International Order of Kabbalists - Tree of Life (Western Hermetic Tradition)

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Tiphareth - Beauty

Situation on the Tree: In the centre of the Pillar of Equilibrium.

Magical Image: A majestic king. A child. A sacrificed god.

Titles given to Tiphareth: Zoar Anpin, the Lesser Countenance. Melek, the King. Adam.
The Son. The Man.

God Name: Tetragrammaton Aloah Va Daath.

Archangel: Raphael.

Order of Angels: Malachim. Kings.

Mundane Chakra: Shemesh, the sun.

Spiritual Experience: Vision of the harmony of things. Mysteries of the Crucifixion.

Virtue: Devotion to the Great Work.

Vice: Pride.

Aspect of the Soul: Ruach, the Intellect. Idealism. Powerhouse of the Soul.

Correspondence in Microcosm: The breast.

Symbols: The Lamen. The Rosy Cross. The Cavalry Cross. The truncated pyramid.
The cube.

Colours in the Four Worlds:
In Atziluth: Clear rose-pink.
In Briah: Yellow.
In Yetzirah: Rich salmon-pink.
In Assiah: Golden amber.

Gemstone: Topaz.

Incense: Frankincense.

Magical Weapon: The Lamen.

Tarot Cards: The four Sixes.

Victory

Joy

Earned Success

Material Success

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Description:

The following papers describe Tiphareth, the Sixth Sephirah (More to follow)...

(Updated 14 November 2020)

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Tiphareth

By Sharon F. Outten (1999)

Tiphareth is the sixth sephirah on the Tree of Life. It’s place is the middle point of the middle pillar of Balance from where it is the centre and heart of the whole Tree. It completes the second trinity with Gedulah and Geburah, it also projects into the third trinity which is formed by Netzach, Hod and Yesod.  This is the sixth path and it is called “The mediating Intelligence, because in it are multiplied the influences of the Emanations; for it causes that influence to flow into the reservoirs of the blessings with which they are united”. Tiphareth receives all the Emanations of the three Supernals, also Gedulah and Geburah, between which it provides an equilibrium, it could also possibly provide a certain balance between the sephiroth above the Abyss and those below. Within Tiphareth, the Mercy and Justice of Gedulah and Geburah are merged together and united with the amount of the balanced force received directly from Kether via the Tiphareth path. Tiphareth channels the essences with those qualities which belong to itself to the lower sephiroth - Netzach, Hod, Yesod and Malkuth. Tiphareth is positive to those sephiroth beneath it and negative to all above it.

This sephirah is the heart of the Tree, the heart of the Divine Man - Adam Kadmon, and the heart of the Universe as it also has the mundane chakra of the Sun (Shemesh), the centre of the solar light, without which there could be no life or sustenance for life. For some reason this brings to mind, “The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the godliness thereof is as the flower in the field” (Isaiah 40:6). Without the Sun the grass would not exist, grass sustains herbivores, in sustaining the herbivores it sustains the predators which feed on them - corn from which, the ‘staff of life’, bread is made from is also a form of grass, perhaps we are what we eat, on death the body eventually breaks down in the Earth and also helps to sustain, among other things, the grass. Perhaps in a manner of speaking, the body returns to its roots. In the lower world of Assiah exists the paradox of life and death - also life is death and death is life.

Everything in existence thrives on eating another living thing (grass if nothing else), in the death of one thing life is given to another, if it was not for the Sun then there would be no food chain. There is always a harmony or balance in nature, no matter how barbaric it might seem, for example lets imagine ourselves on the African savannah, herds of zebra, wildebeest and gazelles grazing contentedly, unaware that down wind a pride of lions are watching and selecting from the zebras numbers which one will become their next meal - lions like many other predators usually single out the elderly, weak, unfit, sick animals or the young of their usual prey which not only makes it easier for them to bring down but also maintains the fittest of their usual prey who then survive and live to breed. Creatures that are preyed on usually produce enough offspring to produce a balance between those that survive to breed and those which are eaten by their predators who kill members of their number for food so that they themselves and their offspring do not starve.  Could you imagine a herd of zebra on the savannah if it suddenly became devoid of lions, leopards or wild hunting dogs? It would not take long for them to reproduce at such a rate that they would probably overgraze to the point where the savannah became a dust bowl, and subsequently starve into non-existence.  Even the scavengers play a part in the harmony of nature by cleaning up what the predators leave behind, and those plants and animals that do manage to survive into old age, eventually die and their remains return to the earth, after some form of biological breakdown, and help to fertilise the soil and assist in the growth of vegetation, not to mention grass which also takes sustenance from dead things in the form of humus - the part of the soil which is composed of rotting plant, animal matter and the like.

If man attempts to change any balance in nature to suit his own ends then he does so at his own peril. For example, a number of years ago in China the paddy fields were not yielding a very high amount of rice and noticing that there were large numbers of sparrows they decided that it was these birds eating vast amounts of this particular crop and that something should be done about them. And so they organised all the people in the towns and villages, and when the birds flew over the paddy fields they were met by crowds of people waving their arms, or anything else that they could wave, to scare them and stop them from landing. The sparrows then flew on and were met with the same thing at every turn, there was nowhere for them to rest and this was the way it was just about all over China until virtually every sparrow had dropped dead from the sky having died of exhaustion. With this practical wiping out of the sparrows the Chines waited for the paddy fields to flourish. The paddy fields, however, did not flourish; they were just about wiped out by the insects on which the sparrows fed - it was these that the birds were eating and not the rice.  Through this act there was practically a famine all over their country.

The name Tiphareth when translated means ‘Beauty’ (trapt -tpart =1082), it is sometimes also called The King (Melekh), The Son, The Man or even Adam. Beauty and Balance are this sephiroth’s primary qualities, perhaps gaining even more of it’s quality of balance from it’s central position on the Tree of Life from where it is the central pivot of the known Universe, giving balance to the higher sephiroth, giving balance to the lower sephiroth and acting as the mediating agent balancing the Divine Powers and providing a place where spirit and flesh are also balanced. Tiphareth is the reasoning soul, harmony and ethical quality and the spiritual experience of Tiphareth is ‘the vision of the harmony of things’.

Tiphareth is the heart of the Universe, it is also the heart of Adam Kadmon. The force of this sephirah enters through Anahata, the heart, as does the force of Gedulah and Geburah.

