What does it mean to be centered?
Last week’s blog featured a Tarot reading centered around the card Temperance.
In that reading, spirit first reminded me of the numerology of this card (14/5) and then had me arrange the five this way:
1 --------- 1 | | | 1 | | | 1 --------- 1
Believe it or not, I had not thought about Temperance quite that way before and it made perfect sense to me.
Well, this morning as I searched for a topic to write about, it occurred to me that the reading I did with Stephanie that blew me away, which I mentioned last week in passing, was an example of Temperance.
First, let’s take a look at the reading as Stephanie first laid it out:
In this reading, you will immediately notice the square via the four corner cards, but this time, the center point is represented by two cards.
Also notice that The World in the lower left corner has this exact same pattern. In that card, we see 4 totems, one at each corner, and a woman in the middle.
[This deck is the Rider-Waite deck, btw.]
This basic shape (as with Temperance) is the diagram of being centered.
On the mundane level, this reading indicates us, right now, in the middle of this Cardinal Climax. [The fact that one corner of the square does not contain a planet right now does not detract in the slightest. That space in the heavens is still significant to the current flow of energy into our realm.]
Now on a higher level, this basic shape is also symbolic of being within this realm, living in this realm. It is map of what it means to be centered and how to master this existence, while it lasts. But we’ll get to that in due time.
I first want to return to The World. The totem heads pictured on the card, starting at the top left and following clockwise are: a man, an eagle, a lion, and a bull. These totems form a Fixed Cross and represent the four fixed signs of the zodiac: Aquarius (fixed air), Scorpio (fixed water), Leo (fixed fire), and Taurus (fixed earth).
Now, once I figured out the meaning of the totems, the first thing I thought was how odd it is that they are in reverse order. My western trained mind wants the signs to go in order clockwise, not counterclockwise. I think of Taurus as the first fixed sign, followed by Leo, etc. (Incidentally, in an astrological birth chart, the signs would appear in the order shown on The World.)
Here is another interesting piece I noticed. Remember two blog entries ago when I spoke of 12 as the number of this physical realm and how base-12 math describes our dimensions well? Well The World is #21, twelve backwards. So in a way, the entire card is reversed! Why would this be?
Well, the reason The World is reversed is because it is a reflection of us! When we look out into the world, we see our thoughts about it reflected back. And remember from that same blog entry that reflection can be via projection or transference.
So The World card, in and of itself, is representative of this physical reality that we live in. Why does it choose to only show the fixed signs? Because it is the fixing of energy that creates this place. All four elements are achieved by holding vibration in place to a varying degree. Fixed earth is the most stable, but even fire and air must be fixed to exist in time.
Now, before considering the entire spread, I would like to bring your attention to the bottom three cards, which form a triangle. At the top of the triangle is The Magician.
Days before Steph and I did this reading, I got a download from spirit about the 12. Spirit told me that The Magician works with the 12. The Magician is the archetypal teacher of all things 12. He is taught and thus teaches about this physical realm. He is the master of physicality. He is the ultimate alchemist. Notice that on his table are laid out the symbols of the four elements. Also notice that above his head is a figure-8 on its side. 4+8 = 12/3. His wisdom is the 8 and combined with the 4 elements gives him the ability to manipulate this physical realm (3) to his whim. He is a master manifestor and is here to teach us all how to manifest with proficiency.
Next up in the triangle moving clockwise is The Emperor. The Magician is the master teacher of the 12, the Earth realm, but The Emperor is the Master implementer within the Earth realm. He represents the highest position within secular reality. He is so within his power that he is beyond needing to prove himself to anyone. He is ruler of the land because he understands his responsibility for it all.
The Emperor is The Magician’s highest student. In reality, a great emperor would have a spiritual teacher, a guru to guide him within his manifesting.
So, this triangle shows three relationships that ever relate to each other. The Magician teaches The Emperor, and The Emperor as a result walks The World with maximum success. And thanks to The Magician, The World exists at all, held stable by the working of fixed energy applied to the four elements.
Now, let’s return to the Magician for a moment. Notice that he holds a wand in his right hand. This is one of the wands held by the woman on The World. Notice that he directs the energy he receives with this wand down through his left hand towards The Emperor. His is channeling energy, knowledge and wisdom to The Emperor.
But where from? The Magician is channeling the Higher realms via The High Priestess. [In a way, this is exactly like the way I got information from a Tarot reading brought to me from Stephanie. She emulated The High Priestess and I, The Magician.]
When spirit told me that The Magician works with the 12, they also told me that The High Priestess is the one that works with the 13. The 13 is everything that defies logic; it is the non-physical which is beyond logic, beyond physical, beyond our human brain’s ability to understand.
Notice that The High Priestess is #2, written as a Roman Numeral – II. Also notice that Roman numeral II looks very much like 11 (eleven). Also notice that 11 reduces to 2. And finally notice what we get when we add two and eleven: 2+11=13.
The High Priestess is card #2 because she is the human form responsible for the 11 and the 13. The 13 feeds the 12 via 11: The non-physical realm (13) fuels The World (12) via illumination (11). Illumination is the process that The High Priestess is most interested in. She is not concerned with understanding the reality of 13 for she knows she would have to lay down her physical body and mind in order to do so. So she is content being the 2 that separates 11 and 13.
