Definitions, History and Traditions
Mysticism etymologically derives from the Greek word myein, signifying "to close one's eyes" to material, illusory perceptions, so as to awaken internal, psychic vision. It is the root word for terms like mystery (μυστήριο mysterio), the axis of ancient mystery schools maintaining the highest ethical disciplines and the conservation of the deepest esoteric knowledge. Through secretive transmission between master and disciple, such initiatic societies have upheld the maximum order of integrity, purity, and confidentiality, protecting a doctrine that could otherwise harm the uninitiated and inexperienced purveyor due to its volatile nature. Such wisdom was only deliverable, apprehensible, and sustainable by the few who have proven their capacity, maturity, and worth.
"The very doctrine which centres about the immediate personal contact with the Divine, that is to say, a highly personal and intimate form of knowledge, is conceived as traditional wisdom. The fact is, however, that the idea of Jewish mysticism from the start combined the conception of a knowledge which by its very nature is difficult to impart and therefore secret, with that of a knowledge which is the secret tradition of chosen spirits or adepts." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Kabbalah, as the mystical dimension of Judaism, is one such teaching that was transmitted across the centuries along with a great deal of conjecture, crypticity, and confusion. Yet it constitutes a fundamental support to comprehending the depths, subtleties, and nuances of genuine religion, from the Latin religare: to reunite with the divine. Jewish mysticism can be interpreted not only as a paradigm of mystical experience, but of different orders, schools, and groups that were active in medieval Europe and even ancient times.
"Kabbalah, it must be remembered, is not the name of a certain dogma or system, but rather the general term applied to a whole religious movement. This movement, with some of whose stages and tendencies we shall have to acquaint ourselves, has been going on from Talmudic times to the present day; its development has been uninterrupted, though by no means uniform, and often dramatic. [...]
Genuine mystical experiences carry with them a revolutionary and revolutionizing element. Direct experience or knowledge of divinity arrives within the parameters of applied spiritual discipline and an understanding of the various metaphysical techniques of esoteric tradition. According to Samael Aun Weor, the founder of modern Gnosis, "Behind the letter that kills is the spirit that vivifies." While blind adherence to the mechanical forms, dogmas, and beliefs of religious traditions produces ignorance, superstition, and the incapacitation of one's true potential, the vivifying or liberating experience of mystical consciousness opens doorways to new interpretations of otherwise dead religious forms. Such innovations from prophets, luminaries, and initiates have helped to direct and shape the course of kabbalistic thought in startling and pronounced ways.
"It is a remarkable fact that the very term Kabbalah under which it has become best known, is derived from an historical concept. Kabbalah means literally “tradition”, in itself an excellent example of the paradoxical nature of mysticism to which I have referred before." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Paradoxically, according to Gershom Scholem―a German-Israeli philosopher―mysticism both upholds and transgresses the religious forms that contain it. While bringing life to literal historicities, theologies, and speculative praxis, such direct knowledge of divine truths often transgresses the limitations of popular beliefs, sectarianism, and skepticism. By knowing the truth for ourselves, our psyche is liberated from imposing conditions, unquestioning beliefs, and blind convictions without basis in actual experience. In this manner, traditions no longer become prisons of thought, but expressions of divine sapience as living mystery schools.
Various traditions designated as kabbalistic have existed not only amongst medieval European Jewry of the 13th century C.E., but throughout antiquity. Kabbalah, as the science of awakened, experiential consciousness, is the direct reception of divine wisdom from personal testimony and mystical states. Whether that apprehension of conscious knowledge is denominated with the Hebrew term קבלה Kabbalah―from the Hebrew קְבַל kabbel, "to receive," or the Greek γνῶσις gnosis―the cultural, linguistic, or geographical contexts of such experience is secondary to its fundamental reality: how a person of any race, region, religion, or creed can transcend time and space, so as to witness one's sacred, authentic, and transcendent identity without obscuration, hesitation, fear, or doubt.
While Kabbalah has branched off in a variety of different groups, interpretations, suppositions, and forms, the essential principles remain the same, especially within the ancient scriptures, or the Hebrew, Aramaic, and mystical tracts foundational to both medieval and modern Jewish life. The teachings of the great rabbis of Israel can elucidate many precepts, axioms, and doctrines present within all religions, for while Hebrew is particular to the Jewish traditions, the universal, esoteric symbolism of the Hebrew language, concomitant with Biblical allegory and narrative, can provide illumination and a penetrative interpretation of any mystical tradition. Religious forms differ, but their ethical and experiential didacticism is the same.
Kabbalah serves a dynamic role not only within Jewish life, but with the spiritual life of humanity as a whole. When religious forms become codified, calcified, and corrupted through unwavering obedience to misunderstood or unexamined precepts, the mystical experience of the truth radically transforms our perceptions of religion, relationships, self, and society. While different religions, such as Judaism, have their moral genesis, life, decline, and decay, it is possible to re-evaluate the spiritual verities of one's tradition to discover that which is most necessary, transformative, and indispensable, perceiving the ancient writings through an informed and educated eye. In this manner we learn to amplify our understanding of esoteric knowledge and the acuity of our own innate, awakened intelligence in response to the problems of daily living.
"The secret of the success of the Kabbalah lies in the nature of its relation to the spiritual heritage of rabbinical Judaism. This relation differs from that of rationalist philosophy, in that it is more deeply and in a more vital sense connected with the main forces active in Judaism. Undoubtedly both the mystics and the philosophers completely transform the structure of ancient Judaism; both have lost the simple relation to Judaism, that naiveté which speaks to us from the classical documents of Rabbinical literature. Classical Judaism expressed itself: it did not reflect upon itself. By contrast, to the mystics and the philosophers of a later stage of religious development Judaism itself has become problematical. Instead of simply speaking their minds, they tend to produce an ideology of Judaism, an ideology moreover which comes to the rescue of tradition by giving it a new interpretation." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Despite the fact that modern Judaism is a thick shell, a cadaver or remnant of a much greater esoteric teaching, a deeper, intuitive appreciation awaits at the core of religious symbolism, narrative, and allegory, which can revitalize and reinvigorate an otherwise dead and monotonous spirituality. Although multiple traditions have become rigid through unwavering and misguided devotion to religious exteriors, there is the possibility of resurrecting universal principles and embodying their life-giving pulse. Public religion expresses sagacious and ingenious truths that have the potential of transforming suffering and developing personal knowledge of divinity. However, the means and manner of which to reflect such understandings within one's own practice have often remained incipient, unavailable, or adulterated by human perversion. Kabbalah seeks to remedy these ailments.
“Receive [קְבַל kabel, kabbalah] the  letters of the oath.” ―Third Book of Enoch
Revelation and Mystical Experience
Mystical experience or revelation is the heart of any religion or spiritual tradition. Rather than isolate such theophanies to specific moments in history, the mystic, gnostic, or kabbalist learns to imitate the lives of the great adepts through experiencing, within their own consciousness, the realities that the prophetic lives symbolized.
"Revelation, for instance, is to the mystic not only a definite historical occurrence which, at a given moment in history, puts an end to any further direct relation between mankind and God. With no thought of denying Revelation as a fact of history, the mystic still conceives the source of religious knowledge and experience which bursts forth from his own heart as being of equal importance for the conception of religious truth. In other words, instead of the one act of Revelation, there is a constant repetition of this act. This new Revelation, to himself or to his spiritual master, the mystic tries to link up with the sacred texts of the old; hence the new interpretation given to the canonical texts and sacred books of the great religions. To the mystic, the original act of Revelation to the community―the, as it were, public revelation of Mount Sinai, to take one instance―appears as something whose true meaning has yet to unfold itself; the secret revelation is to him the real and decisive one. And thus the substance of the canonical texts, like that of all other religious values, is melted down and given another form as it passes through the fiery stream of the mystical consciousness. It is hardly surprising that, hard as the mystic may try to remain within the confines of his religion, he often consciously or unconsciously approaches, or even transgresses, its limits." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
To the practical kabbalist, gnostic, or mystic, meditation is the instrument through which the harmonies of divine life are intuited. Through visions, dreams, and awakened experiences beyond the body, heart, and mind, one discovers, however, that the experience of divinity often contradicts the numerous convictions of believers and lay-folk regarding their own traditions. In this manner, the kabbalist learns how to appreciate the prescient symbolism of scripture while going far beyond the concepts of people who have never been initiated into the true meaning of their religion.
Rather than identify with Biblical characters as the progenitors of a particular race or group of people, kabbalists identify the allegorical and symbolic functions such figures represent within spiritual narrative:
"The documents of religion are therefore not conceived as expressing a separate and distinct world of religious truth and reality, but rather as giving a simplified description of the relations which exist between the ideas of philosophy. The story of Abraham and Sarah, of Lot and his wife, of the Twelve Tribes, etc., are simply descriptions of the relation between matter and form, spirit and matter, or the faculties of the mind." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
It is common knowledge how the Book of Exodus depicts the struggles of the Jews in bondage to Egypt. In reality, few realize how the chosen people, the distinct parts of our consciousness, soul, or spiritual potential, remain in bondage to conditions of mind, heart, and body.
"The historical aspects of religion have a meaning for the mystic chiefly as symbols of acts which he conceives as being divorced from time, or constantly repeated in the soul of every man. Thus the exodus from Egypt, the fundamental event of our history, cannot, according to the mystic, have come to pass once only and in one place; it must correspond to an event which takes place in ourselves, an exodus from an inner Egypt in which we all are slaves." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Humanity continues to be enslaved to Egypt (מצרים Mitzrahim, "the place between the waters"), a symbol of materialism, egotism, and psychological perversity. To the mystic, scriptures no longer remain exclusive to particular groups of people within history, but serve as metaphoric signposts for the awakening of consciousness. Therefore the Old Testament (תנ״ך Tanakh, an acrostic for תּוֹרָה Torah: the Law, נְבִיאִים Neviʾim: Prophets, and כְּתוּבִים Ketuvim: Writings), provides spiritual guidance for the present moment. Kabbalah instructs the sincere student to recognize and interpret the symbolism of the Tanakh, so that in meditation, one can be effectively guided along the initiatic path through the balance of study and illuminating experience.
"Supernatural illumination also plays its part in the history of Kabbalism and innovations are made not only on the basis of new interpretations of ancient lore but as a result of fresh inspiration or revelation, or even of a dream. A sentence from Isaac Hacohen of Soria (about 1270) illustrates the twin sources recognized by the Kabbalists as authoritative. “In our generation there are but a few, here and there, who have received tradition from the ancients … or have been vouchsafed the grace of divine inspiration.” Tradition and intuition are bound together and this would explain why Kabbalism could be deeply conservative and intensely revolutionary. Even “traditionalists” do not shrink from innovations, sometimes far-reaching, which are confidently set forth as interpretations of the ancients or as revelation of a mystery which Providence had seen fit to conceal from previous generations." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Through meditation, the consciousness can escape its material, corporeal form to experience inner realities of the higher worlds, otherwise referred to as astral projections, dream yoga, lucid dreaming, out of body experiences, etc. Abraham Abulafia, a 13th century Spanish mystic of prophetic kabbalah, related an awakened experience outside of his physical body as a result of deep contemplation and prayer to divinity:
"Thy whole body will be seized by an extremely strong trembling, so that thou wilt think that surely thou art about to die, because thy soul, overjoyed with its knowledge, will leave thy body. And be thou ready at this moment consciously to choose death, and then thou shalt know that thou hast come far enough to receive the influx. And then wishing to honor the glorious Name by serving it with the life of body and soul, veil thy face and be afraid to look at God. Then return to the matters of the body, rise and eat and drink a little, or refresh thyself with a pleasant odor, and restore thy spirit to its sheath until another time, and rejoice at thy lot and know that God loveth thee!” ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
The Body, Soul, and Spirit of Judaism
Judaism, alongside other religions, embodies in its collected scriptures levels of instruction that meet the needs, requirements, and character of differing classes of devotees. There are introductory, intermediate, and advanced teachings, which have been classified and named in different ways throughout the world.
In Buddhism, these levels are Shravakayana (the yana or vehicle of "listeners," shravakas), Mahayana (Greater Vehicle) and Tantrayana (Diamond or Tantric Vehicle). Among the Freemasons, these levels are made of Apprentices, Journeymen, and Masters. The Sufis denominated these degrees as Shariah (exoteric law), Tariqah (the path), and Haqiqah (the highest truth).
The introductory teachings explain the foundations of ethical conduct and behavior of the aspirants, so that by enacting positive ways of being, the disciple raises his or her quality of life and prepares to enter into the experiential dimension of one's tradition.
