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Kabbalah (also Cabala, Kabala, Qabalah) A Jewish system of theosophy, philosophy, science, magic and mysticism founded on the Torah, developed since the Middle Ages and comprising an important part of Western occultism. Kabbalistic studies and magic are part of some traditions of contemporary Witchcraft and PAGANISM.
Kabbalah comes from the Hebrew word QBL (Qibel), meaning "to receive" or "that which is received." "Kabbalah" was first used in the 11th century by Ibn Gabirol, a Spanish philosopher, to describe a secret oral tradition and has since been applied to all Jewish mystical practice. The Kabbalah is a means for achieving union with God while maintaining an active life in the mundane world.
In its role in Western MAGIC, the Kabbalah is the science of letters, the universal language from which all things are created. This science of letters is used to create words and sounds in ritual.
According to legend, the Kabbalah was taught by God to a group of angels, who, after the Fall, taught it to man in order to provide man a way back to God. It was passed from Adam to Noah to Abraham, who took it to Egypt, where it was passed to Moses. Moses included it in the first four books of the Pentateuch, but left it out of Deuteronomy. He initiated 70 elders into the Kabbalah, who continued the tradition of passing it down orally. David and Solomon were kabbalistic adepts. Eventually, the wisdom was written down.
The Kabbalah is a body of writings by anonymous authors. The main works are the Sefer Yezirah, or the Book of Creation, and the Zohar, or Book of Splendor. The origins of the Sefer Yezirah date to the eight century. The Zohar is believed to be written by Moses de Leon of Guadalajara, Spain, in the 13th century.
From its beginnings, the mysticism of the Kabbalah was similar to that of gnosticism, including concepts on magic, cosmology and angels. The Kabbalah holds that God is both immanent and transcendent; God is all things, both good and evil; all things make up the whole of an organized universe; and letters and numbers are keys to unlocking the mysteries of the universe (see Gematria).
God, En Soph or Ain Soph, is boundless and fills the universe. From God come 10 emanations, called sephirot, of angels and men, that form the structure of the Tree of Life and represent aspects of the divine. The Tree of Life shows the descent of the divine into the material world and the path by which man can ascend to the divine while still in the flesh. Each sephirah is a level of attainment in knowledge. The sephirot are organized in three triangles, with the 10th sephirah resting at the base. The triangles represent a portion of the human body: the head, arms and legs; the 10th sephirah represents the reproductive organs. The triangles are aligned on three pillars, on the right Mercy (the male principle), on the left Severity (the female principle) and in the middle Mildness, a balance between the two. The sephirot and their names and aspects are:
1. Kether, supreme crown
2. Chokmah, wisdom
3. Binah, understanding
4. Chesed, mercy, greatness
5. Geburah, strength, rigor
6. Tiphareth, beauty, harmony
7. Netzach, victory, force
8. Hod, splendor
9. Yesod, foundation
10. Malkuth, kingdom
The cosmos is divided into four worlds: Atziluth, the world of archetypes, from which are derived all forms of manifestation; Briah, the world of creation, in which archetypal ideas become patterns; Yetzirah, the world of formation, in which the patterns are expressed; and Assiah, the world of the material, the plane we perceive with our physical senses. Each sephirah is divided into four sections in which the four worlds operate.
The sephirot also comprise the sacred name of God, which is unknowable and unspeakable. The Bible gives various substitutes, such as Elohim and Adonai. The personal name of God is the Tetragrammaton, YHVH, usually pronounced as Yahweh, and which appears in the Bible as Jehovah. The four letters of YHVH correspond to the four worlds.
The magical applications of the kabbalah were recognized as early as the 13th century. During the Renaissance, rfi/JU^tA.
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