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Qaballistic Magick

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.pagan.magick,talk.religion.misc,alt.thelema,alt.occult
From: (hara)
Subject: Qaballistic Magick (LONG Rvw)
Date: 18 Jan 1999 23:40:03 -0800

49990118 IIIom Hail NuHwdRahwrkwt!

shalom alechem, my kin.

a review of "Qaballistic Magick", by an unknown author or authors
(jake/penny?) -- an apparent neognostic body of QBL writings at:

 [from ]

the text to which I am responding was contained within the 
entirety posted at that URL:
#    Qabalistic magick traditionally - by which we mean not the Golden
#    Dawn variant but the original Hebrew practical Kabbalah - 

best sources on the details of this?  examples?  I will provide a
selection from a source which you consider reliable, but whose
analysis of your prophet and whose expressions regarding this 
portion of Jewish mysticism appears to contradict yours somewhat.

#    was chiefly concerned with obtaining access to various planes of 
#    being, of which the Sephiroth are by no means the chief example 
#    historically. The Gnostic ascent through the heavens has much 
#    in common with the original form of qabalistic magick and the 
#    "rising on the planes" practised by Crowley, Florence Farr
#    et al. Crowley's exploration of the Thirty Aethyrs of the
#    Enochian system approximates more to this kind of magick than 
#    do the various forms of "path-working" extant in modern occult 
#    circles. 

what are the distinguishing characteristics between them?  I am
insufficiently aware of them, perhaps, to make this distinction.
from the below at least the hazard or dangers involved in the
former appear to be more than the possible 'orientation' or 
'symbolic lecture' of which the latter may be comprised.

#    The visionary experiences undergone in these adventures 
#    of the spirit were attended by the most frightful psychic or 
#    (as we might say today with little if any amplification of 
#    meaning) psychological pressures. The unworthy or unsuitable 
#    experimenter with these methods was literally assaulted by 
#    armed angelic agencies, and some of the descriptions in "The 
#    Vision and the Voice" are remarkably similar to some of the 
#    old literature of the Hebrew kabbalah. 

#    When Crowley describes the efforts of the Angels to exclude 
#    him by force from experiences to which his degree of initiation 
#    did not entitle him, he could be quoting directly from the 
#    books of the Merkavah tradition of early kabbalism. The use of 
#    words of power and other keys to reduce or deflect these 
#    assaults is a common feature of these works. 

if this is the case, then why was it that Scholem contended that
writers like Crowley had an "infinitesimal knowledge" of kabbalah?
was it that his activities merely were *comparable* but were not
actually derived from reflection on them?  did he have inspiration
from individuals or some other nontextual source that he may have
approximated early kabbalistic activities?

#    Similarly, in both the Gnostic and Kabbalistic world view, 
#    the initiate had to ascend through the planetary heavens 
#    before reaching more exalted levels of being, and finally 
#    suffering the experience of face to face intercourse with 
#    the King of Heaven.

where does Gnosticism become Neoplatonism such as Plotinus and
how does this realistically compare to kabbalah?  how much do 
these varying cosmological systems actually have in common and 
how easily could they be compared in terms of their magical 
implications, techniques?

#    ...dealings with various agencies on the thresholds of the 
#    sanctuaries of "inner knowledge". These sanctuaries are 
#    guarded, as we seen [have we? 333], by the most potent 
#    forms of spiritual agency conceivable. Only a thorough
#    mastery of the Qaballa will enable the initiate to pass 
#    within, and this will take many years to acquire. 

how easy would it be to fake it, to engage a ritual and merely
imagine one's way through a series of fantastic adventures
which required no more than a creative imagination, which was,
in short, a fabrication designed to convince others of one's
exalted power?

