Malkuth or Malchut (Hebrew: מלכות "kingdom") is the tenth and lowest sefira on the Tree of Life of the Kabbalah. It alone stands for the sensually experienceable physical world (Assiah), in which the I awakens to I-consciousness. In Kabbalah, it is also equated with Shekhinah (Hebrew: שכינה, derived from the Semitic root שָׁכַן š-k-n "settle down, abide, dwell"), the Kingdom of God on earth, understood as the "indwelling" or "dwelling place" of God (YHWH) in the people of Israel.
Malkuth forms the tenth path of the 32 Paths of Wisdom and is also called the radiant intelligence.
„Now let us listen more closely to such an ancient initiation, for example an Essaean initiation of pre-Christian times. This Essaean initiation was also connected in a certain way with the fact that the I-feeling had been tuned down. That which gives man his I-feeling in our earthly existence, that which looks out on outer perceptions, had to be suppressed at that time. You need only look at the most trivial things in everyday life and you will say to yourself: In that different state where man is in the spiritual world during sleep consciousness, he does not have his I-feeling; he has it only in daytime consciousness when he is distracted from the spiritual world and his gaze goes out into the physical-sensual world. So it is with the present earthly man, and also with the earthly man for whom the Christ has worked on earth. For the other world, the I is not at all awakened for the normal conditions in the human being of the present time on earth. The Christ-initiation should consist of the I remaining awakened in the higher worlds in the same way as it is awakened in the outer world.
Now look very closely - just so that we can characterise something with it - at the moment of waking up. This moment presents itself to us in such a way that the human being comes out of a higher world and submerges into his physical body and etheric body. In this moment of immersion, however, he does not see the inner processes of the physical body and etheric body, but his perceptive faculty is, as it were, diverted to the surroundings. Everything to which the human gaze falls at the moment of awakening, everything that the human being overlooks, whether with the physical perception of the eyes or with the physical perception of the ears, or whether he reflects on it with the intellect bound to the physical organ of the brain, everything that he perceives in the physical environment, is called "the kingdom", Malkuth, in the language of the ancient Hebrew secret doctrine. So we could ask: What was connected with the expression "the kingdom" in the ancient Hebrew language? Everything was connected with it in which the human I could consciously dwell. This is also the most precise definition of what was associated with the expression "the realm" in ancient Hebrew: that in which the human I can be present. If we hold fast to this expression, we must say that what is meant by "the realm" in ancient Hebrew is first of all the world of the senses, the world in which the human being is in a state of wakefulness with complete maintenance of his I.“ (Lit.:GA 123, p. 146ff)
„So man feels bound to the earth; that he can stand on the earth is the foundation, is Yesod. The fact that he has such a foundation is also due to the forces that come to him from outside.
And then the forces of the earth itself act on him (arrow 10), not only the surrounding forces, but the forces of the earth itself act on him. This was then called Malkuth. We would translate it today: the field on which the human being works, the earthly outer world; Malkuth - the field. It is difficult to coin a correct expression for this Malkuth, one can say: realm, field; but all things have actually been misused, and today's names no longer designate precisely this, what the old Jew felt: that the earth actually acts upon him.
We need only imagine that we have here the middle of the human being; there a thigh-bone begins, on each side of the human being - this goes here up to the knee, there would be the kneecaps. All these forces also act on this bone; but the fact that it is actually pierced in such a way that it is actually a tube, comes about through the penetration of the earth's forces. So all that where the earth forces penetrate, that is what the old Jew called Malkuth, the field.“ (Lit.:GA 353, p. 216ff)
„All the old initiations were calculated to suppress that very thing which man has as his I-feeling in overlooking Malkuth, the kingdom. That had to be extinguished. Therefore one can say that one could not be a human being in initiation in the same way as one is a human being on the outside in the physical world. One was indeed led up into the spiritual world, but one could not be as human as one is outside in the kingdom. So for the old initiations in particular, a thick line would have to be drawn between what the initiate experienced and the way he felt in his I. And if one wanted to put it in a sentence, it would have to be the way he felt in the physical world. And if one wanted to put into one sentence what was advocated for the old initiation in the old secret schools, as it could apply to the public, one would have to say: No one may believe that he may keep the same I-feeling which he has in the kingdom, in Malkuth, if he wants to become an initiate. He experiences the three times three qualities in their truth in a tremendously great way by growing up; but he must divest himself of what is his I-feeling, what is experienced in the outer world. What is experienced as Netzach, Yesod, Hod, and so on, cannot be carried down into the kingdom, cannot remain connected with the ordinary I-feeling of man. - That was common sentiment. And one would have had to consider him a fool, a madman and a liar, who would have contradicted this assertion in the old times.
