Friday, August 7, 2015

Appendix: The sefiroth in 10 texts

The texts quoted from below are all from the late 15th to early 16th century. The translations of that time, of course, are of Hebrew originals from earlier years, most from the 12th to the 14th century.

The only exception is the Sefer Yetzirah, which is of an earlier period, from the 2nd to the 6th century, of which I use the Short and Long Versions translated by Aryeh Kaplan. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,, it was translated into Latin by Paolo Ricci. However I do not know when or if that translation was published. WorldCat only lists Postel's edition of 1552 Paris.

The three works so far published of Mithridates' translations for Pico are next: the Bahir, 12th century Provence; the Great Parchment, early 14th century Italy, and the Gate of Heaven, late 14th century Italy. These were published in Torino, Italy, with English translations and Hebrew originals, in 2005, 2004, and 2012, respectively, under the general editorship of Giulio Busi.  I have also consulted Kaplan's translation of the Bahir.

Pico does not often refer to the sefirot by name; but given Ricci, Gikatilla, and Reuchlin, his assignments to sefirot are not hard to determine. In what follows, numbers in parentheses after Pico quotes are the thesis number, mostly from Part I, section 28, and Part II, section 11. Page numbers for the Oration are to the Liberal Arts Press edition (or search A dot in the middle of the number means it is from Part I. A carot (>) means it is from Part II.

Alemanno, as far as I can determine, was not translated until modern times. The first is in the 1976 Ph.D. thesis by Arthur Lesley, Alemanno's Song of Solomon's Ascents, which is devoted to the work of that name. The other, usually quoting other of Alemanno's works, is Moshe Idel's Kabbalah in Italy.

For Gikatilla I  first put the English word or phrase, and then in parentheses the Hebrew in Latin characters, if any, followed by the page number of the 1994 translation. Then comes Ricci's transliteration of the Hebrew, if any, followed by his Latin translation, and then finally the page number in Ricci, starting with an "L" for Latin. In some cases Ricci gives the word in Hebrew but no transliteration, just the Latin equivalent In that case I indicate the presence of the Hebrew characters by writing "Heb+" before the Latin. Anyone who knows Latin is invited to check my work--and finish it, since I often could not find equivalents of the English in the Latin.

Ricci himself wrote an introduction to his translation summarizing some of the ideas. Numbers before the quotes from him below are those of Blau's paragraph numbers.

Reuchlin quotes are from pp. 285-291 of Goodman's translation of On the Kabbalah, 1981, unless otherwise specified.

Agrippa quotes are from Three books of occult philosophy, published in Latin 1532 and in English translation 1652. It is online and also in a print editon edited by Donald Tyson. 

After giving quotations from these nine authors, I include some material on the different Kabbalistic "worlds". Alemanno presents one version in his discussion of Psalm 89, listing four, if the "cause of causes" is included. Rabbi Itzak of Acre, late 13th century, gives the usual four, as known by their acronym ABYA. Alemanno also has another list, of seven levels.

En Sof

Sefer Yetzirah: not listed, unless it is alluded to in the phrase "ten sefirot of nothingness", if "of" means "from".

Bahir. Not listed.

Great Parchment. Not listed.

Gate of Heaven: About God one can comprehend hardly as much as a mustard seed in the middle of the sea--and if it were only that much!  "One half of the circle is black, for every black [thing] indicates the concealment of something, especially because it indicates clouds, fog and obscurity. ...Therefore it is called en soph, or one has to say, that it is called infinite..."like water that has no end". It is also called cause of causes. ..."that which surrounds all that surround" (pp. 279-281). About the part however that our thought does not comprehend we keep silent and we do not say anything about it. On the contrary, it is forbidden to think about or to imagine anything. (p. 271)

Pico: Ein-Sof should not be counted with the other enumerations, because it is the abstract and uncommunicated unity of those enumerations, not the coordinated unity (11>4). If God is known in himself as infinite, as one, and as existing through himself, we recognize that nothing proceeds from him, but know his separation from things and his total closure of himself in himself, and his extreme, profound, and solitary retraction in the remotest recess of his divinity; and we recognize him as he conceals himself inwardly in the abyss of his darkness, in no way revealing himself in the dilation and profusion of his goodness and fontal splendor (11>35). Night in Orpheus and Ein-Sof in Cabala are the same (10>15: unclear whether this applies to En-Sof or Kether).

Alemanno: The ancients believed in the existence of ten spiritual numbers. ... It seems that Plato thought that there are ten spiritual numbers of which one may speak, but one may not speak of the First Cause, because of its great concealment. However, they [the numbers] approximate its existence to such an extent that we may call these effects by a name that cannot be ascribed to the movers of corporeal bodies. However, in the opinion of the Kabbalists, one may say so of the sefirot. . . . This is what Plato wrote in the work ha-'Atzamim ha-'Elyonim" [Book of Causes, actually by Proclus] as quoted by Zekhariyahu in the book 'Imrei Shejer.' From it follows that in Plato's view, the first effects are called sefirot because they may be numbered, unlike the First Cause, and therefore he did not call them movers. (Sefer Hesheq Shlomo, Ms. Berlin, Or. Qu. 832, fols. 83a-b, quoted in Moshe Idel, Kabbalah in Italy, 1280-1510, a Survey, 2011, p. 178). The wisdom that Abraham invented is the science of unification which unites opposites, such as day and night, the greater and the lesser light, heaven and earth, north and south, and all other opposites. (Idel p. 130).

Ricci: nothing.

Gikatilla: See Kether.

Reuchlin: Not even our thought can grasp him, he who is called En Sof--'Infinity,' a concept according with him who is unknowable and unutterable, hidden away in the furthest recesses of his divinity, into the unreachable abyss of the fountain of light, so thus nothing is understood to come from him-as if at ease the absolute Deity held all kinds of things in his compass, himself remaining naked and unclothed, without the cloak of attributes. He is not extravagant of himself, or of his splendor, yet indiscriminately spreads goodness about him. He is being and non-being-all that to our rational minds seems contrary and self-contradictory. He is like a being apart, untrammeled oneness, uncomplicatedly binding all together...Rationality falls far short of the infinite power we have been talking about, it cannot simultaneously connect these contradictories that are separated by infinity. A German philosopher-archbishop handed down this dictum some fifty-two years ago (121f; the last sentence refers to Nicholas of Cusa) ...the Abyss; ...alpha and omega, for he said, 'I am the first and the last.' Infinity is the most absolute Essence, drawn back in the depths of the shadows, and, lying or, as they say reliant upon nothing, is hence called "Nothing" (nihil) or "Not being," (non ens) and "Not end (non finis, then Hebrew letters for En Sof) because we are so damned by our feeble understanding of divine matters that we judge things that are not apparent in the same way as we judge things that do not exist....But when it shows itself and becomes something and actually subsists, the dark (tenebrosum) Aleph is changed into the bright (lucidum) Aleph. For it is written, "As its darkness so is its light." ...(286, 287)

Agrippa: That which is En Soph in the Cabala, Orpheus calleth Night.

IN THE TAROT: The Fool is one possibility, since as unnumbered it is outside the sequence. Natural fools are considered outside the normal rules of society. At the same time, the "fool for God," who has no regard for the world, is also, in St. Paul, the most godly.

On the Ascent, the World card might be a candidate, as the last of the trumps, referring us to the New Jerusalem which is totally outside our world.


Another unnumbered entity, Da'at or Knowledge, is mentioned only by Gikatilla, in his chapter on Tiferet. He says:
DAT ascends to Netzach and Hod, continuing on to pass through Gedullah and Gevurah, then on to Chochmah and Binah, until it reaches Keter and clings to it... For the Middle Line which is the essence of Dat passes through the middle of all - like the trunk of a tree - until it reaches AYNSOF, and it is the one which connects all the Spheres from above to below and from all sides" (228 of English trans.).
And later:
It [DAT] is the sphere that includes all the Spheres. For it is the source of the spring which has no end or final purpose... That is to say that the sphere DAT, even though there is some found in all the Spheres, both lower and upper, ascends so high - until the infinite, the essence of KETER, which has no end or final purpose. There is no creature that can plumb its depths for it has no end or final destination above" (232.)
IN THE TAROT: Da'at for Gikatilla includes all the spheres as well as being the vertical line extending down the middle from Malkhut to Keter. The all-inclusiveness is reminiscent of one way that Pico describes the En-Sof. But Da'at means Knowledge, not the Infinite. Plato had used the image of a line to characterize knowledge in the Republic. At the lower end it was mixed with illusion, gradually becoming knowledge of Reality as the line ascends. Full knowledge is infinite in scope.

Knowledge vs. illusion is the domain of the Magician. as the Kabbalist who ascends the spheres and accomplishes "signs and wonders" from the spheres of "will" - in Gikatilla, the 2nd sphere as the will of the Kabbalist, and the the 1st sefira as divine will. See next two sections. On the ascent, Judgment could fit. The Popess could also fit, as in legend she tricked the Church ijnto believing she was male, so that first she could be a famous university teacher and then, due to her erudition, elected Pope.

If so, where would Da'at fit in the sequence? The mid-section of the line is the province of Tifereth, so Da'at belongs near the top. It is either between 1 and 2, or between 2 and 3, or between 3 and 4. But this last alternative seems to me too far down, partaking of the "middle natures" governed by Tifereth. So either the Magician is Da'at, between the Fool as Kether and the Popess as Chochmah, or the Popess is Da'at, between the Magician as Chochmah and whatever is Binah. In either case the order is the same, that of the standard tarot sequence.


