kabbalah

While the greatest, minds of the Jewish and Christian worlds have realized that the Bible is a book of allegories, few seem to have taken the trouble to investigate its symbols and parables. When Moses instituted his Mysteries, he is said to have given to a chosen few initiates certain oral teachings which could never be written but were to be preserved from one generation to the next by word-of-mouth transmission. Those instructions were in the form of philosophical keys, by means of which the allegories were made to reveal their hidden significance. These mystic keys to their sacred writings were called by the Jews the Qabbalah (Cabala, Kaballah).

-Manly P. Hall - The Secret Teachings of all Ages

Image:  Tree of Life from Syriac New Testament, Vienna 1555

What is the Middle Path?

What is the middle path that so many religions speak of?

In the Asian thoughts its the line between the Ying & Yang. In Christianity it is following the teachings of Jesus, to be like him in order to open heavens gates. In Kabbalah it is following the middle pillar of equilibrium. Buddha explains it as not harming any living thing and to be one with high morals. Even the basic teachings of Islam has this idea, although in today’s era it is seems as it is filled with extremism portrayed by the media. This is the idea of knowing the “good” & “bad” and choosing the thoughts & response that rides in between. To be neutral.

How can this be accomplished?

Living every moment with focus on the moment. We are so distracted by “things” and ”stress” that it is at times overwhelming to the senses. It does take practice. It begins with the individual & the desire to want this in their lives. When the flash of anger, the feelings of being “hurt” by someone elses thoughts/deeds is the moment we all make the decision. Do I ride this emotion or make the conscious effort to make change? To think with our heart and not our ego.

So…. stop ….. think…. Direct the mind through the heart when a situation requires a decision… then do it!

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some of my favorite illuminated Hebrew from the Sefer Etz Hayim, an 18th century work on Lurianic Kabbalah, featuring some of the most elaborate tagin i’ve ever seen

to get personal for a moment, i feel absolutely transported looking at this. the sense of awe (and sort of a…peaceful comfort?) that i get from looking at Hebrew calligraphy is hard to describe or compare to anything else. Judaism’s emphasis on & respect for the power & beauty of language (whether written or spoken) is one of the things i identify most strongly with in my own spirituality. i suspect @jewishhenna may feel similarly! if i ever get the chance to study with a sofer i’ll be overjoyed. 

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Creation — “In the Beginning …”

Creation is seen to have taken place, in Western kabbalistic and alchemical terms, in the following process.

The Divine mind of God, the Absolute, or in Hebrew the Ain Soph Aur (Limitless Light), through a series of expansions and contractions establishes the boundaries of Creation. The first world is the most subtle, and closest to the original state of non-existence, and is Atzilooth. This is called the world of Fire, because of the lively, undefined, and almost uncontrollable nature of fire. Next is Briah, or the World of Archetypes and forms as our human mind can grasp them. It is symbolized as the World of Air, and is the result of a barrier world that is formed by the creation of the next World, Yetzirah, or Water. This is the highly psychic and emotionally charged world immediately behind the veil of material existence, or Assiah. Also known as the World of Earth, because of the solid, concrete nature of material life.

The purpose of this scheme, is to show that creation occurs in increasingly dense levels of energy-matter, from the most subtle, or Fire, to the most dense, or Earth. Within this context of increasing density, there also arises a series of ten planes or levels of consciousness which combines with energy-matter, known as Sepheroth, or spheres of being. They occur in a pattern of: unity, reflection, polarity, reflection, polarity, unity, reflection, polarity, unity, and finally materialization. This basic idea of unity-polarity-and re-harmonizing, is the basis of kabbalistic and alchemical practices, and is derived from the observation of Nature.

Each World is a reflection to a denser or more subtle degree than the one before or after it. Each Sepheroth is a reflection, in part, of what proceeds or follows it. However, since each reflection is only partial, or slightly distorted, each Sphere takes on its own unique characteristics. Only the so-called “Middle Four Sphereoth” have the ability to harmonize or reflect in total all of the energies of creation, on some level.

