"There aren't any great people. There are just great challenges that ordinary people are forced to meet." - William F. Halsey
Because it has become the 'in' vogue for some famous people of our present time to study the Qabalah (Kabbalah or Cabala), the subject appears to have found its 'mark' in society. There are still people who look utterly blank at the name, until the singer Madonna is mentioned, and then a sudden interest seems to be aroused.
In this present day, it appears that acknowledgement by the famous is the criteria for making something 'acceptable' or not - which can either be deeply saddening or, in this case, quite enlightening, for it is not commonly known that many famous, extremely clever and creative people from the past, have studied all or part of the subject over hundreds of years.
In fact if we open our minds and look carefully at the Bible, and particularly the Old Testament, we will see many references to the subject written amongst its pages, and it has been suggested that Jesus was instructed in the subject during his formative years. However, much real understanding of its' teachings has been lost throughout the centuries - mainly, during the middle ages, when certain religious authorities were awesome in their oppression of alternative beliefs, and particularly a system that gave 'power' to the people.
Yet, in spite of this suppression, it is notable that many great minds have become privy to the information - Kepler, Shakespeare, Keats, Angelo, Jung, Galileo, Blake, Newton and Einstein, to name but a few. Which perhaps leads one to wonder if maybe this fascinating study had something to do with the achievements and fame of these people?
And now, because we live in a more communicative society, the information has become less secret and more open to investigation, but sadly there is a danger here, for it encourages exploitation. Our present day obsession with idolising the newly rich and famous can so easily distort its value, and there are some who may be tempted to ride on the backs of those whose very name can signify 'profit'.
Giving and Receiving.
The Kabbala is an extension of the Jewish religion, not the religion itself, and the word Qabalah (spelt with Q) is the name that is given to describe non Jews who study it in the western world.
So to call it a 'religion' or, even worse, a 'cult', is really inaccurate, for it is not all about worship, nor is it about 'secret societies' or purchasing multitudes of strange paraphernalia for extraordinary amounts of money. Indeed, to get caught up in this extortion defeats one of the basic principles of the study, and that is to understand the natural process of 'exchanging energy'.
There is an occult belief that if we really want something we should not count the cost, and energy exchange applies on all levels - not least as money on the physical plane - but it has to be 'fair' exchange, and does not necessitate soliciting for extreme 'donations' nor the pricing of 'compulsory' items as if they were gold.
So it is no wonder that some Rabbi tutors of the subject have been both sceptical and deeply outraged that this ancient tradition has - to their mind - been exploited by certain factions in such a way.
Indeed there is a high price to be paid for enlightenment, but that does not mean in money - in fair exchange, basic tuition fees are allowable, but the real price is paid emotionally, and in thought and use of the Will. There is no compulsion. It is absolutely our personal choice, and the rewards we receive in this way are always exactly equivalent to the price we are prepared to pay.
The Qabalah - and in particular the study of The Tree of Life - shows people how to live on earth, and to that end, it is well worth looking into - especially for those who find themselves in the forefront of society. These people are often faced with deep personal and spiritual challenges, for they apt to be set on pedestals as 'teachers' of humanity, and the responsibility and confrontations of this can be very demanding.
The subject examines all aspects of life - from the physical plane, to the higher Spiritual realms, allowing the student to embrace all parts of the human psyche, from the mundane to the magician and visionary seerer. It is in fact a quest for the understanding of life, and equally takes into account what is known as "The Path of the Hearth Fire" - the everyday experience of actively living in the material world.
Through this we learn to live by certain universal principles that "work", and thus we are enabled to harness and use both our personal and universal energy to beneficial effect. By learning to not only 'know', but 'understand' the process, we stand a much better chance of finding true happiness and making the most of the creative abilities we all hold within.
However, although it is classed as a 'magical process', the Qabalah does not make things happen for us - we make them happen, for we learn to really know ourselves and the world around us and, through this, become in charge of our own actions and thoughts, and hence our own destiny.
So when we look into the lives of Madonna and other famous people of the present day, and are perhaps tempted to feel that this new found study is just a whim of the rich, it may be worth a serious investigation before passing judgment?
It is not the subject that we should suspect, but the way it is sometimes portrayed or abused by those who either know nothing about it, or whose careless behaviour undermines these sacred teachings when they should know better. The Qabalah is a serious look at the meaning of life, that touches the very essence of who we are, why we are here, and where we came from.
There are many brilliant and famous people of the past who have shown us its' value if we know where to look. Like all true philosophies it is deeply personal and private to those respectful of real quality. The subject stands up on its' own, and requires no accolades, and yet its' impact is so profound, that it can be found hidden between the lines of many great teachings, poems, music and art.
And it is through such works that others unknowingly learn, and thus humanity advances slowly, step by step, towards its' own self-knowledge, and the origins of its' creation.
All writings © J.Shell 1981 - 2005 (unless otherwise stated). All rights reserved.
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