Introduction To The Qabalah

“Nothing is a secret key of this law. Sixty-one the Jews call it; I call it eight, Eighty, four hundred & eighteen.” –Liber AL I:46

It is hard to pinpoint the exact date of the creation or the origin of the Qabalah; however, the earliest qabalistic manuscript in our custody is called the Sepher Yetzirah, otherwise known as the Book of Formation. This text is thought to have been compiled from much older manuscripts around 120 AD, by a man called Rabbi Akiba.

The most crucial book to the study of the Qabalah is called the Zohar. Moses de Leon did not pen this manuscript until the late 13th century, and yet it serves as the most significant treatise connecting Gnosticism with other ancient mystical systems.

The Qabalah is unique to Hebraic though. Traditionally, it is thought that the teachings were brought out of Egypt by the Israelites. During the Babylonian captivity the Israelites borrowed from the Chaldeans the use of numerology we call “gematria.” It is worth mentioning here that the Biblical hero named “Moses” was raised as an Egyptian and was taught the mysteries of that race of people. Later his own clan versed him in Hebrew mysticism. Perhaps it was the combination of both those systems which enabled him to become such a powerful figure in history.

According to ancient Hebraic tradition, God Himself first disclosed the Qabalah to the angels. When man was taken out of Eden, God allowed the archangel Ratziel (the archangel of Wisdom) to divulge its secrets to the human race as a means for them to find their way back to the Paradise they had lost.

Again, the Qabalah is unique to Hebraic thought, and as you will notice, it uses a lot of Hebraic language and symbolism. However, we will not limit its use by dwelling too much on the dogmatic aspects of this ancient system.

The reasons for ignoring dogma is quite simple; the Hebraic faith has used this model for quite some time, and the impressions from the thousands who have meditated on the symbols are there for us to access. During the centuries, especially during the medieval era, the Qabalah was widely dispersed throughout Europe. Magicians and their apprentices of every school of thought have meditated upon its symbols, adding to it the archetypes unique to their systems. For this reason the Qabalah is richer in metaphysical wisdom than ever.

The qabalistic icon we call the “Tree of Life” is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament. This tree contains ten fruits called the “Sephiroth” (emanations). These have been referred to as “the ten faces of God”; and since humans were created in the image of God, the Tree of Life is a metaphor for the body of man (see illustration on page 11).

These ten emanations are symbols that illustrate the vigor and power of the creative energy inherent in the first sphere, Kether, the Crown, moving as swiftly as a lightning flash, changing with every step through the ten varying phases which come to completion at the tenth sphere of Malkuth, the Kingdom. It attempts to describe the creation of the Universe, and those who have studied science will have to admit that, as primitive as it may be, it serves as a basic symbol illustrating the “big bang” theory. These spheres are connected by 22 Paths. The Paths correspond to the Tarot’s Major Arcana.

In a way, the Sephiroth attempt to describe certain traits of the Most High, or the Universe … or both. They are here listed in order from the Beginning to the End:

1. Kether: Crown. The whole of Creation concentrated to a minuscule point
2. Chokmah: Wisdom
3. Binah: Understanding
4. Chesed: Mercy
5. Geburah: Power
6. Tiphareth: Beauty
7. Netzach: Victory
8. Hod: Splendor
9. Yesod: Foundation
10. Malkuth: Kingdom

The union of Kether, Chokmah, and Binah illustrates the manifestation of the Universe. This merger composes the “Supernal Triad,” which is often referred to as “God” (Elohim) in Genesis. The remaining seven Sephiroth represent the seven days of creation also spoken about in the legend of Genesis.

The Hebrew Qabalah is liberally used throughout four of the five books attributed to Moses. The reason for its very limited use in Deuteronomy is unknown.

In magick the Qabalah is used as a filing system where one can synthesize any phenomenon whatsoever, no matter how abstract, and break it down into terms which can be understood by the logical mind.

Another use for this system is that it enables us to tap into the forces and currents symbolized by the particular symbol we are working with. The magician looks up the correspondences to the Sephiroth and uses the information to invoke that particular current.

This use of qabalistic correspondences is a science that has been created on the premise that there is an existing inherent relationship between planets, metals, stones, animals, flora, colors, and aroma. The implements, tools, incense, and colors that the magician uses will thus be in some way connected with the Sephiroth which best conveys his or her Will. This will be explained later in more detail later.

Since the alchemists perceived illness to be caused by a planetary imbalance, this system was also used widely to find cures for the ill. The cures were created by balancing energies from the planet that was responsible for the disease and using the herbs and potions attributed to the Sephirah representing the opposite planet on the Tree of Life, thus, finding balance.

While the Qabalah is not essential to magick, it will help you to understand associated phenomena. It is a system of correspondences that enables us to encounter the macrocosm by close scrutiny of the microcosm: “As above, so below.”

The Qabalah used in magick bears very little resemblance to the Qabalah practiced by early Jews. Its influence on the medieval practitioner was that it enabled the magician to have some conscious control of how the unconscious mind will store and retrieve data by providing a perfect filing system. This was a major breakthrough and a giant step forward for those individuals who dared to explore the darkest recesses of the human mind. Magicians from all schools embraced this technology and added to it symbols and attributions unique to their systems. The destruction of the obstacles that keep the conscious and unconscious from working together in harmony has been a preoccupation throughout the ages as it is now. The important thing to remember about the Qabalah is that the way it communicates to the Higher Self will greatly depend on how intimate one is with the information attributed to the Sephiroth.

Regardless of what methods are employed, one must first find a philosophy that resonates with the inner nature of the Magician. For the Rosicrucian it is Mystical Christianity, to the Thelemite it is the message of Aiwass.

The first approach is to familiarize one self with the methodology of the Qabalah until one understands why the ideas and symbols placed upon the tree fit and network the way that they do. By its use and study you will begin to see patterns, and will realize that the placement of a particular symbol or archetype in question is validated and supported by the surrounding Sephiroth. It is like trying to assemble a puzzle containing the essence of the whole universe using the pieces already in place to verify whether the next piece you place will be in harmony with the rest of the puzzle. You then simply use the symbols already in place, whether Roman, Greek, Hindu, etc. to see how they apply to the philosophy and archetypes you have embraced.

