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QABALISTIC MAGIC ARTICLE LESSON 10: BINAH
© Copyright 2005, All Rights Reserved.
BINAH - THE GREAT MOTHER
God Name - Elohim
Archangel - Tzafkiel
Virtue - Silence
Vice - Avarice
Titles - Ama, Aima, Mara, The Sanctifying Intelligence
Magickal Image - Mature Woman, Vagina
Gods - Saturn, Kronos, Frigg, Kali, Cailleache, Demeter
Planet - Saturn
Stone - Pearl
Animal - Dove, Raven
Herbs - Cypress, Lily Poppy
Experience - the Sorrow of Life which must be transcended
Symbols - Vulva, Chalice and Veil
Binah is the Intuitive Self, Understanding, the Foundation of primordial Wisdom. Understanding is the essence of Binah. Wisdom suggests complete and infinite knowledge while Understanding suggests the ability to grasp the unfoldment or use of this wisdom. She is Organization and Form as well as Female Potency. Her Yetziratic title is 'The Sanctifying Intelligence' (that which makes consecrates and makes holy) and the three other names for her signify Binah's triple aspect - Marah, the Sea from which all life has its beginnings (and which is the root for Mary, Mother of all living); Aimah, the Fertile or Light Mother and Ama, the Dark Mother and Crone. The Hebrew God-name for Binah is Elohim which is a feminine beginning ending with a male pronoun - in other words - the Gods and Goddesses to whom She gives birth. Binah is the Supernal Mother - the Feminine Aspect of God.
Binah is that which brings forth the All but retains its virginity; whose creativeness does not involve it in the life of its creation, but which remains apart and behind as the foundation and basis of manifestation, the root-substance from whence matter arises. Binah, the primordial formative influence, the partner of all form is behind and beyond manifesting substance. It is this formative influence underlying all of form building, this tendency for curving lines of force to correlate and achieve stability which is Binah.
The principles of maleness and femaleness as manifested in Chokmah and Binah represent more than merely the polarity of positive and negative, activity and passivity. Chokmah, the All-Begetter, is a vehicle of primal force - the immediate manifestation of Kether into energy. It is, in fact, Kether in action. Chokmah is pure energy, limitless and tireless, but incapable of doing anything except radiate off into space if left to its own devices. But when Chokmah acts upon Binah, its energy is gathered up and set to work. Together, they form the duality in the tides of our lives - activity-passivity, construction and destruction.
Binah, the Great Mother, is the Mother of All Living. She is the archetypal womb through which life comes into manifestation. The Great Mother binds free moving force into the discipline of form. Form is the discipline of Force, therefore, Binah is the head of the Pillar of Severity. Binah is the primordial root of matter, but the full development of matter is not found until we arrive at Malkuth, the material universe.
The virtue of Binah is Silence. Silence invites receptivity. If we are silent, we can listen and so learn, but if we are talking the gates of entrance to the mind are closed. It is the resistance and receptivity of Binah which are her chief powers. The Vice is Avarice - greed and miserliness - as one learns and achieves a level of wisdom, the wisdom must be shared not hoarded.
Binah's symbols of the Chalice, the Vulva and the Veil show the nature of this Sephira. The Chalice is a receptacle which holds all wisdom. One can also view the Chalice as a Cauldron that transforms the ingredients it contains. Binah receives the Force of Chokmah and transmutes it into Form, allowing pure energy the opportunity to become physical as it travels down the Tree of Life. The Vulva indicates the birth of Force into Form and the Veil symbolizes the mysteries inherent in this transformation.
The Images of Binah as the Mature Woman and Vagina show Her to be the Great Mother and the High Priestess of the Tarot. Her animal symbols of the Dove and the Raven show that Binah is the Holy Spirit of the Trinity and the Shekinah, bringing the energy of pure spirit or force into being as the originator of Form which will finally be given birth in Malkuth as well as the bringer of Death and Endings as the Raven when this life is transformed back into energy. This is the Experience of Sorrow that belongs to Binah. The sorrow of pure, boundless energy bound in physical form with all of its limitations and then the sorrow of the ending of the physical experience culminating in death.
All aspects of the Goddess from innocent Persephone to terrifying Cailleache belong to Binah. The idea of fertility is the main motif in the aspects of Binah that manifest in the world of Assiah, the material level. Life not only enters into matter for discipline but it also issues forth triumphantly, increased and multiplied. The fertility aspect, balancing the Time-Death-Limitation aspect of this Sephira is essential to our concept of Binah. Time/Death put his sickle to the wheat of Ceres and both are Binah symbols. Life and Death are two sides to the same coin. What Binah gives birth to, she also brings Death to in an endless dance of transformation. Binah transforms pure energy into form and matter which is then re-formed back into energy at death.
As a unit, Kether, Chokmah and Binah make up what is known as the 3 Supernals, which we can split into the 3 spheres for purposes of study & meditation, but are actually considered One in their spiritual essence. Kether is the Divine becoming aware of itself; Chokmah & Binah create a reflection of this Self in terms of the opposites it contains within. The Supernals are the energies or states upon which Creation rests & manifests. Kether is thought of as The Archetype, Chokmah & Binah the movement to create from this oneness in terms impulse of Force (Chokmah) & Form (Binah). We see throughout our studies of Qabalah that the Three Supernals have their specialized expressions on a lower arc in one or another of the 6 Sephira which form the microcosm to their Macrocosm.
Binah receives the Force of Chokmah and gives it Form - the ability to manifest in Malkuth. Binah is the Womb which receives the outpouring seed and gives it life. Binah is symbolized by the Divine Female Archetype which unites with the Divine Male producing Daath through which all life comes into manifestation. Binah is the primordial root of all matter which is expressed thru Malkuth.
© Copyright 2005 Jeff Harrison and Karen Charboneau-Harrison, All Rights Reserved.