THE MIDDLE PILLAR
Issued by the
of the Golden Dawn
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The Middle Pillar is the Central Pillar of the Qabalistic Tree of Life. It is also called the Pillar of Equilibrium, the Pillar of Consciousness, and the Pillar of Initiation. It is poised between the two Pillars of Mercy and Severity, which represent the two extremes or polarities in Nature. To understand the Middle Pillar aright, it is necessary to ascertain the nature of the two Pillars between which it is positioned. The Middle Pillar consists of the Sephiroth called Kether, Tiphareth, Yesod, and Malkuth. Daath, the invisible Sephira, is also a part of the Middle Pillar, but is generally not regarded as such since it is not really a Sephira in any true sense of the word. The Middle Pillar indicates the balanced principle in Nature. The Pillar of Severity, which consists of the Sephiroth called Binah, Geburah, and Hod, indicates the Passive principle in Nature. The Pillar of Mercy, which consists of the Sephiroth called Chokmah, Chesed and Netzach, indicates the Active principle in Nature.
The Two Pillars of Mercy and Severity symbolize factors operative within the psyche of an individual; they are constituents of his/her own nature. In Jungian Psychology they are the Animus and Anima. Animus is the Qabalistic Chiah (Will) and Anima is the Qabalistic Neschamah (Soul). Animus is in contact with the objects of the outer world; Anima is in contact with the objects of the inner world. In occult psychology, Animus is Consciousness and Anima is Subconsciousness. Animus is the Soul of a Woman; Anima is the Soul of a Man.
Anima and Animus are the equivalent of the Oriental Yin and Yang, the principles of Darkness and Light. Yin is Anima and Yang is Animus. The Child of the interplay of Yin and Yang, and also the source of their balanced activity, is the Mystical Tao. The Middle Pillar is the Mystical Pillar of the Tao. It is the Qabalistic Yechidah (One Self) which is seated in Kether, the Sphere of the Limitless Light revealed. The Yechidah is the Pure Essence of the Soul, Mind and Body. It is the Life that abides in Light. It is the Spirit of the Tao, which is also a metaphor for the Middle Way or Path of Harmony.
The realization of the Tao is the sublime fruit of following The Middle Way or The Path of Harmony represented by the Middle Pillar of Initiation and Integration. This realization is the Awakening of the Golden Flower of Wisdom and Understanding. To attain this Great Awakening, or to become enlightened in other terms, the two extreme principles or polarities symbolized by the two Pillars of Mercy and Severity must be balanced through transcendence of their compulsions in the human personality and organism. The proper work of the Initiate of the Middle Pillar is the gradual development of self-control, or the increase of will-power, to refrain from the blind and fatal compulsions of extreme action represented by the two Pillars of Mercy and Severity, to balance these two aspects of his/her psyche, and to cultivate harmony between the two cerebral hemispheres of his/her brain which are the neurological equivalents of the two Pillars.
The three Pillars correspond with Sulphur, Salt and Mercury, which are the three Principles of Alchemy (Ars Regia, the Royal Art). The three Pillars also correspond with the three Gunas (qualities or principles) of Samkhya, which is one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu Philosophy founded by Kapila, and upon which the whole of Raja-Yoga is based. The famous Yogic system of Patanjali is derived from the Samkhya Philosophy. The Gunas of Samkhya Philosophy are called Rajas (Activity), Tamas (Passivity), and Sattva (Equilibrium).
The three Pillars also correspond with the three Mother Letters of the Hebrew Alphabet which, in turn, correspond with the three Aristotelian Elements of Fire, Water and Air. The left hand Pillar corresponds with the letter Mem (Water), for this Pillar is rooted in Hod and is crowned by Binah, which are watery in nature; the right hand Pillar corresponds with the letter Shin (Fire), for this Pillar is rooted in Netzach and is crowned by Chokmah, which are fiery in nature; and the Middle Pillar corresponds with the letter Aleph (Air). The Sephiroth of the Middle Pillar (including the so-called invisible Sephira called Daath) are assigned to the element Air, except Malkuth which is assigned to the element of Earth which is the consolidation or synthesis of Fire, Water and Air.
