The Sefirot

The spiritual infrastructure of creation.

Just as the universe provides an infrastructure to physical reality, the Sefirot provides an infrastructure of goodness to our spiritual reality. The Sefirot also demonstrates the necessary interconnectedness between all spiritual qualities that exist between creation and the Divine. Prayers that deal with right and wrong, health and sickness, wealth and poverty, have dedicated communal paths to the Divine through the angelic mansions. Some other types of prayer may also be transmitted to the Divine through the Sefirot, but this is essentially a minor aspect of what the Sefirot represents. The Sefirot provide an interconnected angelic structure that represents the divine personality of creation itself. There are said to be ten angelic beings (Sefirah), arranged in precise order, with a near-divine Sefirah at the top and a most nearly created Sefirah at its base. The structure takes the form of a tree, often termed the "Tree of Life".

The ten Sefirah are as follows, in descending order from most divine down to the one closest to creation:

  1. Keter - "The crown” and prime mover of creation, through which God's Will radiates. The source of all that can be thought.
  2. Hokmah - The universal foundation of wisdom, similar to the eastern Yang. This makes the act of thinking possible for the created mind.
  3. Binah - Pure intelligence, truth, and concrete understanding; similar to the eastern Yin. This makes the subject of thought possible in the created mind.
  4. Hesed - Mercy and love; the basis of all goodness; the source of generosity. This makes the expansion of the knowledge of God's will possible.
  5. Gevurah - Power and strength; the source of bravery and conviction. This makes the     energy expressed of God's Will accessible to created beings.
  6. Tifaret - Beauty and virtue; the highest image of self. This is the expression of the good resulting from the correct use of the influences of Hesed and Gevurah.
  7. Netzah - Endurance; the never-ending progression of life; emotions. The masculine aspect from which all natural forces proceed.
  8. Hod - Glory, majesty, and intellect (correct thought). The feminine aspect from which all natural forces proceed.
  9. Yesod - Foundation; the unconscious source of greatness. The combination of the masculine and feminine in a common principle as the foundation of natural law.
  10. Malkut - Physical reality as understood by human imagination. The channel through which the influences of all other Sefirah can be understood by the created mind.

The ten Sefirah are interconnected through 22 paths, each said to represent a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, revealing divine Logos (word). There are some people who believe the trump cards (major Arcana) of Tarot are derived from these paths. Together, the Sefirot and the interconnecting paths form 32 Archetypes, many of which closely parallel the archetypes theorized by Karl Jung. It is said that once a person has understood these archetypes, and discovered each of them in themselves, then that person will understand the thoughts in the mind of God at the moment of creation.

In order for balance to exist in creation, there must be an infrastructure of converse influence, in parallel to the Sefirot. This is where the Demons come into play; Jealousy, Instinct, Harshness, Misunderstanding, Insensitivity, Forgetfulness, Loathing, Imperfection, Conflict, and Indiscretion. These are the negative influences brought about by the demons known as the Qlipoth. Loosely translated, Qlipoth means "distorted or adverse". Where the Sephirot are the infrastructure of spiritual ease, the Qlipoth are the infrastructure of dis-ease. The Qlipoth are not evil and are not the source of evil, for evil only comes from incorrect human actions, thoughts and judgements. The Qlipoth provide a converse to the Sephirot, giving the Sephirot definition and a set of "warnings" that we might be doing something wrong. In all possibility, unjust prayers effected by succombing to demonic temptations and influences are communally transmitted through the Qlipoth, in obverse parallel to the communion of just prayers through the Sephirot. The Qlipoth are often associated with ancient Gnostic theosophy, which gives them Gnostic definitions that overlap the Kabbalistic. In other words, the Kabbalists identify the Qlipoth not by their Gnostic designations, but none-the-less by designations synonymous with the Gnostic. Thus, understanding of the Qlipoth is one of the conceptual overlaps between Kabbalism and Gnosticism. The Qlipoth are (in parallel to their converse Sephirah)...


  Qlipoth Gnostic Designation Sephirah (in converse)
1 Confusion Misunderstanding Kether
2 Illusion Instinct Hokmah
3 Greed Jealousy Binah
4 Hatred Loathing Hesed
5 Doubt Forgetfulness Geburah
6 Pride Harshness Tifaret
7 Lust Indiscretion Nitzah
8 Dishonesty Conflict Hod
9 Idleness Insensitivity Yesod
10 Transformation Imperfection




1. Manhar, Nurho; The Sepher Ha-Zohar (Book of Light); Edited by H.W. Percival; Theosophical Publishing Company, New York; 1914. (Preface, Books I, XVII - XXIII)

2. Cooper, Rabbi David A.; God is a Verb : Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism; Berkley Publishing Group of Penguin Putnam Inc., New York. 1997

3. Names and Arrangement of the Sephirot; “A Study of the Book of Revelation”; (2/24/01)

4. The Sephirot; “Jewish”;

5. Luria, Rabbi Isaac; The Tree of Life;

6. The Tree of Life; Meta Religion;

7. The Secret Book of John; “The Other Bible”; Harper Collins Publishers, New York. 1984 (ppg. 53-57)

8. Kasser, Meyer, & Wurst (editors), The Gospel of Judas; National Geographic Society, Washington, D.C. 2006