Precession of the Equinoxes essay revised

First posted at Mon, 23 Apr 2001 02:55:21

This is an expansion of an earlier essay on the precession of the equinoxes and the Tree of Life to include a more thorough discussion of the underlying Kabbalistic principles. Material on Kabbalah typically falls into the either the rabbinic tradition or the Golden Dawn tradition. The Golden Dawn approach, typified by Dion Fortune and Aleister Crowley, tends to build up long chains of associations, and in the process sometimes loses track of the basic ideas of things. For example, the sephira Netzach is traditionally the place of individual contact with the divine. Its association with Venus relates to notions of the divine as beloved and sexual metaphor. To bring in pagan love goddesses and other things related to human mating is to get seriously sidetracked. Certain insights of Crowley's regarding the numerology underlying Kabbalah form the basis for my approach. The other point on which I draw on GD theory is in the idea of pairing the tarot trumps with the Hebrew letters. I disagree with the GD's pairing of these, but when I attempted to come up with my own pairing, things fell out neatly, and the idea of having such images to illustrate the nature of the letters is quite sound. Otherwise, I have drawn on rabbinic sources and my own insights in terms of theory, though I generally follow ceremonial type methods when translating things into practice. Aryeh Kaplan's books are probably the best introduction to rabbinic Kabbalah. I have taken Joseph Gikatilla's Gates of Light as my primary reference on the sephiroth. The other major early Kabbalistic sources are Sepher Yetzirah, the Bahir, and the Zohar. An excellent source on the Hebrew letters is The Inner Meaning of the Hebrew Letters by Robert Haralick. The skeleton of the Kabbalistic system, which underlies the sephiroth of the Tree of Life and the Hebrew letters, is found in its arithmetic structure. There are various takes on numerology which must be mentioned. There are traditional Kabbalistic methods, most often associated with Abraham Abulafia, for taking information about letters, numbers, gematric values of words, etc. and following various rules to jump from one piece of information to another. Although it is probably possible using these techniques to get from any one point to any other, it should be noted that the rules are actually rather strict and the point is to get the mind into particular channels, eventually resulting in a flood of information coming through. This sort of meditation differs from Eastern types in that it seeks prophecy, not emptiness. Various people have adopted more freeform versions of these practices, generally bringing in unrelated subjects like Pythagorean numerology, building up mountains of associations which eventually collapse under the weight of their contradictions, producing a sort of intellectual sartori. The notion that this is the sole possible point to numerology has hardened into a dogma in certain circles. Another approach to numerology, the one we will be concerned with in this essay, is to take numbers as a coherent symbol set and to use their arithmeticrelations to map various relationships between occult concepts.

Arithmetic Preliminary:

Consider writing the number 5 as sums of smaller numbers. We can write 5=1+4, 5=2+3, 5=3+2, and 5=4+1. The last two are the same as the first two except for order, so we may ignore them. We can write 4=1+3 and 4=2+2, and combining this with 5=1+4 give 5=1+1+3 and 5=1+2+2. Likewise 5=2+3 gives 5=1+1+3 and 5=2+1+2. Continuing, we eventually end up with 5=1+1+1+1+1 regardless of what route we take. Likewise, any other positive integer will eventually reduce to a sum of 1's. Now consider multiplication, taking 12 as our example. 12 can be written as 12=2*6 and 12=3*4. 6=2*3 and 4=2*2, so by either route we end up with 12=2*2*3. This is as far as 12 can be reduced, since 2 and 3 can not be written as products of two smaller integers. Numbers like 2 and 3 that can not be written as products of smaller integers are called primes. 12=2*2*3 is called 12's prime factorization. Every positive integer has a unique prime factorization, ie a unique way of writing the number as primes multiplied together will result from the above sort of reduction. As Aleister Crowley has observed, prime factorization seems to be the primary structure underlying the Kabbalistic system.

The Tree of Life:

The sephiroth of the Tree of Life are numbered as follows:

3 2
5         4=2*2
8=2*2*2       7

The division into pillars is the result of pairing off the powers of 2: 2,4,8 with the odd primes: 3,5,7, the other numbers going in the central pillar. The three top sephiroth, the supernals, and the bottom one, Malkuth, are primary. The six between, known as the Zer Anpin, have derivative natures based on arithmetic relations and positions in the Tree. Kether is the root source within the Tree, given the beginning of form through the other two supernals. Chokmah is the root of force or will, Binah of form. Chokmah's nature is defined by its position between Kether and Binah, being the result of the root source seeking form. Malkuth represents manifestation. Gedulah as 4=2*2 and positioned directly below Chokmah represents will as it begins to be seen manifesting. Gevurah as 5=10/2 represents that which is necessary as a complement to will for manifestation to be possible. It introduces a degree of limitation to complement Gedulah's unlimited implementation of divine will. 5 is also found at the center of the 3x3 kamea. The kameas are traditionally associated with the planets, not the sephiroth, but my opinion is that the numbers associated with the kameas fit with things needed for the implementation of number that is the length of the sides. This together with the fact that Gevurah is directly below Binah means that Gevurah is an independent factor below which allows forms to be taken. Tiphareth as 6=2*3 is a synthesis of the supernal influences and, by position, is the balance between Gedulah and Gevurah and the balance point of the whole Tree. Netzach as 7 is an independentfactor within Chokmah's pillar, this being the point where individuals make contact with the will coming from above. Hod as 8=2*2*2 represent will elaborated until it fits within Binah's pillar, ie elaborated until it has taken on specific forms. Yesod as 9=3*3 is a sort of lower version of Binah, focusing the higher nine in the way that Binah focuses the higher three, and being a leap from Malkuth in the way Binah is a leap from Gedulah. Finally, we must mention Daath. Daath is traditionally conceived as a child of Chokmah and Binah, giving a temporary sephiroth carrying the supernals influence below. The term Daath is sometimes also used to refer to the region bounded by sephiroth 2-5.

