The following papers describe Malkuth, the Tenth Sephirah (More to follow)...
(Updated 15 November 2020)
By Frances A. Morris (1982)
Malkuth is the sum total of the activities of all the other spheres, it is the end result in densest matter of what started as the most nebulous spirit in Kether; it is the final receptacle into which the influences of all the other spheres flow and as such it is the only stable sphere on the Tree.
The host of angels, that is the builders, in Kether are the four Holy Living Creatures, and through their offices all life is brought into being. Their influence is felt variously all down the Tree until finally in Malkuth they become the four elements we can recognize with our senses, fire, air, earth and water. The four elements are the mundane chakra to Malkuth and it is through them the life force flows, they become the actual substance of our world and form this environment with which we are familiar but they are nevertheless those same forces which are active in Kether and so we see Kether is indeed in Malkuth and Malkuth in Kether.
Malkuth is the sphere which we inhabit and must learn its lessons before we can proceed to any other. It is foolish to despise dense matter and glorify spirit alone, since we may learn the nature of spiritual matters by study of the physical.
The Yetziratic text says of Malkuth that "it illumines the splendour of all the lights”. In other words all the emanations of the other Sephiroth become visible in Malkuth. Malkuth is the Hall of Manifestations everything we perceive with our senses, a rock, a flower, or a man is a marvel, a thought of the Ain made manifest, each with its own purpose to fulfil which it knows, although only man has the freedom to decide whether to co-operate with the Divine Will or not. So therefore, since everything is present in Malkuth, we have only to study man to know God.
Malkuth, therefore, is the physical body and as our physical bodies are inescapably linked to our etheric bodies, so is the earth to the moon and Malkuth to Yesod.
Yesod is the apex of the third triad on the Tree and is called The Foundation because, as a result of the merging of the creative imagination of Netzach and the thought forms of Hod it contains the complete blueprint for what is to come into manifestation in Malkuth, and in its etheric fluidity it influences and controls all that is of afluid nature in Malkuth, the sea, the sap of plants and the various fluids that make a man.
Not so long ago it was considered extremely unlucky not to bow three times to the new moon, or to see it through glass, and if you wished to be prosperous you must be sure to turn your money over when you say it. It was also considered extremely unwise to let the full moon shine on your face while you slept. The moon therefore, was dangerous; one had to be wary of it, appease it. It may be said, perhaps, that the moon is in relation to the earth as his anima is to man; it is his other self, non-reasoning and instinctive and therefore mysterious and sinister. However, since it is inescapably tied to him it has to be examined and understood. Yesod and the whole of the third trinity represent the lower self which is the area of man's dreaming and thinking which must come under his control in order for him to advance.
The second triad has as its apex and point of integration Tiphareth, the mediating sphere. Placed in the centre of the Tree Tiphareth mediates between the lower and higher selves, between the lower and higher mental worlds and between Kether and Malkuth. The light of Kether is transmitted to Malkuth via Tiphareth as the divine light of the Ain is transmitted to the earth via the sun.
And the sun has been worshipped in many ancient religions. The very primitive, since it was the physical source of light and warmth, revered it as the actual life-giving force. To more sophisticated man the physical orb we see in the sky was symbolic of that power and clear for all to see. Hence the fear and amazement at times of eclipse and the power of the druids or priests who could fore-tell these events. Hence the daily rituals of the South American Indians to ensure the sun's return and without which they were convinced the world would be left to die in darkness, and hence the identification of the monarch with the sun even up to the time of Louis XVIII of France, le roi soleil.
Tiphareth is the mirror in which we may see Kether, and likewise Malkuth is reflected in it. Tiphareth is a sphere of sacrifice, the sphere of the sacrificed gods and their resurrection, where death is life and life is death. This sacrifice is reflected in Malkuth where the soul makes a sacrifice to be born into flesh which is a death in the spiritual world and is then reborn to the spiritual when it dies to the flesh. Hence Malkuth is called the Gate of Death.
