☩☩☩

The Key to the
Holy Temple
☩☩☩
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

December 7, 2013

This eBook is periodically revised and updated.
The date-stamp of this edition is ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

December 7, 2013

Table of Contents

☩ THE KEY TO THE HOLY TEMPLE ☩ ...................................
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The Holy ShM ........................................................................
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Figure 14 : Sealing the Depths ......................................................
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Figure 39 : The First Wheel Pathway Sequence .................................... ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Sefer Yetzirah ☩ Magic
☩ THE KEY TO THE HOLY TEMPLE ☩

Preface

Here’s a question ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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A significant point of difference between the Tree of Yetzirah and the
modern kabb...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The sefirot are called ‘utterances’ because they represent the spoken
word of the ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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A good example of the projection process is the manifestation of the
sphere of Da’...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The pathways represent passive (or receptive), fluid, open-ended
embodiments of th...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Even though the Holy Temple is a very important component of the
Tree of Yetzirah,...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Introduction

It’s speculated, though not established for certain, that the Sefer
...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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physical expression of an even greater metaphysical Temple destined
to be built wi...
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Tree of Yetzirah

The Sefer Yetzirah details a structure that resembles the Tree o...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Figure 2 : Two Versions of the Tree of Life

Like the modern Tree of Life, the Tre...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The six lowest sefirot of the Yetziratic Tree are presented as the six
vertices (i...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Strangely, many commentators ignore (or are unaware of) the Sefer
Yetzirah’s actua...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The twelve sloping pathways of the modern Hermetic Tree of Life
obviously bear no ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Three:
Each one stands alone.
One acts as advocate,
one acts as accuser,
and one d...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The Tree has a basic fourfold hierarchical structure. The main body of
the Tree is...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Seven:
Three opposite three,
and one is the rule deciding between them.
The next s...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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represent ‘pillars’ that establish the six extremities of the ‘World’—i.e.
the ‘Wo...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Another significant distinction that exists between the Tree of Yetzirah
and the c...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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and one is the rule deciding between them‛16. This phrase refers to the
pivotal fu...
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Twelve Boundaries

The Sefer Yetzirah describes the twelve boundaries as connectin...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Because the twelve boundaries extend between the six lower
‘directional’ sefirot, ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The three dimensional figure that naturally results from the
instructions of verse...
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Ten Sefirot

Seven Doubles: ‫.ב ג ד - כ פ ר ת‬
Seven and not six.
Seven and not ei...
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Make [each] thing stand on its essence,
and make the Creator sit on His base.
[Sef...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Ten Sefirot beli mah:
Their measure is ten
which have ain sof.20
A depth of Beginn...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The ten sefirot are clearly delineated in the text of the Sefer Yetzirah.
There ar...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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"That extremity of heaven is called Mi, but there is another
lower extremity which...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The Holy Temple is a sacred place that contains, preserves, and reflects
the Light...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Seven Doubles

There’s much speculation among kabbalists as to the Sefer Yetzirah’...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Planet

Period (yrs)

Letter

Saturn

29.46

Bayt (‫)ב‬

Jupiter

11.86

Gimel (‫)...
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The seven lowest sefirot of the Tree of Yetzirah also follow this
planetary sequen...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Three Mothers

Another common misapprehension regarding the design of the Tree of
...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Life diagram. So based on this observation alone we can deduce that
the three Hebr...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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‚Three on seven‛ refers to the three Hebrew mother letter sefirot that
sit upon th...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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As you continue to study the Sefer Yetzirah you’ll realize that its
arrangement of...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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As it’s written in Sefer Yetzirah 3:4<
Three Mothers: Alef, Maym, Shin.
In the Wor...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The three esoteric mother letter principles are defined and named in
verses 1:10-1...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Figure 8 : The Tree of Yetzirah

The Alef, Maym, and Shin sefirot and pathways are...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The Holy Temple

The unconscious state of the sefirah Da’at (i.e. the ‘singular co...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The Holy Temple octahedron is a sacred work-space established for
the purpose of r...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The modern Tree of Life recognises the existence of Ain Sof, but
doesn’t include i...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Keter) to emerge into outer manifestation—like a human breath
condensing in a clou...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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solved when one of the seven double letters (Kaf, ‫ ,כ‬the Sun) is
assigned to the...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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What is the seventh? It is the heaven called Aravot .And
why is it called heaven (...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The six ‘extremities’ are the six vertices of the Holy Temple
octahedron. This top...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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become anchored as the extremities of the World—i.e. the six spatial
directions (p...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Seven Doubles: ‫.ב ג ד - כ פ ר ת‬

♄♃♂ - ☉♀☿☾
Up and Down.
East and West.
North an...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Seven:
Three opposite three.
And one is the rule deciding between them.
[From: Sef...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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letter (which is ‚precisely in the center‛ of the group of seven double
letters).
...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Twelve Elementals33.

‫הוז חטי לנס עצק‬
Their foundation is the twelve diagonal bo...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Figure 11 : “Seven on Twelve”

Seven Doubles: ‫ב ג ד - כ פ ר ת‬
Up and Down.
East ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic
Note:

The

central

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unifying

principle

of

consciousness

that's

represented by ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Restoring the Holy Temple

The three mother letter pathways (i.e. the Alef, Maym, ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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When the path of Shin dominates the octahedron, the human psyche is
ruled by the ‘...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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In this verse, the three ‘books of Creation’ are identified with the
Hebrew letter...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Jacob & Israel

The biblical story of Jacob is an allegory of human evolution on o...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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the paths of Shin and Maym within his own microcosmic self, Jacob as
Israel is abl...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man [angel]
with him until the brea...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Sealing the Depths

He chose three letters from among the Simple letters,
[in the ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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version of the ritual is exceptional because it fortifies not only the four
compas...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Figure 12 : The Tree of YHVH

pg. 66
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With 32 mystical paths of wisdom (‫ ,חכמה‬HKMH)
engraved Yah (‫ ,יה‬YH).40
[From: ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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letter Vav (‫ )ו‬appears for the first time at this level and it’s here that the
l...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The two seals that occupy the left-hand pillar (i.e. of Judgment) both
contain the...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The Ritual of Sealing the Depths

In verse 1:13 the six vertices of the octahedron...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Commentary

Stand and face the East. Breathe deeply and rhythmically. Assume a
rel...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Visualize the sefirotic spheres in their appropriate sefirotic colours. See
also t...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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rises to Room (Above) then descends to Ma’arab (West) then continues
to descend to...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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space within the Holy Temple (octahedron). See also, lines of white
light that rep...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Invoking the Shekinah

With 32 mystical paths of wisdom
engraved Yah.
The Lord of ...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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intoning the names of God mentioned in verse 1:1 of the Sefer Yetzirah
(quoted abo...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The eleventh divine name ‘Whose ShM is Holy’ (or ‘The Holy ShM’) is
associated wit...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Da’at is distinguished from the other components of the Tree of
Yetzirah because i...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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The Shekinah Invocation Ritual

I invite the Divine Presence
to infuse this Holy T...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Commentary

Perform this ritual immediately after ‘Sealing the Depths’ (every day
...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Divine Name

Hebrew

Depth

Letter

Melek Olahm

‫מלך עולם‬

Above

El Shad-dah-ee...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

December 7, 2013

Visualise the depth of Ray-sheeth (‘Beginning’) as an invisible cloud
that surroun...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Air, Water, and Fire

The mundane elements—air, water, and fire—are said to emerge...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

December 7, 2013

The three simple elemental letters emanate from the three mothers as
per the follo...
Sefer Yetzirah Magic

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Notice in verse 3:2 we are told that the three mother letters are
‚covered and sea...
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[New Chapter - The GLGL Wheel.] The Sefer Yetzirah ('Book of Formation') is the ancient source text from which the contemporary design of the kabbalistic Tree of Life diagram has evolved. The original 'Tree of Yetzirah' design however, is different in certain important respects to our modern day versions of the Tree diagram. Sefer Yetzirah Magic includes an exposition of the original design of the Tree and develops a system of magic (and 'initiation') that's based on the Sefer Yetzirah's original metaphysical blueprint.