The Patriarchs:

The lower seven sephiroth are traditionally assigned to seven of the patriarchs. Gedulah is assigned to Abraham, since he possessed unlimited devotion to God, as typified by his willingness to sacrifice his son. Gevurah is assigned to Isaac, who imposed limitation on his father's devotion by asking where the sacrifice was. Tiphareth is assigned to Jacob, who balanced the patterns of his father and grandfather and thus gave birth to the tribes of Israel. Netzach is assigned to Moses who talked to God. Hod is assigned to Aaron who complemented Moses by performing the assorted miracles. Yesod is assigned to Joseph, who as Jacob's son embodied the higher patterns, and as vizier is Egypt stood above the mundane to serve his people. Malkuth is assigned to David, the only one of the seven patriarchs not from the Torah. He was the archetypal king, serving in Malkuth which means kingdom. Malkuth and Binah are also assigned to Jacob's wives Leah and Rachel, the seven years that Jacob had to spend married to Leah before he could also marry Rachel represent the process of climbing the seven steps from Malkuth to Binah.

The Days of Creation:

The days of creation as described in Genesis 1 are traditionally assigned to the lower seven sephiroth. The first three words of Genesis Bereshith (In the beginning) Bara (created) Elohim (God) can be considered as the three supernals mainfesting through those below them. Bereshith is Kether giving forth Chokmah (assigned to B) and Binah (assigned to Reshith). BaRa reflects the seed drawn from Kether to Chokmah (B) and passed from there to Binah (R). Elohim's gematria is 86, the 8 signifying the sephiroth from Binah to Malkuth and the 6 those between Binah and Malkuth, reflecting that creation occurs as a result of their having space between them. The heaven and the earth then refer to Binah and Malkuth. The creation of light on the first day relates to Gedulah's implementation of divine will. The division of the seas on the second day relates to Geburah's making creation possible by introducing limitation. This is completed on the third day because both sides of the Tree must be involved to manifest on earth, and the further creation on that day reflects Tiphareth's position in the middle of the Tree. The creation of the Sun, Moon, and stars on the fourth day reflects that Netzach involves individual realizations. The swarms on the fifth day reflect thecomplementary nature of Hod. That everything comes to fruition on the sixth day reflects Yesod's place as focus of the top nine sephiroth. God rests on the seventh day because Malkuth was created back at the beginning.

The Names of God:

The primary name of God is IHVH. This name is placed on the Tree with the tip of the Iod in Kether and the rest in Chokmah, the first Heh in Binah, the Vav in the Zer Anpin, and the second Heh in Malkuth. Two other names that often go with IHVH are Eheyeh and Adonai. The gematria of these names add to 21 for Eheyeh, 26 for IHVH, and 65 for Adonai. If we view the Tree in layes from the top of 1, 2, 6, and sephiroth, then these names can be seen as referring to pairs of these layers, with the 65 of Adonai relating to the lower seven sephiroth as the VH of IHVH. These three names are the ones traditionally assigned to Kether, Tiphareth, and Malkuth. The name Yah, spelled IH, is assigned to Chokmah. This use of the first two letters of IHVH reflects Chokmah's position among the supernals. To Binah is assigned IHVH read as Elohim. This reflects the creative formula of IHVH rooted in Binah, rather than simply moving through Malkuth as indicated by the usual process of pronouncing IHVH as Adonai. Gedulah and Gevurah have God-names El and Elohim respectively, the latter being the feminine plural of the masculine El. El adds to 31 which is a glyph of the supernals giving rise to Daath as a child, and Elohim connects Binah and Malkuth as discussed above, so these names represent creation as it emanates from the supernals. The God-names for Netzach and Hod are IHVH Tzabaoth and Elohim Tzabaoth. Tzabaoth means hosts, and these names reflect the fact that this level introduces connection to multitudes of forces. The God-name for Yesod is El Chai meaning Living God. As an aside, I'll note that the Golden Dawn's Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is odd from the point of view of traditional Kabbalah because it uses the name AGLA which seems to be a Renaissance invention and because it places the archangels in nontraditional directions. A variant that would fit better with tradition would be to place AHIH and Auriel in the East, IHVH and Michael in the South, ADNI and Raphael in the West, and ALHIM and Gabriel in the North. This can be considered as running clockwise from East to East Spirit-Fire-Air-Water-Earth.

