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Breakbeat_Mystic 
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TY, and yeah, I agree that there will always be inherent architecture based on the intended alphabet. For instance the two decks I have that put Fool on Shin have Hermit on Teth and consistently have a cobra or hydra by his foot. I'm still trying to delve in to see how many of these cards might have multifaceted aspects where it really wouldn't matter but I also have to say I'm not experienced to know for sure whether it would be ruinous to my faculties to be looking at one deck that consistently has Fool on Shin and Justice as Key 8 and Cheth or Force as Key 11 and Kaph, even if I manually switch them myself into GD positions - I tend to doubt it, subconscious probably isn't quite that gullible but, I don't know for sure whether it would slow me down or not. Some decks just seem that nice and pictorially well developed that I wonder whether they're still worth the viewing.

The other thing, I was listening to a Blogtalk radio show from a guy who I think was a Builders of the Adytum graduate and he had a lot to say on gematria and creating the associative 'net' with it - that's something I've seen glimpses of and I know a few specific examples within the tarot but I see that's a whole other level I'll probably end up diving off into. Incredibly important for me to remember also - this stuff takes time, it doesn't set over night.
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Zephyros 
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Yes, it takes time, but the fun is in getting there, not the destination. I myself began studying about two, maybe two and a half years ago. At first I tried to evade Kabbalah entirely, but then resigned myself to the "bitter pill"... and I fell head over heels in love with it. After studying three books in-depth (Wang, Fortune and DuQuette) which basically entailed paraphrasing their entirety, I felt like I was actually getting somewhere and things began to fall into place.

Since then, I've been studying the Thoth, which is in many respects a simple continuation of my Kabbalah studies. I normally spend anything from one to three months on a card and a great chunk of that time is spent pondering how different paths are connected to other, be it through attributions or simply visually, according to the diagram. Since the same tools are used to analyze each path, very quickly you see yourself becoming more adept in their use. You yourself gave a great example of recognizing the serpent, that's basically how it all goes.

As to studying several different systems simultaneously, I can't recommend it. This isn't because I think it's a bad idea, I don't, but because I can't imagine myself doing it. Seems to me one should be grounded in the basic syntax before reading War and Peace. While purists may balk at the GD mish-mash, it does have an advantage that puts it far beyond any other system. That advantage is the huge amounts of resources and writings both by the original GD members, and others, for every conceivable level.

It would help, however, if you told me something about your history, what have you studied, who, how, how long, etc.



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Breakbeat_Mystic 
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I really started this year, not brand new to esoteric, had my jump into it in April of last year but really started off on NDE, new age, several of the Seth books, Kybalion, really a mash of different things. Had a momentary break to read the bible cover to cover earlier in the year and really went on a reading binge after that between MP Hall's Secret Teachings, probably five or six Rudolph Steiner books, read 'Unknown Author' and Robert Powell's Meditation on the Tarot (I know his name but I'll refrain from mentioning it out of courtesy), from Unknown Author's suggestion on Christian Hermeticism which seemed like a more grounded and traditionally rooted system than Anthroposophy I started tracking down PF Case's work and the rest has been history.

I really just started studying the tarot in August but I did get my hands on some pretty decent Kabbalah/Qabalah books - Kaplan's Sephir Yetzirah, of course WW Wescott's translation of it, also Duquette's Chicken Qabalah, DF's Mystical Qabalah, and last but probably most comprehensive and far from least Gareth Knight's Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism.

Right now I'm just getting past postulant stage in two orders - BOTA but the other order I'm in is much more fundamentals/basics related which keeps it from interfering and the homework is light for the later. If it's any give-away as to the identity of the second I've been curious to check out the Martinist order but for reasons you cited, ie. the possibility of trying to familiarize myself with a Athanasius Kirchner tree right along side a Gra, Ari, Lurianic, or whatever they use, I'm going to try abstaining from that for at least another two to four years - at least until I get much more intuitively felt with the present system.

Another funny fact about me - back in January I did get grabbed up by the David Flynn, Steve Quayle, and Tom Horn stuff. The fruit of spiritual warfare research saved me from getting stuck out there. I love all good people including those hooked into creeds but I'd probably make most exoterics heads explode if I'd told them the conclusions I'm coming to - if they asked why I left I'd tell em straight up that I didn't. Qabalah, alchemy, tarot: this *is* Christianity. Seemed likely to me that with 40 years in the Egyptian royal family Moses probably was an initiate. If he had anything to do with writing the Torah I could see where the geometry in gematria would be solid evidence that he indeed did wrap up the Egyptian mysteries and take them with him, especially when Pythagoras' works are considered to be a show-and-tell of the same wisdom teachings.
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Cheiromancer 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breakbeat_Mystic View Post
I love all good people including those hooked into creeds but I'd probably make most exoterics heads explode if I'd told them the conclusions I'm coming to - if they asked why I left I'd tell em straight up that I didn't. Qabalah, alchemy, tarot: this *is* Christianity.
If pressed, you can cite a number of references to hidden (i.e. esoteric) knowledge in the scriptures. For instance

