Book of Formation or Sepher Yetzirah: Attributed to Rabbi Akiba Ben Joseph [NOOK Book]

Overview

The Sepher Yetzirah, or Book of Formation, although very short, is probably the most important of the Kabalistic texts. Its secrets were passed on in the Hebrew oral tradition until it was written down in the 2nd century b.c.e. It lays out the principles of Kabalistic cosmology and the Tree of Life, how humankind (the microcosm) reflects the Divine (the macrocosm). It also sets forth the Hebrew doctrine of Logos--the creation of the world in numbers, letters, and sound. As such,...

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Book of Formation or Sepher Yetzirah: Attributed to Rabbi Akiba Ben Joseph

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Overview

The Sepher Yetzirah, or Book of Formation, although very short, is probably the most important of the Kabalistic texts. Its secrets were passed on in the Hebrew oral tradition until it was written down in the 2nd century b.c.e. It lays out the principles of Kabalistic cosmology and the Tree of Life, how humankind (the microcosm) reflects the Divine (the macrocosm). It also sets forth the Hebrew doctrine of Logos--the creation of the world in numbers, letters, and sound. As such, it is a seminal text for all serious magicians.

Stenring has made a word-for-word translation from several texts, choosing only those parts which he believed to be authentic. He reveals the text's secrets in his diagrams, tables, and extensive notes. His "Master Key to the Theoretical and Practical Kabala" is a diagram of the correspondences between the English and Hebrew alphabets and is not found in other translations of the Sepher Yetzirah. Also unique in this translation is Stenring's assignment of certain tarot cards to the paths on the Tree of Life. Several authors have done this before, but Stenring asserts that he arrived at his correspondences on his own.

The introduction by Waite surveys the historical background of the Sepher Yetzirah translations and the import of this foundational Kabbalistic text.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892545568
  • Publisher: Nicolas-Hays, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 936,338
  • File size: 5 MB

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The Book of Formation, or Sepher Yetzirah

Attributed to Rabbi Akiba Ben Joseph


By R. A. Gilbert, Knut Stenring

Nicolas Hays, Inc.

Copyright © 2004 R. A. Gilbert
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-89254-556-8



CHAPTER 1

1. In thirty-two mysterious paths of wisdom did the Lord write, the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, the Living Elohim, and King of the Universe, the Almighty, Merciful, and Gracious God; He is great and exalted and eternally dwelling in the Height, His name is holy, He is exalted and holy. He created His Universe by the three forms of expression: Numbers, Letters, and Words.

2. Ten ineffable Sephiroth and twenty-two basal letters: three mothers, seven double, and twelve simple (letters).

3. Ten ineffable Sephiroth, corresponding to the ten fingers, five (over) against five and the only token of the covenant in the middle: the word of the tongue and (the circumcision) of the flesh.

4. Ten ineffable Sephiroth, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven: understand with wisdom and apprehend with care; examine by means of them and search them out; know, count, and write. Put forth the subject in its light and place the Formator on His throne. He is the only Creator and the only Formator, and no one exists but He: His attributes are ten and have no limits.

5. The ineffable Sephiroth: their totality is ten; they are, however, without limits: the infinity of the Beginning and the infinity of the End, the infinity of the Good and the infinity of the Evil, the infinity of the Height and the infinity of the Depth, the infinity of the East and the infinity of the West, the infinity of (the) North and the infinity of (the) South; and only one Lord God, the trusty King, rules them all from His holy dwelling in all eternity.

6. Ten ineffable Sephiroth: their appearance is like that of a flash of lightning, their goal is infinite. His word is in them when they emanate and when they return; at His bidding do they haste like a whirlwind; and before His throne do they prostrate (themselves).

7. Ten ineffable Sephiroth: their end is in their beginning and likewise their beginning in their end, as the flame is bound to the burning coal. Know, count, and write. The Lord is one and the Formator is one and hath no second (beside Him): what number canst thou count before one?

8. Ten ineffable Sephiroth: close thy mouth lest it speak and thy heart lest it think; and if thy mouth openeth for utterance and thy heart turneth toward thought, bring them back (to thy control). LMQVMf, therefore it is written: "And the living creatures ran and returned" (Ezekiel i. 14); and hence was the covenant made.

