Originally published circa 1922-1925
This electronic edition is taken from the Samuel Weiser edition of 1973. The work is not copyrighted.
I hope you will enjoy this remarkable work of
Although the title of this short essay may seem, to some who have not read its contents, to be both presumptuous and unwarrantable, it is hoped that these will reserve their judgment until they have given due attention and consideration to the study of such an important subject.
We are living in strange times. Civilization seems rapidly to be breaking up, while yet some inner urge is at work towards a better and more balanced construction in may departments of life.
One of the results of the Great War has been to turn the minds of many people from some of the narrower conceptions of life into wider channels. A spirit of enquiry has become apparent on the part of those who had previously been content to accept statements in regard to life’s deeper issues on mere belief or hearsay. Many new Movements have arisen under the guidance of people who have obtained at least a partial glimpse of man’s wider heritage, and there has been a corresponding falling away from what may be termed the orthodox or established order of things in the churches and elsewhere. Many countries have been making experiments of various kinds, most of which, however, being the outcome of “reform movements” of the narrowest sort, are quickly proving themselves to be unsatisfactory and inadequate. At present, amid all these indications, there seems to have been no complete solution in sight, and, so it might appear, very little comprehension, even on the part of those who are honestly doing their best under the circumstances, of the underlying principles involved. Those who should really be in a position to help, are unable to do so effectively for the same reason.
It may seem a far cry from the present world-conditions of a social and political nature to the Holy Qabalah, but help sometimes comes from quite unexpected sources.
The Jews, and the Jewish problem, represent very important aspects of the difficulty and its solution. A great proportion of the wealth of the world is today in the hands of the Jews, yet as a nation they have no place. As the “chosen people” they were an important nation, but the rejection of the Teacher in who they expected to find their Messiah, is usually considered to have been the cause of their becoming wanderers upon the face of the Earth. Yet the word “Jew” is derived from IU, the Ever-Coming Son, the Horus of the earliest Egyptian traditions, whose influence is not confined to the Christian Era but extends to all Ages, and of Whom all truly typical God-Men, such as Jesus, have been, and are, the representatives upon earth.
But the Jews have neglected the study of their own “Chokmah Nestorah,” or Secret Wisdom Tradition, as transmitted in the Holy Qabalah, thus losing sight of their True Will as a nation and their essential Purpose in the Great Creative Plan. It has remained for the Gentile to rediscover some of the deeper mysteries of this Ancient Wisdom, and these are found to be the same in essence as those of Catholicism, Freemasonry, Pythagorean Philosophy, Hermeticism, and so forth; in fact there has always been a Universal Tradition which when known has led the Nations to the height of civilization, and when lost has heralded their decline and downfall.
The present world-crisis and breaking up of civilization is due to the necessity of a general “clean-up” preparatory to a wider and grander conception being presented to humanity than has been possible for many thousands of years. All thinking people realize that things are in a critical condition, and all should be prepared to grasp any reasonable opportunity of obtaining a solution which will be of permanent, rather than of temporary value.
Things cannot be put right without effort, and the question arises: “In what direction is effort most necessary?”
The solution lies with the individual; it is
useless to talk of reforming others until we have
reformed ourselves. It is equally useless to rely upon
someone else to do for use what we are quite capable of
doing and should do for ourselves. The soul of Man—
which is the plastic mediator between body and spirit -
has become distorted; he must learn to rectify its structure before he can obtain a clear outlook and a
proper point of view.
Man’s teachers have been largely responsible for distorting his mental vision, and they must cease from restricting his natural actions and impeding his natural growth, which would be normally proportioned if the Holy Spirit within were allowed to expand in the proper manner. Man’s natural tendency is towards health of body and soul under the action of Spirit. Most of the present systems have led him to believe otherwise from his earliest childhood, thus handicapping him from the start.
The child is, in one sense, the best example of the perfect man or woman, and if the child were allowed to develop Intelligence unhampered by false notions from outside, it would grow to be the true example of the God-Man or Man-God in the majority of cases. We have ruined our children before they have had a chance to come to maturity; our well-meaning, though ignorant, parents and childhood teachers have instilled into our subconscious minds most of the “complexes” which in after life we can only eradicate by bitter toil and bloody sweat.
Yet I thank God for a good mother, whose simple faith, transmitted to me, has given me the quiet courage and perseverance to unravel some, at least, of those ignorantly transmitted “knots” and kinks. But, for all that, humanity has complexes which need to be unraveled and straightened out before much real work can be done.
