Modern magickal practice has adopted the system presented in QBL as its basis. It uses the Tree of Life as a consciousness map. This is because it is comprehensive, eloquent, and extremely efficient. The occult deals primarily with realization of latent subconscious cognitive abilities. It is development in areas which were previously unknown (occulted or hidden) because they were unexplored.
QBL has two branches: speculative/philosophical and practical/magical. In terms of information processing QBL denotes channels and levels of observation. Paths are transmission channels. Spheres are levels of observation. The transmission channels are used to call benefic powers using the holy names of God and his angel mediators. QBL is an ancient information-processing system.
The only proper application of Magick is to influence the process of one’s own psychological transformation. Magick, used solely for self-transformation, furthers religious needs. The path up the Middle Pillar of the Tree of Life shows successive purification of a soul on its journey to union with the ultimate, or Godhead. It is a middle path which shows a soul undaunted in its primary desire to return “home.” There are other paths, to be sure, but none so direct, and therefore efficient.
THE BOOK OF FORMATION had the most dynamic effect on initiating speculative QBL. As old as the SEPHIR YETZIRAH may be, it seems that mystical experience of the geometrical figure we are calling the Diamond Body predates the composition of the book. The book is probably the exposition of a mystical system of standing tradition, which was only transmitted orally prior to the appearance of the text.
The mystics achieved a vision of a geometrical figure through meditation practice. This geometry was a 4-dimensional array of the holy letters. It is a geometrical picture of the creation or formation of the universe–an omniradiant event that continues to happen.
Those who engaged in this meditation form were known as Merkabah visionaries. They sought ecstatic direct visionary experience of the Throne Chariot of God. Abraham, Moses, Solomon, Ezekiel, Isaac, and St. John the Divine have been associated with Merkabah mysticism. Surely, as a rabbi, Jesus was familiar with this practice, also.
2. MERKABAH MYSTICISM, OLD AND NEW:
There is some extant literature concerning Merkabah Mysticism in additoin to the SEPHIR YETZIRAH. The most important of these works are the Greater Hekhaloth and the Lesser Hekhaloth. Rabbinical commentary concerning the secrets of the Throne Chariot also exists. The majority of these works were not designed for practical use by mystics. They described characteristic stages on the path to the vision of the Throne Chariot. They contain speculation rather than explicit instructions.
It is possible, however, to deduce certain requirements and proceedures from these writings:
1. The aspirant must be at least 30 years old before his study of mysticism should be initiated. This ensures grounding in the day-to-day life and reduces the chances that the immature seeker desires transcendent escape from reality.
2. Specific moral qualities were required of candidates before the mystics were willing to reveal their secret knowledge, or Gnosis. We might assume that these qualitis would include those of importance in the Torah, or Law.
3. Twelve to forty days of ascetic practices, including fasting and prayer, preceded the soul’s penetration to the revelation of the Throne.
4. Techniques for facilitating the journey included hymns and songs, the recitation of secret or holy names of God, and magical seals to protect the aspirant. These seals warded off danger from demons and hostile angels and allowed further access, much as a key unlocks a door.
5. The posture recommended during meditation is to sit in a low chair, bend forward until the head rests on the knees. This posture enhanced the ability to experience altered states of consciousness through changes in blood flow and subtle vibrations induced in the skeletal system by reciting god names. Breathing becomes shallow in this position.
6. The further one progresses upon the path, the greater the dangers of psychological disintegration. The worthiness of the soul is tested on every level–physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. The Qabalistic practice of creating and dissolving images as containers for psychic forces acts as a protection against identification with, or deification of symbols. Such potent symbols of wholeness, such as the Tree of Life, are a danger in themselves as they promote the identification of the ego with the Self.
If the aspirant were unworthy, he could penetrate no further. The angels guarding the gates would confuse his mind and disturb his senses, (which shouldn’t be too difficult after 40 days of fasting). This interference could include hallucinations (rather than visionary experience), and psychosomatic manifestations of discomfort. In the Eastern systems of meditation, these phenomena are regarded as blocks to the flow of Kundalini up the spine.
7. Once the ecstatic state has been attained by the mystic, he ascends through what were variously described as seven heavens or chambers. The soul ascends toward its original home. Counting from the bottom of the Tree of Life upwards, this would include the spheres of Malkuth through Chesed.
8. At this point the soul receives its revelation. It is the vision of God as King on His Throne. This vision of God as King is the magical image of the sphere Chesed, #4 on the Tree of Life. It is below the Abyss, where visionary I-Thou imagination is still possible. The gulf between the soul and God is not bridged below the Abyss. This meditation did not aspire to even an understanding of the true nature of God, let alone a reunion of the soul with Godhead. It was ecstatic, not transcendent.
This mystic path provided perception of the phenomena of the Throne-Chariot, the awful mystery that surrounds God’s majesty. A voice is heard to speak from the “Throne of Fire.” It conveys the secret of heaven and earth to the aspirant. It gives him the names of Knowledge, or Gnosis.
