[Adapted from Appendix A of The Road to the Sun: A Record of Self Initiation to Tipheret, an unpublished MS, Copyright © by Bill Heidrick]
The numbers one through thirty-two in this presentation 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.
Last month we examined The Tree of Two Pentagrams. That pattern represents a stage of development in which attained consciousness in the lower seven Sephiroth links with partly attained consciousness in the highest three Sephiroth to concentrate attention on the Yesod Link to the physical world. The next example demonstrates strengthened consciousness in the upper six Sephiroth to provide a stepping stone to ultimate symmetrical unification of the entire Tree of Life. Here is the third example of the Tree of life to be presented. It is called:
The Tree of the Hexagram and Pentagram.
This Tree derives from the Tree of Two Pentagrams by a simple change. The paths numbered 18 and 16 on the Tree of Two Pentagrams are moved until their lower ends terminate in Tipheret instead of in Chesed and Geburah. The upper pentagram of the Tree of the Two Pentagrams then becomes the Hexagram of the Tree of the Hexagram and Pentagram. The numerations of this newly developed Hexagram are changed to reflect some new functions. Paths 32 through 20 have the same significance on both these Trees. Paths 12, 17, 19 and 11 are also the same on the two Trees. The effect of changing the remaining paths will be discussed below.
Tipheret ………. Tipheret receives two new paths by this conversion of a pentagram into a hexagram. New path 18 unites the rational principles of Binah with consciousness of life at Tipheret. New path 16 unites the energies of Chokmah with the life consciousness of Tipheret. These changes reestablish two paths that are found on the traditional Tree of Life, but these reestablished paths have a heightened function on the Tree of the Hexagram and Pentagram. By their means the coordinative function of Tipheret is augmented by a greater insight into the spiritual regions of the highest Sephiroth. This increases greatly the power of Tipheret to administrate the surrounding Sephiroth and all but elevates the consciousness at Tipheret above that of Geburah and Chesed. That elevation takes place in the Tree of Two Hexagrams, but it is potentially present in the Tree of the Hexagram and Pentagram.
Binah & Chokmah ………. These two Sephiroth are now linked by new path 13. The mysterious link between energy and the means to use energy is being reforged to enable a return to the traditional relationship between these two Sephiroth in the Tree of Two Hexagrams.
Keter ………. The new path 15 communicates the unity of Keter, as a master of all patterns, to the purpose designing consciousness of Geburah. New path 14 communicates the unity of Keter as a vitalizing basis for the emotional motivating consciousness of Chesed.
The Hexagram ……….The change of the upper pentagram of the Tree of the Two Pentagrams into a hexagram in this Tree is especially significant. Pentagrams may be considered to represent the spiritual and physical worlds separately. Hexagrams are considered to represent the union of the physical and spiritual worlds. It is an aphorism of the Order of the Golden Dawn that: “The Great Work is accomplished by uniting the Hexagram with the Pentagram.” The meaning of this can be made clear symbolically.
The hexagram can represent the whole man, not just the man without sexual organs (upright pentagram) or the headless man (inverted pentagram). This means that both spirit and matter are equally involved in consciousness. Pentagrams represent one-sidedness toward the spiritual or the material. A hexagram represents of perfect union of spiritual and material in a single consciousness. The Tree of the Hexagram and Pentagram has a hexagram above to represent total, Divine consciousness and a pentagram below to represent mortal consciousness. When these two figures are united, human consciousness has developed to its highest state. To go far beyond is to exceed human consciousness. It is desirable to do this near the end of life, before physical death of the body. It is also desirable to be able to do this at any time to obtain thereby all the benefits of unity with the mind of the Deity. This further step involves Tipheret in a special way. The process identifies the lower pentagram with the upper hexagram of the Tree of the Hexagram and Pentagram so that: “That which is above is like to that which is below, and that which is below is like to that which is above, to accomplish the wonders of the one thing.” The pentagram is a star of five points and the hexagram is a star of six points. This process of uniting these two stars is symbolized by the formula 5 = 6. The Sephira Tipheret embodies this formula. Tipheret is the fifth Sephira from the bottom of the Tree and the sixth from the top. Tipheret is the Sephira of 5 = 6. The union of the pentagram and hexagram is also symbolized by the formula 5 + 6 = 11. The Sephira Da’at is not fully a part of the Traditional Tree of Life; but tradition states that its place is between Keter and the present place of Tipheret on the middle column of the Tree, and that it will again exist in the Tree when the Knowledge (Da’at means “Knowledge” in Hebrew) that was lost in the fall of mankind from paradise is regained. The number assigned to Da’at is 11 (not the same as path 11 for Aleph). It is the contention of this Author that the accomplishment of the Great Work may be attained by raising the middle pillar of the Tree of Life from Tipheret through Malkut until Tipheret