In the intermediate path, practitioners are acquainted with and realize a degree of divine principles in their practical existence, working not only for their own spirituality, but that of others.
In the advanced teaching, practitioners are given the highest, most secretive, and expedient methods for radical internal liberation and the transformation of humanity. However, since these practices are so powerful, they have traditionally only been given to those who have demonstrated their trustworthiness throughout many decades of committed discipline, trials, ordeals, and proofs within the former two degrees of religion.
In Judaism we find this dynamic structure displayed in Hebrew terms, especially in relation to specific collections of writings portraying the understandings and capacities of these particular systems. In synthesis, these are known as the body, soul, and spirit of the esoteric doctrine:
"The Jews had three sacred books: the first is the body of doctrine, that is to say, the Bible. The second is the soul of the doctrine, the Talmud, where the national Jewish soul is. The third is the spirit of the doctrine, the Zohar, where the entire rabbinical Kabbalah is.
"The Bible, the body of doctrine, is written in code. Thus, if we want to study the Bible by combining verses, we will proceed in an ignorant, empirical, and absurd manner. We find the key to interpret the Bible only in the third book, in the Zohar, written by Simon Ben Jochai, the great enlightened rabbi." ―Samael Aun Weor, Alchemical Symbolism of the Nativity of Christ
The Foundations of Kabbalah
Since we are a Gnostic school, we examine all three systems in our studies: the body, soul, and spirit of every religion in the world. Gnosis or דעת Da'ath, genuine Kabbalah or experiential knowledge, is about activating our true spiritual capabilities in our moment to moment awareness. It is impossible to live the highest aspects of the spiritual teachings without fulfilling its most basic, ethical precepts. Yet to understand the most basic precepts of religion and to appreciate its contexts, it is important to know the esoteric doctrine that enlivens the exoteric and intermediate paths.
While this knowledge remained a secret within the most cautious and protective spiritual organizations, we now live in an era of information, co-fraternity, and dissemination of spiritual values. The esoteric knowledge that was once forbidden is now available to anyone who sincerely yearns for deep change and realizations. This is because divinity has seen our afflicted position within incredible global crises, and out of compassion, opened the doors to knowledge that was once conserved and had to be earned. Since the 1960's, such information has spread throughout the modern world as part of a humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of humanity.
Judaism, as one such treasure house of great scriptures and instructions, can now be fully understood and appreciated by knowing the spirit of the doctrine that was once obscured. The Gnostic teachings, which embraces and explains the kabbalistic traditions, is a key to unlocking many concealed aspects of religion. One scriptural tool that we use is the ultimate expression of Jewish mysticism: the Zohar.
The Zohar is the culmination of a rich rabbinical tradition that has roots within medieval Spain. However, to fully appreciate the Zohar and its rabbinical commentaries, it is necessary to know the medieval structures, foundations, and principles upon which they are based.
Aggadah: The Narrative Tradition
"To understand the ways in which Kabbalah, and particularly the Zohar, finds it home within the earlier tradition, we need to distinguish five elements that are present in the legacy of medieval Jews received from the Judaism of the Talmudic age. [...] The first of the five elements is הַגָּדָה aggadah, the narrative tradition, contained in the Talmud and the various works of Midrash. Midrash is a hermeneutical term, rendered both as 'inquiry' and 'homiletics,' indicating a way of delving into Scripture that tends towards fanciful and extended rereadings. Much of aggadah is legendary in content, expanding biblical history and recreating the biblical landscape in the setting of the rabbinic world. But aggadah also includes tales of the rabbis themselves and teachings of wisdom in many forms: maxims, parables, folk traditions, and so forth." ―Arthur Green, A Guide to the Zohar
The Zohar is often described as written in the form of a mystical novel, portraying the conversations, dialogues, and teachings of great rabbis learned in the most hidden sciences. This is a common feature of rabbinical literature, whereby legends, myths, folklore, and stories (aggadah) are used to communicate higher tenets and revelations. These involve a deep analysis and comprehension of the intricacies and subtleties of scripture, often in the form of scrutinizing individual Aramaic or Hebrew letters to arrive at novel meanings otherwise unacknowledged or undisturbed beneath surface readings. While each verse appears to communicate simple instructions about Jewish life and law, they in term embody multiple, complimentary layers of signification, which constitute a primary function to any given scriptural passage.
Those who are not initiated in Kabbalah lack a critical key for unlocking the connotative aspect of Hebrew, whose numerous grammatical and syntactical rules allow for a dynamic range of interpretation. English and other translations lack the depth, vibrancy, and integrity of the original, since any translation is merely an approximation, rather than an accurate rendering. This is why a basic understanding of Hebrew is essential for understanding the Tanakh. For those who do not know the symbolism of the twenty-two Hebrew letters do not know the basis of the Abrahamic traditions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. "Behind the letter that kills is the spirit that vivifies."
"What makes [Kabbalists] differ from the philosophers is the fact that for them the Aggadah is not just a dead letter. They live in a world historically continuous with it, and they are able, therefore, to enhance it, though in the spirit of mysticism. Aggadic productivity has been a constant element of Kabbalistic literature, and only when the former disappears will the latter, too, be doomed to extinction." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Halakhah: Jewish Law
"The second element is the tradition of הֲלָכָה halakhah, the legal and normative body of Talmudic teaching, the chief subject of study for Jews throughout the medieval era, and thus the main curriculum on which most Kabbalists themselves were educated." ―Arthur Green, A Guide to the Zohar
Halakhah is the collective body of Jewish laws proceeding from both Oral and written Torah. While Jewish philosophers divorced themselves from the spiritual pulse of medieval Jewry through neglecting Halakhah, Kabbalists gained popularity and ground for their innovative and revitalizing interpretations of Jewish law. Through the mystical apprehension of internal truths, codified law became living allegories for psycho-spiritual transformation and the exaltation of Jewish life.
"To the philosopher, the Halakhah either had no significance at all, or one that was calculated to diminish rather than to enhance its prestige in his eyes. Entirely different was the attitude of the Kabbalists. For them the Halakhah never became a province of thought in which they felt themselves strangers. Right from the beginning and with growing determination, they sought to master the world of the Halakhah as a whole and in every detail. From the outset, an ideology of the Halakhah is one of their aims. But in their interpretation of the religious commandments these are not represented as allegories of more or less profound ideas, or as pedagogical measures, but rather as the performance of a secret rite (or mystery in the sense in which the term was used by the Ancients)." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Jewish law, rather than imposing upon or exclusive to the life of the kabbalist, becomes comprehensive, cosmic, and ubiquitous. The same truths experienced by the Christian are the same amongst Buddhists and Sufis, for Jewish legality serves a mystical dimensional of deeper abstractions than merely an approbation for one particular culture alone. What appears as veiled credenda of the Jewish people in turn constitutes a compass for navigating the labyrinthine language of the Tanakh and all religious writings. Commandments that appear to have a single denotative meaning in turn populate themselves into multitudinous connotations of equal and synthetic import.
Piyyut: Liturgical Poetry
"A third element of the rabbinic legacy is the liturgical tradition. While liturgical praxis was codified within halakhah and thus in some ways is a subset of it, the texts recited in worship, including a large corpus of liturgical poetry, or פיוט piyyut, constitutes a literary genre of their own. Medieval writers, including the mystics of both Spain and Askhenaz, were much concerned with establishing the precise, proper wording for each prayer. The texts of the prayerbook, mostly fixed by compendia dating from the tenth century, became in the Middle Ages the object of commentaries, many of which sought to find their authors' own theologies reflected in these venerated and widely known texts by the ancient rabbis. This is especially true of the Kabbalists, who devoted much attention to the כַּוָּנָה kavvanah, or inner meaning, of liturgical prayer. While not formally canonized or seen as the product of divine revelation, as were the books of Scripture, the liturgical texts were regarded as sufficiently holy and mysterious to deserve and require commentary." ―Arthur Green, A Guide to the Zohar
Liturgy is essential to all world religions, for they embody a conglomeration of attitudes, prayers, and intentions (kavvanah) that are essential to the mystical life of the kabbalist. Liturgical codes that appear superficial or perfunctory in turn reveal depths of intuitive perception that serve as focal points of meditative concentration and reflection. The Zohar often comments upon liturgical worship with the purpose of deciphering concealed meanings, many of which transcend the cultural contexts and conventionalities of time and place. Paradoxically, Jewish liturgy fulfills and negates its own stipulations through the mystical praxis of kabbalistic interpretation, for new and fresh meanings consecutively build upon each other through the Zoharic dialogue of the great enlightened rabbis.
"The fourth strand of earlier tradition is that of מרכבה merkavah mysticism. Merkavah designates a form of visionary mystical praxis that reaches back into the Hellenistic era but was still alive as late as tenth-century Babylonia. Its roots lie close to the ancient Jewish apocalyptic literature, except that here the voyager taken up into the heavens is usually offered a private encounter with the divine glory, one that does not involve metahistorical predictions. Those who 'go down into the merkavah' sought visions that took them before the throne of God, allowing them to travel through the divine 'palaces' (היכלות heikhalot), realms replete with angels, and at the height of ecstasy, to participate in or even lead the angelic chorus. The term merkavah ('chariot') links this tradition to the opening vision of Ezekiel, which was seen as the great paradigm for all such visionary experiences and accounts. It is also connected to the קְדֻשָּׁה qedushah formula ('Holy, holy, holy is Y-H-W-H of hosts [יהוה צבאות Iod-Chavah Sabaoth], the whole earth is filled with His glory!') of Isaiah 6, because it is this refrain that most merkavah voyagers recount hearing the angels sing as they stand with them in the heavenly heights." ―Arthur Green, A Guide to the Zohar
The Merkavah or chariot of divinity is a profound symbol of mystical exaltation, experience, and inner development. Conceptualized as the height of spiritual attainment, it in fact epitomizes an important step within the process of initiatic advancement. Within the Gnostic tradition, the Merkavah is known as the solar bodies: divine vehicles for the expression and manifestation of divinity within the soul. Just as a warrior drives a chariot so as to wage difficult battles against his enemies, so too does divinity require a sufficient psycho-spiritual vehicle through which to accomplish a difficult internal work within the consciousness. The war that divinity wages on behalf of our psyche is against our own conditions, defects, vices, and errors, so that the perfected soul returns within the Merkavah towards the sacred heights of divine realization as described in Ezekiel and the ascension of the Prophet Enoch in Genesis.
"The fifth and final element of this ancient legacy is the hardest to define, partly because it hangs on the thread of a slim body of text, but also because it contains elements that seem contradictory to one another. I refer to the speculative-magical tradition that reached medieval Jewry through the little book called ספר יצירה Sefer Yetsirah and various other small texts, mostly magical in content, that are associated with it. Sefer Yetsirah has been shown to be a very ancient work, close in spirit to aspects of Greek esotericism that flourished in the late Hellenistic era. While the practice associated with this school of thought is magical-theurgic, even including the attempt to make a גולם golem [an anthropomorphic being fashioned from inanimate or amorphous material, such as mud or clay, while imbibed with vitality and life] its chief text contains the most abstract worldview to be found within the legacy of ancient Judaism. By contemplating the core meaning of both numbers and letters, it reaches toward a notion of cosmic unity that underlies diversity, of an abstract deity that serves as a cosmic center, in whom (perhaps better: in which) all being is rooted. [...] ―Arthur Green, A Guide to the Zohar
Sefer Yetsirah has an honored, distinguished, and paramount place not only within traditional Kabbalah, but also the Western Esoteric Tradition constituted by individuals such as Dion Fortune, Manly P. Hall, Gareth Knight, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Eliphas Levi, Cyril Scott, Elizabeth Haich, and many others. It is unfortunate that academies have rejected the contributions of these authors due to materialism, skepticism, sectarianism and fanaticism, since it is precisely the magical dimension of the kabbalistic tradition, especially as described within the Sefer Yetsirah, that is the decisive groundwork through which to access the experiential dimension of the kabbalistic tradition.
However, both scholars and initiates agree that the Sefer Yetsirah is crucial within kabbalistic philosophy, practice, and thought:
"According to Eliphas Levi, the three greatest books of Qabbalism are the Sepher Yetzirah, The Book of Formation; the Sepher ha Zohar, The Book of Splendor; and the Apocalypse, The Book of Revelation. The dates of the writing of these books are by no means thoroughly established. Qabbalists declare that the Sepher Yetzirah was written by Abraham. Although it is by far the oldest of the Qabbalistic books, it was probably from the pen of the Rabbi Akiba, A.D. 120." ―Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
"Sefer Yetsirah was the subject of a wide variety of commentaries in the Middle Ages, with rationalists as well as mystics claiming it as their own. In the twelfth century, the language and style of thought formed in the work became central to the first generations of kabbalistic writing, as reflected by commentaries on it and by the penetration of its terminology into other works as well." ―Arthur Green, A Guide to the Zohar
While Kabbalah is an alchemy of narrative tradition, Jewish law, liturgical poetry, Merkavah mysticism, and magical ritual or theurgy, all of its constituents contribute to the evolving dimensionality of kabbalistic praxis. To lack any of these elements is to sterilize, debauch, or contaminate the esotericism of this esoteric heritage.
