The following papers describe Binah, the Third Sephirah, the Architypal Concept of Form, the Head of the Pillar of Severity. Binah is the beginning of Cosmic Time and, having emanated into existence from Chokmah, is the Foundation of Primordial Wisdom. Binah is Marah, the Great Mother, the Great Sea and the beginning of Cosmic Time. The Waters of Binah play a most important role in the unfolment of Life for they reflect down through the planes the image of the Achetypal World.
(Updated 12 November 2020)
Binah - The Celestial Queen
By Sir Peter Allender (1995)
Energy from the Ain is directed through Chokmah and gives rise to Binah, the Third Sephirah. As Chokmah is Abba, the Father at the head of the pillar of Mercy, so Binah is Aima, the eternal Mother at the head of the Pillar of Justice.
Binah is the balancing negative Sephirah, representing the receptive, passive female aspect of manifestation. Together with Kether and Chokmah it completes the Supernal Trinity.
The Pillar of Justice is also called Boaz, the Pillar of Form. Binah is assigned the number three, its meaning implying Understanding. We connect with the mundane chakra of Saturn, one of the Old Gods influencing study, knowledge, the home, honour, title and position. However, Binah also links to the Greek God Kronos, master of Time. In Norse mythology Binah would be known as Frigg, the wife of Odin and the mother figure of the Norse Gods.
Three also points to Sakti, consort of the Hindu God Shiva, and known as the Destroyer of Life. This should not be misinterpreted, Sakti symbolises the unifying and vitalising power of electro-magnetism. On a spiritual level Binah becomes Maya - the Universal Power of the illusion created by the mind, where it is easy to be diverted from the path of truth. Chinese Buddhists know Binah under the name of Kwan Yin, and to the Taoists it is the dark energy of the Yin. Orthodox Hindu's call 'her' Kali. Whatever religious system is considered there is an equivalent to Binah.
If we reflect upon the tradition of Binah as the Great Mother, the universal womb whose waters become that Great Sea, out of which life evolved. This, of course, corresponds with the jewel assigned to Binah; that is the Pearl which derives from the depths of the sea, from the dark womb of the shell of an oyster. By further reflection upon the Holy Mother, Mary, it is appropriate that Binah is the Sanctifying Intelligence.
Returning to Hindu belief, Kali is the four armed Goddess who wears a necklace of golden human skulls and a girdle of human arms. In her upper left hand is a sword, and the lower left hand holds a golden human head. The upper right hand holds an emblem of fearlessness, the lower distributes favours to the faithful. In this respect Kali reminds us that Binah, as with Mother Nature, there is a benevolent aspect as well as a terrible one.
Following Chokmah, expressing the fundamental essence of consciousness, we find Binah to be the vehicle of all manifest phenomena, whether physical or mental. Kether provides the base design concept of all manifestation, the 'sketch plans' which are the archetypes originating within the world of Atziluth. Within the World of Briah, in which lie Chokmah and Binah, Creative forces seize the archetypal ideas pertaining to each Sephirah. The ideas are expanded, vivified and developed until they are fully prepared for projection into the Tree.
Appropriately to the 'negativity' of Binah the colour black is assigned, symbolising the receptivity of that which contains, the eternal darkness from which life grows into light. As seeds grow, there are plants corresponding to Binah including Cypress, Lily, Opium Poppy.
Tarot associations are the Four Threes: Wands symbolising Opportunity; Cups symbolising Happiness; Swords symbolising Conflict; Pentacles pointing to Business or Potential.
Thinking about these it seems that Binah has the seeds of Opportunity and Potential for successful development, yielding Happiness but warning that care will be needed to avoid Conflict... one could say it might be only too easy to be hurt! There is naturally also a link to the Tarot Queens.
Symbolical of the rebirth from the waters of baptism we find the Brooding Dove of the Holy Spirit. This recalls the story of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.
Within the Tetragrammaton Binah links to the first Heh of YHVH. Binah is the sephirah of the Supernal Trinity which is at the edge of the Abyss in which individual Ego develops, or is abandoned (if one is rising in spiritual awareness).
Another aspect of the supernal Trinity is to consider Kether to correspond to the Monad, the centre of consciousness or spiritual energy, the Yechidah. Here lies the Divine Spark, of which St. Paul reminds us that Man is a Temple. To Yechidah is added a Creative Vehicle (Chiah) the will or creative impulse. Binah now becomes Neschamah, the intuitive Power through which we are able to understand the Will of the Monad. The Supernal Trinity is therefore that Unity which is the Transcendental Ego. Below this is an invisible Sephirah known as Daath. Daath implies raw knowledge, and since knowledge contains elements of its own transient nature it is not a true sephirah. Daath represents the point at which the abstract Soul merges into the Ruach the personal human soul.
By Sharon Outten (1998)
Binah is the third sephirah and completes the Supernal Trinity. It is ‘The Mother’ and female aspect to Chokmah ‘The Father’ and male aspect. This sephirah is the first sephirah on the Negative Pillar - which it rules.
