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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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02/07/2009 6:36 pm  

What do you guys think the best book for understanding the tree of life?


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kidneyhawk
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02/07/2009 6:55 pm  

You'll probably get plenty of replies with as many recommendations but to get the "basics" of the Tree, Qabala etc without smashing your head against a tabletop, I would recommend Regardie's Garden of Pomegranites and Lon Milo DuQuette's Chicken Qabala. When I first began reading Crowley, I knew next to nothing of the Qabala and Ch. 1 in Magick In Theory and Practice read as if he was writing in some alien tongue. I got a hold of Arthur Waite's book which didn't help matters and it would only be after getting a grasp of some seriously simplified explanation via Don Michael Kraig's Modern Magick and Regardie's work that I could begin to give some deeper study, grasp what AC was saying and begin making some practical use of 777.

Both books are fairly inexpensive, easy to find-and IMO-well worth reading for the "grounding," insight and (in the case of Mr. DuQuette's work) entertainment.

Good luck!

Kyle


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Palamedes
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02/07/2009 7:10 pm  

I would also strongly recommend John Bonner's "Qabalah: A Magical Primer." Dion Fortune's "Mystical Qabalah" is a classic in this field so it is also worth checking out. One could also suggest Alan Moore's "Promethea," as a sort of general introduction to the subject from the narrative perspective. Plus, it's fun and sexy.


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alysa
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02/07/2009 11:27 pm  

I wish to recommend "The Tree of Life" by Israel Regardie and also "A Garden of Pomegranates" by the same author, also "The Middle Pillar" from the same author is of interest (to me at least). However I must admit that I'm not happy with "The Chicken Qabalah" with Lon Milo DuQuette, not because that book is, I must admit not all that bad, I simply am of the meaning that one should not that easely bring study of the Qabalah too easely in relation with animals like Chickens, they at first does't seem to interest themselves that much for the study of the Qabalah, which I can understand ofcourse naturaly, when you are a chicken you have other things to look for and otherwise when one brings the study of Qabalah too easely in relation which say for example an animal like a chicken you are likely to insult mayby otherwise other people because one knows ofcourse naturaly when someone calls another person a chicken it might more than probably have a pejorative meaning. I am sorry I might be too serious with relation to that subject, but seem to take the Qabalah and the people who brought the Qabalah over to us very seriously.


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 Anonymous
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02/07/2009 11:54 pm  

However I must admit that I'm not happy with "The Chicken Qabalah" with Lon Milo DuQuette, not because that book is, I must admit not all that bad, I simply am of the meaning that one should not that easely bring study of the Qabalah too easely in relation with animals like Chickens, they at first does't seem to interest themselves that much for the study of the Qabalah, which I can understand ofcourse naturaly, when you are a chicken you have other things to look for and otherwise when one brings the study of Qabalah too easely in relation which say for example an animal like a chicken you are likely to insult mayby otherwise other people because one knows ofcourse naturaly when someone calls another person a chicken it might more than probably have a pejorative meaning. I am sorry I might be too serious with relation to that subject

😯 Holy hell. Please tell me you're not serious.


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kidneyhawk
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02/07/2009 11:54 pm  

Don't balk the bawk. 😆


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lashtal
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03/07/2009 12:19 am  
"alysa" wrote:
I'm not happy with "The Chicken Qabalah" with Lon Milo DuQuette, not because that book is, I must admit not all that bad, I simply am of the meaning that one should not that easely bring study of the Qabalah too easely in relation with animals like Chickens, they at first does't seem to interest themselves that much for the study of the Qabalah

Huh?

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alysa
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03/07/2009 12:33 am  

I'm sorry to say 'does't' meant ofcourse doesn't. LOL


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 Anonymous
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03/07/2009 1:51 am  

Taking the earlier regardie books and dion fortune's entry listed as a given, i'd have to add The Qabalistic Tarot by robert wang. Wang worked with regardie to make his deck based on strict Golden Dawn guidelines and even though the deck looks utterly weak, the book is an incredible step by step instruction in Golden Dawn Qabalah (he disputes the liber AL tzaddi switch-but it's easy enough to disregard his reasons). I've used it for years. Anyone else?

i think the first half of Frater Achad's Q.B.L. is a good basic instruction on the tree and even better as his foundation came under our way of thelema but the second half ends up with his bizarre reworking of the tree which i tended to ignore.

denning and phillip's Sword and the Serpent is great. Has a lot of interesting ideas in it.

The first book i bought in 1990 from a store in maryland was by Gareth Knight, called A practical guide to qabalistic symbolism which i was fond of for a time but he does unleash a few lines of Crowley bashing. Nonetheless a pretty straightforward learning tool which gave me a great foundation to build upon.

