|Aur Aelion||Ayn Sof|
See 4 Worlds for more analysis of the four "spheres" of Emanation, Creation, Formation and Making (note, the Sepher Yetsira knows only three spheres and later Kabbalish added a fifth) and their semantic development. Here we will try to trace some of the general developments of the letters as they fall into and create all that is and could be.
Hundreds of thousands of words have been written, both within Jewish mystical sources and their innumerable commentaries, and within various Western assimilations and adaptations about these concepts. All are words used to describe more words and get us no closer to the true meaning of how everything gets to be.
The concept of "Worlds" denotes the emanation of creative lifeforce from the Ein Sof Divine Infinite, through progressive, innumerable tzimtzumim (concealments/veilings/condensations). As such, God is as the "Most Hidden of All Hidden" and Olam is etymologically related to Helem meaning "concealment." WPDid you think you understood that? If so, you've fallen into the unconsciousness of "mystical thought" where the "Most Hidden of All Hidden" is designed to remain hidden by short-circuiting rational thought. Here, we are going to try another approach, by going inside the letters themselves and discovering the living energy within them, seeing the developmental meanings of their interrelationships, and finding unseen complex semantic layerings consistent with the meaning of the whole. Let's say it again: layers of meaning consistent with the whole.
And again: Each letter is a living embodiment of the energies/meanings that structure it and all contribute to the meaning of the word. In the place of mystical thinking about vague unthinkable thoughts we have a process of de-coding the assembly language. And then, of course, running the program to verify that it works.
Now, the interesting thing about this, is that if what we say is true, and can be verified by yourself, by understanding the meanings and the story they tell, then you've found a whole new text, and a new way of thinking. Think about that.
So we're playing with three models or narratives, which are fundamental to "Western Mystical Thought." But what do they mean, really? In outline, the Four Worlds is an outline of the Tree of Life (which is described in ten words) reduced to four overlapping spheres and four words. Both describe an emanative and top-down. god-process. The Sepher Yetsira covers the same ground with a more sensical 3-D model, and is saturated with double descriptions of the one dual energy. Now we can look at the story their letters tell.
Three stories actually of how energy/conscioiusness makes everything -- the Sepher Yetsira with its 3-D semantic topology, the Worlds (which overlap both models) and the Ten Sephirot of later Kabbalah based on a 2-D model of the Tree of Life. Each model has its perspective but they all use the same language of the Alphabet of Creation to show it to you. The problem is that we have to learn a new language and way of thinking in order get the message. Some might call that a blessing.
In our quest for a new way of thinking, the most basic underlying unifying thought to keep in mind while we examine the development of the letters, is the basis for this whole production, The Great Game of the two partners and opposites, Aleph infinite intemporal life-death and Yod spacetime and duration.
So what is the " highest thought" that we can think? In both the true Qabala and the body of Jewish mysticism, there is agreement that Ain-Sof and Aur Aelion are about as close to thoughtlessness as we can think. Ain-Sof is translated as "nothingness" because our minds are not capable of understanding the true meaning, which is "everything" -- all that is and might possibily be.
Starting with Ain-Sof, we see what must be for us to think about being: Ain, Aleph-Yod-Noun, the two partners, infinite consciousness life/death Aleph and its projection into space-time and duration Yod -- in a state of indeterminate freedom, Noun. That's how the first characters in the drama/story announce their presence on the pre-stage. Then, on the set of the Tree of Life, our two stars have a supporting cast of 15 and they all make 41 appearances in the ten words. If only we could receive their performance.
We're going to watch a play where the drama revolves around two central characters, the letters Aleph and Yod, and the plot is the creation of everything that is and could be, not to be overdramatic or anything.
Suares call Ayn-Sof and Aur Aelion "pre-structured" energies, which is to say about as unstructured as we can think about, and which will feed the ten transformers of the Tree and Cube, in their stepping-down of infinite energy/consciousness into factual existence.
To return to Ain-Sof we now see the Aleph-Yod opposites in total freedom (final Noun) paired with Sammekh-Waw, female-male, in a completely unstructured state of indefinite possibilities (Phay). This is necessarily where it all starts, with the most basic and generalized states: life/death, spacetime, indetermination, female and male propagation/fertilization of indefinite possbilities.
