Segmenting the Tree of Life


By isolating certain aspects of the Tree of Life for in-depth study, we’re better able to not only understand the parts that make up ourselves but also how they interact to influence the whole.

Horizontal Planes

  • Starting at the top, sephirots 1, 2, and 3 form the Supernal Triangle.
    • This can be seen as “The Head.” Our subconscious and unconscious minds (and the Ultimate Source beyond ourselves) are the spigot from which all else arises.
    • The dealings within the Supernal Triangle are all ways we may receive this Inspiration and Seed of All.
  • Sephirots 4, 5, and 6 make up the Ethical Triangle.
    • This can be seen as “The Hands.” The Ethical Triangle deals with all the ways we may choose to interact with others: either by way of cooperation and community, or by exploitation and selfishness.
  • Sephirots 7, 8, and 9 form the Astral Triangle (where all practical magick is achieved).
    • This can be seen as “The Feet.” This is the Triangle of Action. Here, we take what has come before and we either expound energy into it, to mold things to our liking and withstand or overcome obstacles… Or we withdraw our energy and wait and observe, forced to submit under that which is greater than ourselves and simply strive to gain a better understanding of that which we face.
  • We also find important horizontal planes at the Great Abyss and the Veil of Paroketh:
    • The Abyss marks the point at which subconscious interactions with the Source crosses into Intent — how we decide to use this knowledge in regard to our dealings with others. 
    • The Veil marks the point between Force and Form — below the Veil is Reality and the Physical Outcome of all that came from the upper portions of the Tree. 

Vertical Planes

  • The Tree is divided into three pillars:
    • The center is known as the Pillar of Mildness
    • On the right is the Pillar of Mercy
    • On the left is the Pillar of Severity

These three pillars, in conjunction with the Triangles, grant a greater sense of the flow of energies within a spread and/or within either a single card of, or series of, Major Arcana.

The Lovers (VI)


The Lovers Major Arcanum presents a fine example of how knowledge of its placement in the Tree’s branches can grant further illumination into the card’s meaning.

The Lovers branch from sephirot 3 to sephirot 6.

  • 3 is both within the Supernal Triangle (“the Head”) and at the top of the Pillar of Severity.
  • 6 is both within the Ethical Triangle (“the Hands”) and in the center of the Pillar of Mildness

From this we gather several points of interest:

  • The Lovers begin at: the point where we have “taken apart” the elements of the Source we received in order to better understand it. (davar mitoch davar — understanding one idea from another idea; deductive reasoning)
  • The card ends at: a point of total balance in regard to our intentions and interactions with others.
    • So, where there are two people in our imagery at the start of this branch, there winds up being a united couple at the end; a balanced whole emerging from the separate parts. Each person starts alone to try to understand the elements given to them, but they find balance in uniting together as one — a balance that further influences their interactions with others around them.
  • We get a sense of the move of energy on the vertical plane: moving from a sense of Severity (or, disciplined intellect) to Mildness (balance and emotional/conscious harmony) — this certainly creates a sense of release. 
  • We also see that The Lovers cross the Great Abyss: horizontally, they have moved from the realm of the Head (or subconscious) to the realm of what we might call the Heart — the Hands (the outer pillars of the Ethical Triangle which the 6th sephirot balances) do the work of our intentions created in this Triangle, but the Heart creates a harmony of consciousness.

Within this harmony we are at ease enough to make balanced decisions with regard to how we intend to interact with others in our lives — “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy”… and cast judgement on those I judge. From a place of disciplined intellect we move into a place where we are at home with the intentions we mete out to others. And in so doing, we feel like The Lovers; we move from isolated parts of ourselves into a united and balanced whole of consciousness. 

When Things Are Not As They Seem

I love the Tales that Tarot Cards can Tell!

“Yes, the cards are random. Yes, my mind by nature seeks out it’s own meaning from the cards I see before me. And, yes, that’s the point of it all. I look at what meaning my mind draws currently from the randomly drawn cards, and I am able to gain insight into my current state of mind. I am able to decide how I might chose to address my current state of mind; to encourage parts of it, or change other parts to better face my day ahead.”

One of the more intriguing aspects of tarot interpretation comes when the supposedly “bad” cards are found in “good” places, and vice-versa.