In the Supernal Triad Malkuth has a special relationship with Binah, since it is in Binah the first restriction of form comes into being, albeit in a most nebulous sense, and this form finds its culmination in Malkuth. Hence Malkuth is said to sit upon the throne of Binah.
Binah and Malkuth are respectively the Superior and Inferior Mothers. In Malkuth we see woman represented in her three aspects. Firstly as the Virgin, as Persephone, who suffered a kind of death in her abduction to the underworld and whose return each year heralds the spring. Secondly as the Mother, as Ceres, mother of Persephone and bountiful goddess of the harvest and indeed as the earth herself whose children we all are and from whose body we all take nourishment. Thirdly as Death, for as already mentioned she who gives life also takes it away; the womb is a tomb and the tomb is a womb. Binah too is both the bright fertile mother, smiling, loving and protective and the dark sterile mother, Kali the terrible, joining forces with Saturn to mow us down at our appointed hour.
We again see the connection between form and sorrow since Malkuth is known as the Gate of Tears and Binah as a Vision of Sorrow, and on our return journey which starts in Malkuth we are only free of form after passing through Binah.
Malkuth has yet another aspect and this is as Kallah the bride. Again in the Yetziratic Text we read that Malkuth causes an influence to emanate from the Prince of Countenances, Kether. This is the bride calling to her bridegroom and the purpose of the great work is the marriage of Kether and Malkuth, whether we are speaking on a cosmic scale or whether we are referring to the spiritual state of as individual. We may see this illustrated in the Roman Catholic religion by the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, also referred to as the Queen of Heaven, whilst one of the titles of Malkuth is The Virgin.
Everything which exists as a thought in Kether exists in manifestation in Malkuth and nothing is in Malkuth which was not first in Kether. Hence the maxim "As above, so below" which is demonstrated by the symbol of Malkuth, the double cube.
However, due to man having exercised his free will to act at variance with the Divine Will the bride is not yet worthy of her suitor and before he can come to claim her she must be prepared by her attendants. Thenwhen Malkuth is indeed a true reflection of Kether, Kallah the Bride becomes Malkah the Queen and the union is accomplished.
Is Malkuth in its Rightful Place ?
By Richard Stewart (1984)
That Malkuth may have originally held the position now allocated to Daath on the Tree of Life is a common source of speculation and opinion.
The Tree as we conceive of it today almost begs this proposition with both Daath and Malkuth posing mysteries as to their nature. Daath is not counted amongst the numerations of the Sephiroth and therefore the Abyss appears in the formation of the Tree making a break in the apparent way in which the lightning flash manifests in the microcosm.
Malkuth on the other hand hangs pendulously from Netzach, Hod and Yesod, the foundation. It is tempting to place Malkuth at Daath or resolve the former in the latter, therefore solving the apparent discrepancies, which both manifest in the symbolism of the glyph. With the deed done as it were, we find the Tree countenances aHarmonious form with the Lightning Flash clearly running through it from Kether to the foundation Yesod. Malkuth is then raised from being the breaker of the foundations and the elemental kingdom beneath Yesod, to the divine substance which some might believe is the ultimate expression of the world of the senses.
Daath is the Sephirah which does and yet does net exist. The word means knowledge and can be found in both singular and plural forms throughout Kabbalistic literature. Daath is said to be of variable countenance displaying masculine or feminine characteristics depending upon the predominance of either gender at any one time. It represents the conjunction of Chokmah and Binah, the father and mother and the secret conclave in which they unite.
In Samuel II: 3 it is said "Since El Daath is Tetragrammaton". The plural form of Daath is here used, and indicates Daath in Daath; knowledge within knowledge; and the twin colours of Daath inherited from its supernal mother and father which according to the Atziluthic colour scale, would be the scarlet red of Binah and the pure soft blue of Chokmah combined in the purple of Daath.
