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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

☩ 2010 Edition ☩

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

AstroQab Publishing 2010


First Electronic Edition 2007
Date of Original Publication: 3rd April, 2007
2010 Edition First Published: 21st June, 2010
Author: Patrick Mulcahy
Email: mallukh_ahi@yahoo.com
Website: www.astroqab.co.nr

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Contents
CONTENTS ............................................................................................... 4

ILLUSTRATIONS ......................................................................................................... 6

PREFACE 2010 ........................................................................................... 9


INTRODUCTION .................................................................................... 11
FORMATION OF THE TREE OF LIFE ............................................... 21

AIN SOF ...................................................................................................................21


KETER ......................................................................................................................27
HOCKMAH AND BINAH..........................................................................................31
DA‘AT.......................................................................................................................35
HESED......................................................................................................................41
GEBURAH ................................................................................................................43
HOD .........................................................................................................................45
TIFARET ...................................................................................................................47
YESOD......................................................................................................................49
NETZAH ...................................................................................................................53

DIVISION OF THE TREE OF LIFE .....................................................57

LIGHT AND DARKNESS ..........................................................................................57


DAY AND NIGHT ....................................................................................................61

TWO TREES OF LIFE .............................................................................65

TREE OF THE SOUL ................................................................................................65


THE TWELVE SIMPLE LETTERS.............................................................................79
TREE OF THE UNIVERSE ........................................................................................95
MALKUT.................................................................................................................103
THE TWELVE TRIBES ...........................................................................................107
THE SHEKINAH.....................................................................................................113

THE POLYHEX KEY TO THE PATHWAYS...................................... 121

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THE GEOMETRIC MODEL................................................................................... 121

THE ELEMENTS AND THE TREE ................................................... 143

ALEF ...................................................................................................................... 143


MAYM .................................................................................................................... 145
SHIN....................................................................................................................... 151
ALEF, MAYM, AND SHIN ..................................................................................... 163

SECRET PATHWAYS ............................................................................ 167

THE NOSE OF MACROPROSOPUS ....................................................................... 167


THE LIPS OF MICROPROSOPUS ........................................................................... 174
THE HIDDEN PATHWAYS OF QOF AND SAMECK............................................. 179
THE MYSTERY OF DA‘AT .................................................................................... 187

THE HOLY NAME: YHVH - HVHY ................................................... 193

INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................... 193
VH - HV ............................................................................................................... 194
YH - HY................................................................................................................ 199
BREATH FROM BREATH ....................................................................................... 205

CONCLUSION ....................................................................................... 213


APPENDIX ONE .................................................................................... 239

THE MYSTERY OF THE TEN SEFIROT ................................................................ 239

APPENDIX TWO.................................................................................... 251

SOME RELATED ESOTERIC COMMENTS ............................................................ 251

Mothers, Doubles, and Elementals ....................................................................... 251


Malkut - Twelve Simple Letter Pathways............................................................. 252
Thought, Understanding, Voice, Utterance ........................................................... 254
Joseph Represents Yesod ....................................................................................... 257
The Mystery of Da’at .......................................................................................... 259
The Mystery of Da’at - Part Two......................................................................... 261
The Community of Israel ..................................................................................... 263
The Great Voice ................................................................................................. 270
The Fall of Adam ............................................................................................... 272

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The Naming of Seth.............................................................................................274


The Holy Covenant ..............................................................................................277
The Four Hayyoth ...............................................................................................279
Esau Corresponds with Hod.................................................................................283
The ‘Well’ of Da’at - Part One ............................................................................287
The ‘Well’ of Da’at - Part Two ............................................................................291
Jacob Wrestles with Samael ..................................................................................295
Samael... A Further Elaboration .........................................................................298
The Four Sons of the Concubines ..........................................................................299
The Shekinah and the Twelve Tribes ....................................................................303
The Shekinah and the Twelve Tribes - Part Two ..................................................307
The Eight Firmaments .........................................................................................309
The Ways and Paths............................................................................................312
Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshamah ............................................................................316

ESOTERIC SERVICES .......................................................................... 319

Illustrations
Figure 1 : Tree of Life (One of many variations) ...................................................13
Figure 2 : The Berashit Sequence of Sefirotic Unfoldment ..................................17
Figure 3 : Leadbeater‘s ‗Anu‘.....................................................................................18
Figure 4 : Ain Sof........................................................................................................25
Figure 5 : Keter ...........................................................................................................29
Figure 6 : Hockmah & Binah ....................................................................................32
Figure 7 : Da'at............................................................................................................36
Figure 8 : Hesed ..........................................................................................................42
Figure 9 : Geburah .....................................................................................................44
Figure 10 : Hod ...........................................................................................................46
Figure 11 : Tifaret .......................................................................................................48
Figure 12 : Yesod ........................................................................................................52
Figure 13 : Netzah ......................................................................................................54
Figure 14 : The Seven Double Letter Sefirot ..........................................................55
Figure 15 : Three Sefirot of Light; Three Sefirot of Darkness .............................59
Figure 16 : Three Sefirot of Day; Three Sefirot of Night .....................................63
Figure 17 : ―Four sides from one portion‖ .............................................................69
Figure 18 : ―Four sides from the part of His countenance‖ .................................73

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Figure 19 : ―Four sides from another part of the periphery‖ ............................... 73


Figure 20 : ―One above the skull‖ ........................................................................... 74
Figure 21 : The Seven Double Letter Facial Features and Major Bodily
Attributes .................................................................................................................... 75
Figure 22 : The Four Compass Points .................................................................... 82
Figure 23 : Compass and Astrological Wheel ......................................................... 83
Figure 24 : The Three Eastern Boundaries ............................................................. 85
Figure 25 : The Three Southern Boundaries .......................................................... 86
Figure 26 : The Three Western Boundaries............................................................ 87
Figure 27 : The Three Northern Boundaries ......................................................... 88
Figure 28 : The Twelve Simple Letter Pathways .................................................... 90
Figure 29 : Tree of Life (Soul) ................................................................................. 93
Figure 30 : The Tree of Life (Universe) .................................................................. 95
Figure 31 : The Seven Lower Sefirot and the Zodiacal Circle ............................. 96
Figure 32 : The Astrological Pyramid ...................................................................... 97
Figure 33 : The Astrological Pyramid (Upright) .................................................... 98
Figure 34 : The Addition of Malkut ...................................................................... 104
Figure 35 : Malkut: Astrological and Hebrew Versions ...................................... 105
Figure 36 : Tree of the Universe : Twelve Tribes Version ................................ 112
Figure 37 : Aligning Consciousness with the Shekinah....................................... 118
Figure 38 : The Merging of Spirit & Form ........................................................... 122
Figure 39 : Tree of Life Polyhexagon .................................................................... 123
Figure 40 : The Genesis & Tree of Life Polyhexes ............................................. 124
Figure 41 : The Merging of the Spirit & Form Polyhexes .................................. 125
Figure 42 : The Tree of Life Polyhexagon ............................................................ 126
Figure 43 : The Soul Principle (Green) ................................................................. 127
Figure 44 : Polyhexagon Tree of Life — Hebrew ............................................... 129
Figure 45 : Tree of Life — Traditional & Polyhex Designs ............................... 131
Figure 46 : The Hierarchical Arrangement of the Hebrew Letters ................... 134
Figure 47 : Tree of Life : 3+7+12 Pathways ........................................................ 138
Figure 48 : The Polyhex Tree of Life (Revised) ................................................... 140
Figure 49 : The Path of Alef .................................................................................. 144
Figure 50 : The Path of Maym ............................................................................... 149
Figure 51 : The Path of Shin .................................................................................. 153
Figure 52 : The Astrological Pyramid (plus Shin) ................................................ 155
Figure 53 : The Lower Sefirot and Zodiac (plus Shin and Maym) .................... 157
Figure 54 : The Sefirot and the Chakras ............................................................... 158
Figure 55 : The Tree of Life (Full Hebrew Version) ........................................... 159
Figure 56 : The Tree of Life (Full Astrological Version) .................................... 160
Figure 57 : Tree of Life (Full Twelve Tribes Version) ........................................ 161

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Figure 58 : The Hidden Paths of Maym and Shin ................................................169


Figure 59 : The Qof and Sameck Pathways ..........................................................180
Figure 60 : The ShM Pillar.......................................................................................184
Figure 61 : The ShM Pillar & the Octahedron .....................................................185
Figure 62 : The Cup of Salvation............................................................................191
Figure 63 : The Astrological Pyramid ....................................................................197
Figure 64 The Reconfigured Tree of Life .............................................................210
Figure 65 : Edenic Consciousness ..........................................................................219
Figure 66 : Paths of Judgment ................................................................................222
Figure 67 : Elemental Fire and Water ....................................................................225
Figure 68 : Covenant and Circumcision ................................................................228
Figure 69 : The Shabbat and the Tree of Life .......................................................231
Figure 70 : The 42 Copulations & BRAShTh .......................................................268
Figure 71 : The Covenant – The Pathway of Shin ...............................................269
Figure 72 : The Four Mutable Pathways – Green ................................................302

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Preface 2010

T his 2010 edition of my book Formation of the Tree of Life contains some
minor editing of the original text as well as some cosmetic changes, but
the Tree of Life ‗formation formula‘1 that I initially expounded in the
2007 edition remains unaltered and continues in its role as the central
focus of this work.

I have used a larger book format in this 2010 production (i.e. following a
suggestion made to me a long time ago by one of my readers). The conversion
turned out to require a lot of work, but hopefully it will make this edition easier
to read.

Please excuse the variant English spelling of some Hebrew word transliterations
found in this book. They are mostly due to the personal spelling preferences of
the translators whose passages I have quoted.

I‘ve added a new chapter to this edition called ‗The Polyhex Key to the
Pathways‘. This chapter was going to be included in my upcoming book Holy
Temple of Magic, but its content relates so strongly to the theme of this book that
I decided to include it here instead.

I‘ve also added a concluding chapter that was originally going to serve as an
introduction to my upcoming book Holy Temple of Magic. It too, seems to fit
more comfortably in the present volume because it ties together a lot of the
esoteric principles outlined in this book.

In this new 2010 edition I have added a couple of appendices containing


material that readers of my website and newsgroups might recognize. Appendix
One contains an article that I wrote a while ago about the ten sefirot and the
Sefer Yetzirah.

1 That is, the formula that determines the arrangement of the ten sefirot and twenty-two Hebrew
letter pathways.

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Appendix Two is composed of a string of short esoteric comments and Zohar


commentaries that I posted to my newsgroups over the last few years. They all
deal with topics germane to the theme of this book.

I also decided to add a new chapter that touches on the hidden (or
‗reconfigured‘) pathways of Qof and Sameck. I knew of the existence of these
two hidden ‗Maym‘ and ‗Shin‘ pathways (i.e. extending to Da‘at) when I wrote
the first edition of this book back in 2007, but I didn‘t know (back then) the
identity of the two Hebrew Simple letters that are associated with them. Their
identity was only revealed to me this year (2010) as an unexpected consequence
of my discovery of the ‗polyhex key to the pathways‘.

There are some other changes and additions that you‘ll discover as you peruse
this book. The unlabeled plates that appear throughout are merely space-fillers,
but interesting none-the-less. They‘re ‗artistically enhanced‘ photocopies from
an old Latin manuscript of Kabbala Denudata.

I don‘t know when my new book Holy Temple of Magic will be completed—
perhaps in 2011. It will provide a practical kabbalah component that
complements the theoretical principles described in this book. I also have a
book on ‗astrological angel magic‘ due for release.

I hope you enjoy this new 2010 edition of Formation of the Tree of Life.

Patrick Mulcahy
19th June, 2010 & 25th May, 2011

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Introduction

W hat follows is essentially an extended meditation on the kabbalistic


Tree of Life mandala during which a new vision of the Tree of Life is
formulated. Perhaps paradoxically, this new vision is derived from
information encoded in several well-known ancient traditional
kabbalistic sources: The Book of Creation (Sefer Berashit)2, The Book of Formation
(Sefer Yetzirah)3, The Book of Concealed Mystery (Sefer Dtzenioutha), The Greater
Holy Assembly (Ha Idra Rabba Qadisha), and The Lesser Holy Assembly (Ha Idra
Zuta Qadisha)4. There is a common thread running through all of these classic
texts. Formation of the Tree of Life seeks to follow that thread and by means of it to
unify (to a certain extent) the knowledge contained in those five ancient books.

This book is filled with hypotheses and speculations. I had originally planned to
make it simply a picture book without any accompanying commentary, but I
was asked by a friend: What is my personal interpretation of this series of Tree
diagrams? So I decided to include my own interpretations, along with the
diagrams, for those who might be interested. The diagrams however, can be
usefully studied without reading my commentary at all. In fact, you will
probably discover levels of meaning that I have altogether missed as you peruse
them. Essentially, this book is meant to be a visual meditation on the Tree of
Life mandala, and should be treated as such.

2 The first book of the Pentateuch. It‘s called the Book of Genesis in the English Bible. ―Berashit‖
literally translates as ―in the beginning‖. All quotes used in this book are from the King James version.

3 The Sefer Yetzirah is of unknown origin, but is considered to be ancient. It is one of the most revered
books of the Kabbalah. All Sefer Yetzirah quotes used in this book are taken from Aryeh Kaplan‘s
translation of the GRA version. See: Sefer Yetzirah, by Aryeh Kaplan. Weiser, 1990. Quotes can be
identified by the abbreviation: SY.

4 These last three books belong to the larger work known as the Zohar. Quotes used in this book are
from the Soncino Edition, and from Mathers‘ translation of Knorr von Rosenroth‘s Latin version.
See: The Kabbalah Unveiled, by S. L. MacGregor Mathers. Weiser, 1968. Quotes from the Zohar can be
identified by the abbreviations: BCM, GHA, and LHA.

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If you are already well-versed in the Kabbalah and familiar with the Tree of Life
diagram, then as you delve into these pages it is probable that my new
arrangement of the twenty-two Hebrew letter pathways will challenge your
existing preconceptions about the Tree of Life. You may even think to yourself:
―Not another path arrangement!‖ Read on however, and you will soon realise
that these placements are by no means arbitrary or superficial. On the contrary,
there is a definite and profound reason and purpose for each and every
placement. In fact, I think you will be surprised at the amazing simplicity and
‗obviousness‘ of the scheme‘s basic metaphysical premise. The formula is, in
fact, so simple and so obvious that once you have grasped it there is no need to
memorise the Hebrew letter pathway correspondences. You can easily
determine the Hebrew letter attribution of any Tree of Life pathway merely by
applying the formula to the Tree diagram.

The kabbalistic Tree of Life diagram consists of thirty-two organised and


interdependent components. Its structure defines the basic metaphysical
architecture that underlies, supports, and sustains the universe and everything in
it. Kabbalists throughout the centuries have put forward many and various
configurations of the ten sefirot and their twenty-two interconnecting pathways,
and there have been many proposed arrangements of the twenty-two Hebrew
letters upon the pathways. What I am presenting here is a new configuration
that differs considerably to previous versions because it‘s based on the formula
of Creation. As such, it demonstrates in a step-by-step process how the Tree
unfolds into manifestation, and it reveals very plainly the fundamental dynamics
operating within the kabbalistic Tree of Life.

In all my writings I have never sought to appeal to kabbalists of the


traditionalist, ultra-orthodox5 variety. I believe the Kabbalah is a living tradition,
and my work an exploration into new kabbalistic realms and possibilities. These
new ideas have been received by me after years of studying the existing
foundation of kabbalistic thought (and other metaphysical knowledge systems).
Thus, although this book builds on the past it also offers some alternative

5That is, those who adhere strictly to an old version of the Kabbalah and who refuse to believe that
any useful innovation (or new interpretation) is possible or even desirable.

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interpretations of various primary source texts, and challenges some long-held


present-day assumptions.

Figure 1 : Tree of Life (One of many variations)

In bygone days traditional commentators of the Kabbalah tended to distribute


the Hebrew letters amongst the pathways so that the three Mother letters were
given to three horizontal paths, the seven Double letters were assigned to seven
vertical paths, and the twelve Simple letters were attributed to twelve diagonal
pathways. (For example, see Figure 1.) That may be a valid numerically-based

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arrangement, but I have not yet found any deeper metaphysical explanation
for those placements.

The premise for the geometric arrangement is based on a particular way of


interpreting the Sefer Yetzirah, but nowhere in the Sefer Yetzirah is it explicitly
stated that the three Mother letters are assigned to three horizontal pathways, or
that the seven Double letters are assigned to seven vertical pathways.

In Aryeh Kaplan‘s translation of the Sefer Yetzirah the twelve Simple letters are
described as...

Twelve Elementals: h’w’z, x’j’y, l’n’o, e’u’q. Their foundation is the


twelve diagonal boundaries [GBVLY ALKSVN, Nwokla ylwbg]...6

The Hebrew phrase ―g’vulei alakson‖ is somewhat ambiguous. The preferred


translation of Saadia ben Joseph is ―limit of the angles‖7. Kaplan‘s translation
―diagonal boundaries‖ does not accurately describe the twelve diagonal pathways
of the Tree of Life diagram. Yes they are sloping (or ‗diagonal‘), but in what
sense are they ―boundaries‖?8 The Hebrew word ―alakson‖ actually refers to the
side of a triangle9—a concept that (as you will see) resonates quite nicely with
my newly discovered path arrangement.

6 Sefer Yetzirah, 5:2.

7 Saadia ben Joseph (al-Fayyumi). Commentaire sur le Séfer Yesira ou Livre de la Création par Le Gaon Saadya
de Fayyoum, trans. & ed., M. Lambert, Paris, Emile Bouillon, Editeur, 1891); translated into English
from the French & Hebrew by Scott Thompson and Dominique Marson, San Francisco, 1985.

8 Of course, the well-known ‗cube of space‘ provides one explanation for the term ‗boundaries‘, but
the Tree of Life can also be shown to fulfil the ―diagonal boundary‖ requirement.

9 According to the mathematician C. P. Benton it specifically refers to the longest side of a triangle.
See: An Introduction to the Sefer Yetzirah, by Christopher P. Benton. Published in: The Maqom Journal for
Studies in Rabbinic Literature, Vol VII, Winter 2004. My feeling though, is that the author of the Sefer
Yetzirah is being more general and is referring to any side of a triangle.

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In this new arrangement, every Simple letter pathway forms one side of a
triangle whose other two sides are also occupied by Simple letters. Hence, it can
be said that all the Simple letters are ―diagonal boundaries‖ (or ‗sides‘) of Simple
letter triangles.

As you may know, the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alefbet are much more
than simply elements of language. They symbolise the twenty-two primordial
archetypes (or fundamental ideas) that are the ‗building-blocks‘ of Creation.

In chapter one of the Sefer Berashit, the Creator is described as manifesting His 10
Creation through speech. In other words, He combines and sounds forth the
twenty-two archetypes (in the pattern of the Tree of Life) and in so doing
brings the universe into being.

In its commentary on the Sefer Berashit the Zohar reminds us that the Creation is
built upon the twenty-two universal archetypes:

He [the Creator] enfolded Himself in a covering of a supernal radiance of


thought and created therefrom a world. He produced from the light of
that supernal radiance mighty cedars of the upper world, and placed His
chariot on twenty-two graven letters which were carved into ten
utterances and infixed there.11

10I have assigned the masculine gender to the Creator merely for the sake of convenience. It should
be understood that the Creator is actually beyond the concept of gender as we conceive it. The
Hebrew name used to define the Creator in the Sefer Berashit is Elohim (Myhla) which literally means:
powers, rulers, judges, divine ones, angels, or gods.

11 Soncino Zohar. Vol I, Pg. 111. Bereshith, 29a. Bracketed text is my own.

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The following pages illustrate how the twenty-two Hebrew letter archetypes are
progressively combined12 to produce the Tree of Life diagram. 13 In other words,
this book reveals how the Creator is thought to combine the twenty-two
primordial archetypes to produce the manifested universe.

The arrangement of the twenty-two Hebrew letters upon the Tree of Life
diagram (i.e. as depicted in this book) is based on the universal kabbalistic
formula: YHVH (Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh).

Table 1 : Mothers, Doubles, and Simples

y - Yud Father ... ? ... Ain Sof


h - Heh Mother 3 Mothers Keter-Hockmah-Binah
w - Vav Son 7 Doubles Da‘at to Yesod
h - Heh Daughter 12 Simples Malkut

From the primal void (Ain Sof) emerge the three Mother letter archetypes. The
three Mothers are inseminated by Ain Sof (the Father of All) and consequently
they give birth to the seven Double letters archetypes (who are associated with
the Son principle). The twelve Simple letters archetypes (representing the
Daughter principle) emerge into manifestation after the seven Doubles, and
form Malkut. The twelve Simples become illuminated by the masculine force of
the seven Doubles. These esoteric concepts will become clearer as you study
this book.

12This process does, of course, occur outside the dimension we call Time, and therefore any ordered
sequence is purely symbolic.

13It is a mistake to think that the ten sefirot are divorced from the Hebrew letters, or that they are
based solely on ‗number‘. The ten sefirot are called ―utterances‖ in the Zohar because they are
‗voiced‘ into existence by the Creator as He pronounces the Hebrew alefbet. The Hebrew letters also
represent numbers, but the letters themselves are considered primary forces.

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The sequence of sefirotic unfoldment used in this book is the order suggested
by the first chapter of the Book of Creation. Nine stages are identified as per
Figure 2.

Figure 2 : The Berashit Sequence of Sefirotic Unfoldment

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

This sequence especially emphasises the important vertical relationships that


exist between the various sefirot. It reveals in its imagery the fact that the
sefirah Hod (#6 in Figure 2) is derived from Geburah (#5b); that Tifaret (#7a)
and Yesod (#7b) come from Da‘at (#4); and that Netzah (#8) is derived from
Hesed (#5a). (See: Figure 2.)

Figure 3 : Leadbeater‘s ‗Anu‘

When the universe was created, the twenty-two primordial archetypes arranged
themselves according to the symbolic structure of the Tree of Life and this
design became the archetypal basis of the ultimate atomic unit (or ‗anu‘)14 of our
universe. It could be said that the Tree‘s energy pattern describes the ‗DNA‘ of

14See the book: Occult Chemistry, by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater. Theosophical Publishing
House. 1919. The ‗anu‘ was clairvoyantly observed by Leadbeater. Like the Tree of Life, it has a 3 + 7
geometric structure. (See Figure 3.)

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Adam Kadmon15—the Universal Man. Every fundamental atom (physical,


astral, and mental) of our universe is built according to that divine blueprint.

There are thirty-two components (i.e. ―thirty-two paths of wisdom‖)16 that constitute
the kabbalistic Tree of Life, but there are only twenty-two Hebrew letter
archetypes. Therefore, some of the twenty-two archetypes are used twice during
its construction. Each archetype however, is only used once in relation to the
ten sefirot, and once in relation to the twenty-two pathways.

For example, there is a sefirah whose attribution is the Hebrew letter Gimel,
and there is a pathway whose attribution is also Gimel. These two components
represent different expressions of the Gimel archetype because one is a sefirah
and the other is a pathway. A special relationship exists however, between the
Gimel sefirah and the Gimel pathway—a relationship whose significance
becomes self-evident when the Tree of Life structure is examined. (See below.)

15Adam Kadmon is a kabbalistic representation (drawn in human form) of the macrocosm, or


universe.

16 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:1.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Formation of the
Tree of Life
Ain Sof

1. In the beginning God [ALHYM, Myhla] created the heaven and the
earth.

2. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the
face of the deep. And the Spirit of God [RVCh ALHYM, Myhla xwr]
moved upon the face of the waters [MYM, Mym].17

These verses from the Sefer Berashit describe the creative breath of the Elohim.
This is the inhaled breath that precedes the exhalation (and divine utterance)
that brings the universe into manifestation. It is therefore associated with Ain
Sof18.

It is also closely connected to what is termed the ―Holy Breath‖ and ―Breath of the
Living God‖ in Sefer Yetzirah, 1:9.

17 Berashit, 1:1-2.

18Ain Sof (AYN SVP, Pwo Nya) means ‗Limitless‘. It represents a state of being that exists prior to the
formation of the Tree of Life.

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Ten Sefiroth of Nothingness: One is the Breath of the Living God.


Blessed and benedicted is the name of the Life of Worlds; The voice of
breath and speech; And this is the Holy Breath. 19

The Spirit (or Breath) of God can be interpreted in these texts as kabbalistic
code for the Hebrew letter Shin (s) because like Shin, the phrase RVCh
ALHYM (Myhla xwr) is valued 300.20

In the Sefer Yetzirah the letter Shin is associated with the Fire element so the
phrase ―Breath of God‖ can also be understood to be associated with the
movement (or action) of divine elemental Fire.

You will discover as you read through the pages of this book that the Tree of
Life mandala is fundamentally based on the interaction of three primary
elements: Fire, Water, and Air. In this regard the Sefer Yetzirah will be our main
guide and much information from that sacred text will be employed during the
Tree building process.

Divine elemental Fire (s, Shin) and Water (m, Maym) exist within Ain Sof in a
dormant unmixed state, but when Elohim chooses to actively combine Fire
with Water divine elemental Air (a, Alef) is produced. Thus metaphorically
speaking, divine elemental Air is like steam that is produced when physical fire
and water are brought together, or the hot vaporous breath that issues from the
mouth on a cold winter‘s day.

19 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:9.

20The Hebrew letters each have a numerical value attached to them. For example, Shin, s = 300.
When the Hebrew letters composing the term RVCh ALHYM are added together they also total 300.
This traditional kabbalistic hermeneutic technique is called gematria and was sometimes employed by
ancient kabbalists to veil the sacred mysteries.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Shin archetype (as occultly described in Sefer Berashit 1:1-2) can be
symbolically understood as referring to the kundalini force located within the
Creator‘s (―Elohim‖, Myhla) base chakra. Its movement is upwards towards the
Maym archetype that is (metaphorically speaking) located in the Creator‘s crown
chakra.21 As these two cosmic forces merge together and interact, a creative
spark of divine Consciousness (i.e. AVR, rwa, Light) is awakened. (See below.)
This awakening represents the initial point of emergence of the creative
influence of the Elohim into a new dimension of being. 22

So when the Sefer Berashit states: ―the Breath of Elohim moved upon the face of the
waters‖ it can be thought of as referring to the action of the Creator as He raises
kundalini Fire (using ‗rhythmic breathing‘) and blends it with the Water element
within His divine consciousness, thereby producing the Air element.23

As you will see (below) after the Air element appears it proceeds to separate
back into its component elements Water and Fire, but as these two forces
reappear they are stepped down so as to manifest within a denser level of being.
This is the basic formula of Creation: Fire and Water combine to produce Air;
Air then separates back into Water and Fire, and so on. As it is written in the
Book of Formation...

...It comes out that all that is formed, and all that is spoken, emanates
from one Name [ShM, Ms].24

21 It is well-known that the practice of ‗rhythmic breathing‘ is able to stimulate the movement of the
‗fiery serpent‘ through the chakra system. Sefer Berashit is describing the same principle, but in a cosmic
sense. ―As below, so above.‖

22This principle is also reflected in the positioning of the Maym and Shin pathways above and below
(and also contiguous with) the sefirah Tifaret. (See below.)

23 These elements are described more fully further on in this book.

24 Sefer Yetzirah, 2:5.

pg. 23
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The original Hebrew is: dxa Msm auwy (―emanates from one Name‖)25, and you will
note that it contains the kabbalistic code sequence A-M-Sh-M-A (or, Air-Water-
Fire-Water-Air).

This process reverberates and repeats down through all the lower worlds until
the physical universe (as symbolised by the Earth element) comes into being.

25The primacy of the divine elements Fire and Water is symbolised in the Hebrew word ‗Name‘
(ShM) which is comprised of the letters Shin (Fire) and Maym (Water).

pg. 24
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 4 : Ain Sof

pg. 25
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 26
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Keter

3. And God said [AMR, rma], Let there be light [AVR, rwa]: and there
was light.26

―Let there be light‖ (―Yehi Aur‖, rwa yhy). These are the first words spoken by the
Creator. They represent the first vibration that arises in the primordial void. The
Creator takes His breath in Ain Sof (i.e. as represented by the previous two
verses of Sefer Berashit), but it is not until He exhales and speaks that the twenty-
two letters of the divine alefbet become ‗audible‘ and the Creation begins to
manifest.

In this verse the creative Word is spoken, and its vocalisation marks the
appearance of the first sefirah of the Tree of Life.

From Ain Sof comes Light (AVR, rwa) and its derivative: Air (AVYR, rywa).

Divine elemental Air is Light (AVR) expressing itself in the decad (Yud, Y, y).27
The insertion of Yud (Y) into AVR to form AVYR represents the implantation
in AVR of the structural seed and essence of the ten sefirot (i.e. represented by
the first sefirah Keter).

26 Berashit, 1:3.

27 Because Yud = 10.

pg. 27
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

In the Book of Formation elemental Air is represented by the Hebrew letter Alef
(A, a). It is assigned to the first sefirah called Keter and is described as ―Breath
from Breath‖ (RVCh MRVCh, xwrm xwr)28 and ―Breath of Air‖ (AVYR RVCh,
xwr rywa)29.

The sefirah Keter is still considered to be intimately attached to Ain Sof, and
therefore it remains relatively ‗unintelligible‘, or ‗inaudible‘.30 The Creation does
not become intelligible until the second and third sefirot appear.31 (See below.)

Thus, within Ain Sof (i.e. the ―Limitless‖) emerges Aur (the ―Limitless Light‖),
and thus also Keter and Auir (elemental Air).

28 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:10.

29 Sefer Yetzirah, 2:1.

30Similarly, Keter‘s associated Hebrew letter archetype Alef (an ‗aspirate‘) is relatively inaudible in its
pronunciation. At this stage of the creative process there is nothing for the embryonic consciousness
principle to attach itself to.

31The universe is only able to be perceived after the concept of ‗subject‘ and ‗object‘ (or ‗opposites‘)
has been implemented. This occurs in the next section. (See below.)

pg. 28
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 5 : Keter

pg. 29
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 30
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Hockmah & Binah

4. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light
[AVR, rwa] from the darkness [ChShK, Kvx].

5. And God called the light Day [YVM, Mwy], and the darkness he called
Night [LYLH, hlyl]. And the evening and the morning were the first
day.32

The Light (AVR, rwa) is revealed only after it is separated from (and contrasted
to) the Darkness (ChShK, Kvx). In Keter the Light (AVR) is concealed because
there is no separation of Light and Darkness in Keter.

Light and Darkness are revealed when the sefirot Hockmah (Light) and Binah
(Darkness) come into being (which they do simultaneously).

As you will see, what makes the Light distinguishable from the Darkness (and
thus what makes the universe intelligible) is represented by the path of Bayt (B,
b)—the first letter of the Book of Creation (Sefer Berashit).33

Elemental Water (Maym, m) is associated with the Light of Hockmah, and


elemental Fire (Shin, v) is associated with the Darkness of Binah.

Day (YVM, Mwy) and Night (LYLH, hlyl) are also associated with Hockmah
and Binah, but these terms refer more particularly to a special division of the
lower sefirot. (See below.)

32 Berashit, 1:4-5.

33In this sense Bayt represents the dividing line that demarcates between the known and the
unknown. And note also that Bayt‘s astrological correspondence Saturn also expresses this concept.

pg. 31
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 6 : Hockmah & Binah

Three: Each one stands alone; one acts as advocate, one acts as accuser,
and one decides between them.34

34 Sefer Yetzirah, 6:5.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The first three sefirot of the Tree of Life are described by the Sefer Yetzirah as
―standing alone‖ because they represent singular fundamental principles (i.e. Alef,
Maym, and Shin) upon which the rest of the Tree is built. The pathways that
subsequently arise between them represent secondary coalescences, and these
(in turn) produce the seven lower sefirot.

Thus, the seven lower sefirot represent dynamic inter-relationships (or resonances)
that are established between the higher sefirot. These resonances are projected
downward in order to form the lower branches of the Tree of Creation (i.e. as
seven lower sefirot). For example, the sefirah Da‘at represents a dynamic
interaction that arises between the higher sefirot Hockmah and Binah, or in
other words, between the fundamental principles Maym (Water) and Shin (Fire).
Da‘at‘s appearance on the Tree of Life is the direct result of that dynamic
relationship between Hockmah and Binah becoming established. (See below.)

pg. 33
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 34
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Da’at

6. And God said, Let there be a firmament [RQYO, eyqr] in the midst of
the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were
under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament:
and it was so.

8. And God called the firmament Heaven [ShMYM, Mymv]. And the
evening and the morning were the second day.35

The Light (AVR, rwa) and Darkness (ChShK, Kvx) of Hockmah and Binah
become reunited in Da‘at, and this recombination of the Water and Fire
elements is named the Firmament of Heaven (ShMYM, Mymv).36

Da‘at thus represents the revelation of Light and Darkness. This distinguishes
Da‘at from Keter because in Keter Light and Darkness are united, but concealed.
The path of Bayt and its associated sefirah Da‘at make it possible for all created
beings to differentiate between the Light and Darkness principles.

The Firmament is named Heaven (ShMYM, Mymv) because the Hebrew word
for Heaven combines within itself both Fire (Shin, v) and Water (Maym, Mym).37

35 Berashit, 1:6-8.

36This symbolism is most appropriate because the firmament consists of stars (light) as well as the
darkness that is between them.

37 That is, as Sh + MYM where Maym is spelled in full as MYM.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 7 : Da'at

Consequently, everything that exists beneath 38 (or within) the circular


Firmament of Heaven is dominated by the interaction of the Fire and Water
elements.39

38 Meaning everything below the sefirah Da‘at on the Tree of Life diagram.

39Or in other words, between what the Zohar calls Judgement (Shin) and Mercy (Maym). You will see
below that the pathways of Shin and Maym together form the vertical axis (or diameter) of the circle
of the Heavens (ShMYM).

pg. 36
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Air element (Alef, a) is concealed behind Fire (Shin) and Water (Maym).
This is reflected by Keter‘s position behind Hockmah and Binah (on the Tree
of Life diagram) and also by the position of the Alef pathway relative to the
other two Mother letter pathways, Maym and Shin. (See below.)

The Firmament circumscribes and contains the seven lower sefirot of the Tree
of Life. The lower sefirot also symbolise the seven visible planets of our solar
system.40 Everything above Da‘at on the Tree of Life is invisible to the
microcosm41 (i.e. because the higher sefirot exist above and beyond the
Firmament of Heaven).

In Sefer Berashit 1:7 (quoted above) the phrase ―waters which were above the
firmament‖ refers to the sefirah Hockmah and its archetypal attribute Maym
(Water). The phrase ―waters which were under the firmament‖ refers to the path of
Maym that extends below Da‘at and links it with the sefirah Tifaret.42 (The
esoteric inter-relationship between the Waters above and the Waters below will
become clearer later in this book when the path of Maym is examined.)

The Book of Creation (Sefer Berashit) begins with the manifestation of the Bayt (B,
b) archetype, and so too is Bayt the first pathway to manifest on the Tree of Life
diagram.43 Bayt is the first of the seven Hebrew Double letters. The emergence
of the seven Double letter pathways brings the seven lower sefirot also
simultaneously into manifestation.

40 On the Tree of Life diagram the firmament encompasses the seven visible (i.e. to the naked eye)
planets, as well as the ‗starry heaven‘, or circle of the zodiac. (See below.)

41 That is, invisible from the perspective of the seven lower sefirot (representing human
consciousness).

42 And it also refers to the sefirah Hesed (as explained below).

43 The path of Bayt is the first to manifest because its appearance is required to bring the first of the
lower sefirot (i.e. Da‘at) into manifestation. The first three sefirot derive their manifestation from the
higher World. (Explained below.) The other six supernal Double letter pathways emerge after Bayt so
as to bring the six lower sefirot into manifestation. (See below.)

pg. 37
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The seven Double letters are referred to esoterically as ‗Doubles‘ precisely for this
reason. They play a critical role in erecting the sefirotic foundation of the
kabbalistic Tree of Life, and they do so by manifesting in two basic forms—a
‗soft‘ form and a ‗hard‘ form.

The soft forms of the Double letters are referred to the seven Double letter
pathways. These pathways represent seven dynamic relationships that exist
between the higher sefirot. They are called ‗soft‘ because of the necessary
suppleness (or ‗hollowness‘) that enables them, as conduits, to blend the
energies of the higher sefirot.

The Double letters manifest their ‗hard‘ forms in the seven lower sefirot of the
Tree of Life from Da‘at to Yesod. The sefirot represent relatively fixed (or
consolidated) expressions of the Double letter archetypes while the pathways
are more fluid in their expression. The Double letter pathways resemble the
soul aspect whereas the Double letter sefirot (in relation to the pathways) are
like the body aspect (i.e. they are a more material expression of the seven
pathways).

The hard forms of the seven Double letters are identified in the Hebrew
language by a dagesh (small dot) that is located centrally within the form of each
letter. (See my diagrams.)

The path of Bayt unites and separates Hockmah and Binah, and it is for this
reason that the Lesser Holy Assembly states that the Creation technically begins in
the sefirah Hockmah (Wisdom).

212. This Wisdom is the beginning of all things. Thencefrom are


expanded the thirty-two paths: Nylybs, Shebilin, Paths, I say; and not
Nyxra, Archin, Byways.

213. And in them is the Law comprehended, in the twenty-two letters


and in the ten utterances. 44

44 LHA, § 212-213.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

You may wonder why Rabbi Schimeon emphatically states (in § 212 above) his
preference for the Hebrew word ‗Shebilin‘.

The reason may be that the word ‗shebil‘ (Heb: ShBYL, lybs, ‗path‘) is being
used here as a kabbalistic key that ingeniously reveals the fact that the Bayt ( b)
pathway extends between the sefirot Hockmah (Maym, m) and Binah (Shin, s).

The final two letters of ShBYL—i.e. ‗YL‘ (10 + 30), equal 40. This is also the
value of the Hebrew letter Maym. Thus, the letter sequence Sh-B-YL is
equivalent to Sh-B-M or, Binah-Bayt-Hockmah. (See: Figure 7 above.)

The manifestation of the path of Bayt automatically and necessarily results in


the simultaneous appearance of the sefirah Da‘at (lower down on the Tree).
Like the path of Bayt, Da‘at also represents the special relationship that is
established between the sefirot Hockmah and Binah, but unlike the path of
Bayt, Da‘at is a sefirotic expression45 of the Bayt archetype.

The Greater Holy Assembly has this to say about the sefirah Da‘at...

566. From the third cavity there go forth a thousand times a thousand
conclaves and assemblies, wherein ted, Daath, Knowledge, is contained
and dwelleth.

567. And the hollow place of this cavity is placed between the other two
cavities and all those conclaves are filled from either side.

568. This is that which is written, Prov. ii. 4: ―And in knowledge shall the
conclaves be filled.‖46

45To put it simply, a sefirah is a stand-alone (or fixed) expression of an archetype, while a pathway
represents the same archetype as an expression of relationship. This simple notion is complicated
however, when it is remembered that the sefirot themselves are also expressive of relationships that
exist higher up in the Tree of Life (i.e. in the chain of existence). It is all relative.

46 GHA, XXVIII: 566-568.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Lesser Holy Assembly describes the manifestation of Da‘at as follows:

192. But also this Wisdom instituteth another formation, and is extended
and goeth into the head of Microprosopus, and formeth another brain.

193. That is the Light from which are produced those two rivulets which
are associated together, carved out hollows in the One Head, which is
called the depth of the fountain.

194. Concerning which it is written, Prov. iii. 20: ―In ted, Daath,
Knowledge, the depths are broken up.‖

195. And it entereth into the head of Microprosopus, and formeth


another brain.

196. And thenceforth is it extended and goeth into the interior parts of
His body, and filleth all those conclaves and assemblies of His body.

197. This is that same which is written, Prov. xxiv. 4: ―In Daath shall the
secret places be filled.‖47

The ―secret places‖ (of § 197 above) and the ―conclaves and assemblies‖ (of § 196)
refer especially to the sefirot Hesed and Geburah, and the paths of Maym and
Shin on the Tree of Life diagram. These sefirot and pathways have a special
relationship with Da‘at. (See below.) The ―interior parts of His body‖ is a reference
to the twelve Simple letter pathways because they are associated with the
internal organs of Adam Kadmon. (See below.)

47 LHA, § 192-197.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Hesed

9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together
unto one place...48

The paths of Gimel (G, g) and Dalet (D, d) are the next to manifest, and like
Hockmah and Binah, they do so simultaneously.

The appearance of Gimel coincides with the establishment of a special


relationship between the sefirot Keter and Hockmah. The manifestation of the
Gimel pathway also results in the emergence of the sefirah Hesed (lower down
on the Tree diagram).

Hesed is called Seas (YMYM, Mymy) because it is the chief distributer of Water 49
(MYM, Mym) to the lower sefirot. Its association with Water is derived from its
connection with the sefirah Hockmah.

Once manifested (and after it has been prepared as a suitable vessel), the sefirah
Hesed continues to draw Water from the sefirah Da‘at. Thus, in Hesed are the
Waters of Maym ―gathered together unto one place‖. (Further elucidated below.)

48 Berashit, 1:9.

49 This technical term will be explained later in this book.

pg. 41
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 8 : Hesed

pg. 42
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Geburah

9. ...and let the dry land [YBShH, hsby] appear: and it was so.

10. And God called the dry land Earth [ARTz, Ura]; and the gathering
together of the waters He called Seas [YMYM, Mymy]: and God saw that it
was good.50

The path of Dalet (D, d) and its associated sefirah Geburah both appear as a
relationship is established between the sefirot Keter and Binah.

In Sefer Berashit 1:10 Geburah is referred to as Earth 51 (ARTz, Ura). It is the


principle distributor of Judgement 52 (Shin-Fire) to the lower sefirot. In Sefer
Berashit 1:9 Earth (Geburah) and the Seas (Hesed) are said to manifest
simultaneously as if to emulate the earlier manifestation of the Darkness and
Light principles (i.e. of Binah and Hockmah). These analogies used by the Sefer
Berashit to describe the Creation process are perfectly apposite because as Light
becomes localised (and constrained) within space Darkness simultaneously
encroaches upon it; and likewise, as the waters of the ocean are pulled back dry
land simultaneously appears.

50 Berashit, 1:10.

51 Not to be confused with the Earth symbolism of the sefirah Malkut.

52This technical term will be explained later in this book. The Hebrew word used in the Zohar is
―mishpat‖ (MShPT, jpsm). (See: The Lesser Holy Assembly, Chapter IX.)

pg. 43
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

In the next verse (1:11) it will be shown that Earth (i.e. Geburah) produces
‗grass‘ (etc). This symbolises the emergence of the sefirah Hod from Geburah.

Figure 9 : Geburah

pg. 44
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Hod

11. And God said, Let the earth [ARTz, Ura] bring forth grass, the herb
yielding seed [ZRO, erz], and the fruit tree yielding fruit [PRY, yrp] after
his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his
kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind:
and God saw that it was good.

13. And the evening and the morning were the third day. 53

Following the manifestation of the sefirah Geburah, a special relationship


becomes established between Binah and Geburah. This dynamic interaction is
represented by the path of Raysh (R, r). The establishment of this relationship
produces (lower down in the Tree) the simultaneous appearance of the sefirah
Hod.

The sefirah Geburah was named Earth in verse 1:10 of the Book of Creation. (See
quote above.) Now, from Geburah arises Hod, or in other words, from Earth
comes ―grass and herb yielding seed‖ (etc).

Significantly, the terms Seed (ZRO, erz) and Fruit (PRY, yrp) mentioned so
prominently in Sefer Berashit 1:11-12 both emphasise the Raysh archetype.

53 Berashit, 1:11-13.

pg. 45
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 10 : Hod

pg. 46
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Tifaret

14. And God said, Let there be lights [MARTh, tram] in the firmament
of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs,
and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give
light upon the earth: and it was so.

16. And God made two great lights; the greater light [MAVR GDL, ldg
rwam] to rule the day [YVM, Mwy]...54

From the Firmament of Heaven (i.e. from the sefirah Da‘at) come the two
Great Lights (i.e. the sefirot Tifaret and Yesod). They manifest together below
Da‘at on the central column of the Tree of Life.

The path of Kaf (K, k) represents a special relationship that is established


between the sefirot Hockmah and Da‘at. The appearance of the path of Kaf
also triggers the manifestation of the sefirah Tifaret (lower down on the Tree
diagram).

Tifaret represents the Greater Light (MAVR GDL, ldg rwam) and is said to rule
the Day (YVM, Mwy). The term Day is a technical label given to the three sefirot:
Hesed, Geburah, and Tifaret. (See below.) These three sefirot will later be
shown to be associated with the six signs of the natural zodiac that are located
above the horizon (i.e. where symbolically it is ‗light‘).

54 Berashit, 1:14-16.

pg. 47
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 11 : Tifaret

Earlier we saw the sefirah Keter become established as the anchor of the
‗middle pillar‘ of the Tree of Life. It did so as an expression of Light (AVR,
rwa). Now we see the two ‗Lights‘ (MAVR, rwam) similarly manifesting on the
middle pillar. In fact, the word MAVR can be interpreted as M-AVR, ‗from the
Light‘ (i.e. ‗from Keter‘).

Note also that the first two letters of the word Keter (KThR, rtk) are the
Double letters Kaf (k, representing Tifaret) and Tav (t, representing Yesod).

pg. 48
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Because the second sefirah Hockmah is so closely bound to Keter we saw that
it too is defined by the term Light (AVR), but as previously mentioned the
Light in Hockmah has been separated from the Darkness—a quality that
differentiates it from the Limitless Light of Keter.