The Precession of the Equinoxes and the Sephiroth:

The following sections describe the results of work I have done using two theories about the zodiacal ages. The first, due to Benjamin Rowe, asserts that the sign of the age corresponds to the midheaven with the sings opposite and at right angles going with the corresponding positions. The second, the result of my own work, asserts that the lower four side sephiroth of the Tree of Life rotate through the signs, Gedulah corresponding to the sign of the age, Geburah that of the preceding age, Netzach that of the next preceding, and Hod that of the next preceding (thus also going with the rising position). The idea for this came as a result of my reading the earliest Kabbalistic works, which describe thesephiroth Gedulah, Geburah, and Tiphareth, in terms of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The big scene involving Abraham and Isaac is the one in which Abraham is prepared to sacrifice Isaac and Isaac asks where the sacrifice is, indicating that he does not see himself in that role. Abraham is assigned to Gedulah, because of his unlimited devotion, and Isaac to Geburah because he introduces limitation. This is quite logical, but chopping up one's son does not fit very well with the usual Jovian notion of Gedulah as merciful. Also, Chockmah and Gedulah are traditionally assigned to water, in something like the sense of "the Tao is like water", and in the Old Testament, particularly the story of Noah, what flows from God is destruction, which again doesn't fit with the Jovian take on Gedulah. This all does, however, fit with the Age of Aries, when the Old Testament was written, and this gave rise to the idea that Gedulah should reflect the sign of the age. Of course, Gedulah as Aries/Mars and Geburah as Mars as well does not make sense, so I speculated that the preceding age should fit with Geburah. This may be seen, for example, in the last few chapters of the Book of Job, when Job sees the earth aspect of deity and is thus relieved of his afflictions. Experimentation confirmed this and led to the conclusion that Netzach and Hod also rotate. All of these ultimately reflect what is going on with Chockmah (2) which corresponds to what is flowing from the divine and is traditionally assigned to the zodiac, and may thus be expected to reflect the sign of the age. Gedulah (4=2*2) reflects the elaboration and implementation of what comes from Chockmah. Geburah (5=10/2) reflects what is needed to complement and limit the divine flow to give manifestation. Netzach (7) and Hod (8=2*2*2) are the level traditionally associated with prophecy, with Netzach reflecting individual contact with that above and Hod the forms which result. A fuller discussion of the Tree of Life appears at the end of the essay.

Past Ages:

