CONCERNING THE MACROCOSM AND THE MICROCOSM AND HOW BY MEANS OF THE TREE OF LIFE WE MAY LEARN TO UNITE THEM, THUS ACCOMPLISHING THE GREAT WORK.
We have spoken in the last chapter of the Microcosm which is Man, we must now discuss the Macrocosm which is God, and the Means of Uniting these which is called the Great Work.
When the Qabalists tell us of the Creation of the Universe through the Father, Mother, Son and Daughter symbolised in the NAME IHVH, which is active in the SEPHIROTH, we must not think that the process ends with the production of MALKUTH, the Material World, for this is likened to the UNREDEEMED or Animal Soul in Man, viz: that which only Perceives and Feels. This “fallen one” must be RAISED TO THE THRONE OF THE MOTHER, that is to say, come to UNDERSTAND. The process of redemption is symbolised as follows, The DAUGHTER must marry the SON, she then becomes THE MOTHER who in turn arouses the active force of THE FATHER, and these twain being UNITED, all is RE-ABSORBED into THE CROWN. This sounds complicated, but it is very important that we should grasp its true meaning.
HERMES tells us “That which is above is like unto that which is below, and that which is below is like that which is above, for the performance of the Miracle of the One Substance.” The Qabalists say that The Universe is the MACROCOSM and that Man is the MICROCOSM or Little Universe. Between these is a direct CORRESPONDENCE for Man is made in the Image and Likeness of God. We are all produced from the ONE SUBSTANCE and have within us, potentially, all the possibilities and Powers of Nature and of God, but these have to be brought out and developed before we can say we have become the perfect Microcosm, a true Mirror of the ALL. We are, at first, like the Unredeemed Daughter, creatures of mere animal feeling with some power of perception. We have within us a vast storehouse, the AUTOMATIC or SUB-CONSCIOUS part of our being, which corresponds to YESOD the FOUNDATION on the Tree of Life. This Automatic Consciousness takes care of the vital functions of the body, without need of attention from the conscious self, which is, after all, but a very limited thing and mostly illusion at that. Now the SON, with the Sephiroth which He represents, corresponds in man to the REASON and INTELLECT, and their Marriage with the lower or animal soul is necessary for our development, but there is a further Mystery, for above REASON lies another state, THE SUPERCONSCIOUS, which alone brings UNDERSTANDING. But we have to go through certain processes, pass certain ordeals, before this CHILD of the HIGHER is born in us. When we UNDERSTAND we shall be able to perceive directly, without inference or deduction, and in that state we may receive the TRUE WISDOM OF THE FATHER, and so regain the LIGHT of THE CROWN.
This is a very brief statement, but it will give some idea of the necessity for “CLIMBING THE TREE OF LIFE ” which is the Road to the Attainment of ADEPTSHIP, leading in turn to the perfection of the MASTERS, who have completed the GREAT WORK as far as they Themselves are concerned.
Just as the Microcosm -Man- is symbolized by the Pentagram or Five Pointed Star, so is the MACROCOSM -GOD- symbolized by the HEXAGRAM or SIX-FOLD STAR. The attainment of “ Union with God” is considered by all religions to be the Great Work which lies before us. We may symbolize this as Uniting the FIVE and the SIX, and this operation is sometimes called 5=6 which is the formula used by the Great Brotherhood known as the A∴ A∴ This particular stage belongs to the Grade called Adeptus Minor, and corresponds to the “Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel” or True Self, which is obtained in TIPHERETH, where the DAUGHTER is united to the SON. In order to make this clear I must describe some of the necessary steps leading to this Attainment.
The TREE of LIFE is sometimes considered as representing the GRADES of a THREE-FOLD ORDER, in which case each SEPHIRA is attributed to one Grade, or represents the stage of the work attained to by those who hold that Grade. We must remember that each Sephira is both Positive and Negative, so likewise is this Order a CHAIN SYSTEM wherein those holding any Grade receive an influx of help from the Grade above them and transmit their help in turn to those below. Thus there is an unbroken stream of INFLUENCE from the CROWN to the KINGDOM and beyond.
Suppose one aspires to climb this TREE, how important it becomes that he should know the Correspondences, Symbols, etc., which are the Land Marks and Sign Posts on the Way. Do not think that I have given you all the Correspondences, there are hundreds of them to each Sephira and Path, but I have given you enough to show the main idea, and you will find the means of extending your knowledge in such books as 777 (which is a complete Table of these Correspondences,) and elsewhere. This treatise is intended only to indicate something of the Nature and Use of the Tree of Life, and so I have only dealt with the different aspects very briefly. Each would require volumes in order to cover the subject fully.