Yesod

16. ...and the lesser light [MAVR QTN, Njq rwam] to rule the night
[LYLH, hlyl]: he made the stars [KVKBYM, Mybkwk] also.

17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon
the earth,

18. And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light
from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.55

The path of Tav (Th, t) makes its appearance as a special relationship is


established between the sefirot Binah and Da‘at. This also results in the
simultaneous manifestation of the sefirah Yesod (lower down on the Tree
diagram).

It‘s quite significant that the blending of Binah (Shin, s) and Da'at (Bayt, b) via
the pathway of Tav (t) brings the Moon (Tav/Yesod) into manifestion. The
Tav sefirah is the final (i.e. 7th) double letter sefirah and the final (i.e. 22nd)
letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Its emergence as Yesod (the Moon) coincides
with the appearance of the Hebrew word Shabbat (Shin-Bayt-Tav, tbs)

55 Berashit, 1:16-19.

pg. 49
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

amongst the higher sefirot of the Tree. In fact, there is a link between the full
moon and the Sabbat as stated in the Encyclopedia Judaica.

Speculation on the origin of the Sabbath has centered on the apparent


Babylonian cognate, šapattu, the mid-month day of the full moon, called
―the day of calming [the god‘s] heart‖ – apparently an auspicious day.
The biblical combination of ―New Moon and Sabbath‖ has been
thought, accordingly, to reflect what were originally two holy days, one at
the start, the other in the middle of the month. 56

And on the connection between the Sabbat and Yesod, it says…

Inverting the story in Genesis Rabbah 11:8, in which the Sabbath


complains to God: ―You gave a mate to everyone, while I have none,‖
and was given *Keneset Yisrael as her mate, the kabbalists regarded Keneset
Yisrael as the symbol of the Sefirah Malkhut, as the feminine mate of the
Sabbath, which is the masculine principle in divinity (Yesod or Tiferet).
Since according to the kabbalists the souls are the outcome of the union
in the system of Sefirot, the idea of the holy union which takes place on
the Sabbath is linked to the Sages‘ belief that on Sabbath additional souls
are given. In the Sefer *ha-Bahir this word is expounded in connection
with the Sefirah Yesod, which ―maintains all the souls‖ and from which the
souls fly. Many sayings of the Sages and the diferent customs they
initiated are given a mystical meaning in Kabbalah. The concept of
―family peace‖ (shelom bayit), which must be kept especially on the
Sabbath, is interpreted in Kabbalah as ―peace, which is the Sefirah Yesod,
is at home [bayit] in the Sefirah Malkhut‖ (ibid.).57

56 Encyclopedia Judaica. Vol. 17. Pg. 618. Keter Publishing House. 2007.

57 Ibid. Pg. 620.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Yesod is called the Lesser Light (MAVR QTN, Njq rwam) and is said to rule the
Night (LYLH, hlyl). The Night is represented by the three sefirot: Netzah,
Hod, and Yesod. (See below.) These three sefirot will later be shown to be
associated with the six signs of the natural zodiac that are located beneath the
horizon (i.e. the symbolic place of ‗darkness‘).

The Greater and Lesser Lights (i.e. Tifaret and Yesod) are said (in verses 1:14
and 1:17 above) to be ―in the firmament of Heaven‖. The firmament of Heaven is,
as we know, symbolised by the sefirah Da‘at. (See Sefer Berashit, verses 1:6-8
above.) The wording of these verses is very specific and emphasises the idea
that both Tifaret and Yesod emerge into manifestation (along the central
column of the Tree diagram) via Da‘at.

Like the earlier manifestation of Hesed and Geburah, the concurrent


appearance of Tifaret and Yesod also emulates the original simultaneous
emergence of the sefirot Hockmah and Binah. So appearing together in three
stages we have...

1. Hockmah & Binah (Light & Darkness)


2. Hesed & Geburah (Seas & Earth)
3. Tifaret & Yesod (Greater Light & Lesser Light)

The Sefer Berashit sequence appears to intimate that (unlike those sefirot listed
above) the other five sefirot: Keter, Da‘at, Netzah, Hod, and Malkut all arise
singly during the process of Creation.

pg. 51
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 12 : Yesod

pg. 52
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Netzah

20. And God said, Let the waters [MYM, Mym] bring forth abundantly the
moving creature that hath life [NPSh ChYH, hyx vpn], and fowl [OVP,
Pwe] that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21. And God created great whales [ThNYNM GDLYM, Myldg Mnynt] ,
and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth
abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl [OVP KNP, Pnk Pwe]
after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22. And God blessed them, saying: Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the
waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.58

According to the Sefer Berashit sequence, the last of the seven Double letter
paths to manifest is Peh (P, p). It signifies a special relationship between the
sefirot Hockmah and Hesed. As the Hockmah-Hesed relationship becomes
established so too does the sefirah Netzah manifest (lower down on the Tree
diagram).

The sefirah Hesed was named ‗Seas‘ in verse 1:10 of the Book of Creation. That
was because Hesed represents ―the gathering together of the waters‖. (See: Sefer
Berashit, 1:10 quoted above.) The sefirah Netzah arises from Hesed—an event
symbolised in verse 1:20 by the Waters bringing forth ―the moving creature that hath
life‖. This is another way of saying Hesed brings forth Netzah.

58 Berashit, 1:20-23.

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The Peh archetype is emphasised in Sefer Berashit 1:20-22 by the key-words


Creature/Soul (NPSh, vpn) and Winged Fowl (OVP KNP, Pnk Pwe).59

Figure 13 : Netzah

59Note that NPSh also means ‗emotion‘, ‗passion‘, and ‗appetite‘, which are all qualities ascribed to
the sefirah Netzah (and its associated planet Venus).

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 14 : The Seven Double Letter Sefirot

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 56
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Division of the
Tree of Life
Light and Darkness

The three pathways we term the three paths of Light (AVR, rwa) are Gimel,
Kaf, and Peh. That is because they stem from the sefirah of ‗Light‘ called
Hockmah. Similarly, the three pathways we call the paths of Darkness (ChShK,
Ksx) are Dalet, Raysh, and Tav. That is because they stem from the sefirah of
‗Darkness‘ called Binah. (See: Figure 15.)

Consequently, the three sefirot that are emanations of the Light (i.e. Hockmah)
principle are Hesed, Tifaret, and Netzah, while the three sefirot that are
emanations of the Darkness (i.e. Binah) principle are Geburah, Hod, and
Yesod.

The path of Bayt and the sefirah Da‘at unify, objectify, and differentiate
between the Light and Darkness principles. Here is how The Greater Holy
Assembly describes the emanation of the two groups of Light and Dark sefirot:

119. ―It is written, Ps. xxxiii. 18: ‗Behold the eye of the Lord is upon
them that fear Him;‘ and it is written, Zech. iv. 10: ‗They are the eyes of
the Lord, running to and fro throughout the whole earth.

120. ―There is no contrariety (between these sayings); one is concerning


Microprosopus, and the other concerning Macroprosopus.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

121. ―And further, although there be two eyes, yet they are converted
into one eye.

122. ―This is pure in its whiteness, and so white that it includeth all
whiteness.

123. ―The first whiteness shineth, and ascendeth and descendeth for the
purpose of combining with that which is connected (with it) in
connection.

124. ―This is the tradition: That whiteness darteth forth its rays, and
igniteth three lights, which are called dwh, Hod, Glory; rdhw, Vehedar,
Majesty; and hwdxw, Vachedoah, Joy; and they radiate in gladness and in
perfection.

125. ―The second whiteness shineth and ascendeth and descendeth, and
darteth forth its rays, and igniteth three other lights, which are called xun,
Netzach, Victory; dox, Chesed, Benignity; and trapt, Tiphereth,
Beauty; and they radiate in perfection and in gladness.

126. ―The third whiteness radiateth and shineth, and descendeth and
ascendeth, and goeth forth from the part enclosing the brain, and darteth
forth its rays toward the seventh middle light.60

127. ―And it formeth a path to the inferior brain, and formeth a path to
the inferior, and all the inferior lights are thereby ignited.‖61

In the quote above, the ‗first whiteness‘ refers to the three Double letter
pathways: Raysh, Dalet, and Tav. The ‗second whiteness‘ refers to the three
Double letter pathways: Peh, Gimel, and Kaf. The ‗third whiteness‘ refers to the
Double letter pathway Bayt (i.e. that produces the sefirah Da‘at).

60 The ―seventh middle light‖ is the sefirah Da‘at.

61 GHA, IX:119-127.

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130. The first whiteness [rwx] shineth and ascendeth and descendeth in
three lights on the left-hand side, and they radiate and are bathed in that
whiteness, like as when a man batheth his body in good unguents and
odours, in better than he at first possessed. 62

Figure 15 : Three Sefirot of Light; Three Sefirot of Darkness

62 GHA, IX:130.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The ‗first whiteness‘ ignites the three sefirot of Darkness. They are Hod,
‗Vehedar‘ (referring to Geburah), and ‗Vachedoah‘ (referring to Yesod).

131. The second whiteness descendeth and ascendeth and shineth in


three lights on the right-hand side, and they radiate and are bathed in that
whiteness, like as when a man batheth in good unguents and odours, in
better than he at first possessed. 63

The ‗second whiteness‘ ignites the three sefirot of Light: Netzah, Hesed, and
Tifaret.

132. The third whiteness shineth and ascendeth and descendeth, and
goeth forth the light of the inner whiteness of the brain, and darteth
forth its rays when necessary unto the black hair, and unto the head, and
unto the brain of the head.

133. And it irradiateth the three crowns which remain, when it is needful,
so that it may be uncovered, if that be pleasing unto the Most Ancient
One hidden from all.64

The ‗third whiteness‘ refers to the Double letter pathway of Bayt. The ‗third
whiteness‘65 ignites the sefirah Da‘at. Da‘at (not Malkut) is the ―seventh middle
light‖ (of GHA, § 126 quoted above). The ―three crowns which remain‖ are the three
sefirot Hesed, Geburah, and Tifaret. The sefirah Da‘at only becomes

63 GHA, IX:131.

64 GHA, IX:132-3.

65 The Hebrew word translated here as ―whiteness‖ is rwx (ChVR). Interestingly, this word is xwr
(RVCh), the word for ‗breath‘ (or ‗spirit‘) written in reverse. In fact, the descent of this ‗whiteness‘
establishes the six sefirot that kabbalists have traditionally labelled the Ruach (RVCh) portion of the
Tree of Life—that is, the six sefirot from Hesed to Yesod.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

―uncovered‖ (or ‗revealed‘) to the lower sefirot at those special times when they
receive an influx from it (i.e. at the behest of the ―Most Ancient One‖, or
Keter).

Day and Night

14. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to
divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons,
and for days, and years:

15. And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give
light upon the earth: and it was so.

16. And God made two great lights; the greater light [MAVR GDL, ldg
rwam] to rule the day, and the lesser light [MAVR QTN, Njq rwam] to
rule the night: he made the stars also.

17. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon
the earth,

18. And to rule over the day [YVM, Mwy] and over the night [LYLH,
hlyl], and to divide the light [AVR, rwa] from the darkness [ChShK,
Kvx]: and God saw that it was good.

19. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.66

The Day (YVM, Mwy) is represented by the sefirot Hesed (light), Geburah (dark),
and Tifaret (light). The Day sefirot are ruled by Tifaret (Kaf, k, Sun).

66 Berashit, 1:14-19.

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The three sefirot of Night (LYLH, hlyl) are Netzah (light), Hod (dark), and
Yesod (dark). The Night sefirot are ruled by Yesod (Tav, t, Moon). (See: Figure
16.)

The Day does not consist of pure Light. Nor does the Night consist of pure
Darkness. Below the firmament of Da‘at the Light and Darkness principles
merge together to form Day and Night. There is however, a preponderance of
Light in Day, and of Darkness in Night.67

The logic of this concept will be further explained (below) when we add the
twelve Simple letter pathways to the Tree of Life diagram.

We will now turn to the enigmatic verse 6:5 of the Sefer Yetzirah:

Three: Each one stands alone; one acts as advocate, one acts as accuser,
and one decides between them.

Seven: Three opposite three, and one is the rule deciding between them.

Twelve stand in war: Three love, three hate, three give life, and three kill.
Three love: the heart and the ears. Three hate: the liver, the gall, and the
tongue. Three give life: the two nostrils and the spleen. Three kill: the
two orifices and the mouth.

And God faithful King rules over them all from His holy habitation until
eternity of eternities.

One on three; three on seven; seven on twelve. And all are bound, one to
another.68

67A similar concept is symbolised by the Yin-Yang symbol of Taoism where the white coloured Yang
portion has a small black dot of Yin within it, and the black coloured Yin portion contains a small
white dot of Yang.

68 Sefer Yetzirah, 6:5.

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Figure 16 : Three Sefirot of Day; Three Sefirot of Night

The three who ―stand alone‖ are the three highest sefirot: Keter, Hockmah, and
Binah, and their associated Hebrew letter archetypes: Alef (Air), Maym (Water),
and Shin (Fire). They are said to stand alone because they represent three pure,
primordial, unmixed principles upon which the rest of the Tree of Life is based.
The seven lower sefirot, on the other hand, represent various admixtures of
these three original fundamental archetypes.

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Of the three who stand alone, Hockmah is the Advocate (who embodies
Mercy), Binah is the Accuser (who characterises Judgment, or Severity), and
Keter is the decider who chooses between them.

The seven Double letter pathways are arranged as ―three opposite three‖. On the
right are three paths (of Light) associated with Hockmah (the Advocate), and
on the left are three paths (of Darkness) associated with Binah (the Accuser).
The path of Bayt is the ―rule deciding between them‖. In other words, the path of
Bayt is the ‗rule‘ that Keter (the decider) uses when deciding between Hockmah
and Binah.

Similarly, the six lower sefirot are arranged as ―three opposite three‖ (i.e. three
sefirot of Light opposed to three sefirot of Darkness), with Da‘at (Bayt)
centrally positioned as the ―rule deciding between them‖.

When verse 6:5 says ―three on seven‖ it is describing the three highest ‗Mother
letter‘ sefirot who over-shadow, support, and energise the seven supernal
‗Double Letter‘ pathways.

Similarly, the statement ―seven on twelve‖ refers to the relationship between the
seven lower ‗Double letter‘ sefirot and the twelve ‗Simple letter‘ pathways. (See
below.)

Verse 6:5 also mentions ―one on three‖ which refers to Ain Sof over-shadowing
the three highest ‗Mother letter‘ sefirot: Keter, Hockmah, and Binah.

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Two Trees of Life


Tree of the Soul

The Book of Formation and the Book of Concealed Mystery also describe the various
components of the Tree of Life diagram anthropomorphically—that is, as
components of the physical body of Adam Kadmon, or the Universal Man.

From the Book of Formation:

Seven planets in the Universe: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus,


Mercury, Moon.

Seven days in the Year: The seven days of the week.

Seven gates in the Soul, male and female: Two eyes, two ears, two
nostrils, and the mouth.69

From the Book of Concealed Mystery:

69 Sefer Yetzirah, 4:7.

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16. (When, therefore, the Divine law beginneth): Urah taw Mymsh ta
Myhla arb tysarb (b‘Rashith Bera Elohim Ath h‘Shamaim v‘Ath
h‘Aretz): ―In the beginning the Elohim created the substance of the
heavens and the substance of the earth.‖ (The sense is: Six members were
created, which are the six numerations of Microprosopus viz., benignity
as His right arm; severity as His left arm; beauty as His body; victory as
His right leg; glory as His left leg; and the foundation as reproductive.)
For instead of tysarb, b‘Rashith, ―in the beginning,‖ it may be read, tys
arb, Bera Shith, ―He created the six.‖ Upon these depend all things
which are below (principally the Queen, who is the lowest path, or the
bride of Microprosopus, and all the three inferior worlds.)

18. And the second earth came not into the computation. (That is, the
kingdom of the restored world, which elsewhere is called the Bride of
Microprosopus, came not into the computation when the six members
were said to be created.70

The Skull (GLGLTh, tlglg), or Head of Macroprosopus is represented by the


three highest sefirot. It‘s not mentioned by name in the Book of Formation, but it
is described in the Zohar.

In the Lesser Holy Assembly it is written...

78. He the Most Holy Ancient One is found to have three heads, which
are contained in the one Head.

79. And He Himself is that only highest supreme Head. 71

70 BCM, I:16-18.

71 LHA, II:78-79.

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And in the Book of Concealed Mystery...

9. The head which is incomprehensible is secret in secret.

10. But it hath been formed and prepared in the likeness of a cranium,
and is filled with the crystalline dew.72

And further on it states...

17. And the dignity of dignity hangeth from the seven conformations of
the cranium. (This is the beard of the venerable and Ancient One, which
is divided into thirteen portions).73

The ―seven conformations of the cranium‖ are associated with the seven Double letter
pathways that join together the three highest sefirot (i.e. the three portions of
the Skull), and that connect the Skull with the seven lower sefirot (representing
the Body of Adam Kadmon).

The ―beard‖ that hangs from the ―seven conformations‖ is a reference to the seven
lower sefirot.

As we know, the seven lower sefirot are emanations of (or ―hang down from‖) the
seven Double letter pathways. In other words, the symbolism of the ―beard‖
refers to the sefirotic emanation that grows out of the ―head‖. Its ―thirteen
portions‖ can be thought of as the twelve Simple letter pathways plus the path of
Shin (located in their midst). (See below.)

72 BCM, I:9-10.

73 BCM, I:17.

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We must also alert you to the great secret, and this is the secret of the
supernal embellishments (ha-tiqqunim ha-elyonim) that are called the
‗beard‘ (zaqan), and they are the secret of Tif‘eret. This matter is a great
secret from the secrets of the chariot (sodot ha-merkavah)… The one
who knows the secret of the hairs of the beard (se‘arot ha-zaqan) knows
the secret of Tif‘eret, and from this secret are born all the parts of the
chariot (pirqei ha-merkavah), for they spread forth from Tif‘eret to here
and to there. This secret is hidden and sealed in what is said by Scripture,
‗It is the splendour of a man (tif‘eret adam) to dwell in a house‘ (Isa. 44:
13).74

In the Greater Holy Assembly the subject is elaborated upon in some detail, but
there the Skull is described a little differently...

52. THE whiteness of this skull shineth in thirteen carved out sides: in
four sides from one portion; in four sides from the part of His
countenance; and in four sides from another part of the periphery; and in
one above the skull, as if this last might be called the supernal side.

53. And thence is the Vastness of His Countenance extended into three
hundred and seventy myriads of worlds; and hence Mypa Kra, Arikh
Aphim, Vastness of Countenance is His name. 75

Here the Whiteness of the Skull is depicted as having ―thirteen carved out sides‖.
These ‗sides‘ are associated with various combinations of the seven Double
letter pathways (plus two others 76). Notice the reference to the Whiteness of the

74 From: Sha‘arei Orah, 1: 252–3. Joseph Gikatilla. Cited in: Venturing Beyond. Elliot Wolfson. Pg.
227.

75 GHA, § 52-53.

76The two extra pathways are: 1. The relatively seamless connection that exists between the sefirah
Keter and Ain Sof, and: 2. The path of Alef that extends below Keter to Da‘at.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

skull. We saw above (in the previous chapter) how the Whiteness is expressed
as three Whitenesses77 (i.e. three groups of Double letter pathways) that descend
to manifest the seven lower sefirot.

Figure 17 : ―Four sides from one portion‖

The ―thirteen carved out sides‖ are ―carved out‖ (i.e. opened up) between the three
highest sefirot.

There is perhaps a special relationship between the ―thirteen carved out sides‖ of
the skull and the ―thirteen portions‖ of the beard. It would seem that the latter
may be a reflection of the former (i.e. on lower levels of the Tree of Life).

Four pathways are carved out by Hockmah. They are Gimel, Bayt, Kaf, and
Peh.

77 See: GHA, IX:119-127, and 130-133.

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In the Zohar the sefirah Hockmah is sometimes referred to as the Forehead of


Macroprosopus because the supernal man is said to display only the right side
of His face.78

90. And that forehead is called Nwur, Ratzon, Will-power, because it is the
ruler of the whole head and of the skull, which is covered by four
hundred and twenty worlds.79

The ―four hundred and twenty worlds‖ that are said to cover the Skull might refer to
the paths of Kaf and Tav (i.e. 20 + 400). These two pathways connect the Skull
(i.e. connect the three highest sefirot) to the sefirah Da‘at.

In the Lesser Holy Assembly the word Ratzon is also interpreted as meaning
‗Grace‘...

87. The Forehead, which is uncovered in the Most Holy Ancient One, is
called Grace.80

It is a quality of the forehead that is referred to the path of Gimel (G, g)...

108. ―And when this Head, which is concealed in the Head of the
Ancient One, which is not known, extendeth a certain frontal formation,

78 That is because He is said to be ‗all-merciful‘, having no severity (which latter is associated with the
left side).

79 GHA, § 90.

80 LHA, III:87.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

which is formed for brilliance, then flasheth forth the Lightning of His
Brain.

109. And it is formed forth and illuminated with many Lights.

110. And it produceth and designeth (a certain effect) in this Light


(otherwise, in this opening), in this Forehead, whereon is inscribed a
certain Light, which is called Nwur, Ratzon, Grace.

111. ―And that Grace is extended backward into the beard, even unto
that place where it can remain in the beard, and it is called the Supernal,
dox, Chesed, Mercy.81

The path of Gimel is called the Supernal Hesed because it is the higher
expression (and source) of the sefirah Hesed.

The energy of Grace (which is a quality of Hesed) represents the spiritual force
(or, spiritual strength) that infuses every human soul. We become aware of this
inner source of spiritual power when we are faithfully engaged in treading the
special Path of the soul. It fosters an experiential awareness that we are a living
part of the divine Creation, and it produces an inner knowing that we are
fulfilling an essential role in the larger divine creative Purpose.

The pathways are repeated in the four groups to emphasise the fact that each
one of the three supernal sefirot is involved in the process of carving them out.
In other words, the energy flows both ways along each of the nine
interconnecting pathways.

81 LHA, III:108-111.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The path of Alef (A, a) is an important part of the skull‘s conformation. Of this
path it is said...

70. One (path) which shineth in the midst of the hairs going forth from
the Skull, is that path by whose light the just are led into the world to
come.

71. Like as it is written, Prov. iv. 18: ―And the path of the just shineth as
the light.‖82

Alef (and the Air element) is the mediator between Mercy and Judgement (or
Severity) and therefore, it defines absolutely the concept of Justice. This notion
is reflected in the position of the path of Alef on the Tree of Life diagram. The
path of Alef extends vertically below Keter, and thus also stands vertically
between the sefirot Hockmah (Mercy) and Binah (Judgement). (See below.)

Thus, the ―four sides from the part of His countenance‖ are Alef, Gimel, Dalet, and
Ain Sof.

The ―four sides from another part of the periphery‖ are Bayt, Dalet, Raysh, and Tav.
This group of four pathways emphasises the influence of the sefirah Binah in
carving out the paths.

82 LHA, 2:70-71.

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Figure 18 : ―Four sides from the part of His countenance‖

Figure 19 : ―Four sides from another part of the periphery‖

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The ―one above the skull‖ is referred to Ain Sof. It emphasises the influence that
Ain Sof has on the first sefirah Keter, and represents their connecting link.

Figure 20 : ―One above the skull‖

The Zohar tells us that the three highest sefirot—Keter, Hockmah, and Binah,
represent the three hollows of the ‗cranium‘ (or ‗skull‘) of the Universal Adam,
or in other words, they are said to collectively represent his head (and brain).

In like manner, the Book of Formation describes the seven Double letter pathways
as representing the seven principal features of his countenance (or, to put it
another way, they signify the seven openings in his Skull).

It seems most logical therefore, to position the seven Double letter ‗facial
feature‘ correspondences (of the Sefer Yetzirah) upon the head of the Supernal
Adam, at the top of the Tree of Life diagram.

There is a simple logical/intuitive way to position these correspondences


amongst the pathways that cover the skull—i.e. as illustrated in Figure 21.

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Figure 21 : The Seven Double Letter Facial Features and Major Bodily
Attributes

This logical Zohar/Yetzirah-based arrangement of the seven Double letter


pathways contrasts strongly with the numerically-based arrangement that was
popularised by the original Order of the Golden Dawn. This is not to say that
the Golden Dawn arrangement is ‗wrong‘. I am merely pointing out the
variance that exists in the reasoning behind each system. They approach the
Tree of Life diagram from totally different perspectives; however I believe that
both systems are useful within their own domains.

pg. 75
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There is a profound depth of meaning in the positioning of the three groups of


Hebrew letters (i.e. the Mothers, Doubles, and Simples) in the Zohar/Yetzirah-
based system described in this book. That esoteric meaning will become clearer
when we examine the placements of the twelve Simple Hebrew letters on the
Tree of Life diagram.

1. Bayt : b : Mouth : Saturn ( )


2. Gimel : g : Right Eye : Jupiter ( )
3. Dalet : d : Left Eye : Mars ( )
4. Kaf : k : Right Nostril : Sun ( )
5. Peh : p : Right Ear : Venus ( )
6. Raysh : r : Left Ear : Mercury ( )
7. Tav : t : Left Nostril : Moon ( )

Table 2 : The Seven Facial Attributes

Letter Long/Saadia Versions Mulcahy Version


1. b 1. Mouth 1. Mouth
2. g 2. Right Eye 2. Right Eye
3. d 3. Left eye 3. Left Eye
4. k 4. Right Nostril 4. Right Nostril
5. p 5. Left Nostril 5. Right Ear
6. r 6. Right Ear 6. Left Ear
7. t 7. Left Ear 7. Left Nostril

This particular order of facial feature correspondences is my own. It is based on


the logic of the Tree of Life formation methodology that I use in this book.
They are not found in any version of the Sefer Yetzirah (that I am aware of).

pg. 76
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Unfortunately, the original Double letter correspondences are lost to us because


of the corruption (or deliberate concealment) that has entered into the text of
the Sefer Yetzirah over the centuries. The Saadia and Long versions approximate
most closely my own arrangement.

The Double letter planetary attributions (also listed above) however, are quite
commonly found in various versions of the Sefer Yetzirah.83

83Specifically, they are found in the Short and Long versions of the Sefer Yetzirah, as well as in several
other authoritative kabbalistic texts.

pg. 77
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 78
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The Twelve Simple Letters

The twelve Simple letters represent twelve lower attributes of the Body of
Adam Kadmon. Consequently they occupy the lower half of the Tree of Life
diagram (i.e. below His Skull and facial features). They represent His hands,
feet, and bodily organs, but these are difficult to position on the Tree diagram in
any obviously symbolic way.84 Thankfully though, the Sefer Yetzirah also
associates the twelve simple letters with the twelve signs of the zodiac so we can
postulate an arrangement using the twelve signs.

Twelve constellations in the Universe:

Aries (hlj, the Ram), Taurus (rwv, the Bull), Gemini (Mymwat, the
Twins), Cancer (Njro, the Crab), Leo (hyra, the Lion), Virgo (hlwtb, the
Virgin), Libra (Mynzam, the Scales), Scorpio (brqe, the Scorpion),
Sagittarius (tvq, the Archer), Capricorn (ydg, the Kid), Aquarius (yld, the
Water Drawer), Pisces (Mygd, the Fishes).85

The bodily attributes are given as:

84The seven double letter facial attributes are located at the top of the Tree of Life diagram and are
positioned roughly in accord with the natural features of a human face. The twelve simple letter
bodily attributes however cannot be arranged on the Tree diagram in such an obviously symbolic
manner. (See below.)

85 Sefer Yetzirah, 5:4.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Twelve directors in the soul, male and female:

The two hands, the two feet, the two kidneys, the gall bladder, the
intestines, the liver, the korkeban, the kivah, the spleen. 86

We can assign the twelve Simple letters to the twelve astrological signs, and
twelve bodily attributes as follows:87

1. Heh : h : Intestines : Aries ( )


2. Vav : w : Right Kidney : Taurus ( )
3. Zayn : z : Right Foot : Gemini ( )
4. Het : x : Gall : Cancer ( )
5. Tet : j : Liver : Leo ( )
6. Yud : y : Left Foot : Virgo ( )
7. Lamed : l : Left Stomach88 : Libra ( )
8. Nun : n : Left Kidney : Scorpio ( )
9. Sameck : o : Left Hand : Sagittarius ( )
10. Ayin : e : Right Stomach89 : Capricorn ( )
11. Tzaddie : u : Spleen : Aquarius ( )
12. Qof : q : Right Hand : Pisces ( )

86 Sefer Yetzirah, 5:6.

87 The arrangement of these physical correspondences is my own.

88 The original Hebrew has Nbqrwq meaning the ‗gizzard‘ or ‗ventriculus‘ found in the anatomy of
some birds and reptiles. In human anatomy it may refer to the pancreas which is part of the digestive
system, but I have chosen to label it as the left stomach area.

89The original Hebrew word is hbq. It also can be translated as ‗stomach‘ and might specifically refer
to the human appendix (or perhaps the oesophagus) which is also part of the human digestive system.
In any case, I have chosen to label it as the right stomach area.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

We are now able (using verse 5:2 of the Sefer Yetzirah) to intuitively determine
some possibilities regarding the arrangement of the twelve Simple letters on the
Tree of Life diagram.

Twelve Elementals: h‘w‘z, x‘j‘y, l‘n‘o, e‘u‘q, HVZ ChTY LNS OTzQ.

Their foundation is the twelve diagonal boundaries [GBVLY ALKSVN,


Nwokla ylwbg]:

The east upper boundary; The east northern boundary; The east lower
boundary. [h‘w‘z]

The south upper boundary; The south eastern boundary; The south
lower boundary. [x‘j‘y]

The west upper boundary; The west southern boundary; The west lower
boundary. [l‘n‘o]

The north upper boundary; The north western boundary; The north
lower boundary. [e‘u‘q]

They extend continually until eternity of eternities, And it is they that are
the boundaries90 of the Universe.91

90 Saadia ben Joseph states: ―I translate the words ―g‘vulei alakson‖ as ―limit of the angles‖ because
this is the sense of the words frequently found in the Talmud.‖ [From Saadia ben Joseph (al-
Fayyumi), Commentaire sur le Séfer Yesira ou Livre de la Création par Le Gaon Saadya de Fayyoum, trans. &
ed., M. Lambert, Paris, Emile Bouillon, Editeur, 1891); translated into English from the French &
Hebrew by Scott Thompson and Dominique Marson, San Francisco, 1985.] Kaplan‘s translation as
―diagonal boundaries‖ accurately describes the twelve Double letter diagonal sides of the eight
adjacent triangles that combine together to form the Tree of Life‘s astrological pyramid. (See my
diagrams below.)

91 Sefer Yetzirah, 5:2.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Verse 5:2 divides the zodiacal circle (as represented by the twelve Simple
Hebrew letters) into four directional quarters. Therefore, in order to arrange the
twelve simple letter boundaries upon the Tree of Life diagram we need to
superimpose a compass needle on the sefirot. This will help us to orientate the
twelve simple letter pathways with the four directional sefirot: Hesed, Geburah,
Netzah, and Hod.

Figure 22 : The Four Compass Points

The Sefer Yetzirah does not explicitly state how we should align these directions
to the sefirot so some intuitive guess-work is required. I have explored the
significance of various arrangements and have chosen to assign the Eastern
direction to the sefirah Netzah, the Southern direction to Hod, the Western
direction to Geburah, and the Northern direction to Hesed. 92

92My rationale for these assignments is explained below. These directions are used to orientate the
twelve Simple letter pathways. There is another important symbolic arrangement of the directions that
emphasises the sefirotic polarities that are built into the Tree diagram. Its symbolism however, does
not relate to the twelve pathways.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 23 : Compass and Astrological Wheel

Traditionally, in astrology the southern direction is symbolically placed at the


top of a horoscope, and the eastern direction is towards the left 93, but in this
arrangement North is at the top and East is on the right (as per a normal
compass face).

93 That is because the science of astrology was developed in the northern hemisphere where
astrologers looked towards the south to see the constellations on the ecliptic. Consequently, as they
faced south the eastern direction was to the left.

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In esoteric theory, the spiritual world is said to be a mirror image of the physical
world, so when the sefirah Malkut comes into manifestation this topsy-turvy
arrangement changes to reflect our recognised astrological standard. (See
below.)

The Upper direction corresponds to a point in the sky overhead that is called
the Noon meridian in astrology. It is associated symbolically with the six
astrological signs located in the upper half of the zodiacal circle (i.e. to the six
signs symbolically placed above the horizon). The Lower direction represents
the sky below the feet (i.e. below the earth) and therefore it is associated with
the six signs occupying the lower half of the zodiacal circle (and that are
symbolically placed below the horizon).

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 24 : The Three Eastern Boundaries

The east upper boundary; The east northern boundary; The east lower
boundary. [h‘w‘z]94

94 Sefer Yetzirah, 5:2.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 25 : The Three Southern Boundaries

The south upper boundary; The south eastern boundary; The south
lower boundary. [x‘j‘y]95

95 Sefer Yetzirah, 5:2.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 26 : The Three Western Boundaries

The west upper boundary; The west southern boundary; The west lower
boundary. [l‘n‘o]96

96 Sefer Yetzirah, 5:2.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 27 : The Three Northern Boundaries

The north upper boundary; The north western boundary; The north
lower boundary. [e‘u‘q]97

97 Sefer Yetzirah, 5:2.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The circle of the zodiac is converted into a square 98 on the Tree of Life diagram.

The three Eastern ―diagonal boundaries‖ define the Eastern corner (Netzah) of the
zodiacal square.

The three Southern ―diagonal boundaries‖ define the Southern corner of the
zodiacal square (i.e. anchored at Hod).

The three Western ―diagonal boundaries‖ define the Western corner of the
zodiacal square (i.e. anchored at the sefirah Geburah).

The three Northern ―diagonal boundaries‖ define the Northern corner of the
zodiacal square (i.e. anchored at Hesed).

This arrangement of the twelve Simple letters on the Tree of Life diagram fulfils
the ―seven on twelve‖ requirement of Sefer Yetzirah verse 6:5. That is because the
seven double letter sefirot are seen here to be seated upon the twelve simple
letter pathways. This conformation follows the principle originally established at
the top of the Tree diagram where the three mother letter sefirot are seated
upon the seven double letter pathways. Thus we have ―One on three99; three on
seven; seven on twelve; and all are bound, one to another‖.

Twelve stand in war: Three love, three hate, three give life, and three kill.
Three love: the heart and the ears. Three hate: the liver, the gall, and the
tongue. Three give life: the two nostrils and the spleen. Three kill: the
two orifices and the mouth.100

98 Or rather, a square-based pyramid in which the four corners of the base become the focus. See
diagram below.

99 The phrase ‗one on three‘ refers to the position of Ain Sof in relation to the three highest sefirot.

100 Sefer Yetzirah, 6:5.

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Figure 28 : The Twelve Simple Letter Pathways

The twelve who ―stand in war‖ are the four groups of three Simple letter
pathways who face off against each other from the four corners of the Tree of
Life‘s zodiacal square.

The three that love are the three pathways associated with the sefirah Netzah
(coloured green in the diagram above) whose attributions are the Double letter
Peh and the planet Venus ( ).

pg. 90
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The three that hate are associated with the sefirah Hod (coloured orange) whose
attributions are Raysh and Mercury ( ).

The three that give life are associated with the sefirah Hesed (coloured blue)
whose attributions are Gimel and Jupiter ( ).

The three that kill are associated with the sefirah Geburah (coloured magenta)
whose attributions are Dalet and Mars ( ).

As it is written in the Lesser Holy Assembly...

737. His arms are right and left. In the right arm is Chesed and Life; in
the left is Geburah and Death.101

Curiously, the bodily attributes listed in Sefer Yetzirah 6:5 are different to those
given here in verse 5:6. The only attributes that are common to both verses are:
Liver, Gall, and Spleen.

Also, some of the facial attributes listed in verse 6:5 were previously assigned in
verse 4:7 to the seven Double letters, so their repeated assignment to the Simple
letters is also something of a mystery. Here is how I assign them:

―Three love: the heart and the ears.‖

1. Heh : h : Right Ear : Aries :


2. Vav : w : Heart : Taurus :
3. Zayn : z : Left Ear : Gemini :

101 LHA, 2:737.

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―Three hate: the liver, the gall, and the tongue.‖

1. Het : x : Gall : Cancer :


2. Tet : j : Liver : Leo :
3. Yud : y : Tongue : Virgo :

―Three give life: the two nostrils and the spleen.‖

1. Ayin : e : Right Nostril : Capricorn :


2. Tzaddie : u : Spleen : Aquarius :
3. Qof : q : Left Nostril : Pisces :

―Three kill: the two orifices and the mouth.‖

1. Lamed : l : Sex Orifice : Libra :


2. Nun : n : Anus : Scorpio :
3. Sameck : o : Mouth : Sagittarius :

Table 3 : The Twelve Bodily Attributes

Hebrew SY, Verse 5:6 SY, Verse 6:5 Astrological


1. Heh : h Intestines Right Ear Aries
2. Vav : w Right Kidney Heart Taurus
3. Zayn : z Right Foot Left Ear Gemini
4. Het : x Gall Gall Cancer
5. Tet : j Liver Liver Leo
6. Yud : y Left Foot Tongue Virgo
7. Lamed : l Left Stomach Sex Orifice Libra
8. Nun : n Left Kidney Anus Scorpio
9. Sameck : o Left Hand Mouth Sagittarius
10. Ayin : e Right Stomach Right Nostril Capricorn
11. Tzaddie : u Spleen Spleen Aquarius
12. Qof : q Right Hand Left Nostril Pisces

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

We can now compile a table of correspondences for the twelve Simple letters.
(See the table above.)

Figure 29 reflects the bodily attributes of verse 5:6 of the Sefer Yetzirah. They are
referred to as being ―in the Soul‖ (NPSh, spn). So we can call this version of the
Tree diagram the Tree of the Soul.102

Figure 29 : Tree of Life (Soul)

102 Note however that the three Mother letter pathways and Malkut are yet to be added.

pg. 93
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pg. 94
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Tree of the Universe

Figure 30 : The Tree of Life (Universe)

pg. 95
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Sefer Yetzirah (in verse 5:4) states that these astrological correspondences are
―in the Universe‖ (OVLM, Mlwe) so we can call this version of the Tree diagram
the Tree of the Universe.103

The six signs that are located above the horizon of the zodiacal circle are
focused at the Hesed (Blue) and Geburah (Red) corners of the zodiacal square.
The six signs below the horizon are focused at the Netzah (Green) and Hod
(Orange) corners of the zodiacal square. 104

Figure 31 : The Seven Lower Sefirot and the Zodiacal Circle

103Note however that the Tree diagram is incomplete because the three Mother letter pathways and
the sefirah Malkut are still to be added. (See below.)

104In regard to Ezekiel‘s vision of the divine chariot these four corner sefirot are associated with the
four wheels of the chariot. (See Ezekiel, Chapter One.)

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The zodiacal circle as depicted in the Sefer Yetzirah is a mirror image (along the
vertical axis)105 of the traditional zodiacal circle. When the sefirah Malkut
manifests however, the circle of the zodiac flips around and assumes its normal
outward expression.106 (See below.)

Figure 32 : The Astrological Pyramid

The twelve Simple letter pathways of the Tree of Life diagram can be seen to
form a square-based pyramid. This image allows us to ponder the astrological
significance of the relative positions of the pathways.

105 That is, left and right have exchanged their positions.

106 This accords with the principle that the material world is a mirror image of the spiritual world.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 33 : The Astrological Pyramid (Upright)

The Sefer Yetzirah concludes its chapter107 on the twelve Simple letters with the
words:

He made them like a trough; He arranged them like a wall; He set them
up like a battle.108

Similarly, in verse 1:11 it is written:109

107 That is, Chapter Five.

108 Sefer Yetzirah, 5:10.

109 This is written in special reference to the emergence of the Earth element. (See below.)

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He engraved them like a sort of garden; He carved them like a sort of


wall; He covered them like a sort of ceiling... 110

These descriptions are suggestive of the astrological pyramid.

The ―sort of garden‖ (or ―trough‖) can be thought of as consisting of the four
Cardinal pathways that criss-cross the base of the pyramid (coloured yellow in
the image). They are united by the Sun ( , Tifaret) at the centre. The ―sort of
wall‖ would then refer to the four Fixed pathways (coloured blue) that
constitute the square perimeter of the pyramid‘s base. Symbolically speaking,
this wall of Fixed signs encloses the garden of Cardinal signs.

Similarly, the ―sort of ceiling‖ can be imagined as referring to the four Mutable
pathways (coloured green) that form the four sloping edges of the pyramid.
They are united by the Moon ( , Yesod) at the apex of the pyramid. The ceiling
of Mutable signs sits atop the Fixed wall and covers the Cardinal garden.

1. Four Cardinal signs (―Garden‖, ―trough‖)

Aries ( , Heh, h)
Cancer ( , Het, x)
Libra ( , Lamed, l)
Capricorn ( , Ayin, e)

2. Four Fixed signs (―Wall‖)

Taurus ( , Vav, w)
Leo ( , Tet, j)
Scorpio ( , Nun, g)
Aquarius ( , Tzaddie, u)

110 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:11.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

3. Four Mutable signs (―Ceiling‖)

Gemini ( , Zayn, z)
Virgo ( , Yud, y)
Sagittarius ( , Sameck, o)
Pisces ( , Qof, q)

One of the reasons why I like this particular assignment of the twelve Simple
letters to the twelve zodiacal pathways (i.e. as illustrated in Figure 30, etc) is
because of the way the four Fixed sign pathways are positioned.

Fixed Signs

 Taurus ( , Vav, w)
 Leo ( , Tet, j)
 Scorpio ( , Nun, g)
 Aquarius ( , Tzaddie, u)

The four Fixed signs have always held special significance in the esoteric
literature of the ages. This includes various core texts of the Kabbalah, etc.
Therefore I feel that it is important that these four signs (and their associated
Hebrew Simple letters) are positioned on the Tree of Life diagram in a way that
is symbolically meaningful. This is certainly the case regarding the Simple letter
pathway arrangement I have presented here.

The Sun ( , Tifaret) rules over the sign Leo ( , Tet, j) and you will notice (in
Figure 30, etc) that the Sun is positioned directly above the path of Leo on the
Tree of Life diagram.

Similarly, because Saturn ( , Da‘at) traditionally rules over the sign Aquarius ( ,
Tzaddie, u) it is fitting that Saturn is located directly above the path of
Aquarius.

pg. 100
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The planet Venus ( , Peh, p) rules the Fixed sign Taurus ( , Vav, w) and
therefore, appropriately you will find it closely attached to the sefirah Netzah ( ,
Peh, p).

Likewise, the traditional ruler of the Fixed sign Scorpio ( , Nun, g) is Mars ( ,
Dalet, d) and you will notice that the Scorpio pathway is closely attached to the
sefirah Geburah ( , Dalet, d).

There are eight zodiacal triangles formed within the astrological pyramid. These
are divided into two groups of four. The first group is unified by the Sun ( ,
Kaf, k) in Tifaret. The second group is unified by the Moon ( , Tav, t) in
Yesod.

Sun

 Aries — Taurus — Capricorn


 Capricorn — Aquarius — Libra
 Libra — Scorpio — Cancer
 Cancer — Leo — Aries

Moon

 Gemini — Taurus — Pisces


 Pisces — Aquarius — Sagittarius
 Sagittarius — Scorpio — Virgo
 Virgo — Leo — Gemini

In the Solar group of triangles two Cardinal signs are bridged by one Fixed sign.
In the Lunar group two Mutable signs are bridged by one Fixed sign.

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There is a third group of zodiacal triangles that unite the Sun ( ) and the Moon
( ) via the path of elemental Fire (Shin). This pathway is represented in Figure
33 by a red dotted line that extends between the Moon and the Sun. We will
discuss it further in a later chapter of this book.

Sun & Moon

 Aries — Fire (Taurus) — Gemini


 Cancer — Fire (Leo) — Virgo
 Libra — Fire (Scorpio) — Sagittarius
 Capricorn — Fire (Aquarius) — Pisces

In this group one Cardinal and one Mutable sign are bridged by the path of
Fire. You will notice that in each of these triangles the path of Fire substitutes
for one of the four Fixed astrological signs (bracketed). The type of energy and
influence that the path of Fire (Shin) might contribute to these four triangles is
worth pondering. The Shin pathway is discussed in detail in a later chapter of
this book.

pg. 102
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Malkut

The sefirah Malkut is an appendage to the Tree of Life. It represents the


physical expression of the universe. Malkut does not have a Hebrew letter (i.e. a
primordial archetype) associated with it. The Book of Formation emphasises this
idea when it states:

Seven Doubles: t‘r‘p‘k d‘g‘b, Seven and not six; Seven and not eight.111

As previously shown, the seven Double letters produce the seven lower sefirot
from Da‘at to Yesod, and therefore there would need to be an eighth Double
letter if Malkut was to be assigned one. Instead the fourth (missing 112) element
‗Earth‘ is assigned to Malkut.

The appearance of Malkut is presaged in verse 1:11 of the Sefer Yetzirah.

He engraved them like a sort of garden; He carved them like a sort of


wall; He covered them like a sort of ceiling; (And He poured snow
[ShLG, gls] over them and it became dust [OPR, rpe], as it is written:
―For to snow He said, ‗Become earth [ARTz, Ura]‘‖ [Job 37:6].)113

111 Sefer Yetzirah, 4:5.

112The Earth element is considered ‗missing‘ in the cosmology of the Sefer Yetzirah because it is not
assigned a Hebrew letter as are the other three elements: Air, Water, and Fire.

