Cube of Space: Planetary Contrary Qualities

Sepher Yetsira Index

7 Doubles & Contrary Qualities
Formative Number Planet Contraries
2 Shabatai Hhaim-Mot Alive-Dead
3 Tsedeq Shalom-Raa Peaceful-Uncertain
4 Meadim Hhokmah-Olet Wise-Foolish
20 Hamah Osser-Oni Wealth-Poverty
80 Nogah Hhan-Ki'or Charming-Dreamy
200 Kawkab Zar'-Shemama Seed-Selection
400 Lavanah Memshela-Abadot

4:1 Seven Doubles: Vayt, Djimel and Thalet, Khaf, Phay, Raysh and Tav (offer two pronounciations) founded on: Hhaim and Schalom, Hhokmah and Osser, Hhan and Zare and Memschlah and offering two pronunciations: Vayt-Bayt, Djimel Ghimel, Thalet-Dallet, Khaf-Kaf, Phay-Pay, Raysh-Rhaysh, Thav-Tav and are constructed in Raa and Qascha (softened and hardened) constructed in powerfulness or weakness. They exchange their dwellings by substitution. Contrary: Hhaim-Mot, contrary Schalom-Raa, contrary Hhokmah-Olet, contrary O'sser-O'ni, contrary Hhan-Kior, contrary Zar'-Schemama, contrary Memschla-Abadot.   Suares, SY, 1976 p.104

As we have seen, the Sepher Yetsira, as a treatise on the one dual energy, is saturated with double equations for energy in dual states of structuration. These equations, beginning with Nativot-Playliot, Sephirot-Belimah and Autiot-Yassod all speak for themselves when read with an understanding of the formative significance behind their letters and the interrelatedness of their complementary structures. This dimension of the Yetsirah has generally remained hidden to commentators who lose the significance in poetic imagery and mythological interpretation.
The category of contrary qualities (Kaplan: transpose) belongs to B'Olam/Universe as a further qualification of the seven planetary energies, due to their dual nature. When considering the dual equations of the contrary qualities of the astrological planets it is important to keep in mind all of the linked categories and double equations that form their semantic/structural context: sephirot, seal, formative letter, planetary equations and their binomials in the cube.

For the letter Beth/Bayt, this involves at least these linked categories (the binomial with Ghimmel is omitted, for instance):

Bayt in the Linked Categories of the Sepher Yetsira
# Sephirot Seal Letter Planet Universe Change Soul Luria GD
5 Gevurah Shabatai Day 1 Right Eye

The Linked Semantic Qualities of the Hebrew Letter Bayt (Beth-Beis-Bayit)
Bayt Shabatai Hhaim Ayn Ghedi
Mot Tsadde Deli

It should be clear that the colloquial meanings of the translators are useless here. The equations must be read letter-by-letter. Still, their general categories match their underlying formative energies. Our Bayt/body can be alive or dead; our Ghimmel/sense of self can be at peace or uncertain; our Dallet/adaptation to the future can be wise or foolish; our Kaf/physical supports are rich or poor; our Phay/sensual impulses are potentials or mirages; our Raysh/cognitive response/outward activity is fruitful or goes to waste; and last, our Tav/psyches are free or in slavery.

The system of contrary qualities of the planets, linked to the hard/pointed/diurnal, soft/unpointed/nocturnal aspects of the their formative Hebrew letters, connects the planetary energies with their zodiacal environments. Seven planets rule twelve signs: five planets (in their active/diurnal and passive/nocturnal aspects) rule two each and two (the Sun and Moon) find their contraries in single signs.

Very little is said about the Twelve Simples, but there is enough to guide us in our study.

Upon examining them we see that two of them are not really simple, but contain, in embryo, opposition qualities reconciled by the twinship, and together operating in a single vital process. Resistance in them to the cosmic life appearing in the seven Doubles, as life, evil, etc., is put in motion and responds as an outer flow of energy, parallel, and in inverse direction, to the inner.

