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The second (utterance) is wisdom, as is written: ‘Y-H-W-H acquired me at the beginning of His way, before His deeds of old’ (Prov 8:22). And there is no ‘beginning’ but wisdom.
The Bihir.

Chokhman is one of the emanations of God that make up the Sefirot, the Tree of Life. It embodies the wisdom of God that was with the Creator from the very beginning.

Overview

Chokhmah's Symbol (Art from Angelarium)

According to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the name of God associated with Chokmah is Jehovah, the archangel that presides over it is Raziel, the order of angels that reside in it are the Ophanim (the wheels), the Heaven of Assiah associated with it is called Mazloth, implying the fulfillment of destiny, and the mundane chakra associated with it is the Zodiac.

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Personality

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History

Myths and Legends

Hebrew Bible

Proverbs personifies Divine Wisdom, which existed before the world was made, revealed God, and acted as God's agent in creation (Prov 8:22–31 cf. 3:19; Wisdom 8:4–6; Sir 1:4,9). Wisdom dwelt with God (Prov 8:22–31; cf. Sir 24:4; Wisdom 9:9–10) and being the exclusive property of God was as such inaccessible to human beings (Job 28:12–13, 20–1, 23–27). It was God who "found" wisdom (Bar 3:29–37) and gave her to Israel: "He hath found out all the way of knowledge, and hath given it unto Jacob his servant, and to Israel his beloved. Afterward did he shew himself upon earth, and conversed with men." (Bar 3:36–37; Sir 24:1–12).

As a female figure (Sir. 1:15; Wis. 7:12), wisdom addressed human beings (Prov. 1:20–33; 8:1–9:6) inviting to her feast those who are not yet wise (Prov. 9:1-6). Wisdom 7:22b-8:1 is a famous passage describing Divine Wisdom, including the passage: "For she is the breath of the power of God, and a pure influence flowing from the glory of the Almighty: therefore can no defiled thing fall into her. For she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the image of his goodness. And being but one, she can do all things: and remaining in herself, she maketh all things new: and in all ages entering into holy souls, she maketh them friends of God, and prophets." (Wisdom 7:25–27). Solomon, as the archetypal wise person, fell in love with Wisdom: "I loved her, and sought her out from my youth, I desired to make her my spouse, and I was a lover of her beauty." (Wisdom 8:2).

Kabbalah

Chokhma is the Biblical Hebrew word rendered as "wisdom" in English Bible versions (LXX σοφία sophia, Vulgate sapientia). According to the Bahir: "The second (utterance) is wisdom, as is written: 'Y-H-W-H acquired me at the beginning of His way, before His deeds of old' (Prov 8:22). And there is no 'beginning' but wisdom."

Chokhmah, the second of the ten sefirot, is the first power of conscious intellect within Creation, and the first point of 'real' existence, since Keter represents emptiness. According to the book of Job, "Wisdom comes from nothingness". This point is both infinitely small, and yet encompasses the whole of being, but it remains incomprehensible until it is given shape and form in Binah. The name of God associated with Chokhmah is Yah.

Chokhmah appears in the configuration of the sefirot at the top of the right axis, and corresponds in the tzelem Elokim ("the Divine image") to the left eye, or right hemisphere of the brain. Chokhmah is the primary ("beginning") force in the creative process, Creativity, as it is said: "You have made them all with Chokhmah." (Psalms 104:24) The first word of the Torah in Genesis, Breishit means "In the beginning (God created the heavens and the earth)", is translated (Targum Yonatan) as "With Chokhmah (God created…)."

Chokhmah is also called Fear, 'because it has no measure of boundary, and therefore the mind does not have the power to grasp it'. The book of Job states 'Behold the fear of God is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding' (Job 28:28).

In the Zohar Chokhmah is the primordial point which shines forth from the will of God and thus, is the starting point of Creation. All things are still undifferentiated at this point and only become intelligible at Binah. The Talmud (Shabbat 31a) describes knowledge of the Talmudic order of Kodshim as a high level of wisdom, chokhmah. In the Kabbalah, Chokhmah is the uppermost of the sephirot of the right line (kav yamin, the "Pillar of Mercy") in the Tree of Life. It is to the bottom right of Keter, with Binah across from it. Under it are the sephirot of Chesed and Netzach. It commonly has four paths going to Keter, Binah, Tifereth, and Chesed. (Some kabbalists attribute a path between Chokhmah and Gevurah.)

Quotes

I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength. By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.
Chokhman, Proverbs 8:12-15.
And Wisdom (Hochma) - which is the first Sefirot after the Crown (Keter), made manifest by the Creator - shines in the form of both male and female. And when Wisdom becomes manifest, it produces Intelligence (Binah). And again we have male and female: Wisdom is the Father; the Intelligence the Mother. Those are the two dishes of the balance. Because of them, everything manifests itself in male and female.
Zohar.
Chokhmah is faith and premeditation turned to stone. Potentiality's demise and purpose. The first step out of the mystery of Ein Sof to awareness.
First steps, like first love, require commitment to things you cannot know. The requisite faith to leap into the chasm without even the certainty of death, or the hope of flight. Chokhmah is not the step, Chokhmah is the ephemeral decision dissolving into action. Chokhmah is the first light of reality. Open your eyes young one.
The first rites performed for a newborn.
The second Emanation. A vessel to hold that which is most precious. The first gate out of potentiality and a step into the realm of the known. He is the first moment a newborn child opens their eyes. That child’s first steps. Their first word. He is the beginning of a lifelong journey, whose path is disappears over the horizon. Where Keter is the pen that hangs above the page, Chokhmah is the moment of contact. From nothingness, wisdom is formed. To have insight into that which is not known is a gift that is not bestowed lightly.
It is the grey orb that breaks the surface of our consciousness.
Descending from the summit of the tree, we see its duality begin for form. Chokhmah sits atop “the pillar of mercy”, forming the first masculine aspect of the diagram. Its partner, Binah opening next to reveal the two eyes through while we have the power to see the world.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Chokhmah is found in birth, intuition and the subconscious.
  • The name of God associated with Chokhmah is Yah.
  • In Aleister Crowley's Liber 777, Chokhma is represented as The Four twos of the Tarot, Illuminating, Thoth, Vishnu, Joy, Odin, Uranus, Athena, God the Father, Man, Amaranth, Lingam, Hashish, Phosphorus, Musk, Yang and others.
  • Chokhma embodies the higher masculine aspect of God.
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