Tarot Traditions and Rituals: Sephirothic Names of Power and the Tarot

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

I was recently re-reading The Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune and came across an interesting comment that suddenly made sense to me in a new way. The comment sparked a possible approach to assist in meditating with the cards. To learn tarot, it’s common to learn on your own through study and practice. Alternately, you can work with a teacher, whether one-on-one, in groups, or classes. But there is another way to learn, more common in magical traditions. And that is to work with inner plane guides. This technique I discovered correlates a particular inner plane guide for each card based on the sephirothic Names of Power and the tarot. When Jay Cassels of Sacred Lotus Healing invited us to explore tarot traditions and rituals for our mid-spring hop, I knew I wanted to share this theory.

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Tarot Traditions

Just to be clear, there is already a traditional way of corresponding angels to the cards. These angels are based on the Shem ha-Mephorash, a series of names of God based an interpretation of the biblical book of Exodus. Although the derivation is ingenious, I’m not going to explain it now. Using the Shem ha-Mephorash, “The Divided Name,” two names of God are assigned to each of the 36 astrological decans, producing the 72-fold name. By applying the angelic suffixes -iah or -el to each name of God, we derive names of angels. This is a well-known technique that easily crosses into tarot through the equation of cards to decans.

If you’d like to work with this tarot tradition, there is a great book called Tarot Talismans: Invoke the Angels of the Tarot by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero. They explain the system and provide ways to work with it.

A New Twist

This image lists the Names of Power on the Tree of Life. In the accompanying article, I propose a simple way of using the Sephirothic Names of Power and the Tarot to connect with a particular card on a spiritual level.

The system I discovered is also qabalistic in nature. But it’s more simple and basic, so perhaps easier to use. Each of the ten sephiroth on the Tree of Life has a series of Names of Power. These correspond to the four worlds. In Atziluth, the highest world, is one of the Names of God. Archangel names match the sephiroth the Briatic world. In Yetzirah each sephirah correlates to an angelic host. And to Assiah, the lowest world, we make the assignment of the mundane chakras, the astrological correspondences.

The ten sephiroth correspond to the numbered cards. The first sephirah, Kether, parallels the tarot Aces. Chokmah, the second sephirah, takes the tarot Twos, and so on down the line.

Sephirothic Names of Power and the Tarot

But then I realized that because the Names of Power match the Four Worlds, and the tarot suits match the Four Worlds, that the Names of Power can also match up each to a specific card. So the Names of God are in Atziluth and match the tarot Suit of Wands. The Archangels are at the Briatic level and correlate to the Suit of Cups. In the world of Yetzirah we find both the angelic host and the Suit of Swords. And arriving at the world of Assiah we find the mundane chakras and the Suit of Pentacles. We can clearly match the sephirothic Names of Power and the tarot cards according to suit and number.

Following this scheme, the astrological correspondences only match the Suit of Pentacles, not all four suits. Now, I believe the astrology works pretty consistently through all the suits of the Minor Arcana. In fact, I’m writing a tarot card astrology series analyzing those correspondences. Nevertheless, I was taken with the idea and curious to work with it.

Tarot Rituals

So now I had a specific spiritual energy for each card. However, Dion Fortune pointed out the importance of invoking the God Name first when working with any sephirah, because that provides the clearest connection to its essence. That made a lot of sense. So the technique for working with the cards had to be layered.

Without getting too complicated, I think it’s possible to invite in the energy of the card for its spiritual guidance when meditating or studying the card. Ask the appropriate spiritual power for help to understand the cards. Or invite them to guide your study.

If I want to work with the Ace of Wands, for instance to study it or to connect with its qualities, there would be only one layer: Ace of Wands and the God Name AHIH. I would connect with the spiritual energy by vibrating the name several times in preparation for a study session or meditation. If I wanted to work with the Ace of Cups, however, there will be two layers. I would have to start with the highest level, Ace of Wands and AHIH, and then step down to Ace of Cups and MTTRVN. I would lay down the Ace of Wands, vibrate AHIH several times, then lay down the Ace of Cups and vibrate MTTRVN several times and proceed to work with that energy.

Invitation

I’m certainly not the only one to make this connection between the sephirothic Names of Power and the tarot . In fact, it’s so obvious that I’m a bit sheepish admitting I just noticed it. So I’m certain a lot of you work with the correspondences of the Names of Powers to particular cards. I’m wondering how you work with them and what your traditions and rituals are. Please let me know in the comments!

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Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five 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 grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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4 Comments

  1. […] Previous Blog / Master List / Next Blog […]

  2. I am really glad I went down the other rabbit hole with my second post, as the first option that I considered was this very thing, although not quite the same road, but the same spread.

    I am great believer that names hold power, its an old belief that many don’t hold any more, but what can I say, other than I am an old ways kinda witch. To hold a name is to have power, and to have power over someone even for a short period of time, is a huge no no for me.

    It’s amazing how the wave lengths are similar but the paths we take are different when it comes to the TBH, so glad to have someone like your kind self on this journey <3

  3. What a resonant blast from the past of the 2-year Tree of Life Paths sessions in Denver to the above. You’re really moving this places, and I full-on dig the Astro limits it imposes in places, and then the layers, the example with the Aces you gave starting in from the highest level and stepping down. It feels like a dance on the temple steps of the Tree. I’m digging the multiple movements per movement. The cards really settle in to speak with this.

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