In this article you can find the main concepts related to the Tree of Life in Kabbalah. Many of the hebrew terms are translated into english and synonyms from different traditions are also listed. (Press for Norwegian / Norsk versjon)
The Tree of Life as a concept is used in 3 ways.
1. It is an archaic symbol to show the relation between heaven and earth. Where the roots take a good hold on the earth and the crown is stretching into the subtle realms of light and flight. You find illustrations of this in many cultures carved in stone and wood, on carpets and pictures.
2. It is also used as a concept in science, where the whole evolution is mapped. Today genetics is used to map the degree of similarity and relation between all the living species we have found.
3. The third is the symbol in the kabbalah tradition. Spiritual experience of the higher worlds was passed on and described as a ladder, a tree, a row of pearls or concentric circles. The most prevalent of these is the Tree of Life (see illustration) with three columns, stretching through four worlds. These Trees all have 10 spheres but the amount of lines between them can be different. You can learn more about this in my lectures on kabbalah.
The Tree of Life can be viewed as Gods drawing of the universe. The drawing of God as an architect.
Here are the main concepts or different parts of that drawing. Each of the 10 sephiroth or spheres have 5 levels of expression; Gods name, Spheres name, Archangel, Hierarchy and Mundane manifestation.
We will start from the top down.
Sephira 1: Kether – The Crown
Kaph, Tau, Resh 20 400 200
I am that I am
The ability to be
Aleph He Iod He (Click on the letter to read more about its meaning)
Living Aleph / breathing Aleph + Living Iod / breathing Iod
Above the throne
The Prince of Countenances
The lesser IHVH
Hebrew Kabbalah: Hayot Ha Kodesh (The holy living beings / Holy Living Ones)
Biblical greek: Seraphime
R. Steiner: Spirits of Love (Duchovia lasky)
Reshit Ha Galgalim
The first turning / swirlings
Existence of Existences. Concealed of the Concealed. Ancient of Ancients. Ancient of Days. The Primordial Point. The Point within the Circle. The Most High. The Vast Countenance. The White Head.
The Head which is not. Macroprosopos. Amen. Lux Occulta. Lux Interna. He.
An ancient bearded king seen in profile.
Re-union with God. Instant combustion. Ain
Attainment. Completion of the Great Work.
The Cranium. The Sah. Yechidah. The Divine Spark. The Thousand-petalled Lotus.
The point. The crown. The swastika.
The First Path is called the Admirable or Hidden Intelligence because it is the Light giving the power of comprehension of the First Principle, which hath no beginning. And it is the Primal Glory, because no created
being can attain to its essence.
Sephira 2: Chokmah – Wisdom
Cheth, Kaph, Mem, He – 8 20 40 5 – חָכְמָה חכמה
The word (or rather the verb)
The ability to do
Iod He – living Iod – living individuality/individuation
Secret of God
Author of the Sepher Raziel
Hebrew Kabbalah: Ophanim (Wheels), Auphanim
Biblical greek: Cherubime
R. Steiners: Spirits of Harmony (Duchovia Harmonie)
Other names: The Wheels, The Universal Wheels
Mazaloth (Read more about the Mazaloth, Mazaroth and Zodiac here)
Titles: Power of Yetzirah. Ah. Abba. The Supernal Father. Tetragrammaton. Yod of Tetragrammaton.
A bearded male figure.
The Vision of God face to face.
The left side of the face.
The Lingam. The Phallus. The Yod of Tetragrammaton. The Inner Robe of Glory. The Standing-stone. The Tower. The Uplifted Rod of Power. The Straight Line.
The Second Path is called the Illuminating Intelligence. It is the Crown of Creation, the Splendour of Unity, equalling it. It is exalted above every head, and is named by Qabalists the Second Glory.
Sephira 3: Binah – Understanding
Beth, Yod, Nun, He 2 10 50 5 בינה
Jehova (Jehova Elohim)
God og Gods
The ability to relate
Iod He Vav He
Iod living and living
Hebrew Kabbalah: Aralim /Erelim (Brave Ones)
Biblical greek: Thronos
R. Steiners: Spirits of Will (Duchovia vole)
Other names: The 24 elders. Lions of God, Lords of Karma, The Mighty.
