Thirty Two Paths of Creation

Elder Gideon
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Thirty Two Paths of Creation

#1 Postby Elder Gideon » Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:24 am


With much discussion regarding Otiyot-Letters being sins "etched on bones" and Tzaddikim having the power to rearrange, even erase these 'mispellings', I was drawn to Table 2 prepared by Aryeh Kaplan in his commentary on Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation (6-7).

Below, one will find two lists how classical Kabbalah attributes the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom applied to the first Creation story. There are thirty-two repetitions of the Divine name Elohim. Each statement and action of Elohim here corresponds with either a sefirah (emanation) or a netivah (path).

I'm certain with more contemplation, the relationship between otiyot (letters) and the netivot (paths) they weave between sefirot (emanations) will clarify their talismanic qualities of our experience of being and becoming.

(Keter) In the beginning when Elohim created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep,

(ה) while a wind from Elohim swept over the face of the waters.

(Hokmah) Then Elohim said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light.

(ב) And Elohim saw that the light was good;

(ו) and Elohim separated the light from the darkness.

(ז) Elohim called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

(Binah) And Elohim said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’

(א) So Elohim made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so.

(ח) Elohim called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.

(Hesed) And Elohim said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.

(ט) Elohim called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas.

(ג) And Elohim saw that it was good.

(Gevurah) Then Elohim said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it.

(ד) And Elohim saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

(Tifaret) And Elohim said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so.

(מ) Elohim made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.

(י) Elohim set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness.

(כ) And Elohim saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.

(Netzach) And Elohim said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’

(ל) So Elohim created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind.

(פ) And Elohim saw that it was good.

(נ) Elohim blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

(Hod) And Elohim said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so.

(ש) Elohim made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind.

(ר) And Elohim saw that it was good.

(Yesod) Then Elohim said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’

(ס) So Elohim created humankind in [the] image,

(ע) in the image of Elohim s-he created them; male and female s-he created them.

(צ) Elohim blessed them,

(Malkut) and Elohim said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’

(ק) Elohim said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so.

(ת) Elohim saw everything that s-he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.


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request for more clarity regarding the Netivot & the Oti

#2 Postby Jon » Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:47 am

Shalom Tau Malachi, Brothers and Sisters,

Can you share your clarity and insights regarding the difference between the Netivot and the Otiyot?

I’ve seen the term Netivot used extensively throughout the years here in the forum, but the term Otiyot is relatively new to me. I’m understanding now that the Netivot refer specically to the pathways, or channels, between the various Sefirot, including the Sefirot themselves; whereas the Otiyot refer specifically to the letters themselves.

If I build off of this understanding, it seems the Netivot refer more specifically to the direct relationships certain Sefirot have to those they’re immediately joined to (although I’m also aware that each of the Sefirot are directly connected to all the others, too, since the Tree of Life is deeply interwoven). Or another way of saying this, the Netivot seem to reveal how certain constellations of Sefirot intimately relate to each other. For example, Hokmah has 4 netivot, or pathways, connecting it directly to Keter, Binah, Chesed and Tiferet. Therefore, these four netivot represent different relationships Hokmah has with these other three Sefirot. Depending on whether one is descending the Tree of Life, or ascending it, it seems the flow through these netivot changes. For example, if descending, there seems to be one ‘inflow’ channel into Hokmah through the netivah connecting it to Keter, and three ‘outflows’ through the netivot connecting Hokmah to Binah, Hesed, and Tiferet. And if ascending the Tree of Life, there are three ‘inflows’ into Hokmah from Tiferet, Hesed, and Binah and one ‘outflow’ from Hokmah into Keter.

Do these inflows and outflows reveal something about the dynamic of giving and receiving, or even something of the concept of reaching and not reaching until there is reaching, that the various Sefirot have in relationship to each other? What other insights can be shared about the kind of relationship(s) between the netivot that links a sefirah to other sefirot?

