The Qliphoth: Exploring The Tree Of Death In The Occult

The Qliphoth tree

The Qliphoth, also known as the Tree of Death or the Infernal Tree, is the realm of hardcore transformation. Today we’re going over every element of the Qliphoth as well as my own personal experiences on the Tree.

Often described as the shadow side of the Tree of Life, the Qliphoth represents the darker aspects of existence, holding within it both terror and transformation.

Some see the Qliphoth as an inversion of the tree of life, which would be the root system of the tree, or the opposite side of the tree, the backside that does not see the sun (also known as the Nightside).

In this blog post, we embark on a journey into the mysterious world of the Qliphoth to shed light on its significance and symbolism.

What Is The Qliphoth?

The Qliphoth Tree & how to initiate

The word “Qliphoth” derives from the Hebrew term “klippot,” meaning “husks” or “shells.” In the Kabbalistic tradition, the Tree of Life, a sacred symbol representing the divine order and creation, is believed to have a shadow side. This shadow side comprises the Qliphoth, which are the opposite and often malevolent counterparts of the ten Sephiroth (emanations) on the Tree.

Each Sephirah on the Tree of Life represents a specific aspect of the divine, such as wisdom, understanding, compassion, and justice. The Qliphoth, on the other hand, symbolize the realms of impurity, chaos, and darkness. They are considered the remnants of the shattered vessels that failed to contain the divine light during the process of creation, thereby becoming corrupted and unholy.

The Tree of Life can be linked to creation and the realm of conscious thought. While some traditional Kabbalists might hold differing views, a simplified perspective aligns the Tree of Life with creative forces. In contrast, the infernal counterpart, the Qliphoth, is intertwined with the energies of the unconscious mind and forces that lie beyond the scope of creation. This distinction underlies the profound chaos and frequent destructive nature attributed to the infernal tree.

The Qliphoth consists of 10 spheres known individually as a Qlipha, as well as a hidden 11th sphere. Each Qlipha is ruled by one or more demons (correlating to the angels who rule the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life).

Each realm holds a mirror image of the realm associated with the Tree of Life, but distorted and perverted, showing you the dark side of the archetype.

The Qliphoth are dark spheres, like individual black holes, that devour light and life force. By choosing to enter a Qliphothic realm, you are knowingly entering into one of these dark spheres, which is why practitioners are always told to proceed with caution.

The Qliphoth is all of primordial darkness and chaos, and is so big we can’t possibly comprehend it. Where the Seriphoth represents structure, order, and light, the Qliphoth represents chaos, disorder, and darkness.

The Tree Of Knowledge:

Sometimes, the Qliphoth is known as the “Tree of Death,” the opposite of the Tree of Life, but it can also be called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, referenced from the Garden of Eden in the Bible.

The idea here is that initiation into the Qliphoth can represent the “fall” of Adam and Eve, and the metaphorical idea that one must leave the garden, where all things appear perfect, in order to see the illusions lying below.

The Qliphoth does not indicate that one literally leaves the garden, but rather that one goes through initiations that allow one to see through the illusions of everyday life. Practitioners of the Qliphoth may feel that the “garden” is just an illusion and the Qliphoth is the chance to break through that illusion.

Why Would Anyone Want To Explore The Qliphoth?

The purpose of exploring the Qliphoth varies depending on the perspective and spiritual tradition of the individual or group engaged in this practice. Generally, the exploration of the Qliphoth serves several purposes:

Self-Exploration and Shadow Work: One of the primary reasons for exploring the Qliphoth is to engage in deep self-exploration and shadow work. The Qliphoth represents the darker aspects of the psyche and the universe, including repressed emotions, unresolved traumas, and hidden desires. By confronting these shadow elements, individuals can gain greater self-awareness, healing, and personal growth.

Balancing and Integration: Embracing the Qliphothic aspects allows individuals to balance their spiritual journey by acknowledging both light and dark aspects of existence. Rather than denying or suppressing negative emotions and tendencies, exploring the Qliphoth encourages integration and understanding, fostering a more complete and authentic self.

Wisdom and Knowledge: The Qliphoth holds hidden knowledge and wisdom, often considered forbidden or taboo in conventional spiritual systems. Explorers of the Qliphoth seek to tap into this occult knowledge to gain insights into the mysteries of existence, consciousness, and the universe.

