Qabalistic Dogma

The Evolution of Things is thus described by the Qabalists.
First is Nothing, or the Absence of Things, אין, which does not and cannot mean Negatively Existing (if such an Idea can be said to mean anything), as S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers, who misread the Text and stultified the Commentary by the Light of his own Ignorance of Hebrew and Philosophy, pretends in his Translation of v. Rosenroth.
Second is Without Limit אין סוף, i.e., Infinite Space.
This is the primal Dualism of Infinity; the infinitely small and the infinitely great. The Clash of these produces a finite positive Idea which happens (see בראשית, in "The Sword of Song," for a more careful study, though I must not be understood to indorse every Word in our Poet-Philosopher's Thesis) to be Light, אור. This word אור is most important. It symbolises the Universe immediately after Chaos, the confusion or Clash of the infinite Opposites. א is the Egg of Matter; ו is [Taurus], the Bull, or Energy-Motion; and ר is the Sun, or organised and moving System of Orbs. The three Letters of אור thus repeat the three Ideas. The Nature of אור is thus analysed, under the figure of the ten Numbers and the 22 Letters which together compose what the Rosicrucians have diagrammatised under the name of Minutum Mundom. It will be noticed that every Number and Letter has its "Correspondence" in Ideas of every Sort; so that any given Object can be analysed in Terms of the 32. If I see a blue Star, I should regard it as a Manifestation of Chesed, Water, the Moon, Salt the Alchemical Principle, Sagittarius or What not, in respect of its Blueness — one would have to decide which from other Data — and refer it to the XVIIth Key of the Taro in Respect of its Starriness.
The Use of these Attributions is lengthy and various: I cannot dwell upon it: but I will give one Example.
If I wish to visit the Sphere of Geburah, I use the Colours and Forces appropriate: I go there: if the Objects which then appear to my spiritual Vision are harmonious therewith, it is one Test of their Truth.
So also, to construct a Talisman, or to invoke a Spirit.
The methods of discovering Dogma from sacred Words are also numerous and important: I may mention:
  1. The Doctrine of Sympathies: drawn from the total Numeration of a Word, when identical with, or a Multiple of Submultiple of, or a Metathesis of, that of another Word.
  2. The Method of finding the Least Number of a Word, by adding (and re-adding) the Digits of its total Number, and taking the corresponding Key of the Taro as a Key to the Meaning of the Word.
  3. The Method of Analogies drawn from the Shape of the Letters.
  4. The Method of Deductions drawn from the Meanings and Correspondences of the letters.
  5. The Method of Acrostics drawn from the Letters. This Mode is only valid for Adepts of the highest Grades, and then under quite exceptional and rare Conditions.
  6. The Method of Transpositions and Transmutations of the Letters, which suggest Analogies, even when they fail to explain in direct Fashion.
All these and their Varieties and Combinations, with some other more abstruse or less important Methods, may be used to unlock the Secret of a Word.
Of course with Powers so wide it is easy for the Partisan to find his favourite Meaning in any Word. Even the formal Proof 0 = 1 = 2 = 3 = 4 = 5 = … = n is possible.
But the Adept who worked out this Theorem, with the very Intent to discredit the Qabalistic Mode of Research, was suddenly dumfounded by the Fact that he had actually stumbled upon the Qabalistic Proof of Pantheism or Monism.
What really happens is that the Adept sits down and performs many useless Tricks with the Figures, without Result.
Suddenly the Lux dawns, and the Problem is solved.
The Rationalist explains this by Inspiration, the superstitious Man by Mathematics.
I give an Example of the Way in which one works. Let us take IAO, one of the "Barbarous Names of Evocation," of which those who have wished to conceal their own Glory by adopting the Authority of Zarathustra have said that in the holy Ceremonies it has ineffable Power.
But what Kind of Power? By the Qabalah we can found out the Force of the Name IAO.
We can spell it in Hebrew יאו or יאע. The Qabalah will even tell us which is the true Way. Let us however suppose that it is spelt יאו. This adds up to 17.
But first of all it strikes us that I, A, and O are the three Letters associated with the three Letters ה in the great Name of Six Letters, אהיהוה, which combines אהיה and יהוה. Now these feminine Letters ה conceal the "Three Mothers" of the Alphabet, א, מ, and ש. Replace these, and we get אשימוא, which adds up to 358, the Number alike of נחש, the Serpent of Genesis, and the Messiah. We thus look for redeeming Power in IAO, and for the Masculine Aspect of that Power.
Now we will see how that Power works. We have a curious Dictionary, which was made by a very learned Man, in which the Numbers 1 to 10,000 fill the left hand Column, in Order, and opposite them are written all the sacred or important Words which add up to each Number.
We take this Book, and look at 17. We find that 17 is the number of Squares in the Swastika, which is the Whirling Disc or Thunderbolt. Also there is חון, a Circle or Orbit; זוד, to seethe or boil; and some other Words, which we will neglect in this Example, thought we should not dart to do so if we were really trying to find out a Thing we none of us knew. To help our Deduction about Redemption, too, we find חדה, should be: HB:Heh HB:Dalet HB:Chet }, to brighten or make glad.
