THE “ZOHAR” ON CREATION AND THE ELÔHÎM
The opening sentence in Genesis, as every Hebrew scholar knows, is:
Now there are two well-known ways of rendering this line, as any other Hebrew writing: one exoteric, as read by the orthodox Bible interpreters (Christian), and the other Kabalistic, the latter, moreover, being divided into the Rabbinical and the purely Kabalistic or Occult method. As in Sanskrit writing, the words are not separated in the Hebrew, but are made to run together—especially in the old systems. For instance, the above, divided, would read: “B’râshith bara Elôhîm eth hâshamayim v’eth h’arets”; and it can be made to read thus: “B’râsh ithbara Elôhîm eth hshamayim v’eth h’arets,” thus changing the meaning entirely. The latter means, “In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth,” whereas the former, precluding the idea of any beginning, would simply read that “out of the ever-existing Essence [divine] [or out of the womb—also head-thereof] the dual [or androgyne] Force [Gods] shaped the double heaven”; the upper and the lower heaven being generally explained as heaven and earth. The latter word means Esoterically the “Vehicle,” as it gives the idea of an empty globe, within which the manifestation of the world takes place. Now, according to the rules of Occult symbolical reading as established in the old Sepher-Yetzîrah (in the Chaldaean Book of Numbers*) the initial fourteen letters (or “B’rasitb’ raalaim”) are in themselves quite sufficient to explain the theory of “creation” without any further explanation or qualification. Every letter of them is a sentence; and, placed side by side with the hieroglyphic or pictorial initial version of “creation” in the Book of Dzyan, the origin of the Phoenician and Jewish letters would soon be found out. A whole volume of explanations
* The Sepher-Yetzîrah now known is but a portion of the original one incorporated in the Chaldaean Book of Numbers. The fragment now in possession of the Western Kabalists is one greatly tampered with by the Rabbis of the Middle Ages, as its Masoretic points show. The “Masorah” scheme is a modern blind, dating after our era and perfected in Tiberias. (See Isis Unveiled, Vol. II, pp. 430-431.)
would give no more to the student of primitive Occult Symbology than this: the head of a bull within a circle, a straight horizontal line, a circle or sphere, then another one with three dots in it, a triangle, then the Svastika (or Jaina cross); after these come an equilateral triangle within a circle, seven small bulls’ heads standing in three rows, one over the other; a black round dot (an opening), and then seven lines, meaning Chaos or Water (feminine).
Anyone acquainted with the symbolical and numerical value of the Hebrew letters will see at a glance that this glyph and the letters of “B’rasitb’ raalaim” are identical in meaning. “Beth” is “abode” or “region”; “Resh,” a “circle” or “head”; “Aleph,” “bull” (the symbol of generative or creative power*); “Shin,” a “tooth” (300 exoterically—a trident or three in one in its Occult meaning); “Yôdh,” the perfect unity or ‘‘one”;† “Tau,” the “root” or “foundation” (the same as the cross with the Egyptians and Âryans); again, “Beth,” “Resh,” and “Aleph.” Then “Aleph,” or seven bulls for the seven Alaim; an ox-goad, “Lamedh,” active procreation; “He,” the “opening” or “matrix”; “Yôdh,” the organ of procreation; and “Mem,” “water” or “chaos,” the female Power near the male that precedes it.
The most satisfactory and scientific exoteric rendering of the opening sentence of Genesis—on which was hung in blind faith
* In the oldest symbolism—that used in the Egyptian hieroglyphics—when the bull’s head only is found it means the Deity, the Perfect Circle, with the procreative power latent in it. When the whole bull is represented, a solar God, a personal deity is meant, for it is then the symbol of the acting generative power.
