Thursday, February 7, 2013

What went wrong? Mistranslations and Charlatanism

'The  many books written on the subject in the 19th and 20th centuries by various theosophists and mystics lacked any basic knowledge of the sources and very rarely contributed to the field, while at times they even hindered the development of a historical approach.  Similarly, the activities of French and English occultists contributed nothing and only served to create considerable confusion between the teachings of the Kabbalah and their own totally unrelated inventions, such as the alleged kabbalistic origin of the Tarot.  To this category of supreme charlatanism belong the many and widely read books of Eliphas Levi, Papus and Aleister Crowley, all of whom had an infinitessimal knowledge of Kabbalah that did not prevent them from drawing freely on their own imaginations instead.  The comprehensive works of A.E. Waite, S. Karppe and P. Vuillaud, on the other hand, were essentially rather confused compilations made from second hand sources.'

Wider Influences, Kabbalah, Gershom Scholem - p 203


  1. I agree that when the interest is strictly Kabbalah, Jewish sources are more thorough and well thought out, but the WMT isn't just Kabbalah. Even just under the heading of "Jewish Kabbalah" there are many inconsistencies amongst its authors, even though they all have the Torah as a source of stability and consistency. Likewise, the WMT isn't going to produce kosher Kabbalah because it considers Kabbalah to be just one source of information that forms its ultimate worldview. I'm not really sure if this is something that should be subjected to a value judgment of good or bad, or just acknowledged that we're talking about two different subjects (WMT and QBL).

    I'm not necessarily for "whatever works" but I am for defining goals and establishing what we're trying to accomplish with a "system" before we judge the merit of that system or start talking about what's missing in it.

  2. I am going to make this as concise as possible. Qabalah is a huge component of the WMT. It has had a major impact on shaping the larger organizations at the centre of the WMT as it is extant today from G.D. through Thelema, Chaos and Wicca. There are so many books that are influenced by it or quote it one way or another, I hope I don't need to list them.

    Its not that the Kircher Tree is not 'kosher' that is the problem the problem is is that it is highly illogical and contains many contradictions and confabulations that don't need to be there. If anyone I had asked over the last umpteen years could have gien me a half decent answer for breaking the rule of 3, 7 and 12 maybe I wouldn't be here today arguing this same point but the problem Paul is that whole edifice *is* an error in research - that's it. And now a tottering pile of commentaries upon it has been created by the WMT which is inherently wrong. I know the diplomatic approach would be to attempt some kind of syncretism as does this optimistic author ( but to be frank its just wrong and it might be time to admit that it was an error and the corpus of texts are based on that. I hate the way that this author attempts to suggest there was some kind of design behind the 'western' Tree and it wasn't just an error in transposition.

    The fact remains that when you obey the rule of 3, 7 and 12 i.e. the mothers on the horizontals, the doubles on the verticals and the singles on the diagonals and *don't* confabulate planets with Sephirot but leave them as strictly associated with the double letters; and also arrange these double letters in their classical Chaldean order B-Saturn, G-Jupiter, etc etc - the Tree produces a working model of the system.

    I am very happy to argue the pros and cons of different arrangements of the letters *according* to the rule of 3, 7 and 12 i.e. Ari or Gra, but to break it is madness. Remember that a key early step in 'Hermetic Qabalah' is building their (Kircher) Tree into your aura. To be honest most 'initiates' of the system do not get close to doing this properly but for those who do it does screw them up.

    If you obey the rule of 3, 7 and 12 you are building into your aura the mother letters on the horizontals which will produce something like Fire-head, Lungs-air, Tummy/bowels-Water (Ari version not mine), you'll get your planets on the Chaldean order leaving paths like the middle pillar as Malkuth (depth of past) --> Path of the Moon (tav) --> Yesod (depth of west) --> Path of the Sun (kaph) --> Tifereth (depth of east) --> Path of Saturn (beit) --> Kether (depth of future) - can you see the harmony in that? The singles laid correctly will have you lay out the astrological man as follows '' - what do you have when you lay out the Kircher?

    If Qabalah were an addendum or tiny facet of the WMT I'd leave it but its not Paul its a huge component of it, and there are lots of shoddy works out there because of a lack of decent sources at the time and now a corresponding lack of response as it would be tantamount to admitting that poor research and kind of disqualifying it all. If it were about a 'whatever works' 'free Tree' then we could benefit from thinking about what it would mean for any letter to be on any path and we should have a 'Tree of Gates' similar to the one at the end of this video where the 231 gates of intelligence are displayed around each sefira- if we want a 'rational' tree then really the rule of 3, 7 and 12 is by far and above the most rational. Whatever path you follow, the Kircher fails.