Titles for Binah are ‘Understanding’ (hnyb - Beth, Yod, Nun, Heh), ‘The Throne’ (Kursiya), ‘Ama’ - the dark sterile mother, ‘Aima’ - the bright fertile mother, ‘Marah’ - the great sea. It is the ‘Sanctifying Intelligence’.
Binah gives a certain polarity to Chokmah and Kether in the Supernal Trinity and provides the balance to the consciousness above the Abyss. The roots of Binah are in Amen - Kether has the title of Amen, and is from where Binah originates. It is this sephirah that is the creator of faith and from where faith springs.
It is the third sephirah that is behind all forms of manifested creation - and behind everything living - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It is behind everything in conscious existence and in this it unites all forms.
Binah’s two chief qualities are resistance and receptivity. It is through restriction that Binah works - it is here that the essence of Kether and abstract thought of Chokmah is received by Binah and restricted in the flesh of its physical form - it robes the forces of Kether and Chokmah.
As Binah is in the position of restriction to Chokmah, it could be seen as restricting Kether, hence some schools of thought (the Gnostics) view it as evil and the enemy of God. They also viewed it as evil by encasing the spirit in the flesh (the so called enemy of spirit) and in this being the cause of the fall of man from Heaven to Earth. Some religions even transfer this condemnation towards women, who have been classed as evil because ‘she’ keeps ‘him’ in his flesh because ‘his’ desires for her impair or ruin his ability to raise himself above his flesh. Woman also brings him into this world (encased in flesh) from inside of her body (excuses for misogynism?). What these religious zealots seem to forget or ignore is that all sephiroth (and woman) were in fact created by God (The Ain) and therefore all sephirah are holy - each however having a positive and negative side.
The mundane chakra of Binah is the planet Saturn. Astrologers, especially the ancient ones, have traditionally held the opinion that Saturn portends evil and death.
Binah is the source of Primordial Wisdom, of which it is the basis and foundation. The understanding of life is at the Binah level of consciousness. In the text called ‘The 32 Paths of Wisdom’ it is called ‘the Sanctifying Intelligence’.
In this sephirah are two major forces, that of creation and that of destruction. The destructive quality of Binah is for the sake of re-creation and re-birth. Without death there would be no birth - total stagnation? Although man must realise that there must be destruction for the sake of construction it is very hard to view in an objective sense mans inhumanity to man, acts of genocide and the sadistic murders of children and the elderly - these things may have a place in the ‘order’ of things but what sort of person would not be sickened, saddened and angered by such acts?
It is from force and matter combined that deviation stems - both are illusion (a solid individual object or even a human body - for example - is composed of billions of atoms held together by a kind of morphic magnetism giving the illusion of a solid mass).
Deviation must have been a thought of the Ain as there is no-thing here that was not there first, every thing in manifestation - animate and inanimate - in Assiah has an archetype in Atziluth. Due to deviation there are unbalanced forces at a high level emanating from Binah - possibly due to the duel roles that it plays - creation and destruction.
Binah is the first pause of unrestricted force and for this reason is called ‘the sphere of rest’, this is where the essence of Kether having streamed through Chokmah meets the first restriction of Binah’s resistance causing the first pause of spirit before it is encased in matter.
Although Binah is the root of all illusion, it is not in itself illusion, but creates illusion in every sense. The two certainties of life in Malkuth stem from Binah - Life and Death (Birth and Death).
Binah embraces the ‘Mother’ principal - from the Virgin Mary - ‘The Holy Mother’ (also known as Stella Maris - Star of the Sea - the abyss being the sea) to Kali, an aspect of the Hindu goddess Durga who was held to them ‘the Great Mother’. Ama, the dark sterile could be likened to Kali - ‘ the Black One’, while Aima, the bright fertile mother could be likened to Mary ‘The Holy Mother’.
The God Name assigned to Binah is Jehovah Elohim (\yhla hwhy) and the archangel of Binah is Tzaphkiel - ‘Eye or Beholder of God’ and the Host of Angels assigned to this sephirah are the ‘Thrones’ or Er’elim.
Binah in Atziluth composes the first archetypal forms which dwell only in the world of Atziluth (would that mean that in some way those who dwell in Assiah are a reflection of the archetypes in Atziluth - as Assiah is a reflection of Atziluth?).
At the level of Atziluth the colour of Binah is crimson, in Briah Binah creates, shapes the form, and here the colour of Binah is black. In Yetzirah brings form in to being by combining force and form and the colour here is dark brown. In Assiah Binah produces solid form, this is where the combination of spirit-soul-body become (our) reality. At this point the colour is grey flecked pink.
In relation to Adam Kadmon Binah is the right side of the face.
The number three is associated to Binah as are the four threes of the minor arcana of the Tarot. The number three is also associated to the Hindu goddess Shakti. Shakti is held to be the female aspect of Shiva, usually demonstrated through his wife Durga, of whom Kali is a facet.
Durga’s several aspects, according to various traditions are Devi - ‘The Goddess’, Mahadevi - ‘The Great Goddess’, Kali - usually depicted smeared with blood, brandishing a weapon in each of her four hands and having severed heads dangling from her girdle - sometimes even shown standing on Shiva himself, ‘The Black One’, Uma - ‘The Peaceful One’ and Parvati - ‘The Chaste Wife’.
