I. THE first questions which the non-qabalistical
reader will probably ask are: What is the Qabalah? Who was its author? What
are its sub-divisions? What are its general teachings? And why is a
translation of it required at the present time?
2. I will answer the last question first. At
the present time a powerful wave of occult thought is spreading through
society; thinking men are beginning to awake to the fact that "there are more
things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in their philosophy;" and, last
but not least, it is now felt that the Bible, which has been probably more
misconstrued than any other book ever written, contains numberless obscure and
mysterious passages which are utterly unintelligible without some key
wherewith to unlock their meaning. THAT KEY IS GIVEN IN THE QABALAH. Therefore
this work should be of interest to every biblical and theological student. Let
every Christian ask himself this question: "How can I think to understand the
Old Testament if I be ignorant of the construction put upon it by that nation
whose sacred book it formed; and if I know not the meaning of the Old
Testament, how can I expect to understand the New?" Were the real and sublime
philosophy of the Bible better known, there would be
fewer fanatics and sectarians. And who can
calculate the vastness of the harm done to impressionable and excitable
persons by the bigoted enthusiasts who ever and anon come forward as teachers
of the people? How many suicides are the result of religious mania and
depression! What farragos of sacrilegious nonsense have not been promulgated
as the true meanings of the books of the Prophets and the Apocalypse! Given a
translation of the sacred Hebrew Book, in many instances incorrect, as the
foundation, an inflamed and an ill-balanced mind as the worker thereon, what
sort of edifice can be expected as the result? I say fearlessly to the
fanatics and bigots of the present day: You have cast down the Sublime and
Infinite One from His throne, and in His stead have placed the demon of
unbalanced force; you have substituted a deity of disorder and of jealousy for
a God of order and of love; you have perverted the teachings of the crucified
One. Therefore at this present time an English translation of the Qabalah is
almost a necessity, for the Zohar has never before been translated into the
language of this country, nor, as far as I am aware, into any modern European
3. The Qabalah may be defined as being the
esoteric Jewish doctrine. It is called in Hebrew QBLH, Qabalah, which
is derived from the root QBL, Qibel, meaning "to receive." This
appellation refers to the custom of handing down the esoteric knowledge by
oral transmission, and is nearly allied to "tradition."
4. As in the present work a great number of
Hebrew or Chaldee words have to be used in the text, and the number of
scholars in the Shemitic languages is limited, I have thought it more
advisable to print such words in ordinary Roman characters, carefully
retaining the exact orthography. I therefore append a table showing at a
glance the ordinary Hebrew and Chaldee alphabet (which is common to both
languages), the Roman characters by
which I have expressed its letters in this
work; also their names, powers, and numerical values. There are no separate
numeral characters in Hebrew and Chaldee; therefore, as is also the case in
Greek, each letter has its own peculiar numerical value, and from this
circumstance results the important fact that every word is a number, and
every number is a word. This is alluded to in Revelations, where "the
number of the beast" is mentioned, and on this correspondence between words
and numbers the science of Gematria (the first division of the so-called
literal Qabalah) is based. I shall refer to this subject again. I have
selected the Roman letter Q to represent the Hebrew Qoph or Koph,
a precedent for the use of which without a following m may be found in Max
Müller's "Sacred Books of the East." The reader must remember that the Hebrew
is almost entirely a consonantal alphabet, the vowels being for the most part
supplied by small points and marks usually placed below the letters. Another
difficulty of the Hebrew alphabet consists in the great similarity between the
forms of certain letters--e.g., V, Z, and final N.
5. With regard to the author and origin of the
Qabalah, I cannot do better than give the following extract from Dr.
Ginsburg's "Essay on the Kabbalah," first premising that this word has been
spelt in a great variety of ways--Cabala, Kabalah, Kabbala, &c. I have adopted
the form Qabalah, as being more consonant with the Hebrew writing of the word.
6. "A system of religious philosophy, or, more
properly, of theosophy, which has not only exercised for hundreds of years an
extraordinary influence on the mental development of so shrewd a people as the
Jews, but has captivated the minds of some of the greatest thinkers of
Christendom in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, claims the greatest
attention of both the philosopher and the theologian. When it is added that
captives were Raymond Lully, the celebrated
scholastic metaphysician and chemist (died 1315); John Reuchlin, the renowned
scholar. and reviver of Oriental literature in Europe (born 1455, died 1522);
John Picus de Mirandola, the famous philosopher and classical scholar
(1463-1494); Cornelius Henry Agrippa, the distinguished philosopher, divine,
and physician (1486-1535); John Baptist Von Helmont, a remarkable chemist and
physician (1577-1644); as well as our own countrymen, Robert Fludd, the famous
physician and philosopher (1574-1637); and Dr. Henry More (1614-1687); and
that these men, after restlessly searching for a scientific system which
should disclose to them 'the deepest depths' of the divine mature, and show
them the real tie which binds all things together, found the cravings of their
minds satisfied by this theosophy, the claims of the Kabbalah on the attention
of students in literature and philosophy will readily be admitted. The claims
of the Kabbalah, however, are not restricted to the literary man and the
philosopher; the poet too will find in it ample materials for the exercise of
his lofty genius. How can it be otherwise with a theosophy which, we are
assured, was born of God in Paradise, was nursed and reared by the choicest of
the angelic hosts in heaven, and only held converse with the holiest of man's
children upon earth. Listen to the story of. its birth, growth, and maturity,
as told by its followers.
7. "The Kabbalah was first taught by God
himself to a select company of angels, who formed a theosophic school in
Paradise. After the Fall the angels most graciously communicated this heavenly
doctrine to the disobedient child of earth, to furnish the protoplasts with
the means of returning to their pristine nobility and felicity. From Adam it
passed over to Noah, and then to Abraham, the friend of God, who emigrated
with it to Egypt, where the patriarch allowed a portion of this mysterious
doctrine to ooze out. It was in this way
that the Egyptians obtained some knowledge of
it, and the other Eastern nations could introduce it into their philosophical
systems. Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was first
initiated into the Qabalah in the land of his birth, but became most
proficient in it during his wanderings in the wilderness, when he not only
devoted to it the leisure hours of the whole forty years, but received lessons
in it from one of the angels. By the aid of this mysterious science the
law-giver was enabled to solve the difficulties which arose during his
management of the Israelites, in spite of the pilgrimages, wars, and frequent
miseries of the nation. He covertly laid down the principles of this secret
doctrine in the first four books of the Pentateuch, but withheld them from
Deuteronomy. Moses also initiated the seventy elders into the secrets of this
doctrine, and they again transmitted them from hand to hand. Of all who formed
the unbroken line of tradition, David and Solomon were the most deeply
initiated into the Kabbalah. No one, however, dared to write it down, till
Schimeon Ben Jochai, who lived at the time of the destruction of the second
temple . . . . . After his death, his son, Rabbi Eleazar, and his secretary,
Rabbi Abba, as well as his disciples, collated Rabbi Simon Ben Jochai's
treatises, and out of these composed the celebrated work called ZHR, Zohar,
splendour, which is the grand storehouse of Kabbalism."
8. The Qabalah is usually classed under four
(α) The practical Qabalah.
(β) The literal Qabalah.
(γ) The unwritten Qabalah.
(δ) The dogmatic Qabalah.
9. The practical Qabalah deals with talismanic
and ceremonial magic, and does not come within the scope of this work.
10. The literal Qabalah is referred to in
and therefore a knowledge of its leading
principles is necessary. It is divided into three parts: GMTRIA, Gematria;
NVTRIQVN, Notariqon; and ThMVRH, Temura.
11. Gematria is a metathesis of the Greek word
γραμματεια. It is based on the relative numerical values of words, as I have
before remarked. Words of similar numerical values are considered to be
explanatory of each other, and this theory is also extended to phrases. Thus
the letter Shin, Sh, is 300, and is equivalent to the number obtained by
adding up the numerical values of the letters of the words RVCh ALHIM,
Ruach Elohim, the spirit of the Elohim; and it is therefore a symbol of
the spirit of the Elohim. For R = 200, V = 6, Ch = 8, A = z, L = 30, H = 5, I
= 10, M = 40; total = 300. Similarly, the words AChD, Achad, Unity,
One, and AHBH, Ahebah, love, each = 13; for A = 1, Ch = 8, D = 4, total = 13;
and A = 1, H = 5, B = 2, H = 5, total = 13. Again, the name of the angel
MTTRVN, Metatron or Methraton, and the name of the Deity, ShDI,
Shaddaï, each make 314; so the one is taken as symbolical of the other.
