Within the planetary circuit, Tav circles the Earth and is the mirror of the Kaf. In the sequence of the week it follows Kaf and precedes Dalet. Upon the plane of orifices that constitute the face, Tav forms the right nostril alongside Bet. Within the Tree of Life, it is the bottom of the central pillar, crowned with Yesod and resting upon Malkuth. In all of these assemblages, it finds expression through the geomantic figures of Via and Populus.
Tav, like many of its witnesses, is fluid and dynamic and I find it one of the more difficult to give verbal form.
Within the planetary circuit, Tav stands over the Earth in the night and modulates the force of Kaf. The Moon forms the door between heaven and Earth, allowing heavenly influences to descend into the terrestrial sphere (Via) and regulating them through its cycles (Populus). The connection between Sun and Moon gives Tav a special connection to the celestial world of the stars, a connection that it shares with Saturn.
Under its lunar expression, Tav fashions boundaries, zones along which the distinctiveness of an individual thing opens toward an outside, often in tandem with Pe’s Venus, its nearest planetary neighbor. Boundaries can be robust and in the case of Tav’s lunar expression these include the waters of the seas and oceans as well as the atmosphere itself. The tides (Via) bear witness to the dynamism of the ocean (Populus) in a visible fashion, but so, too, does the thunderstorm’s clouds and outpouring of water. Subtle chaotic dynamics are at play and the butterfly effect is born where a small and singular effect (Via) has a rippling cascade effect in the system (Populus) of which it is a part. Tav’s subtlety is here a function of complexity and of the limits of our ability to model it.
As Moon, Tav along with Kaf has a special relationship to the constitution of days and months since it is their cycles that give time a visceral expression. The patterns of night and day together mark weeks, then months, seasons, years, and eras. While the order of time remains distinct from this visible representation, without it our relationship to time would take a different form.
Upon the plane of orifices, Tav constitutes the nose alongside Bet. It is the right nostril as well as the fleshy outer nose, that through which the breath is drawn in. It is the outer expression of scent, the immediate and visceral ties between scent (Populus) and taste (Via), scent and emotion, contrasting with Bet’s deeper joining of scent to memory. Intimacy (Populus) and immediacy (Via) rather than memory (Carcer) and nostalgia (Conjunctio) are its internal structure. These join Tav to the preservation of life, as both scent and taste are bound up with questions of cleanliness (Via) and toxicity (Populus).
Tav’s modulation of the breath relates it to the modulation of the atmosphere through the witness of the Moon. Joined to Bet in this operation, Tav modulates the inner world that Bet’s signs animate. Tav is the subtle aspect of individuality as able to act upon itself, to transform its character and its emissions. Tav is the other side of the initiatory work that Bet guides. If Bet brings us to the bone of the matter, Tav shows us the bone in thought. Like the water of the oceans, like the breath, it can produce slow, spectacular changes through continuous application of gentle, firm force.
This intersection between Tav as planetary (and celestial) power and biological potency oversees the birth of life in its diversity on Earth (though it is the inner elemental and mother letters that make use of this possibility). The capacity for self-relation makes evolution possible and the churning of the waters and atmosphere plays against the variations of the Earth to form diverse ecological opportunities which exploited give birth to biological diversity, and biological diversity make possible still other opportunities.
In the sequence of days, Tav follows Kaf and precedes Dalet. The wisdom (Via) that develops within Kaf enters into relationship with the complexity of life (Populus). Through this juncture, life and wisdom nourish each other. Diverse and distinct forms (Via) of human life appear as well as the pressures (Populus) that cause them to vary, interact, and diverge. The groundwork for conflict emerges within this differentiation, but remains implicit under Tav. Under the influence of Tav a society becomes complex and the roles that define it become increasingly subject to specialization and specification.
As with the preceding witnesses, in Tav the intertwining of all the witnesses appears strongly. The planet, the body, and the days by which human beings live converge in the ecosystems of the Earth. Tav animates the confluence of powers on the surface of the Earth, a confluence that makes Earth distinctive if not unique.
Upon the tree of life, Tav is the lowest of all the double letters, crowned in Tifaret and standing upon Malkuth. Tav on the tree of life negotiates the interplay of fate and destiny, of how we are both what we have been (Populus) and what we may be (Via). Resting in Malkuth, it bears witness to the relationship between the living (Via) and the dead (Populus), as well as the continuation of the lineages of the dead (Via) in the chaotic movements of the living (Populus).
In divination, Populus is the great confusion of life from which it is so difficult to extract ourselves. It is the pressure to conform, the demands of the day, the entanglement of our hopes and dreams with the churning of our guts and the beating of our heart. There is, too, a sense of communion with all of these things, of our being part and parcel of it, but in most cases the confusion dwells close to this communion.
In divination, Via is the great differentiator, the movement that brings some specific thing out of the chaos of life. It is a sense of direction or insight into the proper course of action to navigate a difficult situation. Often, it implies a sense of alignment between the different aspects of your life such that one element can transmit benefits easily to another. Via is not separate from the body of Populus but instead defines its leading edge. It can be a figure of leadership.