Index, bigindex

classes ::: A_Garden_of_Pomegranates_-_An_Outline_of_the_Qabalah, chapter,
children :::
branches :::

Instances, Classes, See Also, Object in Names
Definitions, . Quotes . - . Chapters .


object:1.03 - The Sephiros
book class:A Garden of Pomegranates - An Outline of the Qabalah
class:chapter

CHAPTER THREE


THE SEPHIROS

I N the previous chapter it was suggested that the
Qabalah is the most suitable system for the basis of our magical alphabet, to which we shall be able to refer the sum total of all our knowledge and experience- reli- gious, philosophical, and scientific. The Qabalistic Alpha- bet is, as we shall proceed to explain, an elaborate system of attributions and correspondences ; a convenient method of classification enabling the philosopher to docket his experiences and ideas as he obtains them. It is comparable to a filing cabinet of thirty-two jackets in which an exten- sive system of information is filed.

It would be fallacious for the student to expect a concrete definition of everything which the cabinet contains. That is a sheer impossibility for quite obvious reasons. Each student must work for himself, once given the method of putting the whole of his mental and moral constitution into these thirty-two filing jackets. The necessity for personal work becomes apparent when one realizes that in normal business procedure, for instance, one would not purchase a filing cabinet with the names of all past, present, and future correspondents already indexed. It becomes quite evident that the Qabalistic cabinet (our thirty-two Paths) has a system of letters and numbers meaningless in them- selves, but as the files are completed, ready to take on a meaning, different for each student. As experience increased, each letter and number would receive fresh accessions of meaning and significance, and by adopting this orderly arrangement we would be enabled to grasp our inner life much more comprehensively than might otherwise be the case. The object of the theoretical (as separate from the Practical) Qabalah, insofar as this thesis is concerned, is to enable the student to do three main things :

First, to analyse every idea in terms of the Tree of Life.
Second, to trace a necessary connection and relation between every and any class of ideas by referring them to this standard of comparison. Third, to translate any unknown system of symbolism into terms of any known one by its means.

To restate the above in a different way, the art of using our filing cabinet arrangement brings home to us the com- mon nature of certain things, the essential difference between others, and the inevitable connection of all things.
Moreover, and this is extremely important, by the acquisi- tion of an understanding of any one system of mystical philosophy or religion, one automatically acquires, when relating that comprehension to the Tree of Life, an under- standing of every system. So that ultimately, by a species of association of impersonal and abstract ideas, one gradually equilibrizes the whole of one's mental structure and obtains a simple view of the incalculably vast com- plexity of the universe. For it is written : " Equilibrium is the basis of the work ".

Serious students will need to make a careful study of the attributions detailed in this work and commit them to memory. When, by persistent application to his own mental apparatus, the numerical system with its corres- pondences is partly understood - as opposed to being merely memorized - the student will be amazed to find fresh light breaking in on him at every turn as he continues to refer every item in experience and consciousness to this standard.

One Qabalist of recent years, Mr. Charles S. Jones
(Frater Achad, pseud.), writes as follows in his Q. B. L. :

" It is of primary importance that the details of the Plan be Memorized. This is possibly the chief reason why in the early times the Qabalah was transmitted from mouth to ear and not in writing, for it only bears Fruit, insofar as it is first rooted in our minds. We may read of it, study it to some extent, juggle with it on paper, and so on, but Not
Until the mind itself takes on the Image of the Tree and we are able to go mentally from Branch to Branch, Cor- respondence to Correspondence, visualizing the process and thus making it a Living Tree, do we find that the Light of
Truth dawns upon us, and we have, as it were, succeeded

in putting forth a shoot above the Earth, thus - as in the case of a young tree - finding ourselves in a new World, while yet our roots are firmly implanted in our natural element."

The Zohar itself speaks of a divine spiritual influence called NbTB Mezla, which descends from Keser to Malleus, by way of the Paths, vivifying and sustaining all things. By endeavouring to implant the roots of this living tree in our own consciousness, tending it daily with devo- tion, tenderness, and perseverance, almost imperceptibly we shall find new spiritual knowledge springing up spon- taneously within us. The universe will then begin to appear as a synthetic homogeneous Whole, and the student will discover that the sum total of his knowledge will become unified, and find himself able to transmute even on the intellectual plane the Many into the One. This is, in the long run, discarding all the inessentials, the goal of every mystic, no matter by which of the names he denomi- nates his Path, and which of the various by-roads he follows.

One other preliminary matter must be touched upon before actually attempting an exegesis of the Sephiros.
Many Qabalists have referred to the Tree of Life the seventy-eight Tarot cards, which are a series of pictorial representations of the universe. Eliphaz Levi writes in
La Histoire de la Magie as follows : " The absolute hiero- glyphical science had for its basis an alphabet of which all the gods were letters, all the letters ideas, all the ideas numbers, and all the numbers perfect signs. This hiero- glyphical alphabet, of which Moses made the great secret of his Cabalah, is the famous book of Thoth ".

The leaves of this "famous book " are also called the
Atus of Thoth, the latter being the Egyptian god of Wis- dom. Court de Gebelin (Paris, 1781) remarks : " Were we to hear that there exists in our day a work of the ancient
Egyptians, one of their books which had escaped the flames which devoured their superb libraries, and which contains their purest doctrines. . . . Were we to add that this book for several centuries had been accessible to everyone, would it not be surprising ? And would not that surprise be at its height were it asserted that people have never suspected it



40 A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES
was Egyptian, that they possess it in such a manner that they can hardly be said to possess it at all, that no one has ever attempted to decipher a single leaf, and that the out- come of a recondite wisdom is regarded as a mass of extravagant designs which mean nothing in themselves ?
.... Yet this is a true fact. ... In one word, this book is the pack of Tarot cards ".

