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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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6. THE ACT OF CREATION

 

 

        Until now we have moved along the fringes most of the time, without venturing nearer the centre, which has to be the Act of Creation itself. All the questions that an intelligent being would inevitable be asking … Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? … could be ultimately reduced to a single one: What happened at the beginning?

Many people had asked this question before us, and many will be asking it yet. This is so because the Creator, God, the Most High, or whatever name we might have for the Supreme Being, simply is not understandable to us. The Kabbalists say it too, and add that the true God could only to be discovered through the process of eliminating, in order, all His cognisable attributes. So we do as the Chief Detective Inspector of Scotland Yard would do in the course of his investigations, i.e. eliminate all the Creator’s attributes that we can in any way understand. What’s left should be an absolute nothing, a kind of nothing that we know nothing about. Perhaps it could be a mere thought of the Creator about what such “nothing” might look like, if at all it existed, that is. Nevertheless, it doesn’t exist yet, even though it permeates the entire space. The Kabbalists call Ain this absolute, endless, unmeasurable, tiny, exiguous, endlessly small, absolutely imponderable “nothing”.

        Next, and we cannot even say the usual “at a certain point” or “at a certain time”, because here we don’t yet have a time or a space and consequently even a point, this imperceptible “nothing” comes into existence. It still takes up all the space, or perhaps no space at all, it still isn’t “something”, only endless but already existing “nothing”. The Kabbalists call it Ain Sof. We might as well call it “no-nothing”. The third stage of this process of movement from nothing to something is Ain Sof Aur. To the previous “no-nothing” added here was the word “aur”, meaning light. The no-nothing from the previous stage therefore has now become enlightened.

Let’s look at the first five verses of the Book of Genesis, using the most common translation - the King James Version.

 

1:   In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 

2:  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3:  And God said: Let there be light: and there was
light.
4:  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5:  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

 

In the text I have highlighted the following three words: God, water and light. Our human need is to find some conceptions that can be understood, at least to some degree. This means using analogies, even parabolas in some cases. Here, God as Ain, water as Ein Sof, light as Ain Sof Or suits us, if only because both water and light are mentioned in the original text as well as in all known translations. No translation could be accurate of course, and in case of Hebrew this is even truer, because of the number code that is built into this language, and which inevitably is to be lost. One can immediately sense that the translator of these opening verses must have had a very difficult job indeed. How does one describe something that is without form, void, dark? And where does the “deep” come from? What about “the waters”? There could be no face of the deep, and there could be no waters when there as yet is no form. On top of this, there is the great mystery presented by the third word Elohim in the first verse (don’t forget that you have to read from right to left):

 
 

Bereschit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve’et ha’arets.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

 

In the English version the word Elohim is translated simply as God, but in the original Hebrew the word Elohim is in fact a plural. This naturally opens up many new possibilities. Knowing that the Jewish religion is so firmly rooted in the belief in one God, one has to suspect that a deep mystery must lie behind this. Of course, there are many more enigmatic passages in the Bible, and we would deal with some of them, but this one being in the very first verse is even more entrancing.

The first positive act of the Creator described in the Bible is in the third line, where in the actual text it reads:

 

Vayomer Elohim yehi-or vayehi-or.

 

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

 

Even at a first glance, the English sentence looks long-winded, and it is indeed so. In the Hebrew original it is more laconic, something like “light be and light was.” It is the endless light, the Ain Soph Aur, which descended from the original Ain Soph. The darkness however is an incomplete thing, it represents negative energy; it is self-centred as its main property is possessiveness, a desire to receive and not to give. Darkness is created from nothing. In Hebrew, something created from nothing is called Yesh Me Ain, as opposed to Yesh Me Yesh, something from something, and since we already have something here, this cannot really be called a creation, rather a transformation. Man using his creativity can also form and transform things, but only God can create something from nothing.

 

THE THREE TRINITIES

 

The Kabbalah teaches us that the Creator is the omni-giver and the omni-sharer. The whole process of Creation is based on the concept that the Creator is and always will be complete and that he has the will to share. We, being created in his image, have the need to share and give. The more we give, the more we receive, according to the principle of the sephiroth.

The light that emanated from the Creator was pure energy. The pure energy always moves in a curve, in a circle. This is one of the laws of the Universe, which we might not fully understand, but which we have to acknowledge. As more and more energy pours in, it gradually develops a grid, a pattern, which in turn attracts more energy. As it circulates within the pattern, it gradually becomes formed; it changes from the state of being a pure energy into something more substantial. This is what we call undifferentiated matter; it is matter that has not had an opportunity to become differentiated into being able to display different properties, different attributes, etc. This is all happening at the early stages of Creation, at the very top of the Tree, at the level of the Supernals (left), the sephiroth Kether, Chokhmah and Binah.  Kether is the crown, it is a ring through which the energy pours in, Chokhmah is the passage through which the undifferentiated energy passes; Binah is where it gets caught in a grid. Originally, when the light came out, because it was caught in this grid, on each of these levels it became something that for our purposes we will call a vessel. To think of a sephira as a kind of jug or pitcher is very useful, because it behaves as one, being able to receive, store, and pass on the energy, just as a jug would do with water.

