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The Hebrew word Malkuth (pronounced "mal-cooth"), is generally translated into English as "kingdom", though in my opinion, "queendom" would be just as accurate.  It is the title given to the lowest of the ten Qabalistic spheres and corresponds to our mundane life circumstance. 

This is the realm of normal, waking consciousness and of our day-to-day interactions with our physical environment.  While its planetary symbol is the Earth, Malkuth is not our physical planet itself.  Rather, it is the symbolic "zone girdling the Earth"; the lens through which all the cosmic forces represented by the higher spheres are focused directly into physical reality.

Malkuth is thus the interface between the purely astral energy matrix and the purely physical matter which naturally adheres to this matrix.  This point of intersection is very dynamic.

Malkuth itself, is not a place that has physical, material density; but it is a place that has astral (emotional) and mental (essential meaning) density.  Over the millennia, humans have pondered this astral realm and fashioned coherent symbols to express their findings.

The primary symbol that expresses the Malkuth interface of astral-matrix with physical-matter, is the division of all things, into Four Elements.  This is depicted by the so called "Cross of Equated Forces".

Contrary to the common orientation of West-Water and North-Earth, in the symbolic space of Malkuth, Fire is the opposite of Water, and Air is the opposite of Earth.  This shifts the Elemental correspondences from the common  West-Water to West-Earth, and from the common North-Earth to North-Water.  Take careful note of this Malkuth orientation.

The circle, divided into quadrants, provides the basic structure of Malkuth itself.  Our Malkuth Temple however, is a square that encloses the central intersection of these four quadrants.  When we enter the Malkuth Temple, we stand at the exact center of the Cross -- the point where the Four Elements are united in perfect balance.

Each side of the Temple is an archway that leads outward to that quarter's Elemental realm.  Thus from within the Malkuth Temple, one can survey all four Elemental realms equally.  Or one has the option of venturing out into the realms of the individual Elements. 

The further details of the Malkuth Temple are designed to facilitate an exploration of this interface between astral-matrix and physical-matter.  The medium of this exploration, is the language of symbols.

Since Malkuth is a symbolic space, our meditation will begin with a journey into the earth -- through a cave entrance and down a natural tunnel.  This tunnel eventually leads to the Malkuth Temple.

The Malkuth Temple will be our permanent rendezvous point, so each meditation will begin with the same journey to the Malkuth Temple.  With our first meditation, we will explore Malkuth; but in the 7 Temple meditations which follow in the series, we will be using the Malkuth Temple only as a launching point for our exploration of higher realms. 


Reaching the Gateway --

Find a private spot, where you are certain you will not be interrupted, and situate yourself comfortably.  Thoroughly relax your body.  Focus on the natural rhythm of your breathing and let go of all mundane concerns.

Close your eyes and visualize a cave entrance. A curtain is drawn across the entrance, bearing a specific symbol.  Focus upon this symbol and picture it as clearly as you can.

Before you stretches a rugged tunnel, hewn by natural forces through the dark bedrock.  It is ten feet wide and as many tall, and extends for 30 paces. Before you proceed, take careful note of its features and build a stable image.

Ten paces in, you come to a torch mounted on the tunnel wall to your right.  Pause here and examine the torch.  Try to perceive it with all your senses: see it, hear it, smell it, feel its heat. Before continuing on, look around and reaffirm your visualization of the Tunnel from your current position.

Another ten paces in and there is a torch mounted on the left wall.  Examine this torch as you did the first and similarly reorient your visualization of the Tunnel's interior.

Another ten paces in and you come to a steep stairway that leads directly upward through a perfectly circular opening in the tunnel roof.  Light pours down the steps from the circular opening above.  There are ten steps -- count them off to yourself as you climb. 

When you reach the top of the stairs, you stand in the Malkuth Temple, facing toward the eastern quarter.  I stand in the southeast corner (ahead, to the right), awaiting your arrival.  [I'm a slender 5'11" tall, have long, wavy red hair, and sport a short red-and-grey beard.  I'll be wearing a simple white ritual robe, cinctured with a blue-and-red belt, and over this, a red, floor length vestment.]

The Temple is built of hewn stone, the floor is translucent marble. At each quarter there sits a low altar, upon which burn two candles.  Behind the quarter altars, veiling each archway, hang curtains made of gossamer silk.

Spend a few moments orienting yourself to the Malkuth Temple.

