INTRODUCTION TO THE PATHWAYS OF THE TREE OF LIFE
Figure TreeofLifePic shows the Tree of Life with its' ten sephiroth, each representing a portion of the human brain. Please note that the tenth Sephiroth, Kether, actually represents the beginning of the next level of attainment and is not directly associated with the earthly sphere either physically or spiritually. The influence from the highest level, Kether, brings joy and influences our lives so that we may attempt to reach this highest of levels and move to the next level of our godhood. That is the ultimate goal of all paths of attainment and is what this is all about. Within that ultimate goal are many steps to be taken. Unless those steps are taken it is as difficult to attain the highest rewards offered to our budding godhood as it is to pass a camel through the Eye of the Needle.
With the focus on many small steps to attain to the highest portion of the wonders available to us, we may well climb to the top. It is difficult but not impossible to reach the top in one or two big jumps. Some do but it is extremely rare and your chances of winning a State Lottery are many times better than reaching the top of the spiritual heap in a few easy jumps. The preliminary description of the paths of the Tree of Life given here are the barest of beginnings toward these small steps. Each Sephiroth, here numbered from one to ten, is connected by one or more paths to each other. These paths each are numbered from 0 to 21, are named and associated with a special tarot card and astrological sign.
Each path is further described from antiquity as having certain characteristics. For example, the path from Hod to Netzach is described as a transforming energy of Mars that changes the energy of Mercury to the energy of Venus. Now, Mars, Mercury, and Venus don't beam energy at you, nor do they send emotions. What is written is a shorthand. A way of saying that you can transform the mental imagery of rational thought (Mercury) into the vital energy of the esoteric and physical body (Venus) by applying an active, directed meditational exercise (Mars).
By knowing the underlying meanings of the astrological symbols a kind of emotional shorthand with universal symbols can be utilized. Thus, we speak of Venus energy, a romantic sexuality that has very sensual but pure aspects which can be (and has been) described in great detail. We can also speak of Moon energy, a sexual energy pattern based on fertility rites and completely different from the Venus sexual energy. The energy of Mars is not just of war, but is the energy in humans that transforms. Thus, Mars is representative of the active change from one thing to another.
With this in mind, lets examine a few more paths. The path from Hod (Mercury), to Tiphareth (Sun), transforms Rational mind (Mercury), to Enlightened mind (Sun). This path is ruled by Saturn, the bringer of rules and detailed agreement, in other words, patterns. Capricorn is associated with this path and Capricorn is described as particular about small details. Again, the idea of patterns. If we think further about what it would take to enlighten the rational mind, it would become obvious that patterns are the requirement. The rational mathematician or other scientist needs an orderly set of numbers or patterns to say "aha" or "eureka" and be enlightened in the outcome. The rational mind always requests patterns for enlightenment. Therefore, if we want the rational mind to "connect" with the enlightened mind directly, we must give it the correct patterns to work with. Thus, the path from Hod to Tiphareth can be labeled "patterns, patterns, patterns."
The path from Hod (rational mind) to Geburrah (control of body functions) is based on meditation. It is said of this path that the mind must be stilled for the Mars aspect of Geburrah to operate. Geburrah as Mars represents an ability to actively change from one state to another. Thus, by contacting the brain circuit represented by Geburrah (Mars) we can alter our physical state of being from illness to health, change our blood pressure, control our heart rate, cure disease, etc. It is easy to understand that our rational mind (Hod/Mercury) won't do those things. The rational mind is too consumed with the details of functioning in the world and cannot directly reach the control centers. We can, however, decide consciously to, for example, control our blood pressure or our body temperature. These conscious decisions are made from the third brain circuit, the rational mind, or Hod on the Tree of Life.
Once the conscious decision is made we must then find a way, or method of gaining control over the particular body function we have selected to control. The conscious mind then studies the path connecting Hod to Geburrah to determine what method is required to make that connection. On examination, it is clear that the method required is to suspend rational mind and open up to the super conscious portion of your brain. When we can stop the chain of "thinking" that goes on and on, we will have suspended both the third brain circuit and the second brain circuit (the Ego) and will be open to receive the potential of our higher brain circuits . When this is done and we are focused on healing we may begin to interact with the sixth brain circuit (Geburrah), the portion of our brain that can cure cancer.
