General Observations About The Numbers 1 – 10 And Modalities By Which The Symbolism Of The Numbers Has Been Derived For Their Adaptation To the Minor Arcana

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1

            The Ace represents unity considered as a departure and as a synthesis summarizing the meanings of the 9 consecutive cards.

2

            The number 2 is the symbol of passivity, of polarity, and of the elements of gestation. Through passive polarity, it is without effect, but through gestation, it is the material of all things that develop.

3

            The number 3, through 2 + 1, introduces an activity in the passivity of 2, which gives directions to the gestation.

4.

            The number 4, produced by 2 x 2, contains a crystallization and, as the intermediary between 3 and 5, a transition. It represents therefore a relative state of stability and, consequently, things which are ordered and tend towards a consolidation of themselves, towards security.

5.

            The number 5 is a number of transition, the passage from one plane to another, because it is composed of 4 + 1, 4 being a complete number. to which is added a unity, which is to say, a beginning. The base 4, which is built up in order to engender the following number, gives it a sense of multiplicity and diffusion through influence.

6

            The number 6 represents a harmonious balance, as it is formed from 3 + 3, or two ternaries which are in opposition to each other, and from 2 x 3, implying a similarity between these two ternaries, and, consequently, their equilibrium. In its elementary sense, it signifies a latent power, a potential, which is to say, reserve on which we can draw.

7

            The number 7 = 6 + 1, indicate, through its union, force, action which uses the power contained in 6. It puts it in play, while maintaining its harmony, so that it indicates successful completion. It is a number of synthetic achievement.

8

            The number 8 = 4 + 4 brings unity to the combination of the cross and the square, which is to say, the stability of the material plane with the interior life of the divine plane. This is not an abstract equilibrium, as that of 6, but one which marks an end, because it has no need of being animated through other currents. It is the symbol of infinity, as it is formed of two adjacent circles which, tracing in one direction, develop each other indefinitely.

9

            The number 9 represents the orientation of the abstract towards the concrete. The previous 8 numbers indicate material animated by the divine; when taking 9, which is 8 + 1, one obliges 8, which is perfect, to take on one unit more, which is to say, an entree to action, thus to describe a new cycle,  one which implies a new penetration of force into matter, like the one which is accomplished when the universe, virtually conceived, is realized in matter to make its experience evolutionary.

10

            While 1 synthesized in their principles the numbers from which it began, 10 condenses them within itself, because it participates in each of them through its 0 which connects them in potential and directs them to a new cycle by the 1 which accompanies the 0. It is, furthermore, the number of reason and of calm, since, when it is with 9, the abstract was making contact with the concrete, by 10, it is now in equilibrium in the physical, since 10 = 2 x 5.

Conclusion

            The Minor cards stop at the number 10 because if they were to go beyond this number and arrive at 12, which is an outcome, they would no longer have a link to the physical and they would remain inaccessible to human understanding.

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Representation of the Numbers on the Minor Arcana

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            The number of objects depicted on each minor from 2 through 10, with the exception of Coins, is indicated on the horizontal axis, to the right and to the left, expressing the duality and indicating therefore that these cards are passive, and thus impersonal and inoperative in of themselves, and that they suggest a possible signal, a subordination to other cards, and that they do nothing but offer a property which the other cards direct.

            This clarifies their role eclipsed by the Major Arcana, and this meaning is accentuated also by the Coins. In effect, they do not  bear a number—the circle which represents them has neither beginning nor end–they are able to adapt to all creation, just as money is able to be at the service of all human undertakings.

            These four series of minor cards, with the exception of the Aces, are represented with relation to two axes of symmetry, the vertical and the horizontal; the former characterizing activity, the division into two parts; the latter, the passive signification, separating the Above from the Below–the Spiritual and the Material–making apparent, most of the time, a distinction between the elements of the card.

            The Minor Arcana with figures which by their resemblance to people indicate a personality, are named to affirm this, and hence their predominance over the other minor Arcana.            The Aces bear no numbers, since they represent the synthesis of the series of the cards which they refer to, and, consequently, they are not able to have a place in the rankings. Nevertheless, the cards which follow them, bearing the number which transposes Unity onto another plane, allow their original character to be revealed.

