The WORD of God, said the Indian philosophy, is the universal and
invisible Light, cognizable by the senses, that emits its blaze in
the Sun, Moon, Planets, and other Stars. Philo calls it the
"Universal Light," which loses a portion of its purity and splendor
in descending from the intellectual to the sensible world,
manifesting itself outwardly from the Deity; and the Kabalah
represents that only so much of the Infinite Light flowed into the
circular void prepared for creation within the Infinite Light and
Wisdom, as could pass by a canal like a line or thread. The
Sephiroth, emanating from the Deity, were the rays of His
The Chaldean Oracles said: "The intellect of the Generator,
stirred to action, out-spoke, forming within itself, by intellection
universals of every possible form and fashion, which issued out,
flowing forth from the One Source . . . For Deity, impersonated as
Donlinion, before fabricating the manifold Universe, posited an
intellected and unchangeable universal, the impression of the form
whereof goes forth through the Universe; and that Universe formed
and fashioned accordingly, becomes visibly beautified in infinitely
varying types and forms, the Source and fountain whereof is one....
Intellectual conceptions and forms from the Generative source,
succeeding each other, considered in relation to ever-progressing
Time, and intimately partaking of THE PRIMAL ETHER or FIRE; but yet
all these Universals and Primal Types and Ideas flowed forth from,
and are part of, the first Source of the Generative Power, perfect
The Chaldeans termed the Supreme Deity ARAOR, Father of Light.
From Him was supposed to flow the light above the world, which
illuminates the heavenly regions. This Light or Fire was considered
as the Symbol of the Divine Essence, extending itself to inferior
spiritual natures. Hence the Chaldean oracles say: "The Father took
from Himself, and did not confine His proper fire within His
intellectual potency:" . . "All things are begotten from one
The Tsabeans held that all inferior spiritual beings were
emanations from the supreme Deity; and therefore Proclus says: "The
progression of the gods is one and continuous, proceeding downward
from the intelligible and latent unities, and terminating in the
last partition of the Divine cause."
It is impossible to speak clearly of the Divinity. Whoever
attempts to express His attributes by the help of abstractions,
confines himself to negatives, and at once loses sight of his ideas,
in wandering through a wilderness of words. To heap Superlatives on
Superlatives, and call Him best, wisest, greatest, is but to
exaggerate qualities which are found in man. That there exists one
only God, and that He is a Perfect and Beneficent Being, Reason
legitimately teaches us; but of the Divine Nature, of the Substance
of the Deity, of the manner of His Existence, or of the mode of
creation of His Universe, the human mind is inadequate to form any
just conception. We can affix no clear ideas to Omnipotence,
Omniscience, Infinity or Eternity; and we have no more right to
attribute intelligence to Him, than any other mental quality of
ourselves, extended indefinitely; or than we have to attribute our
senses to Him, and our bodily organs, as the Hebrew writings do.
We satisfy ourselves with negativing in the Deity everything that
constitutes existence, so far as we are capable of conceiving of
existence. Thus He becomes to us logically nothing, Non-Ens. The
Ancients saw no difference between that and Atheism, and sought to
conceive of Him as something real. It is a necessity of Human
Nature. The theological idea, or rather non-idea, of the Deity, is
not shared or appreciated by the unlearned. To them, God will always
be The Father Who is in Heaven, a Monarch on His Throne, a Being
with human feelings and human sympathies, angry at their misdeeds,
lenient if they repent, accessible to their supplications. It is the
Humanity, far more than the Divinity, of Christ, that makes the mass
of Christians worship Him, far more than they do the Father.
"The Light of the Substance of The Infinite," is the Kabalistic
expression. Christ was, according to Saint John, "the Light that
lighteth every man that cometh into the world"; and "that Light was
the life of men." "The Light shone in the darkness, and the darkness
comprehended it not."
The ancient ideas in respect to Light were perhaps quite as
correct as our own. It does not appear that they ascribed to Light
any of the qualities of matter. But modern Science defines it to be
a flood of particles of matter, flowing or shot out from the Sun and
Stars, and moving through space to come to us. On the theories of
mechanism and force, what force of attraction here or repulsion at
the Sun or at the most distant Star could draw drive these
impalpable, weightless, infinitely minute particles, appreciably by
the Sense of sight alone, so far through space ? What has become of
the immense aggregate of particles that have reached the earth since
the creation? Have they increased its bulk? Why cannot chemistry
detect and analyze them? If matter, why can they travel only in
No characteristic of matter belongs to Light, or Heat, or flame
or to Galvanism, Electricity, and Magnetism. The electric spark is
light, and so is that produced by the flint, when it cuts off
particles of steel. Iron, melted or heated, radiates light; and
insects, infusoria, and decayed wood emit it. Heat is produced by
friction and by pressure; to explain which, Science tells us of
latent Caloric, thus representing it to us as existing without its
only known distinctive quality. What quality of matter enables
lightning blazing from the Heavens, to rend the oak? What quality of
matter enables it to make the circuit of the earth in a score of
Profoundly ignorant of the nature of these mighty agents of
Divine Power, we conceal our ignorance by words that have no
meaning; and we might well be asked why Light may not be an
effluence from the Deity, as has been agreed by all the religions of
all the Ages of the World.
All truly dogmatic religions have issued from the Kabalah and
return to it: everything scientific and grand in the religious
dreams of all the illuminati, Jacob Boehme, Swedenborg, Saint-
Martin, and others, is borrowed from the Kabalah; all the Masonic
associations owe to it their Secrets and their Symbols.
The Kabalah alone consecrates the alliance of the Universal
Reason and the Divine Word; it establishes, by the counterpoises of
two forces apparently opposite, the eternal balance of being; it
alone reconciles Reason with Faith, Power with Liberty, Science with
Mystery; it has the keys of the Present, the Past, and Future.
The Bible, with all the allegories it contains, expresses, in an
incomplete and veiled manner only, the religious science of the
Hebrews. The doctrine of Moses and the Prophets, identical at bottom
with that of the ancient Egyptians, also had its outward meaning and
its veils. The Hebrew books were written only to recall to memory
the traditions; and they were written in Symbols unintelligible to
the Profane. The Pentateuch and the prophetic poems were merely
elementary books of doctrine, morals, or liturgy; and the true
secret and traditional philosophy was written afterward, under veils
still less transparent. Thus was a second Bible born, unknown to, or
rather uncomprehended by, the Christians; a collection, they say, of
monstrous absurdities; a monument, the adept says, wherein is
everything that the genius of philosophy and that of religion have
ever formed or imagined of the sublime; a treasure surrounded by
thorns; a diamond concealed in a rough dark stone.
One is filled with admiration, on penetrating into the Sanctuary
of the Kabalah, at seeing a doctrine so logical, so simple, and at
the same time so absolute. The necessary union of ideas and signs,
the consecration of the most fundamental realities by the primitive
characters; the Trinity of Words, Letters, and Numbers; a philosophy
simple as the alphabet, profound and infinite as the Word; theorems
more complete and luminous than those of Pythagoras; a theology
summed up by counting on one's fingers; an Infinite which can be
held in the hollow of an infant's hand; ten ciphers, and twenty-two
letters, a triangle, a square, and a circle,--these are all the
elements of the Kabalah. These are the elementary principles of the
written Word, reflection of that spoken Word that created the
This is the doctrine of the Kabalah, with which you will no doubt
seek to make yourself acquainted, as to the Creation.
The Absolute Deity, with the Kabalists, has no name. The terms
applied to Him are AOR PASOT, the Most Simple [or Pure] Light,
"called AYEN SOPHI, or INFINITE, before any Emanation. For then
there was no space or vacant place, but all was infinite Light."
Before the Deity created any Ideal, any limited and intelligible
Nature, or any form whatever, He was alone, and without form or
similitude, and there could be no cognition or comprehension of Him
in any wise. He was without Idea or Figure, and it is forbidden to
form any Idea or Figure of Him, neither by the letter He nor by the
letter Yod though these are contained in the Holy Name; nor by any
other letter or point in the World.
But after He created this Idea [this limited and existing-in-
intellection Nature, which the ten Numerations, SEPHIROTH or Rays
are], of the Medium, the First Man ADAM KADMON, He descended
therein, that, by means of this Idea, He might be called by the name
TETRAGRAMMATON; that created things might have cognition of Him, in
His own likeness.
When the Infinite God willed to emit what were to flow forth, He
contracted Himself in the centre of His light, in such manner that
most intense light should recede to a certain circumference, and on
all sides upon itself. And this is the first contraction, and termed
ADAM KADMON, the Primal or First Man, is the first Aziluthic
emanant from the Infinite Light, immitted into the evacuated Space,
and from which, afterward, all the other degrees and systems had
their beginnings. It is called the Adam prior to all the first. In
it are imparted ten spherical numerations; and thereafter issued
forth the rectilinear figure of a man in his sephirothic decade, as
it were the diameter of the said circles; as it were the axis of
these spheres, reaching from their highest point to their lowest;
and from it depend all the systems.
But now, as the Infinite Light would be too excellent and great
to be borne and endured, except through the medium of this Adam
Kadmon, its most Secret Nature preventing this, its illuminating
light had again to emanate in streams out of itself, by certain
apertures, as it were, like windows, and which are termed the ears,
eyes, nostrils, and mouth.
The light proceeding from this Adam Kadmon is indeed but one; but
in proportion to its remoteness from the place of outflowing, and to
the grades of its descent, it is more dense.
From the word ATSIL, to emanate or flow forth, comes the word
ATSILOTH or Aziluth, Emanation, or the system of Emanants. When the
primal space was evacuated, the surrounding Light of the Infinite,
and the Light immitted into the void, did not touch each other; but
the Light of the Infinite flowed into that void through a line or
certain slender canal; and that Light is the Emanative and emitting
Principle, or the out-flow and origin of Emanation: but the Light
within the void is the emanant subordinate; and the two cohere only
by means of the aforesaid line.
Aziluth means specifically and principally the first system of
the four Olamoth, worlds or systems; which is thence called the
The ten Sephiroth of the general Aziluthic system are ten
Nekudoth or Points.
AINSOPH, AENSOPH, or AYENSOPH, is the title of the Cause of
Causes, its meaning being "endless," because there is no limit to
Its loftiness, and nothing can comprehend it. Sometimes, also, the
name is applied to KETHER, or the CROWN, the first emanation,
because that is the Throne of the Infinite, that is, its first and
highest Seat, than which none is higher, and because Ainsoph resides
and is concealed therein: hence it rejoices in the same name.
Before that anything was, says the Emech Hammelech, He, of His
mere will, proposed to Himself to make worlds . . . but at that time
there was no vacant space for worlds; but all space was filled with
the light of His Substance, which He had with fixed limits placed in
the centre of Himself, and of the parts whereof, and wherein, He was
thereafter to effect a folding together.
What then did the Lord of the Will, that most perfectly free
Agent, do? By His own estimation, He measured off within His own
Substance the width and length of a circular space to be made
vacant, and wherein might be posited the worlds aforesaid; and of
that Light which was included within the circle so measured, He
compressed and folded over a certain portion . . . and that Light He
lifted higher up, and so a place was left unoccupied by the Primal
But yet was not this space left altogether empty of that Light;
for the vestiges of the Primal Light still remained in the place
where Itself had been; and they did not recede therefrom.
Before the Emanations out-flowed, and created things were
created, the supreme Light was infinitely extended, and filled the
whole Where: nothing was, except that extended light, called AOR
H'AINSOPH, the Light of the non-finite.
When it came into the mind of the Extended to will to make
worlds, and by forth-flowing to utter Emanations, and to emit as
Light the perfection of His active powers, and of His aspects and
attributes, which was the impelling cause of the creation of worlds;
then that Light, in some measure compressed, receded in every
direction from a particular central point, and on all sides of it
drew back, and so a certain vacuum was left, called void space, its
circumference everywhere equidistant from that point which was
exactly in the centre of the space . . . a certain void place and
space left in Mid-Infinite: a certain Where was thereby constituted
wherein Emanations might BE, and the Created, the Fashioned and the
This world of the garmenting,--this circular vacant space, with
the vestiges of the withdrawn light of the Infinite yet remaining,
is the inmost garment, nearest to His substance; and to it belongs
the name AOR PENAI-AL, Light of the Countenance of God.
An interspace surrounds this great circle, established between
the light of the very substance, surrounding the circle on its
outside, and the substance contained within the circle. This is
called SPLENDOR EXCELSUS, in contradistinction to Simple
This light "of the vestige of the garment," is said to be
relatively to that of the vestige of the substance, like a point in
the centre of a circle. This light, a point in the centre of the
Great Light, is called Auir, Ether, or Space.
This Ether is somewhat more gross than the Light--not so Subtle--
though not perceptible by the Senses--is termed the Primal Ether-
-extends everywhere; Philosophers call it the Soul of the World.
The Light so forth-shown from the Deity, cannot be said to be
severed or diverse from Him. "It is flashed forth from yet all
continues to be perfect unity . . . The Sephiroth, sometimes called
the Persons of the Deity, are His rays, by which He is enabled most
perfectly to manifest Himself.
The Introduction to the Book SOHAR says:
The first compression was effected, in order that the Primal
Light might be upraised, and a space become vacant. The second
compression occurred when the vestiges of the removed Light
remaining were compressed into points; and that compression was
effected by means of the emotion of joy; the Deity rejoicing, it had
already been said, on account of His Holy People, there-after to
come into being; and that joy being vehement, and a commotion and
exhilaration in the Deity being caused by it, so that He flowed
forth in His delight; and of this commotion an abstract power of
judgment being generated, which is a collection of the letters
generated by the points of the vestiges of Light left within the
circle. For He writes the finite expressions, or limited
manifestations of Himself upon the Book, in single letters.
Like as when water or fire, it had been said, is blown upon by
the wind, it is wont to be greatly moved, and with flashes like
lightning to smite the eyes, and gleam and coruscate hither and
thither, even so The Infinite was moved within Himself, and shone
and coruscated in that circle, from the centre outward and again to
the centre: and that commotion we term exhilaration; and from that
exhilaration, variously divided within Himself, was generated the
potency of determining the fashioning of the letters.
