The Tree of Life, or Etz haChayim in Hebrew, is a mystical symbol used in the Kabbalah of esoteric Judaism to describe the path to HaShem and the manner in which he created the world ex nihilo (out of nothing). The Kabbalists developed this concept into a full model of reality, using the tree to depict a map of Creation.Its believed that the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah corresponds to the Tree of Life mentioned in Genesis 2:9. This mystical concept was later adopted by some esoterically inclined Christians as well as some Hermeticists. Among the Christian Kabbalists, the Sephiroth were called Dignities, and were referred to by their Latin names, instead of Hebrew Names of the ten Sephirot (citation needed).
In a similar fashion,the mandala is employed in meditation of Tibetan Buddhism,as a mental and spiritual map,the Kabbalist regards as the tree of life as a blueprint of spiritual yoga.The emanation which comprise the ten sephirot
on the tree of life,and are arranged in three columns and represents the action of divine creative force upon various hierarchical level.With the coming of religious freedom,following the renaissance of the western mystics simplified the Kabbalah system of classification of fully archetypal Gods.
The Tree of Life became something of a memory device,which systematized the Gods of nature arranging them with the similarity of nature.the eternal God of antiquity,Zeus,Jupiter,Osiris and Vishnu would all find the place within the sphere of influence of the fourth sephirot 'Chesed',the sphere of divine mass.The Gods of vengeance and War,Mars,Horus,Shiva and Hades find harmony in the sephirot of 'Geburah',the fifth sphere of Tree of Life.Similarly solo Gods Ra, Apollo, and in the Christian mythology Jesus,find their attribution to the sixth sphere of the Tree of Life,'Tiphareth' or the beauty.
In the world of medieval Europe,were the western mystics took up the kabbalah,with enthusiasm.The science says of the age were based upon the classical astrological resonance,helps in plants,held to yield according to their flow of astral tides,influenced by the rising and setting of the planets.Even medicinal science were subject to the accompaniment of the talisman made of metals falling under the influence of certain planets,for the purpose of their healing prodigies.The ten sephirot of the tree,well according to the planetary arena of influence,and it was not a long step from there to find the particle Gods,herbs and plants,animals real and imaginary,and every conceivable system of classification by time,finding its way to the Tree of Life.
The medieval concept of the world composed of four elements is fundamental to the understanding the Tree of Life.The lowest sephirot 'Malkuth',the kingdom,the root element of earth,on which edifies sun.The highest point of the tree,Kether,to the lowest of the sephirot Malkuth,the creative force of divinity is held to be functionally pure,in relation to the level of revealing,its held to be operational within.This hierarchy of manifestation,requires us to stand back from the detail at this point,and examine the broad brush-strokes of the design in order to appreciate the plan as a whole.
If the Tree of Life is held to represent a plan of creation,then we has man himself is regarded as the microcosm of the greater scheme.The tree also provides us a map,through which man may come to know himself.Of ten images of 'Tree of Life',accompanied by the diagram of man packed in to the tree,this is Adam;Adam before the fall,also known as microcosmic.Kabbalistic law intimates that the ten sephirot represents all the qualities of self.From Kether,our most spiritual idol,to the Malkuth,representing the atom material self,functioning in the world of matter and energy.
The Hebrew title of each sephirot,this is the singular term employed when discussing the sephirot and their English translation should be memorized in the order of descent from first to last.
The first sephirot Kether,the title translate as Crown,represents the crystallization of the point of light from hiding focus for the first command of creation 'Let there be Light'.The esoteric text of the sephirot reads;
The first path [KETER or Crown] is called the Admirable Intelligence [Mystical Intelligence], the Supreme Crown. It is the light which imparts understanding of the beginning which is without beginning, and this also is the First Splendor. No created being can attain to its essence.
Kether is known as the hidden intelligence,because it is the first crystallization of the unknowable cause that reveals the creator through his work,but which may only be grasped metaphysically,as it lies above the sphere of manifestation of human consciousness.Kether has no beginning,because it exist even before the creation of time or space.It is held to unfold from the cloud veils of 'Ains Soph Aur
',the limitless light hoisted to exist above the tree,in a way that it is indeterminable.
Within man 'Kether' represents the highest manifestation of the divinity,the spiritual essence of 'Neshamah
',which is one of the tree aspects of man's divine essence,along with Ruah the body and 'Nefesh',the personality.