First, then, let me make an appeal on behalf of the children, even if in this New Aeon they do not so much need my support since they are showing an independence of spirit which is simply astonishing to their parents and guardians who were born and brought up under the Old Dispensation. I make my appeal to these same parents, not to foolishly try to break the Will of the child, for it is God’s Will therein, and the only indication of the right course of action. Once this True Will is distorted, and the lower personal will brought out of alignment with it, the city is, so to speak, divided against itself and cannot stand. It is the interior conflict between the “personal” and the “True” Will in each of us, that is the cause of all suffering and all wrong action. There is but one remedy, discover the True Will and then DO IT, and our course is one with Destiny and the Will of the Universe in our regard.
The age of “mothering” children is past. The women of today failing to do so in regard to their offspring, or having no offspring to “mother” are doing all they can to “mother” the nation, particularly in America. Such “reforms” as Prohibition are largely due to this mistaken zeal for the good of others. What the “Mothers” need most is to learn to mind their own business and to correct their own distorted vision. Repression can never take the place of RIGHT USE on any plane. The Righteous are those who use rightly what they have, for their own good and that of Humanity from which they can never really cut themselves off. Man cannot live, or die, to himself alone. The same is true of Nations.
All things come from One Substance, and are actuated by One Spirit. Rightly used, any aspect of that substance may be taken into the body and soul of Man, and there transmuted into just the proper condition and proportions for the building up of his own particular being.
If, for instance, it were possible to eliminate the effects of wine from all the American people for two or three generations, they would go to the most terrible extremes and act as savages do whose systems have not been used to alcohol, as soon as the habit was revived, as it inevitably would be in the long run. As it is, insofar as their parents have been accustomed to the use of wine, they are comparatively immune while their normal appetites in this respect are not over-stimulated by the attempt at repression. Many of the most normal people drink more under “prohibition” than they ever though of doing before. The best men and women are those of such varied experience on all planes that they are immune from every poison and every disease because they have found the proper proportion and balance of all that is called good and evil makes up the Perfect Man who is like unto his Father in Heaven, in Whom all things have their being.
Man must eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil before he comes to the Tree of Life in the Midst of the Garden. Only when he eats too much of one thing and not enough of another, does his body or soul become distorted. Every “Christ” and every Genius has been the friend of publicans and sinners, as well as of the “selected and exclusive.” Idealism and Materialism must unite and go hand in hand if a new Civilization is to be build up. The Soul of Humanity is the connecting link. There is nothing to be ashamed of in our material bodies, but they would not be of much use without the Spirit and Will which give them Life and motion. On the other hand we should not be so cowardly and selfish as to desire to be re-absorbed into Spirit, as if the whole Creative Plan were a waste of time, and had better never have been started. No! Let us give thanks in our souls for both body and spirit, using both rightly and to the full extent of our power. But how shall we learn the right proportions of each?
We must eat of the Fruit of the Tree of Life, and it will be found to nourish us perfectly and cause all the elements of our system to come to their proper proportion and fullness of stature. We must enter upon the heritage of Freedom that has been prepared for us in the Father’s Kingdom upon Earth.
We have sacrificed the flower of Humanity, not alone in the Great War but in many, many ways, to our false gods. In the Name of the True and Living God, let us cease from bloody sacrifice, and start to build a “Living Temple, not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens”—upon Earth.
On April the fourteenth, nineteen hundred and twenty-three E.V., having just completed the ms. of my treatise on “The Egyptian Revival” or The Ever-Coming Son, in which my endeavor was to show that the “Restored Order” of the Paths of the Qabalistic Tree of Life was likely to be the correct one, since it indicated the Universal Tradition as symbolized by the Keys of Hermes, I was rewarded by the opening up of an amazing further possibility in regard to the Design of “The Tree of Life” itself.
It was between 8:30 and 9:30 P.M. on the above date, that the “Tree” began to GROW, and proved itself, to my mind, to be the veritable anatomy of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Ever-coming, between the two Infinites. This fresh revelation left me strangely silent; it seemed almost too wonderful to be true, but it has since—for I am writing this on April 17th—shown even greater possibilities, the most extraordinary of which was only revealed to me this afternoon, after discussing the matter with W.R.
I do not intend to write of the discovery itself for the moment, but merely to prepare a brief essay on the Qabalah by means of further Light I have so recently received. This will serve as an introduction to the more complete explanation of the whole matter which, in order to be comprehensible to my readers, will require a number of diagrams showing the different stages of its development. To begin at the beginning. As stated in “Q.B.L.,” the Qabalists postulated the AIN or NO-THING as the Zero from which, in a mysterious manner, the Universe arose. Next, they say, the AIN SUPH, or Limitless Space, became the Nature of the AIN, and this conception was followed by that of the AIN SUPH AUR or Limitless Light of Chaos. It was not until this Limitless Light had concentrated Itself to a Center that the First Positive Idea arose, and this was called Kether and attributed to the Number One.
