Warnings about Satanism - Neoplatonism and magic, Witchcraft, Voodoo, Afro-Caribbean Shamanism
The Mark, the Name, the Number of the beast and the Tower of Babel = Ecumenism: Neoplatonism and magic - Anti-Gospel
God and His Messiah Jesus Christ our Lord - our right and duty to witness to Him: Egyptian-African pre-Christian Gnostic Witchcraft, the beginning of Voodoo and variants of Occultism
Be warned about these and all forms of Satanism, whether they call it the Ecumenical Movement or New Age or earth Religion or whatever - have nothing to do with it, ever.
Innocent Fun and Games or Ancient Satan Worship?
[Originally this was to keep Catholics totally away from Paganism, remember most were unsophisticated peasants and the simple approach to worship the true God with the example of His saints was quite effective. Over time that changed in society, and with Vatican II, the council of the Satan instigated false council, it has returned to its pagan meaning in practice and is totally un-Christian. ]
The Celts and Druids.The Celts lived more than 2,000 years ago in the area from Great Britain to Germany. The Celtic Vigil of Samhain, named after their God Samhain, the lord of the dead, is the source of the present day Halloween celebration. Their new year began on November 1. They believed that Samhain gathered all the souls of those who had died in the past year. These souls had been confined to the bodies of animals to atone for their sins. At the New Year, the sins of these departed souls were considered atoned, and they were freed to go to the Druid Heaven. Human beings and animals were sacrificed as part of the rites. The human sacrifices were usually criminals. They were locked in wicker and thatch cages which were set afire by priests to roast the victims alive. This practice continued until 61 A.D. when it was outlawed by the Roman government; the Romans had conquered the area in 43 A.D. After the outlawing of human sacrifice the Druids, Celtic priests, would put black cats into wicker cages and burned them. Cat sacrifices grew out of the conviction that these animals were the familiars of witches, perhaps even witches themselves. As late as 400 A.D. in Britain, horses were still being sacrificed at the feast of Samhain. Even after the Christians had taken over the pagan temples and consecrated them to the worship of the Christian God (in Britain), oxen continued to be sacrificed on Hallowmas, sometimes being led down the church aisle to the alter.
The Romans.After Rome conquered Britain, two of their Roman festivals were combined with the Celtic Vigil of Samhain. The first of these is called Feralia, which was held in October to honor the dead. The other honored Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Apples probably became associated with Halloween because of this goddess.
All Saints' or All Hallows' Day is November 1, which according to Jewish tradition starts at sundown on the evening before. This is a festival for the dead, it was made into a celebration of all the known and unknown saints and martyrs of the Catholic Church by Pope Boniface IV in the seventh century. It was originally celebrated on May 13, but was moved to November 1, by Gregory lIl in the eight century. It would seem consistent that the Catholic celebration for the dead would coincide with the Witch's or Occult celebration for the dead. All Saints' Day was followed by All-Souls' Day, November 2, unless that was a Sunday then it was November 3, this was another Catholic adaptation of pagan festivals for the dead. Prayers for the dead are an integral part of the traditional All Saint's Day services, which are scheduled in Catholic churches on November 1, and on the next Sunday. Halloween gets its name from the Catholic holiday, it is a Hallowed evening, because it precedes All Hallows' Day. Thus: Hallow'en.
The Irish in America.In Ireland people begged for food in a parade that honored Muck Olla, the sun god. The leader of the parade wore a white robe and a mask made out of the head of an animal. In the 1840's large numbers of immigrants arrived in the United States from Ireland and Scotland, the customs of Halloween were introduced to the general public at that time. Until the 1840's Halloween was not much celebrated because of the strict biblical views of the fundamentalists in the United States.
Modern Halloween.There has arisen a grave danger to the "trick-or-treator's." There are many reports of candies, marshmallows, apples, etc., having razor blades embedded in them, dope, articles of filth, etc. why should we allow our children to be subjected to this type of horror? Some children have been enticed into dens of dope pushers and sex maniacs on this dark night of mischief.
The Witches.Modem witches celebrate eight main holidays, the most important of these is Samhain (Halloween). These celebrations include: 1. Oimelc- February 2. 2. Ostara (spring equinox) - March 21. 3. Beltane - April 30. 4. Summer solstice (the longest day of the year) - June 22. 5. Lughnasadh - July 31. 6. Autumn equinox - September 21 7. Samhain (Halloween) - October 31. 8. Winter solstice (the longest night of the year) - December 22.
