The first six images are of a 1642 printing of Johannes Stephanus Rittangelius’ Latin translation (with parallel Hebrew ‘original’ text) of the most ancient book still extant in Jewish metaphysics. The Sepher Yetzirah, or The Book Of Formation, has had perhaps the greatest influence outside of the Tanakh cannon (the Old Testament) and the Sepher ha-Zohar on esoteric thought and will continue to for centuries to come.
The last image is a modern reprinting of William Wynn Westcott’s English translation of the Sepher Yetzirah, which took the above edition of Rittangelius as a main source for his second edition. In his own words, located in the Preface To This Second Edition: “In this edition I have followed most closely the Hebrew version of Joannes Stephanus Rittangelius, which was printed in 1642 in Amsterdam, and I have forsaken many of the Latinised renderings which had been adopted in the First Edition [of Westcott’s translation], from the works of Postellus and Pistorius." [taken from the handmade 2009 Third Revised Edition as edited by Darcy Kuntz in my possession.]
The First Path is called the Admirable or the Hidden Intelligence (the Highest Crown): for it is the Light giving the power of comprehension of that First Principle which has no beginning; and it is the Primal Glory, for no created being can attain to its essence. The Second Path is that of the Illuminating Intelligence: it is the Crown of Creation, the Splendour of the Unity, equalling it, and it is exalted above every head, and named by the Kabalists the Second Glory. The Third Path is the Sanctifying Intelligence, and is the foundation of Primordial wisdom, which is called the Creator of Faith, and its roots are AMN; and it is the parent of Faith, from which doth Faith emanate. The Fourth Path is named the Cohesive or Receptacular Intelligence; and is so called because it contains all the holy powers, and from it emanate all the spiritual virtues with the most exalted essences: they emanate one from the other by the power of the Primordial Emanation. The Highest Crown.) (1) The Fifth Path is called the Radical Intelligence, because it resembles the Unity, uniting itself to the Binah, (2) or Intelligence which emanates from the Primordial depths of Wisdom or Chokmah. (3) The Sixth Path is called the Mediating Intelligence, because in it are multiplied the influxes of the emanations, for it causes that influence to flow into all the reservoirs of the Blessings, with which these themselves are united. The Seventh Path is the Occult Intelligence, because it is the Refulgent Splendour of all the Intellectual virtues which are perceived by the eyes of intellect, and by the contemplation of faith. The Eighth Path is called the Absolute or Perfect Intelligence, because it is the means of the primordial, which has no root by which it can cleave, nor rest, except in the hidden places of Gedulah, (4) Magnificence, from which emanates its own proper essence. The Ninth Path is the Pure Intelligence, so called because it purifies the Numerations, it proves and corrects the designing of their representation, and disposes their unity with which they are combined without diminution or division. The Tenth Path is the Resplendent Intelligence, because it is exalted above every head, and sits on the throne of Binah (the Intelligence spoken of in the Third Path). It illuminates the splendour of all the lights, and causes an influence to emanate from the Prince of countenances. (5) The Eleventh Path is the Scintillating Intelligence, because it is the essence of that curtain which is placed close to the order of the disposition, and this is a special dignity given to it that it may be able to stand before the Face of the Cause of Causes. The Twelfth Path is the Intelligence of Transparency, because it is that species of Magnificence called Chazchazit, (6) the place whence issues the vision of those seeing in apparitions. (That is the prophecies by seers in a vision.) The Thirteenth Path is named the Uniting Intelligence, and is so called because it is itself the Essence of Glory. It is the Consummation of the Truth of individual spiritual things. The Fourteenth Path is the Illuminating Intelligence and is so called because it is that Chashmal (7) which is the founder of the concealed and fundamental ideas of holiness and of their stages of preparation. The Fifteenth Path is the Constituting Intelligence, so called because it constitutes the substance of creation in pure darkness, and men have spoken of these contemplations; it is that darkness spoken of in Scripture, Job xxxviii. 