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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyros View Post
I've never made a study of them, although I feel I should.
In a certain sense detailed study of the Qliphoth isn't really necessary. Direct experience of the Qliphoth is gained as a natural consequence of working with any of the balanced Sephiroth or Paths. It functions in a similar fashion to a Magical Oath. Once you start working intensely in a particular direction, anything in your psycho-spiritual make up that is resistant to, or unbalanced and out of alignment (i.e. Qliphotic) with that purpose, will rise to the surface and make itself known to you. This gives you an opportunity to rebalance and reintegrate these hidden blockages within yourself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liber Legis. III:11
.... Trample down the Heathen; be upon them, o warrior, I will give you of their flesh to eat!
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I would imagine that anything we experience "down here" is of a Qliphothic nature, due to our egos, etc., isn't it? We can't actually utilize the "holy fire" of Geburah to create, all we know of it is its violent nature.
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I'm not sure if The Hanged Man would see it that way. But he wouldn't, would he?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeon418 View Post
In a certain sense detailed study of the Qliphoth isn't really necessary. Direct experience of the Qliphoth is gained as a natural consequence of working with any of the balanced Sephiroth or Paths. It functions in a similar fashion to a Magical Oath. Once you start working intensely in a particular direction, anything in your psycho-spiritual make up that is resistant to, or unbalanced and out of alignment (i.e. Qliphotic) with that purpose, will rise to the surface and make itself known to you. This gives you an opportunity to rebalance and reintegrate these hidden blockages within yourself.

This. As said before, Qliphoth is not a separate tree, and it is incorrect to call it an "opposite" of the Tree of Life as well. It is merely the shadow side of the same tree, and as Aeon418 put, you will anyway experience the Qliphoth, whether you want it or not.

JackOfWands, Tree of Life doesn't have anything "evil", Geburah is not evil either. Geburah is the sphere where we are furthest from Malkuth and furthest from Kether - so depending where we start from, we no longer see the light of the Crown nor the light of the Kingdom; when we try to reach Kether, we no longer see Malkuth and not yet Kether. It is about struggle - sure, but it is most definitely not "evil". It is a dangerous path to contemplate Geburah as an "evil" sephirah, and will most definitely distort the Tarot readings where fives pop up (as I have seen happening many times) - at least til you want to adhere to Kabbalah.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delinfrey View Post
JackOfWands, Tree of Life doesn't have anything "evil", Geburah is not evil either. Geburah is the sphere where we are furthest from Malkuth and furthest from Kether - so depending where we start from, we no longer see the light of the Crown nor the light of the Kingdom; when we try to reach Kether, we no longer see Malkuth and not yet Kether. It is about struggle - sure, but it is most definitely not "evil". It is a dangerous path to contemplate Geburah as an "evil" sephirah, and will most definitely distort the Tarot readings where fives pop up (as I have seen happening many times) - at least til you want to adhere to Kabbalah.
I understand your argument, and I think that for Tarot reading purposes, it may hold, but if you want to consider the Tree of Life as a representation of the universe (or even merely of the human psyche), then that view is fundamentally flawed. To say that the "Tree of Life does not have anything 'evil'" means that the Tree does not reflect an inescapable aspect of the human experience.

No, of course Geburah is not evil. Geburah is about strictness and, in some cases, severity. But one potential view of the source of evil in the universe--within the framework of the Tree of Life--is an imbalance of the energy of Geburah, a situation where there is too much of the Pillar of Severity and not enough of the Pillar of Mercy. (The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, but if the Lord doth more taking than giving, this may result in the experience of evil in the world, at least in the malum poenae sense. Malum culpae is not really accounted for by this view, although I suppose you could make it so by considering the same imbalance in the soul of man.)

