Wicca receives much of its tradition from the Celtic culture. the four elements corresponding to the four directions are common parts of quarter calls when casting a circle. The Celts also spoke of 4 cities which correspond to these 4 elements and their associated tools. In the East is Air. The tool is the spear. The city’s name is Gorias. This was my first peek at it, which I now share with you:
While the Tree of Life never really goes away, I have not written about it in a long time. Each day, our multi-layered experiences would find a place for observation, contemplation, and solution on the Tree, if we only were willing to study it and use what we know.
You will never know it all…..but even the first “Aha!” leads to deeper knowing and wiser life.
If I can get some kind friend to help me navigate this computer realm, I will be adding pages and artwork from other disciplines (faery, dragon, Wicca). But all the while, I recognize that any realms can be placed and studied and understood on the Tree of Life.
The Kabbalah Cross is the first and last step in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. This Lesser Banishing ritual of the Pentagram, or LBRP, can be seen in 4 parts, parts 1 and 4 being the Kabbalah Cross.
The Golden Dawn required its beginners (Neophytes) to practice this Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram daily (or twice a day) for a year before learning further ceremonial rituals.
The cross itself is simple enough, a connecting of above and below, right and left, and a centering. The ritual uses gestures and the names of god to create this cross.
Different groups and teachers explain its importance in different ways.
You can creatively choose the deity names (or names of Qualities) for Above, Below, right, Left, and Center. The traditional names are Hebrew names of different aspects of God. I use the names of aspects of Divine that I have been working with. (And sometimes they change, like sometimes your group of friends will change.)
The traditional names very roughly translate to:
(Center) Forever and ever.
R.J. Stewart in his book on Kabbalah The Miracle Tree has a beautiful and goddess-friendly version of the Kabbalah Cross.
My personal Cross uses the names given below. Try to create your own….
(Above) Queen of the Universe
(Below) Deep God
Studying spirituality and the Western magical tradition is central to my life. One of the best parts is to take an established practice or ritual and play with it, adding my personal touches so that my prayer, my magic, my devotion, not only fits my life, but becomes my living….so I am starting a new category for just these episodes in individualizing the traditional rites.
I don’t envision anyone using my rituals (though feel free to do so, and let me know how it went.) Rather I intend to model what one person might be able to do to connect traditional practice to life in a meaningful way.
When we look at the three pillars of the Tree of Life, we see the classic Middle Pillar in the center, and the Pillar of Severity on the Left, the Pillar of Mercy on the Right.
A more everyday way to view these are:
- Middle Pillar: Peace
- Severity Pillar: Pain
- Mercy Pillar: Pleasure
Doesn’t life sometimes seem to be a game of strategy to avoid the pain and increase the pleasure? But sometimes wanting pleasure causes pain (very Buddhist as desire is the cause of suffering.”) Sometimes Pleasure, or craving it, drives us back to the Peace pillar.
In this experience of extremes, and then respite at the middle is the whole practice of Kabbalah on the Tree of Life.
It also is a bit of Goldilocks and the Three bears….Papa Bear’s bed is too big (Pillar of Mercy). Baby Bear’s bed is too small (Pillar of Severity). Mama Bear’s bed is “just right.” (Middle Pillar.)
Later we will explore the Middle Pillar. But for now, notice that no matter which bed she is in, Goldilocks can have trouble (especially if the bear family comes home.)
Know that work with the Tree of Life invariably brings challenges on all the pillars. Even Mama Bear’s bed isn’t going to be so “right” when she comes roaring in the door.
Kabbalah is a way of improving our lives because it connects us to powers bigger than our person. But these powers can knock us down or eat us up. Prudence is advised. Grounding is important.
Kabbalah is a spiritual system which organizes Being, the Being which is you, the Being which is the World and the Universe, the Being which we call Divinity. The facet of Kabbalah on which I will focus, is the Tree of Life, its primary glyph.
This glyph helps us to think about experiences and states for which we normally have no language, or at least no linear language.
Three basic approaches help us with the basic Tree: the Spheres which are the building units of our “Lego” Tree of Life; the Pillars (polarity); and the Triangles (evolution);
The spheres are 10 states of Being. Growing familiar with what qualities, entities, and aspects of life they represent is the key to understanding (and utilizing) the Tree of Life.
So, despite the fact that they are building blocks rather than the structure in which we arrange the blocks, we will begin with the spheres. Once we have an idea of the Tree’s structure, the most important thing to remember is that the Tree of Life is about relationship: that is, where on the Tree is the sphere, and how does it relate to the other spheres.
This study would take several lifetimes to complete. But I will post some beginning steps to explore the Tree.