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Qliphoth Rising...)

To: Multiple recipients of 
From: (Clifford Low)
Subject: Qliphoth (Was Re: (Succubus-L)Rising...)
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 1996 05:52:30 -0500

>The Qliphoth is an overflowing of all that is Holy, it is not the "opposite"
>but rather "too much". Though it can be viewed many different ways the
>literal translation is  Qliphoth- Shells, demons. It basically means
>emptyness that is not good for you. So to answere your question. Qliphothic
>is something that is unfulfilling and detrimental to ones being. Aids, from
>unsafe sex is Qliphothic. Yet, Aids, from a blood transfusion isn't. If I'm
>not clear, just say so and I will try to explain a little better.

Perhaps this is true in a Ceremonial interpretation, but the original Hebrew
Kabbalistic interpretation was rather different. Klifot, "shells" was the name
collectively attributed to the fragments of broken vessels of light "sefirot",
created during a catastrophic initial attempt at Genesis.

JHVH's original design was to create a cosmos where the pillars of mercy and
severity remained in complete balance. Unfortunately, this was apparently a bad
design scheme, because the elder cosmos collapsed upon itself, exploding the
majority of the lower sefirot. The residue filled the empty spaces between the
sefirot like a sea or cloud of broken pottery. The current universe was devised
when JHVH recreated the Sefirot with a distinct dominance of the severity
pillar over the mercy pillar. This was an explanation for the apparent
nastiness of JHVH and the world He had created.

The Klifot were not described much in early Kabbalistic days, but their initial
interpretation was that they represented all in the cosmos which did not appear
to be a part of God's Plan. The Klifot was the origin of mundane reality; the
tendancy for the universe to conceal the wonder and miraculousness of divinity,
behind skepticism and the apparent triviality of all things. The concept was,
if you followed the path of Sefirot, you would take further draughts of divine
light; but if you wandered amidst the sharp-edged Klifot, you'd become cut,
bruised, blinded, and lost in it's devastation.

Later Kabbalistic thinkers reinterpreted the Sefirot as personalities, linking
specific angels with specific Sefira; though in the earlier days, this would
have been considered bordering on polytheism. Kabbalah became influenced by
Christian thought, and vice versa- elements of Kabbalah can be found in
medieval Christian grimoires, and more overtly in Christian Kabbalism.

Perhaps Judaism became less intimidated by polytheistic elements when no longer
in the lands of polytheistic gentiles- where polytheistic elements would have
been seen as the first step towards conversion. In Christian lands, this threat
was not so pronounced. Also, Jews may have felt that if (theoretically)
monotheistic Christianity could have revered angels and feared demons, so could

A tree of darkness was devised, often inverted, and often linked via one of the
middle Sefira like siamese twins. Those who chose to attribute angels to
Sefira, also attributed less pleasant spirits to it's mirror. This didn't make
much sense, since the upper sefira weren't shattered, and there was no
explanation of how the lower ones reformed themselves into
cracked-but-functional vessels. Clearly these vessels were empty, but now they
were full of darkness, when previously the light of the Sefirot was beyond
light and darkness, and represented the essence of the whole-ness of the

This "light" was supposed to have emanated from Ayin; silence- and was
described in paradoxical terms, as neither black nor white, nor inbetween, nor
a negation of such. My interpretation is that this "light" is more properly
translated as "radiation"; the tendancy for all things to glow with some of the
residual magic which brought definition and division out of unity and void. The
light of creation is the active form of the void- which was not dark at all
according to Genesis, but preceded the division between light and darkness- the
first division of all.

In fact, physics backs this up, by noting that the first moment of the universe
was when absolute unity fragmented into energy and empty space. Time cannot
exist when there is total unity, since time is measured by reactions of one
thing against another. This is why Ayin and the sefirot are eternal- they are
outside time, still in the state that all things were before the first moment.
Kabbalists believed that this non-time quality (God) did occasionally resurface
in our universe as magic/miracles, and in a more diffuse way as sentience. This
is the Kabbalistic understanding of man being made in God's image- we are
little reflections of the big light of God.

During the medieval period, the elaborate heirarchies of angels and demons
passed over into Judaism, as well as the concept of a cosmic war between light
and darkness. The Klifot were reinterpreted as malign angels, such as Samael
the angel of death; and then later as demons outright. Previously, demons were
elements of folklore almost exclusively, not having any place in the Torah.

They were considered primarily the same way geniis were in arabic lands and
goblins in Europe- strange and mischevious half-human beings which lived
undeground by day, but wandered lonely places by day. They were often
invisible, and were composed of only some of the four elements, whereas humans
were composed fairly even balances of four. Most were believed to be
descendants of the Nephilim and of unnatural unions- sodomy, masturbation, and
intercourse with the daughter of Lilith (incubi and succubi). Demons were
treated much like bad weather and disease; folk magic, superstitions and
amulets abounded, protecting people from demonic attentions.

Lilith's place in Hebrew demonology was ambiguous. It's certain that she was
originally based in a whole class of Sumerian desert spirits; who themselves
probably were mythic magnifications of the now extinct Mediterranian lion,
which did eat wandering humans at night. It's also fairly likely that these
lilitu may have had a mythic association with a desert goddess, in a tale that
is now lost. I imagine that it would be something like the myth of Arachne,
where a cursed individual (in this case, a demigoddess) gave birth to species
of icky-crawlies, having some of her attributes. This goddess originally had
none of the sexual or antinomian characteristics which distinguish Lilith as an
interesting force. It was her demonization which defined her.

The common illiterate Jews developed a folk myth about the creation and
rebellion of Lilith, which explained the existence of succubi (the children of
Lilith) and related night monsters in terms of their mythology. Still, Lilith
did not become an aspect of Judaism until the Talmud made mention of her
legend, and attributed her existence to some awkward language in the book of
Genesis. Since our first record of this legend is in the Talmud by Rabbis, it
is fairly likely that the original folk story was more eclectic and pagan in
content, and much of the rebellion and Eden tale may have only been invented by
these Rabbis.

Snvy Snsnvy, and Smnglf, the three angels supposedly the eternal foes of Lilith
and her kin, do not sound like classic angelic names. Instead, they sound like
the names of geniis, which is what they may have been originally, just like
Lilith. It is sheer speculation, but it is possible that Adam was never a part
of the original folk tale; the three "benign" geniis were the rejected suitors
of the offended Lilit. These geniis, much like in other tales of divine
messengers, freeloaded at human homes, and seduced the women of the household,
generating prophetic children (it's likely there were folk tales about the
part-angelic origins of Moses and Abraham). These geniis may have attempted to
capture and enslave Lilit for their pleasures, when she would not consent to
choose a lover willingly; but Lilit escaped, vowing to retaliate against those
who gave the three hospitality- humanity. Legends which parallel this do exist
in the region.

Later on, Lilith became a part of the Klifot as partial nega-Sephirot; having
the dual nature of being a wandering entity, and a part of a collective
representation all the meaness and corruption of the world.

The modern reinterpretations of this material are just that- reintepretations.
Some are feminist reinterpretations, some are hermetic reinterpretations and
hybridizations, some have something to do with science (such as mine above). I
think it would be good for clarity to mention _which_ period's interpretation
of the Klifot, or the Tree of Life, or Lilith one is working with; all are
valid, though some may appear to be less logical and historical. Also, a
division between mythic time and literal history must be maintained. I know
that Lilith is a powerful ancient goddess of sex and power- but I also know
that she's a bugaboo based on desert lions and fairly recent stories invented
by a bunch of relatively unsympathetic Rabbis.

Sorry for the bad spelling and grammer it's too late/early to go back over it...


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