copenhagen qabalah

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the 10 sephiroth

The Tree of Life is the primary glyph of the Qabalah. It is the Qabalah's symbolic map of the powers of the universe and of man. The Tree of Life consists of 10 Sephiroth connected by 22 paths.*

the 10 Sephiroth - and qliphoth

"The Sephiroth (...) represent successive Divine Emanations which constitute creative evolution." (Fortune;25). These ten primary outpourings of divine energy are ten stages in the continuous evolution of the universe: "The Holy Sephiroth are not things but states, and all manifestated things exist in one or another of these states" (Fortune;147). Each Sephirah is a seed which contains the potentiality of all that comes after it, including the following Sephiroth. As mirrored by the ritual The Lightning Flash, divine energy travels through ten successive stages from the unity with God of Kether on to the rich and differentiated physical manifestation of Malkuth. The aim of any qabalist is to make this creative energy flow as freely and balanced as possible into our daily existence. *

Balance among the Sephiroth is of paramount importance as every positive energy will turn negative when taken to an unbalanced extreme. The disclipline of Geburah will lead to cruelty unless balanced by the merciful justice of Chesed. The unity with God that can be experienced in Kether will lead to escapism unless it is paired with the enjoyment of earthly riches characteristic of Malkuth. This 'dark side of the Sephiroth' is called The Qliphoth, the individual Sephiroth seen in isolation from the rest of the Tree. This denial of unity among all parts of the Tree of Life is the Qabalah's basic definition of Evil. *

Being divine principles and stages of creation, The Sephiroth are reflected and can be contacted at all levels of the universe. For instance, the principle of Netzach is understood as being active in any type of relationship that we experience in the physical world. If we want to increase the presence of the qualitites of Netzach in our lives, one method is to focus on our relationships with other people. This is the principle of symbolic correspondance, that everyday occurances may act as symbols that are contact points with the divine. That's why most qabalah books are filled with pages of correspondance tables suggesting which animals, vehicles, composers, plants etc. that 'correspond' with the individual Sephiroth or Paths. *

As mentioned in the introduction to magic, it is our personal relationship with a symbol that decides what kind of energy it will reveal and make available to us. Members of the same culture typically share the meanings of a majority of symbols, but when it comes to practical magic, you will need to symbolize on your own: Always make your opinion clear before using other people's correspondances. Usually, more energy is made available through symbols that have been used in magic for decades before, than through symbolic channels that must be opened by you alone. Therefore, on this website you will find only correspondances that are broadly agreed-upon. Deviations from this norm will be noted specifically. Books are published on the Qabalah where even the most central symbolic correspondances of the Sephiroth are being disputed: The godnames, archangels, angels choirs and mundane chakras - even the names and places of the Sephiroth themselves! Those four highlighted aspects are the ways by which the Sephiroth manifest in each of the four qabalistic worlds. The table below including some English translations show the most commonly accepted attribution of divine names to the Sephiroth: *

Sephirah Divine name Archangelic name Choir or Host of Angels Mundane Chakra Summary
1. Kether (Crown) Eheieh ('I am', 'I will be', 'I Become' or 'I am that I am') Metatron Chayoth ha-Qadesh ("Holy living Creatures") aka Seraphim Primum Mobile /First Swirlings (Neptune) The richest and most supreme source of energy
2. Chokmah (Wisdom) Jehovah / Yah ("The Lord") Raziel Auphanim ("Wheels") aka Kerubim Zodiac (Uranus) Uncompensated, boundless energy, primordial maleness.
3. Binah (Understanding) Jehovah Elohim ("The Lord God" or "Lord of Gods") Tzaphkiel Aralim ("Strong and Mighty") aka Thrones Saturn The archetypical womb, the female potency of the universe
4. Chesed (Mercy) El ("God - The Mighty One") Tzadqiel Chashmalim ("Brilliant Ones") aka Dominions or dominations (Kyriotetes) Jupiter The archetypical ideas which are the basis of our manifested universe
5. Geburah (Strength) Elohim Gebor ("God of Battles" or "God Almighty") Kamael Seraphim ("Fiery Serpents" or "Flaming Ones") aka Order of Powers (Exusiai) Mars The power to carry out cosmic law, thereby enabling cosmic justice
6. Tiphareth (Beauty) Jehovah Eloah Va Daath ("God Made Manifest in the Sphere of Mind" or "Lord God of all Knowledge"). Raphael Malachim ("Kings") aka Virtues, angels and rulers (Dynameis) Sun The central Sephiroth is a stage of balance, beauty and harmony.
7. Netzach (Victory) Jehovah Tzabaoth ("Lord of Hosts") Haniel Elohim ("Gods") aka Principalities (Archai) Venus The balance and mutual fruitation between the individual and the collective
8. Hod (Glory) Elohim Tzabaoth ("God of Hosts") Michael Beni Elohim ("Sons of God") aka Archangels Mercury The stage of concentration where energy is controlled and molded into forms
9. Yesod (Foundation) Shaddai El Chai ("Almighty Living God" or "Almighty God of Life") Gabriel Kerubim ("Strong Ones") aka Angels Moon The magical link between mind and matter, a force for good and evil
10. Malkuth (Kingdom) Adonai Malekh ("The Lord who is King") or Adonai ha-Aretz ("Lord of the Earth") Sandalphon Ashim ("Souls of Fire") aka Blessed Souls / Souls made perfect Earth (Pluto) The final manifestation, where things exist, happen and are sensed, right now

A printable A4 of the table is avalable here. Except for the above, typical correspondances for each Sephirah include: additional titles - tarot cards - magical images to meditate upon - a selection of gods and myths from various pantheons (gods typically relate to more than one Sephirah as each god tends to represent a number of qualities in mythology) - animals, plants and precious stones related to the gods - virtues and vices (qliphotic/excessive qualitites) - a selection of colours - geometrical forms - spiritual texts on the Sephirah, e.g. extracts of the "Sepher Yetzirah" or "The 32 Paths of Wisdom" - relationships with other Sephirahs on the Tree (opposites and polarities always relate). Any Sephirah also has its qliphotic correspondances that deny the unity of creation. Stay away from those unless you are willfully looking for trouble, because: "To the archangel corresponds the devil, and to the choir of angels the cohort of demons" (Fortune;298). *

56 of the 78 tarot cards - the 40 small cards and 16 court cards - are related to the Sephiroth. The 22 trumps correspond with the 22 Paths between them. In a tarot divination, the small cards normally represent specific opportunities or challenges stemming from the real potencies in the universe. The small cards are distributed orderly among the Sephiroth: Aces for Kether, twos for Chokmah, etc. The court cards are placed more specificly: Kings/Knights to Chokmah, Queens to Binah, Princes to Tiphereth and Princesses to Malkuth. The magical society The Golden Dawn associated the sephirotic small cards 2-10 in terms of the decans of the Zodiac, 36 sections of 10 degrees each. Each of the twelve houses has three decans, and each decan is a Minor card of the Tarot. To each minor card is attributed a pair of angels one of which rules the day and the other the night. Both the angels and the cards are reflecting the worlds above and illustrating that below (Wang;47-49). The small cards and their angels can be involved in pathworking or rituals regarding the individual Sephiroth.*

 

on to * "the 22 paths"

back to * copenhagen qabalah - with links to the correspondances of the individual Sephiroth.