#    ...the proper performance of astrological magick ...will 
#    be of enormous value in acquiring a sufficiently balanced 
#    nature to satisfy the guardians of these sanctuaries,
#    and indeed to pass through the initial levels. In other 
#    words, astrological initiation is the equivalent of the
#    passwords involved in the Gnostic ascent through the 
#    planetary heavens before approaching the deeper levels
#    of the psyche (or of the cosmological model).

what is the evidence that the rituals engaged by Goldawnians
and other rosicrucians and ceremonials actually have mystical
or consciousness-changing effects?  so many ceremonialists
take this for *granted*, and yet there are also a good number
of occultists engaging this type of activity who evidence no
actual refinement of 'spirit' or consciousness (maturation,
or what psychologists have variously called individuation or
self-actualization and which occultists sometimes want to
use to justify and/or explain their craft). 

have there EVER been comparisons amongst these ceremonialists
to see if this claim has any basis?  one might also ask the
same about the touted ideals of any mystical culture (indeed
I would and have about sufis, zennists, yogis, etc.).  the
type of response to the challenge displays the quality of 
the culture and its mysticism.

#    ...the world view of ancient Gnosticism and Kabbalah is 
#    the best approximation to the techniques and experiences 
#    involved with this system that I am able to find. 
#    Furthermore, since an enormous literature exists on
#    the subject, with an advanced critical apparatus, I am not 
#    loath to make use of it.

thus it would appear that THEISTS and/or THEURGISTS are those
who will most likely benefit from the extravagances of 
ceremonialism as put forward by Goldawnians and Crowleyans.

#    The fact that magick does not adapt itself easily to modern
#    scientific language, or to rationalistic psychological 
#    viewpoints, is not my concern. 

this is a very peculiar claim, given what Crowley has written in
such works as _Book Four_, which is a taxonomical and critical
broadside on the science of magick.

#    E.'.Q.'. is, in essence, a modern Gnostic system. It resumes the
#    modus operandi and other elements of its ancient forebears, yet 
#    differs from them in one essential respect. Whereas the systems 
#    of the past are divided from us by a gulf of language, cultural 
#    perspective and religious outlook, the E.'.Q.'. is connected to 
#    us through the most significant text in modern magical history, 
#    uses our own language, and seeks to communicate with us in terms 
#    suited to our times.

very nice, this gives me the connection to the other categories
I have observed and ascertained in my study of world QBLs --
namely, that this is not 'Thelemic qaballa' but '(neo?)Gnostic 

#    ...Liber O:
#    "In this book it is spoken of Sephiroth, and the Paths, of
#    Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes,
#    and many other things which may or may not exist. It is
#    immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain
#    things certain results follow; students are most earnestly 
#    warned against attributing objective reality or 
#    philosophical validity to any of them."

it was language such as this which inspired me to consider
Crowley a scientific magus (on account of his agnosticism).

#    Crowley had at his disposal a deep knowledge and experience 
#    of transcendental psychology via his Buddhist studies, and 
#    a wide range of magical and mystical techniques, culled from 
#    a dozen cultural perspectives and reduced to a science by 
#    his able hand. 

this appears to be the most controversial of the claims about
Aleister Crowley -- whether what he was was an able mystic and
magician or simply a co-opting charlatan and writer who was 
able to pass himself off to his followers as having attained
to some majestic human development.  I leave this to historians,
while noting that there is a great degree of controversy
surrounding the man even amongst those who knew him well.

#    ...The Eight High Trances of Buddhism are as capable of 
#    scientific verification as any less dignified psychological 
#    or psychic state. The psychological knowledge of the followers 
#    of the Dhamma is known to be of a very high standard. 

the question is whether or not it could be understood by an
Englishman like Crowley at the time he was alive and writing.
processes of 'verification' are over-rated and specious.

#    What is contentious is the implication that such 
#    methodology, used in an unorthodox fashion - be it 
#    legitimate to some school or strictly experimental or
#    even accidental - is capable of throwing a consciousness 
#    not too dissimilar to the average westerner's 

here referring to Crowley's. the implication is that Crowley
spent any time engaging the Buddhist or other mystical cultures
and practices to a degree which would yield results. when I ask
after some citation concerning this from the Thelemic community
(i.e. names of masters of these traditions who validated his
claims in any way) I find it common to receive silence or 
fanatical responses.  further indications that it is beset by 
charlatanry from which it cannot free itself -- cult-ure.  if
I have simply not heard these citations, please repeat them.

