International Order of Kabbalists - Tree of Life (Western Hermetic Tradition)

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Kether - The Crown

Situation on the Tree: At the head of the Pillar of Equibrium in the Supernal Triangle.

Magical Image: An ancient bearded king seen in profile.

Titles given to Kether: Existence of Existences. Concealed of the Concealed. Ancient of Ancients. Ancient of Days. The Primordial Light. The Point within the Circle. The Most High. The Vast Countenance. The White Head. The Head which is not. Macroprosopos. Amen. Lux Occulta. Lux Interna. He.

God Name: Ehieh.

Archangel: Metatron.

Order of Angels: Holy Living Creatures. Chaioth ha Qadesh.

Mundane Chakra: Rashith ha Gilgalim. Primum Mobile. First Swirlings.

Spiritual Experience: Union with God.

Virtue: Attainment. Completion of the Great Work.

Vice: ----

Symbols: The Point. The Crown. The Swastika.

Aspect of the Soul: Yechidah, Pure Spark of Ain Soph Aur.

Correspondence in the Microcosm: The Cranium. The Sah. Yechidah. The Divine Spark. The Thousand-petalled Lotus.

Colours in the Four Worlds:
In Atziluth: Brilliance.
In Briah: Pure White brilliance.
In Yetzirah: Pure White brilliance.
In Assiah: White, flecked gold.

Gemstone: Diamond.

Incense: Ambergris.

Magical Weapon: Crown or Headress.

Tarot Cards: The four Aces.

Root of the Powers of Air

Root of the Powers of Water

Root of the Powers of Fire

Root of the Powers of Earth



The following papers describe Kether, the First Sephirah of Manifestation, that crystalised into existence out of Ain Soph Aur, the Infinite Light of the Great Unmanifest. Kether is symbolised by a point, the simplest of all symbols, having position but no dimensions. There is, however, an important topic that must be expounded first, before any discussions about Kether can begin. It is about the Mystery of the Tzimtzum, a cosmic vacuole that was formed within the Ain Soph Aur, where God had withrawn from (contracted), creating an independent existence that would not be overwhelmed back into non-existence in the Light of Ain Soph Aur. It is in the Central Stillness at the centre of this protected vacuole that, through an infinitely thin thread of Ain Soph Aur that penetrates the centre of the vacuol from outside that Kether, in the absolute blackness comes into existence. From here the remaining Sephiroth manifest as spherical shells, each enveloping the sphere within, ever expanding outwards into the Cosmic Inflation of the Cosmos. And all from an infinitessimal tiny point of light, with no dimensions.

(Updated 12 November 2020)



By Sue Bashford (1988)

Kether is the symbol of supreme divinity in all realms. It is the fount of inspired illumination. Its ineffable splendour pervades the universe, animating creation in all its manifold expressions. Kether's all-embracing sovereignty is described by its many attributes including especially its colours throughout the four worlds. The colours perhaps are better at denoting the subtle character of Kether.

In Atziluth, Kether's pure radiance is conceived as Brilliance. Unity is concentrated to a point where no particles exist to create refraction or deviation in its emission. The absence of material substance illuminates the possibility of colour or tone. The only perceptible movement is in the Primum Mobile, the Swirling Nebulae of potential energy, which gradually gains momen­tum and direction which proceeds to engender or emanate the Lightning Flash.
The New Testament tells us, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning". This was echoed by the pseudo-Areopagite when he said, "The Divine Ray enfolds its most brilliant light within its own ineffable and hidden unity". These mysteries can only be contemplated by the individual in secret recesses of his own heart for they will not subject themselves to the speculations of man's logic or become captives of his mind. But our participation in the drama of life allows us the privilege to contemplate our place in the "scheme of things", and the right to question the role we are expected to play.

The first qualification of Divine Flux occurs when Brilliance is emitted into the pure white brilliance of Kether expressing in the world of Briah. White is the union and receptacle other colours and all possibilities for creation are potentially designed here through the power of the Ketheric archetypes. Because colour has a living vibrancy and intensity, the nuances of an extended spectrum eventually give rise to the diversities of manifest existence.

White is representative of the pure virgin spirits that await their time of involution. Alternatively, on the Evolutionary Path, Briah is the place where individual selfhood is sacrificed to the Will of God. It is supposed that failure in this final act of faith brings a swift return to the realms of ignorance as the veils of silence are drawn across the gulf. The choice, as Simone Weil, understood, is between grace or gravity. But to ask the purpose of life itself. Why? We suppose that the creative intelligence is obtaining objective consciousness through this creation, to see, if you like, his hind parts. Is life lived to discover the purpose of existence? Or is the purpose life itself? Is the purpose of the journey the destination or is the journey the purpose? Or is it both? Or neither?