These two Autiot are Hhayt and Tayt. In its form, shape and dwelling, Hhayt contains Cancer (Sartan), the Moon's two opposing qualities. Tayt forms Leo and contains the two opposing qualities of the Sun (see the Zodiac) in its dwelling.

The other ten are simple because they cannot be double. Hay, life, cannot have the quality of its opposite, death. Examined one by one, the same is true for all of them.

Suares, SY, p.137
This is a consequence of the dual energies of the planets passing though us in the Cube of Space. There is only room for 7 planets: the ends of the axes and center of the cube. The remaining non-Mother letters must have single, or elementary, or simple energies: they are determined by planetary binomials at the edges of the cube (Zayn forms Teomaim/Gemini in a flow from Meadmin/Mars to Shabatai/Saturn, etc).

Planetary Contrary Qualites in Two Systems
    Classical/Early Sepher Yetsira   Ari-Gra
Formative # Planet Contraries   Planet Contraries
2 Shabatai Hhaim-Mot   Lavanah Hhokmah-Olet
3 Tsedeq Shalom-Raa   Meadim Osser-Oni
4 Meadim Hhokmah-Olet   Hamah Zar'-Shemama
20 Hamah Osser-Oni   Nogah Hhaim-Mot
80 Nogah Hhan-Ki'or   Kawkab Memshela-Abadot
200 Kawkab Zar'-Shemama   Shabatai Shalom-Raa
400 Lavanah Memshela-Abadot
  Tsedeq Hhan-Ki'or

Anyone who has spent much time with the table on pages 178 and 179 of Aryeh Kaplan's Sefer Yetzirah knows that among 10 sources, while there is general agreement on the formative letter/planetary correspondences -- the Ari-Gra redaction being the major exception -- there are differences in the assignment of contrary quality, day and facial opening to Hebrew formative letter.

Note, though, that the earliest manuscript recensions of the Sepher Yetsira -- Short, Long and Saadia -- agree on the order of the contrary qualities: Life and Death, Peace and Evil, Wisdom and Folly, Wealth and Poverty, Prosperity and Desolation, Beauty and Ugliness, Mastery and Slavery (A. Peter Hayman, SY, 2004, p.128) -- except for the reversal of Prosperity and Beauty (Raysh/Mercury and Pay/Venus) contradicted in Saadia (see Planetary Attributions Note 4).

Generally, the significance of these equations is reduced to arbitary values in "Tables of Correspondences" which are supposed to be helpful in gaining insight into the functioning of the visible and hidden worlds. The categories are considered as metaphors (Gra: Bet: wisdom, Moon, Sunday, right eye) and there are many systems to choose from.

For example, for the formative Bayt/Beth, three sources have right eye, two have mouth, one has right ear and the rest ignore the category. In terms of the contrary qualities assigned to Bayt, five (of Kaplan's) (all of Hayman's) sources say Saturn and life, two say Saturn and wisdom and one (Ari-Gra) Moon and wisdom.

The Ari-Gra version, for instance, matches the contrary qualities of one of the Long Versions (although the planets are different). On the other hand, it shares the same planet/contrary assignments with the Short Version (though the formatives are different) and follows the Short Version's Days. It finds less community, however, with the other categories -- the planets (all different) and the openings (half different).

Other general disagreements between sources have to do with when to start the week (Saturday or Sunday), whether Bayt forms the right eye or the mouth, and what contary quality goes with what formative letter (and planet in the case of the Ari-Gra). From Kaplan:

Ari-Gra Wisdom Moon Sunday R. Eye
Short Life Saturn Sunday R. Eye
Long Wisdom Saturn Saturday Mouth
Donash Life Saturn Sunday R. Eye
Shi'ur Komah Life Saturn Sunday  

In regard the the contrary qualities, there are two kinds of semantic drift in the sources: same planets-different contraries and different planets-same contraries. This reduces to questions like "why are Live/Dead (Short version) and not Wisdom/Folly (Kaplan's Long Version) the quality qualities of Saturn formed by Bayt?" And "does Bayt form the Moon with the qualities of Wisdom/Folly (Ari-Gra), or Saturn with the qualities of Alive/Dead (Short)?" And "what does the contrary quality have to do with the planet?"

