How Does Archangel Tzaphkiel Represent Binah (Understanding) in Kabbalah?

The Angel Tzaphkiel Helps Direct Tree of Life Energy of God's Understanding

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On the Tree of Life in Kabbalah (also called "Qabala"), Archangel Tzaphkiel oversees the sephirot called "Binah" which means "understanding." Here's how Tzaphkiel represents the quality of Binah throughout the universe:

Helping People Learn More About God

Tzaphkiel works to enlighten people more about God so they can better understand him, believers say. Although no human being can ever fully understand God, people can always learn more about him and draw closer to him as a result.

In her book The Everyday Psychic: A Practical Guide to Activating Your Psychic Gifts, Karen Harrison writes: "Tzaphkiel is the Archangel of Binah, whose name translates as 'Beholder of the Divine.' Tzaphkiel aids contemplation, meditation, and trance work to enable the seeker to understand Divinity on an intuitive level."

Tzaphkiel may "be regarded as the Eye of Perpetual Awareness, or Ceaseless Consciousness in which we are held forever," writes William G. Gray in his book The Ladder of Lights. "In another sense, Tzaphkiel is the eye of God in ourselves that observes us as we truly are in relation to the Great Reality. There are moments when we may see ourselves with a fraction of such sight, and the experience may shatter a soul to its depths."

In her book Personal Kabbalah: 32 Paths to Inner Peace and Life Purpose, Penny Cohen writes that Tzaphiel "is a symbol of understanding the mystery of the unity of all things.

Zaphkiel [an alternate name for Tzaphkiel] governs the art of meditation. He is also the Beholder of God, and as much as helps us understand the patterns of our life and the part we played in each incident as well as the overall scheme."

Helping People Better Understand Themselves

As Tzaphkiel expresses the creative energy of Binah throughout the universe, she also helps people understand who they truly are as God's children and learn how to make decisions that are based on that reality, say believers.

Cohen writes in Personal Kabbalah that, "In Binah we are the creator of our own life, and see things rationally and logically through the eyes of God. We understand the dynamics of our relationships as well as our own relationship to God. We become the master of what we do, develop our own uniqueness, and determine how we can benefit others. We can live in a constant state of equanimity and productivity."

As Tzaphkiel expresses Binah, she acts as "the observing consciousness," writes Ina Cüsters-van Bergen in her book The Temple of High Magic: Hermetic Initiations in the Western Mystery Tradition. "In everything you do, you keep one part of your consciousness separate to observe. With this observing part, you ask yourself questions, and you look to see if you are still on the right track. Tzpahkiel is seen as the watcher, the observer."

She continues: "Tzaphkiel within ourselves is the piece of our consciousness that constantly watches to ensure that what we are doing conforms to our higher mission as well as to the general interest of the cosmos. Tzaphkiel fits in very well with the divine energy of Binah, as this angel watches us like a mother. In this way, Tzaphkiel also forms a bridge between heaven and earth.

This angel keeps us conscious of the unseen and unmanifested worlds."

"Tzaphkiel is the cautionary Eye of counsel which advises on all observable points concerning the matter under approach. He never makes decisions, but provides the means for making them," writes Gray in The Ladder of Lights.

Later, Gray adds: "Tzaphkiel the Watching One is the wakefulness of a Mother, seeing her children always in the best possible light. Tzaphkiel is also feminine curiosity in its highest form, and nothing escapes the Archangel’s scrutiny. Whenever an eye of any kind, human or otherwise, is opened, Tzaphkiel looks out. He is the Sight of Light, through which Divinity Itself ‘Knows and sees all, even our most secret thoughts.’ He is the natural patron of mediation and contemplation, to whom we should turn for help and guidance in this highly important mystical practice.

As the Eye between the Worlds, Tzaphkiel is able to put us in contact with other spheres than our own, yet this alone is not enough. We must still know what to do about what we see, and it is well to note that Understanding is flanked by Knowledge on one side and Wisdom on the other."