You are on page 1of 11

Zain

Y
Color the letter Zain orange. The surrounding area may be colored blue.

Zain is the 7th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The letter Zain Y is also the number 7. The
English equivalent is Z.

The letter Zain Y looks like the last letter, Vav V with the Yod on top shifted over to sit on

top of the upright descending line. The letter name Zain, FIY means “sword” and also
more generally “weapon”. In this light, the yod on top looks like the scabbard that
protects the hand and the descending line is the blade of the sword.

The previous letter, Vav V meant nail or hook; something which binds other things
together. In a sense, each Hebrew letter is the opposite of the preceding and the
following letter. This principle is very evident here as a sword does the opposite of unite.
A sword divides and separates. A sword cuts, dissects, and cleaves apart. Thus Zain
includes the meanings of division, contrast, opposition, distinction and the mental
function of discrimination. Discrimination allows us to perceive fine differences, hones
our mental perceptions, and makes our mind “sharp”.

Seven, the number for which Zain is the symbol, is an important number in the Mystery
teachings. There are seven chakras, seven notes of the diatonic scale of music, seven
colors, seven days of the weeks, seven powers of human consciousness, seven laws of
nature, seven stages of spiritual unfoldment, seven days of creation. The star of David,
the Mogen David, has six triangles around a hexagram in the center, thus seven parts.
The six triangles fold in perfectly, completely covering the exact area of the hexagram.
Six coins fix around one coin of the same size. Six honeycomb hexagons fit perfectly
around one in the center. Because of these geometric relationships, seven is called the

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 1
number of maximal compactness. The astrologer, Dane Rudhyar, describes the
development of human consciousness in cycles of seven years (1/4 of the ~28 year
cycle of Saturn). The six days of the working week are followed by the seventh, the
Shabbat, which should be a day in which your mental attitude is that all the work is
done.

The sensory function ascribed to Zain is the sense of smell. Someone who can
differentiate between type of perfumes or other odors is said to have a sharp sense of
smell. The connection between smell and discrimination is evident in sayings such as, “I
smell a rat.” “Something stinks.” “Let your nose lead you.” “You can sniff out the truth.”

Smell is unique amongst the five senses. All the other four senses are processed in the
cerebral cortex before reaching our awareness. This means that we can think about
them before reacting. No so with the sense of smell. The sensory impulses from the
inner nose reach the hypothalamus and create immediate emotional reactions without
the conscious mind being able to inhibit them. Smell “gets you” like no other sense.

Zain is the 17th path of wisdom, which defines Zain as the Disposing Intelligence or the
Intelligence of Sensation. To dispose is to set apart, to divide, to apportion – this much
here, this much there. This mode of consciousness includes ideas of adjustment,
classification and organization. This includes the values by which we make decisions
and thus forms the nature of our disposition.

It is through the impact of experiences and our reaction to them that our powers of
observation, classification and fine discrimination are developed. Fine development of
our sensory awareness is stimulated by the need to overcome inimical circumstances.
This must be developed before inner plane awareness is awakened or much error will
ensue.

Even in the outer world, our prejudices, erroneous opinions and fixed ideas prevent us
from seeing things as they are. Our sensory awareness is “colored” by our
preconceptions. However, in the outer world, the physical objects are relatively constant
in form and this prevents us, for the most part, from straying too far away from reality.
On the inner planes, there is no such constancy. What you observe changes its form
according to your projections. The substance of the inner planes wraps around you and
your imaginings like a dream, making it seem like it is real. Until you can (at least
temporarily) “dispose” of your personal unregenerate opinions, ideas and prejudices,
inner plane awareness will only reflect your own errors back to you.

It is best to not attempt to awaken on the inner until much clean up work has been
accomplished on the outer. You have to at least be able to be honest with yourself
about your immaturities. You need to know the areas that still need purification and
correction. Transforming and transmuting them takes time and requires the assistance
of what is called the “Higher Self”. You can’t do the deeper clean up work “by yourself”.

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 2
There are personal, family, national, racial karmic imbalances that require more than
“personal” effort to clear. But as long as you are more or less aware of where your
problems still lie, you can define them and put them aside (dispose of them) when
exploring the inner worlds.