Sefer Yetzirah: Air

Bahir: Aleph, before everything, even the Law (sect. 17, 252), supreme crown (sect. 141, 326)

Great Parchment. Corona, i.e. crown. upper pool (195). Candelabrum (225).

Gate of Heaven: The first numeration, which we comprehend by our intellect, superior to all and is called chether helion [supernal crown] (p. 282). Primordial air: it is called thus because it proceeds from ensoph. Shining light [Hebrew has "clear light"]: because it proceeds from infinity, which is dark, and a dusky part is included among it. Clear light:because it is not comprehensible but by a pure intellect and a purified soul (p. 283). Great aleph. Perfect whiteness...for it cannot be perceived but by a very fine intellect. (p. 284-5). Israel the old; father of fathers (p. 285). Pleasure (p. 289. Ain, because it has no actuality due to its concealment. "From ain cometh wisdom" (Job 28.20). Compassion. Neck...apt to carry the oke of the Law. High priest. Day of Forgiveness (p. 298). Fountain, spring, or source. Upper pool. First and last. Fear of the lord (292). Heie (302-315, many permutations).

Pico. Ehyeh, Father (11>5); paternal power (Oration p. 4); inaccessible abyss of divinity (11>62); Empyrian (11>48); in the soul, unity (11>67).

Ricci: 39. Ehieh, Suprme Diadem, privation, father, mind.

Gikatilla: EYHE (349, Eheie, Corona L108): ultimate source, like the root from which grow the other roots (6, L9); no end (ain sof, 15); nothing (Ayn 360, Ain, nihil L107,); infinite, beyond thought, source of sources (346, delubrum ob inscrutibile L107); crown of letter yod (349, apex lre Yod L107); pure mercy (336, miseracordia largitate omne L107); the gate that opens when a righteous one's prayer reaches it, flooding all the spheres with mercy (351); redeemed the Israelites from Egypt (352, israelitae quum in egyptiaca pssura redemptionis L107); sphere of joy and rejoicing, where judgment and mercy see each other face to face (354); He (Hua 356, Hu ille L107); straight nun (361, recto in nun L107); Aleph (360); east (of Eden) (Kedem 362, Kedem, anterius sive oriens L107); bringer of light (353, lumen in sacris codicib L107); divine will (Ratzon 351/366); white head (366, caput laban, i.e. albi L108); Loven, the whiteness of mercy, vs. Laban the Aramaian's unmerciful persecutions of Jacob, putting a blemish on the moon (Leah?) (368, Laban...reconditum Labana, id est Lunae L108).

Reuchlin: Crown; bottomless fount of all the ages, Father of mercies, who seals up Essence through Truth...If we multiply Ehieh (meaning "essence") by Ehieh we will get 441, which is the same as Emeth, the word for "true" or "truth," and the same as Adonai Shalom, which means "Lord of Peace." ...the great Aleph, the fear of the Lord, the inaccessible light, and the days of eternity ...infinity itself exists in the three summits of the Kabbalists' tree of ten Sephirot (which you usually call the three divine Persons).

Agrippa: Crown or Diadem, Eheia, the Divine... The most simple Essence of the Divinity, that which the eye seeth not, God the Father, hath influence by the order of Seraphinus, or as the Hebrews call them Haioth Hacadosch, that is creatures of holiness, and then by the primum mobile, bestows the gift of being to all things, filling the whole Universe both through the circumference and center, whose particular intelligence is called Meratiron [Metatron], that is, the prince of faces, whose duty it is to bring others to the face of the prince; and by him the Lord spake to Moses.

IN THE TAROT: On the descent, a possibility is the Magician, as the first of the trumps, and as the possessor of the four suit signs, the source of the lesser cards. Since Gikatilla identifies the "Ain Sof" with this sefira, the Fool would be another possibility. Other possibilities are the tarot's representatives of the "white head": the Pope, as the highest spiritual authority, and the Hermit.

On the ascent, Judgment is possible, in the sense of entry into God's world as a recipient of God's mercy. However it might also go as Da'at, which combines the powers of Judgment and Mercy and can exercise both. The World card is another possibility, especially if Judgment is put in Da'at, and even the Sun, shining down, in the Noblet, on its son and daughter, Chochmah and Binah.


Sefer Yezirah: water, "good" in the antithesis good/evil?

Bahir: Beth; beginning of the law (sect. 55, 271). Prov. 24.3, wisdom (sect. 142, p. 326).

Great Parchment: sapientia, i.e. wisdom; River Pison (195). Holy Plate (225).

Gate of Heaven: Being out of non-being (p. 317). Beginning (p. 318). First-born (319). Cake, given to the priest (320). First procession, first separation (320). No definite quantity, so immeasurable; mountain of the lord (321). Leader of the law court. Wisdom of the gods (elohim). Wisdom of intelligence. Land of the living, because the life of the world rests in it. Justice rests in it. shining mirror. Supernal Shekinah (she-dweller). Place from where the souls of the angels and of the whole heavenly hierarchy [Hebrew: supernal encampment] proceed (325). The old [Hebrew: primordial] law. counsel. Has 32 paths. By means of the law and of its paths the world has been created. Father [Mithridates misreading of "if so"]. Imprinted soul (339)....wisdom, which is compassion, called water" (372)

Pico: Bereshit, that is, in the beginning; wisdom (sapientia 28.25, Oration p. 4); the Son of God and the Wisdom (sapientiam) of the father (11>7); day of Christ (11>37); Jesus correctly said, before Abraam was born, I am (11>42]; Son of God comes with baptismal waters (11>45, might refer to Hesed); primum mobile (11>48); in the soul, intellect (11>67).

Ricci: 40. Ioh, Wisdom, first-born, essence, unformed.

Gitakilla: YAH, letters of first 3 spheres (YH) separated from those of last seven (VH) ; body of the letter Yud of YHVH (319, Ioh...denunciat lre Iod...mensurae tres altiores inferiorib septem lumen propinant, L103); wisdom (Chochmah 330, sapientia L104); the wholly unrevealed (325); the essence of the upper three (326); substance (Yesh 326, Iesc, aliquid seu est L104); sphere to which Jacob ascended (329, L104); a shoot out of the root of Yeshay (Jesse, Isaiah 11:1), a twig from his stock (330); upper wisdom (330): signs and wonders, (332f); will (Ratzon 332, Razon, voluntatem vocitari L105) depth (Aomek 334, Omek, deep thoughts, profundum cogitationis L105); thought (Machshavah 335, cogitatio L105); fear of coming too near (Yirah 340, Girea formido formidandum, Timor dei est ipsa sapientia, L106); internal fear of unworthiness, exemplified by Abraham, greater than love and distinct from external fear of punishment; (341); source of river flowing from Eden (341, L106); Eden, separate from the garden, pleasure (344, voluptas L106); wellspring (344); roots planted in Eden (345). "The one who reaches this place of Ratzon is able to do whatever he wills or desires" (333).

Alemanno: And yet Solomon was wiser than Abraham: Intuitive knowledge, which the prophet also included in the word, "wisdom," is intended by the phrase, "For he was wiser than....Ethan the Ezrahite (I Kings 5:11[MH: should be 4:31]). The rabbis tell us that Ethan the Ezrahite was Abraham, considered to be the author of Psalm 89: "Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite (v. 1." (Pesikta de-Rav Kahana 4.3) His wisdom is shown by the book he wrote, the Book of Formation , as well as from this psalm (89), which is written about wisdom. (Lesley p. 129; for more on the psalm, see end of this section).  Solomon was greater than Abraham in such wisdom. Whereas Abraham sought to be attached to God through the sefira Gedullah, called "mercy (hesed) to Abraham (Micah 5:20)," Solomon sought to rise to the second sefira, Hokma.  It is also said that Solomon "was wiser than....Haman (I Kings 5:11)." That is a reference to Moses, about whom it is said, "He is trusted (na'eman) throughout my household (Numbers 12:7)." (Lesley 130f, at ... ley131.JPG)

Alemanno continued: Doubtless Moses knew better than anyone how the observance of the commandments in the Torah and the avoidance of the prohibitions of the Tarah would benefit the Israelite people; truly, "never again did there arise in Israel a prophet like Moses, whom the Lord singled out, face to face (Deut, 34:10)." Among the nations, however, Balaam resembled him in his cognate knowledge of spiritual forces available to the gentiles. It was in this knowledge that Solomon surpassed Moses (p. 132). R. Menahem of Recanati wrote in his commentary ont he Pentateuch: "All my days I ahv been astounded that such a wise man should have been trapped by women, when his own book, Proverbs, is full of warnings about them." When I recognized that the text says that he had a total of a thousand foreign wives (I Kings 11:3), I understood that these mean the thousand ranks of unclean spirits that are influence by the higher tree, Tiferet, and that Solomon, attached to this sefira, tried to complete his wisdom by understanding them. This is what was intended in the verse, "For Solomon went after Ashtoreth [goddess of the Zidonians]" (I Kings 11:5): not that he worshiped them, but that he sought to complete his knowledge and went beyond the permissible point of investigation. Solomon tried to understand the customs and cults of the nations. In contrast, Moses sought only to preserve his power of receiving influences through Tiferet, the commandments of the Torah, as is written: "That caused his glorious (Tifarto) arm to go at the right hand of Moses (Isaiah 63:12)." (Lesley p. 132, at ... ley132.JPG) They [the worshipers of the golden calf] sought to have God forgive them, and punish their children, for the rabbis say: "No punishment comes to the world that does not contain an accounting for the making of the calf, as indicted by the verse, 'But when I make an accounting, I will bring them to account for their sins (Exodus 12:34) (Exodus Rabba 42; Sanhedren 102a).'" Every transgression contains some element of idolatry. But God pardoned them. Solomon was wiser than they in building such forbidden idols. They built only one calf, but for his wives he built thousands of them. Like the Israelites, he was pardoned: although his son suffered for his sins, Solomon himself repented at the end of his life and was pardoned.(Lesley p. 138, ... ley138.JPG),

