A Depth of Beginning: Notes on Kabbalah by Colin Low

By Colin Low

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What I am trying to do is show that the process whereby form is impressed on matter (the relationship between Yesod and Malkhut) is not arcane, theosophical mumbo-jumbo; it is an issue which is alive and kicking. There are hard and unresolved philosophical questions about the nature of form and its relationship to matter which have been ignored for too long. The closer we get to “real things” (and that certainly includes living organisms), the better the Kabbalistic model looks (that form precedes manifestation, that there is a well-defined process of form-ation with the “real world” as an outcome).

Malkhut is the sphere of the physical elements and Kabbalists still use the four-fold scheme which dates back at least as far as Empedocles and probably to the Ark. The four elements correspond to four readily observable states of matter: solid liquid gas plasma +Aethyr Zenith Fire S E W Air Water N Earth earth water air fire/electric arc (lightning) Nadir -Aethyr In addition it is not uncommon to include a fifth element so rarefied and arcane that most people (myself included) have difficulty saying Figure 10:The Elements & the Cardinal Points 30 The Sephiroth really there.

This viewpoint is akin to sweeping evil under the carpet, and in the case of Kabbalah the carpet has tended to be Malkhut. Malkhut became the habitation for evil spirits. If one examines the structure of the Tree without prejudice, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that evil is quite adequately accounted for; there is no need to shuffle evil to the lower periphery of the Tree like a cleaner without a dustpan. The emanation of any sephira from Chokhmah downwards can manifest as good or evil depending on circumstances and the point of view of those affected by the energy involved.

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