The Lovers, the Justice, and The Tower

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The Tower

The next phase of the Allegory of the Cave describes a phase in which The Fool is free from his bonds and is forced to stand and walk toward the fire. How will The Fool react, we wonder? First of all, it is understandable that The Fool will be utterly frightened and confused, both from the views and from the new efforts imposed on him. The terrifying fire and its sparks will burn and scorch his eyes, and when he sees the figurines, which he saw for his entire life as shadows he will think that all of this is madness. It may also take a considerable time until The Fool’s muscles grow stronger and he becomes capable of walking. We may expect The Fool to return to his place, to see visions that he’s used to seeing and is capable of seeing, which makes sense to him more than the new visions. The Fool will probably prefer to go back to his familiar life and old habits. But in this case, he has no choice, someone is forcefully pulling him upward the steep slope toward the opening of the cave, toward the sunlight. This is akin to the Israelites who wanted to return to their familiar fleshpot in Egypt.

In “The Tower” card, the lightning represents a shock; the shattering of something familiar, whether it’s a way of life, habits, worldview, insights, lies etc.  But the shattering and the destruction cannot come without the help of the extended hand which symbolizes the help which The Fool is getting. The hand released him from his bonds and pulls him upwards. Just like in the parable, when an external force releases the man and forces him to change his patterns of behavior, And helps him, to see and deal with reality.

So far, The Fool was certain that he’s a free man with his own will, in control of his life, who makes decisions and paves his way according to his own will. But after descending to the underworld and discovering his true state (“The Devil” card), his imaginary picture began to shatter and fall apart. At this stage, discovering his condition shocked The Fool with such intensity that for a moment he was able to see and understand his real situation. At that moment, the many masks, the lies, the imagination and his slumber gave their way to a bright recognition. Even after this shocking discovery The Fool will fall sleep again and again and will cling to his many lies, but now after that recognition, his mind will never let him rest.  Now his inner work is to reawaken, again and again, to see his real situation, and every second count and makes a difference. At some point, all of those awakenings create something new in The Fool, which enables him to cope better and more successfully with his condition. Now he strives to exit the cave.

The vision and recognition which I spoke about are essential for The Fool’s progress, but they are very far from actually doing something. The Fool still does not know and cannot do anything, he’s still in chains, he must get help, someone needs to set him free and help him leave the cave. Aside from this help, The Fool needs to start exerting efforts of his own. The Fool has to try and resume the state which he learned from the “Temperance,” a state in which he remembers himself. Only thus will he be able to move forward. He must learn to work with his emotions, and if this was only hinted in the “Temperance” card, now this work becomes profound and extensive. Now The Fool must learn to transform his negative emotions. Or, in other words, how to distill rough energy and create from it a much more fine form of energy. Without those efforts, and without external help, exiting the cave is impossible.

Additionally, The Fool must work on his identifications, which he also learned from “Temperance”: identification is the glue which keeps the webs of sleep together. The man is always identified, and the only thing that changes is the subject of identification. Identification captures our attention! It captures our thoughts, our feelings, our senses, passions, and imagination.

The moment a person identifies with something, he immediately forgets everything; his goals, his decisions, himself! Everything disappears, and all that remains is the new identification. That new identification traps the person, sucks him in, and he ceases to exist. He forgets himself and only the identification remains. This can be Everything; external or internal stimuli. Everything we said or anything said by someone else, any one’s action, any body’s behavior. But the situation is far more complex, as the person initially identifies with the imaginary picture he created for himself. Who am I, what I like, what repulses me, how am I supposed to behave, how to speak, who should I befriend, how should other people speak to me, what’s good and what’s bad for me, my fears and anxieties, my principles and beliefs, and so on. This identification keeps the person in a place where he cannot see the truth about himself. The Fool must understand better the mode of action of his functions to understand identification because he identifies through his functions.

 

The Lovers

“The Lovers” card reminds us once again that without external shock and help, man would remain utterly dependent on chance. In other words, in this situation man has no choice whatsoever, all of his behavior is entirely random and depends on impressions and stimuli. He cannot do anything and acts like a puppet on strings.

