THE HOLISTIC QABALAH:
A Practical Guide to Contemporary Magick
By Richard and Iona Miller ©1982
A Magickal encyclopedia offered as a SERIES of 12 separate books. Each has four divisions to represent qualities and examples of the four worlds or planes of awareness: Philosophy (archetypal), Psychology (causal), Astrology and Alchemy (emotional-astral), and Orientation/Exercise (physical). Click here for List on Volumes and Ordering Information.
Mankind lives today in a rapidly changing, technological world. With many of our cultural institutions and ideas undergoing transformation, where can we turn for a consistent approach to the problems of living?
With the proliferation of television channels and the economics of computer-mediated information transfer, we are bombarded with data, options, and opinions on how to transform ourselves and others. Where can we find the criteria for what constitutes a change in the right direction?
In the past, we turned mainly to religions which were accepted in our local culture. Now, at least in America, we live in a melting pot of values and ideals. Unfortunately, orthodox religions have failed to provide an adequate container for many individuals' experiences.
Psychology, while it has made much progress since the discovery of the unconscious by Freud, has added to the confusion by presenting many conflicting theories. One of the first of these schisms occurred between Freud and his star pupil Carl Jung. He broke with Freud because he could not accept the basic Freudian doctrine of repressed infant sexuality.
Jung developed his own theories concerning the collective unconscious and its relationship to each person's personal unconscious. The personal unconscious comes from one's individual experiences, while the collective unconscious is an inherited legacy of all mankind. Basically, Jung's psychology stressed the quest or search for meaning.
The "search for meaning" or meaningful experience is something we can all relate to as being valuable in and of, itself. However, it has degenerated into a mind-boggling series of pop psychologies. This psycho-babble includes various fads as EST, Sensitivity training, Primal Scream Therapy, Rolfing, Gestalt, Behavior Modification, Neuro-linguistic Programing (NLP), etc. They are so numerous now, that it seems our counselors serve them up as the soup de jour, dishing them up as each is intellectually handy. They are as stylish and disposable as our fashions in clothing.
The hard sciences have offered a never-ending series of transforming theories on the nature of reality also. Perhaps the scientific revolutions have been slightly more orderly, but their unsettling effect on an individual's world view still prevails. Even as advanced an intellect as Albert Einstein was unable to accept these primal destabilizing viewpoints. He was unable to accept the inevitable implications of his theory of relativity, which results in quantum mechanics.
As short a time ago as the 18th Century provided an environment in which an individual might be able to comprehend most branches of the arts and sciences. These were the times when the mechanistic models prevailed, including classical theories concerning space and time. In the 19th Century this changed radically due to the speculation of the late 18th Century philosopher Hume. He ushered in empirical, skeptical, non-metaphysical thinking which inspired the work of many revolutionary scientists.
A few examples of this triumph of the rational mind over the previous superstitious condition includes the following: Charles Lyell in earth history; Darwin in organic evolution; Claude Bernard in general physiology; Pasteur in pathogenesis; Marx,Engles, Herbert Spenser, and others in social science; Hughling Jackson and Charles Sherrington in neuro-physiology; Paul Broca and Carl Wernicke in neuro-anatomy; Camillo Golgi in neuro-histology; James, Freud and Jung in psychology, etc.
There has been an explosion in knowledge concerning "the nature of things." And to top it off, any self-respecting individual is also now expected to know much of it, plus have a highly developed self-awareness.
We all need a model, or World View, through which existence and our experiences can make some sense. The vast diversity of such views produced by human culture discloses some arbitrary factors in the construction of these world views. To those new to the subject, the scope of this problem may seem overwhelming.
What is required is a comprehensive paradigm, or thought-model, which has scope and depth enough to contain the entire continuum of creation from All to Nothing. This is where the value of Magick, the Occult, and the Qabalah in particular come in.
Magick, or occult abilities are simply techniques which were developed in remote antiquity for stimulating latent, or subconscious abilities. The personal program of spiritual development allows an individual to transform himself according to a consistent, orderly process. He re-creates himself as an integrated individual. By promoting his internal processes of creativity, he releases his optimal talents and realized his potential for self-unfolding.