The method I have used in exploring the energies of past ages is to invoke TBOLIIZON of the VX tablet, the four quarter signs in the four directions, and the Tree with the appropriate signs invoked with the sephiroth. The transition from the Age of Aries to the Age of Pisces seems to have run from approximately 600 BC to 100 AD, give or take a century. Ages run about 2166 years, so other dates may be inferred from these. The patterns for some of the ages seem to have come in only amongst the most advanced groups, with others remaining in the patterns of eariler ages. Increased ease of travel and communication has resulted in the patterns of the Ages of Pisces and Aquarius spreading more thoroughly. Proceeding backwards: The Age of Pisces has featured religions, most notably Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, which have preached dissolution into oneness with God/Tao/emptiness/etc.(Pisces), compassion (Jupiter, ruler of Pisces), and an emphasis on authority and hierarchy on both mundane and spiritual levels (Jupiter). Humble service (Virgo nadir) to the point of servility has been emphasized. Endless holy books and sutras have been taken as authorities on all things (Gemini rising). The spiritual experiences giving rise to these have been treated with varying awe and oppression (Sagittarius descdending).. The martial aspect of the preceeding age has been incorporated in the kingdoms which have sought to advance their official religions, religious persecutions, and the severe austerities some have undertaken. Netzach has reflected Taurus in the rich sensory forms that visions have taken, the physical forms that practice has taken such as yoga, sitting, and sacred dance, and the notion of the divine as beloved (Venus, ruler of Taurus), often expressed in sexual metaphor. The Age of Aries was a period dominated by warfare, where epic heroes and such were revered. There was an emphasis on law as the basis of society (Libra nadir) as seen in the Old Testament or the Code of Hammurabi. There was a focus on people as members of tribes or nations (Cancer rising) and of the gods as members of the tribe or nation. Wealth was a necessity but something to be regulated so that it did not threaten the social order (Capricorn descending). The earth-oriented practices of the preceding age were kept in a subordinate role (Taurus Geburah), for example in the relationship between the Aesir and Vanir. Gemini as Netzach is seen in the Biblical prophets, Delphic oracle, etc. bringing words (Gemini) for the community (Cancer Hod). The Age of Taurus featured natural forces as deities and an emphasis on large construction projects, both of mundane value such as irrigation and of religious value such as temples, pyramids, etc. Scorpio as nadir reflected a strong awareness of people's mortality and a focus on the long-lasting or eternal. Leo rising reflected the emphasis on sacred kings and priests. Aquarius nadir reflected the politics behind the scenes. Gemini as Geburah was seen in the notion of names and words of power and in the practical knowledge needed for the construction projects. Cancer as Netzach reflected the community as source of power for the priests or kings, with them serving as a connection between the people and the gods. The Age of Gemini was one when many technological innovations appeared and spread, knowledge being focused on material usefulness (Virgo rising). Trade and travel increased (Sagittarius nadir) as a result of increased wealth due to more and more efficient agriculture. Spirituality was most likely viewed as something of practical use (Pisces descending). Most people would have remained in settled communities that would take time to absorb changes (Cancer Geburah). Netzach as Leo would reflect both the individual as explorer or inventor and the rise of big men in communities involving differences in wealth and prestige. The Age of Cancer was the one in which people first began serious agriculture and were consequently forced to settle on particular pieces of land with particular communities. Capricorn nadir would reflect becoming farmers and herders. Libra rising would reflect the emphasis on regulation by the community necessitated by people's being stuck together.Aries descending would reflect the suppression of conflict and direction of martial energy away from the community. Leo as Geburah reflects the absorption of the shamanic and hunt leader functions into community rituals and activities. Netzach as Virgo would relate to the practical knowledge needed for farming and for witchcraft (Cancer and ruling Moon) which arose in this period. The Age of Leo was one of hunter-gatherers. Leo represents the role of the shaman or hunt-leader as standing apart from the band and the mundane. Aquarius nadir represents the close-knit nature of bands, with little privacy, as well as the freedom to leave and find a new band if desired. Scorpio rising represents the constant involvement in life and death processes. Taurus descending represents the limited nature of building shelters and tools. Virgo as Geburah represents the need for practical material knowledge for the shaman or hunt-leader. Libra as Netzach represents the shaman's role as bringing balance to physical processes and energies. The past four Ages of Virgo seem to have been the transitions between what Blavatsky and others refer to as the root races. The fourth root race corresponds to Homo Sapiens Sapiens as hunter-gatherers. During the third root race, our existence seems only to have extended to the astral plane. The Tree of Life with sephiroth rotating through the signs seems to have characterized this period, whereas the four quarter signs seems to be related to physical manifestation. During the third root race's Age of Sagittarius, a few adventurous human souls began incarnating. During the Age of Scorpio, the rest of us were set to observe and learn about the process. During the Age of Libra, we were set to learning harmonious relations so we would have something to draw on when we incarnated. During the Age of Virgo we were cast into physical incarnation. We seem to have acquired an androgynous sexual potential in the Age of Aquarius and sexual differentiation in the Age of Scorpio. During the second root race, we seem only to have extended to the mental plane. This period was characterized by the sign of each age and the one three ahead, going with Hod and the rising position. During the first root race, we seem to have only been specks on the causal plane. This period does not seem to have been connected to the precession of the equinoxes. It was divided into six long periods corresponding to the signs from Pisces to Libra. Through the Sagittarius period, we were able to respond to forces from outside the Earth. The veil seems to have appeared after this. The Pisces period began with God's (or the Tao's or whatever term one prefers) arrival on Earth (with us). God came from another universe, entering outside the solar system and proceeding in through the planetary zones, stopping by Jupiter for a lesson on the second ray in this solar system. In the other universe, God in undifferentiated form intersected some sort of patterning, the result being our and other beings creation out of God. This patterning may have been put their to make the being absorbing itsuited to the job on Earth. The Age of Aquarius: It seems best to start with mundane aspects of the incoming age before proceeding on to more spiritual aspects. Following Ben's essay, let us consider the rise of science as a source of worldviews and recent politics and economics. The defining characteristic of science is its goal of theories that accurately fit with and predict observable facts. This fits well with the Taurus rising aspect, in contrast to the theology of the Age of Pisces which often did not even bother with coherence. There is an assumption that everyone can judge facts and theories for themselves and a mythos of scientists having brillaint insights, both going with Leo nadir. Science is involved in making possible processes of creation and destruction, going with the Taurus-Scorpio polarity. Science as a social process reflects the combination of Saturn and Uranus as traditional and modern rulers of Aquarius. Scientists are able to propose any theories and pursue any lines of inquiry that seem likely to be productive. In presenting their views, however, they are required to follow strict rules of evidence and submit to a process of peer review. The latter Saturian aspect pushes the former Uranian aspect into productive lines, ideally avoiding the chaos that can be associated with Uranus while incorporating the freedom and potential for useful change. Scientists tend to have a hierarchy of assumptions that they bring to their work. If an experiment fails to give the expected result, they first assume the particular experiment was screwed up. If that proves to be false, they assume they've mismodelled the particular situation. If that proves untenable, they will tend to assume that the most specific theories are faulty, only questioning and revising fundamental theories when all else fails. This gives a layering of Saturnian structures. If one of these layers proves flawed, the Uranian energies are brought to bear on it while the next higher layer fills the Saturnian role. All of this combination of Saturn and Uranus allows scientists to expand knowledge