The Trinity of the Kabala

The kabalistic trinity is one of the models of the Christian one. "The Ancient whose name be sanctified, is with three heads, but which make only one."+ Tria capita exsculpa sunt, unum intra alterum, et alterum supra alterum. "Three heads are inserted in one another, and one over the other. The first head is the Concealed Wisdom (Sapientia Abscondita). Under this head is the Ancient (Pythagorean Monad), the most hidden of mysteries; a head which is no head (caput quod non est caput); no one can know what that is in this head. No intellect is able to comprehend this wisdom. } This Senior Sanctissimus is surrounded by the three heads. He is the eternal Light of the wisdom; and the wisdom is the source from which all the manifestations have begun. These three heads, included in One Head (which is no head); and these three are bent down (overshadow) Short-Face (the son) and through them all things shine with light." § "En-Soph emits a thread from El or Al (the highest God of the Trinity), and the light follows the thread and enters, and passing through makes its exit

* Matter, "Histoire Critique du Gnosticisme," pl. x.

through Adam Primus (Kadmon), who is concealed until the plan for arranging (statum dispositionis) is ready; it threads through him from his head to his feet; and in him (in the concealed Adam) is the figure of A Man."*

"Whoso wishes to have an insight into the sacred unity, let him consider a flame rising from a burning coal or a burning lamp. He will see first a two-fold light — a bright white, and a black or blue light; the white light is above, and ascends in a direct light, while the blue, or dark light, is below, and seems as the chair of the former, yet both are so intimately connected together that they constitute only one flame. The seat, however, formed by the blue or dark light, is again connected with the burning matter which is under it again. The white light never changes its color, it always remains white; but various shades are observed in the lower light, whilst the lowest light, moreover, takes two directions; above, it is connected with the white light, and below with the burning matter. Now, this is constantly consuming itself, and perpetually ascends to the upper light, and thus everything merges into a single unity."+

Such were the ancient ideas of the trinity in the unity, as

* Jam vero quoniam hoc in loco recondita est illa plane non utuntur, et tantum de parte lucis ejus particepant quœ demittitur et ingreditur intra filum Ain Soph protensum e Persona la (Al-God) deorum: intratque et perrumpit et transit per Adam primum occultum usque in statum dispositionis transitque per eum a capite usque ad pedes ejus: et in eo est figura hominis ("Kabbala Denudata," ii., p. 246). f "Sohar," i., p. 51 a.

an abstraction. Man, who is the microcosmos of the macrocosmos, or of the archetypal heavenly man, Adam Kadmon, is likewise a trinity; for he is body, soul, and spirit.

"All that is created by the 'Ancient of the Ancients' can live and exist only by a male and a female," says the Sohar.} He alone, to whom no one can say, "Thou," for he is the spirit of the White-Head in whom the "Three Heads" are united, is uncreated. Out of the subtile fire, on one side of the White Head, and of the "subtile air," on the other, emanates Shekinah, his veil (the femininized Holy Ghost). "This air," says Idra Rabba, "is the most occult (occultissimus) attribute of the Ancient of the Days.§ The Ancienter of the Ancienter is the Concealed of the Concealed.** All things are Himself, and Himself is concealed on every way.++ The cranium of the White-Head has no beginning, but its end has a shining reflection and a roundness which is our universe."

"They regard," says Klenker, "the first-born as man and wife, in so far as his light includes in itself all other lights, and in so far as his spirit of life or breath of life includes all other life spirits in itself."}} The kabalistic Shekinah answers to the Ophite Sophia. Properly speaking, Adam Kadmon is the Bythos, but in this emanation-system, where everything is calculated to perplex and place an obstacle to inquiry, he is

JJ "Nat. und Urspr. d. Emanationslehre b. d. Kabbalisten" p. ii.

the Source of Light, the first "primitive man," and at the same time Ennoia, the Thought of Bythos, the Depth, for he is Pimander.

The Gnostics, as well as the Nazarenes, allegorizing on the personification, said that the First and Second man loved the beauty of Sophia, (Sephira) the first woman, and thus the Father and the Son fecundated the heavenly "Woman" and, from primal darkness procreated the visible light (Sephira is the Invisible, or Spiritual Light), "whom they called the Anointed Christum, or King Messiah." * This Christus is the Adam of Dust before his fall, with the spirit of the Adonai, his Father, and Shekinah Adonai, his mother, upon him; for Adam Primus is Adon, Adonai, or Adonis. The primal existence manifests itself by its wisdom, and produces the Intelligible Logos (all visible creation). This wisdom was venerated by the Ophites under the form of a serpent. So far we see that the first and second life are the two Adams, or the first and the second man. In the former lies Eva, or the yet unborn spiritual Eve, and she is within Adam Primus, for she is a part of himself, who is androgyne. The Eva of dust, she who will be called in Genesis "the mother of all that live," is within Adam the Second. And now, from the moment of its first manifestation, the Lord Mano, the Unintelligible Wisdom, disappears from the scene of action. It will manifest itself only as Shekinah, the Grace; for the Corona is "the innermost Light of all Lights," and hence it is darkness's own substance. +

In the Kabala, Shekinah is the ninth emanation of Sephira, which contains the whole of the ten Sephiroth within herself. She belongs to the third triad and is produced together with Malchuth or "Kingdom," of which she is the female counterpart. Otherwise she is held to be higher than any of these; for she is the "Divine Glory," the "veil," or "garment," of En-Soph. The Jews, whenever she is mentioned in the Targum, say that she is the glory of Jehovah, which dwelt in the tabernacle, manifesting herself like a visible cloud; the "Glory" rested over the Mercy-Seat in the Sanctum Sanctorum.

In the Nazarene or Bardesanian System, which may be termed the Kabala within the Kabala, the Ancient of Days — Antiquus Altus, who is the Father of the Demiurgus of the universe, is called the Third Life, or Abatur; and he is the Father of Fetahil, who is the architect of the visible universe, which he calls into existence by the powers of his genii, at the order of the "Greatest"; the Abatur answering to the "Father" of Jesus in the later Christian theology. These two superior Lives then, are the crown within which dwells the greatest Ferho. "Before any creature came into existence the Lord Ferho existed."} This one is the First Life, formless and invisible; in whom the living Spirit of Life exists, the Highest Grace. The two are One from eternity, for they are the Light and the Cause of the Light. Therefore, they answer to the f "Idra Suta," ix.; "Kabbala Denudata"; see Pythagoras, "Monad." J "Codex Nazarxus," i., p. 145.

kabalistic concealed wisdom, and to the concealed Shekinah — the Holy Ghost. "This light, which is manifested, is the garment of the Heavenly Concealed," says Idra Suta. And the "heavenly man" is the superior Adam. "No one knows his paths except Macroprosopus" (Long-face) — the Superior active god.* "Not as I am written will I be read; in this world my name will be written Jehovah and read Adonai,"+ say the Rabbins, very correctly. Adonai is the Adam Kadmon; he is Father and Mother both. By this double mediatorship the Spirit of the "Ancient of the Ancient" descends upon the Microprosopus (Short-face) or the Adam of Eden. And the "Lord God breathes into his nostrils the breath of life."

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