The Qabalah, with its most important diagram The Tree of Life, provides an orderly background for the process of change. Qabalah is extremely relevant to the average reader who is seeking greater self-awareness of objective and subjective worlds. To this end, the format of THE HOLISTIC QABALAH can serve as a lifeline study guide.
Recently, we have tended to become very specialized in our learning, becoming experts in increasingly narrow fields of endeavor. For example in the field of psychology we now have such rare breeds as ethologists, neuro-ethologists, socio-biologists, behavior neurologists, physiological psychologists, biological psychiatrists, psycho-phamacologists, behavior geneticists, etc.
The late R. Buckminster Fuller suggested that universities and specializations originally evolved as the current ruler's method of limiting his cleverest subjects. By directing them into specialties, they received on certain information. This prevented them from piecing together the exploitive procedures of the sovereigns and taking over. The sovereigns then promptly exploited the knowledge and services of the "experts."
To find meaning in our modern lives, we need to make a continuing effort at learning about the worlds within and without us. There are both values and limitations to science and technology. But rather than reject them, we need to extend their usefulness to ourselves through integrating them into a Qabalistic study program. In this manner we may at least learn something about each aspect of life, and be more well-rounded in our attitudes and expressions.
We need to balance the pursuits of the intellect or mind, with the experiences of soul. The importance of the soul was eclipsed for a time due to the rational, empirical attitudes of scientists, but this tide has turned for the better.
The arena for this balancing act is the realm of depth psychology. It examines the inner self of the 'psyche' which means not only what is generally called 'soul' but all the conscious and unconscious processes. Contents which can be raised fromunconsciousness are known as 'preconscious.' There are two broad divisions of the unconscious: personal and collective. The Collective Unconscious contains the patterns of behavior, or Archetypes (known in the past as Gods and Goddesses).
In Depth Psychology that archetype of personal growth and spiritual development is known as the Self. In Magick, it is called the inner self, or higher self. It is the center of the transformative process of "coming to wholeness." All other archetypes are contained within it, as a series of unions of opposites. The Self unites and harmonizes such opposites as masculine/feminine, good/bad, hero/adversary, etc. It also contains the patterns for experience of the cyclic nature of life's crises points. Its contents include the quest for meaning and the cycle of death and rebirth. Containing everything, it represents the maximal potential of any individual.
The Self provides an inner model of oneself in an idealized future. It confers experiences of the highest value through posers beyond one's conscious abilities. It is a mode of transcending the mundane world. Therefore, Self is both personal and transcendent. This gives divine worth to each individual manifestation of human nature, and dignity to everyone's' personal experience. The archetypes, symbolized by the Self, shape and define human behavior, attitudes, thoughts, emotions, and the very body itself.
Depth psychology has employed the descriptors of the ancient metaphysical practice of alchemy. Alchemy was a process-goal of self transformation with the aim of creating a series of unions of the various contending psychic substances. These descriptive phases are useful for linking Depth Psychology to the practices of Qabalah as they further define the criteria of each stage.
Pursuits like alchemy, astrology, Qabalah and their corresponding imagery provide access to the messages and meaning coming into consciousness from the collective unconscious. Learning to use any of them is like learning a foreign language, and just as useful. Jung himself stressed the primacy of imagery in his practice of Depth Psychology: "Images are the only reality we apprehend directly; they are the primary expression of mind and of its energy which we cannot know except through the images it presents."
The goal of the process of Qabalistic pathworking is to produce Masters. The Master of the Qabalah is a perfect person, a role model for us all. He lives in harmony by being himself, most perfectly. He is highly individual, but always a paragon of ethical virtue, and impeccable in wisdom and understanding. He teaches his students how to immerse themselves in the divine stream, ultimately finding union with God.
Qabalah is a theistic meditation practice, like most mystical traditions. A state of total realization is created through balancing and raising the consciousness of the aspirant up through all the levels of Existence represented by The Tree of Life. Ultimately, one merges back into the source. Qabalah provides both training and direct experience. Once the theories are learned, they must be put into practice. QBL describes the Creation from Nothing to Everything in one fell swoop. It is an analog model of the Absolute.
The experienced Qabalist gains an understanding of his limitations and perceptions of reality, enabling his consciousness to contemplate the Truth of Existence. If it is God's Will and Grace, he becomes an exemplar among men, a role model for realization of both human potential and mystical attainment. The Jews called such a person a Zaddik, or Saint.
