Princess of Swords Thoth Tarot Card Tutorial – Esoteric Meanings

A detailed written and YouTube presentation of the Princess of Swords of the Thoth Tarot Court Cards as part of a complete series on this deck.  […]

Source: Princess of Swords Thoth Tarot Card Tutorial – Esoteric Meanings


RITUAL MAGIC | A Simple and Yet Powerful Archangel Invocation

There are many ways to invoke and call forth the presence of the Archangels… One of the most powerful is invoking the Archangels in every direction.

This Archangel Invocation puts you right at the center of a powerful Archangelic energy. You can use this for protection, to raise your vibration… Anchor light where you are… Connect with your highest Divine Self or to simpy tune into the love, support, guidance and incredible angelic energy of the Archangels.

Here’s exactly how to do this.

Archangel Invocation

To begin, focus your awareness within, breathe, relax and begin to visualize golden and white light all around as you now ask to be surrounded with Divine Light love, and with the Archangels in every direction.

Then think clearly and powerfully, or say aloud:

Recite aloud:

Calling in the Archangels from every direction. East, South, West, North,

Above, Below… Within…

“I now call upon Archangel Raphael in the East.”

Raphael is the Archangel of Air, and as you call him forth, feel or see the Emerald Green light and healing presence as Archangel Raphael steps forward.

“I call upon Archangel Michael in the South”

Archangel Michael is the Archangel of Fire. Tune into the electric blue fire and protective energy of Archangel Michael.

“I call upon Archangel Gabriel in the West”

Archangel Gabriel is the Archangel of Water. Tune into the sky-blue diamond light of Gabriel as she steps forward.

“I now call upon Archangel Auriel in the North”

Archangel Auriel is the Archangel of the Earth. Tune into the golden fiery light as Uriel steps forward.

“I now call in Archangel Sandalphon below me…”

Bringing up the crystalline grid and Sophia– Christ Light into your heart center

“I now call upon Archangel Metatron above…”

Lowering down the Solar- Christ Consciousness grid into your heart center.

Now tune into this sacred geometric shape around you…

The pillars of Archangelic energy creaing an octahedron around you.

“Inside this sacred geometric space, I now ask that the vibration be lifted, and filled with the love and light of Divine Presence. And now at the center, through my open heart, I call in and forth the full presence of my highest Divine Self.”

Allow your energy lift, expand, and through your open heart, feel the presence of the Archangels above, below and all around …

And within you, feel the presence of your highest Divine Self. Feel and experience your highest divine light.

From here, allow yourself to simply be present and to bask in the loving, blissful energy. You can ask for specific guidance or healing or you can simply anchor Divine Love, light and presence where you are, through your open heart, into the present moment…

Anchoring Divine Love into the earth and rippling out far beyond you.

And so it is.


Give this a try and just feel, see, experience and know the presence of the archangelic energy when you connect, invoke and invite it in.

I hope that this is helpful for you.

The Age of Aether

The physical world crystallized and emerged during the Lemurian age. This was the time when humanity was tempted and fell. The Lemurian age is the garden of Eden, it was that time. Previous to the Lemurian age were the Hyperborean and Polar ages, etc., which is when humanity was not physical. During the Lemurian era, humanity began to emerge into the physical world. In other words, all of creation was descending and crystallizing more and more into matter. During that process, what has to happen, is that the physical body is created and emerges. This is when the Kundabuffer organ was introduced. It was during that moment that the temptation occurred, when the physical body was starting to crystallize, when humanity started to enter the physical world. This is what it means when it says: “Their eyes were opened.” They started to develop physical sight.

This is gradual process of cosmic evolution that occurs in every corner of the universe. Gradually, matter settles from more rarefied forms into more concrete forms. The physical, three-dimensional matter is the end of this process, and from this stage everything returns back upwards. At this time in the development of this planet, we are in a terrestrial (physical) stage, and thus need physical bodies. At other times, we need whatever body corresponds to the current stage of development.

Right now, we need the physical body both in terms of the cosmic evolution and we need it in terms of our personal evolution. So that body only emerges at that stage of the development of any humanity. Previous to that there are other levels of work there happening. And, in the next age, which will be ethereal, we will need ethereal bodies in order to advance spiritually.

When all mankind has found the Light, the play will be finished. Likewise this planet will be finished as an abode for man. It will then be rolled off into its ever expanding orbit while Venus is gradually being rolled into place to become the stage for the next repetition of THE ASCENT OF MAN in this solar system.

We actors of the play must, therefore, be content with the lines of the play revealed to each of us in Light. We must, likewise, be ever joyous at our continuous transformation, as each one of us learns our part, line by line, the better to fulfil! it worthily.

All parts of the play are experiences which become the action of the play. All man’s experiences are part of his unfolding. Each experience is a part of his journey from die dark to the Light. All experiences are steps in that journey to his mountain top of glory. All experiences, therefore, are good experiences.

– Walter Russel

“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.”


The great Second Hermetic Principle embodies the truth that there is a harmony, agreement, and correspondence between the several planes of Manifestation, Life and Being. This truth is a truth because all that is included in the Universe emanates from the same source, and the same laws, principles, and characteristics apply to each unit, or combination of units, of activity, as each manifests its own phenomena upon its own plane.

