IT HAS BEEN said by that eminent kabbalist, Eliphas Levi, that four signs express the absolute, and in turn are explained by a fifth. And we find this very true, both as applied to astrology and to the tarot. In each, the fifth term, by which the four fundamental elements are explained, is the language of universal symbolism. Therefore, the student may expect, in his study of the wide range of symbols employed in the tarot, to be made thoroughly conversant with a language which has been employed by learned men in all ages and all climes to impart the most profound truths, a language which, because of its wide appeal does not essentially vary with the passage of time, which is imperishable, and can be read by the intelligent members of any race. The tarot is the ONE standard text-book on the meaning of universal symbols.
Now these four signs, which are explained by universal symbolism, as applied to the Grand Man of the universe, are represented by the four quadrants of the heavens. These, in turn, of course, correspond in function to the four letters of the Deific Word, Jod-He-Vau-He. And because the sacred tarot pictures and explains this Grand Man from the feminine, or esoteric standpoint, it also has, in addition to being a text-book of the most ancient of languages, four distinct functions to perform.
Therefore, even before explaining the source from which the sacred tarot is derived, I feel that these four distinct and important functions should be set forth, and that those who teach this Hermetic System should insist that their students should at all times keep these four functions in separate compartments of their minds, without confusing one with another; for each is a distinct and clear-cut system in itself.
Two of these systems—as must be true if they correspond to the Divine Jod-He-Vau-He—are positive. They are really sciences. And the other two are feminine and negative. They are systems of divination, each accurately corresponding to one of the four corners of the universe.
Corresponding to the Leo quarter of the zodiac there is a Science of Vibration, to which numbers furnish the key. Corresponding to the Scorpio section of the firmament there is a system of Divination by means of Cards. Corresponding to the Taurus quadrant of the sky there is a system of Numerology, or Divination by means of Numbers. And Corresponding to the Aquarius region of the heavens there is a Spiritual Science, which forms the basis of a complete philosophy of life.