The Qabalah answers visible problems. It affirms the practicability of personalspiritual development. Without the transformation of individual consciousness through Self-understanding, we may have to witness the Establishment's failure to answer pressing problems.
Many now fantasize this condition of inevitable change as a vision of Apocalypse. However, the employment of Qabalistic techniques offers another way. Magick may be viewed as an "alternative to apocalypse." As we approach the year 2000, we might rather envision an Epoch-alypse, another mode of "uniting the opposites" without mankind's annihilation.
THE HOLISTIC QABALAH SERIES:
THE HOLISTIC QABALAH addresses both ancient and modern questions which press on our lives requiring understanding. These questions range from mild curiosities to adaptive necessities.
Each of the Twelve Volumes of the series stands on its own as a discourse on an aspect of existence or a quality of human potential. These characteristic potentials are distinct from each level of awareness. Taken together, they form a harmonious world view, uniting inner and outer reality.
Questions outlined include the following:
BOOK I: MALKUTH, The Sphere of Earth
What are the current concepts in science concerning the nature of existence and mankind's role?
What is the value of personal psychological or spiritual development?
What inner processes is one likely to encounter through self-analysis?
What are some practical methods of balancing the personality?
What is the value of including Magick in a program of self development?
BOOK II: THE UNIVERSE, Path 32 and Extrasensory Perception
How may I begin the inner journey to greater self-awareness?
What are the patterning principles of daily life which make us repeat common themes such as growth, love, conflict, etc.?
What are the motivating factors of human behavior?
How can I find value and meaning in my depressions?
What is the nature of Time and Space, and how does it relate to concepts of Immortality?
BOOK III: YESOD, The Sphere of the Moon
Are dreams meaningful for daily living?
Just what is an experience in the "Astral Body?"
What place does mythology have in psychological awareness?
What is the nature of Feminine Consciousness, or the Woman's Ms.teries?
Can the cycle of the Moon and other seasonal changes influence our emotional lives?
How can it be that everyone has both masculine and feminine psychological components?
BOOK VI: HOD, The Sphere of Mercury (Reason, Intellect, and Technology; Hermetism)
Why do scientific theories change so frequently?
How can one live in a technological era and retain a sense of "connectedness" to nature?
What are the main psychological types of personality and how does each function?
How can I determine my type and learn to get along with others better?
Just what are "altered states of consciousness" and why would I want to experience them?
BOOK V: NETZACH, The Sphere of Venus (Values and Human Love)
What is the role of imagination in individual development?
How do the Tarot, I Ching, and other forms of divination work?
What is the distinction between romantic love, divine love, and other feelings?
Do aphrodisiacs really work?
How can I understand the relationship between brain patterns, electromagnetic fields and my conscious awareness of reality?
BOOK VI: ART, Path 25 (The Parataxic Mode, Higher Astral Plane Visualization, the Visionary Experience; Organismic Equilibrium; the I-It Relationship; Distinction between Craft and Art)
What is the metaphysical meaning of Art?
What distinguishes those with an artistic inspiration?
How can I use visualization exercises most efficiently?
Can I really test my own level of creative development?
Is it possible to contact one's inner Soul Guide?
BOOK VII: TIPHARETH, The Sphere of the Sun (Syntaxic Mode or Self-Realization; the Causal Body, I-Thou Relationship; Alpha Meditation, and Peak Experience)
What is the relationship between mediation and self-realization?
How do ancient descriptions of exaultive experience relate to current scientific terminology?
How may I attain high well-being and a sense of wholeness?
What is the role of a spiritual teacher in my personal development?
What are the basics of the Holistic Worldview?
What characterizes the state of optimal equilibrium?
BOOK VIII: GEBURAH, the Sphere of Mars
What are the values and drawbacks of self-assertion?
What are the philosophical bases of the concepts of Justice and Karma?
Will mankind ever cease his endless war upon himself?
Are women inherently less aggressive than men?
How may stress be channeled to enhance life, rather than inducing breakdown?
What are the spiritual aspects taught in the Martial Arts?
