Dr. Alan M. Bain <TI@nellie2.demon.co.uk> wrote the "Keys To The Kabbalah" http://www.euronet.nl/users/euser/keyskab.htm to stimulate research and progress on this subject. gems. He is a founder of Theosophy International http://www.nellie2.demon.co.uk/ . Two chapters from the book are presented here.  The full text is also part of the PNOHTEFTU CD-ROM.

Stage Ten - The Wheel
by Alan M. Bain

Prior to discovering Self, or to be more accurate, unveiling Self, this stage is the most
important of the first ten. Here is the opportunity to transcend personality and to begin to realise Self. We find that this is not so easy, for the gate into Self is narrow, and we have to pass through the veil that shrouds the light of Self, shown symbolically behind the High Priestess in stage two, and by the wings of the angel in stage six. To make the transition from personality awareness to Self awareness requires sacrifice. The word sacrifice is used in the spiritual sense of transmutation or change, and not in the sense of "giving something up." We may need to change our attitudes to some most dearly held ideas, ideals and illusions. The personality experiences the cleansing light of Self examination, so that it may be a worthy tool for the use of Self.

Habits die hard, and this truth is demonstrated here. We may find that we have to follow the path of the wheel around the instincts, intellect and feeling many times again, discovering and integrating parts of personality that we previously overlooked before we are in a condition to enter into the heart, where Self resides. In a sense we are back at Path 25 on the scale of the Ladder, "The Intelligence of Temptation or Trial, by which God tests the devout."

Attitude attracts environment. Think about this.

Many remain at this stage for a long time - sometimes for years - without much ambition to go further, being satisfied with a firm foundation and a rounded and integrated personality which brings them true independence - the virtue of Yesod.

There is no "fault" in this. They have achieved more than some of us who are still buffeted by the winds of circumstance.

To enter the next stage, and to take the next Step of the Way requires simple devotion. The ties which bind awareness to personality must be loosened and let go, personality left behind (but by no means forgotten or lost) so that we may discover Self as unadorned as a new born child. It is a Step, and a devotion, that demands the firmest of foundations and a great deal of courage.

If we choose to go on, we shall need to adjust our attitudes, desires and ambitions in terms of Self awareness, terms which we do not, cannot fully understand, for we see "As in a mirror, darkly," and we must take Self on trust. Given the courage, we can do this, for the Self that we seek is no stranger; it is the Self which we are, and the personality which we are not.

Personality is simply the means through which Self finds expression, which it has in fact been promoting all along, except that we have not been aware as Self, being identified with various aspects of personality.

Stage Eleven, Strength

The Tarot card "Strength" is the most subtly representative of balance in the whole of the Tarot. It shows a simply dressed woman bending over a lion and holding its jaws. There is no coercion or exertion; no domination. The lion appears quite calm; the woman is in command.

This card symbolises Self-control - i.e., control by the Soul, or Self; control, in fact, of the lower levels governed by Yesod and personality. Nowhere is seen the fierce determination of the fanatic. The woman [soul] is serene; the lion [personality] is obedient.

This is precisely the relationship we shall find with personality when we discover Self. We become aware of freedom and clarity. Someone once described this condition as being like a day in the country after it had been raining. Everything is sharper and clearer. Here we can no longer fool ourselves about what we want or what we are. We may ignore what we see, but we can never ignore the fact that we have seen it.

Some approaches end with the discovery of Self, for when Self is discovered, we have found the expression of Heaven within. Some, however, will want to explore the new-found condition.

Those who go on seek to take the journey three major Steps further. In order to truly know Self, we first discover Self, and then learn to be Self. We investigate and integrate the parts of Self much as we did with personality. There are problems of Self to be resolved, and we shall need to resolve them. After this comes the realisation of Self, in the way that one "realises" assets by putting them to practical use. Before we continue - if we so choose - we pause here and consolidate what we have learned.

The next journey is a quest for Spirit, both human and divine. If we are determined to
persevere, we may learn to converse with angels, to come to know and recognise the spiritual presence in the Creation.

On the scale of the Ladder, this stage is represented by Path 22, the text of which states:

"The Faithful Intelligence. Spiritual virtues are deposited and augment therein, until they pass to those who dwell under the shadow thereof."