The Alt.Magick Kabbalah FAQ

Version: 2.0

Release Date: 23rd. March. 1994

This Kabbalah FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) was prepared for the Usenet/Internet newsgroup "alt.magick." It is intended to provide a brief introduction to Kabbalah, and pointers to additional sources of information.

This FAQ may be freely copied as long as this header is retained. The contents are copyright and may not be abridged or modified without the written permission of the author. Printed copies may be made for personal use.

Where third-party contributions are included they are clearly marked and are copyright of the authors. Copyright Colin Low 1993 (INET: )

The author would appreciate feedback on the accuracy of the material, modulo variations in the Anglicised spellings of Hebrew words.


Section 1: General
Q1.1 : What is Kabbalah
Q1.2 : What does the word "Kabbalah" mean, and how should I spell it?
Q1.3 : What is the "Tradition"?
Q1.4 : How old is Kabbalah?
Q1.5 : Do I need to be Jewish to study Kabbalah?
Q1.6 : Is there an obstacle to a woman studying Kabbalah?
Q1.7 : I've heard that one shouldn't study Kabbalah unless one is over forty years old? Is this true?
Q1.8 : Do I need to learn Hebrew to study Kabbalah?
Q1.9 : Is non-Judaic Kabbalah really Kabbalah?
Q1.10 : How can I find someone who teaches Kabbalah?

Section 2: Specifics
Q2.1 : What is the Great Work?
Q2.2 : I want to know more about the Archangels.
Q2.3 : What is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and where does it come from?
Q2.4 : What are the Qlippoth

Section 3: A Potted History of Kabbalah

Section 4: Reading List

Section 5: Information on the Internet

Section 1: GENERAL

Q1.1 : What is Kabbalah?
Within Judaism, Kabbalah is a branch of Jewish mysticism. It consists of a large body of speculation on the nature of divinity, the creation, the origin and fate of the soul, and the role of human beings. It consists also of meditative, devotional, mystical and magical practices which were taught only to a select few and for this reason Kabbalah is regarded as an esoteric offshoot of Judaism.

Some aspects of Kabbalah has been studied and used by non-Jews for several hundred years.

Q1.2 : What does the word "Kabbalah" mean, and how should I spell it?
The word "Kabbalah" is derived from the root "to receive, to accept," and in many cases is used synonymously with "tradition."

No-one with the slightest interest in Kabbalah can fail to notice that there are many alternative spellings of the word, the two most common being Kabbalah and Qabalah. Cabala, Qaballah, Qabala, Kaballah (and so on) are also seen. The reason for this is that some letters in the Hebrew alphabet have more than one representation in the English alphabet, and the same Hebrew letter can be written either as K or Q (or sometimes even C); some authors choose one spelling, and some choose the other. Some (the author for example) will even mix Q and K in the same document, spelling Kabbalah and Qlippoth (as opposed to Qabalah and Klippoth!). A random selection of modern Hebrew phrase books and dictionaries use the K variant to represent the letter Kuf, so anyone who claims that the "correct" spelling is "Qabalah" is on uncertain ground.

The author takes the view (based on experience) that the spelling "Kabbalah" is recognised by a wider selection of people than the "Qabalah" variant, and for this purely pragmatic reason it is used throughout the FAQ.

Q1.3 : What is the "Tradition"?
According to Jewish tradition, the Torah (Torah - "Law" - the first five books of the Old Testament) was created prior to the world and she advised God on such weighty matters as the creation of human kind.

When Moses received the written law from God, tradition has it that he also received the oral law, which was not written down, but passed from generation to generation. At times the oral law has been referred to as "Kabbalah" - the oral tradition.

The Torah was (and is) believed to be divine, and in the same way as the Torah was accompanied by an oral tradition, so there grew up a secret oral tradition which claimed to possess an initiated understanding of the Torah, its hidden meanings, and the divine power concealed within it. This is a principle root of the Kabbalistic tradition, a belief in the divinity of the Torah, and a belief that by studying this text one can unlock the secrets of the creation. Another aspect of Jewish religion which influenced Kabbalah was the Biblical phenomenon of prophecy. The prophet was an individual chosen by God as a mouthpiece, and there is an implication that God, far from being a transcedental abstraction, was a being whom one could approach (albeit with enormous difficulty, risk, fear and trembling). Some Kabbalists believed that they were the inheritors of practical techniques handed down from the time of the Biblical prophets, and it is not impossible or improbable that this was in fact the case.

These two threads, one derived from the study of the Torah, the other derived from practical attempts to approach God, form the roots from which the Kabbalistic tradition developed.

Q1.4 : How old is Kabbalah?
No-one knows. The earliest documents which are generally acknowledged as being Kabbalistic come from the 1st. Century C.E., but there is a suspicion that the Biblical phenomenon of prophecy may have been grounded in a much older oral tradition which was a precursor to the earliest recognisable forms of Kabbalah. Some believe the tradition goes back as far as Melchizedek. There is no clear point at which a distinct Kabbalistic tradition "began," and its origin is more a matter of definition than anything else. The origin of the word "Kabbalah" as a label for a tradition which is definitely recognisable as Kabbalah is attributed to Isaac the Blind (c. 1160-1236 C.E.), who is also credited with being the originator of the idea of sephirothic emanation.

Prior to this (and after) a wide variety of terms were used for those who studied the tradition: "masters of mystery," "men of belief," "masters of knowledge," "those who know," "those who know grace," "children of faith," "children of the king's palace," "those who know wisdom," "those who reap the field," "those who have entered and left."

Q1.5 Do I need to be Jewish to study Kabbalah?

The Law of Gravitation was formulated by Isaac Newton, who was English. You do not need to be English to fall on your face. You do not need to be English to study the physics of gravitation.

However, if you choose to study Kabbalah by name you should recognise that Kabbalah was and is a part of Judaism, and an important part of the history of Jewish people, and respect the beliefs which not only gave rise to Kabbalah, but which are still an essential part of Jewish faith.

Q1.6 : Is there an Obstacle to a Woman studying Kabbalah?
Within Judaism the answer is a resounding "Yes!": there are many obstacles. Perle Epstein relates some of her feelings on the subject in her book on Kabbalah (see the Reading List below).

The obstacles are more in the nature of traditional attitudes than innate; it is less easy for a woman to find a Rabbi prepared to teach Kabbalah than it would be for a man. Persistence may reward (see below).

Outside of Judaism the answer is a resounding "No!": there are no obstacles. For the past one hundred years women have been active both in studying and in teaching Kabbalah.

