Number: 3 Letter : 1 Gimel
Again we see a young woman, this time without a veil. Her beautiful face freely reveals her nature. She faces us, she looks into our eyes, she does not wish to hide anything from us.
She wears a triple-pointed crown on her head. This denotes that she is queen of the three aspects of life: birth, life and death. It also means that she reigns over space, over the three dimensions. She is ruler of the whole cosmos, the whole universe. She is the queen of heaven, that aspect of God which is procreative and feminine: nature.
She sits perfectly motionless on her throne, just as her laws also are inflexible and unchangeable. She bears in her nature the great secret, the mystery whereby the spirit unites with matter and the divine becomes the human. This is the mystery of procreation. She herself, however, is the great chaste virgin who brings forth myriads of living creatures without having been touched by man. The two worlds, this world and the other, which in the case of the high priestess were still separated, are united in the queen of heaven. She holds sway over the spiritual and the material worlds because she has the power to join them together or to keep them apart. It rests with her and her laws whether a spirit embodies itself in this world and is born, or whether such an embodied spirit frees itself from the material world and its body dies.
Her head is framed by a white circle symbolising the immaculate purity which she radiates. In the circle we see twelve stars, three of which are hidden behind her head. These twelve stars are the signs of the zodiac, the twelve spheres of heaven as it were, by which her dominion over the universe is symbolised.
She has a pair of large, light blue wings, which, when spread out, enable her to hover above infinite space and to fly.
Her tight-fitting dress is red, suggesting that in her innermost being she is completely spiritual, positive. The yellow edging shows her superior reason, which she manifests through the brains of men.
Across her lap and right arm is draped an azure blue robe covering her legs as it falls to the ground. The robe and its brilliant blue colour symbolise the infinite firmament which is her kingdom; they are also a symbol of her immaculate purity. The green inner side of the blue robe signifies her goodwill and sympathy to all living things, to all her children.
The magic wand of the magician has in her hand become a long sceptre crowned with the symbol of the earth, an imperial orb. This symbol consists of a ball surmounted by a cross. It signifies that here on earth the law of matter prevails and that the spirit must bow to this law. The sceptre shows the immense and overwhelming power of Nature over the three worlds: heaven, earth and hell. The laws of Nature are immutable. The queen holds the sceptre in her left hand thus indicating that she rules with the irresistible power of the eternal-feminine and of the mother. She holds a shield bearing the great symbol of the alchemists, the white eagle on a red background. The white eagle symbolises die purity and chastity of the queen of heaven, the transformed sexual energy which she herself uses in its spiritual form only, as creative power. The eagle turns his head to the left, which again suggests the negative-feminine power of the queen. The red background shows that this power is based on the positive powers of the spirit.
The queen's right foot is completely hidden. She rests her left foot on a crescent moon pointing downwards. A crescent moon in the reverse position, pointing upwards, denotes receptivity to the high spiritual powers. The downward position denotes receptivity to masculine potency. The queen of heaven does not allow herself to be fertilised by the material earthly procreative power, she is chaste and remains so, but she does allow the separated sexes to reunite in their material form in her realm, in Nature. She allows the feminine, the receiving, to be fertilised and gratified by the masculine, positive-giving. Thus she succeeds in changing the divine into the human, in uniting the spirit with matter, in uniting the spiritual and material worlds in a new living creature. The queen of heaven, Nature, makes possible the embodiment of the spirit in the world of matter.
Next to the queen a white lily blossoms on the throne. It is also a symbol of her purity and chastity, but especially of her health. Nature strives unremittingly to keep her children, myriads of living creatures, healthy, to instil into them the instinctive urge always to do what is best for their health. And if in spite of this they do become ill, she helps to restore their health. The lily has a very strong healing power: it is rightly the symbol of health and purity.
