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                    Notes on Kabbalah (a continuing series of many parts) 
                                  Copyright Colin Low 1991
            Chapter 1.: The Tree of Life
                 At  the root of the Cabalistic view of the world are  three
            fundamental  concepts and they provide a natural place to  begin.
            The  three concepts are force,  form and consciousness and  these
            words  are  used in an abstract way,  as the  following  examples
                 -  high  pressure steam in the cylinder of  a  steam  engine
                 provides a force.  The engine is a form which constrains the
                 -  a  river runs downhill under the force  of  gravity.  The
                 river channel is a form which constrains the water to run in
                 a well defined path.
                 - someone wants to get to the center of a garden  maze.  The
                 hedges  are a form which constrain that person's ability  to
                 walk as they please.
                 -  a  diesel engine provides the force which drives  a  boat
                 forwards.   A  rudder  constrains  its  course  to  a  given
                 -  a  politician wants to change the  law.  The  legislative
                 framework  of  the country is a form which he  or  she  must
                 follow if the change is to be made legally.
                 - water sits in a bowl. The force of gravity pulls the water
                 down. The bowl is a form which gives its shape to the water.
                 -  a stone falls to the ground under the force  of  gravity.
                 Its  acceleration  is constrained to be equal to  the  force
                 divided by the mass of the stone.
                 - I want to win at chess.  The force of my desire to win  is
                 constrained within the rules of chess.
                 - I see something in a shop window and have to have it. I am
                 constrained  by  the conditions of sale (do  I  have  enough
                 money, is it in stock).
                 - cordite explodes in a gun barrel and provides an explosive
                 force on a bullet. The gas and the bullet are constrained by
                 the form of the gun barrel.
                 - I want to get a passport. The government won't give me one
                 unless I fill in lots of forms in precisely the right way.
                 - I want a university degree.  The university won't give  me
                 a  degree unless I attend certain courses and  pass  various
            In all these examples there is something which is causing  change
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            to  take  place ("a force") and there is something  which  causes
            change to take place in a defined way ("a form").  Without  being
            too pedantic it is possible to identify two very different  types
            of example here:
                 1.  examples of natural physical processes (e.g.  a  falling
                 stone) where the force is one of the natural forces known to
                 physics (e.g.  gravity) and the form is some  combination
                 of physical laws which constrain the force to act in a  well
                 defined way.
                 2.  examples of people wanting something, where the force is
                 some ill-defined concept of "desire",  "will",  or "drives",
                 and  the form is one of the forms we impose  upon  ourselves
                 (the rules of chess, the Law, polite behavior etc.).
            Despite  the  fact that the two different types  of  example  are
            "only  metaphorically  similar",  Kabbalists see  no  fundamental
            distinction  between  them.  To the Kabbalist there  are  forces
            which  cause  change  in  the  natural  world,   and  there   are
            corresponding psychological forces which drive us to change  both
            the world and ourselves,  and whether these forces are natural or
            psychological they are rooted in the same  place:  consciousness.
            Similarly,  there  are  forms which the component  parts  of  the
            physical  world  seem  to  obey  (natural  laws)  and  there  are
            completely  arbitrary forms we create as part of the  process  of
            living (the rules of a game, the shape of a mug, the design of an
            engine, the syntax of a language) and these forms are also rooted
            in the same place:  consciousness. It is a Cabalistic axiom that
            there is a prime cause which underpins all the manifestations  of
            force  and form in both the natural and psychological  world  and
            that prime cause I have called consciousness for lack of a better
                 Consciousness is undefinable.  We know that we are conscious
            in different ways at different times - sometimes we feel free and
            happy,  at other times trapped and confused,  sometimes angry and
            passionate,  sometimes  cold  and restrained -  but  these  words
            describe  manifestations  of consciousness.  We  can  define  the
            manifestations  of  consciousness in terms of  manifestations  of
            consciousness,  which is about as useful as defining an ocean  in
            terms  of  waves  and  foam.   Anyone  who  attempts  to   define
            consciousness  itself tends to come out of the same door as  they
            went in. We have lots of words for the phenomena of consciousness
            - thoughts,  feelings, beliefs, desires, emotions, motives and so
            on  -  but few words for the states of consciousness  which  give
            rise to these phenomena,  just as we have many words to  describe
            the  surface  of a sea,  but few words to  describe  its  depths.
            Kabbalah  provides  a  vocabulary  for  states  of  consciousness
            underlying the phenomena,  and one of the purposes of these notes
            is to explain this vocabulary,  not by definition,  but mostly by
            metaphor  and analogy.  The only genuine method of  understanding
            what  the  vocabulary  means is by attaining  various  states  of
            consciousness in a predictable and reasonably objective way,  and
            Kabbalah provides practical methods for doing this.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 A fundamental premise of the Cabalistic model of reality is
            that  there  is  a  pure,   primal,   and  undefinable  state  of
            consciousness which manifests as an interaction between force and
            form.  This is virtually the entire guts of the Cabalistic  view
            of  things,  and almost everything I have to say from now  on  is
            based  on  this  trinity  of  consciousness,   force,  and  form.
            Consciousness  comes first,  but hidden within it is an  inherent
            duality;  there is an energy associated with consciousness  which
            causes   change  (force),   and  there  is  a   capacity   within
            consciousness  to constrain that energy and cause it to  manifest
            in a well-defined way (form).
                                   First Principle
                                 /  Consciousness   
                           Capacity                   Raw
                           to take  ________________ Energy
                                      Figure 1.
            What do we get out of raw energy and an inbuilt capacity for form
            and structure?  Is there yet another hidden potential within this
            trinity waiting to manifest? There is. If modern physics is to be
            believed we get matter and the physical world.  The  cosmological
            Big  Bang  model of raw energy surging out from  an  infinitesimal
            point and condensing into basic forms of matter as it cools, then
            into  stars and galaxies,  then planets,  and  ultimately  living
            creatures,  has  many points of similarity with  the  Cabalistic
            model. In the Big Bang model a soup of energy condenses according
            to  some  yet-to-be-formulated  Grand-Universal-Theory  into  our
            physical  world.  What Kabbalah does suggest (and modern  physics
            most  certainly does not!) is that matter and  consciousness  are
            the  same  stuff,  and  differ only in the  degree  of  structure
            imposed  -  matter  is consciousness so  heavily  structured  and
            constrained  that  its behavior becomes  describable  using  the
            regular and simple laws of physics.  This is shown in Fig. 2. The
            primal,  first principle of consciousness is synonymous with  the
            idea of "God".
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                                   First Principle
                                 /  Consciousness   
                                /         |          
                               /          |           
                           Capacity       |           Raw
                           to take  _____________ Energy/Force
                            Form          |
                                          |           /
                                          |          /
                                          |         /
                                      The World
                                      Figure 2
            The glyph in Fig.  2 is the basis for the Tree of Life. The first
            principle of consciousness is called Kether,  which means  Crown.
            The  raw energy of consciousness is called Chockhmah  or  Wisdom,
            and  the capacity to give form to the energy of consciousness  is
            called Binah, which is sometimes translated as Understanding, and
            sometimes  as  Intelligence.  The outcome of the  interaction  of
            force and form,  the physical world,  called Malkuth or  Kingdom.
            This  quaternery  is  a Cabalistic  representation  of  God-the-
            Knowable,  in the sense that it the most primitive representation
            of God we are capable of comprehending;  paradoxically, Kabbalah
            also  contains  a notion of God-the-Unknowable  which  transcends
            this glyph,  and is called En Soph.  There is not much I can  say
            about En Soph, and what I can say I will postpone for later.
                 God-the-Knowable has four aspects,  two male and two female:
            Kether and Chokhmah are both represented as male,  and Binah  and
            Malkuth are represented as female.  One of the titles of Chokhmah
            is Abba,  which means Father,  and one of the titles of Binah  is
            Aima,  which means Mother,  so you can think of Chokhmah as  God-
            the-Father,   and  Binah  as  God-the-Mother.    Malkuth  is  the
            daughter, the female spirit of God-as-Matter, and it would not be
            wildly  wrong to think of her as Mother Earth.  One of  the  more
            pleasant things about Kabbalah is that its symbolism gives  equal
            place to both male and female.
                 And  what  of God-the-Son?  Is there also a  God-the-Son  in
            Kabbalah?  There is, and this is the point where Kabbalah tackles
            the interesting problem of thee and me.  The glyph in Fig. 2 is a
            model of consciousness,  but not of self-consciousness, and self-
            consciousness throws an interesting spanner in the works.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            The Fall
                 Self-consciousness  is like a mirror in which  consciousness
            sees itself reflected.  Self-consciousness is modelled in Kabbalah
            by making a copy of figure 2.
                                 /  Consciousness   
                                /         |          
                               /          |           
                          Consciousness   |      Consciousness
                               of  ________________   of
                              Form        |       Energy/Force
                                          |           /
                                          |          /
                                          |         /
                                        of the
                                      Figure 3
            Figure 3.  is Figure 2. reflected through self-consciousness. The
            overall  effect  of self-consciousness is to  add  an  additional
            layer to Figure 2. as follows:
                                   First Principle
                                 /  Consciousness   
                                /         |          
                               /          |           
                           Capacity       |           Raw
                           to take  _____________ Energy/Force
                            Form          |
                                          |           /
                                          |          /
                                          |         /
                                 /  Consciousness   
                                /         |          
                               /          |           
                          Consciousness   |      Consciousness
                               of  ________________   of
                              Form        |       Energy/Force
                                          |           /
                                          |          /
                                          |         /
                                        of the
                                      The World
                                      Figure 4
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Fig.  2  is  sometimes  called "the Garden of  Eden"  because  it
            represents a primal state of consciousness.  The effect of  self-
            consciousness as shown in Fig.  4 is to drive a wedge between the
            First Principle of Consciousness (Kether) and that  Consciousness
            realized  as  matter and the physical world  (Malkuth).  This  is
            called "the Fall",  after the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden
            of Eden. From a Cabalistic point of view the story of Eden, with
            the  Tree  of Knowledge of Good and Evil,  the  serpent  and  the
            temptation,  and the casting out from the Garden has a great deal
            of   meaning   in  terms  of  understanding  the   evolution   of
                 Self-consciousness    introduces   four   new   states    of
            consciousness:  the  Consciousness  of  Consciousness  is  called
            Tipheret,  which means Beauty;  the Consciousness of Force/Energy
            is  called  Netzach,   which  means  Victory  or  Firmness;   the
            Consciousness  of Form is called Hod,  which means  Splendor  or
            Glory,  and  the Consciousness of Matter is called  Yesod,  which
            means  Foundation.  These  four states  have  readily  observable
            manifestations, as shown below in Fig. 5:
                                       The Self
                                 /        |         
                                /         |          
                               /          |           
                            Language      |         Emotions
                             Reason       |         Feelings
                                          |           /
                                          |          /
                                          |         /
                                      Perception   /
                                       Figure 5
            Figure 4.  is almost the complete Tree of Life,  but not quite  -
            there  are  still two states missing.  The inherent  capacity  of
            consciousness  to take on structure and objectify itself  (Binah,
            God-the-Mother)  is  reflected through  self-consciousness  as  a
            perception of the limitedness and boundedness of things.  We  are
            conscious of space and time, yesterday and today, here and there,
            you  and  me,  in and out,  life and  death,  whole  and  broken,
            together and apart.  We see things as limited and bounded and  we
            have a perception of form as something "created" and "destroyed".