The legend as to the origin of these seventy-eight Atus is a most curious and interesting one indeed, although one cannot vouch for its accuracy. It goes that the Adepts of antiquity, seeing that a cycle of spiritual degradation and mental stagnation was about to descend upon Europe with the advent of what is called the Christian Era, were pre- occupied with the making of plans for the preservation of their accumulated knowledge. It would be held in reserve for the age when men would be sufficiently advanced and spiritually unbiased to receive it, and yet available during the intervening period, even during the cycle of complete intellectual slothfulness, so that any member of the com- munity who felt the inner urge to engage in the studies with which the Qabalah, in particular, deals would obtain easy access to it.

In conference assembled within the Sanctuary of the
Gnosis, they began considering the subject in all its aspects.
One Adept had furthered the idea of reducing all their knowledge to a few symbols and glyphs, and hewing these into imperishable rock, as was done by King Asoka in
India. Others were for the writing up of their knowledge as it stood, and storing the manuscripts in vast subter- ranean libraries (such as Blavatsky narrates exist to-day in Tibet), to be opened at a much later date.

None of these, however, satisfied the majority as fulfilling the required conditions, until one Adept who had hitherto sat reclining, taking but little part in the discussions, spoke somewhat as follows :

" There is a much more practical yet subtle method.
Let us reduce all our knowledge of man and the universe to symbols which can be portrayed in pictures suitable for use as an ordinary game. In such a manner, the accumulated wisdom of the ages will be preserved in an unorthodox way, passing unnoticed by the herd as being the Philosophy


41


THE SEPHIROS
of the Initiates, and yet throwing more than a hint to one in search of the Truth."

This suggestion, admirable in every way, was agreed upon by the Assembly, and one of their number, an Adept skilled in the work of brush, ink, and pen, painted a set of seventy- eight hieroglyphs, each representing symbolically some particular aspect of life, man, and the cosmos.

And so these cards have come down to us to-day, intact, and practically unspoiled. It is true that some artists, neither skilled in the intricacies of the Holy Qabalah nor
Adepts as were the originators of the cards, in painting copy sets of the Tarot cards have woefully misrepresented, misplaced, and in some cases entirely omitted some of the symbols existing on the original set of pictures. Yet any one with a knowledge of the arcane wisdom can reconstruct them with ease.

It was only in the last century that we had the statement of Eliphaz Levi that were a man incarcerated in a dungeon cell in solitary confinement, without books or instructions of any kind, it would still be possible for him to obtain from this set of cards an encyclopaedic knowledge of the essence of all sciences, religions, and philosophies. Ignoring this specimen of typical Levi verbosity, it is only necessary to point out that instead of using the ten digits and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew Alphabet for the basis of his magical alphabet, Levi adopted as his fundamental framework the twenty-two trump cards of the Book of
Thoth, attributing to them his knowledge and experience in a way similar to the attributions of the thirty-two Paths of Wisdom.

Some critics have ventured the opinion that the inter- pretation of the Tree of Life suggested herein, its utilization as a mode of classification, does not " ring true " and that it has no authority in the standard works of the Qabalah.
This criticism is utterly without foundation in fact. An attempt in this direction is most evident in the Sepher
Yetzirah, and the Sepher haZohar is replete with the most recondite attributions, many of which I have not repro- duced here at all for the sake of maintaining simplicity.
I can only recommend that those who bring forward these and similar objections should carefully refer to Mr. Waite's



42


43


A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES
epitome of Zoharic philosophy, The Secret Doctrine in
Israel, which substantially demonstrates that the basis of my interpretation has the sanction of the highest Qabalistic authority.

Let us now approach the exegesis of the Philosophy of the
Qabalah in its various aspects. First we shall deal more fully with the ten Sephirothal ideas, giving the student in a later chapter examples of the mode of treatment which he himself will then be able to follow in studying the attribu- tions of all the Paths.

O. Ain

The universe, as the sum total of all things and living creatures, is conceived as having its primeval origin in
Infinite Space, pH - Ain, Nothing, or Parabrahmam, the
Causeless Cause of all manifestation. To quote the
Zohar :

" Before having created any shape in the world, before having produced any form, He was alone, without form, resembling nothing. Who could comprehend Him as He then was, before creation, since He had no form ? "

The Ain is not a being ; it is No-Thing. That which is incomprehensible, unknown, and unknowable does not exist - at least, to be more accurate, insofar as our own consciousness is concerned. Blavatsky defines this primal reality as an Omnipresent, Eternal, and Boundless prin- ciple on which all speculation is utterly impossible, since it so transcends the power of human conception and thought that it would only be dwarfed by any similitude. That which is known and named is known and named not from a knowledge of its substance but from its limitations.

In itself, it is unknowable, unthinkable, and unspeakable.
Rabbi Azariel ben Menahem (born 1160 a.d.), a disciple already mentioned of Isaac the Blind, states that the Ain can neither be comprehended by the intellect, nor described in words ; for there is no letter or word to grasp it.

In another very important system, this idea is very picturesquely and graphically represented as the goddess
Nuit, the Queen of Absolute Space and the naked brilliance of the night sky blue- the Woman " jetting forth the milk of the stars (cosmic dust) from her paps ".


THE SEPHIROS

It is the Absolute or the Unknowable of the Agnosticism of Herbert Spencer ; the thrice-great Darkness of the
Egyptian sacerdotal caste ; and the Chinese Tao which
" resembleth the emptiness of space ", and which " hath no
Father ; it is beyond all other conceptions, higher than the highest In one of the meditations of Chuang Tzu, we find that " Tao cannot be existent. If it were existent, it could not be non-existent. . . . Tao is something beyond material existences. It cannot be conveyed, either by words or by silence. In that state which is neither speech nor silence, its transcendental nature may be appre- hended." To this Qabalistic conception or principle of
Zero would be allocated Baruch Spinoza's definition of God or Substance : " That which requires for its conception, the conception of no other thing ".

Another of the many symbols used by the Hindus to represent this Zero was that of the serpent Ananta, which enclosed the universe ; its tail being swallowed in its mouth represented the re-entrant nature of Infinity.

