Introduction to the Tree of Life by

Dr. David Sanders

david sanders

Ten Sefirot of Nothingness Their measure is ten, which has no end. a depth of beginning, a depth of end. The One, finds expression in them all.

~ Sefer Yetzirah

The Book of Formation 1:5

This poem, a 2,000 year old description of Ten Sefirot-Ten Energies is the basis for the Tree of Life –a Kabbalistic map developed in the south of France in the 12th century in the mystic school of Rabbi Isaac the Blind. The Tree depicts the flow of energy from the infinite source (“above”) to the finite expression/manifestation (“below”).

In Transformational Kabbalah the Tree of Life becomes a pragmatic tool for seeing how and why things, people, and events manifest in our lives -and how and why we go about creatively manifesting things, people, and events. In the advanced study of the Sefirot each Sefirah represents a specific practice of awareness (11 Awareness Practices).

The Sefirot of the Tree of Life

The name and position of each Sefirah was designated by the Kabbalah masters in the 12th century. The mapping of the Sefirot and the name of each Sefirah has remained the same since then with minor variations. The Tree consists of triads laid out horizontally. The basic triads are: the intellectual triad, the emotional triad and the instinctual triad with a Sefirah above (Crown-Keter) and below (Manifestation-Malchut).
tree of life 1
The KE foundation course, Space, and the advanced year long-course, The Kabbalah Path, focus on the Tree of Life and its application to spiritual awareness and practice. 0 Crown- Keter, as the highest Sefirah, is situated above the intellectual triad and is designated as “superconscious.” Keter’s energies, above thought and closest to the infinite source include: Faith, Pleasure and Will.
Intellect Triad
1. Chochmah or Wisdom: (uppermost on the right side) is the energy of beginning thought–the seed of an idea, insight, inspiration, intuition, inchoate awareness. The color is blue-black representing the emergence of something from no-thing.

2. Binah or Understanding: (uppermost on the left side) is the energetic flow of an initial idea and its fleshing out, fashioning its metaphor or formulating a story. The color is dark red which represents the “idea” congealing.

3. Da’at or Knowing: (in the center under Crown-Keter) is the energy of intimate connection where the idea is fully integrated (known). The color is gray representing the confluence of opposing elements of thought.
Emotion Triad
4. Chesed or Unbounded Love: (middle on the right under Wisdom): for the unbridled love (of the idea) enlarging and expanding the circle of concern. The color is blue for water, the element associated with unbounded love.
5. Gevurah or Strength of Boundaries: (on the left below Understanding) The flow of energy traverses from expansiveness into focus, setting limits, saying no. The color is red for definition (stop sign) and its element is fire.
6. Tiferet or Beauty: (the center energy) the holding of opposites and bringing them to convergence, creating a blueprint or plan. The color is yellow, a sun at the center radiating its light.
Instinct Triad
7. Netzach or Victory: (bottom right below Expansive Love) the energy of determination to persevere and overcome obstacles in order for manifestation to occur. The color is purple for power and resilience.
8. Hod or Surrender: (bottom left below Boundaries setting) the energy of acknowledging what is, not giving up, rather giving way. The color is orange for acceptance.
9. Yesod or Foundation: (bottom center between Harmony and Manifestation) is the funnel for the energy form above, a final test of authenticity, a marker of readiness for proceeding to manifestion. The color is green for growth and renewal.
10. Malchut or Sovereignty (the endpoint of the Tree) is the culmination of the flow from Crown through the Sefirot system, from what is possible to the actual, what manifests or is expressed. The color is brown for the grounding in reality. Brown is also the color resulting from the mixture of all the Sefirot colors above.
The Tree of Life serves as a map for the flow of creativity (potential) into manifestation (actual). The Tree is a map of how the “infinite” (golden) possibilities manifest in finite reality. Many ideas falter on the drawing board, dreams and visions shatter along the way, our essence can be misused or distorted, we can recoil from expressing ourselves due to fear or shame. The Tree of Life directs us to consider our deeper purpose in all our endeavors—to be aware that beyond our own limitations is the field of all possibility which we are inherently connected to and whose energy enables us to change or modify any narrative we have inherited or chosen.
spiritual beings

A KE Practice (Meditation)

Deforestation is not just a global problem—it is very local, as in local to oneself. The Ba’al Shem Tov, a master of Kabbalah who lived in the middle of the 17th century, would ask his disciples: “Do you remember when you were but a seed?” Perhaps he meant that each person can connect to “when they are a seed”—when they are full of potential. This is the highest level of the soul’s consciousness to remember the seed that can always bring forth yet another goose. That is golden advice. What then is the metaphor for killing off your own goose that lays your golden eggs? 

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