THE TREE OF LIFE AND THE HEBREW ALPHABET
by Dirk Gillabel
Table of Contents:
In my many years of esoteric studies, one of the best systems of knowledge I have encountered is the Cabalistic Tree of Life. This diagram contains ten circles representing the Sephiroth (singular: Sephirah); that is, "spheres," "numbers," or "emanations". The Sephiroth are the numbers 1 through 10 considered in their archetypal sense. Each Sephirah is an archetypal idea. Also, the Sephiroth represent emanations from God and describe the process of creation.
Kabbalists did not tell much about the different Sephiroth; usually
giving only their name and a short description. This was done
intentionally as they wanted to encourage students to experience the
Tree of Life rather than just accepting intellectual ideas from others.
The Tree of Life and the Sephiroth can be looked at and experienced from
many different angles and different levels. Although created by
Kabbalists the tree can be easily applied to other religions and
esoteric teachings; it is that basic and fundamental. But first and for
all, it is a blueprint of the human being, and everything on the Tree of
Life is a reflection of what happens inside oneself. Therefore one
should see, and experience, the Tree of Life inside oneself. The
Sephiroth have each their own respective place on the Tree, and they
relate to each other in particular ways, depending, for example, on the
Paths that connect them. What I will give you here is the basic
information based on my own studies and insight. The Kabbalah is not a
rigid system and there is a lot of flexibility in its interpretation.
As we mentioned before, the sephiroth are emanations from the divine. They are strongly defined by number and place on the Tree of Life. But what are they? According to Israel Regardie they are considered "to be substantial principles of power-vessels, or categorical ideas in which the consciousness of the universe expresses itself". Sounds mind blowing, doesn't it? They are like vessels or channels, in which and through which the divine powers can manifest themselves in their creative evolution. They are spheres of light, receptacles that hold particular energies as they stream down from the divine source. They are like different potencies emanating from the divine. They are constantly there, always active, never ceasing. They are a medium between the divine, the Absolute (Ain-Soph) and the physical world as we know it. They are characterized by limitation, measure, and concretization. They are gradations of powers, that is why they have different places on the Tree of Life. They are the substance of reality. They emanated from the divine, but are uncreated. The created universe that followed is just a reflection.
The question arises, how did they come into being? Therefore we have to have a look at the Beginning.
First there is Ain. Ain is Negativity, Nothingness, The Negative Existence, the Great Emptiness, The Absolute, The Absence of Things, The Prime Cause, The Originless Origin of all manifestation. You guessed it; it is not knowable, it is indescribable, everything we say about it, it is not.
Then there is Ain Soph. Ain means 'not' and soph means "end". Ain Soph is the Infinite, The Limitless, Infinite Space, Eternity. It is also called the Holy Old One, or the Old One of All Old Ones. Ain Soph is the primal darkness of the absolute unity above anything else. Ain Soph is the one in which everything has its origin, its existence, and to which everything returns.
Next we have the Ain Soph Aur. Aur means light. The Ain Soph Aur is the Limitless or Infinite Light.
Now the Ain Soph Aur retracts itself within itself to a light point. Here we have substantiality out of nothing. This brings forth Kether (=the Crown), the first Sephira at the top of Tree of Life. Here is the primal vibration of the universe to follow.
This light point starts to emit light energy, light rays. This is the primal ocean of subtle ether used for the building of the universe. This subtle ether is polarized into harmonious moving opposites of positive and negative, attraction and repulsion, contraction and expansion. There is harmonious equilibrium.
The negative energy creates the Severity (Judgment) pillar on the left side and the positive energy creates the Mercy pillar on the right side of the Tree of Life. And thus the next two Sephiroth arise: Chokmah (Wisdom) on the right side, and Binah (Understanding) on the left side. The left pillar is also called the Pillar of Form, the right pillar the Pillar of Force, and the middle pillar, the Pillar of Consciousness. Of the middle pillar it is said that it both shows how God reveals Himself to us (downward movement) and how it is our path for "conforming to His image" (upward movement).
Ok, now we have three Sephiroth, and they form a trinity, called the Supernal triad. Under this trinity is the Abyss. Above the Abyss is the realm of ideas, or the Ideal. Under the Abyss, is the world of the real, or Reality and Causality, in which the next seven Sephiroth are to come. The next seven Sephiroth are the crystallization, the densification, of the subtle ether. Together they produce the universe, the world we know.
To the right are all ten Sephiroth of the Tree of life with the columns superimposed.
I am using here the traditional names of the Sephiroth. Their names don't always reflect the meaning or content of them. It is not clear why the ancient kabbalists choose those titles. To know what the Sephiroth are about, one needs to read the explanation of each Sephirah.
Kether is the first manifested Sephirah, the first condensation of the light of Ain-Soph. Kether means 'the Crown'. It sits like a crown on the top of the Tree of Life, but at the same time is the Crown on top of our head. It is said that Kether encircles and covers the brain of the primordial Man, Adam Kadmon. One might compare it with the Crown Chakra of the yoga system. It is called the Crown because Kether belongs half to the human system (and the Tree of Life) and half to the Divine (or Ain-Soph), like a crown sits on top of the head, but is not quite part of the head itself. Kether connects the Divine and the human. Or, man lives in the universe but does not belong to the universe, but to the divine. Kether is man's connection to the divine. That is why Kether is partly hidden, because of its connection to the Nothingness, and partly manifest because of its connection to the manifested universe.
Kether is the source of light rising up from the darkness. It is a monad of pure energy in which all opposites are unified. In Kether is the blueprint of the entire universe.
Kether is also called Mashabah, which is consciousness, as Kether is pure consciousness. In Kether resides the divine essence of a person, indestructible.
Kether is also called the Crown because of its ability to receive and integrate the divine energy.
For me, Kether means the very essence of my being, that divine monad that always has been and always will be. It is immortal, as it is part of the Divine, separated only in my present awareness. Being in Kether I truly can say, "I am the Divine". Kether also represents my birth in this world and all the qualities I have been born with.
Chochmah is the second Sephiroth. Chochmah means 'wisdom'. It is the Word, the Logos. It is the Son in relation to Kether as its Father. Remember Chochmah is on top of the right, positive, male pillar, and thus Chochmah is considered to embody the primal male energies. It is the active, male principle, the vital, energizing element of existence. In Chochmah is the will to create.
Chochmah is associated in the soul with the power of intuitive insight, flashing lightning-like across consciousness.
In man Chochmah corresponds to the right brain hemisphere. It rules imagination and conceptual faculties. Chochmah also relates to the sense of sight.
Chochmach is the power of selflessness that allows us to 'taste' divinity.
For me, Chochmah is the driving force in this life, the energy that keeps me alive and allows me to do the things I want to do. It is my will to live and to fulfill my purpose in life. It also represents the primal male energies in me that were established in my early years by the contact with my father.
Binah (=Understanding) is the third Sephirah and sits on top of the left, negative, female pillar. It embodies the primal female energies. Binah and Chochmah form a harmonious relationship. She is the female that harbors the seed and brings forth the fruit. She is the Mother, the Great Sea, the primal substance filling the entire universe and the fundament of the universe.
