As shown in Part one of this essay Dan Brown’s
Da Vinci Code relies heavily on the Gnostic doctrine of a Divine
Feminine Principle, Sophia, that informs man of his own divine nature,
who is the true,( but denied by the Catholic Church), object of worship for
humanity. At the end of Mr. Brown’s fantasy, he points to the "foot worn
path" in Rosalyn Chapel, (Scotland) tracing out the intersection of two
opposing triangles ∆, representing "the
blade" (m), and ∇
(f) as "the key" to universal understanding. This
known as the Magen David, is not, as commonly supposed, a religious
symbol of Biblical Judaism, but is a universal "magical" sign that
entered into both Jewish and Arabic common usage in the Christian middle ages.
According to Jewish historian, Gersholm Scholem, it first became popular among
the Kabalists of
mark, Seder Teffilot,
The subject is complex and open to many interpretations (from the original Jewish mystics to Jacob Boehme and Hegel on to "Madonna") but there are unifying threads..
Following are some definitions, quotations, and diagrams that, hopefully, will help unravel the mystery.
Kabbalah (Jewish) Cabala,(Christian) Qabbala (Moslem) spelling, is described in Webster's dictionary as, "...a system of occult theosophy or mystical interpretation of the Scriptures among Jewish Rabbis and certain medieval Christian thinkers."
A deeper and more complex explanation is given by Paul Harrison of the World Pantheist Movement: "The Kabbalah centers on a complex scheme of numerical symbolism and esoteric theology, influenced by neo-Platonism, Hermetic literature and perhaps Sufism. It is elaborate and bizarre, and sometimes seems as complex as Greek mythology. Kabbalists often insist that the schemes are not meant literally: they are symbols of a spiritual reality that is beyond human comprehension. Yet the detailed discussion of the sefirot and the diagrams of their links often get so complex and artificial that the word "Cabala" came to be a synonym for obscurity and secrecy." (see illustrations following text)
"Underlying everything is Ein Sof, [Ayn sof, En Sof] the infinite, indefinable origin of all things, the cause of causes. Ein Sof is often seen not as an old man with a white beard, not as a personal God at all, but as an impersonal, unnamable Being without qualities, thoughts or feelings, very similar to Lao Tzu's Tao or Meister Eckhart's "simple ground" beyond God. Everything is one, nothing exists but the one divine being. This position is also very similar to that of the Sufi philosopher Ibn Al'arabi.
The idea is sometimes so strongly expressed that it seems pantheistic, yet there is still the insistence that though everything that exists is God and is in God, God extends infinitely beyond that. In this sense the kabbalah is panentheistic [ the doctrine that God includes the world as a part though not the whole of his being] rather than truly pantheistic. " 1.
emphasize the pantheistic, or panentheistic, nature of Kabbalah,
from Daniel Matt, The Essential Kabbalah, Castle Books,
Non-duality: nothing exists but Ein Sof, the endless.
The essence of divinity is found in every single thing - nothing but it exists. Since it causes every thing to be, no thing can live by anything else. It enlivens them; its existence exists in each existent. Do not attribute duality to God. Let God be solely God. If you suppose that Ein Sof emanates until a certain point, and that from that point on is outside of it, you have dualized. God forbid! Realize, rather, that Ein Sof exists in each existent. Do not say "This is a stone and not God." God forbid! Rather, all existence is God, and the stone is a thing pervaded by divinity. Moses Cordovero, Shi'ur Qomah.
Before anything emanated, there
was only Ein Sof. Ein Sof was all that existed. Similarly after it brought into
being all that exists, there is nothing but it. You cannot find anything that
exists apart from it . . . God is everything that exists, though everything that exists is
not God. It is present in everything, and everything comes into being from it.
Nothing is devoid of its divinity. Everything is within it; it is within everything and outside of
everything. There is nothing but it.
Moses Cordovero, Elimah Rabbati.
Everything is linked
Everything is catenated in its mystery, caught in its oneness . . . The entire chain is one. Down to the last link, everything is linked with everything else, so divine essence is below as well as above, in heaven and earth. There is nothing else.
Moses de Leon, Sefer ha-Rimmon.
