The Zohar, Chapter “Bamidbar (In The Wilderness),” Item 36: This explains the reason for the journeying of the banners, which were east first, which is the hidden Daat, the beginning of the light, the root of the light of Hesed that appears from AVI. This is why the south follows it, for it is its branch. And following it is the west, which is Malchut, whose face should turn to the south. And following it is the north, for the back of Malchut should turn to the north, as it is written, “Let his left hand be under my head, and his right hand embrace me,” and “under” always means Achoraim.
This passage of The Zohar speaks about the form in which the entire structure of a person develops and advances forward, and the order in which one’s qualities change. Every one of us is HaVaYaH, in addition to being divided into three lines, twelve tribes, four phases, and so on.
All of these qualities change in us during the period when we “wander through the wilderness.” So what is the form that is passing through our impure forces (desires), through our uncorrected qualities, which are called “wilderness”? Moreover, as we run into hardships, problems, and obstacles in this wilderness, how do we nonetheless continue clarifying our qualities so as to draw nearer to the “land of Israel” (desire for the Creator)?
“Banners” are our primary qualities with which we try to advance, changing them one at a time. Just as with an embryo, first the arms develop, and afterwards the legs, brain, heart, kidneys, and then the eyes are formed (there is a particular order by which a drop of semen develops into a human being); similarly, there is an established developmental order concerning spirituality. The Zohar explains the order by which we develop after being born from our egoistic desire.