Now we can talk about the Four Worlds, or at least their letters. Starting with
Atziluth, Aleph-Tsadde-Yod -- Lammed-Wav-Tav, where Aleph is buried in the structures / Tsadde of existence / Yod and is met by the return fertizing / Waw movement / Lammed of Tav / Cosmic Resistance. Remember, especially at this level, we're dealing with abstract energies in generalized states. What would you expect it to look like? But lets keep our eye on the ball, and see the stepping down of Ain-Sof into an Aleph and a Yod in a structural relationship. Between the Beginning Aleph (infinite expansion) and the End Tav (infinite compression) of Atzliuth we have the full range of structuration in a two way flow.
Briah again, go to 4 World for more depth. So our two partners, Aleph and Yod were in Ain and Atziluth and appear again here in Bayt-Raysh-Yod-Aleph-Hay, where a container / 2 called the universe / 200 is the creation of Aleph-Yod 1/10 beyond spacetime/spacetime, 5 / alive. We've made progress, both of our partners are alive and they are making worlds.
Yetsira. Keeping our narrow focus, how would you expect the story to unfold now? Well, hmmm, two letters, and two letters only, have appeared in every sphere. What happens in Formation? We see that the Aleph-Tsadde-Yod root in Atziluth has become the Yod-Tsadde-Yod of Yetsira. What happened to the Aleph? The sphere of Formation is intermedary between the spheres of Creation and Making/earthly existence. It must transmit energy in both directions. Aleph has completely become Yod in the double existence (inside and outside) where things get ready to be made.
And now the plot twist, Assiah, Ayn-Sheen-Yod-Hay has our main character Yod, existence on all levels if you've been following along, but where is its partner, Aleph? Why, resurrected in the Breath of God, Sheen, alive, which is the whole point of the story, so Shekinah's presence can be.
With this context we can move on to the subject of the outline, Etz Hhaim: Tree of Life. The text of the Four Worlds is four words. The text of the Tree of life is ten words. Somehow, those ten words have generated endless descriptive narratives and more words about words than you can think of, some of which we'll sample below.
Traditional Meanings: Keter: Crown : Existence of Existences, The Concealed of the Concealed, The Ancient of the Ancient Ones, The Most Holy Ancient One, The Ancient of Days, The Ancient One. The Primordial Point, The Point within the Circle, The Most High, The Vast Countenance, The White Head, The Head which is not, Macroprosopos, Amen, Lux Occulta, Lux Interna, HEH, The Smooth Point, The Inscrutable HeightWas that helpful?
Ten words with 17 letters, used 41 times. What could they signify?
1. Keter: the highest crown
Formative Meaning: Keter is spelled Kaf-Tav-Raysh, responsive container/support for cosmic resistance is the universe. The Tree has a lot to accomplish in ten words, and it has to choose them carefully. 1/Aleph (the First Sephirot) forms a universe with its cosmic opposite, Tav, so everything from Aleph to Tav and back could be created. This is the first step.2, Hhokmah/Wisdom. Alway keep first in mind the formative letter-number. This is 2-Bayt, which makes an archetypal container and first distinction in awareness for the energy of Hhokmah, Hayt-Kaf-Mem-Hay, Wisdom.
Traditional Meaning: Wisdom: Power of Yetzirah, Ab, Abba, The Supernal Father. Father of Fathers, Tetragrammaton. Yod of Tetragrammaton.We're getting ahead of our story but note that the first containment generates the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, which boots up in the Second Sephira to code the rest of the program, but this is really Sepher Yetsira territory, see below.
3. Binah: Intelligence/Understanding.
Traditional Meaning: Imma, Ama, the dark sterile Mother. Aima, the bright fertile Mother. Khorsia, the Throne. Marah, the Great Sea.Bayt-Yod-Noun-Hay, an archetypal container in existence with a dual life: inner and outer. This is why they call Her the Mother.