"Kabbalah must be seen as a dynamic mix of these five elements, with one or another sometimes dominating. It was especially the first and last elements―the aggadic-mythical element and the abstract-speculative-magical tradition―that seemed to vie for the leading role in forging the emerging kabbalistic way of thought." ―Arthur Green, A Guide to the Zohar
The Origins of the Zohar
The Zohar is irrefutably the most important and influential work of traditional Kabbalah available to humanity. Despite its crucial place within the history of kabbalistic and Jewish life, its origins, despite erudite speculations, hypotheses, and theories, remain a mystery to academics and scholars.
"The Sepher ha Zohar presumably was written by Simeon ben Jochai, a disciple of Akiba. Rabbi Simeon was sentenced to death about A.D. 161 by Lucius Verus, co-regent of the Emperor Marc Aurelius Antoninus. He escaped with his son and, hiding in a cave, transcribed the manuscript of the Zohar with the assistance of Elias, who appeared to them at intervals. Simeon was twelve years in the cave, during which time he evolved the complicated symbolism of the "Greater Face" and the "Lesser Face." While discoursing with disciples Rabbi Simeon expired, and the "Lamp of Israel" was extinguished. His death and burial were accompanied by many supernatural phenomena. The legend goes on to relate that the secret doctrines of Qabbalism had been in existence since the beginning of the world, but that Rabbi Simeon was the first man permitted to reduce them to writing. Twelve hundred years later the books which he had compiled were discovered and published for the benefit of humanity by Moses de León. The probability is that Moses de León himself compiled the Zohar about A.D. 1305, drawing his material from the unwritten secrets of earlier Jewish mystics." ―Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
Regardless of its sources and inception, the Zohar consists of a tremendous body of doctrine whose genuine significance has eluded, mystified, and inspired scholars, rabbis, and students of initiation for centuries. Gnostic institutions seek to convey the penetrative, profound, and pragmatic mysticism of this scripture, since its practical basis has not been understood by modern intellectuals and others not initiated within its mysteries despite unparalleled pathos and conviction.
Interpretations of the Zohar
As diverse the body of the Zohar is, its interpretations and applications have varied in many ways throughout its reception to the Jewish and modern world.
"...all Jewish mystics, from the Therapeutae, whose doctrine was described by Philo of Alexandria, to the latest Hasid, are at one in giving a mystical interpretation to the Torah [the first five books of Moses or Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy]; the Torah is to them a living organism animated by a secret life which streams and pulsates below the crust of its literal meaning; every one of the innumerable strata of this hidden region corresponds to a new and profound meaning of the Torah. The Torah, in other words, does not consist merely of chapters, phrases and words; rather is it to be regarded as the living incarnation of the divine wisdom which eternally sends out new rays of light." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Contrary to the firm and adamant beliefs of conventional, observant Jews, the Zohar often criticizes those who would mistake the form of the Bible for its inherent, transcendent, and transgressive meaning.
"Rabbi Simeon says: 'Woe to the man who says that the Torah came to relate stories, simply and plainly, and simpleton tales about Esau and Laban and the like. If it was so, even at the present day we could produce a Torah from simplistic matters, and perhaps even nicer ones than those. If the Torah came to exemplify worldly matters, even the rulers of the world have among them things that are superior. If so, let us follow them and produce from them a Torah in the same manner. It must be that all items in the Torah are of a superior nature and are uppermost secrets.
"Come and behold: the world above and the world below are measured with one scale. The children of Yisrael below correspond to the lofty angels above. It is written about the lofty angels: "who makes the winds his messengers" (Psalms 104:4). When they descend downwards, they are donned with the vestments of this world. If they had not acquired the dress for this world, they would not be able to exist in this world, and the world would not be able to stand them. And if this is so for the angels, how much more so is it for the Torah that created these messengers and all the worlds, that exist due to her. Once it was brought down to this world, if it had not donned all these covering garments of this world, which are the stories and simplistic tales, the world would not have been able to tolerate it.'" ―Zohar
We are fortunate today to possess a body of knowledge, proliferated through our Gnostic institutions, that explain in a clear, systematic, and determined way, the structures and practical systems of applied Kabbalah. Without relying on dogmas, theories, or beliefs of any type, our Gnostic schools possess meditations and exercises to awaken consciousness and thereby experience the essential nature of religious phenomena. The ancient knowledge that was once veiled from public scrutiny is now available with utmost exactitude and transparency in the writings of Samael Aun Weor, a practical Kabbalist and initiate whose writings we disseminate and teach due to their clarity, profundity, and pragmatism. What distinguishes his copious body of writings is their intrepid, experiential, and uncompromising nature, without reliance on convoluted philosophical systems that lack the practical dimension for achieving deep and lasting internal change.
The basis of his writings is a discerning explication of what is commonly known as the Tree of Life.
The Tree of Life
"It [the Tree of Life] is a glyph, that is to say a composite symbol, which is intended to represent the cosmos in its entirety and the soul of man as related thereto; and the more we study it, the more we see that it is an amazingly adequate representation; we use it as the engineer or the mathematician uses his sliding-rule, to scan and calculate the intricacies of existence, visible and invisible, in external nature or the hidden depth of the soul." ―Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
"Jewish mysticism in its various forms represents an attempt to interpret the religious values of Judaism in terms of mystical values. It concentrates upon the idea of the living God who manifests himself in the acts of Creation, Revelation and Redemption. Pushed to its extreme, the mystical meditation on this idea gives birth to the conception of a sphere, a whole realm of divinity, which underlies the world of our sense-data and which is present and active in all that exists. This is the meaning of what the Kabbalists call the world of the ‘Sefiroth’." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
There are ten סְפִירוֹת sefiroth, "jewels" or "emanations" in Hebrew, indicating specific modalities of matter, energy, and consciousness. Each ספירה sefirah (singular) constitutes a distinct level of nature, the cosmos, and the individual human psyche, which emanate or proceed from an unknowable, divine abstraction, denominated as אין Ain, אין סוף Ain Soph, and אין סוף אוֹר Ain Soph Aur: the "Nothing," the "Limitless," and the "Limitless Light." This is the Genesiatic seed plot of universal potentiality, which flows as a pristine fountain into manifested, material existence through divine creativity.
Each sefirah receives the influx, flow, and expression of the sefiroth above. The heights of this diagram depict the most rarified, pure, subtle, and sacred realities of the divine nature, while the sefiroth below represent the condensation, involution or impregnation of spirit within matter of increasing densities, until finally arriving to this physical world and body, described as מלכות Malkuth: the Kingdom.
There is variety and range within kabbalistic interpretations of divine unfoldment, originally depicted as successive emanations outside of God’s unity. Yet according to the kabbalist Isaac Luria and his conception of צמצום Tzimtzum, this occurs within divinity’s own profound nature:
"According to Luria, God was compelled to make room for the world by, as it were, abandoning a region within Himself, a kind of mystical primordial space from which He withdrew in order to return to it in the act of creation and revelation. The first act of En-Sof, the Infinite Being, is therefore not a step outside but a step inside, a movement of recoil, of falling back upon oneself, of withdrawing into oneself. Instead of emanation we have the opposite, contraction. The God who revealed himself in firm contours was superseded by one who descended deeper into the recesses of His own Being, who concentrated Himself into Himself, and had done so from the very beginning of creation. [...]
"One is tempted to interpret this withdrawal of God into his own Being in terms of Exile, of banishing Himself from His totality into profound seclusion... The first act of all is not an act of revelation but one of limitation. Only in the second act does God send out a ray of His light and begin his revelation, or rather his unfolding as God the Creator, in the primordial space of His own creation. More than that, every new act of emanation and manifestation is preceded by one of concentration and retraction. In other words, the cosmic process becomes two-fold. Every stage involves a double strain, i.e. the light which streams back into God and that which flows out of Him, and but for this perpetual tension, this ever repeated effort with which God holds Himself back, nothing in the world would exist." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Lurianic Kabbalah gained widespread appeal not only within esoteric circles, but also conventional Judaism. His contributions rivaled and displaced Medieval Jewish philosophy and procured an influential position within mainstream Jewish life, metaphysics, and theology. Whether one approaches Kabbalah from the doctrinal point of צמצום Tzimtzum or previous kabbalists, all spiritual cosmogonies and cosmologies describe the process by which the soul or consciousness was exiled from the divine, and it is now the duty of the practical kabbalist and meditator to return in a progressive, initiatic manner, towards the origins and source of our divine potential.
"The consensus of Kabbalistic opinion regards the mystical way to God as a reversal of the procession by which we have emanated from God. To know the stages of the creative process is also to know the stages of one’s own return to the root of all existence. In this sense, the interpretation of Maaseh Bereshith, the esoteric doctrine of creation, has always formed one of the main preoccupations of Kabbalism. It is here that Kabbalism comes nearest to Neoplatonic thought, of which it has been said with truth that 'procession and reversion together constitute a single movement, the diastole-systole, which is the life of the universe.' Precisely this is also the belief of the Kabbalist." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Kabbalah is vast due to its incorporation, elucidation, and exegeses of multiple systems of thought. Many schools and groups have their methods, interpretations, structures, and symbols for interpreting the Tree of Life, and our Gnostic institutions are no different. What differentiates Gnostic Kabbalah from other modes of thought is the eclectic, synthetic, and practical approach we use when studying and engaging with kabbalism.
One traditional method utilized by Abraham Abulafia is known as the Path of the Names. Each sefirah has a sacred name of divinity associated with it, representative of forces, potencies, and angelic hierarchies. Many kabbalists, including those within the Gnostic tradition, meditate upon the different sefiroth so as to experience their elemental nature.
"Abulafia calls his method “The Path of the Names,” in contrast to the Kabbalists of his time, whose doctrine concerning the realization of the divine attributes it referred to as “The Path of the Sefiroth.” Only together the two paths form the whole of the Kabbalah, the Path of the Sefiroth the ‘rabbinical’ and that of the Names, the ‘prophetic’ Kabbalah. The student of Kabbalah is to begin with the contemplation of the ten Sefiroth. These, indeed, during meditation are to become objects of quickened imagination rather than objects of an external knowledge acquired by merely learning their names as attributes or even symbols of God. For in the Sefiroth, too, according to Abulafia, there are revealed the ‘profundities of the intellectus agens’, that cosmic power which for the mystic coincides with the splendor of the Shekhinah [the divine feminine that raises and elevates the chosen people of Israel back towards the truth]. Only from there is he to proceed to the twenty-two letters which represent a deeper stage of penetration." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Certain schools not only study the ten sefiroth, but the thirty-two paths that connect the sefiroth with each other upon the Tree of Life. These paths indicate principles or cosmic desiderata for entering the path of initiation: the return of the soul back to its origins through enacting conscious and voluntary works of compassion, integrity, and wisdom. One achieves this through understanding the variegated symbology, powers, and intuitive mathematics of the Hebrew language.
The Spiritual Power of Language, Symbols, and Mathematics
"Language in its purest form, that is, Hebrew, according to the Kabbalists, reflects the fundamental spiritual nature of the world; in other words, it has a mystical value. Speech reaches God because it comes from God. Man’s common language, whose prima facie function, indeed, is only of an intellectual nature, reflects the creative language of God. All creation―and this is an important principle of most Kabbalists―is, from the point of view of God, nothing but an expression of His hidden self that begins and ends by giving itself a name, the holy name of God, the perpetual act of creation. All that lives is an expression of God’s language,―and what is it that Revelation can reveal in the last resort if not the name of God?" ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Hebrew is a mathematical language, since each letter represents a number, principality, literal and symbolic meaning, and divine law. Therefore, the study of Kabbalah is precisely the study of occult or intuitive mathematics: how numbers represent cosmic principles, entities, abstractions, philosophies, and natural laws.
"In Kabbalah, everything is numbers and mathematics. The number is holy and infinite. In the universe everything is measurement and weight. For the Gnostics, God is a geometrist. Mathematics are sacred. No one was admitted into the school of Pythagoras if they were not knowledgeable about mathematics, music, etc. Numbers are sacred.” ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Dion Fortune best explains the foundations of esoteric systems such as the Kabbalah, for in understanding its universal and mathematical symbolism, one possess Archimedes' lever: the fulcrum by which to lift the heavy weight of misconception and learned ignorance to discover the solid foundations of practical spirituality below.
