The Tree of Life Choices
(The Kabal Temple)
by Tom Gilmore
All graphics by Tom Gilmore
Index of all Articles
Part I – Solving the Tree
The Alphabet Cards
The Bohemian Major Arcana of 22 cards originated as Hebrew alphabet cards during their enslavement in Egypt. The cards had a number from 1 to 22, and a Hebrew letter in numeric order (Aleph, Beth, Gimel, …). As with modern alphabet cards, various objects with names beginning with the letter were illustrated on the cards.
As shown above, both the Hebrew and ancient Greek alphabets had 22 letters, but the Hebrew did not use lower case letters.
The Kabal Temple
A cabal is a secret association of conspirators (during the mid-evil dark age, defying oppressive religious intolerance to preserve knowledge). The word cabal came from the secret society preserving the knowledge (gnosis) of the Kabal Temple, commonly known as “The Tree of Life Choices”. The origin of this “Tree” was reputed to be an underground temple called the Kabal somewhere near the Sphinx on the Giza plateau. The Kabal Temple has not been discovered, but many tree-like pictographic depictions have survived in the archeological record.
Diagrams of the Kabal Temple show 10 pillars as circles with Hebrew “words” written inside. The letters are read from right to left, but when Romanized, the letters read from left to right. There is an ancient “language” known as “Linear A” which has not been deciphered, and this is because the symbols are not letters, but rather are concepts that are concatenated into a meaning, and so the “words” are actually hieroglyphic.
The letters of the Hebrew “words” on the temple pillars point to secret icons in full view on the 22 Major Arcanum Cards of the Bohemian Tarot. These icons are meant to be concatenated according to the “words” on the pillars. A sample of this process is shown in Part II. However, although instructive, it is not wholly necessary to interpret all of the Hebrew “words” because the diagrams show a key-word on the pillars that approximates the concatenated result. These keywords are shown inside the circles (representing pillars) in the conventional temple diagram shown below-left.
There are 22 connections between the pillars called “paths”, and because of the layout of the conventional diagram, multiple versions of the paths are possible to construct, and a correct version is not uniformly recognized by the occult community. For this reason, no connecting lines are shown on the diagram below-left.
Logic indicates that the layout of the temple diagram was deliberately altered to hide the significance from the Inquisition. In the disguised temple layout (shown to the left below), the Daath pillar is removed and the Malkuth label is drawn as a pillar.
Shown above-right is a coherent temple layout of the 10 pillars with 22 logical symmetrical paths. Daath is restored as a pillar, and Malkuth is restored as a label of the central row of columns (as with the labels of Jakn and Boaz).
The Kabal Tarot
The Kabal elements of the Bohemian Tarot reveal the true meaning of the “tree”. Each letter is associated with one of 3 categories: Main, Compound, or Simple. These categories correspond in number with the 3 types of connecting lines in the corrected Kabal Temple diagram above-right.
3 letters are "mother" or "main" letters (lines in yellow above).
7 are "compound" letters (lines in red above).
12 are "simple" letters (lines in blue above).
The 22 connections between pillars are called "paths" because the simple connections represent the path taken in life.
The “main” letters
are the 3 horizontal paths representing the realms of mind, body, and spirit (mental, physical, and
The 7 “compound” letters are vertical paths representing manifestations of the 3 Realms (central verticals), or results of the path taken (left and right verticals).
The 12 “simple” letters are diagonal paths that represent life-path choices.
For the Kabal Temple diagram presented further below, key-words for the paths were derived from the pictographic contents of the Bohemian Tarot cards. The following list by card number shows the letter category and the key-word.
1 Main Mental
2 Compound Science (Mental realm)
3 Compound Nature (Physical realm)
4 Compound Domain (Emotional realm)
5 Simple Supplication
6 Simple Temptation
7 Simple Subjugation
8 Simple Arbitration
9 Simple Serenity
10 Simple Turmoil
11 Compound Happiness (Jakn Consequence)
12 Compound Suffering (Boaz Consequence)
13 Main Physical
14 Simple Temperance
15 Simple Enslavement
16 Simple Destruction
17 Simple Nurturance
18 Simple Cooperation (19)
19 Simple Conflict (18)
20 Compound Failure (Boaz Consequence)
21* Main Emotional (22)
22 Compound Success (Jakn Consequence) (21)
The pictograms of card 18 and 19 were switched in the Bohemian Tarot. The correct numbers are shown in gray above. Alistair Crowley, reading in obscure occult literature that 2 cards toward the end had been switched, incorrectly decided that the Bohemian switch was between cards 21 and 22 and incorrectly switched them (the correct numbers are shown in gray above).
