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The Kabbalah Unveiled

Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers

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Explores three important books of the Zohar; Siphra Dtzenioutha: The Book Of Concealed Mystery; Greater Holy Assembly; and, Lesser Holy Assembly. Together, these three books examine the development of the creative deity and of creation itself.

This book has 347 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1912.

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Excerpt from 'The Kabbalah Unveiled'

As a pupil of my late husband and in later years collaborator in his more esoteric studies, I take this opportunity to say a few words in regard to himself and his work. Moreover, since his death at the end of 1918, I have received innumerable visits, letters and enquiries from all parts of the world from students of his writings. As most of these questions would appear to bear on his more esoteric knowledge, I will quote his own words (see page 13, paragraph 22, of the Introduction): "The term 'Unwritten Qabalah' is applied to certain knowledge which is never entrusted to writing, but communicated orally. I may say no more on this point, nor even whether I myself have or have not received it."

Simultaneously with the publication of the Qabalah in 1887, he received instructions from his occult teachers to prepare what was eventually to become his esoteric school. In this connection were associated with him the late Dr. Woodman and the late Dr. Wynn-Westcott, both eminent Masons and Qabalists. They, with my husband, held high Office in the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, and other Masonic bodies.

Since the year 1887, when the first edition of the Qabalah Unveiled appeared, the whole attitude of the thinking world has changed considerably towards occult philosophy and science. The gigantic strides made by science since the end of the last century, the staggering facts disclosed by its practical demonstrations, simultaneously with the development of the great occult movement, must strike all thoughtful people as the evidence of some imminent change in the evolution of this planet. Material science would appear to be spiritualizing itself and occult science to be materializing itself. If not clasping hands, they are certainly making tentative attempts in that direction. The Ancient Wisdom, the Sacred Books, taught. that we cannot understand Matter without understanding Spirit, that we cannot understand Spirit without understanding Matter. That Matter and Spirit are only opposite poles of the same universal substance. All through the Qabalah runs this axiom: "that Malkuth is in Kether, that Kether is in Malkuth." The same idea is repeated through the Gnostic teaching: "the earth that is in the heaven, the heaven that is in the earth."

Religion has its word, science its promises and demonstrations, philosophy its systematized theories, art its creations and ideals, and yet these in their fundamental separations fall short of that Synthetical ideal which the Spirit of Humanity unceasingly demands. There remains always the perpetual cry of humanity, that plaint of a world in pain demanding apparently in vain some solution to the problem of existence. The answer of the ancient world to this cry of the Spirit of Humanity is to be found in the establishment of the Mysteries, as containing in their penetralia that which even the highest then known forms of religion had not, namely, a philosophico-religious reply resumed in Formulas and Ceremonies, to the problems of Life and Death, of Nature, of the Gods, of Spiritual Beings, etc., and lastly of the linking of these as a whole back to the First Cause of all things.

In 1888, after the publication of the Qabalah Unveiled, my husband started the working of his esoteric school. To write the consecutive history of an occult Order is a difficult matter, as difficult as to write the life of an Adept, there being so much of an inner and secret nature necessarily involved in both; so much of the symbolical in the historical, so much of the latter in the symbology.

The general constitution of the teaching, the skeleton of the work, was handed to him by his occult teachers together with a vast amount of oral instruction. The object of the establishment of this school was similar to that of the foundation in ancient times of centres for the Celebration of the Mysteries. The literature of this school, with a few exceptions, was written by my husband under the direction of these teachers, based upon the ancient mysteries, chiefly those of Egypt, Chaldea and Greece, and brought up to date to suit the needs of our modern mentalities. It is a system eminently suited to Western occultism, which a man can follow while living the ordinary life of the world, given that this is understood in its highest sense. Dr. Woodman and Dr. Wynn-Westcott aided in the administrative side of this school and its teaching to a certain extent.

As a pioneer movement, for the first ten or twelve years it encountered many of the difficulties that beset work that is given ahead of its time, but we had been told that the beginning would be in the nature of an experiment and that the students would be sifted. Dr. Woodman had died in the year 1890, and in 1897 Dr. Wynn-Westcott resigned, after which my husband entirely reorganized the school under orders, and further teachings were given him. The teaching is principally by Ceremony, Ritual, and Lecture. Purity of aspiration and of life are the first and essential qualities demanded of the student. A simultaneous development of soul, mind and body is insisted upon. The curriculum comprises the study of the intelligent forces behind Nature, the Constitution of man and his relation to God. The whole aim and object of the teaching is to bring a man to the knowledge of his higher self, to purify himself, to strengthen himself, to develop all qualities and powers of the being, that he may ultimately regain union with the Divine Man latent in himself, that Adam Qadmon, whom God hath made in His Own Image.

Great stress is laid on the ideal of Fraternity. The potency of Fraternity has ever been an essential factor in an Occult order, apart from its altruistic aspect; there are. also the spiritual and psychic. Any breach in the harmony of a circle will permit the entry of an opposing force. A Spiritualist of experience will bear witness to the truth of this statement.

Through all the Sacred Books, be they our Bible, the Qabalah, the Egyptian Books, the Vedantic Teachings, the Druidic traditions, etc., the Symbols of the Rose and of the Lily or Lotus and of the Cross, reveal themselves as veritable living images of some great fundamental truth. I am prepared to affirm that any Order, Society, group of students, etc., forming themselves with the aim of studying the composition and nature of the manifested Universe, must inevitably fall under the symbolism of the Rose, of the Lily or Lotus, and of the Cross. The Rose with its mysterious centre, its nucleus, the central Sun, is a symbol of the infinite and harmonious separations of nature.

The symbol of the Lily or Lotus is very similar to that of the Rose, with some slight differentiations.

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