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The 'Middle Pillar' Ritual

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This meditation uses visualisation, centring on the kabbalistic 'Tree Of Life'. This is not the time or place to go into kabbala in depth. (Do a search on 'kabbala' and you can find lots more information on the internet). But in brief the 'aim' of the ritual is the invocation of 'force' into 'form'- the implicit belief being the idea that 'reality' exists on a number of different levels beyond the physical, and that the infinite source of energy that some would call 'god' works 'down the planes' (and 'up the planes). Kabbalah has it's origins in esoteric Judaism.

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It's traditional among Western kabbalists at least to do a 'banishing ritual' before doing meditations of this kind. See 'space clearing meditation' With a bit of practise you can do a 'banishing' standing up and facing the four quarters in turn. This need not take more than 5 minutes or less.

Now find a comfortable position which will allow you to sit with a straight back for 20 minutes to half an hour.

Relax the body and allow your breath to become deep and regular. Only begin the visualisations proper when you've really settled in to a calm and relaxed meditative state.

Now imagine or visualise a sphere of white light about the size of a tennis ball just above your head. Try and imagine this sphere as a very brilliant source of illumination in a dark space. This is the sphere known as Kether, which means 'the crown'. As you imagine this, try and feel your way into the infinity that Kether represents. Explore the association of Kether with the vast scale of the Universe: infinite time and infinite space, -perfection. White light. Universal consciousness existing 'beyond' and throughout everything. See if you can make the sphere glow more brightly with each exhalation.

Now imagine a purple sphere in the area of your throat. This is the sphere of Daath, which means 'knowledge'. Try and maintain a sense of the connection here with a 'galactic' scale -imagine looking down at the Milky Way galaxy from outside, for instance, while also feeling your way into the idea of 'force' beginning to come down into 'form', from Kether to Daath, and from the white sphere above your head, in a shaft of whiteness down into the sphere at your throat. See if you can make the sphere glow more brightly with each exhalation of breath.

The next sphere is Tiphareth (or 'beauty'), placed at your heart, and filled with golden yellow light. This is the sphere of the sun, at the centre of the solar system, just as the heart is also at the centre of your physical being. Visualise the sun pouring out energy to everything within the solar system. And visualise the tennis-ball-sized sphere of yellow light in the region of your heart with it's own healing energy, drawn down from the spheres above through the shaft of the 'middle pillar' that connects each of these spheres. Other associations here are with what you might call 'higher self', the 'mental plane' and 'the soul'. (The words 'soul' and 'solar' are etymologically connected). This is the central intelligence of the system, the point of balance. Again try and visualise the sphere glowing more brightly with each outbreath.

Next we have Yesod, the foundation, a silver ball of light in the groin area. This is the sphere of instinct or emotional intelligence and it's connected with the moon, and with dreams, and what occultists might call the 'astral plane'. Again, try and foster the sense of the energy coming down from Kether through each of the spheres, down the middle pillar to here. See if you can make the sphere glow again as you breathe, and see the energy going down yet further to

the sphere of Malkuth just below your feet. Malkuth translates as 'the kingdom' and this is the sphere of the Earth, matter, the 'physical plane', and your actual physical body as a whole. The colours here are earth-colours: russet-browns, lime-greens and so on. Try and maintain the sense of the energy moving down the planes from Kether all the way to Malkuth, from the 'universal' to the particular, down the middle pillar to the sphere of Malkuth beneath your feet and your phyical body.

Now imagine this energy broadening out into a spherical cocoon of yellow-orange light centred on the heart, and surrounding your entire body, extending some distance beyond the limits of your physical body. Relax, and let all parts of the system be integrated and energised. Let this happen of it's own accord without forcing anything too much.

OK. It's a good idea with a ritual meditation like this to end in a structured way, making sure that you ground yourself properly, by gradually returning to awareness of your physical body (as opposed to mental, astral, or etheric bodies). Energy that does no 'work' remains only 'potential' energy. It may also be useful to find your own way of ending a meditation like this with an internal 'intention' such as 'let the fruit of this meditation, be stored for right usage in accord with the Tao, in this body. So let it be'. Find a choice of words you feel comfortable with. And in your own time, come out of the meditation.

the tree of life

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Contribution: Richard Ebbs, Leeds, England.

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