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 Post subject: An Introduction to Modern Kabbalah
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 6:14 am 
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Fiery Serpents
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An Introduction to Modern Kabbalah
by Kephri Ra

The practice of Kabbalah has been going through something of a renaissance in recent years, and with celebrities such as Madonna talking publicly about its benefits many people have become interested in the subject. At the same time as gaining in popularity modern Kabbalah has also evolved and morphed from its ancient origins so that what I call 'modern Kabbalah' is something quite different from the traditional subject. In this article I will try to give a general outline of, and introduction to, the study and practice of modern Kabbalah.

The origins of Kabbalah lie in early Jewish mysticism, but from those beginnings the study of Kabbalah has grown and branched out, first into a Christian and Islamic Kabbalah, and then further, so that today many people who study and practice this mystical and magickal discipline do so outside of any particular religious affiliations, treating it as an independent spiritual system in itself. The variant spellings of Qabalah and Cabala are often used to denote the non-denominational and Christian versions respectively.

Within Jewish legend there are two distinct stories of the origins of Kabbalah; the first states that it was received by Moses on mount Sinai, but whereas the commandments were for everybody the esoteric teachings of the Kabbalah were passed on to a select few as a secret inner teaching. The second states that these teachings have always been with man, having been given to Adam by an Archangel at the time of his expulsion from the Garden of Eden, out of pity for his plight and a desire to help.

Within Judaism the Torah and other 'exoteric' teachings were often considered to be the body of Jewish teaching, and the Kabbalah, at the height of its practice, was considered to be the soul. In many ways Kabbalistic teachings can be thought of as the distilled essence of spiritual teachings, without the cultural baggage and rigid dogmas that go along with religious teachings. It is because of this that the Kabbalah has been so successful at moving out of the confines of the Jewish faith to provide inspiration, guidance and empowerment to people of all different backgrounds and beliefs. The modern study of Kabbalah has become intimately entwined with the concept of the 'Perennial Philosophy'; the idea that there is a unifying thread of truth behind all of the world’s main religious and spiritual teachings. Kabbalistic principles and teats can be used to understand and draw upon the teachings of a wide range of very different spiritual traditions by stripping away everything but the perfect 'essence' or soul of the teaching.

The esoteric nature of Kabbalah means that rather than being composed of a set of rules, rituals and dogmas, and being essentially social and collective in nature, like exoteric religions, it guides its practitioners on a very personal journey and is composed in a large part of techniques; the path of Kabbalah is that of mysticism and magick, an of philosophy rather than dogma.

The entirety of Kabbalistic wisdom is contained within and expressed by a single diagrammatical representation and system of classification called the Tree of Life; it has 10 spheres, or sephiroth, and 22 paths connecting them. The 10 Spheres can be thought of as describing objective existence whereas the 22 paths describe the subjective experience of being human. This system of classification lends itself well to use as a tool for the objective study of comparative religion and spiritual studies; it also led the infamous occultist Aleister Crowley to describe the Tree of Life as a 'spiritual filling cabinet'.

In addition to being used philosophically as a system of classification the tree of life is also used in meditative and ritual practices. Associated with each sphere and path are the Archangels and choruses of Angels, and other symbolic representation of their nature.

Many of the so called magical practices of Kabbalah can be understood in a modern scientific sense. The perfect example of this is invocation, in which the practitioners invoke the power of some spiritual force within themselves. This is described as a supernatural occurrence, but can be explained entirely as a psychological process harnessing the power of the subconscious mind.

I would wholeheartedly recommend the practice of Kabbalah to anyone.

For more info and other resources take a look at the Morning Star Kabbalah Portal or the free online reference resources at Web of Qabalah. There is also a nice page on squidoo you may like to take a look at, which features Kabbalah Art.

Article Source: http://newagearticles.com

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 10:22 pm 
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Perhaps you can help me. I was given the twenty two books of the Zohar, English translation above the Hebrew. Is there book that can help me with the understanding of these books? I understand a little but not enough. Thank You.

