Genesis 1:6 -- "And Elohim said: 'Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.' "
With Aleph, Elohim "made" the "firmament" (the compressed, condensed veil), but with Binah, Elohim says "let there be a firmament". In other words, this is a statement of potential and intention, not of "making" or manifesting. Furthermore, it speaks of the potential for sequence (let it divide the waters from the waters) within a unified, nonsequential realm (in the midst of the waters).
The true Binah stands on the opposite side of the Abyss from Gedulah. It is the realm of undifferentiated, un-sequentialized potential. Of course, hand in hand with this potential is also their inevitable realization or manifestation, but at the level of Binah proper, they exist only as unlimited potential. Gedulah on the other hand, is the point (NOW) where those potentials descend into the realm of sequence and begin their process of realization.
The Abyss is purely mental and is composed solely of our inability as sequentialized units of consciousness, to comprehend non-sequentiality. The crossing of this Abyss is therefore a matter of Understanding non-sequentiality. For the ascending initiate, Binah serves as the immediate goal of the crossing. It is, so to speak, the gateway to eternity.
As the initiate gazes toward the Abyss, Binah appears dark. Its non-sequential light is incomprehensible and therefore invisible to the Gedulah Individual. This is Binah as "Dark Sterile Mother". Yet when the initiate crosses the Abyss and experiences Binah first hand, it grows steadily brighter as Understanding increases and becomes the "Bright Fertile Mother". This is the "hidden" "radiance" mentioned in the "32 Paths" text.
Binah is where the eternal mental body resides. This is the Greater Self which projects its potential into Yetzirah and the realm of sequence, creating temporal mental bodies or
Individual Selves. It is the direct causal agent of the Individual Self. For the ascending initiate, reaching Binah means merging with one's own Greater Self. In fact, it is one's own Greater Self that provides the constant guidance mentioned in Paul Case's statement.
The emanation of the Greater Self into the sequentialized Individual is what, in the words of the "32 Paths", "illuminates all the powers of the mind which are seen with the eye of the intellect and through the contemplation of truth." Once the initiate reaches across the Abyss and arrives at Binah, they must begin the work of consciously emanating the nonsequential light of the Greater Self into the lower levels of Self.
Path #14 -- "The fourteenth path is called the luminous consciousness because it is the essence of the Chashmal ["speaking silence"] which is the instructor in the secret foundations of holiness and their stages of preparation."
The key to understanding this "32 Paths" description is the Hebrew word Chashmal (cheth-shin-mem-lamed). Most often it's translated as "brilliant flame", "electrum" or "amber", but in the Talmudic tradition pertinent to kabbalah, it's said to be a special joining of two words: "speaking" (mal) and "silence" (chash). As a kabbalistic term, it refers to Shin (connecting Chokmah to Binah) which was created from the "Marvelous Light" (Chokmah) and in turn gave birth to the "Arafel" (darkness) or Binah. Thus the Chashmal is a dynamic, fiery thing because of the tension created by this opposition of "speaking" and "silence". It's this flow of duality emanating from Chokmah that creates nonsequential potential (Binah) out of Unity.
With the path of Daleth, we see the dualistic essence of this dynamic Chashmal, emanated into the sequential realm and given form as infinite variety. The Tarot image expresses this as the workings of Nature herself, which is quite apt considering that Daleth is emanated by Binah, the receptacle of the "substance of the unity".
The Chashmal is the root of the universal legality, expressed in the "32 Paths" test by the words, "the instructor in the secret foundations of holiness and their stages of preparation." Universal legality is what determines the form of EVERY thing, be it potential or actual. In Binah, we see this legality in its barest, most rudimentary non-sequential form and with the emanation of Daleth we see it become sequentialized.
Franz Bardon's truly magical kabbalistic speech, which relies upon the magical manipulation of this stage of the descending legality, is therefore attributed to the path of Daleth. Kabbalistic speech consciously employs the same "laws" that Nature follows.
The specific work of the path Daleth will vary for each initiate, but in every case it involves the integration of the Greater Self's perspective into every action and every exercise of one's Individual power. Thus every one of the initiate's actions comes to perfectly reflect and manifest the Universal legality.
