Download PDF printer friendly version of this section

4. Core Teachings of the Mystical Qabalah

G. The Tree of Life and the "Fall of Adam"

The Tree of Life is a universal map for the evolution of both Divine and individual consciousness in the planes of existence. It contains mysteries that manifest at both the macro- and microcosmic levels. One of the mysteries delineated in Tree of Life is the "Fall of Adam." This Fall is portrayed in the difference between "Working" and "Perfect Trees" (see Diagram). Working Trees are so-named because they represent different ways of ascending the Tree. The primary source for all the different types of Working Trees is the Sefer HaShmoth. Working Trees are also known as "Fallen Trees." In the Fallen Trees, the Sefirah Knowledge/First has become invisible and "fallen" into position as the anally centered Sefirah Kingdom dangling at the bottom of the Tree. There is no equivalent for the Sefirah Kingdom in the Sefer Yetzirah, since it only has Perfect Trees in which the throat Sefirah is visible and there is no Sefirah at the anal center.

At the macrocosmic level, the Fall of Adam is seen as an apparent differentiation in the states of matter in the Tree of Asiyah. For example, matter can exist in a collapsed condition at the core of black holes as the Sefirah Knowledge/First. Or, it can exist in an expanded manner as mostly hydrogen atoms in Sefirah Kingdom. It is critical to keep in mind that Sefirah Kingdom and Sefirah Knowledge/First are one, not two. It is like looking at one object from two sides. At the microcosmic level in the Perfect Tree, the universe is perceived by human consciousness in Sefirah Knowledge/First as a perfect spiritual unity in the mind of God (i.e. Vast Face). In the Fallen Tree, human consciousness is dualistic in Sefirah Kingdom, perceiving the material universe as differentiated from the spiritual. The Fall is an illusion sustained in individual consciousness by the Lord of the Universe via His/Her power of obscuration, sustained through five limitations: temporal limits, spatial limits, attachment to particular things, limited knowledge, and limited agency. The predominant Hebrew Name for the active aspect of the Ayn as the Creator, Sustainer, and Destroyer of the Creation is the four letter formula Yod Heh Vav Heh (vocalized by some as "Yahweh," and more commonly as "JehovahThe pronunciation of the Name hvhy as "Jehovah" first appeared in the Middle Ages in Jerome’s Vulgate Latin translation of the Tanakh, which became the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church. Jerome changed the "Y" to "J" and used the vowels of the Name Adonai."). The Fall of Sefirah Knowledge/First into Kingdom is also reflected in the duplication of the letter Heh in YHVH. The Upper Heh is the latent or unmanifest condition of all Mayic (illusory) possibilities in the form of an infinite number of waves of ideas, and the Lower Heh is their apparent finite manifestation in matter.

Composite Tree Most books on Qabalah show only what is known as the "Composite Tree of Life" ( see Diagram). The Composite Tree is obtained by superimposing all the Working Tree paths. This form of the Tree is often erroneously thought of as being a workable path in itself. However, as all the Sefiroth on the Composite Tree are connected among one another, it offers no specific route up the Tree, and is consequently not effective as a working path. Names from Tanakh and the qabalistic tradition that have been attributed to the gates between the Sefiroth of various working paths are listed in conjunction with the Composite Tree diagram in Table.

In many contemporary books on Qabalah, the Composite Tree is shown with gates connecting the Sefirah Kingdom to Sefirah Victory/South and to Sefirah Glory/West. This is not correct. When Sefirah Knowledge/First "falls" and becomes Sefirah Kingdom, it takes the Gate of the Beyt with it, which thereby connects Kingdom only to the Sefirah Foundation/Below. No other gates connect to Kingdom in the Fallen Tree. The reader might also take note that the Composite Tree shows gates connecting Sefirah Power/Fire with Sefirah Wisdom/East (Gate of Samael), and Sefirah Mercy/Water with Sefirah Understanding/North (a Gate on the Way of the Saint). These gates are not usually seen in Tree diagrams.

Gate Names on the Composite Tree

1 Gates of YHVH Elohenu, Central Column
2 Gate of the Excellent Servants of Everlasting Action
3 Gate of the Unclean Servants
4 Gate of Messiah
5 Gates of the Ruler (Royal Gates), Right Column
6 Gates of Destruction, Left Column
7 Gate of Doom (Fate)
8 Gate of Samael
9 Gates of the Saint
10 Gates of the Wizard

Back Next Home