Of that exhilaration, it had also been said, was generated the
determination of forms, by which determination the Infinite
determined them within Himself, as if by saying: "Let this Sphere be
the appointed place, wherein let all worlds be created !"
He, by radiating and coruscating, effected the points, so that
their sparkling should smite the eyes like lightning. Then He
combined diversely the single points, until letters were fashioned
thereof, in the similitude and image of those wherewith THE BLESSED
had set forth the decrees of His Wisdom.
It is not possible to attain to an understanding of the creation
of man, except by the mystery of letters; and in these worlds of The
Infinite is nothing, except the letters of the Alpllabet and their
combinations. All the worlds are Letters and Names; but He Who is
the Author of all, has no name.
This world of the covering [or garment--vestimenti], [that is,
the circular vacant space, with the vestiges of the removed Light of
The Infinite still remaining after the first contraction and
compression], is the inmost covering, nearest to His substance; and
to this covering belongs the general name AUR PENIAL, Light of the
Countenance of God: by which we are to understand the Light of The
And after this covering was effected, He contracted it, so as to
lift up the lower moiety; . . . and this is the third contraction;
and in this manner He made vacant a space for the worlds, which had
not the capacity to use the great Light of the covering, the end
whereof was lucid and excellent as its beginning. And so [by drawing
up the lower half and half the letters], are made the Male and
Female, that is, the anterior and posterior adhering mutually to one
The vacant space effected by this retraction is called AUIR
KADMON, the PRIMAL SPACE: for it was the first of all Spaces; nor
was it allowable to call it covering, which is AUR PENI-BAL, the
Light of the Countenance of God.
The vestiges of the Light of the Garment still remained there.
And this world of the garment has a name that includes all things,
which is the name IHUH. Before the world of the vacant space was
created, HE was, and His Name, and they alone; that is, AINSOPH and
The EMECH HAMMELECH says again:
The lower half of the garment [by the third retraction], was left
empty of the light of the garment. Rut the veitiges of that light
remained in the place so vacated . . . and this garment is called
SHEKINAH, God in-dwelling; that is, the place where Yod He, of the
anterior [or male], and Vav He, of the posterior [or female],
combinations of letters dwelt.
This vacant space was square, and is called the Primal Space; and
in Kabalah it is called Auira Kadmah, or Rasimu Ailah, The Primal
Space, or The Sublime Vestige. It is the vestige of the Light of the
Garment, with which is intermingled somewhat of the vestige of the
Very Substance. It is called Primal Ether, but not void Space. . .
The Light of the Vestige still remains in the place it occupied, and
adheres there, like somewhat spiritual, of extreme tenuity.
In this Ether are two Lights; that is, the Light of the
SUBSTANCE, which was taken away, and that of the Garment. There is a
vast difference between the two; for that of the Vestige of the
Garment is, relatively to that of the Vestige of the Substance, like
a point in the centre of a circle. And as the only appropriate name
for the Light of the Vestige of Ainsoph is AUR, Light, therefore the
Light of the Vestige of the Garment could not be called by that
name; and so we term it a point, that is, Yod, which is that point
in the centre of Light . . . and Light, a point in the centre of the
Great Light, is called Auir, Ether or Space.
This Ether is somewhat more gross than The Light . . . not so
subtle, though not perceptible by the senses . . . is termed the
Primal Ether . . . extends everywhere; whence the Philosophers call
it The Soul of the World. . . Light is visible, though not
perceptible. This Ether is neither perceptible nor visible.
The Introduction to the Book Sohar continues, in the Section of
the Letter Yod, etc:
Worlds could not be framed in this Primal Ether, on account of
its extreme tenuity and the excess of Light; and also because in it
remained the vital Spirit of the Vestige of the Light Ainsoph, and
that of the Vestige of the Light of the Garment; whereby such
manifestation was prevented.
Wherefore HE directed the letter Yod, since it was not so
brilliant as the Primal Ether, to descend, and take to itself the
light remaining in the Primal Ether, and return above, With that
Vestige which so impeded the manifestation; which Yod did.
It descended below five times, to remove the vital Spirit of the
Vestige of the Light Ainsoph; and the Vestige of the Light and vital
Spirit of the Garment from the Sphere of Splendor, so as to make of
it ADAM, called KADMON. And by its return, manifestation is effected
in the space below, and a Vestige of the Sublime Brilliance yet
remains there, existing as a Spherical Shape, and termed in the
Sohar simply Tehiru, that is, Splendor; and it is styled The First
Matter.... it being, as it were, vapor, and, as it were, smoke. And
as smoke is formless, not comprehended under any fixed definite
form, so this Sphere is a formless somewhat, since it seems to be
somewhat that is spherical, and yet is not limited.
The letter Yod, while adhering to the Shekinah, had adhering to
himself the Light of the Shekinah, though his light was not so great
as that of the Shekinah. But when he descended, he left that light
of his own below, and the Splendor consisted of it. After which
there was left in Yod only a vestige of that light, inasmuch as he
could not re-ascend to the Shekinah and adhere to it. Wherefore The
Holy and Blessed directed the letter He [the female letter], to
communicate to Yod of her Light; and sent him forth, to descend and
share with that light in the Splendor aforesaid . . . and when he
re-descended into the Sphere of Splendor, he diffused abroad in it
the Light communicated to him by the letter He.
And when he again ascended he left behind him the productive
light of the letter He, and thereof was constituted another Sphere,
within the Sphere of Splendor; which lesser Sphere is termed in
Sohar KETHER AILAH, CORONA SUMMA, The Supreme Crown, and also ATIKA
DE ATIKIM, Antiquus Antiquum, The Ancient of Ancients, and even
AILIT H' AILIT, Causa Causarum, the Cause of Causes. But the Crown
is very far smaller than the Sphere of Splendor, so that within the
latter an immense unoccupied place and space is still left.
The BETH ALOHIM says:
Before the Infinite God, the Supreme and First Good, formed
objectively within Himself a particular conception, definite,
limited, and the object of intellection, and gave form and shape to
an intellectual conception and image. HE was alone, companionless,
without form or similitude, utterly without Ideal or Figure . . . It
is forbidden to make of Him any figure whatever, by any image in the
world, neither by the letter He nor by the letter Yod, nor by any
other letter or point in the world.
But after He had formed this Idea, the particular conception
limited and intelligible, which the Ten Numerations are, of the
medium of transmission, Adam Kadmon, the Primal or Supreme Man, He
by that medium descended, and may, through that Idea, be called by
the name IHUH, and so created things have cognizance of Him, by
means of His proper likeness.
Woe unto him who makes God to be like unto any mode or attribute
whatever, even were it to one of His own; and still more if he make
Him like unto the Sons of Men, whose elements are earthly, and so
are consumed and perish !
There can be no conception had of Him, except in so far as He
manifests Himself, in exercising dominion by and through some
attribute . . . Abstracted from this, there can be no attribute,
conception, or ideal of Him. He is comparable only to the Sea,
filling some great reservoir, its bed in the earth, for example;
wherein it fashions for itself a certain concavity, so that thereby
we may begin to compute the dimensions of the Sea itself.
For example, the Spring and Source of the Ocean is a somewhat,
which is one. If from this Source or spring there issues forth a
certain fountain, proportioned to the space occupied by the Sea in
that hemispherical reservoir, such as is the letter Yod, there the
Source of Spring is the first somewhat, and the fountain that flows
forth from it is the second. Then let there be made a great
reservoir, as by excavation, and let this be called the Ocean, and
we have the third thing, a vessel [Vas]. Now let this great
reservoir be divided into seven beds of rivers, that is, into seven
oblong reservoirs, so that from this ocean the waters may flow forth
in seven rivers; and the Source, Fountain, and Ocean thus make ten
The Cause of Causes made ten Numerations, and called the Source
of Spring KETHER, Corona, the Crown, in which the idea of
circularity is involved, for there is no end to the out-flow of
Light; and therefore He called this, like Himself, endless; for this
also, like Him, has no similitude or configuration, nor hath it any
vessel or receptacle wherein it may be contained, or by means
whereof any possible cognizance can be had of it.
After thus forming the Crown, He constituted a certain smaller
receptacle, the letter Yod, and filled it from that source; and this
is called "The Fountain gushing with Wisdom," and, manifested in
this, He called Himself WISE, and the vessel He called HAKEMAH,
Then He also constituted a great reservoir, which He called the
Ocean; and to it He gave the name of BINAH, Understanding,
Intelligentia. In this He characterized Himself as Intelligent or
Conceiver. HE is indeed the Absolutely wise and Intelligent, but
Hakemah is not Absolute Wisdom of itself, but is wise by means of
Binah, who fills Himself from it, and if this supply were taken from
it, would be dry and unintelligent.
And thereupon seven precious vessels become, to which are given
the following names: GEDULAH, Magnificence or Benignity [or KHASED,
Mercy]; GEBURAH, Austerity, Rigor or Severity; TEPHARETH, Beauty;
METSAKH, victory; HOD, GLORY; YESOD, Foundation or Basis; and
MALAKOTH, Rule, Reign, Royalty, Dominion or Power. And in GEDULAH He
took the character of Great and Benignant; in GEBURAH, of Severe; in
TEPHARETH, of Beautiful; in NETSAKH, of Overcoming; in HOD, of OUR
GLORIOUS AUTHOR; in YESOD, of Just, by Yesod all vessels and worlds
being upheld; and in MALAKOTH He applied to Himself the title of
These numerations or Sephiroths are held in the Kabala to have
been originally contained in each other; that is, Kether contained
the nine others, Hakemah contained Binah, and Binah contained the
For all things, says the commentary of Rabbi Jizchak Lorja, in a
certain most ahstruse manner, consist or reside and are contained in
Binah, and it projects them, and sends them downward, species by
species, into the several worlds of Emanation, Creation, Formation,
and Fabrication: all whereof are derived from what are above them,
and are termed their out-flowings; for, from the potency which was
their state there, they descend into actuality.
The INTRODUCTION says:
It is said in many places in the Sohar, that all things that
emanate or are created have their root above. Hence also the Ten
Sephiroth have their root above, in the world of the garment, with
the very Substance of HIM. And AINSOPH had full consciousness and
appreciation, prior to their actual existence, of all the Grades and
Impersonations contained unmanifested within Himself, with regard to
the essence of each, and its domination then in potency . . . When
He came to the Sephirah of the Impersonation Malakoth, which He then
contained hidden within Himself, He concluded within himself that
therein worlds should be framed; since the scale of the first nine
Sephiroths was so ccnstituted, that it was neither fit nor necessary
for worlds to be framed from them; for all the attributes of these
nine Superior Sephiroth could be assigned to Himself, even if He
should never operate outwardly; but Malakoth, which is Empire or
Dominion, could not be attributed to Him, unless He ruled over other
Existences; whence from the point Malakoth He produced all the
worlds into actuality.
These circles are ten in number. Originated by points, they
expanded in circular shape. Ten Circles, under the mystery of the
ten Sephiroth, and between them ten Spaces; whence it appears that
the sphere of Splendor is in the centre of the space Malakoth of the
First Occult Adam.
The First Adam, in the ten circles above the Splendor, is called
the First occult Adam; and in each of these spaces are formed many
thousand worlds. The first Adam is involved in the Primal Ether, and
is the analogue of the world Binah.
Again the Introduction repeats the first and second descent of
Yod into the vacated space, to make the light there less great and
subtile; the constitution of the Tehiru, Splendor, from the light
left behind there by him; the communication of Light to him by the
female letter He; the emission by him of that Light, within the
sphere of Splendor, and the formation thereof, within the sphere,
"of a certain sphere called the Supreme crown," Corona Summa,
KETHER, "wherein were contained, in potence, all the remaining
Numerations, so that they were not distinguishable from it.
Precisely as in man exist the four elements, in potence specifically
undistinguishable, so in this Corona were in potence all the ten
Numerations, specifically undistinguishable." This Crown, it is
added, was called, after the restoration, The Cause of Causes, and
the Ancient of the Ancients.
The point, Kether, adds the Introduction, was the aggregate of
all the Ten . . . when it first emanated, it consisted of all the
Ten; and the Light which extended from the Emanative Principle
simultaneously flowed into it; and beheld the two Universals [that
is, the Unities out of which manifoldness flows; as, for example,
the idea, within the Deity, of Humanity as a Unit, out of which the
individuals were to flow], the Vessel or Receptacle containing this
immitted Light, and the Light Itself within it. And this Light is
the Substance of the point Kether; for the WILL of God is the Soul
of all things that are.
The Ainsophic Light, it had said, was infinite in every
direction, and without end or limit. To prevent it from flowing into
and re-filling the quasi-vacant space, occupied by an infinitely
less Splendor, a partition between the greater and lesser Splendor
was necessary; and this partition, the boundary of the sphere of
Splendor, and a like one bounding the sphere Kether, were called
Vessels or Receptacles, containing, including, and enclosing within
themselves the light of the sphere. Imagine a sea of pellucid water,
and in the centre of it a spherical mass of denser and darker water.
The outer surface of this sphere, or its limits every way, is the
vessel containing it. The Kabalah regards the vessels "as by their
nature somewhat opaque, and not so splendid as the light they
The contained Light is the Soul of the vessels, and is active in
them, like the Human Soul in the human body. The Light of the
Emanative Principle [Ainsoph] inheres in the vessels, as their Life,
internal Light, and Soul. . . Kether emanated, with its Very
Substance, at the same time as Substance and Vessel, in like manner
as the flame is annexed to the live coal, and as the Soul pervades,
and is within, the body. All the Numerations were potentially
contained in it.
And this potentiality is thus explained: When a woman conceives,
a Soul is immediately sent into the embryo which is to become the
infant, in which Soul are then, potentially, all the members and
veins of the body, which afterward, from that potency of the Soul,
become in the human body of the child to be born.
Then the wisdom of God commanded that these Numerations
potentially in Kether, should be produced from potentiality into
actuality, in order that worlds might consist; and HE directed Yod
again to descend, and to enter into and shine within Kether, and
then to re-ascend: which was so done. From which illumination and
re-ascension, all the other numerations, potentially in Kether, were
manifested and disclosed; but they continued still compacted
together, remaining within Kether in a circle.
