QABBALAH (KABBALAH) - THE TEACHING OF EVERYTHING THROUGH THE TREE OF LIFE

November 04, 2018

Qabbalah (Kabbalah) is a spiritual teaching in Judaism. It is also studied and used in occultism. Qabbalah's similarities to Hindu philosophy about creation through the three gunas are astonishing. This ancient teaching has a lot of similarities, and in some cases, completely identical parts with Hermeticism and the teachings of Pythagoras and Plato. The reason for having so many things in common with other spiritual teachings, philosophies and religions, is due to the fact that Qabbalah represents a full map that can be used to explain the microcosm (the human being as a small God within the macrocosm) and the macrocosm (the big God, or the Universe that manifests all spiritual and material principles). As Dion Fortune (a British occultist, Qabbalist, novelist, ceremonial magician, author, the co-founder of the Fraternity of the Inner Light.) states - Qabbalah is the western teaching about the Universe, just as Hinduism with all of its philosophies is the teaching of the same thing in the east. What the word "Qabbalah" trasnlates as is under many disputes, but what we can say for sure is that it reveals its teaching through the "Tree of Sephiroth", also known as the "Tree of Life".


Here is an image of the Qabbalistic tree on which we will be going back many times as we explain each and every Sephiroth.

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THE TREE OF SEPHIROTH

The Qabbalistic tree is also often represented as a big tree standing upside down with its roots in Heaven. This image, according to Qabbalists, is an image of the whole Creation squeezed into a physical expression. The Tree of Sephiroth is said to had been given to mankind by Archangel Metatron and it can be studied in three different ways depending on what you want to learn.


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As you can see from the image above, the three colors represent the three-way tree. The first tree represent the 3 columns named Justice (beginning with the Binah Sephiroth at the top), the second column of Beauty (beginning with Keter) and the third column of Mercy (beginning with Chokmah). Another way of looking at the tree is through the "Lightning Flash" shown in the second tree, going from one Sephiroth to the next in the order of their creation. The final way of studying the tree is by looking at it in three triangles each one constituted of 3 Sephiroths to create 3 of the 4 worlds present in Creation, the 4th world being Malkhut, the last Sephiroth. These 4 worlds go by the names of "Atziluth" (the archetype world of emanations),  "Beri'ah" (the world creation), "Yetzirah" (the world of formation) and "Asiyah" (the world of action).


THE TRIUNE TREE

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Let's begin by explaining the triune way of looking at the tree, as it gives us a basic understanding of how the tree operates. First of all, the 4 worlds are parallel to each other, meaning they share the same space (the Universe), residing in different states of the consciousness. The first world is called by occultists "The Archetype World of Emanations", because it is 100% spiritual, there is no form as we understand it, there is not even any expression that can trigger any creation. It is where the first emanation of "Ein Sof", which is the ultimate Creator of the four worlds, happens. Ein Sof is unknown to anything, thus no wise philosophical idea or spiritual teaching has ever dared to even make suggestions about its origins or character, this includes Christianity, Hinduism, Hermeticism, Judaism, Buddishm, Pythagorism, etc. The first triangle is where consciousness is born through the spirit. The spirit represents the force that manifests God's will to Create, thus it begets consciousness to manifest all beingness through it. The world of Beri'ah is called the World of Creation, because it is the world where the begotten consciousness of God expresses itself for the first time. Yetzirah, The World of Formation, is where the first expressions/creations of the consciousness are going in the state of being forms accessible and comprehensible for the mind. Asiyah, The World of Action, is where those forms find physical expression. It is the world of time, space and materialism, in other words - our physical Universe.


