The upper garment of the Individual-self is the universal influx of light in which we all partake. This is symbolized by the spheres numbered 1, 2 and 3. Only the lowest of which is given a planetary attribution (Saturn, #3). By this we are to understand that only a small portion of this higher influx can be symbolized -- the rest remains forever incommunicable, forever incapable of symbolization. In other words, the realm of Unitary consciousness hinted at by the uppermost spheres, can only be understood by direct experience.
As the Tree of Life illustrates, the Individual-self is the level at which we contact that higher influx directly. If we seek it directly from the physical level, we look up and find that intermediary levels of self stand between it and ourselves. Likewise, that higher influx must pass downward through these same intermediary levels of expression before it reaches the physical level.
The practical consequence here is that our consciousness must rise from physical-self, to personal-self, and from there on up to Individual-self, if we wish to experience the higher influx directly.
This fact of nature is used to advantage in a path of initiation (any course of intentional self-realization). The initiate takes responsibility for the personality and consciously self-crafts a personality and life circumstance that more clearly reflects the Individual level of self. In this way, the flow of light from Individual to personal levels of self occurs with less mediation.
When that same process is carried out upon the Individual-self and the Individual consciously self-crafts an Individuality that more clearly expresses the influx of higher light, then the flow of light between the Greater and the Individual levels of self also occurs with less mediation. The end result is that the connection between the higher influx and the physical manifestation becomes so clear as to be functionally a direct connection.
Tiphareth has two basic faces. The first is its inward and upward looking receipt of the higher light. The second face is its downward and outward looking radiation of that light into personal and physical manifestation. Our Tiphareth meditation will touch upon both these aspects.
To reach Tiphareth, we will first pass from Malkuth to our familiar Yesod Temple, rising from physicality to personality. Then from Yesod, we will rise to Tiphareth. This is called "rising on the planes" and is a form of sphere-working which has very integrating effects upon the internal structure of the self.
Once we reach Tiphareth, we will explore the Individual perspective. At first, the experience is one of looking down upon one's personality and physical life circumstance with a surprising degree of detachment. From Tiphareth, the petty concerns of daily life are seen from a much broader perspective and one's relationship with the universe is fixed in a more inclusive context than the merely personal.
After examining our current radiation, we will then turn our attention upward and examine the influx of higher light.
The Tiphareth Temple exists at the very center of a large city. This city is none other than the fabled City of Gold, where the buildings are all built from bricks of solid gold and the streets are cobbled with more of the same. Everything is decorated with the most precious jewels, but most especially, with perfect diamonds. In full sunlight -- and the City of Gold always stands in the full sunlight -- it is a nearly blinding sight.
The City has 12 sides (though some say it has 16), each of which corresponds to one of the 12 signs of the zodiac. This 12-ness is reflected throughout all the City's structures, including the central Temple.
The Temple itself is the City's innermost chamber, its Holy of Holies. It is the point of equilibrium and the place where equilibration is enacted. At the center of the Temple, there floats an immense, radiant diamond, suspended in mid air over a six-sided pool of absorbent blackness.
The diamond has 400 perfectly cut facets, each of which radiates a clear brilliance far brighter than a hundred suns.
The six-sided pool is actually an opening in the floor through which the diamond radiates its light into the relative blackness of astral and material substance. Through this hole, we will look down to our current personas (Yesod) and life circumstances (Malkuth).
The broadsword that lies upon the edge of the pool, represents the power that the Individual-self wields over the personal and physical aspects of self. It is also a complex statement about the nature of time, referring to the only place where power is truly wielded -- the now.
At the personal, physical level, we experience now only from a present-moment perspective. Our present-moment is of immeasurably brief duration and seems to move ever forward. It's that cutting-edge where what-has-been meets the ever-new face of what-will-be. The present-moment is thus a dynamic state of constant change -- it is the only place where we can wield our power to self-craft.
The Individual however, has a broader experience of now, one whose present-moment includes the whole portion of eternity that has thusfar transpired for it. The Individual therefore wields power within a now that includes all of its "past" incarnations. Its experience of now is of the same quality as our personal experience, except that the Individual's now is inclusive of a larger quantity of time. For the Individual, what-has-been and what-is are intimately united in the experience of the present-moment.
Thus the broadsword represents: #1) the Individual's power to project its will (its light) down into the specificity of time-space and personal incarnation; and #2) the Personality's power within its present-moment now, to wield that higher light and self-craft.
Each of the 12 walls of the Temple are marked with one of the signs of the zodiac. Below each, there is a curtained archway, through which flashes the same sign. This is meant to symbolize the two aspects of these archways.
Their first aspect is that they lead outward into the City of Gold, each offering a different tour of the City. Since the City symbolizes the Individual's entire body of incarnations, exploration of it opens the initiate to past memories and their attendant responsibilities.
Their second aspect, the aspect we'll be exploring in our meditation, is that they are also doorways that let in the 12 zodiacal influences. The influx of these 12 universal influences combine to form the white brilliance radiated by the central diamond.
There is no ceiling to the Tiphareth Temple. Instead, it opens onto the star-filled depths of outer space. This is a paradox, considering that if you pass through one of the archways and step out into the City of Gold, the sky above is filled by the light of a single sun.
This day-star symbolizes the constancy of the Individual's influence throughout the body of its incarnations. The stars seen in the sky from within the Temple however, symbolize the Individual's context within the greater universe. Each of those stars strewn across the infinite depths of outer space, is a similar City of Gold -- each one of which is equilibrated by a unique Individual-self.
MEDITATION #5: TIPHARETH
Begin as usual: 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 Tiphareth. Hovering over the altar, we see a large cut diamond which seems to shine with an inner light. Behind this we see the same curtain and symbol we encounter at the Cave Entrance.