I’ve had a series of really powerful spreads to reflect upon since I did my Yuletide Sabbat Reading in December. It’s been a steady reminder to sometimes embrace my disappointments or mental defeats…

The above photo is the “quickey” Daily Oracle I drew for today. Side note: it impressed me doubly that the first card at the left was the same card I drew a couple days ago, as my “first step” toward resolving my inner issues; and, likewise, the third card, at the right, was the card in that same prior reading as one of my sources of inner strength I could draw from.

So, let me explain these cards and their basic meanings:

  • On the left, we have the 7 of Water (Emotion), or Debauchery.
  • On the right, we have the 5 of Water (Emotion), or Disappointment.
  • And in the center is the 7 of Fire (Energy/Action), or Valor.
  • The placement of these cards is as follows: Left = Where I am right now; Center = the Root of my obstacles today; Right = the recommended response to learning from or overcoming that obstacle.

So, we might say, then, that Valor is my problem and Disappointment is my answer. Say what?

This is where a deeper look into ourselves comes in handy. A Buddhist ideal is that “bad” and “good” have no intrinsic values on their own. They are simply labels that we humans attach to any given thing or event, depending on how we see it at the moment.

So, taking Debauchery (7 Cups): in this setting, it means I’m on the right track. I’ve taken the first step recommended in the prior spread; I’m in a good place. A deeper look at the concept of this card reveals that this state of Emotion doesn’t have to be “bad.”

Debauchery is defined as “excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.” So, there is a word of caution that comes with it: one shouldn’t wallow in stagnate emotions for too long, or the waters will rot. But, sometimes, it may be necessary to lie still in your Emotions and enjoy their sensual pleasures for a spell–just be aware that you will have to move on at some point.

Valor (7 Wands): it is a card of fiery Action! A pushing forward past obstacles using the sheer energy of your passion! And, weirdly enough, for today that is what is the Root of my difficulties I either face now or will face today. Valor is an honorable trait, to be sure. But often, our Fires of Passion can run over others and get us into trouble, burning up our surroundings that we have built with those same energies. Wouldn’t you agree?

Lastly, Disappointment (5 Cups): How can this possibly work as a “good” card–an answer to the “problem” of Valor??

One of the traits of water is to cool fire. Our Emotions can at times be the vehicle by which our passionate energies are cooled, allowing us to step back and think on things a little more. Deeper still, the principle of Emotional Disappointment is a state of non-equilibrium. We are, of course, not content to stay in Disappointment for long. The Waters of Disappointment seek to flow to calmer or more stable grounds.

When Disappointment is meant as a suggested response, it is wise to look straight into the face of your emotional upset and allow it to carry you along to a better emotional place.

Many times, we must not shrink from unpleasant emotions but embrace them and let them carry us forward.

Return of My Childhood Love of Crystals & Stones

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Center: Citrine; Top L to clockwise Bottom L: Amethyst, Garnet, Aquamarine, Blue Apatite

Why do we love crystals so much? Perhaps one reason is the way each crystal captures the light in its intricate structure, and each structure is unique. Then, the crystal sends that light (influenced through the crystal’s structure) to us. I always find crystals to be the most mesmerizing when seen through the Light. ☺️☀️💠

I’ve always loved crystals, gemstones, and rocks of all kinds. I used to have my own little geological collection growing up.

I suppose they’ve helped me feel connections to the Earth, each in their own unique way. Lately, I’ve had a personal renaissance of my fascination and study of crystals in my day-to-day, and I’ve enjoyed using combinations of certain stones to aid in meditation, tarot study, work, and more.

What are your favorite gemstones?

Personal Magick

In the end, nothing is wrong with creeds or beliefs as long as you stay aware of your individuality, keep your freedom and are able to enlighten and improve your own self without getting dependent from any outside influence or structure. It does not matter which God or Goddess you have, or how many of those, or if you have anything like that at all, it is completely unimportant whether you believe in the divine, or in fate and coincidence, or solely in the laws of physics.
The Tarot is valuable and suitable for any kind of person that has an inside, a consciousness and a subconsciousness. It is completely independent from any belief but the belief in your own self. (from Magick in Creeds and Beliefs)

Visit Raven’s Tarot site.