The God Name allocated to Tiphareth is (YHVH) ELOAH VA DAATH -(tudw hwla), which when translated means ‘Lord of Knowledge’. Eloah translates like Elohim to Lord; Va is a prefix equal to ‘of’ and Daath as in the invisible or non-sephirah Daath translates as ‘Knowledge’, when the Tetragrammaton is placed at the beginning it becomes ‘Lord God of Knowledge’ - the Vav (w) of the Tetragrammaton belongs to Tiphareth. Illumination of all kinds also belongs to Tiphareth, knowledge is also a form of illumination.

The archangel assigned to this sephirah is Raphael whose name means ‘Healing of God’, however, some such as Robert Fludd, and older forms of the kabbalah, seem to assign the archangel Michael to this sephirah. However, it is Raphael who is sometimes referred to as “the spirit who standeth in the Sun”, Tiphareth is also the centre of healing and regeneration which seems to suit having Raphael as it’s assigned archangel, and also in the translation of his name.  However, the archangel Michael, whose name means ‘Like unto God’, is the Great Prince, he is also the High Priest “who sacrifices logical animals on the Supernal altar” as men sacrifice live-stock on their tabernacles. Tiphareth could perhaps be viewed as the sacrificial stone of the High Altar formed by Tiphareth, Netzach and Hod - sacrifice in all forms, both willing and even those that are unwilling belong to this sephirah. In the case of Raphael being placed as the archangel of Hod it could be in that it was, or is, also applicable in some forms of the kabbalah as having been assigned the quality of healing, as well as that of glory - and reverberation. Raphael also acted as a guide to Tobit’s son, Tobias, whom he accompanied to and from Media when Tobias went there to collect money left there by Tobit. It was also Raphael who instructed him to marry Sarah and how to perform an exorcism on the evil spirit that had taken up residence in her being, and taught him how to cure his father of blindness. Perhaps it is this exorcism and healing that links Raphael to Mercury.

It appears that this placement of Raphael to Tiphareth and Michael at Hod seems to be connected to the Golden Dawn. From this three conclusions could be drawn; firstly that changing times have caused these archangels to change positions; secondly that both archangels operate from both sephiroth although on slightly different levels; and thirdly (and most probably) it was one of the ‘blinds’ frequently used by the Order of the Golden Dawn.  The Host of Angels assigned to Tiphareth are the Melekhim, which means Kings, who could perhaps be described as the rulers or spirits of the elemental forces. It is in this sephirah where man understands how to become a king and a child simultaneously, Tiphareth is itself the child of Kether and the king of Malkuth.

In the world of Atziluth Tiphareth is the pivot of the archetypal scheme, the archetypal man and the archetypal kingdom. In the world of Briah this sephirah is the balance of creation, perhaps in the manner of the pivot on a set of scales from which the beam from whence the weighing cups are suspended. In the world of Yetzirah Tiphareth is the central Sun which forms and feeds everything in creation. In Assiah it is the Solar Heart of our known Universe and the heart of our bodies.

Tiphareth is the place of devotion, it is to this sephirah to which it belongs in all forms from religious to matrimonial, particularly on the spiritual level. The virtue here is said to be ‘the Devotion to the Great Work’ while it’s vice is Pride, sometimes demonstrated through a form of spiritual elitism (perhaps in the manner of some Roman Catholics who seem to view every non-Roman Catholic to be a heathen with all babies not Christened by them being condemned to Purgatory). This is the realm of the lesser or local gods, many of whom appear to be Sun gods and gods whom they saw as providing them with plentiful crops.

The ancient South American Aztecs believed that their gods decided to create the Sun (said to have been some form of animal or a man), so the gods gathered at Teotihuacan where they ignited an enormous fire and invited their followers to jump into the flames, as he who would be the first would then become the Sun itself. A follower hurled himself into the blaze and emerged as the glowing orb, however it did not have enough energy to ascend into the sky. The gods then decided that if they sacrificed themselves their blood would give this Sun the power it needed to rise. These sacrifices were apparently performed by the god Xolotl, who was said to be the twin of the god Quetzalcoatl, and carried out by means of their hearts being cut out with a flint knife (as were the Aztecs customary human sacrifices), and when all of these sacrifices were concluded Xolotl then sacrificed himself and the Sun then rose.  Men only came into being to feed the Sun, this being so, war was invented so that the Sun could be fed on that which provided them with the substance that sustained their existence - human blood.

The Aztecs sacrificed to the Sun and their gods on the top of large truncated pyramids. The truncated pyramid is a figure which is assigned to the symbolism of Tiphareth. These structures appear to have been built originally by the Mayans and later adopted by the Aztecs, these were called Teo Calli or “House of God”. Wars were fought so that in their battles they might take captives in order that they should provide suitable sacrifices. Some were subjected to an ordeal by which they would stand on a particular site where they would fight to the death (bearing in mind that they were inadequately armed and outnumbered), the blood that was shed in this manner was seen as being greatly pleasing to their gods - the blood from all sacrifices flowed into channels carved in the flagstones so that it might be collected and ploughed into the fields to feed the crops. They annually selected one captive to be the living representation of the god they held as their “creator”, Tezcatlipoca, which meant “Smoking Mirror” (who in Aztec mythology ruled over the first four worlds, each world having been destroyed before the creation of this present one).

Tezcatlipoca was apparently introduced to the Aztecs by the Toltecs somewhere between the late 14th and early 15th centuries, he appears to have usurped the feathered serpent, Quetzalcoatl. It was this introduction of Tezcatlipoca that instigated human sacrifice on a phenomenal level, somewhere around 50,000 in a single year. Quetzalcoatl having been opposed to the practice - some myths say that evil Tezcatlipoca was the brother of the good Quetzalcoatl, unfortunately Tezcatlipoca brought about the downfall of Quetzalcoatl, which led to the latter lighting a pyre for himself and then jumping to his death on it.  The honoured captive was allotted a period of twelve months for which he would live and be treated as the god himself, also chosen were four beautiful maidens who would live with him as his wives and share the honours.

These maidens represented the goddesses of Maize, of Flowers, of Salt and the goddess “Our Mother of the Water”. At the end of this allotted year, which seems to have come to an end around the equivalent to Easter time, the personified god was taken ceremoniously to the top of the Teo Calli where he was placed on a form of altar and secured by four men while a priest would cut open his chest with a stone dagger and remove his beating heart, which was then held aloft so that the god or the Sun might see it before it was contained in an earthenware jar, the body carried down the steps and the head then impaled on a spear for all to see (it was usual for undistinguished victims to have their bodies rolled down the stone steps.