Samhain is considered the most important because the veil between the world's of the living and the dead is at its thinnest point in the year, making communication easier. The souls of the dead are reported to come to the land of the living. The Internal Revenue Service has given tax exempt status to the church of Wicca (the official church of Witchcraft). Their financial gifts are tax deductible just as your tithes would be to this church!
Anton LeVey, Satanist.Anton LeVey head of the worshippers of Satan, said that he was glad the Christian parents let their children worship the devil at least one night out of the year. This is something to make us think; is it not?
Costumes and masks.The Druids adorned themselves in frightening masks to scare the evil spirits away and protect them from being snatched into the world of the dead. Archbishop of Canterbury, England set punishments for "those who goeth about in the masque of a stag of bull-calf ... those who by their craft raise storms ... sacrifice to demons ... consulteth soothsayers who divine by birds." The Roman Catholic church, staged many pageants, with their participants dressing up as patron saints and guardians. Those who did not play a part of a 'holy one' played the parts of devils. Their dressing in these costumes are considered and alternative history for the costuming of the trick-or-treator's.
Jack-o'-lantems.An Irish man named Jack who was notorious for drunkenness and for being stingy, one evening at the local pub, was faced with the Devil, come to claim his soul. Jack convinced the devil to have a drink with him, then when time came to pay he asked the devil to turn into a gold coin for the price, he could later turn back and the drinks would have cost nothing. Jack took the coin and placed it in his pocket with a silver cross which kept the Devil from turning back into himself. When the Devil promised to leave Jack for another year, Jack released him. At the end of the year, as the Devil returned, Jack tricked him into climbing an apple tree for an apple. He quickly carved a cross in the tree so the Devil could not climb down. Jack finally let the Devil down after promising never to return for Jack's soul. Jack's body finally wore out and he went to the gates of Heaven, where he was refused entrance because of his stingy and drunken life. Jack proceed then to go to Hell where he was again refused entrance. Jack was then forced to walk the earth until judgment day with his only light a burning ember from Hell's fire caught in a tumip. In the United States the use of pumpkins replaced the Irish use of turnips and beets.
Trick-or-Treating.Groups of peasants, wearing masks, went from house to house, led by Lair Bhan (which means white mare) a leader wearing a white robe and a horse head (the horse was sacred, a symbol of fertility, to Muck Olla), went begging for money for which to buy luxuries for a feast. Also demanding that fatted calves and black sheep be prepared for the feast. These contributions were requested in the name of Muck Olla, the sun god of the Druids. Prosperity was assured liberal givers, and threats were voiced against those who were stingy.
Apple Bobbing.Apples have long been a token of love and fertility. Early Hebrew women who wanted children washed themselves in water mixed with the sap of an apple tree. "Eternal Youth" was said to come to the Norse gods by the eating of apples.
What does the Bible say?
1. God commanded those who practice witchcraft to die. Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Micah 5:12 And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers:
2. You are defiled if you try to communicate with spirits. Leviticus 19:31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
3. God cuts you off from among the people if you turn to mediums for help. Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
4. God commanded capital punishment for any who called up spirits. Leviticus 20:27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them. 2 Kings 23:24 Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.
5. God condemns witchcraft, fortune-telling, crystal reading, necromancy, astrology, and palmistry as part of spiritism.Deuteronomy 18:10-11 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. Joshua 13:22 Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them.
6. God destroyed the Canaanites for their back magic related practices. Deuteronomy 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits. or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
7. Saul likened rebellion to witchcraft, to show how serious it was. 1 Samuel 15-23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
8. King Saul when, faithful to God cleared all the land of spiritual mediums. 1 Samuel 28:3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land.
9. King Saul later sought a medium because his sin kept God from answering him. 1 Samuel 28:6-7 And when Saul inquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.
10. God judged and killed Saul for his dealings of spiritism. 1 Chronicle 10:13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it;.
11. Wicked King Manasseh's sins Included consulting with spirits, mediums, fortune tellers and sorcerers. 2 Chronicles 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
12. God rejected Israel because they practiced magic and communicated with evil spirits. Isaiah 2:6 Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.
13. It is insulting to God to consult the dead when you could Inquire of Him. Isaiah 8:19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?
