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The Hebrew Alphabet
"Twenty-two foundation letters: He ordained them, He hewed them, He combined them, He weighed them, He interchanged them. And He created with them the whole creation and everything to be created in the future." Sefer Yetsirah ("Book of Formation") The Western Mystery Tradition combines many strands of thought and symbolism, but the more esoteric aspects of the Judaic tradition are something of a cornerstone. Study of the Kabbalah, even from a modern perspective, really requires some knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet, and preferably of Hebrew itself. Those interested in Ceremonial Magic need to be able to interpret, transcribe and pronounce simple Hebrew phrases. Students of the Tarot will find their understanding of the Major Arcana and the symbolism of esoteric decks enhanced by familiarity with the Hebrew letters. Of course, any exploration of the Bible, in particular the Old Testament, is strengthened by an appreciation of Hebrew, and, by virtue of Esoteric Correspondence, studies in other fields such as astrology benefit as well. When reading or writing Hebrew, it is important to remember that, unlike modern European languages, Hebrew is written from right to left. Words are generally written without vowels, though modern Hebrew does employ a system of diacritic marks to specify vowel-sounds. However, the esoteric student is usually more concerned with ancient Hebrew. The following table shows the standard form of each of the 22 Hebrew letters in order, along with a guide to their pronunciation, their basic meanings, and their English transliterations. Each letter also has a numerical equivalent, which is shown in the table. Certain letters have two values, depending on whether the letter is used within or at the end of a word. See the footnote below for further discussion of this and the threefold division of the alphabet.
PronunciationMeaning Value Transliteration
ahlehf Ox, primal energy 1 A
House or enclosure
Camel or carrier3
Door or womb 4
Nail or hook
V, W, U
Field or fence
Closed or 20, 500 as K grasping hand final Ox-goad or whip
40, 600 as M final
daleth. The seven Double Letters (so called because they have both hard and soft pronunciations) are beth. mem and shin. but has a value of 600 and is called mem sofit if it is the final letter of a word. kaph. and has sofit (pronounced sohfeet) added to its name. 700 as N final Samekh sahmehh Prop or support 60 S Ayin a'hyeen Eye 70 O Peh peh Mouth 80. 900 as Tz.Nun noon Fish 50. When one of these letters ends a word. For example. The three Mother Letters are aleph. mem has a value of 40 if it is placed before the end of a word. 800 as P. resh . X final Tzaddi tsahdee Fishhook Qoph qoof Back of head 100 Q Resh rehsh Face or head 200 R Shin sheen Tooth 300 Sh Tav tahv Cross or sign 400 Th * Those letters that have two numerical values take different forms depending on whether or not the letter appears as the final letter in a word. peh. One final point of note is the division of the Hebrew alphabet into three groups. F final 90. gimel. it is drawn slightly differently (these 'final' forms are not shown in the table).
It is also applied to the Christian or Western Kabbalah which grew from German and Lurianic Kabbalism and found its expression and extension in western Mystery Orders. teth. Tao and yang of Taoist philosophy. sushumna and pingala. complementing the eastern chakra system and having counterparts to many of the forms of yogic practice. meditation. such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. but its exact date of origin is unknown (possibly as early as the third century. It may be used profitably by anyone. ida. equilibrium and mercy on the Tree of Life. . The twelve Simple Letters are heh. tzaddi and qoph. Indeed. The Kabbalah at its best is a system of esoteric philosophy. It is used to describe Jewish mysticism in general.and tav. zayin. yod. detailing the creation of the universe via thirty-two hidden paths: the ten sefirot ("numbers". cheth. An Introduction to the Kabbalah Kabbalah can be translated from the Hebrew as "received tradition". find direct expression in the Kabbalistic pillars of severity. Through fasting. ayin. though mythologically the oral tradition is said to date back to Abraham or even earlier. and the yin. the Merkabah mystics sought experience of the "Throne-Chariot of God" (Merkabah) described in Ezekiel 1. prayer and incantation. In its most complete form the Kabbalah can be considered as the "Yoga of the West". "emanations" or "spheres" . vau. and is a term applied to a vast and seemingly disparate body of esoteric knowledge and practice. for those who wish it. or more specifically the tradition which found its impetus in the Sefer ha-Zohar ("The Book of Splendor") of the thirteenth century. the three main nadis (energy channels) in eastern philosophy.singular. lamed. regardless of creed. A Brief History of the Kabbalah Jewish mysticism has its origins in the Merkabah practices of the first centuries AD. and. both rational and trans-rational. The Kabbalah itself made its first known appearance in written form with the Sefer Yetsirah ("Book of Formation"). it is a key to the control of subtle forces and the attainment of true mystical union. psychology and cosmology that allows any aspect of existence to be assimilated and related to any other on many levels. samekh. It is attributed to Rabbi Akiba who was martyred by the Romans. nun. sefira) and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. but no later than the tenth). The Sefer Yetsirah is a short work expounding the basic structure of the Kabbalah.