On occasion some of the human sacrifices were actually eaten by the upper hierarchy of the Aztec people as part of the ritual). The death of the honoured captive was quickly followed by his replacement with a new honoured captive, this was seen as the resurrection of the “god” who had just “departed” as he himself had been the resurrection of the one before him - who had also been sacrificed in the same manner. The unfortunate maidens were also ritually sacrificed, for example the personified Maize goddess, after a long series of rites, was decapitated as if her head was a corn-cob being scythed from it’s stem, what then followed was the poor girl’s body being flayed and then her skin being donned by the priest who would then parade around the city.

Another Aztec god who was also seen as dying and being resurrected was Huitzilopochtli, their god of the Sun and also of war. Twice each year, once in May and again in December at the time of the winter solstice, an image was made of Huitzilopochtli (sometimes called Mexitl or Vitzilipuztli) with a skeleton of acacia wood (a tree associated with Tiphareth as a symbol of resurrection) and the flesh made from a doughy substance made from ground seeds bound together by the blood of sacrificed children. Being placed on the main altar of the temple until the day after the festival when it was carried out to a hall.  Once there it was “ritually” slain with a flint headed arrow through the heart by a priest who assumed the name of the god Quetzalcoatl, the heart was taken out for the king to consume while the rest of the body was dissected into tiny bits for the men and male offspring to eat (no woman or girl was allowed to partake). The Aztecs called this rite “killing the god Huitzilopochtli so that he could be eaten” (perhaps it should be kept in mind that he was also the Sun god).

When the Spaniards arrived in Mexico in the 16th century they were appalled by the brutal sacrifices, however they noted many similarities to their own Catholicism. Ironically enough, the Aztecs were said to be as appalled by what they heard of the Spanish Inquisition and the tortures inflicted on the heretics, as the Spanish were appalled by the human sacrifices that they witnessed.

Tiphareth is itself the focal point of Christianity, as Kether is the Father, Tiphareth is the Son and Yesod the Holy Ghost. In this sephirah God becomes manifest in Malkuth through the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ, the Child born to be King. Tiphareth is also sometimes referred to as the Child or the Son, and sometime as the Man and King, Melekh. It is also in Tiphareth that man himself understands how to be a child and also a king simultaneously. Tiphareth is the end of exoteric religion as it is here that the Christian religion focuses and fixes it’s sights without truly contemplating the esoteric nature of the supernals. The Calvary Cross on which Christ was crucified is also a symbol of Tiphareth, which is also the point of resurrection and transformation.

Priest-Kings are also assigned to Tiphareth, these king were held as divine usually in as much that their subjects regarded them as being the living incarnation of the chief deity. The practice of having these divine kings was wide-spread, from Egypt to Celtic Britain. Many of these divine kings served their allotted reign before being sacrificed - sometimes in a bizarre manner.  Their blood was never allowed to be spilt on the ground as it was being collected although it was usually ploughed into the fields in which crops were grown to ensure a bountiful harvest.

Sacrifice in all its forms seems to belong to Tiphareth, perhaps both willing and unwilling, sacrifice has played a major part in all ancient forms of religion. Human sacrifices were made not only for the purpose of pleasing their gods so that they would grant the fertility of crops and animals but also in some cases as an appeasement or in the case of the Semitic “scapegoat”, which sometimes was human rather than actually being a goat, for the absolution of their sins.

This sephirah is also the realm of Odin’s Valhalla, the glorious heaven of the Viking warriors, Odin himself having been known as Valfadir, father of those who died in battle. He was also said to have been fond of demanding human sacrifices with the victims hung on trees and speared (this is perhaps another form of crucifixion which was a popular means of execution even before the Romans gleefully adopted it). Sacrifice of a living being was seen as the release of it’s life force from this world which was then accepted or absorbed by the deity in the world above (or below), and so pleased or fed that particular god. Many deities had animals held sacred to them and their worshippers regularly sacrificed these animals in their honour.  Magical images of Tiphareth are that of a King, a Child or a Sacrificed God, and the experiences are “The vision of the harmony of things” and “The Mysteries of the crucifixion”.

The negative powers of Tiphareth are the ‘Tagirion’ or Disputers, usually seen as huge giants who wrestle each other - these represent arrogance.

Symbolism of Tiphareth:

Symbols of Tiphareth are the Calvary Cross, the Rosy Cross, the Lamen, the Cube and the Truncated Pyramid. The Lamen and Rosy Cross are also the magical weapons of this sephirah.

The Calvary Cross, the cross of the crucifixion, which is formed with its shaft being three times the length of it’s arms which are the times of it’s width, is also shown as being mounted on three steps, which are symbolic of three degrees of initiation. Sometimes it is also shown with a circle superimposed upon it, this circle represents eternity and eternal life, when depicted in this manner it is also a symbol of the Theosophical Society. There is also the Latin Cross, or Roman Cross, which is usually depicted without being mounted on steps or encircled. The Rose Cross is also connected with Tiphareth, this is a Calvary type cross having a rose at it’s centre, the cross itself is usually shown as being black in colour, it is the cross that is associated with the Rosicrucian Order or A.M.O.R.C. - Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis. “Rosicrucian” comes from the Latin Rosae Crucis which means Rosy Cross. The rose on the cross is the Rosa Mundi, this is the rose which has thirty-two petals, each of which is marked with one of the twenty-two figures corresponding to the Hebrew alphabet, each letter corresponds to one of the thirty-two Paths on the Tree of Life. When lines are drawn to connect certain letters on the Rosa Mundi - to spell the name of a spirit - these lines then form the sigil for that particular spirit.

The Lamen is the emblem that is worn on the magician’s breast which denotes the power with which he is working. For example, if a kabbalistic magician was working with the Tiphareth force then perhaps the Lamen would bear the image of the Sun, or perhaps the glyph of the Sun; or, in other words, an image closely associated with any particular sephirah with whose power he was working.

The Cube is a figure applicable to Tiphareth, it is a figure which has six sides. Six is the number allocated to this sephirah and the four sixes of the Tarot suits are also assigned here. As the Cube is allocated to Tiphareth the double Cube is allocated to Malkuth. The Cube when opened and laid flat also forms the shape of the Calvary Cross, and is referred to as the cross of six squares.

