The 40 Spheres of Ain Soph
The 40 spheres of creation out of AIN SOPH are divided into four great world chains, as follows:
A 1 to A 10, Atziluth, the Boundless World of Divine Names.
B 1 to B 10, Briah, the Archangelic World of Creations.
C 1 to C 10, Yetzirah, the Hierarchal World of Formations.
D 1 to D 10, Assiah, the Elemental World of Substances.
Each of these worlds has ten powers, or spheres--a parent globe and nine others which conic out of it as emanations, each globe born out of the one preceding. On the plane of Atziluth (A 1 to A 10), the highest and most divine of all the created worlds, the unmanifested AIN SOPH established His first point or dot in the Divine Sea--the three spheres of X. This dot--A 1--contains all creation within it, but in this first divine and uncontaminated state the dot, or first manifested. God, was not considered as a personality by the Qabbalists but rather as a divine establishment or foundation. It was called the First Crown and from it issued the other circles of the Atziluthic World: A 2, A 3, A 4, A 5, A 6, A 7, A 8, A 9, and A 10. In the three lower worlds these circles are intelligences, planers, and elements, but in this first divine world they are called the Rings of the Sacred Names.
The first ten great circles (or globes) of light which were manifested out of AIN SOPH and the ten names of God assigned to them by the Qabbalists are as follows:
From AIN SOPH came A 1, the First Crown, and the name of the first power of God was Eheieh, which means I Am [That I Am].
From A 1 came A 2, the first Wisdom, and the name of the second power of God was Jehovah, which means Essence of Being.
From A 2 came A 3, the first Understanding, and the name of the third power of God was Jehovah Elohim, which means God of Gods.
From A 3 came A 4, the first Mercy, and the name of the fourth power of God was El, which means God the Creator.
From A 4 came A 5, the first Severity, and the name of the fifth power of God was Elohim Gibor, which means God the Potent.
From A 5 came A 6, the first Beauty, and the name of the sixth power of God was Eloah Vadaath, which means God the Strong.
From A 6 came A 7, the first Victory, and the name of the seventh power of God was Jehovah Tzaboath, which means God of Hosts.
From A 7 came A 8, the first Glory, and the name of the eighth power of God was Elohim Tzaboath, which means Lord God of Hosts.
From A 8 came A 9, the first Foundation, and the name of the ninth power of God was Shaddai, El Chai, which means Omnipotent.
From A 9 came A 10, the first Kingdom, and the name of the tenth power of God was Adonai Melekh, which means God.
From A 10 came B 1, the Second Crown, and the World of Briah was established.
The ten emanations from A 1 to A 10 inclusive are called the foundations of all creations. The Qabbalists designate them the ten roots of the Tree of Life. They are arranged in the form of a great human figure called Adam Qadmon--the man made from the fire mist (red dirt), the prototypic Universal Man. In the Atziluthic World, the powers of God are most purely manifested. These ten pure and perfect radiations do not descend into the lower worlds and take upon themselves forms, but are reflected upon the substances of the inferior spheres. From the first, or Atziluthic, World they are reflected into the second, or Briatic, World. As the reflection always lacks some of the brilliancy of the original image, so in the Briatic World the ten radiations lose part of their infinite power. A reflection is always like the thing reflected, but smaller and fainter.
In the second world, B 1 to B 10, the order of the spheres is the Name as in the Atziluthic World, but the ten circles of light are less brilliant and more tangible, and are here referred to as ten great Spirits--divine creatures who assist in the establishment of order and intelligence in the universe. As already noted, B 1 is born out of A 10 and is included within all the spheres superior to itself. Out of B 1 are taken nine globes--B 2, B 3, B 4, B 5, B 6, B 7, B 8, B 9, and B 10--which constitute the World of Briah. These ten subdivisions, however, are really the ten Atziluthic powers reflected into the substance of the Briatic World. B 1 is the ruler of this world, for it contains all the other rings of its own world and also the rings of the third and fourth worlds, C and D. In the World of Briah the ten spheres of light are called the Archangels of Briah. Their order and powers are as follows:
From A 10 came B 1, the Second Crown; it is called Metatron, the Angel of the Presence.
From B 1 came B 2, the second Wisdom; it is called Raziel, the Herald of Deity who revealed the mysteries of Qabbalah to Adam.
