Thursday, 4 December 2014

We need to talk about WMT

One of the many reasons why I started this blog some time ago was to explore the differences and similarities of the Western Mystery Tradition (WMT) with Rabbinic Kabbalah. Although I have attended a number of talks that touched on this subject at Treadwells bookshop in London, there has been very little on this topic on this blog unfortunately. However, now that I have become a bit more familiar with WMT and Rabbinic Kabbalah that should change in future.

Fortunately there are two good sources that I have been reading recently that have provided a great deal of information on this topic already. The first is a blog called Hermetic Lessons, in particular I am referring to these blog entries:
The other brilliant resource is a recently published book: Qabalah Gates of Light: The Occult Qabalah Reconstructed by Gary Jaron (paper and kindle editions).

There are two issues that I have with the book: 1. the first is a minor one is mixing up the letters Kuf and Kaf at the beginning of the book about the spelling of the word Kabbalah in Hebrew. 2. is to do with the attribution of planets to letters and Sephirot - unlike the author of this excellent book I do believe that there is a significance to why certain Rabbinic practitioners of Kabbalah differ in their planetary attributions.

However, these two relatively small issues aside - the book does a really good job of highlighting when dogma and a need for conformity crept in to the transmission of WMT. How this shaped later writers and how they could have avoided mis-attributions due to misunderstanding. In fairness some of these misunderstandings are due to the changes put in to works translated by the Christian Kabbalists - but even so there were plenty of good English Hebrew dictionaries when the earlier WMT writers were around.

Today when translation from Hebrew to English is so easy an undertaking - there is very little to prevent anyone from taking some of the earlier works and comparing, contrasting, and (Heaven forbid) correcting some of these inspiring books. Except perhaps dogma, a desire for departure from the early Kabbalah in order to assert one's own identity as a Tradition, or perhaps as Blogos points out... WMT is just falling out of fashion.