PART I: ASSIAH, THE PHYSICAL PLANE
Title: Malkuth, the Kingdom
Magical Image: A Young Woman, crowned and throned.
Position on the Tree: Base of the Pillar of Equilibrium, a Pendant
Yetziratic Text: The Tenth Sephirah is called the Resplendent Intelligence because it is exalted above every head and sits upon the throne of Binah. It illuminates the splendors of all the Lights, and causes an influence to emanate from the Prince of Countenances, the Angel of Kether.
Kabbalistic Titles: The Gate, The Gate 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, the Queen, Malkah, the Bride, Kallah, the Virgin.
God Names: Adonai ha Aretz, or Adonai Malekh
Choir of Angels: Ashim, Souls of Fire
Mundane Chakra: Cholem ha Yesodoth, Sphere of the Elements
Spiritual Experience: Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel
Microcosm Correspondence: The Feet, the Anus, Root Chakra
Symbols: Altar of the Double Cube, Equal-armed Cross, the Magic Circle, the Triangle of Art
Tarot Cards: The four Tens
Colors: Citrine, Olive, Russet, and Black; or Earthy Green
Magical Weapon: the Pantacle or Disk
"The Grail Quest," c1998
Introduction to Malkuth
326.02 All that is physical is energetic.
All that is metaphysical is synergetic. (B. Fuller, 1976)
In our approach to true self-knowledge via the Tree of Life, we begin with Malkuth, the Sphere of Earth, the Four Elements, and the Physical Body. At this initial point on the Path of Return, we seek the wisdom of nature and develop a zealous dedication to the principles of the Great Work. We come to understand the value and necessity of placing our self-unfoldment as our main priority. Everything in nature desires to return to its root, and our soul desires attachment to its Root on high in Kether.
But mysticism is not meant for everyone, and only earnest seekers will continue to be motivated. When we know we are in the dark, we begin to consciously seek the Light. To climb the spiritual ladder, we ascend from one qabalistic Universe to the one above it, from the physical to astral to causal to archetypal. We attach our mind to that which is on high--attachment to the spiritual. If you wish to ascend, you must go from one stage to the next, holistically incorporating more levels of awareness as you go.
To begin, a basic understanding of physics, physiology, chemistry, botany and biology is helpful. We get to know the scientific basis of reality before we delve into the metaphysical. This is the realm of empiricism and phenomenology. We begin with the things of the world, the things that can be perceived by our senses. Our study replaces ignorance of these subjects, and helps us overcome magical superstitions about "how things work."
The Holy Grail of science is the Grand Unified Theory of Everything. We study the objective universe, realizing that all theories about its nature are still hypothetical. As in the case of all observations, our senses are prone to distortions, and we need to learn about the limitations of our sensory apparatus, as well as tricks our mind can play on us. Biofeedback is effective for learning biophysical control; neuralfeedback teaches control of brainwave states. Through all these means we seek to understand the apparently hidden laws of material existence.
Everything we can know about our experience comes to us through sensory experience or our mental sensory impressions of these sensations. Experiential metaphors--what experiences are like--are always clothed in quasi-sensory metaphors of sight, sound, feeling, etc. All our understanding of the laws of life is grasped through this sensory modality. Through practice and study we can cultivate a more accurate interpretation of inner sense reports. We develop our ability to concentrate or focus attention, which prepares us for more subtle understanding.
Learning about the physical plane through science helps us prepare intellectually for the direct experience of the essential unity of all things. The formation of the universe and its continual unfolding is a great mystery. At the most fundamental levels, the differences between organic and inorganic matter vanish. Thus there is an underlying unity to mineral, plant, animal, and human makeup.
The primary forms of energy in physics are radiation, fluids, gases, and solids. Ancient symbolism refered to them as fire, water, air, and earth. These four elements are assigned to Malkuth, as they form the basis of physical reality. Malkuth means the Kingdom, and everything in the kingdom is a combination of these primary forms of matter, which is more fundamentally energy, always in motion.
