Magic of Qabalah: Visions of the Tree of Life by Kala TrobeMagic of Qabalah: Visions of the Tree of Life by Kala Trobe

Magic of Qabalah: Visions of the Tree of Life

byKala Trobe

Paperback | June 8, 2001

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Enter into the mystery of the Qabalah by a direct inner journey, discovering for yourself the Divine realms of Being and Becoming. Magic of Qabalah presents the Tree of Life in a way that resonates with the modern seeker-not as a static, arcane system that is only to be studied and pondered, but as a living structure that allows experience of and interaction with the primal forces of Creation. Sphere by Sphere and Path by Path, you will climb the branches and taste the fruit of the Tree of Life. Myths and symbols, energies and entities are revealed as living beings that form the body of the universe of which you are a part-and of which you can partake as you remake your world in the image of your will. This book includes:

·Specific guidance for connecting with the Tree of Life
·The qualities, symbols, and purposes of each Sphere and Path
·Guided visualizations for internalizing Qabalistic energies
·Explorations of traditional and contemporary applications
·The connection with the Tarot
·"A Qabalistic Tale:" a story based on Tree of Life symbols
·Chapter-by-chapter journeys into each of the ten Spheres

Kala Trobe (UK) is the main nom-de-plume of Kate La Trobe-Bateman. She is author of the award-winning work of fiction The Magick Bookshop and the new Magick in the West End, a dazzling collection of short stories that brim with imagination and come straight from the theatre-lit, gaudy, blinding, yet, bewitching streets of London's West...
Title:Magic of Qabalah: Visions of the Tree of LifeFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:312 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:June 8, 2001Publisher:Llewellyn WorldwideLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0738700029

ISBN - 13:9780738700021


Read from the Book

Introduction to Magic of Qabalah What is the Qabalah? Originally a Judaic path of ascension, as symbolized by the image of the Tree of Life, the Qabalistic system has maintained its structure over the aeons. It has never ceased in offering the aspiring soul a chance to reach higher planes, but with time its modes of use have changed dramatically. Adopted by spiritual aspirants from all walks of life, from medieval alchemists to nineteenth-century magi, then popularized on a wider scale by the "outing" of many High Magick techniques in the twentieth century, one might suspect the Tree to have bent under the weight of so many eager neophytes. However, the very eclecticism found in modern Qabalah is one of the strongest and most essential features of this system. Much of the atmosphere of Orthodox Judaism, its "parent tradition," has now been lost, or at least absorbed into a much wider-reaching field of spiritual practice. No longer the province of a single philosophy or religion, it has incorporated the signs and symbols of many others, making it a transdimensional reference library, the living 777, to take an expression from Aleister Crowley. Indeed, Crowley's work is arguably the fertilizer most responsible for the Tree's latter-day luster, though cross-pollination would surely have happened sooner or later with such rich ground as this. Today's Qabalah is as diverse and eclectic as our current age. We can thank the psychically avant-garde work of Crowley, along with that of Eliphas Levi, Israel Regardie, MacGregor Mathers, and Dion Fortune, for stimulating the popular magickal imagination of the last century, bringing diverse paths together and changing the import of the Qabalah forever. While the system of Qabalah will be charted in depth through the course of this book, a summary of the tradition's structure can be offered here. The Qabalah describes ten main states of being, the Sephiroth or "emanations," and twenty-two states of becoming, the Paths. A negative framework to the Sephiroth's positive exists in the form of the Qlipoth or "sparks," also known as "shards" or "peels." In conjunction with these negative realms, the Sephiroth determine the shape of the Tree of Life, which itself describes the whole of Creation, including what existed before Creation. Each Sephirah (singular of Sephiroth) exists under the rule of a different aspect of the Mother-Father God; that is, it represents a particular aspect of the relation between the Creative Intelligence and the Created Universe. The descent of Spirit into Matter, the development of duality, and the gradual divorce from our spiritual origin are all demonstrated by the Sephiroth as we scale down the Tree of Life on which they sit. The Sephiroth also contain all relevant archetypes, from world folklore and mythology: for example, Binah, the Supernal Mother whose name means "Understanding," encompasses Nuit, Kali, and other Terrible Mothers (as the givers and breakers of Form), as well as Isis and Mary, mother of Christ. As the facet of Understanding spans a great many aspects of experience, it follows that Mary's piety and Kali's apparent wanton destruction can both be ascribed to Binah, particularly as both conform to the "Vision of Sorrow" which is this Sephirah's spiritual experience, and both involve the dissolution of established form and traumatic transition into a new mode of being. Likewise, all sacrificed gods can be ascribed to Tiphareth, the mystical and solar Sephirah. This follows for all the other Sephiroth along the paths of the Tree. The same symbols attributed to each Sephirah play a microcosmic role, summarizing every facet of individual existence. This philosophy may in turn be encapsulated in the adage "As Above, So Below." Where did Qabalah come from? The word itself comes from Hebrew, meaning "that which is received." Tradition holds that the teachings were passed from master to student, in a chain going back to the Archangel Metatron, Angel of the Presence, who descended from the Crown of Creation (Kether) to Mount Sinai in order to deliver enlightenment to Moses, the spiritual ancestor of all Jewish rabbis. Most of this occult knowledge was later condensed into glyphs, the first symbols of Ets Chayyim, the Tree of Life. Conveyed by word of mouth from one generation of learned men to another, Qabalistic teachings were not written down until around 1000 c.e. Following the collection and publication of the first texts of the Qabalah in the European Middle Ages, the creed underwent a renaissance. Again, in the sixteenth century, the development of Qabalah experienced a second flowering. That said, Qabalistic learning has never been so much a part of the popular mainstream as it is today. In this book, "Qabalah" will be spelled in this way to differentiate it from the traditional Jewish Kabbalah, its parent-or should I say, its host. Modern