According to the Lesser Assembly of the Zohar, Daath is associated with the ears and with the Tetragrammaton, being the completion of the trinity in the quaternary. Hence it is Yod He Vau completed in IHVH. Tetragrammaton as it says in Kings: "Incline, O Tetragrammaton, thine ear and hear." Daath was looked upon as the ear or rather the channels of the ear which were said to retain the sounds and words which enter within. It was considered that although an understanding could be had by both the just and the wicked, it was only the just that could hold Daath within and make judgements and discernment regarding it. As the beard of the heavenly father extended from the ears, Daath came to symbolise the beard which hid the holy influence which descended from Kether. It became a universal symbol of ornamentation in this respect. The beard joined the two ears, the left and right and transmitted their influence through combination to the worlds below.
In the development of Deity from negative existence into positive manifestation, Daath represents the crystal line dew, which gathers as a distillation or condensation at the base of the skull in the lesser countenance as it drips from the beard of the Ancient of Days (the Vast Countenance).
In Proverbs 3:20 this is confirmed; 'By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew’.
Daath is taken to refer to the head of the microcosm or Lesser Countenance to the space or face which is between the ears, and includes the bridge of the nose, the eyes, the mouth and all the interior organs, the six lower Sephiroth. Chapter 20 of the Lesser Assembly says: The masculine power is extended through Daath; and the Assemblies and Conclaves are filled. It commenceth from the beginning of the skull and it is extended throughout the whole body, through the breast, and through the arms, and through all the other parts.
It is said that the masculine power is extended through Daath and this for several reasons amongst which is its position on the Tree of Life and more specifically its position in the Lightning Flash, where it is the balanced extension of the masculine from the feminine pillar. It is also the "son" of Chokmah; born within the womb of mother Binah.
The Vast Countenance or Kether has a threefold brain and according to tradition these are wisdom, understanding and knowledge, the confirmation of which is found in the Lesser Countenance as a direct reflection. In Malkuth we find correspondence with the neo-cortex; limbic system and reptilian complex of the human brain. This correspondence gives the reptilian complex to Daath. An interesting thought since the R-complex as it is called, is the most primitive of the three and rules over the ritualistic and hierarchical aspects in the positive and the aggressive and sexual aspects of life in the negative, human qualities. This corresponds quite well with the purple of Daath and its symbolic attributes. The psychological aspects of the three brains correspond to the conscious, subconscious and unconscious levels of mind. The unconscious mind is Daath, filled with repressed complexes, the seven headed beast, the red dragon of Revelations which stands before the Empress to witness the birth of her son.
From Revelations and the end, to Genesis and the beginning, where Daath is the serpent of Eden who offers Eve the fruits of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, Daath represents, as has been said, the base of the skull and the pinnacle of the spine. Here is the spinal axis and atlas vertebrae, both of which represent Daath quite well as the axis upon which the hub of the wheel of Yetzirah turns and as the Atlas, the supporter of the Earth.
Now to Malkuth, Cholom Yesodoth, the breaker of the foundations, for it isbelow the foundations of Yesod. It represents the world of Assiah or action as well as the world of shells, Qliphoth. It is said to be represented by a serpent whose tail is in his mouth and who encircles the earth beneath the waves. Malkuth is the Inferior Mother, inferior that is to the Great Mother Binah and the Bride of the Microprosopus. The Garden of Eden is Malkuth, at least its inferior conformation, for there are apparently two Edens; one the superior and one the inferior. It is Daath which passes the influence of Kether to the apple trees (Yetzirah) in the Garden of Eden (Assiah). Likewise are there said to be two kingdoms - the Land of Edom, the destroyed world, and the restored world, Daath and Malkuth.
By Robert Starke (1986)
Malkuth is the last Sephirah on the Tree and has as its mundane chakra the four elements - fire, air, water, earth. These four elements are really broad categories of energy behind our material existence, producing effects according to their own specific natures. Essential air will cause "airy" effects whether in body, mind, soul or spirit, and the other elements do the same in their fashion. We know what is meant by an airy, fiery, watery or an earthy person. We are all mixtures of all these elements, and whatever is capable of expression in our world is composed by the activity of these four forces.