The angel Metraton is said to have been the conductor of the children of
Israel through the wilderness, of whom God says, "My Name is in him." With
regard to Gematria of phrases (Gen. xlix. 10), IBA ShILH, Yeba Shiloa,
"Shiloh shall come" = 358, which is the numeration of the word MShICh,
Messiah. Thus also the passage, Gen. xviii. 2 VHNH ShLShH, Vehenna
Shalisha, "And lo, three men," equals in numerical value ALV MIKAL GBRIAL
VRPAL, Elo Mihkael Gabriel Ve-Raphael, "These are Mikhael, Gabriel and
Raphael;" for each phrase = 70l. I think these instances will suffice to make
clear the nature of Gematria, especially as many others will be found in the
course of the ensuing work.
12. Notariqon is derived from the Latin word
nothrius, a shorthand writer. Of Notariqon there are two forms.
In the first every letter of a word is taken for the initial or abbreviation
of another word, so that from the letters of a word a sentence may be formed.
Thus every letter of the word BRAShITh, Berashith, the first word in
Genesis, is made the initial of a word, and we obtain BRAShITh RAH ALHIM
ShIQBLV IShRAL ThVRH, Besrashith Rahi Eloim Sheyequebelo Israel Torah:
"In the beginning the Elohim saw that Israel would accept the law." In this
connection I may give six very interesting specimens of Notariqon formed from
this same word BRAShITh by Solomon Meir Ben Moses, a Jewish Qabalist, who
embraced the Christian faith in 1665, and took the name of Prosper Rugers.
These have all a Christian tendency, and by their means Prosper converted
another Jew, who had previously been bitterly opposed to Christianity. The
first is BN RVCh AB ShLVShThM IChD ThMIM, Ben, Ruach, Ab, Shaloshethem
Yechad Themim: "The Son, the Spirit, the Father, Their Trinity, Perfect
Unity." The second is, BN RVCh AB ShLVShThM IChD ThOBVDV, Ben, Ruach, Ab,
Shaloshethem Yechad Thaubodo: "The Son, the Spirit, the Father, ye shall
equally worship Their Trinity." The third is, BKVRI RAShVNI AShR ShMV IShVO
ThOBVDV, Bekori Rashuni Asher Shamo Yeshuah Thaubodo: "Ye shall worship
My first-born, My first, Whose Name is Jesus." The fourth is, BBVA RBN AShR
ShMV IShVO ThOBVDV, Beboa Rabban Asher Shamo Yesuah Thaubado: "When the
Master shall come Whose Name is Jesus ye shall worship." The fifth is, BThVLH
RAVIH ABChR ShThLD IShVO ThAShRVH, Bethulah Raviah Abachar Shethaled
Yeshuah Thrashroah: "I will choose a virgin worthy to bring forth Jesus,
and ye shall call her blessed." The sixth is, BOVGTh RTzPIM ASThThR ShGVPI
IShVO ThAKLV, Beaugoth Ratzephim Assattar Shegopi Yeshuah Thakelo: "I
will hide myself in cake (baked with) coals, for ye shall eat Jesus, My Body."
The Qabalistical importance of these
sentences as bearing upon the doctrines of
Christianity can hardly be overrated.
13. The second form of Notariqon is the exact
reverse of the first. By this the initials or finals, or both, or the medials,
of a sentence, are taken to form a word or words. Thus the Qabalah is called
ChKMh NSThRH, Chokhmah Nesethrah, "the secret wisdom;" and if we take
the initials of these two words Ch and N, we form by the second kind of
Notariqon the word ChN, Chen, "grace." Similarly, from the initials and
finals of the words MI IOLH LNV HShMIMH, Mi Iaulah Leno Ha-Shamayima,
"Who shall go up for us to heaven?" (Deut. xxx. 12), are formed MILH, Milah,
"circumcision," and IHVH, the Tetragrammaton, implying that God hath ordained
circumcision as the way to heaven.
14. Temura is permutation. According to certain
rules, one letter is substituted for another letter preceding or following it
in the alphabet, and thus from one word another word of totally different
orthography may be formed. Thus the alphabet is bent exactly in half, in the
middle, and one half is put over the other; and then by changing alternately
the first letter or the first two letters at the beginning of the second line,
twenty-two commutations are produced. These are called the "Table of the
Combinations of TzIRVP," Tzirupa. For example's sake, I will give the
method called ALBTh, Albath, thus:
Each method takes its name from the first two
pairs composing it, the system of pairs of letters being the groundwork of the
whole, as either letter in a pair is substituted for the other letter. Thus,
by Albath, from RVCh, Ruach, is formed DTzO, Detzau. The names
of the other twenty-one methods are: ABGTh, AGDTh
ADBG, AHBD, AVBH, AZBV, AChBZ, ATBCh, AIBT,
AKBI, ALBK, AMBL, ANBM, ASBN, AOBS, APBO, ATzBP, AQBTz, ARBQ, AShBR, and
AThBSh. To these must be added the modes ABGD and ALBM. Then comes the
"Rational Table of Tziruph," another set of twenty-two combinations. There are
also three "Tables of the Commutations," known respectively as the Right, the
Averse, and the Irregular. To make any of these, a square, containing 484
squares, should be made, and the letters written in. For the "Right Table"
write the alphabet across from right to left; in the second row of squares do
the same, but begin with R and end with A; in the third begin with G and end
with B; and so on. For the "Averse Table" write the alphabet from right to
left backwards, beginning with Th and ending with A; in the second row begin
with Sh and end with Th, &c. The "Irregular Table" would take too long to
describe. Besides all these, there is the method called ThShRQ, Thashraq,
which is simply writing a word backwards. There is one more very important
form, called the "Qabalah of the Nine Chambers," or AIQ BKR, Aiq Bekar.
It is thus formed:
I have put the numeration of each letter above
to, show the affinity between the letters in each chamber. Sometimes this is
used as a cipher, by taking the portions of the figure to show the letters
they contain, putting one point for the first letter, two for the second,
&c. Thus the right angle, containing AIQ, will
answer for the letter Q if it have three dots or points within it. Again, a
square will answer for H, N, or K final, according to whether it has one, two,
or three points respectively placed within it. So also with regard to the
other letters. But there are many other ways of employing the Qabalah of the
Nine Chambers, which I have not space to describe. I will merely mention, as
an example, that by the mode of Temura called AThBSh, Athbash, it is
found that in Jeremiah xxv. 26, the word ShShK, Sheshakh, symbolizes
15. Besides all these rules, there are certain
meanings hidden in the shape of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet; in the
form of a particular letter at the end of a word being different from that
which it generally bears when it is a final letter, or in a letter being
written in the middle of a word in a character generally used only at the end;
in any letter or letters being written in a size smaller or larger than the
rest of the manuscript, or in a letter being written upside down; in the
variations found in the spelling of certain words, which have a letter more in
some places than they have in others; in peculiarities observed in the
position of any of the points or accents, and in certain expressions supposed
to be elliptic or redundant.
16. For example the shape of the Hebrew letter
Aleph, A (see Plate I.), is said to symbolize a Vau, V, between
a Yod, I, and a Daleth, D; and thus the letter itself represents the
word IVD, Yod. Similarly the shape of the letter He, H,
represents a Daleth, D, with a Yod, I, written at the lower
left-hand corner, &c.
17. In Isaiah ix. 6, 7, the word LMRBH,
Lemarbah, for multiplying, is written with the character for M final in
the middle of the word, instead of with the ordinary initial and Medial M. The
consequence of this is that the total numerical value of the word, instead of
being 30 +40+ 200+ 2+5 = 277, is 30 + 600 + 200
+ 2 + 5 = 837 = by Gematria ThTh ZL, Tat Zal, the profuse Giver. Thus,
by writing the M final instead of the ordinary character, the word is made to
bear a different qabalistical meaning.