For the purpose of convenience of thought and study, the Hermetic Philosophy considers that the Universe may be divided into three great classes of phenomena, known as the Three Great Planes, namely:

1. The Great Physical Plane.
2. The Great Mental Plane.
3. The Great Spiritual Plane.

These divisions are more or less artificial and arbitrary, for the truth is that all of the three divisions are but ascending degrees of the great scale of Life, the lowest point of which is undifferentiated Matter, and the highest point that of Spirit. And, moreover, the different Planes shade into each other, so that no hard and fast division may be made between the higher phenomena of the Physical and the lower of the Mental; or between the higher of the Mental and the lower of the Physical.

In short, the Three Great Planes may be regarded as three great groups of degrees of Life Manifestation. While the purposes of this little book do not allow us to enter into an extended discussion of, or explanation of, the subject of these different planes, still we think it well to give a general description of the same at this point.

At the beginning we may as well consider the question so often asked by the neophyte, who desires to be informed regarding the meaning of the word “Plane”, which term has been very freely used, and very poorly explained, in many recent works upon the subject of occultism. The question is generally about as follows: “Is a Plane a place having dimensions, or is it merely a condition or state?” We answer: “No, not a place, nor ordinary dimension of space; and yet more than a state or condition. It may be considered as a state or condition, and yet the state or condition is a degree of dimension, in a scale subject to measurement.” Somewhat paradoxical, is it not? But let us examine the matter. A “dimension,” you know, is “a measure in a straight line, relating to measure,” etc. The ordinary dimensions of space are length, breadth, and height, or perhaps length, breadth, height, thickness or circumference. But there is another dimension of “created things” or “measure in a straight line,” known to occultists, and to scientists as well, although the latter have not as yet applied the term “dimension” to it–and this new dimension, which, by the way, is the much speculated -about “Fourth Dimension,” is the standard used in determining the degrees or “planes.”

This Fourth Dimension may be called “The Dimension of Vibration” It is a fact well known to modern science, as well as to the Hermetists who have embodied the truth in their “Third Hermetic Principle,” that “everything is in motion; everything vibrates; nothing is at rest.” From the highest manifestation, to the lowest, everything and all things Vibrate. Not only do they vibrate at different rates of motion, but as in different directions and in a different manner. The degrees of the rate of vibrations constitute the degrees of measurement on the Scale of Vibrations–in other words the degrees of the Fourth Dimension. And these degrees form what occultists call “Planes” The higher the degree of rate of vibration, the higher the plane, and the higher the manifestation of Life occupying that plane. So that while a plane is not “a place,” nor yet “a state or condition,” yet it possesses qualities common to both. We shall have more to say regarding the subject of the scale of Vibrations in our next lessons, in which we shall consider the Hermetic Principle of Vibration.

You will kindly remember, however, that the Three Great Planes are not actual divisions of the phenomena of the Universe, but merely arbitrary terms used by the Hermetists in order to aid in the thought and study of the various degrees and Forms of universal activity and life. The atom of matter, the unit of force, the mind of man, and the being of the arch -angel are all but degrees in one scale, and all fundamentally the same, the difference between solely a matter of degree, and rate of vibration–all are creations of THE ALL, and have their existence solely within the Infinite Mind of THE ALL.

The Hermetists sub-divide each of the Three Great Planes into Seven Minor Planes, and each of these latter are also sub-divided into seven sub-planes, all divisions being more or less arbitrary, shading into each other, and adopted merely for convenience of scientific study and thought.

The Great Physical Plane, and its Seven Minor Planes, is that division of the phenomena of the Universe which includes all that relates to physics, or material things, forces, and manifestations. It includes all forms of that which we call Matter, and all forms of that which we call Energy or Force. But you must remember that the Hermetic Philosophy does not recognize Matter as a thing in itself, or as having a separate existence even in the Mind of THE ALL. The Teachings are that Matter is but a form of Energy–.that is, Energy at a low rate of vibrations of a certain kind. And accordingly the Hermetists classify Matter under the head of Energy, and give to it three of the Seven Minor Planes of the Great Physical Plane.

These Seven Minor Physical Planes are as follows:

1. The Plane of Matter (A)
2. The Plane of Matter (B)
3. The Plane of Matter (C)
4. The Plane of Ethereal Substance
5. The Plane of Energy (A)
6. The Plane of Energy (B)
7. The Plane of Energy (C)

The Plane of Matter (A) comprises the forms of Matter in its form of solids, liquids, and gases, as generally recognized by the text-books on physics. The Plane of Matter (B) comprises certain higher and more subtle forms of Matter of the existence of which modern science is but now recognizing, the phenomena of Radiant Matter, in its phases of radium, etc., belonging to the lower sub-division of this Minor Plane. The Plane of Matter (C) comprises forms of the most subtle and tenuous Matter, the existence of which is not suspected by ordinary scientists. The Plane of Ethereal Substance comprises that which science speaks of as “The Ether”, a substance of extreme tenuity and elasticity, pervading all Universal Space, and acting as a medium for the transmission of waves of energy, such as light, heat, electricity, etc. This Ethereal Substance forms a connecting link between Matter (so-called) and Energy, and partakes of the nature of each. The Hermetic Teachings, however, instruct that this plane has seven sub-divisions (as have all of the Minor Planes), and that in fact there are seven ethers, instead of but one.