THE THREE COLUMNS


The three columns of the Sephiroth Tree represent the 2 opposite extremes (Left and Right coulmns) in the 3 mental worlds (Atziluth, Beri'ah and Yetzirah), and the balance between them (the Middle column). The middle column represents the states of the consciousness where every state of the mind that happens by the balancing of the opposites is being exprienced, whereas the 2 opposite columns represent the extreme opposite states of the mind. For example, you can experience happiness or anger, unconditional love or hatred, joy or misery, these are all opposite extreme states that the mind can experience. Often though these extremes find a balance to produce a certain emotion, which will be explained when we look at the Chesed, Gevura and Tiphereth Sephiroths, that make up the Beri'ah world. Even though the mind can experience all of those things, it is everexisting and emerging from one and the same source - the "Keter" Sephiroth. Consciousness however is always still and present, being in the middle, staying in perfect balance, thus we have meditation practices for calming the mind and finding our center. This is why the middle column represents the states of the consciousness. In the macrocosm these opposite Sephiroths represent the different expressions of the force of Creation, and the balance between them create the foundation for each of the worlds - from Atziluth to Beri'ah to Yetzirah to Asiyah.

THE LIGHTNING FLASH


The lightning flash (marked with blue) represent the order in which the individual Sephiroths were created. As mentoined above, each Sephiroth represents a state of the spirit (force) that Created. For example, imagine a flowing river going all around the world. As it passess through various places with different obstacles, climate changes, pollutions, etc., it is manifesting a different character in every such place, so even though it is one and the same river it is finding many expressions. Similarly, Spirit is the force of Creation which, as it goes through various states, it finds different expressions.


THE SEPHIROTHS

Let's now begin with a brief explanation for each individual Sephiroth. Keep in mind that in order for a Sephiroth to be fully understood, we have to also look at its interconnections with its adjacent Sephiroths.

- Keter, translated as "Crown" and also being the first Sephiroth, is the considered to be the potential for all beingness. It is the infinite and unlimited information that can create absolutely everything. This Sephiroth is considered to be the crystallization of Ein Sof (or God). For example, when you put a lot of sugar into warm water it dissolves, but if you wait for the water to cool the sugar crystalizes within the cup. Keter is that crystalization of Ein Sof. The name of this Sephiroth is translated as "Crown" to symbolize that it is above everything. The crown sits on top of the head, meaning it is not a part of the body, but something higher. Keter is illustrated by an old king wearing a crown standing with his face in profile. The king being old symbolizes wisdom, potential and knowledge, the crown symbolizes it is the ruler, and the face being in profile symbolizes that one side of his face is turned towards what is intelligible for the consciousness, while the other side, which cannot be seen, is turned towards Ein Sof, which is the Unknown. In the microcosm, Keter represents the most deepest level of the subconscious mind. This level is way deeper than what the subconscious level of our material mind (brain), where our habits, beliefs, impulses, prejudices and memories are stored. Just as this Sephiroth is the potential for all beingness in the macrocosm, so it is in the microcosm. For example, when we are in deep meditation, free from thought, we have the potential and capabilities of our mind to produce any thought, emotion or image we want. It is consciousness in its most pure state capable of producing whatever we desire.

- Chokmah, translated as "Wisdom", represents the first action of Keter. Chokmah is begotten when the potential of Keter is expressed in a way that is capable of becoming, because Keter by itself is not Creation. It is nothing,  yet everything, because it has the potential to create everything,  yet it is static, staying in that state of nothingness. When that state of pure potential finds an expression through the spirit, it takes the form of Chokmah, or in other words - the state of being capable of becoming. In the microcosm, it is that initial spark of thought within our mind. It is that moment when you're completely still and a thought pops up into your head. Where does that thought came from? - Our subconscious mind (the potential for all thoughts, emotions and imagination).


- Binah, translated originally as "Knowledge", and in some cases as "Understanding", represents the force in a state of becoming. We said that Chokmah is Keter in the state of capable of becoming, in Binah the force is becoming. The potential of Keter begins to take form through the state of Chokmah. When I say "begins to take form", i'm not talking about any form present to the imagination of the mind, but a state of beingness which can be understood and expressed, but not visualized as a form in the context of anything physical or imaginary. Let's not forget that these 3 Sephiroths make up the world of Atziluth - where everything is 100% spiritual, with no physical of "astral" form whatsoever. In the microcosm, Binah represents the thought being given depth and length, or in other words, becoming in a state capable of being understood.

