Notes on Kabbalah 

The author grants the right to copy and distribute these Notes provided
they remain unmodified and original authorship and copyright is retained.
The author retains both the right and intention to modify and extend
these Notes. 

Release 2.0      
Copy date: 17th. January 1992

Copyright Colin Low 1992 (cal@hplb.hpl.hp.com)


Chapter 5: Practical Kabbalah

     "But  just  as I was going to put my feet into the  water  I 
     looked  down and saw that they were all hard and  rough  and 
     wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before.  Oh, that's 
     all right said I,  it only means I had another smaller  suit 
     on underneath the first one,  and I'll have to get out of it 
     too. So I scratched and tore again and this underskin peeled 
     off  beautifully and out I stepped and left it lying  beside 
     the other one and went down to the well for my bathe.
          "Well,  exactly  the same thing happened again.  And  I 
     thought to myself,  oh dear,  how ever many skins have I got 
     to  take  off?  For  I was longing to bathe  my  leg.  So  I 
     scratched away for the third time and got off a third  skin, 
     just like the two others, and stepped out of it. But as soon 
     as  I  looked at myself in the water I knew it had  been  no 
          "Then  the lion said - but I don't know if it  spoke  - 
     "You  will have to let me undress you." I was afraid of  his 
     claws,  I  can tell you,  but I was pretty nearly  desperate 
     now. So I just lay flat down on my back and let him do it.
          "The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought 
     it had gone right into my heart.  And when he began  pulling 
     the  skin off,  it hurt worse than anything I've ever  felt. 
     The  only  thing that made me able to bear it was  just  the 
     pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off."