4. Gedolah/Gadolah: Greatness.
Traditional Meaning: Greatness (Gedulah), Mercy (Chesed). Love. Majesty.The three that forms Binah splits into an internal (4/Gadolah) and external (5/Gevurah) movement. These are the only Ghimmels in the Sephirot of the Tree of Life. Gadolah is the first appearance of 4/Dallet, here, in the fourth Sephirot, formed by Dallet. Why here? Because Gadolah completes the formation of Adam Qadmon's (note the resistances necessary for human consciousness) inner space.
5. Gevurah/Geburah: Rigor/Strength.
Traditonal Meaning: Strength, Severity. Din, Justice. Pachad, FearAnd we arrive at the Sephirot of Life, which we Pachad. The fifth is the first of the six outer Sephirot, which form Adam Qadmon's outer, development space. Its letters, Ghimmel / movment - Bayt / container - Waw / fertilization - Raysh / Universe-Cosmic Mind - Hay / Life show the organic movement of containers fertilizing the universe with life. For fun, note the opposite directons in Gedolah (3-4) and Gevurah (3-2), which will meet in:
6. Tipheret: Beauty:
Traditonal Meaning: Beauty. Zoar Anpin, the Lesser Countenance. Melekh, the King. Adam. The Son. The Man.Formatively, Tipheret is interesting for the sole Aleph in the Tree of Life -- if we chose Rachamim, compassion, as our attribute, there are none -- and for the two Tavs which enclose it with its structured (Raysh) and unstructured (Phay) aspects. The 6th Sephirot, Sheesh, Sheen-Sheen, 300.300, is a double cosmic movement or Breath: the union of the Breath from above and the Breath from below.
With the 6th Sephira, the movement of the first three sephirot is mirrored and perfected (Iamblichus) in the second three, an inner an outer movement corresponding to an inner and outer life and a completed hexagram. The 5th and 6th sephirot are sealed by Yod-Hay-Waw and Yod-Waw-Hay and they constitute the vertical axis of existence (Yod/10), which is defined by two lives in interpenetration or union (Sepher Yetsira).
7. Netzach: Triumph/Victory
Traditonal Meaning: Triumph, victory, firmness.The triumph is the achieved freedom of the 7th Sephirot, which shows the existential life / Noun of Structures / Tsadde in an unstructured and indefinite state / Hhayt, which will be glorified in
8. Hod: Glory
Traditonal Meaning: Glory, Reverberation.Netzach and Hod are the only three-letter Sephirot words. Hod is unique for its three archetypal letter/numbers, Hay-Waw-Dallet, 5-6-4. Hod is at the center of 123 -456-789 -- the first nine archetypes and operates, as usual, in two directions. We now have the raw material of life to feed to the transformer of Formation:
9. Yesod: Foundation
Traditonal Meaning: FoundationCoincidentally, just when we need to make some completed cells for the life that will actually manifest in the next and last stage, we have Tayt/9/achetypal cell to do the job. The sphere Yesod, Yod-Sammekh-Waw-Dallet contains the same Sammkeh-Waw of (Ain) Sof, but ending in a resistance//response, instead of indefiniteness. What is formation? Two aspects: Yetsira, Yod-Tsadde-Yod-Raysh-Hay and Yesod, Yod-Sammekh-Dallet, physiology and anatomy, quality and quantity. The double existence of the structure of the universe, alive -- the existence of male and female energies become physical in resistance/response.
10. Malkut/Malkuth: Kingdom: Sovereignty
Traditonal Meaning: Kingdom. The Gate. The Gate of Death. The Gate of the Shadow of Death. The Gate of Tears. The Gate of Justice. The Gate of Prayer. The Gate of the Garden of Eden. The Gate of the Daughter of the Mighty Ones. The Inferior Mother. Malkah, the Queen. Kallah, the Bride. The Virgin.With Yod/10, Aleph in duration, existence is complete in the 10th sephira. Ten is the projection of One into existence, timelessness into duration. Malkut: Mem-Lammed-Kaf-Waw-Tav: 188.8.131.52.400: is another Kaf/container for the transmuted energy of Kaf-Tav-Raysh, Kether. With Tav, Malkut and Shekinah resist the cosmic energy of Aleph to the point of being Aleph. In Zoharic sephirot, Malkut is the second Mem since Hhokmah: the biological process of the higher and lower worlds. The Yetziratic formation of the 9th Sephira is wedded to the biological process of material reality: sealed by the Waw/Union of the 9th-10th sephirot, Spirit and matter interlock.
