Trees of Eden: A Map of the Fall [Part I]
by A. C. George
[Edit: Realized my image didn’t transfer, so had to figure that out. Now this probably makes a bit more sense.]
The following information was a detour from the more concise instructional outline I intended to follow. However, abstract as it may seem it seeks to bridge the implications of the myth of the biblical fall and the trees of eden with the functional mapping given by the ten sephirot belimah. The topic ended more involved than originally anticipated, making this post the first part of a two part intallment. Although the following diverges from the text we are interpreting (The Earliest Recoverable Text of the Sepher Yetsirah), it is still important to fill in certain blanks, even if those blanks aren’t obvious to the causal observer. The topic of the Trees of Paradise has been approached in a previous series of four installments posted here. A comparison would be interesting, especially since this interpretation takes the theory and seeks to establish a context of practice with it.
By emphasizing the power of ten in relation to its numerical neighbors- nine and eleven- the author of our text identifies the reckonings in a specific manner. We surmised that the chosen number of sephirot makes a statement that the power of Shaping (aka Magic) is free of blasphemous or idolatrous qualities. Given the power attributed to numbers, the ten reckonings are more likely to represent divine inspiration than those quantified as nine or eleven. The revelation of ten is a direct and living experience, and is represented by the reality frame (and corresponding occult model) known as the Tree of Life in QBLH.
The Tree of Knowledge (of TVB and RO), on the other hand, is a kindred representation, but one that is incomplete and deleterious in its effects when its fruits are assimilated alone. Without the Tree of Life, the fruits of having intimate knowledge of TVB and RO imprison an individual in a state of being aware of distinctions without the direct gnosis and grace that complete the process of existential autonomy as promised by the serpent of the biblical account. Previously we identified the two trees as one and the same, since the model of QBLH shows the the domain of Knowledge (HDOTh) as being part of the fallen tree. In this installement we examine the myth in terms of two esoteric models: the two dimensional (2D) tree diagrams and the model of the SY with its ten reckonings, which are traditionally taken to describe the same thing. I would say that the situation is not so black and white, because we are dealing with myths and models of reality frames that are magically alive and are not restricted to a three dimensional conceptual reference frame. The premise is simply that the fall as a biblical event, corresponds to the fall in terms of the Tree of Life diagram of QBLH and correspondingly affects the ten sephirot as well in like manner. This correlation is what we examine.
It is noteworthy that the Tree of Knowledge does not exibit some kind of existential toxicity or danger. It isn’t evil or there to cause damage. It serves a purose in the context of human potential. We can consider it, in other words, as part of an alchemical formula of two steps: dissolve and coagula. The second step involves the Tree of Life, which in the mapping of QBLH can be seen as a rectified Tree of Knowledge. In the Hermetic QBLH of the 19th and 20th centuries, the term DOTh was associated with a gateway to the abyss that formed as a result of the biblical fall from grace or “original sin”. Even as the SPIRVTh are can be seen as stages of some form of internalized alchemy, they are also spheres or domains of revelation and empowerment. Suffice it to say that DOTh is “located” between the third and fourth SPIRVTh of the fallen Tree of Life mapping, well known to students of QBLH. The fall causes the tenth SPIRH. It is known as Malkuth and rendered in English as Kingdom, but it also means Royal Power/Authority. According to one view, this SPIRH fell from its fourth position to the tenth. According to another, all the last seven SPIRVTh– representing the seven planets of antiquity- fell down a notch.
I favor the former model. The true bottom SPIRVTh is called Foundation (YSVD), while Malkuth as Power of Authority is coherent with the fourth position, and where it needs to be to function naturally and free of affliction. Below we diagram the evolution of the fall, from the original Tree of Life (far left) to the version considered to be the way the Tree is because of the Fall (far right). The middle figure shows change, from the sphere with number value four, to that with number value (properly forty if we use the numbering of the Hebrew abjad) adjusted to ten when the whole tree accommodates the difference (far right).
In the SY the fourth position is identified by the depth (mystery) of RO, which is usually rendered as simply bad or evil. The concept carries much weight, so to avoid philosophical entanglement, let us first look at the letter analysis of the word. The letters Resh.Ayin describe the head (which may be the god-head, one’s own mind, or that of another) of the eye/fountain. Ayin may be a replacement for another letter that conveyed entanglement, something more aligned with the negative interpretation of the word, while RO also means friend and shepherd, someone who watches out for us. Using a similar analysis, TVB describes a weave (pattern of construction or behavior) that supports the house or clan, a state is understandably considered favorable. Contemplating this information gives the third reckoning additional depth and hence empowering potential. When we are open to the revelation of its juxtaposed term (RO), the fourth becomes accessible. According to Hermetic QBLH it is here that the abyss thwarts us.
Eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge (HDOTh) of TVB and RO had unavoidable consequences. If you eat (identify with) the fruit (results) of having experiences that you clearly distinguish into TVB and RO, then you are a discerning entity, and make choices accordingly. Without the impact of the Tree of Life, however, one ends up in a state disconnected from divine essence and the immortality of true Identity. That individual exists in a closed system of cause and effect because they are crippled.
HDOTh is, moreover, not intellectual knowledge. It refers to intimate experience and involvement with the subject, which can be taken to refer to sexuality, but I think the scope of the myth falls flat if it’s just about sex. The fall from grace was the result of choosing to evaluate and act on one’s own experience. And the move to materialize was a natural outcome of stepping from grace and into autonomous evolution. This awakening to their autonomy- albeit not fully- resulted in the humans wanting to cover their nudity. From an esoteric perspective, we can view the animal skins given by YHVH ALHIM as reference to corporeal embodiment, required to experience the reality of the fruits they imbibed. The insecurity the two humans felt was the sense that they should be clothed (corporeal), and was misrepresented as shame and immodesty.
The point of the above was to outline the nature of Original Sin, while our Tree of Life mapping puts it into a different context. There are two important reflections of that context in the altered mapping. 1) The original fourth sephirah is depicted as dropping out of the former domain of the Tree, to become new tenth and final one. 2) A gap formed between the third and fifth sephirot. When the dust settled, the former fifth became the new fourth and so on.
For the context of a list of cultivation practices the alteration would have far reaching consequences. To add insult to injury the original fourth account was that last of the abstract themes before the focus was on the directions in physical space. Without it the internalization process would be incomplete. With that step bumped to the tenth position, the directions in space a approached prematurely, and never really come into their own. Leaving the tenth account below the actual foundation of the Tree creates a distance from the other steps, which along with the sephirah taken from its natural position, isolates the reckoning whose depth or mystery is identified by RO, and keeps the process from being activated as intended.
In that sense the Fall is one of human potential itself, or rather the readiness at which human potential can actualize. To extrapolate how that translates in terms of esoteric cultivation can lead to adaptations in practices among other things to increase the scope of the results. It also places the fourth account in a position of importance in relation to the others. To insure it succeeds, the domain designated as Kingdom needs to be returned to its prior position as Royal Authority- the authority of self. It is by this authority that anything animates or charges, is sanctified and can be sealed. It appears to be the turn-on switch for the systems power, the prior being preparation of what is to contain the fire of the throne. Then the directions of space can be ignited and sealed. The topic is continued and wrapped up in the next installment.