Tarot and the Kabbalah:  Lesson 9

By Gary Meister, CTM

As we have established up to now, The Fool represents Awareness and The Magician is Attention. Last time, we looked at the High Priestess and how she symbolizes Remember, or Memory, the ability to Remember what we have become aware of. 

Now, it’s time to travel Path Number Three, between the sphere of Wisdom and the sphere of Understanding. This path is traveled by The Empress (Key III), whose key word is Imagination


The Empress sits in a garden with a field of corn ripening in front of her and evergreen trees behind her. In her right hand she holds a heart-and-dove shield, representing love. In her left, a golden scepter topped by a globe (Universal Love). A stream (the stream of consciousness) flows through the woods to a small waterfall, emptying into a pool below. This is creation at its most basic level, Spirit moving from above to below, to the material plane. Her necklace has seven pearls, denoting the seven astrological planets and her twelve-starred crown symbolizes the twelve signs of the Zodiac. According to Tarot mythology, The Empress is pregnant, certainly a representation of creativity, the Earth Mother. 

Now: all in all, she symbolizes creativity and the most powerful form of creativity is Imagination. We can take advantage of our Potential and pay Attention to what we are learning. From there we must Remember what we learn along the way. But—until we begin to Imagine the possibilities, we are trapped in the Memories; we have no direction to follow to bring our creation (whatever it may be) into fruition.

A baby first becomes Aware of its hands and feet and begins to give them its full Attention. Through experimentation, it finds it can control these things and starts to Remember how it does this. Now comes the big jump! Up until now, it is a sort of game; the baby knows it can move them, and how to do it, but there is no purpose to it—without a purpose, it can’t hold the baby’s Attention for very long. And, here is where Imagination comes into the picture. 

The baby finds that by moving its hands it can move other things with them; perhaps it knocks its bottle out of its mouth—with its hands! Wow! What a concept! Now, the baby begins to develop its Imagination. “Hmmm—if I can move things by mistake, maybe I can learn how to control my hands well enough to use them on purpose…” 

And, it begins. The baby Imagines things it can do and finds it can pick up things. Not only with its whole hands but with its fingers as well. Fortunately, a baby has a lot of time on its hands; it can spend the necessary time to practice the things it Imagines. Little by little it gains finer and finer control of its appendages. In a relatively short time, it is able to pick up and examine very small items for inspection. This is when we have to watch the baby more closely because it tends to eat everything it picks up.  

Anyway, the important thing is we don’t teach these things to the baby ; it learns them all by itself once it has developed its Imagination. If we want to help, the best thing we can do is to make sure there are always toys available for the baby to practice on.

Now: you and I have already been through this process long ago and, thankfully, we can hold on to our Tarot Cards (once we get accustomed to the size of them).  At this point, let’s pretend that I become Aware of something that can be accomplished and give it my full Attention. I learn everything I can about it and Remember what I have learned. Okay—what can I do with this knowledge?

Here is where my Imagination comes in. I start to picture all the things I can do with the knowledge I have gained and what value it may have for me. Through my Imagination, I am able to look ahead and see the completed project. Is this what I want to accomplish? I am able to mentally try out several variations of this theme and look at them as they can come about. The key to this whole process is my Imagination. If I can’t Imagine it, I can’t do it! There is no way around it; the imagination is a necessary key.

In A Reading: The Empress can be used in a reading as it is used in its Tree of Life path—Imagination. Of course, we will have to dress it up and stretch it out, but when all is said and done it signifies Imagination.

Example: You are reading for a man who wants to know what he should do regarding a job opportunity he has been offered. FIRST—tell him that Tarot cannot tell him what he should do. Explain that Tarot is a tool which can help him look at different sides of a question so he can more effectively choose his own path. The final decision is up to him. He must make his own choice!

Now: you’ll probably want to describe to him what is going on in the card. If you study the card this month—as I recommend you do—you may have more symbolism to talk about than I have given you. But, you may want to just use what I have given. (NOTE: don’t try to memorize this information; use it to stimulate your own Imagination.) So—you have described the card to him. Now it is time to see what the card is telling him.

I might say something like this:  “The major key word for this card is Imagination. What Tarot is telling you, here, is that you should not jump into anything without looking ahead to its possible conclusions. Imagine yourself through each step of the project; visualize it as  being an accomplished, successful fact. Put yourself in the picture; see yourself as being successful in this and being happy about it. Try to bring up the feelings you will have—but feel them in the present. At this point, your creation has been put into the Universe and is on its way. If, throughout this process, you find that this isn’t what you thought it would be and you don’t really want this project to materialize, just stop working toward it. The Universe will understand and bring things back to normal.”

This what I might say—how would you handle it? After all, you are the reader. (I couldn’t help it; I just had to say it!)  

See you next time.

Bright Blessings ~ Gary Meister, CTM (Certified Tarot Master)

All submissions remain the property of their respective authors. 

Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2010

Questions? Comments? Contact us.