The Key to the True Quabbalah
Writing this commentary upon Franz Bardon's third book, "The Key to the True Quabbalah" (KTQ), has been a struggle of sorts for me. In the past, I have been extremely reticent to discuss the actual practice of this Art openly. To me, kabbalah is a very sacred thing and it pains me to see how often it is misunderstood and its concepts abused. So I have historically refused to say too much about it for fear of promoting the sort of disrespect that is everywhere rampant.
Yet many have asked, quite sincerely and respectfully, for some insight or at least some guidance toward a truer understanding. So I have been torn between, on the one hand, wanting to oblige the sincere student, and on the other hand, maintaining the integrity of this sacred tradition.
On the occasions that I have written about kabbalah, my thoughts have been met with an interesting variety of reactions. For some, my ideas were too radical, especially for those involved with the Western Hermetic sort of kabbalah popularized by the likes of the Golden Dawn. The reason for this discomfort is that I speak openly about how the Western understanding of kabbalah is so very different from the original Jewish tradition, and this is usually perceived as a criticism and a personal affront. In other words, to most Western Hermetic kabbalists, I'm too Jewish in my approach. And unfortunately, to most Jewish kabbalists, I'm too Western in my approach! ;-)
I recognize that my understanding of kabbalah is neither strictly Jewish nor Christian. In fact, my study of kabbalah has not been shaped by any specific religious perspective -- I am neither a Jew nor a Christian. I am an Hermetic, through and through, and my analysis is thus unhindered by religious dogma. Granted, my understanding also lacks something that only someone who has been raised in Judaism can achieve with Jewish Kabbalah, but then again, it matches that lack, point for point, by the fact that I am thus able to view kabbalah from a variety of perspectives freely.
Even though my understanding of kabbalah is not a religious one, this Art is no less sacred to me and I am no less protective of its essential truth, than is a Rabbi who has spent his or her life immersed in its study.
With these things in mind, I grappled with the idea of writing a commentary upon Bardon's KTQ. Should I say all of what I want to say, or should I, instead, increase the confusion and protect these sacred mysteries from those who would treat them as playthings? Seeking some counsel in this regard, I conferred with my inner guidance and sought out the spirit of Franz Bardon. From this experience I received clear permission to follow the middle course. Thus I will say what I want to say, but I will also leave some things unsaid that are truly the responsibility of the magician to discover for themselves. As Bardon points out, anything that one can say or write about kabbalah will mean nothing to one who is unprepared to understand it. Ultimately, these mysteries protect themselves.
Throughout the writing of this commentary, I sought out the guidance of the spirit of Franz Bardon. Each time that I sat down to write, I touched my favorite photo of Franz until I felt the appropriate tingle up and down my spine that indicated contact, and then I asked that he guide me to write something truly useful to the student of Hermetics. I feel that I have accomplished this and hope that you will feel the same.
Prior to beginning the actual writing, I had expected my commentary to be rather brief, but as it turns out, this commentary rivals my IIH commentary in length and thoroughness.
Like my own, Bardon's Quabbalah is neither strictly Jewish nor strictly Western Hermetic. Bardon blends a Jewish understanding with an essentially Western Hermetic methodology. His correspondences come directly from the Sepher Yetzirah and some of his techniques mirror the works of ancient Jewish kabbalists, but the remainder of his approach is Western. What is most new in Bardon's KTQ is his explanation of how one makes a word truly a matter of kabbalistic speech. Never before has this been so plainly stated. This same technique is hinted at in the Sepher Yetzirah, but it is done in so symbolic a language as to be hidden from view. Bardon however, explains this mystery much more plainly and in terms comprehensible to the modern reader.
At the same time, Bardon leaves certain things unsaid that I think the sincere student will benefit from reading. Primarily, these have to do with the relevance of kabbalistic cosmology or philosophy; explaining the sequence of truly kabbalistic "formation" or at least relating Bardon's sequence to that displayed in the Sepher Yetzirah; and, the specifics of what the student just starting out along the path of Hermetics can begin doing in regard to the practical study of kabbalah. My goal with this specific commentary is to express my thoughts concerning these matters and to encourage the reader to look beneath the layers of frivolous speculation found in most books on the subject of kabbalah, and thus excavate the truth. You, dear reader, must still do the digging, but I hope the shiny new shovel I'm loaning you will make your labor easier.
[NOTE: I will be employing the 1986, Third Edition of KTQ, by Dieter Ruggeberg, throughout this commentary.]
THE KEY TO THE TRUE QUABBALAH
Bardon begins his introduction with a warning similar to that found in PME. Namely, that only the person who has done the work of his first book, IIH, is considered properly prepared for the work of KTQ. Here, he implies that the student must have first mastered the entire ten Steps of IIH, but further on, he modifies this to say that only the first eight Steps must have been mastered. The truth lies somewhere in between, for the magician who is beginning Step Nine of IIH, can indeed begin the Steps of KTQ, but will not be able to use the second, third and fourth keys until well after completing the tenth Step of IIH. The first seven Steps of KTQ will likely take just as long to accomplish as the final two Steps of IIH and will, in fact, facilitate the final Steps of IIH and the work of PME.
Bardon cautions that beginning with KTQ, without having first done the work of IIH and PME would be of little benefit. This is a very accurate statement since the basic techniques of kabbalah require certain magical abilities that would take longer to learn through this particular practice than through the work of IIH. Furthermore, the first seven Steps of KTQ prepare the student's own microcosm for truly creative speech, and if the student's microcosm has not already been matured to a certain degree by the work of Hermetics, then this preparation would take, literally, decades to achieve.
Contrary to popular occultism, where the student begins with supposedly kabbalistic practices immediately, in the Jewish tradition from which kabbalah arises, this is a very late study. One must at least master Torah and Talmud as a prerequisite to kabbalah. This translates as decades of study and practice before beginning the work of kabbalah. It is commonly said that one must be at least 40 years old to begin kabbalah and many have mistaken this as an age requirement. In truth it is merely a symbolic way of expressing the need for a certain degree of maturity that is usually related to being 40 years old.
Bardon uses the remainder of his introduction to explain that this book is like no other book on kabbalah available. If you are expecting a book on kabbalistic cosmology, philosophy or on the proper religious observances, you will be sorely disappointed. Essentially, Bardon uses the term 'kabbalah' to indicate the cosmic language or creative speech, and not the corpus of Jewish kabbalah. He does however draw upon the Jewish kabbalah, but states that an understanding of kabbalah is not a prerequisite to the practice of creative speech. While this is true, I would argue that such knowledge surely doesn't hurt and may in fact make all the difference in the ease with which one will ultimately master this Art.
If you are well versed in kabbalistic philosophy, then KTQ will present you with a deeper understanding that will likely cause you to reconsider many of the conclusions you've drawn from your prior studies. This is especially true if you are familiar with the root document of Jewish kabbalah, know as the "Sepher Yetzirah" (Book of Formation).
Bardon also argues that you do not need to have studied biblical Hebrew in order to master creative speech. This is true, but is untrue if you wish to understand Jewish kabbalah. In Jewish kabbalah, the Hebrew Letters are of paramount importance, and English translations of Hebrew are ALWAYS incomplete and lead to misunderstanding. In this regard, one does not need to be able to speak the Hebrew language, but one must be able to read it and understand its structure, etc. Without this ability, one can penetrate only so far into the mystery of kabbalah. Yet even then, there is much in the way of confusion to be navigated since many kabbalistic texts seem to contradict one another. Needless to say, kabbalah is a difficult and consuming study.
Kabbalistic texts are very similar to Alchemical texts. Both are cloaked in so dense a symbolism as to be penetrable only by those who already know enough to recognize what the author is speaking about. Many instances where readers have thought that one author is contradicting another are nothing more than instances where the separate authors are speaking of slightly different perspectives and are not in fact disagreeing with each other. But there are also many instances where authors do disagree and one must, in these cases, discern which is speaking from direct experience and which is speaking only from theoretical knowledge. Many books concerning kabbalah have been written by the latter and are completely useless.
[Note: In my commentary, I will be referring to the Sepher Yetzirah, so if you are not familiar with this text, my comments may be of little use to you.]
PART I: THEORY
Here Bardon briefly explains what distinguishes kabbalah and a kabbalist, from magic and a magician. Briefly, kabbalah is the cosmic or divine language through which creation was/is enacted. This is not an intellectual language such as English, French, Chinese, etc. It is not used for purposes of communication between separate beings. Instead, it communicates intent and meaning directly into manifest substance, be it mental, astral or physical substance.
The phrase "the word of g-d" should not be taken literally when relating it to kabbalah. Kabbalah is not based upon the silly idea that some fellow in a white robe and long hair, sat in his throne and spoke a bunch of words, and poof!, the world was created. This is meant only as a symbolic representation by way of the "as above, so below" law of analogy (i.e., alikeness). What it represents is the natural descent of spirit (Mind) into matter, which on a cosmic, divine level, occurs outside of time-space (i.e., in eternity).
Where kabbalah differentiates from magic is that in kabbalah, the connection between intent and manifestation occurs outside of time-space and all the natural processes of descent are bypassed. With magic, on the other hand, the magician works from within the realm of time-space and the transition from initial intent into manifestation does follow the natural processes of descent. Only when the magician has succeeded in consciously uniting with the divine, are these natural processes circumvented. Thus, only one who can truly merge with the divine is capable of kabbalistic speech. The kabbalist is the highest form of magician.
Yet I should be clear that kabbalistic speech is not the equivalent of the "original" divine creative use of the word. The "original" (the use of the word 'original' is problematic since this act occurs at a level beyond the realm of time-space) divine creation made "something out of nothing" or "existence out of non-existence", to paraphrase the sages. Whereas human kabbalistic speech works at the next lower level and makes something new by combining things that already exist. In other words, we modify the original creation and are a part of its evolution -- we do not make "something out of nothing".
The kabbalist, by way of analogy, connects with the original divine creative force and, through the use of kabbalistically spoken letters, mimics the macrocosmic creativity in a microcosmic manner. Consequently, only the individual who has achieved the highest level of ethical maturity is capable of true kabbalistic utterance.
To illustrate the student's path into this sacred science, Bardon says: "To achieve this maturity and height of quabbalistic initiation, the theurgist must first learn the letters like a child." This is born out in the Sepher Yetzirah (S. Y.) which mainly concerns the preparation for true kabbalistic speech. In the S.Y., one begins by integrating the Sephirot at the most subtle level and then slowly introduces them as progressively denser expressions. Then one begins "learning" the letters and integrating them into the Sephirotic structure. Only when the entire structure of Sephirot and letters is built, does one begin using the letters creatively.
In KTQ, Bardon focuses upon the integration and the use of the letters and mentions the Sephirot only briefly as the ten primal numbers/ideas. I believe the reason for this is that the work of IIH and PME fairly well accomplishes the integration of the Sephirot in ways equivalent to what the S.Y. describes.
Bardon goes on to state that KTQ does not concern itself with the mantic (predictive) or numerological (in the modern sense) kabbalah so popular in occult literature. While true kabbalah has nothing to do with these practices, it does have much to do with numbers -- as symbols for ideas. Hebrew itself has several levels of meaning. Each letter represents an idea, a numerical value, and a physical sound.
It is important to note that Hebrew numbers are not the same as modern numerals. In the Hebrew language, the numbers are spelt out and are not shown as integers such as '1', '2', etc. But when it comes to the individual letters, each has its own value. For example: Aleph=1, Beth=2, Gimel=3, Yod=10, Kaph=20. To signify the numerical value and ideological significance of 13, one could combine Gimel and Yod (3+10=13). However, in Hebrew there is often more than one way to symbolize a specific numerical value. With 13, one can also use ABY (1+2+10=13), ABGZ (1+2+3+7=13), HCh (5+8=13), DT (4+9=13), GDV (3+4+6=13), etc. The higher the numerical value, the more options there are for expressing it through letter combinations. Thus one can express many nuances of meaning depending upon which, and how many, letters one uses.
