Jacob's Wheel & the Tree of Life

[Please Note: Many links in the following article are broken.]

Appendix I

JW & the Four Elements

Tree of Life Jacob's Wheel

The figure above-left is a representation of the well-known qabalistic 'Tree of Life' diagram. It is an image of the hierarchical structure of the Universe, and a map displaying certain relationships (or energy-flows) that exist between the various 'planes of existence' (energy-centres, or sephiroth) in our Universe.

On the Tree of Life diagram the eleven sephiroth are enumerated as follows...

  1. Kether
  2. Hockmah
  3. Binah
  4. Hesed
  5. Geburah
  6. Tifareth
  7. Netzah
  8. Hod
  9. Yesod
  10. Malkuth
  11. (Daath)

The figure above-right (called 'Jacob's Wheel') is also a representation of the Universe, but it reveals other relationships that exist between the various dimensions of our collective reality matrix. Specifically, it describes how the Universe systematically emerges into manifestation (from Heaven to Earth), and it also maps out a 'cycle of return' (from Earth to Heaven).

It may not be obvious at first glance, but the eleven sephiroth of the Tree of Life are also represented in the Jacob's Wheel mandala. The two figures look decidedly dissimilar, but are, in fact, very closely related. To understand the nature of their relationship we need to explore the divine process of Creation.

A classic qabalistic book called The Tree of Life describes the manifestation of a circular space within the infinite expanse of the Limitless Light, and the emergence of a central point within that space. Here is an exerpt...

Behold, that before the emanations were emanated and the creatures were created, The upper simple light had filled the whole existence. And there was no vacancy, such as an empty atmosphere, a hollow, or a pit, But all was filled with simple, boundless light. And there was no such part as head, or tail, But everything was simple, smooth light, balanced evenly and equally, And it was called the Endless Light. And when upon His simple will, came the desire to create the world and emanate the emanations, To bring to light the perfection of His deeds, His names, His appellations, Which was the cause of the creation of the worlds, He then restricted Himself, in the middle, Precisely in the center, He restricted the light. And the light drew far off to the sides around that middle point. And there remained an empty space, a vacuum Circling the middle point. And the restriction had been uniform Around the empty point, So that the space Was evenly circled around it. There, after the restriction, Having formed a vacuum and a space Precisely in the middle of the endless light, A place was formed, Where the emanated and the created might reside. Then from Endless Light a single line hung down, Lowered down into that space. And through that line, He emanated, formed, Created all the worlds...

[from the book of ARI "The Tree Of Life", Part I]

This process, in terms of the Jacob's Wheel diagram, occurs as follows...

The World of Atziluth
Emanation
The sephirah Kether
The World of Beriah
Creation
The sephirah Hockmah
The World of Yetzirah
Formation
The sephirah Binah

The first circle defines the entire extent of the Creation, and therefore corresponds with the World of Atziluth (Emanation), and the first sephirah 'Kether' on the Tree of Life diagram. In the Sepher Yetzirah it is associated with the 'mother letter' Aleph (and the 'element' Air). It corresponds with the 'Outer Ring' of Jacob's Wheel.

The second circle is slightly smaller and emerges within the established parameters of the first circle. It represents the World of Beriah (Creation), and the second sephirah 'Hockmah' of the Tree of Life. In the Sepher Yetzirah it is associated with the 'mother letter' Mem (and the 'element' Water). It corresponds with the 'Middle Ring' of Jacob's Wheel.

The third circle emerges within the circumference of the second circle, and signifies the World of Yetzirah (Formation), and the third sephirah 'Binah' of the Tree of Life. In the Sepher Yetzirah it is associated with the 'mother letter' Shin (and the 'element' Fire), but its exoteric attribution is Earth (Tav). It corresponds with the 'Inner Ring' of Jacob's Wheel.

Note: The attribution of the three kabbalistic 'worlds' to Kether, Hockmah, and Binah (as presented above) is not traditional, but appears to be meaningful in relation to Jacob's Wheel. Also, in the JW model Binah has two elemental attributions. Its inner attribution is Fire (Shin - as identified in the Sefer Yetzirah), while its external attribution is Earth (Tav). Click here for more information.