Another figure belonging to Tiphareth is the Truncated Pyramid, which is basically a pyramid without the pointed top usually associated with it. In this truncated form it is symbolic of the lower sephiroth, or in other words, Tiphareth down to Malkuth, perhaps in this way it also symbolic of the Microprosopus or Lesser Countenance, which are also titles sometimes applied to Tiphareth, as opposed to Macroprosopus or Greater Countenance which are applied to Kether. The flat top is applicable to Tiphareth and the base, as in a regular pyramid, is applicable to Malkuth.

The degrees of gold associated with Tiphareth are Paz and Zahab Muphaz, these are the sixth degree of the decade of gold. Paz and Zahab Muphaz mean pure gold. The mineral which is applied to Tiphareth is Barzel - Iron, and the Gem belonging to this sephirah is Topaz. The animals are the Phoenix, the Lion and the Spider.

Tiphareth is the realm of the phoenix, this creature was said to periodically burst into flames and arise renewed from the ashes. These attributes connect this mythical bird to the element of Fire and resurrection (the Sun as the mundane chakra has the element Fire, Tiphareth itself is assigned the element of Air - Kether, Tiphareth and Yesod are all assigned the element of Air, this relates to a position of balance to the elements of Fire and Water; Kether, Tiphareth and Yesod are all situated on the central pillar of balance, the last sephirah on this pillar is Malkuth, the only sephirah on the whole Tree to have the element of Earth; Earth is a combination of Fire, Air and Water). The phoenix was known in Japan as the Foo or Ho-Ho and was said to come to the Earth at the beginning of each new era after which it would fly back to the heavens. In China it was known as the To Fu or Fenghuang (Fire bird) and it was among China’s sacred animals. In Egypt it was associated to the Bennu bird which was sacred to Ra and Osiris - the resurrected god. The Greeks applied the name Kerkes (Falcon) to the phoenix, it was also commonly known as the Bird of Egypt or the Bird of Arabia. It was a Solar symbol - although occasionally seen as a Lunar symbol. When used as an alchemical symbol it denoted the successful completion of a process - on occasion the colour red.

The Lion is also symbolic of Fire, it is in fact one of the Four Holy Living Creatures which is associated with that element. In astrology the fifth sign of Leo - the Lion (July 23rd - August 22nd) is assigned to the Sun and is one of the three Fire signs (the others being Aries - the Ram and Sagittarius - the Archer).The Lion in Egyptian mythology was used to represent Ra when depicted with a Solar disc and Osiris when depicted with a crescent. The Egyptian goddess Sekhmet was represented as having the head of a lioness - it is believed that Sekhmet was another name used for the goddess Isis in the region of Bubastes in her role as the ‘Eye of Ra’. Sekhmet was transformed into the cat goddess Bast, sometimes actually called Bubastes. The lioness was also a representation of the Hindu goddess Durga. The old name for Cornwall, Lyonesse means “country of the she-lion”.

The Mithraic religion of Persia, which was another religion the Romans took a liking to and adopted, used the head of a lion with a mane of the Sun’s rays as Mithra’s symbol because he was associated with the Sun - it was also a level of initiation in that religion. The Romans usually depicted Mithra killing a bull while accompanied by a dog, a snake and a scorpion.

Mithraism was said to have comparisons to Christianity. In the Book of Revelations, the “Lion of Judah” is identified with Jesus Christ (especially when depicted with a St. George’s cross surmounting it’s head). The Hebrew word for lion is Laish which means “everlasting light” (it appears that Saul’s true name was Laish, the Lion, while the name Saul means “asked for” and was given to him at a later date). There is also a myth that could strongly link the lion to the theme of resurrection as it was a widely held belief that lion cubs were born dead and could only be brought to life by the licking or roaring or their sire. In alchemy the lion was used as the symbol for Sulphur - sometimes also denoted the Sun or Gold.

The spider, a member of the Arachnid family, in many old religions is symbolic of “the great terrible mother” especially as the spinner of fate. It appears as a malevolent entity in Japan, Africa (from where the unfortunate slaves took stories of their gods and gave rise to the Caribbean spider deity, Anansi) and in North America. In all these places it was said to be a giver of knowledge and spinner of illusion which could change it’s form at will - the native Americans also believed that the spider’s web was connected to the four elements. Christianity associated the spider with the “Devil” and his ensnaring sinners in his web, perhaps this could also have a connection as the spider in “pagan” religions as the bestower of knowledge and likened it to the “serpent” in the Garden of Eden. The Hindu and Buddhist religions held the spider to be responsible for the weaving of Maya, the web of illusion. In Egypt it was associated with Neith, the goddess who was said to have woven the world. In South American and Amerindian religions the spider was associated with the female creative energy and it was believed that the world and everything in creation was woven by a great female spider.

Plants associated with Tiphareth are the Acacia tree, which is the most closely related to this sephirah as it is a symbol of resurrection; the Bay, Laurel, Vine and Gorse particularly when in flower. Olibanum is the aromatic of Tiphareth and the drugs associated with it are Stramonium, Digitalis, Coffee and Alcohol.

The gods most closely associated with Tiphareth are Ra, Adonis and Apollo.

Ra (Re or Phra) was the ancient Sun god of Egypt particularly venerated in Heliopolis around the time of the IVth dynasty; believed to be the ancestor of all pharaohs, each of whom was believed to be his living incarnation. The pharaoh, being the son of Ra, and king of both North and South, the realms of Horus (light) and Seth (darkness), was therefore the master of “the two crowns” and in this was said to have control of these dual forces and the ability to play a role in the maintenance of the cosmic balance. Ra became assimilated with the god Amun, in the region of Thebes, hence the name Amun-Re who like Ra emerged first from Nun, the primordial water. Ra was also called Khepri, the Egyptian verb Kheper means ‘to come into being’ or ‘bring into being’, while the noun means scarab beetle; so when he is depicted in this aspect he has the form of either a scarab beetle or a man with a scarab beetle replacing his head, who was also symbolic of the morning Sun. In Egypt the scarab beetle (particularly the species scarabaeus sacer) is also symbolic of resurrection possibly due to the fact that it was believed that all scarab beetles were male and reproduced without having an opposite sex. It was incorporated in jewellery and worn as an amulet, and by the XIIIth dynasty the scarab was also used on seals.

In the region of Memphis Ra was also closely identified with the elder Horus, the brother of Isis and Osiris as opposed to their son of the same name. In this aspect he was called Re-Her-Akhety which meant “Horus of the two horizons” and depicted as having the head of a falcon which was surmounted by a Solar disc and also surrounded by the sacred asp called the Uraeus which spat fire and brought destruction on his enemies. Another aspect of Ra was Atum (otherwise Tum or Temu), the name Atum meant “he who completes, or perfects”.