This doesn't become important until much later in the practice (Step Five: The Ten Quabbalistic Keys) when the fourth pole of the quadrapolar concentration is encountered. This is where Bardon speaks about the numbers 1 through 10 which represent the ten primordial ideas underlying the creation. What Bardon leaves out is the manner in which these 10 ideas relate to the letters themselves.
Man as Quabbalist
This is a lovely essay on what it means to be a kabbalist. Bardon says more here than actually meets the eye, but this, I think, would be apparent only to one who truly understands the path of the kabbalist.
One passage I'd like to elaborate upon is where Bardon writes: "The functioning and working between body, soul and spirit comes to pass automatically with every human being, no matter whether he has been initiated into the secrets of hermetic science or not. For the quabbalist this is the multiplication table: he knows all the processes and is therefore able to arrange his life in accordance with the universal laws."
This says two important things. One is that the natural processes, which are generally subconscious in the average person, are conscious and willful within the kabbalist. Second is that these processes, developed into conscious faculties, are the material that the kabbalist works with (the "multiplication table"). This means that the kabbalist must first integrate the multipliers (the Letters and numbers) into their own three bodies, and then, in the act of kabbalistic speech, project these attributes from within themselves, outwards. It is this projection outwards from within that establishes the connection with the divine creative word.
Therefore, the kabbalist must be conscious of their three bodies (mental, astral and physical) at a most intimate level and must also be able to manifest the universal qualities within them. In KTQ, this is accomplished (assuming that the student has indeed worked through at least the eighth Step of IIH) through the work of Steps One through Five. Steps One through Four build the universal qualities into the initiate's three bodies. Step Five introduces the fourth pole of the quadrapolar concentration -- the numbers -- which further integrates and orders the universal qualities. Only then is the initiate truly prepared for the first key of kabbalistic speech.
Another passage I would like to note is: "The genuine quabbalist thus is a representative of the Creation, but he remains the most obedient servant of the universal laws, the more he becomes an initiate, the humbler he is towards Divine Providence. He is, indeed in possession of the greatest power, yet he will never use his power for his own purposes, but only for the welfare of mankind."
Many have sought the knowledge and use of the true kabbalah merely for the purpose of gaining great power, but none of these have succeeded. This will always be the case. Part of the Mystery is that in order to achieve this high a degree of initiation, one naturally outgrows all petty desires. Another part of the Mystery is that power this great is bound by the universal laws and can never violate those laws. In other words, even if the kabbalist could wish to use this art for a mundane purpose, he or she would not be able to.
I would like for you to carefully think about the deeper significance of this. Consider for a moment all of the truly horrific things that occur in our world daily. Throughout every moment of our human existence, these things have been occurring to one degree or another. Simultaneously, there have always been individuals among us who have wielded the great power of the creative word or kabbalistic speech, any one of which would, in theory, have had the power to rectify these tragedies. But herein is another part of the Mystery -- they have not rectified these wrongs because this would violate the universal lawfulness. The kabbalist does not work 'against the darkness'; instead, the kabbalist works 'for the Light'. There is a difference here that should be carefully considered, for the kabbalist realizes that the darkness is just as lawful a thing as is the Light.
One final comment for this section concerns the passage: "On the way to perfection there should not be any haste. Everything takes time and needs the necessary maturity for its perfection."
I know of at least one group who is taking the KTQ and having their novices (folks with little or no magical training) begin the practices with the tripolar concentration exercises. I think this and similar approaches arise out of a basic impatience with the prospect of a long magical development. This is a great failing in our modern world for it misses so much of the richness of life and especially of magic. Truly, someone who approaches kabbalah in this manner looks forward to decades, if not lifetimes, more effort than one who begins with IIH. But there is little that can be said to dissuade this approach -- how many of us as children truly listened to our elders?
For those of you who are willing to listen to your elders, then please do heed Bardon's words and take your time. Starting with KTQ before you've passed through the work of IIH is The Longest Way. Truly, the shorter, quicker Way is to do the work of IIH first. Even so, the true kabbalist will still take lifetimes to reach perfection -- but don't short-change yourself since many who come to this work with a serious intention have already spent lifetimes along The Way. To the kabbalist -- one who has attained an eternal perspective -- time is of no concern.
The Laws of Analogy
The difference between an intellectual understanding of the laws of analogy and a magical understanding is significant. The magician not only knows the laws intellectually but also experientially. The work of IIH integrates the macrocosmic laws directly into the magician's own microcosm. This is what enables the magician to actually manipulate those laws.
If you have not read the seminal document known as "The Emerald Tablet of Hermes", then I suggest that you do so since it forms much of the basis of the Hermetic approach. It is from the "Emerald Tablet" that the oft repeated phrase "As above, so below; as below, so above" is derived. This is the most rudimentary statement of the law of analogy.
In kabbalistic cosmology, this is found in the doctrine of emanation. Accordingly, Kether (the highest, primordial Sephirot) contains within itself the remaining nine Sephirot, in a state of unrealized potential. Each successive Sephirot contains both the realization of those that precede it and the potential for those that follow. Thus the universal qualities exist throughout every level of the creation either in potential or in manifestation.
Bardon mentions "chaos" in passing but I'd like to comment further. To say that there is no such thing as chaos is, on the one hand, an accurate statement, but on the other hand it doesn't afford any insight into why people think that such a state exists. Chaos is a term that expresses a certain degree of ignorance and merely identifies a state of existence that supersedes time-space (i.e., sequence). In the eternal realm, things exist without the ordering of sequence and from the normal human sequentialized perspective, this realm appears chaotic. This is because, as sequentialized beings, we have no reference points by which to understand the non-sequentialized realm. Chaos exists only in the minds of humans.
Next, Bardon refers to the "Sepher Yetzirah" and I must say a few things in this regard. The S.Y. does not speak of the "original" creation -- it speaks of the "formation". This is a bit complex so please bear with me while I explain.
In the kabbalistic cosmology, there are four "Worlds". The first world is called "Atziluth" and this is the "original" archetype within which all the manifest universe exists in a state of unrealized potential.
The second world is called "Briah" (creation) and this is the "original" creation. The book (sepher) that describes this phase (in VERY symbolic terms) is the first chapter of Genesis (i.e., the creation story). It is from this passage of the Torah that the "32 Paths of Wisdom" were derived (from the 32 times that the Name "Elohim" is mentioned). At the stage of "creation", the entire universe exists as manifest, yet un-realized, potential. This is the nadir of the non-sequentialized realm, known commonly as "chaos".
The third world, known as "Yetzirah" (formation), is the concern of the S. Y. At this stage, the lower mental and higher astral aspects of the universe are manifest AND realized. It is this level of "formation" that the kabbalist employs, but in order to employ formation, the kabbalist must first achieve a Briatic level of consciousness. This Briatic consciousness is the same as union with divinity. Creation, whether it be divine or mundane, is always a downward/outward projection of self. Thus it is from the higher level of the Briatic/creative consciousness that one engages in "formation".
The fourth world of the kabbalist is "Assiah" (making). This encompasses the lower astral at its apex and the material realm at its nadir. The S.Y. does not refer to "making", but only to "forming". Yet from our normal Assiatic perspective, "formation" is "creation".
The S.Y. refers to "formation" but this is also the first step in "making". Bardon draws out what the S.Y. has to offer the kabbalist and extends it into the realm of "making". This is what I meant earlier when I said that the S.Y. concerns mainly the preparation for true kabbalistic speech.
It is important, when considering these four worlds and the four types of creation, to understand that the realms of Atziluth and Briah exist outside of time-space, so these creative acts do not occur in any sequence. In other words, it is not proper to say that they "did" occur or in what sequence. Much time and intellect has been wasted trying to specify which part of the "original" creation occurred first, second, third, etc. The "original" creation occurred all at once.
The levels of Yetzirah (formation) and Assiah (making) on the other had, do occur with sequence and are what constitute the realm of time and space. This is the level at which the kabbalist works.
In closing this section, Bardon mentions the analogies pertaining to the letters and numbers, without going into any detail. In fact, no where in KTQ does he explain the numerical analogies of the letters. I presume it is because of space considerations and the fact that it is up to the student to investigate these things on their own. Further on, I will be providing the numerical corollaries for most of the letters Bardon uses based upon their relationship to the established numerical values of the Hebrew Letters. There are however, similar numerical systems in existence for the English, Greek and Latin alphabets that run contrary to the one I will provide. It is my contention that Bardon's kabbalah relies upon the Hebrew analogies and not upon these more recent developments.
Where number comes into play in KTQ is with the fourth pole of the quadrapolar concentration. Bardon is a bit vague about this, but basically the fourth pole is the ideation conveyed through number. This must be taken into consideration because it is the final key that unlocks the universal lawfulness and allows for material effectiveness. The four poles are: Fire/Color, Air/Tone, Water/Feeling, and Earth/Number. Each pole is part of the complete analogy of each letter. Only when all four poles are perfectly integrated is true kabbalistic speech possible.
Esoterics of the Letters
Here Bardon delves a little more deeply into the analogy of the letters which form kabbalistic speech. Yet still he gives no specific corollaries.
One thing the reader must understand is that these analogies are not applied to mundane words, or as Bardon puts it, intellectual language. It does little good to examine the analogies to the letters that compose the English word "dog". The analogies have no relationship to the meaning of this word since it is only an intellectual word and not a kabbalistically composed word.
It may be difficult to comprehend exactly what significance letters may have in terms of actual creation. To do so, one must distance oneself from taking the concept too literally. Do not assume that "god" literally spoke a language in the human sense and thus effected the creation. But as a symbolic statement, it bears close examination.
In human terms, speech is our primary form of communication. Through language we externalize an inner meaning and through this expression we give this inner meaning shape and some degree of concrete manifestation. With kabbalistic speech, each letter or group of letters expresses a specific idea or meaning that we wish to externalize and bring into manifestation. The letters act as a conduit for this particular meaning.
Now, meaning is no simple thing, especially the expression of it, so we combine the atoms of meaning (the individual letters) and form more complex molecules (words), then we put these molecules together to form concrete substance. Furthermore, each letter is expressed in each one of the three realms (mental, astral and physical), giving it even more depth of meaning -- fleshing it out, as it were. Ultimately, the kabbalistic language can encompass a truly infinite variety of meanings. This is what transpired with the "original" creation which is infinite.
Analogy is a microcosmic thing. In other words, at a macrocosmic level there is no need for analogy since all meaning exists directly in its raw or primordial form. It is only in the expression of meaning that requires analogy.
Thus the analogy or esoterics of the letters mimics the divine creative expression in human terms. And since we are humans, we use letters kabbalistically to creatively express our inner meaning.
Bardon mentions the analogy between the ten fingers and toes of the human body, and the ten primordial ideas that serve as the foundation of the manifest universe. In the kabbalistic cosmology of the S. Y_ however, there are more analogies than just this drawn between the human form and the cosmic form. For example, there are three (the number of kabbalistic Elements) "Mothers in the breath filled soul": head, womb, and respiring chest. There are seven (the number of planets) "apertures in the breath filled soul": two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and the mouth. There are twelve (the number of the zodiac) "directors in the breath filled soul": two hands, esophagus, stomach, spleen, liver, intestines, gall, two kidneys, and two feet.
Thus we find that each letter also corresponds to a body part, while the ten primordial ideas or Sephirot correspond to the fingers (positive) and the toes (negative).
As an aside, I think it is important to note at this point that in the S.Y. there are only three Elements, expressed through the "Mother Letters". These Elements also correspond to the three Hermetic realms of Mental, Astral and Physical.
The uppermost Element is Fire, represented by the Hebrew Letter Shin. This roughly corresponds to the Mental realm. The middle Element is Air, represented by the Hebrew Letter Aleph, which corresponds to the Astral realm. The lower Element is Water, represented by the Hebrew Letter Mem, corresponding to the lower Astral and Physical realms. In the Genesis, chapter one, creation story, the Shin/Fire is referred to as the "upper Waters", and the Mem/Water as the "lower Waters". Needless to say, the Hermetic conception of the Elements and realms differs slightly from that of the Hebrew kabbalists.
