The Veil of Paroketh
 
Paroketh
Paroketh

Paroketh is rather an odd part of the Tree. Sources don't agree on where it comes from, what its name means, what it represents, or even whether it's a veil at all. What's right? Can we even tell?

I have seen it said(PDF) of Paroketh that:

The Veil of Paroketh falls in the Path of Samekh between the two Sephiroth called Yesod and Tiphareth. The word Paroketh (PRKTh) refers to the four elements: Peh is Water, Resh is Air, Kaph is Fire, and Tau is Earth. It is the Word of the Veil of the Temple, before the Holy of Holies. It is the Veil of the Four Elements of the Body of Man.

According to Western Hermetic Qabalah, those elemental assignations seem wrong in nearly every particular. Peh equates to Mars, which emphatically is not water. Resh is the Sun ... fire, not air. Shin is fire, whereas Kaph is Jupiter, not very fire-like. Insofar as we treat Tau as the Center, we can accept it as Earth in some sense, but it's a stretch. ...But read on; we'll come back to this.

I've also seen an author claim that the name Paroketh was likely chosen for its gematria: spelled as noted above,[1] פרכת sums to 700. However, this same author tells us that Paroketh isn't really a Veil at all, but instead a state or entity.[2].

Yet another author says that Paroketh is named for the Hebrew letters that are placed in that part of the tree. This also looks incorrect ... until we look at the Gra tree. Now we're getting somewhere! Peh, Resh, Kaph, and Tau are all double letters, which the Gra places as connecting Sephiroth along the Pillars. Sure enough, viewed that way, Peh, Resh, and Kaph do in fact cross between the two Triads in Yetzirah. And Tau does make a reasonable addition to that name, as it descends from Yesod to Malkuth.

Furthermore, if we use the Gra's layout we can draw lines below each of the mother letters to mark a Veil on the Tree as we currently know it. Including Paroketh as a Veil then makes perfect sense[3].

This also explains and justifies the assignation of letters to elements: they make sense when we understand that they aren't using the correspondences taught by Western Hermetic Qabalah. The three ancient Hebrew elements were air, water, and fire[4]. If we must find a fourth element, Tau would be earth, since it connects to Malkuth.

So there we have it. And it looks as though yes, Paroketh is a Veil, just as we'd like it to be. ...Whew!

That said, however, saying that It is the Word of the Veil of the Temple, before the Holy of Holies is misleading in that it can make us think that to pierce that veil is to come face to face with the Divine. In fact, in some sense quite the opposite is true: Paroketh sits between Tiphareth and Yesod, and so is the barrier that separates our everyday consciousness from our subconscious. It is the veil that, going down, is the mirror of the Abyss that, going up, separates us from our super-conscious.

That's true when considering the parts of the Tree as they pertain to our Self as a Self. When working Qabalistic rituals up the Tree, however, it applies similarly. Piercing the Veil of Paroketh brings you to stand at the Sun before the Sun — Tiphareth as the light that presents itself to us to hide Kether. There remains another veil to be pierced before you can contact the Divine, and another yet before you may face the One.


[1]Spelled as noted above, PRKTh could as easily be pronounced "parakeet". I'm just sayin'.
[2]That same author says, The origin of the word Paroketh is obscure: it is not Biblical, nor modern Hebrew.. ...Well, nonsense: it is attested in Torah. The word פרכת does in fact mean veil, that which habitually shuts off. See for example Exodus 26:31 or 35:12.
[3]Personally, I think those two Triads need a veil between them, as I claim they are the conscious and subconscious. Others call them soul and body, or morality and nature.
[4]Peh is water, the left pillar. Resh is air, the middle pillar. Kaph is fire, the right pillar. This is very much not how we've been taught to think of these letters, but with the Tree organized this way, it works.
[1]Spelled as noted above, PRKTh could as easily be pronounced "parakeet". I'm just sayin'.
[2]That same author says, The origin of the word Paroketh is obscure: it is not Biblical, nor modern Hebrew.. ...Well, nonsense: it is attested in Torah. The word פרכת does in fact mean veil, that which habitually shuts off. See for example Exodus 26:31 or 35:12.
[3]Personally, I think those two Triads need a veil between them, as I claim they are the conscious and subconscious. Others call them soul and body, or morality and nature.
[4]Peh is water, the left pillar. Resh is air, the middle pillar. Kaph is fire, the right pillar. This is very much not how we've been taught to think of these letters, but with the Tree organized this way, it works.

[gra_tree] image of the Gra tree

[ari_tree] image of the Ari tree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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An Interactive QabalahThe Mother lettersSeven of Swords A Brief Introduction to QabalahNepheshSix of Swords Kether, the CrownNeshamahFive of Swords Chokmah, WisdomThe Veil of ParokethFour of Swords Binah, UnderstandingPermutations of the NameThree of Swords Daath, KnowledgeThe Three PillarsTwo of Swords QliphothThe ProfaneAce of Disks Chesed, MercyReflectionKnight of Disks Geburah, StrengthRuachQueen of Disks Tiphareth, BeautySefer Yetzirah, the Book of FormationPrince of Disks Netzach, VictorySeverityPrincess of Disks Hod, SplendorThe simple lettersTen of Disks Yesod, FoundationWhat is a Soul?Nine of Disks Malkuth, KingdomThe SoulsEight of Disks AlefThe Supernal TriadSeven of Disks BetThe FoolSix of Disks GimelThe MagusFive of Disks DalethThe PriestessFour of Disks HehThe EmpressThree of Disks VauThe EmperorTwo of Disks ZainThe HierophantAdjustment ChethThe LoversAeon TethThe ChariotArt YodAdjustmentThe Chariot KaphThe HermitDeath LamedFortuneDevil MemLustThe Emperor NunThe Hanged ManThe Empress SamekhDeathThe Fool AyinArtFortune PehThe DevilThe Hanged Man TzaddiThe TowerThe Hermit QophThe StarThe Hierophant ReshThe MoonThe Lovers ShinThe SunLust TauThe AeonThe Magus The Qabalistic WorldsThe UniverseThe Moon Atziluth, ArchetypesAce of WandsThe Priestess Briah, the CreativeKnight of WandsThe Star Yetzirah, the FormativeQueen of WandsThe Sun Assiah, the ActivePrince of WandsThe Tower The court cardsPrincess of WandsThe Universe The AcesTen of WandsHebrew alphabet transliterations The KnightsNine of WandsThe Triads The QueensEight of WandsThe Qabalistic Veils The PrincesSeven of WandsThe Name of Names, YHVH The PrincessesSix of WandsAlef The TensFive of WandsAyin The NinesFour of WandsBet The EightsThree of WandsCheth The SevensTwo of WandsDaleth The SixesAce of CupsThe double letters The FivesKnight of CupsGimel The FoursQueen of CupsHeh The ThreesPrince of CupsKaph The TwosPrincess of CupsLamed The 32 Paths of WisdomTen of CupsMem The AbyssNine of CupsThe mother letters Adam Kadmon, the Body of GodEight of CupsNun AlchemySeven of CupsPeh The Alef-Bet in Space and TimeSix of CupsQoph The Ari TreeFive of CupsResh The Astral TriadFour of CupsSamekh The double lettersThree of CupsShin The Ethical TriadTwo of CupsThe simple letters the Flash of LightAce of SwordsTau The Gra TreeKnight of SwordsTeth The 72 Hidden Names of GodQueen of SwordsThe Tree of Life The Tree of LifePrince of SwordsTzaddi The Hebrew alef-bet letter classesPrincess of SwordsVau MercyTen of SwordsYod MildnessNine of SwordsZain The Presence of the Most HighEight of Swords