† It took three Root-Races to degrade the symbol of the One Abstract Unity manifested in Nature as a Ray emanating from infinity (the Circle) into a phallic symbol of generation, as it was even in the Kabalah. This degradation began with the Fourth Race, and had its raison d’etre in Polytheism, as the latter was invented to screen the One Universal Deity from profanation. The Christians may plead ignorance of its meaning as an excuse for its acceptance. But why sing never-ceasing laudations to the Mosaic Jews who repudiated all the other Gods, preserved the most phallic, and then most impudently proclaimed themselves Monotheists? Jesus ever steadily ignored Jehovah. He went against the Mosaic commandments. He recognized his Heavenly Father alone, and prohibited public worship.
the whole Christian religion, synthesized by its fundamental dogmas—is undeniably the one given in the Appendix to The Source of Measures [pp. 179 et seq. ] by Mr. J. Ralston Skinner. He gives, and we must admit in the ablest, clearest, and most scientific way, the numerical reading of this first sentence and chapter in Genesis. By the means of number 31, or the word “ol” (1 for “Aleph” and 30 for “Lamedh”), and other numerical Bible symbols, compared with the measures used in the great pyramid of Egypt, he shows the perfect identity between its measurements—inches, cubits, and plan—and the numerical values of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve, and the Patriarchs. In short, the author shows that the pyramid contains in itself architecturally the whole of Genesis, and discloses the astronomical, and even the physiological, secrets in its symbols and glyphs; yet he will not admit, it would seem, the psycho-cosmical and spiritual mysteries involved in these. Nor does the author apparently see that the root of all this has to be sought in the archaic legends and the Pantheon of India.* Failing this, whither does his great and admirable labour lead him? Not further than to find out that Adam, the earth, and Moses or Jehovah “are the same”—or to the a-b-c of comparative Occult Symbology—and that the days in Genesis being “circles” . . . displayed by the Hebrews as squares,” the result of the sixth-day’s labour culminates in the fructifying principle. Thus the Bible is made to yield Phallicism, and that alone.
Nor—read in this light, and as its Hebrew texts are interpreted by Western scholars—can it ever yield anything higher or more sublime than such phallic elements, the root and the corner-stone of its dead-letter meaning. Anthropomorphism and Revelation dig the impassable chasm between the material
* Is it everything to have found out that the celestial circle of 360o is determined by “the full word-form of Elôhîm,” and that this yields, when the word is placed in a circle, “3.1415, or the relation of circumference to a diameter of one”? This is only its astronomical or mathematical aspect. To know the full septenary significance of the “Primordial Circle,” the pyramid and the Kabalistic Bible must be read in the light of the figure on which the temples of India are built. The mathematical squaring of the circle is only the terrestrial résumé of the problem. The Jews were content with the six days of activity and the seventh of rest. The progenitors of mankind solved the greatest problems of the Universe with their seven Rays or Rishis.
world and the ultimate spiritual truths. That creation is not thus described in the Esoteric Doctrine is easily shown. The Roman Catholics give a reading far more approaching the true Esoteric meaning than that of the Protestant. For several of their saints and doctors admit that the formation of heaven and earth, of the celestial bodies, etc., belongs to the work of the “Seven Angels of the Presence.” St. Denys calls the “Builders” “the co-operators of God,” and St. Augustine goes even farther, and credits the Angels with the possession of the divine thought, the prototype, as he says, of everything created.* And, finally, St. Thomas Aquinas has a long dissertation upon this topic, calling God the primary, and the Angels the secondary, cause of all visible effects. In this, with some dogmatic differences of form, the “Angelic Doctor” approaches very nearly the Gnostic ideas. Basilides speaks of the lowest order of Angels as the Builders of our material world, and Saturninus held, as did the Sabaeans, that the Seven Angels who preside over the planets are the real creators of the world; the Kabalist-monk, Trithemius, in his De Secundis Deis, taught the same.
