There are also four horizontal levels: universal (1, 2, & 3); individual (4, 5, & 6); personal (7, 8, & 9); and physical (10).
Following the numerical order of the spheres illustrates the descent of the Unity into the plurality of matter. As the universal descends into the individual level, it polarizes to right (4), then left (5), and then equilibrates (6). The same is true as the individual descends into the personal realm -- it polarizes to the right (7/Venus/emotions/force), then to the left (8/Mercury/rationality/form), and then balances those two in Yesod (9/Moon/ personality).
In this series of meditations, we're following the reverse-numerical order and working our way up the diagram. Thus far, our Temples have been stationed along the pillar of equilibrium, but now we are straying to the left hand pole of form.
It's important to keep in mind that Hod is polarized, for to experience the whole of Hod we must bring to it a balanced understanding of our personalities. Without that balance, it is easy to get lost in the minutia of Hod's complexity and conclude that the universe is a strictly rational thing after all. Likewise with Netzach -- without a balanced approach, it is easy to be swept away by the primal emotions encountered there and conclude that the universe is completely irrational after all. Both of these polarized perspectives are correct and at the same time incorrect. Only when joined together do they accurately know that the universe is both rational and irrational.
The Hod Temple is known as the "Library of Hermes". This library has eight (the number of Mercury) sides and is six (the number of the Sun) stories tall. Each of the solar-six levels have 12 (the number of the zodiac) arched doorways paired with 12 bookcases. Conversely, each of the mercurial-eight sides have nine (the number of the Moon) archways and bookcases. There are thus 72 ( 6x12 = 8x9 = 72) archways with corresponding bookcases in total. [This illustrates the Qabbalistic "72-fold Name of God" which, due to its overwhelming complexity, I won't elucidate here.]
The intention is to symbolize that all of human thought is gathered here in the library of Hermes. Each archway leads to a chamber in which you can explore a rational understanding of a specific aspect of the universe's complexity. The bookcase to the left, abutting the black pillar of each archway, is filled with books relating to that archway's explorable subject matter.
With familiarity, this library can become for you a busy, alive place. Within each chamber you will find both students and teachers pursuing a specific subject. There is even a librarian who will help you find your way around!
I say "with familiarity" because it usually takes several exploratory visits before one connects with this level of Hod and accesses the guidance that comes with it. My first visits to Hermes' Library were solitary and somewhat confusing. I couldn't read the writing in any of the books and didn't encounter either students or teachers, let alone a librarian! Then one visit, I encountered a teacher and from that point on, my awareness of other presences rapidly increased.
For our introduction to the Hod Temple, we will be choosing a specific book from a specific bookcase and entering a specific archway. The book will contain Paul Case's statement, "#8: I look forward with confidence to the perfect realization of the eternal Splendor of the Limitless Light." Within the chamber, we will encounter a teacher who will lead us in a rational exploration of this statement's meaning.
This illustrates one way of working with the Hod Temple -- select a book, pass through the archway with it, and access a rational exploration of the book's topic. This works best if you know what book to choose and where to find it, but in the absence of this knowledge, this method can also be used to discover what an archway's subject matter might be. For instance, you could select a book at random, pass through the archway with it, and then try to read it while inside the chamber. Ask aloud for guidance and visualize the presence of a teacher to assist you.
An alternate approach, especially effective if you don't know where to find something, is to seek guidance as to where to find the archway and bookcase corresponding to your chosen subject matter. Simply stand in the center of the library and state your need. Listen for and then follow your intuition (this inner voice is the "librarian" I mentioned) and you will be guided to the correct archway and book.
You can also search the library by teacher, asking for guidance to a specific teacher instead of a specific subject matter.
Lastly, you can also just open yourself to the recommendations of Hod's inner guidance and ask "Elohim Tzabauth, what do I need to learn at this moment?" This can lead to some amazing experiences!
MEDITATION #3: HOD
Begin as before: pass through the Cave Entrance, along the Tunnel passage, up the ten steps, and into the Malkuth Temple where I stand awaiting your arrival.
When all the participants have arrived, I will gather us together and cast a ritual circle.
Once our circle is cast, we will spend several moments together in the center of the Malkuth Temple, holding hands in a circle and bringing our awareness of the presences of the other participants into focus. As you look around the circle, try to sense the unique presence of each participant.
At the appropriate moment, I will bring our focus to the East quarter altar -- our gateway to Hod.