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The Holistic Qabala: A Practical Guide to Contemporary Magick

Aug 16, 2002 ... THE HOLISTIC QABALA. A Practical Guide to Contemporary Magick. by Iona Miller; Updated by Iona Miller, 1999 ...



(Updated, 1999): We live today in a rapidly changing, technological world. With so many of our cultural institutions and ideas undergoing transformation, where can we turn for a user-friendly approach to the problems of living? We are bombarded with information from the media about how to transform ourselves and others. But, where can we find the criteria for what constitutes a change in the right direction?

In the past, we turned mainly to religions which were accepted in our local culture. But, now we are reaping a harvest of cultural options of values, ideals, and paths. We can only conclude that orthodox religions have failed to provide an adequate container for many individual's experiences.

Psychology, while it has made much progress since the discovery of the unconscious by Freud, has added to the confusion by presenting many conflicting theories. Also, it is subject to fads, such as Satanic Panic, False Memory Syndrome, and Inner Child, (what about the Adult?). One of the first schisms occurred between Freud and his star pupil Carl Jung. He broke with Freud because he could not accept the basic Freudian doctrine of repressed infant sexuality.

Jung developed his own theories concerning the collective unconscious and its relationship to each person's personal unconscious. The personal unconscious comes from one's individual experiences, while the collective unconscious is an inherited legacy of all mankind. Basically, Jung's psychology stressed the quest or search for meaning.

The "search for meaning" or meaningful experience is something we can all relate to as being valuable in, and of, itself. However, seeking has degenerated into a mind boggling choice between pop psychologies and New Age nostrums. The psycho-babble is endless, and new treatments are served up like the soup de jour. Trendy therapy and spirituality is faddish, stylish, and disposable just like our fashions in clothing.

The hard sciences have offered a never-ending series of transforming theories of the nature of reality also. A short time ago the leading Theory of Everything was based on Superstrings, but that became ungainly and unaesthetic mathematically. Now the darling is scalar physics and the vacuum potential. Physics has moved its microcosmic threshold into the realm of the unobservable virtual reality-- the domain of metaphysics. Quantum Cosmology isn't far behind.

Astrophysicists will tell you that the only galaxy we are sure is made of matter is our own, because the light emitted by antimatter is no different from that emitted by matter.

Perhaps the scientific revolutions, which their paradigm switches, have been slightly more orderly. But their unsettling effect on an individual's world view still prevails. Just when you get the Holographic Concept, something new comes along to challenge our notion of how things work.

Even as advanced an intellect as Albert Einstein was unable to accept primal de-stabilizing viewpoints. He was unable to accept the inevitable implications of his theory of relativity, which results in quantum mechanics. We can only conjecture that Post Quantum Mechanics would make him roll over in his grave.

As recently as the 18th century an individual might be able to comprehend most branches of the arts and sciences. These were the times when the mechanistic models prevailed, including classical theories concerning space and time. In the 19th century this changed radically due to the speculations of the late 18th century philosopher Hume. He ushered in empirical, skeptical, non-metaphysical thinking which inspired the work of many revolutionary scientists, and dispelled age-old superstitions.

A few examples of this triumph of the rational mind over the pre-rational superstition includes the following: Charles Lyell in earth history; Darwin in organic evolution; Claude Bernard in general physiology; Pasteur in pathogenesis; Marx, Engles, Herbert Spenser and other in social sciences; Hughlings Jackson and Charles Sherrington in neurophysiology;; Paul Broca and Carl Wernicke in neuroanatomy; Camillo Golgi in neurohistology; James, Freud and Jung in psychology; and James Clerk Maxwell in physics.

There has been an explosion of information about the nature of things. Any self-respecting individual is expected to know much of it, plus have a highly developed emotional IQ.

We all need a model, or worldview, through which existence and our experiences can make some sense. The vast diversity of such views produced by human culture discloses some arbitrary factors in the construction of these world views. Our beliefs are subject to many formatory influences. And for the seeker the scope of the problem of finding a Way that resonates with themselves may seem overwhelming.

What is required is a comprehensive paradigm, or thought-model, which has scope and depth enough to contain the entire continuum of creation from All to Nothing. This is where the value of Qabala comes in.

The qabalistic techniques were developed in remote antiquity for stimulating latent, or subconscious abilities, with the aim of self-realization and God-realization. A personal program of spiritual development allows an individual to transform himself according to a consistent, orderly process. A self-directed individual can recreate himself as an integrated individual. By facilitating internal processes of creativity, we release our optimal talents and realize our potential for self-unfolding.

The Qabala, with its most important diagram, the Tree of Life, provides a synergetic background for this process of change. Qabala is extremely relevant to the average reader who is seeking greater self-awareness of objective and subjective worlds. To this end, the format of THE HOLISTIC QABALA can serve as a lifetime study guide.