“All esoteric systems use a symbolic method of notation in their teachings. Each of the symbols employed indicates a spiritual potency, and the ideas associated with them indicate its method of function; their interrelation represents the interaction of these forces. If we have the key to one symbol-system we can readily equate it with all the others, for fundamentally they are the same.” ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
As with every religion, the language within which their teachings were delivered bear figurative, innate, and sacerdotal power. Hebrew is one such expression of the sacred language and reflects in a pure way the divine abstractions of cosmic intelligence. This is why it is important, as practical kabbalists, that one have a firm understanding of the twenty-two Hebrew letters, for within them is the ultimate synthesis of the entire Jewish wisdom. If one does not know the symbology of the Hebrew alphabet, then one does not know Judaism at all.
“These cosmic symbols are further represented by the letters of a sacred language, which, in the Western Tradition, is Hebrew. Out of these letters are formed the Sacred Names and Words of Power, which are simply algebraical formulas resuming potencies. Thus is the universe represented to the initiate, and he is able to trace the correlation between its parts and see what invisible realities are throwing their shadows upon the world of Maya, illusion.” ―Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
While kabbalah can appear intimidating, over-complicated, and difficult to learn, what is important is the laws, potencies, and realities related with each of the twenty-two Hebrew letters. It is not necessary to be fluent in speaking or writing Hebrew to benefit and master the Kabbalah: the yoga of the West, for in practical works of theurgy and divine invocation, one must utilize the original names of God in order to call upon and receive aid.
"It is not required of those who would use the Qabalah as their Yoga that they should acquire any extensive knowledge of the Hebrew language; all they need is to be able to read and write the Hebrew characters. The modern Qabalah has been pretty thoroughly naturalized in the English language, but it retains, and must ever retain, all its Words of Power in Hebrew, which is the sacred language of the West just as Sanskrit is the sacred language of the East. There are those who have objected to the free employment of Sanskrit terms in occult literature, and no doubt they will object even more strongly to the employment of Hebrew characters, but their use is unavoidable, for every letter in Hebrew is also a number, and the numbers to which words add up are not only an important clue to their significance, but can also be used to express the relationships existing between different ideas and potencies." ―Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
Names bear relational and positional power. The Bible often relates in its languages, Hebrew and Greek, differing names of divinity, which unfortunately have been translated or castrated through the masculine singular "God." This does not accurately reflect the integrity and nuances of original, since such a mistranslation strips the Scriptures of all practical power. What often goes unrecognized is how each divine name reflects different aspects and expressions of the Tree of Life that allow for works of high magic and profound meditation.
Gematria, Notarikon, and Temurah
Part of numerological mysticism and sacred names of God are reflected within the art of Gematria, Notarikon, and Temurah, which have been utilized especially within the Western Esoteric Tradition and the writings of Abraham Abulafia's prophetic kabbalism:
"...in the literature of the Hasidism, prominence is given for the first time to certain techniques of mystical speculation which are popularly supposed to represent the heart and core of Kabbalism, such as Gematria, i.e. the calculation of the numerical value of Hebrew words and the search for connections with other words or phrases of equal value; Notarikon, or interpretation of the letters of a word as abbreviations of whole sentences; and Temurah, or interchange of letters according to certain systematic rules." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
"Basing himself upon the abstract and non-corporeal nature of script, [Abraham Abulafia] develops a theory of the mystical contemplation of letters and their configurations, as the constituents of God’s name. For this is the real and, if I may say so, the peculiarly Jewish object of mystical contemplation: The Name of God, which is something absolute, because it reflects the hidden meaning and totality of existence; the Name through which everything else acquires its meaning and which yet to the human mind has no concrete, particular meaning of its own. In short, Abulafia believes that whoever succeeds in making this great Name of God, the least concrete and perceptible thing in the world, the object of his meditation, is on the way to true mystical ecstasy." ―Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism
Learning to combine letters, words, and names is a pivotal element to Zoharic commentary and the Sefer Yetsirah, for entirely new meanings are interpolated within seemingly innocuous text, which in term bear numerological and therefore intuitive significance:
“This science [of mystical combination] is an instrument which leads nearer to prophecy than any other discipline of learning. A man who gains his understanding of the essentials of reality from books is called Hakham, a scholar. If he obtains it from the Kabbalah, that is to say from one who has himself obtained it from the contemplation of the divine names or from another Kabbalist, then he is called Mevin, that is, one who has insight, but if his understanding is derived from his own heart, from reflecting upon what he knows of reality, then he is called Daatan, that is, a gnostic. He whose understanding is such as to combine all three, to wit, scholarly erudition, insight obtained from a genuine Kabbalist, and wisdom from reflecting deeply upon things, of him I am not indeed going to say that he deserves to be called a prophet, especially if he has not yet been touched by the pure intellect, or if touched [that is to say, in ecstasy] does not yet know by whom.” ―Abraham Abulafia, The Knowledge of the Messiah and the Meaning of the Redeemer
Practical Mysticism and Spirituality
Irregardless of how extensive the kabbalistic writings and traditions are, what is most important is that intellectual study is balanced through practical works of meditation and comprehension.
"Kabbalistic studies must be combined with work on oneself. One must be conscious of these studies, for it they remain only in the intellect they will be lost when one dies. Yet, if one is conscious of them, the knowledge will manifest itself from childhood." ―Samael Aun Weor
The Gnostic institutions from the tradition of Samael Aun Weor provide instructions on meditation, which necessitate, in its preliminary stages, the cultivation of internal silence, serenity, and concentration, so as to extract understanding and perception of any given phenomena or information.
"The esotericist, when endeavoring to formulate his philosophy for communication to others, is confronted by the fact that his knowledge of the higher forms of existence is obtained by a process other than thought; and this process only commences when thought is left behind." ―Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
Kabbalah is also the basis of the Christian faith. Jesus of Nazareth, the Master Aberamentho or Patriarch of the Gnostic Church, was an enlightened rabbi who spoke and communicated through Kabbalah. Without an understanding of Kabbalah, one remains ignorant of the true purpose, direction, and esoteric systems of Christianity.
"The Qabalistic cosmology is the Christian Gnosis. Without it we have an incomplete system in our religion, and it is this incomplete system which has been the weakness of Christianity." ―Dion Fortune, The Mystical Qabalah
Intellectual and Intuitive Kabbalah
Kabbalah is learned in two ways that both contradict and compliment each other: intellectually and intuitively.
Intellectual Kabbalah is knowledge from instruction, lectures, teachings, books, and scriptures.
Intuitive Kabbalah is what a person experiences directly from the hands of divinity as a result of internal meditation.
Both an intellectual and experiential knowledge of Kabbalah are necessary. One without the other leads to confusion, fanaticism, and ignorance.
"There are two kinds of Kabbalists: intellectual Kabbalists and intuitive Kabbalists. The intellectual Kabbalists are black magicians. The intuitive Kabbalists are white magicians.
"On such a simple thing, scholars have written millions of volumes and theories that would turn anyone crazy who had the bad taste of becoming intellectualized with that entire arsenal." ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Many people know Kabbalah from the intellect, yet their behavior demonstrates that they do not enact or live the ethical conduct of positive initiation or white magic: the service of the mind towards the Innermost Spirit (God within) and humanity. Instead, what many of them do is fulfill the precepts of negative initiation or black magic: the fortification of conditioning, mind, desires, egotism, lust, selfishness, pride, anger, etc., for the overall corruption of humanity.
"The intellect is a tool that is useful when placed under the service of the Spirit. But when the intellect seeks to control the Spirit, the intellect becomes destructive. Therefore, the intuitive Kabbalist is the one who learns through the experience of the consciousness. The intuitive Kabbalist learns directly, without opinions or theories. This one seeks a radical intellectual culture: a comprehensive knowledge of esotericism that is qualified by direct investigation.
"In order to be a complete Kabbalist, one has to study; one has to record the teachings in the memory." ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
Kabbalah is a map of consciousness. Can one travel to another country without knowing the language and map of that place? Isn't it true that one can be easily manipulated, hurt, or misled without knowing the language, idiosyncrasies, and customs of a foreign culture?
Kabbalah is the symbolic language of divinity. If we do not even grasp an intellectual understanding of the signposts, then we will not know how to read the inner guidance of our own divinity.
Simply studying the map does not indicate that we have traveled. This is intellectual kabbalah. Most of humanity who engages in Kabbalah does so exclusively from the intellect, because they never consciously experience the principles contained in their studies.
Both knowledge of the map combined with actual travel signifies that one is practically working in initiation.
"The objective of studying the Kabbalah is to be skilled for work in the internal worlds... One who does not comprehend remains confused in the internal worlds. Kabbalah is the basis in order to understand the language of these worlds." ―Samael Aun Weor, Tarot and Kabbalah
"One is filled with admiration, on penetrating into the Sanctuary of the Kabbalah, at seeing a doctrine so logical, so simple, and at the same time so absolute. The necessary union of ideas and signs, the consecration of the most fundamental realities by the primitive characters; the Trinity of Words, Letters, and Numbers; a philosophy simple as the alphabet, profound and infinite as the Word; theorems more complete and luminous than those of Pythagoras; a theology summed up by counting on one's fingers; an Infinite which can be held in the hollow of an infant's hand; ten ciphers and twenty-two letters, a triangle, a square, and a circle,―these are all the elements of the Kabbalah. These are the elementary principles of the written Word, reflection of that spoken Word that created the world!" ―Albert Pike, in Eliphas Levi's Transcendental Magic
We invite you to study and experience this life-changing knowledge, which is the mirror and reflection of your complete human and divine potential.
Flee, my friend, into your solitude (meditation)! I see you dazed by the noise of the great men (who pretend to be initiates) and stung all over by the stings of the little men (the common rabble, the fornicators). Woods and crags know how to keep a dignified silence with you. Be like the tree (of life of the Kabbalah) that you love with its wide branches: silently listening (in comprehension, knowledge, and understanding), it hangs over the sea (the creative waters of transmutation).
Where solitude (meditation) ceases the market place begins (the pseudo-spiritual and esoteric groups); and where the market place (esoteric schools) begins the noise of the great actors and the buzzing of the poisonous flies begins too. In the world even the best things amount to nothing without someone to make a show of them (not even the great teachings of the prophets, the messengers of the Superman, can remain alone; they are prostituted by the rabble): great men (initiates, masters) the people call these showmen.
Little do the people comprehend the great—that is, the creating (through sexual alchemy). But they have a mind for all showmen and actors of great things.
Around the inventors of new values the world revolves: invisibly it revolves (since the prophets, the heralds of the Superman, guide humanity). But around the actors revolve the people and fame: that is the way of the world.
The actor has spirit (גדולה Gedulah, the Innermost) but little conscience (awareness, conscious knowledge, or initiatic development) of the spirit. Always he has faith in that with which he inspires the most faith—faith in himself. Tomorrow he has a new faith, and the day after tomorrow a newer one (since these students are mere butterflies who wander from esoteric group to esoteric group, adopting and abandoning multiple teachings). He has quick senses, like the people, and capricious moods. To overthrow (in an argument)—that means to him: to prove. To drive to frenzy (through impassioned speech)—that means to him: to persuade. And blood (energy, attention, adulation) is to him the best of all reasons. A truth that slips into delicate ears alone he calls a lie and nothing (because these so-called "initiates" really are not that; they have no development). Verily, he believes only in gods (egos, idols in his mind) who make a big noise in the world!
Full of solemn jesters is the market place (these pseudo-esoteric and esoteric institutions throughout the world)—and the people (gnostics) pride themselves on their great men, their masters of the hour. But the hour presses them; so they press you. And from you too they want a Yes or No (they secretly want you to agree with them or to provide an answer to their obtrusive questions). Alas, do you want to place your chair between pro and con (the battle of the antitheses, the subjective rationalizations of the animal ego)?
Do not be jealous of these unconditional, pressing men, you lover of truth (you genuine gnostic, initiate, who has suffered too much)! Never yet has truth hung on the arm of the unconditional (those who do not place into action the causes and conditions that would make these people genuine initiates). On account of these sudden men, go back to your security: it is only in the market place (public, esoteric schools) that one is assaulted with Yes? or No? Slow is the experience of all deep wells (for the hermits of the ninth arcanum, as described by Nietzsche in "On the Adder's Bite," do not genuinely understand the true initiates; the so-called practitioners of gnosis or esotericism are easily insulted by genuine generosity and the progress of others): long must they wait before they know what fell into their depth.
