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Silver Wind
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PostSubject: Understanding the Tree   Sat Jul 28, 2007 10:40 am

The Tree is a map of personal energies and thought. It is a "filing system" for our mythologies, histories, dream archetypes, and more. It is a way for us to visualize the un-vizualizable, to describe the ineffable mystery. With our limited consciousness we must accept that any such description can only be metaphor, only an approximation.

It is a way to bring balance and harmony into life. In the sephirot, one can see where imbalances have developed, and can do 'pathwork' or 'active imagination' rituals and exercises to bring balance. For example, in dealings with the world, we can "use a touch of Gevurah [judgement | discipline] , and a touch of Chesed [mercy | generosity] , to a point of Tiferet [beauty]" which is what we present to others.

Kaballah is a tradition that requires great patience and stability. It is a journey of small steps, gradual learning, and fundamental changes. One of the reasons for this slow tempo is that everyone has to mature their potential gradually, thoroughly, and at a natural pace. In this way the student's work unfolds at the right moment and at the right time.

Qabala is relatively new, though the notion that it is a reconstruction of the lost knowledge of the ancients adds to its appeal. Some say the 10 commandments given to Moses on Mount Sinai are the same ten Sephirot in the Tree of Life. Egypt is also included in the patronage. Either way, it is a valid and engaging meditation device.

Yet another way of seeing the Tree is as a way to describe "God." It's well known that our minds are incapable of defining or describing "God," so the Etz Chaim begins to provide a glimpse, or a map, of that mystery we want to know and contemplate.

Spheres and Paths

Each of the ten spheres (also called 'paths') is connected by at least three of the 22 paths. Each of the paths is identified with A) a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, B) one of the 22 major Tarot trumps, C) a Zodiacal sign or body, and D) any number of other mnemonic triggers, like fragrances, metals, gems, magical weapons, animals, Egyptian, Nordic, or Greek gods. There is even a system for dividing the Lord's Prayer into the ten Sephirot.

The spheres are static psychic energy, while the paths are dynamic psychic energy. To make an analogy to language, we could say that the Sephirot are nouns, and the paths are verbs.


Major Trumps - Triunfi - Major Arcana

The connection of the 22 'Major Trumps' of Tarot to Qabala is controversial. It was first concieved by Eliphas Levi, in the nineteenth century, and is definitely a non-Jewish phenomenon. The cards were originally used for games, and the adoption of the images by Qabalists is similar to psychologists' Rorschach ink blots. As mnemonic devices, Tarot images are optimal.

Differing ideas about the path/card attributions switch around certain cards - here the system is that of the Order of the Golden Dawn.

In the context of Qabala, the Tarot cards are NOT used for 'divination,' or fortune telling, though knowledge of Kabbalistic principles will no doubt enhance the experience for Tarot readers. The Tarot cards can be seen as 'scenarios,' or 'dream states,' that characterize the particular lesson of that path. The images in the cards remind and make tangible the particular transformation being wrought.


http://www.borndigital.com/tree/

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