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

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Situation on the Tree:
Between Geburah and Tiphareth.

Key: The Hebrew Letter Lamed. Ox-goad.

Titles: Daughter of the Lords of Truth. Ruler of the Balance

Spiritual Significance: Libra. The Scales.

Tarot Card: XI - Justice.

Colours in the Four Worlds:
In Atziluth: Emerald.
In Briah: Blue.
In Yetzirah: Deep blue-green.
In Assiah: Pale green.




The papers below describe the Twenty-second Path of Lamed that symbolises the infleunce between Geburah and Tiphareth. (More to follow)...

(Updated 13 January 2021)


The Path of Justice - 22nd Path

By Doreen Sturzaker

Geburah to Tiphareth. Hebrew letter Lamed, an Ox-Goad - to teach, to instruct, that which urges and guides the manifestation of the Cosmic Power represented by The Fool. It is something within the Life Power, inward capacity for self-direction. Accustomed, scholar, a trained disciple, a goad. A means of discipline, a way of wisdom, which is apt to make a man a follower rather than a leader. You learn first to discipline yourself before you are able to dispense justice yourself.

Eliminate waste and hesitancy from wisely-directed action, discrimination. Action is required and action is motivated by sub-conscious response to self-conscious observation and concentration.

Balance – mental and physical means elimination of waste, getting rid of excess baggage.

Vedana: consciousness of sensation, gained by repetition or practice.


Colour Pale Green. This is essentially a Path of Adjustment. Tiphareth at one end is the point where the personality makes contact with the individuality. It is where the individual, in reaching up to Geburah, first becomes aware of the Law of Cause and Effect as it applies to him. Tiphareth is the reasoning soul and in Assiah the soul first perceives that no one really gets away with anything, and everything has eventually to be balanced up before the Sphere of Geburah is conquered.

Tiphareth is the Heart Centre, there is balance up to a point here but perhaps it is in Tiphareth that the consciousness first realises that the rhythm is irregular and all is not as it ought to be and so the soul continues on its way seeking Truth, which is really Pure Justice. The Pale Green, I think, may refer to the Tiphareth end of the Path in Assiah where there is a certain amount of balance and peace, which comes from understanding at that level.

In Yesod the colour is a Deep Blue-Green with Indigo for the background. The normal reactions to those situations which are mostly emotionally based are counter-balanced by an opposite reaction due to the synthesising action of the Indigo background colour. Although it is in the sphere of Yesod it is still a fairly high Path on the Tree, yet the emotional-desire content may be of a selfish nature using the lower end of the Blue-Green and any adjustment necessary is rather painful. The Blue containing the quality of wisdom may help to counteract this, though wisdom in the Sphere of Yesod may seek personal gain and satisfaction and the kind of justice here meted out is likely to be rather prejudiced and based on emotional reactions, a rough justice, in fact, which could be even merciless.

In Hod, the Blue-Green has for a background the colour Purple. So there is a digging deep in the search for Truth of any matter. The more emotional levels of Yesod are overcome and logical thought now takes its place; there is an inward urge to get to grips with things and therefore to balance up. The inherent restlessness of Blue-Green emphasises this turbulent seeking and need to get to the bottom of a thing so that a mental adjustment can then take place. I would think that this could probably be at the start of an unconscious seeking. This urge to get to grips with things could take the form of religious seeking or it might lead to the individual to follow, in his search, both the right-hand and left-hand Paths for a time; in his deep inner groping for the Truth he could chase the wrong things as well as the right.

In Netzach the colour is Amber for background. The Blue-Green is still restlessly urging onwards and which way the striving takes place is of great importance to him, he may have the imagination to see the goal ahead and go straight for it and here the energising effect of Mars can help or he can equally well go off the track and be just as energetic pursuing the wrong Path. The general harshness of the Path is softened by the geniality of the Amber and the power inherent in the Ray backs him up in his endeavours to rectify his life, although there can be a danger at this Sphere of Intellectual Pride in his achievements, which could be a hindrance but if the positive side of the Amber is allowed to exert an influence then its steady inherent reliability helps to give a quiet strength and confidence that he can succeed in whatever his chosen way might be.

Tiphareth is at one end of this Path with its Clear Rose-Pink. On the Path of Outgoing the ‘Fool’ leaves the Sphere of Geburah, Perfect Justice, and travels on to the Middle Pillar of Balance but on the Path of Return he is balanced at that point, integrated, but as he proceeds on to Geburah restrictions close in from the past as he is leaving the Sphere of Balance. I suppose he could conceivably be tempted to stick there; there seems no reason to think he might want to tackle a very harsh and cold Path out on the negative Pillar when his consciousness is focussed cosily at this relatively high level, but there is the Ox-Goad, Lamed, which pushes him and which represents a stimulus of some kind breaking down complacency and the Rose-Pink of Tiphareth gives great energy and enthusiasm. There is power in the Rose-Pink, he is a leader, leader of himself, so while there will be a great deal of stripping away to be dome through the energy of the Pink, it will be for a re-building and a re-alignment of the individuality.