Durga was the mother of Skanda and Ganesha by Shiva. She was both a force for salvation and for leading astray, she was also noted for being a fearsome warrior with an enjoyment for bloodshed. All in all she was held as ‘The Great Mother’. Shiva himself is the third of the ‘Trimurti’ and performs the dances of both creation and destruction across the skies. The other goddesses and god applicable to Binah are Cybele, Rhea, Demeter, Isis, Frigg, Hera, Juno, Hecate and Saturn.
Rhea, the ancient Greek goddess was the wife of Cronos (Saturn), she was also his sister. Rhea (Ops) was the mother of Demeter (Ceres), Hera (Juno), Hestia (Vesta), Hades (Pluto), Poseidon (Neptune), Zeus (Jupiter) and was therefore seen as ‘The mother of the gods’ - she was the daughter of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth). As Ops she was a goddess of plenty and fertility as her name signified, as it was connected with opimus or opulentus - she was also the protectress of agriculture.
The cult of Rhea seems to predate the cults of Cybele or/and Agdistis (Agditis). In one or more tradition Cybele was created by the gods from Agditis the hermaphrodite monster who was born from a stone that had been fertilised by Zeus. Cybele fell in love with Attis, a shepherd from Phrygia, which by all accounts then led to him becoming insane and castrating himself under a pine tree (when this Cybele became established in Rome, around 404 BC there was a festival commemorating Cybele and Atis, part of this celebration was the physical re-enactment of Attis’ misdemeanour by a youth under a pine tree). Rhea and Cybele (Agdistis) seem at times to have been so identified that some reference books just state - Cybele - see Rhea, or vice versa.
Rhea’s Phrygian priests were the Corybantes, these in one theory were the ones who raised Zeus after she had given Cronos a stone dressed as an infant, so that he would swallow that, thinking that it was Zeus and he would not go the way of her first five children. The Corybantes worshipped Rhea (or Cybele) with wild, implicit dances to the cymbals and drums while dressed in full armour.
Cybele’s priests in Rome were the Galli, these were eunuchs dressed in the attire of women of ill repute, these performed wild dances to cymbals and dulcimers before going into a trance. This at first did not go down very well with the Roman authorities, until the Emperor declared himself head of the Cybele religion and then she was embraced whole heartedly and the festivities commenced.
Rhea and Cybele shared the same title ‘Mother of the Gods’ - although Cybele as Agdistis does not seem to have children as there seem to be none mentioned in entries under that name. Another similarity was they were both in possession of a chariot drawn by lions.
Hera (Juno) was the daughter of Rhea and Cronos (Saturn), Hera was the wife of Zeus (her brother). Hera and her sister Demeter (Ceres) also her other sister and brothers were regurgitated by Cronos after Zeus gave him a potion that his first wife Metis had presented him with. Hera and Zeus were the only really married couple on Olympus hence she was the goddess of marriage and childbirth. This marriage however was a particularly stormy one, the trouble being caused by Zeus’ frequent infidelities, these brought about a particularly vengeful streak in Hera. She would punish Zeus’ lovers with savagery, it did not matter whether they had been willing or not - she also inflicted her wrath on the children that they had by him.
Demeter held dominion over all plant life and also presided over life and death. After her daughter Persephone was abducted by Hades (Pluto) - Persephone’s uncle - Demeter withdrew from her duties until her daughter was returned, this caused the Earth to become barren and infertile. Zeus demanded that Hades return Persephone, who had come to love Hades - due to eating pomegranate seeds. A compromise was, however, reached and mother and daughter were united for six months at a time - when they were together it was summer and when apart it was winter.
Frigg (or Frija) was the wife of the Norse god Odin. She was the goddess of love and marriage - also of the dead.
Hecate, the Greek goddess - daughter of Perseus and Astria, she was one of the Titans and favoured by Zeus. Hecate became synonymous with Selene (Luna), Artemis (Diana) and sometimes to Persephone (Prosperino as opposed to Kore). She became so identified with them she is usually depicted with three faces (sometimes three animal heads - horse, boar and dog), she was also sometimes depicted with three bodies. Hecate had power in Heaven, on Earth and in the Underworld - the Underworld and her association to magic, witchcraft and death seem to be the strongest.
Isis, the Egyptian goddess was the wife of Osiris, she was the great benefactor, the Mother, mistress of destiny and protectress of love. With a little assistance (apparently) she managed to resurrect Osiris after he had been murdered by Set and had dismembered his body into fourteen parts. There seems to have been an inscription on a statue of Isis that read “I am that which is, has been and shall be. My veil no-one has lifted. The fruit I bore was the Sun”. (This seems that it is a parody to the Supernal Trinity). Milton in “Paradise Lost” actually placed Isis among the ‘fallen’ angels.
All of these goddesses are mother figures and/or associated with death. Some are goddesses that are connected with fertility and emasculation (Gaea incited Uranus’ demise in this manner as Rhea incited the same for Cronos). In most cases they are capable of both extremes - birth and death.