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Sefer Yetzirah Magic

  1. 1. ☩☩☩ The Key to the Holy Temple ☩☩☩
  2. 2. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 This eBook is periodically revised and updated. The date-stamp of this edition is shown at the top-right of the page. Click the following image to download the latest edition. AstroQab Publishing 1998‒2012 First Electronic Edition 2012 First Published: 12th Dec. 2012 Author: Patrick Mulcahy Patrick Mulcahy©2012 E-book Cover Art, Design & Production by Patrick Mulcahy Email: mallukh_ahi@yahoo.com Website: http://astroqab.co.nr/ pg. 1
  3. 3. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Table of Contents ☩ THE KEY TO THE HOLY TEMPLE ☩ ......................................................... 6 Preface ...................................................................................................... 6 Introduction ........................................................................................... 12 Tree of Yetzirah ..................................................................................... 14 Twelve Boundaries ................................................................................ 25 Ten Sefirot .............................................................................................. 28 Seven Doubles ....................................................................................... 34 Three Mothers ........................................................................................ 37 The Holy Temple ................................................................................... 44 Restoring the Holy Temple................................................................... 58 Jacob & Israel ......................................................................................... 61 Sealing the Depths ................................................................................. 64 The Ritual of Sealing the Depths .......................................................... 70 Commentary ...................................................................................... 71 Invoking the Shekinah .......................................................................... 75 The Shekinah Invocation Ritual ........................................................... 79 Commentary ...................................................................................... 80 Air, Water, and Fire ............................................................................... 83 Fixed, Mutable, and Cardinal ........................................................... 89 Earth ....................................................................................................... 97 Fathers & Descendants.......................................................................... 99 A Tzawfone Working .......................................................................... 111 Commentary .................................................................................... 112 pg. 2
  4. 4. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The Holy ShM ...................................................................................... 114 The Alef Principle ................................................................................ 138 The GLGL Wheel ................................................................................. 143 Verses 2:4-6 Decoded ...................................................................... 145 The LB Wheel ................................................................................... 161 The TLY Spiral ................................................................................. 167 The Book of Ezekiel ......................................................................... 170 Some Jacob’s Wheel Links .............................................................. 172 The Sefer Yetzirah ............................................................................... 173 Table of Figures Figure 1 : The Emanation of Da’at ............................................................. 9 Figure 2 : Two Versions of the Tree of Life ............................................. 15 Figure 3 : Tree of Yetzirah - Octahedron ................................................. 16 Figure 4 : The Twelve Diagonal Boundaries ........................................... 18 Figure 5 : Twelve Diagonal Boundaries .................................................. 26 Figure 6 : Three Horizontal Pathways ..................................................... 38 Figure 7 : ‚One on three; three on seven; seven on twelve‛ .................. 39 Figure 8 : The Tree of Yetzirah ................................................................. 43 Figure 9 : ‚Three on Seven‛ ...................................................................... 50 Figure 10 : The Double Letters & the Depths .......................................... 54 Figure 11 : ‚Seven on Twelve‛ ................................................................. 56 Figure 12 : The Tree of YHVH.................................................................. 66 Figure 13 : The Holy Temple Octahedron ............................................... 71 pg. 3
  5. 5. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Figure 14 : Sealing the Depths .................................................................. 74 Figure 15 : Yud, Heh, and Vav ................................................................. 84 Figure 16 : The Holy Temple Octahedron ............................................... 91 Figure 17 : Garden, Wall, and Ceiling ..................................................... 93 Figure 18 : Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob/Israel............................................ 101 Figure 19 : Tree of Yetzirah - Six Seals ................................................... 102 Figure 20 : The Six Seals & the Twelve Descendants ........................... 104 Figure 21 : The Octahedron - Descendants ........................................... 108 Figure 22 : Tree of Yetzirah - Descendants ............................................ 109 Figure 23 : Jacob Surrounded by his Twelve Sons ............................... 110 Figure 24 : The Emanation of Shin (and Tav) ....................................... 116 Figure 25 : The Emanation of Maym (and Kaf) .................................... 117 Figure 26 : The Da'at Nexus ................................................................... 119 Figure 27 : The Alef (‫ )א‬Pathway is Focused in Da’at........................... 121 Figure 28 : The Merging of Shin and Maym ......................................... 123 Figure 29 : ShM in the Twelve Pathways .............................................. 132 Figure 30 : ShM & the Sixfold Star ......................................................... 137 Figure 31 : The GLGL Wheel (called Jacob’s Wheel) ............................ 144 Figure 32 : The Basic Wheel Design ....................................................... 145 Figure 33 : Ordinal Numbers - Magical Arrangement ......................... 146 Figure 34 : The Hebrew Letter Correspondences ................................. 149 Figure 35 : The Hebrew Letter Correspondences (Eng.) ...................... 150 Figure 36 : The First Wheel - RLA (231) ................................................ 151 Figure 37 : ONG - Hebrew...................................................................... 153 Figure 38 : ONG - English....................................................................... 153 pg. 4
  6. 6. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Figure 39 : The First Wheel Pathway Sequence .................................... 155 Figure 40 : The Second Wheel ................................................................ 157 Figure 41 : "Air that cannot be grasped"................................................ 158 Figure 42 : The Second Wheel Pathway Sequence ............................... 159 Figure 43 : The Key Mandala ................................................................. 161 Figure 44 : The GLGL Wheel - Tav (‫261 ................................................... )ת‬ Figure 45 : The Projection of Alef ........................................................... 163 Figure 46 : The Implanted Alef .............................................................. 163 Figure 47 : Key Wheel - Alef Shin .......................................................... 165 pg. 5
  7. 7. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Sefer Yetzirah ☩ Magic ☩ THE KEY TO THE HOLY TEMPLE ☩ Preface Here’s a question for you< What is the name of the tenth sefirah of the kabbalistic Tree of Life? If you answered ‘Malkut’ then you’re correct, but only in relation to the contemporary Tree diagram. The tenth sefirah of the ancient ‘Tree of Yetzirah’1 is called ‘depth of North’. Ten: He sealed ‘north’ and faced to the left, and sealed it with Heh, Vav, Yud. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 1:13] Is today’s Malkut equivalent to the ancient ‘depth of North’? This book will endeavour to help you answer that, and other perplexing questions concerning the kabbalistic Tree of Life. The ‘Tree of Yetzirah’ is my label for the metaphysical structure outlined (and implied) in the text of the Sefer Yetzirah. 1 pg. 6
  8. 8. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 A significant point of difference between the Tree of Yetzirah and the modern kabbalistic Tree of Life is that the sefirot and pathways of the ancient Yetziratic Tree are etymologically (and therefore, archetypally) interconnected. That’s because, at its heart, the Sefer Yetzirah is a linguistic text. Conversely, while it’s true the sefirot and pathways of the modern Tree are geometrically (i.e. physically) linked together, they have no fundamental linguistic (or archetypal) interrelationship. Instead, the pathways and sefirot are generally viewed as two separate and essentially dissimilar components that are combined together to form the Tree of Life diagram. One thing both Trees have in common is that in both cases their twenty-two pathways reflect the archetypal essence of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. And also, the sefirot of both Trees are numbered one to ten (albeit in differing arrangements). However, a key distinction between the two versions of the Tree diagram is that the ten sefirot of the Tree of Yetzirah, like its twenty-two pathways, are derived from the Hebrew alphabet. This was known by the author of the Zohar< He [the Creator] enfolded Himself in a covering of a supernal radiance of thought and created therefrom a world. He produced from the light of that supernal radiance mighty cedars of the upper world, and placed His chariot on twenty-two graven letters which were carved into ten utterances [sefirot] and infixed there. [Soncino Zohar. Vol I, Pg. 111. Bereshith, 29a.] [Bracketed blue text has been added by me.] pg. 7
  9. 9. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The sefirot are called ‘utterances’ because they represent the spoken word of the Creator, and divine speech requires divine language. 2 For example: The second sefirah of the Tree of Yetzirah is called ‘Breath from Breath’. It’s an expression of the Hebrew mother letter Alef (‫ .)א‬Similarly, the third sefirah ‘Water from Breath’ is an expression of the Hebrew mother letter Maym (‫ ,)מ‬and the fourth sefirah ‘Fire from Water’ is an expression of the Hebrew mother letter Shin (‫ .)ש‬And the other sefirot are also expressions of Hebrew letters. My previous book—Formation of the Tree of Life—presents a detailed exploration of the nature and structure of the Tree of Yetzirah. Its main thesis is that the lower sefirot of the Tree are emanations of pathways located in the Tree’s higher branches. And similarly, it explains the manifestation of the higher sefirot as the projected influence of pathways in the Tree of the World above Yetzirah. To summarize: The three supernal sefirot—known as Keter, Hockmah, and Binah—are projections of the three mother letter pathways (Alef, Maym, and Shin) of the higher ‘Tree of Beriah’. 3 The three mother letter pathways of the Tree of Yetzirah are projections of the three supernal sefirot—Keter, Hockmah, and Binah—of the ‘Yetziratic’ Tree. The seven lower sefirot are projections of the seven supernal pathways (i.e. the seven double letter pathways) of the same Tree. The twelve simple letter pathways of the Tree of Yetzirah, like the path of Shin, are also emanations of the sefirah Binah.4 2 ‚Ten utterances‛ is a reference to the ten sayings of the Elohim in Genesis, Chap.I. Beriah (i.e. the ‘World of Creation’) overshadows Yetzirah (i.e. the ‘World of Formation’) from its own existential domain directly above the World of Yetzirah. 3 A vital link exists between Shin and the twelve boundaries of the octahedron. And similarly, a special esoteric connection exists between Maym and the six vertices. 4 pg. 8
  10. 10. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 A good example of the projection process is the manifestation of the sphere of Da’at (‫ .)ב‬Da’at is an emanation of the pathway (Bayt, ‫ )ב‬that extends between Hockmah (‫ )מ‬and Binah (‫ 5.)ש‬The influence of the Bayt pathway descends, consolidates, and stabilizes to form the sphere of Da’at (‫ .)ב‬Thus, the Hockmah-to-Binah pathway and Da’at share the same archetypal essence (i.e. Bayt, ‫ )ב‬but differ in the form that the Bayt archetype takes—that is, a ‘pathway’ versus a ‘sefirah’. Figure 1 : The Emanation of Da’at In most kabbalistic traditions, the sphere of Da’at is understood to be the ‘child’ of the sefirot Hockmah and Binah. 5 pg. 9