BOOK IX: CHESED, the Sphere of Jupiter
Why are there differing philosophies and ethical standards in the world?
How can I develop my potential for Discernment?
What is the place of philosophy in our culture and how does it promote change?
What are the goals and motives of philosophy?
What are the major questions posed by philosophy, and how are they being answered in our rapidly changing world?
What is the relationship between philosophy, psychology and religion?
BOOK X: THE HIGH PRIESTESS, Path 13
What insights can I gain from exploring mysticism?
What happens to those who "had it all together" when they fall apart confronted with life's crises?
What is the nature of the World Soul, or Anima Mundi, as it relates to my inner life?
I've heard of the Third Eye, or pituitary and pineal glands; are they still effecting my behavior, and how?
How does the process of Memory work, and how can I remember most perfectly?
BOOK XI: DAATH, the Invisible Sphere
What is the spiritual region mystics describe as the Abyss, and what are its dangers?
What is the experience of the Dark Night of the Soul?
What kinds of traps can the unconscious make to hinder the soul?
What are the limits of an "access to knowledge" state? Can I know all?
Why is physical immortality an unlikely proposition?
BOOK XII: THE SUPERNAL TRIAD, Crown of Creation
What does the Qabalah say concerning the creation of the manifest universe?
What are the greatest experiences available on the continuum of mystical development?
How can one know a true saint or Sat Guru?
How can I benefit from knowing about God-Realization when I am so far from it?
What is the goal, and how can I understand the meaning of the "completion of the Great Work?"
The mystical system known as the Qabalah, or QBL, originated in the Hebrew culture. For the Jews, practice of the Qabalah meant systematically working oneself up the Tree of Life in an attempt to re-unification with God. The Tree of Life, with its then spheres and twenty-two paths provided a "map" of the inner realms. It gave the aspirant a means of orienting himself in imaginal space, as well as a system of classifying mystical experiences.
As the Hebrew culture came into contact with those of the Near East and Europe, there was a fusion of Qabalistic thought and concepts with those of other nations. This fusion ultimately included Egyptian, Gnostic, Christian, and Oriental elements. The practices of alchemy, astrology, and magic were corresponded with the processes represented on the Tree of Life. The evolution of this eclectic system culminated in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries in the formation of such groups as the Rosicrucians, Masons, and lesser known groups such as The Order of the Golden Dawn. These groups synthesized the disparate elements of the western mystical tradition into a coherent whole.
In establishing the Hermetic Qabalah, these philosophers clarified the techniques of self-development practiced during the Renaissance. There was a major shift in emphasis from will-power to active imagination. Conceptually, the Great Work was re-visioned as a psychological process of self-realization. With the advent of Freud and Jung, the theory of magical development could be restated in psychological terms. Even though engaging in dramatic episodes in the imaginal "netherworld," the magician also understood himself to be dealing with aspects of his inner Self.
A primary concept in Hermetic Qabalah is encoded in the famous axiom, "As Above, so Below." This includes the idea that each human is a diminutive representation of the entire cosmos. Man is a microcosmic representation of the entire process of creation. We find this notion reflected in the modern "holistic" movement, which emphasizes the integral nature of man's participation in existence. The desire for psychological "wholeness" and experiences of an integration of the self with all creation is common to both Hermetic magical practice and the holistic psychological orientation.
The Tree of Life provides a "map" for the journey into the unconscious. It provides conceptual categories for taking information from diverse sources, and ordering it. But we must not confuse the map with the territory, which is the psyche, itself. The Qabalah is the traditional model for describing states of "mystical experience," but the method of accessing these realms is active magical aspiration. There is a melding of conscious intent, or seeking, with the archetypal realm of the psyche.
The Spheres of the Tree of Life graphically depict the discrete states of consciousness available to the soul. The Paths of the Tree represent the psychological transition states between them. They are the means of moving from "point A to point B." Taken together, the spheres and paths express all modes of "being" and "becoming" possible in human existence.
In THE HOLISTIC QABALAH, the soul-field (represented by the Tree of Life) is considered as the Reality which underlies all perceptual reality. Our senses actually function as "filters" which prevent us from experiencing a more integrated awareness of existence. Mystics say that ultimately the soul must even disengage itself from its relationship with the mind, which also distorts soul's pure existence. But this self-realization of the unencumbered soul is an extremely advanced state.