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General Comments about the Minor Arcana

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The Minors represent the secondary forces which are subordinate to the fundamental forces expressed by the Majors. They enable them to show their consequences which lead to the realities and are the steps between the fundamentals and their practical applications: They make the Majors concrete.

            In a nutshell, the Minor Arcana provide the details which lend color to the fundamental forces expressed by the Major Arcana, because, as we do not live in fundamental forces, it is necessary to explain the consequences leading to realities.

            They are, like the Major Arcana, subject to the laws of number. Representing a material idea,  they consist more of simple expressions, and therefore simple images, which is why their total number is greater than that of the Major Arcana. They consist of 56 as opposed to 22 because, for their state to apply to the different combinations of matter,  they are grouped by necessity into four series, 4 being the number representative of the operations of matter. The following names have been given to these series: Swords, Cups, Coins, and Batons.

            On the other hand, as the Tarot represents the evolution of Man, symbolized by the cycles of 10, and 10 implies implies all the periodic elements of the physical world, each element of the quaternary of the minor cards, each with 10 repetitions, express all the possible combinations of numbers in the physical world.

            These combinations, being indeterminate in of themselves, must be defined by a new, conscious quaternary. It results in 4 new figures which, by nature, are doubly polarized; to wit, the Page and the Knight, the Queen and the King.

            The basic quaternary envisaged in this synthesis, with the goal of making concrete the Major Arcana, may be divided into two groups of polarities.

            The first one, active and quantitative, represents an expansive energy and a condensed energy, for which the Ancients made the principles of Fire and of Earth, and which, according to the symbolic drawings of the Minor cards, correspond to the Baton and the Coin respectively.

            The second, passive and qualitative, represents the sensitive states, one one receptive and the other one radiant, for which the Ancients made the principles of Air and of Water, and which correspond to the Sword and the Cup respectively.

            This same quaternary, considered from an analytic point of view, presents us with an ordered concentration of forces: the Fire, the Air, the Water, and the Earth, and correspondingly in the minor cards: the Baton, the Sword, the Cup, and the Coin.[1]

            The combination of synthetic and analytic points of view of the quaternary generate the following principle meanings:

            The SWORD represents activity on the material plane which, in its most subtle and most broad expression, creates access to the spiritual riches of divine love.

            The CUP, a symbol of the receptive sensibility of Man, is filled with these spiritual riches and expresses them with a psychism which extends from the most elevated form to the most elementary: from divine love to human affection.

            The COIN makes these riches concrete, extending them to all domains of the Earth through the works of intelligence.

            The BATON, a symbol of material force, uses these riches to construct, cultivate, and direct.

            Independently of their particular courses, each of these four aspects of the Minor Arcana is reflected in the other three; thus the notion of universal love is found in all four, but it is dominate in the Sword which represents Sacrifice.

            To grasp more easily the successive evolution, which is to say, the tendency and the effort towards a higher finality of the four modalities represented by the Swords, the Cups, the Batons, and the Coins, it is useful to compare the preceding and following cards, not in numerical order, but as equals, which is to say, corresponding to a single polarization.

            The even, or passive, cards fall into one group and the unequal or active ones into another. The even cards produce action on the inside and create reserved forces, while the active cards are active on the outside and cause these reserved forces to produce results by bringing their activity into play.

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[1] The order and the relation of denominations of the cards will seem to be in contradiction of the data presented in certain exegeses of the Tarot. The reader will draw for him- or herself the conclusion according to thorough examination, taking into account that the Sword swirls in the Air, the Baton is derived from wood, the generator of Fire, the Cup is the receptacle of Water and the Coin is the symbol of the metals which the Earth conceals.

Card XXI: The World (Le Monde)

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Epitome

            Among the different combinations of the number 21 likely to agree with this card, the arrangement 20 + 1 and not 7 x 3 is required, because the Tarot, representing the evolution of Man, must take its departure from the second set of ten, as it did from the first set of ten.

            3 x 7 = 21, which has been adopted in certain interpretations of the Tarot, may only be accepted by submitting to some very secondary points of view because this combination represents the cycles of successive actions which would tend to be repeated by ternary series and would no more conform to the Major Arcarum of the Tarot, as it is limited to 22 cards.

