This is to clarify and deepen exactly what is meant by the spheres and paths to a qabalist.
Firstly each number is given a sphere, Aces to the first, 2s to the second and so on. These groups of cards all have their own attributions.
As you learn the meanings behind the Aces for example, you begin to project consciously and unconsciously onto the cards. These influences are in essence your spheres. The vices and virtues are assigned to the spheres, as with many other god names and grand titles. All these build up into a meaningful, impactful relationship to the self.
The spheres become a fixed understanding of various aspects we encounter in our life. Some represent the limitations of reality, or things that define our existence – like the community around us is a fixed state of influence, but the interactions with it and mutable and we would connect to those via pathways. Another instance would be the physical limitation of time and space, this is something we have to work within, and that would influence our experiences on paths.
The paths have the majors assigned to them, and again with many other god names and titles. The same projections occur, but this time the path is an influence and/or contradiction of the sphere at either end. Sometimes we may see distinct personal experiences arise when looking at the cards – these should be acknowledged and analysed, in relation to the meaning of the attached spheres.
The spheres rarely change in their meaning. They are consistent in their core mechanic. The paths present challenges often, and are major steps we take through our self development.
Keep in mind that the spheres have 4 principle states; Those of the elements. If we were to do a tarot spread using each sphere as a card location, we would see elements presented, and these can weave a current of understanding that might steer the mind to a new understanding. For example we may see directions indicated by the sequence of elements, and determine blockages we have in specific areas, or see rising and falling forces due to the sequence the elements are usually attributed (F, W, A, E descending)
Over time you can find many unusual connections that weave around in the cards. These will become more apparent as you add the layers of attributes and your personal understanding of those.