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Krazy Kabalists

This post was written by Donald Michael Kraig
on January 18, 2010 | Comments (1)

There is a story, found in the Jewish Talmud, that four great rabbis entered the orchard (Hebrew: pardes) known as the Kabalah. These were mature and wise men. Yet one, unable to deal with what he experienced, died. Another became a heretic. The third went insane. Only the famous Rabbi Akiva (or Akiba) “entered in peace and emerged in peace.”

There is one aspect of the Kabalah that seems to bring out the crazies. Specifically, that aspect is the manipulation of letters. There are three primary methods of letter manipulation:

Gematria: letters are given numerical values and words or phrases of equal sums replace each other in passages, giving new meanings to those passages
Notarikon: Similar to the use of acronyms where the letters of a word represent longer words or expressions
Temurah: A system of codes where one letter is replaced by another according to a predetermined plan

Aleister Crowley realized the hazards of using letter manipulation in these ways. You could literally become lost in the logic of these three systems and go off in wild tangents that eventually had no meaning and took you off of the spiritual path. He suggested that replacement of terms using these systems should be limited to instances where such replacements are meaningful.

Unfortunately, many people get caught up and lost in their subjective reality rather than objective meaning. The result is often wild and circuitous reasoning that comes down to something obvious or valueless. In the past, such thinking—a form of insanity, in my opinion—was limited to private journals that were seen by a rarified few. Thankfully.

But now, thanks to the wonder that is the internet, these krazies can inflict their insanity on us all. People set up web pages to share their bizarre reality. On internet forums, posts that are extremely long and impossible to follow masquerade as wisdom. Alternatively, the krazies will make five or more posts, one right after another, featuring comments on their previous posts, trying to clarify one small point in a previous post (and only making things worse), etc.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. I am very fortunate to have David Godwin as a friend. David is most definitely not a “Krazy Kabalist.” In fact, he is one of the most knowledgeable, logical, and reasonable persons I know, making his delicious sense of humor and fun all the more intriguing. His book, Godwin’s Cabalistic Encyclopedia, is one of those must-have resources every magickian should have. Long before I met David I purchased (and I still own) the original hardbound edition of that book. The latest softbound edition is still available and I highly recommend it.

Anyway, David sent me an email and gave me permission to repeat an interesting discovery he made. He took a numerical value, using gematria, of the sum of the letters of the word, “Robertson”:

R – resh –  200
O – ayin –    70
B – beth –      2
E – heh –       5
R – resh –   200
T – teth –       9
S – samekh – 60
O – ayin –     70
N – nun –      50

The total of those numbers: 666! The importance of that number comes from the book of Revelation, chapter 13, verse 18, in the Christian bible:

Here is wisdom.
Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast:
for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six [666].

Yikes! So this 666 (yes, I know that a few scholars have debated the number) represents the number of “the beast” who is a man. But who is this man-beast?

Years ago, I worked in Los Angeles on a street named “Robertson Boulevard.” I did telemarketing (i.e., I called businesses on the phone) to sell them business supplies, mostly ink (toner) for copying machines. Yes, I was one of those obnoxious telephone salesmen. I really wasn’t very good, and I think the main reason the owners kept me on was that their family was close friends with my family. So since I worked on Robertson, am I “the beast?”

Robertson Blvd. basically runs north to south. At it’s north end is West Hollywood, an area considered to allow a great deal of sexual variety and libertinage. Will “the beast” come from that area? Is he going to be a “metrosexual?”

One of the best Italian restaurants I ever ate at is on Robertson. Does this mean that “the beast” will come either from Italy or have an Italian background? Could this refer to an Italian Pope?

There is also an Ethiopian section of Robertson and a famous Jewish section. Does this mean that “the beast” will be Ethiopian or Jewish? Or will he be an Ethiopian Jew? Maybe “the beast” will be an Ethiopian-Italian-Jewish Pope who is a metrosexual and sells toner!

And speaking of Jews, that brings us back to the Kabalah. One of the main headquarters for The Kabbalah Centre—the very popular group (some call it a cult) that has celebrity followers such as Madonna, Rosanne, Demi and Ashton, Lindsay Lohan, Mick Jagger, Britney Spears and others—is located on Robertson! Does that mean “the beast” is involved with that group? Could he be the leader of that group?

Do you see how knowing just two things—that Kabalistically the word “Robertson” can equal the infamous number 666 and that there is a Robertson Blvd. in Los Angeles—can lead you on a long trail that gets weirder and weirder. If you went deeper it could take you off the infamous “deep end” that leads to insanity.

Therefore, when it comes to using the three Kabalistic techniques named above, I advise setting yourself certain limits. Specifically, decide what you’re looking for using those techniques and see if you can find it. Don’t allow yourself to merely wander through the “orchard,” unless you believe yourself to be on the level of Rabbi Akiva.

Of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps you might know of another association with the word “Robertson” that would more closely be associated with “the beast” of Christian belief.


Reader Comments

Written By Gematria Scholar
on January 31st, 2010 @ 3:11 pm

Thanks for your comments about Hebrew Gematria. You are absolutely correct – if you take Gematria too far, you can really start inventing stuff that just isn’t there. But that doesn’t mean you should abandon Gematria altogether. Taken sensibly, Gematria can help you to understand the wonders of God’s word.

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