Ama, the dark sterile Mother. Aima, the bright fertile Mother. Khorsia, the Throne. Marab, the Great Sea.
A mature woman. A matron.
Vision of Sorrow.
The right side of the face.
Symbols: The Yoni. The Kteis. The Vesica Piscis. The cup or chalice. The Outer Robe of Concealment.
The Third Intelligence is called the Sanctifying Intelligence, the Foundation of Primordial Wisdom; it is also called the Creator of Faith, and its roots are in Amen. It is the parent of faith, whence faith emanates.
Sephira 4: Chesed – Mercy
Cheth, Samech, Daleth – 8 60 4 – חסד
Other names: Gedulah Love, Majesty.
God of Mercy
God the creator
The ability to take a point of view, perspective, overview
Aleph Lammed - The light of Aleph
• All angel names end with “el” meaning God
God of Justice
Hebrew Kabbalah: Hachmalim / Hashmallim (Glowing Ones/ Amber Ones)
Biblical greek: Kyriotetes
R. Steiners: Spirits of Wisdom (Duchovia Mudrosti)
Other names: The Lords, The Leaders, De electric sparks, Brothers of Joy, The Brilliant
Gedulah. Love. Majesty.
A mighty crowned and throned king.
Vision of Love.
Bigotry. Hypocrisy. Gluttony. Tyranny.
The left arm.
The solid figure – Tetrahedron. Pyramid. Equal armed Cross. Orb. Wand. Sceptre. Crook.
The Fourth Path is called the Cohesive or Receptive Intelligence because it contains all the Holy Powers, and from it emanate all the spiritual virtues with the most exalted essences. They emanate one from another by virtue of the Primordial Emanation, the Highest Crown, Kether.
Sephira 5: Gebourah – Strenght, Severity
Gimel, Beth, Vau, Resh, Heh 3 2 6 200 5 גבורה
Powerful, potent God
Ability to respond
Powerful as God
He who sees God
Standing in front of his countenance
Hebrew Kabbalah: Seraphim (Burning Ones)
Biblical greek: Dynamis
R. Steiner: Spirits of Motion (Duchovia Pohybu)
Other names: Mights, The Mighty, Fiery serpents, Angels of execution. (Some use virtues – I prefer to reserve that for the next hierarchy)
A mighty warrior in his chariot.
Vision of Power.
The right arm.
The Pentagon. The Five-petalled Tudor Rose. The Sword. The Spur. The Scourge. The Chain.
The Fifth Path is called the Radical Intelligence because it resembles Unity, uniting itself to Binah, Understanding, which emanates from the primordial depths of Chokmah, Wisdom.
Sephira 6: Tipheret – Beauty
Tau, Pe, Aleph, Resh, Tau – 400 80 1 200 400 – תפארת
Rachamim Mercy, tender love, and pity
Eloha va Daath
God Lord of Knowledge
Ability to govern
Like God, similar to God
Representative of God
”Identical” to God
Hebrew Kabbalah: Malahim / Malakim (Messengers, angels, ambassadors, kings)
Biblical greek: Exusiai (Elohim)
Christian: Powers (Authorities)
R. Steiner: Spirits of Form (Duchovia Formi)
Other names: The Virtues, Lords of the Sun, The Authorities, The Kings.
Zoar Anpin, the Lesser Countenance.
Melekh, the King. Adam. The Son. The Man.
A majestic king. A child. A sacrificed god.
Vision of the harmony of things. Mysteries of the Crucifixion.
Devotion to the Great Work.
The Lamen. The Rosy Cross. The Calvary Cross.The truncated pyramid. The cube.
The Sixth Path is called the Mediating Intelligence, because in it are multiplied the influxes of the Emanations; for it causes that influence to flow into all the reservoirs of the blessings with which they themselves are united.