Reuchlin: wisdom (sapientia); primogeniture, Yesh, or "being" (Ies, i. ens), primitive law (lex primitivo), Yod the first letter (Iod litera prima) of the Tetragrammaton, the land of the living (terra viveritium), the thirty-two paths, the seventy kinds of Law, war (bellum), judgement (judicium). Amen, book (liber), holy (sanctium), will (voluntas), beginning (principium), and so on. Beth. So Aleph accepts this letter as the closest letter to itself and as the most productive, and it is called AB, that is, father of all generating and producing (paer ois gnationis et productionis). With final Nun, Beth produces Ben, meaning "son." This is the first production in the deity and the beginning of otherness; hence it is called "beginning," although it is the second emanation from infinity, the second Kabbalistic Sephira, through which all things have been made (p qua oia facta sunt). It is written: "You have made all things in wisdom" (Oia in sapientia fecisti). In this way the first influx becomes the second Sephira, because the end of generation is the Son (qu terminus gnationis est filus). (All p. 286-288).

Agrippa: The second name is Iod or Tetragrammaton joined with Iod; wisdom; signifieth the Divinity full of Ideas, and the first begotten; and is attributed to the Son, and hath his influence by the order of Cherubins, or that the Hebrews call Orphanim, that is, forms or wheels; and from thence into the starry Heaven, where he fabricateth so many figures as he hath Ideas in himself, and distinguisheth the very Chaos of the creatures, by a particular Intelligence called Raziell, who was the ruler of Adam.

IN THE TAROT: On the descent, one possibility is the Magician, as the male side of Hochmah, whose objects on his table, the signs of the suits, are the raw material of the minor cards. Gakitilla's Hochmah performs "signs and wonders," by tapping into the divine will; he quotes Psalm 130:1: "Out of the depths I call unto YAH" (p. 334). Thereby he attains all that he desires. Another possibility is the Popess, as 2nd trump. In the Hebrew Bible, Hochmah is female, the companion of God from the beginning. Her book is the letters, which will go to make up the archetypes formed in Binah. As Virgin Mary, the seed in her womb, the Word, is still unformed. A solution might be to put the Magician in Da'at (or the Popess, if Da'at is lower than Hochmah). The Magician is the one who plays with knowledge and illusion (see my comments on Da'at).

On the ascent, the Sun fits, as the power to which we must be careful not to approach too near, lest we be destroyed, and the sun as the source of energy in this world, like a mighty river. It is also the upper Christ, traditionally put below and to one side of the Father in religious art.


Sefer Yetzirah: Evil?

Bahir: Gimel, "nurses and feeds mercy and its neighbor who is in its company" (sect. 190, 252), By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established (Prov. 24.3) (sect. 142, 326); engraving of the law, sect. 142, 327). Evil enters by the left side.

Great Parchment. Intelligence, River Gihon (196). Zion, understanding (225). Controls the ages of the world (intro 32).

Gate of Heaven: Elohim. On the left. Judgment. Intelligence. The reminding of faults (all p. 345). Denoted by second letter of Tetragrammaton (346). King of the word. Great jubilee. Oral law (347). Superior heavens (348). Engraving formation; statute. Innnate evil nature arouses the judgment. Mother of sons, because greatness and power proceed from wisdom and intelligence. (352)  The livid [greenish, in Hebrew] l;ine that goes around the world. when redness and blackness are united. (353). Place of repentance. Fundament of souls, thence the souls proceed. (355).  50 gates, of which Moses achieved 49 (368). Fire from water (371).

Pico: great north wind (magnus aquilon), source of all souls (28.6); green line that encircles the universe (1Kings 8:32ff) (28.7); third light (28.8); river that flows from Eden (28.11); gates of intelligence, great jubilee (28.13, 11>69); female, Bet (28.17); fifty gates of intelligence (11>69); penitence (28.23); superior jubilee, to which Moses attained (28.43); antecedence to form (11>31): Holy Spirit [comes] with fire (11>45); firmament (i.e. fixed stars, 11>48); in the soul, reason (11>67).

Alemanno: Right Understanding - Science:This includes what the gentiles call Wisdom, and the prophets, Understanding. It is divided into Natural and Political wisdom.(Idel 116). ... and the third [sphere] is that of Saturn . . . and it is a supreme and noble one, higher than all the other planets, which is the reason that the ancient sages said about it that it generated all the other planets. And the astrologers who have described Saturn say that it endows man with profound thought, law, and the spiritual sciences [holdimot ruhaniyyot], 49 prophecy [neuu'ah], 50 sorcery [kishshuf], 51 and prognostication and the Shemittot and Yovelot [cosmic cycles]. . . And they say that [188] Saturn is the true judge and the planet of Moses, peace be with him. But if they [the Jews] do not keep the way of God, it will spit forth everything that is bad: prophecy will occur to fools and to babies in an insufficient manner, and to women and to melancholies, and to those possessed by an evil spirit and maleficent demons that obliterate the limbs, and bad counsels and sorceries, and anxieties and erroneous beliefs. (Idel 187f):

Ricci: 41. YHVH Elohim, Spirit of God, jubilee, the great trumpet, the female who forms, the conversion of the penitent, the redemption of the world, the life of the world to come.

Gikatilla: YHVH, vocalized as ELOHIM (283): insight, foresight (Binah 283, prudentia providentia L98); establishes the seven, from foundation to prudentia (285, septen spheros a fundamentum ad prudentia L97); Beersheba, well flowing to the seven below, drawing from above (292, Beersceva, puteus septeni legitur (L97); Jubilee (Yovel 298, Iovel iobileus L98); freedom, redemption (298, libertas, redemptio L98); jubilee of 50th year, and fiftieth day out of Egypt (288); fiftieth year, ano, L98); covenant of the ten fingers (298, L98); covenant of the mouth (77/298, L98); giver of blessings to the seven (297); progenitor of sons and daughters (298, L98?); unlimited inheritance of Jacob (300, Heb+ hereditas Jacob cui nulli sunt limites L99); repentance, return (Teshuvah 300, Heb+ poenitentia/conversio L99); highest justice (302, Heb+ iusticia superior L99); source of life (mekor hachayyim 304, Heb+ fons vitae L100) life in world to come (219, L101?); unites with Malkhut in the atonement, first He with last He, together with Tiferet as Mishpat, Justice (216/299/316, L100/L102?), Rachel with Leah (337); gives power to Chesed and Din, eternal life (285); connects lower six with upper three (386); the number 7, and 7x7 = about 50 (288); the 50 gates, of which Moses failed to open one and thus did not enter Binah (245, L90?); first Heh (316, L90); unified with Malkhut in the jubilee year, the two facing each other (294); city of David (304, L100); great ram's horn (as trumpet, 309, L101); strengths (310, L101); praises (313, L102); she (Hua, 330); river flowing out of Eden (344); sphere of the tree of life (220, L85).

Reuchlin: "Intelligence" (intelligentia"); Understanding (prudentia); foresight (providentia), Lord (Adonai), spirit (spiritus), soul (ai'a), prayer (votum), the mystery of faith, mother of sons, the King sitting on the throne of mercy (rex se deus in cthrono miseratinum), the great Jubilee (Iobeleus magnus), the great sabbath (Sabbathum magnum), spiritual foundation (fundamentum spirtuum), miraculous light (lumen mirificum), the lightest day (dies sup'ma), the fifty gates, the Day of Atonement (dies propici atio'is), the inner voice (vox interior), the river issuing forth from paradise (fluvium egrediens de paradiso), the second letter of the Tetragrammaton, repentance (poenitentia), the deep waters (aqua profundae), my sister (soror mea), the daughter of my father (filia patris mei).

Agrippa: Tetragrammaton Elohim; ...Prina, viz. providence and understanding; ...signifies remission, quietness, the Jubilee, penitential conversion, a great Trumpet, redemption of the world, and the life of the world to come; it is attributed to the Holy Spirit, and hath his influence by the order of the thrones, or which the Hebrews call Aralim, that is great Angels mighty and strong, and from thence by the sphere of Saturn administereth form to the unsettled matter, whose particular intelligence is Zaphchiel, the ruler of Noah, and another intelligence named Iophiel the ruler of Sem. ...and these are three supreme and highest numerations as it were seats of the Divine persons, by whose commands all things are made, but are executed by the other seven, which are therefore called the numerations framing.

IN THE TAROT: On the descent, the Empress goes here, the mother-figure of the trumps, the picture on the shield standing for the archetypes. Her stance is one of quiet, passive understanding, active only in the sense of giving birth to the archetypes implanted in her by Hochmah or Kether. Another possibility is the Popess, if the Magician is Hochmah, but less related to the lower sefiroth.

On the ascent, the Moon card would be the closest fit, as the spouse of the Sun next to her, also the Holy Spirit, if the upper three are the three persons of the Trinity, as in Ricci, Reuchlin, and Agrippa (but not Pico or Gikatilla). Her light in the darkness is the call to repentance. The Judgment card is another possibility, with its trumpet, calling one to the upper realm of the top three sefirot. However there aren't two cards higher than Judgment, tending to rule out this alternative.


