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                       KABBALAH FAQ

            Version: 3.0 Release Date: February 1996

This Kabbalah FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) was prepared
for the Usenet/Internet newsgroup "alt.magick". It is
intended to provide a brief introduction to Kabbalah, and
pointers to additional sources of information. This FAQ may
be freely copied as long as this header is retained. The
contents are copyright and may not be abridged or modified
without the written permission of the author. Printed copies
may be made for personal use. Where third-party
contributions are included they are clearly marked and are
copyright of the authors.

Copyright Colin Low 1993-1996 ( )

The author would appreciate feedback on the accuracy of the
material, modulo variations in the Anglicised spellings of
Hebrew words.



Section 1: General

Q1.1 : What is Kabbalah?
Q1.2 : What does the word "Kabbalah" mean, and how should I spell it? 
Q1.3 : What is the "Tradition"? 
Q1.4 : How old is Kabbalah? 
Q1.5 : Do I need to be Jewish to study Kabbalah? 
Q1.6 : Is there an obstacle to a woman studying Kabbalah? 
Q1.7 : I've heard that one shouldn't study Kabbalah unless one is over 
	   forty years old?  Is this true? 
Q1.8 : Do I need to learn Hebrew to study Kabbalah? 
Q1.9 : What is Hermetic Kabbalah? 
Q1.9 : Is Hermetic Kabbalah really Kabbalah? 
Q1.10 : How can I find someone who teaches Kabbalah?

Section 2: Specifics

Q2.1 : What is the Great Work? 
Q2.2 : I want to know more about the Archangels. 
Q2.3 : What is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and 
	   where does it come from? 
Q2.4 : What are the Qlippoth?
Q2.5 : Why is Gevurah feminine?

Section 3: A Potted History of Kabbalah

Section 4: Reading List

Section 5: Information on the Internet


Section 1: General


Kabbalah is an aspect of Jewish mysticism. It consists of a
large body of speculation on the nature of divinity, the
creation, the origin and fate of the soul, and the role of
human beings. It consists also of meditative, devotional,
mystical and magical practices which were taught only to a
select few and for this reason Kabbalah is regarded as an
esoteric offshoot of Judaism. Some aspects of Kabbalah have
been studied and used by non-Jews for several hundred years
- see What is Hermetic Kabbalah.

       SPELL IT?

The word "Kabbalah" is derived from the root "to receive, to
accept", and in many cases is used synonymously with

No one with the slightest interest in Kabbalah can fail to
notice that there are many alternative spellings of the
word, the two most common being Kabbalah and Qabalah.
Cabala, Qaballah, Qabala, Kaballah (and so on) are also
seen. The reason for this is that some letters in the Hebrew
alphabet have more than one representation in the English
alphabet, and the same Hebrew letter can be written either
as K or Q (or sometimes even C). Some authors choose one
spelling, and some choose the other. Some (the author for
example) will even mix Q and K in the same document,
spelling Kabbalah and Qlippoth (as opposed to Qabalah and
Klippoth!). A random selection of modern Hebrew phrase books
and dictionaries use the K variant to represent the letter
Kuf, so anyone who claims that the "correct" spelling is
"Qabalah" is on uncertain ground.

There has been a tendency for non-Jewish books on Kabbalah
published this century to use the spelling "Qabalah". Jewish
publications are relatively uniform in preferring the
spelling "Kabbalah".

The author takes the view (based on experience) that the
spelling "Kabbalah" is recognised by a wider selection of
people than the "Qabalah" variant, and for this purely
pragmatic reason it is used throughout the FAQ.


According to Jewish tradition, the Torah (Torah - "Law" -
the first five books of the Old Testament) was created prior
to the world and she advised God on such weighty matters as
the creation of human kind. When Moses received the written
law from God, tradition has it that he also received the
oral law, which was not written down, but passed from
generation to generation. At times the oral law has been
referred to as "Kabbalah" - the oral tradition.

The Torah was (and is) believed to be divine, and in the
same way as the Torah was accompanied by an oral tradition,
so there grew up a secret oral tradition which claimed to
possess an initiated understanding of the Torah, its hidden
meanings, and the divine power concealed within it. This is
a principle root of the Kabbalistic tradition, a belief in
the divinity of the Torah, and a belief that by studying
this text one can unlock the secrets of the creation.

Another aspect of Jewish religion which influenced Kabbalah
was the Biblical phenomenon of prophecy. The prophet was an
individual chosen by God as a mouthpiece, and there was the
implication that God, far from being a transcendental
abstraction, was a being whom one could approach (albeit
with enormous difficulty, risk, fear and trembling). Some
Kabbalists believed that they were the inheritors of
practical techniques handed down from the time of the
Biblical prophets, and it is not impossible or improbable
that this was in fact the case.

These two threads, one derived from the study of the Torah,
the other derived from practical attempts to approach God,
form the roots from which the Kabbalistic tradition


No one knows. The earliest documents which are generally
acknowledged as being Kabbalistic come from the 1st. Century
C.E., but there is a suspicion that the Biblical phenomenon
of prophecy may have been grounded in a much older oral
tradition which was a precursor to the earliest recognisable
forms of Kabbalah. Some believe the tradition goes back as
far as Melchizedek. There are moderately plausible arguments
that Pythagoras received his learning from Hebrew sources.
There is a substantial literature of Jewish mysticism dating
from the period 100AD - 1000AD which is not strictly
Kabbalistic in the modern sense, but which was available as
source material to medieval Kabbalists.

On the basis of a detailed examination of texts, and a study
of the development of a specialist vocabulary and a distinct
body of ideas, Scholem has concluded that the origins of
Kabbalah can be traced to 12th. century Provence. The origin
of the word "Kabbalah" as a label for a tradition which is
definitely recognisable as Kabbalah is attributed to Isaac
the Blind (c. 1160-1236 C.E.), who is also credited with
being the originator of the idea of sephirothic emanation.

Prior to this (and after) a wide variety of terms were used
for those who studied the tradition: "masters of mystery",
"men of belief", "masters of knowledge", "those who know",
"those who know grace", "children of faith", "children of
the king's palace", "those who know wisdom", "those who reap
the field", "those who have entered and left".


Some aspects of traditional Kabbalah are so deeply
intertwined with Jewish religious beliefs and practice that
they are meaningless outside of this content. Other aspects
of Kabbalah (what I refer to below as Hermetic Kabbalah)
have been studied and practiced outside of Judaism for so
long that they have a distinct identity in their own right,
and no, you do not have to be Jewish to study them, any more
than you need to be English to study the Law of Gravitation.

However, if you choose to study Kabbalah by name you should
recognise that Kabbalah was and is a part of Judaism, and an
important part of the history of Jewish people, and respect
the beliefs which not only gave rise to Kabbalah, but which
are still an essential part of Jewish faith..


Within Judaism the answer is a resounding "Yes!": there are
many obstacles. Perle Epstein relates some of her feelings
on the subject in her book on Kabbalah (see the Reading List

The obstacles are largely grounded in traditional attitudes:
it is less easy for a woman to find a Rabbi prepared to
teach Kabbalah than it would be for a man. Persistence may
reward (see below).

Outside of Judaism the answer is a resounding "No!": there
are no obstacles. For the past one hundred years women have
been active both in studying and in teaching Kabbalah.


The great Kabbalist R. Isaac Luria (1534-1572), began the
study of Kabbalah at the age of seventeen and died at the
age of thirty-eight! His equally famous contemporary R.
Moses Cordovero (1522-1570) began at the age of twenty. Many
other famous Kabbalists also began the study early.

This prohibition has come from Ashkenazic (East European)
Jews and has never applied to Sepharidic (Middle Eastern)
Jews. The historical basis for the "rule" comes from
opponents of Kabbalah within Judaism who (successfully)
attempted to restrict its study. At the root of this was the
heresy of false messiah Shabbatai Tzevi (17th. C) which
resulted in large numbers of Jews leaving the orthodox fold.
This heresy had deep Kabbalistic underpinnings, and in the
attempt to stamp out Shabbateanism, Kabbalah itself became
suspect, and specific prohibitions against the study of
Kabbalah were enacted (e.g. the excommunication of the
Frankists in Poland in 1756).

A further factor was the degeneration (in the eyes of their
rationalist opponents) of 18th. century Hasidism, which had
roots both in Kabbalah and Shabbateanism, into "wonder
working" and superstition. The rationalist faction in
Judaism triumphed, and the study of Kabbalah became largely
discredited, to the extent that many Jewish publications
written earlier in this century discuss Kabbalah (if at all)
in a very negative way.

Greg Burton has supplied this (mildly amusing) post from
America OnLine, from a Rabbi Ariel Bar-Zadok:

"One thing I assure you, I am not a "new ager", nor am I
sympathetic to anything that is not pure, authoritative
Kabbalah. Remember, Kabbalah means "to receive". I am an
Orthodox Sephardic Rabbi, ordained in Jerusalem. I teach
only from the true texts, many of which most Rabbis for
whatever reasons have never read. I document all my sources
so as to verify to you that these teachings are authentic.
(I must also admit that I have studied other religious and
meditative systems, in this way I feel comfortable and
confident to discuss them). My classes are open to all, Jew
and Benei Noah alike, men and women, (in accordance to Tana
D'vei Eliyahu, Eliyahu Raba, Chapter 9). By the way,
according to the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabi Ovadiah Yosef
(Yehaveh Da'at 4,47) quoting Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, one only
has to be 20 years old to study Kabbala, and not 40. THIS IS

This still leaves R.Isaac Luria looking embarrassed, but R.
Moses Cordevero scrapes in under the bar ;-)


A Jewish Kabbalist would maintain that it is impossible to
study Kabbalah without knowing Hebrew. Most Hermetic
Kabbalists learn some Hebrew, but there are many practical
exercises and ritual techniques which can be employed with
only a minimal knowledge of Hebrew.

