Saturday, October 3, 2009

Steven's Kabbalah Reading List

"The Mystical Qabalah" by Dion Fortune. The classic book on the subject that everyone tells you to read. Very dense, so it's not the best introduction to the subject, but full of info. Available in paperback in a revised edition by Weiser Books.

"Qabalistic Concepts: Living the Tree" by William G. Gray. Very intelligent, detailed, covering many areas. More accessible than Dion Fortune. Published by Samuel Weiser, Inc.

"Qabalah: A Magical Primer" by John Bonner. A scholarly study, with more of an emphasis on contemporary Western Magick, and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Weiser Books.

"The Kabbalah Tree: A Journey of Balance & Growth" by Rachel Pollack. The author is a major authority on Tarot, and gives fascinating insights. The trade paperback includes a Tree of Life poster by Hermann Haindl, who has designed his own Tarot deck. The poster is very "organic," with animals and subtle imagery -- a great alternative to the standard graphical depictions. Llewellyn Publications, 2004.

"The Fool's Pilgrimage: Kabbalistic Meditations on the Tarot" by Stephan A. Hoeller. The twenty-two paths on the Tree of Life correspond to the twenty-two Major Arcana cards of the Tarot. The slim book has a very informative introduction and overview, and also comes with a CD of Mr. Hoeller reading the meditations for each path. Quest Books, Theosophical Publishing House.

Mr. Hoeller is a leading Gnostic scholar, his Gnostic Society is located in the Los Angeles area. Their website:

Some of his best lectures on Kabbalah, and related Western Hermetic traditions, are available at:

"The Complete Guide to the Kabbalah" by Will Parfitt. Subtitled, "How to apply the ancient mysteries of the Kabbalah to your everyday life." Great insights, with some charts, and suggestions for meditations. Published by Rider.

"The Practical Kabbalah Guidebook" by C.J.M. Hopking. A great overview/introduction, with many illustrations. Has visualization exercises. Published by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York.

"God Is a Verb: The Practice of Mystical Judaism" by Rabbi David A. Cooper. An accessible study of Kabbalah from a more Judaic perspective. Riverhead Books, New York.

B. O. T. A., "Builders of the Adytum"
Adytum is "a sacred place," a metaphor for the soul. The organization was founded in 1922 by Paul Foster Case, to teach the Western Mystery Tradition. They have well-respected correspondence courses in Qabalah, Tarot, Alchemy, and so on.
B.O.T.A., 5101 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90042. Web site:

Email: (800) 255-0041.

They also have books and audio tapes for sale via mail order. And they have the best Tree of Life poster I've come across -- it's behind me in my profile pic.

"Promethea" by Alan Moore & J.H. Williams, III.

A comic book series originally published in 1999 thru 2004.
In issues 13 to 23 Promethea goes on a Kabbalah "Road Trip" through all ten Sephiroth. Each Sephirah is illustrated by a different style of art, like Van Gogh or Dali or MC Escher, while the characters discuss the meanings and symbolism contained therein.

Available in collected editions as graphic novels in paperback & hardcover, in most book stores; the individual issues of comics, are available at most comic shops. Published by America's Best Comics, a division of Wildstorm, a division of DC Comics. DC website:

My YouTube video: "Kabbalah, very basic intro"


Friday, October 2, 2009

Why & What Is God?

I interpret the Garden of Eden myth as a metaphor for the original and primordial innocent state of humanity. We were equivalent to the animals, just living in the present moment, with no words or context for anything.

Then our innocence was lost as we became aware of the division -- the separation -- of things. Mainly caused by the development of language, we started dividing the world into pairs of opposites, Light and Dark, Good and evil, and two genders revealed by nakedness, etc.

Humanity sees dualities and binaries, because this is the very structure of the universe... Yin and Yang, Thesis and Antithesis -- which create all the diversity we can see.

But the "Fall" from the state of innocence is not a bad, negative, or catastrophic event -- it is a necessary by-product of our coming-to and being in-time, in-space, physical.

We appear to be separated from the transcendent, the All, -- Universe, or "God." But my belief is that while we are here, in matter, separated -- we exist simultaneously: as Human and God.

God looking at itself looking at itself looking at itself.

"Itself," is used as this god-consciousness is beyond gender, an androgynous It, containing both He or She.

Humans have the most developed self-awareness. This is the ability for self-reflection -- but also, self-deception. Animals have some self-awareness, less developed, perhaps the most in dolphins. Even inanimate matter, like rocks, are god, too. They're probably not able to "look at themselves," with no feelings or consciousness; but it's still a manifestation of the ultimate "all."

The paradox of the universe is this apparent contradiction:

On the one hand, there's only One Thing --

God, It, Yahweh, The Force, the Tao, the Universe.

And on the other hand, there's Everything, all the multitude of separate objects: all the people, animals, and things on the Earth, molecules, atoms, quantum particles, maybe superstrings.

It's Every-thing and it's One-thing.

I don't think that any of this can be objectively proved. To be honest, it all ultimately comes down to what can be called "an existential feeling." If it was honest, Religion would admit that it can't objectively prove its own case. The Torah, Bible, or Koran cannot be proved to be "The Word of God."

Even if they were, they're open to many different and conflicting interpretations. Organized religion is used to control people with false or simplistic explanations, strict rules, and much fear.

We don't really know what it's all about.

Why are we here?
Why is there even something -- the universe -- rather than nothing?

"God" is a metaphor for the great unknown, the mystery of existence. But most people can't handle the unknown, so they feel the need for a "Creator"... But who created Him? Did He/She/It create Itself...? Maybe God or the universe always was and is.... Hmmm. But: Is that really a satisfying answer?

We all feel the need to know the great answer, but it may not be knowable while we are "here." Life or existence is a big question, and the lives we live are the answers.