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Eco: Cosmic Permutability and the Kabbala of Names, 2

  “What justified  this process of textual dissolution was that, for Abulafia, each letter, each atomic element, already had a meaning of its own, independent of the meaning of the syntagms in which it occurred. Each letter was already a divine name: “Since, in the letters of the Name, each letter is already a Name […]

Eco: Cosmic Permutability and the Kabbala of Names

“The kabbalist could rely on the unlimited resources of temurah because anagrams were more than just a tool of interpretation: they were the very method whereby God created the world. This doctrine had already been made explicit in the Sefer Yezirah, or Book of Creation, a little tract written some time between the second and […]

Smoke Signals: Borges, Tzahi Weiss, Kabbalah

I am obsessed by the idea that we project reality through a mass delusion, shared consciousness, a form of hypnosis and active dreaming that generates everything in our multiverse.

Finally, Here is the True Kabbalah

“The transition from the usual meaning of the word Kabbalah to the esoteric nuance was easily made. We find the first sign of it in Yehudah ben Barzilai. Speaking of the creation of the Holy Spirit, which is the Shekhinah, he says: “The sages did not deal with it at length, in order that men […]

The Original Content of the Kabbalah

” … Traditions differ in matters of detail. According to some, it was Rabbi David, the father of Rabbi Abraham ben David (known in Hebrew literature by the acronym Rabad) and not Abraham ben Isaac, his father- in-law, who was the first to receive this Kabbalah. Albeck assumed Isaac the Blind was the son and […]

Edenic Origins of the Kabbalah

“The Qabalah is traditionally traced back to Adam and Eve.” [ … ] “The disciplines of the Mystical Qabalah are distinct from those practiced by magicians, wizards, and sorcerers who seek to acquire creative and/or destructive power, depending on what paths they traverse on the Tree of Life. The occult disciplines of wizards and magicians […]

Seeking the Original Kabbalah

“By the Mystical Qabalah, we are referring to an ancient mystical transmission that preceded and supersedes any of the religious vessels through which it has been subsequently filtered and adapted. These vessels include the Israelite Hebrew, Rabbinical Judaic, Mystical Christian, Sufi Islamic, and possibly even the North Indian Tantric. Each of these vessels has framed […]

Kabbalah as Metasystem

“The prime source for the precursors of the occult revival were without question Athanasius Kircher (1602-80), a German Jesuit whose Oedipus Aegyptiacus (1652) detailed Kabbalah amongst its study of Egyptian mysteries and hieroglyphics, and Cornelius Agrippa’s De Occulta Philosophia (1533). Other works, such as those from alchemists including Khunrath, Fludd and Vaughan indicated that the […]

Reincarnation in Jewish Kabbalah

“The concept of reincarnation (gilgul) became central in the psychological doctrines of the Lurianic school, perhaps for the first time in the history of the kabbalah. There are five strata in the soul, reflecting the structure of the sefirot; each of these components has its own history, and each wanders from body to body, from […]

Marsilio Ficino and Christian Kabbalah

“Christian kabbalah can be traced to the “school of Marsilio Ficino in Florence, in the second half of the fifteenth century.” “Ficino is best known for his translations of Plato’s writings from Greek to Latin, but of much importance was his translation to Latin of the corpus of esoteric, mysterious old treatises known as the […]

Swiss Army Kabbalah

Joseph Dan claims that kabbalah transformed from a uniquely Jewish religious tradition into a European concept, “integrated with Christian theology, philosophy, science and magic, at the end of the fifteenth century.” He stresses that there is no unanimity about the definition of the term “kabbalah,” that it is used differently, to refer to different things, […]

You Say Kabbalah, I Say Cabala

Christian kabbalah can be traced to the “school of Marsilio Ficino in Florence, in the second half of the fifteenth century.” “Ficino is best known for his translations of Plato’s writings from Greek to Latin, but of much importance was his translation to Latin of the corpus of esoteric, mysterious old treatises known as the […]