Qabalah is a cuckoo child, a former impostor in the nest of Judaism, now an independent fledgling. However, as the foregoing survey of its history reveals, Kabbalah/Qabalah has long been subject to diverse influences. Like any living religion, it receives many tributaries-but the river which carries us here is the magickal river, and we are dealing with correspondences alien to Judaism, though not to Kabbalah itself. As Z'ev Ben Shimon Halevi points out in Kabbalah, The Divine Plan, the Tarot system so often dismissed as irrelevant is actually based on information gleaned from the Zohar, one of the central texts in Kabbalah. According to Halevi's account, the Major Arcana represent the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the four suits symbolising the Four Worlds (to be discussed below), and is highly conducive to Qabalistic development. The use of Tarot cards as a symbolic system, and the ability to adapt and relate anything-but anything-to part of the Tree, may be slightly unorthodox, but it is no less valid (indeed, in my opinion, it is more valid for being at least partially subjective). Kabbalah/Qabalah itself represents a long tradition of thinking in an unconventional and inclusive manner. The Jewish Mystery Tradition has much to offer in the way of meditation, psychotherapy, psychology, and insight into the ancient folklore that informs the system, but the Western Mystery Tradition (the focus of this book ) encompasses a great deal more. Much that did not belong on the Tree at first now does, owing to the input of all who meditate on or activate the various Sephiroth. Thus, though Crowley's particular attributions may have borne personal significance for him at the time, their application by others in meditation and magick has since made them "real." Basilisks may arise in the mind's eye when Geburah is considered, though they originally had no place on the Tree. Astral elephants really do parade about the planes of Yesod, thanks to the much-invoked Thelemic thought practice, at least when the Tree is approached in the spirit of the Western Magickal Tradition. Whether they are "visible" to Jewish Kabbalists is another matter. Martin Buber and Gershom Scholem, two of those most responsible for reviving the increasingly obfuscated Kabbalah within their own heritage, might well rebuke the interloper(s), though I hope to be corrected on this point. The cuckoo child has built its own nest now, and its host parent is once again freed of its uninvited presence. In the new Tree described in these pages, an ever-changing network of consciousness has formed, like a telephone exchange in which conversations on particular topics can be tapped. Within this system, all that was invested in the original Judaic model remains, but the correspondences of all mythological and religious traditions are also found here, equal in relevance, along with various types of magickal working and thought processes useful to the spiritual pilgrim. So too with the input of its travellers, Jews and non-Jews alike: the Qabalah is the embodiment of this far-reaching-and indeed infinite-eclecticism. The present age is one founded on shared information, the mixing of ancient currents both intellectual and spiritual. In the West, even gender roles are changing, our personalities and looks becoming more androgynous, with the essential spark of polar magnetism left intact. Science is being brought into conformity with Will, allowing a soul to sculpt its own body. It is becoming possible to experience life-paths vicariously through informed empathy that we never would have believed in before. Travel is contributing towards this lessening of insularity, allowing us to perceive firsthand the living modes of other human beings on the planet. Cultures are mixing, influencing one another and creating new music, style, vocabularies, and thought patterns. Computers have caused an explosion of creativity and initiated an "Info-fest." Everything is merging. That the Qabalah and other magickal systems should become commonly accessible was inevitable. With millions looking for ascension, every channel must be opened; a fact of which the late great magicians who first brought it to our attention were well aware. However, I feel sure that Eliphas Levi, Israel Regardie, Dion Fortune, and other original exponents of the craft would be the first to blanch at some of the side effects. Those early masters' emphasis was on strict training and self-discipline, with comprehension their highest priority. Unfortunately the system seems so complex at first sight, and was often so abstrusely presented, that those eager to taste the fruits of the Tree tend to neglect the groundwork needed to make a successful climb. Not only this, but climbing by the uncertain light of gibbous understanding, they leave foot and claw marks on the ancient bark and sweaty fingerprints on its appendages. The Tree itself, however, still stands with its crown in the Ain Soph Aur, the endless light, and beckons to those who desire to scale it. Since it is nearly impossible to broach magick in the Western hemisphere without a good working knowledge of the Qabalah, aspirants must approach the Tree at some point in their education. To Dion Fortune, Qabalah was "the Yoga of the West," better suited to our lives and bodies than the Eastern art and indispensable for attaining coherent magickal form. It provides a form of deep introspection and meditation; there is a path or Sephirah for every facet of the human psyche. It provides a means of accessing energies and even entities for magickal or practical use. The original Kabbalah laid emphasis on the day-to-day application of its practical wisdom, and on seeking out the divine spark in the apparently mundane. Of course, for observant Jews the significance and symbolism of Hebrew letters and names literally is the mainstream of daily life, but for many unversed in the language, comprehension of its surface and deeper meanings has been a struggle. It need not be so difficult anymore. Most of the necessary experience can be attained through thought image and meditation, and this is the purpose for which the visualizations in this book have been formulated. They are intended to impart maximum information and benefit with minimal confusion. This, in turn, will spill into the practitioner's psyche, and its conscious application to self- and dream-analysis, for example, will bring it into the provinces of practical Qabalah. The inclusion of Tarot symbolism performs a similar role. However, for the sake of clarity, this book should be considered a primer, as opposed to an exhaustive treatment of the subject. I have avoided the esoteric sciences of Gematria, Temura, and Notariqon, which strive to attain meanings from the numerology and lettering of key words. No doubt these and other ramifications can be of great value to those already conversant in