  11. 11. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The pathways represent passive (or receptive), fluid, open-ended embodiments of the Hebrew letter archetypes. They are home to the various hierarchies of angels whose task it is to transmit and give form to the divine influx. They generate forms from their own substance that reflect the play of Shin and Maym within their own domains. The sefirot represent relatively fixed, delimited, stable, but active expressions of the Hebrew letter archetypes. They anchor the Consciousness principle within the various planes of the Creation. They focus the Consciousness principle into the pathways (wherein the changing physical universe is subjectively experienced). The golden rule is: Sefirot are emanations of higher pathways; Pathways are emanations of higher sefirot. The pathway-sefirah relationship that exists within the Tree of Yetzirah is unique and adds another level of meaning to the basic structure of the kabbalistic Tree of Life. Since the 2007 writing of my book ‘Formation of the Tree of Life’ a few of my original thoughts concerning the nature and structure of the Tree of Yetzirah have changed. The changes in my understanding are not so fundamental however, as to render obsolete my previous book, but they are quite significant. The main gist of my new perception involves the realization that what we now call the ‘non-sefirah’ Da’at is actually counted as one of the ten sefirot of the original Tree of Yetzirah. It’s given there the name ‘depth of Above’. And I now realize that the extra ‘non-sefirotic’ component of the Tree of Yetzirah—the ‘Holy Temple’—is what is now referred to as the sefirah ‘Tifaret’. pg. 10
  12. 12. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Even though the Holy Temple is a very important component of the Tree of Yetzirah, the Sefer Yetzirah does not number it as sefirah. It excludes it for symbolic reasons and because it’s concealed within (i.e. at the centre of) the Octahedron. This is explained below. pg. 11
  13. 13. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Introduction It’s speculated, though not established for certain, that the Sefer Yetzirah (‘Book of Formation’) was written sometime around the 2nd century CE—that is, soon after the razing of the second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE.6 The synchronicity of these two events is significant because I believe the Sefer Yetzirah was produced partly in response to a spiritual crisis engendered by the Temple’s destruction. Clearly the book was composed by Jewish metaphysicians intent on transmitting a system of knowledge that would assist with the spiritual healing of future generations. But the book was written in coded form and the decryption key was lost. The Holy Temple in Jerusalem was the venerated symbol of God’s holy covenant with His people. It was literally perceived as the ‘House of God’—the sacred place wherein dwelled the divine Presence, the Shekinah. And from that holy place the Shekinah was able to spiritually support the Jewish community. The destruction of the second Temple in 70 CE was therefore perceived by the people as ostensibly removing the divine Presence from their midst, and appeared to break an important spiritual link. It effectively placed the Jewish people in spiritual exile, and psychologically alienated them from their God. But the Jewish occultists of the time (the spiritual elders of Judaism) knew that the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was merely the mundane Some kabbalists believe the book was written much earlier and claim its author was the biblical patriarch Abraham. 6 pg. 12
  14. 14. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 physical expression of an even greater metaphysical Temple destined to be built within human consciousness. So they composed the Sefer Yetzirah as an instruction manual for building the ‘third Temple’—the sacred inner ‘Temple of YHVH’. Up and Down. East and West. North and South. And the Holy Temple precisely in the center and it supports them all. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 4:4] The key to deciphering the Sefer Yetzirah’s coded instructions was lost, and the numerous revisions of the ancient document have led to the corruption of the original text. But this e-book, Sefer Yetzirah Magic, aims to re-forge that original key, and it’s hoped that with it you’ll be able to rebuild the Holy Temple within your psyche and thereby establish a more conscious connection with the Creator of All. pg. 13
  15. 15. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Tree of Yetzirah The Sefer Yetzirah details a structure that resembles the Tree of Life diagram of the modern day Kabbalah. But because the Sefer Yetzirah’s metaphysical system predates all current traditions of Kabbalah by at least a thousand years, it’s no surprise that its Tree blueprint is a little different to the modern kabbalistic Tree of Life. It’s clear that current versions of the Tree diagram represent the development (over hundreds of years) of original ideas contained in the Sefer Yetzirah. But it’s also apparent that most contemporary Tree designs have strayed considerably from the source in certain important respects. If you’re familiar with the modern Tree of Life diagram then you may need to let go of some basic assumptions and expectations regarding the shape of the original ‘Tree of Yetzirah’. But you’ll definitely notice the similarities that exist between the ancient Tree and its modern day counterparts. Both the modern Tree of Life and the Tree of Yetzirah have ten sefirot, although their numbering systems differ.7 And both Tree diagrams incorporate twenty-two pathways between the ten sefirot. Also, they both include an additional eleventh sphere. But that’s where their structural similarities end. The Sefer Yetzirah numbers the sefirot as opposing complementary pairs. The sefirot of the modern Tree are numbered hierarchically from highest to lowest. 7 pg. 14
  16. 16. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Figure 2 : Two Versions of the Tree of Life Like the modern Tree of Life, the Tree of Yetzirah can easily be drawn in two dimensions. But unlike the conventional Tree, the essential form of the Tree of Yetzirah is three dimensional. This is made abundantly clear by instructions given in the text of the Sefer Yetzirah.8 8 See especially: Sefer Yetzirah, 5:2. pg. 15
  17. 17. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The six lowest sefirot of the Yetziratic Tree are presented as the six vertices (i.e. corners) of an octahedron. Twelve pathways (called ‘boundaries’) extend between the six sefirot and form the twelve edges of the octahedron. Figure 3 : Tree of Yetzirah - Octahedron pg. 16
  18. 18. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Strangely, many commentators ignore (or are unaware of) the Sefer Yetzirah’s actual design blueprint for the Tree of Life. Instead, they promote a numerologically based approach to the positioning of the twenty-two pathways. But one only needs to read the Sefer Yetzirah’s description of the twelve edges (or ‚diagonal boundaries‛9 as they are called in the text) to know that the numerological approach is untenable. Unfortunately, many people automatically assume that the phrase ‚diagonal boundaries‛ refers to the twelve sloping pathways of the modern Tree diagram. But the Sefer Yetzirah’s design specifications directly contradict that idea. The twelve sloping pathways of all standard versions of the Tree of Life diagram are separated and scattered over the entire body of the Tree’s structure. However, the Sefer Yetzirah clearly indicates (in verse 5:2) that the twelve boundaries compose the twelve edges of a single three-dimensional homogenous form—namely, an octahedron. And the text also suggests (in verse 6:5) that those twelve boundaries are located within the lower section of the Tree diagram. In the image below, the twelve simple letter pathways are coloured red. The Sefer Yetzirah positions them in relation to six directional ‘depths’. The six depths are named: ‘Above’, ‘Below’, ‘East’, ‘West’, ‘North’, and ‘South’.10 The original Hebrew phrase is ‘‫‘ ,’גבולי אלכסון‬g’vulei alakson’. This term technically refers to the side of a triangle. See: ‘An Introduction to the Sefer Yetzirah’, by Christopher P. Benton. Published in: The Maqom Journal for Studies in Rabbinic Literature, Vol VII, Winter 2004. The twelve ‘diagonal boundaries’ define the sides of eight equilateral triangles that together form an octahedron. 9 Note that many ancient and modern commentators assign the depth of East to Tifaret, and the depth of West to Yesod (as per the Hermetic Tree diagram below). 10 pg. 17
  19. 19. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The twelve sloping pathways of the modern Hermetic Tree of Life obviously bear no relation to the six spatial directions, and instead are spread out amongst all the ten sefirot. This is also true of other wellknown versions of the Tree diagram. Therefore, it’s clear that the twelve sloping pathways do not conform to the Sefer Yetzirah’s design specifications for the twelve simple letter ‚diagonal boundaries‛. Figure 4 : The Twelve Diagonal Boundaries Verse 6:5 of the Sefer Yetzirah gives us the basic structural elements of the Tree of Yetzirah. pg. 18
  20. 20. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Three: Each one stands alone. One acts as advocate, one acts as accuser, and one decides between them. Seven: Three opposite three, and one is the rule deciding between them. Twelve stand in war: Three love, three hate, three give life, and three kill. Three love: the heart and the ears. Three hate: the liver, the gall, and the tongue. Three give life: the two nostrils and the spleen. Three kill: the two orifices and the mouth. And God faithful King rules over them all from His holy habitation until eternity of eternities. One on three. Three on seven. Seven on twelve. And all are bound, one to another. [Sefer Yetzirah, 6:5] pg. 19
  21. 21. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The Tree has a basic fourfold hierarchical structure. The main body of the Tree is crowned by a single component that’s higher than all the others. Below it are grouped three components. Clustered below them is a group of seven components. These seven sit upon a group of twelve components. As verse 6:5 states< One on three. Three on seven. Seven on twelve. And all are bound, one to another. Verse 6:5 is ingenious in the way that it reveals and at the same time conceals the deepest mysteries of the Sefer Yetzirah. Without the lost key though it’s quite difficult to decipher exactly what design elements this verse is referring to. But with the restored key we can now decode the information contained in this very cryptic verse. Three: Each one stands alone. One acts as advocate, one acts as accuser, and one decides between them. This extract from verse 6:5 refers to the three Mother letters, and the three supernal sefirot of the Tree of Yetzirah: ‘Breath from Breath’, ‘Water from Breath’, and ‘Fire from Water’.11 These three correspond with the three highest sefirot of the modern Tree of Life: ‘Keter’, ‘Hockmah’, and ‘Binah’. The three sefirot are described in verse 1:10-12 of the Sefer Yetzirah. (See the Appendix.) 11 pg. 20
  22. 22. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Seven: Three opposite three, and one is the rule deciding between them. The next section refers to the seven double letters and the six directional depths (i.e. lower sefirot) of the Tree of Yetzirah: ‘Above’, ‘Below’, ‘East’, ‘West’, ‘North’, and ‘South’. Naturally, Above is opposite Below, East is opposite West, and North is opposite South. In other words: ‚three opposite three‛. These six correspond with the modern sefirot of the Tree of Life known as: ‘Da’at’, ‘Yesod’, ‘Hesed’, ‘Hod’, ‘Netzah’, and ‘Geburah’. The mysterious seventh component is described as ‚the rule deciding between them‛. It corresponds with the sefirah of the modern Tree of Life commonly known as Tifaret. But the Sefer Yetzirah does not refer to the additional sphere as Tifaret, and does not number it as a sefirah. Instead it refers to Tifaret as the ‘Holy Temple’ (‫21.)היכל הקודש‬ Seven Doubles: ‫בגד - כפרת‬ Up and Down. East and West. North and South. And the Holy Temple precisely in the center and it supports them all. [Sefer Yetzirah, 4:4] The Sefer Yetzirah refers to Tifaret as the Holy Temple to highlight its divine function in relation to the six lower sefirot. The six lower sefirot Aryeh Kaplan translated this phrase as ‘Holy Palace’, but the Hebrew word Haykal (HYKL, ‘palace’) more often means ‘temple’, and usually refers to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. See: Strong: #01965. 12 pg. 21
  23. 23. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 represent ‘pillars’ that establish the six extremities of the ‘World’—i.e. the ‘World’ octahedron. From the centre Tifaret illuminates the octahedron with the light of consciousness, and gives expression to the Holy Name (i.e. ShM, ‫ .)שם‬This will be explained below. A reading of verse 1:14 makes it clear that the Sefer Yetzirah does not count the Holy Temple amongst the ten sefirot of the Tree. These are the ten sefirot beli mah:13 The Breath of the Living God, Breath from Breath, Water from Breath, Fire from Water, Up, Down, East, West, North, South. [Sefer Yetzirah, 1:14] As you can see, the Holy Temple is not included in the above list of ten sefirot. But even so, it’s still considered to be an essential and very important component of the Tree of Yetzirah. The ambiguous Hebrew phrase ‘beli mah’ (‫ )בלי מה‬literally translates as ‘without what?’ and is usually interpreted to mean ‘nothingness’. (See below for my translation of the term.) 13 pg. 22