There is no question that a knowledge of Hebrew can make a
very large difference. Non-Jewish texts on Kabbalah abound
in simple mistakes which are due largely to uninformed
copying. Thousands of important Kabbalistic texts have not
been translated out of Hebrew or Aramaic, and the number of
important source texts in translation is small. The
difficulties in trying to read the archaic and technically
complex literature of Kabbalah should not be discounted, but
it is well worthwhile to acquire even a superficial
knowledge of Hebrew. Four useful books are:

Levy, Harold, "Hebrew for All", Valentine, Mitchell 1976

Harrison R.K. "Teach yourself Biblical Hebrew", NTC
Publishing Group 1993

Kelley, P.H., "Biblical Hebrew, an introductory grammar",
Eerdmans 1992

Brown, F, "The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius
Hebrew-English Lexicon", Hendrickson 1979

Many Kabbalists view the Torah as the word of God and Hebrew
as the language of creation. In this view the alphabet and
language are divine and have immense magical power. Many of
the source texts of Kabbalah are commentaries on the Bible,
and derive their insights using a variety of devices, such
as puns, anagrams, gematria (letter manipulations) and cross
references to the same word in different contexts. The
reader is presumed to be adept at playing this game, which
becomes completely inaccessible in translation.


Many people who study Kabbalah are not Jewish. This has been
happening for 500 years or so. It is difficult to know what
to call this variant of Kabbalah. "Non-Jewish" is
inaccurate, as I have personally known several Jews who
opted for Hermetic Kabbalah in preference to the traditional
variety! At one time it was called "Christian" Kabbalah, but
this is also very misleading.

The origin of this variant can be placed in Renaissance
Italy in the last decade of the 15th. century. It was an
amazing decade. In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for
America. In that same year the King of Spain expelled all
Jews from Spain on pain of death, bringing to an end
centuries of Jewish culture in Spain, and causing a huge
migration of dispossessed Jews through Europe, many of whom
were welcomed by the Turkish sultan, who is reputed to have
observed that the King of Spain had enriched Turkey by
beggaring his own country.

At around the same time, at the court of the great banking
family of the Medicis in Florence, Marcelio Ficino had
established the Platonic Academy under the patronage of the
Medicis and was translating the works of Plato. A bundle of
manuscripts, lost for centuries and dating back to the 1st.
and 2nd. centuries A.D. was discovered; this was the Corpus
Hermeticum, a series of documents relatingto Hermes
Trimegistus, identical with the Egyptian god Thoth, god of
wisdom. Cosimo de Medici told Ficino to stop translating
Plato and to concentrate on the Corpus instead.

At the time it was believed that the Corpus really was the
religion of the ancient Egyptians, and that Hermes was a
kind of Egyptian Moses. The fact that they were written much
later, and heavily influenced by Neoplatonism, had the
effect of convincing readers at that time that Greek
philosophy was founded on much older, Egyptian religious
philosophy - this had a huge influence on liberal religious
and philosophical thinking at the time. Into this
environment came the Kabbalah, brought in part by fleeing
Spanish Jews, and it was seized upon as another lost
tradition, the inner, initiated key to the Bible.

Two figures stand out. One was Giovanni Pico, Count of
Mirandola, who commissioned several translations of
Kabbalistic works, and did much to publicise Kabbalah among
the intellectuals of the day. The other was Johannes
Reuchlin, who learned to read Hebrew and became deeply
immersed in Kabbalistic literature. It must be said that
Jews were suspicious of this activity, finding that
Christian scholars were using the Kabbalah as a bludgeon to
persuade them to convert to Christianity.

It was out of this eclectic mixture of Christianity,
Hermeticism, Neoplatonism, Kabbalah and Renaissance humanism
that Hermetic Kabbalah was born. Over the centuries it has
developed in many directions, with strong influences from
Freemasonry and Rosicrucianism, but continued input from
Jewish Kabbalah has meant that many variants are not so
different in spirit from the original. Its greatest strength
continues to be a strong element of religious humanism - it
does not attempt to define God and does not define what an
individual should believe, but it does assume that some
level of direct experience of God is possible and there are
practical methods for achieving this. In a modern world of
compartmentalised knowledge, scientific materialism, and
widespread cultural and historical illiteracy, it provides a
bridge between the spirit of enquiry of the Renaissance (the
homo universalis or - in Hebrew - hakham kolel) and the
emergence of a similar spirit of enquiry in our own time.


On the basis of my own beliefs and practice I would say yes,
but others might contradict me, and ultimately it is a
matter of definition.

Jewish writers on the subject tend to downplay aspects of
Kabbalah which conflict with orthodox rabbinical Judaism, so
that we do not see the heretic Nathan of Gaza classed as an
important Kabbalist, despite the fact that he was very
influential for almost two hundred years. We hear little
about the non-rabbinic "Baal Shem" or "Masters of the Name"
who used Kabbalah for healing and other practical purposes.
There is ample evidence that many magical practices
currently associated with Hermetic Kabbalah were widely used
and well understood by some of the most famous rabbinic

It is the author's opinion that Hermetic Kabbalah has
preserved up to the current day many practical techniques,
and R. Aryeh Kaplan makes the following significant comment:

"It is significant to note that a number of techniques
alluded to in these fragments also appear to have been
preserved among the non-Jewish school of magic in Europe.
The relationship between the practical Kabbalah and these
magical schools would constitute an interesting area of

A more difficult question is whether Hermetic Kabbalah
conforms to the spirit of Jewish Kabbalah. One of the most
visible distinctions is that between theurgy and
thaumaturgy, between the attempt to participate in the
workings of the divine realm for the betterment of the
creation, and the attempt to interfere with its workings for
personal betterment. Modern Kabbalah outside of Judaism
appears in many guises, and is often associated or combined
with ceremonial or ritual. It may be mixed with a wide range
of theosophical traditions. This does not in itself set it
apart from historical Kabbalah. Ritual has always been an
integral part of Kabbalah, and Kabbalah has absorbed from
cultures and traditions all over Europe and the Middle East.
Even the distinction between theurgy and thaumaturgy may be
meaningless, as similar techniques can be used for both -
only by examining intention could one begin to judge which
was which.

Given the lack of a dogmatic tradition in Kabbalah it is not
clear that the question about the legitimacy of Hermetic
Kabbalah is meaningful. Even within Judaism it is unclear
what the authentic spirit or tradition is - there are large
differences in outlook between someone like Abraham Abulafia
and Isaac Luria.

There is no good answer. One person will be reassured that
the tradition is alive and going off in many different
directions - that is the sign of a living tradition. Another
person will feel threatened by outsiders and dilettantes who
are bringing the tradition into disrepute. About the only
thing which can be said with complete certainty is that
there is a great deal of prejudice. Just about everyone who
studies Kabbalah seems to be certain that someone else
hasn't a clue what Kabbalah is about!


It is not possible to recommend specific people or
organisations as what is right for one person may not be
right for another. In general, (good) teachers of Kabbalah
are not easy to find and never have been. There is a
tradition that when the pupil is ready, a teacher will

The difficulty in finding a teacher can be viewed as a
nuisance or a positive part of learning Kabbalah. A thing is
valued more when it is hard to find. Associate with people
who share your interests, go to lectures and public
meetings, go to workshops, go to whatever happens to be
available, (even if it is not entirely to your taste), and
sooner or later someone will "turn up".

Many Kabbalists are people with strong personal convictions
of a religious nature, and may see their teaching as a
personal obligation (see "What is the Great Work?"). Those
who do not charge money for their teaching may require a
strong commitment from pupils, and are unlikely to welcome
"flavour of the month" mystical aspirants.

A word of advice: a genuine teacher of Kabbalah will help
you to develop your own personal relationship with God.
Beware of a teacher who has preconceived and well-developed
ideas about what is good for you, or who tries to control
the development of your beliefs.


Section 2: Specifics


"Do not pray for your own needs, for your prayer will not
then be accepted. But when you want to pray, do so for the
heaviness of the Head. For whatever you lack, the Divine
Presence also lacks."

"This is because man is a "portion of God from on high."
Whatever any part lacks, also exists in the Whole, and the
Whole feels the lack of the part, You should therefore pray
for the needs of the Whole."

The term "the Great Work" has many definitions, and is not a
term from traditional Kabbalah, but it has a modern usage
among some Kabbalists. The quotation above, from a disciple
of the Kabbalist R. Israel Baal Shem Tov, is a traditional
Kabbalistic view: that the creation is in a damaged and
imperfect state, and the Kabbalist, by virtue of his or her
state of consciousness, can bring about a real healing. A
name for this is "tikkun" (restoration). There are many
traditional forms of tikkun, most of them prescriptions for
essentially magical acts designed to bring about a healing
in the creation.

This view of the Great Work also exists outside of Judaic
Kabbalah and survives today, namely that the creation is in
a "fallen" state, and each person has an individual role to
play in bringing about a general restoration.

"When someone stands in the light but does not give it out,
then a shadow is created."

This is a modern restatement of an old Kabbalistic idea. In
this view, God gives life to the Creation: from second to
second the Creation is sustained by this giving, and if it
were to cease even for an instant, the Creation would be no
more. If someone wants to know God then they have to
resemble God, and this means they must give to others.
Kabbalah is not a self-centred pursuit; it pivots around the
Kabbalist's relationship with all living beings.