The alternative is to look at the Qliphoth as an "evil" reflection of the Tree of Life's "good" creation. Note that I am not suggesting this for Tarot reading purposes--when faced with questions such as "Does he want to go out with me a second time?", a Tarot reader would be rather ill suited in pulling out questions of good and evil--but as a separate, parallel contemplation. Bringing the philosophical problem of evil to bear on the Tree of Life is very much a theological and ontological exercise. It need not have anything to do with the Qliphoth, and it need not come through Geburah. But if evil is a part of the universe, and if the Tree of Life is a map of the universe, then there needs to be some kind of correspondence between the former and the latter.
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Well, "evil" here is just a very subjective concept. Tree of Life as the Universe (or merely our psyche) emanates it all, and does so in the case of polarities, that I agree with. What I do not agree with is labelling something "good" and "evil", especially an entire sephirah.

Geburah is struggle and strength. Geburah is fire - and fire destroys, but creates. Struggle is good and crises are often the purgatory. For you, fire might be "evil", but here above the Arctic Circle where it hits 40 degrees below zero in winter, fire is survival.

So when i say there is nothing "evil" in the Tree of Life, I mean that there is nothing which can so simply be labelled into either "good" or "evil", since good and evil themselves are a subjective concept. Moreover, the sephiroth are much more complex and cannot be axed so simply, nothing is just "inherently" evil, but always contains its own shadow/light side.
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This thread has made we want to study them deeply (certainly more fun than studying the Tower which I've been struggling with!).

But in any case I agree that the Tree can be taken as-is to explain the nature of evil in an objective way as an imbalance. Too much of one Sephira, even the "nicer" ones can be evil. When Chamberlain sought to appease Hitler, that was perhaps too much Chesed which can lead to someone being taken advantage of or stagnation setting in because of a lack of motion. The RWS Four of Cups shows such a surfeit well.

Of course it is a good deal more complicated, since no issue consists of only one Sephira in one world, the Tree exists simultaneously in all things and in all worlds. In this, I think, Tarot really shines, because with it we can dissect an issue and the worlds it is affected by.
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With my (limited) experience of working with the tree, it does make sense as Aeon says that your own Qliphotic imbalances will come and bite you on the arse, whether you like it or not, regardless.

I am not sure though that these imbalances or distortions etc... tell the whole story. They seem to me to be more in the middle of the spectrum, where most of us struggle, while at the extreme end, malevolence, sadism or unimaginable cruelty can lie. It seems euphemistic to describe these traits in the same way. (I am thinking of the Chamberlain/Hitler example that Zephyros gave, it seems useful for Chamberlain not so for Hitler)

On the nature of evil if that is within us it makes sense to me that it would be reflected in the tree and relevant to explore (up to a point) as suggested by JackofWands. The shadow maestro himself,Jung, talked about going down in to the depths of the unconscious and not being able to withstand the face of pure evil, or something like that...even though I think he considered shadow qualities to be unwanted projected aspects, morally neutral(possibly?)


Corrected quote - Jung in Aion

[QUOTE=Jung]with a little self-criticism one can see through the shadow- so far as its nature is personal. But when it appears as an archetype....it is quite within the bounds of possibility for a man to recognise the relative evil of his nature,but it is a rare and shattering experience for him to gaze into the face of absolute evil.[\QUOTE]

I am not entirely sure where I am going with this, maybe there is a difference between working with Qliphotic energies and Qliphotic entities, similar to Archetypal expressions/Archetypes. I am not sure I would want to stumble in to the latter.
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Two books where I found more material about qlippoth: Marcus Katz' Kabbalah for Magicians has an interesting short chapter about them, and of course Gershom Scholem's Die jüdische Mystik in ihren Hauptströmungen, in the chapter about Luria and the shvirat-ha-kelim.
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So, I am back from my vacation. Thank you all for your input.

As far as I have understood the Qliphoth are already contained in the Sephiroth as their "evil twins" or their shadow side in a Jungian sense. I found the example of jackofwands with Gamaliel/Yesod particularly helpful. Many thanks.

delinfrey, you suggested that I read Liber Carcerorum. I have described it in my second post as "a description of some boring sigils". Any suggestions how I can work with them? Is there more instruction by Crowley or A.A. on how to use them?
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