'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
- 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.
EXTENSION - SAADIA ATTRIBUTIONS
|SAADIA TREE - DEPTHS, ELEMENTS, PLANETS, ZODIAC|
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.''