation of moving about as "walking." Looking down, beside the sandals described in the written imagery, I saw that I was wearing a plain white cotton or linen toga and my legs looked like those of a younger man. I moved about and examined the artifacts in the room, primarily the images of the "Holy Living Creatures" at three of the four quadrants: Bull, Eagle and Lion.

Interestingly, I envisioned the Bull and the Lion figures to be facing left, while the Eagle, soaring above in flight, was angling more toward the upper right. The double-cube altar and the "bowl of light" held my attention, as did the fuming censer hanging above them. Although frankincense is the perfume associated with the Universe, I had a faint impression of something milder, like sandalwood but cleaner and more "citrusy;" my (very) rare exposure to frankincense in churches is that it's much more pungent, more a "reek" than a "perfume."

The fourth wall of the room with the doors is still shadowy and indistinct for me, as is the figure of Sandalphon - part of the "guided meditation" I'm using as a "springboard" - behind the altar. The pillars flanking the altar came and went. Richard Sturzaker has said "Student and initiate alike will find this the most difficult path on the whole Tree." I feel like I'm starting to make at least a little progress.


All right. I just wanted to take a brief moment and note a few of my most significant observations and reflections on the experience I posted yesterday.

First off, this pathworking was really, really a breach from tradition. Much, if not all, of the symbolism that appeared is alien to the Universe card, both in tradition and in my prior pathworking experiences. I've never worked with this card and found so much water-related imagery--especially the mermaid. I really have no idea where that came from.

Similarly, the temple of Malkut looked different in this than it ever has for me in previous workings. In my previous experience, it has always looked more traditional, similar to what Barleywine has described. It was segregated into four parts, with the four living creatures, etc. Here, though, the creatures are absent, and the four colors of Malkut are blended into a pattern in the marble on the floor and walls (as opposed to having one olive section, one russet section, and so on). The image of the labyrinth is also new.

Areshem. Whenever a figure in a pathworking has a name like this (and one that doesn't come from an external source), I take note. As far as I know, the name itself is nonsense. However, Areshem the dragon seems to be a dark counterpart not only to myself, but the the lion-headed priest of Malkut. (The dichotomy of the dragon and the lion actually exists in the Tarot; these two creatures rest at the feet of the Fool.) Similarly, the relationship between dark Areshem and his (my) fair bride seems to be the complement to the priest and his dark lady (who seems to me to be an embodiment of Binah; interesting to see her show up here).

The Universe's claim that I've met her before, as the Star. Reflecting on this, my first reaction is something along the lines of "What the hell?" I was very, very surprised by this, and I frankly don't know what to make of it. The island she took me to is similar to another island from a working with the Star a long, long time ago, and so I suppose that to an extent that explains a lot of the non-traditional imagery that cropped up during this working (a choir of cannibalistic mermaids is really not mentioned anywhere in the literature on Path 32, as far as I know). And in a broader sense, these two figures together can represent something of the divine feminine. But still. I'm very confused by this, and I think I need to mull it over some more.

It will be interesting to see if any of the stranger symbols from this pathworking recur in later workings as I progress up the Tree. If anyone has comments, suggestions, reflections or questions about my experience, please feel free to post them. Note that this experience is really not exemplary of what a pathworking (especially a first attempt) should be, because the imagery (while powerful) is far from what's traditionally associated with the card. This experience was and will be helpful for me fleshing out my relationship to this card on a personal level, but would probably be utterly useless in attempting to gain a more objective understanding of the card's meaning.


More progress. The inner space of the Temple of Malkuth has expanded dramatically; the ceiling is lost in shadow and the walls are many yards apart. I'm now wearing a blue toga. The Holy Living Creatures - if not exactly gigantic - have grown much larger and have taken on three dimensions, including localized movement. The Bull in the North paces, paws and stamps, although no sound is apparent. The Eagle in the West, now golden in a deep azure sky, rides the air currents as if questing for something. Only the Lion in the South is immobile, standing placidly amid the flames. I'm able to fix the pomegranate-headed pillars a little better this time, the left one black, the right one white rather than silver. The figure of Sandalphon emerges slightly, robed and cowled, but the raiments are a neutral gray at this time. No features are visible beneath the hood, and what little skin I can see is the dusky shade of Saturn (at least in this manifestation). I didn't concentrate much on the altar or censer this time, since they seemed solid. The blue crystal bowl of light morphed into the Thoth Ace of Cups, but I think maybe I should rein that in for the future. The doors also took on a less nebulous appearance but details are still lacking, Overall, the vision was considerably more dynamic today.