The idea of Earth as an Element comes later in the development of kabbalistic philosophy and can be seen, in an obscure way, in the arrangement of the "32 Paths of Wisdom" tradition. Here, Aleph/Air is the eighth Path, Mem/Water is the sixteenth Path, Shin/Fire is the twenty-fourth Path, and Tav/Earth is the thirty-second Path. Thus each Element is a multiplication of the number eight, and this, in an esoteric manner, signifies that the Letter Tav corresponds to the Element Earth.
One can also draw parallels between the four kabbalistic worlds and the four realms of the Hermetic. Thus: Atziluth=Akasha, Briah=Mental, Yetzirah=Astral, and Assiah=Physical. Of course these are rather loose associations, but they are close enough for the purposes of this present work.
The Cosmic Language
Here Bardon clarifies the difference between the cosmic language of kabbalah and that spoken between non-corporeal beings such as the beings of the Elements and of the various planes. This latter, Bardon calls the "metaphorical language". Simply put, it is a matter of quadrapolarity versus monopolarity. Each being speaks with the single pole of its realm, whereas the cosmic language is spoken with all four poles simultaneously. Thus the metaphorical language is not creative throughout the whole cosmos as is the quadrapolar language.
Only a being capable of uniting itself consciously with deity can achieve a quadrapolarity akin to deity, and thus speak creatively. This may be difficult to comprehend, but the key to it is that we are beings which span the entire gambit of creation. We are composed, in the terminology of metaphysics, in the divine image and thus we are able to untie ourselves consciously with the whole of the creation. A being of one of the higher, non-corporeal planes, is not able to encompass the whole of the creation since it cannot truly encompass the physical realm. We are unique in this regard. Which is not to say that we humans are the only corporeal beings capable of this, but rather, that only a corporeal being of a certain basic structure is capable of this. In other words, there are other physical, non-human beings capable of quadrapolar expression.
The Magic-Quabbalistic Word -- Tetragrammaton
Bardon's explanation of the Tetragrammaton ("four-part word") is problematic for a number of reasons. The most glaring of which is his association of the individual Letters to the Elements. Unfortunately it is a bit more complex than Bardon implies. Please bear with me as I try to better explain the significance of the YHVH.
First of all, YHVH is "unpronounceable" because it has never been given vowel points in the Hebrew language. It is the vowel points that make a Hebrew word utterable. [All of the Hebrew Letters are consonants which require separate figures called "vowel points" in order for them to be spoken.] This tradition arose out of the esoteric idea that this is The Name of g-d, and as such, it deserves the utmost respect. Therefore, it is never spoken aloud -- except in kabbalistic speech.
A Jew reading aloud from the Torah will never vocalize YHVH. Instead, the word Adonai (ADNI = "lord") is substituted. Later renderings of YHVH, such as the Christian Jehovah or the modern Yaweh, are merely inaccurate conveniences of intellectual language and have no true power.
The fact that YHVH is not vocalizable presents difficulties when the Torah is translated into another language. Most often the word "lord" or simply "god" is used, but in the Hebrew Torah, the YHVH is very important. YHVH is often combined with other indicative terms such as ADNI or ALHIM or TzBAVTh, and in each case will mean something different.
There are kabbalistic practices, such as those of Abraham Abulafia, which do speak the YHVH by inserting vowel points, but this relies upon quadrapolar, kabbalistic speech and is not a matter of intellectual language.
Now, regarding Bardon's association of the Elements to the Letters of YHVH, his attributions as given are profoundly incorrect. I cannot explain why this is so other than to suggest that the difficulties with the manuscript that the publisher notes may be a contributing factor. I don't imagine that Bardon so misunderstood as to have really believed what is printed in KTQ.
At any rate, Bardon puts the correspondences as follows: Y=Fire, H=Air, Vav=Water, and the final H=Earth. In reality the correspondences should read: Y=Fire, H=Water, V=Air, and the final H=Earth. Yet even this is a twisting of the deeper meaning. It is convenient for the Hermetic, but it is not strictly accurate from a kabbalistic perspective.
In the S.Y., 1:13 it says: "He chose three letters from among the Elementals, in the Mystery of the three Mothers: Aleph, Mem, and Shin. And He set them in His Great Name." Thus, through a few twists of esoteric logic, Y=Shin/Fire, H=Mem/Water, and V=Aleph/Air. As in the Genesis, chapter one, creation story, where there are upper and lower Waters, the H of YHVH serves in two capacities, and at the end it signifies the Element Earth and the nadir of the lower Waters.
From an Hermetic standpoint, the YHVH represents the sequence of the Elements thus: First the two primordial polarities of Fire and Water come into existence -- Y & H. This is followed by the product of the polarization, Air, the mediating influence -- V. The final interaction of Fire and Water, through the continuum of Air, results in coherent manifestation, Earth -- the final H. Since this is 'Form', it is more akin to Water, thus it is represented by the letter H.
When working with the YHVH kabbalistically per Bardon, the Y=Akashic realm, H=Mental realm, V=Astral realm, and the final H=Physical realm.
Thus Bardon uses the YHVH to signify both the quadrapolar concentration pertaining to the four Elements, and the four realms within which the kabbalist must work.
Toward the end of this section, Bardon mentions the Shemhamphorash. For clarity's sake, I should point out that this Name is not composed of 72 letters as Bardon infers. Rather, it is composed of 72 three-letter names, which in combination make up the 72-Fold Name. The shemhamphorash is derived from three lines, containing 72 letters each, found in Exodus and which, with a little trickery, are broken down into 72 three-letter groups. This belongs to the third key and is seldom used in its total as a 216th key conglomerate.
The Mantras / The Tantras
Since these two sections really have nothing to do with kabbalah and since I know little of either, I will not comment upon them.
Here Bardon clarifies the difference between the common magic formulas such as "Abracadabra", which fill many popular books, and those referred to later as kabbalistic formulae. Kabbalistic formulae are nothing other than the Letters spoken in a kabbalistic, quadrapolar manner, either singly or in combination. The lesser magic formulas, are not of the same ilk and their effectiveness, if any, comes from either the entity involved or from a volt built up by repeated use.
Theory of Quabbalistic Mysticism
Bardon makes the point that over the centuries, many mystical writings have been misinterpreted; either taken too literally or not literally enough. This is very much the case with kabbalah and each student must wrestle with the interpretation of these ancient writings. What Bardon offers in the following sections on practice, seems to cut through this confusion and penetrates to the heart of the matter.
I will now diverge a bit from the thread Bardon is developing in this section and will concentrate on a few matters that I think are important to the student of the true kabbalah.
As I mentioned previously, Bardon speaks of a quadrapolar concentration: Fire/Color, Air/Tone, Water/Feeling and Earth/Legality (Number). With this quadrapolar concentration, the kabbalist must work tripolarly: Mentally, Astrally and Physically. In other words, one uses the quadrapolar concentration within each of these three realms, through one's own three bodies, simultaneously. This is similar to the Alchemical philosophy which posits three philosophical principles (Mercury, Sulphur and Salt) and four Elements (Fire, Air, Water and Earth).
When Bardon mentions the uttering of a kabbalistic letter, he speaks of three phases or modes: mental or silent, whispering, and aloud. The first is effective only upon the mental plane and occurs solely within the mind of the kabbalist. The second mode, whispering, occurs aloud but with only the breath and mind, and without any vibration of the vocal cords. This is effective only upon the astral plane. The third mode, aloud, involves mind, breath and vibration of the vocal cords, and is effective upon the physical plane.
When uttering a letter kabbalistically, whether with mind, breath or vibration of the vocal cords, great care must be taken in pronouncing only the letter involved and not the vowels associated with the common pronunciation of the consonants. For example, when we pronounce the letter 'B', we say "bee". This means that we pronounce both the consonant 'B' and the vowel 'E'. In kabbalistic speech however, only the 'B' itself is to be pronounced.
In kabbalah, the consonants are divided into groups according to the way in which they are formed in the mouth:
Dentals: Z, S, Sh, R, Tz
Palatals: G, I, K, Q
Gutturals: A, Ch, H, O
Linguals: D, T, L, N, Th
Labials: B, V, M, P
The vowels, on the other hand, do not fit into any of these groups and are therefore of an entirely different nature, dependent only upon breath and the shape of the mouth, etc.
The best way to understand these consonantal groupings is to carefully practice with each letter in a whispering mode. Once you have mastered the correct pronunciation with breath alone, then integrate the vibration of the vocal cords. As you work with the various letters, you will notice that some are explosive and of short duration, such as the 'K' or the 'T' sounds, and others can be extended, such as the 'S' or the 'R' sounds. The vowels, of course, can also be extended to the limit of the breath.
Each of these features correspond to the meaning of the letters and must be mastered before one begins the actual practice of the quadrapolar concentration. This is especially important when speaking them mentally. As anyone who has done the work of IIH will know, the exact sound must be reproduced in the imagination.
True kabbalistic speech is a very complex matter. First there is the quadrapolar concentration, then the tripolar action, then the placement or projection of the letter into the appropriate realm, and then the actual pronunciation of the letter as noted above. All of which must occur simultaneously.
The question will arise as to where Bardon got his correspondences and why there are other sets of correspondences that seem to contradict these. For example, there is a system of colors used in the Golden Dawn and its derivatives known as the "Scale of colors for the four worlds". These colors have absolutely no relationship to those offered by Bardon yet they are an effective scheme.
Essentially, there are many such valid systems and what Bardon offers here is merely one such. However, it is important to understand that each of these systems nets a different result. Similar to mathematics, different components result in a different sum. For example, the use of the color sky-blue for the letter 'A', combined with the tone 'G', the feeling of 'ease' and the legality of the number 'one', will result in the effect noted by Bardon. But, if one uses instead, the color 'bright pale-yellow' and the tone 'C' for the same letter, a different effect will result.
Ultimately, there is no absolutely correct correspondence. But, there is a correct correspondence for each effect one wishes to incur.
The question will also arise as to how one will know if one has achieved the correct color or the correct tonal value. The key to this is the kabbalist's own intuition. For example, the correct tone, when achieved will be apparent to the practitioner in much the same way as when one tries to match tone with a song on the radio. When you reach harmony, it feels right. Thus it is for the kabbalist when they reach the correct tone or color and the sensation of harmony occurs. In other words, you will know with certainty when you reach this harmony and if you do not feel this certainty, then you must continue practicing and refining until you do.
For kabbalah to truly reflect the infinite nature of the creation, it must be capable of an infinite variety of expression, This occurs not only through combination of the letters but also through the infinite variety possible within each letter. At first the kabbalist learns just one set of correspondences for the letters and then, with long practice, learns a greater variety of expressions for each letter. This, after all, is an art form, not a science.
Bardon reproduces the equivalent of only 21 of the 22 Hebrew letters -- only the Tav (Th sound) is unaccounted for. He also lists two letter sounds that are not, strictly speaking, in accord with the Hebrew alephbet -- Bardon's 'J' and 'U'. Although, Bardon's 'J' may be considered a phonetic aspect of the Hebrew Gimel (in its secondary, soft form) or a symbolic equivalent of the Hebrew Tav; and his 'U' may be the equivalent of one of the Hebrew vowel points. [At a symbolic level, Bardon's 'U' is most likely Chirik and I have indicated it thus in the upcoming charts that you will encounter in my discussion of Step I.]
Bardon lists only 27 letter sounds, but there are many more, all of which have creative value when spoken kabbalistically. But in practice, at least in the beginning, this is unimportant.
Towards the end of this section, Bardon writes the following: "It corresponds with the construction of genuine quabbalah, of true quabbalistic mysticism, that these four basic qualities of the spirit [i.e., the quadrapolar concentration] be first kept apart by the quabbalist to enable him later to project a letter, with its powers and analogies, practically into the spheres of the spirit, the soul and the physical matter within himself and outside of himself, now using all four basic qualities of the spirit." What this rather long sentence means is that the training must by necessity occur in parts and each part must be developed fully and separately before they can be effectively combined. Thus Bardon follows the same pattern as he does in IIH of gradual and balanced training. The student learns the speaking of all 27 letters, integrating one pole at a time, and once each letter is mastered, the four poles of a letter are then combined kabbalistically as the first, single-letter key. Then, once the quadrapolar use of all the single letters is mastered, within the mental, astral and physical realms, the student begins to work with the second, two-letter key, etc.
