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Thread: Kabbalah/Qabalah question

  1. #1
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    Kabbalah/Qabalah question

    I've been interested in learning about the Kabbalah/Qabalah (however you want to spell it) for awhile, and i've got some good books downloaded on it (and i've had some people recommend me some to buy, but those'll have to wait till i get some money).

    But, i've got a few questions for about it, if you don't mind me asking.

    1) What's the Practical Kabbalah?, i've heard this mentioned in a lot of places, but i don't know what it involves.

    2) I'm having a bit of trouble understanding the cosmology, are the levels on the tree of life, actual planes that exist (e.g. like the on the Norse tree, there are 9 realms, where different supernatural beings live, etc), or are they more 'states of mind', etc.

    3) Also, where do gods and spirits, other supernatural beings fit into it, i know Judaism is monotheistic, now anyway, but is it possible to believe in gods as existing individuals and also part of the tree in some way (i don't mean subserviant to Yahweh, but i think the Kabbalah tree is supposed to be a spiritual map of different levels of existence).

    Anyway, i hope this made some kind of sense, and thanks for any help you can give me .

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    Quote Originally Posted by David19 View Post
    I've been interested in learning about the Kabbalah/Qabalah (however you want to spell it) for awhile, and i've got some good books downloaded on it (and i've had some people recommend me some to buy, but those'll have to wait till i get some money).
    Let me add to it a bit. Get Israel Regardie's Garden of Pomegranates. This is absolutely a must have book for beginners in Qabalah. While you are saving up money, read the works of Dion Fortune available on-line. She has excellent work on the Qabalah if you can get past the Christian bias and over-psychologization.

    But, i've got a few questions for about it, if you don't mind me asking.
    That's what we're here for!

    1) What's the Practical Kabbalah?, i've heard this mentioned in a lot of places, but i don't know what it involves.
    Practical Qabalah is the use of Qabalah for, well, practical purposes. Knowing that Love and Light equal the same thing in Hebrew opens up many meditative doorways, but it doesn't pay the light bill. But if I make a talisman to attract money or summon a spirit to help out, that's another story. Any time you are doing something for practical purposes, it's Practical Qabalah.

    2) I'm having a bit of trouble understanding the cosmology, are the levels on the tree of life, actual planes that exist (e.g. like the on the Norse tree, there are 9 realms, where different supernatural beings live, etc), or are they more 'states of mind', etc.
    Yes. They are actual realms that you can go to if you want, but they are also states of mind. If I were to go to Midgard, our sister world, there will be good and evil, ugliness and beauty, all the variation of this world. But if I would jump up two steps along the Middle Pillar to get to Beauty, there can only be Beauty. Ugliness cannot exist there. They are more "pure" states, unlike the 9 worlds which contain all the complexity of ours. Comparing systems is always tricky, but it might be useful to think of the World Tree as sitting in Malkuth at the bottom of the Tree of Life.

    I'm probably just confusing things though so you really should read Regardie. Or go talk to a Rabbi.

    3) Also, where do gods and spirits, other supernatural beings fit into it, i know Judaism is monotheistic, now anyway, but is it possible to believe in gods as existing individuals and also part of the tree in some way (i don't mean subserviant to Yahweh, but i think the Kabbalah tree is supposed to be a spiritual map of different levels of existence).
    Well, my gut instinct is that it is inappropriate to take Athene, for example (as Regardie does), and map Her onto the Tree of Life. She doesn't live in Binah. She lives on Olympus. It's like trying to find New York on a map of Asia. But yes, each sphere is often attributed angels, archangels, more angels, creatures, gods, and all sorts of fun goodies. Yahweh I see as more of a tribal war god and thus has a home a bit lower on the Tree of Life, while Kether is something so fantastic that we, as mortals, can never even hope to comprehend it.
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    Thank you very much, it's helped my understanding and i'll definantly try and get Regardie's book, i've got Dion Fortune's Mystical Qabalah, although i didn't like her saying the gods only existed in the mind or something (i think she says something along the lines of Apollo only exists in the human mind, and is only there to be meditated on or something, in other words, that he isn't a god).