#    into a state where an intelligence - be it part of his own 
#    or entirely distinct - called "Aiwass, the minister of Hoor-
#    paar-kraat", could dictate a book 

note the focus on receipt of dictation, so heavily emphasized by
Western religion, the phenomenon of which has blossomed as the
'channelers' of the New Age movement. yet who has begun to 
fathom its actualities?  why should we consider seriously someone
who mixes and matches global mystical systems and derives his own
cultic foundation that others in his wake may take up?  when we
can point out how his ideas differ from the traditions from which
he stole, why shouldn't his ideas be disclaimed as fraudulent and
abandoned as merely imperialistic shinanigans, even if kabbalists
engaged this art?

#    as significant in human history as the Bible, 


#    ...To produce a book possessed of such startling mathematical 
#    structures, armed only with a fountain pen, is quite another 
#    matter.

isn't there some sort of logical refutation of all these cultish

#    ...we have to obtain a similar degree of familiarity with 
#    ecstatic and mystical states and techniques as Crowley, 

is there some way to ascertain what level of familiarity he may
have actually possessed other than through this self-aggrandize-
ments and the expansive claims of his cultists?

#    and a philosophical frame of reference such as he possessed. 

isn't today's student better armed?

#    ...we need to establish is the nature of the relationship 
#    between qaballist and text. Let us examine the procedures 
#    of the ancient kabbalists and learn from them what such 
#    a relationship entails. This we cannot learn from Crowley 
#    or his peers in the Golden Dawn, for their claim to possess 
#    any significant portion of the kabbalah is extremely suspect.

if this claim is suspect (as kabbalist scholars have borne out),
then why shouldn't we consider OTHER claims by these individuals
to also be suspect, thereby dismissing them from our attention?

#    At this point, it is amusing to dilate upon the subject of
#    "authority" in kabbalistic matters a little: "From
#    the brilliant misunderstandings and misrepresentations
#    of.....Eliphas Levi, to the highly coloured humbug of
#    Aleister Crowley and his followers, the most eccentric and
#    fantastic statements have been produced purporting to be 
#    legitimate interpretations of Kabbalism." Gershom G.Scholem
#    in "Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism", to which he adds in 
#    a footnote: "No words need to be wasted on the subject of 
#    Crowley's `Kabbalistic' writings in his books on what he 
#    was pleased to term `Magick', and in his journal, The 
I'm surprised that you would include this, given its damning
review of your prophet.

#    It is worthy of note that Scholem also avoids mentioning 
#    the vast majority of Renaissance "Christian Kabbalists", 
#    in whose tradition Crowley and the Golden Dawn possessed 
#    more legitimacy.

you can understand that, can't you, given the TITLE OF THE TEXT
FROM WHICH YOU TOOK THIS QUOTE? compare _Kabbalah_ by the same
author, in which we find an entire section dedicated to analyzing
the historical appearance of Christian Kabbalah (by this name,
Scholem provides them with some degree of notice and respect,
however reluctant or facetious as some reviewers have claimed).

what provides 'legitimacy' in a QBListic tradition? do you
really think that Crowley was ever seen in a favorable light
by Goldawnians or Christian cabalists?

#    Crowley was not exactly complimentary about the Hebrew 
#    system either: "The Qabalah, that is the Jewish Tradition 
#    concerning the initiated interpretation of their Scriptures, 
#    is mostly either unintelligible or nonsense." ("Little 
#    Essays Towards Truth.") 

thanks for doing my homework digging for me. it appears that
Crowley was both disrespectful of Jewish mystical tradition
and largely incomprehending of it.  this does not represent
to me "a philosophical frame of reference".

#    Crowley's argument is reasonable enough in context, but once we
#    examine his other works on Qabalah we find inconsistencies, for 
#    while here he is lauding the Tree of Life 

apparently only the Lurianic Tree, btw.

#    as an analytic tool in transcendental philosophy, elsewhere 
#    he leaps into the "unintelligible nonsense" in a big way, 
#    particularly via gematria, apparently operating a double 
#    standard; on rare occasions he even uses "colel", surely 
#    the most notorious fudge in the repertoire of Hebrew, and, 
#    for that matter, Greek, kabbalists.  

what is "colel" and why does this constitute a "notorious fudge"?