The following information was derived initially from a
discussion on alt.magick where several people contributed
pieces, in particular, (in no order) Le Grand Cinq-Mars,
Amanda Walker, Leigh Daniels, Patric Shane Linden, B.A.
Davis-Howe, Mark Garrison, Baird Stafford, and myself.
Apologies if you said something and I missed it.

Angels are found in the Judaic, Christian, Islamic and
Zoroastrian traditions. The word "angel" is derived from the
Christian Latin "angelos", itself derived from the Greek
"aggelos", which is a translation of the Hebrew word
"mal'akh", a messenger.

Angels are typically found in groupings of four, seven and
twelve, reflecting their role in mediating the divine
influence via the planets and the stars. For example, in
Zorastrianism there was a belief in the Amesha Spentas,
seven holy or bounteous immortals who were functional
aspects of Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord. In Islam four angels
are well known: Jibril (Gabriel), the angel of revelation;
Mikal (Michael), the angel of nature; Izrail (Azrael), the
angel of death, and Israfil, the angel who places the soul
in the body and sounds the last judgement.

The sources for the angels used in Kabbalah and ceremonial
magic are primarily Jewish. The canonical Old Testament
books mention only Michael and Gabriel, but apocryphal and
Talmudic literature provide richer sources, and there is a
suspicion that this was a result of contact with
Zoroastrianism during the period of the Babylonian Exile
(6th-5th centuries BC). The four best-known angels are


According to one source his name is his war-cry:
"Who is like God?". Michael is at war with the great dragon
or serpent, often identified with Samael in Jewish sources.
Michael's original position in the celestial hierarchy has
been progressively eroded by angels such as Metatron. In
medieval Kabbalah he is attributed to Chesed, but in modern
Kabbalah he is attributed to Tipheret, and sometimes to Hod.


Uriel means "Fire of God", from the word "oor"
meaning "fire" and Auriel means "Light of God", from the
word "or" meaning "light". Both names tend to be used
synonymously, and the association with light is common in
Kabbalah. In medieval Kabbalah Uriel is attributed to Truth
and the middle pillar of the Tree, in Tipheret. The
association with light is significant because of the
importance of light in practical Kabbalah, where several
different kinds are distinguished, including: nogah (glow),
tov (good), bahir (brilliant), zohar (radiant), kavod
(glory), chaim (life), and muvhak (scintillating). In
Christian times Uriel may have been identified with Lucifer
("light-bearer") and Satan, an odd identification as the
diabolic angel according to Jewish tradition is Samael.


Raphael means "Healing of God". Raphael is sometimes
attributed to Hod and sometimes to Tipheret.


Gabriel means "Strength of God" and in medieval
Kabbalah was attributed to Gevurah (the words share a common
root). In modern Kabbalah Gabriel can be found further down
the Tree in Yesod, using his strength to hold up the

The four archangels can be found in a variety of protective
incantations where they guard the four quarters, an almost
universal symbolism which can be found in guises as diverse
as nursery rhymes ("Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, bless this
bed that I lie on") to ancient Egyptian protective deities.
A well-known incantation can be found in the Lesser
Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (see below).

The angel Samael is also important in Kabbalah. Scholem
shows (in "The Origins of the Kabbalah") that in early
medieval Kabbalah, Samael retained some of the
characteristics of the Gnostic demiurge Ialdebaoth (the
blind god), and derives the name from "sami", meaning
"blind". He is attributed consistently to the planet Mars
and the sephira Gevurah, and is the source of all the
nastiness in the world. He appears in various guises as the
Dark Angel and the Angel of Death. The suffix -el betrays
his divine origin, and Kabbalists have been divided between
placing him at the head of a demonic hierarchy (alongside
his wife Lilith), and viewing him as an unpleasant but
necessary component of creation. Samael is identified with
the serpent in the Garden of Eden, a tempter and a poisoner
of life.

The archangel Metatron does not appear in many lists of
archangels, but has an important role in Kabbalah as the
archangel of the Countenance. Legend has it that Metatron is
none other than the Old Testament sage Enoch, lifted up to
Heaven by God. Scholem comments that "...there is hardly a
duty in the heavenly realm and within the dominion of one
angel among the other angels that is not associated with
Metatron". Metatron is usually associated with Kether.

There are many lists of seven archangels. Almost all of them
differ from each other. Mark O. Garrison
(ORMUS@SORINC.CUTLER.COM) kindly provided the following
information which clarifies the difficulty:

--Mark's material begins here--

The problem lies in from whence the author goes to research
the names of the 7 Archangels. The earliest sources giving
the names of all Seven Archangels is ENOCH I (Ethiopic
Enoch) which lists the names as following:

Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Zerachiel, Gabriel, Remiel

The next two sources which originate within a few decades of
each other list quite different names of the Seven
Archangels. In ENOCH 3 (Hebrew Enoch) the Archangels are
listed as:

Mikael, Gabriel, Shatqiel, Baradiel, Shachaqiel, Baraqiel, Sidriel

While the TESTAMENT OF SOLOMON mentions:

Mikael, Gabriel, Uriel, Sabrael, Arael, Iaoth, Adonaei

The Xtian Gnostics changed things a bit further, but they
still mention Uriel (though, in some cases they called him
Phanuel). The compleat listing of the Archangels according
to their tradition is:

Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Barachiel, Sealtiel, Jehudiel 

Pope Gregory the Great wrote the Archangels as being these 7:

Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Simiel, Orifiel, Zachariel

Likewise, the Pseudo-Dionysians used a similar grouping,
mentioning Uriel also. They list the following as the Seven

Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Chamuel, Jophiel, Zadkiel

It was not until much later times, around the 10th century
C.E. when the name Uriel was replaced by other names in
these much latter sources. In Geonic Lore, Uriel is replaced
by Samael (The Angel of Light, or THE Lightbearer, from
whence the ideology of Lucifer had originated from also). In
Geonic Lore the seven are noted as being:

Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Aniel, Kafziel, Samael, Zadkiel

Around the 12th to 15th centuries C.E. the name of Haniel
came to replace the name of Uriel. However, the two being
quite different in their Natures. The name Haniel is common
to the Talismanic Magical Tradition and other forms of
Medieval Ceremonialism. These Medieval Traditions mention
the seven as being:

Zaphkiel, Zadkiel, Camael, Raphael, Haniel, Michael, Gabriel

Also, a late sourcebook titled THE HIERARCHY OF THE BLESSED
ANGELS mentions a different list of the seven archangels.
They list them as following:

Raphael, Gabriel, Chamuel, Michael, Adabiel, Haniel, Zaphiel

It need be remembered, that the Judaeo/Xtian tradition
originates from several religions and traditions, each
having its own legends and thusly, its own hierarchies and
namings of the angels. In Islam, there are only four
archangels: Gabriel, Michael, Azrael (the Angel of Death,
often interchanged with Uriel since the 15th century in some
European traditions) for instance. One can easily determine
the sources and origins of an book on Qabala or Ceremonial
Magick by what angels they use, obviously.

I personally have drawn up a TREE OF LIFE for each of these
traditions, based upon much research, for reference
purposes. Note though, the differences do not stop with just
the names of the Seven Archangels. These sources also do not
agree on the Orders of the Celestial Hierarchy, The Ruling
Princes, The Throne Angels, and the Names of God, just to
name a few! Are you starting to get the idea yet, or are you
more confused! [GRIN] :) :)

--Mark's material ends here--

the following list of references to archangels for those who
would like to read the original source material:

--Baird's material begins here--

And here is an expanded list of references to the
Archangels, including those cited by Br'anArthur. I've
included verses from the Pseudepigrapha (which are the
apocryphal books of the Bible not included by the Roman
church in its version of the Apocrypha, although I
understand that some of them are included in the Orthodox
Bible). Uriel had a number of stand-ins who appear to have
been other angels who took over his duties for a while:
their names are Sariel, Strahel, and Suriel. I've not
included their references. And, just for the fun of it, I've
also included some references from the writings of the early
Christian gnostics. In all cases, the verses I've cited are
only those in which the Archangelic Name actually appears;
in some cases, subsequent verses refer to the original
listing without naming Names.