    I definantly wouldn't map other gods onto the tree of life, but i've seen some people, like Dion Fortune (although i do like some of her stuff), that war gods fit into one particular sphere, love gods in another, etc.

    And so the different pillars on the tree of life can be both actual realms (like with denizens, beings that inhabit them, etc) and also states of mind, etc?.

    And, also, would Regardie's books help you learn the practical Kabbalah/Qabalah? or are there other ones that would be better?.

    Thanks, and hope these questions didn't seem dumb, but the Kabbalah/Qabalah really interests me .

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    Quote Originally Posted by David19 View Post
    I didn't like her saying the gods only existed in the mind or something (i think she says something along the lines of Apollo only exists in the human mind, and is only there to be meditated on or something, in other words, that he isn't a god).
    Remember, Dion Fortune was not a pagan. She was a very strong Christian. To her, any god besides Jesus of Nazareth was merely the heathens attempting to understand Jesus and failing. She has some strong biases, but it's a good exercise in critical reading.

    I definantly wouldn't map other gods onto the tree of life, but i've seen some people, like Dion Fortune (although i do like some of her stuff), that war gods fit into one particular sphere, love gods in another, etc.
    Well, remember she was (and the majority of scholars today still are) working off of the idea of putting gods in boxes. Apollo and Amaretasu are both sun gods, so let's ignore everything else and put them in the sun god box, instead of treating them as holistic beings.

    And so the different pillars on the tree of life can be both actual realms (like with denizens, beings that inhabit them, etc) and also states of mind, etc?.
    I have never personally journied up and down the Tree, but is my understanding that they are more abstractions, for instance, you couldn't go to Yesod and find people going to work like you can in Asgard. That's what I mean by states of mind. Perhaps spiritual states would be a better phrase?

    And, also, would Regardie's books help you learn the practical Kabbalah/Qabalah? or are there other ones that would be better?.
    No. For that, you'll need to go elsewhere. Perhaps Modern Magick by Don Michael Kraig would be where you should go.
    CJ - Paths: Shamanism Forum Guide

    "Granny Weatherwax had never heard of psychiatry and would have had no truck with it even if she had. There are some arts too black even for a witch. [...] A psychiatrist, dealing with a man who fears he is being followed by a large and terrible monster, will endeavor to convince him that monsters don't exist. Granny Weatherwax would simply give him a chair to stand on and a very heavy stick."
    -Terry Pratchett

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    Quote Originally Posted by David19 View Post
    And, also, would Regardie's books help you learn the practical Kabbalah/Qabalah? or are there other ones that would be better?.
    I can't speak for Regardie's Garden of Pomegranates given that I've never read it. (although I've half a mind to buy it now after hearing Simply Puzzled discuss it.) I would like to ask you a question and make a suggestion at the same time.

    My question is, have you studied the Tarot at all? The reason I ask is because the Qabalah and Tarot are closely related. If you have some background in Tarot, you already have a foundation to study Qabalah. The reverse is true as well. Actually, all of these fields of study are related. Knowledge of numerology or astrology is helpful in learning Qabalah, just as it is helpful in learning Tarot.

    My suggestion you can take or leave. There is a book titled, 'The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford,' by Lon Milo Duquette. The book itself is very tongue in cheek, but it does explain the Qabalah in very simple terms. I am not saying the book is the be all end all of understanding the Qabalah. It's more like a Qabalah for Dummies. I currently have a few books on the Qabalah and have read others. For me, because of Duquette's style of writing and humor, his book is a good starting point for learning the Qabalah.