                                             C.S. Lewis

     From an historical and traditional perspective the practical 
techniques of Kabbalah include techniques of mysticism and (to  a 
lesser  extent)  magic  to  be  found  the  world  over:  complex 
concentration  and visualisation  exercises,  meditation,  breath 
control,  prayer, ritual, physical posture, chanting and singing, 
abstinence, fasting, mortification and good works. Many different 
combinations of practice were used at different times and places, 
and it is clear that practice grew more out of the temperament of 
the individual than from a long historical tradition.  From  time 
to time an outstanding teacher would appear,  and a school  would 
form,  but  these schools tended to be short-lived,  and  one  is 
struck  more by the diversity and individuality of the  different 
approaches,  than by (what is often presumed) a chain of  masters 
handing  down  the  core  of  a  secret  tradition  through   the 
centuries.  A problem with trying to find an authentic  tradition 
of  Kabbalistic practice is not only is it difficult to  identify 
just  what  such  a tradition might be (given  the  diversity  of 
approaches over the centuries), but more importantly, the keys to 
many of the practical techniques have been lost.  In her book  on 
Kabbalah [1],  Perle Epstein makes a number of wry comments about 
the state of Kabbalah in Judaism today, and regrets the loss of a 
practical mystical tradition. Outside of Judaism the situation is 
little better;  Kabbalah has become an element in the syllabus of 
many traditions,  but its practical application is often  limited 
to  exercises such as pathworking.  It is instructive to  examine 
the  Golden  Dawn initiation rituals [2] as an  example  of  what 
happens when Kabbalah is boiled up with a mixture of  ingredients 
drawn from Greek,  Egyptian,  Rosicrucian and Enochian sources  - 
there is a pervasive smell of Kabbalah throughout,  but it rarely 
amounts to a meal.
     The  following description of Kabbalistic practice makes  no 
attempt to be comprehensive;  on the contrary, I have chosen only 
those  practices with which I am personally familiar.  This  will 
be unsatisfactory to those readers with an academic or historical 
interest,  but  these  notes were intended to  have  a  practical 
value, and I see no value in trying to describe techniques I have 
not  used.  Epstein  [1] provides a useful  introduction  to  the 
breadth of Kabbalistic practice, and the personalities which have 
shaped Kabbalistic thought.  I am aware that there will be  those 
who  would  not wish to associate the name  "Kabbalah"  with  the 
practices  I am about to describe - although I am not  Jewish,  I 
respect the beliefs of those who are - but at the same time there 
is  a  great  deal of variety in nearly  two  thousand  years  of 
Kabbalah,  and one living tradition is worth at least as much  as 
several dead traditions. There is no right or canonical tradition 
of Kabbalistic practice.
     The   practice  of  Kabbalah  as  I  will  describe  it   is 
underpinned  by  the  theosophical  structure  I  have   outlined 
previously  in these notes.  First and foremost comes the  belief 
that there is a God.  The ultimate nature of God is neither known 
nor  manifest to us,  but just as light can be passed  through  a 
prism  to produce a rainbow of colours,  so God manifests in  the 
creation as ten divine lights or emanations,  usually referred to 
as sephiroth.  Each of one of us is a part of God, a microcosm, a 
complete  and  functioning simulacrum of the whole,  and  so  God 
similarly  manifests within us as ten divine lights.  Because  we 
can look in the mirror of our own being and see the reflection of 
the macrocosm it follows that self-knowledge shades imperceptibly 
into  knowledge  of  God,  and as the whole  of  creation  is  an 
emanation  of  God,   so  self-knowledge  moves  the  centre   of 
consciousness away from a subjective awareness of reality towards 
an objective and non-dualistic union with everything that is.
     The second key idea is that the emanations or sephiroth  are 
aspects of the *creative* power of God.  On a macrocosmic  scale, 
the  creation  is  seen as the continuing outcome  of  a  dynamic 
process in which creative energy manifests progressively  through 
the  sephiroth;  at  a microcosmic and personal  level  the  same 
process is at work, and this is the Kabbalistic interpretation of 
the  notion that we are "made in God's image".  By  understanding 
the elements which comprise our own natures,  by going far enough 
inside ourselves to understand the energy and dynamics  operating 
within  our  own consciousness,  so we touch  the  same  energies 
operating in the universe. When we have touched these energies we 
can  call  on  them;  one  name  for  this  process  is  "magic". 
Traditionally  these energies are called upon by  name,  and  are 
characterised  in  concrete ways - the  list  of  correspondences 
given  in Chapter 2 of these notes provides many ideas as to  how 
these energies are likely to be observed at a level where we  are 
most likely to observe them.  The Kabbalistic Tree of Life is  an 
abstract representation or map describing the creative energy  of 
God and the process of manifestation.
     And  that is it,  in essence.  How literally you take  these 
assumptions  is  up to you;  my attitude resembles  that  of  the 
engineer  Oliver  Heavyside,  who didn't care whether  his  self-
invented mathematical methods made sense to mathematicians  (they 
didn't),  as long as his calculations produced the right  answers 
(they did).  I will talk about angels and archangels and names of 
God, powers and sephiroth and invocations, and leave it to you to 
make  your own sense of it.  
     But to return to the discussion of practical  Kabbalah:  one 
can identify two major kinds of practical work arising out of the 
assumptions above. From the idea that we are made in the image of 
God  we  can conclude that by knowing ourselves we can  (in  some 
degree)  know  God;  this  leads to practical  work  designed  to 
increase  self-knowledge  to  the  greatest  degree  possible,  a 
process  I will refer to as *initiation*.  From the idea that  we 
can  call  upon aspects of the creative energy of God  to  change 
reality  we  arrive at practices intended to  increase  *personal 
power*. Kabbalah has divided along these two paths, and I believe 
it  is  accurate  to  say that  traditional  Jewish  Kabbalah  is 
predominantly  mystical,  with  the emphasis on union  with  God, 
while  non-Jewish  Kabbalah is  predominantly  magical.      
     It is easy to sit in judgement of these two approaches; many 
authors have done so. To seek for union with God is to seek to do 
God's will; the world-wide mystical agenda is composed largely of 
the subjugation of ego and the replacement of personal wilfulness 
with divine union.  Magic is seen to be predominantly wilful, and 
so  shares  the original Satanic impulse of pride  and  rebellion 
against  the divine will.  It is easy to conclude  that  mystical 
union  (devekuth,  or "cleaving to God") is the  true  goal,  and 
magic  an "egocentric" aberration of consciousness. 
     It  is  difficult to provide a *rational*  counter  to  this 
argument:   to   be  rational  is  to  fail  to  appreciate   the 
ineffability of mystical insight,  and to argue is to demonstrate 
Satanic  wilfulness  - one is condemned out of one's  own  mouth. 
Nevertheless, there is a middle way between the two extremes, and 
in  what follows the process of initiation is combined  with  the 
use of magical techniques in a blend which I believe captures the 
best of both approaches. I have chosen to describe the process of 
initiation  first  because  I have the romantic  notion  that  an 
ethical sense grows out of self-knowledge.  I follow that with  a 
discussion of some general magical techniques.


