Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pagan Path-working Tools

The other day I made this:


What is this you ask? Well, if you don't know, it's the Qabalah, which comes from the Jewish tradition (Kabalah) and it is so useful to study, particularly for those of us who use the tarot because the Rider Waite tarot, which informs so many other decks, is based on it.

In the close up below, you'll notice that there are numbers assigned to the spheres (sephira) and the paths between the spheres, which are represented by the tarot cards of the major arcana.


Don't get me wrong, the tarot isn't the only reason to learn about the Qabalah. There are many, many more reasons to study the Qabalah! Often students on this path dismiss the Qabalah as being too steeped in Christian/Hebrew lore for it to be useful, but I would argue that, in fact, Qabalistic studies have the potential of completely changing your perceptions of traditional western religions, and re-contextualize many tropes/ideas that often emerge in paganism. I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't fond of the Archangelic/Angelic associations, nor the more Christian elements of the Waite tarot. Studying the Qabalah has really changed my perceptions. Dion Fortune claims that it is the western mystical equivalent to the Chakras, more familiar and attuned with the western mindset (Mystical Qabala). Ellen Cannon Reed talks about it as being an invaluable system for learning and focusing our pagan studies into self knowledge (and is thus, by extension, a great tool for learning magic and understanding divine mysteries) (The Witches Qabalah).

Are any of you out there working with the Qabalah? If yes, what sort of things do you do to help you learn it? What were some of your challenges with it along the way?

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