We find this beautiful figure of a divine woman in all great religions as the feminine aspect of God. She is Nature, the great mother who gives birth to myriads of living creatures and has command over life and death. Her name alone varies from one race to another. The Ancient Egyptians knew her as the heavenly goddess isis, in the Hindu religion she is the worshipped great mother kali, and in the Christian religion she is the madonna. In die Revelation of St John she is described as follows: 'And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.' (Rev.12:1)
The man who is at this level of the tarot becomes acquainted widi the great queen of heaven, nature. He is a 'seeker' and now he begins to explore the secrets of Nature. He no longer tries to act against Nature by leading a foolish life, but rather now adapts himself to her in order to live with and not against her. He experiences the inner command: good health is a duty! He tries to let the powers of Nature work in his body to make it healthy and preserve it in that state. He begins to experiment with various cures and diets, he eliminates meat from his diet as well as artificially produced drinks which rouse and stimulate his low impulses. Thus he grows familiar with the inner desires of Nature which were always latent in him as animal instincts but to which he had never paid heed. Thus he becomes reconciled with Nature, against whom he has so often sinned. He recognizes her as the dominating force in the visible world and in his body. As a result of these endeavours, however, he observes that each physical phenomenon has an emotional cause, that each illness can therefore be traced to an emotional disturbance.
Thus we discover that if we look after our souls, achieve an inner harmony and spiritual health, our bodies also will become healthy. This truth leads us to the fresh discovery that there exists something beyond the dominion of Nature. What is more, this something can rule over Nature. This is our own spirit, our own higher Self. We discover that we are able to make ourselves master of Nature, to control and work with the forces of Nature, if our Self has become master in our soul and in our body. But only if first of all we recognise the laws of Nature! For if we do this, then we shall be able to let these titanic forces work for us not only in ourselves but also in the external world. The miller can only have his corn ground by the current of the water because he recognises the laws of Nature, of water, and builds his mill with the mill-wheel so placed that it is turned by the stream and grinds his corn.
Thus the 'seeker' tries to recognise the laws of Nature, but nevertheless to let them act within him in accordance with his own will. He removes all the obstacles which his foolish way of life had placed in the path of Nature. He begins to practise self-control and mental concentration.
In this way he unites in himself the two worlds, this one and the other, which, while still at the level of the 'high priestess', he wanted to know separately. He lets his spirit, his Self, which always has been and will be in the non-material, other world, rule in his physical being; he ceases to be a slave of his physical desires and tries to use his body as a wonderful instrument. Yet he does not on this account neglect his body; indeed, he gives it careful attention, for otherwise it could not manifest his spirit completely and perfectly. He does not forget that his Self has also helped to assemble his body. He realises that his body is his image, that his body is himself, even if only the most distant manifestation of his own spirit. He takes a big step forward, for he perceives that there is only one all-embracing, boundless universe, that the whole Creation is a single, indivisible unity.
The picture of the queen carries the number 3 and the letter gimel. The number 3 stands for absolute harmony and balance. The three corners of the equilateral triangle are equidistant from one another so that their connection does not result in insoluble tensions, as is for instance the case with the square and all other geometric figures. The number 3 also signifies the Holy Trinity and the three aspects of God, the creative, the preserving and the destroying aspect. All creative factors have three aspects. They are the three dimensions of space: length, breadth and height; the three aspects of time: past, present and future; the three aspects of earthly life: birth, life and death; and the three worlds under the rule of the queen of heaven: heaven, earth and hell. All these aspects are the three manifestations of a single unity. At the level of the ' queen of heaven' man consciously unites all these aspects in one being, in himself. He lives in the three dimensions, in space, he lives in time, he is aware that his body was born and that it will die, therefore he manifests all three aspects of life, even while realising that all these aspects concern only his mortal being. His true Self, his divine being, does not know all these aspects. It knows neither time nor space, birth nor death, past nor future, it knows only eternity and eternal life. It knows only the absolute present, 'the eternal Now'. And man now understands also that heaven, earth and hell are three states of consciousness, and that according to whichever level he identifies himself with, he is happy or unhappy. If he identifies with himself, with his spirit, and seeks spiritual joys, he is happy, therefore in heaven. During his life on earth he has experienced joys and sorrows, but these are both transient. And if he identifies with his impulses and becomes a slave of his body, he loses himself, despairs and in so doing plunges into hell.
At this level of consciousness man has understood Nature, the queen, and tries to put the truths which he understands well in theory, into practice, into realization.
The letter gimel means the human throat, where all the words born in the brain are formed. This letter is the symbol of the material manifestation of intellectual ideas. In the Cabbala it is the third sefirah and corresponds to Binah, practical reason.
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