Since being introduced to the Synthesis that Beyond Human Design represents, I wondered about integrating the Tarot Keys into the Body Graph and into its system of knowledge. The twenty-two cards of the Tarot Major Arcana (Greater Secrets) symbolically represent the unfolding path of individuation, or the unfolding sequence of inner development in a person.
The Major Arcana of Tarot refer to the cards in the Tarot deck that correspond to the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet shown in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. The Tarot Cards on this tree symbolically communicate interlocking layers of creation and their meaning. Once deciphered, these Keys along with the Tree of Life become a shorthand language tying them both to the inner unfolding developmental human process. The Tarot speaks a symbolic language through communicating direct knowledge as symbols or collective archetypes to each of us when we enter sleep or other subconscious dimensions of consciousness.
Because of my background in consciousness work, as well as my familiarity with the Tarot, I took on the challenge to decipher some of the correspondences between the Basic Human Design Body Graph and the Tarot’s Major Arcana. Early in my work in Human Design, when I approached the cards I did not recognize any layout that made clear logical or intuitive sense. As pieces began to emerge through my years of study, I returned to the question of the layout periodically. It was, thus, a delightful surprise when I approached the material again in 2003 and found that the layout presented itself with simplicity and clarity that rang true.
After sharing this information with those close to me, I felt their intuitive confirmation of its truth. I, thus, began working with the material privately. It clarified itself well, and now so many years later, it has proven its validity. It continues to amplify the meaning of the I-Ching Hexagrams in profound ways for me.
I first presented the layout in an informal lecture at a meeting of a Unified Life Sciences on August 17, 2003. I do not in any way propose that this is the only layout of the Major Arcana in the Body Graph, but it has proven itself to be a valid one with which to begin working.
Since I first presented this material, it has gained significant credibility through clinical experience in my professional practice as well as in thousands readings. I encourage all readers to lay out the Tarot cards in their own Beyond Human Design Charts in order to verify their value
Lecture from August 17,2003 (Updated April 2017)
According to Ra Uru Hu, the information he gave me was the only information he had about the Tarot; In March 1998, I asked Ra about the Tarot in the Body Graph, and he said, “the only thing the ‘voice’ told me is that all the Major Arcana of the Tarot occur in the Ajna, the Throat and the G-Centers.” After studying the Tarot in some depth as well as working with the Multidimensional Design Systems I developed, I recognized that Key 0 and the Key 21 are both in the Ajna Center as well as in the Sacral Center. I initially thought the correspondence had to be one Gate for each card, but then I realized this correspondence was not the case.
The World Card (Key 21) represents the Personality Crystal in the Ajna Center, the divine integration and knowing Self. From here all else emerges in personality and its expression when activated in the Self Center at the Magnetic Monopole. It integrates with the Design Crystal, also represented in by The World Card (Key 21) but in the Sacral Center. A key to understanding the Tarot layout is the understanding and grasping of the union of the Personality and Design Crystals magnitized in union in the Self Center and thus the Yang and Yin of balance between the consciousness and unconscious awareness – or in lay terms between the mental and spiritual worlds. In the Tarot all four worlds are integrated into the Tree of Life and the layout of the Tarot in the body graph takes this integration into account by recognizing that from the Ajna center the activation of energy is Counterclockwise and from the Sacral Center the activation of the energy is Clockwise.
Since we know that Channel 17/62 is the Portal between the Human and the Mammalian/Spiritual Matrices, and also between the Human and Angelic/Emotional Matrices, we begin the personality layout of the Tarot at this point. Then, we go around the Body Graph counterclockwise. Once the Personality Crystal is activated (Key 21) in the Ajna Center, The Fool (Key 0) activates awareness of Gate 17 and moves energetically to awareness of The Magician (Key 1) activating Gate 62; the High Priestess (Key 2) activates in Gate 16, and the Empress (Key 3) in Gate 20.