the key symbols and correspondences of the Sephiroth, but simplicity and easy access to the material was the central goal in the preparation of this book. For those who wish to continue into the more esoteric dimensions of Qabalistic lore, some of the more detailed tracts are mentioned in the Bibliography. Nor are these excursions magickally dangerous. They will, however, open up gateways to a great flood of experience. That said, do not undertake them if you are quite content with the way things are, thank you very much. Working with the Qabalah is like handling a psychological growth hormone: it gets under your skin and enhances certain areas of the psyche (which areas are affected depends on the practitioner's state of being and active mental and emotional affiliations). The exercises are designed to stretch and flex the psychic muscles, to progress the soul in one's personal and cosmic context, and to familiarize the participant with the key traits of each of the ten Sephiroth, the "apples" on the Tree's branches. Gome ideas for psychic self-protection are given in the next section. Preliminaries to All Exercises Before any occult dealings it is sensible to protect oneself, not because the procedure itself is perilous, but because there are some peculiar entities around, and magick makes you more sensitive to them. Just as one would not arrive in the jungle without having had the appropriate innoculatory jabs and being equipped with mosquito spray, a hat, food, and a knife, it is madness to travel to the Inner Planes without any protective devices. For instance, one of the systems relevant to Malkuth is the acquisition of magickal weapons, and such a process is given in the Malkuth visualization. As well as taking on weapons, one can form a protective sheath that should prevent them having to be used in the first place. This also protects from the more insidious entities on the Inner (and Outer) Planes. There are several ways of doing this. A traditional occult method is to enlist the protection of the four Guardian Angels: Raphael, Gabriel, Michael, and Uriel. Writer/occultists such as Gareth Knight can furnish the interested reader with traditional methods for this and many other operations. Alternately, you could envisage yourself surrounded by cosmic energies, as such: First, face to the East. Send a request to the Cosmic Intelligence that your application for protection be heeded. Do not continue until you truly feel that it will be so. (This served to prevent haphazard workings when one subconsciously knows that the time is not right.) Now, envisage a pillar of radiant yellow light before you. Feel how it shields you from face-on attack. Behind you, sense a powerful pillar of blue, protective light. To your left, a vibrant pillar of red vigilance stands your guard. To the right, a black pillar prevents negative forces from reaching you. Starting with the yellow pillar, visualize a ring of blue flame reaching out and catching the red pillar. Let it spread to the blue and black and back to the red until you are completely surrounded by a circle of fire, keeping off the wild beasts of the cosmos and acting as a beacon to benevolent entities. Seal the tube with blue fire beneath the feet and above the head. Another means of protection is courtesy of one's personal Guardian(s); definitely easiest if you already know who your Inner Guides are (for example, a bona fide guru-few and far between on this plane), or an enlightened being such as an avatar of Christ-consciousness, Buddha, a Krishna embodiment, or even "the Master Jesus," if you are so inclined. Here I am not describing the suburban myth of these godforms, but their true, vibrant selves, very unlike the mundane expression we have constructed for them. Only you can know whether or not you have the energy, purity, and visualizing ability to make a true, noncomplacent link with such Great Ones. A regular godform is less effective, as these are specific to particular parts of the Tree. Only those who can be felt to have attained the Ain Soph Aur-which for our purposes here can be said to be equivalent to Nirvana or some other ultimately transcendent state-are suitable consorts in every realm. Never be afraid you are duping yourself, for when we create the appropriate channel, the gods come. As the magickal adage goes, "Fantasy is the ass that carries the Ark," and its asinine nature in no way detracts from the reality or potency of its load. A less personal approach to self-protection involves bringing the protective energies of the nonspecific cosmic consciousness into service. To do this, stand facing East, take four deep, slow breaths, puffing out strongly and simultaneously envisaging all the tension leaving your body in dark billows, while your lungs begin to glow golden from the inside. With each breath, the glow increases until, with the fourth exhalation, your body is glowing brilliantly. Now, tense and flex every muscle in your body, feeling the golden light creeping into its every tissue and bone as you do so. Soon your cells are alive with this vibrant prana. Above you, the ceiling has turned a brilliant yellow-white.A crackling electricity has infused the room. Visualize the light strongly, so that your inner eye is dazzled. Feel the presence of the Divine Dreamer, the fusing of your two consciousnesses. Feel the excitement of the vastness that is. Imagine a door in the back of your head, in the lower region just above the neck. Now, draw that energy down, and look through the door. Surround yourself with this energy. Affirm that it is solid and pure, and that any negativity directed at it will bounce straight back at the sender. Visualize a bolt of black bouncing off the surface of your body-sheath. Be sure to concentrate on front, right side, back, left side, underneath, and overhead in turn. Let there be no part unprotected. Let the golden light be ever renewable. Now, unless you wish to be totally conspicuous on the Inner Planes, tone the color and brilliance down but maintain the resolution, leaving you armored in dull silver-gold, with a warm feeling within. It is a matter of personal inclination which protective technique is preferred. Malkuth will help you develop further tools, though weapons as such are anathema to the type of process we will be undergoing. This journey is one of respectful, joyous exploration. Hopefully you will never require weaponry for more than their symbolic purpose, and at this stage you can rest assured that you won't. The Four Worlds There are four "layers" in Qabalistic cosmology, each representing a different aspect of reality. All of the Sephiroth exist simultaneously within the fabric of these layers. At present we find ourselves in the world of Assiah, the layer of physicality and action. Here, symbols are perceived in material form; the spiritual luminary Tiphareth, for example, appears here as the sun. The