Tree of Life
This painting illustrates a Kabbalistic meditation that was described to me by a very successful and spiritual friend. The prophet Ezekiel saw a vision of the Merkava (God's Chariot or Vehicle). The Kabbalah teaches that every human being becomes a Merkava by aligning oneself to God. The Sefirotic Tree of Life is a map we can use to help us connect to God's Light and Love. The Tree of Life in this meditation is formed with Thirteen Sefirot - a motif I have used in several paintings. These form two Magen Davids (Stars of David) inbedded in two spheres that
When the Sefirot are first presented in the Tanya (the classic text from the first Lubavitcher Rebbe) they are called Three Mothers and Seven Doubles. The Three Mothers refer to the three higher Sefirot Keter, Chochmah and Binah (Crown, Wisdom and Understanding). The Seven Doubles refer to the seven lower Sefirot Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod and Malchut (Love, Strength, Beauty, Victory, Majesty, Foundation and Kingship).
I started to make Aleph paintings where its two Yods extend more from the ends of the diagonal Vav (or Wow) instead of from its middle (as I had done in earlier Alephs). This is one example. Here, instead of two Yods there are two birds (or flowers). The birds are each comprised of ten parts for the Ten Sefirot, associated with the Tree of Life.
Acrylic on paper
60 x 50 cm
October 29, 2010 - The following teaching is a translation I made of a chapter from an unpublished book written by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook over a hundred years ago. It deals with issues that caused young people of his generation to lose their faith in the Torah. Since much of my website deals with cosmology and kabbalistic theories of Creation, I thought it would be nice to include Rav Kook's take on Evolution and the Story of Creation in Genesis. (the italics are mine):
This slanted Tree of Life diagram retains the yellow diagonal that comes from the Wow or Vav of the Hebrew letter Aleph that underlies all of these slanted pictures. Here is the waves/particles motif again, and the connecting lines extending outward in all directions, as well.
The choice of colors for the ten Sefirot is based on how the ten Sefirot become five Partzufim. Each of the three higher Sefirot, Keter (white), Chochmah (blue), and Binah (red) become Partzufim by themselves.
In this picture I used the same slanted Tree of Life motif that I used in ‘One Together’ and ‘Waves and Particles’. In those pictures I included Daat (Knowledge) as the eleventh circle or Sefirah. Daat is the interface between the upper three Sefirot of the head and the lower seven Sefirot of the body. It can be seen as consciousness itself. Daat unites all ten Sefirot.
There are several different forms of the Tree of Life diagram that is used in the Kabbalah to represent the Sefirot. I use several of these forms in the various picture that I make. In the Lurianic tradition, Daat is not included as one of the Ten Sefirot because Daat is the ‘outside’ of Keter and the ‘inside’ of Tiferet. In these diagrams Malchut is fallen, as I explained in my picture ‘Ten Sefirot of Nothingness’.
Life is a dynamic process of balancing between extremes - between hot and cold, between activity and rest, between expanding outward and contracting inward. When it's cold, we seek Fire to warm ourselves up. When it's hot, we look for Water to cool ourselves down.
The lower half of this picture shows the root system of a Tree, resting in the cool, wet Earth.
The Ten Sefirot (Spheres of Being) that are discussed in the Kabbalah are often represented by the symbol that can be seen in this picture. This symbol is called the Tree of Life. It is comprised of circles or wheels that are joined together by a network of lines. The Tree of Life represents the human form as a reflection of the entire universe. The upper three circles (Sefirot) represent our head (or the Heavens). The lower four Sefirot represent our lower body (or the Earth). The middle three Sefirot represent our upper body (or the Atmosphere). The
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