The point at the centre (of all three circles) represents the 'non-sephirah' Daath (usually numbered 11) on the Tree of Life diagram. It is permeated by all three of the higher qabalistic Worlds, and it will be seen (below) to be the root of (and to encompass) the seven lower sephiroth of the Tree of Life (i.e. representing the World of Assiah, or 'Making').

Daath is termed a non-sephirah because it exists only in potential. It is an expression of the latent Fire of Binah, and is analogous to the kundalini fire that lies dormant in the muladhara centre at the base of the spine. Daath is like a seed about to germinate, or a fertilized ova. It is thus very appropriate that it is symbolised by a point at the centre of a circle.

Part of Daath's germination process involves the extension of seven 'branches' corresponding to the seven lower sephiroth of the Tree of Life, and (in another sense) the seven chakras of the human meta-physical system. We call these branches the seven 'spokes' of Jacob's Wheel.

The outer circle sequentially unfolds seven dimensions within the World of Emanation beginning with Kether-Hesed and ending with Kether-Malkuth. The middle circle sequentially unfolds seven dimensions within the World of Creation beginning with Hockmah-Hesed and ending with Hockmah-Malkuth. The inner circle sequentially unfolds seven dimensions within the World of Formation beginning with Binah-Hesed and ending with Binah-Malkuth.

The seven spokes (representing the seven sephiroth, and the seven Hebrew 'double' letters) are manifested gradually from the outer circle to the innermost circle in the spiralling sequence shown in the diagrams above. I call this involutionary path the path of the serpent (Heb: 'Teli', tav-lamed-yod, identified with the polar constellation 'Draco') as opposed to the evolutionary path of righteousness (Heb: 'Emet', aleph-mem-tav, 'truth'). It is symbolic of the serpent in the 'Garden of Eden' that drew 'Adam' down into the physical world.

Outer Circle
(3rd Ring)
Kether
(World of Atziluth)
Kether-Hesed
Kether-Geburah
Kether-Tiphareth
Kether-Netzah
Kether-Hod
Kether-Yesod
Kether-Malkuth
Aleph
Beth
Gimel
Daleth
Ha
Vav
Zain
Middle Circle
(2nd Ring)
Hockmah
(World of Beriah)
Hockmah-Hesed
Hockmah-Geburah
Hockmah-Tiphareth
Hockmah-Netzah
Hockmah-Hod
Hockmah-Yesod
Hockmah-Malkuth
Heth
Teth
Yod
Kaph
Lamed
Mem
Nun
Inner Circle
(1st Ring)
Binah
(World of Yetzirah)
Binah-Hesed
Binah-Geburah
Binah-Tiphareth
Binah-Netzah
Binah-Hod
Binah-Yesod
Binah-Malkuth
Sameck
Ayin
Peh
Tzaddie
Qoph
Resh
Shin

This very special Jacob's Wheel arrangement (as tabulated above) suggests that the seven lower sephiroth of the Tree of Life each possess an aspect of the nature of the three highest sephiroth (Kether, Hockmah, and Binah), or that they are greatly influenced by them. That is because each one touches (along its length) the three rings of Jacob's Wheel.

Note: The fourth column in the table above (and below) lists the 22 Hebrew letters (except Tav). I have chosen to include them because there may be an esoteric relationship between them and the 21 sephirothic formulae in column three. It is thought that the natural order of the Hebrew letters symbolises 22 steps in the Creation process (the Hebrew letter Tav representing the final manifestation). These correspondences may be useful when using Jacob's Wheel as a tool for meditation, initiation and magick.

7th Spoke Hesed
(4th sephirah)
(Gimel)
Hesed-Kether
Hesed-Hockmah
Hesed-Binah
aleph
heth
sameck
6th Spoke Geburah
(5th sephirah)
(Daleth)
Geburah-Kether
Geburah-Hockmah
Geburah-Binah
beth
teth
ayin
5th Spoke Tifareth
(6th sephirah)
(Kaph)
Tifareth-Kether
Tifareth-Hockmah
Tifareth-Binah
gimel
yod
peh
4th Spoke Netzah
(7th sephirah)
(Peh)
Netzah-Kether
Netzah-Hockmah
Netzah-Binah
daleth
kaph
tzaddie
3rd Spoke Hod
(8th sephirah)
(Resh)
Hod-Kether
Hod-Hockmah
Hod-Binah
ha
lamed
qoph
2nd Spoke Yesod
(9th sephirah)
(Tav)
Yesod-Kether
Yesod-Hockmah
Yesod-Binah
vav
mem
resh
1st Spoke Malkuth
(10th sephirah)
(Beth)
Malkuth-Kether
Malkuth-Hockmah
Malkuth-Binah
zain
nun
shin

Note: It is interesting that the spoke/sephirah correspondences in the table above each add to eleven which is the number of the sephirah Daath. For example, 7th spoke/4th sephirah, or 7 + 4 = 11, and 6th spoke/5th sephirah = 6 + 5 = 11.