Far from the market place and from fame happens all that is great (away from the politics of esoteric institutions, the Gnostic Movement): far from the market place and from fame the inventors of new values have always dwelt.
Flee, my friend, into your solitude (upon the mountain of initiation): I see you stung all over by poisonous flies (the gossip and slander of these so-called missionaries and gnostic students). Flee where the air is raw and strong.
Flee into your solitude! You have lived too close to the small and the miserable. Flee their invisible revenge! (For as Samael Aun Weor stated, "Unfortunately, and even if we were very courteous and even sincere at times, there is no doubt that invisibly and internally we treat each other very badly. People who are apparently very generous drag their fellow men daily into the secret caves of themselves to do with them whatever they please (abuse, mockery, contempt, etc.)." -Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology). Against you they are nothing but revenge.
No longer raise up your arm against them. Numberless are they, and it is not your lot to shoo flies. Numberless are these small and miserable creatures; and many a proud building (initiate) has perished of raindrops and weeds (gossip, criticism, and slander). You are no (philosopher's) stone (perfected completely through the Mountains of Initiation, Resurrection, and Ascension), but you have already become hollow from many drops. You will yet burst from many drops. I see you wearied by poisonous flies, bloody in a hundred places; and your pride (solar dignity) refuses even to be angry. Blood (energy and attention) is what they want from you in all innocence. Their bloodless souls crave blood, and so they sting in all innocence. But you, you deep one (you genuine hermit of Arcanum Nine), suffer too deeply even from small wounds; and even before you have healed, the same poisonous worm crawls over your hand. You are too proud (dignified) to kill these greedy creatures. But beware lest it become your downfall that you suffer all their poisonous injustice.
They hum around you with their praise too: obtrusiveness is their praise. They want the proximity of your skin and your blood. They flatter you as a god or devil; they whine before you as before a god or devil. What does it matter? They are flatterers and whiners and nothing more (they have no development and they will sooner or later enter devolution and the Second Death).
Often they affect charm. But that has always been the cleverness of cowards. Indeed, cowards are clever! They think a lot about you with their petty souls—you always seem problematic to them. Everything that one thinks about a lot becomes problematic.
They punish you for all your (solar) virtues. They forgive you entirely—your mistakes.
Because you are gentle and just in disposition you say, "They are guiltless in their small existence." ("They do not know any better and perhaps in time, through Gnosis, they will learn"). But their petty souls think, "Guilt is every great existence."
Even when you are gentle to them they still feel despised by you: and they return your benefaction with hidden malefactions. Your silent pride (humility and dignity) always runs counter to their taste; they are jubilant if for once you are modest enough to be vain (to entertain them and be a fool, to act upon the whims and enthusiasm of their animal ego, such as through functions and gatherings for these so-called esoteric groups). That which we recognize in a person we also inflame in him: therefore, beware of the small creatures. Before you they feel small (they recognize they are not initiates), and their baseness glimmers and glows in invisible revenge. Have you not noticed how often they became mute when you stepped among them, and how their strength went from them like smoke from a dying fire?
Indeed, my friend, you are the bad conscience of your neighbors: for they are unworthy of you. They hate you, therefore, and would like to suck your blood. Your neighbors will always be poisonous flies; that which is great in you, just that must make them more poisonous and more like flies.
Flee, my friend, into your solitude (upon the Mountain of Initiation, the Superior Worlds) and where the air is raw and strong! It is not your lot to shoo flies.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
I have a question for you alone, my brother: like a sounding lead, I cast this question into your soul that I might know how deep it is.
You are young and wish for a child and marriage. But I ask you: Are you a man entitled to wish for a child? Are you the victorious one (who has conquered Netzach: the mind, Victory in Hebraic Kabbalah), the self-conqueror, the commander of your senses (pratyahara in the eightfold path of meditation), the master of your virtues (Bodhichitta)? This I ask you. Or is it the animal (ego) and (lustful) need that speak out of your wish? Or loneliness? Or lack of peace (Shamatha: the nine stages of calm abiding) with yourself?
Let your victory (Arcanum 7: Triumph in the spiritual revolution) and your freedom long for a (golden) child (of alchemy: the revolutionary Christos or Superhuman). You shall build living monuments (solar bodies) to your victory and your liberation. You shall build over and beyond yourself (through sexual magic), but first you must be built yourself, perpendicular in body and soul (you must achieve the four points of the cross in yourself, the equilibrium of the four elements: air (thought), fire (emotions), water (sexuality) and earth (physicality) This is achieved by becoming the fourth type of human being in the Fourth Way teachings: a psychologically equilibrated human being). You shall not only reproduce yourself (for that which is born of the flesh is flesh), but produce something higher (since that which is born of the spirit, is spirit; John 3:6). May the garden of marriage (עֵדֶן Eden, signifying voluptuousness and sexual bliss in Hebrew) help you in that!
You shall create a higher (solar) body (Christ Astral, Christ Mental, and Christ Causal), a first movement (Kether, for "He is the One Who He is" or "I Am the One Who is Becoming" in a perpetual state of movement), a self-propelled wheel (or chakra, since the chakras are enlivened and permanently spin once awakening / raising the sexual Kundalini fire through initiation)—you shall create a creator (since the solar bodies create Christic power continually through the continuum of tantra).
Marriage: thus I name the will of two (Adam and Eve, male-female, י Iod and הוה Chavah) to create the one (יהוה Iod-Chavah: the Solar Human Being) that is more than those who created it. Reverence for each other (Awe or פחד pechad on the leg of the gnostic pentagram indicates reverence for controlling the sexual energy, the thigh where is written "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" [Revelation 19:16] since this power makes one a מלך Melech, a solar king of nature), as for those willing with such a (solar) will (תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the human soul), is what I name marriage. Let this be the meaning and truth of your marriage. But that which the all-too-many, the superfluous (fornicators), call marriage—alas, what shall I name that? Alas, this poverty of the soul in pair! Alas, this filth of the soul in pair! Alas, this wretched contentment in pair! Marriage they call this; and they say that their marriages are made in heaven. Well, I do not like it, this (egotistical) heaven of the superfluous. No, I do not like them—these (lustful) animals entangled in the heavenly net (who use marriage papers to justify fornication and prostitution of the soul). And let the god who limps near (Vulcan) to bless what he never joined keep his distance from me (since when man and woman sexually unite, they establish a bond in the world of eternity, Hod and Netzach; fornicators abuse the powers of the forge of Vulcan / Yesod: sexuality)! Do not laugh at such marriages! What child would not have cause to weep over its parents?
Worthy I deemed this man (initiate), and ripe for the sense of the earth (how to practice sexual magic by dominating his own מַלְכוּת Malkuth, his kingdom / body, so as to become a King, מלך Melech); but when I saw his wife, the earth seemed to me a house for the senseless. Indeed, I wished that the earth might tremble in convulsions when a saint (initiate) mates with a goose (a woman who has no inclination to practice gnosis).
This one went out like a hero in quest of truths, and eventually he conquered a little dressed-up lie. His marriage he calls it.
That one was reserved and chose choosily. But all at once he spoiled his company forever: his marriage he calls it.
That one sought a maid with the virtues of an angel (a woman who practices transmutation and gnosticism). But all at once he became the maid (slave) of a woman (who does not want anything to do with the spiritual work); and now he must turn himself into an angel (since certain gnostics marry persons who do not support them in the path of initiation).
Careful I have found all buyers now, and all of them have cunning eyes. But even the most cunning still buys his wife in a poke.
Many brief follies—that is what you call love (גדולה Gedulah, the spirit). And your marriage concludes many brief follies, as a long stupidity. Your love of woman, and woman's love of man—oh, that it were compassion for suffering (Bodhichitta), and shrouded gods (Elohim)! But, for the most part, two beasts (fornicators) find each other.
But even your best love is merely an ecstatic parable and a painful ardor. It is a torch that should light up higher paths for you (upon the Tree of Life). Over and beyond yourselves you shall love one day (since חֶסֶד Chesed / גדולה Gedulah, the spirit, is above תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth and גבורה Geburah: the human and divine souls). Thus learn first to love (as גדולה Gedulah / Love or Goodness, the Innermost Spirit). And for that you had to drain the bitter cup of your love (in meditation upon the death of your defects). Bitterness (karmic suffering) lies in the (alchemical) cup of even the best love: thus it arouses longing for the Superman; thus it arouses your thirst, creator (alchemist). Thirst for the creator (Chesed, Binah, Chokmah, and Kether, since the upper trinity of the Tree of Life creates along with the spirit), an arrow and longing for the Superman: tell me, my brother, is this your will to marriage? Holy I call such a will and such a marriage.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufmann
(Note: The writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, particularly his Thus Spoke Zarathustra, is esoteric and requires a strong knowledge of Kabbalah, Alchemy, Initiation, the Tarot, Dream Yoga, and Esotericism. Here is an excerpt of an important chapter in the aforementioned text, which will demonstrate that his writings convey a depth of knowledge that goes beyond the limits and interpretations of academia).
Is it your wish, my brother (fellow initiate), to go into solitude (meditation)? Is it your wish to seek the way to yourself (Ain Soph)? Then linger a moment, and listen to me.
"He who seeks (initiation), easily gets lost (in the abyss and second death). All loneliness (contemplation and self-remembering) is guilt"—thus speaks the herd (fornicators). And you have long belonged to the herd. The (egotistical) voice of the herd will still be audible in you. And when you will say, "I no longer have a common conscience with you," it will be a lament and an agony. Behold, this agony itself was born of the common conscience (the collective lunar mind of intellectual animals), and the last glimmer of that conscience still glows on your affliction (for you are entering into initiation through conscious works and voluntary sufferings).
But do you want to go the way of your affliction (the path of sacrifice and self-denial of the ego), which is the way to yourself (Ain Soph Paranishpanna)? Then show me your right and your strength to do so. Are you a new strength and a new right (the aspiration, longing, and power of Bodhichitta, which claims for itself the end goal, Self-realization: Ain Soph Paranishpanna)? A first movement (Kether)? A self-propelled wheel (of the Bhavachakra: the wheel of becoming)? Can you compel the very stars (divinity) to revolve around you (through your initiatic works)?
Alas, there is so much lusting for the heights (the three mountains of initiation, resurrection, and ascension)! There are so many convulsions of the ambitious (mythomaniacs and false gurus who proclaim to be initiates, and yet are not). Show me that you are not one of the lustful and ambitious.
Alas, there are so many great thoughts which do no more than a bellows: they puff up and make emptier (for theories and beliefs amount to nothing: only conscious works and actions produce results and the entrance into initiation, since as Goethe stated: every theory is gray and only the leaves from the Tree of Life are green).
You call yourself (spiritually) free? Your dominant (Dianoetic) thought I want to hear, and not that you have escaped from a yolk (from one pseudo-spiritual / pseudo-esoteric group to another). Are you one of those who had the right to escape from a yoke (by finding and entering into initiation)? There are some who threw away their last value when they threw away their servitude (to a particular religion or tradition).
Free from what (a religion, school, or esoteric system of thought)? As if that mattered to Zarathustra! But your eyes should tell me brightly: free for what (the Ain Soph Paranishpanna)?
Can you give yourself your own evil (the black Pillar of Justice) and your own good (the white Pillar of Mercy upon the Tree of Life, the Kabbalah) and hang your own will over yourself as a law (as an Apostolate of Arcanum 12 of the Initiatic Tarot)? Can you be your own judge and avenger of your law (Ain Soph, Glorian)? Terrible it is to be alone with the judge and avenger of one's own law (Glorian). Thus is a star (Ain Soph) thrown out into the void and into the icy breath of solitude (meditation and contemplation within the hell realms). Today you are still suffering from the many, being one (an initiate who has integrated his or her psyche through psychoanalytic meditation): today your courage and your hopes are still whole. But the time will come when solitude (meditation) will make you weary, when your pride (solar dignity) will double up, and your courage gnash its teeth. And you will cry, "I am alone!" The time will come when that which seems high to you will no longer be in sight (since you will undergo a spiritual night, whereby internal, mystical experiences remain obscured to you), and that which seems low (the fornicating ego) will be all-too-near; even what seems sublime to you will frighten you like a ghost (just as Hamlet's dead father, representative of the Innermost Spirit, haunted his son in Shakespeare's play, begging the Prince to avenge his murder from Claudius, the animal ego, since Chiram Abiff must resurrect from the dead after his death at the hands of the three traitors). And you will cry, "All is false!"
There are feelings which want to kill the lonely; and if they do not succeed, well, then they themselves must die. But are you capable of this—to be a murderer (of your own egos)?