However, primal Light or Spirit is the primary substance of every form. Matter can be considered somewhat like "frozen" or crystallized light. Spirit is in Matter and reflects the qabalistic aphorism "Kether is in Malkuth." It is a materio-spiritual Creation. Gradually we learn to perceive this directly as our consciousness ascends the stations of the Tree of Life, from outer appearances to their inner Reality. The work of this sphere includes turning outward observations into inward insights.
We learn to ground the force of the spirit in daily life. Limitations in perception give way to the clarity which comes from an informed and experienced position. We can engage in any activity when we realize nothing but God's presence in it. Life becomes a meditation, the practice of the presence of God.
At this stage of re-dedication, we should reevaluate our attitude toward our body, making sure to give it the essential love and care which will enable us to continue the work of transformation. There are ordeals and periods of great tension in the work when pairs of opposites within us are attempting to reconcile. A strong immune system is helpful at this time, since the tension is physically tangible, adding to any normal load of stress.
Properly prepared and conditioned (such as through yoga or Tai Chi), the body will subconsciously cooperate in the Great Work. The chakras symbolize six planes of subtle matter in the body which are material forces. Engaging in worldly activities, our mind is fixed on spirituality. Following the advice of old qabalistic masters, we afix our mind to each physical thing, elevating and binding it on high. When we cannot grasp a difficult subject we are at the level of Malkuth, but when we follow through and grasp it, our understanding binds it to Binah and attaches the two together.
God can be found in all things, even our pain and struggles. When we realize this, we can remove the garment of our physicality and let our soul and spirit soar, by attaching it to God through meditation. Then we come to see the Divine Presence in all things. The whole earth becomes filled with the radiance of the Divine Presence, and this raises or elevates our thoughts from the lower world to the transcendental realm. Man is a microcosm, and True Light is within us. The infinite is contained in the finite. Our body, the mortal frame is a house for the soul.
The Sephiroth are the Divine Emanations which God created to direct the universe. Meditate that God is in front of you in the 10 Spheres of that Universe, and contemplate that infinite greatness. All spheres come together in the lowest one which is Malkuth. It is associated with the Divine Presence, or immanence of God, known in Kabbalah as the Shekinah, in-dwelling feminine counterpart of God.. This is why Malkuth is called "The Bride."
The very elements of our bodies were born in the explosion of some supernova long ago. Our carbon atoms, molecules, the various minerals and salts in our body are obviously fundamental to our existence. We convert plant matter into ourselves through a process of cold fusion we call digestion. In our meditation we can include in our self-concept the animal, vegetable and mineral universes, and through that meditation bind them all to God.
The next stage is to ascend to the First Firmament (The Universe path), ascending with the soul alone, separating yourself from the body, "divesting the physical." Expand the firmament on all sides until it fills your whole mind and climb until you reach the world of Angels (Yetzirah, YESOD), and then the world of the Throne (Briah, Tiphareth).
Every stage looks final, until it is transcended. Every plane appears to be the very last, since that is as far as our vision can penetrate. Many schools of meditation confuse Universal Mind, which is clearly a causal experience, with the Supreme Deity. Every stage contains false copies of the highest spiritual stages, subtle planes of transcendent worlds.
When we focus on a definite purpose, we override all automatic responses that tend to destroy it. So it is in meditation when the body would draw our consciousness down with itches, pains, involuntary movement and other distracting sensations. If we continue to focus we become transparent and all elemental forces in the body are purified.
Rest and patience, and many ascents and descents in meditations are required to establish new patterns in the physical body. Spiritual experiences must be digested or assimilated to gain their full value, and we must not "lust for results." The results are on-going even when imperceptible, if we remain punctual in our meditation.
When we can still the body and the senses and collect our consciousness at the Eye Center, we can cross the realm of the stars (Path 32, the Universe) at the threshold of the Astral Plane to move toward the inner Sun and illumination of the Causal Plane. But progress is one small step at a time.
In Malkuth, we identify with what has come to be known as Gaia-consciousness. Expanding our awareness to that of the earth's biosphere we learn compassion for all life forms. This leads many to choose a vegetarian lifestyle, since 6-10 vegetarians can live on the resources consumed by one omnivore. Another consideration is the population explosion which threatens the whole ecology, so responsible breeding also becomes a consideration. We may not be able to heal the planet, but we can improve our personal relationship with it by responsible choices such as recycling and low-impact lifestyles.