The three Pillars also correspond with the three principal Nadis of Yoga. These Nadis are the primary nerves in the spinal column and are called Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna, the latter of these three being a hollow canal running through the spinal cord and extending from the base of the spine to the brain. Ida is on the left and Pingala on the right of the Sushumna. The Chakras are on the vertebral column in the Sushumna. Kundalini, when awakened, rises through Sushumna and pierces each petal of the Chakras which then rise up erect, blossoming into full Lotuses. The Kundalini sleeps until it is awakened in the Muladhara Chakra, closing with its mouth the entrance to the Sushumna. When the Kundalini (Shakti) is awakened, by way of proper initiation, She enters the Royal Way in the Central Nadi (Sushumna) to embrace her Lord Shiva above in the Brahmarandhra (Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra).
The three Pillars are embraced in the Hermetic Symbol of the Caduceus. In this symbol there are two Serpents, which represent the two Pillars of Mercy and Severity, being the two forces of Life and Death; and in the Center, at the summit of the Caduceus, there shines the Golden Globe of Glory which represents the Equilibrated Light of the Middle Pillar. These are the Qabalistic Forces of OD, OB and AOUR. OD (AVD) is the special Fire of the Sacred Magick of Light, Life, and Love. OB (AVB) is the special Fire of Black Magic. AOUR (AVR) is the Balanced Light of Open Day. These represent the three Ways in which the Kundalini or Serpent Force, called the Astral Light by Eliphas Levi, expresses its various modes of power. AOUR is the divine product of the balanced interplay of OB and OD, or Light and Darkness; it is the Child of their consummation, and the Golden Flower of Equilibrium. So is the Middle Pillar the Child and Flower of the Perfect Harmony between the principles of Mercy and Severity, the two extremes or polarities of Nature which, in their constant interplay of orgasmic ecstasy, constitute and support all created things on earth, fulfilling their function as providers of Equilibrium.
The Middle Pillar is a phallic symbol. It is the Kundalini made erect. The Kundalini is the Serpent, which itself is a Phallic symbol. The Phallus in our Royal Art of Magick does not necessarily refer to the male organ, but to the Sexual Force in Nature that is the Creative Energy in every man and every woman. This Sexual Force is the essence of the Sephiroth on the Pillars of the Tree of Life. It can manifest as Active, Passive or Equilibrated. The Middle Pillar represents this Sexual Force and its five principal modes of expression (represented in Magick by the five Aristotelian Elements) within which operate its three forms of manifestation (Activity, Passivity and Equilibrium).
The Middle Pillar is the equivalent of the Wand of the Magician. It is the Scepter of Power, the Wand of the Hierophant of the Golden Dawn. This wand is of Scarlet color, and it has four gold bands that represent the places of four Sephiroth on the Middle Pillar, called Daath, Tiphareth, Yesod and the pommel is Malkuth. The Crown, which surmounts the Wand, is symbolic of Kether. The Paths of Gimel, Samekh, and Tav are also represented on the Wand by the spaces in between the four gold bands. The Hierophant of the Golden Dawn wields this Scepter of Power above the pommel, at the place of the Path of Tav. This act represents his power to attract and govern the forces of the Light of Kether. By this Scepter of Power the Hierophant brings down the Light of Kether (Spirit) to the place of Malkuth (Earth) through the Middle Pillar.
The Middle Pillar is integration; it is the point of equilibrium between the two Pillars of the Tree of Life; it is the point of balance between the two extremes or polarities of the Universe. Initiation in itself is a magical process of integration. To integrate is to unite all the parts of oneself or to blend all the parts of oneself into a whole; and it is the process of bringing to a point of balance the opposing elements of the psyche. It is an operation that is essential to the proper development of the human personality. Without integration the aspirant can in no manner realize the Great Work of the Sages. Thus, in the Neophyte Ceremony of the Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn, it is proclaimed in the Lecture of Balance, "Equilibrium is the basis of the Great Work." Consider also Aleister Crowley's statement, "The Great Work is the raising of the whole man in perfect balance to the power of Infinity." Perfect equilibrium through integration is the Key.