When God willed to produce the other emanations or numerations
from Kether, it is added, HE sent Yod down again, to the upper part
of Kether, one-half of him to remain without and one half to
penetrate within the sphere of Kether. Then HE sent the letter Vav
into the Splendor, to pour out its light on Yod: and thus,--
Yod received light from Vav, and thereby so directed his
countenance that it should illuminate and confer exceeding great
energy on Hakemah, which yet remained in Kether; so giving it the
faculty to proceed forth therefrom; and that it might collect and
contain within itself, and there reveal, all the other eight
numerations, until that time in Kether.
The sphere of Kether opened, and thereout issued Hakemah, to
remain below Kether, containing in itself all the other
By a similar process, Binah, illuminated within Hakemah by a
second Yod, "issued forth out of Hakemah, having within itself the
Seven lower Numerations."
And since the vessel of Binah was excellent, and coruscated with
rays of the color of sapphire, and was so nearly of the same color
as the vessel of Hakemah that there was scarcely any difference
between them, hence it would not quietly remain below Hakemah, but
rose, and placed itself on his left side.
And because the light from above profusely flowed into and
accumulated in the vessel of Hakemah, to so great an extent that it
overflowed, and escaped, coruscating, outside of that vessel, and,
flowing off to the left, communicated potency and increase to the
vessel of Binah .... for Binah is female ....
Binah, therefore, by means of this energy that flowed into it
from the left side of Hakemah, by virtue of the second Yod, came to
possess such virtue and potency, as to project beyond itself the
Seven remaining vessels contained within itself, and so emitted them
all, continuously, one after the other . . . all connected and
linked one with the other, like the links of a chain.
Three points first emanated, one under the other; Kether,
Hakemah, and Binah; and, so far, there was no copulation. But
afterward the positions of Hakemah and Binah changed, so that they
were side by side, Kether remaining above theml; and then
conjunction of the Male and Female, ABA and IMMA, Father and Mother,
He, from Whom all emanated, created Adam Kadmon, consisting of
all the worlds, so that in him should be somewhat from those above,
and somewhat from those below. Hence in Him was NEPHESCH [PSYCHE,
anima infima, the lowest spiritual part of man, Soul], from the
world ASIAH, which is one letter He of the Tetragrammaton; RUACH
[SPIRITUS, anima media, the next higher spiritual part, or Spirit],
from the world YEZIRAH, which is the Vav of the Tetragrammaton;
NESCHAMAH [the highest spiritual part, mens or anima superior], from
the world BRIAH, which is the other letter He; and NESCHAMAH
LENESCHAMAH, from the world ATSILUTH, which is the YOD of the
And these letters [the Sephiroth] were changed from the spherical
form into the form of a person, the symbol of which person is the
BALANCE, it being Male and Female . . . Hakemah on one side, Binah
on the other, and Kether over them: and so Gedulah on one side,
Geburah on the other, and Tephareth under them.
The Book Omschim says: sone hold that the ten Sephiroth succeeded
one another in ten degrees, one above the other, in regular
gradation, one connected with the other in a direct line, from the
highest to the lowest. Others hold that they issued forth in three
lines, parallel with each other, one on the right hand, one on the
left, and one in the middle; so that, beginning with the highest and
going down to the lowest, Hakemah, Khased [or Gedulah], and Netsach
are one over the other, in a perpendicular line, on the right hand;
Binah, Geburah, and Hod on the left; and Kether, Tephareth, Yesod,
and Malakoth in the middle: and many hold that all the ten subsist
in circles, one within the other, and all homocentric.
It is also to be noted, that the Sephirothic tables contain still
another numeration, sometimes called also a Sephirah, which is
called Daath, cognition. It is in the middle, below Hakemah and
Binah, and is the result of the conjunction of these two.
To Adam Kadmon, the Idea of the Universe, the Kabalah assigns a
human form. In this, Kether is the cranium, Hakemah and Binah the
two lobes of the brain, Gedulah and Geburah the two arms, Tephareth
the trunk, Netsach and Hod the thighs, Yesod the male organ, and
Malkuth the female organ, of generation.
Yod is Hakemah, and He Binah; Vav is Tephareth, and the last He,
The whole, say the Books Mysterii or of Occultation, is thus
summed up: The intention of God The Blessed was to form
Impersonations, in order to diminish the Light. Wherefore HE
constituted, in Macroprosopos, Adam Kadmon, or Arik Anpin; three
Heads. The first is called, "The Head whereof is no cognition"; the
second, "The Head of that which is non-existent" and the third, "The
Very Head of Macroprosopos"; and these three are Corona, Sapientia,
and Informatio, Kether, Hakemah, and Binall, existent in the Corona
of the World of Emanation, or in Macroprosopos; and these three are
called in the Sohar ATIKA KADISCHA, Senex Sanctissimus, The Most
Holy Ancient. But the Seven inferior Royalties of the first Adam are
called "The Ancient of Days"; and this Ancient of Days is the
internal part, or Soul, of Macroprosopos.
The human mind has never struggled harder to understand and
explain to itself the process of creation, and of Divine
manifestation, and at the same time to conceal its thoughts from all
but the initiated, than in the Kabalah. Hence, much of it seems at
first like jargon. Macroprosopos or Adam Kadmon is, we have said,
the idea or intellectual aggregate of the whole Universe, include
and contained unevolved in the manifested Deity, Himself ye
contained unmanifested in the Absolute. The Head, Kether "whereof is
no cognition," is the Will of the Deity, or the Deity as Will.
Hakemah, the head "of that which is non-existent," the Generative
Power of begetting or producing Thought; yet in the Deity, not in
action, and therefore non-existent. Bina "the very or actual head"
of Macroprosopos, is the productive intellectual capacity, which,
impregnated by Hakemah, is to produce the Thought. This Thought is
Daath; or rather, the result is Intellection, Thinking; the Unity,
of which Thoughts are the manifold outflowings.
This may be illustrated by a comparison. Pain, in the human
being, is a feeling or sensation. It must be produced. To produce
it, there must be, not only the capacity to produce it, in the
nerves, but also the power of generating it by means of that
capacity. This generative Power, the Passive Capacity which
produces, and the pain produced, are like Hakemah, Binah, and
The four Worlds or Universals, Aziluth, Briah, Yetzirah, and
Asiah, of Emanation, creation, Formation, and Fabrication, are
another enigma of the Kabalah. The first three are wholly within the
Deity. The first is the Universe, as it exists potentially in the
Deity, determined and imagined, but as yet wholly formless and
undeveloped, except so far as it is contained in His Emanations. The
second is the universe in idea, distinct within the Deity, but not
invested with forms; a simple unity. The third is the same Universe
in potence in the Deity, unmanifested, but invested with forms,--the
idea developed into manifoldness and individuality, and succession
of species and individuals; and the fourth is the potentiality
become the Actuality, the Universe fabricated, and existing as it
exists for us.
The Sephiroth, says the Porta Coelorum, by the virtue of their
Infinite Emanator, who uses them as a workman uses his tools, and
who operates with and through them, are the cause of existence of
everything created, formed, and fashioned, employing in their
production certain media. But these same Sephiroth, Persons and
Lights, are not creatures per se, but ideas, and Rays of THE
INFINITE, which, by different gradations, so descended from the
supreme Source as still not to be severed from It; but It, through
them, is extended to the production and government of all Entities,
and is the Single and Perfect Universal Cause of All, though
becoming determinate for this or the other operation, through this
or that Sephiroth or MODE.
God produced all things by His Intellect and Will and free
Determination. He willed to produce them by the mediation of His
Sephiroth, and Persons ..by which He is enabled most perfectly to
manifest Himself; and that the more perfectly, by producing the
causes themselves, and the Causes of Causes, and not merely the
God produced, in the first Originate, all the remaining causates.
For, as He Himself is most simply One, and from One Simple Being One
only can immediately proceed, hence it results that from the First
Supreme Infinite Unity flowed forth at the same time All and One.
One, that is, in so far as flowing from the Most Simple Unity, and
being like unto It; but also All, in so far as, departing from that
perfect Singleness which can be measured by no other Singleness, it
became, to a certain extent, manifold, thougll still Absolute and
Emanation, savs the same, is the Resulting displayed from the
Unresulting, the Finite from the Infinite, the Manifold and
Composite from the Perfect Single and Simple, Potentiality from that
which is Infinite Power and Act, the mobile from that which is
perennially permanent; and therefore in a more imperfect and
diminished mode than His Infinite Perfection is. As the First Cause
is all things, in an unresulting and Infinite mode, so the Entities
that flow from Him are the First Causes, in a resulting and finite
THE NECESSARY ENTITY, subsisting of Itself, as It cannot be
dissevered into the manifold, yet becomes, as it were, multiplied in
the Causates, in respect of their Nature, or of the Subsistences,
Vessels, and openings assigned to them; whereby the Single and
Infinite Essence, being inclosed or comprehended in these limits,
bounds, or externalnesses, takes on Itself Definiteness of
dimension, and becomes Itself manifold, by the manifoldness of these
As man [the unit of Humanity] is a microcosm, so Adam Kadmon is a
macrocosm, containing all the Causates of the First Cause ..as the
Material Man is the end and completion of all creation, so in the
Divine Man is the beginning thereof. As the inferior Adam receives
all things from all, so the superior Adam supplies all things to
all. As the former is the principle of reflected light, so the
latter is of Direct Light. The former is the terminus of the Light,
descending; the latter its terminus, ascending. As the Inferior man
ascends from the lowest matter even to the First Cause, so the
Superior Adam descends from the Simple and Infinite Act, even to the
lowest and most attenuated Potence.
The Ternary is the bringing back of duality to unity.
The Ternary is the Principle of Number, because, bringing back
the binary to unity, it restores to it the same quantity whereby it
had departed from unity. It is the first odd number, containing in
itself the first even number and the unit, which are the Father and
Mother of all Numbers; and it has in itself the beginning, middle,
Now, Adam Kadmon emanated from the Absolute Unity, and so is
himself a unit: but he also descends and flows downward into his own
Nature, and so is duality. Again, he returns to the Unity, which he
hath in himself, and to The Highest, and so is the Ternary and
And this is why the Essential Name has four letters,--three
different ones, and one of them once repeated; since the first He is
the wife of the Yod, and the second He is the wife of the Vav.
Those media which manifest the First Cause, in Himself profoundly
hidden, are the Sephiroth, which emanate immediately from that First
cause, and by Its Nature have produced and do control all the
These Sephiroth were put forth from the One First and Simple,
manifesting His Infinite Goodness. They are the mirrors of His
Truth, and the analogues of His Supremest Essence, the Ideas of His
Wisdom, and the representations of His will; the receptacles of His
Potency, and the instruments with which He operates; the Treasury of
His Felicity, the dispensers of His Benignity, the Judges of His
Kingdom, and reveal His Law; and finally, the Denominations,
Attributes, and Names of Him Who is above all and the Cause of
all..the ten categories, wherein all things are contained; the
universal genera, which in themselves include all things, and utter
them outwardly .... the Second Causes, whereby the First Cause
effects, preserves, and governs all things; the rays of the
Divinity, whereby all things are illumined and manifested; the Forms
and Ideas and species, out whereof all things issue forth; the Souls
and Potencies, whereby essence, life, and movement are given to all
things; the Standard of times, whereby all things are measured; the
incorporeal Spaces which, in themselves, hold and inclose the
Universe; the Supernal Monads to which all manifolds are referred,
and through them to The One and Simple; and finally the Formal
Perfections, flowing, forth from and still connected with the One
Eminent Limitless Perfection, are the Causes of all dependent
Perfections, and so illuminate the elementary Intelligences, not
adjoined to matter, and the intellectual Souls, and the Celestial,
Elemental and Element-produced bodies.
The IDRA SUTA says:
He the Most Holy Hidden Eldest, separates Himself, and is ever
more and more separated from all that are; nor yet does He in very
deed separate Himself; because all things cohere with Him and HE
with All. HE is All that is, the Most Holy Eldest of All, the Occult
by all possible occultations.
When HE takes shape, HE produces nine Lights, which shine forth
from Him, from His outforming. And those Lights outshine from Him
and emit flames, and go forth and spread out on every side; as from
one elevated Lamp the Rays are poured forth in every direction, and
these Rays thus diverging, are found to be, when one approaching has
cognizance of them, but a single Lamp.
The Space in which to create is fixed by THE MOST HOLY ANCIENT,
and illuminated by His inflowing, which is the Light of Wisdom, and
the Beginning from which manifestation flows.
And HE is conformed in three Heads, which are but one Head; and
these three are extended into Microprosopos, and from them shines
out all that is.
Then this Wisdom instituted investiture with form, whereby the
unmanifested and informous became manifested, putting on form; and
produced a certain outflow.
When this Wisdom is thus expanded by flowing forth, then it is
called "Father of Fathers," the whole Universe of Things being
contained and comprehended in it. This Wisdom is the principle of
all things, and in it beginning and end are found.
The Book of the Abstruse, says the Siphra de Zeniutha, is that
which describes the equilibrium of the Balance. Before the Balance
was, face did not look toward face.
And the Commentary on it says: The Scales of the Balance are
designated as Male and Female. In the Spiritual world Evil and Good
are in equilibrio, and it will be restored, when of the Evil Good
becomes, until all is Good. Also this other world is called the
World of the Balance. For, as in the Balance are two scales, one on
either side and the beam and needle between them, so too in this
world of restoration, the Numerations are arranged as distinct
persons. For Hakemah is on the right hand, on the side of Gedulah,
and Binah on the left, on the side of Geburah; and Kether is the
beam of the Balance above them in the middle. So Gedulah or Khased
is on one hand, and Geburah on the other, and under these Tephareth;
and Netsach is on one side, and Hod on the other, and under these
The Supreme Crown, which is the Ancient Most Holy, the most
Hidden of the Hidden, is fashioned, within the occult Wisdom, of
both sexes, Male and Female.
Bakemah, and Binah, the Mother, whom it impregnates, are
quantitatively equal. Wisdom and the Mother of Intellection go forth
at once and dwell together; for when the Intellectual Power
emanates, the productive Source of intellection is included in
Before Adam Kadmon was fashioned into Male and Female, and the
state of equilibrium introduced, the Father and Mother did not look
each other in the face; for the Father denotes most perfect Love,
and the Mother most perfect Rigor; and she averted her face.
