A short discussion on the Paths of Evolution and Involution on the Tree of Life
Copyright 1996, kkw2@usa.pipeline.com

Lightning Path of Involution Down the Sephera of the Tree of Life:
Path of the Serpent of Evolution Up the Sephera of the Tree of Life:
Thus, the major arcana, if it is to be taken to be representative of the involutionary/evolutionary journey of the Spirit into Matter and the redemption of the Soul out of Matter, may be appropriately related to the Sepheroth of the Tree of Life in addition to the paths that exist between the Sepheroth. In order to do so, one must remove from consideration both the cards of the Fool and the World as both of these cards represent that which is outside of the involutionary/evolutionary journey. The Fool is representative of the chaos from which springs the creative emanation and is aptly described by the alchemical term of prima materia . The World is representative of the wholistic nature of Unity into which all manifestation is evolving and is aptly described by the alchemical term of lapis . It might be hypothesized, however, that the Fool and the World are the major arcana cards that are to be assigned to the invisible Sepheroth of Daath.
The remaining 20 major arcana may be assigned, then, to the Sepheroth. The major arcana #1-10 may be understood as being representative of the involutionary act of creation and may, therefore, be assigned to the Sepheroth in the order delineated by the lightning flash on the Tree of Life. The major arcana #11-#20 may be understood as being representative of the evolutionary redemption of the Spirit/Soul from Matter and may, therefore, be assigned to the Sepheroth in the order delineated by the path of the serpent on the Tree of Life. What is immediately noticeable is that there are, then, two major arcana corresponding with each Sphera. One is representative of the function of involution and the other is representative of the function of evolution. Additionally, it is said of the Sepheroth, themselves, that they must always be understood in their dual roles of functioning as either that which emanates (this is its masculine function) the succeeding Sphera and/or as that which is the receptacle (this is its feminine function) for the preceding Sephera. One may relate, then, the two major arcana cards that are assigned to each Sephera as establishing a polarized relationship with one another either as emanative (masculine) or receptive (feminine).
Given the above explanation, one may proceed with the assignments. They are:
On the Involutionary Path of Masculine Emanation (lightning flash):
On the Evolutionary Path of Feminine Reception (serpent path):
Thus the pair of major arcana that are associated with each Sephera (according to the analysis of involution and evolution) are:
This, of course, does not contradict the conceptualization of the pair of Sepheroth that are associated with each major arcana as they are identified with the Hebrew letters and the paths on the Tree of Life. This pair of paired associations , so to speak, are representative of two separate but complimentary functions of the tarot. That is, as the tarot depicts the involutionary/evolutionary journey of incarnation, it is best represented by the associations of the major arcana to the Sephera themselves. However, the tarot, also, functions as a descriptor of the means (or motive force) by which this journey of the Spirit into and out of Matter is accomplished. That is, the major arcana of the tarot *also* describes the process/motive force by which one is enabled to move forward (or descend) along the path of the journey. One might say that the major arcana of the tarot represents both the FORM of the journey (and is represented by the associations of the majors to the Sepheroth themselves) and the FORCE of the journey (and is represented by the associations of the majors to the paths). Generally the mechanism of force that propells us along the involutionary/evolutionary journey of incarnation is that which is accomplished by the action of the transcendant function of a third (the triplicity). All manifestation exists in duality. This duality may be understood as representing either end of a polarized whole. In order to rise above any current level of manifestation, one must synthesize the polarized dualities associated with that level of manifestation. This synthetic function is often identified as the symbolic meaning of the apex of a triangle which brings together the two ends of a linear spectrum. Therefore the cards that are assigned to the paths on the Tree of Life may be understood to represent that synthetic/transcendant function of the blending of the opposing dualities represented by the Sepheroth that are being connected by the path. It is through the operation of this blending force that we are able to achieve the motive force necessary to move along the spiritual path of involution/evolution.
Below, I list the well-known and generally agreed upon associations of the major arcana to the paths on the Tree of Life and the Sephera to which they are connecting or synthesizing.
Thus, one may gain further insight into both the Tree of Life and the major arcana from the analysis of these two pairs of duality that are associated with each major arcana. This first paired set, which is derived from the association to the Sephera themselves, is illuminative of the states of consciousness/beingness (form) as Spirit is manifested within and redeemed from Matter. The second paired set, which is derived from the association to the paths on the Tree of Life, is illuminative of the polar duality that must be transcended in order to move along (force) the spiritual path of involution/evolution. Again, the first set is related to the FORM in which the Spirit is manifest and the second set is related to the motive FORCE behind the movement of that manifestation along the path of the spiritual journey.


This page is Copyright 1996/97 Michele Jackson