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 Post subject: Re: An Introduction to Modern Kabbalah
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 1:37 am 
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[quote="Lady Dunsany"]Perhaps you can help me. I was given the twenty two books of the Zohar, English translation above the Hebrew. Is there book that can help me with the understanding of these books? I understand a little but not enough. Thank You.[/quote]

Lady Dunsany, what was called the "Modern Kabbalah in the brief article by Kephri Ra and quoted by Sirius Lee directly refers to what might be more appropriately called the WASP Kabbalah or Hermetic Kabbalah. You see, when some Christians discovered the Kabbalah, they attempted to learn it for the purpose of converting Jews to Christianity. Unfortunately, the traditional Kabbalah simply didn't allow it. Therefore, they eliminated major aspects of the Kabbalah and reinterpreted other aspects. As a result, they created a "less Jewish" version of the Kabbalah, one that is primarily used by Western mystics and occultists.

The Zohar, on the other hand, is traditional Jewish mysticism. Its major focus is on a mystical interpretation of the books of the Jewish bible. In other words, to fully understand the Zohar, you have to read it along with a Jewish bible. Even then, however, it's not that easy. The original version (well, at least dating back to the time of Ezra, about 2500 years ago) of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, does not have spaces between the words. There is an "accepted" version of where the words are, however the Zohar would frequently say that the divisions between the words should be in different places, resulting in different words and meanings. To understand this aspect you need to have a copy of the Jewish Bible in Hebrew and be able to read it and understand it.

Another aspect of the Zohar focuses on a metaphoric representation of God's power there a physical description. Thus, there is a description of how many hairs are in God's beard and how much oil is on them. This is a ridiculous concept, especially since the Jewish notion of God (at least, again, from the time of Ezra), is aniconic--a deity without form.

Another interesting aspect of the Zohar is the lack of unified agreement. It is presented as learned Rabbis discussing the interpretation of the Bible, and they sometimes disagree in details, but not in concept.

There are lots of claims as to the origination of the Zohar and who wrote it. I would respectfully not get caught up in that--no matter the source, it's a remarkable document.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:59 am 
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It is one of the most challenging set of books i have ever come accross. I was given a study page on what to read regarding the times of the year etc. I am afraid tried to approach it like I first did the Secret Doctrine which can not be read like a book. I must take this very slowly. It has so many secrets that I believe this will be a lifetime study and I doubt I will ever even touch the surface. I thank you so much for your response.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:32 pm 
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The people who published the version of the Zohar you own have some, uh, unusual and, I would suggest, non-Kabalistic ideas about the Zohar and other things which they claim are Kabalistic. In your case, specifically, they have a set of rules as to when to "scan" the certain Hebrew sections...even if you don't understand or can't even pronounce the Hebrew. They claim that just looking at the pages--scanning them--can produce powerful effects.

That may be true, but it's not Kabalistic. I would say you should feel free to read it at the times they suggest, or at any other time that is convenient.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 11:26 pm 
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The books were a gift, and to be honest I never would have bought them myself. I am more interested in my Theosophy and Egyptian Mysteries and my GD studies. I have read The Bride by Frater Achad and it took a good friend of mine to tell me it was to be used as meditation. I am schooled in Eastern Esoteric studies so all this Western Occult is new to me. I have to train my mind to absorb at a different rate. I am enjoying everything though. I just got into the Hebrew Alphabet. I am overwhelmed at times but am happy about it.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 3:34 am 
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Lady Dunsany wrote:
Perhaps you can help me. I was given the twenty two books of the Zohar, English translation above the Hebrew. Is there book that can help me with the understanding of these books? I understand a little but not enough. Thank You.

How I wish there were CliffsNotes for books such as the Zohar, life would be so much easier! :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 11:51 am 
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Ah cliff notes. Perhaps that should be a future project. 8)

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 Post subject: kaballah
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 10:22 pm 
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Lady Dunsany~
You should try reading Dion Fortune's "Mystical Qaballah". It was my first book on this particular subject. I think I've read it now about 5-6 times! You could also try Israel Regardie's book, "A Garden of Pomegranents". It helps while meditating on the individual Sephira.

For help with the Hebrew Alphabet, I used the Tarot to assist me. Each Path, as I'm sure you're aware, is assigned a letter of the Hebrew Alphabet as well as a Major Acana Card from the Tarot. I utilize Crowley's Thoth Tarot and there are great representations on the cards to help you understand the Paths as well as the Alphabet.

Good Luck!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:02 pm 
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I am reading The Mystical Qabalah as we speak for my GD studies. I will read Israel Regardie's next. I am taking one letter at a time as my teachers has asked. I thank you so much for your advice and help.

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