  24. 24. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Another significant distinction that exists between the Tree of Yetzirah and the contemporary Tree of Life involves the sphere of Da’at. Da’at is not counted as a sefirah in the modern Tree diagram, but is numbered as one of the ten sefirot of the ancient Tree of Yetzirah. The Sefer Yetzirah calls Da’at the ‘depth of Above’, and also refers to it as a ‘singular covenant’ (or ‘covenant of unity’). Ten sefirot beli mah. In the number of ten fingers. Five opposite five with a singular covenant precisely in the middle. In the circumcision of the tongue, and in the circumcision of the member. [Sefer Yetzirah, 1:3] The term ‚singular covenant‛14 (‫ )ברית יחיד‬is used to describe Da’at’s special role as unifier of the ten sefirot (i.e. ‘depths’) of the Tree of Yetzirah. The phrase ‚five opposite five‛ refers to the five pairs of opposing depths as listed in verse 1:5. (See below.) Da’at is positioned in the midst (i.e. ‚precisely in the middle‛) of the ten sefirot of the Tree of Yetzirah. 15 The statement ‚five opposite five with a singular covenant precisely in the middle‛ suggests a symbolic association between Da’at (as the ‘singular covenant’) and Tifaret (as ‘the Holy Temple’). Their close association is implied by the similar statement ‚three opposite three This is Aryeh Kaplan’s translation, but other alternatives include ‚covenant of the Unique One‛ and ‚covenant of unity‛. See: Sefer Yesira. A. Peter Hayman. Mohr Siebeck, 2004. Pg. 67. 14 That is, Da’at is positioned at the centre of the middle column of the Tree of Yetzirah—halfway between Ain Sof and Yesod. 15 pg. 23
  25. 25. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 and one is the rule deciding between them‛16. This phrase refers to the pivotal function of Tifaret in relation to the six directional sefirot. And note that it’s also said of Tifaret: ‚And the Holy Palace precisely in the center‛17—that is, in the centre of the group of six lower sefirot (‚three opposite three‛). Da’at is identified as a singular covenant after the Holy Temple has been built. When Da’at becomes established (in human consciousness) as the apex of the Holy Temple octahedron it forms a link between the six lower sefirot and the four higher sefirot. Da’at as a ‘singular covenant’ symbolizes the union of macrocosm and microcosm—God and Humanity. In other words, Da’at facilitates the unification of the ten sefirot. The Holy Temple in Jerusalem symbolized a covenant of union between the Jewish people and the divine Creator, but when it was physically destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE the covenant was thought to be broken. So, to mirror that reality, the Sefer Yetzirah excludes the Holy Temple (i.e. Tifaret) from the ten sefirot of the Tree of Yetzirah. But importantly, it does include coded instructions on how to rebuild the Temple, and consequently activate Da’at as a covenant of union between God and Humanity. 16 Sefer Yetzirah, 6:5. 17 Sefer Yetzirah, 4:4. pg. 24
  26. 26. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Twelve Boundaries The Sefer Yetzirah describes the twelve boundaries as connecting lines that extend between the six lower sefirot of the Tree of Yetzirah. This is clearly stated in verse 5:2. Twelve Simples: ‫.הוז חטי לנס עצק‬ Their foundation is the twelve diagonal boundaries: The east upper boundary; The east northern boundary; The east lower boundary; The south upper boundary; The south eastern boundary; The south lower boundary; The west upper boundary; The west southern boundary; The west lower boundary; The north upper boundary; The north western boundary; The north lower boundary. They extend continually until eternity of eternities, And it is they that are the boundaries of the World. [Sefer Yetzirah, 5:2] pg. 25
  27. 27. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Because the twelve boundaries extend between the six lower ‘directional’ sefirot, they must be located together in the lower part of the Tree (as previously explained). It’s obvious from verse 5:2 that the twelve diagonal boundaries are not separated and scattered amongst all the ten sefirot of the Tree diagram. But that’s how many students of the Kabbalah assume they are placed. Figure 5 : Twelve Diagonal Boundaries It’s geometrically impossible, for example, for the twelve diagonal pathways of the GRA version of the Tree diagram (above left) to conform to the boundary placement instructions of verse 5:2. However, the Tree of Yetzirah (above right) conforms perfectly to the Sefer Yetzirah’s design specifications. pg. 26
  28. 28. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The three dimensional figure that naturally results from the instructions of verse 5:2 is an octahedron. Some commentators derive a cube, but it’s more logical to associate the six directional sefirot (or ‘depths’) with the six vertices of an octahedron (unless the cube concept is developed outside the natural structure of the Tree of Life). If you try to picture the six lower sefirot as the six square sides of a cube you’ll find it very difficult. But it’s easy to see the sefirot as six vertices with twelve edges extending between them to form an octahedron. The octahedron incorporates the entire lower portion of the Tree of Yetzirah, and provides us with a magical tool we can use to heal the rift that unfortunately exists within human consciousness. The rift effectively separates Humanity and the divine Creator. But it only exists as a hiatus in human awareness. Human-beings tend to be oblivious of the existence/reality of the divine Creator. But thankfully the rift doesn’t represent the complete separation of Humanity from the Divine. That would be impossible. pg. 27
  29. 29. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Ten Sefirot Seven Doubles: ‫.ב ג ד - כ פ ר ת‬ Seven and not six. Seven and not eight. Examine with them and probe with them. Make [each] thing stand on its essence, and make the Creator sit on His base. [Sefer Yetzirah, 4:5] Six of the seven double letters are associated with the six vertices of the octahedron. But the Sefer Yetzirah reminds us in verse 4:5 that there are seven, not six, double letters, so we must associate one of them with the central point of the octahedron. And it also advises us not to be tempted to add an eighth double letter, meaning, do not add another double letter sefirah (i.e. Malkut) to the bottom of the Tree diagram. It makes a similar statement regarding the ten sefirot in general. Ten sefirot beli mah. Ten and not nine. Ten and not eleven. Understand with wisdom; Be wise with understanding. Examine with them and probe from them. pg. 28
  30. 30. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Make [each] thing stand on its essence, and make the Creator sit on His base. [Sefer Yetzirah, 1:4] The Hebrew word ‘mawkone’ (‫ ,מכון‬MKVN)18 translated here as ‘base’, is a reference to the sefirah Da’at, called ‘depth of Above’. Mawkone means ‘foundation’ and is often understood in the Hebrew Bible to refer to the site of God’s temple. And just as the sefirah Yesod (‫,יסוד‬ YSVD, also meaning ‘foundation’) represents the foundation of human consciousness, Mawkone identifies Da’at as the foundation of divine Consciousness. ‚Ten and not nine‛ in verse 1:4 refers to the temptation to exclude the first sefirah—Ain Sof19, called the Holy Breath—from the sefirot, thereby deriving nine sefirot instead of ten. ‚Ten and not eleven‛ warns against adding Malkut to the bottom of the Tree because that would make eleven sefirot. The ten sefirot of the Sefer Yetzirah are also called ‘depths’. 18 See verses1:4 and 4:5. 19 Ain Sof (‫ )אין סוף‬translates literally as ‘no end’. It represents the infinite unknown. pg. 29
  31. 31. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Ten Sefirot beli mah: Their measure is ten which have ain sof.20 A depth of Beginning, A depth of End, A depth of Good, A depth of Evil, A depth of Above, A depth of Below, A depth of East, A depth of West, A depth of North, A depth of South. The singular Master, God Faithful King, dominates over them all from His holy dwelling until eternity of eternities. [Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5] Verse 1:5 lists the ten depths in two groups, and as opposing pairs. Obviously Malkut is not included, but many people still make the mistake of adding Malkut as a sefirah. And then they compound the error by assigning a ‘depth’ to it (usually ‘depth of End’ or ‘depth of Evil’). This not only disrupts the original depth hierarchy, but completely disrupts the Sefer Yetzirah’s system of ten sefirot. 20 See the note above. pg. 30
  32. 32. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The ten sefirot are clearly delineated in the text of the Sefer Yetzirah. There are four sefirot located at the top of the Tree diagram, and below them are six ‘directional’ sefirot that produce the octahedron. There is also an extra component of the Tree, that’s not called a sefirah, but is referred to as the Holy Temple. Malkut is not one of the four highest depths, and nor is it one of the six lower ‘directional’ depths. Therefore it cannot be the ‘depth of Evil’, or any of the ten depths. The depths, as aforesaid, are presented in two groups—a higher group of four and a lower group of six—and as a series of opposing principles. Ten sefirot beli mah: Their measure is ten which have no end. A depth of Beginning, [Ain Sof – Holy Breath] A depth of End, [Keter – Breath from Breath] A depth of Good, [Hockmah – Water from Breath] A depth of Evil, [Binah – Fire from Water] A depth of Above, [Da’at] A depth of Below, [Yesod] A depth of East, [Hesed] A depth of West, [Hod] A depth of North, [Netzah] A depth of South. [Geburah] In fact, the first three lines of this verse cryptically instruct us to exclude Malkut, and include Ain Sof. ‚Beli mah‛ (‫ )בלי מה‬translates to ‘without Mah’, where the Hebrew word Mah (‫ )מה‬in ancient Kabbalistic tradition, is associated with the sefirah Malkut. pg. 31
  33. 33. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 "That extremity of heaven is called Mi, but there is another lower extremity which is called Mah (What?)... Of a surety the veiled One, the most high, the sum of all existence will heal thee and uphold thee—Mi, the extremity of heaven above, Mah, as far as the extremity of heaven below. And this is the inheritance of Jacob, he being the "bolt that passes from extremity to extremity" (Exod. XXVI, 28), that is, from the higher, identical with Mi, to the lower, identical with Mah, as he occupies a position in the middle." [From: Soncino Zohar, Prologue 1b.] The Hebrew word 'Mi' (‫ 12)מי‬signifies Binah (and the first Heh of YHVH). 'Mah' (‫ 22)מה‬represents Malkut (and the second Heh of YHVH). 'Jacob' (the Vav of YHVH) is the 'bolt'23 that extends between the first Heh and the second Heh of YHVH. The third line of Sefer Yetzirah verse 1:5 actually reads ‚which have Ain Sof‛, because ‘no end’ is the English translation of the original Hebrew ‘Ain Sof’ (‫ .)אין סוף‬Therefore, a more appropriate translation of the first three lines of verse 1:5 is< Ten sefirot without Mah [Malkut]: Their measure is ten which includes Ain Sof. Ain Sof is called ‘depth of Beginning’ because it has ‘no end’. 21 Meaning: ‘Who?’ 22 Meaning: ‘What?’ 23 Note that the Hebrew word Vav (‫ )וו‬means ‘nail’ (or ‘bolt’). pg. 32
  34. 34. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The Holy Temple is a sacred place that contains, preserves, and reflects the Light of the Creator. It is there that He has chosen to especially abide—concealed in the midst of the octahedron, close to His creation, in His Holy Temple, or Tifaret. But the Holy Temple remains devoid of the divine Presence—that is, until we build the Holy Temple octahedron, and activate the ‘singular covenant’ in Da’at. Verse 1:5 continues< The singular Master, God Faithful King, dominates over them all from His holy dwelling until eternity of eternities. The ‘holy dwelling’ (of verse 1:5) is the Holy Temple octahedron. It’s the place of the ‘singular Master’, the ‘singular covenant’ (of verse 1:3), and the ‘One ShM’ (of verses 2:5 and 2:6). The foundation of the Holy Temple is the sefirah Mawkone (Da’at), called ‘depth of Above’. It’s associated with the first Hebrew double letter, Bayt (‫ .)ב‬Bayt means ‘house’, as in the ‘House of God’, or Holy Temple. Another important reason why Malkut is not included as a component of the Tree of Yetzirah is because it embodies the lowest kabbalistic world of Assiah (i.e. ‘Making’). The Tree of Yetzirah specifically delineates the world of Yetzirah (i.e. ‘Formation’). That’s why the six ‘seals’ of Yetzirah only include the first three letters—Y, H, V—of the divine Name YHVH. They necessarily exclude the final Heh because it represents Assiah and the sefirah Malkut, and therefore doesn’t belong in the world of Yetzirah. The final Heh is only appended to the six YHV seal formulas when magical forces are required to flow down from the world of Yetzirah into the world of Assiah. pg. 33
  35. 35. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Seven Doubles There’s much speculation among kabbalists as to the Sefer Yetzirah’s original assignment of the seven astrological planets to the seven Hebrew double letters. The oldest surviving manuscripts of the text present conflicting data presumably caused by scribal error and/or deliberate obfuscation. My own solution to this conundrum is based on the fact that the Sefer Yetzirah likes to organize its Tree of Life components in alphabetical order. For example, the Sefer Yetzirah presents the three mother letter sefirot in their natural alphabetical order—Alef, Maym, Shin—and it associates the twelve zodiacal signs with the twelve simple letters in their natural alphabetical order. Therefore, it’s likely that the seven double letters will be associated with the seven planets in alphabetical order. There’s universal agreement in all versions of the Sefer Yetzirah that the alphabetical order of the twelve simple letters parallels the natural heavenly order of the twelve zodiacal constellations (as observed by astrologers for thousands of years). But what is the ‘natural order’ of the seven astrological planets? It’s my belief that, in the Sefer Yetzirah, the planets are ordered according to their cyclical movement as observed by the ancient astrologers who wrote the original text. The orbital periods of the planets (as viewed from Earth) are as follows< pg. 34
