Which religions and traditions use the Kabbalistic Tree of Life other than Jewish Mystics?
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.. is a start.
But who else?
Thanks Squishy, yeah I was referring to everyone.. not necessarily mystics.
NO ONE. There are some who misappropriate it & use it differently than it's meant. Then again, the swatizka was a symbol of the circle of life & peace in Hindu culture before the Nazis used it.
Kabbalism is based in study of Torah for another level of meaning. It can not be used by one not believing in Torah & Judaism. It's usually only taught to those over 40 who are well versed in Torah.
However, it is misused by a number of groups, some to make money with shallow images from it such as what Madonna is doing. Others... in mid ages, some Occultists & Christians took it, rearranged it & got Quabbala a very different idea based on sorcery. (That's how Jews got blamed for sorcery that isn't in real Kabbalah.)
By your logic Christians can use Koran as their holy book for mysticism. This isn't science or medicine or technique, it's our religion, Judaism.
Kabbalah is study of Torah in context of Judaism. Everything else is not related to Kabbalah. Judaism is so often misappropriated & Jews told they are intolerant for pointing it out.
Now if you want something like the Kabbalah light points that makes an interesting comparision, Chakras.
These hard lines only seem silly if you don't know the religions very well. There are huge & meaningful differences. Kabbalah is "derived" from Judaism. So you can't have it outside Judaism. Then it's a totally different item.
Fionia - love the way you put it - tree of life as not Kabbalah but as relevant to others using OT - within their own unrelated system.
Thelemic magick makes use of the Tree, as does a lot of New Age mumbo jumbo.
The Chasids [Sp, likely][Assuming you don't count them as mystics] have a lot on the topic.
By the by Shapeshifter: I usually use a Q in my spelling to distinguish it from the Jewish form since they act more like 2 specific entities. Several attributions are also different; especially once you leave the Naples arrangement.
Cher: By your logic people cannot use medicine as it was a Greek idea, and in the sphere of Hermes; and is thus dependent on the belief in him.
Edit: These hard lines of division placed on religions are silly. At the end of the day, even God is a mutable symbol that can be used and discarded by the Master of the Temple like any other common harlot.
The hard lines seem silly only if you don't live in an acid trp where unicorns and fairies influence politics.
*Reads answers* God, just imagine if the Hindu's acted like this when Yoga became an exercise routine.
No Squishy, mucking about with Kabbalistic symbols without a solid grounding in Judaism is like using modern pharmaceuticals as psychedelics. It might take you somewhere you haven't been, but it won't make you a doctor.
This isn't about 'hard divisions' but of respecting that Kabbalah is a well-developed system, not the supermarket 'pick-n-mix'.
As you have opened this question to all religions, then I would like to say that the Christian faith has an understanding of the Tree of Life too.
It is referenced in scripture 5 significant times from Genesis through to Revelation, not just from Eden but in the future Kingdom of God.
Genesis 2:9 Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Ezekiel 47:12 "By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fail. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing."
Revelation 2:7 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.'
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.
Revelation 22:19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
But it is not the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, its the Tree of Life which was placed at the centre of Eden. The same Tree of Life which will splay its roots across the river proceeding out of the throne of God in the Heavenly Kingdom. The leaves of the tree of Life will heal the nations.
It is symbolic of eternal life.
ALL Jews use Kabbalistic "traditions," but we don't realize what they are because we don't study the Zohar.
Kabbala IS Judaism in a more advanced form.
The Torah IS the Tree of Life. The Zohar is ABOUT the Torah.
19th century occultists attempted to graft the kabalah onto ceremonial magic, and since then it has been a favorite toy of occultists and new age mystics. i attempted to study it because it's so prevalent in the magical community, but [no offense to my jewish friends] i found it too jewish. it is quite literally an analysis of jewish theology, and anyone who says otherwise is fooling themselves.
that's all good if you're a monotheist, i suppose, but i'm so totally not a monotheist. i get nothing out of it. those who use it in magical arts are fooling themselves into thinking that what they're using is kabalah. there are numerous claims that it's an egyptian system, but that's also a load of BS, beyond being antisemitic. occultists use a lot of jewish symbology and claim that it really came from ancient egypt, yet archaeology has not borne any of this out. worse, mystical use of the kabalah violates basic tenets of judaism, which would be obvious to anybody who actually knew anything about judaism.
so, the answer is: only jews use kabalah. everyone else, including thelemics and madonna, is using something they have not been able to properly define and have improperly attributed to judaism.
