Memory Theatre

The Tree of Life considered as a Memory Theatre.

The "memory theatre" was an aspect of a science of the imagination which was practiced from Classical times up to the Renaissance. It was used for the development of memory, and also as a "mind-map" - a connected symbolic space, often represented as a building, which spanned the imaginative or conceptual faculty.

The Kabbalistic Tree of Life, along with its associated correspondences, is an excellent example of this latter idea.

I like to think of the Tree correspondences as "memory theatre", as there is great utility in this idea, and it is a beautiful and accessible entry-point for a modern person to enter into an archiac aspect of right-brain science: a world of images, associations, symbols, inarticulate connections, and qualitative thinking.

The definitive text is The Art of Memory by Francis Yates. 

GDtarottol_t.jpg (12720 bytes)The Golden Dawn assignment of Tarot cards to the paths on the Tree of Life. The pack used is the Colman-Smith/Waite pack.
thothtol_t.jpg (12275 bytes)The Golden Dawn assignment of Tarot cards to the paths on the Tree of Life, as amended by Aleister Crowley. The pack used is the Harris/Crowley "Thoth" pack.
trektree_t.jpg (6495 bytes)The crew of the starship Enterprise considered as univeral archetypes. For further details see The Star Trek Tree.
mag_imag_t.jpg (10940 bytes)Images associated with the sephiroth.
Tol_t.jpg (9047 bytes)"Mundane Chakras" - astrological planetary associations  with the sephiroth.
tolvirtues_t.gif (7223 bytes) Virtues, Vices, Illusions, Obligations. Sephirothic correspondences. See Sephirothic Correspondences.
tolangels_t.gif (17415 bytes) God Name, Archangel, Angel Order.
This shows an arrangement of the Tree sometimes called "Jacob's Ladder", or the "Extended Tree".

 In Genesis 28:12 it tells that Jacob rested his head on a stone and had a dream of "a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."  

The stone on which Jacob rested his head went on to acquire great significance and was said in legend to have formed the foundation stone of the Temple of Solomon.

The arrangement shown consists of four identical Trees representing the four worlds of Assiah (making), Yetzirah (formation), Briah/Beriyah (creation) and Atzilut (emanation or nearness). A more detailed explanation can be found in the Notes on Kabbalah.

kircher_t.gif (1076 bytes) The Kircher Tree of Life, from Oedipus Aegyptiacus published in 1652 by Athanasius Kircher, a Jesuit priest.


Copyright Colin Low 2001-2007