At the appropriate moment, I will gather the participants together and cast a ritual circle.  I will then lead the participants clockwise around the circle, evoking each of the quarter Guardians, introducing the participants personally to each Guardian, and briefly exploring each of the Elemental realms.

The first realm we will explore is that of the Eastern quarter and the Element Air.


The Guardian of the Element is the archangel Raphael.  In Hebrew, Raphael means "whom God heals".  The healing that Raphael conveys is that of balance -- the essence of the Element Air.

I light the incense upon the altar and say a few words.  As I evoke Raphael's presence, the silk curtain disintegrates and then resolidifies in the image of Raphael.  [Dressed in white, with white wings and a blaze of golden hair.  The rising sun hangs on her/his breast.]

I introduce each participant to Raphael.  The archangel greets each and shares a few private words.

Next we turn to the realm of Air which lies behind Raphael and stretches as far as the eye can see.  We step together through the archway into this realm for a brief exploration . . .


Air is the joining and blending of the opposite qualities of Fire and Water.  It is said to combine Fire's heat with Water's moisture, but to say that Air is "warm and moist" is an overstatement.  Air, in fact, is not "warm"; rather, it is "neither cold nor hot".  For in Air, hot and cold (expansion and contraction) cancel each other out, resulting in a "temperate" neutrality.  In comparison to Water, Air is warm; but when compared to Fire, it is cold.  Likewise, Air is not "moist" per se; rather, it is a middle ground between sopping wet Water and bone dry Fire. 

This mediating, synthesizing nature is the essence of the Element Air.  It is "weightlessness", mediating between the downward gravity of Water and the upward urgency of Fire.  It is the straight line, tending neither upward nor downward of its own accord.

This brings us to another prime aspect of Air -- its mutability.  While Air has no bias of its own, it readily accepts the impress of any force it encounters.  For this reason, the rational aspects of the human mind are associated with Air.

The factor of Air's mutability combined with its tendency toward mediation or balance, establishes Air as the symbol for all communications.  Human speech, writing, etc., all fall under the domain of this Element. 

The anthropomorphic representations, or so called "beings of the Element", of Air are the Sylphs.  These are usually seen as very small, elusive humanoids, possessing translucent wings.  The Sylphs inhabit what is usually seen as a vast misty region, with areas of pristine clarity and other areas of murky obscurity.

I say "usually seen as" here because these symbols are not universal.  For the most part they are cultural; but even within a single culture, these symbols are clothed with infinite variety.  Symbols are ultimately personal, intimate things.  No two of us will experience a symbol in exactly the same way.  A symbol, by its very nature, is an interaction -- between the thing symbolized and the being perceiving the symbol. 

It is important to honor the essential uniqueness of our perceptions.  We each see things in our own unique way.  So if you don't see little flying creatures, don't worry.  Perhaps you are perceiving the Sylphs as thoughts which gently brush against your awareness, or as some other symbol more relevant to your personal experience and temperament.  This is simply Nature's way.

FURTHER  CORRESPONDENCES:  Positive Principle: Mediating, communicating.  Negative Principle: Ungrounding, dispersing.  Bodily Sense: Smell.  Astral Sense: Clairaudience.  Body Part: Chest.  Color & Shape: Yellow Crescent.  Tarot: Swords, Knights.  Misc. Symbols: Incense; feather; sword; sunrise; all things gaseous.  Temperament = Sanguine: (+) Optimism, penetration, joy, diligence, kindness, independence.  (-) Contempt, slyness, dishonesty.


. . . When we are done, we return to the archway (it is always directly behind you -- simply turn around and there it is) and pass back into the Malkuth Temple.  We thank Raphael for his/her hospitality and pass clockwise around the Temple..

The second realm we encounter is that of the Southern quarter and the Element Fire.


The Guardian of the Element is the archangel Mikael.  In Hebrew, Mikael means "made in the image of God".  The image that Mikael presents is one of radiant power -- the essence of the Element Fire.

I light the flame upon the altar and say a few words.  As I evoke the Guardian's presence, the silk curtain disintegrates and then re-solidifies in the image of Mikael.  [Dressed in scarlet red, with flaming wings and bright red hair.  His whole appearance flames.]

I introduce each participant to Mikael.  The archangel greets each and shares a few private words.

Next we turn to the realm of Fire which lies behind Mikael and stretches as far as the eye can see.  We step together through the archway into this realm for a brief exploration . . .