Ein Sof is beyond understanding or expression
Ein Sof cannot be conceived, certainly not expressed, though it is intimated in every thing, for there is nothing outside of it. No letter, no name, no writing, no thing can confine . . . Ein Sof has no will, no intention, no desire, no thought, no speech, no action - yet there is nothing outside of it.
The mystery of absolute nothingness
Concerning Ein Sof there is no
aspect anywhere to search or probe; nothing can be known of it, for it is hidden
and concealed in the mystery of
The most exhaustive study, of Kabbalah is that of Gershom Scholem, the world’s leading authority on the subject, confirms the pan(en)theistic nature as presented above.. According to Scholem, Kabbalah is a form of Gnosis that underlies certain "Jewish mystical theology." The Fundamental tenets of Kabbalah, according to Scholem, are as follows: "Over and above disagreements on specific details that tend to reflect different stages in the Kaballah's historical development, there exists a basic consensus among kabalists on man's essential nature...At opposite poles, both man and God encompass within their being the entire cosmos. However, whereas God contains all by virtue of being its Creator and Initiator in whom everything is rooted and all potency is hidden, man's role is to complete this process by being the agent through whom all the powers of creation are fully activated and made manifest. What exists seminally in God unfolds and develops in man… Because he alone has been granted the gift of free will, it lies in his power to either advance or disrupt through his actions the unity of what takes place in the upper and lower worlds... his principal mission is to bring about Tikkun Olam or restoration of this world and to connect the lower with the upper." 1. The concept of tikkun, or restoration, involves the problem of evil, and again according to Scholem, "the root of evil resides within the Ein-Sof (Ground of Being) itself." Evil, therefore, for the kabbalist is simply the sitra ahra or "emation of the left" and at the end of time, through the process of man's work of tikkun even the devil, "Samael will become Sa'el, one of the 72 holy Names of God". ... "In Greek this is called apokatasis (sic)"..."To use the neoplatonic [Plotinus] formula, the creation involves the departure of all from the one and its return to the one." 2. [ The Hebrew Ein-Sof (the "One" - without limit) may be seen as equivalent to the Apollon ("The One" - not many) of Plotinus]
A Brief History
Although many adepts claim that the Kabbalah,
or secret oral tradition, goes back to Moses or even Adam, Scholem places its
practical beginnings in the
Once again, according to Scholem, the development
of Kabbalah was coeval with Hellenistic syncretic religion and
Gnosticism. Both Hellenistic Gnosis and Rabbinical Gnosis were based on the
theory that there are spiritual emanations of God (Aeons and Archons
for the Greek, Sephirot for the Hebrew) which fill the primordial
cosmos. These, if properly understood and harnessed lead back to the deity.
Historically, the esoteric teachings contained in the Kabbalah passed
from such groups as the Essenes, or
The influence of the Kabbalah on segments of Christian thinking has
flourished since the Renaissance. It was openly quoted in the works of such
influential thinkers as Pico della Mirandola, Johannes Reuchlin, Agrippa of
Nettesheim, Cardinal Egidio da Viterbo, the Franciscan Friar, Francesco Giorgio
The Doctrine – Dialectical Monism
In a much simplified exposition of the basic Kabalistic doctrine, all begins with Ein-Soph ( alt. Ayn- Soph, En-Soph) the infinite, or literally without measure. Like the Gnostic "God beyond god" or Pleroma, it contains within its essence both the active and passive ( male and female, good and evil) principles in their full potential. In the beginning, before there was anything, the eternal source, Ein-Soph contracted itself within and then filled the subsequent void with emanations of its own essence. This contraction and expansion is called the Zimzum. According to the Zohar (Book of Splendor), what was engraved first on the void were the words: "Let there be light." in the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Subsequently, El Gadol (Great God) emerged from the primal ether on the right as the masculine principle and Elohim (Darkness) emerged on the left as the feminine principle. Then appeared the actual "Light" signifying "that the Left was included in the Right and the Right in the Left." 9. From the initial point of light streamed forth, in concentric circles ( see image:Below Right) ten mystical numbers or paths known as Sephiroth. The names of these Sephiroth are as follows: Keter (Crown); Binah (Intelligence); Hokmah (Wisdom) Gevurah (Justice); Gedullah (Greatness); Tiferet (Beauty); Hod (Honor); Nezah (Victory); Yesod (Foundation); and Malkhut (Kingdom). These Sephiroth would come to form Adam Kadmon the celestial archetypal man.:(Below Left)
