Being Some Account of the Ineffable Name and of the Four Worlds With Their Correspondences to the Minor Arcana of the Tarot



We must now consider what the Qabalists have to say in regard to the “Four Worlds” which are under the dominion of the Ineffable Name of Four Letters Yod-Heh-Vau-Heh (IHVH) usually called Tetragrammaton.

There are three methods of classifying these “Four Worlds” (1) We may consider them as upon Four Planes one above the other, that is to say, we can take our “Tree of Life” and imagine that there are three similar “Trees” occupying the same position except that each represents a different Level. We can then easily adjust our conception to the consideration of Four Worlds, occupying the same space, but being of different grades of substance, one interpenetrating the other.

(2) We may consider “Four Trees” placed vertically one above the other so that the Kether of the First “Tree” corresponds with the Malkuth of the one above, and so on, thus obtaining a ground plan of all four.

(3) We may consider the One “Tree” we have already studied as divided into Four Parts in a particular manner to be discussed later.

These three methods are useful for different purposes and we should adopt the most convenient for our special needs. I may mention that when a very minute classification is desirable the Sephiroth in each of the Four Worlds can each in turn be divided into “ten” by placing a small complete Tree of Life in each Sephira, thus we should obtain 400 different Sephiroth and a very great number of “Paths.” But this is too complex for our present purpose.

The Names of the Four Worlds are:- ATZILUTH, BRIAH, YETZIRAH and ASSIAH.

1. ATZILUTH, the Highest, is the ARCHETYPAL WORLD. It is in this World that the Primal Ideas arose in the Mind of THE FATHER, Who through WISDOM was able to comprehend the Silent Voice of the One Existence. These were the “Seed Ideas” as yet unmanifest, but containing Potentially the WILL of the Father to manifest in a suitable Substance. This World is attributed to the First letter of the Ineffable Name, Yod, the Letter of the FATHER.

2. BRIAH is the CREATIVE WORLD which, being impregnated with the Will or Life, of the Father is a LIVING SUBSTANCE, Understanding what is necessary to the gradual formation of the ideas and the preparation and bearing of them until perfectly fashioned. It is therefore referred to the Second Letter of the Name, Heh The Great Mother.

3. YETZIRAH is the FORMATIVE WORLD, the product of the previous two, where the perfected ideas having taken form, await a suitable material body in which to clothe them. It is the world of Symbols, something like the Plan of the Great Architect ready for execution. It is attributed to the letter Vau which is that of the SON.

4. ASSIAH is the MATERIAL WORLD wherein all these former worlds of fine matter are Materialized and Manifested in tangible form. It is the Universe as we know it through the five senses. This is attributed to the Final Heh which is called the DAUGHTER and is usually written with a dot in the centre to distinguish it from The Mother.

Now these Worlds are symbolized by the FOUR SUITS in the TAROT, viz.:- WANDS, CUPS, SWORDS and PENTACLES. Notice how closely the symbolism follows. Wands, the Vertical Lines of Will correspond to The Father, Cups hollow and receptive are the Understanding or The Mother, Swords formed as a Cross, the vertical combined with the horizontal, are equivalent to the Son, while Pentacles are the Materialized Daughter summing Up all the foregoing.

There are 40 of these small cards, ten of each suit in turn numbered from One (or Ace) to Ten. These connect at once with the Ten Sephiroth. The Four Aces belong to Kether, the Four Twos to Chokmah, etc., until finally the four Tens are attributed to Malkuth. If we arrange these cards in Ten packs in the form of the “Tree of Life,” placing the Wands uppermost, then the Cups below them and the Swords below that and the Pentacles lowest of all, we find we have a clear set of symbols for the Four Worlds. For instance, we pick up The Six of Cups, what does that mean? Why, 6 is Tiphereth and Cups = Briah, so we obtain Tiphereth in the Creative World. Again Four of Swords will be Chesed of Yetzirah, The Mercy of the Formative World. This is so simple that it needs no further explanation.

Now we should note that the Ineffable name IHVH is particularly attributed to the FOUR ELEMENTS, Jehovah being, as we shall see later on, the God of the Elements. Now Yod is FIRE, Heh is Water, Vau is Air and the final Heh is Earth. Again we find the same symbolism, The fire of the Father, the Water of the Great Sea or Mother, coming together and forming Air, the Son, which with the previous two produces Earth, the Daughter. These again correspond with the Tarot Symbols, Wands = Fire, Cups = Water, Swords = Air and Pentacles = Earth.

We should now consider the Third method of attributing the FOUR WORLDS to the TREE of LIFE. In this we find a peculiar arrangement. KETHER, the CROWN, being PURE EXISTENCE, the Qabalists designated it AHIH which means EXISTENCE IS EXISTENCE. This has been translated in the Scriptures as I AM THAT I AM. Kether is Pure Unity and LIGHT, from which cometh LIFE which is the Substance of Light, and this being a LIVING SUBSTANCE is divided into the FATHER or LIFE and THE MOTHER or SUBSTANCE. But these three are One in Light and form the Supernal Triad KETHER, CHOKMAH, BINAH. Now the Qabalists attribute Yod of IHVH to Chokmah and Heh to Binah as these are the FATHER-MOTHER of all things. They sometimes say that the topmost point of the Yod is in Kether and represents AHIH. Now Vau, the third Letter or SON is attributed to TIPHERETH and the SON ruleth over the Six Sephiroth, Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth, Netzach, Hod and Yesod; otherwise the Moral or Intellectual part of the Tree. Again the final Heh or Daughter is assigned to MALKUTH the Kingdom, which is the materialized Manifestation of the foregoing. She is sometimes called The Queen as the Son is called The King who is Crowned by Kether, but this may perhaps cause some confusion with the Tarot, so we had better designate The FATHER as THE KING, THE MOTHER as THE QUEEN, THE SON as the PRINCE and the DAUGHTER as the PRINCESS.