My brother (initiate), do you know the word "contempt" yet? And the agony of your justice—being just to those who despise you? You force many to relearn about you; they charge it bitterly against you (since people you knew before you were an initiate want you to remain stagnant, the same, degenerate person). You came close to them and yet passed by; that they will never forgive. You pass over and beyond them (through climbing the mountain of initiation): but the higher you ascend, the smaller you appear to the eye of envy. But most of all they hate those who fly (to the heights of the Empyrean, Kether).
"How would you be just to me?" you must say. "I choose injustice as my proper lot." Injustice and filth they throw after the lonely one (the initiate): but, my brother, if you would be a star (Ain Soph Paranishpanna, an Ain Soph or supra-atomic star with Self-cognizance), you must not shine less for them because of that.
And beware of the good and the just (those who pretend to be initiates and yet are not)! They like to crucify those who invent their own virtue for themselves (the self-generated or Twice Born)—they hate the lonely one. Beware also of holy simplicity! Everything that is not simple it considers unholy; it also likes to play with fire—the stake (criticism, since in numerous esoteric circles, the students and instructors envy the masters and crucify them). And beware also of the attacks of your love (your longing and desire to be understood)! The lonely one offers his hand too quickly to whomever he encounters. To some people you may not give your hand, only a paw: and I desire that your paw should also have claws.
But the worst enemy you can encounter will also be you, yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caves and woods (the psychological country / landscape of the ego as cited by Samael Aun Weor in The Great Rebellion and illustrated by Hieronymus Bosch in his "Temptation of St. Anthony").
Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself. And your way leads past yourself and your seven devils (seven principal defects: lust, pride, anger, gluttony, laziness, greed, envy). You will be a heretic to yourself and a witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and a villain (because within the field of psychological self-observation, you will perceive all of your secret evilness and degeneration). You must wish to consume yourself in your own flame (Glorian, your Intimate Christ, the Superman): how could you wish to become new unless you had first become ashes (through mystical death and psychological decapitation of the animal ego, of animal desire)!
Lonely one, you are going the way of the creator (the Twice-born, those who are born again through sexual alchemy, who generate the solar bodies in the Perfect Matrimony): you would create a god for yourself out of your seven devils (for through Arcanum 15: Passion, you white-wash the devil, you burn the devil in you in order to free the Essence, the consciousness. Through mystical death, you chastise and clean the demon-I's in your psyche, thereby freeing the soul from bondage and uniting it with the Lion of Judah, the Superman).
Lonely one, you are going the way of the lover (Arcanum 6: Indecision): yourself (Ain Soph) you love (through scientific chastity), and therefore you despise yourself (your fornicating, animal ego), as only lovers (initiates in sexual transmutation, in holy alchemy) despise. The lover (initiate) would create (the solar bodies) because he despises (his ego). What does he know of (conscious) love who did not have to despise precisely what he loved (when he was a fornicator)!
Go into your loneliness (meditation) with your love (Gedulah, Spirit, Innermost) and with your creation (solar bodies), my brother; and only much later will justice limp after you (relating to Arcanum 8: the blessings of the Divine Mother born from expiation and the balancing of the scales or measurements of karma).
With my tears go into your loneliness, my brother. I love him who wants to create over and beyond himself (create the solar bodies through the Perfect Matrimony) and thus perishes (through initiatic death).
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufmann
(Note: the Old Iranian root of the name Zarathustra comes from: Zarat, "golden" combined with ushtra, "camel." This is significant for understanding this passage. Gnostic exegesis is provided in parentheses.)
Of three metamorphoses of the spirit I tell you: how the spirit becomes a camel; and the camel, a lion; and the lion, finally, a child.
There is much that is difficult for the spirit, the strong reverent spirit that would bear much (karma through initiation): but the difficult and the most difficult are what his strength demands.
What is difficult? asks the spirit (of the neophyte) that would bear much, and kneels down like a camel (ushtra in Old Iranian, גמל Gamal in Hebrew) wanting to be well loaded (to take upon itself the bitter path of initiation). What is most difficult, O (solar) heroes, asks the spirit that would bear much, that I may take it upon myself and exult in my (sexual) strength (און aun)? Is it not humbling oneself to wound one's haughtiness? Letting one's folly shine to mock one's (false) wisdom?
Or is it this: parting from our cause when it triumphs (Sattvic action mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gita)? Climbing high mountains (of initiation) to tempt the tempter (Christus-Lucifer)?
Or is it this: feeding on the acorns and grass of knowledge (דעת da'ath, gnosis) and, for the sake of the truth, suffering hunger in one's soul (like Tantalus awaiting the solemn banquet of the Pascal Lamb)?
Or is it this: being (psychologically) sick and sending home the comforters (by not seeking spiritual advice from others, but delving into profound meditation in order to receive wisdom within) and making friends with the (spiritually) deaf, who never hear what you want?
Or is it this: stepping into filthy waters (in transmutation) when they are the waters of truth (poisoned by fornication as mentioned in "On the Rabble" in Part Two of Thus Spoke Zarathustra), and not repulsing cold frogs and hot toads? (This signifies not running away from our own internal, psychological ugliness that we begin to perceive when working with the "hot" and "cold" synpathetic cords of our spinal column, the solar and lunar energetic channels known as Ida and Pingala, which come from our waters, wherein reside the frogs and toads, symbolic of the fertility of Yesod).
Or is it this: loving those who despise us and offering a hand to the ghost (our Innermost) that would frighten us? (since our animal mind is terrified before the presence of the divine; in Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Claudius, the ego, has slain the King of Denmark, and now the ghost of the dead king, the Intimate Being, haunts our very souls through intense spiritual inquietudes).
All these most difficult things the spirit (of the neophyte) that would bear much takes upon itself: like the camel (ushtra) that, burdened, speeds into the desert (מִּדְבָּר Hebrew: mid'bar), thus the spirit (of the neophyte) speeds into its desert (for in the מִּדְבָּר wilderness, the desert of life, we work to incarnate and worship the Word, דָּבָר Dabar, the Christ; see Exodus 3:18).
In the loneliest desert, however, the second metamorphosis occurs: here the spirit becomes a lion (from the Tribe of Judaea through the Venustic Initiation) who would conquer his freedom and be master in his own desert (his מִּדְבָּר mid'bar by incarnating דָּבָר Dabar, the Word). Here he seeks out his last master (the black psychological moon, Lilith): he wants to fight him and his last god (the dragon of darkness of our atomic psychological infernos mentioned by Samael Aun Weor in The Three Mountains); for ultimate victory he wants to fight with the great dragon.
Who is the great dragon whom the spirit (of Christ in the Venustic Initiation) will no longer call lord and god? (for "Thou shalt have no other אֱלֹהִים Elohim, gods, before me." -Exodus 20:3). "Thou shalt" is the name of the great dragon (for our own animal ego takes the commandments, the Law of Moshe, and subverts it for itself; it abuses the law and seeks to make us slaves of Egypt, מצרים Mitzraim, Malkuth). But the spirit of the lion (of the Tribe of Judah, the Cosmic Christ) says, "I will" (or we can say, Eheieh Asher Eheieh אהיה אשר אהיה, "I AM THAT I AM," better translated as "HE IS WHAT HE IS"). "Thou shalt" lies in his way, sparkling like gold, an animal covered with scales; and on every scale shines a golden "thou shalt" (resembling the golden calf of Moloch, mentioned in Exodus 32, and his tenebrous agents of darkness who strive to tempt and slay the Superman).
Values, thousands of years old, shine on these scales (with false, diabolic light); and thus speaks the mightiest of all dragons: "All value of all things shines on me. All value has long been created, and I am all created value (through fornication). Verily, there shall be no more 'I will ( אהיה Eheieh, I AM, or better said, HE IS).'" Thus speaks the dragon (of darkness).
My brothers, why is there a need in the spirit for the lion? Why is not the beast of burden (the initiate who has not incarnated the Lion of Christ), which renounces (self-will) and is reverent (to the Law of Moses), enough?
To create new values—that even the lion (the Bodhisattva of the Straight Path) cannot do; but the creation of freedom for oneself for new creation—that is within the power of the lion (for the acquisition of Mastery is one thing, but perfection in it is another; see the Three Wise Men or Magi in The Gnostic Nativity of Christ). The creation of freedom for oneself (through the First Law of the Glorian) and a sacred "No" even to duty (the written commandments or Second Law: Deuteronomy)—for that, my brothers, the lion (the Bodhisattva) is needed (since only Christ incarnated within the initiate can perform the Great Work by transcending the Second Law). To assume the right to new values—that is the most terrifying assumption for a reverent spirit (the neophyte or initiates who have not yet become lions of Judaea). Verily, to him it is preying (immorality, since the neophytes do not comprehend the Path of the Bodhisattva, the Rebel Christ), and a matter for a beast of prey (who renounces and annihilates the morals of the populace). He once loved "thou shalt" as most sacred (because before incarnating the First Law, one must follow the Second Law): now he must find illusion and caprice even in the most sacred (for he once followed the Second Law, but now must incarnate the Revolutionary Christ, Who transcends the Second Law), that freedom from his love (psychological attachments) may become his prey: the lion is needed for such prey (since only Christ, the First Law, can annihilate the entirety of the ego on the Second Mountain).
But say, my brothers, what can the child (of the Resurrection) do that even the lion (Bodhisattva of compassion) could not do? Why must the preying lion (the warrior of the Straight Path) still become a child? The child (of the Resurrection) is innocence and forgetting (through purification and the waters of Lethe; see also Matthew 18:3), a new beginning, a game, a self-propelled wheel (Sanskrit: chakra, which now turns through the bhava, the becoming, of אהיה אשר אהיה Eheieh Asher Eheieh, "I AM HE WHO BECOMES," "I AM HE WHO INITIATES," see the Bhavachakra course), a first movement, a sacred "Yes." (As Samael Aun Weor stated in Igneous Rose, "Our Innermost is Yes, Yes, Yes. The wisdom of our Innermost is Yes, Yes, Yes. The love of our Innermost is Yes, Yes, Yes.") For the game of creation (as a Cosmocreator), my brothers, a sacred "Yes" is needed (we need our Innermost to be realized within ourselves through Resurrection): the spirit (Kether, upon Resurrection) now wills his own will (for תפארת Tiphereth is united with the will of the Father, for אהיה אשר אהיה "HE IS WHO HE IS"), and he who had been lost to the world (through initiation) now conquers his own world (through Resurrection).
Of the three metamorphoses of the spirit (through initiation) I have told you: how the spirit became a camel (a neophyte on the path of renunciation); and the camel, a lion (of Judah, a Bodhisattva of Compassion); and the lion, finally, a (golden) child (of Alchemy and the Resurrection—golden in Old Iranian is Zarat, which when combined with ushtra, the camel of the renunciate, is Zarathustra).
Thus spoke Zarathustra (the golden camel who traverses the wilderness in order to become a Superman). And at that time he sojourned in the town that is called The Motley Cow (the sacred Hindustani symbol of the Divine Mother Kundalini).
- From Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, translated by Walter Kaufmann.
Behold, this is the hole (infraconsciousness) of the tarantula (pseudo-esoteric spiritual person or so-called "gnostic missionary"). Do you want to see the tarantula itself? Here hangs its web (deceits and lies); touch it, that it tremble!
There it comes willingly (to persecute you with its fanaticism): welcome, tarantula! Your triangle and symbol sits black on your back (representative of the three traitors: the demon of desire, the demon of the mind, and the demon of evil will); and I also know what sits in your soul. Revenge sits in your soul: wherever you bite (criticize and gossip), black scabs grow; your poison makes the soul whirl with revenge.
Thus I speak to you in a parable—you who make souls whirl, you preachers of equality (because the so-called "gnostic" missionaries, who pretend to be initiates, are filled with supreme spiritual envy towards their superiors, those initiates who know how to have internal experiences from daily meditation, even when such initiates are only students in these spiritual groups). To me you are tarantulas, and secretly vengeful (because you are jealous of those who actually succeed in the Great Work; you have no direct knowledge of the truth, so you hate those who do). But I shall bring your secrets to light; therefore I laugh in your faces with my laughter of the heights (because I have internal development and a higher Level of Being born from the rigors of the initiatic path). Therefore I tear at your webs (your false beliefs that you weave around yourself and which you use to inhibit, repress, and trap your students), that your rage may lure you out of your lie-holes and your revenge may leap out from behind your word justice (since the hypocritical gnostic pharisees use the words of Christ in order to condemn Christ; see Samael Aun Weor's Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled). For that man be delivered from revenge, that is for me the bridge to the highest hope (Kether), and a rainbow (of קֶשֶׁת Qesheth, the path which leads from Malkuth to Kether on the Tree of Life) after long storms (ordeals and karmic suffering).