113 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:11.

pg. 103
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 34 : The Addition of Malkut

pg. 104
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Malkut is thus associated with the Earth element. It emerges as a result of the
condensation of the twelve Simple letter pathways. These twelve are identified
in the verse by the ‗garden‘, ‗wall‘, and ‗ceiling‘ symbolism (as previously
explained). The process of condensation follows the same rule already
established by the seven Double letters.

We saw previously how the seven Double letter pathways ‗condense‘


themselves to form the seven lower sefirot. In like manner the twelve Simple
letter pathways condense themselves (and combine together) to form the
sefirah Malkut. It is through this process that the material universe is born.

Figure 35 : Malkut: Astrological and Hebrew Versions

When Malkut comes into being the universe assumes its normal outward
appearance because the physical world is a reflection (or mirror image) of the
spiritual world.

On Day Six of the Sefer Berashit sequence of Creation Malkut (symbolically


speaking) comes into manifestation. On that Day Mankind is made in the image
of the Elohim...

pg. 105
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

26. And God said, Let us make man [ADM, Mda] in our image [TzLM,
Mlu], after our likeness [DMVTh, twmd]: and let them have dominion
over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle,
and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon
the earth.114

Mankind (i.e. ADM, Mda) is associated with Malkut. Malkut embodies all the
astrological forces of the zodiac—that is, the twelve Simple letter zodiacal
pathways, and the seven Double letter planetary sefirot.

Symbolically then, in Malkut Aries shifts to the left side of the zodiacal circle
where we are accustomed to seeing it, and the top of the circle is re-designated
as South. Mankind stands in the midst of the circle surrounded by (and
expressing within himself) the manifested reflection of the zodiacal pathways
and planetary sefirot.

114 Berashit, 1:26.

pg. 106
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Twelve Tribes

The twelve Simple letter archetypes are also represented in the Zohar by the
twelve ‗tribes of Israel‘.

The twelve tribes are the adornment of the Matron [Malkut]. When Jacob
was about to depart from the world, and saw that he was perfected on
every side, with Abraham at his right [Hesed], Isaac at his left [Geburah],
himself in the centre [Tifaret], and the Shekinah [Malkut] in front of him,
he called his sons round him in order that both the lower and the upper
might be fitly adorned... The twelve tribes correspond to the twelve oxen
which were under the sea [Binah] of bronze made by Solomon (I Kings
vii, 23 sqq.), three for each of the cardinal points [directional sefirot]. Three
of them representing the right Arm [Hesed], three the left Arm [Geburah],
three the right Thigh [Netzah], and three the left Thigh [Hod]. There were
three tribes for each, because in each of these limbs there are three joints
[pathways]...115

We already know from our previous examination of the Zohar (in an earlier
chapter) that the four ‗limbs‘ of the Universal Adam are associated with the four
‗directional‘ sefirot—i.e. Hesed, Geburah, Netzah, and Hod.

Here we are told that each limb has three symbolical ‗joints‘ (i.e. corresponding
to the wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints of the arm, etc). These joints obviously
correspond with the three Simple letter pathways that are attached to each of
the four directional sefirot.

115 Soncino Zohar. Vol II, pp 366-7. Berashith 240b-241a. Bracketed notes are my own.

pg. 107
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The twelve tribes of Israel are also said (in the quote) to be associated with the
twelve limb joints, and thus, also with the twelve Simple letter pathways. ―There
were three tribes for each, because in each of these limbs there are three joints.‖

We can assign the twelve tribes of Israel to the twelve Simple letter pathways of
the Tree of Life by using information obtained from the biblical Book of
Numbers.

In chapter two of the Book of Numbers we are given the following information...

Table 4 : The Twelve Tribes of Israel

EAST SOUTH WEST NORTH


Judah Reuben Ephraim Dan
1. Judah 4. Reuben 7. Ephraim 10. Dan
2. Issachar 5. Simeon 8. Mannaseh 11. Ashar
3. Zebulun 6. Gad 9. Benjamin 12. Naphtali

Here we see four tribal ‗camps‘ (in bold) each associated with a direction. Each
camp accommodates three tribes of Israel.

We need now to assign the four camps to the directional sefirot: Hesed,
Geburah, Netzah, and Hod.

In regard to this, the Zohar informs us of the following...

...Further, the river ―shall part from thence and become four heads‖
(Gen,II, 10).

The first of these is Hesed (Kindness), which is the right arm. From this
shall drink the camp of Michael, and with it the tribe of Judah and his
two accompanying tribes.

pg. 108
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The second is Geburah (Force), and from it shall drink the camp of
Gabriel, and with it the tribe of Dan and his two accompanying tribes.
The third is Netzah (Victory), the right leg, and from it shall drink the
camp of Nuriel, and with it the tribe of Reuben and his two
accompanying tribes.

The fourth is Hod (Majesty), the ―left leg‖ (referred to in what was said
of Jacob, that ―he halted on his left thigh‖), and from it shall drink the
camp of Raphael, whose mission is to heal the ills of the captivity, and
with it the tribe of Ephraim and his two accompanying tribes. 116

So now we have determined...

Table 5 : The Four Camps and Sefirot

EAST SOUTH WEST NORTH


Judah Reuben Ephraim Dan
Hesed Netzah Hod Geburah

This gives us an alternative arrangement of the four directions upon the Tree of
Life, and will lead to a new set of Simple letter pathway correspondences. This
shows that the student must use his/her own discrimination when it comes to
the specific assignment of the twelve Simple letters to the twelve Simple letter
pathways of the Tree of Life diagram. The basic ‗Cardinal-Fixed-Mutable‘
pathway structure (as I have drawn it) between the six Double letter sefirot
remains fixed, but the Simple letter correspondences attached to the twelve
pathways are uncertain and perhaps variable.

116 Soncino Zohar. Vol I, pp 102-3. Berashith 26b.

pg. 109
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Now we need to determine the zodiacal correspondences for the twelve tribes
of Israel.

There is an ongoing debate in the kabbalistic community concerning the


assignment of the twelve tribes of Israel to the twelve zodiacal signs. One
proposal commonly put forward is that the four camps represent the four
Cherubic (i.e. Fixed) signs. If this is true, then the camp/tribe of Judah would
possibly have the sign Leo as its attribution.

The proposition that Leo is assigned to Judah is based (in part) on the Book of
Numbers, verse II:3... ―And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the
standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies...‖ [Numbers, II:3.] The
mention here of the Sun suggests Leo because in astrology the Sun is said to
‗rule‘ the cherubic sign Leo.117

So if we begin the circle of the zodiac with Judah as Leo then the rest of the
correspondences fall naturally into line as follows:

East (Hesed/Camp of Judah):

1. Judah : Leo, (Tet, j)


2. Issachar : Cancer, (Het, x)
3. Zebulun : Gemini, (Zayn, z)

South (Netzah/Camp of Reuben):

4. Reuben : Taurus, (Vav, w)


5. Simeon : Aries, (Heh, h)
6. Gad : Pisces, (Qof, q)

117 In Genesis 49:9 Judah is also compared (by his father Jacob) to a ―lion‘s whelp‖.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

West (Hod/Camp of Ephraim):

7. Ephraim : Aquarius, (Tzaddie, u)


8. Manasseh : Capricorn, (Ayin, e)
9. Benjamin : Sagittarius, (Sameck, o)

North (Geburah/Camp of Dan):

10. Dan : Scorpio, (Nun, n)


11. Asher : Libra, (Lamed, l)
12. Naphtali : Virgo, (Yud, y)

In the above list, each tribal camp begins with its cherubic sign and is followed
by a cardinal sign. This pattern derives the precessional sequence of zodiacal signs.

The precessional sequence (i.e. referred to as the ‗Precession of the Equinoxes‘)


follows the twelve great ‗Ages of Mankind‘ that together constitute a 26,000
year (approx.) evolutionary cycle.

The twelve Simple letter pathway correspondences as we have determined them


using the twelve tribes of Israel produces an alternative version of the Tree of
Life diagram. (See Figure 36.)

Using the information we have gleaned from the Zohar and the Hebrew bible
these twelve Adamic Ages can now be understood in terms of the Tree of Life
diagram.118

118Humanity is currently in process of transitioning out of the Age of Pisces ( ) and into the Age of
Aquarius ( ). We can interpret this shift from Pisces to Aquarius (in terms of Figure 36) as a
movement from the sefirah Yesod to Netzah to Hod. In making this transition Humanity moves
along the Qof pathway (i.e. between Yesod and Netzah) through Netzah and onto the Tzaddie
pathway (i.e. between Netzah and Hod).

pg. 111
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 36 : Tree of the Universe : Twelve Tribes Version

So when (in our first quote above) the Zohar states: [Jacob] ―called his sons round
him‖ it is symbolic of this particular Tree of Life configuration because
Jacob/Israel represents the sefirah Tifaret, and Tifaret is clearly seen (in Figure
36) to be surrounded by his twelve sons—the twelve tribes of Israel as
represented by the twelve Simple letter pathways of the Tree of Life.

It should be noted that our earlier Simple letter pathway configuration (see
Figure 30) shares similar characteristics to the one depicted above because in

pg. 112
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

both versions the four cardinal sign pathways are joined to Tifaret and form the
‗garden‘ that surrounds it. Similarly, in both versions the four fixed sign
pathways form the square ‗wall‘ that encloses the garden of Tifaret, and the four
mutable signs are positioned as the ‗ceiling‘ that covers the garden of Tifaret.
This basic similarity effectively establishes a general rule that greatly reduces the
number of possible Simple letter pathway configurations.

The Shekinah

As you know, the sefirah Malkut incorporates and unifies within itself the
twelve zodiacal influences (i.e. as expressions of the twelve Hebrew Simple
letter pathways). In Malkut the Zodiac is understood as assuming a ‗physical‘
form because it is able to be physically defined (i.e. as twelve 30° longitudinal
sectors of space that encompass and embrace planet Earth).

The twelve-fold circle of Malkut provides a ‗physical‘ environment within which


the seven Double letter planetary influences can exist, function, and evolve.

The seven astrological planets revolve within the circumference of the zodiacal
circle of Malkut.

The astrological planets are expressions of the seven Double letter sefirot that
are stationed above Malkut on the Tree of Life. In other words, the seven
sefirot send down their influences into Malkut wherein they manifest as the
seven planetary spheres.

The sefirah Malkut itself however, represents the twelve-fold environment that
the seven planetary sefirot interact with. This interaction between the seven
sefirot and the twelve-fold circle of Malkut is in the manner of a relationship
between a man and a woman and is symbolised as such in the writings of the
Zohar.

pg. 113
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Thus, what occurs in the sphere of Malkut is actually a reflection within the
physical realm of a ‗higher‘ interaction that is occurring between the seven male
Double letter sefirot and the twelve female Simple letter pathways (i.e. that
extend between those sefirot).

The female (i.e. Malkut) is called in the Zohar the Shekinah (hnykv, ‗dwelling‘)
while the male aspect is termed Israel (as personified by the patriarch Jacob).
Israel represents the ‗consciousness‘ aspect of Humanity, while the Shekinah
(i.e. Malkut) represents the materially-based environment in which he dwells.

The male personage Israel (or Jacob) is identified with the sefirah Tifaret 119, but
embodies within himself the totality of the seven sefirot above Malkut on the
Tree of Life, while the Shekinah with whom Israel seeks to form a special
relationship is represented by the sefirah Malkut.

In actuality, the Shekinah principle has two basic expressions and these are
represented on the Tree of Life diagram by the sefirot Binah and Malkut. Binah
represents the higher Shekinah, while Malkut represents the lower Shekinah.
These two expressions of the Shekinah principle are also called Mother and
Daughter, and are represented by the two Hebrew letter Hehs (H, h) of the
divine Name YHVH (Heb: hwhy).

In terms of divine Reality however, the Shekinah principle is One, and its two
apparently separate expressions are only experienced as such by the
Consciousness principle (or Son).

The Son (or Jacob/Israel) is represented by the Hebrew letter Vav (V, w). Vav
subjectively separates the two Hehs (H, h) in the divine Name YHVH.

119 To be more precise, Jacob is associated with Tifaret, while Israel (representing Jacob‘s perfection)
is associated with the sefirah Da‘at. More generally speaking however, Israel personifies all the seven
Double letter sefirot (i.e. from Da‘at to Yesod).

pg. 114
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Outside the realm of Vav (i.e. the field microcosmic Consciousness) the two
Hehs are actually one Heh and this supernal state of divine Being is represented
by the holy Name YH (Yah, hy).

It is extremely important to grasp this concept because it explains the greatest


challenge of the human condition—that is, to unify within Consciousness (V)
the two apparently separated expressions of the Shekinah principle (H and H).

In order to begin to unify the two Hehs within us, the first thing we need to do
is to intelligently recognise (from the perspective of microcosmic
Consciousness) the difference between these two expressions of the Shekinah
principle.

The Shekinah is feminine and therefore represents the receptive Form principle.
It signifies the ‗container‘ that encapsulates and surrounds the masculine Israel
principle.

The Earth (and everything produced from it) is our container.

When you look around you what do you see? When the Consciousness
principle (i.e. the ‗soul‘) within you peers through your eyes it sees naught but
the Shekinah principle. Everything that you can perceive around you is an
expression of the Shekinah principle. Your interaction with the World
represents an intimate relationship that is occurring between your
Consciousness principle (Jacob/Israel) and the Shekinah (although you may not
be aware of it).

If you look at the World around you and see nothing but a relatively random
array of material objects then you are looking at the lower Shekinah (i.e. the
second Heh of YHVH) without (at the same time) being conscious of the
higher Shekinah (i.e. the first Heh of YHVH). This condition represents a state
of darkness and is symbolised in the Zohar by the separation of Israel from the
Shekinah.120

120 It is also symbolised in the Book of Genesis by Adam and Eve‘s expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

pg. 115
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

For as the sun, although his centre is in heaven, yet spreads his power
and might throughout the earth, so that the whole earth is full of his
glory, so, as long as the Temple was in existence, the whole earth, to wit,
the Holy Land, was full of God‘s glory; but now that Israel is in exile, the
Shekinah is on high, but still her might surrounds Israel so as to shield
them, even when they are in a strange land. For the Shekinah is both here
below and on high.

The Shekinah on high [Binah] abides in the twelve holy chariots and the
twelve supernal Hayyoth; the lower Shekinah [Malkut] is among the
twelve holy tribes, and thus the upper Shekinah and the lower Shekinah
are intertwined, and both operate together and simultaneously. Now,
when Israel is in exile, the upper Shekinah [Binah] is not complete
because the lower Shekinah [Malkut] is not complete, and that is what is
meant by the Shekinah being in exile when Israel is in exile. 121

The higher Shekinah represents the divine blueprint of meaning (or


Understanding, ‗Binah‘) that underlies and supports the physical surface
appearance of our World. When we unify within our consciousness the higher
and lower expressions of the Shekinah principle then our involvement in the
World acquires a vastly deeper significance. That significance is based on the
special intimate relationship that exists between our own Consciousness
principle (the male aspect, Vav) and the Shekinah principle (the female aspect,
Heh). The specific nature of this relationship is different for each individual
human soul. It is something that must be discovered by each of us individually.

The esoteric mechanics of this process involves ‗clearing‘ (or ‗unblocking‘) the
twelve Simple letter pathways in which the six Double letter sefirot (seven if we
count the sefirah Da‘at) are embedded.

121 Soncino Zohar. Vol II, pp. 112-113. Vayeze, 159b. Bracketed text is my own.

pg. 116
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The conscious human ego, when it is looking out upon the World, must
become able to simultaneously perceive both the higher and lower expressions
of the Shekinah principle, and at the same time understand the deeper meaning
that unifies them. Unenlightened consciousness blocks this mode of perception.
Any resistance that blocks the pure ‗stream of conscious light‘ from being
maintained between the higher Shekinah (upper Heh), the Son (Vav), and the
lower Shekinah (lower Heh) must be eliminated.

The Consciousness principle becomes increasingly luminous as the twelve


Simple letter pathways are cleared of debris. I like to think of this as a process
of tuning the twelve Simple letter components of the psyche in to the higher
frequencies of Binah which then also has the effect of changing our perception
and experience of Malkut.

Figure 37 illustrates how the human psyche must align (or harmonise) itself
with the higher and lower aspects of the Shekinah. In the diagram, the pathway
of Het (Cancer) in the psyche is becoming attuned with the same Het archetype
as it exists within (the two expressions of) the Shekinah principle.

When I say that debris exists within the twelve simple letter pathways I am
speaking of incongruities that exist in the relationships between the seven
Double letter sefirot (i.e. the astrological planets) and the twelve Simple letter
pathways (i.e. the zodiacal signs). The sefirot and pathways represent male and
female forces respectively, and they need to establish ‗right relationship‘ in order
for the energy to be able to flow harmoniously between them.

Another way of understanding this process is if you imagine the twelve Simple
letter pathways as wiring on a circuit-board. The wiring needs to be properly
connected for the instrument (i.e. the human psyche) to correctly function. The
‗electrical current‘ that powers the metaphorical circuit-board is generated by
the Consciousness principle as represented by the seven Double letter sefirot. It
radiates from the seven sefirot and flows into and through the twelve Simple
letter pathways.

pg. 117
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 37 : Aligning Consciousness with the Shekinah

pg. 118
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

This brings us to a special association that exists between the higher sefirot of
the Tree of Life and the lower sefirot and pathways.

Table 6 : Some Tree of Life Associations

Highest Sefirot Lower Correspondences


Keter (Tip of Yud) Three Mother letter pathways (Tip of Yud)
Hockmah (Yud) Seven Double letter sefirot (Vav)
Binah (Upper Heh) Twelve Simple letters pathways (Lower Heh)122

Just as there exists a special connection between the Mother principle (i.e.
Binah) and the Daughter (i.e. the twelve Simple letter pathways and Malkut), so
too there exists a special connection between the Father principle (i.e.
Hockmah) and the Son (i.e. the seven Double letter sefirot). In the Zohar the
Father principle is referred to as the ―God of Israel‖.

The seven sefirot of the Son inherit and receive from Hockmah (the Father) a
particular kind of energy that they then channel into the twelve pathways of the
Daughter. That special energy is represented by the Water element (Maym, m)
and is often referred to as ‗Mercy‘ and ‗Blessings‘ in the Zohar.

Similarly, the twelve pathways of the Daughter inherit and receive from Binah
(the Mother) an influx of elemental Fire (Shin, v) which is often referred to in
the Zohar as ‗Judgment‘.

122The twelve Simple letter pathways are unified in the sefirah Malkut which is also represented by
the lower Heh of YHVH.

pg. 119
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 120
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Polyhex Key


to the Pathways

S upport for the Tree of Life pathway formula (as expounded in this book)
was unexpectedly uncovered during my recent (circa 2010) research into
sacred polyhex geometry. My new findings in the field of polyhex
geometry demonstrate that the hierarchical 3:7:12 division of the pathways
is a natural result of the polyhex geometric model of Creation.

The Geometric Model

The manifestation of the kabbalistic Tree of Life involves the coming together
of two primary principles called Spirit and Matter (or Form). The merging of
these two principles produces a third middle principle called Consciousness (or
more accurately, Soul). The merging process can be illustrated very simply using
two overlapping circles. (See the figure below.)

Before the beginning of Time and Space the two circles are separated, but
eventually they approach each other, intersect, and partly merge together. The
area of their overlap forms the Soul/Consciousness principle.

pg. 121
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 38 : The Merging of Spirit & Form

To build the complex form that is the Tree of Life diagram we must replace the
Spirit and Form circles with polyhexagons.

The special polyhexagonal form upon which the Tree of Life is based is a
structure that consists of nineteen individual hexagons arranged in a composite
hexagonal shape. This special polyhexagon is characterized by two sub-groups
of component hexagons. Firstly, a group of seven hexagons, six of which are
located around the perimeter of the polyhex, and a seventh located precisely at
its centre. The second sub-group consists of twelve individual hexagons that fill
the main body of the polyhex construct.

pg. 122
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 39 : Tree of Life Polyhexagon

You may recognize the significance of the figures seven and twelve as
coinciding with the number of Hebrew Double and Simple letters respectively.
This is a very important correspondence that we will examine more closely
below.

The Tree of Life polyhexagon is a special modification of another 19-Hex


polyhex that I call the Genesis polyhexagon. In my understanding, the Genesis
polyhex is the natural organic form upon which the Tree of Life polyhexagon is
based. The Tree of Life polyhexagon rearranges the nineteen hexes of the
Genesis polyhex so that the inner dynamics of the Genesis polyhexagon are
more easily perceived. The Tree of Life polyhex reveals the structure of the
pathways of interconnection that exists between the various hexes of the
Genesis polyhexagon.

pg. 123
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Genesis polyhexagon resembles an organic cell. It has a nucleus and an


outer membrane. Cosmically, we can understand the nucleus as composed of
the seven astrological planets (or planetary gods/logoi) while the outer
membrane consists of the twelve zodiacal signs (or major angelic/devic forces).
The interaction between these two groups of divine Beings produces All-That-
Is. The Tree of Life polyhexagon reveals more clearly how the two groups
energetically interact with each other.

Figure 40 : The Genesis & Tree of Life Polyhexes

There are two types of Genesis polyhexagons—a Spirit polyhex, and a Form
polyhex. They both have a seven-fold nucleus surrounded by a twelve-fold
membrane. Correspondingly, there are also two Tree of Life polyhexagons and
it is these latter two polyhexes that we are considering in this chapter.

The merging of the two Tree of Life polyhexagons produces interesting results.
The Tree of Life diagram is now clearly revealed in the composite hexagonal
design (below right). The three white hexagons at the top of the yellow
polyhexagon represent the three highest sefirot of the Tree of Life—Keter,
Hockmah, and Binah. They remain wholly detached from the Form principle
polyhexagon (shaded blue).

pg. 124
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Only seven yellow hexagons remain visible in the main body of the Spirit
polyhexagon. These represent the seven Hebrew Double letter pathways of the
Tree (i.e. as I have delineated them in this book). The correspondence to my
original pathway findings is precise as I will demonstrate shortly.

Figure 41 : The Merging of the Spirit & Form Polyhexes

In numbering the component hexagons (below) I have placed all of the even
numbers on the right side of the polyhexagon and the odd numbers on the left.
I have chosen to use this convention merely to identify the right side as ‗male‘
(even) and the left side as ‗female‘ (odd). But it is also interesting to note that this
convention shows the natural sequence of the lower sefirotic hexagons (shaded
grey) progressing from Tifaret (4) to Hod (5) which is contrary to the traditional
numbering system which has Netzah (6) following numerically after Tifaret (4).

pg. 125
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Thus, this odd/even rule results in a more accurate presentation of the


‗hierarchy of the planes‘123 because Hod (as Mercury) represents the lower
mental plane and therefore it should come before Netzah who as Venus
symbolizes the astral plane.

Figure 42 : The Tree of Life Polyhexagon

The three highest sefirot represent the sacred trinity of divine Powers. The
seven Double letter pathways symbolize the seven Heavens/Palaces 124, the
seven planetary Spirits (or Logoi), the seven angels who attend the Throne of
God, etc. They represent supernal powers guiding and administrating the lower

123 That is, as described in the teachings of Theosophy.

124 Hebrew: Shamayim (‫)שמים‬, and Hekhalot (‫)היכלות‬.

pg. 126
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

worlds. Each of these seven Double letter pathways is the ensouling spiritual
source of one of the seven lower sefirot (or ‗planetary spheres‘).

The Form principle polyhexagon includes the seven lower sefirot (i.e.
corresponding to the seven grey shaded hexagons) and the twelve Simple letter
pathways (corresponding to the twelve blue shaded hexagons above).

An important consequence of the polyhexagon merging and overlapping


process is that five of the Spirit principle pathways become concealed beneath
the upper portion of the Form principle polyhexagon—that is, they become
hidden below the surface of the newly formed Soul principle. My thinking is
that these five concealed pathways correspond to the five Final Hebrew
letters—Kaf final (‫)ך‬, Maym final (‫)ם‬, Nun final (‫)ן‬, Peh final (‫)ף‬, and Tzaddie
final (‫)ץ‬. The implication of this geometric symbolism is fascinating.

Figure 43 : The Soul Principle (Green)

pg. 127
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Soul principle is formed as a result of the intersection, overlapping, and


interaction of the Spirit and Form principles. This area of overlap is indicated in
the diagram above by the five green hexagons and their four bounding grey
hexagons (i.e. numbered with white numerals). The soul is thus seen to be an
admixture of Spirit and Form.

The Soul principle is also seen to be a relatively impermanent principle (or state
of being). It manifests only when the Spirit principle merges with the Form
principle. The significant implication of this is that when it comes time for the
Spirit and Form principles to once again separate themselves the Soul principle
dissolves (or disassembles). In terms of our geometric symbolism, the area of
intersection between the Spirit and Form polyhexagons disappears. This
process of separation occurs during what Theosophists call a period of
‗pralaya‘125.

Your first feelings on hearing this proposition may include some


disappointment. You may feel that the dissolution of your soul will lead to the
loss of your identity (or your existence as an individual). This is not truly the
case however. The soul is merely a temporary vehicle that allows the Spirit to
involve itself in the substance of matter.126 Your spirit (i.e. monad) remains in
existence during the period of Pralaya.

Before the soul‘s dissolution during Pralaya, its essence is absorbed into and
stored in the monad. I believe this process is made possible by the existence of
an occult mechanism involving the five Hebrew Final letter pathways.

125 Pralaya (Sanskrit) [from pra away + the verbal root li to dissolve] Dissolving away, death,
dissolution, as when one pours water upon a cube of salt or sugar: the cube of salt or sugar vanishes
in the water, dissolves, and changes its form. So during a pralaya, matter crumbles or vanishes away
into something else which is yet in it, surrounds it, and interpenetrates it. Pralaya is often defined as
the state of latency or rest between two manvantaras or great life cycles. [From: The Rakefet
Theosophical Dictionary.]

126 In fact, human-beings are destined to evolve beyond soul-based consciousness. The soul becomes
obsolete as a vehicle of consciousness at the 4th Initiation (called the Great Renunciation). It is then
transcended and replaced with ‗monadic‘ consciousness.

pg. 128
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 44 : Polyhexagon Tree of Life — Hebrew

The five Final letter pathways are concealed beneath the five visible Simple
letter pathways of the Soul principle. The five Finals belong to the Spirit
principle polyhexagon, but they are covered and concealed by the Simple letter
‗soul pathways‘ of the overlapping Form principle. My theory is that the esoteric
function of the five Final letter pathways is to gather in and absorb the
Knowledge that has been gained during the term of the soul‘s existence. By
‗Knowledge‘ is meant the combined Wisdom and Understanding (or ‗love-
wisdom‘) that the soul has acquired during its term of existence. These qualities
are collected and stored within the monad during each period of Pralaya.

Thus, when the Spirit polyhexagon detaches itself from the Form polyhexagon
it carries with it the five concealed Final letter pathways because they are part of
its fundamental structure. So, nothing of value is lost during a Pralaya.

pg. 129
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Hebrew letters are arranged on the Spirit and Form polyhexagons as per
the diagram above.127

The seven Double letter pathways are shaded yellow. The twelve Simple letter
pathways are shaded blue. The five Final letters (coloured blue) are positioned
on five yellow hexagons near the base of the Spirit polyhexagon (above left).
They are bounded by four hexagons containing the letters of the
Tetragrammaton—YHVH (orange lettering). This small subset of hexagons
bounded by YHVH (‫ )יהוה‬basically represents the monad (i.e. the monadic
triad). The overlapping hexagons of the soul are merely a garment the monad
wears when it descends into the realm of ‗physical existence‘.

The twelve Simple letters are expressions of the Form principle, or Great
Mother ‗Shekinah‘ principle.

The seven Double letters have two variant forms—a ‗soft‘ pathway form
representing supernal spiritual forces, and a ‗hard‘ sefirotic form (i.e. identified
by a dagesh, or dot) representing lower, more material projections of the supernal
pathways.

The five Finals are differentiated as follows:

 Maym Final (‫ = )ם‬Mother letter


 Kaf Final (‫ )ך‬and Peh Final (‫ = )ף‬Double letters
 Nun Final (‫ )ן‬and Tzaddie Final (‫ = )ץ‬Simple letters

Thus, all the three major Hebrew letter groups—Mothers, Doubles, and
Simples, are represented in the five Finals.

127 But note that the arrangement of the twelve Simple letters is somewhat flexible.

pg. 130
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

My current hypothesis is that Maym Final collects the essence of the two
Mother letter pathways (i.e. the vertical pathways of Maym and Shin) that infuse
the Form principle polyhexagon. Similarly, Kaf Final and Peh Final gather the
essence of the seven Double letter sefirot of the Form principle polyhexagon.
Lastly, Nun Final and Tzaddie Final collect the essence of the twelve Simple
letter pathways of the Form principle polyhexagon. So when the Spirit principle
polyhexagon detaches and separates from the Form principle the threefold
essence of its experience within the substance of matter (i.e. as recorded by the
soul) is taken with it via the five Hebrew Final letter pathways.

Figure 45 : Tree of Life — Traditional & Polyhex Designs

You may notice that there are only nineteen pathway hexagons included in the
natural structure of the polyhex Tree of Life design. (See the diagram above.)
Three of the twenty-two pathways of the Tree of Life appear to be missing. I
have also omitted them from the traditional drawing of the Tree of Life (above
left). The missing three are the three Mother letter pathways—Alef, Maym, and
Shin.

pg. 131
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Most kabbalistic commentators assign the three Mother letters to the three
horizontal pathways of the Tree diagram 128, but my findings indicate that their
more metaphysically meaningful placements are with the three vertical pathways
of the Middle Pillar of the Tree of Life.

In my view the Double letter Bayt (‫ )ב‬is assigned to the highest horizontal
pathway (i.e. joining Hockmah with Binah) because it is responsible for
formulating the first of the seven lower sefirot—Da‘at. The sefirah Da‘at arises
as a result of the interaction between Hockmah and Binah—an interaction
facilitated by the horizontal Bayt pathway. The hard form of the letter Bayt
consequently emerges as the distinguishing archetype of the sefirah Da‘at.

The Tree of Life formation formula (as described in this book) posits the
location of the Hebrew letters on the sefirot and pathways of the Tree diagram
in a descending hierarchy that follows the sequence 3:7:12—that is, Mothers-
Doubles-Simples. For this reason, the formula cannot be reconciled with the
traditional numeric method of assigning the letters to the horizontal, vertical,
and diagonal pathways. The old method places the three Mother letters on the
three horizontal pathways, the seven Double letters on the seven vertical
pathways, and the twelve Simple letters on the twelve diagonal pathways of the
Tree diagram.

The traditional methodology appears, at first glance, to be most agreeable, but I


believe it is an erroneous correspondence. The geometric framework of the
Tree diagram is built according to the fundamental esoteric ratio 3:7:12 because
it represents a blueprint of the divine Creation. The Hebrew alphabet is also
constructed according to the 3:7:12 ratio because it represents the twenty-two
divine archetypes. It does not necessarily follow however, that the two are
meant to be combined together purely on the numerical basis of this 3:7:12
ratio. In fact, the Sefer Yetzirah states:

128 Without much explanation besides the obvious numerically based correspondence.

pg. 132
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

One on three,
three on seven,
seven on twelve,
And all are bound, one to another.
These are the twenty-two letters…129

Obviously, a 3:7:12 hierarchical arrangement of the Hebrew letters is indicated


by this statement. Clearly, it is a contradiction of the principles of the Sefer
Yetzirah to widely intermingle the three classes of Hebrew letters on the Tree
diagram (i.e. as does the orthodox numerical letter-pathway arrangement).

To put it simply, the Sefer Yetzirah is saying...

o One (All-encompassing Ain Sof) on three (supernal sefirot)


o Three (supernal sefirot) on seven (supernal pathways)
o Seven (lower sefirot) on twelve (lower pathways)
o And they are all interconnected

(See the figure below.)

The Zohar is similarly supportive of the hierarchical approach. In its


anthropomorphosis of the Tree of Life the Zohar associates the three highest
sefirot with the head of Adam, and the lower sefirot with his body. These
correspondences combine well with the Sefer Yetzirah‘s assignment of the seven
Double letters to the eyes, ears, nostrils, and mouth.

129 Sefer Yetzirah, 6:5-6.

pg. 133
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 46 : The Hierarchical Arrangement of the Hebrew Letters

Logically, the seven Double letter pathways (symbolizing seven physical


attributes of the human head) need to be arranged upon the head of Adam at
the top of the Tree of Life diagram.

The Sefer Yetzirah assigns the twelve Simple letter pathways to the torso, limbs,
and internal organs of the human body, and therefore logically these should be
located within the lower portion of the anthropomorphic Tree diagram—that
is, below the head.

pg. 134
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

One of the key arguments for the old numerically-based arrangement is that the
Sefer Yetzirah describes the twelve Simple letter pathways as ‗diagonal
boundaries‘ (‫)גבולי אלכסון‬.130 It is true that twelve of the Tree of Life pathways
are diagonal (or sloping), but the diagonal pathways do not resemble
‗boundaries‘ on the Tree diagram. In the hierarchical pathway arrangement
however, the twelve Simple letter pathways do resemble diagonal boundaries
(or ‗sloping sides‘) because they form the twelve bounding sides of six adjacent
triangles that surround Tifaret in the lower portion of the Tree diagram. (See
the diagram above left. The twelve Simple letter pathways are coloured blue.)

The three vertical Mother letter pathways unite the four sefirot of the Middle
Pillar of the Tree of Life, but they are not included in the polyhexagonal
structure of the Tree. This reflects the mysterious nature of these three
pathways. They represent the fluid essence of Being. Their movement,
interaction, and intermingling produces the flowing stream of awareness that we
call consciousness, and necessarily also the illusion of time and space. Because
of this, they move within and beneath the surface of consciousness and are not
directly perceived by it. Only their effects are perceptible. What is inferred is
that consciousness is not a fixed enduring principle, but rather, is a fluid
process.

Interestingly, in the polyhexagon Tree diagram, the Shin (Fire) pathway is


invisibly located beneath the Tet (Leo) hexagon. The Fire of Shin is associated
with Nachash—the ‗Kundalini Serpent‘. Tet also means serpent, and Leo (ruled
by the Sun) is a fire sign that epitomizes the fiery principle of consciousness.

The Maym (Water) pathway is invisibly located beneath the Tzaddie (Aquarius)
hexagon. Of course, Aquarius is known as the ‗Water Carrier‘131, and is also
strongly associated with the consciousness principle. These two signs, Leo and
Aquarius, form the vertical axis of the Fixed zodiacal cross.

130 Sefer Yetzirah, 6:1. Note that it does not, however, describe the three Mother letter pathways as
‗horizontal‘, or the seven Double letter pathways as ‗vertical‘.

131 The Tzaddie pathway carries the Water of Maym from the sefirah Hesed to the sefirah Geburah.

pg. 135
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Alef (Air) pathway is invisibly located beneath the Bayt (Saturn) pathway
hexagon. This is appropriate because Bayt is chief of the seven Double letters,
and Alef is chief of the three Mother letters. Also, Alef is thought to stand
invisibly behind Bayt during the process of Creation (which is why Berashit 132
begins with a Bayt and not an Alef).

You may have noticed in the diagrams that the two Simple letter pathways Qof
(Pisces) and Sameck (Sagittarius) are placed differently in this polyhex
arrangement—i.e. compared to the arrangement I described in earlier chapters.
The reason for this slight deviation is that although normally these two
pathways extend from Hesed and Geburah to Yesod, they are also capable of
extending to Da‘at (i.e. from Hesed and Geburah). This only occurs during the
process of ‗divine inspiration‘ (i.e. conscious contact with the monad)—an
experience that rarely happens in an average person‘s lifetime. In the
polyhexagon Tree diagram these two pathways are placed in their elevated
positions adjacent to Da‘at. Thus, this particular pathway configuration reflects
the conscious alignment strived for by Disciples (or Tzadikim) on the Path. The
state of consciousness that this configuration represents grows stronger and
more stable as a disciple continues on his/her path of inner development.

For disciples and initiates, the Fire (Shin, ‫ )ש‬of creative inspiration flows from
Da‘at to Geburah (i.e. representing the Abstract Mind) along the Sameck
(Sagittarius) pathway. The Water (Maym, ‫ )מ‬of spiritual intuition flows from
Da‘at to Hesed (i.e. representing the Intuitive Mind) along the Qof (Pisces)
pathway.

While the Sameck and Qof pathways remain exclusively attached to the sefirah
Yesod they symbolize the presence in a person‘s mind of worldly illusions
(Sagittarius) and glamours (Pisces). These illusions are fostered within, and
perpetuated by the collective mindset of mundane human society. They
effectively fill the pathways of Sameck and Qof with a darkness that blocks
access to the higher sefirot Geburah and Hesed. But as a person frees
themselves from the glamours and illusions of society they simultaneously

132 That is, the Book of Genesis.

pg. 136
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

become consciously open to the higher sefirot and thus to divine impressions
entering into and through the human soul (i.e. flowing from Da‘at to Hesed and
Geburah).

The divine inspiration that is received through the pathways of Sameck and Qof
is expressed and applied (in the mundane world) via the lower and
complementary pathways of Zayn (Gemini) and Yud (Virgo). Together these
four pathways constitute the Mutable Cross of the Heavens (i.e. the cross of
mutable zodiacal signs). On the Tree of Life, the primary creative-evolutionary
purpose of the Mutable Cross is to positively transform the human expression
of the psychic influence of the astrological Moon (i.e. as it is felt within the
sefirah Yesod).

The main evolutionary function of the four signs (and pathways) of the Cardinal
Cross is to stabilize the expression of the astrological Sun upon the Path of
Righteousness. Thus, on the Tree of Life diagram we see the four cardinal sign
pathways anchoring and holding the sefirah Tifaret (i.e. the Sun) upon the
Middle Pillar of the Tree. Their role is to hold Tifaret steady so that it doesn‘t
drift too far towards the left-hand Pillar of Severity, or conversely, too far
towards the right-hand Pillar of Mercy. As long as Tifaret‘s central position
upon the Middle Pillar is maintained then it retains direct access to
‗HaShem‘133—that is, to the forces of Shin (‫ )ש‬and Maym (‫ )מ‬flowing through
the ‗invisible‘ Middle Pillar pathways. When this condition is fulfilled, a human-
being becomes a Tzadik—i.e. one who is faithfully aligned upon his/her ‗path
of righteousness‘.

The four signs (and pathways) of the Fixed, or Cherubic Cross are responsible
for refining the four main faculties 134 of human consciousness as represented by
the four ‗directional‘ sefirot—Hesed, Geburah, Hod, and Netzah. These
faculties are associated with the four elements and the four magical
implements—the Cup, the Wand, the Sword, and the Disk (or Pentacle). The

133 Hebrew – The ‗Name‘, spelled Shin-Maym, referring to the divine Name of God.

134That is, the intuitive mind, the abstract mind, the rational mind, and the astral body (or desire
mind).

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

four cherubic ‗animals‘ represent active intelligent expressions of the four


esoteric elements. They signify powerful forces that are responsible for the
diversity of life and life experience on our planet. On the Tree diagram their
four pathways form a square enclosure whose four walls intersect at the four
‗corner‘ sefirot—Hesed, Geburah, Netzah, and Hod.

Figure 47 : Tree of Life : 3+7+12 Pathways

The 3-7-12 hierarchical structure of the Tree of Life diagram inclines me to


think that an update is needed to the original polyhex Tree model that I
described in my book The Hexagonal Geometry of the Tree of Life. The model I
depicted in that book was constructed as follows…

pg. 138
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

 3-Hex (x3) = 3 supernal sefirot


 4-Hex (x7) = 7 lower sefirot
 5-Hex (x22) = 22 pathways

The above arrangement is useful as a basic model of the Tree of Life, but if a
more metaphysically accurate presentation is desired then a change is needed
because (as has been demonstrated) the seven supernal Double letter pathways
(i.e. located in the upper part of the Tree diagram) manifest before the seven
lower sefirot and the twelve Simple letter pathways. The seven Double letter
pathways should therefore be associated with the seven tetrahexes (i.e. 4-
hexes).

The revised model looks like this…

 3-Hex (x3) = 3 supernal sefirot


 4-Hex (x7) = 7 supernal pathways (Doubles)
 5-Hex (x22) = 7 lower sefirot (Doubles) + 12 lower pathways
(Simples) + 3 Mother letter pathways

Although the original model appears simpler, the revised model represents a
more accurate depiction of the Tree of Life manifestation process. The
formation of the Tree of Life begins with the appearance of the three supernal
sefirot. Then the seven supernal pathways emerge between them. And then
finally the seven lower sefirot and twelve lower pathways manifest.

Thus, it is more logical to have the simpler polyhexes (i.e. those with fewer
component hexagons) arranged upon the upper portion of the Tree, and the
more complex polyhexes (i.e. the 5-Hexes) assigned to the lower section
(coloured red in the diagram).

pg. 139
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 48 : The Polyhex Tree of Life (Revised)

In the diagram135 the three trihexes are coloured yellow, the seven tetrahexes are
coloured blue, and the twenty-two pentahexes are coloured red. The twelve
pentahexes that I have ascribed to the twelve Simple letters are (as explained in
my book136) geometrically different from the other ten pentahexes in the 5-hex
group because they are able to ‗tile the plane‘ in the most simple manner
possible. As shown in the diagram above, the remaining ten pentahexes (of the
group) are assigned to the seven Double letters and the three Mother letters.

135 This arrangement of the polyhexes is only one of many possible variations.

136 See: The Hexagonal Geometry of the Tree of Life.

pg. 140
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The three Mother letter pathways are displayed on the right-hand side of the
diagram. They are concealed beneath the other pathways of the Tree. They flow
into the Tree of Life in a manner similar to the entry of the soul into the
confines of its prepared physical vehicle. The three Mother letter pathways
galvanize and energize the sefirot of the Middle Pillar, and they trigger the
commencement of the creative-evolutionary process that occurs within the
branches of the Tree.

pg. 141
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 142
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Elements
& the Tree
Alef

The three Mother letter pathways become carved out vertically along the middle
pillar of the Tree of Life diagram 137 as the Tree unfolds into manifestation. They
represent three major evolutionary and creative forces that are ever-present and
constantly active in the world.

The path of Alef (A, a) is located above the Firmament of Heaven 138 and is
strongly associated with the influence of the sefirah Keter. It extends between
Keter and Da‘at, and represents a particular energy dynamic that is established
between those two sefirot.

The path of Alef represents the action of elemental Air. Its main function is to
regulate the influx of (and balance between) elemental Water (Maym) and
elemental Fire (Shin) within the Creation.

137This arrangement is diametrically different to the usual interpretation that has them occupying the
three horizontal pathways of the Tree of Life.

138The usual interpretation puts the path of Alef in the middle of the Tree diagram between Shin
(above) and Maym (below). That is because in the Sefer Yetzirah Alef is said to arbitrate between Maym
and Shin. That logic is maintained here, but the concept is understood as referring to the three
supernal sefirot where Alef (Keter) is positioned as arbiter between Maym (Hockmah) and Shin
(Binah). In this new model the path of Alef also decides between the paths of Maym and Shin, but it
does so from its position in the upper part of the Tree diagram. (See below.)

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 49 : The Path of Alef

70. One (path) which shineth in the midst of the hairs going forth from
the Skull, is that path by whose light the just are led into the world to
come.

pg. 144
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

71. Like as it is written, Prov. iv. 18: ―And the path of the just shineth as
the light.‖139

From its position high up on the Tree of Life, the path of Alef oversees the
delicate karmic balance between Mercy (as embodied in the path of Maym) and
Judgment (as represented by the path of Shin).

Maym

The path of Maym (M, m) is esoterically linked with the sefirah Hockmah and
emerges in close association with the sefirah Tifaret. It represents a particular
energy dynamic that unites the sefirot Tifaret and Da‘at.

The path of Maym symbolises the action of elemental Water. Its primary
function is to mitigate with Mercy 140 the severe Judgments that effect the lower
sefirot and that are embodied by the sefirah Malkut. (See below.)

The Greater Holy Assembly speaks of the path of Maym when it says...

584. In the parting of the hair appeareth a certain slender path, which
hath a certain connection with that path of the Ancient of Days, and
from that path are divided six hundred and thirteen paths, which are
distributed among the paths of the precepts of the law.

139 LHA, 2:70-71.

140 In Theosophy this force is called ‗Buddhi‘, or ‗Love Wisdom‘.

pg. 145
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

585. Like as it is written, Ps. xxv. 6: ―All the paths of Tetragrammaton are
mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimony.‖141

Although the number six hundred and thirteen is obviously associated with the
613 commandments (Mitzvot) of Judaism, it is used here in a symbolic manner.
In this context it alludes to the six lower sefirot (i.e. below Da‘at) and the
thirteen pathways that join the six sefirot together. These consist of the twelve
Simple letter pathways plus the path of Shin (in their midst) that connects
Tifaret with Yesod. The path of Maym affixes all these six sefirot and thirteen
pathways to Da‘at.

The Lesser Holy Assembly describes the manifestation of the path of Maym as
coming from the sefirah Hockmah (Wisdom). 142

186. ...Three Heads, which One Head includeth.

187. And those three are extended into Microprosopus, and from them
all things shine forth.

188. Thenceforth this Wisdom instituteth a formation, and produceth a


certain river which floweth down and goeth forth to water the garden.