            My  car was built a year ago,  but it was  smashed  yesterday.  I
            wrote an essay, but I lost it when my computer crashed. My granny
            is dead. The river changed its course. A law has been repealed. I
            broke  my  coffee  mug.  The world changes,  and  what  was  here
            yesterday  is  not  here today.  This  perception  acts  like  an
            "interface"   between  the  quaternary  of  consciousness   which
            represents  "God",  and the quaternary which represents a  living
            self-conscious  being,  and  two  new states  are  introduced  to
            represent this interface. The state which represents the creation
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            of new forms is called Chesed,  which means Mercy,  and the state
            which  represents  the destruction of forms  is  called  Gevurah,
            which   means  Strength.   This  is  shown   in   Fig.   6.   The
            objectification  of forms which takes place in  a  self-conscious
            being,  and the consequent tendency to view the world in terms of
            limitations and dualities (time and space,  here and  there,  you
            and me,  in and out,  God and Man,  good and evil...) produces  a
            barrier to perception which most people rarely overcome,  and for
            this reason it has come to be called the Abyss. The Abyss is also
            marked on Figure 6.
                                   First Principle
                                 /  Consciousness   
                                /         |          
                               /          |           
                           Capacity       |           Raw
                           to take  _____________ Energy/Force
                            Form          |            |
                              |           |           /|
                              |           |          / |
                              |           |        /   |
                         Destruction      |        Creation
                             of___________|_____ /____of
                            Form          |     /    Form
                              |           |    /    /  |
                              |           |   /    /   |
                              |     Consciousness /    |
                              |          of            |
                              |  /  Consciousness      |
                              | /         |            |
                              |/          |           ||
                          Consciousness   |      Consciousness
                               of  ________________   of
                              Form        |       Energy/Force
                                          |           / /
                                          |          / /
                                          |         /  /
                                    Consciousness     /
                                         of           /
                                      the World      /
                                          |        /
                                          |       /
                                          |      /
                                      The World
                                       Figure 6
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            The  diagram  in  Fig.   6  is  called  the  Tree  of  Life.  The
            "constructionist"  approach I have used to justify its  structure
            is  a little unusual,  but the essence of my presentation can  be
            found  in  the "Zohar" under the guise of the  Macroprosopus  and
            Microprosopus, although in this form it is not readily accessible
            to  the average reader.  My attempt to show how the Tree of  Life
            can be derived out of pure consciousness through the  interaction
            of an abstract notion of force and form was not intended to be  a
            convincing exercise from an intellectual point of view - the Tree
            of  Life  is  primarily  a gnostic  rather  than  a  rational  or
            intellectual  explanation  of consciousness and  its  interaction
            with the physical world.
                 The  Tree is composed of 10 states or  sephiroth  (sephiroth
            plural,  sephira singular) and 22 interconnecting paths.  The age
            of  this diagram is unknown:  there is enough information in  the
            13th.  century "Sepher ha Zohar" to construct this  diagram,  and
            the  doctrine of the sephiroth has been attributed to  Isaac  the
            Blind in the 12th.  century,  but we have no certain knowledge of
            its  origin.  It  probably originated sometime  in  the  interval
            between the 6th.  and 13th.  centuries AD. The origin of the word
            "sephira"  is unclear - it is almost certainly derived  from  the
            Hebrew word for "number" (SPhR),  but it has also been attributed
            to the Greek word for "sphere" and even to the Hebrew word for  a
            sapphire (SPhIR).  With a characteristic aptitude for discovering
            hidden meanings everywhere, Kabbalists find all three derivations
            useful, so take your pick.
                 In the language of earlier Cabalistic writers the sephiroth
            represented  ten primeval emanations of God,  ten  foci  through
            which  the energy of a hidden,  absolute and unknown Godhead  (En
            Soph)  propagated  throughout  the  creation,  like  white  light
            passing  through  a prism.  The sephiroth can be  interpreted  as
            aspects of God,  as states of consciousness,  or as nodes akin to
            the  Chakras  in the occult anatomy of a human  being  .
                 I  have left out one important detail from the structure  of
            the  Tree.  There is an eleventh "something" which is  definitely
            *not* a sephira,  but is often shown on modern representations of
            the  Tree.  The Cabalistic "explanation" runs as  follows:  when
            Malkuth "fell" out of the Garden of Eden (Fig.  2) it left behind
            a "hole" in the fabric of the Tree,  and this "hole",  located in
            the center of the Abyss,  is called Daath,  or Knowledge. Daath is
            *not* a sephira; it is a hole. This may sound like gobbledy-gook,
            and in the sense that it is only a metaphor, it is.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 The  completed  Tree of Life with the Hebrew titles  of  the
            sephiroth is shown below in Fig. 7.
                                       En Soph
                           (            Kether           )
                                   /   (Crown)    
                                  /       |        
                                 /        |         
                                /         |          
                            Binah         |        Chokhmah
                        (Understanding)__________  (Wisdom)
                         (Intelligence)   |           |
                              |           |          /|
                              |         Daath       / |
                              |      (Knowledge)   /  |
                              |           |       /   |
                           Gevurah        |      /  Chesed
                          (Strength)______|_____/__ (Mercy)
                              |           |    /    (Love)
                              |           |   /     / |
                              |           |  /     /  |
                              |       Tipheret    /   |
                              |   /   (Beauty)        |
                              |  /        |           |
                              | /         |           |
                              |/          |          ||
                             Hod          |        Netzach
                           (Glory) _______________(Victory)
                          (Splendor)     |       (Firmness)
                                          |           / /
                                          |          / /
                                          |         / /
                                          |        /  /
                                        Yesod     /  /
                                     (Foundation)   /
                                          |       /
                                          |      /
                                          |     /
                                       Figure 7
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            From  an historical point of view the doctrine of emanations  and
            the  Tree  of  Life are only one small part of  a  huge  body  of
            Cabalistic speculation about the nature of divinity and our part
            in  creation,  but it is the part which has  survived.  The  Tree
            continues  to  be used in the Twentieth Century  because  it  has
            proved  to be a useful and productive symbol for practices  of  a
            magical,  mystical and religious nature.  Modern Kabbalah in  the
            Western   Mystery  Tradition  is  largely  concerned   with   the
            understanding and practical application of the Tree of Life,  and
            the following set of notes will list some of the  characteristics
            of each sephira in more detail so that you will have a "snapshot"
            of  what each sephira represents before going on to  examine  the
            sephiroth and the "deep structure" of the Tree in more detail.
            Chapter 2.: Sephirothic Correspondences
                 The correspondences are a set of symbols,  associations  and
            qualities  which  provide  a handle on the  elusive  something  a
            sephira represents.  Some of the correspondences are hundreds  of
            years old, many were concocted this century, and some are my own;
            some  fit very well,  and some are obscure - oddly enough  it  is
            often  the most obscure and ill-fitting correspondence  which  is
            most  productive;  like a Zen riddle it perplexes and annoys  the
            mind  until  it arrives at the right place more in spite  of  the
            correspondence than because of it.
                 There  are  few  canonical  correspondences;   some  of  the
            sephiroth  have  alternative  names,   some  of  the  names  have
            alternative  translations,  the mapping from Hebrew spellings  to
            the  English  alphabet varies from one author to  the  next,  and
            inaccuracies  and  accretions  are handed down  like  the  family
            silver. I keep my Hebrew dictionary to hand but guarantee none of
            the English spellings.
                 The correspondences I have given are as follows:
                 1.  The  Meaning is a translation of the Hebrew name of  the
                 2.  The  Planet in most cases is the planet associated  with
                     the  sephira.  In some cases it is not a planet  at  all
                     (e.g.   the  fixed  stars).   The  planets  are  ordered
                     by   decreasing   apparent   motion  -   this   is   one
                     correspondence which appears to pre-date Copernicus!
                 3.  The Element is the physical element (earth,  water, air,
                     fire,  aethyr) which has most in common with the  nature
                     of  the Sephira.  The Golden Dawn applied an  excess  of
                     logic to these attributions and made a mess of them,  to
                     the  confusion  of  many.   Only  the  five  Lower  Face
                     sephiroth have been attributed an element.
                 4.  Briatic  color.  This is the color of the  sephira  as
                     seen in the world of Creation,  Briah.  There are color
                     scales  for the other three worlds but I  haven't  found
                     them to be useful in practical work.
                 5.  Magical Image. Useful in meditations; some are astute.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 6.  The  Briatic Correspondence is an abstract  quality
                     which  says something about the essence of the  way  the
                     sephira expresses itself.
                 7.  The  Illusion characterizes the way in which the  energy
                     of the sephira clouds one's judgement;  it is  something
                     which is *obviously* true.  Most people suffer from  one
                     or more of these according to their temperament.
                 8.  The  Obligation is a personal quality which is  demanded
                     of an initiate at this level.
                 9.  The  Virtue and Vice are the energy of the sephiroth  as
                     it  manifests  in a positive and negative sense  in  the
                 10. Klippoth  is a word which means  "shell".  In  medieval
                     Kabbalah  each sephira was "seen" to be adding  form  to
                     the  sephira  which preceded it in the  Lightning  Flash
                     (see Chapter 3.). Form was seen to an accretion, a shell
                     around  the pure divine energy of the Godhead,  and each
                     layer  or  shell hid the divine radiance  a  little  bit
                     more, until God was buried in form and exiled in matter,
                     the end-point of the process.  At the time attitudes  to
                     matter  were  tainted  with the  Manichean  notion  that
                     matter   was  evil,   a  snare  for  the   spirit,   and
                     consequently the Klippoth or shells were "demonised" and
                     actually turned into demons.  The correspondence I  have
                     given  here restores the original notion of a  shell  of
                     form  *without* the corresponding force to activate  it;
                     it  is the lifeless,  empty husk of a sephira devoid  of
                     force,  and while it isn't a literal demon, it is hardly
                     a bundle of laughs when you come across it.
                 11. The  Command  refers to the Four Powers of  the  Sphinx,
                     with an extra one added for good measure.
                 12. The Spiritual Experience is just that.
                 13. The Titles are a collection of alternative names for the
                     sephira; most are very old.
                 14. The  God  Name  is a key to invoking the  power  of  the
                     sephira in the world of emanation, Atziluth.
                 13. The Archangel mediates the energy of the sephira in  the
                     world of creation, Briah.
                 14. The Angel Order administers the energy of the sephira in
                     the world of formation, Yetzirah.
                 15. The Keywords are a collection of phrases which summarize
                     key aspects of the sephira.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Sephira: Malkuth                   Meaning: Kingdom
            -------                            -------
            Planet: Cholem Yesodeth            Element: earth
            --------(the Breaker of            -------
                     the Foundations, sphere of the elements, the Earth)
            Briatic Color: brown              Number: 10
            ------------- (citrine, russet-red,------
                           olive green, black)
            Magical Image: a young woman crowned and throned
            Briatic Correspondence: stability
            Illusion: materialism              Obligation: discipline
            --------                           ----------
            Virtue: discrimination             Vice: avarice & inertia
            ------                             ----
            Klippoth: stasis                   Command: keep silent
            --------                           -------
            Spiritual Experience: Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel
            Titles:  The Gate; Gate of Death; Gate of Tears; Gate of Justice;
            ------   The Inferior Mother;  Malkah,  the  Queen;  Kallah,  the
                     Bride; the Virgin.