And as for the Otiyot, to differentiate these from the netivot, it seems these represent the various intelligences, powers, or forces that are channeled through the various Netivot. From what I’ve learned so far, each otiyah (sp?) carries with it distinct insights into the multitude of intelligence(s) woven into Creation throughout the various Olamot. Thus the various Divine Names and Partzufim of Atzilut, along with the multitude of beings-forces interwoven throughout the Olamot of the Entirety, all derive from the Otiyot proper of Adam Kadmon.

To begin putting this all together, in studying the 32 Paths of Wisdom mentioned in Sefer Yetzirah (distinct from the utterances of Elohim mentioned in the previous post, but no doubt related, too)—the 10 netivot of the Sefirot themselves plus the 22 netivot linking the various Sefirot to each other—it seems these descriptions (ie, Glaring, Glowing, Illuminiting Intelligences) remain fixed in their order as one descends the Tree of Life. For example, in a descending flow, these descriptions seem to go from least-restrictive and most-transcendant to most-restricted and most-immanent. Furthermore the 22 netivot linking the various Sefirot to each other also have one of each of the 22 Otiyot ascribed to each netivah, and this changes depending on which Kabbalistic system one uses. For example, the Otiyot ascribed to the various Netivot on the Jewish Tree of Life are different than those on the Christian Tree of Life.

So, is my understanding correct in that the Path (Netivot) descriptions remain fixed even as the Otiyot ascriptions change depending on which Tradition one follows?

Putting this all together (which is likely going to be too much of an over-simplification), might the Otiyot and Netivot together then represent the various consciousnesses, or maybe appearances/experiences, that arise from the various intelligences (Otiyot) as they flow through the various pathways/channels (Netivot)?

With a better understanding and deeper clarity of these concepts, added to Brother Gideon's+ initial post in this forum regarding the 32 Paths of Creation (the 32 utterances of Elohim), I’m quite certain the environment will be enhanced to draw out and unfold more mysteries of the Messiah (the Human One of Light) and the Kingdom of Light.

Most gratefully,
~ brother j ~

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From Twenty-Two to Thirty-Two

#3 Postby Elder Gideon » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:06 am

Shalom Jon!

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
(Psalm 25:10)

Indeed, you're accurately distinguishing twenty-two otiyot-letters from thirty-two netivot-paths. The building blocks of absolutely everything are twenty-two otiyot-letters, whose primordial reality is rooted in the olam of Adam Kadmon. Part of the mystery the tikkune of this olam involves the ordering of these twenty-two letters, 'spelling' structures of partzufim--which are also Divine Names--by which Ain Sof Or could continue to successively stabilize itself through archangels, angels, and celestial bodies of this material plane.

As the Periodic Table of Elements 'spell' all physical structures, so the twenty-two otiyot 'spell' every metaphysical structure. Chemical equations are claims, statements, about a discrete physical phenomenon. If I were born Jewish and I was blessed to merit the contemplation of Kabbalah, I might see a scripture in Torah not only as words or numbers, but as an energetic equations as well!

Physical and metaphysical structures are not stacked as archaic models proposed, but are intricately woven. The more deeply the math and the physics can probe astronomical and sub-atomic structure, the more as groundless, bottomless, all is revealed. An ultimate foundation cannot be found. Rather, everything is suspended, woven. Tau Malachi has often said that when such scientific measures can integrally incorporate the element of consciousness, then a breakthrough beyond our imagination will unify all knowledge. What's holding everything together in a groundless suspension is consciousness.

For Kabbalah, this reality is woven by paths, which are curiously ten more than the twenty-two otiyot. Your post implies this inquiry which fascinates me as well: If there are twenty-two base otiyot, what are the ten sefirot that they sum thirty-two netivot? How is a sefirah also a path?