  36. 36. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Planet Period (yrs) Letter Saturn 29.46 Bayt (‫)ב‬ Jupiter 11.86 Gimel (‫)ג‬ Mars 1.881 Dalet (‫)ד‬ Sun 1 Kaf (‫)כ‬ Venus 0.615 Peh (‫)פ‬ Mercury 0.241 Raysh (‫)ר‬ Moon 0.0748 Tav (‫)ת‬ In this scheme, planetary seniority is based on the length of a planet’s cycle. So for example, Saturn is viewed as chief among the seven planets because its orbital period (29.46 years) is the greatest. Therefore, Saturn is assigned the first Hebrew double letter (i.e. Bayt). But modern Hermetic kabbalists tend to reject these correspondences, even though they feature in many versions of the Sefer Yetzirah—and strangely, even though the sefirot of the modern Hermetic Tree of Life are recognized as following exactly the same orbital sequence of planets. 3. Binah (Saturn, ‫)ב‬ 4. Hesed (Jupiter, ‫)ג‬ 5. Geburah (Mars, ‫)ד‬ 6. Tifaret (Sun, ‫)כ‬ 7. Netzah (Venus, ‫)פ‬ 8. Hod (Mercury, ‫)ר‬ 9. Yesod (Moon, ‫)ת‬ pg. 35
  37. 37. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The seven lowest sefirot of the Tree of Yetzirah also follow this planetary sequence except that Saturn is assigned to Da’at.24 The most widely accepted planetary assignments in modern Hermetic Kabbalah (or Qabalah) are those that were introduced by the original Order of the Golden Dawn. Those atypical correspondences may be appropriate for the Golden Dawn system of magic, but have no relevance in the original magical system of the Sefer Yetzirah. In the Tree of Yetzirah, Binah is assigned the third Hebrew mother letter ‘Shin’, and the planet Pluto (or ‘divine Fire’). 24 pg. 36
  38. 38. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Three Mothers Another common misapprehension regarding the design of the Tree of Yetzirah is the mistaken belief that the three Hebrew mother letters are associated with the three horizontal pathways of the Tree diagram. This assumption results from a superficial reading of the Sefer Yetzirah. It’s true that there is a numerical association between the three groups of Hebrew letters and the three groups of Tree pathways—horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. And it’s very tempting to associate the two together based purely on that numerological coincidence. But the text of the Sefer Yetzirah does not support or describe that arrangement. As previously mentioned, verse 6:5 of the Sefer Yetzirah defines the structure of the Tree of Life as a hierarchy of components arranged in four overlapping groups of 1, 3, 7, and 12. One on three. Three on seven. Seven on twelve. And all are bound, one to another. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 6:5] We know from verse 5:2 that the Sefer Yetzirah organises the lowest group of twelve simple Hebrew letters as boundaries (or edges) extending between the six vertices of an octahedron. The edges of the octahedron include two of the three horizontal pathways of the Tree of pg. 37
  39. 39. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Life diagram. So based on this observation alone we can deduce that the three Hebrew mother letters cannot be associated with the three horizontal pathways. The following diagram illustrates this point. Figure 6 : Three Horizontal Pathways The phrase ‚seven on twelve‛ refers to the six vertices that anchor the twelve edges of the octahedron (plus its centre point—the Holy Temple). And the phrase also refers to the seven Hebrew double letter pathways that are clustered together above the twelve edges of the octahedron. pg. 38
  40. 40. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 ‚Three on seven‛ refers to the three Hebrew mother letter sefirot that sit upon the seven double letter pathways at the top of the Tree diagram. The phrase ‚one on three‛ refers to the single sefirah called the Holy Breath (i.e. Ain Sof) that crowns the Tree of Yetzirah. It’s nested upon the three mother letter sefirot. Figure 7 : “One on three; three on seven; seven on twelve” [See below for further explanation of the above diagram.] pg. 39
  41. 41. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 As you continue to study the Sefer Yetzirah you’ll realize that its arrangement of sefirot and pathways is based on deep metaphysical principles, not on a mundane numerological coincidence. Another common misunderstanding related to the issue of the three mother letters and the three horizontal pathways derives from the apparent ambiguity of verse 6:2. Three Mothers: Alef, Maym, Shin. Air, water, and fire. Fire is above, water is below, and air of Breath is the rule that decides between them. And a sign of this thing is that fire supports water. Maym hums, Shin hisses, and Alef is the Breath of air that decides between them. [Sefer Yetzirah, 6:2] The simple solution to this ambiguity is that Alef, Maym, and Shin do not represent the mundane elements: air, water, and fire. Instead, the three mothers signify divine Elements (or Principles) that are the spiritual source of elemental air, water, and fire. The three mothers produce the mundane elements air, water, and fire when their influence enters the ‘World’ (‫.)עולם‬ pg. 40
  42. 42. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 As it’s written in Sefer Yetzirah 3:4< Three Mothers: Alef, Maym, Shin. In the World25 are air, water, fire. Heaven was created from fire. Earth was created from water. And air from Breath decides between them. [Sefer Yetzirah, 3:4] And in verse 3:2 it is written... Three Mothers: Alef, Maym, Shin. A great, mystical secret covered and sealed with six rings. And from them emanated air, water and fire. And from them are born Fathers, and from the Fathers, descendants. [Sefer Yetzirah, 3:2] And again in verse 6:1< These are the three Mothers: Alef, Maym, Shin. And from them emanated three Fathers. And they are air, water, and fire. And from the Fathers, descendants. Three Fathers and their descendants. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 6:1] ‘World’ (‫ ,עולם‬Olahm) is the Sefer Yetzirah’s technical name for the octahedron of the ‘human microcosm’. It’s the octahedron we’re primarily studying in this book. There are two other octahedrons called ‘Year’ (‫ ,שנה‬Shanah) and ‘Soul’ (‫ ,נפש‬Nefesh). 25 pg. 41
  43. 43. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The three esoteric mother letter principles are defined and named in verses 1:10-12. These three verses describe the divine Air element as ‘Breath from Breath’ (‫ ;)רוח מרוח‬the divine Water element as ‘Water from Breath’ (‫ ;)מים מרוח‬and the divine Fire element as ‘Fire from Water’ (‫ .)אש ממים‬They are technical terms intentionally used to differentiate Alef, Maym, and Shin from their mundane counterparts: air, water, and fire. The three ‘fathers’ and the three mundane elements air, water, and fire, are represented by the three Hebrew simple letters: Vav (‫ ,)ו‬Heh (‫,)ה‬ and Yud (‫—)י‬not Alef (‫ ,)א‬Maym (‫ ,)מ‬and Shin (‫.)ש‬ The three letters YHV compose the six formulae that seal the six vertices of the octahedron. In other words, these three Hebrew letters symbolise elemental forces operating within the lower portion of the Tree of Yetzirah. Vav, Heh, and Yud are specifically identified by the Sefer Yetzirah as being simple Hebrew letters26 in order to draw attention to the fact that they have an affinity with the twelve simple letter ‘boundaries’ that are the edges of the octahedron. So when the Sefer Yetzirah states in verse 6:2 ‚Fire is above, water is below, and air of Breath is the rule that decides between them‛ it’s describing the three Hebrew simple letters Heh, Yud, and Vav. And more specifically, it’s referring to the arrangement of the simple letter pathways into their three groups: Cardinal (above), Mutable (below), and Fixed (in between). This will be discussed further, when we examine the nature of the twelve ‘descendants’. (See below.) 26 ‚He chose three letters from among the Simples‛. See verse 1:13. pg. 42
  44. 44. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Figure 8 : The Tree of Yetzirah The Alef, Maym, and Shin sefirot and pathways are arranged according to the hierarchical order in which they are presented in the Sefer Yetzirah: Alef first, then Maym, followed by Shin. This is also their sequence in the natural order of the Hebrew alphabet. pg. 43
  45. 45. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The Holy Temple The unconscious state of the sefirah Da’at (i.e. the ‘singular covenant’) in the human psyche (i.e. in the octahedron) means that the Holy Temple (i.e. Tifaret) remains ‘darkened’ due to the absence of the divine Light (i.e. the ‘Shekinah’) of the Creator. The Sefer Yetzirah symbolically links this unfortunate condition with the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. Da’at as the ‘singular covenant’ (or ‘covenant of unity’) represents an ‘agreement’ we have with the Creator to assist in the fulfilment of His divine Plan on Earth. But while the pathway between Tifaret (the ‘Holy Temple’) and Da’at (the ‘singular covenant’) remains closed to us we remain unconscious of the role we are destined to play in the Creation. For the majority of human-beings the Tifaret-to-Da’at pathway (i.e. the Maym pathway) represents a spiritual hiatus in human consciousness. Activating Tifaret’s link with Da’at bridges the gap that currently exists in consciousness between Humanity and the Creator. Without the covenant of Da’at we’re lost in exile on planet Earth, unaware of the divine Presence (Shekinah) in our lives. The Sefer Yetzirah aims to help us fill the spiritual void by providing a metaphysical blueprint of the Holy Temple octahedron. It’s a design we can use to build an inner sanctum, activate the path of Maym, access the ‘singular covenant’, and draw down the divine Presence into our conscious awareness. pg. 44
  46. 46. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The Holy Temple octahedron is a sacred work-space established for the purpose of reuniting ourselves with the Creator in consciousness, and for performing kabbalistic magic. The full design of the Temple is represented by the octahedron that forms the lower portion of the Tree of Yetzirah. The Creator is symbolized by the sefirot and pathways of the upper part of the Tree—that is, everything above the octahedron. The divine Presence (i.e. Shekinah) enters into the Holy Temple by means of the ‘singular covenant’ of Mawkone (i.e. Da’at)—the uppermost vertex of the octahedron. As previously explained, the basic structure of the Tree of Yetzirah is summarized in verse 6:5< One on three. Three on seven. Seven on twelve. And all are bound, one to another. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 6:5] The first sefirah is described as ‘Breath of the Living God’ and the ‘Holy Breath’.27 It’s associated with the Hebrew mother letter Alef (‫)א‬ and represents the original unfathomable Source from which the Creation springs. The Sefer Yetzirah uses language and symbolism (in verse 1:9) to differentiate this sefirah from the next group of three. In other words, the Holy Breath remains symbolically separated from the Tree in a manner similar to the way that Ain Sof is differentiated from the three supernal sefirot of the modern day Tree diagram. 27 See verse 1:9. pg. 45
  47. 47. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The modern Tree of Life recognises the existence of Ain Sof, but doesn’t include it in its numbering system28, preferring instead to begin the counting from Keter. It then adds Malkut as the tenth sefirah in order to incorporate the kabbalistic world of Assiah. The Tree of Yetzirah omits the sefirah Malkut from its numeration, but does include Ain Sof in the counting. This represents a minor difference in emphasis between the two systems. Both Trees have ten sefirot, and include the same basic components except that one numbers Ain Sof at the top of the Tree, and the other numbers Malkut at the bottom of the Tree. So at the very top of the Tree of Yetzirah we have< 1. Breath of the Living God (Ain Sof) The next three sefirot of the Tree of Yetzirah are described in verses 1:10-12. 2. Breath from Breath (Keter) 3. Water from Breath (Hockmah) 4. Fire from Water (Binah) These three correspond with the modern day sefirot: Keter, Hockmah, and Binah. They’re associated with the three Hebrew mother letters: Alef, Maym, and Shin. The second sefirah (Breath from Breath) is exhaled from the Holy Breath of Ain Sof (i.e. the first sefirah). This enables the Breath (as 28 Or labels it zero (0). pg. 46