189. And it entereth into the head [Da’at]143 of Microprosopus, and


formeth a certain other brain.

141 GHA, XXIX:584-585.

142 Hockmah is the second ‗Head‘ of Macroprosopus.

143In the Zohar, the sefirah Da‘at is said to represent the Head/Brain of Microprosopus, while the
three highest sefirot—Keter, Hockmah, and Binah, are said to collectively represent the Head/Brain
of Macroprosopus.

pg. 146
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

190. And thence it is extended and floweth forth into the whole body,
and watereth all those plants (of the garden of Eden).

191. This is that which standeth written, Gen. ii, 9: ―And a river went out
of Eden to water the garden, &c.‖144

The path of Maym symbolises the energy of Mercy (or what Theosophy calls
‗love-wisdom‘, or ‗buddhi‘), and it represents that portion of Mercy that has
been implanted, and is now held within, the created universe. It has been
provided to Microprosopus by Macroprosopus (i.e. by the Creator) to enable
Microprosopus to mitigate the severities (or Judgments) inherent in the
feminine principle145 of the universe (i.e. as represented especially by the sefirah
Malkut). Many of these Judgments are left over from the previous Creation 146
and thus their vibrations are already infused within the primary material from
which our universe is being built. Consequently, all created forms that manifest
within the universe tend initially toward the expression of Judgment until they
are mitigated by Microprosopus (i.e. using the Water of Maym).

The previous Creation is referred to in the Zohar as the domain of the seven
Edomite Kings.

19. And it hath proceeded out of that which hath undergone the curse, as
it is written in Genesis v., 29, ―From the earth which the Lord hath
cursed.‖ (The meaning is: That the kingdom of the restored world was
formed from the kingdom of the destroyed world, wherein seven kings
had died and their possessions had been broken up. Or, the explanation

144 LHA, § 186-191. Bracketed notes are my own.

145 That is, the ‗form principle‘.

146That is, what Master Djwhal Khul would call the ‗first solar system‘. See: A Treatise on Cosmic Fire,
by Alice Bailey. Lucis Press, 1951.

pg. 147
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

of the world, of which mention is made elsewhere, proceedeth from the


kingdom of the destroyed world.)147

Thus, there is a natural tendency for the universe to manifest those inherited
Judgments that are yet to be mitigated (or rectified).

It is the destined mission of Microprosopus to mitigate these Judgments during


our current world evolutionary cycle using the available supply of Mercy (i.e.
Maym) that is located symbolically in the path of Maym. This process of
mitigation is called Tikkun Olam (‗rectification of the world‘) in traditional
kabbalistic terminology.

In esoteric human anatomy the path of Maym corresponds to an influence that


touches the upper half of (what is known in the East as) the ‗Shushumna
nadi‘.148 The path of Maym represents an energy that is most readily accessible
to the four highest chakras: the crown chakra, the ajna chakra, the throat
chakra, and the heart chakra. On the Tree of Life diagram these four chakras
are represented by the sefirot: Da‘at (Crown), Hesed (Ajna), Geburah (Throat),
and Tifaret (Heart).

147 BCM, I:19.

148The Shushumna nadi is an energy channel that occupies a region (on subtle levels) that is
conterminous with the human spinal column, and along it are positioned the seven major chakras.

pg. 148
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 50 : The Path of Maym

pg. 149
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 150
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Shin

The path of Shin (Sh, s) is closely associated with the influence of the sefirah
Binah. It comes into manifestation in conjunction with the sefirah Yesod. It is
extended between the sefirot Yesod and Tifaret.

The path of Shin represents the action of elemental Fire. It represents a


powerful force of natural evolution that is pre-programmed into the ‗energy
matrix‘ of the universe. Its action is purging and purifying. 149

The Shin archetype is associated with what the Zohar terms Judgment because
part of Shin‘s function is to draw the innately buried Judgments (i.e. those
inherited from the previous Creation) out of the depths of matter and into
manifestation where they can be transformed (i.e. mitigated) by the action of
Mercy (i.e. working through the microcosmic Consciousness principle, or
Tifaret).

Here is how the Zohar describes the concept of Judgment...

25. ...And from the head is formed that great dragon which is in the sea,
and is the sea-serpent, which is, however, not so harmful as the earthly
one. And this dragon hath been castrated since his crest (or membrum
genitale), together with his mate, have been repressed, and thence have
been formed four hundred [Tav, t] desirable worlds. And this dragon
hath in his head a nostril (after the manner of whales) in order that he
may receive influence, and in himself he containeth all other dragons,
concerning which it is said: ―Thou hast broken the heads of the dragons
upon the waters‖ (Ps. lxxiv. 13). And here the idea or universal form of

149In Theosophy this element corresponds to ‗fire by friction‘. It is also associated with (and
controlled by) the force of ‗Atma‘, or the ‗Active Intelligence‘ principle.

pg. 151
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

all the shells is understood, which encompasseth the seven inferior


emanations of the queen after the manner of a serpent, as well from the
right as from the left and from every side.)

26. His tail is in his head (that is, he holdeth his tail in his mouth, in order
that he may form a circle, since he is said to encompass holiness). He
transferreth his head to behind the shoulders (that is, he raiseth his head
at the back of the bride of Microprosopus, where is the place of most
severe judgments), and he is despised (since in him is the extremity of
judgments and severities, whence wrath is the attribute of his forms). He
watcheth (that is, he accurately searcheth out and seeketh in what place
he may gain an entry into holiness. And he is concealed (as if laying traps;
since he insinuateth himself into the inferiors, by whose sins he hath
access to the holy grades, where the carrying out of judgments is
committed to him.)...

27. There are swellings in his scales (that is, like as in a crocodile; because
great in him is the heaping together of judgments). His crest keepeth its
own place (that is, there is in him no further power of hastening to things
beyond in the Outer)...

28. But his head is broken by the waters of the great sea. (The great sea is
wisdom [Hockmah], the fountain of mercy and loving-kindness; which, if
it sendeth down its influence, judgments are pacified, and the hurtful
power of the shells is restricted); like as it is written, Ps. lxxiv. 13: ―Thou
hast broken the heads of the dragons by the waters.‖150

The ―great dragon‖ of Shin (s) is described (in the quote above) as a ―sea serpent‖,
and as being ―in the sea‖ (i.e. as Binah is considered to be in the sefirah
Hockmah). It is also said that from him have been formed ―four hundred desirable
worlds‖ which is a reference to the path of Tav ( t)151. The Tav pathway extends
from Binah to Da‘at and is responsible for forming the sefirah Yesod. The path

150 BCM, I:25-28. Bracketed notes are my own.

151 That is, because the Hebrew letter Tav is valued 400.

pg. 152
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

of Shin (i.e. Judgment) comes into manifestation along with the sefirah Yesod.
(See: Figure 50.)

Figure 51 : The Path of Shin

The two pathways, Shin and Maym, extend below the sefirah Da‘at along the
central column of the Tree of Life. They are the two primary elements that

pg. 153
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

bring Heaven (i.e. the Creation) into manifestation and sustain its existence.
Da‘at is called (in the Book of Creation) the Firmament of Heaven (ShMYM,
Myms) because the Hebrew word ShMYM is composed of Shin and Maym (i.e.
where Maym is spelled in full as MYM, Mym).

Thus, the Creation (i.e. everything that is beneath the Heavens) is seen to be
essentially governed by the interaction of elemental Fire (Judgment) and
elemental Water (Mercy). Elemental Air represents the divine regulating
influence that determines the appropriate measure and balance of Judgment and
Mercy so that they are distributed in right proportion throughout the universe.

The path of Shin occupies a central place in the midst of the twelve Simple
letter pathways. The Zohar refers to these twelve zodiacal pathways152 when (in
describing the great Dragon of Judgment) it says: ―His tail is in his head (that is, he
holdeth his tail in his mouth, in order that he may form a circle...)‖. The path of Shin
extends between Yesod and Tifaret, and therefore it forms a hidden central
vertical column within the astrological pyramid. Thus, it can also be said that
Shin is located invisibly at the centre of the circle of the zodiac.

Shin represents the invisible influence of elemental Fire that flows between the
Moon and the Sun. In terms of Eastern philosophy, the path of Shin represents
the action of kundalini fire as it is (especially) applied to the lowest four chakras:
the base chakra, the sacral chakra, the solar-plexus chakra, and the heart chakra.
It is the goal of the path of Shin to purify and unify the four lower chakras so
that energy can flow freely between them. The lowest four chakras are
represented on the Tree of Life diagram by the sefirot: Yesod (Base), Netzah
(Sacral), Hod (Solar Plexus), and Tifaret (Heart).

152 That is, that form the circle of the zodiac.

pg. 154
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 52 : The Astrological Pyramid (plus Shin)

The influence of the path of Shin dominates the first part of human evolution.
Its evolutionary force flows through the seven lower sefirot 153 (planets) and the
twelve Simple letter pathways (zodiacal signs). The completion of the Shin
phase of the evolutionary process is symbolised by the unification of the sefirah
Yesod (i.e. the Moon) with the sefirah Tifaret (i.e. the Sun). In terms of human
evolution this signals that the four lowest chakras have been unified, and that
the basic challenges of the four Fixed zodiacal signs have been overcome.

153That is, including the sefirah Da‘at—because Da‘at is the conduit through which the energy of
Shin pours into the universe.

pg. 155
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

These four basic evolutionary challenges are represented by the four Sun-Moon
zodiacal triangles mentioned in a previous chapter.

Sun-Moon Triangles

 Aries — Shin (Taurus) — Gemini


 Cancer — Shin (Leo) — Virgo
 Libra — Shin (Scorpio) — Sagittarius
 Capricorn — Shin (Aquarius) — Pisces

And, because the path of Shin is situated amidst the three sefirot of Night, the
Shin stage of evolution also especially requires the development and
refinement154 of the six astrological signs situated below the horizon of the
natural zodiac. They are: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, and Virgo.

Correspondingly, it is the goal of the path of Maym (i.e. located above the path
of Shin) to complete the unification of the sevenfold chakra system by uniting
the four highest chakras so that creative energy can flow freely between Da‘at
(i.e. Saturn, representing the crown chakra) and Tifaret (i.e. the Sun, and heart
chakra), and through all the seven chakras. To accomplish this goal we are
required to refine and develop our expression of the six astrological signs that
are situated above the zodiacal horizon. They are: Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius,
Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces.

The path of Shin can be thought of as representing a physically focused (and


applied) aspect of the Will of the Creator. The Shin-based phase of our
evolutionary program requires that we bring our own personal will into
alignment with the higher will of our soul (i.e. which latter is also an expression
of the Creator‘s divine Will). If our personal will is out of alignment with the
higher will of our soul then Shin provides us with experiences designed to
transform our consciousness, change our behaviour, and thus to move us into

154 That is, a refinement of the human expression of those zodiacal archetypes.

pg. 156
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

closer soul alignment. When our personal will becomes perfectly aligned with
the higher will of our soul (as represented by Tifaret) then kundalini fire is able
to flow freely through the chakra system and we are able 155 to become involved
in the divine process of Creation. (See below.)

Figure 53 : The Lower Sefirot and Zodiac (plus Shin and Maym)

155 That is, if the energy of Maym is also able to flow freely. (Explained below.)

pg. 157
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 54 : The Sefirot and the Chakras

pg. 158
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 55 : The Tree of Life (Full Hebrew Version)

pg. 159
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 56 : The Tree of Life (Full Astrological Version)

pg. 160
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 57 : Tree of Life (Full Twelve Tribes Version)

pg. 161
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 162
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Alef, Maym, and Shin

The three Mother letter pathways follow the same procedure of ‗condensation‘
as the Double and Simple letter pathways. The condensation of the Mother
letter pathways however differs to that of the other paths because the three
Mother letter pathways condense to form the three highest sefirot of the Tree
of Life of the lower World. The Double and Simple letter pathways, on the
other hand, condense to form the seven lower sefirot of the Tree of Life of the
same World in which they exist.

When the Creation is ready to extend itself into the World below, the path of
Alef sends down its resonance and condenses within the primordial substance
of that World to form the sefirah Keter. In other words, when the sefirah Keter
manifests, it is as a result of the condensation of the path of Alef located in the
World above. The mechanics of this process involves Alef combining its innate
elemental Fire and Water within the primordial void to produce the Air of
Keter. This process mirrors precisely the method of the original emergence of
Keter out of Ain Sof as described in Sefer Berashit 1:1-3.

Thus, for example, the path of Alef in the kabbalistic World of Beriah (or
World of Creation) condenses to form the sefirah Keter of the World of
Yetzirah (or World of Formation).156

The paths of Maym and Shin symbolise evolutionary and creative influences
that are relatively fixed, stable, and naturally regulated 157 within the world (as
represented by the Tree of Life diagram). They are centrally located directly

156The four kabbalistic Worlds manifest in the following order from ‗above‘ to ‗below‘: Atzilut
(Emanation), Beriah (Creation), Yetzirah (Formation), and Assiah (Making).

157 That is, by the path of Alef.

pg. 163
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

below and within the Firmament of Heaven (i.e. below Da‘at) and function
automatically to bring about steady progress as the universe unfolds on its path
of evolution and creation. It is, in fact, the interaction of these two primary
pathways (and their associated elements: Water and Fire) beneath the
Firmament of Heaven (i.e. below Da‘at) that sustains the existence of the
Consciousness principle (or, Air) within the created universe.

We saw this universal law in operation when the first sefirah Keter came into
manifestation out of Ain Sof, and also when the sefirah Da‘at made its
appearance upon the Tree of Life. The same law is now seen to also be applied
in regard to the sustainment of the sefirah Tifaret because on either side of
Tifaret, on the middle pillar of the Tree of Life, are found the paths of Maym
(above Tifaret) and Shin (below Tifaret). The sefirah Tifaret symbolises the
central principle of Consciousness (i.e. Air) that inhabits the created universe.

The sefirah Yesod, unlike Tifaret, has direct access only to the path of Shin (i.e.
Fire), and therefore Yesod must seek to cleave to Tifaret in order to receive the
mitigating influence of the path of Maym (i.e. Water).

The process of divine Creation is ongoing. The universe is not a static creation,
but rather it is in a constant state of unfoldment. The divine creative process
occurs through the mechanism of the sefirah Da‘at, as Da‘at interacts with the
two sefirot directly below it—that is, with Hesed and Geburah. It is through
this interaction between Da‘at, Hesed, and Geburah that new influxes of the
Water and Fire elements are able to enter, permeate, and influence the
continuing unfoldment of our universe. This process is however, limited (or
slowed) by the prevailing level of consciousness of Microprosopus 158.

During the divine creative process two hidden pathways on the Tree of Life
manifest to microcosmic consciousness and become temporarily active. 159
These two esoteric pathways provide special ingress for the energies of
supernal Water and Fire, or Mercy and Judgment (i.e. towards the seven lower
sefirot).

158 That is, the microcosmic human consciousness.

159 These are the two reconfigured pathways of Qof and Sameck.

pg. 164
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The creative influx of Mercy (i.e. Maym) enters via a special Qof pathway that
opens up between the sefirot Da‘at and Hesed. The creative influx of
Judgement (i.e. Shin) enters via a Sameck pathway that opens up between the
sefirot Da‘at and Geburah. The path of Alef regulates the distribution of these
Shin and Maym energies from its place above the sefirah Da‘at.

This special influx of additional Maym and Shin energies reconfigures the
original Maym and Shin pathways (i.e. that extend below Da‘at) so that they
reflect the Creator‘s ongoing creative-evolutionary program. The changes then
reverberate through the seven lower sefirot and the twelve Simple letter
pathways (and thus also through the seven astrological planets and the twelve
zodiacal signs). This results in change to the current direction of universal
evolution and creation (i.e. in accordance with divine Will and Purpose of the
Creator).

The changes also reverberate down into all the lower Worlds—from the path of
Maym to the sefirah Hockmah in the lower World, and from the path of Shin
to the sefirah Binah in the lower World. Then, consequently, the two esoteric
pathways of Mercy (Qof) and Judgment (Sameck) open up from Da‘at in the
lower World and the chain of influence continues down through all the Worlds
from above to below.160

160This macrocosmic process is analogous to the microcosmic process whereby, for example, a yogi
asserts conscious control over the normally unconscious autonomic functions of his/her physical
body. ―As above, so below.‖

pg. 165
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 166
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Secret Pathways
The Nose of Macroprosopus

The Zohar alludes to the two esoteric paths of Qof (Maym) and Sameck (Shin)
when it speaks of the Spirit rushing forth from the two ―nostrils‖ of
Macroprosopus.

The symbolism being used in the books of the Zohar expresses various aspects
of the Tree of Life from different perspectives. Here 161 the perspective of the
sefirah Da‘at is from that of the macrocosm (i.e. Macroprosopus). The ‗lips‘
symbolism (described further below) refers to the potential creative power of
Microprosopus (i.e. microcosmic humanity) when he is rightly aligned with
Macroprosopus. In the Zohar both the ―nose‖ and the ―mouth‖ are seen to be
inlets and outlets for the ‗spiritual breath‘ of Ruach (RVCh, xwr).

Thus, the ‗nose‘ symbolism we are discussing in this chapter refers specifically
to the influence of the macrocosm upon the microcosm.

172. All things are awh, Hoa, He Himself, and He Himself is hidden on
every side. So also is His nose.

173. From the nose is the face known.

174. And come see! What is the (difference) between the Ancient One
and Microprosopus? Over these nostrils He ruleth; one of which is life,
and the other is the life of life.

161 The Greater Holy Assembly. Chapter X. Concerning the Nose of Macroprosopus.

pg. 167
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

175. This nose is as a mighty gallery, whence His spirit rusheth forth
upon Microprosopus, and they call it the Giver [ hxylo]162.163

The nose is said to be ―hidden on every side‖ because it only becomes ‗visible‘
during the macrocosmic act of Creation. It is then that the nose causes the face
to become ―known‖ (Da‘at means ‗knowledge‘). This knowledge is gained by
Microprosopus when the microcosm is united with the Creator and becomes
involved in the macrocosmic creative process.

From one nostril issues ―life‖ which refers to Shin. From the other nostril issues
―life of life‖ which refers to Maym.

176. And it is thus: The Spirit descendeth; and again the Spirit from
hence proceedeth through those nostrils.

177. One is the Spirit; She goeth forth unto Microprosopus, so that he
may be aroused in the Garden of Eden.

178. And one is She the Spirit of Life, through Whom in process of time
the sons of David hope to know Wisdom. 164

The Fire of Shin (i.e. the ―Spirit‖) descends from the left hemisphere of the
brain of Macroprosopus (i.e. Binah) and proceeds to move through the left
nostril (Tav, t) of the nose (i.e. Da‘at). It then goes forth from the nose (i.e.
Da‘at) to the sefirah Geburah and thus to Microprosopus so that he may be
―aroused in the Garden of Eden‖. The ―Garden of Eden‖ refers to six lower sefirot
from Hesed to Yesod. The ‗arousal‘ occurs as a result of the evolutionary force

162 This Hebrew word is usually translated as ‗forgiveness‘.

163 GHA, § 172-175. Square bracketed text is my own.

164 GHA, § 176-178.

pg. 168
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

of the Fire of Shin flowing down the hidden path of Sameck into the ‗body‘ of
Microprosopus.

Figure 58 : The Hidden Paths of Maym and Shin

pg. 169
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―Wisdom‖ is gained from the Water of Maym (i.e. the ―Spirit of Life‖) as it
descends from the right hemisphere of the brain of Macroprosopus (i.e.
Hockmah) through the right nostril (i.e. Kaf, k) of the nose (i.e. Da‘at) to the
sefirah Hesed. The phrase ―hope to know Wisdom‖ is used here because the influx
of Maym only becomes conscious in the microcosm when the Hesed faculty
has been integrated consciously in the human psyche. Thus the ―hope‖ exists
that one day we may all ―know Wisdom‖.

179. And from that gallery ariseth the Spirit, and proceedeth from the
concealed brain, and at length resteth upon King Messiach [MShYCh,
xysm].

180. Like as it is written, Isaiah xi. 2: ―And the Spirit of Tetragrammaton


shall rest upon him, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit
of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge, and of the Fear of
Tetragrammaton.‖

181. Apparently four spirits (are described) here. But we have already said
that the Spirit is one; why, then, are three (others added unto it?). Arise,
Rabbi Yosi, in thy place.

182. Rabbi Yosi arose and said: ―in the days of King Messiach, one shall
not say unto the other, ‗Teach me this Wisdom.‘

183. ―Because it is thus written, Jer. xxxi. 34: ‗A man shall no more teach
his neighbour, &c., because all shall know Me, from the least of them
even unto the greatest of them.‘165

Section 179 affirms for us that access is gained to the otherwise ―concealed‖ brain
via the nostrils of the nose. This is a physiological truth as well as a
metaphysical concept.

165 GHA, § 179-183.

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The term ―Messiach‖ is used here to denote a particular rank of human


evolutionary achievement. Messiach (xysm) contains the Hebrew letters Maym
(m, Water) and Shin (s, Fire) and also the word ‗Chi‘ (yx, Life-force)—the latter
written in reverse, and representing the elemental Air of Alef ( a). These three
primary elements are combined together within the human soul during the
process of Creation.

Section 183 explains that the ‗knowledge‘ of Da‘at is not something that can be
taught. It can only be personally experienced.

Chapter X of the Greater Holy Assembly ends by declaring...

206. This is the tradition. The size of this nose is so vast that three
hundred and seventy−five worlds are supported by it, which all adhere
unto Microprosopus.

207. This is the praise of the conformation of the nose.

208. And this, and all forms of the Ancient of Days, are seen, and are not
seen; they are seen by the lords of lords viz., by pious men and they are
not seen by any others.166

The number 375 is possibly a reference to ha-A‘ash (HOSh, seh) meaning ‗the
creation‘. It would refer therefore, to the divine process of Creation initiated by
Macroprosopus, and in which Microprosopus is also able to participate.

166 GHA, § 206-208.

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The Lesser Holy Assembly also tells us that 375 is a reference to the sefirah
Hockmah (―the benignity of the Ancient of Days‖).

869. ―Also we have learned in Barietha that three hundred and seventy-
five mercies are comprehended in the benignity of the Ancient of Days;
which are all called primal benignities.

870. ―Like as it is said, Psalm lxxxix. 50: ‗Where are thy former mercies?‘
And they are all comprehended in the benignity of the Most Holy
Ancient One, the most concealed of all.167

In other words, the nose is said to support Maym (the ‗waters of mercy‘) in
Hockmah, and that through the nose all those ‗mercies‘ ―adhere unto
Microprosopus‖.

Thus it can be seen that the symbolism of the nose is extremely important in
these books of the Zohar. This is especially due to the central role that the
sefirah Da‘at plays in the process of Creation. It is through Da‘at that
Microprosopus is able to become united with Macroprosopus. Da‘at represents
an interface that exists between Microprosopus and Macroprosopus and that
enables a conscious relationship to be established between them.

In fact, this is the meaning of the well-known name ―Arikh Aphim‖ assigned to
Macroprosopus by the Zohar.

572. The nose of the Most Holy Ancient One is long and extended, and
He is called Arikh Aphim, Long of Nose.168

167 LHA, § 869-870.

168 LHA, § 572.

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The name ―Arikh Aphim‖ is also often translated as ―Vastness of Countenance‖.

52. THE whiteness of this skull shineth in thirteen carved out sides: in
four sides from one portion; in four sides from the part of His
countenance; and in four sides from another part of the periphery; and in
one above the skull, as if this last might be called the supernal side.

53. And thence is the Vastness of His Countenance extended into three
hundred and seventy myriads of worlds; and hence Mypa Kra, Arikh
Aphim, Vastness of Countenance is His name.

54. And He Himself, the Most Ancient of the Most Ancient Ones, is
called Nypnad Kyra, Arikh Da-Anpin, the Vast Countenance, or
Macroprosopus; and He Who is more external is called Nypna ryez, Zauir
Anpin, or Him Who hath the Lesser Countenance (Microprosopus) in
opposition to the Ancient Eternal Holy One, the Holy of the Holy Ones.

55. And when Microprosopus looketh back upon Him, all the inferiors
are restored in order, and His Countenance is extended, and is made
more vast at that time, but not for all time (then only is it), vast like unto
the (countenance) of the More Ancient one.169

The nature of the relationship that becomes established (in Da‘at) between the
microcosm and the macrocosm is discussed in a later chapter of this book. To
end our present chapter, here is an extract from the Lesser Holy Assembly...

447. And when His countenance (i.e., that of Microprosopus) looketh


back upon the countenance of the Most Holy Ancient One, all things are
called Mypa Kra, Arikh Aphim, Vastness of Countenance.

169 GHA, § 52-55.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

448. What is Mypa Kra, or Vastness of Countenance? Also it should


rather be called Mypa Kwra, Arokh Aphim, Vast in Countenance.

449. Assuredly thus is the tradition, since also He prolongeth His wrath
against the wicked. But the phrase Mypa Kra, Arikh Aphim, also implies
the same as ―healing power of countenance.‖

450. Seeing that health is never found in the world save when the
countenances (of Macroprosopus and Microprosopus) mutually behold
each other.170

The Lips of Microprosopus

It appears that the esoteric paths of Maym (Qof) and Shin (Sameck) are also
described in the Lesser Holy Assembly as the ―lips‖ of Microprosopus.

679. His lips murmur Geburah, Severity, but they also murmur
Chokmah, Wisdom.

680. From those lips alike depend good and evil, life and death.

681. From these lips depend the Lords of Vigilance. For when those lips
murmur, they all are excited to bring forth secret things, as well as the
Lords of judgment in all the tribunals wherein they have their abiding-
place.171

170 LHA, § 447-450.

171 LHA, § 679-681.

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The speaker (Rabbi Schimeon) emphasises that both Mercy and Judgment pass
through the lips of Microprosopus...

696. And, nevertheless, in each case is there mercy and judgment. And
therefore is it said, Dan. iv. 13: ―A watcher and a holy one;‖ judgment
and mercy.172

An influx of Judgment173 is always accompanied by an equal and


complementary influx of Mercy (and vice versa) in order to maintain the
delicate balance of the universe.

We (and all inhabitants of the universe) are affected by these energies according
to (symbolically speaking) the place where our consciousness is focused in
terms of the Tree of Life schema. If we are primarily focused in the lower
branches of the Tree then we will experience more predominantly the force of
Judgment as it radiates from the path of Shin. Alternatively, if we are primarily
focused in the Tree‘s upper branches then we will experience the force of
Mercy as it radiates from the path of Maym. This is a general rule regarding the
workings of the Tree of Life.

Rabbi Schimeon goes on to explain that the lips are closed (i.e. inactive) or
opened (i.e. active), and that when they are opened the mouth is revealed.

687. And between those lips when they are opened is the mouth
disclosed.

172 LHA, § 696.

173The term Judgement when used in this context refers to the evolutionary force (i.e. elemental Fire)
that stirs up existing Judgements in our universe (i.e. including those that were inherited from the
previous Creation) so that they manifest and can be mitigated by Microprosopus.

pg. 175
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

688. By that xwr, Ruach, breath, which goeth forth from His mouth,
many thousands and myriads are enshrouded; and when it is extended by
the same are the true prophets enfolded, and all are called the mouth of
Tetragrammaton.174

We see here (in LHA, section 688) the same word ―Ruach‖ (RVCh, xwr) being
used to describe the energy that issues from the ―mouth‖ of Microprosopus as
was also used when describing the energy (i.e. ―Spirit‖) that issues through the
―nose‖ of Macroprosopus (i.e. in GHA, § 175-178 quoted in the previous
chapter). ―Ruach‖ is a word that translates as both ―breath‖ and ―spirit‖. The
―breath‖ is said to pass through the ―mouth‖, while the ―spirit‖ is described as
issuing through the ―nose‖. The former pertains to Microprosopus, while the
latter is associated with Macroprosopus.

Thus, the hidden paths of Maym and Shin (i.e. Qof and Sameck) represent the
lips of Microprosopus—either opened (revealed, active) or closed (concealed,
inactive). When they are open they reveal the sefirah Da‘at. When they are
closed they conceal Da‘at.

689. When forth from His mouth the words proceed through His lips,
the same are muttered through the whole circuit of eighteen thousand
worlds, until they are all bound together at once in the twelve paths and
the known ways. And one thing ever expecteth another.175

The phrase ―eighteen thousand worlds‖ cryptically alludes to the six lower sefirot
from Hesed to Yesod plus the twelve Double letter pathways. 176 The ―twelve

174 LHA, § 687-688.

175 LHA, § 689.

176 That is, because 6 + 12 = 18.

pg. 176
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

paths‖ are the twelve Simple letter pathways that bind together the six sefirot
below Da‘at. The ―known ways‖ are the middle pillar pathways of Maym and
Shin. They are described as ―known‖ because they are especially associated with
the sefirah Da‘at (Knowledge).

692. ―And He is altogether the desirablenesses (or delights)‖ (of the


powers of) fire and (the powers of) water, because the fire and water are
counter-changed with each other mutually (otherwise, are conformed
together), and are beautiful in his conformation.177

Rabbi Schimeon explains (in the above) that elemental Fire and Water are
―conformed together‖ on either side of the sefirah Tifaret (Beauty). On the Tree of
Life diagram the middle pillar pathways of Maym and Shin extend vertically
below the sefirah Da‘at and are united by the sefirah Tifaret (which is situated
between them).

177 LHA, § 692.

pg. 177
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pg. 178
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Hidden Pathways of Qof and Sameck

The chapter entitled The Polyhex Key to the Pathways revealed to us the identity of
the concealed pathways stemming from Da‘at as the reconfigured paths of Qof
(‫ )ק‬and Sameck (‫)ס‬. As previously explained these pathways are also associated
in the Zohar with the ‗nostrils‘ of Macroprosopus and the ‗lips‘ of
Microprosopus.

These pathways are considered initially concealed because they do not appear
until after a certain stage of human evolution has been reached. That point in
evolution corresponds to the period covering the third and fourth initiations. It
is then that the abstract mind (i.e. Geburah) and the intuitive mind (i.e. Hesed)
become consciously integrated within the psyche of the initiate (or ‗Tzadik‘ 178).

The influx of Shin (‗Fire‘ or ‗Judgment‘) flows into the evolved human psyche
from the sefirah Binah via Da‘at to Geburah. It passes from Da‘at to Geburah
along the reconfigured pathway of Sameck (‫)ס‬. This path is associated with the
astrological Fire sign Sagittarius.

The influx of Maym (‗Water‘ or ‗Mercy‘) flows into the evolved human psyche
from the sefirah Hockmah via Da‘at to Hesed. It passes from Da‘at to Hesed
along the reconfigured pathway of Qof (‫)ק‬. This path is associated with the
astrological Water sign Pisces.

The entry of these forces into the mind of a Tzadik produces what is
esoterically termed divine ‗Knowledge‘ (DOTh, ‫)דעת‬.

178Tzadik is a kabbalistic term that refers to a human-being who treads the ‗path of righteousness‘,
and who therefore is necessarily a disciple/initiate of Earth‘s Spiritual Hierarchy. The ‗path of
righteousness‘ is a special life-path that is unique for each Tzadik and to which he/she unfailingly
adheres.

pg. 179
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Figure 59 : The Qof and Sameck Pathways

You will notice that with the addition of the reconfigured Qof and Sameck
pathways there are now three paths that connect the sefirah Da‘at to
Microprosopus—namely, Qof (‫)ק‬, Sameck (‫)ס‬, and Maym (‫)מ‬. Interestingly,
these three letters spell out the Hebrew word Qesem (QSM, ‫ )קסם‬meaning:

1) divination, witchcraft
1a) of the nations, Balaam
1b) of false prophets
1c) in a good sense (king‘s lips as oracles)179

179 From: The Davar Hebrew Dictionary.

pg. 180
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

This brings to mind the statement in The Lesser Holy Assembly...

681. From these lips180 depend the Lords of Vigilance. For when those
lips murmur, they all are excited to bring forth secret things, as well as
the Lords of judgment in all the tribunals wherein they have their
abiding-place.181

The ‗Knowledge‘ (of ‗secret things‘) that flows from Da‘at into the higher mind
of an evolved human-being can be described as a divine ‗oracle‘ or ‗revelation‘.

Proverbs, 16:10. An oracle [QSM, ‫ ]קסם‬is in the lips of the king: his mouth
will not err in judgment.182

The cosmic elemental forces of Fire and Water flowing through the
reconfigured paths of Sameck (Sagittarius) and Qof (Pisces) combine the
abstract symbolic imagery of Sagittarius with the spiritual intuitive wisdom of
Pisces. The result is divine inspiration that is useful not only to the receiver, but
also to the larger group of human souls whom he is pledged to serve.

When the Fire and Water flowing from Da‘at into Geburah and Hesed are
consciously processed within the higher mind of an evolved human-being the
Judgments that simultaneously arise within the path of Shin are able to be
mitigated by the Wisdom received. This process has a positive effect upon the
personal life of a Tzadik, and when the Wisdom is shared with others it can also
have a mitigating effect on the collective Judgments being felt by the wider
community.

180 That is, of Microprosopus.

181 LHA, § 681.

182 Darby Bible translation.

pg. 181
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

If there were no evolved human-beings (i.e. Tzadikim) on planet Earth then


nobody would be able to consciously process183 the Shin and Maym energies as
they entered the Ruach (or soul triad) of Microprosopus (i.e. via Geburah and
Hesed). This would mean that the Human kingdom would have no recourse
but to react unconsciously (i.e. from the Nefesh) to the fiery evolutionary force
that emanates from the middle pillar pathway of Shin.

The reconfigured pathways of Sameck and Qof fulfil only a temporary function
during the course of human evolution—that is, during the period covering the
third and fourth initiations. It is a time when a steady stream of divine Light
manifests within and illuminates the illusory darkness of the Qof and Sameck
pathways, and fills the mind and heart of the initiate (or Tzadik) with love-
wisdom. This occurs as a result of the Tzadik‘s newly acquired contact with
Da‘at (i.e. via the two reconfigured pathways).

After the fourth initiation however, a new pathway configuration is established


that reflects an even more advanced development within the consciousness of a
Tzadik.

From the first to the fourth initiations the centre (or focal point) of human
consciousness is symbolized by the sefirah Tifaret (‫כ‬, ).184 In terms of human
esoteric anatomy Tifaret signifies the ‗causal body‘—an organ/engine of human
evolution in the form of a ‗solar angel‘185 who plays a custodial role until the
higher link (or bridge) to the sefirah Da‘at has become established.

The sefirah Tifaret is associated with the Son principle and exemplifies the love-
wisdom aspect. Da‘at represents the human monad. It is associated with the

183 That is, in the Ruach or higher mind.

184Before the path of initiation has been entered the centre of human consciousness is represented by
the sefirah Yesod (‫ת‬, ).

185 Or, ‗Holy Guardian Angel‘.

pg. 182
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Father principle and is characterized by the will-purpose aspect.186 Da‘at is a


higher organ of consciousness that transcends Tifaret after the fourth initiation.
Another way of saying this is: Jacob becomes Israel.

Prior to the fourth initiation the four cardinal sign Simple letter pathways are
attached to the sefirah Tifaret. Their function (during that time) is to help guide
a human-being onto the ‗path of righteousness‘ 187 and to teach him/her to
remain steadfastly upon that special path. By the time of the fourth initiation
that preliminary function has been fulfilled and the four cardinal pathways then
assume a higher creative function.

As the focus of human consciousness rises from Tifaret (Jacob) to Da‘at (Israel)
so too do the four cardinal Simple letter pathways rise up from Tifaret and
become firmly attached to the sefirah Da‘at. 188 Tifaret then assumes a new form
that is expressed by the kabbalistic formula ShM (‫שם‬, ‗name‘). (See Figure 59.)

The ShM-name that results as a consequence of this advanced evolutionary


process reflects the true identity of the human monad—that is, as it is newly
revealed and registered within the consciousness of the Tzadik. Thus Jacob,
during his initiation (as described in the Hebrew bible) acquires his ShM (i.e.
‗name‘) ‗Israel‘.

The ShM-name is symbolized by a new pathway that manifests upon the Tree
of Life as a result of the dissolution (or transformation) of the sefirah Tifaret
(i.e. the human causal body).

186 The sefirah Yesod is an expression of the Mother/Daughter principle. It embodies the active
intelligence aspect.

187 As represented by the Middle Pillar of the Tree of Life.

188This evolutionary process corresponds with the Theosophical teaching on the dissolution of the
causal body after the fourth initiation.

pg. 183
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 60 : The ShM Pillar

Prior to the fourth initiation Tifaret is like a locked doorway within human
consciousness that is faithfully guarded by each human-being‘s solar angel. This
Tifaret doorway effectively divides and separates the two middle pillar pathways
of Shin and Maym. When Tifaret dissolves189, the doorway opens and the two
middle pathways become merged together as one—thereby forming a single
vertical ‗ShM‘ pillar that extends from Yesod (below) to Da‘at (above).

189 That is, when the solar angel is dismissed from its duties.

pg. 184
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

A further consequence of the formation of the ShM pillar is that the lower half
(or microcosmic portion) of the Tree of Life diagram assumes the form of an
octahedron. This is the magical structure that is cryptically described in the Sefer
Yetzirah, although most commentators interpret the book as defining a cubic
structure190.

The octahedron forms the basis of the magical system of the Sefer Yetzirah. This
system is revealed in my upcoming book: Holy Temple of Magic.

Figure 61 : The ShM Pillar & the Octahedron

190 It is usually termed ‗the Cube of Space‘.

pg. 185
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 186
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Mystery of Da’at

The mystery of the sefirah Da‘at is discussed in several places in the writings of
the Zohar, but the information is veiled in kabbalistic symbolism that, without
the requisite ‗knowledge key‘ is very difficult to fathom. For example:

R. Jose discoursed on the verse: ―Whereupon were the foundations


thereof fastened?‖ (Job XXXVIII, 6)

He said: When God created the world, He established it on seven pillars,


but upon what those pillars rest no one may know, since it is a recondite
and inscrutable mystery.

The world did not come into being until God took a certain stone, which
is called the ―foundation stone‖, and cast it into the abyss so that it held
fast there, and from it the world was planted. This is the central point of
the universe, and on this point stands the holy of holies. This is the stone
[Nba] referred to in the verses, ―Who laid the corner-stone thereof‖ (Ibid.
6), ―the stone of testing, the precious corner-stone‖ (Is. XXVIII, 16), and
―the stone that the builders despised became the head of the corner‖ (Ps.
CXVIII, 22).

This stone is compounded of fire, water, and air, and rests on the abyss.
Sometimes water flows from it and fills the deep.

This stone is set as a sign in the centre of the world. It is referred to in


the words, ―And Jacob took a stone and set it as a pillar‖ (Gen. XXXI,
45). Not that he took this stone, which was created from the beginning,
but he established it above and below, by making there a ―house of
God‖.

This stone has on it seven eyes, as it is written, ―On one stone seven
eyes‖ (Zech. III, 9), and it is called ―foundation stone‖, for one thing

pg. 187
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

because the world was planted from it, and for another because God set
it as a source of blessing to the world...191

The created World is said here to be built upon seven ‗pillars‘. These
correspond with the seven Double letter sefirot (i.e. from Da‘at to Yesod) of
the Tree of Life.

The seven pillars rest upon a ―recondite and inscrutable mystery‖ that cannot be
known because it exists beyond the realm of Da‘at (‗Knowledge‘). That
unknowable mystery is, in the Zohar extract above, referred to as the ―Holy of
Holies‖. It is represented by the three highest sefirot (i.e. Keter, Hockmah, and
Binah) of the Tree of Life.

The sefirah Da‘at is symbolised by a ‗stone‘ (eh‘-ben, Nba) that was cast by the
Creator into the ‗Abyss‘ and from which were hewn the seven sefirotic ‗pillars‘.

The ‗abyss‘ represents the apparent (i.e. to the microcosm) separation that occurs
between the Creator and His creation. On the Tree of Life this sense of
separation is symbolised by the natural division that exists between the two
groups of sefirot: the three macrocosmic (Mother letter) sefirot and the seven
microcosmic Double letter sefirot. The geometric position of the sefirah Da‘at
within the ‗Abyss‘ of the Tree of Life reflects its role as an interface (mediator,
or ‗bridge‘) that unites the higher three sefirot with the lower seven sefirot.

The ―seven eyes‖ that are on the ‗stone‘ of Da‘at symbolise the seven Double
letter archetypes of which the letter Bayt (representing Da‘at itself) is the first.

The Da‘at ‗stone‘ is said (in the quote) to be ―compounded of fire, water, and air‖
which is a reference to the special connection that the sefirah Da‘at has with the
three highest sefirot: Binah (Fire), Hockmah (Water), and Keter (Air).

‗Water‘ is said to sometimes flow from Da‘at to ‗fill the deep‘.192 This concept
has already been discussed above (and is further elucidated in our next chapter).

191 Soncino Zohar, Vol. II, pg 339-340. Vayehi, 231a.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

It refers to the efflux of the Maym (m) archetype via the reconfigured Qof
pathway. Whether it is consciously registered in Hesed or not by a human-
being, this Water is ultimately stored within the Maym pathway that extends
below Da‘at (i.e. from Da‘at to Tifaret) on the Tree of Life diagram. In regard
to this motif, the seven sefirot below Da‘at are considered to symbolise a
chalice—the ―cup of salvation‖—into which the ‗Water of Mercy‘ is poured.
(See: Figure 59.)

The Zohar also describes ‗Fire‘ as issuing from Da‘at. For example:

R. Judah discoursed here on the text: ―The Lord also thundered in the
heavens, and the Most High gave forth his voice; hailstones and coals of
fire‖ (Ps. XVIII, 14).

When God, he said, created the world, He constructed for it seven pillars
by which it was to be upheld. So scripture says: ―Wisdom hath builded
her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars‖ (Prov. IX, 1). These in
turn are upheld by one grade from among them called ―the Righteous
One, the everlasting foundation‖ (Ibid. X, 25).

Further, when the world was created, it was started from that spot which
is the culmination and perfection of the world, the central point of the
universe, which is identical with Zion, as it is written: ―A psalm of Asaph.
God, God the Lord hath spoken and called the earth from the rising of
the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of
beauty, God hath shined forth‖ (ps. I, 2). That is to say, God started the
earth from Zion, from that spot where faith culminates in its full
perfection. Zion is thus the citadel and central point of the universe,
from which it began to be fashioned and from which the whole world is
nourished.

This lesson is esoterically indicated in our text. For Zion and Jerusalem,
while one, represent two degrees, the one being the channel of

192 Similarly, Da‘at is said to be ―a source of blessing to the world‖. (See Quote.)

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

judgement, the other of mercy; first there issues from one the sound of
mercy, and afterwards there comes forth from the other the voice of
judgement, the two forming the source from which the paths of
judgement and mercy issue and diverge. Hence, the expression ―And the
Lord also thundered in the heavens‖ indicates judgement, while ―the
Most High gave forth his voice‖ refers to mercy, and ―hailstones and
coals of fire‖ signify water and fire, that is, mercy and judgement
commingled.193

In the above quote, the sefirah Da‘at is given two aspects that are defined by the
terms ―Zion‖ and ―Jerusalem‖.

Da‘at as ‗Zion‘ is described as ―the perfection of beauty‖—a description alluding to


the idea that the sefirah Da‘at represents the perfection (or higher expression)
of the sefirah Tifaret (‗Beauty‘).194

An efflux of Mercy (also: Water) is said to issue from Da‘at in its Zion aspect,
and likewise, an efflux of Judgment (also: Fire) is said to issue from Da‘at in its
Jerusalem aspect. These metaphors echo and reinforce what has been set forth
previously (concerning Da‘at) in earlier chapters of this book.

193 Soncino Zohar, Vol. II, pg. 210. Vayesheb, 186a.

194 This is identical to the notion that ‗Israel‘ (Da‘at) signifies the perfection of ‗Jacob‘ (Tifaret).

pg. 190
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 62 : The Cup of Salvation

pg. 191
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pg. 192
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The Holy Name:


YHVH - HVHY
Introduction

The Tetragrammaton (i.e. YHVH, hwhy) is a kabbalistic formula that is revered


as the Holy (or, Ineffable) Name (ShM, Ms) of the Creator of our world. It is a
Name that legend credits with producing wonders 195 when it was pronounced in
a certain way. The actual method of pronunciation of the Holy Name is thought
to be a secret (or lost), but the extraordinary reality is that we are all
pronouncing the Holy Name in every moment of our lives. Of course, most of
us are unconscious of this fact, and the ‗wonders‘ that we unconsciously
produce by means of the Holy Name often leave much to be desired.

To be able to produce miracles 196 of a higher order, firstly we need to


understand the mechanism involved in the pronunciation of YHVH, and then
we are required to take a more conscious, more enlightened approach to its
pronunciation.

To put it symbolically, the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton involves


combining the elements Water and Fire (within Air) to produce Earth. This
simple statement represents the supreme formula of Creation.

For example: Moses‘ parting of the waters of the Red Sea. [Exodus, 14:21] Note that like the
195

Hebrew word for Heaven (ShMYM, Myms), and the Hebrew word for Name (ShM, Ms), the name
Moses (MShH, hsm) also is comprised of Maym (Water) and Shin (Fire).

196 The ‗miracles‘ of which I speak are not unnatural (or supernatural); they are the natural result of
living a life in harmony with the spiritual force moving within and through the Self and the Universe.

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VH - HV

There are two basic levels on which the YHVH formula operates. The first level
is fundamental and preliminary. It involves combining the Water and Fire
elements that pre-exist within the human soul and psyche. This is no simple
task however, because although we have unavoidably easy access to the Fire
element (i.e. Shin via Yesod), it is much more difficult for us to draw down
elemental Water so that it can be blended with the Fire. That is why our lives
are so often characterised by Judgment and Severity (or, in other words,
suffering and hardship).