Thus, it could also be said that each of these seven lower sephiroth reaches up from the World of Assiah (Making) and is extended into the three higher Worlds of Yetzirah, Beriah, and Atziluth (or, Formation, Creation, and Emanation).

You can see from the table (above) that the seven spokes of Jacob's Wheel manifest in the reverse order of their standard numeration (i.e. they manifest from 7 to 1). That is because we are observing during this Creation process the movement of the 'involutionary' current of Jacob's Wheel. This is the flow of energy that is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of the physical manifestation of the Universe, including of course the building of the initial structural framework of the Universe (as symbolised by the Jacob's Wheel diagram). It represents the 'out-breathing' of the Creator.

Thus, we have seen that the formation of Jacob's Wheel has followed the following course...

3rd Ring (+ Central Point) = Kether (+ Daath)
2nd Ring = Hockmah
1st Ring = Binah

7th Spoke = Hesed
6th Spoke = Geburah
5th Spoke = Tifareth
4th Spoke = Netzah
3rd Spoke = Hod
2nd Spoke = Yesod
1st Spoke = Malkuth

The opposite current is called the 'evolutionary' current because it establishes a 'path of return' via which all created beings are enabled to 'ascend' from Earth to Heaven. It corresponds to the 'in-breath' of the Creator. The evolutionary current flows along the spiral of Jacob's Wheel through the normal order of the seven spokes (i.e. from 1 to 7), and the normal order of the three rings (i.e. from 1 to 3). Here is a diagram and table that both follow the path of the evolutionary current of Jacob's Wheel...


The Path of the Evolutionary Current

Inner Circle
(1st Ring)
Binah
(World of Yetzirah)
(Formation)
Spoke 1
Spoke 2
Spoke 3
Spoke 4
Spoke 5
Spoke 6
Spoke 7
Binah-Malkuth
Binah-Yesod
Binah-Hod
Binah-Netzah
Binah-Tifareth
Binah-Geburah
Binah-Hesed
Tav (Moon)
Aleph (Uranus)
Beth (Saturn)
Gimel (Jupiter)
Daleth (Mars)
Ha (Aries)
Vav (Taurus)
Middle Circle
(2nd Ring)
Hockmah
(World of Beriah)
(Creation)
Spoke 1
Spoke 2
Spoke 3
Spoke 4
Spoke 5
Spoke 6
Spoke 7
Hockmah-Malkuth
Hockmah-Yesod
Hockmah-Hod
Hockmah-Netzah
Hockmah-Tifareth
Hockmah-Geburah
Hockmah-Hesed
Kaph (Sun)
Lamed (Libra)
Mem (Neptune)
Zain (Gemini)
Heth (Cancer)
Teth (Leo)
Yod (Virgo)
Outer Circle
(3rd Ring)
Kether
(World of Atziluth)
(Emanation)
Spoke 1
Spoke 2
Spoke 3
Spoke 4
Spoke 5
Spoke 6
Spoke 7
Kether-Malkuth
Kether-Yesod
Kether-Hod
Kether-Netzah
Kether-Tifareth
Kether-Geburah
Kether-Hesed
Qoph (Pisces)
Peh (Venus)
Sameck (Sagittarius)
Resh (Mercury)
Tzaddie (Aquarius)
Ayin (Capricorn)
Nun (Scorpio)

As we know, the 'centre point' of Jacob's Wheel corresponds with the sephirah Daath of the Tree of Life. It is responsible for regulating the Creator's 'breathing' process - i.e. it controls the movement of the opposing currents around the spiral of Jacob's Wheel. This analogy is interesting because the sephirah Daath is said to correspond with the region of the throat in the human body. If we use the chakra system analogy, then Daath corresponds to the kundalini fire in the base chakra with its two currents called Ida (counter-clockwise) and Pingala (clockwise).