Saturn (Cronos) himself was associated with the Golden Age of Rome under Janus, which corresponded to a time of happiness and immense prosperity. Saturn was held as an agricultural god. He was always depicted armed with a sickle or scythe (possibly also symbolic of death in as much as it was representing the end of a cycle - the corn was sown, grown and then harvested - this symbolism is also present in the ‘Death’ card of the major arcana. Saturn depicted in this way is the embodiment of ‘Father Time’ - if not ‘Father Time’ himself.
Zeus overthrew his father, Cronos, in the same manner that Cronos had overthrown his father, Uranus, this was also a cycle.
The only animal associated to Binah is ‘Woman’ - being one of these animals myself, I am not really sure how to take that remark. Perhaps the deviations of Binah has something to do with the love/hate relationship between man and woman.
Woman could also be held to be inferior in the eyes of some religions due to the story that Eve was created from one of Adams spare ribs - and in this Eve and her daughters could not be held as equals. Another story which could condemn female equality is the one about Adams first wife Lillith who was created from the Earth (Primordial Slime) in the same way as he was - they however seem to have been incompatible and she became acquainted with Satan and spawned a multitude of demons. Lillith now dwells in the Qliphoth and together with Satan and are now known as the Beast.
The ‘animal’ woman, is then an ‘animal’ capable of giving life, love and warmth to man and yet at the same time an ‘animal’ out to hunt and ensnare him and also capable of emasculating him (better viewed as woman becoming the breadwinner than Mrs Bobbit). These extremes are illustrated by the associated goddesses.
The magical image of Binah is a mature woman or matron. There is also a spiritual experience associated with Binah - ‘a vision of sorrow’. Silence is the virtue and avarice the vice.
Symbols of Binah are the Cup - which is also the magical weapon of this sephirah, the Triangle and the Yoni (and the ‘outer robe of concealment’).
Sulpur, which is of the alchemists third fountain of metallic things, belongs to Binah. The gold of this sephirah is Charutz, the third degree (mined gold-ore).
The plants Cypress and Poppy belong to Binah as do the perfumes Myrrh or Civet, and the gemstones Pearl and Sapphire.
The first Heh (h) of the Tetragrammaton belongs to Binah.
Binah through the Four Worlds
By Lars Bratt (1981)
Binah is the Ring-Pass-Not of the Tree. This is the Sephirah of Restriction, the Great Mother of the Universe, which binds the free flowing but all diffusing force of Chokmah into restricted but functional units of Form. Without the restrictions of the terrible Dark Mother, all progress would cease and evolution would be unable to get started. With these points in mind, let us now turn to the function and qualities of this Sephirah in the Four Worlds, interpreting it by means of the symbolism of the Rays.
In the world of Atziluth, the Binah principle is established in its pristine, pure archetypal concept, and set against a background of brilliance. As brilliance symbolizes a state of vibration totally beyond the human range of understanding, there is very little that can be said in regard to Binah in this world. The colour attributed to Binah in Atziluth is crimson, which is a medium octave of the Red Ray of Will and Power. This is a very interesting point, for it goes to show that because a Sephirah happens to be located in Atziluth, it does not necessarily follow that it will be vibrating with the qualities which are symbolized by the highest octaves of a particular Ray.
The Red Ray is the pioneering Ray of new ventures and new phases. But at the lower octaves it is also the Great Destroyer. The crimson octave of the Ray symbolizes the midpoint of balance between the constructive and destructive aspects, and this is a very interesting point for it illustrates the fact that Binah can be both constructive or destructive at a spiritual level; constructive in the sense of binding free flowing force into the restriction of Form, or destructive in the reverse process where the returning Spark loses its last traces of Form and the Personality becomes extinguished before entering into the wider realm of pure outflowing Force. Geburah, whose destructive aspects are so necessary to the balance of the manifest universe, vis also Binah on a lower arc.
Issuing from the mundane chakra of Binah in Atziluth is the Black Ray of absorption. When studying ail the other Sephiroth, Binah is the only Sephirah where the Black Ray is truly stationed, for it appears again only in Malkuth in Assiah and also in part of Malkuth in Briah and Yetzirah. Malkuth sits upon the throne of Binah and Binah is the Outer Robe of Concealment whose shrouded mysteries can only be fully grasped when we have transcended the limitations of the Ring-Pass-Not.
In Atziluth, the Black Ray emanating from the mundane chakra of Binah also contains the sparkling iridescence of the highest octave, which brings out the constructive side of the Black, which is the full understanding of the purpose behind the true necessity of the Ring-Pass-Not. It is only at the lower levels of the Ray that the destructive side comes out, where the oppressive restriction and absorption of death take place. And yet, this destruction is also very necessary for it clears away the old worn out modes of existence in preparation for the new.
Binah in Atziluth, then, contains the entire scheme of our destinies laid out for us to follow down into the lower worlds and, though we have lost this purpose while bogged down in the grooves of physical incarnation and are only aware of the gloom and despondency aspects of the Black Ray at this level, it is only in Atziluth that we really appreciate the true implications of why we are down here at all, and so it is only at Binah in Atziluth that the true Joy of Divine Purpose in Form is realized.