- Da'at, translated as "Understanding", is a Sephiroth that is not present in the images shown above, as it is considered to be "hidden" depending on whether the tree is used to explain the macrocosm or the microcosm. Its location is between Chokmah and Binah (shown in the image below) and its characteristics are usually merged with Binah when this sephiroth is excluded from the tree. This Sephiroth represents the understanding of the thought. As we have said so far, we drew a thought from our subconscious mind into our conscious mind, thus we experienced the pop-up of a  thought out of nothing, then that thought was given depth and length, and it became in a state capable of being understood. It is in Da'at where this understanding is happening. We now know what that thought is, we understand it, we know what we can do with it and now we make the choice of what to do with it - that is Da'at. In the macrocosm, it is that state of the force (Spirit) which is now capable of being expressed in actual form present to the imagination. We have drew the potential from Keter into Chokmah, made it into a state capable of being understood into Binah, and this understanding is happening in Da'at, thus the force is now ready for making an expression.

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- Chesed, translated as "Mercy", is the expression, the ultimate give, the ultimate goodness. We often hear people say "God is good" and this Sephiroth is the reason why. We now take the first step into the world of "Beri'ah" where Creation begins. The first world of emanations "Atziluth" is said to be unintelligible for the human mind, as there is no Creation of forms which distinctions' and differences' the mind uses to comprehend reality. In Chesed the potential of Keter is finally being expressed. At this point, everything that is yet to be created is merged in one. All opposites are not only merged with one another, but merged with other opposites as well - light and darkness, joy and misery, positive and negative, etc. This Sephiroth is "Mercy", because mercy is an act of giving a chance to someone or something. Chesed is the ultimate give without holding anything back. It gives the full potential of Keter all at once. In the microcosm the world of Beri'ah, constituted of Chesed, Gevurah and Tiphereth is the emotional aspect of our mind. After a thought pops-up in our head and it is understood, it begets emotions. For example, you come home and see you have a missed call from a dear friend of yours, a thought pops into your head, that thought is being given length and depth and it is understood. After you comprehend your thought, you now experience a certain emotion associated with that thought, in this case "joy". Every emotion can afterwards lead you to think and produce different thoughts but thought is always primary to emotion.


- Gevurah, translated as "Severity", is the ultimate withhold, the ultimate constraint, the opposite of Chese, which is the ultimate give. In this Sephiroth the force that is expressed is being divided. By the power of withholding, the oneness in Chesed is being separated - opposites now exist as separate states. In Gevurah the worlds are created by separating the oneness into opposites, distinctions, differences, polarities. If you imagine an ultimate give with no withhold (Chesed) where everything exist as one, how can there be a world comprehensible for us? Our mind cannot comprehend complete oneness because it works only whin distinctions between forms and objects. In Chesed all aspects of Creation exist in only one state, making them incapable of being experienced. Therefore without the withhold of Gev(b)urah there could be no comprehensible state for the immensity of the Universe. In the microcosm Chesed is the tendency to give and to share. It is the expression of our thoughts from Atziluth. By balancing that expression with Gevurah, an emotion is created. Every Sephiroth if not balanced by its opposite becomes a vice. For example, if a person is extremelly Chesedic, he would give his everything without any restraint. Someone can murder his whole family and ask for the keys of his house and the Chesedic person would be "Sure, anything you need." Whereas an extreme Gevura would be a very egoistic person keeping everything for himself not helping his loved one that is dying even if he has the whole Universe in his hands. When the powers of giving and withholding meet they balance each other to create an emotion. For example, love and hate are identical in nature, but different in degree. The degree of our likeness towards a person determines what we feel towards him - if we like him a lot we say we love him. When our likeness towards a person is not much, he is neutral to us. Strangers are perfect example of that. When you meet someone you neither like him nor dislike him until that person makes a certain impression on you. When we hate someone that means our degree of likeness towards him is non-present, our feelings for him are way below the neutral point. This principle applies to all opposite aspects of our emotions such as love-hate, joy-misery, bravery-fear, etc. The balancing of the expression and withholding of our thoughts determines the emotion produced.

