So far as known, the first translation of the Sepher Yetzirah into English was made by the Rev. Isidor Kalisch, in See Arthur Edward Waite. In this translation the Hebrew text accompanies the English words.
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The work of Dr. Kalisch has been used as the foundation of the following interpretation, but material from other authorities has been incorporated and many passages have been rewritten to simplify the general theme. The document is undated; but judging from the general type of the writing, the copy was made during the eighteenth century. The third volume used as a reference was the Sepher Yetzirah , by the late Win.
Charles F. At hand also were four other copies—two German, one Hebrew, and one Latin. Certain portions of the Sepher Yetzirah are considered older and more authentic than the rest, bur the controversy regarding them is involved and nonproductive that it is useless to add further comment. The doubtful passages are therefore included in the document at the points where they would naturally fall. He rules over all in all from His holy habitation for ages of ages.
The spirit of the living Elohim, blessed and more than blessed be the living Elohim of ages. He produced air from the spirit and in the air. He formed and established twenty-two sounds—the letters. Three of them were fundamental, or mothers; seven were double; and twelve were simple single ; but the spirit is the first one and above all.
Primordial water He extracted from the air. He formed therein twenty-two letters and established them out of mud and loam, making them like a border, putting them up like a wall, and surrounding them as with a rampart. Fire ether He drew forth from the water. He engraved and established by it the Throne of Glory. The key to the problem is as follows:. He sealed them with His spirit and fashioned them into a Great Name and with this sealed the universe in six directions.
This arrangement of the letters of the Great Name is according to the Rev. Isidor Kalisch. In the central triangle are the three Mother Letters from which come forth the seven Double Letters—the planets and the heavens. Surrounding the black star are the signs of the zodiac symbolized by the twelve Simple Letters. He caused the letter. The organs of the human body are: two hands, two feet, two kidneys, gall, small intestine, liver, esophagus, stomach, and spleen. THE Qabbalists conceive of the Supreme Deity as an Incomprehensible Principle to be discovered only through the process of eliminating, in order, all its cognizable attributes.
Although indefinable, the Absolute permeates all space. Substances, essences, and intelligences are manifested out of the inscrutability of AIN SOPH, but the Absolute itself is without substance, essence, or intelligence.
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AIN SOPH may be likened to a great field of rich earth out of which rises a myriad of plants, each different in color, formation, and fragrance, yet each with its roots in the same dark loam—which, however, is unlike any of the forms nurtured by it. It was always considered as sexless. Its symbol was a closed eye.
This hypothetical circle encloses a dimensionless area of incomprehensible life, and the circular boundary of this life is abstract and measureless infinity. According to this concept, God is not only a Center but also Area.
Centralization is the first step towards limitation. The circular shape given to AIN SOPH signifies that space is hypothetically enclosed within a great crystal-like globe, outside of which there is nothing, not even a vacuum. Every element and principle that will ever be used in the eternities of Kosmic birth, growth, and decay is within the transparent substances of this intangible sphere.
In the process of creation the diffused life of AIN SOPH retires from the circumference to the center of the circle and establishes a point, which is the first manifesting One—the primitive limitation of the all-pervading O. When the Divine Essence thus retires from the circular boundary to the center, It leaves behind the Abyss, or, as the Qabbalists term it, the Great Privation. The first condition is the central point—the primitive objectified radiance of the eternal, subjectified life.
About this radiance is darkness caused by the deprivation of the life which is drawn to the center to create the first point, or universal germ. This is the causal sphere of man. In reality, therefore, the supreme consciousness of man is in this aura, which extends in all directions and completely encircles his lower bodies. As the consciousness in the Kosmic Egg is withdrawn into a central point, which is then called God—the Supreme One—so the consciousness in the Auric Egg of man is concentrated, thereby causing the establishment of a point of consciousness called the Ego.
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As the universes in Nature are formed from powers latent in the Kosmic Egg, so everything used by man in all his incarnations throughout the kingdoms of Nature is drawn from the latent powers within his Auric Egg. Man never passes from this egg; it remains even after death. On the accompanying circular chart, the concentric rings represent diagrammatically the forty rates of vibration called by the Qabbalists Spheres which emanate from AIN SOPH. The circle X 1 is the outer boundary of space.