Sefer Yetzirah: south?

Bahir: mercy, Abraham, milk, the law as food (sect. 136-7, 323), Daleth, "the justices of the Lord, his gracs and mercies to the whole world, the right hand of God" (sect. 144, 327). Cites Is. 11:2, asking "Did you not tell us that counsel is a deed of mercy? And that strength is the attribute of judgment? And this knowledge is truth, thus it is the exact knowledge through which man recognizes the truth. The fear of the Lord is the treasury of the law. ... Whatever God, blessed be He, created, he created also its opposite corresponding to it (Eccl. 7:14) (all 186, 361).

Great Parchment. greatness, River Hiddekel, flows toward antiquity of the beatitude (196). Mercy, "mercy to Abraham. derives from the nuimeration of power (this is not usual, editor comments 33; perhaps this is hesed within gevurah) (206). Cherubim (225).

Gate of Heaven: mercy (pietas, 372), compassionate, clement (clemens), clemency  (misericordia) (373), greatness (magnitudo), magnificence (magnificentia), water from water, silver (all 374). White. Right arm. Charity (charitas), not love (amor) of one for another which is natural and happens due to some reason. First in the building of the world, Abraham (377). Milk, pure wool, clean wool, for compassion and purification (378). Superior waters, stones of pure marble, by reason of white color (379). Abel. World, because by means of it, i.e. compassion, the world was created (381). Priest, because mercy expiates sin. Michael. Lion in the chariot. Side of merits and positive commandments

Pico. Loving-kindness...divine liberality (Oration, p. 4); southern property in the right hand order, Abraham (28.14); southern water (28.24); in the south of Eden, the river Perath, which we can translate as piety (Oration, p. 16); love, piety (28.39); Jupiter (11>48); in the soul, superior sensual passion (11>67).

Ricci. 42. El, grace, magnificence, the right hand of pity, the waters above.

Gikatilla: EL, grace, mercy, Abraham (271, deus gratiae et misericordiae, Abraham L96); right side (8, L11); Chesed (loving-kindness 276: worldly loving-kindness of Abraham mixed with fear and harsh judgment, 107/282); substance (Yesh 271, Ies L96); light (206), water (215, Aqua L85), positive commandments (222/278, L86); greatness (Gedulla 235, magnificientia L9); granting exceptions to avoid harming the righteous, as in Abraham's plea to spare Sodom (255, L93?); the south, openness (265): source of length of days (264); long-forbearing, to allow time for repentance (274); extending the nose, the entrance-way of the court, so that the punishers will have to travel further (274); tipping the scale toward merit (275); if the sins are still too heavy, lightening punishment for merit, or rewarding after punishment (276). (Some of these might be on L96; I can't tell.)

Reuchlin: "Loving-Kindness" (clementiae) or "Goodness" (bonitatati); also kindness (gra), mercy (misericordia), right arm (brachium dextura, innocent (inocens) , the third day (dies tercium), bright fire (ignis candid), the face of a lion (faces lionis) , the first foot (pes prima), the old man Abraham (Abraham senex), East (oriens), higher waters (aqiae superiores), the silver of God (argentum dies), Michael, priest, angel in the appearance of the electrum Hasmal (angel in specie electri Hasmal), white clothes (vestes albe), south wind (auster), etc... Mercy (mentiae), thirty-five princes of purity (principes puritatis), seventy princes of Ishmael.

Agrippa: El,.. Clemence or goodness; signifieth grace, mercy, piety, magnificence, the scepter and right hand, and hath his influx by the order of the Dominations, which the Hebrews call Hasmalim, and so through the sphere of Iupiter [Jupiter] fashioning the Images of bodyes [bodies], bestowing clemency and pacifying justice on all; his particular intelligence is Zadkiell the ruler of Abraham.

IN THE TAROT: The Emperor would fit here, considered (by him and his supporters) as the epitome of loving-kindness. Tthe Emperor is literally King of Kings, as the wise ruler of the world. It is by the power of the sovereign that pardons are granted, as an act of mercy. By the same token, the Pope could also fit (for his supporters), as the agent of God's love and mercy. The Empress would fit as well, as loving-kindness is often thought of as a feminine trait. Another possibility would be the Lover card, simply by its title. We could see the Lover as faced with Abraham's choice, between love of God and love of his son. "Tipping the scales toward merit" suggests Justice, as the figure there has one arm leaning on one side of the scales. But that is also a characteristic of the wise Emperor, which remains the best match.

On the ascent, the Star card fits, as the gentle figure offering the waters of life, and the hope of redemption and renewal in the large star above her.


Sefer Yetzirah: north?

Bahir: Isaac, fear, wine, "a consuming fire, a jealous God" (Deut. 4.24). He, great, ovewhelming fire called the fire of God, to the left of God (sect. 145, 327).

Great Parchment. power (196), Euphrates, 4th river from Eden, of Esau's descendents (196). Incense, power (225). man of war, lion that roars through the first watch ((intro 41),

Gate of Heaven. Fear (426). Not fear of harm, but fear of provoking the anger of a friend or benefactor (427). Negative commandments do harm, as opposed to positive commandments, consisting of love., which are higher (428).  Power; male, Wild bull. (430). Gold; redness; left side, which is northern, wisdom southern (431). Judgment (434). Cleansing and pruning (436). Superior fire (443). West. (444). Sanctified. Cain, because he was the first to awoke attribute of judgment. Golden altar on which is always fire. Purple, of red mixed with gold. Fourth day (449). Nocturnal visions (450). Arid dry (449). Second foot. Flax, offered by Cain, name of god of 42 letters (452).

Pico: Judgment (28.3); secret of darkness (28.21); northern fire (28.23); in the north of Eden, the river Pischon, which means straight (Oration p. 16); outer fear, inferior to love (28.38); lord of the nose (28.40); the cabalist, if he errs in the work or comes to it unpurified, will be devoured by Azazel [demon of scapegoat ritual Lev. 16:8-10) through the property of judgment (11>13); God's judgment by fire (11>44); property by which Satan promised Jesus the kingdoms of the world (11>47); Mars (11>48); power (11>71); in the soul, superior irascible passion (11>67).

Ricci. 43. Elohim, Firmness, judgment, the left hand.

Gikatilla: ELOHIM, judge (6, iudicator L9); Isaac (8, L11); judgment, left side (248, iudicijum sinistro latera L92); divine punishment (248); may be annulled from the right side, as Elohim would have annulled destruction of Sodom if 10 righteous people had been found (254, L93?); truth, harsh judgment (Emet, Din 256/36, Emes deus verax/ac durum iudicii L93); power, might (Gevurah 262, Gevura, fortitudo L94); merit, including punishment (Zechut 263, Zechus, meritum L94); that which purifies (263); ruling over the 70 nations (257, L93); source of wealth and honor, murky waters, snakes, scorpions, evil beasts, informants and prosecutors (265, L94); reserves taken and hidden (Tzafun, Tzafon 264, Zafon, reconditum L94); north (Tzafon 264, septentrio, Aquillon L94); place of destructive angels (264, sordidi angelorum L94); evil from the north, atoned and blocked by animal sacrifice (265, L95?); fear (Pachad 267, Pahad, timor L95); emitting flames of fire (267, ignis flamma emittitur L95); Gehenna (268. Gehennam id est inferni L95); night terror (Laylah Pachad 269, timore nocturno L95); dim eyes of Isaac (204); death (209); negative commandments (223, L86); powerful when Israel is righteous, weak when it sins (269); end of all flesh, destruction of the world; the left hand restraining the right hand (266); fire (215, ignis L85); great fire, consuming fire (267); power to make ill or heal, annihilate or sustain (270)

Reuchlin: "Seriousness" or "Gravity" (gravitas, severitas) ...that of seriousness (severitatis divinum nomen est Elohim et applicant ei timor, ppritas rigoris seu gravitatis, pcepta legis negativa--most of these words not translated); Elohim coming forth from water (the Latin is "ignis egrediens ab aqs," fire coming from water"), fourth day, west, Gabriel, the old man Isaac, night, bravery (fortitudo), the golden altar, the second food (pes secudus, meaning "second foot"), sanctification, darkness, metatron, Aquilon [aq'lo, North], the dark appearance (spes fusca) ... of harshness (gravitatis)... of Gravity and Fear (gravitatis et timoris) . Seventy princes of Esau, thirty-five princes of guilt (reatus).

Agrippa: Elohim Gibor, that is, the mighty God, punishing the sins of the wicked; power, gravity, fortitude, security, judgment, punishing by slaughter and war: and it is applied to the Tribunal of God, The girdle, the sword and left hand of God; it is also called Pachad, which is fear, and hath his influence through the order of powers which the Hebrews call Seraphim, and from thence through the sphere of Mars, to whom belongs fortitude, war, affliction, it draweth forth the Elements; and his particular intelligence is Camael, the ruler of Samson.

IN THE TAROT: The Pope would fit here, as the representative of institutional religion, which among independent intellectuals of the 16th and early 17th century was considered to be at a low point. In the name of religion interminable wars were being fought between Catholics and Protestants, instigated by the leaders of both sides, in the name of righteousness. And both sides persecuted "witches"-innocent old women, some of them deluded--and "Judaizers" who would bring the Kabbalah to Christianity. "Harsh judgment" fits well, in the context of the times. Other possibilities: Chariot, seen as a chariot of war and conquest, as in the case of Pharaoh's chariot; Stength, corresponding to the meaning of "Gevurah."

