The Tree of Life and the Ten Divine Utterances
The following is an excerpt from Cosmic Navigator by Gahl Sasson:
While astrology maps the energies of our solar system and galaxy, Kabbalah explores the entire creation—physical, astral, and whatever lies hidden and beyond. The Tree of Life blooms in the center of the mystical garden of Kabbalah. It functions as the spiritual organizer for all cosmic navigators, who can use its ever-present power to improve their lives and climb their way closer to God. Kabbalah teaches us how to transform ourselves into cables that transmit the divine to the earthly and to bridge— via the energetic magic of the Tree of Life—the above and the below.
The Tree of Life is made of ten archetypal energy spheres, or Sefirot in Hebrew. Only one of the ten spheres of the Tree of Life represents the physical existence that we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste. The other nine all designate some form of “dark matter,” the ethereal mysteries of the creation that resonate beyond our material world.
The Tree of Life endures as an ancient symbol, still used by different races and cultures, as it has been throughout history. For thousands of years, people every- where have revered trees as a source of spiritual sustenance. From the esoteric tradi- tions of Siberia, which claim that their shamans gestate on treetops, to the Buddhists, who contend that the Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, trees always have served as an anchor for spiritual work. A tree also links Kabbalah and astrology. This connection emerges in the ancient association between the Kabbalistic spheres of the Tree of Life and the astrological planets, as well as in the cor- relation between the zodiac signs and the paths that connect the spheres. For a deeper understanding of the ten spheres of the Tree of Life and how to use this timeless, radiant tool for practical self-improvement, please refer to my first book, A Wish Can Change Your Life.
Planting Your Own Tree of Life
I urge you to plant a few trees as part of your study of astrology and Kabbalah. I have created two forests in which you can plant new trees via donations to nonprofit orga- nizations. The first, located in Northern California, is managed by American Forests at www.TreeofLifeGrove.org.
Figure 1 depicts the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and its astrological attributes. Each of the ten spheres of the Tree of Life represents a different archetype or energy field. The term archetype derives from the Greek words arkhe meaning “first” and typos meaning “model” or “pattern.” With this etymology, archetype appropriately describes the spheres since, according to Kabbalah, God first created the ten spheres, and then from that blueprint God then crafted all the rest of the creation.
The ten spheres are arranged in three pillars, which correspond to the three modalities in astrology (cardinal, fixed, and mutable). The right pillar is called the Pillar of Mercy or the Pillar of Expansion. It corresponds to the cardinal signs and holds the spheres Wisdom, Mercy, and Eternity. The left pillar, also called the Pillar of Severity or the Pillar or Restriction, correlates to the mutable signs and contains the spheres Understanding, Severity, and Splendor. The middle Pillar, the Pillar of Harmony, relates to the fixed signs and holds the spheres Crown, Beauty, Foundation, and Kingdom.
The Ten Words of Creation
In the beginning of time there was the Word; and the Word was with God.
The ten spheres can be seen as the ten words or ten magic spells spoken by God at the creation of the cosmos. These ten divine utterances emitted ripples of energies that radiated into the emptiness of space, eventually blending and coalescing into everything we see around us. Kabbalah assigns a distinct name of God to each sphere. That name, mantra, or magic spell functions as an invocation of the energies of that particular archetype. And just as God uttered these ten words to manifest the energies of the cosmos, you can speak or chant these ten names to encase yourself in the ethereal energy you need most. For example, if you’d benefit from a more intense connection to the sphere Beauty, the sphere of balance and health, you can amplify that relationship simply by imagining yourself sitting in a golden sphere (the color of the sphere Beauty) while chanting the name of God for Beauty (Yod Hey Vav Hey Eloha Va’Da’At).