I. Keser

To become conscious of Itself, or to render itself com- prehensible to itself, Ain becomes rp pH Ain Soph
(Infinity), and still further ms rpo ps Ain Soph Aour,
Absolute Limitless Light (the Daivaprakriti of the Brahman
Vedantists, and the Adi-Buddha or Amitabha of the Budd- hists) ; which then by contraction ( Tsimtsum , according to the Zohar) concentrated itself into a central dimensionless
Point - Keser, the Crown, which is the first Sephirah on the
Tree of Life.

Another way in which this same idea has been expressed is that within the concept of abstract negativity, the
Whirling Forces ( Rashis haGilgolim) presage the first mani- festation of the Primordial Point ( Nelcudah Bishonah), which becomes the primeval root from which all else will spring. Keser is the inscrutable Monad, the root of all things, defined by Leibnitz with reference both to the ulti- mate nature of physical things and to the ultimate unit of consciousness, as a metaphysical point, a centre of spiritual energy, unextended and indivisible, full of ceaseless life,



44


THE SEPHIROS


45


A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES
activity, and force. It is the prototype of everything spiritual and, indeed, of all else in the cosmos.

In this connection the reader will do well to bear in mind the following extract from The Mysterious Universe wherein Sir James Jeans writes :

" This shows that an electron must, in a eertain sense at least, occupy the whole of space. . . . They (Faraday and
Maxwell) pictured an electrified particle . . . which threw out . . . lines of force ', throughout the whole of space "
(p. 54-5).

The scientific conception of the mathematical electron which occupies " the whole of space " would correspond to the Qabalistic conception of Keser in the World of Assiah.
The four worlds are explained in Chapter Seven.

In the Qabalah are included what are known as the ten
Sephiros. There is some little speculation as to what these imply - ten Numbers, ten Words, or ten Sounds ? The general implication of Cordovero is that they are substan- tive principles or kehlim, vessels of force, or categorical ideas through which the Consciousness of the universe expresses itself. A metaphorical passage from the Zohar states on this point that :

" The waters of the sea are limitless and shapeless. But
W'hen they are spread over the earth, they produce a shape.

. . . The source of the waters of the sea, and the force which it emits to spread itself over the soil, are two things.
Then an immense basin is formed by the waters just as is formed when one makes a very deep digging. This basin is filled by the waters which emanate from the source ; it is the sea itself and can be regarded as a third thing. This very large hollow of waters is split up into seven canals, which are like so many long tubes by means of which the waters are conveyed. The source, the current, the sea, and the seven canals form together the number Ten. . .

I he passage then goes on to explain that the source or primary Cause of all things is Keser, the first Sephirah ; the current issuing therefrom, the primeval mercurial intel- ligence, is Chokmah, the second ; and the sea itself is the
Great Mother, Binah, the third ; the seven canals referred to being the seven lower Sephiros, or Inferiors as they are called. The Qabalists postulated ten Sephiros because to

them ten was a perfect number, one which included every digit without repetition, and contained the total essence of all numbers. Isaac Myers writes that 0-1 ends with 1-0, and Rabbi Moses Cordovero, in his Pardis Rimonim,


Diagram No. 2
THE TRIAD SUPERNAL


soliloquizes that : " The number ten is an all-embracing number. Outside of it there exists no other, for what is beyond ten returns again to units."

Keser, the Crown, is then the first Sephirah. As the first
Cause or Demiurgos, it is also called Macroprosopus, or the
Great Countenance, in the Zohar. The number One has



46 A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES
been defined by Theon of Smyrna as " the principal and element of numbers which, while multitude can be less- ened by subtraction and is itself deprived of every number, remains stable and firm ", The Pythagoreans said that the
Monad is the beginning of all things, and gave it, according to Photius, the names of God, the First of all things, the
Maker of all things. It is the source of Ideas.

To each Sephirah, the doctrinal Qabalah attributes intel- ligences variously called Gods, Dhyan Chohans, Angels, arid
Spirits, etc., for the whole universe in this philosophy is guided and animated by whole series of these hierarchies of sentient beings, each with a particular function and mission, varying in their respective degrees and states of conscious- ness and intelligence. There is but one indivisible and absolute consciousness thrilling throughout every particle and infinitesimal point in the manifested universe in Space.
But its first differentiation, by emanation or reflection, is purely spiritual and gives rise to a number of " beings " which we may call Gods, their consciousness being of such a nature, of such a degree of sublimity, as to surpass our comprehension. From one point of consideration, the
" Gods " are the forces of Nature ; their " Names " are the laws of Nature ; they are therefore eternal, omnipresent, and omnipotent - only, however, for the cycle of time, almost infinite though it be, wherein they are manifested or projected.

The names of the Gods are important, for, according to magical doctrine, to know the name of an intelligence is at once to possess peculiar control of it. Prof. W. M. Flinders
Petrie, in his little work on The Religion of Ancient Egypt, states that " the knowledge of the name gave power over its owner".

We find attributed to the Crown, the first digit, the attribution of the God-name of rrriN Ahieh, translated by " I will be ", signifying definitely that the scheme of
Nature is not a static one nor a system of existence wherein the creative processes have long been consummated, but vibrant, progressive, and ever-becoming. Its Egyptian
Gods are Ptah who, again according to Prof. Flinders
Petrie, was one of the abstract Gods (as distinguished from human or cosmic gods) and the creator of the cosmic egg ;


THE SEPHIROS


47

and Amon-Ra (with whom Osiris became identified) king of the Gods and " lord of the thrones of the world ". Its
Greek equivalent is Zeus - identified in the Roman theogony as Jupiter - the greatest of the Olympian Gods, and is generally represented as the omnipotent father and king of Gods and Men. The Romans considered Jupiter as the Lord of Heaven, the highest and most powerful among the Gods, and called him the Best and Most High. In the
Indian systems, he is Brahma the creator, from whom sprang the seven Prajapati- our seven lowest Sephiros - who, at his behest, completed the creation of the world.