To continue, the power that embodies the pure white brilliance is Metatron, the chief archangel of the second kingdom. His mighty force is tempered by his tender love for the Shekinah. The Ruach draws the Shekinah to the bosom of Metatron and the whole of the creative world is engulfed in their sacred embrace. The devotion engendered by this mystical union is ambrosia to the vanguard of advanced souls that have become the obedient servants of Light.

Eventually the incandescent beauty is received in Yetzirah by the Holy Living Creatures who abide in the angelic realms of Kether. They support the Throne of Glory and constitute the "camp of the Shekinah". As witnesses of the mystical union in Briah, they reflect perfectly the light of spiritual splendour. Their eternal vigilance oversees the foundation of astral substance, which is moulded with the subtle forms that are the models of physical existence. The fabric of creation of the garment of divinity, and at Kether the untarnished glow proclaims its holiest aspirations.

For mortals who attain Yetziratic consciousness, illumination fills their souls with inward fire. The heat of the ardour vivifies the indwelling spirit until a perceptible aura surrounds their earthly frame.

In Assiah the Kether brilliance is modified by the addition of golden flecks. The spiritual sun scintillates in the swirlings of the Primum Mobile. It represents the paradise of a perfected Assiah. In truth Eden still exists. Mankind forsook his security of innocence to dare to know, and consciousness demands responsibility which few are prepared to accept. The image of the Lovers, Metatron and the Shekinah is reflected in Assiah where man is supposedly the husband of nature. At present, this is somewhat hard to believe, but with effort and love, just men everywhere will turn the tide. One by one they will be lifted up and perceive their heritage. For there is no end to God's patience and eventually each will respond in freedom to that omnipotent love.

To end, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life" (James 1:12).



By Francis A. Morris (1975)

The Ain is the unknown unknowable. It is the life force which contains all and creates all. It is the unmanifest. Kether is the known unknowable; that same life force but now manifest.

It is unknowable because it is so far removed from us that we cannot hope to understand it and yet it is a part of manifestation, as we are ourselves, and therefore there is the hope of the beginning of comprehension.

We think and consider the Ain as light, which is blinding darkness. Kether is its antithesis, light which is dazzling brilliance. It is always represented as white, since white contains all the colours of the spectrum and everything that goes to make up life is present in Kether. “Let there be light”. This light is Kether, the stuff of manifestation.

The Ain is the One. One which we cannot comprehend since it is at the same time multiplicity. Kether is the One we can understand; one which starts a series. The Ain is self-sufficient, but Kether cannot exist alone and must emanate Chokmah, even as Chokmah emanates Binah.

Our understanding of Kether can be expanded by the study of Malkuth. It is said in the Yetziratic Text that Malkuth “causes an emanation to issue forth from the Prince of Countenances”, which is Kether. Malkuth is a reflection of Kether on a lower level and is referred to as the Bride, whilst Kether is the Bridegroom. However, the reflection has been distorted by the misuse of Man’s will and it is the purpose of the Great Work to perfect Malkuth, making it a true reflection of Kether so that the marriage between them can take place. However, we may see the maxim “As above, so below” illustrated with regard to the relationship between Kether and Malkuth, for everything present in the higher is also present in the lower and we may the better understand Kether by studying Malkuth; or by studying Man come to an understanding of Divinity.

Kether is the first beginnings, beginnings of life as we can know it. It is represented by the Primum Mobile, the First Swirlings in the depths of space.

Imagine the night sky; let your imagination pass out beyond the Moon, beyond the constellations known and unknown, beyond the galaxies, out to the very rim of the universe and then on yet still further. Let it pass through all other universes till, leaving all the stars behind, it penetrates to the very centre of the Cosmos, coming at last to the birthplace of all life, the swirling cosmic dust of the beginnings, the germs and seeds of life which must travel back along the path you have just taken, becoming more and more dense, until they arrive back here in Malkuth, the Hall of Manifestation.

This is Kether; beyond space; beyond time. And as the task of the Great Work is the raising of Malkuth to Kether, so for each of us the task is to find Kether within ourselves, commencing our journey again, this time through the inner universe, till we reach our very centre, the still point whose movement is life.

We may represent Kether to ourselves as we choose, selecting whatever symbol seems most meaningful; a sparkling diamond, a stately white swan, an almond tree in full bloom, a hawk in full flight. All these are Kether, and by mediating on them we may gain some intuitive understanding, but ultimately it is the inner journey which must be undertaken to bring us to the experience of Kether.