Now, if you consciously (Hod) want to heal or control body functions (Geburrah), but cannot suspend your mental machine nor stop the thoughts rushing through your brain, you can take an alternate path of Hod (rational mind), to Tiphareth (enlightened mind), to Geburrah (body DNA control). To do this, you must first find the mental patterns that indicate to you that it is possible to heal yourself. This brings illumination (Tiphareth). Then, to take the path from illumination (Tiphareth) to the body control of Geburrah, you must use the creative imagination you have built in your brain to bring forth a strong purposefulness. This purpose must be strong enough to gain a mental state of agreement with the way things are. Add to this the awareness of the Universal forces and bring them into agreement with what you require to become. Then, allow the picture to form of the new, healed you (or other person you may be attempting to heal) and give this picture the "Ox goad" (the name of this path) and energetically move into healing. Yes, this is difficult to do.
It is easier to work this path segment (Hod to Tiphareth to Geburrah) with the help of someone to guide and energize you. The Ox Goad Ritual which involves color, aroma, music, massage, and meridian cleansing will aid in guiding you to this goal.
There are other paths that reach Geburrah from our rational mind (Hod). One would be from Hod (rational mind), to Netzach (sexual mind), to Tiphareth (illuminated mind), and then to Geburrah (body healing). Or, you could move from Hod, to Netzach, to Tiphareth, to Chesed (Cosmic awareness), and from there to Geburrah. Each of these path segments follows a series of individual paths that can be utilized to attain a specific goal. A study of the Tree of Life can result in integration of your brain circuits and an enhanced ability to control your own brain functioning.
The ability to use your mind to get desired results cannot be less than a gift from God. How these descriptions came into existence thousands of years ago is far beyond my ability to explain. I accept the Tree of Life with the gifts bestowed through knowledge of its' information and suspend judgment on the impossibility of it being here at all.
In the brief excursion above from Hod to Geburrah and the various path segments that can be used to move from the rational mind to the portion of our brain that controls our internal healing, we have seen how it is possible to use the Tree of Life for direct benefit. In this case, it would be to heal an illness either within yourself or within another. We can enhance every aspect of our lives in a similar manner by fully understanding the symbolic language used. Thus, the symbolic language of astrology applied to the symbols of the Tree of Life relate directly to reality in such a way as to allow each person to attain virtually anything they want out of their own extensive abilities by using the paths of the Tree of Life and connecting the sephiroth which represent the brain circuits of humans.
The second brain circuit is represented by Yesod on the Tree of Life and has been called the Territorial/Ego brain circuit by psychologists and scientists. The astrological symbol of this circuit is the Moon. Thus, lunacy and lunatics were associated with the second brain circuit far before modern scientists discovered the relationship between Ego and insanity.
The second brain circuit begins to function at about the time a child learns to walk. It is fully open and functioning throughout the "terrible twos, terrible threes, and fearsome fours," which every mother knows intimately (if not by the nomenclature of the Tree of Life). This brain circuit transforms a human child from instinctive behavior lacking in any volitional intelligence to a walking, talking, bundle of energy that begins to explore, discover, acquire, possess, and dominate. The child will still be acting in a subconscious or less than fully aware state and will display this in the tantrums this circuit throws when it doesn't get its' way.
This early territorial exploration brings the child into active dispute with other humans over ownership. Power plays, manipulation, control, and status come to life in these efforts to acquire and possess territory. All of this is supported by the fears of the first brain circuit that wants security at all costs. The child will not give up mommy who represents life at this point and begins to try to push daddy away in order to gain complete control over their environment. If, for some reason this happens, the child can become a true Ego-maniac believing it should have, indeed MUST have, whatever it wishes as its' birthright.
On the other hand, the child may encounter a stern, even cruel father and be unable to acquire or possess any territory or status of their own. An Ego treated in this manner will still find ways of controlling their own destiny. They will cheat, lie, steal, destroy, even kill to gain some control over their lives. There are people who only feel alive when they are hurting someone or being hurt themselves. These people have severely damaged second brain circuits.
