Allow me to introduce a more humanistic Tree of Life.
Unlike the Qabalistic version where earth and all its inhabitants are “God’s dingleberry,” this Tree of Life is planted in Tillich’s Ground of Being. More precisely, the focal point is Mircea Eliade’s “Axis Mundi,” the center of the world.
Hermetic Qabala, as well as its Jewish derivatives and ancestors, are steeped in Hebrew lore layered over with neo-Platonic, quasi-Egyptian, Gnostic, and Christian mythologies. In our current Aeon, those mythologies have been thoroughly corrupted and diluted by mistranslation, pop-culture, and the broadening of our species’ world view.
Rather than a series of Sefirot sequentially distilling divinity down from upon high, the Tree of Life presented here has branches that climb and roots that dive. The starting place is at the center, and so is the ending place. Travels on the Tree always lead you back to yourself.
There are Spheres of influence ruled by the astrological planets. The naming convention of the Spheres is inspired by Latin. A language familiar in its alphabet and certain words, but one that maintains an air of the mystic and pagan.
On the Qabalistic Tree of Life, there are 22 pathways–one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This Tree of Life is not Qabalistic as it references no sacred texts. It does, however, adhere to a gematriac system based on the 26 letters of the English alphabet. The letters assigned to each pathway & card are chosen based on their etymological origins. The gematriac value of each letter is based on its statistical frequency of use in everyday English language. This approach creates a more democratic, accessible approach to English speakers in the Western world. In addition to the 26 letters of the alphabet, there are two additional paths. One represented by silence, and the other represented by the space between words.
On this Tree of Life hangs the full astrological architecture of the Tarot. Accepting modern planets into the canon allows for all 26 letters of the English alphabet to be incorporated. This new Tree of Life includes pathways for five new Major Arcana:
- The Thinker
- The Stranger
- The Martinet
- The Dragon
- The Deep
The Hermit is now The Vestal to introduce female balance to Mercury’s three-part hermaphroditic nature.
Lust and Will have been split, with Will remaining the card of Leo. Lust is now the card of Scorpio. And Death, which had been assigned to Scorpio is now assigned to Pluto.
To climb the Tree of Life, you must pass through the Velum Revalati–the Veil of the Revealed. You may start your climb with magical intention, following the path of the Fool to Sagax, Sphere of Mercury. Or you may find yourself pitched beyond the veil by chance or reason from the Sphere of Fortuna. Or you may have no choice but to cross the veil as a consequence of your choices and their consequences from the Sphere of Fatum.
The same is true if you descend to the roots. You must pass through the Velum Oculatum- The Veil of the Concealed, and find your way to the Sphere of Precipia, dwelling place of the Moon. You may seek a path of initation from the Heirophant, or again you may be thrust beyond the veil from the Spheres of Fatum and Fortuna.
To climb the Tree of Life is to seek illumination–literal enlightenment from Lux, the Sphere of the Sun. To descend the roots is to come face-to-face with that which is utterly hidden in the darkness of your shadow and the Sphere of Nox.
Up or down, you may pursue a right-hand path, a left-hand path, or you may follow the middle way. Regardless, every Sphere, every path, offers a truth or revelation that must be integrated back to the axis mundi, center of your world.
Hopefully, this overview has you intrigued. Over the next few posts, we’ll start to dig in. In these unbalanced times, it is my hope that this Tree of Life will offer you pathways to centered understanding and acceptance of all aspects–light and dark–of your existence.