o paraphrase WG Gray:
The flame (kether)
burns the oil (chockmah)
of the lamp (binah)
which illuminates (Da’at) the way
Torah is a lamp, Kabbalah is a flame upon the lamp illuminating the way
— Jewish Proverb
Da’at is “knowing” “knowledge” to “know”
it is often confused with the scintillation of Hod which is also knowing, the knowing of the intellect.
To know, what is to know? From the greek there are two words for knowledge:
Gnosis and Episteme
These twins are common to many spiritual paths and have their own terminology within those paths.
Mundane knowledge or episteme (Hod) is “book learning”, the intellect..or as I like to say “learning a bus time table”
Higher knowledge/divine knowledge or Gnosis is experiental knowledge of the divine, it is the knowledge that Plato spoke of as the supreme knowledge
Gnosis is hte knowledge mystics speak of, it is the way of Taoism that cannot be spoken of.
How do we know anything?
Episteme is easily understood, we simply exercise our intellect to “know”
Gnosis however is harder. Some would argue one can gain gnosis simply by interacting with divine agencies. To an extent this is true
To the Gnostics however, the only way to know something was to BECOME it:
“It is not possible for anyone to see anything of the things that actually exist unless he becomes like them. This is not the way with man in the world: he sees the sun without being a sun; and he sees the heaven and the earth and all other things, but he is not these things. This is quite in keeping with the truth. But you saw something of that place, and you became those things. You saw the Spirit, you became spirit. You saw Christ, you became Christ. You saw the Father, you shall become Father. So in this place you see everything and do not see yourself, but in that place you do see yourself – and what you see you shall become.”
–The Gospel of Philip
But Da’at is “that which is illumined.” Thus on the journey home, up the tree, we pass through the 7 stages….akin to alchemy, buddhism, Gnosticism etc.
7 stages through what some kabbalaist liken as the body of the Christ. Until we reach the vopid, the bridge, the place of trials. This is where WG Gray places the Judgment tarot card
to signify the weighing of the soul…. It is here we choose life or death…It is here we cross over from all that is “human” (the 7 lower emanations) to the realm of that which is beyond the human
Da’at then (which is not always hidden) is the bridge, the beginning of BECOMING, the start of the GNOSIS
It is here we jump on the diving board before diving into the ocean, the ocean we must swim or drown in (Binah)
Just some thoughts