This is one of the books I have been chewing on for the past couple of days. It isn’t a book on gardening (you knew that really) but it does involve a tree…The Tree of Life, to be exact.
In my search to increase my knowledge and enrich my spirituality I now find myself knocking at the door of the Hermetic Qabalah and this book is my toe in the door. It was written by Israel Regardie, who wrote it to make the Qabalah easier to understand, and to work with, for those who were beginning to study it. There is another similar book by Dion Fortune which I intend to peruse too at later date. I am not particularly interested in The Golden Dawn aspect but the system itself holds a certain fascination.
The Tree of Life, as you can see from the photo above, consists of circles badly drawn around a 2p piece…oh alright, it consists of ten Sephiroth (or spheres) each in itself a characteristic of divine energy. Connecting each Sephirah to another is a path and each path has various attributions (in the forms of Gods, Goddesses, planets, plants, animals, jewels, a tarot card and more) as well as a letter of the Hebrew alphabet and a numerical value. By meditating on these paths and their attributes it is said the seeker will understand the section of divine wisdom contained in each Sephirah. The Qabalah’s theoretical objective is to –
“First, to analyze every idea in terms of the Tree of Life. Second, to trace a necessary connection and relation between every and any class of ideas by referring them to this standard of comparison. Third, to translate any unknown system of symbolism into terms of any known one by its means.”
A Garden of Pomegranates
There are 22 paths which the student is expected to travel, the book explains it thus –
“So that ultimately, by a species of association of impersonal and abstract ideas, one gradually equilibrizes the whole of one’s mental structure and obtains a simple view of the incalcuably vast complexity of the universe…”
My first task is to memorise each and every attribution if I am to fully engage with this. Wow. I may have to rearrange the old grey matter a bit (read: rather a lot) if I am to tackle this effectively. And pick up some index cards!
The book, as you can see by the cover, has been edited and annotated by two senior adepts Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero. They have made footnotes to explain people, words and terms to make the text more understandable in places and have also altered some of the text used so that it is more in line with current standardisation. Not a bad job. What I like the most about their additions is the Guided Visualisations at the back of the book which I have already peeked at. The visualisations enable the student to experience all the paths and indicate the lesson which should be learnt by the end of the journey. This book has had mixed reviews from purists and students alike but, so far, I think it will do nicely for me and I am looking forward to working through it.
Well, I do like the challenge of learning something new and finding my way around this book and down its paths could indeed be a challenge. At the very least it is another important book to add to my ever growing library of non-fiction books of note which I am gathering to pass down the family line whilst books themselves are still being printed…😕
Now it is time for me come down from my lofty perch (Haha!), pop on my lace-edged apron and do some cleaning but first, I am going in search of chocolate…a large amount of, methinks…in preparation for another evening of study.