Q1.7 : I've heard that one shouldn't study Kabbalah unless one is over forty years old? Is this true?
The great Kabbalist R. Isaac Luria (1534-1572), began the study of Kabbalah at the age of seventeen and died at the age of thirty-eight! His equally famous contemporary R. Moses Cordovero (1522-1570) began at the age of twenty. Many other famous Kabbalists also began the study early.

This prohibition has come from Ashkenazic (East European) Jews and has never applied to Sepharidic (Middle Eastern) Jews.

The historical basis for the "rule" comes from opponents of Kabbalah within Judaism who (successfully) attempted to restrict its study. At the root of this was the heresy of false messiah Shabbatai Tzevi (17th. C) which resulted in large numbers of Jews leaving the orthodox fold. This heresy had deep Kabbalistic underpinnings, and in the attempt to stamp out Shabbateanism, Kabbalah itself became suspect,and specific prohibitions were enacted (e.g. the excommunication of the Frankists in Poland in 1756). A further factor was the degeneration (in the eyes of their rationalist opponents) of 18th century Hasidism (which had roots both in Kabbalah and Shabbateanism) into "wonder working" and superstition; the rationalist faction in Judaism triumphed, and the study of Kabbalah became largely discredited.

Greg Burton has supplied this (mildly amusing) post from America OnLine, from a Rabbi Ariel Bar-Zadok:

"One thing I assure you, I am not a "new ager," nor am I sympathetic to anything that is not pure, authoritative Kabbalah. Remember, Kabbalah means "to receive." I am an Orthodox Sephardic Rabbi, ordained in Jerusalem. I teach only from the true texts, many of which most Rabbis for whatever reasons have never read. I document all my sources so as to verify to you that these teachings are authentic. (I must also admit that I have studied other religious and meditative systems, in this way I feel comfortable and confident to discuss them). My classes are open to all, Jew and Benei Noah alike, men and women, (in accordance to Tana D'vei Eliyahu, Eliyahu Raba, Chapter 9). By the way, according to the Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabi Ovadiah Yosef (Yehaveh Da'at 4,47) quoting Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, one only has to be 20 years old to study Kabbala, and not 40. THIS IS THE HALAKHA!!"

This still leaves R.Isaac Luria looking embarrassed, but R. Moses Cordevero scrapes in under the bar ;-)

Q1.8 : Do I need to learn Hebrew to study Kabbalah?
Do you need to learn French in order to visit France? Should you learn French if you intend to visit France regularly? These are questions you need to answer for yourself. The author of this FAQ visits France regularly and does a lot of pointing and grunting - it all comes down to deciding whether asking for food in colloquial French is more important than simply getting the food and eating it.

The author takes the latter view; the realities of mysticism and magic can be pointed at, and the accompanying grunts can be found in many traditions and many different languages. There are many practical exercises and ritual techniques which can be employed with only a minimal knowledge of Hebrew.

However, there is no question that a knowledge of Hebrew can make a very large difference. Non-Jewish texts on Kabbalah abound in simple mistakes which are due largely to uninformed copying. Thousands of important Kabbalistic texts have not been translated out of Hebrew or Aramaic, and the number of important source texts in translation is small. The difficulties in trying to read the archaic and technically complex literature of Kabbalah should not be discounted, but it is well worthwhile to acquire even a superficial knowledge of Hebrew.

Four useful books are:

Levy, Harold, "Hebrew for All," Valentine, Mitchell 1976 Harrison R.K. "Teach yourself Biblical Hebrew," NTC Publishing Group 1993
Kelley, P.H., "Biblical Hebrew, an introductory grammar," Eerdmans 1992
Brown, F, "The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew-English Lexicon," Hendrickson 1979

Q1.9 : Is non-Judaic Kabbalah really Kabbalah?
This is a matter of definition. Jewish writers on the subject tend to downplay aspects of Kabbalah which conflict with orthodox rabbinic Judaism, so that we do not see the heretic Nathan of Gaza classed as an important Kabbalist, despite the fact that he was very influential for almost two hundred years. We hear little about the non-rabbinic "Baal Shem" or "Masters of the Name" who used Kabbalah for healing and other practical purposes. There is ample evidence that many magical practices currently associated with non-Judaic Kabbalah were widely used and well understood by some of the most famous rabbinic Kabbalists.
Q1.10 : How can I find someone who teaches Kabbalah?
It is the author's opinion that the difficulty in finding a teacher can be viewed as a nuisance or a positive part of learning Kabbalah. A thing is valued more when it is hard to find. Associate with people who share your interests, go to lectures and public meetings, go to workshops, go to whatever happens to be available, (even if it is not entirely to your taste), and sooner or later someone will "turn up."

Many Kabbalists are people with strong personal convictions of a religious nature, and may see their teaching as a personal obligation (see "What is the Great Work?"). Those who do not charge money for their teaching may require a strong commitment from pupils, and are unlikely to welcome "flavour of the month" mystical aspirants.

A word of advice: a genuine teacher of Kabbalah will help you to develop your own personal relationship with God. Beware of a teacher who has preconceived and well-developed ideas about what is good for you, or who tries to control the development of your beliefs.

Section 2: SPECIFICS

Q2.1 : What is the Great Work?
"Do not pray for your own needs, for your prayer will not then be accepted. But when you want to pray, do so for the heaviness of the Head. For whatever you lack, the Divine Presence also lacks."

"This is because man is a 'portion of God from on high.' Whatever any part lacks, also exists in the Whole, and the Whole feels the lack of the part, You should therefore pray for the needs of the Whole."

The term "the Great Work" has many definitions, and is not a term from traditional Kabbalah,but it has a modern usage among some Kabbalists. The quotation above, from a disciple of the Kabbalist R. Israel Baal Shem Tov, is a traditional Kabbalistic view: that the creation is in a damaged and imperfect state, and the Kabbalist, by virtue of his or her state of consciousness, can bring about a real healing. A name for this is "tikkun" (restoration). There are many traditional forms of "tikkun," most of them prescriptions for essentially magical acts designed to bring about a healing in the creation.

This view of the Great Work also exists outside of Judaic Kabbalah and survives today, namely that the creation is in a "fallen" state, and each person has an individual role to play in bringing about a general restoration.

"When someone stands in the light but does not give it out, then a shadow is created."

This is a modern restatement of an old Kabbalistic idea. In this view, God gives life to the Creation: from second to second the Creation is sustained by this giving, and if it were to cease even for an instant, the Creation would be no more. If someone wants to know God then they have to resemble God, and this means they must give to others. Kabbalah is not a self-centred pursuit;it pivots around the Kabbalist's relationship with all living beings.