Binah is stability, it organizes, regulates and gives form to the energies of Chochmah. Binah calms the stimulating energies of Chochmah. While Chochmah is the seed, Binah nurtures the seed.
Binah comprises the entire intellectual power of human consciousness. In the human thoughts, the intuitive formations of Chochmah come to fruition in Binah and become understandable and classifiable. Binah is associated in the soul with the power of conceptual analysis and reasoning, both inductive and deductive. The "understanding" of Binah also implies the ability to examine the degree of truth or falsehood inherent in a particular idea.
For me, Binah is what shapes my life, giving form to the different processes I have to go through: education, relationships, environment, everything that has shaped and is still shaping my character. Binah also contains the primal female energies that were established in my early years by the contact with my mother.
Chesed (=Mercy) is the first Sephirah created underneath the Abyss. Chesed is unlimited benevolence. Chesed arises by the outpouring of of the energy of the supernal triad across the Abyss in the world of causality. It contains a productive and vivifying energy.
Chesed is the first of the seven lower Sephiroth that give form to the universe, and in this sense it is related to such concepts as laws, justice, generosity, protection, maintainer, aspects we associate with a king-ruler. Chesed is unlimited benevolence. Chesed is associated in the soul with the desire to embrace all of Creation and bestow upon it goodness.
Chesed contains the oral esoteric teachings, the secret teachings, the hidden knowledge.
For me, Chesed is my inner king-ruler, how I rule my life, how I manage my life. Am I helpful to those who need help? Am I just in my actions? Do I bring prosperity in my life and my environment? Do I give freely, or do I hold back too much?
Geburah is the fifth Sephirah. It stands for power, strength and courage. As we saw in Chesed an outpouring of energy, in Geburah this energy is being controlled, contracted, limited. As a pair, their qualities provide an equilibrium between expansion and contraction. The contracting quality of Geburah allows for usefulness, activity, progress. It also decomposes that which is useless.
Geburah is the king-warrior, who is well aware of the boundaries of his territory and will fiercely defend it. Discipline, severity, restriction are his nature. It is the restraining might of Geburah, which allows one to overcome his enemies, be they from without or from within (his evil inclination).
Geburah contains the written teachings.
For me, Geburah is the inner king-warrior. In life, I have to set up boundaries. I have to keep out unwanted energies and people. But the gates are open for people I welcome. Boundaries have also to with behavior. I do not want people to take advantage of me, and I have to be aware what the boundaries of other people are. Sometimes I have to be more assertive, or even aggressive, and go out and fight. Sometimes I have to defend my (psychological) territory.
The sixth Sephirah, Tiphereth (=Beauty) is the center of the Tree of Life. It corresponds to heart of the human body, where the sense of ego lies. Being in the center of the Tree of Life nothing happens without its mediation. It coordinates and gives harmony and equilibrium to the inflowing forces. It reconciles and gives compassion.
Tiphereth is also associated with sacrifice, since as we climb up the Tree of Life we have to sacrifice the ego at this place, before we can go any higher.
Tiphereth is also about sincerity and the meaning of individuality.
For me, Tiphereth is my sense of ego. The ego that has been nurtured by society, by family members, friends. They usually call it "character". The ego is built during the first twenty years of one's life, when there is no resistance against outside influences. Once adult, I started to analyze my ego and I got rid of some negative character traits ,a difficult and long process that I am still working on.
The seventh Sephirah is Nezach, Victory or triumph, victory without regret. Nezach is the place of the emotions, the feelings, the powers that stimulate creativity. Nezach contains what people usually understand by love, satisfaction, and art in all its forms.
As the divine energies flow down the Tree of Life, Nezach makes them practical for man. It allows man to crystallize his intentions and sweep away parasitical energies.
For me, Nezach is my emotions, whether they are blocked, misdirected or free flowing; if my emotions are spontaneous or if they are learned habits because as a child I was programmed to react in a particular way. I try to cultivate higher emotions like enjoying music, and be aware of and restrict lower emotions, such as anger, when they are not constructive.
The eight Sephirah is Hod, Glory. Being the opposite of Nezach, Hod controls the practical, emotional energies of Nezach by its mental powers. Hod is associated with the intellect and thoughts. Intellect and emotions need to balance each other. Expressing emotions without thinking is equivalent to uncontrolled rage. Thinking without emotions leads to becoming rigid.
Hod gives stability, fixation and practical knowledge to the free flowing energies of Nezach. Hod by itself is very speculative and theoretical.
Hod is associated in the soul with the power to continually advance, with the determination and perseverance born of deep inner commitment, toward the realization of one's life goals. The acknowledgment of a supreme purpose in life, and the total submission of self which it inspires, serves to endow the source of one's inspiration with an aura of splendor and majesty.
For me, Hod is my thinking process, and my thinking structure. I try to be aware of my opinions; are they shaped by what I read or hear in the news, are they based on other people's opinions? Does what I think really come from me, myself, or is it just a program put into my mind by others?
The ninth Sephirah is Yesod, the Foundation. It is the foundation of the created world on which the other Sephirth rest. Yesod is usually seen as the lower astral world, the ether of electromagnetic substance well known in spiritualism and psychic phenomena. It is a subtle energy that vivifies, coordinates, integrates and stimulates the physical bodies. It is related to sexual energies and the sexual organs in the human body.
Yesod has the qualities of imagination, illusions, and dreams, all of which are necessary to make things happen in the world when properly understood. It gives us the power to connect, communicate and contact with outer reality (which is the next Sephirah, Malkuth)
All higher energies of the first eight Sephiroth have to pass through Yesod when expressing themselves in the physical world (=the tenth Sephirah). Yesod guides, forms and structures those higher energies and shapes them into their final patterns when expressed in the physical world. In this sense Yesod is also the foundation of the physical world, as the physical world is just the physical expression, or formation of what has already been structured and formed in Yesod.
Yesod is linked to the stream of blessings, or energies, that are flowing from the upper world to the physical world, for this Yesod is also called El Hai, the Living God, or El Shaddai, God the Provider.
For me, Yesod represents my dreams. The dreams I never realized because my expectations were not based on reality, but also the dreams I did realize. Yesod is the fertile ground of imagination that helps me to come up with new ideas and to try out new things.
The final and Tenth Sephiroth is Malkuth, the Kingdom. As last of the Sephiroth it is the synthesis of all other Sephiroth. Malkuth is the physical and total expression of the divine. It is the physical world as we daily experience it, the physical body, but also all crystallized energies that make this physical life possible. Malkuth gives us the power of self-expression.
Malkuth is also called The Queen, the Daughter, Bride, or Gate. As Gate it is the gate through which one enters the Tree of Life. As Queen, Daughter or Bride she is the Shekinah, the female aspect of the divinity, in relation to Kether, the first Sephirah, who is the King, Father or Groom. It also shows that when ascending the Tree, one needs to join Bride and Groom, that is joining our ordinary consciousness with the divine consciousness.
