[The Theosophist, Vol. IX, No. 98, November, 1887, pp. 104-116]
I would advise all in general that they would take into serious consideration the true and genuine ends of knowledge; that they seek it not either for pleasure or contention, or contempt of others, or for profit, or for fame, or for honour and promotion, or suchlike adulterate, or inferior ends; but for merit and emolument of life, that they may regulate and perfect the same in charity.
In the present article I shall carry no coals to Newcastle. This means that I do not propose to teach learned Brahmins the mysteries of their religious philosophy, but will take for my subject a few things from the Universal Kabbala. The former—once placed upon polemical grounds—is an awkward adversary to fight. Unless one has instead of a head an encyclopaedia crammed with quotations, figures, numbers and verses scattered throughout crores of pages, such polemics will be more injurious than useful. Each of the disputants will find himself with the same number of adherents to his views as he had before, as neither will convince a single man from the party opposed to him.
Repeating with Sir T. Browne that “I envy no man that knows more than myself, but pity them that know less,” I will deal now with questions I am thoroughly conversant with, and in support of which I can quote good authorities.
Having studied the Kabbala, for nearer forty than thirty years, I may perhaps be allowed to regard the Zohar as a legitimate ground for me to stand upon. This, however, will be no discussion, but simply a few statements of facts. Four names and teachings from the Kabbala have been brought forward to oppose our septenary doctrine:—
I. We are told that the Tetragrammaton “is in the way . . . of a final union with the Logos.” Because his mystic "constitution, as represented by the sacred Tetragram, has not a septenary basis”
II. That “it is one of the oldest directions of the ancient Wisdom-religion that the macrocosm * should be interpreted according to the plan revealed by Malkuth”
III. That (a) “Shekinah is an androgyne power”; and (b) that she “should be accepted as a guide to the interpretation of the constitution of the microcosm.”
IV. That “Its [Shekinah’s] male form is the figure of man seen on the mysterious throne in the vision of Ezekiel.” †
I am afraid none of the above statements are correct. I am compelled to say that each and all are entirely erroneous. My authorities for saying so, will be the three chief books of the Zohar—The Book of Concealed Mystery and the two Assemblies—the Greater and the Lesser, as also the Kabbalah Denudata of Knorr von Rosenroth,‡ the Sepher Yetzirah, with its commentaries, and the Aech Metzareph, containing a key to the Kabbalistical symbolism, and all supplemented with various codices.§
An axiom echoed from the hoariest antiquity teaches us that the first step to knowledge is to know and to confess that we are ignorant. I must have taken this step, for I fully realize how very ignorant I am in many things, and confess how little I know. Nevertheless, what I know, I do know.
And perhaps, were I wiser, I ought to be glad to know so little; because if
“ . . . . . ignorance is the curse of God,”
* Just so. Malkuth is the 10th Sephiroth, but as the “Bride of Microprosopus” or Tetragrammaton, who is hexamerous—Malkuth, or the material limb, is the seventh. She is the fourth letter of IHVH, or He, but the Logos, or son, is only the letter V (Vau), as will be shown.
† The Theosophist, Vol. VIII, August, 1887, pp. 700 and 705.
‡ Now translated by S. Liddell MacGregor Mathers, F.T.S. See his Kabbala Unveiled [London: George Redway, 1887].
§ [Vide pp. 269-71 and 402 in Vol. VII of the present Series, for pertinent information concerning the Zohar and its bibliography.—Compiler.]
as Shakespeare has it,* too much of
“Knowledge, when wisdom is too weak to guide her,
Is like a head-strong Horse, that throwes the Rider. . . .”†
In this particular case, however, I have no fear of being thrown out of my stirrups. I venture even to say that it is quite impossible, with the Zohar before one’s eye and its (just) hundred and seventy passages of references and several hundreds of comments and glosses upon the real meaning of Tetragrammaton alone. Meanwhile, as “no man knoweth all”—errare humanum est—and as none of us, so far as I know, has reached the glorified position of an omniscient Buddha or a Sankaracharya, it is but just that we should compare notes and unveil that which can be lawfully unveiled. Hence I shall endeavour to show the true nature of the “Tetragrammaton” and prove its four letters to be a mere glyph, a mask to conceal metaphysically its connection with and relation to, the supernal and the inferior worlds. I will give nothing of my own speculations or knowledge, which are my personal property, the fruitage of my studies, and with which, therefore, the public has nothing to do. I shall only show what the Tetragrammaton is said to be in the Zohar, and as explained to the writer personally by a Hebrew initiated Rabbi, in Palestine, and made very plain to every advanced Kabbalist.