Here Bardon defines the difference between the preparatory work of kabbalistic mysticism and true kabbalistic magic. By kabbalistic magic he means the actual kabbalistic speech. By kabbalistic mysticism, he means the work of IIH and that of the first five Steps of KTQ. This latter prepares the three bodies of the kabbalist and integrates the universal qualities to such an extent that they may then be used creatively. This process utterly transforms the entire being of the kabbalist and makes of her or him a true reflection of the macrocosm.
Bardon states the following: "To speak quabbalistically means to create something out of nothing." This is not strictly accurate although Bardon does not mean it to be taken absolutely literally. As I hinted previously, only once was "something made from nothing" and that was during the 'original' creation of the macrocosm. The kabbalist however, works within the microcosm and therefore merely reshuffles the already established "something" into new forms. Figuratively speaking, this seems like making something out of nothing, but strictly speaking it is not the same. It is important that the student of kabbalah realize this from the outset otherwise there is danger of self-delusion. The kabbalist is only the agent of Divine Providence, not the fullness of Divine Providence herself.
Near the end of this section Bardon makes the following, somewhat premonitory, statement: "It is reserved to Divine Providence alone to decide whether I shall be allowed to publish systematically any further keys relating to the micro- and macrocosm. This, of course, depends, above all, on the question of how much longer I shall have to remain on this planet."
Shortly after the writing of this book, Bardon was incarcerated for the final time and eventually died in prison. His statement gives us an interesting insight into this amazing person. One thing it tells us is that he declined the available knowledge of his own fate. In other words, he chose to not know his exact future even though such knowledge was readily available to him.
I suspect that what we have of KTQ is a first draft of a manuscript that Bardon had hoped to refine. It certainly has its rough spots, and as Dieter Ruggeberg notes, the original manuscript no longer exists. There are parts of KTQ that, on the surface, contradict other parts -- although these seeming contradictions resolve themselves with further study -- and there are some passages where it seems Bardon tried out several ways of saying a certain thing and thus repeated himself. All of these things would, I presume, have been rectified in a rewriting of the text.
PART II: PRACTICE
Here Bardon once again stresses the fact that the student must have already done the work of IIH, at least through the eighth Step. Without this training as a prerequisite, the student will be wasting a great deal of their time and effort.
One must, at the very least, be able to work in a tripolar manner, i.e., with one's spirit, soul and body, simultaneously and with full consciousness. One must also have achieved the unshakable Elemental equilibrium. One must also have trained their senses (mental astral and physical) to such a degree that they can project any image, sound or feeling with absolute clarity. One must also be able to transfer their consciousness into the Akasha, into the mental realm and into the astral realm.
However, the training through Step Eight of IIH will take the student only so far into kabbalah. The training of the two final Steps of IIH must be mastered before the initiate can use the keys and speak kabbalistically. This is because the true kabbalist must be able to merge their consciousness with divinity.
It is also wise for the serious student to confer with a being of the zone girdling the earth and confirm all of the information provided in KTQ. This can be easily accomplished through mental wandering. Having done this myself, I can honestly say that there are no serious errors in the information provided in Part Two of this book. The only real error is in regard to the anatomical attribution given to the letter 'Z', but this may easily be an oversight common to a first-draft manuscript. However, there are problems with some of what is presented in Part Three. I assume this was intentional and meant as a means of protecting this sacred art. It is up to the serious student to find these things out for themselves.
Bardon mentions the nature of the Step One exercises. These concern the first pole of the quadrapolar concentration; that of Fire or the visualization of color. As Bardon points out, the individual variations in the perception of color is not an issue here. These are not, strictly speaking, physical colors. They are mental colors and as one who has passed through the work of IIH will realize, mental and astral colors are quite different than physical colors. For one, they have a broader spectrum, and second, they express meaning more directly than do physical colors. Thus, when one practices the light blue of 'A', the correct hue and intensity will reveal itself to the student. As I mentioned previously, the student's own intuition will alert them when harmony is achieved. Once again, the importance of a proper training makes itself evident.
To a great extent, the mental perception of color is a function of the magician's maturity. Thus each magician will harmonize with a light blue that is appropriate to their own maturity. Regardless of maturity, it will still be a light blue, but what gets communicated by that color will vary with the level of maturity and this will be reflected in the quality of the light blue one harmonizes with.
The same can be said of the later Steps or other poles of the quadrapolar concentration. Thus the quality of the Air/Tone will depend upon the student's maturity, as will the quality or depth of the Water/Feeling. So too will the depth of understanding of the Earth/Number (legality).
STEP I -- Mysticism of the Letters
Thus begins the actual work with the letters. This Step pertains strictly to the Fire pole of the quadrapolar concentration. As in IIH, Fire relates to the capacity of visualization.
When working with the Fire pole in this Step, the actual speaking of the letter occurs only at a mental level. In other words, you will be neither whispering the letter, nor speaking it aloud. The point here is to bind the color oscillation to the ideation of the letter at a mental level.
Nonetheless, one must still work tripolarly; i.e., with the unified mental, astral and physical bodies. This was discussed in Steps Five and Six of IIH. Briefly, this entails being conscious of the fact that your astral and physical bodies encase your mental body and act as a single unit.
As with the similar exercises of IIH, you must be cautious that you avoid extending your normal breathing rhythm. Each exercise should be accomplished within the span of your normal breath. There should be no inhaling more deeply and no holding of the breath either in or out. If your process of ideation and visualization does not, at first, fit within a single breath, then take "empty" breaths while your ideation catches up to your natural breathing cycle.
The exercises of this Step will be familiar to anyone who has done the work of IIH. There are no new techniques here.
Here are two charts. I will be referring to them frequently throughout the remainder of my commentary. Take a few minutes now to familiarize yourself with them.
You will notice, in the first chart, that at the far left I have listed Bardon's letters and assigned corresponding Hebrew Letters (consonants) and vowels to the most of them. I derived these correspondences based upon the relationship of the later correspondences (such as the "Anatomy" and the Water Pole's "Element/Feeling") to those found in the Sepher Yetzirah (Short Version, per the Ravaad).
The first two letters of the list deserve some explaining. In Hebrew the Letter Aleph, commonly given in English as 'A', is a consonant and is actually silent in the spoken language. Aleph is ALWAYS accompanied by a vowel point and this is what makes it pronounceable. Some have argued that it was originally a consonantal vowel, but in regards to the Hebrew of the kabbalah it is always silent and strictly consonantal.
Each consonant has what is called a "natural vowel". This natural vowel is found in the word for each consonant. Thus with "Aleph", the word, the natural vowel is Kametz ("ah" as in "father").
But you will note that the second letter is Umlaut Ä, to which I have assigned the correspondence of the Hebrew vowel point Kametz (the natural vowel of Aleph). Thus both Aleph ('A') and Umlaut Ä, have the same essential sound in this context. But -- and this pertains to what I said earlier about each letter sound having the possibility of encompassing many different meanings depending upon the correspondences attached to it -- only at the level of their sound and legality do these two letters match. Each of their further correspondences are different. For example, the color of 'A' is light blue, but the color of Umlaut Ä is light brown. This is what differentiates between them, not their basic sound.
To assist you in differentiating between the two in practice, I suggest that you give the 'A' of Aleph the long 'A' sound ("a" as in "same"), and the Umlaut Ä of Kametz, the short "ah" sound proper to it.
A similar distinction belongs to the difference between the 'O' and the Umlaut Ö. To the plain 'O', I have assigned the Hebrew Letter Ayin. This also is usually a silent consonant which usually requires a vowel point to be spoken. At first I was uncertain where to assign the Ayin in Bardon's lettering, but based upon the later correspondences, the 'O' proved to be the correct assignment.
Some of the remaining letter assignments may seem illogical (such as 'C' with Tzaddi or 'W' with Qooph) but each of these was rectified based upon the match between Bardon's later correspondences and those of the Sepher Yetzirah. I will explain each oddity when I come to it.
At this initial stage however, these considerations of which of Bardon's letters match with which of the Hebrew Letters has little relevance other than as a guide to pronunciation or sound. There are no know sources for the color and initial Elemental regions of the Fire pole, within the corpus of Jewish kabbalah. Not until we come to the anatomical correspondences is there substantiating evidence from the kabbalistic literature.
You will note that the Elemental regions of the Fire pole seem to conflict with those of the later Water pole. Do not worry, this is not an error. This is merely due to the difference in level to which these two poles correspond. With the exercises of the Fire pole, the task is to begin the process of integrating these universal qualities into your own microcosm, but when you come to the exercises with the Water pole you will have already made some progress in this task of integration and thus you will be integrating at a new level.
Now, to get down to business. ;-)
The first exercise involves learning how to bind the color oscillation to the letter sound at a purely mental level. Remember, you must work tripolarly, which means that even though this is a purely mental operation, you must perform it with your whole being. Your mental body pervades both your astral and physical bodies simultaneously.
In practice this translates into the fact that you are to fill first the room, then the universe, and then your own body, with the light blue color as you mentally speak the letter 'A'. This simple operation must be mastered both deductively and inductively, similar to the work with the Elements, the Lights, and the Fluids in IIH.
Please note that at this stage you are not to give the color a specific shape. Granted, it does have color and thus, to a certain degree, form, and you do fill the room, the universe and your body with it, thus giving it some degree of shape. But make no mistake, this is different from what comes next.
What comes next, once you have mastered the deductive and inductive method of the above, is that you must now give it a specific shape. The actual shape is up to you, but generally a simple, condensed sphere is the easiest to work with. This gives the color oscillation some degree of astral density. This is an exercise in condensation.
Once you have mastered the above, you can then move on to the next letter and master its color oscillation deductively and inductively, first without regard to shape and then with a specific shape.
In each section, Bardon seems to list the Umlaut vowels in different places, In some cases they follow their whole vowels and in others, he places them at the end of the alphabet. In my charts, I have put them in an order that integrates the Umlaut vowels into a more natural order. It is best, especially with the Fire pole, to follow the order given by Bardon. Thus the letter 'B' would come next in this exercise.
Practice exactly the same regimen with each of the letters in succession. Master each one completely before progressing to the next. This integrates the universal qualities at a specific level of your microcosm and forms the foundation for all further work.
The next series of exercises with the Fire pole consist of invoking the color oscillation into the respective Elemental region of your body. First, as you mentally speak the letter 'A', you must evoke the light blue color directly into your chest. The 'A' in your chest must be condensed until it is almost bursting with the light blue color. Once again, this must not disrupt your normal breath nor may it cause inordinate muscular tension. These things are to be avoided from the outset.
Next, you must work with the 'A' deductively. That is to say, you draw the light blue color from the universe, into your chest region. For example you inhale the 'A' into your chest from the universe by the breath and then through a species of pore breathing. Here, it is not just through the pores of the skin that you inhale the light blue color, but with the entire chest itself. This technique is the same as that learned in the early Steps of IIH.
The next exercise is a bit more complicated. Here you must learn to project the light blue color outward into the universe. At first you fill the universe with the light blue color directly by exhaling it from your chest. Then you must condense it into a specific shape as before, but the difference is that in this instance it comes from your chest and is then condensed externally.
Once you have mastered all of the above with the 'A', you can then move on to the next letter. Each successive letter must be mastered in the same manner as the 'A' by following the exact same regimen of exercises.
Here, Bardon lists the Umlaut Ä as the next in order and the 'B' comes third instead of second. Again, I urge you to follow the order given by Bardon and not that given in my chart. It may not matter much in the end result, but Bardon did this for a reason, so it is wise to follow his lead in any case.
Here Bardon reminds the student that there should be attention paid to the thorough elimination of the letter's color oscillation at the end of each exercise. This is exactly the same advice he gives in IIH during the exercises with the Vital Energy, the Elements and the Fluids, and is based upon the same reasoning. Never neglect this step.
When all of the letters have been mastered in this manner, you will have reached the first discernible level of your kabbalistic practice. This marks a significant integration of the universal qualities of the letters into your microcosm, at least as regards the Fire pole.