Malkuth, as the sphere of physical sensation, incites to action. Alchemically, this has four phases. The earthy phase is our recognition of our ignorance and delusions, which allows us to seek wisdom. The watery phase is one of purification from emotional colorations. Fire refers to mental activation, wherein we dedicate our reasoning and analytical faculties to the earnest search for truth. The airy aspect, or stage of incandescence, marks the enlightenment of the Astral. But remember, the densest forms of earth are essentially one with the Light.
The Four ElementsThe most simplistic division of the circle, as a symbol of wholeness, is into four quadrants. This four-fold division is an expression of the potential characteristics of balance, solidity, and regularity. Mankind distinguishes four seasons, four directions, and four quarters of the heavens.
Since this quaternary system of orientation is so basic, it is not surprising that the early Greek philosophers came to the conclusion that all things are made through the combination of the four fundamental materials: fire, water, air, and earth. Through the years, various contemporary interpretations have been corresponded with these original elements, but their qualities remain consistent:Fire and air express masculine qualities. They are active, positive and creative. Water and earth are feminine in nature, being passive, negative and receptive. Fire is known as the spiritual element, and is associated with aspiration, energy, purification, and transformation. Water is the universal medium, the unfathomable depths of the human subconscious. Air is associated with the breath, soul, and flights of the imagination. Earth expresses solidity and practicality, the physical body. The ideal, or perfected man is a balanced combination of these forces.Fire Nitrogen Electricity "Strong force"
Water Hydrogen Liquids "Weak force"
Air Oxygen Gases Electromagnetism
Earth Carbon Solids Gravity
When matter is conceived as consisting of four divisions, the psyche is also perceived in a similar structure. In Magick, this fourfold division is expressed as the Four Powers of the Sphinx. The Sphinx is a mythological creature, whose androgynous nature combines both masculine and feminine elements, animal and human elements.
The magician seeks an equilibrated development of the forces of nature. This balanced strength is expressed in the axiom "To Will, to Dare, to Know, to keep Silent." These four powers are corresponded with the Fixed Signs of the Zodiac:To Will Taurus Earth Bull patience, solid enegyAleister Crowley also corresponded the powers of the Sphinx with forms of Yoga:
To Dare Leo Fire Lion strength and courage
To Know Aquarius Air Eagle swift, soaring intelligence
To Keep Silent Scorpio Water Man subtlety, spiritual wisdomIn The Book of Wisdom or Folly, he also added this note of caution: "Yet mark thou well how these interfuse, so that thou mayst accomplish no one of the Works separately. As to make Gold thou must first have Gold (it is the Word of the Alchemists) so to become the Sphinx thou must first be a Sphinx."Bull Karma Yoga Life
Lion Raja Yoga Light
Eagle Bhakti Yoga Love
Man Gnana Yoga Liberty
Buckminster Fuller found a way to model all objects with the tetrahedron. A tetrahedral unity moddels everything. As a four-fold object, it is simply the minimum structural system in the Universe. It is stability incarnate, a nest of principles. A cross-legged meditator forms a tetrahedron. According to Fuller:
"There is a fourfold twoness: one of the exterior, cosminc, finite ("nothingness") tetrahedron--i.e. the macrocosm outwardly complementing all ("something") systems--and one of the interior microcosmic tetrahedron of nothingness complementing all conceptually thinkable and cosmically isolatable "something" systems." (Synergetics 2, 223.07)
The Quest we initiate as seekers in Malkuth is not without its consequences, according to P.D. Ouspensky:"The Sphinx with its riddle...devoured those who approached it and could not solve the riddle. The allegoryof the Sphinx means that there are questions of a certain order which man must not approach unless he knows how to answer them. Having once come into contact with certain ideas man is unable to live as he lived before; he must either go further or perish under a burden which is too heavy for him."One of the biggest clues of this stage comes from Art and from Gestalt Therapy: it is that the figure (mankind) is not studied independently from the ground (the Universe). And this leads us up the first path on the Way of Return: The Universe.
NEXT: Sphere 10: MALKUTH, the Earth
Date Created 9/14/99 Last Updated 08/3/02
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