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Review of Total Kabbalah by Maggy Whitehouse (Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 2008, 224 ff.)

Ancient mystical wisdom for today

By Dr Howard A. Jones (Carmarthen, Wales UK)

This book could well have been subtitled `Everything you ever wanted to know about Kabbalah but were afraid to ask'. Perhaps `Total' Kabbalah is not achievable in one volume, but this book comes as close as one could wish for. It covers so many aspects of Kabbalah in an easily readable and lucid style.

After a short introduction for those not familiar with the subject, the book gives general principles and then elaborates details for those who use Kabbalah as a source of divine inspiration. As would be expected, the text is structured around the Tree of Life - the Otz Chiim of Jewish tradition - with a detailed exposition of its many meditative interpretations: its relationship with the seven-branched menorah, the seven chakras of spiritual healing, the ten sefirot or archangels at its nodes and their association with the qualities of human consciousness such as wisdom and understanding, its astrological significance (not the nonsense we read in the daily press but as a true ancient mystical study), the relationship between Kabbalah, Tarot and Numerology, and its practical application in bringing balance and happiness into our personal lives.

The ancient Lurianic Kabbalah is briefly mentioned, but the book mainly uses the Toledano tradition based on the Jacob's ladder metaphor found in Genesis 28.12 which has been revived by the contemporary mystic, Shimon Halevi. Myths of the Christian Old Testament, which Jews call the Tenakh, are woven at appropriate places into the text, but this is very much a book for today's world, skilfully using historical traditions.

Perhaps the outstanding feature of the book from a reader's point of view is the presentation, with a meaningful use of colour and each topic presented separately and copiously illustrated on a double-page spread. The book is published in A4 format, which allows it more easily to lie opened on the desk for teaching purposes.

I would unreservedly recommend this book, not only for those interested specifically in Jewish or Christian Kabbalah, but to inform and assist practically those who have already joined the emerging New Spirituality movement.
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on 29 December 2007
This is another outstanding addition to the literature of modern Kabbalah, by an author who has a genuine and profound knowledge and appreciation of the tradition. While her earlier book (Living Kabbalah) was more 'soft-focus', this offering has the quality of a highly accessible text-book (in the best sense), presenting the material clearly and thoughtfully, both for the beginner and those who already have some knowledge of Kabbalah and esoteric work. The approach is rigorous, yet approachable, combining theoretical learning with practical application. It is, in the view of this reader, a true and compelling introduction to and exploration of the Kabbalistic tradition, without the hocus-pocus, and as such indispensible for those serious about learning more.
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on 23 July 2013
Maggy has outdone the best introductions to doing Kabbalah that existed less than half a century ago. It is such a joy. I echo everything Adamos said above. The book is beautiful on every level which is a tribute not only to her but also the designers and publishers. If you want to understand "what's the fuss about Kabbalah?" it will tell you and there are scores of applications for your life. Maggy is not only scholarly but walks the talk herself and it shows. Her perspective is that of an independent Christian Minister who has studied the Toledano tradition of Warren Kenton (who has pioneered modern awareness of applications of the Extended Tree or Jacob's Ladder), so it is quite literally a product of the Judeo-Christian tradition. If you took one Kabbalah book to a desert island you'd likely want this one.
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on 30 June 2013
An informative easy to understand and accessible work on the Kabbalah. This work book has helped enhance my knowledge on this interesteing mystical system and philosophy which can sometimes seem (particularly by certain authors)a little confusing! Highly recommended!!
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on 11 August 2012
i bought this book to learn more, and i certainly have!! i am over half way through this book and am totally hooked, its great for the beginner as it explains everything very well,worth getting for someone starting out and someone wishing to refresh!! i totally recommend this book, open your mind and read this version!
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on 30 April 2016
Enjoyed it interesting read
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on 10 October 2014
Interesting book
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on 11 February 2013
Nicely illustrated and well set out book. Easy to use as a self help book. Bought this as a gift.
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