The tarantulas, of course, would have it otherwise. "What justice means to us is precisely that the world be filled with the storms of our revenge"—thus they speak to each other (they want revenge because they are in despair; they lack conscious knowledge and direct experience of the internal worlds). "We shall wreak vengeance and abuse on all whose equals we are not"—thus do the tarantula-hearts vow. "And 'will to equality' shall henceforth be the name for virtue (which makes such people very small in comparison to the giants of initiation); and against all that has power we want to raise our clamor!"
You preachers of equality, the tyrannomania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality (you are impotent because you suffer from nocturnal pollutions or are unable to command the sexual energy): your most secret ambitions to be tyrants thus shroud themselves in words of virtue (you pretend to be a great initiate when you cannot even meditate). Aggrieved conceit, repressed envy—perhaps the conceit and envy of your fathers (from the times of Jesus)—erupt from you as a flame and as the frenzy of revenge.
What was silent in the father speaks in the son; and often I found the son the unveiled secret of the father (because we live on in our descendants through return and recurrence; the hypocritical "gnostic" missionaries are simply the return and recurrence of the pharisees from the Piscean Era when Christ taught).
They are like enthusiasts, yet it is not the heart that fires them—but revenge. And when they become elegant and cold , it is not the spirit but envy that makes them elegant and cold (they criticize the solar initiates and belittle them with many inhibitions and so-called rules; they believe they are the only legitimate gnostic movement or school in the world and that the rest are of the black lodge). Their jealousy leads them even on the paths of thinkers (the great prophets and meditators); and this is the sign of their jealousy: they always go too far (they take what was taught by Samael Aun Weor and distort it), till their weariness must in the end lie down to sleep in the snow (of chastity, since such hypocritical gnostics may practice transmutation, and for a few moments their hypocrisy may go to sleep, only to reawaken later). Out of every one of their complaints (that they cannot be chaste, abstain from drugs, meditate, or transmute) sounds revenge; in their praise there is always a sting (because they recognize their worthlessness before the humble presence of the solar initiates), and to be a judge seems bliss to them (because in the gnostic congresses, such pharisees demand to be president, in command, at the head, so as to enjoy the spiritual envy of their subordinates).
But thus I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. They are people of a low sort and stock; the hangman and the bloodhound look out of their faces. Mistrust all who talk much of their justice! Verily, their souls lack more than honey (transmuted sexual seed and direct knowledge, the sweetness of the soul). And when they call themselves the good and the just, do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only they had—power.
My friends, I do not want to be mixed up and confused with others. Some preach my doctrine of life (חַיִים Chaim, transmutation and alchemy) and are at the same time preachers of equality and tarantulas (people who are in the gnostic movement and working as missionaries, yet who have no development and who seek to belittle others out of their spiritual envy). Although they are sitting in their holes (in Klipoth), these poisonous spiders, with their backs turned on life (Chokmah, the Christ), they speak in favor of life (Chokmah, the Second Logos, who is compassion and selfless love for humanity), but only because they wish to hurt. They wish to hurt those who now have power (through initiation, since they lack initiation themselves), for among these the preaching of death is still most at home (referring to those so-called spiritual leaders or instructors who have no genuine hope and illumination within themselves; they say they are in the gnostic movement, but do not practice at all; they believe in futility and the inevitability of the second death, like the soothsayer in the fourth part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra). If it were otherwise, the tarantulas would teach otherwise; they themselves were once the foremost slanderers of the world and burners of heretics (and have returned within the gnostic movement due to return, recurrence, and karma).
I do not wish to be mixed up and confused with these preachers of equality. For, to me justice speaks thus: "Men are not equal." Nor shall they become equal! What would my love of the Superman be if I spoke otherwise? (since Christ, the Superman, is far above and beyond the degeneration of demons in Klipoth, the intellectual animals, and even the gods of the spiral path)
On a thousand bridges and paths they shall throng to the future, and ever more war and inequality shall divide them (because the gnostic movement has split into multiple factions and organizations that all fight for political supremacy; such division has occurred in every religion): thus does my great love make me speak. In their hostilities they shall become inventors of images (eikonon, relating to Eikasia, the state of unconscious sleep without dreams) and ghosts (Pistis, sleep with dreams, which resemble lunar phantoms of the mind), and with their images (Eikasia) and ghosts (Pistis) they shall yet fight the highest fight against one another (they will encounter those who truly understand and follow the gnostic teaching in order to recognize their emptiness and worthlessness). Good and evil, and rich and poor, and high and low, and all the names of values—arms shall they be and clattering signs that life (חַיִים Chaim, the power of the Holy Spirit within our sexual glands) must overcome itself again and again (through incessant alchemical transmutations).
Life wants to build itself up into the heights with pillars (of Mercy, Justice, and Equilibrium) and steps (on the ladder of Being); it wants to look into vast distances and out toward stirring beauties (since to see mountains in the internal planes signifies that one is walking the path of initiation): therefore it requires height (elevated states of consciousness). And because it requires height, it requires steps and contradiction among the steps and the climbers (because until the ego is dead, one is contradictory). Life wants to climb and to overcome itself climbing.
And behold, my friends: here where the tarantula has its hole, the ruins of an ancient temple rise (since the pharisees base their hypocrisy in the most venerated traditions); behold it with enlightened (clairvoyant) eyes! Verily, the man who once piled his thoughts to the sky in these stones—he, like the wisest, knew the secret of all life (the ancient cultures knew the esoteric science of enlightenment in depth: alchemical transmutation). That struggle and inequality are present even in beauty (Tiphereth), and also war for power (Yesod) and more power (in Da'ath): that is what he teaches us here in the plainest parable. How divinely vault and arches (remind us of the great arcanum, the Ark of the Covenant) break through each other in a wrestling match (like Jacob against the angel Samael, whose doctrine unveils the secret of the great arcanum: sexual magic); how they strive against each other with light and shade (since the white lodge and black lodge fight an eternal war to the death), the godlike strivers (in meditation)—with such assurance and beauty let us be enemies too, my friends! Let us strive against one another like gods (because we must inspire one another to overcome our own egos by confronting each other and having dialogue, which the hypocritical gnostic pharisees are unwilling to do).
Alas, then the tarantula, my old enemy, bit me. With godlike assurance and beauty it bit my finger. "Punishment there must be and justice," it thinks; "and here he shall not sing songs in honor of enmity in vain."
Indeed, it has avenged itself. And alas, now it will make my soul, too, whirl with revenge. But to keep me from whirling, my friends, tie me tight to this column (like Odysseus tied to the mast of his ship in order not to go mad with lust from the sirens of the sea, who desired his shipwreck within the Abyss, Klipoth). Rather would I be a stylite even, than a whirl of revenge.
Verily, Zarathustra is no cyclone or whirlwind; and if he is a dancer, he will never dance the tarantella.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufmann
The following is an excerpt from Al-Hujwiri's seminal Persian Sufi manual, Khasf al-Mahjub, Revelation of the Mystery, translated by Reynold A. Nicholson, with Gnostic commentary [in brackets].
You must know that, according to the opinion of some, passion is a term applied to the attributes of the lower soul [constituted by nafs, egos], but according to others, a term denoting the natural volition (irádat-i ṭab') [iradah signifies conscious willpower, Tiphereth] whereby the lower soul is controlled and directed, just as the spirit [Chesed] is controlled by the intelligence [Binah]. Every spirit [Monad] that is devoid of the faculty of intelligence [which has not fully assimilated the Holy Spirit] is imperfect [absolute perfection of the Innermost is achieved through Resurrection on the Second Mountain], and similarly every lower soul [naf, Nephesh: animal soul or Consciousness] that is devoid of the faculty of [Christic] passion is imperfect. Man [Tiphereth] is continually being called by intelligence [Binah, the Holy Spirit] and passion [Arcanum 15, Lucifer, the tempter] into contrary ways [through Arcanum 6: Indecision]. If he obeys the call of intelligence he attains to faith [through direct experience], but if he obeys the call of passion he arrives at error and infidelity. Therefore passion is a veil and a false guide, and man is commanded to resist it [through self-observation and Meditation]. Passion is of two kinds: (1) desire of pleasure and lust, and (2) desire of worldly honor and authority. He who follows pleasure and lust haunts taverns, and mankind are safe from his mischief, but he who desires honor and authority lives in cells (ṣawámi') and monasteries, and not only has lost the right way himself but also leads others into error. One whose every act depends on passion, and who finds satisfaction in following it, is far from God although he be with you in a mosque [Gnostic Institution or Monastery], but one who has renounced and abandoned it is near to God although he be in a church [foreign, non-Gnostic institution or religion]. Ibráhím Khawwáṣ relates this anecdote: "Once I heard that in Rúm there was a monk who had been seventy years in a monastery. I said to myself: 'Wonderful! Forty years is the term of monastic vows: what is the state of this man that he has remained there for seventy years?' I went to see him. When I approached, he opened a window and said to me: 'O Ibráhím, I know why you have come. I have not stayed here for seventy years because of monastic vows, but I have a dog foul with passion, and I have taken my abode in this monastery for the purpose of guarding the dog (sagbání), and preventing it from doing harm to others.' On hearing him say this I exclaimed: 'O Lord, Thou art able to bestow righteousness on a man even though he be involved in sheer error.' He said to me: 'O Ibráhím, how long will you seek men? Go and seek yourself, and when you have found yourself keep watch over yourself, for this passion clothes itself every day in three hundred and sixty diverse garments of godhead and leads men astray.'"
In short, the devil cannot enter a man's heart until he desires to commit a sin: but when a certain quantity of passion appears, the devil [or black magician] takes it and decks it out and displays it to the man's heart; and this is called diabolic suggestion (waswás). It begins from passion, and in reference to this fact God said to Iblís [Satan] when he threatened to seduce all mankind: "Verily, thou hast no power over My servants" (Qur'an XV, 42), for the devil in reality is a man's lower soul (ego) and passion (Fornication). Hence the Apostle [Prophet Muhammad] said: "There is no one whom this devil (i.e. his passion) has not subdued except 'Umar, for he has subdued his devil [in Sexual Magic]." Passion is mingled as an ingredient in the clay of Adam; whoever renounces it becomes a prince [a Malik, Melech, or King of Tiphereth] and whoever follows it [through Fornication] becomes a captive [of Klipoth]. Junayd was asked: "What is union with God [religion, religare, Yoga]?" He replied: "To renounce passion [Fornication]," for of all of the acts of devotion by which God's favor is sought none has greater value than resistance to passion, because it is easier for a man to destroy a mountain with his nails than to resist passion [Fornication]. I have read in the Anecdotes that Dhu 'l-Nún the Egyptian said: "I saw a man flying through the air [through Jinn science], and asked him how he had attained to this degree. He answered: 'I set my feet on passion (hawá) in order that I might ascend into the air (hawá).'" It is related that Muḥammad b. Faḍl al-Balkhí said: "I marvel at one who goes with his [Christic, volitional] passion into God's House and visits Him [in the superior worlds]: why does he not trample on his [sensual, egotistical] passion that he may attain to Him [through self-realization]?"
The most manifest attribute of the lower soul is lust (shahwat). Lust is a thing that is dispersed in different parts of the human body, and is served by the senses. Man is bound to guard all his members from it [particularly the sexual organs, to train the body not to fornicate], and he shall be questioned concerning the acts of each. The lust of the eye is sight, that of the ear is hearing, that of the nose is smell, that of the tongue is speech, that of the palate is taste, that of the body (jasad) is touch, and that of the mind is thought (andíshídan). It behoves the seeker of God to spend his whole life day and night, in ridding himself of these incitements to passion which show themselves through the senses [by correctly transforming impressions], and to pray God to make him such that this desire will be removed from his inward nature [through contemplation, mushahadah, witnessing within Meditation], since whoever is afflicted with lust is veiled from all spiritual things. If anyone should repel it by his own exertions [without divine help], his task would be long and painful. The right way is resignation (taslím). It is related that Abú 'Alí Siyáh of Merv said: "I had gone to the bath and in accordance with the custom of the Prophet I was using a razor (pubis tondendæ causá). I said to myself: 'O Abú 'Alí, amputate this member which is the source of all lusts and keeps thee afflicted with so much evil.' A voice in my heart whispered: 'O Abú 'Alí, wilt thou interfere in My kingdom [since scientific chastity is fundamental, for "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD." -Deuteronomy 23:1]. Are not all thy limbs equally at My disposal [especially the sexual organs, which are the foundation stone of Allah-Khemia, Alchemy]? If thou do this, I swear by My glory that I will put a hundredfold lust and passion in every hair in that place [for just as Klingsor thought to subdue his animal passion in Wagner's Parsifal, his self-castration did not remove the lust in his mind. In fact, it only increased it]."
