Posts Tagged ‘Sephirot


An Elemental Tree of Life

Gershon Winkler’s ‘Daily Kabbalah: wisdom from the tree of life’ (2004) collects together ‘user friendly renditions’ of teachings from various Aramaic and Hebraic sources. Winkler has written on ‘Recovering the Shamanic in Judaism’ and his selection reflects that focus,  with aphorisms about talking trees, singing stars and the four kinds of beings dwelt in by ‘the Divine Presence’: Still Beings (stones, planets),  Sprouting Beings (trees, grasses, plants), Living Beings (animals, fish, birds, insects) and Talking  Beings(humans) – the latter categorisation attributed to Rabbi Yisro’el Ba’al Shem Tov (1700-1760).

Winkler attributes an Element to each of the Sephirot, deriving this schema from relevant passages in the Sefer Yetzirah, which he summarises as follows: ‘In the beginning there was Breath of God. From Breath of God came Wind. From Wind came Water. From Water came Fire. From Fire came Sky. From Sky came Earth. From Earth came North Wind. From North Wind came South Wind. From South Wind came East Wind. From East Wind came West Wind’.

It all started therefore with the ‘Breath of God and Keh’ter… symbolic of the No-Thing place from where everything originates’. Next  ‘Breath of Light became Wind and hollowed out a space in No-Thing in which there now arose the possibility of Some-Thing’.  From the wind’s vapor came Water (Chokmah), and then ‘As the moisture of the primeval Breath created water, so did the warmth of the primeval breath create Fire’ (Chesed). Fire and Water in balance gave rise to Sky at G’vurah – ‘Sky in Hebrew reads as ‘sh’mayyim’, literally ‘Fire Water’, for it is where two dwell together in balance a la sun and rain’.  Next at Tif’eret Earth is ‘brought to her fruition by virtue of sky, by the hamonization of fire and water and balanced directing of their flows’.  The final four Sephirot are associated with the Four Winds (I will return to the significance of the winds in another post).

I have placed these attributions on a ‘tree of life’ diagram as follows.