We may now begin to understand what was meant by the next few words of the “Sepher Yetzirah” which states: “These Ten Numbers, beyond the universal One, have the boundless realms, boundless origin and end. .
But we may turn aside for a moment, at this point, and consider the old system of the Qabalah, as perpetuated and expounded by the best commentators of the past.
Mention is made of the “Four Worlds” of the Qabalah. These are called Atziluth, the Archetypal World; Briah, the Creative World; Yetzirah, the Formative World; and Assiah, the Material World. These have been attributed to the Four Letters of the Ineffable Name IHVH. Sometimes these worlds have been allotted to the “Tree of Life” as follows: Atziluth and Yod (the Father) to Chokmah; Briah and He (the Mother) to Binah; Yetzirah and Vau (the Son) to Tiphereth as the King ruling over Chesed, Geburah, Netzach, Hod, and Yesod (thus embracing six Sephiroth); and finally Assiah, as the Daughter or second He, to Malkuth. In this plan “Kether” seems to have no place. Again, sometimes the whole “Tree” is considered as if it were represented on Four Planes, one above the other, or interpenetrating each other. In this case we get 40 Sephiroth, Ten for each World; and for purposes of classification each Sephira was considered to contain another complete tree, so as to make in all 400, with a correspondingly great number of paths. This plan seems to have been little used for practical purposes; it is, of course, very complicated and difficult to conceive on Four Planes at the same time.
The only other attempt, that I am aware of, was to place the Diagram of one Tree above the other, so that the Kether of the Lowest touched the Malkuth of the next, and so on with the other two higher Worlds. Such an arrangement is shown in Mathers “Kaballah Unveiled,” where the influences from the Archetypal World are shown descending, by means of arrows running along the Paths of the Flaming Sword (but, be it noted, there is no connecting path from Binah to Chesed on the Tree), and then through the Creative and Formative Worlds to Assiah, where the current ended in Malkuth of the Lowest Tree.
But no one seems to have shown a LIVING TREE with Its Roots in the Infinitely Small and its Branches spreading out to the Infinitely Great. Yet it is called the TREE OF LIFE. It would seem, in the past, it has been little better than the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
One can only account for Attainment by the Old System, as by the Grace of God. The “Paths” wrongly arranged (but the Sephiroth—corresponding to Grades fortunately in perfect Order) were confusing rather than illuminating; the method of progress leading to the Horrors of “The Abyss” between Chesed and Binah. However, that makes little difference if my surmise is correct (as explained in “The Egyptian Revival”) that during this Aeon, Wisdom and Understanding are directly projected upon the Children of Earth, and the Abyss definitely Bridged.
But to return to the further development of this wonderful Plan. On Monday, April 16, I had occasion to visit a friend and Brother, who is a cunning craftsman and designer. He is a man of much intelligence, but not a deep Student of the Qabalah, his interest in this matter having dated from a cursory reading of “The Essence of the Practical Qabalah” followed by some study of “Q.B.L.” a few weeks ago. I was impressed to ask his opinion of the New Plan, and found that he grasped its possibilities at once. We discussed it for some time and made a temporary sketch similar to the one I first drew (Fig. XXI). He offered to make me a careful drawing showing several progressions. The following day I called upon him again, when we made some further experiments together, and discussed the proper proportion of the Diameters of the Sephiroth in their relation to the Paths. It was noticed that the Paths from Chesed to Tiphereth, and from Geburah to Tiphereth, would generate a similar “Tree” between Tiphereth and Yesod in addition to the one between Yesod and Malkuth. Then he was illuminated by the Idea that an intermediate “Tree” extending from the Center of Tiphereth to the Center of Malkuth should be formed, and another one half the size, between the Center of Yesod and the Center of Malkuth. This Idea produced startling results. The Second Tree was exactly Half the Height of the First, and the Third, Half that of the Second (perfect octaves). The Size of the Sephiroth should progress accordingly, and be based upon the original generating Circles of the whole Tree. It was then found that the Kether of the Second was in the Center of the Tiphereth of the First, and its Tiphereth in the Yesod of the First, while its Malkuth was in the First Malkuth.
The Third “Tree” had its Kether in the Yesod of the First, and the Tiphereth of the Second; while its Malkuth was again in the Center of the Malkuth of Both. In other words, the CENTER of MALKUTH represented the INFINITELY SMALL, and the Triple Trees went on Increasing in Size by octaves to Infinity, while MALKUTH continued to EXPAND about its OWN CENTER.
The accompanying Plate will show this marvelous Plan in great clearness of detail.
At this point we must clearly realize that since the Plan of the Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom is ever increasing in orderly progression towards the Infinitely Great, or Nuit, and at the same time contracting in the same proportions towards the Infinitely Small, or Hadit, the Concealed Father of All, it is no longer proper for us to talk of the Influence as ascending or descending. But, since the extremely minute is more quickly lost to view, and on account of the inconvenience and difficulty of making a drawing of a very small size, we must start from a Central Point in Malkuth, and discuss the subject as if the “Tree” were increasing in size from that Point.
Thus, for convenience, we shall now call the smallest visible Tree in our Design, the First, the next larger, the Second, and so on for the necessary number of progressions.
The Central Dot in Malkuth of the First Tree represents Hadit. This should be considered as an unextended Point of Light or Pure Essence of Being, the true complement of the Infinitely Great and unknown Body of Nuit which is beyond our utmost conception of the expansion of the Greatest Tree we can imagine. The small Circle around this “Point” is Malkuth of the First Tree, and the Tree itself may, for convenience, be considered as growingupoutof Malkuth, just like any other tree in proper soil. The True Kether is concealed within this as the Essence of Life and Form is within the Seed. When we reach the “Manifested Kether” of the First Tree it will be very much like the most perfectfruit containing within it the “seed” of further progression.