In other words, after studying and understanding the system as laid out by our predecessors, the student applies the symbols which are most harmonious to their own inner nature. If these are properly arranged they will be faster and more powerful when employed. However, one must be careful not to alter the infrastructure of the system; it works like no other, and the wrong manipulation could alter its effectiveness so as to hamper the ability to communicate to the mind. These kinds of operations seem to appeal to magicians because of their inquisitive nature: they are not happy with the knowledge that something works, but must find out why. This application must be approached using the methods of science.

Magicians must learn to view “Tradition” in its proper context. The function of tradition in magick is to ensure the continuance of viable, workable systems: not their dogma. Because the Qabalah has been so enriched by our forerunners, the magician's mind is capable of evolving much faster than ever before. It is ridiculous to assume that we would evolve beyond the achievements (and shortcomings) of our predecessors unless we added our own, personal, unique symbolism to the Tree of Life.

To quote the psychoanalyst Carl Jung: “We can never legitimately cut loose from our archetypal foundations unless we are prepared to pay the price of a neurosis, any more than we can rid ourselves from our body and its organs without committing suicide. If we cannot deny the archetypes or otherwise neutralize them, we are confronted, at every new stage in the differentiation of consciousness to which civilization attains, with the task of finding a new interpretation appropriate to this stage, in order to connect the life of the past that still exists in us with the life of the present, which threatens to slip away.”

I believe that the Qabalistic system is perfect: it works. The beauty of the Tree of Life is that familiarity with one Sephiroth will yield clues pertaining to the qualities of its neighboring Sephirah, and the Paths. Therefore, the student should not strive to replace these symbols, but new compatible symbols should be added. What is a symbol? A representation or model capable of depicting something unknown.

Those that come after us will equally benefit from our experiences, until they too find themselves having to attribute their own unique deities to this glyph. This is evolution at work; and hopefully, those with the “right stuff” will create new myths that will propel the species into a harmonious future.

I am not implying that the works of Fortune, Mathers or Crowley are worthless: it is virtually impossible to speak in qabalistic terms without referring to their correspondences. Their work and efforts have given us a treasure house of knowledge pertaining to the mechanics of the system AND hidden truths of the philosophies they embraced, while also providing a universal language that all Qabalists can use to communicate abstract ideas. How else could master magicians instruct their apprentices without divulging their own justifications and methods? We stand on the shoulders of giants.

One should work with the available literature to familiarize oneself with the process. The information in Crowley's Liber 777, for example, is an excellent instructional manual which illustrates the methods and reasons Crowley attributed specific gods to the ideas and symbols of the Sephiroth, and one should learn the method of association. This not only involves mastery over the Qabalistic system, but also the study of the world's mythologies, and using the ones that are most harmonious with the character of the Magician.

Also, keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with combining mythologies. In the past, many cultures have either openly borrowed or taken by force, the customs, traditions and habits from neighboring societies and attributed to them different names. They have simply taken the archetypal form symbolized by a particular god, and have renamed it the name of a deity with a similar nature.

The Greeks borrowed from the Egyptians, the Romans from the Greeks, and so on. Often, the names were not even changed; much less their attributions. Some are so similar that it overwhelms the mind to keep them separate. A glance into the study of historical mythology will make one aware of the similarity between some of the Greek and Roman Deities.

If you are interested in developing your own system of correspondences, you will have to study the mythologies of the world. There are many untouched mythologies for magicians with a pioneering spirit: Phoenician, Celtic, Teutonic, Slavonic, Persian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese; and African deities, for those who prefer Voodon Magick. There is even a tireless group of individuals working a system of English Qabalah.

All religions maintain a sparkle of universal truth in their symbology; one may borrow from as many as is practical to the end desired. The modern magician should feel free, as the Romans and Greeks have, to unite as many systems as one feels is needed to personalize their own Qabalah. The only rule is to make sure that one places the deity in its proper place and that it is polarized by their counterparts so that the ones surrounding it do not negate the placement of one deity. Errors will be easily recognized when the system is tested, and the discrepancies are not capable of being reconciled.

Many magicians understand the need for evolution of Magick. Much new work is already underway, and we will start to see many authors publishing the qabalistic significance of Santeria and Voodon archetypes. Much work has begun in the area of Rune Magick, and a brand new system of English Qabalah is well under way. As a result, those who are familiar with qabalistic principles will finally be able to exploit those systems, and I think that we can predict the increase of interest in those fields as magicians learn to understand these ideas in qabalistic terms.

If you are a purist, simply study the myth that works best for you, and start attributing its deities to their proper place on the Tree of Life. Keep notes on WHY you placed them there: the flaws and imperfections will become visible through your practices. Record your trials and errors in your magical diary until your system becomes a perfect extension of who you are.

The magician must maintain distaste for dogma and the stagnation it creates in psycho/spiritual evolution. This attitude in magick is as crucial as skepticism. There are few students who dare to step beyond the normal excepted methods of attribution because just about every conceivable method has been exploited and published only to be taken as “gospel truth.” Many of the best examples of outdated traditions can be found in the Bible.

Like all Holy Books, the objective of the Bible was to incorporate the traditions associated with a particular society and combine it with a supernatural purpose in order to chart and insure the survival of the community it represented. It is a survival book for a race of people; imparting a knowledge and systematic life style specifically designed to preserve and protect the evolutionary struggle of a culture trying to rise above the norm. The other factor most Holy Books have in common is the “us versus them” syndrome. This is where the deity dictating the book divulges the information that they are better than the surrounding folk, and that God only favors them. Usually some instruction is given as to how to deal with the heathens, and violence is justified in the name of God. In short, the people who opposed a particular belief, philosophy, or religion opposed the way of life it represented.

There have been people who did not possess warrior like skills, or the organizational skills to conquer or prevent from being conquered. Their Holy Books do not tolerate violence of any sort; even in self-defense. This is also a survival formula… albeit, not a very effective one. So what happens after technology surpasses the Holy Book? What shall we do once our capacity to rise above and beyond the ideas represented by its morality reveals that the teachings are no longer valid and are therefore untrue? Should we close our eyes to common sense or forsake the laws of nature for the benefit of Tradition? Must we sacrifice or retard our own development as a species? Or should we apply what we have learned to a changing world?