The eternal kosmos, the Macrocosm, is divided in the Secret Doctrine like man, the Microcosm, into three Principles and four Vehicles,† which in their collectivity are the seven Principles. In the Chaldaean or Jewish Kabalah, the Kosmos is divided into seven worlds: the Original, the Intelligible, the Celestial, the Elementary, the Lesser (Astral), the Infernal (Kâma-loka or Hades), and the Temporal (of man). In the
* Genesis begins with the third stage of “creation,” skipping the preliminary two.
† The three root-principles are, exoterically: Man, Soul, and Spirit (meaning by “man” the intelligent personality), and esoterically: Life, Soul, and Spirit; the four vehicles are Body, Astral double, Animal (or human) Soul, and Divine Soul (Sthula-Sarira, Linga-Sarira, Kama-rupa, and Buddhi, the vehicle of Atman or Spirit). Or, to make it still clearer: (1) the Seventh Principle has for its vehicle the Sixth (Buddhi); (2) the vehicle of Manas is Kama-rupa [However, cf. B.C.W., Vol. XII, pp. 707-09.]; (3) that of Jiva or Prana (life) is the Linga-Sarira (the “double” of man; the Linga Sarira proper can never leave the body till death; that which appears is an astral body, reflecting the physical body and serving as a vehicle for the human soul, or intelligence); and (4) the Body, the physical vehicle of all the above collectively. The Occultist recognizes the same order as existing for the cosmical totality, the psycho-cosmical Universe.
Chaldaean system it is in the Intelligible World, the second, that appear the “Seven Angels of the Presence,” or the Sephîrôth (the three higher ones being, in fact, one, and also the sum total of all). They are also the “Builders” of the Eastern Doctrine: and it is only in the third, the celestial world, that the seven planets and our solar system are built by the seven Planetary Angels, the planets becoming their visible bodies. Hence—as correctly stated—if the universe as a whole is formed out of the Eternal One Substance or Essence, it is not that everlasting Essence, the Absolute Deity, that builds it into shape; this is done by the first Rays, the Angels or Dhyâni-Chohans, that emanate from the One Element, which becoming periodically Light and Darkness, remains eternally, in its Root-Principle, the one unknown, yet existing Reality.
A learned Western Kabalist, Mr. S. L. MacGregor Mathers, whose reasoning and conclusions will be the more above suspicion since he is untrained in Eastern Philosophy and unacquainted with its Secret Teachings, writes on the first verse of Genesis in an unpublished essay:
Berashîth Barâ Elôhîm—”In the beginning the Elôhîm created!” Who are these Elôhîm of Genesis?
Va-Yivra Elôhîm Ath Ha-Adam Be-Tzalmo, Be-Tzelem Elôhîm Barâ Otho, Zakhar V’nekebah Barâ Otham—”And the Elôhîm created the Adam in Their own Image, in the Image of the Elôhîm created They them, Male and Female created They them!” Who are they, the Elôhîm? The ordinary English translation of the Bible renders the word Elôhîm by “God:” it translates a plural noun by a singular one. The only excuse brought forward for this is the somewhat lame one that the word is certainly plural, but is not to be used in a plural sense: that it is “a plural denoting excellence.” But this is only an assumption whose value may be justly gauged by Genesis i, 26, translated in the orthodox Biblical version thus: “And God [Elôhîm] said, ‘Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness.’ ” Here is a distinct admission of the fact that “Elôhîm” is not a ‘plural of excellence,” but a plural noun denoting more than one being.*
* St. Denys, the Areopagite, the supposed contemporary of St. Paul, his co-disciple, and first Bishop of St. Denis, near Paris, teaches that the bulk of the “work of creation” was performed by the “Seven Spirits of the Presence”—God’s co-operators, owing to a participation of the divinity in them. (Hierarch., p. 196.) And St. Augustine also thinks that “things were rather created in the angelic minds than in Nature, that is to say, that the angels perceived and knew them (all things) in their thoughts before they could spring forth into actual existence.” (Vid. De Genesis ad
What, then, is the proper translation of “Elôhîm,” and to whom is it referable? “Elôhîm” is not only a plural, but a feminine plural! And yet the translators of the Bible have rendered it by a masculine singular! Elôhîm is the plural of the feminine noun El-h, for the final letter, -h, marks the gender. It, however, instead of forming the plural in -oth, takes the usual termination of the masculine plural, which is -im.
