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3. Primary Written Sources of the Mystical Qabalah

A. Introduction

The primary texts that are largely the source for the core ideas, meditation practices, and all the various forms of the Tree of Life in the Mystical Qabalah are listed below. Primary texts include those revealed through messiahs, prophets, and great masters. Secondary texts are commentaries upon primary texts. During and since the Middle Ages, European Jewish Kabbalists, especially in Spain, Lithuania, and Poland, wrote a considerable body of secondary qabalistic literature. For the purposes of this book, however, we will limit our attention to earlier primary works, with the notable exception of the Etz HaChayyim (Tree of Life) of Rabbi Yitza'aq Luria. The Lurianic material has wide regard among contemporary religious students of the Jewish Kabbalah, and yields some unique forms of the Tree of Life not found in the earlier primary texts.

The Work of the Chariot study group focused upon the following primary texts:

  1. Sefer HaTorah (Books of the Law), so-called "Five Books of Master Mosheh"
  2. Sefer HaShmoth (Book of the Names) of Master Adam
  3. Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation), manual on the Hebrew letters written by Master Abraham
  4. Sefer HaZohar (Book of Splendor), five volume exegesis on the Torah dictated by Rabbi Shimeon Ben Yochai; and more specifically, the Zohar's innermost core texts, the Sifra Detzniyutha (Book of THAT Which is Concealed), the Idra Rabba Qadusha (Greater Holy Assembly), and the Idra Zuta Qadusha (Lesser Holy Assembly)
  5. Ma'aseh Merkabah ("Work of the Chariot") material from the Nabiyim (The Prophets), the remaining remnants of the Seferim HaChanokh (Books of Enoch ben Yared), and the Shi'r Qoma (Measure of the Divine Body) from the Sefer Raziel HaGadol (Book of the Secrets of Raziel the Great)
  6. Qur'an, the song of Allah transmitted through Master Mohammed
  7. Peshitta (Gospels, including the Gospel of Thomas) describing the life and teachings of Master Yeshuvah, and the Revelation of John
  8. Etz HaChayyim (Tree of Life) dictated by Rabbi Yitza'aq Luria to Chayyim Vital.

The primary texts of the Mystical Qabalah are books of power not intended for superficial consumption. Such books are alive, full of light, with hidden gates and abundant treasures. The life, light, and secrets of any book of power must grow like seeds in the mind. With proper cultivation under suitable conditions, those seeds bear fruit over time. With repeated recitation and perhaps the scribing of a text, one can feel the patterns and identify the key phrases, power names, imagery, and diagrams upon which the book is built. When you properly intone and scribe the key power names and phrases, and visualize the principal imagery and diagrams, you activate deep archetypes in the mind. These archetypes expand in one's consciousness and trigger associations and flashes of perception.

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