Occult and Religious Symbolism
Henry B. Pullen-Burry (1920)
The 1 represents the vertical; but the projection is a precedent to the returning; and much is accomplished in the period of diffusion over the symbolic surface, intervening between the going forth of the wheel, the eternal symbol of the Spirit, and its returning. That which is done is performed by the Cherubim in the lower world of formation, where the four elements under the influence of the N. E. S. W. are symbolically brought into form.
The number i therefore symbolizes the Primordial Current of Creative will sent forth by the Creative Elohim at the command “Let there be Light,” and “evening and morning were one” or light and darkness were the sum total of all things in that creative area. On the symbolic surface of that area Cherubim manipulated the darkness into form by creating t and shade in the manifesting refined essence which was soon to become differentiated into the four elements.
This surface of the sphere was the plain upon which the Cherubim went and returned, upon four dimensions; N. E. S. and W. The radius of the sphere was the two dimensions upon which the spirit or wheel operated between the center and the circumference: the up and the down. Number i is the symbol of radiance.
(3) The Number 2. The Number two is the number of polarity, the positive and the negative; masculine, feminine; right, left; up, down; heat, cold; dryness, moisture; and the whole vast category of similar syzyges.
Its first manifestation was the svertical-horizontal syzyge, represented respectively by the radius and the circumference of the symbolic sphere; and this is a masculine-feminine relation usually represented by a Greek Cross of four equal arms. The upright is the masculine energizing element of the pair, the horizontal line is not as is usually supposed a straight, but a curved line. A horizontal line is one that is parallel to the surface of the earth, for if prolonged it would circumscribe the earth returning to the point from which it started. This fact is not usually perceived by beginners in symbolism. A horizontal line is a curved embracing line, embracing the earth. In the symbolism of primal creation with which we are now dealing the horizontal line symbolizes the surface of the sphere brought into form by the running of the Cherubim to the N. E. S. and W. with their respective wheels, and returning to the place whence they came by circumscribing the sphere. They did not turn about to return, but kept straight on, and returned by circum ambulating the Yetziratic Sphere in the four directions.
Thus the first type of the manifestation of the number 2 is projection, and the reception of that which is projected, sym bolized by the straight and curved line respectively; the circle is the most perfect symbol of the latter, and the straight line of the former. The more perfect representation of the forces of the Greek Cross would be a cross of three pairs of equal arms, two pairs representing the plain of the surface of the sphere, and one the up and the down. Every one of these three lines itself pre sents a polarity within itself, or a syzyge, all three differing from one another. The North and the South are influences of dia metrically opposite natures; and so are the influences of the East and tie West. The influence of the North is cold and dry, or earthy; that of the South is hot and dry, or fiery; they are both dry, but are opposed in the matter of temperature. The East is supposed to be warm and moist, or airy; while the West is cool and moist, or watery; they are both moist but are also opposed in the matter of temperature. On these accounts the South is positive to the North, and the East is positive to the West; warmth being positive to coolness.
For similar reasons the South, which is considered warm and dry, is positive to East which is warm and moist; both are warm, and dryness is considered positive to moisture. North is positive to West for the same reasons. But there is an intense opposition between North which is cool and dry, and East which is warm and moist; and also between South and West; the former being warm and dry, and the latter cool and moist. This last is to say that Earth and Air, and Fire and Water, are two syzyges, the members of which rush into each others arms with vehemence, and each kills the other. The third syzyge is the out going and returning rays of the primordial point, or of the spirit, as distinguished from the elements.
No. 2 is the symbol of the powers of polarity; whether rep resented by the Greek Cross of four equal arms, or by Fire and Water, the first two elements, or, by Air and Earth, the second two, or by the ascending and descending spirit.
(4) Number 3. The principle symbolized by the number 3 is, polarity with a reconciler. The two sides of an isosceles triangle reconciled by the base. Positivity and negativity in equal proportion reconciled by a third agent; fire and water reconciled in vapor. Let us apply this to the creative processes already considered.