We also work in another Way. I is the Straight Line or Central Pillar of the Temple of Life; also it stands for Unity, and for the Generative Force. A is the Pentagram, which means the Will of tMan working Redemption. O is the Circle from which everything came, also Nothingness, and the Female, who absorbs the Male. The Progress of the Name shows then the Way from Life to Nirvana by means of the Will: and is a Hieroglyph of the Great Work.
Look at all our Meanings! Every one shows that the Name, if it has any Power at all, and that we must try, has the Power to redeem us from the Love of Life which is the Cause of Life, by its masculine Whirlings, and to gladden us and to being us to the bosom of the Great Mother, Death.
Before what is known as the Equinox of the Gods, a little While ago, there was an initiated Formula which expressed these Ideas to the Wise. As these Formulas are done with, it is of no Consequence if I reveal them. Truth is not eternal, any more than God; and it would be but a poor God that could not and did not alter his Ways at his Pleasure.
This Formula was used to pen the Vault of the Mystic Mountain of Abiegnus, within which lay (so the Ceremony of Initiation supposed) the body of our Father Christian Rosen Creutz, to be discovered by the Brethren with the Postulant as said in the Book called Fama Fraternitatis.
There are three Officers, and they repeat the Analysis of the Word as follows:
Let us analyse the Key Word — I.
Yod. י.
Nun. נ.
Resh. ר.
Yod, י.
Virgo ([Virgo]) Isis, Mighty Mother.
Scorpio ([Scorpio]) Apophis, Destroyer.
Sol ([Sol]) Osiris, slain and risen.
Isis, Apophis, Osiris, IAO.
All spread Arms as if on a cross, and say:
The Sign of Osiris slain!
Chief bows his Head to the Left, rises his Right Arm, and lowers his Left keeping the Elbow at right Angles,thus forming the letter L (also the Swastika).
The Sign of the Mourning of Isis.
2nd. With erect Head, rises his Arms to form a V (but really to form the triple tongue of Flame, the Spirit), and says:
The Sign of Apophis and Typhon.
3rd. Bows his Head and crosses his Arms on his Breast (to form the Pentagram).
The Sign of Osiris risen.
All give the Sign of the Cross, and say:
Then the Sign of Osiris risen, and say:
Lux, the Light of the Cross.
This formula, on which one may meditate for Years without exhausting its wonderful Harmonies, gives an excellent Idea of the Way in which Qabalistic Analysis is conducted.
First, the Letters have been written in Hebrew Characters. Then the Attributions of them to the Zodiac an to Planets are substituted, and the Names of Egyptian Gods belonging to these are invoked.
The Christian Idea of I.N.R.I. is confirmed by these, while their Initials form the sacred Word of the Gnostics. That is, IAO. From the Character of the Deities and their Functions are deduced their Signs, and these are found to signal (as it were) the Word Lux (אור), which itself is contained in the Cross.
A careful Study of these Ideas, and of the Table of Correspondences, which one of our English Brethren is making, will enable him to discover a very great Deal of Matter for Thought in these Poems which an untutored Person would pass by.
To return to the general Dogma of the Qabalists.
The Figure of Minutum Mundum will show how they suppose one Quality to proceed from the last, first in the pure God-World Atziluth, then in the Angel-World Briah, and so on down to the Demon-Worlds, which are however not thus organised. They are rather Material that was shed off in the Course of Evolution, like theSloughs of a Serpent, from which comes their Name of Shells, or Husks.
Apart from silly Questions as to whether the Order of the Emanations is confirmed by Palaeontology, a Question it is quite impertinent to discuss, there is no Doubt that the Sephiroth are types of Evolution as opposed to Catastrophe and Creation.
The great Charge against this Philosophy is founded on its alleged Affinities with Scholastic Realism. But the Charge is not very true. No Doubt but they did suppose vast Storehouses of "Things of one Kind: from which, pure or mingled, all other Things did proceed.
Since ג, a Camel, refers to the moon, they did say that a Camel and the Moon were sympathetic, and came, that Part of them, from a common Principle: and that a Camel being yellow brown, it partook of the Earth Nature, to which that Colour is given.
They thence said that by taking all the Natures involved, and by blending them in the just Proportions, one might have a Camel.
But this is no more than is said by the Upholders of the Atomic Theory.
They have their Storehouses of Carbon, Oxygen, and such (not in one Place, but no more is Geburah in one Place), and what is Organic Chemistry but the Production of useful Compounds whose Nature is deduced absolutely from theoretical Considerations long before it is ever produced in the Laboratory?
