The first Tarot Card – Shiva and Shakti
Divine consciousness (Shiva) and the power of creation Bardon explains the symbolism of the first Tarot Card, the initiation into magic and the magician as an authority in creation. The first Tarot Card in his book is a wonderful picture with a great symbolism. I like it very much. Somewhere, I guess at the end of his book, he says that the symbolism respectively the meaning of the first Tarot Card is somehow hidden in the Yoga teachings about the Muladhara chakra and in the mystery of Shiva and Shakti. I think that it makes sense to explain this a little bit more.
The first Tarot Card deals with the magician. The magician wears a crown or a lotus with petals and a red gem in the centre. Above there is a sphere with a god and a goddess in love. Now guess what this crown is and who these divine beings are, any ideas? In fact, these are hints where all the magical knowledge comes from old India, Tibet, Persia. The lotus is nothing else than the completely unfolded crown chakra of the master which means that the master takes part in the divine or cosmic consciousness. The red gem points at the philosopher’s stone which is able to realize wishes down from the
The red gem points at the philosopher’s stone which is able to realize wishes down from the mental realms into the material world and this in a powerful way – the power of materialization. In the human body, this power is the Shakti, the creative, materializing power of the master, indeed the awakened power of imagination. This female power or goddess comes up the spine, the Sushumna to unite with the male god, Shiva in the crown chakra – the god and the goddess in-love united in the sphere above the magician ́s head. Shiva represents the static divine consciousness and Shakti is the active, creative power which manifests creation. In fact, both build a unity and they are never separated, only the male and the female aspect of the Divine Spirit. The point is that Shiva and Shakti are somehow sleeping, are inactive in the normal human microcosm or in different words, the human being has not connected itself to the (Shakti) is sleeping in his Muladhara, the root chakra. So the great challenge for the spiritual seeker, independent from the spiritual tradition, is to connect to the
divine consciousness and to awaken his Shakti and then to unite both in the crown chakra – the mystical wedding! On the way up to Shiva, the divine consciousness, the Shakti is awakening all chakras, all psychic centres along the spine which means the full awakening of the divine nature in the human body.
And now we come to the little secret of Shiva and Shakti – they unite in love! The awakening process is a matter of love and unity can also only happen in love. The whole process is already absolutely great. Shiva, the divine consciousness, the god, is
longing for his wife, Shakti, the beautiful and powerful goddess who is sleeping in the Muladhara chakra respectively who is sleeping in matter, in the material world, the sleeping spirit in matter. The spiritual student makes now exercises to connect to Shiva and the spiritual power flows down into the lowest realms of creation, of the microcosm of the student to awaken his wife, his beloved Shakti and then she unfolds her power and flows up to unite with her beloved husband in the crown chakra, – the mystical and most beautiful wedding.
In fact, it is the fire of concentration which is able to activate the Ajna chakra, the master centre, then also the crown chakra, the heart chakra and the other chakras and the Shakti in the root chakra. Indeed this is a spiritualization process in steps where the whole frequency, where all energies and chakras are refined, activated and vitalized. This must be done very carefully and in the best case under the supervision of a master. If you start directly with the Shakti and she awakens too early, then you can burn your whole energy system including great suffering and pains. The Shakti will burn all impurities without mercy and such a transformation process is more than torture. So it is wise to do a lot of clearing, healing and balancing, also smooth awakening before you activate the Shakti.
In Bardon’s system, the Shakti will be awakened in small steps. In fact, he also starts with awakening Shiva, the crown chakra with the stillness of mind exercise. Then he awakens the Ajna chakra with the concentration and imagination exercises which have also awakening effects on the Shakti. Then he vitalizes the body with the vital energy breathing exercises and later with the element breathing. So the energy system can clear, heal and adapt itself to high powers. Just by undergoing the normal further training the Shakti and Shiva will unfold more and more. A perfect mystical wedding takes place due to your mystical training or later in the tenth step where you focus your whole training on uniting with God. So in fact when you are a mystical person, feeling a lot of love for God, then it can happen that you witness the wedding much earlier in your meditations. The unity stabilizes with the passing time and your increasing refinement to a divine nature. So repetition of such meditations is useful (and creates happiness). In the “Practice” part I will give some instructions for such a meditation.
Coming back to the symbolism of the Muladhara chakra with the Shakti: The root chakra has four petals, a red colour, a square, a lingam with a serpent. It is indeed the lowest centre, with the lowest, densest frequency, vibration, analogue to the material world, analogue to matter the sleeping spirit. Here the creative power of God, of Shiva is sleeping indeed – we have to work for results! In the higher realms, our imagination is the creative power to cause any wished for results, changes of our surroundings, etc. This sleeping power is symbolized as a sleeping serpent rolled around the lingam which symbolizes procreation, creative power. The square represents the Four Elements and you probably know that creation is based on the number four, on the Four Elements. In this centre of the earth, of the material plane, the slowest, densest energies are processed to flow up the spine from centre to centre while they are refined automatically to higher frequencies until they reach the crown chakra, pure and highest spirit. So, in fact, we can witness here the process of spiritualization starting from the root chakra and ending in the crown chakra. It is the process of perfect refinement of material energy to astral energy to mental, spiritual energy. While the energy is flowing upwards at the back, increasing its frequency, the high energies of the crown chakra flow downwards on the front to nourish the chakras from the highest plane down the lowest, material plane. In fact, this is a cycle of energy flow. The energies come from God, flow to the material plane and then flow back to the source.
The natural cycle of creation in macrocosm and microcosm.
The red colour of the root chakra is the colour of the energy in the chakra – red, Fire Element, heat, activating energy. Sometimes there is also a yellow colour in the pictures of the Muladhara chakra – this symbolizes the Earth Element which also belongs to this centre. Then we have also Brahma as the god of this centre and Shakti as the goddess – Brahma the creator god – creation. These are all lawful analogies, symbols, fitting powers and qualities. You can also find the holy syllables, the Bija mantras, holy sounds which belong to this centre for activation and refinement.
In conclusion, this work of the Indian initiates is great and wonderful. I can only recommend to study it. When you compare the first Tarot Card, the training of Bardon and Shiva with his beloved Shakti, then you see the same roots, the universal teachings, the same milestones, stations you have to pass on your spiritual path. If you call the initiate, the master a yogi, a tantric, a mystic, a magician or an alchemist – it does not really matter as all have to pay respect to the universal spiritual path of perfection.
I personally feel a deep love for the great teachings of the East and I appreciate their beauty a lot. And when you compare the Eastern teachings with the modern Western teachings then it is like comparing the light with darkness. Indeed most modern Western teachings are just more or less bad copies of the Eastern teachings. So even if you are a “Western” mystic or magician then look for spiritual treasures in the Eastern teachings and you will find an abundance of high-quality material. On the other hand, you can certainly stick to your tradition or make up your mind on yourself.
So these were some hints about Shiva and Shakti and their connection to the first Tarot Card.
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