. The expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492 served to spread the Spanish Kabbalah further into Europe. Thus freedom of choice is born of the godhead's self-inflicted suffering. in the thirteenth century. The next major development occurred with the advent of Lurianic Kabbalah. This had its roots in Merkabah mysticism. involving magical rituals. The most important figure here was Israel ben Eleazar (1698-1760). Simeon bar Yohai. known as the Baal Shem Tov. crowned with the coming of the Messiah. Mediaeval ceremonial magicians were fond of appropriating Kabbalistic words of power. prayer and ecstatic experience. the "Master of the Holy Name". and is more concerned with the nature and structure of all creation from the divine to the material worlds. sometimes referred to as Classical Kabbalah.What was to become known as German Kabbalism or Early Hasidism began in Italy in 917 with Aaron ben Samuel. De Occulta Philosophia Libri Tres (1531). the qelippot (literally "shells". and the tiqqun is paralleled in Israel's task to "gather what has been scattered". singular qelippa) in which sparks of the divine light become entrapped after a shattering of the divine receptacles during emanation. Isaac Luria Ashkenazi (1534-1572). western Kabbalists augmented the Kabbalah with aspects of Christian theology and alchemy. but flourished most readily in mediaeval Spain. This deals with the ten sefirot emanating from the ineffable infinite (en sof) through which the universe is created and maintained. though attributed to a second century rabbi. meditation. Its emphasis on the magical power of words fuelled the development of the Kabbalistic techniques of gematria (the study of the numerical values of letters and words). The Kabbalah was included in Agrippa von Nettesheim's (1486-1535) key work. France. and the redemption (tiqqun) of the broken world and the reunification of divinity becomes the overriding goal of humanity. the en sof contracts (tsimtsum) at the start of creation to allow "room" for cosmic expansion. The exile of all human beings is symbolized in the exile of Israel. The Bahir ("Book of Illumination") is the third important Kabbalistic text. This move towards a messianic philosophy fostered the Hasidic movement which made the Kabbalah more widely accessible. The mutual interaction of these sefirot and their individual natures are seen both as expressing the nature of divinity and as archetypes for all of creation. Western or Christian Kabbalism grew from German and then Lurianic Kabbalism. named after its originator. It contains elements of both Gnosticism and Neo-platonism. The pre-eminent form of Jewish mysticism. notarikon (the study of the first and last letters of words) and temurah (the study of the permutation and combination of letters). written between 1280 and 1286 by the Spanish Kabbalist Moses de Leon (1250-1305). In this. and in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. began in Provence. This also allows "room" for evil. than with ecstatic experience. appearing in France around the eleventh century. symbolizing the redemption of the world. The most important work of this period is the Zohar (Sefer ha-Zohar or "Book of Splendor").
Links between the Kabbalah and many other philosophical. the Tree of Life.asp The Tree of Life Read below. then click on a sphere to see its details Central to modern Kabbalistic study is the diagram Otz Chiim. Papus (1865-1916) and members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn such as Aleister Crowley and Dion Fortune (18901946). with the paths in the positions shown.particularly in pure. . the most important being the links between the Kabbalah. mythological and religious systems have been postulated and detailed.com/kabbalah/introduction. astrology and the Tarot. This is a representation of the thirty-two "paths" comprised of the ten sefirot and the twenty-two paths through which they interrelate (introduced in our Introduction to the Kabbalah). http://www.esoteric tradition is consistent in presenting the tree as above. Judaic Kabbalah .The nineteenth and twentieth centuries have seen further development of the Western Kabbalah from occultists such as Eliphas Levi.byzant. Though the tree may be drawn with variations in the location of paths .