The difference, you will say, is that the Qabalists maintain a Mind of each Kind behind each Class of Things on one Kind; but so did Berkeley, and his Argument in that Respect is, as the great Huxley showed, irrefragable. For by the Universe I mean the Sensible; any other is not to be Known; and the Sensible is dependent upon Mind. Nay, though the Sensible is said to be an Argument of a Universe Insensible, the latter becomes sensible to Mind as soon as the Argument is accepted, and disappears with its Rejection.
Nor is the Qabalah dependent upon its Realism, and its Application to the Works magical — but I am defending a Philosophy which I was asked to describe, and this is not lawful.
A great Deal may be learned from the Translation of the Zohar by S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers, and his Introduction thereto, though for those who have Latin and some acquaintance with Hebrew it is better to study the Kabbala Denudata of Knorr von Rosenroth, in Despite of the heavy Price; for the Translator has distorted the Text and its Comment to suit his belief in a supreme Personal God, and in that degraded Form of the Doctrine of Feminism which is so popular with the Emasculate.
The Sephiroth are grouped in various Ways. There is a Superior Triad or Trinity; a Hexad; and Malkuth: the Crown, the Father, and the Mother; the Son or King; and the Bride.
Also, a Division into seven Palaces, seven Planes, three Pillars or Columns, and the like.
The Flashing Sword follows the Course of the Numbers; and the Serpent Nechushtan or of Wisdom crawls up the Paths which join them upon the Tree of Life, namely the Letters.
It is important to explain the Position of Daath or Knowledge upon the Tree. It is called the Child of Chokmah and Binah, but it hath no Place. But it is really the Apex of a Pyramid of which the three first Numbers for the Base.
Now the Tree, or Minutum Mundum, is a Figure in a Plane of a solid Universe. Daath, being above the Plane, is therefore a Figure of a Force in four Dimensions, and thus it is the Object of the Magnum Opus. The three Paths which connect it with the First Trinity are the three lost Letters or Fathers of the Hebrew Alphabet.
In Daath is said to be the Head of the great Serpent Nechesh or Leviathan, called Evil to conceal its Holiness. נחש‎ = 358 = משיח, the Messiah or Redeemer, and לויתן‎ = 496 = מלכות, the Bride.) It is identical with the Kundalini of the Hindu Philosophy, the Kwan-se-on of the Mongolian Peoples, and means the magical Force in Man, which is the sexual Force applied to the Brain, Heart, and other Organs, and redeemeth him.
The gradual Disclosure of these magical Secrets to the Poet may be traced in these Volumes, which it has been my Privilege to be asked to explain. It has been impossible to do more than place in the Hands of any intelligent Person the Keys which will permit him to unlock the many Beautiful Chambers of Holiness in these Palaces and Gardens of Beauty and Pleasure.
Of the results of the method we possess one flawless gem, already printed in the EQUINOX (Vol {I, No.) II. pp. 163-185), "A Note on Genesis" by V. H. Fra. I. A.
From this pleasant, orthodox, and-so-they-all-lived-happy-ever-after view let us turn for a moment to the critical aspect. Let us demolish in turn the qabalistic methods of exegesis; and then, if we can, discover a true basis upon which to erect an abiding Temple of Truth.
1. Gematria.
The number 777 affords a good example of the legitimate and illegitimate deductions to be drawn. It represents the sentence אחת רוח אלהים חיים, "One is the Spirit of the Living God," and also עלאהם הקלפות, "The world of the Shells (excrements — the demon-world)."
Now it is wrong to say that this idea of the unity of the divine spirit is identical with this idea of the muddle of chaos — unless in that exalted grade in which "the One is the Many." But the compiler of Liber 777 was a great Qabalist when he thus entitled his book; for he meant to imply, "One is the Spirit of the Living God," i.e. I have in this book unified all the diverse symbols of the world; and also, "the world of shells," i.e. this book is full of mere dead symbols; do not mistake them for the living Truth. Further, he had an academic reason for his choice of a number; for the tabulation of the book is from Kether to Malkuth, the course of the Flaming Sword; and if this sword be drawn upon the Tree of Life, the numeration of the Paths over which it passes (taking ג, 3, as the non-existent path from Binah to Chesed, since it connects Macroprosopus and Microprosopus) is 777. [See Diagrams 2 and 12.]
To take another example, it is no mere coincidence that 463, the Staff of Moses, is ת, ס, ג, the paths of the Middle Pillar; no mere coincidence that 26, יהוה, is 1 + 6 + 9 + 10, the Sephiroth of the Middle Pillar. But ought we not to have some supreme name for 489, their sum, the Middle Pillar perfect? Yet the Sepher Sephiroth is silent. (We find only 489 = משלם גמול, the avenger. Ed.)
Again, 111 is Aleph, the Unity, but also אפל, thick Darkness, and אסן, Sudden Death. This can only be interpreted as meaning the annihilation of the individual in the Unity, and the Darkness which is the Threshold of the Unity; in other words, one must be an expert in Samadhi before this simple Gematria has any proper meaning. How, then, can it serve the student in his research? The uninitiated would expect Life and Light in the One; only by experience can he know that to man the Godhead must be expressed by those things which most he fears.