When you first awaken on the inner planes, you are confronted with what has been
called “the dweller on the threshold”. This consists of all of your most undesirable and
immature traits. It seems like a real beast, confronting you and blocking your path.
Unless you can “own” it and know that all the yucky qualities it possesses are you own,
you cannot perceive accurately on the inner. Everything you perceive will be colored by
your own junk.

Many people try to be spiritual by avoiding all awareness of their own shadow qualities.
This is dangerous. Whatever isn’t owned is projected upon others. And then those
others give us back what we have projected upon them. This is often called “bad luck”.
Until you can admit to yourself that you do have antisocial drives and tendencies, you
will find others expressing those very qualities towards you. This is the nature of
projection. You receive the very qualities you have but that you deny in yourself. They
are “in your face” until you resolve those very issues within yourself. This is especially
true of spiritual aspirants. We experience a kind of “instant karma”. The extra energy
that spiritual studies such as you are here undertaking speeds up the process of
awakening. Unresolved problems come back at you “with a vengeance”, demanding
that you become aware of them and attend to them.

Some try to be spiritual by avoiding outer experiences whatsoever. They “meditate” as a


way to avoid painful outer conditions of their lives. Qabalah teaches the opposite. The
seemingly inimical conditions of this life are the very prods that increase awareness. In
is not through closing off sensory awareness that we become spiritually aware. Rather it
is through finely tuning each and every one of the senses to the utmost. When you
experience something that exalts your awareness, use every sense consciously. Feel,
see, touch, smell and taste as deeply as you are able and the desire to know even more
deeply the nature of that which is exalting you. It is this state of complete sensory
awareness and the intense longing for more that will open the inner awareness. This is
the “Intelligence of Sensation”.

In Astrology, Zain corresponds to the sign of Gemini c, the twins. This already makes
logical sense as Zain cuts and divides one into two. Zain discriminates between “this
and not that”. Identical twins are very similar in appearance and it requires fine powers
of discrimination to tell them apart. Gemini rules the lungs, collar bones, shoulders,
arms and hands – and all of these come in pairs.

Gemini c is ruled by the planet Mercury C, the planetary correspondence of our letter
Beth B. Mercury is the “winged-footed swift messenger of the Gods who flies between

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 3
Heaven and Earth, exchanging information. The Greeks called Mercury, Hermes. To
Hermes is ascribed the invention of numbers, letters and words – the tools of the
conscious mind. In Egyptian mythology, Mercury is Anubis, the jackel-headed god who,
like any dog, has a highly developed sense of smell.

On the Tree of Life, Zain is the pathway that connects the 3rd sphere, Binah,
Understanding to the 6th sphere, Tiphareth, Beauty. Thus this path connects the cosmic
Mother to the Son. As Zain is the number 7, we can obtain insights into the meanings of
the 7th sphere of the Tree of Life by considering the correspondences of Zain.

At first glance, this is not logical. Zain is the sword of discrimination, an intellectual
function that separates topics for individual consideration. The seventh sphere is
Netzach, sphere of the planet Venus, the goddess of love, creativity and beauty. Love
unites and discrimination divides. So what is the connection?

One can only exercise discrimination in areas where you have great interest. You have
to care (Venus) before you are able to focus your attention that sharply.

Many people believe that they cannot concentrate well. That’s not true. When in great
danger, everyone concentrates vividly. For most of us, it is only when we have great
problems that we are able to concentrate. When confronted with an urgent problem, we
think about it almost constantly. The secret of success is to concentrate that intently
upon chosen positives instead of only upon negative topics.

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 4
This is not taught to us well in our socialization. As children, we hear the word “no”
about 17 times more often than “yes”. News, advertising, conversation, music, media
focus almost exclusively upon the negative so we learn to do so too. Those who praise
themselves, a very constructive activity, are spurned by others. Those who put
themselves down by saying things like, “How could I be so stupid? I did that so badly!”
receive caring positive words like “Oh, you’ll do better next time” and perhaps a
reassuring arm around the shoulder. This is faulty programming! We get positive
reinforcement for being negative and negative reinforcement for being positive.

The one exception most have experienced concerning being able to concentrate is that
when we fall in love, we cannot not think about our beloved. This is a state of perfect
concentration. A sad but true fact about the human condition is that except when freshly
in love, few people bother to concentrate upon anything positive at all.

Here is a popular saying that embodies some of these ideas: “No one cares how much
you know until they know how much you care.”

