Tree of Death

klippoth TIQliphoth

The Qliphoth/Qelippot or Kelipot (Heb. קליפות) – literally “Peels”, “Shells” or “Husks”, from singular: קליפה Qliphah/Kelipah “Husk”) – are the representation of evil or impure spiritual forces in Jewish mysticism. The realm of evil is also termed ‘Sitra Achra/Ahra’ (Aramaic סטרא אחרא, the “Other Side” opposite holiness) in Kabbalah texts.

Kabbalah

In the Kabbalah, the Kelipot are metaphorical “shells” surrounding holiness. They are spiritual obstacles receiving their existence from God only in an external, rather than internal manner. Divinity in Judaism connotes revelation of God’s true unity, while the shells conceal holiness, as a peel conceals the fruit within.

They are therefore synonymous with idolatry, the root of impurity through ascribing false dualism in the Divine, and with the Sitra Achra (סטרא אחרא “Other Side”), the perceived realm opposite to holiness. They emerge in the descending Seder hishtalshelus (Chain of Being) through Tzimtzum (contraction of the Divine Ohr), as part of the purpose of Creation. In this they also have beneficial properties, as peel protects the fruit, restraining the Divine flow from being dissipated. Kabbalah distinguishes between two realms in Kelipot, the completely impure and the intermediate.

Their four “concentric” terms are derived from Ezekiel’s vision (1:4), “And I looked and behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it…” The “Three Impure Kelipot” (completely Tamei “impure”) are read in the first three terms, the intermediate “Shining Kelipah” (Nogah “brightness”) is read in the fourth term, mediating as the first covering directly surrounding holiness, and capable of sublimation.

In Medieval Kabbalah, the Shechinah is separated in Creation from the Sephirot by man’s sin, while in Lurianic Kabbalah Divinity is exiled in the Kelipot from prior initial Catastrophe in Creation. This causes “Sparks of Holiness” to be exiled in the Kelipot shells, Jewish Observance with physical objects redeeming mundane Nogah, while the Three Completely Impure Kelipot are elevated indirectly through Negative prohibitions. Repentance out of Love retrospectively turns sin into virtue, darkness into light. When all the sparks are freed from the Kelipot, depriving them of their vitality, the Messianic era begins.

In Hasidic thought, the kabbalistic scheme of Kelipot is internalised in psychological experience as self-focus, opposite to holy Deveikut self-nullification, underlying its Panentheistic Monistic view of Kelipot as the illusionary self-awareness of Creation.

Hermetic magical views

In some non-Jewish Hermetic Qabalah, contact is sought with the Qliphoth unlike in the ethicalmystical Jewish prohibition, as part of its process of human self-knowledge. In contrast, the theurgic Jewish Practical Kabbalah was understood by its practitioners as similar to White magic, accessing only holiness, while the danger in such venture of mixing impure Magic ensured it remained a minor and restricted practice in Jewish history.

Mathers’ interpretation

Christian Knorr von Rosenroth’s Latin Kabbala denudata (1684) (translated The Kabbalah Unveiled by MacGregor Mathers) equates these forces with the Kings of Edom and also offers the suggestion they are the result of an imbalance towards Gedulah, the Pillar of Mercy or the merciful aspect of God, and have since been destroyed.

In subsequent Hermetic teachings, the Qliphoth have tended, much like the sephiroth, to be interpreted as mystical worlds or entities, and merged with ideas derived from demonology.

In addition to this, there are also The Seven Infernal Habitations or seven hells (Tehom, Abaddon, Titahion, Barshacheth, Tzelmoth, Shaarimoth and Gehinnom), twelve Qliphotic orders of demons, three powers before Satan and twenty-two demons which correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

Crowley, Regardie, and Heidrick

According to Aleister Crowley, the three evil forms (before Samael), are said to be Qemetial, Belial, and Othiel.

According to Israel Regardie, the “qlipothic tree” consists of 10 spheres in opposition to the sephiroth on the Tree of Life. These are also referred to as the “evil twins”. They are also the “Evil Demons of Matter and the Shells of the Dead”.

Bill Heidrick gives his own interpretation on the adverse tree, saying that the spellings are “mostly reconstructions with alternatives. Nonetheless, it is believed that the majority of the above are at least suitable if not perfect”. He also goes on to say that “These names are sometimes called the ‘adverse Sephiroth’ instead of the Demonic Orders. A.E. Waite makes this later point in his Holy Kabbalah, page 256.”

The following comes from the Notes on the Demonic Orders (Adverse Sephiroth) in Magical Correspondences by Bill Heidrick.

Thamiel

Thamiel: Duality in God

“Thamiel represents duality whereas Kether represents unity. Thus Thamiel is the division of that which is perfect only in unity. As a demonic order name, the Thamiel were before their ‘revolt’. This signifies ‘Perfection of God’. These angels sought to become more powerful by adding an Aleph to their name. They then became the ‘Duality of God,’ an order of the lesser demons. In the lowest state of their ‘fall’, they become ‘the Polluted of God.’ The cortex or outer form of the Thamiel is called Cathariel, ‘the Broken’ or ‘Fearful Light of God’.”

Satan: Adversary and King

To Thamiel, “there are two demons that are attributed to stress the view that the demonic opposite of Kether is duality instead of unity and are Satan and Moloch or Malech”.

Chaigidel

Chaigidel: Confusion of the Power of God

“These are the confusion of that great power which, as Chokmah, goes forth at the beginning to give the vital energy of creation to the processes of Binah. The cortex of the Chaigidel is called Ghogiel, ‘Those Who Go Forth into the Place Empty of God’.”

Beelzebub: Lord of the Flies
Adam Belial: Wicker Man

To Chaigidel, “both Satan and Beelzebub are attributed as well as Adam Belial. The name Belial is often used separately as a demonic name.”

