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The Tree of Life

The kabbalistic tree of life, called "Etz Chaim" in hebrew (עץ חיים), is one of the most important symbolic systems in the Kabbalah. It describes the manifestations of divine creation as it is mentioned in the Book of Formation - the Sefer Jetzirah (יצירה ספר). The tree of life is sub-divided into several levels of the ten primal numbers, which are called the Sephirot (sing. Sephirah). These spheres are are interconnected through 22 paths, which correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.Tree of life, Etz Chaim

The primordial light which is also known as the Ayn Soph (or En Sof), forms the first stage, and could also be described as the infinite light of God. Ayn Sof is God's first motivation and his first movement towards creation. It is “the God” outside of God; the largest being of the world, which is way beyond the grasp of the human mind. Due to its contraction and expansion, the Sephirot and therefore all appearances of existence come into being.

They are to be found within the four worlds, which are: Assia, the world of action, Jetzirah, the world of formation, Briah, the world of creation and the supernal world of Atziluth. In the tree of life, between the pure consciousness and the subconsciousness, we find the mental activity: on the left, in Sephirah Hod, the analytical thinking, and on the right the Sephirah Netzach, which stands for the creative thinking.

The right side of the Etz Chaim thus describes the female, receiving principle, which is characterized by the Sephirah Chokmah, while on the left side we can see the male, bestowing principle, which is manifested in the Sephirah Binah (the right side of the tree corresponds to the left side of the human body and vice versa). There are seven mundane Sephirot (Malkuth, Yesod, Netzach, Hod, Tiferet, Geburah, Hesed) and three heavenly or divine Sephirot (Binah, Chokmah, Kether) who are separated from each other.

The perception (Daat) bridges the divine and the mundane - heaven and earth. At the bottom of my illustration, you find three pillars, which stand for hardness (Binah, Geburah and Hod), mildness (Kether, Tiferet, Yesod and Malkuth) and mercy (Chokmah, Hesed and Netzach). To the left of the tree one can see the seven levels of human existence, which correspond to the chakras known from the asian-indian tradition.

The highest Sephirah Kether, represents the presence of God within creation, while the lowest Sephirah Malkuth, describes matter (the mundane, our planet). Between these two entities, there is the human consciousness, which is held within the Sephirah Tiferet. Between the conciousness and the mundane lies the subconscious World represented by the Sephirah Yesod.

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