I. The Tetragrammaton is called in the Kabbala by various names. It is IHVH, the Microprosopus, in distinction to AHIH, the Macroprosopus. It is the LESSER FACE, a reflection (tainted with matter or Malkuth, its bride, the mother earth) of the “Vaster,” rather “Limitless” Face; therefore he is the antithesis of Macroprosopus. But who, or what is Macroprosopus, itself?
II. It is not “Ain-Soph” the Non-Existent, or Non-Being, no more than is Tetragrammaton; for both AHIH and IHVH are glyphs of existence, and symbols of terrestrial-androgynous, as well as male and female—life.
* [Henry VI, Pt. II, Act iv, Sc. 7, 1.78].
† [Francis Quarles, Job Militant: with Meditations Divine and Morall, 1624. Section XI.—Compiler.]
Both are therefore mixed with Malkuth,—H-eva, “the mother of all that lives,” and cannot be confounded in our spiritual perceptions with EHEIEH—the one ABSOLUTE Esse, or “Be-ness,” as some call it, though Rabbis have tried hard to have the mantle fall upon their exoteric god. They are reflections of the Ain-Soph, the Hebrew Parabrahman; for Ain-Soph is negative, and they, actual, positive life—therefore Maya or Illusion.
This is proven clearly by their dual presence in the cross—the oldest phallic symbol, thus—
as shown in The Kabbalah Unveiled, Introd., p. 31.*
* So old and so phallic, indeed, that leaving the ansated cross of Egypt aside, the terra cotta discs called fusaiole, found by Schliemann in abundance under the ruins of ancient Troy, are almost all in these two forms the Indian Swastica and the Cross, the latter being Swastica or “Thor’s Hammer” minus its four additional angles. No need to explain that the Orientalists who are unable to soar higher than the material plane, are nevertheless right, and that they have discovered one of the secret keys (of exoteric religions, only, however) in asserting that the origin of the cross is the arani and pramantha, the stick and the perforated vessel for kindling fire of the ancient Brahmins. Prometheus stealing the sacred fire of (pro)creation to endow men with, has undeniably the origin of his name in Pramantha. The god Agni was celestial fire, only so long as he was hidden in his casket. No sooner had Matariśwan, the Rig-Vedic aerial being, forced him out of it for the benefit of the consuming Bhrigus, than he became terrestrial fire, that of procreation, therefore phallic. The word matha or pramantha, we are told, has for its prefix pra, adding the idea of robbing or stealing by force to that contained in the root matha of the verb mathami, or manthnami, “to produce by friction” Hence Prometheus stealing the heavenly fire to degrade it (in one sense) on earth. He not only kindles the spark of life in the man of clay, but teaches him the mysteries of creation, which, from Kriyasakti, falls into the selfish act of procreation [Vide supra—text].
III. There are two “Tetragrammatons” in the Kabbala, or, rather—he is dual, and for the matter of that, even triple, quaternary and a septenary. He becomes nine and thirteen only toward the end when “thirteen” or UNITY destroys the septenate symbolised by the “Seven Inferior,” which seven, are “the seven kings of Edom” (when the races are concerned), and the seven “lower Sephiroth’” when the human principles are referred to. The first Tetragrammaton is the ever concealed one, the FATHER—himself an emanation of the eternal light, thence not Ain-Soph. He is not the four-lettered Tetraktis, but the Square only, so to say, on a plane surface. It is the ideal geometrical figure formed of four imaginary lines, the abstract symbol of an abstract idea, or four “mathematical” lines enclosing a “mathematical” space—which is “equal to nothing enclosing nothing”—as says Dr. Henry Pratt, speaking of the triangle in his New Aspects of Life and Religion. A Phantom veiled with four breaths. So much for “Father” Macroprosopus-TETRAGRAMMATON. Whereas
IV. Microprosopus-Tetragrammaton—the “Son” or Logos, is the triangle in a square; the seven-fold cube; or as Mr. J. R. Skinner shows it—the six-faced cube unfolded becomes the seven-partitioned cross, when the androgyne separates into opposite sexes.* In the words of a commentary on the Secret Doctrine—
“The circle emanates a light which becomes to our vision four-cornered; this unfolds and becomes seven.” Here the “circle” is the first sephira, the “kether” or crown, the Risha Havurah, or “white head,” and the “upper skull.” [It is not limitless, but temporary in this phenomenal world.] It emanates the two lower Sephiroth (Chokhmah and Binah, which are “Father-Mother”) and thus forms the triangle, the first or upper
* Four in length or the vertical line, and three horizontally. See The Theosophist, Vol. VIII, April, 1887.