Path #9 -- "The ninth path is called the pure consciousness because it purifies the essence of the Sephirot. It provides and adapts the design of their patterns and establishes their unity. They remain united, without diminution or division."
This is the primary avenue by which the Greater Self fills each of its Individualized emanations.
As the non-sequential Greater Self descends into the realm of sequence, its essence, which is unified in Binah, splits into countless Individual manifestations, each of which expresses a part of the Greater's unified wholeness. Yet simultaneously, each part remains forever connected to the Greater's wholeness. The Greater's awareness of each of its sequential parts is never split and it remains completely and fully aware of all of its parts simultaneously. Only the parts themselves ever forget the Greater level of Self. This is what the "32 Paths" text is trying to say with, "It provides and adapts the design of their patterns and establishes their unity. They remain united, without diminution or division."
This then, is the initiate's work with the path Cheth -- to manifest the non-sequential Greater level of Self-awareness within their own familiar sequentialized Individual Self-awareness. The Tarot image of the Chariot, when placed upon the Hebrew Tree, accurately depicts this process.
The Chariot image illustrates the relationship between consciousness and time (i.e., sequence). Consciousness ALWAYS occupies a bubble of NOW-ness, shown here as the confining chariot. The charioteer represents the Greater Self after it's been Individualized and adorned with specific form, faculties, traits, etc. Behind this bubble of NOW-ness, lies the temporal past and above the surface of the two-dimensional card, lies the temporal future, yet to take form. No matter which direction the chariot moves, the charioteer ALWAYS exists within their bubble of NOW-ness.
With the work of Cheth, the initiate consciously fills their Individual Self with their Greater awareness and consciously picks up the reins of their chariot of NOW-ness and begins to consciously drive it as their Greater Self.
This begins a long temporal process of integrating the Greater Self level of awareness into EVERY aspect of one's life. Or, to use the "32 Paths" symbolism, the initiate "purifies the essence of the Sephirot."
Chokmah: Sephirah #2
#2: Through me its unfailing Wisdom takes form in thought and word.
Path #3 -- "The third path is called the sanctifying consciousness. It is the foundation of primordial wisdom and is called "enduring faith [Amen]", and its roots are truth [Amen]. It is the father of trust [Amen], from which the power of faith [Amen] emanates."
Chokmah exists beyond the ken of images and symbols, which explains the lack of a Temple image. This is the realm where "speaking" (Paul Case's "word") and "silence" (Paul Case's "thought") -- the components of the Chashmal -- are still united and exist in a purely potential state.
The author of the "32 Paths" plays with the various meanings of the word "Amen" (aleph-mem-nun) here, perhaps in an attempt to convey some sense of the dynamic between thought and word, between essence and manifestation, force and form, etc. This dynamic permeates Chokmah, yet in a subdued unified state, hence the common attribution of a dove gray color for Chokmah.
With the attainment of Binah, the initiate gained Understanding. Through the process of applying this nascent Understanding to every circumstance of their life, the initiate's Understanding matures into Wisdom. Understanding is situational -- it requires an object to focus upon. Wisdom however, is a continuous state that exists without the need for an object of focus and automatically manifests itself through the thoughts and words of the initiate. Here, the initiate not only Understands and manipulates the Universal legality, they become the legality itself.
At the level of Binah, which serves as the receiving vessel of the dynamism of the unleashed Chashmal, there exist a non-sequentially infinite number of Greater Selves, but in Chokmah, which serves as the source of the Chashmal, there is only one Greater Self. Chokmah is the Unity of infinite parts (8 ), distinct from Kether which is the Unity without parts (0).
The single Greater Self of Chokmah carries the seed that produces the many, just as the color gray carries the seed of both black and white yet is neither exclusively. Once the initiate attains Chokmah, they then act AS this single Greater Self.
When the initiate "stands" in Chokmah, they are faced with the choice of which of the countless Binah Greater Selves is to receive this seed. Ultimately, ALL receive the Chokmah seed simultaneously since this occurs at a non-sequential, eternal level; but for the already Individualized consciousness of the initiate, this is experienced as a binary, 'either/or' choice.
From Chokmah, the initiate, acting AS this single Greater Self, casts the seed of their Wisdom into first their own Binah Greater Self, and then into all the rest, one by one. Unfortunately, these temporal words we must use to communicate cannot accurately describe a non-sequential event -- they always imply the passage of time and sequence.
