Voyen Koreis





INTRODUCTION


1. WHAT IS KABBALAH?

2. OTHER PATHS TO KNOWLEDGE

3. PYTHAGORAS

4. THE TAROT

5. ADAM KADMON

6. ACT OF CREATION

7. THE TREE OF LIFE

8. THE FOUR WORLDS

9. HOD & NETZAH

 10. LIFE IS EVERYWHERE

11. LIFE AND DEATH

12. REINCARNATION

13. PSYCHOLOGY

14. THE VITAL PRINCIPLE

15. SYNCHRONICITY

16. TZIM-TZUM

17. BODIES OF MAN

18. HUMAN MIND

19. LILITH

20. KNOWLEDGE

21. OF ANGELS AND MEN

22. CREATION IN  GENESIS 2

23. THE LETTER YOD

24. TWENTY-TWO LETTERS

25. THE NAME OF GOD

26. THE ZOHAR

27. ABRAHAM AND SARAH

28. THE HEBREW LANGUAGE

29. THE PATRIARCHS

30. MALKHUT - THE LAST SEPHIRA

31 THE MYSTICAL KABBALAH

32. BETH – THE FIRST LETTER










INTRODUCTION


1. WHAT IS KABBALAH?

2. OTHER PATHS TO KNOWLEDGE

3. PYTHAGORAS

4. THE TAROT

5. ADAM KADMON

6. ACT OF CREATION

7. THE TREE OF LIFE

8. THE FOUR WORLDS

9. HOD & NETZAH

 10. LIFE IS EVERYWHERE

11. LIFE AND DEATH

12. REINCARNATION

13. PSYCHOLOGY

14. THE VITAL PRINCIPLE

15. SYNCHRONICITY

16. TZIM-TZUM

17. BODIES OF MAN

18. HUMAN MIND

19. LILITH

20. KNOWLEDGE

21. OF ANGELS AND MEN

22. CREATION IN  GENESIS 2

23. THE LETTER YOD

24. TWENTY-TWO LETTERS

25. THE NAME OF GOD

26. THE ZOHAR

27. ABRAHAM AND SARAH

28. THE HEBREW LANGUAGE

29. THE PATRIARCHS

30. MALKHUT - THE LAST SEPHIRA

31 THE MYSTICAL KABBALAH

32. BETH – THE FIRST LETTER











INTRODUCTION


1. WHAT IS KABBALAH?

2. OTHER PATHS TO KNOWLEDGE

3. PYTHAGORAS

4. THE TAROT

5. ADAM KADMON

6. ACT OF CREATION

7. THE TREE OF LIFE

8. THE FOUR WORLDS

9. HOD & NETZAH

 10. LIFE IS EVERYWHERE

11. LIFE AND DEATH

12. REINCARNATION

13. PSYCHOLOGY

14. THE VITAL PRINCIPLE

15. SYNCHRONICITY

16. TZIM-TZUM

17. BODIES OF MAN

18. HUMAN MIND

19. LILITH

20. KNOWLEDGE

21. OF ANGELS AND MEN

22. CREATION IN  GENESIS 2

23. THE LETTER YOD

24. TWENTY-TWO LETTERS

25. THE NAME OF GOD

26. THE ZOHAR

27. ABRAHAM AND SARAH

28. THE HEBREW LANGUAGE

29. THE PATRIARCHS

30. MALKHUT - THE LAST SEPHIRA

31 THE MYSTICAL KABBALAH

32. BETH – THE FIRST LETTER








INTRODUCTION


1. WHAT IS KABBALAH?

2. OTHER PATHS TO KNOWLEDGE

3. PYTHAGORAS

4. THE TAROT

5. ADAM KADMON

6. ACT OF CREATION

7. THE TREE OF LIFE

8. THE FOUR WORLDS

9. HOD & NETZAH

 10. LIFE IS EVERYWHERE

11. LIFE AND DEATH

12. REINCARNATION

13. PSYCHOLOGY

14. THE VITAL PRINCIPLE

15. SYNCHRONICITY

16. TZIM-TZUM

17. BODIES OF MAN

18. HUMAN MIND

19. LILITH

20. KNOWLEDGE

21. OF ANGELS AND MEN

22. CREATION IN  GENESIS 2

23. THE LETTER YOD

24. TWENTY-TWO LETTERS

25. THE NAME OF GOD

26. THE ZOHAR

27. ABRAHAM AND SARAH

28. THE HEBREW LANGUAGE

29. THE PATRIARCHS

30. MALKHUT - THE LAST SEPHIRA

31 THE MYSTICAL KABBALAH

32. BETH – THE FIRST LETTER

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2. OTHER PATHS OF KNOWLEDGE
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) and Henry Steele Olcott (1832-1907)
Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) and Henry Steele Olcott (1832-1907)


The Kabbalah is not the only “true” path leading to ultimate knowledge; there are numerous other paths, any of which a seeker might decide to tread. Many people living in the Western world have in the recent times been following the various Eastern systems, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc. Much of this can be traced to the latter part of the 19th century and the Theosophical movement, founded by the Russian Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and the American Henry Steel Olcott in 1875. Some people’s minds are better suited to these systems while others might find them more difficult to grasp. After all, in the Western world the Kabbalah and with it associated religious/philosophical systems have been here much longer, as they could be safely traced by historians at least to the 12th century Spain, and probably much earlier. Dion Fortune in The Mystical Qabalah has this to say on choices of spiritual paths people in the West have:

The Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion, or one of the four major ways a Yoga practitioner may follow) of the Catholic Church is only suitable for those whose temperament is naturally devotional and who find their readiest expression in loving self-sacrifice. But it is not everybody who is of this type, and Christianity is unfortunate in not having any choice of systems to offer its aspirants. The East, being tolerant, is wise, and has developed various Yoga methods, each of which is pursued by its adherents to the exclusion of the others, and yet none would deny that the other methods are also paths to God for those to whom they are suited.
In consequence of this deplorable limitation on the part of our theology many Western aspirants take up Eastern methods. For those who are able to live in Eastern conditions and work under the immediate supervision of a guru, this may prove satisfactory, but it seldom gives good results when the various systems are pursued with no other guide than a book and under unmodified Western conditions.
It is for this reason that I would recommend to the white races the traditional Western system, which is admirably adapted to their psychic constitution. It gives immediate results, and if done under proper supervision, not only does it not disturb the mental or physical equipoise, as happens with regrettable frequency when unsuitable systems are used, but it produces a unique vitality. It is this peculiar vitality of the adepts, which led to the tradition of the elixir of life. I have known a number of people in my time who might justly be considered adepts, and I have always been struck by that peculiar ageless vitality they all possessed.
On the other hand, however, I can only endorse what all the gurus of the Eastern Tradition have always averred that any system of psycho-spiritual development can only be safely and adequately carried on under the personal supervision of an experienced teacher. For this reason, although I shall give in these pages the principles of the mystical Qabalah, I do not consider it would be in anybody's interest to give the keys to its practice even if by the terms of the obligation of my own initiation I were not forbidden to do so. But, on the other hand, I do not consider it fair to the reader to introduce intentional blinds and misinformation, and to the best of my knowledge and belief the information I give is accurate, even if incomplete.
The Thirty-two Mystical Paths of the Concealed Glory are ways of life, and those who want to unravel their secrets must tread them. As I myself was trained, so can anyone be trained who is willing to undergo the discipline, and I will gladly indicate the way to any earnest seeker.

    I agree wholeheartedly with Dion Fortune, who had belonged to the renewed order of Golden Dawn, in what she says about initiation and the obligations that spring out of it. The same could of course be applied to all mysteries and orders that conduct initiatory rites, such as the Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Martinists, and other occult societies.

In medieval Europe, the Roman Catholicism reigned supreme. Those who were literate, and there weren’t many in the time period when even the crowned heads could barely sign their name on a parchment, were most reluctant to write down anything that could have been held against them by the church authorities. When the Church sorted out its initial differences and decided what was to be its official line, which happened soon after Christianity became the state endorsed religion throughout the Roman Empire, it became dangerous to be seen as a heretic. Who should and who should not be declared a heretic was made more or less clear at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea (now in western Turkey), which was convoked in 325 AD by the first Roman Emperor to have declared himself a Christian, Constantine the First.