The two sides of the triangle are the courses run by the wheel of the spirit outward in involution, and inward in the subsequent evolution; and the base is that plain whose formulation was symbolized by the courses run by the four cherubim; in other words the circumference of the symbolic sphere, which appears to be but is not. Thus is formed the triangle of life, the will of the Creative Elohim goes outward to the limit of the creative area proposed; staying there and creating a symbolic illumination it generates conditions in which the initial ray gathers experience, and then returns to its source with the wisdom born of that experience.
The secret teaching of the Tarot gives this quite clearly; which teaching is reflected by a symbol that is common to the Oriental School and to the Occidental one. This symbol is a cross standing upon a triangle, with certain additions elaborating the meaning in other directions. The Tarot explains this symbol as 12 vertical forces falling upon 12 horizontal ones in the form of a Greek Cross (a Calvary Cross is sometimes used for elaborative signification), standing upon 12 triangles, making 12 complete symbols; the number of members in a perfect council, which is presided over by a thirteenth. In this case it is the triangle of life presided over by light with its dual aspect of light and shade; the triangle being emanant will, and returning will, plus experience in manifestation.
However, the triangle symbolizes every triad whatsoever, when it is considered separately from its vehicle, as: Matter, Consciousness, and Force; Father, Son, Mother; Positive, Neu tral, Negative; the two scalepans and the balance beam of Libra; the bar which joins the two crescents of Pisces; the crescent, cross, and circle of mercury; the three Yods of the letter Shin; Fire, Air, Water; Spiritual, mental, astral; spirit, soul, body; and above all Chokmah Kether Binah.
The third entity is Air. (5) Number 4.
The fourth entity in the involving process, is the vehicular principle: the outer principle through which the triad makes itself manifest on any given plane. In man it is the body through which the Spirit, Mind and Desire Triads manifest on the physical plane. In the astral world it is the Astral body through which the spiritual, mental and astral powers manifest in the astral world. In the mental world it is the Mental body which in the great majority of human beings is only capable of manifestation in a Devachanic condition of subjective dreaming.
In physical lifeless objects, it is the gravitational substanpes which fill up as it were the design, or form; which possess positive and negative chemical, and physical powers; such as color, hardness, elasticity, and the like.
In two dimensional space it is the square, but in three di mensional space it is the cube; just as the 3 in two dimensional space is the triangle, but in three dimensional space it is the tri angular’pyramid, or tetrahedron. In space itself No. 4 is the third dimension.
There is a method of inscribing two tetrahedra within a cube, corresponding to the inscription of an interlaced triangle within a square.This latter is a representation in two dimensional space, of the same principles that the solid symbol puts forth in three dimensional space.
The Fourth Dimension. The Yetziratic stage is considered by occultists to have six dimensions as before stated; jhe Yetzir atic stage of creation is the form giving stage, and’ the three di mensions of mathematics are these six considered as three pairs. A dimension is a measure of magnitude, linear, superficial, or solid; there are three, or six, and no others in the world of form; that which gives physical manifestation to Yetziratic form is not a dimension but something very different.
The idea of a fourth dimension took root in a mind that was illogical, and which was but half inspired with the importance of terminology. Professor Zollner accepted the dicta of spirits who were as indifferent to the meaning of Words as himself. In reading his work,one can often ask one’s”self, what kind of poltergeisten are these that are having a joke at the expense of a professor? He swallowed and published the nonsense given him by spirits as an explanation of the physical phenomena that they pretended to be controlling; I say pretending to control advisedly, but in no sense casting doubt upon the truth of the occurrences, but only on the supposed controllers, which appear to be elementals, and almost definitely were so in some of his ex periments, from his own accounts of the details. The real con trollers were those who controlled these elementals; the fourth dimensional explanations were those from the common laborers, not from the engineers whose orders they obeyed.
The sophistry with which the professor put forth his fourth dimension idfa has ensnared many equally illogical disciples. ? Nevertheless the Fourth Dimension darkly symbolizes a fact, the nature of which would have been at once partially dis closed if it had been called the Fourth Principle of Manifestation.
