The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
In the image below, the Tree of Life is on the left-hand side and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is on the right-hand side. More importantly, the former is a perversion and distortion of the latter, and these so-called “trees” are both mentioned in the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis. The thing is that this tale is neither historical nor mythological, but rather allegorical and theological in nature. Unbeknownst to many, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge are ancient Kabbalistic diagrams of 10 Sephirot, meaning “emanations”. This can also be written as Sephiros or Sephiroth, and the word Sephirot is the plural term of the singular Sephirah, each one of which represents a particular sphere of influence. Moreover, these are not to be confused with the Kelipot on the Tree of Death, which is an inversion of the Tree of Life, with “empty shells”.
As part of this, Kabbalists believe in the inherent power of spoken and written words, particularly regarding the Semitic languages. Plus, Kabbalists know the various names of God and the angels, and they use these to perform theurgical rites, using letters and numbers as talismans to become one with the divine. The Sepher Yetzirah, even describes how God made the world from the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Of course, Kabbalists who study the Zohar believe that when God said “Let there be Light” He spoke in Aramaic, whereas those who study the Sepher Yetzirah think He spoke in Hebrew. Regardless, the Tree of Life is central to Kabbalists, as well as Western occultists. In fact, during the 15th century, Italian Renaissance scholars sought to unify the Kabbalah with Christian theology, as well as natural philosophy. This gave rise to European esoterica, which incorporated the symbolism of astrology, cartomancy, numerology, alchemy, and more.
In line with all of this, most Kabbalists don’t believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. Instead, they are far more likely to think that the “Body of God” is symbolized by the Trees, which are each made up of ten different spiritual principles. Thus, the Tree of Life emerged when the 4th Sephirah became the 10th, and Da’ath, or Truth, fell to the position of Malkuth, the Kingdom of Man, below the Foundation of Yesod. This is when the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil became the Tree of Life, and God was cut off from humanity in an unbalanced cosmos. In alchemical terms, this means souls now have to reunite with spirit, which is to say that Mercury must combine with Sulfur. Along with this, there is an upward-facing triangle made by Kether and a downward-facing triangle made by Tiphareth. “As Above, So Below”. Plus, Malkuth is symbolic of the Earth, while Kether represents Heaven, and these connections and many more exist simultaneously. In this way, the rift formed by the Abyss left the top 3 Sephirot concealed, while the bottom 7 Sephirot were revealed.
The authenticity of Da’ath as a Sephirah in its own right stems from a Yetziratic text which states: “Ten and not nine, ten and not eleven.” So, the real explanation is that Da’ath is not extra at all, rather it is the original position that Malkuth occupied before descending. That is to say, in the Tree of Knowledge, Da’ath exists. But in the Tree of Life, Malkuth exists. They are the same Sephirah, but different. They simply hold two separate positions on distinct models of existence. The original creative Tetragram produced a perfect pattern on the Tree of Knowledge. This symmetry was then destroyed when it became the Tree of Life. The remaining gap formed by the “original sin” then formed into the Abyss. Thus, humanity must now return to the source and restore Malkuth back to its original position. This is how to get from the Kingdom of Man to the Crown of God, thereby allowing Adam to become Yahweh. This means, in order to reach the top of the Tree of Life you must pass from Chesed to Binah, crossing over the dreaded Abyss.
The practical value of this becomes apparent if we see the Abyss as a restraining zone interposed between any two conditions, yet allowing contact through a carefully selected channel. As such, you should proceed from Knowledge, being balanced by Wisdom on the right and Understanding on the left, as you keep your attention fixed unwaveringly on the Crown. Provided that you approach the Abyss in this way it will present you with neither perils nor problems. For, although the depths of the Abyss are not clearly defined, the boundaries are. On one side, the limit is between Understanding and Justice, and on the other side, it’s between Mercy and Wisdom. This is why you have to learn the Truth. In the end, what this means is that if you try to retain useless, deteriorating things, then you will surely get stuck in the Abyss until it degrades and disposes of you.