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1 Corinthians 2:6-7
There is a certain wisdom which we express among the spiritually mature... a mysterious, a hidden wisdom...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew 7:6
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Not to mention the prophecies in Daniel and the Book of Revelation. However, I think a middle of the road position among Christians is that esoteric knowledge is not necessary for salvation: it is at best an enriching extra, but also carries risks. Among the risks are spiritual intoxication and ego inflation, with all the disciplinary and doctrinal problems that arise.

Come to think of it, I don't know what mainline Judaism thinks of Kabbalah. Or what the main views are. What would the average Jew in the synagogue say about it? Is it harmless woo-woo, or is it spiritually dangerous, or what? About all I know of it is that it was traditionally restricted to Jewish men of a certain age (40?) with children, with a lot of experience studying Torah. I don't know if Christian Cabalists had any special restrictions.
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Richard 
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Which study decks do you like best?


I don't have a favorite study deck.

I view Tarot mainly as an overlay to the Kircher Tree according to the GD attributions. Accordingly, I find that the GD decks, such as Regardie-Wang and Dowson Hermetic, can be useful, although the images tend to be a bit ugly. The Rider-Waite (or Albano-Waite), with the brilliant illustrations of the GD Decans in pips 2 through 10, is seductive. However, scenic pips, while convenient memory joggers, are too restrictive for divination. I conceivably could make do with the BOTA 78 card deck if it came in a larger size than 2"x4" (preferably 4"x7").

Since I am (admittedly) too picky regarding the esoteric decks, I use mainly Conver Marseille restorations. I especially like the ISIS, since it is so drop dead gorgeous.



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Breakbeat_Mystic 
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Originally Posted by LRichard View Post
I don't have a favorite study deck.

I view Tarot mainly as an overlay to the Kircher Tree according to the GD attributions. Accordingly, I find that the GD decks, such as Regardie-Wang and Dowson Hermetic, can be useful, although the images tend to be a bit ugly. The Rider-Waite (or Albano-Waite), with the brilliant illustrations of the GD Decans in pips 2 through 10, is seductive. However, scenic pips, while convenient memory joggers, are too restrictive for divination. I conceivably could make do with the BOTA 78 card deck if it came in a larger size than 2"x4" (preferably 4"x7").
Yeah, I don't know if I'd try to cover all bases with one deck. Still not sure where I'm at with my collection, about to have six decks now - all of which are various amounts of study and none really for divination. As of right now TBH I still don't know the first thing about giving divination readings aside from that the associations with the cards tend to be different enough that I'd need to learn the esoteric outlook first and, like taking on another Kabbalah/Qabalah system, I'd need to wait until I have a clear enough card-catalog in my head to keep the two realms separate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LRichard View Post
Since I am (admittedly) too picky regarding the esoteric decks, I use mainly Conver Marseille restorations. I especially like the ISIS, since it is so drop dead gorgeous.
I'm still not sure, if I bought a divinatory deck - which I'd go for, as much minimalism as possible for ambiguity and openness as you suggested or something with big warring pictures with all the pips that would be more suggestive of the ingredients. Suppose the right ideas might come along as I get to know a bit more about that side of the coin.

One thing I think would be neat, and it doesn't look like anyone's done it (at least in a way that I recognized) is coming up with a purely pathworking trump. It would be very nontraditional, might even end up looking like an airbrushed quantum physics, crystal, fantasy type thing but when one really evaluated it the path-colors and images would be bang-on and essentially it would have the essential core elements of a pathworking session judiciously infused as well as the kind of mood conducive to that path.
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Breakbeat_Mystic 
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Originally Posted by Cheiromancer View Post
Not to mention the prophecies in Daniel and the Book of Revelation. However, I think a middle of the road position among Christians is that esoteric knowledge is not necessary for salvation: it is at best an enriching extra, but also carries risks. Among the risks are spiritual intoxication and ego inflation, with all the disciplinary and doctrinal problems that arise.
I tend to think the abundance-a-plenty of 12's and 7's tends to bode a certain way, same with the four faces of the cherubim in Ezekiel and Revelations. The other thing is John's raging neoplatonism, that tends to be everyone's favorite gospel writer and I'd tend to agree but both his gospel and Revelations feel intensely greek and you feel like you can relate to him so much better after having read something like Corpus Hermeticum.