As Michel de Montaigne wrote:

“This no wonder, says one of the ancients, that chance has so great a dominion over us, since it is by chance we live. It is not possible for any one who has not designed his life for some certain end, it is impossible for any one to arrange the pieces, who has not the whole form already contrived in his imagination.”

The principle here is elementary: every time The Fool finds himself at a crossroad, he will always select the option which at that moment presents the least resistance. That is, he will always turn towards the direction, which based on circumstances, is the easiest to go through. That direction is always of less friction, and less friction means less suffering. Of course, The Fool will justify himself that he had chosen this direction for one reason or another, but that would be another lie.

The problem is that from this crossroads onward The Fool can only see one step ahead. The direction which at the crossroads seemed like the path of least resistance may after a step or two turns out to be the direction with the most significant difficulties, with the most friction and suffering.

“The Lovers” card presents The Fool on a crossroads where he can turn either left or right, and in any direction, he will meet a woman. One is naked and seductive, the other wears gray clothes and self-contained. The one to The Fool’s right represents the stimulus as opposed to the woman to his left which is self-contained and less pleasant. The figure on the right side represents the direction of minor resistance at that moment. In The Fool’s previous situation, when he was under the control of stimuli and always sought the path of least resistance, he would have undoubtedly turned right. But now The Fool’s situation has changed. The choice of whether to remain chained in the cave or try to leave it is now being considered.

As said in the Allegory of the Cave, although the existence in the cave is inhumane and The Fool is relatively aware of his real situation. It may be assumed that he wants to set himself free and improve his condition. Nevertheless, he’s not used to the efforts and hardships that it take to set himself free, which may leave him in his familiar place.

This card also speaks of identification, which I mentioned about earlier when discussing “The Tower” card. Above The Fool and the women, a sun appears – the real light which The Fool wants to reach. Additionally, there is also a bow charged with an arrow, just like lightning in “The Tower” card which represents shock.

 

Justice

The “Wheel of Fortune” card spoke about how The Fool is controlled by the law of chance. In contrast, the “Justice” card represents fate. The Fool in his new condition gets to know his fate. It may roughly be said, that man’s fate is his role in this world, which may be described as keeping a proper existence, the path to higher truths, balance, and enlightenment. Man must try to do his role to the best of his ability, but so far The Fool was not even aware that he has a role.

When I initially presented “The Fool” card, I wrote:
“Life in this world contains the possibility of awakening”. The way of The Fool, for whom the art of life is unfamiliar, leads to oblivion. The Fool represents humanity: Humanity that is a state of slumber, without awareness and without any understanding. The Fool lacks any awareness as to what happened to him, his dream is the imagination and the identification, in which he is immersed for his entire life. He represents the man who cannot act, has no willpower and is ruled by the Law of Chance. For his entire life, The Fool tries to run away from dealing with life’s hardships, friction, and suffering, which are symbolized by the dog.”

The time for running is over, he has to wake up from his slumber, start facing reality and begin fulfilling his role.

In the “Justice” card, we meet the character which represents justice, who holds in her right hand the sword which intends to cut everything that gets in her way of fulfilling her duty. At the bottom of the card, we see the scales which are completely balanced, and they symbolize the balance which The Fool must attain to properly fulfill his role. On the scales, we also see symbols (Egyptian hieroglyphs) which I talked about when I introduced “The Fool” card, which represents on the one side the feather of justice and on the other side The Fool’s heart. If The Fool’s life was not balanced and he failed to properly fulfill his role, his heart will weigh more, and the balance will be broken.

The Indian god of justice, “Yama,” also represents death, the guardian of the “Dharma” or the cosmic rules – the fate. Even when he represents justice he represents the beginning of dying of the life before the awakening, the life in which The Fool slept. The card represents the beginning of the change, namely the first stages of the death of the sleeping life before the new life’s rebirth.

The scales represent the balance, without which man cannot get under fate’s influence. To get under fate’s influence, man must learn to balance his functions which are represented by the Sword, which is the intellectual function, the Cup, which is the emotional function, the Wand, which is the moving function and the Pentacle, which is the instinctive function.