The Tree of Life: Planetary Formations in the Sephirot





The original versions of the Sepher Yetsira are clear about the assignments of the planets to the Sephirot five through ten beginning with Shabatai formed by Bayt. Later kabbalah and its Western, "hermetic" derivatives, lost the coherence of the linked categories found in the 9th and 10th century versions of the Yetsira, and substituting their own rationales, migrated the planets around the Tree, usually upward into the non-planetary Sephirot, since they had negated the tenth Sephirot as a planetary formative. See Planets and Sephirot in the Sepher Yetsira and Later Kabbalah.

Once again, when confronted with multiple authorities (learned Rabbis and Victorian Englishmen) it is necessary to go deeply into the sources and to decide for oneself.

SY 1:13     He chose three letters from the singles, which are the secret of the three mothers, Aleph, Mem, Shin, and He put them in His great name, and He sealed with them the Six Extremes. Five He sealed High, and He looked up, and sealed it with the letters Yod, Hey, Vav .
SY IV:1     Seven Doubles: Vayt, Djimel and Thalet. Khaf, Phay Raysh and Tav.
SY IV: 5     (This is) in what manner was bestowed (the) kingship on Aut (Bayt) in (by) Hhaim (the living) and bound (a) crown on it and created with Schabatai (Saturn) in the universe and Yom Rischon (the day of principle) Beschinah (in the transformation) and Ein Yamin (right eye) Benefesch (in the individual).
Shabatai, the first planet and seventh sphere of geocentric astrology from before Babylon, formed by Bayt, archetype of all containers, the first letter of Genesis, at the fifth Sephira of Life/Hay and Geveruh/Din, with the contrary qualities of life of death, sealed twice by Yod-Hay-Waw, where inner and outer life are connected and Sheen builds an existent tabernacle for Aleph.
We rehearse: the first four Sephirot describe Adam Qadmon's (archetypal man's) inner space. The last six specify exactly the psychological structure of his outer, experiential, space.

The "lower six" or the "six extremities" refer to the Sephirot five through ten. These Sephirot are given Hebrew formative letters Bayt through Pay, which form Shabatai/Saturn through Nogah/Venus in the celestial spheres (from the perspective of Adam Kadmon, where Pay follows Raysh). It is necessary to begin to understand that these are not arbitrary assignments, but deeply linked patterns of living energy. See Astrological Equations in the Sepher Yetsira and Formatives in the Tree for examples.

When the six faces of the Cube of Space are collapsed onto the 2-dimensional Tree of Life, the natural connecting paths between the Sephirot, the twelve edges of the Cube defined by the twelve signs of the zodiac, are lost, along with the sophisticated dynamic model of the psyche used by the Sepher Yetsira.

The planetary Sephirot define the basic impersonal energies which structure psychological experience. In the Cube, they form three obvious binomials of linked planets, which form the axes of existence (Yod: Saturn-Jupiter), life (Hay: Mars-Sun), and their interpenetration (Waw: Venus-Mercury).

Even without the dynamism of the evolutionary and involutionary zodiac, the active environments for the planets, the basic structure of the last six Sephirot gives us a model for psychological experience: an existential axis defined by the poles of material (Jupiter) and spiritual (Saturn) development; a life axis defined by the poles of future (Mars: unresolved maturational conflicts) and past (Sun: unconscious, undifferentiated energy); and an axis of interpenetration where "the feeling of what happens" is defined by the poles of (Venus: mostly unconscious) sensuous experience and (Mercury: potentially cosmically conscious) cognitive response.

The maturational process occurs within the facilitating environment of the Cube of Space, where psychological and developmental experience is represented by three one-ways flows in three dimensions.

The Tree of Life is a top-down, 2-dimensional form. The Cube of Space is a 10-dimensional, inside-out form represented in three dimensions.

Since the relationships between Sephirot, formative letter and planet have been analyzed elsewhere, here we can concentrate on two important facts.
1:13   Nine: He sealed "south" and faced to the right
      and sealed it with Yud Vav Heh
Ten: He sealed "north" and faced to the left
      and sealed it with Heh Vav Yud.
4:4   Seven Doubles: BGD KPRT
      Up and down
      East and west
      North and south
And the Holy Palace precisely in the center
      and it supports them all.
Kaplan, SY p.80, 163
If we disregard the 18th century redaction of the seals in the Ari-Gra version, the rest of Kaplan's translation is identical to the original recensions. It should be clear that these verses are telling us two things: the tenth Sephira is in the North (from Adam Kadmon's perspective in 1:13), and it is formed by Pay; and that Tav, the seventh, precisely in the center, is not one of the six.

Medieval and later kabbalah denaturalized the tenth Sephira and lost the location of the center. Both positions are critical to an understanding of the Cube (and the Tree). Almost every Sephirot presented difficuties for the redactors of the Sepher Yetsira, but the fourth (evil), the tenth (Pay/Venus, sensuality) and the location of the center (Tav/Moon) were particular problems, solved in various ways, usually by removing a planet from Malkut and losing the Moon in the confusion.

To return to the precise structural-energetic, psychological descriptions of the Sepher Yetsira, the tenth Sephirot of Yod/existence completes the process of manifestation (bringing the Infinite Intemporal-Aleph into existence-Yod) in the world of material, sensous experience, which is defined as largely unconscious (formed by Pay) and characterized by the interaction/copulation of a double life: an outer/existential life and an inner/archetypal life (in infinite movement): Noun-Waw-Ghimel-Hay, Nogah/Venus. Further, the direction of the tenth Sephira, Left, Semol, Sheen-Mem-Aleph-Lammed, Shem-El, shows how the tenth Sephirot is a loop, or return to the beginning, and why the Shekinah cannot be found if the tenth Sephirot has no formative letter or planet.

The answer to the last question (the location of Tav/Moon) doesn't matter, as long as it is realized that it is not one of the six, but rather the point where the three one-way flows intersect. Then we can begin to find the position of own psyches in the Tree of Life, where energy is free (Memshala) or bound (Abadot) in the contrary qualities of Lavanah, the Moon: Lammed-Vayt-Noun-Hay: a movement in a container of two lives: inner and outer; formed by Tav, Aleph's mirror.