The attitudes toward human sexuality in the Old AND “New” Testaments illustrate how useless, and sometimes destructive Dogma and Tradition can be to human development. Morality laws that attempt to regulate our erotic natures are no longer applicable. Biblically, any sexual act whose practice failed to produce fruit (workers) threatened the survival of that race.

Similar objections are found throughout The Torah pertaining to the eating certain types of food. In short, any behavior that did not contribute to the benefit the whole community was prohibited. These policies were to insure the perpetuation and survival of the community.

The world has currently reached its capacity. It is no more advantageous to criticize sexual practices which are nonconductive to human reproduction than it is to prohibit the consumption of pork; and yet, because of tradition the Christian churches still prohibits the use of birth control, or sex education.

Like all living things, religion must be capable of adapting to new circumstances as man's knowledge increases. The evolution of the human race depends on mythologies that are malleable and pragmatic. Dogma is an intoxicating, often fatal cocktail, composed mainly of a paradigm with a twist of tyranny and a splash of fanaticism.

All holy books contain Truths: Truth is ALWAYS faithful, it is unchanging and omnipresent, it is only the understanding of that Truth which changes as we evolve. I do not believe abandoning the older Holy Books is the answer: We must simply reinterpret them using what we know of the Universe, Nature and the human race today. Truth is an ever becoming.

The principles in new religion must be adamant about rejecting the old, expired thoughts that did not stand the test of time. It must also be flexible enough to embrace the principles and truths of previous disciplines that still continue to push us forwards towards perfection. I perceive Thelema as such as system.

Many teachers (some called Adepts) discourage individuality and stifle the creativity of their students until they become part of the “herd mentality” in the magical community. This is a great injustice to the Art of Magick, as some of the greatest potential discoveries are nipped in the bud before they can yield fruit.

The purpose of the following treatise is to encourage exploration and to display the process without reaching ANY conclusion; and although these ideas, principles, symbols, and archetypes are functional as they stand, they are here implied solely as guidelines. The mysteries embodied in Religion and Philosophy are encrypted in order to keep what is sacred safely out of reach of foreigners and heathens with contradicting ideas. I have found the Qabalah to be an encryption and decryption key, which when used properly will yield many wonders, including a peek into race consciousness of the people which created the philosophy you are exploring. I cannot over emphasize the tremendous power of the Qabalah once it has been individualized by the use of personal archetypes.

The magician's greatest assets are his or her imagination, conviction, dedication, endurance commitment; and a healthy dose of skepticism. Often, Magicians will use intangible concepts by assigning them to mythological ideas or Gods in order to achieve a desired result. These ideas will serve to communicate to the specific part of the psyche these archetypes represent. That one BELIEVES THEM is IMPERATIVE to the success of the operation.

There must be no doubt in the Magician's mind as to whether or not he or she believes in these ideas. If the Magician “stops and asks why” the operation is doomed. If one spends too much time thinking about whether or not the effect will occur Lust of Result will set in. You must not only believe in the intangibles you have created, but must KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that the desired result will occur.

And herein lies a dangerous curb in our Path: Voluntary mental irregularity is relatively harmless to well-balanced individuals who have practiced Magick for many years.

Because these mental states are self-induced, and due to mental and physical preparation of the mind and body, one is ready for the journey. Most importantly, well-prepared magicians never lose track of the fact that what they believe is a PARADIGM. One must never forget that one is accepting those intangibles as truths for the convenience of getting a desired effect.

A Magician whose intellect will not let them go long enough to create the necessary “scenario” in order to perform their magick is in very little danger of falling over the edge; but their magick will simply not work: it takes something much more powerful than reason.

Magicians who achieve successful results only do so because their myth has become A LIVING THING. They have breathed life into it by virtue of belief, conviction and much Work. Once this is accomplished, the Magician has found the foundation on which to base his life's Work.

My intention is to present the curious reader with a system of correspondences illustrating the mechanics of the Qabalah, while simultaneously providing a practical manual for magicians who intend on using these correspondences for the purpose of performing practical magick.

This necessitated arranging it in a condensed format that would serve both readers, arming the practical magician with a reference he or she can use in ritual.

Simply turn to the pages intended for the sephirah that best encompass the end desired. The magician then uses the correspondences pertaining to the sephirah in order to inundate the Temple (and the psyche) with the appropriate incense, plants, stones, weapons, squares, etc.

The following books are recommended reading:

The Mystical Qabalah
Dion Fortune
1979, Ernest Benn Limited

Godwin's Qabalistic Encyclopedia
David Godwin
1994, Llewellyn

777 and other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley also
Aleister Crowley
1986, Samuel Weiser

The Sepher Yetzirah

Zohar: The Book of Splendor
Gershom Scholem
1963, Schoken Books

A Garden of Pomegranates
Israel Regardie
1986, Llewellyn

One more thing: A word about Balance.

Much has been said in magical circles pertaining to Hod and Netzach: Intellect and Emotion. This is probably due to the fact that the first obvious polarity people encounter on the Path is that of Reason and Intuition. Much good advice is given as to how to coexist with people of one or the other inclination. It seems as though it has become a subject worthy of much controversy, and for good reason. Hod could be seen as Law and Netzach as Love: Science and Art.

That familiar quote from Liber Al vel Legis: “Let one not know well the other” has become the favorite form of justification for those who are too lazy to find Balance; it helps them to perpetuate the myth that these opposites cannot or should not be reconciled. I have heard it mentioned that “practical Magick is, by nature, a Hod activity”. This may be true, in the qabalistic sense, when specific functions are assigned to the sephiroth for the purpose of scrutiny; but to say that magick can work without emotional juice is not only false, but purposely misleading.

Crowley's interpretation of Magick is as follows: “The Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with Will”. Science obviously alluding to Hod and Art to Netzach. Meditation on the “Art” Tarot card will reveal this and many other mysteries; as both principles are therein embodied. While Magick has much to offer to those who are adept in Mathematics, Geometry, Qabalah, Astrology, etc., it has just as much to offer to those who move instinctively and are sensitive to the energies and images around them, those adept at Tarot, I-Ching, and other methods of divination. They rely not so much on the Hod activity we call “Intellectual Knowledge”, but trust in the inner voice of the Beloved to guide them through life, shape the clay, guide the brush, and provide the lyrical content for words of Wisdom.

