Kabbalah means 'that which is received' in Hebrew. It is a secret hidden religious wisdom and philosophy of sacred scriptures transmitted orally in the quest for the secret of Faith and Divine Truth. This inner work of changing oneself in regaining unity with God must be carefully controlled in order to avoid the dangers inherent in mystical experiences.
"We must learn not to disassociate the airy flower from the earthy root, for the flower that is cut off from its root fades, and its seeds are barren, whereas the root, secure in mother earth, can produce flower after flower and bring their fruit to maturity."
Major Kabbalah Scriptures
The ancient Kabbalah manuscript Sefer Yetzirah - Book of Creation describes the basic structure of Kabbalah. The book describes the creation of the Universe through 32 secret paths of knowledge, which are 22 letters of Hebrew aleph-Beth and 10 Sephirots (Divine Archetypes).
Bahir - Book of Brightness or Book of Enlightenment explains the mystical significance of Biblical verses, of the shapes of the Hebrew letters, of the cantillation signs and vowel points on the letters, of statements in the Sefer Yetzirah ("Book of Creation") and the use of sacred names in magic.
Zohar - Book of Splendor is a group of books that deal with the mystery of creation, mythical cosmogony and mystical psychology and the functions of the sefirot offering mystical speculations about evil, salvation and the soul.
You might come across variations of some of these titles, for example Sefer Ha Bahir instead of just Bahir. The word Sefer means book in simple Hebrew, so the addition only means as much as "book of..."
Kabbalah Teachings & Beliefs
- The Creator is endless and pervades all creation, including stones;
- The goal is to achieve a messianic consciousness which is accomplished in the soul's journey after death, reincarnation, resurrection;
- The process of achieving the state of consciousness of unification with God goes over the personal approach to God; The personal experience of this connection, the secrets of other realities, and the meaning of life are the journey to find divinity within oneself;
- There are different accounts of creation, upper world-all light-higher consciousness and lower world-brightness less light-lower consciousness;
- God and humankind are interdependent (co creators), as 'God wished to see God'. God's blessings flow through the Tree of Life;
- The soul comes in this world to complement of perfection from the material world, in unification of divine masculine and feminine;
- The Kabbalist fights against the darkness of the world by trying to illuminate it.
- We all have sparks of the Light and we are able to regain what we have lost;
- Our actions in the physical world create channels that connect us to the Divine;
- The same as Pythagoreans, the Hebrew Kabbalists also teach that there are hidden mysteries in numbers and letters. God based the creation of the world on the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. A numerical value was assigned to each Hebrew letter so that the words with the same 'value' are equivalents;
The strong desire for a mystical direct experience of reunification with God is central for Kabbalistic practices. It can be achieved by:
- Study of the symbolism of the Tree of Life and understanding of Kabbalistic manuscripts and documents; God is approached directly by study of Holy Scriptures which enable an understanding of the spiritual evolution. Understanding The Tree of Life opens the possibility of initiation.
- Meditation and prayer with the image of the Tree of Life which is a diagram that symbolizes the phrase 'as above, so below' representing all of the energies that make up the universe, the ten energy aspects of the Divine, and man, the map of the microcosm and macrocosm;
- Study of behavior which is contemplation and soul-searching with developing a constant awareness of the implications of everything one does;
- Individual work in discovering who we really are which is possible by learning Kabbalah symbols and metaphorically and spiritually ascending the 10 points- Sephirot of the Tree of Life to reunite with the Divine.
"The Father is the Giver of Life; but the Mother is the Giver of Death, because her womb is the gate of ingress to matter, and through her life is ensouled to form, and no form can be either infinite or eternal. Death is implicit in birth."