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Kabbalah: The Tree of Life

Author: Alexander Aldarow    (all articles by this author)
Published on: December 5, 1999

As I told before, Kabbalah speaks of having control over your life. however, for one to control it, we must comprehend the way interactions of energy in us, as well in the entire Universe, are made. A metaphoric scheme of Tree of Life, made of ten spheres, connected between them by twenty two lines (the number of letters in Hebrew alphabet), describes this way. This scheme is world-famous - you can see it on Crowley's Thoth Tarot cards, and almost in any esoteric and occult literature; it is also widely found on the Net. I will attempt to explain its structure in my words. Keep in mind that it is the same tree that grew (in a metaphoric way, also) in the Garden of Eden, from which our ancestors were so shamefully exiled. They've tasted from the Tree of Knowledge, but this name is misleading - Tree of Knowledge represents only chaos and the illusion we know as matter. Tree of Life, on the other hand, is the only true reality, to which all of us must connect, so that we will be able interact with cosmic forces in order to finally gain control over our lives.

Spheres of Tree of Life can be compared to immense packages of quantum energy. They have names in Hebrew, too, but their translation is misleading, the way I translated "Etz Ha-Daath" as Tree of Knowledge, which also is incorrect. But let's begin, shall we?

At the head of the Tree there is the sphere of Keter (Crown), it includes all the reincarnation of all the souls that exist. Here the Creator is incomprehensible and infinite, the endless world contains endless Light, and the perception of mortals cannot grasp it. Notwithstanding, Keter is the highest intelligence that channels the Light of Creation to the rest of the spheres. It is the Genesis of all our lives, thoughts, ideas and inspirations. It is the supercomputer of the Cosmos.

The first center of power that receives the overwhelming stream from Keter is Hachma, the sphere located on the right line of the Tree. As its Hebrew name implies, it is the reservoir of all the wisdom. It is the beginning of the zodiac, and it symbolizes the universal figure of Father. To complete the Father, that is centered in self-contemplation, we need the sphere of Mother (compare to Wiccan God/Goddess), settled on the top of the left line. It is Binah, that represents understanding. It is the power plant of cosmic energy, that operates all that there is, our efforts, the tide, and even the movement of the galaxies. To implement thought by deed, Hachma and Binah combine, and take us forward toward Hessed, that sits beneath Hachma. This forth sphere represents the pure positive energy in its fetal form, that can be generous till ridicule. It is the absolute will to give, that resides here. To balance Hessed's exaggerated boundless selfishness, we need its partner to the left, Gvurah. Gvurah means strength, discipline, its the complete opposite of Hessed. When Hessed wants only to give away, even by harming itself, Gvurah asks, "What will I gain from it?" On the other hand, without being balanced by Hessed, Gvurah turns into dictatorship.

Therefore, these two also interact, and all the fetal energy, transformed to Hessed from the combination of Hachma and Binah, is executed by Gvurah (not 'execution' as in 'murder', but as in 'realization'). This is the beginning of the process, in which the material world is conceived. Well, the next sphere is the one in the center, called Tipheret. It is the ultimate representative of Beauty. All the potential given to Tipheret from previous regions is formed here in what we will later accept as the "now" reality, the world around us we assumedly live in. Tipheret is all the things that are of sheer breathtaking beauty, a sunset, a flower, a poem, a human idea, all that combines Hachma and Binah to exist, since without symmetry between those there is no beauty.

From here we move on to Netzakh (Eternity - but ignore this translation as well), which is again located on the right side of the Tree of Life. We are getting closer to the world of matter. Netzakh is the spermatozoid, which, when united with the ovule, created the man. It is also the right part of our brains, where the creative process takes place. Netzakh is the poet, the artist, the musician, the dreamer; al in all it is the make element (again, the idea of duality, Yin and Yang come to mind). Netzakh, therefore, needs its female partner, Hod, to begin the process of fertilization, like the semen needs the ovum. Remember, woman is the one that gives birth, i.e., creates a human being. Hod also rules the rational part of our brains, the left side, hence Hod is the scientist, the logician, the math wizard, the distinguished accountant.

One more sphere to go before we reach our current one. Welcome to Yisod (Foundation), cosmic travelers. It is the final reservoir in the base of the Tree. All the awareness, the consciousness, the energies from the spheres above are spilt into here, all mix, intervene, balance and ready to the last transfer. No mortal is able to stand the shining radiation of Yisod. The way that Binah generates the source, Yisod generates the destination, that is...

Malkuth (Kingdom). Malkuth is the condensed world of matter, and all the infinite Light of Creation has given a profound effort to retract into this uneasy state. This is what the impulse for it began at Keter, the idea for its building appeared in Hachma, activated in Binah, planned in Hessed, shaped and designed in Gvurah, made possible in Tipheret, drawn as a draft in Netzakh, estimated in Hod, gathered together in Yisod, and finally was raised right here, in Malkuth. Phew, quite a ride!

Well, as Art Bell says, there you have it, our entire Universe in one article. Of course, there is much more in Kabbalah, and I will cover other issues in the following newsletters. Meanwhile, you are welcomed to search more information on Kabbalistic world perception; you can also contact a branch of the Center for Kabbalah Studies near your home town (which is somewhere in Malkuth).


Based on "One cube, or no sugar?" by Rabbi Berg, available in the Centers for Kabbalah Studies

Originally published in Project X Newsletter #27

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