There are several ways of categorizing the different worlds used in the Western Mystery Tradition. Many of them overlap or complement one another. One of the purposes of using a “Worlds Model” is for the individual to be able to give some type of categorization of what they are experiencing and witnessing when they are performing their esoteric work. Over millennia esoteric practitioners have used different terms to describe and categorize similar experiences. Several examples of these are the 4 Worlds of the Kabbalists, the 7 Planes and the World Tree. While they come from different traditions and philosophies, the one constant is these worlds are based on experiential knowledge. The Model used here has origins in the teachings of Martinism and the Hermetic Qabalah.
One way of experiencing the different worlds used in the Western Mystery Tradition is given in the exercise below. It uses a geocentric view of the world, or more appropriately for this work, the Celestial Spheres. The celestial spheres should not be looked at as literal. It is better to see it from the viewpoint of a human being on Earth, looking up to the heavens and seeing the planets of the ancients, including the Sun and the Moon, with the naked eye. Being “Children of Earth” as several mystery schools remind us, our experience is here on Earth and becomes the starting point of our journey into other realms of existence.
Three different terms are used to delineate the experience of the worlds according to the teachings of Martinism. The first is the Elementary World which consists of the mineral, plant, animal and human kingdoms as well as the Elementals and nature spirits. An excellent representation of which can be seen in The Moon Card of the Tarot. Next is the World of Orbs and it comprises the planets of the ancients in the following order: the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and the stars of the Zodiac. The final world is the Empyrean. This is the world of pure light and would mostly correspond to the Kabbalistic Worlds of Atziluth, Briah and Yetzirah. These are the “Invisible Worlds”. The diagram to the right by Fludd may help along with reviewing the diagram above regarding the Celestial Spheres.
The following exercise is an elaboration from a lesson of the Traditional Martinist Order with a Qabbalistic emphasis along with several teachings in the book Ascension Magick by Christopher Penczack.
Awareness of the Cosmic Being
- Begin by performing a relaxation technique that works for you
- Perform any banishing rituals or preparation that you would do before meditation
- Be in a seated position, feet flat on the floor slightly separated, hands on the thighs in a relaxed but aware position
- Visualize yourself growing into an immense being rising up beyond the solar system with the stars of the zodiac encircling you. Do not see anything specific yet, just feel this immensity.
- Elementary World- Concentrate at your feet below you. See them resting upon the tiny globe of the Earth. See the mineral, plant, animal, and human kingdoms, the Elementals and nature spirits all as part of this world at your feet. Feel the interconnectedness of these kingdoms as they are all part of one world. Witness and observe these beings. When you feel ready, move on to the next point.
- World of Orbs- Raise your consciousness now to the area of your body, from the base of your spine up to the top of your head. See here the planets of the ancients starting with the Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. Feel these planets and energies as a part of you. Now see the stars of the Zodiac encircling the immense being you are attuning with. Do not worry about any symbols for these planets or stars rather witness and observe these energies as before. When you feel ready, move on to the next point.
- The Empyrean- Direct your consciousness now beyond the World of Orbs to that which lies beyond the physical universe altogether. Focus on what is behind it, giving it sustenance. Stay in a receptive state for a few moments and again witness and observe this Invisible World. Do this for no more than 5 minutes.
- Returning- direct your consciousness to slowly shrink back to its normal size returning the way it went from the Empyrean, to the World of Orbs, to the Elementary World and into your physical body where you are seated. Slowly move your limbs and open your eyes.
- If you still feel ungrounded walk barefooted outside in some soil or rub your feet on the floor and eat some solid food.
- Record your experiences.