The Diamond is attributed to Keser, because it is the most permanent and glittering of precious jewels. For various reasons, too, the ancients made the Swan a corres- pondence of this digit. In the legends of all peoples, the
Swan is the symbol of Spirit and Ecstasy. The Hindu legends narrate that the Swan (Hansa) when given milk mixed with water for its food separated the two, drinking the milk and leaving the water - this being supposed to show its transcendent wisdom. The Hawk also is a corres- pondence. Bearing in mind that Keser is the Monad, the individual point-of-view, we can understand that the Hawk is so attributed because it has the habit of remaining poised in mid-air, looking down from the blue aether to earth and beholding all things with the eye of utter detachment.

Ambergris, that rarest and most precious of perfumes - while having little perfume in itself is most admirable as the basis of compounds, bringing out the best of any other with which it may be mixed - finds its place in this category of ideas. The colour attributed to Keser is White, its
Tarotic attributions are the four Aces, and it is called in the
Sepher Yetsirdh " The Admirable or Hidden Intelligence

According to Rabbi Azariel's Commentary on the Ten
Sephiros each of the Sephiros has three distinct qualities.
First, it has its own Sephirothal function, already described.
Its secondary aspect is that it receives from the previous
Sephiros, or from above, in the case of Keser ; and third, it transmits its own nature, and that received from above, to those Sephiros below.



48


A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES


49


II. Chokmah

The first Sephirah (the essence of Being - Spirit-Matter) contained in essence and potentiality the other nine
Sephiros and gave rise to them in a process which can be mathematically stated. S. Liddell McGregor Mathers asks, " How is Number Two to be found ? " He answers the question in his Introduction to the Kabbalah
Unveiled :

" By reflection of itself. For although 0 be incapable of definition, 1 is definable. And the effect of a definition is to form an Eidolon, duplicate or image, of the thing defined.
Thus, then, we obtain a duad composed of 1 and its reflec- tion. Now, also, we have the commencement of a vibration established, for the number 1 vibrates alternately from changelessness to definition and back to changelessness."

Isaac Ibn Latif (1220-1290 a.d.) also furnishes us with a mathematical definition of the processes of evolution :

" As the point extends, and thickens into a line, the line into the plane, the plane into the expanded body, so God's manifestation unfolds itself."

If we try for a moment to think what is the ultimate differentiation of Existence, we shall find that so far as we can grasp it it is a plus and minus, positive and negative, male and female, and so we should expect on the Tree of
Life to find that the two emanations succeeding Keser par- take of these characteristics. We ascertain that the second
Sephirah, Chokmah or Wisdom, is male, vigorous and active. It is called the Father, the divine name being m
Yoh, and the choir of Angels appropriate being the
Ophanim.

Tahuti or Thoth is attributed to this Sephirah of Wisdom, for he was the god of writing, learning, and magick. Thoth is represented as an Ibis-headed God, and occasionally has an ape or baboon in attendance. Pallas Athena, insofar as she is the giver of intellectual gifts and one in whom power and wisdom were harmoniously blended, the Goddess of
Wisdom who sprang full-armed from the brain of Zeus, is attributed to Chokmah. In Greek mythology, she appeared as the preserver of human life, and instituted the ancient court of the Areopagus at Athens. She is also Minerva in


THE SEPHIROS
the Roman system, whose name is considered by philolo- gists to contain the root of mens, to think ; she is accord- ingly the thinking power personified. Maat, the Goddess of
Truth, linked with Thoth, is another Egyptian corres- pondence. Uranus, as the starry heavens, and Hermes as the Logos and the Transmitter of the influence from Keser, also are attributions. In Taoism, the positive Yang would correspond to this Sephirah.

Chokmah is the vital energizing element of existence,
Spirit or the Purusha of the Sankhyan philosophy of India, by which is implied the basic reality underlying all mani- festations of Consciousness. In Blavatsky's system,
Chokmah would be what is there named Mahat or " Cosmic
Ideation ". With the Buddhists of China, this is Kwan
Shi Yin ; Vishnu and Ishvara with the Hindus. Chokmah is the Word, the Greek Logos, and the Memrah of the Tar- gum. The Sepher Yetsirah names it " The Illuminating
Intelligence " ; its planet is Uranus - although tradi- tionally the Sphere of the Zodiac is allocated thereto.

Its colour is grey ; its perfume the orchitic Musk, plant the Amaranth, which is the flower of immortality ; and the
Four Twos of the Tarot. Its precious stones are the Star
Ruby representing the male energy of the creative Star, and the Turquoise suggesting Mazlos, the Sphere of the
Zodiac.

The Zohar also attributes to Chokmah the first letter
Yod * of the Tetragrammaton YHVH, a formula which will be more fully explained later. The Yod also has attributed to it the Four Kings of the Tarot. The attribu- tions of the Tetragrammaton should be very carefully followed, for much of Zoharic speculation devolves upon them.

III. Bin ah

Chokmah gives rise to Binah, the third Sephirah, Aimah the Mother, which is negative, female, and passive. It will be necessary to consult the accompanying diagram, to note the formation of the Tree as it proceeds.

Three is Binah, then, translated by Understanding, and to it is attributed Saturn, the oldest of the Gods, and the
Greek Kronos, the God of Time. She is Frigg, the wife of



50


51


A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES
the Norse Odin, and mother of all the Gods. Three, also, is bakti, the consort of the god Shiva, who is the Destroyer of
Life. Sakti is that universal electric vital power which unites and brings together all forms, the constructive power that carries out, in the formation of things, the plan of the
1 bought Divine, which is Chokmah. Binah is Maya, the universal power of Illusion, Kwan Yin of Chinese Budd- hism, the Ym of Taoism, the goddess Kali of the orthodox
Hindu religions and the Great Sea wherefrom we are sprung.