The numbers of the Sephiroth of the Middle Pillar, excluding Daath, are 1 (Kether), 6 (Tiphareth), 9 (Yesod), and 10 (Malkuth). The sum of these numbers is 26, which is the number of the Tetragrammaton (IHVH). It is also the sum of the numbers of the four Fixed Signs of the Zodiac, that is, Taurus (2), Leo (5), Scorpio (8), and Aquarius (11). These are the Kerubim, the Angels of the Elements from the point of view of Malkuth (Earth), or the Holy Living Creatures from the point of view of Kether (Spirit). Moreover, 26 is the magical number of the Cube. For the Cube has 6 sides, 8 points or corners, and 12 edges or boundary lines. The Cube is said to contain the Great Secret of the Universe. In Alchemical terminology it is the Stone of the Philosophers. It is a symbol of the Sanctum Sanctorum or the Cubical Holy of Holies that contained the Ark of the Covenant on which rested the Holy Shekinah. The Cube is a symbol of the World and the Throne of the Deity. It is the Cubic Throne we see on certain Tarot Atu of Thoth upon which sit certain archetypal figures. The Cube is a symbol of the Perfect Word and the Heavenly Kingdom. It is Truth expressed on the physical plane. The Cube is made of six squares; it is the Folded Cross of six squares, which is the Rosicrucian Cross with the Rose in its center. The Rose is hidden in the Cube or Folded Cross; it represents the Great Secret of WoMan. By the unfolding of the Cube is this Great Secret revealed. It is also worth mentioning that it is written in The Book of the Law that the Cube is a symbol of Hadit, the Flame that burns in the heart of every man and woman, and in the core of every Star.
The numbers of the Paths of the Middle Pillar are 13 (Gimel), 25 (Samekh) and 32 (Tav). The sum of these numbers is 70. 70 is the value of the Hebrew letter Ayin which corresponds with "Path 26" on the Tree of Life. It is the Path of the Exalted Phallus and the Pillar itself is a symbol of the erect Phallus. It is the Path of the Atu of Thoth called "The Devil." The Devil is Pan, the God of Sexual Lust or Phallic Energy; and He is Baphomet, the Supreme Hieroglyph of the True Self of WoMan. The sum of the numbers of the Hebrew letters of each Path of the Middle Pillar is 463 (Tav = 400, Samekh = 60, and Gimel = 3). 463 is the numerical value of RA-HOOR-KHUIT (Lord of the New Aeon) and it is the number of MTH HShQD (A Rod of Almond). Note in this connection that Ra-Hoor-Khuit is, in the Thelemic Qabalah, the God of Kether. Also note that Almond is attributed to Kether on the Tree of Life, and Kether is the Crown of the Middle Pillar. The Middle Pillar is, in point of fact, a symbol of the nature of Kether unfolded as the Universe.
The numbers of the Tarot Atu of Thoth (Major Arcana) which correspond with the Paths of the Middle Pillar are 2 (Gimel), 14 (Samekh), and 21 (Tav). The sum of these numbers is 37. 37 is the numerical value of YChIDH (True Self). Kether, the Crown of the Middle Pillar, is the seat of the Yechidah. Thus we may conclude that the Middle Pillar is a symbol of the Yechidah. 37 is also the sum of the numbers of all the Sephiroth of the Middle Pillar if we include Daath. (Kether = 1, Tiphareth = 6, Yesod = 9, Malkuth = 10, and Daath = 11.) Note also that 3x7=21. 21 is the Mystic Number of the Sixth Sephira on the Tree of Life called Tiphareth. In other words, it is the sum of the numbers from 1 to 6 (1+2+3+4+5+6=21). Tiphareth is the reflection of Kether in the mind. 21 is also the number of the three actual letters of the Tetragrammaton, that is, Yod-Heh-Vav. It is said in the Sepher Yetzirah, or Book of Formation, that by these three letters God sealed the six directions or formulated the Cosmic Cube of Space.
Love is the law, love under will.
Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn.
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