Adam Kadmon - - Zim Zum
This is not the Adam of the Bible but a cosmic prototype for all of reality akin to the Neo-Platonic Demiurge. The Sephiroth may also be displayed as the descending Azilut –"emanations" - which form the "Tree of Life." (Fig. 2 –6, Illustrations - following the text)
The first three Sephiroth: Keter (Crown); Binah (Intelligence); and Hokhma (Wisdom) received the "Light" and contained it. (See the three faces in the diagram above) Thus the divine essence is preserved in a tripartite interrelationship, or immanent "Trinity" within the mind of Adam Kadmon, the macrocosm and within the mind of individual man, the microcosm. The following seven Sephiroth could not contain the light and shattered, forming shards of coagulated energy (matter) called Kelippot. Again, following the Neo-platonic or Gnostic doctrine, the farther the Sephirah lies from the center, the denser the matter. Malkhuth, therefore, as farthest away from the center, forms the earthly kingdom or the feet of Adam Kadmon. (See again: Fig.1, above )
Through the break up of the Sephiroth, the equilibrium and unity of God has been destroyed. The "light" and the "dark" of the primal Light have been separated and it is the obligation of man to re-establish both his own inner unity or wholeness and the wholeness of God. To accomplish this project called Tikkun, The Jewish people as Knesset Israel have the predominant role. According to the Kabbalah, from the earliest Spanish manuscripts onward, the Jewish race has seen itself as the representative of the Shekhinah, ** (see below) the feminine principle split off from God, reminiscent of the Gnostic Sophia. 10. According to kabalistic (Hasidic) Tradition it is said: "Just because of this split, God needs man, whose task it is to reunite the riven opposites within the divine personality itself. From this point of view the exile of the Jewish people receives deep and special meaning. For this exile of the people corresponds in the `upper world, so to speak, to an exile of the Shekinah (supposed feminine half of God) who went into exile with them. The return of the Jewish people from exile therefore means, in Jewish mysticism, the redemption of the Jewish people; it is above all an earthly image, and likeness of an inner-divine drama of redemption, of the homecoming of the Shekhina to God... So while man needing redemption strives to restore the disturbed world order, he is at the same time working toward the redemption of God and his union with the Shekhinah and thus toward the restoration and realization of the wholeness of God." 11. A tradition also holds that the final Masiach, messiah, who will achieve Tikkun Olam, concordia discors or "world harmony," will be a manifestation of the Shekinah, i.e., female.
Within the overall historical perspective and purpose of the Kabbala i.e. the ultimate complete unity of God and creation, there are two fundamental problems to be resolved. First is the relationship of the individual human being to God and second the problem of evil.
For the Kabalistic initiate, while awaiting the final restoration of history, there are various techniques available for personal spiritual development. One is meditation on the mysteries of the Sephiroth called Kavvanah and another involving numerology is called Gematria. The technique of Kavvanah involves mental concentration on the combinations of the sacred names which pave the way for ecstatic union with the divine source, Metatron, (alternately known as the prince of God's countenance, Prince of this world, Angel of light, or ones own true self). 12. This union is mystically known as Zivvug ha-Kadosh, or coupling face to face, which is said to produce an internal harmony of the restrictive (passive) powers of Din and the out flowing (active) powers of Rahanim. Once again one finds Concordia Discors, or Coincidentia Oppositorum, the fusion of opposites as object of the endeavor. 13.