Channel 5/15 functions as the only Portal in the body graph between all worlds. Thus, it operates as a powerful bridge between worlds, and, it is the channel of conjunction between the Personality component and the Design component of a human. The flow of energy of a human is from the highter to the lower mind. In the Design or Spiritual layout, the flow is upward from the Sacral Center toward the Ajna. As above, so below. The Design Crystal (Key 21) activates the Sacral Instinctive energy and The Fool (Key 0) in Gate 5. Energy then proceeds to activate Gate 15 (Key 15, The Devil). The sequence of the Design layout is clockwise from the Sacral Center up to the Ajna Center.
Tracing the Tarot Major Arcana
Start in the Ajna Center and Trace counterclockwise around each Center. Start with Key 0, the Fool, in Gate 17 and trace it through Channel 17/62 to the Throat Center where you start with Key 1, the Magician. The transformative process acctivates with Gate 62. It is important to recognize that Channel 17/62 is a portal between the Mental and Spiritual worlds and thus, is essential in connecting us as humans with our collective instinctive consciousness and with other species empathically. Of course, transformation, as you go through the unfolding process, is from above and from below. As information comes in from above, Mystical/Spiritual awareness shapes cognition.
What happens on a physiologic level and on a collective archetypal level is nonverbal and not translatable in its raw form. Just as the Tarot Keys are a resprestation of symbols, inner communication happens first in images without words attached. The Tarot images are purely symbolic but have been associated with certain key psychological processes. When we attach words to them, they lose something in translation. It is always a frustration when you’ve had a numinous experience to try to translate it into language.
When you move into awareness with the cognition of the Ajna Center, recognize that the Ajna Center is the Center of Translation between the realms. It is the Realm of Mercury, the Magician (Key 1). You take what comes from the archetypal elements and from physiology and put your understanding into words, as best you can and shaped by your native language, finding the best fit between your experience and conception of it and the language you know to describe it. You make and give meaning to feelings that translate first into images and then into words. This translation from image, feeling to words is a human characteristic. It is what sets humans apart from any other animal.
Thus, it makes perfect sense that the Magician (Key 1) symbolically describes Gate 62, the Portal Gate of Transformation between the animal kingdom and the human kingdom. It describes the human capacity to tune in to spirit and to explore experiences of another dimension.
Then, move around the centers of the body graph. Check out my paper on the Empress (Key 3) where I describe the meaning of the Empress in the body graph. What clued me in to the fact that the Empress card was in Gate 20 was that it is the only Hexagram in the Throat Center that is feminine in both Lower Trigram and Upper Trigram. Gate 20 serves as the source of feminine energy from the Mammalian (Spiritual and sleep) Design up into the Throat Center. The Throat Center is transformative. It links to the Solar Plexus through the Desire nature via Channels 36/35 and 12/22 because it translates meaning both upward and downward. If you read my paper on Venus, you know that, in the past, without having this layout, I hypothesized, that Venus would be in Gate 20. That position holds. It’s a very simple layout.
The High Priestess (Key 2) corresponds to Gate 16. The High Priestess contains all memory and is a card of remembrance and of the karmic past. So the High Priestess placed in the Gate of Skills (Gate 16) would, of course, indicate that this Gate depends on your recollection of the past. If we look, for example, at Alzheimer patients, they lose even the most basic of skills. So any skills you have require memory and experiences from your past learning. Memory accesses information stored in patterns that describe how something operates. This placement makes sense.
Then, move around the body graph. The Emperor, Key 4, is in Gate 31, because Gate 31 has to do with detail and order and is exactly what the Emperor represents. It is opposite the Death card, Key 13 (in Gate 7), the card representing transformation; Gate 7 (Key 13) is what leadership and the alpha would be all about. Keep moving counterclockwise around the Centers.
I was a little surprised at some of the layout, like the fact that the Chariot ended up being in Gate 45. But, it made a great deal clear when I thought about how Gate 45 operates, and how resources need to be utilized. People get into difficulty when they use resources, not as an expression of the Self, but when they identify the Self with the resource. Remember that Gate 45 is part of Channel 45/21 which controls the physiological connection to breathing; it is the only Channel in the Body Graph that has a direct connection to the Heart Center itself. This reveals an important conscious and unconscious key to understanding Gate 45. The Chariot Key shows how important a proper relationship is between the personality ego and the Divine energy that flows through us. Meditating on this card is an excellent way to understand Gate 45.
