Sample chapter Compendium - Kaballah

 

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Sample chapter Compendium - Kaballah

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Kabbalah Machsor Lemberg from year 1907 printed by Daavid Balaban. The Machsor is a prayer book. What is the Kabbalah? Kabbalah is a system of Jewish mysticism explaining the nature of the universe. Kabbalistic doctrine embraces all aspects of creation: the essence of God; the nature of angels, demons, and spirits; the mysteries of numbers and letters of the alphabet; the forces and laws of the universe and the human soul. It is the symbolic journey of the soul’s return to divine grace. Kabbalah is a cornerstone of Western esoterica. It originated long before it was associated with Tarot. The word “Kabbalah” translates in Hebrew as “received tradition” and began as an oral communication to the initiated. It was taught and passed to a select few—usually Jewish men over the age of forty—and it was shrouded in secrecy. The origin of Kabbalah is steeped in Jewish tradition, yet it is as obscure as Tarot’s origins. No single, agreed-upon, 21

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concrete source or origin date for Kabbalah exists, though it is traced to the Hebrew Bible and rabbinic literature. One theory states that Kabbalah was given by God to Moses during his forty days on Mount Sinai. Another states that God taught the doctrine to angels who then passed the information on to man so that man could return to God. What Does It Have to Do with Tarot? Lon Milo DuQuette explains the connection between Tarot and Kabbalah perfectly in his book The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford. DuQuette points out that “Whether we realize it or not, when we work with the Tarot, we are working with the Qabalah. Tarot’s like the DNA of the Qabalah—better than that—it’s actually the picture-book of the Qabalah.” Tarot and Kabbalah have a nearly identical structure. In fact, the entire deck, each and every card and suit, can be associated with the Tree of Life. Early occultists realized they could connect the Tarot with Kabbalah. They could use the Tarot deck as a tool for describing the nature of the universe. Kabbalah’s secret nature likely made it all the more attractive to occultists with a fondness for secret and hidden theories and a fascination with magic, alchemy, and divination. The Tree of Life The Tree of Life is the mystical symbol for the Kabbalah. Trees are a major archetypal symbol and are used cross-culturally. The Tree of Enlightenment, the Tree of Knowledge, and the World Tree exist as metaphors in Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and other faiths. Charles Darwin explained the “tree of science” as the interconnectedness of all living things. Personal genealogy study and family history is referred to as the “family tree.” The Tree of Life with its 10 Sephirot is exclusive to the mystical Kabbalah. The connection between Tarot and Kabbalah is apparent when looking at a diagram of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. It is exciting to discover how each metaphysical section connects to Tarot. 22

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The Tree of Life The Tree of Life is the symbolic representation of Kabbalah. It is said to contain the map of humanity’s fall from grace as depicted in the Book of Genesis. However, the Tree can also be used as a roadmap back into the Grace of the Diety. It is said that one who deciphers the Journey of Emergence and the Journey of Return will understand the Tree of Life and Kabbalah. In the previous page: Fresco of Moses by Joseph Schonman from year 1857 in Altlerchenfelder church, Wien. 23

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When to Use Kabbalistic Meanings The Tree of Life’s sections and paths, bits and pieces can all be connected to individual Tarot cards. Kabbalistic meanings will add immeasurable weight to the cartomancer’s store of Tarot knowledge. It deepens the meaning behind each card. Practitioners often speak about how esoteric meanings alter their connection with the cards. A practitioner who reads cards to divine the future suddenly realizes he or she can use Tarot and esoteric meanings to unravel the meaning of life. How Tarot corresponds to Kabbalah 22 Major Arcana . . . . . . . . 22 Hebrew letters 22 Major Arcana . . . . . . . . 22 Tree of Life paths 10 Numeral. . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Sephirot 16 Court Cards . . . . . . . . . 16 invisible Tree of Life paths Portae Lucis, a Latin translation by Paulus Ricius of Joseph Gikatilla’s most influential kabbalistic work, Shaarel Ora. Careful observers will note this image’s similarity to Pamela Colman Smith’s 10 of Pentacles card. 24