[H.P.B. refers to her own article on “Classification of ’Principles’.” See Vol. VII of the present series.—Compiler.]
triad of the Sephirothal Tree. This is the one or the monad of Pythagoras. But, it has emanated from the Seven Elohim, male and female, who are called the “Upper Father-Mother.” These are themselves the reflections of the Female Holy Spirit, of which it is said in Sepher Yetzirah “One is She the Spirit of the Elohim of Life.” * How far yet from AIN-SOPH the ALL, are these numbers † of the Jewish Kabbala, for they are in fact only secret numbers and glyphs. Microprosopus comes the fourth.
Let any one turn to Plate IV of Kabbala Denudata (Engl. Trans.) drawn by Mr. Mathers. Let him throw a glance at the “Symbolical Deific Forms” placed in their relations to the four Kabbalistic worlds—and he will soon see that “Tetragrammaton” or Microprosopus, the “Lesser countenance,” comes as the fourth. For clearer explanation I copy a small portion of the table.
It thus follows that although Macroprosopus—or Kether, the crown of numbers, for it is the white head, or O, the
* See The Kabbalah Unveiled, Introd., pp. 21-22.
† Sephira means a numeral; it is one, and therefore singular, and the Sephiroth is a plural word, both of which have passed their names to our “ciphers” and are only the numbers of the creative hierarchies of the Dhyan Chohans. When the Elohim say “Let us make man,” they have to work from the first to the last seventh, each endowing man with its own characteristic or principle.
cipher,* is still removed from Ain-Soph, being only its universal reflection or light—that it is not the tetragram. It is simply SPACE, the boundless and the inscrutable, the supernal soil in which are concealed the archetypal ideas or forms of all; from which grows the ROOT of Kosmos, the universal Tree of Life in the creative world. The trunk of this “tree” are the “father, and mother, the 2nd and 3rd Sephiroth, or Chokhmah and Binah,” respectively, Jehovah and “Jehovah Elohim.” †
V. “The Father-Mother” belong to the creative world, because it is they who create; i.e., they are the bisexual material, the essence out of which the “Son” (the universe) is formed. This Son is Microprosopus, or TETRAGRAMMATON. Why is he the four-lettered symbol? Whence the sacredness of this Tetraktis ? Is it the ineffable name, or is it in any way connected with that unpronounceable name? I do not hesitate to answer in the negative. It is simply a blind, a symbol to veil the better the septenary constitution of man and his origin, and the various mysteries connected with it. Its name, the Tetragram, is composed of four letters, but what is their secret, esoteric meaning? A Kabbalist will not hesitate to answer: “read it numerically and compute the figures and numbers, and you will know.”
Now “Tetragrammaton” is Father-Mother and the “Son” in one. It is Jehovah, whose name is written IHVH, and whose letters read symbolically according to
* The Hebrews had no word for a cipher or nought, hence the symbolism of a head or a round circle.
† The student must bear in mind that Jehovah as a name is always male and female, or androgynous. It is a compound of two words—Jah and Hovah or “Jah eve” Jah alone is masculine and active: therefore while the 2nd Sephiroth, Chokhmah, “Wisdom,” is masculine, and stands for Ab, “Father,” Binah, “Intelligence,” is feminine, passive, and stands for Am, “Mother,” the great deep whose name is “Jehovah.” But the masculine name is symbolized by one letter alone, the—Yod—whose significance is entirely phallic.
the method revealed at the FOURTH initiation,* will read in two ways. It is composed of two masculine letters (IV) and two feminine characters (two H, he); or the “superior” and the “inferior” H. The first is the “supernal mother” or “the female Jehovah, as Binah”; the other is the “inferior H,” or the 10th Sephiroth, Malkuth, the foundation of matter. It is impossible to reveal in print the first reading, when it is written AHIH, beyond stating that exoterically it is connected with the “I am that I am” and with Eheieh “Absolute BE-NESS or SAT.”
It can be read in twelve different ways, each sentence being symbolized in a sign of the Zodiac. These transpositions are all made to refer to the mystery of being or existence—as an abstract conception.