One  of the meanings of the word "initiation" is "the process  of 
beginning something".  What is one beginning?  One is  committing 
oneself to find answers to certain questions. What questions? The 
questions vary,  but they are usually fundamental questions about 
the nature of life and personal existence:  "why is the world the 
way it is?",  "why am I alive?", "what lies behind the phenomenal 
world?",  "why  should  I continue living?",  "what is  good  and 
what is evil?",  "how should I live?", and "how can I become rich, 
famous and sexually attractive without expending any effort?". It 
happens (for no obvious reason)  that there are people who cannot 
escape the nagging conviction that some or all of these questions 
can be answered,  and the same people are determined to wring the 
answers out of somebody or something.  The situation resembles  a 
cat in a new house;  the poor creature will not rest until it has 
explored every nook and cranny from the attic to the  crawlspace. 
So  it is with certain people;  they look out on the  world  with 
cat's eyes, and metaphysical and philosophical questions are like 
dark openings into the attic and crawlspace of existence.  And it 
happens   that  every  question,   when  followed   with   enough 
determination,  leads  back to the questioner.  What is the  pre-
condition for knowing anything? We are the attics and crawlspaces 
of  existence,  and so in the end we forced to look  within,  and 
know ourselves.      
     There is another aspect to initiation:  on one hand we  have 
the desire to *know*, and on the other hand we have the desire to 
*be  something  else*.  Initiation  is also the  beginning  of  a 
process of self-transformation,  a process of becoming  something 
else. Becoming what? Answers vary, but in the main, people have a 
vision of "myself made perfect",  and if they believe in  saints, 
they want to be saintly;  if they believe in God, they want to be 
united with God.  Some want to be more powerful, and some want to 
be rich,  famous,  and sexually attractive. Two easily observable 
characteristics  of  people  looking  for  mystical  or   magical 
training  are a lust for knowledge and a desire to  be  something 
other than what they currently are.  A bizarre situation  indeed; 
not only do they seek to know what they are and why they are, but 
even  before  they know the answers,  they want to  be  something 
     Kabbalistic  initiation  is a process  of  increasing  self-
knowledge,  and an accompanying process of change. It is based on 
a  practical  experience  of the sephiroth:  if  each  of  us  is 
potentially  a simulacrum of God,  and if the creative energy  of 
God  can  be  described  in terms of  the  dynamics  of  the  ten 
sephiroth,  then  by understanding the dynamics of the  sephiroth 
within  us we begin to understand the nature of the  God  within, 
and  by extrapolation,  the nature of God in  the  absolute.  The 
learning  process  (like most learning)  mirrors  the  alchemical 
operation  of "solve et coagula" - that is,  before we can  reach 
the  next stage in knowledge and understanding ("coagula") it  is 
necessary  to break down what already exists into  its  component 
parts  ("solve").  This  can be observed whenever we  attempt  to 
learn a new skill;  we begin in a state of unconcious  competence 
where we can do many tasks without difficulty,  but when we try a 
new  skill we find that our old habits are a  positive  obstacle, 
and we become unconsciously incompetent - we approach a new  task 
in  an old way and make a mess of it.  When we have  made  enough 
messes we either give up,  or we realise the necessity of change, 
drop  old  habits  as a prerequisite  for  acquiring  new  habits 
(solve), and become consciously incompetent. Finally, with enough 
practice (coagula), we return once more to a state of unconscious 
competence,  ready to begin the cycle one more time.  The process 
of  kabbalistic  initiation leading to  increased  self-knowledge 
begins with the sephiroth,  and each sephira contains within it a 
world of "solve et coagula",  a world where one may function with 
limited  unconscious  competence,  but to reach a  new  level  of 
understanding  and  competence one must go through the  fire  and 
experience   the   energy  of  the   sephira   deliberately   and 
     What possible advantage could there be in understanding  the 
nature of a sephira?  What "things" are there to be  learned?  In 
answer,  there are no "things" to be learned.  A sephira is not a 
particular manifestation of consciousness (e.g.  pleasure),  or a 
