The ‘Tree of Life Garden’ (based on the Kabbalah)

The Kabbalah is an ancient spiritual wisdom that empowers us to improve our lives, discover our purpose, and achieve the lasting fulfillment we are meant to receive.

Conceived from the minds of Kabbalist Keith Davis with creative support from his wife Tana Davis, Environmental Garden Artist/Expert Bryan Morse and the Artisans at Expanding Horizons along with Iron Sculptor/Artist; the Tree of Life Garden was born.

 

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The Temple at the Crown location of the Tree of Life

 

Kether, is the topmost of the Sephirot of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah. Since its meaning is “crown“, it is interpreted as both the “topmost” of the Sephirot and the “regal crown” of the Sephirot.

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Sacred inscription on the outside of the door.

 

Bryan’s Story: I met Keith & Tana Davis at the Garden Conservancy Spring Garden tour of Pikake Botanical Gardens in May of 2005. Somehow we got to talking and when he discovered that I had created Pikake, he came up to me and hugged me. He told me that he had been looking for me (or someone like me) for a long time. Being hugged by a strange man surprised me but it was the beginning of a great working relationship and friendship.

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Temple is visible to the left and just above the tennis court

At the time, I knew nothing about the Tree of Life. I soon discovered that the essence of the Tree of Life is a recurring theme to be found in Judaism and Christianity; but also in Mexican Folklore, Celtic history and in Buddhism. Teaching also demonstrates that the pillars and Seferots of the Tree of Life exist in us all.

I began to study the Kabala and the Tree of Life, not so much from a spiritual standpoint but from a technical one. The Tree of Life was developed to be a mental exercise and now we were going to build it on the ground in a garden so that people could actually walk it and physically experience this spiritual path to enlightenment. What really fascinated me was the Sacred Geometry manifested by the intertwining relationships of the seven circles and twenty two paths that define and locate the Ten Seferots of the Tree of Life. For me, when a solution is so fundamentally elegant, there is always a more profound reason for it.

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Tree of Life

Designing and building this project was quite a challenge, The portion of the property that Keith had selected for this unique project was basically flat and devoid of all life save weeds. He had already placed boulders in the approximate locations of the Seferot as he perceived their relationship. In my opinion, the space was too limited in size and the nearly square dimensions did no lend themselves to accurately representing the elongated rectangle in which the Ten Seferot reside. The solution was serendipitous; to the south of the original location, lay more unused space of a nearly identical size covered with Live Oak and a multitude of other Native plants. This space sloped up as it receded from the original almost level area. We proceeded to selectively prune up the Live Oaks so that we might walk under them, carefully remove the Poison Oak that carpeted parts of the slope and open up the spaces between the native shrubs so that we could see through the space.

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The Temple under Construction

 

Tree on man (2015_08_25 12_01_50 UTC)In order to place this on the ground, the exact proportions of the Sacred Geometry of the Tree of Life had to be blown up to fit the site. When constructed, the distance from the center of Malkuth (bottom) to the north and Keter (crown) to the south, would be two hundred feet. The width from side to side was almost eighty feet. The actual site was much larger because we needed room to surround and enclose the Walk so that it could be experienced in isolation from the distractions of the outside world. When completed, the overall dimensions of the Garden would exceed 250’ by 120’. These points needed to be laid out in an exact relationship to each other over irregular and sloping terrain. Everything had to be triangulated, and triangulated again until each point fell into place.

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A forest of Bamboo separates the Tree of Life Garden from the rest of the estate.

 

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Tiferet anchors the center of the Tree of Life

 

Because this walk to enlightenment is a walk of reflection into your owner inner self, I felt it was important to undulate and snake the paths from one Seferot to the next so that, at each point one may be isolated and, as one moves on, one discovers the next point in the path. A each point, we installed a small flagstone patio set in DG and placed compact boulders around it for seating. Located in the center of each patio, a metal sculpture representing Keith’s vision of the essence of that Seferot was placed. These incredible sculptures were created by master iron worker Clint Crossly of Catalonia Metal Design and were finished with a chemical which gave them the look of a long rusted iron sculpture

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Entry is through a living tunnel…

 

Keith tells his visitors “At the entry to many conservative Jewish homes they have a Mezuzah on the door post.  When they walk into the house they touch it for good luck. It is supposed to bring you extraordinary luck. As you come through the arched entry to the Garden of the Tree of Life, just touch it.  I’m going to meet you down there.”

Bryan…FYI…this is incorrect…The Mezuzah is put there to fulfill the Mitzvah or biblical  commandment to inscribe the words of the Shema– (Shema is daily prayer-but literally means “listen” or “do & hear”)— “on the doorposts of your house”…Deuteronomy 6:9 V 9 And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thy house, and upon thy gates. Basically…God was commanding them to write his words on their hearts and on their door posts to remember him and his commandments.  Not for good luck.

 

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This is the gathering place before entering at the base of the Tree of Life or Malkuth.

 

Quoting Keith: “The reason for building this Garden is that Bryan and I felt like we needed something that would change a person’s consciousness.  Walking through here you realize you are walking into something sacred. So it gives you a little space to get that change.

It’s a pleasure to welcome you people to the Tree of Life Kabbalah Garden.  You can’t study the Kabbalah until you are forty years old in the Jewish tradition. So people our age, (I’m 67), we have the wisdom to appreciate the experience.  I’m going to read this thing, and explain a little bit and then I’m going to take you down to the first Sefirot and I’m going to get you started and it will be an exciting journey for you.