Let’s look at the Tree of Life for some light on this juxtaposition of Zain and the seventh
sphere, Netzach. The One Light-Life projects Itself downwards through the Tree of Life.
We evolve upwards from the bottom. The beginning of the Path of Return is in the tenth
sphere, Malkuth, the Kingdom. Here the urge to return manifests as zeal, intense desire
to know what’s going on here. Driven by this desire to know, we gather and assimilate
all the knowledge we are able to find. In a way we unite ourselves with this knowledge
through reading books, studying lessons, hanging out with more enlightened beings,
etc. This is the Yesod (ninth sphere) stage. Then we get down to serious practice (the
eighth sphere, Hod) of the principles we continue to gather and study. It the practices
appeal to us, if they really feel right, we kind of fall in love (Netzach) with the endeavor.
Through this deep love, our desire to practice increases. Back and forth through the
horizontal, reciprocal path that connects our desire nature (Netzach) to our intellect
(Hod) we cycle; loving what we do and doing what we love.

Gradually we become aware that there is a guiding light above us (the sixth sphere,
Tiphareth), a holy guardian angel, a Higher Self that is symbolically both above and
within all of us, uniting us. Through a kind of intense mental focus and equally intense
love and desire for union with this Higher Self, we reach up through the path of Zain
from Tiphareth to Binah, the sphere of the divine Mother. Binah is the sphere in which
creation begins, separation occurs, the One Light of Kether is shattered for the sake of
finite manifestation. So Binah, in this sense, is the root of our intellectual powers of
concentration (Beth and Hod) and discrimination (Zain).

The mythological story is that when Goddess is birthing all the separate beings of the
universe, she experiences the pang of separation from her offspring like every mother
does. The divine Mother, the “Shekinah” (divine presence in the vehicle) voluntary goes

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 5
into exile, leaves Heaven, and shatters Herself so that a part of Her can be in the heart
of every one of Her children throughout the whole cycle of incarnations until all at last
return to Heaven. So it is Her vast love for all creation that causes her to “differentiate”
Herself into separate parts. In this lovely story is a key to understanding the connection
between love and separation (discrimination of the parts).

On the Cube of Space, Zain is the Above-East edge. Thus it combines the powers of
Above – Beth B – Mercury with East – Daleth D – Venus. Beth – Mercury is the
conscious mind, the light from above, self-awareness. Daleth – Venus is the
subconscious mind in her aspect of generating mental imagery; of returning the light
developed into new forms. So in Zain are both the male and female principles, working
together on a worthy project. This is depicted in the shape of the top of the letter Zain Y ,

a Yod I which sticks out to the right and to the left of the upright below it.

The direction of the flow of energy through this pathway is from South to North. In fact, it
is the only pathway that flows from South to North on the Cube of Space. This is unique.
As we shall see, there are two paths from East to West and two paths from West to
East. There are two paths from Above to Below and two paths from Below to Above.
However, there are three paths from North to South but only one from South to North,
the path of Zain. So now we have an answer, at least in symbolic form, to the question
of how we get to the North, that place from whence cometh Gold. It is the path of Zain
which includes the ability to finely discriminate like a sword and also the law of gender,
another meaning of Zain. It is only via the awareness that the experience of love
generates that we learn to discern and traverse the Path of Return.

In Kabbalah, it is taught that the form of the letter Zain Y is like the scepter of a King.
The King uses his scepter to bestow blessings upon those he chooses. The Yod on top

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 6
of Zain is said to look like a crown. The old Kabbalist, Be’al Shem Tov had a student,
the Maggid of Mezeritch. He taught that the crown of Zain is referred to in the saying, “A
woman of valor is the crown of her husband.” Now Kether RXK Crown is the name of
the 1st sphere of the Tree of Life. How can it be that a good wife is her husband’s
crown?

The letter before Zain Y is Vav V. We learned that Vav symbolizes the line of light
descending into the chaos and bestowing the ability to separate the opposites as well
as providing for their reunion with the divine. This descent of a line of light is called Aur
Yashar RWI RVA, straight light. This is the secret of the sixth day of creation, six
being the number of Vav.

