This post is the seventh in a series highlighting each sphere in the Tree of Life. For additional background on the Qabala, see Guided Meditation: Introduction to the Tree of Life, Learning Qabala through story, Learning Qabala: Where to start?, and Qabala is queer, and it isn’t even sneaky about it.
Chesed is the fourth sphere on the Tree of Life, sitting right in the middle of the “masculine” pillar/pillar of force/pillar of mercy, across from Geburah. This is the sphere of vision, of planning, of imagining what’s possible. It’s in a state of eternal dance between “ideal” and “implementable.”
Chesed’s powers are particularly useful when you’re stepping into a role involving planning, but also for pointing us in the right direction for our own future. Chesed is about living your true purpose, when your Great Work on this plane is aligned with your soul.
Chesed is the counterpart to Geburah. Chesed is the upbuilding, while Geburah trims that which isn’t needed. Together, they form the axiom, “Write drunk, edit sober” (often misattributed to Ernest Hemingway). They aren’t opposites, so much as counterparts of a balanced, eternal cycle. (Ah, hell, now I have the “Facts of Life” theme stuck in my head. “You take them both, and there you have…”)
Chesed is about world-building and planning. Dungeon/Game Masters for tabletop role-playing games are well familiar with this concept, as they create the story and figure out how various locations will be laid out.
If you bought a new house, Chesed would help you visualize how to furnish it; and at its best, how to furnish it within your budget.
If you’re organizing a group, Chesed can help you imagine the ways for that group to grow and evolve strategically. I was extremely fortunate that as I was taking on the mantle of Acting High Priest of my coven, I was part of a ritual aspecting Chesed. In the weeks that followed I was full of ideas and plans and energy to implement them within my coven. I highly recommend working closely with Chesed if you are in a leadership position, particularly if you’re just starting out or need a burst of energy and ideas.
What makes Chesed queer?
Chesed is the third part of the “coming-out triangle” idea I introduced and discussed in the Tiphareth and Geburah posts in this series. Tiphareth is the euphoria of coming out to yourself. Geburah is the hardship of letting go of the parts of you that no longer fit, and confronting the prospect of coming out to others. Chesed is the sphere that helps you envision who you can become, and how to express the person you’ve realized you are.
As you let go of the parts of you (and sometimes, relationships) that do not fit the person you’ve realized you are, you make space for new possibilities, for new joys. This is the trying-on-clothes phase of coming out. It’s the awe you might feel at your first Pride event. It’s your careful examination of the style of others of your newly-understood gender or sexuality, and learning from their journeys of self-discovery. It’s finding new friends and new communities where you feel comfortable expressing yourself and testing new looks and personae. It’s that amazing, experimental phase of coming out. It’s about exploring and building a vision of your future, which is a fundamental and positive shift for those who had bleak visions of their future before realizing who they were.
Chesed also gets bonus queer points for being the other genderfluid sphere on the Tree. Like Geburah, it has two Hebrew names: Chesed (masculine) and Gedulah (feminine). It is the sphere of love and compassion, qualities typically ascribed to feminine, yet it sits on the masculine pillar.
Pathworking to experience Chesed
Welcome to the Chesed pathworking, from Major Arqueerna. Please ensure you are seated comfortably and won’t be disturbed for the next ten minutes while you do this pathworking.
Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, slowly, in and out. With each exhalation, let go any tension you find in your body.
Without opening your eyes, visualize the room around you. Now picture it filling with a gray mist, starting at the floor and working its way up to the ceiling, until the only thing you can see is grayness. As the mist dissipates, you find yourself in a field, sitting on a small, wooden platform colored olive, citrine, russet, and black. It’s night, and there are crickets and other nighttime insects chirping and buzzing around you. The air feels slightly damp and smells of night-blooming flowers.
You gaze up into the starry sky and notice a light tan dot off to your right, which you know to be Jupiter. As you stare at it, the platform you’re sitting on begins to move toward it, rising higher in the air and skimming along treetops, higher and higher, until you break through the atmosphere and are flying through space.
Jupiter, with its thick red, brown, yellow, and white stripes, grows larger in your sight as you zoom toward it. You feel inspired and your brain begins clicking with plans and strategy. Suddenly you are surrounded by a royal blue mist, and when it dissipates, you find yourself in a dark space, standing on a massive, glowing globe that looks like Earth. At first, you see big blue oceans and greenish-brown blotches of continents, and then you begin to see layers showing cities, patches of farmland, deserts, and so on. You find yourself wishing you could see things up close, and when you make that wish you feel yourself shrinking down to the point where you can see buildings and roads from high above. You walk around the globe, each step taking you hundreds of miles, none of your steps causing any damage or harm. You are an invisible observer of this world. What do you see?
A voice greets you, saying “Hello, and welcome to Chesed.” You turn and see a person in royal blue robes, wearing a gentle, loving smile, standing a few feet away from you. As you look at them, the globe beneath you becomes a sea of different faces of people. People of all ages, races, and genders appear, some smiling, some angry…a whole range of emotions is present. You feel a connection to the faces you are seeing, even if you don’t know them. After a few moments, your host speaks. “Take a moment to feel yourself as part of an incredibly complex organism called humanity. Every person has a role to play. Every person is important. Can you feel the connections around you? Can you feel how your life and your actions touch those around you?”
The faces on the globe disappear, and the globe becomes blank. “It may not always seem like it,” says your host, “but you have power. You have the power to shape your life, and you have a role to play in shaping the world around you. Feel the gears within you turn, feel the creative force bubbling up within you, and then put that force into a vision. What you visualize will become so beneath your feet. Show me: what would you like your world to look like?” Take a few moments to imagine the world you inhabit as you would like to see it. What do you see, and how does it make you feel?
Your host smiles at what you have created. Do they have any words of wisdom to share? Listen.
When your host has finished speaking, they make a gesture in the air that moves you both off the globe and onto a nearby flat surface. They continue to gesture, and as they do, the globe containing your vision begins to shrink down, smaller and smaller, until it’s the size of a large marble. Your host plucks it from the air and hands it to you. It feels warm, electric, and bursting with potential. Your host says, “Hold this vision in your heart, and think of ways you can make it so.” You thank your host, they bow, and then vanish. You realize the flat surface you’re standing on is the platform that brought you here. You are once again surrounded by blue mist, and when it dissipates, you are flying through space, towards Earth.
You burst through the atmosphere once more, descending through clouds, and gradually come to a gentle stop back in the field where you began. You hear the crickets and cicadas chirping and buzzing, and smell the flowers around you. You gaze back at Jupiter and whisper a quiet thanks for the experience you’ve had there.
Eventually, the air around you begins to fill with a pearly-gray mist, until you can no longer see the field. When the mist dissipates, you find yourself seated comfortably once more. Take a deep breath, wiggle your fingers and your toes, and when you are ready, open your eyes.
Thank you for listening to this pathworking from Major Arqueerna. If you enjoyed it, please take a moment to subscribe and share it with a friend. More content can be found at majorarqueerna.com.
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