Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Qabalah - The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life - Introduction to the Qabalistic Universe
The "Kircher Tree":
Thanasius Kircher's 1652 depiction of the Tree of Life, based on a 1625 version by Philippe d'Aquin. This is still the most common arrangement of the Sephiroth and paths on the tree in Hermetic Qabalah.

The Sephirah and the Tarot;
The Sephirah can be conceived of as Divine Emanations, or aspects of Reality, Divine, Eternal and Infinite. The 22 paths drawn out between the spheres in the traditional Qabalistic diagrams of the Sephiroth are covered by the cards of the Major Arcana including the fool in the Tarot.

The journey through the various spheres and levels lead to an attainment or realisation of Godhead, leaving the qabalistic religion unable to be classified as Monotheistic in any manner at all.
The Ten Sephirah are listed as Manifesting in the following order;
Ain Suph Aur crystallises Kether, the first sephirah of the Hermetic Qabalistic tree of life. From Kether emanate the rest of the sephirot in turn, viz. Kether (1), Chokhmah (2), Binah, Daath,(3) Chesed (4), Geburah (5), Tiphareth (6), Netzach (7), Hod (8), Yesod (9), Malkuth given a number, due to it's being considered part of Binah or even as a hidden Sephirah.

A correct understanding of the Qabalistic Universe will lead to the correct understanding of God and of Godhead. The Jewish Orthodox Religions and Qabalism have very little in common when properly understood.

Jewish Kabbalah was absorbed into the Hermetic tradition at least as early as the 15th century when Giovanni Pico della Mirandola promoted a syncretic world-view combining Platonism, Neoplatonism, Aristotelianism, Hermeticism and Kabbalah. This was further developed by Athanasius Kircher, a Jesuit priest, hermeticist and polymath, who wrote extensively on the subject in 1652, bringing further elements such as Orphism and Egyptian mythology to the mix. Modern Hermetic Qabalah is the product of all these influences.

Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn

Hermetic Qabalah reached its peak in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a 19th century organization that was arguably the pinnacle of ceremonial magic. Within the Golden Dawn the syncretic fusing of Qabalistic principles such as the ten Sephiroth with Greek and Egyptian deities was made more cohesive and was extended to encompass other systems such as the Enochian system of angelic magic of John Dee and certain Eastern (particularly Hindu and Buddhist) concepts, all within the structure of a Masonic or Rosicrucian style esoteric order.

Aleister Crowley, a member of the Golden Dawn, is the most widely known exponent of Hermetic Magic or Magick as he preferred to render it. Crowley's own writings on the Qabalah were idiosyncratic, and in some cases purposely blasphemous. However his book Liber 777 is a good illustration of the wider Hermetic approach. It is a set of tables relating various parts of ceremonial magic and Eastern and Western religion to thirty-two numbers representing the ten spheres and twenty-two paths of the qabalistic Tree of Life. The attitude of syncretism embraced by Hermetic Qabalists is plainly evident here, as one may simply check the table to see that Chesed (חסד "Mercy") corresponds to Jupiter, Isis, the colour blue (on the Queen Scale), Poseidon, Brahma, and amethyst.

Many of the Golden Dawn's rituals were published by Crowley and were eventually compiled into book form by Israel Regardie. The versions Crowley published were often updated so as to be more consistent with his research into New Aeon magick, Regardie tending instead to publish the rituals along more traditional lines

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