THE FIRST CARD OF THE TAROT.
ORIGIN OF THE SIGNIFICATION OF ALL THE OTHERS.
We see from our preceding work that if we know the exact meaning of the first card of the Tarot we can, from that, discover the signification of all the others.
We cannot approach this subject without great hesitation. The hope of ascertaining the truth is, in fact, troubled by the possibility of making a mistake which might have very serious results.
The work which we have already accomplished will, however, enable us to decipher the meaning of the symbolism of the first card of the Tarot almost mathematically, but the general meaning only; whilst we know that each card must have not one, but three meanings.
We must discover three sufficiently general principles to be applied to every order of human knowledge; for this should be the object of the Tarot.
In this case we will, as usual, resort to those eminent authors who have treated these questions from different points of view, and the agreement between their teachings will give us new light to illuminate our path.
The Pole HNÉ WRONSKI, 1 who died of hunger in the suburbs of Paris, was perhaps one of the most powerful intellects produced by the 19th century. He asserted that he had discovered the formula of the absolute, and his works are unquestionably a summary of one of the most elevated syntheses that we have ever seen. We need not discuss the doctrines of Wronski, but will only say a few words upon the three primitive elements which enter into his law of creation.
Wronski places at the origin of all creation three elements, which he designates by the names--
Of Neuter Element (E. N.)
Of Element of Being (E. B.)
Of Element of Wisdom (E. W.)
The Neuter Element represents the Absolute, Reality resulting from the total neutralization of the two other elements by each other.
The Element of Wisdom represents the CREATIVE FACULTY with its especial characteristics, autogeny and spontaneity.
The Element of Being represents the PERMANENT FACULTY with its characteristics, autothesis and inertia.
Principle of the Creation or Element of Wisdom.
Principle of Preservation or Element of Being.
Principle of Neutralization or Neuter Element.
These are the three terms upon which Wronski establishes the foundations of Reality, and, consequently, of all the systems of creation. We must remember these conclusions.
FABRE D'OLIVET, in his researches upon the first principles which direct everything, 1 determines the existence of three elements, which he names Providence, Destiny, and Human Will.
Providence is the principle of ABSOLUTE LIBERTY, of the creation of beings and things.
Destiny is the principle of ABSOLUTE NECESSITY, of the preservation of beings and of things.
Lastly, the Human Will is a neuter principle intermediate between the two: the principle of mobility and CHANGE, in all their forms. Now it is not necessary to be
very learned to perceive the absolute agreement which exists between the two authors; the one, Wronski, reached his conclusions by mathematics, the other, d'Olivet, attained his by profound study of antiquity and its mysteries. The words used may vary, but the idea is fundamentally the same.
Wronski's Element of Wisdom (E. W.), the principle of the creation, is the same thing as the Providence of d'Olivet, who thus places it as the principle of the creation.
Wronski's Element of Being (E. B.), the principle of the permanent faculty, exactly represents what d'Olivet calls Destiny, and which he concludes to be the principle of preservation.
Lastly, d'Olivet's human Will corresponds in all points with Wronski's Neuter Element.
Here then are two very different systems, which lead to the same signification. But our conclusions do not stop here.
If we study these three primitive principles more attentively we shall find in the first: Providence or the Element of Wisdom, represented in philosophy by the word God.
Destiny or Being shows us its identity with the immutable laws which govern the Universe.
Lastly, it does not require much study to prove to its that the human Will responds to Man.
GOD, MAN, AND THE UNIVERSE.
This is the basis of all the esoteric philosophy of the ancients, and not only Wronski and Fabre d'Olivet agree in their conclusions respecting this mysterious ternary;
occult science itself proclaims its identity with these principles by the mouth of all its disciples. Hermes Trismegistus, the Holy Kabbalah, Neo-Platonicism, and the Alchemists through Pythagoras and all the Greek philosophers assert the division of the Great All into THREE ENTITIES OR WORLDS.
In less remote ages Guillaume Postel 1 gives the key of the Tarot without explaining it, and the basis of this key is formed by this mysterious entity--
DEUS, HOMO, ROTA.
Trithemie and his pupil Cornelius Agrippa 2 also give us this fecund and sublime trinity in all their analogical figures.
The Jesuit Kircher 3 describes this division into three worlds as the basis of the Egyptian mysteries.
Lastly, Claude de Saint-Martin has written a book entirely based upon the keys of the Tarot, and it is entitled--Tableau Naturel des rapports qui unissent DIEU, L'HOMME, ET L'UNIVERS.
Let us question India upon the law of the absolute, she replies--
Trimurti: BRAHMA, SIVA, VISHNU.
Let us ask China for the great secret of her philosophy, and she will give us the Tri-grams of Fo-Hi.
Address ourselves to one of the ancient initiated Egyptians, he will tell us--
OSIRIS, ISIS, HORUS.
The founder of Greek Cosmogony, the disciple of the science of Egypt, Hesiod, also transmits this law to us, and they all confirm Louis Lucas when he states: 1 "I feel that hidden beneath this mystical formula of the Trinity is one of the most important scientific laws that man has ever discovered."
God, Man, and the Universe, these are the most general principles that we can attain, and they constitute the three meanings of the first card of the Tarot.
It remains for us to ascertain first, whether these meanings respond to the primitive hieroglyphic, and then to determine bow far they extend through the whole Tarot.
100:1 See l'Occultisme Contemporain (M. Carré).
101:1 See The Golden Verses of Pythagoras, and the Histoire Philosophique du Genre Humain.
103:2 La Philosophie Occulte (La Haye).
103:3 dipus Ægyptiacus.
104:1 See Le Roman Alchimique.