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Why So Many Spellings? Kabbalah is also spelled Kabalah, Kabala, and other K spellings, or Cabala, Cabbala, Cabbalah, and other C spellings, or Qabbala, Qaballah, and other Q spellings. KQCQQ Some say that the K spelling is used by those of the Jewish faith, that Christian kabbalists use the C spelling, and occultists use the Q spelling. None of these examples are hard and fast rules. Renaissance Christian and Hermetic scholars used the structure of Kabbalah to expound upon their own mystical understanding. This led to independent schools of Kabbalistic thought and multiple spellings of the title. History of the Kabbalah The 10 of Pentacles of the Waite Smith Tarot, by A. E. Waite and P. C. Smith. The Early History The first century CE is the approximate date for the Sepher Yetzirah, also known as the Book of Creation. This is a mystical text describing how God created the universe using the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the 10 primordial numbers. The Reader will immediately recognize that there are also 22 Major Arcana cards and 10 Minor Arcana cards (not including the court cards). The Sepher Yetzirah is regarded as the first text to describe the Kabbalah. The 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet describe the divine nature of God and the universe. The letters are broken down phonetically. There is a direct relation between the symbol, sound, and pronunciation. The idea of the creative power of sounds and letters can be traced to ancient Egypt, while the mystical use of numbers and letters can be traced to ancient Babylon. During the Renaissance (14th through 17th centuries), Kabbalah entered non-Jewish culture when Christian and other religious mystics discovered how their dogmatic teachings could be integrated seamlessly onto a kabbalistic structure. 25

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Alphonse Louis Constant, alias Eliphas Levi. Photography. Géranrd Encausse, alias Papus. Photography. Samuel Lideell Mathers. Photography 19th Century Occultism and the Golden Dawn Alphonse Louis Constant (1810–1875), better known as Éliphas Lévi, was the first occultist to highlight the relationship between the Major Arcana and the Kabbalah. The famous French occultist highlighted the correspondences between the Arcana and Hebrew letters in the second volume of his Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie (Dogma and Ritual of High Magic, 1855–56). The occultist Papus (Gérard Anaclet Vincent Encausse, 1865–1916) developed the doctrine of kabbalistic Tarot in three groups representing the creation of three worlds: divine, human, and cosmic. Papus saw the 22 figures of the Major Arcana as both allegories of the fall of Adam and Eve in the material world and the stages of man’s possible return to paradise, an opportunity to return after original sin. This idea is often expressed as “the journey of emergence” and “the journey of return.” Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers (1854–1918), an English esoteric, further expressed these ideas while writing for the adepts (initiates) of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a magical society he helped found. Mathers pointed out ideas implicit to Lévi and Papus but not yet fully formulated. He used the Sepher Yetzirah as the basis for his kabbalistic interpretation of the Tarot. Book T, The Tarot was a Golden Dawn private manuscript secretly written by Mathers. Like other Golden Dawn documents, the back story of the manuscript was fabricated to give it an air of authenticity. The story went that the text was discovered in the tomb of Christian Rosenkreuz, the founder of the Rosicrucian Order. Book T contains Mather’s kabbalistic connections. These associations would lay the groundwork for future Tarot texts, decks, and books, including those by Arthur Edward Waite, Aleister Crowley, and Paul Foster Case. The biggest difference in the French system of esoteric Kabbalah is the positioning of the Fool. Lévi felt that the Magician card should lead the Tarot deck. He placed the Fool card, which was unnumbered, between the Judgment card and the World card. Mathers placed the Fool at the beginning of the deck with the number zero as that which precedes every other number. This links the Fool to the Hebrew letter aleph. 26

