Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
ENCYCLOPEDIA
Glossary
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

September/October Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.


The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

Qabalah

This article was written by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero on May 08, 2003
posted under Golden Dawn

"Qabalah" is a Hebrew word which means "tradition." It is derived from the root word "Qibel," meaning, "to receive." This refers to the ancient custom of handing down the esoteric knowledge by oral transmission. What the word Qabalah encompasses is an entire body of ancient Hebrew mystical principles that are the cornerstone and focus of the Western Esoteric Tradition. Virtually all Western spiritual systems can trace their roots to the Qabalistic Tree of Life. The exact origins of the Qabalah are unclear, but it certainly contains some vestiges of Egyptian, Greek, and Chaldean influence.

By its nature, mysticism is knowledge that cannot be communicated directly, but may be expressed only through symbolism and metaphor. Like other esoteric systems, Qabalah also draws upon the mystic's awareness of the transcendence of the Divine or the Eternal. Another element of Qabalah is that of theosophy, which seeks to reveal the hidden mysteries of the Divine as well as the relationship between the Divine Life on one hand, and the life of humans on the other. The goal of the Qabalist is to discover and invent keys to the understanding of arcane symbols that reflect the eternal mysteries.

Israel Regardie said that, "Qabalah is a trustworthy guide, leading to a comprehension of the universe and one's own self." It is all this and more. This "tradition" was never restricted to instruction in the mystical path—it also includes ideas on the origins of the universe, of angelic hierarchies and the practice of magic. Qabalah lays the foundation on which the art of Western magic rests.

The Qabalah, which Dion Fortune called "the Yoga of the West" reveals the nature of certain physical and psychological phenomena. Once these are understood, the student can use the principles of magic to exercise control over the conditions and circumstances of his or her life. Magic provides the practical application of the theories supplied by the Qabalah.

The Qabalah as it exists today is a vibrant, living, and dynamic philosophy that includes the origin of the entire cosmos, the eternal mind of God, and the spiritual development of humankind. It is a precise mystical system that describes universal laws and shows us how to utilize spiritual principles in every-day life. By firmly fixing the Qabalistic symbols such as the Tree of Life in one's mind, the student has access to a balanced group of archetypes that the inner self can more easily relate to, thus making true spiritual growth more readily attainable. As the Hermetic student begins to contemplate and experience the energies of the Sephiroth (the ten emanations of the Qabalistic Tree of Life) he or she will find that they develop into genuine forces that become animated within the psyche. These newly awakened forces will initiate a process of reorganization in the mind of the student, gathering up disjointed elements of the divine powers that lay dormant in the average person. They begin to structure themselves in accordance with the Sephiroth, permitting the student to tap into a previously unknown source of divine inspiration that is kept alive and prolific through meditation, and active ritual work. The Qabalah has often been called the "Ladder of Lights" because it not only depicts cosmic generation, which is the descent of the Divine into the physical, but also defines how the individual may employ it for spiritual ascent by purifying both body and mind through ceremony, contemplation, and prayer, until at length one achieves that pristine state of consciousness that is necessary to attain union with the Higher Self—the emissary to the Divine Self represented by the first Sephirah of Kether.

The Qabalah is the foundation of most of the magic employed by the Golden Dawn. The various grades, officers, and even the Golden Dawn temple itself are all based on the Sephirotic structuring of the Qabalistic Tree of Life. The meditative techniques hidden within the Qabalah are today being "rediscovered" by the New Age movement, but they were exalted in such Golden Dawn rituals as the "Middle Pillar Exercise."

Golden Dawn students learn a great deal of Qabalistic knowledge, including the attributes of the Tree of Life, gematria (Hebrew numerology), names of angels and archangels, and the making of sigils and talismans. They must also memorize the Hebrew alphabet along with all its correspondences, and be able to draw the Hebrew letters to form angelic and divine names.

While Llewellyn's Classic Tarot has my name on the cover, I did not so much design this project as direct it. Llewellyn wanted a deck that was designed to be faithful to the traditional tarot images, symbols, and meanings recognizable to most modern tarot readers and students. Creating a faithful yet new expression of timeless tarot imagery is... read this article
The Union Screaming House: The Haunting Continues...Long After the Doors Are Shut
365 Ways to Attract Good Luck
The Oracle of the Angels
Tarot: Group Dynamics Spread
Evolutionary Astrology: What the Moon's Nodes Mean in Your Chart

Most recent posts:
Part 1: Why is Satan in the Grimoires?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Aaron Leitch, author of several books, including Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, The Angelical...

A Spread About You
This spread, called Alive, Dead, and Undead, is from the Vampires Tarot of the Eternal Night book. It was created as a companion to the deck and thus...

A "Thank You" to BKS Iyengar
BKS Iyengar passed away today. In the midst of a frantic morning I heard the news and suddenly paused, realizing the great impact one person can...




Easy Tarot Reading Easy Tarot Reading
The Process Revealed in Ten True Readings

By: Josephine Ellershaw
Price: $14.95 US,  $16.95 CAN
$10.47 US,  $11.87 CAN On Sale!
Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2015 Astrological Calendar
82nd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2015 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $10.99 US,  $12.50 CAN
You Are the Answer You Are the Answer
Discovering and Fulfilling Your Soul's Purpose

By: Michael J Tamura
Price: $16.95 US,  $19.50 CAN
Dream Sight Dream Sight
A Dictionary and Guide for Interpreting Any Dream

By: Michael Lennox
Price: $19.95 US,  $22.95 CAN