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Various: QBL Sources/Studies

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.occult,alt.consciousness.mysticism
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Various: QBL Sources/Studies
Date: 6 Sep 1997 13:39:06 -0700



Adam at-Tawhid wrote:
> I need help, and some explanations on the QBLH...
> Since last month I engaged in regular meditations on the Tree of Life. I
> used for this practice materials taken form the work of Bill Heidrick
> (his "road to the sun") and Z'ev Ben Shimon Halevi ("Kaballah. Tradition
> of hidden knowledge")...
> But many contradictions has arised between these sources:
> for example:
> Path between Malkuth and Yesod is (in work of Halevi) associated with
> letter Resh, and in classic occult literature I found Tau,  which in
> Halevi's book appear between Malkuth and Hod.
> Could someone help me with this? Which system is better, more useful?;
> whats with initiations of consciousness  on level of the sephiroths?
> There's any common signs associated with completing any of these paths?

There are several variant systems for attributing the Hebrew letters 
to the paths of the Tree (in fact, there are variant Trees as well.)
I'm not at all familiar with Halevi, however I understand that the 
attributions used in modern "authentic" Jewish Qabalah are very 
different from that used by most occultists.  

I would not say that one is inherently "better" or "more useful" 
except in so far as one might fit your needs better.  I'd say use 
whatever version is more consistent with what you already do.

> Sorry for lame questions, 

they aren't.

> but i am just 20year newbie living in place
> without any occult communities :)

Why not start one?



~From: Tim Maroney 

>Could someone help me with this? Which system is better, more useful?

That's sort of like asking someone to tell you what your favorite movie 
should be. None of these systems has a general truth -- their 
effectiveness depends on what you attach to them in your mind. Working 
with a few different systems during your career may protect you from the 
common error of thinking that an occult system of cosmology has a unique 
external validity.

>Sorry for lame questions, but i am just 20year newbie living in place
>without any occult communities :)

You are fortunate. Exposure to spiritual communities can cause 
contamination of your thoughts with consensus interpretations. Isolation 
from such communities will allow you to discover your own thoughts.

Tim Maroney

~From: Paul Hume 

Adam -
I can't lay hands on my ha-Levi at the moment, but will bet a cookie his
arrangement of the Paths is based on the Tree proposed by Isaac Luria.
Bill, of course, is using the Tree that evolved in hermetic qabala,
based on old Spanish school qabala, if I recall aright.

Which is better/more useful? I can't really speak to it in those terms.
Ditto the other Tree schemas prposed over the years. An image (I think
it was Josh Norton's) which I have found useful in choosing which
approach to the Tree serves my needs in a given work...think of them as
circuit diagrams...each representing a particular approach to the
Universe, suitable to the work which produced that particular map.

The Hermetic Tree is the basis of standard, post-Golden Dawn ceremonial
magick, and so is important if internalizing the world view and magical
models which go into that field of endeavor. The Lurianic Tree expresses
the thrust of qabalistic thought since the 15th century, when Luria's
thought gave it much of the form it holds to this day. I hesitate to
characterize a system with which I have only a popular familiarity, but
it is more deeply entwined with the mystical aspects of qabala within
the Judaic context.

Both are important and useful, neither is better or worse, simply

~From: Jeffrey Smith 

Paul, please send me a vanilla cookie; I can't eat chocolate....

HaLevi's placement of the letters is not based on Luria (that was my 
first thought too, of course).  In this case,  the Lurianic arrangement 
agrees with the standard hermetic placement of Tau.  It can be found in 
Kaplan's edition of the Sefer Yetzirah.

The standard Rabbinic arrangement of the letters places the three 
"Mothers" (Alef, Mem, Shin) on the horizontal paths, the seven doubles on 
the verticals, and the twelve singles on the diagonal paths--although 
they differ among themselves on the placement of individual letters.  The 
most notable difference is the placement of the paths themselves:  Luria 
deletes two paths ascending from Malkuth in favor of two paths farther up 
the tree (thereby isolating Malkuth and at the same time rendering the 
Abyss extremely crossable); while another version (that of the Vilna 
Gaon) places Yesod above Netzach and Hod.  So you can see that even the 
authentic tradition has differing presentations of this matter.  Consult 
Kaplan's work if you want more information.
It was my understanding that haLevi owes more to Gentile than Jewish 
sources on the Kabbalah;  but I have no idea where his presentation of 
the Tree originated.  Perhaps it is original with him--which would 
probably be a plus.
In this and all matters, I can't do better than quote Crowley's 
profoundest maxim:
"The student shall use his own Ingeniuum."

  Jeffrey Smith

A mind is like a parachute; it can work only when open.
--Attributed to "Charlie Chan"

~From: Bill Heidrick 


Jeffrey Smith  wrote:

>If you are trying to sort out Rabbinic Kabbalah attributions and methods, 
>then look for the works of Aryeh Kaplan, especially his edition of the 
>Sefer Yetzirah.

Excellent advice, but not necessarily helpful for someone who is beginning.
 Kaplan's _SY_ was assembled after his death from his drafts and notes.  It
is an excellent study in some ways, but it includes emphasis on problems he
was examining.  Had he lived to complete it, it might have been more
consistent.  The work is a compendium with emphasis on variation, unusual
speculation and sources.

  To commence any study as complex as this, do what you are doing -- ask
for sources and opinions.  Find out what divisions contain which sources.
Pick one and study that one to the exclusion of the others.  When you feel
satisfied, limited or seriously confused, branch cautiously out to the
other divisions.  That way you will have a core of study with which to
approach other points of view or traditions on the subject.
Qabalah/Kabbalah is too complex a field for a sink or swim approach.

My stuff is usually deliberately narrow in base -- just Golden Dawn and
Crowley orientation.  Beyond that I try to point in other directions,
mainly by sampling, and to broaden with non traditional applications or
insights as I may.

HaLevi's material varies enormously in his different books.  He converted
to Judiasm after the first one or two were written.  In general, his later
writing is better than his earlier, but don't expect consistency between
his earlier and later approach.

Best starting source, in my approach, is Christian D. Ginsburg's essay _The
Kabbalah_ -- which you may find in slight rewrite and condensation in
Mathers' (plagirised) introduction to _Kabbalah Unvelied_.  Best starting
source for a more traditional approach, in my opinon, would be Reb. Zalman
Schachter's _Fragments of a Future Scroll: Hassidism for the Aquarian Age_.
 After the start, the world of books is your oyster but it's up to you to
pick and choose.  Either of those two books needs to be processed into more
notes than they have pages -- in Ginsburg's case, about 400 pages of notes
might be a good beginning.

93 93/93
Bill Heidrick

~From: Jeffrey Smith 

If you are trying to sort out Rabbinic Kabbalah attributions and methods, 
then look for the works of Aryeh Kaplan, especially his edition of the 
Sefer Yetzirah.   I have no idea of their availability in Europe.  Sixty 
years ago, of course, Poland was the ideal place to check on such 
things with real Kabbalists, but now your best chance is libraries in 
Warsaw, Krakow, etc.  Also remember that Rabbinic Kabbalah does not 
really deal with pathworkings on the Tree, in the sense that Hermetic 
Qabalah does, so the attributions are much less developed.

  Jeffrey Smith

A mind is like a parachute; it can work only when open.
--Attributed to "Charlie Chan"

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