     * 3 Baruch, 4:7 1
     * Enoch 10:4; 20:3; 32:6; 40:9; 54:6; 68:2-4; 
     * Apocalypse of Ezra 1:4; 6:2
     * Apocalypse of Adam and Eve 40:2
     * Sibylline Oracles 2:215
     * Testament of Solomon 5:9 (24 in F.C. Conybeare's 
       translation); 13:6 (59 in Conybeare); 18:8 (75 in 
     * Tobit 3:16; 5:4; 7:8; 8:2; 9:1; 9:5; 11:7; 12:15
     * Daniel 10:13; 10:21; 12:1
     * Jude 9
     * Revelations 12:7 3
     * Baruch 4:7; 11:2,4,6,8; 12:4,6-7; 13:2-3,5; 14:1-2; 
       15:1,3; 16:1,3 4
     * Baruch 9:5 1
     * Enoch 9:1; 10:11; 20:5; 24:6; 40:9; 54:6; 60:4-5; 
       68:2-4; 69:14-15; 71:3,8-9,13 2
     * Enoch 22:1,6,8-9; 33:10; 71:28 (Recension J); 
       72:1,3,8-9 (Recension J) 3 Enoch 17:3; 44:10
     * Apocalypse of Ezra 1:3; 2:1; 4:7,24; 6:2
     * Life of Adam and Eve 13:3; 14:1-3; 15:2; 21:2; 
       22:2; 25:2; 29:1-3;
       43:3; 45:1; 51:2
     * Apocalypse of Adam and Eve 3:2; 22:1; 37:4,6; 
       40:1-2; 43:1-2
     * Sibylline Oracles 2:215
     * Testament of Solomon 1:6 (5 in Conybeare); 18:5 
       (73 in Conybeare)
     * Apocalypse of Abraham 10:17
     * Apocalypse of Sedrach 14:1
     * Martyrdom and Ascension of Isiah 3:16
     * Testament of Abraham 1:4,6; 2:2-14:7
     * Testament of Isaac 2:1
     * Testament of Jacob 1:6; 5:13
     * Vision of Ezra verse 56
     * Gnostic Texts (Nag Hammadi Scrolls)
     * Apocryphon of John 17:30
     * Daniel 8:16; 9:21
     * Luke 1:19; 1:26 3
     * Baruch 4:7 1
     * Enoch 9:1; 10:9; 20:7; 40:9; 54:6; 71:8-9,13 2
     * Enoch 21:3,5; 24:1; 71:11 (28 Recension A); 
       72:1,3,8-9 (Recension A) 3 Enoch 14:4 (referred to 
       as Angel of Fire); 17:3
     * Apocalypse of Ezra 2:1; 4:7; 6:2
     * Apocalypse of Adam and Eve 40:2
     * Sibylline Oracles 2:215; 8:455
     * Testament of Solomon 18:6 (74 in Conybeare)
     * Vision of Ezra verse 56
     * Apocalypse of Elijah 5:5
     * Testament of Jacob 5:13
     * Questions of Ezra (Recension B) verse 11
     * Gnostic Texts (Nag Hammadi Scrolls)
     * Gospel of the Egyptians 52:23; 53:6; 57:7; 64:26
     * Zostrianos 57:9; 58:22
     * 3 Baruch 4:7 (Phanuel in ms Family B)
     * Testament of Solomon 2:4 1
     * Enoch 19:1; 21:5; 27:2; 33:3; 40:9 (as Phanuel); 
       54:6 (as Phanuel); 71:8-9,13 (as Phanuel); 72:1; 
       80:1; 82:7 (text tells what Uriel's in charge of)
     * 4 Ezra 4:1
     * Apocalypse of Ezra 6:2
     * Apocalypse of Adam and Eve 40:2
     * Life of Adam and Eve 48:1,3
     * Prayer of Joseph verses 4, 7
     * Sibylline Oracles 2:215,225
     * Apocalypse of Elijah 5:5
     * Testament of Solomon 2:4 (as Ouriel) (10 in Conybeare); 
       7 (as  Ouriel) (11 in Conybeare);  
       8:9 (as Ouriel) (40 in Conybeare);  
       18:7 (as Ouriel) (75 in Conybeare); 
       27 (as Ouriel) (93 in Conybeare)
     * Esdras 4:1; 5:21; 10:28
     * Gnostic Texts (Nag Hammadi Scrolls)
     * Apocryphon of John 17:30 (as Ouriel)
Two further notes: the early fathers of the Roman church
appear to have rewritten the Sibyline Oracles to conform to
their vision of what a proper prophesy for Rome ought to
have been. Also, The Apocalypse of Adam and Eve is also
known as The Apocalypse of Moses.

--Baird's material ends here--

Lastly, Leigh Daniels ( writes:

A great book is Gustav Davidson's "A Dictionary of Angels"
(including the fallen angels) published by Free Press, 1967.
It is available in paper for US$17.95 and in my opinion
worth every penny. It includes a 24-page bibliography of
sources used in compiling it.

[Colin comments: it is a useful book, but the author was
uncritical in choosing his sources of information]


The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram is a protective
formula which can be used to banish unwanted influences, to
"clear the air" as a preliminary to ritual or meditative
work. It can be carried out physically, but it can also be
used as a concentration exercise which is performed in the
imagination prior to going to sleep (for example).

The ritual exists in a number of variant forms, the best
known being the Golden Dawn variant given below. The Golden
Dawn version is is based on (or is at least strongly
influenced by) Jewish sources.

The version of the ritual below was posted by Rodrigo de
Ferres ( and is included here with his
permission. [I have altered a couple of Hebrew
transliterations to make them consistent with normal Hebrew
vowel pointing.]

--Rodrigo's contribution begins--

The following is derived from numerous GD sources.

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

This ritual can be done to purify a room for further ritual
work or meditation and can be used for protection. Its
effects are primarily on the Astral (IMHO) though it uses
the Earth pentagram. It also promotes a still mind, free of
outside influenes which is a useful aid in meditation. It is
therefore recommended that the ritual be used as part of a
daily meditation work.

1. Stand facing East.

2. Perform the Qabalistic Cross

   1. Touch forehead with first two (or index) fingers of right
   hand and visualizing a sphere of white light at that point,
   vibrate: Atah (translates roughly - Thou Art)

   2. Lower hand to solar plexus and visualize a line extending
   down to your feet, vibrate: Malkuth (the Kingdom)

   3. Raise hand and touch right shoulder visualizing a sphere
   of light there. Vibrate: Ve Geburah (and the power)

   4. Extend the hand across the chest tracing a line of light
   and touch the left shoulder where another sphere of light
   forms. Vibrate: Ve Gedulah (and the glory).

   5. Clasp hands in center of chest at crossing point of
   horizontal and vertical lines of light. Bow head and
   vibrate: Le Olam, Amen. (for ever - amen.)

3. Facing east, using either the extended fingers or a
dagger, trace a large pentagram with the point up, starting
at your left hip, up to just above your forehead, centered
on your body, then down to your right hip, up and to your
left shoulder, across to the right shoulder and down to the
starting point in front of your left hip. Visualize the
pentagram in blue flaming light. Stab you fingers or dagger
into the center and vibrate: YHVH (Yod-heh-vahv-heh - which
is the tetragrammaton translated into latin as Jehovah)

4. Turn to the south. Visualize that the blue flame follows
your fingers or dagger, tracing a blue line from the east
pentagram to the south. Repeat step three while facing
South, except vibrate: Adonai (another name for god
translated as Lord)

5. Turn to the West, tracing the blue flame from south to
west. Repeat step 3, but vibrate: Eheieh (Eh-hay-yeah more
or less - another name of God translated as I AM or I AM
THAT I AM.) (Or "I will be" - Ed.)

6. Turn to the North, again tracing the blue flame from west
to north. Repeat step 3, but vibrate: AGLA (Ah-gah-lah - a
composite of Atah Gibor le olam Amen - see step 2)

7. Return again to the east, tracing the blue flame from
North to East. Stab the fingers or dagger back again into
the same spot as in step 3. You should now visualize that
you are surrounded by four flaming pentagrams connected by a
line of blue fire.

8. Extend your arms out to your sides, forming a cross.
Vibrate (visualizing each Archangel standing guard at each
station): Before me RAPHAEL (rah-fah-yell) Behind me GABRIEL
(gah-bree-ell) On my right hand, MICHAEL (mee-khah-ell) On
my left hand, AURIEL (sometimes URIEL aw-ree-ell or
ooh-ree-ell) for about me flames the Pentagrams, and in the
column stands the six-rayed star. (Alternatively the last
two lines can be: before me flames the pentagram, behind me
shines the six-rayed star)

9. Repeat the Qabalistic Cross (step 2). As can be seen,
Raphael is in the East, Gabriel in the West, Michael in the
South and Auriel/Uriel in the North.

For more detailed information I refer the reader to: 

 * The Practical Qabalah by Charles Fielding 

 * Ceremonial Magic by Israel Regardie

 * The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic by Israel Regardie

 * The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie

--Rodrigo's Contribution ends--

There has been some interest in knowing where the LBRP comes
from. The answer appears to be that it is inspired, at least
in part, by particular Jewish prayers and meditational

There are alternative versions extant, and one such is taken
from a modern Jewish source. The source is a pamphlet called
"A First Step - a Devotional Guide" which was written by
Zalman Schachter and reprinted in "The First Jewish
Catalogue" by Richard Siegel, Michael Strassfeld and Sharon
Strassfeld, published by the Jewish Publication Society of
America in 1973, ISBN 0-8276-0042-9.

The blurb describing the pamphlet states:

"A First Step by Zalman Schachter is not a translation. It
was first written in English. It is a contemporary attempt
to make accessible spiritual and devotional techniques from
classic Jewish sources, sources on which the pamphlet was

[Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, (PhD and Professor Emeritus
of Religion at Temple University, founder of the Jewish
Renewal movement) is a very important teacher and scholar -
Greg Burton]

The author of the pamphlet states

"The approach used here is that of classical Jewish
mysticism, as refined by Hasidism, and in particular, by the
Habad school."

[Chabad comes from Chokhmah, Binah, Daath - Wisdom,
Understanding and Knowledge - and is usually associated with
the Lubavitch tradition of Chassidism - Colin]

Now to the exercise given:

"On other nights, after a short examination, screen yourself
off from sounds and cares by visualising an angel - a
spiritual force field - of grace at your right, this force
field being impenetrable by care or worry; at your left, an
angel of power and strength; before you, an angel of soft
light and luminousness, and behind you an angel of healing.
Over your head, picture the very presence of the loving God.
As you visualise this, say: 

  "In the name of YHVH The God of Israel: 
  At my right hand Michael 
  At my left Gabriel 
  Ahead of me Oriel 
  Behind me Raphel 
  Above my head the Sheckinah of God!

"Imagine yourself plugging into Michael for love - so that
you can love more the next day; Gabriel for strength - to
fill you for the next day; Oriel filling you with the light
of the mind; Raphael healing all your ills."

Greg Burton ( comments on this exercise:

--Greg's contribution begins here--

This particular exercise is derived from the practice of
saying the Sh'ma 'before lying down' - the 'kriyat (bedtime)

A full traditional Sephardic version, in Hebrew and English, 
and with some commentary, can be found beginning on page 318 
of the 'Artscroll Siddur' (nusach Sefard), Mesorah,
ISBN 0-89906-657-7. 