I know Duquette has been welcomed as a great new voice for the occult and i think his Understanding the Thoth tarot is one of the greaest books i've seen in years - but the chicken qabalah was just a little too comical, i understand he wants to make it fun but some subjects just deserve a little bit more regard for the seriousness of it's importance and not to give it up like a comedy skit. I felt a little dumbed down by it.
anyone else feel that?

CyclePunk


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 Anonymous
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03/07/2009 9:10 am  

"Climbing the tree of life" by David Rankine is good.


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 Anonymous
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03/07/2009 1:18 pm  

"The essential Zohar" by Rav P.S. Berg is good. It was the first book I read where the Tree of Life was introduced more specificly. I haven`t read so much about Tree of life compared to many many others, but I could assume (by seeing it owned by my friend) that Regardies Tree of life-book is also a good purchase.

93/93 93


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SatansAdvocaat
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03/07/2009 2:30 pm  

As Kidneyhawk predicted, everyone's favourite books seem to be popping up here.
When I first acquired 777 (and I'm not going to say when!) I was somewhat bemused: after giving us all of those wonderful correspondences, AC says -"but, you must construct your own Qabalah"! Thanks for that, I thought, but of course he was right. As for the rest, it depends on what books come across your path at the time:

Regardie is a good starting point and his 'The Middle Pillar' is a neglected minor classic.

Gareth Knight's 'A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism' - a two volume hardback job when I acquired it - is really very good and informative, and his challenging comments on AC are stimulating. GK was a disciple of Dion Fortune and progresses some of her best insights on the Tree of Life.

John Bonner's book is sound and thorough, with a good sympathy for the Hebraic background, but I had hoped for more exciting Thelemic insights on the subject than I seem to recall that it delivers.

'The Chicken Qabalah' - not read it, because I'd never even heard of it until now. The title does not inspire my confidence - sounds like a bit of a Robert-Anton-Wilson-Zen-Discordian clone-trip to me. Somewhere in that 'chicken ramble' Alysa has a serious point to make about a certain respect for Mystical and Magical Traditions, particularly with reference to the Qabbalah. The 'Western Magical Tradition' has utilised this in a way which has often deeply offended those who regard it as their Sacred Esoteric Doctrine.

Regards to All - S.A.
__________________________

But then again: The Children of Transgression are the Dragons of the Law.


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kidneyhawk
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03/07/2009 3:19 pm  

I'm a bit amazed at some of the responses to DuQuette's CQ. The idea of the Qabala being too sacrosanct to find knee-slapping humor doesn't quite jive with me. Nor would it with AC, who exemplified a use of the Qabala by analysing Mother Goose! There is a time and a place for everything and-IMO-DuQuette's work does not at all derail the reader from a serious pursuit of The Great Work. He takes what can be a very complicated study and does 2 things an excellent teacher should: he simplifies it and he makes it fun. This results in a good solid grounding in the subject which can be extended into more in-depth studies. Even those who ARE familiar with the "Q-Basics" will find CQ to be a very enjoyable read.

I mentioned this book a while back to a young lady with whom I was discussing some esoteric topics. She promptly reached into her backpack and pulled out her copy...which was stuffed with notes, drawings of the Hebrew Alphabet and the important study work she was doing right alongside the book!

Regarding any comparisons to

Robert-Anton-Wilson-Zen-Discordian

stuff, is that a BAD thing??? 🙂

I give thumbs up to CQ, even if I'm the only egg in the nest!

93,

Kyle


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AbulDiz
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03/07/2009 4:19 pm  

Hi all,

The Ladder of Lights (or Qabalah renovata) by William G Gray.

A step by step guide to the Tree of Life and the Four Worlds of the Qabalasts.

This book is very similar to Fortunes Mystical Qabalah, explaning each sephira in sequence (but in reverse order) and its attributes in the four wolrds, four parts to each chapter. There are also chapters on the Abyss and the three types of nothing, recommended.

93's.


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SatansAdvocaat
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03/07/2009 5:57 pm  

Re: R-A-W-Z-D comment: I wouldn't be without my copy of 'The Cosmic Trigger' but I don't have much time for the rest of the stuff to be honest. Not BAD, just a matter of personal taste, I suppose.

Long familiarity was making me forget: when I acquired Liber 777 it was included along with Sepher Sephiroth and Gematria (extrapolated from Equinox I, 4) in 'The Qabalah of Aleister Crowley' with an Introduction by Israel Regardie, Weiser, 1973. It was excellent to have these three texts together in a single volume and cross-referencing them was the nuts and bolts of my qabbalistic education.