When Ra was said to be the Sun he was said to be born each morning, reaching maturity at noon and die of old age each evening - this was also said of Amun-Re. However, he was also said to sail through the sky in his Solar boat, in which he travelled from the east each morning and descend into the underworld in the west each evening, sometimes he was accompanied by the god Thoth and goddess Maat, who aided him in his constant battles against evil in the underworld. It was there that he fought many times with the evil serpent Apep (sometimes called Apophis).

As the creator god he was angered when humanity rebelled against him and he sent his eye in the form of a ferocious blood-thirsty lioness Sekhmet, whose name means “the powerful”, who set about destroying all of mankind for their sins against him. However, when Ra looked down and saw the carnage he relented and tricked the lioness into drinking beer that had been dyed red and mistaking it for blood she drank it and fell into a deep sleep. It  was then that the god Thoth, disguised as a baboon, took the sleeping Sekhmet to the waters of Abaton in which he then cast her so that the heat of her wrath would be cooled. It was from these waters that Sekhmet emerged as the cat goddess Bast (Bastet, Bubastes) which is another aspect of Hathor who, like the Hindu goddess Parvati, had many - Sekhmet and Bast are also synonymous with the goddess Isis. (In ancient Egyptian religion, particularly in respect to Ra as the creator and the other gods in relation, it appears that the one (Ra) is all, and the all (the other gods) are one. There seem to be quite a few comparisons between the religions of Egypt (or their mysteries) and the Kabbalah).

Adonis was the handsome youth beloved by the Greek goddess Aphrodite, who it seems possibly played a part in his conception as it was said to be Aphrodite who inspired his mother Myrrha (sometimes called Smyrna) with the desire to commit incest with her father, Cinyras the king of Cyprus, a priest of Aphrodite and a son of Apollo (although one account says that her father was Theias the king of Syria). Myrrha deceived him into believing she was someone else so that he slept with her, and after he had realised what she had done was so angered by it that he wanted her to be put to death. The gods interceded and transformed her into a myrrh or myrtle tree (Balsamodendron myrrha) in order to hide her. After nine months Adonis emerged as a beautiful child from the tree’s bark.

Aphrodite fell deeply in love with him and was devastated when he was mortally wounded by a wild boar while hunting. She shed many tears for him, each of which was said to have turned into a rose, while the blood that dripped from Adonis transformed into anemones. The river Adonis in Phoenicia was also said to annually run red with his blood - although this phenomenon seems to tie in with the red soil from Lebanon being washed down at certain times of the year.

When Adonis passed into the underworld the goddess Persephone also fell in love with him and refused to let Aphrodite have him back. Zeus acted as arbitrator in their arguments over which he should be with. Zeus thus decreed that Adonis should spend six months of the year living above with Aphrodite and the other six months in the underworld with Persephone. This is very similar to the story of Demeter and her daughter, who was in fact Persephone, who had been abducted by her uncle Hades and taken to dwell in the underworld with him. Zeus mediated and gave the same decree that Persephone would spend six months with her mother and the other six with Hades. It was Demeter’s sadness at her separation from her daughter that brought about winter, while in the story of Adonis it is Aphrodite’s sadness at her separation from him that reflects winter. However, one story of Adonis and Aphrodite tells how she took Adonis as a child and placed him in a casket which she gave to Persephone to keep safe on her behalf, and that this was how Persephone also fell in love with him and refused to return him which led to their arguments.

Adonis appears to have been well known throughout not only Greece and Cyprus, but also in Rome, Alexandria in Egypt, Assyria, Judea and Persia. His actual origin appears to have been Phoenicia where he was first called Tammuz, as which he is referred to in the Bible (Ezekiel 8:14) in connection with the heathen woman who wailed for him during the annual festivals held to mourn his passing and rejoice at his return, which in Greece were known as the Adonia, and were held in all the previously mentioned countries.

In the Adonia effigies made of wax or terracotta were carried in the manner of a funeral procession by crying women, after which Adonis was deemed to be resurrected and the women sang and danced with happiness, great feasts also followed. There was also the cultivation of fast growing plants in earthenware pots and baskets which grew quickly, and just as quickly perished - this was to commemorate the short life of Adonis and were called Adonis gardens. The festival of Adonis was celebrated in much the same way in all of the countries, although in Alexandria it began with a feast, entertainment and dancing and was followed by funeral rites, and each festival was usually tied in with the seasonal cycle and the coming of spring. However, it was not so in Athens where such festivals for the return of spring were held sacred to Demeter alone.

Apollo was the son of Zeus and Leto, daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe.

It was the love of Zeus that brought down the wrath of his wife, Hera, upon Leto who was forced to hide from the goddess who pursued her mercilessly. The only place that afforded her any rest was a small floating island (Asteria) in the Aegean sea, which, it was said, Zeus secured to the seabed with chains so that she could give birth to her children by him, the twins Apollo and Artemis. The island became known as Delos and was the most sacred place to Apollo, it was a place which prospered due to being the birth place of the god and a great temple was built there in his honour, and also one in honour of Leto.

Apollo grew to be a tall, strong and handsome young god, with his long locks of hair he was the image of masculine beauty, ever youthful but always possessing a maturity. On reaching manhood men would offer their hair which had been cut for the first time as Apollo’s hair had never been cut.

He was a god of many things including music and poetry, he was the leader of the Muses, as which he is called Musagetes. It was said that Apollo had invented the lyre and flute, however, it was more commonly said that he received the lyre from the god Hermes in return that Hermes might keep a flock of sheep which he had stolen from Apollo. This had occurred while Apollo was acting as a shepherd for the king of Thrace. This was a punishment imposed upon Apollo by Zeus after he had killed the Cyclops. Zeus was forced to impose more than this one punishment on the god; on another occasion he had assisted in the insurrection against Zeus in which Apollo assisted Hera, Poseidon and Athena who attempted to chain Zeus and seize power from him. For this Zeus sentenced him to serve king Loamedon in building the walls around Troy, alongside Poseidon, knowing that it would hurt Apollo’s pride to be in service to a mortal. No payment to the gods was forthcoming for their labours from Loamedon and so Apollo directed a plague onto the city in revenge (it was also said that for this non-payment Poseidon sent a sea-monster to destroy that area).

