Jacob’s Ladder as the symbol of Eternity
NOTE: This post is borrowed from the page (to which I link below), about the Eternity Card in the William Blake Tarot.
The Eternity card has no equivalent in other Tarot decks. Its dual numberation (double-zero or infinity) indicates that it transcends numbers. This image is from the painting called Jacob’s Dream, based on the book of Genesis, showing Jacob and his ladder to heaven. In Blake’s myth, this is Albion asleep on the Rock of Ages. His Zoas have divided, and he lies stricken in spiritual limbo. Fallen from eternity, he is now a mortal man, and his four “eternal senses” — the four divine arts of painting, science, music, and poetry — have become his body, head, heart, and genitals. Albion represents our own sleeping consciousness, dreaming eternity as our ultimate potential. Albion remains asleep throughout the soul’s journey, unable to awaken until his divided soul is regenerated and his Zoas, the “four faces of man,” are reunited. However, his vision of eternity is very much alive in his dream — and Albion’s vision is what this card is about. Eternity represents mankind’s hopes for divine spiritual consciousness, and for living in a world of shining imagination and everlasting truth. For Blake, eternity is an exciting intellectual realm filled with the “fury of poetic inspiration,” from whence “all the passions emanate uncurbed in their eternal glory.”
The sheephook in Albion’s hand represents his mortal innocence. Exalted beings carry symbols of the arts (spiritual sustenance) upon a celestial stairway that literally represents the arts as man’s connection to eternity. The luminous, numinous sun is the “divine imagination,” the god in every human, which shines within us day and night, the ultimate reality from which all things are created.
This card is always significant in a reading, because its declaration of spiritual reality and creative imagination is meaningful in any context. Eternity can be a wake-up call to a spiritual issue in the reading, a promising opportunity to try something new and imaginative, an announcement of a something wonderful happening, a prophecy of angelic or artistic communication (perhaps via a dream or daydream), the advent of a serendipitous occurrence or heavenly ‘coincidence’, or a sudden awareness that life is a spiritual adventure, and not just a material process. This is always an auspicious card, even when reversed, because eternity is irreversibly divine.
KEYWORDS: AWARENESS OF SPIRITUAL DESTINY • ARTISTIC POWERS • A HEAVENLY OUTLOOK • IMAGINATIVE OPPORTUNITY • PROPHETIC PORTENTS. SPIRITUAL ELATION •
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