Tree of Life,Ten Sephirot and twenty-two paths Explained
The Tree of Life is represented as ten stations of descending light that originate with the creator. Each of these stations, which are called Sephirot (Sephira, singular), is a cosmic principle and is approached through color, imagery and sound. They are linked to one another by twenty-two paths, which are represented by the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Beyond the spheres of the Tree is the limitless light, the Ein Sof. This is beyond the comprehension of mankind at this level and that is all that can be said of it.
The spheres are placed on three pillars – the right-hand pillar is male and deemed to be mercy, whilst the left-hand pillar is female and is severity, with the middle pillar being the point of stability between the two extremes.
There are twenty-two paths on the Tree which all relate to a Hebrew letter, various symbols, tarot cards, planets and astrological signs. Through various techniques of meditation they can be explored and experienced. The methods can be as simple or complex as one’s sense of the arte demands. Whilst a Sephira can be seen as an objective state, the experience of the paths that link each Sephira is subjective. Thus each individual will have a different experience, although there will be aspects that are experienced in common.
The symbols of the path are seen as being threefold. Primarily there is the symbol of the Hebrew letter which will be associated with the path. They follow a particular pattern with Aleph the first letter being associated with the first path from Kether to Chokmah, then following a strict alphabetical order until the last path is reached between Yesod and Malkuth where the last letter Tau will be associated.
The second attribution is the astrological signs, classical planets and the elements air, fire, water and earth. These will all be attributed to a Hebrew letter and are keys to accessing the paths of the Tree. Thirdly there is the association of the Tarot Trumps which are assigned to each path and can be used in themselves as doorways to these levels.
Ten Sephirot symbols in Hebrew
When it comes to understanding both the Concealed God and the Revealed God, both are manifested in ten attributes. Each of these ten attributes are used to describe what it is God wants from his people and what it is that he does to reveal himself through creation, his actions, and the way he speaks to us through prophetic teaching. Each of these attributes are vital to the understanding and the ability to understand God and the secret mysteries and mystical power that he has for all of us.
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The Sephirot are most easily understood and explained in Kabbalah by pulling an analogy between the Tree of Life and several other mysterious analogies that the Kabbalah has. When you look up Kabbalah, you’re bound to find an image of ten circles that look like a tree, this is the explanation of the Sephirot and a tool for explaining it all to them. I’m going to invest some time in each of these ten attributes, since they’re vital to the understanding of God and how the Kabbalists operate with spiritual matters. So, let’s have a look at them so we can understand them better.
Here are the 10 Sephirot Detailed Description
Keter is also known as the Crown and the reason for this is the simple fact that a crown is worn above the head. So in essence, Keter is an explanation of everything that is above the mind that cannot be comprehended. This is everything that is above us. This is the essence of the Concealed God and the fact that there is more out there that we will never have the answer to. This is the abstract kind of ideals that we are not able to touch, hold, or truly express without help. This is the primal stirrings that are presented to us that we claw at without really being able to understand it. Since Keter is the first on the list, it is also the most divine and the highest of all of them.
Chokmah is also known as the wisdom and this is the first power of conscious intelligence within Creation as a whole and is the first point of a real existence. This is most commonly associated with the right eye or the right hemisphere of the brain. If you can fully enhance and encourage this ability then Chokham possesses two faces. The first is Abba lla’ah, known as the Higher Father and the lower is Yisrael Saba, known as the Elder. In the end this is pushing for your ability to look deeply at aspects of reality and abstract concepts until you can truly discern the axiomatic truth. This is the primary force of the creative process because you need wisdom and understanding of the truth of something before you can fully unleash something.
Alternative to Chokhmah is Binah, which is associated with the left eye and the left side of the brain. Binah is known as something a little more complex, such as the understanding of the potential in something. This is your intuition that speaks to you and your ability to contemplate something. It is the ability to reflect upon truth once it is discovered and tear apart Creation to find out what it truly means. From Chokhmah, Binah amplifies and digests what wisdom is learned and what truths can be found in the world. It is our ability to process and develop the wisdom that we’ve been shown into something a bit more substantial and powerful than we’ve originally thought. It is also associated with the feminine aspects of the world, including women. When one has fully developed Binah, it also has two aspects of its existence. Imma ila’ah, known as the Higher Mother and then the lower which is known as tevunah, which is known as comprehension. Both of these form Imma, which is known as the mother.
