The Sefer Yetzirah, written in the First or Second Century C.E., begins:
By travelling the Thirty-Two Mysterious Pathways of Wisdom, Yah, who is the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, the Living Elohim, and is called El Shaddai, engraved the Holy Name and created this Universe by means of these Three Counters (Sefarim םירפס), called Accounting (Sefer סְפָר) Counting (Sippur סִפוּר) and Recounting (Safer סֵפֶר). These Three are a Unity to the Holy One, and the same thing. Thus were manifested the ten Sefiroth (”Realms”) and Twenty-Two Foundational Letters. These Twenty-Two are the Three Parents, Seven Doubles, and Twelve Simples.
An appendix to the Sefer Yetzirah, written about Fourteen Hundred Years later, was the "Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom", which explains some of the Concepts. Much of Western Mysticism and Metaphysics is based on the descriptions of the Tree of Life in the Sefer Yetzirah and the “Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom”. Jewish tradition teaches that the Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom are derived from the Thirty-Two mentions of the Holy Name “Elohim" in Genesis,
The Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom on the Tree of Life (Etz Chayim) are the Ten Sefirot and the Twenty-Two interconnecting Pathways, each of which represents a different type of “Intelligence” (Sekhel לכש), or State of Consciousness connecting Two Sefirot. The first Ten “Paths” are the Ten Sefirot, and “Paths” Eleven through Twenty-Two are the connections between them. The Ten Sefirot are the Emanations, or Powers, by which the Creator is said to have Manifested the Universe. Each of the Twenty-Two Pathways, on the other hand, may be said to indicate a different State of Consciousness, reflected by the relationship between the Two Sefirot which it connects.
The Sefirot are given in Numerical order of the Primordial Numbers from One to Ten, and the Twenty-Two Pathways in alphabetical (Alef Bet) order from Alef to Tav. Each Path, by Means of Meditation, opens a Gate to a different dimension of Understanding within our own spiritual nature. By Means of Emanation, then, the Energy of Keter (“Crown”), the highest Sephirah Emanates or descends through the lower Sephirot by way of the Pathways, all the Way to Malkut (“Kingdom”) We are so far removed from direct experience of Keter because we have turned away from our Divine Origins. The Hebrew word for "I” is “Ani”, which is made up of the same letters (Aleph Nun Yod), as "Ayin" (Alef Yod Nun), which means Nothingness. Thus, we must turn Inward to find God.
Typically, all Thirty-Two Paths, the Ten Sefirot and the Twenty-Two connecting Pathways, have traditional correlations. Some go far as back as the Sefer Yetzirah itself, and some are more modern. These include Planets, Colors, Tarot Cards, and so on.