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How About Some Kabbalah Discussion?

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick
From: (mordred)
Subject: Re: How About Some Kabbalah Discussion?
Date: Kali Yuga 49950205 (Colin Low) quotes me and writes:

|: See the alt.magick Kabbalah FAQ for the most traditional and probably
|: conservative response.  Some would say it was the *only* answer, but they
|: are the ones who have sealed shut their minds from the Darkness of the
|: Void.

|You seem to have an axe to grind, as if the existence of a tradition was
|an affront to the universe. 

I've just seen lots of folks take one perspective as the Sole Truth, in
part because of traditions.  I notice that traditions promote themselves
and sometimes squelch alternatives.

|If you had an acquaintance with conservative Jewish opinions relating to 
|Kabbalah you would realise that the FAQ is not a conservative response. 

The term 'conservative' is rather awkward I agree, but I wasn't talking
about 'within the framework of Judaism', I was speaking of the context
of Hermetica and alt.magick.  Tying it back to Judaism at all is somewhat
conservative, I think, and wisely so.

|I suspect that if it was posted on a jewish newsgroup it would be torn 
|to shreds and carried through the streets on a long pole.

Important to know, and it wasn't posted on a Jewish newsgroup.

|When writing about a subject such as the Kabbalah one has a number of

| - to stick entirely to documented sources
| - to make it up entirely according to one's opinion and prejudice
| - to combine the documented tradition with personal insight and experience

I think you've omitted sticking to NONdocumented sources.

|The first approach is safe, but it can be very tedious reading through
|a boilerplate precis of an historian's views on a commentator's views on
|a document written by someone. 

Of course, plus we run into the problem of what constitutes 'reliable and/or
valuable' source documentation.  I'm not talking about hermeneutics here,
but about 'what is valuable to the application within the context of our
study'.  It may be the case that ancient ideas from Judaism on QBL do not
really play well in the Hermetic forums.  Cf. various Biblical references.

|The more you try to penetrate the remains of a tradition through its 
|manuscripts, the more the diversity of the different authors becomes 
|apparent, and what you are left with becomes a vast commentary
|comparing and contrasting a vast number of points of view, to the utter 
|bewilderment of the novice. 

I agree completely.  This is one of the reasons that we find within many
FAQs a kind of milquetoast surface-skim of bland and introductory (often
even specious) material.  I am not talking about your FAQ here.  I have
never read the entirety of your FAQ, probably partially for the reasons
of complexity you mention above, but also because I'm put off by the
entirety of Judeo-Christianity.

|The second approach has been the favoured approach to Kabbalah during this
|century, and lots of authors have "made it up as they went along", with
|varying degrees of success, and with varying levels of entertainment. 

Of course they didn't always *portray* their efforts this way.  Often there
was a putrid and ridiculous plagerization combined with limply imaginative
contributions to a reflection of coherence.  In effect the QBL of the GD and
its like is more like a broken skeleton attempting to support a complex and
useful symbolic-association schema than it is a comparative clone of its
grand and multifaceted Jewish antecedent.

I think that this is the natural result of eclectic fusion and synthetic
weaving.  The first efforts are always the ugliest, though we shall likely
have a hard time letting go of them for anything more beautiful on account
of the value of 'tradition' and 'the familiar'.  There are definite
disadvantages to our need for continuity.

|...when it comes to a public document like a FAQ I think there is a 
|responsibility not to be too fanciful. I accept that the FAQ could
|accomodate a section outlining some of the more avant-garde notions 
|of Kabbalah.

I think you took my comment as an axe-grinding when I truly meant it
as a compliment, Colin.  I think that conservatism is a valuable asset,
and just as it is your role here to present the tried-and-true models
for our perusal (seeing that this is your particular study), so it is
the role of folks like me to poke at them and devise new variants on
these, sometimes blasphemous to the old, sometimes inverting them,
sometimes mimicking or duplicating without reference.  My impression
is that both aspects go into making up the Hermetic process.

|The third approach is (IMHO) the route taken by experienced practicioners 
|in any subject, be it music, philosophy, art or Kabbalah. That is, the 
|author works within a tradition, but adds to it, builds on what came 
|before without distorting it out of recognition. 

This is an exceptionally important point.  I mostly agree, though I do
think there are alternatives which originate just as valuable creation
(sometimes moreso).  Those are the revolutionaries who have not necessarily
purchased the dogma of the tradition and play off a variation given quite
particular understandings.  Cf. the comparison between Judaism's and
Christianity's Messiah/Xristos or Hindu and Buddhist concepts of atman.

|Yes, it can lead to fossilisation, but it can also lead to the highest 

It can, yes, as can many other approaches.  I think that your omission
above of the drawing from NONdocumented sources (particularly oral
transmission and who knows what else -> revelation from angels, the
gods, whatever) may be important to incorporate into this maelstrom of
reflective creation.

I think this issue of study and imagination is more complex than merely
drawing on oneself or some part of the normally accepted sources.  It is
part of my own favorite method to 'cross the streams', learning from a
number of mystical systems and seeing how aspects of each can fit into
each other, playing with them and noticing what retains value for me.
In some measure this is the comparison between Chaos Magick and the rest
of the Hermetic milieu.

|Like it or not, this is the approach I have adopted when writing about 

Personally I like it very much and am very thankful that you continue to
be involved with Usenet.  You are a credit to the tradition of QBL and
its transmission.

|: The QBL is another divination system among many.  It is apparently part of
|: a mystical system of Jewish origin, and it can be quite complex when viewed
|: from this perspective.  The study of the Hebrew alphabet and mythotypes is
|: imperative to a study from this angle.

|This is the first time I have seen the Kabbalah referred to as a "divination

I have a particular meaning of 'divination system', of course.  Not only do
I typically associate the phrase with 'system by which we reveal or express
our divinity', but I tend to think of each as mirrored toys.  It seems the 
QBL is a conglomerate of models, each a variant or extension of its 
neighbors, though I'm sure that like most religious traditions there are 
stems and trunks which give it a structural stability.

Much like how you can take all kinds of pieces of a car away from it and it
still ought be called a 'car', so the QBL is not its particular (and 
sometimes contradictory) elements or models, but the whole complex, with
its commonly shared symbolical schemes (a good one for Hermetica is the
10-circles/22-lines variations on what is called 'the Tree of Life') and
philosophic themes (linearity of time, progress, whatever -- remember, I'm
not really a very dedicated student of the QBL, I just dabble).

|"Theurgic mysticism" would be a closer approximation, if you want a snappy 

I was looking at the QBL as a THING, not a process.  That is, by 'system'
I did not mean to imply that it is simplistic or that it contains
reconciled and plain theoretical structure.  I'm talking about the whole
shebang, what you are giving an introduction to -- something that likely
takes a lifetime to explore.
tyagi nagasiva

"welcome home.  now go here."

alt.zen: "!"

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