occult symbol of Assiah is the Bull and its Tarot suit is, of course, Pentacles-a link to the earthly value that coins and other "hard currency" represent. In the system I have used in this book, Assiah relates to the four Page cards found in the Tarot. Yetzirah, the next step up, represents the formative stage in creation. Its Sephiroth are those forming the "inner body" of the Qabalah; Yesod, Hod, Netzach, Tiphareth, Geburah, and Chesed. The Orders of Angels, deities, and godforms belong to this level. Yetzirah's symbol is cerebral Man, and its Tarot suit the intellectual Swords. In the system I use, the four Knights belong here. The creative, receptive level is known as Briah, and to it are ascribed the Archangels. The Sephiroth encompassed in this level are Binah and Chokmah. Its symbol is the Eagle and its Tarot suit Cups, and the four Queens correspond to this level. Finally, the layer of Atziluth represents the highest conceivable proximity to God. As far as the Tree goes, it is composed of Kether (some ascribe both Kether and Chokmah to this level). Its attributes are the Archetypal world, or the world of Emanations, the Lion symbol, and the suit of Wands. The God-names manifest through this level, and I prefer to associate the four Kings of the Tarot with Atziluth. These four worlds represent the "thought" of God coming into being, descending through the planes from the very refined and conceptual to the solid and physical. Of course it is in the world of Assiah, the plane of physical fact and action, that we abide, but the whole nature of Qabalah aspires upward, towards Kether in Atziluth, the ultimate godhead. A key point to this aspiration is that this supreme state of divinity may be found at the heart of the apparently mundane. Malkuth is not only as important as Kether, but it also reflects and contains it. Likewise are all other Sephiroth interlinked, composed to a greater or a lesser degree of one another. Each Sephirah exists on all four of these levels-hence the four different colors, popularly referred to as "the flashing colors," ascribed to each. Visualizing the Qabalah as a Whole Probably the easiest way to visualize the Tree as a whole is as ten symmetrically positioned, colored spheres, or Sephiroth, each glowing with its own particular properties. All of the Sephiroth exist on all of the four levels. They are arranged into three columns, the middle of which is the longest and lowest. The columns to the left and right each consist of three regularly placed spheres. As you approach each Sephirah in meditation, you will feel yourself being drawn into and assimilated by the position and color of that sphere, quickly leading you to its inner properties. To visualize the Qabalah as a whole, and thus establish a "map" for your later meditations, first envisage yourself surrounded by a tentlike sphere of four colors, as if you were inside a giant juggling ball or beach ball, its segments yellow, green, dark red, and blue respectively. You are standing at the center of this construction. Their colors unite at the top and bottom of the sphere, at the points above your head and beneath your feet. Facing you is the yellow sector, representing air. To your right is the red of fire. Behind you is the cool blue of water. To your left, the verdure of green earth. Make a concerted effort to invest your sphere with the Elements-be aware of the fresh, redolent earth; the sighing, lapping ocean; the crackling brilliance of fire; the relief and freedom of air. With the wind comes the spirit world, whose denizens are all the beings who abide with us, yet are rarely perceived by us, nor us by them. Some of these are elementals, others restless spirits caught up in their personal woes, long obsolete in the worlds from which they came, but still fresh as yesterday's dreams. Still others are intelligent entities on missions between the planes. Some, of course, are good, some neutral, and others malign. Obviously, any occult work increases one's sensitivity to the astral/spirit realms, and psychic self-protection is a good "antispook" device. The Qlipoth abide in the Sephiroth as entities engendered by an imbalance in the spheres. Certain areas have become populated with Qlipoth, whose sustenance is this pernicious (because imbalanced) energy. These prana-draining mosquitoes of the spirit realms are troublesome, but can be kept at bay using the simple techniques described above. Inside this tent of four colors exist all material things, and everything that you connect with your life as an individual personality, especially those aspects which are obvious to your waking mind. The tent, as you have no doubt gathered, is symbolic of the first station of the Qabalah, Malkuth, "the Kingdom." Drawing Your Map of the Tree Now, to begin your mental map of the Tree, focus on the properties of the Earth Kingdom, of Malkuth: ·See your abode (you do not have to own it), your possessions, your work. ·Think of all the practical skills you possess, and those you would like to develop. ·Consider those companions with whom you have the most dynamic and enjoyable conversations. · Feel your animal presence in this realm. The stamping of feet usually facilitates this. ·Prepare to explore, knowing that you are strong on this most fundamental of levels. When these thoughts are established and you feel ready for anything, you are ready to progress-or regress-to Yesod. This purple-silver orb hangs directly above you, like a strange moon whose tides you know on a semiconscious level, but whose laws elude you. It reminds you of half-remembered dreams which slip away under scrutiny; you know you will have to induce a semi-conscious state to tune in to the reality of Yesod. Lie down flat on your back on your bed, arms to your sides, shut your eyes, and focus on the inside of the middle of your forehead, at the top of the bridge of the nose. Allow whatever thoughts and images you have to float through your mind and drift away. Now, think back through your life to those events and personalities that have affected you. Try to maintain objectivity while doing this; view these life memories as you might someone else's televised biography. Try to observe any patterns or astral networks you may perceive cropping up. See your soul in silver, ascending the line which connects Malkuth to Yesod. As you ascend feel the increased lightness of being-a shedding of burdens, a mental holiday. Here, all is less personal and more essential. It is by inner nature that all is defined on this plane. The beautiful and the strange process before you on this level, and many seem familiar, like the forgotten paintings of childhood. Others give you the feeling of dreamy déjà vu: did you dream them only yesterday? Don't fall asleep! There are further tasks to perform. ·Now you must fly to the strong, orange sphere of Hod, which hangs above you to your left. ·Still lying