            God Name: Adonai ha Aretz          Archangel: Sandalphon
            --------  Adonai Malekh            ---------
            Angel Order: Ishim
            Keywords:the  real world,  physical  matter,  the  Earth,  Mother
                     Earth,  the physical elements, the natural world, sticks
                     & stones,  possessions,  faeces, practicality, solidity,
                     stability, inertia, heaviness, bodily death, incarnation.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Sephira: Yesod                     Meaning: Foundation
            -------                            -------
            Planet: Levanah (the Moon)         Element: Aethyr
            --------------                     -------
            Briatic Color: purple             Number: 9
            -------------                      ------
            Magical Image: a beautiful man, very strong (e.g. Atlas)
            Briatic Correspondence: receptivity, perception
            Illusion: security                 Obligation: trust
            --------                           ----------
            Virtue: independence               Vice: idleness
            ------                             ----
            Klippoth: zombieism, robotism      Command: go!
            --------                           -------
            Spiritual Experience: Vision of the Machinery of the Universe
            Titles: The Treasure House of Images
            God Name: Shaddai el Chai          Archangel: Gabriel
            --------                           ---------
            Angel Order: Cherubim
            Keywords: perception, interface, imagination, image, appearance,
                      glamour, the Moon, the unconscious, instinct, tides,
                      illusion, hidden infrastructure, dreams, divination,
                      anything as it seems to be and not as it is, mirrors
                      and crystals, the "Astral Plane", Aethyr, glue,
                      tunnels, sex & reproduction, the genitals, cosmetics,
                      instinctive magic (psychism), secret doors, shamanic
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Sephira: Hod                       Meaning: Glory, Splendor
            -------                            -------
            Planet: Kokab (Mercury)            Element: air
            ------                             -------
            Briatic Color: orange             Number: 8
            -------------                      ------
            Magical Image: an hermaphrodite
            Briatic Correspondence: abstraction
            Illusion: order                    Obligation: learn
            --------                           ----------
            Virtue: honesty, truthfulness      Vice: dishonesty
            ------                             ----
            Klippoth: rigidity                 Command: will
            Spiritual Experience: Vision of Splendor
            Titles: -
            God Name: Elohim Tzabaoth          Archangel: Raphael
            --------                           ---------
            Angel Order: Beni Elohim
            Keywords: reason, abstraction, communication, conceptualization,
                      logic, the sciences, language, speech, money (as a
                      concept), mathematics, medicine & healing, trickery,
                      writing, media (as communication), pedantry,
                      philosophy, Kabbalah (as an abstract system), protocol,
                      the Law, ownership, territory, theft, "Rights", ritual
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Sephira: Netzach                   Meaning: Victory, Firmness
            -------                            -------
            Planet: Nogah (Venus)              Element: water
            --------------                     -------
            Briatic Color: green              Number: 7
            -------------                      ------
            Magical Image: a beautiful naked woman
            Briatic Correspondence: nurture
            Illusion: projection               Obligation: responsibility
            --------                           ----------
            Virtue: unselfishness              Vice: selfishness
            ------                             ----
            Klippoth: habit, routine           Command: know
            Spiritual Experience: Vision of Beauty Triumphant
            Titles: -
            God Name: Jehovah Tzabaoth         Archangel: Haniel
            --------                           ---------
            Angel Order: Elohim
            Keywords: passion, pleasure, luxury, sensual beauty, feelings,
                      drives, emotions - love, hate, anger, joy, depression,
                      misery, excitement, desire, lust; nurture, libido,
                      empathy, sympathy, ecstatic magic.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Sephira: Tipheret                  Meaning: Beauty
            -------                            -------
            Planet: Shemesh (the Sun)          Element: fire
            --------------                     -------
            Briatic Color: yellow             Number: 6
            -------------                      ------
            Magical Image: a king, a child, a sacrificed god
            Briatic Correspondence: centrality, wholeness
            Illusion: identification           Obligation: integrity
            --------                           ----------
            Virtue: devotion to the Great Work Vice: pride, self-importance
            ------                             ----
            Klippoth: hollowness               Command: dare
            Spiritual Experience: Vision of Harmony
            Titles: Melekh, the King; Zoar Anpin, the lesser countenance, the
            ------  Microprosopus; the Son; Rachamin, charity.
            God Name: Aloah va Daath           Archangel: Michael
            --------                           ---------
            Angel Order: Malachim
            Keywords: harmony, integrity, balance, wholeness, the Self, self-
                      importance, self-sacrifice, the Son of God, centrality,
                      the Philospher's Stone, identity, the solar plexus,
                      a King, the Great Work.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Sephira: Gevurah                   Meaning: Strength
            -------                            -------
            Planet: Madim (Mars)
            Briatic Color: red                Number: 5
            -------------                      ------
            Magical Image: a mighty warrior
            Briatic Correspondence: power
            Illusion: invincibility            Obligation: courage & loyalty
            --------                           ----------
            Virtue: courage & energy           Vice: cruelty
            ------                             ----
            Klippoth: bureaucracy
            Spiritual Experience: Vision of Power
            Titles: Pachad, fear; Din, justice.
            God Name: Elohim Gevor             Archangel: Kamael
            --------                           ---------
            Angel Order: Seraphim
            Keywords: power, justice, retribution (eaten cold), the Law (in
                      execution), cruelty, oppression, domination & the Power
                      Myth, severity, necessary destruction, catabolism,
                      martial arts.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Sephira: Chesed                    Meaning: Mercy
            -------                            -------
            Planet: Tzadekh (Jupiter)
            Briatic Color: blue               Number: 4
            -------------                      ------
            Magical Image: a mighty king
            Briatic Correspondence: authority
            Illusion: being right              Obligation: humility
            --------  (self-righteousness)     ----------
            Virtue: humility & obedience       Vice: tyranny, hypocrisy,
            ------                             ----  bigotry, gluttony
            Klippoth: ideology
            Spiritual Experience: Vision of Love
            Titles: Gedulah, magnificence, love, majesty
            God Name: El                       Archangel: Tzadkiel
            --------                           ---------
            Angel Order: Chasmalim
            Keywords: authority, creativity, inspiration, vision, leadership,
                      excess, waste, secular and spiritual power, submission
                      and the Annihilation Myth, the atom bomb, obliteration,
                      birth, service.
            Non-Sephira: Daath                 Meaning: Knowledge
            -----------                        -------
            Daath has no manifest qualities and cannot be invoked directly.
            Keywords: hole, tunnel, gateway, doorway, black hole, vortex.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Sephira: Binah                     Meaning: Understanding,
            -------                            -------
            Planet: Shabbathai (Saturn)
            Briatic Color: black              Number: 3
            -------------                      ------
            Magical Image: an old woman on a throne
            Briatic Correspondence: comprehension
            Illusion: death
            Virtue: silence                    Vice: inertia
            ------                             ----
            Klippoth: fatalism
            Spiritual Experience: Vision of Sorrow
            Titles:   Aima, the Mother; Ama, the Crone; Marah, the bitter
                      sea; Khorsia, the Throne; the Fifty Gates of
                      Understanding; Intelligence; the Mother of Form; the
                      Superior Mother.
            God Name: Elohim                   Archangel: Cassiel
            --------                           ---------
            Angel Order: Aralim
            Keywords: limitation, form, constraint, heaviness, slowness, old-
                      age, infertility, incarnation, karma, fate, time,
                      space, natural law, the womb and gestation, darkness,
                      boundedness, enclosure, containment, fertility, mother,
                      weaving and spinning, death (annihilation).
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Sephira: Chokhmah                  Meaning: Wisdom
            -------                            -------
            Planet: Mazlot (the Zodiac, the fixed stars)
            Briatic Color: silver/white       Number: 2
            -------------   grey               ------
            Magical Image: a bearded man
            Briatic Correspondence: revolution
            Illusion: independence
            Virtue: good                       Vice: evil
            ------                             ----
            Klippoth: arbitrariness
            Spiritual Experience: Vision of God face-to-face
            Titles: Abba, the Father. The Supernal Father.
            God Name: Jah                      Archangel: Ratziel
            --------                           ---------
            Angel Order: Auphanim
            Keywords: pure creative energy, lifeforce, the wellspring.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Sephira: Kether                    Meaning: Crown
            -------                            -------
            Planet: Rashith ha Gilgalim (first swirlings, the Big Bang)
            Briatic Color: pure white         Number: 1
            -------------                      ------
            Magical Image: a bearded man seen in profile
            Briatic Correspondence: unity
            Illusion: attainment
            Virtue: attainment                 Vice: ---
            ------                             ----
            Klippoth: futility
            Spiritual Experience: Union with God
            Titles:   Ancient of Days, the Greater Countenance
                      (Macroprosopus), the White Head, Concealed of the
                      Concealed, Existence of Existences, the Smooth Point,
                      Rum Maalah, the Highest Point.
            God Name: Eheieh                   Archangel: Metatron
            --------                           ---------
            Angel Order: Chaioth ha Qadesh
            Keywords: unity, union, all, pure consciousness, God, the
                      Godhead, manifestation, beginning, source, emanation.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Chapter 3: The Pillars & the Lightning Flash
                 In  Chapter  1.  the  Tree of Life was  derived  from  three
            concepts,  or  rather  one  primary concept  and  two  derivative
            concepts which are "contained" within it. The primary concept was
            called consciousness,  and it was said to "contain" within it the
            two complementary concepts of force and form. This chapter builds
            on  the idea by introducing the three Pillars of  the  Tree,  and
            uses the Pillars to clarify a process called the Lightning Flash.
                 The Three Pillars are shown in Figure 8. below.
                           Pillar      Pillar       Pillar
                             of          of           of
                            Form    Consciousness   Force
                         (Severity)  (Mildness)    (Mercy)
                                   /   (Crown)    
                                  /       |        
                                 /        |         
                                /         |          
                            Binah         |        Chokhmah
                        (Understanding)__________  (Wisdom)
                         (Intelligence)   |           |
                              |           |          /|
                              |         Daath       / |
                              |      (Knowledge)   /  |
                              |           |       /   |
                           Gevurah        |      /  Chesed
                          (Strength)______|_____/__ (Mercy)
                              |           |    /    (Love)
                              |           |   /     / |
                              |           |  /     /  |
                              |       Tipheret    /   |
                              |   /   (Beauty)        |
                              |  /        |           |
                              | /         |           |
                              |/          |          ||
                             Hod          |        Netzach
                           (Glory) _______________(Victory)
                          (Splendor)     |       (Firmness)
                                          |           / /
                                          |          / /
                                          |         / /
                                          |        /  /
                                        Yesod     /  /
                                     (Foundation)   /
                                          |       /
                                          |      /
                                          |     /
                                       Figure 8
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            Not surprisingly the three pillars are referred to as the pillars
            of  consciousness,  force and form.  The pillar of  consciousness
            contains the sephiroth Kether,  Tiphereth, Yesod and Malkuth; the
            pillar  of  force contains the  sephiroth  Chokhmah,  Chesed  and
            Netzach; the pillar of form contains the sephiroth Binah, Gevurah
            and Hod.  In older Cabalistic texts the pillars are referred  to
            as  the pillars of mildness,  mercy and severity,  and it is  not
            immediately obvious how the older jargon relates to the  new.  To
            the  medieval Kabbalist (and this is a recurring metaphor in  the
            Zohar)  the  creation  as  an emanation  of  God  is  a  delicate
            *balance* (metheqela) between two opposing tendencies:  the mercy
            of  God,  the outflowing,  creative,  life-giving and  sustaining
            tendency in God, and the severity or strict judgement of God, the
            limiting,   defining,  life-taking  and  ultimately  wrathful  or
            destructive tendency in God. The creation is "energized" by these
            two tendencies as if stretched between the poles of a battery.