La'al quiet fella

First try

I was full of trepidation at trying this, especially after the other posts by more experienced members, and I was also worried that because I tend to focus more on the meditative aspects of the cards, that I would think more than experience.

To overcome that I meditated for 5 minutes looking at the universe card (same one jack of wands linked in from the Thoth deck). Over the past few days I had also read up on correspondences, fallen asleep picturing the card and tried to lucid dream in the mornings, not with much success.

I also really struggle with the GD temples, so even though I had the idea of travelling from Malkuth to Yesod in my mind, I sort of began by creating what I think of a Malkuth consciousness that I got from meditating on the 4 10's and the 4 princesses. I used this as a baseline for then closing my eyes and seeing what happened.

Today I looked at the card, tried not to think, and then closed my eyes. For what it is worth this is what I saw....

Egypt, pyramids and the sphinx......then suddenly inside a pyramid with torches lighting a tunnel and skirted people wandering along in a procession. there was a funerary atmosphere, but more of reverence for death than mourning....

Then the sphinx, but in its glory, not as it is now.....& then a living sphinx and the living sphinx was like a host for me....I became the living sphinx....

then night & I climbed a awe at it's height and it's was cold, isolated.....stars.....the snake from the card came down from the stars......endless & miles long.....incomprehensibly huge.....& despite such latent power & strength it gently lowered it's head for me to stand upon.....

It felt safe & sturdy even though it hurled me upwards as it withdrew & the stars spun.....

then I kind of became aware of the snake against my body.....& it wasn't giant slid over my felt like very gentle moved to my with an intimacy.....& it felt exciting, almost sexual....& like we moved together in response to each other.....

& it felt like I could tip myself backwards with my foot balancing on the snake's head & never fall.....just vertigo but safe & was a happy feeling....

but then, even though I had my foot on the snake's head in one's movements wrapped around my body & I followed it's tail....watching it, looking down as it made its way across my abdomen & then down my legs to my feet.....

As it reached my feet it was gone....& I could not make the experience continue.

there was a lot more I wanted to see, but it just stopped. It left me wanting to see the stars tonight in the sky.

It was not lucid dreaming, nor a trance state, but kind of a free flowing set of images. I had to try hard not to try and direct it at first but then it became easier to let things happen.

as a first step it really made me realise how far I have to go to be able to properly pathwork through the subconscious and I really hope this group helps us all learn to do it better.

anyway, that was my first go, not as difficult as I thought, although I don't think I got far, & it was an enjoyable experience too. the card keeps making me smile if I look at it now too.

it felt very rookie like, like I had no idea what I was really doing, and I kind of feel foolish on the one hand for even trying this and then on the other, it makes me want to develop to be able to use my subconscious with skill.

I have tried to explain how I did things, so people can reject or try as they please. barleywine has also offered to share his approaches to visualisation which obviously will be of much more benefit.


A little less progress today. The temple is illuminated from above and I can now see gray stone arches and buttresses; a silvery light (moonlight?) from high windows mingles with beams of white light rising from the bowl, which has returned to its proper form. The checkered floor and altar are also now fiirmly in place; no smoke is coming from the censer. The Holy Living Creatures have become more animated and colorful; the Bull is a proper russet now and has moved farther afield from his "niche." The golden Eagle is more remote in the azure vault of the heavens and ranging further as well. The Lion has assumed a tawny hue and has stepped forward from the flames. The figure of Sandalphon has advanced out of the shadows but is not yet fully involved in the vision; the gray robe and hood have been replaced with a multicolored tunic showing hints of gold, green and russet. A suggestion of dark curly hair is present but the features are sill indistinct; he seems to be welcoming. I'm no closer to the doors than I was. Maybe that won't happen until I invoke the Universe card as the "key." My garment today is emerald green with brown geometric patterns that I can't make out clearly but whick could be dry oak leaves.


First Try

This morning I ventured to try my first pathworking (with tarot) using the World card from Druidcraft Tarot. (I do not actually own the original RWS deck), but of my decks I thought this was the most "traditional" image and thus I would find more value, for now.

I also did not use a Tree of Life as others have, because I do not have enough knowledge at this point for me to have gotten anywhere with it. I did order The Shining Paths book that was suggested so as to hopefully incorporate use of the Tree of Life at a later point.

