The Three Pillars
 
the Pillars
The Three Pillars

In attempting to classify the universe, we tend to try to divide things into groups of opposites: positive and negative, light and dark, male and female, passive and aggressive, Yin and Yang. For any one of those classes, however, you can find things that don't fit — that are neither positive nor negative, or which at least in theory are male and female. Even Yin and Yang have a balancing principle, Tao, that joins them.

In its layout, the Tree reflects that three-way division.[1] Moreover, it shows us that the entire concept of division happens after we have already parted from the Infinite.

We define its three pillars as -

  • Mercy, the right pillar, having positive or generative principles.
  • Severity, the left pillar, having negative[2] or receptive principles.
  • Mildness, the middle pillar, having balancing or mediating principles.

The Flash that created the Universe first emanates from the Infinite in Kether, the topmost Sephirah of the middle pillar; and at the end of its descent it ends in Malkuth, also in the middle pillar. The universe is a balance of forces. It begins in balance: no division has yet been seen. And it ends in balance: the last result of division is a convergence.

In between, the power swings between polarities, states of being that we classify in one of those three ways and thus assign to one of the three pillars. Those polarities also align themselves into Triads, and the Triads themselves also fall generally into one of the pillars. The Tree is reflections, and reflections of reflections, and reflections of reflections of reflections,[3] world without end, Amen.

This three-way division also finds its expression in the Hebrew alphabet. The Aleph-Bet has three "mother" letters, its (approximate) beginning, middle, and end letters, that represent those three states, by way of the three Hebrew elements. Shin (ש) is fire, thesis; Mem (מ) is water, antithesis; and Aleph (א) is air, synthesis.

Sefer Yetzirah relates these mother letters to the pillars by implication, when it says in verse 2:1:

The three Mother Letters are Alef, Mem, Shin. Their foundation is a pan of merit, a pan of liability, and the tongue of decree deciding between them.

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mother letters | Discordians | reflection


[1]The Hebrew alphabet also reflects this three-way division in its mother letters: Shin, Mem, and Alef reflect, respectively, thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. For you Discordians, we regret to report that this system doesn't seem to mention Parenthesis or Paralysis.
[2]I can't say this often enough. Negative doesn't mean bad or unpleasant in Qabalah any more than it does in electricity, nor is it somehow any less. It's an opposite, without which positive could not exist.
[3]For more thoughts about that, read about reflection.
[1]The Hebrew alphabet also reflects this three-way division in its mother letters: Shin, Mem, and Alef reflect, respectively, thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. For you Discordians, we regret to report that this system doesn't seem to mention Parenthesis or Paralysis.
[2]I can't say this often enough. Negative doesn't mean bad or unpleasant in Qabalah any more than it does in electricity, nor is it somehow any less. It's an opposite, without which positive could not exist.
[3]For more thoughts about that, read about reflection.

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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