Before starting this part of this lesson, go back and reread the sections on the Kabalah in the last lesson. If you have not read them for a while, don't be surprised if the material now makes more sense to you than it did at your earlier readings. This is because your mind has had the time to digest the information subconsciously and intuitively come to an understanding of what was described in the last lesson. In fact, this is a good reason to periodically review all of these lessons.
We are going to be looking again at that central glyph of the Kabalah, the Tree of Life. There are many ways to study the Tree, and in this part of the lesson we are going to look at a few of the ways to analyze the symbol.
The Three Pillars. Look at the Tree of life that you will find on page 87. You will see that the figure has been divided into three large pillars. The pillar on the left is composed of the 3rd, 5th and 8th Sephiroht, and is known as the Pillar of Severity. On the right, the pillar is composed of the 2nd, 4th and 7th Sephiroht. Being opposite of the pillar on the left, the one on the right is known as the Pillar of Mercy. Balancing the two outer pillars is the Middle Pillar. It is composed of the 1st, 6th, 9th and 10th Sephiroht, and is known as the Pillar of Mildness.
It is interesting to note that the Pillar of Severity, on the left, is considered to be female while the Pillar of Mercy is considered to be masculine; a reversal of what might be considered to be an archetypal norm. However, if you study Jungian theories of archetypes, you will find that just as there is the kind, helping, beneficial "Great Mother," so, too, is there the feminine element which works against you, known as the "Terrible Mother." See, for example, myths of evil older women (Hansel and Gretel), and deceptive and powerful younger ones (Circe).
On page 88 is another version of the Tree of life. On it, each Sephira has its name both in transliterated Hebrew and the English translation of the Hebrew. Compare the two versions of the Tree of life and follow along as the meanings of the Pillars are described.
The Pillar of Mercy. To be merciful, we must have the Wisdom to see the results of our actions and realize that Victory can come about through Wisdom and the ability to endure (show Mercy instead of a short temper), not just through strength alone.
The Pillar of Severity. To be severe we must have an Understanding of the laws of the universe and the Strength to empower them justly, but never yielding to giving mercy, only justice. This will result in an outward power and Splendor which hides the lack of humanity and mercy which reside beneath the surface.
The Pillar of Mildness. To be mild we must realize that we live in the Kingdom (of Earth) and we are not Gods. Therefore, in whatever we strive for we must seek a Foundation of Beauty by trying to avoid the extremes of over-severity and too much mercy. In this way we can seek to Crown our efforts with success.
Thus, here is one way to understand the Tree of life, by the system of the Three Pillars. If we are not successful in our efforts toward achieving any particular goal, we can see where we are unbalanced, i.e., focused toward one side of the Tree. We can then seek to add some of the balancing characteristic from the opposite side of the Tree. The result moves us to the center, toward the Pillar of Mildness, which could also be called the Pillar of True Manifestation.
The Three Triangles. The next system of looking at the Tree is known as the Three Triangles. As can be seen from the diagram on page 90, the Tree of Life can be divided into three triangles, the top one pointing upwards and the other two pointing downwards.
The Celestial Triangle. The uppermost triangle, composed of the first three Sephiroht, is known as the Celestial Triangle. It starts at a single point which means that it comes from the unity of God and divides into two sides. This shows that although Divinity is a unity, everything which manifests can be seen in the form of a duality: male and female, up and down, in and out, hot and cold, etc. It is one of the duties of a magician to learn to overcome everything which seems to be in opposition in order to achieve unity with Divinity (this is an ancient secret of the Kabalah and is understood by Tantriks. It will be discussed in a later lesson). As an example, the magician must learn
Tree of Life: The Three Pillars
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