on your back, concentrate on travelling up and to your left. ·Even on thinking this, the subtle forms of Yesod disperse and seem unreal again; in Hod you know there lies a defining strength that emphasizes rather than romanticizes the inner nature of things. ·Take time to perceive the qualities of Hod, a very different genre compared with those of Yesod. ·This is the realm of mental energy, the seat of empirical learning, patience, and effort. The geniuses and thaumaturgists of our realm are strongly affiliated with Hod. Note how, even on so brief a visit, you feel a similar respect to that which you might if, visiting the British Library, you suddenly discovered that all the Nobel Prize winners were gathered within. The atmosphere is distinctly intellectual, but do not be intimidated by your own shortcomings in that respect (or overly proud of your own achievements!). Any entity worth its protoplasm knows that intellect is a component often latent in the human condition, and that emotional intelligence is its equally worthy counterpart. Many to whom Hod is a natural abode have lessons to learn in the more emotional and often practical spheres. Here, ideas manifest in the abstract, and civilization progresses to the ticking of the mental clock. Feel yourself assimilating these qualities along with the deep burnt orange of their vibration. As Charles Seymour says in his magical diaries, every day the Magician should ask him or herself: "Is my brow wet with mental sweat?" For it is the vice of the magician to spend time creating fancies rather than on progression, and when the temptation to stray from the path of mental evolution is particularly strong, defining Hod will help us turn our back on fanciful distractions. After the effort you have exerted in the close atmosphere of Hod, you will be pleased to take a break in the verdant greenery of Netzach. There is a strong relationship between this sphere and our own Malkuth: it is faery country. Those who are attuned to nature will be very at home here, and the urban pagan will find a refuge cheaper and more accessible than a trip to the countryside. Reach Netzach by travelling right in a straight line, or, if you prefer, touch down on purple Yesod, slightly below and to the centre of your line, before ascending to brilliant green Netzach. You may undergo some discomfort, like the change in pressure when diving underwater, but do not be alarmed. Remember your strong protective armor. Relaxed, still supine and smiling slightly, explore the Sephirah. In the earthy, elevated natural world of ultragreen Netzach, refreshment pours forth from the ground and is innate in the vital elements celebrating themselves here. To a true Taurean this is home, with its ingredients both nurturing and natural, a place steady yet creative, rewarding considered participants in the dance of life. Consider the most sublime aspects of your love life, past, present, and future. Allow the ensuing feelings of pleasure to infiltrate your heart and soul. This beautiful faery-realm is the starting place of many a true romance; its qualities are rapturous, enchanting. Opposite a sun of white-hot radiance, aureoled by rainbow hues, the violet moon of Yesod hangs in the sky. Energy is everywhere: you can feel the force of every object you encounter pushing out, externalizing. Perspective here is not what we are accustomed to. Angels follow strange rules of elfin geometry and many objects seem out of kilter and likely to slip through dimensions at any moment. A large seven-pointed star hangs in the blue-purple sky, along with other celestial bodies of deep buttery yellow and startling silver. Here is the perfect place to recline beneath a tree, like Omar Khayyam, and write or dream about the lifting of veils, the dissolving of Maya, taking part in the emotional truths inherent to the religious urge itself. Abide here for as long as you feel inclined; there is plenty to explore and many paths of fancy to be skipped along. This trip to Netzach should leave you feeling sprightly and inspired. Next stop, Tiphareth. Remember the sun of Netzach? It hangs above you, to your right, and you are going to surf the cosmic ley lines that attach it to your present station. Imagine the line linking the green orb with the yellow; feel yourself positioned at its base, and then, by the power of your Will, feel yourself impelled along it, slanting upwards towards Tiphareth. üou enter through the outer atmosphere and feel a change in your constitution as you do so. This is a mystical realm of elevated love, of soul mates and infinitesimal beauty. It smells of strange, heavy, entrancing perfume, one likely to make you lose your head at any moment. Remembering Malkuth, however, you resolve not to do so. This is the Leonine sphere and it emanates strength, solar power, and love. Healing is performed here and sent down through the planes. If you have any requests of this nature, now is the time to divulge them. There are many golden beings of light ready to receive every twitch given off by your thought processes. If you can focus your wishes and visualize the desired end, so much the better. Bask in the life-giving properties of Tiphareth, and feel the excitement they engender. This is also a good place to visit when faced with a difficult choice or decision, particularly between two possible paths. You may, if naturally psychic, find yourself involved in high-level communications of an emotional nature (as opposed to those more academic concepts of Hod) with a particular guardian. Try to maintain equilibrium during this procedure, and especially afterwards. Pride is one of the pitfalls of this level, and self-respecting humility a boon. As you find yourself heading for the red sphere of Martian Geburah, you may feel arrogance rising in your blood, for you have seen and experienced much on this short preliminary journey. Do feel strong, but try not to approach Geburah in a bombastic manner, or you will have the stuffing knocked out of you. Geburah is, on a microcosmic level, the harsh part of ourselves necessary for self-protection. Here we can shed what has become obsolete in our lives, rid ourselves of unwanted influences, and fill ourselves with warrior strength. Travel up and to the left. Note that everything here is red; the tone is either positively sanguine or sacrificially bloody, depending on your personal state of being. The forceful atmosphere of Geburah is a philosophy in itself. Denoting war, it embodies possibly the oldest impulses of man: to protect and acquire. Consider these properties and their ambivalence. Uplifting and courageous, the spirit of Geburah has frequently degenerated into wanton cruelty and destruction. Still, for those with a gentle nature, possibly self-sacrificing and too emotionally generous, Geburah provides a healthy antidote to self-dissipation. Theoretically, Geburah is one of the seats