On the Tree of Life, the middle pillar path of Shin represents the innate Fire
element that is present within the human psyche (and chakra system). It
symbolises our basic evolutionary program and it has the power (and the
purpose) to bring into manifestation all the challenges that we are required to
face and overcome in our life-time. It is a relentless and indomitable creative-
evolutionary force that continues to confront us with challenging life
experiences that must and will be overcome as we tread our personal path of
evolution. The only way we can gain relief from the scorching Fire of Shin is by
applying to it the cooling Water of the path of Maym.

The Shin pathway extends between the sefirot Yesod (Moon) and Tifaret (Sun).
These two sefirot basically symbolise the personality and soul aspects of a
human-being.

The action of elemental Fire (i.e. emanating from the path of Shin) brings into
our awareness any psychological blockages that are preventing our personality
and soul aspects from coming into harmony with each other. It is the mitigating
Water of the path of Maym that helps us to discover ways to remove those
blockages.

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The evolutionary challenges that manifest within the realm of our personal life
circumstances (i.e. due to the power of Shin) effectively mirror back to us the
nature of our negative psychological complexes. These inner conflicts and
blockages prevent us from achieving a state of harmony between the human
personality and the soul. The external physical reflections (of those inner
conflicts) that Shin causes to manifest around us give us something tangible to
work with. Shin‘s goal is to force us to confront and eventually resolve our
inner psycho-spiritual disharmonies so that we can rise to the next level of
creative activity.

For every evolutionary challenge presented to us by the force of the path of


Shin there is a corresponding creative solution contained within the path of
Maym. This is guaranteed to be so by the divine judicial influence of the path of
Alef.

The path of Alef represents the mechanism of balance that underpins and
permeates the fabric of the universe. Its omnipresence ensures that every aspect
of Creation has within itself the ability (at some level) to connect with its equal,
opposite, and complementary aspect. In other words, Alef (and the Air element)
symbolises the divine invisible adjudicator that supervises the appropriate
balance and distribution of the Fire and Water elements within the universe.

The Three Mothers are Alef, Mem, Shin. Their foundation is a pan of
merit; a pan of liability; and the tongue of decree deciding between them.
[Three Mothers, Alef, Mem, Shin. Mem hums, Shin hisses, and Alef is
the Breath of air deciding between them.]197

The elemental Air of Alef also provides an environment within which the Fire
and Water elements are able to co-exist. Symbolically speaking, if Air didn‘t
provide the oxygen of its atmosphere then Fire simply could not ignite.

197 Sefer Yetzirah, 2:1.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Similarly, if there were no oxygen atoms available to combine with hydrogen


atoms then Water would not exist.

In order to gain access to the Water of the path of Maym we must raise our
consciousness to the level of the soul triad (i.e. as represented by the sefirot
Hesed, Geburah, and Tifaret) and from there draw down the energy of ‗love-
wisdom‘ (or Mercy) from Tifaret. 198

The sefirah Tifaret gives us access to the inherent love (or desire) and wisdom
of the soul (i.e. as contained in the middle pillar path of Maym). It is through
the sefirah Tifaret that we become aware of our deep soul desires, and
conscious of the solutions to all of our major evolutionary challenges.

Contact with the path of Maym (via Tifaret) occurs only sporadically in the early
stages of human evolution, but eventually our awareness becomes consistently
focused within Tifaret and we become more conscious of, and more willing to
follow our soul‘s desires. It is during this time that we also become able to
resolve (perhaps in a series of few life-times) all of our remaining major
evolutionary challenges. That is because we are then willing and able to take a
more conscious approach to our personal evolution.

The major challenges that we face during this stage of evolution are basically
symbolised by the four ‗Sun-Moon‘ zodiacal triangles. In each Sun-Moon
triangle the path of Shin strongly focuses its evolutionary force through one of
the four Fixed signs of the zodiac: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, or Aquarius. These
four ‗cherubic‘ signs form the perimeter of the square base of the astrological
pyramid.

198The sefirah Hesed is also a source of Mercy, but Hesed provides access to Mercy of a higher order.
(See below.)

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Here is a list of the four Sun-Moon triangles:

Sun-Moon Triangles

 Aries ( ) — Shin (Taurus, ) — Gemini ( )


 Cancer ( ) — Shin (Leo, ) — Virgo ( )
 Libra ( ) — Shin (Scorpio, ) — Sagittarius ( )
 Capricorn ( ) — Shin (Aquarius, ) — Pisces ( )

Figure 63 : The Astrological Pyramid

In Figure 60 you can see that these four triangles all share the Shin pathway (i.e.
drawn as a red dotted line) as one of their sides. The path of Shin substitutes in
each triangle for one of the four Fixed signs. This is symbolic of the
evolutionary influence of Shin as it applies itself through the Fixed sign it has
replaced in each triangle. The square perimeter of the base of the astrological
pyramid is thus seen to be a particular focus for the evolutionary force of the
path of Shin.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Because the refinement of the human personality is also a key part of Shin‘s
evolutionary program, the six astrological signs below the zodiacal horizon (i.e.
those attached to the three sefirot of Night) become especially developed.
These six zodiacal signs are associated with six pathways that branch out from
the sefirot Netzah and Hod—specifically, those that are assigned the six Simple
letters: Heh (h, ), Vav (w, ), Zayn (z, ), Het (x, ), Tet (j, ), and Yud (y,
).

Our world has available to it (from the middle pillar pathways of Shin and
Maym) an equal measure of Judgment and Mercy, but because the force of
Judgment (i.e. Shin, Fire) is focused primarily within the lower sefirot of the
Tree of Life199, it finds easy entry into the life and consciousness of most of
humanity.200 The force of Mercy (i.e. Maym, Water) is equally available, but is
only accessible by those members of the human race who have raised their
consciousness to the sefirah Tifaret (i.e. because it adjoins the path of Maym).

The forces of evolution and creation work through the interplay of these two
primary elements (i.e. Fire and Water), and thus (at the collective level) also
through the interplay between the masses of humanity, and those relative few
who are more spiritually awakened.

The masses of humanity (i.e. those people who embody the dominant human
mind-set) have a tremendous influence in determining the physical and
psychological environment of our planet. That is because the state of our
environment precisely reflects the relative proportion of Judgment and Mercy
that is able to be physically expressed in our collective reality. It is important
therefore, that all spiritually-minded people seek to raise the level of awareness
of the collective consciousness of Humanity to at least Tifaret in order to
mitigate the severity of our world‘s current physical and psychological
condition.

In the world today (circa 2007-10) the experience of severe Judgment is


widespread. If this ‗swelling of the scales of the Dragon‘ on our planet is not

199 As is indicated by the position of the path of Shin on the Tree of Life diagram.

That is, because the majority of humanity are focused consciously in the lower sefirot—Netzah,
200

Hod, and Yesod—the three sefirot of Night, wherein Judgement predominates.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

mitigated soon by an effective expression of Mercy then we may effectively


destroy our present civilisation—a collective experience that has been repeated
many times throughout the history of our world.

Another possibility however, is that the esoteric principle of Messiach


(MShYCh, xysm)201 will become activated and a Great Soul (or group of souls)
who embodies powerfully the archetype of Mercy 202 may choose to incarnate
upon our planet in order to help mitigate the prevailing Judgments using the
compelling power of His/Her spiritual force. 203 This esoteric principle provides
a safety mechanism for humanity so that we have an opportunity to avoid
annihilating ourselves. It is however, merely an evolutionary stopgap
mechanism and does not automatically raise our collective spiritual awareness to
a level that will prevent us from again manifesting severe Judgment on our
planet at some time in the future.

YH - HY

Up to this point I have mainly been describing level one of the pronunciation of
the Holy Name. Level one involves combining the innate Water of the middle
pillar path of Maym with the innate Fire of the middle pillar path of Shin in
order to awaken soul consciousness (as represented by the sefirah Tifaret
positioned between them). During this process Fire (Shin) becomes mitigated
by Water (Maym) thereby unblocking the Shin pathway that extends between

201The kabbalistic term MShYCh symbolises a living expression of Mercy (M) and Judgement (Sh),
but where the quality of Mercy is pre-eminent and thus effectively mitigates the accompanying influx
of Judgement. The Messiach principle can express itself in a single individual, or as a group
experience.

Note that the modern astrological correspondence of Maym (Mercy, Water) is the planet Neptune.
202

This planet is very strongly associated with the ‗saviour‘ archetype.

This has been prophesied, for example, in the Book of Revelation, and by Master Djwhal Khul in His
203

book: The Reappearance of the Christ, by Alice Bailey. Lucis Press, 1948.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Yesod and Tifaret. In terms of the Holy Name YHVH this represents the union
of the final letter Heh (H, the Queen 204) with the penultimate letter Vav (V, the
King).

Level One: YH—VH

The second level of pronunciation of the Holy Name becomes possible after we
have completed level one—that is, after we have successfully blended the innate
elements of Water and Fire within our personal consciousness, and thus have
unified and harmonised the human ego (Yesod, Moon) with the soul (Tifaret,
Sun). It is at this point on our evolutionary path that we begin to become
invocative of the cosmic Water and Fire elements that are located above Da‘at
on the Tree of Life.

The influx of these higher elemental forces enters into the Creation via the
sefirah Da‘at, so symbolically speaking, the aim of this creative-evolutionary
phase is to consciously integrate the Maym pathway so that human
consciousness is able to rise from Tifaret (Sun) and become focused in Da‘at
(Saturn).

In kabbalistic mysticism this is equivalent to what has become known as riding


the ‗merkavah‘ (MRKBH, hbkrm) chariot to Heaven.205 However, it is not until
all the four ‗wheels‘ of the chariot (i.e. the sefirot Netzah, Hod, Geburah, and
Hesed)206 are spinning in unison, and all are moving in the same direction, that

204 The ―Queen‖ is referred here to the combined sefirot Yesod and Malkut.

205 Ma‘asei Merkavah (hbkrm hsem, ‗work of the chariot‘), appeared in the late Greco-Roman period.
It is a form of pre-Kabbalah Jewish mysticism, which both teaches of the possibility of making a
sublime journey to God and of the ability of man to draw down divine powers to earth. [From
Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia.]

206The axels of the four wheels of the metaphorical chariot are symbolised on the Tree of Life
diagram by the four Fixed sign pathways that extend between the four sefirot Netzah, Hod, Geburah,
and Hesed. The four Fixed zodiacal signs are also known as the Cherubic signs and are generally
symbolised by creatures resembling a Bull (Taurus), a Lion (Leo), an Eagle (Scorpio), and a Man
(Aquarius). It is interesting to note therefore (in light of this Tree of Life symbolism) that the four
wheels of the chariot in Ezekiel‘s vision are also closely attended by these four Cherubic creatures. It

pg. 200
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

we are able to fully participate in that higher form of creativity. It is then that we
become ‗divinely inspired‘, or in other words, we become able to pronounce in
full the Great and Holy Name YHVH.

Contact with Da‘at indicates that an individual has overcome their major Earth-
based evolutionary challenges, and that they have developed to a high degree
the soul faculties of Geburah and Hesed. This process especially involves the
purification, balance, and integration of the six astrological archetypes that are
above the zodiacal horizon. They are represented by six pathways that extend
from the sefirot Geburah and Hesed. These pathways have assigned to them
the six Simple letters: Lamed (l, ), Nun (n, ), Sameck (o, ), Ayin (e, ),
Tzaddie (u, ), and Qof (q, ).

The supernal Water element is sourced from the sefirah Hockmah, while the
supernal Fire element is sourced from the sefirah Binah. It was the blending of
these two macrocosmic elements (at the beginning of Creation) that formed our
embryonic universe, so when the second level of pronunciation of the Holy
Name is reached a person becomes a consciously active participant in the
ongoing macrocosmic process of Creation.207

The two sefirot, Hockmah and Binah, are the original cosmic source of all
Water and Fire elemental energy that is contained within the vessel that is our
universe. This includes those original portions of Fire and Water that are
located within the soul and psyche of every human-being (as discussed above).
The sefirot Hockmah and Binah stand ready, above the Heaven of Da‘at, to
issue a further influx of elemental Fire and Water into the universe whenever a
living entity (i.e. whenever a microcosmic unit) becomes invocative and
receptive to that additional influx.

suggests that the four ―living creatures‖ of the Book of Ezekiel represent the four Fixed sign pathways of
the Tree of Life. (See: Ezekiel, Chapter One.)

207 Or in other words, we become consciously able to contribute to the growth of the universe.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The supernal Water element (and the sefirah Hockmah) is symbolised by the
letter Yud (Y) of YHVH. The supernal Fire element (and the sefirah Binah) is
symbolised by the first letter Heh (H) of YHVH. 208

Level Two: YHVH

Thus, the second level of pronunciation occurs when a person becomes


invocative of the higher elements, and thereby gains conscious access (via
Da‘at) to influences emanating from the supernal sefirot Hockmah and Binah.

Meditation and esoteric study are key disciplines that are critical to reaching the
second level of pronunciation of the divine Name YHVH.

Esoteric study helps us to develop and integrate into our consciousness the
higher mental faculty of the sefirah Geburah. It helps us to instil in Geburah a
foundation of knowledge and consequently to acquire a deep understanding of
the universe. Geburah is then able to provide us with a higher perspective from
which we can apply ourselves consciously and intelligently towards achieving
our evolutionary and creative goals.

The abstract mental body (as represented by Geburah) must become enriched
with the higher truths that come from intense metaphysical study and
contemplation. This development in consciousness also results in the re-
programming of the lower-mental body (as symbolised by the sefirah Hod) such
that our perception of the world is no longer clouded by the illusions of overly
materialistic and rationalistic thinking.

208Note that these elemental Water and Fire correspondences describe an aspect of Creation that is
absolutely fundamental, and they should not be thought of as contradicting the more common Fire,
Water, Air, and Earth correspondences of YHVH.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The sefirah Geburah, when activated in consciousness, becomes invocative of


the divine intelligence principle 209 (or Shin) that originates in Binah and enters
the universe via the sefirah Da‘at. Shin issues from Da‘at, enters Geburah via
the reconfigured path of Sameck (‫ס‬, ) and implants within the higher mental
body an abstract mental seed-form. This seed-form is like a foetus that can (and
should) be nurtured and fed by a parallel influx of Maym (i.e. love-wisdom) that
issues from Da‘at via the reconfigured path of Qof (‫ק‬, ) into the sefirah Hesed.

Of course, the Hesed faculty (i.e. the intuitive mind) must be sufficiently
developed within the human psyche in order for an individual to be able to
consciously receive and creatively utilise this complementary influx of Maym.
Therefore, there must also occur in parallel to the development of the left-hand
pillar of the Tree of Life (i.e. the Pillar of Severity, upon which are located
Geburah and Hod) an equal and complementary development of the right-hand
pillar (i.e. the Pillar of Mercy, upon which are located Hesed and Netzah).

Thus as the lower-mental body (i.e. Hod) is developed, it must be accompanied


by the purification and refinement of the astral body (i.e. as symbolised by the
sefirah Netzah). The practice of meditation helps us to open the psychic
channels (of Netzah) and eventually awaken the intuitive faculty of the soul (i.e.
as represented by the sefirah Hesed).

The sefirah Hesed, when awakened, gives us conscious access to the higher
influx of love-wisdom (or Maym) that issues from the sefirah Da‘at via the
hidden Qof pathway. Once received into Hesed, the creative wisdom of Maym
naturally flows towards the abstract seed-form (of Shin) that has become
implanted in Geburah (i.e. from Da‘at) and ‗waters‘ it. The effect of Maym
when it enters Geburah is to nurture the abstract mental thought-form so that
(over time) it grows to maturity in wisdom.

Without the influence of Maym from Hesed the foetus in Geburah is likely (if it
survives) to mutate and grow into an abomination.210

209 Called Atma, and the Active Intelligence principle in Theosophical terminology.

210Therein lies the difference between (for example) a true dispensation of the Ageless Wisdom from
a Master, and a false teaching that stimulates and captivates the intellectual mind, but lacks the deeper
essence of wisdom.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Similarly, if the Hesed faculty becomes developed in an individual without a


complimentary development of Geburah, then (on receiving the Maym influx
via Qof) he is likely to become entrapped (or lost) in his own inner world and
be of little practical use to his fellow human-beings. He may also, as a side-
effect, develop what is known as a ‗messianic complex‘.

In order to sustain the existence of the emerging creation, the life principle (or
‗breath‘, RVCh, xwr) must also be provided, and this energy comes from the
sefirah Tifaret. 211 This influence from Tifaret not only enables the new creation
to survive, but it also infuses it with the ‗soul vibration‘ of its creator. Thus, as
the creation grows to maturity it inevitably displays recognisable characteristics
inherited from its parent soul. These characteristics are cosmetic qualities that
are expressed in its physical nature and appearance. 212

211In this sense, Tifaret is an expression of the Air element, and to use a scientific analogy, both Fire
and Water (i.e. H20) require the oxygen of Air in order to exist.

212Because Tifaret represents the life-force (or ‗ray‘ vibration) of the soul, it determines the particular
realm of human activity into which the new creation will be born. This depends on the creator‘s field
of world service, or in other words, where the soul of the creator is primarily focused. For example,
his/her field of work could be science, politics, metaphysics, etc.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Breath from Breath

Two: Breath from Breath [RVCh MRVCh, xwrm xwr]. With it He


engraved and carved 22 Foundation Letters: Three Mothers, Seven
Doubles, and Twelve Elementals. And one Breath is from them.213

The life-sustaining Breath (RVCh, xwr) is a critical factor in any creative effort.
It is an aspect of Air (i.e. Alef) and is naturally produced (as part of the Air
element) when Fire and Water (i.e. Shin and Maym) are combined within the
human psyche. The degree of potency of the Fire and Water elements
determines the intensity of the resultant Breath of Air (AVYR RVCh, xwr rywa).

The Book of Formation describes this Breath as ―Breath from Breath‖ because it
represents the extension of the Breath of the Creator (i.e. of the ―Holy Breath‖)
into His Creation. The Creator retains His own Holy Breath, but at the same
time is able to bestow ―Breath from Breath‖ (i.e. life) unto the inhabitants of His
created universe.214

A human-being is also a creator (i.e. made in the image of the Elohim) and as a
consequence he is also able to breathe the life-force of his own soul into his
creations.

Early on in his evolution his creations are quite small (and mainly of an
unconscious evolutionary nature), but eventually he becomes able to participate
consciously in the divine process of Creation. In every case, the life-giving
Breath of Air (Alef) is generated and sustained by the blending of the Fire
(Shin) and Water (Maym) elements. This was the case when Maym and Shin
combined in Ain Sof to produce Alef in Keter, and it is likewise the case when

213 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:10.

214Similarly, with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation we are able to resuscitate a person who is clinically
dead and give back to them the ‗breath of life‘.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Maym and Shin (from Hesed and Geburah) combine in the soul of Adam to
produce Alef in Tifaret.

As regards the human microcosm (i.e. Adam), the influx of Maym and Shin
from Da‘at has the greatest potency (of Water and Fire) and therefore
automatically generates a correspondingly intense radiation of life-force, or
Breath in Tifaret. This is needed (and provided) to sustain the momentum of
the creative process—that is, to sustain the major creative work being
undertaken by the receiver of such a powerful influx. A creative project that
results from a Shin/Maym influx from Da‘at may require years of Earth-time to
complete and therefore the Holy Breath (in Tifaret) is provided in order to
sustain the passion of the creator while he completes his work.

The word ‗passion‘ is perhaps the best word we can use to describe the
enlivening life-force that is the Breath.

Passion is the child of Will and Love.

An important attribute of Shin/Fire is will, while the corresponding attribute of


Maym/Water is desire (or love). When these two attributes are combined
together they produce the Alef/Air attribute of passion.

The middle pillar pathways of Shin (Fire) and Maym (Water) combine to
generate the soul‘s passion to live and to evolve. This is an innate passion that
the human soul possesses from the moment of its inception at the beginning of
Time. This Breath is the passion that holds the soul focused and centred within
the realm of Creation.

The Fire and Water that issue from Binah and Hockmah via Da‘at generates a
new kind of passion. This is the passion to create. It‘s a passion that‘s acquired
when the major trials of physical evolution are nearing completion. This passion
strongly inflames the soul and supersedes the ‗lesser‘ Breath (i.e. that is fuelled
in the soul by the middle pillar paths of Shin and Maym).

pg. 206
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Will of Shin is not necessarily the same as what we call the personal will of a
human-being. Similarly, the Desire of Maym is not necessarily the same as a
human-being‘s personal desire.

The Will of the original path of Shin is the Will of the macrocosmic Creator as
it expresses itself in our personal lives. It permeates our soul and physical nature
and is an irresistible evolutionary force that is more powerful than the will of
the ego.

Our personal will gradually aligns with the Will of the original path of Shin as
we begin to intelligently cooperate with the evolutionary current that is flowing
through our lives.

The Will of Shin that is received into the sefirah Geburah (i.e. from Da‘at via
Sameck) is also an aspect of the Will of the macrocosmic Creator. It represents
the Will of the Creator to involve Himself in the ongoing process of Creation.
He does so through the vehicle of the life of an individual whose psyche has
become a vessel fitted to receive such a potent influx of creative energy.

The Desire of the middle pillar pathway of Maym represents the desire of the
human soul. It is a deep desire that is able to guide us towards achieving our
personal evolutionary goals. It is not necessarily the same as our personal desire
because in the early stages of human evolution our personal desire is based
mainly on the superficial values of materialism (i.e. as expressed within the
unevolved Nefesh principle).

When we follow the Desire of the middle pillar path of Maym (i.e. the true
desires of the Heart) we are guided towards acquiring skills and attributes and
other personal resources that enrich our soul, mind, and physical being and that
ultimately become the tools that we can use later when we become qualified to
be involved in the macrocosmic creative process.

To be able to follow the desires of the soul requires that we overcome the fear,
glamour, and illusion that initially permeate the human personality (i.e. Nefesh).
These influences naturally arise within us because the human personality is
submerged within the lowest three planes of the universe—i.e. the physical,
astral, and mental planes. These three realms of physicality are dominated by the
influence of the Great Mother principle, and like children growing to

pg. 207
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

adulthood, we must eventually ween ourselves away from a naturally developed


over-dependency upon Her.

We are all required to overcome the materially based influences of the Form
principle and as we do so we consequently rise in consciousness to the level of
the soul. Fear, glamour, and illusion are like three heavy weights that anchor us
to the ocean floor and that must be severed to enable us to float to the surface
and there make contact with the soul.

The Desire of Maym received in the sefirah Hesed (i.e. from Da‘at via Qof) is a
higher expression of desire than that of the middle pillar path of Maym. It is an
expression of the Father‘s (i.e. Hockmah‘s) Desire for the divine Mother
principle (i.e. Binah). Hockmah longs to unite with Binah so that He can sire
His progeny within Her fertile womb. Human-beings become actively and
consciously involved in facilitating that process of divine conception (and birth)
after the faculties of Hesed and Geburah have been suitably prepared. Human
consciousness then becomes the medium through which the Father and Mother
are able to combine Their creative energies so as to bring something divine to
birth within the universe.

Thus, as an individual becomes involved in the macrocosmic creative process,


he/she combines the energy of all three of the sefirot of Day—Hesed,
Geburah, and Tifaret. The Maym and Shin energies contributed by Hesed and
Geburah are obtained from Da‘at. The Breath of life (Alef) provided by Tifaret
arises as Maym and Shin combine together within the soul of the microcosmic
creator.

Thus we see the human soul triad combining the three primary elements of
Creation...

1. Hesed : Water : ‫מ‬


2. Geburah : Fire : ‫ש‬
3. Tifaret : Air : ‫א‬

pg. 208
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Similarly, the higher ‗monadic‘ triad of sefirot (that includes Da‘at) also
combines the cosmic elements...

1. Da‘at : Air : ‫א‬


2. Hesed : Water : ‫מ‬
3. Geburah : Fire : ‫ש‬

As you know, this triad is active within the consciousness of a Tzadik and the
intermingling of the three divine elemental forces occurs within its
interconnecting pathways. We have already discussed the nature of the Qof
(Water) and Sameck (Fire) pathways. Now all that is left to examine is the third
‗unifying‘ pathway of Tzaddie (Air).

The pathway that extends between Hesed (‫ )ג‬and Geburah (‫ )ד‬is extremely
important as an expression of the Air element within human consciousness. It is
this Tzaddie (‫צ‬, ) pathway through which the Water of Hesed 215 is able to
combine with the Fire of Geburah216. Thus, a special triad of pathways that
unites the sefirot Da‘at, Hesed, and Geburah is fundamentally involved in the
macrocosmic/microcosmic co-creative process.

o Da‘at to Geburah : Sameck (Sagittarius, Fire)


o Da‘at to Hesed : Qof (Pisces, Water)
o Hesed to Geburah : Tzaddie (Aquarius, Air)

215 That is, the energy of Maym that flowed from Da‘at to Hesed.

216 That is, the force of Shin that has been received in Geburah from Da‘at.

pg. 209
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 64 The Reconfigured Tree of Life

The path of Tzaddie (‫צ‬, ) represents a creative communion of souls—that is,


the creative group interaction that necessarily occurs (i.e. during the process of
Creation) between a human-being‘s own soul and the other souls belonging to
his ashramic group.

This interaction occurs on the inner planes and is not usually registered in
normal waking consciousness. A Tzadik becomes aware of this inner soul-based
cooperative process when he is present within the Ashram of his Master on the
inner planes, but he may not remember his psychic ashramic experience when
refocused back upon the earth plane.

pg. 210
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Work done during the inner plane co-creative process does however flow down
into the personality vehicles of all those souls who are involved and (perhaps
unconsciously) leads to the timely precipitation of the desired results in the
physical world.

It is the divine right and destiny of every individual (i.e. every microcosm) to
eventually establish conscious contact (and become spiritually aligned) with the
divine Father (Hockmah) and the divine Mother (Binah) principles and thus
participate in the eternal macrocosmic process of Creation.

pg. 211
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 212
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Conclusion 217

―AND THE LORD APPEARED UNTO HIM. R. Hiya commenced to


discourse on the verse: The flowers appear on the earth, the time of song
is come, and the voice of the turtle[-dove] is heard in our land (S. S. II,
12). He said: 'When God created the world, He endowed the earth with
all the energy requisite for it, but it did not put forth produce until man
appeared. When, however, man was created, all the products that were
latent in the earth appeared above ground. Similarly, the heaven did not
impart strength to the earth until man came. So it is written. "All the
plants of the earth were not yet on the earth, and the herbs of the field
had not yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon
the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground" (Gen. II, 5), that is
to say, all the products of the earth were still hidden in its bosom and had
not yet shown themselves, and the heavens refrained from pouring rain
upon the earth, because man had not yet been created. When, however,
man appeared, forthwith "the flowers appeared on the earth", all its
latent powers being revealed; "the time of song was come", the earth
being now ripe to offer up praises to the Almighty, which it could not do
before man was created.

"And the voice of the turtle[-dove] is heard in our land": this is the word
of God, which was not in the world till man was created. 'Thus when
man was there, everything was there. When man sinned, the earth was
cursed, and all these good things left it, as it is written, "cursed is the
earth for thy sake" (Gen. III, 17), and again, "when thou tillest the
ground it shall not give its strength to thee" (Ibid. IV, 12), and again,
"thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to thee" (Ibid. III, 18). When
Noah came, he invented spades and hoes, but afterwards he sinned
through drunkenness, and the rest of the world also sinned before God,
and the strength of the earth deserted it. So matters continued until

217This chapter also serves as an introduction to the practical section of this book (i.e. that is soon to
be added.)

pg. 213
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Abraham came. Then once more "the blossoms appeared in the earth",
and all the powers of the earth were restored and displayed themselves.
"The time of pruning (zamir) came", i.e. God told Abraham to
circumcise himself. When at length the covenant existed in Abraham
through the circumcision, then all this verse was fulfilled in him, the
world was firmly established, and the word of the Lord came to him
openly: hence it is written, AND THE LORD APPEARED UNTO
HIM.‖ 218

T HE above quote is part of a major occult leitmotif that echoes through


the main body of writings of the Zohar (and beyond), but its inner
meaning is well concealed from the uninitiated. The theme is repeated
again and again in the Zohar using various episodes and characters from
the Tanach. The esoteric concept it conceals is actually quite simple (once it is
grasped), but paradoxically, is quite difficult to communicate. To understand
this concept requires turning your normal mundane consciousness on its head,
in the manner of the Hanged Man (Maym, ‫ )מ‬of the Tarot, so that your
perspective of the world is fundamentally changed. This esoteric knowledge is
extremely important, and the future of humanity depends on the eventual
realization of its principles. It is based on the following three premises…

First Premise: Every individual human soul is carried to term within the
spiritual womb of the Great Mother, and therefore bears a unique
‗umbilical‘ relationship with Her.

This statement appears simple and perhaps trite on the surface, but its
implications are tremendous. The metaphor is of a mother pregnant with child.
The child within the womb is intimately attached to the mother via an umbilical
cord. The umbilical cord provides sustenance to the embryo as it grows and is
carried to term. Similarly, each human soul (Ruach, ‫ )רוח‬is attached to the
Celestial Mother (the Higher Shekinah, Binah) by a spiritual umbilical cord. This

218 Soncino Zohar. Vol. I. 97a-97b.

pg. 214
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

connection is unique to each soul because each soul requires its own special
kind of creative sustenance and nurture.

The first premise is complemented by a second one of equal importance…

Second Premise: Every incarnate human soul also has an outer


expression (i.e. a personal ego) that is carried to term within the earthly
womb of the Great Mother, and through it a second ‗umbilical‘
relationship is established with Her.

The soul‘s outer expression is the human personality (or ego, Nefesh, ‫)נפש‬. The
incarnate human personality is encased within the womb of the physical world
(i.e. Mother Earth)—a lower reflection of the condition of the human soul
enclosed within the belly of the Celestial Mother. Just as there is an umbilical
cord connecting the human soul to the Celestial Mother (Higher Shekinah) so
too there is a invisible umbilical cord connecting the human personality to
Mother Earth (i.e. the Lower Shekinah). Thus, the third premise is…

Third Premise: The outer umbilical cord joining the human personality
to Mother Earth is a lower reflection of the inner umbilical cord that joins
the human soul to the Celestial Mother.

The implications of the third premise are also great. The two umbilical cords
represent narrow channels of creative sustenance and nurture that flow from
two directions towards each human-being—i.e. from the Celestial Mother to
the human soul, and from the Earth Mother to the human personality. Both the
Celestial Mother and the Earth Mother are interconnected and inter-
coordinated expressions of the one Great Mother principle.

pg. 215
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The personality‘s umbilical cord is a reflection of (and dependent on) the


umbilical cord of the soul. The human personality, however, is unaware of the
higher spiritual link with the Great Mother until it becomes ‗soul conscious‘.
When the human personality achieves soul consciousness it becomes
increasingly aware of the nature of its unique spiritual relationship with the
Great Mother. As a consequence it is able to use that inner knowledge to realign
itself within the physical world so that it becomes open to receive the material
sustenance of Mother Earth, and (at the same time) involve itself in the divine
Plan of Creation. In other words, in becoming conscious of the inner ‗spiritual‘
umbilical cord the human personality is also able to perceive the outer ‗material‘
umbilical cord. As long as the human personality remains unconscious of the
soul‘s umbilical cord it stumbles blindly in the world, sowing its seed on barren
ground, and the earth brings forth naught but ―thorns and thistles‖. When
however, the personality awakens to the higher connection (and thus also to the
lower connection) then the earth brings forth ―blossoms‖, and ―flowers appear
on the earth‖.

―AND THE LORD APPEARED UNTO HIM. R. Hiya commenced to


discourse on the verse: The flowers appear on the earth, the time of song
is come, and the voice of the turtle[-dove] is heard in our land (S. S. II,
12). He said: 'When God created the world, He endowed the earth with
all the energy requisite for it, but it did not put forth produce until man
appeared. When, however, man was created, all the products that were
latent in the earth appeared above ground. Similarly, the heaven did not
impart strength to the earth until man came. So it is written. "All the
plants of the earth were not yet on the earth, and the herbs of the field
had not yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon
the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground" (Gen. II, 5), that is
to say, all the products of the earth were still hidden in its bosom and had
not yet shown themselves, and the heavens refrained from pouring rain
upon the earth, because man had not yet been created. When, however,
man appeared, forthwith "the flowers appeared on the earth", all its
latent powers being revealed; "the time of song was come", the earth
being now ripe to offer up praises to the Almighty, which it could not do
before man was created.‖219

219 Soncino Zohar. Vol. I. 97a.

pg. 216
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The biblical Adam in the Genesis narrative personifies the human soul. The
Earth was created by God as a material resource packed full of a very specific
potential, and it was provided as an environment for Adam to indwell and
cultivate. Adam (i.e. the human soul) is the only entity that can unlock and bring
forth the Earth‘s special potential (i.e. a potential that has been divinely ‗pre-
programmed‘ within the Earth‘s substance by the Creator). In other words, only
the human soul has the power to summon forth the ‗royal treasures‘ that God
has concealed (i.e. in latency) deep within the Earth (i.e. His Kingdom—
Malkut). Adam is able to draw forth this potential as a result of the passage of
Water (Maym, ‫מ‬, symbolized by ‗rain‘ in the quote above) that flows to the
human soul from the Creator (i.e. it falls upon the head of Adam). Then it
further descends to soak into the denser lower levels of the Earth (i.e. ‫אדמה‬,
Adamah, the ‗ground‘).

The concept of the Earth having a secret divine potential hidden within it
awaiting emergence when the right conditions arise, can be understood in terms
of human DNA.

―On the genetic level, it is interesting to note that human DNA is 173
centimetres long. Only 3 centimetres carry active genetic information.
Modern biochemistry is puzzled at this seeming wastefulness of nature
and calls the inactive parts of the DNA introns, useless waste material.
This is a very questionable assumption, as nature does not produce waste
anywhere. The introns are in my opinion (again I deviate from official
science) equal to the latent spiritual potential of the human being.‖ 220

It is thought (in some circles) that the inactive DNA within the human
organism represents latent abilities that are destined to become active at some
future stage of human evolution. For the activation process to occur the right

220Enlightenment & the Brain: A Scientific Commentary on the Teachings of Sri Bhagavan. Christian Opitz.
From: DNA Monthly. May 2006 (Vol. 2, No. 5).

pg. 217
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

conditions must be present to stimulate the inactive DNA material to come to


life.

In like manner, the Earth has its own DNA, some strands of which have
already been activated by the actions of humanity, but other portions of which
remain dormant. These dormant components are destined to become active
when collective humankind reaches a certain level of evolution. The right
conditions for Earth DNA activation will occur as humanity individually and
collectively steps forward on the ‗Path of Righteousness‘, 221 and in so doing
triggers each stage of the divine Creation to unfold.

In the biblical narrative Eve is formed as an extension of Adam. 222 Eve


represents the human personality that emerges as an outer stratum of matter
that covers the soul. Eve (as the human ego) represents an interface (i.e. a
sensory apparatus) through which Adam (i.e. the soul) is able to interact with
the denser physical dimensions of the Creation (i.e. his physical environment).

Prior to the ‗Fall‘ (i.e. Adam and Eve‘s expulsion from the Garden of Eden) the
human soul and its personality vehicle were in perfect harmony with each other,
and with the Shekinah (i.e. the Great Mother principle).

In the diagram below, the small yellow circle represents human consciousness
in the midst of the body of the Great Mother (i.e. the large blue circle). The
upper half of the blue circle symbolizes the Celestial Mother (or Higher
Shekinah) while the lower half represents Mother Earth (or the Lower
Shekinah). They signify two expressions of one divine feminine principle. 223 The

221 See below.

222 That is, she was created from Adam‘s rib.

223These two manifestations of the Great Mother are also symbolized by the two Hebrew letter Hehs
(H) in the Holy Name YHVH. In this case, the Hebrew letter Vav (V) represents the human
consciousness principle that separates and unites them.

pg. 218
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

green line (in the diagram) abstractly represents the esoteric ‗umbilical cord‘—
i.e. the primordial perfect relationship that was established between human
consciousness and the Shekinah in the Garden of Eden (i.e. before the ‗Fall‘).
At that time the human personality (i.e. Nefesh, or Eve) was in harmonious
accord with the soul (i.e. Ruach, or Adam) and both were in mutual harmonious
alignment with the Higher and Lower Shekinah.

Figure 65 : Edenic Consciousness

pg. 219
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Because every human soul is unique, the green line (as per the diagram above)
should be imagined as being uniquely angled for each and every individual
soul.224 This reflects the ancient concept that the feminine principle of Form is
an ‗eternal virgin‘—i.e. her relationship with each human soul/personality is
original, uniquely intimate, and singularly focused. In all cases, this ideal
relationship (i.e. between human consciousness and the Shekinah) is
represented by a straight line diameter passing through the centre of the circle.

Genesis, 2:16-17. ―And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‗Of
every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that
thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die‘.‖

In the Genesis story, Eve‘s interaction with the Serpent (Samael) in the Garden
of Eden symbolizes an interaction between human consciousness and the
lowest physical dimensions of Earth.

The seduction of Eve by the Serpent, and Eve‘s consequent interaction with
Adam (wherein she effectively usurps God‘s divine authority) symbolizes the
human personality‘s proclivity to stray from the Path of God‘s Will (i.e. His
Path of intended Creation), and to selfishly indulge itself in its own superficial
activities within the realm of matter.

The outer umbilical cord is a very narrow channel connecting the human
personality to Mother Earth. Its purpose is for the provision of material
resources that are required during the process of divine Creation. These
resources are specifically tailored to facilitate the realization of the divine
creative Purpose of each individual soul/personality. They emerge into
manifestation (and thus are made available) as the personality takes steps in the
right direction—i.e. towards the realization of its soul‘s creative Purpose. The
soul/personality‘s progress on this narrow Path is termed walking the ‗Path of

224Note that there are an infinite number of these uniquely angled axes (i.e. diameter lines) present in
the geometry of a circle.

pg. 220
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Righteousness‘ (or ‗Faithfulness‘), and a person who walks that Path is termed a
Tzadik225 (‫)צדיק‬. On that special Path (which is unique for every
soul/personality) there is no consciousness of good and/or evil (i.e. no
‗Judgment‘), there is only the Path.

The ‗tree of the knowledge of good and evil‘ is the ‗Tree of Judgment‘ (i.e. between
Good and Evil). Eating of the fruit of this tree symbolizes a diversion from the
Path of Unity (or ‗Faithfulness to YHVH‘). It represents a stepping off the Path
of Righteousness, and a misuse of the human ego‘s physical energy (or ‗life
force‘). To put it simply, it includes the human tendency to judge earthly
phenomena (including other people) according to our own personally (and
collectively) formulated opinions. But how can we reasonably do that when
every human soul/personality is unique?

There are many and varied earthly activities in which the human personality can
involve itself on planet Earth. There is however, only one activity (or direction
of focus) that, in any given moment of time, represents a step forward on an
individual‘s Path of Righteousness. Each step forward on this Path leads to an
abundant influx of divine ‗blood‘226 (DM, ‫דם‬, of ADaM, ‫ )אדם‬through the
earthly umbilical cord (i.e. from the Shekinah to the personality).

Eating of the ‗tree of the knowledge of good and evil‘ symbolizes the ‗path of
materialism‘ (i.e. for its own superficial sake) and leads to the experience of
Judgment—i.e. the need for the ego to choose between many greater and lesser
evils, and between many greater and lesser goods. This is the path of illusion
because in divine Reality there is no Good or Evil, only the Path of
Righteousness that stretches before each individual human soul/personality. On
that Path there is no requirement to choose because the Choice has already
been made by the divine Creator. In other words, as we tread the Path of
Righteousness our life decisions are not made on the basis of whether

225 Derived from ‗Tzedek‘ – Rightness, righteousness, justice.

226 That is, ‗sustenance‘ from the Great Mother principle.

pg. 221
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

something is good or evil, ‗right‘ or ‗wrong‘, but rather on whether or not we


are effectively moving forward on our unique Path (i.e. as we intuitively know it
to be in our Heart).

In the diagram below, the two brown lines represent examples of the human
personality misdirecting the use of its physical energy in wayward material
pursuits on various paths of judgment. The personality‘s quest for worldly
riches, and/or to satisfy its material/physical desires (for example) stimulates a
reaction from the Great Mother that is described in the Zohar as relating to the
following biblical verse…

Figure 66 : Paths of Judgment

pg. 222
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Genesis, 3:17-18. ―And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened
unto the voice of thy wife [i.e. personality], and hast eaten of the tree, of
which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the
ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee...‖

As long as the human personality does not heed the Will of God and instead
follows its own little will (and desire for personal gratification) then its
experience on Earth is characterized to a large extent by harsh judgment (i.e.
‗negative‘ experiences). This, for the simple reason that the substance of the
Earth has been pre-programmed by the Creator to react in certain ways that are
dependent on whether or not the human personality is following its individual
Path of Righteousness as it moves forward within the body of the Great
Mother.

Experience on the path of judgment (that is, when the personality and soul are
out of alignment) is characterized by the Earth‘s own inner elemental force—i.e.
Fire (Shin, ‫)ש‬.227 This encounter with the purging Fire of Shin produces great
discomfort, but ultimately has a positive transformative (i.e. evolutionary) effect
on the human personality.228

When on the other hand, the human personality is aligned with the soul and
moves forward on its individual Path of Righteousness, then it receives
elemental Water (Maym, ‫ )מ‬flowing to it from the soul, which it uses to mitigate
and creatively complement the latent inner Fire of the Shekinah.

It is only on the Path of Righteousness that the personality gains access to the
elemental Water of Maym. On the path of judgment the Water does not flow
down from the soul, and only the Earth‘s inner purging heat of elemental Fire is
experienced.

227 Of which the Earth‘s fiery molten/solid core is the symbol.

228This Fire is associated with the concept of ‗Fire by Friction‘ that is described in the books of Alice
Bailey. See: A Treatise on Cosmic Fire.

pg. 223
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

When the elemental Water of Maym is combined with the elemental Fire of
Shin (i.e. on the Path of Righteousness) an aspect of the divine Creation
emerges into manifestation upon the Earth. ―The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of song is come, and the voice of the turtle[-dove] is heard in our
land.‖229

If every human soul/personality were to follow its own unique Path of


Righteousness then a supreme effort of co-creation would occur on the Earth
(involving all of humanity) leading to the realization of the divine Plan and the
emergence of the Creation as it has existed in potential within the body of the
Shekinah since the beginning of Time. 230 Right now however (circa 2010), most
human-beings are treading a path of judgment and thereby contributing to the
chaos, disharmony, and turmoil that exists in the world. This will change as the
focus shifts within each personality, and we align ourselves towards the
umbilical cord that represents our own individual Path of Righteousness.

Proverbs, 8:20-21. ―I lead in the way of righteousness [TzDQH, ‫]צדקה‬, in


the midst of the paths of judgment [NThYBVTh MShPT, ‫]משפט נתיבות‬:
That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance [YSh, ‫ ;]יש‬and I
will fill their treasures.‖

Proverbs, 10:2-3. ―Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but


righteousness delivereth from death. The LORD will not suffer the soul
[NPhSh, ‫ ]נפש‬of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the
substance [HVH, ‫ ]הוה‬of the wicked.‖

229 Song of Solomon. 2:12.

230 This is technically termed the ‗World to Come‘ in the symbolism of the Zohar, etc.

pg. 224
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Figure 67 : Elemental Fire and Water

The diagram above illustrates an encounter with the Fire of Shin (‫ )ש‬that occurs
on the Path of Righteousness, and also, on the many paths of judgment. The
Water of Maym (‫ )מ‬is made available to the human personality (Nefesh) to
mitigate the Fire of Shin (‫ )ש‬when it is traversing the Path of Righteousness.
The full unmitigated heat of the purging Fire of Shin however, is experienced
on every path of judgment. A joyful creative experience is had on the Path of

pg. 225
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Righteousness as the Water of Maym flows into and combines creatively with
the Fire of Shin.231

―And the voice of the turtle[dove] is heard in our land": this is the word
of God, which was not in the world till man was created. 'Thus when
man was there, everything was there. When man sinned, the earth was
cursed, and all these good things left it, as it is written, "cursed is the
earth for thy sake" (Gen. III, 17), and again, "when thou tillest the
ground it shall not give its strength to thee" (Ibid. IV, 12), and again,
"thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to thee" (Ibid. III, 18). When
Noah came, he invented spades and hoes, but afterwards he sinned
through drunkenness, and the rest of the world also sinned before God,
and the strength of the earth deserted it. So matters continued until
Abraham came. Then once more "the blossoms appeared in the earth",
and all the powers of the earth were restored and displayed themselves.
"The time of pruning (zamir) came", i.e. God told Abraham to
circumcise himself. When at length the covenant existed in Abraham
through the circumcision, then all this verse was fulfilled in him, the
world was firmly established, and the word of the Lord came to him
openly: hence it is written, AND THE LORD APPEARED UNTO
HIM.‖232

The Holy Covenant that the Lord (YHVH) established with Abraham
represents the divinely prescribed means by which humankind is able to resolve
the dilemma of Adam‘s ‗Fall‘. This biblical episode adds a new layer of
symbolism to the fundamental leitmotif that we are investigating.

231In the diagram, elemental Air (i.e. Alef, ‫ )א‬is represented by the yellow circle of human
consciousness.