The first dimension is a straight line, whose negative end is the Primordial Point; which has no magnitude, being position without size. A line is length without breadth or thickness; it is a thing that can only be seen by the understanding, it has no objective existence; it is length, not a long mark, thread, or hair even; it is just length, with no other attribute whatever; our number i is a straight line. It is a line possessing but one attribute, namely straightness, but it does not possess visibility; one more dimension breadth is needed before visibility could by any means be expected; but even that fails us, as we shall see in a moment.
This second dimension is also a line at right angles to the first; the two multiplied together give us a superficies. It is something which possesses nothing but length, breadth, and position; it has no thickness, it is still imperceptible to any thing lower than the understanding. Let us, however, add the third dimension and it is still imperceptible to physical sense, although it now possesses solid form.
The Primordial Point represents Kether existence. The straight line represents Chokmic existence; and the curved line that of Binah; the combination of the straight, and the curved represent Briatiq existence. The addition of the third dimension represents Yetziratic existence; and a form in this stage, is in the Kether of Yetzirah stage of involution. That which was before spiritual elemental essence, is now soul elemental essence in its highest form; and during its descent through the stages of Yetzirah the object receives those other attributes which will by fhe time Malkuth of Yetzirah is reached have reduced it to a fully detailed plan ready for full physical manifestation.
The Yetziratic object being now ready for material existence on the physical plane is awaiting birth thereon. This birth is essentially the addition of the appropriate gravitational elements to each and every attribute and combination of attributes that have been placed therein during the Yetziratic formation. Let the chemist and the physicist consider this matter bearing in mind atomic weight and atomic heat, molecular weight and heat, specific heat and gravity, crystaline growth, electric and magnetic stresses, latent heat, boiling and melting points; osmetic and other pressures; diffusion and solution; the periodicsystem of Mendeljeff; and all the other forms of molecular activity; all of which are essentially dependent on negative gravity, into an ocean of which the Yetziratic object is symbolically plunged. But coupled with this consideration must be knowledge of the fact that ponderable objects have been created de novo by decarnate powers during the last 70 years, over and over and over again; and that these objects have varied from spots resembling fly spots on a paper, to full sized walking and talking human semblances; and include among other things, cups and saucers, boiling water, and fresh flowers galore.
The fourth dimension therefore is really gravity in its multitudinous aspects, and no dimension at all. The late W. T. Stead, who struggled hard to get a meaning out of this selfevident misnomer, humorously nicknamed it “throughth.” He was fairly close to the truth, because the gravitationization of a Yetziratic intangible object into a ponderable one depends on the projection of appropriate gravitational forces throughout the form. How this is done is one of the most carefully guarded secrets of nature; it would be illegitimate to state anything about the operation until scientific investigation has advanced much further than it has.
The number four is the law of reproduction of species. First two vehicles bearing the concentrated positivity and the concentrated negativity of the species find each other, fuse their vehicles and by virtue of their combined interaction divide and divide until a new vehicle with a new soul of concentrated positivity or negativity is produced to repeat the process. The four are the Father, and the Mother, cells; the progeny of brothers and sisters; which in their turn repeat the process and die.
In the Ygdrasil the Scandinavian Tree of Life, this is shewn in the Y symbol, of dichotomous involution. In the Cabalistic Tree of Life it is shewn in the composition of inferior human souls in the Y, of which Yesod is the point of bifurcation, but in evolution. Four is the number of letters in Jehovah, Tetragrammaton, the principle of which is that upon which the whole of the foregoing remarks depends. The word vocalized means in Hebrew “it is, it was, it will be;” any one of these, any combination of them, even all three at once. It should always be read in the Bible “Law” instead of “Lord;” by this observance nonsense, and sometimes blasphemy, is often converted at once into common sense, and decency.
The Number 6. (The Hexad.)
The number 6 is twice three, and in this sense it is represented by the Hexagram, the Sixpointed Star, or the Seal of Solomon.
It is a double triangle, and as such it is considered the symbol of the Christos par excellence, but it has other significations. The Christos is the sixth Sephira, Tiphareth, and the central focus of the soul, the heart of The Adam of Yetzirah; and its centre symbolizes the Sun of our Solar System, and the Sun of the soul of man, and The Great Invisible Sun of The Universe.