There is no left [female], says the Idra Rabba, in the Ancient
and Hidden One; but His totality is Right [male]. The totality of
things is HUA, HE, and HE is hidden on every side.
Macroprosopos [Adam Kadmon] is not so near unto us as to speak to
us in the first person; but is designated in the third person, HUA,
Of the letters it says:
Yod is male, He is female, Vav is both.
In Yod are three Yods, the upper and the lower apex, and Vav in
the middle. By the upper apex is denoted the Supreme Kether; by Vav
in the middle, Hakemah; and by the lower apex, Binah.
The IDRA SUTA says:
The Universe was out-formed in the form of Male and Female.
Wisdom, pregnant with all that is, when it flowed and shone forth,
shone altogether under the form of male and female. Hakemah is the
Father, and Binah is the Mother; and so the two are in equilibrium
as male and female, and for this reason, all things whatsoever are
constituted in the form of male and female; and if it were not so
they would not exist.
This Principle, Hakemah, is the Generator of all things; and He
and Binah conjoin, and she shines within Him. When they thus
conjoin, she conceives, and the out-flow is Truth.
Yod impregnates the letter He and begets a son; and she, thus
pregnant, brings forth. The Principle called Father [the Male or
Generative Principle] is comprehended in Yod, which itself flows
downward from the energy of the Absolute Holy One.
Yod is the beginning and the end of all things that are. The
stream that flows forth is the Universe of things, which always
becomes. having no cessation. And this becoming world is created by
Yod: for Yod includes two letters. All things are included in Yod
wherefore it is called the Father of all.
All Categories whatever go forth from Hakemah; and in it are
contained all things, unmanifested; and the aggregate of all things,
or the Unity in which the many are, and out of which all flow, is
the Sacred Name IHUH.
In the view of the Kabalists, all individuals are contained in
species, and all species in genera, and all particulars in a
Universal, which is an idea, abstracted from all consideration of
individuals; not an aggregate of individuals; but, as it were, an
Ens, Entity or Being, ideal or intellectual, but none the less real;
prior to any individual, containing them all, and out of which they
are all in succession evolved.
If this discontents you, reflect that, supposing the theory
correct, that all was originally in the Deity, and that the Universe
has proceeded forth from Him, and not been created by Him out of
nothing, the idea of the Universe, existing in the Deity before its
out-flow, must have been as real as the Deity Himself. The whole
Human race, or Humanity, for example, then existed in the Deity, not
distinguished into individuals, but as a Unit, out of which the
Manifold was to flow.
Everything actual must also first have been possible, before
having actual existence; and this possibility or potentiality was to
the Kabalists a real Ens. Before the evolvement of the Universe, it
had to exist potentially, the whole of it, with all its individuals,
included in a single Unity. This was the Idea or Plan of the
Universe; and this had to be formed. It had to emanate from the
Infinite Deity, and be of Himself, though not His Very Self.
Geburah, Severity, the Sephirah opposite to and conjoined
sexually with Gedulah, to produce Tephareth, Harmony and Beauty, is
also called in the Kabalah "Judgment," in which term are included
the ideas of limitation and conditioning, which often seems, indeed,
to be its principal sense; while Benignity is as often styled
Infinite. Thus it is obscurely taught that in everything that is,
not only the Finite but also the Infinite is present; and that the
rigor of the stern law of limitation, by which everything below or
beside the Infinite Absolute is limited, bounded, and conditioned,
is tempered and modified by the grace, which so relaxes it that the
Infinite, Unlimited, Unconditioned, is also everywhere present; and
that it is thus the Spiritual and Material Natures are in
equilibrio, Good everywhere counterbalancing Evil, Light everywhere
in equilibrium with Darkness: from which again results the Universal
Harmony of things. In the vacant space effected for creation, there
at last remained a faint vestige or trace of Ainsophic Light, of the
Light of the Substance of the Infinite. Man is thus both human and
divine: and the apparent antagonisms in his Nature are a real
equilibrium, if he wills it shall be so; from which results the
Harmony, not only of Life and Action, but of Virtue and
To understand the Kabalistic idea of the Sephiroth, it must be
borne in mind that they were assigned, not only to the world of
Emanation, Aziluth, but also to each of the other worlds, Briah,
Jezirah, and Asiah. They were not only attributes of the
Unmanifested Deity, not only Himself in limitation, but His actual
manifestations, or His qualities made apparent as modes; and they
were also qualities of the Universal Nature--Spiritual, Mental, and
Material, produced and made existent by the outflow of Himself.
In the view of the Kabalah, God and the Universe were One and in
the One General, as the type or source, were included and involved,
and from it have been evolved and issued forth, the manifold and all
particulars. Where, indeed, does individuality begin? Is it the
Hidden Source and Spring alone that is the individual, the Unit, or
is it the flowing fountain that fills the ocean, or the ocean
itself, or its waves, or the drops, or the vaporous particles, that
are the individuals? The Sea and the River--these are each One; but
the drops of each are many. The tree is one; but its leaves are a
multitude: they drop with the frosts, and fall upon his roots; but
the tree still continues to grow, and new leaves come again in the
Spring. Is the Human Race not the Tree, and are not individual men
the leaves? How else explain the force of will and sympathy, and the
dependence of one man at every instant of his life on others, except
by the oneness of the race? The links that bind all created things
together are the links of a single Unity, and the whole Universe is
One, developing itself into the manifold.
Obtuse commentators have said that the Kabalah assigns sexual
characteristics to the very Deity. There is no warrant for such an
assertion, anywhere in the Sohar or in any commentary upon it. On
the contrary, the whole doctrine of the Kabalah is based on the
fundamental proposition, that the Very Deity is Infinite, everywhere
extended, without limitation or determination, and therefore without
any conformation whatever. In order to commence the process of
creation, it was necessary for Him, first of all, to effect a vacant
space within Himself. To this end the Deity, whose Nature is
approximately expressed by describing Him as Light filling all
space, formless, limitless, contracts Himself on all sides from a
point within Himself, and thus effects a quasi-vacant space, in
which only a vestige of His Light remains; and into this circular or
spherical space He immits His Emanations, portions of His Light or
Nature; and to some of these, sexual characteristics are
The Infinite first limits Himself by flowing forth in the shape
of Will, of determination to act. This Will of the Deity, or the
Deity as will, is Kether, or the Crown, the first Sephirah. In it
are included all other Emanations. This is a philosophical
necessity. The Infinite does not first will, and then, as a sequence
to, or consequence of, that determination, subsequently perform. To
will and to act must be, with Him, not only simultaneous, but in
reality the same . . Nor does He, by His Omniscience, learn that a
particular action will be wise, and then, in consequence of being so
convinced, first determine to do the act, and then do it. His Wisdom
and His Will, also, act simultaneously; and, with Him, to decide
that it was wise to create, was to create. Thus His will contains in
itself all the Sephiroth. This will, determining Him to the exercise
of intellection, to thought, to frame the Idea of the Universe,
caused the Power in Him to excite the intellectual Faculty to
exercise, and was that Power. Its SELF, which had flowed forth from
Ainsoph as Will, now flows forth as the Generative Power to beget
intellectual action in the Intellectual Faculty, or Intelligence,
Binah. The Act itself, the Thought, the Intellection, producing the
Idea, is Daath; and as the text of the Siphra de Zeniutha says, The
Power and Faculty, the Generative and Productive, the Active and
Passive, the Will and Capacity, which unite to produce that Act of
reflection or Thought or Intellection, are always in conjunction. As
is elsewhere said in the Kabalah, both of them are contained and
essentially involved in the result. And the Will, as Wisdom or
Intellectual Power, and the Capacity or Faculty, are really the
Father and Mother of all that is; for to the creation of anything,
it was absolutely necessary that The Infinite should form for
Himself and in Himself, an idea of what HE willed to produce or
create: and, as there is no Time with Him, to will was to create, to
plan was to Will and to create; and in the Idea, the Universe in
potence, the universal succession of things was included.
Thenceforward all was merely evolution and development.
Netsach and Hod, the Seventh and Eighth Sephiroth, are usually
called in the Kabalah, Victory and Glory. Netsach is the perfect
Success, which, with the Deity, to Whom the Future is present,
attends, and to His creatures is to result, from the plan of
Equilibrium everywhere adopted by Him. It is the reconciliation of
Light and Darkness, Good and Evil, Free-will and Necessity, God's
omnipotence and Man's liberty; and the harmonious issue and result
of all, without which the Universe would be a failure. It is the
inherent Perfection of the Deity, manifested in His Idea of the
Universe, and in all the departments or worlds, spiritual, mental,
or material, of that Universe; but it is that Perfection regarded as
the successful result, which it both causes or produces and is, the
perfection of the plan being its success. It is the prevailing of
Wisdom over Accident; and it, in turn, both produces and is the
Glory and Laudation of the Great Infinite Contriver, whose plan is
thus Successful and Victorious.
From these two, which are one,--from the excellence and
perfection of the Divine Nature and Wisdom, considered as Success
and Glory, as the opposites of Failure and Mortification, results
what the Kabalah, styling it Yesod, Foundation or Basis,
characterizes as the Generative member of the Symbolical human
figure by which the ten Sephiroth are represented, and from this
flows Malakoth, Empire, Dominion, or Rule. Yesod is the Stability
and Permanence, which would, in ordinary language, be said to result
from the perfection of the Idea or Intellectual Universal, out of
which all particulars are evolved; from the success of that scheme,
and the consequent Glory or Self-Satisfaction of the Deity; but
which Stability and Permanence that Perfection, Success, and Glory
really Is; since the Deity, infinitely Wise, and to Whom the Past,
Present, and Future were and always will be one Now, and all space
one HERE, had not to await the operation and evolution of His plan,
as men do the result of an experiment, in order to see if it would
succeed, and so to determine whether it should stand, and be stable
and permanent, or fall and be temporary. Its Perfection was its
Success; His Glory, its permanence and stability: and the Attributes
of Permanence and Stability belong, like the others, to the
Universe, material, mental, spiritual,and real, becalise and as they
belong to the Infinite Himself.
This Stability and Permanence causes continuance and generates
succession. It is Perpetuity, and continuity without solution; and
by this continuous succession, whereby out of Death comes new Life,
out of dissolution and resolution comes reconstruction, Necessity
and Fatality result as a consequence: that is to say, the absolute
control and dominion (Malakoth) of The Infinite Deity over all that
He produces, and over chance and accident; and the absolute
non-existence in the Universe, in Time and in Space, of any other
powers or influences than those which, proceeding from Him, are and
cannot not be perfectly submissive to His will. This results,
humanly speaking; but in reality, the Perfection of the plan, which
is its success, His glory, and its stability, is also His Absolute
Autocracy, and the utter absence of Chance, Accident, or Antagonism.
And, as the Infinite Wisdom or Absolute Reason rules in the Divine
Nature itself, so also it does in its Emanations, and in the worlds
or systems of Spirit, Soul, and Matter; in each of which there is as
little Chance or Accident or Unreasoning Fate, as in the Divine
This is the Kabalistic theory as to each of the four worlds;--
1st, of the Divine Nature, or Divinity itself, quantitatively
limited and determined, but not manifested into Entities, which is
the world of Emanation, 2d, of the first Entities, that is, of
Spirits and Angels, which is the world of creation; 3d, of the first
forms, souls, or psychical natures, which is the world of Formation
or Fashioning; and, 4th, of Matter and Bodies, which is the world of
Fabrication, or, as it were, of manufacture. In each of these the
Deity is present, as, in, and through the Ten Sephiroth. First of
these, in each, is Kether, the Crown, ring, or circlet, the HEAD.
Next, in that Head, as the two Hemispheres of the Brain, are Hakemah
and Binah, and their result and progeny, Daath. These three are
found also in the Spiritual world, and are universals in the
psychical and material world, producing the lower Sephiroth. Then
follow, in perfect Equilibrium, Law and Equity, Justice and Mercy,
the Divine Infinite Nature and the Human Finite Nature, Good and
Evil, Light and Darkness, Benignity and Severity, the Male and the
Female again, as Hakemah and Binah are, mutually tempering each
other, and by their intimate union producing the other
The whole Universe, and all the succession of entities and events
were present to The Infinite, before any act of creation; and His
Benignity and Leniency, tempering and qualifying the law of rigorous
Justice and inflexible Retribution, enabled Him to create: because,
but for it, and if He could not but have administered the strict and
stern law of justice, that would have compelled Him to destroy,
immediately after its inception, the Universe He purposed to create,
and so would have prevented its creation. This Leniency, therefore,
was, as it were, the very essence and quintessence of the Permanence
and Stability of the plan of Creation, and part of the Very Nature
of the Deity. The Kabalah, therefore, designates it as Light and
Whiteness, by which the Very Substance of Deity is symbolized. With
this agree Paul's ideas as to Law and Grace; for Paul had studied
the Kabalah at the feet of Gamaliel the Rabbi.
With this Benignity, the Autocracy of the dominion and control of
the Deity is imbued and interpenetrated. The former, poured, as it
were, into the latter, is an integral and essential part of it, and
causes it to give birth to the succession and continuance of the
Universe. For Malakoth, in the Kabalah, is female, and the matrix or
womb out of which all creation is born.
The Sephiroth may be arranged as on page 770.
The Kabalah is the primitive tradition, and its entirety rests on
the single dogma of Magism, "the visible is for us the proportional
measure of the invisible." The Ancients, observing that equilibrium
is in physics the universal law, and that it results from the
apparent opposition of two forces, concluded from the physical to
the metaphysical equilibrium, and thought that in God, that is to
say, in the first living and active cause, two properties necessary
to each other, should be recognized; stability and movement,
necessity and liberty, order dictated by reason and the self-rule of
Supreme Will, Justice, and Love, and consequently Severity and
Grace, Mercy or Benignity.
The idea of equilibrium among all the impersonations; of the male
on one side, and the female on the other, with the Supreme Will,
which is also the Absolute Reason, above each two, holding the
balance, is, according to the Kabalah, the foundation of all
religions and all sciences, the primary and immutable idea of
things. The Sephiroth are a triple triangle and a circle, the idea
of the Ternary explained by the balance and multiplied by itself in
the Supremacy and absolute control of the Divine Will in all things,
domain of the Ideal; then the realization of this Idea in forms.