Q2.2 : I want to know more about the Archangels.
The following information was derived initially from a discussion on alt.magick where several people contributed pieces, in particular, (in no order) Le Grand Cinq-Mars, Amanda Walker, Leigh Daniels, Patric Shane Linden, B.A. Davis-Howe, Mark Garrison, Baird Stafford, and myself. Apologies if you said something and I missed it.

Angels are found in the Judaic, Christian, Islamic and Zoroastrian traditions. The word "angel" is derived from the Christian Latin "angelos," itself derived from the Greek "aggelos," which is a translation of the Hebrew word "mal'akh," a messenger.

Angels are typically found in groupings of four, seven and twelve, reflecting their role in mediating the divine influence via the planets and the stars. For example, in Zorastrianism there was a belief in the Amesha Spentas, seven holy or bounteous immortals who were functional aspects of Ahura Mazda, the Wise Lord. In Islam four angels are well known: Jibril (Gabriel), the angel of revelation; Mikal (Michael), the angel of nature; Izrail (Azrael), the angel of death, and Israfil, the angel who places the soul in the body and sounds the last judgement.

The sources for the angels used in Kabbalah and ceremonial magic are primarily Jewish. The canonical Old Testament books mention only Michael and Gabriel, but apocryphal and Talmudic literature provide richer sources, and there is a suspicion that this was a result of contact with Zoroastrianism during the period of the Babylonian Exile (6th-5th centuries BC). The four best-known angels are

According to one source his name is his war-cry: "Who is like God?." Michael is at war with the great dragon or serpent, often identified with Samael in Jewish sources. Michael's original position in the celestial hierarchy has been progressively eroded by angels such as Metatron. In medieval Kabbalah he is attributed to Chesed, but in modern Kabbalah he can be found in Tipheret or even in Hod.

Uriel means "Fire of God," from the word "oor" meaning "fire" and Auriel means "Light of God," from the word "or" meaning "light." Both names tend to be used synonymously, and the association with light is common in Kabbalah. In medieval Kabbalah Uriel is attributed to Truth and the middle pillar of the Tree, in Tipheret. The association with light is significant because of the importance of light in practical Kabbalah, where several different kinds are distinguished, including: nogah (glow), tov (good), bahir (brilliant), zohar (radiant), kavod (glory), chaim (life), and muvhak (scintillating). In Christian times Uriel may have been identified with Lucifer ("light-bearer") and Satan, an odd identification as the diabolic angel according to Jewish tradition is Samael.

Raphael means "Healing of God." Raphael is sometimes attributed to Hod and sometimes to Tipheret.

Gabriel means "Strength of God" and in medieval Kabbalah was attributed to Gevurah (the words share a common root). In modern Kabbalah Gabriel can be found further down the Tree in Yesod using his strength to hold up the foundations.

The four archangels can be found in a variety of protective incantations where they guard the four quarters, an almost universal symbolism can be found in guises as diverse as nursery rhymes (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, bless this bed that I lie on) to ancient Egyptian protective deities. A well-known incantation can be found in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (see below).

The angel Samael is also important in Kabbalah. Scholem shows (in "The Origins of the Kabbalah") that in early medieval Kabbalah, Samael retained some of the characteristics of the Gnostic demiurge Ialdebaoth (the blind god), and derives the name from "sami," meaning "blind." He is attributed consistently to the planet Mars and the sephira Gevurah, and is the traditional source of all the nastiness in the world. He appears in various guises as the Dark Angel and the Angel of Death. The suffix -el betrays his divine origin, and Kabbalists have been divided between placing him at the head of a demonic hierarchy (alongside his wife Lilith), and viewing him as an unpleasant but necessary component of creation. Samael is identified with the serpent in the Garden of Eden, a tempter and a poisoner of life.

The archangel Metatron does not appear in many lists of archangels, but has an important role in Kabbalah as the archangel of the Countenance. Legend has it that Metatron is none other than the Old Testament sage Enoch, lifted up to Heaven by God. Scholem comments that "...there is hardly a duty in the heavenly realm and within the dominion of one angel among the other angels that is not associated with Metatron." Metatron is usually associated with Kether.

There are many lists of seven archangels. Almost all of them differ from each other. Mark O. Garrison (ORMUS@SORINC.CUTLER.COM) kindly provided the following information which clarifies the difficulty:

Mark's material begins here

The problem lies in from whence the author goes to research the names of the 7 Archangels. The earliest sources giving the names of all Seven Archangels is ENOCH I (Ethiopic Enoch) which lists the names as following:
Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Zerachiel, Gabriel, and Remiel

The next two sources which originate within a few decades of each other list quite different names of the Seven Archangels. In ENOCH 3 (Hebrew Enoch) the Archangels are listed as:
Mikael, Gabriel, Shatqiel, Baradiel, Shachaqiel, Baraqiel, Sidriel

While the TESTAMENT OF SOLOMON mentions:
Mikael, Gabriel, Uriel, Sabrael, Arael, Iaoth, Adonaei

The Christian Gnostics changed things a bit further, but they still mention Uriel (though, in some cases they called him Phanuel). The compleat listing of the Archangels according to their tradition is:
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Barachiel, Sealtiel, Jehudiel

Pope Gregory the Great wrote the Archangels as being these 7:
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Simiel, Orifiel, Zachariel

Likewise, the Pseudo-Dionysians used a similar grouping, mentioning Uriel also. They list the following as the Seven Archangels:
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Chamuel, Jophiel, Zadkiel

It was not until much later times, around the 10th century C.E. when the name Uriel was replaced by other names in these much latter sources.

In Geonic Lore, Uriel is replaced by Samael (The Angel of Light, or THE Lightbearer, from whence the ideology of Lucifer had originated from also). In Geonic Lore the seven are noted as being:
Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Aniel, Kafziel, Samael, and Zadkiel

Around the 12th to 15th centuries C.E. the name of Haniel came to replace the name of Uriel. However, the two being quite different in their Natures. The name Haniel is common to the Talismanic Magical Tradition and other forms of Medieval Ceremonialism. These Medieval Traditions mention the seven as being:
Zaphkiel, Zadkiel, Camael, Raphael, Haniel, Michael, Gabriel

Also, a late sourcebook titled THE HIERARCHY OF THE BLESSED ANGELS mentions a different list of the seven archangels. They list them as following:
Raphael, Gabriel, Chamuel, Michael, Adabiel, Haniel, Zaphiel

It need be remembered, that the Judaeo/Christian tradition originates from several religions and traditions, each having its own legends and thusly, its own hierarchies and namings of the angels. In Islam, there are only four archangels: Gabriel, Michael, Azrael (the Angel of Death, often interchanged with Uriel since the 15th century in some European traditions) for instance. One can easily determine the sources and origins of any book on Qabala or Ceremonial Magick by what angels they use, obviously. I

[[ There is evidently a break in the FAQ at this point ]]

Baird's material begins here

And here is an expanded list of references to the Archangels, including those cited by Brian Arthur. I've included verses from the Pseudepigrapha (which are the apocryphal books of the Bible not included by the Roman church in its version of the Apocrypha, although I understand that some of them are included in the Orthodox Bible). Uriel had a number of stand-ins who appear to have been other angels who took over his duties for a while: their names are Sariel, Strahel, and Suriel. I've not included their references. And, just for the fun of it, I've also included some references from the writings of the early Christian gnostics.