On the ascent, the House of God fits well, as a place of purification by fire. Another possibility would be the Devil, as Kabbalists thought of this sefira of as the source of the accusers, or Satans. Another possibility is Strength, external Strength on the descent, against others, or internal Strength on the ascent, fortitude against the terrors awaiting one.


Sefer Yetzirah. Undetermined direction

Bahir: Jacob, truth (sec. 135, 321, Mic. 7.20). peace, law of truth (sect. 136, 323), vau, throne of glory, crowned, universalized, adorned, praised exalted, about which it is written, "let there be light, and there was light" (sect. 145, 327), zain, in the middle, water on its right and fire on its left, brings peace between them. And this knowledge is truth, thus it is the exact knowledge through which man recognizes the truth.  (sect. 186, 361).

Great Parchment. Tree of life (196), Jacob. Glory. give truth to Jacob (213). Foundation stone (according to intro 45, a name for "tiferet in malkhut"), middle line (225). sky (intro p. 39). Left side of tree is Jacob's thigh, where he limps, Flank is Intelligence, power, and ornament (decor); right side wusdom greatmess and eternity; Four bowls with tiferet, made like unto almonds (all 229).

Gate of Heaven. Glory (463), tetragrammaton (465). First arbitrator,between judgment and compassion, first in the middle, between mercy and fear (466). Inclines to the right. Unites the tabernacle. Son in law of the king, because it married the king's daughter. He lets the influx flow to the adorned bride, who is the daughter of Abraham, who is the kind receiving the influx from wisdom, which is called king of the world (469). Man, Jacob, who was born circumcised  (470) and married two sisters (475). Twins, uniter of two tents (474).Rahel remained barren because she killed the female. Leah however indicates the Godhead which is with Israel, and this is the secret of the verse saying: The Lord saw that Leah was hated (Gen. 29.31). What is called in Hebrew senu'ah should not be read "was hated" but "that sennaha,", i.e. "that Leah was pretty." In the tradition of Rabbi Eliezer the Great is written, that sennah has to be written without vau. She receives the influence from Jacob. Future world (477). Manifest wisdom (478). Writing of truth (478). Strength, male bringing the influence to the female, and then the light of the moon, the adorned bride, shall be as the light of the sun, which is the male, will be sevenfold. (480). Light of the sun, day (481). Double-faced, because "male and female created he them". (482). Combines water with wine (482). Shining mirror (484). Heaven, because composed of fire and water. Sun (488). Justice (489). Delivers from death (490). Superior Jerusalem (490). Scroll of the book of the law. Tree 9491). Happiness of paradise, fountain of life, bundle of life (492). Horn, between sound and shout (493). Venerable, remembrance, male because 'remember the sabbath' a positive commandment (494). Compassionate, merciful, mighty strong, venerable, honorable (494f). Spirit, head, brain and crown above it (495). Unleavened bread, because put between paschal lamb (of compassion) and wild lettuce (with red veins) (498-9). South. First air (499). Middle line.

Pico: ineffable name, clemency (28.3); the great Adam (28.10); shining mirror (28.20); east, source of good souls, new souls (28.41); river in the east of Eden, Chidekel, meaning light (Oration p. 16); in the Scriptures, love of male and female denotes mystically the conjunction of Tiferet and Keneset Israel [Malkhut], or of Bet [Binah] and Tiferet (28.17); YHVH, the Son (11>5); through the eclipse of the sun at the death of Christ it can be known that the Son of God and the true Messiah suffered (11>46); full sun was in the true Messiah, who was Jesus (11>51); sun (11>48); in the soul, free choice (11>67). "When the light of the mirror not shining becomes just like that of the shining mirror, then Night will be just like Day, as David says" (28.20; compare to Ricci 58: "The trumpet of the jubilee resounds when the seven remissions which precede the day of the Great Sabbath of which there is no evening...are almost completed.")

Alemanno. Jacob took as his measure the sefira Tiferet, the middle line that unites the higher and lower existents, Justice and Mercy, spiritual and material.(Lesley 220, For our master Moses, peace be with him, was empowered in this matter, as the verse says, "That caused his glorious arm - literally, the arm of His Beauty and here the Sefira Tiferet to go at the right hand of Moses" [Isaiah 65:12] (Idel p. 206f of Cooperman, Jewish Thought in the Sixteenth Century, 1983, brackets' Idel's).

Ricci. 44. Elohim, Glory, the middle line, pleasure, the tree of life. 30. Of the great corporeal man, the male is the shining machine of the sky; the female is that which is seen more obscurely in the moon and the elementaries...

Gikatilla: YHVH; like the trunk of a tree, remover of sin (6, L9); Jacob, middle line (8, linea media L11); glory or beauty (Tiferet 223, Tifeeres pulchritude L86); justice (Mispat, iusticia) combining judgment (iudicia) and mercy (miseracordia) (152/236, L78/90); when Adonai unites with YHVH, they ascend to Binah, and the everflow descends and the whole world is blessed (153, L78?); god of Israel alone (175, L82?); awesome or horrible (Nora 235, horribilis L90); truth (Emet 222, Emes, verum L86); heaven (172); betrothed removing his garments in front of the bride (177, L82?); has two sides, from the right mercy, the left true judgment and fear, (210, quare dextris areolis miseracordum... sinistris vero iudicium et timor L84); traveler of the heavens, one who sits in the heavens (194), air or wind (215, Aer L85); center of the 6 middle spheres, to which the Vav [also the number 6] attaches (219, pendent lram iuxta Vav L85); tree of life (219 lignum vite L85); lustrous mirror (220, L85?), written Torah (220, lex scripta L85); adorned (Per 223, idest or matus dici soleat, Peer L86); navel (248); Da’at (226, iciam, ut illud, Daas L87); positive commandments to right, prohibitions on left (222, ex dextro atque sinistro iuxta prohibientia imperantia L86); You (Atah 242, Atai, tu L91).

Reuchlin: "Beauty" (ornat); Eloha, enlightening speculation (speculatio illuminans), the wood of life (lignum vitae), pleasure (voluptas), the Line of the Mean (linea media), the written Law (lex scripta), the High Priest (sacerdos magnus), the rising of the sun (ortus solis), the color purple (species purpurea). From this place that the seventy nations are spread out over the earth; its sign is the Truth of the Lord (Emeth Adonai); is called Peace (vocatur pax) and has its shape pictured in the moon (forma eius figurat in lumna. Third letter of the Tetragrammaton, this mystery is "Our father who is in heaven," the man above or the heavenly Adam (homo supern' seu Adam coelestis), judgement (judicium), opinion (sententia), Michael, the old man Israel (Israel senex), the God of Jacob.

Agrippa: The sixth name is Eloha, or a name of four letters, joined with Vaudahat, his numeration is Tiphereth, that is apparel, beauty, glory, pleasure; signifies the tree of life, and hath his influence through the order of virtues, which the Hebrews call Malachim, that is Angels into the sphere of the Sun, giving brightness and life to it, and from thence producing metals; his particular intelligence is Raphael, who was the Ruler of Isaac and Toby the younger, and the Angel Peliel, ruler of Jacob.

IN THE TAROT: The strongest possibility is the Lover, as Tiferet with his sister-daughter-bride Malkhut and his sister-mother-bride Binah, as in Pico 28.17. The unity of these three was emblematic of the unity of all the sefirot. Tiferet's sun (Pico 11>51, Ricci 30) is behind the figure of Cupid, who suggests the dominance of Love. The girl's hand on the boy's heart suggests this dominance, corresponding to Malkhut as "lenient judgment"; and the wreath of flowers suggests the pleasures of the garden of Eden, another aspect of Malkhut; the laurel wreath, in contrast, suggests strict virtue, which is prized by the left side of the Tree. Another possibility for this sefira is the Pope, balancing harshness on one side with loving-kindness on the other. Another possibility is the Chariot, with one horse as the red side of the tree, the other the white side, and the Charioteer as the ruler balancing the two. Another possibility is Justice, with the sword on one side and the scales, tipped in the favor of mercy, on the other.

On the ascent, one possibility is the Devil, as the antithesis of Tiferet as YHVH/Messiah, the fire and ice of hate as opposed to the gentler fire and water of love. his two minions representing the two sides of the Tree. Another possibility is the Star, whose figure holds both the water of immortality and the water of return to our world. Another possibility would be Temperance, if we see the two vessels as the red wine of purification and the white or blue water of mercy.


Sefer Yetzirah: unspecified direction.

Bahir: "what is theth? He said to him: theth and iod are together, like nine and ten. The one is opposite to the other and the one is higher than the othe by five hundreard years, they are like two offannim and one inclines toward the noth while the othe r inclines towads the west and the reach down to the inferior earth (sect. 169, 346). What is the meaning of the verse "In the eternity of eternities" (Is. 34.10)? But there is only one eternity. Which is it? The one that inclines toward the west. And the second is the one that inclines toward the north. The third is comparison to it is this inferior one. ..."In the eternity is one", "of eternities" are two and thus there are three eternities (sect. 170, 347). Willows, legs of man (176, 351) Its (ref?) power is western. The two of them are the eternities of the world.

Great Parchment. Eternity (205). hurim and thumim (226), which accordng to intro 44 are "the items used by the holy priest to predict the future) and "symbols for the positive and negative precepts". Wheels (with hod).

Gate of Heaven. Eternity (507). Brings influence of mercy down to eternity. Pupil of the wise (510-11 White seed, from side of the father who is male. Fifth day (starting from wisdom, but omitting glory). Absolute time (511). Eternal life. Mountain. Year, fourth foot of the chariot (513).

Pico: Saturn (11>48); addressing of petitions for the birth of sons, and their granting (11>50); in the soul, that which converts to superior things (11>67). When the Cabalists say that sons should be sought from the seventh and the eighth, those petitions in the inferior merkabah are to be interpreted this way: so that one is asked to grant them, the other not to prohibit them. And which he grants and which one prohbits anyone who is knowledgable in astrology and Cabala can understand from the preceding conclusions.

Ricci. 45. YHVH Zevoas, eternity, the right hand column.

Gikatilla. YHVH TZVAOT (Lord of hosts) (116, Edonai (YHVH) Zeuaos L69); works from side of highest loving-kindness and Abraham (116, gra que Abraae, grace of Abraam L69/L76); place that nurtures prophecy, dreams, and visions, for those who see through opaque mirror (119, speculae intueri opus non erat L70); positive decrees, favors (124, L86); Yacin (143, Yochim, preparar L76); place to address petitions for sons (134; p filior gnati oe depeaturi accedunt L74); luck, unmerited benefits (135); place of counsel and conferring with higher powers (138, L75); triumph (Netzach 142, Neza victoria L76); Eye of Mercy (143, oculum miseracordiae L76); place to direct prayers for mercy (143);
 "compassion upon Israel" (142); .

Reuchlin: "Victory" (triumph'); the Lord of hosts (Adonai Sabaoth), crus (not translated into English), the right leg and foot (all there is in the Latin is "pes," foot or leg), the right column (columna dextera), the great wheel (rota magna), the prophets' vision (visio prophetiae), Moses.

Agrippa: Tetragrammaton Sabaoth, or Adonai Sabaoth, that is the God of hosts; triumph and victory; the right Columne is applyed to it; signifies the eternity and justice of a revenging God; it hath his influence through the order of principalities, whom the Hebrews call Elohim, that is Gods, into the sphere of Venus, gives zeal and love of righteousness, and produceth vegetables [vegatative soul?]; his Intelligence is Haniel and the Angel Cerviel, the ruler of David.

IN THE TAROT: as Victory, the card would be the Chariot, which ever since Greek times mainly functioned ceremonially in victory parades. In Roman times it was also a racing vehicle, again suggesting victory (or defeat). The different colors of the horses then represent the struggle of mercy vs. harshness, and humility vs. recklessness, with the emphasis on mercy and humility, that the victor should apply to the vanquished. Another possibility is the Hermit, as the agent of prophecy thought to emerge from this source, and also a symbol of eternity and endurance, one interpretation of the word "Netzach" at that time, according to Scholem. Another possibility is the Wheel of Fortune, from the qualities of luck (in Gikatilla) and "the great wheel" (Reuchlin). The Emperor, as a symbol of victory, is also possible.

On the ascent, Temperance is possible, as the saving mercy of the Eucharist and the road to health after illness due to excess. 


Sefer Yetzirah: Down?

Bahir: see netzach. also: northern western, first sphere revolving above us, left knee (180, 353-4).

Great Parchment: ornament (decor) (205), high priest (225),  Joshua? (226). Noah (intro 36). Positive commandments (differing from Pico).

Gate of Heaven: Ornament. first born of the bull (from Deut. 33:17, His glory is like the firstling of his bullock). Secret of "the ornament is his work (Ps. 222.3, "His work is honorable and glorious", with two Hebrew words) (514). Makes visible the desire from the power. (515) Boaz, strength of the left hand pillar of the temple. Left knee. Apple (actually, a word also meaning "ash pile on the altar"), the surplus of the attribute of judgment. The pupils of the wise who debate with each other and sharpen each other through discussion (all 516). Red seed, from the mother, sixth day. Left pillar, of judgment, at which Adam sinned, and of serpent, demon, innate evil nature. Attribute from which all sucking angels of Esau and Ishmael are nourished, and from which proceeds the influx to obtain sons through a change of the law of nature (Hebrew very "elliptical") (518). Sons of the prophets, which come from glory. Angel that went before the camp of Israel. The Year (519). Leads from potentiality to realization (520).

Pico: Venus (11>48); addressing of petitions for the birth of sons, and their denial (11>50); in the soul, converts to inferior things (11>67).

Ricci: 46. Elohim Zevaos, confession, the left hand column.

Gikatilla: ELOHIM TZVAOT God of Hosts (116; Elohi Zeuaos, deus excercituum L69): draws on the left (sinistras), the side of Isaac, from Binah (prudentia) and fear (timor) or strong judgment (fortitudenem iudicium), converts us (converte nos) and wages war (bellum) for YHVH of Hosts (120, L70); majesty (Hod 123, Hod ,decum vel laus); dressed in courage and might (123, deus est magnificientia et fortitudo L71); Boaz, one of the columns of Solomon (125, L72); prayers of supplication and thanksgiving, for annulment of verdicts (123, confessio L72); praise (laus L71/L89; flames of Seraphim to burn the unworthy (125, L72); heavens (Shechakim also grinding 126, Sehakim L72); place of counsel with higher powers (138, MakHomaeza, locus consilij L75); ); redness, Esau (118); place of prophecy (119); substance of the skies (Etzem Hashamayim 128, Ezem substantia coeli L72); garments of war, from Isaac (122), infusion of power (122); ; negative decrees; (123, L86); bring low the enemy, win wars (123); Daniel 10:8: "My majesty [veHODi] became a destroyer..." (123). "Anyone who does not behave carefully with a Sage or with Netzach and Hod should be bitten by a snake" (124).

Reuchlin: "Praise" (confessio laudis); God of hosts (Elohe Sabaoth), mystery of the column and the left foot and Boaz (Mysterium columnae ac pedis sinistra & Booz), from here comes the ancient snake inde trahitur serpens antiquus), the Learning of the Lord (disciplina dni), the branch (ramus), Aaron, the Cherub, the sons of the king (filii regis), the grinding millstones (molae molentes).

Agrippa: Elohim Sabaoth, God of Hosts, not of war and justice, but of piety and agreement; for this name signifieth both, and precedeth his Army; ... praise, confession, honor and famousness. The left column is attributed to it; it hath his influence through the order of the Archangels, which the Hebrews call Ben Elohim, that is the sons of God, into the sphere of Mercury, and gives elegancy and consonancy of speech and produceth living creatures; his intelligence is Michael, who was the ruler of Salomon [Solomon].

IN THE TAROT: One possibility is Strength, as fortitudo, courage and might, is necessary for the hosts to wage JHVH's wars. Another is Justice, where the sword is predominant, that which carries out the decree from the other side, the scales. It is justice tempered with mercy, however, because at this level the right side influences, mediated by Tiferet in the middle. Gikatilla discusses annulments or postponements of punishments as applying in this realm, from the influence of the other side. Presumably Chesed's other strategies of mitigation would also enter in. All are examples of "tipping the scales" in favor of the accused, which the lady on the card seems to be doing. Another possible card here is the Chariot, as an instrument of war, the noble horse restraining the rape and pillage of the bad horse. The Empress or Emperor would also be possible, considering that "Hod" means "Majesty" or "Splendor."

On the ascent, Death would be the main choice, as destruction is the dominant aspect in Hod.


Sefer Yetzirah: undetermined direction

Bahir: occident, place of sowing, gathering (sect. 155, 334). heth, righteous one, sustains the world and its foundation (157, 325). The eighth, days of circumcision, healer,  the covenant being a mediator, heth, (sect. 168, 345-6). third sphere, power is western southern. in the middle between the first two, from the southern part of the world (sect. 180, 355).

Great Parchment: fundament (205), bread of the presnce or shewbread (226). Aaron (intro p. 35). Joseph the just? (197). 

Gate of Heaven. Fundament. Peg on which all hangs, Living God, vital power, soul of the world. Receives from Netzah and Hod. Diffused two baskets, one of fire and one of water. (all 525). Covenant of circumcision. Phylactery of the hand because they correspond to the heart, in the middle, on which life of man depends.(526). Sabbath because it is completion and finish of the world: "And the heavens were finished (Gen 2.1), seventh day. Second arbitrator. Tree of knowledge, through it one has n idea of good and evil, which are the attribute of judgment and the attribute of compassion. Righteous, which is the foundation of the world  (Prov. 10.25) (all 527). The whole world rests on one pillar, which is called righteous. (530) World of purification, and of sanctity, and of the souls, because there souls find rest. (531) Redeemer. Through it the resurrection of the dead will take place (532). Peace (533).

Pico: gathering of the waters, the just (28. 27); eighth day, circumcision (28.32); bones of Joseph the just (Tzaddik), sending its influences over the superior earth (28.42); redeemer (Amos 2:6) (11>21); ze (this one); Mercury (11>48); in the soul, alternately or indifferently converting to superior and inferior things (11>67).

Ricci. 47. Sadaii, Foundation, the just, Israel, Joseph, the good intelligence, Sabbath, rest, redemption, the rite of circumcision.