Up to this time, Christianity had contained several streams of thought, which existed alongside each other quite happily. This was not to last long. Out of several dozen available gospels only four were selected by this, and subsequently held councils, and endorsed by the Church to became part of its doctrine. Thus we have the four gospels, by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, while everything else was suppressed, declared illegal. Among these were the so-called gospels of Thomas  (alleged Jesus’ brother), of Judas, etc. Anyone found propagating or disseminating clandestine literature was declared a heretic and dealt with accordingly.

The status quo existed for almost a millennium and a half, at least until the Renaissance and around the year 1500, after which the church authorities gradually became slacker. There were some exceptions, such as the Cathar movement in the Languedoc region of southern France between the 11th and 13th century, and the Hussite movement of the early 15th century Bohemia. In both cases there were strong influences of the so-called Gnosticism involved, and both were brutally suppressed.

The Gnostic thought also appears to have been present in the inner teachings of the Knights Templar. The seal of the knights (left) shows two figures with the crosses on their armour such as the Templars had, riding on one horse. There are several possible interpretations of this symbolic picture, the exoteric one being simply the brotherly love and help rendered in a time of need. The esoteric explanation would probably have something to do with the dualism, which in some way or another is always present in Gnosticism.
The word gnosis is of a Greek origin, meaning “knowledge,” but not a general type of knowledge but rather the kind that one attains only through studying the subject thoroughly, a spiritual knowledge, in specific knowledge of the divine. Some of the Gnostic symbols, such as the one on the right, showing a worm-like creature with a lion’s head with the sun, moon and star in the background, present a riddle that is not easy to solve.
To see Gnosticism simply as an offshoot of Christianity would be wrong. Besides being also closely related to Neo-Platonism, which had flourished mainly in the Egyptian city of Alexandria of the 4th century AD, it may have deeper roots. The sources would include the essence of the ancient Mysteries, Egyptian and Greek mythology, Chaldean and Babylonian astrology, Persian Zoroastrianism. Also to the religion of the Essenes, which was a reclusive Jewish sect that flourished between about 200 BC to 100 AD, and of which Jesus Christ may have even been a member before he was ready to commence his mission, at least according to esoteric tradition. This possibility only came to light recently when the texts that had been sealed inside earthen jars, were discovered in a cave near Kumran near the Dead Sea in 1947, which now form the collection that is known as the Nag Hammadi library. The find allowed for the modern study of some Gnostic scriptures, which were not watered-down, after two thousand years of obscurity.

In a certain sense, the Gnostic way of thinking has always been here in some form, as has the Kabbalah. Essentially, all Gnostics believe that we are divine souls who have become immersed and trapped in the material world. The Kabbalists would agree with this, but only up to a point, because according to many Gnostics a false and imperfect god, known as the demiurge that is sometimes even equated by them with the God of Abraham, created this world. The Gnostics agree that the Supreme Being exists, but was or is in no way involved with creating and running of this particular world. If we wish to free ourselves from this inferior and imperfect world, we need to gain gnosis, or esoteric spiritual knowledge, which is available, but only through direct experience or knowledge of this unknowable God.  Later we will see that the ideas the Kabbalists have about creation of this world, while not being so negative, are not all that different.


