Tree of Life

The Tree of Life is an ancient Hebrew diagram that maps the cosmos as well as the human psyche. Most esoteric scholars who study this system are unaware that it is also a map of the overtone series and of musical intervals. Every Hebrew letter represents a whole number ratio which is also a musical interval. This is a logical and rational system for classifying the fundamentals of musical acoustics as well as a mystical map of the subtle planes of the universe. In most ancient alphabets each letter represents a number.
In fact there aren't separate numbers and letters, only letter-numbers. This means that each word is a sum total of letter-numbers. This offers a way of understanding what each word means and what elements make it up. In English words do not have exact relationships with other words. With Hebrew (or Greek for that matter) each word has a very specific relationship with every other word.
Some words have the same total numeric value and are considered to be different aspects of the same energy. This study is called Gematria. Each word has it's place in a mathematical continuum. This type of esoteric study associated musical theory with astrology, geometry, cosmology and qualitative mathematics. Music bound the other esoteric sciences together into a coherent whole. Music has long since been disassociated from these other sciences to the detriment of them all. Musicians today aren't taught that musical harmony is also a system for mapping the innermost reaches of the human mind and for organizing abstract thought processes. The laws of harmony and acoustics are also the laws of vibrational interaction on every plane of experience. I've hardly begun on this subject and could fill many more pages were I to allow myself. Most musicians will not have the patience to delve deeply into this dry and esoteric subject and most esoteric scholars will not have the musical understanding to grasp the tonal significance of it as well.
Click on the graphics for a larger view of the diagrams.

Interactive Tree of Life

QBL as a spiritual path
Tree of Life article
QBL links
Letter as hand gestures
Role of the hand in evolution of language
Sonic theology


Anonymous said...

Hi David! Just found your site via a google of your name. I downloaded the interview with Fuze excerpt on archive.org and it was so cool. Thank you for having this site and for all the knowledge you're sharing. It's one of the best jazz sites I've found.

Thank you and keep updating!

Best Regards,
Az Samad

David Carlos Valdez said...

Hey Az! I'm glad you like the Fuze show. I've been meaning to get the entire hour program up for streaming.
I have so much Jazz video material that I need to get up. I still have hours and hours of interviews and performances that were shot in NYC and PDX. Someday I'll get motivated.....

Brian Berge said...

Hey, David.

Great stuff. You know, I had thought our systems were totally incompatible w/ each other, & regretted it because yours clearly makes so much sense, but reviewing your diagram I'm surprised to see significant compatibility:

I take Yesod as the root (1). I take Hod as 2. In your system, the path between these is a Major 2nd--quite equivalent. I take Netzach as 3, & in your system, the path from Yesod to Netzach is also a 3rd. I take Tiphareth as the 5th, & in your system the path from Yesod to Tiphareth is not a 5th...but for what it's worth you count Tiphareth as a 5th from Kether. Your path from Yesod to Geburah would be a 7th. You labeled Chesed as being the "16va" above your root (Kether). It's clear you meant the compound 8ve--I think you probably meant to write that it's a 15th (right?). With Chesed as a 15th, the interval between it & Yesod is a 7th, just as the interval between Yesod & Geburah is a 7th. How wonder how these 7ths compare to each other in terms of cents. In my system, Chesed is a 7th but Geburah is a 6th.

There are some differences, but in the essentials above I'm seeing more similarities than differences. An explanation of the compatibility of our systems is occuring to me in the fact that I consider the Supernals, being above the "abyss", to be "inaudible", just as metaphysically they're considered transpersonal, or strictly macrocosmic (& not microcosmic). It may be true that Yesod is the 9th of Kether, but if one can't hear Kether, one has no idea it's a 9th; & Yesod being the "Foundation", perhaps this is why it may be heard to the microcosmic mind as the "root"--or so my thinking is going.

I've interpolated the 4th to Paroketh, & extrapolated the 8th to Da'ath, but in my research under altered states I haven't been hearing the 8th in my throat, but in the top of my head. But check this out: According to some measurements, the relative physical frequencies of the chakras correspond to my musical interval attributions as far as they go below the octave & below the throat. Above the throat, the frequencies of the major organs (viz. the brain) are variable through a large range & therefore don't just fit into a series of frequencies. Also, the relationships between the frequencies of light attributed to the chakras below the head also correspond perfectly to my attributions of the intervals below the Supernals. And get this: The range of frequencies for the visible colors spans less than an octave. The part of the "octave" of light that's invisible is occupied by the Supernals! Da'ath may be the 8ve, but it may not be our throat but rather Da'ath may be the top of the head of the microcosmic man. Maybe not. That's something I need to tie up, if possible. In any case, the limitations of the sensitivity to light of our physical eyes compared to the remainder of a light "octave" is apparently analogous to the limitations of our microcosmic mind compared to the remainder of the Tree of Life, viz. the Supernals: We don't see a full "octave" of light, & neither does the microcosmic mind experience the full "octave" of the Tree of Life, & remarkably the mathematical inter-relationships between the majority of verifiable landmarks do confirm the analogy. I know this is probably hard to communicate quickly here--sorry about that.

Anyway, I think your system may be how things sound to the macrocosmic mind, & that mine may be the subset of your system which may tend to be available to the microcosmic mind. When/if I finish my book on the Qabalah of Music, I would very much like to include your system (w/ full credit) alongside the other major systems known to us. (I plan to begin w/ a comparison of systems before going into my own system for the main mass of the book.)


P.S. Did you happen to check out my latest report on some of my altered-state research on this subject here?: http://www.livejournal.com/users/brianberge/21512.html

David Carlos Valdez said...

I think we just started our attributions from different places. I started with the the numbers as the leaping off point and you started with the functional philosophic qualities. For me the musical functionality was key here. I was fitting musical functions into the metaphysical and you were fitting metaphysics into a musical framework.

Chesed in my system is the double octave, which is 16va rather than 15va. It is the double octave, which in common musical language is 16va, even though it is the 15th scale degree above the root. So it would be C3, C2 is Chokmah and C1 is Kether. Each successive Sephira is just the next overtone. So to check to see what intervals the paths are just look at the interval that is created between the overtones pitches of the sephiroth. Of course these intervals are compressed into one octave using octave reduction. As far as the interval between Chesed and Yesod (or the double octave and the 9th), I didn’t notate that because it isn’t a path on the tree and that same interval is described by Netzach:Yesod (or 8:9).