The Chariot, Key 7, shows the correct alignment of Gate 45 and what its energy might be talking about. There is great intelligence to the connection between the Chariot and Gate 45. It is very revealing to pair the cards in the layout with their Hexagrams. It was surprising to me that some of the cards showed up where they did. But, when I thought about them, however, and tuned into the layout as it revealed itself, I thought, “Oh, that’s what it really is telling me.” It was very profound to me in a whole new way. I recommend taking time to contemplate your intuitive knowing when you study the layout.
Strength (Key 8) showing dominion over the instincts and over our animal nature is in Gate 12, the Gate that allows speech and thus takes inner experiences and translates them from their symbolic form to words which give the images form. And, The Hermit is placed in Gate 35, a Gate that filters experiences through experiences and allows self-recognition and experience to guide change.
It is interesting that the Wheel of Fortune (Key 10) represented Gate 56. Gate 56 is the Gate of the Searcher/Seeker and holds continuity of events that communicate meaning, stimulate awareness, and influence the collective. Key 10 in Gate 56 represents the kind of processing of information into a narrative so important to self-awareness.
Continue to go around counterclockwise. When you get to Justice, Key 11, in Gate 23 in the Throat Center, go straight down through the Hierophant, Key 5, to the Hanged Man, Key 12. Come down through the Channel 8/1 and put the Hanged Man at the 1st Gate. This makes perfect sense because you’re going to see then that the Hanged Man has a foot in the 1st Gate. But if you put him in the whole G-Center, then the Hanged Man tells you that the G (Self) Center has to be also a place of self-reflection, and you get your direction by looking at how self-reflection operates in you. The 2nd Gate is the Tower, Key 16, showing that you have to break away from your own self-concept about your own direction and follow a path that comes from a deeper layer and a deeper purpose.
Go through the logic of the layout and ask yourslef along the way if these cards make any kind of intuitive sense to you in the position where they are. As I was doing this layout, I thought, “The simplest is always the most powerful.” And, I also thought, “this is such a simple layout, what was I struggling with?” Of course, yes, the layout makes perfect sense.
Now continue around and come down through the Hanged Man, and then go counterclockwise again. Go from the 1st Gate, Key 12, to the 7th Gate, Key 13, to the 10th Gate, Key 14. Isn’t it beautiful that Key 14, Temperance is the card of the 10th Gate? Indeed the Temperance card describes the process of tempering, balancing the Self in all vehicles within in the process of mastery. The Temperance card denotes the Path of Intelligence described as the Intelligence of Trial or Probation. And, then, Gate15 corresponds to the Devil card. The card for the 15th Gate, the Devil, in the Mammalian (Sleep) Design is Keynoted, “Chaos.” That’s exactly what it feels like to break away from our outer conception. And, that Gate is always about shifting internally and establishing new patterns.
It also certainly made sense to me that the Moon card, Key 18, corresponds to the 25th Gate, the Gate of the Spirit of the Self and of one’s nature. Key 18 speaks about the higher forms of consciousness that can manifest through bodily organs; in addition, sleep is attributed to Key 18 since it is during sleep that our body structure is imprinted. Every action and thought modifies body structure. The Moon, Key 18, is related to the path of Return.
Then you arrive into the Center of the Self Center again as you finish the layout. When you reach the Center of the Self Center, you can either stop the layout there or you can go back up. When you go back up, since the Design Crystal is in the Sacral Center, you can see the two cards, Key 0 and Key 21 that are in the Ajna Center and also in the Sacral Center. You move up through the 5th Gate that is the portal from the Sacral Center. When you come around from below instead of going counterclockwise, go clockwise; now bring the double helix back up through the Body Graph.
There is major transformational communication energy that happens every night in us between the Sacral Center energy and the Ajna Center energy in order for us to wake up in the morning and have even a slight recollection that we’ve been asleep. Also, when we sleep neurological transformation happens between the Sacral Center and the Ajna Center. We can then translate information from our sleep and dreaming states into a new day and a new experience. We are here to integrate the collective archetypal energies into our daily life and into our evolving consciousness. So, there must to be a mechanism by which that energy flows down and up. Of course, that is what the caduceus represents for me. It’s the double helix spiral and symbolizes our communication with animals, (cf. Axes of Awareness).