Next above the Plane of Ethereal Substance comes the Plane of Energy (A), which comprises the ordinary forms of Energy known to science, its seven sub-planes being, respectively, Heat; Light; Magnetism; Electricity, and Attraction (including Gravitation, Cohesion, Chemical Affinity, etc.) and several other forms of energy indicated by scientific experiments but not as yet named or classified. The Plane of Energy (B) comprises seven subplanes of higher forms of energy not as yet discovered by science, but which have been called “Nature’s Finer Forces” and which are called into operation in manifestations of certain forms of mental phenomena, and by which such phenomena becomes possible. The Plane of Energy (C) comprises seven sub-planes of energy so highly organized that it bears many of the characteristics of “life,” but which is not recognized by the minds of men on the ordinary plane of development, being available for the use on beings of the Spiritual Plane alone–such energy is unthinkable to ordinary man, and may be considered almost as “the divine power.” The beings employing the same are as “gods” compared even to the highest human types known to us.

The Great Mental Plane comprises those forms of “living things” known to us in ordinary life, as well as certain other forms not so well known except to the occultist. The classification of the Seven Minor Mental Planes is more or less satisfactory and arbitrary (unless accompanied by elaborate explanations which are foreign to the purpose of this particular work), but we may as well mention them. They are as follows:

1. The Plane of Mineral Mind
2. The Plane of Elemental Mind (A)
3. The Plane of Plant Mind
4. The Plane of Elemental Mind (B)
5. The Plane of Animal Mind
6. The Plane of Elemental Mind (C)
7. The Plane of Human Mind

The Plane of Mineral Mind comprises the “states or conditions” of the units or entities, or groups and combinations of the same, which animate the forms known to us as “minerals, chemicals, etc.” These entities must not be confounded with the molecules, atoms and corpuscles themselves, the latter being merely the material bodies or forms of these entities, just as a man’s body is but his material form and not “himself.” These entities may be called “souls” in one sense, and are living beings of a low degree of development, life, and mind–just a little more than the units of “living energy” which comprise the higher sub-divisions of the highest Physical Plane. The average mind does not generally attribute the possession of mind, soul, or life, to the mineral kingdom, but all occultists recognize the existence of the same, and modern science is rapidly moving forward to the point-of-view of the Hermetic, in this respect. The molecules, atoms and corpuscles have their “loves and hates”; “likes and dislikes”; “attractions and repulsions”. “affinities and non-affinities,” etc., and some of the more daring of modern scientific minds have expressed the opinion that the desire and will, emotions and feelings, of the atoms differ only in degree from those of men. We have no time or space to argue this matter here. All occultists know it to be a fact, and others are referred to some of the more recent scientific works for outside corroboration. There are the usual seven sub-divisions to this plane.

The Plane of Elemental Mind (A) comprises the state or condition, and degree of mental and vital development of a class of entities unknown to the average man, but recognized to occultists. They are invisible to the ordinary senses of man, but, nevertheless, exist and play their part of the Drama of the Universe. Their degree of intelligence is between that of the mineral and chemical entities on the one hand, and of the entities of the plant kingdom on the other. There are seven subdivisions to this plane, also.

The Plane of Plant Mind, in its seven sub-divisions, comprises the states or conditions of the entities comprising the kingdoms of the Plant World, the vital and mental phenomena of which is fairly well understood by the average intelligent person, many new and interesting scientific works regarding “Mind and Life in Plants” having been published during the last decade. Plants have life, mind and “souls,” as well as have the animals, man, and super-man.

The Plane of Elemental Mind (B), in its seven sub-divisions, comprises the states and conditions of a higher form of “elemental” or unseen entities, playing their part in the general work of the Universe, the mind and life of which form a part of the scale between the Plane of Plant Mind and the Plane of Animal Mind, the entities partaking of the nature of both.

The Plane of Animal Mind, in its seven sub-divisions, comprises the states and conditions of the entities, beings, or souls, animating the animal forms of life, familiar to us all. It is not necessary to go into details regarding this kingdom or plane of life, for the animal world is as familiar to us as is our own.

The Plane of Elemental Mind (C), in its seven sub-divisions, comprises those entities or beings, invisible as are all such elemental forms, which partake of the nature of both animal and human life in a degree and in certain combinations. The highest forms are semi-human in intelligence.

The Plane of Human Mind, in its seven sub-divisions, comprises those manifestations of life and mentality which are common to Man, in his various grades, degrees, and divisions. In this connection, we wish to point out the fact that the average man of today occupies but the fourth sub-division of the Plane of Human Mind, and only the most intelligent have crossed the borders of the Fifth Sub-Division. It has taken the race millions of years to reach this stage, and it will take many more years for the race to move on to the sixth and seventh sub-divisions, and beyond. But, remember, that there have been races before us which have passed through these degrees, and then on to higher planes. Our own race is the fifth (with stragglers from the fourth) which has set foot upon The Path. And, then there are a few advanced souls of our own race who have outstripped the masses, and who have passed on to the sixth and seventh sub-division, and some few being still further on. The man of the Sixth Sub-Division will be “The Super-Man”; he of the Seventh will be “The Over-Man.”