Unity can only be manifested by the Binary. Unity itself and the
idea of Unity are already two.
The human unity is made complete by the right and left. The
primitive man was of both sexes.
The Divinity, one in its essence, has two essential conditions as
fundanlental bases of its existence--Necessity and Liberty.
The laws of the Supreme Reason necessitate and regulate liberty
in God, Who is necessarily reasonable and wise.
Knowledge supposes the binary. An object known is indispensable
to the being that knows.
The binary is the generator of Society and the law. It is also
the number of the gnosis, a word adopted in lieu of Science, and
expressing only the idea of cognizance by intuition. It is Unity,
multiplying itself by itself to create; and therefore it is that the
Sacred Symbols make Eve issue from the very chest of Adam.
Adam is the human Tetragram, which is summed up in the mysterious
Yod of the Kabalah, image of the Kabalistic Phallus. Add to this
Yod, the ternary name of Eve, and you form the name of Jehova, the
Divine Tetragram, the transcendent Kabalistic and magical word:
Thus it is that Unity, complete in the fecundity of the Ternary,
forms, with it, the Quaternary, which is the key of all numbers,
movements, and forms.
The Square, turning upon itself, produces the circle equal to
itself, and the circular movement of four equal angles turning
around one point, is the quadrature of the circle.
The Binary serves as a measure for Unity; and the relation of
equality between the Above and the Below, forms with them the
To us, Creation is Mechanism: to the Ancients it was Generation.
The world-producing egg figures in all cosmogonies; and modern
science has discovered that all animal production is oviparous. From
this idea of generation came the reverence everywhere paid the image
of generative power, which formed the Stauros of the Gnostics, and
the philosophical Cross of the Masons.
Aleph is the man; Beth is the woman. One is the Principle; two is
the Word. A.'. is the Active; B.'. is the Passive. Unity is Boaz,
and the Binary is Jachin.
The two columns, Boaz and Jachin, explain in the Kabalah all the
mysteries of natural, political, and religious antagonism.
Woman is man's creation; and universal creation is the female of
the First Principle. When the Principle of Existence made Himself
Creator, He produced by emanation an ideal Yod; and to make room for
it in the plenitude of the uncreated Light, He had to hollow out a
pit of shadow, equal to the dimension determined by His creative
desire; and attributed by Him to the ideal Yod of radiating
The nature of the Active Principle is to diffuse: of the Passive
Principle, to collect and make fruitful.
Creation is the habitation of the Creator-Word. To create, the
Generative Power and Productive Capacity must unite, the Binary
become Unity again by the conjunction. The WORD is the
First-BEGOTTEN, not the first created Son of God.
SANCTA SANCTIS, we repeat again; the Holy things to the Holy, and
to him who is so, the mysteries of the Kabalah will be holy. Seek
and ye shall find, say the Scriptures: knock and it shall be opened
unto you. If you desire to find and to gain admission to the
Sanctuary, we have said enough to show you the way. If you do not,
it is useless for us to say more, as it has been useless to say so
The Hermetic philosophers also drew their doctrines from the
Kabalah; and more particularly from the Treatise Beth Alohim or
Domus Dei, known as the Pneumatica Kabalistica, of Rabbi Abraham
Cohen Irira, and the Treatise De Revolutionibus Animarum of Rabbi
This philosophy was concealed by the Alchemists under their
Symbols, and in the jargon of a rude Chemistry,--a jargon
incomprehensible and absurd except to the Initiates; but the key to
which is within your reach; and the philosophy, it may be, worth
studying. The labors of the human intellect are always interesting
To be always rich, always young, and never to die: such hasbeen
in all times the dream of the Alchemists.
To change into gold, lead, mercury, and all the other metals; to
possess the universal medicine and elixir of life; such is the
problem to be resolved, in order to accomplish this desire and
Like all the Mysteries of Magism, the Secrets of "the Great Work"
have a threefold signification: they are religious, philosophical,
The philosophal gold, in religion, is the Absolute and Supreme
Reason: in philosophy, it is the Truth; in visible nature, the Sun;
in the subterranean and mineral world, the most perfect and pure
It is for this that the pursuit of the Great Work is called the
Search for the Absolute; and the work itself, the work of the
All the masters of the Science admit that it is impossible to
attain the material results, unless there are found in the two
higher Degrees all the analogies of the universal medicine and of
the philosophal stone.
Then, they say, the work is simple, easy, and inexpensive;
otherwise, it consumes fruitlessly the fortune and lives of the
The universal medicine for the Soul is the Supreme Reason and
Absolute Justice; for the mind, mathematical and practical Truth;
for the body, the Quintessence, a combination of light and gold.
The prima materia of the Great Work, in the Superior World, is
enthusiasm and activity; in the intermediate world, intelligence and
industry; in the lower world, labor: and, in Science, it is the
Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt, which by turns volatilized and fixed,
compose the AZOTH of the Sages.
The Sulphur corresponds with the elementary form of the Fire
Mercury with the Air and Water; and Salt with the Earth.
The Great Work is, above all things, the creation of man by
himself; that is to say, the full and entire conquest which he
effects of his faculties and his future. It is, above all, the
perfect emancipation of his will, which assures him the universal
empire of Azoth, and the domain of magnetism, that is, complete
power over the universal Magical agent.
This Magical agent, which the Ancient Hermetic philosophers
disguised under the name of "Prima Materia," determines the forms of
the modifiable Substance; and the Alchemists said that by means of
it they could attain the transmutation of metals and the universal
There are two Hermetic operations, one spiritual, the other
material, dependent the one on the other.
The whole Hermetic Science is contained in the dogma of Hermes,
engraven originally, it is said, on a tablet of emerald. Its
sentences that relate to operating the Great Work are as
"Thou shalt separate the earth from the fire, the subtile from
the gross, gently, with much industry.
"It ascends from earth to Heaven, and again descends to earth,
and receives the force of things above and below.
"Thou shalt by this means possess the glory of the whole world,
and therefore all obscurity shall flee away from thee.
"This is the potent force of all force, for it will overcome
everything subtile, and penetrate everything solid.
"So the world was created."
All the Masters in Alchemy who have written of the Great Work,
have employed symbolic and figurative expressions; being constrained
to do so, as well to repel the profane from a work that would be
dangerous for them, as to be well understood by Adepts, in revealing
to them the whole world of analogies governed by the single and
sovereigr dogma of Hermes.
So, in their language, gold and silver are the King and Queen, or
the Sun and Moon; Sulphur, the flying Eagle; Mercury, the Man-woman
winged, bearded, mounted on a cube, and crowned with flames: Matter
or Salt, the winged Dragon; the Metals in ebullition, Lions of
different colors; and, finally, the entire work has for its symbols
the Pelican and the Phoenix.
The Hermetic Art is therefore, at the same time a religion, a
philosophy, and a natural science. As a religion, it is that of the
Ancient Magi and the Initiates of all ages; as a philosophy, we may
find its principles in the school of Alexandria and the theories of
Pythagoras; as a science, we must inquire for its processes of
Paracelsus, Nicholas Flamel, and Raymond Lulle.
The Science is a real one only for those who admit and understand
the philosophy and the religion; and its process will succeed only
for the Adept who has attained the sovereignty of will, and so
become the King of the elementary world: for the grand agent of the
operation of the Sun, is that force described in the Symbol of
Hermes, of the table of emerald; it is the universal magical power;
the spiritual, fiery, motive power; it is the Od, according to the
Hebrews, and the Astral light, according to others.
Therein is the secret fire, living and philosophical, of which
all the Hermetic philosophers speak with the most mysterious
reserve: the Universal Seed, the secret whereof they kept, and which
they represented only under the figure of the Caduceus of
This is the grand Hermetic arcanum. What the Adepts call dead
matter are bodies as found in nature; living matters are substances
assimilated and magnetized by the science and will of the
So that the Great Work is more than a chemical operation; it is a
real creation of the human word initiated into the power of the Word
The creation of gold in the Great Work is effected by
transmutation and multiplication.
Raymond Lulle says, that to make gold, one must have gold and
mercury; and to make silver, silver and mercury. And he adds: "I
mean by mercury, that mineral spirit so fine and pure that it gilds
even the seed of gold, and silvers that of silver." He meant by
this, either electricity, or Od, the astral light.
The Salt and Sulphur serve in the work only to prepare the
mercury, and it is to the mercury especially that we must
assimilate, and, as it were, incorporate with it, the magnetic
agent. Paracelsus, Lulle, and Flamel alone seem to have perfectly
known this mystery.
The Great Work of Hermes is, therefore, an operation essentially
magical, and the highest of all, for it supposes the Absolute in
Science and in Will. There is light in gold, gold in light, and
light in all things.
The disciples of Hermes, before promising their adepts the elixir
of long life or the powder of projection, advised them to seek for
the Philosophal Stone.
The Ancients adored the Sun, under the form of a black Stone,
called Elagabalus, or Heliogabalus. The faithful are promised, in
the Apocalypse, a white Stone.
This Stone, says the Masters in Alchemy, is the true Salt of the
philosophers, which enters as one-third into the composition of
Azoth. But Azoth is, as we know, the name of the grand Hermetic
Agent, and the true philosophical Agent: wherefore they represent
their Salt under the form of a cubical Stone.
The Philosopllal Stone is the foundation of the Absolute
philosophy, the Supreme and unalterable Reason. Before thinking of
the Metallic work, we must be firmly fixed on the Absolute
principles of Wisdom; we must be in possession of this Reason, which
is the touchstone of Truth. A man who is the slave of preiudices
will never become the King of Nature and the Master of
transmutations. The Philosophal Stone, therefore, is necessary above
all things. How shall it be found? Hermes tells us, in his "Table of
Emerald," we must separate the subtile from the fixed, with great
care and extreme attention. So we ought to separate our certainties
from our beliefs, and make perfectly distinct the respective domains
of science and faith; and to comprehend that we do not know the
things we believe, nor believe anything that we come to know; and
that thus the essence of the things of Faith are the unknown and
indefinite, while it is precisely the contrary with the things of
Science. Whence we shall conclude, that Science rests on reason and
experience, and Faith has for its bases sentiment and reason.
The Sun and Moon of the Alchemists concur in perfecting and
giving stability to the Philosophal Stone. They correspond to the
two columns of the Temple, Jachin and Boaz. The Sun is the
hieroglyphical sign of Truth, because it is the source of Light; and
the rough Stone is the symbol of Stability. Hence the Mediaeval
Alchemists indicated the Philosophal Stone as the first means of
making the philosophical gold, that is to say, of transforming all
the vital powers figured by the six metals into Sun, that is, into
Truth and Light; which is the first and indispensable operation of
the Great Work, which leads to the secondary adaptation, and enables
the creators of the spiritual and living gold, the possessors of the
true philosophical Salt, Mercury, and Sulphur, to discover, by the
analogies of Nature, the natural and palpable gold.
To find the Philosophal Stone, is to have discovered the
Absolute, as all the Masters say. But the Absolute is that which
admits of no errors, is the Fixed from the Volatile, is the Law of
the Imagination, is the very necessity of Being, is the immutable
Law of Reason and Truth. The Absolute is that which IS.
To find the Absolute in the Infinite, in the Indefinite, and in
the Finite, this is the Magnum Opus, the Great Work of the Sages,
which Hermes called the Work of the Sun.
To find the immovable bases of true religious Faith, of
Philosophical Truth, and of Metallic transmutation, this is the
secret of Hermes in its entirety, the Philosophal Stone.
This stone is one and manifold; it is decomposed by Analysis, and
re-compounded by Synthesis. In Analysis, it is a powder, the powder
of projection of the Alchemists; before Analysis, and in Synthesis,
it is a stone.
The Philosophal Stone, say the Masters, must not be exposed to
the atmosphere, nor to the gaze of the Profane; but it must be kept
concealed and carefully preserved in the most secret place of the
laboratory, and the possessor must always carry on his person the
key of the place where it is kept.
He who possesses the Grand Arcanum is a genuine King, and more
than a king, for he is inaccessible to all fear and all empty hopes.
In all maladies of soul and body, a single particle from the
precious stone, a single grain of the divine powder, is more than
sufficient to cure him. "Let him hear, who hath ears to hear !" the
The Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury are but the accessorial elements
and passive instruments of the Great Work. All depends, as we have
said, on the internal Magnet of Paracelsus. The entire work consists
in projection: and the projection is perfectly accomplished by the
effective and realizable understanding of a single word.
There is but a single important operation in the work; this
consists in Sublimation, which is nothing else, according to Geber
than the elevation of dry matter, by means of fire, with adhesion to
its proper vessel.
He who desires to attain to the understanding of the Grand Word
and the possession of the Great Secret, ought carefully to read the
Hermetic philosophers, and will undoubtedly attain initiation, as
others have done; but he must take, for the key of their allegories,
the single dogma of Hermes, contained in his table of Emerald, and
follow, to class his acquisitions of knowledge and direct the
operation, the order indicated in the Kabalistic alphabet of the
Raymond Lulle has said that, to make gold, we must first have
gold. Nothing is made out of nothing; we do not absolutely create
wealth; we increase and multiply it. Let aspirants to science well
understand, then, that neither the juggler's tricks nor miracles are
to be asked of the adept. The Hermetic science, like all the real
sciences, is mathematically demonstrable. Its results, even
material, are as rigorous as that of a correct equation.
The Hermetic Gold is not only a true dogma, a light without
Shadow, a Truth without alloy of falsehood; it is also a material
gold, real, pure, the most precious that can be found in the mines
of the earth.
But the living gold, the living sulphur, or the true fire of the
philosophers, is to be sought for in the house of Mercury. This fire
is fed by the air: to express its attractive and expansive power, no
better comparison can be used than that of the lightning, which is
at first only a dry and earthly exhalation, united to the moist
vapor, but which, by self-exhalation, takes a fiery nature, acts on
the humidity inherent in it, which it attracts to itself and
transmutes in its nature; after which it precipitates itself rapidly
toward the earth, whither it is attracted by a fixed nature like
unto its own.
These words, in form enigmatic, but clear at bottom, distinctly
express what the philosophers mean by their Mercury, fecundated by
Sulphur, and which becomes the Master and regenerator of the Salt.
