Greek 24 paths of the journey of the soul
The twenty four paths of the journey of the soul, represented by the letters of the Greek alphabet, can also be equally divided into three sets of eight letters, or ogdoads. To these, we have ascribed the names The Path of Learning, Path of the Dark Woods, and the Path of Transcendence.
In the ancient world of the Greeks, it was thought by most that there were three powers that make up God or “the Other,” and this is still present in modern-day thinking of all major religions.
Catholics speak of Father Son, and Holy Spirit. Hindus speak of the triple Godhead, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Others speak of the Creator, Destroyer, and Maintainer. Pythagoras spoke of the sacred triad, the essence, self-generation, and manifestation represented by the numbers 1, 2, and 3. The great psychologist Carl Jung spoke of the spirit, soul, and mind together make up consciousness.
Earlier, we saw how many of the ancient Greeks believed that from these three powers emanated eight “elements,” making twenty-four elements that describe God.
When we take the 24 paths of the journey of the soul and divide them by three, we end up with three paths, each of eight letters. In the Delphic Tarot we call these The Path of Learning; The Path of the Dark Woods; and the Path of Transformation.
3 Important Greek Paths
The Path of Learning commences with Alpha, the Essence, and ends with Theta, Justice. The second path, that of the Dark Woods, starts with Iota, Sweat, and ends with Pi, Contests. The third path, that of Transformation, starts with Rho, Patience, and ends with Omega, The End.
These ogdoadic paths coexist with the duodadic paths described in the earlier section. This is very important to understand – the three sets of eight and the two sets of twelve coexist together. It is not an either/or situation – either three paths of eight or two paths of twelve – BOTH are relevant. So, for example, when the soul arrives at the eighth letter, Omicron, meaning Justice, it is the end of the Path of Learning, and the beginning of the Path of the Dark Woods.
True, from here the soul will plunge into the abyss, but it is not the end of the cycle of creation. It is however the end of The Above. The Omicron is the last we see of help from “the Gods” until the Sigma, when the Path of Transformation commences and guides us back to The Above. In the path of the dark woods we have no guiding light, we are left to find our own way out.
This all sounds so complicated and difficult, but it is not really. Many versions of the Tarot tend to “nicen” up the Tarot – to add pleasant meanings where none were intended. For example, the Tower (in the Dephic Tarot, Contests) has often been described as a transition, or the breaking down of something in order to gain something else. I do not nicen the Tarot in this way.
The Tower is an ugly card, it tells of hardships and difficulties and struggles. This is the way of the world, this is the way of life, ugliness coexists with beauty, evil coexists with goodness. We should not, I believe, nicen the truth when the truth itself is simply…. well, simple truth. It just is how it is – our challenge I believe is not to make the truth palatable but instead to find ways of dealing with it as it really is.
Know, then, that the four-and-twenty letters you possess are symbolical emanations of the three powers that contain the entire number of the elements above. Iraneus, ‘Against Heresies’ c100AD.