Aleph is the supreme energy, subtle, alive, but not existing as itself in the space-time world we know, because it
is relative. It is the primal energy, it is in all and all is in aleph. It is beyond definition, incapable of
of being defined or limited. It can be seen to move at infinite speed and thus evades time. It can be viewed
as primal consciousness unknown to itself.
"The twenty-two graphs which are used as letters in the Hebrew alphabet are twenty-two proper names originally
used to designate different states or structures of the one cosmic energy, which is essence and semblance of all that is."
Carlo Suares, Cipher of Genesis |
The inner meanings of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet describe different
states and biological organizations of one
two-fold energy in its spiritual and material aspects.
These are the "fundamental powers of being" (G. Scholem),
or primary building blocks of creation. The first nine letters,
from Aleph (1) to Tayt (9) describe the formation of these completely-generalized structures,
from the Intemporal to the Cell, on the level of archetype or seed.
They are mirrored on the next two levels, existential (10-90) (in opposition: their meanings are the
reverse of the archetypal/seed level)) and cosmic (100-900)
(in transcendence: their meanings are cosmically significant as resolutions or syntheses
of the oppositions of the first two levels).
Energy is structured in nine generalized states on three levels:
See: The Semantic Structure and Formative Meanings of the Hebrew Alphabet
for an outline of the three levels.
- 1-9: archetypal, seed, or primitive: energies beyond our space-time continuum: Aleph to Tayt
- 10-90: existential, actualized in space-time within the cone of light: Yod to Tsadde
- 100-900: cosmic, beyond space-time, on the other side of the wall of light: Qof to Tsadde
General outline of the
autiot (Hebrew letters) Aleph through Tav:
The letters have both a qualitative (letter) and a quantitative (number) value. The first nine letters-numbers
structure Aleph on an archtetypal
or seed level, as cosmic creative energies beyond space-time and result in the formation of a cell, or structure,
capable of propagating Aleph into Existence (on the second, existential level, within space-time). The second
nine structure Yod (Aleph in existence) and result in the formation of a cell or structure of existence which
perpetuates itself within space-time. The third nine basic cosmic energies resolve the opposition of the archetypal
and existential levels and signify cosmic energies and states of consciousness (Qof though Tav)
and transcendent states of life (Kaf/500 through Tsadde/900).
The alphabet ends with Tav, 400, the fourth letter of the third row. The next five letters
are the completions of the alphabet, represented by five of the twenty two in "final" forms, which signify cosmic
states of consciousness and the formation of transcendent, cosmically significant, structures.
Aleph needs twenty-two letters to manifest as Yod (in existence) and realize itself
as Qof (cosmic consciousness) and open the door (Tav) to the transcendent states of the five final letters.
Aleph is the beginning, Tav is the end. The opposite pole of energy to Aleph is its mirror,
the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Tav,
400, Cosmic Resistance, the Sanctuary of Energy and the
center of our own psyches.
The interplay of these two energies, Infinite Expansion and Infinite Compression, builds the universe
in a process of creation that begins with the first word of Genesis,
Bayt-Raysh-Aleph-Sheen-Yod-Tav is a "beginning" because it is the most generalized equation
for an eternal creation between the poles of Aleph and Tav.
Basic, constant themes of the Qabala, embedded in every level of description, are the two-way flow of the one
energy between Aleph and Tav and Tav and Aleph, the constant reminder "Everything with Aleph and Aleph with everything;
everything with Bayt and Bayt with everything;" and the theme of the two partners in the
Game of Life, Aleph (Life-Death)
and Yod (Existence). These are the three foci of Qabalistic revelation in Genesis (Aleph to Bayt),
the Sepher Yetsira (Aleph to Yod) and The Song of Songs (Aleph to Tav).
Note to the reader: This is a dictionary. In case you are actually starting
at the beginning of the alphabet, here is a brief introduction. We are used to assigning meaning to words,
but not to letters, which vary from language to language in different words that describe the
same thing. This is what the linguists mean when they say language is arbitrary: both
"casa" and "house" refer to the same object, a container for people. There is nothing
in either the words or their letters that has anything to do with a casa/house except
for language arbitrarily assigning particular sounds to meaning.
Arbitrariness : |
The absence of any degree of necessity between the signified and siginifier of a sign.
Makes the sign symbolic. For example, in English we say "bachelor" to refer to an unmarried man,
but since we might just as well say "foobar", therefore "bachelor" is a symbol.
Principia Cybernetica: Semiotic Terms:
You are reading a dictionary of the letters of the
Hebrew alphabet, considered as non-arbitrary signs representing basic creative energies or
states of consciousness. The idea of assigning meaning to individual letters may seem strange,
and arbitrary in itself. And even if it could be done, would the words, let alone sentences,
In the case of this dictionary, each letter is a word, so we won't have to wait
long for the answer to our question. Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet has a one to
three letter spelling.
This means that each letter is a "word" that means the meaning
of the letter. It's not enough that we assign meaning to each letter; we have to do it
in a consistent way so that the meaning of each letter is consistent with its contribution
to, and reception of, the meanings of its component letters. Unfortunately, it gets worse: the letters that
spell the letters have spellings and in a number of cases, infinite recursions.
All those have to make sense also.
It's not just that the definitions have to make sense, they have to define and be defined
by other definitions. This is what we mean by non-arbitrary.
