The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is a glyph is intended to represent the cosmos in its
entirety and the soul of man. We use this Tree as a tool to calculate the
intricacies of existence. The glyph is made up of ten circles, Sephirah, or
spheres. The Sephiroth represent the phases of evolution, or conditions of
existence, and are objective. The twenty two connecting lines are the Paths.
The Paths are phases of subjective consciousness by which the soul unfolds.
They are the stages of illumination of the soul. Although the Sephiroth
develop successively in time, they occur simultaneously in space. The Whole
Tree is a symbol and per Fortune "We must clearly realize that in these
highly abstract regions the mind can use nothing but symbols; but these
symbols have the power to convey realizations to minds that know how to use
them." Realization is concreting the Abstract, taking in a bit of knowledge,
relating it to what we already know to formulate new ideas or find answers.
The Tree of Life works that way. We learn the meanings of the individual
Sephiroth by relating them to their surrounding Spheres. We are supposed to
keep going back over and over the Tree to relate it to our own existence, no
matter whether it is a deep philosophical pondering or just plain everyday
life (which may reveal the most to us).
This system will work the best if we allow the knowledge we learn from
the Tree to sprout with in us. Per Fortune "If we want to get the best out of
our minds, we must learn to allow for this period of latency", this act of
absorbing or "impregnation of our minds by something outside our plane of
existence" will give rise to the birth of new ideas.
Here is a recap of the first three Sephirah, Kether, Chokmah, and Binah.
Kether, being the first Sephirah, is the Divine energy and means "Crown". We
cannot define Kether, we can only indicate it. It is at the crown of the
middle pillar, or the pillar of equilibrium, also known as the pillar of
consciousness. It is the first in the supernal triangle, this being all that
has not yet been manifested; the macrocosm, the point formulated in the void.
This is where All is manifested from. It is the ultimate Divine energy of our
system, but NOT a part of it. Kether is the raw material of consciousness
when considered microcosmically, and the raw material of existence when
considered macrocosmically. Far outside of us, but from whence we and
everything else has come from. It's abstract. From her book The Mystical
Qabalah, Dion Fortune states that all magical workings should start at
Kether, the most Divine source, and perhaps not the elements of either earth,
air, fire, water. She describes beginning at manifested sources as "robbing
Peter to pay Paul" and says the magician who starts at these points must
always be on guard because starting from what is already manifested doesn't
allow the Divine aspects, deities, archangels to be able to do their work.
Working with such energy will eventually deplete us. If we begin at the
point before manifestation, we will be able to access or use the Divine
energy at its fullest, and thus will always be energized ourselves. By
allowing the universe to manifest our magical workings according to universal
laws, instead of our own beckonings, we ultimately benefit and serve all at
the highest and purest potential. The challenge is that we have to figure
out how to achieve the more Divine Sephiroth in the first place to be able to
start our magical workings from such a high level.
According to Mme Blavatsky, there can be no manifestation without
differentiation into the Pairs of Opposites. Energy spills over from Kether
into the two aspects of Chokmah and Binah. Chokmah, the second Sephirah,
means Wisdom and is called the Sphere of the Zodiac. It is the male force
with a positive charge and sits at the head of the pillar of Mercy. It is
kinetic and dynamic in nature and is represented by the suit of twos in the
Tarot. It is at the head of Mercy. Attributes of the twos being love,
dominion, peace restored, and harmonious change. This second path is called
the Illuminating Intelligence and has a virtue of devotion with no e vice.
Chokmah is a passage of force and is not an organizing Sephirath or sphere.
Binah, which means Understanding, is the third Sephiroth, the Great
Mother, represented by the threes, (established strength, abundance, sorrow,
material works) and is static energy. We must talk about Chokmah and Binah
together to truly understand them because they are the epitome of the laws of
polarization. Binah is regarded as female and has a negative charge to it. It
is called the Sanctifying Intelligence, the foundation of primordial wisdom
and is also called the creator of faith or the parent of faith. It manifests
the virtue of silence and is the first to have a vice, that being avarice.
Binah is the primordial root of matter, but the full development of matter is
not found until we arrive at Malkuth, the bottom and last of the Sephiroth.
Binah sits at the head of the pillar of Severity, not due to any
destructive or subtractive type of force, but it is labeled at the head of
severity because it provides the vehicle that transforms force, which is
emanated from Chokmah, into form. It is the cosmic stimulus.
Chokmah's energy is dynamic and flows freely, but without the anchoring
characteristic of Binah, would flow out into the universe without any
direction and would probably dissipate into nothing. Binah is the anchor,
which takes this primordial force and molds it or transmutes it into the
beginnings of form. Chokmah is the gasoline and Binah is the car. You can
have gasoline, but if you do not have a car you can't go anywhere. Likewise
if you have a car with no gasoline you won't be going anywhere either, so it
is the combined efforts of Chokmah and Binah which gives rise to our
manifested universe. As it over flows from Binah into Chesed (Gedulah) it
passes through an "invisible Sephirah" called Daath, or the abyss. This is
the threshold of the transmutation of primordial force-to-form into physical
manifestation. Daath means Knowledge, whereby Wisdom is combined with
Chokmah and Binah are the first pair of opposites in creation, the first
principals of the laws of polarity. As we travel downward through the Tree of
Life we will see that this dualism is repeated in the relationships of Chesed
to Geburah and that of Netzach to Hod.
Energy travels from one pole to another, positive to negative, and each
subsequent Sephiroth is an alternate charge to the one preceding and the one
following it. Energy must keep moving to sustain equilibrium, and balance is
obtained through momentum. Just as bike riders keeps their balance because
they are moving, and once they stop they may fall, so it is with the energy
which travels through the Tree of Life.
The Middle Pillar is called Equilibrium and it is this transference of
energy between the pillar of Severity and Mercy that keeps the middle pillar
Energy flows in a zig zag (or curved) path, never straight. Chokmah is
positive, flowing into Binah, which is negative, which flows into (Chesed)
Gedulah, positive, then into Geburah, negative, and throughout the Tree.
Chesed and Geburah are the points of metabolism, (anabolism and
katabolism), the push and pull of energies which perpetuates form. These two
flow into Tipareth, which is the center of equilibrium of the whole tree. Per
Fortune "It is Kether on a lower arc and Yesod on a higher arc; thirdly it is
the point of transmutation between the planes of force and the planes of
form." The four spheres below Tipareth represent the personality or
lower self and the four above are the individual or higher self, with Kether
being the Divine spark. This is also the point where Goddess and God come
into manifest, through their redeemer abilities between above and below and
sprouts individualized consciousness.
Netzach is concerned with the nature forces and intuition. Hod is with
ceremonial magic, knowledge and the intellect. Yesod represents the moon, the
fifth element, the eather, and is the etheric reflection of our incarnate
bodies. Malkuth is our incarnate bodies and Earthly dense matter.
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