Part of a Dead Sea Scroll

While Gnosticism draws from several older secret religious doctrines, it is also a phenomenon of the Christian era. Sects of Gnostics had begun to form early in the 2nd Century AD, within several decades after the advent of Christianity. It almost looks like a spontaneous formation of an opposition to the mainstream Christian Church, much in the manner we could see in the politics. Randomly we can name a few: Ebionites, Elkesaites, Manichaeans, Nazarenes, Elkesaites, Sampsaeans, Sabians, Valentines, Marcionites, Basilites, Montanites, Nicolites, Carpocratiens, etc. Not all of these sects of Christian heretics would qualify as pure Gnostics of course, but the common note sounding here was the belief that the faith in Christianity alone is not enough. It has to be propped up by knowledge, gnosis, if salvation of the soul is to be completed.
The basis of Gnosticism is the belief in one God. This Being is totally beyond our means of understanding; it is nevertheless absolutely good and forbearing. It is the creator of everything, ruling with the clear and absolute power; nevertheless, he is so remote that with our world and with the entire visible Universe, he has little to do. As do the Kabbalists, the Gnostics also believe that the name of the Creator is unpronounceable and incomprehensible. God of the Gnostics manifests himself only through the agency of his son, also known as the Word, or the Logos. The Creator’s singular attributes of abstract nature, such as love, power, understanding, will, truth, etc., have received the gift of their own individual existence from the Creator. They can thus emanate from this primal source. Eventually these have evolved into beings called the Ćons. Each of the Ćons has its own domain, and with it its particular tasks and relevant capabilities. Ćons are synonymous with the archangels, and together they form the celestial hierarchy, which rules over the individual heavens, the number of which is usually given as seven. Angelology is a very complicated and comprehensive teaching, which also forms a part of the Kabbalistic doctrine. Some of the so-called Christian Kabbalists of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance appear to have been obsessed with the angelology, but this particular branch of the Kabbalah always was and will remain controversial. This is so simply because we have no means of verifying the claims of its various exponents, of whom there are many even in our times. So when in the New Testament, the Gospel of St. John (14:2), Jesus is quoted as saying, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places”, this is as far as it is advisable to go, at least in my opinion.
In the Gnostic cosmology, thus we have two separate and incompatible worlds. Firstly, there is the idealistic and to the human brain incomprehensible world of God, the Father. Secondly, we have the world that we know and live in, which however is illusory and imperfect. When the Ćons received the gift of individual existence, they were also given the freedom of will, which made it possible for them to make their own decisions concerning their destiny. Because of the remoteness of the one and only God (who according to most of the Gnostics is always present, albeit only in principle), his endless will and goodness gradually ceased to act in the domains of the Ćons. This has left some room for the evil to establish itself. The subsequent acts of the Ćons wielding their free will created dramatic situation, which gave rise to various legends and mythological fables. Many of these are to be found in the Greek and Roman mythology, where the disputes and even wars among the dwellers on the Mount Olympus are described. Other such legends concern the fall of Satan and indeed of the whole of mankind, and its bondage within the confines of the world of matter. Some of these mythological stores have come to us all the way from the ancient times, while many were added relatively recently, after the discoveries in the @0th century of the Gnostic texts near the Dead Sea, in the Egyptian Nag Hammadi and elsewhere. In them, the complicated relationships are often described between the good Ćons and those bad, rebellious ones, called Archons.

The leader of the Archons is Sataniel (Satan, Lucifer, Devil). This Archon is supposed to have became so swollen with arrogance and haughtiness that together with some other similarly afflicted Archons he had to be thrown down from the heavenly heights. Sataniel was supposed to be originally the most distinguished one amongst the Ćons, he is even described as the main representative of the Creator and as the bearer of light, which is the meaning of one of his names, Lucifer. Some of the Gnostics speak of Sataniel as the older brother of Jesuel, which is another name of the celestial Jesus, also known as the Logos. The fall of Sataniel and his fellow Archons is one of the greatest mysteries of the Gnostic doctrine. The Gnostics never explain how it actually happened; we are only told that after the event Sataniel became the Demiurge i.e. the (surrogate) creator of our world.
    Some Gnostics go even further. According to them, the Demiurge is even identical with the Lord God of the Old Testament. Some critics inevitably and predictably have labelled them the “metaphysical Anti-Semies” because of this. It is not difficult to discover the roots of such belief. It cannot be denied that the Lord god of the Old Testament is indeed quite different from the idealistic loving heavenly father. He even describes himself in several places as being jealous, irritable, and revengeful. Transgressions against the law he punishes severely and up to several generations. He sends the Flood upon the Earth, he destroys the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, despite the pleas by Abraham. His main representatives on Earth are no shrinking violets either. Immediately after descending the Mount Sinai, where he had just received the God’s Ten Commandments, including the one “Thou shalt not kill”, Moses ignores it and issues the orders for killing of some three thousand renegades who have sinned by worshipping the Golden Calf. That sounds a bit harsh, and perhaps not only to the Gnostics. There are other such deeds described in the Old Testament, the cruellest without a doubt being the one of the prophet Elisha, who in the name of the Lord evokes two she-bears to tear to pieces forty-two children, who have been making fun of the venerable man’s bold head (2Kings 2:23-25).
One could hardly blame the Gnostics if they could not reconcile themselves with the above mentioned and some other examples of imperfection, cruelty, and injustice in the world that is supposed to be the creation of the ideal, perfect, loving and just God. Only Satan the Demiurge, the fallen angel, the God’s adversary could have created something as imperfect as this! While making his attempt at creation (according to the Kabbalists there were several aborted attempts, as we will see later) he could not emulate the original boundlessness of space and durability of time; therefore the world he created was only feeble, limited and transient. The Gnostics believed that these words of the Creator of our world alone testify to the fact that there must exist another God, and not only the God of the Old Testament. If that were not so, they argue, who would then be the object of the Lord God’s jealousy? When he had completed his work, he has supposedly declared:

