Of the many mystic schools and practices I use, I borrowed most heavily from the teachings of Exstatic Kabalah, a Judea tradition which encourages direct experience of divine wisdom.
This school of thought is centered on the mechanics of the “Tree of Life,” a diagram comprising ten spheres and twenty-two lines, representing the numbers and letters of the Hebrew writing system. Each with its own deeper allegorical meaning attached.
Here I will discuss what I consider one of the most important, but underappreciated of those spheres. Along with its function, and why I consider it so vital.
The spheres of the tree are referred to as “Sepher,” a Hebrew word meaning numbers.
Together they represent the “Ten Successive Ideas of Creation." Kabbalah teaches that reality was created by the consciousness of an unimaginably complex mind, which created all that is from ten successive ideas, birthing the entire universe from a single dynamic thought process of sequential logic. Each concept necessitating the existence of the next. Until all things become almost inevitable.
I often see the Sephiroth compared to the Eastern traditional concept of the chakra system, and believe that to be an inaccurate comparison. I would describe them as a set of phases that a chakra system goes through for manifestation. Starting at the source, then moving in sequence until reaching manifestation in the external world, it is in this context that I will discuss the function of Chesed, the fourth Sepher, its function in manifesting reality, and how it can explain why sometimes we just don’t seem to move forward.
There is a gap between the fourth and fifth spheres referred to as “The Great Void,” and it creates one of the most often misunderstood yet vitally important steps in the process of Kabalistic manifestation.
Chesed is the sphere where obstacles often appear. Which many see as a negative occurrence. However, it’s true function is to act as a sort of spiritual pressure valve, which temporarily holds one back in order to build momentum, eventually gaining enough strength to make the leap across the great void to Geburah, the fifth sphere where energies resolve themselves in order to move into the lower world to manifest.
This causes a phenomenon I refer to as “Human Retrograde.”
Much like the planets appearing to stall, or move backward, we experience a period of stagnation, or setbacks, along our journey.
Although it may seem as if nothing is happening, or that things have turned unfavorably, often this is the most crucial step along the path toward a goal. It is a necessary process that forces course correction, fortification of intent, or perhaps just tests how committed to the goal we really are. It reminds me of the old cliche “An arrow must be drawn back to fly forward”.
Which is actually a perfect analogy for the mechanism at play in these instances; for introspection and reassessment; for tweaking the plan slightly toward a better result; or sometimes a chance to make damn sure this is what you really want before getting it. This comes up frequently in work with my clients, seeming to be a source of great confusion, or distress.
Nobody likes being told they have to wait.
But it is really an opportunity in disguise. A sort of grace period allowing for introspection and reassessment, tweaking the plan for better results, or just making damn sure this is what you really want before you get it.
While it can be frustrating , or confusing when your efforts seem to be going nowhere, consider that it could simply be that you have reached the fourth sphere stage in your manifestation.
Look inward and find certainty in your purpose, double check your plans of acting in accordance with the desired outcome.
Think of it like the High Priestess of the major arcana. It’s a sign that it’s time to turn inward, to conserve your energies in your own space. To take some quiet time alone to reevaluate.
But most of all don’t get discouraged. Because it could be a test of how committed you really are.