Gikatilla: EL CHAY, living god, (44, El hai, deo viuo L39); sufficiency (Shaday 58, Sadai deus qui sufficiens L50, also omnipotens L8); fount of living waters (makim mayam chayyim 58, Heb+ fons awuarium viventium L51); foundation (Yesod, 59 Iessod, fundamentum L52), righteous one, giving justice or care while Adonai receives (Tzadik 59, Zadic, iustus L52); good, good wisdom (Tov, 64 Sechel Tov 66, Sechel Tof, intellectum bonum L55); peace (Shalom 67, Salom, pax L56); remembrance (Zicharon 68, Zikaron, recordatio L57); keeping (68, Heb+ zochor, memento L57); refrain (Shamor 70, Samor, custodi (vel observa) L57); redeeming angel (74 but applied to Malkhut, Heb=redemptor angelus L60); Shabbat, resting place (69), mountain (Har 70, L64), seventh day (70); redeemer, connection with Adonai is essence of redemption (74): covenant (Brit 77, Beris, foedus L62); circumcision (77, circumcisio L62); sign (Oht 82, Oss, signum L63); oath (shavua 83, scefua, iuramentu L63, related to seven); statute (Chok 91, Hok, statutum L64); portion (Chuki 92, Hyka, Latin unclear L64); mountain (Har 95, Har, montem L64); Zion (99, Zion L67); Kol, omne L67; day (93); time (Ayt 103 Es, tempus L67); this (104, ze, hoc L67); protector (Abir 105, Evir L67); lower loving-kindness (106, Hessed, gra iferior L67); Gate of Tears (109); place where prayers are examined (113); birth-giving organ (277); connects the nine upper spheres with the tenth (286, L97); covenant of the ten toes (298, L98); thorn coming out of the bottom of Vav (321).

Reuchlin: "Foundation" (fundamentum); Sadai, the base of the world (Sadai, fundamentum mundi), Zion, the source of the fish ponds (fons piscinarum--actually, source of the pools), the just (iustus), the living God (deus vivuns), the complete Sabbath (Sabbathum integrum), the mean between "Keep" and "remember," (medium inter custodi & momento), the fiftieth day from Leviathan (de Leviathan), the Ram (Aries), Joseph the Just, Solomon, justice (iusticia), strength (robur), the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil (lignum scientie boni & mali), the treaty of the lord (foedus dni, actually covenant of Adonai), the bow of the Covenant (arcus testimonii), the glory of the Lord (gloria dni), the foundation of the prophecy of David, redemption, the age of souls (seculum aiarum).

Agrippa: Sadai, that is Omnipotent, satisfying all, and Elhai, which is the living God; foundation;... signifieth a good understanding, a Covenant, redemption and rest, and hath his influence through the order of Angels, whom the Hebrews name Cherubim, into the sphere of the Moon, causing the increase and decrease of all things, and taketh care of the genui, and keepers of men, and distributeth them; his intelligence is Gabriel, who was the keeper of Joseph, Joshua and Daniel.

IN THE TAROT: The Hermit would seem to fit on the descent, as the person in two worlds, divine (Tiferet) and human (Malkhut), and mediating between them with his prayers and visions. The "Marseille" version has a son at knee level, which is where Netzach and Hod are situated, on the analogy of the divine to the human body. Yesod, probably due to the association with circumcision, is put at the genital area, even though on the tree he is lower than the other two.

On the ascent, the Hanged Man fits the bill, as redeemer of Malkhut, and Joseph (who was thrown in a pit), and arbiter between the two sides (the two posts). He is the source of regeneration, indicated by his green trousers on the Sforza card, his position as  in the middle of the 6 + 6 disciples (in the "Marseille II" design), and even as Judas, the 12th disciple, who starts the process by which the world is receemed in Christianity. As the lower extension of Tiferet he is thus Pico's 3rd representative of Jesus in the sefirot (the others being Chochmah and Tiferet).


Bahir: seventh, orient of the world, source of seed. The citron, the female palm, the wife (sect. 172, 348-9).

Great Parchment: Jacob's daughter, tree of knowledge (196). Jerusalem (232). Golden altar (225). The sea (239). Dove (introduction 32).

Gate of Heaven. Kingdom, ...that in which Esther clothed herself (534). Crown of the world (535). Supports the whole world. Woman, receives influence from the male, adorned from attribute of judgment. Positive commandment and negative commandment. Oral law receiving from written law. Opaque mirror, does not shine by itself, but only as it receives from the shining mirror. Image of the lord. (536). Righteousness because it receives from the righteous. Raphael, though whom the sick are healed. The last letter of the name. Prince of the world. Redeeming angel. Daughter of the voice (539). Daughter of Abraham, by which all prophets prophesized except Moses (540). Conception. "Observe", because it contains affirmation and negation at the same time (unlike "Beware", negation, or "Remember", affirmation) (544). Avenging sword, by means of it God's revenge takes place. Moon. Second cherub. The citrus, which requires water. The fruit of the apple (539). Forgiveness (539). Nurse. The maid who serves the glory. Mediator, mediating in favor of Israel. Land of Israel. God of Israel. Sign of the covenant, the rainbow, mixing redness greenness and whiteness. Inferior Shekinah (556). Metatron. Men when they die see wondrous things not seen by others. And prophets let themselves be beaten with a stick until the sensory parts cease, and then they speak by foretelling the future. Or they shout to purify their intellect from perceptible matter (558). Prince of the faces, because all faces incline toward it and itself inclines toward all faces (559).

Pico: Kingdom, severed from the other shoots by Adam's sin (28.4); in the west of Eden, the river Dichon, meaning atonement (Oration, p. 16); tree of the knowledge of good and evil, by which god created the world (28.5); one-horned stag (unicorn, mistranslation of Hebrew word for "hind"); Keneset Israel, female (28.17); unshining mirror (28.20); sea to which all rivers run, divinity (28.27); Tetragrammaton reversed (mem, tsade, pe, tzade), kingdom of David (28.29); universalized bride (28.32); superior earth (28.42); prophecy through the spirit; prophecy through the daughter of the voice (28.46); Adonai,...the Holy Spirit (11>6); word (Lamentations 2:17, in the Vulgate: "he lacerated your word," for Pico meaning Jesus, but in medieval Kabbalah, per Wirszubski [ed. Idel, 1989], this sefira) (11>23); Moon (11>48); in the soul, the power with which it inhabits the first habitation (11>67); AMEN (11>65). "When the light of the mirror not shining becomes just like that of the shining mirror, then Night will be just like Day, as David says" (Ps.28.20; compare to Ricci 58: "The trumpet of the jubilee resounds when the seven remissions which precede the day of the Great Sabbath of which there is no evening...are almost completed.")

Alemanno: And the rest of the nations of the world at the time believed that there was no unity to the world, and no connection between higher and lower worlds, so that they understood Malkhut only as separated from the spiritual world. The nations put all their efforts to separating Malkhut, as the ruler of the material world, from the unified structure. But the sons of Jacob, in contrast, strove to unite it to the spiritual world. When they said to Jacob, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord, our God, the Lord is one," he replied, "Blessed be His name, whose glorious Kingdom (Malkhuto) is for ever and ever (as in the Jewish Liturgy)." (Lesley 221, ... ley221.JPG). "A prophet has the power to cause the emanation of divine eflux from 'Ein Sof upon the hyle [hylic matter] by the intermediary of the sefirah Malkhut. In this way the prophet performs wondrous deeds, impossible in nature." (Idel 185) " ...Malkhut is the source of oral law, which explains all the secrets of the Torah and details of the commandments." (Idel 187).

Ricci. 48. Edonaii, Kingdom, the congregation of Israel, the temple of the King, the bride, the queen of the sky, the virgin of Israel, the gates of God, the kingdom of the house of David, the garden of David. 30. Of the great corporeal man, the male is the shining machine of the sky; the female is that which is seen more obscurely in the moon and the elementaries... 52. As long as he inhabited the garden of pleasure, the first Adam knew all these ten sephiroth contemplation of mind, without the dictate of the Law. 53. But the stimulation of the serpent and Eve, he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he did not cut around its skin; he cut off a twig from its proper root, and he separated Kingdom from Foundation.

Gikatilla: ADONAY (14, Adonai L15): storehouse (14, L16); master of the earth (15, L17); blessing (brachach 16, beracha , benedictio L17); pool (Braichah 16, Berecha, piscina L17); receptacle (19, Adne, receptaculo L18); well (Be'er 19, L19); well of seven (Be'er Sheva 19, Beersheba L19); sea (Yam 19, Iam, mare L20); sea of wisdom (20, mare sapientae L21); all (Kol 21, Col, omne L21), stone (21, lapis L21); sapphire (21, Heb. + saphireus lapis L21); chief stone (21, capitalis lapis L21); dwelling (22, domicilio L22); Holy Temple (23, Heb+ domus sanctuarii L22), Shekhinah (23, Heb. + Shina L24); tent of meeting (Ohel Moed 30; Ohel Moed, taburnaculum concilum L27); justice (Tzedek 30, Zedech, ,iusticia L27); sword of the covenant (31, Heb.+ Gladius ultioni foederis ulter L28); indulgent, merciful judgment for Israel (32; replet ergat israel/cum gratia miseracordiaque iudicandum L29); I (Any 35, Eny ego L30, also applied to Keter); kingdom (malkhut 36, Malchus, regnum L31); eagle (Nesher 37, Neser, aquilla L32): Kingdom of the House of David (36, L32); rich when Israel is righteous, or meager when not (37, L32/33); thus (Koh 39; Ko quia L33); phylactery (Tefila 38, Teiphila ornamenginem L34); Tree of Knowledge (44, Ez Hadaas, lignum scientie L38/39); land of life (Eretz Hachayyim 44, Erez hahaim, terra vite, L39); Book of Life (Sefer Hachayyim 45, Sefer haiham, liber vitae L40; also applied to Binah, 306); this (Zot 46, Zos, haec L40); He called (Vayikra 46, Vaikra, clamavit L40); say (Amirah 49, Emira, dictio/dixit L41; oral law, dictionem lex L42); assembly of Israel (Knesset Israel 52, Heb. + Ecclesiam Israel L45); Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael 53, Heb.+ Terra Israel L45); sufficiency, when filled from attribute above (Shaday 51, Sadai omnipotens L44, usually applied to Yesod); bride (Kalah 53, Kalo sponsa L45); unshining mirror (67); Prayer (70/311, propitiones L102); night (93); Mount Moriah (97); expelled, returned (101); Jerusalem (101); Zion, moon (106); sphere that governs all creatures, gives life and death, bequeaths and enriches, brings low and exalts, makes sick and heals (120); final He, element of earth (215, L84); bent nun (361, L107); Leah (337); garden (345); realm of verdicts (349); tree eaten from by Adam during its three year period of immaturity (period of arla, literally "foreskin" 369, L109). "When the attribute of Gevurah decr4ees its judgment on the lower worlds for destruction....Adonay is called Elohim; it is called by the Name which invokes the attribute of Gevurah, the name of him who decreed its judgment on its subjects" (51).

