The Key Scale

of the Western Magickal Tradition

Modern magicians, basing their practice on the pioneering Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, use the order of the "emanations" and "paths" of the Tree of Life diagram as a mnemonic filing system. This diagram derives from the speculations of medieval Jewish Kabbalists, and while several systems of paths and emanations (or "sephiroth") are attested from that period, the version that has become standard is that of 10 sephiroth and 22 paths. Almost all students in the orders derived from the GD are required to memorize and meditate upon it as one of their first lessons.

Although there is no evidence that Babylonian magicians used such a mnemonic structure, its elegance and simplicity recommend it as a way to organize any list of items or processes, including Babylonian lists of gods, demons, ritual implements and rituals. Many generations of students have found the order of the sephiroth - less so the paths - a useful way to structure their spiritual exercises and arrange their insights, as well as a way to anticipate and plan for their future tasks. It would not be too much to say that the Tree of Life has proven its worth as a rough guide to the soul, and a map of the spiritual life.

THE BASIC SYSTEM numbers 10 sephiroth (Hebrew for "emanations" -> possibly a loanword from Greek for "sphere") with 22 paths between them - one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Kabbalists consider the sephiroth to represent the powers of God, as well as an outline of the process of creation, from the top down. The paths represent the processes by which the powers do their creative work.

I have arranged some of the tables in the Correspondences according to the now traditional doctrines of assignation, while for others I have simply listed them in the Babylonian order, hoping thereby to put a number, if no other symbolic value can be imputed, to the items in the list. With these tables I hope to give students a mnemonic system for the information in Babylonian Magick, as well as suggest a system of syncretic adaptations to ease the transition between magickal correspondences.


The Classic Form of
the Tree of Life

(Illustration from David Allen Hulse
The Key of It All p. 113