- Tiphereth, translated as "Beauty", is the product of Chesed and Gevura, it is the child of God, for Keter is finally expressed in Tiphereth. This Sephiroth represents a state of the spirit (force) in which all aspects of Creation are finally understood and expressed in a way capable of becoming forms. The ultimate give has been done, the withholding which separated the oneness into duality has been done, and Tiphereth is the first Sephiroth in which Creation can be comprehended. As we mentoined earlier, the middle column represent different states of the consciousness. Tiphereth is the Christ state of consciousness rised above all corruptions of forms and their manifestation into materialistic objects. Jesus Christ was also said to be "God" in flesh. This is symbolic for the reflection of Keter into Tiphereth. In the microcosm this Sephiroth is the experience of emotions produced by the balancing of Chesed and Gevura, just as in the macrocosm it represents the product of their balancing, being ready to be manifested in forms. We said that the two opposite columns represent the states of the mind, therefore we naturally reach the conclusion that the experience of these states must happen in the middle. Or in other words - our consciousness experiences the products of the mind.


- Netzach, translated as "Victory", is the first Sephiroth of the Yetzirah world and it is where the information from Tiphereth, which stores the separate aspects of Creation, takes form. Just as the thought understood in Da'at was expressed through Chesed, so does Netzach expresses the blueprint for the world stored in Tiphereth. The difference Between Netzach and Chesed (both in the third column) is that the oneness expressed in Netzach is in a state of forms comprehensible for the mind, whereas the oneness expressed in Chesed has no form, but is an archetypal idea that must be developed further by separating its elements. Netzach is the state of the spirit in which all forms that a person can ever think of are present, thus it is called by various spiritual teachings "The Akashic Records" or just "Akasha". The forms in Netzach are not only shapes present to the imagination, but forms that can be manifested and experienced through all of the five senses. Every form that is manifested in our material Universe can be perceived by obeservation, touching, smelling, tasting or hearing the sound it makes. In the microcosm, Netzach it represents the forms that are being manifested to create the material Universe - planets, stars and all forms present in Nature.

- Hod, translated as "Splendor", is the Sephiroth where the individualizing of the forms from the field of Netzach is happening. You can imagine Netzach to be a sea of forms, and whenever you think of something you draw an image from that sea which enters your imagination - that is Hod. In the macrocosm, Netzach is the sea of those forms that are capable of manifesting into the material Universe. You can imagine many abstract images that are impossible to exist within the material universe. This is due to the laws and principles governing our world, preventing forms breaking those laws and principles from manifesting in physical form. All forms from the World of Formation, can be manifested into the physical Universe when enough attention and energy is being put into them. When we think of a form that is not capable of manifesting in our Universe because of the laws and principles guiding it, the effects of that form are finding different expressions. For example you can give a constant attention to an image in your mind, of a talking duck with human legs carrying a sack of gold.  This silly image can find an expression as a situation in your life where you and a friend of yours are talking about ducks and you happen to find 10$. The forms effects from the World of Yetzirah are being manifested in the material Universe by thinking, vizualizing and by producing emotions associated with those forms. Every act of experiencing an emotion, exercising thought or vizualizing requires energy from the body to be produced. The energy of the body takes a different state of existence so it can produce those thoughts, emotions and images. This is called transmutation or sacrifice. You sacrifice one state of the energy for it to become a different one. When our thoughts, emotions and vizualizations about the forms we want to manifest are in coherence, the energy sacrificed from the body is being spent and guided towards the development of those forms or their effects in physical life.