Chokmah,the second sephirot represents the extension of that point of light,and the geometric shape associated with Chokmah,is there for a straight line.Chokmah ,title is wisdom and the esoteric text of this sephirot:
The second path [CHOCHMAH or Wisdom] is called the Illuminating Intelligence. It is the Crown of Creation and the splendor of the Supreme Unity, to which it is most in proximity. It is exalted above every head and is distinguished by Kabbalists as the Second Splendor.
Chokmah,has the archetype of the divine father.
Where as the third sephirot,'Binah',is understanding or intelligence,completes the triad of the sephirot at the apex of the 'Tree of Life',known as the Supernal Triad.Being the third of the sephirot,Binah's symbol is the triangle.Being the third of the sephirot,Binah's symbol is the triangle,it is alternately as 'Mara' the great mother or the great sea.The esoteric text associated with Binah reads.
The third path [BINAH or Understanding] is called the Sanctifying Intelligence and is the foundation of Primordial Wisdom, termed the Creation of Faith. Its roots are AMeN. It is the mother of Faith, which indeed emanates therefrom.
It is the parent of faith,were faith emanates.Together with Chokmah and Binah represents the two sides of the brain functioning in harmony.The bicameral
mind,of the left and the right brain,logic and intuition,have their harmonics in this area of Kabbalistic Tree of Life.
Below the supernal triad,lies the great abyss,were a cosmological vortex exist.In the original plan of creation,before the occurrence of that spiritual event known metaphorically as the 'FALL',this was the proper place of the Malkuth.The decimal harmonic of the scheme,were sublimated within the perfect four sephirot.This is held by the tradition to be so,because of the way in which the integers one two three and four,when added together,total ten (1+2+3+4=10)
After the fall had occurred,After Adam and Eve, ate the fruit from the 'Tree of knowledge of good and evil',the fall of Malkuth took place creating the tree of ten Spheres,fulfilling the decimal potential of full sephirot.The abyss is the place of Darth or the knowledge,not as a fire within itself,but a kind of spiritual black-hole,where the lowest sephirot Malkuth,once existed. The harmonic,in the body of man,is the Corpus Callosum.The bridge which connects the left and the right side of the brain,that in the 'Tree of Life', fourth sephirot, Chesed or mercy and the fifth sephirot Geburah,represents the beginning of space and time.GEBURAH
Geburah is probably the least understood Sephirah in the Tree of Life, least appreciated in its mostly disastrous representation among the five sephirots, quite often seen as the evil power destroying the harmonious stability of Chesed (in the Fours).
Yet Geburah is the inevitable counterbalance to Chesed and we must not view one of them without considering the second. True to the Principle of Polarity that already showed in the relation between Chokmah and Binah the same mutual balance exists between Chesed and Geburah, albeit on a lower arc in what is called the Ethical Triangle.
On the Pillar of Severity Geburah is placed directly under Binah and like Binah who binds and restricts the energies of Chokmah Geburah does the same to the powers of Chesed. And like above this is not just due to wanton rudeness but serves a purpose.
Tiphareth,or the beauty,the sixth sephirot lies at the heart of tree of life,at this point in which the macrocosm meets the microcosm.Tiphareth is the thought to be,the highest point which the material self of thought and flesh can come to know the divinity within,as the light emanating from the Kether or the crown,position directly above the earth.However at this midpoint on this tree,there is held to exist an entity called the 'Dweller upon the threshold
,who guards the veil of paroketh
or the veil of illusion.This is an entity,synonyms to the famous psychologist Carl Jung's Shadow Self
.Which must be sublimated during the journeys of mystical transmission.The 'Dweller upon the threshold' may also reconsidered of the automatic function of mind,accent to the innate mechanism of our brains.
Below 'Tiphareth',lies the sephirot Netzach,victory over the divine light is splendid with the vitality of the life forces of nature.With the seventh Sephirah Netzach we are entering the Astral Triangle, the realm of personality and our own consciousness. Netzach represents the instincts, the emotions caused by those, it is sensitivity and creativity on an instinctive, umconscious level.The white light that shone so bright in Tiphareth is split into thousands of coloured rays in Netzach, almost like in a prism but yet unsorted, anarchic, flowing about in uncontrolled, ever-shifting shapes.It is located at the bottom of the Pillar of Mercy where, as we remember, all the growing, expanding and unrestricted powers arise.