of justice, especially when counterbalanced by Chesed, and it should be possible to have wrongs righted courtesy of this sphere, if the Powers deem that they are indeed wrongs. It is not a particularly pleasant stop, but its might is impressive. Walls, forts, and military constructs define it; stone, metal, and spilt blood are its main components. This is, of course, the sphere in which wars are fought and lost . . . or won. Before it all gets too much, let us counterbalance the experience with a visit to the calm blue sphere of Chesed, also known as Gedulah. Travel up and to the right. This blue-violet sphere is also known as the Mercy Seat or the Temple of Love. It is the abode of gurus and masters, and the atmosphere is at once challenging and reverend. You may well hear an inner narrative while visiting Chesed; chances are, it will instruct you. As obedience is one of the virtues of this station, it is well to follow the dictate you feel is authentic. This is a place of dedication to a path or discipline, an astral hermitage. Here you may consider your life's greater purpose and the steps necessary to secure its coming to pass. This will involve effort, for the rewards of the gods are not easily earned. However, one's shortcomings should be given a sympathetic appraisal in Chesed. Meditate on the following theme. The nature of gurus is various, but it is fair to say that the number of true gurus incarnate in Malkuth today is minimal, while there are many false prophets and unsavory self-proclaimed spiritual leaders who are more likely to lead us into the Abyss than to the bright lights of Kether. It is foolish to trust such figures on the Outer Planes, but on the Inner Planes one's intuition may be employed. There is too much room for confusion on the material level, where countless forces prevent us from making accurate judgments, but with the help of one's guides in the sphere of Chesed, disinterested help may be sought. The guru devoid of personal motive is so rare, especially in the West, as to be unicorn-like in its elusiveness. Still, it is good to know that such beings exist, somewhere. Chesed is quite a solemn place, with an atmosphere akin to a Court of Justice. It will be a relief, especially to feminine spirits, to prepare to ascend further still, this time into the bitter, receptive sea that is Binah, the most menstrual of female planets, at once pregnant, menopausal, and steeped in mystery. Placed at the top of the left-side column, black Binah feels as if it might at any moment absorb all of the other Sephiroth into itself and fold creation up like Sylvia Plath reabsorbing her children in her poem "Ariel." Indeed, one of the paths to Binah is "Plathological," borne of deep neurosis and masochistic pain. However, in a balanced state Binah is healthy understanding, compassion, the ability to empathize. ·Try to free your mind of analytical thoughts. Center on "blind" feeling. · Allow thought-forms to rise in your mind as you intuitively explore this dark Sephirah. Binah has a very special relationship with female mysteries and Goddess-related issues, and emanates primal femininity in its most potent aspects. Binah flows with the tides, and women often access it through lunar Yesod, though this path is not commonly, or deliberately, used. There is a telling silence in the atmosphere of Binah, a tacit sense of knowing. Much is thought here in the caves of intuitive and atavistic wisdom, and little spoken. The light of Kether bathes the top of this sphere, which revolves and sends reflections scudding across its dark, miasmic surface. The heat of Geburah filters up from beneath, but there is no reflection of its brilliant red. This is absorbed into the dark seas of Binah's strange antimatter. ·Abide here for as long as you feel comfortable. Note your reactions: do you feel at home, claustrophobic, restricted? Do not interpret these reactions yet; simply feel them. You can write down your experiences and interpretations when you return. Opposite this disturbing yet restful sphere-rather like a graveyard just prior to mass resurrection (Stanley Spencer's paintings, though bright, evoke this atmosphere admirably)-hangs the gray sphere of Chokmah. Journey straight across to your right. Meditate on the following: Chokmah is the top Sephirah in this vertical column, the so-called "Pillar of Mercy," and is solemn as a cathedral, while still joyous, for the goal of the ascent is imminent. The Creative Intelligence permeates this sphere like hallucinogenic incense, and faith in oneself and the benevolent nature of the sublime infiltrates the still soul. The traditional imagery, as with all of the Tree, is deeply biblical. Needless to say, the system is peopled with Rabbinic men, bearded and with robes, for the imagery is archetypal and born of thousands of years of Judaism. However, the mind conversant in many cultures should not find this an obstacle; alternately, it may translate to your own inner tongue and imagery as quickly as a spiritual linguaphone. Take what comes to you; as time goes on the impressions will change and deepen. Remember that Chokmah is the place where one identifies one's own Yahweh/Buddha/Vishnu/Isis, preparing for personal dissolution in its most positive form. Such tasks are not lightly undertaken, and there is a nervy feeling in the air, for this is the vestry that leads to the Temple of God. There is also a sense of great accomplishment within this sphere. The living light of Kether is growing ever more attractive to you, the astral pilgrim. Standing in the gray stone vestry that is Chokmah, you yearn toward the light that has informed you during the entire journey. Your mind flicks over the nine stages you have so far accomplished: the rise from earthly Malkuth to dreamy Yesod. The left turn to determined, orange Hod and right turn to emerald Netzach, the Ireland (or, mythologically, Tír Na-n'Óg) of the Tree. You rýcall the solar resplendence and beauty of central Tiphareth, then the left-hand turn to bellicose Geburah. Remember how pleasant it was to zig from there to Chesed, the violet-blue home of guides and gurus, then zag to dark Binah, place of female mysteries. ·Now, here you are, at the top of the right-hand pillar, so close to the light you could almost touch it. Feel yourself drawn upwards at the very thought of it, up into the impossibly resplendent Temple of Kether. ·White light engulfs you, pouring in through your now-permeable astral armor, dissolving it (though it will return when you descend), filling you with divine acknowledgement. Let this be two-way; draw yourself close to your God, however you imagine the Creative Source. Give, do not just take. Stay bathed in this refulgence for as long as you feel inclined, vaguely aware of the Veils of Negative Existence above you, those aspects of the creation for which our minds can only draw an analogy of concealment. ·When