The next stage of practice involves the infusion of each organ or body part with the color oscillation of the letters. This still pertains to the Fire pole, but here you are using the letters to directly influence the various aspects of the occult anatomy. In other words, here you are using the letters kabbalistically for the first time.
This is an important step in fully integrating the fire pole of the universal qualities into your own microcosm. This is just as transformative as the similar exercises found in IIH.
The following exercises require two basic things. Number one is a familiarity with human anatomy. In other words, you have to know the precise position of your own organs within your body. Anyone who has done the work of IIH will be familiar with this already and if you have not done the work of IIH then you have, plainly put, no business doing THIS work.
The second requirement here is a facility with the transference of consciousness, for you must be able to transfer your consciousness into each and every organ or body part of your own body. Now, strictly speaking, this is not JUST a physical operation. Granted, you do transfer your consciousness into your physical organs, but it is not only your physical organs that you are impacting and transforming. You are simultaneously transforming the mental and astral components of these organs.
If you compare the first chart with the second chart, you will notice that the "Anatomy" listings of the first chart equate to the "S.Y. Nephesh" listings of the second chart. At first this may be hard to discern, but if you compare the Hebrew Letters associated with Bardon's letters in the first chart, to the Hebrew Letters listed in the second chart, you will clearly see the commonality.
Here is where the similarity between what Bardon presents and that presented in the S.Y., first becomes apparent and important. In kabbalah the "Nephesh" is an important distinction and it does not mean "physical body". The Nephesh, which translates roughly as "breath filled soul", equates more closely to the Hermetic's astral body. Although it also pertains to the mental body, it more clearly points to the connection between the astral anatomy and the subsequent physical anatomy. Thus the present exercise focuses upon the physical organs and not upon the astral organs, but by doing so, the astral and mental organs are simultaneously effected.
The exercise begins with the letter 'A' and its light blue color oscillation. First you must transfer your consciousness, this time into just your lungs instead of your entire chest region. Then you must inhale the light blue color of 'A' from within your lungs. Which is to say, that you are not outside your lungs, breathing the light blue color into them, but rather, you are within your lungs themselves, drawing the light blue color into them from the outside. At first, this is done with the breath and then it is done through the sort of pore breathing I mentioned previously; i.e., with the whole body of the lungs themselves.
At first this is a fairly passive accumulation but once this has been mastered, you must then work at condensing the light blue color until it reaches a very dynamic state.
You must always remember that it is from within the organ itself that you are to work. This is different from the preceding exercise with the Elemental regions since in that exercise there is no actual transference of consciousness. In most cases, the Elemental Region has no direct relationship with the organ of the occult anatomy.
Once you have thoroughly mastered this exercise with the letter 'A', then you may proceed to the remaining letters, one at a time, and in the order given.
Since Bardon's letters match in an often odd manner to the Hebrew Letters, I will speak of each odd one in the order given by Bardon.
A = This corresponds to the Hebrew Letter Aleph. In the S.Y. and elsewhere, Aleph is always associated with the Element Air and thus, with the chest. Bardon simply extends this analogy to the lungs.
Ä = Here I have given the association of the vowel point Kametz. There are no anatomical associations to the vowel points given in the S.Y..
C = Here I have given Tzaddi as the Hebrew Letter. Though they don't match in a strictly phonetic sense, at least in American English [however, the letter 'C' is used in the phonetic 'tz' sense in the word "czar"], they do match in so far as their anatomical and Elemental correspondences. The designation "stomach" in the S.Y. is problematic due to the fact that the Hebrew word actually refers to an organ found in a cow. But, this has been determined by past sages to refer to the human stomach nonetheless.
E = I have given this letter the association of the Hebrew vowel point Tzere. Again there are no anatomical associations given for the vowel points in the S.Y..
F = Here I have associated the Hebrew letter Vav. If you have practiced the pronunciation of the letters as I suggested, you will see how these two sounds, the 'f' and the 'v', are identical. The only distinction is that the 'f' is pronounced only by the breath, and the 'v' with vibration of the vocal cords.
H = The S.Y. gives "right hand" instead of "right arm". There is no essential difference and this is a pattern Bardon follows -- hand becomes arm for Bardon and foot becomes leg.
Ch = Cheth has a guttural sound and is not formed at the teeth like the 'ch' sound is in English. Again, Bardon gives left leg and the S.Y. gives left foot.
I = This is the Hebrew Letter Yod. Bardon sometimes uses 'J' when he means to indicate Yod (such as in the Tetragrammaton) and this causes some confusion.
J = This is not the Hebrew Letter Yod. In Hebrew there is no direct phonetic corollary to this sound except possibly in the soft form of the Letter Gimel. But generally, the soft forms of the double, planetary Letters are not given a separate set of correspondences.
In terms of its Water pole correspondence (Water / Cold) and of its Earth pole correspondence (the legality of #400), it relates to the Hebrew Tav. I will mention more in this regard further on.
However, Tav does not relate directly to what Bardon gives as the anatomical correspondence. In the S.Y., Tav is assigned the Mouth, but Bardon gives Diaphragm (for 'J'). Yet if you make an esoteric leap of irrational logic, then it is fairly easy to relate these two since the diaphragm controls the breath necessary for the vibration of the vocal cords during speech, hence mouth.
K = The 'k' sound has two corollaries in Hebrew: the Kaph and the Qooph. The Kaph is given here for two reasons, one of which I will speak of further on and the second of which pertains to the match in anatomical and Elemental correspondences.
L = In the S.Y., Lamed is associated with the Liver and not the Spleen. For some reason Bardon switches the associations between Lamed and Nun. Whatever his reasoning, it works!
M = In the S.Y., Mem is given the association "Womb". In essence this matches Bardon's "hollow of the abdomen".
O = I have associated the Hebrew Letter Ayin here for two reasons. Number one, the Ayin is frequently given the "oy" sound and this is reasonably close to the 'O' sound. Secondly, the correspondences for Ayin found in the S.Y. match those attributed by Bardon to the 'O'.
Here again there is some confusion in the S.Y. in that the text refers to an organ of a cow. But this is equivalent to the human Esophagus, and the Esophagus is, for all intents and purposes, equivalent to Bardon's Pharynx.
S = Once again, the S.Y. uses a word appropriate to the anatomy of a cow. Many different interpretations of this have arisen over time but the one that makes the greatest sense to me, and which has proven itself in practice, is the gall bladder, to which Bardon agrees.
Sh = In the S.Y., Shin is the "Mother Letter" of the pristine Element Fire. In all of the Hebrew images of the Tree of Life, Shin is always the uppermost of the three horizontal paths, and is consistently associated with the head in human anatomy. Here Bardon gives brain instead of merely head, and this is, in fact, closer to the true significance of Shin than head.
T = Based upon the anatomical and Elemental correspondences, this is definitely Teth and not Tav. In Bardon's system of letters there is no phonetic equivalent to the Hebrew Letter Tav.
U = There is no direct equivalent of this letter among the Hebrew vowel points, so I have not assigned one. Nevertheless, I believe, based upon practice, that this is the equivalent of the vowel point Chirik, at least so far as its correspondences are concerned. In the case of each vowel point equivalent, the Water pole Elemental association involves the Akasha, and this is no exception.
W = This is perhaps the oddest attribution and the most difficult to comprehend. Bardon comments that the 'Q' sound is an equivalent of the 'K' and so he does not list it as a usable letter. But, he does list the 'W' which has no Hebrew equivalent. The clue is found in his particular spelling of "Quabbalah". One cannot pronounce this without inserting the 'w' sound, yet this is clearly not how is spoken in the Hebrew language. Thus for Bardon, the 'Q' infers the 'W'. In practice, the 'K' or Kaph sound is the equivalent of the Qooph, but the correspondences are quite different. Bardon's attributions for the 'W' match those listed in the S.Y. for the Qooph.
The anatomical attribute of Intestines is again one of those words in the S.Y. that actually describes an organ found in a cow. Consensus seems to lean toward this signifying the intestines in human anatomy and since this matches what Bardon gives, and has proven itself in practice, I feel quite comfortable with this rather odd seeming assignment of Qooph to Bardon's 'W'.
Z = The Hebrew Letter Zayin clearly matches with Bardon's 'Z'. However, Bardon lists "Heart" as the anatomical corollary. This is an error. I presume it is one of those little errors that pop up in any first-draft of a manuscript. Or, it could be a problem in the publication. Either way, the correct correspondence is the "Right Leg". This attribute is missing otherwise in Bardon's list, whereas "Heart" is already given to the 'Y/Umlaut U'.
At the end of the exercises of this Step, you will have mastered the Fire pole of the quadrapolar concentration, in its solitary form. As I said before, this Step will completely transform you at every level of your being. But this is not the final transformation along the way to becoming a true kabbalist.
STEP II -- Quabbalistic Incantation
This Step concerns the second, Air pole of the quadrapolar concentration. As the Element Air corresponds to the acoustic sense, these exercises pertain to the musical note or tone appropriate to each letter.
There are those who question Bardon's assignment of notes to the letters. It is, of course, best if you check with a being of the zone girdling the earth and verify the note given for yourself. All I can say is that in my own practice I find Bardon's assignations sufficient.
Bardon uses a scale composed of 10 notes, some of which belong to more than a single letter. This matches with the Jewish tradition, but unfortunately there no longer remains any written text that explicitly states which note goes with what letter. Many hints remain but these are in a very obscure symbolic language and so there is uncertainty.
In Hebrew kabbalistic practice, there are not only notes associated with each letter (by way of the vowel points) but also a specific movement that accompanies each vowel's pronunciation. This however is not a part of the kabbalistic practice suggested by Bardon, but it does make for an interesting adjunct if you eventually wish to explore this additional dimension of kabbalistic utterance.
As Bardon points out, the tonal quality does not, in practice, have to be exact. It helps if you have access to a tuning fork or similar musical aid, but it is not strictly a necessity. Just take your natural highest note and your lowest comfortable note, and divide between them accordingly until you end up with ten distinct notes. This will suffice. However, if your notes are exactly pure and accurate, all the better. If nothing else, this will increase your confidence.
With the Air pole, the physical pronunciation (whispering and vocal vibration) becomes important and you will need to integrate the three modes into your practice. Begin working only with the mental utterance, reproducing the specific note in your mind as in the IIH exercises with the auditory concentration.
Then proceed to master the same through the whispering (breath only) mode of utterance. With whispering it is difficult to produce a variation of tone since this is normally a function of the vibration of our vocal cords. Nonetheless, I urge you to experiment with the shaping of your mouth as you whisper the letters. As anyone who has studied the vocal art of singing can inform you, the shaping of the mouth is important in the reproduction of tone. So, your tones may ultimately display only subtle differences in the whispering mode, but it is well worth the effort to learn the difference. This will also help guide you to the correct vocal pronunciation of the letter sounds. At any rate, when whispering the tonal quality is expressed primarily at a mental level.
Once the whisper mode has been mastered, you should begin working with the vibration of your vocal cords. This requires the reproduction of the correct mental tone, the issuance of breath as in whispering and the appropriate vibration of the vocal cords. In other words this is a combination of modes. Simply speaking the letters aloud will not have the same effect as uttering them mentally and with the breath simultaneously. This tripolarity of action is what makes them kabbalistically effective upon the physical plane.
In short, the solitary mental utterance is directly effective upon the mental plane. The whispering mode which combines the mental utterance and the breath utterance, is directly effective upon the astral plane. And the vocal utterance, which combines the previous two modes with the vibration of the vocal cords, is directly effective upon the physical plane.
The exercises of Step II are meant to bond together the color oscillation of the Fire pole and that of the tonal oscillation of the Air pole. The procedure is similar to that of the Fire pole in that you must master each letter's color and tone, both deductively and inductively, in the whole body, the Elemental regions of the body, and in the specific organs of the body. You must be able to give it shape and density in the same manner as you did with the color oscillation alone.
