The Extras

Extra: The Tree of Life Spheres 

By Tabitha Chamberlain 


Kabbalah is overwhelming to learn, a great deal more so than astrology and most certainly that of numerology or elemental dignities. I'm only trying to give you some of the basics of what kabbalah is and how it works in tarot. There's nothing like you taking the time to learn it for yourself. This article is to get into a more detailed breakdown of the Tree of Life so you can see how it works with tarot.  

A brief note, I’m ending the Extra series here. I Ching and Runes are both generally applied to a lot of tarot decks now, I feel that they aren't truly part of what makes up the structure of a tarot deck. Also both systems have enough material dedicated to them that it's easy to access them without my help.  

Jumping straight in, keep in mind that this is going to contain a lot of information that you may not be completely comfortable or knowledgeable about. Go slow, referring to a Tree of Life image to help understand it. I'm using the word "Sphere" instead of the traditional "Sephiroth", if for no other reason than it's easier to type. Each Sphere holds their number value Pip card, all Aces are in the Crown Sphere. All Six cards are in Sphere 6, the Court are in certain Spheres. 

Starting at the top of the Tree, we are going to enter all four worlds of Kabbalah through each section of the Tree along with each Tree itself as explained in the first article; where each World is layered upon the other to create a complete world.   

Our journey is going to start at first of the Four Worlds of Kabbalah, Atziluth, the world of archetypes, also the world of Fire. The last Sphere of it laps into the first Sphere of the World of Briah, the world of creativity and Water. Again the 10th Sphere of Briah laps over the 1st Sphere of Yetzirah, the formative and Air world. Before lastly entering into Assiah, the material world and Earth.  

Each one of these Worlds holds a section of the Tree of Life. Atziluth holding the top Spheres 1-3. Briah, the next 4-6. Yetzirah, holds 7-9 and Assiah holds only the 10th but we'll get to the reasons why later.  

In tarot, the Aces are laid at the Crown (1) of the Tree of Life, now this is done in Judaic tradition meaning we are to read right to left. Two is on the right side (the male side of the Tree) Chokmah. Three is to the left (female side). This develops into an upward facing triangle, this is referred to as the Creation Triangle. It's called this because it's considered the Creator or Oneness, where the basic building blocks of the thoughts that created every thought after. 

1-Kether-Crown, this is the Self or Deity, this sphere is basically the “One” that created us all. This is the spark of life or an idea that begins all the rest. It's said that the Oneness was looking around one day only to realize that it was alone. 

This is Sphere is about creative potential, new beginnings, and religious beliefs. This is the deep seated root of all things that we don't realize we are thinking comes from. It's through life experiences that they start to develop and manifest.  

The planet Neptune rules Kether. 

2-Chokmah-Wisdom, this is the masculine or the cosmic father. Back to our creation story, The Oneness started reflecting upon its singledom, does it need to be more than a dot? Is it enough to be a single entity in the dark emptiness? Should there be more? This thought created the idea of two.  

Representing the idea of actions, where our responsibilities are, and the ability to use rational and logical thinking to make choices and decisions.  

Uranus rules Chokmah, also holds all of the Kings. 

3-Binah-Understanding, the feminine side beginning the right brain thinking or divine mother. Upon realizing that the Oneness became two with a thought which created a third point. Creating a triangle, 1 leads to 2, 2 leads to 3 and 3 going back into 1. This circular thinking started out of nothingness, but created a solid idea become a reality.  

Binah is understanding and depth through our intuitions and inner knowledge. Processing with our emotions and feelings rather than the rational ideas, but still with reason. Saturn is home here, Queens.  

While the first three Spheres hold a story of creation, after that we fall past what is called the "abyss line". The top of the Tree is the start or beginning as we see from the Creation story. The Tree is then broken down into two more triangles both downward facing and one extra Sphere at the bottom. The Spheres below the abyss line are filled with more human characteristics that we can understand better and are more comfortable with. 

The next 3 Spheres belong in the World Briah or Water World. These Spheres form a downward facing triangle. This first downward triangle acts as a prism reflecting the Creation triangle it's basically the thousands of ideas pouring down the sieve of knowledge.  

4-Chesed-Mercy, this is about growth and reward which is seen by Jupiter as the ruler, this is also about positive results through acts of compassion. A sense of security with wealth, finances, and abundance. All the Fours 

5-Geburah-Severity, this Sphere is where we start to learn our lessons through trials, tribulations and learning our own limitations which is always a worthy reality check. Its through these difficult times we encountered that we gain the ability to turn them into a positive. Mars rules this Sphere.  

6- Tiphareth- Beauty, this Sphere lands in the exact center of the Tree as such it isn't a surprise that this Sphere is about Self. Allowing us to see why self-love is so important. This particular Sphere is connected to the higher aspect, the only one that reaches towards the Kether Sphere. Here it speaks to helping us define our life purposes, ideals, and objectives. Showing our achievements and success to the world. Is the Sun's home as well as the Knights.  

The next three Spheres, is again another downward facing triangle while the first one starts to shift through the multitude of ideas, this section in the World of Yetzirah, Air World, these things begin to separate out into the good and workable ideas.  

7-Netzach-Victory, this is Sphere is about emotional attachments. Not only who we attract in our lives but who we choose to form close relationships with. What we desire and the practical aspects of life. Venus.  

8-Hod-Splendor, within this Sphere we learn about our analytical thought processes. How we perceive our environment, our business, career, and cultural ideas. How we communicate with others. Theoretical ideas in life, Mercury.  

9-Yesod-Foundation, this is the ego Sphere, but not in the typical idea of ego. This one holds insights to patterns showing unconscious thoughts, secrets, hopes, desires and fears. Karmic lessons in life are held within, bet they good or bad. Health, overall well-being. Moon.  

The last World of Assiah, the Earth World, is one of the hardest but most profound world. It's the one that contains everything, but most importantly the one that things manifests into the actual physical world itself. It stands alone because of that idea, it's also the "Root" of the Tree of Life. This is where we us humans begin our journey on the Tree of Life. We try to move our way up to help us become closer to our God idea.  

10-Malkuth-Kingdom, conscious awareness, outcomes, physical results. Our roots, home, family, and anything that connects us deeply to our place here on Earth. It's where we learn to start to bring things to life for ourselves. This Sphere is not ruled by a planet, but by all four Elements due to this Sphere complexity. It also represents our physical body. Pages contained here. 

There is one last Sphere, that depending upon what ideology you follow of whether it applies or not. As it's relationship to tarot, there technically isn't one. That is the Da'at Sphere, ruled by Pluto (as noted in the first article the rest of the Spheres fall into the 7 original planets) this is an invisible Sphere that is on the Paths that connects Chokmah to Binah and Kether to Tiphareth. This invisible Sphere is thought to be the sense of completion as we ascend to the Godhead or the powerful knowledge we have in ourselves.  

After looking at each one of these Spheres you'll start to see the similarities and cross over into the different aspects of both astrology and in numerology. Both of these elements are impacted by the Tree of Life and Kabbalahism itself. Working with Kabbalah you can start to understand why certain numbers have certain means. How certain planet assignments don't interact as well as you would think due to what Sphere it's in. 

There is a subtle harmony in working with Kabbalah that if you allow it to it will open up a world that you wouldn't even realize is there. Starting to teach you to appreciate some of the most minute details that you would have normally overlooked.  

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