Seen in this light, the parallel between Kabbalah and the Eastern Religions is quite obvious. It is, of course, the resolution in harmony of the passive Yin and the active Yang according to the Tao which produces the "enlightened" state where "all duality merges into oneness, a noble path that leads to contentment and peace." 14. In reality, according to Gershom Scholem, "the Techniques of `prophetic Kabbalah' that were used to aid the ascent of the soul, such as breathing exercises, the repetition of the Divine Names, and meditation on colors, bear a marked resemblance to those of both Indian Yoga and Muslim Sufism." 15. Gematria on the other hand, involves the belief that the Hebrew alphabet is the first emanation of Ayn-Sof and that the arrangement of these 22 letters, according to their numerical value, make up the seventy-two sacred names of the All Holy as well as the cosmos. Gematria can be used for the concordance of Biblical texts and messianic prophecy as well as in calling up spirits. 16. This latter property may be employed, at least in theory, both for good and for evil. The manipulator of spirits, (good or evil) is called a Ba’al Shem or master of the divine names. 17. According to legend, in the 16th century, Rabbi Loewe used Gematria to create a fearsome creature called the Golem to protect the Prague Ghetto.
The problem of evil for the Kabalistic is complex, as, if all comes from and is contained in the Ayn Sof what man calls evil must be intrinsic to the divine nature. What is it, then, in the divine nature that may be called "evil"? Once again, according to Scholem: "The determining factor is the estrangement of created things from their source of emanation, a separation which leads to manifestations of what appears to us to be the power of evil. But the other [evil] has no metaphysical reality ... outside the structure of the Sephiroth ... the Sepher Gevurah as `the left hand of the Holy One blessed be He,' and as `a quality whose name is evil' … has many offshoots in the forces of judgment, the constricting and limiting powers of the universe"
Cutting through the flowery rhetoric, it would appear that Evil, for the Kabalist, is any force that restricts or limits (divine) human freedom and creativity. It [evil] reverts to that part of God which is designated, " Pure judgement, untempered by any mitigating admixture, [which has] produced from within itself the sitra ahra (the other side)… The `emanation of the left.' " 18. According to Nathan of Gaza, the grand apologist of 17th century Shabbetean Kabbalah The first light was entirely active [creative] and the second light entirely passive [restrictive] immersed in the depths of itself. "The root of evil is a principle within the Ayn-Soph itself which holds itself aloof from creation and seeks to prevent the forms of light which contain thought from being actualized, not because it is evil by nature but only because its whole desire is that nothing should exist apart from Ayn-Soph." For the Kabalist, of whatever school, neither good nor evil, exist as such. Whatever meaning there is to existence involves Tikkun or the restoration of harmony and balance between the forces of expansive light and restrictive darkness until all is once again absorbed in the Ayn-Soph.
These speculations, it seems, are the inevitable result of dialectic opposition in a monistic system. The argument is as follows: If the universe is an overflowing or projection of God, (See Plotinus Ennead 5) and the universe contains what man calls "evil," then "evil" is contained in the nature of God. If, however, God is all good, then evil is not evil, it is but the dark side or foil of good. There is, in fact, no other possible logical solution to the problem of evil in a universe produced by emanation rather than creation from nothing. As man develops his own inner divine potential (individually and collectively) as an emanation of God there must be a balance of the progressive and the restrictive within the person and society to attain the ideal. This was, of course, the "enlightenment" proposed by Leibnitz in his Théodicée. 19. This form of thinking has impacted Western thought from the 16th century to the present.
In terms of eschatology, the imanentist theology of the Kabbalah must inevitably lead to the doctrine of Apokatastasis the reintegration of all spiritual emanations, active and passive, "good" and "evil," into the divinity at the end of time. If God is all, then God can not leave part of himself out side of himself forever. This is precisely what the Kabbalah predicts with its doctrine of Tikkun Olam. After myriad reincarnations, the souls of all men, * as well as of angels and demons, will form once again the unity of God. As the forces of creative light expand in man and dark judgement is absorbed, so also shall it be with God. It is even said, as stated above, that the Arch Devil Samael will be transformed at time's end to Sa’el one of the 72 holy Names of God.20
*It should be noted that there is some dispute among Kabalistic writers as to whether all sons of Adam or only Jews have within them the "divine spark" or Neshama which would allow re-incorporation to the Ein-Sof. According to the Zohar, only Jewish people come from the "holy side" or sitra di-kedusha from which the divine spark proceeds. Non Jewish people are products of the "other side" or sitra ahra and do not have the "divine" neshama but only the animal soul called nefesh and a spirit of cognitive ability called the ruah. 21.