#    Our understanding of the relationship of kabbalist with text 
#    is not going to be advanced much by Crowley, since that
#    tradition was virtually a closed book to him.

then the question should again be brought up: if this tradition
was a "closed book" to him, why did he perpetuate the notion
that "qabalah" was something he knew about in any way whatever?
if he was perpetuating a pre-existing Christian appropriation,
what does this say about him as a reliable source and man of
the kind of integrity which Thelemic philosophy indicates is
indicative of the 'New Aeon'?

#    The modus operandi of traditional qaballism is ascertainable 
#    from such works as Scholem's and also those of Kaplan 
#    (see Reviews in Equinox/BJT 7 and 8). Although the former 
#    authority is explicitly uncharitable to the work of 
#    non-Jewish kabbalists, and the latter implicitly, this is 
#    perhaps readily excused on the grounds of both the cultural 
#    heritage and scholastic background of these two authors. 
#    Disregarding their evident bias,

that is, they are *JEWISH* and would know best who should be
included as authorities on the subject which they are attempting
to cover in their text. why should this be considered anything
but a bias justified by familiarity with the subject matter?
why should this bias be "disregarded"?  if it is, doesn't this
represent a slap in the face of Judaic mysticism and its history?

#    we should look closely into their works for a picture of
#    traditional kabbalism of greater lucidity than was available 
#    in Crowley's day. The main feature that emerges 

emerges from a reference to which text(s)?  Rosenroth?  do you
know of any others which he might have consulted?

#    is extreme immersion in the written word of the Torah, coupled 
#    with intense prayer and meditation. 

doesn't it matter that this immersion was not in a vacuum, but
also occurred within a SOCIAL system that provided a veritable
crucible for the mystical process?  omitting this context, are
the activities mentioned above at all comparable?

#    The magical apparatus surrounding the method is one familiar 
#    to all students of the Book of the Dead and the Books of
#    the Gnosis. This consists of the use of Words of Power to 
#    access the various divisions of the underworld or cosmos. 

Scholem has some interesting things to say about magic with
respect to kabbalah (when 'practical kabbalah' begins to be
differentiated amongst the Jews themselves as magic into
'black' and 'white' varieties -- the careful student will
find the source listing here quite interesting):

	The opposition of the speculative kabbalists to black
	magic was unable to prevent a conglomeration of all
	kinds of magical prescriptions in the literature of
	practical Kabbalah. Often the white-magical practices
	of amulets and protective charms can be found side by
	side with the invocation of demons, incantations, and
	formulas for private gain (e.g., magical shortcuts,
	the discovery of hidden treasure, impregnability in
	the face of one's enemies, etc.), and even sexual
	magic and necromancy. The international character of
	magical tradition is evident in such collections, into
	which many originally non-Jewish elements entered, such
	as Arab demonology and German and Slavic witchcraft.
	It was this indiscriminate mixture that was responsible
	for the rather gross image of practical Kabbalah that
	existed in the Jewish popular mind and eventually
	reached the Christian world too, where the
	theoretical kabbalistic distinction between forbidden
	and permitted magical practices was of course over-
	looked completely [cf. Faust -- hara]. The widespread
	medieval conception of the Jew as a powerful sorcerer
	was further nourished to no small extent by the
	practical kabbalistic sources that fostered this