The most usual name for each sefira is given first. 5 and 8). 6. and that the seemingly separate aspects or emanations exist only in view of the emanated. The most important views are the three pillars of severity (sefirot 3. It is important to realize that the pure nature of divinity is unity. 9 and 10) and mercy (sefirot 2. 8 and 9). 4 and 7). and of the workings of creation. It is the same for each sefira: if one is illuminated. 2 and 3). and the three major triangles: the supernal triangle (sefirot 1.reason. as is clear from the structure of the Tree itself. The Tree may be viewed in many different ways by grouping the sefirot together depending on circumstance. Indeed. spiritual perception and intuition are all needed. This is expressed in the Zohar: "in creating this world below. The absolute divine light can be said to be refracted through the prism of the sefirot into the apparently multifarious world of creation. The Tree allows and requires a more holistic understanding of any topic to which it is applied . the next loses none of its brilliance". It can be viewed as a map of the human psyche. The Structure of the Tree The names and numbers of the ten sefirot are given in order below. 5 and 6) and the astral triangle (sefirot 7. followed by some alternatives. Din (Judgement) or Pahad (Fear) 6 Tifereth (Beauty) or Rahamim (Mercy) 7 Netsach (Victory or Constancy) 8 Hod (Glory or Majesty) 9 Yesod (Foundation) or Tsedek (Justice) . and methods by which divine union may be attained in this life. living in a state of illusory separation. any system can be more fully understood both in itself and relative to any other system by viewing it in relation to the Tree. the ethical triangle (sefirot 4. Also worthy of note are the seven planes of the tree and the correspondence between the sefirot and the chakras of eastern mysticism. equilibrium (sefirot 1. 1 Kether (Crown) or Kether Elyon (Supreme Crown) 2 Chokmah (Wisdom) 3 Binah (Understanding or Intelligence) 4 Chesed (Mercy or Grace) or Gedullah (Greatness) 5 Geburah (Severity or Power). both manifest and unmanifest. the world above lost nothing.The Tree of Life describes the descent of the divine into the manifest world.
which can correspond to the pillars of severity. let us reiterate their use as a means to synthesize the Kabbalah with threefold systems. and the Hebrew "Mother" letters (Mem. This has the consequence that. sushumna and pingala). "Malkuth in one world is Kether of the next": even these sefirot can be viewed in their dual aspect. each sefira can be classed as either negative (restrictive. to the pillars or triangles of the Tree. Sefirot on the middle pillar also have a strong sense of balance. Hindu (Shiva. Before leaving the pillars. Knowledge of any of these can help enrich your knowledge of the Kabbalah through association with the Tree. Chesed-Geburah. equilibrium (or mildness) and mercy. Mercury and Salt). and vice versa. taking the Tree in isolation. in that they have no preceding or succeeding sefira respectively. each being a balance or resolving point of one or more of the three dualities (Chokmah-Binah. Mother and Maiden). Father and Son) trinities. tantric energy channels (ida. highlighting the vital. it is negative or receptive in relation to the preceding sefira and positive or transmissive in relation to the succeeding sefira. active and constructive) depending upon whether it lies on the pillar of severity. passive and destructive). for example. or positive (expansive. The balance of structure and flexibility in the Tree gives it its great strength as a means of assimilation. each is neither better nor worse than the other. So. Da'ath . phases of the moon (waning. Thus Chesed may be seen as negative to Chokmah and positive to Netsach. Self-knowledge and Self-realization. mercy and mildness respectively: Self-control. This method of analogy can be applied to each sefira individually. complementary natures of the pillars.10 Malkuth (Kingdom) or Shekhinah (Divine Immanence) In viewing the Tree as comprised of the three pillars of severity. equilibrium and mercy and other trinities include Taoist concepts (yin. as will be seen from the discussion of the Four Worlds below. Kether may be considered as entirely positive (masculine) and Malkuth entirely negative (feminine). Aleph and Shin). One final attribution of the pillars that is well worth reflecting upon is that of the three precepts to Enlightenment. equilibrium or mercy respectively. Brahma and Vishnu) and Christian (Holy Spirit. understanding and interconnectivity. sefirot in the same pillar can be viewed in relation to each other. aspects of the Goddess (Crone. Indeed. to the planes. full and waxing). Tao and yang). alchemical concepts (Sulfur. Tifereth is negative to Geburah and positive to Netsach. Examples of analogies between the pillars of severity. It is important to realize that no value judgement is implied in the terms 'positive or masculine' and 'negative or feminine'. For example. However. Each sefira in itself has a dual aspect of negative and positive: namely. balancing. it can be said that evil is a synonym for imbalance. Other positive-negative relationships of the sefirot may be considered too. the Worlds or any other way the Tree can be conceived. and Netsach-Hod) found between the outer pillars.