you are sated on Ketheric light, it is well to bring yourself back station by station, thus recomposing your nature and grounding any energies you may be bringing back with you. ·So, zigzag back through each of the radiant spheres. If you can do so without my prompting, all the better. To travel back by memory will help fix the positions and qualities in your mind. If this proves too difficult, then reread the process described prior to visiting Kether, going backward, starting with Chokmah and ending at Malkuth. Encountering the In-House Divinities Before entering any Sephirah it is beneficial to apply for permission from the powers ruling it. This is not strictly necessary, but it will help fix some of the traits of the Sephirah in your mind, and it is good form. You may wish to skip this preliminary overview until you have the areas firmly fixed in your mind; initially, there will be much to remember. However, if you are primarily visualizing as you read, or if you are ready to "go for it" on the Inner Planes (as opposed to just imagining your journey-you will soon learn the difference), then an introduction to the following would be wise. The first trait is of course the expression of God in the Sephirah, known by a different name according to its aspect. The second is represented by the mighty Archangel who presides over the sphere and its qualities, while the third is the Order of Angels. In all cases these are very specific levels of energy "personified" in order to make them more easily accessed and identified. Giving anything a title and imaginative form helps to classify and thus clarify it. Each section in this book includes details of the God aspect, Archangel, and Order of Angels to be found within each Sephirah. Many of the descriptions of the Angels will seem peculiar to the Western perception, accustomed as it is to images of tinselled humans descending from the heavens; or else of winged beings made of golden-white light. Angelic images may be built up telesmatically, using the properties of the letters in the entity's name in the world to which they are ascribed, or they may be visualized in a simpler, more generalized way. The manner of building these images depends on which technique gives you, the practitioner, the biggest bolt of psychic lightning. The names of the energetic personalities are translated letter by letter, using a code of telesmatic attributions: first, the Yetziratic or celestio-physical details, such as whether or not the energy is mystically construed of as winged; then the color of the energy. We learn a great deal from the color details, such as affiliation to other Sephiroth, and elemental qualities (elemental, that is, in the highest sense: these properties are far removed from earth, air, fire, and water as we know them in Malkuth). Each Sephirah exists on four major levels, as described at the beginning of the section on visualizing the Qabalah as a whole. These reflect the impulse of creation from its archetypal expression in Atziluth, at which point it is very pure thought, through Briah, where the concept is created, into Yetzirah, where the concept grows and becomes evident, and finally through to Assiah, where it manifests in its fully tangible state. These stages are represented by a different color in each Sephirah. Likewise is each deity force attributed to one of the four different "worlds" of the Tree. When translating the name-keys of these energies, this is taken into account. The letter Aleph (a) for example is the first in "Ashim," the choir of Angels in Malkuth, and the penultimate in "Raziel," the Archangelic force of Chokmah. Its general properties are the same in both cases, denoting a highly refined, airy form. However, in the former case it manifests predominantly as emerald, a color particular to Netzach, which denotes elemental properties relevant to Malkuth, while in the latter it is celestial sky-blue, relating to Chesed, the sphere of mercy. Though many of the ingredients might be the same, I doubt that two telesmatic images ever agree on every point. Indeed, the task of describing the energies is a tall one, even with the prop of telesmatic codices. Imagination is the vivifying ingredient; without this the telesmatic images are a lifeless Frankenstein's monster with a bit pulled from here and a bit taken from there. And because imagination is deeply subjective, everyone's telesmatic vision will be a little (if not very) different. Energies may be subjectively perceived through the filter of what is palatable to the onlooker, but it is closer to the celestial bone if they are visualized at least approximately as their name describes. Consequently readers may, for example, find themselves confronted by androgynous Angels of green, purple, and blue. These are certainly not angels as we popularly perceive them, but rather, concentrations of very specific types of divine intent. Essentially, they are security guards ensuring that the Tree remains in creative equilibrium: intelligent, independent entities, honed to particular functions. The descriptions I have given are necessarily limited, intended to give the subconscious a few accurate clues rather than the consciousness a full, empirical description. The Qabalah itself does not operate on that level. As with all such exercises, it is for the participant to tap into the source. The Paths Originally, I had intended to describe only the Sephiroth in The Magic of Qabalah, fixing the static conditions of each in the mind and allowing the individual to intuitively perceive the possible processes of arrival at that state. However, I have since decided that the signposts or symbols of the twenty-two paths between Sephiroth are too helpful to be overlooked in this book. As a result of this I have included a short visualization or description in each chapter, in which one might encounter the major symbols between the Sephirah last described and the one about to be experienced. However, by zigzagging imaginatively up the Tree we only travel nine of the twenty-two routes. The remaining thirteen are described at the back of the book. One point worth noting here is the feature of godforms upon the paths. This is a contentious point; Dion Fortune, with whom I find myself in agreement on practically every other point, confines the gods to the Sephiroth for the reason that the latter are objective, and thus the proper place for fixed manifestations. However, my own experience is that the gods are evident when one is travelling between spheres, and so I have adhered to the Crowley/ Regardie system of attributing godforms to the Paths. Fortune is perfectly correct in that this is messier-and more confusing-and, though I wish it were not so, this is how I perceive it, and have thus recorded it as you will find it here. The different states bleed into one another and godforms seem to thrive off the crosscurrents. However, as