18. In Deuteronomy vi. 4, &c., is the prayer
known as the "Shema Yisrael." It begins, "ShMO IShRAL IHVH ALHINV IHVH AChD,
Shemaa Yisrael, Tetragrammaton Elohino Tetragrammaton Achad: "Hear, O
Israel, Tetragrammaton your God is Tetragrammaton Unity." In this verse the
terminal letter O in ShMO, and the D in AChD are written much larger than the
other letters of the text. The qabalistical symbology contained in this
circumstance is thus explained: The letter O, being of the value of 70, shows
that the law may be explained in seventy different ways, and the D = 4 = the
four cardinal points and the letters of the Holy Name. The first word, ShMO,
has the numerical value of 410, the number of years of the duration of the
first temple, &c. &c. There are many other points worthy of consideration in
this prayer, but time will not permit me to dwell on them.
19. Other examples of deficient and redundant
spelling, peculiarities of accent and pointing, &c., will be found in various
places in the ensuing work.
20. It is to be further noted with regard
to the first word in the Bible, BRAShITh, Berashith, that the first
three letters, BRA, are the initial letters of the names of the three persons
of the Trinity: BN, Ben, the Son; RVCh, Ruach, the Spirit; and
AB, Ab, the Father. Furthermore, the first letter of the Bible is B,
which is the initial letter of BRKH, Berakhah, blessing; and not A,
which is that of ARR, Arar, cursing. Again, the letters of Berashith,
taking their numerical powers, express the number of years between the
Creation and the birth of Christ, thus: 1B
= 2,000, R = 200, 1A
1000, Sh = 300, I = 10, and Th = 400; total =
3910 years, being the time in round numbers. Picus de Mirandola gives the
following working out of BRAShITh, Berashith:--By joining the third letter, A,
to the first, B, A B, Ab = Father, is obtained. If to the first letter
B, doubled, the second letter, R, be added, it makes BBR, Bebar = in or
through the Son. If all the letters be read except the first, it makes RAShITh,
Rashith = the beginning. If with the fourth letter, Sh, the first B and
the last Th be connected, it makes ShBTh, Shebeth = the end or rest. If
the first three letters be taken, they make BRA, Bera = created. If,
omitting the first, the three following be taken, they make RASh, Rash
= head. If, omitting the two first, the next two be taken, they give ASh, Ash
= fire. If the fourth and last be joined, they give ShTh, Sheth =
foundation. Again, if the second letter be put before the first, it makes RB,
Rab = great. If after the third be placed the fifth and fourth, it
gives AISh, Aish = man. If to the two first be joined the two last,
they give BRITh, Berith = covenant. And if the first be added to the
last, it gives ThB, Theb, which is sometimes used for TVB, Thob
21. Taking the whole of these mystical anagrams
in proper order, Picus makes the following sentence out of this one word
BRAShITh:--Pater in filio (aut per filium), principium et
finem (sive quietum) creavit caput, ignem, et fundamentum magni hominis
fdere bono: "Through the Son hath the Father created that Head which is
the beginning and the end, the fire-life and the foundation of the supernal
man (the Adam Qadmon) by His righteous covenant." Which is a short epitome of
the teachings of the "Book of Concealed Mystery." This notice of the literal
Qabalah has already extended beyond its proper limits. It was, however,
necessary to be thus explicit, as much of the metaphysical reasoning of the
ensuing work turns on its application.
22. The term "Unwritten Qabalah" is applied to
knowledge which is never entrusted to writing,
but communicated orally. I may say no more on this point, not even whether I
myself have or have not received it. Of course, till the time of Rabbi
Schimeon Ben Jochai none of the Qabalah was ever written.
23. The Dogmatic Qabalah contains the doctrinal
portion. There are a large number of treatises of various dates and merits
which go to make up the written Qabalah, but they may be reduced to four
(α) The Sepher Yetzirah and its
(β) The Zohar with its developments and
(γ) The Sepher Sephiroth and its
(δ) The Asch Metzareph and its symbolism.
24. The SPR ITzIRH, Sepher Yetzirah, or
"Book of Formation," is ascribed to the patriarch Abraham. It treats of the
cosmogony as symbolized by the ten numbers and the twenty-two. letters of the
alphabet, which it calls the "thirty-two paths." On these latter Rabbi Abraham
Ben Dior has written a mystical commentary. The term "path" is used throughout
the Qabalah to signify a hieroglyphical idea, or rather the sphere of ideas,
which may be attached to any glyph or symbol.
25. The ZHR, Zohar, or "Splendour,"
besides many other treatises of less note, contains the following most
important books, of which the three first are translated in this volume:
(α) The SPRA DTzNIOVThA, Siphra
Dtzenioutha, or "Book of Concealed Mystery," which is the root and
foundation of the Zohar.
(β) The ADRA RBA QDIShA, Idra Rabba
Qadisha or "Greater Holy Assembly:" this is a development of the "Book
of Concealed Mystery."
(γ) The ADRA ZVTA QDIShA, Idra Zuta
Qadisha, or "Lesser Holy Assembly;" which is in the nature of a
supplement to the "Idra Rabba." These three books treat of the gradual
development of the creative Deity, and with Him the
Creation. The text of these works has been annotated by Knorr von
Rosenroth (the author of the "Qabalah Denudata,") from the Mantuan,
Cremonensian, and Lublinensian Codices, which are corrected printed
copies; of these the Mantuan and Cremonensian are the oldest. A species of
commentary is also given, which is distinguished from the actual text by
being written within parentheses.
(δ) The pneumatical treatise called BITh
ALHIM, Beth Elohim, or the "House of the Elohim," edited by Rabbi
Abraham Cohen Irira, from the doctrines of Rabbi Yitzchaq Loria. It treats
of angels, demons, elemental spirits, and souls.
(ε) The "Book of the Revolutions of Souls"
is a peculiar and discursive treatise, and is an expansion of Rabbi
26. The SPR SPIRVTh, Sepher Sephiroth,
or "Book of the Emanations," describes, so to speak, the gradual evolution of
the Deity from negative into positive existence.
27. The ASh MTzRP, Asch Metzareph, or
"Purifying Fire," is hermatic and alchemical, and is known to few, and when
known is understood by still fewer.
28. The principal doctrines of the Qabalah are
designed to solve the following problems:--
(α) The Supreme Being, His nature and
(β) The Cosmogony.
(γ) The creation of angels and man.
(δ) The destiny of man and angels.
(ε) The nature of the soul.
(ζ) The nature of angels, demons, and
(η) The import of the revealed law.
(θ) The transcendental symbolism of
(ι) The peculiar mysteries contained in the
(κ) The equilibrium of contraries.
29. The "Book of Concealed Mystery" opens with
words: "The Book of Concealed Mystery is the
book of the equilibrium of balance." What is here meant by the terms
"equilibrium of balance"? Equilibrium is that harmony which results from the
analogy of contraries, it is the dead centre where, the opposition of opposing
forces being equal in strength, rest succeeds motion. It is the central point.
It is the "point within the circle" of ancient symbolism. It is the living
synthesis of counterbalanced power. Thus form may be described as the
equilibrium of light and shade; take away either factor, and form is viewless.
The term balance is applied to the two opposite natures in each triad of the
Sephiroth, their equilibrium forming the third Sephira in each ternary. I
shall recur again to this subject in explaining the Sephiroth. This doctrine
of equilibrium and balance is a fundamental qabalistical idea.
30. The "Book of Concealed Mystery" goes on to,
state that this "Equilibrium hangeth in that region which is negatively
existent." What is negative existence? What is positive existence? The
distinction between these two is another fundamental idea. To define negative
existence clearly is impossible, for when it is distinctly defined it
ceases to be negative existence; it is then negative existence passing
into static condition. Therefore wisely have the Qabalists shut out from
mortal comprehension the primal AIN, Ain, the negatively existent One,
and the AIN SVP, Ain Soph, the limitless Expansion; while of even the
AIN SVP AVR, Ain Soph Aur, the illimitable Light, only a dim conception
can be formed. Yet, if we think deeply, we shall see that such must be the
primal forms of the unknowable and nameless One, whom we, in the more manifest
form speak of as GOD. He is the Absolute. But how define the Absolute? Even as
we define it, it slips from our grasp, for it ceases when defined to be the
Absolute. Shall we then say that the Negative, the limitless, the Absolute
are, logically speaking, absurd, since they are ideas which our reason
cannot define? No; for could we define them, we
should make them, so to speak, contained by our reason, and therefore not
superior to it; for a subject to be capable of definition it is requisite that
certain limits should be assignable to it. How then can we limit the
31. The first principle and axiom of the
Qabalah is the name of the Deity, translated in our version of the Bible, "I
am that I am," AHIH AShR AHIH, Eheieh Asher Eheieh. A better
translation is, "Existence is existence," or "I am He who is."