As mentioned above, the first and second brain circuits are closely associated or even linked in their activity. The very primitive first circuit certainly deserves the name "Biosurvival" since when threatened, it will totally take over the body and mind. Whatever it decides to do you will do without thinking since it is virtually unconscious rather than subconscious. People in fear of their lives normally don't remember what they did to survive. They will say "I don't know, I just remember a blur and there I was with a dead bear." Or whatever.
The Ego/Territorial second brain circuit is different. It is subconscious and what you do while in the second circuit you normally remember to some extent. Your rational mind may be extremely puzzled as to why you did what you did but you (kind of) remember.
What you don't normally remember very well is your motives for doing whatever you did from the second brain circuit. When you are through with your second circuit tantrum, you will normally switch to third circuit rational mind. The rational mind confronted with the Ego activity (usually bad) now will try to put a good face on the whole thing since it does not understand at all the irrational Ego. Thus, the Ego works its' destruction, then hands over the brain to the rational third circuit which cannot figure out how come everyone is upset (after all, it didn't do anything). The third circuit will now do its; best to make the problem go away.
When this is unsuccessful (after all, everyone is looking at the person, not the brain circuit), it will finally get discouraged, angry, withdrawn, etc., and not know why everyone is so angry at an innocent person since the person is principally feeling from only one brain circuit at a time. Also, since the second circuit is mostly subconscious, the third circuit cannot recall clearly what happened or why. It takes a lot of work and repetition to convince the rational mind that it has a problem with the second or first circuits.
Humans work with three circuits functioning together most of the time. The primary circuit is the one in charge and the one the person is speaking from. If that happens to be the first circuit, it will use the more complex second and third circuits to voice its' concerns. What usually happens with the first circuit is action and not speaking. The first circuit runs away or fights.
The second circuit is a child, usually four or five years of age and has verbal skills and the ability to interact in a complex way with people. This is still a fearsome four child, make no mistake about that. The second circuit Ego almost never grows up. It will behave as a child and receive information as a child. This means it will create havoc to get its' way and will not particularly care about the fall out. This circuit will also receive information in a way that will be as illogical as a four year old. People who don't get control over this circuit spend their lives in some kind of hassle with their relationships, jobs, friends, finances, and etc.
When working with a damaged subconscious, whether yours or another, you must work through the third circuit to use as a guide for the subconscious. The second circuit is normally extremely independent and does not integrate will or at all if it is damaged. The first circuit, the Biosurvival circuit maintains an independence to some extent no matter how much you retrain it. This is why you retrain the Biosurvival circuit with a martial art so that when it acts automatically, you know what it will do since you have consciously (third circuit) pushed that reaction into it.
To get the second circuit to react in the way you want it to involves a different technique or set of techniques. The basic idea is that the second circuit has a strongly bias viewpoint owing to a problem encountered as a child. Thus, it is locked in a cycle of harm and is a troubled child in its' thought processes.
We find this child-like quality in the way people talk about how they feel when the second circuit is triggered strongly. They use such words as "feeling small," "two feet high," or will even state outright "felt like a little kid." We become so trained or imprinted we feel we cannot play as an adult. We must play as a second circuit child with our Ego hanging out, competing to win and beat everyone somehow. When we don't win we are "put down" and lose stature; become children again.
This competition is a reflection of the second circuit demand for territory and status. It is a direct result of the competition for mommy and to keep daddy away so you can survive. You see, daddy (who also wants mommy -- and her breast) is a very real threat to your survival. There is no choice, you must compete or die. At least that is how the child views the world from its status of complete dependency.
The healthy second circuit learns that daddy is not really a threat and will not take away mommy and her source of food. Instead, the healthy second circuit learns that daddy is a beneficial guide to new territory and thus, the second circuit begins to grow to health.