It is the AZORTH, the universal magnetic force, the grand magical
agent, the Astral light, the light of life, fecundated by the mental
force, the intellectual energy, which they compare to sulphur, on
account of its amnities with the Divine fire.
As to the Salt, it is Absolute Matter. Whatever is matter
contains salt; and all salt [nitre] may be converted into pure gold
by the combined action of Sulphur and Mercury, which sometimes act
so rapidly, that the transmutation may be effected in an instant, in
an hour, without fatigue to the operator, and almost without
expense. At other times, and according to the more refractory temper
of the atmospheric media, the operation requires several days,
several months, and sometimes even several years.
Two primary laws exist in nature, two essential laws, which
produce, by counterbalancing each other, the universal equilibrium
of things. These are fixedness and movement, analogous, in
philosophy, to Truth and Fiction, and, in Absolute Conception, to
Necessity and Liberty, which are the very essence of Deity. The
Hermetic philosophers gave the name fixed to everything ponderable,
to everything that tends by its natural to central repose and
immobility; they term volatile everything that more naturally and
more readily obeys the law of movement; and they form their stone by
analysis, that is to say, by the volatilization of the Fixed, and
then by synthesis, that is, by fixing the volatile, which they
effect by applying to the fixed, which they call their salt, the
sulphurated Mercury, or the light of life, directed and made
omnipotent by a Sovereign Will. Thus they master entire Nature, and
their stone is found wherever there is salt, which is the reason for
saying that no substance is foreign to the Great Work, and that even
the most despicable and apparently vile matters may be changed into
gold, which is true in this sense, that they all contain the
original saltprinciple, represented in our emblems by the cubical
To know how to extract from all matter the pure salt concealed in
it, is to have the Secret of the Stone. Wherefore this is a Saline
stone, which the Od or universal astral light decomposes or
re-compounds: it is single and manifold; for it may be dissolved
like ordinary salt, and incorporated with other substances. Obtained
by analysis, we might term it the Universal Sublimate: found by way
of synthesis, it is the true panacea of the ancients, for it cures
all maladies of soul and body, and has been styled, par-excellence,
the medicine of all nature. When one, by absolute initiation, comes
to control the forces of the universal agent, he always has this
stone at his disposal, for its extraction is then a simple and easy
operation, very distinct from the metallic projection or
realization. This stone, when in a state of sublimation, must not be
exposed to contact with the atmospheric air, which might partially
dissolve it and deprive it of its virtue; nor could its emanations
be inhaled without danger. The Sage prefers to preserve it in its
natural envelopes, assured as he is of extracting it by a single
effort of his will, and a single application of the Universal Agent
to the envelopes, which the Kabalists call cortices, the shells,
bark, or integuments.
Hieroglyphically to express this law of prudence, they gave their
Mercury, personified in Egypt as Hermanubis, a dog's head; and to
their Sulphur, represented by the Baphomet of the Temp!e, that
goat's head which brought into such disrepute the occult Mediaeval
Let us listen for a few moments to the Alchemists themselves, and
endeavor to learn the hidden meaning of their mysterious words.
The RITUAL of the Degree of Scottish Elder MASTER, and Knight of
Saint Andrew, being the fourth Degree of Ramsay, it is said upon the
title-page, or of the Reformed or Rectified Rite of Dresden, has
"O how great and glorious is the presence of the Almighty God
which gloriously shines from between the Cherubim!
"How adorable and astonishing are the rays of that glorious
Light, that sends forth its bright and brilliant beams from the Holy
Ark of Alliance and Covenant!
"Let us with the deepest veneration and devotion adore the great
Source of Life, that Glorious Spirit Who is the Most Merciful and
Beneficent Ruler of the Universe and of all the creatures it
"The secret knowledge of the Grand Scottish Master relates to the
combination and transmutation of different substances; where of that
you may obtain a clear idea and proper understanding, you are to
know that all matter and all material substances are composed of
combinations of three several substances, extracted from the four
elements, which three substances in combination are, Salt, Sulphur,
and Spirit. The first of these produces Solidity, the second
Softness, and the third the Spiritual, vaporous particles. These
three compound substances work potently together; and therein
consists the true process for the transmutation of metals.
"To these three substances allude the three golden basins, in the
first of which was engraved the letter M.'., in the second, the
letter G.'., and in the third nothing. The first, M.'., is the
initial letter of the Hebrew word Malakh, which signifies Salt; and
the second, G.'., of the Hebrew word Geparaith, which signifies
Sulphur; and as there is no word in Hebrew to express the vaporous
and intangible Spirit, there is no letter in the third basin.
"With these three principal substances you may effect the
transmutation of metals, which must be done by means of the five
points or rules of the Scottish Mastership.
"The first Master's point shows us the Brazen Sea, wherein must
always be rain-water; and out of this rain-water the Scottish
Masters extract the first substance, which is Salt; which salt must
afterward undergo a seven-fold manipulation and purification, before
it will be properly prepared. This sevenfold purification is
symbolized by the Seven Steps of Solomon's Temple, which symbol is
furnished us by the first point or rule of the Scottish Masters.
"After preparing the first substance, you are to extract the
second, Sulphur, out of the purest gold, to which must then be added
the purified or celestial Salt. They are to be mixed as the Art
directs, and then placed in a vessel in the form of a SHIP, in which
it is to remain, as the Ark of Noah was afloat, one hundred and
fifty days, being brought to the first damp, warm degree of fire,
that it may putrefy and produce the mineral fermentation This is the
second point or rule of the Scottish Masters."
If you reflect, my Brother, that it was impossible for any one to
imagine that either common salt or nitre could be extracted from
rain-water, or sulphur from pure gold, you will no doubt suspect
that some secret meaning was concealed in these words.
The Kabalah considers the immaterial part of man as threefold,
consisting of NEPHESCH, RUACH, and NESCHAMAH, Psyche, Spiritus, and
Mens, or Soul, Spirit, and Intellect. There are Seven Holy Palaces,
Seven Heavens and Seven Thrones; and Souls are purified by ascending
through Seven Spheres. A Ship, in Hebrew, is Ani; and the same word
means I, Me, or Myself.
The RITUAL, continues:
"Multiplying the substance thus obtained, is the third operation,
which is done by adding to them the animate, volatile Spirit which
is done by means of the water of the Celestial Salt, as well as by
the Salt, which must daily be added to it very carefully, and
strictly observing to put neither too much nor too little; inasmuch
as, if you add too much, you will destroy that growing and
multiplying substance; and if too little, it will be self-consumed
and destroyed, and shrink away, not having sumcient substantiality
for its preservation. This third point or rule of the Scottish
Masters gives us the emblem of the building of the Tower of Babel,
used by our Scottish Masters, because by irregularity and want of
due proportion and harmony that work was stopped; and the workmen
could proceed no further.
"Next comes the fourth operation, represented by the Cubical
Stone, whose faces and angles are all equal. As soon as the work is
brought to the necessary point of multiplication, it is to be
submitted to the third Degree of Fire, wherein it will receive the
due proportion of the strength and substance of the metallic
particles of the Cubical Stone; and this is the fourth point or rule
of the Scottish Masters.
"Finally, we come to the fifth and last operation, indicated to
us by the Flaming Star. After the work has become a
duly-proportioned substance, it is to be subjected to the fourth and
strongest Degree of fire, wherein it must remain three times
twenty-seven hours; until it is thoroughly glowing, by which means
it becomes a bright and shining tincture, wherewith the lighter
metals may be changed, by the use of one part to a thousand of the
metal. Wherefore this Flaming Star shows us the fifth and last point
of the Scottish Masters.
"You should pass practically through the five points or rules of
the Master, and by the use of one part to a thousand, transmute and
ennoble metals. You may then in reality say that your age is a
In the oration of the Degree, the following hints are given as to
its true meaning:
"The three divisions of the Temple, the Outer Court, Sanctuary,
and Holy of Holies, signify the three Principles of our Holy Order,
which direct to the knowledge of morality, and teach those most
practical virtues that ought to be practised by mankind. Therefore
the Seven Steps which lead up to the Outer Court of the Temple, are
the emblem of the Seven-fold Light which we need to possess, before
we can arrive at the height of knowledge, in which consist the
ultimate limits of our order.
"In the Brazen Sea we are symbolically to purify ourselves from
all pollutions, all faults and wrongful actions, as well those
committed through error of judgment and mistaken opinion, as those
intentionally done; inasmuch as they equally prevent us from
arriving at the knowledge of True Wisdom. We must thoroughly cleanse
and purify our hearts to their inmost recesses, before we can of
right contemplate that Flaming Star, which is the emblem of the
Divine and Glorious Shekinah, or presence of God; before we may dare
approach the Throne of Supreme Wisdom."
In the Degree of The True Mason [Le Vrai Macon], styled in the
title-page of its Ritual the 23d Degree of Masonry, or the 12th of
the 5th class, the Tracing-board displays a luminous Triangle, with
a great Yod in the centre.
"The Triangle," says the Ritual, "represents one God in three
Persons; and the great Yod is the initial letter of the last
"The Dark Circle represents the Chaos, which in the beginning God
"The Cross within the Circle, the Light by means whereof He
developed the Chaos.
"The Square, the four Elements into which it was resolved.
"The Triangle, again, the three Principles [Salt, Sulphur, and
Mercury], which the intermingling of the elements produced.
"God creates; Nature produces; Art multiplies. God created Chaos;
Nature produced it; God, Nature, and Art, have perfected it.
"The Altar of Perfumes indicates the Fire that is to be applied
to Nature. The two towers are the two furnaces, moist and dry, in
which it is to be worked. The bowl is the mould of oak that is to
inclose the philosophal egg.
"The two figures surmounted by a Cross are the two vases, Nature
and Art, in which is to be consummated the double marriage of the
white woman with the red Servitor, from which marriage will spring a
most Potent King.
"Chaos means universal matter, formless, but susceptible of all
forms. Form is the Light inclosed in the seeds of all species; and
its home is in the Universal Spirit.
"To work on universal matter, use the internal and external fire:
the four elements result, the Principia Principiorum and Inmediata;
Fire, Air, Water, Earth. There are four qualities of these
elements--the warm and dry, the cold and moist. Two appertain to
each element: The dry and cold, to the Earth; the cold and moist, to
Water; the moist and warm, to the Air; and the warm and dry, to
Fire: whereby the Fire connects with the Earth; all the elements, as
Hermes said, moving in circles.
"From the mixture of the four Elements and of their four
qualities, result the three Principles,--Mercury, Sulphur, and Salt.
These are the philosophical, not the vulgar.
"The philosophical Mercury is a Water and SPIRIT, which dissolves
and sublimates the Sun; the philosophical Sulphur, a fire and a
SOUL, which mollifies and colors it; the philosophical Salt, an
Earth and a BODY, which coagulates and fixes it; and the whole is
done in the bosom of the Air.
"From these three Principles result the four Elements duplicated,
or the Grand Elements, Mercury, Sulphur, Salt, and Glass; two of
which are volatile,--the Water [Mercury] and the Air [Sulphur],
which is oil; for all substances liquid in their nature avoid fire,
which takes from the one [water] and burns the other [oil]; but the
other two are dry and solid, to wit, the Salt, wherein Fire is
contained, and the pure F,arth, which is the Glass; on both of which
the Fire has no other action than to melt and refine them, unless
one makes use of the liquid alkali; for, just as each element
consists of two qualities, so these great duplicated Elements
partake, each of two of the simple elements, or, more properly
speaking, of all the four, according to the greater or less degree
of each,--the Mercury partaking more of the Water, to which it is
assigned; the Oil or Sulphur, more of the Air; the Salt, of the
Fire; and the Glass, of the Earth; which is found, pure and clear,
in the centre of all the elementary composites, and is the last to
disengage itself from the others.
"The four Elements and three Principles reside in all the
Compounds, Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral; but more potently in some
than in others.
"The Fire gives them Movement; the Air, Sensation; the Water,
Nutriment; and the Earth, Subsistence.
"The four duplicated Elements engender THE STONE, if one is
careful enough to supply them with the proper quantity of fire, and
to combine them according to their natural weight. Ten parts of Air
make one of Water; ten of Water, one of Earth; and ten of Earth, one
of Fire; the whole by the Active Symbol of the one, and the Passive
Symbol of the other, whereby the conversion of the Elements is
The Allusion of the Ritual, here, is obviously to the four Worlds
of the Kabalah. The ten Sephiroth of the world Briah proceed from
Malakoth, the last of the ten Emanations of the world Aziquth; the
ten Sephiroth of the world Yezirah, from Malakoth of Briah; and the
ten of the world Asiah, from Malakoth of Yezirah. The Pass-word of
the Degree is given as Metralon, which is a corruption of METATRON,
the Cherub, who and Sandalphon are in the Kabalah the Chief of the
Angels. The Active and Passive Symbols are the Male and Female.
The Ritual continues:
"It is thereby evident that, in the Great Work, we rnust employ
ten parts of philosophical Mercury to one of Sun or Moon.
"This is attained by Solution and Coagulation. These words mean
that we must dissolve the body and coagulate the spirit; which
operations are effected by the moist and dry bath.
"Of colors, black is the Earth; white, the Water; blue, the Air;
and red, the Fire; wherein also are involved very great secrets and
"The apparatus employed in 'The Great Work' consists of the Moist
bath, the Dry bath, the Vases of Nature and Art, the bowl of oak,
lutum sapientiae, the Seal of Hermes, the tube, the physical lamp,
and the iron rod.
"The work is perfected in seventeen philosophical months,
according to the mixture of ingredients. The benefits reaped from it
are of two kinds--one affecting the soul, and the other the body.
The former consist in knowing God, Nature, and ourself; and those to
the body are wealth and health.
"The Initiate traverses Heaven and Earth. Heaven is the World
manifest to the Intelligence, subdivided into Paradise and Hell;
Earth is the World manifest to the Senses, also subdivided into the
Celestial and that of the Elements.
"There are Sciences specially connected with each of these. The
one is ordinary and common; the other, mystic and secret. The World
cognizable by the Intellect has the Hermetic Theology and the
Kabalah; the Celestial Astrology; and that of the Elements,
Chemistry, which by its decompositions and separations, effected by
fire, reveals all the most hidden secrets of Nature, in the three
kinds of Compound Substances. This last science is styled
'Hermetic,' or 'The operating of the Great Work.'"