                Modern  Kabbalah makes a half-hearted attempt to remove  the
            more  obvious  anthropomorphisms in the  descriptions  of  "God";
            mercy and severity are misleading terms,  apt to remind one of  a
            man with a white beard,  and even in medieval times the terms had
            distinctly  technical meanings as the following  quotation  shows
                 "It must be remembered that to the Kabbalist, judgement [Din
                 - judgement,  another title of Gevurah] means the imposition
                 of limits and the correct determination of things. According
                 to  Cordovero  the  quality  of  judgement  is  inherent  in
                 everything  insofar as everything wishes to remain  what  it
                 is, to stay within its boundaries."
                       I understand the word "form" inprecisely this sense - itis
           that which  defines *what* a thing is,  the structure whereby a  given
           thing is distinct from every other thing.
                 As for "consciousness",  I use the word "consciousness" in a
            sense so abstract that it is virtually meaningless, and according
            to whim I use the word God instead,  where it is understood  that
            both  words are placeholders for something which  is  potentially
            knowable  in  the  gnostic  sense only  -  consciousness  can  be
            *defined* according to the *forms* it takes, in which case we are
            defining   the  forms,   *not*  the   consciousness.   The   same
            qualification applies to the word "force". My inability to define
            two  of  the three concepts which underpin the structure  of  the
            Tree  is a nuisance which is tackled traditionally by the use  of
            extravagant  metaphors,   and  by  elimination  ("not  this,  not
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                 The classification of sephiroth into three pillars is a  way
            of  saying  that each sephira in a pillar partakes  of  a  common
            quality  which is "inherited" in a progressively  more  developed
            and  structured form from of the top of a pillar to  the  bottom.
            Tipheret,  Yesod and Malkuth all share with Kether the quality of
            "consciousness in balance" or "synthesis of opposing  qualities",
            or but in each case it is expressed differently according to  the
            increased degree of structure imposed. Likewise, Chokhmah, Chesed
            and   Netzach   share  the  quality  of  force   or   energy   or
            expansiveness,  and Binah,  Gevurah and Hod share the quality  of
            form,  definition  and limitation.  From Kether down to  Malkuth,
            force  and  form  are combined;  the symbolism of  the  Tree  has
            something  in common with a production line,  with  molten  metal
            coming  in one end and finished cars coming out  the  other,  and
            with  that  metaphor we are now ready to describe  the  Lightning
            Flash,  the process whereby God takes on flesh, the process which
            created and sustains the creation.
                 In  the beginning...was Something.  Or Nothing.  It  doesn't
            really matter which term we use,  as both are equally meaningless
            in this context. Nothing is probably the better of the two terms,
            because  I can use Something in the  next  paragraph.  Kabbalists
            call  this  Nothing "En Soph" which literally means "no  end"  or
            infinity,  and  understand by this a hidden,  unmanifest  God-in-
                 Out of this incomprehensible and indescribable Nothing  came
            Something.  Probably more words have been devoted to this  moment
            than  any other in Kabbalah,  and it is all too easy to make  fun
            the effort which has gone into elaborating the indescribable,  so
            I  won't,   but  in  return  do  not  expect  me  to  provide   a
            justification for why Something came out of Nothing. It just did.
            A  point  crystallized in the En Soph.  In some versions  of  the
            story  the En Soph "contracted" to "make room" for  the  creation
            (Isaac  Luria's  theory of Tsimtsum),  and this  is  probably  an
            important clarification for those who have rubbed noses with  the
            hidden  face of God,  but for the purposes of these notes  it  is
            enough  that a point crystallized.  This point was the  crown  of
            creation, the sephira Kether, and within Kether was contained all
            the unrealized potential of the creation.
                 An  aspect of Kether is the raw creative force of God  which
            blasts into the creation like the blast of hot gas which keeps  a
            hot air balloon in the air. Kabbalists are quite clear about this;
            the creation didn't just happen a long time ago - it is happening
            all  the time,  and without the force to sustain it the  creation
            would crumple like a balloon. The force-like aspect within Kether
            is  the sephira Chokhmah and it can be thought of as the will  of
            God,  because  without it the creation would cease to  *be*.  The
            whole of creation is maintained by this ravening, primeval desire
            to  *be*,  to  become,  to  exist,  to  change,  to  evolve.  The
            experiential distinction between Kether,  the point of emanation,
            and Chokhmah,  the creative outpouring,  is elusive,  but some of
            the  difference  is  captured  in  the  phrases  "I  am"  and  "I
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Force by itself achieves nothing;  it needs to be contained,
            and the balloon analogy is appropriate again.  Chokhmah  contains
            within it the necessity of Binah,  the Mother of Form. The person
            who  taught  me Kabbalah (a woman) told me  Chokhmah  (Abba,  the
            Father) was God's prick,  and Binah (Aima,  the mother) was God's
            womb,   and  left  me  with  the  picture  of  one  half  of  God
            continuously ejaculating into the other half.  The author of  the
            Zohar  also makes frequent use of sexual polarity as  a  metaphor
            to describe the relationship between force and form, or mercy and
            severity  (although the most vivid sexual metaphors are used  for
            the  marriage of the Microprosopus and his bride,  the Queen  and
            Inferior Mother, the sephira Malkuth).
                 The sephira Binah is the Mother of Form;  form exists within
            Binah  as a potentiality,  not as an actuality,  just as  a  womb
            contains  the  potential of a baby.  Without the  possibility  of
            form,  no thing would be distinct from any other thing;  it would
            be impossible to distinguish between things,  impossible to  have
            individuality  or  identity  or  change.   The  Mother  of   Form
            contains the potential of form within her womb and gives birth to
            form  when a creative impulse crosses the Abyss to the Pillar  of
            Force and emanates through the sephira Chesed.  Again we have the
            idea of "becoming", of outflowing creative energy, but at a lower
            level.  The  sephira  Chesed is the point at which  form  becomes
            perceptible  to the mind as an inspiration,  an idea,  a  vision,
            that  "Eureka!"  moment  immediately  prior  to  rushing   around
            shouting  "I've got it!  I've got it!" Chesed is that quality  of
            genuine  inspiration,   a  sense  of  being  "plugged  in"  which
            characterizes  the  visionary leaders who drive  the  human  race
            onwards into every new kind of endeavour.  It can be for good  or
            evil; a leader who can tap the petty malice and vindictiveness in
            any  person  and  channel it into a vision of  a  new  order  and
            genocide  is  just  as much a visionary as  any  other,  but  the
            positive  side  of Chesed is the humanitarian leader  who  brings
            about genuine improvements to our common life.
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                 No  change  comes easy;  as Cordova points  out  "everything
            wishes to remain what it is". The creation of form is balanced in
            the sephira Gevurah by the preservation and destruction of  form.
            Any impulse of change is channelled through Gevurah, and if it is
            not  resisted then something will be destroyed.  If you  want  to
            make  paper you cut down a tree.  If you want to abolish  slavery
            you have to destroy the culture which perpetuates it. If you want
            to  change  someone's  mind you have  to  destroy  that  person's
            beliefs about the matter in question.  The sephira Gevurah is the
            quality  of strict judgement which opposes change,  destroys  the
            unfamiliar,  and  corresponds  in many ways to an  immune  system
            within the body of God.
                 There has to be a balance between creation and  destruction.
            Too much change,  too many ideas,  too many things happening  too
            quickly  can have the quality of chaos (and can literally  become
            that), whereas too little change, no new ideas, too much form and
            structure and protocol can suffocate and stifle.  There has to be
            a  balance  which  "makes sense" and this "idea  of  balance"  or
            "making  sense" is expressed in the sephira Tiphereth.  It is  an
            instinctive  morality,  and  it isn't present by default  in  the
            human species.  It isn't based on cultural norms; it doesn't have
            its roots in upbringing (although it is easily destroyed by  it).
            Some people have it in a large measure,  and some people are  (to
            all  intents and purposes) completely lacking in it.  It  doesn't
            necessarily  respect conventional morality:  it may laugh in  its
            face.  I  can't  say  what it is in any  detail,  because  it  is
            peculiar  and individual,  but those who have it have  a  natural
            quality   of integrity,  soundness of judgement,  an  instinctive
            sense of rightness,  justice and compassion, and a willingness to
            fight or suffer in defense of that sense of justice. Tiphereth is
            a  paradoxical  sephira because in many people it is  simply  not
            there.  It  can  be developed,  and that is one of the  goals  of
            initiation,  but for many people Tiphereth is a room with nothing
            in it.
                 Having  passed through Gevurah on the Pillar  of  Form,  and
            found its way through the moral filter of Tiphereth,  a  creative
            impulse picks up energy once more on the Pillar of Force via  the
            Sephira Netzach,  where the energy of "becoming" finds its  final
            expression  in  the form of "vital urges".  Why do  we  carry  on
            living?  Why bother?  What is it that compels us to do things? An
            artist  may have a vision of a piece of art,  but  what  actually
            compels the artist to paint or sculpt or write? Why do we want to
            compete  and  win?  Why do we care what happens  to  others?  The
            sephira  Netzach  expresses the basic vital creative urges  in  a
            form we can recognize as drives,  feelings and emotions.  Netzach
            is pre-verbal; ask a child why he wants a toy and the answer will
             be  "I just do".  "But why," you ask,  wondering why he doesn't want
           the  much more  "sensible" toy you  had in mind.  "Why don't you  want
           this one here."
                 "I just don't. I want this one."
                 "But what's so good about that one."
                 "I don't know what to say...I just like it."
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            This  conversation  is  not fictitious  and  is  quintessentially
            Netzach.  The structure of the Tree of Life posits that the basic
            driving  forces which characterize our behavior  are  pre-verbal
            and non-rational; anyone who has tried to change another person's
            basic  nature or beliefs through force of rational argument  will
            know this.
                After  Netzach we go to the sephira Hod to pick up our  last
            cargo of Form.  Ask a child why they want something and they  say
            "I  just  do".  Press  an adult and you will  get  an  earful  of
            "reasons".  We  live  in a culture where it is  important  (often
            essential) to give reasons for the things we do,  and Hod is  the
            sephira  of form where it is possible to give shape to our  wants
            in  terms  of reasons and explanations.  Hod is  the  sephira  of
            abstraction,  reason,  logic,  language and communication,  and a
            reflection  of the Mother of Form in the human mind.  We  have  a
            innate  capacity  to  abstract,   to  go  immediately  from   the
            particular  to  the general,  and we have an innate  capacity  to
            communicate these abstractions using language,  and it should  be
            clear    why   the   alternative   translation   of   Binah    is
            "intelligence";  Binah  is  the "intelligence of  God",  and  Hod
            underpins what we generally recognize as intelligence in people -
            the ability to grasp complex abstractions, reason about them, and
            articulate this understanding using some means of communication.
                 The   synthesis  of  Hod  and  Netzach  on  the  Pillar   of
            Consciousness  is  the sephira Yesod.  Yesod is  the  sephira  of
            interface, and the comparison with computer peripheral interfaces
            is an excellent one. Yesod is sometimes called "the Receptacle of
            the  Emanations",  and it interfaces the emanations of all  three
            pillars to the sephira Malkuth,  and it is through Yesod that the
            final abstract form of something is realized in matter.  Form  in
            Yesod  is  no  longer abstract;  it  is  explicit,  but  not  yet
            individual  -  that last quality is reserved for  Malkuth  alone.
            Yesod  is  like  the mold in a bottle factory -  the  mold  is  a
            realization  of  the  abstract  idea "bottle" in  so  far  as  it
            expresses  the  shape  of a particular  bottle  design  in  every
            detail, but it is not itself an individual bottle.