For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name Jealous, [is] a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14)

Another fallen Archon was Sophia. She was not at all bad, but her fall was caused by her insatiable curiosity. This immediately evokes the image of Eve in the mind, who could not overcome the temptation either, and had tasted the apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Sophia is the Greek word for wisdom, and the Gnostics felt sorry for her, even revered her. Her colleagues had thrown her down to Earth to punish and humble her, but apparently mainly out of fear that she might grow over their heads. Sophia, who was on a quest for discovering the “light of lights”, in other words wanted to return to her Creator, had ended up on Earth instead, where it was her ordeal to be born in a succession of female bodies. Each new incarnation had brought her more humiliation a violence, all this until she repented and was thus able to return to the heavens. In some Gnostic texts she is even described as the Christ’s bride. This mythological story probably stood as a model for the so called “alchemical marriage”, which symbolises the unity of matter and spirit, as in the plate below.


 

Similarly to Sophia of the Gnostics, this hermetic hieroglyph by the Prague alchemist Michael Mayer (1618) symbolises the Unity of Matter and the Mercury of the Wise.

The archetypal progenitor of mankind is Adamiel, or Adam Kadmon of the Kabbalah, originally an androgynous figure, who was given the ruling power of the heavenly world. Satan, jealous of Adam’s superior position, tried to seduce him into disobedience, using Adam’s partner Eve, as described in the Bible. A major difference between the Christian and Gnostic conception lies in the fact that the Gnostics see Satan as the main culprit, rather than Adam or Eve, both of whom they regard as innocent victims.

The teachings of the Gnostics in the Christian era naturally revolve around the personage of Jesus the Christ. To the Gnostics, Jesus is essentially the God’s pronouncement, or Logos, incarnated on Earth. Many of the Gnostics believed that Jesus was born to his parents Joseph and Mary the natural way, that he was thus a human who has turned divine, rather than divinity that became human. Logos has entered his body the moment when he was baptised by John the Baptist in the river Jordan. Even then there were thus debates were being lead about Jesus’ “immaculate conception”, as well as about the miracles that he was supposed to have done. The Gospels that approximately in the 4th century have become part of the New Testament do not concern themselves with Jesus’ childhood and youth. One exception is the mention of Jesus at the age of twelve, leading philosophical polemics with the scholars in the Temple of Jerusalem. The apocryphal literature, which had begun to appear almost at the same time as the official Gospels, is full of stories of special and supernatural powers that Jesus possessed even in his young age.