The counterbalance of the anarchic Netzach on the Astral Plane in the Tree of Life is Hod, the eigth Sephirah. While Netzach is the Force, Hod is the Form, providing organization and structure to the uncontrolled power of its counterpart from which it emanates. As a couple, Netzach and Hod are often referred to as 'time' and 'place'.Like Netzach was reflected from Geburah through Tiphareth, Hod is reflected from Chesed through Tiphareth, representing its coagulating principle. Hod is also called the Sphere of Magic(k) since it is the sphere of the formulation of form, change imposed by will and intellect. Quite naturally it is also restriction and discrimination or interference. You cannot form anything without restricting it in one way or the other, once you tame a wild thing its freedom is limited. This is the primary effect of any Sephirah on the Pillar of Severity hence its name.
And Yesod,the foundation on which the generative power of nature combined to reproduce and manifest.The esoteric text roads the Yesod as;
The ninth path [YESOD or Foundation] is called the Purified Intelligence. It purifies the numerations, prevents and stays the fracture of their images (or proves and corrects the designing of their representations), for it establishes their unity, to preserve them from destruction and division by their union with itself. (It disposes their unity with which they are combined without diminution or division.)
In Yesod we find the equilibrium of the Astral Plane, the Sphere in which both Netzach and Hod find their balance and perfection.At first sight Yesod seems to be a contradictory Sephirah.At one side it is all fluidity, is in a constant state of waxing and waning, of flux and reflux. On the other hand it is called 'the machinery' of the universe, being the receptable of all emanations of the other Sephirah above it on the Tree of Life, and the only transmitter of these emanations to Malkuth.
When we think of it it is not so contradictory as it appears. A machine has to move, at least something in it has to, in order to function. With no movement and rhythm whatsoever there is nothing the machine could empower. Unlike Netzach Yesod is no uncontrolled mess of instincts, it is the Sphere of reflection and imagination emanating from Hod, the wisdom and the structure. Yesod can be compared with a giant image gallery storing the images of past and present, of below and beyond, beautiful ones and ugly ones, soothing and frightening, dreams and nightmares. They're floating and shifting, moving like figures on an old silent movie screen.
The final sephirot Malkuth,kingdom lies at the base of the tree,below the pillow of equilibrium.Malkuth is an Aramaic word,signifying the reign of king and represents an idol kingdom rather than a crown property as such.The Esoteric text reading Malkuth as;
The tenth path [MALCHUTH or Kingdom] is called the Resplendent Intelligence, because it is exalted above every head and has its seat in BINAH: it enlightens the fire of all lights and emanates the power of the principle of forms. (It causes a supply of influence to emanate from the prince of Countenances.)
At the very bottom of the Tree of Life we find Malkuth, the Bride of Microprosopus, also called the Kingdom, the final phase of active manifestation. While Yesod is the machinery sorting and combining all emanations from the upper levels of the Tree, it is in Malkuth that these emanations finally find a solid base to materialize.Malkuth is associated with Nefesh, the animal soul, and to Assiah, the world of making. It is in Malkuth were we are grounded and have our actual life, it is from Malkuth that we can look at the upper spheres at all. Being the very ground and body in which we are existent it is of utmost importance to our being, without Malkuth we simply would not be here at all. All spiritual exercise we will ever engage in has to be rooted and secured in our own Malkuth.
While Malkuth is securely anchored in the world of Assiah it combines all four elements in it, which becomes quite natural when we look at all life in and on our Earth. Take a little blade of grass for example.The grass itself is matter that is Earth, it was brought to life by the spark of vitality that is Fire, it is nurtured and fed by Water and it is Air in which it breathes. You could not take one of the elements away without destroying the being of this blade of grass, and it is likewise with all other life on Earth.
In the nice game of climbing the Tree of Life upwards and downwards in order to explore one's self, the desire is mostly focussed on the shining crown of Kether, believing that when the crown is reached the big goal is achieved. But, people forget that the biggest mystery is hidden in the own inside, and only very few have really seen the own Malkuth, let alone explored it.
Thus Malkuth completes the flow of creativity from Kether and earth,the current.
The Codex of Kabbalah
Occult of Tarot
Tree of Life
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