But it was the Essenes who first taught: The time will come when everything that is up there can be brought down, so that man can experience it in spite of the maintenance of the I-feeling. This is what the Greeks then called βασιλεία τών ούρανών. This was first the teaching of the Essenes, that one would come who would carry down that which is above, that which is in the "realms of the heavens", for the I who lives in Malkuth, in the realm. And this was also what Jeshu ben Pandira first taught his Essenes and some of those around him with mighty words. If we wanted to summarise his teaching in a few striking words, as it was carried on through his disciple Mathai for the next time, it could be done in the following way.
Jeshu ben Pandira first said out of his inspiration, which came to him from the successor of Gautama Buddha, from the Bodhisattva who will one day become the Maitreya Buddha: Hitherto it has been so that the kingdoms of the heavens could not be carried down into the kingdom of Malkhuth, to which the I belongs. But when the time shall be fulfilled, when the three times fourteen generations shall have expired, then shall be born out of the tribe of Abraham, out of the tribe of David, whom we shall live to see as the tribe of Jesse - Jesseans or Essaeans - one who shall carry down the nine attributes of the kingdoms of the heavens into the kingdom in which the I is present. - And what has been taught in this way has caused Jeshu ben Pandira to be stoned as a blasphemer, because such a teaching was regarded as the worst blasphemy of the Initiation by those who did not want to let it arise and did not want to realise that something which is right once for one period need no longer be right for another, because humanity is advancing.
Then the time came when what had been said before was fulfilled, when the three times fourteen generations were really full, when that corporeality could really emerge from the blood of the people into which Zarathustra could incarnate, so that after he had trained it with the instruments that were in the body of the Nathanian Jesus boy, he could offer it up to the Christ. The time had come when the forerunner of the Christ could say that now the time was coming when the "kingdoms of heaven" would approach the I who lived in the outer kingdom, in Malkuth.
And now we will understand what the Christ, after he had gone through the temptation, first had to set himself as a task. He had gone through the temptation by the power of his own inner being, by what we today call his I. He had reached the point where he could overcome all the beginnings of the temptation. He had overcome all the challenges and temptations that come to man when he descends into the astral body, the etheric body and the physical body. This is also clearly shown. All the egoisms are represented, and in such a way that we are everywhere made aware of the highest degree in them.“ (Lit.:GA 123, p. 155ff)
„That was to be achieved, that what separates the two worlds no longer exists, and that man can ascend to the spiritual worlds with the I that lives in Malkuth. This was achieved for humanity by overcoming the temptation as described in the Gospel of Matthew. This was achieved in that now in a being that lived on earth there was the model image of the carrying up of the I for the kingdom into the higher kingdoms and higher worlds.“ (Lit.:GA 123, p. 160f)
- Rudolf Steiner: Das Matthäus-Evangelium, GA 123 (1988), ISBN 3-7274-1230-5 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
- Rudolf Steiner, Anna R. Meuss: From Beetroot to Buddhism: Answers to Questions. CW 353. 16 lectures, Dornach, March 1 to June 25, 1924. Rudolf Steiner Press 1999. ISBN 978-1855840621; eBook ASIN B07N9MBW26 (2013) rsarchive.org
- Rudolf Steiner: Die Geschichte der Menschheit und die Weltanschauungen der Kulturvölker, GA 353 (1988), ISBN 3-7274-3532-1 English: rsarchive.org German: pdf pdf(2) html mobi epub archive.org
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- AlHaTorah Concordance: שָׁכַן
- Michael Berenbaum, Fred Skolnik (ed.): Encyclopaedia Judaica. Vol. 18. 2nd ed. Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. p. 440-444