In the meantime, the Qabalah provides a paradigm (or thought-model) for the aspirant. The holistic nature of the Qabalah is realized through the system of correspondences, whereby diverse symbols are categorized and ordered. An example of the correspondence system might be the underlying unity between the Sphere Tiphareth, the Sun in astrology, gold in alchemy, and the godforms Christ, Mithras, and the "Magickal Childe." It would also include characteristic colors, plants, stones, and inner experiences of psychological transmutation. The Holistic Qabalah is a sort of "unified field theory" disclosing the underlying matrix of both consciousness (or psyche) and matter.
Areas included in this correspondence with the ten spheres of the Tree of Life are: philosophy, psychology, physics, mythology, astrology, and alchemy. In THE HOLISTIC QABALAH a basis is provided through which these separate areas of study relate on a common theme.
Practical applications are provided for each mode of consciousness and transition state presented. Through elaboration from diverse fields of human endeavor, a comprehensive concept of each sphere is built. The reader develops a "feel" for the meaning of each sphere and path. This non-dogmatic approach forms a firm basis for his own speculations and experiences, providing orientation. A series of psychological models for moving into and through various states are suggested.
This work pays particular attention to the corresponding deities of the different centers. This is not intended to create any conflicts in monotheistic readers, but is a convenient means of classifying psychological components. In the ancient past, these psychological aspects were known as gods and goddesses. So, the terminology is continued for the sake of expediency. We come to realize "the many through the One," or "the One through the many." To know "God" directly is an overwhelming proposition, but we can integrate discrete aspects, a bit at a time.
The experience of these archetypal encounters with aspects of the Self is presented as an on-going occurrence in day-today life. If we but pay attention to it, we can "see through" our mundane experiences to the imaginal realm of the gods and goddesses. There is a unification of mundane and spiritual life, mediated by the soul.
Study of the sections on astrology and alchemy allow immediate access to the common core of meaning between QBL and other metaphysical disciplines. The meaning of the various planetary forces are fleshed-out as they are personified. These dynamic forces of the unconscious relate to the conscious ego via symbols and imagery. When we have learned the parameters or field-of-influence of these deities, we have gained the ability to recognize and discriminate among them. Most importantly, we have taken up a conscious relationship with them.
Each Book culminates in a valuable exercise to ground one in the state of consciousness under consideration. They are designed to provide both experiential and conceptual understanding. It is important for psychological balance that intellectual cognition keeps pace with spiritual experience. Together, cognitive and affective development open The Middle Way.
THE FOUR WORLDS OF QBL:
The Qabalistic world-view divides Creation into four levels of existence:
(1) Assiah, the Physical Plane (Sphere 10)
(2) Yetzireh, the Emotional Plane (Sphere 7, 8, 9)
(3) Briah, the Intellectual Plane (Sphere 4, 5, 6)
(4) Atziluth, the Spiritual Plane (Sphere 1, 2, 3)
1. The Physical Plane (Assiah) has been described as a pendant on the glyph of the Tree of Life; actually, it is de-pendent upon the formative processes of the Higher Planes. It represents the entire physical world of corporeal matter, including the human body. It manifests distress in psychosomatic symptoms. The influence of the archetypes is projected into material form. The physical plane is the most accessible region of the subconscious. Just because events are real does not mean they are a content of consciousness. This can not occur until you can plumb the psychic depths and see through to the archetypal core behind man-I-festation. This is the condition of "normal" ego-consciousness, prior to undertaking the spiritual quest.
2. The Emotional Plane (Yetzireh) has a physical analogy known in science as electromagnetic fields. In the past it was called the Astral Light or Astral Plane. Psychologically, it is the world of images and their affects. This is where archetypes are perceived in images or mind-pictures; often this means only a vague awareness or foreboding. This is also the realm of dream and divination. The Astral Body is appropriate for travel in this plane.; Here, both the Godforms and matter (Maya) are visible. This is the lunar plane of psychics and mediums; it influences the body through the parasympathetic nervous system or the central nervous system. Its negative expression is over-emotionalism.