Apparently, the thirty-two netivot are the first phenomena structured by the twenty-two otiyot. Reading the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom, one discovers that the first ten correspond to the sefirot of the Tree of Life; the twenty-two following correspond to the otiyot. Altogether, there are thirty-two netivot, pathways, each of which is translated (by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan) as a discrete consciousness. When I remember that any intersection of paths forms a transition, a gate, I begin to see how a sefirah, an emanation, is a transitional gate as well. Perhaps the twenty-two otiyot become thirty-two netivot by way of ten specific intersections: Sefirot are intersections and intersections are sefirot.

Indeed, outflow (masculine) and inflow (feminine) characterize each sefirah. The relativity and relatability of the ten sefirot are their twenty-two interconnecting otiyot. The fact that these twenty-two weave in such a way as to create intersections, which are sefirot, raises another mystery of paths. If intersections are transitions, then they are gates as well, which is a classical metaphor in Kabbalah for the sefirot. Rabbi Gikatilla discourses magnificently on the sefirot precisely in this way: Sha'are Orah, Gates of Light. Beginning in Malkuth, which he calls the First Gate and the Tenth Sphere, he takes his disciple up all the way to Keter, the Tenth Gate and First Sphere. Remembering teachings of the cherubim, who are living gates, their entrance and realm is also their body at one and the same time. Perhaps it is similar with the sefirot: their entrance and realm is their consciousness at one and the same time.

It is in this way that I'm hearing a sefirah is also a path, a consciousness, and a path-consciousness is a sefirah. This integrates how there are twenty-two otiyot and thirty-two netivot. Many more questions live in this alone which may extend the conversation further. I'm sure this much here, however, is enough for this moment.

Your word is a lamp to my feet,
a light upon my path!

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Practical aspects of Netivot

#4 Postby gregor » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:57 pm


I am just beginning a study of letters and paths and I am interested in practical aspects of this study. I understand that Hebrew letters and netivot are important for theurgy – we manifest something with speaking and aligning with spiritual energies behind words. In terms of spiritual development and developing Christ consciousness is there any particular practice that gives a way how to proceed in terms of different Netivot. My current practice is Middle pillar, which invokes the power of sephirot. Is there in tradition something similar how to proceed with netivot or is this more individual in initiates?


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Re: Thirty Two Paths of Creation

#5 Postby Martina » Sun Mar 29, 2015 4:59 am

Greetings Gregor!

As a starting point when studying the letters and corresponding netivot we can for instance remember all that we know about them and contemplate their place on the tree of life and the sefirot that they are connecting. We can include into this contemplation the corresponding Path of Wisdom as they are described in the 32 Path of Wisdom. This is a practice I found very helpful.

Shabbat Shalom,

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Re: Thirty Two Paths of Creation

#6 Postby Tau Malachi » Sat May 02, 2015 3:05 pm

Shalom Brother!

First we study and contemplate the Otiyot, the holy letters, their attributes and various words that begin with them, and these give us correspondence of the Netivot when understood; joined with this, as Martina has shared, we contemplate the union and interaction of the Sefirot connected by a Netivah because the Netivah are their combined energy and the various exchanges of energy that may occur between them. In this you may understand that, on one level, the Netivot are the connections between the Sefirot, and they are established when Atzilut arises as the tikkune of the shattering of the primitive Sefirot of Adam Kadmon at the outset of creation; hence, an order is given to the Otiyot as the Names of God and Partzufim are generated and the Sefirot of Atzilut come into being.

It’s also good to bear in mind that in the brief text entitled “Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom” the Sefirot are included among “Netivot,” and in this text each is said to correspond with a mode of consciousness. Meditating upon the thirty-two sayings of this mystical text that describe the spiritual powers of the Netivot is another way of gathering insights into them. (This can be found in Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s translation and commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah published by Weiser.)

When we wish to invoke the spiritual power of the Netivot most often we do so through envisioning or forming the corresponding letter and meditating upon it.

This is a good way to begin contemplating the Netivot, and naturally over the years we continue to acquire knowledge and understanding of these mysteries of creation and God.

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