The Thirty-two Yetzirah Paths of Initiation

Yetzirah (Hebrew, to form) is the third of four worlds in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, following Assiah (Hebrew, to make) and Briah (Hebrew, to emanate), and preceding Malkuth (Hebrew, kingdom). Yetzirah is called the World of Formation, because created beings and objects assume shape and form on this level.

In the world of Yetzirah (Hebrew for foundation or formation), every thought assumes some degree of form, not necessarily visible to the physical eye, but existent. Most people create an impressive mess of mental monsters before they realize the truth of this law.

Kabbalistic work teaches the Thirty-two Yetzirah Paths of Wisdom, which are Paths of Initiation. We have used William Wynn Westcott’s translation of the Hebrew text of Joannes Stephanus Rittangelius, 1642.

The Thirty-two Yetzirah Paths of Wisdom

The First Path is called the Admirable or the Hidden Intelligence (the Highest Crown): for it is the Light giving the power of comprehension of that First Principle which has no beginning; and it is the Primal Glory, for no created being can attain to its essence.

The Second Path is that of the Illuminating Intelligence: it is the Crown of Creation, the Splendour of the Unity, equalling it, and it is exalted above every head, and named by the Kabalists the Second Glory.

The Third Path is the Sanctifying Intelligence, and is the foundation of Primordial Wisdom, which is called the Former of Faith, and its roots, Amen; and it is the parent of Faith, from whose virtues doth Faith emanate.

The Fourth Path is named Measuring, Cohesive or Receptacular; and is so called because it contains all the holy powers, and from it emanate all the spiritual virtues with the most exalted essences: they emanate one from the other by the power of the primordial emanation. (The Highest Crown.1

The Fifth Path is called the Radical Intelligence, because it is itself the essence equal to the Unity, uniting itself to the Binah,2 or Intelligence which emanates from the Primordial depths of Wisdom or Chokmah.3

The Sixth Path is called the Intelligence of the Mediating Influence, because in it are multiplied the influxes of the emanations, for it causes that influence to flow into all the reservoirs of the Blessings, with which these themselves are united.

The Seventh Path is the Hidden Intelligence, because it is the Refulgent Splendour of all the Intellectual virtues which are perceived by the eyes of intellect, and by the contemplation of faith.

The Eighth Path is called the Absolute or Perfect Intelligence, because it is the means of the primordial, which has no root by which it can cleave, nor rest, except in the hidden places of Gedulah,4 Magnificence, from which emanate its own proper essence.

The Ninth Path is the Pure Intelligence, so called because it purifies the Numerations, it proves and corrects the designing of their representation, and disposes their unity with which they are combined without diminution or division.

The Tenth Path is the Resplendent Intelligence, because it is exalted above every head, and sits on the throne of Binah (the Intelligence spoken of in the Third Path). It illuminates the splendour of all the lights, and causes an influence to emanate from the Prince of countenances.5

The Eleventh Path is the Scintillating Intelligence, because it is the essence of that curtain which is placed close to the order of the disposition, and this is a special dignity given to it that it may be able to stand before the Face of the Cause of Causes.

The Twelfth Path is the Intelligence of Transparency, because it is that species of Magnificence called Chazchazit,6 which is named the place whence issues the vision of those seeing in apparitions. (That is the prophecies by seers in a vision.)

The Thirteenth Path is named the Uniting Intelligence, and is so-called because it is itself the Essence of Glory. It is the Consummation of the Truth of individual spiritual things.

The Fourteenth Path is the Illuminating Intelligence, and is so called because it is that Chashmal7 which is the founder of the concealed and fundamental ideas of holiness and of their stages of preparation.

The Fifteenth Path is the Constituting Intelligence, so called because it constitutes the substance of creation in pure darkness, and men have spoken of these contemplations; it is that darkness spoken of in Scripture, Job xxxviii. 9, "and thick darkness a swaddling band for it."

The Sixteenth Path is the Triumphal or Eternal Intelligence, so called because it is the pleasure of the Glory, beyond which is no other Glory like to it, and it is called also the Paradise prepared for the Righteous.

The Seventeenth Path is the Disposing Intelligence, which provides Faith to the Righteous, and they are clothed with the Holy Spirit by it, and it is called the Foundation of Excellence in the state of higher things.

The Eighteenth Path is called the House of Influence (by the greatness of whose abundance the influx of good things upon created beings is increased), and from the midst of the investigation the arcana and hidden senses are drawn forth, which dwell in its shade and which cling to it, from the cause of all causes.

The Nineteenth Path is the Intelligence of all the activities of the spiritual beings, and is so called because of the affluence diffused by it from the most high and exalted sublime glory.

The Twentieth Path is the Intelligence of Will, and is so called because it is the means of preparation of all and each created being, and by this intelligence the existence of the Primordial Wisdom becomes known.

The Twenty-first Path is the Intelligence of Conciliation, and is so called because it receives the divine influence which flows into it from its benediction upon all and each existence.

The Twenty-second Path is the Faithful Intelligence and is so called because by it spiritual virtues are increased, and all dwellers on earth are nearly under its shadow.

The Twenty-third Path is the Stable Intelligence, and it is so called because it has the virtue of consistency among all numerations.

The Twenty-fourth Path is the Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so called because it gives a likeness to all the similitudes which are created in like manner similar to its harmonious elegancies.

The Twenty-fifth Path is the Intelligence of Probation, or is Tentative, and is so called because it is the primary temptation, by which the Creator trieth all righteous persons.

The Twenty-sixth Path is called the Renovating Intelligence, because the Holy God renews by it all the changing things which are renewed by the creation of the world.

The Twenty-seventh Path is the Exciting Intelligence, and it is so called because through it is consummated and perfected the nature of every existent being under the orb of the Sun, in perfection.

(Rittangelius omitted the Twenty-eighth Path.)

The Twenty-ninth Path is the Corporeal Intelligence, so-called because it forms every body which is formed beneath the whole set of worlds, and the increment of them.

The Thirtieth Path is the Collecting Intelligence, and is so-called because Astrologers deduce from it the judgment of the Stars, and of the celestial signs, and the perfections of their science, according to the rules of their resolutions.

The Thirty-first Path is the Perpetual Intelligence; but why is it so called? Because it regulates the motions of the Sun and Moon in their proper order, each in an orbit convenient for it.

The Thirty-second Path is the Administrative Intelligence, and it is so called because it directs and associates in all their operations the motions of the seven planets, even all of them in their own due courses.

The Thirty-two Paths are the Ten Sephiroth and the Twenty-two letters, each supplying a type of divine power and attributes.

1^ The Highest Crown is Kether, the first Sephira, the first Emanation from Ain Suph Aur, the Limitless Light.

2^ Binah, is the Third Sephira.

3^ Chokmah, is the Second Sephira.

4^ Gedulah, is a synonym of Chesed, the Fourth Sephira.

5^ Metatron.

6^ This word is from ChZCh, a seer, seership. Chazuth, is a vision.

7^ This word means "scintillating flame."

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of sepher: Hebrew "book, document" in the sense of being a container for the Word.

Etymology of yetzirah: Hebrew "making," the "world of formation."

Each Yetzirah Path encompasses a series of formal initiations.


Alcalay, Reuben. The Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary. P Shalom Publishing, 1996 ISBN-10: 0875592147.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV). Public Domain.

Westcott, William Wynn and Johann Stephan Rittangel, translators. Sepher Yetzirah: The Book of Formation, and the Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom Translated from the Hebrew. Ancient Wisdom Publications, 2010; ISBN-10: 1936690004.