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

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The Veil of Ain - Negativity

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The Unmanifest, also called Negative Existence, is beyond any human capability of comprehension, simply because our perception is limited to the four dimensions of space and time. I hope that the dissertations cited below by three of our members may make a call into our subconscous minds and evoke a pure idea that can give rise to some unexpected insights.

In the Kabbalah, the Three Veils of the Unmanifest are attributed to the number Zero, Nothingness. Zero precedes the number One, that is symbolised as a single point of pure brilliance, with no dimensions. This point, the Sephirah Keher the Crown, becomes the cause of all manifestation.

Although unthinkable and non-existant, the Three Veils become backdrops that reveal the mysteries of the Creation of Existence.

“He who speaks of the Tao does not know it and he who knows it does not speak of it. The Tao which can be expressed in words is not the Tao.” (Lao-Tzu)

Ain, Negativity, the First Veil of the Unmanifest Trinity (More to follow)...

(Updated 13 November 2020)

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A Short Treatise upon Ain, Ain Soph and Ain Soph Aur

By Michael Defries

In Qabalistic terminology the three names upon whom this treatise is based have been used from ancient times to convey to the limited mind of Man some faint idea of the three fundamental aspects of the Supreme Cause Of All Causes. From time immemorial it has always been postulated in the Mystery Teachings that all the great creative acts within the cosmos (and indeed beyond it) can be attributed finally and absolutely to one Source, even though there may have emanated from that source countless hosts of beings, and hierarchies of beings to whom the actual work is entrusted; yet beyond all the vast ranks of Devas, Archangels, Thrones, Solar Gods, Galactic Gods, etc, there is believed to be one ultimate and indivisible Something from which all has emanated and to which all will finally return in the fullness of time, or perhaps timelessness.

The teachings tell us that prior to the manifestation of the great scheme the whole Idea of the cosmos was first of all drawn up, conceived, invented if you will, within the great Creative Intelligence that is known to us as AIN. The entire history and purpose of the Great Plan from Alpha to Omega is known to AIN before manifestation commences, that great Master Plan about which our limited and finite minds can only grasp and understand the merest fragment, and this no doubt inadequately.

How then shall we understand with our restricted minds That which is beyond our comprehension? The answer may be that any attempt to understand the incomprehensible must have a beneficial effect upon our consciousness. This benefit is in the form of a stretching and expanding of our higher awareness so that a wider and deeper understanding of the great mystery of creation and existence is obtained. Whatever our level of comprehension may be at the human level the sublime mystery of AIN can never really be understood. At the very best we can only dwell upon this Name and build up inadequate conceptions, but the actual act of meditating upon THAT which is utterly beyond the compass of our consciousness does help to draw us towards that Ultimate Intelligence and thereby hasten us upon that long journey back to our Source.

AIN, the ultimate source of all creation, is necessarily beyond the description of words, and in certain teachings it is called pure negativity, implying that Ultimate Spirit exists in some state which is beyond any conception that we could arrive at, and this is often described as nothingness perhaps because it is “no thing” that we could describe or tabulate. If AIN is beyond definition than any attempt to outline or circumscribe it must begin to deviate from the truth and draw it down from a level of pristine and unsullied purity into the unreality and illusion of human language and description, which surely is an impossibility.

Some writers refer to AIN as the Nil Concept, which is a very difficult idea to grasp, but is one way of describing THAT which is indescribable. Nil in one sense in no-thing, and in another sense it is all things. The Nil concept is not a circle; it is not an infinitely small point. Also, in my understanding, it cannot be visualised as a vast all enveloping consciousness, as this could imply space. Certainly there may be a vast intelligence at work throughout all space, but I do not see these as AIN. AIN is not infinitely small, or conversely infinitely large. No symbol of description within the scope of our understanding can satisfactorily be applied to it, and yet we strive for some limited comprehension of it!

Presumably AIN existed before creation, and has always existed, whatever the word always implies. It was not created of itself or by itself, has no boundaries or dimensions that we could possibly understand. There is no centre, no edge. It is a state of existence without beginning or end. And yet, somehow, within this utterly incomprehensible Something there is absolute potential. AIN is capable of creating from out of itself vast universes and galaxies, these both visible and invisible. There may be creations that are beyond our wildest imaginings. Within AIN all creation is conceived, and there is also gathered all the necessary potencies that would be required for the accomplishment of whatever scheme is deemed to be necessary.

It appears, however, that although AIN conceives the PLAN in its entirety, it is of itself unable to create. Absolute consciousness, or absolute mind, having formulated its plan then needs to create from out of its own substance the instruments that are necessary to channel the forces and administer the cosmic schemes in all their myriad aspects.

We see AIN as the Supreme Intelligence behind all manifestation and existence, but needing host upon host of intelligent entities to carry out and administer the Plan that is envisaged. AIN itself would appear to be quite beyond definition. It is not even Light, as that would seem to come into existence later. It may be a form of cosmic blackness which is unlike any blackness that we can imagine: an absolute blackness in which all is absorbed and disintegrated, and yet one hopes – emanates AIN SOPH AUR.

When THAT which is known as AIN decides to set the PLAN into motion it then generates from within its own mysterious substance extensions which are capable of operating the necessary forces. And so, from out of that state we describe as absolute negativity there arises or emanates AIN SOPH, and from out of AIN SOPH emanates AIN SOPH AUR.