Being so handsome Apollo had many lovers and was adept at the art of seduction. However, he did not succeed in all his conquests, especially with the nymph Daphne. Apollo’s love for her was brought about by Eros in return for one joke too many at his expense. The non-reciprocating Daphne tried to escape from him by hiding in the mountains, she prayed for assistance and was transformed into a Laurel tree, which is a tree held sacred to Apollo and is also said to be his favourite. Apollo had other loves, many of whom he had children by, for example, with the nymph Cyrene he fathered Aristaeus; by Urania, another Muse, he fathered Linus and Hymenaeus (on occasion it was also said that Orpheus was also a son of Apollo and Urania); he also had mortal lovers by whom he fathered children, amongst whom were Creusa and Coronis. By Crusa he had Anius, and by Coronis he had Asclepius - the story says that Coronis fell in love with the mortal Ischys while bearing Apollo’s child, when the god found out by courtesy of a raven, he took revenge and killed the lovers. Coronis’ body was burnt but the child was rescued from the flames and raised by Chiron, the centaur, who taught him the skills of healing and hunting. As a man Asclepius could not only cure the sick but also bring the dead back to life - this led Zeus to fear that he might help mortals to avoid death altogether and struck him dead with a thunderbolt.

Apollo also fought over Marpessa, a mortal woman, with the mortal Idas, the brother of Lynceus - who were jointly known as the Apharetidae or Apharidae. Zeus interceded and gave the choice to Marpessa and fearing that Apollo, who would be forever young, would leave her when she became old and so she chose Idas. Apollo also loved the youth Hyacinthus, son of king Amyclas of Sparta. Apollo, however, was not the only one in love with him, so was the god Zephyrus (the personification of the west wind). One day when Apollo and Hyacinthus were playing either quoits or throwing discus the jealous god caused the missile to hit Hyacinthus on the head killing him, the blood which sprang his head transformed into flowers which became known as the Hyacinth.

Apollo was a god of healing and magic, he could wipe away any illness or evil. He later became identified with the god of the healing art, Paeeon, mentioned in Homer.

However, Apollo was also adept at killing as was his sister Artemis, and his weapon was the bow and arrow - he is sometimes depicted as an archer. It was Apollo that wiped out the Cyclops race after they had supplied Zeus with the thunderbolt which killed Asclepius. He slew the serpent, Python, who was created from the mud of from the Deucalian flood (or was an offspring of Gaea) and this gave rise to Apollo sometimes being referred to as Apollo Pythius. The Pythion Games were held in his honour at Pytho in Phocis, which later became renamed Delphi. It was also in Delphi that his high priestess, Pythia, delivered his oracles in verse after chewing on a laurel leaf or inhaling sulphur type vapours. Apollo killed the giant Tityus who threatened Artemis as she travelled to Pytho (although some attribute his death to Artemis herself and on occasion to Zeus).

It was also Apollo, assisted by Artemis, who slaughtered the children of Niobe, wife of Amphion, the king of Thebes, after she boasted that she was better than Leto as she had more children. She had fourteen while Leto only had two, she bragged. Apollo also fought on the side of Troy against the Greek armies. It was also said that he was behind the death of Achilles either directly or disguised as Paris.

The name Phoebus was also bestowed on Apollo, which meant “the shining one”, as he is strongly connected with the Sun. His radiance also, at first, overwhelmed the Argonauts whom he was said to have aided. They were too scared to look at him when he appeared to them and by the time they recovered themselves enough to do so he had left them.

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Tiphareth

By Jean Greenslade (1996)

In Tiphareth - Beauty - The King - Justice cannot endure without love. This Sephirah is designated the Sixth Path and called the Intelligence of Mediating Influence, because the flux of the emanations is multiplied therein. It communicates
this affluence to those blessed men who are united with it. After Geburah has removed all that is unnecessary and wasteful, Tiphareth is placed in the centre of the Tree of Life - it illustrates "The World of the Heart" where light becomes radiating love and love becomes life. Journeying down the Tree esoteric religion becomes exoteric in Tiphareth, and on the way up the exoteric changes to esoteric. Here the divine will (of Kether) is especially directed toward harmony and natural balance. Tiphareth functions as a mediator between the creative and governing realms above, and the functioning world of action below.

From a practical point of view Tiphareth is that state of spiritual awareness, called Cosmic or Illuminating Consciousness, which one is able to attain in the present life. It is the point of transformation between the planes of force and the planes of form. Seen from Kether it is a child; seen from Malkuth, it is a King. From the point of view of the transmutation of force it is a sacrificed god. The Mundane Chakra is the Sun and this is the sphere where we can receive the Vision of the Harmony of Things.

On the Tree of Life the Number 6 is the heart of the tree in its harmony and beauty. It symbolises the six dimensions in space - east, west, north, south, height and depth of all matter. Six is also the turning point where divine force starts to assume visible form, and where mortal humanity begins to manifest divinity. It is here that the son of God became the Son of Man and that the ascending Son of Man became the Son of God.

If we look at the Triad as a whole we have Jupiter, the Beneficent Ruler and Lawgiver balanced by Mars, the Warrior, the fiery destructive force and the two are equilibrated in Tiphareth, the Redeemer. In Gedulah we have the wise and kindly King, the father of the people organising his realm, building up industry, fostering learning, and bringing the gifts of civilisation. In Geburah we have a warrior King, leading his people in battle, defending his kingdom from the assaults of the enemy, extending his boundaries by conquest, punishing crime and destroying evil-doers. In Tiphareth we have the Saviour, sacrificed upon the cross for the salvation of his people, and thereby bringing Gedulah into equilibrium with Geburah. Here we find the sphere of all the beneficent sun-gods and healing gods. Thus we see the mercies of Gedulah and the severity’s of Geburah unite for healing of nations.

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The Sun - Mundane Chakra to Tiphareth

By Walter Allchin (1986)

Tiphareth is positioned at the mid point on the middle pillar of the Tree of Life and as such symbolises beauty, balance and harmony through sacrifice and conflict. Tiphareth is the sphere of paradoxes, stability in and through change, man is all knowing and yet ignorant, he is all and yet nothing, he is made in the image of God and yet is not God. The magical symbolic image of Tiphareth is a child, a priest-king and asacrificed god, representing sequential stages of development.

The child represents the individual and all his self interests from birth. The priest-king is the ruler and mediator of life between individual and collective interests, while the sacrificed god highlights our ultimate necessary sacrifice of the self on the altar of false seperativeness and alienation to achieve union with God. This magical image is also an apparently paradoxical state of consciousness, when the innocence and helplessness of a child is united with the authority and wisdom of a king.

