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malkuth by Rhea Shemazi
Malkuth Image by Rhea Shemayazi - Copyright 2000



Chris Scott


The colours for Malkuth on the Qabalistic Tree given by Gareth Knight in A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism and Dion Fortune's Mystical Qabalah are:

Assiah: black rayed yellow

Yetzirah: citrine, olive, russet & black, flecked gold

Briah: citrine, olive, russet & black

Atziluth: yellow

Of the four worlds we will look at Atziluth as the highest world and Assiah as the lowest. Thus the development of the ego would be from Assiah to Atziluth. In the Assiatic world the colours of Malkuth are black-rayed yellow. When a baby is born it comes into the physical world in an egoless state. The child's mundane consciousness is a blank slate on which the impressions of life will be written. This is symbolized by the black colour. Also black is the colour of Binah in Briah. The child's first impressions of the world are through its mother (before and after birth). The yellow rays are the Spirit which maintains and supports both mundane consciousness and the physical body. As the child starts to mature it comes into contact with the Yetziratic World. This is its own inner world and the desires and needs can be identified. Then an effort can be made to fulfil them. The citrine is a Yesodic colour and shows that the child needs to be nurtured and to develop its imaginative and intuitive faculties. The infant then starts to explore its feelings. The breast feels good and so does sucking on it. Being left alone is painful.

How many parents have had sleepless nights due to babies discovering this fact? This is symbolized by the olive colour which portrays Netzach (instincts, feelings and emotions) coming into consciousness.

As the child grows it starts to learn mobility and verbal communication. After a few years the child becomes a pupil at a school and the years of education begin. Russet is the colour applicable to this phase of consciousness and it symbolizes the Sephirah Hod (communication and intellect). The fourth colour of Malkuth in Yetzirah is black which in this world represents Binah the All Mother. This suggests that good mothering (whichever parent does it) is crucial in the balanced development of the child, especially on all the inner levels of being.


The circle of Yetziratic consciousness starts again at puberty, represented by the citrine of Yesod which starts the full flowering of the adolescent's Netzach with the onset of sexual feelings symbolized by the olive colour. Late adolescent and early adult intellectual maturation is again represented by the russet of Hod. And the Yetziratic wheel spins on. This cycle can occupy the whole of a person's life. How many elderly people have we met who still show this juvenile psychological make-up of Malkuth in Yetzirah? Some people even regress back to infantile psychology through senility. Thus for a lot of people the upper worlds exist only in their unconsciousness.

Before I discuss the Briatic level of ego consciousness, I would like to illustrate the common way that Western Qabalists draw Malkuth in Briah:

The first symbol that struck me was the quartered circle: a sign of unification and balance. The black quarter is at the bottom. On the left is the russet quarter at the gate of the 31st path leading to Hod. The citrine is at the gate of the 32nd path and the olive quarter relates to the Sephiroth at the end of these paths. I think and feel that the energies of these paths flow freely and with full consciousness into the mundane consciousness of Malkuth. Thus the person who can achieve this level of consciousness would be extremely aware of him/herself.

Before the Briatic level of consciousness is opened, the person must go through a crisis. Our Western mythologies support this fact: Christ crucified; Odin hanging on Yggdrasil; the Mad Merlin of the Vita Merlini; and the wounded Fisher King. For a lot of 20th century people, the mid-life crisis can be the impetus to find themselves. For men, it should be the start of raising into consciousness of the Anima (their unconscious female Self). For women, it is the acceptance of loss of fertility due to menopause and thus the integrating of the Bearded Woman who is an aspect of Binah. The black is this crisis and it is at the bottom of our diagram showing that Briatic consciousness is achieved by passing through the Dark Night of the Soul. In the lower worlds I likened the black to Binah; here it is the awakened Shekinah (and it doesn't matter what sex the person is) preparing to meet the Divine Bridegroom.

The spiritual crisis when successfully resolved stops the cyclical pattern of Yetzirah. The inner tides are subdued and brought into balance. Thus the symbol of the quartered circle: this shows that the elements are in harmonious conjunction within the consciousness and are working at optimum levels in the Ego as represented by Malkuth. This is the level of the Lesser Adept. The Greater Adept's mundane consciousness is portrayed by the yellow of Atziluth. This symbolizes that the person is living through the Individuality instead of being ruled by the Personality. The person is consciously living according to Divine Will or, to express it another way, this person is living his/her Dharma. These are the great people of history, religion, mythology such as Gandhi, Pythagoras, Merlin.

The four levels of mundane consciousness are portrayed by the Four Worlds of the Qabalah. Assiah is the consciousness of the infant and child. Yetzirah is the consciousness of the adolescent and is a cyclic one which can lead from puberty to death. The consciousness of Briah symbolizes the mature human being who has mastery over the waking consciousness. Atziluth is the illuminated consciousness of Incarnate Masters and is the waking consciousness of those who willingly follow their Dharma.

The above is one example of how to interpret the colours of the Sephiroth and the paths. It is definitely not the only way the various colours of Malkuth can be interpreted.

[This article previously appeared in the Spring 1992 edition of Round Merlin's Table and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author. Ta, Chris!]

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