The Shield of David
The Shield of David consists of an interlaced pair of equilateral triangles, one pointed upward and one pointing downward. The downward pointing triangle is the ancient symbol for water. It is associated with the right column of the tree. The upward pointing triangle is the ancient symbol for fire. It is associated with the left column of the tree.
Fire and water cannot coexist together. One annihilates the other. But if a separation is placed between the two, then they can function together. We call that which separates fire and water a vessel. The water is put in the vessel and the vessel is put on the fire. And with the water being heated up by the fire many useful things can be accomplished: for example, the cooking of food for our nourishment and the production of steam which drives a steam turbine which then drives a generator to produce electricity.
The vessel which separates fire and water does not constitute a separation which completely disconnects the fire and the water. Rather the vessel functions as a pipe or membrane connecting the fire and the water. The vessel channels the heat of the fire into the water. Without a vessel, the heat of the fire cannot be transferred to the water.
In the Shield of David, the upward pointing triangle and the downward pointing triangle are connected together in harmony, functioning in unity. So though each can be seen in its own identity, they function together as a unit. The Shield of David can then be seen to be associated with the central column of the tree, which is the balance of the right column with the left column. Interestingly enough, when drawing the Shield of David, each triangle must be drawn separately. After the first triangle is drawn, the pen or pencil must be lifted from the page, thereby making a separation, and then the second triangle is drawn.
The Hebrew word for water is מים and the Hebrew word for fire is אש When the two words are combined there results the word שמימ heaven. What happened to the א, Aleph. The א represents God. The א is present, but hidden, just the same way that God is present but hidden.
When a vessel becomes impure it is purified by either submerging it in water or passing it through fire. Water and fire act as agents of transformation. In like manner, the Shield of David being composed of fire and water, is a symbol for transformation. It serves as a reminder that we are ever on an ascent of deeper and deeper levels of harmonizing the spiritual and material for the service of God. On each level we undergo a transformation. On each level we are transformed by fire and water, our vices diminished and our virtues increased.