This ‘zigzag’ of Creation is called the “Lightning Flash”. The return of energy from dense matter, back through the various stages, Sepheroth, and Worlds of Creation is known as the “Path of the Serpent” because of its reverse, or complimentary ‘zigzag’ nature back up this diagram called the Tree of Life.

For the alchemist, somewhere between the third and fourth level, or sphere of creation, energy takes on the characteristic that will allow for the formation of matter at some future state, or level ten. This energy is called Prima Materia, Chaos in the Bible, Spiritus Mundi (Spirit of the Earth), and others. Here, duality is made complete, and genuine polarity exists, as opposed to simply the potential, or idea, of polarity that had existed previously. Energy is divided into active and passive modes, with the active energy constituting the energies of life, and the passive one the energy of matter. In “The Golden Chain of Homer”, the active energy is called Niter and the passive energy is called Salt.

The energy of Life manifests in two forms, Fire and Air. While both are predominately active in nature, fire is the more active of the two, with Air being slightly passive because of the partial Water Element in its makeup. Potential Matter manifests its energy as Water and Earth. These Elements have nothing to do with the material bodies of the same name, and as such are capitalized and called “Elemental” to distinguish them from the earth we walk on, water we drink, air we breath, and fire we cook with. They are in fact, energetic states, each with their own unique characteristics, as well as each of the previously mentioned ten levels of consciousness within them. The Elements also have preferred ways of interacting with each other, to form the Three Principles of alchemy. There are in fact, forty different ways energy-matter-consciousness can manifest in our world.

The Three Essentials are the alchemical principles of Sulphur, Mercury, and Salt. Like the “Elements” these principle concepts are to be thought of a “Philosophical” and not literally as chemical elements or compounds. The Alchemical Sulphur, or Soul, of a thing predominates in the animating principles of energy (Fire) and intelligence (Air); Alchemical Salt, or the physical body of a thing, predominates in unconscious forces, psychic, and instinctual intelligence (Water) and solid matter (Earth); Alchemical Mercury, or general life force, predominates in intelligence (Air) and instinctual forces, and psychic energy (Water), as such it is the link, or bridge, between the higher forces of Sulphur and the lower body of matter.

In the mineral realm the dominant energy is that of Earth, a little Water, and very little Air or Fire. In the vegetable realm, the dominant energy is Water and Air, but little Fire and Earth. In the animal realm, the dominant force element is Fire, then Air, but little Earth. These qualities need to be understood as they have been defined for the following information to be of any use to the practicing, or aspiring, Hermeticist. For example, using the above definitions, we can say that the plant realm has an abundance of instinctual energy (Water) and intelligence, i.e. a specific function (Air), but little direct energy (Fire), as this is received passively from the sun; and little hard, physical, matter (Earth).

In the East as in the West, the idea of principle Elements and Philosophic Principles are expressed in more or less the same manner. This original undifferentiated energy from creation is often called in Indian philosophy, and modern occult, and New Age circles, as akasha, or Spirit. However, akasha, consists of two (2) aspects, one active as we have noted, Niter, and the other passive, Salt. The energies of Niter are also referred to as the force of Kundalini, or spiritual forces. In alchemy, this is the Secret Fire. To the Salt, belongs the force of Prana, or Vital Energy.

The function of the Vital energy is to maintain physical life forms and existence. It is completely instinctual and unconscious and is heavily influenced by cosmic cycles, astrological pulses, and other natural phenomena. The function of the Secret Fire is to increase in humanity, the only place where it is present, its sense of self, or “I”. At the lowest level or functioning, this is the ego, at its highest, it is Divinity incarnate, as both are two sides of the same coin. One is ‘self’ in relation to the physical world and others; the other is ‘self’ in relationship to all of Creation and as a co-creator.

In the vast majority of humanity, this Secret Fire, or liberating energy of self-consciousness, lies dormant, asleep at the base of the spine, coiled like a serpent. Only a small amount manages to escape, reaching a sepherothic level, or so-called chakra, thus creating a loci of consciousness for each person. If it reaches the top of the skull, and beyond, a spiritual awakening can occur, allowing for a descent and re-ascent of the energy, during which the psychic centers can be awakened allowing for the manifestation of psychic powers and related phenomena.