Music serves us as a perfect model, as it is a child resulting from the Unity between Science and Art. Music is defined and created by following certain mathematical principles. Without knowledge of mathematics music becomes random noise, incapable of stirring the emotions. This is a Hod function. Without the sublime Understanding of the function of sound and its effects on the brain and nervous system music becomes two-dimensional, boring, incapable of holding our attention; a poor form of expressing love, joy, sadness, anger, etc.

The emotional nature of music is Netzach's contribution. Ignore the mathematical aspects of Hod and you get noise. Ignore the intuitional expression of Netzach and your music will lack depth and emotional content. Balance is the basis of the Work. Those of us who are intellectual by nature, should aspire to use this Hod function to stimulate the emotional aspects of Netzach. Failing to do so would make us cold, calculated and callused, incapable of feeling the subtle energies stimulated by our Magick. Nothing more than a thinking machine, unable to hear The Voice within because it does not fit our “logical mold.” One could be lost in Its simplicity.

On the other hand, those of us who are of an emotional nature should use this Netzach purpose and employ it to stir the discriminating genius within us all. Should we fail to accomplish this task we run the risk of becoming little more than foolish idiots, gullible to the point of abuse and superstitious to the level schizophrenia. We would not recognize The Voice of The Beloved or the intricacy of Its language, thereby falling prey to the Demons of deceit.

I would suggest that what is needed is an unshakable scrutiny and skepticism, the wisdom to know when to toss all of that aside when it is advantageous, and the strength to do it. It is far healthier for individuals to be intellectually and emotionally balanced, than to justify ones lack of balance by attaching oneself to groups who over-emphasize the point of balance within the group as a whole. If you remember nothing else you have read in these pages, always keep in mind that Thelemic Magick is a system whose highest regard is for the individual. Dion Fortune made a brilliant observation which describes the need for balance: “The purely female woman and purely male man proved to be oversexed as judged by civilized standards, and can only find an appropriate place in primitive societies, where fertility is the primary demand that society makes upon its women, and hunting and fishing are the constant occupation of the men.” Remember: specialization is for insects.

Those of you that may be practicing Thelemic Magick in groups: remember that from a magical point of view, the amount and quality of the energy you are going to generate as a group will be much more powerful, and much more sane if your members are encouraged towards intellectual and emotional balance, than if you try to adjust the lack of it by enrolling equal numbers of members who may be lacking one of these qualities. Thelema is primarily concerned with the growth of the individual, not the masses.

I hope that the following information will provide the necessary foundation on which to begin your magical studies; and that whatever path you chose will lead you to the accomplishment of your True Will: The Great Work.

KETHER
Meaning: The Crown
God Name: Eheihe
Image: Ancient Bearded King (in profile)
Titles: Existence of Existence
Concealed of Concealed
Ancients of Ancients
Primordial Point
The Point Within
The Circle Most High
Macroprosopos
LVX Occulta
LVX Interna
Archangel: Metatron
Order of Angels: Chaioth ha Qadesh, Holy Living Creatures.
Spiritual Experience: Union with God
Virtue: Completion of The Great Work
Vice: NONE
Human Chakra: The Cranium
Magical Weapons: The Crown
The Point
The Swastika
Incense and/or Oil: Ambergris
Precious Stones: The Diamond
The Plants: Almond Flower
Tarot Cards: The Four Aces

Kether is the only sephirah that manifests from an unknowable source: the Veils of Negative Existence. Kether IS, however, understood through an experience the Hindu Adepts refer to as Samadhi.

It is pure being; timeless; being totally devoid of form because it exists above Binah; which is Time; and Chockmah, which is Form. It is one degree removed from non-existence. The other Sephiroth are more removed from non-existence as we get closer to Malkuth. Because it is without form, it exceeds the laws of manifestation: it is without reaction. It does not conform to any of the criteria we use to define existence. It is presence. It is the cause of manifestation, but not the manifested.

Existence is measured by its opposite: Kether has no opposite that we can measure it against, and therefore, one can only know its functions according to its connection to the other Sephiroth.

The other Sephiroth are only extensions of Kether. It is easy to understand this whole premise if we view Kether as the source of Light. As the Light moves away from The Source the vibrations of that Light decreases, until upon reaching Malkuth that Light is so dense that it appears to be solid.

The Crown was attributed to Kether to illustrate the fact that it is beyond consciousness: The Crown is worn ABOVE the head. That is why the Mundane Chakra is the Cranium; the uppermost part of the human head.

The Adepts have said: “Kether is of our cosmos, but not in it.” This indicates that those that attain to its influence exist in a state beyond duality, which occurs in everyday life, and are able to rise above the senses and experience the perfection of the Universal condition. It is the source of all Magical Energy, which specializes as it moves through the lower sephiroth; and Dion Fortune has warned that anyone who misuses this energy, by using it against Universal or Natural Law will pay accordingly by losing the corresponding energy from their own Being. Kether has always been associated with the terrible gods that consume their own children because the universe emanates from it, and is eventually reabsorbed by it.

CHOKMAH
Meaning: Wisdom
God Name: Jehovah
Image: A Bearded Male Figure
Titles: Abba
Supernal Father
YHVH
Yod
Archangel: Ratziel
Order of Angels: Auphanim, Wheels
Spiritual Experience: The Vision of God; Face to Face
Virtue: Devotion
Vice: NONE
Human Chakra: Left side of the face
Magical Weapons: The Lingam
The Phallus
The Yod of YHVH
Inner Robe of Glory
The Standingstone
The Tower
The Uplifted Rod of Power
The Straight Line
Incense and/or Oil: Musk
The Precious Stones: The Star Ruby
The Plants: Amaranth Flower Mistletoe
Tarot Cards: The Four Twos
Wands (Fire): Dominion
Cups (Water): Love
Swords (Air): Peace
Disks (Earth): Change

Notes on Chokmah

Kether is The Point; and since a point in motion would look like a Straight Line, it was chosen as an appropriate symbol to illustrate Chokmah's relation to Kether.

Because Chokmah is the “giver of life” we find it on the right side of the Tree of Life called: “The Pillar of Mercy.” The image of the bearded male is to signify virility. It is the vessel for Kether's influence, and symbolizes the beginning of life and its transition towards matter. It is the archetypal Father: active, positive force.