            20 + 1 = 21 represents, by 20, a passivity rich with an activity; by 1, clearly marked by the central figure whose raised leg indicates activity, and the androgynous figure suggests the accord between the passivity of the 20 and this activity.

General and Abstract Meaning

            This card signifies THE PSYCHIC AND SPIRITUAL ILLUMINATION IN A HARMONY MANIFESTED BY THE CLEARLY VISIBLE EQUILIBRIUM IN THE ARRANGEMENT OF THE ELEMENTS DEPICTED IN THIS CARD.

            It symbolizes the perfection of Man in the universal, its triumph over matter, its power over nature.

            It comes after the Judgement, which prepared for Man the means for arriving at the apogee of his evolution by forcing him to hear the call of the divine and to make a fair return on himself after each incarnation in matter. In a more general sense, it also symbolizes the perfect equilibrium of the worlds.

Specific Analogies

            The central figure is androgynous: the two sexes reunited in one, without being able to characterize either one of them dominates. They signify, however, that the two poles are equal, while maintaining their own superiority and independence of their wills. The sex of this figure is veiled because it reaches its apogee, not to be reincarnated again, and thus nor to procreate any more, either. This is indicated by a fine scarf thrown slightly over it and not by a loincloth which would denote the desire to conceal. 

            Its left leg is bent back to indicate that the figure is active and not immobile. The figure’s right leg, positioned on a support relying on both branches of the garland and not on their intersection, shows that it is walking on a support based on it and coming from an intelligent manifestation, since it is yellow. The figure’s left hand is holding a baton representing power over nature, and in the right hand the figure holds between two fingers, an oval container symbolizing a philter. This philter is the creator of illusion in all planes of nature, because Man is able to have the illusion of love as much as of spirituality. The philter stands in opposition to the baton, in the sense that illusion created by Man is able to give him a momentary feeling of royalty, and everywhere, as much as in the world of illusions as in the real, spiritual domain, Man possesses a royalty which he possesses from his divine essence.

            The garland surrounding the figure represents the double influence of the universal on Man and Man on the universal. In the first case, it signifies the currents of cosmic fluids which maintain it, and in the second case, it manifests the perfect aura achieved by man on the three planes: red (evolved matter), yellow (divine intelligence), blue (spiritual mystic). The blue is at the bottom to indicate that Man, delivered from the slavery of the flesh, is now entirely in spirituality, and the red, placed between the yellow and blue, shows that matter takes its place between the spiritual and divine intelligence. The red lines at the top and bottom fuse these two poles together.

            The four figures manifest the quartet of superior forces, stabilized and balanced in matter. This equilibrium comes from their placement in the four corners, with the indication that Man has achieved full mastery over his internal forces.

            The Eagle represents wisdom from Above, which is to say, the spiritual wisdom hovering over all creation. Its penetration into the depths of matter is symbolized by the red halo, and its action on all planes, planes which are interposed, by its body made of yellow feathers and its wings of blue feathers. The height on which it is perched, represented by a cloud, consists of something delicate and not concrete, as a spirituality created by Man and shown in white.

            The Being at the top on the left has a human form to recall its connections with humanity. Its red wings signify that Man is not able to reach this state of supreme perfection without having passed through Matter and emerged from it. His blue arms symbolize actions performed entirely in the domain of high spirituality. On the front of his blue robe, white on one side and ribbed on the other, represent therefore the spiritual acts of Man, some obvious, some obscure, unknown to him, although their significance may be far-reaching.

            The Bull, flesh-colored, is a symbol of the generative power of the physical plane; it has no halo since, being essentially a being of matter, it is brute regenerative force with no discernment. Its wings signify that its symbolic power extends to all forms of life and to all worlds.

            The Lion with its yellow color symbolizes the intelligent force of the universewhich presides over this universal fertilization and which, in the same way as the flesh-colored Bull, is not the passionate human matter represented by the red dolor of the other Cards, but the matter of the worlds, a concretization of the divine thought. Its halo, flesh colored, shows that this intelligent force radiates in the plane of intelligence.