  48. 48. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Keter) to emerge into outer manifestation—like a human breath condensing in a cloud as it meets the frigid air of a winter’s day. The two breaths have the same essence (symbolized by Alef, ‫ )א‬and are therefore virtually indistinguishable from each other. As it is written in verse 1:7< Ten sefirot beli mah. Their end is imbedded in their beginning, and their beginning in their end. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 1:7] In other words, ‚depth of End‛ (i.e. Keter) is embedded in ‚depth of Beginning‛ (i.e. Ain Sof) and vice versa.29 The exhaled Breath contains both divine Water (‘moisture’) and divine Fire (‘heat’). These two principles differentiate from each other and form the third and fourth sefirot—called Hockmah and Binah in the modern Tree diagram. So far we have fulfilled the Sefer Yetzirah’s requirement of ‚one on three‛, but what of ‚three on seven‛? The next verse lists only six sefirot. This is a great mystery of the Sefer Yetzirah. There are seven Hebrew double letters, but only six lower sefirot. The mystery is Keter symbolizes the end of the divine creative-evolutionary process (i.e. the divine cycle of exhalation and inhalation). Keter is the final destination of Human Consciousness as it rises to the top of the Tree of Life (i.e. during the divine inhalation, prior to the absorption of All into Ain Sof). 29 pg. 47
  49. 49. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 solved when one of the seven double letters (Kaf, ‫ ,כ‬the Sun) is assigned to the Holy Temple. The sefirah Tifaret symbolizes the Holy Temple, and Mawkone (Da’at) is its foundation. The Sefer Yetzirah reveals Da’at (or Mawkone) as the spiritual foundation of the Holy Temple in verse 1:4. Ten sefirot beli mah. Ten and not nine. Ten and not eleven. Understand [Binah] with wisdom [Hockmah]. Be wise [Hockmah] with understanding [Binah]. Examine with them and probe from them. Make (each) thing stand on its essence and make the Creator sit on His Mawkone (‫.)מכון‬ [Sefer Yetzirah, 1:4] The Hebrew terms ‘Hockmah’ (Wisdom) and ‘Binah’ (Understanding) are code words for the third and fourth sefirot of the Tree of Yetzirah. In other words, verse 1:4 hints at combining these two sefirot to produce the Creator’s ‘Mawkone’ (‘Base’, ‘Foundation’)—the sacred site of the Holy Temple. Here’s a related quote from the Sefer Bahir< pg. 48
  50. 50. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 What is the seventh? It is the heaven called Aravot .And why is it called heaven (ShMYM)? Because it is round like a head. We learn that it is in the centre *Da’at+, with water [Hockmah] at its right and fire [Binah] at its left. It supports water (Sh MYM) from fire and water, and brings peace between them. Fire comes and finds the attribute of fire on its side. Water comes and finds the attribute of water on its side. It is therefore written (Job 25:2), ‚He makes peace in His high places.‛ [The Sefer Bahir. v. 153. Trans. Aryeh Kaplan. ] [Square-bracketed notes are my own.] Following its description of the fourth sefirah—‚Fire from Water‛ (i.e. Binah)—verse 1:12 mentions that the Creator’s dwelling is ‘founded’ from the three sefirot above Da’at. It states: ‚From these three He founded His dwelling‛. This means: From these three sefirot—Breath from Breath (Alef/Keter), Water from Breath (Maym/Hockmah), and Fire from Water (Shin/Binah)—He created the Holy Temple octahedron. In other words, using Alef, Maym, and Shin He formed the octahedron as per the very next verse (i.e. verse 1:13)< He chose three letters from among the Elementals [in the mystery of the three Mothers: Alef, Maym, Shin]. And He set them in His great ShM ('name') and with them, He sealed six extremities. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 1:13] pg. 49
  51. 51. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The six ‘extremities’ are the six vertices of the Holy Temple octahedron. This topic is expanded below. Here’s how the ‚three on seven‛ requirement of verse 6:5 is fulfilled. Figure 9 : “Three on Seven” The three sefirot—Keter (‫ ,)א‬Hockmah (‫ ,)מ‬and Binah (‫—)ש‬rest upon seven double letter pathways (coloured blue). The six lower sefirot and Tifaret (the Holy Temple) are emanations of the seven double letter pathways, projected down into the lower part of the Tree. There they pg. 50
  52. 52. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 become anchored as the extremities of the World—i.e. the six spatial directions (plus the centre-point of consciousness). In other words, the seven supernal pathway emanations establish the seven dimensions of the microcosmic universe. Thus, the three mother letter sefirot not only rest upon the seven double letter pathways, but they also hover over the seven emanations of those pathways—i.e. the seven double letter sefirot. The seven double letter pathways symbolize the seven archangels who surround and support the Throne of the Creator. They are the supreme angels whose ‘intelligences’ guide the seven astrological planets (i.e. the seven lower sefirot). This is another way of understanding the intimate relationship that exists between the seven double letter pathways (archangels) and their emanations—the seven lower sefirot (planets). We’ve determined that the lower portion of the Tree of Yetzirah consists of the Holy Temple (Tifaret) and the six ‘directional’ depths (numbered five to ten)< pg. 51
  53. 53. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Seven Doubles: ‫.ב ג ד - כ פ ר ת‬ ♄♃♂ - ☉♀☿☾ Up and Down. East and West. North and South.30 And the Holy Temple precisely in the center. And it supports (‫ ,נשא‬NShA)31 them all. [Sefer Yetzirah, 4:4] [Blue text has been added by me.] 5. Above (Da’at) 6. Below (Yesod) 7. East (Hesed) 8. West (Hod) 9. South (Geburah) 10. North (Netzah) These six directional depths are grouped together and listed as opposing pairs because they represent the six opposing vertices of an octahedron. This arrangement is referred to in verse 6:5 where it’s written< Note that the original numbered order of the six directional depths (i.e. in verse 1:13) has South (#9) listed before North (#10). 30 The Hebrew word NShA means ‘to lift and carry’, or ‘raise up’. This refers to the Sun’s role as bearer and carrier of the orbiting planets. 31 pg. 52
  54. 54. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Seven: Three opposite three. And one is the rule deciding between them. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 6:5] Tifaret is the ‚rule deciding between them‛. It embodies the Consciousness principle—the unique faculty that discriminates between all the extremities of the World. The sphere of Mawkone (i.e. Da’at) symbolizes the spiritual foundation of the Holy Temple. It represents a divine ‘covenant’ established between God and Humanity. Mawkone remains far removed from human consciousness until eventually (i.e. after certain evolutionary requirements are met) it becomes consciously integrated as the apex of the Holy Temple octahedron. By that time, the pathway between Tifaret and Mawkone (i.e. the path of Maym) has opened to consciousness, and Tifaret has become divinely illumined32. The allocation of the seven double letters to the six directional depths (and the Holy Temple) is presented quite clearly in the text. The depths of Above and Below are represented by the first (‫ )ב‬and seventh (‫ )ת‬double letters, respectively. The depths of East and West are represented by the second (‫ )ג‬and sixth (‫ )ר‬double letters. The depths of South and North are represented by the third (‫ )ד‬and fifth (‫)פ‬ double letters. The Holy Temple is represented by the fourth (‫ )כ‬double 32 That is, the Shekinah has descended to inhabit the Holy Temple. pg. 53
  55. 55. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 letter (which is ‚precisely in the center‛ of the group of seven double letters). Figure 10 : The Double Letters & the Depths The letter Kaf (‫ )כ‬represents the Sun—the centre of the microcosmic solar system. [Note: In the diagram above the Hebrew letters are written according to the English left-to-right usage instead of the original Hebrew rightto-left.] The configuration of the twelve edges of the Holy Temple octahedron is presented in verse 5:2. pg. 54
  56. 56. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Twelve Elementals33. ‫הוז חטי לנס עצק‬ Their foundation is the twelve diagonal boundaries: The east upper boundary. The east northern boundary. The east lower boundary. The south upper boundary. The south eastern boundary. The south lower boundary. The west upper boundary. The west southern boundary. The west lower boundary. The north upper boundary. The north western boundary. The north lower boundary. They extend continually until eternity of eternities. And it is they that are the boundaries of the World. [Sefer Yetzirah, 5:2] This verse fulfils the final requirement of verse 6:5—‚seven on twelve‛—because the six vertices (plus the center point/vertical axis) anchor the octahedron’s twelve edges within the lower portion of the Tree. Aryeh Kaplan translates the Hebrew word PShVT (‫ )פשוט‬as ‘elemental’, but the usual translation is ‘simple’. Interestingly, verse 5:2 arranges the twelve boundaries of the octahedron according to an element-based ‘fire-air-water’ (i.e. HVY) pattern. This is explained below. 33 pg. 55
  57. 57. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Figure 11 : “Seven on Twelve” Seven Doubles: ‫ב ג ד - כ פ ר ת‬ Up and Down. East and West. North and South. And the Holy Temple precisely in the center. And it supports them all. [Sefer Yetzirah, 4:4] pg. 56
  58. 58. Sefer Yetzirah Magic Note: The central December 7, 2013 unifying principle of consciousness that's represented by the Holy Temple (i.e. Tifaret) illuminates all the other six sefirot of the Octahedron–that is, ‚it supports them all‛ (SY, 4:4). And similarly, as stated elsewhere, the two vertical pathways that adjoin Tifaret (i.e. the Shin and Maym pathways) infuse with the magical force of ShM all the twelve pathways that form the twelve edges of the Octahedron. pg. 57
  59. 59. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Restoring the Holy Temple The three mother letter pathways (i.e. the Alef, Maym, and Shin pathways) compose the central vertical ‘trunk’ of the Tree of Yetzirah. They do so in their natural alphabetical order: Alef, Maym, and Shin. As I’ve already explained, it’s impossible for the three mother letters to occupy the three horizontal pathways of the Tree diagram. That’s because two of the horizontal pathways are assigned to two boundaries (i.e. edges) of the octahedron. Those two pathways are therefore occupied by two simple letters. There is no escaping the reality of verse 5:2. The three mother letters are central to the metaphysics of the Sefer Yetzirah, and it’s vitally important to grasp their meaning in relation to each other and to the book’s entire metaphysical scheme. And, of course, this is the most difficult challenge of the Sefer Yetzirah. In order to fully restore the Holy Temple octahedron, there’s an evolutionary transformation that must occur within its vertical axis. The transformation involves the merging of the Shin (‫ )ש‬and Maym (‫)מ‬ pathways (and the simultaneous merging of Shin and Maym within the octahedron’s twelve boundaries). Initially, the octahedron is dominated by the path of Shin (‫ .)ש‬The Shin pathway extends between Yesod (i.e. depth of Below) and Tifaret (i.e. the Holy Temple) and forms the lower half of the octahedron’s vertical axis. pg. 58
  60. 60. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 When the path of Shin dominates the octahedron, the human psyche is ruled by the ‘fires of Judgement’ of the feminine principle (Binah, ‫.)ש‬ But as we evolve in consciousness, the fires of Judgement are gradually mitigated by the waters of Mercy that flow down from the path of Maym (‫ .)מ‬The Maym pathway extends between Tifaret (i.e. the Holy Temple) and Da’at (i.e. the ‘singular covenant’). The Maym pathway is an emanation of the sefirotic Maym of Hockmah. The Shin and Maym pathways slowly merge together through the ‘valve’ of Tifaret34 until a point is reached when the two pathways become one. Human consciousness then rises to Da’at and the ‘singular covenant’ (i.e. Da’at) is awakened. This process transforms the unevolved octahedron into the Holy Temple octahedron, and its vertical axis becomes one single pathway called the Shem (ShM) pathway, or Shem Pillar. The Hebrew word ‘ShM’ (‫ )שם‬means ‘name’ and generally refers to the Name of God (i.e. YHVH). But ShM is itself a powerful formula that essentially defines the creative process (as depicted in the Sefer Yetzirah). The critical importance of ShM is alluded to in the first verse of the Sefer Yetzirah where it’s written< And He created His World with three books (‫.)ספרים‬ With text (‫;)ספר‬ with number (‫;)ספר‬ and with communication (‫.)ספור‬ [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 1:1] Tifaret represents the Sun—called ShMSh (‫ )שמש‬in Hebrew. The ShMSh formula shows the path of Maym situated between the path of Shin below and the higher sefirotic Shin of Binah above. The formula gives confirmation that Tifaret (the Holy Temple) represents the doorway through which the ShM transformation occurs. 34 pg. 59
  61. 61. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 In this verse, the three ‘books of Creation’ are identified with the Hebrew letters SPR (‫ ,)ספר‬the numerical value of which is 340. This is also the value of the sacred formula ShM (‫ .)שם‬So, in other words, verse 1:1 is telling us that the ShM formula is central to the creation of the World. And this notion is reiterated in verse 2:5< It comes out that all that is formed and all that is spoken emanates from One ShM. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 2:5] And also in verse 2:6< He foresees, transforms and makes all that is formed and all that is spoken: One ShM. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 2:6] The phrase ‘One ShM’ (‫ )שם אחד‬specifically refers to the single ShM pathway (or ShM Pillar) that extends between Yesod and Da’at in the restored Holy Temple octahedron. 35 Note also that the phrase ‚One ShM‛ in verses 2:5 and 2:6 also includes a reference to the mother letter Alef—i.e. because Alef = 1 (‘one’). It therefore identifies Alef as an important influence effecting the ShM equation. Alef’s function is explained below. 35 pg. 60