Just as from Kether to Malkuth there is a successive movement from the abstract to the manifest. each containing its own full Tree. The Four Worlds The sefirot. can usefully be considered on their own. Kabbalistically these . the diagram of the Tree of Life above shows the dark and unlabeled "sefira which is not a sefira". Briah through Chokmah and Binah. but Kabbalists further refine the system by viewing them as acting on or through four different levels or worlds which form a hierarchy of their own. introduced in our discussion of the Tree of Life. and Assiah through Malkuth. This "sefira" has no number and no position on the Tree in relation to the other sefirot. (Some prefer to view Atziluth as acting through both Kether and Chokmah. Yetsirah through the six sefirot Chesed to Yesod.) Both systems of either one or four Trees are equally valid and are used according to context. A further outlook is that each sefira can be viewed as a whole Tree itself. It is a place of balanced power. Da'ath is Knowledge. though when it is shown it is located centrally in the Abyss (between the planes of Binah-Chokmah and Geburah-Chesed) with no explicit connection to any other sefira. and is sometimes considered as being an expression of Binah and Chokmah combined. rather like the physicist viewing light as a wave of energy or a stream of particles depending on circumstance. and Kether of one world becomes Malkuth of the world above. Malkuth is seen as the complementary fulfillment of Kether: the first is Divine Immanence. Atziluth is expressed through the sefira Kether. giving ten Trees and one hundred sefirot. Da'ath. the latter Divine Transcendence.In addition to the ten sefirot. in which Malkuth in one world becomes Kether of the world below. An alternative is to view the four worlds as being expressed through a single Tree. and Briah as acting through Binah alone. so there is in the Kabbalistic worlds from Atziluth to Assiah: Atziluth Briah Yetsirah Assiah Archetypal World (World of Emanations) or Divine World Creative World or World of Thrones Formative World Manifest World These four worlds can be considered as a linear hierarchy.
The four court cards in each suit offer a further fourfold correspondence. Sun Elohim Beni Elohim Ashim Kerubim Nogah. Zodiac Aralim Shabbathai. The fourfold aspect given to each sefira by its existence in each of the four worlds allows application of the Kabbalah to fourfold systems such as the western elements (Fire. Vau. Jupiter Seraphim Madim. each sefira is assigned a Name of God to represent its essence in Atziluth. Elements . using techniques similar to numerology.numbers can be considered equivalent as. The latter is very important in the Western Kabbalah: each of the four Tarot suits contains precisely ten numbered cards (as do our modern playing cards which are derived from the Tarot). and so a Tarot deck contains a representation of the Tree in each of four worlds. an Angelic Host for Yetsirah. and to one of the twenty-two paths joining the sefirot on the Tree of Life. final He). Primum Mobile Auphanium Mazloth. He. an Archangel for Briah. 10 and 1 are fundamentally one (1+0+0 = 1+0 = 1). Water and Earth). Saturn Chasmalim Tzedek. Venus Kokab. For use in prayer. 100. Air. Mercury Levanah. the letters of the Tetragrammaton (Hebrew Name of God: Yod. meditation or magic. and each of the twentytwo Major Arcana cards corresponds to one of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Moon Cholam Yesodoth. the Jungian functions and the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. Mars Malakim Shemesh. and a Mundane Chakra (generally expressed through planetary forces) for Assiah. Sefira Kether Divine Name Archangel Metatron Ratziel Tzaphkiel Tzadkiel Khamael Mikael Auriel Raphael Gabriel Sandalphon Angelic Host Mundane Chakra Eheieh ("I am") Chokmah Yah ("Lord") Binah Yhvh Elohim ("Lord God") Chesed El ("God") Geburah Elohim Gibor ("Almighty God") Tifereth Yhvh Eloah ve-Daath ("Lord God of Knowledge") Netsach Yhvh Tzabaoth ("Lord of Hosts") Hod Elohim Tzaboath ("God of Hosts") Yesod Shaddai El Chai ("Almighty Living God") Malkuth Adonai ha-Aretz ("Lord of Earth") Chioth Ha Qodesh Rashith ha-Gilgalim.