Transformation and Liberation: Some practitioners (including myself) view the exploration of the Qliphoth as a path to transformation and liberation. By confronting and embracing the darkness within, they seek to transmute negative energies into positive forces, thus achieving personal empowerment and spiritual ascent.

Magical and Mystical Practices: In certain esoteric traditions, the Qliphoth is associated with dark magic and mystical practices. Some practitioners may explore the Qliphothic realms to harness hidden powers, perform rituals, or connect with specific entities believed to reside within these shadow realms.

Left-Hand Path Spirituality: Followers of the Left-Hand Path may be drawn to the Qliphoth as an alternative approach to spirituality, emphasizing individualism, personal growth, and self-deification. For them, the exploration of the Qliphoth represents a way to break away from traditional religious and moral constraints.

In my case, my journey through the Qliphoth led to a thorough and profound dismantling of my self-perception. After traversing the Abyss, I found myself scarcely recognizing my own humanity.

My perspective on the world has undergone such profound shifts that forming deep connections with ordinary individuals has become nearly impossible. The texts pertaining to the Qliphoth depict the act of passing into the abyss as shedding all facets of one’s former existence; this portrayal does not exaggerate, and, if anything, downplays the true extent of the transformation, at least as per my personal encounter.

Concepts such as good, evil, right, and wrong lose their conventional significance, and the rosy tint through which you once perceived the world undergoes a dramatic alteration.

From my perspective, it was akin to rebirth, shedding the previous self and emerging as something distinct.

Many embark on this journey with the aspiration of stronger magickal power, and this is certainly a byproduct of the experience. However, you don’t really “learn” crazy new magickal skills. It is the dismantling of illusions, the liberation of the mind, that allows you to perform much stronger magic, so there is no shortcut for this work. 

The Spheres Of The Qliphoth:

The Qliphoth Tree & how to initiate

Here, I’ll briefly list the Qliphothic spheres from the bottom up.

1. Lilith/Nehemoth: Ruled by Naamah, the demoness who holds dominion over material things, this realm coincides with Malkuth on the Tree of Life. This is the material realm that sits in our own world. Naamah is either Lilith’s sister or daughter, depending on the story. This realm focuses on sexual initiation, feminine energy, the activation of Kundalini, and the entrance into the Nightside. Here, you will begin to develop the “eye” to see beyond illusions. In my experience, this Qlipa showed me a glimpse only of my own illusions, though at the time the work seemed very intense.

2. Gamaliel – The Obscene Ones: This second realm of the Qliphoth, ruled by Lilith and Samael (Lucifer), pertains to sexual and primal energies, exploring the taboo and hidden aspects of human nature. Here, a practitioner learns sexual mysticism, confronts the shadow-self relating to taboos and sex, learns about the vampire archetype, and works with the moon. Your hidden and repressed instincts and desires will be brought to light. You will also learn all different types of dream magic, because this realm is primarily on the astral, and encounter the Unholy Grail. 

3. Samael – The Poison Of God: This realm represents the dark side of intellect and dissolves all reason and logic. Your patterns of thinking will be tested and you may feel a bit insane here. This realm is known as the “Desert of Insanity and Confusion” and in my experience this is certainly true. 

4. A’arab Zaraq – The Ravens Of Dispersion: This Qlipha is also on the astral plane and is ruled by Baal, Dark Venus, and Tubal Cane. Because this is the alternate shell of the “Victory” level on the Tree of Life, this is where you’ll feel like you lose and fail, over and over. Your illusions surrounding love and lust will be tested through Dark Venus, and you will begin the process of alchemical transformation into the Black Sun.

5. Thagirion – The Disputer: This is the first solar realm in the Qliphoth and is where the practitioner is transformed into the Black Sun. While Tiphereth, the dayside sphere, corresponds to organized religion, Thagirion shows you that truth can only be found within. There is a major death and rebirth at this level.

6. Golachab – The Burning One: This realm corresponds to Mars and war, and here practitioners will encounter wrath, violence, and cruelty through invocations of Asmodeus, the ruling demon. This is a fire that will consume all unneeded parts of your life and personality.

7. Gha’agsheblah – The Smiter: This is the realm of ruthlessness, where any leftover bonds and attachments will be entirely devoured in order to prepare the initiate for entry into the Abyss, leaving behind all humanity. The lessons here are about the necessity of sacrifice and destruction.