Nonetheless, it must be understood that EVERY thing that transpires above the Abyss occurs without sequence and outside of time.
The corresponding Genesis passage tries to convey this concept of non-sequential simultaneity.
Genesis 1:3 -- "And Elohim said, 'Let there be light', and there be light."
In other words, in Chokmah, cause and effect occur in perfect unison, without sequence. Such is the power that the initiate of Chokmah possesses and must wield upon Self.
Path #24 -- "The twenty-fourth path is called the imaginative consciousness because it provides an image to all created things that have an appearance, in a form fitting to each."
Shin, the Mother Letter of Fire, IS the Chashmal. This is the supernal root or template of the mental "plan of the primordial" (Aleph) and the astral "plan" (Mem). It is the seed which provides the archetypal "image to all created things that have an appearance, in a form fitting to each." With Shin, the initiate, acting AS the single Chokmah Greater Self, consciously implants this seed within the Bright Fertile Mother (Binah). Initially, the initiate's own Binah Greater Self is thus fertilized, but ultimately, ALL the Binah Greater Selves are fertilized.
As the Tarot image illustrates, this fertilization (pictured as a non-verbal sound vibration emanating from the Archangel's trumpet) brings about the birth of a new life amid the old.
Path #12 -- "The twelfth path is called the transparent consciousness because it is the substance of that phase of majesty (Gedulah) which is called revelation (khazkhazit). It is the source of prophesies that seers behold in visions."
The word "khazkhazit" was coined by the author of the "Book of Contemplation" and is translated variously as "visualizer", "gazing-glass", etc. All of these translations equate to revelation and divine vision. Yet here, quite subtly, is the veil of the Abyss, for revelation is a channeled and guarded thing -- it is received as though through a gazing-glass. This veil defines the separation between Briah (the realm of pure thought or idea) and Yetzirah (the realm of images that symbolize pure thought).
The emanation of Gimel from Chokmah to Gedulah is called "transparent" because it represents the descent of pure thought into the realm of images. Franz Bardon's magical evocation is attributed to this path because the basis of true evocation is the art of working with the pure thought that underlies all images and forms.
The initiate who consciously casts the seed of the single Chokmah Greater Self into their own Individual Gedulah, becomes a master of images and of the temporal NOW itself, perfectly manifesting Loving Kindness through their every thought, word and deed.
Path #6 -- "The sixth path is called the mediating consciousness because through it the emanation of atziluthic influence is increased. It causes that influence to flow unto all those so blessed as to be united to its essence."
The "atziluthic influence" mentioned in the "32 Paths" text refers to the path Beth which descends from Kether directly into Tiphareth, carrying with it the "holy powers". The entry of Chokmah into Tipha-reth via the path of Zayin, multiplies this Kethric influx within Tiphareth. The transformation which ensues because of this multiplication is what empowers the initiate's ascent to Kether.
As the Tarot image implies, the work of this path is the conscious integration of the single Chokmah Greater Self into the initiate's own Individual and personal Self. The radiant being that results from this integration of the supernal into the mundane is indeed a blessing to the world.
Kether: Sephirah #1
#1: I am a center of expression for the Primal Will-to-Good which eternally creates and sustains the universe.
Path #1 -- "The first path is called the mystical consciousness, the highest crown (Kether). It is the light of the primordial principle which has no beginning; and it is the primal glory. No created being can attain to its essence."
As I said above, Kether is the Unity without parts. It is the completely integrated whole that, in and of itself, experiences no separation into parts. For the Kethric consciousness, ALL is simply Self. In Kether, there is no differentiation into beginning, middle and end; no binary choice even. This is expressed in the corresponding Genesis passage:
Genesis 1:1 -- "In the beginning, Elohim created the heaven and the earth."
In other words, from the outset, so to speak, EVERY thing has existed within Kether -the heaven AND the earth, simultaneously.
The initiate who attains to full cognizance of Kether becomes at-one-with EVERY thing; every who, what, where, when and why. For such a one, cause and effect occur simultaneously and life becomes a matter of simply BEing instead of willing or desiring or making happen.
Paul Case's statement best describes the initiate's work: one becomes a conscious center of expression for the Primal Will-to-Good, and actively participates in the eternal creating and sustaining of the universe.