Although a man has no power over what is vicious in his constitution, he can get an attribute [defect] changed by Divine aid [in psychoanalytical meditation] and by resigning himself to God's will [through islam, submission to divinity through mystical death] and by divesting himself of his own power and strength [for "The Gnostic places all of his longings into the hands of his Innermost." -Samael Aun Weor]. In reality, when he resigns himself [through Meditation and comprehension], God protects him; and through God's protection he comes nearer to annihilating the evil than he does through self-mortification [striving, mujahadah, jihad, holy war against one's ego through self-observation] since flies are more easily driven away with an umbrella (mikanna) than with a fly-whisk (midhabba). Unless Divine protection is predestined to a man [if the Being does not will it] he cannot abstain from anything by his own exertion [willpower divorced from the Spirit], and unless God exerts Himself towards a man, that man's exertion is of no use [because the Being is the one who performs the Great Work through His human soul, Tiphereth, iradah or willpower]. All acts of [selfish] exertion [whereby the soul does not follow the will of divinity] fall under two heads: their object is either to avert the predestination of God or to acquire something in spite of predestination; and both of these objects are impossible. It is related that when Shiblí was ill, the physician advised him to be abstinent. "From what shall I abstain?" said he, "from what which God bestows upon me, or from that which He does not bestow? It is impossible to abstain from the former, and the latter is not in my hands."
Sahih al-Bukhari: Volume 5, Book 58, Number 227
Narrated Abbas bin Malik:
Malik bin Sasaa said that Allah's Apostle described to them his Night Journey saying, "While I was lying in Al-Hatim or Al-Hijr, suddenly someone came to me and cut my body open from here to here." I asked Al-Jarud who was by my side, "What does he mean?" He said, "It means from his throat to his pubic area," or said, "From the top of the chest." The Prophet further said, "He then took out my heart. Then a gold tray of Belief was brought to me and my heart was washed and was filled (with Belief) and then returned to its original place. Then a white animal which was smaller than a mule and bigger than a donkey was brought to me." (On this Al-Jarud asked, "Was it the Buraq, O Abu Hamza?" I (i.e. Anas) replied in the affirmative). The Prophet said, "The animal's step (was so wide that it) reached the farthest point within the reach of the animal's sight. I was carried on it, and Gabriel set out with me till we reached the nearest heaven.
When he asked for the gate to be opened, it was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has Muhammad been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the first heaven, I saw Adam there. Gabriel said (to me). 'This is your father, Adam; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.' Then Gabriel ascended with me till we reached the second heaven. Gabriel asked for the gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel answered, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel answered in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened.
When I went over the second heaven, there I saw Yahya (i.e. John) and 'Isa (i.e. Jesus) who were cousins of each other. Gabriel said (to me), 'These are John and Jesus; pay them your greetings.' So I greeted them and both of them returned my greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Gabriel ascended with me to the third heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is!' The gate was opened, and when I went over the third heaven there I saw Joseph. Gabriel said (to me), 'This is Joseph; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Gabriel ascended with me to the fourth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed, what an excel lent visit his is!'
The gate was opened, and when I went over the fourth heaven, there I saw Idris. Gabriel said (to me), 'This is Idris; pay him your greetings.' So I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Gabriel ascended with me to the fifth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked. 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said He is welcomed, what an excellent visit his is! So when I went over the fifth heaven, there I saw Harun (i.e. Aaron), Gabriel said, (to me). This is Aaron; pay him your greetings.' I greeted him and he returned the greeting to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' Then Gabriel ascended with me to the sixth heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked. 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked, 'Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. It was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!'
When I went (over the sixth heaven), there I saw Moses. Gabriel said (to me),' This is Moses; pay him your greeting. So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious brother and pious Prophet.' When I left him (i.e. Moses) he wept. Someone asked him, 'What makes you weep?' Moses said, 'I weep because after me there has been sent (as Prophet) a young man whose followers will enter Paradise in greater numbers than my followers.' Then Gabriel ascended with me to the seventh heaven and asked for its gate to be opened. It was asked, 'Who is it?' Gabriel replied, 'Gabriel.' It was asked,' Who is accompanying you?' Gabriel replied, 'Muhammad.' It was asked, 'Has he been called?' Gabriel replied in the affirmative. Then it was said, 'He is welcomed. What an excellent visit his is!'
So when I went (over the seventh heaven), there I saw Abraham. Gabriel said (to me), 'This is your father; pay your greetings to him.' So I greeted him and he returned the greetings to me and said, 'You are welcomed, O pious son and pious Prophet.' Then I was made to ascend to Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (i.e. the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary) Behold! Its fruits were like the jars of Hajr (i.e. a place near Medina) and its leaves were as big as the ears of elephants. Gabriel said, 'This is the Lote Tree of the utmost boundary) . Behold ! There ran four rivers, two were hidden and two were visible, I asked, 'What are these two kinds of rivers, O Gabriel?' He replied,' As for the hidden rivers, they are two rivers in Paradise and the visible rivers are the Nile and the Euphrates.'
Then Al-Bait-ul-Ma'mur (i.e. the Sacred House) was shown to me and a container full of wine and another full of milk and a third full of honey were brought to me. I took the milk. Gabriel remarked, 'This is the Islamic religion which you and your followers are following.' Then the prayers were enjoined on me: They were fifty prayers a day. When I returned, I passed by Moses who asked (me), 'What have you been ordered to do?' I replied, 'I have been ordered to offer fifty prayers a day.' Moses said, 'Your followers cannot bear fifty prayers a day, and by Allah, I have tested people before you, and I have tried my level best with Bani Israel (in vain). Go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your followers' burden.' So I went back, and Allah reduced ten prayers for me. Then again I came to Moses, but he repeated the same as he had said before. Then again I went back to Allah and He reduced ten more prayers. When I came back to Moses he said the same, I went back to Allah and He ordered me to observe ten prayers a day. When I came back to Moses, he repeated the same advice, so I went back to Allah and was ordered to observe five prayers a day.
When I came back to Moses, he said, 'What have you been ordered?' I replied, 'I have been ordered to observe five prayers a day.' He said, 'Your followers cannot bear five prayers a day, and no doubt, I have got an experience of the people before you, and I have tried my level best with Bani Israel, so go back to your Lord and ask for reduction to lessen your follower's burden.' I said, 'I have requested so much of my Lord that I feel ashamed, but I am satisfied now and surrender to Allah's Order.' When I left, I heard a voice saying, 'I have passed My Order and have lessened the burden of My Worshipers."
Excerpted from Journey to the Lord of Power: A Sufi Manual on Retreat by Ibn 'Arabi. Published by Inner Traditions International (1989), Commentary by 'Abdul-Karim Jili, translated by Rabia Terri Harris.
The Realms, although they are many [Editor's Note: as depicted and synthesized within Kalachakra and Kabbalah], are all derived from six. The first Realm is [the pre-existence in which we were asked the question] "Am I not your Lord?" Our physical existence has removed us from this Realm. The second Realm is the world we are now in. The third Realm is the Interval through which we travel after the lesser and greater deaths. The fourth Realm is the Resurrection on the awakening earth and the return to the original condition. The fifth Realm is the Garden and the Fire. The sixth Realm is the Sand Dune outside the Garden. And in each of these Realms are places which are Realms within Realms, and the realization of them in their multiplicity is not within human power.
Commentary: "The Interval" (al-barzakh, the third Realm) is the barrier between this world and the next. The shayk [Ibn 'Arabi] (may God be pleased with him) said:
Know that "interval" is an expression for something which separates two other things, like the diving line between sun and shade, and as He said—may He be exalted—concerning the mixture of the two seas, "Between them is a barrier (barzakh) which they cannot cross" [Koran 55:20]. The meaning of "they cannot cross" is that they cannot mix with one another because of this partition which divides them. The sense of sight does not discern it. When suddenly it is perceived, the barrier does not exist. And when the barrier is between the known and the unknown, the nonexistent and the existent, the negated and the affirmed, and the rational and the irrational, it is called Interval—and [this Interval] is the imagination.
For if you perceive it—and you are rational—you know that your vision has encountered an existent thing, while you know unequivocally that it is not a "thing" completely and fundamentally. And what is this whose "thingness" is affirmed and denied simultaneously? The imagination is not existent or nonexistent, not known or unknown, not negated and not affirmed. And the human being travels to this reality in his sleep and after his death, and he sees descriptive qualities as existing embodied forms, and there is no doubt of that. And the intuitive person sees in his waking state what the sleeper sees in the state of sleep and the deceased after death.
Excerpted from Volume I of The Meccan Revelations (al-Futûhât al-Makkiya) by Ibn 'Arabi. Published by Pir Press (2002, 2005), translated from the Arabic by Michel Chodkiewicz, William C. Chittick and James W. Morris.
The final outcome of the affair (al-amr) is the return from the many to the One, for both the man of faith and the polytheist (mushrik). This is because the man of faith who is granted the unveiling of "things as they really are" is granted [the immediate vision of] this, as He said: "Now We have removed from you your veil, so your vision today is keen" (Qur'an 50:22). And this is before he leaves this world. For everyone who is taken [by physical death] is in [a state of spiritual] "unveiling" at the moment he is taken, so that at that point he inclines toward God (al-Haqq) and toward faith in Him and [the true awareness of] divine Unity. Hence the person who attains this certainty before being brought into the presence [of God at the time of physical "death"] is absolutely sure of his felicity and his conjunction with [that condition of blessedness]. For certainty which comes from sound [rational] inquiry and unambiguous [experiential] unveiling prevents him from straying from the Truly Real, since he has "a clear proof" (Qur'an 6:57, etc.) in the matter and "discerning inner vision" (Qur'an 12:108).
But the person who attains this certainty [only] when he is brought into the presence [of death] is subject to the [ineluctable] divine Will. And although the final outcome is [also] felicity, however that is only after the imposition of torments and afflictions with respect to the person who is punished for his sins. For one is only "brought into the presence [of death]" after having witnessed that (al-amr) to which the creatures (al-khalq) are transferred [after death]. So long as he has not witnessed that, death has not come near him (Qur'an 4:18; etc.), nor is that [what we mean here by] "being brought into [its] presence."
...Now God has brought two Resurrections into existence, the lesser Resurrection and the greater Resurrection. The lesser Resurrection is the transferring of the servant from the life of this world to the life of the intermediate world (barzakh) in the imaginal body, as in [the Prophet's] saying: "When someone dies, his Resurrection has already begun." Thus whoever is among the People of Vision actually sees his Lord. For [as] God's Messenger says, in warning his community about the Antichrist: "No one sees God until he dies." The greater Resurrection is the Resurrection of the Raising (ba'th) [of all men from their graves] and the supreme Gathering (al-hashr al-a'zam) in which all men are joined....
Know that these bodies are the coffins of the spirits and what beclouds them; they are what veil them so that they do not witness [the spiritual world] and are not witnessed. So the spirits do not see, nor are they seen, except through being parted from these [bodily] tombs (cf. Qur'an 102:2)―by becoming oblivious (fanâ) to them [in their absorption in spiritual things], not through [physical] separation. Therefore since they have inner vision, when they become oblivious to witnessing the bodies then they witness the One Who gives them Being in the very act of witnessing themselves.
So "he who knows his self knows his Lord." Likewise he who witnesses his self witnesses his Lord, and thereby moves from the "certainty of knowledge" to the "certainty of seeing." Then when he is returned to his [bodily] tomb he is returned to [the highest stage of] "true certainty" (yaqîn haqq), not to the "certainty of knowledge." This is how man learns the [inner] differentiation of the Truly Real (al-Haqq), through His informing [us] of the true saying concerning the true reality of certainty (Qur'an 56:95), the seeing of certainty and the knowing of certainty (cf. Qur'an 103:3-7). So for [the person who reaches this stage] every property [of reality] becomes firmly established in its proper rank, and things are not confused for him (cf. Qur'an 2:42; 3:71). And he knows that the [prophetic] announcements did not mislead him (cf. Qur'an 6:5, etc.).
Therefore whoever truly knows God in this way has truly known and understood the wisdom [underlying] the formation (takwîn) of the pearl in its shell from fresh sweet [water] in salty bitter [water] (Qur'an 25:53): the shell is its body and its saltiness is its [physical] nature. So the influence of nature predominates in its shell, but the salt is [also] its whiteness―and that is like the Light which is revealed through it. So realize [what is meant by] this sign!
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