We hare purposely avoid dwelling on the mere silliness of many Gematria correspondences, e.g., the equality of the Qliphoth of one sign with the Intelligence of another. Such misses are more frequent than such hits as אחד, Unity, 13 = אהבה, Love, 13.
The argument is an argument in a circle. "Only an adept can understand the Qabalah," just as (in Buddhism) Sakyamuni said, "Only an Arahat can understand the Dhamma."
In this light, indeed, the Qabalah seems little more than a convenient language for recording experience.
We may mention in passing that Frater P. never acquiesced in the obvious "cook" of arguing: x = y + 1 ∴ x = y by assuming that x should add one to itself "for the concealed unity." Why shouldn't y have a little concealed unity of its own?
That this method should ever have been accepted by any Qabalist argues a bankruptcy of ingenuity beyond belief. In all conscience, it is easy enough to fake identities by less obviously card-sharping methods!
2. Notariqon.
The absurdity of this method needs little indication. The most unsophisticated can draw pity and amusement from Mr Mathers' Jew, converted by the Notariqons of "Berashith." True, F.I.A.T. is Flatus, Ignis, Aqua, Terra; showing the Creator as Tetragrammaton, the synthesis of the four elements; showing the Eternal Fiat as the equilibrated powers of Nature. But what forbids Fecit Ignavus Animan Terrae,[1] or any other convenient blasphemy, such as Buddha would applaud?
Why not take our converted Jew and restore him to the Ghetto with Ben, Ruach, Ab, Sheol! — IHVH, Thora?[2] Why not take the sacred 'Ιχθυς of the Christian who thought it meant 'Ιησους Χριστος Θεου 'Υιος Σωτηρ[3] and make him a pagan with "'Ισκδος Χαρις Θησαυρος 'Υιων Σοφιας"?[4]
Why not argue that Christ in cursing the fig, F.I.G., wished to attack Kant's dogmas of Freewill, Immortality, God?
3. Temurah.
Here again the multiplicity of our methods makes our method too pliable to be reliable. Should we argue that בבל‎ = ששך‎ (620) by the method of Athbash, and that therefore בבל symbolises Kether (620)? Why, בבל is confusion, the very opposite of Kether.
Why Athbash? Why not Abshath? or Agrath? or any other of the possible combinations?
About the only useful Temurah is Aiq Bkr, given above. In this we do find a suggestive reasoning. For example, we find it in the attribution of אלהים to the pentagram which gives π. [See "A Note on Genesis", Equinox, No. II. p. 184] Here we write Elohim, the creative deities, round a pentagram, and read it reverse beginning with ל, [libra], the letter of equilibrium, and obtain an approximation to π 3.1415 (good enough for the benighted Hebrews), as if thereby the finite square of creation was assimilated to the infinite circle of the Creator.
Yes: but why should not Berashith 2, 2, 1, 3, 1, 4, give, say, e? The only answer is, that if you screw it round long enough, it perhaps will!
The Rational Table of Tziruph should, we agree with Fra. P., be left to the Rationalist Press Association, and we may present the Irregular Table of Commutations to Irregular Masons.
4. To the less important methods we may apply the same criticism.
We may glance in passing at the Yetziratic, Tarot, and significatory methods of investigating any word. But though Frater P. was expert enough in these methods they are hardly pertinent to the pure numerical Qabalah, and we therefore deal gently with them. The attributions are given in 777. Thus HB:Aleph in the Yetziratic world is "Air," by Tarot "the Fool," and by signification "an ox." Thus we have the famous I.N.R.I. = י‎, נ‎, ר‎, י‎ = [virgo], [scorpio], [sol], [virgo]; the Virgin, the Evil Serpent, the Sun, suggesting the story of Genesis ii. and of the Gospel. The initials of the Egyptian names Isis, Apophis, Osiris, which correspond, give in their turn the Ineffable Name IAO; thus we say that the Ineffable is concealed in and revealed by the Birth, Death, and Resurrection of Christ; and further the Sings of Mourning of the Mother, Triumph of the Destroyer, and Rising of the Son, give by shape the letters L.V.X., Lux, which letters are (again) concealed in and revealed by the Cross ..L V / : .'. / the Light of the Cross. Further examples will be found in "A Note on Genesis." One of the most famous is the Mene, Tekel, Upharsin of Daniel, the imaginary prophet who lived under Belshazzar the imaginary king.
The Hanged Man, Death, the Fool = "Sacrificed to Death by thy Folly."
The Universe, the Wheel of Fortune, Justice = "Thy kingdom's fortune is in the Balance."
The Blasted Tower, the Sun, the Last Judgment = "Ruined is thy glory, and finished."
But we cannot help thinking that this exegesis must have been very hard work.
We could more easily read
To sacrifice to death is folly.
Thy kingdom shall be fortunate, for it is just.
The Tower of thy glory shall endure until the Last Day.
There! that didn't take two minutes; and Belshazzar would have exalted us above Daniel.
Similarly AL, God, may be may be interpreted, "His folly is justice," as it is written: "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."
Or, by Yetzirah: "The air is His balance," as it is written: "God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament."
Or, by meaning: "The ox and the goad," i.e., "He is both matter and motion."
We here append a sketch MS. by Frater P., giving his explanation by Tarot, etc., of the letters of the alphabet spelt in full.