_ ** The word Shekinah, simply said, does not appear in the Hebrew Bible. The term MiShKaN, from which the word Shekinah is derived, refers to the Sanctuary in the wilderness not the being that dwells therein. As Feminist Hebrew scholar/Rabbi, Lynn Gottlieb in her book, She Who Dwells Within, points out, "The word Shekinah first appears in the Mishna and Talmud (ca 200 CE), where it is used interchangeably with WHVH and Elohim as names of God…. By 1000 CE, the very mythologies so suppressed in the Bible erupted in the heart of Jewish mysticism, known as the Kabul, and Shekinah became YHVH’ wife, lover and daughter." This word only entered into common usage among Jewish thinkers in Medieval Spain where "Kabalistic" (Gnostic) mysticism took root from the writings of Moses de Leon in the Sefer ha-Zohar or Book of Splendor (c. 1280 AD).
As explained by Daniel Matt in his Essential
Kabbalah, "In Kabbalah, Shekhinah becomes full-fledged She: …the
feminine half of God." This doctrine spread through Southern Europe to
An interesting addendum is that of Polish "convert" from Judaism to Catholicism, Jacob Frank. Frank first claimed himself to be the Messiah in Poland in 1756 as part of a Kabalistic Trinity made up of Attika Kadisha (The Holy Ancient One), Melika Kadisha ( The Holy King –Messiah), and the Shekhinah (feminine earthly half of the divinity). As he was persecuted by the Orthodox Jewish community for his bizarre faith and orgiastic initiations, he and many of his followers came into the Catholic Church precisely to introduce a feminine, or earthly, element, the Shekhinah, into the Christian Trinity under the guise of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Secretly present in his own daughter Eva, but to be made manifest in the last days as a ultimate feminine Messiah) 23
Gnosticism and Kabbalah in the Modern World
In the No. 2 - 2003 issue of 30 Days magazine there is an article by Italian theologian, Massimo Borghesi, which, while singling out Kabalist Shabetai Zevi at the beginning, had the following to say regarding Gnostic dualism in general that is significant to this study:
" The Serpent, the tempter, appears in the
guise of the liberator, the one who raises man beyond good and evil, beyond the
God of old, foe of freedom. The last two hundred years have rediscovered the
‘the liberator principle of the world [affirmed] by the Ophite sect’, a
principle foreshadowed in the notions of Shabbatai Zevi with his Messiah
consigned to the ‘serpents’"… "Hegel, with his dialectic of
the negative, was to give rich theoretical guise to this idea. Man must sin,
must come out of natural innocence to Become God. He must realize the promise
of the serpent: must know like God, good and evil. This knowledge ‘is the
origin of sickness, but also the fountainhead of health, it is the poisoned
chalice from which man drinks death and putrefaction, and at the same time the
wellspring of reconciliation, since to posit oneself as wicked is in itself the
overcoming of evil’." …[Jakob] Bőhme, according to Hegel,
‘struggled to understand in God and from God the negative, evil, the Devil ‘.
God is the unity of contraries, of anger and love, of evil and good, of the
Devil and his contrary, the Son. On this view Christ and Satan become in some
way brothers, sons of the one Father, parts of him, moments in his polar
nature." … This is an idea set down by Carl Gustav Jung in his
esoteric Septem Sermones ad Mortuos written in 1916, circulated as a
monograph among his friends and never published. The text, which borrows
conceptually from the Gnostic Basilides, affirms the ‘pleroma’ nature of
God, composed from pairs of opposites of which, God and devil are the prime
manifestations." … "Everywhere at work – Romano Gurdini wrote in 1964
– there is the fundamental Gnostic idea that contraries are polarities: Goethe,
Gide, and C.G. Jung, Th [omas].
That Kabalistic thought continues alive and flourishing in the modern world, one may add the favorable words of Jorge Luis Borges regarding "The Kabbalah" presented in his 1984 (English translation) Seven Nights: "Borges takes us on an intellectual stroll through "The Kabbbalah." In it he considers the necessity of evil, and its justification, theodicy. … He cites the Two Libraries of Leibnitz: one containing 1,000 copies of only the one perfect book, the Aeneid; the other boasting only one copy of this perfect book. The999 imperfect books of the second make it superior. Evil is in the variety, but variety is necessary for the world." (Emphasis added) … "The lesson of the Kabbalah, Borges tells us in his succinct if disparate, essay, is in the doctrine the Greeks called apokatastaisis: that all creatures, including Cain and the Devil, will return, at the end of great transmigration’s, to be mingled again with the Divinity from which they once emerged." 24
Marashal McLuhen, in a review of a book, Melville’s Quarrel with God, by Lawrence Thompson, (Princeton University Press, 1952) , offers the following thoughts.