In recent history, we have tended to become very specialized in our fields, narrowing the fields of endeavor. For example, in the field of psychology we now have such rare breeds as ethologists, neuroethologists, sociobiologists, behavioral neurologists, physiological psychologists, biological psychiatrists, psychopharmacologists, behavioral geneticists, etc.

The late Buckminster Fuller suggested that universities and specializations evolved to keep the most intelligent under control. Rulers thus limited their subjects' knowledge by directing them into specialties. This prevented them from piecing together the exploitive procedures of the sovereign and formenting revolution. The sovereigns then promptly exploited the specialized knowledge of the experts.

To find meaning in our modern lives, we need to make a continuing effort to learn about the worlds within and without us--to be generalists--like the old natural philosophers. There is still a lot of superstition in our culture, and even the New Age has a distinctly anti-scientific, pre-rational orientation. There are both values and limitations in science and technology. But rather than reject them, we need to extend their usefulness to ourselves. We can integrate them in our qabalistic study program. In this manner we may at least learn something about each aspect of life, and become more well-rounded in our interests, attitudes, and expressions.

We need to balance the pursuits of the mind with the experiences of soul. The importance of the soul was eclipsed historically for a time due to the rational, empirical attitudes of science. But now there is a melding. This is apparent, for example, in such works as THE SPIRITUAL UNIVERSE: How Quantum Physics Proves the Existence of the Soul, by Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D.

The realm of Depth Psychology examines the inner self of the 'psyche' which means not only what is generally called soul, but all the conscious and unconscious processes. Contents which can be raised from unconsciousness are known as 'preconscious.' There are two broad divisions of the unconscius--personal and collective. The Collective Unconscious contains the primal patterns of the behavior, or archetypes. Known in the past as Gods and Goddesses, these forces are the inhabitants of the mythic realm.

In Depth Psychology the archetype of personal growth and spiritual development is known as the Self. In Magick, it is called the inner self, or higher self. It is the transcendent function, the center of the transformative process of "coming to wholeness." All other archetypes are contained within it, as a series of unions of opposites.

The Self unites and harmonizes such opposites as masculine/feminine; good/bad; hero/adversary, etc. It also contains the patterns for experience of the cyclic nature of life's crisis points. Its contents include the quest for meaning and the cycle of death and rebirth. Containing everything, it represents the maximal potential of any individual.

The Self provides an inner model of oneself in an idealized future. It confers initiations of the highest value through self-organizing experiences, beyond our conscious understanding or manipulation. It is mode of transcending the mundane world. Therefore, Self is both transcendent and personal. This gives divine worth to each individual manifestation of human nature, and dignity to everyone's personal experience.

Experience of the Self is validating. The archetypes, symbolized by the Self, shape and define human behavior, attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and the very body itself.
Depth psychology has employed the descriptors of the ancient metaphysical practice of alchemy. Alchemy was a process/goal of self transformation with the aim of creating a series of unions of the various contending psychic substances. These descriptive phases are useful for linking Depth Psychology to the practice of Qabala as they further define the criteria of each synergetic stage.

Pursuits like alchemy, astrology, Qabala and their corresponding imagery provide access to the messages and meanings coming into consciousness from the collective unconscious. Learning to use any of them is like learning a foreign language, and just as useful. Jung himself stressed the primacy of imagery in his practice: "Images are the only reality we apprehend directly; they are the primary expression of mind and of its energy which we cannot know except through the images it presents."

The Qabala, with the Tree of Life provides a meaningful, consistent pattern for perceiving the visible and invisible Universe. Through it we have a means of classifying all types of experiences we are capable of having, including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. It provides a philosophical basis for investigating the spectrum of human potential and achievement.
The goal of the process of Qabalistic pathworking is to produce Masters. The master of the Qabala is a perfect person, a role model for us all. He lives harmony by being himself, most perfectly. The Zaddik is highly individual, but always a paragon of ethical virtue, and impeccable in wisdom and understanding. He teaches his students how to immerse themselves in the divine stream, like most mystical traditions ultimately finding union with God.

Qabala is a theistic meditation practice. A state of total realization is created through synergetically balancing and raising the consciousness of the aspirant up through all the levels of Existence represented by the Tree of Life. Ultimately, one merges back into the source. Qabala provides both training and direct experience. Once the theories are learned, they must be put into practice. QBL describes the Creation from Nothing to Everything in one fell swoop. It is an analogue model of the Absolute.

The experienced qabalist gains an understanding of his limitations and perceptions of reality, enabling his consciousness to contemplate the Truth of Existence, an expansive vision. If it is God's Will and Grace, he becomes an exemplar among men, a role model for realization of both human potential and mystical attainment. The Jews called such a person a Zaddik, or Saint.