The Tarot layout forms the spiral we know from the Tree of Life; this layout represents exactly that. It, thus, makes perfect sense that in a very basic layout of Tarot it would capture the spiral. I tried laying the cards out from the bottom up, reversing my layout; in other words, going from the alpha/omega, the Key 0 and the Key 21, up the body graph with the Magician, Key 1, coming into Gate 15, and then going clockwise, and I don’t think it works as well. I think you leave the energy where it is and you simply spiral around in the other direction.
In duality, there is no single direction. And that might show us, for example, if we were to do this layout for someone in a design, if a planet were retrograde, maybe we turn the card upside down and that would tell us how the energy moves – and it might show us the fixation and the exaltation as well.
To look at this information properly you would have to do a chart, a real chart with the whole design and the Multidimensional Charts as well. I also found it rather interesting to consider that the Strength card, Key 8, was Gate 12. The reason I find it really interesting is because the card signifies dominion. The card represents dominion and gaining control over the expression of a raw, animalistic energy. Gate 12 is the Gate of mutation, language and translation. We gain dominion over how we express ourselves. The tricky part about it, and one of the interesting things about Tarot is learning how to read the symbols of Tarot. You learn that what you want to gain dominion over is how you express yourself, and what you say to people. You gain dominion when you use words in the energy congruent with the energy expression and of the soul.
What happened as I laid out the cards was that I had the recognition of the correspondences. I knew the layout was right. It was just an, “Oh, there it is.” It was so simple that it had to be right. Then, as I went through and I said, “okay, well, how could it be, for example, that the Hierophant, Key 5, is Gate 8?” And I heard my inner voice of wisdom answer, “Well, of course, that makes perfect sense because the Hierophant represents the inner voice. When you are contributing, and when you’re using the energy of Gate 8 as an expression, of course, you’re going to have to listen to the inner voice to get the message, especially if it’s coming from a very deep, archetypal place.” In looking at the cards for each Gate, and then going back and reading the Hexagrams, another door opens into their meaning.
Key 0 and Key 21 are the cards in the Sacral Center as well as in the Ajna Center. “As above, so below.” You spiral counterclockwise and clockwise. You could reverse each card if you’re coming from below or you could leave them and read them that way. The cards are not laid out for transits or to take into account natal retrograde or direct.
What happens is that when plantetary energy is there in the night for something to hook up the Sacral Center, the energy connects and there is completion that comes into the person. And, of course, the beginning, middle and end points are in the Sacral Center. The only format present in the Spiritual/Mammalian Matrix is Channel 53/42 in the coming from the Root to the Sacral Center. It forms the power column of the Spiritual/Mammalian Design; whereas, if somebody had Channel 52/9, their energy would be much more linked to the energies that connect up the portal in Channel 62/17.
In other words, Channel 52/9, which I have in my Designs, may connect to a different layer in another person than it does in my Designs. Let’s consider a person who connects to the collective archetypal compared to what happens in my designs that connect to the angelic. The comparison shows a difference. So use the shorthand of what you see in the pattern of energy. What this gives you is a link between the worlds.
In the alchemical world, we have Salt (the Demon Realm), Sulfur (the Earth Plane) and Mercury (the Light Field) as the alchemical mix, and that is what the Tarot Keys talk about, with the fourth element being the integration that brings them all together. Each realm corresponds to one of those alchemical components, and then we can integrate this information into the whole Body Graph. Of course, it is different when you analyze a person’s chart – and this is new for me, I haven’t done it. I haven’t worked extensively with the Tarot Keys as they relate to a person’s Body Graph. I laid the Keys out, I said, “Oh, this looks right,” and then I had other things to do. So it’s basically been sitting for a number of weeks.
A person who has Channel 53/42 is different than me. I have Channel 52/9. What it tells us is that the person with format 53/42, the Channel that takes them into the Spiritual/Mammalian core, handles the expression of their Sacral energy in waking life very differently than I do.
