Qabalistic Symbolism

A symbol is of value in that it suggests something which cannot be adequately expressed in language (although language is itself a form of symbolism). More important, however, is that while on our plane of existence symbols are abstractions, they are realities on other planes. In the astral realms a symbol can be a powerful device for attracting or for repelling spiritual entities. It can be a call or a protection, in that it affirms the power of a deity governing a particular form and level of energy. When used in this way, a symbol could be defined in the same terms as a talisman on our own plane: it is essentially "charged with the force which it is intended to represent."

There is a vast complex of symbols attached to the Sephiroth and Paths. For example, Kether may be described mathematically as The Point, in that it is the First Emanation. As Chokmah emerges from Kether a Line is formed, and with the development of Binah there is a Triangle. And so, one may progress down the Tree applying geometric figures according^ to the number of the Sephiroth. Chesed is a Square, Geburah a Pentagram, Tiphareth a Hexagram, etc. These are the most basic and in some respects the most profound of the symbols attached to the Tree. The most complicated symbols are the Hebrew letters and the Divine Names written in those letters.

Some may have an intuitive grasp of the extent to which the Hebrew Alphabet is more than just letters. Many years ago the artist Ben Shahn published a book called Love and Joy About Letters, in which he described his own feeling toward that alphabet as a child: "I loved to draw and contemplate the big flowing letters; I was most at home with them and could make them long before I could do anything else with my hands. It was such a pleasure to copy them from the prayer-book because in each letter there was some subtle part of the others, and as one learned to make the new ones he discovered those familiar parts that he already knew."62

A Hebrew letter, taken by itself, or in conjunction with others as it forms a God Name, is as much a symbol as a geometric figure (letters and words are often visualized in practical work). To each Hebrew letter is assigned a number, and words have special meaning according to numbers derived by what is known as Qabalistic Addition (to be discussed later). Suffice it to say here that insofar as Hebrew letters are assigned to each of the Trump Cards, those cards may even be used to pictorially spell Divine Names, and give insight into the nature of the deity. This exercise serves to demonstrate the extent to which the Qabalistic system is composed of precisely interrelated parts.

One important point which must be made has to do with the constant use of color in the Hermetic Qabalah. Most people consider color symbolic, but it is not. Colors are the actual forces, not merely symbols of those forces. The same may be said for pure tone.

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  • Lee
    What is the qabalistic symbol?
    8 years ago

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