	Among earlier kabbalistic works that are especially
	rich in material taken from practical Kabbalah are
	the Zohar, the writings of Joseph b. Shalom Ash-
	kenazi and Menahem Ziyyoni, and the *Berit Menuhah*,
	while in the post-Lurianic period the *Emek ha-Melekh 
	is outstanding in this respect. Magical prayers
	attributed to some of the leading *tannaim* and
	*amoraim* were already composed long before the
	development of speculative Kabbalah, and indeed
	magical material that has been preserved in sources
	like the *Sefer ha-Razim* and later ones from the
	geonic age contains many similarities to magical
	Greek papyri that have been discovered in Egypt.
	Contemporaneous with such sources are various
	magical reworkings of the *shemeneh esreh* prayer,
	such as the *Tefillat Eliyahu* (Cambridge Ms. 505),
	which was already known to Isaac the Blind, or the
	maledictory version of the same prayer, quoted from
	the archives of Menahem Recanati in the complete
	manuscript of *Shoshan Sodot*. Almost all such
	compositions have been preserved in manuscript only,
	except for occasional borrowings from them in more
	popular anthologies. Among the most important known
	manuscripts of practical Kabbalah with its characteristic
	mixture of elements are Sassoon Ms. 290; British Museum
	Ms. 752; Cincinnati Ms. 35; and Schocken Ms. 102.
	Literature of this sort was extremely widespread, however,
	and hundreds of additional manuscripts also exist.
	Noteworthy also are the anonymous *Sefer ha-Heshek* and
	*Shulhan ha-Sekhel* (in Sassoon Ms.), and Joseph ibn
	Zayyah's *She'erit Yosef* (1549, formerly in the Jewish
	Library of Vienna). In none of these books, however, is
	there any serious attempt at a systematic exposition
	of the subject. In many popular anthologies, which were
	widely circulated, both practical Kabbalah and folk
	medicine were combined together. 

	Other prominent works of practical Kabbalah include Joel
	Ba'al Shem's *Toledot Adam* (1720) and *Mif'alot Elohim*
	(1727); *Derekh ha-Yashar* (Cracow, 1646); Zevi Chotsch's
	*Derekh Yasharah* (Fuerth, 1697); *Ta'alumot Hokhmah*
	(Venice, 1667); Zechariah Plongian's *Sefer ha-Zekhirah*
	(Hamburg, 1709); Abraham Hammawi's anthologies *He'ah
	Nafshenu* (1870), *Davek me-Ah* (1874), *Abi'ah Hidot*
	(1877), *Lidrosh Elohim* (1879), and *Nifla'im Ma'asekha*
	(1881); and Hayyim Palache's *Refu'ah ve-Hayyim* (1874).
	A great deal of valuable material from the realm of
	practical Kabbalah can be found in *Mitteilungen der
	Gesellschaft fuer jeudische Volkskunde* (1898-1929), and
	*Jahrbuecher fuer juedische Volkkskunde*, 1-2 (1923-24).
	Hayyim Vital too compiled an anthology of practical
	Kabbalah mixed with alchemical material (Ms. in the Musayof 
	Collection, Jerusalem). His son Samuel composed an
	alphabetic lexicon of practical Kabbalah called
	*Ta'alumnot Hokhmah* which has been lost. Moses Zacuto's
	comprehensive lexicon *Shorshei ha-Shemot*, on the other
	hand, has been preserved in many manuscript copies
	(selections from it were published in French by M. Schwab, 
	1899). Clear proof exists of several books on the subject
	of practical Kabbalah written by some outstanding
	kabbalists, but these have not been preserved. Among the
	great masters of practical Kabbalah in the eyes o
	kabbalistic tradition itself were figures like Judah
	he-Hasid, Joseph Gikatilla, Isaac of Acre, Joseph della
	Reina, Samson of Ostropol, and Joel Ba'al Shem Tov.