Although in the great majority of cases the nouns of both genders take the terminations appropriated to them respectively, there are yet many masculines which form the plural in -ôth, as well as feminine which form it in -im while some nouns of each gender take alternately both. It must be observed, however, that the termination of the plural does not affect its gender, which remains the same as in the singular. . . ..
To find the real meaning of the symbolism involved in this word Elhm we must go to that key of Jewish Esoteric Doctrine, the little-known and less-understood Kabalah. There we shall find that this word represents two united masculine and feminine Potencies, co-equal and co-eternal, conjoined in everlasting union for the maintenance of the Universe—the great Father and Mother of Nature, into whom the Eternal One conforms himself before the Universe can subsist. For the teaching of the Kabalah is that before the Deity conformed himself thus—i.e., as male and female—the Worlds of the Universe could not subsist; or in the words of Genesis, that “the earth was formless and void.” Thus, then, is the conformation of the Elôhîm, the end of the Formless and the Void and the Darkness, for only after that conformation can the Ruah Elôhîm —the “Spirit of the Elôhîm”— vibrate upon the countenance of the Waters. But this is a very small part of the information which the Initiate can derive from the Kabalah concerning this word Elôhîm.
Attention must here be called to the confusion—if not worse —which reigns in the Western interpretations of the Kabalah. The eternal One is said to conform himself into two: the Great Father and Mother of Nature. To begin with, it is a horribly anthropomorphic conception to apply terms implying sexual distinction to the earliest and first differentiations of the One.
Litteram I, II as summarized from De Mirville, Vol, II., pp. 337-338.) Thus the early Christian Fathers, even a non-initiate like St. Augustine, ascribed the creation of the visible world to Angels, or Secondary Powers, while St. Denys not only specifies these as the “Seven Spirits of the Presence,” but shows them owing their power to the informing divine energy—Fohat in the Secret Doctrine. But the egotistical darkness which caused the Western races to cling so desperately to the Geo-centric System, made them also neglect and despise all those fragments of the true Religion which would have deprived them and the little globe they took for the centre of the Universe of the signal honour of having been expressly “created” by the One, Secondless, Infinite God!
And it is even more erroneous to identify these first differentiations—the Purusha and Prakriti of Indian Philosophy—with the Elôhîm, the creative powers here spoken of; and to ascribe to these (to our intellects) unimaginable abstractions, the formation and construction of this visible world, full of pain, sin, and sorrow. In truth, the “creation by the Elôhîm” spoken of here is but a much later “creation,” and the Elôhîm, far from being supreme, or even exalted powers in Nature, are only lower Angels. This was the teaching of the Gnostics, the most philosophical of all the early Christian Churches. They taught that the imperfections of the world were due to the imperfection of its Architects or Builders—the imperfect, and therefore inferior, Angels. The Hebrew Elôhîm correspond to the Prajâpatis of the Hindus, and it is shown elsewhere from the Esoteric interpretation of the Purânas that the Prajâpatis were the fashioners of man’s material and astral form only: that they could not give him intelligence or reason, and therefore in symbolical language they “failed to create man.” But, not to repeat what the reader can find elsewhere in this work, his attention needs only to be called to the fact that “creation” in this passage is not the Primary Creation, and that the Elôhîm are not “God,” nor even the higher Planetary Spirits, but the Architects of this visible physical planet and of man’s material body, or encasement.
A fundamental doctrine of the Kabalah is that the gradual development of the Deity from negative to positive Existence is symbolized by the gradual development of the Ten Numbers of the denary scale of numeration, from the Zero, through the unity, into the plurality. This is the doctrine of the Sephîrôth, or Emanations.
