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Frater Achad's "Restored" Tree

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Hythlodaeus  Hythlodaeus is offline
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Frater Achad's "Restored" Tree


I've mentioned Frater Achad's "Restored" Tree in a couple of other posts, but it's hard to find any thorough discussions of it anywhere on the web. I figured I would start a discussion about it here.

For those who aren't familiar with it, Achad's "Restored" Tree preserves the Golden Dawn Trump/Letter/Astrological correspondences, but re-arranges the paths on the Tree in ascending order. The three Mother letters occupy the three paths along the Middle Pillar, while each planetary trump connects with its corresponding planetary sephira, and each zodiacal trumps is united with the sephira of its ruling planet.

Chapter 4 of Achad's The Anatomy of the Body of God briefly explains the concept and contains an image of the "Restored" Tree. It can be found here:
http://hermetic.com/achad/anatomy/anatomy4.htm

I found the following quotation quite compelling: "The fact that this Reformation of the Paths produces a wealth of fresh Symbolism...is alone sufficient justification for changing the arrangement, even though it may upset the ideas of certain people who have based the Rituals of their Secret Orders upon the old plan."

I started out on the GD system and was initially repelled by other systems that threatened to make me discard all that I'd already learned and invested in. I now realize that I don't in fact need to choose and can draw on multiple systems to deepen my meaning of the cards. In any case, I've recently revisited Achad's system and find myself drawn in by its intuitive logic and the overarching theme of the "Traditions of Light and Darkness" (explained in detail in Ch. 3 of his "Egyptian Revival") that ties everything together. The more I study it, the more it makes "sense" to me and I find myself making connections within connections.

Anyway, these are just my thoughts and I am curious to hear about other people's experiences with Achad's "Restored" Tree!
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I don't use it but I like it, I can see the justification for it. Every Tree is, after all, a reflection of the philosophy of its creator, and so there's no need to be restricted just to one.

This one seems to take a more physical approach, with the concept of the pure idea originating from out of the mind of man, and so upwards up. I like the bottom triangle very much, I'm a bit iffy about the allocations further up.
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I see what you mean by physical...

I've been swinging between trees lately and find it impossible to settle on just one. Like you said, there is no need to be restricted to just one.

It's as if each system contains an inherent flaw that prevents it from being "perfect." I think realizing this is an extremely important step along the journey because it forces us to keep searching and moving forward.

One of the things that boggles me the most about the Levi and GD systems is their seemingly arbitrary nature: both involve lining up the Trumps alongside the Hebrew letters, in their respective orders, and making a correlation between the Trump and letter that end up side-by-side. The only essential difference is that one begins with the Magician, and the other the Fool. I'm still trying to decide if this is the downfall or brilliance of the systems!
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I'm reading his QBL right now. At first I was, like you mentioned, resistant to the idea of rearranging the Tree I know and have grown to love. But I like the way he thinks, and though I have yet to work much with his "restored" tree, the more I look at it, the more I have found to like about it. I have realized one does not need to replace the other, and that they can co-exist. I really like seeing the mother letters on the middle pillar, and the logic whereby the paths connect to the appropriate planetary sephira.

Too soon for me to know what to do with it, though. I jumped ahead to the appendix in QBL which is the only place in the book where he describes his revised tree, and lists all his though processes along the way. The main text of the book is about the "regular" version of the tree.

