Kabbalah and Anthroposophy: a Comparison


The Kabbalistic Tree of Life

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I share here a chapter from the book Kabbalah and Anthroposophy that exemplifies how the agreement between Hermetic Kabbalah and Anthroposophy can be expressed.

Those who have stumbled upon the cross-references between Felkin's Stella Matutina and Steiner's Misraim Service will surely have wondered how to reconcile Hermetic Kabbalah and Anthroposophy. The task seems arduous because of the different terminologies and processes involved in the two systems, but since both of these traditions spring from the original source of the Ancient Mysteries, they certainly have a relationship although it is difficult to discern it since it resides on a higher spiritual level, lost both in history and in the various currents of the West. We will see how the Rosicrucian pursuits are the key to understand how to relate the Hermetic Kabbalah with Anthroposophy.

Following Steiner's indications we can draw a parallelism between Kabbalah Worlds, Sephiroth and the Seven Metamorphoses of the Earth. The most concise and illuminating reference dates from January 12, 1908, an answer given after a lecture in Leipzig:

The ten Sephiroth refer to periods of time, stages of evolution, which the human being went through. The physical body went through four stages of evolution: Saturn, Sun, Moon and Earth. The ether body three stages: Sun, Moon and Earth, the astral body two: Moon and Earth. The I is in its first stage. Together this makes ten.

Following Steiner’s indications we can establish a parallelism between the Worlds of Kabbalah, the Sephiroth and the Seven Metamorphoses of the Earth on which spiritual science is based. To better comprehend how this can happen, it is necessary to describe the correspondence between Metamorphosis of the Earth and the orbits of the planets in the present 172nd Physical Condition of Form (Globe). Although there is not a direct relation between the names of the present day planets and the names of the Seven Days of Creation, it indeed exists at the level of the planetary orbits themselves. In fact in anthroposophy, every Planetary Metamorphosis happens in the boundaries of a certain planetary orbit of the solar system:

  1. Ancient Saturn in the orbit of Saturn;

  2. Ancient Sun in the orbit of Jupiter;

  3. Ancient Moon in the orbit of Mars;

  4. Present Earth in the orbit of the Earth;

  5. Future Jupiter in the orbit of Venus;

  6. Future Venus in the orbit of Mercury;

  7. Future Vulcan in the orbit of the Sun.

At first we can notice that, cabalistically, if Saturn is placed in Daath, then the Sun is placed in Tiphareth, the Moon is placed in Yesod and the Earth is placed in Malkuth. These are in a straight line descending on the Middle Pillar from Kether through four worlds which are also four stages of condensation from warmth to solid, thus giving the same overall sequence of the Metamorphosis of the Earth. Now we can go on to describe the process of evolution descending from spirit into matter both from the kabbalistic and the anthroposophical point of view. Starting with the comparison between the Four Worlds of Kabbalah and the Metamorphoses of the Earth:

  1. Ain, the Nothing; Ain Soph, the Limitless; Ain Soph Aur, the Limitless Light: the three Veils of Negative Life correspond to the Great Cosmic Night (in theosophical terms called Mahapralaya) between two planetary chains of the Great Cosmic Day (Mahamanvatara), in which Creation manifests itself in different stages of increasing complexity, going forth from the One (Kether) to the many (Malkuth). In the Cosmic Night only a spiritual seed remains of what existed before, this will give birth to the new worlds, heavens and beings, each one continuing its earlier evolution. This corresponds, cabalistically, to the multiple creations which existed before our present one. Man, whose body is here a purely potential seed, at one with the Cosmos, he is the Adam Kadmon before separation. Cabalistically Adam Kadmon is in fact the fifth world, before and beyond the four following worlds. It awaits in the womb of the Ain Soph having all the subsequent worlds in itself, then unfolding out of it.

  2. Atziluth, the World of Archetypes, Yod: element of Primal Fire, condensation to Warmth-Fire, Sephiroth: Kether, Chokmah and Binah. It corresponds to the Metamorphosis of Ancient Saturn, which took its name from Saturn attributed to Binah, or alternatively placed in Daath on the Middle Pillar. Ancient Saturn takes place in the Buddhic World (or World of Foresight) which happens in the element of warmth (the Primal Fire). This metamorphosis is internally delimited by the present orbit of the planet Saturn (Binah) and externally from the Zodiac Belt (Chokmah). The Thrones (hierarchy of Binah) give their Spirit-Man substance to form the seed of the physical body of man. Man and the Earth are still one, and man is at the mineral stage having only the perception of temperature, composed by spheres of warmth (Neshamah) which will eventually form the body of man and the planet Earth. The state of consciousness is the one of trance which corresponds to the Adam Kadmon before the descent into the Veil of the Ancient of Days: here he is one with God.