Tana & I welcome you to our Tree of Life Kabbalah Garden.  The Tree of Life Kabbalah was given to Moses on Mount Sinai in Israel in Ancient times.  The tree consists of 10 points called Sefirot, on three pillars, connected by 22 paths, and represented by the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  Imagine that each Sefirot has its Jewish name. In this Garden each path has an engrained Hebrew letter in each of the DG paths.  The energy of that letter connects the two Sefirot.  So as you’re walking between the Sefirot going from one point to the next – realize that that Hebrew letter that is connecting you to the two points is something that they meditated on for 2000 years.  This Garden represents what was given to Moses in a meditative state as he sat with God.  Whether or not he was given the 10 commandments to bring down – I don’t think he could have carried it- but what he was given was the oral tradition of Kabbalah which has existed throughout thousands of years and has gotten to this point. ”

 

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Keith explaining what they will be experiencing

 

Keith continues: “It was given to me orally, basically.  I studied it for a couple of years.  I was fascinated by it because I was always fascinated with God, and thought that I could explain it to somebody.  You cannot explain God to anybody.  God is a whole enchilada.  …and I’m going to go on…where did we leave off?…

As you walk the Tree of Life, keep in mind that each of us embodies within us the Tree of Life, and this is really important because this will make it fun for you as you walk through the garden and walk up to the temple.  On the hand out that I gave you, below is a diagram of the Tree of Life and its relationship to our own body.  Refer to this diagram while you walk the Garden and you sit in the Temple.  The Kabbalah Garden has DG pathways connecting each point.  There are Hebrew Letters embedded in each pathway.  The points are constructed of flagstone, and each point has a unique iron sculpture along with stone benches. If you can imagine, you are in a state…at our age…we have the wisdom to know how exciting it would be to have an experience sitting with God like Moses did.  That is why we built this Garden.  You can walk up and go through the different paths in the lower part of the garden and realize that this is your grounding and this is your physical, emotional, and mental state.  But once you get to Tiferet, which is center, that’s the heart, that’s the soul.  There is a Chuppah there surrounded by roses, it’s really beautiful.  It’s there that the Yin and Yang of the spirit is married.  Jewish people get married under a Chuppa.  It’s a place where the eternal soul rests, its where the male and female: the power of light and love where first married and then where brought down to earth.  So everything beyond Tiferet cannot be explained; it’s a spirit and it’s an energy. And the whole purpose is to walk through the spirit and go through Daath which is the Abyss, and then up to Keter which is the third eye.  People in Eastern philosophies, the Yogi’s, meditated in a cave.  That is what this temple is.   It’s above the head.  You go through the little spot where you came in, that soft spot, and you go up into the third eye, up into the temple.  You close the door.  I think Bryan is going to answer some questions for you guys and get you up to the temple.  But when you are in the temple realize that when you close the door, you have closed the door to creation as you know it, and you are sitting with God.  The whole thing with Moses was, he had to wait 40 years so he could get what he needed to give to the people of Israel.  Well the purpose of the temple in this garden is for you to sit with that door closed and just be in quietness and take in what God has in store for you.  You probably already know what he has in store for you, but it might be something else.  And then you walk it down.  You walk back down and you bring it back to the physical plane.”

 

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One of the Sepherots

 

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Malkuth

 

Keith; “Ok…lets go over here to Malkuth.

If you look at your diagram and you face up this way you can see that there is one pillar that ends up here.  Which is the Light path, it goes all the way up to the temple that way.  Then over here you have the Dark path which goes all the way up to the temple. The light part, the energetic part, … then in the center that is the wisdom.  If you have light and dark, the wisdom is the blending of the two…and it’s that center point.  That’s why the heart of the temple, Tiferet, which is our heart, is in the very center.  As you move up, there is going to be one place up there that maybe you can show them God.  Which is the throat.  You can imagine you are going to go up into the spirit.  It’s just the spirit.  If you can try to be quiet, because as you go higher you leave behind the physical plane.  This is just the physical plane, this is just where everything is manifested into creation.  It’s under our feet.  Then as we move up, we get into the spiritual plane to a point where we are ready to sit with God.  And we get to Keter which is the doorstep to the temple.  Then you go into the temple, you close the door, and there will be a rock circle.  When the door closes it completes the circle.  You want to sit there because the circle represents Nothingness.  Above you is the negative.  You can see it in the ceiling.  It opens up to God.  So you can imagine being with God.  Before he created. He created nothing in order to create something.  Had to create nothing out of ((?? Talpine)) which is nothing in Hebrew.  Because to begin, there was nothing, if you can imagine, and that’s hard to imagine.  If there is nothing what can be beyond that.  And there is God who is ____ and the ___ which is nothing and ____ which is the one. And then you open the door and if you sit there for a few minutes and take God in with the door closed, and you can go in as a group, and just feel what Moses was doing when he was there.  He was sitting there, for maybe days, maybe a month…I don’t know…taking it in.  And he was given the 10 commandments, he was given the Kabbalah…he was given a lot to take back.  And so do each of us.  Each of us has something unique that if we haven’t found it yet, we want to find it…, and if we have found it to be happy with it.  And so your whole purpose of walking up here is to feel what Moses was feeling and then to feel what it felt like to be with God.”

 

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