by Bill Heidrick
[Adapted from Appendix A of The Road to the Sun: A Record of Self Initiation to Tipheret, an unpublished MS, Copyright © by Bill Heidrick]
In this installment, we will begin a brief trek over the traditional Tree of Life. This treatment will be continued next issue. Later installments will take up dynamic variation of the paths.
The first example shall set the method of this brief inquiry with an examination of the “Traditional” Tree of Life diagram as used by the Order of the Golden Dawn. This treatment employs the pictures on the Tarot Major Trumps for the twenty-two paths. Hebrew Letter correspondence is better, but it is not so easily understood at first. The Treatment will begin at the bottom and work toward the top.
The Traditional Tree of Life Diagram:10 …….. Malkut (Kingdom). this is the physical world and all things that are perceived by the physical senses. This is the Earth. Consciousness here is direct and limited. No thoughts about the things experienced are proper to Malkut, only the experiences of the physical events and material objects.
32 …….. The Path of Taw, (The World in Tarot). This is the transitional state of consciousness whereby the physical, direct consciousness of the Sephira Malkut is elevated to the half-awake dream consciousness of the Sephira Yesod. The world is found to be filled with endless forms in endless change. On the Tarot card of this path, a figure dances out the steps of existence within a womb-shaped wreath. The perceptions of the senses in the World are like those of an observer at a ballet. This is the first drawing of meaning from the Physical World and from the sensual experience of all created things.
9 ……… Yesod (Foundation). This is the place of beginning thought. Yesod is both the foundation of higher thought and the foundation of the forms that manifest downward in Malkut. Yesod is the level of dream and fantasy. The perceptions of the senses are woven into a loose pattern that is but a single step from direct perception of the Physical World. When the mind descends from Yesod to Malkut, the path of Taw imprints the pattern of Yesod on the Physical World. When the mind ascends from Malkut to Yesod, a pattern is formed from sense perceptions.
31 …….. The path of Shin, (Judgment in Tarot). This path elevates a selected part of the physical, direct consciousness of Malkut to the rational consciousness of the Sephira Hod. The card of Judgment shows an angel (the higher will) drawing forth human beings from graves. Rational will seeks for order among such perceptions. When cause-effect relationships are found and associations are discovered, this rational will acts to construct a world view. This world view is a hit-or-miss thing. Anything in the physical world of Malkut that does not fit the evolving world view of Hod is rejected by the rational will of the path of Shin. When a failure occurs in rationalizing out the Hod world view, new sense perceptions are selected to permit reconstruction. When the world view of Hod is perfected, the lower rational mind is resurrected from the grave of matter.
30 …….. The path of Resh, (The Sun in Tarot). This path elevates a selected part of the dream consciousness of Yesod to the rational consciousness of Hod. The card of the Sun shows children dancing beneath the face of the day star. The Sun of Reason sheds light upon mysteries of the playful mind. This play is dream and fantasy. From the study of such things, the world view of Hod is tempered from the starkness produced by the hard path of Shin to a softer and more flexible awareness. Shin does little more than organize perceptions. Resh adds the tricks of symbolism to further compound and develop these perceptions. Resh introduces allegory and metaphor into Hod just as Shin introduced analysis and synthesis. The path of Resh completes the tools of mundane reason.
8 ……… Hod (Glory). This is the place of the first flowering of thought into order. Hod is the glory of the world of the senses and the compacted will of the higher Sephiroth. Hod is built up by rational inquiry along the path of Shin and by analogy along the path of Resh. The end product is the development in Hod of a rational, self-consistent consciousness of material things and of imaginings. When this is reversed, and the influence of Hod descends along the paths of Resh and Shin, fantasies are designed to embody ideas in Yesod, and the physical world is controlled in Malkut.
29 …….. The path of Qof, (The Moon in Tarot). This path elevates a selected part of the physical, direct consciousness of Malkut to the emotional consciousness of the Sephira Netzach. The card of the Moon shows a strange scene of animals, crayfish, water, towers, a path and the Moon. This complex of images suggests slow evolution of feeling and emotional reaction. The physical world gives many experiences. These experiences may be rationally examined (to lead toward Hod) or they may be emotionally accepted (to draw toward Netzach). The path of Qof is emotional acceptance of experience. By Qof the senses develop strange echoes in the soul. Preferences and desires awaken without explanation. Some things effect the mind to produce pleasure, others to produce pain. Some experiences seem to be meaningless in terms of emotion. Such unemotional experiences are ignored in the path of Qof. Only those things that quicken or slow the heart are taken up by this road to build the emotional mind that dwells in Netzach.
28 …….. The path of Tzaddi, (The Star in Tarot — var., Emperor) elevates a selected part of the dream consciousness of Yesod to the emotional consciousness of Netzach. The card of the Star shows an allegorical figure pouring water upon the earth and into a pool. This image represents the emotional qualities of fantasies and stories as they are enjoyed by the empathic mind. A story or legend in Yesod would be analyzed along the path of Resh to discover its hidden meanings. The path of Tzaddi seeks emotional content from such a story or legend. To Hod go the theories. To Netzach go the feelings. The path of Tzaddi makes less demanding and less immediate the emotional pattern of the soul in Netzach. A dreaminess is added from the Sephira of dreams to help emotions trust each other. (On the variation: Crowley switched the Emperor and Star cards in an effort to explain a passage in Liber AL vel Legis. If we view the woman of the Star as Mother and the man of the Emperor as Grandfather, it is possible to see the Emperor as emotion striving to assess life. The Star then becomes an ordering influence.)