The Qabala answers visible problems. It affirms the practicability of personal spiritual development. Without the transformation of individual consciousness through self-understanding, we are left to witness the breakdown of culture and society in chronic degeneration.

Millennial fever has aggravated doomsaying and visions of Apocalypse. However, the employment of qabalistic techniques offers another way. Epoch-alypse might be viewed as an "alternative to apocalypse. Holistic Qabala addresses both ancient and modern questions which press on our lives demanding understanding. These questions range from mild curiosities to adaptive necessities.

Each of the Twelve Volumes of the series stands on its own as a discourse on an aspect of existence or a quality of human potential. These characteristic potentials are distinct and discrete for each level of awareness. Taken together, they form a harmonious worldview, uniting inner and outer reality.

Questions outlined include the following:

Vol. 1, MALKUTH, the Sphere of Earth
What are the current concepts in science about the nature of existence and mankind's role?
What is the value of personal psychological or spiritual development?
What inner processes is one likely to encounter through self-analysis?
What are some practical methods of balancing the personality?
What is the value of including magic in a program of self-development?

Vol. 2, THE UNIVERSE, Path 32
How can I begin the inner journey to great self-awareness?
What are the patterning principles in our lives which make us repeat common themes, such as growth, love, conflict, etc.?
What are the motivating factors of human behavior?
How can I find value and meaning in my depressions?
What is the nature of Time and Space, and how does it relate to concepts of Immortality?

Vol. 3, YESOD, the Sphere of the Moon
Are dreams meaningful for daily living?
Just what is an experience in the "Astral Body"?
What place does mythology have in my psychological awareness?
What is the nature of Feminine Conscious, or Woman's Mysteries?
Can the cycle of the Moon and other seasonal change influence our emotional lives?
How can men and women get along better through understanding their own personal makeup?
How can it be that we all share masculine and feminine psychological components?

Vol. 4, HOD, the Sphere of Mercury
Why do scientific theories change so frequently?
How can we live in a technological era and retain "connectedness" to nature?
What are the main personality types and how does each function?
How can I determine my type and learn to relate better with others?
Just what are "altered states of consciousness" and why would I want to experience them?

Vol. 5, NETZACH, the Sphere of Venus
What is the role of imagination in individual development?
How do the Tarot, I Ching, and other forms of divination work?
What is the distinction between romantic and divine love?
Do aphrodisiacs really work?
How can I understand the relationship between brain wave patterns and states of mind?

Vol. 6, ART, Path 25
What is the metaphysical meaning of Art?
What distinguishes those with an artistic temperament?
How can I tap the source of artistic inspiration?
What is the nature of free will and True Will?
How can I use visualization exercises most efficiently?
Can I really test my own level of creative development?
Is it possible to contact my inner Soul Guide?

Vol. 7, TIPHARETH, the Sphere of the Sun
What is the relationship between meditation and self-realization?
How do ancient descriptions of exaultive experiences relate to current terms?
How may I attain well-being and a sense of wholeness?
What is the role of a spiritual teacher in my personal development?
What are the basics of the Holistic worldview?
What characterizes the state of optimal equilibrium?

Vol. 8, GEBURAH, the Sphere of Mars
What are the values and drawbacks of self-assertion?
What are the philosophical bases of the concepts of Justice and Karma?
Will mankind ever cease his endless was upon himself?
Are women inherently less aggressive than men?
How can I use stress to enhance my life?
What are the spiritual aspects taught in Martial Arts?

Vol. 9, CHESED, the Sphere of Jupiter
Why are there differing philosophies and ethics in the world?
How can I develop discernment?
What do philosophies do to promote cultural change?
What are the goals and motives of philosophy
What are the questions posed by philosophy, and how are they answered?
What is the difference between monotheism and polytheism?
What is the relationship between philosophy, psychology and religion?

Vol. 10, THE HIGH PRIESTESS, Path 13
What insights can I gain from exploring?
What happens to those who "had it all together" when they fall apart in crisis?
What is the nature of the World Soul, or Anima Mundi, as it relates to inner life?
How does the Third Eye and its glands regulate inner life?
How does the process of memory work?

Vol. 11, DAATH, the Invisible Sphere
What is the spiritual region mystics describe as the Abyss, and its dangers?
What is the Dark Night of the Soul?
What kinds of traps can the unconscious make to hinder the soul?
What are the limits of access to Knowledge?
Why is physical immortality an unlikely proposition?

Vol. 12, THE SUPERNAL TRIAD, Crown of Creation
What does Qabala say about the Creation?
What are the experiences of mystical attainment?
How can I know a true saint or Sat Guru?
How can I benefit from God-realization, when I am so far from it?
What is the goal of the Great Work?

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