There are two Trees in Briah; one in Chokmah and one in Binah. Binah in Briah is Black.. The Black Ray emanates as well from the mundane chakra of Binah. With the Black then being the predominant colour for Binah, in this world, the only difference between Binah in the two Trees is the background colour in which the Trees are set.
In Chokmah the background of pure soft blue vibrates at the highest octave of the Blue Ray of Love and Wisdom. Here is found the true selfless aspects of Wisdom, the Wisdom of all Ages which belongs to all. The Black Ray is also vibrating at its highest octave in Chokmah and here, as mentioned previously in connection with the Outer Robe of Concealment, is the true esoteric side of Wisdom, the merging of the Blue and Black produces a colour which vibrates with the same rate as the highest octave of the Indigo Ray of Pure Devotion. These qualities of devotion and purity also show that there has not been much change between Binah in Atziluth and Binah in Briah, especially as Chokmah is very close in nature to Kether.
Binah in Briah is surrounded by a background of crimson, which is the balance on the Red Ray between construction and destruction. Therefore, at the Briatic level, Binah represents the decision which the Divine Spark must take, together with the understanding, which Binah provides for the Spark to take on a denser vehicle of personality, so filling the bag which the Fool carries over his shoulder, and descending into the denser levels of Abstract Mind on the way down. Or, on the return journey, the true understanding for the need to dispense with the Personality, its purposes in gathering experiences having been served.
The combination of the crimson with the black produces magenta, an octave of the Amethyst Ray whose keyword is Mysticism and Ceremonial Magic. Magenta is at the lower level of the Amethyst Bay and is concerned with worldliness and the development of spirituality through worldly life, therefore ceremonial magic has relevance to this Sephirah, for ceremonial is an attempt to bring Spirit into Matter and gain a deeper understanding of material life by energizing the spiritual meaning behind the outer cloak of life. On the return journey, the magenta, with its similarities to the energizing qualities of the Red Ray, provides the spiritual strength to release the Spark from the Personality.
In Yetzirah there are six Trees, so therefore six aspects of Binah, according to the background colour in which each Tree is set. Binah in Yetzirah expresses the qualities of Dark Brown, a low octave of the Brown Ray of Study. Study, or the absorption of knowledge. is a very distinct Binah characteristic which, at the lowest levels could be the tenacious gathering in of knowledge for knowledge sake and yet not contain the Wisdom for its correct application.
The vice attributed to Binah is avarice, and this is shown again when we consider .that the Brown Kay is a mixture of Orange and Indigo, and being at the lower octave would contain more of the Indigo and hence a larger proportion of black than orange. Selfishness, greed and decay are characteristic of the lowest levels of Brown. This is not helped much by the Black Ray emanating through the mundane chakra of Binah.
Binah in Yetzirah would then be a difficult obstacle to overcome, owing to its rigidity and inflexibility.
In Gedulah it is surrounded by Deep Violet, a low octave of the Purple Ray, the Ray of Royalty. Purple is the Ray of Humility at the higher levels, and the restriction of Binah is very necessary, for it gives the qualities of stability and balance, which accounts for progress being made on the return journey by the Spark, who must chose between total humility, which brings all to a standstill, and total rulership and pomp, which could degenerate into tyranny at the lowest levels.
In Geburah, the Dark Brown of Binah now becomes surrounded by the Orange Ray of the Intellect. I am aware of the fact that the intellect and rigidity thereof is more akin to Hod than Geburah, but Orange also embraces the qualities of leadership and self discipline. The Orange background raises the vibrations of the Dark Brown of Binah to a Golden Brown of Wisdom. As this is located in Geburah, the sphere of Cosmic Justice, Binah at this level imparts the true understanding of Cosmic Law.
In Tiphareth, Binah now becomes surrounded by a Clear Pink Rose, the highest octave of the Red Ray. Through the joy of life which the Pink bestows, most healers draw their energies from this sphere, whose mundane chakra is the Sun. Binah gives discrimination, one of the qualities of the Golden Brown, which enables the healer to become intuitively aware of the best nature of cure required for a particular - patient. Again, Understanding is present, the true nature of sacrifice and transmutation of force and form are made clear at this level.
In Netzach, the sphere of the Creative Imagination and Nature instincts, the Dark Brown of Binah is surrounded by Amber, a high octave of the Orange Ray. This again raises the vibrations of the Dark Brown so that the higher levels of deep study and absorption of knowledge take place. As Netzach represents the sphere of the Nature instincts, Binah gives the power to comprehend the Laws of Nature in its true aspects. It shows the true aspects of God in Nature and demonstrates that Spirit is not all sweetness and light as the uninformed would like to believe, but can also be red in tooth and claw and yet commit no crime in the eyes of Cosmic Law.
In Hod, Binah is surrounded by Violet, a medium octave of the Purple Ray. This again implies leadership, and as Hod, is the sphere of Glory, the splendour of God reflected in many forms. Hod is the leader of the construction of those forms in the Yetziratic World. Again, the Brown Ray of Binah gives knowledge in the making and organising of forms for use in Ritual Magic for ensouling the Life Force of Netzach. It must always be born in mind that Binah represents the Understanding at its deepest levels whatever sphere it is present in. The Dark Brown in this case gives the true understanding of the purposes and rules behind the sciences and magic.