Traditional Hassidic kavvenot (intentions/directions/way 
to do it) can be found in 'Jewish Spiritual Practices' 
by Yitzhak Buxbaum, Aronson, ISBN 0-87668-832-6.

The attributes listed in the so-called 'Qabbalistic Cross'
comes from Psalm 99, verse 5, and are part of the Shachrit
(morning) Torah service. The attributes assigned for the
movements are not traditional, and the order has been
changed. If using the traditional assignments (Gevurah left,
Gedulah or Chesed right), and saying the sephirotic names in
the proper order, it more properly would describe the
Lightning Flash in the lower 7 Sephirot, rather than a

Note in the kriyat Sh'ma that Michael (Chesed) is on
the right and Gabriel (Gevurah) is on the left. The
implication is that one is facing Keter). Due to changes in
directional / elemental / archangelic positioning, it is not
obvious (but clearly implied) that physically one is facing
North. Another change is that the LBRP does not bless the
Divine, while the Jewish service does. This lack of blessing
may reflect the not-so-covert Christian/Rosicrucian bias in
G.D. liturgy and a particular theology, or it may not. In
any event, it changes what was originally a theurgic act
into a thaumaturgic act.

You might also note that many Jews coming across the LBRP
are deeply offended that the liturgy has been so grossly
distorted, and is being used (from their perspective)
sacreligiously. Telling them that it's "just different"
carries about as much weight as telling traditional Native
Americans that Lynn Andrew's work is "just different".

Combining aspects of two completely different traditions 
into one ritual can be done, but it really is better if 
you know what you're working with.

--Greg's contribution ends--

In confirmation of what Greg says, the prayers to be said
before retiring to rest at night are a standard part of
Jewish liturgy, and the British Commonwealth Authorised
Daily Prayer book of the United Hebrew Congregations has (as
part of a lengthy prayer which includes the 3rd., 91st., and
128th. psalms) the following:

"In the name of the Lord, the God of Israel, may Michael be
at my right hand; Gabriel at my left; before me Uriel;
behind me Raphael; and above my head the divine presence
(lit. Shekhinah) of God."

Lastly, the rudiments of the LRPB have spread beyond
ceremonial magic and can be found in places as diverse as a
Kate Bush album and Katherine Kurtz's novels. It is even
possible to see a version carried out by Christopher Lee in
the film version of Dennis Wheatley's novel The Devil Rides

The following extract was provided by Robert Farrior

--Robert's contribution begins--

Not a scholarly source, try The Adept: Book Three, The
Templar Treasure, by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner
Harris. There is a scene where a Jewish scholar is in the
hospital dying and his son is reciting a Jewish prayer. The
words are almost identical to the LBRP attributes of the
Archangels, except the attributes are reversed. Sir Adam
Sinclair, the hero, thinks how close it is to that used in
his tradition. Its on page 40.

"Shema Yisrael, Adonail Elohenu, Adonai Achad. Hear O
Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One...Go since the
Lord sends thee; go, and the Lord will be with thee; the
Lord God is with him and he will ascend."

"May the Lord Bless thee and keep thee; May the Lord let his
countenance shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; May
the Lord lift up his countenance upon the, and give the

"At thy right hand is Michael, at thy left is Gabriel,
before thee is Uriel, behind thee is Raphel, and above thy
head is the divine presence of God. The angel of the lord
encampeth around them that fear Him, and He delivereth them.
Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be
thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee,
withersoever thou goest."

--Robert's contribution ends--


The word "qlippah" or "klippah" (plural "qlippoth") means
"shell" or "husk".

The idea of a covering or a garment or a vessel is common in
Kabbalah, where it used, at various times and with various
degrees of subtlety, to express the manner in which the
light of the En Soph is "encapsulated". For example, the
sephiroth, in their capacity of recipients of light, are
sometimes referred to as kelim, "vessels". The duality
between the container and the contained is one of the most
important in Kabbalistic explanations of the creative

The word "qlippah" is an extension of this metaphor. A
qlippah is also a covering or a container, and as each
sephira acts as a shell or covering to the sephira preceding
it in the order of emanation, in a technical sense we can
say the qlippoth are innate to the Tree of Life. Cut a slice
through a tree and one can see the growth rings, with the
bark on the outside. The Tree of Life has 10 concentric
rings, and sometimes the qlippah is equated to the bark. The
word is commonly used to refer to a covering which contains
no light: that is, an empty shell, a dead husk.

It is also the case that the qlippoth appear in Kabbalah as
demonic powers of evil, and in trying to disentangle the
various uses of the word it becomes clear that there is an
almost continuous spectrum of opinion, varying from the
technical use where the word hardly differs from the word
"form", to the most anthropomorphic sense, where the
qlippoth are evil demonesses in a demonic hierarchy
responsible for all the evil in the world.

One reason why the word "qlippah" has no simple meaning is
that it is part of the Kabbalistic explanation of evil, and
it is difficult to explain evil in a monotheistic,
non-dualistic religion without incurring a certain

If God is good, why is there evil?

No short essay can do justice to the complexity of this
topic. I will indicate some of the principle themes.

The "Zohar" attributes the primary cause of evil to the act
of separation. The act of separation is referred to as the
"cutting of the shoots". What was united becomes divided,
and the boundary between one thing and another can be
regarded as a shell. The primary separation was the division
between the Tree of Life (Pillar of Mercy) from the Tree of
Knowledge (Pillar of Severity).

In normal perception the world is clearly characterized by
divisions between one thing and another, and in this
technical sense one could say that we are immersed in a
world of shells. The shells, taken by themselves as an
abstraction divorced from the original, undivided light
(making another separation!) are the dead residue of
manifestation, and can be identified with dead skin, hair,
bark, sea shells, or shit. They have been referred to as the
dregs remaining in a glass of wine, or as the residue left
after refining gold. According to Scholem, the Zohar
interprets evil as "the residue or refuse of the hidden
life's organic process"; evil is something which is dead,
but comes to life because a spark of God falls on it; by
itself it is simply the dead residue of life.

The skeleton is the archetypal shell. By itself it is a dead
thing, but infuse it with a spark of life and it becomes a
numinous and instantly recognisable manifestation of
metaphysical evil. The shell is one of the most common
horror themes; take a mask, or a doll, or any dead
representation of a living thing, shine a light out of its
eyes, and becomes a thing of evil intent. The powers of evil
appear in the shape of the animate dead - skulls, bones,
zombies, vampires, phantasms.

The following list of correspondences follows the
interpretation that the qlippoth are empty shells, form
without force, the covering of a sephira:

Kether       Futility 
Chokhmah     Arbitrariness 
Binah        Fatalism 
Chesed       Ideology 
Gevurah      Bureaucracy 
Tipheret     Hollowness
Netzach      Routine, Repetition, Habit 
Hod          Rigid Order 
Yesod        Zombieism, Robotism 
Malkut       Stasis

A second, common interpretation of the qlippoth is that they
represent the negative or averse aspect of a sephira, as if
each sephira had a Mr. Hyde to complement Dr. Jekyll. There
are many variations of this idea. One of the most common is
the idea that evil is caused by an excess of the powers of
Din (judgement) in the creation. The origin of this
imbalance may be innate, a residue of the moment of
creation, when each sephira went through a period of
imbalance and instability (the kingdoms of unbalanced
force), but another version attributes this imbalance to
humankind's propensity for the Tree of Knowledge in
preference to the Tree of Life (a telling and precognitively
inspired metaphor if ever there was one...).

The imbalance of the powers of Din "leaks" out of the Tree
and provides the basis for the "sitra achra", the "other
side", or the "left side" (referring to pillar of severity),
a quasi or even fully independent kingdom of evil. This may
be represented by a full Tree in its own right, sometimes by
a great dragon, sometimes by seven hells. The most lurid
versions combine Kabbalah with medieval demonology to
produce detailed lists of demons, with Samael and Lilith
riding at their head as king and queen.

A version of this survives in the Golden Dawn tradition on
the qlippoth. The qlippoth are given as 10 evil powers
corresponding to the 10 sephiroth. I referred to G.D
knowledge lectures and also to Crowley's "777" (believed to
be largely a rip-off of Alan Bennett's G.D. correspondence
tables), and found several inconsistencies in
transliteration and translation. Where possible I have
reconstructed the original Hebrew, and I have given a
corrected list.

The Orders of the Qlippoth 

Sephiroth  Qlippoth     Meaning 

Kether     Thaumiel     Twins of God 
                       (TAVM, tom - a twin)
Chokmah    Ogiel        Hinderers 
                       (? OVG - to draw a circle)
Binah      Satariel     Concealers 
                       (STR, satar- to hide, conceal)
Chesed     Gash'khalah  Breakers in Pieces 
                       (GASh Ga'ash - shake, quake                  
                       KLH, khalah - complete destruction, 
Gevurah    Golachab     Flaming Ones 
Tipheret   Tagiriron    Litigation 
                       (probably from GVR, goor - quarrel) 
Netzach    Orev Zarak   Raven of Dispersion 
                       (ARV, orev - raven 
                       ZRQ, zaraq - scatter) 
Hod        Samael       False Accuser 
                       (SMM, samam - poison) 
Yesod      Gamaliel     Obscene Ass 
                       (GML, gamal - camel? alt. ripen?) 
Malkut     Lilith       Woman of the Night 
                       (Leilah - Night)

Most of these attributions are obvious, others are not. The
Twins of of God replace a unity with a warring duality. The
Hinderers block the free expression of the God's will. The
Concealers prevent the mother from giving birth to the child
- the child is stillborn in the womb. The Breakers in Pieces
are the powers of authority gone bersek - Zeus letting fly
with thunderbolts in all directions. The Flaming Ones refer
to the fiery and destructive aspect of Gevurah. Lilith is
the dark side of the Malkah or queen of Malkuth.