Other Gnostics, the so called Docetists, were of the opinion that Jesus was the direct manifestation of Logos, and therefore could not have the normal human body, but a spiritual body, which while being visible and touchable was incorruptible and immortal. Jesus therefore had only appeared to have undergone death as a martyr. On one of the parchments found at Nag Hammadi, which contains the apocryphal Apocalypse of St Peter, the latter watches the Jesus’ body being nailed to the cross, while at the same time seeing another figure hovering over the cross, looking happy and laughing. He learns that this is the real Christ, while the other is only his substitution. This motive has captured the imagination of quite a few artists, from the times of Renaissance up the present times. Additionally, there is the mention in the Gospel of St Mark (15:21) of a certain Simon of Cyrene, who was compelled to bear Jesus’ cross. In this concept, the act of nailing to the cross is more like an illusion, a kind of allegorical performance. It appears in the Middle Ages, the Knights Templar may have held similar views about the Crucifixion. Some of the Gnostics also believed that Jesus’ mission had ended the moment he was betrayed by Judas, which in itself may have been staged as a part of the enacted allegory. In the apocryphal Gospel of St Peter, the sentence Jesus utters while on the cross “Eloi, Eloi, lama zabachtani!”, which is usually translated as “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”, sounds thus: “My powers, my powers, why have you left me?”.

Several book titles have been published in the recent times, which are trying to find answers to the questions that have bothered the Gnostics nearly 20 centuries ago. Did Jesus die on the cross? Did someone else die, instead of Jesus? Had anyone died at all on the Mont of Golgotha? Could the Essenes, members of the religious sect that Jesus might have belonged to, have interfered in some way? Perhaps by giving Jesus some drug that would make him appear dead and revive him later, after the body was taken off the cross? All this are not new speculations, by any means. The German writer K. F. Bahrdt even in the 18th century suspected Joseph of Arimathea together with Nicodeme, both fringe characters in story of the Crucifixion and Jesus’ secret disciples, of having planned and staged the whole drama. Why would they do it? Simply to emulate some of the rituals that belonged to the ancient Mysteries since time immemorial…
As far as Jesus’ teachings are concerned, the Gnostics saw in these two main courses. The first was directed to the general public, the other was a secret doctrine of the inner teachings. In the Gospel of St Mark (4:11) it is written:

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all [these] things are done in parables.

This is the same approach used by initiates of the ancient mysteries, as well as those of the secret societies, up to the modern times. The company of Jesus was nothing more than a preparatory class designed to lead up (eventually) to true initiation, a kind of kindergarten. It must be obvious to any careful reader of the New Testament that during the entire mission of Jesus, none of his disciples would have reached a higher degree of understanding. This is evidenced by the following words:

I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. (Gospel of St John, 16:12)

Then there is the well known prophecy of Jesus concerning his most prominent disciple, Peter:

And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, [even] in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt DENY me thrice. (Mark 14:30)

According to the Gnostics, the things Jesus did not reveal in front of his disciples had surfaced only after his resurrection. It is possible that not all of his disciples would have been granted this privilege, while some other people from without his original circle, for instance St Paul or Joseph of Arimathea, might have been. “Not all the truth can be revealed to all people”, it is said in the apocryphal Secret Gospel of Mark. The Gnostic sects were in truth secret societies, for two main reasons. Firstly, it was necessary to hide from the danger that was always present of being declared heretics and dealt with accordingly by the establishment. Secondly, keys to the knowledge (gnosis)  have always been only given to the chosen ones. They might theoretically be accessible to anyone, but one has to deserve it if he is to receive them, essentially through his or her effort to gain them.

Gnosis cannot be taught, no intellectual process would lead to it, no words can describe it. It can only be perceived intuitively. A person endowed with gnosis as if suddenly understands something that might feel strange, but at the same time it is intimately known to him  or her. Such revelation always comes suddenly, like a lightning from the skies or like having just had a blindfold taken off one’s eyes. There is an understanding of the Divine order of things but, according to the Gnostics, also of the deepness of Satan’s involvement. The Gnostic conception is ever dualistic, and this is where the main difference from the Kabbalah lies. Teachings of the Kabbalists might be close to those of the Gnostics, only with the former there is far less negativity. There are, however, two other bodies of knowledge that might be even more closely related to the Kabbalah. They are to be found in the teachings of Pythagoras, and in the esotericism of the Tarot cards. We will therefore first have a look at this ancient Greek philosopher.



Meetings With Remarkable People   Mephisto & Pheles    Intrusion   The Kabbalah  
 The Čapek Brothers    Struggle of the Magicians    
The Fools' Pilgrimage  Contact 


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