Like any vessel, a jug could also break, shatter, if not properly handled, or if it was built with a flaw. The first sephiroth/vessels had such a flaw and consequently they had shattered, as the energy continued to pour in. There was no give or take. The vessels were too fragile to withstand the onset; they had not enough flexibility. A certain amount of will to expand or yield, depending on conditions, is what gives things flexibility, and this is what the first sephiroth had lacked. There was no differentiation. In the second attempt at Creation the vessels became differentiated; on the point of receiving the energy they became negative and where they passed the energy on they became positive. A chain of sephiroth was thus formed, ending in Malkhut, the Kingdom, the last receiver. This is how energy progressively lost its original purity and gained more density. It became more differentiated; it developed different characteristics, different properties, and different attributes. Once energy is differentiated, everything has its own quality, name, colour, texture, and its own role to play in the journey of life. Chokhmah establishes the pattern of the grid; in Binah energy becomes formed. The principle of the net can be found in the ancient Greek mythology as well as in the modern mathematical theories, such as Einstein’s.

On the right we have another look at the Tree. This time it has been divided into three Trinities. The first of these, Kether, Chokhmah and Binah, still essentially belong to the realm of the pure spirit. MacGregor Mathers calls it the Intellectual World. Dion Fortune disagrees, declaring that such term is misleading, arguing “the intellect is essentially a concreting of intuition and apprehension, and as such is an unsuitable term for the World of the Three Supernals.” However, she does not offer any other term. I would not argue with that either — the world of the Three Supernals is too remote, too abstract, for us to know it and therefore name it. However, the Triangle of Spirit is to my thinking the best we could come up with, and would suffice for our purposes.

        I call the second triangle the Triangle of Principles. Unlike the first triangle, which points up towards infinity and its spiritual source, this one points downwards to the world of matter. This triangle, made up of Chesed, Geburah and Tiferet we can comprehend — it is concerned with the morality, ethics, justice, and with balancing of these principles. The third trinity, Netzah, Hod and Yesod, and its aspects, we will deal with quite comprehensively in a separate chapter. In fact, I have based this book mainly on these three sephiroth, and for good reasons. Practically anyone who isn’t completely immersed in and blinded by the materialistic world, can understand and agree that there has to be a world of formation, in which things are knitted together to gain their final shape before, after the final plunge, they become what we call the “reality” that we see and experience all around us. Therefore: the Triangle of Formation is the term I propose.

 

THE GIFT OF LIFE

 

The darkness is not emptiness and it is not colour either; it is rather a state of non-existence, just a step before existence. Evil is the unfulfilled desire to receive. Important here is the word unfulfilled, as there could easily be a misunderstanding. A desire to receive is not evil in itself, as without it the Creator could not create anything. The pleasure of giving something to somebody is in the enjoyment of what was given and received; it is important to understand that a state of harmony between the two forces of receiving and giving must exist, if there is to be a continuous flow of energy. We can all learn from this. If somebody wants to give us a gift, we must not refuse the gift. By refusing to accept the gift we hurt that person or persons, because we have not allowed them to fulfil the desire to give that is natural to all beings. If man refused the gift that God gave us in the very beginning, the world would not exist. If a person refuses the gift of life that we all get, for instance by committing suicide, it is not unlike spitting into the Creator’s face (for lack of milder expression).

 In the recent times we hear or read a great number of stories from all around the world, about people suffering from some incurable disease, or simply too old, wishing to end their life. Hand in hand with this, other people are emerging from somewhere, wanting to make it possible for them and posing as big do-gooders, even as saviours of mankind. In some countries where euthanasia was legalised, it happens, one suspects that quite often without a true consent of the dying person. I’m not talking about the cases where people have been put on the life support machines, and the issue is whether they should be kept alive artificially when the vital organs have ceased to function, or whether these should be turned off. What I have in mind is the assisted suicide. This is and will always remain a big moral issue. My position is: None of us can be too old or too ill not to be able to go on living. If a person has a great pain, that too is part of life experience, it is something that is meant to elevate us, teach us, make us better. Besides, pain always has boundaries, and if these are crossed the person loses consciousness. Of course, if someone decides to take their own life, it is their decision, though it might sometimes be made under mental pressure. Teachings of the theosophists explicitly warn against taking one’s own life, giving some rather deterrent examples concerning the after-death states of suicides.

The existentialist writer Albert Camus (1913-1960), who once wrote that there is only one important question man faces in life: should he or should he not commit suicide, perhaps did not live long enough to see the error of such ways of thinking. But people have always known this, and certainly the churches have been condemning suicide and refusing to allow suicides to be buried in the consecrated ground.

