CONCERNING THE NATURAL BASIS OF
CORRESPONDENCES IN THE HEBREW ALPHABET.
The root meaning of the Qabalah being TO RECEIVE it is essential that we be willing to receive and to MAKE OUR OWN the roots of this teaching. If Mother earth were unwilling that the seed be properly planted in Her breast and that this seed should first of all put forth its roots into Her very being, we should not have the pleasure of seeing the Tree arising therefrom, which in due season delights us with its perfect fruits.
In the beginning of this study it is essential that the Student be receptive, and more, that he do all in his power to plant firmly the first seeds of this “Tree” in his own mind. The process may be a little dry and tedious but it is of primary importance that the details of the Plan be MEMORIZED. This is possibly the chief reason why in the early times the Qabalah was transmitted from Mouth to Far and not in writing, for it only BEARS FRUIT in so far as it is first rooted in our minds. We may read of it, study it to some extent, juggle with it on paper, and so on, but NOT UNTIL the mind itself takes on the Image of the Tree and we are able to go, mentally from Branch to Branch, Correspondence to Correspondence, visualizing the process and thus making it a LIVING TREE, do we find that the LIGHT of TRUTH dawns upon us, and we have, as it were, succeeded in putting forth a shoot above the Earth, thus - as in the case of a young tree - finding ourselves in a new World, while yet our roots are firmly planted in our natural element.
The writer has learned this from experience. At first he could make nothing out of what seemed an unintelligible mass of Correspondences. He absorbed some of them gradually, almost subconsciously, until after a while he began seriously to trace up one set of Correspondences. This led to further investigation. Then he tried to explain what little he knew to another, and this, as always, bore fruit, for we are often prepared to go to much greater trouble to explain an idea, than we should be willing to give to the matter for our own use. It was not until later still that the TREE began TO LIVE in him. He then found that he had been storing up the seeds of a wonderful System and that, suddenly these took almost independent life. A wonderful vista opened up, he realized that his work had not been in vain, but that which had been conceived in silence and darkness came forth a Living Child of the Light. This Child, was in a mystical sense, HIMSELF since he had began to HARMONIZE the MICROCOSM with THE MACROCOSM and to learn the truth of the sole Hermetic Dogma “That which is above is like unto that which is below.”
It is for this reason that you are urged to make these things a part of your own consciousness as early as possible, and to do so step by step as we proceed, for if you only succeed in grasping firmly the Elements of the System, you will be able to add to it for yourselves as time and experience allows.
I, who am trying to transmit what little I have grasped, am confining myself to what is already rooted in me. I shall use no books of reference while writing this, it being my intention only to give what comes readily to mind, what actually flows forth without effort. For the Qabalah is, if I may say so, a LIQUID SYSTEM. The shape of the vessel is, so to speak, shown in the “ Tree” but its Stability is insured by its Change and the Influence which connects the Sephiroth must flow readily from one to another, changing as it goes, forming new combinations of ideas, and these, in turn, giving place to others which become more and more synthetic until, finally, they all merge again into the ONE.
The HEBREW alphabet is a natural basis of correspondences for every letter is NUMERICAL as well as SYMBOLICAL.
The Ten Sephiroth, to which we have already given some attention, are numbered according to the decimal system from 1 to 10. We have now to deal with the “Twenty-two Paths” which connect these Sephiroth and, as in the former instance we took for a basis of all Correspondences Pure Numbers, so the basic natures of the Paths are referred to the TWENTY-TWO LETTERS of the Hebrew Alphabet, which in turn, have a certain numerical value.
Those who are not acquainted with the SHAPES of the Hebrew letters, will find it essential to memorize them carefully, but that is not a difficult task, although it may deter some, who do not recognize the importance of having this system IN MIND rather than on paper.
For the sake of clearness on this point it is worth while to spend a little time on the study of the shape of these letters, so as to fix them more firmly in mind. It may cheer the reader, who enters upon this study for the first time, if I remark that the system here given out does not require a knowledge of the HEBREW LANGUAGE; the Alphabet, with its Correspondences and a few Important WORDS are all that is essential. [Transcriber's note: see the scanned table at the end of this chapter.]
The second letter BETH is formed . The shape of this letter should be carefully considered. Notice the broad line at the top tapering off on the right as it nears the base and that the broad base line projects slightly past the vertical line. I mention these details since there are other letters in the alphabet very like Beth in shape, or so they seem at first, till we have grasped the characteristic details which distinguish one from another. Its NUMERICAL VALUE is TWO.
The Third Letter called GIMEL is formed . Here again we should pay attention to its shape. It is Narrower than the previous letters, but of the same height. Notice the little rectangular piece at the base, not quite connected with the vertical line. Its NUMERICAL value is THREE.
The Fifth Letter is known as Heh and is formed . Notice that the right-hand vertical line is a continuation of the thick upper line, but that the left-hand stroke of the letter is slightly separated from the upper horizontal line. Numerically it is FIVE.
The Eighth Letter is CHETH (pronounced HETH), it is formed . This is very like the letter Heh, but notice the slight projections of the upper line to the right and the fact that the left vertical line meets the upper line. Its Numerical value is EIGHT.
The Tenth Letter is YOD formed like a simple dot . This is said to be the basic letter of the whole alphabet and is very sacred for many reasons. It forms the characteristic parts of many of the other letters. Its value is TEN.
The Eleventh Letter KAPH is shaped . Note the similarity to Beth the 2nd letter, the difference being that the lines form a continuous curve and there is not the projection at right of base as in Beth. Note also the Numerical value is TWENTY. (This letter has what is called a “final form” used when it comes at the end of a word. It is then shaped:
and has a numerical value of 500.)
The Thirteenth Letter is MEM, . Do not confuse it with Teth. Its Numerical value is FORTY. This also has a “final” form. It is then written , but usually wider than the other letters so as not to cause confusion with one of the others called Samech. Its value is 600 when final.
The Fourteenth Letter is NUN, . It is a narrow letter and this helps to distinguish it from Kaph, but care should be taken to avoid confusion with GIMEL. Its value is FIFTY. (Final form: = 700 must not be confused with Vau.)
The Eighteenth Letter is TzADDI, . Note the resemblance to Ayin, but in this case the tail proceeds from the left-hand upper dot and the righthand dot is connected with it. Its value is NINETY. (Final = 900.)
The Twenty-second Letter is called TAU and is formed . Notice the difference between Tau, Heh and Cheth. In this case we find the left hand vertical line ends in a distinct “foot” and that it joins the top thick line. Its value is FOUR HUNDRED.
This brief description of the letters will, I trust, be useful and save confusion. We see that the Numerical values of the letters and finals give the possibility of expressing any number up to 999 by means of these Symbols. When larger numbers were necessary the letters were made LARGER so that a Large Aleph would be not One but ONE THOUSAND and so on.
I have at present made no mention of the ENGLISH equivalents as I sought to emphasize the likenesses and differences between the Hebrew letters themselves. The English correspondences will be found in the Summary Table at the end of this Chapter.
We have now to learn the SYMBOLIC meaning of the letters, for each Letter of the Hebrew, besides being a NUMBER also represents a WORD.
For instance the letter (Aleph) can be spelled in full in Hebrew Aleph, Lamed, Peh or ALP. This word means An OX, so that we say = an Ox. The Hebrew spelling of each letter in full is important for future study so I give this as well as the Meaning of each Word or Letter in the following Table, which should be carefully studied and memorized.