The Tree of Life kabbalah consists of ten globes of luminous splendour arranged in three vertical columns and connected by 22 channels or paths. the Ten globes are called the Sephiroth and to them are assigned the numbers 1 to 10. The three columns are called Mercy (on the right), Severity (on the left), and, between them, Mildness, as the reconciling power. The columns may also be said to represent Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, which form the triune support off the universe, for it is written that the foundation of all things is the Three. The 22 channels are the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and to them are assigned the major trumps of the Tarot deck of symbolic cards.
Eliphas Levi declared that by arranging the Tarot according to a definite order man could discover all that is knowable concerning his God, his universe, and himself. When the ten numbers which pertain to the globes (Sephiroth) of the tree of life kabbalah are combined with the 22 letters relating to the channels, the resulting sum is 32—the number peculiar to the Qabbalistic Paths of Wisdom. These Paths, occasionally referred to as the 32 teeth in the mouth of the Vast Countenance or as the 32 nerves that branch out from the Divine Brain, are analagous to the first 32 degrees of Freemasonry, which elevate the candidate to the dignity of a Prince of the Royal Secret. Qabalists also consider it extremely significant that in the original Hebrew Scriptures the name of God should occur 32 times in the first chapter of Genesis. (In the English translations of the Bible the name appears 33 times.) In the mystic analysis of the human body, according to the Rabbins, 32 spinal segments lead upward to the Temple of Wisdom–the skull. The four the Tree of Life Kabbalah were combined by later Jewish scholars into one all-inclusive diagram and termed by them not only the Sephirothic but also the Archtepyal, or Heavenly, Adam. According to some authorities, it is this Heavenly Adam, and not a terrestial man whose creation is described in the opening chapters of Genesis. Out of the substances of this divine man the universe was formed; in him it remains and will continue even after dissolution shall resolve the spheres back into their own primitive substance. The Deity is never conceived of as actually contained in the Sephiroth which are purely hypothetical vessels employed to define the limits of the Creative Essence. Adolph Franck rather likens the Sephiroth to varicolored, transparent glass bowls filled with pure light, which apparently assumes the color of its containers but whose essential nature remains ever unchanged and unchangeable. The ten Sephiroth composing the body of the prototypic Adam, the numbers related to them, and the parts of the universe to which they correspond are as follows:
No. THE SEPHIROTH THE UNIVERSE ALTERNATIVE
1 Kether—the crown Primum Mobile The Fiery Heavens
2 Chochmah—Wisdom The Zodiac The First Motion
3 Binah—Understanding Saturn The Zodiac
4 Chesed—Mercy Jupiter Saturn
5 Geburah—Severity Mars Jupiter
6 Tiphereth—Beauty Sun Mars
7 Netsah—Victory Venus Sun
8 Hod—Glory Mercury Venus
9 Jesod—the Foundation Moon Mercury
10 Malchuth—the Kingdom Elements Moon
It must be continually be emphasized that the Sephiroth of the tree of life kabbalah and the properties assigned to then, like the tetractys of the Pythagoreans, are merely symbols of the cosmic system with its multitude of parts. The truer and fuller meaning of thse emblems may not be revealed by writing or by word of mouth, but must be divined as the result of study and meditation. In the Sepher ha Zohar it is written that there is is a garment but at the body beneath it—the intellectual and philosophical code. The wisest of all, however, the servants of the Heavenly King, look at nothing save the soul—The spiritual doctrine—which is the eternal and ever-springing root of the law. Of this great truth Eliphas Levi also writes declaring that none can gain entrance to the secret House of Wisdom unless he wear the voluminous cape of Apollonius of Tyana and carry in his hand the lamp of Hermes. The cape signifies the qualities of self-possession and self-reliance which must envelop the seeker as a cloak of strength, while the ever-burning lamp of the sage represents the illumined mind and perfectly balanced intellect without which the mystery of the ages can never be solved. The Tree of Life Kabbalah is sometimes depicted as a human body, thus more definitely establishing the true identity of the first or Heavenly, Man—Adam Kadmon—the Idea of the Universe. The ten divine globes (Sephiroth) are then considered as analogous to the ten sacred members and organs of the of the Protogonos, according to the following arrangement. Kether is the crown of the Prototypic Head and perhaps refers to the pineal gland; Chochmah and Binh are the right and left hemispheres respectively of the the Great Brain; Chesed and Geburah (Pechad) are the right and left arms respectively signifying the active creative members of the Grand Man; Tiphereth is the heart, or, according to some, the entire viscera; Netsah and Hod are the right and left legs respectively or the supports of the world; Jesod is the generative system, or the foundation of form; and Malchuth represents the two feet, or the base of being. Occasionally Jesod is considered as the male and Malchuth as the female generative power. The Grand Man thus conceived is the gigantic image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, with head of gold, arms and chest of silver, body of brass, legs of iron, and feet of clay. The mediaeval Qabbalists also assigned one of the Ten Commandments and a tenth part of the Lord’s Prayer in sequential order to each of the Sephiroth.