Pause to review. The Four Worlds is a relatively simple concept, and we can follow Aleph-Yod down from Ain-Sof through their presences and absences in the names of each sphere. The Tree is more complicated with six more words and a more complex emanative structure which actually tells its own story, devoid of mystical or theosophical and theurgical terms and speculation, and countences and ladders of ascent, just the letters themselves.
So how is the new way of thinking going? Have you actually begun to see a logical story told by the progression and development of the letters themselves? With multiple layers of semantically-coherent meaning contributing to the whole? Right in front of your eyes? What are the implications of that?
If you've made it this far, and thought those ten words of the Tree were a little complicated, your reward is the 1200 or so words of the Sepher Yetsira.
Compared to its more well-known and written-about successors, the Sepher Yetsira is a whole nother level of semantic complexity and interrelatedness. The Four Worlds and the Tree emerge out of a murky past in Jewish mystical thought, with the first appearance of the Ten Sephirot of the Tree of Life in the Bahir, assembled somewhat chaotically from fragments somewhere between the 1st and 12th centuries, possibly with gnostic and/or neoplatonic influences, according to the scholars, and first published in 1174.
Here's the opinion of your respected gatekeeping Rabbis and scholars of Jewish mysticism:
The Hebrew word "sefirot" was first described in Sefer Yezirah as corresponding to the ten basic numbers, and did not possess the meaning that later Kabbalists gave to it. It is in the Bahir that we find the first discussion of the Kabbalistic concept of Sefirot as divine attributes and powers emanating from God.who had lost the "meaning" of the alpha in the alpha-numeric letter-numbers a thousand years or more ago and wanted us to listen to their words about words and how the SY was just "numbers" with no meaning because they were clueless about the true meaning.
The Sepher Yetsira is actually a complex hypersubect/object (obviously, living at the beginning of the hypertext age we are only beginning to understand those terms), constructed with a hyperalphabet, and is unique in the history of human thought and cosmologies, being based on a 3-D perspectival model of being with man at the center, in a two-way flow of energy.
The 2-D Kabbalistic Tree of Life can be seen as an assimilation by pre-perspectival minds of a much earlier and more complex system of thought. The Sephirot and Worlds are there, but in a flattened hierachical and emanative ladder with fewer degrees of freedom and a shadow of the semantic richness of the Book of Formation. See the sources for examples. Here we will make a few brief comments on the hypernarrative.
1:1 By Thirty-Two Nativot Phayliot Hhokmah carved (established or limited) Yah YHWY Tsebaot Elohi Israel Elohim Hhaim Welemelek Oulam El Shaddai merciful clement magnified raised up (or respected) (who) lives (in) eternity (of) elevation and Holy (is) his name (which has) created his universe with (or by) three Sepharim (:) with Sepher Sepher and Sipour.
In Hebew, the first verse of the SY is 32 words. It starts, "By 32 reverse aleph-bayts (words) Wisdom engraved the 42 and 72 letter names of God with/by/in the three spheres of of text (physiochemical formulae) number (mathematical equations) and life, death and existence."
Or, Suares: this first verse: the universal consciousness structures its energetic reverse by means of 32 elements to reproduce in its reverse projection; or finally: by means of the number 32, the macrocosm reproduces in the microcosm, its reverse side.
Read Nativot Phayliot to understand "Wondrous Paths" and why the Aleph-Bayt is reversed when seen "from the other side." Energy makes imprints on existence which we think are the real things.
It's clear from the first verse of the first Chapter of the SY that we are in a different narratve than the World and Tree. Unlike the statements in the 14 words in the World and Tree, we find from the beginning, a description/transciption of process and transformation and the interrelationship of energy and consciousness. "By means of 32" "paths" "Wisdom" "creates everything in three worlds."
The Sepher Yetsira is a true Out-of-place artifact which
challenges conventional historical chronology by its presence in that context. Such artifacts may appear "too advanced" for the technology known to have existed at the time, or may suggest human presence at a time before humans are known to have existed.and is anomalous within Jewish religious thought and with no parallels in other traditions. Some think it was on Noah's Ark.