occupies the position traditionally given to Da’at. This involves an elevation of Yesod to the place formerly occupied by Tipheret and an infusion of spiritual consciousness into the physical world so that the whole of the created universe is raised from the former position of Malkut to the former position of Yesod. The Great Work cannot truly be accomplished for anyone until it is accomplished for everyone. This is true in one sense. In another sense any one person may be said to have accomplished the Great Work when that person is able to see pure spirit (Keter) in created matter (Malkut), a traditional Qabalist would say “raise the sparks”, perform Tiquon. This involves identity of the inner fantasy world (Yesod) with the outer sense world (Malkut) and identity of the consciousness of one’s life (Tipheret) with the consciousness of dreams and fantasies (Yesod) in that life. Accomplishment of the Great Work is creation of harmony within all that constitutes the being of the accomplisher of that Work. This does not mean elimination of all discord; but each discord must be balanced by a corresponding concord, and conversely. The Tree of the Two Hexagrams represents the mind of a person who has completed the Great Work. There are other stages beyond that point. One of them will be illustrated, and others suggested.
The Tree of Two Hexagrams.Malkut ………. The Sephira Malkut is connected to the rest of the Tree by five paths. It has risen to the place formerly occupied by the Sephira Yesod. This ascension took place through influx of self-aware consciousness into the physical world. Malkut is linked to the Sephiroth Hod and Netzach by the paths 32 — full understanding of the material world, and 31 — full feeling of the rightness of events of the physical world. Path 30 connects Hod and Netzach; this is the established link of perfected thought that joins rational conception of the physical to emotional feeling of the physical. From Malkut to the elevated Yesod goes the 29th path. This 29th path is a passage from enlightened experience in Malkut to enlightened perception of the implicit meanings of the physical in Yesod. Path 27 leads from Malkut to Geburah and conveys the ruling power of Geburah into the Earth. Path 25 balances the Earth with the celestial mercy of Chesed.
Hod ………. The lower rationality is joined to the middle rationality by path 28 — perfected vision and meditation. Hod is further enlightened along path 24 by the transforming qualities of the elevated Tipheret.
Netzach ………. Path 26 parts the veil of illusion between the lower emotions of Netzach and the middle emotions of Chesed. The 23rd path projects the purified life conception of Tipheret into the lower emotions of Netzach.
Yesod ………. Yesod receives perfect order along path 19 from Binah. Perfect vitality communicates from Chokmah to Yesod along path 17. Path 21 unites the center of the lower universe with the center of the upper universe.
Geburah ………. This Sephira receives order along path 20 from Binah. Geburah is unified by path 16 from Keter.
Chesed ………. Chesed receives vital moving force from Chokmah along path 18. Path 15 communicates the ruling power of unity in Keter into Chesed.
Tipheret ………. Tipheret is unified as before by the 13th path from Keter.
Binah ………. Binah derives creative potency from Chokmah by path 14.
Chokmah ………. This Sephira is made one by the path of unmodified existence, path 11.
The lower and upper hexagrams do not directly contact their centers. They depend instead on consciousness derived from other Sephiroth and from the middle pillar. In this way there is a yearning for knowledge from all the Tree instead of a centering on the nearest point of balance. In time this knowledge increases to the point that another stage is reached. Yet another Tree of Life is produced:
The Tree of Two Cubes
This new Tree is a three dimensional conception. When viewed schematically on a flat, two-dimensional surface, it seems to display less than twenty-two paths. When viewed in three dimensions, it displays thirty- two parts of which ten (or twelve) are Sephiroth, twenty are simple paths and two are penetrating influences. Very little will be said about this Tree, beyond a few geometrical details. The other versions of the Tree of Life that have been presented in this series have been described in such a manner that the first is most easily understood and the last is most difficult. Those who wish to study such things can do so only as they learn the techniques of interpretation. The Traditional Tree of Life can be learned with little more than simple persistence. The Tree of Two Pentagrams requires more mental effort. The Tree of the Hexagram and Pentagram is more difficult still. That of Two Hexagrams is quite difficult. The Tree of Two Cubes is easy to visualize but complex to understand. Some notes follow:There are twenty separate edges on the two joined cubes. These edges are assigned path numbers from twelve to thirty-one. The eleventh path, represented by a dot in the center of the upper cube, may be visualized as an influence wholly permeating the upper cube. In like manner, path thirty-two fully permeates the lower cube. The corners of the cubes are twelve in number and represent the Sephiroth. In these corners, Tipheret and Yesod are repeated along major axes to illustrate the way in which they bind together the upper and lower cubes. The upper cube represents the upper Sephiroth and the spiritual. The lower cube represents the lower Sephiroth and the material. Both are joined in a double cube which may, by multiplication, fill all of space.