  62. 62. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Jacob & Israel The biblical story of Jacob is an allegory of human evolution on our planet. And his experience at Peniel36 (‘Face of God’) is linked symbolically with the transformation of the basic octahedron into the Holy Temple octahedron. All human-beings eventually undergo this high initiation, called the ShM Initiation (or ‘Name’ Initiation).37 Jacob’s name-change to Israel (‫ ,ישראל‬YShRAL) symbolizes the elevation of human consciousness from the sefirah Tifaret (Jacob) to the sphere of Da’at (Israel). At that time Da’at becomes integrated into human consciousness and the ‘covenant of the Unique One’ (BRYTh YChYD, ‫ )ברית יחיד‬is activated. During the evolution of the octahedron the ShM Pillar becomes established as its central axis. This occurs as Jacob’s guardian angel (Tifaret, Kaf) releases his hold on the Shin and Maym pathways and allows them to fully merge together. Jacob as Israel (Da’at) then assumes control of the ShM Pillar. 38 The ShM Pillar empowers Israel to become consciously involved in the divine Work of Yetzirah (Formation). In other words, after reconciling 36 See: Genesis, Chapter 32. So called because during this initiation the identity (i.e. the ‘name’) of the human ‘monad’ (‘Yechidah’) is revealed. This is the true name of the ShM Initiate. 37 Prior to Israel (i.e. a ShM initiate) gaining control of the ShM Pillar, the gradual merging of the paths of Shin and Maym is supervised by Jacob’s (i.e. an average human-being’s) Holy Guardian Angel (or Solar Angel). This is standard procedure during human evolution in the lead up to the ShM initiation. 38 pg. 61
  63. 63. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 the paths of Shin and Maym within his own microcosmic self, Jacob as Israel is able to consciously assist the Creator in the macrocosmic merging of Binah (Shin, divine Fire) with Hockmah (Maym, divine Water). In doing so, Israel takes his first step on a new path of cosmic evolution. Jacob’s ShM initiation is described in Genesis, 32:24-32. (See below.) Notice the frequency of the word ShM in the passage, and the unusual occurrence of the word Kaf (‫ ,כף‬KP, ‘cup’, or ‘hollow’). The entire episode is highly peculiar, and therefore likely to contain a hidden esoteric meaning. The ‘hollow’ (‫ ,כ‬Kaf) of Jacob’s thigh is Tifaret 39 and the ‚sinew that shrank‛ symbolizes the decline of Shin’s dominance leading to the merging of the Shin and Maym pathways to form the ShM Pillar. In the end, Jacob calls the place of his ShM initiation Peniel (‘Face of God’) because he’s ‚seen God face to face‛. This name is appropriate because the awakening of the sphere of Mawkone (Da’at) unites the ‘face of the microcosm’ (i.e. the lower sefirot of the Tree of Yetzirah) with the ‘face of the macrocosm’ (i.e. the highest sefirot of the Tree). It’s only via the sphere of Da’at that we’re able to behold the ‘face of God’. This is the ultimate purpose of the ShM Initiation. Kaf (‫ )כ‬is the Hebrew double letter associated with Tifaret and the Sun (‫,שמש‬ ShMSh). It’s the sacred Cup that holds the divine Water of the path of Maym (‫ .)מ‬The Cup itself is made from Fire (‫ ,ש‬Shin). This is the esoteric reason why the Hebrew word ShMSh (‘the Sun’) shows Maym (divine Water) in the midst of Shin (divine Fire). Similarly, the Shin of Binah (divine Fire) is a vessel of Fire that surrounds and covers the Maym of Hockmah (divine Water). 39 pg. 62
  64. 64. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man [angel] with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow [KP] of his thigh; and the hollow [KP] of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name [ShM]? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name [ShM] shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name [ShM]. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name [ShM]? And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name [ShM] of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow [KP] of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow [KP] of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank. [Genesis, 32:24-32.] [Square-bracketed notes are my own.] pg. 63
  65. 65. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Sealing the Depths He chose three letters from among the Simple letters, [in the mystery of the three Mothers: Alef, Maym, Shin]. And He set them in His great ShM, and with them He sealed six extremities. Five: He sealed ‚above‛ and faced upward, and sealed it with Yud, Vav, Heh (YVH). Six: He sealed ‚below‛ and faced downward, and sealed it with Heh, Vav, Yud (HVY). Seven: He sealed ‚east‛ and faced straight ahead, and sealed it with Yud, Heh, Vav (YHV). Eight: He sealed ‚west‛ and faced backward, and sealed it with Vav, Heh, Yud (VHY). Nine: He sealed ‚south‛ and faced to the right, and sealed it with Heh, Yud, Vav (HYV). Ten: He sealed ‚north‛ and faced to the left, and sealed it with Vav, Yud, Heh (VYH). [Sefer Yetzirah, 1:13] Verse 1:13 of the Sefer Yetzirah explains how we should commence building the Holy Temple octahedron. It uses essentially the same methodology and fulfils the same esoteric function as the well-known Hermetic ‘Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram’. The Sefer Yetzirah’s pg. 64
  66. 66. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 version of the ritual is exceptional because it fortifies not only the four compass-point directions, but also the ‘depths’ of Above and Below. The Sefer Yetzirah employs six ‘royal seals’ (or ‘rings’, ‫ )טבעת‬to establish and fortify the six ‘directions’ that uphold and sustain the World. Each seal formula (see above) is the mirror image of the formula assigned to the opposite end of its axis. This ensures that the six formulae conform to the ‚three opposite three‛ requirement of verse 6:5. These YHV formulas are based on the natural YHVH structure of the Tree of Life. (See below.) As far as I know, they do not occur in any extant version of the Sefer Yetzirah. Unfortunately, the original arrangement of the YHV formulas is unknown due to deliberate concealment and/or scribal error. Most importantly however, in practice, these assignments work very effectively. There are four levels of the Tree of Life associated with the letters of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH). The first three levels constitute the Tree of Yetzirah, while the last level adds the sefirah Malkut (i.e. Assiah). The highest level of the Tree of Yetzirah is symbolized by Yud (‫ .)י‬At this level there is no Heh or Vav. The letter Yud (‫ )י‬is assigned singly to the first two sefirot. The first sefirah is called the Holy Breath and is associated with Ain Sof. It symbolizes the inhaled breath of the Creator and contains in latency the ten-fold Tree of Yetzirah. The Yud of the second sefirah is ‘Breath from Breath’. The second Yud represents the exhaled (i.e. externalized) breath of the Creator. Thus, they are both expressions of the same archetype—that is, Yud. pg. 65
  67. 67. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Figure 12 : The Tree of YHVH pg. 66
  68. 68. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 With 32 mystical paths of wisdom (‫ ,חכמה‬HKMH) engraved Yah (‫ ,יה‬YH).40 [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 1:1.] The second Tetragrammaton level is comprised of the third and fourth sefirot. At this level the letters Yud and Heh are combined in pairs and there is no Vav. Hockmah is given YH (‫ )יה‬and Binah is assigned HY (‫ .)הי‬These two sefirot represent opposing principles, like centrifugal and centripetal force, light and darkness, 'Good' and 'Evil', etc. Hockmah represents the movement of energy from Yud to Heh, or Male to Female, while Binah signifies the opposite, but complementary energy flow of Heh to Yud, or Female to Male. These two fundamental kabbalistic formulas—YH and HY—are found in the two supreme Names of God: YHVH (‫ ,יהוה‬Yehovah) and ALHYM (‫ ,אלהים‬Elohim). YHVH is commonly associated with Hockmah and ALHYM with Binah. The sefirah Binah is considered especially important because the formula HY (‫ )הי‬parallels the key formula of creation, ShM ('Name', ‫ .)שם‬Heh (‫ )ה‬is associated with Shin (‫ ,)ש‬and Yud (‫ )י‬is associated with Maym (‫ .)ם‬Generally speaking, the flow of energy from Binah to Hockmah (via the Bayt, ‫ ,ב‬pathway) represents the evolution of consciousness (propelled by the fiery pressure of Shin) away from its dependence on the Form principle (Binah). The six lower sefirot plus the Holy Temple (i.e. Tifaret) constitute the third (i.e. YHV) Tetragrammaton level of the Tree of Life. The Hebrew Appropriately, this is the very first line of the Sefer Yetzirah. Note that the YH formula is assigned to the sefirah Hockmah (Wisdom), called depth of Good. 40 pg. 67
  69. 69. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 letter Vav (‫ )ו‬appears for the first time at this level and it’s here that the letters of the Holy Name are combined in threes. At this level the letter Vav is added to the Yud and Heh (of the higher sefirot) thereby producing the six seals of Yetzirah. These six formulae establish the ‘extremities’ of our space/time continuum and field of consciousness. The three letters—Yud, Heh, and Vav—are called 'fathers' in the Sefer Yetzirah. They symbolize the three Hebrew Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The two seals that occupy the middle pillar symbolize the back and forth energy flow between Father/Hockmah (Y) and Mother/Binah (H). In these two formulas the letter Vav (V) holds the central position. It represents the Son principle (or microcosm). So basically, the Da’at/Tifaret formula YVH signifies Father-Son-Mother, and the Yesod formula HVY represents Mother-Son-Father. The Yesod (i.e. ‘depth of Below’) formula HVY contains the three letters Heh, Vav, and Yud in their natural order in the Hebrew alphabet—that is, from Alef to Tav. Therefore, it symbolizes a movement away from the Source, towards materiality. Similarly, the Da’at/Tifaret (i.e. ‘depth of Above’) formula YVH contains the three letters Yud, Vav, and Heh in their reverse natural order in the Hebrew alphabet—that is, from Tav to Alef. Therefore, it symbolizes the returning flow of energy back to the spiritual Source. The two seals occupying the right-hand pillar (i.e. of Mercy) both contain the YH sub-formula of Hockmah (‘Father’). Basically, both formulae reflect (from different angles) the relationship between the Father (YH) and the Son (V). pg. 68
  70. 70. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The two seals that occupy the left-hand pillar (i.e. of Judgment) both contain the HY sub-formula of Binah (‘Mother’). Basically, both formulae reflect (from different angles) the relationship between the Mother (HY) and the Son (V). The final Heh is added to YHVH when the sefirah Malkut (symbolizing dense physical manifestation) is appended to the Tree of Life. Malkut occurs at the lowest (i.e. fourth) Tetragrammaton level on the Tree diagram. This is where the Holy Name is completed—i.e. where it assumes its four-fold (i.e. ‘Tetragrammaton’) form. As long as the sphere of Da'at remains dormant within human consciousness, the sefirah Malkut (as the final Heh of YHVH) remains spiritually desolate—i.e. devoid of the Divine Presence (or Shekinah). But when Da'at is awakened in consciousness—that is, when the Holy Temple octahedron is established and sanctified—then the Heh of Binah (i.e. the higher Shekinah) is once again able to descend to inhabit the microcosm, even unto the Heh of Malkut. There are twelve special forms of the Holy Name YHVH that are called 'descendants' in the Sefer Yetzirah. These twelve formulae combine together to form the sefirah Malkut. Each of the twelve descendants is associated with one of the twelve boundaries that form the octahedron. The twelve descendants symbolize the twelve sons of Jacob, and the twelve tribes of Israel. (See below for more information.) pg. 69
  71. 71. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The Ritual of Sealing the Depths In verse 1:13 the six vertices of the octahedron are called ‘extremities’ (‫ ,קץ‬QTz) but in other verses they’re referred to as ‘depths’ (‫,עומק‬ OVMQ). Personally, I prefer to use the English word ‘depth’ during my Holy Temple rituals. ShM, ShM, ShM I seal the Depth of Room with ‫( יוה‬Y, V, H) I seal the Depth of Takath with ‫( הוי‬H, V, Y) ShM I seal the Depth of Mizrawk with ‫( יהו‬Y, H, V) ShM I seal the Depth of Dawrome with ‫( היו‬H, Y, V) ShM I seal the Depth of Ma'arab with ‫( והי‬V, H, Y) ShM I seal the Depth of Tzawfone with ‫( ויה‬V, Y, H) ShM I banish the darkness from this place with ‫( יהוה‬Y, H, V, H) ShM, ShM, ShM pg. 70
  72. 72. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Commentary Stand and face the East. Breathe deeply and rhythmically. Assume a relaxed state, but keep your mind focused. Use your power of visualization to see the spheres above and below you, and at the four compass points. Figure 13 : The Holy Temple Octahedron pg. 71