8. Daath – The Abyss: The dreaded abyss is ruled by the Beast (666), also known by Crowley as Choronzon and Shugal. This is a symbolic death with the initiate experiences unification with the All, or divine chaos. This is a realm of complete confusion.

9. Satariel – The Concealer: This is the realm of Lucifuge, the one who flees from the light, and it is here that you will open the all-seeing eye, taking the Third Eye to a new level. 

10. Ghagiel – The Hinderer: Associated with the devil in his masculine aspect, this is the realm of the dark god, ruled by Beelzebub and Belial. Here, you will learn that all matter is an illusion and the body is not truly needed. You must be transformed to pure energy.

11.Thaumiel – The Twin God: The last realm of the Qliphoth is ruled by Lucifer in his aspect of the Three-Headed God, which includes Satan and Moloch. This is where all parts of your being are brought together and you look into the void itself.

How Does Initiation Work?

When you first enter a sphere, you perform an initiation ritual to invoke the properties of the sphere and enter. Next, you’ll find that the lessons of the sphere will manifest, both in your physical world and in your mind. This is because your initiation forces certain illusions to drop, so you need to be 100% sure that you want to initiate at the beginning. There is no going back.

For example, Samael is the realm of mentality and cold logic. When I initiated into that realm, I was thrown into turmoil of the mind. I was forced to see how “logic” does not always make sense, and to contend with my own ideas about logic and mental order. Some of these lessons came at a cost, for I was shown how some people around me are not operating off logic. I was shown how delicate the mind is, and how many parts of our world are simply a construct.

You’ll work through a certain sphere until you’re done. For me, each sphere took at least a few months, while some took up to a year. When you’ve finished, you can either take a break or move to the next sphere immediately. 

Risks and Precautions:

Venturing into the Qliphoth is not without its risks, as it involves confronting one’s own inner darkness and facing potential spiritual or psychological challenges. It is crucial for seekers to approach this exploration with discernment and respect, and only under the guidance of experienced mentors or practitioners.

Uncontrolled dabbling in the Qliphoth without proper preparation can lead to imbalances, negative consequences, or even spiritual turmoil. It is essential to have a solid foundation in esoteric studies, meditation practices, and inner work before attempting to navigate these murky waters.

If you’re someone deeply burdened by fear, pain, or anger (which often stems from fear or pain), delving into the realm of the Qliphoth can be perilous. Within these domains, you’ll directly encounter and grapple with your own fear and pain, causing them to bubble up and manifest in tangible ways in your external environment. Unfortunately, these manifestations tend to be uncomfortable and unfavorable.

More Reading On Qliphotic Rituals:

If you’re just beginning your journey with the Qliphoth or are vaguely interested, I recommend reaeding Asenath Mason’s first book. This is more of an overview, and you’ll need her other books if you want to properly initiate all the way through, but this book is way cheaper and is a great starting place.

For practitioners who want to invest, I highly recommend Asenath Mason’s Qliphothic trilogy. At the very least, you’ll want the Qliphothic Meditations and the Qliphothic Invocations and Evocations – you can skip the Tunnel of Set until you finish the initial initiations if you prefer.

These books are only available on Etsy. They’re pricy, but they’re 1000% worth the cost – you pretty much can’t find this information anywhere else.

Several other authors have written about the Qliphoth, often exploring its esoteric and occult aspects. While I personally think Asenath Mason is the place to start, you can never read too much. Some of the most well-known authors in this field include:

1. Kenneth Grant: An influential occultist and writer who delved into the Qliphoth and its connection to the work of Aleister Crowley. He authored books like “Nightside of Eden” and “Outside the Circles of Time,” which discuss Qliphothic concepts within a Thelemic framework.

2. Thomas Karlsson: A Swedish occultist and founder of the Dragon Rouge esoteric order, Karlsson has written extensively on the Qliphoth. His book “Qabalah, Qliphoth and Goetic Magic” offers a comprehensive exploration of these topics.

3. Donald Tyson: A prolific occult author, Tyson has covered various esoteric subjects, including the Qliphoth. His book “The New Magus” includes sections on Qliphothic magic and the dark side of Kabbalah.

4. Stephen Flowers (Edred Thorsson): Flowers is known for his works on Northern European esotericism and the runic traditions. His book “Lords of the Left-Hand Path” delves into the Qliphoth and its connections to ancient Germanic lore.

5. Jake Stratton-Kent: A practitioner of traditional witchcraft and goetia, Stratton-Kent has explored the Qliphoth in his book “The True Grimoire.” He offers insights into the practical aspects of working with Qliphothic energies.