But IHVH, the Tetragrammaton of the formative world, and the spouse of the “Bride,” whose kingdom is Asiah or matter, though easy of explanation, is still more difficult to reveal in words, not on account of its sacredness, but rather of its indecency. I refer the reader for the plain symbolism of the four letters I, H, V, H, to Mr. J. R. Skinner’s Source of Measures, p. 10, wherein that symbolism is given. Hindus see it daily in their Lingas and Yonis. It is Jehovah-Tzabaoth, the Septenary Elohim concealed in the Holy of Holies, the Argha, or Noah’s Ark. Therefore (see Plate III in Kabb. Unv., pp. 28-29) he is the seventh Sephiroth among the “superior” septenary, as Malkuth is the seventh of the “inferior” Sephiroth. Microprosopus is the third letter V (Vau) and is called tetragram only, because he is one of the four letters which embrace the whole nine Sephiroth—but not Sephira. He is the
* Tradition says that the last initiates into the seven mysteries of Microprosopus and the supreme Teth (number 9 and the letter t), the mystery of the two Aima (the two mothers, or the first and the second H of the word IHVH) were the three Rabbis Schimon, Abba and Eleazar who, in the Mysteries or Sod had stood for Kether, Chokhmah, and Binah (See Zohar, the Lesser Holy Assembly). After their death the knowledge of the five upper initiations was lost.
[“Aima” is very likely a phonetic spelling. Actually, the Hebrew word for mother is am or imah; the plural being imoth.—Compiler.]
secret septenary, which has been hitherto occult, and now is thoroughly unveiled. On the tables which give the relations of the Sephiroth with the ten divine names, the ten archangels, their ten orders, the planets, etc., demons and the ten arch devils—Netzach, the 7th Sephiroth, whose name is exoterically “firmness and victory,” and esoterically something more, is called by its Divine name Jehovah-Tzabaoth and corresponds with Haniel (human physical life), the androgyne Elohim, with Venus-Lucifer and Baal, and finally with the letter Vau or Microprosopus, the Logos. All these belong to the formative world.
They are all septenates, all associated with plastic formation and MATTER—their “bride.” The latter is the “inferior mother” Aima, “the woman with child” of the 12th chapter of Revelation, pursued by the great Dragon (of wisdom). Who is this Dragon? Is he the devil Satan, as we are taught to believe by the Church? Certainly not. He is the Dragon of Esoteric Wisdom, who objects to the child born of the “woman” (the universe), for this child is its mankind, hence ignorance and illusion. But Mikael and his angels, or Jehovah-Tzabaoth (the “Host”) who refused to create as the seven passionless, mind-born, sons of Brahma did, because they aspire to incarnate as men in order to become higher than the gods—fight the Dragon, conquer him, and the child of matter is born. The “Dragon” of esoteric wisdom falls back into darkness indeed!*
* The key which opens this mystery is the seventh key, and relates to the seventh trumpet of the seventh angel, after whose blast St. John sees the woman and “War in Heaven” (See Revelation, xi, 15, and xii, 7, and try to understand). This allegory, “War in Heaven,” has six other meanings; but this one is on the most material plane and explains the septenary principle. The “woman” is crowned with 12 stars and has the sun and moon to clothe her (twice seven), she being the universe; the Dragon has seven heads, seven crowns and ten horns—another occult symbolism, and he is one of the seven LOGOI. Perchance those who have reflected over the strange behaviour of Narada may understand the analogy. Indeed, a Prajapati and a great Vedic Rishi, and yet one who is ever interfering with the physical procreation of men, he seduces twice the thousands of Daksha’s sons into remaining celibates and Yogis, for this he is cursed to be incarnated, born in a womb, and those who know something about numbers and cycles will now understand better the meaning of this allegory.
Therefore, though I do not feel the slightest objection to any mystic willing to unite himself with the Logos called “Tetragrammaton” or Microprosopus, I personally prefer a union with Macroprosopus, on general principles; at any rate in this cycle of incarnation. After which, with the help of the “PERFECT NUMBER,” I hope to see the supernal light reducing to ashes not only my “seven inferiors” (the Microprosopus), but even the semblance of the thirteen in the unity, that “wage war with seven” (Book of Conc. Myst., Chap. V, 27), and along with them the Macroprosopical square. The letter Yod in the path of the ninth Sephira having a decidedly phallic signification, I decline union with the lower sevenfold and seven-lettered Jehovah, and prefer pinning my faith to “Ain-Soph”—pure and simple; otherwise, why leave the bosom of Orthodox church at all? As well join the “Salvation Army” at once, and sing “Blood, blood,” the whole day.
