Friday, September 27, 2013

The Tree of Life I - Qabalah is the New Black

'As early as the 10th century, Saadia Gaon, remarked
about the many variants of Sefer Yetzirah, saying, "It
is not a common book and many people have been
careless in changing or transposing the text." A
century later, Rabbi Yehudah Barceloni likewise notes
that, "there are many, some very confused." In 1562,
the printers of the first Mantua edition remarked how
they had to sift through many manuscripts to find a

dependable text.'
- Inroduction to Sefer Yetzirah in Theory and Practice, Aryeh Kaplan

  • The Tree of Life is a diagram that consists of 10 Sefirot and 22 paths which divide into 3 horizontal paths, 7 vertical paths and 12 diagonal paths.  These are collectively referred to as the 32 paths of wisdom.

  • The Hebrew Alefbeit contains 22 letters which represent elements, planets and zodiac signs and which also divides into 3 mothers, 7 doubles and 12 simples.

  • The letters are associated according to those groups, the 3 mother letters of Alef, Mem and Shin with the 3 horizontal paths, the 7 doubles with the 7 verticals, the 12 simples with the 12 diagonals.

  • The association of letter to astrological symbol is not controversial for the 3 mothers and the 12 simples.  The order of creation in the SY is Air, Water, Fire* and the association runs parallel to their appearance in the Alefbeit, i.e. Alef is first therefore Air, Mem is second therefore Water, Shin is third therefore Fire.  In exactly the same way the order of the simples in the Alefbeit, Heh to Qoph, is directly associated with the order of the zodiac Aries to Pisces.

  • The double letter to planet association is more controversial varying between rabbinical sources but the oldest commentary (Saadia Gaon) goes with the most logical order following the Chaldean order of the planets i.e. Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, Moon with Beit, Gimel, Dalet, Kaph, Pe, Resh, Tav.  This would agree with the way the other letters have been ordered i.e. the simplest and most logical way.

  • The Kircher Tree is a corruption of these basic fundamentals the planets are misaligned and the path system is completely off - this is not a malicious error, its an accident (possibly of translation or of conversation) but one which has been unresolved because of poor research and dogma within the institutions responsible.  Many people who encounter the esoteric sciences via the G.D. et al are inducted into the Kircher without even realising that there are other sources which are more accurate. Indeed the materials of the Western esoteric sciences present the Kircher Tree as *the* Tree as opposed to *a* Tree which ignores (or remains ignorant of) the rather obvious structure implied above.  I think this is actually rather embarrassing.

  • The Tree shown below is an array structured to show the principles outlined above.  This Tree of Life is known as the Saadia Tree.  Both the Ari Tree (Isaac Luria) and the Gra Tree have slightly different arrangements of exactly where the paths go (although the division remains 3, 7 and 12) and slightly different planetary associations (which are perhaps associated with planetary hour as opposed to Chaldean order) but they both adhere to the logical breakdown of 3, 7 and 12.




The Tree of Life is a diagram which represents a 5 dimensional hypercontinuum of space, time and observer.  In the Saadia Tree the attributions of the ''Depths'' (or axial endpoints) of these dimensions are as follows.

Kether - Depth of Future
Malkuth - Depth of Past

Chokmah - Depth of Good
Binah - Depth of Evil
Chesed - Depth of South (warmth/expand)
Gevurah - Depth of North (cold/contract)

Tifereth - Depth of East
Yesod - Depth of West
Netzach - Depth of Up (rise/out)
Hod - Depth of Down (fall/in)

The elemental attributions are the same Alef - Air, Mem - Water, Shin - Fire (the order of creation in the SY informs the placements on the Saadia Tree of Life as opposed to the Ari where the verse ''create the head with fire, etc determines them) and the zodiac attributions are also the same Heh - Qoph in their order in the Alefbeit leads to Aries - Pisces in zodiac this set of placements on the ToL creates the zodiacal man in the aura:

The planetary attributions as mentioned earlier are more controversial but I follow the Chaldean order.  When this is placed in the most logical way on the Saadia diagram highly interesting patterns emerge.

First we have the middle pillar as follows - Kether (Depth of Future/Death), Beit (Saturn), Tifereth (Depth of East), Kaph (Sol), Yesod (Depth of West), Tav (Luna), Malkuth (Depth of Past/Birth).  As you can see this largely temporal axis shows the passage of the individual from ''birth'' (ruled by Luna) to ''death''** (ruled by Saturn) in the grand axis of Kether and Malkuth, but contains within it the daily temporal axis of East and West, Tifereth and Yesod with the passage of the Sun (its ''birth'' and ''death'').