Mystic Readings of the Letters of the Alphabet
(see Tarot Cards, and meditate)

Folly's Doom is Ruin.
The Juggler with the Secret of the Universe.
The Holy Guardian Angel is attained by Self-Sacrifice and Equilibrium.
The Gate of the Equilibrium of the Universe. (Note D, the highest reciprocal path.)
The Mother is the Daughter; and the Daughter is the mother.
The Son is (but) the Son. (These two letters show the true doctrine of Initiation as given in Liber 418; opposed to Protestant Exotericism.)
The answer of the Oracles is always Death.
The Chariot of the Secret of the Universe.
She who rules the Secret Force of the Universe.
The Secret of the Gate of Initiation.
In the Whirlings is War.
By Equilibrium and Self-Sacrifice, the Gate!
The Secret is hidden between the Waters that are above and the Waters that are beneath. (Symbol, the Ark containing the secret of Life borne upon the Bosom of the Deluge beneath the Clouds.)
Initiation is guarded on both sides by death.
Self-control and Self-sacrifice govern the Wheel.
The Secret of Generation is Death.
The Fortress of the Most High. (Note P, the lowest reciprocal path).
In the Star is the Gate of the Sanctuary.
Illusionary is the Initiation of Disorder.
In the Sun (Osiris) is the Secret of the Spirit.
Resurrection is hidden in Death.
The Universe is the Hexagram.