14. A fortune teller may be possessed with devils. Acts 16:18 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and Cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
15. True Christians have nothing to do with black magic and its related practices. Acts 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
16. Sorcery is included in the works of the flesh listed in the Bible, and those who practice it cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
17. There is no place in Heaven for the practice of sorcery. Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
18. Teachings of spiritism are doctrines of devils. 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
19. The devils are subject to God's greater power and tremble before Him. James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20. The increased following of this spiritism is a sign of the end times and God's coming judgment. 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
21. The Use of enchantments and witchcraft anger the LORD. Leviticus 19:26 Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.
Numbers 24:1 And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.
2 Kings 17:17 And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
2 Kings 21:6 And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
2 Chronicles 33:6 And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
22. God's people are always better than the devils. Daniel 1:20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
Isaiah 47:12-15 Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall bum them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it. Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.
23. There can be no peace as long as there is witchcrafts. 2 Kings 9:22 And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many? Nahum 3:4 Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.
Written in 1992
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Editor note about the below: Kabbalah and all connected forms of Apostate Jewry's Satan worship and all related Occultisms go back much earlier than even the first century A.D. They are completely rooted in the Pharisee 5th century B.C. Babylonian Haburah - Naasseni (Jew Gnostic Serpent Worship, also known as Ophite among gentiles), Satan worship Apocryphal Seven Seals of Moses, Graeco-Egyptienne paganism (Isis Horus etc.), Mesopotamian post Noah's flood Tower of Babel Nimrud - godddess Nammu, pre-flood Cosmocratoras winged Serpent in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and every other variation invented by the Devil on its Apostasy from the True God.
For information only -
Kabbalah Exposed!Kabbalism is the basis of nearly every tradition covered under the general heading of "occultism"Comments from webservant of Jesus-is-Savior.com...
The photo to the left is of Madonna, a big fan of Kabbalism. Kabbalah is straight from hell! The Freemason occult is based upon occult mysticism (a bunch of hodge-podge) from the Zohar. Kabbalah is a branch of Jewish mysticism, which is thought to have originated in the 13th century. Its teachings come from an ancient 23-volume book called the Zohar, which offers interpretations of the inner meaning of the Torah. Traditionally, its practices were reserved for a select number of Jewish scholars who already had an advanced understanding of Jewish law, but for the past 500 years it has been followed more widely. Kaballah WILL take you away from Jesus Christ. Jesus was NO follower of Kabbalism! John 14:2 clearly reveals that Jesus said what He meant, and meant what He said. Jesus wasn't into mysticism, "...if it were not so, I would have told you." The Word of God is straightforward. The FACT that occult groups worldwide cherish the Kabbalah should speak volumes to anyone who may consider it a holy book, it is NOT!
Kabbalah promises many things to help out your life, by taking away grief, pain, misery, worries, and much more. On the contrary, the Word of God promises us persecution if we live godly in Christ (Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." -2nd Timothy 3:12). Isaiah 53:3, a prophecy about Jesus, declares "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" John 15:20 reads "The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you."
Kabbalism should be suspect for drawing attention to ones own "spirituality" rather than drawing attention to and glorifying Jesus Christ (God Almighty). As Isaiah 64:6 declares, "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Kabbalist mysticism is the basis for Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, the Illuminati, Knights Templar, and many other occult organizations. Their holy book is the Zohar. "Spell oils and incense blends produced according to Kabbalah" is the advertisement on this witchcraft website. The Bible is quick and powerful enough (Hebrews 4:12), without the need to resort to extra-Biblical religiosity, occult practices, or Satanism. Jesus clearly said that He was the ONLY Way to the Father (John 14:6). Kabbalah is wishy-washy and fails to present a Biblical plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. Kabbalah is of the devil. I dare anyone to show me a clear Gospel presentation from the Kaballah. Again, the FACT that Satanic occult groups base their damnable religions upon the Kabbalah speaks volumes. The "mysticism" of the Kaballah is demonism.
Question: "What is Kabbalah?"