In Malkuth the Shekinah, or Divine presence, lies dormant. For Shekinah to rise up successfully, all six Sephiroth of what is called Zeïr Anpin (the Small Face) have to be purified, otherwise Shekinah will retreat back to Malkuth.
For me, Malkuth is the way I express myself on the physical plane. It is what I actually have realized, and what I am still working on. I can see the result in the environment I have created.
The kabbalists see the Ehieh-Shekinah as the undifferentiated primal cosmic force, a unity of opposites that is the cosmic consciousness of the divine, or Ain Soph.
Although a unity, we human beings see it as two opposites. Ehieh-Shekinah is both inside ourselves and out there in the world.
Ehieh is cosmic consciousness, and we regard it as the positive, male principle, static and transcendent.
Shekinah is cosmic energy, and we regard it as the negative, female principle, kinetic and present in every day life.
Shekinah can be in two states: active and passive. In her active state she is the creative movement that brought forth the cosmos. She is the driving force of all the manifestations in the universe. When coming down from the Ain Soph she created all the Sephiroth and rests in the last Sephira, Malkuth. This is her passive state. This means that Shekinah is passive on the physical level and lower levels of consciousness. Shekinah is also in rest in the physical body. But Shekinah can be awakened and made active. Then she will guide us up the Tree of life, to be united again with her partner or groom Ehieh.
All this is very similar to Kundalini in the yoga and Tantra system.
Adam Kadmon is Primal Man, the Heavenly Adam, the Original Man. In the strictest sense he is the emanation of the Divine in Atziluth (the World of Emanation, see below), but he also radiates in the other three Worlds. It is man as he originally was, and actually still is although he does not realize it anymore, because his consciousness has split. Part of him is still close to the Divine, while the other part is here on earth. That is why it is said that he has two faces.
Arick Anpin, the Long Face or Long Countenance. It is composed of the three Supernals: Kether, Chochmah and Binah. It is the part of ourselves that experiences infinity, it is our immortal being. It is also called the superconscious power of will in man.
Zeïr Anpin is the Small Face, or Small Countenance. It is composed of the Sephiroth Yesod, Hod, Nezach, Tiphereth, Geburah and Chesed, and sometimes Daath, the hidden Sephiroth is included as well. Zeïr Anpin is seen as the emotive faculties of the soul. They form the personality of a person, those temporal qualities or psychological characteristics that make a unique person. They are temporal because they are the faculties we got at birth, we will shed them at death. Zeïr Anpin is finite as it belongs to the lesser worlds. It only has finite states of being. Zeïr Anpin is our mortal being.
The Abyss and the Veil are two 'obstacles' to overcome when ascending the Tree of Life. There is not that much information available and their position on the Tree varies with the writer. I find their position as shown here the most logical as both obstacles form a separation between the three triads.
Kether, Chochmah and Binah form a trinity, the supernal triad, which resides above the Abyss. This Abyss cannot be traversed by man as long as he is bound by his world of intellect and everyday experiences. Only by riding the mercabah (=the wagon, vehicle) of mystical experience, with the resulting destruction of the sense of ego, will he be able to traverse the Abyss and contact the supernal triad.
Under the second triad, formed by Chesed, Geburah and Tiphereth, is another barrier, called the Veil. The Veil shields our ordinary consciousness (below the Veil where the next four Sephirah are) from the deeper contents of our soul, above the Veil). The Veil is the same as the veil in the temple, the curtain that shields the mysteries from the profane. Only the initiated can pass the veil. It is also the veil or curtain behind the High Priestess in the Tarot.
There is a lot of dispute about the Sephirah Daath which would be the Sephirah following Binah and situated on the middle pillar, and 'above' the Abyss. Some say it is not a Sephirah at all.
Daath means Knowledge, in the first place knowledge of the Divine and the divine expression in the universe. Daath is also the total of knowledge gained by an individual throughout his life or lifetimes, and especially the knowledge about what (his) life is all about.
Daath is also the key to the manifestation of all things. It is a Sephirah of becoming, as after Daath Creation will take place.
It is said that Daath is the child of Binah and Chohmah, the Mother and the Father, not situated on the Tree of Life, but above. That is, Kether, Chochmah and Binah form the (flat) basis of a triangular pyramid (actually a tetrahedron) and Daath is at the top of this pyramid, above the flat plane of the Tree. Why the ancients saw it this way, we don't know. Maybe they wanted to express a particular insight. I think one can easily fit Daath in the regular Tree of Life as the fourth Sephirah.
Ascending the Tree of Life on the middle pillar, passing Tiphereth, we leave the ego behind and cross the Abyss. Daath is seen as entering the mysterious blackness. This void or emptiness receives of and ultimately leads to the Brilliance of the White Light of Kether. The void or emptiness should not be seen as a negative, awful place, but as the underlying nature of all things and beings as explained by Buddhism and especially by Dzogchen. Only by passing through the Abyss can we realize out innermost spiritual nature.
In the human body Daath is situated between the two brain hemispheres, and thus sometimes said to be between the eyes.
The Kabbalah knows four Worlds. Although they exist simultaneously, one flows forth from the other. The Tree of Life exists in each of the four Worlds, and at the same time it has four divisions structurally corresponding to each of the four Worlds. First, let us have a look at what those four Worlds are.
Atziluth is the World of Emanation. It is the first world that emanated from the Divine. Emanation means that it flowed forth from the Divine. It is not the same as creation. Creation implies an act of creating, that will take place in the next World.
Atziluth is the World of Primal Concepts, Emanations, Radiations. It contains the unlimited divine energy in the form of primal archetypes. Here the Divine is present and is active. Here is the divine essence of all things and beings, the primal will, and pure consciousness. It is the eternal unchanging world. It is the world of unity.
In this world the will to create is born. Here are the seeds, the essence, of all the worlds to follow.
In man Atziluth brings forth thoughts and concepts, and the will.
Atziluth corresponds to the element of Fire, the element that transforms everything into its essence.
Ehieh and Shekinah, the two poles of our consciousness unite in Atziluth.
Briah is the World of Creation. The ideas, the concepts that arise in Atziluth now are being clothed with subtle substance. This is the act of creation. In Atziluth the Divine itself is present and 'acts'. In Briah the Divine works through the archangels who condense the archetypes and prepare them for further creation work by lower order beings.
Leaving the divine world of Atziluth, in Briah duality arises, space-time, male-female and so on.
In man Briah corresponds to the Spirit.
In Atziluth we had non-being, in Briah we get the sense of being.
The condensation of energy in Briah makes this world correspond to the element of Air.
Yetzirah is the World of Form. It is the world of procreation and movement, of development. Here the Divine works through the Angels. The Angels give form to the energies of Briah. They each specialize in one particular aspect of the creation work.
In man Yetzirah corresponds to the Heart.
Further condensation of the energies makes Yetzirah correspond to the element of Water.
Assiah is the World of Action. It is the world of happenings, appearances, phenomena, the world of becoming. It is our physical world, crystallized to a state of solidity, making Assiah correspond the element of Earth. With the term 'physical world' we also understand the spiritual energies pertaining to the laws of nature.
In Assiah one expresses oneself as an individual being with a self consciousness.
In the human body Assiah corresponds to the physical body.