from Kether down to its fulfillment in Malkuth. It is an error to view one half of a dynamic duality as "good" and the other "evil": both are necessary for balance. It is important to make the distinction between true and apparent evil. For example. it is worth noting briefly that the qelippot can also be viewed as being accessed through the "sefira which is not a sefira". qelippa). The remaining seven qelippot correspond to seven hells. Finally. the qelippot have no influence. that sefira was in a sense unbalanced.The Qelippot Each sefira. not as a balance to anything else. Da'ath. and in Assiah each Mundane Chakra has a corresponding Infernal Habitation. and before the subsequent emanation of its successor. though when it is shown it is located centrally in the Abyss (between the planes of Binah-Chokmah and Geburah-Chesed) and with no explicit connection to any other sefira. introduced in our discussion of the Tree of Life. Bohu (the Void) and Chashek (the Darkness) respectively. Chokmah and Binah. and these are said to form the infernal tree of the qelippot ("harlots" or "shells" . to prevent the true evil of imbalance. One way of considering the formation of the qelippot is to see them as a direct consequence of the "Lightning Flash of Creation" in which the sefirot were emanated in order. but consider the use of Knowledge without Understanding (Binah). Thus the qelippot represent true. and it is part of the Great Work to neutralize such forces.matter as master of spirit. with Chokmah formed but not having yet emanated its balancing successor Binah. not by suppression or subjugation. There is. in Yetsirah each Angelic Host is matched by a Cohort of Demons. The qelippotic equivalent of the supernal triad. an inversion of the natural order of Creation. On the plane of Atziluth. This tree may be viewed as growing down from Malkuth of Assiah (see the discussion of the Four Worlds) in an inversion of the Divine Tree.singular. Geburah may be considered "evil" in its cruel. the Archangel of each sefira has a corresponding Devil of the qelippa. active evil. At the formation of one sefira. this unbalanced state of Chokmah created a pattern around which the qelippa Bohu could later crystallize. has its unbalanced aspect. Thus the unbalanced qelippa corresponding to Malkuth stands above that which corresponds to Kether . however. In Briah. Kether. destructive aspects. The qelippotic equivalent of Geburah really is pure destructive cruelty. qelippotic influence in the three lower worlds. but the true essence of Geburah is vital as a balance to the otherwise wanton inclusiveness of Chesed. consists of Tohu (the Formless). one from the other. . but by bringing them into balance as aspects of their corresponding sefirot. This "sefira" has no number and no position on the Tree in relation to the other sefirot. It is precisely the unbalanced aspects of each sefira that are to be found in the qelippot. but solely for its own sake. and so there is no qelippotic equivalent of the Name of God. Da'ath is Knowledge.
The 22 paths numbered 32 to 11 (shown as lines but not numbered on the diagram) correspond to the 22 cards in the Major Arcana of the Tarot. The sefirot are discussed in The Tree of Life. and includes a diagram showing the attributions of the paths. Though the tree may be drawn with differing locations of paths . The 10 paths numbered 10 to 1 are the sefirot themselves (shown and numbered above). with 32 paths in the positions shown.particularly in pure.esoteric tradition is consistent in presenting the tree as above. Judaic Kabbalah . and to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. corresponding to the Minor Arcana of the Tarot when the Tree is considered in the Four Worlds.Paths on the Tree of Life Otz Chiim or the Tree of Life (shown above) is discussed in The Tree of Life. so here we provide correspondences for the paths (32 to 11). The Tarot and the Kabbalah discusses the relationship between the 78 cards of the Tarot and the Tree of Life. A reminder of the names of the sefirot is given below: 1 Kether (Crown) 2 Chokmah (Wisdom) .
visualization. A path is understood through study. uses and implications of the paths.32 Tav Administrative Intelligence | The World | Saturn | Earth | Black . A good understanding of the sefirot is required before any path may be usefully meditated upon and followed.3 Binah (Understanding) 4 Chesed (Mercy) 5 Geburah (Severity) 6 Tifereth (Beauty) 7 Netsach (Victory) 8 Hod (Glory) 9 Yesod (Foundation) 10 Malkuth (Kingdom) It is up to serious seekers to explore for themselves the values. the following information is given: • • • • • • • The pair of sefirot joined by the path and its number The Hebrew letter associated with the path The Yetsiratic attribution of the path The Tarot trump corresponding to the path The astrological planet associated with the path The element corresponding to the path The color of the path (Queen Scale) Path joining Yesod and Malkuth . empathy and guided meditation. characteristics. For each path. A consideration of the sefirot linked by the path and the correspondences given below are a vital part of this process.
31 Shin Perpetual Intelligence | Judgement | Pluto | Fire | Vermillion Path joining Hod and Yesod .Path joining Hod and Malkuth .30 Resh Collecting Intelligence | The Sun | Sun | Air / Fire | Golden yellow Path joining Netsach and Malkuth .28 Tzaddi Constituting Intelligence | The Star | Uranus / Saturn | Air | Red .29 Qoph Corporeal Intelligence | The Moon | Moon | Water | Buff Path joining Netsach and Yesod .
25 Samekh Tentative Intelligence | Temperance | Jupiter | Fire | Yellow Path joining Tifereth and Netsach .26 Ayin Renovating Intelligence | The Devil | Saturn | Earth | Black Path joining Tifereth and Yesod .27 Peh Exciting Intelligence | The Tower | Mars | Fire | Bright red Path joining Tifereth and Hod .24 Nun .Path joining Netsach and Hod .
23 Mem Stable Intelligence | The Hanged Man | Neptune | Water | Sea green Path joining Geburah and Tifereth .21 Kaph Conciliating Intelligence | Fortune | Jupiter | Water | Dark blue Path joining Chesed and Tifereth .Imaginative Intelligence | Death | Mars | Fire | Brown Path joining Geburah and Hod .20 .22 Lamed Faithful Intelligence | Justice | Venus | Air | Blue Path joining Chesed and Netsach .