32. Eliphaz Levi Zahed, that great philosopher
and Qabalist of the present century, says in his "Histoire de la Magie" (bk. i.
ch. 7): "The Qabalists have a horror of everything that resembles idolatry;
they, however, ascribe the human form to God, but it is a purely
hieroglyphical figure. They consider God as the intelligent, living, and
loving Infinite One. He is for them neither the collection of other beings,
nor the abstraction of existence, nor a philosophically definable being. He is
in all, distinct from all, and greater than all. His very name is ineffable;
and yet this name only expresses the human ideal of His Divinity. What God is
in Himself it is not given to man to know. God is the absolute of faith;
existence is the absolute of reason, existence exists by itself, and because
it exists. The reason of the existence of existence is existence itself. We
may ask, 'Why does any particular thing exist?' that is, 'Why does such or
such a thing exist?' But we cannot ask, without its being absurd to do so, Why
does existence exist?' For this would be to suppose existence prior to
existence." Again, the same author says (ibid. bk. iii. ch. 2): "To
say, 'I will believe when the truth of the dogma shall be scientifically
proved to me,' is the same as to say, 'I will believe when I have nothing more
to believe, and when the dogma shall be destroyed as dogma by becoming a
That is to say, in other words: 'I will only admit the Infinite when it shall
have been explained, determined, circumscribed, and defined for my benefit; in
one word, when it has become finite. I will then believe in the Infinite when
I am sure that the Infinite does not exist. I will believe in the vastness of
the ocean when I shall have seen it put into bottles.' But when a thing has
been clearly proved and made comprehensible to you, you will no longer
believe it--you will know it."
33. In the "Bhagavadgîtâ," ch. ix., it is
said: "I am Immortality and also death; and I, O Arguna! am that which is and
that which is not." 1
And again (ch. ix.): "And, O descendant of Bharata! see wonders in numbers,
unseen before. Within my body, O Gudâkesa! see to-day the whole universe,
including everything movable and immovable, all in one." And again (ibid.)
Arguna said: "O Infinite Lord of the Gods! O Thou who pervadest the universe!
Thou art the Indestructible, that which is, that which is not, and what is
beyond them. Thou art the Primal God, the Ancient One; Thou are the highest
support of this universe. By Thee is this universe pervaded, O Thou of the
infinite forms . . . . Thou art of infinite power, of unmeasured glory; Thou
pervadest all, and therefore Thou art all!"
34. The idea of negative existence can then
exist as an idea, but it will not bear definition, since the idea of
definition is utterly incompatible with its nature. "But," some of my readers
will perhaps say, "your term negative existence is surely a misnomer; the
state you describe would be better expressed by the title of negative
subsistence." Not so, I answer; for negative subsistence can never be anything
but negative subsistence; it cannot vary, it cannot develop; for negative
subsistence is literally and truly no thing. Therefore, negative
subsistence cannot be at all; it never has existed, it never does
exist, it never will exist. But negative existence bears hidden in
itself, positive life; for in the limitless
depths of the abyss of its negativity lies hidden the power of standing forth
from itself, the power of projecting the scintilla of the thought unto the
utter, the power of re-involving the syntagma into the inner. Thus shrouded
and veiled is the absorbed intensity in the centreless whirl of the vastness
of expansion. Therefore have I employed the term "Ex-sto," rather than "Sub-sto."
35. But between two ideas so different as those
of negative and positive existence a certain nexus, or connecting-link, is
required, and hence we arrive at the form which is called potential existence,
which while more nearly approaching positive existence, will still scarcely
admit of clear definition. It is existence in its possible form. For example,
in a seed, the tree which may spring from it is hidden; it is in a condition
of potential existence; is there; but it will not admit of definition. How
much less, then, will those seeds which that tree in its turn may yield. But
these latter are in a condition which, while it is somewhat analogous to
potential existence, is in hardly so advanced a stage; that is, they are
36. But, on the other hand, positive existence
is always capable of definition; it is dynamic; it has certain evident powers,
and it is therefore the antithesis of negative existence, and still more so of
negative subsistence. It is the tree, no longer hidden in the seed, but
developed into the outer. But positive existence has a beginning and an end,
and it therefore requires another form from which to depend, for without this
other concealed negative ideal behind it, it is unstable and unsatisfactory.
37. Thus, then, have I faintly and with all
reverence endeavoured to shadow forth to the minds of my readers the idea of
the Illimitable One. And before that idea, and of that idea, I can only say,
in the words of an ancient oracle: "In Him is an illimitable abyss of glory,
and from it there goeth forth one little spark
which maketh all the glory of the sun, and of
the moon, and of the stars. Mortal! behold how little I know of God; seek not
to know more of Him, for this is far beyond thy comprehension, however wise
thou art; as for us, who are His ministers, how small a part are we of Him! "
38. There are three qabalistical veils of
the negative existence, and in themselves they formulate the hidden ideas
of the Sephiroth not yet called into being, and they are concentrated in
Kether, which in this sense is the Malkuth of the hidden ideas of the
Sephiroth. I will explain this. The first veil of the negative existence is
the AIN, Ain = Negativity. This word consists of three letters, which
thus shadow forth the first three Sephiroth or numbers. The second veil is the
AIN SVP, Ain Soph = the Limitless, This title consists of six letters,
and shadows forth the idea of the first six Sephiroth or numbers. The third
veil is the AIN SVP AVR, Ain Soph Aur = the Limitless Light. This again
consists of nine letters, and symbolizes the first nine Sephiroth, but of
course in their hidden idea only. But when we reach the number nine we cannot
progress farther without returning to the unity, or the Dumber one, fur the
number ten is but a repetition of unity freshly derived from the negative, as
is evident from a glance at its ordinary representation in Arabic numerals,
where the circle 0 represents the Negative, and the 1 the Unity. Thus, then,
the limitless ocean of negative light does not proceed from a centre, for
it is centreless, but it concentrates a centre, which is the number one of
the manifested Sephiroth, Kether, the Crown, the First Sephira; which
therefore may be said to be the Malkuth or number ten of the hidden Sephiroth.
(See Plate II.). Thus, "Kether is in Malkuth, and Malkuth is in Kether." Or,
as an alchemical author of great repute (Thomas Vaughan, better known as
Eugenius Philalethes) says, 1
apparently quoting from Proclus: "That the
heaven is in the earth, but after an earthly manner; and that the earth is in
the heaven, but after a heavenly manner." But inasmuch as negative existence
is a subject incapable of definition, as I have before shown, it is rather
considered by the Qabalists as depending back from the number of unity than as
a separate consideration therefrom; wherefore they frequently apply the same
terms and epithets indiscriminately to either. Such epithets are "The
Concealed of the Concealed," "The Ancient of the Ancient Ones," the "Most Holy
Ancient One," &c.
39, I must now explain the real meaning of the
terms Sephira and Sephiroth. The first is singular, the second is plural. The
best rendering of the word is "numerical emanation." There are ten Sephiroth,
which are the most abstract forms of the ten numbers of the decimal scale--i.e.,
the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Therefore, as in the higher
mathematics we reason of numbers in their abstract sense, so in the Qabalah we
reason of the Deity by the abstract forms of the numbers; in other words, by
the SPIRVTh, Sephiroth. It was from this ancient Oriental theory that
Pythagoras derived his numerical symbolic ideas.