                 The final step in the process is the sephira Malkuth,  where
            God  becomes  flesh,  and  every abstract  form  is  realized  in
            actuality,  in the "real world". There is much to say about this,
            but I will keep it for later.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 The process I have described is called the Lightning  Flash.
            The Lightning Flash runs as  follows:  Kether,  Chokhmah,  Binah,
            Chesed,  Gevurah, Tiphereth, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, Malkuth, and if
            you  trace the Lightning Flash on a diagram of the Tree  you  will
            see  that  it has the zig-zag shape of  a  lightning  flash.  The
            sephiroth are numbered according to their order on the  lightning
            flash:  Kether  is  1,  Chokhmah is 2,  and so  on.  The  "Sepher
            Yetzirah" [2] has this to say about the sephiroth:
                 "When  you think of the ten sephiroth cover your  heart  and
                 seal  the  desire of your lips to announce  their  divinity.
                 Yoke your mind.  Should it escape your grasp,  reach out and
                 bring it back under your control.  As it was said,  'And the
                 living  creatures  ran and returned as the appearance  of  a
                 flash  of  lightning,'  in such a manner  was  the  Covenant
            The  quotation within the quotation comes from  Ezekiel  1.14,  a
            text   which  inspired  a  large  amount  of  early   Cabalistic
            speculation,  and  it  is probable that the  Lightning  Flash  as
            described  is  one  of the earliest components  of  the  idea  of
            sephirothic emanation.
                 The   Lightning  Flash  describes  the   creative   process,
            beginning with the unknown, unmanifest hidden God, and follows it
            through ten distinct stages to a change in the material world. It
            can be used to describe *any* change - lighting a match,  picking
            your  nose,  walking the dog - and novices are  usually  set  the
            exercise   of analyzing any arbitrarily chosen event in terms  of
            the Lightning Flash.  Because the Lightning Flash can be used  to
            understand  the inner process whereby the material world  of  the
            senses  changes  and evolves,  it is a key to  practical  magical
            work,  and because it is intended to account for *all* change  it
            follows that all change is equally magical,  and the word "magic"
            is   essentially   meaningless  (but  nevertheless   useful   for
            distinguishing   between  "normal"  and  "abnormal"   states   of
            consciousness, and the modes of causality which pertain to each).
                 It also follows that the key to understanding our "spiritual
            nature"  does  not belong in the  spiritual  empyrean,  where  it
            remains  inaccessible,  but in *all* the routine  and  unexciting
            little  things  in life.  Everything is  equally  "spiritual",
            equally  "divine",  and there is more to be learned from  picking
            one's nose than there is in a spiritual discipline which puts you
            "here" and God "over there". The Lightning Flash ends in Malkuth,
            and it can be followed like a thread through the hidden  pathways
            of  creation  until  one arrives back at  the  source.  The  next
            chapter  will  retrace  the  Lightning  Flash  by  examining  the
            qualities of each sephira in more detail.
            [1]  Scholem,  Gershom  G.  "Major Trends in  Jewish  Mysticism",
                                        Schoken Books 1974
            [2]  Westcott, W. Wynn, ed. "Sepher Yetzirah". Many reprintings.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            Chapter 4: The Sephiroth
                 This  chapter  provides a detailed look at each of  the  ten
            sephiroth  and  draws together material scattered  over  previous
                 Malkuth  is  the  Cinderella of the  sephiroth.  It  is  the
            sephira most often ignored by beginners,  the sephira most  often
            glossed  over in Cabalistic texts,  and it is not only the  most
            immediate of the sephira but it is also the most complex, and for
            sheer  inscrutability  it  rivals Kether -  indeed,  there  is  a
            Cabalistic aphorism that "Kether is in Malkuth,  and Malkuth  is
            in Kether, but after another manner".
                 The  word Malkuth means "Kingdom",  and the sephira  is  the
            culmination of a process of emanation whereby the creative  power
            of  the  Godhead is progressively structured and  defined  as  it
            moves  down the Tree and arrives in a completed form in  Malkuth.
            Malkuth is the  sphere of matter,  substance,  the real, physical
            world.   In  the  least  compromising  versions  of   materialist
            philosophy (e.g. Hobbes) there is nothing beyond physical matter,
            and from that viewpoint the Tree of Life beyond Malkuth does  not
            exist:  our  feelings  of  identity  and  self-consciousness  are
            nothing  more  than  a by-product of chemical  reactions  in  the
            brain,  and the mind is a complex automata which suffers from the
            disease   of  metaphysical  delusions.   Kabbalah  is   *not*   a
            materialist  model  of reality,  but when we examine  Malkuth  by
            itself we find ourselves immersed in matter, and it is natural to
            think in terms of physics,   chemistry and molecular biology. The
            natural  sciences provide the most accurate models of matter  and
            the physical world that we have,  and it would be foolishness  of
            the  first  order  to imagine that Kabbalah  can  provide  better
            explanations  of the nature of matter on the basis of a study  of
            the  text  of  the  Old Testament.  Not  that  I  under-rate  the
            intuition  which  has gone into the making of Kabbalah  over  the
            centuries,  but  for  practical purposes the  average  university
            science  graduate knows (much) more about the material  stuff  of
            the  world than medieval Kabbalists,  and a grounding  in  modern
            physics is as good a way to approach Malkuth as any other.
                 For  those  who are not comfortable with physics  there  are
            alternative,  more traditional ways of approaching  Malkuth.  The
            magical  image  of Malkuth is that of a young woman  crowned  and
            throned.  The woman is Malkah,  the Queen, Kallah, the Bride. She
            is  the  inferior mother,  a reflection and  realization  of  the
            superior mother Binah. She is the Queen who inhabits the Kingdom,
            and the Bride of the Microprosopus.  She is Gaia,  Mother  Earth,
            but of course she is not only the substance of this world; she is
            the body of the entire physical universe.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Some care is required when assigning Mother/Earth  goddesses
            to Malkuth,  because some of them correspond more closely to  the
            superior  mother  Binah.  There is a close  and  deep  connection
            between  Malkuth  and Binah which results in  the  two  sephiroth
            sharing   similar  correspondences,   and  one  of   the   oldest
            Cabalistic texts [1] has this to say about Malkuth:
                 "The  title of the tenth path [Malkuth] is  the  Resplendent
                 Intelligence.  It is called this because it is exalted above
                 every head from where it sits upon the throne of  Binah.  It
                 illuminates  the  numinosity  of all lights  and  causes  to
                 emanate  the  Power  of the  archetype  of  countenances  or
            One of the titles of Binah is Khorsia,  or Throne,  and the image
            which  this  text provides is that Binah provides  the  framework
            upon  which Malkuth sits.  We will return to  this  later.  Binah
            contains the potential of form in the abstract,  while Malkuth is
            is the fullest realization of form,  and both sephiroth share the
            correspondences of heaviness,  limitation,  finiteness,  inertia,
            avarice, silence, and death.
                 The  female quality of Malkuth is often identified with  the
            Shekhinah,  the  female  spirit  of  God  in  the  creation,  and
            Cabalistic literature makes much of the (carnal) relationship of
            God and the Shekhinah.  Waite [7] mentions that the  relationship
            between God and Shekhinah is mirrored in the relationship between
            man and woman,  and provides a great deal of information on  both
            the  Shekhinah and what he quaintly calls "The Mystery  of  Sex".
            After  the  exile  of the Jews from  Spain  in  1492,  Kabbalists
            identified their own plight with the fate of the  Shekhinah,  and
            she  is pictured as being cast out into matter in much  the  same
            way as the Gnostics pictured Sophia,  the outcast divine  wisdom.
            The doctrine of the Shekhinah within Kabbalah and within  Judaism
            as a whole is complex and it is something I don't feel  competent
            to  comment further on;  more information can be found in  [3]  &
                 Malkuth   is  the  sphere  of  the  physical  elements   and
            Kabbalists  still  use the four-fold scheme which dates  back  at
            least  as  far  as Empedocles and  probably  the  Ark.  The  four
            elements correspond to four readily-observable states of matter:
                          solid     -     earth
                          liquid    -     water
                          gas       -     air
                          plasma    -     fire/electric arc (lightning)
            In  addition  it is not uncommon to include a  fifth  element  so
            rarified  and arcane that most people (self included) are  pushed
            to say what it is;  the fifth element is aethyr (or ether) and is
            sometimes called spirit.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 The  amount  of  material  written  about  the  elements  is
            enormous,  and  rather than reproduce in bulk what is  relatively
            well-known  I will provide a rough outline so that those  readers
            who aren't familiar with Kabbalah will realize I am talking about
            approximately the same thing as they have seen before. A detailed
            description of the traditional medieval view of the four elements
            can  be  found in "The Magus" [2].  The  hierarchy  of  elemental
            powers can be found in "777" [4] and in Golden Dawn material  [5]
            - I have summarized a few useful items below:
                 Element        Fire          Air       Water       Earth
                 God Name       Elohim        Jehovah   Eheieh      Agla
                 Archangel      Michael       Raphael   Gabriel     Uriel
                 King           Djin          Paralda   Nichsa      Ghob
                 Elemental      Salamanders   Sylphs    Undines     Gnomes
            It amused me to notice that the section on the elemental kingdoms
            in Farrar's "What Witches Do" [6] had been taken by Alex Saunders
            lock,  stock  and  barrel  from traditional  Cabalistic  and  CM
                 The elements in Malkuth are arranged as follows:
                         East          Zenith Aethyr+    West
                         Air           Nadir  Aethyr-    Water
            I have rotated the cardinal points through 180 degrees from their
            customary directions so that it is easier to see how the elements
            fit on the lower face of the Tree of Life:
                         Hod           Yesod          Netzach
                         Air           Aethyr          Water
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            It  is important to distinguish between the elements in  Malkuth,
            where  we  are talking about real substance (the  water  in  your
            body,  the breath in your lungs),  and the elements on the  Tree,
            where we are using traditional correspondences *associated*  with
            the elements, e.g.:
                 Earth: solid, stable, practical, down-to-earth
                 Water: sensitive, intuitive, emotional, caring, fertile
                 Air: vocal, communicative, intellectual
                 Fire: energetic, daring, impetuous
                 Positive Aethyr: glue, binding, plastic
                 Negative Aethyr: unbinding, dissolution, disintegration
            Aethyr or Spirit is enigmatic, and I tend to think of it in terms
            of the forces which bind matter together.  It is almost certainly
            a coincidence (but nevertheless interesting) that there are  four
            fundamental forces - gravitational, electromagnetic, weak nuclear
            & strong nuclear - known to date, and current belief is that they
            can  be unified into one fundamental force.  On a  slightly  more
            arcane tack, Barret [2] has this to say about Aethyr:
                 "Now   seeing   that  the  soul  is  the   essential   form,
                 intelligible  and incorruptible,  and is the first mover  of
                 the body, and is moved itself; but that the body, or matter,
                 is of itself unable and unfit for motion, and does very much
                 degenerate from the soul, it appears that there is a need of
                 a more excellent medium:- now such a medium is conceived  to
                 be  the  spirit  of the world,  or that which  some  call  a
                 quintessence;  because it is not from the four elements, but
                 a  certain first thing,  having its being above  and  beside
                 them. There is, therefore, such a kind of medium required to
                 be,  by which celestial souls [e.g.  forms] may be joined to
                 gross  bodies,  and bestow upon them wonderful  gifts.  This
                 spirit is in the same manner,  in the body of the world,  as
                 our spirit is in our bodies;  for as the powers of our  soul
                 are communicated to the members of the body by the medium of
                 the spirit,  so also the virtue of the soul of the world  is
                 diffused,  throughout  all  things,  by the  medium  of  the
                 universal  spirit;  for there is nothing to be found in  the
                 whole world that hath not a spark of the virtue thereof."