the Paths are distinctly subjective, the reader will find him or herself drawing a personal conclusion on this point. The Veils of Negative Existence There are three layers, or "veils" of the unmanifest lying just beyond Kether. Ain, meaning "nothing"; Ain Soph, "limitless nothing"; and that which lies closest to Kether, Ain Soph Aur, "boundless light emanating out of nothing." The last is the easiest to imagine, but all three are by their very nature incomprehensible. They symbolize the concept of pre-existence. Regardie compares this concept to that of "the thrice-great Darkness of the Egyptian sacerdotal caste," which is worth mentioning if only because it is such a resonant allusion. It connects nicely with Nuit, whose boundless star-spangled body is another attribution of these strata of the infinite. However, both have human or semihuman referents, and thus do not properly echo the "nothingness" of the Three Veils. They are the space behind all perception and possible thought. They represent one of those metaphysical migraines children suffer when they first contemplate the sky at night. Where does it end? It must end somewhere: that's the rule! Another correspondence is the Indian Parabrahman, "the causeless cause." It is the best we can do to note the comparisons, meditate on them a little perhaps, and then move on. They exist on the Tree to maintain a humbling perspective on man and his universe. Even in our most sublime moments we are unable to conceive of God's boundlessness. The Pillars The Tree of Life is composed of three Pillars, on which the Sephiroth are placed. The right Pillar, comprising Binah, Geburah, and Hod, represents form, severity (because form is restrictive), and the Ida currents of Hinduism. It is construed of as feminine, though, as we shall see, it is in fact balanced equally between the genders. The left Pillar, comprising Chokmah, Chesed, and Netzach, symbolizes force, mercy, and the Pingala currents of Hinduism. It is construed of as masculine. The Middle Pillar is the Pillar of mildness, or equilibrium. Its four visible Sephiroth, Kether, Tiphareth, Yesod, and Malkuth, represent a balance between the polarities of female/male, form/ force, severity/mercy. There is another balancing act immediately evident in this arrangement. Rather than being entirely composed of feminine Sephiroth, for example, the Right Pillar is made up of Binah, which is feminine; Geburah, which is masculine; and Hod, which is hermaphroditic. Likewise the Left Pillar encompasses Chokmah, which is masculine; Chesed, exhibiting both male and female traits; and Netzach, the feminine sphere of Venus. Because all Sephiroth are emanations of the same Original Consciousness, they also "contain" one another, like interlocking bands of a mandala. However, the qualities exhibited at the "top" of the mandala so to speak-those most immediately in evidence as one studies the Sephirah-are their primary traits. Thus, looking at Binah, we may safely say that although the Sephirah is connected with many others (not least our own plane, Malkuth), its primary qualities are those of reception, form, and restriction, as represented by its planet, Saturn. As power descends the Tree, it zigzags in a manner that takes into account an equal proportion of each polarity. This descent of consciousness is popularly known as the "Lightning Flash." Tarot Attributions The Tarot and the Qabalah of the Western Mystery Tradition are so intimately linked that it is impossible to have a good working knowledge of the latter without an in-depth understanding of the seventy-eight Tarot cards and their meanings. A Tarot reading, conversely, may be performed without a working knowledge of the Qabalah, but it is greatly enriched by mental reference to this system. Besides, many packs have been designed with their Qabalistic correspondences in mind, and the pamphlets and books accompanying them describe the meanings of each card with reference to this esoteric system, even if this is not overtly stated in the text. The interested reader is strongly advised to procure a pack of Tarot cards if (s)he does not already possess one. Apart from being an indispensable occult tool, it will help greatly with visualizations of the Sephiroth and the Paths between spheres. Meditation on the cards is an old and effective technique, opening astral doorways and familiarizing the participant with the various energies and their symbolism. There are numerous Tarot packs available today, one for every mood of the month and still a few to spare. The occult's touchstone is without doubt the Rider-Waite deck-a classic, it is easy to learn, as each card is illustrated with an action-packed picture which a little imagination renders self-explanatory. This is the pack I always recommend to learners, and the main deck referred to in this book. Several others deserve a mention, however, as each deck (including those too numerous to mention here) has its own particular strengths. The Tarot of the Old Path is a particular favorite, full of Wiccan, Netzachian energy as well as being an absolute delight to read. Many of the illustrations, such as the Karma, Temptation, and Strength cards (the former corresponding with the traditional Judgement and the Devil, respectively) are stunning in their innovative symbolic clarity. This pack is especially recommended for Pagans and neophyte Wiccans. The Witches Tarot has the advantage of including in each illustration the edges of the Sephiroth closest to it, which makes it ideal for use when learning Qabalah. Ellen Cannon Reed, its co-designer and author of the accompanying book (The Witches Tarot, Llewellyn 1997), has much of value to say on the subject of fundamental Qabalah. The Morgan-Greer pack has all the advantages of the Waite deck, on which it is heavily based, but where Waite is grim, the Morgan-Greer is sassy. It is brighter and evokes less of the "maudlin Victorian drawing room" than its counterpart. For lovers of Greek mythology, The Mythic Tarot is the obvious choice. Each card of the Major Arcana is related to a Greek god or goddess, and the Minor Arcana tell four stories relevant to their suit. I will not overwhelm the reader by giving further examples, but suffice it to say that there is something for everyone, whether your inclination be Egyptian, feminist, Norse, Celtic, Qabalistic, Russian, or medieval. If you are not already well versed in Tarot, find a pack that suits you and break it in-this will aid you immensely in your quest to learn and experience the Qabalah.

Table of Contents

introduction to creative qabalah / 1
Malkuth / 31
Yesod / 55
Hod / 83
Netzach / 105
Tiphareth / 119
Geburah / 141
Chesed / 157
Binah / 173
Chokmah / 189
Kether / 205
Daath and the Abyss / 219
The Remaining Paths / 225
A Qabalistic Tale / 257
appendix: 555-playful correspondences
to get you in the mood/ 281
Bibliography / 285
Index / 289