9. Ten ineffable Sephiroth:

One—The Spirit of the Living Elohim, His throne is erected in eternity, blessed and praised be His name, the Living God of ages, eternal and forever; Voice, Spirit, and Word: this is the Spirit of the Holy One. His beginning hath no beginning and His end hath no ending.

10. Two—Air from Spirit: He wrote and formed therein twenty-two basal letters; three mothers, seven double, and twelve simple.

11. Three—Water from Air: He wrote and formed therein twenty-two letters, from the formless and void—mire and clay; He designed them as a platband, He hewed them as a wall, He covered them as a building, He poured snow over them and it became earth, even as it is written: "He saith to the snow: Be thou the earth" (Job xxxvii. 6).

12. Four—Fire from Water: and He designed and cut thereof the Throne of Glory: Seraphim, Ophanim, the Holy Animals, the Ministering Angels; and with these three He founded His dwelling. Therefore it is written: "He maketh His angels spirits and His ministers a flaming fire" (Ps. civ. 4).

13. He chose three of the simple letters, a secret belonging to the three mothers, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = A M Sh, and put them in His Great Name and sealed with them six extensions.

Five—He sealed the Height stretched upwards and sealed it with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = IHV.

Six—He sealed the Depth stretched downwards and sealed it with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = IVH.

Seven—He sealed the East stretched forwards and sealed it with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = HIV.

Eight—He sealed the West stretched backwards and sealed it with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = HVI.

Nine—He sealed the (North) stretched to the right and sealed it with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = VIH.

Ten—He sealed the (South) stretched to the left and sealed it with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = VHI.

14. These are the ten ineffable Sephiroth: one—the Spirit of the Living Elohim; two—Air from Spirit; three—Water from Air; four—Fire from Water; Height, Depth, East, West, North, and South.

CHAPTER 2

1. Twenty-two basal letters: three mothers, seven double, and twelve simple. Three mothers: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = A M Sh, their foundation: the scale of Merit and the scale of Guilt, and the tongue is (an) equilibrating law between the two. Three mothers: A M Sh—M is mute, Sh is sibilant, and A equilibrates the two.

2. Twenty-two basal letters: He designed them, He formed them, He purified them, He weighed them, and He exchanged them, each one with all; He formed by means of them the whole creation and everything that should be created (subsequently).

3. Twenty-two basal letters: three mothers, seven double, and twelve simple; they are designed in the voice, formed in the air and set in the mouth at five places.

4. Twenty-two basal letters: they are placed together in a ring, as a wall with two hundred and thirty-one gates. The ring may be put in rotation forwards or backwards and its token is this: Nothing excels [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = ONG (=pleasure) in good, and nothing excels [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = NGO ( =plague) in evil.

5. How did He combine, weigh, and exchange them? A with all and all with A; B with all and all with B; G with all and all with G; and all of them turned round. Hence they go forth through two hundred and thirty-one gates, and thus it comes about that the whole creation and all language proceed from one combination of letters.

6. He created from the formless and made the non-existent exist; and He formed large columns out of intangible air. This is the token: He beheld, exchanged, and brought forth the whole creation and all objects (by means of) one combination of letters, the token of which is twenty-two objects in one body.

CHAPTER 3

1. Three mothers: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = A M Sh. Their foundation is: the scale of Merit and the scale of Guilt, and the tongue is (an) equilibrating law between the two.

2. Three mothers: AM Sh. This is a great, recondite, hidden, and precious secret, sealed with six seals, and from these (A M Sh) proceeded Air, Water, and Fire. Fathers were produced by them, and from the fathers (descend) the generations.

3. Three mothers: A M Sh. He designed, formed, purified, weighed, and exchanged them; and by means of them He brought forth three mothers in the Universe, three mothers in the Year, three mothers in Man, male and female.

4. Three mothers: A M Sh—Fire, Air, and Water. The heavens are produced from Fire, the wind is produced from Air, and the earth is produced from Water: the Fire above and the Water below, and the Air is (an) equilibrating law between the two; by them were the fathers brought forth, and by them were all things produced.