Focusing on the primary triad in the Cube of Space, defined by the 5th, 6th and 7th Sephirot and the letters Bayt, Ghimmel and Dallet, we can look for some of these answers by analyzing their linked semantic/formative categories.

In terms of the hierarchy of structuration, the contrary qualities appear as active structural energies B'Olam, of the universe, as manifestations of the dual aspects of the planets, conditioned by their either hard or soft aspected formative letters and axial positions in the cube of space. It is important to remember that the inner space of Adam Qadmon has already been achieved in the first four sephirot; the planets and qualities belong to the depths of directions of the outer, experiential, space of Adam Qadmon. Thus we find ourselves at:
The fifth sephira, considered here as "5/Life" in the formative language of the Sepher Yetsira, rather than the theosophical language of the Zohar, is sealed uniquely twice with Yod-Hay-Waw: it is the hinge between inner and outer space and one pole of the existential axis.

The beginning of Life's outer development (and the sephirotic sequence 5,6,7,8,9,10, the Six) is found in the formative powers of 2/Bayt which forms Shabatai (Sheen-Bayt-Tav-Yod) with the contrary qualities of life and death, or live and dead. These equations, Hayt-Yod-Yod-Mem and Mem-Waw-Tav, as we have seen, show energy flowing in two different directions. In one, Hhaim, unstructured/unconscious energy gains a double existence and is projected into a biological pattern. This is the definition of "life:" the inner and an outer existence of consciousness in biological patterns. In the other, Mot, Mem-Waw-Tav, the biological pattern is projected into/joins with the dead-end of cosmic resistance, Tav: the death of structures. The Bayt/container/body reappears in the center of Shabatai where it is granted an existence as a result of being hammered by Sheen and Tav (every container is a cosmic event). The double Yod of the seal returns in the double Yod of Hhaim.
Yod-Hay-Waw: 5/Life: 2/Bayt/container: Saturn/ShaBatai/body: live-dead
The sixth sephira, considered as 6/Union, receives the 6/Waw of Yod-Hay-Waw, the seal of the fifth. It responds with Yod-Waw-Hay and returns a second, inner life for the double Yods of the fifth. 3/Ghimel/movement/energy, the inside of the 2/body of Bayt, forms the other pole of existential identity and the Yod-Yod axis: Tsedeq, Tsadde-Dallet-Qof, 90-4-100, where the two transcendent energy patterns of female/90 and male/100 identity are fused. The contrary qualities, peace and evil/uncertainty, reflect energy in equilibrium and chaotic, indeterminate, states.
Yod-Waw-Hay: 6/Union: 3/Ghimel/movement: Jupiter/Tsedeq/energy: peace-evil
The primary triad culminates in the seventh sephira, considered as 7/Indetermination. It is sealed with Hay-Yod-Waw and forms one pole of the axis of Life, which runs between the undetermined and and the unstructured, otherwise known as the future and the past. The last of the archetypal planetary letters, 4/Dallet/resistance forms Meadim, Mem-Aleph-Dallet-Yod-Mem where we find both the central Dallet and Adam (Aleph-Dallet-Mem) in the Waters of existence (Mem-Yod-Mem). The contary qualites, Wisdom/Hhokmah and Folly/Olet indicate the possibilities of awoken consciousness and the projection of Aleph-Tav in the universe. Both these states are seldom realized, being far in the future for most souls.

Hay-Yod-Waw: 7/Freedom: 4/Dallet/resistance: Mars/MeaDim/response-adaptation: wise-foolish

    400 6 40       40 10 10 8
446    68
Gematria: 514
      70 200      40 6 30 300
270    376
Gematria: 646
  400 6 30 1      5 40 20 8
437    73
Gematria: 510
  10 50 6 70      200 300 6 70
124    576
Gematria: 700
200 6 70 10 20          50/700 8
306    58/708
Gematria: 364/1014
  5 40 40 300        70 200 7
385    277
Gematria: 662
400 6 4 2 70    5 30 300 40 40
482    410
Gematria: 892
2450    1838
Total Gematria: 4288 Contents