.None use the Kabbalistic Tree of Life but Jews. Hermetic and most Western occult rely on Catholic-translated documents that hijacked it. The hermetic tradition started as an attempt to use Jewish mystical traditions to convert Jews -- JC, the 'devil' and a bunch of nonsense was added -- so it is an imitation and verrry limited.
1st Century= The Bahir, an explanation of the sephirot & tree was hand-written in Hebrew script at this time (it had been transmitted orally probably since Abraham or before). It was published in Provence for Jewish readership in the 1100s. On it's heels, Latin scholars employed by the Catholic Church re-translated it their way and disseminated it widely . These Latin plagiarized versions were changed to reflect Christian theology.
200-700 CE Sefir Yetzirah, explaining the Tree, possibly edited by Rabbi Akiva, was written during this time. We know it existed because it is referenced in later Jewish literature, such as works by the Safed Kabbalists, Rashi and the Saadia Gaon to name a few. There are, however, later adulterated versions published by Postel, a French Christian, in French and Latin with Christian doctrines added (Scholem, 1974).
The Introduction to one of the versions of the Sefir Yetzirah that may be found on the internet, was translated by William Winn Westcott in 1887. Westcott admits he collated Latin versions into his transltions. This is the mixed source for the Golden Dawn and other occult hermetic groups "Q/Cabbala". Happily, Jews have the original Hebrew version as well as one translated by Aryeh Kaplan.
1400s - Occult ideas began to be added to Plagiarized Qabbala via the "hermetica" or Egyptian dark magical traditions. (This snake followed us out of the Garden, Egypt and again in Europe). Hebrew scholars who had been forced to convert were tasked with adddng Hermetica to our tradition in an effort to discredit the source of Jewish ideas, namely to try to place them back to Egypt. Marsilio Ficino, Italian priest and physician, translated Plato for the Medici's in Italy as well as the "Hermetica", texts. The Hermetica were thought to have the key to all knowledge and alleged to predate ancient Jewish writings. Scholars now agree the earliest they could have been written was during the time of Greek occupation of Egypt. Ficino allegedly "discovered" that Moses was an Egypt magician and that Ancient Egypt was the source of Western Civilization which prophesied Christianity. Not hardly.
mid- 1500s in Italy, Giordano Bruno followed Hermetic Egyptian philosophy and explicitly added magical components such as talismans and charging them with energy to Kabbala. This Dominican priest basically switched out Judaism for Egyptian mythology, based on manipulating power in created and lower worlds, i.e. magic rather than mysticism.
Martin Luther and the Reformation interrupted this magic fest in the Catholic church, and their attention was drawn away from converting, discrediting and killing Jews to the protestant uprisings. Consequently, they backpedaled on their tolerance to magic. At this point, the Catholic church and governments started burning witches, many of whom were Jewish and now being accused of sorcery because of the occult elements that they themselves had added.
1558 John Dee was arrested and accused of witchcraft for casting an astrology chart for Catholic Queen Mary. Once Queen Elizabeth I was crowned, however, he was released from prison to become the Queen's magical consultant. He helped her determine the best day for coronation, and was retained as a permanent part of her cabinet, giving advice on science, astrology and magic.Christian pseudo-Qubbala and occult was the philosophy of choice in the courts of Europe at this time.So the tide had turned. The Catholics no longer approved of magic, but the royal houses of Protestants did at this window in time.
1602 - Athanasius Kircher was another Catholic priest who attempted to discredit Jewish mysticism. He fictitiously demonstrated Egyptian hieroglypics were the origins of Kabbala and the Hebrew language. This romantic view of Egyptology was the basis for several Western occult movements, including the Rosicrucians.
1614, 1615 The "Rosicrucian manifestos" are 2 short pamphlets published in Cassel, Germany. They were "The Chemical Wedding of ChrChristian Rosencreutz", and "The Fame and Confession of the Rose Cross. A Father C.R.C. is the mythical hero of Fame and is described as the founder of a secret order that was just then being revived. These manifestos invite others to join in the revival.
The teenage author, Johann Valentin later admitted his "Chemical Wedding" had all been a joke. He lived in Wurttemburg, a German state ruled by Duke Frederick I, an enthusiastic occultist and ally with hi cousin Queen Elizabeth in England.
Modern occultists have creatively expanded the stories of these pamphlets and they allegedly found an earlier language referred to as "Enochian". A number more manifestos appeared in the 1600s describing fraternities, burial vaults, hidden treasure, the whole nine yards. Robert Fludd, a physician and artist remembered for many of his diagrams, developed Rosicrucian philosophy more completely.
