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The "Tree of Life" (Etz Hayim)

the Kabbalistic tree

Beginning in the 13th century, but more especially from the 15th and 16th centuries, the Kabbalists formulated pictorial reprsentations of the flow of emanation and the structure of creation as it progressed from the En Sof.  Such diagrams were generally referred to as Trees (ilanot), and drawings of this kind are found in many manuscripts.  [Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, Meridian Books, p.119].

The Tree represents the relationship between the various Sefirot or Divine Atributes.  Sometimes, as in the Lurianic system, there were Trees within Trees, as shown in this diagram by Knorr Von Rosenroth.


from Kabbala Denudata (17th century)
reproduced in Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, p.418

It has however been only recently that a standardised arrangement has developed, and this more especially outside the Judaic tradition, in Hermetic Qabalah with its ten spheres and 32 paths.  But this Hermetic Tree differs somewhat from the original Lurianic version


 
 
 
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page uploaded 20 March 1999