For the inward and concealed Negative Form concentrates a centre which is the primal Unity. But the unity is one and indivisible: it can neither be increased by multiplication nor decreased by division, for 1 x 1 = 1, and no more; and 1 + 1 = 1, and no less. And it is this changelessness of the Unity, or Monad, which makes it a fitting type of the One and Changeless Deity. It answers thus to the Christian idea of God the Father for as the Unity is the parent of the other numbers, so is the Deity the Father of All.
The philosophical Eastern mind would never fall into the error which the connotation of these words implies. With them the “One and Changeless”—Parabrahman—the Absolute All and One, cannot be conceived as standing in any relation to things
finite and conditioned, and hence they would never use such terms as these, which in their very essence imply such a relation. Do they, then, absolutely sever man from God? On the contrary. They feel a closer union than the Western mind has done in calling God the “Father of All,” for they know that in his immortal essence man is himself the Changeless, Secondless One.
But we have just said that the Unity is one and changeless by either multiplication or division; how then is two, the Duad, formed? By reflection. For, unlike Zero, the Unity is partly definable—that is, in its positive aspect; and the definition creates an Eikon or Eidôlon of itself which, together with itself, forms a Duad; and thus the number two is to a certain extent analogous to the Christian idea of the Son as the Second Person. And as the Monad vibrates, and recoils into the Darkness of the Primary Thought, so is the Duad left as its vice-gerent and representative, and thus co-equal with the Positive Duad is the Triune Idea, the number three, co-equal and co-eternal with the Duad in the bosom of the Unity, yet, as it were, proceeding therefrom in the numerical conception of its sequence .
This explanation would seem to imply that Mr. Mathers is aware that this “creation” is not the truly divine or primary one, since the Monad—the first manifestation on our plane of objectivity—”recoils into the Darkness of the Primal Thought,” i.e., into the subjectivity of the first divine Creation.
And this, again, also partly answers to the Christian idea of the Holy Ghost, and of the whole three forming a Trinity in unity. This also explains the fact in geometry of the three right lines being the smallest number which will make a plane rectilineal figure, while two can never enclose a space, being powerless and without effect till completed by the number Three. These three first numbers of the decimal scale the Qabalists call by the names of Kether, the Crown, Hokmâh, Wisdom, and Bînâh, Understanding; and they furthermore associate with them these divine names: with the Unity, Eheyeh, “I exist;” with the Duad, Yah; and with the Triad, Elôhîm; they especially also call the Duad, Abbâ—the Father, and the Triad, Aima—the Mother, whose eternal conjunction is symbolized in the word Elôhîm.
But what especially strikes the student of the Kabalah is the malicious persistency with which the translators of the Bible have jealously crowded out of sight and suppressed every reference to the feminine form of the Deity. They have, as we have just seen, translated the feminine plural “Elôhîm,” by the masculine singular, “God.” But they have done more than this: they have carefully hidden the fact that the word Ruah—the “Spirit”—is feminine, and that consequently the Holy Ghost of the New
Testament is a feminine Potency. How many Christians are cognizant of the fact that in the account of the Incarnation in Luke (i. 35) two divine Potencies are mentioned?
“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee.” The Holy Ghost (the feminine Potency) descends, and the Power of the Highest (the masculine Potency) is united therewith. “Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God”—of the Elôhîm namely, seeing that these two Potencies descend.