(Other meanings suit other planes and other grades.)

Truly there is no end to this wondrous science; and when the sceptic sneers, "With all these methods one ought to be able to make everything out of nothing," the Qabalist smiles back the sublime retort, "With these methods One did make everything out of nothing."
Besides these, there is still one more method — a method of some little importance to students of the Siphra Dzenioutha, namely, the analogies drawn from the shapes of letters; these are often interesting enough. א, for example, is a ו between י and י, making 26. Thus יהוה 26 = א, 1. Therefore Jehovah is One. But it would be as pertinent to continue 26 x 2 x 13, and 13 = Achad = 1, and therefore Jehovah is Two.
This then is an absurdity. Yes; but it is also an arcanum!
How wonderful is the Qabalah! How great is its security from the profane; how splendid its secrets to the initiate!
Verily and Amen! yet here we are at the old dilemma, that one must know Truth before one can rely upon the Qabalah to show Truth.
Like the immortal burglar:

"Bill wouldn't hurt a baby — he's a pal as you can trust,
He's all right when yer know 'im; but yer've got to know 'im fust."

So those who have committed themselves to academic study of its mysteries have found but a dry stick: those who have understood (favoured of God!) have found therein Aaron's rod that budded, the Staff of Life itself, yea, the venerable Lingam of Mahasiva!
It is for us to trace the researches of Frater P. in the Qabalah, to show how from this storehouse of child's puzzles, of contradictions and incongruities, of paradoxes and trivialities, he discovered the very canon of Truth, the authentic key of the Temple, the Word of that mighty Combination which unlocks the Treasure-Chamber of the King.
And this following is the Manuscript which he has let for our instruction.

[1] [Lat., "a coward created the soul of the earth."]

[2] [Heb., possibly intended for: "The Son, the Spirit, the Father, the Grave: IHVH [is] the Law."]

[3] [Grk., "Jesus Christ, son of God, saviour."]

[4] [Grk., approx. "The favour of Isis [is] the treasure of the sons of wisdom."]

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