Sephira 7: Netzach – Victory, eternity, stability
Nun, Tzaddi, Cheth – 50 90 8 – נצח
God of Hosts
Ability to feel, ability to relate
Grace of God
Hebrew Kabbalah: Elohim (Godly beings)
Biblical greek: Archai
Christian: Principalities (Primal beginnings)
R. Steiners: Spirits of Personality (Duchovia Narodov)
Other names: Powers, The lords that create and form, primal forces, with the leader: Father Arche, Father Time, Father God. o
Or as negative aspects: spirits of darkness, spirits of self-hood (egoism), asuras, rakshasas or Lay´lah. with the leader Lilith (Hebrew), Lamia (greek), Hela (norse)
A beautiful naked woman.
Vision of beauty triumphant.
Loins, hips, and legs.
Lamp and girdle. The rose.
The Seventh Path is called the Occult Intelligence because it is the refulgent splendour of the intellectual virtues which are perceived by the eyes of the intellect and the contemplations of faith.
Sephira 8. Hod – Glory, reverberation
He, Vau, Daleth – 5 6 4 – הוד
Lord of hosts
Ability to compute, conceptualize
Hebrew Kabbalah: Bnei Elohim / Bene Elohim (Sons of Eleohim)
Biblical greek: Archangeloi
R. Steiner: Spirits of Fire, National spirits, Folk spirits, Spirits of Races (Duchovia Casu)
Other names: Sons of God, The enlightened with basic powers, Messengers of the Beginnings, Sons and Daughter of Fire, Fire spirits.
Vision of Splendour.
Loins and legs.
Names and Versicles and Apron.
The Eighth Path is called the Absolute or Perfect Intelligence because it is the mean of the Primordial, which has no root by which it can cleave or rest, save in the hidden places of Gedulah, from which emanates its proper essence.
Sephira 9: Yesod – Foundation
Yod, Samech, Vau, Daleth – 10 60 6 4 – יסוד
Shadai El Hai
The Most Holy Living God
Ability to use energy
Shadai – highest Hai – being Pl. Haioth
Power of God
Strength of God
Hebrew Kabbalah: Kerubim /Cherubim -The great / mighty / propitious / blessed
Biblical greek: Angeloi
Christian: Angels (Messengers)
R. Steiners: Spirits of Twillight, Sons of Life (Strazni Duchovia Ludi)
Other names: Messengers, Life carriers, Life guides, Guiding spirits, Seats of the sons, Sons and Daughters of Life, Lunar Pitris.
A beautiful naked man, very strong.
Vision of the Machinery of the Universe.
The Perfumes and sandals.
The Ninth Path is called the Pure Intelligence because it purifies the Emanations. It proves and corrects the designing of their representations, and disposes the unity with which they are designed without diminution or division.
Sephira 10: Malkuth – Kingdom
Mem, Lamed, Kaph, Vau, Tau – 40 30 20 6 400 – מלכות
Shekinah – Shelter, Abode
Adonai Melek , Adonai ha Aretz
Lord the King
Gods ability to utilize matter
Sandolphon = Prins of Prayers, The Brother (of Metatron)
Nephesh ha Messiah = The Soul of the Saviour
Uriel / Auriel
Angel of light
Light of God
Hebrew Kabbalah: Ischim / Eshim (Men/Man-like beings, Fires)
Other names: Flames of fire, The Just, The Righteous
Prophets, Masters, Saints, Martyrs
The real humans
The elemental world
The four elements
The destroyer of the foundation
The Gate. The Gate of Death. The Gate of the Shadow of Death. The Gate of Tears.The Gate of Justice. The Gate of Prayer. The Gate of the Daughter of the Mighty Ones. The Gate of the Garden of Eden. The Inferior Mother. Malkah, the Queen. Kallab, the Bride. The Virgin.
A young woman, crowned and throned.
Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel.
The feet. The anus.
Altar of the double cube. The Equal-armed cross. The magic circle. The triangle of art.
The Tenth Path is called the Resplendent Intelligence because it is exalted above every head and sits upon the Throne of Binah. It illuminates the splendours of all the Lights, and causes an influence to emanate from the Prince of Countenances, the Angel of Kether.