Answer: Kabbalah has many different ways of being spelled in English. It can be as you have spelled it, or one of the following: Kaballah, Qabalah, or Cabalah.Kabbalah developed between the 6th and 13th centuries among Jews in Babylonia, Italy, Provence, and Spain. The word Kabbalah means "to receive" and refers to revelation from God received by Jews and passed to succeeding generations through oral tradition. The word was first used by mainstream Judaism but later came to refer to those who believed that only a select few were given the secret knowledge from God as to the "true" meaning of Scriptures. Kabbalah uses occultic practices and is considered to be a cult.Kabbalah resembles closely some of the beliefs held by the Greek Gnostics in that both groups held that only a select few were given deeper understanding or knowledge. Also, Kabbalah teaches that emanations from God did the work of creation rather than creation being directly from God. With each descending emanation, the emanation became further away from God. The final emanation took the personal form of angels. This would be like God created a lesser god, and that one then created a lesser god, and this kept happening until the end result were angels. This directly contradicts God's revelation of Himself in the Bible. In the Bible, God teaches that He is both separate from all of His creation and yet is directly accessible by those who come to Him through Jesus Christ.Kabbalah does hold to the inspiration of Scripture, but does not seek the plain meaning of Scripture. The Kabbalah approach is mystical and very subjective, using such things as numerology to find "hidden" meaning. Through this method, almost any teaching that one desires could be "found" in Scripture. This goes against the very heart of communication. God provided Scripture that He might communicate with mankind and teach humanity of Himself. It is obvious that Scripture is meant to be taken at face value and Not mystical interpretation. This can be demonstrated by fulfilled prophecy. God said something would happen, and it happened as He said it would. The greatest example of this is the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the first coming of Jesus Christ. The were hundreds of verses referring to His coming, and they were fulfilled literally (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2; Isaiah 53. This is why the Bible should be interpreted literally or normally.Kabbalah even has a pantheistic characteristic. Pantheism is the idea that God and His creation are one. This of course is not what God has told us in the Bible. God created all that exists from nothing (the Hebrew word "bara"). Kabbalah says that creation is one of God's emanations - this is the pantheistic quality that Kabbalah has.Of course I do not know why you have asked this question (what is Kabbalah?), but if you are seeking to know God and have a personal relationship with Him, look no further that Jesus Christ and the Bible. Jesus is God in the flesh, and He came to die for every person's sins. If an individual trusts in Christ -- that He is God (John 1:1-3) and paid for sin (Romans 8:3) -- then that person is forgiven and becomes a child of God (John 1:12).
Recommended Resource: The Kingdom of the Cults, revised and updated edition.
In 1969, a former insurance salesman, Rabbi Philip Berg, established the Kabbalah Centre International and appointed himself its leader. The centre markets Kabbalah as a "universal system for self-improvement" and attracts more than 3.5 million followers. Berg claims that Kabbalah answers the ultimate questions of human existence: who we are, where we come from and why we're here. Its followers claim that it can purify the soul and banish disease, depression and discontent using the spiritual light of the Zohar.
The Kabbalah Centre sells copies of its sacred texts and other "spiritual tools", such as Kabbalah Water. Among the best-selling items is the red string bracelet, said to protect the wearer from the evil eye. The Beckhams, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Demi Moore and Madonna have all been seen sporting one." -SOURCE: The Great Kabbalah Con Exposed.
Question: "Where did the Kabbalah originate?"Name of group: Qabalah (modern "cultic" spelling, also known as Hermetic Qabalah), Kabbalah (traditional Jewish spelling), Cabala (Christian spelling). All of these spellings are merely transliterations of the word in Hebrew. Therefore, one spelling is not necessarily right over another, but each group tends to spell it differently.
Founder: Isaac the Blind (It is not known for sure that he was the original founder, but he is considered the Father of Kabbalah. Aspects of Kabbalah can be traced back to the first century A.D.)
Date of Birth and Death: c. 1160-c. 1236
Birth Place: Provence
Year of founding: Kabbalah can be traced as far back as the first century A.D. It was formed as a scholarly group sometime during Isaac the Blind's lifetime (c. 1160-1236), but the exact year is unknown.
