Once upon a time there were two trees in the Garden of Eden – the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. Later the Tree of Knowledge has been unjustly forgotten, and the Fool started his quest for knowledge … along the Tree of Life. Why so?
“In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.”
Let’s start from the beginning. While some believe Tarot cards were originally invented to play games and can be used ‘for entertainment only,’ others try to connect Tarot with Hermetic wisdom, Kabbalah, Hebrew alphabet, ancient Egyptian astrology, or even the Holy Bible. The latter is interesting primarily because it contains the story about the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge. For starters, to find the connection we have to look at elementals and its symbols (as Aristotle and Empedocles depicted it) in Fig. 1.
Then we will make a simple two-step geometrical transformation.
Step 1: Form two ‘Star of David’ out of opposite elementals (see Fig. 2).
Step 2: Place one ‘Star of David’ over another (see Fig. 3).
Now we have a simple model of the world with 12 points as the 12 months, or Hebrew tribes, or … any other associations. Oh, don’t forget to put a dot in the middle of the model – it’s important because “The stone the builder rejected become the cornerstone.” (Psalm 118: 22). What is so important about this model? It is eternal. “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again: there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
How we know about the great civilizations of the past? Only some stories about the Great Flood, Atlantis, and continent Mu that had gone without any trace. What does the Hermes Trismegistus’s phrase ‘as above so below’ mean? Oh, it has a deep meaning: the ancients supposed the Sun as the primary source of light for human life. They have relied heavily on the position of the sun in the sky for practical and occult purposes, and they discovered the equinoxes. Within each year there are two equinox points (spring and autumn) and two solstice points (summer and winter). Their axes form the cross within the Zodiac circle. Two points in the Earth’s annual orbit around the Sun, at which the length of the day and the night are equally called the Vernal Equinox and the Autumnal Equinox (see Fig. 4).
Nowadays within Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes the Earth is in Pisces and Virgo respectively, but it was not so always. Yet Babylonian astronomers had found that the equinoxes were not stable, but moved westward in the opposite direction to the motion of the Sun along the ecliptic. It was an optical illusion because this phenomenon called today the axial precession is a result of gravity forces’ influence on the Earth axis rotation. The Earth’s axis traces out a pair of circles in outer space during 25,920 years; this period called a Great or Platonic Year. Over this period the constellations appear to slowly rotate around the earth, and a new sign come out on the horizon each 2,160 years as if the Zodiac visually rotates on 30° (360°: 12). Now it is no problem to calculate that due to the precession the Earth has entered Taurus in the period 4,320 – 2,160 BC, at the time when historical events described in the Old Testament books took place. The four biblical beasts (Bull, Man, Lion and Eagle) represented the Zodiacal correspondence with equinoxes and solstices at that time.
For our ancestors, the sun has always connected the constellation through which it passed at the Vernal Equinox. During Taurus Age in Egypt the sacred bull was worshiped as Osiris, in Mesopotamia as Marduk, and in India as Shiva. The Bible narrated of the idol of the Golden Calf, the Sacred Bull that was destroyed by Moses. Symbolically, this story meant the shift into Aries sign from Taurus in 4,320 BC. In that period, Egyptian priests became aware that Taurus was slowly drifting away from the rising Sun in spring. The priests proclaimed that the Age of Taurus was over, and Age of Aries (the Ram) had begun. So, they started worshipping Amun-Ra (the Ram).
With this ‘ancient wisdom’ handy, let’s draw a zigzag line from the top or Vernal Equinox till the bottom point or Autumnal Equinox, representing ‘as above so below’ phrase. Now, number them from 1 to 12, and finish in the middle or in the ‘wilderness’ with the number 13 (see Fig. 5).
Put your trumps from the Magician to Death on these points, and you receive the Three of Life. It is not the end because there was also the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve had eaten some fruit from this tree to be knowledgeable like God. The second tree represents the divine wisdom about the Great Year. Put trumps with numbers from 14 to 21 around the circle, skipping equinoxes and solstices – these fruits had been eaten long ago (see Fig. 6).
Now, place the Fool card in the middle. Congratulations! You’ve just reconstructed the Tree of Knowledge. And here you are, Fig 7.
Is it the end of the story? Not at all, follow our articles to find out what happened with the ‘eaten fruits,’ and how the Fool becomes the King, as well as many other examples, proofing this theory of the connection of Tarot and the Bible. A bigger secret waits for you. Join our mailing list and we’ll be in touch.
Victor Paul, PhD
Based on the book ‘Sanctum Arcana Regnum’