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4.1 out of 5 stars11
4.1 out of 5 stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 28 May 2003
I'm only starting out with Qabala study, most general books on the Qabala were more towards Christians, Occultists etc. and when I found this book I was excited to see something I was expecting to see a lot more.
This was a jump that should of been made decades ago, Paganism and Qabala study, I suspected, would of gone hand in hand when it came to non-fiction, but aparently not.
This book, I was not at all impressed, the whole book seemed to be far too superficial, not enough information at all on the Qabala itself.
This book seemed to concentrate less on Qabala and more on trying to convince me that Qabala and Paganism, or more specificaly Pagan ideas and images, worked well together.
All this book really seemed to do was discuss more superficial ways of making Qabala work with Paganism when to be honest I found it worked a lot better when I found my own way to link the two in my studies.
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VINE VOICEon 1 October 2008
I really didn't like this book, I had read a book by Ellen Cannon Reed before this one and found her to be delightful in a very controversial way! So based on this I trusted that this book would be well written and accurate, also the slew of good reviews here also reassured me.

I recently developed an interest in the Qabala and wanted to read around a western version of it however, I found this book to be awful in just about every possible way. The chapters are too short and lack depth of meaning -- the book is poorly laid out and one has to skip about five pages of diagrams to finish a paragraph that's been interrupted by a bunch of pictures of the Tree of Life. This kept happening and was exasperating to say the least.

The explanations for each sphere are highly simplistic and didn't go into nearly enough depth. I also grew tired of 'the goddess this' 'the god that', I'm not a Wiccan so I found this profoundly irritating -- I'd gotten the impression from Reeds other books that she was a strict hard polytheist when it came to the gods; obviously she wasn't when she wrote this book.

I suppose this book would be good for Wiccan's but even then I don't really believe it'll enlighten them that much given its poor content; for example, Reed attributes gods and goddesses/myths/colours etc to certain spheres but neglects to explain why she has done this. That's fair enough if she wanted people to think about it themselves but I just found it unhelpful and a bit of a cop-out, I mean what good is this book exactly?

I'd recommend 'The Miracle Tree: Demystifying the Qabalah' by R.J. Stewart instead. Which is far better written and a deeper explanation of a western Qabala.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2000
Thanks are due to Ellen Cannon Reed for popularising Qabala to the neo-pagan community. This is not only a step toward advancing spirituality and magick for modern pagans/witches and Wiccans, but it may yet prove to be the next evolutionary step necessary for cutting through the dross and cutting to the chase.
As a ceremonial magician who has recently moved into neo-pagan practice, I was stunned at the utter rejection (and often, unfortunately, the complete ignorance) of many Wiccans and pagans I talked to when it came to ceremonial magick and its relation to their practices and beliefs. A weird kind of divide seemed to be in place which saw ceremonial work, especially and centrally Qabala, as something alien to and removed from the Goddess and God archetypes of Wicca, along with the reverence of nature in witchcraft and paganism. Well, this simply is not true, as even a glancing appreciation of magical Qabala clearly shows.
What this form of Qabala teaches is that the ultimate point of creation is neither male or female, but that the emanations from that neutral point are indeed both male and female at the highest (supernal) level. In fact, everything that develops from the nothingness/everythingess that proceeds these male and female forms is, in turn, either positioned as male or female as a result, with a balance between them which sets the universe together cohesively. This is most certainly true of the Goddess and the God representations which are central to nearly all forms of nature oriented spirituality, and there they are in Qabala - as clear as clear can be!
(I chuckled recently, in point of fact, when I read Scott Cunningham's book 'Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner' and saw the alter layout described within it - the left is female, the right is male and they join in the middle - which is exactly as Qabala represents it too!)
However, it doesn't just stop there. Nature, of course, is a fully realised spiritual place, as every pagan knows. Well, so does every magician that uses the Qabala! The bottom sphere, Malkuth (where we find the universe), is the receiver of ALL the divinity pouring from above, so everything we need is here: all blent essences and all paths of exploration open to us. As Qabala and paganism both teach this to be the case then there shouldn't be a problem if we relate them together, just as Reed has done.
As a ground breaking book and a timely one, Ellen Cannon Reed's book is both a triumph for magick and a triumph for crossing boundaries. Just as I criticised those ignorant or closed minded people in the Wiccan and pagan groups, so too I must criticise those equally closed minded and ignorant who are involved in ceremonial work! What we have to realise, if we are ever to get anywhere, is that we are bickering about different names for exactly the same things, and that we are separated only by divisions that we create - they are not absolutes at all.
Qabala is ALREADY in neo-paganism and neo-paganism is ALREADY in Qabala - as they are both situated here, now, and working magically this could hardly be otherwise. Ellen Cannon Reed has pointed that out clearly, superbly and in a well written way.
Finishing off, I would say that you should buy The Witches Qabala if you are a Wiccan who thinks or a ceremonial who thinks they know it all! In both cases you will be pleasantly surprised and will find, if you look around you, that magic is moving anyway - regardless of any petty barriers set upon it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 30 June 1999
Ellen does a fantastic job of making the Qabala accessible to the Pagan community without stripping it of the valued symbolism it has garnered throughout the centuries. Her unique, down to earth style coupled with her superb analogies make these once difficult concepts very easy to grasp.
The Witches Qabala is great for teachers, students, and solitary practitioners. Outlined in the book are examples of the how the Qabala can be used to evaluate your students' or your own progress on your respective path. The practicle portions of the book include meditations and visualizations that facilitate the learning process and growth.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 1999
I had never really "got" tarot cards until I read this book, but after reading it, suddenly not only do tarot cards have meaning for me, so does the qabalah have even deeper meanings.
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on 9 October 2010
I find all of this rather confusing. Wicca evolved from Ceremonial Magic and the Qabalah, this is obvious when examining the Altar setup from most Wiccan rites. Nevertheless, The Witches Qabalah is an essential book, even if it's stiall a bit fluffy.
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on 4 November 2013
Would have received 5 if it were not for the swap of swords for wands, this is just not for me.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 1998
HELIONS - this is a text we keep in our library. It is well written and well presented. It makes an excellent accompniment for the Tarot by the same author.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 September 1998
This book is probably the best introduction to the ancient and highly complex occult system of the Qabala. The author writes in a clear, user-friendly manner without ever underestimating her readers' intelligence--it is far more accessible than Dion Fortune's classic but very esoteric book on Qabala. This is such an intricate and complex subject that I recommend you start with this book if you want to begin to study it. An essential introduction book for students of the occult.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 1998
I always thought the Qabala difficult and slightly beyond my grasp. This author proved me wrong. She makes the Qabala very approachable, and even understandable. I know I have a long way to go in learning about the system, but now I feel ready thanks to Ms. Cannon Reed.
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