The Hindu four-armed image of Kali is most graphic.
*rom her neck hangs a garland of skulls, and round her waist is a girdle of human arms - made of gold. In her lower left hand she holds a decapitated human head, also made f gold, and in the upper a sword. With her lower right hand she offers boons to her devotees, with the upper a symbol to fear naught. The skulls and the sword represent er terrible destructive side, Kali ; and her right hands offering boons and fearlessness, her benignant side similar to that conveyed by the Egyptian conception of Isis. She is both terrible and sweet-like Nature, alternately destroying and creating.

In the Theosophical system, one aspect of Binah is
Mulaprakriti, or cosmic root substance, which as Blavatsky states must be regarded as objectivity in its purest abstrac- tion- the self-existing basis whose differentiations consti- ute the objective reality underlying the phenomena of every phase of conscious existence. It is that subtle form of root matter which we touch, feel, and breathe without per- ceiving, look at without seeing, hear and smell without the slightest cognition of its existence. The Qabalah of Isaac
Myers lays down the principle that matter (the spiritual passive substance of Ibn Gabirol) always corresponds with the female passive principle to be influenced by the active or the male, the formative principle. In short, Binah is the substantive vehicle of every possible phenomenon, physical or mental, just as Chokmah is the essence of consciousness.

Its colour is black, since it is negative and receptive of all things ; the precious stone attributed hereto being the
Pearl, on account of its being the typical stone of the sea, and also referring to the manner in which the pearl has its


THE SEPHIROS
origin within the dark womb of the oyster. Its Yetsiratic title is " The Sanctifying Intelligence " ; its sacred plants, the Cypress, Lily, and Opium Poppy ; and the Tarot cards appropriate are the four Threes. Its symbol is the brooding dove - the true Shechinah, or Holy Spirit. The letter of
Tetragrammaton is the first Heh n, and the Tarot attribu- tion is the four Queens.

The first three Sephiros, denominated the Supernals, transcend in every possible way all intellectual conceptions, and can only be realized by specialized training in medita- tion and practical Qabalah. The Supernals are separated by a great gulf, the Abyss, from that which lies below them.
The Supernals are Ideal ; the other Sephiros are Actual ; the Abyss is the metaphysical gap between. In one sense they have no connection or relation with the Inferiors, the lower seven Sephiros, reflected by them - just as Space itself is independent of, and unaffected by, whether there is or is not anything manifested within its emptiness.

The cause of the appearance of Keser, the first Sephirah, the central dimensionless Point, arouses tremendous prob- lems. Lao Tsu teaches us that : " Tao produced Unity,
Unity produced Duality, Duality produced Trinity, and
Trinity produced all existing things." The doctrinal
Qabalah of Rabbi Azariel implies that Ain Soph in order to create the World (the tenth Sephirah) was unable to do so directly, but did so through the medium of Keser, which in turn evolves the other Sephiros or potencies, culminating in
Malkus and the external universe. The Zohar restates this hypothesis. But there is a difficulty, since it is obviously impossible for so abstract a conception as Zero to do any- thing. Blavatsky in her monumental work, The Secret
Doctrine, recognizes the difficulty, and endeavours to solve the problem by stating that the Absolute (Ain) while incomprehensible in itself, has several aspects from which we can view it - Infinite Space, Eternal Duration, and
Absolute Motion. The latter aspect is graphically con- ceived under the Hindu expression of the Great Breath of
Brahma, ever coming and going, creating and destroying the worlds. With the cyclic inhalation the universe is withdrawn and ceases to exist ; but with the exhalation,



52


THE SEPIIIROS


A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES
manifestation commences with the appearance of a laya or neutral centre which we call Keser. This cyclic or periodic law of cosmic manifestation cannot be anything other than the Will of the Absolute to manifest. In which case, we are necessitated, in all accuracy, to fall back on to the old postulate that the Absolute manifests the laya point or
Keser from which, eventually, all is to evolve.

The view of another system is that the universe is the eternal love play (lila in Sanskrit) of two forces, the positive being the central point - Hadit; the negative Absolute
Space. The latter, depicted as the Queen of Space, Nuit - the " blue-lidded daughter of Sunset " is conceived as say- ing : " For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union. This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing and the joy of dissolution all."

In view of our Qabalistic doctrine, however, of the inadequacy of the intellectual faculties to solve these insuperable philosophical problems - a fact which a num- ber of loquacious Qabalists constantly ignore or forget - it would be as well, and much more sensible, to admit that logically we cannot account for the existence of the first
Sephirah from which everything else has been evolved.

IV. Chesed

Number Four called Chesed - Mercy, begins the second
Triad of Sephiros which is the reflection of the Supernal
Triad beyond the Abyss. The three primary or elementary colours are attributed to the Sephiros of this second trinity ; blue to Chesed, red to Geburah, and Yellow to
Tipharas.

The fourth to the ninth Sephiros inclusive are known as the Sephiros habinyon - the Potencies of Construction, and
Myers holds that they symbolize the dimensions of matter, be it an atom or an universe : the four directions of space
(according to the Sepher Yetsirah) and the positive and negative poles of each of these.

Chesed is male and positive, although the feminine quality of y Water is attributed. The Zohar gives Chesed another title riSna Gedulah, Majesty or Greatness, both of which are qualities of the great astrological benefic


53

U Jupiter, which is the planet attributed to Chesed. The
Sepher Yetsirah gives it the title of " Receptacular Intel- ligence ".

Because of the watery aspect of this Sephirah, we find


Diagram No. 3
THE SECOND TRIAD


the correspondence of Poseidon the ruler of the seas in mythology, and Jupiter, or rather that aspect of him which was originally, in earliest Rome, an elemental or tutelary divinity, worshipped as the God of Rain, Storms, and



54


A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES


THE SEPHIROS


55


Thunder. His Greek equivalent would be Zeus armed with thunder and lightning, the shaking of whose segis produces storm and tempest. The Hindu attribution is Indra, lord of fire and lightning. Amoun is the Egyptian God, and Thor, with the thunderbolt in his hand, is the Scandinavian cor- respondence. JEger, the God of the Sea, in the Norse Sagas, might also be placed in this category ; and the legends imply that he was skilled also in magick. U , then, we find is the planet governing that operation of practical Magick called the Formula of Tetragrammaton.