Immediately behind our state of matter, these pure conditions of energy are called "Elemental Spirits". They have been depicted or visualised in many ways, but they are-essentially the forces behind physical forces, having no minds or souls of their own any more than electricity or gravity. Yet operating according to their inherent natures like any power in action, taking the path of least resistance as energies normally do.
We may think of "Elemental Spirits" therefore as pure units of energy, having the characteristics of one particular element. They carry out their functions under the control of what we call Angels, who apply the necessary guidance to ensure continuance of cosmos throughout creation.
The Angelic order in direct control of the elemental spirits are the Kerubim. These angels are described as a composite of ox, lion, eagle and man. They are the elements themselves on ahigher level. The Kerubim are a near material equivalent of the Chioth ha Kadosh, the holy living creatures of Kether, which leads back to the old saying: "As above, so below".
Malkuth is the last Sephirah and is the end marker before turning round for the long and hard ascent back to the limitless ultimate. Malkuth receives the influences of all the other Sephiroth. It represents the end results of all the activities of the Tree. It is the solidification into form of the blueprint ideas at Kether. The Yetziratic text says Malkuth illuminates the splendours of all the lights. It is the formative, concreting function of Malkuth which finally renders tangible and definite what was, upon the higher planes, intangible and indefinite, and this is its great service to manifestation and its characteristic power. All the lights, that is to say the emanation of all the other Sephiroth, become illuminated, visible when reflected from the concrete aspects of Malkuth.
The magical image of Malkuth is a young woman, crowned and veiled; this is the Isis of Nature, her face veiled to show that, the spiritual forces are hidden within the outer form. This idea is also present in the symbology of Binah, which is summed up in the concept of "the outer robe of concealment". Malkuth, as is clearly set forth in the Yetziratic Text, is Binah upon a lower arc.
Malkuth also acts as a kind of cosmic filter casting out the effete and preserving that which still retains its usefulness. This macrocosmic excretion is filtered into the Qliphothic spheres below and cannot return to the planes of organised form until it finds balance in equilibrium.
The Qliphothic world is a reservoir of disorganised force, emanated from broken up forms cast out from evolution. It is chaos on a lower arc. The Qliphothic world has to wait until its purification is complete and it has filtered back through the sphere of earth and has been drawn once again into the stream of evolution.
And until all the four elements of Malkuth blend in perfect harmony, Malkuth will not be a perfect representation of the Ketheric archetypal idea.
Malkuth through the Four Worlds
By D.M. Dalton (1985)
Malkuth in Kether is the archetypally perfect culmination of all the forces brought into manifestation. It represents the archetype of conscious perfection, the pure creative activity of spirit in its most potentially perfect form.
The archetypal perfect kingdom perceived in the first swirlings of the first point of manifestation. It is the fundamental image behind the first idea of perfect form.
Whereas Malkuth in Assiah is the nadir of evolution; the 7th day of creation whereby God rested, so as to allow the creation to fulfil its purpose. This is the point on the tree within which we all find ourselves, and is therefore the only sphere of which we have direct experience.
It is the physical counterpart of the Malkuth of Kether, not so perfect as it is the culmination of the idea of form first begun in Binah.
In one sense Malkuth of Malkuth represents stability. All matter being energy, this energy symbolised by the four fixed elements: ox, lion, eagle, man. This stable fixed energy becomes the physical body of man, or universe.
The Malkuth of Chokmah creates the form, the word made manifest, the point from which the separate sparks start on the long descent into material incarnation.
The Malkuth of Binah provides the individual images of the forms desired. From this point onwards, Malkuth becomes a vehicle of manifestation for the sphere within which it appears.
An Analysis of Malkuth
By Mark Green (1991)
Malkuth, in Hebrew MLKVTh (Mem, Lamed, Kaph, Vau, Tau), translates as "Kingdom” and "reign", and is the name of the tenth Sephirah of the Tree of Life. An examination of the letters that compose this word may shed light upon the nature of the "kingdom” itself. This shall be done in three ways: first, numerically; second, by analysis of the translation of the letters; and third, by an examination of the Tarot cards to which those letters are attributed in the "Golden Dawn" system.
