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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Qabalah Unveiled - Introduction

Kabalah Unveiled part 2 Introduction by M MacGregor Mathers

I. THE first questions which the non−qabalistical reader will probably ask are: What is the Qabalah? Whowas its author? What are its sub−divisions? What are its general teachings? And why is a translation of it required at the present time?

1. I will answer the last question first. At the present time a powerful wave of occult thought is spreadingthrough society; thinking men are beginning to awake to the fact that "there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in their philosophy;" and, last but not least, it is now felt that the Bible, which has been probably more misconstrued than any other book ever written, contains numberless obscure and mysterious passages which are utterly unintelligible without some key wherewith to unlock their meaning. THAT KEY IS GIVEN IN THE QABALAH. Therefore this work should be of interest to every biblical and theological student. Let every Christian ask himself this question: "How can I think to understand the Old Testament if I be ignorant of the construction put upon it by that nation whose sacred book it formed; and if I know not the meaning of the Old Testament, how can I expect to understand the New?" Were the real and sublime philosophy of the Bible better known, there would be fewer fanatics and sectarians. And who can calculate the vastness of the harm done to impressionable and excitable persons by the bigoted enthusiasts who ever and anon come forward as teachers of the people? How many suicides are the result of religious mania and depression! What farragos of sacrilegious nonsense have not been promulgated as the true meanings of the books of the Prophets and the Apocalypse! Given a translation of the sacred Hebrew Book, in many instances incorrect, as the foundation, an inflamed and an ill−balanced mind as the worker thereon, what sort of edifice can be expected as the result? I say fearlessly to the fanatics and bigots of the present day: You have cast down the Sublime and Infinite One from His throne, and in His stead have placed the demon of unbalanced force; you have substituted a deity of disorder and of jealousy for a God of order and of love; you have perverted the teachings of the crucified One. Therefore at this present time an English translation of the Qabalah is almost a necessity, for the Zohar has never before been translated into the language of this country, nor, as far as I am aware, into any modern European vernacular.
2. The Qabalah may be defined as being the esoteric Jewish doctrine. It is called in Hebrew QBLH, Qabalah, which is derived from the root QBL, Qibel, meaning "to receive." This appellation refers to the custom of handing down the esoteric knowledge by oral transmission, and is nearly allied to "tradition."
1. As in the present work a great number of Hebrew or Chaldee words have to be used in the text, and thenumber of scholars in the Shemitic languages is limited, I have thought it more advisable to print such words in ordinary Roman characters, carefully retaining the exact orthography. I therefore append a table showing at a glance the ordinary Hebrew and Chaldee alphabet (which is common to both languages), the Roman characters by
2. which I have expressed its letters in this work; also their names, powers, and numerical values. There are no separate numeral characters in Hebrew and Chaldee; therefore, as is also the case in Greek, each letter has its own peculiar numerical value, and from this circumstance results the important fact that every word is a number, and every number is a word. This is alluded to in Revelations, where "the number of the beast" is mentioned, and on this correspondence between words and numbers the science of Gematria (the first division of the so−called literal Qabalah) is based. I shall refer to this subject again. I have selected the Roman letter Q to represent the Hebrew Qoph or Koph, a precedent for the use of which without a following m may be found in Max Müller's "Sacred Books of the East." The reader must remember that the Hebrew is almost entirely a consonantal alphabet, the vowels being for the most part supplied by small points and marks usually placed below the letters. Another difficulty of the Hebrew alphabet consists in the great similarity between the forms of certain letters�e.g., V, Z, and final N.