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The light of the Ein Sof shines through each and every Sephirah. There is no right or wrong between each of these systems, though it is widely agreed that the Golden Dawn system leads to deeper and more meaningful study. Ein Sof and Sephirot The Kabbalah describes the divine emanation of God—an abstract thing, action, or process stemming from a single source. Ein Sof (“the infinite”) is the space of the universe that contains the nature of God, but the universe is not the Deity’s space because God is beyond comprehension. The Deity itself cannot be named, described, or comprehended. In order to be known, God made manifestations. These emanations or intelligences are called Sephirot (singular, Sephirah). It is important to understand that each Sephirah emanates from Ein Sof. Each represents a different aspect of the Deity. Ein Sof’s light shines through each Sephirah. Each Sephirah is as perfect and infinite as Ein Sof because they are aspects of Ein Sof. 27

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The Ten Sephirot Each Sephirah is explained below with examples of how the reader can apply kabbalistic meanings to Tarot. Note that the Sephirot are attributed to body parts and, once complete, manifest a human being. 1. Crown (Kether) 1 32 54 6 87 9 10 Body part: Crown Tarot Aces connect to the Crown Sephirah. Kether reflects Divine Will and is the very first emanation of the Deity or godhead. Like the first star appearing in the night sky, it is the first spark of the Tree, as the Aces are the spark of each suit. Kether is the beginning, start, and manifestation. This connects to and supports all traditional meanings of all Tarot Aces. 2. Wisdom (Chokhmah) 1 32 54 6 87 9 10 Body part: Right side of the head Tarot Twos connect to the Wisdom Sephirah. Chokhmah reflects intuition. This is spiritual wisdom in its highest expression. It is the top point on the masculine side/pillar of the Tree of Life. What was one has become two. Duality 28

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now exists. Crown recognizes Wisdom and vice versa. In this way, one can consider the wisdom and duality of each suit. i Two of Cups: The Wisdom of water is the ability to absorb. i Two of Wands: The Wisdom of fire is the ability to purify. i Two of Swords: The Wisdom of air is the ability to bring clarity. i Two of Pentacles: The Wisdom of earth is the ability to grow and manifest. 3. Understanding (Binah) 1 32 54 6 87 9 10 Body part: Left side of the head Tarot Threes connect to the Understanding Sephirah. Binah reflects the ability to analyze. With Binah, the first triad of the Tree appears. Understanding is the top point of the feminine side/pillar of the Tree of Life. Three now exist and in this triad, creativity is implicit. The first archetypal patterns and structures are found here. i Three of Cups: The Understanding of water is the ability to express emotion. i Three of Wands: The Understanding of fire is how it awakens the soul. i Three of Swords: The Understanding of air is the ability to be everywhere. i Three of Pentacles: The Understanding of earth is the ability to make manifest. 29

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4. Mercy (Chesed) 1 32 54 6 87 9 10 Body part: Right arm Tarot Fours connect to the Mercy Sephirah. Chesed reflects the ability to feel compassion. Mercy is the spot where Wisdom and Understanding collect from the supernal triad above (the first three Sephirot). A new triad is formed on the receptive masculine side/pillar of the Tree. It is a bridge between the spiritual and the beginning of manifestation. It is the place where the archetype in its purest form begins to form in the human and universal mind. i Four of Cups: The Mercy of water is the ability to empathize. i Four of Wands: The Mercy of fire is how it warms. i Four of Swords: The Mercy of air is the ability to understand. i Four of Pentacles: The Mercy of earth is the ability to nurture. 5. Strength (Gevurah) 1 32 54 6 87 9 10 Body part: Left arm Tarot Fives connect to the Strength Sephirah. Gevurah reflects power and forces controlling strong emotion. It is 30

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the discipline required for manifestation. The explosion of compassion that comes from Mercy is contained in Strength. Strength is on the feminine side of the Tree and provides the needed balance as archetype, spirit, and form remain balanced. i Five of Cups: The Strength of water is the ability to transform. i Five of Wands: The Strength of fire is its enthusiasm. i Five of Swords: The Strength of air is fluidity. i Five of Pentacles: The Strength of earth is family. 6. Beauty (Tiferet) 1 32 54 6 87 9 10 Body part: Heart Tarot Sixes connect to the Beauty Sephirah. Tiferet reflects truth and harmony. This Sephirah sits at the center of the Tree; it is the very heart. Inside the heart a synthesis of grace exists as energies are merged together. It is the heart of love and is thus called Beauty. The key for understanding the Kabbalah is unlocking the symbolic power of abstraction. i Six of Cups: The Beauty of water is the ability to reflect. i Six of Wands: The Beauty of fire is its ability to transfix. i Six of Swords: The Beauty of air is its ability to caress. i Six of Pentacles: The Beauty of earth is fecundity. 31