Yod Willful Intelligence | The Hermit | Mercury | Air | Slate gray Path joining Chesed and Geburah .19 Teth Spiritual Intelligence | Strength | Sun | Air | Deep purple Path joining Binah and Geburah .18 Cheth Influencing Intelligence | The Chariot | Moon | Water | Maroon Path joining Binah and Tifereth .17 Zayin Disposing Intelligence | The Lovers | Mercury | Air | Mauve .
13 Gimel Uniting Intelligence | The High Priestess | Moon | Water | Silver .15 Heh Natural Intelligence | The Emperor | Mars | Fire | Light blue Path joining Chokmah and Binah .14 Daleth Illuminating Intelligence | The Empress | Venus | Earth | Mid blue Path joining Kether and Tifereth .Path joining Chokmah and Chesed .16 Vav Triumphal Intelligence | The Hierophant | Venus | Earth | Indigo Path joining Chokmah and Tifereth .
so that the Emperor corresponds to tzaddi. but Tzaddi is not the Star" (chapter 1:57). Sefirotic Meditation Meditation on the sefirot of the Tree of Life is an important way of deepening your understanding of the Kabbalah.12 Beth Transparent Intelligence | The Magus | Mercury | Air | Purple Path joining Kether and Chokmah . In particular. This in keeping with the Thelemic teaching of Crowley's Liber AL vel Legis (The Book of the Law). where it is written "All these old letters of my Book are aright. .Path joining Kether and Binah .11 Aleph Scintillating Intelligence | The Fool | Uranus | Air | Sky blue It should be noted that some occultists change some of the attributions. both through the paths it is on and through its place in the natural sequence of the sefirot. For those already familiar with the sefirotic attributions. Aleister Crowley transposes the Emperor and the Star. and the Star to heh. Each sefira should be considered not only in terms of its own characteristics. in either the immanent (Kether to Malkuth) or transcendent (Malkuth to Kether) directions. we offer a way to aid meditation on the sefirotic sequence. but also in its relation to the other sefirot.
The meditation will work with most browsers. but if yours is not able to advance automatically to the next sefira then you can do this manually by clicking 'Next' beneath the Tree. or changing direction at each repeat (i.e. set the display time to 180 seconds (3 minutes) per sefira. The delay can be anything from a single second to as long as you choose. Consciousness is raised and expanded by the exploration of successively higher sefirot with the aim of eventual Divine Union . or vice versa. The Menorah and the Tree of Life . the sequence will move to the next sefira automatically. repeatedly.the "Great Work" of the Western tradition. May your journey be fruitful. and is also used to increase comprehension of the sefirot through consideration of the 'Lightning Flash of Creation'. After a time specified by you. Meditating on the transcendent sequence is analogous to the Eastern yogic tradition of raising kundalini (Sanskrit for 'Serpent Power') from the base to the crown chakra. allowing higher energies to be brought down into the material realm. You can stop the sequence at any time by clicking a link or a sefira. So if you want to spend half and hour meditating on the sefirot. and clicking 'Meditation' will bring you back to this page to make any adjustments you like to the parameters. You also decide whether you want the sequence played once only. You can choose whether you want the sequence to run from Kether to Malkuth. If the delay you choose isn't long enough for each page to download on your connection then simply return here and increase the delay.Meditating on the immanent sequence of the sefirot is characteristic of Western Esotericism. when Malkuth is reached the sequence changes direction to work back up the Tree. and when Kether is reached the sequence begins to move back down the Tree). The Byzant aid to sefirotic meditation works by displaying the Tree of Life with a particular sefira highlighted for your consideration.
and a third bud under the third pair . hammered out of pure gold. The stress that this passage places on the menorah being constructed from a single piece of pure gold brings home the essential purity and unity underlying creation: the menorah arises from and is an expression of pure unity.three on one side and three on the other. just as the Tree of Life arises from and is an expression of the en sof or. The buds and branches shall be of one piece with the lampstand. One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand. 6. . three on the next branch. 5 and 8) and the holders on its right to the Pillar of Mercy (sefirot 2. the Tree of Life. 9 and 10).Read below. its flower-like cups. The form of the menorah was reputedly given to Moses by God. The central column corresponds to the central Pillar of Equilibrium (sefirot 1. a second bud under the second pair. then click on a sphere to see its details One of the most ancient symbols of Judaism is the seven-branched candlestick known as the menorah. 4 and 7). Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch. the menorah has esoteric associations linking it to Otz Chiim.six branches in all. as related in Exodus 25:31-37: Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out. the holders to its left correspond to the Pillar of Severity (sefirot 3. The seven candle holders and three joints where the branches meet the central column represent the ten sefirot of the Tree of Life. buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it. Then make its seven lamps and set them upon it so that they light the space in front of it. base and shaft. and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. While it is an important symbol of the exoteric Jewish faith. Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand . And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms.
