What’s It Got To Do With
Carridwen Brennan, HPs
was certainly a question I asked myself in the early
days of my training in the Craft. I was trained in a fairly traditional
Gardnerian coven (though not really “Hard Gard”). While Kabbalah was
major part of the training or practice, there were elements of it
Still, since I could mostly ignore it, I did.
had left behind and, frankly was still angry at,
Judeo-Christian religions (currently often called “Abrahamic” and
Islam). Why did I need a Jewish mystical system? And so I progressed
in my Pagan spiritual evolution.
years after attaining the 3rd Degree,
working with my own coven and teaching classes in the public arena, I
a book to review for a (since defunct) Pagan publication. The book was
Goddess and the Tree, (now “The Witch’s
Qabbala”) written by Ellen
book review is only a book review, not a spiritual
commitment, so I plunged in. Well, the Lightning Flash illumined the
my prejudice; followed on closely by the urge to investigate the Tree
the World Tree, the Axis Mundi and the Shamanic Tree in multiple
ancient and modern.
(Cabala, Qabalah and other spellings) is available
in the 21st Century in three basic forms:
Jewish, Christian and
Neo-pagan (or “Other”); although the Jewish form apparently now
subset that can be called ”Pop” and caters to the “glitterati”, like
textual trail of evidence for QBL can be traced back
with confidence only to about the 13th Century
CE in Spain and the
Sephardic branch of the Jewish Diaspora. But there are oral traditions
its roots to at least the Babylonian Captivity.
Tree of Life/World Tree exists in some form in virtually
every human culture. Did the Hebrew Mystics acquire the Tree from Magi
Or did the two Trees cross-fertilize? It’s irrelevant. The ongoing
Jewish tradition of the QBL has helped bring a living study of the Tree
(Otz Chaim in Hebrew) into the modern era. Christian mystics and
have picked it up and modified it for their own use. So have Neo-pagans.
a deciduous tree in fall or winter, The Tree of Life
resembles a coat rack; bare branches ready to receive the “garments”
chooses to hang upon it, in an orderly fashion. It has also been seen
Cosmic Filing Cabinet, with the spheres being individual “drawers”.
the correspondences for the sephiroth are universal and exhaustive.
a spiritual tool, the Tree of Life can be utilized in
many ways. But the way I’ve found most useful is as a Meditation or
reflection tool. The “fruit” on the Tree are called sephiroth
or just spheres).
can be equated with archetypal concepts and imageries
common to human experience and cultures down through time and around
A straight line called a “path” can unite any two spheres and the
from the experience/archetype of one sphere to another is called a
Working has become the foundation of Western Meditation
(as contrasted with Eastern or No Mind Meditation). The technique has
oozed over into the “mainstream” as Guided Meditation and Creative
Tree of Life is a living system, in that each culture
and spiritual path using it modifies it and keeps it relevant to the
people who are currently studying it. That very quality is what keeps
useful and meaningful. Anything that has been “carved in stone” was
a specific people in a specific locale at a specific period in linear
moment it became carved in stone, it “died” and became meaningful only
students of the Tree look at its history and usages
through time as foundational information, not a mental straitjacket
prevents experimentation. The oldest books on QBL are certainly useful
modern ones can give new insights, but ultimately each student should
with the Tree in his/her own way. It’s your tree, growing in your
bearing fruit for your nourishment; if not, it’s useless to you.
Sepirah I’ve had the deepest relationship with over time
is Binah, one of the Supernal Triad. Related to, among many other
Understanding, the Crone, and the planet Saturn, Binah is one of the
the Goddess cited in the traditional Charge of the Goddess and I
the sephirah that is not a sephirah and apparently
was/is deeply frightening to traditional Kabbalists, Da’ath or
speaks to me. (Possibly because I’m a Gemini!) Coincidentally, or not,
can be associated with the planet that is not a planet, Pluto; as in
of the sephiroth has multitudes of correspondences with
deities, plants, animals, angelic beings, body parts, thought processes
archetypes ad infinitum.
list is virtually endless and constantly being
revised/expanded. The imageries of the Tree have correlations to most
subjects common to the Western Mystery Traditions (of which Witchcraft
including Tarot and Alchemy.
intricacy, and paradoxical simplicity, of the tree of
life glyph cannot be adequately addressed in a few paragraphs. There
numerous books, many of them veritable tomes, on Kabbalah.
just read one or two books, even by different authors,
and call it “good”. Read all you can and discuss the Tree with
others, but come to your own conclusions. We come to Wisdom (Chokmah)
viewing Knowledge (Da’ath) through the lens of Understanding (Binah).
Tree of Life is about life and experience and Self and
choices and the tools for shaping all of the preceding. Should you
taste the fruits of the Tree of Life, l’chaim!
am available at Witches Brew in Denver for individual
counsel as well as classes. I can also be reached through
the CyberWitchcraft Contact Page
WitchVox. My website is The
Alexandria Academy of Universal Metaphysics
to Divination from Kabbalah
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