The Sephir Yetzirah states that Chokmah is pure being and not a thing in itself; and after reading about Kether one may think that this is a contradiction. This further connects it to Kether: Chokmah is Kether at the precise moment of being and not-being: Chaos.

Kether is energy, Chokmah is the conduit for the passing energy, the influx of cosmic fuel, and; as we will later see, Binah is a reservoir which stores and catalyzes the energy.

BINAH
Meaning: Understanding
God Name: YHVH Elohim
Image: The Crone; A Mature Woman
Titles: Ama: Dark Sterile Mother
Aima: Bright Fertile Mother
Khorsia: The Throne
Marah: The Great Sea
Archangel: Taphkiel
Order of Angels: Aralim, Thrones.
Spiritual Experience: Vision of Sorrow
Virtue: Silence
Vice: Covetousness
Greed
Avarice
Human Chakra: The Right Side of The Face
Magical Weapons: The Yoni
The Keteis
The Chalice
The Outer Robe of Concealment
Incense and/or Oil: Myrrh or Civet
The Precious Stones: The Star Sapphire
The Pearl
The Plants: The Cypress
The Opium Poppy
The Lotus
The Lily
Alchemical Metal: Lead
Tarot Cards: The Four Threes
Wands (Fire): Virtue
Cups (Water): Abundance
Daggers (Air): Sorrow
Disks (Earth): Works

3 – SATURN

[4][9][2]
[3][5][7]
[8][1][6]

Notes on Binah

Binah is The Primordial Mother, and therefore represents The creative forces of The Universe. She is The Cosmic Womb, The Universal Vagina; Babalon. Binah is Negative:

Form. Chokmah is Positive: energy. Binah is the fertile soil, and Chokmah is the seed. The title of those that attain to Binah is “Magister Templi”, and it is their duty to “tend the garden.”

She introduces energy to solid matter, which subjects it to death: Hence the name “Terrible Mother.” Because disembodied spirits are immortal and only through incarnation life experiences death, Buddhist and Christians have unjustly sneered at Binah.

Because the planet Saturn has been attributed here, the uninitiated have given to her the titles Set, Shaitan, and Satan. And because all creations are subjected to the influence of time, Christianity in its vulgar form (as it exists today) views woman as the source of all evil: the enemy of the omnipotent spirit of man (Chokmah). Form is the discipline of energy, and it is for this reason that she is placed at the head of The Pillar of Severity. Death is a byproduct of sex, and it is implicit in birth: the Angel of Death is with from the very beginning of our physical lives. Astrologers cringe at the thought of Saturn making a come back into their charts.

In the Qabalah, all sephiroth are equally holy, and Binah is perceived as the function which has allowed everything below it to participate in this thing we call life. Binah is a necessity for evolution: She is the essence of Kether taking form. She is the beginning of all matter that is not realized until Malkuth. This is further illustrated by the fact that The Universe tarot card connects Binah (Saturn) to Malkuth. The Sephir Yetzirah also tells us that Malkuth is the Daughter of Binah.

Binah represents faith: faith as described by a “knowing” which is beyond words. A feeling not yet intellectualized, as in unexplained emotional reactions.

She is the Virgin Mary of the Christian faiths. She maintains her virginity because she is not concerned with the life of her creation. She remains pure by virtue of the fact that she performs her function according to her nature: like all the other sephiroth, she does her True Will. In this context, a prostitute who is so because she is doing her Will, is much more “pure” than a chaste woman whose nature is unbridled passion. Impurity is a loss of control, a straying from ones True Path that can only be corrected by self-knowledge. Impurity comes from the phenomena of attempting to override ones own inner nature. Celibacy and sex are recognized as tools to achieve God Consciousness.

In her opus, The Mystical Qabalah, Dion Fortune states: “Frigidity and impotence are imperfections just as is uncontrollable lust, which destroys itself as well as its object. Reproduction is a sacred process, and the ancients referred to it with reverence.” Hence, the creative process of Binah is not evil, but necessary to the evolution of the spirit, which is symbolized by the rest of the Tree.

CHESED
Meaning: Mercy
God Name: El
Image: A King Upon A Throne
Titles: Gedulah: Love
Majesty
Archangel: Tzadkiel
Order of Angels: Chasmalim, Brilliant Ones.
Spiritual Experience: Vision Of Love
Virtue: Obedience
Vice: Bigotry
Hypocrisy
Tyranny
Human Chakra: The Left Arm
Magical Weapons: The Pyramid
Tetrahedron
Wand, Scepter & Crook
Incense and/or Oil: Cedarwood
The Precious Stones: Lapis Lazuli
Amethyst
Sapphire
The Plants: The Olive
The Four Leaf Clover
The Opium Poppy
Alchemical Metal: Tin
Tarot Cards: The Four Fours
Wands (Fire): Completion
Cups (Water): Luxury
Swords (Air): Truce
Disks (Earth): Power

4 - JUPITER

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Notes on Chesed

“Chesed contains all the Holy Powers, and from it emanates all Spiritual Virtues with the most exalted essences.” –Sephir Yetzirah

The Tarot trump The Hierophant best describes Chesed's functions: It represents control in both, secular and religious matters; it is therefore often invoked to achieve favorable rulings in court. It receives direct influence from Binah; Understanding, and it is this influence that makes Chesed so benevolent.

Christian mystics place Jehovah upon this Sephirah because it encompasses the attributions given to their God: The Vision of Love, Obedience, etc. We can also see how the vices manifest upon that belief system when it is interpreted crudely: Bigotry, Hypocrisy, and Tyranny.

Dion Fortune speculated that if a Magician should reach Tiphareth without attaining, or progressing to Chesed, he or she would find Jesus: the Personal Savior, in the sphere of the Sun and demand that others do the same. The magician is in danger of interpreting the phenomena of Tiphareth AS Kether, rather than a manifestation OF Kether.

Chesed is generous, like the King who has so much of everything it is willing to give eagerly to those in need. Since Chesed is the first Sephirah below the Supernals, it represents the formulation of Divine ideas into concrete terms; hence its attribution to the Hierophant.

Because of this closeness to the Supernals, Magicians who have attained to the Sphere of Chesed are capable of glimpses into “The Big Picture.” Because of this awareness, we are told that they have escaped the bounds of physical reality: the bonds of Birth, Life and Death: and capable of choosing not to incarnate. This is misleading because of the suggestion that one has achieved perfection, but being below the Supernals demands a certain amount of imperfection: a human quality one transcends when rising beyond the Abyss and attains pure consciousness.