            Aethyr   underpins  the  elements  like  a  foundation  and   its
            attribution to Yesod should be obvious,  particularly as it forms
            the  linking  role between the ideoplastic world of  "the  Astral
            Light"  [8] and the material world.  Aethyr is often  thought  to
            come in two flavors - positive Aethyr, which binds, and negative
            Aethyr,  which  unbinds.  Negative  Aethyr  is  a  bit  like  the
            Universal Solvent, and requires as much care in handling ;-}
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 Working with the physical elements in Malkuth is one of  the
            most  important areas of applied magic,  dealing as it does  with
            the basic constituents of the real world.  The physical  elements
            are  tangible and can be experience in a very direct way  through
            recreations such as caving,  diving,  parachuting or firewalking;
            they bite back in a suitably humbling way,  and they provide  CMs
            with an opportunity to join the neo-pagans in the great outdoors.
            Our bodies themselves are made from physical stuff, and there are
            many Raja Yoga-like exercises which can be carried out using  the
            elements  as a basis for work on the body.  If you can stand  his
            manic intensity (Exercise 1:  boil an egg by force of will)  then
            Bardon [9] is full of good ideas.
                 Malkuth is often associated with various kinds of  intrinsic
            evil,  and to understand this attitude (which I do not share)  it
            is necessary to confront the same question as thirteenth  century
            Kabbalists:  can  God be evil?  The answer to this  question  was
            (broadly speaking) "yes",  but Kabbalists have gone through  many
            strange  gyrations  in an attempt to avoid what was for  many  an
            unacceptable conclusion.  It was difficult to accept that famine,
            war, disease, prejudice, hate, death could be a part of a perfect
            being, and there had to be some way to account for evil which did
            not contaminate divine perfection. One approach was to sweep evil
            under  the  carpet,  and  in this case the  carpet  was  Malkuth.
            Malkuth became the habitation for evil spirits.
                 If one examines the structure of the Tree without  prejudice
            then  it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that evil is  quite
            adequately  accounted for,  and there is no need to shuffle  evil
            to  the periphery of the Tree like a cleaner without  a  dustpan.
            The  emanation  of  any  sephirah  from  Chokhmah  downwards  can
            manifest as good or evil depending on circumstances and the point
            of view of those affected by the energy involved. This appears to
            have  been  understood  even at the time of the  writing  of  the
            "Zohar", where the mercy of God is constantly contrasted with the
            severity  of God,  and the author makes it clear that one has  to
            balance  the  other  -  you cannot have  the  mercy  without  the
            severity.  On the other hand, the severity of God is persistently
            identified  with  the rigors  of  existence  (form,  finiteness,
            limitation),  and while it is true that many of the things  which
            have  been  identified  with  evil  are  a  consequence  of   the
            finiteness of things, of being finite beings in a world of finite
            resources governed by natural laws with inflexible causality,  it
            not  correct  to  infer  (as  some  have)  that  form  itself  is
            *intrinsically* evil.
                The notion that form and matter are *intrinsically* evil, or
            in  some  way imperfect or not a part of God,  may  have  reached
            Kabbalah  from  a  number  of  sources. Scholem comments:
                 "The  Kabbalah  of  the early  thirteenth  century  was  the
                 offspring  of  a  union between  an  older  and  essentially
                 Gnostic tradition represented by the book "Bahir",  and  the
                 comparatively modern element of Jewish Neo-Platonism."
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            There  is  the possibility that the Kabbalists of  Provence  (who
            wrote  or  edited  the "Sepher Bahir")  were  influenced  by  the
            Cathars,  a  late form of Manicheanism.  Whether the  source  was
            Gnosticism,  Neo-Platonism,  Manicheanism or some combination  of
            all three,  Kabbalah has imported a view of matter and form which
            distorts the view of things portrayed by the Tree of Life, and so
            Malkuth ends up as a kind of cosmic outer darkness, a bin for all
            the  dirt,  detritus,  broken  sephira and dirty hankies  of  the
            creation.  Form is evil,  the Mother of Form is female, women are
            definitely and indubitably evil,  and Malkuth is the most  female
            of the sephira,  therefore Malkuth is most definitely evil...quod
            erat demonstrandum. By the time we reach the time of S.L. Mathers
            and  the  Golden Dawn there is a complete Tree  of  evil  demonic
            Klippoth  *underneath* Malkuth as a reflection of the "good"  Tree
            above it.  I believe this may have something to do with the  fact
            that  meditations  on Malkuth can easily  become  meditations  on
            Binah, and meditations on Binah have a habit of slipping into the
            Abyss,  and once in the Abyss it is easy to trawl up enough  junk
            to "discover" an averse Tree "underneath" Malkuth.  This view  of
            the  Klippoth,  or Shells,  as active,  demonic evil  has  become
            pervasive,  and the more energy people put into the demonic Tree,
            the  less  there is for the original.  Abolish  the  Klippoth  as
            demonic  forces,  and the Tree of Life comes alive with its  full
            power of good *and* evil.  The following quotation from  Bischoff
            [10] (speaking of the Sephiroth) provides a more rational view of
            the Klippoth:
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
                 "Since  their energy [of the sephiroth] shows three  degrees
                 of  strength  (highest,  middle and  lowest  degree),  their
                 emanations group accordingly in sequence. We usually imagine
                 the   image  of  a  descending  staircase.   The   Kabbalist
                 prefers to  see this fact as a decreasing alienation of  the
                 central  primeval  energy.  Consequently  any  less  perfect
                 emanation  is  to him the cover or shell  (Klippah)  of  the
                 preceding,  and so the last (furthest) emanations being the
                 so-called material things are the shell of the total and are
                 therefore called (in the actual sense) Klippoth."
            This is my own view;  the shell of something is the accretion  of
            form  which  it accumulates as energy comes  down  the  Lightning
            Flash. If the shell can be considered by itself then it is a dead
            husk  of  something which could be alive - it preserves  all  the
            structure  but there is no energy in it to bring it  alive.  With
            this interpretation the Klippoth are to be found  everywhere:  in
            relationships,  at work, at play, in ritual, in society. Whenever
            something  dies and people refuse to recognize that it  is  dead,
            and cling to the lifeless husk of whatever it was, then you get a
            Klippah.  For this reason one of the vices of Malkuth is Avarice,
            not only in the sense of trying to acquire material  things,  but
            also  in the sense of being unwilling to let go of anything, even
            when it has become dead and worthless.  The Klippah of Malkuth is
            what you would get if the Sun went out:  Stasis, life frozen into
                 The  other  vice  of Malkuth is Inertia,  in  the  sense  of
            "active resistance to motion;  sluggish;  disinclined to move  or
            act".  It is visible in most people at one time or  another,  and
            tends  to  manifest  when a  task  is  new,  necessary,  but  not
            particularly exciting, there is no excitement or "natural energy"
            to keep one fired up, and one has to keep on pushing right to the
            finish.  For  this  reason  the obligation  of  Malkuth  is  (has
            to be) self-discipline.
                 The  virtue  of Malkuth is Discrimination,  the  ability  to
            perceive  differences.  The ability to perceive differences is  a
            necessity  for any living organism,  whether a bacteria  able  to
            sense  the gradient of a nutrient or a kid working out  how  much
            money  to  wheedle out of his parents.  As Malkuth is  the  final
            realization  of  form,  it is  the sphere where  our  ability  to
            distinguish between differences is most pronounced.  The capacity
            to  discriminate  is  so fundamental to survival  that  it  works
            overtime and finds boundaries and distinctions everywhere - "you"
            and  "me",  "yours" and "mine",  distinctions of  "property"  and
            "value"  and "territory" which are intellectual  abstractions  on
            one  level  (i.e.  not real) and fiercely defended  realities  on
            another  (i.e.  very real indeed).  I am not going to  attempt  a
            definition  of real and unreal,  but it is the case that much  of
            what we think of as real is unreal,  and much of what we think of
            as  unreal  is real,  and we need the same  discrimination  which
            leads  us into the mire to lead us out again.  Some people  think
            skin color is a real measure of intelligence;  some don't.  Some
            people  think gender is a real measure of  ability;  some  don't.
            Some people judge on appearances;  some don't. There is clearly a
            difference between a bottle of beer and a bottle of piss,  but is
            the color of the *bottle* important?  What *is* important?  
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           What differences are real, what matters?  How much energy do we devote
            to things which are "not real".  Am I able to perceive how much I
            am being manipulated by a fixation on unreality?  Are my goals in
            life "real",  or will they look  increasingly silly and  immature
            as I grow older?  For that matter,  is Kabbalah "real"?  Does  it
            provide  a  useful model of reality,  or is it the remnant  of  a
            world-view which should have been put to rest centuries ago?  One
            of  the  primary  exercises  of an initiate  into  Malkuth  is  a
            thorough examination of the question "What is real?".
                 The  Spiritual  Experience  of  Malkuth  is  variously   the
            Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel  (HGA),  or
            the Vision of the HGA (depending on who you believe).  I vote for
            the  Vision  of  the  HGA  in  Malkuth,  and  the  Knowledge  and
            Conversation  in Tiphereth.  What is the HGA?  According  to  the
            Gnosticism  of  Valentinus each person has a guardian  angel  who
            accompanies  that individual throughout their life and reveals  the
            gnosis;  the angel is in a sense the divine Self.  This belief is
            identical  to  what  I was taught by the  person  who  taught  me
            Kabbalah,  so  some  part of Gnosticism  lives  on.  The  current
            tradition concerning the HGA almost certainly entered the Western
            Esoteric Tradition as a consequence of S.L.  Mather's translation
            [11]  of  "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin  the  Mage",
            which  contains  full details of a lengthy ritual to  attain  the
            Knowledge  and Conversation of the HGA.  This ritual has  had  an
            important  influence  on twentieth century magicians  and  it  is
            often attempted and occasionally completed.
                 The  powers  of Malkuth are invoked by means  of  the  names
            Adonai ha Aretz and Adonai Melekh, which mean "Lord of the World"
            and "The Lord who is King" respectively. The power is transmitted
            through the world of Creation by the archangel Sandalphon, who is
            sometimes referred to as "the Long Angel",  because his feet  are
            in Malkuth and his head in Kether, which gives him an opportunity
            to chat to Metatron,  the Angel of the Presence.  The angel order
            is  the Ashim,  or Ishim,  sometimes translated as the "souls  of
            fire", supposedly the souls of righteous men and women.
            In concluding this section on Malkuth,  it worth emphasizing that
            I  have  chosen  deliberately not to explore  some  major  topics
            because there are sufficient threads for anyone with an  interest
            to  pick up and follow for themselves.  The image of  Malkuth  as
            Mother  Earth  provides a link between Kabbalah  and  a  numinous
            archetype with a deep significance for some. The image of Malkuth
            as physical substance provides a link into the sciences,  and  it
            is  the  case  that at the limits of  theoretical  physics  one's
            intuitions seem to be slipping and sliding on the same reality as
            in Kabbalah.  The image of Malkuth as the sphere of the  elements
            is  the key to a large body of practical magical technique  which
            varies  from yoga-like concentration on the bodily  elements,  to
            nature-oriented work in the great outdoors.  Lastly,  just as the
            design of a building reveals much about its builders,  so Malkuth
            can reveal a great deal about Kether - the bottom of the Tree and
            the top have much in common.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
            [1]  Westcott,  W. Wynn, ed. "Sepher Yetzirah", many editions.