Reuchlin: "Kingdom" (regnum); the Lord (Adonai), the kingdom, life (vita), the second cherub, unilluminating speculation (speculatio non illuminas), later things (Posteriori), the end (Finis), the church of Israel (Ecclesia Isralis), the bride in the Song of Songs (Sponsa in canticis canticorum), the Queen of Heaven (Regina coeli); the virgin Israel (Virgo Israel), the mystery of Law as transmitted by word of mouth (Mysterium legis ab ore datae), the eagle (Aquila), the fourth letter of the Tetragrammaton, the kingdom of the house of David, the Temple of the king, the doors of God (dei ianua), the Ark of the Covenant and the two tablets in it (arca foederis & due tabulae in ea), the Lord of all the earth (Dominus universae terrae).

Agrippa. Adonai Melech, that is Lord and King; Kingdom and Empire; signifies a Church, Temple of God, and a Gate, and hath his influence through the order of Animastick, viz. of blessed souls, which by the Hebrews is called Issim, that is Nobles, Lords and Princes; they are inferior to the Hierarchies, and have their influence on the sons of men, and give knowledge and the wonderful understanding of things, also industry and prophesy; and the soul of Messiah is president amongst them, or (as others say) the intelligence Metatron which is called the first Creature, or the soul of the world, and was the ruler of Moses.

IN THE TAROT: From these descriptions of Malkhut, one possibility is the Wheel, as that, in Gikatilla's attributions, which exalts and brings low, heals and sickens, brings life and death, waxing and waning like the moon and like the Shekhinah in return and in exile, in glory from good deeds and in shame from sin, the Tree of both Good and Evil. Another possibility is the Popess, as the "word," the oral Torah, speaking from the tablets of the law, or holding the "Book of Life." Her ecclesiastical garb suggests the Temple or Church; one way of looking at the Virgin Mary. The Popess’s low position on the Tree would be in accord with the Popess of legend; like the Magician, she was a low-life trickster who posed as a man and sacrilegiously became Pope.

On the ascent, one possibility is that of Justice. Malkhut personifies the lenient justice given to the people of Israel, tipping their scales in favor of mercy. Thus we have Justice’s left elbow resting on that side of the scales. Since the Wheel is number 10 and Justice sometimes number 11, these are quite appropriate assignments to the sefira on the bottom, ending the descent and beginning the ascent.

But if these cards are supposed to be part of an initiatory sequence, I am more comfortable with Strength as the first card of the ascent, the 11th Marseille trump, even though in the sefiroth Strength is mentioned mainly in connection with sefirot 5 and 8. In Gikatilla, the energy of an attribute flows down to those lower on the Tree. So Strength, which starts out in the 5th sefira, flows down to the 8th and then to the 9th and 10th. Gikatilla says explicitly that Adonai, the 10th sphere, has Gevurah from the higher realms. She is Kingdom, and any kingdom must have strength. So likewise the lady on the Strength card receives strength from the lion next to her, the representative of Gevurah, to prepare her for her journey upwards.,

The 11th position is the beginning of the ascent, where what is needed, against the adversaries to follow, is Fortitude, inner Strength, as the female on the card, a quality of the soul, where the lion is the Lion of Judah, the House of Judah, Jesus in Christianity, who comes to her aid and service. She is then the bride ascending to her husband and the gate to ascending the upper spheres, the seven remissions before which the trumpet sounds, as Ricci says.


The levels of being according to Alemanno. First, here is Psalm 89:6-8

For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD, A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him? O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD [Yah]?...
And Alemanno's commentary (Lesley 130)
In this psalm [89] he [Abraham] divides all existents into four parts: "skies" (shahaq, v. 7), a reference to the spheres; "holy ones" (hna elokim, v. 8), the movers of the spheres; "the great council of the holy ones" (sod qdoshim rabba: v. 8), the world of the seferot; and "mighty one" (hasin yah: v. 9), the agent intellect, which mightily brings all the latent forms from potentiality into actuality, and is affected by the name "Yah," which includes the three highest sefirot. ... On this last, he says that everything is in the mutable world is in the world of motion, and everything in the world of motion is in the sefirotic world.
This is four levels: spheres, movers of spheres, sefirot, and Yah. Rabbi Yitzhaq ben Samuel of Acre, in Sicily at the end of the 13th century, has a more familiar four worlds (Idel, p. 247f at ... y_djvu.txt), In a lengthy quote he speaks of the acronym 'ABYA' and the two worlds of "Yetzirah" and "Beriyah", as being the Y and B of the acronym. If so, the rest must have been known to him, because Idel comments:

The highest one, that of 'Atzilut, is the world of emanation, referred to by R. Yitzhaq in the first A of the 'ABYA' acronym. The next one is the world of Beriy'ah, namely Creation, which is the world of the Divine Chariot, hinted at by the letter Bet. The third, the world of Yetzirah, meaning Formation, is the world of the angels, and corresponds to the letter Yod. Finally, the world of 'Asiyah, the lower world, is to be understood as the world of making.
A Kabbalist with access to the world of Yetzirah can bring down the "vegetative and animal soul". One with access to the world of Beriyah can bring down the "the speaking and rational soul. A few adepts can even ascend higher.

Alemanno also has his "world of letters" (Idel p. 255, quoting Alemanno's Collectanea, Ms. Oxford, Bodleiana 2234, fol. 95b): .

..This is the secret of the world of the letters; they are forms and seals [namely talismans] [made in order] to collect the supernal and spiritual emanation as the seals collect the emanations of the stars...
Idel comments (p. 255)
Alemanno proposes here a Jewish version of magic based upon the assumption that there is a world higher than the celestial spheres and angels, consisting of the forms of the creatures and conceived as the "world of the letters," or according to other parallels a "world of names," while here below it is possible to collect the emanation expanding from that reified linguistic world by using Hebrew letters or names that function as seals and talismans.
Names, or combinations of letters, are "the crystalization of the specific combination of the astral forces, upon which a form, apparently originating from the superastral world, descends". He continues (p 256f):
Thus the influx coming from both the supernal letters, astral forces and superastral ones — sefirotic, for [257] example — constitutes the anthropoid. Other passages in Alemanno make it clear that the superastral plane is the realm of the sefirot, which are conceived of as the forms of the letters, which function as their matter, exactly as in the passage above. 92 Alemanno's sequence, starting with mental operations and ending with mel'akhah, "operation," makes clear that mental engagement precedes the concrete result.
92. See Alemanno, untitled treatise, Ms. Paris, BN 849, fols. 77a, 124b.
He is talking about the creation of a "golem", a favorite topic of Idel's.It appears to be an influx of specific energy from specific sefirot, receivable by someone at the same level of energy. It is explicitly on a higher level than that of astrology, as he says (Collectanea, Ms. Oxford, Bodleiana 2234, fol. 2b):
The astrologer studies the movements and governance of the stars. In the same way the Kabbalist knows what will happen to people in the future by reference to the influence and efflux of the sefirot. This is in accordance with the activities and movements of those who perform the commandments and divine service. This method is superior to that of the astrologer."
In the present context, we might ask whether cards with pictures on them could serve as such talismans, as opposed to reified linguistic entities. I would think not, within Judaism, because the techniques are so linguistically based. In many systems of cartomancy, such as Etteilla's, it is still the words on the card and not what is depicted that is important. However it may be possible to distinguish  the meaning of what is depicted, i.e. the meaning of the symbol, however complex, from the depiction itself. For meanings to combine is much the same as for names to do the same, provided, of course, that the names have meaning as well as a particular sound that is the basis for the meaning it has. In that way cartomancy is more like the ars combinatoria of Raymond Llull than the letter combinations of the ecstatic Kabbalah. These are different but also similar, as Pico observed in his Apologia of 1487 ( ... ia&f=false, p. 294):

...that which is called hohmat har zeruf [revolution or combination of letters] is a combinatory art and it is a method for gaining knowledge, and it is similar to that which we refer to as ars Raymundi, although it proceeds in a very different manner.
The ars combinatoria proceeds by combining words or associated concepts chosen from a specific set, in his case 5 groups of 9 each, according to a particular procedure, so as to arrive at a conclusion using the five words. Three of these sets are much like the 22 subjects of the tarot. For there to be pictures is just one more thing with which to broaden the range of associations allowed, of which the sefirot might be another, for each of the five cards (instead of words) used to arrive at the conclusion.

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