Kether is also represented by Cronus, the god who ate his children as they were born. This illustrates the eventual absorption of all life back to the source from whence it came, back to lose oneself in Light Supernal, where colour and sound blend into an infinite point of peace.
And a point is another symbol for Kether. A point has neither length nor breadth and yet it is. This is Kether, nothing and everything. To the spark in Kether the vicissitudes of manifest life with its failures and triumphs, happiness and sorrow, are completely unimportant; they cease to have meaning; there is only the knowledge of immortality.

The God-name assigned to Kether is Ahieh. It cannot be spoken, only breathed. It is the First Breath, the breath of life that animated and sustains all creation.


Kether through the Four Worlds

By Lars Bratt (1979)

The title of Kether is 'The Crown'. This implies that it is not the Head of manifestation itself, but sits above it. Kether is the root cause of manifestation and exists in a state of pure potential beyond any means of definition possible in terms of manifestation.

Yet, being the Malkuth of the Unmanifest, it contains within itself the entire spiritual concept of the divine plan as evolved within the Ain Force. Therefore there is nothing at all in all creation which was not in Kether first in potential. Kether is the Spiritual Will behind all manifest existence.

In terms of colour, if Kether is the root cause behind manifest existence and is not directly involved with it, at its highest level Kether would then be devoid of all colour and yet contains the sum total of all colours in potential. Kether is the quintessence of creation and is known as the 13th Ray.

In Atziluth, the colour attributed to Kether is Pure Brilliance. This definition again indicates Kether as the root standing behind manifestation, for Brilliance is totally beyond any concept of colour which can possibly be formulated. Kether in Atziluth is total perfection and partakes more of the qualities of the Unmanifest than the manifest, which really commences at Briah where the dual nature of positive and negative together with the blueprint of creation are laid down.

In Briah, Kether takes on a colour for the first time. It is Pure White Brilliance, symbolizing that Kether is now partaking of manifestation itself. In Briah, there are two Trees, one in Chokmah and one in Briah. Kether in Chokmah is overshadowed by the Pure Soft Blue of the archetypal Chokmah, which forms the background to the Tree in Chokmah. The tranquility of the Blue colour stabilizes the onrush of Kether force in its Chokmah aspect and, through the mundane chakra of Chokmah, is broken up into the twelve rays like a prism, ready to ensoul the archetypal forms of Binah.

White contains all colours and is the source behind the twelve rays of manifestation. In considering the nature of Kether in the four Worlds, it must always be borne in mind that in each of the various Sephiroth making up the four Worlds, Kether is influenced by two factors. One is the actual Sephirah on the basic Tree overshadowing the Tree in that Sephirah, and the other is from the mundane chakra attributed to that sphere. It is the influence of Saturn, the mundane chakra of Binah, with its Black colour of absorption, that the activity ofKether in Chokmah is brought under control, ready for the making of the moulds of mani­festation in the denser World of Yetzirah.

In Yetzirah, there are six trees, one in each Sephirah from Chesed to Yesod. The colour of Kether has not changed, having retained its Pure White Brilliance. Kether in Gedulah is influenced by the serenity and greatness of the deep violet. Kether also raises the vibrations of that colour and, under the influence of Jupiter, builds up the latent energies of Gedulah and becomes the fount of creation for the Yetziratic World.

Bearing in mind that Kether is always the root source behind creation in what­ever Sephirah it operates, although it becomes modified by that Sephirah, it modifies them also. In Geburah, Kether provides the dynamic energy behind the Golden Orange Ray of leadership and discipline. This is a very necessary quality for the Red Ray of Will and Power emanating of Mars, the mundane chakra of Geburah does not get out hand and debase itself to the levels of cruelty and destruction.

At Tiphareth, Kether is .surrounded by the Clear Rose Pink of affection and harmony. Pink is the higher level of the Red Ray of Will and Power and the harmonious level of pure love is brought out at the Pink level. It must always be borne in mind that the basic Tree is coloured in the Atziluthic King scale, and Atziluth, being the World of Kether in its pristine pure brilliant state, would mean that all colours are raised to the highest levels of their respective Rays. The action of Kether in each Tree in the various Atziluthic Sephiroth of the basic Tree has the effect of raising the vibrations of colour to their ultimate level, which would cause qualities to be shown forth which are not as familiar to the Ray as we know it in its lower, more usual aspects.