The Ritual of the Degree of Kabalistic and Hermetic Rose has
"The true Philosophy, known and practised by Solomon, is the
basis on which Masonry is founded.
"Our Ancient Masons have concealed from us the most important
point of this Divine Art, under hieroglyphical characters, which are
but enigmas and parables, to all the Senseless. the Wicked, and the
"He will be supremely fortunate, who shall, by arduous labor,
discover this sacred place of deposite, wherein all naked the
sublime Truth is hidden; for he may be assured that he has found the
True Light, the True Felicity, the True Heavenly Good. Then may it
truly be said that he is one of the True Elect; for it is the only
real and most Sublime Science of all those to which a mortal can
aspire: his days will be prolonged, and his soul freed of all vices
and corruption; into which" (it is added, to mislead, as if from
fear too much would be disclosed), "the human race is often led by
As the symbolism of the Hall and the language of the ritual
mutually explain each other, it should be noted here, that in this
Degree the columns of the hall, 12 in number, are white variegated
with black and red. The hangings are black, and over that
Over the throne is a great Eagle, in gold, on a black ground. In
the centre of the Canopy the Blazing Star in gold, with the letter
Yod in its centre. On the right and left of the throne are the Sun
in gold and the Moon in silver. The throne is ascended to by three
Steps. The hall and ante-room are each lighted by ten lights, and a
single one at the entrance. The colors, black, white, and crimson
appear in the clothing; and the Key and Balance are among the
The duty of the Second Grand Prior, says the Ritual, is "to see
if the Chapter is hermetically sealed; whether the materials are
ready, and the elements; whether the Black gives place to the White,
and the White to the Red."
"Be laborious," it says, "like the Star, and procure the light of
the Sages, and hide yourself from the Stupid Profane and the
Ambitious, and be like the Owl, which sees only by night, and hides
itself from treacherous curiosity."
"The Sun, on entering each of his houses, should be received
there by the four elements, which you must be careful to invite to
accompany you, that they may aid you in your undertaking; for
without them the House would be melancholy: wherefore you will give
him to feast upon the four elements.
"When he shall have visited his twelve houses, and seen you
attentive there to receive him, you will become one of his chiefest
favorites, and he will allow you to share all his gifts. Matter will
then no longer have power over you; you will, so to say, be no
longer a dweller on the earth; but after certain periods you will
give back to it a body which is its own, to take in its stead one
altogether Spiritual. Matter is then deemed to be dead to the
"Therefore it must be re-vivified, and made to be born again from
its ashes, which you will effect by virtue of the vegetation of the
Tree of Life, represented to us by the branch of acacia. Whoever
shall learn to comprehend and execute this great work, will know
great things, say the Sages of the work; but whenever you depart
from the centre of the Square and the Compass you will no longer be
able to work with success.
"Another Jewel is necessary for you, and in certain undertakings
cannot be dispensed with. It is what is ten1led the Kabalistic
pantacle . . . This carries with it the power of commanding the
spirits of the elements. It is necessary for you to know how to use
it, and that you will learn by perseverance if you are a lover of
the science of our predecessors the Sages.
"A great Black Eagle, the King of Birds. He alone it is that can
fire the Sun, material in its nature, that has no form, and yet by
its form develops color. The black is a complete harbinger of the
work: it changes color and assumes a natural form, out whereof will
emerge a brilliant Sun.
"The birth of the Sun is always announced by its Star,
represented by the Blazing Star, which you will know by its fiery
color; and it is followed in its course by the silvery lustre of the
"A rough Ashlar is the shapeless stone which is to be prepared in
order to commence the philosophical work; and to be developed, in
order to change its form from triangular to cubic, after the
separation from it of its Salt, Sulphur, and Mercury, by the aid of
the Square, Level, Plumb, and Balance, and all the other Masonic
implements which we use symbalically.
"Here me put them to philosophical use, to constitute a well
proportioned edifice, through which you are to make pass the crude
material, analogous to a candidate commencing his initiation into
our Mysteries. When we build we must observe all the rules and
proportions; for otherwise the Spirit of Life cannot lodge therein.
So you will build the great tower, in which is to burn the fire of
the Sages, or, in other words, the fire of Heaven; as also the Sea
of the Sages, in which the Sun and Moon are to batlle. That is the
basin of Purification, in which will be the water of Celestial
Grace, water that doth not soil the hands, but purifies all leprous
"Let us labor to instruct our Brother, to the end that by his
toils he may succeed in discovering the principle of life contained
in the profundity of matter, and known by the name of Alkahest.
"The most potent of the names of Deity is ADONAI. Its power is to
put the Universe in movement; and the Knights who shall be fortunate
enough to possess it, with weight and measure, shall have at their
disposition all the potences that inhabit it, the Elements, and the
cognizance of all the virtues and sciences that man is capable of
knowing. By its power they would succeed in discovering the primary
metal of the Sun, which holds within itself the Principle of the
germ, and wherewith we can put in alliance and six other metals,
each of which contains the principles and primitive seed of the
grand philosophical work.
"The six other metals are Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury,
and Luna; vulgarly known as Lead, Tin, Iron, Copper, Quicksilver,
and Silver. Gold is not included; because it is not in its nature a
metal. It is all Spirit and incorruptible; wherefore it is the
emblem of the Sun, which presides over the Light.
"The vivifying Spirit, called Alkahest, has in itself the
generative virtue of producing the triangular Cubical Stone, and
contains in itself all the virtues to render men happy in this world
and in that to come. To arrive at the eomposition of that Alkahest,
we begin by laboring at the science of the union of the four
Elements which are to be educed from the three Kingdoms of Nature,
Mineral, Vegetable, and Animal; the rule, measure, weight, and
equipoise whereof have each their key. We then employ in one work
the animals, vegetables, and minerals, each in his season, which
make the space of the Houses of the Sun, where they have all the
"Something from each of the three Kingdoms of Nature is assigned
to each Celestial House, to the end that everything may be done in
accordance with sound philosophical rules; and the everything may be
thoroughly purified in its proper time and place in order to be
presented at the wedding-table of the Spouse and the six virgins who
hold the mystic shovel, without a common fire, but with an
elementary fire, that comes primarily by attraction, and by
digestion in the philosophical bed lighted by the four elements.
"At the banquet of the Spouses, the viands, being thoroughly,
purified, are served in Salt, Sulphur, Spirit, and Oil; a sufficient
quantity thereof is taken every month, and therewith is compounded,
by means of the Balance of Solomon, the Alkahest, to serve the
Spouses, when they are laid on the nuptial bed, there to engender
their embryo, producing for the human race immense treasures, that
will last as long as the world endures.
"Few are capable of engaging in this great work. Only the true
Free-Masons may of right aspire to it; and even of them, very few
are worthy to attain it, bccause most of them are ignorant of the
Clavicules and their contents, and of the Pantacle of Solomon, which
teaches how to labor at the great work.
"The weight raised by Solomon with his balance was 1, 2, 3, 4, 5;
which contains 25 times unity, 2 multiplied by 2; 3 multiplied by 3;
4 multiplied by 4; 5 multiplied by 5, and once 9; these numbers thus
involving the squares of 5 and 2, the cube of 2, the square of the
square of 2, and the square of 3."
Thus far the Ritual, in the numbers mentioned by it, is an
allusion to the 47th problem of Euclid, a symbol of Blue Masonry,
entirely out of place there, and its meaning unknown. The base of
the right-angled triangle being 3, and the perpendicular 4, the
hypothenuse is 5, by the rule that the sum of the squares of the two
former equals the square of the latter,--3 X 3 being 9; and 4 X 4,
16, and 9 + 16 being 25, the square of 5. The triangle contains in
its sides the numbers 1, 2, and 3. The Perpendicular is the Male;
the Base, the Female; the Hypothenuse, the product of the two.
To fix the volatile, in the Hermetic language, means to
materialize the spirit; to volatilize the fixed is to spiritualize
To separate the subtile from the gross, in the first operation,
which is wholly internal, is to free our soul from all prejudice and
all vice. This is effected by the use of the philosophical SALT,
that is to say, of WISDOM; of MERCURY, that is to say, of personal
aptitude and labor; and of SULPHUR, which represents the vital
energy, and the ardor of the will. Thus we succeed in changing into
spiritual gold such things even as are of least value, and even the
foul things of the earth.
It is in this sense we are to understand the parables of the
Hermetic philosophers and the prophets of Alchemy; but in their
works, as in the Great Work, we must skillfully separate the subtile
from the gross, the mystic from the positive, allegory from theory.
If you would read them with pleasure and understandingly, you must
first understand them allegorically in their entirety and then
descend from allegories to realities by way of the correspondences
or analogies indicated in the single dogma:
"What is above is like what is below; and what is below is like
what is above."
The treatise "Minerva Mundi," attributed to Hermes Trismegistus,
contains, under the most poetical and profound allegories, the dogma
of the self-creation of beings, or of the law of creation that
results from the accord of two forces, these which the Alchemists
called the Fixed and the Volatile, and which are, in the Absolute,
Necessity and Liberty.
When the Masters in Alchemy say that it needs but little time and
expense to accomplish the works of Science, when they affirm, above
all, that but a single vessel is necessary, when they speak of the
Great and Single furnace, which all can use, which is within the
reach of all the world, and which men possess without knowing it,
they allude to the philosophical and moral Alchemy. In fact, a
strong and determined will can, in a little while, attain complete
independence; and we all possess that chemical instrument, the great
and single athanor or furnace, which serves to separate the subtile
from the gross, and the fixed from the volatile. This instrument,
complete as the world, and accurate as the mathematics themselves,
is designated by the Sages under the emblem of the Pentagram or Star
with five points, the absolute sign of human intelligence.
The end and perfection of the Great Work is expressed, in
alchemy, by a triangle surmounted by a cross: and the letter Tau,
the last of the Sacred alphabet, has the same meaning.
The "elementary fire," that comes primarily by attraction, is
evidently Electricity or the Electric Force, primarily developed as
magnetism, and in which is perhaps the secret of life or the vital
Paracelsus, the great Reformer in medicine, discovered magnetism
long before Mesmer, and pushed to its last consequences this
luminous discovery, or rather this initiation into the magic of the
ancients, who understood the grand magical agent better than we do,
and did not regard the Astral Light, Azoth, the universal magnetism
of the Sages, as an animal and particular fluid, emanating only from
certain special beings.
The four Elements, the four symbolic animals, and the
re-duplicated Principles correspond with each other, and are thus
arranged by the Hermetic Masons;
The Air and Earth represent the Male Principle; and the Fire and
Water belong to the Female Principle.
To these four forms correspond the four following philosophical
Spirit: Matter: Movement: Repose.
Alchemy reduces these four things to three:
The Absolute: the Fixed: the Volatile.
Reason: Necessity; Liberty: are the synonyms of these three
As all the great Mysteries of God and the Universe are thus
hidden in the Ternary, it everywhere appears in Masonry and in the
Hermetic Philosophy under its mask of Alchemy. It even appears where
Masons do not suspect it; to teach the doctrine of the equilibrium
of Contraries, and the resultant Harmony.
The double triangle of Solomon is explained by Saint John in a
remarkable manner: There are, he says, three witnesses in
Heaven,--the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and three
witnesses on earth, the breath, water, and blood. He thus agrees
with the Masters of the Hermetic Philosophy, who give to their
Sulphur the name of Ether, to their Mercury the name of
philosophical water, to their Salt that of blood of the dragon, or
menstruum of the earth. The blood, or Salt, corresponds by
opposition with the Father; the Azothic, or Mercurial water, with
the Word, or Logos; and the breath, with the Holy Spirit. But the
things of High Symbolism can be well understood only by the true
children of Science.
Alchemy has its Symbolic Triad of Salt, Sulphur, and
Mercury,--man consisting, according to the Hermetic philosophers, of
Body, Soul, and Spirit. The Dove, the Raven, and the Phoenix are
striking Symbols of Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, and the
Beauty resulting from the equilibrium of the two.
If you would understand the true secrets of Alchemy, you must
study the works of the Masters with patience and assiduity. Every
word is often an enigma; and to him who reads in haste, the whole
will seem absurd. Even when they seem to teach that the Great Work
is the purification of the Soul, and so to deal only with morals,
they most conceal their meaning, and deceive all but the
Yod is termed in the Kabalah the opifex, workman of the Deity. It
is, says the Porta Coelorum, single and primal, like one, which is
the first among numbers; and like a point, the first before all
bodies. Moved lengthwise, it produces a line, which is Vau, and this
moved sidewise produces a superficies, which is Daleth. Thus Vau
becomes Daleth; for movement tends from right to left; and all
communication is from above to below. The plenitude of Yod, that is,
the name of this letter, spelled, is Y-O-D. Vau [which represents 6]
and Daleth  are 10; like Yod, their principle.
Yod, says the Siphra de Zeniutha, is the Symbol of Wisdom and of
The Principle called Father, says the Idra Suta, is comprehended
in Yod, which flows downward from the Holy influence, wherefore Yod
is the most occult of all the letters; for he is the beginning and
end of all things. The Supernal Wisdom is Yod; and all things are
included in Yod, who is therefore called Father of Fathers,or the
Generator of the Universal. The Principle of all things is called
the House of all things: wherefore Yod is the beginning and end of
all things; as it is written: "Thou hast made all things in Wisdom."
For The All is termed Wisdom; and in it The All is contained; and
the summary of all things is the Holy Name.
Yod, says the Siphra de Zeniutha, signifying the Father,
approaches the letter He, which is the Mother; and by the
combination of these two is denoted that luminous infiuence
wherewith Binah is imbued by the Supernal Wisdom.
In the name, says the same, are included the Father, Mother and
Microprosopos, their issue. He, impregnated by Vau, produced
Microprosopos, or Seir Anpin.
Wisdom, Hakemah, is the Principle of all things: it is the Father
of Fathers, and in it are the beginning and end of all things.
