By: Kathryn Andren
What do the Four Universes, the 22 Hebrew letters and the Kabbalah Tree of Life have to do with astrology? Nearly everything! The roots of this practice relate to the 12 months of the year, the seven visible planets and synergy of the elements. Kabbalah is rooted in ancient Judaic mysticism which can through study and practice, bring you into direct relationship with the divine.
This article touches a few core concepts of the mystical Kabbalah. It serves as an invitation for deeper inquiry and to cultivate more conscious awareness of:
- The Four Universes in your own life.
- The meaning and exploration of three Hebrew letters, with a brief meditation in con-nection to the elements fire, air and water.
- A process called the Healing of Immanence* is discussed as it relates to embodying the divine on the earth plane.
*The Healing of Immanence developed by Jason Shulman as taught in his school of Non-Dual Healing was introduced to me by a graduate and Kabbalistic Healer, Irene Humbach
Here are a few core concepts of Kabbalah. I invite you to consider the possibility of holding these new concepts as a frame of mind during your consultation practice.
Kabbalah means “to receive”. “I receive the already present divinity within you”. As astrologers we “give” readings to our clients. In actuality, we are the ones receiving. It is a gift and opportunity to serve another, reflecting and seeing the divine manifest in others. As astrologers, consider how we may we reflect our clients divinity back to them.
Kabbalah teaches that there is no place that G-d is not. The divine permeates everything and is it’s manifestation. This essentially means, whatever “is”, the divine is present there. Joy or sorrow, bliss or challenge, Kabbalah acknowledges that an evolu-tion of consciousness requires being in a frame of mind that is beyond duality.
So what does Kabbalah have to do with astrology?
Just as your astrology birth chart is a map for life, the Kabbalah is a map of consciousness and the cosmos.
There are 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, that are associated with the 22 Major Ar-cana of a Tarot deck.
These 22 letters can be divided into three categories:
- 3 Mother letters relate to elements: Fire, Air and Water. (Earth is not missing, it is ever present and embodies everything!)
- 7 Double letters relate to the visible planets.
- 12 letters connect to the months of the year or the Zodiac signs.
There are Four Universes which relate to the four realms of life or the four elements:
- Atzilut is the divine world, the spiritual plane or the fire element.
- Beriah is the intellectual world, the mental plane or the air element.
- Yetzirah is the psychological world, the emotional plane or the water element.
- Asiyah is the material world, the physical plane or the earth element.
There are 10 Sefirot, shimmering qualities of the Divine, on the Tree of Life. They are connected by the 22 Hebrew letters. Most Sefirot correspond to a planet and holds it’s own unique quality. They relate to the 10 commandments and each has it’s own angel. The Tree of Life is a map of consciousness and the body. This list below names the Sefirot with its related body area, essential quality and planet association.
The top of the body
- Keter – Crown / Skull
- Chochmah – Wisdom / Right brain.
Holds Uranus qualities, inspiration like lightning
- Binah – Understanding / Left brain
Similar to Saturn, holds form, container and boundary
- Da’at – Knowledge / Central brain
The mystery or unknowable one.
- Chochmah – Wisdom / Right brain.
- Chesed – Kindness / Right arm
Jupiter & Neptune qualities of boundlessness and expansion
- Gevurah – Severity / Left arm
Mars qualities of action, direction and focus
- Tiferet – Beauty / Torso – Heart
Sun, radiance, self centered awareness
- Netzach – Victory / Right leg, Kidney
Venus, quality of loving self esteem
- Hod – Glory / Left leg, Kidney
Mercury, quality of logical thinking and order
- Yesod – Foundation /Sexual organ
Moon, quality of magnetic attraction
- Malkuth – Kingship / Mouth, Feet
Earth, embodies all that is on Earth plane. Supports solid foundation.
The 10 Sefirot are connected on the Tree of Life by the 22 Hebrew letters. Note that the letters serve as pathways between the Sefirot. Each of the letters may be used individually as a tool for meditation, or multiple letters are combined in a countless variety of combinations.
The Mother Letters
While there are many ways to enter and explore the Tree of Life, here is an introduction that acknowledges the elemental energies present in the three Mother Letters:
- The Mother Letters are Aleph, Shin and Mem.
- These elementals appear as the horizontal branches on the Tree,
- The vertical branches relate to 7 visible planets, and
- The 12 diagonal branches connect to the 12 months of the year.
Aleph lives in the body in between the shoulders across the heart space. It has no sound of its own, but a silent ‘ah’ like an exhale. It is the first letter so it is used as a tool or a seed to initiate action.
Aleph brings your attention and awareness to your rib cage and the heart space. Take three deep breaths. Inhale, then exhale quietly with the subtle sound of AHHHH. This letter and this subtle sound relates to the air element. Aleph is the creative spark, the balance point between fire and water.
Mem lives in the body in the pelvis between the hips. Mem begins the Hebrew word for water, relating to a sea of consciousness and the word “maggid”, the Hebrew name for angel, supporting a connection to your teachers or guides.
Mem brings your attention and awareness to your hips and pelvis. Take three deep breaths. Inhale, then exhale enthusiastically with the sound MMMMMM. This letter and this sound relates to the water realm, so it supports connection to the emotional body.
Shin lives in the body across the head, in between the right and left brain. Shin begins the words, “shalom” for peace, “shabbat” for rest and “shanna” for the year, as in wholeness. This letter and this sound relates to the fire element. Use Shin for transfor-mation and integration. It serves as a tool for meditation, when you want to integrate multiple things or perspectives.
Shin brings attention to the center of your head. Take three deep breaths. Inhale then exhale with your breath and the sound, SHHHHH. This letter integrates right and left sides, log-ic and flow. Allowing your body to relax still more, open up all the channels and the cir-cuits between the two sides, allowing a depth of integration and peace.
The Healing of Immanence
Finally, I’d like to share a process called The Healing of Immanence. A Kabbalistic healer envisions the base of the Tree of Life. This is the earth element. This was de-scribed to me as “the earth has no light of its own, it holds a space of center, gravity and awareness”.
During the healing, the healer embodies a place of consciousness remembering that the divine presence encompasses every thing. There is no place where G-d is not. There is no goal and no where to go. You are not trying to transcend your current experience because you think something, someone or some where else is better then where you are now. Kabbalah teaches the divine permeates every aspect of creation and is its manifestation.
Parting Words for Astrologers
As astrologers, consider the possibility of embodying this Kabbalistic concept as a frame of mind into our consulting practice. Remember, the word Kabbalah means, to receive. I receive what is already present within you.
What if every thing we see in the chart is divine?
What if there was no-thing to fix?
What if the person sitting before you, or on the other end of the phone line is an opportunity to see and reflect the divine?