The four Worlds also correspond to the four letters of the word YHWH (Yahweh): Yod for Atziluth, Heh for Briah, Waw for Yetzirah and Heh for Assiah. Here are some more correspondences:
The Four Worlds relate to the Tree of Life in different ways. They are all equally valid and the different system are just different ways to look at the same thing, like a diamond that shows different colors under different angles of view.
One way to look at it is by saying that the Tree of Life exists in each World, thus we have four Trees, an Atziluth tree, a Briah tree... Thus we have, for example, a Tipheret Sephirah in each of the four worlds, each having different qualities according to the World it is in.
Another way is that the ends of the Tree of life overlap when crossing a World. Malkuth of Atziluth becomes Kether of Briah; Malkuth of Briah becomes Kether of Yetzirah; and Malkuth of Yetzirah becomes Kether of Assiah.
Then one can look at a single Tree of Life and see the four Worlds correspond to different levels of the Tree.
When we accept Daath as part of the Tree of Life, then Daath is part of the World of Atziluth, as Daath is situated above the Abyss, some say across the Abyss. Daath is not part of the creation process that takes place on Briah.
Kether is a connection point to the divine, and is usually not counted as a Sephirah when Daath is included. As the Crown, Kether sits both upon man's head and the Tree of Life but is not actually part of either.
The triads are always regarded as important structures in the Tree of Life. On each level they represent the polar opposites of energies on that level plus the resulting equilibrium. Leaving Kether out as part of any triad we find Atzliuth, Briah and Yetzirah are complete, but then the problem with the traditional tree is that in the potential triad of Assiah, Malkuth stands alone, with the corresponding pair of opposites not shown.
It could be this way: the boundary lines between the four Worlds run through or are placed at Daath, Tiphereth and Yesod, with these three Sephiroth functioning as transformation stations between the Worlds. It is said that Daath is astride the Abyss. In Tiphereth the transformation from the ego to selflessness happens. Tiphereth is also where the old king dies (Osiris, or Christ on the cross) to be reborn in Geburah (as Horus, or the resurrected Christ). Yesod is where the transformation happens of an animalistic consciousness to a human consciousness.
Gouph is the physical and densest body, created to be able to work and evolve on the physical plane.
Nephesh is the "animal soul" that vivifies Gouph, the physical body. Nephesh can be seen as what is known as the etheric body. Nephesh collects the energies of sun and moon, and transforms them into different kinds of useable energies for the physical body. So, Nephesh is actually a body composed out of energy flows. Nephesh is the carrier of all passions, instincts and lusts. On this level man is only conscious of his own needs.
Ruah is called "the human soul", the spirit, the intellect. It is the breath of life which drives the emotions. It corresponds with the astral body. Ruah provides for the warmth of life, the desire for a sensual existence. It also wants to be an ego, but the ego is a construct.
People with low developed consciousness have a very dense ruah body and will have lower astral or lower emotional tendencies. Man must stop to identify himself with his personality, or ego, and liberate himself from the lower emotional, and also animal, passions. By purifying himself, man will discover that ruah also has moral virtues, and knowledge to distinguish between good and bad.
Neshamah is the seat of the higher thoughts, corresponding to to the mental body. The mental body is usually divided into two: the lower mental body which is concrete thinking and the higher mental body which is abstract thinking, sometimes also called causal body. (In the causal body resides all the causes of what happens to all the lower bodies.)
Hayyah is the pure existence of the individuality. It is not really a body but a state of being. It is the state of consciousness where one has a notion of being an essential being with a sense of "I". Here one experiences or is aware of the Divine continuously creating the World.
Yechidah, "the Only One", is being One in the one. There is no sense of an "I". It comprises the unlimited, transcendental idea of the Absolute.
From an old manuscript of Paulus Richius.
This diagram contains ten circles representing the Sephiroth (singular: Sephirah); that is, the "spheres," "numbers," or "emanations". The Sephiroth are the numbers 1 through 10 considered in their archetypal sense. Each Sephirah is an archetypal idea. Also, the Sephiroth represent emanations from God and describe the process of creation. In the material world, they represent the heavenly spheres according to the classical conception.
I always wondered why the Kabalistic Tree of Life has the shape it has. It has an unusual shape; how did the Cabalists decide to use such a shape? One day I discovered that it is drawn in interlocking circles.
Why interlocking circles? Well, they are the product of a mathematical genesis. Let me explain.
First there is the Nothing. The Ain, or Ain-Soph, the great limitless Nothingness of which nothing can be said.
Then a point arises out of the Ain-Soph. God brings forth the immensity of eternal extension. With our limited human understanding we call this "non-existence". God withdraws himself from himself and creates an emptiness and a place for the Ain-Soph.
The next thing is a circle. It encompasses the entire created emptiness. It is like the extension off the point. From this duality arises. There the point and the circle, the male and the female, the positive and the negative.
Somewhere on the circle we determine a point, that will serve as the center of a new circle. With duality in existence we now can create a duplicate circle. The circle mirrors itself:
This simple act brings forth a lot of interesting things.
The overlapping area is a "Vesica Pisces", a symbol used in early Christian days for Christ. The almost oval shape is also a universal symbol for the yoni, the female sexual organ used by many cultures for the Great Mother. It is well known in Eastern religions, but Mother Mary in the Catholic Church was also frequently depicted with the same symbol behind or around her.
From one point, the center of the first circle, arises four points: the two centers of the two circles plus the two intersection points of the two circles. All four points can be connected to each other and produces the following result:
From unity we went to duality to quaternity. The Four Elements are a quaternity as it is said that they are interrelated, they cannot exist without one another. They come forth out of unity and they dissolve into unity. The Four Elements are the foundation out of which the entire universe is built.
The resulting diamond shape brings forth some interesting things:
The diamond shape is related to the number four and quaternity, but it brings forth the triangle within, and thus trinity, and the cross which produces a fifth point. So we have the numbers 3, 4 and 5, and this is the mathematical expression of the right triangle having 30°, 60° and 90° angles, of which the legs are 3 and 4, and the hypotenuse 5. It is the only triangle of which the hypotenuse will be a whole number when the legs are whole numbers too.
When we call the radius of the circle r, then the following mathematical expressions appear:
Besides the point and the circle, the third geometric structure is the line. And there are three lines of different length.
The radius of the circle is r (the vertical axis of the diamond).
The distance of the center point of the 'ellipse' or diamond to the circle is r/2.
The distance of the same center point to the point where the the two circles cross is (r/2)X√3 (radius divided by two and multiplied by the square root of 3). √3 is the first square root to appear.
When measuring the simple distance of the above we obtain (r/2)X√3, or the total length of the long axis of the diamond is rX√3. But when we calculate the relation of the long axis of the diamond to the short axis of the diamond (the cross), we obtain the pure square root of three: rX√3/r = √3.
When we duplicate the circle three more times, we obtain the thirteen points on the circles of which actually ten are attributed to the Sephiroth (sometimes one more for Daath, the 'hidden' Sephiroth). One wonders why they left out the two lower ones.