- Yesod, translated as "Foundation", is a Sephiroth of balance created by the opposite Sephiroths residing within its world, just as Da'at and Tiphereth. Yesod is that point of manifestation of the spirit in which the spirit is in the state of becoming materialistic, the forms began to take physical shapes. The forms were created in Netzach, individualized in Hod and presented in Yesod. Every Sephiroth is feminine in relation to the Sephiroth primary to it, and male in relation to the Sephiroth secondary to it. The Sephiroth of Foundation is no exception, it is androgynous as it is fertilized by Hod and it fertilizes Malkhut by transmutating/sacrificing the abstract forms from the World of Yetzirah into materialistic objects into the World of Asiyah (Malkhut). In the microcosm, Yesod is the final point of the mental experience of transmutations from thought to emotion and from emotion to vizualization of forms - these are all mental experiences. It is the point in which we finally know how we want to express our thoughts, emotions and imagination. That expression takes place in Malkhut through physical means - by acts of the body or by verbal speech, thus Malkhut is refered to the "World of Action".

- Malkhut, translated as "Kingdom", is the world in which all higher principles, laws, forces and elements find an ultimate expression in the form of actions. This is why this Sephiroth is known as "Kingdom", for kingdom is a place in which there are laws which are meant to be unbreakable created by the King (Keter). In the microcosm, as we already said, Malkhut refers to the physical expression of the mental process which ended in Yesod.

SEPHIROTHS FROM THE OPPOSITE COLUMNS

If you made it this far, congratulations you now have the very basic knowledge regarding Qabablah. This knowledge however is just enough to understand the opposite columns. Each of the two opposite columns of Sephiroths have a lot of common. The column of Justice constituted of Binah, Gevurah and Hod is considered to be female, while the column of Mercy constituted of Chokmah, Chesed and Netzach is considered to be male.

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The reason for that is because all Sephiroths from the column of Mercy are the ones that fertlize. Chokmah is the potential of God in the state of finding expression. Its opposite Sephiroth - Binah, as we said, takes that active potential into its passivity and gives it length and depth, or in other words it gives it some type of constrictions. Similarly, in our world, the male carries the potential for life in his semen and fertilizes the female. The female then, being passive, manifests that potential by giving it form. The next opposite Sephiroths - Chesed and Gevura are following the same principles - Chesed is the ultimate give, Gevura takes the mixed dualities meant to create the worlds, and adds boundaries, separating them. We then finally come to Netzach and Hod, where Netzach is the spirit in the state of mixed forms and Hod individualizes these forms, again by setting boundaries to where one form begins and where it ends in the sea of Netzach.  Malkuth is entirely feminine, as it is fertilized by all the higher Sephiroths. It is the pond in which the river, finishing its course of manifestations, pours itself, thus we say "Mother Earth". These 3 columns are analogical to the 3 energy channels associated with the human chakras from the hindu system - Ida, Pingala and Sushumna, and the Sephiroths are analogical to the 7 chakras. The 3 columns are also analogical to the Yin-Yang and the path of Dao between them.


The Holy Trinity also find many expressions in the Tree of Sephiroth. For example, the World of Atziluth is the Father (God),  the World of Beri'ah is the Son (Tiphereth, Jesus Christ), the World of Yetzirah is the Holy Spirit (the world of forms), the World of Asiyah is the tomb, or in other words - death. Aboriginal people and later on other civilizations such as the Egyptians, found the Holy Trinity in the Sun. In the morning it rises (creates the world by making it visible), that is the Father, in the midday it is the strongest, thus it is the Son, in the evening it is the weakest, thus is the Holy Spirit. When the Sun goes down, darkness falls - this is the World of Asiyah, death until the Sun rises again (symbolizes reincarnation). Also the Holy Trinity can be found in Keter (Father), Chokmah (Son), Binah (Holy Spirit) and Da'at (Death). The Tree of Sephiroth can describe absolutely any mystical, mythological, philosophical or religious teaching, regardless of its origins, thus Qabbalists say the teaching of Qabbalah can be studied for many lifetimes and still not learn everything there is to it.

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