Souce: Thelema Lodge
[Adapted from Appendix A of The Road to the Sun: A Record of Self Initiation to Tipheret, an unpublished MS, Copyright © by Bill Heidrick]
Here, the numbers one through thirty-two represent the same things in the tables published earlier in this series and Crowley’s Liber 777. These numbers are placed differently in this and later examples to facilitate explanation of the diagrams. No absolute rectitude in these associations is claimed. Anyone may make any assignments to these paths that occur to mind. The specific associations are intended as hypotheses only, not dogma.
Here is the second example of the Tree of life to be presented. It is called:
The Tree of the Two Pentagrams.
The principal change from tradition in this Tree is a redrawing of the inner paths to represent two pentagrams and a deletion of the two outer paths from Malkut. The Sephiroth have been left in their usual positions and the path numerations have been changed to reflect the new organization. Before turning attention to the meanings of the paths, a few remarks should be made concerning the symbolism of the pentagram.
A pentagram is a star of five points. It is a symbol of man, an emblem of the power of Mars (not stressed as such here), a representation of the four material elements and the ruling subtle element called spirit, an emblem of “good” when in normal orientation with a point on top and an emblem of “evil” when inverted with a point on the bottom. There is a more considerable bit of symbolism behind the “good” and “evil” orientations of the pentagram. As might be suspected, the vague generalizations “good” and evil” are underlain by more specific meanings. The “good” pentagram with point on top is a symbol of a human being in upright posture. The uppermost point is the head; the two lowest points are the legs and feet; the two middle points are the arms and hands. The head rules the limbs; therefore, the conscious mind is said to rule the powers of the body. In terms of elements, the element spirit (the head) rules fire and earth (the legs) and water and air (the arms). This pentagram is said to be “good” only because rulership by mind (or spirit) is usually considered to be a “good” state of affairs. The “evil” pentagram with point down represents a distortion of the human form. There is no uppermost point and therefore no head. The lowest point represents the sexual organs. The inverted pentagram is a symbol of a mindless (headless) human who has enormous physical drives (sexual organs). This inverted pentagram therefore represents the powers of the human body (arms and legs) responding to physical desires (sexual organs) without rule or guidance from the mind (headless). Elemental associations to the pentagram give a similar sort of conception. The elements are symbolized by the two upper and two middle points of this inverted star. The physical universe is represented by the lowest point. No spiritual force is symbolized in the inverted pentagram; the elements are in a state of chaos.The inverted pentagram would be differently described if it was treated as an “adverse” pentagram, according to Crowley’s usage. In the “adverse” form, the pentagram is rotated so that spirit is to the bottom. This treatment is therefore different in that sense from Crowley’s usage. According to the Order of the Golden Dawn, the inverted pentagram is a symbol of a human form turned upside-down. The lowest point is considered to be the head. Such an inverted pentagram is held to symbolize mind (spirit) buried beneath function (the elements). There is nothing fundamentally in contradiction between these two interpretations of the inverted pentagram, beyond assignment of elements and body parts to the points.Crowley’s approach to inverted pentagrams can be seen on the Minor Arcana of the Thoth Tarot for the fives. In addition, O.T.O. Newsletter, # 4 has an article on all 24 of the pentagrams used in Crowley’s approaches to ritual and symbolism, see also Thelema Lodge Calendar, May 1988 e.v.. This method of interpretation of the pentagram is only superficially derived from the Golden Dawn inversion. It carries into depths not necessary for this presentation.
The Tree of the Two Pentagrams has two pentagrams and no middle pillar paths. These properties will be briefly analyzed in the following study. The numeration of the paths is changed to reflect the changed situation. Various correspondences to Hebrew Letters, Tarot Trumps and the like follow these numbers to the new locations. Other assignments are always possible. The symbols employed are flexible enough to provide some insights wherever they are placed. Here is the analysis of the Tree of Two Pentagrams:
Malkut ………. This Sephira represents the physical world as before, but now only the path of Taw leads upward toward Yesod. The paths between Malkut and Hod and between Malkut and Netzach have vanished. This Tree represents a state of development in which consciousness of the physical world is not obtained directly from Malkut in regard to reason and emotion (Hod and Netzach). The physical world communicates through visions and dreams (Yesod) with the higher faculties of the mind. This state is attained when a person is able to perceive “Auras” or receive other complex impressions of the state of the physical world. This change is like that experienced in learning to read. At the beginning, the words have to be spelled out letter-by-letter. Later, words and sentences are taken in at a glance. Beyond this point, the meaning of a page leaps out to the reader without any dwelling on unnecessary individual words. Effectively, the perceptions of the senses are no longer treated separately but directly assembled in Yesod as a cohesive impression of the physical world.
Yesod ……….. Yesod receives the sense impressions of Malkut consciousness and transmits them by four paths to higher Sephiroth. The path from Yesod to Tipheret is deliberately broken to isolate Tipheret from direct contact with Yesod. Consciousness of living in Tipheret is no longer directly concerned with the dreams of Yesod, but derives its understanding of the Yesod consciousness from lower reason (Hod) and lower emotion (Netzach). More will be said about this later.
Hod …………. The first path from Yesod leads to Hod. This is the new path of Shin, number 31. Hod makes a rational examination along this path to discover logical meaning in the consciousness at Yesod. The three paths leading upward from Hod are in the same positions we find on the traditional Tree of Life. They have been given new numerations to reflect their changed functions.
