No study of Occult Philosophy is possible without an acquaintance with symbolism…. Symbolism cannot be learned as one learns to build bridges or speak a foreign language, and for the interpretation of symbols a special cast of mind is necessary; in addition to knowledge, special faculties, the power of creative thought and developed imagination are required.
In order to become acquainted with the tarot, it is necessary to understand the basic ideas of Kabala and of Alchemy. For it represents, as, indeed, many commentators of the tarot think, a summary of the Hermetic Sciences – the Kabala, Alchemy, Astrology, Magic, with their different divisions. All these sciences really represent one system of a very broad and deep psychological investigation of the nature of man in his relation to the world of noumena (God, the world of spirit) and to the world of phenomena (the visible physical world).
The letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the various allegories of the Kabala, the names of metals, acids and salts in Alchemy; of planets and constellations in Astrology; of good and evil spirits in Magic – all these were only means to veil truth from the uninitiatedP.D. Oupensky