            [2] Barrett, Francis, "The Magus", Citadel 1967.
            [3] Scholem,  Gershom G.,  "Major Trends in  Jewish  Mysticism",
                                        Schocken 1974
            [4] Crowley, A, "777", an obscure reprint.
            [5] Regardie, Israel, "The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic",
                                   Falcon, 1984.
            [6] Farrar, Stewart, "What Witches Do", Peter Davies 1971.
            [7] Waite, A.E, "The Holy Kabbalah", Citadel.
            [8] Levi, Eliphas, "Transcendental Magic", Rider, 1969.
            [9] Bardon, Franz, "Initiation into Hermetics", Dieter
                                Ruggeberg 1971
            [10] Bischoff, Dr. Erich, "The Kabbala", Weiser 1985.
            [11] Mathers,  S.L.,  "The Book of the Sacred Magic of  Abramelin
                                   the Mage", Dover 1975.
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           Chapter 4: The Sephiroth (continued)
                This  chapter  provides a detailed look at each of  the  ten
           sephiroth  and  draws together material scattered  over  previous
                Yesod means "foundation",  and that is what Yesod is:  it is
           the  hidden  infrastructure  whereby  the  emanations  from   the
           remainder  of  the Tree are transmitted to the  sephira  Malkuth.
           Just as a large building has its air-conditioning ducts,  service
           tunnels,  conduits,  electrical wiring, hot and cold water pipes,
           attic  spaces,  lift shafts,  winding  rooms,  storage  tanks,  a
           telephone exchange etc,  so does the Creation,  and the external,
           visible   world  of  phenomenal  reality  rests   (metaphorically
           speaking)   upon  a  hidden  foundation  of   occult   machinery.
           Meditations  on  the nature of Yesod tend to be  full  of  secret
           tunnels and concealed mechanisms, as if the Creation was a Gothic
           mansion  with  a secret door behind every mirror,  a  passage  in
           every wall,  a pair of hidden eyes behind every portrait,  and  a
           subterranean world of forgotten tunnels leading who knows  where.
           For this reason the Spiritual Experience of Yesod is aptly  named
           "The Vision of the Machinery of the Universe".
                Many  Yesod  correspondences  reinforce  this  notion  of  a
           foundation,  of something which lies behind,  supports and  gives
           shape to phenomenal reality.  The magical image of Yesod is of "a
           beautiful  naked man,  very strong".  The image which springs  to
           mind  is that of a man with the world resting on  his  shoulders,
           like  one  of  the misrepresentations of  the  Titan  Atlas  (who
           actually held up the heavens,  not the world). The angel order of
           Yesod is the Cherubim, the Strong Ones, the archangel is Gabriel,
           the Strong or Mighty One of God,  and the God-name is Shaddai  el
           Chai,  the Almighty Living God.
                The idea of a foundation suggests that there is a  substance
           which lies behind physical matter and "in-forms it" or "holds  it
           together",  something less structured, more plastic, more refined
           and rarified,  and this "fifth element" is often called aethyr. I
           will  not attempt to justify aethyr in terms of  current  physics
           (the  closest  concept  I have found is  the  hypothesized  Higgs
           field); it is a convenient handle on a concept which has enormous
           intuitive  appeal to many magicians,  who,  when asked how  magic
           works,  tend  to  think in terms of a medium  which  is  directly
           receptive  to  the will,  something which is plastic and  can  be
           shaped through concentration and imagination, and which transmits
           their  artificially  created forms  into  reality.  Eliphas  Levi
           called  this  medium the "Astral Light".  It is also  natural  to
           imagine  that  mind,  consciousness,  and  the  soul  have  their
           habitation in this substance, and there are volumes detailing the
           properties of the "Etheric Body",  the "Astral Body", the "Causal
           Body" [1,2] and so on. I don't take this stuff too seriously, but
           I do like to work with the kind of natural intuitions which occur
           spontaneously  and  independently in a large number of  people  -
           there  is  power  in these intuitions - and it is  a  mistake  to
           invalidate  them  because they sound cranky.  When I  talk  about
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           aethyr  or  the  Astral Light,  I mean there  is  an  ideoplastic
           substance  which  is subjectively real  to  many  magicians,  and
           explanations  of  magic  at the level  of  Yesod  revolve  around
           manipulating this substance using desire, imagination and will.
                The fundamental nature of Yesod is that of  *interface*;  it
           interfaces the rest of the Tree of Life to Malkuth. The interface
           is  bi-directional;  there are impulses coming down from  Kether,
           and echoes bouncing back from Malkuth.  The idea of interface  is
           illustrated in the design of a computer system: a computer with a
           multitude  of  worlds hidden within it is a source  of  heat  and
           repair  bills  unless  it has peripheral  interfaces  and  device
           drivers to interface the world outside the computer to the  world
           "inside"  it;  add  a keyboard and a mouse and a  monitor  and  a
           printer  and you have opened the door into another  reality.  Our
           own senses have the same characteristic of being a bi-directional
           interface  through which we experience the world,  and  for  this
           reason  the  senses correspond to Yesod,  and not only  the  five
           traditional senses - the "sixth sense" and the "second sight" are
           given  equal  status,   and  so  Yesod  is  also  the  sphere  of
           instinctive psychism,  of clairvoyance,  precognition, divination
           and  prophecy.  It is also clear from accounts of lucid  dreaming
           (and personal experience) that we possess the ability to perceive
           an inner world as vividly as the outer,  and so to Yesod  belongs
           the inner world of dreams,  daydreams and vivid imagination,  and
           one  of  the titles of Yesod is "The Treasure House  of  Images".
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                To  Yesod is attributed Levanah,  the Moon,  and  the  lunar
           associations of tides,  flux and change,  occult  influence,  and
           deeply   instinctive   and  sometimes   atavistic   behavior   -
           possession,   mediumship,  lycanthropy  and  the  like.  Although
           Yesod is the foundation and it has associations with strength, it
           is  by  no means a rigid scaffold supporting a world  in  stasis.
           Yesod  supports the world just as the sea supports all  the  life
           which lives in it and sails upon it,  and just as the sea has its
           irresistible currents and tides, so does Yesod. Yesod is the most
           "occult"  of the sephiroth,  and next to Malkuth it is  the  most
           magical, but compared with Malkuth its magic is of a more subtle,
           seductive,  glamorous and ensnaring kind.  Magicians are drawn to
           Yesod  by the idea that if reality rests on a hidden  foundation,
           then  by  changing the foundation it is possible  to  change  the
           reality.  The magic of Yesod is the magic of form and appearance,
           not   substance;   it  is  the  magic   of   illusion,   glamour,
           transformation, and   shape-changing.   The  most   sophisticated
           examples of this are to be found in modern marketing, advertising
           and  image consultancies.  I do not jest.  My tongue is not  even
           slightly  in my cheek.  The following quote was taken  from  this
           morning's paper [3]:
                Although  the changes look cosmetic,  those responsible  for
                creating  corporate  image  argue  that  a  redesign  of   a
                company's uniform or name is just the visible sign of a much
                larger transformation.
                "The majority of people continue to misunderstand and  think
                that  it is just a logo,  rather than understanding  that  a
                corporate identity programme is actually concerned with  the
                very commercial objective of having a strong personality and
                single-minded,    focussed    direction   for   the    whole
                organization, " said Fiona Gilmore, managing director of the
                design company Lewis Moberly.  "It's like planting an  acorn
                and then a tree grows.  If you create the right *foundation*
                (my  itals)  then you are building a whole culture  for  the
                future of an organization."
           I don't know what Ms.  Gilmore studies in her spare time, but the
           idea  that it is possible to manipulate reality  by  manipulating
           symbols and appearances is entirely magical.  The same article on
           corporate identity continues as follows:
                "The scale of the BT relaunch is colossal. The new logo will
                be  painted on more than 72,000 vehicles  and  trailers,  as
                well as 9,000 properties.
                The  company's 92,000 public payphones will get new  decals,
                and  its 90 shops will have to changed,  right down  to  the
                yellow door handles.  More than 50,000 employees are  likely
                to need new uniforms or "image clothing".
           Note  the emphasis on *image*.  The company in question  (British
           Telecom)  is  an ex-public monopoly with  an  appalling  customer
           relations  problem,   so  it  is  changing  the  color  of   its
           door handles! This is Yesodic magic on a gigantic scale.
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                The  image  manipulators gain most of their power  from  the
           mass-media.  The  mass-media correspond to two  sephiroth:  as  a
           medium of communication they belong in Hod,  but as a  foundation
           for our perception of reality they belong in Yesod. Nowadays most
           people form their model of what the world (in the large) is  like
           via the media.  There are a few individuals who travel the  world
           sufficiently  to have a model based on personal  experience,  but
           for most people their model of what most of the world is like  is
           formed by newspapers,  radio and television;  that is,  the media
           have become an extended (if inaccurate) instrument of perception.
           Like  our  "normal"  means of perception  the  media  are  highly
           selective in the variety and content of information provided, and
           they  can be used by advertising agencies and other  manipulative
           individuals to create foundations for new collective realities.
                While on the subject of changing perception to assemble  new
           realities,  the following quote by "Don Juan" [4] has a definite
           Cabalistic flavour:
                "The next truth is that perception takes place," he went on,
                "because  there  is  in  each of  us  an  agent  called  the
                assemblage   point  that  selects  internal   and   external
                emanations for alignment.  The particular alignment that  we
                perceive  as  the world is the product of  a  specific  spot
                where our assemblage point is located on our cocoon."
           One of the titles of Yesod is "The Receptacle of the Emanations",
           and  its function is precisely as described above - Yesod is  the
           assemblage  point which assembles the emanations of the  internal
           and the external.
                In  addition  to the  deliberate,  magical  manipulation  of
           foundations, there are other important areas of magic relevant to
           Yesod.  Raw, innate psychism is an ability which tends to improve
           as more attention is devoted to creative visualization,  focussed
           meditation (on Tarot cards for example),  dreams (e.g.  keeping a
           dream  diary),   and  divination.   Divination  is  an  important
           technique  to  practice even if you feel you are terrible  at  it
           (and  especially  if  you  think  it  is  nonsense),  because  it
           reinforces  the  idea  that it is permissible  to  "let  go"  and
           intuits  meanings into any pattern.  Many people have  difficulty
           doing  this,  feeling  perhaps  that they will  be  swamped  with
           unreason (recalling Freud's fear, expressed to Jung, of needing a
           bulwark  against the "black mud of occultism"),  when in  reality
           their minds are swamped with reason and could use a holiday.  Any
           divination system can be used,  but systems which emphasize  pure
           intuition are best (e.g.  Tarot,  runes,  tea-leaves,  flights of
           birds,  patterns on the wallpaper,  smoke. I heard of a Kabbalist
           who  threw a cushion into the air and carried out  divination  on
           the  basis  of the number of pieces of foam stuffing  which  fell
           out).  Because  Yesod  is a kind of aethyric  reflection  of  the
           physical world,  the image of and precursor to  reality,  mirrors
           are an important tool for Yesod magic.  Quartz crystals are  also
           used,   probably  because  of  the  use  of  crystal  balls   for
           divination,  but also because quartz crystal and amethyst have  a
           peculiarly  Yesodic quality in their own right.  The average  New
           Age shop filled with crystals, Tarot cards, silver jewelry (lunar
           association),  perfumes, dreamy music, and all the glitz, glamour
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           and  glitter  of a demonic magpie's nest,  is like a  temple  to
           Yesod.  Mirrors  and  crystals are used passively  as  foci  for
           receptivity, but they can also be used actively for certain kinds
           of  aethyric magic - there is an interesting book on  making  and
           using magic mirrors which builds on the kind of elemental magical
           work carried out in Malkuth [5].
