Originally Posted by Yamah
The Tree of Life is a set of symbols that represent Divine Truths. They have specific, objective meanings and associations.
Though many texts disagree on certain specifics they all agree on the generalities and their disagreements can usually be resolved by understanding that they approach the symbols from different perspectives.
The best example would be with the 4th symbol. The ancient name for it was 'Gedulah' or Greatness and the modern name for it is 'Chesed' or Kindness. Though the name for it has changed all sources agree that this symbol represents the force of Expansion. Nobody says it is a force of Contraction and there is no room whatsoever for saying so. The change of the name can be understood by following the perspectives used in Kabbalah through the ages and their nuances. Nonetheless, the general understanding remains the same.
In Hermetic Kabbalah the tree of life was taken in many different directions through gnosticism, so much so that all the meanings have been skewed. Even basics like how to apply it to the human body (traditionally Chesed is Right, Gevurah is Left; in Hermetic, Chesed is usually Left and Gevurah is usually Right) have been skewed. Many other things have been misinterpretted because the interpretters' understandings didn't have a proper foundation in Torah, Gemarah and other Jewish texts and usually didn't even have a good understanding of the Hebrew language and how it relates to the tree of life (an essential foundation).
Not having a proper foundation leaves the mind floating through the air, reaching conclusions without backing and following assumptions to half-truths which lead to drifting falsehoods. True Knowledge is like a Tree, not a cloud.
-- I didn't realise this about Hermetics...I don't know as much about it.
Do you know what was the basis given in Hermetics for this switch? Surely they must have understood that they were reversing the traditional association of expansion with greatness/lovingkindness/compassion - right hand of God and contraction with awe/strength/judgment - left hand of God.
I do a lot of healing work with guides that we often call archangels. And so I am particularly curious. I always found it interesting that the archangel representing the force of expansion is so serious and mild in his compassionate and loving manner. (I see them both as male). His intensity is purely in his focus and in his strength of character. In other words, the expansive force of love is very calm, disciplined, and strong. Whereas the contracting force of strength is very intense in purity of emotion and expression of love and truth.
In other words, strength is in love. And love is in strength.
Was this -- or something related -- in any way behind the "switch", which otherwise would be very hard indeed to justify with any clarity? Just wondering.
if you have any information on this, please also feel free to share.
Peace & blessings,
Bound by conventions, people tend to reach for what is easy.
Here we must be unafraid of what is difficult.
For all living beings in nature must unfold in their particular way
and become themselves despite all opposition.
-- Rainer Maria Rilke