while staying connected to facts and avoiding the sorts of endless repetitive arguments that other intellectual disciplines are plagued by. The biggest political shift of the past few centuries has been the movement of people from agriculture to manufacturing and service jobs and the consequent shift in power from governments and communities to the marketplace. This has been happening under all forms of government except the most extreme forms of communism, which today only remain in a few countries such as Cuba and North Korea, though it has progressed furthest in the countries normally labelled capitalist. The market works on a combination of Saturnian and Uranian elements that fit together in the same way as with science. Required for the market to function effectively are well-defined property rights, sanctity of contracts, and rule of law. Within the confines of these Saturnian elements, people can do what they think best, and prices and economic activities change quite often in response to changes in demand, available technologies, and other economicconditions. The fact that prospering requires providing other people with things they will pay for leads to efficiently productive activity (ignoring externalities, natural monopolies, etc.) and explains why the 20th century has seen more material prosperity than the rest of human history combined. Consumerism certainly fits with Taurus rising and Leo nadir. The ambivalence toward destructive aspects represented by Scorpio descending can be seen in how the environment is dealt with. For quite a while, the issue was simply ignored and skys and waters freely polluted. After people started to concern themselves with this, a significant portion of the environmental movement adopted a "This is awful. It should all stop now." attitude which shows a similar lack of perspective. Some environmental regulations tend to reflect the attention people can attract rather than anything that could be described as rational. For example, "charismatic fauna" get much more protection than small animal and plant species which are probably more important ecologically. The other major political change has been the rise of constitutional representative democracy and the notion of universal human rights. Government would tend to fit with the Saturnian aspect of Aquarius, and the Uranus-Saturn relationship seen above suggests the classical liberal view of the state as providing a secure environment in which people can pursue their own goals. This is in contrast with populist notions of democracy which envision a "will of the people" discovered and implemented by the state. The notion of a "will of the people" is at odds with the Leo nadir aspect of the age. Government can be viewed as a set of institutions governed by rules and processes, making elections a feedback mechanism that gets rid of politicians who do particularly badly (or are unlucky). The requirement of holding periodic elections gives the Uranian aspect of Aquarius an outlet in an otherwise Saturnian context, allowing changes in direction when these are deemed necessary without the excesses of revolutions and such. The reader may wish to refer to the writings of F.A. Hayek for more detailed ideas about politics, economics, and social theory that fit with the above. Spiritual processes can be looked at from many perpectives. At the most mundane level, the Taurus-Netzach aspects of the previous age can be expected to be popularized. This can be seen in the popularization of meditation, yoga, Sufi dance, etc. The glamorous visions aspect can be seen in the widespread use of psychedelics and in the rise of mass media, movies, television, etc. Some of these things lack direction to a greater or lesser degree, as might also be expected. Another thing which seems associated with the transition from the Piscean age to the Aquarian is ceremonial magic and related aspects of neopaganism, Thelema, chaos magic, etc. One way to view this is in terms of the Saturn-Uranus combination, with the sets of symbols giving a structure for ritual and meditation and the visions and such fitting the Uranian aspect. This seems to have been the intended method of the Golden Dawn, from which most popular ceremonialforms derive. The problem that arises with this is that there are serious inconsistencies between the teachings of the Golden Dawn, which are taken for granted by many people, other ceremonial-oriented sources such as Agrippa, and earlier systems which are drawn on such as Kaballah, Enochian magic, and Egyptian mythology. People who look into such things are faced with a variety of versions of each system and little to help them figure out which is best for them. Reactions to this seem to fall into two categories. The conservative reaction is to oppose any changes to whatever method the person learned, sometimes with peculiar results like people asking why old Jewish sources should be involved in an understanding of Kaballah. The other reaction is to assert that anything can be made to work about as well as anything else, so people should go with what works for them. As this usually means whatever they stumbled across first, it is not much different from the conservative reaction in practice. All of this reflects the notion that methods should be handed down by authorities and used as prescribed or is in reaction to this notion. If this emphasis on authority, which fits with the Age of Pisces, is replaced by a notion of functionality, then it should be possible to make careful comparisons of different variants of systems in terms of what is useful in various contexts. A layering of structures, as in science, might then be possible. Of course, the process of revelation is, to a large extent, the point of the exercise, and the subjective nature of visions makes comparisons difficult, but it seems worth trying. Expecting people to begin by trying to intuitively select which systems to use largely defeats the purpose. More so than in other ages, the pillars have an internal coherence, with the right pillar reflecting will and the left love, in higher and lower forms. Alice Bailey's books mention that there will be a large infusion of will energy at some point. The Book of the Law's "Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be the Whole of the Law" seems to imply the same with its "shall be". I believe the AF pillars mentioned in the fifth Enochian call are the vehicle of this infusion. In any event, the switch from yin signs on the right pillar and yang on the left to the reverse implies that the divine will switch from being perceived as something to be sought to being perceived as something active to be dealt with. Aries/Mars and Taurus/Venus as the most manifest forms of will and love seems clear enough. Binah as the oneness of the manifest is a high form of love, and Chockmah is the root of will. The Age of Pisces has been characterized by a notion of God and humanity as important and everything else as a side issue. The Age of Aquarius may be expected to bring a reorientation outward, but from a higher perpective. Humanity's souls were made out of God (or Tao or whatever term is preferred), and most people are spiritually oriented toward God. At the same time, our incarnating physically has involved us in the larger creative scheme of the Earth. The ruling spirit of the Earth is currently trapped in the core, with onlycracks allowing Her influence to be felt, but Her influence is increasingly coming through. Likewise, the influence of the Sun and other extraterrestrial forces are increasingly coming in, and people will have to find places for themselves in relation to these. The influence of the Worldspirit, Sun, and other forces may be associated with Chockmah, since God and people may be expected to become involved in the creative processes they instigate. The Worldspirit may also be associated with Binah, since Her permission is required for any long-term projects, the Earth being Her body. That leaves Gedulah and Geburah to discuss. Gedulah will naturally reflect Aquarius, Saturn, and Uranus. As the implementation of Chockmah, it relates to the way various projects are implemented and the way people may be brought into them. The Saturn-Uranus relationship will presumably be seen in the way projects are coordinated, but it is too early to say how that will evolve. So far in the 20th century, people have tended to see Saturn and Uranus in opposition and to emphasize one, ultimately to be knocked down by the other. The turn of the last century saw a number organizations set up, such as the Golden Dawn and the Theosophical Society, which had rather hierarchical structures. These ultimately experienced internal tensions, the leaders responded in control freak fashion, and they imploded. By contrast, most of the spiritual revival of the 60's and 70's favored Uranus against Saturn, with a corresponding lack of the structures needed to prevent things and people from burning out. Since Gedulah involves structuring and transforming will, Geburah as the limiting factor needs to make this suitable to human beings. Jupiter as compassion and leadership would be in charge of this. Pisces can be seen as dissolving away differences between lower and higher will. Neptune can be interpretted as translating the alien into forms people can deal with. Gedulah and Geburah must then be balanced and integrated in Tiphareth. The Hebrew Letters:

Besides the sephiroth, the other major piece of Kabbalah is the Hebrew
letters. The letters are assigned to path numbers 11-32 as well as having
gematric values. The path numbers continue the pattern of the sephiroth. The
gematric values 1-10 mostly refer to patterns on the Tree of Life. Also
significant are the shape of the letters and how they are written out in full.
The letters are traditionally divided into groups of three mother letters,
seven double letters, and twelve single letters. The latter two groups can be
assigned to the classical planets and signs of the zodiac. The zodiacal attributions I use follow the theory that Jacob's sons in birth order match
the single letters in order and that the placement of the three tribes in each
direction in Numbers 2 are given in the order center-left-right rather than
left-center-right as usually assumed. This gives a much better match for the
blessings on the tribes, the signs, and the letters. The planetary
attributions come from my own working with the letters, being in order from
outer to inner, as do the tarot attributions. I use the placement of the
letters between the sephiroth popularized by the Golden Dawn, though the Isaac
Luria's version has its interesting points as well. Descriptions of the
individual letters are as follows:

11: Aleph as 1 reflects the unity of the Tree. It's shape consists of two I's and a V, which total 26 giving a connection to IHVH. The upper I relates to the I of IHVH and thus Kether and Chockmah extending into Binah. Also, ALPh has gematria 111=3*37 indicating the supernals as expressions of unity. Aleph as the 11th path can correspond to Daath as child of the supernals. The V corresponds to the Zer Anpin. A as balance between Sh as heaven and M as earth would go with this, as reflected in their placements on the horizontal paths of the Ari's version of the Tree. The lower I goes with Malkuth as the 10th sephira and with the meaning of Aleph as bull. That it's a 10 indicates Malkuth as reflecting the whole Tree, thus A is the means by which the higher manifest in and unite with the lower. It is associated with air and with the Wheel of Fortune, the hub, spokes, and rim fitting with the parts of the letter and Tree.

12: Bith as 2 reflects Chockmah emerging from Kether and, since Chockmah can't exist without Binah, extending into Binah. The path number is a glyph of these. As house and 412, it reflects the lower 7 as receptive to the supernals. This reflects the parallel between the supernals with Chockmah and the lower 7 with Binah indicated in Chockmah and Gimel both adding to 73 and Binah and Zayin both adding to 73. The 41 of 412 seems to refer to the four living creatures and the throne. Bith is associated with the planet Saturn as the first emergence of structure and the World card for the same reason.

13: Gimel as 3 reflects the supernals, the pillars they head, and the lower two triads. As 13, it is a glyph of Daath emerging as child of the supernals as well as Daath acting on the next triad. AChD the word for one adds to 13 and incorporates the three letters which can be taken as referring to Daath, reinforcing this point, which also fits with the place of the letter's path in the Tree. 13 can also be taken as Malkuth drawing on the lower triad and by extension on the entire pillars. The letter's shape is a V with a I at the bottom. This adds to 16, a glyph of the lower 7 sephiroth which also fits with the shape of the letter, the I taken as Malkuth. This reflects the knob at the top of the letter drawing on Binah or Daath and pouring down influence below. GML's gematria of 73 relfects the same thing, being a glyph of the lower 7 drawing on the higher 3. Gimel is associated with Jupiter and the Star card because it is a means whereby blessings are poured down from above.

14: Daleth has gematria 434 which is a glyph of the Tree including Daath and reflects the influence of a child of the supernals projected directly into the lower 4 sephira or Malkuth as the elements. It is associated with the planet Mars and with the Emperor card because of the energetic and disruptive nature of this. The location of the letter's path naturally connects with Daath. Note that DaViD adds to 14, the pathnumber, and follows a similar pattern of 4 supernals, Zer Anpin, Malkuth as D, connecting this to the warrior-king pattern.

15: Heh is primarily associated with Binah and Malkuth, as per IHVH, and is thus the primary female letter. As 5=10/2, it indicates the female as necessary complement of will to give manifestation. As path 15 it is associated with the 3x3 kamea, whose lines sum to 15, Geburah since 1+2+3+4+5=15, and the god-name IH which includes the necessity of Binah for Chockmah to exist. Its path between Chockmah and Tiphareth reflects the female's role of combining with will to make all things possible, reflected in Tiphareth's central position. It is associated with the sign Taurus and with the Strength card, reflecting the primary female power.

16: Vav is primarily associated with the Zer Anpin, as per IHVH. Its value of 6 is similar to the 6 of Tiphareth which is at the heart of the Zer Anpin. Its path number is a glyph of the lower 7 sephiroth and equals 2^4, making it an elaboration of the will principle of Chockmah and Gedula. It may be written VV, adding to 12 indicating drawing on the supernals, or alternatively as VAV, adding to 13 indicating drawing on Daath, or VIV, adding to 22 and indicating the Zer Anpin as vehicle for active manifestation (see Lamed below). Its path between Chockmah and Gedulah connects will above and below the Abyss, paralleling the Zer Anpin's connecting the supernals and Malkuth. It is associated with the sign Gemini and may be considered the twin of Zayin. It is also associated with the Lovers card, the two women the man is between reflecting Binah and Malkuth.

17: Zayin as 7 is associated with both the lower 7 sephiroth and with the 7 sephiroth from Binah to Yesod. The latter association indicates withdrawl of divine energy from the world. This is associated with the story of David and Bathsheba, whose name can be read as House of Seven and thus Binah as head of 7 sephiroth. Because David sinned in committing adultery and having her husband killed, God withdrew from Malkuth to Binah. Yet, it was with Bathsheba that David has Solomon. A similar theme can be found in the Tibetan story of Milarepa, and the descents into hell of various figures such as Inanna and Jesus after the crucifiction would also fit in a different sense. The path number 17 would reflect either 7 and the excluded of Binah and Malkuth, and the gematria of 67 indicates V's involvement as connecter of Binah and Malkuth. Binah's gematria also totals 67, indicating its predominance in this process, and the path from Binah to Tiphareth reflects the emergence of the lower 7, of which Tiphareth is the center, from Binah, and the corresponding return. Zayin is associated with the sign Pisces, relating to the dissolution aspect of this sign. It is also associated with the Hermit card, reflecting withdrawl.