Bardon instructs that you may either master each letter completely, in all these ways, in succession; or you may master each separate task with all of the letters in succession. In other words, you can either master the 'A' in the whole body, and then the 'B' in the whole body, etc., and the move on to mastering the 'A' in the Elemental region, and then 'B' in the Elemental Region, etc. Or, you can master 'A' in the whole body, then in the Elemental region, then in the organ, and then move on the 'B'. Either way suffices though I prefer to follow the same pattern as the Fire pole exercises.
When the tonal oscillation has been fully integrated with the color oscillation within your microcosm, you will have come one more step toward your goal of a true kabbalistic utterance. This act will once again completely transform your whole being. Although this time the transformation may not seem as dramatic as was the Fire pole transformation.
The integration of each of the four poles obliterates all of the dross from your being. It's as if you are within the Alchemist's crucible, being purged by the fire and transformed into the purest Gold.
STEP III -- Aqua Vitae Quabbalisticae
This Step introduces the third pole of the quadrapolar concentration, namely that of Water and sensation or feeling. You will note that for the most part, the Elemental attributions of this pole do not match up with the Elemental regions of the Fire pole. There are very valid esoteric reasons for this, the primary of which is that these two poles represent very different aspects of the universe. Fire and Water are, after all, polar opposites. So please do not fret over this seeming inconsistency for it is no inconsistency at all.
The Elemental correspondences here are of an interesting derivation and they match exactly the S.Y. in all but one case (and there it is a tangential match). All three Hebrew Mother Letters, A-M-Sh (which correspond to the three pure, kabbalistic Elements), match exactly their S.Y. attributes. Five of the planetary Letters, B-D-K-P-R, match to the Elemental significance of their zodiacal signs of rulership. The Letter G (Gimel) which corresponds in the S.Y. to Jupiter (per Ravaad), is not associated with the sign of its rulership, but with the sign and Element of its exaltation. The Tav (Moon) has, as I mentioned previously, no phonetic corollary in Bardon's letter system. However, if one takes it as the symbolic equivalent of Bardon's 'J', then the Elemental correspondence matches the zodiacal rulership of the Moon. And Bardon's equivalents of the twelve zodiacal Hebrew Letters (H, V, Z, Ch, T, I, L, N, S, O, Tz, Q) match with their sign's Element.
The zodiacal and planetary correspondences for the Hebrew Letters are found in the second chart, under the heading "S.Y. Eternity". In the S.Y., the word for "eternity" is "Olam". This word is often translated as "Universe" but in my opinion this is an oversimplification of its essential meaning. Literally, it translates as "the whole span of time" or "eternity". This is laid in contrast with the word commonly translated as "year" which means literally, "the measured passage of time". The attributes designated by "eternity" concern the universal attributes symbolized by the seven philosophical planets, the Elements and the zodiacal signs. The attributes designated by "year", on the other hand, pertain to the universal qualities of the seven days of creation, the seasons, and the lunations or months. These are meant as levels of the same philosophical thing and do not pertain to their physical corollaries.
With the Water pole you will find that some of the letters pertain to more than a single Elemental feeling. The only consonant that has this double attribute is 'C' or Tzaddi (Fire and Air). Three of the vowels (Umlaut Ä, Umlaut Ö, and Y/Umlaut Ü) combine Akasha and Earth. The Akasha as a solitary factor pertains to the remaining two vowels ( 'E' and 'U').
The practice of the integration of the Water pole is similar to that of the Air pole except that this time there is the addition of the appropriate feeling. Thus with the letter 'A', you must utter it with the color oscillation of light blue, the tonal oscillation of G, and the feeling oscillation of ease, all at the same time. However there is a difference between the exercises of this Step and the last two in that you do not yet work with the Elemental regions nor the organs of the body. In other words, you will be working only with the body as a whole and with the external space and universe.
Here it is good to master each letter completely (i.e., deductively and inductively, in the whole body, the room and the universe) before moving on to the next letter. Likewise, it is wise to follow the sequence given by Bardon.
Once this pole has been mastered with all of the letters in the manner given above, you are then prepared for the next Step which also pertains to the Water pole. The next Step however, employs the letters tripolarly and in a kabbalistic manner, similar to how you used them monopolarly and bipolarly within your organs in order to transform your being. Only in the next Step you transform yourself by way of the Water pole's Elemental regions instead by way of the organs.
In the following I will be noting the rationale behind the Water pole's Elemental attributions. I will go through the consonants one by one. I will not address the vowels since there are no S.Y. corollaries given for these.
A = Aleph, the Mother Letter of Air.
B = Beth / Saturn, which rules Capricorn, an Earth sign.
C = Tzaddi / Aquarius, an Air sign.
D = Daleth / Mars, which rules Aries, a Fire sign.
F = Vav / Taurus, an Earth sign.
G = Gimel / Jupiter, which is exalted in Cancer, a Water sign.
H = Heh / Aries, a Fire sign.
Ch = Cheth / Cancer, a Water sign.
I = Yod / Virgo, an Earth sign.
J = No Hebrew phonetic corollary, but in practice this equates symbolically to the attributes of Tav. Therefore, J = Tav / Moon, which rules Cancer, a Water sign.
K = Kaph / Sun, which rules Leo, a Fire sign.
L = Lamed / Libra, an Air sign.
M = Mem, the Mother Letter of Water.
N = Nun / Scorpio, a Water sign.
O = Ayin / Capricorn, an Earth sign.
P = Peh / Venus, which rules Taurus, an Earth sign.
R = Resh / Mercury, which rules Virgo, an Earth sign. [According to Dieter Ruggeberg, the correspondence for 'R' is missing from the manuscript, but if one checks with the next Step you will find the proper attribution.]
S = Samekh / Sagittarius, a Fire sign.
Sh = Shin, the Mother Letter of Fire.
T = Teth / Leo, a Fire sign.
W = Qooph / Pisces, a Water sign.
Z = Zayin / Gemini, an Air sign.
STEP IV -- Quabbalisticae Elementorum
With the last Step you learned the rudiments of the final pole of the three-sense concentration. These are the first three poles of the quadrapolar concentration, the fourth pole not being a type of sensory concentration, per se (the fourth, Earth pole is covered in the next Step).
Yet this Step is, in many ways, an extension of the last. It seeks to integrate the three-sense concentration into your microcosm and transform you yet again. That Bardon placed this Step separate from the last should give you some indication of its importance.
This is the transformational work of the Water pole. It transforms in a manner similar to the initial transformation of the Fire pole (i.e., by way of the Elemental regions), but here, the Elemental regions are of a different nature. If you have not gone through the transformation of the Fire and Air poles, then the transformation of the Water pole will not take.
The work of this Step is similar to the work with the Elements in the regions of the body as given in Step Four of IIH. Here, this Elemental balance is achieved kabbalistically instead of with the accumulation of the Elements directly. If the IIH balancing work has not been accomplished then this work here will not only be impossible, but actually quite dangerous to your well-being.
The work of this Step can be extended further than Bardon indicates. You can, once you have mastered the rudiments, treat it in a similar manner as the IIH exercise of Elemental balancing and fill each region with a letter and retain it until all four regions are similarly filled. This is even more balancing than the IIH exercise. You can even take it so far as to invoke all of the letters relevant to each region and retain them. This gives an entirely new dimension to the exercise, but should not be attempted until such time as this Step is completely mastered. Of course, at the end of each exercise the letters should be dismissed and one should never walk around with the letters filling the Elemental regions for prolonged periods of time.
In the IIH, Step Four exercise, the student begins with the Earth Element and works upwards through the regions, ending with Fire. In other words, the student begins with the solid foundation and layers ever more ephemeral substances upon this until the Fire itself dances at the top, firmly anchored by what lies below it.
The exercises here however, approach this from the opposite angle, by beginning with the Fire region and working downward. This effects a sort of descending condensation instead of an ascending liberation. Without having first achieved the transformation that the ascent brings, the descendant transformation is impossible, for it has nothing to descend into.
Kabbalistic creation is essentially a downward matter of the descent of force into form. The exercises of this particular Step are crucial to the learning of this sort of creative descent. They also establish a certain structure within your own microcosm that is essential to the ability to create in a kabbalistic manner.
Yet even with the completion of this Step you will not possess all of the abilities necessary to work with the first key, since this is only 3/4 of the quadrapolar concentration necessary for this work.
Unlike the Fire pole exercises with the Elemental regions, this exercise requires the transference of consciousness. In other words, here you must transfer your consciousness to the relevant region and perform your exercise from there. This is not an exercise where your consciousness fills your whole body and you condense the letter and direct it to flow into the relevant region.
Unlike the exercises with the bodily organs, you are not to go through the letters in an alphabetical order. The reason for going in alphabetic order instead of working through the organs in descending order, was to avoid inducing too great a congestion of the blood in the areas of your body. But that is not an issue with this Step's exercises. You are not to work with the three-sense concentration in your individual organs -- this is not safe.
The exercises of this Step begin in the Fire region -- the head. Each of the letters associated with the Fire region are to be mastered, one at a time, before moving on to the next, Air region, etc. In the four true Elemental regions, you must work both deductively and inductively, but in the Akasha region, you work in neither manner since the Akasha cannot be accumulated.
The order of work is not alphabetic even within the Elemental group of letters. Bardon gives a very specific order of the letters that must be followed exactly. Thus the order for the head region is: Sh, S, H, D, K, T.
Please note in Bardon's explanation of this region's letters that he makes reference to the difference in each letter's sound: 'S' and 'Sh' as "hissing sounds"; 'H' as "hot breath"; 'D' as "expansive"; and both 'K' and 'T' as "explosive". These instruction relate directly to the nature of how these letter sounds are formed mentally and in the mouth.
Each letter must be mastered in the mind, the breath, and the vocal vibration modes. Also each letter must be uttered with the three-sense concentration and in the manner of the tripolar action (mentally, astrally and physically, simultaneously). Thus the first letter of the Fire region, 'Sh" must be pronounced in its color oscillation (blazing red), its tonal oscillation (C), and its feeling oscillation (heat), simultaneously -- at first in the mind only, then whispering, and finally, aloud.
This is, as you can imagine, a difficult operation when you consider the fact that you're also tossing in the factor of a transference of consciousness.
To further complicate things, Bardon reminds the student that the tree-sense concentration must be maintained during the dismissal of the letter that has been invoked. I would add to that this concentration must be maintained throughout the entirety of the operation, as must the tripolar action. If, during the operation, you lose track of this double triplicity or of your transferal of consciousness, then you must at any cost reestablish it before you dismiss the letter. Otherwise, you will not completely dismiss the letter and will, in this way, cause yourself harm.
When all the letters of the Fire region have been mastered, then you may move on to the Air region or Chest. The order of letters in this region are: A, Z, L. Remember, you must master each individual letter completely, in all three modes, before progressing to the next.
When the Air region has been mastered, then you begin with the Water or Abdominal region. The order in this region is: M, N, W, J, Ch, G.
Next follows the Earth region from the coccyx down to the tips of the toes. The order here is: I, O, F, R, B, P.
Next follows a double region -- the Fire and the Air regions, conjoined. This means that you must transfer your consciousness into the region from the top of your head, down to the bottom of your chest. Thus the feeling is one of heat and ease joined together -- you do not work with one Elemental feeling and then the other. The letter for this double-region is 'C. This particular letter sound is an explosive (like the 'T') that hisses (like the 'Z').
The next region is that of the Akasha, specifically the plexus. This however is a bit of a misstatement since in reality what is meant is the "depth point" described in Step Five of IIH. While the plexus is the physical corollary of this depth point, it is the true depth point to which you must transfer you consciousness. If you merely transfer your consciousness into the region of your plexus, you will not be able to achieve the true manifestation of these important letters. Once you transfer your consciousness to your depth point, you fill your whole body with the relevant letter.
These specific letters are very important. Each of Bardon's letters that pertain to the Akasha are vowels and correspond to the Hebrew vowel points. Here, as with the Hebrew language itself, the vowels are what tie the consonants together and empower them for true kabbalistic speech. In other words, without the Akasha you attain nothing. This does not mean that with each kabbalistic utterance you must adjoin a vowel, for in many subtle, esoteric (i.e., unexplainable) ways the vowels are implied in the utterance of a letter. What I mean to say here is that without the true integration of these Akashic vowels into your own microcosm, true kabbalistic speech is impossible.
