Suddenly I realized it is the last day of November and I had not posted anything on my blog! I couldn’t believe how lazy I had been to go a whole month without writing anything. And then I remembered–Oh, right, I designed two e-books this month, a 28-page one for the Denver Tarot Meetup and an even longer one for my mala class. And I wrote a fair amount updating these from their previous incarnations as basic handouts into their spiffy new look. So I thought I would share a little bit with you from my November 12 presentation to the Denver Tarot Meetup: a Thanksgiving tarot spread I designed called the Turkey Conundrum.
This is the section of the e-book that explains in detail the symbolism behind the qabalistic positions of the tarot spread.
Turkey Conundrum: Qabalah
The qabalah is a complex system of symbolism, sacred texts and spiritual techniques developed throughout two millennia of Jewish mysticism. The Hermetic Qabalah, which is the focus of this section, is derived from the Jewish tradition, but synthesizes this ancient mysticism with the esoteric studies of the Western Mystery Tradition.
To derive the symbolism used in this spread, I focused on the five faculties of the personality, as comprised in the level of the soul known as the Ruach.
The kabbalistic tradition considers there to be five levels of the soul that extend beyond the physical body, which is referred to as the guph, located in Malkuth, at the bottom of the Tree of Life. (See diagram, p. 19.)
The lowest of the soul levels is the Nephesh, which means the “living soul” or the “soul at rest.” This is the part of the soul that rests in our body, giving us life. It is compared to the part of the breath that rests within the finished vessel of the glassblower. The Nephesh corresponds to Yesod on the Tree of Life.
The next higher level of the soul is the Ruach, which means wind, or air in motion. This part of the soul is compared to forceful air that gives the glassblower’s creation its shape. It is associated with the emotions, the part of us that is not at rest, which yearns for and can be directed toward the Divine, or toward any less lofty object of desire. The Western Mystery tradition interprets the Ruach as comprising the five sephiroth below the Abyss and above Yesod. These five are assigned to five of the functions of the personality: Memory, Will, Imagination, Emotion and Intellect. This is what we will be working with for this spread.
Neshamah means breath and is the awakened soul, associated with the intellect. This is the breath of the glassblower as it leaves his lips, the moment of translating his vision to the shaping of his creation. The Neshamah is associated with the three supernals on the Tree of Life, Kether, Chokmah and Binah.
In some cases, Neshamah is only associated with Binah, and two additional parts of the soul are postulated above this, but they are so abstract that they are separate from a person, surrounding like an aura but not penetrating into the body. Chiah, at Chokmah, means life, and is the mental image the glassblower holds of what he wants the glass to look like. Yechidah, at Kether, means will, and is the Divine Will that creates in the glassblower the desire to make a vessel.
The positional meanings in the Turkey Conundrum spread are based on the Ruach. The Ruach consists of five sephiroth which are said to make up the personality. These five sephiroth are as follows:
In qabalah, the color green is Netzach, which corresponds to Venus and the emotions. Netzach means Victory or Perseverance. The thumb isn’t assigned to a planet, so we substituted Venus because the mount of Venus is below the thumb. The card placed in this position represents our heart’s desire for the holidays.
The forefinger is Jupiter and colored blue, which relates to Chesed and the faculty of memory. Chesed means Mercy or Love. The card placed here reminds us of holidays past, the love of family and friends, and generosity.
By substituting Mars (the center of the hand) for Saturn, this finger is colored red, which in qabalah corresponds to Geburah, Mars, and the personality function of will. Geburah means Severity or Strength. The card in this position helps you understand your major motivation during this holiday season. Alternately, it could give advice on potential conflicts.
The ring finger is the Sun, which in qabalah is Tiphareth, the color yellow, and the imagination. Tiphareth means Beauty. Tiphareth also represents the higher self. This card illuminates your ideal vision for the holidays.
The pinky is Mercury, which corresponds to Hod, the color orange and the intellect. Hod means Splendor or Yielding. The card here describes the logical considerations that are necessary during this season.
See a preview of the e-book.
Joy Vernon has been teaching energetic and esoteric modalities for over twenty years. She is one of the Psychics of Isis in Denver, Colorado and also reads at Northern Lights in Fort Collins. She teaches Tarot, Astrology, Qabalah and Traditional Japanese Reiki. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association. Her specialty is Empyrean Key Transformational Guidance, which helps her clients break through blocks and align with their higher purpose. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.
© 2013 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.
Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.