Another general Qabalah book that hasn't been mentioned so far is:
: A Magical Primer
, by John Bonner
I try to "big-up
" this book whenever an opportunity arises, and frequently use it as my 'go-to' recommendation for an introductory Qabalah book (after Chicken Qabalah).
Essentially it's a general overview of the Qabalah in the mould of Dion Fortune's, The Mystical Qabalah
. Many people who have read the latter work claim that, despite its brilliance, it is written in a rather turgid and boring style. (A similar complaint is often levelled at Israel Regardie.) Thankfully John Bonner is anything but boring. His book is dense but still highly readable.
The book covers general questions about the nature and purpose of Qabalah, an overview of its history and how Hermetic Qabalah fits into the development of Kabbalah from its Hebraic roots to Aleister Crowley. Then concepts such as the formation of the Tree of Life and various structural components such as the Three Pillars and the Triads is covered before moving onto the Four Worlds.
Before the main body of the text in which the Ain and the Sephiroth are examined, Bonner explains the categories of correspondences that will be used throughout the rest of the book. Most of these are drawn directly from Crowley's, Liber 777
, and include:
The Titles of the Sephiroth.
The Yetziratic text.
The names of God.
The Mundane Chakras.
The Gods and Goddesses.
The Orders of the Angels.
The Orders of the Qliphoth.
Virtues and Vices.
Magical Grades (A.'.A.'.)
Magical Weapons and Symbols.
The Divisions of Man.
Colours in the Four Worlds.
The Book of Thoth.
Other correspondences: Animals, Plants, Drugs.
Using the above format Bonner covers the Ain and the Sephiroth in turn from the perspective of Thelema, the philosophy that informs the Thoth Tarot, and quotes the The Book of the Law
during his explanation. However this does not stop him referencing older works such as the Zohar
and the ideas of the Lurianic Kabbalists.
Finally there is a brief chapter on the methods of the literal qabalah: Gematria, Notariqon and Temurah.
All of this is explained in a clear and readable fashion. And at no point does it feel like a chore to read. For this reason I recommend Bonner over Fortune or Regardie. While all three cover Qabalah in a similar way, the latter two are notorious for their coma inducing writing styles.
In addition the foreword is written by Hymenaeus Beta, current Frater Superior of the Ordo Templi Orientis.