Orientation of the Figures

            All are facing the viewer except for the eagle, which is presented in profile to the right with its head to the left, implying a forceful, direction action, but also using reflection to find inspiration before taking flight.

Specific and Concrete Meaning

            This card has as its name “THE WORLD” because, being found as it is at the end of the Major Arcana, it harmoniously makes concrete the efforts of the evolution indicated by the preceding cards.

Meanings as They Relate to the Three Planes

            In a spread, this card signifies the feminine element, it is not able to be interpreted as nor adapted to the masculine.  It is a very individual card: if the querent is a man, it represents his thoughts, but not his individuality; if the querent is a woman, it represents her personality more than her thoughts.

            MENTAL. Great power on this plane. Tendency towards perfection. Mental and psychic mastery.

            ANIMISTIC. It conserves its power on this plane and signifies the elevation of the spirit, the feeling of altruistic love, that is to say, neither egotistical nor sensual (as the being depicted on the card is androgynous). Love of humanity. Tendency towards perfection. Among artists, inspiration.

            PHYSICAL. It loses, on this plane for which it is scarcely adapted, a great deal of its power. Acquisition of riches. Sound and expanding business relationships. Success and worldliness. Good health.

            INVERTED.  Pitfalls, obstructions, lack of success. The negation of a triumph, of feelings. Sacrifice of love.

*

            In sum, in its elementary sense, “THE WORLD” represents Man who maintains his balance while finding support on the cosmic principles: Wisdom and Spirituality, generative power and the Guiding power, and someone who exercises his power over nature in harmony with universal laws. 

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Card XVIIII: The Sun (Le Soleil)

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Epitome

            Along the same conceptual lines of the previous card, the number 19 breaks down into 10 + 9, 10 representing the universal cycle and 9 representing perfection, as it realizes the product of 3 x 3, which is to say, the union of the two ternaries, one in the Individual, the other in the Universal, a fusion which presents a complete harmony.

            19 can also be considered as issuing from 9 + 9 + 1; the two 9s forming a new ternary adjustment of the individual with the universal, no less complete than the preceding one, and unity. This other aspect of perfection represents a resumption, but on firm foundations.By its evolution, this cycle, this world, necessitates a change of plan.

            The principles of the Universal, while fusing with those of the Individual, cause matter to vibrate; it is illuminated, achieves autonomy, extends its vibrations and rays over that which surrounds it. This is why Card XVIIII represents the concrete expression of this harmony through the Sun.

General and Abstract Meaning

            This card signifies THE TRIUMPH OF MAN OVER MATTER AND HIS EVOLUTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH DIVINITY.

            It stands in opposition to the preceding one which represents the action of Man, separated, distanced from that of the divine, while through its image of the Sun, as well as the number which designates it, it shows the reception of a divine form, radiant and beneficient; it follows that this grants the spirit a harmonious mastery over matter.

Specific Analogies

            The Sun is depicted facing the viewer to show that its force is universal and does not have a light side and a dark side. It is represented with the appearance of a man, indicating therefore that the manifestation of the divine takes on a human appearance.

            The rays alternate between triangles and flames. The triangular rays denote the perfect accord which emanates from this star, and the rays in the shape of flames, the devouring effect it exerts, because the man going forth under their radiance is entirely absorbed by the divine force which has sent it forth. They are of all colors to make the universality of their harmony manifest.

            The teardrops falling from the Sun, represented with their points upward, indicate a fertile emanation, without any loss to itself (as in the Moon card), but rather with a fullness which is exalted in their approach to what is below. Their red, yellow, and blue colors indicate that they have their foundation as much on the material as on the spiritual plane or that of intelligence.

            The two beings placed under the Sun represent a perfect union of the spiritual and the material. Their sexes are different to show that their quality is connected as much to their active as their passive sides. The one which rests its hand on the other’s shoulder indicates the active principle, while his companion, who is placing a hand on the center of the other one’s body and holds the other hand back, shows that it holds something in reserve and removed. This disposition highlights the balance which exists between them and which is due to them being a creation of the divine plan. Their flesh color specifies that the action of the divine plane takes place on the plane of existence.