Sathariel

Sathariel: Concealment of God

“Even as Binah is the great revealing one who bestows the structure of the Absolute onto the created, its opposite, the Sathariel, conceal the nature of The Perfect. The cortex or outer form of the Sathariel is called the order of Sheireil, ‘The Hairy Ones of God’.”

Lucifuge: One Who Flees Light

To Sathariel, Lucifuge “is attributed and is probably a name made up to replace the name Lucifer, ‘Light Bearer’”.

Gamchicoth

Gamchicoth: Devourers

“Chesed is the source of bounty both in idea and in substance to the lower forms. Gamchicoth is the order of ‘Devourers’ who seek to waste the substance and thought of creation. The outer form is the order of Azariel, ‘The Binding Ones of God’.”

Astaroth: from the Flood

To Gamchicoth, “Astaroth is attributed. This is the name of the goddess Astarte, the Ishtar of the Babylonians and perhaps also the Isis of the Egyptians”.

Golachab

Golachab: Burning Bodies

Geburah is a going forth in power to rule in strength. The order of Golab is composed of those who burn to do destruction — even on themselves. The outer form is Usiel, ‘The Ruins of God’.”

Asmodeus: The Destroying God

To Golachab, Asmodeus is attributed. “This name is half Hebrew and half Latin. Asmodeus is often mentioned in the literature of demonology. The name can also be translated as ‘The one adorned with fire’.”

Thagirion

Thagirion(n): Those Who Bellow Grief and Tears

Tiphereth is the place of great beauty and rejoicing. The Thagirion build ugliness and groan about it. The cortex of the Thagirion is called Zomiel, ‘The Revolt of God’.”

Belphegor: Lord of the Dead

To Thagirion, “the replacement of Tiphereth, the sphere of the vitalizing Sun, with a place holding Belphegor, the lord of dead, is most striking”.

Harab Serapel

Harab Serapel: Ravens of the Burning of God

“Netzach is the openness of natural love. The Harab Serapel are the Ravens of Death who reject even their own. The outer form is Theumiel, ‘The Fouled Substance of God’”.

Baal: Lord and Tubal Cain: Maker of Sharp Weapons

To Harab Serapel, “Baal is attributed, and is “a word which means Lord, much as Adonai means Lord. The word Baal or ‘Bel’ has become restricted in its usage to signify a ‘Lord of Darkness’.” Also attributed is Tubal Cain.

Samael

Samael: The Desolation of God, or The Left Hand

“Hod is the complex working of the will of the Absolute. Samael represents the barren desolation of a fallen and failed creation. The outer form is Theuniel, ‘The filthy Wailing Ones of God’.”

Adrammelech: Powerful King

To Samael, Adrammelech is attributed. “This name is found in Fourth Kings: XVII, 29-31: ‘ And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima, and the Avvites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in the fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim.”

Gamaliel

Gamaliel: Polluted of God

“Yesod is the place of the final forms that become matter in Malkuth. The Gamaliel are the Misshapen and polluted images that produce vile results. The outer form is the order of Ogiel, ‘those Who Flee from God’.”

Lilith: Night Specter

To Gamaliel, Lilith is attributed and “is the grand lady of all demons. The demons are sometimes considered to be the children of Lilith and is said to be the woman who comes to men in their dreams.”

Nehemoth

Nehemoth: Whisperers (or Night Specter)

“These are responsible for frightening sounds in strange places. They excite the mind and cause strange desires.” This corresponds with Malkuth as well.

Nehema: Groaning

To Nehemoth, Nehema is attributed, “and is traditionally a demon and the sister of Lilith, possibly a remembrance of the Egyptian Nephthys and Isis. It is conceivable that Nehema is the same as Naamah, the sister of Tubal Cain.”

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_of_death_%28Kabbalah%29

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4 thoughts on “Tree of Death

  1. ~meredith February 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm Reply

    So… if we, as a people who’ve suffered, build monuments to our suffering with groaning, this is a core aspect of a revolt against God? I’m not always sure I understand what I read… so this is why I ask. It makes a lot of sense after the seventh read… actually, all of it does… but is this why we must learn the discipline of transmuting our suffering?

    Thank you, if you have a chance to give me feedback. Meredith

  2. thesevenminds February 27, 2014 at 5:28 pm Reply

    Thank you, Meredith. I will give some feed-back linking to “suffering” and link it to people (“we”) instead of demons. Keep in mind that this tree is just a model.

    Two trees in the “Eden”: the tree of life and the tree of death. If you personally “suffer” and you can take a look at the suffering without groaning or any of the behaviors described in the tree of death (or the seven sins if that is more familiar), then you will be able to see if you groan because of your own suffering, or the handiwork of someone / something else.

    It is amazing how many people live by the tree of death, and most of them can only survive it because they heap the misery that comes with that “life-style” on other people. Whereas I come across a lot of people talking about embracing your shadow (or the cloud above your head, the monkey on their back, etc.), I urge people to take another look at that shadow or suffering. Is all of the suffering yours to begin with?

    When you recognize that the behavior of the demons of the tree of death occur in people around you, then the tree shows you the consequence of continued association with those people. You WILL become one of them, without having to die first.

    How does this happen? You take on the shadow of others by emotionally linking to the person, thing, place, or that shadow. And without realizing it, you start to behave like a demon from the tree of death yourself. Trapped in a monument of suffering.

    Transmute? Trance mute. Should you not know what you are trying to silence first?

    End of lecture. 😉

  3. ~meredith February 28, 2014 at 1:13 pm Reply

    Thank you. Great lecture! Trance mute… Awesome, and yes . Awareness first.

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