Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Is the Kircher Tree of Life overrated?

Is the Qabalah overrated?

The problem with answering this question is that the vast majority of people in the WMT have only studied the flawed system of Qabalah espoused by the Golden Dawn et al based on the Tree of Life by Athanasius Kircher.  Their work and application has been largely limited to the commentaries of folks like Regardie, Fortune, Crowley or Waite.  There is a fundamental lack of understanding of what the Qabalah actually is.

Is the Kircher Tree overrated?


What the Sefer Yetzirah describes and what the Tree of Life aims to represent is the Universe we inhabit which literally consists of the five dimensions of space, time and consciousness/observer - these are the Depths or Sefiroth.  This is all you get.  The paths between the Sefirot are the 22 elemental, planetary and zodiacal forces that shape our reality which describe aspects and are fundamental to it i.e. the Kingships*.  Mathematics, Language/Code and Communication/Relationship are the defining principles of reality.  If you don't believe this is the case please discuss. Consciousness is only one dimension of the universe, derived from time, via space.  The experience of these five dimensions takes place in our personal glome/hypersphere.


The Qabalah is a system that seeks to describe objective reality and it is why her Alchemical lovechild Science has made such an impact on the world.  Correspondence systems are useful in the way they can be validated by experiment - i.e. classification of diseases based on the physiological centres they target: Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Kidney infections, Autoimmune diseases - types of correspondences allow us to zoom in on a problem and solve it more readily.

Some easy criticism of 777 type correspondence tables would be:

  • The Sefer Yetzirah does not conflate planets with Sefirot and doing so leads to a great deal of logical contradiction in the Golden Dawn, Thelemic systems - there are 10 sefiroth, 3 elements, 7 planets and 12 zodiac signs and 32 positions on the Tree of Life.  No overlap is necessary.
  • 32 does not equal 34, the two sub tables and overlapping between extra elements and planets that goes on in 777 is unnecessary, confusing and misleading from a Qabalistic perspective.
  • Grouping all sky Gods, or Mother Goddesses together with each other and linking them to a Sefirah causes problems, there are a wide variety of cultural differences and nuances that distinguish these Gods/Spirits that is harmed by such generalization and subsequently leads to less effective practice

There are many embarrassing individuals in the Western Mystery Tradition who have brought shame to the community over the years with their fevered egos but it is ridiculous to suggest this is the fault of the Qabalah. I blame the Kircher Tree (and some of the ideas that have gathered around it) which does end up mutilating the aura to the point where you look like an astrally scrambled Mr Potato Head.


Suggesting that results validate the efficacy of a system is remarkably illogical.  The question is what quality of results are achieved and are some methods better?  The idea that all methods or approaches are somehow equal is deeply flawed - sure I can do brain-surgery with a sledgehammer if you'll let me! Whatever works is an excuse for sitting on your laurels.  If an individual has never compared and contrasted different Qabalistic approaches (for example actually studied the Jewish approach in depth) then their evaluation of the subject is inherently flawed.

*Wisdom, Wealth, Fertility, etc as described in Sefer Yetzirah - these can be considered very much like the fundamental aspects of living organisms - movement, reproduction, sensitivity, growth, respiration, excretion, nutrition or more ''elementally'' mutability or catalysis and should be studied in a similar way.


  1. I saw that you posted the Sixes from the Crowley Thoth Tarot in another post, and wondered how/if you integrate the Tarot with the Saadia Tree.

    The Thoth Tarot was my entry into the world of Hermetic Kabbalah and the Kircher/Golden Dawn Tree. However, after reading about Jewish Kabbalah I too realized the flaws in the Kircher Tree, not least of which is its complete disregard of the 3/7/12 structure of the Hebrew alphabet when assigning letters to the paths.

    I began exploring alternate versions of the Tree of Life and arrived at one that closely resembles the Saadia Tree you've posted here. And, recently, I returned to the Thoth Tarot with new insights. However, since the deck is strongly based on the teachings of the Crowley and the Golden Dawn, it's difficult to ignore the correlations completely. Even the order of the Worlds is called into question, as an Atziluth-Fire, Briah-Air, Yetzirah-Water, Assiah-Earth is more faithful to Jewish Kabbalah than the Fire-Water-Air-Earth order proposed by the Golden Dawn.

    What are your thoughts on the relationship between Tarot and Kabbalah in light of the Saadia Tree??

  2. Hi Jason if you use the Chaldean attributions for the planets it causes this and I have my explanation here:

    Its worth checking out I think and let me know what you think please.

    A bit more on Saturn and the Magus here:

    I should point out that I no longer use the Tarot. In 2001 a working with Raziel informed me that I should abandon the Tarot and focus on the letters. In spite of that I think the above links are certainly food for thought!