particular  behaviour  (e.g.   being  honest,  being  kind);  the 
sephiroth underpin manifestations of consciousness,  they are the 
earth in which behaviours (and their opposites) are  rooted,  and 
by understanding a sephira one burrows underneath the *phenomena* 
of  consciousness  and  grasps an abstract  state  of  *becoming* 
(emanation,  or sephira) which gives rise to phenomena. This is a 
magical procedure;  when one ceases to identify with the shopping 
list of qualities,  beliefs and behaviours which can be  mistaken 
for   personal   identity  (a  necessarily  fixed   and   limited 
abstraction) then one touches the raw substance of becoming,  and 
it  is on the power to manipulate the "becoming" of reality  that 
magic  is based.  The closer one tries to get to the energy of  a 
sephira, the more one must abandon the artificial restrictions of 
personality;  the  mystical  quest  for  self-knowledge  and  the 
magical quest for personal power unite in the same place.
     There  are  many  ways  to investigate  the  nature  of  the 
sephiroth,  but one of the simplest and most direct is to ask the 
powers of the sephiroth for help.  In principal all one has to do 
is call upon the powers of a sephira,  and ask to be  instructed. 
There are three potential problems with this procedure. The first 
is that it is like asking to be dropped in a wilderness;  you may 
learn to survive,  or you may not. The second possible problem is 
that  people tend to have a natural affinity for  some  sephiroth 
and  not  others,  and left to themselves tend to  develop  their 
knowledge in a lop-sided manner.  Lastly, many people do not know 
how  to call upon the powers - you can't ask Gabriel to help  you 
if  you  don't know Gabriel,  and you don't know how  to  contact 
Gabriel. But, if you knew someone who knew Gabriel....
     The time-honoured method of initiation into the nature of  a 
particular sephira is to ask someone who has had that  experience 
to  invoke to powers of the sephira on your  behalf.  The  person 
chosen  as initiator would use the techniques of ritual magic  to 
invoke the powers of a sephira with the intention that you should 
receive  instruction and insight into the nature of that  sphere. 
It  works.  Metaphysical theories may be impossible to  prove  or 
disprove,  supposed  magical  powers  evaporate  in  the  physics 
laboratory,  but  people who undergo this kind of initiation  can 
change visibly and even claim to have learned something.  One can 
argue  about the objective reality of the Archangel  Gabriel  and 
the Powers of the sephira Yesod,  but it is difficult to  dispute 
the  validity  of  initiation when someone  changes  his  or  her 
outlook  on  reality and actually does things  differently  as  a 
     I  would  like to clarify some  possible  misunderstandings. 
This  kind  of  initiation is not a ceremony  with  a  fixed  and 
lengthy script,  like the masonic-type rituals which have  become 
so  closely associated with magical initiations.  The  initiation 
ritual  I  am  describing is a  challenge;  it  is  a  one-to-one 
encounter  between  an initiatee,  and an initiator who  acts  as 
agent for the invoked powers. If there is a script it is minimal; 
the purpose of the ritual is not to impart secrets,  or impose  a 
view of the world,  but to challenge the initiatee to demonstrate 
a   personal  and  individual  understanding  relevant   to   the 
initiation.   The  success  of  the  initiation  depends  on  the 
initiator's ability to invoke and channel the powers,  and on the 
initiatee's  willingness  to be challenged at a  deeply  personal 
level  in  an  atmosphere  of  trust.  The  challenge  aspect  of 
initiation is a vital part of its success; it creates a catalytic 
stress which can act to bring about sudden and sometimes dramatic 
changes  in perspective.  The initiation is also a challenge  for 
the  initiator;  each initiatee is different and  approaches  the 
same place from a different direction.      
     This kind of initiation is not a lightweight  procedure.  It 
is easy to abuse it.  The purpose of initiation is not to  select 
for conformity (quite the opposite),  but it must be said that it 
is easy for an initiator to use an initiation to enhance personal 
power.  This  is  a  problem in esoteric  systems  which  use  an 
apprenticeship  system and is not unique to this particular  form 
of initiation.
     Self-initiation  is possible and may be the only option  for 
many  people.   It  suffers  from  a  number  of disadvantages:

     - people  are  naturally  self-important  and  endow  their 
       opinions,   attitudes  and  prejudices  with  far   more 
       importance than another person would. Working with another 
       person produces beneficial friction.

     - it is easy to make excuses to yourself which you  wouldn't 
       make to another person. Their presence is a   challenge to 
       make an effort, or do things differently.

     - magical work can produce dramatic changes in behaviour. An 
       observer can provide useful feedback. 

     - most of Kabbalah isn't "facts"; it is "ways of being", and 
       an  excellent method of learning is to let  someone  else 
     - it is easy to reinvent the wheel when working by oneself.

None  of  these  difficulties  are  insurmountable.   Joining  an 
amateur  dramatic   group as a conscious and  deliberate  magical 
exercise should provide some of the raw input needed, and provide 
lots of stress,  friction, and challenges to one's personal world 
view. It is easy to think up other examples. What is important is 
not to treat practical Kabbalah as something separate from normal 
life, but to use normal life as the stimulus to put Kabbalah into 
practice - this is a traditional Kabbalistic idea.  If you  can't 
do it in ordinary life, you can't do it.
     It  is  easy  to mystify initiation  and  pretend  it  leads 
somewhere different from the "school of hard knocks". It doesn't. 
Ordinary  life is a perfectly adequate initiator,  and people  do 
change  in many ways (sometime dramatically) as they grow  older. 
At most initiation may go further.  It can and should  accelerate 
the process of acquiring self-knowledge and (in theory at  least) 
lead  to someone who has explored their personal microcosm  in  a 
broader,  deeper and more systematic way than someone who has had 
to  suffer "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune"  in  the 
patchy and random sequence that is our common lot.  The Kabbalist 
should  be  able  to go further in exploring  and  analysing  the 
extremes of consciousness, boundless steppes in the shadowland of 
"not-me", where daemons of "otherness" threaten the fragile ghost 
of personal identity.
     Much of what an initiator does is to ask questions.  If  you 
want to carry out a self-initiation you will have to ask your own 
questions.  I  will  use  the sephiroth of  Hod  and  Netzach  as 
examples to show how the sephirothic correspondences can be  used 
to ask questions.  Suppose you want to identify those  behaviours 
and  attitudes in your personality which are underpinned  by  Hod 
and  Netzach.  Read the correspondences in Chapter 2 for Hod  and 
Netzach and try to decide.  Are you impulsive? Do you do what you 
want to do and ignore people who warn you of the consequences? Do 
you have strong passions for things, people, places. If asked why 
you  are doing something,  how do you explain yourself -  do  you 
give  elaborate rationalisations,  or do you say things  like  "I 
haven't any choice", or "you made me do it", or "I just want to", 
or "I can't explain why".  Do other people tell you to stop being 
irrational? Do you find it hard to suppress your emotions, do you 
think you are transparent to others?  Are you furious one minute, 
miserably  sad  the  next,  do your  moods  and  feelings  change 
on the fly?
     On  the other hand,  you might be someone who  is  concerned 
with  the  protocol of relationships and  situations  (you  worry 
whether it is right to kiss on the first date!). You like to talk 
about  things and have definite ideas about the right  and  wrong 
way  to  conduct  a  discussion - you refer  to  this  as  "being 
rational". You analyse your conduct in some detail according to a 
constantly developing set of rules, and you dream up hypothetical 
situations to test your ability to apply these rules - you  don't 
want to make a mistake. You are skilled at handling problems with 
many rules,  and may be adept at cheating the rules.  You have  a 
clear  grasp  of high-level abstractions and might work  in  law, 
medicine,  finance,  science,  or engineering,  where you can use 
your  ability  to  apply rule-based  knowledge.  You  might  feel 
uncomfortable  with  a  display of  emotion  in  another  person, 
particlarly when it cuts across your sense of protocol,  and  you 
keep a tight rein on your own emotions. Other people may find you 
sharp  but  clinical,  able to communicate verbally but  poor  at 
responding to real-life situations involving emotional  conflict, 