From this One there arose in succession the other Numerical Emanations or Sephiroth from Two to Ten, thus completing the decimal scale of Numbers. The Number 10 is said to represent the return of the One to Zero, thus completing the Cycle of Manifestation. These ideas may be found more fully described in “Q.B.L.” and elsewhere, but I now desire to attempt a slightly different presentation, which will be developed in greater detail later on in this book.
The finite mind of man is unable to grasp the Infinite, except in a certain Mystical and Spiritual manner, but by the Light of the Spirit let us do our best to comprehend this great mystery of the Beginning.
Let us accept the term AIN as representing That of which Nothing is known, nor can be known, except through the positive manifestations which arise form It. When we attempt to imagine the AIN SUPH—Limitless Space—our minds tend to rush on and on, only to fall back before the Profundity of the Great Deep; yet we have to admit the possibility of Infinite extension in space. In my opinion this is due to the fact that we are only able to extend the _fine_material_substance_ of the mind to a certain limit, after reaching which there is NOTHING for Us unless we succeed in developing fresh Power to drive that limit further back and so to extend the actual substance of our being accordingly.
If Life is the Substance of Light, the Life itself is to be considered as the most subtle substance in our make-up, while it would follow that the more this substance is extended, the greater will be our Illumination, the further our range of vision, and the wider our Sphere of Consciousness.
With these thoughts in mind let us attempt to obtain a more complete Understanding of the Primal Process, which is still “going on” Here and Now.
When the AIN SUPH AUR became _concentrated_ upon a Single Center, it _compressed_ the Light into the Substance of Light, which is Life. Or, in other words, the Concentrated Light became an inconceivably powerful Force or Energy in the center of Kether. This Pure Being, or Living Substance, owing to its reaction from the Invisible Center, tends to expand towards Infinity. This gives us the idea of the Substance of the Universe _ever_expanding_, ever occupying more and more of the Limitless Space of the AIN SUPH, while the Primal Centralizing Urge still continues to contract upon the Infinitely Small, or the AIN.
Kether is then the _junction_ of these Two Infinites, but particularly represents the _concentration_ of the Light to a Point on its way to the Infinitely Small, while Malkuth, the Tenth Sephira and Sphere of the Elements—which the Qabalists say is one with Kether—is the Substance which is _ever_expanding_ and, so to speak, gradually FILLING UP THE NOTHINGNESS of the AIN SUPH. So we may consider Kether as the Light and Malkuth as the Substance, while the complete Sphere is composed of LIVING SUBSTANCE. This represents the Macrocosmic Universe, but it is every BECOMING GREATER AND GREATER in extent, and driving back, so to speak, the Nothingness of Chaos. Man, being made in the Image and Likeness of God and of the Universe, has the same infinite possibilities of growth in Consciousness, as the Force of the Spirit extends the substance of his mind to wider and wider fields of thought.
Yet the whole existing Universe is the result of the One Thought of God, and it progresses according to the Order of Pure Reason, as indicated in the Qabalah. All the Sephiroth and Paths have their place according to this Order, _within_ the Sphere of the One Substance, and represent the manifold possibilities of the action of the Life Force upon that Substance and the different manifestations of that Substance under the Influence of the Life Force.
In other words, WITHOUT [i.e. outside] the manifested universe is the Infinite Body of Nuit; at the CENTER of All is the Infinitely Small and unextended Essence of Life, or Hadit. The Contraction of Nuit upon Hadit and the Expansion of Hadit into Nuit are constant forces. The Finite Universe, or Ra-Hoor-Khuit, the Ever-Coming Son, is bounded by an EVER WIDENING CIRCUMFERENCE which is always exactly BETWEEN the Infinitely Great and the Infinitely Small. Kether and Malkuth—Spirit and Matter—together represent this Universal Sphere, while Tiphereth, the Central Sphere of the Tree of Life, must always correspond to Ra-Hoor-Khuit within them; a Sphere HALF-WAY between the Center and the Circumference.
In Nature we may consider the finite representatives of these two Infinites to be the smallest known particle of matter as the Center, the widest expanse of the Star Universe as the circumference, and the Central Sun as their child.
In Man we find all these possibilities, both infinite and finite. The true Center of his being is Hadit whose representative is the tiny Spark of Pure Spiritual Light; the substance of his Mental Body is only limited by the Bounds of the Universe, and these ever recede towards Infinity. His physical body is, however, quite small, while his heart, which regulates the life of that body, is in a mystical sense capable of comprehending the “Light in Extension” of the Sun of his being, which is the soul.
Thus Man is composed of body, soul, and spirit, and the soul is the mediator between the spiritual and material.
The Universe is composed of Malkuth and Kether, with Tiphereth as the Mediator between them, while, in a still greater sense we may consider Nuit and Hadit, the Two Infinites, with the Whole Living manifested Universe of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, as their Ever-Coming Son, the Crowned Child and Lord of the Aeon.