The first sphere or archetype to emanate as a word from God’s mouth is called Crown (Keter in Hebrew). Crown symbolizes the will of God, and that will, accord- ing to Kabbalah, is the will for oneness. God is One. God’s will is unity. Humans arrive as individuals, each of us unique in form, appearance, and personality. But the message of the Crown resounds clearly: we are all connected; we are all the same. All of us—in fact, all of creation—emanated from this first word uttered by God just as the entire universe materialized out of the Big Bang. The color for this sphere is white, the color that contains all the colors of the spectrum. Crown isn’t associated with a particular planet or sign because this sphere symbolizes emptiness or nothing- ness. That does not mean that Crown represents an empty vessel. It simply suggests that we do not possess the mental capacity to comprehend, grasp, or contain the infi- nite magnitude of this original sphere. Name of God for this sphere is Eheye. Look at this name of God as a mantra, a key that can open before you the powers and potentials of the sphere. Just like you might need a web address to download a file, so does the name of God connect you to a certain aspect of the one God that can in turn help you access the content you need to connect with.
To learn more about how to connect to the ten spheres as well as the relevance of the names of God, please refer to my book A Wish Can Change Your Life. You can also find audio examples of each mantra at www.CosmicNavigator.com.
The next word uttered by God was Wisdom (Hochma). Wisdom represents reflec- tion, meditation, intuition, and insights. Wisdom is the echo of the first archetype, Crown. It symbolizes the mirror in which God’s Oneness reflects itself. Reflection— via meditation or other techniques of inner discovery—enables us to locate the divine part of ourselves. Kabbalists paint Wisdom in silver-gray to signify the wisdom we attain as we age. Gray also suggests that life is not black and white, all or noth- ing, good or bad. Wisdom correlates not to any particular planet, but to the zodiac wheel in its entirety. It is wise, then, to examine the entire, complicated, circular (endless) picture. As the source of the astrological wheel, Wisdom also generates and oversees the divine astrological contracts that guide our paths here on earth. Name of God: YOD HEY VAV HEY.
The word Understanding (Binah) follows next. No wonder few of us can under- stand Wisdom; Wisdom arrives in the creation before the sphere that gives birth to Understanding. This third sphere imparts the energies we need to comprehend our- selves, our identity, and our mission in life. It brings us logic, science, education, and discipline, as well as the concepts of time and space that provide a structure in which to practice all that science and discipline. This sphere is colored dark indigo. Understanding marks the first sphere to be assigned an astrological planet. It brings Saturn, the ruler of Aquarius and Capricorn and the planet associated in traditional astrology with malevolence, plagues, disasters, and other misfortunes. But Kabbalis- tic astrology places Saturn in the most lofty and vital domain, the closest of all the planets to Crown and the Will of God. In your chart, Understanding—represented by Saturn—highlights the area of life in which you must practice persistence and focus in order to succeed and grow. Saturn helps us in the Understanding of our Tikkun (fixing our soul), as well as with the construction of a structure (such as reg- ular yoga, meditation, community and service) that will drive that rectification. Name of God: ELOHIM.
Next God spoke Mercy (Hesed). Mercy embodies the archetype of compassion, unconditional love, expansion, benevolence, and the grace of God. Whenever you feel good about yourself and those around you, you experience the energy of Mercy.
The sphere is associated with Jupiter, the ruler of Sagittarius and Pisces. Jupiter in our chart marks the area of our life in which we are likely to enjoy benevolence and boundless opportunities. Jupiter/Mercy also highlights the potential that you can transform into actuality. Mercy represents the most accepting and forgiving energy of the Tree of Life and creation as a whole. It works as a reinforcement of the prior sphere, Understanding. If you gave to the universe what Understanding asked of you, in Mercy you will receive or reap the rewards of that discipline and effort. The color of Mercy is blue, the color of the boundless seas and sky. Name of God: EL.
And fifth, God uttered Severity (Gevurah), which in Hebrew translates to “heroism,” “bravery,” or “valor.” This sphere resonates with strength, power, pure energy, and force. It can also be severe. The biographies of heroes and heroines such as Moses or Superman often feature harsh childhoods or incidents that forged them into remarkable people. Kabbalah also calls this sphere Din, which means “judgment.” This sphere is designed to balance the unconditionally expansive, loving, giving nature of Mercy. Severity is associated with Mars, the ruler of Aries and Scorpio. Since Mars is the red planet, it makes sense that Severity is also colored red. Red warns us of dan- ger (“red alert”), protects (the Red Cross), and prevents us from crashing into each other (a red light). In astrological charts, this sphere underscores the area in your life in which you possess great courage, where you might need to be more of a hero, or where you fight for your rights as well as those of others. Severity/Mars asks us to put your foot down so that you might receive what is duly yours. Name of God: ELO- HIM GIBOR.