AT this incomprehensible level one begins to see the pattern of the Trinity, and this is destined to repeat itself continually at all levels of manifestation. Thus all creation is conceived within AIN, but the actual manifestation of a cosmic scheme seems to be dependant upon the formation of the great Supernal Trinity of AIN, AIN SOPH, AIN SOPH AUR. Although all emanates from AIN, in the case of AIN SOPH AUR, which has emanated from AIN SOPH (which is the first extension from AIN) we have the first instance of a creation of a creation. AIN SOPH AUR is truly one with AIN in essence, and yet in a sense it is a creation of AIN SOPH, and is the commencement of that great differentiation of the force of AIN throughout the Scheme, into countless streams, rays, forces and forms which comprise this entirely mysterious and complex purpose.

Out of THAT which is known as AIN arise or emanates AIN SOPH, The Limitless, and although to us this is as incomprehensible as AIN it does represent an extension out of pure negativity into Something that is admittedly still beyond understanding, but which at least suggests a movement away from pure negativity represented by AIN towards the creation of some vast concept. AIN is no longer the sole consideration as there is now duality, and we know from our studies that creation arises as a result of the interaction or interplay of two or more forces.

From AIN SOPH arises AIN SOPH AUR, which is sometimes known as Limitless Light, and although this again is still beyond understanding at the human level, we are capable of formulating a conception that has some meaning by using the analogy of Light. Here within AAIN SOPH AUR we are told that there is Light, and although this may be unlike any light that we can conceive of yet at least it is a conception upon which we can hang ideas and formulate assessments. AIN SOPH AUR has been called Limitless Light beyond the grasp of the senses, and it is basically as inchoate as AIN and AIN SOPH as far as we are concerned. Within AIN SOPH AUR, however, we get this vision of Light. It has been called a “lightless world yet radiant with Light”, and the “Light shining in the darkness and yet unknown to darkness”, and one gets a faint awareness here of the intrinsic purity of the force at this level before it begins to concentrate into KETHER and enter into the realms that the arisen human consciousness can contact and begin to apprehend.

Thus we endeavour to come to terms with aspects of the Supreme Intelligence. Inevitably our efforts are inadequate, and yet the effort involved seems to entail progress of a sort, and seems to represent a modest achievement in itself.

Blavatsky defines this Cause of All Causes as “an Omnipresent, Eternal and Boundless Principle upon which all speculation is utterly impossible, since it so transcends the power of human conception and thought that it would only be dwarfed by any similitude.” One agrees with this excellent definition in principle, but not where it says that all speculation is impossible. Speculation is surely always possible for the human mind, and indeed is necessary for its progress and spiritual evolution. In the case of AIN, AIN SOPH, and AIN SOPH AUR human speculation must necessarily be limited and inadequate. However, I end this short treatise by asserting that in spite of all shortcomings human speculation is necessary and vital in this and any other connection where Man is endeavouring to grapple with the mysteries of Life and Existence.

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The Ain

By A.J. Webb (1981)

The Ain is the infinite source of all and the infinite end, beyond which nothing is possible, to which all returns. Even when dormant, before expansion, it is a concentration of pulsating life and force.

Because the Ain is the ultimate, there can be nothing outside it and so expansion must be inward, since there would be no place for any outward expansion. Thus there is nothing outside of Ain and not only is the Ain nothing in a material sense, but it is also nothing to our intelligence, Zero.

The inward expansion is also a contraction.

ExpansionContraction

When the positive expands, the negative contracts and vice versa. Each positive expansion is an advancement in the evolution ofa force which unfolds regardless of itself. Each negative expansion is a period of dormancy in the life of Ain.

Positive is defined as light or white, and negative as dark or black. Balance is made up of both and is therefore silver or grey. The negative is Chaos which is understood to be formless, undifferentiated primal matter, in which there is no manifestation and the Ain is dormant. Let there be light, and there is a positive expansion and an ordered manifestation results.

The first spark of light emanates and then reflects back upon itself. This is the Infinite, the Ain Soph. From the reactions of the Ain and the Ain Soph, the Ain Soph Aur emerges which is understood to be a type of aura, or magnetic radia­tion.
This then is the everlasting trinity of all life composed of three aspects making one whole,in the primal matter of negative existence.

The Ain is negative existence or that which wants positive existence. It is non-manifestation or an opposite property to manifestation. It is the Greater Uni­verse, the macrocosm, and Tetragrammaton the lesser universe, the 'microcosm’, which is an analogy of the macrocosm, and usually refers to man.

The Tetragrammaton is יהוה the true pronunciation of which is said to be the key to all divine and human sciences. It is reputed that by its constitution it recalls the attributes which man has always given to God.

The Ain Soph is the Infinite which is the dual principle of that which cannot be seen. As the dual principle it is beyond the grasp of humans and it is infinite and exalted. Here is pure mind and complete unity.

The Ain Soph Aur becomes the infinite radiation of many classes, but one whole. It is the motivating force which gives out the first clearly perceived light.

The trinity forms the infinite, unknowable negative light, which then becomes focused, is reflected as positive light and becomes the world of Atziluth, that is Kether of the basic Tree. At this point it is the trinity which we accept as perceptible, but do not know.

All existence from Kether down is really the exterior clothing of the Ain - the Robe of Ain. The Ain is demonstrated through the Robe, that is the Tree in many ways. Its attributes are formulated in conceptions of wisdom, under­standing, beauty, power, mercy and matter.

These attributes, or indispensable qualities, are first shown in what is common to all existence, beyond the imagination of spirits and man. This is in the Archetypal World. From there it is reflected to the Creative World - the plane of pure spirit - which is also inconceivable to man. It is next reflected to the Formative World where it is further condensed and recognized by those of humanity with evolved consciousness. Lastly, it becomes contracted into final solidity in the Physical World and is recognizable by all manifested life.

Briah, the Creative World, is the World of Archangels and Yetzirah, the Forma­tive World, is the World of Hosts of Angels who are the officers or workers of the Angels. Metatron, the great teacher, is at the head of the Archangels in Briah.

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To be continued...

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