To understand the symbology behind EROS, especially from a Qabalistic perspective, three Trees of Life are of importance. The first which shows the ancient Greek names of the Sephiroth within the Satura framework is the least important one of the three. But since from here on I will mostly use these names for the Sphaira in the upcoming posts, readers already get the chance to familiarize themselves with the names themselves and the slightly different philosophy compared to the Hebrew Tree of Life. These names don’t have to be studied (at least not if your only aim is to understand EROS), since I will undoubtedly refer back to this Tree in later posts. For those who already have a fair grasp of the Qabalah and the Tree of Life, don’t feel patronized. I will try to keep this as simple as possible for those of us who still know little to nothing about the Qabalah. This isn’t however a lesson in Qabalah. If you want to learn more about the Qabalah, read Dion Fortune’s The Mystical Qabalah or any other good book for beginners about the subject.
The Tree of Life – The Names of the Sphaira (Spheres)
Some of the more seasoned Magicians here on this blog will no doubt already recognize some of these names as being the names of several Goddesses: Sophia the (mostly) Gnostic Goddess of Wisdom, Nike, who is the Greek Goddess of Victory and Thesis/Physis who is an Orphic Goddess of creation. It is important to bear in mind however, that these names here on this Tree are simply the names of the Sphaira and not the names of any Deity.
Kether (or Keter), which is the Hebrew name of the first and topmost Sephirah (emanation) on the Tree of Life and which means Crown, I have thus renamed Thesis, meaning To Bring Forth. This I have done to put it in contrast with Physis the lowest Sphaira on the Tree meaning Nature. The topmost and the lowest Sphaira are basically the same, and whether it is Thesis or Physis basically depends on our perspective. One could look at Thesis as being the seed of the Tree which brings forth or creates new life and at Physis as being the fruit of the Tree and thus that which has been created. But this fruit in its turn contains the seeds who will at one point, sparked by the divine spark of Sophia (the next Sphaira), begin to create new Trees and new fruit themselves. Nature brings forth Nature brings forth Nature and so forth.
Chokhmah (Hebrew) becomes Sophia (Greek) and both mean Wisdom. Binah becomes Noēsis and both mean Understanding (Noēsis also means “concept”, “idea”, “intelligence”, from Wiktionary). Gnosis, like Da’ath means Knowledge.
Agape is Greek for Love, especially love of the highest or Divine kind, which is what is intended here. In the Hebrew system this Sphaira is called Chesed and Gedulah both meaning Love, and Loving-Kindness. Most of the bigger current day High Magickal systems (like the Golden Dawn) still translate Chesed into Mercy, which is correct, but I have deliberately moved away from this approach. I don’t want to sound too snidey but working with the dictator God of the Old Testament (YHVH).. God knows, they might need it. I know that there are other perspectives one could look at to understand the meaning of Mercy within this context, but knowing that another meaning exists which still causes trouble even in our current days culture (I don’t believe there’s a God who should show me mercy for my “sins” or for whatever reason. Nature is just Nature.), I can do nothing but distance myself from this kind of thought. But in a later post I will probably go a bit deeper into this and also into why I’m not Anti-Christian (and neither is Satura, as a system), but how I feel that Judaism and Christianity carry too much weight in some of our modern Magickal systems (again, mostly The Golden Dawn), and why I consider this a bad thing.
Gevurah (or Geburah) is translated into Dynamis – both meaning Strength and Potency. Tiphereth (or Tiferet) means Beauty as does Kallos. Netzach and Nike mean Victory. Hod means Splendour and Glory, as does Megaleio (which also means Greatness and Magnificence). Yesod and Themelios both mean Foundation.
Malkuth which means The Kingdom which, as I’ve already explained I renamed Physis, Nature. Physis is the Sphaira where all the emanations of the other sphere’s end up, and it always leans toward the physical, keeping in mind that the Divine is within matter too, and that, in a way, matter can in and of itself be considered as being Divine. The Kingdom, as it relates mostly to The Earth, was again a bit too Biblical for my taste. The rocky surface of the planet Mars falls within this Sphaira too, as does everything else which we consider physical (and more).1
- I will explain Thesis/Physis and their accompanying symbols in the context of EROS later, but the names of the Sphaira here have no direct relation to Thesis/Physis within EROS major. It does explain a little bit where I’m going with this though.. but again.. Later.
Earlier post in the Satura Series: