The Placement of IIH, PME and KTQ on the Hebrew Tree of Life
>> Interesting - where would you place IIH and KTQ? I had never thought of placing the books on the Sephiroth before; I thought they related to the Major Arcana (and thus the Paths). <<
They do relate to the paths but keep in mind that paths connect sephirot. The path Gimel (The High Priestess in Tarot), to which PME corresponds, connects (in the Hebrew Tree) Gedulah with Chokmah, hence my attribution of Gedulah in terms of an initiatory, upward journey.
IIH corresponds to the path Beth (The Magician) which connects Tiphareth with Kether, representing the rise along the Middle Pillar of Equilibrium.
KTQ however, is not a part of the ascent as much as it's a part of creative descent -- i.e., integration of the Unity into the lower levels of self. KTQ corresponds to the path Daleth (The Empress) which connects Binah with Geburah (again, in the Hebrew Tree) and since
Quabbalah is a work of creative descent, I attribute it to Binah instead of Geburah.
>> Oh, I see, when you were saying PME corresponds to Gedulah you meant that the work of PME should be done when you reach Sephirah Gedulah. That makes more sense! Just a minor point: you don't actually cross the Abyss until a late stage of Step X, when you merge with the Unity, so the PME (and KTQ) work undertaken while you are still on Step IX is only preparatory to crossing the Abyss, right? Also, isn't part of the function of PME and KTQ not to lead you across the Abyss, but to fully integrate the experience of Union into the lower levels of the human existence once it has been achieved? <<
The primary function of PME is the exploration of the sequential universe. This brings one to the edge of the Abyss, so to speak, and is indeed preparatory. But once one crosses the Abyss, it also serves a creative, descending function wherein the initiate manifests the non-sequential universal forces within the sequential realm directly. PME teaches one the nature of the veil which clothes the descending causality with sequential symbol and eventually the initiate becomes a master of this process and can then employ it a creative, downward manner, using it to integrate their experience of Unity into their mundane lives.
The preparatory work of KTQ (the first 5 Steps) *begins* in Gedulah like PME, and does aid in leading the initiate across the Abyss. The first five Steps of KTQ develop the necessary abilities and during this development these growing abilities are focused upon the initiate's own self and the transformation of their astral and mental bodies. However, it's not until the initiate crosses the Abyss and reaches Binah that true creative kabbalistic utterance begins. This is the first, or single-letter, key which, as Bardon instructs, is used solely for self-transformation.
At the moment that the initiate breaches the veil and enters the non-sequential realm (eternity) there is a merging with Unity (Kether), however this Union takes time (for the sequential aspects or levels of the initiate) to fully integrate. The stages of this integration process are represented by Binah and Chokmah. With Binah (Understanding) the integration is achieved through kabalistic utterance. With Chokmah (Wisdom) the integration is achieved through the obverse of evocation. This is a form of magic even higher than kabbalah in which one manifests the Primal Causation directly, without words, sounds, colors, etc. Whereas, kabbalistic utterance is the "speaking" aspect of the Chashmal, the Chokmah magic is the "silence" aspect. ["Chashmal" = "speaking-silence", corresponding to the path.