In Yesod the Sphere of the Emotions, Binah is surrounded by the Indigo of the Ray of Devotion. This brings out the Dark Brown levels of study and not the higher levels of the Brown Ray, with the result that devotion can be applied to the wrong direction, the Dark Brown again giving the qualities of knowledge without wisdom. The person who claims that his religion is holier than others, that he belongs to the elite who are all going to be saved by one name in Heaven, and looks upon all others with silent smug contempt, is one who is under the influence of Binah in Yesod. This can be a very difficult stage to overcome as the crimes committed by various religions, all in the name of God, go to show. But the Black Ray of restriction also comes to the rescue, for it provides the Ring-Pass-Not which will hold back the spiritual evolution of the aspirant at this stage until he has come to understand the futility of such an outlook and growth takes place.
Binah in Malkuth is now surrounded by the Yellow Ray of Creative Activity. The colour of Binah has now changed from Dark Brown to Grey, flecked Pink. This shows the combination of two Rays. Grey is a combination of Black and White, so we have the absorbing qualities of the Back Ray, mingled with the expansive outgoing qualities of the White. Therefore balance and stability isthe keynote of Binah in Assiah with the additional qualities of endurance. The Pink, a high octave of the Red Ray, provides understanding of Love in its true sense.
The Yellow Ray is one of outgoing activity and spirituality, as symbolized by the yellow robe worn by the Buddhist. As Yellow is the colour attributed to Spirits, Yellow denotes a wider view on life. This colour, being the colour of the World of Assiah, again indicates the calling which Malkuth holds to mankind in encouraging him to pass through the Gate of the Shadows of Death and develop consciousness as a result of the interaction of Matter with Spirit. The Grey of Binah will give the desire for the soul's struggle for higher realities, and. the Black Ray will provide the restrictions necessary for the creative activity to be gathered together and send the Soul forward on its long journey towards spiritual attainment.
Aspects of Binah
By Anthony Haggerstone (1980)
In the supernal triangle at the top of the Tree, Binah completes the Divine idea by introducing form. Unlimited energy as light was focused to a point in Kether, radiated out as limitless force through the Zodiac in Chokmah, and now the forces are interlocking together into patterns which then operate as a unity, so that a unit of force may no longer operate as unconditioned but only in conjunction with the other forces which go to make up the pattern of which it is a part. Thus Binah restricts and forms the forces of Chokmah which may be considered to be abstract ideas moulded into tenuous form.
The trinity is completed above the Abyss by Binah and balance is achieved. (This balance is not perfect, or all would come to a standstill. It is the balance of e.g. a linewave about an electrical direct potential, where the straight line represents balance and no movement, and the alternating component, our "days and nights of Brahmah".
Sink to rest
Just as in electrical circuits noise is present, being electrons which do not arrive at their destination at the same time as the majority of their fellows, so this "cosmic noise" or unbalance exists in the universe and is first detected in Binah.
One of the tasks of the trained occultist is to balance such "noises” and resolve them by bringing them through into physical manifestation, thereby aiding creation.
At this point in the Tree, the principle of polarity is introduced as form opposes force, and if force is positive then form is negative. Without this duality being in existence, nothing would "Be" in the sense of evolving life. Divine Sparks may be/should be perfect copies of the Creator, but are per se incapable of growth in conditions of manifestation above the form level. There must be some limitation of possible action in order that "will" may be developed in overcoming: firstly, high degrees of freedom of spiritual levels, then more limited freedom of mental levels, then the greater limitations of the emotional levels, and finally the extreme limitation - physical existence.
Growth is thus obtained by fully coming to grips with the "world" on every level. Thus is individuality created. It is the surrender of "self" or the individual personality, which is the hardest step for the would-be initiate. In giving up the individual free will of self to the will of God - "Thy will be done" - he starts to return to his Creator the experience which he has gained, and in return gains all as eternal life (construction from destruction).
Binah is the archetypal temple behind all temples. It is the womb of life. It has thus an archetypal feminine quality manifesting in two aspects. Ama, the dark sterile mother, and Aima, the bright fertile mother. Ama is Mem-Water (of form) between Alephs, the beginning of things. Aima is the same word with the fertilising Yod impacted in it.
Ama binds the free moving Chokmah force into limiting form, it is therefore the aspect of Binah that "trains" the Spirit - it is the work or labour necessary to bring everything to birth in form. Without this, the higher wisdom of Chokmah could not be brought through to the mind.
Aima is the spouse of Chokmah - the supernal mother aspect. It tends to the future condition when the imprisoned force has achieved harmonised function in form, and form is therefore no longer a necessary limitation for its development - hence bright as the empty waiting womb of Ama is now the fertile womb containing the seed of light of Aima.
Motherhood is the giving out of life, or other form of energy - it is an ability and an action. It is the feminine aspect of Kether. As the father receives energies from many sources and brings them together in an act of emission (so Chokmah gives out) and Binah, the mother, accepts all and sorts out into an ultimate result - a single issue in re-expression – individualized.