            Their waistbands highlight the demarcation of the high and the low, the spiritual and the material, whose fusion has been indicated in the discussion about the number of this card; it is blue to show that there is in this representation neither low principles nor elevated ones, but only a spiritual emanation.

            The little yellow wall, topped with red, indicates the possibility of constructions in the physical world without obstruction, a possibility of creating a harmonious edifice, stable and solid.

            The ground is yellow to show that the base has been constructed through divine intelligence.

Position of the Figures

            The position of the face of the Sun underscores its direct action, full, direct, and having come from Above. The two beings turned towards each other denote an balanced and harmonious activity, since passivity is to the left and activity to the right, turning towards each other, imbuing each other.  They are very much the counterpart to the two beings of the card “LE DIABLE.”

Specific and Concrete Meaning

            The name “LE SOLEIL” has been given to it in the sense of radiance, because the sun which shines on the world gives it vitality and harmony.

Meanings As They Relate to The Three Planes

            MENTAL.  Towering vision. Wisdom in writings, harmonious diffusion on the multitude below,radiance of thought with great import.

            ANIMISTIC.  Chivalrous affection, selfless devotion. This card only refers to great passions.

            PHYSICAL.  Health, physical beauty. Element of triumph and success in some situation in which you find yourself.

            INVERTED. Great adversity, unlucky fate, fumbling in the dark.

*

            In sum: in its Elementary Sense, “LE SOLEIL” represents the light always present in Man, which appears in the activity of day, veiled in nocturnal medications, which enable one to raise up with clarity and harmony one’s edifices–material, emotional, or spiritual

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Card XIIII: Temperance (La Tempérance)

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Epitome

            The number 14 is equal to 12 + 2, which is to say, to a evolutionary period which has been completed, locked within a polarity. This is why this Card, drawing its power from a concentration resulting from the experience of a completed cycle, operates in a closed circuit, motivating a movement between two passive reservoirs which compensate for each other.

General and Abstract Meaning

            This card symbolizes THE GREAT RESERVOIR OF POSSIBILITIES BETWEEN THE ETERNAL GAME OF THE ENERGIES OF MATTER; it represents ETERNAL CONTINUATION; it comes after Card XIII because it does not mark an end.

Specific Analogies

            The figure is that of an angel in order to signify immateriality and to show that its action is not the fruit of human endeavor. It has blue hair, a sign of spirituality. The red star on the figure’s forehead gives guidance and shows that it can only act on the physical plane. The figure’s wings, flesh-colored, locates its action on the living plane.

            The red arms show her penetration into the physical plane, her bodice of diverse colors makes it above all intellectual and spiritual, a covering which conceals the divine; its work takes place entirely in the world of energies.

            The robe is half red, half blue, because equilibrium must be maintained as much in spirituality as in the material, and they cannot be separated.

            The angel is leaning to make it clear that it is the blue vase of physical spirituality which it pours into the the red vase of materiality. The position of its hands and its posture are unchanging; if the angel remained upright, it would suggest that she could lean in the other direction.

            The two vases symbolize the perpetual renewal which establishes balance between the material and the spiritual; the one eternally passing into the other without ever filling it, the material forever renewing itself. The colorless water, which is to say, neutral, represents the fluid uniting the two poles and thereby neutralizing them; leaving the same blue vase and returning, following the principle of the flux and reflux of forces.

            The angel is standing on yellow ground with green herbs in order to show that it has a divine base in its action on the material plane, a base which produces an earthly, but not divine, bloom.

Orientation of the Figure

            The body is facing the viewer, but her head is turned to the left, thus indicating that she is taking time to reflect since, as temperance reconciles extremes, action requires taking the time necessary to be performed effectively.

Specific and Concrete Meaning

            The name “TEMPÉRANCE” has been given to it since this card has to do with reconciliation in all things.

Meanings As They Relate To The Three Planes

            MENTAL.  She bears the spirit of conciliation, the absence of passion in judgement; she expresses a sense of the profundity of things, thus representative of an eternal principle, a psychic personality, not imposing any notion of fixity, but rather something plastic–which is to say, moving, and adapting to circumstances.

            ANIMISTIC.  Entities brought to gather by affinity; under the influence of this card, they are contented, but do not evolve and do makes exchanges between one another.