The two triangles of which it is composed are represented, one erect and colored red to represent the masculine element Fire; and the other inverted and colored blue to represent the femine element Water. In this position they together represent the nature of the Son of the Father-Mother; as being the result of ..the impregnation of the Waters of Binah, by the Fire of Chokmah; or, the Eternal Virgin fecundated by the Will of the Creative Elohim.
The hexagram represents the Sephiroth of the World of Yetzirah in the form of six planets, surrounding the Central Invisible Sun of the Great Tiphareth; but as the soul of man is of more interest to mankind we will consider the hexagram rather as a symbol of the human evolving soul than as the soul of the universe, but as an object lesson only. If this object lesson is well understood the other correspondences to the World of Yetzirah can be arrived at by concentration and meditation in combined operation; on account of the truth of the hermetic maxim, “As above so below.” In order to assist the acquisition of a clear comprehension we refer to the diagram, which shows the position of the Hexagram symbol, on the Tree of Life in its usual form; which represents Involution rather than Evolution.
The ten numbered circles are the 10 Sephiroth in their natural position, except that Tiphareth is not so expressed, but is to be considered as the hexagon that forms the great centre, which is the focus of all the powers of the soul in man; which powers consist of 6 sets of powers, one set from every one of the 6 surrounding circles, one of which, Daath, is not numbered.
Daath is not a true Sephira but is a station of the soul in evolution of enormous importance, being the Path of Communication between what we call the Spirit, or Atma, and the Human Consciousness, or Tiphareth.
Daath is the only means of communication between the Human Consciousness, and the Spirit, until something more than mere humanity is reached by the ascending soul, and certain other lines are established which have nothing to do with the Hexagram as such.
For the sake of clarity we will say a very few descriptive words of the successive Sephiroth, which a student unfamiliar with cosmic symbolism should commit to memory with accuracy; these names and numbers being the keys to numerical symbolism throughout the universe.
No. 1. Kether (The Crown) which is situated above the head, and is a ray of the Greater Self, the true individuality, projected by It into incarnation as the archetype of the coming man. Its voice is that which we call conscience; and, which is almost restricted to one word “Don’t,” in the form of a “categoric command.” It constitutes the human Atziluth.
Nos. 2, and 3, constitute the human Briah, and the three together symbolize the whole of the voices of the Atma of Man, the Neschamah of the Cabala, (English-Spirit).
No. 2. Chokmah (Wisdom). This Sephira manifests in man as the positive, or masculine form of intuition; and it is characterized by the ability to arrive at conclusions from evidence that is clearly insufficient to satisfy the requirements of logic, and with lightning speed. In its early stages of unfoldment it is most erroneous, but with practice its judgments increase in accuracy steadily, and finally supercede logic as. a practical faculty; relegating it to certain restricted duties which properly belong to it.
No. 3. Binah (Understanding, is the usual rendering of this word; but another dictionary meaning is more consonant with its cabalistic meaning, namely “insight”). Binah manifests in man as the negative, or feminine form of intuition; it is characterized as arriving at its conclusions by a certain reminiscent power. In its perfection, as met with in the Masters, it is the power of projecting the power of remembering, back and back over the past and recalling, not mere reminiscences of a more or less indistinct nature, but detailed pictures of whatever it is desired to know. In that form it has been called “The Eternal Memory.”
These three powers speak only through Daath in the merely human stage of development. This being so Daath is called a pseudo or false Sephira, in as much as it does not belong to the “numerical emanations of involution” but is a temporary station manifesting during the latter half of the human period. ‘
The powers of Daath are those mental and spiritual attributes which are synthesized in the cross and crescent of a well dignified Saturn, T? whose number is said to be three.
No. 4. Chesed, (Mercy). Altruistic Love however is more descriptive, because its constant endeavor is to be helpful, and beneficial to others, deriving its sole satisfaction from the happiness that it is able to afford to all. Its characteristics are those which are attributed to the crescent and cross of a well dignified Jupiter, whose number is said to be 4.