232 Soncino Zohar. Vol. I. 97a-97b.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

During this important event, the biblical character Abram undergoes a name-
change that results in him being called Abraham.233 Similarly, the name of
Abram‘s wife is changed from Sarai to Sarah. 234 In both instances, the Hebrew
letter Heh (‫ )ה‬is added to the spelling of their names. Like Adam before him,
Abraham represents the human consciousness principle, while Sarah symbolizes
the object of his desire.

Kabbalistically, the letter Heh symbolizes the Shekinah (or Great Mother
principle)235 and its inclusion here indicates that a special relationship has been
established between Abraham, Sarah, and the Shekinah. That special
relationship forms the basis of the Path of Righteousness upon which Abraham
had (by that time) become firmly focused.

The physical aspect of the ‗covenant of circumcision‘ is essentially symbolic of


‗acquiring spiritual focus‘ as a result of the removal of the distraction and allure
(or ‗excess‘) of materialism. The foreskin signifies that which prevents a human-
being from treading the Path of Righteousness, and thus from joining himself
creatively with the Shekinah.

There are, in fact, three ‗initiations of circumcision‘ that a human-being must


undergo in order to become fully involved with the Shekinah and the divine
creative process.

1. Circumcision of the Genitalia (Yesod – Physical)


2. Circumcision of the Heart (Tifaret – Astral)
3. Circumcision of the Tongue (Da‘at – Mental)

233 Genesis 17:5

234 Genesis 17:15

235That is, in terms of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH) the two Hehs signify the higher and lower
Shekinah.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The deeper meaning involves the removal of all impurities within the human
psycho-physical organism that prevent a human-being from joining with the
Shekinah in a destined ‗sacred marriage‘ (or ‗consummation‘)—a consummation
that leads ultimately to the birth (or materialization) of a small facet of the
divinely preordained Creation.

Figure 68 : Covenant and Circumcision

pg. 228
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Lord declared to Abraham236 that the circumcision of the genitalia is


required to be performed on the 8th day from birth, symbolizing the 8th sefirah
(counting upwards from Malkut) which is Da‘at. The three circumcisions all
lead to (and reinforce) Da‘at—i.e. Da‘at itself symbolizing the ‗Covenant of
Abraham‘.

On the kabbalistic Tree of Life, the sefirah Yesod (Tav, ‫ת‬, Moon) represents
the male sex organ because it is through the interface of Yesod that human
consciousness interacts creatively with the external physical world (symbolized
by the sefirah Malkut and the Lower Shekinah). In other words, it is through
Yesod that the Consciousness principle is able to penetrate and impregnate the
lower Form principle, and this is the case for both male and female human-
beings.

The deeper meaning of the circumcision applies to both men and women
because every man and every woman has the same psycho-spiritual faculties (as
symbolized by the sefirot of the kabbalistic Tree of Life). The male/female
gender distinction does not apply except within the lowest material realm of
existence.

In parallel to Yesod, the sefirah Da‘at symbolizes the higher ‗sex organ‘ that is
located in the head of Adam.237 Just as Yesod provides the faculty for
communion with the Lower Shekinah (i.e. Malkut), so it is through the interface
of Da‘at that human consciousness is able to maintain its creative union with
the Higher Shekinah (or Binah, the Celestial Mother).

The fabled ‗exile‘ of the Shekinah symbolizes Humanity‘s disconnection in


consciousness from the Celestial Mother. This sorry state was/is indicated by
kabbalists by their omission of the sefirah Da‘at from the Tree of Life diagram
(or by calling it a ‗non-sefirah‘). We are now however, at a point in human

236 Genesis 17:12.

237 Corresponding biologically to the pineal gland.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

evolution when we can restore Da‘at to its rightful position as a true sefirah of
the Tree of Life. Thereby is the link to Binah (and Hockmah) symbolically re-
established in human consciousness and the divine process of Creation (i.e.
through the agency of Humanity) is able to proceed.

Traditionally, it is thought that union with the (otherwise ‗exiled‘) Shekinah is


best achieved on the Shabbat (i.e. Friday evening).

―Because medieval kabbalists believed all liturgical and ritual acts affect
both the terrestrial and heavenly realms, halakhically sanctioned physical
intercourse between a male mystic and his wife on earth could foster
both divine and mystical union, for the act enables both Tiferet and the
male mystic to unite with the Shekhinah. Wives thus became a conduit
through which their husbands could attain divine union. Drawing from
Talmudic tradition, medieval kabbalists deemed Friday night to be the
most auspicious time to engage in sexual intercourse.‖ 238

This symbolism is reflected in our Tree of Life diagram. 239 (See below.)

You will note (in the diagram below) that the sefirah Da‘at (‫ב‬, Bayt) is
connected to Binah (‫ש‬, Shin) via the pathway of Tav (‫ת‬, Moon). This
combination of Hebrew letters spells ShaBaTh (‫—)שבת‬the Shabbat, the ‗day‘
when Israel unites with the Shekinah, and the day when the coupling of a Jewish
husband and his wife is blessed by the Shekinah. The pathway of Tav (‫)ת‬
represents the Ruach‘s (i.e. soul‘s) unique relationship with the Higher Shekinah
(‫)ש‬. The sefirah of Tav (i.e. Yesod) is its projected lower correspondence and
represents the relationship that is established between the Nefesh (i.e.

238 ENCYCLOPAEDIA JUDAICA, Second Edition, Volume 18. Pp. 443-444.

See my book: Formation of the Tree of Life. The sefirah Tifaret connects with the Higher Shekinah via
239

Da‘at, and the Lower Shekinah via Yesod.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

personality) and the Lower Shekinah (Malkut).240 Ideally, the lower sefirotic
expression of Tav should embody/reflect the nature and quality of the higher
pathway expression of Tav.

Figure 69 : The Shabbat and the Tree of Life

It is important that you familiarize yourself with the structure and meaning of
the Tree of Life diagram (as illustrated herein) because it forms the foundation
of the system of practical kabbalah that will be outlined in Part Two of this
book. In the present chapter, however, we are mainly concerned with some
background concepts that are needed for a full appreciation of the practical
system.

240The sefirah Malkut is not shown in this diagram. Malkut, representing the ‗World of Assiah‘ (or
‗Action‘), is located immediately below Yesod and directly adjoined to it.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The esoteric symbolism of the Shekinah principle is also woven into the ancient
prophesy of the coming of the Jewish messiah at the ‗end times‘.

―And at the time when the Holy One will raise the dead to life He will
cause dew to descend upon them from His head. By means of that dew
all will rise from the dust, as it says, "for thy dew is as the dew of lights"
(Is. XXVI, 19), these being the supernal lights through which the
Almighty will in future pour forth life upon the world. For the tree of life
exudes life unceasingly into the universe. Life in the present dispensation
is cut short through the influence of the evil serpent, whose dominion is
symbolized by the darkened moon. Under the same influence the
celestial waters, as it were, fail, and life is not dispensed in the world in
proper measure. At that time, however, the evil tempter, who is none
other than the evil serpent, will be removed from the world by the
Almighty and disappear, as it is written, "and I will cause the unclean
spirit to pass out of the earth" (Zech. XIII, 2). After he disappears the
moon will no more be obscured, and the waters of the celestial river will
flow on perennially. Then will be fulfilled the prophecy, "Moreover the
light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun
shall be sevenfold, as the light of the seven days, etc." (Is. XXX, 26).‖241

The Moon, in the writings of the Zohar (etc), symbolizes the Shekinah. Her
exile from Israel is represented by the ‗darkened Moon‘ that is unable to reflect
the light of the Sun. The ‗evil serpent‘ signifies the lure of ‗materialism‘ that
causes the human personality to sow its seed in barren fields, or in ground that
puts forth naught but ‗weeds‘.

The ‗dew of lights‘ that descends from the ‗Head of the Almighty‘ during the
‗end times‘ symbolizes the Water of Maym flowing from the divine Father
(Hockmah, ‫ )מ‬to the Son (Tifaret/Ruach) and then to the faithfully aligned
human personality (Yesod/Nefesh). This divine Water then flows from the

241 Soncino Zohar. Vol. 2. 130b-131a.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

human personality to the Lower Shekinah (Malkut) combining creatively with


Her innate Fire of Shin. Thus it is written: ―the light of the moon shall be as the
light of the sun‖.

The enlightened state of consciousness that this imagery represents occurs


towards the end of Human evolution within the Earth sphere, but evolved
individuals are able to pre-empt that future collective event by passing
individually through the three initiations of circumcision.

In all three ‗circumcision‘ initiations there is required a curbing of excess, and a


focusing of the spiritual Will through each of the three bodies of human
manifestation—the physical, astral, and mental bodies.

The ‗circumcision of the heart‘ is mentioned in a few places in the Hebrew


Tanach. For example…

Jeremiah, 4:3-4. ―For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and
Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your
heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come
forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of
your doings.‖242

Here Jeremiah alludes to the intense heat of the Fire of Shin being felt (without
the relief of the Water of Maym) as a repercussion of not removing the
‗foreskin of the heart‘. The purification of the astral body is implied in this ritual
of the ‗circumcision of the heart‘.

242 The ‗Circumcision of the Heart‘ is also mentioned in Deuteronomy, 10:16 and 30:6.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The ‗circumcision of the tongue‘ is one of the highest mysteries of the


Kabbalah. As such, it is mentioned only in the most occult of treatises—the
most famous one being the Sefer Yetzirah.243

―He placed him in His bosom, and kissed him on his head, and He called
him, "Abraham my beloved" (Isaiah 41:8). He made a covenant with him
and with his children after him forever, as it is written, "And he believed
in God, and He considered it to him for righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).
He made with him a covenant between the ten fingers of his hands—this
is the covenant of the tongue, and between the ten toes of his feet—this
is the covenant of circumcision, And He bound the 22 letters of the
Torah to his tongue and He revealed to him His mystery.‖ 244

The ‗circumcision of the tongue‘ is code for the purification and control of the
mental body, and its consecration to fulfilling the sacred Purpose of the human
soul. The means to achieve this third initiation of circumcision is given in the
text of the Sefer Yetzirah, but it‘s cloaked in extremely opaque symbolism. One
of the purposes of this book is to shine a light into the darkness of the Sefer
Yetzirah and consequently, to provide a framework for understanding (and
completing) the ‗circumcision of the tongue‘.

As mentioned briefly above, the story (in the Tanach) of the exile of Israel and
the Shekinah adds yet another layer of symbolism to this important esoteric
teaching.

Like Adam, and Abraham, and many other male characters from the Tanach, the
third patriarch Jacob also personifies the human soul. His name was changed to

243 Translated: Book of Formation.

244 Sefer Yetzirah. 6:7. Translated by Aryeh Kaplan.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Israel after ―wrestling with a man (AYSh, ‫)איש‬245 until the breaking of the
day‖,246 or in others words, after he underwent a major initiation.247

In the mundane world, the name Israel has come to collectively represent the
Jewish race. Tradition has it that after the destruction of the two Temples of
YHVH in the first millennium BCE, the people of Israel became alienated from
the Shekinah, and were cursed to wander the Earth in exile from their God.
This is a motif that is buried deeply within the religious psyche of the Jewish
people, and in its most concrete and literal form is represented by the
philosophy of Zionism.

The Temple of Solomon (and, its later replacement) symbolized a sacred house
wherein dwelled the Shekinah (i.e. the divine Presence of YHVH). The Temple
was thus able to provide a means through which the ancient Jewish priesthood
could receive the blessing of YHVH for the people of Israel. In other words,
the Temple provided a locus through which the sacred marriage between Israel
and the Shekinah could be consummated. This was (and is) a very literal
interpretation of a very esoteric doctrine that was received by the ancient
Hebrews through their beloved prophets and patriarchs.

It is time now, however, to complement, expand, and enhance the literal


interpretation with the inner esoteric meaning of the Holy Torah. This new
understanding brings with it the realization that there is no need to wait for the
re-establishment of a physical Temple of YHVH on Mount Zion. Instead, we
can focus towards building a Holy Temple within the human psyche—the
building instructions for which are given in the Sefer Yetzirah, and (hopefully)
translated into clearer language in Part Two of this book.

245The ‗man‘ mentioned in the verse is generally interpreted as being an angel—usually the angelic
representative of Esau, Jacob‘s twin brother.

246 Genesis 32:24-29.

247 That is, the second initiation—the Circumcision of the Heart.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

In the Temple of Solomon the Shekinah was said to rest upon the Ark of the
Covenant within the Holy of Holies—the most sacred room in the Temple. On
the Tree of Life diagram, the Ark of the Covenant is represented by Da‘at, and
the ‗Most Holy Place‘ by the sefirah Geburah.248 The Shekinah is of course,
symbolized by the sefirah Binah as it alights (via the Tav/Moon pathway) upon
Da‘at ‗between the two wings of the Cherubim‘.

All these religious terms, images, and expressions are actually symbols for inner
psycho-spiritual faculties and processes that are made manifest within the
conscious mind as the inner Temple is constructed.

Like all the great temples of history, the architecture and construction of the
historical Temple of Solomon was based on sacred geometry and the
metaphysical symbolism of numbers. The most sacred numbers employed
traditionally in temple construction are the numbers three, seven, and twelve.
For example, with regard to the number seven...249

―I should like to draw attention to two texts that connect the creation of
the world and the construction of the Temple which have not been
remarked before. 1 Kings 6:38b tells us that it took Solomon seven years
to build his Temple. According to 1 Kings 8, he dedicated it during the
Feast of Booths (Sukkot), which occurs in the seventh month (verse 2)
and which, in Deuteronomic tradition, is a festival of seven days duration
(Deut. 16:13-15). Moreover, the speech in which Solomon dedicates his
shrine, just completed, is structured around seven petitions (1 Kings
8:31-55). Can the significance of the number seven in this Temple
dedication be coincidence? In light of the argument on other grounds
that Temple building and creation were thought to be congeneric, this is
improbable. It is more likely that the construction of the Temple is

248 This will be more clearly explained in Part Two of this book (entitled Holy Temple of Magic).

249Among others, the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza was also based on the number
seven. See Appendix II in my book: Esoteric Harmonics.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

presented here as a parallel to the construction of the world in seven days


(Gen. 1:1-2:4).‖250

The Holy Temple that we will construct later during our course of practical
kabbalah is also based in large part on the number seven, and like its physical
counterpart—the Temple of Solomon—it will provide a holy sanctuary for the
Higher Shekinah to indwell.

The Holy Temple that we build within the human psyche will enable each
individual to establish conscious communion with the Higher and Lower
Shekinah. It will provide the means by which to draw down the ‗dew of lights‘
(i.e. the Water of Maym) from the Holy One, so as to blend it creatively with
the Fire of Shin (i.e. of the Lower Shekinah).

250The Temple and the World, by Jon D. Levenson. The Journal of Religion, Vol. 64, No. 3 (Jul., 1984),
pp. 275-298. The University of Chicago Press. Pp. 288-289.

pg. 237
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

pg. 238
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Appendix One
The Mystery of the Ten Sefirot
An hypothesis suggesting how the ten sefirot of the Sefer Yetzirah might align with the sefirot
of the kabbalistic Tree of Life.

There is a high degree of mystery and uncertainty surrounding the alignment of


the ten sefirot of the Sefer Yetzirah to the ten sefirot of the kabbalistic Tree of
Life. This is especially the case regarding the assignment of the highest sefirot.
There are two main schools of thought...

1. Keter: (Alef, ‫ )א‬Breath


2. Hockmah: (Maym, ‫ )מ‬Water from Breath
3. Binah: (Shin, ‫ )ש‬Fire from Water

And...

1. Keter: (Alef, ‫ )א‬Breath


2. Hockmah: (Shin, ‫ )ש‬Fire from Water
3. Binah: (Maym, ‫ )מ‬Water from Breath

As you can see, it is generally agreed that ‗Breath‘ (Alef, ‫ )א‬is associated with
Keter, but some kabbalists associate ‗Water from Breath‘ (Maym, ‫ )מ‬with
Hockmah, while others associate it with Binah.

The former appears to be the more logical choice because the phrase ―Water
from Breath‖ suggests that Water (Maym, ‫ )מ‬has to come after Breath (Alef, ‫)א‬,
and the phrase ―Fire from Water‖ suggests that Fire (Shin, ‫ )ש‬follows after

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Water (Maym, ‫)מ‬. (This is also the natural order in which the three Mother
letters occur in the Hebrew alphabet.)

Here is how I understand the meaning of the Sefer Yetzirah in this regard...

The Sefer Yetzirah states:

These are the Ten Sefiroth of Nothingness [BLYMH, ‫]בלימה‬:


The Breath of the Living God
Breath from Breath
Water from Breath
Fire from Water
Up down east west north south.251

The meaning of the curious word ‗belimah‘ [BLYMH, ‫ ]בלימה‬is ambiguous and
uncertain. It is usually interpreted as BLY MH—meaning ‗without what?‘. This
is generally translated into English as ‗nothingness‘.

I interpret the word differently however.

In the early part of the book Zohar (where it discusses the Creation process of
the first book of the Torah—i.e. Berashith) the Hebrew word MH (Mah, ‫ )מה‬is
interpreted as referring to the tenth sefirah Malkut. Therefore, the word BLY-
MH can (I believe) be interpreted to mean ‗without Malkut‘. Therefore, the oft-
repeated phrase of the Sefer Yetzirah ―ten sefirot belimah‖ can be interpreted to
mean ―ten sefirot without Malkut‖.

So, if there are ten sefirot without the sefirah Malkut what are they?

251 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:14.

pg. 240
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Before we enumerate the ten sefirot, consider verse 1:4 of the Sefer Yetzirah:

Ten Sefirot of Nothingness


ten and not nine
ten and not eleven
Understand with Wisdom
Be wise with Understanding
Examine with them
and probe from them
Make [each] thing stand on its essence
And make the Creator sit on His base.252

Firstly, note in verse 1:4 the unusual phrase ―Understand with Wisdom; Be wise with
Understanding‖. This phrase combines the names of the two sefirot Binah
(‗Understanding‘) and Hockmah (‗Wisdom‘). This phrase is (I believe) a clue
that tells us that we must include the sefirah Da‘at among the sefirot (even
though it is not actually enumerated as one of the ten).

My reasoning relates to the kabbalistic principle that when Hockmah combines


with Binah, the sefirah Da‘at emerges within the Abyss of the Tree of Life. I
believe that this is what verse 1:4 is hinting at.

Da‘at is the ‗base‘ (referred to in verse 1:4 above) that the ‗Creator‘ must sit
upon. The Creator (i.e. ‗Macroprosopus‘) is represented by the three supernal
sefirot of the Tree of Life. The three supernals—Keter, Hockmah, and Binah,
are supported by the sefirah Da‘at as they hover over the Abyss.

The six ‗directional‘ sefirot (as described in the Sefer Yetzirah) are generally
recognized as corresponding to the six sefirot directly below the Abyss of the
Tree of Life—i.e. the sefirot from Hesed to Yesod. I also agree with this
designation.

252 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:4.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The first four sefirot mentioned in the Sefer Yetzirah however, do not so
obviously align themselves with the (now) popular version of the Tree of Life
diagram.

To assign the first four sefirot to the Tree of Life diagram we must find and
interpret the clues hidden within the text of the Sefer Yetzirah.

The first four sefirot are specifically discussed in verses 1:9 to 1:12.

The first thing to notice is that verses 1:10 to 1:12 (i.e. enumerating the 2nd,
3rd, and 4th sefirot) are distinctly different from verse 1:9 (i.e. which delineates
the 1st sefirah).

Verse 1:9 describes the first sefirah as ―the Breath of the Living God‖, ―The
voice of breath and speech‖, and ―the Holy Breath‖.

Ten Sefiroth of Nothingness:


One is the Breath of the Living God
Blessed and benedicted is the name
of the Life of Worlds
The voice of breath and speech
And this is the Holy Breath.253

This ‗Holy Breath‘ is actually the divine force that is used by the Creator to
―engrave and carve‖ the next three sefirot. All three of the following verses (i.e.
verses 1:10 to 1:12) contain the phrase ―With it He engraved and carved...‖.

What does ―it‖ refer to in the phrase: ―With it He engraved and carved‖?

It is the ‗Holy Breath‘.

253 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:9.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

In fact, it is stated openly in the Sefer Yetzirah that it is the Holy Breath (also
called ―the Voice of Breath and Speech‖)...

Twenty-two Foundation Letters


He engraved them with voice
He carved them with breath...254

(See verse 1:10 quoted below.)

In other words, the ‗Holy Breath‘ is used by the Creator to form the 2nd, 3rd,
and 4th sefirot.

The first sefirah, the Holy Breath, symbolizes the in-breath of the Creator Who
subsequently breathes out the Holy Breath in order to manifest the Creation
(i.e. by carving out the remaining sefirot). The Holy Breath corresponds to Ain
Sof (the ‗Limitless‘)—the unknown realm into which the essence of the
Creation will return when the Creator next inhales His divine Breath.

Two: Breath from Breath.


With it [i.e. the Holy Breath] He engraved and carved
22 Foundation Letters
Three Mothers
Seven Doubles
and Twelve Elementals
And one Breath is from them.255

254 Sefer Yetzirah, 2:3.

255 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:10.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Three: Water from Breath.


With it [i.e. the Holy Breath] He engraved and carved
[22 letters from]
chaos and void
mire and clay
He engraved them like a sort of garden
He carved them like a sort of wall
He covered them like a sort of ceiling
[And He poured snow over them
and it became dust
as it is written
―For to snow He said, ‗Become earth‘‖ (Job 37:6).]256

Four: Fire from Water


With it [i.e. the Holy Breath] He engraved and carved
the Throne of Glory
Serafim, Ophanim, and holy Chayot
and Ministering angels
From these three He founded His dwelling
as it is written:
―He makes His angels of breaths,
His ministers of flaming fire‖ (Psalms 104:4).257

In all three of these verses the sefirot are firstly named...

2. Breath from Breath (―22 Foundation Letters‖)


3. Water from Breath (―22 Letters from Chaos and Void‖)
4. Fire from Water (―The Throne of Glory‖)

...and then their formation is described in terms of the exhalation of the Holy
Breath as it ‗engraves and carves‘ their attributes. This is made clear in verse 1:10
where it states: ―With it He engraved and carved 22 Foundation letters...And one Breath

256 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:11.

257 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:12.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

is from them‖. The ‗Breath‘ that is ―from them‖ is ‗Breath from Breath‘ which
emanates from this sefirah after the ‗22 Foundation Letters‖ have been
―engraved and carved‖ by the Holy Breath (i.e. of verse 1:9).

Notice in verse 1:12 (above) the inclusion of the phrase ―Throne of Glory‖—a
well-known significator of the sefirah Binah. That is a big clue.

Verse 1:12 also contains the phrase ―From these three He founded His
dwelling‖.

What does this mean—‖from these three‖?

It means that the Creator built His dwelling (or ‗House‘) from the 2nd, 3rd, and
4th sefirot (i.e. ‗the last three mentioned sefirot‘).

The phrase ―His dwelling‖ specifically refers to the sefirah Da‘at (and the six
lowest sefirot of the Tree of Life).

The seven lower sefirot (including Da‘at) are associated with the seven Double
letters of the Hebrew alphabet, just as the three sefirot above them are
associated with the three Mother letters.

The sefirah Da‘at (which is not enumerated in the Sefer Yetzirah because it is
‗concealed‘) is associated with the first Double letter—i.e. the letter Bayt, ‫ב‬,
meaning ‗House‘, or ‗dwelling‘. The lower six sefirot are associated with the
other six Double letters.

Thus, when it is stated in SY verse 1:12... ―From these three He founded His
dwelling‖, it is actually saying: ‗From these last three mentioned sefirot He created the
sefirah Da’at and the six sefirot below the Abyss‘.

The phrase ―He founded His dwelling‖ refers to the ‗dwelling‘ (Bayt, ‫ )ב‬that
extends from Da‘at through the next six ‗directional‘ sefirot of the Tree of Life.

The letter Bayt (as Da‘at) is itself specifically referred to (in the Sefer Yetzirah)
as the Holy Palace or Temple (HYKL HQVDSh, ‫)הקודש היכל‬. It represents the
‗inner sanctum‘—the most sacred ‗room‘ of the House. In my view, the term

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Holy Palace (or, Temple) as used in the Sefer Yetzirah, does not refer to the
sefirah Malkut as most kabbalists appear to believe. As I mentioned above, the
ten sefirot of the Sefer Yetzirah do not include the sefirah Malkut.

Seven Doubles: BGD KPRT


Up and Down
East and West
North and South
And the Holy Palace precisely in the center
and it supports them all.258

The term ‗Holy Palace‘ does NOT refer to one of the ten enumerated sefirot
of the Sefer Yetzirah, because as we know, the ten sefirot are comprised of the
first four sefirot (as delineated in SY verses 1:9 to 1:12), and the six directional
sefirot (as stated in verses 1:14 and 4:4 quoted above).

Interestingly, when we total the Hebrew letter values of the term ‗holy palace‘
we derive:

HYKL QVDSh = ‫ = קודש היכל‬475

...while the value of the Hebrew word ―Da‘at‖ is:

DOTh = ‫ = דעת‬474.

The traditional rules of gematria allow a margin of error of 1 unit, so this result
is quite significant.

The Sefer Yetzirah describes the process of ‗formation‘ (or ‗creation‘) and the
sefirah Malkut symbolizes the final result of the creative process. In other
words, the sefirah Malkut (symbolizing the ‗world of Assiah‘) is an appendage
to the Tree of Life that emerges only after the yetziratic processes are complete.
That is why the creative formulae (i.e. the six ‗seals‘) given in Sefer Yetzirah 1:15

258 Sefer Yetzirah, 4:4.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

are derived from YHV (‫)יהו‬, and not YHVH (‫)יהוה‬. The final Heh (‫)ה‬
representing Malkut is not included in the formulae.

Bayt (as Da‘at) ―supports‖ the other six Double letters by holding them all
together in structured formation as the House of the Creator. One can imagine
it metaphorically as a hanging basket that contains within itself the six lower
sefirot. It is located ―precisely in the centre‖259 of the yetziratic Tree of Life (i.e. when
the first sefirah—the Holy Breath—is included). (See the diagram below.)

The six ‗directional‘ sefirot are the beams (the ‗mighty cedars‘ mentioned in the
Zohar) that together construct the ‗cube of space‘ which is a symbol of the
Creator‘s House. Da‘at symbolizes the House (i.e. the Universe) in its entirety
and is therefore unable to be perceived except by the Creator who ‗sits‘ upon it.

Thus, the ten sefirot (as enumerated in the Sefer Yetzirah) are as follows:

These are the Ten Sefiroth Belimah (i.e. ‗without Malkut‘):


The Breath of the Living God
Breath from Breath
Water from Breath
Fire from Water
Up down east west north south.260

259 Sefer Yetzirah, 4:4.

260 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:14.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

1. Ain Sof - The Breath of the Living God261 - Alef, ‫( א‬Air)


2. Keter - Breath from Breath - Alef, ‫( א‬Air)
3. Hockmah - Water from Breath - Maym, ‫( מ‬Water)
4. Binah - Fire from Water - Shin, ‫( ש‬Fire)

Da‘at (‗concealed‘ and un-enumerated) - Bayt, ‫( ב‬Saturn)

5. Hesed - South - Gimel, ‫( ג‬Jupiter)


6. Geburah - East - Dalet, ‫( ד‬Mars)
7. Tifaret - Up - Kaf, ‫( כ‬Sun)
8. Netzah - West - Peh, ‫( פ‬Venus)
9. Hod - North - Raysh, ‫( ר‬Mercury)
10. Yesod - Down - Tav, ‫( ת‬Moon)

261 Also: ‗The Holy Breath‘.

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pg. 250
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Appendix Two
Some Related Esoteric Comments
By: Patrick Mulcahy

Mothers, Doubles, and Elementals262

There is a very esoteric reason why the twenty-two Hebrew letters are called
Mothers, Doubles, and Elementals.

The three Mother letters, after having condensed themselves to form the three
highest sefirot of the Tree of Life, then become pregnant with the Son. The
divine impregnation of the Mother with the Son is symbolized by the seven
Double letter pathways that manifest between (and connect together) the
highest sefirot of the Tree. The birth of the Son from the Mother is symbolized
by the emergence of the seven lower Double letter sefirot. These seven sefirot
(from Da‘at to Yesod) are the direct result of the emanation of the seven
Double letter pathways into a denser, more ‗fixed‘ form (i.e. lower down on the
Tree diagram).

This is an esoteric reason why the seven Double letters are called ‗Doubles‘.

The seven Double letter supernal pathways are like the soul aspect of the Son
(whose ‗body‘ is in turn represented by the seven Double letter sefirot).

262 The twelve ‗Elementals‘ are also often called ‗Simples‘.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

In the Hebrew language the seven Double letters have a soft and a hard form.
The soft forms of these letters are attributed to the seven Double letter
pathways (soul), while their hard forms (containing the dagesh) are associated
with the seven Double letter sefirot (body).

Thus it can be understood that the seven Double letters are called Doubles
because they are responsible for manifesting (in a certain sense) the soul and
body of the Tree of Life. The spirit aspect of the Tree is represented by the
three Mother letters.

The twelve Elemental letters combine together to form the final sefirah Malkut.
They are associated with the Daughter, and the four Elements of the manifested
Universe. The twelve Elemental pathways represent the soul of the Daughter
while their combined conformation in Malkut represents her body.

Thus we have:

o Father = Ain Sof


o Mother = Keter-Hockmah-Binah (i.e. three Mother letters)
o Son = Seven lower sefirot (Da‘at to Yesod—i.e. seven Double letters)
o Daughter = Malkut (i.e. twelve Elemental letters)

Malkut - Twelve Simple Letter Pathways

The sefirah Malkut manifests on the Tree of Life as a result of the merging
together into one conformation of the twelve Simple letter pathways. This is
hinted at in several places in the Zohar. For example:

...We see that Jacob [Tifaret] blessed Joseph along with his brothers, but
when God arranged the tribes under four standards He omitted Joseph
and put Ephraim in his place. This cannot have been for any sin of
Joseph‘s, but the reason is this: Joseph [Yesod] was the impress of the
male, and since all the adornments of the Shekinah [Malkut] are female,

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Joseph was removed from the standards and Ephraim was appointed in
his place. On this account he was stationed on the west, the side where
the female abides, and the impress which is male [Joseph, Yesod] was
removed from her adornments. We thus see that all the twelve tribes
[twelve Simple letter pathways] are the adornment of the Shekinah [Malkut]
after the supernal pattern, save for the grade of the Zaddik [Yesod], who
makes all the limbs male263.264

JOSEPH IS A FRUITFUL BOUGH, A FRUITFUL BOUGH BY A


FOUNTAIN. The words ―fruitful bough‖ are repeated to show that he
is such both above and below. Observe that the holy kingdom [Malkut,
second Heh of YHVH] does not attain its perfection as holy kingdom until
it is joined with the patriarchs [referring to Hesed, Geburah, and Tifaret]. Then
its structure is completed from the upper world, which is the world of
the male [i.e. Vav of YHVH, the sefirot Da’at to Yesod].

The upper world [i.e. Vav of YHVH] is called ―seven years‖ because all
the ―seven years‖ [the seven sefirot Da’at to Yesod] are in it. The mnemonic
of this is ―and he built it seven years‖ (I Kings VI, 38). By means of this
the lower world [Malkut, second Heh of YHVH] was built, which also is
alluded to as ―seven years‖. The mnemonic for this is ―Seven days and
seven days, fourteen days‖ (I Kings VIII, 66), the first seven being male
and the second female.

It is written: ―Many daughters have done virtuously‖ (Prov. XXXI, 29).


These are the twelve tribes who did valiantly. Hence it is written here:
―The daughters advanced upon the wall‖; that is to say, the daughters
[twelve Simple letter pathways] took part in the adornment of the Shekinah,
but not the sons [seven sefirot Da’at to Yesod].265

263The seven sefirot (Da‘at to Yesod) are made male by Yesod because Yesod represents the male
sexual organ.

264 Soncino Zohar, Vayehi, 246b. Vol. II, Pg 381. The notes in square brackets are my own.

265 Soncino Zohar, Vayehi, 246b-247a, Vol. II, Pg 382. The notes in square brackets are my own.

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Thought, Understanding, Voice, Utterance

The following passage is from the Soncino Edition of the Zohar. It is found in
Volume II, pg 382.

[NAPTHALI IS A HIND LET LOOSE] WHO GIVETH GOODLY


WORDS.

The Voice speaks to the Utterance, there being no voice without


utterance.

This Voice is sent from a deep recess above in order to guide the
Utterance, the two being related as general and particular.

The Voice issues from the south and speaks to the west, inheriting two
sides, and therefore Moses said to Napthali: ―Possess thou the west and
the south‖ (Deut. XXXIII, 23).

Observe that Thought is the beginning of all. This Thought is recondite


and inscrutable, but when it expands it reaches the place where spirit
abides and is then called Understanding (binah), which is not so
recondite as the preceding.

This spirit expands and produces a Voice composed of fire, water, and
air, which corresponds to north, south, and east. [Geburah, Hesed, and
Tifaret—that is, the Ruach triad.]

This Voice embraces in itself all forces, and speaks to Utterance [Malkut],
and this shapes the word properly.

When you examine the grades closely you find that Thought,
Understanding, Voice, Utterance are all one and the same, and there is no

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

separation between them, and this is what is meant by the words: ―The
Lord is one and His Name is One.‖266

In Numbers, Chap. 2, the tribe Napthali is given to the north/Geburah (i.e. the
Camp of Dan) and I have associated it with the sign Virgo. We see in this
passage from the Zohar a different symbolism.

The symbolism used in this passage relates the four directions to the sefirot as
follows:

o South: Hesed
o North: Geburah
o East: Tifaret
o West: Malkut

The four technical terms: Thought, Understanding, Voice, and Utterance, refer to the
following sefirot...

o Thought: Hockmah
o Understanding: Binah
o Voice: Hesed, Geburah, Tifaret (embracing the other Ruach
―forces‖: Netzah, Hod, and Yesod)
o Utterance: Malkut

These terms are also associated with ―His Name‖ as follows:

266 Soncino Zohar, Vayehi, 246b, Vol. II, Pg 382. The notes in square brackets are my own.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Y = Thought (Hockmah)
H = Understanding (Binah)
V = Voice (Hesed, Geburah, Tifaret, etc)
H = Utterance (Malkut)

The Voice is said to expand from Binah as a spirit containing within itself fire,
water, and air—corresponding to north, south, and east (i.e. the Ruach triad).
Thus, these elemental constituents of the Voice arrange themselves on the Tree
as follows:

o Fire – North – Geburah


o Water – South – Hesed
o Air – East – Tifaret

Of course, these elements refer specifically to energies emanating from the


three Hebrew Mother letters: Shin, Maym, and Alef (i.e. and the supernal
triad—Binah, Hockmah, and Keter).

So we have:

o Fire (Shin) – North – Geburah


o Water (Maym) – South – Hesed
o Air (Alef) – East – Tifaret

These correspondences mirror (and are emanations of) their higher


correspondences...

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

o Fire (Shin) – Binah


o Water (Maym) – Hockmah
o Air (Alef) – Keter

The Voice ―guides the Utterance‖. It issues from the south (Hesed) and speaks
to the west (Malkut). In other words, it‘s transmitted through the seven lowest
sefirot from Hesed (#4) to Malkut (#10).

In Malkut the Voice ‗materializes‘ as an Utterance. It becomes the ‗spoken


word‘ of the Creator.

What is being cryptically described in this passage is an occult kabbalistic


meditation, as well as the process of Creation (in general).

Joseph Represents Yesod

Genesis 49:23. The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and
hated him:

Genesis 49:24. But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands
were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from
thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel...)267

267 King James Version.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

BUT HIS BOW ABODE IN STRENGTH.

This means that the bow which was his mate [1] clothed him with
strength and kept him firm, knowing that he would not go astray right or
left in regard to his own proper grade of the sign of the covenant [2].

AND THE ARMS OF HIS HANDS WERE MADE STRONG.

The word vayaphozu (were made strong) is akin to the word paz (fine
gold), and indicates that his arms were adorned with precious jewels [3].

BY THE HANDS OF THE MIGHTY ONE OF JACOB.

These are the two sides [4] to which Jacob held fast.

FROM THENCE HE FED THE STONE OF ISRAEL.

By him was supported that precious stone [5], as we have said. Or again,
it may mean that that precious stone was sustained by these two sides
which are north and south [6], and between which it was placed by the
hands of the Righteous One.268

[1] Joseph represents the sefirah Yesod on the Tree of Life, and his ―mate‖ is
the feminine sefirah Malkut (i.e. the Shekinah) to whom he is attached. The
word for ‗strength‘ used here is ‫( איתן‬AYThN) meaning ‗constant, ever-flowing,
enduring‘. His place is on the Middle Pillar where he remains ‗firm‘, not straying
to the left-hand Pillar of Severity, or the right-hand Pillar of Mercy.

[2] In one respect, the sefirah Yesod represents the ―sign of the covenant‖. The
Hebrew letter Tav means ‗sign‘ and is the Double letter associated with Yesod.
Another reason that the covenant of the ‗circumcision‘ is associated with Yesod
is because Yesod represents the male sexual organ.

268 Soncino Zohar, Vayehi, 247a, Vol. II, Pg 383. The square bracketed notes are my own.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

[3] The ―precious jewels‖ symbolize the sefirot above Yesod on the Tree of
Life—namely, Netzah and Hod. The word for ―strong‖ used here is ‫( פזז‬PZZ)
meaning ‗supple, agile, nimble‘.

[4] Jacob represents the sefirah Tifaret. The ―two sides to which Jacob held fast‖ are
the sefirot Hesed and Geburah.

[5] The ―precious stone‖ is symbolic of the sefirah Tifaret. Tifaret is supported
by the sefirah Yesod. (Yesod means ‗foundation‘.) In this symbolism Tifaret is
identified with the East direction, and is situated between North (Geburah) and
South (Hesed).

The Mystery of Da’at

R. Jose discoursed on the verse: ―Whereupon were the foundations


thereof fastened?‖ (Job XXXVIII, 6)

He said: When God created the world, He established it on seven pillars,


but upon what those pillars rest no one may know, since it is a recondite
and inscrutable mystery. [1]

The world did not come into being until God took a certain stone, which
is called the ―foundation stone‖, and cast it into the abyss so that it held
fast there, and from it the world was planted. [2] This is the central point
of the universe, and on this point stands the holy of holies. [3] This is the
stone referred to in the verses, ―Who laid the corner-stone thereof‖ (Ibid.
6), ―the stone of testing, the precious corner-stone‖ (Is. XXVIII, 16), and
―the stone that the builders despised became the head of the corner‖ (Ps.
CXVIII, 22). [4]

This stone is compounded of fire, water, and air, and rests on the abyss.
Sometimes water flows from it and fills the deep. [5]

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

This stone is set as a sign in the centre of the world. It is referred to in


the words, ―And Jacob took a stone and set it as a pillar‖ (Gen. XXXI,
45). Not that he took this stone, which was created from the beginning,
but he established it above and below, by making there a ―house of
God‖. [6]

This stone has on it seven eyes, as it is written, ―On one stone seven
eyes‖ (Zech. III, 9), and it is called ―foundation stone‖, for one thing
because the world was planted from it, and for another because God set
it as a source of blessing to the world... [7]269

[1] The ―seven pillars‖ are, of course, the seven lower sefirot from Hesed to
Malkut. Those seven sefirot rest upon the foundational sefirah of Da‘at.

[2] The ―abyss‖ is the chasm that extends between the seven lower sefirot and
the three highest sefirot.

[3] The ―holy of holies‖ refers to the three highest sefirot.

[4] The Hebrew word for ―stone‖ used here is eh‘-ben (ABN). It also means
‗wheel‘, or ‗disk‘. There is a connection with the Hebrew root baw-naw‘ (BNH)
meaning ‗to build‘, and binah (BYNH) meaning ‗understanding‘—the third
sefirah. The sefirah Da‘at is, in a sense, the Son (ben, BN) of Binah (BYNH).
Da‘at is associated with the Hebrew Double letter Bayt (B) upon which the
whole Creation (Berashit) is established.

[5] Da‘at is a composite of Air (Alef/Keter), Water (Maym/Hockmah), and Fire


(Shin/Binah). The ―water‖ that flows from Da‘at is the ―blessing to the world‖
mentioned further on in this extract. (See note 7.)

[6] The ―house‖ is Bayt (meaning ‗house‘)—the Hebrew Double letter


associated with Da‘at. Jacob represents the sefirah Tifaret. He ―established‖ it
―above‖ in Da‘at, and ―below‖ in ―Yesod‖.

[7] The Zohar describes the sefirah Yesod (meaning ‗foundation‘) as the source
of blessings for the ‗lower world‘ (meaning Malkut). Here Da‘at and Yesod are

269 Soncino Zohar, Vayehi, 231a, Vol. II, Pg 339-340. The square bracketed notes are my own.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

identified with each other. (Da‘at is the source of ‗blessings‘ for the ‗higher
world‘—i.e. above Malkut.) Jacob/Tifaret is positioned on the Middle Pillar
between the Da‘at ‗foundation‘ and the Yesod ‗foundation‘. Jacob (Tifaret) is
said to have ―established‖ these two foundations.

The Mystery of Da’at - Part Two

R. Judah discoursed here on the text: ―The Lord also thundered in the
heavens, and the Most High gave forth his voice; hailstones and coals of
fire‖ (Ps. XVIII, 14).

When God, he said, created the world, He constructed for it seven pillars
by which it was to be upheld. So scripture says: ―Wisdom hath builded
her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars‖ (Prov. IX, 1). These in
turn are upheld by one grade from among them called ―the Righteous
One, the everlasting foundation‖ (Ibid. X, 25). [1]

Further, when the world was created, it was started from that spot which
is the culmination and perfection of the world, the central point of the
universe, which is identical with Zion, as it is written: ―A psalm of Asaph.
God, God the Lord hath spoken and called the earth from the rising of
the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of
beauty, God hath shined forth‖ (ps. I, 2). That is to say, God started the
earth from Zion, from that spot where faith culminates in its full
perfection. Zion is thus the citadel and central point of the universe,
from which it began to be fashioned and from which the whole world is
nourished. [2]

This lesson is esoterically indicated in our text. For Zion and Jerusalem,
while one, represent two degrees, the one being the channel of
judgement, the other of mercy; first there issues from one the sound of
mercy, and afterwards there comes forth from the other the voice of
judgement, the two forming the source from which the paths of
judgement and mercy issue and diverge. Hence, the expression ―And the

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Lord also thundered in the heavens‖ indicates judgement, while ―the


Most High gave forth his voice‖ refers to mercy, and ―hailstones and
coals of fire‖ signify water and fire, that is, mercy and judgement
commingled. [3]270

[1] The word ―house‖ refers to the first Hebrew Double letter Bayt (B)
(meaning literally ‗house‘). It is a reference to the sefirah Da‘at which stands
upon the seven pillars.

The word ―Wisdom‖ (in the quote) is a reference to the sefirah Hockmah. The
three highest sefirot are associated with the three Hebrew Mother letters.
Hockmah is associated with the Mother letter ‗Maym‘. The Mother letter Maym
rules over the seven Hebrew Double letters. Here is the key...

Mother Letter/Sefirah Rules Over Letters/Sefirot


Alef (Keter) 3 Mothers (3 highest sefirot)
Maym (Hockmah) 7 Doubles (7 lower sefirot)
Shin (Binah) 12 Simples (10th sefirah)

This is one reason why the Zohar states that the Creation begins from
Hockmah—i.e. because the seven Double letters bring it (i.e. the Creation) into
being. The path of Bayt extends between Hockmah and Binah, and condenses
to form the sefirah Da‘at.

The seven pillars are the seven lower sefirot (and also the seven Hebrew
Double letters). The letter Bayt represents their beginning point as represented
by the sefirah Da‘at on the Tree of Life diagram. The ―grade‖ that upholds
them, ―the Righteous One, the everlasting foundation‖, is the sefirah Yesod. Yesod is
the lower ‗foundation‘ of the universe, the sefirah Da‘at is the higher
‗foundation‘ (and centre point) of the universe.

270 Soncino Zohar, Vayesheb, 186a, Vol. II, Pg. 210. The square bracketed notes are my own.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

[2] Here the name Zion is associated with the sefirah Da‘at. Da‘at (Zion) is the
―perfection of beauty‖, or in other words, Da‘at represents the perfection of the
sefirah Tifaret (meaning literally ‗beauty‘). The word ―faith‖ is a reference to the
divine ‗covenant‘ which is (according to the Zohar) a covenant of faith. The
‗perfection of faith‘ is thus experienced in Da‘at. This is the perfection that was
achieved by Jacob (representing Tifaret). He is said (in the Zohar) to have
achieved ‗perfection‘ by uniting the Left with the Right, Judgment with Mercy,
Geburah and Hesed. Da‘at is the central point from which the universe began
to be fashioned. Da‘at is Bayt, the first Double letter, the first letter of the word
‗berashit‘ (meaning ‗in the beginning‘).

[3] Mercy (Water) and Judgment (Fire) issue from Da‘at towards the two lower
sefirot Hesed and Geburah.

The Community of Israel

Rabbi Hizkiah opened his discourse with the text: ―As a lily among
thorns, etc‖ (S.S. II, 2).