Microprosopos, the second Universal, is the issue of Wisdom, the
Father, and Binah, the Mother, and is composed of the six
Numerations, Geburah, Gedulah, and Tephareth, Netsach Hod, and
Yesod; is represented under the form of a man, and said to have at
first occupied the place afterward filled by the world Briah [of
Creation], but afterward to have been raised to the Aziluthic
sphere, and received Wisdom, Intelligence, and Cognition [Daath]
from the Supernal Wisdom and Intellectuality.
Vau, in the tri-literal word, denotes these six members of
Microprosopos. For this latter is formed after the fashion of
Macroprosopos, but without Kether, the will, which remains in the
first prototype or Universal; though invested with a portion of the
Divine Intellectual Power and Capacity. The first Universal does not
use the first person, and is called in the third person, HUA, HE:
but the second Universal speaks in the first person, using the word
The IDRA RABBA, or Synodus Magna, one of the books of the Sohar,
The Eldest of the Eldest [the Absolute Deity] is in
Microprosopos. All things are one: all was, all is, all will be:
there neither will be, nor is, nor has been, mutation.
But He confirmed Himself, by the formings, into a form that
contains all forms. in a form which comprehends all genera. This
form is in the likeness of His form; and is not that form but its
analogue: wherefore the human form is the form of all above and
below, which are included in it: and because it embraces all above
and below. The Most Holy so took form, and so Microprosopos was
configured. All things are equally one, in each of the two
Universals; but in the second His ways are divided, and judgment is
on our side, and on the side that looks toward us, also, they
These Secrets are made known only to the reapers in the Holy
The Most Holy Ancient is not called ATHAU, Thou, but HUA, He: but
in Microprosopos, where is the beginning of things, He has the name
ATHAH, and also AB, Father. From Him is the beginning, and He is
called Thou, and is the Father of Fathers. He issues from the
Non-Ens; and therefore is beyond cognition.
Wisdom is the Principle of the Universe, and from it thirty-two
ways diverge: and in them the law is contained, in twenty-two
letters and ten words. Wisdom is the Father of Fathers, and in this
Wisdom is found the Beginning and the End: wherefore there is a
wisdom in each Universal, one above, the other below.
The Commentary of Rabbi Chajun Vital, on the Siphra de Zeniutha,
says: At the beginning of emanation, Microprosopos issued from the
Father, and was intermingled with the Mother, under the mysteries of
the letter [He], resolved that is, Daleth and Vau; by which Vau is
denoted Microprosopos: because Vau is six, and he is constituted of
the six parts that follow Hakemah and Binah. And, according to this
conception, the Father is called Father of Fathers, because from Him
these Fathers proceed, Benignity, Severity, and Beauty.
Microprosopos was then like the letter Vau in the letter He, because
He had no head; but when He was now born, three brains were
constituted for Him, by the flow of Divine Light from above.
And as the world of restitution [after the vessels of the
Sephiroth below Binah had been broken, that from the fragments evil
might be created] is instituted after the fashion of the Balance, so
also is it formed throughout in the human form. But Malakoth,
Regnum, is a complete and separate person, behind Microprosopos, and
in conjunction with him, and the two are called man.
The first world [of Inanity] could not continue and did not
subsist, because it had no human conformation nor the system of the
Balance, the Sephiroth being points, one below the other. The first
Adam [Microprosopos, as distinguished from Macroprosopos, the first
Occult Adam] was the beginning, wherein the ten Numerations
proceeded forth from potence into act.
Microprosopos is the second garment or interposed medium, with
respect to the Elder Most Holy, who is the name Tetragrammaton; and
he is called Alohim; because the former is Absolute Commiseration;
while in Macroprosopos his lights have the nature of Severities,
with respect to the elder Universal; though they are Commiseration,
with respect to the lights of Malakoth and the three lower
All the conformations of Macroprosopos come from the first Adam;
who, to interpose a second covering, caused a single spark to issue
from the sphere of Severity, of whose five letters is generated the
name Alohim. With this issued from the brain a most subtle air,
which takes its place on the right hand, while the spark of fire is
on the left. Thus the white and red do not intermix, that is, the
Air and Fire, which are Mercy and Judgment.
Microprosopos is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, his
Severities being the Evil.
REGNUM, to which is given the name of Word of The Lord,
superinvests Heaven, as the six members of the Degree Tephareth are
called, and these become and are constituted by that superior
vestiture. For every conformation and constitution is effected by
means of veiling, because occultation here is the same as
manifestation, the excess of light being veiled, so that, diminished
in intensity and degree, it may be received by those below. Those
six members conceived of as contained in Binah, are said to be in
the World of Creation; as in Tephareth, in that of Formation; and as
in Malakoth, in that of Fabrication.
Before the institution of equilibrium, face was not toward face:
Microprosopos and his wife issuing forth back to back, and yet
cohering. So above; before the prior Adam was conformed into male
and female, and the state of equilibrium established, the Father and
Mother were not face to face. For the Father denotes the most
perfect Love; and the Mother the most perfect Rigor. And the seven
supernal sons who proceeded from her, from Binah, who brought forth
seven, were all most perfect rigors, having no connection with a
root in the Most Holy Ancient; that is, they were all dead,
destroyed, shattered; but they were plaeed in equilibrium, in the
equipoise of the Occult Wisdom, when it was conformed into male and
female, Rigor and Love, and they were then restored, and there was
given them a root above.
The Father is Love and Mercy, and with a pure and subtle Aur or
Benignity impregnates the Mother, who is Rigor and Severity of
Judgments; and the product is the brain of Microprosopos.
It was determined, says the Introduction to the Book Sohar, by
the Deity, to create Good and Evil in the world, according to what
is said in Isaiah, "who makes the Light and creates the Evil." But
the Evil was at first occult, and could not be generated and brought
forth, except by the sinning of the First Adam. Wherefore He
determined that the numerations first emanated, from Benignity
downward, should be destroyed and shattered by the excessive influx
of His Light; His intention being to create of them the worlds of
Evils. But the first three were to remain and subsist, that among
the fragments should be neither Will, Intellectual Power, nor the
Capacity of Intellection of the Divinity. The last seven numerations
were points, like the first three, each subsisting independently,
unsustained by companionship; which was the cause of their dying and
There was then no Love between them, but only a two-fold Fear;
Wisdom, for example, fearing lest it should ascend again to its
Source in Kether; and also lest it should descend into Binah. Hence
there was no union between any two, except Hakemah and Binah, and
this imperfect, with averted faces. This is the meaning of the
saying, that the world was created by Judgment, which is fear. And
so that world could not subsist, and the Seven Kings were dethroned,
until the attribute of Compassion was adjoined to it, and then
restoration took place. Thence came Love and Union, and six of the
parts were united into one person; for Love is the attribute of
Compassion or Mercy.
Binah produced the Seven Kings, not successively, but all
together. The Seventh is Regnum, called a stone, the corner-stone,
because on it are builded the palaces of the three lower worlds.
The first six were shattered into fragments; but Regnum was
crushed into a formless mass, lest the malignant demons created from
the fragments of the others should receive bodies from it, since
from it came bodies and vitality [Nephesch].
From the fragments of the vessels came all Evils; judgments,
turbid waters, impurities, the Serpent, and Adam Belial [Baal]. But
their internal light re-ascended to Binah, and then flowed down
again into the worlds Briah and Yezirah, there to form vestiges of
the Seven Numerations. The Sparks of the great Influence of the
shattered vases descending into the four spiritual elements, Fire,
Air, Water, and Earth, and thence into the inanimate, vegetable,
living, and speaking kingdoms, became Souls.
Selecting the suitable from the unsuitable lights, and separating
the good from the evil, the Deity first restored the universality of
the Seven Kings of the World Aziluth, and afterward the three other
And though in them were both good and evil, still this evil did
not develop itself in act, since the Severities remained, though
mitigated; some portion of them being necessary to prevent the
fragments of the integuments from ascending. These were also left,
because connection of two is necessary to generation. And this
necessity for the existence of Severity is the mystery of the
pleasure and warmth of the generative appetite; and thence Love
between husband and wife.
If the Deity, says the Introduction, had not created worlds and
then destroyed them, there could have been no evil in the world, but
all things must have been good. There would have been neither reward
nor punishment in the world. There would have been no merit in
righteousness, for the Good is known by the evil, nor would there
have been fruitfulness or multiplication in the world. If all carnal
concupiscence were enchained for three days in the mouth of the
great abyss, the egg of one of the days would be wanting to the sick
man. In time to come it will be called Laban, because it will be
whitened of its impurity, and will return to the realm Israel, and
they will pray the Lord to give them the appetite of carnal
concupiscence, for the begetting of children.
The intention of God was, when He created the world, that His
creatures should recognize His existence. Therefore He created
evils, to afiqict them withal when they should sin, and Light and
Blessing to reward the just. And therefore man necessarily has
free-will and election, since Good and Evil are in the World.
And these kings died, says the Commentary, because the condition
of equilibrium did not yet exist, nor was Adam Kadmon formed male
and female. They were not in contact with what was alive: nor had
any root in Adam Kadmon; nor was Wisdom which outflowed from Him,
their root, nor did they connect with it. For all these were pure
mercies and most simple Love; but those were rigorous judgments.
Whence face looked not toward face; nor the Father toward the
Mother, because from her proceeded judgments. Nor Macroprosopos
toward Microprosopos. And Regnum, the last numeration, was empty and
inane. It has nothing of itself; and, as it were, was nothing,
receiving nothing from them. Its need was, to receive Love from the
Male; for it is mere rigor and judgment; and the Love and Rigor must
temper each other, to produce creation, and its multitudes above and
below. For it was made to be inhabited; and when rigorous judgments
rule in it, it is inane because its processes cannot be carried
Wherefore the Balance must needs be instituted, that there might
be a root above, so that judgments might be restored and tempered,
and live and not again die. And Seven Conformations descend; and all
things become in equilibrium, and the needle of the Balance is the
In the world Yezirah, says the Pneumatica Kabalistica, denotes
Kether; Hakemah and Binah; and Gedulah, Geburah, and Tephareth; and
thus Vau is Beauty and Harmony. The Man is Hakemah; the Eagle,
Binah; the Lion, Gedulah; and the Ox, Geburah. And the mysterious
circle is thus formed by the Sohar and all the Kabalists: Michael
and the face of the Lion are on the South, and the right hand, with
the letter Yod, and Water; Gabriel and the face of the Ox, on the
North, and left hand, with the first of the Tetragrammaton and Fire;
Uriel and the face of the Eagle, on the East and forward, with and
Air; and Raphael and the face of the Man, on the West, and backward
with the last Earth. In the same order, the four letters represent
the four worlds.
Rabbi Schimeon Ben Jochai says that the four animals of the
Mysterious Chariot, whose wheels are Netsach and Hod, are Gedulah,
whose face is the Lion's; Geburah, with that of the Ox; Tephareth,
with that of the Eagle; and Malakoth, with that of the Man.
The Seven lower Sephiroth, says the AEsch Mezareph, will
represent Seven Metals; Gedulah and Geburah, Silver and Gold:
Tephareth, Iron; Netsach and Hod, Tin and Copper; Yesod, Lead; and
Malakoth will be the metallic Woman and Morn of the Sages, the field
wherein are to be sowed the Seeds of the Secret Minerals, to wit,
the Water of Gold; but in these such mysteries are concealed as no
tongue can utter.
The word Amas, is composed of the initials of the three Hebrew
words that signify Air, Water, and Fire; by which, say the
Kabalists, are denoted Benignity, Judicial Rigor, and Mercy or
Compassion mediating between them.
Malakoth, says the Apparatus, is called Haikal, Temple or Palace,
because it is the Palace of the Degree Tephareth, which is concealed
and contained in it, and Haikal denotes the place in which all
things are contained.
For the better understanding of the Kabalah, remember that
Kether, or the Crown, is treated of as a person, composed of the ten
Numerations, and as such termed Arik Anpin, or Macroprosopos:
That Hakemah is a person, and termed Abba, or Father:
That Binah is a person, and termed Mother, Imma:
That Tephareth, including all the Numerations from Khased or
Gedulah to Yesod, is a person, called Seir Anpin, or Microprosopos.
These Numerations are six in number, and are represented by the
interlaced triangle, or the Seal of Solomon.
And Malakoth is a person, and called the wife of Microprosopos.
Vau represents the Beauty or Harmony, consisting of the six parts
which constitute Seir Anpin.
The wife, Malakoth, is said to be behind the husband, Seir, and
to have no other cognition of him. And this is thus explained: That
every cognizable object is to be known in two ways: a priori, which
is when it is known by means of its cause, or of itself; or, a
posteriori when it is known by its effects. The most nearly perfect
mode of cognition is, when the intellect knows the thing itself, in
itself, and through itself. But if it knows the thingby its
similitude or idea, or species separate from it, or by its effects
and operations, the cognition is much feebler and more imperfect.
And it is thus only that Regnum, the wife of Seir, knows her
husband, until face is turned to face, when they unite, and she has
the more nearly perfect knowledge. For then the Deity, as limited
and manifested in Seir and the Universe are one.
Vau is Tephareth, considered as the Unity in which are the six
members, of which itself is one. Tephareth, Beauty, is the column
which supports the world, symbolized by the colum of the junior
Warden in the Blue Lodges. The world was first created by Judgment:
and as it could not so subsist, Mercy was conjoined with Judgment,
and the Divine Mercies sustain the Universe.
God, says the Idra Suta, formed all things in the form of male
and female, since otherwise the continuance of things was im
possible. The All-embracing Wisdom, issuing and shining from the
Most Holy Ancient, shines not otherwise than as male an female.
Wisdom as the Father, Intelligence the Mother, are in equilibrium as
male and female, and they are conjoined, an one shines in the other.
Then they generate, and are expanded i the Truth. Then the two are
the Perfection of all things, whe they are coupled; and when the Son
is in them, the summary of all things is in one.
These things are intrusted only to the Holy Superiors, who have
entered and gone out and known the ways of the Most Holy God, so as
not to err in them, to the right hand or to the lef For these things
are hidden; and the lofty Holinesses shine in them, as light flows
from the splendor of a lamp.
These things are committed only to those who have entered and not
withdrawn; for he who has not done so had better never have been
All things are comprehended in the letters Vau and He; an all are
one system; and these are the letters, Tabunah Intelligence.