In the Sepher Yetzîrah, or Book of Formation, we read:
“One is She the Rûah Elôhîm Hayim—(Spirit of the Living Elôhîm) . . . . Voice, Spirit, and Word; and this is She, the Spirit of the Holy One.” Here again we see the intimate connection which exists between the Holy Spirit and the Elôhîm. Furthermore, farther on in this same Book of Formation—which is, be it remembered, one of the oldest of the Kabalistical Books, and whose authorship is ascribed to Abraham the Patriarch—we shall find the idea of a Feminine Trinity in the first place, from whom a masculine Trinity proceeds; or as it is said in the text: “Three Mothers whence proceed three Fathers.” And yet this double Triad forms, as it were, but one complete Trinity. Again it is worthy of note that the Second and Third Sephîrôth (Wisdom and Understanding) are both distinguished by feminine names, Hokmah and Bînâh, notwithstanding that to the former more particularly the masculine idea, and to the latter the feminine, are attributed; under the titles of Abbâ and Aima (or Father and Mother). This Aima (the Great Mother) is magnificently symbolized in the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, which is undoubtedly one of the most Kabalistical books in the Bible. In fact, without the Kabalistical keys its meaning is utterly unintelligible.
Now, in the Hebrew, as in the Greek, alphabet, there are no distinct numeral characters, and consequently each letter has a certain numerical value attached to it. From this circumstance results the important fact that every Hebrew word constitutes a number, and every number a word. This is referred to in the Revelations (xiii, 18) in mentioning the “number of the beast”! In the Kabalah words of equal numerical values are supposed to have a certain explanatory connection with each other. This forms the science of Gematria, which is the first divison of the Literal Kabalah. Furthermore, each letter of the Hebrew alphabet had for the Initiates of the Kabalah a certain hieroglypical value and meaning which, rightly applied, gave to each word the value of a mystical sentence; and this again was variable according to the relative positions of the letters with regard to each other. From these various Kabalistical points of view let us now examine this word Elôhîm.
First then we can divide the word into the two words, which signify “The Feminine Divinity of the Waters;” compare with the Greek Aphrodite, “sprung from the foam of the sea.” Again it is divisible into the “Mighty One, Star of the Sea,” or “the Mighty One breathing forth the Spirit upon the Waters.” Also by combination of the letters we get “the Silent Power of Yâh.” And again, “My God, the Former of the Universe,”
for Mah is a secret Kabalistical name applied to the idea of Formation. Also we obtain “Who is my God.” Furthermore “the Mother in Yâh.”
The total number is 1 + 30 + 5 + 10 + 40 = 86 = “Violent heat,” or “the Power of Fire.” If we add together the three middle letters we obtain 45, and the first and last letters yield 41, making thus “the Mother of Formation.” Lastly, we shall find the two divine names “El” and “Yâh,” together with the latter m, which signifies “Water,” for Mem, the name of this letter, means “water.”
If we divide it into its component letters and take them as hieroglyphical signs we shall have: “Will perfected through Sacrifice progressing through successive Transformation by Inspiration.”
The last few paragraphs of the above, in which the word “Elôhîm” is Kabalistically analyzed, show conclusively enough that the Elôhîm are not one, nor two, nor even a trinity, but a Host—the army of the creative powers.
The Christian Church, in making of Jehovah—one of these very Elôhîm —the one Supreme God, has introduced hopeless confusion into the celestial hierarchy, in spite of the volumes written by Thomas Aquinas and his school on the subject. The only explanation to be found in all their treatises on the nature and essence of the numberless classes of celestial beings mentioned in the Bible—Archangels, Thrones, Seraphim, Cherubim, Messengers, etc.—is that “The angelic host is God’s militia.” They are “Gods the creatures,” while he is “God the Creator”; but of their true functions—of their actual place in the economy of Nature—not one word is said. They are
. . . more brilliant than the flames, more rapid than the wind, and they live in love and harmony, mutually enlightening each other, feeding on bread and a mystic beverage—[the communion wine and water?]—surrounding as with a river of fire the throne of the Lamb, and veiling their faces with their wings. This throne of love and glory they leave only to carry to the stars, the earth, the kingdoms, the cities, and all the sons of God, their brothers and pupils, in short, to all creatures, the divine influence. . . . As to their number, it is that of the great army of Heaven (Sabaôth), more numerous than the stars. . . . Theology ... shows us “these rational luminaries,” each constituting a species, and containing in their virtue such or another portion of Nature: covering immense space, though of a determined extent, residing—incorporeal though they are—within circumscribed limits; . . . more rapid than light or thunderbolt, disposing of all the elements of Nature, producing at will inexplicable mirages [illusions?], objective and subjective in turn, speaking to men a
language at one time articulate, at another purely spiritual.*
We learn farther on in the same work that it is these Angels and their hosts who are referred to in the sentence of verse 1, chapter ii of Genesis: “Igitur perfecti sunt coeli et terra, et omnis ornatus eorum:” and that the Vulgate has peremptorily substituted for the Hebrew word “tsaba” (“host”) that of “ornament”; Munk shows the mistake of substitution and the derivation of the compound title, “Tsabaôth-Elôhîm,” from “tsaba.” Moreover, Cornelius ? Lapide, “the master of all Biblical commentators,” says de Mirville, shows us that such was the real meaning. Those Angels are stars.
