The Magic Of Golden Dawn









    In the process of evolution even the prime corrective of the Love, organisation and preservation of Chesed will eventually become too much, complacency and stagnation will eventually set in, and a vital need for the powerful dynamism of the sphere of Geburah. This is the King in his chariot and ready to go to war against the enemies of realm, whether they be unruly peoples or people who have just become complacent and lazy. Whereas the King in Chesed consolidates and organises his realm, thoughtfully, the King in Geburah expands and destroys in action so that rejuvenation can take place. No phase of evolution is permanent and always there is the rhythm of change cause by the impulse towards completion and perfection of the Cosmos.

    One of the titles given to Geburah is "din" - Justice. This is a title that may also be applied to Chesed. However, there is a huge difference between the two. If we take the imagery of these spheres as the King on his Throne and the King in his Chariot then Chesed metes out justice through the courts of the land to maintain law and order whereas Geburah metes out justice without any constraints of providing law and order and strikes and destroys wherever necessary. Again, we can deduce Chesed as the sphere of a framework of thinking things through step by step, while Geburah is a sphere of dynamic spontaneous action. The two should be worked with together though. A surplus of Chesed eventually leads to complacency and stagnation eg the Fall of the Roman Empire, while a surplus of Geburah leads to cruelty, tyranny and mindless destruction eg Hitler. Chesed needs some Geburah and Geburah needs some Chesed. This may be expanded to illustrate some important key points when working with the Tree - that each Sephirah inter-relates to the others in some way, although some are more closely connected to some than others – Geburah and Chesed are complementary to each other. It is also best not to dwell on one Sephirah for too long to the exclusion of the other Sephirah.

    As an example of Chesed and Geburah influences in “mythology”, we can look at King Arthur and Merlin. Arthur, the Warrior King of Geburah, united the warring factions of the Kingdom of Britain, often through the brute force of war. Merlin drifted around in the background as advisor to the King suggesting ideas, eg the Round Table to maintain the order and cohesion of the realm as it was established.

Chesed is located in the middle of the Pillar of Mercy and its virtues of Love, compassion, benevolence and giving are most easily understood and emphasised in all of the religions, but not so easily practiced by ordinary people. In contrast Geburah resides in the middle of the Pillar of Severity and its purpose in the process of evolution less easily understood, but its powers more easily touched upon by ordinary people in this modern age.

    The voices of the Kings of Chesed and Geburah could be imagined in this way:

    Chesed: “I decide something needs to be done so I think about it and all the possible effects this action may cause. I try to look at it from every possible angle before going ahead with it.

Geburah: “This needs to be done so I do it.”

The danger of Chesed is thinking too much about something that one ties one’s mind in knots and is unable to instigate the action – one dithers around. The danger of Geburah is the thoughtless and the hurt and suffering which may occur because of the spontaneity of one’s action.

    From the above examples one can see that it is best to work with both in tandem in daily life. Being able to sense the right time and right place for each of these spheres is important. Both contain elements of real power at this stage on the path, although Geburah is a touch more so because the power is more dynamic and visible than the power of Chesed that may only drift around in the background as the example of Merlin and Arthur has shown. So with Geburah extra care must be taken – once its Name of Power has been invoked, the invoker must “be prepared to ride the ensuing whirlwind.”

    Chesed is considered as a force sphere and Geburah as a form sphere and this might seem surprising in the light of the above. However, once again we have to consider the Sephiroth of consisting of varying strengths and quantities of qualities and characteristics depending at what perspective we view them from. In the process of evolution Kether emanates Chokmah (Male, Active, Positive force) that in turn emanates Binah (Female, Passive, Negative force). Binah emanates Chesed first. So Chesed is a mixture of Binah, Chokmah and Kether but is primarily a force sphere because of the Law of Alternating polarity and continual differentiation in the process of evolution. The intellectual, thoughtful and loving quality of Chesed may be perceived as its primary force aspect. Likewise Geburah is emanated from Chesed and hopefully a residue of the loving quality remains as it hacks its path along the trail of evolution. However, it is considered a form sphere because it destroys the forms that Binah binds together and that Chesed consolidates and maintains, in order that new forms and fresh progress along the path of evolution may be made, bearing in mind we are travelling down the Tree in our studies and not going back up it (the Path of Involution). So the evolutionary path is not completed yet because physical manifestation has not yet occurred when viewed form this perspective. If we look at it from the perspective of going up the Tree it is readily straightforward – Geburah destroys and breaks down forms, Chesed recreates new forms.  


 The Spiritual Experience of Geburah

   The spiritual experience of Geburah is power. Individual power might be the realisation that there is a need to get rid of parts of his life that are old and outworn and then with a touch of courage to take up the sword of Geburah and cut them out. The cut may be clean first time or we may need to hack away at it until eventually cutting through it! Its sometimes not easy because people generally do have a natural resistance to change and change is inevitably what happens after Geburah has been in action. Also in our own individual lives some changes we wish to use Geburah with are dependant on the conditions surrounding us whether it is environment or other people so Geburah may be hard work! It may not be the right time for a particular change in which case the use of Geburah is "misplaced in time" and the use of Chesed - consolidating and building up - might be more appropriate. Once again Geburah and Chesed walk hand in hand. Power can be seen more clearly in the world when we look at groups of people and nations throughout the ages right up to the present day. 

Quotes from Dion Fortune's "The Mystical Qabalah"

    Evil is simply misplaced force; misplaced in time, if it is out of date, or so far ahead of its day as to be impracticable.

    Geburah is the Celestial Surgeon; he is the knight in shining armour, the dragon-slayer; beautiful as a bridegroom in his strength to the maiden in distress, though, no doubt, the dragon might have preferred a little more love.

    There is both psychological and cosmic machinery available in connection with every act of sacrifice which converts it into spiritual energy; and this spiritual energy can be applied to other mechanisms and re-appear on the planes of form as an entirely different type of force to that which it started.

    In the life of individuals, in the development of any transaction, in the tone of any disciplined or highly organised group-mind, we see the constant alternation of the Geburah and Gedulah influences in a rhythmic swing from one side to the other.

    Geburah is the dynamic element in life that drives through and over obstacles.

    But equally we must see that it is only when the protecting, preserving influence of Chesed is in abeyance that the destructive influences of Geburah are able to work upon the forms built up by Binah, for the path of the Emanations between Binah and Geburah is via Chesed.

    The discipline of Geburah must exactly equate with its energy; in other words, the brakes of a car must bear a relationship to its horsepower if it is to be safe on the road.


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