The letters of this (solitary) Akasha region are 'U' and 'E'. They both have Akashic colors. The 'U' is a shiny black that reflects a violet tinged light, while the 'E' is so dark a violet as to be almost black in appearance. The main difference is that the 'E' is an absorptive black and the 'U' is reflective. In this region they both exhibit a violet nature.
The final three letters are bipolar in that they pertain to both the Akasha and the Earth Element. Essentially, they are manifest qualities of the Akasha. The trick with these letters is to once again transfer your consciousness to your depth point, but this time you will fill only the Earth region with the letter. You will not be able to accumulate these either and you must work with them in the same manner as the solitary Akasha letters. The letters of this region are the three umlauts: Umlaut Ö, Umlaut Ü (Y), and Umlaut Ä.
Once you have completely mastered each of the 27 letters, you may then experiment with the Elemental balancing I suggested earlier. I recommend you employ the first letter of each region (Sh, A, M, I), then both of the solitary Akashic vowels (U & E), and finally, the dual Akasha/Earth Umlaut Ä. Once all seven letters are formed within you, retain them for a few seconds and then thoroughly dismiss them in their reverse order.
At the close of this Step Bardon states: "These exercises make man achieve the perfect consciousness of the micro- and macrocosm, which in the Orient is often called the 'nirvi-kalpa-samadhi'." This is very much the case but I must say that this alone does not empower one to use the first key in a truly kabbalistic manner. What lacks here is the fourth pole of the quadrapolar concentration so essential to kabbalistic utterance. This fourth, Earth pole is the subject of the next Step, at the end of which one will be completely fit for the practice of the first key.
STEP V -- The Ten Quabbalistic Keys
Although Bardon does not explicitly state it anywhere in KTQ, this Step concerns the fourth, Earth pole of the quadrapolar concentration. The first three poles are easily related to the senses but the fourth pole is not. Yet this is a sense, just not a sense in normal terms. Or, more accurately phrased, this must become a sense.
The fourth pole concerns the perception of the universal legality as expressed by number. Each of the universal ideas upon which the creation is founded can be expressed by the numbers 1 through 10. Thus the attainment of this final pole of the quadrapolar concentration involves the integration of these numbered ideas into one's own microcosm to such as degree that one can immediately perceive the universal ideation underlying each idea, event and thing.
Bardon saves this fourth pole till Step Five of KTQ because it pertains to the Earth Element. In other words it is what ties the other poles together as is the nature of the Earth Element. Even so, the learning of the ten numbers should actually start years prior to picking up KTQ. The reason is that it literally takes years to effectively integrate the numbers into one's perspective to a sufficient degree for kabbalistic speech.
It is difficult to explain the manner in which the integration of these numbers is so important. I suppose the simplest way to put it is that the numbers give structure. From this structure, all else flows and multiplies itself unto infinity. No matter how complex a thing may be in its final, most dense manifestation, it can still be resolved back to its original idea or number. By doing this with a thing or an idea, you connect yourself with the universal structure and thereby gain access to a specific level of influence over the created thing.
Without this cognizance of the universal ideas represented by the numbers, there is no inner connection to the essential structure and thus no possibility of true kabbalistic speech. To utter a letter without cognizance of the ideation underlying it is not true kabbalistic utterance and will have little effect.
Kabbalistic numbers have absolutely no relationship to the currently popular fad of numerology. These numbers are not used for mantic purposes, instead they are like a filing cabinet where you categorize things by number. In other words, they are analytical tools for increasing one's understanding.
In the Hebrew kabbalah, the science of the relationships of numbers is called "gematria". It is not absolutely necessary that you learn this science (but it doesn't hurt) since this mostly concerns the analysis of Hebrew words. Much of what passes for gematria is actually just a mental exercise of a dubious nature.
What is important is that you inculcate these ten universal principles into your consciousness and build a clear structure with them. They must become not only conscious, but also subconscious aspects of your own mentation.
Bardon repeatedly states that it is not necessary to study the Jewish kabbalistic cosmology, but here I must respectfully disagree, especially since so much of Bardon's quabbalah is based upon the Sepher Yetzirah. I think this is an especially wise study when it comes to the ten numbers and the universal structure they imply. So I personally recommend to you that you study kabbalah, and furthermore, that you begin your study early on as it takes years to grasp even the rudiments at a level suitable for kabbalistic utterance.
Bardon offers a brief outline of the significance of each of the numbers from 1 through 10. This certainly does not suffice for practical application and will undoubtedly require further study on your part. One of the best tools for gaining an understanding of the numbers is a small ditty provided decades ago by Paul Foster Case in his book titled "The Tarot". This is a series of 11 brief statements pertaining to the numbers zero through ten, titled "The Pattern on the Trestleboard". [A trestleboard is a table upon which the mason would put the architectural plans for the structure being constructed.]
Here, Case lists eleven numbers instead of just ten. This is handy since the canticle for zero helps one to understand the significance of the multiples of ten. In other words, if you combine the meaning of 'zero' with the meaning of 'one' you receive the deeper significance of 'ten'. However, the ancient way of signifying numerical values in the Hebrew system does not include the use of the zero and thus the value 'zero' is not a part of kabbalistic speech -- zero is not considered to be one of the universal ideas pertinent to the manifest creation.
At any rate, here is the text of "The Pattern on the Trestleboard":
THIS IS TRUTH ABOUT THE SELF
0. All the power that ever was or will be is here now.
1. I am a center of expression for the Primal Will-to-Good which eternally creates and sustains the universe.
2. Through me its unfailing Wisdom takes form in thought and word.
3. Filled with Understanding of its perfect law, I am guided, moment by moment, along the path of liberation.
4. From the exhaustless riches of its Limitless Substance, I draw all things needful, both spiritual and material.
5. I recognize the manifestation of the undeviating Justice in all the circumstances of my life.
6. In all things, great and small, I see the Beauty of the divine expression.
7. Living from that Will, supported by its unfailing Wisdom and Understanding, mine is the Victorious Life.
8. I look forward with confidence to the perfect realization of the Eternal Splendor of the Limitless Light.
9. In thought and word and deed, I rest my life, from day to day, upon the sure Foundation of Eternal Being.
10. The Kingdom of Spirit is embodied in my flesh.
I recommend that you commit these eleven statements to memory. Take them one at a time and over a span of several days build each one into your memory. Once this is achieved and you can recite the eleven statements by heart, then begin meditating upon each one. When you are faced with a certain task or problem, go through these eleven statements and contemplate their significance in regard to your concern. This will not only inculcate them more deeply into your mind, it will also provide you with significant insights into your concern.
The numbers relate to the Sephirot of the kabbalah thus:
0 = Ain Soph Aur = "Limitless Light"
1 = Kether = "Crown"
2 = Chokmah = "Wisdom"
3 = Binah = "Understanding"
4 = Gedulah = "Mercy" or "Loving Kindness"
5 = Geburah = "Severity" or "Justice"
6 = Tiphareth = "Beauty"
7 = Netzach = "Victory"
8 = Hod = "Splendor"
9 = Yesod = "Foundation"
10 = Malkuth = "Kingdom" (or, just as easily, "Queendom")
Here now is Figure #1 which is a diagram of the basic structure of the kabbalistic Tree of Life, representing the universal structure. This shows the essential relationship of each number to the others. While there are at least three major versions of the Tree of Life in the Jewish mystical tradition, this is the one most pertinent to the work of KTQ.
The next important issue in regard to the numbers is the relationship of the letters to the numbers. Bardon gives no information in this regard. However, since he adheres so closely to the S. Y. it is possible to draw the numbers from their Hebrew corollaries. These are the numbers I use in my own practice and I will vouch for their accuracy. The one difficulty with this approach is that in the Hebrew the vowel points are not clearly associated with number. At a practical level, they generally equate to the number 'zero' (which is to say that they encompass all ten of the universal ideas), but on occasion it is necessary to associate them with the Sephirot and thus one of the whole numbers.
One such system is as follows:
Ä = Kametz = Kether = 1
E = Tzere = Binah = 3
Ö = Cholam = Tiphareth = 6
U = Chirik = Netzach = 7
Y, Ü = Shurek = Yesod = 9
Thus the numerical value of Bardon's letters are as follows:
A = 1
Ä = 0 or 1
B = 2
C = 90
D = 4
E = 0 or 3
F = 6
G = 3
H = 5
Ch = 8
I = 10
J = 400 [This is the legality of the Hebrew Letter Tav. In practice, I find that this is proper.]
K = 20
L = 30
M = 40
N = 50
O = 70
Ö = 0 or 6
P = 80
R = 200
S = 60
Sh = 300
T = 9
U = 0 or 7
W = 100
Y, Ü = 0 or 9
Z = 7
As Bardon points out, single digit numbers (1 through 9) represent mental effects, double digit numbers represent astral effects, and triple digit numbers represent material effects. Yet they can all be resolved into one of the simple numbers by adding their digits and thus one finds their root ideation in its purest form.
But please understand that just because a numerical value is in the two and three digit range does not mean that they are ineffective at higher levels. The number of digits in the numerical value simply points out the level at which they are most effective or most significant. For example, the letter 'R' which has a value of 200, is quite effective upon the mental and astral planes, but is most effective upon the material plane in a manner reflective of its reduced number '2'.
I will warn you now that if you seek a direct linear and logical connection between the numbers as represented by the letters and that of the primal ideas represented by the Sephirot, then you will become quite frustrated in short order. This is a very complicated matter and rational logic applies to only a small degree. To truly penetrate to the depth of the relationship between these two you must set aside rational logic and reach into the realm of intuition and inspiration.
Essentially, what interferes with a rational comprehension of this is the fact that the letters represent a different level or aspect or manner of creation than the Sephirot. This is impossible for me to elucidate in this commentary so all I will be able to do by way of assisting your comprehension is to offer the following Figure #2.
This figure takes some explaining. Figure #2 depicts three Tree of Life images drawn from the Jewish tradition. These are not the same as the common Western Hermetic Tree of Life popularized by the Golden Dawn and its derivatives.
Each Tree is composed of 10 numbered Sephirot and 22 paths connecting the Sephirot which are attributed to the Hebrew Letters. The lettered paths are given in black with their respective letters in Bardon's English characters (thus for example, the Hebrew Letter 'Tzaddi' is given as Bardon's 'C'). Behind these lettered paths, drawn in white, are also some connections between the Sephirot that are not associated with the letters. These are called the "Hidden" or "Secret" paths. In the Tree on the left, there are 14 of these Hidden paths and in the other two Trees there are 16.
The first Tree (on the left) comes from the Gra's (Rabbi Eliahu, Goan of Vilna) 18th century commentary on the S. Y.. Though this image comes to us from very late in the evolution of kabbalah, I think it is THE most descriptive image of the Tree as it is described in the S.Y.. As you will see, it has a more pristine, archetypal shape than the other two. By my way of thinking, it refers to how the Tree appears within the kabbalistic world of Briah ("Creation"). The parts of the S.Y. that refer specifically to the structure of the Tree result in this specific image of the Tree as it exists within the realm of Briah. In practice, this is the structure best used if you are working within the mental realm and wish to cause an effect there.
The second or middle image of the Tree is what I call the "Hebrew Tree". This is the image of the Tree used throughout most of the evolution of kabbalah. It predates the Ari Tree and is the one that he "rectified" so that it would be in accord with the Zohar. Here you will notice that there is now a greater amount of space between the #1 and the #6 and that the #10 is less integrated into the whole. This represents the appearance of the Tree within the kabbalistic world of Yetzirah ("Formation"). This is the Tree structure I recommend for work within the astral realm.
The third image to the right is the Ari's (Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, late 16th century) image of the Tree. This is the epitome of Lurianic kabbalah which is reflective of the Zohar. Here again, there is a further disconnection of Malkuth and the lettered paths take on new shape. In practice, I use this Tree structure for work within the material realm as it refers most clearly to the kabbalistic realm of Assiah ("Making").