In Geburah the Path seems to me to be all harshness, Justice in the Sphere of Justice with no hint of mercy anywhere. It is the final measuring up before Chesed, the Sphere of Karmalessness. Universal Law takes over completely to finish off any unfinished business remaining. It is essentially a very practical Path; the driving force of restless energy in the Blue-Green is backed by the Orange of Geburah, concrete down to earth force, as relentless as it is reliable. It is a Path of Balancing Up all the way no matter which Sphere it is in, but in Geburah it is even more so with no hint of compromise.


The Path of Justice

By M. Henbury-Ballan (1994)

Justice linking Tiphareth with Geburah, is the 22nd Path of the Tree and is concerned with judgement coupled with Justice. In some ways it is similar to the 19th Path of Strength but is also very different, for here the scales weigh that which walks upon it, against the beauty of the Divine Light, and through the Divine Fire will remove all that is not perfect. The difference between this Path and Strength, is shown in the 19th Path being almost exclusively concerned with inner balancing at a very high level, whilst the 22nd Path is concerned with outward and behavioural manifestations of either good or evil traits.

The concepts of Justice dealt upon this Path are capable of observation by us, though we need a deep understanding of the 19th Path to fully grasp the full meaning of Divine and karmic Justice.

It is because of its link with Justice through karmic adjustment that we tend to view this Path with certain trepidation, for this Path will reveal the duality of our nature - both good and bad. For many initiates it will be the nearest to spiritual agony - for it is also a crossroads for those who decide to go on or to remain at this point. We all have to face the consequences of our actions sooner or later - Newton spoke a spiritual truth when he gave his law "that for every action there is a reaction". Few of us relish this, but as the Hebrew letter of this Path - 'Lamed' (meaning Ox-goad) - illustrates, we have little choice but to obey. The shape of the letter may suggest a scourge - a symbol associated with Geburah - and we have no choice as we are urged along the Path with gentle but firm insistence. Although the Ox-goad is to spur us on, the direction we take is of paramount importance. In the World of Assiah it can be a thirst for power and material wealth, or it could be a striving to relinquish the material so as to gain the spiritual. In the World of Yetzirah - the world of emotion - we must tread carefully for it is too easy to drive forward to the wrong goal - vision can be too easily distorted by emotion. In the Briatic World with its Archangelic forces, is the sphere of Universal Power where the initiate must control these forces but at the same time, the initiate is spurred on and will be judged by his reaction to the spur.

However with the balance of Tiphareth and the driving force of Mars in Geburah, the Path can be successfully overcome.

In the Yetziratic text we are told that this Path is "The faithful intelligence - by it, spiritual virtues are increased, and all dwellers on Earth are nearly under its shadow". For as stated, all men must face justice knowingly or otherwise. The Path of Justice has at one end Geburah - the sphere of punishment and a symbol of death, while at the other end lies Tiphareth, the sphere of balance and harmony. Thus we have this Path running from the negative pillar to the middle pillar of balance. Here we see the qualities of balanced justice - a pure justice, the justice of universal and Divine law. When the initiate travels this Path downwards the lesson to be learnt is of facing the ideals of sacrifice at Tiphareth. On the Path of return, and the sacrifice having been made, the initiate journeys onto Geburah, where they will be judged in accordance to pure justice.

The astrological sign of this Path is Libra, the Scales - an image much associated with justice, be it Divine or human. For upon this Path with a strength of will-power, can balance be achieved. The initiate when upon this path is poised upon the scales of justice and they are weighed in the balance. We can learn here the lesson of cause and effect. Likewise the sword held with its point upwards is a symbol of the double-edge of justice - it is unmerciful to those on the black path, but just to the true initiate of the right-hand path. For with a positive attitude we can develop spiritual virtues whilst upon this path.

One of the more interesting aspects of this path is the concept of "magical bodies", which can be more easily understood as elements in ones past experience that have been rejected from the judgement hall. In other words the past life has not been fully assimilated by the individuality. Therefore they can intrude at times into the thoughts of the present day individual. Our concept of 'Deja Vu' maybe an aspect of this, or when we find ourselves daydreaming back to past historical events - it is only when this becomes obsessive can it lead to mental disorder. The question we must ask ourselves is how can we utilise such aspects - the answer lies in one word - Redemption - the ability to face up to the true situations within oneself, coupled with a willingness to change it. This, of course, is not as easy as it seems, for it takes ruthless honesty and discernment coupled with firm intention and aspiration. The aim is to face up to it - to see what it truly is (many magical bodies are often associated with abuse of power, love, etc, to some extent) and once we have confronted it we will be able to exercise control.

