by Joumana Medlej
This is the first of a series of artworks based on the magical images of the ten Spheres of the Tree of Life. I have mentioned in a previous article the Christian teachings that one can obtain from the Qabbalah; I now propose the magical images that work somewhat like traditional icons and are a tool for contemplation. I have adopted for the series a format that presents some of the correspondences for each Sphere. There are so many that there was no way I could use them all anyway, so I made an arbitrary choice giving priority to aesthetics.
Malkuth, the Kingdom, is the 10th Sphere; its position at the very bottom of the Tree means that it is the densest point of manifestation, in other words the physical world we know so well. There is a tendency, and this mistake is especially made in Christian thinking, to despise this specific sphere through what represents it: materiality, the body, the senses. The Qabalah reminds us that the will to ascend from Malkuth to Kether is ever reciprocated by the will to descend from Kether to Malkuth, and that this is a holy cycle we can only break by refusing to acknowledge the miracle of physicality. The young woman that is used for the magical image of Malkuth is crowned, and I believe that this is no accident but a hint at the intimate bond between Kether, the Crown, and Malkuth, the Kingdom - a hint that is already present in their names. Moreover, the woman expresses the extraordinary receptive quality of Malkuth: it carries reference to all the other spheres.
The figure in the picture is this "young woman veiled and crowned" mentioned above. The connection to the Blessed Virgin Mary was so obvious in the description that I made the crown one of stars to emphasize this relationship.
There are four scales of color associated to each Sphere: King, Queen, Emperor and Empress. I used the King Scale, yellow in this case, as the main background, and arranged the three others in the form of a bar. They are: citrine-olive-russet black (the colors of the Archangel of Malkuth, Sandalphon); the same flecked with gold; and black rayed yellow. The element for Malkuth is Earth, and that is represented by the texture in the background.
Astrologically Malkuth corresponds to the Four Elements, the symbols for which border the halo behind the figure. To the side I have added a diagram of the Tree showing Malkuth's relationship to the other Spheres, above a geometric shape that serves as one of the symbol for the Kingdom.
Finally, I have added hints as to the Paths that go from Malkuth to Yesod, Hod and Netzach: they are suggested by the Hebrew letters standing for their respective Paths, and placed accordingly: Shin, Tau and Qoph.
Diagram and article by Joumana Medlej (©)
I was born in 1979 in Beirut, Lebanon, and am graduating next month in the Design major of the American University of Beirut. I was raised in "practical" Christianity and developed a taste for the Occult early on. The Tarot and the Qabalah are my pet occult subjects.
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