Esoteric Encyclopedia

Esoteric Encyclopedia Entry of the Week: Tiferet

Tiferet, which is defined as “Adornment” or “Beauty”, is the sixth sefira in the kabbalistic Tree of Life, located in the Middle Pillar. It represents the archetype of the number 6, the descent of the Godhead into consciousness, and is also associated with “Spirituality”, “Balance”, “Integration”, “Beauty”, “Miracles”, and “Compassion”.

According to Wikipedia:

Tiferet is the force that integrates the Sefira of Chesed (“compassion”) and Gevurah (“Strength, or Judgement (din)“). These two forces are, respectively, expansive (giving) and restrictive (receiving). Either of them without the other could not manifest the flow of Divine energy; they must be balanced in perfect proportion by balancing compassion with discipline. This balance can be seen in the role of Tiferet, wherein the conflicting forces are harmonized, and creation flowers forth. Tiferet also balances Netzach and Hod in a similar manner. In that case Hod can be seen as the intellect where Netzach is seen as emotion.

Tiferet also occupies a place on the middle pillar, and can be seen as a lower reflection of Kether, as well as a higher reflection of Yesod and Malkuth. Tiferet relates to the sun, and as such, it takes a central place in the lower face of the Tree of Life, much in the same manner that the sun is at the center of the solar system. It is not the center of the universe, as one could perhaps argue Kether to be, but rather it is the center of our local astronomical system. Nonetheless, it is the sun that gives light and life, even though it did not create itself. Tiferet can be seen as a metaphor for these same attributes.

Tiferet is unique amongst the Sephirot as it is connected to all the other Sephirot (except Malkuth) via the subjective paths of the unconscious. Its position down the center between Keter and Yesod indicates to many Kabbalists that it is somewhat of a “converting” Sephirot between form (Yesod) and force (Keter). In other words, all crossing over the middle path via Tiferet results in a reversed polarity. The law of conservation of energy and mass tends to corroborate this – in all cases of energy transmutation, a sacrifice is necessary so a new form may be born.

Tiferet is the middle of the tree. Five Sefirot surround it: above are Chesed at the right (south) and Gevurah at the left (north), and below are Netzach at the right, Hod at the left, andYesod directly below. Together these six are a single entity, Zer Anpin, which is the masculine counterpart of the feminine sefira Malkuth. In certain contexts, Tiferet alone represents all the sefirot of Zer Anpin, so that the entire tree appears with only five sefirot: Keter, Chochmah, Binah, Tiferet, and Malkhut.

In the standard tree, Tiferet has eight paths, leading (counterclockwise) to Keter (through Daat), Binah, Gevurah, Hod, Yesod, Netsach, Chesed, and Chokmah.

To tap into the energies of this sephirot, the “Middle Pillar Exercise” is recommended, and can be done by following the instructions below…

1. Imagine yourself standing in the Temple, facing West. The Black Pillar of Severity will be on your right–the White Pillar of Mercy on your left. You will make the Middle Pillar as you stand between them.

2. Imagine now that the Black Pillar is reflected in your right side–the White Pillar in your left.

3. Take a deep breath and raise your consciousness to your Kether above your head and vibrate the Name EHEIEH–which means I am. Imagine the Light flowing down through Daath (at the nape of your neck) to Tiphareth.

4. In the same manner, establish Yesod in the name SHADDAI EL CHAL and Malkuth in the Name ADONAI HAARETZ.

5. Make the Qabalistic Cross to indicate that you have called down the Light of your Kether and balanced it in your aura. Then let your imagination dwell on the aura and see it oval and clear, pulsating with the glow from Tiphareth.

If you are called to see anyone who is ill, who is depressed, or who has a depressing effect on you, you should do this exercise beforehand. In the case of the person who has a depressing effect on you, you may also imagine that your aura is hardened at the edge so that they are unable to penetrate it, and so deplete you of vitality (which is generally what such sensations mean).

In all these practices it is well to remember that ‘Strength is in Silence.’ If you talk about them, save to your Chief, or if you try to analyse their effects, you will not benefit by them. Try them with simple faith and in silence for a year before rationalising them.

It is better at first to keep your aura to yourself, rather than to try to flow out towards others. Unless you are particularly vital and well-balanced, you will only waste energy. So-called modes of healing and of ‘doing good to others’ should be eschewed for a time. Such methods have a technique of their own and required trained and balanced minds and bodies to carry them out. Get yourself right first before you attempt to interfere with others in any way but the ordinary ways of kindly decent society.

When you have practised the exercise of the Middle Pillar for some time and can visualise it easily, you can establish the other Sephiroth.

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