40. Among these Sephiroth, jointly and
severally, we find the development of the persons and attributes of God. Of
these some are male and some female. Now, for some reason or other best
known to themselves, the translators of the Bible have carefully crowded out
of existence and smothered up every reference to the fact that the Deity is
both masculine and feminine. They have translated a feminine plural by
a masculine singular in the case of the word Elohim. They have,
however, left an inadvertent admission of their knowledge that it was plural
in Gen. iv. 26; "And Elohim said: Let Us make man." Again (V. 27), how could
Adam be made in the image of the Elohim, male and female, unless the Elohim
were male and female also? The word Elohim
is a plural formed from the feminine singular
ALH, Eloh, by adding IM to the word. But inasmuch as IM is usually the
termination of the masculine plural, and is here added to a feminine noun, it
gives to the word Elohim the sense of a female potency united to a masculine
idea, and thereby capable of producing an offspring. Now, we hear much of the
Father and the Son, but we hear nothing of the Mother in the ordinary
religions of the day. But in the Qabalah we find that the Ancient of Days
conforms Himself simultaneously into the Father and the Mother, and thus
begets the Son. Now, this Mother is Elohim. Again, we are usually told that
the Holy Spirit is masculine. But the word RVCh, Ruach, Spirit, is
feminine, as appears from the following passage of the Sepher Yetzirah: "AChTh
RVCh ALHIM ChIIM, Achath (feminine, not Achad, masculine)
Ruach Elohim Chiim: "One is She the Spirit of the Elohim of Life."
41. Now, we find that before the Deity
conformed Himself thus--i.e., as male and female--that the worlds of
the universe could not subsist, or, in the words of Genesis, "The earth was
formless and void." These prior worlds are considered to be symbolized by the
"kings who reigned in Edom before there reigned a king in Israel," and they
are therefore spoken of in the Qabalah as the "Edomite kings." This will be
found fully explained in various parts of this work.
42. We now come to the consideration of the
first Sephira, or the Number One, the Monad of Pythagoras. In this number are
the other nine hidden. It is indivisible, it is also incapable of
multiplication; divide 1 by itself and it still remains 1, multiply 1 by
itself and it is still 1 and unchanged. Thus it is a fitting representative of
the great unchangeable Father of all. Now this number of unity has a twofold
nature, and thus forms, as it were, the link between the negative and the
positive. In its unchangeable one-ness it is scarcely a number; but in its
property of capability of addition
it may be called the first number of a
numerical series. Now, the zero, 0, is incapable even of addition, just as
also is negative existence. How, then, if 1 can neither be multiplied nor
divided, is another 1 to be obtained to add to it; in other words, how is the
number 2 to be found? By reflection of itself. For though 0 be
incapable of definition, 1 is definable. And the effect of a definition is to
form an Eidolon, duplicate, or image, of the thing defined. Thus, then, we
obtain a duad composed of 1 and its reflection. Now also we have the
commencement of a vibration established, for the number 1 vibrates
alternately from changelessness to definition, and back to changelessness
again. Thus, then, is it the father of all numbers, and a fitting type of the
Father of all things.
The name of the first Sephira is KThR,
Kether, the Crown.
The Divine Name attributed to it is the Name of
the Father given in Exod. iii. 4: AHIH, Eheieh, I am. It signifies
Among the Epithets applied to it, as containing
in itself the idea of negative existence depending back from it, are:
TMIRA DTMIRIN, Temira De-Temirin, the
Concealed of the Concealed.
OThIQA DOThIQIN, Authiqa De-Authiqin,
the Ancient of the Ancient Ones.
OThIQA QDIShA, Authiqa Qadisha, the Most
Holy Ancient One.
OThIQA, Authiqa, the Ancient One.
OThIQ IVMIN, Authiq Iomin, the Ancient
It is also called:
NQDH RAShVNH, Nequdah Rashunah, the
NQDH PShVTh, Nequdah Peshutah, the
RIShA HVVRH, Risha Havurah, the White
RVM MOLH, Rom Meolah, the Inscrutable
Besides all these there is another very
important name applied to this Sephira as representing the great Father of all
things. It is ARIK ANPIN, Arikh Anpin, the Vast Countenance, or
Macroprosopus. Of Him it is said that He is partly concealed (in the sense of
His connection with the negative existence) and partly manifest (as a positive
Sephira). Hence the symbolism of the Vast Countenance is that of a profile
wherein one side only of the countenance is seen; or, as it is said in the
Qabalah, "in Him all is right side." I shall refer to this title again.
The whole ten Sephiroth represent the Heavenly
Man, or Primordial Being, ADM OILAH, Adam Auilah.
Under this Sephira are classed the angelic
order of ChIVTh HQDSh, Chioth Ha-Qadesh, holy living-creatures, the
kerubim or sphinxes of Ezekiel's vision and of the Apocalypse of John. These
are represented in the Zodiac by the four signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and
Aquarius--the Bull, Lion, Eagle, and Man: Scorpio, as a good emblem, being
symbolized by the eagle, as an evil emblem by the scorpion, and as of a mixed
nature by the snake.
This first Sephira contained the other nine,
and produced them in succession, thus:--
43. The number 2, or the Duad. The name of the
second Sephira is ChKMH, Chokmah, Wisdom, a masculine active potency
reflected from Kether, as I have before explained. This Sephira is the active
and evident Father, to whom the Mother is united, who is the number 3. This
second Sephira is represented by the Divine Names, IH, Yah, and IHVH;
and among the angelic hosts by AVPNIM, Auphanim, the Wheels (Ezek. i.).
It is also called AB, Ab, the Father.
44. The third Sephira, or Triad, is a feminine
passive potency, called BINH, Binah, the Understanding, who is co-equal
with Chokmah. For Chokmah, the number 2, is like two straight lines which can
never enclose a space,
and therefore it is powerless till the number 3
forms the triangle. Thus this Sephira completes and makes evident the supernal
Trinity. It is also called AMA, Ama, Mother, and AIMA, Aima, the
great productive Mother, who is eternally conjoined with AB, the Father, for
the maintenance of the universe in order. Therefore is she the most evident
form in whom we can know the Father, and therefore is she worthy of all honour.
She is the supernal Mother, co-equal with Chokmah, and the great feminine form
of God, the Elohim, in whose image man and woman are created, according to the
teaching of the Qabalah, equal before God. Woman is equal with man,
and certainly not inferior to him, as it has been the persistent endeavour
of so-called Christians to make her. Aima is the woman described in the
Apocalypse (ch. xii.). This third Sephira is also sometimes called the great
sea. To her are attributed the Divine names, ALHIM, Elohim, and IHVH
ALHIM; and the angelic order, ARALIM, Aralim, the Thrones. She is the
supernal Mother, as distinguished from Malkuth, the inferior Mother, Bride,
45. The number 4. This union of the second and
third Sephiroth produced ChSD, Chesed, Mercy or Love also called GDVLH,
Gedulah, Greatness or Magnificence; a masculine potency represented by
the Divine Name AL, El, the Mighty One, and the angelic name, ChShMLIM,
Chashmalim, Scintillating Flames (Ezek. iv, 4).
46. The number 5. From this emanated the
feminine passive potency GBVRH, Geburah, strength or fortitude; or DIN,
Deen, justice; represented by the Divine Names, ALHIM GBVR, and ALH,
Eloh, and the angelic name ShRPIM, Seraphim (Isa. vi. 6). This
Sephira is also called PChD, Pachad, Fear.
47. The number 6. And from these two issued the
uniting Sephira, ThPARTh, Tiphereth, Beauty or Mildness, represented by
the Divine Name ALVH VDOTh, Eloah
and the angelic names, Shinanim, ShNANIM (Ps. lxviii. 18), or MLKIM,
Melakim, kings. Thus by the union of justice and mercy we obtain beauty or
clemency, and the second trinity of the Sephiroth is complete. This Sephira,
or "Path," or "Numeration"--for by these latter appellations the emanations
are sometimes called--together with the fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, and
ninth Sephiroth, is spoken of as ZOIR ANPIN, Zauir Anpin, the Lesser
Countenance, or Microprosopus, by way of antithesis to Macroprosopus, or the
Vast Countenance, which is one of the names of Kether, the first Sephira. The
sixth Sephiroth of which Zauir Anpin is composed, are then called His
six members. He is also called MLK, Melekh, the King.
48. The number 7. The seventh Sephira is NTzCh,
Netzach, or Firmness and Victory, corresponding to the Divine Name
Jehovah Tzabaoth, IHVH TzBAVTh, the Lord of Armies, and the angelic names
ALHIM, Elohim, gods, and ThRShIShIM, Tharshisim, the brilliant
ones (Dan. x. 6).
49. The number 8. Thence proceeded the feminine
passive potency HVD, Hod, Splendour, answering to the Divine Name ALHIM
TzBAVTh, Elohim Tzabaoth, the Gods of Armies, and among the angels to
BNI ALHIM, Beni Elohim, the sons of the Gods (Gen. vi. 4).
