Ladder of Humanity

A human being is a miniature of all Existence. The body contains the refinement of mineral, vegetable and animal evolution resulting in a distinctly human form. Humanity originates in Adam Kadmon, the primordial World of Azilut. In the process of descent, each divine spark acquired a spirit and later a psyche, prior to incarnation into the physical world.

Humanity is now on the return journey of ascent. The time scale is vast. One life is not enough; each person needs to progress through many lives. Young souls need to learn and develop, guided by older and more mature souls who have incarnated many times. On the upper rungs of the Ladder are the most advanced individuals, saints and sages who teach universal principles which are the basis of a civilised society. Amongst them are true mystics and Watchers who are mostly unknown but nevertheless have an effect. You only need a drop of scent to permeate a whole room.


Halevi describes the Ladder of Humanity

Suggested Reading

Adam and the Kabbalistic Trees by Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi

This revised edition, with its new pictures and diagrams, is about a kabbalistic view of humanity. The concept of the four macrocosmic Worlds of the Divine, spiritual, psychological and physical levels is related to those within an individual. The symbolism and metaphysics of the Tree of Life and Jacob’s Ladder, combining ancient, medieval and modern views, are used to understand Adam, the archetype of humanity. Out of this study arise the processes by which an aspirant may reach the Divine realm where Self-realisation is attained.


Guided Meditation by Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi

Voice: Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi

Recorded in London in 1993

Pilgrim’s Way is an inner journey from all that is familiar into the Higher Worlds. On the way distinct levels are passed through that tell about the character of your mind, its memories and the state of your soul represented by the boat. You will also encounter your inner Teacher who takes you up to the Heavenly Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.

Pilgrims Ladder
Pilgrim’s Way


From Adam and the Kabbalistic Trees Tree of Humanity
Ladder of Humanity
Artwork by Freda Edis

Ladder of Humanity: Questions and Answers

A large part of Halevi’s oral teaching came in responding to students’ questions. Such group discussions sometimes covered topics that were not written down in books. These questions and answers articles are compiled from group and workshop recordings over the years to give insights into Kabbalah as a living tradition.

Q: What is the purpose of humanity?

A: Humanity serves a particular purpose for our planet. All organic life makes up a sensitive layer called the biosphere which transforms cosmic influences for the planet’s development. Humanity is capable of receiving and processing much higher and finer influences than minerals, plants and animals.

The purpose of Existence is to be a mirror by which God beholds God. We are the sense organs like the eyes and ears of the Holy One in this world, each one of us contributing to the process through our individual consciousness. The ultimate purpose is self-realisation through our physical, psychological and spiritual experience. Within this scheme are many intermediary stages. Each individual has their preordained destiny to fulfil over many incarnations while their destination is the same as their divine origin in Adam Kadmon.

Q: What are the lesser and greater mysteries?

A: The schools of the soul teach the lesser mysteries. Their aim is usually personal and psychological development, although they may also use some physical discipline like yoga or tai chi. The schools of the spirit are concerned with the transpersonal, such as universal laws and principles. For example, how humanity relates to the Ladder of all Existence is part of the greater mysteries.

Some schools of the soul also study the greater mysteries when they operate at the level of Wisdom and Understanding. It may take many years or decades of training in such a school before theory and practice are realised in direct mystical experience.

Q: Can there be more than one Messiah at the same time?

A: Messiah is a particular spiritual role. According to tradition, there is always one individual who is the link between incarnate humanity and Divinity. Just as there is only one King or Queen at a time; although many people can visit the palace, they are not the monarch. We may experience enlightenment at the Keter of Yezirah but not be able to maintain such a high level of consciousness for long. A Messiah can hold that position where the three upper Worlds meet and penetrate deeper into the Tiferet of Beriah and the Malkhut of Azilut.

Q: What is the difference between saints and sages?

A: They relate to the right and left pillar functions on the Ladder of Humanity. Saints on the right pillar represent the qualities of love and wisdom, the expansive and dynamic principles. The sages are concerned with discernment and understanding on the left pillar of structure. Both are necessary for uplifting the rest of humanity. It is said, “Without vision people perish”.

