“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” -- Genesis 2:8-9 [emphasis added]
The Tree of Life is representative of both of these trees, and from the Ha Qabala is shown in several forms. The simplest form is:
The above form, the traditional form, can be said to have grown from the Vesica Pisces, the Seed of Life and the Flower of Life -- see ka-gold's excellent Tree of Life article on this particular aspect -- or check out some of their specific manifestations at Tree of Life jewelry.
Two other forms, which are more detailed with information and symbolism, include:
Students of the Tree of Life will note a difference in the designation of specific planets to the Sephiroth. It is believed that the above version is a more accurate description. There is, for example, beneath Kether, Chokmah, Binah and Daath a horizontal barrier known as the Veil. The Veil can be thought of as separating those planets (e.g. Saturn) visible to the naked eye from those beyond, i.e., Pluto, Neptune and Uranus. Thus between Saturn and Uranus is a chasm likened unto a Veil. Saturn becomes Geburah, where the connotation of “Severity/Strength” is a better description of Saturn than “Understanding”. Uranus, on the other hand, is “Understanding”, i.e. “I Know” (collective initiation), just as Neptune is “Wisdom”, i.e. “I resolve, redeem, and expiate”. Pluto is simply “Gnosis/Knowledge” (with Daath being hidden, esoteric or profound knowledge). An Abyss separates Kether from all the rest, as if it represented a tenth planet which has an abyss between it and the rest of the solar system. Like the Veil, the Abyss delineates a chasm in consciousness; the first between seen and unseen, and the second between known and unknown
This variation in the traditional tree in order to account for the Abyss and Veil, also places Mars as Netzach (“Victory/Power”), Venus as Hod (“Beauty/ Glory”), and Mercury as Yesod (“Foundation” -- “Ye shall know the truth...”); all of which are more appropriate. Malkuth (“The Kingdom”) then combines the Earth-Moon system -- astronomically and esoterically, more likely the truth than the traditional, hand-me-down version.
The Cabalistic description provides for three pillars, ruled by the “mother letters”, Mem, Aleph, and Shin, and which represent “Severity, Mildness, and Mercy.” Severity is thus Uranus, Saturn, and Mars; Mercy is Neptune, Jupiter, and Venus, and Mildness is Pluto, Sun, Mercury, Moon, and Earth. These are almost ideal descriptions, astrologically. Also the Star of David is represented by a Daath-Venus-Mars triangle (pointing up), and the Mercury-Saturn-Jupiter triangle (pointing down), and surrounding the Sun (Tiphareth). The upper triangle of Kether, Binah, and Chokmah makes Pluto, as Daath -- the “rainbow bridge” between the outer and inner planets -- essential to the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. The Rabbinical assignment of knowledge to Daath/Pluto also makes perfect sense.
Fundamentally, a flaw in virtually all presentations of the Tree of Life is the use of a two-dimensional page to depict a three- (or multi-) dimensional concept. The “Lightening Flash” of the traditional Ha Qabala may be more accurately represented by a spiral (e.g. The Golden Spiral), a Ram’s Horn in orthodox Judaic symbolism, the Kudu Antelope (in Geometry of Alphabets a spiraling shape generates the entire Hebrew alphabet -- the latter which may also be thought of as three-dimensional symbols), and/or the spiraling horn of increasing dimension as one enters the mundane world, the zero-point access.
Symbolism is fundamental to all aspects of the Tree of Life. In this regard, it is essential to realize that a symbol can often provide a much greater wealth of information than any amount of writing or language can. In truth, a picture is worth a thousand or more words. Accordingly, all the more effective versions of the Tree of Life include the Hebrew alphabet letters, plus Tarot, Astrology, and other symbolic interpretations. For example:
According to Henrietta Bernstein , the Tree of Life may be thought of as a philosophy of evolution, a picture of creation. Out of the void, the cosmos manifests itself through 32 paths of wisdom, 10 of these associated with ten Sephirah, and the remaining 22 with the various paths connecting each individual Sephirah. The Tree is symbolic of the flow of creation from the divine to the lower world and back again. It is as much the gradual evolution of the Deity from negative paradise or heavenly existence, as to moving into positive existence (i.e. the physical universe). Each Sephirah acts as a container or vessel through which Divinity is emanated into man. Light and luminescence -- the essence of life and existence -- permeates each sphere as the manifestation of God.
The Tree of Life is considered an esoteric (“for the few”) subject, associated with Jewish, Christian and New Age mysticism. It is considered by some as a road map leading back to the heavens from which we came. By others, a means of progressing through the 22 paths of The Fool’s Journey (the Major Arcana of the Tarot), and thus encountering the actual or virtual reality of all the diverse forms of experience available to the human race. By still others, it is representative of: 1) different states of consciousness and 2) subjective experiences arising from internal conditions which an individual psyche can undergo while traveling the various paths. In all aspects, the Tree of Life provides a focus of meditation on the cosmic knowingness of life.