50. The number 9. These two produced ISVD,
Yesod, the Foundation or Basis, represented by AL ChI, El Chai, the
Mighty Living One, and ShDI, Shaddaï; and among the angels by AShIM,
Aishim, the Flames (Ps. civ. 4), yielding the third Trinity of the
51. The number 10. From this ninth Sephira came
the tenth and last, thus completing the decad of the numbers. It is called
MLKVTh, Malkuth, the Kingdom, and also the Queen, Matrona, the inferior
Mother, the Bride of Microprosopus; and ShKINH, Shekinah, represented
by the Divine Name Adonai, ADNI, and among the angelic hosts by the
kerubim, KRVBIM. Now, each of these Sephiroth will be in a certain degree
it will be feminine or receptive with regard to
the Sephira which immediately precedes it in the sephirotic scale, and
masculine or transmissive with regard to the Sephira which immediately follows
it. But there is no Sephira anterior to Kether, nor is there a Sephira which
succeeds Malkuth. By these remarks it will be understood how Chokmah is a
feminine noun, though marking a masculine Sephira. The connecting-link of the
Sephiroth is the Ruach, spirit, from Mezla, the hidden influence.
52. I will now add a few more remarks on the
qabalistical meaning of the term MThQLA, Metheqela, balance. In each of
the three trinities or triads of the Sephiroth is a duad of opposite sexes,
and a uniting intelligence which is the result. In this, the masculine and
feminine potencies are regarded as the two scales of the balance, and the
uniting Sephira as the beam which joins them. Thus, then, the term balance may
be said to symbolize the Triune, Trinity in Unity, and the Unity represented
by the central point of the beam. But, again, in the Sephiroth there is a
triple Trinity, the upper, lower, and middle. Now, these three are represented
thus: the supernal, or highest, by the Crown, Kether; the middle by the King,
and the inferior by the Queen; which will be the greatest trinity. And the
earthly correlatives of these will be the primum mobile, the sun and
the moon. Here we at once find alchemical symbolism.
53. Now in the world the Sephiroth are
(1) RAShITh HGLGLIM, Rashith Ha-Galgalim,
the commencement of whirling motions, the
(2) MSLVTh, Masloth, the sphere of the
(3) ShBThAI, Shabbathai, rest, Saturn.
(4) TzDQ, Tzedeq, righteousness,
(5) MADIM, Madim, vehement strength,
(6) ShMSh, Shemesh, the solar light, the
(7) NVGH, Nogah, glittering splendour,
(8) KVKB, Kokab, the stellar light,
(9) LBNH, Levanah, the lunar flame, the
(10) ChLM ISVDVTh, Cholom Yesodoth, the
breaker of the foundations, the elements.
54. The Sephiroth are further divided into
three pillars--the right-hand Pillar of Mercy, consisting of the second,
fourth, and seventh emanations; the left-hand Pillar of judgment, consisting
of the third, fifth, and eighth; and the middle Pillar of Mildness, consisting
of the first, sixth, ninth, and tenth emanations.
55. In their totality and unity the ten
Sephiroth represent the archetypal man, ADM QDMVN, Adam Qadmon, the
Protogonos. In looking at the Sephiroth constituting the first triad, it is
evident that they represent the intellect; and hence this triad is called the
intellectual world, OVLM MVShKL, Olahm Mevshekal. The second triad corresponds
to the moral world, OVLM MVRGSh, Olahm Morgash. The third represents
power and stability, and is therefore called the material world, OVLM HMVTBO,
Olahm Ha-Mevetbau. These three aspects are called the faces, ANPIN,
Anpin. Thus is the tree of life, OTz ChIIM, Otz Chaiim, formed; the
first triad being placed above, the second and third below, in such a manner
that the three masculine Sephiroth are on the right, three feminine on the
left, whilst the four uniting Sephiroth occupy the centre. This is the
qabalistical "tree of life," on which all things depend. There is considerable
analogy between this and the tree Yggdrasil of the Scandinavians.
56. I have already remarked that there is one
trinity which comprises all the Sephiroth, and that it consists of the crown,
the king, and the queen. (In some senses this is the Christian Trinity of
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, which in their highest divine nature are
symbolized by the first three Sephiroth, Kether, Chokmah, and Binah.) It is
the Trinity which created the world, or, in qabalistic language, the universe
was born from the
union of the crowned king and queen. But
according to the Qabalah, before the complete form of the heavenly man (the
ten Sephiroth) was produced, there were certain primordial worlds created, but
these could not subsist, as the equilibrium of balance was not yet perfect,
and they were convulsed by the unbalanced force and destroyed. These
primordial worlds are called the "kings of ancient time," and the "kings of
Edom who reigned before the monarchs of Israel." In this sense, Edom is the
world of unbalanced force, and Israel is the balanced Sephiroth (Gen. xxxvi.
31). This important fact, that worlds were created and destroyed prior to the
present creation, is again and again reiterated in the Zohar.
57. Now the Sephiroth are also called the World
of Emanations, or the Atziluthic World, or archetypal world, OVLM ATzILVTh,
Olahm Atziloth; and this world gave birth to three other worlds, each
containing a repetition of the Sephiroth, but in a descending scale of
58. The second world is the Briatic world, OVLM
HBRIAH, Olahm Ha-Briah, the world of creation, also called KVRSIA,
Khorsia, the throne. It is an immediate emanation from the world of
Atziloth, whose ten Sephiroth are reflected herein, and are consequently more
limited, though they are still of the purest nature, and without any admixture
59. The third is the Jetziratic world, OVLM
HITzIRH, Olahm Ha-Yetzirah, or world of formation and of angels, which
proceeds from Briah, and though less refined in substance, is still without
matter. It is in this angelic world where those intelligent and incorporeal
beings reside who are wrapped in a luminous garment, and who assume a form
when they appear unto man.
60. The fourth is the Asiatic world, OVLM
HOShIH, Olahm Ha-Asia, the world of action, called
also the world of shells, OVLM HQLIPVTh, Olahm
Ha-Qliphoth, which is this world of matter, made up of the grosser elements of
the other three. In it is also the abode of the evil spirits which are called
"the shells" by the Qabalah, QLIPVTh, Qliphoth, material shells. The
devils are also divided into ten classes, and have suitable habitations. (See
61. The Demons are the grossest and most
deficient of all forms. Their ten degrees answer to the decad of the Sephiroth,
but in inverse ratio, as darkness and impurity increase with the descent of
each degree. The two first are nothing but absence of visible form and
organization. The third is the abode of darkness. Next follow seven Hells
occupied by those demons which represent incarnate human vices, and torture
those who have given themselves up to such vices in earth-life. Their prince
is Samael, SMAL, the angel of poison and of death. His wife is the
harlot, or woman of whoredom, AShTh ZNVNIM, Isheth Zenunim; and united
they are called the beast, CHIVA, Chioa. Thus the infernal trinity is
completed, which is, so to speak, the averse and caricature of the supernal
Creative One. Samael is considered to be identical with Satan.
62. The name of the Deity, which we call
Jehovah, is in Hebrew a name of four letters, IHVH; and the true pronunciation
of it is known to very few. I myself know some score of different mystical
pronunciations of it. The true pronunciation is a most secret arcanum, and is
a secret of secrets. "He who can rightly pronounce it, causeth heaven and
earth to tremble, for it is the name which rusheth through the universe."
Therefore when a devout Jew comes upon it in reading the Scripture, he either
does not attempt to pronounce it, but instead makes a short pause, or else he
substitutes for it the name Adonai, ADNI, Lord. The radical meaning of the
word is "to be," and it is thus, like AHIH, Eheieh, a glyph of existence. It
is capable of twelve transpositions,
Click Here to see Plate #IV
which all convey the meaning of "to be";
it is the only word that will bear so many transpositions without its meaning
being altered. They are called the "twelve banners of the mighty name," and
are said by some to rule the twelve signs of the Zodiac. These are the twelve
banners:--IHVH, IHHV, IVHH, HVHI, HVIH, HHIV, VHHI, VIHH, VHIH, HIHV, HIVH,
HHVI. There are three other tetragrammatic names, which are AHIH, Eheieh,
existence; ADNI, Adonai, Lord; and Agla, AGLA. This last is not,
properly speaking, a word, but is a notariqon of the sentence, AThH GBVR LOVLM
ADNI, Ateh Gebor Le-Olahm Adonai: "Thou are mighty for ever, O Lord!" A
brief explanation of Agla is this: A, the one first; A, the one last; G, the
Trinity in Unity; L, the completion of the great work.