"The theme of this book is interpreted by McLuhan as follows:
"My suggestion is that Billy Budd should be viewed as Melville's most subtle triumph in triple-talk; that it was designed to conceal and reveal much the same notions as are expressed years earlier in Moby Dick and Pierre and The Confidence-Man: that Melville came to the end of his life still harping on the notion that the world was put together wrong and that God was to blame and that only the self- profiting authoritarians pretend otherwise, in order to victimize the stupid . . . . his chronic anti- Christian pessimism did not abate during the forty- five years which elapsed between Confidence-Man and Billy Budd.’
"Phrased that way, Melville's case sounds typical enough. Spelt out by Professor Thompson, however, this very typical attitude of our time is shown to have profound historic dimensions. Melville's diabolism, like that of Byron, Blake, Milton, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer, was directly linked to the old Gnostic tradition of the Ophites and Parsees. God and the devil are one. But only the enlightened, the illuminate, know this. For the populace another version of the facts is expedient. Writing in Blackfriars of Karl Marx (July-August, 1952) Father Victor White provides a handy description of the myths of Marxist religion and counter-religion which corresponds exactly with the politics of the Marquis de Sade and with the views of Herman Melville -- namely that conventional religion and secular humanism are a swindle to put a benign countenance on the devil-god of reality. Through revolution and tribulation men can perhaps mend the hideous defects of the dualistic divine being. Mankind can be the saviour of a helplessly malignant deity. From this point of view, the greater the criminal, the greater his efficacy as saviour. The error of our age has been to regard its diabolical figures and politics as the fruit of impersonal causes and to disregard the historic continuity of devil-worship, with its perennial appeal to the ambitious intellects of every age. Our situation enters its present phase with the eighteenth century 'attack' on belief in the personality of the devil. As Father White points out, Marxism does not repudiate religion, but channels it against Christianity: ‘Marxism, in short, only denies God in the sense of setting on record that He is, in our society, in practice denied and ineffectual, and in the sense of echoing the Satanic assurance, 'You shall be as God'. Its power against contemporary Christianity lies in the fact that it has stolen Christ's thunder . . . . But just because it is the ape of God and His Christ, the Christian must see in Marxism a supreme embodiment of the Antichrist . . . ’ "
In the political realm, the working out of Tikkun Olam is the "Dialectic." Both Hegel and Marx were influenced by Kabalistic thought and the concepts of "Thesis" –"Antithesis"-"Synthesis" closely follows the "Tree of Life" in binary confrontation of the forces of Din (authoritarian judgmental oppression) vs. Hessed or Rahanim (merciful progressive liberation) working toward synthesis and perfection of the Earthly Kingdom, Malkuth through Tikkun, O lam, the resolution of opposites
Various illustrations depicting the, so called, tree of Life
Fig.2- Descent of the "Divine Fire" down through the "Tree of Life" to reach and divinize – Malkuth - the Earth
Fig. 3 - 13th Century Jewish depiction of the "Tree of Life"
Fig.4- "Tree of Life" from the 12th C. Liber Figurarum of "Catholic" mystic, Joachim da Fiore
Fig. 5 - 16th C. Heretical – "Johanite"- engraving of Christ as Adam Kadmon "Cosmic Christ" corresponding to the Sephirotic "Tree of Life." Note the split black and white (good & evil) "Ayn Soph" at the top and the seven branched Menorah dominating the lower world of Malkuth
Kabbalah and Freemasonry
by Élephias Lévi, 33° Freemason Histoire de la Magie 1861
As seen in the illustration above by illustrious Freemason and "Magus," Élephias Lévi, the Kabalistic Magen David depicting the "Complete God" (Light & Dark, Good & Evil) surrounded by the Ouroboros, or serpent that encircles the world, is the emblem of Freemasonry. (The "Compass & Square is but a truncated form of the emblem.)