In all cases, the verses I've cited are only those in which the Archangelic Name actually appears; in some cases, subsequent verses refer to the original listing without naming Names.

3 Baruch, 4:7
1 Enoch 10:4; 20:3; 32:6; 40:9; 54:6; 68:2-4; 71:8-9,13
Apocalypse of Ezra 1:4; 6:2
Apocalypse of Adam and Eve 40:2
Sibylline Oracles 2:215
Testament of Solomon 5:9 (24 in F.C. Conybeare's translation); 13:6 (59 in Conybeare); 18:8 (75 in Conybeare)
Tobit 3:16; 5:4; 7:8; 8:2; 9:1; 9:5; 11:7; 12:15

Daniel 10:13; 10:21; 12:1
Jude 9
Revelations 12:7
3 Baruch 4:7; 11:2,4,6,8; 12:4,6-7; 13:2-3,5; 14:1-2; 15:1,3; 16:1,3
4 Baruch 9:5
1 Enoch 9:1; 10:11; 20:5; 24:6; 40:9; 54:6; 60:4-5; 68:2-4; 69:14-15; 71:3,8-9,13
2 Enoch 22:1,6,8-9; 33:10; 71:28 (Recension J); 72:1,3,8-9 (Recension J)
3 Enoch 17:3; 44:10
Apocalypse of Ezra 1:3; 2:1; 4:7,24; 6:2
Life of Adam and Eve 13:3; 14:1-3; 15:2; 21:2; 22:2; 25:2; 29:1-3; 43:3; 45:1; 51:2
Apocalypse of Adam and Eve 3:2; 22:1; 37:4,6; 40:1-2; 43:1-2
Sibylline Oracles 2:215
Testament of Solomon 1:6 (5 in Conybeare); 18:5 (73 in Conybeare)
Apocalypse of Abraham 10:17
Apocalypse of Sedrach 14:1
Martyrdom and Ascension of Isiah 3:16
Testament of Abraham 1:4,6; 2:2-14:7
Testament of Isaac 2:1
Testament of Jacob 1:6; 5:13
Vision of Ezra verse 56
-Gnostic Texts (Nag Hammadi Scrolls)
Apocryphon of John 17:30

Daniel 8:16; 9:21
Luke 1:19; 1:26
3 Baruch 4:7
1 Enoch 9:1; 10:9; 20:7; 40:9; 54:6; 71:8-9,13
2 Enoch 21:3,5; 24:1; 71:11 (28 Recension A); 72:1,3,8-9 (Recension A)
3 Enoch 14:4 (referred to as Angel of Fire); 17:3
Apocalypse of Ezra 2:1; 4:7; 6:2
Apocalypse of Adam and Eve 40:2
Sibylline Oracles 2:215; 8:455
Testament of Solomon 18:6 (74 in Conybeare)
Vision of Ezra verse 56
Apocalypse of Elijah 5:5
Testament of Jacob 5:13
Questions of Ezra (Recension B) verse 11

3 Baruch 4:7 (Phanuel in ms Family B)
Testament of Solomon 2:4
1 Enoch 19:1; 21:5; 27:2; 33:3; 40:9 (as Phanuel); 54:6 (as Phanuel); 71:8-9,13 (as Phanuel); 72:1; 80:1; 82:7 (text tells what Uriel's in charge of)
4 Ezra 4:1
Apocalypse of Ezra 6:2
Apocalypse of Adam and Eve 40:2
Life of Adam and Eve 48:1,3
Prayer of Joseph verses 4, 7
Sibylline Oracles 2:215,225
Apocalypse of Elijah 5:5
Testament of Solomon 2:4 (as Ouriel) (10 in Conybeare); 7 (as Ouriel) (11 in Conybeare); 8:9 (as Ouriel) (40 in Conybeare); 18:7 (as Ouriel) (75 in Conybeare); 27 (as Ouriel) (93 in Conybeare)
Esdras 4:1; 5:21; 10:28
-Gnostic Texts (Nag Hammadi Scrolls)
Apocryphon of John 17:30 (as Ouriel)

Two further notes: the early fathers of the Roman church appear to have rewritten the Sibyline Oracles to conform to their vision of what a proper prophesy for Rome ought to have been. Also, The Apocalypse of Adam and Eve is also known as The Apocalypse of Moses.

Lastly, Leigh Daniels ( writes:

A great book is Gustav Davidson's "A Dictionary of Angels" (including the fallen angels) published by Free Press, 1967. It is available in paper for US$17.95 and in my opinion worth every penny. It includes a 24-page bibliography of sources used in compiling it.


Q2.3 : What is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and where does it come from?
Rodrigo's material begins here

The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentragram is a protective formula which can be used to banish unwanted influences, to "clear the air" as a preliminary to ritual or meditative work. It can be carried out physically, but it can also be used as a concentration exercise which is performed in the imagination prior to going to sleep (for example).