27 …….. The path of Peh, (The Tower in Tarot). This path elevates the rational consciousness of Hod until it can mingle with developing emotional consciousness in Netzach. The path of Peh beings order to the emotions so that no emotion runs contrary to another emotion. The emotions are guided and ruled by what is best for all the mind. Emotions are not suppressed; rather they are liberated from disorder. Instead of breaks and crises in the feelings, there are waves of greater feeling and of lesser feeling. These waves are synchronized and compose a sort of tide of the soul. Before the influence of Hod is added by Peh to Netzach, storms and madness wreck the emotions. After this path has been taken, the emotions are in concert. At no time does the rational mind at Hod dominate the emotions; guidance is necessary only to make them healthy. The emotions are more important and more holy than empty and lifeless reason. The card of the Tower shows a phallic building crowned with fire and lightning. This represents both pain along the way and the orgasmic joy that accompanies marriage of reason and emotion. After this marriage is consummated, emotion rules the mind while seated on a throne of reason.
7 ……… Netzach (Victory through Endurance). This is the place in which the lower worlds are perfected through elevation of emotion to the queenship of the mind. Netzach is the victory of mind in the senses, and the embodied passion of the higher Sephiroth. The path of Qof draws sympathies from sense impressions in Malkut and builds from them a loose mesh of emotional reaction in Netzach. The path of Tzaddi adds melodramatic touches by drawing upon the dreams of Yesod. The path of Peh coordinates the whole by drawing upon rational conceptions from Hod. Netzach is then complete, and fervor links with reason to rule the lower worlds.
26 …….. The path of Ayin, (The Devil in Tarot). This path elevates the rational world view of Hod to begin the formation of consciousness of life in the Sephira Tipheret. The Devil card represents a monstrous beast upon a half-cube. At this “Devil’s” feet are chained womanly reason and manly emotion. These must be liberated from the undue restraint of the chains forged unfeelingly in Hod. Strong is the rational mind of Hod, too strong to permit free use of its strength. The path of Ayin sets before the reasoning mind an image of its excesses. Earth-bound reason must give way at times so that higher and more comprehensive plans may be accomplished. Before this path is traveled, the mind in Hod is like a well-meaning police officer who is too much concerned with the letter of the law and not enough with the spirit. The path of Ayin opens the eye of reason to let it see purpose behind method. Hod then becomes a true servant of the safety of the mind, applying its rules for thought in some cases and not applying them in others. When the purpose of life is threatened by a particular way of living, Hod learns to make a new way more in keeping with the whole life. This path to Tipheret gives a basis of reason to the totality of living that is consciousness in Tipheret.
25 …….. The path of Samekh, (Temperance in Tarot). This path elevates the dream of Yesod to a consciousness of personal life and purpose in Tipheret. The card depicts an angel mixing fire with a watery nature (The Eagle of Scorpio) and water with a fiery nature (The Lion of Leo). In this way, by taking a little from one thing that has too much and by adding it to that which lacks, all thoughts are given balance. This is a blending of the elements of consciousness until each contains a little of each. The net result is a single, cohesive mentality. This is the substance from which the Tipheret life consciousness develops. Reason comes from Hod to order it. Emotion comes from Netzach to enliven it. The substance of life is drawn up along the path of Samekh from Yesod.
24 …….. The path of Nun, (Death in Tarot). This path elevates the emotional complex of Netzach to the living totality of Tipheret. The card of Death shows a skeleton harvesting and nurturing a field of human parts and green plants. This shows how proper care and attention, through successive generations of feelings, produces a perfect growth of emotion. Emotional consciousness comes in ebbs and flows. At its high points, it ripens. At its low points, it fades. Consciousness of this cycling of emotional intensity enables a careful mind to nurture its garden of passions in the high times and to weed it in the low times. When emotions are ripe and full, they freed into Tipheret and make a joy of life. When emotions are low and weak, the painful emotions can be rooted out. This is a slow process requiring many cycles of emotion, but it succeeds in time. The Netzach mind becomes a wondrous garden filled with delights and loves. These are then chosen so that no matter what the season (the state of the physical world) some emotions are to be found in full bloom. The emotional cycles then change from intermittent elation and depression to successive blossoming in the garden of the soul. When the beauty of Netzach is a continuous and orderly dance of many hued and strong sentiments, it adds the seed of life to Tipheret and wakens the consciousness of life.
6 ……… Tipheret (Beauty). This is the place of consciousness of the whole of life. Tipheret is the seat of the healthy soul. when Tipheret is fully attained, love runs smoothly. The details of existence in the World come to Tipheret by the path of Samekh from the dreaming world. Tipheret has no direct contact with Malkut; the physical world must be a little removed from the inner world. The path of Ayin aids Tipheret to structure the details of life. The path of Nun gives meaning to the changes of life. In Tipheret is built up the full conception of what it is to live and to be among the living. Order is seen in all things. Delight is taken in all things. All things are seen in their ever-changing interrelationships. From Tipheret descends the control that brings life to fruition in the physical world. Netzach alone can do no more than look for pleasure. Hod alone can do no more than look for structure. Yesod alone can do no more than link one experience with others. When Tipheret rules these three; Netzach, Hod and Yesod act together to enrich physical existence in Malkut.