To put our wonderful Magickal Glyph into its original Jewish context, however, I would recommend 'Meditation and Kabbalah' by Aryeh Kaplan, Weiser 1982; not an easy read but it contains some wonderful information - and explains some of my earlier comments.

93 from S.A.
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The Children of Transgression are the Dragons of the Law.


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alysa
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03/07/2009 7:00 pm  

Ofcourse thank you for the wonderful reminder of the book "Meditation and the Kabalah" by Aryeh Kaplan, Satan'Advokaat, also the book "Meditation and the Bible" by the same author I wish to recommend very much and his reworkings of "Sefer Yetsirah" and "The Bahir", Aryeh Kaplan was a Great Spiritual Leader, who past away very soon in his life, but that seemed the way it had to go, also Gershom Scholem is of very great importance.


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 Anonymous
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03/07/2009 7:54 pm  

Colin Low's online Notes on Kabbalah is an excellent overview, and outshines many others that I've seen on my local bookstore's shelves.

Steve


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 Anonymous
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03/07/2009 9:28 pm  

Thumbs up here also for Duquette's Chicken Qabala.

Have read it a couple of times and don't see anything in the slightest to do with Discordianism except for the title's implied irreverence; which may say something about judging a book by its cover.

RAW and Robert Shea, complete with Discordian unsensibilities, give their take on Qabala in the Illuminatus! trilogy, but I wouldn't recommend it for beginners looking to learn the basic attributions.


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mika
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04/07/2009 10:30 pm  

"God is a Verb" by Rabbi David A Cooper
http://powells.com/biblio/17-9781573226943-0

Also, I definitely second the recommendation for "The Qabalistic Tarot" by Robert Wang


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 Anonymous
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05/07/2009 6:36 pm  

While many worthwhile books are mentioned here I definitely advocate the Chicken Kabalah as a first book - the descriptions of, and nice big prints of, hebrew letters make this worthwhile on their own as so many books make it difficult to differentiate the characters without a magnifying glass! Apart from that, Dion Fortune tops my list for her descriptions of the sephira.


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alysa
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05/07/2009 9:33 pm  

That's ofcourse very unfortunate, one needs a magnifying glass, when I did my initial study of the Qabalah, there was no speech of a book called "The Chicken Qabalah", my eyes were then good contributors to my first understanding of the Qabalah, though there's something to say about the difficulty of differentiating between the Hebrew characters.


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IAO131
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05/07/2009 9:42 pm  

93,

alysa: ....What?

"mika" wrote:
"God is a Verb" by Rabbi David A Cooper
http://powells.com/biblio/17-9781573226943-0

I met that guy once

Also, I definitely second the recommendation for "The Qabalistic Tarot" by Robert Wang

There are a few books like this one that, once you get the basic theory-structure down of the Qabalah, are great to read for - in this case - a more in depth look at how Qabalah and Tarot relate. I would recommend
1) 777 by AC
2) Mystical Qabalah by Fortune
3) Chicken Qabalah by DuQuette

as the three best books that you really will not need to look elsewhere for... if you want the Hermetic Qabalah. IF you want more Jewish ideas look to the Bahir/Sepher Yetzirah/Zohar etc. but honestly it is very obscure and abtruse and all the gems are still in Hermetic Qabalah in my opinion (plus some and minus some strange dogmas)

IAO131


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alysa
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05/07/2009 10:14 pm  

IAO131, if you were asking to which contributor my last post was in relation to, it was in relation with the poster before me, Robert_an_Keow.


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 Anonymous
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07/07/2009 4:34 am  

I'd recommend Gareth Knight's, "A Practical Guide to Qabalist Symbolism".

Other books are:

The Talking Tree, and Ladder of Light by William G. Gray, the first concerns the Paths and the 4 worlds and the latter the Spheres and the 4 worlds.

Paths of Wisdom by John Greer

Qabalistic Concepts by William G. Gray

Gates of Light by Joseph Gikatilla

and of course Dion Fortune's, Mystical Qabalah

I possess these and other titles which is why I recommend them.


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lashtal
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07/07/2009 7:06 pm  
"CyclePunk" wrote:
i think [DuQette's] Understanding the Thoth tarot is one of the greaest [sic] books i've seen in years

It's a shamefully underrated book, in my opinion. A remarkable work...