Its Angels are said to be the " Brilliant Ones ", and its
Archangel is Tsadkiel, meaning the Righteousness of God.

The animals sacred to Chesed are the Unicorn and the
Horse, the latter because Poseidon in legend created the horse and taught men the noble art of managing horses by the bridle. Its plants are the Pine, Olive, and Shamrock ; its stone the Amethyst and Sapphire ; Blue is its colour, and the Tarot attributions are the four Fours, its metal being Tin, and its perfume Cedar.

V. Geburah

Chesed gives rise to Geburah, which is essentially a reflec- tion of Binah. Geburah, meaning Strength or Power, is the fifth Sephirah, feminine, and to it is given the Divine Name of *Toa D'nbs Elohim Gibor, the Mighty Gods.

Despite the fact that Geburah is a feminine potency, as are all the Sephiros on the left-hand column of the Tree, practically all its attributions are male and vigorous.
There is an old alchemical aphorism, " Man is peace, and
Woman is Power". This concept is borne out in the
Qabalistic system. The three Sephiros, all male, of the right-hand column, are called the Pillar of Mercy ; whereas those three feminine Sephiros on the left constitute the
Pillar of Severity. Most of the attributions given to
Chesed, the male Sephirah, are feminine in quality. This is not confusion of thought but a recognition of the necessity for equilibrium.

The gods of Geburah are Mars who, even in popular par- lance, is the accredited God of War, and Ares of the
Greeks, who is depicted as delighting in the din and roar of

battle, in the slaughter of men and in the destruction of towns. Geburah represents on a much lower plane the
Sakti force-element attributed to Binah. Nephthys, the
Lady of Severity, the shadowy double and sister of Isis, is attributed to this digit 5, and so we would naturally expect her to manifest in this Sephirah a quality similar to that of Binah, but much less pure as an abstract spiritual force. Thor is the Norwegian War God, and according to the Sagas, a scarlet cloud above his head reflected the fiery glint in his eyes ; he was girded with strength and armour and was drawn to battle in a chariot.

The magical weapons of Geburah are the Sword, Spear,
Scourge, and Burin, all suggesting warfare and blood- letting. Its metal is Iron, and its sacred tree the Oak, both these attributions being quite obvious as implying strength.
In fact, the quality of Geburah is summed up in the general idea of strength and power and force.

It has been suggested that these fourth and fifth Sephiros represent the expansive and contracting, centripetal, and centrifugal energies between the poles of the dimensions, acting under the will of the Logos, Chokmah.

Tobacco and the Nettle are correspondences, both because of their fiery and stinging nature. Its colour is red, obviously martial ; and hence the ruby, which is bright scarlet, is harmonious. Its sacred creature is the legendary
Basilisk of the staring eye, and the Tarot cards are the four Fives. According to the Sepher Yetsirah , Geburah is named " The Radical Intelligence ".

VI. Tipharas

The action of the fourth and fifth Sephiros, male and female, produce in reconciliation Tipharas, which is Beauty and Harmony. The diagram will show it in the centre of the whole Sephirothal system comparable to a Sun - which indeed is its astrological attribution - with the planets revolving around it.

Its gods are Ra, the Egyptian solar god who is sometimes represented as a hawk-headed divinity and at others by a simple solar disk with two wings attached ; the Sun God of the Greeks, Apollo, in whom the brightest side of the



56


A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES

Grecian mind is reflected. From Walter Pater's Greek
Studies we learn that :

" Apollo, the * spiritual form ' of sunbeams, easily becomes (the merely physical element in his constitution being almost wholly suppressed) exclusively ethical - the
' spiritual form ' of inward or intellectual light, in all its manifestations. He represents all those specially European ideas, of a reasonable polity ; of the sanity of soul and body
. . . his religion is a sort of embodied equity, its aim being the realization of fair reason and just consideration of the truth of things everywhere."

A parallel conception is found in that section of the Zohar entitled Idra Zuia : Tipharas is " the highest manifestation of ethical life, the sum of all goodness ; in short, the Ideal

Hari, the Hindu attribution, is another name for Shri
Krishna the divine Avatara, attributed here because, being a divine incarnation - one in whom both Spirit and Matter were in complete equilibrium - he expressed the essential idea implied in Tipharas. Adonis, Iacchus, Rama, and
Asar are other correspondences for 6, either because of their inherent nature of beauty, or because they represent in one way or another the solar disk, to which all mystical psycho- logy, ancient and modern, is unanimous in attributing the spiritual consciousness.

The Sepher haZohar denominates the hexagram of
Sephiros clustered about Tipharas as the Microprosopus, or the Lesser Countenance.

Dionysius is another god in the category of 6, because of his youth and gracious form, combining effeminate softness and beauty, or because of his cultivation of the vine which, ceremonially used in the Eleusinian mysteries, produced a spiritual intoxication analogous to the mystical state. It may be, too, because Dionysius is said to have transformed himself into a lion, which is the sacred animal of Tipharas, being the king of wild beasts, and regality has always been depicted in the form of the lion. Astrological reasons may explain this parallelism for 0 Sol is exalted in the zodiacal sign of SL Leo, the Lion, which was considered to be a creative symbol of the fierce mien of the midsummer sun.

Bacchus, another name of Dionysius for purposes of worship, is the god of intoxication, of inspiration, a giver


THE SEPHIROS 57
of superhuman or immortal life. In his Notes on the
Bacchce of Euripides, Prof. Gilbert Murray writes, with regard to Orphism :

" All true worshippers become in a mystical sense one with the God ; they are born again and are ' Bacchoi '.
Dionysius being the God within, the perfectly pure soul is possessed by the God wholly and becomes nothing but the
God."

The Scandinavian correspondence is in all probability the
God Balder, the favourite of all Nature, the son of Odin and
Frigg. Anderson writes that " it may be truly said of him that he is the best god, and all mankind are loud in his praise ".