From B 2 carne B 3, the second Understanding; it is called Tsaphkiel, the Contemplation of God.
From B 3 came B 4 ' the second Mercy; it is called Tsadkiel, the justice of God.
From B 4 came B 5, the second Severity; it is called Samael, the Severity of God.
From B 5 came B 6, the second Beauty; it is called Michael, Like Unto God.
From B 6 came B 7, the second Victory; it is called Haniel, the Grace of God.
From B 7 came B 8, the second Glory; it is called Raphael, the Divine Physician.
From B 8 came B 9, the second Foundation; it is called Gabriel, the Man-God.
From B 9 came B 10, the second Kingdom; it is called Sandalphon, the Messias.
From B 10 came C 1, the Third Crown, and the World of Yetzirah was established.
The ten Archangels of Briah are conceived to be ten great spiritual beings, whose duty is to manifest the ten powers of the Great Name of God existent in the Atziluthic World, which surrounds and interpenetrates the entire world of creation. All things manifesting in the lower worlds exist first in the intangible rings of the upper spheres, so that creation is, in truth, the process of making tangible the intangible by extending the intangible into various vibratory rates. The ten globes of Briatic power, while themselves reflections, are mirrored downward into the third or Yetziratic World, where still more limited in their expression they become the spiritual and invisible zodiac which is behind the visible band of constellations. In this third world the ten globes of the original Atziluthic World are greatly limited and dimmed, but they are still infinitely powerful in comparison with the state of substance in which man dwells. In the third world, C 1 to C 10, the globes become hierarchies of celestial creatures, called the Choirs of Yetzirah. Here again, all are included within the ring C 1, the power which controls the Yetziratic World and which includes within itself and controls the entire world D. The order of the globes and the names of the hierarchies composing them are as follows:
From B 10 came C 1, the Third Crown; the Hierarchy is the Cherubim, Chaioth Ha Kadosh, the Holy Animals.
From C 1 came C 2, the third Wisdom; the Hierarchy is the Cherubim, Orphanim, the Wheels.
From C 2 came C 3, the third Understanding; the Hierarchy is the Thrones, Aralim, the Mighty Ones.
From C 3 came C 4, the third Mercy; the Hierarchy is the Dominations, Chashmalim, the Brilliant Ones.
From C 4 came C 5, the third Severity; the Hierarchy is the Powers, Seraphim, the Flaming Serpents.
From C 5 came C 6, the third Beauty; the Hierarchy is the Virtues, Melachim, the Kings.
From C 6 came C 7, the third Victory; the Hierarchy is the Principalities, Elohim, the Gods.
From C 7 came C 8, the third Glory; the Hierarchy is the Archangels, Ben Elohim, the Sons of God.
From C 8 came C 9, the third Foundation; the Hierarchy is the Angels, Cherubim, the Scat of the Sons.
From C 9 came C 10, the third Kingdom; the Hierarchy is Humanity, the Ishim, the Souls of Just Men.
From C 10 came D 1, the Fourth Crown, and the World of Assiah was established.
From the Yetziratic World the light of the ten spheres is reflected into the World of Assiah, the lowest of the four. The ten globes of the original Atziluthic World here take upon themselves forms of physical matter and the sidereal system is the result. The World of Assiah, or the elemental world of substance, is the one into which humanity descended at the time of Adam's fall. The Garden of Eden is the three upper worlds, and for his sins man was forced into the sphere of substance and assumed coats of skin (bodies). All of the spiritual forces of the upper worlds, A, B, C, when they strike against the elements of the lower world, D, are distorted and perverted, resulting in the creation of hierarchies of demons to correspond with the good spirits in each of the higher worlds. In all the ancient Mysteries, matter was regarded as the source of all evil and spirit the source of all good, for matter inhibits and limits, often so clogging the inner perceptions that man is unable to recognize his own divine potentialities. Since matter thus prevents humanity from claiming its birthright, it is called the Adversary, the power of evil. The fourth world, D, is the world of solar systems, comprising not only the one of which the earth is a part but all the solar systems in the universe.
