Deepening Our Approach to the Middle Pillar
by Mark Stavish
I was recently asked by some students who had worked extensively with the Middle Pillar as outlined in Kabbalah for Health and Wellness, and its three levels of practice as described therein, on how to deepen one’s personal understanding of the exercise. Of course, it is clear from what is written in Kabbalah for Health and Wellness, that the Middle Pillar exercise as given by Israel Regardie in his short work, The Art of True Healing, is the best and most complete way to work with the Elemental energies as they relate to the psychic centers, for those working a modern kabbalistic path. That is, it is the best method for those seeking something very clear, clean, and effective without having to include an overabundance of theory.
However, for those blessed of burdened by an overactive need for understanding how things can and do often link together, here is a very effective and time proven method for deepening your practice of the Middle Pillar, as part of connecting to all of your esoteric practices, and not simply your so-called Kabbalistic ones.
When we work with the energies of Kether, or Crown, we are invoking the energies of Nature, or Cosmos, or the universe as it is, or Actuality. That is, life as it actually is, free from our personal neurotic mental habits and tendencies projected onto it. For this reason, it is the basis, source, or fountainhead for all that is regardless of our perceptions or understandings. Here, things simply are – that is why it is Being, or I Am – the Point, or Seed of Origination.
When we invoke the forces of Daath, or Knowledge, this is the domain of our personal meditational deity, or devotional ideal. Here, we begin to understand the cosmic forces within ourselves, others, and the cosmos, but in a very personal manner. Here is where the power of our prayers originates from, and the power of sacred speech and the magical voice that calls out in longing for the divine lover to appear and unite with us. Within our psychic being, this sphere has tremendous effect over our psychic health, energy flow, and anatomy. Our psychic and physical transformation begins here, that is why we imagine our meditational deity of choice in this location.
When we contemplate the energies of Tiphareth, this is the House of the Lord, the teacher who aids us on our Path. It is the devotion, loyalty, and love that we have for our outer teachers, recognition of their sacrifices for us and others, for without them we would not be able to advance on the Path of Return; and the Inner Master, our self as it is, unvarnished by our neurotic tendencies and habits. This is who we are. Here, also is recognition of our relationship to others, to all the beings of the various dimensions and worlds. Without this recognition and understanding, no magical powers can manifest themselves, this is why it is a place of sacrifice, for we learn to put others before ourselves, and sacrifice our need to be important, our pride. This is how our love transforms from personal love, to genuine impersonal love, wherein we treat everyone equally with compassion, and with insight and understanding of their capacities. This is not foolishness, but hard earned wisdom. Here we imagine our teacher, but also all our teachers, the lineage tree of the Community of Saints, the Household of the Faithful, embodied in the one or handful who have inspired and instructed us.
When we experience the energies of Yesod, we experience the underlying essential bliss and transformative nature of the cosmos and ourselves. The sexual arousal that often accompanies working with Yesod is vital in that it reminds us of the very basic desire of all beings to experience happiness, of which sexual release is the most basic and innate desire and expression. Here, we directly engage our neurotic and confused ideas about our self, others, and the cosmos. Our personal reality as it were, our ideas about life that may or may not reflect the essential purity, activity, and totality of Kether. The sense of separateness is strong, and overcoming it is what allows us to become the Adept we dream of becoming. Here, all weakness, error, failure, and suffering is the result of our own making, and it is hear, by experiencing joy and happiness, for ourselves and others, that we have the fuel to power us on our way up the Tree of Life. This is also the domain of the Guardian of the Threshold, or Guardians of our own mind and life. Through their activation, and conscious engagement as both projections of our past and refusal to change, we can turn this trainload of karma racing through our mind into a force for engaging life, and healthy protection, rather than neurotic defensiveness. This is guarded by the Flaming Sword that burns away our neurotic habits, and therefore, the destructive and aggressive assaults of others as well. Here we imagine The Angel with the Flaming Sword.
In Malkooth we experience the world as it is, even if we do not understand it that way. Here, all of the beings of the worlds are present in a magical kaleidoscope display of interacting relationships. Here, we see the pure powers of Kether everywhere at all times – if only we get out of our own way long enough to recognize it – to see holiness in daily life. Here angels, demons, ghosts, and hosts of invisible beings surround us, and each person we meet is an archetype incarnate. Yet, we have trained ourselves not to see, and the purpose of esoteric practice is to train us to see and experience things as they are – to remove our obscurations, our neurotic mental habits that bind us – and to learn how to be “I am” in the midst of things.
Thus, if you like, imagine in Kether this essential ideal of the reality as it is and yearn to experience it directly. In Daath, imagine your meditational deity, the god or goddess of your devotion (this is the force of awakening, of illumination) and ask that your prayers be empowered and fulfilled. In Tiphareth, imagine your teacher, surrounded by your other teachers, as well as your fellow students, and reaffirm your devotion and heart felt gratitude towards them and all they have done for you to help you awaken to your Inner Master. Let this spread and imagine everyone you have encountered across the day, and all the beings of the various dimensions and worlds from the highest heavens, to the lowest hells. Let your heartfelt waves of love, and rays of light, reach out to them and bless them all – including all those who you have had a bad relationship with. Here is were and how it is to be repaired. In Yesod, rest in the joy of bliss and happiness that the cosmos is, and let it remove all fears and concerns. Recognize the eternally changing nature of things, and yet, the eternally blissfulness and happiness that is always present within us regardless of external circumstances. In Malkooth, awaken to the magical display of the Elements, the planets, the zodiacal signs, and all the various symbols and archetypes as they are vividly alive and present within, before, and around you.
Then, as you circulate the energies, recognize that this is all a fabrication to help us on our way, and simply rest in meditation experiencing things as they are.
Here then, is a simple way to deepen and integrate your understanding of the Middle Pillar, and how it can be central to our illumination.