Divine Energy

In kabbalistic thought, a Sephira is a channel for the Divine energy we know as the life-force. The Kabbalah describes an intermediate stage that came about as an emanation of God's infinite light and which was created during the process of Creation. This intermediate stage consists of ten channels and is experienced by human beings as finite reality. These channels are known as the Ten Sephirot.

Three Axes

The Ten Sephirot as outlined by the Kabbalah can be charted and include three axes: right, middle, and left. Even though Kabbalistic thought speaks of 10 sephirot, Kabbalistic literature makes reference to 11 of these emanations. The reason for this dichotomy is due to the fact that one Sephira, Keter (Crown), and another Sephira, Da'at (Knowledge), are considered to be different dimensions of one force.

Keter is considered to be the subconscious of the soul. When this force takes on the shape of the conscious, it manifests as the Sephira of Da'at. When one lists the Sephirot, one lists either Da'at or Keter and not both, since these are in essence, the same Sephira. However, it is possible to utilize all eleven of the Sephirot at one and the same time.

Human Form

Kabbalistic texts depict the Sephirot as running in a vertical manner across three axes or "Kavim," running parallel to each other. Each axis stands for an aspect of the Divine influence as it affects Creation. The literature refers to the depiction of the Ten Sephirot as a "Sulam" (ladder) an "Etz" (tree) or a "Tzelem Elokim" (image of God). The latter expression is a reference to chart's resemblance to the human form, which according to the biblical text, was created according to the image of God. Continuing with this same analogy, each Sephira is linked to specific organs or limbs corresponding to their position within the Sephirotic structure.

Common Theme

The Sephirot interact through a series of interconnecting channels or "Tzinorot." These channels illustrate the way in which Divine energy imbues all of Creation. The connections show how the Sephirot can interconnect to create subgroups. All the subgroups containing a given Sephira will reflect a common theme.  

The Sephirot are divided into three groupings of three. Each group of three consists of three levels: right, center, left. The first group of three concerns the powers of the mind and includes Da'at or Keter, Chochmah (Wisdom), and Binah (Intuition). The second group of three consists of the heart's emotions as they exist prior to any action. This grouping consists of Chessed (Loving kindness), Gevurah (Courage), and Tiferet (Glory). The third group of three is concerned with behavior and actions and consists of Netzach (Eternity), Hod (Majesty), Yesod (Basis). This last grouping also concerns the emotions, but only as they become manifest through behavior.

The endpoint is Malchut (Kingdom) and is sometimes seen as an extension of the third group of three and sometimes as an independent state of being that takes in the energies of the other Sephirot and is what emerges as a result of all the soul has experienced.