Beneath and between Chokhmah and Binah is Da’at, which is sometimes referred to as an empty slot or otherwise identified as an expansion and reflection of the wisdom and understanding that comes from the previous two. This is something that you’re going to really want to know as more of an amplification through the intellectual process. There’s something about Da’at that isn’t singularly a sephirot, but actually a unification of all of them. This is everything firing on full power and every cylinder is charging at full power. This is the power to balance everything that is making this higher power something of an intellectual weapon. All of it is working in harmony and unison. Without Da’at, everything falls apart and everything is out of balance. A person is very interested in having Da’at in their life to make sure that everything is working in unity.
When it comes to Chesed, it is most often translated as something close to loving-kindness, kindness, or love. Rather than coming up with an intellectual aspect, Chesed is more of an ethical and theological term that is utilized for the compassionate side of the world. It is a valued aspect of every Jewish denomination, not just Kabbalah and is an attribute that is required by all denominations for the repairing of the world around us. It is through Chesed that all of Creation will be healed, fixed, and brought back. This is the first emotive attribute of the sephirot when it comes to the Kabbalah. They ask that you love God so completely that you will never turn your back on Him. They ask that you provide for children with anything that they could ever need and to do it with love. It also heavily emphasizes the visiting and healing of the sick, tending to the poor, and giving hospitality to the strangers of the world. There is also a heavy push for you to attend to the dead and there is also a demand to keep the peace between the people of the world. This is the faith of God in action.
This is the second emotive attribute of the sephirot and Gevurah is also the essence of judgment and limitation. It is the ability that corresponds to awe and the element of fire. This is the righteous attribute that demands that there is change in the world to right the wrongs that have been inflicted upon the world. This is God’s mode of punishing the wrongdoers and the wicked of the world. This is God’s wrath and divine intervention in the form of his punishment. This is the strict adherence to the law and the absolute matter of justice. This is the other side of Chesed, this is the action that is required and demanded by divine law. It is said that Gevurah is your ability to hold back your primal desire to do good on another when they are unworthy of it and require punishment. This is your ability to configure the world in the right image of God and to right the wrongs that plague it.
Tiferet is the ability to the compassion of Chesed and the strength of Gevurah together and to reconcile them together. At this point, these two forces are giving and receiving. In the end, this is the power of mercy. This is how loving compassion restrains the demand for justice and punishment. This is our ability to work with both of them. It is part of the middle pillar of the Tree of Life, which means that it is the ability to bring together two traits and to spread it out among the others. It reminds us that justice and punishment must be in balance with love and compassion. One cannot outweigh the other and we must work with them in unison, rather than being dominant with another. Without Tiferet, your ability to keep your emotive powers in check is going to be nearly impossible to maintain. Having it is required to understand the Concealed and Revealed God.
Netzach is translated into eternity and is the perpetuity, victory, and endurance of God that the Kabbalah demands to be acknowledged. This is the first that we’re going to discuss that is known as the tactical sephirot . In the meaning of tactical, it speaks to its acquisition of something else. This tells us what is happening in the world around you, you don’t look at things with face value but rather as the means to the end that they lead to. This is a sephirot that is focused on man and what is most appropriate way for man to receive God’s knowledge. This is the endurance and fortitude to follow through with your passion to the ends that you meet. This is the leadership and ability to rally those that are going to help you with the cause and motivate them to act in the best interest of God’s plan.
Hod is translated as majesty, splendor, and glory. It is the means for you to have activity and to accomplish your goals. Hod is often compared to your feet, where as hands accomplish tasks, Hod is what brings your to those tasks. Hod is your ability to subdue your problems and over come them. It is where form is given to language and is the key to the mystery of form. It’s what’s going to get you to accomplish your goals and to get things done.
Yesod is known as foundation and it is your ability to understand what it is that you’re doing. When it comes to Yesod, it’s your foundation, your understanding and your knowledge. It’s not just your spiritual presence, but the community with which you work. As you look around at the foundation of the world that you’re in, it’s going to give you the power to change that world. Think of foundation as the world all around you and the actual presence of Creation in your life. This is what’s going to be changed around you. This is what you’re working to change in the world around you, to heal, and save.
This is the bottom of the Tree of Life and it is the last of the sephirot , which means that it is the last part that we’ll be talking about. Malkuth is what is known as the spiritual kingdom of God and this is the final victory that everything is working toward. This is the bridegroom of God and it’s the ultimate goal of everyone to bring the spiritual kingdom to eminence in the world. This is going to do everything in the world and it is going to be the force that changes everything. In the end, this is the seed of everything that is going to grow out of this movement.