The Hebrew Letters As The Basis Of The Symbolical Tarot

We shall now study the Hebrew letters one by one, in determining successively--

1st. The hieroglyphic value of each one of them according to its origin (Fabre d'Olivet, Barrois),

2nd. Its symbolic value derived from this hieroglyphic (Fabre d'Olivet, Eliphas Levi, Christian);

3rd. Its astronomical value (Christian and the Sepher Yetzirah.).

Once acquainted with these data, it will be easy for us to deduce from them the application of the letters to the symbols of the Tarot.

But before we enter upon this study, it is necessary to say a few words upon the Hebrew alphabet in general and its constitution.

The alphabet of the Hebrews is composed of 22 letters; these letters, however, are not placed by chance, one after the other. Each of them corresponds with a number according to its rank, with a hieroglyphic according to its form, with a symbol according to its affinities with the other letters.

As we have already said, all the letters are derived from one amongst them, the yod. 1 The yod has generated them in the following manner (see Sepher Yetzirah)--

1st. Three mothers:

2nd. Seven doubles (double because they express two sounds, the one positive strong, the other negative soft);

The B

(Beth)

f

The G

(Gimel)

g

The D

(Daleth)

g

The Ch

(Caph)

h

The Ph

(Pe)

3

The R

(Resh)

j

The T

(Tau)

k

3rd. Lastly, twelve simple, formed by the other letters.

To render this clearer, we will give the Hebrew alphabet here, indicating the quality of each letter and its rank. (See page 95.)

We have now given a fixed principle for symbolism in the Hebrew letter, and need not fear being deceived by the false interpretation of a costume, or of an incorrect figure. The Hebrew letter will be always there, to enlighten us upon obscure or difficult points.

We can therefore safely return to the Tarot, which we have left to make this digression.

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