The Sun is the mundane chakra for Tiphareth. Tiphareth is the pivot, the heart or centre of the Kabbalistic Tree, it is the heart of man, and of the universal, heavenly man, and so the sun, is the centre of the solar system. Kether flows directly into Tiphareth through its mundane chakra, the sun. Whereas Kether may be considered the source of all energy, power and light, Tiphareth is the art of living. Kabbalistically Tiphareth and its sun chakra, like the human heart, automatically circulates and regulates the Ain life force, keeping it in homeostatic equilibrium.

Astrologically, the sun life principle symbolises the power and ability of self-integration, wholeness of being and completeness. The sun represents the purpose and potential seed pattern of life. Its geometrical symbol is aptly a circle with a dot in the centre; a circle whose centre is apparently (paradoxically) no-where and whose circumference is everywhere. In terms of Jungian psychology, representing individual consciousness and beingness within the collective unconscious.

In mythology the sun symbolises the creative power of nature, fatherhood or the masculine principle, and thus authority. Physiologically the sun is associated with the heart, the circulatory system and the thymus endocrine gland responsible for controlling the immunological system, and therefore has great importance in the regulation and control of disease. However, perhaps most relevant is the balancing, harmonising role of Tiphareth and the sun within the human psyche. Psychologically, the sun represents that conscious organising principle known as the ego, which is part of and usually the servant of the self.

The human qualities or characteristics generated by the sun principle are related to Jung's psychological processes of simultaneous individuation and integration. If these are balanced, sun qualities can include: self confidence, willpower, purposefulness, independence, generosity, loyalty, dignity, creativity, charismatic leadership and an impulse towards self realisation. The vice of Tiphareth is pride, while if psychic integration is dissolving and the urge towards self realisation becomes warped, negative qualities may result, such as ambition, power complexes, egotism, egocentricity, boasting, snobbery, or conversely timidity, lack of self-reliance and incompetence. These qualities are due to an imbalance between individual, self-centred, and collective or social life.

Psychologically, the most important theme raised by the sun as Tiphareth's mundane chakra is the whole concept and nature of the self. Basic questions of Tiphareth function of a safety valve but not of necessity.

There is the prophetic dream or inspirational dream that is experienced when the need of asafety valve is not required, the dreamer having reached a stage, or advanced to a point where there is no strain, tension or emotions to release. In these circumstances it might be asked, "Of what purpose is the dream?" Probably a number of answers could be given to this question, but perhaps the main answer is the same as that which brought each one of us into manifestation. The force and driving power of creative activity, that higher mind guiding or seeking to guide life on the lower planes to the higher realms, to the stage of union where, to quote from the voice of the silence: ‘The Soul will hear, and will remember, and then to the inner ear will speak the voice of the silence.’

However, life has lessons to teach men and these shall be very briefly followed through a passage among the Sephiroth of the four worlds. In the Atziluthic archetypal world of origination, the God aspect is Eloah va Daath. The brilliant, shimmering, scintillating, white light of Kether illuminates the Clear Pink Rose colour, and qualities of Tiphareth. From the four Holy Living Creatures of Kether flow the four rays: the Will Power of Red, the creativity and intellectualism of Yellow, the love and wisdom of Blue, all at the highest level stabilised by the Green Ray of harmony through struggle and conflict. These variety of qualities are harmonised by the Tiphareth of Eloah va Daath, the universal mind representing this comprehension of knowledge rather than wisdom or understanding - that which knows all there is to know and teaches man "Be Still and know that I am God".

The keys of Eloah va Daath at Tiphareth are stillness, and knowledge. Eloah va Daath is the central principle and power which provides identity, meaning and purpose, behind the Sephirotic arrangements; it answers the questions: "What is the Tree of Life and this life for?"

The answer to this question and the purpose of life is to search for experience throughout the four worlds, ten Sephiroth of objective and 22 paths of subjective consciousness towards the goal of self knowledge. The meaning of life shall unfold when the self of man is linked with the great self of Eloah va Daath in that ultimate religion's experience of pure consciousness, pure awareness and pure state of being. We contain the universe within us and are ourselves contained within the universe. Life is both an internal and external quest of exploration ultimately leading towards conscious perfection and the unity of humanity with divinity. This is the purpose of life, this is the goal of the Kabbalist and of spiritual man. We therefore must embrace and accept all experiences of life that confront us, see them in their correct perspective as part of our process of learning and evolving.

Crimson, a high octave of the Red Ray illuminates the world of Briah, where Tiphareth responds to the Yellow Gold and Black of Saturn, the mundane chakra to Binah. Black symbolising restriction and absorption is the tool to be used to learn the lesson of balancing the form and formless with the help of the unrestrained, expansive, Yellow Ray. Another lesson that the master must learn is that compassion allows the smooth payment of karmic debts, but unrestricted compassion increases karma for both giver and receiver. This balance is vital. Tiphareth in Chokmah is illuminated by its Pure Soft Blue and the human spark of life becomes a mediator and harmoniser.

Briah, the World of Creation, initiates the whole question of duality and the great theological debate over the nature and role of evil. Kabbalistically, evil is a condition of imbalance to a greater or lesser degree, which evil, a consequence of duality, is the necessary foundation stone of manifestation. Tiphareth, as the compensator of duality, dictates that evil has an automatic, though often apparently bottomless, limit. Good, as a concept of perfect and harmonious balance has no such limit. Evil, as a consequence of duality and imbalance is never destroyed, it can only be removed in the perfect balance of Tiphareth in Kether,the archetypal World of Atziluth. Mental illness, frustration and malice, psychologically are due to imbalances between the components of the psyche. Violence, crime and war socially are due to an unbalanced society with rampant disharmony.

In the World of Yetzirah, or Formative World, the Salmon Pink of Tiphareth is illuminated by the spiritual devotional Ray of Indigo as the background colour of Yetzirah. The order of angels are the Malachim. These are universal intelligent forces responsible for maintaining conditions for centralisation on the atomic molecular, cellular, physiological, psychological and universal levels. The Malachim in Yetzirah are the channels of the sun chakra of Tiphareth, or the Kabbalistic glue holding together the many aspects of duality. Thus the Malachim are responsible for maintaining stability and harmony in and through change.

Appropriately the Malachim are called Lords of the Pivot in the Mithraic mysteries and are forces which maintain the shape, size, type, form or function of centres. A centre is vital whether it is the family with a mother or father, socially, a state politically, or the ego within the self psychologically. Without centres of being, becoming, and of action and reaction, manifestation could not exist. Centres are thus essential for relationships between entities and thus the Malachim are the agents by which Tiphareth relates itself to the other Sephiroth.