3. The Intellectual Plane (Briah) marks the upper limit of the mind's influence on spiritual effort. Beyond this area, there is neither mind nor matter. In order to journey to these higher realms, the soul must dissolve its knot with the mind, and ascend by the magnetic attraction of God's holy Word. This is the region of psychological conceptions concerning archetypes. The aspirant not only has visions of archetypes or godforms, he recognizes these forms when he sees them, and has creative relationships with them. He learns to project his will through the visualization of images. This is a function of the rational mind, put to spiritual use. This is the geometrical realm of the Causal Body, termed the Body of Light by mystics. To psychologist, it is a crystallization of the archetype of the Self. This stage reflects self-realization or perfect equilibration. The mind manifests negatively in neurosis.
4. The Spiritual Plane (Atziluth) of existence is that which is inhabited by the archetypal patterns or matrix patterns before they begin to descent into material manifestation. Their bodies are the lineaments along which the lower planes crystallize. To reach this plane, all form is sacrificed. This is the pre-geometrical plane of "information." Awakened souls and Masters have the ability to travel at will to this World of the Divine. This higher faculty allows them to see that all the archetypal impulses or forces exist without spatial separation. Each 'plane' is a new modality without spatial separation. The archetypal world cannot be conceived of in images, nor the concepts of the mind. It is the experience of final reunion which makes man and God complete.
The ABYSS is another landmark described by mystics as part of the inner journey. It is a large expanse of utter darkness lying between the Intellectual Plane and the Archetypal Plane. It marks the line of demarcation between the primal forces of creation and the formation of phenomena. It is said to contain a sort of spiritual island, or resting spot. In QBL, it is called DAATH, and is considered the gateway to another dimension. In Eastern systems, it is called Anchit Dip.
Described in terms of man's spiritual development, it marks the transition of spiritual practice from using procedures to move one's self higher (self-realization) to receiving the downpour of God's divine Grace (God-realization). From this point, one cannotadvance through personal effort alone. There is a complementary "reaching down" by the higher force to meet the soul "half way."
The Abyss is a dangerous place because, here, there is both an upward tendency and a lower tendency. The lower tendency has to do with the subconscious mind of God (Universal Mind), and its perversity and negative manifestations. Universal Mind is the final trap for the aspirant, as it seeks to keep the soul in its realm. One can get lost for eternity in the depths of this transcendent imagination.
By attaching oneself to the upward tendency, spiritual secrets are revealed to the soul. A God-Realized Master who initiates the aspirant during his lifetime aids this process. He then functions as a soul-guide, ferrying the soul across the Abyss, with the assurance of safety. He is attached to the Lord or the Light, and if you are attached to him, you can follow by living his teachings. Remember, no teacher can take you to realms higher than he has experienced. For the most progress, it is expedient to find a God-Realized Master.
THE HOLISTIC QABALAH FORMAT
This manual describes the Spheres and connecting Paths of the Middle Pillar of the Tree of Life. Many other magical texts are available describing the basics of QBL, and the student is advised to familiarize himself with them. THE HOLISTIC QABALAH, however, presents a series of essays in a modularized format. The student is free to pick and choose among them for subjects of immediate interest. The series may be studied and re-read to increase comprehension. It is a comprehensive course and no one is expected to glean all the information in one reading. Also, you will be referred to other sections of the work, which may further define a given topic.
A spiritual science is developed by synthesizing concepts from the past with trends in current research. The Spheres and Paths are defined in practical, contemporary terms through the corresponding contents of the chapters. Each chapter is divided into four sections which relate to the planes as follows:
(1) Archetypal (Spiritual) Plane = Philosophy
(2) Intellectual (Causal) Plane = Psychology
(3) Emotional (Astral) Plane = Astrology and Alchemy
(4) Physical Plane = Orientation/Exercise
Each plane contains an entire Tree of Life within it, which resonates with the other planes. The experiences of the paths are appropriately different for each level of awareness.
The Format of THE HOLISTIC QABALAH is modularized so the student may review topics of special interest out-of-sequence. The linear, or sequential development which runs throughout the chapters, traces the path of hierarchical development in the consciousness of the adept: included under the term "consciousness" are both the rational ego-consciousness, and the diffuse anima-consciousness of the soul, which is prior in existence to the emergence of the ego, and persists after it has merged.
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