which became the main model for the development and interpretation of the Tarot. followed by some alternatives. their symbology and their explication. The work of the 19th century French occultist. in terms of their structure. This consists of ten spheres or sefirot connected by 22 paths.particularly in pure. Though the tree may be drawn with variations in the location of paths . The most usual name for each sefira is given first.The names and numbers of the ten sefirot are given in order below. and is shown here. Central to the Western Kabbalah is the glyph Otz Chiim or the Tree of Life. Din (Judgement) or Pahad (Fear) 6 Tifereth (Beauty) or Rahamim (Mercy) 7 Netsach (Victory or Constancy) 8 Hod (Glory or Majesty) 9 Yesod (Foundation) or Tsedek (Justice) 10 Malkuth (Kingdom) or Shekhinah (Divine Immanence) The Tarot and the Kabbalah Adherents of the Mysteries have long held the idea that the Tarot has its origins in the arcane system of the Kabbalah. was the catalyst for the study of the esoteric link between the Tarot and the Kabbalah. The sefirot themselves are also . 1 Kether (Crown) or Kether Elyon (Supreme Crown) 2 Chokmah (Wisdom) 3 Binah (Understanding or Intelligence) 4 Chesed (Mercy or Grace) or Gedullah (Greatness) 5 Geburah (Severity or Power). with the paths in the positions shown. though there is no firm historical evidence for this. Judaic Kabbalah . The most influential decks of the 20th century were founded on Kabbalistic principles. Eliphas Levi.esoteric tradition is consistent in presenting the tree as above.
The above example is. and each of these corresponds to a Hebrew letter and a path on the Tree of Life. This is in keeping with the Thelemic teaching of Crowley's Liber AL vel Legis (The Book of the Law). an understanding of the Kabbalah facilitates a much deeper understanding of the Tarot. Trump XXI. So the Six of Pentacles . The path and the World both correspond to the Hebrew letter tav. but some occultists offer slightly different attributions. with the generative aspects of Yesod finding their fulfillment in Malkuth. for example. The interactions of sefirot nine. The Major Arcana and the 22 Paths As can be seen on the diagram above. This gives a simple and compelling correspondence. As a quick. Each path expresses the interaction between the pair of sefirot it connects. and ten. one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Just as the sefirot follow a sequence from the new beginning or creative impulse in the first sefira (Kether) through to completion in the tenth (Malkuth). The usual attributions of the Trumps to the paths is shown above. but in discussing the associations between the Tarot and the Kabbalah.considered to be paths. so the numbered cards in each suit follow this pattern from the Ace through to the Ten. and the symbolism of a suitably designed Tarot deck can help in this process. where it is written "All these old letters of my Book are aright. as well as ideas of synthesis and crystallization. a greatly simplified distillation. For example. Aleister Crowley. Malkuth (Kingdom) mirror these ideas. Briah. much simplified example. The meanings of the paths can only be approached through much study and meditation. Yetsirah and Assiah. Conversely. it is simpler to consider the Tree as 10 sefirot and 22 paths. with all the sixes belonging to the sixth sefira (Tifereth). and the return begins through Yesod. transposes the Star and the Emperor. So the system can be further refined. but Tzaddi is not the Star" (chapter 1:57). concerns the successful completion of one phase and the start of another. and ten numbered cards in each suit of the Minor Arcana. for example. a symbol associated with the manifest world. Assiah is the manifest world. Yesod (Foundation). corresponding to the element Earth and the Tarot suit Pentacles. and the Star to heh. There are also 22 cards in the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Kabbalists view the Tree as acting on or through four worlds: Atziluth. giving a total of 32 paths in all. the World. so that the Emperor corresponds to the Hebrew letter tzaddi. and again this is highly appropriate as it is the final letter of the alphabet and means 'cross'. The process of Creation ends in Malkuth. The Minor Arcana and the Sefirot There are ten sefirot on the Tree of Life. of course. as each of the suits of the Minor Arcana corresponds to one of the four worlds. there are 22 paths on the Tree of Life. as these groupings correspond respectively to the Minor Arcana and Major Arcana that make up the structure of the Tarot.