No. 5. Geburah, (Strength). This Sephira carries other names, anglicised Severity, Fear, and Judgment; in the human soul its powers are the strength, severity, fear of error, and judgment of logic; whose function is to discover error, to uncover falsities in intuitive conclusions, and to demand their revision. It is the father of doubt, and in expressing its doubts, a certain pride is apt to appear; the pride of intellect, which is sure to be very self assertive. It demands truth be¬ fore all things, but it is very limited indeed in its power of discovering it; because its utmost endeavor can only prove or disprove a proposition put forth by intuitive perception, or by information received from without. The cross and circle of Mars & is its symbol.
No. 6. Tiphareth, (Ornament, Beauty, Glory, Honor). Tiphareth is the centre or focus from which the powers of the soul act. Tiphareth being the centre of the soul, is also the centre or focus of the whole personality, which consists of Spirit, Soul, and Body. To understand its nature and functions is in place here, because we are studying the symbolism of the number 6; and Tiphareth symbolism is the symbolism of that number par excellence.
The Tiphareth of the man is the focus of action for its six members, as its surrounding Sephiroth are called. The best comprehension of its working is perhaps to be obtained by calling it the office of the King, i. e. the King of the personality which is a good and excellent simile for the Human Consciousness, because it is the controller of the thought and actions that the personality deals with.
The organization of the Office of the King is a replica of the organization of the soul itself. In its centre is its own Tiphareth, whereon the King is seated as upon a throne; which is surrounded by six thronelets, which are the seats of the rulers who preside over the subsidiary Sephiroth, when the King calls them into council; these we call the viceroys. Thus the full council of the King consists of himself on his throne in the centre, and of the Viceroys of Daath, Chesed, Geburah, Netzach, Hod, and Yesod, seated on their respective thronelets, within the office, or council chamber, where every Viceroy is in immediate touch with the officials of his own realm.
In the diagram of the Hexagram, the six triangles represent these realms. (The circles have no part in the hexagram, they are placed there to assist in the fuller comprehension of the whole.) The circles belong to the Tree of Life Symbol, the Hexagram is simply superimposed upon the Tree of Life, of which it is only partially representative.
The King is an absolute monarch; in council he calls such viceroys, or viceroy as he needs, listens to their suggestions, and acts upon them or not as he sees fit. But he must be considered as going further even than that; he may depute his authority to any one of the viceroys that he may judge expedient, or even to any sub-officer of any viceroy, and place him upon the Throne to conduct such business as he is commanded to con¬ duct. Thus, action comes from the occupant of the Throne of Tiphareth, whoever he may be; but none can act therefrom except by the direction, permission, or sufferance of the King. Its nature is symbolized by the dotted circle alone.
No. 7. Netzach, (Victory). Victory implies strife, or quarrel; but strife or quarrel almost always implies self-interest of some kind, usually of a gross nature. This Sephira, is of the lower, or desire manas; and it is that aspect of desire that is used in acquisition, wherefore it is selfishness, or the desire to acquire.
No. 8. Hod, (Splendor), but in the Latin sense of the word rather than that in which we usually employ it; especially in the meaning of splendidus as applied to man. It therefore refers to vanity, pride, arrogance, and the like, and is summed up as desire for display.
No. 9. Yesod, (Foundation). This Sephira contains all the powers that regulate the action of the body, in nutrition, reproduction, and preservation of individuals and species. Yesod is the instinctive power.
No. 10. Malkuth (Kingdom). The body which is the kingdom that is ruled by the commands of whatsoever sits upon the Throne of the King for the time being.
So far we have shown the symbolism of six units, which synthesize into a focus, begetting the number 7 ; and as 2 x 3, in the interlacing of the triangles. But it also represents three twos, three pairs of poles. These are shown as Saturn-Luna, Jupiter-Mercury, Mars-Venus; the polarity of the last is common knowledge, that of Saturn-Luna is not so clear, while that of Jupiter-Mercury will be rather obscure to most people.
The Hexagram further represents the 12 signs of the Zodiac, and their division into six positive, or masculine signs, and six negative, or feminine signs; this division is called in astrology, the day and night houses respectively of the planets. The salient angles representing the day houses, and the re¬ entering ones the night houses. It thus foreshadows the symbolism of the 12.