63. The first thing we notice is that both AHIH
and IHVH convey the idea of existence; this is their first analogy. The second
is, that in each the letter H comes second and fourth; and the third is that
by Gematria AHIH equals IHV without the H (which, as we shall see presently,
is the symbol of Malkuth, the tenth Sephira). But now, if they be written one
above the others, thus, within the arms of a cross,
they read downwards as well as across,
64. Now, if we examine the matter
qabalistically we shall find the reason of these analogies. For Eheieh, AHIH,
is the Vast Countenance, the Ancient One, Macroprosopus, Kether, the first
Sephira, the Crown of the Qabalistical Sephirotic greatest Trinity (which
consists of the Crown, King, and Queen; or Macroprosopus, Microprosopus and
the Bride), and the Father in the Christian acceptation of the Trinity.
65. But IHVH, the Tetragrammaton, as we shall
presently see, contains all the Sephiroth with
the exception of Kether, and specially signifies the Lesser Countenance,
Microprosopus, the King of the qabalistical Sephirotic greatest Trinity,
and the Son in His human incarnation, in the Christian acceptation of the
Therefore, as the Son reveals the Father, so
does IHVH, Jehovah, reveal AHIH, Eheieh.
66. And ADNI is the Queen "by whom alone
Tetragrammaton can be grasped," whose exaltation into Binah is found in the
Christian assumption of the Virgin.
67. The Tetragrammaton IHVH is referred to the
Sephiroth, thus: the uppermost point of the letter Yod, I, is said to refer to
Kether, the letter I itself to Chokmah, the father of
Microprosopus; the letter H, or "the supernal He," to Binah, the
supernal Mother; the letter V to the next six Sephiroth, which are called the
six members of Microprosopus (and six is the numerical value of V, the Hebrew
Vau); lastly, the letter H, the "inferior He," to Malkuth, the
tenth Sephira, the bride of Microprosopus.
68. Now, there are four secret names referred
to the four worlds of Atziloth, Briah, Yetzirah, and Asiah; and again, the
Tetragrammaton is said to go forth written in a certain manner in each of
these four worlds. The secret name of Atziloth is Aub, OB; that of
Briah is Seg, SG; that of Yetzirah is Mah, MH; and that of Asiah
is Ben, BN. The subjoined Table will show the mode of writing the name
in each of the four worlds.
69. These names operate together with the
Sephiroth through the "231 gates," as the various combinations of the alphabet
are called; but it would take too much space to go fully into the subject
70. Closely associated with the subject of the
letters of the Tetragrammaton is that of the four kerubim, to which I have
already referred in describing the first Sephira.
Now it must not be forgotten that these forms in Ezekiel's vision support the
throne of the Deity, whereon the Heavenly Man is seated--the Adam Qadmon, the
sephirotic image; and that between the throne and the living creatures is the
firmament. Here then we have the four worlds--Atziloth, the deific form; Briah,
the throne; Yetzirah, the firmament; Asiah, the kerubim. Therefore the kerubim
represent the powers of the letters of the Tetragrammaton on the material
plain; and the four represent the operation of the four letters in each of the
four worlds. Thus, then, the kerubim are the living forms of the letters,
symbolized in the Zodiac by Taurus, Leo, Aquarius, and Scorpio, as I have
71. And "the mystery of the earthly and mortal
man is after the mystery of the supernal and immortal One;" and thus was he
created the image of God upon earth. In the form of the body is the
Tetragrammaton found. The head is I, the arms and shoulders are like H, the
body is V, and the legs are represented by the H final. Therefore, as the
outward form of man corresponds to the Tetragrammaton, so does the animating
soul correspond to the ten supernal Sephiroth; and as these find their
ultimate expression in the trinity of the crown, the king, and the queen, so
is there a principal triple division of the soul. Thus, then, the first is the
Neschamah, NShMH, which is the highest degree of being, corresponding
to the crown (Kether), and representing the highest triad of the Sephiroth,
called the intellectual world. The second is Ruach, RVCH, the seat of
good and evil, corresponding to Tiphereth, the moral world. And the third is
Nephesch, NPSh, the animal life and desires, corresponding to Yesod,
and the material and sensuous world. All souls are pre-existent in the world
of emanations, and are in their original state androgynous, but when they
descend upon earth they become separated into male and female, and inhabit
different bodies; if therefore in this mortal
life the male half encounters the female half, a strong attachment springs up
between them, and hence it is said that in marriage the separated halves are
again conjoined; and the hidden forms of the soul are akin to the kerubim.
72. But this foregoing triple division of the
soul is only applicable to the triple form of the intellectual, moral, and
material. Let us not lose sight of the great qabalistical idea, that the
trinity is always completed by and finds its realization in the quaternary;
that is IHV completed and realized in IHVH--the trinity of
completed by the quaternary of--
||Father and Mother
the Vast Countenance
||Father and Mother
the Lesser Countenance
Queen and Bride.
And to these four the soul answers in the
following four forms:--Chiah to Atziloth; Neschamah to Briah; Ruach to
Yetzirah; and Nephesch to Asiah. See subjoined plate illustrating the analogy
between the soul, the letters of the Tetragrammaton, and the four worlds.
73. But Chiah is in the soul the archetypal
form analogous to Macroprosopus. Wherefore Neschamah, Ruach, and Nephesch
represent as it were by themselves the Tetragrammaton, without Chiah, which is
nevertheless symbolized "in the uppermost point of the I, yod," of the
soul; as Macroprosopus is said to be symbolized by the uppermost point of the
I, yod, of IHVH. For "yod of the Ancient One is hidden and
74. I select the following résumé of the
qabalistical teachings regarding the nature of the soul from Eliphaz
Levi's "Clef des Mystères," as also the accompanying plate. This gives the
chief heads of the ideas of Rabbi Moses Korduero and of Rabbi Yitzchaq Loria.
"The soul is a veiled light. This light is
"Neschamah = the pure spirit;
"Ruach = the soul or spirit;
"Nephesch = the plastic mediator.
"The veil of the soul is the shell of the
"The image is double because it reflects alike
the good and the evil angel of the soul.
"Nephesch is immortal by renewal of itself
through the destruction of forms;
"Ruach is progressive through the evolution of
"Neschamah is progressive without forgetfulness
and without destruction.
There are three habitations of souls:--
"The Abyss of Life;
"The superior Eden;
"The inferior Eden."
"The image Tzelem is a sphinx which propounds
the enigma of life.
"The fatal image (i.e., that which
succumbs to the outer) endows Nephesch with his attributes, but Ruach can
substitute the image conquered by the inspirations of Neschamah.
"The body is the veil of Nephesch, Nephesch is
the veil of Ruach, Ruach is the veil of the shroud of Neschamah.
"Light personifies itself by veiling itself,
and the personification is only stable when the veil is perfect.
"This perfection upon earth is relative to the
universal soul of the earth (i.e., as the macrocosm or greater
world, so the microcosm or lesser world, which is man).
There are three atmospheres for the souls.
The third atmosphere finishes where the
planetary attraction of the other worlds commences.
Souls perfected on this earth pass on to
"After traversing the planets they come to the
sun; then they ascend into another universe and recommence their planetary
evolution from world to world and from sun to sun.
"In the suns they remember, and in the planets
"The solar lives are the days of eternal life,
and the planetary lives are the nights with their dreams.
"Angels are luminous emanations personified,
not by trial and veil, but by divine influence and reflex.
"The angels aspire to become men, for the
perfect man, the man-God, 1
is above every angel.
"The planetary lives are composed of ten dreams
of a hundred years each, and each solar life is a thousand years; therefore is
it said that a thousand years are in the sight of God as one day.
"Every week--that is, every fourteen thousand
years--the soul bathes itself and reposes in the jubilee dream of
"On waking therefrom it has forgotten the evil
and only remembers the good."