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7. Victory (Netzach) 1 32 54 6 87 9 10 Body part: Right leg Tarot Sevens connect to the Victory Sephirah. Netzach contains the will to make things happen. It is where the creative mind emerges and occult thinking begins. It is the source of mystery. Netzach is spiritual experience as the Tree grows downward into physical manifestation. i Seven of Cups: The Victory of water is the ability to become transparent. i Seven of Wands: The Victory of fire is the urge toward spirituality. i Seven of Swords: The Victory of air is articulation. i Seven of Pentacles: The Victory of earth is its physicality. 8. Splendor (Hod) 1 32 54 6 87 9 10 Body part: Left leg Tarot Eights connect to the Splendor Sephirah. Hod contains the basic structure of the entire universe. This is the window or kaleidoscope where one can look down to the physical molecular level and up to the highest forms of the godhead. It exists on the feminine side of the Tree and reflects persistence and humility. 32

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i Eight of Cups: The Splendor of water is the ability to be buoyant. i Eight of Wands: The Splendor of fire is its passion. i Eight of Swords: The Splendor of air is its expansion. i Eight of Pentacles: The Splendor of earth is its memory. 9. Foundation (Yesod) 1 32 54 6 87 9 10 Body part: Genitals/anus Tarot Nines connect to the Foundation Sephirah. Yesod is the place through which everything is funneled as it becomes manifest in the material world. This is the skeletal structure upon which the physical world depends. It is where things become available and about to happen. The entirety of the Tree funnels into this Sephirah and, as such, things begin to take shape. i Nine of Cups: The Foundation of water is the ability to transform. i Nine of Wands: The Foundation of fire is its enthusiasm. i Nine of Swords: The Foundation of air is fluidity. i Nine of Pentacles: The Foundation of earth is its weight 10. Kingdom (Malkuth) 1 32 54 6 87 9 10 33

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Body part: Feet Tarot Tens connect to the Kingdom Sephirah. Malkuth is the physical world. The Tree of Life is manifested here on earth. This is everything we can see, smell, hear, touch, taste, and intuit in the material world. i Ten of Cups: The Kingdom of water is the element of water itself. i Ten of Wands: The Kingdom of fire is the element of fire itself. i Ten of Swords: The Kingdom of air is the element of air itself. i Ten of Pentacles: The Kingdom of earth is the element of earth itself. Triads and Pillars The Three Triads The first three Sephirot—Crown, Wisdom, and Understanding— make up the first triad, known as the archetypal or supernal triad. This can be understood as the intellectual world. The second triad contains Mercy, Strength, and Beauty. This is known as the moral, ethical, and sensuous world. The third triad comprises Splendor, Foundation, and Victory. This is the psychological and astral triad. This is called the material world. The Three Pillars The Tree of Life is held together by three strong pillars. These pillars have attributes of their own. The three masculine Sephirot are 2, 4, and 7, located on the right side of the Tree. This is called the Pillar of Mercy. The three feminine Sephirot are 3, 5, and 8, located on the left side of the Tree. This is called the Pillar of Judgment. The four middle Sephirot—1, 6, 9, and 10—are located in the center of the Tree. This is called the Pillar of Mildness. 34

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111 3 23 23 2 5 45 45 4 666 8 78 78 7 999 10 The first Triad Intellectual World 1 32 10 The second Triad Moral World 1 32 10 The third Triad Material World 1 32 5 45 45 4 666 8 78 78 7 999 10 Pillar of Judgement 10 Pillar of Mildness 35 10 Pillar of Mercy

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