In fact, Albert Pike, in Chapter 32, Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret, of the definitive text on Scottish Rite Masonry, Morals and Dogma of Freemasonry ( Charleston: A\M\5680) explains that Kabbalah is the fundamental spiritual doctrine of the Craft.
Harry V. Jaffa, political analyst and devotee of John Locke, in a 1996 speech at Claremont McKenna College in California made the following cryptic yet revealing comment regarding ex “Trotskyite” and now “Neo Conservative” guru, Irving Kristol: “Irving Kristol is the very incarnation, if not the apotheosis of the sensible man, always saying sensible things about the political issues of the day. He reminds us of Disraeli’s character [Colinsby] who said “Sensible men are all of the same religion,” and when asked what that was, answered, “Sensible men never tell.”
"Sensible men" may not talk of their "religion," but they do communicate it via symbols and pictures. The illustration shown below, from "Sensible man," Irving Kristol’s 1992 article in the Washington Times, is most revealing to this effect. Without going into an in depth analysis, please note the following telltale signs or elements of the drawing. First is the key at the bottom with the Masonic “G” at the center of its handle. This “key” unlocks the message. The sacred “Book of Life” is open above to the left (stage right). It is not the Bible – there is no cross on the cover - but a symbolic (Kabalistic) “Tree of Life.” At the upper right (stage left) is a cup (chalice) ringed with hearts – above and below- signifying the triumph of emotional “love” over the rational discernment of “Good and Evil.” The central oval, in fact, displays the “mystery” of the dual “God.” On the left, (stage right) a tower ascends to heaven (Outside the enclosed cosmos) and on the right (stage left) a descending rock formation visually mimics its opposite image. The “miner” at the bottom examines (discovers the secrets?) of the descending “reverse image” while a man with artificial wings hovers in anticipation to ascend to the divine realm.
Although Kabalistic thinking has been a fringe element of serious religious study in the past, it has made strong inroads into contemporary Jewish and even Catholic thought. In an interview recorded in the May, 1996 edition of Jewish Book News, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, the present "Nasi," or Prince of the newly formed Sanhedrin, is quoted as stating that, Kabbalah is [now] the official theology of the Jewish people." As cited by Marshal McLuhan above, the Calvinism of American author, Herman Melville, is tainted with Gnostic dualism and the writings of Catholic theologian Hans Urs Von Balthasar contain a positive view of both Gnosis and the Kabbalah (See: afterward to the anonymous Meditations on the Tarot). 25.
The Kabbalist doctrine, in and of itself, is antithetical to both normative Jewish and Christian Revelation. Orthodox Catholic Christian doctrine reveals a single substantial yet triune personal God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) who is in essence "All good" Bonum in se and totally other than and above all created reality.(Deus est re et esentia a mundo distinctus et super omnia qui praeter sunt inefibaliter excelcis, [ Dogmatic statement filius Dominis, Vat I] ) Evil for the Christian is either a "lack of the Good" privatio bonum, or defecit boni, proposed respectively by St. Augustine & St. Thomas Aquinas ( Evil as a metaphysical reality), or a "turning away from the Good" ektrope tou kalou as proposed by St. John Chrysostom ( Evil as a moral choice)
In regard to Kabalistic Freemasonry, some Christian denominations have allowed their members to participate in Lodge activity, however, the Catholic Church in the past has been forthright in its condemnation :
Pope Leo XIII: "The race of man, after its miserable fall from God, the
Creator and giver of heavenly gifts, "through the envy of the devil,"
separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly
contends for truth and virtue, the other for things which are contrary to
virtue and truth. The one is the
According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley, in her authoritative Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, Kaballah is very much admired by the practitioners of the occult. She lists among its adepts, the Magicians, Francis Barrett, Elephias Levi and Papus. as well as admitted Satanists Aleister Crowley and A. E. Waite.
According to Ms. Guiley, the original secrets of the Kabbalah were delivered to Adam by some angels after the Fall as a way back to God. These secrets were then passed on to Noah and Moses and suggests that David and Solomon were adepts of the Kabbalah. 25
In the twisted minds of the Kabalists. it is the very angels cast out by God, Lucifer and company, who, rather than Christ, will purportedly show man the way to eternal life and the "Beatific Vision." Not smart.