If the Catholic attempts to re-write Jewish mysticism were not enough, the false mashiach, Shabtai Zvi, surely almost decimated Jewish mysticism. The Rabbis in charge of Judaism at the time shut down practice of virtually all mysticism except a very small elite. This was because essentially a worm, trojan and virus were simultaneously attacking Jewish mysticism, so the responsible parties 'pulled the plug' and protected it to this day. Unfortunately, the imitations are around too.
Tibetan Mandala which looks like an early circular tree, and the 7 "Chakra" system are true revelations to those people, They are not the same tree -- only the middle 7 sephirot the fallen lights rather than the Tree of Life/Rectification of the Universe.
Many people have appropriated the kabbalah from judaism, bastardised it, tried to understand it- and ended up getting it completely wrong since in divorcing it from judaism, they have divorced it form context and meaning.
The very question you ask proves this point- the Torah is the 'Tree of life" in Judaism- Kabbalah merely applies a spiriotual understandign tothat- and event he commonly depicted Kabbalsitic "Tree of life" bearing the sefirot is merely an analogy for how G-d, and thus the Torah which is his blueprint for the world, spiritual and physical, permeates the world and has different facets which require understanding- and depending on how we apply ourselves- essentially what filters we use when studying, we will perceive different lessons every time!
when people take Kabbalah out of the Jewish context, they immediately make it irrelevant and to lack any depth or truth. Kabbalah is not a system on its own, or a religion, a mystic system or any of the other nonsense scam artists like to claim- it is an additional way in which we understand and study the Torah in order to understand it.
Chances are whatever you have been looking into isn't actually Kabbalah. You've probably been looking up about Hollywood Kabbalah (i.e. what Madonna does) which is as close to actual Kabbalah is as the moon is to the sun.
Kabbalah is in fact not 'mysticism', the explanation is very simple if someone were to actually explain it to you. I'll try and explain it in order to help you understand, kindly bear with the lengthy explanation and read it through to the end.
The Torah is the word of G-d written down, but there are 4 primary ways to learn it:
The first, and simplest, level is "Peshat", which is a bare understanding of the text. The Torah is a story, understanding and knowing that story is the Peshat.
The second level, which requires complete understanding of the first level in order to properly understand, is "Remez". Remez means "hints", since everything in the Oral Torah is considered to be hinted at somewhere in the Written Torah, the remez level is to understand *where" those hints are and what they hint at. This is essentially a complete understanding of the Talmud in order to master.
The third level, which requires mastery of both first and second levels in order to properly understand, is "Darash", literally, "to inquire", the deeper meaning. This is like Peshat, but a far deeper analysis including one's knowledge of the hints. It is asking, why is this word used here next to that word, why not these other words, what is the difference, why is this non-chronological story next to that other one, why are the same words used here and there, etc. Complete mastery is dependent on mastery of the first two levels.
The forth level is "Sod", which means "secret", though sometimes translated as "mystical". To properly begin to even try and truly understand this level requires mastery of the first three, which is why it is generally not taught to anyone under 40 since they won't likely have had enough time to master the first three levels yet. Since at this level the concepts involved are incredibly difficult to explain, allegories are used. Many of these allegories are listed in the Zohar, the core text of Kabbalah. If you read them, you may get a moral at the end, but you haven't truly understood it for what it was.
To understand the depths of that 4th level, this is a recorded story of 4 of the greatest Rabbis from around the year 0 (BCE/CE). It starts saying that these four had gone in to a cave to try and master the 4th level, "Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, Acher (Elisha ben Abuyah), and Akiba. Ben Azzai looked and died; Ben Zoma looked and went mad; Acher destroyed the plants; Akiba entered in peace and departed in peace."
Only one out of those four big Rabbis was able to handle the concepts properly, what they tried to do was learn Kabbalah. Sure, if you read the same stories and texts and heard the same explanations, you almost certainly wouldn't go insane or die. You also wouldn't likely have actually studied Kabbalah. Without understanding the other levels, learning Kabbalah is like teaching calculus to a third grader. They might understand how to write some answers correctly, but they'll have no understanding of the actual meanings, its uses, or anything else that lead up to it which you need in order to perform calculus.
As for whether or not its an important part of my faith, that would depend on how you mean 'faith'. If you mean 'faith' as in my belief in G-d, then since I haven't truly studied it in any fully comprehensive way, it hasn't had much of an effect. Clearly the concepts where so powerful that they killed one big Rabbi and made another go insane, so the effect it may have on one's mind as a whole, including one's faith in G-d, may be rather extensive. If you mean 'faith' as in the religion as a whole, then yes, it is important to the religion. It is the deepest level of understanding for the Torah, whether I know it personally or not, it is a very important aspect of Torah knowledge, the learning of which is supposed to be a continual goal for all Jews.