It should be borne in mind that in the beginning the Supreme Substance, AIN, alone permeated the area of the circle; the inner rings had not yet come into manifestation. Thus the nature of the Supreme One is considered to be threefold, and from this threefold nature the powers and elements of creation were reflected into the Abyss left by the motion of AIN SOPH towards the center of Itself.
The dot was called God, as being the supreme individualization of the Universal Essence. The Qabbalists gave many names to this dot. On this subject Christian D. Ginsberg writes, in substance: The dot is called the first crown, because it occupies the highest position. It is called the aged, because it is the first emanation.
It is called the primordial or smooth point. It is called the white head, the Long Face —Macroprosophus—and the inscrutable height, because it controls and governs all the other emanations. When the white shining point had appeared, it was called Kether , which means the Crown , and out of it radiated nine great globes, which arranged themselves in the form of a tree. These nine together with the first crown constituted the first system of Sephiroth. The power of AIN SOPH did not descend into these globes but rather was reflected upon them as the light of the sun is reflected upon the earth and planets.
These ten globes were called the shining sapphires , and it is believed by many Rabbins that the word sapphire is the basis of the word Sephira the singular of Sephiroth. The great area which had been privated by the withdrawal of AIN SOPH into the central point, Kether , was now filled by four concentric globes called worlds, or spheres, and the light of the ten Sephiroth was reflected down through each of these in turn. This resulted in the establishment of four symbolical. The central circle slightly above the other two is the first Sephira— Kether , the White Head, the Crown.
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The other two circles represent Chochmah , the Father, and Binah , the Mother. From the union of the Divine Father and the Divine Mother are produced the worlds and the generations of living things.
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Each of these worlds has ten powers, or spheres—a parent globe and nine others which conic out of it as emanations, each globe born out of the one preceding. This dot—A 1—contains all creation within it, but in this first divine and uncontaminated state the dot, or first manifested. God, was not considered as a personality by the Qabbalists but rather as a divine establishment or foundation. In the three lower worlds these circles are intelligences, planers, and elements, but in this first divine world they are called the Rings of the Sacred Names.
The Qabbalists designate them the ten roots of the Tree of Life. They are arranged in the form of a great human figure called Adam Qadmon—the man made from the fire mist red dirt , the prototypic Universal Man. In the Atziluthic World, the powers of God are most purely manifested. These ten pure and perfect radiations do not descend into the lower worlds and take upon themselves forms, but are reflected upon the substances of the inferior spheres.
From the first, or Atziluthic , World they are reflected into the second, or Briatic , World. As the reflection always lacks some of the brilliancy of the original image, so in the Briatic World the ten radiations lose part of their infinite power. A reflection is always like the thing reflected, but smaller and fainter.
In the second world, B 1 to B 10, the order of the spheres is the Name as in the Atziluthic World, but the ten circles of light are less brilliant and more tangible, and are here referred to as ten great Spirits—divine creatures who assist in the establishment of order and intelligence in the universe. As already noted, B 1 is born out of A 10 and is included within all the spheres superior to itself.
These ten subdivisions, however, are really the ten Atziluthic powers reflected into the substance of the Briatic World. B 1 is the ruler of this world, for it contains all the other rings of its own world and also the rings of the third and fourth worlds, C and D. In the World of Briah the ten spheres of light are called the Archangels of Briah.
Their order and powers are as follows:. The ten Archangels of Briah are conceived to be ten great spiritual beings, whose duty is to manifest the ten powers of the Great Name of God existent in the Atziluthic World, which surrounds and interpenetrates the entire world of creation. All things manifesting in the lower worlds exist first in the intangible rings of the upper spheres, so that creation is, in truth, the process of making tangible the intangible by extending the intangible into various vibratory rates. The ten globes of Briatic power, while themselves reflections, are mirrored downward into the third or Yetziratic World, where still more limited in their expression they become the spiritual and invisible zodiac which is behind the visible band of constellations.
In this third world the ten globes of the original Atziluthic World are greatly limited and dimmed, but they are still infinitely powerful in comparison with the state of substance in which man dwells. In the third world, C 1 to C 10, the globes become hierarchies of celestial creatures, called the Choirs of Yetzirah.