Fig. 6 - Drawing from the notebook of Rosicrucian, George Pollexon, c.1894 showing the Kabalistic "Tree of Life." Note the androgynous Adam Kadmon (Christ Figure) on the Cross-, drawing from both pillars – Jachin & Boaz representing the male and female forces of both God, Ayn- Soph and the Cosmos. The "God of Light" above and the "Dragon" Satan below are united on earth Malkuth represented as the naked woman with flowers springing up around her. Pollexon was a member of the "Kabalistic Order of the Golden Dawn" along with poet W.B. Yeates who signed and was known among his colleagues in the society as "Dedi" or "Demon est Deus Inversus
Fig. 7– The great lie and true Satanic nature of Kabbalah is shown in the "icon" above by Grisha Bruskin. From the upper right hand corner, a red angel falls, ejected from heaven, downward into the cosmos. According to the esoteric legend, recounted above, it was one or more of these angels that imparted the secret knowledge (Kabbalah) to man. Below the angel is shown a man with three triangles superimposed over him. These represent the three configurations or triads that form the sefirot or vessels of the tree of life. Each sefira, according to the Kabbalah, is a level of attainment in knowledge or balance between the pillar of judgment Din and the pillar of mercy Hessed ( See: Fig. 6 above left) that will lead to enlightenment and the harmony of opposites - male/female - good/evil - heaven and hell.. Across at lower right, however, we see a terrified man possessed by the demon (central third eye and reptilian tail). At upper right, in heavenly judgment, a black hand covers over and annihilates man."
1. Paul Harrison, Cabala, www,pantheism.net (accessed March, 2005)
2. Gershom Scholem, Kaballah
(New York: Dorset Press:1974) p.226, Ibid., 126-128, 227
The Second Temple period dates from the return of the Jewish people from the
Babylonian exile in 538 BC until the destruction of the
(Some, by and large, easily available books consulted for this essay and of use to serious students of the subject)
Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah (New York: Dorset Press, 1987)
Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (New York: Schocken Books, 1995)
Zohar (New York: Schocken Books, 1995)
Leonard R. Glotzer, The Fundamentals of Jewish Mysticism The Book of Creation and its Commentaries (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc., 1992)
Daniel C. Matt, The Essential Kabbalah
The Heart of Jewish Mysticism (
Adin Steinsaltz, The Thirteen Petalled Rose A Discourse on the Essence of Jewish Existence and Belief (New York: Basic Books, 1980)
The Essential Talmud ( Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc., 1992)
Rachel Elior, The Pardoxical Ascent to God The Kabbalistic Theosophy of Habad Hasdism (Albany, NY: State of New York University Press, 1993)
Edward Hoffman, The Way of Splendor Jewish Mysticism and Modern Psychology (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc., 1992)
Mordachai Rotenberg, Dialog with Deviance The Hasidic Ethic and Theory of Social Contraction (New York: University Press of America, 1993)
Pinchas Giller, The Enlightened Will Shine Symbolization and Theurgy in the Later Strata of the Zohar (Albany, NY: The State University of New York,1993)
Lyn Gottlieb, She Who Dwells Within A Feminist Vision of a Renewed Judaism (San Francisco, CA: Harpers San Francisco, 1995)
Matityahu Glazerson, Building Blocks of the Soul Studies on the Letters and Words of the Hebrew Language (Nortrhvale, NJ: Jason Aronson Inc. 1997)
Martin Buber, I and Thou (New York: Charles Scribner, 1958)
Francis A. Yates, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, `1984)
The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age (London: Ark Paperbacks, 1983)
The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (Boulder, CO: Shambala, 1978)
Karen Silvia De León-Jones, Giordano Bruno and the Kabbalah (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996)
Kathleen Raine, Yeats The Tarot and the Golden Dawn (Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1976)
June Singer, Androgyny Toward a new Theory of Sexuality (New York: Anchor Press, 1976)
Carl Gustav Jung, Opera Omnia esp.
A Psychological Treatise on the Doctrine of the Trinity (