“Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.” -Isaiah 62:3
Hebrew for “Crown,” Keter is the topmost of the Tree of Life. It is the highest Sephirot above and between Da’at (knowledge) and Chokmah (wisdom). “It is the principle of all principles, the hidden Wisdom, the Crown which the Highest of the high, and by which all crowns and diadems are crowned” (Zohar 7:p.146).
Keter is the first Sephirot we obtain because Christ’s Grace first fully perfects us. That Grace then guides us throughout the Tree. It is seen as interchangeable with Binah, the “hidden” Sephirot directly below it because with Sinah (understanding) our perception changes and we see through God’s eyes.
Keter walks us through the first step: the broken heart, or pierced heart, and the contrite spirit. We acknowledge that we are fallen beings. We eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But, unlike Adam, Lilith, and Eve, we do so with God’s permission.
Knowing good from evil is not enough. God has given us free agency. This agency allows us two opinions: (1) willingly allow Christ’s Grace to use, guide, direct, and transform us, or (2) be used by God as a blunt instrument. God’s will shall be done regardless. Our freedom merely allows us to decide how we will be a part of the story. We either allow Christ to clean our kli (Hebrew for “vessel,” here representing our hearts) or we keep drinking from a dirty cup.
Being born again may take a moment. It may take years. Regardless, it follows the seven days of the creation.
- Light from the Darkness (Genesis 1:1-5). Adam and Eve partook of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil without God’s permission. Today, God has called us to seek him. We are free to know good from evil that we may find him. We seek the light of God’s love to replace the darkness of our Ego. This begins with the prayer, a plea, to god inscribed in our hearts – our pierced hearts.
- Water divide between the Earth and the Heavens (Genesis 1:6-8). From this prayer, the firmament is divided from the waters. This is to say, God grants us Water; his Chesed, Mercy – Jesus Christ. We have partaken of the tree and now see that we are naked. This perception, a clearer view of reality, given us by God.
- Dry Land is revealed and Vegetation Grows (Genesis 1:9-13). On the third day, we must clothe our ignorance. Rain comes, and growth begins within us. The land is Earth, Chokhmah, the wisdom of Shekinah. She has given birth within us God’s mercy in answer to our prayer. Our “clothing” are the “fig leaves” of our altruistic actions. We are moved by grace to do good works. And, by our fruits will they know us (Matthew 7:16-20).
- Lights in the Firmament (Genesis 1:14-19). These lights are the Fire of Gevurah, Judgement, that guide us. The Holy Spirit leads us, showing us the way. There are ups and downs, and so God has given us the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. These are the ups and downs we all go through as our faith is tried. Every degree we rise to creates new darkness, challenges that God will guide us through.
- Living Creatures of the Sea and Air are Created (Genesis 1:20-23). These living creatures represent the desires within us. These creatures are of Air and Water. These are Da’at, Knowledge and Chokhmah, Mercy; God the Father and God the Son. We grow in both Grace and Knowledge.
- Bring Forth Living Creatures After Its Kind (Genesis 1:24-31). It is here that we, humans, are created. We’re now born anew. What then of these “animals?” Remember, God brings the animals to Adam to name in the second chapter of Genesis. We see these desires within us, and through Christ’s Grace we tame them. Everything God has given us, every desire, we may use to glorify him. Here too are we given the charge to care for the world that God created. This is both a command to continue to grow in Grace, and also to share the fruit of that tree and bring more souls to Christ, back to that God that created them.
- Sabbath (Genesis 2:1-3). At this point God’s work in creation is completed. What’s next? Rest and repeat. We are continuously Born Again in Christ every time we grow in his Grace.
Teshuvah is like a lunar cycle. We start on a new moon, in darkness. With every new night fall there is more light, reflecting from the sun (Son). When we reach our peak at this aˈna (Hebrew for year) or degree the moon is full. The light then begins to fade. We begin to realize that with all we now know at this degree, we still know nothing. So, we sleep and awaken again in renewed darkness, separating once again the light from the darkness that we may continue to grow as God further enlightens and develops us.
We are now God’s new creation. With our pierced hearts, we have access to the Tree of Life (1 Nephi 2:49 RAV, 8:10 OPV). By being Born Again, we are transformed into “new beings.” We are God’s new creation in that we reject Ego (the darkness) and move towards altruism (the light). Our kli, the “vessel” within our hearts, is washed clean that we may drink of the water of life freely and taste of its goodness. We accept Christ. We full accept him. This doesn’t mean we have let go of all of our sins or Ego. It means we, as a new creature, have been fully washed clean by Christ’s Grace. This transformation allows us to move forward as perfected beings into the second stage of return.
Next step: Gevurah: the Return.