The “Logos” which we recognize is not the Tetragrammaton, but the CROWN, Kether, which has nought to do with the material plane nor with Macro, or Microprosopus—but which is connected only with the pro-archetypal world. As it is said,
“By Gematria AHIH equals IHV without the H . . . . . the symbol of Malkuth . . .” the “Bride” (p. 31). “Closely associated with the subject of the letters of the Tetragrammaton is that of the four Kerubim [cherubs] . . . Therefore the kerubim represent the powers of the letters of the Tetragrammaton on the material plane . . . The kerubim are the living forms of the letters, symbolised in the Zodiac by Taurus, Leo, Aquarius and Scorpio . . .” (pp. 32 and 34, Introd. to The Kabbalah Unveiled).
What the symbolism of these four animals represents in its turn “on the material plane” is again known.
Taurus—whether called Śiva’s Bull, the Egyptian Bull Apis, the Zoroastrian “Bull” killed by Ahriman—is ever a symbol of the seed of life, of generative as well as of the destructive force, while Scorpio is the symbol of sin (in the sexual sense), of evil and spiritual death, and Scorpio is the fourth number of Tetragrammaton—or Malkuth.
“ ‘The mystery of the earthly and mortal man is after the mystery of the supernal and immortal One’. . . . . In the form of the body is the Tetragrammaton found. The head is I [the letter Yod], the arms and shoulders are like [supernal] H, the body is V, and the legs are represented by the H [he] final.” (Kab. Unv., p. 34.)
In the “Scale of the number Seven,” the name of God is represented with seven letters. The scale is septenary; whatever way one looks from the first original or archetypal down to the seventh or temporal world.
The “Tree of Life” has seven branches and seven fruits on it. In the Book of Concealed Mystery, BRASHITH, the initial word in Genesis, reads “Bera Shith, ‘He created the six.’ Upon these depend all things which are below” (chap. I, 16), all things being synthesized by Malkuth—the Seventh—Microprosopus.
Microprosopus is formed of the six Sephiroth, three male and three female. The limbs of the Tetragrammaton are called the six members of Microprosopus, and 6 is the numerical value of V (Vau), his letter. When they (the limbs) touch the earth, they become seven (Introd., p. 32, Kab. Unv., and verse 9 of Comm. xxii, in Book of Numbers).
The whole Book of Concealed Mystery is full of such sentences. “The Microprosopus is six-fold. . . . As he is formed of six Sephiroth which are called with Malkuth the inferior seven. These members are emanated from the first six (creative) words pronounced. His seventh principle is represented by the tenth Sephiroth . . . who is Eve in the exoteric system, or the inferior mother. . . .” Hence the seventh week is called the Millennium, the Sabbath, and also the seventh kingdom. (Book of Conc. Myst., verse 22.)
The Kabbalists have always made a difference not only between AIN-SOPH, the numberless and the Inconceivable, but even between Microprosopus and the lower Tetragrammaton, the “Son,” thence, the Logos. For, it is written in the Greater Holy Assembly—
(Chap. VII, 83) “And concerning this the children of Israel wished to inquire in their hearts, like as it is written, Exodus, xvii, 7, ‘Is the Tetragrammaton in the midst of us, or the Negatively Existent One?’ (Where they distinguished) between Microprosopus, who is called Tetragrammaton, and between Macroprosopus, who is called AIN, Ain, the Negatively Existent?” (p. 121). But—the “yod of the Ancient One is hidden and concealed.” (Introd., p. 35.)
(Chap. XLV, 1152) “We have learned that there were ten (Rabbis) [companions, the Sephiroth] who entered into the SOD [mysteries of creation] and that seven came forth.”
(Chap. XLV, 1158) “And when Rabbi Schimeon revealed the Arcana, there were found none present there save those (companions).”
(Chap. XLV, 1159) “And Rabbi Schimeon called them the seven eyes of Tetragrammaton, like as it is written, Zech., iii, 9: ‘These are the seven eyes of Tetragrammaton’.”
In the Bible the latter word is translated “The Lord,” which shows plainly that the Christians have accepted for their “Lord God” a fourth Sephirothal emanation and the male letter “Vau.”
Is this the “Logos” every initiate has to seek union with, as “the ultimate result of his labours”? Then, he may as well remain in his septenary mortal body as long as he can.
