Hebrew for Tarot Readers: Assigning the Seven Planets


A tutorial series by guest poster, Mick Frankel

Part Four: Assigning the Seven Planets

At the end of lesson two, the Double Letters, I said:

“But, the way that the planets are assigned to the Tarot Trumps is a source of such confusion that I intend to leave a detailed description of the Double Letters for the moment.”

Basically, in the Golden Dawn system, there are 7 planets and they correspond to 7 Trumps:

  • The Magician – Mercury
  • The High Priestess – The Moon
  • The Empress – Venus
  • The Wheel of Fortune – Jupiter
  • The Sun – The Sun
  • The Tower – Mars
  • The World – Saturn

Lesson 4 tries to answer the question, Which 7 Hebrew letters do you assign to these 7 Trumps?

Bais

Bais, the first of the seven Double Letters looks like this

is the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has the numerical value 2.

Using the sequential value, Eliphas Lévi gave the straightforward correspondence to Tarot Trump II The High Priestess.

In Sefer Yetziroh, each of the seven double letters corresponds to one of the seven traditional planets.

Depending on the version of Sefer Yetsiroh, בּ corresponds either to Saturn or to the Moon. There may be other versions but these seem to be the two main correspondences.

Here’s a very ancient sequence of the seven planets known as the Chaldean Sequence. The planets are shown in order of the time it takes them to travel through the Zodiac:

  1. Saturn
  2. Jupiter
  3. Mars
  4. The Sun
  5. Venus
  6. Mercury
  7. The Moon

The Chaldean Sequence starts with the slowest moving planet, Saturn, which takes about 29 years to move through the Zodiac. The sequence ends with The Moon which takes about 29 days.

Notice that The Sun is positioned between Mars and Venus where Earth is in the Solar System.

The Saadia version of Sefer Yetziroh gives the Double Letters, in Aleph-Bais sequence, the correspondences to the planets in the Chaldean Sequence.

The Saadia version of Sefer Yetziroh gives the correspondence to the planet Saturn.

The seven Double Letters correspond to the seven planets. In Book-T, there are seven Tarot cards that correspond to the planets as follows:

As mentioned before, different versions of Sefer Yetziroh give the correspondence to either Saturn or to The Moon.

Eliphas Lévi’s correspondence of to II The High Priestess has the common link to the Moon.

But the Golden Dawn gave the correspondence to Tarot Trump I The Magician. This is the Trump that Book-T links to Mercury.

So, it seems that the Golden Dawn haven’t used the Sefer Yetziroh correspondences of the Double Letters to the planets but, instead, have preserved the order of the Tarot Trumps.

Having assigned the Mother Letters and the 12 Simple Letters, it’s as if the Golden Dawn have taken , the first Double Letter, to correspond to the first of the “available places” in the Tarot Trumps.

Taking the Saadia Sefer Yetziroh correspondence with Saturn into the Tarot Trumps would link to XXI The World.

It’s confusing. Unfortunately, the correspondences for the Double Letters don’t seem to be as easy to understand as the other letters of the Aleph-bais.

Gimmel

Gimmel, the second of the seven Double Letters looks like this ג

Although ג is a Double Letter, adding a dot in the centre of the letter doesn’t affect the pronunciation.

ג is the third letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has the numerical value 3.

Using the sequential value, Eliphas Lévi gave ג the straightforward correspondence to Tarot Trump III The Empress.

Depending on the version of Sefer Yetziroh, ג corresponds either to Jupiter or to Mars. There may be other versions but these seem to be the two main correspondences.

But the Golden Dawn gave ג the correspondence to Tarot Trump II The High Priestess. This is the Trump that Book-T links to The Moon.

Taking the Saadia Sefer Yetziroh correspondence with Jupiter into the Tarot Trumps would link ג to X The Wheel of Fortune.

Daled

Daled, the third of the seven Double Letters looks like this ד

Although ד is a Double Letter, adding a dot in the centre of the letter doesn’t affect the pronunciation.

ד is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has the numerical value 4.

Using the sequential value, Eliphas Lévi gave ד the straightforward correspondence to Tarot Trump IIII The Emperor.

Depending on the version of Sefer Yetziroh, ד corresponds either to Mars or to The Sun. There may be other versions but these seem to be the two main correspondences.

But the Golden Dawn gave ד the correspondence to Tarot Trump III The Empress. This is the Trump that Book-T links to Venus.

Taking the Saadia Sefer Yetziroh correspondence with Mars into the Tarot Trumps would link ד to XVI The Tower.

Chaf

Chaf, the fourth of the seven Double Letters looks like this כ

With a dot in the middle, the letter is Caf with a hard “k” sound.