	The practice of practical Kabbalah raised certain problems
	concerning occult phenomena.... A number of these come
	under the category of *giluy einayim*, whereby a man might
	be granted a vision of something that, generally speaking,
	only the rare mystic was permitted to see. Such visions
	included a glimpse of the "sapphiric ether" (*ha-avir
	ha-sappiri*) that surrounds all men and in which their
	movements are recorded, "the book in which all one's
	deeds are expressly written down" [cf. the Akashic Record
	-- hara] (especially in the works of Menahem Azirah Fano).
	The concept of the *zelem* was often associated with this
	ether, according to Lurianic sources, as was that of the
	angelic "eye-writing"..., and invisible letters that
	spelled out the secret nature of each man's thoughts and
	deeds which hovered over every head and might be
	perceived by initiates. Sometimes, especially during the
	performance of certain commandments such as circumcision,
	the initiate might also be granted a vision of the
	Tetragrammaton in the form of fiery letters that "appear
	and disappear in the twinkling of an eye." A *mohel* who
	was also a kabbalist could tell by the hue of this fire
	what the fortune of the newborn child would be (*Emek
	ha-Melekh*, 175b). The *aggadah* about the rays of light
	that shone from Moses' forehead (Midrash Ex. R. 47)
	fathered the kabbalistic notion of a special halo that
	circled above the head of every righteous man (*Sefer
	Hasidim, par. 370). This belief became widespread,
	although the halo was sometimes considered to appear
	only shortly before the *zaddik*'s death. Visions of
	angels were explained in a similar fashion: the angel's
	form was imprinted in an invisible ether that was not
	the same as ordinary air, and could be seen by a select
	few, not because they were prophets but because God had
	opened their eyes as a reward for having purified their
	corporeal bodies (Cordovero in his *Derushei Mal'akhim*).
	Sorcerers who saw demons constituted an analogous
	phenomenon. Automatic writing is mentioned in a number of
	sources. Thus. Joseph b. Todros Abulafia, for example,
	composed a kabbalistic tract under the influence of "the
	writing name" (*Kerem Hemed*, 8, 105). Such "names" that
	facilitated the process of writing are referred to in a
	number of practical kabbalistic manuscripts. In describing
	a "revelation" that was granted to him, Joseph Taitazak
	speaks of "the mystic secret of writing with no hand."
	The anthology of *Shoshan Sodot* (Oxford Ms., par. 147)
	mentions the practice of automatic writing, "making marks
	{*hakikah*] by the pen," as a method of answering vexing
	or difficult questions. A number of other spiritualistic
	phenomena, both spontaneous and deliberately induced, are
	also mentioned in various sources, among them the
	"levitating table," which was particularly widespread in
	Germany from the 16th century on....
	_Kabbalah_, by Gershom Scholem, Dorset Press, 1987; 182-9.

I don't notice a preponderance of "divisions of the underworld 
or cosmos" in the description provided by Scholem above in the
prominent features of 'practical (magical) Kabbalah'.  it is
true that there was some portion describing angelology and
demonology, but this was not given emphasis at least in this
source.  is there some reason for this, or are you over-
emphasizing it in relation to the history of kabbalah?

#    In this, we can readily see how the E.'.Q.'. can be of 
#    very direct assistance. The Tables of A.M.E.N. will be 
#    very readily adapted for such purposes, extracting the 
#    appropriate Names and using them to invoke the various 
#    levels of the Thelemic Cosmo-conception....

[description of Tables, a compilation of THelemic godnames, omitted]

this makes a great deal of sense given the premises previous.

#    The Qaballa reveals a good deal more besides, of an esoteric
#    nature, and on a level so advanced that the training above 
#    described is almost essential to even appreciate a portion 
#    of it. It is true that processes such as invocation and 
#    astrological timing are comparatively simple to put into 
#    effect. What is not simple is dealing with the Book on its 
#    own level, and following the chains of ideas and number 
#    symbolism to their ultimate goal.
#    This requires not only considerable intellectual gifts, but also
#    - dare I say it - moral qualities rarely found in twentieth 
#    century culture. 

but if one is not going to follow the religious restrictions that
are provided to the context of Jewish kabbalists, who at times
abandoned the moral prerequisite ALSO, then why bother with the
association of spiritual or character purity?  there seems to be
some contradiction here. 

can we treat this like a scientific enterprise which dismisses
the religious components as a replaceable psychomythic variable and 
yet retain assessments of personal character that may also be
recommended or aspired to within that same culture?  why should
these not also be abandoned?  why don't the Thelemic gods let
the unscrupulous ritualist achieve the same level of success in
magic as one of a saintly character?  what is the mechanism
scientific which obviates this as an inconsistency here?