The Negative Veils The major problem that Mystics of all eras have come up against in trying to express their transcendental experiences to others is that these experiences lie beyond the bounds of the rational (and even intuitional) mind on which human written and verbal communication is based. Tifereth is the sefira of balance and beauty. nobility and deserved success. but all founder on the fact that transcendental experience cannot be adequately conveyed through sub-transcendental means of communication. entire suits may be allocated a position. hence the Six of Pentacles in the Tarot deck has meanings associated with putting money to good use. . including allegory. The correspondences between the Kabbalistic worlds and the Tarot suits are as follows: Tarot Suit Pentacles Swords Cups Wands Element Earth Air Water Fire Kabbalistic World Assiah (Manifest World) Yetsirah (Formative World) Briah (Creative World) Atziluth (Archetypal World) The court cards of the Minor Arcana are also placed at important positions on the Tree: Court Card Pages Knights Queens Kings Sefira Malkuth (Kingdom) Tifereth (Beauty) Binah (Understanding) Chokmah (Wisdom) Also. just as the four worlds are sometimes expressed on a single Tree: Tarot Suit Pentacles Swords Cups Wands Sefira Malkuth (Kingdom) Tifereth (Beauty) Binah (Understanding) Chokmah (Wisdom) That the final two tables above are nearly identical is no surprise. generosity. The discussion on the Minor Arcana goes into this in more detail. antinomy. and Assiah the manifest. as each type of court card corresponds to a particular element. Many methods have been tried. as does each suit. poetry and mundane approximation.corresponds to Tifereth in Assiah. material world.
and as a goal for us to reach for and beyond at a later stage in our personal or collective evolution. Thus. by its very essence. are really beyond human conception. (Atziluth itself. its cause is unknowable within the confines of the human mind (though this does not mean that it is absolutely unknowable) and this is expressed through the Veils. They are considered as depending back from Kether. and even Briah. and en sof or (Limitless Light). The manifest Tree expressed through the sefirot in the four worlds is as much as can usefully be conveyed to the human mind through language. and are sometimes numbered 0. etc. its transcendence is found in the three Veils of Negative Existence which are generally considered as lying back from unity rather than being separate from it. en sof (Limitless Nothing). Thus we can see the meaning of the important aphorism: "Kether is the Malkuth of the Unmanifest". and the fact that there is considered to be a triad of Negative Veils should not detract from their essential unity: the three-fold process is a fundamental precept of so many occult systems. and beyond this. Thus the same terms are often applied to either the Unity or the Veils: "The Concealed of the Concealed". let alone expressed in words. their "structure" being hinted at through the tangible expressions of the sefirot in the lower worlds. but can convey a shadow of its mystery to our transcendental selves. are drawn the Three Veils of Negative Existence: en (Nothing). 00 and 000 respectively: AIN (Ain) Nothingness 0 . i. beyond definition. The triadic unity of the Negative Veils foreshadows the triadic unity of the Supernals. The Veils contain and conceal the unmanifest aspects of the sefirot. So while Kether is "the First Cause" in the sense of being the first comprehensible point of manifestation. Further Notes on the Veils The first sefira. this problem occurs especially in discussions of the higher sefirot on the Tree of Life. The Veils thus serve as a backdrop in front of which we can see more clearly that which it is possible for our minds to apprehend.In Kabbalism.) The very epithets "veil" and "negative existence" serve to remind us that what the Veils represent cannot be conceived of by the human mind. The immanence of Kether is experienced in progressively more diluted forms in the remainder of the sefirot. they are nonetheless carefully chosen to be redolent of that which they represent. Kether. or as aspects of Kether itself. beyond Kether of Atziluth. which is brought into being by the concentration of the en sof or. and becomes insurmountable in discussing that which lies beyond or above the Tree. the statement that Kether is manifested through the focusing of the en sof or is meaningless in itself. The three Veils may also be named as below. Though their appellations are meaningless.e. Negative Existence is. precisely those aspects which the human mind cannot comprehend. is the uncreated and all-encompassing "point" of actionless unity which is both transcendent and immanent in its evanescent reflection: the Creation.
and the corresponding first veil foreshadows the first three sefirot in their hidden ideas. does have a focus in the number one of the sefirot: Kether. while not having an origin in a point. which may thus be considered the number 10 or Malkuth of the veiled sefirot. but on a different level. and as the Veils are focused on Kether. "Kether is in Malkuth and Malkuth is in Kether. Now nine is considered to be a number of completion. Thus the Limitless Light of Negativity. In the same way. The word AIN consists of three letters. where the circle 0 represents the Negative from which the Unity 1 is newly derived. This is easily seen in the number ten's usual representation in Arabic numerals. beyond which progression is only possible by a return to unity. the first sefira can be thought of as the Malkuth of the transcendent tree." .AIN SVP (Ain Soph) The Limitless 00 AIN SVP AVR (Ain Soph Aur) The Limitless Light 000 These Veils can be considered to hold the transcendent aspects of the manifest sefirot. the second and third veils foreshadow the first six and the first nine sefirot respectively.