The fully corrected diagram is shown below (with the incorrect numbers in gray). In the diagram the 22 paths are specified by card number and Kabalistic key-word. The Temple title is “SEPHIROTh”, which when concatenated means “Pillars Know Thyself” (hint: H is “window”).
Many messages can be read from the “tree”. A primary message can be constructed from the left and right stack of pillars as follows:
Reading the right and left stacks of columns and their connections in the graphic above it says: “The Wisdom of showing Mercy and seeking Peace result in Happiness and Success, while using Wit for the Severity of Victory results in Suffering and Failure”.
Correcting the Pictogram Order of the Kabal Tarot
The temple diagram below is marked with colored arrows connecting the sequential numbering of the paths. There is balanced pattern bifurcated into upper and lower sections. This bifurcation reveals why the left and right central pillars have two Hebrew “words”, one for the upper half and one for the lower half.
The reversal of the Crowley switch of 21 and 22 is supported by the pictogram of The Fool clearly representing the emotional realm, which by symmetry should be card 22.
The Bohemian switch of cards 18 and 19 is also indicated by symmetry, but are also revealed by the by the droplets on both cards, which represent the gravity from the Sun and Moon, which combine to produce the tides. The gravitational force acting on Earth from the Sun and the Moon is nearly equal. The Sun is 400 times the size of the Moon, but also 400 times further distant from Earth, and although the Sun is much denser than the Moon, gravitational force decreases exponentially with distance, and the result is that the Moon exerts slightly more gravitational force than the Sun. The ratio of 18 to 19 should be in the order of Sun(18) to Moon(19).
In the bottom bars of the following cards, the card numbers, the vulgar name of the card, the Hebrew letters, and the Romanized letters are shown.
Incorrect pictorial sequence (Bohemian standard)
Corrected Pictorial Sequence 18 ßà 19
The Kabal path key-words have been added on the bar at the top of the cards for comparison to the pictograms. The top bar also shows the Main, Compound, or Simple letter designations, and any astrological associations to the card numbers (for which 17 is the highest number).
Notice (starting with card 5) the numerically ordered simple-letter pairs of opposite life choices.
Two Secrets Revealed:
Card 9 represents the “light on the path” that Jesus offers Thomas to find his way, saying “I am the way the truth and the light”. Those who follow the teaching of Jesus are illuminated, or in plural the Illuminati.
Card 10 depicts the wheel of change that has 4 quadrants: North, East, South, and West. There are 8 spokes because there is also Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest. For the Moon the 4 stages of change are Full, Waning, New, and Waxing. For the Sun the 4 stages are Day, Dusk, Night, and Dawn. For the Seasons the stages are Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. The TAROT was named for this card because the Latin word for rotation R-O-T-A are written on the quadrants and when the wheel is rotated a full circuit spelling ROTAR, from the top it spells T-A-R-O-T..
Angel vs. Devil
The billowing front of the skirt on the figure of Card 14 ties it to Card 2 in which the character has the same billowing skirt. This is a clue that Science (card 2) will blossom in the Age of Aquarius (card 14). We are currently at the start of the Age of Aquarius, and science is blossoming.
Card 15 is the alchemy card. The character has “solve” on the raised arm and “coagula” on the lowered arm. These are the opposite chemical actions of “dissolve’ and “coagulate”.
The following cards show the revised pictogram order, with
the number switches in red.
18 ßà 19
21 ßà 22
Now that the Crowley switch has been corrected, the Bohemian switch of cards 20 and 21 can be made, placing judgment last in the consequences.
20 ßà 21 The order should be Life vs Death.
“The World” pictogram conventionally shows Mother Nature (Gaia) in front of the Earth, to distinguish between the planet Earth and the living Earth (the Ecosystem). Gaia is centered over Africa, where primates originated. Gaia is shown in the newer color version (below) of Card 20, which also shows the icons of the fixed cross at the quadrants.
Taurus -- Bull
Leo – Lion
Scorpio – Bird of Prey
Aquarius -- Serpent
The Fool is being bit because the card icon is “Teeth” (but also because he is oblivious). You can’t tell if the figure is coming or going. The bar color schemes of the 2 cards signifies the invalid Crowley switch.
Part II – Secret Revealed:
Concatenating the Life-path Choice
The 3 columns of pillars are labeled Jakn, Malkuth and Boaz. The secret meaning of Jakn and Boaz is revealed by the Tarot icons of the Romanized Hebrew letters.
The JAKN title of pillars interprets as "fish hook, man, hand (work), fish", or obtaining sustenance from work (being a laborer, by example a fisherman).
The BOAZ title of pillars interprets as "house, pillar (support), man, sword", or taking possessions supported by force (being a soldier or mercenary).