It is no doubt that the enneagram has roots in Western mysticism with one of its threads being traced to Kabbalah. Kabbalah is a system of Jewish Mysticism where the Creator (En Sof – one that’s unknowable and inaccessible/Yahweh) and the Creation are not separate beings that forms duality but rather we immanently find the Creator within his Creation and the Creator reveals aspects of himself through the Tree of Life. The tree of life is the most important symbol in Kabbalah. Each of the circles are called sephirah (plural sephiroth) which can be described as centers of god-consciousness while the 22 paths connecting the sephiroth together are energy channels. There are many ways to divide The tree of life and one way is through the 4 worlds model. Each world is symbolized by one of the Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton or the Divine Name of God. Each world corresponds with an element and the minor arcana represents the signs and planets traversing down The Tree of Life. These worlds corresponds to the removal, differentiation, and undifferentiation from En Sof. These worlds can be viewed from two directions – from the top down – the direction of creation or from the down top – the direction of man’s transcendence to the Divine. I’m going to proceed via the direction of creation. A friend and I discussed the Kabbalic and Buddhist influences of the enneagram. She proposed that the 4 worlds of the Kabbalah corresponds with the head, heart, and gut triads, and the 4th world is the world of enlightenment. But from here on out, I’ll go into detail into how this works.
Figure 1: http://www.soul-guidance.com/houseofthesun/treeoflifetraditional.htm
“ATZILUT, fire, the holistic world of deep divine intuition and of beingness with God. Reality is merged; all is one. This is the world of essence, where we recognize ourselves as being a spark of God’s fire. It is not we who pray; rather, God prays in us. With God’s own eye we see ourselves. Chaya and Yechidah soul aspects.” – This is the realm of enlightment/Living Daylight. From the top-bottom model, we are born into this state, but our holding environment (to use Almaas terms) precipitate our fall from this state. From bottom-top direction our goal is to reach this state.
“BRIYAH, air, the symbolic world of the intellect, of contemplation, of pure thought. Everything is part of a pattern in this world; everything has a meaning. We understand ourselves as being the result of intended, loved, and continuous creation. Here we are commanded to exert ourselves to know and to reach the very edge of what is thinkable and understandable. This is the reality of poetry, wonder, intuition, and visualization. In this world, we can work with symbols and with dreams. Neshama soul aspect.” – this corresponds to the head triad
“YETZIRAH, water, the subjective world of vital feelings; the world of affect, of nuance, of aura, of sensitivity, of visceral and proprioceptive feelings. Things are seen as synchronistic in this world. This is the world of interdependence and relationship issues. Here is where our emotional being is attuned, where negative feelings of resentment, frustration, vindictiveness, and paranoia can be replaced by an attitude of gratefulness, appreciation, and joy. Here we can learn empathy, humility, and awareness of our own mortality. Ruach soul aspect.” – heart triad
“ASSIYAH, earth, the objective world, where we live with our bodies in the physical world of action, including action for spiritual purpose. This is the world of sensible, concrete facts and their data. Here we are conscious of the physical realm and the laws of nature as we observe them. Here we are aware of being a creation of God. This is the world of duality, in which everything is seen as separate, and subject to cause and effect. This is also the world of the life force, the senses, the breath, experiencing freedom and love of life, being the God-wrestler. Guf (body); Nefesh soul aspect.” – gut triad
In an older thread I have written this – In the Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Briah is associated with water and emotions (and intellect) while the Yetzirah associated with air and form. The associations are switched:
Atziluth is the first of the 4 worlds and it is the domain of the Primordial Fire. This fiery domain activated and gathers the other three worlds. This is associated with the Suit of Wands and the fire signs traverse this world. This the realm of pure divinity and the worlds are birthed by fire. Masculine energy. The cause or spark.
Briah is the world of creation and the domain of the Primordial Water which represents the fluid, inventive Min. This is the world of Pure Intellect. Feminine Energy. This world is associated with the Suit of Cups and water signs. The cause gives way to creation.
Yetzirah is the third level known as the world of Formation and the domain of Primordial Air resides here. The etheric blueprint behind the material universe is found here. The suit of swords and the air signs are associated with this world. From the creation of the universe we are able to get the form of the universe. This is also the most unstable world of them all as the suit of swords traverses through it.
Assiah is the final world, the world of Action. Primordial Earth resides here. The four elements both physically manifest in sensation and in the hidden properties of matter. Form makes room for action. This world is associated with the suit of Pentacles and the earth signs.
Each world, except for Assiah, contains 3 sephiroth which can be loosely associated with the 9 types. There are a lot of structural issues with this nonetheless. The worlds’ associated sephiroth don’t neatly correspond on a one-to-one basis with the types associated in each triad but rather the association is more general.
In the future, I would like to explore the structure and actual mathematics of the enneagram.