We have been accustomed to consider the “Tree of Life” as descending fromKether, but now that we realize that the “Tree” grows to Infinity, we cannot conceive of a starting point at the Top, so as to work downwards. We must start from the Center and work outwards and upwards.
It will not be possible for me to give all the details of this marvelous plan, but I may point out a few interesting features, leaving the Student to add the results of his own researches, as time goes on.
I am of course adopting the “Reformulated Plan of the Paths” but some may prefer to arrange them otherwise; it makes no difference to the general geometrical design.
The Correspondences of Attributions of the First Tree will therefore remain exactly the same as previously given. Each aspirant will have to fulfill the necessary requirements of mastering the “Ideas” connected therewith, as before. He will have to Attain, as formerly, before the Fuller Consciousness comes to him; but there are additional “clues” to his progress which are most valuable.
For instance: If he commences his Journey by the Path of Aleph, the Pure Fool, leading from Malkuth to Yesod, when he has traveled half-way up this Path, he will obtain an additional influx of Power from the corresponding Path on the SecondTree. He will have reached the circumference of the Second Malkuth. On arrival in Yesod, he will have contacted the circumference of MalkuthoftheThirdTree. Let us consider his progress up the Central Pillar first; supposing it to be possible for him thus to travel in perfect equilibrium from the start.
On the Path of Mem or “The Hanged Man,” which is attributed to “Water,” he will receive the additional Power of the “Air” from the Path of Aleph in the SecondTree, till he reaches the First Tiphereth. That is to say, for instance, he will find a greater use for Pranayama; and so on. But before he enters Tiphereth he will already be receiving the benefit of the Influence of the Yesod of the SecondTree, which he will have contacted after crossing the Reciprocal Path of “The Hierophant” or Taurus. All the way from the First Yesod to “The Abyss” he will be receiving the still higher power of Aleph of the ThirdTree.
As he beings his ascent from the First Tiphereth he will do so by the Path of “Shin” or “The Great Judgment.” This is the Way of the Triple Spirit and of Fire, but thereon he will also feel the influence of “The Hanged Man” from the SecondTree, as well as from “The Fool” of the Third.
On crossing the “Path of Death” he will leave behind him the influence of Yesod of the SecondTree, but half-way across the Abyss he will contact the Influence of the “Hierophant” of the Second, and at the same moment enter the sphere of YesodoftheThirdTree.
Next, he will cross the Path of the “Star” or
Aquarius, on the primary Tree, contacting immediately the Tiphereth of Tree Number Two, through the aura of which he passes on to the FirstKetherAttainment. During this journey up the Central Pillar, his original Malkuth will have doubled in diameter on the Path of Aleph, doubled again when he reached Yesod, again on reaching Tiphereth, and once more on his attainment to Kether, which then Crowns his Work. Thus the First Kether Attainment is representative of the Fifth Visible Progression of the Sphere of Malkuth, after which the Aspirant begins to contact the Sixth progression of the Whole Tree, and from that point in his Career, every further progression of Malkuth will touch the center of a Higher Kether, to Infinity. But as the Sixth visible Progression of Malkuth contacts the Second visible Kether; the Seventh, the Third; and so on, there will always seem to be Four untraveled Trees between. It may be that these represent the “Four Worlds” of the Qabalah, and that he must in reality always progress in the Four Worlds simultaneously.
It will be noticed that the Path of Beth, or Wisdom, leading from the first Malkuth to Hod, the Sphere of Mercury, contains, essentially, all the Powers of Mercury or “The Magician” to Infinity in that direction; since this Path leads to larger and larger “Hods” in regular sequence.
Similarly, the Path of Daleth or Love, “The Empress,” or Venus, leading to Netzach, continues to Infinity in that direction also. So we find all Love and Wisdom concentrated in the center of Malkuth. Since all the “Three Mothers,” Aleph, Mem, and Shin, interblend on the Middle Pillar, these Powers are also fully concentrated in the Center of Malkuth, and conversely, proceed from It.
In regard to the other Paths and Sephiroth of the
First Tree—and this applies equally to All the Trees
we may point out that Netzach and Hod will always be found in the exact Centers of the Paths of Venus and
Mercury on the next larger Tree.
Chesed and Geburah are always exactly in the Centers of the Paths of Cancer, “The Chariot,” and Luna, “The High Priestess,” of the next larger Tree.
Chokmah and Binah will always have their Centers in Leo, the path of “Strength,” and Gemini, or “The Lovers,” of the next progressed Tree.
Kether always appears in the Center of the next Tiphereth, and of the following Yesod, to infinity. In other words, the Light is always within the Life of the Sun, and the Sun within the Body of the Moon.
The Reciprocal Path of “The Hierophant” will always have an influence horizontally across the Abyss of the next Tree below. The path of the “Hanged Man” will always leave Him suspended from the Reciprocal path of “The Star” or Aquarius of the “next” tree, while he is seen below Tiphereth on his own Tree. This is exactly where he is mystically supposedtobe according to the old system of the paths, although he was otherwise assigned.
It is a matter of almost unending interest to trace out these various combinations, but there are even more important considerations ahead of us. We must leave the Student to work things out in his own way, and pass on to wider fields of study.