The Silver Grey Ray of the Moon, as the mundane chakra to Yesod, pro­vides the virtue of stability and harmony so necessary for harmonising the fluctuations of the emotions. The emotional aspect of Yesod, coupled with the qualities of love, and affection from the Salmon Pink of Tiphareth blend into human appreciation of beauty. In Yesod, Tiphareth teaches the seeker to balance the higher, and lower emotions. The background Violet Purple of Hod provides the humility and spiritual dedication having chosen the narrow path of spiritual progression. For this, sacrifice is needed to dissolve the rigidity of a firmly conditioned mind from cherished illusions.

Netzach generates the background colour of Amber and the Blue love/wisdom Ray from its mundane chakra Venus, which provides the necessary restraint and discrimination when blended with the love and affection of Tiphareth's Salmon Pink. The Amber of Netzach instils wholeness and justice with these qualities, the lesson to be learned is the need for restrained and discriminating love rather than a pure uncontrolled, blind love, which is not real spiritual, love and is both liability and weakness.

Tiphareth's background colour of Salmon Pink is illuminated by the Orange of the mundane chakra, the sun. In Tiphareth within Tiphareth, man's task is to balance and unite his lower and higher mental bodies through the qualities of self control and practical knowledge of the Orange Ray.

Geburah, as the symbol of death and rebirth, teaches that man must learn to be prepared willingly and knowingly to sacrifice one life for another, and emphasises the need for a balanced outlook on life. The Red Ray of Mars, Geburah's mundane chakra, provides the will power and courage.

Gedulah, the sphere of the masters and of the higher mental plane, radiates humility from the amethyst of the Jupiter chakra and teaches that there is a right time and place for the fulfilment of God's plan and this is when and where man must act.

Tiphareth in the world of Assiah, i.e. Malkuth, teaches the need for balancing of its four elements as its mundane chakra, i.e. the will power of fiery Red, the creativity of the Yellow air element, the love and wisdom of the Blue of water, all harmonised in Green through struggle and conflict. The amber of Assiah radiates helpfulness, compassion and warmth of feeling. The actual lesson to be learned here in Malkuth from Tiphareth is that our lives need to be properly centred for any ability to balance these four elements within us. Without an inner illuminating sun we disintegrate into disorder and chaos. This sun is the God within us, our highest self, our vital self, a point of perfection to act as a reference point and goal to life.
The aim of Kabbalah, of all true great wisdom religions, is to teach man how to search and find the indwelling principle of the sun and become energised, reborn and guided by our own inner light and relate the rest of oneself to it in accordance with the pattern of the Tree of Life, all for the sake of life.

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The Mundane Chakra of Tiphareth

By Sue Bashford (1985)

The Sun as representative of Tiphareth is the central fire of the Tree of Life, radiating its luminous glow of light and life to the boundaries of the solar system and its light beyond as a beacon of hope amid the darkness of space.

Poised in the middle of the pillar of equilibrium, assimilating and disseminating the forces of Kether and Daath from above, and Yesod and Malkuth from below. Its unitive power is aptly depicted as the two interlocking triangles of the hexagram. The blazing six-rayed star, the points representing the six planets Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury, Moon, Venus, Mars with the quintessential central Sun.

Throughout the history of mankind the Sun has been a powerful psychological symbol effecting the constitution of these philosophical systems. Its gravitational position has not always been recognised. In former times when man's worldly knowledge was still relatively subjective, the Earth itself held the pivotal role. But as man's developing concrete mind became more logical and intellectually objective, the Sun's rulership of the known universe became increa­singly apparent.
Unfortunately, being true to type, the all too human intellect went too far and 'chucked the baby out with the bath water', the Sun became simply a gaseous globe, mathematically delineated and conveniently stripped of its numinous properties. It no longer invoked the powerful images which once inspired epic poems. The rich, creative myths of the Sun's journey across the skies were replaced by dry scientific data.

The modern mind will never appreciate that in their wisdom the ancients were describing the esoteric sun (the Sun behind the Sun if you like), not the qualitative entity of 20th century physics. True, they turned to its physical counterpart and gave, it deference, paid it homage as a king receives honour as the incarnate symbol of monarchy. But the power of divine representation lies not with the individual but is present within the heart of the subject; it is merely pro­jected onto a sensible target.

The qualities of this occult sun are well characterised in the myths and legends of bygone cultures. The Sun God has many names and many faces and attributes, all telling of some particular activity or aspect of this dynamic force. Helios, Phoebus, Ra, Adonis and Apollo are Sol the Sun personified. The Sol of alchemy is gold as is also the Sol of heraldry.

The glyph which describes the sun is the point within a circle. This delineates the sphere of its influence. It is the point which is nowhere and the circumference which is everywhere. All embracing. In astrology the Sun rules the sign of Leo, the lion, a fixed fire sign and the fifth house. The placement of the Sun in a natal chart designates the zodiacal sign of the native. Accordingly the sign and the position of the Sun denotes the chief characteristics of the individual concerned.

Leos are said to be positive and majestic, masters of all they survey. Leaders of their fellows and naturally paternal towards others. The fifth house of a chart shows a person's creativity, it signifies children of body and mind. It has a childlike quality of exuberance; it is playful yet because itis fixed, it is unyielding, not always ready to explain itself. Indeed, often the subject is unaware of his own motivation; it simply is moved, which is one of the reasons why the fifth house is said to show love affairs. Leos like to be entertained as a king with his court. At best the sign is chivalrous and 'courtly’, earning respect.

It is no surprise that Tiphareth is the Sephirah of the sacrificed gods. These deities are often the son of the creative force whose annual death brings renewal and recompense and ultimately resurrection. Olibanum is attributed to Tiphareth, a gum resin better known as the aromatic frankincense - one of the kingly gifts of the infant Jesus. It came together with gold, which is another one of Tiphareth's symbols.

Plants associated with this Sephirah are the thorn apple which produces a drug like belladonna, digitalis, coffee and alcohol. All these are stimulants when used in therapeutic moderation. But overdoses of them can lead to morbidity or even death in some cases. As with the Sun itself, an excess of its burning rays can be deadly. A balance must be struck between giving and receiving. Between all the opposites, balance must be restored and the creative matrix of Tiphareth can become the living centre of our lives, leading us through the transforming cycles of initiation into spiritual maturity.

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To be continued...

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