So the other day I chanced upon a comment from an associate of mine which said that you should not practice the Jewish Kabbalah if you are not Jewish. My first reaction was, of course, how could I ever possibly un-practice and un-direct experience those years of my life spent in transgression or whether I am completely beyond saving? Then, taking a moment to quell my rising panic, I began to reflect on the implications of this latest edict as a great portion of the Western Mystery Tradition from the high Middle Ages and the Renaissance has been the study and practice of the Jewish Kabbalah - be it Gematria or working with Hebrew angels. If you are not Jewish surely you can't practice Christian Cabala instead - a much bastardised and culturally appropriated form of the system - that would only add insult to injury? Hermetic Qabalah is possibly even more criminal. The only solution would be to completely amputate the Kabbalah and all related subjects from the canon of the WMT so no one would ever run the risk of even accidentally breaching this edict. You see how dangerous this line of thinking rapidly becomes?
The truth is that the Jews, like all races and religions do not exist in a vaccuum, there is/was considerable cultural mingling with everyone around them in ''the beginning'' (if there is such a clear date in historical reality) and in the diaspora afterwards. The Kabbalah, in the sense of that understanding of a universal system begun in the 11th century (which itself is clearly influenced by Catharism and accompanying beliefs, Catharism itself a migrating system from the East) has its roots in the cosmopolitan culture of the Levant and Mesopotamia in the early parts of the 1st millenium (Sefer Yetzirah, etc) and many more influences which extend back into the dawn of civilization (Egyptian letter magic, Babylonian astrology, Zoroastrian Angels, Greek philosophy and mathematics, etc). While the Jews made contributions and produced a fusion of the ideas that was all their own, there are a variety of similar works in letter magic all over the world. The position is, of course, absurd, full of contradictions and ill-considered consequences. If upheld the logical conclusion would be that no person who is not of a race or religion should practice that culture - what does this do to Paganism in the larger setting? Can only people who prove they are authentically Greek (whatever that means considering the Slavic influence) work with the Greek Pantheon etc etc? What about Egyptian magic? Is Josephine McCarthy, for example, authentically an ancient Egyptian? If I am "English'' does that mean I can only work with the English Cabala instead? Spare me this madness at least!
This brings us back to the subject of reincarnation and that it is a widely held belief in the esoteric community that few seem to genuinely embrace. Have I only been reincarnated from within my DNA's own timeline? Can I only investigate something I have ''physical'' genetic roots in? We must have a racially secure and culturally homogenous esoteric experience! What??? - this is creepy. Having been an animal, or a differently coloured, differently abled human in past lives, (and an angel in future lives), our experience creates compassion for animals, differently coloured, differently abled people and angels - leading to a more tolerant personality and a kindness towards all life-forms. When we tap into that trans-temporal self we enable kindness, forgiveness, curiosity and wonder towards all life and consciousness. On the other hand what I see continuing to rise, in comments from within our community like the above, is conservatism, judgement, constriction, boundaries and division. I think the root of it might be a lack of creativity in certain quarters and a corresponding desire to shut down wonder and imagination - who knows?