    He covers each individual letter of Hebrew individually, as well as explaining how each Hebrew letter corresponds to the 22 trumps of the Tarot. For instance, why is Libra associated with Lamed in Hebrew? Lamed (spelled LMD) means 'ox goad,' which means 'to teach and to discipline.' Duquette explains the ox goad was a stick used to 'steer' the oxes through the fields. Once you understand Libra & Lamed ARE the Justice trump (Trump #8 or #11, depending on which deck you use), it then becomes obvious why the Justice trump is related to Lamed and Libra. The trump represents karma, in a sense, or facing the consequences of one's past actions. In other words, the consequences of one's actions serve as an ox goad to keep each of us in line on our way through the field. Duquette even provides English equivalents for the Hebrew letters. If you learn these, you can actually spell out words, or have several possible words, spelled out in your Tarot spreads.

    Numerology will help you here too. If you understand the numeric association of the planets, 3=Saturn, 4=Jupiter, 5= Mars, 6=Sun, 7=Venus, 8=Mercury, 9=Moon, 10=Earth, etc, then both Tarot and Qabalah become more clear. The sixth sphere is associated with the Sun, just as Mars represents the 5th sphere on the Tree. So a 6 of Wands, or Sun in the suit of Fire (again, depending on the deck used) has greater meaning, just as 7 of Disks, represents a Venusian influence (from the 7th sphere of the tree) in the suit of Earth. I'll shut up now. The relation between Qabalah and Tarot fascinate me and I hope I haven't hit you with too much information here. I don't want to scare you off from this.

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    In my opinion, the books of Gershom Scholem are indispensable.

    Regardie will tell you about Kabbalah as it has been developed within the Christian Hermetic Tradition, but Scholem gives you the history and application within the context of Jewish history, and it is much, much richer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SweetIsTheTruth View Post
    My question is, have you studied the Tarot at all? The reason I ask is because the Qabalah and Tarot are closely related. If you have some background in Tarot, you already have a foundation to study Qabalah. The reverse is true as well. Actually, all of these fields of study are related. Knowledge of numerology or astrology is helpful in learning Qabalah, just as it is helpful in learning Tarot.
    i absolutely agree, IF one is discussing the Hermetic Qaballa (which i study).

    but i think the distinction should be made between this system and the Rabbinical Kabbalah, which has little or nothing to do with such esoteric systems as the tarot.
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    Thank you all for you help, i'll definantly look into those, i've seen the Chicken Qabalah (although is he really a Rabbi?, as i heard he was a Thelmite).

    And, i've heard that Gershom Scholem is great, and i intend to get his books.

    Thanks again .

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    Plus the fact that some of Scholem's books are cheap, and I know cost is sometimes a factor for you. When you combine that with the thorough breadth of his scholarship, you will learn so much in even just one book of his that it really makes it worth the cost.

    To me, studying Kabbalah through magickal/hermetic systems without studying a perspective like Scholem is akin to learning all of one's shamanism from New Agers claiming to be using totally authentic Native American systems that for some reason don't really seem to match what the traditional Native Americans themselves are practicing.

    (I don't want to be implying any kind of disrespect towards hermetic uses of Kabbalah or Regardie's synthesis thereof ; only to point out that if one works within a tradition, especially a borrowed one, one ought to be familiar with its historical context.)
    Last edited by Carla O'Harris; December 15th, 2006 at 01:09 PM.
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    Practical Kaballa... hmmmm

    That would be up to the Co-Creater

    Alchemy...
    Quantum Physics


    that is how I see Practical Kaballa... How we apply the cosmic wisdom we RECIEVE while studying Qaballa,

    there are ALOT of Books out on Kaballa, Qaballa, Caballa etc...
    If you Really are realy serious about learning Practical Qaballa then you are in for Quite an Enjoyable Persuit!

    I have been studying Practical Qaballa
    Alchemy
    Quantum Physics
    Sacred Geometry

    Yeah, Try that course list on Professor Dumbledore heheh

    As far as Practical Qaballa, WHat it is to you will sorta depend on what other courses you are studying lol

    and I would be rambling.......
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