Then I asked myself why was the structure drawn in three complete circles with two half circles (top and bottom). It seemed to be part of something else. Let's leave the mathematical expressions behind and return to the two circles:
Remember we have four points, two serve as the centers of the two circles, and two on the cross sections of the two circles. Those two cross points seem the be the only likely places that would serve as centers for two more circles:
But this doesn't look quite symmetrical, and the universe likes symmetry, thus it produces two more circles:
Sometimes also depicted as follows when you fill in the remaining 'petals':
Are there more hidden Sephiroth? we will go into this in the following chapters.
When I am studying esoteric systems, I always ask why things are the way they presented. I question even established doctrines. When you take everything for granted, you often miss the point. The following flowed forth naturally when I studied the Tree of Life, because not only are there differences between kabbalists on certain issues, but also certain explanations don't seem to make sense, at least to me. I think the traditional Tree of Life is incomplete because there are Sephiroth and paths missing, which when added makes all the other things come into place.
In the following I will explain why I feel the need for a corrected Tree of Life and why I think this is a better representation of the whole system, without invalidating the traditional Tree of Life.
It is all about symmetry and geometry.
First a little word about the paths:
The traditional paths are not that logical to me. Why are Binah and Chohmah connected with Tiphereth, and Hod and Nezach with Malkuth, but Chesed and Geburah are not connected with Yesod?
Also, and more important, one Sephiroth flows forth from another in a well defined order when going down the Tree. First we have Kether, then Chochmah, then Binah, then Chesed and so on. Although Chesed flows forth from Binah the Tree of Life (as shown by the kabbalists) never shows a path between those two Sephirah. Because Chesed flows forth from Binah there must be a path. Even when Daath is taken into consideration there must be a path between Binah and Daath and between Daath and Chesed.
Let's start with what is to me the prime question: the missing Sephiroth.
First and for all, Daath should be included in the Tree of Life. The cabbalists always stress that the Sephiroth work in pairs (one each on the + and - pillar) producing a third one on the middle pillar that represents the equilibrium of its two 'parent' Sephiroth. When Daath is mentioned it is the 'child' of Chochmah and Binah.
Tiphereth is the result of Chesed and Geburah, Yesod is the result of Hod and Netzah.
But what is Malkuth the child of? In the traditional Tree of Life, it kind of dangles at the end of the Tree, not being the result of polar opposites. If there is a place in the universe where polar opposites play a prominent role, it is the physical world. Malkuth, like Yesod, Tiphereth and Daath must be the result of two 'parent' Sephiroth, and there is indeed a place for them.
In Nature we find symmetry everywhere. Symmetry creates balance and harmony. The original person who came up with the Tree of Life might not have seen the entire picture. In my opinion the traditional Tree of Life does not feel harmonious, complete nor coherent. As we will progress further into our study we will see that the underlying structure is completely symmetrical. So for now we draw the Tree of Life as a symmetrical structure.
In regards to the triads. Traditionally a triad is explained as the balancing of two Sephiroth into a lower third one. Thus a triad is a downward pointing triangle. I think that one can equally say that the balancing goes both upward and downwards. Basically the middle pillar is balanced by the left and right pillar. By extension, the entire tree (in its complete symmetrical form) balances itself in all directions, because everything is symmetrical.
It is one thing to change the traditional Tree of Life, but how does this impact the other kabbalistic doctrines related to the Tree? With the traditional Tree of Life different kabbalists place certain subjects on the Tree in different ways, without any explanation as to why they do so. For example, the Veil is sometimes placed under Yesod, sometimes above; or the four Worlds are divided differently over the Tree. With the new Tree of Life I will explain why this system allows for a more coherent and meaningful assignment of these issues to the Tree.
First, we have to keep in mind that although Kether is depicted as a Sephirah like all the others, it is actually a direct emanation from the Divine, a Crown that sits upon the Tree of life, as a crown sits on the head of a man, sometimes it is considered a point of light.
When numbering the Sephiroth, Daath gets included, as well as two new Sephiroth above Malkuth. In my opinion, the two new Sephiroth are energy centers that could equal Instincts and Desire, as they are above the physical body but below the realm of Yesod, that among other things is associated with sexual energies.
We still have the same three pillars, positive, negative and neutral, each containing four Sephiroth.
In the process of emanation and creation, there is the same flow of energy going down the Tree. Every time when the Shekinah rests, a Sephirah is created. When the Shekinah rises, or when one's consciousness is expanding and rising up the Tree, the reverse path is taken. The flow of energy is all regular, no big leap from Binah to Chockmah, or a sudden vertical fall from Yesod to Malkuth.
This is a much more regular, symmetrical, balanced flow of energy than in the traditional Tree of Life.
With the New tree of Life, the four Worlds each contain a triad of Sephiroth. Each triad is formed of two opposite Sephiroth with a resulting equilibrium, a third Sephirah on the middle pillar. We have four Sephirah on each of the tree pillars. The Sephiroth on the middle pillar also acts as a transformation station between two worlds, except for Malkuth where the creation process stops. (Later we will see that the Sephiroth on the middle pillar are places for transformation of consciousness.) This is similar to the philosophy of the chakras. Chakras are also transformation stations where energy is transformed from one level into another.
With this new Tree of Life we have a real dynamic flow of divine energy throughout the Tree. We have already shown that each world is equally divided over the Tree, and each world has a triad. I have shown these triads in their traditional form, that is a pair of opposites create a third one, thus we have triangle that points downwards.
With the New Tree of Life we get a more complete picture. Not only do we have four downward pointing triads, but we also have four upward pointing triads. Each world has two triads that interconnect, actually all the triads are interconnected. That is the dynamic movement up and down the Tree, covering all the Sephiroth and linking all the worlds together. It starts with Kether, the divine light source that produces the first two Sephiroth. Binah and Chockmah create their balance in Daath. That is a traditional triad. But Daath creates Chesed and Geburah, which also is a triad. And the process repeats itself. Not only do we have a dynamic play of forces between the two opposite pillars, between the negative and positive poles of duality; but we also have a dynamic play of forces between the interlocking triangles, creating the four worlds, by repeating the process each time on a lower level/world. It is like a lower world is a reflection of the world above. For the New Tree of Life this is valid for the entire Tree, for all the worlds, for all the Sephiroth, and all the triads.
The Sephiroth on the middle pillar, Yesod, Tiphereth and Daath are the connection points between the triangles as they are each part of two triangles. They are the transfer stations we talked about, the places where one world touches the other, where the energy of one world flows into and is transformed in another. These three Sephirah hold the three worlds together.
Path of the Middle
When we go down the Tree (on the middle pillar of consciousness), on the path of emanation and creation, we first have Kether, where the divine monad is (what we all are in essence) in unity with the Divine. Then we have Daath where the monad gets knowledge of itself as a separate unity. It is aware of the unity of opposites in the world of Atziluth, including the consciousness of being the opposites of 'me and the Divine'.
But this divine essence, which has a sense of "I", looks downwards and wants to create. Not only is the next world, Briah created, but it creates itself the sense of an ego, of being an individual, reflected in Tiphereth. Now it sees itself as the center of the universe, and of the Tree of Life.