Saturn was the seventh planet, Hebrew - Sabbathai - the seventh. It ruled the rest period enjoyed by God and Man. Saturn is associated with past Karma and also our state of rest after physical death. During this period our past is condensed until it forms the matrix or womb for our re-projection into expressed existence. Once this is fertilised with the male Seed of Spirit, we are on the way to rebirth.
Paternal creation is instant, whilst a mother must have a longer, and in the case of humans, nine month gestation period. Saturn has nine moons (at least) - Binah also is the principle behind all moon force which is almost universally regarded as presiding over feminine functions.
Saturn is a planet of limitation when astrologically considered on the lower planes. But on the higher levels, it does draw down power from the Limitless Void towards the spheres of form.
If Kether, the source of all Being, is conceived of as the highest good and it is inclined towards Chokmah in influence since it is kinetic, then Binah, the opposer of dynamic force, can be regarded as the "enemy" of God - the evil one. Woman, the root of all evil, tending to hold man to a life of form by their desires. Saturn or Satan - Time - Death - Devil?
(Binah is, of course, equally holy with Chokmah or any other Sephirah) Saturn is synonymous with Cronos (Time). Cronos castrated his father Uranus (Space) with a sickle (moon symbol). In symbolic guise, here is the restriction of Spirit into Time and Form.
Saturn ate his children until his feminine half Rhea substituted a stone for each son she wanted to save. Rhea was his sister as well as his wife (AMA and AIMA). Saturn - Rhea represent the continuity of life. Father fertilizes Mother and dies. Son is born who is Father in reincarnation. Mates with Mother who gives birth to Daughter and dies, thus is reborn in daughter and so on. Saturn eating his children is Death destroying life before it has fulfilled its function. It represents evil, in the sense that an excess of form will stop emanation and freeze life.
Keats mentions "grey haired Saturn quiet as a stone”, and Saturn has the magical image of primordial age and silence. Silence indicates receptivity (talking, we learn nothing). It represents the maturity of the soul as Mind and Wisdom and Understanding, which come with age and many incarnations. The understanding of the manifested universe as a form encompassing pure cosmic force. It may be shown as the six extensions: height, depth, north, south, east, west, centred around the seventh at their point of union.
It is this dimension of depth which is Binah, and gives understanding to the wisdom of Chokmah.
Binah has the vital constructive power which unites all forms, and indeed all forces, after Binah are "formed" and limited and thus Binah carries out and puts into operation the Divine thought which comes from Kether through Chokmah. In Binah is Mind and Matter - that substance in which Kether can take form.
The human mind being composed of forms itself must give shape to anything in order to understand it, and Binah is therefore the highest level to which the mentality could attain. It is objective and archetypal and directive, since it controls and orders forces. It is abstractions asit separates and individualises, and it is the objective reality behind all conscious existence and manifestation whether physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.
Life follows Death, follows Life, and so on. Climbing the Tree, experience results in Knowledge (Daath), which gives Understanding (Binah) leading to Wisdom (Chokmah) and ultimately to the summit (crown) of attainment (Kether).
Binah is the Sanctifying Intelligence giving the Holy Understanding of this experience of the whole universe in principle - the primordial wisdom. The unrestricted force of Chokmah is constrained and formed and brought to rest - the first pause in its progress. Binah resists force of which it is a great receiver.
In manifestation, force and form are together as aspects or dimensions one of another of light which is all.
Binah is the thrust block - the "evil" - the great resistance against which manifestation is alone possible. Resistance and receptivity are the two main qualities of Binah.
It must be realised that only by destroying the freedom or nature of forces, can form be produced. We have destroyed to create. Completing the supernal triangle and balancing the Tree at the level above the Abyss from Binah emanate the formed, i.e. purposeful forces of construction and destruction. Only by taking the original force and using it as a building block can subsequent manifestation occur. Metaphysics which investigates the first causes of all created things, studies that which is now and that of which it was made right back to the origin. Beyond Binah, its study becomes purely conjectural as forms no longer exist.
The Prime Deviation which takes place in the manifestation of Man himself, is that of forming a false image or eidolon of the Spirit with which to work in the worlds of form. This is compounded by the Individuality deviating from the Personality on the lower arc. This is the source of the Gulf of Paroketh between Personality and Individuality, and must be bridged and overcome by the would-be Initiate.
The problems created by the deviations present the soul with much training and experience in the evolutionary work, and progress comes on rising above these. It is obvious therefore, that this deviation was a Divine thought in the Ain. There is nothing new that was not there first, and thus as long as there is manifestation, there must be deviation. The deviation is produced in Binah, because here mind and matter come together and individuality begins with form, and deviation is sourced there.
If all was planned in AIN then free will, mind, matter all are illusion and we are merely puppets. In truth free will exists in response to cosmic forces and events which we cannot control. We individually control our reaction to them, although since our reaction pattern was no doubt formed aeons ago, only freely descending further into matter and choosing material before spiritual will changed our response. We are formed by our evolutionary path. Mind is to an extent an illusion, since it can only produce as thought what already exists. Thought is made of light as is matter, which is a greater illusion being more solid. When we overcome the illusion of our separateness from the Creator, we find the love, peace, harmony, healing truth and laws and oneness of all creation, a Real Truth (how limiting words are as a form of expression). All life is one.