I will now tell you something of the Order whereby one may learn the Path to the Highest. First one becomes a PROBATIONER, that is, one who is outside the Order but who is OBLIGATED to “Obtain a Scientific Knowledge of the Nature and Powers of his own being”. When he has accomplished this task he becomes a NEOPHYTE and enters the Sphere of MALKUTH. There he learns to CONTROL the Nature and Powers of his own being. He finds these much wider than he expected and his task before reaching YESOD is to control the ASTRAL PLANE, which he accomplishes by the use of the Pentagram which makes it possible either to Invoke or Banish all the Elements and to control them. In YESOD he becomes a ZELATOR and must learn to CONTROL the FOUNDATIONS of his own being. This is accomplished through control of the body and breath or Prana. On passing to HOD the Sphere of Mercury he becomes a PRACTICUS and must overcome the VACILLATIONS of his own being. He studies the Holy Qabalah and such Eastern Systems as Gnana Yoga. In NETZACH he becomes a PHILOSOPHUS, and his task is to obtain CONTROL of the ATTRACTIONS and REPULSIONS of his own being. Netzach being the sphere of Venus and the House of Love he does so by means of proper DEVOTION or in Eastern Systems BHAKTI YOGA. Thus, having passed the Initiations of the 4 Elements, he is ready to pass on to the INNER ORDER which lies behind the VEIL. This is called the College of Adepts or COLLEGIUM AD SPIRITUM SANCTUM, but he must wait outside the Veil until he has transmuted his previous work into Spirit, that is to say, he must obtain DHYANA the sixth stage of Raja Yoga as it is called in the East, or, as we call it, he must ATTAIN to THE KNOWLEDGE and CONVERSATION of THE HOLY GUARDIAN ANGEL which is his Task in TIPHERETH. While in the Grade of ADEPTUS MINOR, he learns the True Mysteries of the Rosy Cross, so that his task in the next Grade, ADEPTUS MAJOR, corresponding to GEBURAH, is to apply the FORMULA of the R. C. Thus he becomes a true Magician if he uses his Powers rightly. After accomplishing this task he becomes an EXEMPT ADEPT and passes to CHESED, the Sphere of Jupiter, where he must exercise his authority in the right way, for he has attained to all that is possible on the Plane of Reason. Again he must wait before he passes to the Third Order, for there is indeed a Great Gulf Fixed between Chesed and Binah and this is called THE ABYSS. Strange as it may seem he must give up all he has attained, including himself, before he can pass this Abyss and be reborn of the Spirit into BINAH where he becomes known as NEMO or No-Man. He is now MASTER of THE TEMPLE for having given up 'self' he is able to comprehend and Understand ALL. CHOKMAH the next SPHERE is attributed to the GRADE of MAGUS. Here we find the Great Masters of Wisdom, those who are truly WORDS (Logoi) under Whose WILL all below is directed, and HUMANITY gradually INITIATED, according to the Plan of the ONE CREATOR and by the LIGHT of THE CROWN. The Highest Grade, is called IPSISSIMUS, it is that wherein SELFLESSNESS is SELF and EXISTENCE IS EXISTENCE, of which no word may be spoken.
Thus have I briefly mapped out the Way. It is for you to discover The Truth and to Live the Life.
I have made no mention of the “Paths” which connect the Sephiroth, and which correspond to the Symbolic Designs of the TARO. I will however indicate the method of progress from Grade to Grade. From Malkuth to Yesod there is but one “path” to travel. From YESOD to HOD there are two, for it is necessary to combine the ideas suggested in the paths from MALKUTH to HOD with those from YESOD to HOD. Again from HOD to NETZACH there are “three” to be combined;- the Path from Malkuth to Netzach, the one from Yesod to Netzach and that which leads directly from Hod to Netzach. Thus, step by step, one must discover the Way, Pass the Ordeals and Tests, Overcome his own Obstacles and Illusions. (Though there are Those who will help us if we truly aspire and are prepared always to GIVE HELP in our turn.)
Every step we take, we must retain our link with the Higher and with the Lower, for this is an endless chain and every link is tested to the uttermost lest that chain break. Or again, it is called the Great Wheel of Life, the least little “cog” of which may well be proud in trying to fulfill his office perfectly.