6. Frater Aster: An occult author who specializes in Qliphothic magic, Frater Aster has written books such as “Qliphothic Invocation and Evocation” and “Gates of Dozak.”

7. Gerald Massey: While not exclusively focused on the Qliphoth, Massey’s works, such as “A Book of Beginnings” and “The Natural Genesis,” delve into Egyptian mythology and symbolism that have been connected to Qliphothic interpretations.

FAQs About The Qliphoth:

What is the Qliphoth?

The Qliphoth is a concept within certain branches of Kabbalah, representing the shadow side or reverse aspects of the Tree of Life. It symbolizes hidden and often forbidden knowledge, associated with negative and chaotic forces.

How is the Qliphoth different from the Tree of Life?

The Tree of Life represents divine emanations and spiritual growth, while the Qliphoth represents disconnected, impure, or distorted energies. It’s often seen as the opposite or mirror image of the Tree of Life. If the Tree of Life is all things order and light, the Qliphoth is all things chaotic and dark.

Can working with the Qliphoth be dangerous?

Yes, working with the Qliphoth can be challenging and potentially risky. It involves confronting deep aspects of the self and delving into intense emotions and energies that may have destabilizing effects on one’s psyche if not approached with care and knowledge. You can experience seriously psychological distress in the Qliphoth. Even if you think you can make it, trust me: it’ll be much more difficult than you realize. I learned that the hard way. But then again, nothing worth having is easy.

Is the Qliphoth inherently evil?

The Qliphoth is not necessarily “evil” in a conventional sense. It represents hidden and often uncomfortable aspects of existence. Interpretations of its nature vary widely, and some see it as a means of achieving balance and personal growth. However, the Qliphoth can feel extremely evil if you’re not consciously and willingly entering.

What precautions should one take when exploring the Qliphoth?

Before engaging with the Qliphoth, invest time in comprehensive research. Study reputable sources, understand the historical context, and gain insights from experienced practitioners. Make sure this is what you want to do.

When you begin, ensure you’re in a stable mental and emotional state. Engaging with the Qliphoth can evoke intense emotions and confront deep-seated aspects of the psyche. If you’re already dealing with emotional instability or psychological issues, it may be best to delay your exploration.

Develop a solid understanding of occult principles, symbolism, and practices. This foundation will help you navigate the complexities of Qliphothic concepts and rituals, and will make you feel like you’re not crazy when you see Qliphothic symbolism everywhere.

Approach your exploration gradually. Don’t rush into intense practices without building a foundation. Slowly integrate Qliphothic concepts and rituals, paying attention to how they affect you.

Can the Qliphoth be integrated with other spiritual or religious beliefs?

Integration of Qliphothic concepts with other beliefs depends on the practitioner’s approach and open-mindedness. However, blending such disparate systems requires deep understanding and may lead to contradictory interpretations. In my experience, the Qliphoth is simply a method of initiation, but all things connect in the end. Greek mythology, Tarot, Arthurian legend, and even TV shows all start to feel the same as you work through the Qliphoth, because the basics of the journey and the symbolism are the same, regardless of the different names. 

How can one know if the Qliphoth is a suitable path for their spiritual journey? 

Careful introspection and research are essential. If you resonate with themes of shadow work, exploring hidden aspects of consciousness, and are prepared for potentially intense psychological and spiritual experiences, the Qliphoth may align with your path.

Are there benefits to working with the Qliphoth?

Benefits can include deeper self-awareness, confronting and integrating the shadow self, exploring hidden desires, and challenging personal limitations. However, these benefits come with potential risks and challenges.

Are there parallels between the Qliphoth and other spiritual systems? A

Some parallels exist between the Qliphoth and concepts from other mystical and esoteric traditions. Many initiatory systems (often found in ancient mystery cults) revolve around the process of death and rebirth, and transformation in order to grow, which is what the Qliphoth is all about.

Can the Qliphoth be understood as a metaphor for psychological processes?

Yes, some interpret the Qliphoth metaphorically as representing psychological aspects of the human experience, such as unconscious desires, fears, and repressed emotions. This perspective may align with psychological and Jungian approaches. However, in my experience, the process of actually initiating accelerates these psychological processes. That’s why you may experience so much psychological distress, but this accelerated process also allows you to gain immense power and insight much more quickly than normal.