The right and left pillars now have planets associated with them that are in keeping with the notion of the right pillar being a pillar of ''mercy'' and the left a pillar of ''severity''. 

On the right we have - Chokmah (Depth of Good), Gimel (Jupiter), Chesed (Depth of South/Warm/Expand), Pe (Venus), Netzach (Depth of Up/Rise/Out) - which captures the essence of the fortuitous and expansive effects of Jupiter and the blissful, holistic, lovely, ''uplifting'' effects of Venus.

On the left we have - Binah (Depth of Evil), Dalet (Mars), Gevurah (Depth of North***/Cold/Contract), Resh (Mercury) and Hod (Depth of Down/In/Fall).  This describes both the malefic and contractive nature of Mars with the detail focused, description in parts, scientific nature of Mercury.

The Saadia attributions set up the following in the aura: the elements in their natural creation order from the SY, the planets in the Chaldean order, the zodiac attributions in the positions of the zodiac man.  This leads to an aura which is harmonious with the natural and traditional arrays that have operated for thousands of years, i.e. an aura where the microcosm mirrors the macrocosm.
*Clouds, rain, lightning.
**See Last Days of Socrates.
***''Evil comes out of the North.''

Monday, September 23, 2013

Raziel - Death is the Road to Awe

''Night honey'', we may say to our partner if we have one, switch out the lights, stick our thumb in our mouth and roll over to sleep the sleep of angels and lambs.  But no... at the moment of our sleep our body becomes paralysed and we lie on our back our eyes flicking back and forth as we scan the crazy expanses of our dream life.  We believe sleep to be a passive experience, ''a little death'', but its more like a little afterlife, a taste of hell, heaven or sometimes limbo.  With the techniques of lucid dreaming, we can ignore that ''roll-over'' signal, consciously experience the ''delights'' of sleep paralysis with its accompanying hags, demons and aliens and maybe wrench open the trapdoor with a wakeful mind in a frozen body and step out coherently on to that plane of dreams. 

Others use various methods of astral travel to get there - it works better for me than sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming.  A few nights ago, I continued in my analysis of my astral techniques and with the help of Raziel obtained a few more insights.

The astral plane is the crystal ball of the mind's eye.  When the waking world is removed from the perception by the darkness of night, the perceptual sphere first lights up with a kind of pixelated flare.  This flare is normally the faculty used to create perception from sensory images.  If one maintains ones eyes forwards in the socket and breathes deeply (death pose yoga is good) then these pixels begin to replaces by coloured blobs, which can become surges of colour, and, slightly deeper in trance, the appearance of flashes of daylight in the darkness.  As we talked about before, the position of the eyes in the socket can be used as a kind of joystick, if one lifts the eyes up in the socket one will experience more intense visuals and if one drops them down then one is probably listening to egoic thoughtplay and is no longer having an astral experience.

The visions experienced on the astral are created by the mind working on this pixelated flare, blobs and patterns and attempting to resolve it into faces, animals etc - which of course it does extremely well.  The more ''chaos'' that is playing in the minds eye, the more possibilities there are for interpretation, the more opportunity for ordering.  For a wizard, what makes the astral more than watching a magic lantern is that they are using it for a purpose - for divination, for communion with spirits (whether ''objective'' or ''subjective'' ultimately the experience occurs in this mind's eye), perhaps even for rectification of the self. 

Last time I worked with Raziel on this he pointed out that I subconsciously used my facial muscles to create sense impressions in my mind's eye which I could then use for the technique of ''carving out the letters''.

This time under his direction I began using my facial muscles and eyelids to 'stir' up the astral and create 'retinal pulses' and other forms of pulses that my mind could then play with.  These retinal pulses may have appeared as fluctuating small shapes on the pixelated flare but rapidly my mind turned that into birds, or butterflies.  Once you are consciously aware of actually how you are stimulating the vision then you can access them more rapidly and they will become deeper.   Once your mind is free to ''go with it'' it will rapidly turn that blob of multicoloured retinal protein into an astral gate.*

I noticed that I was experiencing a sensation of movement, as if I was moving upward on the astral, a perfectly normal experience for those who go there, but I realised that I was using my eyelids to move as a form of flippers creating retinal pulses which are then interpreted as 'ripples on the waves', a kind of 'wake' left behind by my astral voyage and the mind simulate the sensations of movement.   There is an important idea about reversing on the astral as well but its not exactly clear how I can put into words at the moment.

