The word Esoteric comes from the Greek word esoterikos, which translates to “belonging to an inner circle”. Essentially, it means knowledge or information that is intended for a smaller inner circle or group, because it was not something that the world at large was necessarily “ready” to hear or comprehend just yet. By the fact that you are reading this, you have entered into the inner circle.
In this section we will be looking at the relationship between Tarot and several other concepts, which mostly revolve around the Tree of Life and Astrology. By doing so we will also discuss the nature of the averse sephiroth – the Qliphoth, in order to understand how reversals are designed in Patch Tarot.
A reversal in its most simplest sense is an interpretation of the card counter to the original meaning of the card, which normally only emerges when you draw the card in reverse during a reading. At the top of each card there will be an upright and reverse keyword, and on each card description on this website there will be a “reverse card description” at the bottom of the page. This description will be expanded upon in The Book of Patch, in order to go deeper into the relationship to the Tree of Life.
One of the biggest reasons why people use reversals is to provide another layer of depth to the readings, but if you are just getting started you can set your intention with your deck not to use them; if this makes it easier for you to learn the basics.
In truth, there are a great many ways of interpreting reversals; a simple internet search will reveal a myriad of ways to interpret a reversal, ultimately leading you to have to identify how you want to mean. Here are some examples of what this means; reversals can be read as an “opposite” energy to whatever the dominant energy of the card is. If it’s positive, the reverse is negative. If the card seems negative, the reverse appears to be positive. Another perspective is taking the principle energy of the upright card to an extreme, for either perceived “good” or “bad”. Reversals are sometimes even read as “the same energy as upright, but weakened or blocked”, and finally – and potentially the most creative reading – “Whatever comes to mind when you look at the drawing upside down – it means that”.
In Patch Tarot, we really wanted to find a balance and some level of solidification to these reversals, and even played with the idea of not even having them at all because of how flippy-floppy the interpretations could be. However, when we learned about the Qliphoth, it all began to make sense and click together.
In the most simplest sense, the Qliphoth represent the “evil” variation of each of the Sephiroth, the “shells” surrounding the emanations of creation and reflect the darker aspects of our human psyche, and the challenges that we must overcome in our day to day lives. Many will warn against becoming involved with the Qliphoth due to the evil spirits around them, and yet by understanding the nature of the Qliphoth, we can recognize them in relationship to our own egos, and then translate the correlations to the reversals in order to paint a clearer picture about what we need to do in any given scenario.
For the sake of simplicity, here is a list of the Qliphoth, their names, and the energy they represent. This should be enough for you for now to wrap your head around how the reversals correlate, and from there if you wish to learn more, we invite you to check out the sections and essays in the The Book of Patch which pertain to the nature of the Qliphoth and what “evil” really is.
However, in its simplest sense – we will say that in Qabalah, evil is simply described as energy that is going against the natural flow of creation, and thus must be integrated through spiritual awareness and awakening of the inner light.
On each Tarot card there are an image of an astral signature, whether its the respective element of the card or a celestial body such as a constellation, planet, or star. These are incredibly significant, and we encourage you to explore these where you see fit! For those who would like to read about the basic energetic traits of each planet and constellation, check out this article here!
With that said, if you’re looking for a simple chart that correlates the different cards with their astrological counterpart, look no further. Here is a downloadable chart that we made for the celestial associations within Patch Tarot, which synchronizes with the work of the Order of the Golden Dawn.
In the Book of Patch, each card contains a section describing their astrological associations and how they relate on the Qabalah as well, as well as a complete “esoteric tarot” section at the back of the book diving much deeper into these topics.
The Tree of Life plays a monumental role in Tarot across the board, drawing a tremendous map between the cards and this ancient sacred geometrical structure. This is also considered a little bit more “advanced” for those who are just beginning to learn the Tarot, that is – unless you are already versed in the Qabalah.
With that in mind, the topic of the Qabalah is a very long journey of discovery, and one that could be discussed at great lengths for hours upon hours worth of reading, and even today new discoveries are still being made as to the spiritual significance held within this system.
For the sake of maintaining balance and keeping things simple, on this page we will describe only the basics to give you an idea of what it is. For new learners – know that it is not critical that you learn this in order to understand how Tarot functions. From there, if you wish to follow along how the Qabalah applies to Patch Tarot on a more intimate level, we have included much information regarding this topic in the Book of Patch.
The Tree of Life is an ancient geometric diagram of how the universe materializes from a place of infinite unity (God), all the way down here to this physical plane. Likewise, it describes how life can begin its journey from the physical plane, and reach higher and higher in its consciousness to reach heightened planes of awareness, Christ consciousness, and complete ascension.
The Tree of Life is not only a logical structure but also a road map by which one can traverse the many planes of their inner psyche and the outer worlds simultaneously.
This probably sounds familiar to our description of what the Tarot is from the first page! Truth is, they go hand in hand, and are ultimately just two different ways of describing the same thing.
We made a whole Spirit Science video series that goes over this exact topic! You can learn more about the Tree of Life and its mysterious origins in the Qabalah here!
You have at last come to the end of the introductory explanations of the basics of Tarot, but the journey is still but just beginning! We go over this information in much more detail in the Book of Patch though you have now reached a point of readiness to learn about each of the cards individually!
Your journey begins with The Fool, or select where you would like to begin from the Full Card Directory!