Skepticism & Spirituality

I am, day by day, more a practical realist. (Being raised in unfounded, literalist belief systems that have damaging real-world and bodily consequences will do that to you.)

But, at the same time, I consider myself deeply, psychologically spiritual. We must remember that our opinions, observations, and views of the world around us will be colored by our own mental predispositions. Perhaps that is a part of what human “spirituality” ultimately is: constantly reminding our own selves that our mind is the influencer of everything we consider after we first take it in, and that, afterwards, our mind will use its penchant for patternsimage to instantly categorize similar future in-takes without further thought.

It is this wisdom, I think, to slow down and recall our psychological place and tendencies within our universe that is a major part of the Path to Understanding.

Tarot Tale #2: It’s Okay to Hang Out Sometimes

Jealousy answer

One of my regular struggles in life is my impatience with not seeing the results I want or expect. I work hard and love what I do, but, as this work finds itself in the topsy-turvy field of the “high arts” and academia, I often don’t see the acknowledgement or wide-spread celebration of my work that I often think I’m owed. Then, I get depressed about my personal expectations and berate myself for feeling that way. Oh, my sensitive and emotional self…embarrassed

So I asked my Higher Self today, what I can learn – how I can think about this situation and what I can do to affect positive change in this area. This is what my Higher Self taught me:

  • The root of my challenges: High Priestess (2). Too much inward thinking/self-analysis
  • This inward thinking is constantly focused on wanting my dream stability and fame so badly, and trying to draw inward to create it. (Ten of Beetles)
  • What needs to change: turn my thinking outward, ground it in reality, be mature in my thoughts (King of Bees).
  • What I can embrace to help with this change: The Fool (0). Embrace my spontaneity and my love of exploration! Go forth and see what I can find! Transform, leave behind what is familiar and comfortable. Start over/afresh emotionally and mentally. Embrace the original excitement for life and adventure that first started me on this path.
  • Final Lesson: The Hanged Man (12). Ultimately, no amount of struggle will accomplish anything here. I will be forced to stay here where I am, hanging out in Limbo, until I learn to see things from a new perspective. I might as well just hang out and chill. Hanging out in this way is a form of sacrifice: a sacrifice of myself to myself. Things are changing and growing in this situation, even without my involvement in them. I need to just let that process happen.

As you can see with my top, Current Situation card (Knight of Moths) and my bottom, Base Card (King of Moths) I tend to be a very active, energetic Go-Getter. I too often feel like, if I’m not getting what I think I deserve when I think I should get it, then if I can just change what I’m doing or increase my Action in doing it, I’ll get it.

So these impatient feelings aren’t bad. They’re a part of who I am. But sometimes, it’s important to acknowledge that struggle is useless. Sometimes we can do nothing and we need to allow the winds of the Universe and Karma to carry us forward. I love that sentiment: a sacrifice of myself to myself.

It’s All in Your Perspective…

Are you a Supplicant —

one who Receives from the Father of the All and from Mother Wisdom,

one who sits with open palms and is grateful for all that is given,

that which will suffice for Today alone,

One day at a time, without Attachment…

Or are you a Taker —

a Go-Getter, one who sees all as your oyster,

the field ready for the Harvest,

you are the Cause, and all Effect is your own doing…

Both are the same; though in one, at its root, there is Peace and Graciousness, and in the other there is great Energy and Force. The Universe does not change its method according to our own perceptions of it. In Perspective, however, lies our re-actions (how we act in response) to this Life and all that is around us. May we be attuned to our personal perspectives each day, and be willing to adjust as necessary, in order that we may be kinder to ourselves and to others.

Be a Master, Be Free

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Let not the Mind, in its attachment to the Past and to the Future, steal the Present from you. Let not the Reality of what Is, and is Now, be hidden from you. See what Is, in all its purity and reality. Let the same be true of the words we speak and the actions we perform. Let us study ourselves, and embrace the reality of what is true.

Live Life!

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The Universe is an ocean, and we, the Conscious, are but the energy of the sea taking the form of a wave. It rises for a brief moment, and then it’s gone. Let us live life without Attachment. The energy of the cosmos will take another shape after we are gone, and another and another… Let us allow ourselves to flow with the currents of this Ocean and not struggle against it, against ourselves. Be One, be All, and live adventurously and with mastery and joy!