The Holistic Qabala


Title:  Yesod, the Foundation

Magical Image:  A strong, naked beautiful man

Position on the Tree: One sphere up from the base on the Middle Pillar.

Yetziratic Text: The Ninth Sephirah is called the Pure Intelligence because it purifies the Emanations.  It proves and corrects the designing of their representations, and disposes the unity with which they are designed without diminution or division.

God-Name:  Shaddai el Chai

Archangel:  Gabriel

Order of Angels: Kerubim

Planetary Ruler:  the Moon

Spiritual Experience: Vision of the Machinery of the Universe

Virtue:  Independence

Vice:  Idleness

Microcosm Correspondence:  Reproductive Organs

Symbols:  Perfumes, Sandals

Tarot Cards:  The four Nines

Color: Violet

Magical Weapon:  The Chalice or Cup

"Archangel Gabriel," c1974

Introduction to Yesod

One of thee main tasks of Yesod, Sphere of the Moon, is to acquire a firm foundation in Qabalistic theory before beginning any actual practice.  Yesod is the automated consciousness or habit mind which is also sometimes called the Vital Soul, or realm of instincts.

In physics, this astral dynamism is known as electromagnetic fields, the force which lies behind and patterns all forms.  Thus, the subconscious underlies and directs our mundane awareness in an analogous way to that in which EM fields are the subtle basis of matter.  Behavior precipitates, as it were, from hidden subconscious dynamics.  We can raise much of this unconscious motivation to awareness.

Magical tradition asserts that the human faculty of imagination is capable of creating impressions in the astral substance which guide and direct subsequent manifestation.  In modern language, creative visualization or dwelling on a though consciously or subconsciously, increases the chance of altering EM field patterns.

This is neither objective nor subjective, since the wave fronts involved operate both externally in the environment and internally in the organ of perception, the CNS. Therefore, magical exercises, carried our properly, are designed to establish and strengthen specific EM field patterns (or archetypes) with great clarity in the consciousness of the practioner.  (Ref. Netzach on EM Fields & the Astral).

Misuse of imagination has created chaos, error, and confusion in the collective consciousness.  Generations of wrong thinking have left a groove on the cultural mind, which manifests mostly as emotional fragmentation or  misplaced zeal.  Imagination is an essentially spiritual power whose expression has been distorted.

In Yesod we seek to reestablish emotional balance and control of responses and reactions which are usually below our threshold of awareness.  At Yesod, this applies particularly to the channelling of intense reproductive urges.  We seek connection with the uplifting aspects of sexual energy, rather than its animalistic expression which  might sap our vitality.

This vitality is presented in the magical image of the sphere.  But here it represents the power of regeneration of the inner person.  The force works through the nervous system and interior centers.  In yoga these centers are called chakras, and the Serpent Fire or Kundalini represents the dynamics of ascending consciousness.  This energy goes by many names including prana and chi.  It can be channelled by visualization.

Yesod work helps us hone and correct our creative visualization capacity.  If our mental images are improperly formulated, disharmony results.  Pain is an emotional signal which helps us correct our attitudes and images of our goals.  Yesod is the center of the formative world before it crystallizes into manifestation.  But we must not only work against our own lower impulses (shadow), but those of the collective (Adversary).

Focusing on right application of our self-conscious image-making faculty, we can release old blocks or habit patterns.  Hypnotherapy may be helpful in this process.  Old destructive habits are easily given up when better solutions are internalized and become part of your new self-image.  At first it takes conscious effort to divert the flow into the new channels of reaction.  But soon constructive new habits become the norm.

Yesod is the realm of instincts.  After purifying the body comes the work of purifying the psyche.  It means becoming aware of one's shadow and responses that are not in harmony with the goals of the Higher Self.  It doesn't mean suppressing emotions, because bottled up feelings explode like a pressure-cooker.  We create a channel for the liberating powers of the Self, which facilitates our natural, organic growth.

The higher Self can use the power of suggestion to influence the subconscious.  It prepares the instinctual level for the transpersonal influx or transmutation.  This mainly has to do with "original pain" work, healing misperceptions, faulty self-images, and emotional wounds or complexes--changing our "script."  We all hate to give up our habits, and this means the pain of overcoming resistence to change.

Patterns in our beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and behavior are deeply conditioned by the subconscious and the early development in our personality of script decisions, scripts, rackets, and games, such as "No Joy," or "No Love."  If most of your thoughts about yourself counteract your higher mind ideals, then progress will be very slow.  This is where therapy may help you clear out some old baggage.  Then your ideals can be incorporated into your foundation, your new image.

This new self image must be frequently reinforcd by images of success.  If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself or the world, just tell yourself to Stop!, and change the program--divert your attention, change the self-talk.

Yesod contains the patterns of all possible forms and metaphorms.  The astral plane includes but extends beyond the physical plane.  Certain simple geometrical figures can be discovered through nature and the psyche.  These archetypal forms include the cross, the square, the circle, the regular polygons, etc.  Their proportions contain representations of the dynamic forces in the universe.  They are the virtual underpinnings of sound vibration, light and color, gravitation and electromagnetism.  These properties are the formative blueprints of everything which comes into physical being.