1. With regard to the author and origin of the Qabalah, I cannot do better than give the following extract from
2. Dr. Ginsburg's "Essay on the Kabbalah," first premising that this word has been spelt in a great variety of ways�Cabala, Kabalah, Kabbala, &c. I have adopted the form Qabalah, as being more consonant with the Hebrew writing of the word.
3. "A system of religious philosophy, or, more properly, of theosophy, which has not only exercised forhundreds of years an extraordinary influence on the mental development of so shrewd a people as the Jews, but has captivated the minds of some of the greatest thinkers of Christendom in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, claims the greatest attention of both the philosopher and the theologian. When it is added that among its captives were Raymond Lully, the celebrated scholastic metaphysician and chemist (died 1315); John Reuchlin, the renowned scholar. and reviver of Oriental literature in Europe (born 1455, died 1522); John Picus de Mirandola, the famous philosopher and classical scholar (1463−1494); Cornelius Henry Agrippa, the distinguished philosopher, divine, and physician (1486−1535); John Baptist Von Helmont, a remarkable chemist and physician (1577−1644); as well as our own countrymen, Robert Fludd, the famous physician and philosopher (1574−1637); and Dr. Henry More (1614−1687); and that these men, after restlessly searching for a scientific system which should disclose to them 'the deepest depths' of the divine mature, and show them the real tie which binds all things together, found the cravings of their minds satisfied by this theosophy, the claims of the Kabbalah on the attention of students in literature and philosophy will readily be admitted. The claims of the Kabbalah, however, are not restricted to the literary man and the philosopher; the poet too will find in it ample materials for the exercise of his lofty genius. How can it be otherwise with a theosophy which, we are assured, was born of God in Paradise, was nursed and reared by the choicest of the angelic hosts in heaven, and only held converse with the holiest of man's children upon earth. Listen to the story of. its birth, growth, and maturity, as told by its followers.
4. "The Kabbalah was first taught by God himself to a select company of angels, who formed a theosophicschool in Paradise. After the Fall the angels most graciously communicated this heavenly doctrine to the disobedient child of earth, to furnish the protoplasts with the means of returning to their pristine nobility and felicity. From Adam it passed over to Noah, and then to Abraham, the friend of God, who emigrated with it to Egypt, where the patriarch allowed a portion of this mysterious doctrine to ooze out. It was in this way that the Egyptians obtained some knowledge of it, and the other Eastern nations could introduce it into their philosophical systems. Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was first initiated into the Qabalah in the land of his birth, but became most proficient in it during his wanderings in the wilderness, when he not only devoted to it the leisure hours of the whole forty years, but received lessons in it from one of the angels. By the aid of this mysterious science the law−giver was enabled to solve the difficulties which arose during his management of the Israelites, in spite of the pilgrimages, wars, and frequent miseries of the nation. He covertly laid down the principles of this secret doctrine in the first four books of the Pentateuch, but withheld them from Deuteronomy. Moses also initiated the seventy elders into the secrets of this doctrine, and they again transmitted them from hand to hand. Of all who formed the unbroken line of tradition, David and Solomon were the most deeply initiated into the Kabbalah. No one, however, dared to write it down, till Schimeon Ben Jochai, who lived at the time of the destruction of the second temple . . . . . After his death, hisson, Rabbi Eleazar, and his secretary, Rabbi Abba, as well as his disciples, collated Rabbi Simon Ben Jochai's treatises, and out of these composed the celebrated work called ZHR, Zohar, splendour, which is the grand storehouse of Kabbalism."
5. The Qabalah is usually classed under four heads:

(±The practical Qabalah.

(²The literal Qabalah.

(³The unwritten Qabalah.

(´The dogmatic Qabalah.

1. The practical Qabalah deals with talismanic and ceremonial magic, and does not come within the scope ofthis work.
2. The literal Qabalah is referred to in several places, and therefore a knowledge of its leading principles isnecessary. It is divided into three parts: GMTRIA, Gematria; NVTRIQVN, Notariqon; and ThMVRH, Temura.
3. Gematria is a metathesis of the Greek word 553±It is based on the relative numerical values of words, as Ihave before remarked. Words of similar numerical values are considered to be explanatory of each other, and this theory is also extended to phrases. Thus the letter Shin, Sh, is 300, and is equivalent to the number obtained by adding up the numerical values of the letters of the words RVCh ALHIM, Ruach Elohim, the spirit of the Elohim; and it is therefore a symbol of the spirit of the Elohim. For R = 200, V = 6, Ch = 8, A = z, L = 30, H = 5, I = 10, M = 40; total = 300. Similarly, the words AChD, Achad, Unity, One, and AHBH, Ahebah, love, each = 13; for A = 1, Ch = 8, D = 4, total = 13; and A = 1, H = 5, B = 2, H = 5, total = 13. Again, the name of the angel MTTRVN, Metatron or Methraton , and the name of the Deity, ShDI, Shaddaï, each make 314; so the one is taken as symbolical of the other. The angel Metraton is said to have been the conductor of the children of Israel through the wilderness, of whom God says, "My Name is in him." With regard to Gematria of phrases (Gen. xlix. 10), IBA ShILH, Yeba Shiloa, "Shiloh shall come" = 358, which is the numeration of the word MShICh, Messiah. Thus also the passage, Gen. xviii. 2 VHNH ShLShH, Vehenna Shalisha, "And lo, three men," equals in numerical value ALV MIKAL GBRIAL VRPAL, Elo Mihkael Gabriel Ve−Raphael, "These are Mikhael, Gabriel and Raphael;" for each phrase = 70l. I think these instances will suffice to make clear the nature of Gematria, especially as many others will be found in the course of the ensuing work.
4. Notariqon is derived from the Latin word nothrius, a shorthand writer. Of Notariqon there are two forms. In the first every letter of a word is taken for the initial or abbreviation of another word, so that from the letters of a word a sentence may be formed. Thus every letter of the word BRAShITh, Berashith, the first word in Genesis, is made the initial of a word, and we obtain BRAShITh RAH ALHIM ShIQBLV IShRAL ThVRH, Besrashith Rahi Eloim Sheyequebelo Israel Torah: "In the beginning the Elohim saw that Israel would accept the law." In this connection I may give six very interesting specimens of Notariqon formed from this same word BRAShITh by Solomon Meir Ben Moses, a Jewish Qabalist, who embraced the Christian faith in 1665, and took the name of Prosper Rugers. These have all a Christian tendency, and by their means Prosper converted another Jew, who had previously been bitterly opposed to Christianity. The first is BN RVCh AB ShLVShThM IChD ThMIM, Ben, Ruach, Ab, Shaloshethem Yechad Themim : "The Son, the Spirit, the Father, Their Trinity, Perfect Unity." The second is, BN RVCh AB ShLVShThM IChD ThOBVDV, Ben, Ruach, Ab, Shaloshethem Yechad Thaubodo: "The Son, the Spirit, the Father, ye shall equally worship Their Trinity." The third is, BKVRI RAShVNI AShR ShMV IShVO ThOBVDV, Bekori Rashuni Asher Shamo Yeshuah Thaubodo: "Ye shall worship My first−born, My first, Whose Name is Jesus." The fourth is, BBVA RBN AShR ShMV IShVO ThOBVDV, Beboa Rabban Asher Shamo Yesuah Thaubado: "When the Master shall come Whose Name is Jesus ye shall worship." The fifth is, BThVLH RAVIH ABChR ShThLD IShVO ThAShRVH, Bethulah Raviah Abachar Shethaled Yeshuah Thrashroah: "I will choose a virgin worthy to bring forth Jesus, and ye shall call her blessed." The sixth is, BOVGTh RTzPIM ASThThR ShGVPI IShVO ThAKLV, Beaugoth Ratzephim Assattar Shegopi Yeshuah Thakelo: "I will hide myself in cake (baked with) coals, for ye shall eat Jesus, My Body." The Qabalistical importance of these sentences as bearing upon the doctrines of Christianity can hardly be overrated.
5. The second form of Notariqon is the exact reverse of the first. By this the initials or finals, or both, or themedials, of a sentence, are taken to form a word or words. Thus the Qabalah is called ChKMh NSThRH, Chokhmah Nesethrah, "the secret wisdom;" and if we take the initials of these two words Ch and N, we form

by the second kind of Notariqon the word ChN, Chen, "grace." Similarly, from the initials and finals of the
words MI IOLH LNV HShMIMH, Mi Iaulah Leno Ha−Shamayima, "Who shall go up for us to heaven?"
(Deut. xxx. 12), are formed MILH, Milah, "circumcision," and IHVH, the Tetragrammaton, implying that
God hath ordained circumcision as the way to heaven.
14. Temura is permutation. According to certain rules, one letter is substituted for another letter preceding or
following it in the alphabet, and thus from one word another word of totally different orthography may be
formed. Thus the alphabet is bent exactly in half, in the middle, and one half is put over the other; and then by
changing alternately the first letter or the first two letters at the beginning of the second line, twenty−two
commutations are produced. These are called the "Table of the Combinations of TzIRVP," Tzirupa. For
example's sake, I will give the method called ALBTh, Albath, thus:

11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
K I T Ch Z V H D G B A
M N S O P Tz Q R Sh Th L


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