All this, however, teaches us very little as to the true functions of this celestial army, and nothing at all as to its place in evolution and its relation to the earth we live on. For an answer to the question, “Who are the true Creators?” we must go to the Esoteric Doctrine, since there only can the key be found which will render intelligible the Theogonies of the various world-religions.
There we find that the real creator of the Kosmos, as of all visible Nature—if not of all the invisible hosts of Spirits not yet drawn into the “Cycle of Necessity,” or evolution—is “the Lord—the Gods,” or the “Working Host,” the “Army” collectively taken, the “One in many.”
The One is infinite and unconditioned. It cannot create, for It can have no relation to the finite and conditioned. If everything we see, from the glorious suns and planets down to the blades of grass and the specks of dust, had been created by the Absolute Perfection and were the direct work of even the First Energy that proceeded from It,† then every such thing
* De Mirville, Des Esprits, Vol. II, pp. 294-95.
† To the Occultist and Chela the difference made between Energy and Emanation need not be explained. The Sanskrit word “Sakti” is untranslatable. It may be Energy, but it is one that proceeds through itself, not being due to the active or conscious will of the one that produces it. The “First-Born,” or Logos, is not an Emanation, but an Energy inherent in and co-eternal with Parabrahman, the One. The Zohar speaks of emanations, but reserves the word for the seven Sephîrôth emanated from the first three—which form one triad—Kether, Hokmah, and Binah. As for these three, it explains the difference by calling them “immanations,” something inherent to and coeval with the subject postulated, or in other
would have been perfect, eternal, and unconditioned like its author. The millions upon millions of imperfect works found in Nature testify loudly that they are the products of finite, conditioned beings—though the latter were and are Dhyâni-Chohans, Archangels, or whatever else they may be named. In short, these imperfect works are the unfinished production of evolution, under the guidance of the imperfect Gods. The Zohar gives us this assurance as well as the Secret Doctrine. It speaks of the auxiliaries of the “Ancient of Days,” the “Sacred Aged,” and calls them ophanim, or the living Wheels of the celestial orbs, who participate in the work of the creation of the Universe.
Thus it is not the “Principle,” One and Unconditioned, nor even Its reflection, that creates, but only the “Seven Gods” who fashion the Universe out of the eternal Matter, vivified into objective life by the reflection into it of the One Reality.
The Creator is they—”God the Host”—called in the Secret Doctrine the Dhyâni-Chohans; with the Hindus the Prajâpatis; with the Western Kabalists the Sephiroth; and with the Buddhist the Devas—impersonal because blind forces. They are the Amshâspends with the Zoroastrians, and while with the Christian Mystic the “Creator” is the “Gods of the God,” with the dogmatic Churchman he is the “God of the Gods,” the “Lord of lords,” etc.
“Jehovah” is only the God who is greater than all Gods in the eyes of Isral.