They are expressions of the One in the Many like the Jungian archetypes.  These basic ideas and symbols of the collective unconscious also express the One in the Many.  When God commanded "Let there be Light," He also meant in the panoply of our thoughts and imagination.  And in the virtual reality of the astral, thoughts and feelings have the same concrete reality as a material object or experience.  That is why hypnotherapy works tangible results in people through their inner journeys.  When the imagery changes, so do the attitudes associated with it.

For the magician, the astral light is his medium to be influenced and formed through concentrated imagination and will.  Even the most tenuous ideas influence it, and concentrated focused energy sets the formative forces in motion.  The Collective Memory is its other function as the repository of all existence and experience.

John Gowan (1975) describes the three major modes of consciousness (or contact between the individual ego and the divine) as Trance, Art, and Creativity.  Each state has particular characteristics which correspond precisely with Tree of Life modelling.

            a) Yesod = Trance state = prototaxic mode, characterized by loss or overwhelming of ego; signs, psychomotor phenomena, subconscious ideomotor responses in therapy and divination.  Most people live in a trance state called "ordinary consciousness," or consensus reality.  They rarely get out of that trance.  Shamanic states and trance dancing are other examples.  Any constant, repetitive signal to the central nervous system will induce a trance state of varying depths.  Cultural expectations give permission to act on impulses originating in that state which may seem to originate "outside" oneself (such as possession by Loas in Voudoo).

              b) Path 25, Trump XIV, ART = Art = parataxic mode, characterized by the production of images whose meaning is not clear or categorical; personal or idiosyncratic use of symbols and imagery; affective images.   Metaphorms are produced when the mind imposes its own structure on its perception of the universe.  A characteristically "lunar" consciousness, which shifts to the Solar consciousness of

               c). Tiphareth = Creativity = syntaxic mode, where meaning is more or less fully cognized symbolically, with the ego fully present; cognitive symbols.  This stage includes such diverse experiences as nature mysticism, tantric sex, visualization, alpha feedback, meditation, peak experiences and higher jhana states.  Also germaine is an Orientation System.  The Causal level.  Creativity is the result of the harmonizing of lunar and solar elements.

YETZIRAH, the Emotional Plane

The common name for this plane of awareness is the Astral Plane or Astral Light.  It is synonymous with the alchemical idea of the Anima Mundi, or Soul of the World.  The Jungian idea of the Collective Unconscious as the treasurehouse of fluctuating imagery is a modern explanation for the experience of this phenomena.  Theoretically, all experiences are available for downloading from this archive.  This might be the source of past life memories, the so-called Akashic Record.

The Astral Light is also perceived behind the phenomenon of EM fields and their effects in patterning physical manifestations.

"The Astral Light is an omnipresent and all-permeating fluid or medium of extremely subtle matter; substance in a highly tenuous state, electric and magnetic in constitution, which is the model upon which the physical world is built.  It is the endless, changeless, ebb and flow of the world's forces that, in the last resort, guarantee the stability of the world and provides its foundation.  Yesod is this stable foundation, this changeless ebb and flow of astral forces, and the universal reproductive power in nature." (Regardie, 1970).

There are two distinct divisions into a Lower Astral and Higher Astral Plane.  The Lower Astral includes the grossest manifestations of contact with the divine through instincts and uncontrollable psychomotor phenomena influencing the body.  The Higher Astral is the plane of images and affects, including emotional response.

The lower astral is characterized by dissociation and loss or absence of memory and ego functions typical of trance states.  The higher astral includes the first attempts to impliment the will in a relationship with the subconscious forces.  This is the arena of shamanic healing and hypnotherapy, where trance is utilized to reprogram dis-ease.  In the Astral Plane, archetypes are perceived in images or mind-pictures; often this means only a vague awareness or foreboding or a visceral reaction.  They can also appear as psychic impressions.

The astral is also the realm of dream and divination.  It is the Lunar plane of psychism and mediums.  The Astral Body is the vehicle for exploration or travel in this plane.  Here, both godforms and matter (Maya) are visible.  The Astral Plane influences the body through the parasympathetic nervous system or the Central Nervous System.  Its negative effects include over-emotionalism.

Psychological reflection in this plane leads to the acquisition of reliable information concerning self-knowledge.  All other experience here, especially for purely personal gain, is to be discouraged.

Yesod as the Prototaxic Mode of Awareness:

The properties of various trance states vary depending on a number of factors: whether ego is totally absent or partially present; whether there is any memory of the experiences;  whether there is a negative or positive personal and social value; whether the experience was sought or induced, considered and illness, therapy, grace, or divine; whether there are physical symptoms, and whether or not the trance state was learned or conditioned, such as by trauma (PTSD).