            PHYSICAL. In business, conciliation. Weighing the pros and cons, finding the right arrangements to make, but not knowing if the undertaking will be crowned with success; reflexion, a decision which will not immediately be acted on.

            With respect to health: incurable affliction, since it is engendering its own fermentation.

            INVERTED. Trouble, discord, but prevarications and and hesitations will be eliminated.

*

            In sum, in its Elementary Sense, “LA TEMPÉRANCE” represents the task of adapting in the face of a new pursuit, the task of becoming malleable which which Man accomplishes in order to adapt to something new, and in a broader sense, material energies adapting to spiritual energies.   

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Card: XI: Force (La FORCE)

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Epitome

            The number 11 is equal to 10 + 1, which is to say, the starting principle of 1, coming after a cycle of 10 which the Wheel of Fortune had analyzed. This principle, consisting of what has been acquired in the cycle, represents therefore a force which does not come from Above, but which manifests as an energy acquired.

General and Abstract Meaning

            This card represents the powers which come from completing a cycle. It indicates, therefore, the struggle and the will to win, a state which can only be realized if Man obtains mastery over this force, rather than being controlled by it. This will of the spirit is symbolized by a woman to show that Force should be exercised without violence.

Specific Analogies

            Her hat, blue, yellow, and white, represents the three states of consciousness: spirituality, intelligence, and the higher mind. The area with the braided robe indicates the space between the spiritual and the mental. Its shape, ∞, the algebraic symbol of infinity, that which has neither beginning nor end, signifies that it encompasses the entire universe and that it ensures its strength through equilibrium. This is the will of Being over all the planes of existence.

            The black line on her neck is the demarcation between the intelligent higher physical plane and the lower physical plane which remains subordinate to intelligence.

            The blue robe and the yellow corselet with its tight lacing shows that the spiritual is a state in her, surrounded by intelligence, and the cloak, with its red pleats billowing and not clinging to her body, shows that its action is exercised in material activities, but she is only able to achieve fleeting victories without anything to show for them.

            The arm which symbolizes the acts of force is covered by pleated yellow sleeves, with flesh-colored cuffs, indicating therefore that her acts, directed by human intelligence, operate in the plane of physical life as well as outside it, which is to say, in incarnate being  as much as in disembodied being, and this is why her foot is bare and protrudes out from under her skirt, specifying that victories are bringing about advancement and that this movement forward can take place on any plane.

            The yellow lion the intelligent forces of nature, against which it is necessary to struggle lest one be devoured by them. She spreads its jaws apart showing thereby that she must look into its interior in order to remove the hidden forces which reside within in order to know and make them submit. This lion is also the representation of the intelligent and immutable force of the Divine which is in the Cosmos and in Man,  one which cannot be separated from them, since it sits in opposition to Force, without an aggressive attitude and half concealed, as if it were all part of the same entity.  No force can deliver effective action without a close union between Man, the Cosmos, and the Divine.

Orientation of the Figure

            Force holds her face towards us, right sight facing us. The position of her head, inclining to her left, indicates thought and reflection; she is oriented towards an action which she must take her time in executing. Her body, not being entirely turned toward the right, signifies, finally, that she is emerging from her reflection towards an effective action.

Specific and Concrete Meaning

            The name of the card, “LA FORCE,” specifies that this is in the sense of personal power over matter.

Meanings As They Relate to the Three Planes

            MENTAL.  It gives tremendous power to distinguish the truth from what is false, the useful from the useless, and a precise clarity in judgement.

            ANIMISTIC. Dominance over one’s passions, the power of conquering. Example: a woman getting married will draw strength from affection. Affectionate protection.

            PHYSICAL.  The will to overcome calamities and to master the situation when one is one the side of right. The power to lead in any material matter.

            INVERTED.   The person is no longer the master of his own strength; he is brutal, unruly, or else has let go of it and is not using it.  Calamities or people will knock him down, his strength will be annihilated and he will be the victim of higher powers.

*           

  In sum, in its elementary meaning, “LA FORCE” represents among the powers of Man, that which is the fruit of his efforts and which he is able to exercise fully over all the planes, when it keeps it in accordance with divine laws.

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