The Patterns...


Observing important patterns is the primary goal of this study. Important patterns are seen as a signature of nature that can be theorized to be a source for archetypal influence upon the anthropomorphized, iconic representations made by humans. One of the interesting things about paradox is the "Mobius effect" it creates within the stages of our model. One of the interesting things about "the Mobius effect" is how it changes two sides into one, or, in the case of our model, splits an impossible singularity into two. Let's look at a few other ways to discover this important pattern.


A Simple Twist

If we draw a shape, say a circle, a square or whatever, capable of showing the balanced opposition of two halves, and color one side black and the other white, we observe the sharp delineation of contrast between the two sides. But... if we shift (or twist) this pattern 90 degrees and repeat it in a way that will enable it to remain distinguishable from the original, we will observe a change in the original two halves of our shape. The side that was black will now be divided into two halves (or 1/4s of a whole), one half will show two layers of black, while the other will show black with white (see the diagram below). If we look at the original white half, we see that it too is divided in two parts, one half showing two layers of white while the other shows white with black.

Stagnant opposites,
with a twist,
become dynamic!

The significance of this pattern, is in how it changes the conditions of the original black and white sides. Without the resulting mixture of one into the other these two opposites would remain apart... balanced, but stagnant. By mixing them together, we create a cycle, enabling the two extreme opposites to sort of ‘do-si-do’ around each other - the way they do in the popular yin and yang symbol of Chinese philosophy.

The other significant observation is in how this pattern resembles the Mobius twist of our model. You will recall, the twist of the Mobius was all that was required to combine balance and flux into one form. The Mobius strip, as a strip, was made from a two sided piece of paper. Two sides with no hope of ever meeting each other, until a simple twist brings them together. The Mobius strip became circular when brought together, leaving one half of that circle intact as a two sided piece of paper, while the other half became a twisted, two sided piece of paper. This twist was how two sides became one, but it is also how two sides can become four!

Two Sides Become Four!

As you pass over the two sides of a one sided Mobius, you actually trace a one sided path over two sides of paper! In other words, you move from one side, we’ll call it ‘A’, to the twist, where ‘A’ merges with ‘B’. You then continue on to side ‘B’, which carries you along to where side ‘B’ merges back with ‘A’ - the twist. This completed battery creates for us two extremes, with in-betweens that bring them together; A AB B BA.

Extremes and inbetweens, and four-fold models are everywhere - why?

The significance of this formation is in the fact that only two steps create this pattern, a reflection of the simple duality of the ‘ultimate pair’ which creates the four stages of our model and non-model from its one simple twist. But why is the number four so important?

Four-fold Models

Fourfold models with extremes and in-betweens, are a recurring pattern throughout this system, as well as many others throughout history. Ever since Air, Water, Earth and Fire were identified as a sacred quaternary of nature, fourfold models have permeated the mind of man. Sometimes these quaternaries are obvious, like the pure and impure halves of the black and white example just given. Other times they are a little more subtle, like Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter or Addition, Multiplication, Subtraction and Division. Still other times they remain a bit obscure, like the sacred formation of John, Paul, George, and Ringo! (just kidding!). Sometimes quaternaries can look like the yin and yang halves we are so comfortable with already, i.e. two reciprocal opposites with tapering tails that lead one into the other. Sometimes they can even be like two people of opposite personalities with ‘something in common.’

Sometimes though quaternaries can have real meaning, like the four part code of DNA. And sometime they become truly sacred, as in the case of the sacred quaternary of the Hebrew’s Torah - the four letter Tetragrammaton, used in place of the ineffable name of God; Yod He Vau He. Sometimes spelled YHWH or JHVH, pronounced Yahweh or, Jehovah. Put that on a Mobius strip and see what happens!

When it comes time to use the information we are learning, to construct a deck design, the four-fold nature of extremes and in-betweens will influence our arrangement of suit signs and add to our overall understanding of each suits influence on individual cards. Ultimately we will find that extremes and in-betweens are everywhere, because they represent the inevitable broken symmetry of a binary system put into motion.


With the few examples just given, we can see how the pattern of extremes and in-betweens can take different forms. One example came from a circular source (1/2 black, 1/2 white), the other was cyclic (A AB B BA), and another was presented in a linear form (Yod He Vau He).