The centrally located Daath point contains within itself a template that summarizes the entire structure of Jacob's Wheel. (This can easily be seen by examining the 'key mandala' that resides at the centre of the Jacob's Wheel master mandala.) As the evolutionary cycle of Jacob's Wheel proceeds, the plans that are contained in Daath are gradually brought to fruition. Thus, Daath is said to exist only in a state of potential until the work of evolution is completed.

This is also true of Daath on the Tree of Life diagram (in my understanding) because at the conclusion of our evolutionary round the seven lower sephiroth are re-absorbed back into the third sephirah Binah (via Daath) - just as (in the theosophical teachings) the four minor rays of 'attribute' are eventually re-absorbed back into the major third ray of 'aspect'.

Once established, the seven spokes appear to exert an influence that is similar in nature to the seven numerological archetypes and the seven cosmic rays, while the three rings perhaps function as the three elements: Air, Water, and Earth (and possibly, the three major rays of 'aspect').

A useful analogy might be to say that the three rings exert an influence that is like that of the 'monad' (neshamah) while the seven spokes represent 'soul' (ruach) influences. They are working from different levels of existence, but are united towards a common goal - the raising of consciousness, and the evolution of matter.

The 'path of return' is driven by the 'evolutionary current' flowing through Jacob's Wheel in a sequence of 21 stages as indicated by the table above. It requires that we undergo a systematic process involving each of the seven lower sephiroth of the Tree of Life (i.e. represented by the seven spokes of Jacob's Wheel) as they are each individually influenced by the three highest sephiroth (i.e. the three rings of Jacob's Wheel). Another way of describing this process is that on the 'path of return' we are influenced by the seven cosmic rays (i.e. the seven spokes) as they are modified by the three major rays of 'aspect' functioning from a higher level of being (i.e. the three rings of Jacob's Wheel).1

The fifth column in the table (above) lists the 22 letters of the Hebrew alephbet (except Shin). These are arranged according to a special mathematical formula that is the basis of the Jacob's Wheel system. The Hebrew letter Shin corresponds with the Daath point at the centre of Jacob's Wheel and therefore is not included in the list. Unlike the standard ordering of the Hebrew alephbet (as elsewhere listed) this arrangement has proven useful for calculating the progression of the energy currents that flow through Jacob's Wheel.

The 22 Hebrew letters are also displayed on the Tree of Life diagram where they are associated with 22 pathways that are drawn between the ten sephiroth. This is where a fundamental difference between the Tree of Life and Jacob's Wheel emerges.

The Jacob's Wheel master mandala maps out (in intricate detail) a spiralling path that consists of 441 sequential phases, and experimentation has shown that this complex cycle of phases coincides with and describes a powerful current of energy that is flowing through and influencing our World. Thus it is, that the Jacob's Wheel mandala is not only a valuable source of metaphysical theory, but it is also a very practical device that can be used to monitor the flow of this evolutionary current in a person's life.2

The Tree of Life system can also be used practically, but in a different way to Jacob's Wheel.3 Together both systems form a wonderful qabalistic synthesis and could be said to stand like the two pillars in a Temple of Magick - each one the complement of the other.

___________________

1Master DK gives some good examples of this important relationship (i.e. between three higher and seven lower powers) in the Alice Bailey books. For instance, three astrological signs are shown as influencing the seven sacred planets (Esoteric Astrology, pg 610). Here the Sun is the mediating force, like Daath at the centre of Jacob's Wheel (and note that Daath separates the higher three sephiroth from the lower seven sephiroth on the Tree of Life diagram). (See also: Cosmic Fire, pg 344, where a diagram shows the three manifested Persons of the Logoic Triad - Mahadeva, Vishnu, and Brahma - overseeing the seven Planetary Logoi.) Another example that He gives are the three important planetary chakras (Head, Heart, and Throat, or Shamballa, Spiritual Hierarchy, and Humanity) influencing the seven major chakras in a human-being (Esoteric Astrology, pg 611). The human soul is the central mediator in this example.

2Note that this current is actually dual because it also has an 'involutionary' aspect that flows in the opposite direction.

3See the many books on the practical qabalah that are available.


