THE TREE OF LIFE FORMAT
I am not a techie by any means, especially when it comes to computer graphics. However, something happened accidentally while making this book that dramatically changed and shaped the final version of the Table. This “accident” gave me greater insight as to how both the Table and the book might best be used. After Intuitively arriving at the whole concept of the Spiritual Elements via my sojourn into the topic of pure Love without jealousy (see Introduction), my next order of business was to create an actual Table that would serve as a graphic, akin to the classic scientific table. It would serve the purpose of outlining all of the Spiritual Elements. I did not know what shape this creation might take, only that it would be different in spirit from the classic scientific table. I also knew that from this Table, a book would take shape, with each chapter discussing each element. It will be simple and straight forward, I thought.
Still I struggled with how this Table might manifest itself graphically. With the earliest versions, I was simply typing out the names of the elements in the order that I thought they might be arranged based on the commonalities amongst them─ and I was ending up with various odd-shaped formations (in contrast to the very boxy traditional scientific table). One day as I typed, however, the bottom row on the draft I was working on (which had too many elements to fit within the margins of the paper) automatically cut off at the last element in the row (Communion), creating another row entirely and centering it in the middle at the bottom of the Table.
My analytical mind didn’t see the relevance of what had been created right away as I went about trying to “fix” the problem. Then suddenly I “saw” what had happened and I sat back looking at the screen in awe. This little quirk of digital spacing gave the entire Table a shape that easily resembled a tree. Communion, as the last element, wrapped down and around, appropriately making a trunk.
The tree shape inspired thoughts that the Spiritual Table should be something very different from the classic scientific table in graphic terms as well. For me, the original scientific table stands for organized, rational, logical thinking. All of the chemical elements fit nicely into their boxes and into the overall Periodic Table. The Spiritual Table, on the other hand, represents that which is mystical, nebulous and Intuitive─ qualities that do not fit well within four square walls.
I realized that there is a certain irony in taking a format that is firmly rooted in the rational, left-brained world of science and imposing upon it these Spiritual Elements that are associated with the esoteric and the right brain. Perhaps it is apropos then that the Spiritual Table reflects the dichotomy between the two in the physical form that it takes as well.
After all, the Spiritual Table definitely doesn’t behave as the scientific table in terms of content. The Table was never intended to be a rational, left-brained affair. Inherently, despite the concept being born from an Intuition about pure Love, I knew that there would be redundancies and overlaps contained within many of the elements and I was okay with that. Even the way it was being created was about fluidity and right-brain receptivity. This Table was not based in rigidity and finite rules like the classic scientific table.
In fact, in order to get anything out of the Table at all, one would have to be in a fairly Intuitive, receptive and flexible mindset to begin with. In other words, this table is more about Yin than Yang.
The form of a tree works for the Periodic Table of Spiritual Elements. Trees are living, breathing, growing beings that symbolize life. This “Tree of Life” is a spiritual symbol on many fronts.
In fact, the twist of fate that led to the tree shape for the Table immediately led me to think of a famous origin story that is peppered throughout the elements in various ways: the traditional Biblical story where humankind, in the form of Adam and Eve, eats from the Tree of Knowledge. That action separated the first humans from God’s grace (which was, of course, is symbolized by the Tree of Life).
You probably know the rest of the story: humankind then went the route of acquiring this great, problem-solving rational but wandering mind, packaged with an ultra-sensitive ego (and, as you may recall, shame came on the scene right away!).
From that story, it could be said that getting back God’s grace is about sustaining ourselves on the fruits of the Tree of Life. For me, The Periodic Table of Spiritual Elements outlines what might constitute the “fruits” from this Tree.
I would also like to point out that, in that famous story, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge stood together for a while. We were simply directed to sustain ourselves off of the Tree of Life and not the other. To me, this symbolizes the fact that we should not abandon our gifts of reason and rationality. We can still enjoy having that tree in our garden, while at the same time we can learn to receive our spiritual sustenance from other characteristics of our being which are more fluid and receptive in nature, as represented by the Tree of Life.
Let this origin story of the graphic serve as the first basic guide in utilizing the Table and the book.
Take a look at the tree now:
Artwork by Laura Siadak
HOW THE TABLE IS ORGANIZED
Within the overall Tree of Life design, The Periodic Table of Spiritual Elements is loosely organized per the most Intuitive application possible (based on my Intuition and, hopefully, an Intuitive application in general). There are 52 elements total and each mini-essay about them in in the discussions of the elements covers its direct namesake as well as related elements (Alchemy), suggested Practices and Mantra/Prayer associated with them. Please note that one element can cover several concepts. For example, Kindness is an offshoot of Love and so Kindness is discussed under that element’s chapter. If there is a concept that you feel is excluded, chances are that it is covered somewhere in the discussion of an element since each element explanation can cover anything of similar “Energy.” For example, the actual element Energy also covers the concepts of vibration, karma, attraction, balance and Om. Also, please see the Quick-Reference Guide in the Appendix for further information on what each element might cover.