Netzach ……… Two paths lead upward into Netzach and two lead upward from Netzach. All four are in the same positions that are found on the traditional Tree; but, like those from Hod, they have new numerations and new functions. The new path of Resh, path 30, connects Yesod and Netzach. This signifies that the relationship between lower emotion at Netzach and dreaming consciousness at Yesod has become more inquisitive and less reactive. This is not quite the same as a rational function, but it is more like intuition or the taking of omens and signs. This activity of new path 30 may be compared with the artistry of a Chef in checking the quality of his sauces. The smell, taste, appearance and consistency of a sauce are more important than precise measurement of the ingredients. Such work must be done as much by feel as by science. That is the manner of the new path of Resh. The path from Hod to Netzach has undergone a similar change. This path is now that of Qof, number 29. New path 29 is not violent. This Tree represents an advance over the state depicted in the traditional Tree of Life. Hod and Netzach have ceased to battle. Reason and emotion have joined hands. Hod and Netzach are connected by a transitory state of consciousness that resembles evolution and growth from a primitive but exact structure in Hod to a complex and living structure in Netzach. Hod provides the skeleton and Netzach grows the flesh by the path of Qof, new path 29.
Tipheret …….. Tipheret receives influence from below by two paths and transmits it above by two paths. All four of these are found on the traditional Tree of Life, but here again the numerations reflect new functions. The path that traditionally connects Tipheret with Yesod has vanished. Tipheret is no longer directly concerned with interpretation and direct elevation of the Yesod level. This activity has been delegated to the four Sephiroth just above and just below Tipheret. Tipheret has become a nerve center to coordinate the functions of Chesed, Geburah, Netzach and Hod in the lower part of the Tree. This represents a state of development in which the Tipheret life overview has become strongly established, and the influences from above and below on the middle pillar of the Tree of Life have been temporarily cut off. Receiving these influences directly would inhibit working out a world view in Tipheret. Such higher and lower influences are only permitted to reach Tipheret after they have been interpreted and filtered by other Sephiroth. Tipheret reassembles rational and emotional content in accord with the prevailing view of life, a process akin to the Spagyric technique in Alchemy (See The Alchemist’s Handbook by Frater Albertus, Weiser, 1974). New path 28 from Hod transmits insights into the rational content of the physical. New path 27 from Netzach transmits emotional energy derived from the physical. New path 24 transmits powerful directives from the higher reason of Geburah. New path 21 transmits higher emotional power from Chesed. All these energies and structures are coordinated in Tipheret and sent back along the same four paths to direct activity in the physical and celestial levels of thought.
Geburah ……… Geburah connects to the other Sephiroth by seven paths in this new conception. Three of these paths connect to the lower Sephiroth, and four connect to the higher. New path 24 has been discussed in connection with Tipheret. New path 25 connects Geburah with Yesod. By this path the moral influence of Geburah is exerted to bring Yesod consciousness into harmony with higher consciousness. Yesod in its turn conveys information concerning the physical world to the Geburah level. New path 26 connects Geburah and Hod. This path exerts control over lower reason to maintain its alliance with the purpose of higher reason.
Chesed ………. Chesed has now seven paths connecting it with other Sephiroth. Four lead to lower Sephiroth and three to higher. New path 21 has been described under Tipheret. New path 23 connects Netzach with Chesed. This path sustains the lower emotional complex by keeping it in contact with higher emotional motivation. New path 22 connects Yesod and Netzach to maintain emotional balance in the conceptions taken from the physical world and to communicate these conceptions more directly into the level of Chesed. New path 20 connects Geburah and Chesed so that higher reason may be invigorated by higher emotion.
Binah ……….. Four paths connect to Binah, two from below and two from above. New path 19 feeds the power of absolute rationality from Binah to Geburah. New path 18 links the emotional motivation of Chesed with the perfected order of Binah.
Chokmah ……… Four paths connect to Chokmah, three from below and one from above. New path 17 transmits the absolute energy of Chokmah to intensify the emotional directing force of Chesed. New path 16 keeps Geburah aware of the underlying energy that permeates all purpose and all creation. New path 15 asserts the rule of the energies of Chokmah over the rational abstractions of Binah.
Keter ……….. Four paths communicate downward from Keter to the nearest four Sephiroth. New path 14 unifies the purposeful consciousness of Geburah. New path 13 unifies the motivating force of Chesed. Paths 12 and 11 function as they do on the traditional Tree of Life.
The Lower Pentagram:
This pentagram is inverted and shows a major concentration in Yesod. The lower pentagram is devoted to utilization and control of physical experiences as communicated through Yesod. All the semi-physical mental states; sexual excitement, hunger, anger, pleasure, etc. are examined and developed in accord with influences derived indirectly from the upper part of the Tree. Tipheret acts to coordinate and monitor the process without direct contact with its principal seat in Yesod. This inverted pentagram is not in any sense “evil.” It is a special focusing of developed consciousness on the immediate connection to the physical world. Through this focusing, a powerful link between the physical and the spiritual is forged. In time this link will reappear as a path on the Tree of Two Hexagrams linking Yesod and Tipheret. At that time the lower pentagram will open into a hexagram with stabilizing effect. This double pentagram is used to build up a link between the developed states and the physical. The link that is found on the traditional Tree is primarily used to develop awareness of higher states.
The Higher Pentagram:
This pentagram is in the “normal” or upright orientation. It acts to communicate influences between the five highest Sephiroth, but its functions are not coordinated (Da’at has not yet manifested). It effectively abolishes the Abyss but does not completely link the lower Tree to the Sephira Keter. Parts of the middle pillar have been lost in establishing this star-bridge across the Abyss. Had Keter remained in direct communication with Tipheret, the Abyss would have remained. This stabilizing of the Abyss by elimination of the traditional path of Gimel is implied in the spelling and gematria of a Hebrew word meaning “abyss”, . It is the direct link between Tipheret and Keter that destroys consciousness of the physical world. This link will be remade when the Tree has been strengthened and when Tipheret has ascended to the traditional position of Da’at.
To be continued next time with The Tree of the Pentagram and Hexagram.