Tree of Life
The Tree of life is considered to be a map of the universe and the psyche, the order of the creation of the cosmos, and a path to spiritual illumination.
The ten spheres represent the ten archetypal numbers of the Pythagorian system. There are said to be 32 paths on the Tree of Life. The first 10 are the Sefiroth (not including Daat). The remaining 22 correspond to the lines or channels of energy that join the Sefiroth together. Each of these, in turn, corresponds to one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
The Crown ('Kether' in Hebrew): the Creator Himself.
Wisdom ('Chokhmah'): Divine reality/revelation; the power of Wisdom.
Understanding ('Binah'): repentance/reason; the power of Love.
Mercy ('Chesed'): grace/intention to emulate God; the power of vision.
Strength ('Gevurah'): judgment/determination; the power of Intention.
Beauty ('Tiferet'): symmetry/compassion; the power of Creativity.
Victory ('Netzach'): contemplation/initiative/persistence; the power of the Eternal Now.
Splendour ('Hod'): surrender/sincerity/steadfastness; the power of Observation.
Yesod ('Foundation'): remembering/knowing; the power of Manifesting.
Kingdom ('Malkuth'): physical presence/vision and illusion; the power of Healing.
The Kabbalistic tree of life has evolved over time. Its basic design is based on descriptions given in the Sefer Yetsirah, or Book of Creation, and expanded upon in the enourmous Kabbalistic text Zohar, the book of Splendour. The ten sephira, similar to the Norse tree of life, are divided into four realms:
Atziluth: the realm of the supernal, beyond which is the ain, or no-thing.
Beriah: the creative world, of archetypes and ideals.
Yetsirah: the world of formation.
Assiah: manifest creation, the material world.
Tree of Life does not only speak of the origins of the physical universe out of the unimaginable, but also of man's place in the universe. Since man is invested with Mind, consciousness in the Kabbalah is thought of as the fruit of the physical world, through whom the original infinite energy can experience and express itself as a finite entity. After the energy of creation has condensed into matter it is thought to reverse its course back up the Tree until it is once again united with its true nature. Thus the Kabbalist seeks to know himself and the universe as an expression of God, and to make the journey of Return by stages charted by the Sephiroth, until he has come to the realization he sought.