Appendix I - An Excerpt from the Zohar

Appendix II

The following excerpt from the Zohar describes a process of divine Creation that is similar to what is set forth in the article above. Interestingly, it differs to the ARI's description as presented in his Tree of Life text (quoted above) because there, the creative energy is described as contracting from the outside to the inside, while here the creative process expands from the inside to the outside.

They both do agree however, on the point that the Creation is initiated from outside the outermost circle (i.e. the Creator transcends His creation), but there is a difference of where the point of perspective is located (see below).

Here is an uninterrupted version of the excerpt, and beneath it I have repeated the excerpt with my commentary inserted within the text.

...Rabbi Judah further cited in regard to this the verse: "Beautiful bowery, the joy of the whole Earth; even Mount Zion, the uttermost parts of the North, the city of the great king" (Ps. XLVIII, 3). 'Observe', he said, 'that when the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to create the world, He detached one precious stone from underneath His Throne of Glory and plunged it into the Abyss, one end of it remaining fastened therein whilst the other end stood out above; and this other and superior head constituted the nucleus of the world, the point out of which the world started, spreading itself to right and left and unto all directions, and by which it is sustained. That nucleus, that stone, is called sh'thyiah (foundation), as it was the starting point of the world. The name sh'thyiah, furthermore, is a compound of shath (founded) and Yah (God), signifying that the Holy One, blessed be He, made it the foundation and starting-point of the world and all that is therein. [222b] Now, the Earth's expansion round the central point was completed in three concentric rings, each of a different hue and texture. The first ring, the nearest to the Point, is of the purest and most refined earth-material; the second expansion, surrounding the first, is of a less polished, less refined earth-material than the first, but is superior to the one surrounding it; the third expansion consists of the darkest and coarsest earth-material of all. Then, surrounding that expansion, come the waters of the ocean that surrounds the whole world. Thus the point is in the centre, and the various expansions encircle it. The first expansion embraces the Sanctuary and all its courts and enclosures and all its appurtenances, as well as the whole city of Jerusalem bounded by the wall; the second expansion embraces the whole of the Land of Israel, the Land that was declared holy; the third expansion comprehends the rest of the earth, the dwelling place of all the other nations. Then comes the great ocean which surrounds the whole. The whole arrangement is symbolised by the structure of the human eye. For just as in the human eye there are three concentric layers surrounding a central point, which forms the focus of vision, so is the world's vision focused in the central point, consisting of the Holy of Holies and the Ark and the Mercy Seat. Hence the description, "a beautiful bowery, the joy of the whole earth", "beautiful" in its appearance, and radiating joy to the whole world. It is compared to a "bowery" because the beauty of a tree is displayed in its branches. Observe that true beauty and symmetry were not manifested in the world until the Tabernacle was finally erected and the Ark brought within the Holy of Holies. From that moment the world appeared at its best, it attained its just balance, and a way was opened through the Tabernacle and past the Ark up to that Point, that "beautiful bowery, the joy of the whole earth". When that Point was reached the Ark broke forth saying: "This is my resting-place for ever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it" (Ps. CXXXII, 14).' R. Jesse said: 'This verse was uttered by the Community of Israel when the temple was built and the Ark entered into its place.' ... Now, observe that once the artisans had begun the work of the Tabernacle, it veritably completed itself of its own accord. This we learn from the words, "Thus *was finished* all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting" (Ex.XXXIX, 32). The same happened in the creation of the world, of which it is likewise written: "And the heaven and the earth *were finished*" (Gen. II, 1). This, it is true, seems to conflict with the statement that "on the seventh day *God finished* His work which He had made" (Ibid. 2.) But the truth is, that although the several parts of the world completed themselves one by one, yet the world in its entirety was only completed and firmly established when the seventh day came. For then did the Holy One, blessed be He, with it knit together the world into a complete whole, so that it could be written, "And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had made." It was the same with the building of the temple. The artisans having begun their work, it showed them what was to be done, as it were, before their eyes; it was traced out in their sight, and it completed itself of its own accord.' [223a]

[From: The Zohar, Vol IV. Pp 258-60. The Soncino Press.]


Here follows the Zohar excerpt with commentary...