I would use the information interpretively very differently, depending on what the Body Graph is saying. Then, what I would do is read how the Keys in that Body Graph might be expressing themselves through the person.
The BOTA teaches a Tarot Tableau. In astrology what you do is you use your sun sign as the Individuality Key, then you use the Ascendant as the Personality Key. You then use the Sun plus the Ascendant as the Problem Key or the challenge of your life. Then, take the Individuality Key, so it would be the Sun minus the Ascendant, the Personality Key, and you get the Solution Key. You are using the number of the Tarot cards and their numerology. The Integration Key is the sum of all the others. Use your Tarot tableau using the Major Arcana based on your astrology. Place the Keys and look at where they fall in the Body Graph to see which of those Gates you have.
For example, my Sun sign Sagittarius, Key 14, and my Ascendant is Aquarius, Key 17, which gives me Sun plus Ascendant equals 31 between the two combined which equal 4 which is the Emperor, Key 4. That means that my Problem is Key 4. And my Solution, of course, would be 14 minus 17, which would be the Empress, Key 3. Then the Problem minus the Solution Key equals the Means. The Integration is all of them added together. And you don’t always do the numerology, you do the actual Key number, and then you combine them into a single digit. You just combine things to be under 21, the number of keys in the major arcana. 31 would be 4. But if it were 20, it would remain 20, because there are 21 cards.
The relationship with “as above, so is below” matches. This is like the Body Graph. The layout is not going to change. Now, you could have a layout that could change for a person based on, let’s say, the BOTA Tableau, and you could use a separate deck of cards (Tarot Keys). My Sun relates to Key14. So if I take Key 14 as my Sun Sign and I put it in the Gate where my Sun is, there would then be a relationship between that card that is my individuality key, which would be the 26th Gate, and the 10th Gate, which has the native energy of the Gate10. Then I would take the next card, which would be the personality, Key 17, the Star, which would correspond to Gate 46, and I would look and see where that would fit in the Body Graph. Now, we don’t use the ascendant in the Body Graph, but we could. And I could see where that is in the Body Graph. But what you could do is a layout of where the cards fit in the Body Graph by their astrological correspondence.
Now, not all the cards – the cards represent either planets or the signs, so you would have to lay them out accordingly in the Body Graph. Then you could look at the meaning, and say, “okay, this is the basic Tarot layout in the Body Graph.” In addition, we have other layouts like one that corresponds to the cube of space. We could overlay that Tarot layout in the Body Graph for the person, we could observe where the cards fall, Then, also using my layout we’d do an integrated reading of how the energies interface with each other and what that tells us about how the person is put together and their chemistry.
If you meditate on Key 9, the Hermit, and if you look at where it falls in this layout, you recognize that the Hermit card is in Key 35. Study the energy of it; it’s the lower trigram, the 2nd Hexagram, the all yin. The upper trigram is Aquarian. What that tells me about that Gate is that because we know – and if you go back and reread my paper on Venus, posted on my web site, you will note that the Venus energy is the source of the desire nature; the feminine energy always starts the process. In physiological development, all the male adds is the Y chromosome. It initiates the process by which the feminine can create form. Therefore, it is always a feminine source that is at the start of the creation process.
When you look at this fact and at the fact that the 35th Gate, a Gate of Transformation and of Change, links the Throat Center to the Solar Plexus Center, and, remember, all the lower trigrams in the Solar Plexus Center, except one, have an Aquarian lower trigram, you see that nothing ever happens in terms of manifesting desire unless you recognize that you must have the desire. Unless you really have the desire for something, it’s not going to manifest, and it’s not going to happen. Desire always has to involve the Ajna Center and the Head Center. A lot of the Aquarian energy is up there.
This is what the Hermit tells you. Be clear on what it is you want, and that clarity will solve your dilemma. Use the Tarot as a way to gain insight into your own process. Do you have Gate 35?