Magicians who attain to Chesed are able to interpret the archetypal symbols emanated from the Supernals the same way that mathematicians interpret algebraic models. “Obedience” here is referred to as the ability to recognize the obvious: that in order to attain to the higher principles defined by the Supernals one must push aside the Ego, or in this case, the wishful thinking of what things are or what one imagines them to be in order to receive or interpret the archetypal images and ideas for what they truly are. It is a sacrifice of the freedom which is not conductive to the attainment one desires.

GEBURAH
Meaning: Severity
God Name: Elohim Gebur
Image: A Warrior on A Chariot
Titles: Din: Justice
Pachad: Fear
Archangel: Khamael
Order of Angels: Seraphim, Fiery Serpents
Spiritual Experience: Vision of Power, Strength
Virtue: Energy
Courage
Vice: Cruelty
Destruction
Human Chakra: The Right Arm
Magical Weapons: The Pentagon
The Five Petaled Rose
The Sword
The Spear
The Scourge & Chain
The Precious Stones: The Ruby
The Plants: The Oak
Hickory
The Stinging Nettle
Alchemical Metal: Iron
Incense and/or Oil: Tobacco
Tarot Cards: The Four Fives
In Wands (Fire): Strife
In Cups (Water): Disappointment
In Swords (Air): Defeat
In Disks (Earth): Worry

5 - MARS

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Notes on Geburah

“Since this is the most misunderstood of all the sephiroth it is the most important.” – Dion Fortune

Traditionally, Geburah has been a subject of much controversy because it represents the Ego, the sex drive, and the destruction of the useless. Because Christianity failed to recognize the necessity of these functions they were dubbed evil, and so was the sephirah that represented them: at best, they perceived it as the sphere of sacrifice motivated by fear, which can only be interpreted as an act of cowardice in the Aeon of Horus. As a result of this misunderstanding, the malicious Greek God of War Ares was assigned to Geburah. (See The Greek Gods)

Consider how astrologists interpret Mars in a chart; it is almost always considered malicious, and they do much work in order to correct this malignancy when it occurs in their diagrams. Observing Geburah influence in the four elements through its Tarot Card attributions does little for its defense.

We must avoid the perception of evil when referring to any sephirah, and this is especially true of Geburah. Most sephiroth in their purest essences are, by themselves imbalances. This is especially true is the sephirah in question exists anywhere else than the Middle Pillar. Try to always remember that no energy can exist without its opposite extreme; and never forget that any attempt to ignore the influence of any imbalance will only magnify it.

Consider this:

  • The manipulation of energy in a manner, which is unnatural to its design, is “evil.”
  • The Magi realizes that the removal or absence of any energy or idea out of his or her immediate universe creates a vacuum, which out of necessity; must be filled.
  • The Magician uses these paradigms in order to consciously create vacuums: By removing unnecessary things desirable energies and influences can be invoked in their place.
  • One thing is SACRIFICED for another.

The three ideas above illustrates both; the necessity and application of Geburah in magical Work. Geburah is The House of The Will.

So how do you explore the potentialities of Geburah without injury? Like all sephiroth, you must study it by comparing it to the surrounding energies. The first logical place to look would be Chesed, its opposite. Looking at the attributions therein one would prepare accordingly to enjoy the experience of Geburah without hardship. (See Balance) Geburah is the driving force behind all action. It is the warrior that demands from us the respect mandated by The Holy Guardian Angel. It is through its influence that we are driven towards reverent acts of worship; such as Bhakti Yoga, or Devotional Yoga, which will inevitably lead us to Knowledge and Conversation. Hence, we see Mars' connection to Venus.

Geburah represents the Kundalini: Absolute vitality; it is the energy residing at the base of the spine waiting to spring forth. Without it love in its sexual form would be unachievable. It is said to be transformed to the True Ego by virtue of orgasm; it is during those brief moments of ecstasy (the little death) that we are capable of piercing the veil of illusion.

Christianity has inaccurately explained destructive energy to be “bad” and creative force “good.” Geburah is concerned with the release of energy through the catabolic process of physics, and from this we can reaffirm its connection to the Kundalini.

It is easy to perceive Geburah as the martial arts teacher whose job it is to keep its students well balanced. When students stray from their natural path the teacher brings them back in the most expedient manner: when the phenomena is unpleasant we may perceive it as “evil.” Anyone who has ever taken martial arts can attest to this metaphor. It is known as “The Radical Intelligence” because it is the discriminatory part of the psyche. Physically speaking, it is better to submit to the scalpel than to perish by a malignancy. Geburah is a pragmatic sphere: it represents the destruction of the worthless in order to make room for the priceless; and here we see a resemblance to Kali.

When misunderstood it can be painful, but if one is able to see beyond the struggle and suffering the helpful aspects can be seen: Existence is always moving; shifting. Geburah represents this movement.

It is the power of the steam engine, whereby wood is sacrificed in order to transform it into heat which will change water into steam, which drives the pistons. In this way, Geburah teaches us that energy can be transmuted but never destroyed, and therefore alludes to the concept of Immortality.

Sacrifice is here intended to mean a necessary act willingly oppressed so that its energy can be redirected and used towards achieving more desirable objectives. In order for the offering to be effective it must be more than just a convenient act of self denial, it must consciously be carried out as an act of devotion.