Fire is the archetypal symbol for radiant energy.  It causes expansion, an upward and outward movement, and excitation, in whatever it encounters.  It also consumes whatever it touches; or rather, it transforms whatever it touches into a higher state of being. 

Fire is electric, hot and dry.  It symbolizes the divine and the human will, strength, power and passion.  Its effects range from the changeably severe, to the steadily nurturing.  At whatever level one encounters it, Fire is always active, and always communicates  its heat to its surroundings. 

The "beings" of Fire are called Salamanders, and are usually described as having a reptilian appearance.  This stems from the angular nature of Fire which tends to manifest symbolically in elongated salamander-like shapes.   The Salamanders inhabit what is usually seen as an exciting realm of dancing flames, erupting volcanoes, and so on.

FURTHER  CORRESPONDENCES:  Positive Principle: Energizing, empowering.  Negative Principle: Consuming, burning.  Bodily Sense: Sight.  Astral Sense: Clairvoyance.  Body Part: Head.  Color & Shape: Red Triangle.  Tarot: Wands, Kings.  Misc. Symbols: Flame; red candle; wand; high noon.  Temperament = Choleric: (+) Courage, enthusiasm, resolution.  (-) Gluttony, jealousy, irritability, destructiveness.


. . . When we are done, we return to the archway and pass back into the Malkuth Temple.  We thank Mikael for his hospitality and pass clockwise around the Temple.

The third realm we encounter is that of the Western quarter and the Element Earth.


The Guardian of the Element is the archangel Gabriel.  In Hebrew, Gabriel means "whom  God made strong".  The strength Gabriel possesses is the power of solidification -- the essence of the Element Earth.

I speak a few words and the great crystal upon the West altar shines forth with an inner radiance.  As I evoke the Guardian's presence, the silk curtain disintegrates and then re-solidifies in the image of Gabriel.  [Dressed in dark browns and greens, with  black wings and jet black hair.  Her/his wings are not for flight, but for enclosing us in a gracious hug of greeting.]

I introduce each participant to Gabriel.  The archangel greets each and shares a few private words.

Next we turn to the realm of Earth which lies behind Gabriel and stretches as far as the eye can see.  We step through the archway into this realm for a brief exploration . . .


Earth is the opposite of Air.  Where Air is weightlessness, Earth is weightiness.  Where Air mediates between opposing influences, Earth takes those influences to their extremes of manifestation.  Earth is coalescing, solidifying, crystallizing, grounding.  It is the foundation from which Fire moves upward, toward which Water descends, and over which Air hovers.

Part of the mystery of this Element is that it does not exist in and of itself.  Which is to say, it is the product of the interaction between Fire, Air and Water:  When Fire meets Water, Air results.  When Fire and Water then interact through this medium of Air, the three-part interaction is called Earth.  The positive Fire and the negative Water unite to form the neutral Air; together they form the dynamic positive-neutral-negative electro-magnetism of Earth. 

Some say that Earth is not a "true" Element, but this is a fine point of philosophy and consequently not of much importance to practical experience.  In practice, Earth is every bit as much an Element as Fire or Water.

Our overall consciousness itself (seen as a conglomeration of various Fiery, Airy and Watery aspects brought to singular manifestation) and the physical organism which houses it, are both attributed to Earth.  As are all things heavy and solid.

The words solid and stocky, best describe the "beings" of Earth, called Gnomes.  They are usually seen as short, thick, dark, bearded, clothed in simple utilitarian garb, and very friendly to humans.  Their realm is subterranean and they happily enact all of Nature's underground mysteries.

FURTHER  CORRESPONDENCES:  Positive Principle: Grounding, solidifying.  Negative Principle: Blocking, halting, obscuring.  Bodily Sense: Touch.  Astral Sense: Clairsentience.  Body Part: Legs, bones, flesh.  Color & Shape: Black Square.  Tarot: Disks, Princess'.  Misc. Symbols: Dirt; salt; cornucopia; pentacle; sunset.  Temperament = Phlegmatic: (+) Endurance, consideration, punctuality, responsibility, objectivity.  (-) Unreliability, unscrupulousness, dullness, laziness.


. . . When we are done, we return to the archway and pass back into the Malkuth Temple.  We thank Gabriel for his/her hospitality and pass clockwise around the Temple.

The fourth and final realm we encounter is that of the Northern quarter and the Element Water.


The Guardian of this Element is the archangel Haniel.  In Hebrew, Haniel means "whom God made gracious".  Haniel expresses her grace as a magnetic fluidity -- the essence of the Element Water.