poor  at  any problem where there  is  insufficient  information, 
where  variables  cannot  be quantified,  or where  there  is  no 
abstract model.
     The first set of behaviours is appropriate to Netzach, while 
the second set is appropriate to Hod.  Few people are purely  one 
thing or another, and behaviours change according to circumstance 
- drinking alcohol tends to shift people from Hod-type behaviours 
to Netzach-type behaviours. A person may sustain a Hod persona at 
work,  then  go to a bar in the evening and become  the  complete 
opposite.  My  favourite  Hod/Netzach joke  concerns  the  (real) 
couple  who  were asked which of the two sephiroth they  had  the 
greatest affinity to.  The man responded "Well,  I feel I'm Hod", 
and  the woman replied "I think I'm probably Netzach".
     The  analysis  can  be  taken  further.   Suppose  you  have 
identified a large number of Hod-type behaviours in yourself. The 
virtue  of  Hod  is honesty or  truthfulness,  and  its  vice  is 
dishonesty - the power of language to represent  and  communicate 
information  about  the world automatically brings  with  it  the 
power  to  *misrepresent* what is going on.  How  often  are  you 
dishonest?  With yourself? With others? In what situations do you 
sanction  dishonesty?  What value do you perceive in  dishonesty? 
Are  you capable of giving a purely factual account of a  failed, 
close relationship without rationalising your own behaviour?  Try 
it,  and ask a good friend to score the attempt. I must emphasise 
that  there  is no moral intent in this  dissection  of  personal 
honesty  - it is an exercise designed to expose the way in  which 
we represent events so as to make ourselves feel comfortable.
     The illusion of Hod is Order, and the qlippa or shell of Hod 
is  Rigid  Order.  It is easy to observe during  discussions  and 
arguments how people try to defend and preserve the structure (or 
form)  of their beliefs.  Do you know anyone with an  unshakeable 
view of the world? Does it annoy you that no matter how ingenious 
you  are  in finding counter-examples to his or  her  view,  this 
person  will always succeed in "fitting" your example into  their 
world view?   What about yourself?  Do you collect evidence which 
reinforces your beliefs like someone collecting stamps?  Are  you 
conscious  of  trying to "fit" and "interpret"  the  evidence  to 
support  your beliefs?  Why are your beliefs important?  What  is 
their actual *value* to you. What would happen to you if you gave 
them up?      
     You  can  do the same thing with the  sephira  Netzach.  The 
illusion  of Netzach is projection,  the averse face of  empathy, 
the tendency to incorrectly attribute to others the same feelings 
and  motives  as  I have.  Suppose I  am  sexually  attracted  to 
someone;  I  look at this person and they smile in  return.  What 
does  that smile mean to me at that instant?  How many  different 
mistakes might I have made?  Suppose I say to someone "I know how 
you feel",  and they retort angrily "No you bloody well  don't!". 
One of the fastest ways of alienating someone is to  consistently 
misinterpret how they feel. Are you constantly puzzled why people 
don't share your taste in clothes, music, literature, films, art, 
or decor?  Do you feel that if only their eyes were opened,  they 
might?  Do you ever try to convert people to your taste?  How  do 
react when they aren't impressed?  Do you make secret  judgements 
which  affect the way you treat them?  Have you  ever  discounted 
someone  because their taste offended yours?  What  *value*  does 
your  personal aesthetic have to you?  What would happen  if  you 
gave it up?
     As  you  can  see,  this is not  a  procedure  where  anyone 
(barring yourself) is going to provide answers.  Questions,  yes; 
lots  of questions,  but no answers.  Asking the right  questions 
isn't  easy;  we tend to have a peculiar blindness about our  own 
behaviour,  beliefs,  and attitudes,  and that translates into an 
unconsciousness  of  what we are.  One of the oldest  jokes  that 
children play is to stick a notice on someone's back saying "Kick 
Me".  The  poor  unfortunate  walks around and  wonders  why  his 
acquaintances are behaving oddly - tittering, sneaking up behind, 
and so on. He can't see what other people can see clearly, and he 
hasn't  the  power to understand (and possibly  influence)  their 
behaviour until he does see.  Suppose an "initiator" walks up and 