TIPHARETH
Meaning: Beauty
God Name: YHVH Aloah Va Da'ath
Image: A Majestic King
A Sacrificed God
Titles: Malek; The King
Adam; The Son
Archangel: Raphael
Order of Angels: Malachim, Kings
Spiritual Experience: Vision of Harmony
Virtue:
Knowledge & Conversation with The H.G.A.
Vice: Pride (More accurately: “Arrogance.”)
Human Chakra: The Heart
Magical Weapons:
The Rosy Cross
The Precious Stones: The topaz
The Plants: The Oak
The Acorn
Acacia
The Laurel
The Grape Vine
Alchemical Metal: Gold
Incense and/or Oil: Olibanum (Frankincense)
Tarot Cards: The Four Sixes
Wands (Fire): Victory
Cups (Water): Pleasure
Swords (Air): Science
Disks (Earth): Success

6 - SOL

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Notes on Tiphareth

Tiphareth is the point of balance on the Tree of Life: everything above it can be perceived as energy and everything below as tangible. It is the link connecting God with Man, and as a result Christian Mystics have placed Jesus on this sphere; as are all sacrificial gods. It is the place where one achieves Knowledge and Conversation with The Holy Guardian

Angel; it represents the sixth sense, the Higher Self: It is the reflection of the flame that burns within the heart of man; it is the part of a human which is consistent, unchanging. It comes as no surprise that many magicians have confused this sephirah with Kether. Tiphareth is something of a lens which projects the Light from the Supernals unto the physical planes: As above so below. However, we must not lose track of the fact that a projection of a thing is an illusion, and not the thing itself.

The vision of A Child is a handy reminder to the fact that it is referred to as “The Plane of Incarnation.” Here we also find all sacrificed gods because giving up perpetual existence in order to experience physical reality is considered a sacrifice: temporary mortality. Here, god reveals itself (or appears to be) as flesh and blood and resides with the community; all the while imparting knowledge. But again, one must never confuse the vision of the thing with the thing itself.

In Christianity it is said that one can only know the Father through the Son, and this nicely alludes to Fortune's statement about the lens; but it also reaffirms that Kether is the Father, and Tiphareth the Son. The Magician's task is to become the Son (Tiphareth) so that he or she may know the Father (Kether); magicians do this by bringing the rest of the sephiroth into perfect balance within themselves. The Magician becomes the “redeemer” by trying to unite the kingdom (Malkuth) with heaven (Kether).

In order to avoid psychoses, all visions should be interpreted while on the plane of Tiphareth. It is the safest place to reside because it has absorbed all of the attributions represented by the surrounding sephiroth: it maintains all of the discriminatory faculties of Geburah tempered by the benevolence of Chesed; the emotional nature of Netzach tempered by the intellectual awareness of Hod. Armed with these tools, the magician is in little danger of perceiving the visions as physical; and will perceive them as symbols; as they should be.

Knowledge and Conversation rarely leads to visions or voices; the experience is full consciousness and awareness. The experience is not psychic, which is the trademark of Yesod: the absence of sensory images is a hint that the magician is in the level of higher consciousness belonging to Tiphareth.

“Knowledge” (as in Knowledge and Conversation) is referred to here in the biblical sense; sexual intimacy. Every experience is brief, and the ecstasy soon fades, but there is that which remains. The mineral attributed to Tiphareth is Gold: Incorruptible, imperishable.

NETZACH
Meaning: Victory
God Name: YHVH Tzabaoth
Image: A Strong, Naked Amazonian Woman
Titles: Firmness
Occult
Intelligence
Archangel: Haniel
Order of Angels: Elohim, Gods
Spiritual Experience: The Vision of Beauty Triumphant
Virtue: Unselfishness
Vice: Unchastity
Lust
Human Chakra: Hips & Legs
Magical Weapons: The Lamp
The Girdle
The Rose
The Seven Veils
The Precious Stones: The Emerald
The Plants: The Rose The Vine
Alchemical Metal: Copper
Incense and/or Oil: Red
Sandalwood
Rose
Benzoin
Tarot Cards: The Four Sevens
Wands (Fire): Valour
Cups (Water): Debauch
Swords (Air): Futility
Disks (Earth): Failure

7 - VENUS

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Notes on Netzach

Magicians seem to pay very little attention to the Venusian sphere. Its vulgar interpretation has led many Qabalists to perceive Netzach as the “cushie feelie” sephirah. Its magical image is that of a strong, naked Amazonian woman; which indicates immediately that the underlying current is definitely female; but certainly not passive.

Netzach rules the emotions, which empower the elemental forces by allowing them entry into consciousness. Were it not for Netzach, these elemental forces would remain in the unconscious realm of Yesod, where they would be free to raise havoc with our psyche. By emotions I mean involuntary reactions brought about by active groups of symbols or ideas which reside in the unconscious (Yesod).

It is through Netzach that elemental administrators receive their life. It must be understood that the elemental influences receive their force from Netzach via the magician's emotional triggers.

Without Netzach, the magician can only create forms; but is not able to breathe life into them; and this alone should allude to both, its function and importance.

This is the sphere of sympathetic magick and the intuitive residence. Magicians who resonate favorably with the Sphere of Venus are instinctively drawn to the works of Bhakti yoga: devotional forms of worship.

The part of the psyche that corresponds to Netzach responds to sound, fragrance and color. During a Netzach working the Temple will be filled with incense smoke and the sound of rhythmic drumming; often times ending with a frenzy of dance and laughter.

It seems appropriate that all goddesses of love are attributed to this sphere since the Kundalini force Ida corresponds to it. The three implements concur to the goddesses: The Lamp to Psyche, The Girdle to Aphrodite, The Rose to Venus, and The Seven Veils to Ishtar.

In the Babylonian myths, Ishtar lost her lover Tammuz, when he descended into the underworld. She sought to reunite with him and demanded entrance into the lower world, which had seven portals, and was forced to surrender one veil at each one. The veils and gates represent the seven chakras. The rose, which is connected to Netzach, is the Western equivalent of the Eastern lotus: The rose, being a symbol for love, verifies the notion that the kundalini is stimulated by the act of love-making.

It is impossible to perform magick without the Netzach functions, which corresponds to the instincts, because the skepticism embodied by its polarizing sephirah (Hod) will cancel out all magical imagery before they are even consciously realized. By way of the intellect the magician creates talismans, but it is Netzach which breathes life into them.

HOD
Meaning: Glory (Honor)
God Name: Elohim Tzabaoth
Image: A Hermaphrodite
Titles: Perfect Intelligence
Archangel: Michael
Order of Angels: Beni Elohin, Sons of God.
Spiritual Experience: Vision Of Splendor
Virtue: Truthfulness
Vice: Falsehood
Dishonesty
Human Chakra: Legs
Magical Weapons: The Names, Versicles & Apron
The Precious Stones: The Opal
The Plants: Moly
Alchemical Metal: Mercury
Incense and/or Oil: Storax
Tarot Cards: The Four Eights
Wands (Fire): Swiftness
Cups (Water): Indolence
Swords (Air): Interference
Disks (Earth): Prudence

8 - MERCURY

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Notes on Hod

The magical weapons connected with Hod allude well to its function. One can only name something once it has been given form; and Hod gives elemental forces form.

