Imagine my surprise at the serendipity! I’d just written a scathing review of Simone Weil’s The Poem of Force. I opened my email and found a quote from her associated with this image at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kclare/6113268128/
I found the image linked to several esoteric sites always with the caption; “Arbor cognationis spiritualis 14th Century, from L’arbre: Histoire naturelle et symbolique de l’arbre” and no further explanation. Although one source translated the Latin as Spiritual Trees of Bonds. However, having found the image on esoteric sites, in the image in the upper right hand corner I could see portions of the tree of life as I’d learned them while studying the Kabbalah.
According to my excited analysis only Yesod and Malkuth were missing. I couldn’t make any spiritual significance in that and set it aside. Later haunted by the unanswered question I googled the image sans date and source. And came to the great sitebelow.
This image particularly caught my eye because the Latin printed in the sephirot was readable. I can’t read Latin and what little I understood didn’t correlate with my knowledge of the appropriate sephirot. In retrospect, I could have figured out “Fraterna…”, “Paterna...” and “Baptiz…” Only they didn’t fit my preconception so I didn’t.
In looking at other images I find the phrase “Legal Tree”. Legal Trees are diagrams illustrating legal concerns in the medieval ages. Ends up that the translation can be “Legal Trees of Spiritual Affinity”. Spiritual affinities are your godparents, step-parents and spiritual-father (pastor or priest) all of whom by medieval law counted as blood relatives. It’s an incest chart!
For further information search for the term “spiritual affinity” in the following sources.