1. Stand facing East.
2. Perform the Qabalistic Cross
a. Touch forehead with first two (or index) fingers of right hand and visualizing a sphere of white light at that point, vibrate: Atah (translates roughly - Thou Art)
b. Lower hand to solar plexis and visualize a line extending down to your feet, vibrate: Malkuth (the Kingdom)
c. Raise hand and touch right shoulder visualizing a sphere of light there. Vibrate: Ve Geburah (and the power)
d. Extend the hand across the chest tracing a line of light and touch the left shoulder where another sphere of light forms. Vibrate: Ve Gedulah (and the glory)
e. Clasp hands in center of chest at crossing point of horizontal and vertical lines of light. Bow head and vibrate: Le Olam, Amen. (for ever - amen.)
3. Facing east, using either the extended fingers or a dagger, trace a large pentagram with the point up, starting at your left hip, up to just above your forehead, centered on your body, then down to your right hip, up and to your left shoulder, across to the right shoulder and down to the starting point in front of your left hip. Visualize the pentagram in blue flaming light. Stab you fingers or dagger into the center and vibrate: YHVH (Yod-heh-vahv-heh - which is the tetragrammaton translated into latin as Jehovah)
4. Turn to the south. Visualize that the blue flame follows your fingers or dagger, tracing a blue line from the east pentagram to the south. Repeat step three while facing South, except vibrate: Adonai (another name for god tranlated as Lord)
5. Turn to the West, tracing the blue flame from south to west. Repeat step 3, but vibrate: Eheieh (Eh-hay-yeah more or less - another name of God translated as I AM or I AM THAT I AM.)
6. Turn to the North, again tracing the blue flame from west to north. Repeat step 3, but vibrate: AGLA (Ah-gah-lah - a composite of Atah Gibor le olam Amen - see step 2)
7. Return again to the east, tracing the blue flame from North to East. Stab the fingers or dagger back again into the same spot as in step 3. You should now visualizing that you are surrouned by four flaming pentagrams connected by a line of blue fire.
8. Extend your arms out to your sides, forming a cross. Vibrate (visualizing each Archangel standing guard at each station):
Before me RAPHAEL (rah-fah-yell)
Behind me GABRIEL (gah-bree-ell)
On my right hand, MICHAEL (mee-khah-ell)
On my left hand, AURIEL (sometimes URIEL aw-ree-ell or ooh-ree-ell) for about me flames the Pentagrams,
and in the column stands the six-rayed star.
(Alternatively the last two lines can be:
before me flames the pentagram,
behind me shines the six-rayed star)
9. Repeat the Qabalistic Cross (step 2).

As can be seen, Raphael is in the East, Gabriel in the West, Michael in the South and Auriel/Uriel in the North.

For more detailed information I refer the reader to:
_The Practical Qabalah_ by Charles Fielding
_Ceremonial Magic_ by Israel Regardie
_The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic_ also by Regardie
_The Golden Dawn_ as well by Regardie

There has been some interest in knowing where the LBRP comes from. It is believed to be based on a Jewish original, but to date no-one has provided an historical source.

[STOP PRESS - see Greg Burton's contribution below]

There are alternative versions extant, and one such is taken from a modern Jewish source.

The source is a pamphlet called "A First Step - a Devotional Guide" which was written by Zalman Schachter and reprinted in "The First Jewish Catalogue" by Richard Siegel, Michael Strassfeld and Sharon Strassfeld, published by the Jewish Publication Society of America in 1973, ISBN 0-8276-0042-9.

The blurb describing the pamphlet states:
"A First Step by Zalman Schachter is not a translation. It was first written in English. It is a contemporary attempt to make accessible spiritual and devotional techniques from classic Jewish sources, sources on which the pamphlet was based."

[Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, (PhD and Professor Emeritus of Religion at Temple University, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement) is a very important teacher and scholar - Greg Burton]

The author of the pamphlet states "The approach used here is that of classical Jewish mysticism, as refined by Hasidism, and in particular, by the Habad school." [Chabad comes from Chokhmah, Binah, Daath - Wisdom, Understanding and Knowledge - Colin]

Now to the exercise given:

"On other nights, after a short examination, screen yourself off from sounds and cares by visualising an angel - a spiritual force field - of grace at your right, this force field being impenetrable by care or worry; at your left, an angel of power and strength; before you, an angel of soft light and luminousness, and behind you an angel of healing. Over your head, picture the very presence of the loving God. As you visualise this, say:

"In the name of YHVH The God of Israel: At my right hand Michael At my left Gabriel Ahead of me Oriel Behind me Raphel Above my head the Sheckinah of God!"

"Imagine yourself plugging into Michael for love - so that you can love more the next day; Gabriel for strength - to fill you for the next day; Oriel filling you with the light of the mind; Raphael healing all your ills."

Greg's material begins here

This particular exercise is derived from the practice of saying the Sh'ma "before lying down" - the "kriyat (bedtime) Sh'ma." A full traditional Sephardic version, in Hebrew and English, and with some commentary, can be found beginning on page 318 of the "Artscroll Siddur" (nusach Sefard), Mesorah, ISBN 0-89906-657-7. Traditional Hassidic kavvenot intentions/directions/way to do it) can be found in "Jewish Spiritual Practices" by Yitzhak Buxbaum, Aronson, ISBN 0-87668-832-6

The attributes listed in the so-called "Qabbalistic Cross" comes from Psalm 99, verse 5, and are part of the Shachrit (morning) Torah service. The attributes assigned for the movements are not traditional, and the order has been changed. If using the traditional assignments (Gevurah left, Gedulah or Chesed right), and saying the sephirotic names in the proper order, it more properly would describe the Lightning Flash in the lower 7 Sephirot, rather than a cross. (Note in the kriyat Sh'ma that Michael (Chesed) is on the right and Gabriel (Gevurah) is on the left. The implication is that one is facing Kether). Due to changes in directional/ elemental / archangelic positioning, it is not obvious (but clearly implied) that physically one is facing North. Another change is that the LBRP does not bless the Divine, while the Jewish service does. This lack of blessing may reflect the not-so-covert Christian/Rosicrucian bias in G.D. liturgy and a particular theology, or it may not. In any event, it changes what was originally a theurgic act into a thaumaturgic act.

You might also note that many Jews coming across the LBRP are deeply offended that the liturgy has been so grossly distorted, and is being used (from their perspective) sacrilegiously. Telling them that it's "just different" carries about as much weight as telling traditional Native Americans that Lynn Andrew's work is "just different." Combining aspects of two completely different aspects into one ritual can be done, but it really is better if you know what you're working with.

Lastly, the rudiments of the LRPB have spread beyond ceremonial magic and can be found in places as diverse as a Kate Bush album and Katherine Kurtz's novels. It is even possible to see a version carried out by Peter Cushing in the film version of Dennis Wheatley's novel "The Devil Rides Out." The following extract was provided by Robert Farrior (

Robert's material begins

Not a scholarly source, try The Adept: Book Three, The Templar Treasure, by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris. There is a scene where a Jewish scholar is in the hospital dying and his son is reciting a Jewish prayer. The words are almost identical to the LBRP attributes of the Archangels, except the attributes are reversed. Sir Adam Sinclair, the hero, thinks how close it is to that used in his tradition. Its on page 40.

"Shema Yisrael, Adonail Elohenu, Adonai Achad. Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One...Go since the Lord sends thee; go, and the Lord will be with thee; the Lord God is with him and he will ascend."