#    The very simplest of rules in traditional magick assume 
#    phenomenal importance in this area.

why do the rules work HERE but not elsewhere?  why shouldn't we
dismiss this as so much more religious bullshit that could and
should be dismissed as unworthy of the metropolitan syncretist?

that is, once you've excavated the Jewish (or other) qualities
of the mysticism which supports your magical system, then what
is it that allows allow you to settle into an alternative?  are
you willing to posit the equivalence of the two in some way, as
some sort of psychosocial paradigm-program, or do you think that
your religious paradigm is somehow more exalted and true in some

I'm trying to ascertain the level of cultural bias and bigotry 
afoot.  why don't we, as good Thelemic scientists, simply omit
the religious elements completely?  you mention something like
this in your consideration of 'atheistic magicians', and yet you
dismiss this by claiming that 

#    ...the world view of ancient Gnosticism and Kabbalah is 
#    the best approximation to the techniques and experiences 
#    involved with this system that I am able to find.


#    The fact that magick does not adapt itself easily to modern
#    scientific language, or to rationalistic psychological 
#    viewpoints, is not my concern. My efforts are directed 
#    towards making available a sophisticated modern magical
#    methodology.

so what makes a magical methodology "sophisticated"?  and what
elements of that reflected from Jewish kabbalists strikes you
as somehow more of utility, geared toward modern scientific
and/or psychological (atheistic?) world views?  why not choose
something more shamanistic, less rational, less prone to
philosophic deconstruction?  why not deconstruct even the
edifice of magic, as the Kaos Mayjuz are prone to do?

then again, why do you think that any or all of it can be
'extracted' from Jewish culture and 'filled up' with a new
religious paradigm?  what gives you the idea that this is at
all possible?

#    The Book of the Law simply does not envisage, and 
#    consequently cannot accomodate, any individual who is not 
#    possessed of the traditional qualities of a magician
#    becoming involved with it. Of primary importance,
#    considering the very nature of a book, is the ability to 
#    keep one's word, for one's word to mean what it says....

this is hardly unique. what qualities of magery would you
include in this list of incompatability such that a person
would be able to 'qualify' to learn the Art?
#    Many students of the kabbalah fail to see clearly that
#    the Sephiroth are moral powers; they see the exotic titles 
#    rather than the meaning, nor is this entirely their own
#    fault. If nothing else, E.'.Q.'. brings home to its 
#    devotees the interior world of the qaballa. To the Hebrews 
#    these old titles were not exotic, the words struck home to 
#    them just as the word freedom sounds in the ear of an
#    oppressed person in the land of a tyrant, or love in the ear 
#    of a young girl. In the same way, the English Qaballa brings 
#    us the power and potency of the ancient magick in a form
#    comprehensible to the aspirants and adepts of today....

does it matter to those who read such words that authorities
like Scholem describe practical Kabbalah's extents with respect
to these over-emphasized sephiroth in such terms as these?:

	Historically speaking, a large part of the contents
	of practical Kabbalah considerably predate those of
	speculative Kabbalah and are not dependent on them.
	In effect, what came to be considered practical
	Kabbalah constituted an agglomeration of all the
	magical practices that developed in Judaism from
	the talmudic period down through the Middle Ages.
	The doctrine of the *Sefirot* hardly ever played
	a decisive role in these practices, despite
	occasional attempts from the late 13th century
	on to integrate the two.
	Ibid., p. 183.

doesn't the predominant focus on what is called in Hermetic
texts "low" magic within kabbalistic texts indicate that
quasi-Christian theists like Crowley and the EQs have taken
a wrong turn somewhere?  that perhaps the justification that
they wish to provide is based on religious zealotry and
appropriation rather than a respectful syncretism which both
properly acknowledges its source while continuing to 
honestly deal in the multivaried objectives to which these 
sources contributed?

# Qabalah
#    Links to Links to ... Ahem...Links !
#    The Aleph Beth with Qabalistic Relationships
#    The Sefer Yetzirah
#    Qabalah directory at Lysator
#    Qabalah directory at
#    The Meru Project
#    The Sefer Yetzirah(short version)
#    Gem
none of these were working when I visited.  fyi.

peace be with you,

-- (emailed replies may be posted); cc me replies;;

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