כ is the eleventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has the numerical value 20 whether it has a dot or not.

Using the sequential value, Eliphas Lévi gave כ the straightforward correspondence to Tarot Trump XI which in the Tarot de Marseille deck is Strength.

Depending on the version of Sefer Yetziroh, כ corresponds either to The Sun or to Venus. There may be other versions but these seem to be the two main correspondences.

Eliphas Lévi’s correspondence of כ is to XI Strength. Mark Filipas says that the letter looks like the open jaws of the lion shown on that card.

But the Golden Dawn gave כ the correspondence to Tarot Trump X The Wheel Of Fortune. This is the Trump that Book-T links to Jupiter.

Taking the Saadia Sefer Yetziroh correspondence with The Sun into the Tarot Trumps would link כ to XIX The Sun.

Pay

Pay, the fifth of the seven Double Letters looks like this

Without the dot in the middle, the letter is Fay.

is the seventeenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has the numerical value 80 whether it has a dot or not.

Using the sequential value, Eliphas Lévi gave פּ the straightforward correspondence to Tarot Trump XVII The Star.

Depending on the version of Sefer Yetziroh, פּ corresponds either to Venus or to Mercury. There may be other versions but these seem to be the two main correspondences.

But the Golden Dawn gave the correspondence to Tarot Trump XVI The Tower. This is the Trump that Book-T links to Mars.

Taking the Saadia Sefer Yetziroh correspondence with Venus into the Tarot Trumps would link פּ to III The Empress.

Raish

Raish, the sixth of the seven Double Letters looks like this ר

Adding the dot in the middle doesn’t affect the pronunciation at all. Nonetheless, ר is considered a Double Letter. Perhaps רּ had a different pronunciation in the past?

ר is the twentieth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has the numerical value 200 whether it has a dot or not.

Using the sequential value, Eliphas Lévi gave ר the straightforward correspondence to Tarot Trump XX Judgement.

Depending on the version of Sefer Yetziroh, ר corresponds either to Mercury or to Saturn. There may be other versions but these seem to be the two main correspondences.

But the Golden Dawn gave ר the correspondence to Tarot Trump XIX The Sun. This is the Trump that Book-T links straightforwardly to The Sun in Astrology.

Taking the Saadia Sefer Yetziroh correspondence with Mercury into the Tarot Trumps would link ר to I The Magician.

Tof

Tof, the last of the seven Double Letters looks like this

Without the dot in the middle, the name is Sof.

is the last, which is to say the twenty-second letter of the Hebrew alphabet and has the numerical value 400 whether it has a dot or not.

Eliphas Lévi gave The Fool the correspondence to the twenty-first letter and called The Fool Trump XXI. This made The World into Trump XXII to which Lévi attributed the letter . Trump XXII = letter 22. Bravo Monsieur Lévi!

The World is the only card on which Lévi and the Golden Dawn agree. The last letter in the Hebrew alphabet corresponds to the last of the Tarot Trumps for both the Golden Dawn and for Eliphas Lévi.

Depending on the version of Sefer Yetziroh, corresponds either to The Moon or to Jupiter. There may be other versions but these seem to be the two main correspondences.

Eliphas Lévi’s correspondence of is to The World which he numbered XXII.

The Golden Dawn also gave תּ the correspondence to The World as Tarot Trump XXI. This is the Trump that Book-T links to Saturn in Astrology.

Taking the Saadia Sefer Yetziroh correspondence with The Moon into the Tarot Trumps would link to II The High Priestess.

The Chaldean Sequence

So. Well done if you’ve got this far. Here’s the punchline:

We can now “triangulate” the Saadia Sefer Yetziroh planetary correspondences between the double letters and the planets and then the Golden Dawn planetary correspondences into the Tarot Trumps. We end up with this in Chaldean sequence:

And putting the Trumps in Alef-Bais sequence gives us this numbering:

  • II The World
  • III The Wheel of Fortune
  • IV The Tower
  • XI The Sun
  • XVII The Empress
  • XX The Magician
  • XXII The High Priestess

In other words, the highest card in the deck isn’t The World but, instead, it’s The High Priestess.

But we knew that all along, didn’t we?

Here’s the full sequence of Tarot Trumps in Aleph-Bais order:

 
Mick Frankel
 

Tutorial Index

Hebrew for Tarot Readers is a free course run by Mick. If you would like to join, you can apply directly to Mick, or via the Yahoo Group page for the course. The benefits of joining are of course the interaction with Mick, other members and course materials, including sound files to help you with pronunciation of the Hebrew Letters.

Be sure to visit Mick’s excellent website for Tarot, I-Ching, Astrology and Dream Interpretation services and articles.


 

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