"May the Lord Bless thee and keep thee; May the Lord let his countenance shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee; May the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."

"At thy right hand is Michael, at thy left is Gabriel, before thee is Uriel, behind thee is Raphel, and above thy head is the divine presence of God. The angel of the lord encampeth around them that fear Him, and He delivereth them. Be strong and of good courage; be not affrighted, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with thee, withersoever thou goest."


Q2.4 : What are the Qlippoth?
The word "qlippah" or "klippah" (plural "qlippoth") means "shell" or "husk."

The idea of a covering or a garment or a vessel is common in Kabbalah, where it used, at various times and with various degrees of subtlety, to express the manner in which the light of the En Soph is "encapsulated." For example, the sephiroth, in their capacity of recipients of light, are sometimes referred to as kelim, "vessels." The duality between the container and the contained is one of the most important in Kabbalistic explanations of the creative moment.

The word "qlippah" is an extension of this metaphor. A qlippah is also a covering or a container, and as each sephira acts as a shell or covering to the sephira preceding it in the order of emanation, in a technical sense we can say the qlippoth are innate to the Tree of Life. Cut a slice through a tree and one can see the growth rings, with the bark on the outside. The Tree of Life has 10 concentric rings, and sometimes the qlippah is equated to the bark. The word is commonly used to refer to a covering which contains no light: that is, an empty shell, a dead husk.

It is also the case that the qlippoth appear in Kabbalah as demonic powers of evil, and in trying to disentangle the various uses of the word it becomes clear that there is an almost continuous spectrum of opinion, varying from the technical use where the word hardly differs from the word "form," to the most anthropomorphic sense, where the qlippoth are evil demonesses in a demonic hierarchy responsible for all the evil in the world.

One reason why the word "qlippah" has no simple meaning is that it is part of the Kabbalistic explanation of evil, and it is difficult to explain evil in a monotheistic, non-dualistic religion without incurring a certain complexity...If God is good, why is there evil?

No short essay can do justice to the complexity of this topic. I will indicate some of the principle themes.

The "Zohar" attributes the primary cause of evil to the act of separation. The act of separation is refered to as the "cutting of the shoots." What was united becomes divided, and the boundary between one thing and another can be regarded as a shell. The primary separation was the division between the Tree of Life (Pillar of Mercy) from the Tree of Knowledge (Pillar of Severity).

In normal perception the world is clearly characterised by divisions between one thing and another, and in this technical sense one could say that we are immersed in a world of shells. The shells, taken by themselves as an abstraction divorced from the original, unidivided light (making another separation!) are the dead residue of manifestation, and can be identified with dead skin, hair, bark, sea shells, or shit. They have been referred to as the dregs remaining in a glass of wine, or as the residue left after refining gold. According to Scholem, the Zohar interprets evil as "the residue or refuse of the hidden life's organic process"; evil is something which is dead, but comes to life because a spark of God falls on it; by itself it is simply the dead residue of life.

The skeleton is the archetypal shell. By itself it is a dead thing, but infuse it with a spark of life and it becomes a numinous and instantly recognisable manifestation of metaphysical evil. The shell is one of the most common horror themes; take a mask, or a doll, or any dead representation of a living thing, shine a light out of its eyes, and becomes a thing of evil intent. The powers of evil appear in the shape of the animate dead - skulls, bones, zombies, vampires, phantasms.

The following list of correspondences follows the interpretation that the qlippoth are empty shells, form without force, the covering of a sephira:
Kether Futility
Chokhmah Arbitrariness
Binah Fatalism
Chesed Ideology
Gevurah Bureaucracy
Tipheret Hollowness
Netzach Routine, repetition, habit
Hod Rigid order
Yesod Zombieism, robotism
Malkut Stasis

A second, common interpretation of the qlippoth is that they represent the negative or averse aspect of a sephira, as if each sephira had a Mr. Hyde to complement Dr. Jekyll. There are many variations of this idea. One of the most common is the idea that evil is caused by an excess of the powers of Din (judgement) in the creation. The origin of this imbalance may be innate, a residue of the moment of creation, when each sephira went through a period of imbalance and instability (the kingdoms of unbalanced force), but another version attributes this imbalance to humankind's propensity for the Tree of Knowledge in preference to the Tree of Life (a telling and precognitively inspired metaphor if ever there was one).

The imbalance of the powers of Din "leaks" out of the Tree and provides the basis for the "sitra achra," the "other side," or the "left side" (referring to pillar of severity), a quasi or even fully independent kindom of evil. This may be represented by a full Tree in its own right, sometimes by a great dragon, sometimes by seven hells. The most lurid versions combine Kabbalah with medieval demonology to produce detailed lists of demons, with Samael and Lilith riding at their head as king and queen.

A version of this survives in the Golden Dawn tradition on the qlippoth. The qlippoth are given as 10 evil powers corresponding to the 10 sephiroth. I refered to G.D knowledge lectures and also to Crowley's "777" (believed to be largely a rip-off of Alan Bennett's G.D. correspondence tables), and found several inconsistencies in transliteration and translation. Where possible I have reconstructed the original Hebrew, and I have given a corrected list.

Kether Thaumiel Twins of God (TAVM, tom - a twin)
Chokmah Ogiel Hinderers (? OVG - to draw a circle)
Binah Satariel Concealers(STR, satar- to hide, conceal)
Chesed Gash'khalah Breakers in Pieces (GASh Ga'ash - shake, quake KLH, khalah - complete destruction, annihilation)
Gevurah Golachab Flaming Ones (unclear)
Tipheret Tagiriron Litigation (probably from GVR, goor - quarrel)
Netzach Orev Zarak Raven of Dispersion (ARV, orev - raven ZRQ, zaraq - scatter)
Hod Samael False Accuser (SMM, samam - poison)
Yesod Gamaliel Obscene Ass (GML, gamal - camel? alt. ripen?)
Malkut Lilith Woman of the Night (Leilah - Night)

Most of these attributions are obvious, others are not. The Twins of God replace a unity with a warring duality. The Hinderers block the free expression of the God's will. The Concealers prevent the mother from giving birth to the child - the child is stillborn in the womb. The Breakers in Pieces are the powers of authority gone bersek - Zeus letting fly with thunderbolts in all directions. The Flaming Ones refer to the fiery and destructive aspect of Gevurah. Lilith is the dark side of the Malkah or queen of Malkuth.

Why Samael is placed in Hod is unclear, unless he has been christianised and turned into the father of lies. In Kabbalah he is almost always attributed to Gevurah, sometimes as its archangel. Yesod is associated with the genitals and the sexual act, but why Gamaliel is unclear to me. I could easily concoct fanciful and perhaps even believable explanations for the attributions to Tipheret and Netzach, but I prefer not to.

