Tree of Death
Superior knowledge and carnal urges. The Tree of Death is a Tree of Pain, Self-Acceptance, Growth, and Change. A void, rather than a place, the Tree of Death is more of a metaphor than a dimension of existence. How does a tree grow? In fertile soil, watered and cared for, blessed by the elements or by a gardener that tends to it. But what of clay? Or desert sands? Or soil barren? Can a tree grow there?
No, it cannot. What must one do to grow the tree in this soil? Break the clay, till the Earth, burn that which remains. The tree of Life is for anyone to grow and ascend, but some cannot. Not for any failings of the Tree of Life, in which we all live, but due to themselves. Circumstances of trauma, abuse, suffering in Life causes the soil of the soul to never be able to flourish. The tree of death is a descension, yes, but one that those choose as a path to enlightenment. It is here where you will face your demons, literally, and be confronted with your past, your abuse, your life, in ways that open old scabs and burn the past so the tree can flourish. There is not a single path to enlightenment, but many, and there are those that need to fall in order to fly, the descend to ascend. Rip the flesh bare, to reveal their own godhood.
The Creation of the Priest in the Book of Ceremonies states:
I have descended the Tree of Death to take my place in Thaumiel as its sole ruler of the Shadows.
The Tree of Death is a shadow of the Tree of Life and takes the negative aspects of the Sephiroth into Shells that invoke the primal and sinister nature of man. We have as a Shell of Malkuth, Lilith, as ruled by Na’amah. It plays on the unusual desires of the mind and allows the seeker to break out of the confinement of the self. It is the entrance point to the Qliphoth, the moist vaginal walls of the cavern opening.
Upon penetrating this dark point of no return, you enter Gamaliel, home of the Demon Queen Lilith. This is the womb of the tree, a deep, damp pool of vile images that produce putrid results. It is the manifestation of unhealthy sexual desires and invokes obsession. It is the confrontation of one’s own sexual repressions, obsessions, and fears. It confronts the disturbances of our inner most desires to face what we repress and grow from it. It is a Shell of temptation as it is comforting and alluring. You may be confronted with things beyond your imagination here. It is a trial of going through your desires set on fire.
In the next Shell we discover the fallen and failed creations of our efforts as ruled by Belial. This is the energies which destroy the logic of Hod. This confronts the ideas and efforts that are futile and should be abandoned. It teaches tolerance and forgiveness for your failures and recognizing useless energy wasted. You will find the root of your desires, where they come from, and the purpose to your vague aspirations.
A’arab Tzereq is Asmodeus’s domain and refines the emotions and gains powerful motivation ruled by the heart. It is the unbridled energies to achieve goals. To be out of sync with this shell is to have lust and greed that destroys the self and others you love. It takes on the previous lies that you believed as truth, the death of old lessons and the light that beckons new experiences and open-mindedness. There is a clarity in the soul and a cleansing of falsehoods.
Thagirion as ruled by Belphegor depicts groaning over ugliness. What is it you despise in life and in yourself? What changes have you refused to make because of laziness and sloth? These forces wallow rather than adjust. It is the absence of God and beauty and is the loneliness of the universe. It is a breaking of habits and a step past your own ignorance to reveal truths that even you have hidden from yourself.
Astaroth rules Golochab and burns that which should not be burned. This is a test of weakness, self-doubt, and exhaustion, allowing the self to let go of things that no longer have relevance. You will travel through the Nine Hells in the Shell and each Hell will bring a struggle to overcome your own faith, comforts, and imprisonments. They will tempt you and capture you if you allow it. They build on each other and will have a lesson you must learn in order to progress.
Ga’ashekelah is ruled by Lucifuge who discards pipe dreams and inner self-hatred: The deepest sense of loss you possess. The desires of your heart are brought to the light and sacrificed in order to move forward. What you learn here will be determined on the lessons you have learned along your way to this point.
Sathariel is ruled by Eisheth Zenunim and seeks to conceal the nature of a perfect God. This simplifies the spirit as spiritual principle is hidden. This is a labyrinth of chaotic riddles that cast out the weak and allow only a few to forge forth. It is a place of understanding dark creation from the riddles that you solve and a voidance of those you choose to ignore. The time in this Shell gives you lessons and the materials needed to create in the next realm.
Ghagiel is the kingdom of Samael. He shows there is truth within all lies and deception within all truths. You will be handed the tools of creation and unsettling truths revealed to you. You will be confronted with a version of the self you wish to protect or hide, and it is this sacrifice of the self you must make in order to achieve Godhood.
Finally there is Thaumiel, the duality of God which is ruled by Moloch and Satan. Here it is revealed that you are the creator of the self and all. You will learn how to effectively learn how to use the tools given to you and gain a vast understanding of the universe and the demonic workings. As the Writ states from the Book of Ceremonies, Tree of Death:
Thaumiel is the division of that which is perfect only in unity. Thaumiel was before the revolt, enabling these angels who sought to become more powerful by adding an Aleph to their name. They then became the ‘Duality of God,’ an order of the lesser demons.
This passage shows us that we are in duality with the universe and are never truly alone while being singular and isolated all at once. We hold the dualities of the universe in our hands, both right and left, as there is never truly light without darkness and there is never truly a benevolent deed without selfish intent. The Tree of Death holds the unloading of our emotional baggage and the upheaval of the self-inflicted limitations. It is a path many of us will tread, deliberately or on accident. When it is on accident the upheaval is destructive and the consequences are dire. This breeds the need of control over our own destinies, which we, as sorcerers, seek to always obtain.
To study and practice is the foundation of magick. Knowledge breeds control of the self and the environment around you. In order to help gain the tools of creation from the Tree of Death we must use our mundane efforts to engage in basic knowledge of the occult. Book of Kings, V. King Satan, 3-7 states:
3. He is the outsider, the independent thinker, and one many came to follow for his power of autonomy he granted his disciples.
4. He is a herald of sin and pleasure, the fire within the beast and man.
5. He is the desire of man and is his nature to yearn for truth.
6. To take on his mark is to accept the beast within you and indulge in man’s carnal appetite for himself.
7. His disciples know his mark and the legions he controls.
This fire and beastly urges come from a life of passion and study of the occult. The seekers of truth and to take his mark is to intellectually be superior to those of the average Abrahamic following. As the tilling of the soil may be accomplished through the Tree of Death, all fruit will wither without the waters of knowledge. For the sapling, the watering comes from the rains of knowledge by books written from within and without the coven. For those that achieve the ranks of Priest and Priestess, the roots extend and pull the water of knowledge from the universe itself. The latter cannot be achieved without the former, so do not neglect those studies.