In addition to the lion, the sacred animal of Tipharas is the fabulous Phoenix who tears open her breast so that her seven young ones may feed upon the blood stream and vitality issuing from her wound. The Pelican has a similar legend attached to it. They both suggest the idea of a
Redeemer giving his life for others, and Murray gives in his Introductory Notes above mentioned, an interesting anecdote with a very similar implication :

" Semdle, daughter of Cadmus, being loved by Zeus, asked her divine lover to appear to her once in his full glory ; he came, a blaze of miraculous lightning, in the ecstasy of which Semple died, giving premature birth to a son. Zeus, to save this child's life and make him truly God as well as
Man, tore open his own flesh and therein fostered the child till in due time, by a miraculous and mysterious Second
Birth, the child of Semple came to full life as God."

The Acacia, the Masonic symbol of Resurrection, and the
Vine are the plants of Tipharas. Its perfume is the gum of
Olibanum ; its colour Yellow because the Sun- the source of spiritual existence and physical life alike- is its luminary.

The Tarot cards are the four Sixes, and to Tipharas is given the title of Son and the letter 1 V of Tetragramma- ton, and the four Princes or Knights (Jacks) of the Tarot.
The Sepher Yetsirah denominates this sixth Sephirah as
" The Mediating Intelligence ". Its jewels are the Topaz and Yellow Diamond, so attributed because of their colour.



58


A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES


THE SEPHIROS


59


VII. Netsach

Tipharas completes the trinity of Sephiros constituting the second Triad, which in turn projects itself still further


into matter forming a third Triad in the following manner.

Netsach is the first Sephirah of the third Triad, meaning
Victory. Sometimes it is named Eternity and Triumph.


It is the seventh potency, and to it is logically attributed the Nike (Victory). In his Greek Studies Walter Pater wrote :

" Victory again, meant originally, mythologic science tells us, only the great victory of the sky, the triumph of morning over darkness. But that physical morning of her origin has its ministry to the later {esthetic sense also. For if Nike, when she appears in company with the mortal, and wholly fleshly hero, in whose chariot she stands to guide the horses, or whom she crowns with her garland of parsley or bay, or whose names she writes on a shield, is imaginatively conceived, it is because the old skyey influences are still not quite suppressed in her clear-set eyes, and the dew of the morning still clings to her wings and her floating hair."

Astrologieally its planet is Venus $. It should follow in consequence from this that the gods and qualities of Net- sach relate to Love, Victory, and to the harvest. Aphro- dite (Venus) is the Lady of Love and Beauty, with the power of bestowing her beauty and charms to others. The whole implication of this Sephirah is of love - albeit a love of a sexual nature. Hathor is the Egyptian equivalent and is a lesser aspect of the Mother Isis. She is depicted as a cow goddess, representing the generative forces of Nature, and she was the protectress of agriculture and the fruits of the earth. Bhavani is the Hindu goddess of Netsach.

Rose is the flower appurtenant, and Red Sandal is the perfume. It is common knowledge that in some diseases of a venereal ( $ ) origin oils of sandalwood are employed.
Benzoin is a perfume of Venus, too, and its sensuous seduc- tiveness is unmistakable. The Rose is attributed as being harmonious to the character of Aphrodite.

The Sepher Yetsirah calls Netsach " The Occult Intelli- gence " ; its colour is Green, being derived from the union of the blue and yellow of Chesed and Tipharas ; and its
Tarot cards are the four Sevens.

VIII. Hod

Opposite to Netsach on the Tree of Life is Hod,
Splendour, the Sphere of 9 Mercury. Consequently we find all its symbols definitely mercurial in quality. In



60 A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES
order to give some idea of the implication of this
Sephirah, an understanding of Hermes, the Greek God attributed to it, will be helpful. He is a God of Prudence and Cunning, Shrewdness and Sagacity, and is regarded as the author of a variety of inventions such as the alphabet, mathematics, astronomy, and weights and measures. He also presided over commerce and good luck, and was the messenger and herald of the Olympians.
According to Virgil, the gods employed him to conduct the souls of the deceased from the upper to the lower worlds.
In this latter capacity, the Egyptian jackal-headed Anubis is similar, since he was the patron of the dead, and is depicted as leading the soul into the judgment of Osiris in Amennti. It will help the student not a little if he remembers that the sphere of Hod represents on a very much lower plane similar qualities to those obtaining in
Chokmah.

Of Netsach and Hod, the seventh and eighth Sephiros, the
Zohar soliloquizes that by Victory and Splendour is meant extension, multiplication, and force ; because all the forces which were born into the universe went out of their bosom.

The Hindu God is Hanuman, represented by an Ape or
Monkey. Blavatsky gives at great length, in The Secret
Doctrine , the interesting theory that within the apes are imprisoned the human souls of a solar-mercurial nature, souls almost of the status of Godhead, called Manasaputras,
" Mind-born sons of Brahma " ; which may explain why the Hindu gods of Mind and Intelligence are represented by so, apparently, an unintelligent beast as the anthropoid.

Its plant is Moly, and its vegetable drug Anhalonium
Lewinii which causes, when taken internally, visions of colour rings and of an intellectual nature, enhancing self- analysis. Its perfume is Storax, its jewel Opal, its colour
Orange - derived from the Red of Geburah and the Yellow of Tipharas ; its Yetsiratic title being " The Absolute or
Perfect Intelligence ", The Tarot attributions are the four
Eights.