In "777" Crowley also gives qlippoth for many of the 22 paths. If the transliterations and translations are as accurate as those for the sephiroth, I would be tempted to reach for my lexicon.

The G.D. teachings on the qlippoth are minimal in the material in my possession, but a great deal can be deduced from those fascinating repositories of Kabbalistic myth, the twin pictures of the Garden of Eden before and after the Fall. There are so many mythic themes in these pictures that it is difficult to disentangle them, but they seem strongly influenced by the ideas of Isaac Luria, and it is now time to describe the third major interpretation of the qlippoth.

Luria's ideas have probably received more elaboration than any others in Kabbalah. The man left little in a written form, and his disciples did not concur in the presentation of what was clearly a very complex theosophical system - this is a subject where no amount of care will ensure consistency with anyone else.

Luria made the first step in the creation a process called "tzim tzum" or contraction. This contraction took place in the En Soph, the limitless, unknown, and unknowable God of Kabbalah. God "contracted" in a process of self-limitation to make a space (in a metaphorical sense, of course) for the creation. In the next step the light entered this space in a jet to fill the empty vessels of the sephiroth, but all but the first three were shattered by the light.

This breaking of the vessels is called "shevirah." The shards of the broken vessels fell into the abyss created by contraction, and formed the qlippoth. Most of the light returned to the En Soph, but some of it remained in the vessels (like a smear of oil in an empty bottle) and fell with the qlippoth. Scholem describes the shevirah and the expulsion of the qlippoth as cathartic; not a blunder, an architectural miscalculation like an inadequately buttressed Gothic cathedral, but as a catharsis. Perhaps the universe, like a new baby, came attached to a placenta which had to be expelled, severed, and thrown out into the night.

One way of looking at the shevirah is this: the self contraction of tzim tzum was an act of Din, or Judgement, and so at the root of the creative act was the quality which Kabbalists identify with the source of evil, and it was present in such quantity that a balanced creation became possible only by excreting the imbalance. The shevirah can be viewed as a corrective action in which the unbalanced powers of Din, the broken vessels, were ejected into the abyss.

Whether cathartic or a blunder, the shevirah was catastrophic. Nothing was as it should have been in an ideal world. The four worlds of Kabbalah slipped, and the lowest world of Assiah descended into the world of the shells. This can be seen in the G.D. picture of the Eden after the Fall. Much of Lurianic Kabbalah is concerned with corrective actions designed to bring about the repair or restoration (tikkun) of the creation, so that the sparks of light trapped in the realm of the shells can be freed. The final word on the shells must go to T.S. Eliot, who had clearly bumped into them in one of his many succesful raids on the inarticulate:

"Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;"

"Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us - if at all - not as lost,
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men."


The earliest documents associated with Kabbalah come from the period ~100 to ~1000 A.D. and describe the attempts of "Merkabah" mystics to penetrate the seven halls (Hekaloth) of creation in order to reach the Merkabah (throne-chariot) of God. These mystics appear to have used what would now be recognised as familiar methods of shamanism (fasting, repetitious chanting, prayer, posture) to induce trance states in which they literally fought their way past terrible seals and guards to reach an ecstatic state in which they "saw God." An early and highly influential document, the "Sepher Yetzirah," or "Book of Formation," originated during the earlier part of this period.

By the early Middle Ages further, more theosophical developments had taken place, chiefly a description of "processes" within God, and the development of an esoteric view of creation as a process in which God manifests in a series of emanations, or sephiroth. This doctrine of the sephiroth can be found in a rudimentary form in the "Sepher Yetzirah," but by the time of the publication of the book "Bahir" in the 12th century it had reached a form not too different from the form it takes today.

A motive behind the development of the doctrine of emanation can be found in the questions:

"If God made the world,then what is the world if it is not God?"
"If the world is God, then why is it imperfect?"

It was necessary to bridge the gap between a pure and perfect being and a manifestly impure and imperfect world by a series of "steps" in which the divine light was successively diluted. The result has much in common with neoplatonism, which also tried to resolve the same difficulty by postulating a "chain of being" which bridged the gap between the perfection of God, and the evident imperfection of the world of daily life.

One of most interesting characters from this early period was Abraham Abulafia (1240-1295), who believed that God cannot be described or conceptualised using everyday symbols. Like many Kabbalists he believed in the divine nature of the Hebrew alphabet and used abstract letter combinations and permutations ("tzeruf") in intense meditations lasting many hours to reach ecstatic states. Because his abstract letter combinations were used as keys or entry points to altered states of consciousness, failure to carry through the manipulations correctly could have a drastic effect on the Kabbalist. In "Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism" Scholem includes a fascinating extract from a description of one such experiment. Abulafia is unusual because (controversially) he was one of the few Kabbalists to provide explicit written details of practical techniques.

The most influential Kabbalistic document, the "Sepher ha Zohar" or "Book of Splendour," was published by Moses de Leon (1238-1305), a Spanish Jew, in the latter half of the thirteenth century. The Zohar is a series of separate documents covering a wide range of subjects, from a verse-by-verse esoteric commentary on the Pentateuch, to highly theosophical descriptions of processes within God. The Zohar has been widely read and was highly influential within mainstream Judaism.

An important development in Kabbalah was the Safed school of mystics headed by Moses Cordovero (1522-1570) and his successor Isaac Luria (1534-1572). Luria, called "The Ari" or Lion, was a highly charismatic leader who exercised almost total control over the life of the school, and has passed into history as something of a saint. Emphasis was placed on living in the world and bringing the consciousness of God *into* the world in a practical way. Practices were largely devotional.

Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Judaism as a whole was heavily influenced by Kabbalah, but two influences caused its decline. The first event was the mass defection of Jews to the cause of the heretic and apostate pseudo-messiah Shabbatai Tzevi (1626-1676), an event Scholem calls "the largest and most momentous messianic movement in Jewish history subsequent to the destruction of the Temple and the Bar Kokhba Revolt." The Shabbateans included many prominant rabbis and Kabbalists,and from this point Kabbalah became inextricably mired with suspicions of heresy. A second influence was the rise in Eastern Europe of a populist Kabbalism in the form of Hasidism, and its eventual decline into superstition, so that by the beginning of this century a Jewish writer was able to dismiss Kabbalah as an historical curiousity. Jewish Kabbalah has vast literature which is almost entirely untranslated into English.