I also find his idea in your link of trees fractally infinitely expanding (or contracting) quite profound, though I have not fully grokked it yet.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyros View Post
I don't use it but I like it, I can see the justification for it. Every Tree is, after all, a reflection of the philosophy of its creator, and so there's no need to be restricted just to one.
Initially Crowley himself was pretty relaxed about Achad's new arrangement. He thought that there were some interesting ideas in the appendix to Q.B.L., but couldn't see why Achad felt the need to rearrange everything. The 'language' of Qabalah is so eleastic why reinvent the wheel when the existing wheel is already capable of performing the same task?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aleister Crowley
From what I can see of the Appendix generally, it appears to have some very interesting ideas, but I think it is a case of rushing into print. The best ideas are none the worse for being allowed to mellow. The real interest in the Appendix is that it illustrates your rough working, and if we let it go as that instead of making a dogmatic revolution, it is impossible to take any objection to it. I think you have failed to realize that Atbash is no better and no worse a Temurah than any of the other systems. What I dislike about your proposed rearrangement of the Sephiroth, is that such changes merely upset a meaningless convention. It is therefore the blow of a sword in the water. There is no point in proving that Sunday ought really to be Saturday because humanity has missed a day since the day of creation, unless there is a day of creation; and as we know there isnít, it is much best to support the conventional calendar. I think you could have brought out all the truths of your Appendix without upsetting the language.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyros View Post
This one seems to take a more physical approach, with the concept of the pure idea originating from out of the mind of man, and so upwards up.
Achad's explanation in, The Egyptian Revival, reads like typical top-down manifestation. All the preceding causes from Kether downwards find their expression in Malkuth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frater Achad
One of my aims in the foregoing chapter has been to show that this is the Aeon of the Foundation of the Kingdom upon Earth, characterized by the Incarnation of God in the Heart of every Man, Woman, and Child.

It is not so much a question of "Climbing the Tree of Life" as of recognizing how all things have been working together for good so that the Source of All might become manifest in Matter, here on Earth, and the Kingdom of Ra-Hoor-Khuit be established.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyros View Post
I like the bottom triangle very much, I'm a bit iffy about the allocations further up.
Achad's 'rough working' in the appendix to Q.B.L. shows how limited his options became as he worked his way up the Tree. The further he went the fewer cards he had to work with, and this resulted in him having to take a 'best fit' approach.
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". . . such changes merely upset a meaningless convention. It is therefore the blow of a sword in the water."

Funny, before I read this quote, I was thinking to myself that, after living with the Tree for almost 45 years, I don't often approach it as an intellectual construct any more, it just sort of . . . "is." I use the concepts but don't contemplate the formal structure all that minutely. The quote seems to put its finger on the reason. As I read it, Crowley is saying that, since the conventional alignment of the Major Arcana to the Tree is itself a "meaningless convention," trying to tinker with it is a comparably meaningless endeavor.

It's been over 40 years since I last read QBL, but I don't recall being taken with Achad's logic at the time. Of course, I may have just been soured by William Gray's similar attempt to reconstitute the alignment in The Talking Tree. I thought The Ladder of Lights was worthwhile, but Gray lost me with "T.T.T"
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
As I read it, Crowley is saying that, since the conventional alignment of the Major Arcana to the Tree is itself a "meaningless convention," trying to tinker with it is a comparably meaningless endeavor.
I don't think it's as simple as mere Tarot correspondences. If it were Crowley would be guilty of the same crime. Remember the Emperor/Star swap? The big difference is that Achad didn't just alter correspondences, he moved the actual Paths and Letters. They are what form the 'convention' and the 'language' between the Sephiroth.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
It's been over 40 years since I last read QBL, but I don't recall being taken with Achad's logic at the time.
To be fair to Achad his initial question about the formation of the Paths on the Tree of Life is an interesting and valid one. But it's the speed with which he ditches the idea that raises an eyebrow. His proposed reversal of the Paths does appear to create a pretty pattern, but the scheme breaks down almost immediately with the placement of the Emperor on the path between Yesod and Netzach (Identical with Crowley's placement apart from the Hebrew letter - Heh.) And the reverse order above the Abyss simply does not work, which is why he ends his presentation at that point.

After going through all of that he suddenly comes up with the idea of placing the three Mother letters - Aleph, Mem, Shin - on the Middle Pillar. This forces him to make alterations on other paths as well. But where does that leave the Serpent of Wisdom? That was his original justification for making the changes in the first place.
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