We now come to the question of the COURT CARDS of the TAROT and we find FOUR of these for each of the FOUR SUITS. They are named, on the Cards, KINGS, QUEENS, KNIGHTS and PAGES. It is evident that there is a connection here with the Ineffable Name, but there has been some confusion in the Symbolism of the Cards for we find the Kings seated on Thrones or in Chariots, the Queens on Thrones, the Knights on Horses and the Pages are on foot. Now the Force of the FATHER (or KING), is QUICK, SUDDEN and very ACTIVE as is the Male Generative Power and this is best symbolized by the HORSED FIGURES who are borne rapidly forward with rush and energy. THESE then are the true KINGS and representatives of the forces of Yod in the Name. The QUEENS are as they should be, seated upon THRONES as if to signify the ENDURING quality of the MOTHER who waits passively while the result of the Active force is at work within her. The cards marked Kings are the real PRINCES or representatives of Vau The Son, for they are seated in CHARIOTS drawn by Horses (or should be so shown) and thus they represent the Combined action of the Father and Mother, somewhat less swift than the Father and more active than the Mother. The Pages are the true PRINCESSES or Daughters. Standing alone because they manifest the FATHER, MOTHER and SON, but only powerful insofar as they remember whence they came. The FOUR KINGS then belong to CHOKMAH, the FOUR QUEENS to BINAH, the FOUR PRINCES to TIPHERETH and the FOUR PRINCESSES to MALKUTH. There being 4 Suits these are particularly referred to the ELEMENTS in the case of the Court Cards, though as before there is a correspondence with the “Four Worlds” if we use the First Classification of Different PLANES.

The KING of WANDS, for instance, is called The LORD of The FLAME and the LIGHTNING, the KING of the SPIRITS of FIRE,1) for The KING is the Father (Yod) and WANDS are attributed to FIRE. So, again, the KING of CUPS is known as The Lord of the Waves and the Waters, the King of the Hosts of the Sea. But let me remind you once again that these KINGS are marked as “Knights” on the cards themselves. It is advisable that the true titles be written on the cards by the student.

We may also obtain a very complete Sub-elemental Attribution to these Court cards, for The KINGS being 4 forces are all FIERY while there are FOUR SUITS also attributed to the elements, so we get different combinations as follows-the King of Wands is FIRE of FIRE, King of Cups = FIRE of WATER, King of Swords = FIRE of AIR and King of Pentacles = FIRE of EARTH. So also with all the other cards. The Prince of Cups, for instance, is AIR of WATER because the Prince = Vau = Air, and Cups = Heh = Water. This may appear a little confusing at first but one soon grasps the idea and once it is fixed in the mind one has the first principles of all this symbolism firmly rooted in consciousness.

There is however another consideration which should be brought forward, viz.: That KETHER is PURE SPIRIT so that the NAME IHVH really only governs the NINE SEPHIROTH below Kether, for in a certain manner, as mentioned before, it is representative of THE ELEMENTS ONLY, and these are CROWNED by SPIRIT. MAN, too, is made up of these ELEMENTS, but by the LIGHT of THE HOLY SPIRIT within him he may RULE and GOVERN them once he has COME TO THE LIGHT or found the KINGDOM of HEAVEN within himself. The process whereby he may find his TRUE SELF will be described later on, but here we should remark that when he does so, he escapes the LAW of the FOUR - the Cross or Square - and becomes a Perfect MICROCOSM or LITTLE UNIVERSE made in the Image and Likeness of GOD. Then he is Symbolized by the PENTAGRAM or FIVE-POINTED STAR of UNCONQUERED WILL and Mystically the letter Shin, which is the HOLY SPIRIT, is said to descend into IHVH thus forming IHShVH or Jeheshuah, the God-Man. This process is symbolized in the Tarot by the ACES which correspond to KETHER and SPIRIT being placed at the top of a Pentagram, the other four arms being attributed to FIRE, WATER, AIR and EARTH, also to KINGS, QUEENS, PRINCES and PRINCESSES. Thus we find we have FIVE ELEMENTS or rather FOUR ELEMENTS which have their ROOTS in SPIRIT. The Aces are called the ROOTS of the Elements, thus, Ace of Wands = The Root of Fire, Ace of Cups = the Root of Water, Ace of Swords = the Root of Air and the Ace of Pentacles = the Root of Earth. These ROOTS signify the SPIRIT. All the foregoing will be made clearer if we complete this Chapter by summing up what we have said in tabular form and also by means of a diagram showing the Holy Pentagram, or Man, with the Elements rightly attributed according to THE NAME IHShVH.

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All the true titles of the Court and small cards may be found in Equinox Vol. I, Number 8 or on “THE WHEEL OF THE TAROT” designed by Frater Achad.