In our consideration of the Seven Minor Mental Planes, we have merely referred to the Three Elementary Planes in a general way. We do not wish to go into this subject in detail in this work, for it does not belong to this part of the general philosophy and teachings. But we may say this much, in order to give you a little clearer idea, of the relations of these planes to the more familiar ones–the Elementary Planes bear the same relation to the Planes of Mineral, Plant, Animal and Human Mentality and Life, that the black keys on the piano do to the white keys. The white keys are sufficient to produce music, but there are certain scales, melodies, and harmonies, in which the black keys play their part, and in which their presence is necessary. They are also necessary as “connecting links” of soul-condition; entity states, etc., between the several other planes, certain forms of development being attained therein–this last fact giving to the reader who can “read between the lines” a new light upon the processes of Evolution, and a new key to the secret door of the “leaps of life” between kingdom and kingdom. The great kingdoms of Elementals are fully recognized by all occultists, and the esoteric writings are full of mention of them. The readers of Bulwer’s “Sanoni” and similar tales will recognize the entities inhabiting these planes of life.

Passing on from the Great Mental Plane to the Great Spiritual Plane, what shall we say? How can we explain these higher states of Being, Life and Mind, to minds as yet unable to grasp and understand the higher subdivisions of the Plane of Human Mind? The task is impossible. We can speak only in the most general terms. How may Light be described to a man born blind–how sugar, to a man who has never tasted anything sweet–how harmony, to one born deaf?

All that we can say is that the Seven Minor Planes of the Great Spiritual Plane (each Minor Plane having its seven sub-divisions) comprise Beings possessing Life, Mind and Form as far above that of Man of to-day as the latter is above the earth-worm, mineral or even certain forms of Energy or Matter. The Life of these Beings so far transcends ours, that we cannot even think of the details of the same; their minds so far transcend ours, that to them we scarcely seem to “think,” and our mental processes seem almost akin to material processes; the Matter of which their forms are composed is of the highest Planes of Matter, nay, some are even said to be “clothed in Pure Energy.” What may be said of such Beings?

On the Seven Minor Planes of the Great Spiritual Plane exist Beings of whom we may speak as Angels; Archangels; Demi-Gods. On the lower Minor Planes dwell those great souls whom we call Masters and Adepts. Above them come the Great Hierarchies of the Angelic Hosts, unthinkable to man; and above those come those who may without irreverence be called “The Gods,” so high in the scale of Being are they, their being, intelligence and power being akin to those attributed by the races of men to their conceptions of Deity. These Beings are beyond even the highest flights of the human imagination, the word “Divine” being the only one applicable to them. Many of these Beings, as well as the Angelic Host, take the greatest interest in the affairs of the Universe and play an important part in its affairs. These Unseen Divinities and Angelic Helpers extend their influence freely and powerfully, in the process of Evolution, and Cosmic Progress. Their occasional intervention and assistance in human affairs have led to the many legends, beliefs, religions and traditions of the race, past and present. They have superimposed their knowledge and power upon the world, again and again, all under the Law of THE ALL, of course.

But, yet, even the highest of these advanced Beings exist merely as creations of, and in, the Mind of THE ALL, and are subject to the Cosmic Processes and Universal Laws. They are still Mortal. We may call them “gods” if we like, but still they are but the Elder Brethren of the Race,–the advanced souls who have outstripped their brethren, and who have foregone the ecstasy of Absorption by THE ALL, in order to help the race on its upward journey along The Path. But, they belong to the Universe, and are subject to its conditions–they are mortal–and their plane is below that of Absolute Spirit.

Only the most advanced Hermetists are able to grasp the Inner Teachings regarding the state of existence, and the powers manifested on the Spiritual Planes. The phenomena is so much higher than that of the Mental Planes that a confusion of ideas would surely result from an attempt to describe the same. Only those whose minds have been carefully trained along the lines of the Hermetic Philosophy for years–yes, those who have brought with them from other incarnations the knowledge acquired previously–can comprehend just what is meant by the Teaching regarding these Spiritual Planes. And much of these Inner Teachings is held by the Hermetists as being too sacred, important and even dangerous for general public dissemination. The intelligent student may recognize what we mean by this when we state that the meaning of “Spirit” as used by the Hermetists is akin to “Living Power”; “Animated Force;” “Inner Essence;” “Essence of Life,” etc., which meaning must not be confounded with that usually and commonly employed in connection with the term, i.e., “religious; ecclesiastical; spiritual; ethereal; holy,” etc., etc. To occultists the word “Spirit” is used in the sense of “The Animating Principle,” carrying with it the idea of Power, Living Energy, Mystic Force, etc. And occultists know that that which is known to them as “Spiritual Power” may be employed for evil as well as good ends (in accordance with the Principle of Polarity), a fact which has been recognized by the majority of religions in their conceptions of Satan, Beelzebub, the Devil, Lucifer, Fallen Angels, etc. And so the knowledge regarding these Planes has been kept in the Holy of Holies in all Esoteric Fraternities and Occult Orders,–in the Secret Chamber of the Temple. But this may be said here, that those who have attained high spiritual powers and have misused them, have a terrible fate in store for them, and the swing of the pendulum of Rhythm will inevitably swing them back to the furthest extreme of Material existence, from which point they must retrace their steps Spiritward, along the weary rounds of The Path, but always with the added torture of having always with them a lingering memory of the heights from which they fell owing to their evil actions. The legends of the Fallen Angels have a basis in actual facts, as all advanced occultists know. The striving for selfish power on the Spiritual Planes inevitably results in the selfish soul losing its spiritual balance and falling back as far as it had previously risen. But to even such a soul, the opportunity of a return is given–and such souls make the return journey, paying the terrible penalty according to the invariable Law.