With respect to the other “obstacles,” they are as incorrectly stated. The “Figure of the man on the Throne” in Ezekiel answers in esotericism to the archetypal plane, the world of Atziloth, not to the Shekinah in Malkuth and Asiah, on the material plane; as will become evident to any one who analyses the vision kabbalistically. For, firstly, there are four clear divisions of the symbolism
of the vision; namely, the form of the man, the throne on which he is seated, the firmament above the heads of the living creatures, and the “living creatures” themselves with their ophanim or wheels. These again clearly answer to the four Kabbalistical worlds or planes themselves, i.e., Atziloth, the Archetypal—the shadowy figure of the man; Briah, the Creative—the throne; Yetzirah, the Formative, the firmament; Asiah, the Material, the living creatures. These answer again to the four letters of the tetragram thus: the uppermost point of Yod in IHVH to the “figure of the man,” the H (He) to the throne, the V (Vau) to the firmament, and the H final to the creatures. (See Plate IX of The Kabbalah Unveiled.)
The “figure of the man” is not “the male form of Shekinah.” Shekinah is not “an androgyne power.” * Shekinah is sexless or feminine if anything. It is primordial light emanating from the ever-concealed Ain-Soph. In the archetypal world it is Sephira, in the material and the formative it becomes Shekinah, the latent life end light of this inferior world of matter—the “veil of Ain-Soph” and the “divine presence” on the path of Malkuth from the material to the higher worlds. She is the Buddhi of the physical body—the soul or spark burning in the vessel; and after the vessel is broken, merging into the seventh (according to Theosophical computation) and into the first or Macroprosopus Kabbalistically, as it is the first ray from the concealed.†
The plan revealed by Malkuth is given in the Book of Concealed Mystery, the Siphra Dtzenioutha, Chap. V, 31-32, as follows:
* See engraving from the Babylonian account of creation (by George Smith. The Chaldean Account of Genesis, p. 85) of the Sacred Tree, with figure on each side and serpent in the background. This engraving is taken, from an early Babylonian cylinder, and represents the said tree with its seven branches.
† Nor is Shekinah a Sephiroth, for she proceeds from, and is latent in, the tenth, Malkuth, and is destroyed with the latter (See Chap. I, 22, Book of Conc. Myst.). The mistake has probably arisen from Shekinah’s divine name being Adonai and the angelic Kerubim. But no Kabbalist will give out in print the key to this.
“The Tree which is mitigated (that is, the Path of the kingdom or Shekinah, which is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which in itself existeth from the judgments, but is mitigated by the bridegroom through the influx of mercies) resideth within (within the shells; because the kingdom hath its dominion over all things, and its feet descend into death). In its branches (in the inferior worlds) the birds lodge and build their nests (the souls and the angels have their places). Beneath it those animals which have power seek the shade (that is, the shells [Klipoth], ‘for in it every beast of the forest doth walk forth.’ Ps., civ., 20).
“This is the tree which hath two paths . . . for the same end (namely, good and evil, because it is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). And it hath around it seven columns (that is, the seven palaces), and the four splendours (that is, the four animals) whirl around it (in four wheels) on their four sides (after the fourfold description of the chariot of Yechesqiel [Ezekiel]).”
This tree has seven branches*, on each of which are four leaves and three fruits. Moreover there is an evident analogy between the above verse in Siphr Dtzenioutha and Chapters i to iv of Revelation. For the seven churches “of Asia” are identical with the “seven palaces” in Asiah, or the material septenary place. The seven stars which are in the right hand of the “figure” in the last chapter are not these seven churches, but the seven keys to them; and the two-edged (androgyne) word which proceeds from his mouth is the Yod of IHVH. This “figure” is the septenary “Tetragrammaton,” the V (Vau). †
* I have consulted our brother Mr. S. Liddel MacGregor Mathers whether any Kabbalist justified the idea that Shekinah was “an androgyne power.” He said no—“it is sexless and is the divine presence.” (See his Kabbalah Unveiled, page 55, note between verses 32 and 33.)
† Or Vau, whose number is six and symbolism—a hook or crook; phallic.
But this figure is a different thing altogether to the one which is on the throne in Ezekiel’s vision. For the former (the figure in Chapter I of Revelation) is on the planes of Yetzirah (the world of formation, the habitat of the angels who would not create), and the figure of Ezekiel is on the plane of Atziloth, and is described in the 4th chapter of the Apocalypse as the “one who sat upon the throne.”