Again it wants to express itself even more, and creates the world of Yetzirah, and an animal self in order to experience form and procreation. This happens in Yesod.
Finally it builds itself a physical body in the physical world, the ultimate downwards transformation of itself in its most crystallized form. In Malkuth is the transformation of becoming. It is the transformation of coming down here in the physical world by birth, growing up, learning, developing consciousness. In Malkuth one becomes more than just a body.
Then it is time to go up the Tree, the mystical path of transformation. The first transformation happens in Yesod. It is a basic requirement in all initiatory rites, the first thing to happen is the transformation of the animal self, not by suppression, but becoming aware of the 'lower' emotions of passions, desires and sexuality. Then one should learn not to be dominated by these emotions, but to dominate them, to rise above them, to use them when necessary, and to transform the rest of their energies into higher energies. Otherwise one will be bound by animal energies and get nowhere. It is not for nothing that we call people who act primarily from their lower energies 'animals'. But we should not forget that we all have those animal energies in ourselves. And that it is what makes us survive in the physical world.
Having 'killed' the 'beast' or 'dragon' in ourselves we can truly be called human. Here we are in Tiphereth, and act with higher emotional energies. The emotions and feelings are more refined. In Tiphereth is the sense of ego, and this is the next transformation that needs to happen. The ego is a construct and tries to maintain its existence by reinforcing "I-Me-Mine". The ego is a necessary value to express ourselves but it keeps us separated from others. It is when we open up to other people, to other living beings on the planet, to nature, to the energies around us, to the entire universe, that a profound transformation happens. The sense of ego diminishes and one finds oneself as a part of a complex world of beings, like and unlike oneself. Here a person starts to feel that he is one with the universe. Sacrifice of the ego is traditionally symbolized by the crucifixion, which is one of the symbols of Tiphereth.
The next transformation happens in Daath when one enters the world of Atziluth. In Daath one not only gains knowledge of his divine self, but one becomes his divine essence. Actually he always has been, but now he has become aware of it again. In Daath he transcends the strong sense of duality that still pervaded his being in the world of Briah, and now he knows the duality is only a perception. Now he sees duality in unity. In Daath he enters into unity. Although there is still a sense of duality between "I" and the Divine, he is in unity with the divine energies and everything that exists. This is a profound transformation called in yoga terms the transformation into the diamond body, it is the realization of the "true essence" of man.
The last transformation happens in Kether where one enters the Divine, not to return anymore.
Also note that coming down the Tree of Life, be it via the middle pillar, or via the way of the Shekinah (through the successive Sephiroth), it is a process of continuing contraction. Ascending the Tree is a process of continuing expansion.
A word here on the Veil and the Abyss. Information is not available about them. There is not really a veil or an abyss, they are symbols for a transformation, a leap in consciousness, or a leap into another world. There should also be a third boundary that I have called the Wall. I will explain here why there is a third one, why they are all situated on the boundaries between the four Worlds.
Different kabbalists place the Veil on different places, sometimes underneath Tiphereth, sometimes just above or below Yesod. They don't seem to know just where to put it. What actually is the meaning of those two terms? They are boundaries. A veil or curtain is often used in initiations. Once one has passed the veil or curtain one has stepped into another, hidden world. Like the Veil behind the High priestess in the Tarot. The Abyss has the same meaning. Crossing the Abyss means that one has stepped into another realm. A veil or curtain is made out of cloth, and cloth is the most natural, man-made thing used to cover things up. The genitals (Yesod) is the first area of the body that is covered up with a piece of cloth.
It is my opinion that the Veil on the Tree of Life is situated at the boundary of the world of Assiah and the world of Yetzirah. That is in complete accordance with the traditional meaning of initiating a novice. One leaves the mundane world aside and steps for the first time into the inner realms of the human psyche which lie just beyond the physical. It is called the Veil because a veil covers up something. Lifting a veil or a curtain is like stepping in another room.
The Abyss traditionally is situated underneath Chochmah and Binah, and it is said that Daath lies across it. This corresponds with the boundary of the world of Briah and the world of Atziluth. This boundary is called the Abyss because the transformation that happens here when ascending the Tree is like stepping into an abyss, into a void, into an emptiness of the mind. The exact same terms are used in Buddhism to describe the experience of discovering the divine and true essence of man. This is a real experience, not an abstract concept.
There should be a third boundary between the world of Briah and the world of Yetzirah, which runs through Tiphereth.
I call it the Wall, because here the transformation of the ego happens. Building an ego is like building a stone tower. Living in this self-enclosed tower, it is a wall that separates one from the outer world, that is of feeling one with the rest of creation. It is in our language when we speak of somebody who has built a wall around himself, of breaking down walls between people. The Berlin wall was built to divide people, it was broken down to unite people. Becoming selfless, or sacrificing the ego when ascending the Tree is like breaking down a hard wall, as the ego is tough to dissolve.
In the traditional kabbala, the 22 letters are attributed to the 22 paths. It seems so logical, 22 letters and 22 paths, that can't be a coincidence, is it?
I think that that the Hebrew alphabet cannot be attributed to Tree of Life as it is usually done. I have already mentioned that the paths on the traditional Tree of Life are not consistent. Bring Daath in the Tree and the number of paths already changes. Moreover the Tree of Life did not always have 22 paths. An example of this you can see below.
Tree of Life, by Paulus Richius
The Hebrew Alphabet has its own system, meaning, explanation, but does not have a relationship with the paths.
However there are a couple of letters that are traditionally used to express certain qualities about the Tree and with this I agree.
Before we start with the Hebrew alphabet, I want to say here that as written language arose, people wrote down what they intuitively felt the sound looked like. Those with psychic vision could see the form of sounds and wrote them down too. That is why there are a lot of similarities between the form of letters of different languages. When I met the Hungarian shaman Joska Soos he explained to me that he could see the form of sound and of letters and words in the spiritual worlds. Some of his paintings contain these sound forms.
I am giving a short explanation about the Hebrew letters, their meaning and value, primarily in relation to the Tree of Life. The numerical system of the Hebrew Alphabet and Gematria is much more complex. If you want to know more about it, I refer you the many websites of skilled kabbalists. There are also signs that the Hebrew alphabet has undergone changes over the many centuries and does not reflect the original alphabet.
So, what is this system of the Hebrew alphabet? The Hebrew alphabet contains twenty-two letters or Authioth. It is said that the Hebrew language came directly from God. It contains secrets that were preserved by the initiated. They contain the precise plan of the principles of creation. Each letter (or auth) is a crystallization of one of the aspects of manifestation of the divine word. Each letter corresponds to a number which places it in a numerical hierarchy, a hieroglyph as a visual representation in form, and a symbol that makes it connect to other letters.
Each letter is thus connected to the creative forces in the universe. They express themselves on three levels: one level is archetypal and runs from the first to the ninth letter; the second level is one of manifestation and runs from the tenth to the eighteenth letter, and the third is a cosmic level and runs from the nineteenth to the twenty-second letter.
The primal vibration of the universe is symbolized by the letter Yod. Yod is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and symbolizes the point in movement and turning around itself. From the movement of Yod the other letters came forth in a structured order.