...Rabbi Judah further cited in regard to this the verse: "Beautiful bowery, the joy of the whole Earth; even Mount Zion, the uttermost parts of the North, the city of the great king" (Ps. XLVIII, 3). 'Observe', he said, 'that when the Holy One, blessed be He, was about to create the world, He detached one precious stone from underneath His Throne of Glory and plunged it into the Abyss, one end of it remaining fastened therein whilst the other end stood out above; and this other and superior head constituted the nucleus of the world, the point out of which the world started, spreading itself to right and left and unto all directions, and by which it is sustained.

The Throne of Glory is Binah (the third sephirah). The precious stone represents the sephirah Daath (which is an extension of Binah). Daath corresponds with the centre-point of Jacob's Wheel and particularly the key mandala that is stationed there.

One of the differences between the Jacob's Wheel model of Creation (discussed in the article above) and this particular Zohar model is that their starting points (or point's of perspective) differ. Here we see the sephirah Binah as the starting point whereas in our Jacob's Wheel model (and in the ARI's Tree of Life) the point of origin is before Kether, within the Ain Soph Aur ('Limitless Light').

That nucleus, that stone, is called sh'thyiah (foundation), as it was the starting point of the world. The name sh'thyiah, furthermore, is a compound of shath (founded) and Yah (God), signifying that the Holy One, blessed be He, made it the foundation and starting-point of the world and all that is therein. [222b]

The sephirah Binah is the transcendent starting point, while Daath is the manifested starting point.

Word: ShThH (shin-tav-ha : 'foundation')
Meaning: foundation, support, stay (also: purpose)
Derivation: ShITh (shin-yod-tav : to put, set, station, appoint, fix, set mind to)

The Hebrew word 'yesod' also means 'foundation' and is the name usually given to the ninth sephirah of the Tree of Life. Interestingly, there is a tradition taught by the Qabalistic School of Zev ben Shimon ha-Levi (Warren Kenton) that describes a layering of four Trees of Life - each Tree representing one of the four qabalistic worlds. In that model the Yesod of a higher world overlays the Daath of the world below it. Thus yesod ('foundation') overlays Daath (called here 'sh'thyiah', 'foundation'). Yesod and Daath are both 'foundations', but exist at opposite ends of the scale.

BRAShITh (usually translated as 'in the beginning') is the first Hebrew word of the Book of Genesis (and therefore the first word of the entire Bible). There is a lot of esoteric commentary that has been written about this word because of its great qabalistic importance.

I believe that in this section the Rabbi is alluding to the word BRAShITh because it is the "starting-point of the world" (i.e. it's the first word of Genesis) and BRAShITh contains a reference to sh'thyiah ('foundation') when it is written BRA-ShITh.

The reference to Yah (YH) suggests the unification of the Father (Hockmah - Yod) with the Mother (Binah - Ha) to produce Daath (ShThH, sh'thyiah, 'foundation').

Thus, the word BRAShITh can also be interpreted qabalistically to mean the 'creation' (BRA - 'to create') of Daath (ShITh, or ShThH) where the three Hebrew letters BRA (beth-resh-aleph) are associated with the supernal triad of Kether, Hockmah, and Binah, while ShITh represents their progeny - Daath.

It is appropriate that the word ShThH (shin-tav-ha, 'foundation') is associated with Daath as the hub of Jacob's Wheel because the Hebrew letter Shin is the letter that sits at the very centre of the wheel, while the letter Tav is the first letter of the first ring.

Now, the Earth's expansion round the central point was completed in three concentric rings, each of a different hue and texture. The first ring, the nearest to the Point, is of the purest and most refined earth-material; the second expansion, surrounding the first, is of a less polished, less refined earth-material than the first, but is superior to the one surrounding it; the third expansion consists of the darkest and coarsest earth-material of all. Then, surrounding that expansion, come the waters of the ocean that surrounds the whole world. Thus the point is in the centre, and the various expansions encircle it.

The similarity with the structure of Jacob's Wheel is obvious. In the Jacob's Wheel model the centre-point is associated with the sephirah Daath, while the three rings are expressions of Kether, Hockmah, and Binah. Here however, "the waters of the ocean that surrounds the whole world" refers to Binah (the 'Great Sea') enveloping Daath and the seven lower sephiroth, and therefore the three rings must be interpreted in a different sense to that described in the article above.