Kabbalah as Revealed Wisdom vs. Gnostic or Neoplatonic Invention

“They rated the Kabbalah highly, not (or not only) as an original Jewish doctrine but as a supposed basis of every religious or esoteric tradition.” […] Thus the Kabbalah was considered by Masonic authors to be ancient wisdom, received by the Jews directly from God and retained in some ancient esoteric schools but primarily in […]

What Kabbalah Is

“The Kabbalah was understood both as the knowledge granted through a revelation in the very beginning and as the means of its transmission. Furthermore, exactly this knowledge gives the initiate an opportunity to reach a state of spiritual perfection and to establish a connection with the divine world, that is, to attain personal revelation.” –From […]

Moshe Idel on Kabbalah.

“The main issue to be learnt from the Kabbalah according to this Kabbalist (Abulafia) is the essence of reality, not the secrets of the Torah. Preeminently a philosophical concern, inspired by Maimonides’ thought, this knowledge is nevertheless achieved by combining letters, an approach to language that differs from the more conventional understanding of it in […]

Joseph Dan, Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction

 Joseph Dan says that Kabbalah can be considered: a. The essence of Assyrian religion (!?).  b. The essence of Christianity.  c. Mysticism. A form of mysticism.  d. A secret magical tradition.  “Mysticism” is completely absent from both Jewish and Islamic cultures until the 19th century. The concept of mysticism derives from Christianity, referring to the […]

Revelation: A Screed on Dreams and Worlds Without End

It occurs to me that I forgot to announce publication of my third book, Revelation, on Samizdat. So those of you who follow me here but not on my other site, Magic Kingdom Dispatch, may not know that I published this work. Revelation is a metaphysik, a revelation on metaphysics, cosmogony, quantum physics, Hinduism, Buddhism, […]

Revelation Revisited

A review of Matt Cardin, “In Search of Higher Intelligence: The Daemonic Muses(s) of Crowley, Leary & RAW.”

On the Ineffable

This is my review of Nick Stockton’s “Time Might Only Exist in Your Head. And Everyone Else’s.” From Wired, 26 September, 2016. Published at 0600 hrs. I later modified this piece on 17 October, 2016. It keeps bothering me like a splinter in my mind. In its current revision, it comprises 2,537 words. “Some physicists blame gravity […]

Eco: Characteristica and Calculus

“The theme of invention and discovery should remind us of Lull; and, in fact, Lull’s ars combinatoria was one of Leibniz’s first sources. In 1666, at the age of twenty, Leibniz composed his own Dissertatio de arte combinatoria (Gerhardt 1875: IV, 27-102). But the dream of the combinatoria was to obsess him for the rest […]

Eco: Perfection and Secrecy

“We might think it is a pity that the search for a language that was as perfect as it was universal should lead to such a conception of a tongue reserved for the “happy few.” But it is perhaps nothing more than our “democratic” illusion to imagine that perfection must imply universality. In order to […]

Eco: Dee’s Magic Language

“In his Apologia compendiaria (1615) Fludd noted that the Rosicrucian brothers practiced that type of kabbalistic magic that enabled them to summon angels. This is reminiscent of the steganography of Trithemius. Yet it is no less reminiscent of the necromancy of John Dee, a man whom many authors considered the true inspirer of Rosicrucian spirituality. In […]

Eco: Kircher’s Egyptology

“When Kircher set out to decipher hieroglyphics in the seventeenth century, there was no Rosetta stone to guide him. This helps explain his initial, mistaken, assumption that every hieroglyph was an ideogram. Understandable as it may have been, this was an assumption which doomed his enterprise at the outset. Notwithstanding its eventual failure, however, Kircher […]

Eco: Infinite Songs & Locutions, 2

“Mersenne and Guldin were anticipating Borge’s Babel Library ad abundantiam. Not only this, Guldin observed that if the numbers are these, who can marvel at the existence of so many different natural languages? The art was now providing an excuse for the confusio linguarum. It justifies it, however, by showing that it is impossible to […]

