copenhagen qabalah

spiritual technology lab

the 22 paths

The spiritual message of the Qabalah is that all stages, all Sephiroth from heaven to earth are united, even when this is not realized by man. The network of Paths between the Sephiroth are the Qabalah's symbols of this coherence. While the Sephiroth represent divine powers, the Paths are located within us. If they are open, we consciously take part in the flow of divine energy through the Tree - if some are closed, we experience discontiniuty, an unbalanced flow of energy, the Evil of life. Pathworking on the tree helps to harmonize and balance the inner connection and flow between associated cosmic spheres. *

The term "Path" signals that they are not only passive links but also roads to spiritual enlightenment: "The Paths represent the successive stages of the unfolding of cosmic realisation in human consciousness" (Fortune;25). Paths are "stages of personal development (...) what is required to pass on from one Sephiroth to the next" (Wang;35). *

Paths are superior ways of climbing the cosmic Tree because they have been travelled by magicians before. Like the Sephiroth, the 22 Paths can be accessed through corresponding symbols. Again, "It is the agreement over time on the meaning of a set of symbols which makes a system a Path" (Wang;xvii). Three sets of symbols are traditionally regarded the most important: The 22 Hebrew letters, the 22 Tarot trumps, and their corresponding astrological signs. Each path has a number illustrated on the image above by the serpent Nechushtan which "cross each of the Paths in succession and serve to indicate the order in which they should be numbered" (Fortune;25): *

 

The Sepher Yetzirah, 'the book of formation', dating from somewhere between year 200 and 600 A.D., is perhaps THE most important qabalistic text. It describes how the world is being created in terms of the 10 Sephiroth and 22 Hebrew letters. It divides the Hebrew letters into three groupings: Three 'mother' letters corresponding to three elements Air, Water and Fire (the magician being Earth), seven 'double' letters correspinding to the 'old' planets, and finally twelve 'simple' letters corresponding to the signs of the Zodiac. *

The three mother letters, Aleph (Air), Mem (Water) and Shin (Fire) form the basic coordinates of the created universe. Each of the mother letters preside over a triad of Sephiroth related to the element (Fortune;61). The seven double letters related to the planets all have two pronounciations, one hard and one soft. They represent opposing factors affecting us in incarnation, like the planets. According to Sepher Yetzirah "each letter represents a contrast or permutation". The simple letters symbolically correspond to the Signs of the Zodiac, our organs and everyday activities. *

To each hebrew letter corresponds also a specific tarot trump. The 22 trumps are "subjective symbols of that which is experienced on the Paths between the Sephiroth" (...) "One feels affiliations or antagonisms towards certain Tarot cards, depending upon the extent to which their lessons have already been learned" (Wang;35). The colorful tarot trumps are well suited for enflaming the subconscious through pathworking or meditation. The other 56 cards of the tarot pack relate to the Sephiroth. *

Path Letter (meaning) Tarot Trump Astrolocal Sign Qualities Summary
11th Aleph (ox) 0. Fool Air Presides over airy triad: Kether-Tiphareth-Yesod (Mother) A fertile condition of divine madness. Like a silent moment at dawn
12th Beth (house) 1. Magician Mercury Life-Death (Double) The vibratory process of the Word, the will of God. Everything we see, we create
13th Gimel (camel) 2. High Priestess Moon Wisdom-Folly (D) The watery material of consciousness containing the memory of cosmos.
14th Daleth (door) 3. Empress Venus Peace-War (D) Love and fertility as such, the most exalted creative imagination and inspiration
15th Heh (window) 4. Emperor Aries Sight (Simple) Discovery in-action of divine principles, peaceful creative leadership
16th Vau (nail) 5. Hierophant Taurus Hearing (S) The learning and teaching of cosmic law, a listening attention towards the word
17th Zain (sword) 6. Lovers Gemini Smell (S) We are twins, one and individual souls at the same time, (sub)conscious unity
18th Cheth (fence) 7. Chariot Cancer Speech (S) The reception of the will to fulfill our destiny, path of the heroic warrior
19th Teth (serpent) 8. Lust/Strength Leo Taste (S) Fuels the soul's journey into self-consciousness with a loving determination, a lust for life
20th Yod (hand) 9. Hermit Virgo Sexual Love (S) Regulates each incarnation of the soul, guiding light within, integrety, truly helping
21st Kaph (palm of hand) 10. Wheel of Fortune Jupiter Riches-Poverty (D) Life-cycles that move us forward, the choice whether to feel lucky or lost
22nd Lamed (oxgoad) 11. Adjustment/Justice Libra Work (S) Teaches balance and honesty, a price for deviations from divine law
23rd Mem (water) 12. Hanged Man Water Presides over watery triad: Binah-Chesed-Hod (M) Guidance by divine will, not ideas, limitations of knowing are sacrificed
24th Nun (fish) 13. Death Scorpio Movement (S) Leaving the desire for life itself behind for the freedom to change and live
25th Samekh (support) 14. Art/Temperance Sagittarius Anger (S) Testing of creativity, circulation of energy by reconciliation of astral opposites
26th Ayin (eye) 15. Devil Capricorn Mirth (S) Accepting and therefore seeing all there is, bridging intuition and human mind-forms
27th Peh (mouth) 16. Tower Mars Grace-Indignation (D) Constitutes the personality through language, a vibration of mind and emotions
28th Tzaddi (fish-hook) 17. Star Aquarius Imagination (S) The soul's effort to inspire the ego with higher collective forces, true stardom
29th Qoph (back of head) 18. Moon Pisces Sleep (S) Automatisms of the body are changeable, intelligent gateways to the divine
30th Resh (head) 19. Sun Sun Fertility-Barrenness (D) Enlighted creation of life through the shining of bright ideas on the Astral Light
31st Shin (tooth) 20. Aeon/Judgment Fire Presides over fiery triad: Chokmah-Geburah-Netzach (M) The truly human ability to change and be changed by the past, present and future
32nd Tau (cross) 21. Universe Saturn Power-Servitude (D) Perfectly balanced manifestation of all divine forces combined, do you realize?

These are the central correspondances neccesary for healing magic, pathworking etc. A printable A4 is avalable here. Like the Sephiroth, the Paths can be accessed through an infinite number of symbols, like gods and myths from various pantheons (gods typically relate to more than one Sephirah as each god tends to represent a number of qualities in mythology) - animals, plants and precious stones related to the gods - a selection of colours - spiritual texts on the Paths, e.g. extracts of the "Sepher Yetzirah" or "The 32 Paths of Wisdom". Always consider a path's position on the Tree, between a pair of Sephiroth and related to other paths on the Tree (opposites and polarities). *

 

back to * copenhagen qabalah