The Letter Yod is used both as a point of origin and as an alphabetical letter. Yod, the smallest letter, functions as a symbol for the point of origin in the triad Yod, Mem and Shin. However, Yod also appears as a simple letter and is one of the 12 simple letters. This is passed on to us by tradition. How to interpret it? Yod as the point of origin is more like a primal vibration than a clear spoken letter in human language. It is a vibration that can be heard (like the Om of the Buddhists), a primal vibration ever present. As a simple letter Yod is part of the Hebrew alphabet, and thus like the other Hebrew letters it is a manifestation of an archetype, which also can be spoken. Yod as a simple letter is a reflection of the original Yod. The way I see it, the Yod of the point of origin is unmanifest, while Yod, as a simple letter, is created in the manifested world. The point of origin Yod is the center of everything that came forth, and it is the center of cosmic existence. The simple letter Yod is the center of individual existence which provokes an eternal becoming of the individuality.
First there are three mother letters, or Immoth: Aleph, Mem and Shin. They form the prime trinity that came from the Divine. They represent the three dimensions of space. They act as a prism which transforms the divine light into seven more letters which are the double letters or Kaphouloth: Beth, Gimmel, Daleth, Kaph, Phe, Resh and Tau. They are called double letters because they have two ways of pronunciation.
Traditionally, the three mother letters are associated with the first three Sephiroth, but they are also representative of the three pillars of the Tree of Life. The seven double letters are associated with the next seven Sephiroth.
As the seven double letters place themselves on different levels of manifestation, they symbolize the formation of space. They represent the seven extremities of the world, the seven planets, the seven days of creation, the seven days of the week, and so on.
As the seven double letters form a octahedron structure, the twelve vertices are equal to the twelve simple letters, see next.
The fabric of space in which the seven double letters evolve, is divided into twelve parts, which are the twelve remaining letters, called Phashoutoth: He, Waw, Zain, Cheth, Teth, Yod, Lamed, Noun, Sameck, Ain, Tzade and Qoph. These twelve letters symbolize the twelve directions in space, the twelve signs of the zodiac, the twelve months of the year.
The numerical value of the letters is interesting when one understands the meaning of numbers. For example, Aleph the first letter stands for unity, for origin, for power, stability. Its shape reflects this. The shape of the letter Aleph is made of two Yods divided by a slash what actually is the fifth letter Vau . As we mentioned in the above, Yod is the primal vibration, the point of light out of which everything came. Emanation arose when the Divine Light, as Yod, reflected upon itself, that is, mirrored itself into the lower world, hence the two Yods divided by a slash.
In Gematria, the system of where every word is analyzed numerologically according to the numeric value of each letter, the numerical value of Aleph is 1 + 30 + 80 = 111. We can interpret the number 111 is different ways.
There are three one's reflecting the Trinity.
111 = 1 + 10 + 100: In Gematria, the unities in numbers relate to the divine world, the tens relates to the spiritual world, and the hundreds relate to the physical world. Thus 111 contains unity in each of the three worlds.
The symbolic value is more problematic, as the symbol for a letter can often be stretched or interpreted in the way you want. The symbol for the letter Aleph is the Ox. This is usually interpreted as patience, the steady but difficult progress when ascending the Tree of Life.
Moreover, some of the letters have symbols of which the relationship with the letter has been lost over time, that is, we don't know anymore why that letter has that symbol. Overall I think that the symbols of the letters are not that useful.
Some letters have clearly defined values. Aleph is the first letter of the Hebrew Alphabet, Tau is the last one, they are like the Alpha and Omega of the Greek Alphabet. Tau , being the last letter, is the perfection of creation, it is summary of everything in everything, it is the mystery that reveals itself directly to the soul. Tau is also the symbol for furthest development of creation, that the physical world.
Aleph, Mem and Shin, the three mother letters are also strongly defined.
Aleph as first letter is attributed to Kether, the origin of the Tree of Life.
Mem , the thirteenth letter, has water as symbolic value, and is attributed to Binah, the Sephirah which has for symbols the primal waters and mother archetype. The letter Mem also stands for the mother, fertility, the earth, the sea. Shin, the twenty-first, letter is attributed to Binah, the Sephirah of the father archetype and has male, fiery characteristics. The shape of the letter Mem has an enclosing form, reflecting the female enclosing, harboring, nurturing values.
The letter Shin is the dynamic movement of the element Fire, the active, expansive and vivifying forces in the universe. It is also the symbol of the vivifying spirit. It shape reflects three raised flames in the shape of three Vaus's.
Then we have the letter Heh , the fifth letter of the alphabet, in general meaning universal life, clarity, the breath of existence, the act of feeling and willing, transcendental knowledge, and universal magnetism. But Heh is also part of the name of YHVH (Jehovah) in which it appears twice, and with the many meaning and attributes of these word and its letters to for example parts of the Tree of Life, the letter Heh also takes on the corresponding values. For example each letter stands for each of the four Worlds and elements: Yod for Atziluth and Fire, Heh for Beriah and Air, Vau for Yetzirah and Water, and the second Heh for Assiah and Earth.
We already mentioned Yod as the primal vibration of the universe out of which all the other letters came forth. Thus Yod also contains the seed of the Tree of Life, of all the Sephiroth and the Paths. Its symbol is the hand. When the hand is open it represents the microcosm, and man in the lower worlds; when the hand is closed, it represents unity, the source. Yod is the tenth letter, and two hands have ten fingers. It numerical value is 10 + 6 + 4 = 20, which is two times ten, or just two, pointing to duality.
Shin is the twenty first letter, and symbolizes the Spirit, the Spiritual Fire, The Flaming Sword. It is said that when Shin is not in the middle of a word it turns to anger and resentment. When in the middle of a word, it is the central equilibrating fire. For example is the word Moses, which is M Sh H, or Yeheshuah, which is Y H Sh V H. Shin also stands for the Shekinah.
The letter Shin, which we mentioned in the above as one of the Mother Letters, is the dynamic movement of the element Fire, the active, expansive and vivifying forces in the universe. It is also the symbol of the vivifying spirit. Its shape reflects three raised flames in the shape of three Vau's, reflecting the trinity. The three flames also represent the three qualities of Shin: active, passive and equilibrating.
Here are all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet with their symbol and meaning. Don't see this as a doctrine. It is a only a means for further exploration.
Starting from the traditional representation of the Tree of Life I have explored some possibilities of looking at it in a wider perspective, in a more symmetrical form. Nature likes symmetry, from an apple or flower to the quantum world of sub-atomic particles. I have always wondered why the Kabalistic tree of Life was such a strange structure. At certain places in the tree it displayed symmetry, but then this symmetry was broken at other places. It is claimed that there are only ten Sephiroth because somebody in the distant past wrote this in his book. The tradition of enumerating 10 Sephiroth is stated in the Sefer Yetzirah, "Ten Sephiroth of nothingness, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven". But where did the writer get this from? The problem with written teachings is that they easily turn into dogmas. For this reason certain traditions would pass their knowledge on solely in an oral way. The knowledge had to be experienced, and not just accepted because somebody told them so. What I see in Kabala is that some people take the information as an unmovable, and unchangeable truth. In my previous articles I have shown that one can change the Tree of Life in a more coherent, symmetrical form, and still keep the traditional teachings.