18: Cheth can be written as two Zayins with a ^ above them, indicating that it
unites the two interpretations of Zayin into a group of 8 and thus connects
Binah and Malkuth, seen in Jesus resurrected, etc. It can also reflect Daath
as head of the lower 8 sephira including it. Theseinterpretations are
compatible, since one person's attaining joining of Binah and Malkuth in his
or her own experience will result in a Daath child for others. It is worth
noting here that there is a danger of mistaking Daath for Binah when
approaching from below. ChITh adds to 418. As in B, the 41 seems to represent
the four living creatures and the chariot, so 418 indicates Daath manifesting
through these. Also, 418=11*38 indicating Daath as 11 as head of the 8 below
the supernals. The location of the path between Binah and Geburah reflects the
fact that Cheth allows Binah to be reflected below the Abyss. It is associated
with the sign Leo and the Hierophant card as the power of a realized being.

19: Teth as 9 is associated with the upper 9 sephiroth and as 19 with Malkuth receiving from them. Its shape is made up of a P and a Z, which add to 87 indicating a connection with LBNH the Moon. These form a container to receive from above, indicating Malkuth in lunar receptive mode. It adds to 419 which would cast the living creatures and chariot in the role of Malkuth. It's position between Gedulah and Geburah reflects these sephiroth as the chief ones responsible for energy from above the Abyss manifesting through the top nine. The name Eve totals 19, and Teth means serpent, giving the serpent as higher nine to Eve's Malkuth. Teth is associated with Scorpio and the Moon card.

20: Iod as the first letter of IHVH is associated with the supernals, primarily Chockmah. As 10, it is associated with the entire Tree. Its path number and gematria are both 20 which combines these two meanings, indicating that creative energies pass down the Tree through the receptivity of lower sephiroth to higher ones. It's shape is a dot corresponding to Chockmah curved to extend to Kether and Binah. Its small size suggests a seed sent down the Tree. The position of the path between Gedulah and Tiphareth reflects Gedulah's role at the head of the lower seven, bringing things from above into the entire lower group. It is associated with Libra and the Temperance card, indicating creation begins in balance.

21: Kaph as 20 reflects the receptivity of lower sephira to higher mentioned
above in Iod. Its path number 21 is a glyph of the supernals and by extension
reflects the unity of lower and higher sephira.  21 is also the value of AHIH,
I am, reflecting the self as vessel for higher influence.  Its gematria 100
indicates that it extends the creative process into the material. Its final
value of 500 reflects the energy of Heh received by the material. The path's
position between Gedulah and Netzach reflects the passing of will into a form
oriented toward the individual.  It is associated with the Sun and the Sun

22: Lamed as 30 indicates the flow from above mentioned in Gimel manifesting actively. It adds to 74, indicating the lower 7 moved by Daath. The path number 22=2*11 indicates will manifested through Daath and is the number of Hebrew letters which are means of manifesting. It is composed of a V reaching up from a K associated with Malkuth to Binah or Daath. It is the tallest of the letters, indicating that it is centered in Malkuth enough that it is a long reach. V and K add to 26, giving aconnection to IHVH. The path's position between Geburah and Tiphareth relates to Geburah's role as making manifestation possible, this extending to all the lower seven through Tiphareth. Lamed is associated with Aries and with the Chariot card as vehicle for higher forces.

23: Mem as the 23rd path is associated with the flow from Chockmah to Binah (2->3) and by extension from the right pillar to the left and the supernals to the lower 7. As 40, it indicates the work in the elemental realm necessary for energy to flow from above and is associated with the 40 years in the wilderness, 40 days of flood, 40 days on the mountain, etc. Also, 40 is associated with Daath emerging from above and the gematria 80 with Daath's influence manifesting below. The main form consists of a V and a K joined, adding to 26 and thus connecting to IHVH, and has an opening at the top indicating that it is receptive and thus female. Its final form is composed of two D's and closed, indicating it is male and nonreceptive. These add to 8, indicating Daath from below, and in particular its limitations from an initiatory perspective. Its final value of 600 reflects Vav letting influence flow into the material. The path's position between Geburah and Hod relates to the work necessary for things to take on forms. It is associated with water and with the Tower card reflecting energy forcing its way in.

24: Nun as 50 is associated with Binah both as the upper Heh manifesting and as the 50 gates of Binah. It is now associated with manifestations of the Worldspirit's influence. As 50=2*25, it reflects the divine will reached through the activity of Samekh (see below). Its path number 24=3*8 indicates Binah's influence reflected through the forms of Hod. Its final shape is considered to run from Kether to Malkuth, bending toward Binah at the top. Its main shape is the same except bending toward Netzach and ending at Yesod, or alternatively reflects the path from Kether to Malkuth through all the sephiroth. Its gematria 106 indicates Malkuth influenced by the Zer Anpin; also 24=6*4 is the Zer Anpin acting on Malkuth as elements. Binah thus influences manifestation through the Zer Anpin. Nun is associated with Sagittarius and with the Fool card, reflecting the process of finding one's way into Binah. Its final value of 700 indicates Binah as head of seven sephiroth influencing the material. The path's position between Tiphareth and Netzach relates to Binah's being reflected through Tiphareth to the individual in Netzach.