Why Samael is placed in Hod is unclear, unless he has been
christianised and turned into the father of lies. In
Kabbalah he is almost always attributed to Gevurah,
sometimes as its archangel. Yesod is associated with the
genitals and the sexual act, but why Gamaliel is unclear to
me. I could easily concoct fanciful and perhaps even
believable explanations for the attributions to Tipheret and
Netzach, but I prefer not to.

In "777" Crowley also gives qlippoth for many of the 22
paths. If the transliterations and translations are as
accurate as those for the sephiroth, I would be tempted to
reach for my lexicon.

The G.D. teachings on the qlippoth are minimal in the
material in my possession, but a great deal can be deduced
from those fascinating repositories of Kabbalistic myth, the
twin pictures of the Garden of Eden before and after the
Fall. There are so many mythic themes in these pictures that
it is difficult to disentangle them, but they seem strongly
influenced by the ideas of Isaac Luria, and it is now time
to describe the third major interpretation of the qlippoth.

Luria's ideas have probably received more elaboration than
any others in Kabbalah. The man left little in a written
form, and his disciples did not concur in the presentation
of what was clearly a very complex theosophical system -
this is a subject where no amount of care will ensure
consistency with anyone else.

Luria made the first step in the creation a process called
"tzim tzum" or contraction. This contraction took place in
the En Soph, the limitless, unknown, and unknowable God of
Kabbalah. God "contracted" in a process of self-limitation
to make a space (in a metaphorical sense, of course) for the
creation. In the next step the light entered this space in a
jet to fill the empty vessels of the sephiroth, but all but
the first three were shattered by the light. This breaking
of the vessels is called "shevirah". The shards of the
broken vessels fell into the abyss created by contraction,
and formed the qlippoth. Most of the light returned to the
En Soph, but some of it remained in the vessels (like a
smear of oil in an empty bottle) and fell with the qlippoth.

Scholem describes the shevirah and the expulsion of the
qlippoth as cathartic; not a blunder, an architectural
miscalculation like an inadequately buttressed Gothic
cathedral, but as a catharsis. Perhaps the universe, like a
new baby, came attached to a placenta which had to be
expelled, severed, and thrown out into the night.

One way of looking at the shevirah is this: the self
contraction of tzim tzum was an act of Din, or Judgement,
and so at the root of the creative act was the quality which
Kabbalists identify with the source of evil, and it was
present in such quantity that a balanced creation became
possible only by excreting the imbalance. The shevirah can
be viewed as a corrective action in which the unbalanced
powers of Din, the broken vessels, were ejected into the

Whether cathartic or a blunder, the shevirah was
catastrophic. Nothing was as it should have been in an ideal
world. The four worlds of Kabbalah slipped, and the lowest
world of Assiah descended into the world of the shells. This
can be seen in the G.D. picture of the Eden after the Fall.
Much of Lurianic Kabbalah is concerned with corrective
actions designed to bring about the repair or restoration
(tikkun) of the creation, so that the sparks of light
trapped in the realm of the shells can be freed.

The final word on the shells must go to T.S. Eliot, who had
clearly bumped into them in one of his many succesful raids
on the inarticulate:

"Shape without form, shade without colour, Paralysed force,
gesture without motion;"

"Those who have crossed With direct eyes, to death's other
Kingdom Remember us - if at all - not as lost, Violent
souls, but only As the hollow men The stuffed men."


There is a common belief that certain sephiroth are
"masculine" and other sephiroth are "feminine". This belief
causes many problems in comprehending the Tree of Life, and
is a source of questions. For example, why is Gevurah, a
martial and aggressive sephira, depicted as feminine, and
why is Netzach, the nurturing, caring, emotional and
aesthetic sephira, depicted as "masculine".

No convoluted explanations are required. The difficulties
occur because of a carelessness in choosing words, and a
misunderstanding about planetary correspondences. In other
words, the above depictions are inaccurate.

Masculine and feminine are acquired behaviours which have
changed over time, and many people are learning their
Kabbalah from books written several decades ago. These
stereotype views of masculine and feminine were not shared
by Jewish authors, who not only did not use these terms, but
placed an entirely different meaning on the terms they did
use. If you take "feminine" to imply emotional, caring, and
passive, and "masculine" to imply active, aggressive, and
intellectual, then not only do you risk offending a large
number of people who find this stereotype insulting, but you
wmay also have great difficulty in reconciling various
correspondences for the sephiroth.

A more appropriate characterisation of the difference
between sephira is that of "giving" and "receiving". Kether
is a sephira that only gives, and Malkuth is a sephira which
only receives, and all other sephiroth are both giving and
receiving, so that Binah receives from Chokhmah but gives to
Chesed. [Things are not so simple; there is a tradition that
when a current reaches Malkuth, it reflects and travels back
up the Tree again, so that even Malkuth and Kether play a
part in giving and receiving. When human beings carry out
simple acts in their daily life with full consciousness,
then this results in a small "tikkun" or restoration in the
upper worlds - in other words, it is our own actions which
cause the reflection within Malkuth, and by doing so cause
the "spiritualisation of matter"]

Kabbalists have used a sexual metaphor for this giving and
receiving; they have observed that from a biological point
of view, the male "gives", and the female "receives", and
have given the sephira Chokhmah the title "Father" and the
sephira Binah the title "Mother". In time, this distinction
between male and female has been lost, and carelessness has
lead to the substitution of masculine and feminine, which
entirely changes the original meaning.

A second difficulty is caused by a common tendency in people
to use the astrological correspondence of a planet as the
primary means for understanding a sephira, so that for many
people, Gevurah and Mars are synonymous. This is equivalent
to saying that because a sunflower reminds me of the sun,
the sun *is* a sunflower. The fact that one is a luminous
ball of gas and the other is a plant with yellow petals
should give a clue as to the magnitude of this kind of
error. The metaphorical relationship between the sephira
Tipheret and the sun is no closer than that between the sun
and a sunflower. Likewise the relationship between Gevurah
and Mars, and between Netzach and Venus - this is an example
of the finger pointing at the moon: look at the finger and
you don't see the moon.

What follows is a very brief characterisation of each
sephiroth, with a brief rational for the corresponding
planetary association.

Kether       Unity 
Chokhmah     Unconditioned Creativity
Binah        Possibility of Boundaries 
Chesed       Conditioned Creativity
Gevurah      Response to Boundaries 
Tipheret     Self-Consciousness
Netzach      Response to Creativity 
Hod          Appreciation of Boundaries
Yesod        Ego 
Malkuth      Diversity

This is an abstract approach which concentrates on the
polarity of force/creativity and form. In Kabbalah this is
expressed as the polarity of Chokhmah and Binah. Chokhmah is
the unconditioned creativity that explodes out of unity of
Kether. Binah is concealed in this duality, in the
separation between Kether and Chokhmah, and expresses the
possibility of duality, of separation between one thing and
another. Binah is the Mother of Form, the root of separation
which forms the basis for all distinctions and finiteness.
The Mother receives the creative outpouring of Chokhmah and
gives birth to it in Chesed. Chesed reflects the creativity
of Chokhmah, but is conditioned by the boundaries and
distinctions of Binah. Chesed creates within the realm of
the possible; Binah defines what is possible.

Gevurah is the response to boundaries. Chesed wants to move
existing boundaries around, and Gevurah is the response to
that. This response is typically reactionary, a defense of
the status quo, an attempt to keep the boundaries where they
were. Chesed is active - it changes the status quo. Gevurah
is receptive - it takes the existing status quo and defends

Netzach is the response to creativity. It is the place of
aesthetic judgements, of likes and dislikes, of passions for
this and that. It is the adulation of a fan for a band, or
an artist, or a politician. Hod is the appreciation of
boundaries, a passion for classification, rules, detail,
hair-splitting definitions. Netzach is active; feelings tell
us what we should like. Feelings direct our behaviour. Hod
is receptive, in that it elaborates what it is given.

The more confusing planetary associations should now (I
hope) be clearer. Saturn is the sphere of limitation, old
age, death, and corresponds to Binah, the Mother of Form,
from whose womb all finiteness comes. Jupiter, the leader,
corresponds to Chesed. Mars (as the warrior defending the
law and the State) corresponds to Gevurah (but not Mars as
the bloodthirsty berserker - this is an aspect of Chesed).
Venus, the romantic aesthete, goddess of love and sensual
beauty, corresponds to Netzach. Mercury, the god of trade,
science, communication, medicine, discourse, trickery,
corresponds to Hod.

Do not expect to find a detailed consistency between a
sephira and its planetary correspondence: the sun is not a
sunflower. There is a subtlety and generality, not to
mentioned coherency, in the idea of sephirotic emanation
which is not to be found in the planetary correspondences.


Section 3: A Potted History of Kabbalah

Kabbalists and scholars disagree on the date of the origins
of the Kabbalah. Many Kabbalists trace the tradition back to
1st. century A.D. Palestine. Scholars tend to identify
Kabbalah with specific ideas which emerged in 12th. century
Provence in the school of R. Isaac the Blind, who has been
called "the father of Kabbalah". What is abundantly clear
however is that there is a continuous thread of Jewish
mysticism running from early times, and these strands have
become so intertwined with Kabbalah that it is difficult to
know where one ends and another begins. For example, the
highly influential text, the Sepher Yetzirah, was the
subject of widespread commentary by medieval Kabbalists but
the text may have been written as early as the 1st. century.
Again, ideas from Jewish Gnosticism from the 2nd. and 3rd.
centuries have also become deeply embedded in Kabbalah.