  73. 73. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Visualize the sefirotic spheres in their appropriate sefirotic colours. See also their associated Hebrew double letters glowing brightly within them. The four compass point spheres should be positioned in the air at about waist height. Repeat each line of the ritual three times in three breaths. Intone the six seals by pronouncing their Hebrew letters. For example, pronounce YVH as Yud, Vav, Heh. After sealing the depth of Room (Above/Da’at) and the depth of Takath (Below/Yesod) intone ShM (‘Shshshshemmmmmmm’). See a column of purple light extending from the depth of Below (Takath) to the depth of Above (Room). When it's established, see also the sefirah Tifaret (coloured gold) in the midst of the ShM Pillar. Visualize the Hebrew letter Kaf (‫ )כ‬within the sphere of Tifaret. The ShM Pillar represents the ‘core’ of your ‘nuclear reactor’. Use its power to seal the depths, and to banish the darkness from your octahedron. As you seal each of the four compass point depths, draw with your finger (or wand) a pentagram of white light superimposed on top of the associated sefirotic sphere. Breathe out the light of ShM and focus it through your finger/wand. Also, as you turn to face each new direction, intone ShM and draw a line of white light that joins together the previous pentagram with the next pentagram. Complete the circle by facing again towards the East—i.e. after the last depth (Tzawfone) has been sealed. Then intone ShM and draw a large circle of light that begins from Dawrome (South) rises to Room (Above) then descends to Tzawfone (North) then continues to descend to Takath (Below) and rises/returns to Dawrome (South) to complete the circle. Then intone ShM and draw a large circle of light that begins from Mizrawk (East) pg. 72
  74. 74. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 rises to Room (Above) then descends to Ma’arab (West) then continues to descend to Takath (Below) and rises/returns to Mizrawk (East) to complete the circle. End by facing the East. Each time you turn and face a new direction endeavour to see all the depths/sefirot arranged in their new relative positions: In front of you and behind you, to your left and right. See also the depths above and below you, and your ShM Pillar with Tifaret (i.e. the Holy Temple) in the midst. With this visualization exercise you’re establishing a foundation for all your magical operations. Also, when you visualize each depth, and draw its pentagram, imagine the four boundaries (or edges) that join it to the rest of the octahedron. The visualisation should be like looking into a corner where four edges meet. As you intone the Hebrew letters of each seal briefly visualize them in white light within their associated pentagrams. As you seal the first two depths (i.e. Above and Below) turn your gaze towards them. Use your power of visualization to imagine the pentagrams upon the sphere above you and the sphere below you. (In other words, there's no need to draw those two pentagrams with your wand.) Also, try to visualize the four edges of the octahedron that connect the depths of Above and Below with the four compass-point depths. At the end of the ritual, when you banish the darkness and pronounce the Name ‘Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh’, project with your mind a Yud towards the depth of Mizrawk (East), a Heh towards the depth of Dawrome (South), a Vav towards the depth of Ma’arab (West), and the final Heh towards the depth of Tzawfone (North). See waves of white light pulsing from the ShM Pillar and spreading out to fill and purify the pg. 73
  75. 75. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 space within the Holy Temple (octahedron). See also, lines of white light that represent the twelve edges of the octahedron. Maintain this visualization for as long as desired. After two weeks of performing this daily ritual you shouldn’t need to repeat each line of the ritual three times. Your visualizations should be strong enough so that one pronouncement per depth will suffice. Figure 14 : Sealing the Depths pg. 74
  76. 76. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Invoking the Shekinah With 32 mystical paths of wisdom engraved Yah. The Lord of Hosts. The God of Israel. The Living God. King of the World. Almighty God. Merciful and Gracious. High and Exalted. Dwelling in Eternity. Whose ShM is Holy. He is Lofty and Holy. And He created His World with three books (SPhRYM). With text (SPhR). With number (SPhR). And with communication (SPhVR). [Sefer Yetzirah, 1:1] When you’ve firmly established the design of the Holy Temple octahedron within your consciousness, then it’s time to invite the Shekinah, the divine Presence, to dwell within it. This is achieved by pg. 75
  77. 77. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 intoning the names of God mentioned in verse 1:1 of the Sefer Yetzirah (quoted above). The names are presented as opposing pairs that coincide exactly with the sequence of opposing depths as listed in verse 1:5. Ten sefirot belimah: Their measure is ten which have no end. A depth of Beginning, A depth of End, A depth of Good, A depth of Evil, A depth of Above, A depth of Below, A depth of East, A depth of West, A depth of North, A depth of South. The singular Master, God Faithful King, dominates over them all from His holy dwelling until eternity of eternities. [Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5] pg. 76
  78. 78. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The eleventh divine name ‘Whose ShM is Holy’ (or ‘The Holy ShM’) is associated with the ShM Pillar. But the given order of all the other names in verse 1:1 precisely parallels their depth counterparts as presented in verse 1:5. Verse 1:1 Verse 1:5 Sphere Yah Depth of Beginning Ain Sof The Lord of Hosts Depth of End Keter The God of Israel Depth of Good Hockmah The Living God Depth of Evil Binah King of the World Depth of Above Da’at Almighty God Depth of Below Yesod Merciful and Gracious Depth of East Hesed High and Exalted Depth of West Hod Dwelling in Eternity Depth of North Netzah Whose ShM is Holy ShM Pillar Tifaret Lofty and Holy Depth of South Geburah The divine name mentioned at the end of verse 1:5—‚God Faithful King‛—is akin to the name ‚King of the World‛ given in verse 1:1. Both names are associated with ‘depth of Above’ (i.e. Da’at). The singular Master, God Faithful King, dominates over them all from His holy dwelling until eternity of eternities. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 1:5] pg. 77
  79. 79. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Da’at is distinguished from the other components of the Tree of Yetzirah because it’s the sacred portal through which the Shekinah enters into the Holy Temple octahedron. And Da’at is also the base (i.e. Mawkone) upon which the Creator (Who is especially represented by the highest sefirot) sits. The Shekinah ritual is simple, but powerful. It’s performed every day for a week. It’s always performed immediately after the ‘sealing the depths’ ritual. The Shekinah ritual is performed in order to consecrate the Holy Temple octahedron and to firmly establish it in consciousness. The divine names are intoned within their associated depths in precisely the same sequence as they are sealed. Divine Name Hebrew Depth Beginning ‫יה‬ The Lord of Hosts End ‫יהוה צבאות‬ The God of Israel Good ‫אלהי ישראל‬ The Living God Evil ‫אלהים חיים‬ King of the World Above ‫מלך עולם‬ Almighty God Below ‫אל שדי‬ Merciful and Gracious ‫רחום וחנון‬ East High and Exalted West ‫רם ונשא‬ Dwelling in Eternity North ‫שוכן עד‬ Whose ShM is Holy ‫ קדוש שם‬ShM Pillar Lofty and Holy South ‫מרום וקדוש‬ Yah Hebrew Sefirah ‫ראשית‬ ‫אחרית‬ ‫טוב‬ ‫רע‬ ‫רום‬ ‫תחת‬ ‫מזרח‬ ‫מערב‬ ‫צפון‬ ‫שם‬ ‫דרום‬ Ain Sof Keter Hockmah Binah Da’at Yesod Hesed Hod Netzah Tifaret Geburah pg. 78
  80. 80. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The Shekinah Invocation Ritual I invite the Divine Presence to infuse this Holy Temple. Melek Olahm El Shad-dah-ee Qawdoshe Sheem Rahkoom ve-Khanoon Mawrome ve-Qawdoshe Rawm ve-Nawsaw Shohken Ahd Eloheem Khaw-yeem Elohee Yis-raw-ale Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh Tze-bay-oth Yud-Heh I consecrate this Holy Temple in service to the Divine Creator. pg. 79
  81. 81. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Commentary Perform this ritual immediately after ‘Sealing the Depths’ (every day for the period of a week). Begin by facing east. Raise your arms towards the Heavens as you pronounce ‚I invite the Divine Presence to infuse this Holy Temple‛. And raise your arms also at the end of the ritual when you say ‚I consecrate this Holy Temple in service to the Divine Creator‛. Face towards each depth and intone its divine Name. Project the Names into their associated spheres. There’s no need to mention the names of the depths. Simply face in the appropriate direction and visualize each coloured sphere as you intone its associated divine Name. Make sure you also visualize the appropriate Hebrew double letter within each sphere. For example: As you intone Rahkoom veKhanoon visualize the Hebrew letter Gimel (‫ )ג‬within the blue Hesed depth of Mizrawk/East. Repeat each divine Name a number of times during a cycle of three breaths. You can intone some of the divine Names several times in one breath to good effect. Use your own discretion and let your own experience be your ultimate guide. Return to face the East when you’re ready to intone the divine names of the highest depths. There is no need to face towards the four highest depths. pg. 80
  82. 82. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Divine Name Hebrew Depth Letter Melek Olahm ‫מלך עולם‬ Above El Shad-dah-ee ‫אל שדי‬ Below Qawdoshe Sheem ‫קדוש שם‬ ShM Pillar Rahkoom ve-Khanoon ‫רחום וחנון‬ East Mawrome ve-Qawdoshe ‫מרום וקדוש‬ South Rawm ve-Nawsaw ‫רם ונשא‬ West Shohken Ahd ‫שוכן עד‬ North Eloheem Khaw-yeem ‫אלהים חיים‬ Evil Elohee Yis-raw-ale ‫אלהי ישראל‬ Good Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh Tze-bay-oth ‫יהוה צבאות‬ End Yud-Heh ‫יה‬ Beginning ‫ב‬ ‫ת‬ ‫כ‬ ‫ג‬ ‫ד‬ ‫ר‬ ‫פ‬ ‫ש‬ ‫מ‬ ‫א‬ ‫א‬ Visualise the depth of Ro’ah (‘Evil’) as a red cloud high above the octahedron, and behind your left shoulder. See within it the Hebrew letter Shin, flaming red. See fiery energy rush from it to the depth of Room (Da’at) above you and fill the Holy Temple octahedron. Visualise the depth of Toob (‘Good’) as a blue cloud high above the octahedron, and behind your right shoulder. See within it the Hebrew letter Maym, vibrant blue. See watery ultraviolet energy flow from it to the depth of Room (Da’at) above you and fill the Holy Temple octahedron. Visualise the depth of Akh-ar-reeth (‘End’) as a yellow cloud high above the octahedron and in front of you. See within it the Hebrew letter Alef, golden yellow. See brilliant golden lightning flash from it to the depth of Room (Da’at) above you and fill the Holy Temple octahedron. pg. 81
  83. 83. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Visualise the depth of Ray-sheeth (‘Beginning’) as an invisible cloud that surrounds the octahedron and expands to infinity. See within it one thousand Hebrew letter Alefs, iridescent white. See its ethereal energy encompassing the Holy Temple octahedron. Perform this ritual every morning for seven days. After that your Holy Temple will be consecrated. pg. 82
  84. 84. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Air, Water, and Fire The mundane elements—air, water, and fire—are said to emerge from the three Hebrew mother letters. Three Mothers: Alef, Maym, Shin. A great, mystical secret covered and sealed with six rings. And from them emanated air, water, and fire. And from them are born Fathers. And from the Fathers, descendants. [Sefer Yetzirah, 3:2] The ‚great mystical secret‛ is that the three Hebrew simple letters— Yud, Heh, and Vav—are emanations of the three Hebrew mother letters. And these three simple letters symbolize the three mundane elements, and the three ‘fathers’. When the Sefer Yetzirah refers to air, water, and fire, it’s not referring directly to the three mother letters: Alef, Maym, and Shin. Rather, it’s referring to their three elemental emanations (i.e. Vav, Yud, and Heh). Traditionally, Yud is thought to come from Maym, Heh from Shin, and Vav from Alef.41 If this is true (which I believe it is) then the Sefer Yetzirah directly contradicts the modern Hermetic correspondences that see Yud as fire, and Heh as water. More on this later. 41 See: Sefer Yetzirah, by Aryeh Kaplan. Weiser, 1991. Pg. 140 and 153. pg. 83
  85. 85. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 The three simple elemental letters emanate from the three mothers as per the following diagram. Figure 15 : Yud, Heh, and Vav Yud (‫ )י‬descends to the sefirah Hesed from Maym (i.e. Hockmah). Heh (‫ )ה‬descends to the sefirah Geburah from Shin (i.e. Binah). Vav (‫)ו‬ descends to the sefirah Da’at from Alef (i.e. Keter). The fact that the sefirah Hesed (i.e. Mercy) is commonly characterized by water, and Geburah (i.e. Strength) by fire, supports these elemental correspondences. pg. 84
  86. 86. Sefer Yetzirah Magic December 7, 2013 Notice in verse 3:2 we are told that the three mother letters are ‚covered and sealed with six rings‛, and then air, water, and fire are mentioned. Three Mothers: Alef, Maym, Shin. A great, mystical secret. Covered and sealed with six rings. And from them emanated air, water and fire. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 3:2] The six YHV rings42 (i.e. ‘seals’) each contain air (Vav), water (Yud), and fire (Heh) in different combinations. He chose three letters [Y, H, V] from among the Simple letters, (in the mystery of the three Mothers: Alef, Maym, Shin). And He set them in His great ShM. [From: Sefer Yetzirah, 1:13] [Bracketed notes are my own.] It’s therefore important to discard the erroneous idea that the Sefer Yetzirah is referring directly to Alef, Maym, and Shin when it speaks of elemental air, water, and fire. And to dispel the associated myth that the mundane elements are assigned to the Alef, Maym, and Shin pathways of the Tree of Life. The Hebrew word is TBOTh (‫ .)טבעת‬It refers to the signet ring that a King uses to seal his official proclamations. 42 pg. 85

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