IX. Yesod

Netsach and Hod result in Yesod, the Foundation, com- pleting A series of three Triads. Yesod is that subtile basis


THE SEPHIROS 61
upon which the physical world is based, and according to both
Eliphaz Levi Zahed and Madame Blavatsky it is the Astral
Plane, which in one sense being passive and reflecting the energies from above, is lunar J>, even as the moon reflects the light from the sun. The Astral Light is an omnipresent and all-permeating fluid or medium of extremely subtile matter ; substance in a highly tenuous state, electric and magnetic in constitution, which is the model upon which the physical world is built. It is the endless, changeless, ebb and flow of the world's forces that, in the last resort, guarantee the stability of the world and provides its foundation. Yesod is this stable foundation, this change- less ebb and flow of astral forces, and the universal repro- ductive power in Nature. " Everything shall return to its foundation, from which it has proceeded. All marrow, seed, and energy are gathered in this place. Hence all the potentialities which exist go out through this " (Zohar),

Its Egyptian God is Shu, who was the God of Space, represented as lifting up Nuit, the Queen of Heaven, from off the body of Seb, the Earth. Its Hindu equivalent is
Ganesha, the elephant God who breaks down all obstacles, and supports the universe while himself standing on a tortoise. Diana was the Goddess of Light and in the
Roman Temples represented the moon. The general conception of Yesod is of change with stability. Some writers have referred to the Astral Light which is the sphere of Yesod as the Anima Mundi, the Soul of the World. The psycho-analyst Jung has a very similar concept which he terms the Collective Unconscious which, as I see it, differs in no wise from the Qabalistic idea.

Its plants are the Mandrake and Damiana, both of whose aphrodisiac qualities are well known. Its perfume is Jas- mine, also a sexual excitant ; its colour Purple ; its Sepher
Yetsirah title, "The Pure or Clear Intelligence"; its number 9, and its Tarot correspondence the four Nines.

An important consideration, from the practical Qabalistic viewpoint, is the attribution of the moon which, according to the occult tradition, is a dead yet living body whose particles are full of active and destructive life, of potent magical power.



62


A GARDEN OF POMEGRANATES


X. Malkus

Pendant to the system of three Triads, and synthesizing all the former numbers, is Malkus, the Kingdom - the tenth
Sephirah. Malkus is the world of the four elements, matter in its entirety, and all the forms perceived by our five senses, summing up in a crystallization the former nine digits or series of ideas.

Seb is the Egyptian God attributed to Malkus, since he is figured with the head of a crocodile, the Egyptian hiero- glyph of gross matter. Psyche, the lower Nephthys and the unmarried Isis, are other gods attributed. The Virgin, or the Bride, is another Zoharic title for Malkus, used however in a particular sense which will be considered in Chapter
Five. Persephone is the virgin Earth and her legends indicate the adventures of the unredeemed soul ; and Ceres is the maiden Goddess of the Earth, too. Other deities are
Lakshmi and the Sphinx, all attributed as representing the fertility of the earth and of all creatures.

In Malkus, the lowest of the Sephiros, the sphere of the physical world of matter, wherein incarnate the exiled
Neschamos from the Divine Palace, there abides the
Shechinah, the spiritual Presence of Ain Soph as a heritage to mankind and an ever-present reminder of spiritual verities. That is why there is written " Keser is in Malkus, and Malkus is in Keser, though after another manner
The Zohar would imply that the real Shechinah, the real
Divine Presence, is allocated to Binah whence it never descends, but that the Shechinah in Malkus is an eidolon or
Daughter of the Great Supernal Mother. Isaac Myer suggests that : " It is considered by Qabalists as the executive energy or power of Binah, the Holy Spirit or the Upper Mother."

The Seplier Yetsirah denominates Malkus as " The
Resplendent Intelligence ". Its perfume is Dittany of
Crete because of the heavy clouds of dense smoke given off by this incense. Its colours are Citrine, Olive, Russet, and
Black, and its Tarot cards are the four Tens. It is given by the Zohar the final n H^h of Tetragrammaton, and authority attributes to it the four Princess cards of the
Tarot.



[ MISSING TABLE ]



Before proceeding to consider in the next chapter the numerous correspondences which appertain to the twenty- two Paths on the Tree of Life, I feel it imperative to utter a word of warning with regard to a possible misconstruction that might be placed on some of the attributions which have been given to these Sephiros and Paths.

For example, Tobacco, Mars, the Basilisk, and the Sword are among those qualities which belong to the filing jacket of Geburah, or the fifth Sephirah. Yet the reader must here beware of making the almost unpardonable error of con- fusing the logical premisses. Since all of these are corres- pondences of the number 5, then Tobacco is a Sword, and the God Mars is an equivalent of the Basilisk. This is a real danger, and a tremendous mistake of serious consequence.

At the outset of the comparative study that is here being presented, the basic implication of this method of classifica- tion of the correspondences selected from comparative religions and philosophy should be thoroughly grasped. In this instance, all of the four things mentioned above possess a certain quality or set of attributes of a similar nature, which renders them in harmony with the filing jacket to which they have been attributed. There is an underlying connection which associates them with the number 5.
This idea must be kept in mind throughout if any benefit is to be derived from the Qabalah, and all confusion banished at the beginning.



questions, comments, take-down requests, reporting broken-links etc.
contact me @ integralyogin at gmail dot com

--- OBJECT INSTANCES [0]


--- PRIMARY CLASS


chapter

--- SEE ALSO


--- SIMILAR TITLES [0]


1.03 - The Sephiros
select ::: Being, God, injunctions, media, place, powers, subjects,
favorite ::: cwsa, everyday, grade, mcw, memcards_(table), project, project_0001, Savitri_(cento), Savitri_(extended_toc), the_Temple_of_Sages, three_js, whiteboard,
temp ::: consecration, experiments, knowledge, meditation, psychometrics, remember, responsibility, temp, the_Bad, the_God_object, the_Good, the_most_important, the_Ring, the_source_of_inspirations, the_Stack, the_Tarot, the_Word, top_priority, whiteboard,

--- DICTIONARIES (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



--- QUOTES [0 / 1000 - 0 / 500] (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



KEYS (10k)


NEW FULL DB (2.4M)


*** NEWFULLDB 2.4M ***


--- IN CHAPTERS (in Dictionaries, in Quotes, in Chapters)



1







1.03_-_The_Sephiros, #A Garden of Pomegranates - An Outline of the Qabalah, #Israel Regardie, #Occultism
  object:1.03 - The Sephiros
  class:chapter

10220 site hits