- M.A. Mark Stavish; The Relationship Between Kundalini, Kabbalah, and Alchemy

I’ve been interested in Judaism since I was a teenager, and I’ve always been drawn to it and read countless books on it. But for one reason or another, it took me a long time to finally decide to convert. This book was the decisive factor in my decision. It wasn’t necessarily that I wanted to be a Jewish mystic or that I found the Kabbalah to be absolutely, unquestioningly true. But I remember reading this book, and I was half way through it, and I just stopped and realized Judaism was for me. I don’t know what it was exactly, but something just clicked into place while I was reading, and I contacted the rabbi a few days later.
I picked this book up for some idle reading today and just remembered that experience. I think I’m going to go ahead and reread the whole thing. Maybe I’ll even write a little something on it if it jogs my memory.

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Whilst the protoplasts had not as yet lost their innocence and purity, they heard within themselves the voice divine, the voice out of the Great Silence. Guided and directed by divine wisdom, they walked and lived in the divine light and were not afraid. As soon, however, as they succumbed to temptation, they lapsed into a state of sin, of sorrow and shame and found that though the voice was still audible, they could not endure to hear it; and the sense of sin pervaded and prevailed throughout the world up to the time when Israel [Tiphereth] stood at the foot [Yesod] of Mount Sinai, purified from all defilement and thus able to become conjoined with the Tree of Life, and partook of its fruits, beholding the celestial glory.

They ascended higher and higher in the divine life, and lived in the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision being filled with that interior peace and tranquillity known and experienced only by those who understand the mysteries of the higher and divine life.
 - Zohar

“The Holy One protected them by impressing upon them his divine name, so that the spirit of evil was unable to exercise power and influence over them and thus corrupt them. Thus they lived, pure and protected, until they bowed down and worshipped the golden calf. Then fell they from their high estate and lost the divine protection which was as a cuirass or protective armor against the assaults of evil that now again acquired power over them and brought death unto their souls.”
- Zohar

The Moon

Card Associations & Factoids

  • Aspect.   Pisces
  • Kabbalah.   Qoph (back of head)
  • Path.   #29 Netzach “Victory” and Malkuth “Kingdom”
  • Deck.   Thoth (1969)

Notes on Imagery
A path runs between two towers each guarded by twin figures of Anubus. The scarab beetle is symbolic of Kephra.

Path #29 — Netzach to Malkuth
The Sephirah of Venus connects to the Sephirah of The Earth. This is the irrational heart connecting to the material and finite.

78NOT Interpretations of The Moon
“The light from the dark”—our nightmares and fears illuminated under the mystery of the moon. This card indicates the hidden and emotional persona, especially one that has been suppressed by the individual come to surface. The result is irrationality, fear, mistake, and submission to ill-will and self-destruction.

The moon calls forth our instinctive animalistic nature—not in survivalist sense, but in regards to a submission of a primitive desires. When we are surrounded by The Moon we are in a state of delusion and become disconnected from reality. This can be a dangerous state of mind; however, to some extent it can be a creative catalyst opening up certain psychological paths. Sometimes The Moon indicates a time to purge darkness within so that a person can let it all out.

In advice to those bearing the trials of The Moon know that just as the phases of the Moon change, so will the querent’s situation. Stick to the safest path you can until it passes.

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Hi, would someone be willing to answer some questions about Kabbalah for me? Note: this may be disrespectful and if it is, I apologize and accept any aggression/frustration it brings on and will remove this if requested. I’m genuinely trying to get opinions on this matter from people who actually are qualified to speak on this.

I’m an Abrahamic spiritual and I’ve studied all the books that the Christian bible has in common with the torah so I’m not completely unknowledgable of those scriptures.

Is it appropriative for someone who is not Jewish to practice any variation of Kabbalah? Even if you have background in a lot of the scriptures that the practice tends to be based in?

Thanks for any answers!