Kabbalah: The big and the small face of the deity – Part 2

As from an overflowing fountain complex connections, structures and ever new forms of evolution are created in a dynamic process.

Kabbalah: The big and the small face of the deity – Part 2

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The Sephiroth Tree

From Kether, as from an overflowing fountain, water flows down continuously. It comes from Ain Soph Aur and pours with high pressure into the following Sephiroth, like vessels that fill up and pour into the next vessel. In this way, complex connections, structures and ever new forms of evolution are created in a dynamic process. The Sephiroth lined up in the three columns form triads or specific functional triangles.














The first functional triangle: Kether (1), Chockmah (2) and Binah (3).

Kether symbolises the universe and the source of all life. Her equivalent in the human microcosm is the divine spark in the skull. Her god name is Elohim.

Chockmah (right below) symbolises the wisdom (the left side of the face) and the kinetic power (the Zodiac) of creation.

Binah (below left) symbolises the sanctifying intelligence (the right side of the face) and the formative power of creation (Saturn); she is also called Elohim. Chockmah and Binah together form a pair as the supreme father and mother of creation. The name of God, the tetragrammaton YHWH comes primarily to this level of manifestation.

This triad reveals the divine creative power active in its emanations.[1]

The second functional triangle: Chesed (4), Geburah (5) and Tiphereth (6).

This triangle represents the mental, ordering and structure-giving will becoming effective in creation.

Chesed symbolises mercy (the cohesive intelligence, Jupiter), its microcosmic equivalent in man is the left arm.

Opposite her is Geburah – also called Din. She symbolises strength, hardness and justice (Mars). This Sephira has a root intelligence that unites her with Binah. Microcosmically, it corresponds to the right arm.

On this level – despite the harmonising power and the mediating intelligence of Tiphereth (Sun, Christ consciousness; the microcosmic equivalent is the breast ) –what is called primordial evil in the Kabbalah occurs.

“From the hypertrophy of the judging power of Geburah/Din, which is sacred in her association with the primordial potencies, sprang primordial evil, [in her hypertrophy] torn loose from the association.” [2]

Evil is the disruption of the harmony of creation, the separation of that which should be unified. Since all sephiroth are connected like links in a net, the root of evil must lie in a disturbance in their interaction. In Binah (Saturn), the Mother of Creation, is possibly to be found the reason that Geburah (Din) receives an excess of powers and overdoes her faculty of hardness and strength (expelling from the order of creation what is not in correspondence with the “right measure“). An even deeper original reason for the disturbance of harmony (and the difficulty to find the right measure in the order of creation) may lie in God Himself, and specifically in the element of Him that denies itself to creation. The Kabbalists see it ultimately in the formless Ain Soph, which is also present in the actively working God.

The third functional triangle: Netzach (7), Hod (8) and Jesod (9)

The sephiroth Netzach, the victorious beauty (Venus, hidden intelligence) and Hod, the glory (perfect intelligence, Mercury) are opposite each other. Microcosmically they correspond to the hip, the loins and the legs; they reveal the principle of movement.

Jesod on the central column (pure intelligence, Moon) collects the emanations coming to him from “above” and purifies and harmonises them. He is, therefore, called the righteous one. “If there is even one righteous person on earth, he sustains the world” it says in the Safer ha-Bahir.[3]

By concentrating all the powers, Jesod pours them through himself into the world-soul and into the human souls. They flow into the tenth sephirah, into Malkuth, also called Shechina. The microcosmic equivalent of Jesod are the reproductive organs. Jesod represents the cosmic potency of the active creator, he fertilises Malkuth (Shechina).

Malkuth finds her expression in the dense form. With her brilliant intelligence she represents the kingdom of God on earth, in which the tree of life is planted.

Malkuth contains within herself the 32 paths of wisdom and self-knowledge that have arisen on the descending line of involution – the pillars of knowledge.

They can now be transformed on an upward path with the help of Tiphereth (on the Pillar of Equilibrium) into the new Christ Consciousness, and then back up to the Source of Life in Kether.

Malkuth is – apart from Kether and Binah – the third Sephira bearing the God-name Elohim. Malkuth (Shechina) is the epitome of God’s presence in the world. She is figuratively described as a supersensible glow of light or the “wingbeat of the Shechina”.

These three triads, plus Malkuth, are called the Tetragrammaton, the name of God consisting of the four letters YHWH and being the expression of his fourfold dynamic process of creation. Of the four consonants, Yod is the principle of his power, Heh the principle of structure, Wav the principle of movement and again Heh – now as the fourth letter – the result of the first three letters, the manifestation or form.[4]

In the whole of creation is hidden the problem of formless nothingness. It can be found in every created form. The infinite hidden nothingness, Ain Soph, contains the Ehyeh: I will be. Thus, in the state of being there is a kind of free space, a nothingness in every creature.

Is there not in this the possibility of self-creative activity, of a free participation in further creation – so that it can unfold not only from above, but also from below, from glory to glory?


[1] Gershom Scholem, Von der mystischen Gestalt der Gottheit, p. 44

[2] Gershom Scholem, Die Geheimnisse der Schöpfung, Frankfurt/Main 2018, p. 40

[3] Gershom Scholem, Sefer ha-Bahir, Das Buch Bahir, Hamburg 2021, §71

[4] Jeff Love, Ibid. p. 43

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Date: September 1, 2021
Author: Sibylle Bath (Germany)
Photo: Marion Pellikaan

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