Now, let’s consider the triangle on the top of our diagram. Following from The High Priestess clockwise we arrive at The Hanged Man.
The Hanged Man lies diagonally opposite from The Emperor. Just as The Emperor is the highest student of The Magician, The Hanged Man is the highest student of The High Priestess. The Hanged Man understands that to benefit from the 13, he needs to suspend the 12, thus he hangs himself from a tree and meditates. He sacrifices time within the 12 to experience the 13. He has learned from The High Priestess that attachment to the physical imprisons us within it. [This lesson is represented by card XV, The Devil.]
Now, what happens when we continue clockwise? We end up at The Star. Last week, I spoke of the numerology of The Star: 17/8. So The Hanged Man is the initiate and The Star is the process – the individual going within seeking deep wisdom.
If we compare opposite corners again, we have The World and The Star. (Notice how both are represented by naked women.) In a way, these are the two realms, the physical and the astral (or non-physical). Notice that The Star doesn’t really represent a place, but rather time. The Star is time spent on the other side.
Now, one could argue that a star is a place, but it is not a place we can physically visit or reside in/on like a world (planet). Symbolically, the astral is represented by The Star (rather than let’s say The Sun) because in this realm it is completely subjective. In the world where we all reside together, our experience is subjective, but the world itself is objective and appears to exist despite us. The astral, (the dream state for example) is pure subjective reality. Each of us has our own non-physical (dream) reality. When we meditate and access this alternate reality, we are completely alone. We cannot share this realm with another (at least not yet or not easily).
So, to summarize the top triangle, The High Priestess directs man to sacrifice time within physical reality to meditate (go within) and experience his/her own unique inner (upper) reality. Remember, with The Star, we bring back the 8 (the result of 1+7).
The 8, which is brought back to The High Priestess as she performs her own “centering” is then handed off to The Magician. That’s the 8 that is above his head!
So The Magician points above and below. But he needs The High Priestess, just as she “needs” him. (Serving him is part of her purpose.)
Now, lets just look in the middle. These are archetypes and not meant to be real individuals. Yes, a person can emulate The High priestess, The Magician, The Hanged Man, or The Emperor, but we are all of these.
So, the Higher Self of each of us is the combination of The High Priestess AND The Magician. And our real (physical) self is the combination of The Emperor AND The Hanged Man. These 4 cards represent the perfected centered human being/spiritual being.
Okay, here’s some magical numerology for you.
The combination of The Magician and The High Priestess is the holy trinity and represents The Higher Self. 1 + 2 = 3. As a 3, our Higher Self represents a process, the process of creation.
The complete individual self (Higher and lower) is represented by all four cards along the diagonal. (Remember that The Hanged Man is a 12/3.)
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10 /1
We already talked about how The World was left/right reverse as 21/3. Notice that The Hanged Man is a 12/3 (same numerology in a different order). Also notice that The Hanged Man is up/down reversed.
If we flip The Hanged Man, his legs form a 4 and his arms, an 8. 4 + 8 = 12 and in fact, The Hanged Man is #12.
If we consider these two cards together (The Hanged Man and The World) – the left edge of the diagram – we get 12+21 = 33/6. One way of interpreting 33/6 is the creation (3) of art and beauty (3) which results in perfect harmony (6). As above so below.
On the right side – The Emperor and The Star – we have 4 + 8 = 12 /3. [Thus 4+8 = 12/3 appears in three ways on this reading!]
So The High Priestess looks towards 33/6 and The Magician looks toward 12/3.
Together, the outer ring adds up to 9. Remember from a number of blog entries ago (The Hard Six) the 9 is the one complete number and, of course, means completion.
Here are a few more pieces of symbolism for you. The Magician wears red (a lower vibration of light, the color of the lowest chakra, and represents the physical realm). The High Priestess wears blue (a higher vibration of light, a higher chakra, and represents the higher realms). The Emperor wears red as he imitates his teacher. The Hanged Man wear’s red on his lower half and blue on his upper half because he better understands the connection between lower/higher, physical/non-physical, and expression/sacrifice (yang/yin).
The High Priestess/Magician combination can be pictured as the yin/yang symbol representing perfect balance and flow between the Divine Masculine and the Divine Feminine.
So, in summary, this is a diagram of mastering our human existence. As above, so below – As within, so without. In the center is our Higher Self – masculine and feminine. From this centered place, our entire existence, physical and non-physical, emerges. Above is the process of seeking knowledge, guidance and wisdom by going in, sacrificing time in the physical to focus on the non-physical. When we do this, we bring back to our physical realm energy, insight, inspiration and know-how. And through this, we are then able to walk the earth and create our piece of it as we desire. We become the king of our own castle and achieve any form of success we desire for The World is a refection of our thoughts about it. Awareness we gain in the inner realms assists us in understanding the physical images encountered and allows us to master our thoughts and harness our power here.
Returning to Temperance, we pour from the upper cup (triangle) into the lower cup (triangle) and thus remain centered within the cycles of reality that exist in The World. The wreath around The World shows us an image of The Wheel of Fortune, which has been mastered by the woman who remains centered within it.
This is what it means to be centered.