Mystics are centred on the middle pillar of consciousness and direct cognition. Some of them are able to transmit their experience to others in images or writings about the higher Worlds which are in essence indescribable.

Q: Where are angels on the Ladder?

A: Angels are celestial beings with specific functions and not part of human evolution. They exist in the World of Yezirah which is also the domain of the human psyche. The angels can have an effect on humans because of their proximity. However, it is not advisable to evoke angels for any reason. Many magicians have been possessed by such powers and lost their sanity. The angels are the servants whereas humans are the children of God. Therefore one can address the Holy One directly without intermediaries.

Many archetypes are in fact angelic entities. In the ancient world they were regarded as gods and goddesses. There were not only the planetary archetypes but also associated minor deities who were believed to influence human affairs. In Kabbalah, we can say that archetypes have their content in the World of Beriah and their form in Yezirah.

Q: Is it easier higher up the Ladder?

A: Not necessarily. The more advanced people are, the more responsibility they have and therefore more is expected of them. With knowledge and experience they can simplify their lives and not waste time in unnecessary distractions like younger souls. However, no position on the Ladder is permanent as conditions are always changing and people can either be moving up or down. Temptations higher up the Ladder are often very subtle. Many have fallen and lost their integrity.

Q: Will animals become human when they evolve?

A: No. Animals have been created to be animals. For example, in the World of Creation there is the archetypal spirit of the horse, which becomes different forms of a horse in the World of Yezirah and finally will fulfil its purpose as particular horses here in the physical World. An animal can acquire a distinct personality at Yesod, but that will dissolve at death and it will be absorbed into the general experience of the species. A human soul is immortal, that is, it retains its individuality after physical death.

Some people believe that humans can be reborn as animals. That would be against the laws of Existence. Humans originate from the World of Azilut, unlike animals. This is often misunderstood. In a human being the vital soul, the Nefesh, relates to the animal kingdom and takes on animal-like characteristics. If we say that someone is a rat, it does not mean literally a rat but a human being with a rat-like quality.

Q: Why are there so many people?

A: It seems that the Earth needs them at this point in time as humanity is part of the planet’s evolution. According to tradition, there is a finite number of souls allocated to this planet. A tree can support only so many leaves, likewise we may expect that the population growth will level off in the future.

In the early days of humanity the Earth was a wilderness. Life was tough and short for the early pioneers. Now with the accumulated human knowledge and experience the planet can sustain a large number of people. Mistakes have been made for which the planet suffers. However, the Earth is a living self-regulating being which can readjust. The current ecological movements are the planet’s attempt to tell humanity to correct its past and present errors.

Q: Why are people so different?

A: Animals look more or less like each other, because they are governed by Mother Nature and the archetypal spirit of that species. In contrast, humans have an individual soul which leaves its imprint over family and tribal characteristics. Moreover, the human soul also carries its particular karma which has accumulated over many lifetimes.

Astrologically, humanity can be divided into twelve different types. Within each zodiacal sign are thinkers, feelers and practical people, with a psychological subdivision of introverts and extroverts. They can be at the vegetable, animal or human level of development. We can estimate that 90 % of people are vegetable, 9 % animal and 1 % truly human. The Ladder of Humanity is in fact a pyramid.

Q: Why is there so much human suffering?

A: That is a good question. The wise ones throughout the ages have tried to find an answer. It seems that some pain is part of life and unavoidable. Suffering can be physical, psychological or spiritual in origin. However, there is also much unnecessary suffering. The Ten Commandments or the Buddha’s eightfold path are clear guidelines for correct conduct, but mankind keeps breaking the universal laws and suffers the consequences.

Most of humanity is psychologically and spiritually asleep in their Yesodic egocentric dreams. Unless people wake up, they keep sleepwalking into disaster areas. The way out and upwards begins with the path of honesty, which is the path between Yesod and Tiferet.