It was once thought that there were only seven planets (moon and sun included). If science had stuck to that idea, because at one time somebody wrote that there were only seven planets, not one more, nor one less, we would have never discovered the outer planets.
Why did the people who originally wrote down the structure and information of the Tree of Life, structure it in such a unique form? Throughout history the Tree of Life has been interpreted in different ways, for example, by taking out or in Kether and Daath. However they kept it in its basic structure; although there was one representation (by Isaac Luria (1534 – July 25, 1572)) that depicts the Sephiroth metaphorically as successively smaller concentric circles, radiating inwards from the surrounding Divine Omnipresence. Concentric representations of for example different worlds are common among religious or esoteric groups.
In my previous articles I have shown that I discovered that the Sephiroth have their place on the intersection of four symmetrically interlocking circles; only to find out later that others had discovered this as well. So it's nothing new. The intriguing part is the symmetry of interlocking circles and the possibility of two more Sephiroth just above Malkuth.
But it gets even more interesting. In my article of The Structure of the Tree of Life I have shown that this pattern of the four interlocking circles is part of the Flower of Life. There had been a lot of interest in The Flower of Life pattern, as it is being discovered in traditions and ancient cultures all over the world. The Flower of Life is a basic energy grid that can be seen as interlocking circles within one circle, or as a hexagonal grid of straight lines.
I think the Tree of Life is a part of an energy structure, that is commonly known as the Flower of Life, but which can also be extended into infinity. Let's first go into what the Flower of Life is.
Here is an example of the Flower of Life engraved into a temple wall in Egypt.
Even Leonardo Da Vinci was acquainted with the Flower of Life, which shows up in his drawings.
It even appeared as a crop circle:
What is it about this form that was so intriguing to the ancient mystery schools, religions, and esoteric orders, and that is presently gaining again so much interest?
The answer to question is that the flower of life pattern is a pattern of an energy structure that lies at the basis of nature, and all life forms. It is life energy structured as a geometric web, in a dimensional form as a hexagonal line structure, or interlocking circles providing points of contact that lie on these lines at regular intervals. Energy is wave form, and one might see the 'petals' of the Flower of Life as undulating waves. But energy wave forms are always three-dimensional, and thus what is shown as interlocking circles are in fact interlocking spheres. Visualizing this in 3D gets a little too complicated for our brains. Isn't it interesting that some people have claimed (and drawn) that the Tree of Life might have a three-dimensional form too?
In regards to the spheres, a little comment: the level of subtle energy we are dealing with here is sometimes called etheric or ethereal. It is a subtle energy form that although invisible to our eyes, is nevertheless real, and can be perceived by those with psychic gifts. But it is now also being (re-)discovered by some scientists with interests into the old ether theories, and by those who talk about the so-called longitudinal scalar waves, the science of which is claimed to have been developed in secret by the military. This is not the place to go into this science or technology. You can look it up on the web.
Back to the etheric pattern. The hexagonal pattern stretches out indefinitely as an all-encompassing web of energy. And the Tree of Life fits nicely on this pattern, and within the traditional Flower of Life within a circle.
I am convinced that in esoteric circles where knowledge was transmitted by experience, the initiates were able to perceive the energy grid of the Flower of Life, and that the cabalists discovered, by actual visual experience, that part of it formed a Tree of Life in relation to the human body. For those who were not initiated, the Tree of Life just became book knowledge.
One could argue that all this is just a mathematical coincidence, but I found the connection between the Tree of Life as formed by interlocking circles and by extension on the hexagonal grid and the flower of Life as an energy grid for a living being. It was a dowser who found that the Tree of Life is an actual energy template that relates to the physical human body.
Joey Korn, a dowser, has an informative website at http://www.dowsers.com. You can find the whole story there, but I'll give you a summary. Previously he had found, by using L-rods, that humans had two lines of energy (or rays of light, as he calls them) that intersect and form at that intersection a vortex of energy. This is not a new concept as this is well known by dowsers of energy lines in nature. But with humans he believes that they anchor the soul to the body. Looking into it a bit further, he found that these intersecting lines were repeating themselves in a pattern. They also existed in people's bed, as an imprint of the person who sleeps in that bed. The energy of the 'bed pattern' always dosed positive. As he dowsed more he found that the lines always came in pairs like an X or a + form. In 1197 he came up with an initial pattern. He also found that with some people the 'bed pattern' wasn't always that strong, and sometimes some of the lines were missing. This would reflect the health situation of the person.
The initial pattern was the result of dowsing the energies that were contained to the physical size of the bed. Later he found more lines that existed beyond the boundaries of the bed, but that also were part of the now more complex pattern. I want to point out here that originally he was looking within the confines of the physical dimension of the bed, and therefore the other lines didn't show up. It is well known that the drawback with dowsing is that one's results will reflect one's belief system about what one is dowsing.
Having arrived at a certain pattern of the number of lines he had discovered so far, one day he picked up a book on Kabala and was surprised to find that the pattern he so far had found was the same as the Kabalistic Tree of Life minus a number of lines he had not dowsed yet. The next morning he dowsed again the 'bed pattern' and indeed he found the remaining pairs of energy lines. Now he had found the entire Tree of Life energy lines/pattern that is present in the energy field of every person, and by extension in their beds as an imprint.
Joey because I found his article very interesting (and I urge you to
http://www.dowsers.com/page29.html ). I also suggested to him
that there might be more energy lines and Sephiroth in this human
energy pattern, based on the geometrical pattern that I have been
explaining in my previous articles. But unfortunately, he strictly
believes in the statement in the Zohar that there are only ten
Sephiroth, not one more, not one less. As I just mentioned, the
drawback of dowsing is a dowser will not find what he believes does
not exist. A pity, because otherwise he might have found that the
Tree of life is part of the Flower of Life pattern.
The Flower of life is always shown inside a circle. I believe this represents the confines of the hexagonal energy structure of the human being. In essence the energy matrix of the human being coincides with the universal, into infinity stretching web of the hexagonal pattern. Thus we are connected to all of creation, but as human beings we exist and experience within the confines of a limited form of this pattern, thus the circular boundary.
As you can notice, there is a Sephira/vortex/energy center above Kether (≈ crown of the head) and below Malkuth (≈ feet). I want to bring to your attention that in recent years there have been people talking about an additional chakra above the head and one below the feet.
We know so very little about the human energy system. As time goes by we will discover more about these energy centers. Also keep in mind that what you see on this page is a two-dimensional view, which represents one section of the energy grid. The entire system is a three-dimensional energy grid of interlocking spheres comprised within one big sphere. Thus there are many more intersection points/vortexes.
Are there any psychics, clairvoyants, dowsers or other gifted people who can have a look into the energy vortexes/lines/Sephiroth outside the traditional tree of Life? And into the underlying hexagonal energy matrix? Let me know what you have come up with.