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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 Anonymous
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08/07/2009 8:21 am  
"lashtal" wrote:
"CyclePunk" wrote:
i think [DuQette's] Understanding the Thoth tarot is one of the greaest [sic] books i've seen in years

It's a shamefully underrated book, in my opinion. A remarkable work...

the book was just amazing to me...reading the explanation of the rosy cross was utterly eye opening. i've never seen it broken down to the tee before and it really juiced up my knowledge base. Also, his explanation of the universe card was beautiful. I just wish he expanded a little more on the minor arcana, but i think Wang's Qabalistic tarot handles that great.

respect to everyone's defense of CQ, i love others POV...my original entrance to the qabalah came from a extremely serious and rigid vein, so it's great to hear that we all get there it in different ways...........

cyclePunk


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threefold31
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08/07/2009 4:51 pm  
"AbulDiz" wrote:
Hi all,

The Ladder of Lights (or Qabalah renovata) by William G Gray.

A step by step guide to the Tree of Life and the Four Worlds of the Qabalasts.

This book is very similar to Fortunes Mystical Qabalah, explaning each sephira in sequence (but in reverse order) and its attributes in the four wolrds, four parts to each chapter. There are also chapters on the Abyss and the three types of nothing, recommended.

93's.

Dwtw

I definitely second that; the Ladder of Lights is well-written and informative. Especially good for a beginner's perspective, before you find yourself awash in a bunch of regurgitated drivel from other writers.

Litlluw
RLG


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alysa
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15/01/2011 5:13 pm  

Hello, everyone, on Heruraha.net we had a talk on what might be a good beginners book regarding the Qabalah, a person there, Atzilut, mentioned a few books regarding also the Jewish Kabbalah, Atzilut, just like me regards a good basic grounding in the Jewish Kabbalah with relation to understanding some aspects of Hermetic Magic as liable as me, Atzilut mentioned a few books and authors and a website which I also think of interest to mention here, the books are "In the Shadow of the Ladder" and "Introduction to the Zohar", and "Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sephirot" bu author named Yehuda Ashlag, a Jewish Kabbalist of great insight of whom I previously had never heard, I think he's (almost) of the same order as Aryeh Kaplan, Atzilut also gave mention of the Kabbalistic author Daniel C. Matt, which I find a person also worth to mention regarding the Jewish Kabbalah, Atzilut mentioned this website: www.kabbalah.info where very much information regarding the Jewish Kabbalah can be found.


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 Anonymous
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15/01/2011 6:20 pm  

I would reccomend, to an absolute beginner, the following volumes:

An Introduction to the Cabala:The Tree Of Life - Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi
Q.B.L. - Frater Achad (sans the appendix, obviously)
Mystical Qabala - Dion Fortune


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Anonymous
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15/01/2011 7:07 pm  

Another good one is "Kabbalisitic Aphorisms" by James Sturzaker.

A simple and direct work that is ideal for the beginner.


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 Anonymous
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16/01/2011 2:19 am  

Illuminatus! by Wilson and Shea for a richly abstract guide to Qabala. Need to have the basics first, though.


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 Anonymous
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16/01/2011 7:41 pm  

A good introduction to Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag's work can be found in 'A Tapestry of the Soul' by Yedidah Cohen. It has extensive commentaries on Ashlag's interpretation of The Zohar and is written in an accessible style. 'In the Shadow of the Ladder', mentioned elsewhere is regarded as an excellent
translation of two of his introductory works:

Introduction to the Zohar
Introduction to the Ten Sephirot

Dr M Laitman's translations from the website, www.kabbalah.info are also generally reliable, whose library holds most of
the work of Rabbi Yehudah and Baruch Ashlag's work, including an ongoing translation of the monumental work Talmud Eser
HaSephirot. For anyone who finds the partial understanding of the Hermetic Quabalah sources on the subject of the structure
of the worlds frustrating and limiting, Ashlag's work is both refreshing and sufficiently documented to keep the most ardent
Kabbalist happy for a very long time.
I use Daniel Matt's ongoing translation of The Zohar as a cross-reference to Ashlag's work, and other earlier editions of the Zohar.
G Scholem, A Greene and M Idel provide useful academic references, along with numerous others. The website www.psyche.com
has an incredible amount of resources on Kabbalah/Quabalah.
Like Alysa, I feel that a good grounding in traditional Kabbalah is vital to a correct interpretation of the structure and concepts found
in Hermetic Quabalah. I am aware the argument is contentious. Many of those who 'practice' magic and Thelema are put off by Traditional
Kabbalah due to perceptions, accurate or not, regarding Orthodox Judaism.
Ashlag's importance is that he not only is regarded as the first to reveal the inner meaning of The Zohar, but made it freely available to all those who genuinely wished to study Kabbalah along Lurianic lines.


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michaelclarke18
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16/01/2011 8:46 pm  

I'd recommed W Gray's The 'Ladder of Lights'


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