In a moment, we will "define" the undefinable, Aleph, with the definitions
of its own and other letters. What we really will be doing is having thoughts
about the unthinkable, and it is necessary to at least refer to the next letter,
which is all we can think of, and not Aleph, although Aleph is in all our
thoughts. Aleph, however we attempt to define it, is completely
beyond our comprehension. To return to our example, casa and house
refer to particular houses, but Bayt, which means "house" in Hebrew,
is a generalized sign for "houseness" or container. What it contains
is the uncontainable, Aleph, in the sense of "House of God," Bayt-El or Beth-El --
Last warning: the dictionary is self-referential. It uses a relatively small set
of generalized descriptive phrases in a consistent way to refer to the structure and meaning of each letter,
which (because each letter is composed of other letters) need to be understood before understanding
the whole structure or meaning of the letter you are considering. The reward for pulling yourself up by your bootstraps
is a quick test of internal consistency (see below).
Example: the spelling of Aleph:
Phay: 1-30-80: unthinkable-life-death (Aleph)
projects controlled organic movment (Lammed) into unstructured energy or the pool of all
possible possbilities (Phay). This is the most general description of Infinite Energy coming
When we examine the internal structure of Aleph by looking at its spelling, or constituent energies,
we realize we are not analyzing Aleph, but only its effects: the traces (the flash of Lammed) in the cloud-chamber
(of completely-unstructured energy or completely-undefined potential, Phay). Think about that.
Aleph: a word for the unthinkable: the infinite expansive energy or pulsation of life-death, beyond thought,
beyond knowing. Life, because it is the infinite living source of all that is and all that is not. Death, because
it is intermittant, not in duration, beyond space-time.
The non-thinkable has for its symbol the Aleph (1). The Aleph is always itself
and never itself. It is ever recurring, though never the same. Aleph creates, it is
creation, it is not created, yet it exists. It has no existence because all existence is continuous.
It has no memory, having no past. It has no purpose, having no future. If one retains it, it remains
retained,. If one buries it, it remains buried. If one sets aside its obstacles, it is action. It
breaks down resistances, though resistances are never broken by it. Without these, Aleph does
not become manifest. Without Aleph, there would be nothing at all.
Such is the image of Aleph.
Aleph itself is beyond all consciousness, human or cosmic. The image of Aleph is only an image,
for Aleph belongs neither to time nor to space. Aleph is beyond the realm of our thought,
beyond the reach of our mind.
Suares, The Cipher of Genesis, p.66
There are alternative spellings of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and some
use Aleph in the spelling of other letters (Hay-Aleph, for instance).
However, when the alphabet is understood structurally, in terms of the expansion of
its creative energies, Aleph itself contributes to the structure of no other letter.
How could it, being beyond all structuration?
Aleph, beyond thought and space-time, projects itself into temportal existence as Yod, duration.
When its eternal conflict with itself is transcended, it appears as Qof, cosmic
consciousness aware of itself.
Here we find another constraint on arbitrary meaning: both the rows and columns of
the alphabet have to make sense; not just a letter's internal structure and role
in the organization of other letters, but its horizontal and vertical relationships
and place in the whole have to have meaning.
The first column -- Aleph-Yod-Qof -- is the initiating energy of each row, which shows the same energy
in nine states through three "worlds." The whole alphabet is the minimum set of
basic creative energies or semantic "primes" necessary for Aleph to manifest as Yod
and become aware of itself as Qof. We can follow the transformation downward
as it is reflected in the roots (constituent energies) of each letter.
Aleph contains only existential-level (30 and 80) letters from the level below in its spelling.
Yod, on the other hand, contains no existential-level letters in its spelling and is rooted entirely in the
archetypal level above. Reading downward, Aleph has become Yod, Lammed has become Waw, and the indefinite unstructured
Phay has become the definite, biologically-structured Dallet. Yod is the seed of existence
which will find a formation at the end of its row, (10-90). On a deeper level, the intertwined
biological processes of Lammed (in Aleph) and Dallet (in Yod) link them together in endlessly repeated
mirror images (see the expansions of those
Aleph and Yod are the two partners in the game of life, fundamentally in opposition and conflict:
Aleph is timeless, Yod is time; Aleph is infinite life, Yod is limited existence.
Qof is their resolution:
reading downward from the archetypal through the existential to the cosmic:
Aleph and Yod have become Qof, Waw has remained and Phay has become Phay again
in the union of the structures of Aleph and Yod.
Both Dallet and Lammed have disappeared and Qof is fertile (Waw) and unstructured (Phay):
A very last reminder before going into the text: let us not build a creed upon Aleph.
Although Aleph cannot be known it can be witnessed. We observe it in the fact that thought cannot think
of a duration which never ends; in the fact that our everyday thought is established on a duality; and in the fact,
also, that the further we investigate our own minds the deeper is the mystery of existence as such. Ultimately
we come to realize that consciousness is a discontinuous phenomenon. Qabala is a training of the mind that makes
it so subtle and pliable as to allow it to pass through the mysterious doorway of human genesis and enter the
sphere where life-death and existence carrry on their inter-play. Jointly, on both sides, the most precious
gift of life is at stake: the principle of
Indetermination, which allows all that can be to become.
Suares, The Cipher of Genesis, p.77
The letter Beth came to Him, saying, Master of the World, may it please You to create the world with me,
for through me do You receive blessings [berakoth, BRKV"Th] above and below.
The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her, This is certainly so. I will create the world with you,
and you will be the beginning [bereshith, BRAShY"Th] of the world's creation.
The letter Alef stayed, not entering. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to her,
Alef, Alef, why do you not come before Me like all the other letters?
She said to Him, Master of the World, because I saw all the other letters depart from before You without any success.
What could I do there? Also, You have given the letter Beth this great gift, and it is not fitting for the
Supernal King to take away the gift that He has made for His servant and to give it to another.
The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to her, Alef, Alef, even though I will create the world with the letter Beth,
you will be first of all the letters. I will not be unified except through you.
Through you will be directed all calculations and all functions of the world, and every unification
will exist only through the letter Alef.
Zohar: Aleph-Beth trans. Tim Woodruff