The earliest documents associated with Kabbalah come from
the period ~100 to ~1000 A.D. and describe the attempts of
"Merkabah" mystics to penetrate the seven halls (Hekaloth)
of creation in order to reach the Merkabah (throne-chariot)
of God. These mystics appear to have used what would now be
recognised as familiar methods of shamanism (fasting,
repetitious chanting, prayer, posture) to induce trance
states in which they literally fought their way past
terrible seals and guards to reach an ecstatic state in
which they "saw God". An early and highly influential
document, the Sepher Yetzirah, or "Book of Formation",
originated during the earlier part of this period.

By the early Middle Ages further, more theosophical
developments had taken place, chiefly a description of
"processes" within God, and the development of an esoteric
view of creation as a process in which God manifests in a
series of emanations, or sephiroth. This doctrine of the
sephiroth can be found in a rudimentary form in the "Sepher
Yetzirah", but by the time of the publication of the book
"Bahir" in the 12th. century it had reached a form not too
different from the form it takes today.

A motive behind the development of the doctrine of emanation
can be found in the questions:

"If God made the world, then what is the world if it is not

"If the world is God, then why is it imperfect?"

It was necessary to bridge the gap between a pure and
perfect being, and a manifestly impure and imperfect world,
by a series of "steps" in which the divine light was
successively diluted. The result has much in common with
Neoplatonism, which also tried to resolve the same
difficulty by postulating a "chain of being" which bridged
the gap between the perfection of God, and the evident
imperfection of the world of daily life.

One of most interesting characters from the early period was
Abraham Abulafia (1240-1295), who believed that God cannot
be described or conceptualised using everyday symbols. Like
many Kabbalists he believed in the divine nature of the
Hebrew alphabet and used abstract letter combinations and
permutations (tzeruf) in intense meditations lasting many
hours to reach ecstatic states. Because his abstract letter
combinations were used as keys or entry points to altered
states of consciousness, failure to carry through the
manipulations correctly could have a drastic effect on the
Kabbalist. In Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism Scholem
includes a fascinating extract from a description of one
such experiment. Abulafia is unusual because
(controversially) he was one of the few Kabbalists to
provide explicit written details of practical techniques.

The most influential Kabbalistic document, the Sepher ha
Zohar or "Book of Splendour", was published by Moses de Leon
(1238-1305), a Spanish Jew, in the latter half of the
thirteenth century. The Zohar is a series of separate
documents covering a wide range of subjects, from a
verse-by-verse esoteric commentary on the Pentateuch, to
highly theosophical descriptions of processes within God.
The Zohar was highly influential within mainstream Judaism
(in some communities it was ranked as highly as the Talmud
as a source of interpretation on the Torah), and within the
more orthodox sects it still is.

An important development in Kabbalah was the Safed school of
mystics headed by Moses Cordovero (1522-1570) and his
successor Isaac Luria (1534-1572). Luria, called "The Ari"
or Lion, was a highly charismatic leader who exercised
almost total control over the life of the school, and has
passed into history as something of a saint. Emphasis was
placed on living in the world and bringing the consciousness
of God through into the world in a practical way. Practices
were largely devotional.

Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Judaism
as a whole was heavily influenced by Kabbalah, but two
influences caused its decline. The first event was the mass
defection of Jews to the cause of the heretic and apostate
pseudo-messiah Shabbatai Tzevi (1626-1676), an event Scholem
called "the largest and most momentous messianic movement in
Jewish history subsequent to the destruction of the Temple
and the Bar Kokhba Revolt." The Shabbateans included many
prominent rabbis and Kabbalists, and from this point
Kabbalah became inextricably mired with suspicions of

A second factor was the rise in Eastern Europe of a populist
Kabbalism in the form of Hasidism, and its eventual decline
into superstition, so that by the beginning of this century
a Jewish writer was able to dismiss Kabbalah as an
historical curiousity. Jewish Kabbalah has vast literature
which is almost entirely untranslated into English.

A development which took place almost synchronously with the
translation and publication of key texts of Jewish Kabbalah
was its adoption by many Christian mystics, magicians and
philosophers. Some Christians thought Kabbalah held keys
that would reveal mysteries hidden in the scriptures, and
others tried to find in Kabbalah doctrines which might be
used to convert Jews to Christianity. There were some who
recognised in Kabbalah themes with which they were already
familiar in the literature of Hermeticism and Neoplatonism.

The key figure in what has been called "Christian Kabbalah"
is Giovanni Pico, Count of Mirandola. The liberal atmosphere
in Florence under the patronage of the Medici family
provided a haven for both Jewish scholars (usually employed
as translators or physicians) and humanist philosophers. The
fall of Byzantium provided a rich source of Greek texts such
as works of Plato and the Corpus Hermiticum. Della Mirandola
not only popularised Kabbalah, but influenced humanist
scholars such as Johannes Reuchlin to learn Hebrew and study
important source texts. Kabbalah was progressively bundled
with Pythagoreanism, Neoplatonism, Hermeticism and
Rosicrucianism to form a snowball which continued to pick up
traditions as it rolled down the centuries. It is probably
accurate to say that from the Renaissance on, virtually all
European occult philosophers and magicians of note had a
working knowledge of some aspect of Kabbalah, and we are not
talking about obscure individuals - there was a time when
science, philosophy, metaphysics, theology and so-called
"occult sciences" inter-mingled in a way which baffles the
compartmentalised modern mind, and biographers of Isaac
Newton still have difficulty in accepting the things he
studied when not laying the foundations of modern
theoretical physics!

Non-Jewish Kabbalah has suffered greatly from having only a
limited number of source texts to work from, often in poor
translations, and without the key commentaries which would
have revealed the tradition associated with the concepts
described. It is pointless to criticise non-Jewish Kabbalah
(as many writers have) for misinterpreting Jewish Kabbalah;
it should be recognised as a parallel tradition with many
points of correspondence and many points of difference. Its
strength is that a practical tradition has evolved, which
many find effective and worthwhile, and the original
Renaissance humanism out of which it grew has remained
intact, so that while it is broadly Judeo-Christian in
background, it is largely free of dogma, and places the task
of self-actualisation firmly in the hands of human beings.

Very little information has survived about the Practical
Kabbalah in the Jewish tradition, but there is abundant
evidence that it involved a wide range of practices and
included practices now regarded as magical - the fact that
so many Kabbalists denounced the use of Kabbalah for magical
purposes is evidence in itself (even if there were no other)
that the use of these techniques was widespread. It is
highly likely that many ritual magical techniques were
introduced into Europe by Kabbalists or their less
scrupulous camp followers.

The most important medieval magical text is the Key of
Solomon, and it contains the elements of classic ritual
magic - names of power, the magic circle, ritual implements,
consecration, evocation of spirits etc. No-one knows how old
it is, but there is a reasonable suspicion that its contents
preserve techniques which might well date back to Solomon.

The combination of non-Jewish Kabbalah and ritual magic has
been kept alive outside Judaism until the present day,
although it has been heavily adulterated at times by
Hermeticism, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, Pythagoreanism,
Rosicrucianism, Christianity, Tantra and so on. The most
important "modern" influences are the French magician
Eliphas Levi, and the English Order of the Golden Dawn. At
least two members of the Golden Dawn (S.L. Mathers and A.E.
Waite) were knowledgeable Kabbalists, and three Golden Dawn
members have popularised Kabbalah - Aleister Crowley, Israel
Regardie, and Dion Fortune. Dion Fortune's Order of the
Inner Light has also produced a number of authors: Gareth
Knight, William Butler, and William Gray to name but three.

An unfortunate side effect of the Golden Dawn is that while
Kabbalah was an important part of its "Knowledge Lectures",
surviving Golden Dawn rituals are a syncretist hodge-podge
of symbolism in which Kabbalah seems to play a minor or
nominal role, and this has led to Kabbalah being seen by
many modern occultists as more of a theoretical and
intellectual discipline, rather than a potent and
self-contained mystical and magical system in its own right.

Some of the originators of modern witchcraft (e.g. Gerald
Gardner, Alex Saunders) drew heavily on medieval ritual and
Kabbalah for inspiration, and it is not unusual to find
modern witches teaching some form of Kabbalah, although it
is generally even less well integrated into practical
technique than in the case of the Golden Dawn.

To summarise, Kabbalah is a mystical and magical tradition
which originated nearly two thousand years ago and has been
practiced continuously during that time. It has been
practiced by Jew and non- Jew alike for about five hundred
years. On the Jewish side it has been an integral and
influential part of Judaism. On the Hermetic side it has
created a rich mystical and magical tradition with its own
validity, a tradition which has survived despite the
prejudice generated through existing within a strongly
Christian culture.


Section 4: Reading Material

The following list contains books which are representative
of both Jewish and non-Jewish traditions. There are books
which are utterly fanciful or derivative which have not been

Many books have not been included simply because no one has
suggested that they should. If you feel strongly that a book
should be included in this list then mail its details and
some (relatively) factual comments on its contents to I'd like to thank the following for
their contributions: 
  * Le Grand Cinq Mars 
  * Greg Burton

Bar Zadok, R. Ariel, "Yikrah B'Shmi (Call Upon My Name)",
Yeshivat Benei N'vi'im,1992 [Merkabah practices]

Bischoff, Erich, "Kabbala", Weiser [An interesting and
generally well-informed little book written as an extended
FAQ. Refers only to traditional Jewish material. Originally
published in German c. 1910]

Brown, Francis, "The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew
and English Lexicon", Hendrickson 1979 [The last word in
Biblical Hebrew. Amaze and astound your friends with each
and every usage of every word in the Bible. Hold an audience
entranced with your knowledge of Arabic, Aramaic, Assyrian,
Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, and Greek referents]

Crowley, Aleister, "777", Metaphysical Research Group 1977
[Tables of Kabbalistic correspondences, some from the Golden
Dawn, some from Crowley, many traditional]

Epstein, Perle, "Kabbalah", Shambhala 1978 [Information on
traditional Jewish Kabbalah by a student of Aryeh Kaplan. It
contains many biographical details, and useful information
on practical techniques.]