Again what is important to realise here is that the mind is capable of simulating amazing environments absolutely perfectly.  The ''spirits'' one meets along the way may well be objective but they must still communicate with you in that mind's eye (as all experience occurs there) thus anything that you can do to make that mind a more fertile place for imagery the better the communication one will recieve.  If the spirits one meets are ''subjective'' then they are only in the sense that they exist within Arikh Anpin, your own higher mind and seen from the normal viewing perspective of Zeir Anpin (i.e. your normal egoic self) they still appear to be different people/beings.  Your mind is just as powerful in the simulation of personality as it is in geography.

The other realisation, via Raziel, was that this is *always* my experience - i.e. it is always an experience saturated with consciousness and a dominance of the facial muscles and eyelids , that in some ways the ''physical'' is experienced in the '''astral'' and that when I die, that experience continues pretty much in the same way.  I realise now why the seven facial appertures have such significance beyond basic physiognomy.  What the discarnate (''dead'') and the incarnate (''alive'') share is that they are both experienced from this consciousness point of view which is immortal.

*Similarly flaws in crystals, or images on glass are interpreted as angels, ghosts, etc.  Although I often discount these appearances I think in the hands of someone trained they can be ways in which the ''spirit'' can be communicating with the aspirant.

Follow Jacobus Swart for important Practical Kabbalah points, the link below is relevant to this post:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Metabolism VIII - Physiomancy, Endocrinomancy

In response to Patrick Dunn's competition for most interesting kind of divination I decided to post details of how to use the system of physiognomy I have been exploring on this blog as a system of divination.

One message that I constantly keep reiterating is that the world we experience is our own consciousness of the world and not the world directly.  I know this seems obvious but it is very easy to slip back into the idea that the world that you experience is 'physical' rather than 'mental', that you look through your eyes rather than ''at them'' (or rather the 'visual cortex') from somewhere else inside your mind.  With this idea of your consciousness saturating your experience, your perceptual 'sphere' can effectively become a crystal ball and the events and people you encounter within that crystal ball can be read as omens and portents.

Normally I use this concept as the basis for my pathwalking which occurs in the 'physical world' rather than in astral meditation.  I call the symbol(s) ''down'' and then walk a 'real path' in the 'physical world' and read the symbols off the path.  Perhaps I am looking to explore the path of Gimel (the rich man who runs to the poor and correctly attributed to Jupiter) I will open a 'gate' in the shape of the letter, step through it and then walk the path that opens.  Two things then happen - one, my consciousness applies a kind of Gimel filter over my experiences of that path so that events, people, symbols on the path that pertain to Gimel stand out for my contemplation and two, people or events are 'summoned' to the path and my interaction with them allows me to practice using the letter, in the case of Gimel this may appear as ways in which I can use my wealth and power charitably and philanthropically (random giving of charity achieves little to nothing, charity is a skill and must be learned to be used strategically - this was a lesson of the Gimel path).

Instead of the more focused approach of pathwalking one can effectively use the same basic idea to open up the 'perceptual sphere' to any symbols in the same way that one would read tarot cards, one reads the symbols that occur in the perceptual as they randomly walk a path.

There are all kinds of natural symbols that one can experience from the mythical black cat crossing your path, to some genuine dispersing ravens as opposed to those seen in meditation/visualisation and any occultist worth his salt has a large library of symbolism to interpret messages from the anima mundi.  Since physiognomy is my own area of relative expertise I want to focus on the interpretation of the people one encounters, in the act of divination, in the percpetual sphere.

As stated earlier in this blog the people you meet in your life have two aspects to them, one that they are an individual experiencing the world from the centre of their own 'sphere of sensation' and two that they are a messenger present in your sphere.  You could look at it like this - an Arien is a spirt of Aries, a Martial spirit by default but also composed of various spiritual forces as assigned to that person in their horoscope - if they showed up randomly in a 'reading' drawn from the natural world, one could interpret them like one would interpret 'The Emperor'.  Or for instance, if one suddenly encounters a Taurean along the path, then this individual could be 'read' in the same way one would read the Heirophant card.  Many advanced astrologers can tell simply by looking at a person the underlying mixture of their horoscopes.

My own system of physiognomy is based on a rather advanced understanding of endocrinology but is very similar to the alchemical system of humours.  Looking at an individual I can tell from the quality and type of their skin, the way fat is distributed around the body, their bone structure, etc what the 'dominant' hormonal genetic influences are or the genetic 'pathways' that are particularly pronounced.  This reading effectively turns that individual into a symbol/representative of one (or two) of the physiognomical characters I have outlined earlier on this blog and as such is read in much the same way as a ''card would be read'''.  At a deeper level one can then ''commune with these spirits'' and interpret what they say at the sod (kabbalistic ''secrecy'') level as opposed to the literal meaning of what they say.