     "Have you looked at your back recently?"
     "Ahhhh....!" says the victim in a sudden flash of insight.
     According  to folk wisdom,  asking questions is a  dangerous 
business.  Asking yourself questions certainly is.  It hurts.  It 
has no obvious benefit.  You may find yourself hating yourself as 
you  penetrate  layers of self-deception and dishonesty  only  to 
discover  a fear (or terror) of changing,  and pious  resolutions 
and commitments fall apart in the face of that fear. You take off 
the first skin, and then you take off the next skin, and then you 
take off the skin under that.  Then you get stuck.  You can't  go 
any further by yourself - you haven't the courage to do it -  and 
at the same time you can't go back to what you were.  A blind and 
deaf man can stand happily in the middle of a busy road, but give 
him  sight  and hearing for only a second and that  happiness  is 
gone.  It  is at this point where it helps to have a faith  in  a 
power greater than yourself - your Holy Guardian Angel,  God, the 
Lion, whatever.
     In summary,  the process of kabbalistic initiation described 
above is based in detail on the map of consciousness provided  by 
the  Tree  of Life and the  correspondences.  The  sephiroth  are 
explored  by  using  ritual magic to invoke  the  powers  of  the 
sephiroth   for  the  purposes  of   initiation.   Incidents   in 
ordinary   life  are  interpreted  as  challenges   or   learning 
experiences supplied by the powers. Major steps in the process of 
initiation are marked by observable changes in the initiatee, and 
confirmed  by  an  initiator whose role is primarily  that  of  a 
catalyst. This technique of initiation has been used for at least 
one hundred years, but its execution has tended to be marred by a 
good  deal  of  superfluous dross  -  elaborate  ceremonials  and 
scripts,  pompous  and often meaningless grades and  titles,  and 
magical  systems so vastly elaborate that the  would-be  initiate 
spends more time looking at the finger than the moon.

(to be continued)

maintained by Jeff Morton / Ioldanach@yahoo.com / Ioldanach@yahoo.com