The Apron is usually worn over the genitals, which are portrayed by Yesod, the astral sphere that represents unconscious imagery, something unknown. The Apron signifies that these images have been transcended by virtue of the fact that they have been given force by Netzach, and Form by Hod: the have been released and utilized. From a practical point of view: Hod creates the talismans, while Netzach animates them.

Dion Fortune made a brilliant comment concerning the Apron and its relation to Hod. She stated that the Apron is the regalia of the Mason, a maker of forms; and therefore justified quite nicely its placement as a weapon, or tool of this sphere.

The connection to “form” should not confuse the reader. Binah is the giver of form. Hod is the reflection of Binah, after it has been “filtered” through Chesed. Hod is the intellectual manifestation of a spiritual idea represented by Binah. This is another way of saying that Binah's domain is within the Nashama, while Hod exists in the Ruach.

You may be wondering why Binah is filtered by Chesed and not Tiphareth. The mystery lies in what Binah, Chesed and Hod have in common: The element of Water. The same is true of Chockmah, Geburah, and Netzach because all three share the element of Fire. The Middle Pillar consists entirely of sephirah corresponding with the element of Air; and these principles apply here as well. Do not allow this to confuse you.

One of the many attributions to the sphere of Mercury allude to the intellect: the capacity to reason, the seat of logic. It is interesting to note that it also represents the Kundalini energy known as Pingala.

The vices falsehood and dishonesty probably allude to the God of Thieves: Mercury, who received a bad reputation in Greek mythology for having stolen the heifers of Apollo. (See “Greek Gods”)

The Archangel Michael was probably placed here because he is the slayer of the serpent; and illustrates the superiority of the intellect over illusion.

Because the intellect is greatly embellished by this sephirah, it has become a “trap” for many potential magicians. Many of them will become armchair magicians, satisfied with the never-ending task of impressing their fellows with their mental prowess. This is mental masturbation, and does not lead to Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. The magician must be constantly aware of this danger, and strive as best as he or she can to continue moving forward. (See “A Word About Balance”)

^ YESOD ^ ^

Meaning: Foundation
God Name: Shaddai El Chai: Almighty Living God
Image: A Beautiful Naked Man
Titles: The Treasure House Of Images
Levanah
Archangel: Gabriel
Order of Angels: Kerubim, The Strong
Spiritual Experience: The Discovery of The True Will
The Vision of the Universal Machine
Virtue: Independence
Vice: Idleness
Human Chakra: The Reproductive Organs
Magical Weapons: The Perfumes
The Sandals
The Precious Stones: Quartz
The Plants: Damiana
Ginseng
Yohimbe
Mandrake
(all aphrodisiacs)
Alchemical Metal: Silver
Incense and/or Perfume: Jasmin
Tarot Cards: The Four Nines
Wands (Fire): Strength
Cups (Water): Happiness
Swords (Air): Cruelty
Disks (Earth): Gain

9 - LUNA

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Notes on Yesod

Yesod is the unconscious; the house of the instincts; The Treasure House of Images. Instincts are an unintentional push towards certain activities, and are therefore of

particular importance to the Magician; as the ultimate task is freedom from impulsive behavior. The unconscious can be defined as the sum of all objects and routines that are not conscious or related to the ego in any sensible manner.

In the individual, Yesod represents the sexual drive and all other survival reflexes. It is also the home of the racial consciousness, or Jung's collective unconscious, which he discovered “contains the whole spiritual heritage of mankind's evolution, born anew in the brain structure of every individual.” He too saw the potential of tapping into ancient potencies for the betterment of the individual, and described two methods to study the collective unconscious: Mythology and Analysis. The Magician uses both techniques.

It may appear to the ego that it controls the faculties over the personality, but Yesod provides the data, or more appropriately, the images by which the ego reacts to specific stimuli. Dion Fortune rightly perceived Yesod to be a filter, which funnels in all ideas and experiences collected by the sephirah above it, reconciling opposites “without diminution or separation.” So strong is the influence of this sephirah on our behavior and perceptions that the ancients assigned words of strength whenever possible; even the magical image associated with Yesod depicts great power.

Instincts, Impulses, Dreams, Visions and Psychic awareness are attributed to this sphere, as it is considered to be the Astral plane.

MALKUTH
Meaning: Kingdom
God Name: Adoni Malekh
Adoni Ha Aretz
Image: A Beautiful Young Woman, Throned & Crowned
Titles: The Inferior Mother Malkah
The Queen Kallah: The Bride The Gate
Gate of Death
Gate of Tears
Gate of The Garden Of Eden
Gate of The Shadow Of Death
Gate of Justice
Gate of The Daughter of The Mighty Ones
Archangel: Sandalphon
Order of Angeles: Ashim, Souls of Fire
Spiritual Experience: Vision of the Holy Guardian Angel
Virtue: Discrimination
Vice: Avarice
Inertia
Human Chakra: The Feet
The Anus
Magical Weapons: The Equal Armed Cross
The Double Cubed Altar
The Magick Circle
The Triangle
The Plants: The Willow
Wheat
The Lily
The Pomegranate
The Precious Stones: Rock Crystal
Incense or Oil: Dittany of Crete
Tarot Cards: The Four Tens
Wands (Fire): Oppression
Cups (Water): Satiety
Swords (Air): Ruin
Disks (Earth): Wealth

Malkuth is so consequential in so many planes that it would take many tomes to list every possible correspondence. Like all other sephiroth, it is an ever becoming; and no one could ever assume to know everything there is to comprehend about any of them. Even if such a book could be written and published, it would be a considerable detriment to the magician because knowledge can only be understood when discovered and experienced by the individual.

Because it is the physical representation of the magician in his or her physical form, Malkuth is equated with the body. It is the sphere of the elements, so it is also connected with the planet Earth. It represents the fruition or completion of any magical action, so it is connected to the manifestation of spiritual ideas into concrete forms. It is connected to childbirth, eating, breathing, living, and dying.

Gerald del Campo
March 21, 1996
Beaverton, OR

Copyright Gerald del Campo 1996. All Rights Reserved