5. Three mothers: A M Sh in the Universe—Air, Water, and Fire. The heavens were in the beginning produced from Fire, the earth from Water, and the wind from Air, which thus equilibrates the two.

6. Three mothers: A M Sh in the Year—the cold, the heat, and the temperate state. The heat was produced from Fire, the cold from Water, and the temperate state from Air, which thus equilibrates the two.

7. Three mothers: A M Sh in Man—the head, the belly, and the chest. The head was produced from Fire, the belly from Water, and the chest from Air, which thus equilibrates the two.

8. He caused the letter A to reign in Air, bound a crown upon it and fused them together. He produced by means of them: the atmosphere in the Universe, the temperate state in the Year, and the chest in Man, male and female.

9. He caused the letter M to reign in Water, bound a crown upon it and fused them together. He produced by means of them the earth in the Universe, the cold in the Year, and the belly in Man, male and female.

10. He caused the letter Sh to reign in Fire, bound a crown upon it and fused them together. He produced by means of them the heavens in the Universe, the heat in the Year, and the head in Man, male and female.

CHAPTER 4

1. Seven double (letters): [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = B G D K P R Th. Their foundation is: Life, Peace, Wisdom, Wealth, Beauty, Fruitfulness, and Dominion.

2. Seven double: B G D K P R Th. They are pronounced in two ways: B B, G G, D D, K K, P P, R R, Th Th: according to the form of the soft and hard, the strong and weak breathing.

3. Seven double: B G D K P R Th, according to pronunciation and permutation: contrary to Life is Death, contrary to Peace is Misfortune, contrary to Wisdom is Folly, contrary to Wealth is Poverty, contrary to Beauty is Ugliness, contrary to Fruitfulness is Devastation, contrary to Dominion is Slavery.

4. Seven double: B G D K P R Th, Height, Depth, East, West, North, and South, and the Holy Palace in the middle, which sustains them all.

5. Seven double: B G D K P R Th, seven and not six, seven and not eight; examine and search out by means of them, bring the subject forth into light and place the Formator on His throne.

6. Seven double: B G D K P Th. He designed, formed, purified, weighed, and exchanged them; He produced by means of them seven planets in the Universe, seven days in the Year, and seven gateways in Man; and by means of them also He designed seven heavens, seven earths, and seven weeks. Therefore of all things under the heavens did He love the heptad.

7. These are the seven planets in the Universe: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. These are the seven days in the Year; the seven days of the week; seven gateways in Man—two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, and the mouth.

8. He caused the letter B to reign in Wisdom, bound a crown upon it and fused them together. He produced by means of them: (the Sun) in the Universe, Sunday in the Year, and the right eye in Man, male and female.

9. He caused the letter G to reign in Wealth, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: (the Moon) in the Universe, Monday in the Year, and the left eye in Man, male and female.

10. He caused the letter D to reign in Fruitfulness, bound a crown upon it and fused them together. He produced by means of them: (Mars) in the Universe, Tuesday in the Year, and the right ear in Man, male and female.

11. He caused the letter K to reign in Life, bound a crown upon it and fused them together. He produced by means of them: (Mercury) in the Universe, Wednesday in the year, and the left ear in Man, male and female.

12. He caused the letter P to reign in Dominion, bound a crown upon it and fused them together. He produced by means of them: (Jupiter) in the Universe, Thursday in the Year, and the right nostril in Man, male and female.

13. He caused the letter R to reign in Peace, bound a crown upon it and fused them together. He produced by means of them: (Venus) in the Universe, Friday in the Year, and the left nostril in Man, male and female.

14. He caused the letter Th to reign in Beauty, bound a crown upon it and fused them together. He produced by means of them: (Saturn) in the Universe, Saturday in the Year, and the mouth in Man, male and female.

15. Seven double: B G D K P R Th. There were designed by means of them, seven earths, seven heavens, seven continents, seven seas, seven rivers, seven deserts, seven days, seven weeks, seven years, sevenfallow-years, seven jubilees, and the Holy Palace: hence under all the heavens did He love the heptad.