Why and how it was founded: The first Kabalistic ideas emerged in ancient times as an attempt by the Merkabah mystics to reach what they called the "higher throne" of G-d. Isaac the Blind was the first to name Jewish mysticism Kabbalah, and he formed a scholarly group based on the tradition.Question: "Which groups use the Kabbalah?""It is probably accurate to say that from the Renaissance on, virtually all occult philosophers and magicians of note had a working knowledge of some aspect of Kabbalah . . ." (Low, Colin. Hermetic Kabbalah. "Frequently Asked Questions"). Some groups that currently practice Qabalah are the Hermetics, the Gnostics, Knights Templar, the Neoplatists, the Pythagoreanists, the Rosicrucianists, Tantra, the English Order of the Golden Dawn, and the French magician Eliphas Levi. Some Qabalists practice ritual magic -- "names of power, the magic circle, ritual implements, consecration, evocation of spirits, etc." (Low, Colin. Hermetic Kabbalah. "Frequently Asked Questions." http://www.digital-brilliance.com/kab/)Also, celebrities Madonna, Britney, Demi, and Paris have have become new followers of Kabbalah. Madonna in 2003 spent $5,000,000 to build a Kabbalah reading temple in London. The latest trend is "red Kabbalah string (pictured to the left). Increasingly, Hollywood celebrities have been seen adorning these red strings promoting Kabbalah. No Christian should ever get involved with these works of darkness. Though Kabbalah may seem fun-loving and peaceful on the surface, it is infested with occult demonology and Satanic lies. Please don't be deceived! The fact that a woman as wicked as Madonna could promote such a book with no sense of guilt or repentance for her wickedness speaks volumes.
Kabbalah and Occultism
Kabbalism is the basis of nearly every tradition covered under the general heading of "occultism"
Kabbalah: aka Qabala, Cabala, Kabala, Qabballa, etc.Imagine you're Madonna. You're too smart for Scientology, but not calm enough for Taoism. You've pretty much burned your bridges with Catholicism. And Methodism was never really an option. So where do you go for your religious fulfillment?
If you're thinking Hinduism, well, actually she was over that back in the '90s after it failed to catch on as the Next Big Thing. Her current fixation, kabbalah, might have more potential.
Technically, kabbalah is not a religion, and it never was. It originated around the 11th century as an outgrowth of earlier Jewish esoteric-occult traditions. Kabbalah is mainly based on two texts, the Sepher Yetzirah ("the book of creation") and the Zohar ("the book of enlightenment").
Sepher Yetzirah is a collection of secret traditions supposedly passed down from Abraham. It describes the structure of the universe and the method of its creation, including an extremely convoluted series of planes of existence, based on geometry and key numerical sequences derived from the Hebrew alphabet. While probably not dating back to the time of Abraham, whenever that actually was, it is the older of the two texts and probably runs at least as far back as the second century B.C.
The Zohar was first seen in public during the 13th century, offered up by Moses de Leon, a Spanish Jew who claimed it was the work of a second-century miracle-working rabbi. After de Leon's death, there were numerous charges that the work was a forgery. There is quite a bit of legitimate controversy around the book, but the scholarly consensus is that the Zohar legitimately conveys a tradition that predates the 13th century, including several elements found in Jewish and Christian Gnosticism.
The Zohar is a commentary on the Pentateuch, the first five books of both the Jewish and Christian bibles. OK, maybe "commentary" isn't the right word. The Zohar claims that the words of the Torah are simply a smokescreen behind which the real meaning of the Jewish scriptures lurks, like an ancient stereogram: you can't see it unless you're looking past it.
Together, the books outline a sweeping vision of the structure of reality, including guidelines on how to alter it in nontraditional ways, which more or less amount to magic. Based on the two key texts, medieval occultists and Jewish mystics created a massive body of writings about metaphysics, alchemy and magic. Because it covers material related to the Old Testament, kabbalah was adopted by both Jews and Christians. Kabbalism also led to the development of Hasidism among Eastern European Jews.
The most readily identifiable concept in Kabbalism is the Tree of Life, a diagram that is essentially a map of reality. The Tree of Life consists of three columns known as "pillars", and 10 sephiroth, or spheres, each of which represents an aspect of the process God used to create the world.
At the top of the diagram is Kether, "The Crown", which represents the divine intelligence of God, from which all of creation emanates. The three pillars emanate down from Kether all the way down to Malkuth at the bottom. (The word means "Kingdom"; the bottom sephira is also sometimes called Shekhinah.) Kether is the angle at which reality points toward the creator; Malkuth is the angle at which is points toward His creation -- the earthly world.
