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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
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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 End - and all seen through the eyes of a magically-minded young and aspiring occultist at one of Londons most well-known esoteric bookshops.
Kala Trobe is the author of several works of Llewellyn non-fiction including Invoke the Goddess: Visualizations of Hindu, Greek, & Egyptian Deities, Magic of Qabalah, Invoke the Gods: Exploring the Power of Male Archetypes and The Witchs Guide to Life, and is also published by Random House UK.
Ms Trobe currently divides her time between London and Amsterdam.
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 wi...
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