A step further in understanding this is when a human spirit reaches the Chesedic levels and the last of the human personalities have been absorbed - then that spirit has a choice in either going forward into the 'Light' across the Abyss, like Enoch/Metatron, or can defer its reward and choose to serve mankind in the capacity of a Master. At this level a magical body can not cause mischief and a Master may call upon one of his last personalities in order to communicate with a disciple. However we must remember that the guiding spirit of the Master must not be confused with how we remember his last incarnation, but that the body is being used simply as a vehicle of communication.

Finally also closely concerned with this Path is that of the Hierophant - for it is the use of knowledge and wisdom gained on the Path of the Hierophant that will be judged on the Path of Justice. We must never forget that overall, this is a path of cold reason, methodical, logical and immune to all emotions. Here the past meets the future to decide where we stand upon the Tree.


The Path of Justice

By Peter Oddey (2001)

When one thinks of justice, one generally thinks of something that needs redress in the external world. For example, the injustice of ethnic cleansing or the sentence to be meted out to a burglar. But the path of Justice is as much about justice in the impersonal world. The entire creation, both inner and outer moves beneath the Ox-Goad of the path of Lamed (l).

As the Psalmist of the acrostic Psalm 119, under the letter Lamed states, verse 91:

“Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.”

And this is the unremitting process of the life we live and the universe in which we live it. All the paths tell us something about the nature of the created and the eternal order and all the paths speak to us of the external and internal world: the path of Lamed, to which is ascribed the Tarot card of Justice, tell us that all things have a destiny and a conclusion.

How we respond to this, determines the direction of the life we live.

As ever with each of the paths, in the path of Lamed, we are at the heart of the mystery of creation. The paths of the Ox and the Ox-Goad, Aleph and Lamed - AL(la), take us directly to the very name of God and a mighty key to the mystery of life.

By association, the path of Justice is often viewed as an extension of Geburah, the sephirah of severity and righteous judgement. Geburah, also called Pachad meaning fear, is an extreme, balanced only by Chesed, meaning mercy and love. As the love of Chesed is boundless. It is, therefore, the boundless, uncompensated severity in Geburah that provides the key to the inexorable process we find in the path of Justice. The inevitable pull to resolution in all things. After all, the path of Justice has only the mild Tiphareth at its other end and the mild equilibrium of Tiphareth is of another order and function in the Tree, to the exacting rigours of Geburah.

Clearly, the path of Lamed and Justice is about faithfulness. The text of the ‘Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom’ calls the Twenty-second path “the Faithful Intelligence… by which spiritual virtues are increased…”. The Psalmist of the Old Testament, writing the Psalms perhaps 3000 years ago, tells us under the letter Lamed in Psalm 119 mentioned above, at verse 90:

“Your faithfulness endures through all generations:
you established the earth and it endures,
your laws endure to this day”.

And most of the modern translations from the Hebrew translate the word as ‘faithfulness’. Other translations include ‘constancy’ and ‘promises’. The mystery of the path is therefore central to life, space and time in the universe. It is one of the Pillars upon which the construction of the universe rests and it seems to suggest, if we did not already know, that all our thoughts, actions and words are ultimately judged.

In this regard, Lamed is almost an elemental path as are Aleph (a), Mem (m) and Schin (c) (Air, Water and Fire respectively). Certainly, its close relationship and proximity to both Aleph and Mem is obvious. It is of interest, therefore, that the Psalmist of the same Psalm (119), under the verses attributed to Schin (vs.168), to which we ascribe the Tarot card of Judgement, the end of the process of Justice, tells us:

“I obey your precepts and your statutes,
for all my ways are known to you.”

The Psalmist had no doubt about his place in the order of things.

Clearly, the Truths embedded in the Kabbalah extend back into the prehistoric past and confirm how ancient, profound and mysterious is the knowledge to which we are called. And although some suggest that the unification of the Tarot and the Tree of Life is a comparatively recent attempt to amalgamate two mutually exclusive metaphysical systems, I, for one, must agree with Dion Fortune that:

“…the Tarot, the most satisfactory of all systems of divination, rises from and finds its explanation in the Tree and nowhere else. That may seem a dogmatic statement to the scholarly historian searching for traces of the origin of these mysterious cards and, we may add, most lamentably failing to find it; but when it is realised that the initiate works the Tarot and the Tree together, that they dovetail into each other at every imaginable angle, it will be that such an array of correspondences could be neither arbitrary nor fortuitous”.


To be continued...