  3. Briah, The World of Creation, first Heh: element of Primal Water, condensation to Light-Air, Sephiroth: Chesed, Geburah, Tiphareth. It corresponds to the metamorphosis of Ancient Sun, which takes its name from the Sun in Tiphareth on the Middle Pillar. The world in which Ancient Sun mainly takes place is the Mental World (Devachan) which takes place in the state of warmth and light. If we follow the alchemical principle of condensation, as in anthroposophy, Air follows Fire, but we can also say that air and water are both fluids, thus both can be taken to represent primal rarefied fluid in which warmth condensed. This the element of Primal Air can also be substituted for Primal Water. This metamorphosis is internally delimited by the orbit of the present planet Jupiter (Chesed), and externally by Saturn (Binah, of the previous metamorphosis). The Dominions (hierarchy of Chesed) gave their Vital Spirit substance to form the seed of the vital body of man. Man is composed by warmth (Neshamah) and air (Ruach), in the form of calyxes, the plant-man, with a polarity between body-Earth and life-Sun, being able to perceive light and dark. The state of consciousness is one of dreamless sleep, which cabalistically corresponds to the Adam Kadmon before the descent beyond the Veil of Paroketh.

  4. Yetzirah, the World of Formation, Vau: element of Primal Air, condensation to Sound-Water, Sephiroth: Netzach, Hod, Yesod. It corresponds to the metamorphosis of Ancient Moon, which takes its name from the Moon in Yesod on the Middle Pillar. The world in which Ancient Moon mainly takes place is the Astral World which takes place in the state of warmth, light and liquid. As before, in a cabalistic context we can substitute the element of Primal Water with Primal Air, in this case a synthesis and compensation of Primal Fire and Water. This metamorphosis is internally delimited by the orbit of the present planet Mars (Geburah) and externally by Jupiter (Chesed). The Virtues (hierarchy of Mars) gave part of their Spiritual Self substance to form the seed of the astral body of man. Man is composed by warmth (Neshamah), air (Ruach) and water (Nephesh), in the form of a fish, the man-animal, being able to perceive sounds. The state of consciousness is one of dream, which cabalistically corresponds to the Adam Kadmon after the descent beyond the Veil of Paroketh.

  5. Assiah, World of Action, final Heh: Primal Earth, condensation to Life-Earth, Sephiroth: Malkuth. It corresponds to the metamorphosis of the present Earth, which takes the name from the Earth in Malkuth on the Middle Pillar. The world in which it mainly takes place is the Physical-Etheric World which is in the state of warmth, air, liquid and solid (element of Primal Earth), having in itself all the four materialised elements. The metamorphosis is delimited internally by the present Earth (Malkuth) and externally by the Moon (Yesod). It hides within itself the so called Eight Sphere, in which all the spiritual impulses go to die. The Eight Sphere thus corresponds to the Tree of Death of the Qliphoth placed beyond the Earth quadrant of Malkuth in Assiah. The Elohim (hierarchy of the Sun) gave their I substance to form the I principle to man, the implications of this are fully explored in Anthroposophy and the Mysteries of the I Am of Man and Christ. Man is composed by warmth (Neshamah), air (Ruach), water (Nephesh) and solid (Guph), with the five physical senses. The state of consciousness is wake, which cabalistically corresponds to Adam and Eve after the Expulsion from Paradise.

We can notice many levels of parallelism: the names of the planetary metamorphoses correspond to the Sephiroth on the Middle Pillar. Also there is an almost perfect correspondence between the planets involved in the evolutionary process and the emanation sequence of the Sephiroth. The main difference lies in the inversion of the Air and Water states, here Kabbalah shows pair of opposites, first the primary elements, Fire and Water, which are parents to the secondary elements, Air and Earth. While Anthroposophy draws its elemental sequence from western alchemy, from the subtler element, Fire and then Air, to the densest, Water and then Earth. But overall these discrepancies do not compromise the general validity of the parallelism, especially considering that Air and Water are exchanged even in two of the fixed signs of Astrology: Aquarius or Water-Bearer is assigned to Air and Scorpio or Eagle is assigned to Water. This is also a key mystery in the Tarot de Marseille.

This parallelism extends even in the final goal of evolution which from matter ascends again to spirit in a conscious manner, in other words as the process of Tikkunof Kabbalah, the Restoration or Reintegration. It starts in Assiah and ascends towards Atziluth:

  1. Assiah: ascendent half of evolution from matter to spirit, when man passes from material thought in the Physical World to living thinking in the Etheric World. In the Tree of Life in Assiah, with which correspond to piercing beyond the Veil of the Profane or Maya in Malkuth;

  2. Yetzirah: corresponds to the condition of Future Jupiter in the Astral World in the orbit of Venus (Netzach), which is the next metamorphosis of the Earth, its next overall incarnation. Then man will lose the physical body and will ascend to the rank of Man-Angel, acquiring the Spiritual Self, corresponding to the cabalistic Neshamah. The state of consciousness will be Imagination, which is Moon clairvoyance (Yesod) in full I consciousness, it corresponds to the meeting to meeting one's own Holy Guardian Angel of Kabbalah, as in anthroposophy Imagination, or picture consciousness, is the stage of consciousness of the Angels.

  3. Briah: corresponds to the condition of Future Venus in the World of Thought (Inferior Mental) in the orbit of Mercury (Hod), which is the sixth metamorphosis of the Earth. Then man will lose the etheric body and will ascend to the