The more usual human qualities of the Red Ray show themselves up in their forms of conceit,inflated ego, and at the lower end, the Blood-Red level, the qualities of leadership degenerate to downright tyranny. But at the Kether level, the Pure Pink represents the pure archetypal principle of the Red Ray and is quite beyond the scope of most human beings to express.

The Atziluthic colour of Netzach on the basic Tree gives a background of Amber, the high level of the Orange Ray. Kether in Netzach brings out the qualities of mental activity in the Lower .Mental Plane. The Orange Ray is raised up to the levels of Yellow, the colour of Spiritual Activity, by the Pure White Brilliance of Kether. Netzach, the sphere of the Life Forces of Nature, represents the dynamic, outflowing, boundless energies of Chokmah at that level which could get out of band and bring confusion and illusion were it not for the stabilizing qualities of the Blue Ray of Love-Wisdom emanating from Venus, the mundane chakra of Netzach.

In Hod, the polar opposite of Netzach, the free-flowing wildness of Netzach is ensouled into the rigid forms of Hod, giving those forms, built up on the intellectual plane of concrete mind, the life force required to make those channels of mental thought active. This is also emphasized by the Yellow of Spiritual Activity, emanating from Mercury, the mundane, chakra of Hod. The Atziluthic colour of Hod is Violet Purple, the higher octave of the Purple Ray. The Purple gives the quality of tranquility, but it can degenerate into a rigid form of complacency which can be broken from time to time by the activity of the Yellow Ray, stimulated by the creative Brilliant White of Kether. Without this, Hod would bind up the lower mental plane into total rigidity, and manifestation would come to a stand­still at this level.
The functional aspects of Hod and Netzach combined give rise to Yesod, which, at the Atziluthic level of perfection on the basic Tree, is the highest octave of the Indigo Ray. Yesod, the Desire World, is the station where devotion and the more emotional approaches to religion take place. The Indigo is the colour of aspiration, but the sphere of Yesod is a very devious one for the subtleties of the astral temptations are great. It is only when all the emotions have been sifted through that a final balance and compromise is attained which will permit the clear light of Kether to shine through without distortion.

In Assiah, or Malkuth on the basic Tree, Kether has now lost its Brilliance, and is White flecked with Gold. Assiah, or Material Plane, is far from perfect and the presence of flecks of another colour in Kether shows this. The background to Kether is the Yellow of Spiritual Activity and the flecks of Gold also symbolize the action of the Yellow Ray at its highest level. The Yellow gives spiritual direction which when the Kether state has been achieved, let us leave Malkuth behind and stand in the Malkuth of Yesod in Yetzirah. When Malkuth has become perfected to the Kether state, it too will cease to exist, and this is the ultimate destiny of all existence, for the Divine Name not only means "I AM", but also "I WILL BE". Kether is the fount out of which all has emanated and at the close of the Day of Brahman, will be the point of re-absorption of all creation.


Kether in Atziluth

By Brenda Budgen (1987)

Kether is the Malkuth of Negative Existence. It is the Great Unknown, but not the Great Unknowable. Not yet divided into opposites, it transcends all laws, of manifestation by existing, alone. It is a state of existence bordering on non-existence. It is the blinding white light, and at this point I would like to take you back in time to when I was a little girl of five, who had been sent, because of the outbreak of war, to live in Cornwall with grandparents. I attended a little village school at the top ofthe hill. The school was built in such a way that the roof of the centre section was higher than the roof in front - it was a single storey building. In the centre section we would gather for our morning assembly and the sunshine - for one's memories of childhood always seem to be of sunny days - streamed in through a circular window high up in the wall in that part which was higher than the room in front.

There, with the sun streaming down on us, we would sing:

Immortal, invisible God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes.
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great Name we praise.
Unresting, unhasting, and silent as night,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might.
All laud we would render. Oh, help us to see
'Tis only the splendour of light hideth Thee.

This, for me now, symbolises Kether. Yet it is also the darkness of inter-stellar space as seen from earth: potentially everything, yet nothing.

Kether is of our Cosmos, but not in it - the crown - the Head which is not. Its microcosmic correspondence is the 1000 petal lotus in the aura - the deepest spiritual essence which is never in actual manifestation. It is the primordial ocean, which reabsorbs the universe back into itself at the end of an epoch. It is the intensest form of existence - pure, being unlimited by form or reaction and conforms to none of OUR requirements for determining existence, yet it exists in a mode unknown to us: this is the key to Kether and Kether is the key to the Tree.

Never while in incarnation can we rise to Kether in Atziluth and retain our body for return - for the Spiritual Experience assigned to Kether is Union with God. Like Enoch, if we walk with God, we "are not".


To be continued...