Top positive review
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A refreshing and much needed book
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.