a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


dippen' toes in unfamiliar water

To: alt.magick.tyagi
From: (mordred)
Subject: Re: dippen' toes in unfamiliar water
Date: 10 Mar 1995 23:50:10 -0800

[from alt.magick: (Paul Hume)]

Rich -
1) You need to distinguish, to avoid massive confusion if nothing else,
between the traditional qabala of Judaic mysticism and the magical, or
hermetic, or goyische qabala of western ceremonial magick. The latter began to
diverge from the former when gentile philosophers, looking for a theoretical
structure on which to hang metaphysical concepts in the early
Renaissance, found the definitions, the "vocabulary," of the qabala to suit
their needs very closely. From there to, say, the cookbook qabala od of Liber
777, or any of a zillion other "tables of correspondences" and similar
applications, the divergence continued pretty strongly. No Jewish qabalist is
going to worry two pins what Tarot card corresponds to what path - nor is he
even likely to use the same map of the paths that the magician, happily
chugging away at ritual engineering on a qabalstic basis, does (even the map of
the Tree of Life is different between the Judaic system and its bend-sinister
So the qabala of Sholem, Kaplan, Idel, and Sheinkin (to name four authors whose
works on Judaic qabala I commend to you) won't bear huge relationships to the
qabala of Fortune or Crowley - though you'll see the ancestry in the latter.
That said, the rest of my maunderings refer to the magical qabala.
2) Qabala is an architecture, not a grimoire. Qabalistic rituals seen in modern
writings are built (when they are on the qabalistic model) according to its
principles, but not written down in a Big Book O' Qabalistic Rituals. Rather
like a program written according to a system of structured design. The system
doesn't provide actual code, but principles by which workable code may be
written. How one then implements the high level design, the programming
language, etc. is up to the programmer.
3) Nope. Too lengthy. Read Fortune. If you want a VERY quick dip, with the
understanding that it is shallow but essentially accurate, read Ted
Andrews "Simplified Magic."
4) Criminy, if I could explain how this stuff works, I wouldn't likely be on
line yammering about it. Do you mean the seals between the Four Worlds (Assiah,
Yetzirah, Briah, and Atziluth)? Or the "Abyss" between the lower Tree and the
Supernals? Different views of the same concept, I'd suggest.
Its one more approach to the challenge of the mystic: how to directly apprehend
Deity. Ritual, or meditation, or ordeal, stirs up energy and keeps the mind of
the mystic focused on God. Loss of ego, snarling that it is the Big Cheese, is
snuck up on by these practices. Eventually a trans-rational event, the loss of
I and That awareness, happens - and the
mystic becomes aware of the Thou - the unique essence of Divinity (read Martin
Buber, I And Thou, for one lyrical approach to these concepts).
This may express itself as visions, revelations, awarenesses, when the mind
returns to where it can think about what just happened.
Magick tends to build a landscape of concrete symbols to guide the mind
in this process. So things like "seals" (which must be cracked or opened by the
magick word, etc.) are popular terms in the magical vocabulary.
The ideas of veils, lying between normal perception and the union with
God (devakot) are inherited directly from Qabalistic imagery. Kaplan's
two books, Meditation And The Bible, and Meditation And The Kabbalah, are
excellent sources on the Judaic qabala's approach to these issues.
5) Judaic qabalists don't believe in archetypal broohaha. They are Jews and
believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (though with a more mystical
take than some of their kin). Magical qabalists tend to be
syncretistic, though if they take their qabala straight, they tend also to be
monists (all the Gods we can conceive of are aspects (albeit either
infinite Themselves or at least very very big) of the En Sof - the literally
indescribable reality from which manifestation at all levels proceeds.
From there the territory gets very diverse, with Jungian understandings of
Qabala, mystical takes on the Qabala with more or less Christian flavors,
scientific takes on the Qabala as maps of the Universe without reference to
underlying Deity, etc.

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races