“…the Colour Plan which runs through the whole of the Qabalistic scheme, is not there merely to give the Tree a festive appearance…” — W.E. Butler, in Magic and the Qabalah
Subjective and objective aspects of the colours
“The glyph of the Tree may be used for meditation purposes and also as a plan upon which practical, objective work may be done,” writes W.E. Butler in The Magician: His Training and Work, “but these two aspects of work upon the Tree (we may term them the subjective and the objective aspects) use different diagrams. Different in colour, that is, for the method of using the forces in meditation is different from that of using them in practical magical work, and this difference is shown in the colours on the Tree.
“When considering the colours used for the Tree diagrams, it should be remembered that for objective magical work and ritual initiation, the psychic structures which are built up are linked with the appropriate Sephiroth, and these are coloured in a higher scale than the connecting Paths between them.” (as below):
“…But for meditation work concerned with action upon our own weaknesses, the psychic structure, or Astral Temple, should be in the same colour scale as the connecting Paths. This enables one to work upon the corresponding centre in one’s own aura…” (as below):
and then Mr Butler continues on the following page:
“When considering this matter of the colour-scales, it must be realised that the colours are not purely arbitrary but are based upon a real relationship between them and the forces they represent. This relationship may be based on a common identity, or may be the one which has been given by the meditations of generations of students, and which, thereby, is built into the Egregore of the Tree. The same is true of all the symbols used on the Tree. They have this two-fold nature.” (W.E. Butler, The Magician, His Training and Work, pp. 39, 40)
This is basically what the text of the Golden Dawn’s Adeptus Minor initiation ritual says: “…Behold the diagram Minutum Mundum sive Fundamental Coloris – the Small Universe or Foundation of Colour. Treasure it in thy heart, and mark it well, seeing that herein is the Key of Nature. It is, as thou seest, the diagram of the Sephiroth and the Paths, with the colours appropriately attributed thereto. See that thou reveal it not to the profane, for many and great are its mysteries.
“…Further, thou wilt observe that the colours of the Paths and the Sephiroth form a mutual balance and harmony on the Tree. Colours are Forces, the Signatures of the Forces; and the Child of the Children of the Forces art thou. And therefore about the Throne of the Mighty One is a Rainbow of Glory, and at His Feet is the Crystal Sea. But there are many other attributions of colour also, seeing that the respective rays meet and blend with each other.”
Pools of influence, traces and echoes
“When speaking of the thirty-two paths of the Tree of Life, it must be remembered that there are only twenty-two that actually link the spheres together with what might be termed, a path. The other ten are the spheres or emanations of the Tree itself. One might describe them as pools or reservoirs of influence, acting as termini for the beginning and ending of each path. Their greater importance in terms of pathworking is that they collect and hold traces and echoes from the paths that enter and leave them. Because of the interwoven patterns of the Tree this means that each sphere contains particles of influence drawn not only from its fellows, but also from their mutually connective paths. It is this interplay of influences that lies behind the Qabalistic teaching that there is, ‘a tree in every sphere’.” (from The Shining Paths, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, Introduction, p 11).
Etz Chaim: The Foundation
“…The Qabalah is the foundation of the Western Mystery Tradition, just as the Yoga Sutras, the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and other holy works are the foundations of the Eastern Tradition. In its entirety, the Qabalah is the great body of philosophy to be found in the religion texts of the Jews; including the Old Testament of the Bible, particularly the Pentateuch. It can also be seen in the vast complex of astrological, alchemical and occult symbology that has come down to us, as well as in the Rosicrucian and Masonic myth – including the Tarot, which is indigenous to the West. ….the entire wisdom of the Qabalah is contained in one simple yet unique and marvellous diagram known as ETZ CHAIM, the Tree of Life. Simple, yes. But this glyph has been described as “the Mighty, All-Embracing Glyph of the Soul of Man and the Universe.” Without this composite symbol, it is probable that the Western Tradition would have been entirely destroyed. …” (Servants of the Light website)