Zain Y reflects the descending light back up. Zain is the Aur Chozer RYIC RVA, the
returning light. The returning light is the aspirant coming home, the separate reuniting
with the divine source. This returning light is so powerful that it is said to blast on past
the point of origin of Aur Yashar and on to an even higher level of consciousness. It
reaches the crown of Kether and then widens out to encompass both the awe of God in
Binah and the love of God in Chokmah. It widens out to the left and to the right like the
Yod on top of the letter Zain. The returning prodigal son brings wonderful gifts back to
the crown.

Zain is the number seven, the day when God rested after the six days of creation, the
Sabbath, Shabbat TBW, the time from Friday evening to Saturday dusk that is
traditionally reserved for rest, joy and spirituality. From the same root as Shabbat is
Shabbatai IATBW, the Hebrew name for Saturn. Saturn in the letters corresponds
to Tav, the last letter of the alphabet, the central point of the Cube of Space, the source
and the goal, the principle of manifestation. The principle of Tav-Saturn causes spirit to
“come to rest” as matter, as the created world. Saturn is the planet whose sphere on the
Tree of Life is Binah, the cosmic Mother, the Queen of the Tree of Life. Indeed, the
Jews refer to the Shabbat Queen; a term which refers in the main to women in
relationship to men.

There is a saying concerning women, the misunderstanding of which has caused much
trouble: “Who is a good (kosher) woman? She who does her husband’s will.” This
sounds like patriarchal woman-suppressing orthodox religion – the Judeo-Christian type
that makes men the Church leaders and women the Nuns (none?). However, in Judism
there is a movement called the Chassidut TVDISC, lovingkindness. This word is from

Chesed DSC, the name of the 4th sphere of the Tree of Life. Rabbi Yisrael Ba’al Shem
Tov started this movement with the intent to return the Jewish people to their spiritual

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 7
roots, to awaken the mystical contact with God through the hidden inner teachings of
the Torah. The word Chassidut is also used to delineate the oral and written teachings
of this group. In the Chassidut, it is taught that the word translated as “does” also means
“rectifies”. The good woman is the one who rectifies her husband’s will. She corrects it,
puts it back on course, aligns it with the Torah teachings. This means that the good wife
is not the one who unquestioningly goes along with whatever her husband says and
does, but rather uses her superior spiritual insight to call him to task and help him
correct his erroneous ways.

In Genesis 2:1, God completes creation on the seventh day and seals it. “And on the
seventh day, God finished that which He created to do.” The Chassidut explains that
God created the world for us to rectify. Thus it is our work to consummate His creation
by rectifying it just as it the good woman’s job to rectify her husband’s will.

In Kabbalah, the model of the universe includes four levels of sequential manifestation.
These correspond to the four elements and the four letters of God’s name as follows:
Atziluth – Fire – spiritual – Inspiration – Yod I

Briah – Water – mental – Idea – Heh H


Yetzirah – Air – emotional – Plan – Vav V

Assiah – Earth – physical – Actual creation – Heh H

In this system (and in the Tree of Life) creation occurs from above to below. The
physical is the last stage of manifestation. The roots of the Tree of Life are at the top
and the flower, the Kingdom of Earth, is at the bottom.

The polarity of these principles can be seen in humans. On the physical level, the male
body is projective or masculine. The male sexual organ projects forward. The female
body is receptive or feminine. The female sexual organ receives inward. On the physical
level only, gender polarity is fixed.

On the emotional level, the female is the naturally more active, projective partner. Males
depend upon their wives for “emotional fertilization”. A good woman brings joy into a
man’s life. On the mental level, men are more at home. They are naturally projective of
ideas. On the highest, the spiritual level, woman are the naturally more projective ones.
Note that on the three higher levels, who is being more projective is not fixed. A man
can be more emotionally projective and can give his wife a real rush of emotional
energy. Whoever is speaking tends to be the one who is being mentally projective. Only
on the physical is the polarity fixed.

An ancient book of Jewish Mysticism, The Book of Formation teaches that on the
Sabbath, a man should put away his daily study of the Torah and make love to his wife
in a special way. Both of them should put all personality and daily life concerns away

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 8
and “be naked to one another”. The man is to invoke God and the woman invokes
Goddess, the female aspect of God. Then, in quiescent union, the man is to worship the
divine feminine in his wife. Through so worshipping her, she becomes what she
potentially is, Goddess Herself. Then through his wife, the Holy Spirit flows to him. He
receives from his transformed-by-love wife, that water after which one never thirsts. It is
taught that the only way an incarnate man can receive the Holy Spirit is through
correctly loving his wife.