To start healing the second circuit, you consciously (third circuit) give the second circuit some territory and open up areas for it to play in. To demand that it sit in the corner and shut up will only cause it to rebel and take over. Since it is older and stronger than third circuit, it will win and leave the third circuit beat up and totally confused. Thus, the conscious awareness of what is going on takes away confusion and allows conscious (or willful, volitional) activity on the part of the person to work with their own damaged second circuit to help it grow up and integrate with the rest of the brain circuits.
Feed it carefully. Don't just give the second circuit anything it wants creating a spoiled brat. Make a list of things you really want to do, things that give you pleasure, long term items, short term items, what you want to be when you grow up and how you'd like to be able to behave. Make these in separate lists and then correlate to get a sense of common ground. One list needs to come from the second circuit and another list needs to come from the third circuit.
To give an example of how to make up a list, here is a fictitious example:
THINGS I HAVE NOW THAT I LIKE
1/ Sports car (love the image)
THINGS I WANT.
1/ Home on the water with hot tub.
WHAT GIVES ME PLEASURE
BEHAVIOR WHEN I GROW UP.
1/ Calm, gentle, easy, and graceful.
More lists could and should be made but for the sake of brevity, we'll just use these for the moment. What this guy wants revolves around his image. This is as it should be! You are what you think you are!!! Never forget that you always think yourself into the best you that you can be or want to be. You also think yourself into the disaster you have been by believing the bad press you put out about yourself. If you want to be something, start believing you can be that.
We'll call this guy Joe. He wants to dive, photograph, live well, and have lots of sex. Sounds pretty normal to me. Joe is in a great position to get every thing he wants. He already has the sports car and great sound gear. This gives him a piece of the image he wants. He also has the scuba gear and very likely is certified for diving. He may have to take a few more courses to become a teacher himself but this is also on its' way.
The job Joe wants should be near since his focus is so tight. He has not scattered his "wants" in so many areas they cannot be satisfied in three lifetimes. Joe's wants are simple. His first step is to find a job diving. He will likely need to plan on this being either part-time or a second job until he can make enough money at it to buy his house and camera gear. The camera should come first since it will help make money and enhance his job.
The only thing that gives Joe pleasure other than the diving is sex. As a dive master with a home, hot tub, his own boat, etc., Joe should have no trouble with sex partners. He has set up his image as the dream of the young girl who wants a fling without strong attachments. For now, Joe is in a healthy zone and can get everything he wants without conflict.
Will this be healthy in the long term? Joe hasn't addressed this with a specific long term list. Some of the things on his list are certainly long term and satisfying. A home, a good job, ownership of his own business (indicated by his wish for his own dive boat), producing something others want (films of underwater adventure), a love of nature and wishing to be kind, gentle, and knowledgeable are all long term, healthy, and satisfying.
The obvious loss here is that he is a loner. Other than wishing for sex, Joe shares only on the job or at a distance through photography. At this point in his life he is dedicated to himself and wishes no strong involvement with a love interest. Things change and Joe will grow because he is otherwise very healthy in his outlook. Love will ambush him and the list will change. We all change.
What about you? What will you be when you grow up?
You can clearly see Joe's second circuit territorial demands for owning a home, car, boat, etc. You can also see his damage. He is not looking for family, marriage, children, or other close involvement with people. What problems have prompted Joe's Ego to withdraw from people except to want sex and to some extent have people on the job? He shows a real sense of being threatened by people and is setting up to be able to mostly avoid them. When he has completed his dream, he will have a home, car, hot tub, all the comforts he needs. He will also have a dive boat, gear, and camera set-up with which to make money all by himself from the reefs and sell the film without ever being close to someone.
To cure the second circuit withdrawal Joe can begin to allow others to be close to him, join singles' interest groups; in this case, Audubon Society, Sierra Club, or other environmental group. He can also add to the focus of his photography work to include people in the natural setting.
If fear, anger, rage, worry, or other emotions accompany a persons' life and create harm, the paths of the Tree of Life provide methods for retraining the mind to new ways of thinking. Since the Tree of Life is a map of the functioning of the human brain, the paths connecting the sephiroth (representative symbols of each brain circuit) are ways to move into those brain circuits and make changes or to integrate them. This is one of the major uses of the Tree of Life.