Rebis was an alchemical term that was typically represented as one body having two heads, one being masculine and the other feminine. Sophia (as the fallen daughter, depicted as the Fool in the Marseille Tarot) was symbolic of matter and the soul, where Christ (the son sent by his heavenly parents to rescue Sophia) symbolised the mind and spirit. The Sun card is about these four (matter - the bull, soul - the eagle, mind - the man/angel and spirit - the lion, the four aspects of Ezekiel’s cherubim) finally reuniting. This reintegration of the ‘four’ was the whole purpose of the Cathar Code. The Sun card is the last step before this conjoining takes place.
The symbol of this conjunction is the embrace that has been depicted between Christ and Sophia in the card. Going to the trouble to portray the embrace in such detail (as some of The Sun cards do) is evidence that it was important. Alchemical images portraying the King (sun) and Queen (moon) typically displayed a sequence of interactions between them, symbolic of the alchemical process. The stance and the positions of the hands were intrinsic to “the sacred embrace.” As temple culture historian, Hugh Nibley states, “The ritual embrace is the culminating rite of the initiation: it’s an initiatory gesture weighted with meaning.”
This union is the hieros gamos, the sacred marriage that unifies differentiated consciousness. This is the pinnacle of Western mindfulness. When the Fool, now integrated with the Christ, gets to this point in their spiritual evolution, they choose to maintain a consciousness that embraces all that they have committed to on entering the Treasury of Light (the House of God): peace, righteousness, mercy and purity of heart. Righteousness (social justice) brings the Fool’s relationship with matter into its highest expression. Mercy (forgiveness) of oneself and others brings peace of mind. Purity of heart (saving grace) becomes the focus of the soul, and stillness is the silence of the spirit (what we desire) that brings the Fool into full accord with the will of God. These are the attributes of consciousness that makes the hieros gamos, the sacred marriage and union of Christ and Sophia real!
This seventh Beatitude reads, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.” This is the sort of commitment to peace that saw the Cathars often accepting their fate of death by burning, with non-resistance (the 200 Perfecti corralled and burnt at the base of Montségur in the middle of the thirteenth century). It was the same devotion to peace that inspired Mahatma Gandhi to resort to Satyagraha (“vindication of truth, not by infliction of suffering on the opponent, but on oneself.”) when resisting the British. It was the non-resistance demonstrated by Jesus when being accused and judged by the Romans and the Jews. Resistance gave power to what they resisted, and in the case of the Cathars would have been an admission that the world of the evil God was real. As an aside, Gandhi, a Hindu, made this observation of the Sermon on the Mount, “Christ’s Sermon on the Mount fills me with bliss even today. It’s sweet verses have even today the power to quench my agony of soul.”
Like entrances to buildings and cities, crossroads and fences/walls were liminal places. That this card includes a stone fence is significant as it indicates that the Fool, as the emerging Christ, is standing at a transitional or transformative space. Liminal spaces are “waiting areas between one point in time and space and the next. Often when we are in liminal spaces, we have the feeling of just being on the verge of something.” The beginning to the emergence of the liminal space in which the Fool now finds themselves was the doorway depicted in the building on the left in The Moon card. Of course, we know that the Fool does in fact make a transition given the androgynous form that the Fool takes when emerging from the grave in the very next card, The Judgement card. The two have become one.
From the perspective of the Cathars, the Fool has done everything possible to be ready for the final test, the test of the Cherubim. The Cathar perfecti (the most committed Cathars) have proven that they were “good and faithful servants.” They had forsaken their attachment to power, wealth, love and fame. They have kept themselves pure through regular fasting, being celibate and avoiding foods sourced from animals. They regularly repented, stayed true to the Lord’s Prayer, and have devoted their lives to spreading the gospel of truth and approaching all that they do with loving kindness. They were committed to being merciful and seek to be knowledgeable, but with understanding and wisdom. They are attuned to hearing the ‘still small voice’ and have courage to do the will of God. They live in awe of God, evidenced by lives filled with devotion and reverence.
They have, as the apostle Peter said, given diligence “to make [their] calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you will never fall: As such, you’ll be given a wonderful entrance into the everlasting kingdom...” (2 Peter 1:10-11) Where Peter says ‘these things’ he is referring to what he said in verses 5 through 7: “giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
These are the qualities of consciousness that made the hieros gamos a possibility. I was this state of Christ consciousness that would hold the Fool in good stead when faced with the test of the Cherubim. It was these things that would allow them to enter the world of the good God, because now, as the Beatitude explained, “the are the children of God.”
(The image of The Sun card included in this article is from the Tarot de Marseille [Edition Millennium] © 2011 FJP Paris)