I know, that the Lord [of Isral] is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.*
It is these “Auxiliaries,” the Ophanim, the half-human Prajâpatis, the Angels, the Architects under the leadership of the “Angel of the Great Council,” with the rest of the Kosmos-Builders of other nations, that can alone explain the imperfection of the Universe. This imperfection is one of the arguments of the Secret Science in favour of the existence and activity of these “Powers.” And who know better than the few philosophers of our civilized lands how near the truth Philo was in ascribing the origin of evil to the admixture of inferior potencies in the arrangement of matter, and even in the formation of man—a task entrusted to the divine Logos.
* Psalms cxxxv, 5.
For all the gods of the nations are idols; but the Lord made the heavens.*
The Egyptian Neteru, translated by Champollion “the other Gods,” are the Elôhîm of the Biblical writers, behind which stands concealed the One God, considered in the diversity of his powers.† This One is not Parabrahman, but the Unmanifested Logos; the Demiourgos, the real Creator or Fashioner, that follows him, standing for the Demiourgi collectively taken. Further on the great Egyptologist adds:
We see Egypt concealing and hiding, so to say, the God of Gods behind the agents she surrounds him with; she gives the precedence to her great gods before the one and sole Deity, so that the attributes of that God become their property. Those great Gods proclaim themselves uncreate . . . . Neith is “that which is,” as Jehovah; ‡ Thoth is self-created§ without having been begotten, etc. Judaism annihilating these potencies before the grandeur of its God, these emanations cease to be simply Powers, like Philo’s Archangels, like the Sephîrôth of the Kabalah, like the Ogdoad of the Gnostics—they become transformed into God himself.||
Jehovah is thus, as the Kabalah teaches, at best but the “Heavenly Man,” Adam-Kadmon, used by the self-created Spirit, the Logos, as a chariot, a vehicle in His descent towards manifestation in the phenomenal world.
Such are the teachings of the Archaic Wisdom, nor can they be repudiated even by the orthodox Christian, if he be sincere and open-minded in the study of his own Scripture. For if he reads St. Paul’s Epistles carefully he will find that the Secret Doctrine and the Kabalah are fully admitted by the “Apostle of the Gentiles.” The Gnosis which he appears to condemn is no less for him than for Plato “the supreme knowledge of
* Psalms xcvi, 5.
† Rather as Ormazd or Ahura-Mazda, Vit-nam-Ahmi, and all the unmanifested Logoi. Jehovah is the manifested Virâj, corresponding to Bînâh, the third Sephîrah in the Kabalah, a female Power which would find its prototype rather in the Prajâpatis, than in Brahmâ, the Creator.
‡ Neith is Aditi, evidently.
§ The Self-created Logos, Nârâyana, Purushôttama, and others.
|| Mariette-Bey, Mémoire sur la mère d’Apis, pp. 32-35, in de Mirville, Des Esprits, II, 323-24.
the truth and of the One Being”;* for what St. Paul condemns is not the true, but only the false Gnosis and its abuses: otherwise how could he use the language of a Platonist pur sang? The Ideas, types (Archai), of the Greek Philosopher; the Intelligences of Pythagoras; the Aeons or Emanations of the Pantheist; the Logos or Word, Chief of these Intelligences; the Sophia or Wisdom; the Demiourgos, the Builder of the world under the direction of the Father, the Unmanifested Logos, from which He emanates; Ain-Soph, the Unknown of the Infinite; the angelic Periods; the Seven Spirits who are the representatives of the Seven of all the older cosmogonies—are all to be found in his writings, recognized by the Church as canonical and divinely inspired. Therein, too, may be recognized the Depths of Ahriman, Rector of this our World, the “God of this World”; the Plerôma of the Intelligences; the Archôntes of the air; the Principalities, the Kabalistic Metatron; and they can easily be identified again in the Roman Catholic writers when read in the original Greek and Latin texts, English translations giving but a very poor idea of the real contents of these.
* See Republic, I, vi.