For one thing, it invites/tells us how to think in a new way, to understand the text that is telling us how to think in a new way. In the first three words, it tells us that numbers (32) and double equations (nativot-playliot) are the language it is speaking to us. Can we learn to understand?
One problem is that besides being out-of-place, the Sepher Yetsira and its internal structure is a deselected fact, because selecting it would result in catastrophic change for the psyche or group, and the destruction of existing paradigms and belief-systems.
So what are these "Wondrous Paths?"
1:2 Ten Sephirot Beli-Mah and Twenty-Two Autiot Yassod, Three Mothers, seven doubles and twelve simples.Ten Sephirot and twenty-two letter-numbers make everything. Here, in the second verse of the story, we complete the thought of the first verse by trans/describing the "Wondrous Paths." The always missed because deselected fact about this beginning text is that it begins the process of creation with three double equations: Nativot-Phayliot, Sepherot Belimah, and Autiot-Yassod.
Click the links to get a better picture, but these are not just "double" as in a pairing of related words, but are double-double in their semantic reflections of the component letters of the pair. Phayliot and Nativot contain the interior letters of Aleph and Bayt, but in reverse.
Belimah and Elohim contain the same letters, with Aleph and Bayt reversed.
The Autiot of Autiot Yassod contains two parallel structures, Aleph-Waw-Tav and Yod-Waw-Tav as they both fertilize Aleph's opposite pole, Tav. Yesod, Yod-Sammekh-Waw-Dallet, the process of making things pre-material, creates female and male energies in physical existence, the "angelic cohort."
The takeaway here, just a few words into the text, is the fundamental world-shifting paradigm-change that energy and consciousness are related in a dual flow, from Aleph to Tav across the whole range of structuration, and back again, from Tav to Aleph. This theme, always missed, will be elaborated and developed on every level of the Sepher Yetsria, which is saturated with double equations and two-way flows.
So ask yourself. "Have I found meaning in a place I didn't know?" We'll expand on that question with a brief outine of the rest of Chapter 1.
1:3 Ten Sephirot Belimah according to the number of ten fingers. Five opposite (or: as in the presence of) five. And (the) covenant (of) the One, adapted (or, directed) in the midst of (or, by means of) (the) word (of) the tongue and as (the) circumcision witnesses.The Covenant is dual, hands and toes, words and flesh. The words are the revelation of the Qabala, handed down through the ages, as Circumcision witnesses.
1:4 Ten Sephirot Belimah. Ten and not nine. Ten and not eleven. Understand with Hhokmah, Meditate with Binah. Examine them. Delve into them and experiment with them. And the one who is there (standing) speaks to his creator and puts the maker of form in his rightful place (or, his foundation).Use the scientific method and think for yourself, you don't have to believe in a "God."
1:5 Their measure without end. Depth of beginning. Depth of end. Depth of Tov. Depth of Raa. Depth of above. Depth of below. Depth of East. Depth of West. Depth of North. Depth of South. Adon Yahhid true King (or eternal) has dominion over the Universe of (the) Holy Abode. Eternity of eternity immemorial.And here are the Ten Sepirot we've already met, with different names and organized and oriented in a Cube of Space which describes your subjective experience of being alive.
1:6 Ten Sephirot Beli-Mah their apparition (or, aspect) as lightning (or the vision of lightning) their aim has no end. Its utterance with (or, in) them with its course and return and when its word (is) like the tempest they descend (go underneath) in front of the throne and "they" carouse.Course and return. Energy is a two-way flow.
1:7 Ten Sephirot Beli-Mah. Their end is fixed (or, inserted) at the beginning, their beginning at their end, as the flames from glowing embers She-Adon Yahhid (unique) (which has) no second and in front (or, to) its face One, who are you? (or, of what account are you?)Take a good look at yourself. Who do you see?
1:8 Ten Sephirot Belimah. Shut (or, restrain) your mouth and do not speak (or, enclose the word) and your heart and do not think (or, let your heart enclose its thought) and if your heart begins to run, return to the place where it is said: lives run and come back, and on this word (the) covenant is made.The heart of the Covenant of the Word is the two-way flow: lives run and come back.