A development which took place almost synchronously with the translation and publication of key texts of Jewish Kabbalah was its adoption by many Christian mystics, magicians and philosphers. Some Christians thought Kabbalah held keys that would reveal mysteries hidden in the scriptures, others tried to find in Kabbalah doctrines which might be used to convert Jews to Christianity. There were some who recognised in Kabbalah themes with which they were already familiar in the literature of Hermeticism and Neoplatonism.

Renaissance philosophers such as Pico della Mirandola were familiar with Kabbalah and mixed it with gnosticism, pythagoreanism, neo-platonism and hermeticism to form a snowball which continued to pick up traditions as it rolled down the centuries. It is probably accurate to say that from the Renaissance on, virtually all European occult philosophers and magicians of note had a working knowledge of some aspect of Kabbalah.

Very little information has survived about the Practical Kabbalah, but there is abundant evidence that it involved a wide range of practices and included practices now regarded as magical - the fact that so many Kabbalists denounced the use of Kabbalah for magical purposes is evidence in itself (even if there were no other) that the use of these techniques was widespread. It is highly likely that many ritual magical techniques were introduced into Europe by Kabbalists or their less scrupulous camp followers. The most important medieval magical text is the "Key of Solomon," and it contains the elements of classic ritual magic - names of power, the magic circle, ritual implements, consecration, evocation of spirits etc. No-one knows how old it is, but there is a reasonable suspicion that its contents preserve techniques which might well date back to Solomon.

The combination of non-Jewish Kabbalah and ritual magic has been kept alive outside Judaism until the present day, although it has been heavily adulterated at times by hermeticism, gnosticism, neoplatonism, pythagoreanism, rosicrucianism, christianity, tantra and so on. The most important "modern" influences are the French magician Eliphas Levi,and the English "Order of the Golden Dawn." At least two members of the Golden Dawn (S.L. Mathers and A.E. Waite)were knowledgable Kabbalists,and three Golden Dawn members have popularised Kabbalah - Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie, and Dion Fortune. Dion Fortune's "Order of the Inner Light" has also produced a number of authors: Gareth Knight, William Butler, and William Gray to name but three.

An unfortunate side effect of the Golden Dawn is that while Kabbalah was an important part of its "Knowledge Lectures," surviving Golden Dawn rituals are a syncretist hodge-podge of symbolism in which Kabbalah seems to play a minor or nominal role, and this has led to Kabbalah being seen by many modern occultists as more of a theoretical and intellectual discipline,rather than a potent and self-contained mystical and magical system in its own right.

Some of the originators of modern witchcraft (e.g. Gerald Gardner, Alex Saunders) drew heavily on medieval ritual and Kabbalah for inspiration, and it is not unusual to find modern witches teaching some form of Kabbalah, although it is generally even less well integrated into practical technique than in the case of the Golden Dawn.

To summarise, Kabbalah is a mystical and magical tradition which originated nearly two thousand years ago and has been practiced continuously during that time. It has been practiced by Jew and non-Jew alike for about five hundred years. On the Jewish side it has been an integral and influential part of Judaism; on the non-Jewish side it has created a rich mystical and magical tradition with its own validity, a tradition which has survived despite the prejudice generated through coexisting within a strongly Christian culture.


The following list contains books which are representative of both Jewish and non-Jewish traditions. There are books which are utterly fanciful or derivative which have not been included.

Many books have not been included simply because no one has suggested that they should. If you feel strongly that a book should be included in this list then mail its details and some (relatively) factual comments on its contents to

I'd like to thank the following for their contributions:
Le Grand Cinq-Mars
Greg Burton

Bar Zadok, R. Ariel, "Yikrah B'shmi (Call Upon My Name),"Yeshivat Benei N'vi'im,1992
[Merkabah practices]

Bischoff, Erich, "Kabbala," Weiser
[An interesting and generally well-informed little book written as an extended FAQ. Refers only to traditional Jewish material. Originally published in German c. 1910]

Brown, Francis, "The New Brown-Driver-Briggs-Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon," Hendrickson, 1979
[The last word in Biblical Hebrew. Amaze and astound your friends with each and every usage of every word in the Bible. Hold an audience entranced with your knowledge of Arabic, Aramaic, Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian, and Greek referents]

Crowley, Aleister, "777," Metaphysical Research Group 1977
[Tables of Kabbalistic correspondences, some from the Golden Dawn, some from Crowley, many traditional]

Epstein, Perle, "Kabbalah," Shambhala 1978
[Information on traditional Jewish Kabbalah by a student of Aryeh Kaplan. It contains many biographical details, and useful information on practical techniques.]

Fortune, Dion, "The Mystical Qabalah," Ernest Benn Ltd, 1979
[One of the first books to relate the Sephirothic Tree to everyday experience, and for this reason a useful beginners' book. It contains many digressions on matters circa 1930 which now appear extremely dated. Dion Fortune was strongly influenced by Theosophy and Esoteric Christianity as well as Kabbalah, and it shows.]

Simon, Maurice & Sperling, Harry, "The Zohar," Bennet 1959
(also recently reprinted by Soncino)
[A translation a major part of a key Kabbalistic text. Oh, that Kaplan had lived long enough to translate The Zohar!]

Suares, Carlos, "The Quabala Trilogy," Shambala,??
[Heavy going, but it can give you a good sense of what's going on kabbalisticly in the Torah from a gematria perspective.]

Tishby, Isaiah, & Lachower, Yeruham Fishel, "The Wisdom of the Zohar," Oxford University Press 1989
[An anthology of texts systematically arranged and rendered into Hebrew by Fischel Lachower and Isaiah Tishby; with extensive introductions and explanations by Isaiah Tishby; English translation by David Goldstein.]

Waite, A.E., "The Holy Kabbalah," Citadel.
[A large volume on Kabbalah by a key member of the Golden Dawn, greatly diminished by Waite's verbose and circumlocutious writing style.]

Zalewski, Pat, "Golden Dawn Kabbalah," Llewellyn, 1993
[Very good exposition of additional Golden Dawn material, and some interesting thoughts]


FTP Sites: ( has an ftp archive on various occult and magical topics. Some material on Kabbalah can be found in pub/magick/qabalah

Ceci Heningsson ( has created an ftp archive of magical and occult material which is available via anonymous ftp to pub/magick on has an archive from soc.culture.jewish in pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism.

A very useful reading list for Jewish Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism can be found in pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism/reading-lists/chasidism

Usenet Newsgroups:

Useful information and discussion on Jewish sources and Judaism in general can be found in soc.culture.jewish

Information and discussion on Kabbalah as a part of the framework for modern (non-Jewish) ritual or ceremonial magic can be found in alt.magick