I speak a few words over the Water chalice sitting upon the altar, and a beautiful rainbow suddenly appears.  As I evoke the Guardian's presence, the silk curtain disintegrates and then re-solidifies in the image of Haniel.  [Dressed in flowing bright blues and watery greens, with  seafoam wings and seaweed brown hair.  Her embrace feels cleansing, as if a refreshing current of water has passed through one's entire body from head to foot.]

I introduce each participant to Haniel.  The archangel greets each and shares a few private words.

Next we turn to the realm of Water which lies behind Haniel and stretches as far as the eye can see.  We step through the archway into this realm for a brief exploration . . .


Water is the polar opposite of Fire.  It is cold, wet, constrictive, magnetic , and downward tending.  Where Fire is angular, Water is curvilinear and fluid.  Where Fire is brute force of will, Water is the undeniable force of emotion, feeling and intuition, and of persistent effort.  Fire cleanses by burning-away: Water cleanses by washing-away.  Fire nurtures by exciting things to life: Water nurtures by calming things to a sustainable rhythm.. 

The Element Water is the archetypal ocean, mother of all life.  She is filled with potentialities, each pursuing their own path toward manifestation.  It is a beautiful and alluring realm, populated by "beings" called Undines.  These creatures are usually seen as half fish or dolphin, and half human.  Usually the upper half is human, symbolizing the evolution from primal-form into final-form.  They speak the language of emotions and communicate beauty in their form and actions.  They symbolize all of Nature's watery ways. 

FURTHER  CORRESPONDENCES:  Positive Principle: Healing, creating, flowing.  Negative Principle: De-stabilizing, constricting.  Bodily Sense: Taste.  Astral Sense: Clairfeeling.  Body Part: Abdomen.  Color & Shape: Blue Circle.  Tarot: Cups, Queens.  Misc. Symbols: All liquids; chalice; seashells; midnight.  Temperament = Melancholic: (+) Compassion, respectability, modesty, calmness, devotion.  (-) Shyness, indifference, depression.


. . . When we are done, we return to the archway and pass back into the Malkuth Temple.  We thank Haniel for her hospitality and pass clockwise, returning to the Eastern quarter.

When the astral ritual is complete and we have explored each of the Elemental realms, I will release the circle casting.  Participants will then exit the way they came:  down the stairs, along the tunnel, out the cave entrance, ultimately returning to normal physical awareness.

Follow-up Work --

Immediately write down a few notes outlining the key points of your experience.  This will help bring your more ephemeral astral experiences, firmly into the grasp of your normal waking consciousness.  It will also greatly facilitate the integration of those experiences into your daily life.

In the days immediately following your Malkuth meditation, focus your attention upon perceiving the Four Elements as they manifest in the world around you and within you.  As you notice the things in your environment, analyze them and try to discern their Elemental composition.  What Element predominates in this or that thing?  How are the other, less predominant, Elements manifest? 

Do not be too rigid in your analysis.  Remember that all things exist in combination.  What seems at first glance to be pure Fire for example, is in reality a combination of all four Elements.  They must all four be present for physical manifestation to occur.

Likewise analyze your interactions with other people.  What Element predominates in your exchange?  How are the other Elements manifest? 

And finally, turn this analysis inward and examine your internal world of mental and emotional responses to the outer world.  What Element predominates in the personality you manifest?  How are the other Elements manifest?  Again, I caution against being too rigid in your analysis.

Return regularly to the Malkuth Temple and pursue a further, more thorough exploration of the Elemental realms.  Explore not only their external, universal meaning and significance, but also search out their internal, personal meaning.  In other words, use the Elements to connect your internal world with your experience of the external universe.  The Elements can be a handy tool for understanding the inner and outer worlds, and a powerful tool for effectively uniting these all-too-often disparate realms.

As you become more familiar with each of the Four Elements, focus your efforts upon the personality you manifest.  Examine your personality closely and analyze it with the tool of the Four Elements.  Determine which parts of it correspond with which of the Elemental influences, and in this way, thoroughly catalogue the personality you currently manifest.  Do not, at this point, engage in changing your personality -- for now, you are only to catalogue it and come to know its current parameters.

While working in the Malkuth Temple, be sure to carefully cultivate your friendship with the Quarter Guardians.  Treat them always with kindness, respect and with absolute honesty, and they will become true friends.