Two further modifications will be suggested.
In the traditions that come to us from the Golden Dawn and the magical methods of Aleister Crowley, there is a ritual object known as the Double Cubic Altar. This Altar of two cubes is identical in physical appearance with the Tree of Two Cubes. In the tradition that accompanies the Altar, the Sephiroth are not associated with the corners of the cubes, but with the squares that make up the surface of the Altar. There are ten such squares on the surface of the Altar: one at top, two on each of the four sides, and one on the bottom. The top square is assigned to Keter (1). The bottom square is assigned to Malkut (10). The remaining eight Sephiroth are assigned to the four sides in pairs. The exact manner in which the middle eight Sephiroth are assigned may be standardized or it may vary with the nature of the ritual in which the double Cubic Altar is used. The assignment shown in the illustration is merely an example of how such Sephiroth may be balanced on the sides of the Altar. The particular assignment made here is suitable in invocation ritual. The influences of the sides of the Altar are more or less consistent on each side. The interplay of the influences between different sides varies considerably. Other assignments of the Sephiroth would produce different advantages and disadvantages in ritual. Perhaps a good standard assignment to the sides would be one in which the Sephiroth are placed in order clockwise (invoking — counterclockwise signifies banishing) about the top and counterclockwise about the bottom. When this is done in such a manner that Chokmah and Tipheret are on the same side of the Altar, the influences of the Sephiroth are nicely balanced. In this second arrangement: Binah and Yesod share the same side of the Altar, Geburah and Netzach share the same side, Chesed and Hod share the same side. For a different approach, see Crowley’s Book 4, Part II. As far as the remaining 22 paths are concerned, they may be assigned as in the Tree of Two Cubes or in some related pattern.
The last modified Tree to be noted is a familiar one to BOTA members: The Cube of Space of the Sepher Yetzirah. This figure represents the twenty-two paths (corresponding to the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet and the Tarot Major Cards) by the parts of a single cube. The Three Mother Letters: Aleph, Men and Shin (paths 11, 23 and 31) are assigned to three coordinate axes in the body of the Cube. The seven Double Letters are assigned to the six faces and the central point: Bet, Gimel, Dalet, Koph, Peh, Resh and Taw (paths 12, 13, 14, 21, 27, 30 and 32). The remaining twelve Simple Letters: Heh, Vau, Zain, Chet, Tet, Yod, Lamed, Nun, Samekh, Ayin, Tzaddi and Qof (paths 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 28 and 29) are assigned to the twelve edges of the cube. The ten Sephiroth may be assigned to the eight corners, the entire interior and the entire exterior of the Cube, much as they can be assigned to the squares of the Double Cubic Altar. See also Paul Foster Case in his book The Tarot.
There have also been versions of the Tree of Life in the form of Circles and Spheres, to say nothing of that most common representation in the children’s game “Hop-Scotch”. The sixteenth century Qabalist, Isaac Luria, taught of a Tree in which the Sephiroth were concentric spheres. The Golden Dawn writings published by Regardie describe a Tree on the surface of a single sphere. There are a number of variations on the traditional Tree of life diagram in the writings of Qabalists of the early Renaissance, and the Irish Book of Kells includes a stylized Tree of Life on a page illuminating the Latin word “Quoniam” at the start of one of the Gospels.All conceptions of the Tree of Life as a geometrical form are valid. The various designs may be understood separately to great advantage, but they are best understood as developments of one another; as branches, leaves, flowers and fruit of a single invisible Tree. The presentation made here offers clues to link the Traditional Tree used by most modern occultists to the Cube of Space. Similar links can be made between the Traditional Tree and the spherical types. Frater Achad’s book, The Anatomy of the Body of God, describes a part of such a link. All this is good exercise for the mind and spirit.