In order to be two, to bear the burden of the above statements, I have applied to Mr. S. L. MacGregor Mathers (than whom there are few more learned Kabbalists in England, though I do not certainly agree with all his views. But on this question we are in almost full agreement). Our brother has kindly consented to give an opinion in writing, and this is how he distributed the SEPHIROTHAL Tree.
Here the figure on the throne in Ezekiel’s vision refer, to Kether; the throne to Chokhmah and Binah, the world of Briah, whose alternative name is Korsia—the throne; the firmament is Microprosopus, who consists of the six Sephiroth—Chesed, Geburah, Tiphereth, Netzach, Hod and Yesod. Now Yesod is the path of ingress into Malkuth or the created material world; and the Shekinah is the Presence in Malkuth, the Queenly Presence; for Shekinah is feminine, and not androgynous. And the seal of the Macrocosm, the six pointed star, the *
* It is the seal of the Macrocosm certainly, but it becomes that of Microcosm only when the five pointed star is enclosed within it, for it is the latter which is properly the sign of Macroprosopus. It is the Shatkona Chakra (the wheel of Vishnu) and the Pañchakona (Pentagram). We would call the former the seal of Macroprosopus
is the emblem of Microprosopus, the Tetragrammaton—Vau of IHVH, who stands within the seven light-bearers of Malkuth, which are no other than the seven last Sephiroth themselves, or the six Sephiroth which compose Microprosopus with Malkuth added as the seventh.*
Nothing can be plainer I believe. Whatever the transcendental, metaphysical speculations and interpretations, which, of course, can be satisfied with Tetraktis on the plane of the Archetypal world, once that we descend into the world of the Astral and of the phenomenally occult, we cannot have less than seven principles upon which to base ourselves I have studied the Kabbala under two learned Rabbis, one of whom was an initiate, and there was no difference between the two teachings (the esoteric Eastern and the Western) in this instance.
Of course it is well known that any one endowed with even a moderate dose of ingenuity can, if he has studied the three Kabbalistic modes of interpretation-especially the Notarikon—make what he likes of the unpointed Hebrew words and letters. But the explanations I give require no Notarikon, but simply a knowledge of the seventh esoteric key. With Massoretic points one can
only when the hexagram is surrounded by or within a circle; not otherwise. But this does not affect the question. The Kabbalah Denudata of Knorr von Rosenroth contains a good many errors, and other versions-especially the Latin translations, all made by Christians bent upon squeezing out nolens volens a prophetic and Christian meaning out of the Zohar—more still.
* The Siphra Dtzenioutha says concerning Malkuth, “the Shekinah (or the queen]y presence) which is below (that is a path of the kingdom, namely, MLKVTh, Malkuth , the tenth and last Sephira).” (Chap I, 32)
transform the astral Jehovah-Tzabaoth, and even Jehovah-Elohim into the “One living” and the highest God, the “God of gods”—whereas he is merely one of the formative and generative gods. A good instance of the above dishonesty is found in Mr. Mathers’ translation of Knorr von Rosenroth’s Kabbalah Denudata. He gives us six specimens of the various readings of the first word only (B’rashith) in Genesis. With the rules of Notarikon the opening sentence “B’rashith Bara Elohim eth hashamayim v’eth h’arets,” or “In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth,” may be made to mean whatever one pleases; since the first and solitary word B’rashith is forced to yield six dogmatic teachings of the Latin Church.
As shown by the aforesaid Kabbalist, Solomon Meir Ben Moses, a convert to Roman Catholicism in 1665, who took the name of Prosper Rugere, succeeded in proving on strictly Notariconist grounds that the said first word (B’rashith) revealed six Christian meanings, the 1st of these was “The Son, the Spirit, the Father, Their Trinity, Perfect Unity”; the 3rd, “Ye shall worship My firstborn, My first, Whose name is Jesus”; the 5th, “I will choose a virgin worthy to bring forth Jesus, and ye shall call her blessed” [Kab. Unv., Introd., p. 81]. The sixth is given in the foot-note below. * The two others are repetitions.
