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The 10 Sefirot and the 22 paths of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life that connect them. Together they form the 32 paths of wisdom.
If one relates this diagram to the earthly human being, the right side corresponds to the right half of the body, the left side to the left half of the body - it is therefore a picture of the human being as seen from behind or from one's own perspective. In Masonic and Rosicrucian representations, the human being is usually viewed from the front and the left and right sides then appear reversed in the diagram.

Sefirot (also Sefirot, Sephirot or Sephiroth, Hebrewסְפִירוֹת "digits", singular סְפִירָה Sefira) is, according to the teachings of the Jewish Kabbalah, the Hebrew name of the 10 divine emanations[1], which together form the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah (Hebrewעץ החיים Ez Ha-Chajim, or in short עץ חיים Ez Chajim). More precisely, it represents the Tree of Life intertwined with the Tree of Knowledge. The two pillars Jachin and Boaz, which stood at the entrance gate of Solomon's Temple, also correspond to this.

Jachin, the white pillar on the right, is marked with the Hebrew letter י (Jod), which stands for the creative I-power of the Elohim, from which the human I also sprang; it also stands for the male principle.

Boaz, the black pillar on the left, is marked with a ב (Beth), but written without a dagesh, i.e. without a dot, and therefore pronounced as a W. It is the undulating, envelope-forming creative force that gives rise to beings that are more or less separated from the rest of the soul world. It stands for the female principle.

In many depictions, a middle, mediating pillar, the pillar of mildness (Hebrewגסת Gusuth), is also shown. In it, the reconciling Christ-principle already announces itself, which also appears in a similar way in the Revelation of John in the fourth apocalyptic seal image. Together they form the three pillars of manifestation.

The Sefirot Tree symbolises at the same time the heavenly, macrocosmic human being, represented by Adam Kadmon, as a supra-sexual but bipolar male-female being, most perfectly depicted in the earthly human being as a microcosm, but also everywhere else in creation, albeit more imperfectly. Similar to Aristotle's 10 categories, the 10 Sephiroth form a spiritual alphabet with which the whole cosmos can be systematically described in its being and becoming. The 10 Sefirot are connected by 22 paths, which correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet; together with the 10 Sephiroth they form the 32 paths of wisdom.

The 10 Sefirot in Rudolf Steiner's Presentation

In answering questions to a lecture given in Leipzig on 12 January 1908, Rudolf Steiner relates the ten Sefirot to the wheels of the Throne Chariot of God (Hebrewמרכבה Merkabah "chariot") described in the vision of Ezekiel.

„The wheels of the chariot, Merkabah, indicate the turns by which man moves on ahead, and rounds are meant by them. The ten sephirot indicate periods of time, stages of development, through which man has passed. The physical body went through four stages of development: Saturn, Sun, Moon, Earth. Three stages of the etheric body: Sun, Moon, Earth. Two stages of the astral body: Moon, Earth. The I is on the first stage: together there are ten.“ (Lit.: Contributions 32, p. 31)

The wheels experienced as spiritual beings, the Ophanim (Hebrewאוֹפַנִּים), are also equated with the Thrones (Hebrewגלגלים Gagalim "wheels"), who are the rulers of the Saturn sphere.

Rudolf Steiner has pointed out that the 10 sefirot are letters of a spiritual alphabet which can give deep insights into the nature of the human being. The sefirot, now listed here according to Rudolf Steiner's way of designating and arranging them, which partly differs from the usual Kabbalistic representations, are closely connected with the threefold structure of the human being. Keter (crown), Chokmah (wisdom) and Binah (intelligence, discriminating mind) designate the forces acting on and through the nerve-sense system. Chesed (freedom), Geburah (life force) and Tipheret (beauty) act on the rhythmic system and Netzach (overcoming), Hod (compassion) and Yesod (foundation) on the metabolic-limb system. The tenth force, called Malkuth (realm, field), works from the earth.


References to the work of Rudolf Steiner follow Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works (CW or GA), Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach/Switzerland, unless otherwise stated.
Email: URL:
Index to the Complete Works of Rudolf Steiner - Aelzina Books
A complete list by Volume Number and a full list of known English translations you may also find at Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works
Rudolf Steiner Archive - The largest online collection of Rudolf Steiner's books, lectures and articles in English.
Rudolf Steiner Audio - Recorded and Read by Dale Brunsvold - Anthroposophic Press Inc. (USA)
Rudolf Steiner Handbook - Christian Karl's proven standard work for orientation in Rudolf Steiner's Collected Works for free download as PDF.


  1. Strictly speaking, one must not speak of "emanations" here, because according to the Kabbalistic teaching strongly influenced by Isaac Luria, creation did not come into being as an "emanation" of God, but rather through his withdrawal and self-restraint according to the Tzimtzum (Hebrewצמצום ṣimṣūm, literally "contraction" or "withdrawal"). Only in this way was space created for human freedom, but also for evil.