The sixth word in God’s divine poem was Beauty (Tiferet). Located in the heart of the Tree of Life, Beauty balances constriction and expansion, feminine and mas- culine, and the above and the below. Some Kabbalists dub it the Throne of God, and Beauty is therefore associated with the higher self, as well as the sign Leo. The color of the sphere is bright yellow or gold; the latter is also the color and name of the most acclaimed of all metals and by far the most regal and royal. Beauty teaches that God’s presence is felt most profoundly when you balance giving with receiving, masculine with feminine, judgment with forgiveness. Health, happiness, children, playfulness, and love all emanate from this beloved archetype. Just as all of the spheres revolve around this central sphere, all of the planets orbit the sun, the primary symbol of astrology and the celestial body associated with Beauty. The location of the sun in your chart describes the area in your life in which you can express most fervently your highest good and emit the greatest amount of light upon your fellow sentient beings. Name of God: YOD HEY VAV HEY ELOHA VA’DA’AT.
Then God whispered the word Eternity (Netzach). This marvelous archetype brings pleasure, art, talent, and all slices of life that provide us with sensuous joy. Because this sphere governs pleasure, it also generates the mechanism of repetition and reproduction. For example, when you dine at a delicious restaurant, you gener- ally yearn to repeat that experience by going back there again and again. Mother Nature operates on this same principle. One tree seeds a second and then a third and fourth on into eternity until we find a gigantic forest. Green, the color of nature, is the color of the sphere. Eternity embodies the energy of Venus, the planet affiliated with both Taurus and Libra. This sphere oversees peace, diplomacy, negotiation, and relationships, as well as personal talents and money. Venus/Eternity in your chart underlines the area of your life in which your idiosyncratic talents can be deployed to generate financial security and abundance. Name of God: YOD HEY VAV HEY TZEVAOT.
The eighth word spoken by God was Splendor, or Hod, which is Hebrew for “reverberation.” This sphere enables communication, that most human characteristic, which demands both speaking and listening. Splendor guides commerce, business, and trade. It enables us to absorb the messages, signs, and synchronicities that we encounter so that we can translate and transmit them to the rest of humankind. Splendor is associated with magic, spells, and the ability to manifest mind over matter. Orange—the color chosen to herald the new millennium, our information age—is the color of the sphere, and Mercury, the planet linked to Gemini and Virgo, is its ambassador. In your astrological chart, Splendor/Mercury signifies your antenna, highlighting your style of communication, as well as your strengths and perhaps your weaknesses when it comes to conveying and receiving messages and knowledge. Name of God: ELOHIM TZEVAOT.
Ninth came the word Foundation (Yesod). This sphere holds all the secrets and subconscious powers of the universe. The word sod, which is the root of the Hebrew name of this sphere, means “secret.” Kabbalists have been stressing for millennia that at the foundation of the universe lies the secret of the law of attraction (the same law described in the bestselling book and DVD The Secret). That is one of the reasons why sexuality and passion are governed by this sphere. This intense and mysterious wheel of energy also governs transformation, healing, intimacy, and death. The law of attraction can transform your life and afford you what you always dreamt of. Foundation is linked to the moon, the ruler of the night, as well as the sign Scorpio. It is colored purple/violent, a rich tone that nonetheless emits the highest visible frequency in the spectrum. In your chart, Foundation/the moon exposes your inner reflexes—how you instinctively react to various situations in your life. It also might reveal hidden memories of early childhood or trauma, as well as the places in which you safeguard all your secrets. Name of God: SHADDAI EL CHAI.
And the last word to emerge from God’s consciousness in the Kabbalistic story of creation is Kingdom (Malchut). In Kabbalistic astrology, Kingdom relates to your rising sign or ascendant, the path you chose to walk in this lifetime, the highway that leads to your destiny. This sphere encompasses the entire physical creation—from unseen viruses and your neighbor next door to alien starships and vast galaxies millions of light years away. Name of God: ADONI HA’ARETZ.