In conclusion we would again remind you that according to the Principle of Correspondence, which embodies the truth: “As Above so Below; as Below, so Above,” all of the Seven Hermetic Principles are in full operation on all of the many planes, Physical Mental and Spiritual. The Principle of Mental Substance of course applies to all the planes, for all are held in the Mind of THE ALL. The Principle of Correspondence manifests in all, for there is a correspondence, harmony and agreement between the several planes. The Principle of Vibration manifests on all planes, in fact the very differences that go to make the “planes” arise from Vibration, as we have explained. The Principle of Polarity manifests on each plane, the extremes of the Poles being apparently opposite and contradictory. The Principle of Rhythm manifests on each Plane, the movement of the phenomena having its ebb and flow, rise and flow, incoming and outgoing. The Principle of Cause and Effect manifests on each Plane, every Effect having its Cause and every Cause having its effect. The Principle of Gender manifests on each Plane, the Creative Energy being always manifest, and operating along the lines of its Masculine and Feminine Aspects.

-The Kybalion

Meditation Moment …

“In Eden two trees fructified; the tree of science and the tree of life; the tree of science is the reason and the tree of life is the love that produces faith. Reason without faith is the death of the heart. Faith without reason is the creative madness of hell, it is the annihilation of the spirit”.

Eliphas Levi

The Book of the Wise

Art by Piotr Dura

The Number 777 and the Path of the Flaming Sword

 In this essay, I will discuss the qabalah of the number 777 from two different approaches. The classical derivation of 777 is to sum the paths that the Lightning Flash of Creation travels along or, in the case of Gimel, crosses on its journey from Kether to Malkuth on the Tree of Life. Another way to derive 777 is to add 359 to 418, as suggested by Aleister Crowley’s comment on chapter 3, verse 74, of the Book of the Law. Both approaches discover an archetype of spirit incarnated in human form. […]

Read article here:

Sigils | THE SECRET SEAL OF SOLOMON | Tetragrammaton 

THIS is the Form of Pentagram of Solomon, the figure whereof is to be made in Sol or Luna (Gold or Silver), and worn upon thy breast; having the Seal of the Spirit required upon the other side thereof. It is to preserve thee from danger, and also to command the Spirits by.


BLACK:  Circle and pentagram outlined in black. Names and Sigils within Pentagram black also.

RED:  “Tetragrammaton” in red letters.

BLUE:  Ground of center of Pentagram, where “Soluzen” is written, green. External angles of Pentagram where “Abdia”, “Ballaton,” “Bellony”, “Hallily” and “Halliza,” are written.



Contemplating Hebrew Letters | Resh




    And when the time came for [Rebecca] to give birth, behold! There were twins in her womb. The first one emerged red, entirely like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. After that his brother emerged with his hand grasping on to the heel of Esau; so he called his name Jacob. . . . The lads grew up and Esau became one who knows hunting, a man of the field; but Jacob was a wholesome man, abiding in tents. Isaac loved Esau for he ate of his venison, but Rebecca loved Jacob.

Genesis 25:24–28

The matriarch Rebecca is one of the most highly developed female characters in the Bible, and she’s also one of the most powerful. Discovered at a young age by Abraham’s servant Eliezer, she’s recognized immediately as the destined mate for Isaac. Because of her intuitive kindness, Rebecca draws water for Eliezer and his camels before even being asked—for this, Eliezer offers to bring her back to Canaan to become the wife of Isaac. She immediately accepts and leaves her home, even though she’s barely out of childhood and has never met Isaac.

The one characteristic that follows Rebecca throughout her life is her amazing sense of clarity. From the moment she sees Eliezer, she knows what to do; and when she first sees Isaac in the distance, after a long journey, she immediately senses who he is—not just another stranger encountered along the way, but her life partner.

After she and Isaac are married, Rebecca is barren for 20 years. When she finally does conceive, she has a difficult pregnancy and seeks out the reason for her troubles. She asks God directly why she’s in so much pain, and He replies that she’s carrying twins who are at war with one another even in the womb. This rivalry, she’s told, will last as long as they live, but in the end the younger twin will triumph over the older one. Rebecca will keep this information to herself for years, but ultimately it will guide her behavior as a mother and become the basis for her future actions.