Eco: Lullian Kabbalism, 2

“Numerology, magic geometry, music, astrology and Lullism were all thrown together in a series of pseudo-Lullian alchemistic works that now began to intrude onto the scene. Besides, it was a simple matter to inscribe kabbalistic terms onto circular seals, which the magical and alchemical tradition had made popular. It was Agrippa who first envisioned the […]

Eco: Lullian Kabbalism

“We have now reached a point where we must collect what seem the various membra disiecta of the traditions we have been examining and see how they combined to produce a Lullian revival. We can begin with Pico della Mirandola: he cited Lull in his Apologia of 1487. Pico, of course, would have been aware […]

Eco: Kabbalism & Lullism in the Steganographies

“A peculiar mixture of kabbalism and neo-Lullism arose in the search for secret writings–steganographies. The progenitor of this search, which was to engender innumerable contributions between humanism and the baroque, was the prolific Abbot Johannes Trithemius (1462-1516). Trithemius made no references to Lull in his works, relying instead on kabbalistic tradition, advising his followers, for […]

Eco: Magic Names & Kabbalistic Hebrew, 3

“John Dee–not only magus and astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I, but profound érudit and sharp politician as well–summoned angels of dubious celestial provenance by invoking names like Zizop, Zchis, Esiasch, Od and Iaod, provoking the admiring comment, “He seemeth to read as Hebrew is read” (cf. A True and Faithful Relation of 1659). There exists, […]

Eco: Magic Names & Kabbalistic Hebrew, 2

“The idea that Hebrew was a language endowed with a mystical “force” had already appeared in both the ecstatic kabbala (described in ch. 2) and the Zohar, where (in 75 b, Noah) it is declared not only that the original Hebrew was the language that expressed the desires of the heart in prayer, but also […]

Eco: Magic Names and Kabbalistic Hebrew

“The date 1492 is an important one for Europe: it marks not only the discovery of America, but also the fall of Granada, through which Spain (and thus all Europe) severed its last link with Islamic culture. As a consequence of Granada, moreover, their Christian majesties expelled the Jews from Spain, setting them off on […]

Eco: A Dream that Refused to Die

  “Even faced with the results of the research of comparative linguistics, however, monogenetic theories refuse to give up the ghost. The bibliography of belated monogeneticism is immense. In it, there is to be found the lunatic, the crank, the misfit, the bizarre mystic, as well as a number of students of unimpeachable rigor. In […]

Eco: The Etymological Furor

“Postel’s was a clear and unambiguous demand for the restoration of Hebrew as the universal language. Few, however, made this demand in so radical a fashion. For others, it was usually enough to demonstrate that Hebrew was superior because it was the first language from which all others had derived. One example is the Mithridates […]

Eco: Postel’s Universalistic Utopia, 2

“After various peregrinations, Postel found himself in Venice, where, in 1547, he was appointed chaplain of the Hospital of Sts. John and Paul (called the Ospedaletto), and censor of books published in the Hebrew language in that city. While in the Ospedaletto, he was appointed confessor to its founder, the fifty year old Johanna, or […]

Eco: Postel’s Universalistic Utopia

“A special place in the story of the renewal of Hebrew studies belongs to the French utopian thinker and érudit, Guillaume Postel (1510-81). Councillor to the kings of France, close to the major religious, political and scientific personalities of his epoch, Postel returned from a series of diplomatic missions to the Orient, voyages which enabled […]

Eco: The Arbor Scientarium, 2

“Between the first and last versions of his art, Lull’s thought underwent a long process of evolution (described by Carreras y Artau 1939: I, 394), in order to render his art able to deal not only with theology and metaphysics, but also with cosmology, law, medicine, astronomy, geometry and psychology. Increasingly, the art became a […]

Eco: The Arbor Scientarium

“The Lullian art was destined to seduce later generations who imagined that they had found in it a mechanism to explore the numberless possible connections between dignities and principles, principles and questions, questions and virtues or vices. Why not even construct a blasphemous combination stating that goodness implies an evil God, or eternity a different […]

