Although not strictly a Kabbalist (קַבָּלָה), quite a few of the concepts of Kabbalism entermesh with my perception of the world and the psychology I see at large around me. One of those concepts is that of Ain and it’s emanations (Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur) proceeding from it resulting in the creation of the material realm. I personally would consider myself at least on a philosophical level as a bit of an emanationist, a philosophical idealist stance of a pure creative intelligence emanating further from itself into more and more condensed and concrete material forms. A more down to earth example being of a thought, say of creating something physical, for example a house or table, to the planning or thought stage, til the physical creation of that object is brought to fruition by the combination of intellect and willpower thereby bringing that thought into concrete reality. Another more metaphysical analogy would be the branching of a tree from its singular trunk into it’s divergent branches, leaves, and fruits, all materializations of the ever growing diversity of thought. I’m sure some more experienced Kabbalists wouldn’t mind interjecting here and speaking of the roots of the tree and other more subltle and esoteric concepts, which may bring up subjects like Qliphotic Kabbalism which directly relates to that, but that is a topic for another day.
The concept of Ain is at the crown of the tree of life of Kabbalah. It is above the tree and beyond it according to Kabbalah. There above the crown of the tree of life resides what is know as Ain and it’s emanations Ain Soph, and Ain Soph Aur.
Ain (0) could be likened to complete non-existence. It has no thought, no movement, no sound, nothing defining characteristically. It is pure unadulterated peace. It could be thought of as the seed of all other things. Numerically and numerologically you could say the three emanations represent the numbers 0, 1, and 2. Ain being 0 is devoid of all attributes and thereby a Tabula Rasa. If you are familiar with the Tarot this could be thought of as the card The Fool.
Ain Soph (1) is the direct manifestation of Ain becoming aware of it’s existence and knowing that it was alone, a singularity if you will. Sharply intelligent but with nothing to share itself with and longing to create. The lonely emanation of Ain (0). This also shares parallels in the Tarot in the card The Magician, with his well thought out spread of tools but not yet in the act of creation.
Ain Soph Aur (2) is a natural progression from the intellect of Ain Soph who had the concept but no way to enact it. Ain Soph Aur is the “limitless eternal light”. The light of God you often see radiating from prophets in religious art from religions around the world. Ain Soph Aur is a marriage of sorts; the intellect of Ain Soph and the intense will of Ain Soph Aur relating to the card the High Priestess, the final step between concept and materialization. The High Priestess having her feet spread between the realm of the conceptual and the material, there to facilitate the thought into reality.
At this point we could digress into the symbolism of 3, the next natural progression and a symbol of synthesis of 2 into another form and arguably the first somewhat material form although a bit ephemeral and whispy but that also will be another post. I know my grasp on Kabbalism is still in it’s infancy so if anyone better versed has any corrections or anything to add I’m more than happy to listen although these posts are meant to be bite-sized bits for people unfamiliar with esoteric topics. I’ve been thumbing through Mystical Qabalah and so far this seems a great book on the topic and would really recommend.
[1-4] Wikipedia – Definitions
Illustrations for Major Arcana – IAO131 – The Key