As the boys grow up, Esau, the elder, becomes a brute of a man, interested in hunting, women, and food; whereas Jacob, the younger, is more domesticated, bookish, and kind. Rebecca knows that although Isaac favors Esau, Jacob is the one who is destined to be the next in line spiritually; so when her husband is ready to pass on the blessing of the firstborn, which holds enormous spiritual power, Rebecca creates an elaborate scheme that changes history. She convinces Jacob to lie to his blind father, dress up in Esau’s clothing, bring him venison as his brother would, and trick Isaac into giving him the blessing that will establish him as the dominant patriarch of his generation.

We’re told that Rebecca does this not just because she favors one son over the other, but because she knows in no uncertain terms what should happen—that is, what is fair and right according to the prophecy she’s received. Rebecca does all she can to actively change destiny, to act with confidence and ensure that Jacob is blessed. In this way, she makes sure that the prophecy she hears when she’s pregnant is fulfilled, and that the line of righteous men continues with Jacob.


The letter Resh represents the rosh, the head. Rebecca is able to think logically and clearly and come up with solid, useful plans to do what’s best for her family. After she secures the birthright for Jacob, she is able to see that Esau is violent enough to potentially kill his brother when he finds out what has happened, and she devises a plan in which Jacob goes to live with her brother Laban (where, incidentally, he will meet his future wives, Rachel and Leah).

Although her circumstances are difficult and she has to play one son against the other and deceive her husband, Rebecca knows with complete certainty what needs to happen in order for everyone to fulfill their true destiny.

The Resh comes to those in need of clarity. Life is confusing, and often many paths compete for the taking. There is often more than one way to go, but from time to time we need to make definite, binding decisions.

Clarity need not be achieved only through prophecy—you can gain the ultimate knowledge all by yourself. But however you attain it, once something is clear in your mind, in the front of your consciousness, be careful not to waver from it.

Learn from Rebecca that you can change what seems to be set in stone. Your lot in life need not be the one given to you at birth— you need only be sure of yourself, and you can become whatever you need to be.

Contemplating Hebrew Letters | Qoph


rvpx Nk
(Bird’s Nest)


If a bird’s nest happens to be before you on the road, on any tree, or on the ground—young birds or eggs—and the mother is roosting on the young birds or the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young. You shall surely send away the mother and take the young for yourself, so that it will be good for you and will prolong your days.


Deuteronomy 22:6–7

This passage is one of 18 laws concerning the protecting of animals in the Bible. Among others, the Bible instructs us not to boil a kid in its mother’s milk (which has evolved over time into the Jewish concept of kashrut, a system in which meat and milk are not to be eaten together at all), not to kill a mother and her offspring on the same day, and to help lift up an animal that may have collapsed from exhaustion on the road.

Although humans are given dominion over the animals in Genesis, we’re also given the responsibility to care for and treat them as fellow creations of God. This tension between our accountability toward animals and our power over them is the source of many difficult questions. But what’s clear from this passage is that we must first and foremost be sensitive to the nature of those that are consumed or otherwise used for our purposes.

By sending away the mother bird before taking her eggs or chicks, we accomplish several things: (1) We take into consideration the fact that animals are attached to their young and will suffer if they’re separated from them—so by sending the bird away, she won’t see her eggs taken, and the blow will be softened; (2) by not taking the bird along with her eggs as food, we help to preserve the species, ensuring that the breeding animal survives (environmentalists call this “sustainability”); (3) by exerting our responsibility toward animals before our power over them, we remind ourselves what’s more important; and (4) we set an example of compassion for our own lives.

Now if sending away the mother bird is so important that it will lead to a long life for the one who performs the deed, just think how important it is to treat other people with such sensitivity. The emotional, practical, philosophical, and personal implications of this commandment are stunning: In performing (or merely understanding) such a small act, we can help ease the pain of the world, preserve the earth, put our power into place, and deepen our capacity for compassion and kindness to others.

The Kuf is first and foremost a letter of kedusha, holiness. The verb lekadesh means “to sanctify” or “make holy,” suggesting that holiness is something to be actively achieved.

Look at how the letter itself is shaped: The character reaches down below the line as if descending into the “lower world” of earth from the “higher world” of spirituality. This teaches us that we can sanctify our lives, and infuse our existence with meaning and purpose, by seeking to elevate our daily actions and by having the consciousness of a higher purpose behind everything we do.


The Kuf card is a signal of compassion. Look beyond the surface of your actions and consider the fact that as humans, we’re not all that matters in this world. The principle of kindness to animals teaches us the great lesson of being kind to everyone, from helpless infants to victims of crime to homeless families to the elderly.

Take a moment to envision the mother bird and her eggs. Put yourself in her position and consider her animal perspective. Now use your gift of human reasoning and power to perform an act of holiness.

Contemplating Hebrew Letters || Tzaddi (Tzaddik)


Myhvla Mlx
Tzelem Elohim
(In the Image of God)


    So God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.