16. Seven double: B G D K P R Th. How did He fuse them together? Two stones build two houses, three stones build six houses, four stones build twenty-four houses, five stones build one hundred and twenty houses, six stones build seven hundred and twenty houses, seven stones build five thousand and forty houses. Make a beginning herefrom and calculate further what the mouth cannot pronounce and what the ear cannot hear.

CHAPTER 5

1. Twelve simple (letters): [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] = H V Z Ch T I L N S O Tz Q. Their foundation is: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Speech, Taste, Coition, Work, Movement, Wrath, Mirth, Meditation, Sleep.

2. Twelve simple: H V Z Ch T I L N S O Tz Q, twelve and not eleven, twelve and not thirteen. Their foundation corresponds to the twelve oblique angles (or directions): the North-East angle, the South-East angle, the above-East angle, the below-East angle, the above-North angle, the below-North angle, the North- West angle, the South-West angle, the above-West angle, the below-West angle, the above-South angle, the below-South angle. And they stretch out and diverge into infinity: these are the arms of Universe.

8. Twelve simple: H V Z Ch T I L N S O Tz Q. He designed, formed, purified, exchanged, and weighed them, and produced by means of them twelve zodiacal signs in the Universe, twelve months in the Year, and twelve chief (members) in Man, male and female.

4. Twelve zodiacal signs in the Universe: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces.

5. Twelve months in the Year: Nisan, Ijar, Sivan, Tamuz, Abh, Elul, Tišri, Marhešvan, Kislev, Tebeth, Šebath, Adär.

6. Twelve chief (members) in Man, male and female: two hands, two feet, two kidneys, the liver, the spleen, the gall, the stomach, the colon, the bowels. He made them according to the order of a battle, even one against the other made God.

7. He caused the letter H to reign in Sight, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Aries in the Universe, Nisan in the Year, and the right hand in man, male and female.

8. He caused the letter V to reign in Hearing, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Taurus in the Universe, Ijar in the Year, and the left hand in Man, male and female.

9. He caused the letter Z to reign in Smell, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Gemini in the Universe, Sivan in the Year, and the right foot in Man, male and female.

10. He caused the letter Ch to reign in Speech, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Cancer in the Universe, Tamuz in the Year, and the left foot in Man, male and female.

11. He caused the letter T to reign in Taste, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Leo in the Universe, Abh in the Year, and the right kidney in Man, male and female.

12. He caused the letter I to reign in Coition, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Virgo in the Universe, Elul in the Year, and the left kidney in Man, male and female.

13. He caused the letter L to reign in Work, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Libra in the Universe, Tišri in the Year, and the liver in Man, male and female.

14. He caused the letter N to reign in Movement, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Scorpio in the Universe, Marhešvan in the Year, and the spleen in Man, male and female.

15. He caused the letter S to reign in Wrath, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Sagittarius in the Universe, Kislev in the Year, and the gall in Man, male and female.

16. He caused the letter O to reign in Mirth, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Capricornus in the Universe, Tebeth in the Year, and the stomach in Man, male and female.

17. He caused the letter Tz to reign in Meditation, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Aquarius in the Universe, Šebath in the Year, and the colon in Man, male and female.

18. He caused the letter Q to reign in Sleep, bound a crown upon it and fused them together; He produced by means of them: Pisces in the Universe, Adär in the Year, and the bowels in Man, male and female.

19. He made them according to the art of warfare, arranged them as a wall, and armed them as for battle.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from The Book of Formation, or Sepher Yetzirah by R. A. Gilbert, Knut Stenring. Copyright © 2004 R. A. Gilbert. Excerpted by permission of Nicolas Hays, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Foreword          

Introduction          

Translator's Note          

Chapter I          

Chapter II          

Chapter III          

Chapter IV          

Chapter V          

Chapter VI          

Chapter I Notes          

Chapter II Notes          

Chapter III Notes          

Chapter IV Notes          

Chapter V Notes          

Chapter VI Notes          

The 32 Paths of Wisdom          

Appendix: The Mathematics oOf The Sepher Yetzirah          

List Of Works          

The Great Master-Key to the Theoretical and Practical Kabala Foldout          


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