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Paths of Wisdom: A Guide to the Magical Cabala Paperback – 6 Jan 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Thoth Publications; 2nd Revised edition edition (6 Jan. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1870450256
  • ISBN-13: 978-1870450256
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,028,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 2 Jun. 1999
Format: Paperback
The book is excellent as a primer and as a supplement to one's study of the magical Cabala. I would give it 5 stars if the second part (the actual discussion of each path and sphere) was set up a bit better and wasn't discussed in such a prosaic fashion. More than once I was caught reading something that seemed to come out of nowhere, in the second part. However, the book is excellent as a primer for the beginner, as well as a supplement to the adept, and is an excellent Prologue (and Epilogue) to John Michael Greer's second book "Circles of Power."
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By Ashtar Command on 5 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
"The Path of Wisdom" is John Michael Greer's guide to the Christian Hermetic Cabala in the version developed by the Golden Dawn, an esoteric order that flourished in Britain over a century ago.

The bulk of the book is a mini-encyclopaedia of the various "spheres" and "paths" on the Tree of Life (the main Cabalistic symbol of the cosmos and its structure). I admit that this was way over my head, so I haven't read it (yet). However, "Paths of Wisdom" also contain chapters of a more introductory character.

Some deal with the basic metaphysical presuppositions of the Cabala: The Veils of the Unmanifest, the Tree of Life, the relation between symbol and reality, the polarities of being, and the Cabbalistic view of creation and redemption. Other chapters deal with practice, which in this tradition means ritual magic, meditation, prayer and "pathworking" (which at least to some extent sounds like astral travel).

To Greer, magic is a method for personal, spiritual transformation, so don't expect any love-spells or hexes! However, he does mention other peculiar phenomena in conjunction with Cabbalistic practice, such as encounters with "magical beings" during "pathworking". (Sounds Egyptian!)

Although I'm not ready to join W. B. Yeats on a climb towards Kether just yet, I must nevertheless say that I liked this book, so I give it four stars. Incidentally, Greer himself left the "path to wisdom" after having published this book, and took up Revival Druidism instead! But that, as they say, is another story entirely.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. Muhlhause on 27 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
This is one of my two favorite books on Kabbalah (or Quabala, or whatever). The author has a wonderful way of explaining very complex topics and making them clear. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Useful Guide to the Hermetic/Christian Qabalah 3 Aug. 2002
By Nicq MacDonald - Published on
Format: Paperback
Qabalah is usually considered to be an extremely dense topic- mostly because of the fact that the standard guides to the topic (Dion Fortune's "The Mystical Qabalah", Crowley's "777", Mathers' and Westcott's books on the subject, etc) are written with more technical jargon and less style than a UNIX manual. Most of these (outdated) books assume that the reader has recieved initiation in a magical order and is pursuing study with a teacher already versed in the "mysteries". Being that this is seldom the case today, the modern student of Qabalah needs a guide tailored to their level of understanding.
"Paths of Wisdom" provides such a guide. Presenting the reader with a step by step guide to the philosophy, metaphysics, and psychology of the Qabalah, the author (John Michael Greer) guides you through a tour of the tree of life, from bottom to top, all within a single book. With considerable erudition as well as an easy reading style, the book succeeds at presenting Qabalistic wisdom to a modern audience.
Unfortunately, the book's strengths end there. There is a brief introduction and overview of the actual practice of Qabalistic mysticism, but Greer does not go into considerable depth in presenting the practice. He does, however, present enough material to get the beginner started in Qabalistic practice. I'd recommend D.M. Kraig's "Modern Magick" and Israel Regardie's "The Golden Dawn" to anyone looking for a book of practical work to go with the theory so clearly deliniated here.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Fresh new insights 5 Aug. 1998
By D. Durden - Published on
Format: Paperback
We chose this book on Kaballah to use in my study group and we have had excellent results. The group consists of many levels from a beginner to a person who has written her own interpretations of Kaballah. Greer is able to simplfy enough for the beginner to grasp difficult concepts, yet offers enough new information to keep the expert interested. His ideas are fresh and his perspective opens up a lot of new information to a group of people who have been studying Metaphysics for almost 30 years. It should be part of every Metaphysician's bookshelf.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
An excellent introduction to Hermetic Cabala. 3 Jan. 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is an introductory text on Hermetic Cabala,
a form of magical mysticism practiced in the European
world since the Renaissance, where it had been borrowed
from Jewish mysticism.

John Michael Greer gives a concise introduction to the
principles of the Cabala in the first few chapters and then
moves on to a detailed analysis of the Tree of Life and
its paths, which are the foundation of Cabalistic mysticism.

His writing is clearly done and his grasp on the subject
is obviously that of a practitioner of this path with
many years of experience, not simply that of an academic
writing about a topic foreign to himself. Unlike most
books on this topic, Mr. Greer's work explains the
theoretical foundations of Cabala as well as giving the
details of its practical use.

All in all, the best book I have found on the subject.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
One of the best Books on the Qabalah. 9 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
After reading many books on the qabalah, this has got to be one of the best for the beginner searching for enlightenment to this complex system. After 10 years of study of the qabalah, this book opens some of the most complex symbolism. Another plus, is that this book was wrote in simple terms. A third grade student could be able to read this great book and have a firm understanding of what the qabalah is.

Frater 204
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Priceless Guide to The Cabalah--Like having a Teacher ! 16 Mar. 2003
By Graham D. Lincoln - Published on
Format: Paperback
For nearly ten years, I have flirted with the idea of studying Cabalah (Kabalah, Qabalah--however you want to spell it) and I have been a member of several Mystery Schools and Masonic organizations that espouse the need to study Cabalah.... However, until I found this book, I just was not sure where to begin (this decision was difficult, pre-Internet) !
Previous to reading this book, I knew of Gematria, Notariquon, Temura and the basic layout of the Tree of Life --and I even tackled Crowley's "777," but I just was not sure what to start memorizing, or which school had it right....
This book cleared-up so many of the confusing aspects of The Cabalah and the Tree of Life--with clear, concise descriptions of the various aspects of the study (with helpful illustrations). This book is the equivalent of having a Teacher, who takes the time to explain The Cabalah, in detail --without all the usual egotistical, rambling, extraneous material found in many books on the subject (e.g., Crowley's dissertations on the subject).
John Michael Greer takes you by the hand and says, "Let's start with the beginning...." --whereas Crowley just throws you into the Deep End and says, "Sink or Swim."
Personally, I like Greer's method of Teaching Cabalah! Reading this book makes studying Cabalah interesting, fun and EASY (and you do not need to wade through numerous pages of extraneous ramblings to find the teachings--they are all laid-out and diagramed, concisely....unlike most pretentious works on the subject).
I also highly recommend purchasing the following book in conjunction with (or because you cannot find/afford this one, due to the sad fact that it is ludicrously "out of print") :
"The Chicken Qabalah of Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford: Dilettante's Guide to What You Do and Do Not Know to Become a Qabalist" by Lon Milo Duquette (ISBN # 1578632153). This book receives rave reviews from Kabalists.
These two books, together, are perfect for the Beginner. Both of these men have a wonderful way of setting Personal Ego aside, and explaining Cabalah as a Friend and Teacher, instead of a Mystical "Know it All."
Anyone who has ever been Intimidated by the study of The Cabalah, or by various well-known Cabalist's works, should acquire this book (if possible) and Duquette's book, as well.
Also, obviously, you will need the famous "777" and other well-known Cabalistic Reference works (Sepher Yetzirah, etc.)....but, for the Beginner, "Paths of Wisdom" is the perfect starting point on the Journey up The Tree of Life.
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