25: Samekh as 60 indicates the Zer Anpin influencing Malkuth, providing
support to the material as Holy Guardian Angel however conceived. The path
number 25=5*5 indicates independent movement (5) carried on to make contact with higher will. The gematria 120 indicates manifestation of the supernals as
12. This can be interpretted as the spiritual evolution and material support
provided to those who assist in carrying out the plans and projects coming
from above. It is associated with Virgo, indicating the need for work
involved, and the High Priestess card, reflecting the support aspect. The
path's position between Tiphareth and Yesod casts Tiphareth in the role of the
2 of 25 and Yesod as the 5.

26: Ayin as the 26th path is associated with IHVH and as 70 with the tribes of Israel, which can be taken more generally as referring to those under the protection of a higher power, indicated by the association with the sign Cancer. This can be interpretted as relating to the building of groups and communities to further the creative processes. Ayin means eye, which relates to Binah's and Malkuth's seeing back and forth, which seems to remove the division of Zayin without introducing the unity of Cheth. It is assigned to the Judgement card, reflecting the sense of the higher watching and working with the lower. The path's position between Tiphareth and Hod relates to forms emerging into manifestation via IHVH.

27: Peh as the 27th=3^3 path reflects Binah's and thus the Worldspirit's
influence in manifestation. It is also a glyph of the supernals minus Kether
influencing the lower 7. As 80, it indicates the manifest effects of Binah
uniting with Malkuth or of Daath acting below. Its gematria of 85=17*5
indicates the Heh's connecting via the 17 of Zayin. Its main shape is a K with
a I sticking in, indicating a seed allowed to enter through the receptivity of
K and adding to 30, meaning it is a means of the flow from above manifesting.
Its final form is composed of an R and an I, indicating the seed entering the
receptive material. It is associated with Venus and the Empress card. Its
final value of 800 relates to Binah or Daath as 8th reflected in the material.
The path's position between Netzach and Hod relates to these as the level of
prophecy, which consists of responsiveness to what is emerging as Daath.

28: Tzaddi as 90 indicates the influence of the upper 9 sephiroth manifesting through Malkuth. The path number 28=1+2+3+4+5+6+7 reflects a higher influence joining with Netach to produce manifestation. By shape, both main and final, Tz consist of a N and a I facing away from each other. These represent Binah and Chockmah, thus giving a hermaphrodite figure as the perfection of individual will manifesting patterns in the world. It is associated with Aquarius and with Joseph, the son who, having been sold into Egyptian slavery, rose to become a sort of vizier to the Pharoah and ultimately saved the rest of the family from starvation. Its final value of 900 indicates the higher nine similarly acting in the material realm. It is associated with the Hanged Man card, a figure in an uncomfortable position of power. The path's position between Netzach and Yesod indicates the inspired individual will reflecting into the level hidden behind manifestation.

29: Qoph as 100 indicates the material. As 29 it indicates the upper nine, Yesod, and Malkuth holding a similar relationship to Kether, Chockmah, and Binah. Qoph means ape, relating to the preoccupation with the material, or eye of a needle, indicating a narrow route beyond the material. Its shape is a K with a V extending down along the side, adding to 26 and connecting to IHVH. As I've seen it, the K connects Yesod and Malkuth and thus lets the V create an opening down to or through thebottom of Malkuth. Note that Q is the only Hebrew letter that extends below the line. It is asociated with Capricorn and the Devil card. The path's position between Netzach and Malkuth refects inspiration flowing directly into the manifest.

30: Resh as 200 indicates the introduction of structure into the material.
It's path number 30 indicates the active manifestation of the flow from above
(see Lamed). Thus, the flow is able to reach into the material. It is
associated with Mercury and the Magician card. The path's position between Hod
and Yesod allows forms to enter the level behind manifestation.

31: Shin is the complement of Mem. Its shape has, from right to left, I, V, Z, adding to 23, indicating that Shin captures Mem's flow. If we count the base as a triangle or three-pronged line as three, this totals 26, connecting to IHVH. The path number 31 reflects Binah as completing the flow from Kether through Chockmah, and by extension the left pillar and lower 7 sephiroth doing the same. It is also the complement of 13, and thus indicates the supernals focusing into Daath, the next triad drawing on Daath, and the bottom triad focusing the pillars into Malkuth. The last fits with the shape of the letter, with the I, V, Z going with the pillars. 31 can also be related to Malkuth redeemed, ie elevated to the level of Daath, with the 3 being the supernals and 1 Malkuth. Shin as 300 indicates the flow from above of Gimel entering the material. Its gematria is 360. 36=6*6 and 1+2+...+8, so it indicates the manifestation of Tiphareth incorporating the forms of Hod. It's also a glyph of the supernals above the Zer Anpin. Shin thus involves a manifestation of this. It is associated with fire and with the Death card indicating major initiation. The path's position between Hod and Malkuth relates to Hod as giving form to that which comes from above and this being focused into Malkuth.

32: Tov as 400 indicates the influence of Daath within the material. The path
number 32=2^5 reflects will elaborated until it is a part of form, indicated
by the 3 of 32. It's shape combines a R with a V reaching down from it,
indicating the influence of V entering as structure into matter.  R and V add
to 206, the same as DBR word, and Tov means mark, these being concrete
reflections of the divine will.  Tov is associated with the Moon as well as
with the Justice card reflecting manifestation of divine will. The path's
position between Yesod and Malkuth relates to this as a sign of the hidden
within the manifest.

-Dean Hildebrandt


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