Esoteric Studies are very complex. The Builder’s of the Adytum is an excellent course. It’s provides you with a lesson a week and you start out with very basic stuff. First, you go over all the keys and then you color your own. The keys come in black and white. They give you instructions on the colors and how to color them. Then you go through the sequences of all the layouts and you go through the Tree of Life, the meaning of all the Sephiroth, and the configuration of it. You lay out your Tarot deck on the Cube of Space according to all of that. You also learn many multiple layouts in the Tarot; then you go through Gematria, which takes about a year.
Gematria is the numerology of the Hebrew alphabet associated with the keys and all of its symbolism. You make a notebook of all of the different meanings of all the different symbolism and the Hebrew words; you calculate the numerology of each of the Hebrew words associated with the symbols and then see how they link up. That was a little bit tedious, especially since I have no Hebrew background. My daughter has Pluto conjunct Mercury in the 10th House in Virgo. She is very detail-oriented and diligent. She’s the only person I know who baked every recipe from Maida Heatter’s cookie book in sequence, in the course of a few months. Every single recipe including dog biscuits – and she didn’t eat any of them. She’s very detail-oriented, so she figured out how to do the gemetria notebook and then showed me how she had figured out how to do it. It’s about 1000 pages of Gematria that I studied over the course of a year.
The BOTA studies takes you through alchemy and all of the alchemical symbolism of the keys, and how it’s laid out in the Tree of Life and how it’s laid out in the cube of space. And then you go through astrology and all of the esoteric meanings of astrology and the cards and the Tree of Life. Early on you color your deck of Tarot keys, so you always work with your own personalized deck. I’ve been working with my deck since 1995. I finished the entire course several years ago.
If you go on the website, www.bota.org, and you navigate around the site, they do have all of the keys listed with all of their symbolism. Paul Case did a lot of the writing. David Allen Hulse is a student of BOTA, Builders of the Adytum. David has become a good friend and is a brilliant scholar. He wrote New Dimensions of the Cube of Space, The Eastern Mysteries and The Western Mysteries, three books I use all the time as source books.
The Path of the Tarot in the Body Graph
There are two paths of the Tarot addressed in this document in the Body Graph. The first follows the unfolding spiraling counterclockwise inner process of development from the Ajna Center through the Throat Center to the Self-Center and then segues into the Sacral Center with the shift into the Lunar Design of the Spiritual/Dream Body Graph.
From the Spiritual/Dream Body Graph, the human form, the path of the Tarot is an upward clockwise spiral from the Sacral Center up through to the Self-Center and then to the Throat Center and finally connecting back into the Ajna Center as consciousness transforms into Human Thought and cognition and receives divine guidance from above.
The Paths together trace a double helix spiral reminiscent of the DNA spiraling double helix and showing the relationships in our inner process as described by the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and its associations with the Cube of Space.
The counterclockwise path is the Ajna Center activation to Gate 17, through Gate 62 into the Throat Center, Gate16, Gate 20, Gate 31, Gate 8, Gate 33, Gate 45, Gate 12, Gate 35, Gate 56, Gate 23, through the center of the Throat Center to Gate 8 to the Self-Center through Gate 1, Gate 7, Gate 10, Gate 15, Gate 2, Gate 46, Gate 25, Gate 13, through the Center of the Self-Center through Card 20 to Gate 15 through to the Sacral Center through Gate 5 from Gate 5 to the Sacral Center activation.
The clockwise path is Gate 5 through Gate 15 into the G-Center, Gate 10, Gate 7, Gate 1, Gate 13, Gate 25, Gate 46, Gate 2, Gate 15 through the Center of the Self Center through Card 20 to Gate 1, through Gate 8 into the Throat Center, Gate 31, Gate 20, Gate 16, Gate 62, Gate 23, Gate 56, Gate 35, Gate 12, Gate 45, Gate 33, back through Gate 62 through to Gate 17 and into the Ajna Center activation.
The Tarot Card path is shown with additional tables as well as with Hexagram Keynotes. Arrows show a basic path with Black for the Ajna Path and Red showing the Sacral Path. The interior Center path is one you need the verbal description to follow.
Builders of the Adytum. Study course materials.
New Dimensions of the Cube of Space. David Allen Hulse. Samuel Weiser, Inc. 2000.