Eco: The Elements of the Ars Combinatoria

“Given a number of different elements n, the number of arrangements that can be made from them, in any order whatever, is expressed by their factorial n!, calculated as 1.*2*3. . . . *n. This is the method for calculating the possible anagrams of a word of n letters, already encountered as the art of […]

Eco: Dante and Abulafia, 2

“Yet could Dante have known the theories of Abulafia? Abulafia visited Italy on several occasions: he was in Rome in 1260; he remained on the peninsula until 1271, when he returned to Barcelona; he returned to Rome in 1280 with the project of converting the pope. He journeyed afterwards to Sicily, where we lose trace […]

Eco: Dante and Abulafia

“If we turn from DVE to Paradise, xxxvi (several years having passed in the meantime), we find that Dante has changed his mind. In the earlier work, Dante unambiguously states that it was from the forma locutionis given by God that the perfect language of Hebrew was born, and that it was in this perfect […]

Eco: The Mother Tongue

Humiliter dedicata a amico miles Georgius Hand IV, polyglottis et πολυμαθής. “Despite this, Abulafia did not think that this matrix of all languages (which coincides with the eternal, but not with the written, Torah) corresponded yet to Hebrew. Here Abulafia made a distinction between the twenty-two letters as a linguistic matrix, and Hebrew as the […]

Eco: The Kabbalistic Pansemioticism

  “Our story opened with a reference to an eastern text, the Bible. By the time of the last church Fathers, however, knowledge of the language in which this text was composed had been lost. Thus we were able to begin our story by reading the Bible directly in the Latin of the Vulgate. The Christian […]

Umberto Eco: Search for the Perfect Language

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A Missing or Defective Letter, a 23 Character Alphabet, and Seven Books of the Torah

“Hence the author of the Book Temunah transfers his interest from the redemption at the end of the current shemittah (about which he has little to say anyway) to the vision of the following one. The vision of the end of the present shemittah, of the gradual extinction of humanity, and of the slowing down […]

The Name of God is Woven Throughout the Torah

“This also explains the particular character of the Torah, which is designed to show the way to the worship of God under the specific conditions of this aeon. The present aeon is ruled by the evil inclination that stems from the power of Stern Judgment and that seduces man to idolatry, which had no place […]

Shemittah Without Limit

“In this state, the Torah is not “legible” for human beings. At the Sinaitic revelation, God taught Moses how to read the Torah by a division into letters and words, in such manner that it yielded a meaning in the Hebrew language. These considerations also opened the door to the possibility of alternative mystical readings, […]

Opening and Closing of the Cosmic Book

“The historical origins of this doctrine remain to be examined. It is entirely conceivable that it came from the Orient to Provence, where it became associated at a later date with the doctrine of the sefiroth. The penchant for great numbers in the cosmic cycles, which quickly led beyond the 50,000 years of a cosmic […]

The Cosmic Jubilee of 50,000 Years

“Seven of these shemittoth exhaust the productive power hidden in the seven “sefiroth of construction.” After 49,000 years, in the “great jubilee year,” the entire creation returns to its origin in the womb of binah, the “mother of the world,” just as according to the biblical ordinance concerning the jubilee year, after fifty years “liberty […]

A Perpetual Process of the Re-Creation of the World

“As a matter of fact, doctrines relating to cosmic cycles in the evolution of the world were also known in Jewish medieval literature outside the Kabbalah. Through the intermediary of Indian and Arabic sources, rather than under the influence of Platonic thoughts, ideas of this type slipped into astrological writings in particular. Abraham bar Hiyya in […]

Bodhisattvas

“Occasionally even the mystical illumination produced by the effluence of the divine power from one sefirah to another is designated as sod ha-‘ibbur. In general, the kabbalists of Gerona restricted the transmigration of souls, on the basis of Job 33:29, to three rebirths following the first entry of the soul into the human body, though […]