The first expansion embraces the Sanctuary and all its courts and enclosures and all its appurtenances, as well as the whole city of Jerusalem bounded by the wall; the second expansion embraces the whole of the Land of Israel, the Land that was declared holy; the third expansion comprehends the rest of the earth, the dwelling place of all the other nations. Then comes the great ocean which surrounds the whole. The whole arrangement is symbolised by the structure of the human eye. For just as in the human eye there are three concentric layers surrounding a central point, which forms the focus of vision, so is the world's vision focused in the central point, consisting of the Holy of Holies and the Ark and the Mercy Seat.

The 'key mandala' (signifying Daath) at the centre of Jacob's Wheel can easily be associated with "the Holy of Holies and the Ark and the Mercy Seat". These are components of the symbolic 'engine' that drives and sustains the Creation process (and thus also, Jacob's Wheel). Specifically, they could each perhaps be identified with one of the three rings that encapsulate Shin in the key mandala itself.

Hence the description, "a beautiful bowery, the joy of the whole earth", "beautiful" in its appearance, and radiating joy to the whole world. It is compared to a "bowery" because the beauty of a tree is displayed in its branches. Observe that true beauty and symmetry were not manifested in the world until the Tabernacle was finally erected and the Ark brought within the Holy of Holies. From that moment the world appeared at its best, it attained its just balance, and a way was opened through the Tabernacle and past the Ark up to that Point, that "beautiful bowery, the joy of the whole earth". When that Point was reached the Ark broke forth saying: "This is my resting-place for ever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it" (Ps. CXXXII, 14).'

The 'branches' of the 'bowery' are seven in number. They refer to the seven sephiroth below Daath (on the Tree of Life diagram) and hence also to the seven spokes that radiate out from the centre (Daath) of Jacob's Wheel.

The 'point' is represented (in the Jacob's Wheel model) by Shin - the Hebrew letter that is stationed at its very centre.

Psalms 132:

1 A Song of degrees. LORD, remember David, and all his afflictions:
2 How he sware unto the LORD, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob;
3 Surely I will not come into the tabernacle of my house, nor go up into my bed;
4 I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids,
5 Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob.
6 Lo, we heard of it at Ephratah: we found it in the fields of the wood.
7 We will go into his tabernacles: we will worship at his footstool.
8 Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.
9 Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy.
10 For thy servant David's sake turn not away the face of thine anointed.
11 The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
13 For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.
17 There will I make the horn of David to bud: I have ordained a lamp for mine anointed.
18 His enemies will I clothe with shame: but upon himself shall his crown flourish.

Above is the full text of the psalm quoted in this section. The key mandala of Jacob's Wheel, symbolic of the Tabernacle, is (I think) suitable as "a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob".

R. Jesse said: 'This verse was uttered by the Community of Israel when the temple was built and the Ark entered into its place.' ... Now, observe that once the artisans had begun the work of the Tabernacle, it veritably completed itself of its own accord. This we learn from the words, "Thus was finished all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting" (Ex.XXXIX, 32). The same happened in the creation of the world, of which it is likewise written: "And the heaven and the earth were finished" (Gen. II, 1). This, it is true, seems to conflict with the statement that "on the seventh day *God finished* His work which He had made" (Ibid. 2.) But the truth is, that although the several parts of the world completed themselves one by one, yet the world in its entirety was only completed and firmly established when the seventh day came. For then did the Holy One, blessed be He, with it knit together the world into a complete whole, so that it could be written, "And on the seventh day God finished His work which He had made." It was the same with the building of the temple. The artisans having begun their work, it showed them what was to be done, as it were, before their eyes; it was traced out in their sight, and it completed itself of its own accord.' [223a]

[From: The Zohar, Vol IV. Pp 258-60. The Soncino Press.]

The entire intricate structure that is the Jacob's Wheel master mandala is contained (in summary) within the form of the key mandala (Daath, symbolic of the Tabernacle). The entire master mandala unfolds according to the plans contained within the key mandala that is its centre. Once you have positioned the key mandala, then you can easily build the Jacob's Wheel master mandala around it, using the key mandala's in-built map to guide you. Thus, the Creation completes itself, and thus the "artisans having begun their work, it showed them what was to be done, as it were, before their eyes; it was traced out in their sight, and it completed itself of its own accord".

Mallukh AHI (April, 2004) Copyright © 2004 Patrick Mulcahy
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