Genesis 1:27

This is the first of two descriptions given in Genesis for the creation of humankind at the beginning of the world. In the second (Gen. 2:18ff), man is created first, and then God forms woman by taking a piece of the man’s “side” (the Hebrew word is tzela, traditionally translated as “rib”) and creating a whole new being. In this original description, however, man and woman are created at one time. Some say that they’re created as a single body, and later each “side” is separated from the other to produce the two individual people we know as Adam and Eve. Others say that they were created as separate bodies, but simultaneously and with completely equal status.

Whichever of the two versions of the human-creation story you choose to believe, what’s essential to understand is that humanity was created in the Image of God (be’tzelem Elohim), and that means that men and women have a purpose on this earth unlike any other creature formed in the first week of existence. Humankind was designed not just to be fruitful and multiply, as every animal is, but to dominate over nature and to explore their inherent powers. What separates us from the plants and animals is that we have within us a spark of Divinity that, if we’re lucky, we can train ourselves to see and develop.

Trying to access that part of ourselves that’s Godlike, the part that strives to make the world a better place and improve our personal traits, is the essential act of Kabala. By working toward recognizing our original holiness, our connection to the Divine source of creation, we begin to journey toward Tikkun Olam (the Healing of the World), which is the ultimate goal of our lives.

A Tzaddik is a righteous person, someone who makes it a priority to bring good things into the world, to give charity, and to give of themselves. You become a Tzaddik by first and foremost learning to connect with the fact that you were created Be’tzelem, in the Image. Once you internalize the fact that you contain within you an essential holiness, a purpose in life, you’ll begin to see that everyone else also has this spark.

You cannot mistreat people—or be racist, judgmental, or cruel to your fellow human beings—if you truly believe that each and every one of us is created in the image of holiness.

To understand that the first person was actually a single man/woman unit, and that every person in the whole of history stems from this original being, is to understand that we’re all truly created equal. Not only must we treat others with respect, we must also learn to treat ourselves with respect, striving to heal the often-ruptured world within ourselves as well as the outside world.


The Tzaddik helps to boost self-confidence. In times of doubt, when we question our personal values and take a cold, hard look at our lives in search of a deeper purpose, it’s crucial to remember our origins: We’re all made in the Image, we’re all righteous people, or Tzaddikim.

Your body itself is holy, just as your soul is. Treat yourself with respect, as you would any holy object: Eat well, breathe, sleep, meditate, be creative, do good for the less fortunate. Only once you can relate to yourself as unique and holy will you truly see others the same way.

It is said that saving one life is like saving the entire world, and killing one person is like destroying the planet. This stems from the idea that in the beginning there was only one person who contained the most vital spark of life that will exist in every person throughout history.

Remember that we’re all linked together in this world, and we’re all crucial to its survival. Without any one of us, the world would be incomplete.

Contemplating Hebrew Letters || Peh




     And the Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he did not let the Children of Israel go . . .


Exodus 9:35

The story of the Jews’ Exodus from Egypt is one of the most poignant tales of freedom in all of human history. Their harsh ruler, the Pharaoh, refuses to let them leave the country despite a series of plagues that the God of the Hebrews sends upon him. After every plague descends—blood, frogs, lice, swarms of wild beasts, epidemic, boils, hail, locusts, and complete darkness—Moses turns to the Pharaoh and asks him to “let my people go.”

Nine times out of ten, the Pharaoh nearly relents, but at the last minute he “hardens his heart” and refuses. Only when the Plague of the Firstborn is carried out and the eldest son of every Egyptian household, including the Pharaoh’s, is killed at midnight, does he finally give in and tell Moses to take the people and all their belongings and leave.

Throughout history we’ve seen what evil the human heart is capable of—from the Pharaoh to Adolf Hitler to Osama bin Laden, there have been people who do things most of us cannot even fathom. Nevertheless, those people do exist, and they teach us a lesson: Sometimes we have to see the worst in life before we can start rising up again to create a better world.

We also see this, to a lesser extent, in our own lives. Sometimes we must sink to our lowest levels of behavior before we start to improve. Addicts, for example, often need a near-death experience to compel them toward rehabilitation; and people who are grieving for a personal loss must often experience a deep sense of depression before they can begin the healing process. The same thing happened to the Pharaoh—he needed to experience the harshest personal tragedy (the loss of his son) in order to recognize how many children had already died at his hand.

Peh is the word for “mouth” in Hebrew. Spelled the same way, but with a different pronunciation (“poh”), the word also means “here.” These two words and concepts are integrally linked: To speak is to be present, to be in the moment and consciously communicative. The Pharaoh needed to open his heart in order to open his mouth and give permission to let the people go—he needed to speak from the place of experience, from the present, from “here.”

There’s a famous rabbinic legend that says that when babies are in their mothers’ wombs, they’re endowed with all the knowledge in the world. When they’re born, however, an angel taps them on the upper lip, creating the indent there underneath the nose, and they instantly forget everything. The process of life, then, is one of slowly relearning and remembering things that we knew from the very start of our lives.