What, he said, does the lily symbolise? It symbolises the Community of


Israel. [1]

As the lily among thorns is tinged with red and white, so the Community
of Israel is visited now with justice and now with mercy; [2] as the lily
possesses thirteen leaves, so the Community of Israel is vouchsafed
thirteen categories of mercy which surround it on every side. [3] For this
reason, the term Elohim (God) mentioned here (in the first verse of
Genesis) is separated by thirteen words from the next mention of
Elohim, symbolising the thirteen categories of mercy which surround the
Community of Israel to protect it. [4]

The second mention of Elohim is separated from the third by five words,
representing the five strong leaves that surround the lily, symbolic of the

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

five ways of salvation which are the ―five gates‖. [5] This is alluded to in
the verse ―I will lift up the cup of salvation‖ (Ps. CXVI, 13). This is the
―cup of benediction‖, which has to be raised by five fingers and no more,
after the model of the lily, which rests on five strong leaves in the shape
of five fingers. [6] Thus the lily is a symbol of the cup of benediction.

Immediately after the third mention of Elohim appears the light which,
so soon as created, was treasured up and enclosed in that b‘rith
(covenant) which entered the lily and fructified it, [7] and this is what is
called ―the tree bearing fruit wherein is the seed thereof‖: and this seed is
preserved in the very sign of the covenant.

And as the ideal covenant was formed through forty-two copulations, so


the engraven ineffable name is formed of the forty-two letters of the
work of creation. [8]271

[1] The ―Community of Israel‖ symbolizes the sefirah Tifaret (Jacob) on the
Tree of Life, and includes the five sefirot that surround Tifaret (i.e. Hesed,
Geburah, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod). The twelve tribes of Israel are included in
this conformation because they are symbolized by the twelve pathways that
extend between these six sefirot.

[2] The terms ―justice‖ (―red‖) and ―mercy‖ (―white‖) refer to the sefirot
Geburah and Hesed. Justice flows to the Community of Israel from Geburah,
while Mercy flows to it from Hesed.

[3] The Community of Israel is especially signified by Tifaret (Jacob/Israel), and


thus also with the Double letter Kaf, and the Sun. On the Tree of Life, Tifaret
is surrounded by thirteen pathways. These consist of the twelve Simple letter
pathways symbolizing the twelve tribes of Israel, and the twelve heavenly
constellations (i.e. that surround the Sun/Tifaret). The thirteenth pathway is the
path of the Mother letter Shin (Fire) which, like Tifaret/Sun, is positioned in
the midst of all the twelve Simple letter pathways and (in a sense) rules over
them. The path of Shin is an emanation of the sefirah Binah (Shin) who rules
over all the twelve Simple letters (i.e. because they are Her adornment—the

271 Soncino Zohar, Prologue, Vol. I, Pg. 1. The square bracketed notes are my own.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

adornment of the Shekinah, as mentioned in my previous post). The path of


Shin joins the Sun (Tifaret) with the Moon (Yesod) on the Tree of Life. Because
all these thirteen pathways are associated with Binah/Shin/Fire, and therefore
with ‗Judgment‘, the Community of Israel is provided with thirteen ―categories
of mercy‖ to balance the ‗judgments‘ associated with the thirteen pathways.
These thirteen ‗mercies‘ come originally from Hockmah/Maym/Water.

[4] The name Elohim here refers to the sefirah Binah (and also Geburah) on the
Tree of Life.

[5] The ―five strong leaves‖ is a reference to the five sefirot that surround
Tifaret (Kaf/Sun). They are: Hesed (Gimel/Jupiter), Geburah (Dalet/Mars),
Netzah (Peh/Venus), Hod (Raysh/Mercury), and Yesod (Tav/Moon). (Note:
The pathways are considered ‗soft‘, and the sefirot ‗hard‘.) These five sefirot
form the five corners of an inverted pyramid, or cup (see diagram). Between
these five corners are extended the twelve Simple letter (i.e. zodiacal) pathways.

[6] Tifaret is associated with the Double letter Kaf (meaning ‗open palm of the
hand‘, and also ‗cup‘). From Tifaret/Kaf (i.e. from the ‗palm‘) extend five
fingers which once again is a reference to the five sefirot surrounding Tifaret.
The five fingers raise the ―cup of benediction‖ referring also to Tifaret/Kaf as
the ‗cup‘.

[7] Thus, the lily is basically feminine, it having a close association with the
sefirah Binah (i.e. because of Binah‘s rulership of the twelve Simple letter
‗leaves‘, and because of the path of Shin in their midst). The lily is fructified
(and mitigated) by the male principle as represented by Hockmah/Maym
(opposite Binah). The Mother letter pathway of Maym is an emanation of
Hockmah (Maym). It enters the lily (i.e. water flows into the cup) and protrudes
out of its top, joining Tifaret to Da‘at. There are two ‗covenants‘—the covenant
of the ‗circumcision of the male member‘, and the covenant of the
‗circumcision of the tongue‘. These are associated with the sefirot, Yesod and
Da‘at respectively. The feminine aspect of the covenant is basically symbolized
by the Mother letter Shin (and Yesod), while the masculine aspect of the
covenant is symbolized by the Mother letter Maym (and Da‘at).

[8] The ―ideal covenant‖ is a reference to the sefirah Da‘at. In one sense, the
number forty-two can be viewed as an oblique reference to Maym-Bayt (M-B,
42)—that is, to the path of Maym extending to Da‘at (Bayt) from Tifaret. The
―forty-two copulations‖ and the ―forty-two letters of the work of creation‖ are
also, of course, references to the mysterious ‗Name of forty-two‘.

pg. 265
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

There are different ways of interpreting the meaning of the ―forty-two


copulations‖ quoted in the above Zohar extract. Here are some more of my
thoughts...

The divine 'Covenant' that has been established between God and Man is called
‗Brith‘ (BRYTh, bereeth, 'covenant').

Symbolically speaking, this covenant refers to a special relationship that exists


between the Sun and the Moon, or between the Community of Israel (Sun) and
the Shekinah (Moon).

This special relationship was established during the Creation (BRAShYTh, ‗In
the beginning‘) and is represented by the insertion of ASh (i.e. the Hebrew word
for ‗Fire‘) into the middle of BRYTh (‗Covenant‘) to form BRAShYTh.

Thus, the Covenant is a covenant of Fire (ASh).

2. ...―ELOHIM SAID...LET THERE BE LIGHT‖ (Beresheet 1:3). After


this light was created, it was concealed and enclosed within that Brit
(covenant) that entered the lily and fructified it. This is referred to as "a
tree bearing fruit whose seed is within it" (Ibid. 11) and this seed is the
Brit.

3. And just as the Brit is sown by forty-two matings from that same seed,
so the engraved and holy name is sown by the forty-two letters that
describe the act of creation.272

Consider this. When God created the world, it was created only through
a covenant, as it is written, ―Bereshith (b'rith esh, covenant of fire), God
created‖; and it is further written, ―If my covenant of day and night stand
not, if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth‖ (Jer.

272 Zohar, Kabbalah Center Edition, I,2-3.

pg. 266
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

XXXIII, 25), since there is a covenant of union that day and night shall
not be separated.273

The Covenant of Fire is established between the Sun and the ‗lower‘ Moon, or
in other words, between Israel and the ‗lower‘ Shekinah. 274 This holy covenant
has existed since the beginning of Creation.

The Creation process is symbolized by the movement and combination of the


22 letters of the Hebrew alefbet.

Symbolically speaking, there are two separate, but conjoined streams of twenty-
two Hebrew letters that flow in opposite directions to each other—that is, from
Alef to Tav, and from Tav to Alef. This concept can also be understood in
terms of a flow of creative energy from Male to Female, and from Female to
Male.

These two streams of twenty-two letters combine and interact with each other
and thereby bring the Universe into manifestation.

As the two opposite streams of twenty-two Hebrew letters interact they pair
together and combine in ―forty-two copulations‖.

You may be asking: If there are two streams of twenty-two letters why are there
not forty-four ‗copulations‘ (i.e. 22 + 22)?

It is because: When the twenty-two Hebrew letters align with each other only
twenty-one letter pair combinations form. The twenty-first letter pairing
combines four letters to form one pair (due to a doubling of the letters
involved). Thus there are only 42 ‗copulations‘—that is, 21 + 21.

This is best explained in a diagram. (See below.)

273 Soncino Zohar, Lech Lecha, 89a, v1, pp 295-6.

274In terms of the Tree of Life diagram it is represented by the Shin pathway that extends between
Tifaret (Sun) and Yesod/Malkut (Moon).

pg. 267
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The diagrams show the first of a series of mandalas. It represents the beginning
(BRAShYTh) of the Creation. In the beginning the Sun (Kaf) and Moon (Tav)
were brought into alignment with each other and the divine Covenant was
established.

In diagram one you will note five circled letters that form the word BRAShTh
(‗He created a foundation‘, or ‗He created six‘). It spells BRAShYTh (‗In the
beginning‘) without the Yud. This way of interpreting the word BRAShYTh is
discussed at length in the Zohar. In the diagram the letters of BRAShTh are
mirrored across the vertical axis of the mandala.

Figure 70 : The 42 Copulations & BRAShTh

pg. 268
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Diagram two enumerates the twenty-one letter pairings (i.e. the ―forty-two
copulations‖). The final pairing (i.e. Kaf-Tav) unites the Sun (Day) and the
Moon (Night) thus establishing the divine Covenant.

The ―forty-two copulations‖ are also represented in the Jacob's Wheel mandala
system in which there are 21 x 21 (or 441) letter pairings in one complete cycle.
I consider both of these interpretations—i.e. 21 + 21, and 21 x 21—to both be
meaningful ways of understanding the "forty-two copulations" concept, and I'm
sure there are others.

Figure 71 : The Covenant – The Pathway of Shin

pg. 269
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Great Voice

R. Simeon proceeded: ‗In the same way the Torah is situated between
two houses, one recondite and on high, and the other more accessible.
The one on high is the ―Great Voice‖ referred to in the verse, ―a great
voice which did not cease‖ (Deut. v, 19). This Voice is in the recesses
and is not heard or revealed, and when it issues from the throat it utters
the aspirate without sound and it flows on without ceasing, though it is
so tenuous as to be inaudible. [1] From this issues the Torah, which is the
voice of Jacob. [2] The audible voice issues from the inaudible. In due
course speech is attached to it, and through the force of that speech it
emerges into the open. [3] The voice of Jacob, which is the Torah, is thus
attached to two females, to this inner voice which is inaudible, and to this
outer voice which is heard. [4]

Strictly speaking, there are two which are inaudible and two which are
heard. The two which are not heard are, first, the supernal Wisdom
which is located in the Thought and is not disclosed or heard [5]; and
secondly the same Wisdom when it issues and discloses itself a little in a
whisper which cannot be heard, being then called the ―Great Voice‖,
which is very tenuous and issues in a whisper. [6] The two which are
heard are those which issue from this source--the voice of Jacob and the
articulation which accompanies it. [7] This ―Great Voice‖ which cannot
be heard is a ―house‖ to the supernal Wisdom (the female is always called
―house‖), and the articulation we have mentioned is a ―house‖ to the
Voice of Jacob, which is the Torah, and therefore the Torah commences
with the letter beth, which is, as it were, a ―house‖ to it.‘ [8]275

[1] The relevant section of Deuteronomy is as follows...

275 Soncino Zohar, Berashith, 50b, v1, Pg. 160-161. The square bracketed notes are my own.

pg. 270
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Deuteronomy, 5:22-26. These words the LORD spake unto all your
assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of
the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he
wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me. And it
came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness,
(for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all
the heads of your tribes, and your elders; And ye said, Behold, the LORD
our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard
his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God
doth talk with man, and he liveth. Now therefore why should we die? for
this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the LORD our
God any more, then we shall die. For who is there of all flesh, that hath
heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as
we have, and lived?276

The ―great voice‖ referred to here is signified by the sefirah Binah on the Tree
of Life. Binah is associated with the Hebrew Mother letter Shin and elemental
Fire. It is not revealed or heard until it issues from the ―throat‖ which is
identified with the sefirah Da‘at.

[2] The ―voice of Jacob‖ and the ―Torah‖ are associated with the three
combined sefirot Hesed, Geburah, and Tifaret. (Y-H-V) The Zohar explains
(elsewhere) that the ‗written‘ Torah is an expression of Hesed while the ‗oral‘
Torah is an expression of Geburah. Jacob himself is symbolized by the sefirah
Tifaret.

[3] The ―speech‖ that is eventually ―attached‖ to the ―voice‖ is represented by


the sefirah Malkut (from where ―it emerges into the open‖). Thus YHV
becomes YHV-H.

[4] The ―two females‖ are Binah (―inner voice‖) and Malkut (―outer voice‖).
The ―voice of Jacob‖ is between them.

[5] The ―supernal Wisdom‖ and ―Thought‖ are references to the sefirah
Hockmah.

276 King James Version.

pg. 271
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

[6] When Hockmah combines with Binah a very tenuous ―whisper‖ is heard (i.e.
from the sefirah Da‘at).

[7] As described above, the ―voice of Jacob‖ is associated with the three sefirot
Hesed, Geburah, and Tifaret.

[8] The Hebrew Double letter Bayt (or ‗Beth‘, meaning ‗house‘) extends as a
pathway between Hockmah and Binah. It (i.e. ‗Bayt‘) effectively ‗houses‘ the
supernal Wisdom within the sefirah Binah, and finally manifests (in a ‗whisper‘)
as the sefirah Da‘at (i.e. Da‘at being the sefirotic expression of the Bayt
archetype). Similarly, the sefirah Malkut is a ‗house‘ to the ―voice of Jacob‖
coming from Hesed, Geburah, and Tifaret.

The Fall of Adam

AND THEY HEARD THE VOICE OF THE LORD GOD


WALKING IN THE GARDEN.

(Note the form mithalech (walking) instead of the usual mehalech.)

Until he sinned, man was gifted with the wisdom of celestial illumination,
and he did not for an instant quit the Tree of Life. But when he was
seduced by his desire to know what was below, he weakly followed it
until he became separated from the Tree of Life, and knew evil and
forsook good: hence the Scripture says ‗for thou art not a God that hath
pleasure in wickedness, evil shall not sojourn with thee‘ (Ps. v. 5). He
who is drawn after evil may not abide with the Tree of Life.

Before they sinned, the human pair used to hear a voice from above, and
were endowed with the higher wisdom; they stood erect with heavenly
radiance, and knew no fear. When they sinned, they were not able to
stand up even before an earthly voice. A similar thing happened later
with the Israelites. When Israel stood before Mount Sinai, the impurity of
the serpent was removed from them, so that carnal passion was
suppressed among them, and in consequence they were able to attach

pg. 272
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

themselves to the Tree of Life, and their thoughts were turned to higher
things and not to lower. Hence they were vouchsafed heavenly
illuminations and knowledge which filled them with joy and gladness.
Further, God girt them with cinctures of the letters of the Holy Name,
which prevented the serpent from gaining power over them or defiling
them as before.

When they sinned by worshiping the calf, they were degraded from their
high estate and lost their illumination, they were deprived of the
protective girdle of the Holy Name and became exposed to the attacks of
the evil serpent as before, and so brought death into the world.277

This extract from the Zohar describes very clearly the true meaning of the ‗fall
of Adam‘ from the ‗garden of Eden‘.

Before God created Eve from Adam‘s ‗side‘ Adam was hermaphroditic—both
male and female, perfectly balanced in one entity. His ‗male‘ side was/is
symbolized by the sefirah Tifaret/Sun; his female side by the sefirah
Yesod/Moon.

God took Adam‘s female ‗side‘ (i.e. Yesod) and ‗covered it with flesh‘ (i.e. He
attached the sefirah Malkut to Yesod).

The ‗serpent‘ that tempted Eve and then Adam is represented by the path of
Shin (Fire) that extends between Tifaret and Yesod. This is the ‗kundalini‘
serpent that drew Eve‘s and Adam‘s attention towards the matter principle of
Malkut (and the activity of the lower chakras that are so closely attached to the
material world). This is the esoteric reason why the serpent was subsequently
condemned to crawl upon the ground and live within the earth. It is symbolic of
the descent of the kundalini force into the deepest levels of matter.

277 Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 52a-52b, v1, Pg. 164-165. The square bracketed notes are my own.

pg. 273
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Adam could no longer ―abide with the Tree of Life‖ because his immersion in
the physical world of Malkut meant that he was required to clothe himself in a
very transient body of flesh, thus requiring him to regularly die and be reborn.

It is the task of Adam to raise the serpent above his head, or in other words, to
raise kundalini up the spine, through the seven major chakras to the crown
chakra.

The serpent (Shin) is actually an evolutionary force attached to the form


principle (i.e. and therefore associated with the divine Mother Binah) that is
urging us all to shift our focus away from the ‗illusory desires‘ of the material
world.

The serpent coils and weaves its way around and through the lower chakras,
creating friction and igniting the transforming fire of Shin that ultimately burns
away all the impurities of matter.

Eventually, Adam‘s attention will once again rise to the higher spheres from
where he will receive ―heavenly illuminations and knowledge‖ and be filled
―with joy and gladness‖.

The Naming of Seth

R. Hizkiah said: ‗...See now when God created the world, He made this
covenant and established the world upon it, as it is written bereshith,
which we interpret as bara shith, ―he created the foundation‖, to wit, the
covenant on which the world rests, and which is also called shith,
because it is a trough from which blessings flow forth to the world. [1]

Adam broke this covenant and removed it from its place. This covenant
is symbolised by the small letter Yod, the root and foundation of the
world. [2]

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

When Adam begat a son, he confessed his guilt and called the child Seth;
he did not venture to insert a Yod and call him ―Shith‖, because he had
broken the covenant so symbolised. In recompense, God propagated
mankind from Seth, and made him the forefather of all the righteous
who have lived since.

Note also this. When Israel stood before Mount Sinai, there entered
between these two letters (shin and tau) a symbol of the covenant, to wit,
the letter Beth, and God gave to Israel the word formed of all three
letters, which is SaBbaTH, as it is said: ―And the children of Israel shall
keep the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath throughout their generations a
perpetual covenant.‖ [3]

In this way these two letters finally obtained their original potency, which
had remained in suspense until the world was brought into its complete
state and the holy covenant entered between them.‘ [4]278

[1] The world is established on the ‗higher‘ covenant as represented by the


sefirah Da‘at. ―Blessings‖ (i.e. ‗Mercy‘, Maym, ‗Water‘) flow from Da‘at to the
lower sefirot. The flow of these ―blessings‖ was continuous until the divine
covenant was broken by Adam and the ‗fall‘ from the ‗garden of Eden‘
occurred. The flow is now only sporadic as evolving individuals raise their
consciousness to Tifaret (Jacob/Israel) and thereby invoke the descent of
―blessings‖ from Da‘at.

[2] The covenant was ―broken‖ and ―removed from its place‖. This is
symbolized for us by the obscuration (or ‗veiling‘) of the sefirah Da‘at effected
by the removal of the pathways from Da‘at to Hesed and Geburah. The ‗Yud‘
fell from Da‘at to the sefirah Yesod thereby establishing a new covenant. (Note
that Yesod is spelled Yod, but with a Sameck inserted.) The ‗lower‘ covenant of
Yesod (i.e. the covenant of ‗circumcision‘) was established to draw the
consciousness of Adam back up from the depths of matter (as represented by
Malkut). The circumcision is symbolic of the control and sublimation of the
lower ‗material‘ desires. The sefirah Yesod was female when Adam was in his
hermaphroditic state—that is, prior to the formation of Eve (during which

278 Soncino Zohar, Bereshith, 56a, v1, Pg. 178-9. The square bracketed notes are my own.

pg. 275
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Malkut was attached to Yesod). After Malkut became attached to Yesod, it (i.e.
Yesod) assumed a male role in relation to the feminine Malkut. Thus, it now
symbolizes the male member of Adam and is turned toward Malkut.

[3] ―Israel‖ represents a level of consciousness symbolized by Tifaret on the


Tree of Life. The Hebrew letter Bayt (or ―Beth‖) is the first of the seven
Double letters and is ascribed to the sefirah Da‘at (representing the ‗higher‘
covenant of the ‗tongue‘). (Note that the planetary attribution of Bayt is Saturn
which in Hebrew is Shabatai (ShBThAY).)

[4] The achievement by an individual to the grade of ‗Israel‘ means that the
individual has established conscious contact with the sefirah Da‘at and thus re-
established the missing pathways from Geburah to Da‘at (i.e. Shin), and from
Hesed to Da‘at (i.e. Maym). When these two pathways are opened the divine
Name (ShM, Shem) becomes activated (or is once again able to be
‗pronounced‘).

In Adam‘s ‗pre-fall‘ state his attention was turned towards Binah (the ‗higher‘
Shekinah) and there was a continuous flow of Shin and Maym (SheM) from the
supernal sefirot through Da‘at to Geburah and Hesed (i.e. and all the six lower
sefirot). But when the ‗fall‘ occurred, Adam‘s attention was turned toward
Malkut (the ‗lower‘ female principle) and the flow of Shin and Maym from
Da‘at was interrupted. The pathways from Da‘at to Hesed and Geburah were
removed and only a limited fixed quantity of Shin and Maym was retained by
Adam after leaving the ‗garden of Eden‘. This is contained and stored in the
paths of Shin and Maym that occupy the central column of the Tree of Life—
from Da‘at to Tifaret (i.e. the path of Maym), and from Tifaret to Yesod (i.e.
the path of Shin). This is all the Shin and Maym energy that Adam has available
to him to work with as he struggles to free himself from his prison of matter.
The ‗lower‘ covenant of ‗circumcision‘ has been provided to assist Adam in
overcoming the ‗evil serpent‘ of materialism.

Complementing the ‗lower‘ covenant is the ‗higher‘ covenant of the ‗tongue‘. It


exists to enable Adam to restore the missing pathways from Geburah to Da‘at,
and from Hesed to Da‘at, and thus, to learn how to once again pronounce the
Name (ShM)—that is, to restore the flow of Shin and Maym from the supernal
sefirot to the lower sefirot.

pg. 276
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Adam‘s attraction to Eve effectively replaced his awareness of, and devotion to,
the Shekinah. In other words, Adam‘s strong attraction to the material
expression of the female principle (i.e. Malkut) distracted him from the spiritual
expression of the female principle (i.e. Binah). It is possible for Adam to regain
his awareness of the Shekinah (i.e. Binah) while still clothed in the flesh, but it
requires ‗reconnecting‘ Malkut to Binah. This is achieved through the agency of
the twelve ‗adornments‘ of the Shekinah as represented by the twelve Simple
letters of the Hebrew alefbet. Malkut becomes linked to Binah through a
resonance that is ‗tuned in‘ via the twelve Simple letter pathways that extend
between the six sefirot of the Son. Another way of putting this is that the final
Heh of YHVH becomes connected to the initial Heh of YHVH through the
Vav that is placed between them.

The Holy Covenant

Ten Sefirot of Nothingness


in the number of ten fingers
five opposite five
with a singular covenant
precisely in the middle
in the circumcision of the tongue
and in the circumcision of the membrum.279

And when Abraham our father, may he rest in peace,


looked, saw, understood, probed,
engraved and carved,
He was successful in creation,
as it is written,
―And the souls that they made in Haran‖ (Genesis 12:5).

279 Sefer Yetzirah, 1:3

pg. 277
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Immediately there was revealed to him the Master of all,


may His name be blessed forever,
He placed him in His bosom, and
kissed him on his head,
and He called him,
―Abraham my beloved‖ (Isaiah 41:8).
He made a covenant with him
and with his children after him forever,
as it is written,
―And he believed in God, and He considered it
to him for righteousness‖ (Genesis 15:6).
He made with him a covenant
between the ten fingers of his hands -
this is the covenant of the tongue,
and between the ten toes of his feet -
this is the covenant of circumcision,
And He bound the 22 letters of the
Torah to his tongue
and He revealed to him His mystery
He drew them in water,
He flamed them with fire,
He agitated them with Breath,
He burned them with the seven [planets]
He directed them with the twelve constellations.280

As the Sefer Yetzirah states, the divine ‗covenant‘ is ―singular‖, but it has within it
two levels.

The ‗lower‘ level is known as the covenant of the ‗circumcision of the male
member‘ and is referred to the sefirah Yesod. It symbolizes the control and
sublimation of the material desires. As verse 6:7 states, it is placed ―between the
ten toes of his feet‖. This has two basic meanings.

The ‗legs/feet‘ of Adam are represented by the sefirot Netzah (right leg) and
Hod (left leg), between which is located the sefirah Yesod (i.e. representing the

280 Sefer Yetzirah, 6:7

pg. 278
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

‗male member‘). The ―ten toes‖ are a reference to the ten sefirot of the
kabbalistic ‗world of Assiah‘ which is associated with the sefirah Malkut.

The ‗higher‘ level is called the covenant of the ‗circumcision of the tongue‘ and
is associated with the sefirah Da‘at. It symbolizes the control and sublimation of
the mental body, and the development of the spiritual intuition. The Sefer
Yetzirah locates this level of the covenant ―between the ten fingers of his hands‖
referring to the position of the sefirah Da‘at between the right ‗arm/hand‘ (i.e.
Hesed), and the left ‗arm/hand‘ (i.e. Geburah). The ―ten fingers‖ allude to the
ten sefirot of the kabbalistic ‗world of Yetzirah‘ which is a level above the
‗world of Assiah‘ and which is associated with the seven Double letter sefirot of
the Son (Vav).

Another way of interpreting verse 1:3 of the Sefer Yetzirah is as follows...

The sefirot Da‘at (Bayt) and Yesod (Tav) are the first and last sefirot of the
group of seven Double letter sefirot that constitute the body of the Son.

On one side of the Son (i.e. Vav of YHVH) is the Mother (i.e. Binah, first Heh
of YHVH) and on the lower side of him is the Daughter (i.e. Malkut, the
second Heh of YHVH). Heh = 5. Thus ―five (Heh) opposite five (Heh) with a
singular covenant (Vav) precisely in the middle‖ (i.e. this is because the ten
sefirot can be understood in terms of the formula YHVH.) The ―middle‖
referred to in the quote is a reference to the ‗middle pillar‘ of the Tree of Life.

The Four Hayyoth

AND GOD SAID TO NOAH... THIS IS THE TOKEN OF THE


COVENANT WHICH I MAKE BETWEEN ME AND YOU... I
HAVE SET MY RAINBOW IN THE CLOUD.

pg. 279
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

In connection with this passage R. Simeon discoursed on the verse: And


above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a
throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone (Ezek. I, 26).

‗Before this verse,‘ he said, ‗we find the words, ―And when they went I
heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice
of the Almighty‖ (Ibid. 24).

These are the four sacred and mighty beings called Hayyoth (animals), by
whom the firmament is upheld, and whose wings are usually joined
together to cover their bodies. When, however, they spread out their
wings, a volume of sound swells forth, and they break out into songs of
praise, ―as the voice of the Almighty‖, which never becomes silent as it is
written, ―so that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent‖ (PS.
XXX, 13).

The tenour of their praises is, ―The Lord hath made known his salvation,
his righteousness hath he revealed in the sight of the nations‖ (PS.
XCVIII, 2). It says further: ―A noise of tumult like the noise of a host‖
(Ezek. I, 24), i.e. like the sound of the holy camps when all the supernal
armies assemble on high.

What is it they declaim? ―Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts, the
whole earth is full of his glory‖ (Is. VI, 3). They turn to the south and say
―holy‖, they turn to the north and say ―holy‖ they turn to the east and
say ―holy‖, they turn to the west and say ―blessed‖.

And that firmament rests upon their heads, and in whatever direction it
turns, their faces turn also. They turn their faces to the four cardinal
points, and all revolve in a circle.

The firmament is imprinted, at the four corners of a square, with four


figures, of a lion, an eagle, an ox, and a man; and the face of a man is
traced in all of them, so that the face of Lion is of Man, the face of Eagle
is of Man, and the face of Ox is of Man, all being comprehended in him.
Hence it is written: ―As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face
of a man‖ (Ezek. I, 1O).

Further, the firmament with its enclosed square contains the gamut of all
the colours. Outstanding are four colours, each engraved with four

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

translucent signs, both higher and lower. These when decomposed


become twelve. They are green, red, white, and sapphire, which is made
up of all these colours. Hence it is written, ―As the appearance of the
bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the
brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the
glory of the Lord‖ (Ibid. I, 28): containing, that is to say, all shades of all
colours.281

Rabbi Simeon is here describing the organization of the Tree of Life diagram
from the sefirah Da‘at (i.e. the ―firmament‖)to the sefirah Yesod.

The ―firmament‖ of Da‘at surrounds and contains the six lower sefirot. Da‘at
represents the outer limit of the ‗firmament, beyond which exist the supernal
divine forces of the three highest sefirot.

The ‗firmament‘ is upheld by the four ―Hayyoth‖ (―living creatures‖)—i.e. a


Lion (Leo), an Eagle (Scorpio), an Ox (Taurus), and a Man (Aquarius). They
symbolize the four ‗fixed‘ signs of the zodiac and are associated with the four
directional sefirot: Hesed, Geburah, Netzah, and Hod. The ―Man‖
comprehends them all because he is Adam (as represented by the Tree of Life
diagram).

The four directional sefirot form a square, at the four corners of which the
firmament is ―imprinted‖. In other words, the twelve Simple letter signs of the
zodiac are attached to the four corners of the square as pathways—i.e. three to
each corner. They ―all revolve in a circle‖ because this entire square
configuration of sefirot and pathways represents the ‗circle of the zodiac‘.

There are four colours associated with each of the four directional sefirot, that
―when decomposed become twelve‖...

281 Soncino Zohar, Noah, 71b, v1, Pp. 240-241.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

o Four Green = Four Mutable Signs (pathways)


o Four Red = Four Fixed Signs (pathways)
o Four White = Four Cardinal Signs (pathways)
o Four Sapphire = Four Hayyoth (sefirot)

The four Hayyoth represent the four directional sefirot and therefore each one
of them comprehends three pathways—i.e. a green pathway, a red pathway, and
a white pathway. Because of this they are said to be coloured ―sapphire, which
is made up of all these colours‖—note that the Hebrew word for ‗sapphire‘ is
sap-peer‘ (SPYR) which is very close to the word ‗sefirah‘ (SPRH).

In the same way the four ‗Holy Camps‘ (representing the four directional
sefirot) are said to comprehend the twelve ‗tribes of Israel‘—i.e. three tribes (or
‗pathways‘) each. The symbolism is the same.

East
Camp of Judah = Lion (Sapphire) = sefirah ‗Hesed‘
Judah = Leo (Fixed = Red)
Issachar = Cancer (Cardinal = White)
Zebulun = Gemini (Mutable = Green)

South
Camp of Reuben = Ox (Sapphire) = sefirah ‗Netzah‘
Reuben = Taurus (Fixed = Red)
Simeon = Aries (Cardinal = White)
Gad = Pisces (Mutable = Green)

West
Camp of Ephraim = Man (Sapphire) = sefirah ‗Hod‘
Ephraim = Aquarius (Fixed = Red)
Manasseh = Capricorn (Cardinal = White)
Benjamin = Sagittarius (Mutable = Green)

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North
Camp of Dan = Eagle (Sapphire) = sefirah ‗Geburah‘
Dan = Scorpio (Fixed = Red)
Asher = Libra (Cardinal = White)
Naphtali = Virgo (Mutable = Green)

Esau Corresponds with Hod

R. Issac said: ‗It is written: AND THE CHILDREN STRUGGLED


TOGETHER WITHIN HER; AND SHE SAID, IF IT BE SO,
WHEREFORE DO I LIVE? AND SHE WENT TO ENQUIRE OF
THE LORD.

Whither did she go? To The Academy of Shem and Eber. ―And the
children struggled together within her‖, for there already Esau declared
war against Jacob. The term vayithrozzu (and they struggled) is akin to a
root meaning ―to break‖, and thus it implies that they broke asunder and
drifted away from each other. Observe that the one was of the side of
him who rides the serpent, whilst the other was of the side of Him who
rides on the sacred and perfect throne; of the side of the sun that
illumines the moon. And observe further that because Esau was drawn
after that serpent, Jacob dealt with him crookedly like the serpent, who is
cunning and goes crookedly, as we read: ―And the serpent was more
cunning etc.‖ (Gen. III, 1). Jacob then dealt with him after the manner of
the serpent in order to draw him further serpentward, so that he should
separate further from himself and thus not have any share with him
either in this world or in the world to come; and our teachers have said,
―When a man comes to kill you, kill him first.‖

It is written of Jacob: ―In the womb he took his brother by the heel‖
(Hos. XII, 4), that is, he drew him downwards by the heel [Translator‘s
note: Al. ―to the heel‖, i.e. to the lower grades]. So it says: AND HIS

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HAND HAD HOLD ON ESAU‘S HEEL, i.e. he put his hand on


Esau‘s heel in order thereby to force him down. According to another
explanation, the words ―and his hand had hold‖ imply that he could not
escape him entirely, but his hand was still clinging to his brother‘s heel.
Esoterically speaking, the moon was obscured through the heel of Esau;
hence it was necessary to deal with him cunningly, so as to thrust him
downwards and make him adhere to the region assigned to him.‘282

After Abraham (Hesed) came Isaac (Geburah); and after Isaac (Geburah) came
Jacob (Tifaret) and Esau (Hod).

Abraham = Hesed (Mercy) = Gimel = Jupiter


Isaac = Geburah (Severity) = Dalet = Mars
Jacob = Tifaret (Mildness) = Kaf = Sun
Esau = Hod (Severity) = Raysh = Mercury

Esau is cunning like the serpent and therefore is associated with the sefirah Hod
and the planet Mercury. Jacob (from his grade of Tifaret) grasped hold of
Esau‘s heel and dragged him down to his (i.e. Esau‘s) appropriate grade (i.e.
Hod) which is associated with the left leg and foot (‗heel‘) of Adam.

The sefirah Hod is ―of the side of him who rides the serpent‖, while Tifaret is
―of the side of Him who rides on the sacred and perfect throne‖.

Jacob (Sun) and Esau (Mercury) were twins, bringing to mind the old esoteric
saying: ―Mercury and the Sun are one‖.

282 Soncino Zohar, Tol‘doth, 137b-138b, v2, Pp. 42-45.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The sefirah Hod (and also Netzah) exist on a level that is located between the
Moon (Yesod) below, and the Sun (Tifaret) above, and therefore it ―obscures
the Moon‖ from the light of the Sun until it becomes purged and purified (i.e.
within the consciousness of humanity).

AND HE CALLED HIS NAME JACOB. It was God who called him
so. (So, too, it is written lower down, ―Hath he not rightly called his
name Jacob?‖ (Gen. XXVII, 36) and not ―his name was called‖.) God
saw that the primeval serpent was full of guile to do mischief, and so
when Jacob appeared He said: ―Behold, here is one who can stand up to
him‖, and therefore He called him Ya‘kob, akin to the term vaya‘kebeni
(and he acted toward me with guile} (Gen. XXVII, 35). It has already
been pointed out that the simple term vayikra (and he called), as when it
says, ―and he called unto Moses‖, points to the lowest grade (of the
Sephiroth).

At no time did Jacob receive a name from a human being. So in another


passage we find: ―And the God of Israel called him El (God)‖ (Gen.
XXXIII, 20), signifying that the God of Israel called Jacob by the name
of ―EL‖ (God) as though to say, ―I am the God of the supernal world
and be thou the God of the world below‖. [1]
Observe that Jacob knew that Esau was destined to ally himself to that
tortuous serpent, and hence in all his dealings with him he conducted
himself like another tortuous serpent, using all cunning devices; and so it
was meet. The same idea was expressed by R. Simeon when, in
expounding the verse, ―And God created the great fishes, and every
living creature that creepeth‖ (Gen. I, 2I), he said: ‗The ―great fishes‖ are
symbolic of Jacob and Esau, and ―every living creature that creepeth‖
symbolises all the intermediate grades.‘ Verily Jacob was endowed with
cunning to enable him to hold his own with that other serpent; and so it
was meet. [2]

For the same reason at every New Moon a goat is to be offered up so as


to draw the serpent to his own place and thus keep him away from the
moon. The same applies to the Day of Atonement, when a goat is to be
offered. All this is cunningly devised in order to gain dominion over him,
and make him impotent to do mischief. So Scripture says: ―And the goat
shall bear upon him all their iniquities into a land which is cut off‖ (Lev.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

XVI, 22), where the goat (sa‘ir = Seir), as already explained, symbolises
Esau. [3]

In all dealings with him cunning and craft are employed, in accordance
with the words of the Scripture: ―And with the crooked thou dost show
thyself subtle‖ (Ps. XVIII, 27); and as the evil serpent is resourceful and
crafty, trying to mislead the heavenly as well as the earthly beings, Israel
anticipate him and counter him with similar ruses and devices so as to
prevent him from working his evil will; just as Jacob, who was endowed
with the true faith, in all his actions towards Esau had no aim but to
prevent the serpent from defiling the Sanctuary or even approaching it,
and so achieving dominion over the world. [4]

There was however, no need either for Abraham or for Isaac to use such
tortuous ways, seeing that Esau, who was of the side of the serpent, had
not yet appeared in the world. But Jacob, being the master of the
household, had to counter the serpent, and to give him no chance to
tarnish the Sanctuary of Jacob. Hence Jacob had need of such shifts
more than any other person. Israel, therefore, was chosen as the portion
of the heritage of the Holy One, blessed be He, as it is written: ―For the
portion of the Lord is his people, Jacob the lot of his inheritance‖ (Deut.
XXXII, 9). 283 [5]

[1] The ―God of Israel‖ is represented by Keter on the Tree of Life diagram.
Jacob is represented by the sefirah Tifaret, and his ‗perfection‘ (i.e. Israel) is
represented by the sefirah Da‘at. Tifaret is the God of the ―world below‖, while
Keter is the God of the ―supernal world‖.

[2] In my understanding of the Tree of Life diagram, both Hod and Tifaret
represent differing aspects of the mental plane. The sefirah Hod represents the
‗lower mental plane‘ (i.e. within which resides the ‗rational mind‘) whereas
Tifaret represents the ‗causal body‘ located within the ‗higher mental plane‘.
Thus both Esau and Jacob are said to be ―endowed with cunning‖.

283 Soncino Zohar, Tol‘doth, 137b-138b, v2, Pp. 42-45.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

[3] The sacrificial ―goat‖ used to ―distract‖ Esau is symbolic of the mental body
being given an earthly ‗project‘ to with which to occupy itself (i.e. the ‗goat‘
symbolizes the archetype of Capricorn). This ‗project‘ provides the ‗rational
mind‘ (i.e. Hod) with a sense of purpose that, ultimately, becomes aligned with
the will of the ‗causal body‘ (i.e. Tifaret).

[4] Jacob‘s actions towards Esau ―prevent the serpent from defiling the
Sanctuary or even approaching it, and so achieving dominion over the world‖.
In other words, the ‗causal body‘ (or ‗solar angel‘) works to prevent the ‗rational
mind‘ from gaining dominion in the world. At our present stage of human
evolution the ‗rational mind‘ does have ―dominion over the world‖ because we
(as a collective) have not yet transcended the dominating influence of the
rational mind, or integrated sufficiently the intuitive faculty of human
consciousness (i.e. which exists at a level above the mental plane). (The sefirah
Hesed symbolizes the ‗spiritual intuition‘.

[5] Abraham (i.e. Hesed) and Isaac (i.e. Geburah) emerged into existence before
Esau (i.e. Hod) and therefore did not have to deal with him. It was only after
the ‗lower mental‘ plane (i.e. Hod/Esau) materialized that it was required to be
managed and that task was given to Jacob (i.e. Tifaret, the ‗causal body‘). The
sefirah Tifaret is superior to Hod in that it exists within the layer of
consciousness ‗above‘ Hod.

The ‘Well’ of Da’at - Part One

AND HE REMOVED FROM THENCE, AND DIGGED


ANOTHER WELL. R. Hiya discoursed on the verse: ―And the Lord will
guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in brightness, and make strong
thy bones‖ (Is. LVIII, 11).

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

‗The true believers‘, he said, ‗have derived strength from this verse, where
promise is made to them of the world to come, for the word
―continually‖ includes both this world and the world to come. Again, the
term ―continually‖, which seems superfluous, is an allusion to the
continual burnt-offering which is offered at dusk, and is held firm
underneath the arm of Isaac and is symbolic of the world to come. [1]

The term ―guiding‖ is similarly used by David in the verse: ―He guideth
me in straight paths for his name‘s sake‖ (Ps. XXIII, 3). ―And satisfy thy
soul in brightness‖; this is the ―clear mirror‖ from the contemplation of
which all souls obtain delight and benefit. ―And make strong thy bones‖:
these words do not seem to harmonise with what has gone before, which
we have interpreted of the souls of the righteous ascending on high. We
interpret them, therefore, to allude to the resurrection of the dead, when
the Holy One, blessed be He, will reconstitute the bones and restore the
body to its former state. The soul will then derive stronger illumination
from the ―clear mirror‖, so as to illumine the body to the full extent of
which it is capable. Hence: ―And thou shalt be like a watered garden‖ (Is.
LVIII, 11), that is, like the celestial garden whose supernal waters never
fail, but flow on for ever and ever; ―and like a spring of water, whose
waters fail not‖ (ibid.), alluding to the river that issues from Eden and
flows on for all eternity. [2]

Observe that the ―well of living waters‖ is a symbol within a symbol for
guiding faith. There is the well which is the very source of the waters, and
there is the well which is fed by that source of water. There are thus two
grades, which are, however, really one with two aspects, male and female,
in fitting union. The well and the issue of waters are one, designated by
the name of ―well‖, it being at once the supernal never-ceasing fountain
and the well that is filled by it. And whoever gazes at that well gazes at
the true object of faith. This is the symbol which the patriarchs
transmitted in digging the well, in such a way as to indicate that the
source and the well are indissoluble. [3]

AND HE CALLED ITS NAME REHOBOTH (lit. streets, broad


places). By this he intimated that his descendants would one day tend
that well in the fitting manner through the mystical potency of offerings
and burnt-offerings (like Adam, when God ―put him into the garden of
Eden to dress it and keep it‖ (Gen. II, 15), to wit, by offerings and burnt-

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

offerings), so that its springs should flow forth on every side, as Scripture
says: ―Let thy springs be dispersed abroad, and courses of water in the
streets (rehoboth)‖ (Prov. V, 16). Hence here the name of Rehoboth
(streets, broad places).‘284 [4]

[1] There is constant reference in the Zohar to what is called ―the world to
come‖. In terms of the Tree of Life diagram, this concept is represented by the
sefirah Binah. (It is elaborated upon by Rabbi Simeon in the next section.)

The ―burnt-offering‖ is referred to Isaac (i.e. it symbolically occurs within the


sefirah Geburah). It is the ‗fire‘ of Geburah that burns up the offering. (The
―smoke‖ of the burnt-offering rises from Geburah to Binah and evokes a
response from Binah via Da‘at.) The statement: ―held firm underneath the arm
of Isaac‖ is a reference to the ‗arm‘ symbolism of Geburah (i.e. because
Geburah represents the ‗left arm‘ of Adam).

The Zohar symbolism involving ―the world to come‖ is complex and represents
the process through which the ‗future world‘ in Binah is made manifest in
Malkut. In other words, the ‗future world‘ is held in potential in Binah and
gradually manifests through a process of physical unfoldment in the ‗present‘ as
represented by Malkut.

The manifestation of our world (in Malkut) is also influenced negatively by the
lower sefirot (i.e. Netzah, Hod, and Yesod)--that is, until those sefirot have
been purged and purified and brought into alignment with Tifaret (embracing
Geburah and Hesed). So Binah represents the manifestation of the ‗ideal‘ world
as symbolized by the ‗garden of Eden‘, but it can only be brought into physical
manifestation when humanity has aligned itself with Tifaret and developed the
higher faculties of consciousness (as represented by the sefirot Geburah and
Hesed).

284 Soncino Zohar, Tol‘doth, 141a-141b, v2, Pp. 51-52.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

[2] The ―clear mirror‖ is a reference to the sefirah Tifaret. Like the Sun, it will
eventually ―illumine the body [of Adam] to the full extent of which it is
capable‖.

The sefirot from Hesed to Yesod also represent the ‗garden of Eden‘. The term
―Eden‖ refers specifically to the sefirah Da‘at. A ‗river‘ flows forth from Da‘at
and ‗waters‘ the ‗garden‘ (i.e. the lower sefirot). (This is further explained below
in the next section.)

[3] Da‘at symbolizes the ‗higher‘ expression of the covenant which latter is
(according to the Zohar) a ‗covenant of faith‘. (The sefirah Yesod is the ‗lower‘
expression of the covenant.) It is only possible to reach the grade of Da‘at on
the Tree of Life diagram by walking a ‗path of faith‘. This concept does not
involve the kind of ‗blind faith‘ that is espoused by the various religions of our
world. Rather, it involves a ‗living demonstration‘ of deep faith in the Divine
(i.e. a conscious personal awareness, and experiential knowledge of the Divine)
by each individual in their day-to-day existence. This ‗faith‘ (i.e. knowledge and
personal awareness of the Divine) must become a strong influence that effects
the life-decisions that each individual makes as their lives unfold. In other
words, this deep ‗faith‘ must directly and strongly effect each individual‘s life-
direction. It is only through walking this ‗path of faith‘ that we will be guided
back into the ‗garden of Eden‘, and thus achieve the grade of ‗Israel‘ (as
symbolized by Da‘at).

The ―well‖ that is the ―very source of the waters‖ and the ―supernal never-
ceasing fountain‖ is represented by the sefirah Hockmah on the Tree of Life
diagram. It is associated with the Hebrew Mother letter Maym (i.e. Water).