75. In the accompanying plate of the formation
of the soul there will be seen in the upper part three circles, representing
the three parts known as Neschamah, Ruach, and Nephesch. From Ruach and
Nephesch, influenced by the good aspirations of Neschamah, proceeds Michael,
the good angel of the soul; that is to say, the synthetical hieroglyph of the
good ideas, or, in the esoteric Buddhist phraseology, the "Good Karma" of a
man. From Nephesch dominating Ruach, and uninfluenced by the good aspirations
of Neschamah, proceeds Samäel, the evil angel of the soul; that is to say, the
synthetical hieroglyph of the evil ideas, the "evil
Karma" of a man. And the Tzelem, or image, is
double, for it reflects alike Michael and Samäel.
76. The following is Dr. Jellinek's 1
analysis of the sephirotic ideas, according to the ethics of Spinoza:--
1. DEFINITION.--By the Being who is the
cause and governor of all things I understand the Ain Soph--i.e.,
a Being infinite, boundless, absolutely identical with itself, united in
itself, without attributes, will, intention, desire, thought, word, or
2. DEFINITION.--By Sephiroth I
understand the potencies which emanated from the Absolute, Ain Soph,
all entities limited by quantity, which, like the will, without changing
its nature, wills diverse objects that are the possibilities of
I. PROPOSITION.--The primary cause and
governor of the world is the Ain Soph, who is both immanent and
(a) PROOF.--Each effect has a cause,
and everything which has order and design has a governor.
(b) PROOF.--Everything visible has a
limit, what is limited is finite, what is finite is not absolutely
identical; the primary cause of the world is invisible, therefore
unlimited, infinite, absolutely identical--i.e., he is the Ain
(c) PROOF.--As the primary cause of
the world is infinite, nothing can exist without (EXTRA) him; hence
he is immanent.
the Ain Soph is invisible and exalted, it is the root of both faith
II. PROPOSITION.-The Sephiroth are
the medium between the absolute Ain Soph and the real world.
PROOF.--As the real world is limited and
not perfect, it cannot directly proceed from the Ain Soph: still
the Ain Soph must exercise his influence over it, or his perfection
would cease. Hence the Sephiroth, which, in their intimate
the Ain Soph, are perfect, and in
their severance are imperfect, must be the medium.
all existing things originated by means of the Sephiroth, there are
a higher, a middle, and a lower degree of the real world. (Vide infra,
III.--PROPOSITION.--There are ten
PROOF.--All bodies have three dimensions,
each of which repeats the other (3 x 3); and by adding thereto space
generally, we obtain the number ten. As the Sephiroth are
the potencies of all that is limited they must be ten.
(a) Scholion.--The number ten
does not contradict the absolute unity of the Ain Soph; as one
is the basis of all numbers, plurality proceeds from unity, the germs contain
the development, just as fire, flame, sparks, and colour have one basis,
though they differ from one another.
(b) Scholion.--Just as cogitation or
thought, and even the mind as a cogitated object, is limited, becomes
concrete, and has a measure, although pure thought proceeds from the Ain
Soph; so limit, measure, and concretion are the attributes of the
IV. PROPOSITION.--The Sephiroth are
emanations, and not creations.
1. PROOF.--As the absolute. Ain Soph is
perfect, the Sephiroth proceeding therefrom must also be perfect hence
they are not created.
2. PROOF.--All created objects diminish by
abstraction; the Sephiroth do not lessen, as their activity never
ceases; hence they cannot be created.
first Sephira was in the Ain Soph as a power before it became a
reality; then the second Sephira emanated as a potency for the
intellectual world; and afterwards the other Sephiroth emanated for the
moral and material worlds. This, however, does not imply a
prius and posterius,
or a gradation in the Ain Soph, but just as a light whose kindled
lights, which shine sooner and later, and variously, so it embraces all in a
V. PROPOSITION.--The Sephiroth are both active
and passive (MQBIL VMThQBL, Meqabil Va-Metheqabel.)
PROOF.--As the Sephiroth do not set
aside the unity of the Ain Soph, each one of them must receive from its
predecessor and impart to its successor--i.e., be receptive and
VI. PROPOSITION.--The first Sephira is called
Inscrutable Height, RVM MOLH, Rom Maaulah; the second, Wisdom,
ChKMH, Chokmah; the third, Intelligence, BINH, Binah; the
fourth, Love, ChSD, Chesed; the fifth, Justice, PChD, Pachad;
the sixth, Beauty, ThPARTh, Tiphereth; the seventh, Firmness,
NTZCh, Netzach; the eighth, Splendour, HVD, Hod; the
ninth, the Righteous is the Foundation of the World, TzDIQ ISVD OVLM,
Tzediq Yesod Olahm; and the tenth, Righteousness, TzDQ,
(a) Scholion.--The first three
Sephiroth form the world of thought; the second three the world of soul;
and the four last the world of body; thus corresponding to the intellectual,
moral, and material worlds.
(b) Scholion.--The first
Sephira stands in relation to the soul, inasmuch as it is called a
unity, IChIDH, Yechidah; the second, inasmuch as it is denominated
living, ChIH, Chiah; the third, inasmuch as it is termed, Spirit,
RVCh, Ruach; the fourth, inasmuch as it is called vital principle,
NPSh, Nephesch; the fifth, inasmuch as it is denominated soul, NShMH,
Neschamah; the sixth operates on the blood, the seventh on the bones,
the eighth on the veins, the ninth on the flesh, and the tenth on the skin.
(e) Scholion.--The first
Sephira is like the concealed light, the second like sky-blue, the third
like yellow, the fourth like white, the fifth like red, the sixth like
the seventh like whitish-red, the eighth like
reddish-white, the ninth like white-red whitish-red reddish-white, and the
tenth is like the light reflecting all colours.
77. I will now revert to the subject of Arikh
Anpin and Zauir Anpin, the Macroprosopus and the Microprosopus, or the Vast
and the Lesser Countenances. Macroprosopus is, it will be remembered, the
first Sephira, or Crown Kether; Microprosopus is composed of six of the
Sephiroth. (See subjoined plate.) In Macroprosopus all is light and
brilliancy; but Microprosopus only shineth by the reflected splendour of
Macroprosopus. The six days of creation correspond to the six forms of
Microprosopus. Therefore the symbol of the interlaced triangles, forming the
six-pointed star, is called the Sign of the Macrocosm, or of the creation of
the greater world, and is consequently analogous to. the two countenances of
the Zohar. This, however, is not the only occult reason that I have placed
this symbol in the plate, for it typifies other ideas upon which I shall not
here enter. The "Book of Concealed Mystery" fully discusses the symbolism of
Macroprosopus and Microprosopus; therefore it is well, before reading it, to
be cognizant of their similarities and differences. The one is AHIH, Eheieh;
the other is the V, Vau, of the Tetragrammaton. The first two letters,
I and H, Yod and He, are the father and mother of Microprosopus,
and the H final is his bride. But in these forms is expressed the equilibrium
of severity and mercy; severity being symbolized by the two Hs, Hes,
the mother and the bride, but especially by the latter. But while the excess
of Mercy is not an evil tendency, but rather conveys a certain idea of
weakness and want of force, too great an excess of severity calls forth the
executioner of judgment, the evil and oppressive force,
which is symbolized by Leviathan. Wherefore it
is said, "Behind the shoulders of the bride the serpent rears his head:" of
the bride, but not of the mother, for she is the supernal H, and bruises his
head. "But his head is broken by the waters of the great sea." The sea is
Binah, the supernal H, the mother. The serpent is the centripetal force, ever
seeking to penetrate into Paradise (the Sephiroth), and to tempt the supernal
Eve (the bride), so that in her turn she may tempt the supernal Adam (Microprosopus).
It is utterly beyond the scope of this
Introduction to examine this symbolism thoroughly, especially as it forms the
subject of this work; so I will simply refer my reader to the actual text for
further elucidation, hoping that by the perusal of this introductory notice he
will be better fitted to understand and follow the course of qabalistic
teaching there given.
See note to the numerical values in the
Table of the Hebrew Alphabet, &c.. Plate I.
"which exists negatively."
"Euphrates; or, The Waters of the East."
Ben, means "Son."
Plate I., the Table of the Hebrew Alphabet, for the forms of the letters of
distinguished from the God-man.
Beiträge zur Geschichte der Kabbalah, Erstes Heft." Leipzig. 1852.
mixture of white and red refers to Microprosopus, as will be seen in the
greater and lesser Holy Assembly.
Regarding the equilibrium of severity and mercy of which the universe is the
result. See especially Greater Holy Assembly," §838, et seq.
Next: Chapter I