For now, this morning I didn't feel particularly successful and so will add more when I try again tonight. But I thought it would be worth adding what I did come across in my pathworking this morning.

I can't post attachments, so here is a link to the image of the card:

I am very new to this, so insight is appreciated.

I started by grounding and meditating so I would be in a good place of focus. I am familiar with the imagery on the card as I use this deck in my learning often. When I was ready, I allowed myself to "enter" the card so to speak.

The universe surrounded myself and the hermaphrodite (who is also the fool in my understanding) in front of me. Heaviness and a dizzying array of sensations wracked my body almost incessantly.

The woman in the card spoke to me: "Breathe" with the deep voice of a thousand men. Calming, but firm. "Look around".

Across the dark sky, filled with the burning warmth of the sun, and contrastingly the icy cold of darkness, I saw white planes of existence, of realities, cycling like a spinning display case. Formation of geometric patterns in space. "They are all different, but they are all the same". She said.

I looked down to the earth which she was floating above. Like thousands of tiny mirages, I saw vibrations calling forth from the earth. "That is the love of those who know. They are trying to heal".

The earth was bleeding, no drops fell because of the lack of gravity, more so, the blood radiated off of the earth like solar flares. "They sleep." (Still with a deep booming voice of a thousand men).

A part of my mind became distracted and I was thinking of the (can't think of the term), splitting of the major arcana into three rows of 7, and how each row is a development of the soul. I was thinking everyone gets stuck at, or before the chariot.

She looked at me piercingly. Radiating, like the sun.

The wooden knots around her all of a sudden looked as though they were holding her back, I had this overwhelming urge to reach out and break them so she could be free. She wouldn't let me.

She showed me an icy sea, I didn't know where I was, but I could still see the vastness of the starry sky around me. Microbes floating in water, multiplying in harsh icy, watery conditions.

I couldn't figure out what she meant by this. And I still have no idea.

"Listen" We were back above earth. The pulse of the universe, radiating colors that my brain interpreted as sound. Blue, pink, green, purple.

Her eyes became one green eye, I was naked.

She showed me flashes of images: men reaching the peaks of mountains and raising their arms in exultation, lovers in passion feeling they've seen the universe during climax, dancers across the world dancing and vibrations leaving their bodies and moving out into the universe, women holding dying children from acts of war, abusive and violent people hurting one another.

Suddenly there was a man with darkness in him, he had hurt others, but he was hurting to see the universe, he was blindfolded.

"Now you see" and we were above the earth once more. She was still and didn't speak.

Swirling, dizzying, moving stars pulsating. Then it stopped.

I am going to re-visit this tonight, because I feel that left me with far less understanding.

It wasn't as smooth as I had imagined either, it was very jerky and as someone else mentioned a kind of quick procession of images. And to be honest, I feel kind of sillier than I had expected to feel. I feel like what came to me is very "cliche", but in the same token, that delving deeper into that might break free of some of my own biases.


Today when I entered the Temple I was greeted with a shifting riot of golden light, apparently emanating from the spot where the figure of Sandalphon previously stood. It seemed like his human form had atomized into an all-pervading presence made of pure Light. It's warm glow brought a smile to my face. When that light was eventually retracted and the scene returned to its earlier silvery moonlight, I found that I had passed between the pillars and was standing on the far side of the altar toward the wall with the doors. I remembered to turn back and take the white light from the bowl into myself to carry on the path. Today I'm clad in deep violet with no decoration. The Bull was now standing and staring pointedly toward the doors, and the Lion was restlessly pacing. The Eagle, while still high and remote, had flown to a more overhead position. The doors themselves are very large and featureless, but their purpose is unmistakeable. The checkered floor between me and the doors was concealed by a low mist or smoke, indicating that it's time to get out my "key." I know the Thoth Universe card like the back of my hand, but I had some difficulty bringing it into three dimensions. I need to spend a short while contemplating it in "real time" before I start my next working. After a minute or two of fixing the card image in my visualization, the buildings of an ancient city bathed in sunlight began to appear behind it, even though the doors are still shut tight. I feel like I'm standing on the brink. More tomorrow.

La'al quiet fella

zephyros will move posts relating to this card to this thread from our previous thread. Please add any further path working posts about the world card in this thread.

If you wish to post about path working with a different card please make a thread for that card and then post there.

the original thread remains if people wish to post about a more general path working topic.

Thank you