Opinions differ as to the arrangement of the globes of this last world, D 1 to D 10 inclusive. The ruler of the fourth world is D 1, called by some the Fiery Heaven; by others the Primum Mobile, or the First Motion. From this whirling fire emanates the material starry zodiac, D 2, in contradistinction to the invisible spiritual zodiac of the Yetziratic World. From the zodiac, D 2, are differentiated the spheres of the planets in concatenate order. The ten spheres of the World of Assiah are as follows:
From C 10 came D 1, the Fourth Crown; Rashith Ha-Galagalum, the Primum Mobile, the fiery mist which is the beginning of the material universe.
From D 1 came D 2, the fourth Wisdom; Masloth, the Zodiac, the Firmament of the Fixed Stars.
From D 2 came D 3, the fourth Understanding; Shabbathai, the sphere of Saturn.
From D 3 came D 4, the fourth Mercy; Tzedeg, the sphere of Jupiter.
From D 4 came D 5, the fourth Severity; Madim, the sphere of Mars.
From D 5 came D 6, the fourth Beauty; Shemesh, the sphere of the Sun.
From D 6 came D 7, the fourth Victory; Nogah, the sphere of Venus.
From D 7 came D 8, the fourth Glory; Kokab, the sphere of Mercury.
From D 8 came D 9, the fourth Foundation; Levanah, the sphere of the Moon.
From D 9 came D 10, the Fourth Kingdom; Cholom Yosodoth, the sphere of the Four Elements.
By inserting a sphere (which he calls the Empyrean) before the Primum Mobile, Kircher moves each of the other spheres down one, resulting in the elimination of the sphere of the elements and making D 10 the sphere of the Moon.
In the World of Assiah are to be found the demons and tempters. These are likewise reflections of the ten great globes of Atziluth, but because of the distortion of the images resulting from the base substances of the World of Assiah upon which they are reflected, they become evil creatures, called shells by the Qabbalists. There are ten hierarchies of these demons to correlate with the ten hierarchies of good spirits composing the Yetziratic World. There are also ten Archdemons, corresponding to the ten Archangels of Briah. The black magicians use these inverted spirits in their efforts to attain their nefarious ends, but in time the demon destroys those who bind themselves to it. The ten orders of demons and the ten Archdemons of the World of Assiah are as follows:
D 1, the evil Crown; the hierarchy is called Thaumiel, the doubles of God, the Two-headed; the Archdemons are Satan and Moloch.
From D 1 came D 2, the evil Wisdom; the hierarchy is called Chaigidiel, those who obstruct; the Archdemon is Adam Belial.
From D 2 came D 3, the evil Understanding; the hierarchy is called Satharial, the concealment of God, the Archdemon is Lucifuge.
From D 3 came D 4, the evil Mercy; the hierarchy is called Gamchicoth, the disturber of things; the Archdemon is Astaroth.
From D 4 came D 5, the evil Severity; the hierarchy is called Golab, incendiarism and burning; the Archdemon is Asmodeus.
From D 5 came D 6, the evil Beauty; the hierarchy is called Togarini, the wranglers; the Archdemon is Belphegor.
From D 6 came D 7, the evil Victory; the hierarchy is called Harab Serap, the dispensing Raven; the Archdemon is Baal Chanan.
From D 7 came D 8, the evil Glory; the hierarchy is called Samael, the embroiler; the Archdemon is Adramelek.
From D 8 came D 9, the evil Foundation; the hierarchy is called Gamaliel, the obscene; the Archdemon is Lilith.
From D 9 came D 10, the evil Kingdom; the hierarchy is called Nahemoth, the impure; the Archdemon is Nahema.
The Qabbalists declare that the worlds, intelligences, and hierarchies were established according to the vision of Ezekiel. By the man of Ezekiel's vision is symbolized the World of Atziluth; by the throne, the World of Briah; by the firmament, the World of Yetzirah; and by the living creatures the World of Assiah. These spheres are the wheels within wheels of the prophet. The Qabbalists next established a human figure in each of the four worlds: A 1 was the head and A 10 the feet of the man of Atziluth; B 1 was the head and B 10 the feet of the man of Briah; C 1 was the head and C 10 the feet of the man of Yetzirah; D 1 was the head and D 10 the feet of the man of Assiah. These four are called the World Men. They are considered androgynous and are the prototypes of humanity.