The idea of how the forces and flows of the universe make themselves known to human beings and/or how human beings become more aware of the forces and flows of the universe is an interesting one. Some would say it’s perhaps the key concept to truly understanding anything about deeper psychological and spiritual relationships among humans, not to mention between humans and the animal and plant kingdoms.
Perhaps seeing the All in terms of how each ‘part’ relates to other ‘parts’ is the start of a wider and deeper worldview than many of our current societal, religious, business or governmental models allow: an ecology of the Spirit, rather than a strict hierarchy.
Power, energy or ‘cosmic force’ radiating onto the beings of Earth interacting with Earth herself and reflecting back to the Source is a common theme in spiritual endeavour from structured religions to intuitive shamanism. Regarding the Qabalah (and the Kabbalah), the connection can be fairly succinctly stated by the phrase: As Above, So Below. For centuries this was represented by ‘Adam Kadmon’, the original or ‘heavenly’ man.
However, to get to the point of people directly learning about the Tree as an inner reality rather than solely as an abstraction, the images to the right show how the interactions with the cosmic forces and our different bodies might be represented. With the Tree, the glyph with the 10 Sephiroth is superimposed onto the human form. This is done by seeing the Tree in front of you, then turning around and backing into it so that Geburah is at (or in) your right shoulder area and Gedula (Chesed) is at your left, rather like putting on a coat (of many colours). Each Sephira is thus associated with a part of the physical/etheric, astral, mental and spiritual bodies of a person. Much more about that can be found in standard teachings from schools in the Western Mystery Tradition.
In The Miracle Tree, R.J. Stewart sums up the need for personal experience very nicely: “…To many people, Qabalah in any tradition, but especially in the Western or Hermetic, offers a mass of highly intellectualised systematised information … yet the bulk of it is frustrating and incomprehensible. It is because information has been valued over participation. Accumulate comparisons, hold them at arms length, study them, and find the “complete system.” This obsession of occultism previewed exactly what we find today in our computer driven culture.
If you were given an entire library of all the Qabalistic texts ever written, published and unpublished, what would you do? Spend years reading it? Exhause your energies hunting for the one, the one and only, book (hidden somewhere in the stacks or on disc) that had the true information? A tenth of the time and energy spent in mediation with the Tree of Life would transform us utterly. The text is within us, just as we are truly within the universal Being” (p.70).
Rising on the Planes
A Garden of Pomegranates, by Israel Regardie provides a detailed, guided visualisation exercise that begins by placing the individual within the sphere of Malkuth in Assiah with a huge Tree of Life rising above, the Kether of which is lost in the clouds. They then travel in spirit vision up the Middle Pillar on the Path of Tau to Yesod of Assiah; from Yesod up the Path of Samekh to Tiphareth; from Tiphareth up the Path of Gimel into the ‘passageway of Da’ath’ and then continue up Gimel to Kether in Assiah.
Kether in Assiah, then becomes Malkuth in Yetzirah and the visualisation continues up through Yesod, Tiphareth, Da’ath and Kether in the Astral/Dream/Creative level of Yetzirah. As before, Kether in Yetzirah become Malkuth in Briah and the visualisation keeps moving upward to Kether in Briah, when then becomes Malkuth in Atziluth, the Spiritual world. Upon ultimately reaching Kether in Atziluth, the visualisation notes the importance of returning back the the same way:
“…Do not rush and do not plunge down suddenly.” the text continues. “You descend steadily from Kether of Atziluth, down the Path of Gimel. You pass through the passageway of Da’ath through the Abyss. You move downward through Tiphareth and continue down the Path of Samekh to Yesod . From Yesod, you descend the Path of Tau to Malkuth. Malkuth becomes the Kether of Briah, and you pass down through the World of Briah in the same manner: fro Kether to Da’ath, Tiphareth, and Yesod to Malkuth. Malkuth of Briah becomes Kether of Yetzirah, and you continue your downward trek: Kether to Da’ath, Tiphareth, and Yesod to Malkuth. Malkuth of Yetzirah become Kether of Assiah, and you continue to descend from Kether to Da’ath, Tiphareth, and Yesod to Malkuth. Finally you stand once more on the black-and-yellow-rayed sphere of Malkuth in Assiah. You are again grounded to the earth.”
The meditator is encouraged to ground and centre and take time to acclimate to physical world before moving around.
The process above may seem a bit detailed to some, but it provides an excellent example of one way the Four Worlds can be experienced, as well as how the human body provides a living temple to work with the energies and forces on The Tree, not as abstractions but as personal experiences. Although a guided visualisation like the one provided by Regardie utilises the imagery of the Tree and the levels/worlds, everyone will experience that pathworking differently depending on their own place on the Path and resonance to this kind of working.
As noted on the SOL website, “The Tree maintains an existence on four very different levels or worlds, the Physical, the Astral or Dream World, the Mental and finally the Spiritual. In each world these spheres (Sephiroth) both give and receive influences from those above and below them. There are two exceptions. The lowest receives from all those above it. The highest receives from the unknowable Three Veils of Negative Existence, a state we might call Chaos, Desire for Order and Potential.”