With all that out of the way, we can find ourselves in the first four sepherot, where the timeless inner space of Adam Qadmon, Universal Man is created.
1:9 Ten Sephirot Belimah One: Rouahh Elohim Hhaim, blessed and glorified his Name belonging to the life of worlds (space-time). Qol (voice) Ve-Rouahh (breath) Ve-Dabor (word) and it is Rouahh Haqadosch (the saint).We are looking at a picture that is more complicated and interrelated than the simple words "Atziluth" and "Keter." The summary: Aleph/Beginning and Tav/End operate on unstructured possibilities (Ahat) in a place called the Depth of Beginning (Omq Reshith missing only the Bayt of Bereshyt), where the first sepherot is called the Breath of Elohim Alive.
The progression of the names of the Sepherot 1-4 reveal a series of transformations of energies that result in the resistance necessary for human consciousness and the completion of Adam Qadmon's inner space at the fourth Sepherot : Breath of Living God, Breath of Breath, Waters of Breath, Fire of Waters.
Looks like we're stumbled across a major subroutine in the semantic hypersubject/object. This one describes the stepping-down of Infinite Energy through the initial stages of the first four sephrot, which show a series of permutations and transformations of the same basic mostly undifferentiated energies resulting in the resurrection of the Aleph in the Breath of God in the first by the Sheen of Fire of Waters in the fourth.
Again, we have the choice between reading these words in colloquial translation and thinking we understand them or going into their self-explanatory letter-numbers and opening ourselves to a new way of thinking.
Rouah : We are used to vague images of God creating, breathing, let-there-being, seeing and calling and so forth, and think, in our limited human comprehension, that we understand what is going on. It all makes sense, right? If we go a little deeper in our questioning, we might wonder, which came first, Rouahh or Elohim, Bereshyt Bara, or Elohim? Is Elohim the Actor, or a product of other processes, like Ayn-Sof? In Rouahh Elohim, we find Rouahh Elohim in the Sheen of the Raysh of Rouahh, prexisting its use by Elohim to breath.It is the return breath of the dual-flow. We should be getting used to this theme by now. So let's go a level deeper into the semantic consistency and layering of our hypersubject/object.
32 Wondrous Paths
32 Words in first verse
32 Letters in names of the first four speherot.
Therefore the thiry-two signs in the first four Sephirot are the projection of the thirty-two within the combined ten (SY, p.76). In short, the first four Sephirot give birth to Interior Space in Human Consciousness (SY, p.83).Note that the first four Sephirot are doubly specified by quality (depth of beginning) and function (Breath of Elohim Alive), and paired, one-two, three-four (start-finish, stable-unstable). As always, we are dealing with double descriptions (descriptive/qualitative-functional/quantitative) of the One Living Energy, which must be weighed, one against the other, twice.
For now, see Energetic Transformations in the First Four Sepherot for the unfolding of the text and many more layers.
Our goal here has been to show that the same kind of thinking that was implicit in the letters of the Four Worlds and Ten Sepherot is totally explicit in the Sepher Yetsira, with a much broader perspective and deeper, layered narrative. And a in new way of thinking. The existence and significance of which the reader can judge for themselves.
1:10 Two: Rouahh Merouahh, Hhaqaq Vehhatsav (legislates or organises and chisels or cuts with). Twenty-two Autiot Yassod, three fundamentals and seven doubles and twelve simples and Rouahh One with (in) them.
1:11 Three: Maim Merouahh Hhaqaq Vehhatsav (legislates or organises and chisels or cuts) with (in) them Tohou and Bohou. In Refesch (mud) and Tith (clay), organises as a kind of flower-bed (garden), hewn as a kind of wall, and covered as a kind of roof.
1:12 Four: Esch Memaim. Hhaqaq Vehhatsav (legislates or organises and chisels or cuts) the glorious throne (with) (the) Seraphim and (the) wheels and the Hhaivoth (holy lives) auxiliary messengers (angels), and with these three founded his dwelling as it is said: he made of his messengers the breaths (winds) and (the) blazing fire of his servants.