Because of its esoteric nature, the Tree of Life cannot be encapsulated in a few pages of a website. It is a life-spanning study, one which is loath to readily give up its secrets. This is as it should be, in that any knowledge “for the few” is potent, but is not necessarily a good pursuit by the uninitiated. Edouard Schure has quoted by Henrietta Bernstein  as saying: “Moses had the courage to establish the highest principle of initiation as the sole dogma of a national religion, and the prudence to reveal its consequences to only a small number of initiates, while imposing it upon the masses through fear.”
The “prudence” not to provide the knowledge of power for those unlikely to appreciate its proper usage, is a fundamental tenet of all truly esoteric information. Would one think it appropriate, for example, to provide Adolph Hitler with such access? (And he did indeed make every effort to thoroughly acquaint himself with such powerful knowledge.)
The idea of imposing the consequences of this knowledge “upon the masses through fear” might seem to be less than enlightened. However, a basic part of any esoteric initiation worthy of the name is the overcoming of fear on the part of the initiate. Some of the Egyptian initiation rituals, for example, involved swimming with crocodiles! Thus fear and overcoming it, is basic to the process of initiation, and thus fear has its place.
One means of maintaining such knowledge secret is to provide alternate, false versions. If close to accurate, they may seem authentic and be readily accepted by the seekers who are not using enough Discrimination in their search for the truth. In many cases, all one has to do is “tweak” the information in such a way as to mislead the unwary. This might include the addition of some feature which has no real value, but is manufactured complete with a history or rationale, such that it appears important (even when it isn’t). Another idea is to mislabel certain features, and wait for the true initiate to uncover it.
One possible example -- i.e. this may or may not be a “red herring” -- is the lightning flash [Figure 1 in Variations of a Theme], which connects the Sephiroth (plural for Sephirah). A “flash” suggests a form of instant illumination for the seeker, which may be unlikely. “The Word is in them as they rush forth and as they return, they speak as from the whirlwind, and returning fall prostrate in adoration before the Throne.” Such a picture is certainly dramatic, and therefore may be very appealing, but there is the very strong suggestion that drama is not the essence of reaching enlightenment. It’s not necessarily hard work, but it is likely a continuous, soul-searching, undramatic process.
The many, many variations in presenting The Tree of Life is another case in point. There is a tendency to square things, and create linear, straight-lined “pillars” upon which the structure is based. This might also be misleading, and is thus the reason the version of the Tree of Life, as shown throughout this extended website [and as in Figure 2 of Variations on a Theme], might be the preferred, if not, in fact, the older, more accurate version. The cyclical/Goddess version incorporates, for example, “pillars” curved in a geometric version of several Vesica Pisces; the latter being the intersection of two, overlapping circles -- and the derivation of the so-called “fish symbolism of Jesus Christ”. This becomes even more obvious with the incorporation of the “Flower of Life”, as shown in Figures 3 and 4 of Variations on a Theme, and leads to further speculation concerning the true extent of the Tree of Life into as yet even more profound mysteries.
Note that the vesica pisces is the originator of energy, power, light, and love from the intersection of the two godheads of God and Goddess (represented by the circles themselves). There is also the symbolic aspect of the vesica pisces representing the female vagina, and thus one reason why this symbol is so strongly connected to the Mother Goddess. From an astronomical aspect, there is also the misnamed “Hourglass Nebula”, which is in reality two interlocked circles of intensely hot, radiating cosmic gas. In the center -- within the created vesica pisces -- is an unusual anomaly which appears as a power source, or a region of space attributed to the death (and rebirth?) of a new star!
Another possible diversionary clue is in the Tree of Life’s connection to Astrology, and the assignment of the wrong planets to each of the Sephiroth. The table below compares the traditional (or Exoteric) version with what might be described the Esoteric version.
[Within the Flower of Life scenario, there is possibly a splitting of the Earth and Moon (the esoteric version), along with an even more extreme, distant planet -- perhaps one associated with the star, Sirius!]
The advantage of the “Esoteric” version (shown in the second version of the Tree of Life above) is that astrologically the planets which are consider to have unconscious influence (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and whatever represents Kether) are again beyond the Veil which runs across the Tree at just below the level of Daath. Furthermore, Neptune, via it’s connection with Enki, the God of Wisdom seems appropriate, as does Uranus with Understanding and Pluto with “Gnosis and Knowledge” (Pluto, aka Hades, being “from whence all goods things come”). All the planets below the Veil then reveal themselves astrologically with conscious actions and influences. In the same vein, Saturn is definitely about Severity, while Mercury as the communicator (or in relation to the Archangel Gabriel) is a better Foundation upon which to base the results of our communications.
The symbol of N? for the planet furthest away and beyond the Abyss, is suggested to be Nibiru, a planet described by Zecharia Sitchin  as being a part of our solar system, but with a 3600 year orbit. This makes it enormously further than Pluto or Neptune, and truly beyond the abyss of deep space (outside the boundaries of our traditionally understood solar system). Nibiru was also instrumental, according to the Sumerian Enuma Elish, in the creation of Earth. It is also the alleged home of the “gods” (the Anunnaki, Enki and Enlil), and is therefore accorded the highest honor in the Tree of Life.
As for the potentially politically incorrect notion of an unknown planet being chosen to represent Kether (Crown), there is some additional justification. Nibiru, the planet of the Anunnaki, the Gods and Goddesses of the Sumerian Family Tree seems to be the best choice as a candidate, if only because the source of the Ha Qabala and the Tree of Knowledge is undoubtedly Enki, Inanna, Ningishzidda, Thoth, Lilith and all the rest -- and their first allegiance would likely be to Nibiru, their planetary “home”. The Tree of Life thus represents the ancient Tables of Destiny assigned to the various planets.
But there may be even more beyond Nibiru, inasmuch as there may be as many as four different “trees”, i.e. “Atziluth (The World of Emanations -- Divine Archetypes), Briah (The World of Creations -- Highest Ranking Angels), Yetzirah (The World of Formations -- Metatron and the Ten Angelic Hosts), and Assiah (The World of Substances -- Qliphoth, exiled to below the Physical Plane). The four worlds are based upon the idea that the Sephiroth manifest in each of them. The worlds become grosser and denser the further down the Force travels.” 
The “Pillar of Severity” is also extremely well represented by Uranus, Saturn, and Mars -- astrologically considered as the most severe of the planets. The “Pillar of Mercy” is well represented by Neptune, Jupiter, and Venus in both versions, while the Sun and Mercury lend themselves to the “Pillar of Mildness”. Pluto might be a surprise in this regard, but as long as one doesn’t resist Pluto, new knowledge or gnosis (“knowledge of spiritual mysteries”) can be easily and “mildly” obtained. In fact, it is said that from Hades (Pluto) all good things come, the cornucopia of blessings.
Daath, as an 11th and the most esoteric of the Sephiroth, is a study onto itself. Laurence Gardner  has said, “In the ancient world, higher knowledge was identified as daath (whence, death), and the terms ‘tomb’ and ‘womb’ were considered interchangeable and mutually supportive as routes to the higher knowledge.” The fundamental symbolism of Pluto (Hades) is Death and Rebirth. The goddess, Kali, was revered (and feared) in India as precisely the goddess of death and rebirth. But such fear was often based on forgetting the second half of the equation, i.e. “rebirth”! Pluto was also included in the Sumerian Epic of Creation as the god, GAGA, which is described in detail in the Annals of Earth. In a nutshell, it can said that GAGA made the rounds, communicating all the way!
GAGA, aka Pluto/Hades, can be thought of as Hermes of Greek Mythology. Hermes was the communications link between the Gods and Goddesses and the human mortals on Earth. As an errant planet, one with a highly eccentric orbit, Pluto might well be the link between a very distance, beyond the Abyss, Nibiru. It’s current orbit might be more of a remnant than its possible use on much longer trajectories. Pluto then becomes the bridge between the earthly and heavenly worlds. Similarly, the minor planet, Chiron, may be the bridge between the seen planets and the unseen (by the naked eye).
Meanwhile, each of the “paths” connecting the Sephiroth are associated with a member of the Major Arcana in the Tarot, and each has a designation according to Numerology. The 32 paths are also connected to the “degrees” of Freemasonry, the latter which is likely another good example of incomplete information -- at least for the vast majority of the Freemasons. [In reality, there probably exists a 33rd degree and possibly higher within reach of anyone really intent upon pursuing the matter.]
Of course, the inclusion of Daath and the connecting links to it might suggest the need for four more paths and a Sephiroth, thus extending the “degrees” or “path” to 37. But just as the ancient Hebrew alphabet contained 22 letters -- the same as the 22 paths of the Tree of Life (and 22 cards of the Tarot’s Major Arcana) -- the Hebrew alphabet has grown over the years, adding enough letters to account for four (or even more) paths. It’s all very complicated -- or more precisely, perhaps, more esoteric. But it’s also very necessary to continue to study, consider, learn, and thereby gain wisdom. So there!
David Radius Hudson has in a whole new realm of fascinating documentaion -- using a grand synthesis of historical, philosophical, mythological and scientific evidence -- determined that the ORME is truly the Tree of Life. [The ORME was considered to be the Food of the Gods, or just the food for higher purposes... and/or higher porpoises.] There is a vast amount of evidence to support this view. [See, for example references 4 and 5 (especially 5)]. It’s all a matter of following the diverse paths (pardon the pun), gathering all the clues along the way, and ultimately creating a grand Synthesis of every aspect of life on the third rock from the sun. And beyond that same rock. Way beyond!
 Bernstein, Henrietta, Cabalah Primer, DeVorss Publications, Marina del Rey, 1984.
 Westcott, William Wynn (translator), Sepher Yetzirah, Samuel Weiser, New York, 1887, 1975 -- as quoted by .
 Sitchin, Zecharia, The 12th Planet, Avon Books, New York, 1976.
 Gardner, Laurence, Genesis of the Grail Kings, Bantam Press, New York, 1999.
 Gardner, Laurcence, Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark, HarperCollins, London, 2003.
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