THE TRIUNE GOD By John Nash Part IV
- THE TRIUNE GOD
By John Nash
The Supernals of the Kabballah
The body of teaching known as the Kabbalah originated in Judaism no
than medieval times and perhaps as early as the Old Testament period.
recently esoteric students of other persuasions have embraced it and
hermetic Kaballah" contains many Christian concepts.
The Kabbalah teaches that the whole of manifestation emanates from an
absolute, unknowable godhead, comparable to the Hindu Brahman.
godhead is not quite unknowable, it is triplistic in nature,
three "veils", the Ain, "the Negative One" the Ain Soph, "Limitless
, and the Ain Soph Aur, "Limitless Light". Negative existence is to be
understood in the sense of the neti neti of Hinduism.
The emanations from the godhead, describing the descent into
are ten in number and referred to as the sephiroth. Like
Plotinus, the Kabbalists believed that the divine energy cascades
aspect of divinity to the next. As one sephiroth fills, like a bowl,
overflows to fill the next lower one. The sephiroth traditionally are
represented on a glyph or chart called the "Tree of Life". The Tree
three columns or "pillars" associated with the qualities of severity,
mildness and mercy. The sephiroth on the middle Pillar of Mildness
or equilibrate the opposing forces on the other two pillars.
The first three sephiroth: Kether, Chokmah,and Binah, collectively
the "supernals", constitute a divine trinity. Kether, at the top of
Pillar of Mildness, is the first emanation from the threefold Ain,
the Crown", in primal glory, pure being, pure becoming. Each of the
sephiroth is associated with a particular divine name, and Kether is
assocxiated with Eheieh, "I Am", as in "I Am That I Am". In the
of the earliest Kabbalistic texts, Kether is called the Most High, the
Ancient of Ancients, the Ancient of Days. Consistent again with
is symbolised by the "point within the circle".
The second emanation is Chokmah. Chokmahm, which resides at the top
right=hand Pillar of Mercy, is interpreted as "wisdom" Chokmah, pure
activity or life, is the Supernal Father the primal male principle,
divine name is Yaweh. Chokmah is symbolised by the line, the rod of
Binah, the third emanation, which resides atop the left-hand Pillar of
Severity, is usually interpreted as "understandig", but a better
might be"insight' or "gnosis". Binah is primordial form, the primal
principle, the Supernal Mother, or the alchemists Virgin Mother.
divine name is Yaweh Elohim. "Elohim" a plural word of ambiguous
transalated as "God" or "the Lord" in the Old Testament. Another of
names is Marah, which can be translated as "the sea" but also is the
the name "Mary". Binah is synthesised by the vertical cross or the
Chokmah and Binah, into which the divine eneregy of Kethor
are the first pair of opposites. They are complementary and essential
each other because phenomenal existance requires the pure energy of
to be resisted by the primordial form of Binah. In the Kabbalah, the
energy and the female form are present at the highest level of diety.
If Chokmah and Binah correspond to the Father and Mother - with
above both - an emanation corresponding to God the Son is
absent from the Kabbalistic trinity. The Son is often associated with
sixth sephiroth, Tiphoreth, the sacrificed god, or in the Hermetic
Christ on the Cross". However, descriptions of Tiphareth resemble
rather than the Christ, and God the Son could perhaps be associated
hidden, unumbered sephiroth Duath, which overshadows Tiphoreth. Duath,
interpreted as "knowledge" lies on the "abyss" which separates the
from the seven lower sephiroth.
An early Kabbalistic text, the Sephir Yetzirah, links Kether to the
"The first of the Sephiroth, one is the Spirit of the living God.
Spirit and Word, this is the Holy Spiit. Two (Chokmah) is the breath
Spirit. Three (Binah) is the water which comes from the breath and
He sculpted primary matter...."
This passage is interesting, although "Holy Spirit", "Binah"
and "Word" do
not seem to have their Christian meanings. Modern kabbalists suggest
teh Holy Spirit amy corespond to the ninth sephiroth
Yesiod, "foundation" or
in its feminine form to teh tenth sephirah, Malkuth, "the kingdom"
tradition identifies Malkuth witha the feminine force Shekinah.
all ten sephiroth are regarded as divine emanations.
The three supernals of the Kabbalah, and indeed the remaining seven
sephiroth,, have been the focus of intense intellectusl, mystical and
attention. But, in contrast to the persons of the Hindu and Christian
trinities, they are remote and abstract like the aspects of Plotinus'
The supernals are not intereested in human individuals, and no cult of
devotion has grown up around them.
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