In traditional Kabbalism, there are 10 sephiroth, although some schools teach of a "hidden" 11th in the middle of the diagram. Each sephira has different characteristics and is represented by a different Hebrew letter, which also corresponds to a number. The 10 sephiroth are connected by 22 lines, known as "paths," each of which carries a specific meaning. Some occult traditions teach that the paths correspond to the major arcana in the Tarot.
The chart comes to life as a result of emanations, a concept which covers the movement of will, force, divine spark, light, energy and reality from God to creation. Emanations are the manifestation of divine intelligence as a material or metaphysical thing, such as an angel or a soul.
Because the shape of emanations is outlined by the Tree of Life (supplemented by information contained in numerous other kabalistic writings), the Tree and the Hebrew alphabet can be used to calculate the "true names" of things. If you know the true name of something, you can control it, which quickly led medieval kabbalists to become ritual magicians (as well as inspiring medieval ritual magicians to become kabbalists).
With kabalistic secrets firmly in hand, the well-informed can construct magic words that presumably empower users to command the very forces of the universe. Angels and demons, in particular, are susceptible to this sort of control.
Truly ambitious sorcerers also sought the true name of God, the most powerful magic word imaginable. The search for God's true name took on epic proportions during the middle ages. The name was referred to as the Tetragrammaton, because it was believed to have four letters.
The Torah provides one version of this name, of course, which practicing Jews are forbidden to speak -- YHWH, pronounced as Yahweh (or JHVH, Jehovah) by those who are not especially worried about eternal damnation and a divine curse. YHWH is derived from the first letter of each Hebrew word God spoke to Moses from the burning bush story found in Exodus. The rough English translation of the statement is "I am who am", "I am who I am", or "I am that I am."
Finding the name in the Bible, of course, was far too easy. Obviously, recipients of secret knowledge would have a better name, a more powerful name. Unfortunately, no one could quite agree on what that name was, although a number of alternatives were proposed, such as AGLA or ADNI.
None of these names hold up to the obvious test: After pronouncing them, neither divine wrath nor infinite power arrives within any reasonable time frame.
Other esoteric concepts were covered in some depth by the kabbalists. Many kabbalists were also alchemists and scientists. As a result, some kabalistic texts about the nature of emanations and the behavior of light (as a divine power) have a remarkable power even to this day. For instance, one Latin kabalistic text from the Middle Ages discusses the properties of spirit and body in some detail. If you substitute "spirit" for "energy" and "matter" for "body", the text looks suspiciously like a sneak preview of Einstein's theory of relativity.
To a greater or lesser extent, Kabbalism is the basis of nearly every tradition covered under the general heading of "occultism". Kabbalah is the basis for the rumored occult practices of the Freemasons, the Illuminati and the Knights Templar, the stylings of the O.T.O., the antichrist rituals of Jack Parsons, and the creation of mystical beings such as the Golem. Scientology is also roughly modeled on the Kabbalah, albeit filtered through a Battlestar Galactica sensibility.
When it started, the study of Kabbalah was secretive, especially among medieval Christians who feared the wrath of the Inquisition. After Aleister Crowley exposed the secrets of the Golden Dawn in the early 20th century, the cat was out of the bag, and Kabbalah began to be talked about among the religious intellectuals of the day. Crowley himself wrote extensively about the Kabbalah for the general public, as well as for his fellow students of esoterica.
The movie Pi (1998) was a cult hit featuring a gang of malevolent Hasidic Jews who are searching for a way to decipher the true name of God from the number codes in the Torah. The movie coincided with a revival of mainstream interest in Kabbalah.
The latest iteration of Kabbalism has more in common with the New Age than with traditional occultism. Kabbalah centers (both Jewish and non-Jewish versions) have popped up around the United States.
Perhaps partly as a result of widespread coverage of Scientology's quirks, a fair number of celebrities have embraced Kabbalism as the spiritual flavor of the month. In addition to Madonna, celebrity kabbalists include Elizabeth Taylor, Demi Moore, Mick Jagger, Jeff Goldblum, Ivana Trump, and Roseanne Barr.
Although the new Kabbalism downplays claims of exotic superpowers, the magical aspect of Kabbalism is still an important part of the modern movement.
"Kabbalism is a system of Jewish mysticism and magic and is the foundational element in modern witchcraft. Virtually all of the great witches and sorcerers of this century were Kabbalists." -William J. Schnoebelen, The Dark Side of Freemasonry