 

The Russian philosopher Pjotr Demianovitch Ouspensky (1878-1947), who towards the end of his life had found himself in the state of grave illness, did the opposite to what supporters of the assisted suicide advocate. In the last few weeks of his life he had concentrated all his efforts on remaining in the state of full consciousness. He wanted to experience his death while aware of what was happening, believing that the soul of man would gain a great deal by being able to witness the death of the personality that was its latest manifestation on Earth. Uspensky, who after the Russian revolution had lived mostly in England and in USA, was originally a theosophist, before becoming a pupil and later collaborator of Grigory Ivanovitch Gurdjieff. Ouspensky was at the same time under a strong influence of the philosophy of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. To die fully conscious he refused to take any tranquillisers, while staying awake all day, on his feet and fully dressed. The direct witness writer Rodney Collins, who was Ouspensky’s disciple, wrote an account of his teacher’s last days. He states that Ouspensky had indeed succeeded in dying while fully conscious. Of course, we cannot know how much he found out and what he might have gained from the experience. We must nevertheless admire his courage and his determination.

 

 

Remains of the 1820’s convict settlement on Sarah Island, Tasmania

 

On a trip to Tasmania in 2007, I went to see the ruins of the island’s oldest convict settlement on Sarah Island near Strahan, which was active between 1822-1833. From what I had read about Sarah Island before, from what I had seen and been told by the guide, the lives of the convicts there must have been absolutely terrible. Small wonder that many of them would rather have died than go on living under such horrendous conditions, with small food rations, hard labour, no social life whatsoever and, above all, with absolutely no prospects of any improvement. Some had committed suicide, but there were others who while contemplating it, would not want take such a step. It wasn’t the fear of death, nor the ignominy of having one’s body buried outside the walls of the cemetery dying that would have been be stopping them, however. The souls of those who committed suicides in those days were believed to become the prey of the devil.

There was a way around all this, nevertheless, which some of these wretches have taken in their desperation. They made suicide pacts. After reaching an agreement, and presumably drawing lots, one of the two prisoners in the pact would kill the other, often in a sudden, apparently frenzied attack, with an axe or a similar weapon. The guards who would have witnessed the murder sometimes knew or suspected, at other times didn’t understand at all, the reasons for the act. The inevitable result was that one of the prisoners was dead while the other was sentenced to be hanged, usually within days after the murder. The important thing for both men was that neither of them would have technically committed suicide, which was thought to be the sin worse than murder, therefore in theory their souls would have avoided being taken by the devil, whose widely used nickname in those times was “Old Jack”. In the surviving records from one of the executions that have taken place on Sarah Island at the time, it is stated that the last words of the condemned man standing under the gallows, certainly enigmatic to those who would not know anything about the convicts’ suicide pacts, were:

“Goodbye, Jack!”

 

GIVING AND RECEIVING

 

There are two possible ways of receiving; both are dependant on the attitude of the receiver. One is to receive something (a material object, money, but also teaching, a specific knowledge) for the purpose of keeping it for oneself, in other words for a selfish purpose. This is the negative way, indicative of the left-hand path, which would ever lure with the possibility of a quick gain. The other possible way is to receive a gift with the idea that we are going to share it with others. Perhaps we might expect that it is going to be useful in enhancing our mission in life, perhaps it might help us to gain the freedom of expression, so that we can go and help other people. Perhaps we count on passing the knowledge gained from someone else to other people, but without having a material benefit from it. All of the above would be the positive way of receiving; receiving with the view to imparting.

Ultimately, everything that we ever receive comes from the Creator, and we always should be mindful of this. The Americans have a very nice custom, which I can’t find with most of the other cultures. It is the Thanksgiving Day. I have never been in the USA on the Day of Thanksgiving, and maybe I would end up being disappointed, just as I am with the commercial circus that breaks out before every Christmas. However, I like in principle the idea that at least for one day in the year people are being lead to appreciate that they are being given something of great value, and that they should acknowledge it with a certain amount of humbleness.

On the other hand, we don’t need to be diffident, especially when we know that what we are getting we have deserved to receive, as the due wages for our work. Furthermore, there exists the law of prosperity, which allows us to receive our share from the abundance of Nature, indeed of the whole Cosmos. There is nothing wrong with asking or striving for things that we want to have, such as a larger house, a decent car, a proper education for ourselves and our children, etc. If we believe that there should be a hospital, a high school or university in our neighbourhood, we have the full right to ask for such things — all this under one provision only. We must be willing to share it with others, our neighbours, and the rest of mankind. It is God’s intention that there is an abundance of everything in the Universe, that everything be available to everybody. Unfortunately, it is the lack of giving and taking that has caused all the misery in the world, all the famines, starvations, wars, divisions between the nations, races, and religions. All this is caused by greed and by refusing to do God’s will in life to share.  

TO: THE TREE OF LIFE


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