Waite's FRC Tree of Life Diagram


I started looking at the diagram and couldn't resist making a few more tweaks, mostly moving text around.


Also , could you please explain your basis for putting "Unitas " on Tiphareth rather than Daath perhaps ? It seems quite low down on the Tree to have such a designation.

I found another reference to unitas or "unity" in the Adeptus Exemptus (Chesed) ritual.

"The Pass-Word of the Grade is Ahav, signifying Love, and thence is derived the Mystical Number, which is 8, being that of Christ the Spirit. There is also another Pass-Word, Echaduth signifying Unity. In one aspect it is held mystically to shew forth the union between Tiphereth and Malkuth, regarded as the Son and the Bride. It is otherwise the Congregation of Israel, when the male is joined to the female—that is to say, when there is mystical union between the Lover and the Beloved. It is the union between Christ and the Elect in Chesed."​

It seems that "unity" or unitas isn't specific to Tiphareth only but is an ongoing process with different meanings at different stages. I might go ahead and remove the reference in Tiphareth in the diagram as it doesn't seem to be specific to that grade. Thanks for raising this question parsival. :)


There's a version of the Tree of Life I've run across a few times in Waite's writings but it never clicked until just now. It's from an article by Waite (Kabalistic Alchemy), first published (according to R. A. Gilbert, Hermetic Papers of A. E. Waite) in The Journal of the Alchemical Society, Vol. 2, Part 9, January 1914, pp. 43-58. According to Waite, in the Aesh Mezareph, or, Book of Purifying Fire there are two versions of the Tree which show correspondences for the sephiroth and metals. The Tree in the image below is from the "second system."


Kether, Chokmah and Binah correspond to Philosphical Mercury, Philosophical Salt and Philosophical Sulphur respectively. Mercury represents the central pillar, Salt the right pillar and Sulphur the left pillar. In the FRC, Waite moves Philosphical Mercury, Philosophical Salt and Philosophical Sulphur down to Tiphareth, Chesed and Geburah respectively, but they keep their pillar assignments. Seems to me a very like source of influence on Waite for his later arrangement in the FRC. Writing in The Secret Tradition in Alchemy on the subject of the two arrangements in Aesh Mezareph Waite says:

"As such, I consider that the first tabulation is almost manifestly incorrect; but if the second should be preferred to the first, it is not therefore unimpeachable. I have met with other attributions in more secret Kabalistic systems and these are still better, though not perhaps perfect;"​

Could be a reference to the attributions he ultimately opted for in the FRC, or maybe not, hard to say. :)


A Tree diagram update is available. I've struggled with getting the Christ-life formula correct; i.e., the right locations for the Houses of Rebirth, Life, Death, Resurrection and Ascension. I think I've found the correct arrangement. House of Rebirth is Yesod. The Portal sub-Grade is a ritual of rebirth and it starts out in Yesod. Waite says:

"Yesod is the source and cause of the Second Birth, and for this reason you have returned thereto in this sub-Grade of the Portal."​

This is they key to several mysteries, including Waite's placement of Temperance and the Lovers on the Tree, as well as further clarifying the Waite-Smith Temperance symbolism. :)


I tend to agree with this Abrac . Yesod is the " organ of generation " on the Adam Qadmon , and therefore associated with birth . It does make sense to see it within Waite's framework as spiritual birth i.e. the birth of Christ in the soul .
However the Lovers would seem to have more to do with the Mystical Marriage formula rather than the Christ - life formula ? So could you please elaborate on your last sentence : " This is they key to several mysteries, including Waite's placement of Temperance and the Lovers on the Tree, as well as further clarifying the Waite-Smith Temperance symbolism ."


No problem. Temperance is shown to the Candidate on the 27th path, the last path before the Portal sub-Grade. The combined influences of Geburah and Chesed converging in Yesod, as illustrated in Temperance, creates the "will toward rebirth"; so Temperance comes before the Lovers which symbolizes the rebirth itself. The description of Temperance in the Philosophus ritual says:

"It represents Shekinah as the Lady of Reconciliation and Lady of the Pillar of Benignity, intermingling and reconciling the influences of Chesed and Geburah, regarded as cleansing water and saving fire. They are poured forth from two Chalices, which have a meeting point at Yesod and descend thence as a river of life in Malkuth. In the ascent of the Tree this symbol signifies the will toward rebirth, being the last mystery unfolded by the Grades of the Rosy Cross at that point where the world of formation merges in the world that is beyond."​

The rebirth experience, symbolized in the Portal ritual, starts in Yesod, proceed by the 26th path and concludes in Tiphareth. The officiating "angel" in the image Waite identifies as Shekinah as a symbol of the Second Birth. He puts it this way in the ritual:

"The benign and gracious being who officiates at the Espousals before you is also a symbol of the Second Birth in spiritual consciousness. She presides over marriages and births. He who has attained to this state of regeneration in God shall draw, my Brother, all parts of his personality into the redemption of the higher nature. He shall raise up his fallen Sephiroth, including Malkuth."​

Waite says the symbol of the Lovers represents Marriage, i.e., the "wedlock of the soul and Christ natures." It's this marriage which initiates, or makes possible, the regeneration. The Waite-Smith Temperance symbolism is slightly different but similar in essence. There's the combining of the material and psychic natures creating a consciousness of higher things. In Yesod (represented by the white square), a new consciousness in God (represented by the triangle) has awakened. To me the combined symbolism of the W-S Temperance seems to be that of rebirth, or at least the will toward rebirth. In the GD, as I'm sure you know, Temperance actually occupied the Yesod-Tiphareth path rather than the Lovers.


I see Temperance as more of a preparatory phase; the mixture of the inward and outward, bringing with it an awareness of new possibilities. Also it links Hod (Water) with Netzach (Fire).