This long digression is to illustrate that on the spiritual level, the woman is the projective,
symbolically masculine leader. It is the good woman who rectifies the man’s energies
and leads him to the experience of the crown. It is though his wife, well loved, that a
man is lifted to ever-higher levels of superconscious awareness. In her arms he
experiences the union of the opposites; of the awe of God(dess) on the left side of the
Tree and the love of God on the right. It is from his wife that a man learns of the serenity
of superconscious states and the divine will in his soul.

This is a great secret of the Shabbat, the seventh day.

Jacob Fuss, the husband of the Qabalah teacher of the Builders of the Adytum, Ann
Davies, said, “The highest experiences of union with God that I ever experienced were
in the arms of my wife.”

In the Hebrew phrase “a good woman”, the word for “good” is kosher HRWK. The

phrase can be read as HRW-K HWA, “a woman like Sarah”. In the symbolic story
of the life of Abraham, the father of the Jewish race, God tells him to “listen to her voice”
and to follow her advice. Sarah, as all women potentially, has a higher access to
prophecy – the spiritual dimension – than Abraham (than men) do. Woman are the more
natural, active, projective partner on the spiritual level. Sarah is the model of the woman
of valor who is the crown of her husband, just as the Shabbat is the crown of the six
days of creation.

The last word of this verse means “to her voice” HLQB. The letters of this word can

be rearranged to spell Kabbalah HLBQ. Kabbalah means “the reception”. The secret
of the seventh day of rest, is the secret of Kabbalah. Abraham correlates with the Aur
Yashar. He ever returns to the straight line of light from the source of creation to begin
anew. Sarah correlates with the Aur Chozer, the returning light that reaches even higher
than that of creation to the superconscious crown of creation. She has access to the
secret of the future, the Shabbat to come, and this gives her greater insight and powers
of prophecy. He receives the divine future union with God energies via her.

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 9
Whether Abraham and Sarah really lived or not is not the issue. Their story is symbolic
of the relation of man and woman in the Great Work and contains much valuable
information and vast mysteries for us all.

The two-letter root of of the letter name Zain, FY, means “species”, “gender” and “to

sustain”. The first letters of the words for male RKY and female HBQN spell FY,
gender. Thus Zain means gender, the relation of male and female, the female as the
crown of the male. Our stories in this chapter clearly show that the story of Zain includes
the mysteries of gender, and of how the good woman sustains the spiritual life of the
man.

Zain FIY means sword. A sword is a weapon of war and symbolizes the necessary
conflicts that physical existence generates. This is evident in what we call the “survival
of the fittest” or “the law of the jungle”. What is actually occurring, according to the
Torah, is that God wields His scepter (Zain) in choosing the species that are pleasing to
Him and eliminating those not so. But even the loser does not lose. According to
Kabbalah, behind the scenes, both the winner and the loser unite in energy to reach
ever-higher levels of consciousness.

This is a basic principle of the Path of Return. As we progress in the Great Work, things
that appeared to be opposites are seen as two sides of a greater unity. As we realize
this, we climb another rung up Jacob’s ladder and experience higher states of energy
and enlightenment. This is not an infinite scale. There comes the time when all
opposites have been united into One. This is the return of the light, the coming home of
the individual soul to God.

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 10
Correspondences

Zain Y
English equivalent: Z
Number: 7
Letter name: FIY, Zain-Yod-Nun final.

Letter name meaning: Zain means sword. Spelled FY: species, gender, to sustain
Color: Orange
Note: D
Tarot Key: Number 6, The Lovers
Astrology: The sign Gemini c, ruled by Mercury C, no planet exalted. Gemini rules the
shoulders, arms, hands and lungs.
32 Paths of Wisdom: Zain is the 17th Path of Wisdom
Intelligence: Zain is the Disposing Intelligence or the Intelligence of Sensation
Path on the Tree of Life: Zain connects Binah, Understanding to Tiphareth, Beauty
Sphere of the Tree of Life: Zain is the number 7 and is thus related in meaning to the
seventh sphere, Netzach, victory.
Cube of Space: Zain is the East-Above edge. The flow of energy is from South to North.
Mythology: Gemini is the sign of the twins
Psychology: Discrimination
Sense: Smell

©2009 http://pathofreturn.com 11