Fortune, Dion, "The Mystical Qabalah", Ernest Benn Ltd, 1979
[One of the first books to relate the Sephirothic Tree to
everyday experience, and for this reason a useful beginners'
book. It contains many digressions on matters circa 1930
which now appear extremely dated. Dion Fortune was strongly
influenced by Theosophy and Esoteric Christianity as well as
Kabbalah, and it shows.]

Gikatilla, R. Joseph, "Sha'are Orah", Harper Collins, 1994
[The Gates of Light by Joseph of Castille is one of the
great expositions of Kabbalah, written in the thirteenth
century by a pupil of Abraham Abulafia. Because of its early
translation into Latin it is also one of a small number of
texts to exert a strong influence on Christian Kabbalah. It
provides an exposition on the divine names through the 10
sephiroth and is exceedingly heavy going. This translation
lacks a commentary.]

haLevi, Ze'v ben Shimon, "Kabbalah & Exodus", "Work of the
Kabbalist", "School of Kabbalah",Weiser ??? [Good
non-technical material - though he has an aversion to
magick. A sort of inbetweener - Wesoteric and Jewish. Very
practical material for the sincere beginner.]

Locks, Gutman G., "Gematria, Spice of Torah",Judaica
Press,?? [Gematria values for the Torah - the real thing]

Idel, Moshe, "Kabbalah: New Directions", Yale University
Press 1988 [Outstanding scholarship - a MUST read for
theoretical background, and to put Scholem into

Idel, Moshe, "Ecstatic Kabbalah", Yale, ??? [Outstanding
scholarship - a MUST read for understanding the work of
Abraham Abulafia.]

Jacobs, Louis, "The Jewish Mystics", Kyle Cathie Ltd. 1990
(also published in the US as "Jewish Mystical Testimonies"
[A fascinating compilation of texts spanning the history of
Kabbalah from the earliest times, an eclectic mixture which
includes extracts from the Talmud and Zohar, letters,
personal diaries, legend, short lectures, visions, mystical
experiences etc. ]

Kaplan, Aryeh, "The Bahir Illumination", Weiser 1989 [A key
Kabbalistic source text with an extensive and informed
commentary by Kaplan]

Kaplan, Aryeh, "Meditation and Kabbalah", Weiser 1992
[Essential reading for the experienced Kabbalist. Not an
introductory text. Many biographical and historical details
worth reading for their own sake.]

Kaplan, Aryeh, "The Sepher Yetzirah", Weiser 1991 [A key
Kabbalistic source text with an extensive and informed
commentary by Kaplan.]

Kaplan, Aryeh, "The Living Torah", Moznaim 1981 [A key
Kabbalistic source text with an informed commentary by
Kaplan. Contains both Kaplan's translation and the Hebrew
source text of the five books of Moses.]

Kaplan, R. Aryeh, "Innerspace", Moznaim, 4304 12th Ave.
Brooklyn, NY.11219 1-800-364-5118 [Superb Introduction]

Kaplan, R. Aryeh, "Jewish Meditation", Weiser ???
[Introductory practices - can be used before "Meditation and
Kabbalah" or "Meditation and the Bible".]

Knight, Gareth, "A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism",
Vols 1 & 2, Helios 1972 [Volume 1 provides an introduction
to the Tree of Life and the sephiroth, and follows the
correspondences of the Golden Dawn and Dion Fortune. Volume
2 covers the paths on the Tree, draws on the same basic
correspondences, but contains more personal meditational
material. At the level of a personal commentary it provides
many insights into the G.D. correspondences.]

Levi, Eliphas, "Transcendental Magic", Rider, 1969 [A key
text by an important and influential magician. Levi's
factual information should not be taken at face value]

Mathers, S. L., "The Kabbalah Unveiled", Routledge & Kegan
Paul 1981 [A translation of a translation of three texts
from the "Zohar", with an introduction by both Moina and
Samuel Liddel Mathers, which is interesting not only for
what it says about Kabbalah but also as a source of insight
into two key members of the Order of the Golden Dawn.]

Mathers, S. L., "The Key of Solomon the King", Routledge &
Kegan Paul [Classic magical grimoire with a Kabbalistic

Mathers, S. L., "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin
the Mage", Dover 1975 [The authenticity of this text has
been questioned, but its influence on 20th. century magic
and practical Kabbalah cannot be. It may be based on an
authentic technique for acquiring a "Maggid" or angelic
teacher, something widely employed by Jewish Kabbalists in
the past.]

Ponce, Charles, "Kabbalah", Garnstone Press, 1974 [A
straightforward and not too fanciful introduction to
Kabbalah with a Jewish flavour. A good all-round

Regardie, I., "The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic",
Falcon Press 1984 [Essential reading for anyone interested
in the development of non- Jewish, "Hermetic" Kabbalah this

Schachter, R. Zalman, "Fragments of a Future Scroll" (out of
print) [Introduction to Jewish Renewal, which includes a
great deal of kabbalistic underpinning.]

Scheinkin, David, "Path of Kabbalah", Shambala ???
[Excellent introduction by another student of Kaplan's. A
great one to read first]

Scholem, Gershom G. "Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism",
Schoken Books 1974 [This is the seminal work by the founder
of 20th. century Kabbalah scholarship. Scholem is a writer
who can transform difficult topics by writing with great
clarity and beauty, and his extraordinary erudition makes
him essential reading for anyone with an interest in the
historical basis for Kabbalah.]

Scholem, Gershom G., "Origins of the Kabbalah", Princton
1990 [Traces the origins of Kabbalistic thought through the
book "Bahir", the Kabbalists of Provence, and the
Kabbalistic circle of Gerona. Gripping stuff for the
academically and historically minded]

Scholem, Gershom G. "Kabbalah", Dorset Press 1974 [I believe
this is a compilation of essays, combined with articles
written for the Encylopedia Judaica. Good for its breadth
and its biographical information. Essential reading for
anyone with an interest in the historical basis for

Scholem, Gershom G. "Sabbatai Tzevi, The Mystical Messiah",
Princeton University Press 1973. [A massive, minutely
researched book describing the lives and heresies of
Sabbatai Tzevi and Nathan of Gaza. A good source of
information on Nathan's unusual and highly influential
version of Lurianic Kabbalah]

Scholem, Gershom G. "Kabbalah and its Symbolism", Schocken
1969. [A selection of very readable essays on a wide variety
of topics, including Kabbalistic ritual and the idea of the

Scholem, Gershom G. "On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead",
Schocken 1991 [More deeply researched essays on the
Kabbalah, including as topics good and evil, the Shekhinah,
the transmigration of souls, and the astral body.]

Simon, Maurice & Sperling, Harry, "The Zohar", Bennet 1959
(also recently reprinted by Soncino) [A translation a major
part of a key Kabbalistic text. Oh, that Kaplan had lived
long enough to translate The Zohar! You might be better with
Tishby's superb anthology of Zohar texts and extensive

Suares, Carlos, "The Quabala Trilogy",Shambala,?? [Heavy
going, but it can give you a good sense of what's going on
kabbalisticly in the Torah from a gematria perspective.]

Tishby, Isaiah, & Lachower, Yeruham Fishel, "The Wisdom of
the Zohar" Oxford University Press 1989 [An anthology of
texts systematically arranged and rendered into Hebrew by
Fischel Lachower and Isaiah Tishby ; with extensive
introductions and explanations by Isaiah Tishby; English
translation by David Goldstein. An expensive three volume
set which contains a definitive translation of large parts
of the Zohar, the texts arranged by subject matter and
greatly clarified by a voluminous commentary and extensive
footnotes. An essential text.]

Waite, A.E., "The Holy Kabbalah", Citadel [A large volume on
Kabbalah by a key member of the Golden Dawn, greatly
diminished by Waite's verbose and circumlocutious writing
style. Scholem thought this book was the best example of
Kabbalistic commentary in the Hermetic camp, but personally
I find Arthwaite's prose style about as attractive as a
patent attorney's love letters.]

Zalewski, Pat, "Golden Dawn Kabbalah", Llewellyn, 1993 [Very
good exposition of additional Golden Dawn material, and some
interesting thoughts]


Section 5: Information Available on the Internet

FTP Sites: has an ftp archive on various occult
and magical topics. Some material on Kabbalah can be found
in pub/occult/occult/magick/qabalah

Ceci Heningsson ( has created an ftp
archive of magical and occult material which is available
via anonymous ftp to pub/magick on has an archive from soc.culture.jewish in
pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism. A very useful reading list
for Jewish Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism can be found in

WWW Shawn Clayton Knight's WWW page is very good and
references many other WWW pages on

Usenet Newsgroups: Useful information and discussion on
Jewish sources and Judaism in general can be found in
soc.culture.jewish Information and discussion on Kabbalah as
a part of the framework for modern (non-Jewish) ritual or
ceremonial magic can be found in alt.magick, a forum which
was once very active but which has become a haven for
Bible-Thumping cross-posts and individuals who have opinions
on every subject under the sun, and a burning desire to air



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