Having discoursed upon the inherent and essential sym bolism of tne simplest of the numbers, it is well to get a view of a certain principle of number involution and of symbol evolution, which is already perceptible; and which will continue indefinitely as our study of the double process proceeds. Involution is the process by which numbers increase, the process by which one becomes many; and which is usually attributed to multiplication. Addition however is the root from which multiplication grows, for 4 times 2, is nothing but a shorter manner of saying two plus two, plus two, plus two; and in the evolution of numerical symbols we proceed by the addition of “one” to the preceding one, at every successive step; and we do this in such a way that every later symbol seems to grow out of the preceding one, or out of simpler ones, which may in a given case compose the one in question.
Evolution is the method by which the many unite in the less, and finally in the “One,” the “Absolute.” T|ie process by which numbers involve is identical with the process by which symbols evolve; being the process by which the latter grow in complexity. A symbol must express a perfect and complete idea, many of them express an idea whose perfection depends upon the blending of other ideas; and the extent to which this completeness is departed from is a measure of imperfection, in cosmic orthography, composition, or rhetoric.
The regular evolution of number-symbols is by the addition of “one” to the preceding number, on the grounds that every symbol of numerical value contains concealed within it the embryo of the next higher number. In a sense the lower may be said to be the mother of the higher, and as this sense, is peculiar to symbolism, it must needs be duly mentioned Si a systematic discussion of the subject; and the position to which we have now come is perhaps the most appropriate for the purpose.
Let us for instance take the number 3. the symbol of the Yetziratic stage of manifestation, and which is symbolized by the triangle. Without a 3 no triangle can exist; either three sides, or three angles, united, form a triangle; every one of which is an entity. Referring to the Tetractys, Yetziratic manifestation exhibits J. H. and V., as the angles of its symbolic triangle, or the three sides, if preferred; these make the three. But the exhibition of the. triangle itself adds another number to the three, in as much as it is itself a fourth entity. In symbolism this whole is often indicated by a circle described about the triangle; the circle therefore which surrounds any geometrical symbol is often that which shows the existence of the next number, in embryo as it were. The circle usually shows the vehicular principle which is activated by the forces of the contained lineal figure; or the earthy principle as distinguished from the Fire, Water, and Air shwn by the triangle. It rep resents the body as distinguished from the soul and the spirit. Unless a linear star figure is surrounded by a circle it does not represent an entity in manifestation, but only the forces which constitute the spirit and soul waiting for the formation of a vehicular principle through which to express themselves; and this vehicle has to come forth from the forces themselves. In the Tetractys it is represented by the H final of the fourth line.
The encircled triangle therefore symbolizes the eternal triad of existence in any of its innumerable forms, together with the embryo body to which it gives birth on becoming manifested. The addition of the enclosing circle to the three activating ones makes the fourth entity, or principle of manifestation; in this way the three may be spoken of as falling into the 4, the 4 into 5, the 5 into the 6, and so on. When that fall has taken place however, that which results has no resemblance in appearance, or form, to that which it had before; nevertheless the relations of the underlying activities to the circle or vehicle correspond, being modified only in accordance with the powers of the numbers as they steadily increase, as shown by the number of points of the various star-symbols that may be inserted.
To endeavor to get a clearer understanding of this principle let us study a few examples of the mathematical symbols so far disclosed.
In the Great World, or Macrocosm, the world of Atziluth is symbolized by a mathematical point, (which is a section through a mathematical radiant line), as to its powers, (its spirit and soul); but it is enclosed in a circle to represent a vehicular principle, which alone makes Atziluth manifest on its own plane; and at the same time makes it thinkable to dwellers on lower planes, to whom it is, and must always be, unmanifest. The circle here represents that sphere whose circumference is nowhere; the dot is the positive pole of a radiant ray, which at its negative end gives birth to the sphere.
In the world of Atziluth we have the 2 plainly manifest in symbol; but the other two that are required for manifestation on its own plane, though not seen, are there nevertheless. The dot is said to be that center which is everywhere, and it is so, in as much as it is a transverse section of a ray of radiant light just created, which ray has neither breadth nor thickness; and at whatever portion of the ray the particular section is mentally pictured, it is the positive end of it that is mentally beheld—the negative end is engaged in making the sphere manifest, by the putting forth of an Atziluthic vehicle, the symbolic sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.