Use of this Knowledge could be viewed as the aspirant’s creation of the sphere Daath. Daath is unique among the Sephiroth on the ascent up the Tree. In order for the initiate to experience Daath, he is required to first create it. This is unlike the other spheres, which are a priori givens. Experience of the reciprocal view of the Diamond Body figure brings one back onto the Middle Pillar on the threshold of the Abyss.
Meditation is a procedure. Daath, as a knowledge-contact, is a quantum change induced through Grace. It is God’s answer to the call of the aspirant, and cannot be induced through effort alone. In creating a Daath state of consciousness, the aspirant has crossed ‘an abyss’ from a procedure to a grace.
In a classification of creative, psychedelic (mind-expanding), and unitive states, this development is best described as ‘psychedelic.’ The characteristic experience is a transient altered state of consciousness. This ecstasy includes the experience of loss of self, time, or space. There is an infusion of a special knowledge, and a purification of self.
The original Merkabah mystics did not aspire for this vision with intense love of God. They did not concern themselves with speculation concerning the immanence of God in matter, through the Shekinah. Their interest lay in the direct experiential process of contemplating their mandala-symbol until it took on a life of its own–a divine life. This entity projectes a revelatory character.
But the immanence of God-in-matter is a philosophical issue open to speculation. The geometry of the Throne-Chariot or Diamond Body relates directly to the formation of matter. We might speculate that these geometrical representations of archetypal relationships have a great deal to do with fundamental patterns underlying all matter, even if they are only Ruachian models.
The figure of the Throne-Chariot (and its reciprocal, the Vector Equilibrium Matrix) and the basic blueprint for the formation of matter are not distinct and separate. This threshold of matter, or DAATH, the Invisible Sphere does disclose the minimum conceptual elements necessary to depict the spiritual order inherent in matter.
There is no way to intellectually grasp Reality beyond the Abyss. Penetration into these realms requires intense devotion or love. For any information regarding these planes we must rely on the testimony of saints who have journeys in consciousness to these realms.
Knowledge (Gnosis or Daath) takes the soul to the uppermost reaches of the causal plane. This is the limit to the realm of the mind. There is neither mind nor matter across the Abyss. Here is the limit of the mind’s ability to comprehend divine order conceptually. It is the emptying out of symbolic meaning in preparation for direct experience of the Reality of God, through Union.
Several graphic depictions of the descriptions of the Throne-Chariot given in the SEPHIR YETZIRAH have been developed through the years by Jews and occultists.
A group known as the Chariot of Fire from Los Angeles has used the information to depict a system in which all the paths are compacted onto an octahedron. In this arrangement, the seven double letters are paths connecting the six spheres which correspond to the cardinal directions, above and below, and the central Inner Court. This Inner Court is comprised of the three Mother letters–Aleph, Mem, and Shin–plus the nexus point which is composed of Aleph/Tau.
In his book, THE TAROT (1947), Paul Foster Case developed an array which shows closer harmony with the closest-packed spheres of the diamond structure. Here the paths are dispersed over the octahedron and its containing cube (Figure 4).
It is important to include both the octahedron and the cube in the modeling. When both are visualized, the figure has the ability to reproduce itself indefinitely. It generates and regenerates itself mathematically, like a fractal. It projects outward or inward in an infinite geometrical progression.
There is an infinite series of octahedrons within cubes within octahedrons within cubes. This is another way of viewing the matrix structure which has been described elsewhere as the Vector Equilibrium Matrix.
Case showed the paths, or keys, in relationship to the Bravis lattice. He did not add the connecting lines which reveal the octahedron within the Cube of Space. This may have been intentional, as he felt careful study of the figure would reveal much to the discerning reader. Perhaps more than he might have imagined…
In any event, this array shows the three “Mother letters” as Cartesian coordinates. These represent the three dimensions, the fourth being the synchronous Aleph/Tau in the center. This center is the holy place in the midst of manifestation which shows forth the sacred aspect of time.
The planetary gates are shown as the central points of the six plane faces of the cube. The rest of the paths are shown on the matrix of the cube edges.
Case, true to prevailing attitudes in occultists of his day, attempted to obscure the proper correspondences for the Cube. Most of the attributions agree with the text of the SEPHIR YETZIRAH. However, two letters are switched. Lamed (Key 11, L) is ascribed to the compass direction Northwest; Southwest is listed as Nun (Key 13, N).
The proper order, according to THE BOOK OF FORMATION, is Northwest = N, Nun; Southwest = L, Lamed.
Past generations of occultists would frequently present most of their information accurately. However, they would change at least one element. They reasoned that the serious student would discover the discrepancies through astute observation.
This practice was intended to preserve the highly effective magical techniques from easy access by the vulgar, who might misapply them. This attitude hardly seems appropriate today. There are competent people who might appreciate magick as a highly devloped art-form if the system were presented in a consistent, credible manner.
The vulgar, or dilettante, can never apply even the most profound teaching. It requires the discipline of follow-through. Psyche’s secrets are safe because they are not communicable to those who haven’t experienced them. They are initiations.