The Seven Palaces & The Cosmic Planes
One principle to keep in mind when working with the Tree of Life is that correspondence is not the same as equivalence. This means that markedly different things can be associated with the same sephirah on the Tree of Life. If there is a correspondence, this implies that there is some quality which relates the otherwise unrelated things, but the things are not identical. For example kings, saviors, lamens, the sun, and beauty all go in Tiphareth, but this does not mean that all these things are identical.
This is nowhere better illustrated than in a consideration of the various cosmic planes, palaces, and heavens. Some of these associations are illustrated by the table which follows. As with much in magic and qabalah, there are several systems of these correspondences, but what is presented here is chosen to be consistent with the other material on this website.
We may think of the cosmic planes as numbering seven, and since we have ten seiphroth, ten must be put into seven. This gives rise to the qabalistic concept of "Ten Halls in Seven Palaces."
An echo of this can be seen in the Beast of Revelation with his seven heads and ten horns.
The Cosmic Planes can be considered the sephirothic levels on the Tree in Atziluth. These are the seven hekhalot (palaces) in the merkavah (Divine Chariot).
In the world of Creation, there are also seven halls, known as the Greater Hekhalot of Briah.
In the psychological world of Formation are seven halls called the Lesser Hekhalot.
The heavens of Assiah are the mundane chakras of the sephiroth and these are given elsewhere. The careful student will note that this table presents correspondences of the macrocosm.
Ten Halls in Seven Palaces
Seven Palaces in Briah
Seven Heavens of Yetzirah
Heaven Presided Over By
Hekel Qadosh Qadeshim
Holy of Holies
The Deepest Hell
Destruction, The Bottomless Pit
Palace of the Purified
Pit of Corruption
Mire of Mud
Hekel Etzem Sehmaim
Gate of Death
Palace of Abundance of Wisdom
Shadow of Death
Yesod & Malkuth
Hekel Garen ha-Saphir
Court of Sapphire
Farthest from Earth is the Seventh Heaven, Araboth, meaning "plains". This is the Holy of Holies, giving way at the next level to the first Palace of Atziluth, the lowest aspect of the Divine Chariot. Araboth contains uncreated objects and is the permanent residence of the seed atom. It may be associated with the emanation of the Supernals. This is the plane of the empyrean which is, at the same time, the Sea of Glass and the Lake of Fire.
Next comes the Sixth Heaven, Makon, called "established place." It is the sphere of Divine Law and may be associated with the emanation of Mercy.
The Fifth heaven is Ma'on, meaning "residence." It is filled with heavenly hosts which sing praises to God. It is aligned with the emanation of Power.
Next comes Zebhul, meaning "dwelling." This is the Fourth Heaven. This is a spiritual Jerusalem corresponding to the emanation Beauty. In this city is a tabernacle, personified by Metatron, with Michael as high priest, surrounded by the souls of martyrs. This also considered the sphere of Messiah.
The third heaven is called Shekhakim meaning "clouds" and is associated with the sphere of Victory.
The Second heaven is Rakiya, the "firmament." This is symbolized by the emanation Glory. This is the sphere of the heavenly bodies, which are endowed with divine knowledge.
The lowest heaven is called Vilon, the "veil," which shields the heavens during the day and descends each night. It is associated with the Foundation and Kingdom. This is the realm of the rainbow and is the place of the precipitants rain, snow, hail, fog, and dew. This is associated with both the bow of Qesheth and the veil of Paroketh. It is the source of dreams and visions.
Prepared by Emmanuel Rose
Ó Emmanuel Rose 2000