Wisdom and Virtue in the Tree of Life

The pre-ceremony meditation is made up of nine parts, the sixth of which is derived from the Tree of Life from Jewish Kabbalah. It is a simplified version with seven elements, which differ very slightly from the traditional meanings:

Keter (Divine Light)

Hokhmah (Insight)

Binah (Knowledge)

Da’at (Wisdom)

Chesed (Love)

Gevurah (Restraint)

Yesod (Virtue)

The basic idea is the same: the first sefirot (emanation) from the transcendent Godhead is an influx of divine light. This works its way down the human organism via the remaining sefira, enlightening both mind and body in the process.

In my version, the first sefirot is located at the the third eye chakra. This is Keter, the divine light. The other six sefira are arranged in two down-pointing triangles. The upper triangle is made up of Hokhmah, Binah and Da’at, with Hokhmah at the right shoulder, Binah at the left shoulder and Da’at at the heart chakra. The lower triangle is made up of Chesed, Gevurah and Yesod, with Chesed at the right hip, Gevurah at the left hip and Yesod at the root chakra.

These two triangles represent analogous processes, whereby the exuberant, superabundant, unlimited energy of the divine source of light and life is channeled into the human realm.

Hokhmah represents the influx of insight in the form of thoughts and visions. These are extremely compelling because of the divine charge they contain. However, they can be easily misunderstood and can lead to grave errors and delusions. Therefore we need the balancing force of Binah to correct the errors and curtail the excesses of Hokhmah. The result of the interplay of Hokhmah (insight) and Binah (knowledge) is Da’at (wisdom).

Chesed represents the influx of love in the form of emotions and sensations. These are also extremely powerful because of the intense energy released. Unchecked, they can overwhelm the usual bounds of human affection, friendship and eros, sweeping away all boundaries in a tsunami of “free love”. This can lead to emotional and sexual abuse, both of oneself and of others. Therefore we need the disciplined restraint of Gevurah to contain the love and channel it in a healthy and nurturing direction. The result of the interplay of Chesed (love) and Gevurah (restraint) is Yesod (virtue).

Psychedelic Christian Zen is all about the cultivation of holiness, wisdom and virtue, represented by the three archetypes Mystic-Shaman, Philosopher-King and Warrior-Monk. In the Tree of Life meditation, Keter represents holiness, Hokhmah-Binah-Da’at represents wisdom and Chesed-Gevurah-Yesod represents virtue.