The Pharaoh also needed to go through a process of reconnecting with his lost humanity, finally accepting the fact that he wasn’t an immortal god, but was subject to plagues just like every other Egyptian. And when he finally did come to realize this, to rediscover some of his inner morality, he was able to harness the power of speech (a distinctly human quality) to let the Jews go.


The Peh represents the incredible power of speech in our lives. Speaking is the catalyst for all action, and for any significant change in the world. To use our mouths, the ability that separates us from other life forms, is to be at our most powerful.

Look carefully at the shape of the Peh: Inside the black lines that form the letter, in the white space, there is a Bet. The Bet, as we’ve seen, is the first letter of the Torah, but it also represents looking at things from different angles. That the two letters are mystically intertwined teaches us a great lesson: Before we open our mouths to speak, we need to consider the bigger picture. Knowing that there’s always another layer of truth to consider will help us communicate most effectively in life.

We say that “actions speak louder than words,” but sometimes only words can lead us to profound action.

This card encourages you to soften your heart, open your mouth, and reclaim the knowledge that was given to you before you took your first breath. When you’ve accomplished those things, you can change the world.

Contemplating Hebrew Letters || Ayin


kjxy tdki
Akedat Yitzchak
(The Binding of Isaac)


     Then Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “Father . . .” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Here are the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the offering?” And Abraham said, “God will seek out for Himself the lamb for the offering, my son.’” And the two of them went together. They arrived at the place of which God had spoken to him; Abraham built the altar there, and arranged the wood; he bound Isaac, his son, and he placed him on the altar atop the wood.


Genesis 22:7–9

Most of the interpretations regarding the Binding of Isaac focus on the actions of Abraham, who had been previously tested nine times by God and who’s considered the hero of the story. Because he was able to pass this final test, willingly preparing himself to sacrifice his beloved son (who was born when he was 100 years old and his wife was 90, after many years of infertility and struggle), Abraham is considered the paradigm of faith, willing to give up everything he’d lived for in order to fulfill the word of God.

Of course, this is one of the most morally problematic stories of the Bible, and generations of philosophers have struggled with whether Abraham succeeded or failed as a person regarding his willingness to kill an innocent man who was also his son. But whether or not this was an act of pure faith or a mistake, in the end Isaac wasn’t destined to die, and God stopped Abraham from actually slaughtering his son seconds before the act was accomplished. The test was to evaluate Abraham’s devotion, to prove to the world that he was a man willing to do anything and everything for his God.

But what of Isaac? He was 37 years old when this happened, hardly an ignorant child. Why isn’t this considered to be a test of Isaac’s faith rather than his father’s? After all, being willing to sacrifice your own life is surely as significant as being willing to take the life of another.

Commentators say that when Abraham, Isaac, and their two servants set out on the morning of the Binding, only Abraham knew the true nature of their outing. But as they approached the mountain, Abraham saw a cloud signaling the presence of God, and soon Isaac did, too. The other two men didn’t see the cloud, so Abraham asked them to wait below with the donkey while father and son ascended to the spot where the sacrifice was to be made—understanding that he and Isaac were on a different spiritual level than the other two.

In the dialogue above, which takes place as they walk up the mountain, Isaac comes to realize what’s truly going to happen. He knows that the presence of the cloud implies a holy intention, and he knows that if he and his father were truly going to sacrifice a lamb, they’d need the animal in hand to do so. And as Abraham implies that God will provide the lamb, his son fully understands that he is the one who’s meant to die on the altar. Even so, Isaac continues walking with his father, and he allows himself to be bound.

As a 37-year-old man, he would have been easily able to run away or overpower his ederly father, yet Isaac complies with this situation completely, willingly helping his father fulfill their destiny. Just as Isaac possessed the ability to see the holy cloud of God, he was also able to see into the future, and he knew that his legacy would not end that day on the mountain.

Isaac was able to comply because he had as much faith (though of a different sort) as his father. This is why the Binding wasn’t as much of a “test” for Isaac as it was for his father. Abraham believed that he was going to have to kill his son, and the test was to see if he’d go ahead with it, despite his love for Isaac. But Isaac knew in the deepest parts of himself that this was only a test—he wasn’t destined to become a martyr.

The Hebrew word Ayin means “eye.” And the letter represents not just sight, but spiritual insight, the ability to “see” beyond the black-and-white details of the moment to the larger picture.

Later in his life, Isaac goes blind. Some say that the process began here, when the tears of his father and of the angels above fell into his own eyes—just before God stopped Abraham’s hand from bringing the knife to his son’s throat. Whatever the source of Isaac’s blindness, it’s significant that the forefather who’s connected most to sight literally cannot see by the later years of his life. In other words, Isaac teaches us that the most important things to recognize in life are the things we can only see inside.


The Ayin card comes to you in times of trial and questioning. We’re all tested in various ways each and every day, and we must find ways to pass those tests and trust our insight.

In order to become a kabalist, you must learn to develop and trust your sixth sense and to see the light even in the darkness. This is the light that Isaac notices when he lies bound on an altar, and it’s the same light he perceives when his eyes no longer function.

Trust what you see, both inside and out. Others may not be able to witness the cloud of glory or to understand the complexities of our daily trials, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.