by Christine Hall
September 11th has always been a special day for me because it’s my father’s birthday. If he was alive, he would have turned seventy on the day that four highjacked airliners wrecked havoc on New York City, Washington, D.C., and rural Pennsylvania. Because of this personal connection, I know some rather trivial things about this date. For example, I know that this year Christmas will fall on a Tuesday, because September 11th and Christmas Day always fall on the same day of the week.
On the Kabbalah, the “Tree of Life” of the ancient mystical Hebrews, the eleventh path is associated with the Hebrew letter Aleph. Each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet is associated with a symbol, and Aleph is associated with the ox, which was seen by the ancients as a glyph of the life force. An ox is big, rather dumb and needs guidance, but when properly harnessed and prodded is a creature capable of much good. Turned loose in a china shop, however, an ox spells disaster.
In more modern times, the Tarot assigns the number eleven to the card “Justice” or “Adjustment,” which represents karma and retribution. Interestingly, the Tarot associates the Justice card with the Hebrew letter Lamed, which is an ox goad, or that which prods the ox into action. In Hebrew, the letters Aleph-Lamed are often paired together, and have a special significance when used at the end of an archangel’s name. Archangels, like Raphael, whose names end with this letter pair are said to have wings and feet, which means they can travel. The secret to this letter pairing is that karma is what directs and guides the life force.
September is the ninth month of the year. On the Kabbalah, the number nine is Yesod, or “the foundation,” and is associated with the Moon. This was seen by the ancients as the home of the world of Yetzirah, the “astral plane” or the collective unconscious. In the Tarot, the number nine is represented by the Hermit, which deals with the self and the need for individuals to look into those aspects of the self that remain hidden from view. In most Tarot decks, the Hermit is seen making his way through the darkness, holding a lantern to light his way. The lantern is one of the keys to the card, since it not only lights the way ahead, but sheds light on the hermit as well.
At first glance, the numbers for September 11, 2001 are not satisfying. Given what we know about the horrendous events of that day, we would like to see the Blasted Tower, which deals with explosive situations and language barriers. Even the Devil card would help to explain these events in a way that would be somewhat comforting. However, the numbers for the date are fourteen and five, which are represented in the Tarot by Temperance and the Hierophant; cards that are normally considered positive influences.
These numbers begin to make sense when we realize that the number for a given day represents the lesson that we are to learn from that day. This would seem to indicate that we are to learn the lessons of Temperance and the Hierophant.
The Temperance card deals with the need for us to accept our dark side and to incorporate it into our personalities so that it can serve the light – or goodness. Denying our inner darkness never works, for when we repress unwanted aspects of ourselves they always come back to harm us. But by accepting our darker impulses, we can harness them to serve the greater good. Remember, darkness cannot hurt you as long as you know it’s there, for when darkness is brought to the light it becomes part of the light.
In the Tarot, the Hierophant is seen as any teacher of an organized subject, and he comes with a warning. All teachers, whether they be preachers, professors or mentors, have a bias and a hidden agenda. As we try to learn from the events of September 11, it’s important for us to realize this fact. All of the information we’re getting about the events from this day, whether they come from media reports or government statements, come to us with a built-in bias and agenda. It’s important for all of us to learn to think for ourselves and to make up our own minds if we are truly to understand the events that have visited our nation. Get your information from as many sources as you can, then weigh them and balance them together.
The Kabbalah associates the number fourteen with the Hebrew letter Daleth, which means a door. We have gone through a portal or a gateway into a new place. Nothing will ever be entirely as it was again. Although we humans have a tendency to resist change, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Whether this change turns out to be for the better or worse will depend entirely on our approach.
Finally, the Kabbalah associates the number five with Geburah, or power. This is the world of Mars, which can correspond with the concept of war.
Christine Hall has been working as a journalist since the 1970s. She currently hosts a weekly radio show of sixties music, The Sixties in 60 that can be heard every Sunday at 6 pm Eastern Time on The Barrel of Rock.