―The well which is fed by that source of water‖ is symbolized by the sefirah
Da‘at. Da‘at is ―the true object of faith‖.

The patriarchs (i.e. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) ―dug‖ the well (of Da‘at). This
symbolism especially refers to the opening of the pathways from Geburah
(Isaac) to Da‘at, and from Hesed (Abraham) to Da‘at. The path from Tifaret
(Jacob) to Da‘at is occupied by the Hebrew Mother letter Maym (i.e. Water) and
represents the ―the river that issues from Eden and flows on for all eternity‖.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

[4] The ―descendants‖ of Isaac refer to every human-being who achieves the
grade of Israel (i.e. in Da‘at). The ―offerings and burnt-offerings‖ are made in
the sefirot Hesed and Geburah (respectively). Those offerings evoke energies
(i.e. Water from Hockmah, and Fire from Binah) that flow to the lower sefirot
from Da‘at--i.e. such that ―its springs should flow forth on every side‖ (i.e. from
Da‘at to the side of Hesed, and from Da‘at to the side of Geburah).

The ‘Well’ of Da’at - Part Two

R. Simeon here discoursed on the verse: WISDOM CRIETH ALOUD


IN THE STREET, SHE UTTERETH HER VOICE IN THE BROAD
PLACES (Prov. I, 20).

‗This verse‘, he said, ‗contains a deep mystical teaching. The term


hokhmoth (lit. wisdoms) implies the superior Wisdom and the lesser
Wisdom which is included in the superior Wisdom and abides therein.
The superior Wisdom is an essence most recondite and concealed,
unknown and unrevealed, as Scripture says: ―Man knoweth not the price
thereof, etc.‖ (Job XXVIII, I3); and when it expands into a source of
light, its illumination is that of the world to come, and that world is
created by it: for so we have learned, that the world to come was created
by the Yod, and there Wisdom remained hidden, the two being one. [1]

When God was crowned, it was through the mystery of the future world,
as already said. There was joy at this illumination, but all was in silence
without a sound being heard abroad. Wisdom then willed it to expand
further, so that from that space there issued fire and water and air, as
already said, from which there sprang up a voice which issued forth
abroad and was heard, as already said. [2]

From that point onwards all is exterior (huz), whereas in the interior the
voice is silent and not heard abroad. Once, however, the secret force has
become audible, it is called ―without‖ (huz). [3]

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Hence it is incumbent on man to be zealous in searching after wisdom


―in the wide places‖ (ba-rehoboth). This refers to the firmament, which
contains all the luminous stars, and which constitutes the fountain of
perennial waters, referred to in the verse: ―And a river went forth from
Eden to water the garden‖ (Gen. II, 10). And there ―she uttereth her
voice‖, both the superior and the lower Wisdom, which in truth are one.
[4]

Solomon alluded to this in saying: ―Prepare thy work without‖ (ba-huz),


and make it ready for thee in the field‖ (Prov. XXIV, 27), where the
word ―without‖ is used as in the verse ―Wisdom crieth out without‖,
indicating the point from which man can commence to inquire and
investigate, as it is written: ―For ask now of the days past... and from one
end of heaven unto another‖ (Deut. IV, 32). [5]

The ―field‖ again is the ―field which the Lord hath blessed‖ (Gen.
XXVII, 27). When a man has penetrated into the mystery of Wisdom
and perfected himself therein, then Solomon tells him to ―build his
house‖ (Prov. XXIV, 27), i.e. to cultivate his soul in his body, so as to
attain perfection. Hence, when Isaac digged and prepared the well in
peace he called it Rehoboth (wide places), and all was done in the right
manner. Happy the righteous by whose works the Holy One sustains the
world as it says: ―For the upright shall inhabit the land‖ (Prov. II, 21),
where the term yishkenu (they will inhabit) may be read yashkinu (they
shall cause to be inhabited).‘285 [6]

[1] ―The superior Wisdom‖ is represented by the sefirah Hockmah. It is also


symbolized by the Yud (Y) in YHVH. When Hockmah ―expands into a source
of light‖ its ―illumination‖ is the ―world to come‖ (or in other words, it
illuminates the sefirah Binah). The sefirah Binah is symbolized by the first Heh
(H) of YHVH. Hockmah is ‗clothed‘ by Binah; Wisdom (Yud) is embraced by
Understanding (Heh).

285 Soncino Zohar, Tol‘doth, 141b, v2, Pp. 52-53.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The statement: ―The world to come was created by the Yod‖ means that Binah
was created by Hockmah. We can only experience the ―lesser Wisdom‖ which is
―hidden‖ in Binah via the sefirah Da‘at.

[2] The statement: ―Wisdom then willed it to expand further‖ means that
Hockmah caused Binah to expand and consequently to manifest the sefirah
Da‘at. There is only ‗silence‘ above the ‗Abyss‘. The unpronounced Thought
becomes ‗verbalized‘ via the sefirah Da‘at. (In the Zohar, Da‘at is often
symbolized by the ‗tongue‘ or ‗throat chakra‘ of Macroprosopus. In fact, Da‘at
represents the ‗covenant of the tongue‘.) The ‗Voice‘ arises within the sefirot of
the patriarchs--i.e. within Hesed, Geburah, and Tifaret.

From Da‘at issues ―fire and water and air‖ (or ‗Shin, Maym, and Alef). These
are emanations of the supernal sefirot: Binah (Shin), Hockmah (Maym), and
Keter (Alef). And from these three elements... ―there sprang up a voice which
issued forth abroad‖. The ‗voice‘ refers to YHV, where Yud reflects Maym,
Heh reflects Shin, and Vav reflects Alef.

Keter = Alef = Air = Vav = Tifaret


Hockmah = Maym = Water = Yud = Hesed
Binah = Shin = Fire = Heh = Geburah

Thus...

Hesed = Yud (Water)


Geburah = Heh (Fire)
Tifaret = Vav (Air)

Together these three sefirot pronounce the divine Name YHV which, when
attached to Yesod/Malkut, produce the Name in its entirety: YHVH.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Yesod/Malkut represents the final Heh—i.e. the Utterance of the divine Name.
Thus, South (Yud), North (Heh), and East (Vav), eventually become attached to
West (Heh).

A sublime mystery of the Sefer Yetzirah is explained (to a certain extent) by this
symbolism.

[3] The word ―huz‖ (‗outside‘) is spelled ‗heth-vav-tzaddie‘ and is pronounced


‗khoots‘. Everything below the sefirah Da‘at on the Tree of Life is considered
‗exterior‘ (i.e. to the ‗interior‘ supernal sefirot).

[4] The ―firmament‖ signifies the sefirah Da‘at as explained in previously in this
book.

[5] It is only via the sefirah Da‘at (meaning ‗knowledge‘) that Man can know
Wisdom.

[6] The ―house‖ symbolism has been explained in previous posts. The
statement: ―Happy the righteous by whose works the Holy One sustains the
world‖ refers to those individuals who have attained to the grade of Israel (i.e.
Da‘at). These individuals (by definition) have ‗dug the well‘, or in other words,
have opened up the channels between Hesed and Da‘at, and between Geburah
and Da‘at. Their ―works‖ result as a natural consequence of opening up and
establishing these channels. It is only through them (i.e. through the
―righteous‖) that the ‗future world‘ is able to come into manifestation.

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Jacob Wrestles with Samael

R. Jose further discoursed as follows: ―And Esau was a cunning hunter...


and Jacob was a perfect man, dwelling in tents‖ (Gen. XXV, 27).

‗In which way was he ―perfect‖? In that he was ―dwelling in tents‖, i.e.
that he held fast to the two sides, to that of Abraham and that of Isaac.
In dealing with Esau he advanced from the side of Isaac, as already said,
and in the spirit of the passage: ―With the merciful thou dost show
thyself merciful... and with the crooked thou dost show thyself subtle‖
(Ps. XVIII, 26-27).

But when he came to receive the blessings, he came with help from on
high, and with support from both Abraham and Isaac, and thus all was
prescribed by wisdom, as already said above. For Jacob conquered the
serpent with prudence and craft, but chiefly by means of the he-goat; and
although the serpent and Samael are the same, yet he also conquered
Samael by another method, as described in the passage, saying: ―and
there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when
he saw that he prevailed not against him‖ (Gen. XXXII, 25-26).

Observe how great Jacob‘s merit must have been. For as his adversary
was intent on destroying him completely, and that night was the night
when the moon was created, it was doubly unpropitious for Jacob, who
remained behind all alone. For we have been taught that a man should
not go out alone in the night time; how much less then in the night when
the lights were created, since the moon is defective, and on such a night
the evil serpent is specially powerful.

Samael thus came and attacked him, in order to destroy him utterly.
Jacob, however, had strong support on all sides, on the side of Isaac and
on the side of Abraham, both of whom constituted the strength of Jacob.
When Samael attacked Jacob‘s right he saw there Abraham equipped
with the strength of day, being of the side of the Right, the same being
Mercy (Hesed). When he attacked his left, he saw there Isaac with the
strength of stern judgment. When he attacked in front, he found Jacob

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strong on either side by reason of those surrounding him, and thus we


read: ―And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched
the hollow of his thigh‖ (Gen. XXXII, 26), that is, a part that is outside
of the trunk and one of its supports.

Hence, ―the hollow of Jacob‘s thigh was strained‖ (Ibid.). When day
appeared and night departed, Jacob‘s strength increased and Samael‘s
waned, so that the latter said: ―Let me go, for the moment of the recital
of the morning hymn had arrived‖, and it was therefore necessary for
him to depart. He thus confirmed Jacob‘s blessings and added to them
one blessing more, as it says: ―And he blessed him there‖ (Ibid. 30).286

The Zohar conceals in the symbolism of its Torah exegesis certain principles
that govern human evolution, and that describe the special relationship that
exists between humanity and the Divine.

For example, in the Zohar, what is termed the ―object of true faith‖ refers to
the Shekinah (often symbolized by the Moon). This is the ‗higher‘ Shekinah, or
the sefirah Binah on the Tree of Life diagram. The ‗higher‘ Shekinah can only
be experienced ‗consciously‘ through the ‗doorway‘ of the sefirah Da‘at. The
‗lower‘ Shekinah is represented by the sefirah Malkut. In essence these are two
expressions of the one Shekinah, but this unity can only be consciously realized
through Jacob achieving the grade of Israel.

The ‗higher‘ Shekinah is represented by the first Heh, and the ‗lower‘ Shekinah
by the second Heh, of YHVH. Jacob/Israel is represented by the Vav that is
placed between them. Jacob/Israel unifies within consciousness the ‗higher
world‘ (or the ‗world to come‘ of Beriah) with the ‗lower‘ world (or physical
world of Assiah).

This, in a nutshell, describes the evolutionary goal of humanity. It is a ‗bridge-


building‘ process that occurs between humanity and the Divine, and human
consciousness is the bridge that will eventually span the Abyss of ‗unknowing‘.

286 Soncino Zohar, Tol‘doth, 146a, v2, Pp. 70-71.

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During the evolutionary process Jacob must bring Esau under control. This
means that Tifaret must gain dominion over Hod (i.e. at our physical level of
consciousness). Hod represents the ‗rational mind‘ which is ‗cunning like a
serpent‘, and it holds us prisoner until we are able to dispel its illusion of
supremacy. As long as our conscious focus is firmly fixed in Hod then Hod has
dominion over us. Eventually there must occur a shift in polarization to Tifaret,
and thence to Geburah and Hesed. The esoteric sciences help us in that
process.

This process is symbolized for us in the story of Jacob ‗wrestling with a man (or
‗angel‘) during the night‘. That angel is called Samael (described as ―the chieftain
of Esau‖ by the Zohar).

The fight occurs during the ―night‖—i.e. within the realm of the lower sefirot
of ‗night‘—when the ―moon is defective‖, and ―the evil serpent is specially
powerful‖. The Moon is ‗defective‘ when it fails to reflect/receive the light of
the Sun. In other words, when Yesod (Moon) is not receiving the illumination
of Tifaret (Sun). Consequently, this lack of ‗light‘ causes fear in humanity
because during that time we are unconscious of the presence of the soul, and
therefore we feel completely at the mercy of material forces and the physical
world (Malkut). We lose our faith in the power of our soul to redeem us from
the illusory chaos of the material world. The rational mind (Hod) has dominion
during that dark time.

Jacob is wounded by Samael in the ―hollow of his thigh‖ which symbolically


refers to the sefirah Hod of the Tree of Life. Hod represents the ‗left leg‘ (and
‗thigh‘) of Adam.

As the ―day‖ dawns (i.e. as Tifaret/Sun asserts a stronger influence) Jacob


(Tifaret) gains control of Samael (Hod).

When polarization in consciousness shifts from Hod (Mercury) to Tifaret (Sun)


the ‗light comes on‘. In other words, we become aware (in the true sense of the
word) that we have a ‗soul‘. We realize that there exists an invisible benevolent
force that will guide us out of negative circumstances if we choose to follow.
This is only the first step however, on a journey out of ‗darkness‘ and into
‗Light‘. Tifaret is the ‗torch‘ that helps us find our way.

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Samael... A Further Elaboration

As I mentioned in previously, Esau is referred symbolically to the sefirah Hod


on the Tree of Life diagram. His ―chieftain‖ is the angel Samael who is referred
to the sefirah Geburah. (I thought I should clarify this point.)

The sefirah Geburah represents the ‗higher mind‘ (or ‗abstract mental body‘).
Hod, on the other hand, represents the ‗lower mind‘ (or ‗rational mind‘).

The angel Samael therefore represents the underlying philosophical seed-idea


(i.e. a basic ‗world view‘) that holds Esau (i.e. Hod, the rational mind) in its
grasp. The angel Samael represents a ‗central concept‘ which is at the core of a
‗belief system‘. It effects a human-being‘s basic perception and understanding of
the world around him/her.

The angel Samael represents a particularly negative ‗idea‘ that can poison (or
delude) the mind of a human-being if we allow it too. If we succumb to the idea
that Samael represents, then all of our day-to-day thoughts (that occur in Hod)
become coloured by Samael‘s central underlying negative (or illusory) idea.

The Western ‗scientific‘ world-view is one example of such a concept, and there
are numerous other examples in the world today.

Thus, we are all influenced in our thinking at a very fundamental level within
the sefirah Geburah. We expect the world to basically conform to Geburah‘s
central, very deeply rooted, core idea.

The angel Samael could not shake Jacob‘s spiritual beliefs (and faith/awareness
of the Divine) with his materialism-based philosophy.

The battle between Jacob and Samael took place in Hod (i.e. within Esau‘s
domain of the ‗rational mind‘). The ―straining‖ of Jacob‘s ―thigh‖ (Hod) by

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Samael is symbolic of the clash of ideas that occurs (at certain times) within the
‗lower mind‘ of every human-being.

―Jacob, however, had strong support on all sides, on the side of Isaac [Geburah] and on the
side of Abraham [Hesed], both of whom constituted the strength of Jacob.‖ (See the Zohar
extract.) In other words, Jacob had filled his consciousness with the Light of
divine Knowledge (in Geburah), and had developed an intuitive ability to
recognize Truth from falsity (in Hesed). He was thus unshakably united with
the Divine (as represented by Da‘at‘s connection to the supernal sefirot. And so
Jacob was confirmed in the name/grade of ‗Israel‘.

The Four Sons of the Concubines

R. Eleazar said further:‘ What has been said about Leah having borne six
sons and one daughter and Rachel having borne two sons is assuredly
correct; but how do the sons of the concubines fit into the scheme? They
constitute, as it were, the four joints, the so-called hinder parts, alluded to
in the statement: ―and all their hinder parts were inward‖ (I Kings VII,
25). For the right arm contains three joints, the middle one of which is
the largest and projects backwards, being as it were outside the body.
There is a similar joint in the left arm, as well as in the right thigh and in
the left thigh; and when the whole is properly arranged, all of them look
inward, in fulfilment of the statement, ―all their hinder parts were
inward‖.

Now all the other joints are in the line of the body, but these protrude
outside the arms and the thighs. Correspondingly, the sons of the
handmaids, although they are within the number, yet are not of the same
rank as the sons of Rachel and Leah, and thus remain outside.

According to another explanation, these four are the joints by which all
the others are moved.‘ R. Abba remarked: ‗So assuredly it is, and thus the
whole is properly constructed.‘287

287 Soncino Zohar, Vayeze, 154a, v2, Pg. 95.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Observe further that all the twelve tribes are the integral parts of the
Community of Israel in this world, to give full strength to the supernal
light, enveloped in blackness, and restore the root principle of the Whole
to its place. All the worlds are built on the same pattern; and through this
relation the lower world was completed on the pattern of the upper
world.

By the birth of Issachar and Zebulun there was made complete the
number six, symbolic of the six directions of the world. Then again the
four sons of the handmaids were associated with them, they being, as it
were, the four joints that were linked with them, as already explained. So
Scripture says of them: ―and their hinder parts were inward‖ (I Kings
VII, 25), to wit, although they were the sons of the handmaids, yet they
belonged inward.288

R. Jesse said: ‗The sons of the handmaids represented the four joints
which were necessary for the perfecting of the whole.‘ R. Eleazar
remarked: ‗It was for that reason that these joints project outwards,
despite the fact that they are all organic parts of the body, which
otherwise is perfectly straight; and thus all the tribes ascend as a
testimony on high, as Scripture says: ―Whither the tribes went up, even
the tribes of the Lord as a testimony unto Israel, to give thanks unto the
name of the Lord‖ (Ps. CXXII, 4).‘289

As explained previously, the twelve ‗tribes of Israel‘ are referred to the twelve
Simple Hebrew letter pathways of the Tree of Life.

In my arrangement, they are attached to the four ‗directional‘ sefirot: Hesed


(East), Hod (West), Geburah (North), and Netzah (South). The other two
directions (i.e. ‗Above‘ and ‗Below‘) are represented by the sefirot: Tifaret and
Yesod respectively. These six directions are used by the Sefer Yetzirah, and the

288 Soncino Zohar, Vayeze, 155a, v2, Pg. 98.

289 Soncino Zohar, Vayeze, 158a, v2, Pg. 106.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Torah, to align the twelve Simple Hebrew letters with the twelve pathways that
extend between the six sefirot (i.e. from Hesed to Yesod).

In the Zohar (see the above extracts), the four sons of Jacob by his two
concubines (i.e. Zilpah and Bilhah) are singled out as being of a different nature
to the other eight sons. These four sons are named: Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and
Asher.

Jacob‘s Sons290

Two Wives:

Rachel: (11) Joseph*, (12) Benjamin


Leah: (1) Reuben, (2) Simeon, (3) Levi*, (4) Judah, (9) Issachar, (10)
Zebulun

Two Concubines:

Zilpah: (7) Gad, (8) Asher


Bilhah: (5) Dan, (6) Naphtali

*In regard to the ‗Twelve Tribes of Israel‘, Joseph and Levi are replaced
by...

Joseph‘s Sons:

(1) Manasseh, (2) Ephraim

When the Zohar describes the twelve ―joints‖ of the arms and legs of the body,
it is my understanding that it is speaking of the twelve Simple letter pathways

290 The bracketed numbers indicate the order in which the sons were born.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

that are attached to the four sefirot that are the four ‗limbs‘ of Adam. There are
three paths/joints attached to each limb.

The Zohar states: ―Now all the other joints are in the line of the body, but these
protrude outside the arms and the thighs.‖ (See the first Zohar extract above.)
This suggests that the four ―middle‖ joints (i.e. ‗elbows‘ and ‗knees‘) extend into
a different dimension than the other eight pathways. These four are said to be
associated with the four sons of Zilpah and Bilhah (i.e. Jacob‘s two concubines).

Figure 72 : The Four Mutable Pathways – Green

The four pathways that conform (in my arrangement) to this qualification are
the four ‗mutable‘ pathways that extend one from each of the four limbs of
Adam (i.e. from the sefirot Hesed, Geburah, Hod, and Netzah) to the sefirah
Yesod. These four pathways form the four sides of the ‗zodiacal pyramid‘ (or
‗chalice‘) whose apex is the sefirah Yesod. In other words, these four pathways
create another dimension within the Tree of Life diagram (i.e. a third

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

dimension), and therefore they are not ―in the line of the body‖, and they
―protrude outside the arms and the thighs‖. (See my diagram.)

These four ‗mutable‘ pathways (coloured green) ―project outwards, despite the
fact that they are all organic parts of the body‖. (See the third Zohar quote
above.)

As you know, Jacob corresponds with the sefirah Tifaret (i.e. the masculine
solar principle), and therefore we can associate his two concubines with the
sefirah Yesod (i.e. the feminine lunar principle) to which these four
son/pathways are attached.

Similarly Jacob‘s two wives are associated with the feminine sefirot Binah and
Malkut as follows:

Binah = Leah
Malkut = Rachel

Leah gives birth to six sons and a daughter. The six sons represent the six ‗male‘
sefirot below Binah. They are Hesed, Geburah, Tifaret, Netzah, Hod, and
Yesod. Leah‘s daughter symbolizes the female sefirah Malkut. (These
correspondences are described elsewhere in the Zohar.)

The Shekinah and the Twelve Tribes

AND IT CAME TO PASS, WHEN RACHEL HAD BORNE


JOSEPH. ETC. R. Judah said: ‗Jacob, as a straightforward man, did not
wish to leave save by the permission of Laban. In the end, it is true, he
did depart without asking Laban‘s permission, but this was because he

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

feared that Laban would not let him go, and in consequence the last of
the twelve tribes would be born in an alien land.

Hence, when he saw that the time had come for Benjamin to be born, he
fled, as it is written: SO HE FLED WITH ALL THAT HE HAD. For as
soon as Benjamin was born, the Shekinah attached herself to the
company of the tribes and made her home with them. And Jacob,
through his knowledge of the mystic symbolism, was aware that as soon
as the twelve tribes should be complete the Shekinah would make them
her adornment and attach herself to them, and that Rachel would die and
the Shekinah would take possession of the House.

Our tradition tells us that the lower world was assigned to Jacob in the
same way as it was later to Moses, but this could not he accomplished
until there were the full twelve tribes in the House to whom the Shekinah
could attach herself. It was then that Rachel was removed, and the
Shekinah took up her abode in the House with all the tribes, and became
the foundation of the House. Assuredly, ―He sets in her place the
foundation of the House‖ (Ps. CXIII, 9).

Jacob thus said: ―The time has now arrived for the number of the twelve
tribes to be completed, so that the upper world will be due to descend
into the House to become attached to them, and this poor woman
(Rachel) will be thrust out to make room for it. Should she die here, I
shall never be able to get away. Moreover, this is not the land where it is
fitting that the House should be made complete.‖ Hence AND IT
CAME TO PASS, ETC.291

This Zohar extract gives me the opportunity to explain the nature and role of
the Shekinah principle (as I understand it). I will use my version of the Tree of
Life diagram to illustrate the concepts involved.

The Shekinah represents the ‗Great Mother‘ principle of the universe and has
two basic expressions...

291 Soncino Zohar, Vayeze, 158b, v2, Pp. 108-109.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

1. Binah (first Heh of YHVH) represents the ‗invisible‘ cosmic ocean


of undifferentiated substance that is the source of all matter and
form in the universe. This ethereal substance is infused with (and
controlled by) a divine Intelligence (called Elohim) which basically
represents the ‗mind of God‘. In the Zohar it is sometimes called
―The World to Come‖ because it represents the ultimate blueprint
of the universe as the Creator has envisioned it. It is like an
architect‘s blueprints of a house, but the house is still in process of
being built. It is slowly being constructed within the domain of the
sefirah Malkut.

2. Malkut (second Heh of YHVH) represents the ‗visible‘


manifestation of the ‗Great Mother‘ principle. It is like the ‗body‘
of the Mother principle whereas Binah is like the ‗soul‘ that
inhabits and permeates the body. Malkut represents all perceptible
energy, matter, and form within the universe. Forms appear
separated and disparate in Malkut, but they all are unified into a
perfect synthesis at the level of Binah.

One of our major goals as human-beings is to raise our consciousness so that


we become aware of the oneness of Creation (as represented by Binah) and to
learn to see, and feel, and become consciously involved in the movement of the
feminine Great Mother principle as She goes about Her ‗household business‘. It
is the Mother‘s divine purpose to provide the creative Father principle with the
material resources that He needs as He designs and builds His House in
accordance with His Will. The Father principle is represented by the sefirah
Hockmah on the Tree of Life diagram.

We, as human-beings, become consciously involved in the divine process of the


Father‘s Creation as we learn to sense, while attached to Malkut, the presence
(‗Shekinah‘) and movement of the Great Mother principle.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

It is my understanding that the Shekinah principle is represented by the Twelve


Tribes of Israel, or in other words, the twelve signs of the zodiac. The twelve-
fold circle of the zodiac symbolizes the embrace of the Mother as she encloses
Herself around the creative impulse of the Father principle (as represented by
the Sun at the centre of the zodiacal circle).

The ‗Sun‘ is symbolized by Jacob/Israel, and he is enclosed on all sides by the


Mother (as represented by the twelve Simple Hebrew letter pathways that
surround Tifaret). These twelve pathways ‗plug‘ Tifaret into Binah and Malkut.
They represent the communication interface that connects Tifaret to
Binah/Malkut. We can visualize the twelve pathways as constituting a twelve-
pronged adapter plug on the end of a cable that extends from Tifaret and plugs
into Binah, and a similar cable that extends from Tifaret to Malkut. Tifaret (and
the other five sefirot around it) is like a processor unit that sits between these
two ‗separated‘ components—Binah and Malkut. Tifaret unites them through
itself using the ‗cable‘. (I have put the word ‗separated‘ in quotes because Binah
and Malkut are only experienced as being separated from the perspective of the
Consciousness principle—i.e. the Son principle.)

Our task as human-beings therefore (in relation to this), is to open the twelve
connections between Tifaret and Malkut, and between Tifaret and Binah. As we
do so, the Consciousness principle (i.e. the Son) becomes perfectly attuned to
the feminine principle of the universe—i.e. the Shekinah. (Note that when I say
‗Tifaret‘, I am also including in that designation the other five sefirot of the Son
principle—i.e. Hesed, Geburah, Netzah, Hod, and Yesod.)

As this process is achieved the Shekinah comes to ―take possession of the House‖.
(See Zohar extract above.)

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Shekinah and the Twelve Tribes - Part Two

For as the sun, although his centre is in heaven, yet spreads his power
and might throughout the earth, so that the whole earth is full of his
glory, so, as long as the Temple was in existence, the whole earth, to wit,
the Holy Land, was full of God‘s glory; but now that Israel is in exile, the
Shekinah is on high, but still her might surrounds Israel so as to shield
them, even when they are in a strange land. For the Shekinah is both here
below and on high.

The Shekinah on high abides in the twelve holy chariots and the twelve
supernal Hayyoth; the lower Shekinah is among the twelve holy tribes,
and thus the upper Shekinah and the lower Shekinah are intertwined, and
both operate together and simultaneously. Now, when Israel is in exile,
the upper Shekinah is not complete because the lower Shekinah is not
complete, and that is what is meant by the Shekinah being in exile when
Israel is in exile. 292

In the Zohar, the divine creative process is described in terms of a relationship


that exists between four main protagonists...

1. The ―God of Israel‖ (YHVH) = Yud = Hockmah


2. The ―Upper Shekinah‖ (ALHYM) = Heh = Binah
3. ―Israel‖ = Vav = Six sefirot, Hesed to Yesod
4. The ―Lower Shekinah‖ (―Holy Land‖) = Heh = Malkut

292 Soncino Zohar, Vayeze, 159b, v2, Pp. 112-113.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The universal Father principle is represented by Hockmah (i.e. the ―God of


Israel‖), and He seeks to form a creative union with Binah (i.e. the ―Shekinah‖).
The creative union is facilitated on Earth through the agency of Israel (i.e. the
six sefirot of the Son) as he interacts with the Shekinah principle (both ‗above‘
and ‗below‘).

The sefirah Hockmah is the ‗Father‘ of the ‗Son‘. In other words, Hockmah
governs, energizes, and empowers the six sefirot of the Son—i.e. from Hesed to
Yesod. These six sefirot symbolize the masculine creative force that is operating
below the Abyss of the Tree of Life. These sefirot represent ―Israel‖ who is the
‗ambassador‘ of the Father principle in the lower worlds.

The divine Mother (i.e. Binah) also has an ‗ambassador‘ below the Abyss of the
Tree of Life. Just as Hockmah governs the six Double letter sefirot of the Son
principle, so Binah governs the twelve Simple letter pathways that extend
between them. These twelve pathways are associated with the Daughter
principle whose *unified* expression is represented by the sefirah Malkut on
the Tree of Life diagram.

Thus, the six sefirot of the Son principle are responsible for projecting the
masculine force (inherited from the Father, Hockmah) into the twelve feminine
pathways in which they are embedded. The twelve pathways embody the
feminine energy of the Mother principle (Binah).

It is the creative interaction between the six masculine sefirot of the Son and
the twelve feminine pathways of the Daughter that carry the Creation forward
below the Abyss (i.e. as it is envisioned and planned by the divine Father and
Mother principles of Hockmah and Binah).

The gradually unfolding manifestation of the Creation appears in Malkut.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Eight Firmaments

Now the Righteous One holds fast to the upper world and also to the
lower world. As for the words ―nor his seed begging bread‖, the meaning
is that when the seed flows forward, he does not court the Female, since
she abides with him and never parts from him, and hence is ever in a
state of readiness for him. For the seed does not flow save when the
Female is present, and their mutual desires are blended into one
indissoluble ecstasy. Hence he has no need to ask for consent.‘

R. Jesse remarked: ‗This surely is not the case during the time of exile.‘ R.
Simeon rejoined: ‗As regards the seed it is, since it is written ―his seed‖
but not he himself; that is, the outpouring of the blessings only occurs
when there is close union of the female with the male.

It may be asked then, does the assertion, ―and I have not seen a righteous
forsaken‖ apply to the time of exile? The truth is that the Righteous One
is always closely bound to the upper world and so far is never
abandoned. Thus at one time, that is, at the time of exile, the Righteous
One is not forsaken from the side of the upper world, to which he holds
fast, whilst at another time he is not forsaken from the two sides, holding
fast to both, the upper and the lower worlds, so that in fact he is never
forsaken.‘ [1]

This Zaddik is also called ―the firmament of the heaven‖ (Gen. I, 17).
For there are two similar firmaments, one at the beginning and one at the
end of the series of eight. [2]

The top one is the eighth firmament, the one in which there are set all
the lesser and the greater stars. It is the undisclosed upper firmament
which upholds the totality of things and from which all existence flows.
This is the eighth firmament counting from below, and is thus the top
one and the starting-point from which all things receive their existence.
[3]

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Correspondingly there is an eighth firmament counting from above, in


which also are set all stars and lights and lamps. This firmament supports
the whole and forms the end of the whole. Thus the top firmament and
the end firmament are of the same pattern, forming together the river
that flows on perennially so that the end is already enclosed in the
beginning. Hence it says: ―And God set them in the firmament of
heaven.‖ For what purpose? ―To give light upon the earth.‖ [4]

There is, however, a difference between the two firmaments, for while
the upper one sustains and nourishes the upper world in which it is set
and all those upper sides, the lower firmament sustains and nurtures the
lower world and all those lower sides.

It may be asked, what is meant here by the ―upper world‖, seeing that the
upper eighth firmament, which is hidden and undiscoverable, is itself the
upper world and is so called? But the truth is that while it itself forms the
upper world proper, all those that emanate from it are also designated by
that name. [5]

It is the same with those that emanate from the lower world, they also
being designated by its name. Yet all of them form one unity. Blessed be
He for ever and ever!293

[1] The ―Righteous One‖ (Zaddik) is a title given to any human-being who has
succeeded in attaching him/herself consciously to the ―upper world‖ (i.e. to
the ‗higher Shekinah‘). The ―upper world‖ is represented by Binah on the Tree
of Life diagram, and we connect ourselves to Binah via the ‗interface‘ that joins
the microcosmic Consciousness principle with the macrocosm. This interface is
represented by the sefirah Da‘at.

When we have attuned ourselves consciously to the ‗higher Shekinah‘ (i.e.


Binah) She is always with us in Consciousness. When a Zaddik becomes
incarnate in the physical world (i.e. the ―lower world‖) s/he is able to
consciously perceive the presence of the ‗higher Shekinah‘ as She moves
instinctively forward to embrace him/her in the divine act of Creation.

293 Soncino Zohar, Vol. 2, Pp. 121-122.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Thus...

―when the seed flows forward, he [i.e. the Zaddik] does not court the
Female [i.e. the Shekinah], since she abides with him and never parts from
him, and hence is ever in a state of readiness for him. For the seed does
not flow save when the Female is present, and their mutual desires are
blended into one indissoluble ecstasy. Hence he has no need to ask for
consent.‖ [See the Zohar extract above.]

In other words, there is no need for a Zaddik to consciously evoke the presence
of the Shekinah because She constantly embraces him (i.e. whether s/he is
incarnate on the physical plane, or not).

The ‗divine act of Creation‘ occurs due to the special relationship that has
become established between the Zaddik and the Shekinah principle.

[2] The ―series of eight‖ refers to the series of sefirot from Binah/Da‘at to
Malkut on the Tree of Life diagram.

[3] The ―eighth firmament‖ (counting from the bottom) refers to Binah/Da‘at.
It is especially represented by the perfect union of the twelve Simple Hebrew
letter archetypes. These twelve archetypes are the primordial source of the
twelve-fold circle of the zodiac.

[4] The ―eighth firmament‖ (counting from Binah at the top) is Malkut. The
sefirah Malkut represents the ‗physical‘ manifestation of the twelve-fold circle of
archetypes. We experience these archetypes, for example, as influences
emanating from the twelve signs of the zodiac. As I have mentioned before,
Malkut is constructed as a reflection (albeit dim and imperfect) of the divine
twelve-fold paragon that is symbolized by Binah.

[5] The ―upper world‖ is a term applied specifically to the sefirah Binah, but it
includes within its ambit the six lower sefirot of the Son principle. This is due
mainly to the fact that the twelve archetypes of Binah are spread amongst the

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

six lower sefirot, forming thereby, their ‗field of influence‘. The sefirah Malkut
is designated as the ―lower world‖.

The Ways and Paths

R. Jose and R. Hizkiah were once travailing from Cappadocia to Lydda,


and with them was a certain Judean driving an ass laden with clothes.
Said R. Jose to R. Hizkiah: ‗Repeat one of those excellent expositions of
Scripture which you are wont to deliver daily before the Sacred Lamp.‘ R.
Hizkiah then began to hold forth on the verse: ―Her ways are ways of
pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.‖ (Prov. III, 17.)

‗These ways‘, he said, ‗are the ways and paths of the Torah, as whoever
walks in them is invested by the Holy One, blessed be He, with the grace
of the Divine Presence as his constant accompaniment, and whoever
follows her paths enjoys peace on high and below, peace in this world
and in the world to come.‘

Said the Judean: ‗A deeper meaning lies in this verse, like a coin in the
corner of a box.‘ ‗How do you know this?‘ they asked him. He said: ‗I
have heard the recondite explanation of this verse from my father.‘

He then continued to discourse thus. ‗This verse contains a twofold idea,


one suggested by the terms ―ways‖ and ―pleasantness‖, and the other by
the terms ―paths‖ and ―peace‖.

The ―ways‖ are those mentioned in the passage, ―who maketh a way in
the sea‖ (Is. XLIII, 16). For the term ―way‖ everywhere in Scripture
denotes an open road, accessible to all. So the words ―her ways are ways
of pleasantness‖ allude to those ways which our patriarchs opened up
and traversed on the great ocean, and which ramify in all directions to all
quarters of the world; and by ―pleasantness‖ is meant that pleasantness
which issues from the other world, the source whence radiate all lamps in

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

all directions. That felicity, that light which our patriarchs absorbed and
inherited, is thus called ―pleasantness‖.

Or we can say that the world to come itself is called ―pleasantness‖,


because when it is awakened there is a stirring of all joy, all felicity, all
illumination, and all freedom. Hence tradition tells us that when the
Sabbath comes in, the sinners in Gehinnom have a respite and are
granted ease and rest; and that at the termination of the Sabbath we have
to call down the supernal joy upon us so that we may be delivered from
the punishment that the sinners undergo from that moment onward; and
this we do by reciting the verse: ―And let the pleasantness of the Lord
our God be upon us, etc.‖ (Ps. XC, 17), an allusion to the supernal
pleasantness which brings universal freedom.

Now, as for the ―paths‖, they denote the paths that proceed from on
high and are all gathered into the single covenant which is named
―peace‖, meaning the peace of the household, and which carries those
paths into the great ocean when it is agitated, and so gives it peace.‘
Observe that Joseph embodied the covenant of peace, and in
consequence became ruler over the land of Egypt. 294

This passage is interesting because it appears to differentiate between two


groups of pathways (i.e. from amongst the twenty-two pathways of the Tree of
Life).

The ―Judean‖ defines the two groups as follows:

1. The ―ways‖ (DRK) that are associated with a quality defined as


―pleasantness‖ (NOM).

294 Soncino Zohar, Miqez, 197b, Vol. 2, Pp. 249-250.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

2. The ―paths‖ (NThYB) that are associated with a quality defined as


―peace‖ (ShLM).

It is my understanding that the speaker is referring to the following two groups


of pathways:

1. The ―ways‖ refer to the twelve Simple letter pathways of the Tree
of Life.

2. The ―paths‖ refer to the seven Double letter pathways of the Tree
of Life.

The three patriarchs are said to have ―opened up‖ the ―ways‖ (DRK) and
traversed them on the ―great ocean‖. The ‗great ocean‘ refers to the sefirah
Binah, and especially to Her manifestation as Malkut (i.e. as the ‗lower world‘).
The ―ways‖ are said to ―ramify in all directions to all quarters of the world‖
which is precisely what the twelve Simple letter pathways do. They are attached
to the four directional sefirot: Hesed, Geburah, Netzah, and Hod, and spread
out amongst the six lower sefirot from Hesed to Yesod. If it wasn‘t for these
twelve ―ways‖ the ―lamps‖ would have nowhere to radiate their light, because
these twelve form a ‗circle of dark space‘ around the lamps (and into which the
lamps shine their light).

The term ‗pleasantness‘ is given two meanings by the Judean. The first is related
to the sefirah Hockmah (of the ―other world‖--that is, the ‗upper world‘). The
sefirah Hockmah is the ―source whence radiate all lamps in all directions‖. It is
the source of ―light‖ for the seven Double letter sefirot, just as the sefirah Binah
is the source of ―darkness‖ for the twelve Simple letter pathways that
encompass and enfold the seven Double letter sefirot. (Similarly, the sefirah
Keter is esoterically connected with the three Mother letter sefirot and
pathways.) The three patriarchs (i.e. the sefirot: Hesed, Geburah, and Tifaret)
‗absorb‘ and ‗inherit‘ the ‗light‘ of ‗pleasantness‘ from Hockmah.

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

The Judean also states that ―the world to come‖ (or, the sefirah Binah) can be
identified with the term ―pleasantness‖.

He says: ―...at the termination of the Sabbath we have to call down the supernal joy upon us
so that we may be delivered from the punishment that the sinners undergo from that moment
onward.‖ The ‗Sabbath‘ is associated with the seventh of the lower sefirot:
Malkut, but also with the sefirah Hesed because Hesed is the seventh sefirah 295
counting from below to above.

When Malkut is reached (i.e. ―at the termination of the Sabbath‖) then ―we
have to call down the supernal joy upon us‖ which descends from Binah to
Hesed (via Da‘at). This is done in order to avoid the ―punishment that the
sinners undergo from that moment onward‖. The ‗punishment‘ occurs because
the ‗sinners‘ have no conscious awareness of the Shekinah (i.e. the ‗divine
presence‘) in the material realm of Malkut. Without the awareness of the
Shekinah principle mankind lives in darkness with no lamp to guide him along
the special pathways that avoid the infliction of ‗punishment‘.

The ―paths‖ (NThYB) are said to ―proceed from on high and are all gathered
into the single covenant which is named ‗peace‘...‖ This refers to the seven
Double letter pathways that are located amongst the three highest sefirot of the
Tree of Life (i.e. Keter, Hockmah, and Binah), and whose seven emanations are
extended below the Abyss to form the seven lower sefirot of the Tree of Life
(i.e. from Da‘at to Yesod).

There is a flow of energy that proceeds through these seven sefirot (acquiring
the qualities of each as it does so) and that is gathered together in Yesod (which
latter is referred to as the ―covenant of peace‖). ‗Joseph‘ personifies the sefirah
Yesod in the Zohar writings.

The composite energy that is gathered into Yesod is poured out upon the
sefirah Malkut, thus raining ‗blessings‘ down upon the ‗lower world‘. Thus,

295 That is, when Malkut is included in the count.

pg. 315
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

Yesod ―carries those paths into the great ocean [Malkut] when it is agitated, and
so gives it peace‖. This is why Joseph is also mentioned by the Judean as being
the ―ruler over the land of Egypt‖—‗Egypt‘ being symbolic of the sefirah
Malkut.

Nefesh, Ruach, and Neshamah

Observe that when the Holy One, blessed be He, created Adam, He
gathered his earthly matter from the four corners of the world and
fashioned him therefrom on the site of the Temple here below and drew
to him a soul of life out of the Temple on high. [1]

Now the soul is a compound of three grades, and hence it has three
names, to wit, nefesh (vital principle), ruah (spirit), and neshamah (soul
proper). Nefesh is the lowest of the three, ruah is a grade higher, whilst
neshamah is the highest of all and dominates the others. [2]

These three grades are harmoniously combined in those men who have
the good fortune to render service to their Master. For at first man
possesses nefesh, which is a holy preparative for a higher stage. After he
has achieved purity in the grade of nefesh he becomes fit to be crowned
by the holy grade that rests upon it, namely ruah.

When he has thus attained to the indwelling of nefesh and ruah, and
qualified himself for the worship of his Master in the requisite manner,
the neshamah, the holy superior grade that dominates all the others, takes
up its abode with him and crowns him, so that he becomes complete and
perfected on all sides; he becomes worthy of the world to come and is
beloved of the Holy One, blessed be He; of him Scripture says: ―To
cause my beloved ones to inherit substance‖ (Prov. VIII, 21), the
―beloved ones‖ being those who have attained to the holy neshamah.‘ ...
[3]

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

... Observe that nefesh, ruah, and neshamah are an ascending series of
grades. The lowest of them, nefesh, has its source in the perennial
celestial stream, but it cannot exist permanently save with the help of
ruah, which abides between fire and water. Ruah, in its turn, is sustained
by neshamah, that higher grade above it, which is thus the source of both
nefesh and ruah. When ruah receives its sustenance from neshamah, then
nefesh receives it in turn through ruah, so that the three form a unity.‘296
[4]

[1] The physical form of Adam is constructed from ―earthly matter‖ that is
gathered from ―the four corners of the world‖. In terms of the Tree of Life
diagram this refers to the gathering together (into one conformation) of the
twelve Simple letter pathways that are attached to the four ‗directional‘ (or
―corner‖) sefirot: Hesed, Geburah, Netzah, and Hod. These twelve pathways
are then bound together in the sefirah Malkut forming thereby the ‗body‘ of
Adam.

The sefirah Malkut is ―the site of the Temple here below‖ referred to in the
Zohar extract.

A ―soul of life‖ is given to Adam by the Holy One. It is drawn from ―the
Temple on high‖ which is a reference to the sefirah Binah.

According to (my understanding of) the Zohar, ‗souls‘ are given to us by Binah
as we enter into each incarnation upon the Earth.

[2] On the Middle Pillar of the Tree of Life we have Malkut (at the very bottom)
representing the physical body. Then above Malkut is Yesod basically
representing the Nefesh (or ‗vital principle‘). Then above Yesod is Tifaret
symbolizing the Ruach (or ‗spirit‘). Then above Tifaret is the sefirah Da‘at
representing the Neshamah (or ‗soul proper‘). This later is closely bound to the
sefirah Binah (i.e. the Source of all souls).

296 Soncino Zohar, Vol. 2, Pp 280-281, Vayigash, 205b-206a.

pg. 317
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

[3] The Zohar delineates three basic spiritual conditions for Adam...

1. Nefesh. Involves the growth and development of the human personality


as it learns to master the physical conditions in which it finds itself.

2. Ruach. Involves some detachment of the mind (Hod) and desire body
(Netzah) from the realm of matter, and the development of ‗soul-
consciousness‘.

3. Neshamah. The sefirah Da‘at ‗crowns‘ the lower grades and provides
the Zaddik with the means whereby he (or she) is able to perform the
―worship of his Master in the requisite manner‖. The sefirah Da‘at gives
the Zaddik access to the higher divine sefirot wherefrom he receives the
‗blessings‘ he must then re-distribute to the inhabitants of Earth. The
sefirah Da‘at makes the Zaddik ―complete and perfected on all sides‖
meaning that he has brought Malkut into harmony with Binah via the
perfecting of his own consciousness. This is achieved by building a
bridge between Malkut and Binah--one that is constructed of the twelve
Simple letter archetypes from Malkut through the consciousness of the
Zaddik to Binah.

The ―substance‖ that is inherited (from the Holy One) by the Zaddik is YSh
(Yesh, yud-shin), where ‗yud‘ signifies the sefirah Hockmah, and ‗shin‘
symbolizes the sefirah Binah.

[4] The Nefesh is impermanent (by itself) because it is formed of the matter of
the lower ‗physical‘ planes. The Ruach is associated with the Air element which
exists between Fire and Water.

pg. 318
Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

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Formation of the Tree of Life June 5, 2011

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