The prototaxic mode, trance, is an archaic mode of primitive consciousness.  In ancient times it probably helped us overcome extreme pain and fatigue, and shamanic trance was among the first religious impulses of man.  Trance involves the body in automatic, somatic, and kinesthetic behavior.  It is characterized by dissociation, awe, dread, horror, and panic.  There may be sensations of extreme heaviness or floating.  Trance includes such phenomenal experiences as possession, mediumship, hypnosis, guided visualization, channelling, astral projection, psychedelic drug experience, and paranormal aspects including ESP.

Its range extends from the extreme dissociation of schizophrenia to the religious ecstasy of mystics and the magical flight of shamans.  At the lower end of the prototaxic scale, ego control is weak or absent, and there is a general amnesia regarding experiences in the trance state.  Though the trance state produces some intriguing paranormal effects, it is the grossest form of contact with the divine powers of the subconscious.  It has an uncanny, sometimes awesome quality.

Through a taxonomy of these manifestations we may establish the relative value of these altered states of consciousness:

1.  Dissociations:

Schizophrenia (total dissociation from daily life) is the grossest form of trance, and forms a compulsively consuming virtual reality with total immersion.  The script here is "No Exit."

Panic reactions, including mob contagion; terrifying sense of peril; guilt or sense of personal responsibility; disturbed erotic involvement or socially unsanctioned sex life.  Script is "No Joy."

Positive disintegration (regression in the service of transcendence) is the necessary dissolution of the old self image and programming preceeding enlightenment.  As a mental illness, it is characteristic of shamans, psychologists and other cases of the "wounded-healer" archetype.

Hysteria including hyperarousal and psychosomatic conversion-reactions, such as skin disorders, free-floating aches and pains, hypochochondria, etc.

Unstressing is a behavior outlet for the psychic tension accruing from the confrontation with the powers of the Collective Unconscious.  Occurs spontaneously in therapy, meditation, and religious trance.  Includes "talking in tongues," dancing, shaking, motor automatisms (spasms, gasps, twitches, jerking, weeping, laughter, headaches, etc.).

2.  Trance States
Sleep, where images are profuse, but the ego/will is absent;

Possession, where the individual ego is usurped by a malevolent demon or spirit;

Mediumistic trance is a form of possession where a benign, dead, or ascended spirit controls and dominates the individual ego;

Group trance dance, such as practiced by American Indians and at Raves, Sufis, and Voodoo are also form of possession, with paranormal manifestations.

Other temporary restructuring of reality orientations come through:

Psychedelic Drugs, which provide vivid imaginal "trips" which the ego has difficulty recalling and integrating meaningfully.  Can mean developmental forcing and rupture.

Sensory deprivation produces hallucinations and disorientation as the external input ceases and only the inner world plays out centerstage.

Hypnosis and Self-Hypnosis produce four classic depths of trance for therapeutic benefit.

Shamanic trance is a high form of prototaxic operation.  The sorcerer's mission is to influence the environment by magic.  He is not possessed by spirits but controls them.  He retains his memory of magical flights or out-of-body experiences.  He receives and remembers instructions from dreams, and because of his own wounding and recovery has the ability to heal.

Magical trance is the prototaxic form of Lunar magic.  It uses psychic powers for personal interests.  Its parataxic mode form is ritual; its syntaxic activity is visualization.

3. Paranormal Aspects:
ESP (telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, psychometry);
Anesthesia of pain and healing;
Fire-walking and other mastery over fire;
Psychokenesis and poltergeist phenomena;
Out-of-body (OOB) experience, magical flight, and astral projection;
Automatic writing or "channelling;"
Psychic Surgery.
4. Higher trance; religious trance, theophanies or mystical experiences.

This is the upper border of the lower astral realm.  It marks increased freedom from psychic contagion and superstition.  Subconscious beliefs make many phenomena work on others--expectations are crucial and we are vulnerable at the most fundamental level.

At this juncture, consciousness shifts modes of awareness, making a quantum leap to the Parataxic Mode known as ART.  This is the realm of METAPHORMS: archetypes, dreams, ritual, myth, art, ceremonial.  It is an expression of the "We Are" consciousness of the collective psyche.  There is general increase in conscious participation, memory, and movement from awe and dread toward pleasure as tensions are released in creative activity.  Frequently these include ritual (ceremonial) or the production of a socially recognizable work of art with collective value.

Further progress on this continuum leads to increased cognitive awareness.  Visualization ability is consciously cultivated, and a form of psychic "map" is adopted, such as the qabalistic Tree of Life.  Increasing self-realization leads to the desire to meditate, seeking higher experiences of human fulfillment.

The Syntaxic Mode means the ego cooperates with the inner processes enough to remain fully conscious and in an Ordinary State of Consciousness.  It voluntarily subordinates itself to the transpersonal energy of the divine.  It surrenders to engaging in the paradoxical overthrow of itself, in favor of a greater whole.

NEXT: Sphere 9:  YESOD, the Moon

Click here to email Iona Miller.
Date Created: 9/14/99  Last Updated: 8/3/02
Web Design by Iona Miller and Vickie Webb.