The Vitruvian Square | Towers of Understanding

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. – Albert Einstein

The Kaballah is, for most, an intricate explanation (often visual in nature) of the relationships between the Creator and his Creation. At a fundamental level, the Kaballah can be thought of as a set of teachings about the Nature of Everything.

One of the mystical symbols used to express these concepts is know as The Tree of Life. Overlaid onto this iconic symbol are usually further images that depict what are known as the Four Worlds and the Three Pillars. I will leave the discussion of the Four Worlds to a later article. Today, I want to discuss the Three Pillars; a concept that will provide you with some ample mediation practice.

The Three Pillars are usually distinguished by the following themes: Severity, Mercy, and Balance. You might also think of these as Intensity or Fierceness, Grace or Tolerance, and Symmetry or Equality, respectively. It should be no surprise to discovery that the same Pillars exist within The Vitruvian Square!

In The Vitruvian Square matrix, the Pillar of Severity is located on the right-hand side of the image (or the left side as you face the illustration). The Pillar is made up of Squares 1, 4, and 7. These squares make up a literal tower of strength and intensity. It is a masculine (sweeping, dynamic, and practical) force to be reckoned with, but can be menacing if not controlled. This is also called the Plane of Outcomes, and deals with choices and consequences. Intentions, goals, and ambitions are sustained in this column. Here you will find a sense of purpose.

The Pillar of Mercy is located on the left-hand side of the our image (or the right side as you face the illustration). This Pillar is made up of Squares 3, 6, and 9. These squares make up a tower of compassion and tolerance.  It is a feminine (pliable, gentle, and fluid) force that seeks to give goodness, but can be too kind at times. This is also called the Plane of Duty, and controls our memories and feelings of responsibility. Passion, love, and desire all live here. But so does one’s temper.

Finally, the Pillar of Balance is the constant that exists in The Vitruvian Square. It is the middle column and is made up of Squares 2, 5, and 8. This is where fairness, steadiness, and symmetry are found. It is a neutral force that is constantly giving and taking from the two adjacent pillars and so must constantly stabilize itself. In The Vitruvian Square system, this is also called the Plane of Values; the place where our opinions and beliefs are housed. This is the place where you find staying power, commitment, and endurance.

A little contemplation of the three different Pillars will reveal that the specific squares that make-up each of them all share comparable features and traits. However, you will also find how each Pillar supports and requires the other to be complete. Once you make those general associations, start to meditate upon the individual characteristics of each Pillar’s Places of Power (the squares that make up each Pillar) and start to scrutinize the qualities of each one in relation to its designated Pillar.

Most importantly, as you delve deeper into The Vitruvian Square you become aware that none of the Places of Power are to be viewed solely in isolation and that all have their dual aspects that keep them in perfect balance. The concept of a trinity exists in many cultures and beliefs. See how many different trinities you can find hidden within The Vitruvian Square matrix (not just the Pillars, themselves, but amongst the various squares, planes, and axes).

Just some thoughts. If you enjoyed this, please click below to share this with others.

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© 2011 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

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