The same remarkable elasticity of interpretation is afforded in the esoteric texts of other nations. Each
* In the Notarikon “Every letter of a word is taken for the initial or abbreviation of another word, so that from the letters of a word a sentence may be formed.” Thus, from the letters of this word B’rashith, I too could easily make a sentence which would read:—“Beware! rows are soon hatched in Theosophy”; and then offer it as a divine warning and revelation, taking as my authority the “Book of God.” This reading would be as true, but more to the point than the 6th of Prosper Rugere’s versions, for he made of B’rashith—“Beaugoth Ratzephim Asattar Shegopi Yeshuah Thakelo,” which, translated, reads: “I [God] will hide myself in cake [wafer] (baked with) coals, for ye shall eat Jesus, My body” [Kab. Unv., Introd., p. 8]—and converted thereby, and forthwith, another Jew to Roman Catholicism!
symbol and glyph having seven keys to it, it follows that one party may be using one key to any subject under dispute, and then accuse another student who is using another key of deliberate misinterpretation.
Such is not my policy however. In esoteric matters I would rather seek conciliation than quarrel over mistakes made, whether real or imaginary; because the CAUSE and the triumph of truth ought to be dearer to a true Occultist and Theosophist than petty successes over disputants.
No one occultist, if he is true to his colours, can give out the meaning of all the “Seven Mysteries of Wisdom”—even if he himself is acquainted with all—which would be a marvel, indeed. For those “Seven Mysteries” in toto are known thoroughly only to the “MASTERS OF WISDOM”; and those Masters would hardly indulge in polemical discussions whether in newspaper or periodical. What is the use then of losing time and power over proving that one facet of the diamond shines with more light and brilliancy than its sister facet instead of uniting all the forces to draw the attention of the profane to the radiance of the jewel itself. We students of the sacred science ought to help each other, encourage research and profit by our mutual knowledge, instead of unprofitably criticizing it to satisfy personal pride. This is how I look at it: for otherwise our enemies, who started by calling us humbugs on the sole strength of their sectarian and materialistic prejudices and bigotry, will be justified in reiterating their accusation on the ground of our mutual denunciations.
Materialism is raising its ghastly head higher than ever.
Knowledge, one of the scientific papers of London, gives us a foretaste of what is in store for the occultist. While reviewing the Kabbalah Unveiled, it is loud in proclaiming “the extraordinary intellectual vagaries of the Hebrew commentators on their scriptures.” It crushes under the weight of its materialist contempt the idea from Dr. Ginsburg’s The Kabbalah—that the mysteries of being were “first taught by God himself to a select company
of angels, who formed a theosophic school in Paradise”!* and winds up by a tremendous point of mocking admiration, in parenthesis (!). This, on page 259 of Knowledge [New Series, Vol. X], Sept. 1, 1887. On page 245, Mr. Edward Clodd offers us, instead of the teachings of the “Theosophic angels,” those of the Darwinists of the Haekelian School. Having surveyed “a vast field” in Kosmos, “the limits of which shade into the unlimited on all sides,” this anti-Kabbalistic champion of modern science ends his “vagaries” by the following startling enunciation:
“We began with the primitive nebula, we end with the highest forms of consciousness; the story of creation is shown [!?] to be the unbroken record of the evolution OF GAS INTO GENIUS” [!!!].
This shows how we stand with the men of modern science and how much we need all our forces to hold the materialists at bay.
One word more and I have done. I am repeatedly asked to show my authority—book, page and verse—for the esoteric doctrine of the “Septenary.” This is like saying to one in the midst of a desert: prove to me that water is full of infusoria when there is no microscope to be got. Better than anyone, those who make such a claim upon me, know that outside of the few places where secret MSS. are stored for ages, no esoteric doctrines were ever written and plainly explained; otherwise they would have lost long ago their very name. There is such a thing as an “unwritten” Kabbala, as well as a written one, even in the West. Many things are orally explained, and always have been. Nevertheless, hints and allusions to it are numerous and scattered throughout the exoteric scriptures, and the classification depends, of course, on
* [Dr. Christian David Ginsburg, The Kabbalah: Its Doctrines, Development, and Literature. An Essay read before the Literary and Philosophical Society of Liverpool, Oct. 1 9th, 1863. London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer, 1865. Issued as Appendix to the Society’s Proceedings, No. XIX. The quote is from page 2.—Compiler.]
the school that interprets it, and still more upon personal intuition and conception. The question is not whether there are three, five or seven colours in the rays of the spectrum, for everyone knows there are, in fact and nature but one—the colourless white. And, though Science discerns very plainly seven prismatic rays as clear as are the seven notes in the scale; yet, one has heard of very great men of science who insisted there were only four or five until it was found out that they were colour-blind.
H. P. BLAVATSKY.