Concerning the emanations from Kether which establish themselves as the three triads of Creative Powers–termed in the Sepher ha Zohar three heads each with three faces—H. P. Blavatsky writes: “This [Kether] was the first Sephiroth, containing in herself the other nine Sephiroth תודיפם , or intelligences. In their totality and unity they represent the archetypal man, Adam Kadmon the πρωωτόγονος, who in his individuality or unity is yet dual, or bisexual, the Greek Didumos, for he is the prototype of all humanity. Thus we obtain three trinities, each contained in a ‘head’. In the first head, or face (the three-faced Hindu Trimurti), we find Sephira [Kether], the first androgyne, at the apex of the upper triangle, emitting Hachama [Chochmah], or wisdom, a masculine and active potency, also called Jah, הי —and Binah represented by the name Jehovah הוהי. Concerning the emanations from Kether which establish themselves as the three triads of Creative Powers–termed in the Sepher ha Zohar three heads each with three faces—H. P. Blavatsky writes: “This [Kether] was the first Sephiroth, containing in herself the other nine Sephiroth תודיפם , or intelligences. In their totality and unity they represent the archetypal man, Adam Kadmon the πρωωτόγονος, who in his individuality or unity is yet dual, or bisexual, the Greek Didumos, for he is the prototype of all humanity. Thus we obtain three trinities, each contained in a ‘head’. In the first head, or face (the three-faced Hindu Trimurti), we find Sephira [Kether], the first androgyne, at the apex of the upper triangle, emitting Hachama [Chochmah], or wisdom, a masculine and active potency, also represented by the name Jehovah. These three form the trinity or ‘face’ of the Sephiroth. This triad emanated Hesed, וםח, or Mercy, a masculine active potency, also called El from which emanated Geburah הדוכנ or justice, also called Eloha, a feminine passive potency; from te union of these two was produceed Tiphareth, Beauty, Clemency, the Spiritual Sun, known by the divine name Elohim, and the second triad, ‘face’. or ‘head’ was formed. These emanating, in their turn, the feminine passive potency Hod, Splendor, or Elohim Sabaoth, who issued the חהד
. These three form the trinity or ‘face’ of the Sephiroth. This triad emanated Hesed, וםח, or Mercy, a masculine active potency, also called El from which emanated Geburah הדוכנ or justice, also called Eloha, a feminine passive potency; from te union of these two was produceed Tiphareth, Beauty, Clemency, the Spiritual Sun, known by the divine name Elohim, and the second triad, ‘face’. or ‘head’ was formed. These emanating, in their turn, the feminine passive potency Hod, Splendor, or Elohim Sabaoth; the two produced Jesod, Foundation, who is the mighty living one El.-Chai, thus yielding the third tirnity or ‘head’. The tenth Sephiroth is rather a dud, and is represented on the diagrams as the lowest circle. It is Malcuth or Kingdom, ,and Shekinah, also called Adonai, and Cherubim among the angelic hosts. The first ‘Head’ is called the Intellectual world; the scond ‘Head’ is the Sensous, or the world of Perception, and the third is the material or Phyical world.” (See Isis Unveiled.)
Among the later Qabbalists there is also a division of the Sephirothic Tree into five parts, in which the distribution of the globes is according to the following order:
(1) Macroprosophus, or the Great Face, is the tern applied to Kether as the first and most exalted of the Sephiroth and includes the nine potencies or Sephiroth issuing from Kether.
(2) Abba, the Great Father, is the term generally applied to Chochmah–Universal Wisdom–the first emanation of Kether, but, according to Ibn Gebirol, Chochmah represents the Son, the Logos or the Word born from the union of Kether and Binah.
(3) Aima, the Great Mother, is the name by which Binah, or the third Sephirah, is generally known.
Tree of life kabblah.
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