Hermeticqabalistic Deceptions

The question of purposeful deception about the origins of many esoteric manuscripts is a serious and difficult one, usually judiciously avoided by writers on the occult who wish to cast their beliefs in the most positive light. But the tally of literature for which antiquity is falsely claimed is so great that the very consistency of such claims becomes intriguing:

The Hermetica, written by a Greek and widely dated (third century to the Renaissance) by scholars, but believed to be the original documents of ancient Egyptian religion.

The Zohar, purported to be the work of a rabbi in the early Christian period, yet actually by a thirteenth century writer whose claim of antiquity for it gave the books greater importance.

The Rosicrucian Manifestoes, an invention of Johann Valentine Andrae and others. Neither a Christian Rosencreutz nor the mysterious Rosicrucians ever existed.

TheAncient Cypher Manuscripts" of the Golden Dawn, a fragmentary system of supposedly ancient rituals, but an unquestionable forgery.53

To this list one might certainly add some of Blavatsky's work including the infamous Mahatma Letters and perhaps the Stanzas ofDyzan on which she based her massive work, The Secret Doctrine.

In all such cases of fakery, deception, or whatever it may be called, we find authors under pressure of the public's essential belief that the more traditional a work, the more valid it is. On the other hand, every one of those works which we have listed here as having fraudulent origins claimed for it, stands on its own as enlightened. These are the inspired works of men and women who have known.

Manifestations of the psychology involved occurs repeatedly in all aspects of the study of the Mysteries, even with Paul Foster Case. When the Book of Tokens appeared in 1934, Case prefaced it saying: "We do not know the name of the author. Internal evidence in the text suggests that he may have been one of the later Qabalists. Perhaps he knew the Tarot, perhaps not."54 Today, Case's organization publishes the Book of Tokens as Case's own work, responding to inquiries about the discrepency in attribution of authorship that Case was a very modest man. But if history is any indicator, it is more likely that Case felt that the work of some anonymous "later Qabalist" would be received more positively than a work of his own.

The point we are trying to make here is that rather than running from the obvious fact that the Hermetic Qabalah is based on many fabricated claims, history should be faced directly. In fact, the very fabrications are a pattern which, ironically, tends to point us toward the inner legitimacy of the works.

Those who remain unconvinced that a work of spurious pedigree might have great spiritual worth should look very closely at the history of Christianity, as well as that peculiar amalgam of heterogeneous texts, the Bible.

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