But the ray itself is triple: it possesses two points of activity; one is the positive central end, and the other is the circumferential, negative end; and these two are “reconciled” by the intervening stretch of the ray forming the symbolic radius of the symbolic sphere.
Thus then the world of Atziluth is essentially 1, a radiant line, which is the radius of a sphere whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is no where. The archetype of the world of Atziluth, as seen by its projector at the moment of projection is the positive pole of a radius, which possesses position without magnitude; but to which one dimensional magnitude is given by the act of projection; the act of projection having given the ray length, it must have a negative manifestation of some sort, some where. The projection however necessitates return at some time; at the time in fact when the manifestation now being called into being shall have performed the duties which its creator determined for it. The limit to which it shall go forth is already determined upon in the act by which the creator decided upon the area of space that was to be occupied by his creation. The emanant ray had to reach this circum ference, and return, at some indefinitely postponed point of time; but in the meantime it had to bring into manifestation all that was required of it in the plans of the creator that projected it. This in its Atziluthic state was, or is, the circumference which is nowhere; and in which the ray becomes forced to spirally whirl, and whirl, until its task is completed, and it re turns once more to the God who gave it birth. The Atziluth of Atziluth therefore is the dot; its Briah is the combined positivity and negativity of the ray; its Yetzirah is the radius; and its Assiah is that which is spun by the enforced whirlings of the radiant radius under the constraining influence that limits its area of action, but does not limit the time of its re maining within the circumference.
Let us now apply these considerations to the Tetractys Symbol, as applied to the World of Atziluth.
1. The Center which is every where.
2. The Positivity and Negativity of the Radiant Ray.
3. The Radius, upon which the size of the Sphere depends.
4. The Sphere whose circumference is nowhere.
The Tetractys is similarly applied to each of the worlds separately, dividing Briah, Yetzirah, and Assiah, in a manner that exactly corresponds to the above Atziluthic division. But it is to be also applied to that great cosm, of which the whole of the above analysed Atziluth is the 1. The great cosm is not completed until the world of Assiah is finally complete; and it has to emanate through the successive completions of Atziluth, Briah, and Yetzirah, upon which it depends for its creation. And when it is created it is a manifestation of the thoughts and will of the creators on its own plane; which is to say that the world of Assiah is not itself manifested to assiatic beings.
Of the Great Cosm therefore:
is the World of Atziluth complete.
is the World of Briah complete.
is the World of Yetzirah complete.
And is the complete World of Assiah.
The analysis of this symbol is capable of infinite expansion, and the whole field of human philosophy is the creation of man in his unaided efforts to solve the mysteries that are unlocked with great ease by a deep study of nature, with the help of this and other cosmic keys; which are not of human invention, but which have been revealed to men by the guardians of the Gnosis, as men have become capable of applying them intelligently, and, more important still, morally.
As a final study of this point let us examine the application of the Tetractys to the World of Assiah itself, at its lowest point in the circle, at the point where involution is considered to stop and’ turn in its course into evolution.
This stage is the mineral kingdom of a planet like our earth; and its greatest peculiarity is the existence of a certain power in its fullest intensity, and in the greatest elaboration of its many aspects. This power is “negative gravity,” the gross est manifestation of which is inertia, and whose finest ones are those properties by which it limits and modifies the action of the forces with which the science of physics deals. Electricity, magnetism, light, heat, electronic powers are but materializa tions of forms of energy, which, but for that materialization, would be unmanifested on earth; and what we call materialization is nothing more than the limitation of the action of those non-manifesting forms of energy by appropriate resistance, or, negative gravity.
The Assiah of Assiah is physical matter, and in the purely Assiatic condition it is what we call dead matter; the chemical and other forces that operate on and within it constitute the Yetzirah of Assiatic matter; while the Briatic, and Atziluthic worlds are represented therein by forces that physical science has not yet discovered, but possibly suspects; and of which it has discovered traces, without daring to correlate them with their correspondences on higher planes. The Briatic powers of the Assiah of Assiah are correspondences of the powers of sex; and the Atziluthic powers are the correspondences of consciousness.