9, “and thick darkness a swaddling band for it.” The Sixteenth Path is the Triumphal or Eternal Intelligence, so called because it is the pleasure of the Glory, beyond which is no other Glory like to it, and it is called also the Paradise prepared for the Righteous. The Seventeenth Path is the Disposing Intelligence, which provides Faith to the Righteous, and they are clothed with the Holy Spirit by it, and it is called the Foundation of Excellence in the state of higher things. The Eighteenth Path is called the Intelligence or House of Influence (by the greatness of whose abundance the influx of good things upon created beings is increased), and from its midst the arcana and hidden senses are drawn forth, which dwell in its shade and which cling to it, from the Cause of all causes. The Nineteenth Path is the Intelligence of the Secret of all the activities of the spiritual beings, and is so called because of the influence diffused by it from the most high and exalted sublime glory. The Twentieth Path is the Intelligence of Will, and is so called because it is the means of preparation of all and each created being, and by this intelligence the existence of the Primordial Wisdom becomes known. The Twenty-first Path is the Intelligence of Conciliation and Reward, and is so called because it receives the divine influence which flows into it from its benediction upon all and each existence. The Twenty-second Path is the Faithful Intelligence, and is so called because by it spiritual virtues are increased, and all dwellers on earth are nearly under its shadow. The Twenty-third Path is the Stable Intelligence, and it is so called because it has the virtue of consistency among all numerations. The Twenty-fourth Path is the Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so called because it gives a likeness to all the similitudes which are created in like manner similar to its harmonious elegancies. The Twenty-fifth Path is the Intelligence of Probation, or Temptation, and is so called because it is the primary temptation, by which the Creator trieth all righteous persons. The Twenty-sixth Path is called the Renewing Intelligence, because the Holy God renews by it all the changing things which are renewed by the creation of the world. The Twenty-seventh Path is the Active or Exciting Intelligence, and it is so called because through it every existent being receives its spirit and motion. The Twenty-eighth Path is called the Natural Intelligence; by it is completed and perfected the nature of all that exists beneath the Sun. (This Path is omitted by Rittangelius: I presume by inadvertence.) The Twenty-ninth Path is the Corporeal Intelligence, so called because it forms every body which is formed in all the worlds, and the reproduction of them. The Thirtieth Path is the Collective Intelligence, and Astrologers deduce from it the judgment of the Stars and celestial signs, and perfect their science, according to the rules of the motions of the stars. The Thirty-first Path is the Perpetual Intelligence; but why is it so called? Because it regulates the motions of the Sun and Moon in their proper order, each in an orbit convenient for it. The Thirty-second Path is the Administrative Intelligence, and it is so called because it directs and associates the motions of the seven planets, directing all of them in their own proper courses.
Two versions of the 231 Gates by me. The first was around two years ago and I had stopped to take this photo because, well, it looked amazing. The second was done much smaller and in pencil, two things I suggest be avoided for those who wish to make their own.
“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”
As for making a golem, a recipe in the Sepher yetzirah or ‘Book of creation’ called for a quantity of untouched mountain soil. This was to be kneaded with fresh spring water and, from it, a human image formed. The maker was required to recite over each of the image’s limbs the appropriate alphabetical combination. He then walked around it clockwise a number of times: whereupon the golem stood and lived. Were he to reverse the direction, the creature would revert to clay.
None of the earlier sources say whether or not a golem could speak., But the automaton did have the gift of memory and would obey orders mechanically, without reflection, providing these were given at regular intervals. If not, the golem might run amok.
Permanent impressions held in nature of everything that has ever occurred, i.e. “the memory of nature.” By means of awakening consciousness, it is possible to access past, present, and future events within these records.
“Every idea that you have in the mind has a counterpart in a word; the word and the thought are inseparable. The external part of the thought is what we call word, and the internal part is what we call thought. No man can, by analysis, separate thought from word.”