The "32 Paths" proviso that "no created being can attain to its essence" is a VERY deep mystical statement. The "essence" of Kether is the Ayin, commonly translated as "nothingness". The Ayin is so utterly foreign to creatures that "exist" or have BEing, that it is impossible for us to even begin to comprehend this "realm". Our words cannot even begin to describe it. The only consciousness capable of comprehending the Ayin is Kether: The One Self, the Unity of ALL BEing. In other words, no created being can attain to the Ayin -- only the creator of being can do so. Which is another way of saying that unity with Kether brings the initiate their first perception of this essence.
Path #2 -- "The second path is that of the illuminating consciousness. It is the crown (Kether) of creation (Briah), the splendor of the unity, like unto that which "exalts itself as the head over all." The masters of kabbalah call it the second glory."
Here we see the Kethric Light emanating down to Chokmah. This emanation of Light "crowns" Briah. In other words, it stands above the Briatic World of Chokmah-Binah. This descending illumination carries the "splendor" aspect of Kether, the Primal Glory. Therefore, Heh is called the "second glory" and is depicted in the Tarot as an Emperor who "exalts [him]self as the head over all." The Emperor may wear andper-sonify the power that the Crown confers, but he is not the Crown itself.
Heh represents the "first" non-sequential act of creation (Briah) which is/was/will-be a matter of Elohim turning Its attention "downward":
Genesis 1:2 -- "And the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of Elohim hovered over the face of the waters."
Here, Elohim "does" nothing more than take notice of the state of potential and "hover over" attentively. Yet this divine attention is what ultimately sustains the universe since it provides the mental pattern for all that follows.
With Heh, the initiate consciously integrates this mental pattern which sustains all created things, into the single Chokmah Greater Self.
Path #5 -- "The fifth path is called the root consciousness because it is the substance of the unity, joining itself to that understanding (Binah) which itself emanates from within the province of primordial wisdom."
With Vav, Kether impregnates the infinite potential of Binah with the Light of its substance. The corresponding Genesis passage gives insight into the nature of this "substance".
Genesis 1:4 -- "And Elohim divided the light from the darkness."
Thus we see that this "substance" has to do with dividing, which in this case is the same as multiplying since we have divided what was formerly one thing, into two things. In other words, this is the beginning of the potential for an infinite variety of distinct expressions of the One Thing. It's this influx of the "substance of the unity" that establishes the pillar of severity or form.
In the Tarot, this is symbolized by the Hierophant who philosophically divides the light from the darkness and passes on his own Understanding to those of lesser understanding.
The initiate's task with the path of Vav is to consciously cast their seed of Kethric "substance" upon the infinite potential within their own Greater Self and upon all the other Greater Selves resident in Binah.
Path #4 -- "The fourth path is named the overflowing consciousness because from it, emanate all the holy powers, all the most ethereal emanations with the most sublime essences: they emanate one from the other through the power of the primordial emana-tor."
The Hebrew letter name 'Beth' means "house" in English. As the first letter in the Torah, it is said to house all the letters that follow. In other words, it contains within itself all the "holy powers" and conveys them directly to the Individual (Tiphareth).
Beth is the only path on the Tree that crosses two horizontal paths; the path Shin between Chokmah and Binah, and the path Aleph between Gedulah and Geburah. It pierces both the supernal veil of Shin and the Abyssal veil of Aleph, and comprehends both levels of the "plan". It also establishes the middle pillar of equilibrium, upon which are found the Sephirot pertaining to the levels of Self (Supernal Kether, Individual Tiphareth, personal Yesod and material Malkuth) -- the "holy powers of the unity".
The initiate's work of the path Beth is to consciously bring down the whole of Kether into the Individual Self. Once brought directly into Tiphareth, the Kethric Light permeates every other level of Self and every other Sephirot of its own accord; or as the "32 Paths"
states it, "they (the "holy powers") emanate one from the other through the power of the primordial emanator (Kether)." In other words, the Tiphareth thus illuminated becomes like a radiant sun which casts its light in every direction, giving life and sustenance to all
This fills the initiate with the constant Kethric awareness of the Unity at the Individual and personal levels of Self.
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The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.