To TRINITY and Beyond
The Trinity Elements are the top three elements in the table: Divinity, Humanity and Trinity.
Divinity represents our soul when we are not of this world and also the Divine spark within us while we are on Earth. Humanity, a most unstable element, represents all that is human about us, including the “entry ticket” of a human Body. Trinity itself is a unique element which may be created when the first two elements are integrated in just the right alchemical fashion and when all conditions are present to do so.
If Divinity and Humanity come together in a way that favors our Divine nature (even ever so slightly), we can have an Awakened life and greater consciousness that will engage all of the traits or actions embodied by the entire Periodic Table of Spiritual Elements.
Hypothetically, we could have a Table with just these three elements and we would get the job done. But the Humanity element tends to be a little tricky (and unstable, as mentioned). Because of this, we still need to learn about and embody the other spiritual elements in order to create the internal conditions for alchemy and Awakening to take place.
This whole table could be said to be about alchemy, in fact. I describe alchemy as finding the perfect mixture of the various elements of the Table, a mystical formula that will vary from soul to encapsulated soul. Each of us is ultimately our own Alchemist charged with finding the right concoction that unleashes our Divine nature, allowing us to live in our truth.
SOUL CALIBER Elements
This next row of four elements I call the Soul Caliber Elements. Truth, Love, Equanimity and Bliss are what I imagine to be the innate qualities of our soul’s Divinity when we are “not of this world.” In other words, if we were angels, these would be the qualities that we would be beaming, emitting and feeling at all times. In this world, too, they are always present, yet often suppressed or ignored.
The next horizontal row, comprising the elements of Gratitude, Humility, Courage, Faith, Acceptance and Devotion, represent a group I call The Constants. We as humans need to have these elements engaged as much as possible in order to stay in touch with our Divine nature. There are like faucets; they should always be turned on and running.
The HEART-CENTERED & CROWN-CENTERED Elements
Joy, Peace, Respect, Empathy, Nurturance, Non-Attachment, Generosity, Perseverance and Justice are what I imagine to be the elements that are primarily Heart-Centered. Reason, Wisdom, Non-Judgment, Wonder, Simplicity, Freewill, Intuition, Infinitude, Creativity and Optimism, on the other hand, can be thought to be more steered by some aspect of the mind, so they are called the Crown-Centered Elements.
Admittedly, the placement of the elements in either of these rows caused minor anxieties when I first put them there. There is overlap for sure in how the head or heart might play a role in engaging these elements. For example, it seemed somewhat counter-intuitive to me for the element of Intuition to be aligned with the crown-centered elements. I know that the Third Eye, or Mind’s Eye, is in the head. However, in my personal experience, engaging my Intuition can feel like a heart-centered act and I personally also seem to experience it in my body— physically, within my torso. When I asked my Intuition about this (who better to ask?), the response I received was the following:
Intuition is a deep well that goes down into the heart and body, but the bucket is drawn and lowered from the Mind’s Eye.
The OUTER Elements
The next row of elements consists of states that exist outside of our soul-based selves. These include: Change, Solitude, Light, Now, Energy, Beauty, Nature, Body and Stillness. These are states of being we step into and that we can embrace. I had to think about how Body specifically fit into this classification at first, but now it is clear. Our Bodies are actually external to our souls, something we as souls are placed within; they are jars to our mystic jelly, so to speak.
The ACTIVE Elements
The base of the table consists of a series of eleven actions aimed at encouraging spiritual growth and contributing to an environment conducive to Awakening. These start with Breath and proceed with Prayer, Meditation, Mantra, Surrender, Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, Forgiveness, Healing and Service. These elements require more of a direct, conscious action on our parts. Communion, the inadvertent trunk of the tree, is also included with these active elements, since it is the action of Communion that connects us deeply to our Divinity.
With its Divinity apex and Communion trunk, the Tree of Life/Periodic Table of Spiritual Elements could be said to come full circle when looked at in its entirety. The Table starts out with the element that reflects the core aspect of our true nature─ Divinity. The last element, Communion (the trunk of the tree), represents, among other things, taking specific action to join with our Divine nature. Communion is about joining with God, our Divinity. Most of the elements resting upon that trunk could be said to help us form true Communion with our Divinity.
Divinity is our starting point and the endpoint that we seek is Communion with it. It is the alpha and the omega of this Tree of Life, The Periodic Table of Spiritual Elements.
As mentioned, this book is structured so that one chapter covers one element in the order they are presented on the Table.
The direction and length of each chapter will vary. Some chapters are poetic in nature while others are more practical. As mentioned, each chapter discusses words of similar Energy that may be captured by that element. For comparison, there may also be mention of contrasting energies.
A section called Alchemy is intended to highlight how other elements help to cultivate and catalyze the featured element. A section on Practices suggests actions that can be undertaken to cultivate that element. The Mantra/Prayer component features mantras or prayers to do the same.
If you haven’t done so already, pick a random element in the book now and see for yourself! J