The Descendants of Cain
Revised: March 2020
“In Kabbalah, every cause is considered a root and every consequence of the cause is considered a branch. The roots are also referred to as ‘parents’ and the branches are considered their ‘children.’ The key concept in Kabbalah is that what happens in the roots will happen in the branches. Each object in the world is connected to a special force.” – Rav Michael Laitman, Ph.D.
The following 'Descendants of Cain' as with the ‘Descendants of Seth’ are actually allegories of the unfoldment and descent of human consciousness; that is, its development as early human life was experienced in this physical world. Aspects of our consciousness are continually unfolding, and the record of that unfoldment is our global history. This Biblical narrative is about all of us collectively. The basic traits in each of the following characters are in all of us, latent or evoked more or less, at some time or other. None of the characters in the narration is or was real, though the modes of consciousness personified through those characters are presently within us. Some characters personify maliciousness, stupidity or mere innocence and other traits, like us today. Though initially handed down to us through an oral tradition, then later written down so many centuries ago, we can still readily recognize these behavioral attributes in ourselves and others and played out currently in the daily news.
The core of these Bible stories rooted from the Middle-East dramatize the sequence of creation and the advent of human consciousness. Genesis describes the involution of Spirit into Matter, but it also secretly maps out the Way of Return to the eternal Life and Being of which we all are a part.
The involution of Light and Life, which is synonymous, awakens to conscious awareness with the appearance of Homo Sapiens. The Qabalistic Tree of Life is that coded map of both involution and evolution. The three columns of the Tree, described earlier, represent Omniscience (Air, Intelligence), Omnipotence (Fire, Animation) and Omnipresence (Water, Substance). Everything we can measure or sense contains all three, simultaneously in varying degrees.
With the fabrication of body/vehicles Substance predominates, including the other two inherently. Those other two were slower to manifest outwardly and efficaciously through the cruder forms of matter. The Tree of Life describes the unfoldment of all three modes within organisms that evolve into what and who we are today.
It begins with Binah the 3rd sphere on the Tree Qabalists name Understanding. Here ‘Understanding’ suggests that which ‘stands under’, as a foundation or sub-strata. The matter-form is destined to uphold the other two. Binah, Qabalists teach, builds and perfects physical vehicles. To perfect a ‘body’ requires the perfect expression of both intelligent and animated Life.
Fast forward, and the evolutionary journey towards you, me and the rest of us today began with...
Genesis 4:17 “And Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch; and he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.”
And that’s all we know about Enoch, son of Cain. Except in the next verse Enoch also had a son.1 Great start, huh? But there’s more to come from between the lines.
And again, some ‘authorized’ commentators were/are perplexed; Cain built a city? For whom? The early authorized commentators of organized religion had us believing for centuries that this was the beginning of the whole world! And already there’s a city? when there was just Adam, Eve, Abel (well, recently deceased) and Cain (with a wife all of a sudden?). This verse is proof positive, or should have been to those early literal translators and interpreters, that this family tree was not the only alleged group of humans in the region or even in the world. There were thousands of people "from the Dust of the Earth" on the planet, and not only on the one continent. The original author knew this of course. It was the subsequent translators and interpreters who were confused.
But there is a reason for Enoch in the narrative. When Literal Qabalists have nothing more than a word to go by, that’s exactly what they use. Enoch, חנוך, hanoch, basically means ‘education’ as a noun, and ‘to initiate’ as a verb. The numbers within these letters sum to 84. Another word summing to 84 is ידע, edo, the verb ‘to know’. With different vowel points hanoch becomes chanakh which means ‘to inaugurate, dedicate, teach, consecrate, tutor and to mentor’. Left with one word a Qabalist would reduce this word-number of the name to find its root suggestion; 84 will reduce to 12 by Theosophical Reduction. Many hints abound but one will suffice here and that is אוה, avah, ‘to wish, to long, to hunger, to desire’.
The temurah of Enoch brings up the letters ס ט פ ל, which sum to 179 and calls up a phrase with a matching number from Rosicrucian writings: Primum Desiderium, ‘primal longing’, the primal angst and shame we all carry to this day.
Now there is sufficient information for some commentary.
We, collective humanity as Cain, want into a physical world and to indulge in all its wonders. Cain inherited that from Adam. And we ‘Cains’ wanted all we could get. To do that we believed we had do it on our own, against all odds and all competition, and we assembled whatever it was we thought we might need to do this tough existence. And eliminate any obstacles. Out of necessity we had DESIRE and a hunger. We gathered our basic wits and began the battle of life. Cain, as a branch of the root, Adam, is also a root with a branch into Enoch. Early Man (us) needed to be educated about our new environment and everything in the physical world. We needed food and to learn how to gather it, then grow it. We needed shelter; how to assemble it and later build it. We had to learn Nature. Today education is primary to even function in this competitive, cut-throat environment. All the while we carry this angst of something missing. Having killed off our conscience somewhat, we needed help, but didn’t know of what kind.
All the help we ever needed, and need today, was and is within us inherently. That first sphere on the left side of the Tree is our clue, unbeknownst to early man. The Fall of Adam and his progeny through Cain is what the genuine alchemists and philosophers would call our ‘base metal’. It is the very matter to be refined and transmuted. And while the 3rd sphere Binah actually coalesces light and life down into base substances, she also harbors the secrets of resurrection.
These verses of Cain’s descendants are esoterically describing the involution of consciousness. Binah receives the light of Kether from the 12th path assigned, pictorially, the Magician. He represents self-consciousness in the acts of attention and observation. Substance is receiving Intelligence from this path. Early man had no clue concerning all this personality development, of course, but to survive his new environment he had to learn to utilize keenly all his senses to the best of his abilities to explore all the elements surrounding him. Or die.
Binah receives Light and Life from Chokmah through the 14th path assigned, again pictorially, the Empress. She represents subconsciousness in her function of imagination. What early man had observed through sensations called for some ideas or inner visions of what to do about basic needs to survive climate, starvation and real hostilities. He needed shelter, food and the ability to fashion utilitarian tools and weapons. He had to see and envision what-all could be used to cover these needs, and he had to imagine the ways and means to create efficacious tools and weaponry to ensure his safety and survival for himself and family. And we’re still doing all this today, are we not? Have we learned much at all through millennia?
When we eventually perceive that the very simple modes of consciousness which produced physical bodies into this world are the same modes which will resurrect and transmute us to master these vehicles, we will have arrived. In Rosicrucianism there is a grade of adeptship assigned to each of the spheres on the Tree. To the 3rd sphere, Binah and Understanding, the Rosicrucians assign the grade ‘Master of the Temple’. How do we do this? Master our Temple?
We begin with self-conscious attention to the intake of light, liquids, breath and food. That Magician, personifying Mercury in myths and legends, is the astrological ruler of Gemini (Air) and exalted in Virgo (Earth). Take the Prana out of the atmosphere into your lungs and mix it with the Virgin’s Milk in your blood.
Next, project the imagery of the above circulating throughout your physical body upon your subconscious mind. That Empress, personifying Venus in the myths and legends, is the astrological ruler Libra (Air) and Taurus (Earth), but exalted in Pisces. Pisces is that mode within us is called the ‘Corporeal Intelligence’ in the Sepher Yetzirah. It is that subconscious function within us that builds physical bodies at the cellular level when we sleep.
The above is the alchemical operation called “Fixation of the Volatile”. It begins our journey back to the One.
1 The name ‘Enoch’ comes up again under the descendants of Seth, Adam’s third son. It is spelled the same, with the same gematria.
This will be elaborated upon under Seth’s line.