In the example of A AB B BA, we clearly need to think of this as cyclical, in order for BA to be another in-between. However, when written linearly, this pattern becomes one of alternation, just like the Hebrew example. When placed on the Mobius strip, the A and the B are on opposite sides of the untwisted paper, while the AB and BA are together on the twisted side. When written circularly, the A AB B BA pattern resembles the black and white sides that do-si-do around each other. This shows how extremes and in-betweens can come in many forms, and at the same time maintain identical Mobius-like conditions with external differences characteristic to their form.

The Tetragrammaton

In many tarot decks, the sacred quaternary of Yod He Vau He appears in circular form in the card labeled ‘Fate’ or ‘Wheel of Fortune,’ causing it to resemble our previous example of A AB B BA and the black and white figure of crossed shading just described, above. My hopelessly fragmented understanding of this sacred utterance says that the Yod, He and Vau are representations of the fundamental concepts of active, passive and neutral, respectively, while the second He is supposed to represent the transition from one cycle of four to another. Thus the second He becomes both a He, as well as the next Yod of a continuing and endless cycle of sacred utterances. This pattern sounds familiar...

With the ‘Three Times Three Equals One’ pattern (described in the last chapter), we observed a similar pattern of recursive utterances in our model’s concentric path of definition (see endless definition). In this pattern we observed how the original 1,2,3 trinity of initial development became a governing pattern to further phases of development, within the concentric confines that had been established. In this way we came to establish 3 crucial steps in each of 3 phase of development, with a fourth step in each, that was left to be divided into 3 by the next phase of recursive repetition. When we were done, we ended up with 3 phases of recursion, each with 3 steps of development. We then concluded that these three sets were in fact the first 3 steps in an all-encompassing fourth phase of development, thus allowing the recursive tendencies to continue endlessly. By establishing this recursive model we actually created a sacred quaternary of our own, with simple steps of logic. In our case, we labedled the stages of our sacrred utterance with a Gas, Liquid and Solid analogy instead of Yod, He and Vau... but the underlying pattern is not that dissimilar.

Of course, in making these simple observations of coincidental form I do not mean to suggest any factual association between the two systems at hand. In fact my personal disdain for religious devotion demands that I dis—associate from such connections, and see them only as coincidence. The reason for pointing out this association then is to demonstrate the purity and power of this simple pattern by observing its unavoidable creation in minds that are dissimilar, and separated by centuries of time.

The Atom

Ancient Greeks believed the ‘Atom’ to be the indivisible building block of all matter, comprised of a unification of the four sacred elements of nature, Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Despite the provable inaccuracy of the ancient Greek’s sacred quaternary of elements to the atom, fourfold models continue to emerge within modern science. The Greeks thought the atom was comprised of Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Today we identify the parts of the atom with scientific data, recording electrical charges, and other such phenomenon, and segmenting that data into a theoretical model. When this is done, we see that the atom is basically a combination of positive and negative electrical charges.

In the atom, the interior is shown to have a positive charge while the exterior has a negative charge. As we began our discussion on extremes and in-betweens we mentioned a few examples that seemed to confirm this pattern as a signature of nature. One of these examples included the four operations of mathematics (add, multiply, subtract and divide). In our model, addition and multiplication correspond to the positive forces of coagulation within the aggregate mass. While conversely, the operations of subtraction and division represent the model’s outer stages. Additionally, between the two positive operations, addition is more analytical, and multiplication more conceptual. Likewise between subtraction and division. Thus, these four operations of mathematics resemble the black and white examples given above, where positive and negative opposites are given a means by which to relate in a more dynamic, rather than static way. By being an analytical process of sequential augmentation, addition is like Spring spanning between the extremes of Winter and Summer. Likewise with Subtraction spanning between Summer and Winter. Thus we show how basic primordial concepts like positive and negative can be made into a dynamic model of extremes and in-betweens.

Extremes and In-betweens are everywhere. In this case, they give primordial basis for the character of our tarot suits. Not everyone will agree with this arrangement of suits to mathematical operations. There are many variations for how a tarot deck should characterize its suits. This is one. A good one, I think.

An atom is a good metaphor for the idea of creating a universe of our own with the steps of logic used so far. We can now consider this ‘atom,’ and the model that equals it, to be the basic, indivisible building block of our binary system, from which we can now build atom by atom, molecule by molecule, cell by cell and model by model, and eventually card by card... to the user friendly system of tarot pictures.

If you choose to continue with this study, we will move on to explore another metaphor, besides the metaphor of an atom, that will help us visualize the form of this model.

All words and images Copyright © 1999 - 2008 by Guy Palm

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