I'd agree that we have a very enticing situation on our hands, ie. morality (within legal parameters) on our own volition and plenty of ways to do harm to ourselves without it ever being a legal issue, but then again it's part of why I tend to like a lot of the sort of piety that Gareth Knight seemed like he was trying to push albeit I'd pass on the Scientology suggestions or trying to exorcise lay lines. If I have such a kundalini uptick that I feel like I've got a half half a pill of ecstacy kicking and reality's starting to feel frighteningly fast and loose like I'm in some kind of WOW or Guitar Hero game (my chakras are starting to light up like that occasionally) - a good read of Deuteronomy, Jeremiah, or Isaiah has usually been good for black coffee. It's not that I particularly think that the libertines are in some kind of intense danger, I'm probably more uptight about just getting distracted, losing track of priorities, etc. and when you start getting blissed out to the point of near intoxication you start remembering what kind of world you live in and the alarm bells engage.
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Zephyros 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheiromancer View Post
Come to think of it, I don't know what mainline Judaism thinks of Kabbalah. Or what the main views are. What would the average Jew in the synagogue say about it? Is it harmless woo-woo, or is it spiritually dangerous, or what? About all I know of it is that it was traditionally restricted to Jewish men of a certain age (40?) with children, with a lot of experience studying Torah. I don't know if Christian Cabalists had any special restrictions.
Well, opinions may vary, but it is important to define one's terms. In Jewish mainstream religious circles, the Torah is all, it is the direct conduit to God's own word. There is nothing beyond it, and no authority higher. Kabbalah, as an extension, is another way of coming to terms with it, through study. While groups such as the Golden Dawn may have appropriated it for their own ends, Jewish Kabbalah is an extension of faith, not magic or occult or anything like that. It is used to understand better the Torah, the word of God.

That doesn't mean, however, that everyone studies it. The restrictions put in place seem arbitrary, but I don't believe they are. At its root, Kabbalah is nihilistic, and impressing a young mind that they are nothing that came from nothing is dangerous both psychologically and religiously. Taking it to extremes, one could lose faith in the world, question whether anything even matters and perhaps even go insane (especially when paired with extreme religious fervor!). Kabbalah is not for young hotheads. From the religious aspect, to study the Torah, to marry, to be fruitful and multiply, to teach the Torah and to engage in the Jewish community are central tenets, and it is inappropriate that one should eschew all that for advanced enlightenment. Fulfill your obligations to God first, then do whatever you want.

As to what people actually think of it, it depends who you ask. In Israel gematria and different Kabbalistic techniques are used for a variety of things, from setting wedding dates to business deals to children's names. It has a big "people" aspect, although it can be argued that using it this way is more superstition and tradition than anything else. For the religious people, I wouldn't say it is seen as dangerous, but few people are on the level of actually studying infinitely complex Rabbinical Kabbalistic literature, Kabbalistic Torah interpretations and other related things, these are reserved for people who have made them their life's work. Remember that while occult orders concentrated on a small part of Kabbalah, the Tree of Life, it could be said that the "real meat" of Kabbalah is interpretation of the Torah with it, and that takes dedication.



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Richard 
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Originally Posted by Breakbeat_Mystic View Post
......The other thing is John's raging neoplatonism, that tends to be everyone's favorite gospel writer and I'd tend to agree but both his gospel and Revelations feel intensely greek and you feel like you can relate to him so much better after having read something like Corpus Hermeticum........
Yes, the Gospel of John sucks you in with neoplatonic sounding jargon at the beginning, before degenerating into what many consider to be the most anti Jewish of the four gospels. It is also the most compatible with Pauline theology, which makes it a favorite of fundamentalists and evangelicals. The author of John's gospel is a very clever fellow.

BTW, the Greek used in John's Apocalypse is quite different from that of the Gospel. It is much more grammatically irregular, and the vocabulary is dramatically larger. I seriously doubt that the Gospel and the Apocalypse (Revelation, not Revelations) were written by the same dude.



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Richard 
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Well, opinions may vary, but it is important to define one's terms. In Jewish mainstream religious circles, the Torah is all, it is the direct conduit to God's own word. There is nothing beyond it, and no authority higher. Kabbalah, as an extension, is another way of coming to terms with it, through study. While groups such as the Golden Dawn may have appropriated it for their own ends, Jewish Kabbalah is an extension of faith, not magic or occult or anything like that. It is used to understand better the Torah, the word of God........
Kabbalah as a hermeneutic/interpretive approach to the Torah is the way I understood it until (within the past thirty years or so) I learned about the occult/esoteric appropriation of the Sepher Yetzirah and the Sephirotic Tree. There certainly seem to be neoplatonic and gnostic influences in the Kabbalistic literature. Gershom Scholem probably represents an intermediate approach, and I gather that he is a highly respected (although somewhat controversial) Kabbalah scholar. I need to read more of his stuff.



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