The numerical analysis:
MLKVTh = 40 + 30 + 20 + 6 + 400 = 496
One common method of numerology totals the integers repeatedly until a single digit is acquired. In the case of Malkuth, this results in 4 + 3 + 2 + 6 + 4 =19 =1 + 9 =10, the number of Malkuth, on the Tree. Also, this further reduces to 1 + 0 =1, the number of Kether, thus reminding us that "Malkuth is in Kether, and Kether is in Malkuth, but after a different manner.”
The primary and terminal letters of the word are Mem and Tau, both of which are extensions of 4, the value of Daleth. As Aleister Crowley points out in his "Essay Upon Number", 4: relates to "the solid, existing in Time, matter as we know it." It is interesting to note also that 496 = 4 x 124; that is to say, the number of manifestation acting upon the number of Eden (A'aND = 124), the archetypal kingdom. The primary and terminal letters of Malkuth spell MTh and ThM, which mean "To die, corpse, man" and "Complete, perfect, whole" respectively. This suggests the nature of the Sephiroth of Malkuth microcosmically as the world of man and death and macrocosmically as the completion of the universal process as a whole system.
As extensions of the number 4, the value of Daleth, Mem and Tau reveal another aspect of Malkuth important to the practical Kabbalist. That is, Daleth signifies "a gate, portal, means of passing through." and Malkuth has amongst its titles, "The Gate, The Gate of Tears, the Gate of Death". This suggests, as does Malkuth's recurrent reduction down to Kether from all angles, that the perceived world about us is the "presentation" of Kether to us, and the means by which Kether is communicated to our senses (in much the same way a poem or piece of music is the "portal" to a wealth of abstract meanings and experience).
Malkuth, the kingdom, thus begins, quite appropriately, with the Hanged Man, the card symbolic of Initiation and Sacrifice. This may be seen, as the original genesis, the "big bang" where from nothing came everything. The card also reminds us that awareness is "drowned" in that flood, and "the light shineth in the darkness, but the darkness comprehendeth it not".
The next card of the sequence is that of "Justice", or as Crowley retitled it, "Adjustment". The placement of this card on the Tree connects it between Geburah (discernment) and Tiphareth (awareness) on the path of Lamed (discipline). Following on from the initial Mem stage, we may see this step as the organisation and adjustment inherent in the universal processes.
Moving on from the process ofcontinual adjustment, we add the spin of the Wheel of Fortune, that is to say, the action of Time and the circular or spiral force that can be seen in everything from the DNA helix, the conch shell, a whirlpool, a body in orbit, or an entire galaxy. The hub of the wheel, the spokes and the rim also signify "synchronicity", a term coined by Carl Jung to denote an "a causal connecting principle" in play within all things.
Thus, so far the cards denote, quite accurately, the evolutionary process from THE BEGINNING through ORGANISATION AND FORM to CONNECTION.
The next card of the set is that off the Hierophant, "he who reveals the sacred things", and subtitled by the Golden Dawn, "the expounder of the Mysteries”. The Hierophant in this context represents the interface between the individual, and the world about him, as shown in the above cards. As noted already, and as Pythagoras stated, "Nature, all things hid reveals". If we take this card as symbolic of the individual's relationship with Nature (as in "everything", not just ''landscapes and bunny rabbits"), then that relationship is revealed as being based on: Awareness (Hanged Man); Balance (Justice) and Synchronicity, "meaningful coincidence" (Wheel), which are all aspects of the Middle Pillar and the Opus of the Initiation System.
Finally, we arrive at Tau, which is, quite neatly, the Universe card itself. This somewhat self-referential termination of the set demonstrates admirably the nature of the card itself and the whole synthesis (being a meaning of the card, of course) of the previous cards in manifestation.
Thus the formula of Malkuth can be expressed asINITIATION, ADJUSTMENT, SYNCHRONICITY, REVELATION, and SYNTHESIS.
To be continued...