Binah is not illusion, but the attempt to find a word to express a thought at the mental level shows how illusion can come into being in the sphere of form. That which can be conceived in thought can not always be engineered into form perfectly.
Kali, the four armed goddess of Hindu religion, has destructive and creative sides. By a law rather like the Conservation of Energy, which can neither be created nor destroyed but may be transformed, the two are complementary (a factor which requires great care by occultists in dealing with forces). This is a Binah property.
The first archetypal forms are produced in Binah in Atziluth and in the world of Briah Binah creates. In Yetzirah Binah brings form into being and in the world of Assiah Binah produces solid form.
Binah is the third fountain of metallic things in Kabbalistic alchemy - sulphur. The source or ore from which gold is dug out. Charutz refers to Binah as the third degree of gold.
Three is the number associated with Binah and indeed ultimately with the idea of manifestation in matter. Two opposing forces find expression in a third, the equilibrium between them which manifests on a lower plane than its parents.
The triangle is one of the symbols assigned to Saturn as the god of densest matter. Three is the number associated with the God Sakti.
The Hosts of Angels to Binah are the Aralim, which has been translated 'Thrones'. It means strong, mighty or heroic ones. Perhaps the best meaning is supporter or upholder. Binah's title of Khorsia - the Throne (of Wisdom), because Chokmah sits upon her. The Aralim are the upholders of Wisdom's dictates, forming them into the most practical means of expression or application to their objectives. They are "God-holders" operating on all levels of being. Unless Time "held" Space, existence would cease and without a womb to "hold" seed, there would be no life either Divine or Human.
Binah is the Divine Mother because she is the Mother of God and the Aralim are the workings of her womb at every level. The Aralim are matrices or containers of force in form holding the evolving being. (God always was and thus the Divine Mother Binah aspect of God creating His Mother.) As we "outgrow" successive Aralim in our evolution we "spill over" into the next on our path up the Tree back to Binah.
Tzaphkiel is the Archangel of Binah presiding over the planes of the cosmos - the altar of manifestation - and is behind the formulation of all the mystical groups which have emanated from the Great White Lodge. He is the archangel of the Archetypal Temple. The name can be translated as the "Watcher”, "Observer" or "Spy of God" or as the "Beholder of God” in the sense of one who contemplates divinity. It all depends whether the Being in question is facing Kether or Malkuth. The "observer" is in the sense of seeing without altering, passing on consciousness from one point to another, i.e. the major link between 'Knowing' and "Doing”. Before any sort of action there should be awareness and thought focused by observation. (The three supernals are underlined here.) The factor between action and non-action is Daath - the sword-bridge contact between the supernal world of abstract consciousness and the external world of concrete creation.
Tzaphkiel is the cautionary eye of counsel which advises on all observable points concerning the matter under consideration. He provides the means for making decisions but does not make them. Before the left hand pillar came into being there was no polarity and no divergence of consciousness - no distinction between right and left, black and white, etc. Once the Monad became the Dyad, the Triad automatically came into existence - which combine in the Tetrad, IHVH and the first Heh of the Tetragrammaton corresponds to Binah. (Yod to Chokmah, Vau on Tiphareth and last Heh on Malkuth.)
Tzaphkiel "the Watching One" of Binah, the "means of seeing", is the wakefulness of the watching Mother seeing everything in the best possible light, missing nothing in existence. It is only thus that understanding is possible. God watches man and vice-versa through Tzaphkiel.
Binah being feminine is Yin of Taoism, or Kwan Yin of Chinese Buddhism. Being receptive the magical weapon is the chalice or cup, and woman is the associated "animal". Symbolically the Triangle of Saturn, the chalice and yoni are symbols of Binah.
The Dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, is attributable to this Sephirah and Cypress and Poppy are the flowers. In Adam Kadmon, the heavenly man, Binah corresponds to the right side of the face and in universal man the Binah force enters through Visuddhi.
Myrrh and civet are the aromatics of Binah and pearl and sapphire have an affinity in this sphere of consciousness.
Colours are: Atziluth - crimson; Briah - black; Yetzirah - dark brown; and Assiah - grey flecked pink.
Gods of Binah quality are:
Saturn and wife Rhea/Cybele.
Demeter/Ceres - goddess of sewing and reaping, daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Eleusinian mysteries sacred to her represented the alternation of life and death.
Isis - Egyptian divinity of both Memphis and Thebes. Feminine counterpart of Osiris, bearing upon her head her emblem, the Throne.
Hecate sometimes identified with Proserpine, daughter of Ceres. As Diana represented Aima the moonlight splendour of night or Bright Isis, so Hecate represents its darkness and terrors, Ama or Dark Isis. She haunted crossroads and graveyards, and was goddess of sorcery and witchcraft.
Frigga, wife of Odin knows all things (see Tzaphkiel).
Hera/Juno - sister & wife of Jupiter (as Saturn/Rhea), moon goddess, matronly virtues and dignity, daughter of Cronus and Rhea.
To be continued...