Yetzirah (also known as Olam Yetsirah, עולם יצירה in Hebrew) is the third of four worlds in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, following Atziluth and Briah and preceding Assiah. It is known as the "World of Formation".
"Yetsirah" as in "making" is as opposed to "Beriah" as in "Creating": actually taking whatever matter that was created in "Beriah" and shaping it into the basic elements.
On the Tree of Life diagram Yetzirah is associated with the Sephiroth Chesed, Geburah, Tiphareth, Netzach, Hod and Yesod. Together, the six Sephiroth are known as the Microprosopus (Zeir Anpin) also known as the 'Lesser Countenance' or the 'Small Face.' In this sense, it stands in contrast with the Macroprosopus (Arich Anpin).
Non-permanent angels dwell in the world of Yetzirah, unlike archangels which reside in Briah.
In addition, Yetzirah corresponds to:
- The letter vav ו in the Tetragrammaton.
- The sefirot of Chesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod and Yesod and hence the partzuf of Zeir Anpin.
- The element of Air.
- The soul-level of ruach.
- The soul-garment of speech.
- The emotions.
- The arms, torso, legs, and circumcision (Patach Eliyahu).
- In the allegory of the teacher and the student, the penultimate stage where the teacher gives a lesson, a compressed outline of the full concept to the student. Through this, the student gains an initial, external understanding of the concept.
- The Pesukei Dezimra in the Shacharit prayer service.
- Within the Western mystery tradition, the suit of swords in the occult tarot.
- The fixed, air, sign of Aquarius (astrology).
References and further reading
- Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah, Samuel Weiser publisher, 1984, p. 64
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