And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:9)
The central Tree in Traditional thought is the axis-mundi of creation and, for the initiate, a meditative guide to union with the Godhead (i.e. gnosis). Cross-culturally the Tree stands as a symbol of central orientation and spiritual hierarchy. The Norse Yggdrasil , the Mesoamerican Yax Imix Che , the Vedic Asvattha are but a handful of examples of sacred “world Trees” akin to those mentioned in Genesis.
Kabbalah takes a geometric approach to the symbol in using tree diagrams to illustrate the ten Sefirot of the Sefer Yetzirah. Through these Trees the Kabbalist encapsulated the mathematical correspondence between the 10 Sefirot of creation and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. There are two primary geometric variations of the diagram: 1) the Ari (Isaac Luria) , and 2) the Gra (Eliyahu the Gaon of Vilna).
Most students of Western esoterica are familiar with the Sefirot layout of the Ari Tree as it was popularized by Aleister Crowley and the various Golden Dawn/Freemasonic offshoots. The Ari Tree hinges on the non-Sefirot of Da’at (‘Knowledge’) that is the pivot of reflection between the supernal triad and the lower seven Sefirot. Whereas the Gra Tree is more compact and geometrically balanced resembling an isometric projection of a double-stacked cube.
The only difference between the geometric layouts of the Gra and Ari versions is the central column (Tiferet, Yesod, and Malkut) of the lower Sefirot that is shifted downward in the Ari Tree. Aside from this, the organization of the Sefirot are identical.
In meditating upon the two Trees side-by-side we find a geometric allegory to the Biblical Fall from Grace represented by the “fall” of Tiferet (‘Splendor’), Yesod (‘Foundation’), and Malkut (‘Kingdom’) away from the supernal triad.
Moreover, the two Trees themselves may be interpreted as the two Trees of the Garden. The Tree of Knowledge bearing the fruit of Da’at (‘Knowledge’) and consequently the “fall” from grace, while the Tree of Life stands in it’s perfect and immortal state.
And the LORD God said: ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever.’ (Genesis 3:22)