It was said to be adorned with ten descending sapphire jewels representing the ten divine emanations from the Tree of Life, which stands in the heart of Eden, sustaining all of existence with divine light and consciousness. (see Diagram)
The Staff’s Mystical Teachings
The sapphires on the staff (called “Sephirot” on the Tree of Life) are said to contain all of the mystical teaching, showing us how to awaken our true humanity, live consciously and connect with the Divine. So when Adam and Eve ventured forth from the garden, they carried with them a complete representation of the Tree of Life in the form of a staff, providing them with all they needed to grow, thrive and have a meaningful life.
The Sapphire Staff was then passed down through the generations as a staff of knowledge, from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and then to Joseph, who had become one of top advisors to the Egyptian Pharaoh. When Joseph died in Egypt, legend says that the staff was taken into the Egyptian palace and, generations later, taken by Jethro, the priest of Midian.
It is said that Jethro was walking in his garden one day when he plunged the staff into the ground. Then, when he tried to pull it out, he discovered that the staff had transformed into a tree, sprouted roots and was blooming.
From that time forward, no one could uproot the staff that had become a tree. It was said that the One who could easily take it would not only receive Jethro’s daughter in marriage, but would also be the redeemer of Israel.
And so the story goes that Moses, who was in the line of Abraham, came to the land of Jethro after fleeing Egypt in search of a new life. As Moses spent time with Jethro and his family, he was eager to marry Jethro’s daughter, Zipporah. Moses was therefore challenged to go into Jethro’s garden and attempt to uproot the Staff/Tree. This was quite an ordeal as all other suitors had been devoured by the Tree. Moses went to the Tree and easily pulled it out of the ground, thus winning Zipporah’s hand in marriage, reclaiming the great staff of knowledge and activating his destiny – to become redeemer of Israel.
Moses married Zipporah, settled in the land of Jethro and used his staff to tend flocks of sheep. For many years he shepherded and apprenticed with Jethro until one day, his life changed in a dramatic way, as did the function of his staff. On that fateful day, Moses was out tending his flock when he encountered the Divine in the form of a burning bush. During this numinous encounter, he received his calling to redeem Israel by returning to Egypt to liberate his people from slavery.
Moses wondered how in the world he would fulfill this task, so God told Moses to throw down his staff, and when he did, it became a serpent. God then told Moses to pick up the serpent by the tail, and when he did, it became a staff once again. Moses’ staff had now become a staff of wonders, imbued with divine power. It was now a tool he could carry with him to remind him of his destiny, give him support on the journey and to grant skills to accomplish his mission.
After freeing his people from slavery in Egypt and fulfilling his role as redeemer of Israel, Moses passed down the staff of knowledge – knowledge of mystical awakening and skills for conscious living – to the next generation and so on after him.
The Tree and Staff as Symbols
From this legend, we learn that the Tree and Staff are interchangeable symbols, transforming miraculously from one into the other throughout time. The story begins in the Garden of Eden with Raziel handing Adam and Eve the Sapphire Staff that embodies all of the teachings from the Tree of Life. The staff transforms back into a tree in Jethro’s garden and again changes into a staff for Moses to carry with him on his journey of destiny.
Why is this interchangeable quality significant? Because it suggests that the Sapphire Staff is a portable form of the Tree of Life, the body of teaching that we can carry with us wherever we go. The Staff is available to us if we take it in hand and begin to walk the path of awakening. Each of us possesses a staff of knowledge – our own model of the Tree of Life – which is designed specially for us to guide us on our journey of discovery and destiny.
According to legend, the Sapphire Staff is no ordinary staff made of ordinary wood, but an extraordinary staff made of sapphires – translucent crystal, shining as if from a star. Sapphires are typically known as precious stones of blue. However, they exist in a variety of colors, including orange, yellow, red, green, blue, violet, white and even black.
These rainbow colors are notably associated with the chakras or “centers of consciousness” as they are referred to in Kabbalah.
As we walk the mystical path, these centers of consciousness awaken, causing the sapphires to shine and illuminate our path more clearly. In turn, this helps us master each stage of development and facilitates psychological and spiritual maturity.
Thus our Sapphire Staff becomes what royal staffs have always represented: a symbol of mastery, awakened consciousness, personal power, sovereignty and affirmation of our royal inheritance. Each of us has a right to hold our Sapphire Staff, for we are all children of God.