Hermetic Qabalah

Hermetic Qabalah ( from the Hebrew קַבָּלָה "reception"), is a Western esoteric and mystical tradition. It forms the underlying philosophy and framework for magical societies such as the Golden Dawn and Thelemic orders, mystical societies such as the Builders of the Adytum and the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, and is a precursor to the Neopagan, Wiccan and New Age movements.[citation needed]

It draws on a great many influences, most notably: Jewish Kabbalah, Western astrology, tarot, alchemy, pagan religions (especially Egyptian and Greco-roman), neoplatonism, gnosticism, the Enochian system of angelic magic of John Dee, hermeticism, rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and tantra. It differs from the Jewish form in being a more admittedly syncretic system, however it shares many concepts with Jewish Kabbalah.

It is most often transliterated with a 'Q' rather than a 'K' or a 'C', distinguishing it from Jewish Kabbalah and Christian Cabbalah.

A primary concern of Hermetic Qabalah is the nature of god, though its conception of god is quite different from that presented in the major monotheistic religions; in particular there is not the strict separation between God and man which is seen in these religions. Hermetic Qabalah holds to the neoplatonic conception that the manifest universe, of which material creation is a part, arises in a series of emanations.

These emanations arise out of three preliminary states that are considered to precede creation. The first is a state of complete nullity, known as Ain (אין "nothing"); the second state, considered a "concentration" of Ain, is Ain Suph (אין סוף "without limit, infinite"); the third state, caused by a "movement" of Ain Suph, is Ain Suph Aur (אין סוף אור "limitless light"), and it is from this initial brilliance that the first emanation of creation originates.

The emanations of creation arising from Ain Suph Aur are ten in number, and are called Sephiroth (סְפִירוֹת, singular Sephirah סְפִירָה, "enumeration"). These are conceptualised somewhat differently in Hermetic Qabbalah to the way they are in Jewish Kabbalah.[citation needed] See Sephirot for the Jewish conceptualisation.

From Ain Suph Aur crystallises Kether, the first sephirah of the Hermetic Qabalistic tree of life. From Kether emanate the rest of the sephirot in turn, viz. Kether (1), Chokhmah (2), Binah (3), Daath, Chesed (4), Geburah (5), Tiphareth (6), Netzach (7), Hod (8), Yesod (9), Malkuth (10). Daath is not assigned a number as it is considered either a false or a hidden sephirah.

Each sephirah is considered to be an emanation of the divine energy (often described as 'the divine light') which ever flows from the unmanifest, through Kether into manifestation. This flow of light is indicated by the lightning flash shown on diagrams of the sephirotic tree which passes through each sephirah in turn according to their enumerations.

Each sephirah is a nexus of divine energy and each is given a number of attributions. These attributions enable the Qabalist to form a comprehension of each particular sephirah's characteristics. This manner of applying many attributions to each sephirah is an exemplar of the diverse nature of Hermetic Qabalah. For example the sephirah Hod has the attributions of; Glory, perfect intelligence, the eights of the tarot deck, the planet Mercury, the Egyptian god Thoth, the archangel Michael, the Roman god Mercury and the alchemical element Mercury. The general principle involved is that the Qabalist will meditate on all these attributions and by this means acquire an understanding of the character of the sephirah.

The tarot forms an important part of the Qabalistic system. While the sephirot describe the nature of god, the paths between them describe ways of knowing god. As the sephiroth are numbered in turn, so are the paths numbered

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