The reason I offer these three images of the Tree to you is because they very accurately reflect the relationship between the ten numbers and the manner in which the letters mix and express the universal ideas. Most commonly, the Hidden paths are not depicted when the Tree image is given. But I have included them here because they are significant clues as to how the numbers relate to one another. That these paths are not given letters is significant as they are not "spoken". In other words, they are a matter of personal experience and are unique to each individual, thus they cannot be described by universal symbols such as number and letter.
The Tree of Life image is the structure you must inculcate into your three bodies, most especially into your mental and astral bodies, in order to be a truly effective kabbalist. A very effective method for doing this is to visualize the Tree within your mental and astral bodies. For example, with your eyes closed, sense the size and shape of your mental body, and then back into the graphic image of the Gra Tree. This places Chokmah at your left temple and Binah at your right, etc. Build your visualization out of light, first establishing the ten Sephirot and then adding the paths, both lettered and unlettered. As your understanding of the Tree's components deepens, bind these to your visualization so that each part has significance and not just form.
The same can be done with the astral body and the Hebrew Tree, and with the physical body and the Ari Tree. Eventually, this structure will completely permeate your being and your ability to utter kabbalistically in accordance with the universal legality will become automatic.
There also exist other good techniques for penetrating to the deeper meaning of the numbers and letters. One good technique comes from the Western Hermetic tradition and is know as sphere- and pathworking. This is a process of mental and/or astral wandering of the Sephirot and Paths. Since there are plenty of books already in print which describe this practice in detail, I will not write further about it here.
Unfortunately, Bardon does not explain how one is to incorporate number into the quadrapolar concentration. To fill this gap, I offer the following.
In practice there are two levels at which you employ legality. The first is the cognizance of the specific legality represented by the numerical value of the letter(s) you are dealing with.
Second is the numerical legality of the intent with which you use each letter. In other words, each letter can be used for different purposes which exist within the bounds of its specific legality. For example, Umlaut Ö can be used within the physical realm to either learn about Alchemical transmutation or to effect any number of Alchemical transmutations -- which aspect you wish to manifest depends upon your intent, yet each will concern Alchemical transmutation and thus fall within the legality of Umlaut Ö.
So, if you wish to incorporate the fourth pole of the quadrapolar concentration into your utterance of the letter 'A', you will first connect with the essential legality of 'A' (i.e., 1) and then with the legality of your intent in the use of the letter. However, to master the fourth pole with each of the letters, prior to their actual use, you should consider only their essential legality and confine your intent-legality to the number zero.
To learn the use of the fourth pole, you should practice each letter in the standard order, pronouncing it quadrapolarly only into your whole body. Do not fill either the Elemental regions nor the organs, by themselves. Master the quadrapolar use of each letter, both deductively and inductively, and in each of the three modes (mentally, whispering and aloud)..
Thus, for example, with the letter 'A' you will pronounce it with a light blue color oscillation, a tonal oscillation of G, the feeling oscillation of 'ease', and the legality oscillation of #1, simultaneously. First you master it in the mind-only mode, then in the mind+breath mode, and finally, in the mind+breath+vocal vibration mode.
Progress through each of the letters in sequence until you have mastered them all.
If you have previously integrated the numerical legalities into your psyche, then this process with finalize this integration. This is the final transformation that enables you to utter the letters in a truly kabbalistic manner. This step is what brings your own microcosm into accord with the universal, macrocosmic qualities.
Once you have mastered the fourth pole of each letter in this manner, you are ready to begin work with the first (single letter) key.
STEP VI: The Tetragrammaton, The Quabbalistic Fourfold Key
In this Step, Bardon describes the basic rules of kabbalistic utterance concerning the first four keys. Here is a short list of the basic rules of thumb:
Mental Effect: In order to create an effect upon the mental plane, you must not give any shape or any time limit to your utterance. You must utter quadrapolarly only in the mind-only mode. Your intention must be absolutely clear.
Astral Effect: In order to create an effect upon the astral plane, you must give a specific shape (i.e., spatial dimension) to your utterance. It must have no time limitation imposed. You must utter quadrapolarly in the mind+breath mode. Your intention must be absolutely clear.
Physical Effect: In order to create an effect upon the physical plane, you must give a specific shape and a time limit to your utterance. You must utter quadrapolarly in the mind+breath+vocal vibration mode. Your intention must be absolutely clear.
With the first, single-letter key, you must transfer your consciousness into your depth point, i.e., into the Akasha. All work with the first key originates in the Akasha. Whichever realm you want your effect to occur directly in, you simply follow the standard rule of thumb pertaining to that realm.
For clarity's sake I will describe the utterance of the letter 'A' as a single-letter key.
To begin you must clearly define your intention and perceive its legality. Then you transfer your consciousness into your depth point (the Akashic realm). Then you utter the letter 'A' quadrapolarly, giving it a light blue color oscillation, a tonal oscillation of G, a feeling oscillation of 'ease', and a legality oscillation of #1. If you desire this utterance to be effective directly upon the mental plane, then you must utter the 'A' in the mental-only mode , giving it neither shape nor specific duration. If you desire a direct and immediate astral effect, then you utter the 'A' in the mind+breath whisper mode, giving it shape but no duration. And if you desire a direct and immediate physical effect, you utter the letter 'A' in the mind+breath+vocal vibration mode, giving it both shape and duration. You must build the density of your utterance and when you are satisfied, you must release it into the realm concerned. It is at this point of release that the effect actually occurs. When your utterance is complete, you must return to your normal waking consciousness and turn your attention elsewhere.
If you wish for an effect to be manifest directly into the astral or the physical realm, your utterance will by-pass the intermediate realms and occur directly in that realm, by simply following the appropriate rule of thumb. You can also set up a mental effect that will eventually act as the cause for an astral and, ultimately, a physical effect if you so choose, but the immediate effect will occur in the mental realm. The direct effect occurs in whichever realm you design your utterance to accommodate. For example, if you insert your effect upon the astral realm, there will be no direct effect upon the physical realm, and within the Akashic and the mental realms, there will be a simultaneous causation created, but this will be spontaneous with the astral effect, and will not require reliance upon the natural descent of causation.
The disadvantage of the first key is that it requires a transference of consciousness into the Akasha. The second, two-letter key, requires a transference into the mental realm and this is somewhat more convenient. The third key requires that you transfer your consciousness into the astral realm and the fourth key requires no transference at all, and is thus the most convenient.
The mastery of each successive key further transforms you. You cannot simply begin with the utterance of the fourth key, since the ability to create a direct causation of an effect upon the physical plane -- from within the physical plane -- requires a complete transformation of your being. This is the ultimate integration of your own microcosm and the macrocosm.
The first key must be mastered completely before progressing to the next key. This is a longer process than it sounds, for you must master the single key use of each letter (27), in the four planes (x4), thus you face 108 operations -- at least. Often it will take more than just one attempt to master a letter, so I would multiply this by two at the very least (=216).
With the second, third and fourth keys, you do not need to master all of the letter combinations that are possible. The more the merrier, but the mastery of the first key will enable you to immediately master any combination you choose. I suggest you work with at least twelve of the two-letter combinations and six of the three-letter combinations, before beginning work with the four-letter combinations. Ultimately, the fourth key is the most advantageous, so you may end up mastering several of these, but this depends entirely upon your own specific set of needs and appointed tasks.
The rules for the use of the second, third and fourth keys are more complex than those of the first key. This is a reflection of the greater number of options each of these keys present.
For example, with the second key, one can work in two manners. The first involves the projection of both letters into the mental realm or body and the second manner involves the projection of the first letter into the Akasha and the second letter into the mental realm. Either operation is done with the consciousness firmly rooted in the mental realm.
Likewise the third key can be projected in its entirety into the astral realm, or the letters can be split by projecting the first letter into the mental realm, the second into the astral realm, and the third into the physical realm. Or you may even group the letters into two plus one, and project the first two into the astral realm and only the last one into the physical realm, etc. Each successive key presents with a significant increase in the number of options.
Once you have mastered the first key all of these thousands of options will be self-evident.
STEP VII -- The First Key , The Simple Letters
As I said previously, the first key is enacted from within one's own depth point -- the Akasha. It is, as Bardon points out, best to employ this key only for the purpose of your own spiritual development. If you use this key for another person or being, you will, since you are working from within your own depth point, be incurring the karmic debt (which is a consequence of any causation rooted in the Akasha) associated with the effect you are causing for this other person. In other words, the karma is tied directly to you. This is okay when you are working for yourself since this would be the case in the normal course of events, but when you work from within the Akasha for another person, you will be taking on a burden whose resolution you would not otherwise incur. I warn you that this can quickly get out of hand. It's like prescribing a second medication to counteract the negative side-effects of first, and then a third to counteract the negative effects of the second, etc., ad infinitum.
If you wish to cause an effect upon your own mental, astral or physical body, then you will need to project the letter into your relevant body. This sort of projection will be very familiar to anyone who has worked their way through IIH, so I will not elaborate further.
However, if you wish to create a causation within the Akasha itself, then you will not project -- you will only release it into the Akasha proper, without regard to its manifestation throughout the other planes. In this case, just like when causing an effect on the mental plane, your utterance must be in the mind-only mode.
Bardon gives no specific order of exercises for mastery of the single key. There are several options which will be self-evident by now, but here is what I recommend.
Begin with the utterance at the Akashic level and master each letter, one after the other, in this mode. I suggest that you master all those with the (reduced) legality of #1, then those of #2, etc. That would establish the following groups: #1=A, Ä , I , W. #2=B, K, R. #3=G, E, L, Sh. #4=D, M, J. #5=H, N. #6=F, Ö, S. #7=Z, U, O. #8=Ch, P. #9=T, Y/Ü, C.
Once each letter has been mastered in the Akasha, then move on to the mental projection of each letter in the same order. Following this, master the astral projection of all the letters and then finally, the physical projection.
You could just as easily master the mental, astral and physical projection of an individual letter after you have mastered all 27 in the Akasha, but whatever you decide to do, it is best to master them all in the Akasha first.
You can, of course, master each letter in all four phases (Akasha, mental, astral and physical) individually before going on to do the same with the next letter, but in my opinion, this presents an uneven development -- remember, this work transforms you. It is far better to layer this transformation and bring it forth in stages.
Bardon finishes out this Step with a description of the effectiveness of each of the single letters in all four of the pertinent realms. It so happens that this list is the basis from which the guides to the two-, three and four-letter combinations derive. So, I offer Chart #3, which abbreviates this list.
PART III -- MAGIC OF FORMULAS
STEP VIII -- The Twofold Key -- Double Letters
STEP IX -- The use of the Threefold Key
STEP X -- The use of the Fourfold Key
STEP XI -- Quabbalistic Use of Divine Names and Beings
STEP XII -- The Quabbalist as Absolute Master of the Microcosm and the Macrocosm
I choose to not comment upon these Steps. Primarily this is because anyone who makes it through the seventh Step of KTQ will definitely not need anything more than what Bardon gives. Secondarily, the use of the letter combinations is often alluring to the unprepared person who may be tempted to experiment before they are ready to do so with safety and I have no wish to further encourage such an error.
Bardon's epilogues are always a treat. To a certain degree, he steps out of his role as sage teacher and reveals a side of himself otherwise hidden. Yet even here he conveys a deep and profound sagacity. I suppose it is impossible to fully separate the message from the man.
At any rate, I would like to leave you with the following brief quote from Bardon's epilogue: "On earth every human being has two teachers: firstly, him- or herself and, secondly, fate. What man is not able to achieve by his own diligence, practice, renunciation, pain, grief, etc., will be served up to him by disappointments and buffets of fate. Life is a school, not an amusement fair."
Note of the Publisher (by Dieter Ruggeberg)
At the end of KTQ, the publisher adds a note warning the reader that KTQ "contains some mistakes, particularly concerning the relation of the Elements to some letters." I must strongly disagree with this statement. There are no errors as far as the Element-to-letter correspondences go. There is one error regarding the anatomical correspondence to the letter 'Z', a few errors in the third and fourth key Steps, and in the Step XI material concerning the use of the 72-fold name. But as Mr. Ruggeberg points out, the student should, in any event, first verify these things with a being of the zone girdling the earth before beginning practice.