                Yesod  has  an  important  correspondence  with  the  sexual
           organs. The correspondence occurs in three ways. The first way is
           that when the Tree of Life is placed over the human  body,  Yesod
           is positioned over the genitals. The author of the Zohar is quite
           explicit about "the remaining members of the  Microprosopus",  to
           the  extent that the relevant paragraphs in Mather's  translation
           of "The Lesser Holy Assembly" remain in Latin to avoid  offending
           Victorian sensibilities.
                The  second  association of Yesod with the  genitals  arises
           from  the  union  of the Microprosopus and  his  Bride.  This  is
           another recurring theme in Kabbalah, and the symbolism is complex
           and  refers  to several distinct  ideas,  from  the  relationship
           between  man and wife to an internal process within the  body  of
           God: e.g [6].
                "When  the  Male  is  joined  with  the  Female,  they  both
                constitute one complete body,  and all the Universe is in  a
                state of happiness, because all things receive blessing from
                their perfect body. And this is an Arcanum."
           or, referring to the Bride:
                "And she is mitigated,  and receiveth blessing in that place
                which is called the Holy of Holies below."
           or, referring to the "member":
                "And  that  which floweth down into that place where  it  is
                congregated,  and  which is emitted through that  most  holy
                Yesod,  Foundation,  is entirely white,  and therefore is it
                called Chesed.
                Thence  Chesed entereth into the Holy of Holies;  as  it  is
                written Ps.  cxxxiii.  3 'For there Tetragrammaton commanded
                the blessing, even life for evermore.'"
           It  is  not difficult to read a great deal into  paragraphs  like
           this,  and there are many more in a similar vein.  Suffice to say
           that  the  Microprosopus  is often identified  with  the  sephira
           Tiphereth,  the  Bride is the sephira Malkuth,  and the point  of
           union between them is obviously Yesod.
                The  third and more abstract association between  Yesod  and
           the  sexual  organs  arises because  the  sexual  organs  are  a
           mechanism  for perpetuating the *form* of a living  organism.  In
           order to get close to what is happening in sexual reproduction it
           is worth asking the question "What is a computer program?". Well,
           a  computer program indisputably begins as an idea;  it is not  a
           material  thing.  It can be written down in various ways;  as  an
           abstract  specification  in set theoretic notation akin  to  pure
           mathematics,  or  as  a  set of  recursive  functions  in  lambda
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           calculus;  it  could be written in several different  high  level
           languages - Pascal,  C,  Prolog,  LISP, ADA, ML etc. Are they all
           they same program? Computer scientists wrestle with this problem:
           can we show that two different programs written in two  different
           languages  are  in some sense functionally  identical?  It  isn't
           trivial  to do this because it asks fundamental  questions  about
           language  (any  language)  and meaning,  but it  is  possible  in
           limited  cases  to  produce  two  apparently  different  programs
           written   in  different  languages  and  assert  that  they   are
           identical.   Whatever   the  program  is,   it  seems  to   exist
           independently of any particular language,  so what is the program
           and  where is it?  Let us ignore that chestnut and go on  to  the
           next  level.  Suppose we write the program down.  We could do  it
           with  a pencil.  We could punch holes in paper.  We  could  plant
           trees in a pattern in a field.  We can line up magnetic  domains.
           We can burn holes in metal foil.  I could have it tattooed on  my
           back. We can transform it into radically different forms (that is
           what compilers and assemblers do). It obviously isn't tied to any
           physical representation either.  What about the computer it  runs
           on?  Well,  it  could be a conventional one made with CMOS  chips
           etc.....but  aren't there a lot of different kinds and  makes  of
           computer, and they can all run the same program. It is also quite
           practical  to build computers which *don't* use electrons  -  you
           could use mechanics or fluids or ball bearings - all you need  to
           do  is  produce  something with the  functionality  of  a  Turing
           machine, and that isn't hard. So not only is the program not tied
           to any particular physical representation,  but the same goes for
           the  computer itself,  and what we are left with is two puffs  of
           smoke.  On another level this is crazy;  computers are real, they
           do  real things in the real world,  and the programs  which  make
           them work are obviously real too....aren't they?
                Now apply the same kind of scrutiny to living organisms, and
           the mechanism of reproduction. Take a good look at nucleic acids,
           enzymes,  proteins etc., and ask the same kind of questions. I am
           not  implying  that  life is a sort of program,  but  what  I  am
           suggesting is that if you try to get close to what constitutes  a
           living  organism  you  end up with another puff of  smoke  and  a
           handful  of  atoms which could just as well be  ball-bearings  or
           fluids  or....The thing that is being perpetuated through  sexual
           reproduction is something quite abstract and immaterial; it is an
           abstract  form preserved and encoded in a particular  pattern  of
           chemicals,  and if I was asked which was more real, the transient
           collection  of chemicals used,  or the abstract  form  itself,  I
           would answer "the form". But then, I am a programmer, and I would
           say that.
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                I   find  it  astonishing  that  there  are  any   hard-core
           materialists left in the world.  All the important stuff seems to
           exist at the level of puffs of smoke,  what Kabbalists call form.
           Roger Penrose,  one of the most eminent mathematicians living has
           this to say [7]:
                "I  have made no secret of the fact that my  sympathies  lie
                strongly  with the Platonic view that mathematical truth  is
                absolute,  external and eternal,  and not based on  man-made
                criteria;  and  that  mathematical objects have  a  timeless
                existence of their own,  not dependent on human society  nor
                on particular physical objects."
           "Ah  Ha!"  cry  the  materialists,   "At  least  the  atoms   are
           real." Well,  they  are until you start pulling them  apart  with
           tweezers and end up with a heap of equations which turn out to be
           the linguistic expression of an idea. As Einstein said, "The most
           incomprehensible   thing   about  the  world  is   that   it   is
           comprehensible",  that  is,  capable of being described  in  some
           linguistic form.
                I am not trying to convince anyone of the "rightness" of the
           Cabalistic  viewpoint.  What I am trying to do is show that  the
           process  whereby  form is impressed on matter  (the  relationship
           between  Yesod  and Malkuth) is not  arcane, theosophical  mumbo-
           jumbo;  it is an issue which is alive and kicking, and the closer
           we  get  to  "real things" (and that  certainly  includes  living
           organisms),  the better the Cabalistic model (that form precedes
           manifestation, that there is a well-defined process of formation
           with the "real world" as an outcome) looks.
           The  illusion of Yesod is security,  the kind of  security  which
           forms the foundation of our personal existence in the world. On a
           superficial level our security is built out of  relationships,  a
           source of income, a place to live, a vocation, personal power and
           influence etc,  but at a deeper level the foundation of  personal
           identity  is  built  on a series  of  accidents,  encounters  and
           influences  which  create the illusion of who  we  are,  what  we
           believe  in,  and  what we stand for.  There is  a  warm,  secure
           feeling  of knowing what is right and wrong,  of doing the  right
           thing,  of living a worthwhile life in the service of  worthwhile
           causes,  of having a uniquely privileged vantage point from which
           to  survey  the problems of life (with all  the  intolerance  and
           incomprehension of other people which accompanies this  insight),
           and conversely there are feelings of despair, depression, loss of
           identity,  and  existential  terror  when a crack  forms  in  the
           illusion,  and  reality shows through - Castaneda calls  it  "the
           crack in the world".  The smug,  self-perpetuating illusion which
           masquerades  as  personal identity at the level of Yesod  is  the
           most astoundingly difficult thing to shift or destroy.  It fights
           back  with  all  the  resources  of  the  personality,   it  will
           enthusiastically embrace any ally which will help to shore up its
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 
           defenses   -  religious,   political  or   scientific   ideology;
           psychological,   sociological,   metaphysical  and   theosophical
           claptrap (e.g.  Kabbalah); the law and popular morality; in fact,
           any  beliefs  which  give it the power to  retain  its  identity,
           uniqueness and integrity.  Because this parasite of the soul uses
           religion (and its esoteric offshoots) to sustain itself they have
           little  or  no  power  over it and become a  major  part  of  the
                There  are  various ways of overcoming this  personal  demon
           (Carroll [8],  in an essay on the subject,  calls it  Choronzon),
           and the two I know best are the cataclysmic and the abrasive. The
           first method involves a shock so extreme that it is impossible to
           be  the  same person again,  and if enough preparation  has  gone
           before  then it is possible to use the shock to rebuild  oneself.
           In  some  cases this doesn't happen;  I have  noticed  that  many
           people  with  very rigid religious beliefs  talk  readily   about
           having  suffered  traumatic experiences,  and the  phenomenon  of
           hysterical conversion among soldiers suffering from war  neuroses
           is well known.  The other method,  the abrasive,  is to wear away
           the demon of self-importance,  to grind it into nothing by  doing
           (for  example) something for someone else for which one  receives
           no thanks, praise, reward, or recognition. The task has to be big
           enough  and awful enough to become a demon in its own  right  and
           induce  all  the  correct feelings of compulsion (I  have  to  do
           this),  helplessness (I'll never make it),   indignation  (what's
           the point,  it's not my problem anyway),  rebellion (I  won't,  I
           won't, not anymore), more compulsion (I can't give up), self-pity
           (how  did  I get into this?),  exhaustion (Oh  No!  Not  again!),
           despair  (I can't go on),  and finally a kind of submission  when
           one's  demon hasn't the energy to put up a struggle any more  and
           simply gives up.  The woman who taught me Kabbalah used both  the
           cataclysmic  and  the  abrasive  methods  on  her  students  with
           malicious  glee  -  I will discuss this in  more  detail  in  the
           section on Tiphereth.
                The virtue of Yesod is independence, the ability to make our
           own foundations,  to continually rebuild ourselves, to reject the
           security  of comfortable illusions and confront  reality  without
                The vice of Yesod is idleness.  This can be contrasted  with
           the  inertia of Malkuth.  A stone is inert because it  lacks  the
           capacity to change,  but in most circumstances people can  change
           and can't be bothered.  At least,  not today. Yesod has a dreamy,
           illusory, comfortable, *seductive* quality, as in the Isle of the
           Lotus  Eaters - how else could we live as if death  and  personal
           annihilation only happened to other people?
                The  Klippothic aspect of Yesod occurs when foundations  are
           rotten  and  disintegrating and only the  superficial  appearance
           remains  unchanged - Dorian Gray springs to mind,  or cases where
           the  brain is damaged and the body remains and carries out  basic
           instinctive  functions,  but the person is dead as far  as  other
           people are concerned.  Organizations are just as prone to this as
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           [1] A.E.  Powell,  "The Etheric Double",  Theosophical Publishing
                               House, 1925
           [2] A.E.  Powell,  "The Astral Body",  Theosophical Publishing
                               House, 1927
           [3] "It's the Image Men We Answer To",  The Sunday  Times,  6th.
                                                   Jan 1991
           [4] Castenada, Carlos, "The Fire from Within", Black Swan, 1985.
           [5] N.  R.  Clough, "How to Make and Use Magic Mirrors", Aquarian
           [6] S.L.  Mathers, "The Kabbalah Unveiled", Routledge & Kegan Paul
           [7] Roger Penrose,  "The Emperor's New Mind",  Oxford  University
                                Press 1989
           [8] Peter J. Carroll, "Psychonaut", Samuel Weiser 1987.
           Copyright Colin Low 1991
                          Last amended June 11, 1989  --  Page NEXTRECORD 

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