The 31st Path
Consider again the map of our Tree of Life. Coming into the True Self began with the 32nd path from Malkuth to Yesod. We could consider this first path inward as the refining of our senses, and the eventual balancing, healing or correcting the condition of the physical body-temple, our physical laboratory.
The next, and simultaneous, path inward is the 31st Path connecting Malkuth to the eighth sphere, Hod, Splendor. To sphere הוד, Hod (15), Qabalistic psychology assigns the human Intellect. The 31st Path connecting these two spheres is symbolized by Hebrew letter Shin (ש) and the Tarot Key, Judgement. Letter Shin is assigned the element fire. Since the fire descends into Malkuth from Hod we may conclude this to be the ‘fire of mind’. In the supposition of Adam thru Cain – Genealogy I the evolution of the fire of mind grew adroit. Skillful and clever, we humans have expended our intellectual abilities toward overcoming, by any means necessary, anyone we deemed real or imaginary enemies, all the while behaving like enemies ourselves. Through millennia humans have created and refined this paranoia into civilizations with armies, backed by governments with laws, to protect ourselves from each other and other civilizations with armies and governments with other laws declaring mutual sovereign protection. From very early on this ‘system’ had been introduced by despots to protect their despotism with arbitrary man-made rules based on nothing except to keep the despot's butt on the throne. Has it ever since been different? The atmosphere of fear prevails even today.
The seeker of truth, lured from within, needs to separate and eventually extract one’s mind from this mass paranoia by readjusting his mind-set away from this thick illusion. The 31st Path on the map of liberation suggests the invocation of the higher mind. This does not mean merely reading and studying principles and tenets of some chosen spiritual discipline, but actually censoring the mind from impulses and proclivities generated from that mass consciousness which keep us in bondage. Many activities we have come to declare amusements are far more detrimental to our evolution than they ever have been. They are actually engineered for just that purpose, to maintain the status quo of mindless consumption for sheer profit and power. Calculated visual imagery can be designed to arrest and even kill imagination. Calculated sound can be engineered to inhibit and even kill intuition. Audio-visual mediums have overpowered populations. A few governments have declared it illegal and unlawful to insert ‘subliminals’ into televised programs and commercials. Not easily detected, therefore unreported, they remain ubiquitous in most televised media. In some countries subliminals are encouraged, even protected, by controlling regimes determined to maintain the status quo; to keep the butt on the throne.
The 31st Path at the end of the Pillar of Severity has its beginning in Kether. From Kether letter Beth (ב) feeds into Binah. This letter symbolizes the self-conscious mind. Now the Binah side of the Tree influences consciousness with the development of physical bodies at sub-conscious levels. With the initial aid of Mercury, self-consciousness, a physical body may be developed to its optimum. Historically, the functions of self-consciousness, described allegorically as the descendancies of Cain’s line, were preoccupied with survival of the body and later for the embellishments of its physical comfort and pleasure. Presently, however, self-consciousness has evolved sufficiently to invoke a higher purpose of refining this body for the habitation of a higher consciousness. To do that requires the fire of mind represented by the Plutonian vibration to bring Universal Mercury (Kether) into action. Our self-conscious mind must then turn from its primitive proclivities and aid with this process.
Substituting and replacing these detrimental distractions with higher vibratory qualities are paramount on the Road of Return. “Be Mindful” is the mantra whatever the spiritual discipline. This is not an attitude of the majority at present. Most likely it is not even the attitude of the ardent seeker’s closest coterie. When the call from within waxes, our natural response will be to pare down all those activities and associations of the past that are inhibiting the forward motion, if we are serious with answering this call.
As we ponder the symbolism within the Tarot Trump, Judgement, we might notice the stance of the human figures. The woman, sub-consciousness, poses receptive with outstretched arms. The male figure, self-consciousness with arms across the breast, stands passive. This is the total reverse of mass consciousness. The masses use the self-conscious mind, as mentioned previously, with adroit scheming to jockey some better position over others before they do it unto us. The ardent, true seeker for liberation grows to learn the exact opposite. He gradually comes into awareness to trust THAT WHICH IS WITHIN to provide all that is necessary on all levels, and to pull the candidate closer to THAT CENTER. Sub-consciousness, the Woman, receives the input from That Center above her. Through Intuition she, in turn, passes that input into self-consciousness, and then, self-consciousness performs the action in reciprocation. These are the true ideas, from within, as opposed ideas spawned from a scheming intellect. Ever wonder why some of 'our' ideas never come into fruition? That is why. Human personality is the product of the self-conscious and sub-conscious modes. Thus personality, the child in the center, lives the life in perfect peace and harmony, performing all that is necessary to fulfill its karma and required progression toward unity. We eventually arise to understand that personality is the instrument that the One-Life uses for the evolution of the new human.
Read, study, learn and try to understand the messages of the 31st Path. Additional information can be gathered by referring to the Glossary Section of this site and clicking on Letter Shin. May I also suggest reading all you can find under letter Shin and the 31st path in Paul Foster Case’s True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order; the Tarot, A Key to the Wisdom of the Ages; and the Book of Tokens (Meditations on the letters). Please do this research for yourself with every letter/path from the 24th through the 32nd Paths. Then seriously ponder it all.