Article Home Page
Go to Lesson 1: Malkuth
Go to Lesson 2: Yesod
Go to Lesson 3: History And Differences Between Orthodox
Hebrew Qabalah And Western Esoteric Qabalah
Go to Lesson 4: Hod
Go to Lesson 5: Netzach
Go to Lesson 6: Tiphareth
Go to Lesson 7: Geburah
Go to Lesson 8: Chesed
Go to Lesson 9: Daath
Go to Lesson 10: Binah
Go to Lesson 11: Chokmah
QABALISTIC MAGIC ARTICLE LESSON 12: KETHER
© Copyright 2005, All Rights Reserved.
KETHER AND THE NEGATIVE VEILS
God Name: Eheieh
Gods: Ptah, Ra, Zeus, Isis, Gaia, Nuit
Titles: Hidden Intelligence, Ancient of Days, Lux Occulta
Virtue: Attainment and completion of the Great Work
Planet: All planets are represented in Kether
Animals: Swan, Hawk
Scents: Ambergris, Gum Mastic
Experience: Union with and Knowledge of the All
Symbols: Lamp, Point, Crown, Swastika
KETHER is the absolute beginning point when AIN (nothing) becomes conscious of itself. AIN is not on the Tree, but is considered to be the original source of all things. Ain is thought to be incomprehensible and primordial. It has no form but we can try to comprehend the idea of Ain by considering a few symbols associated with it. Symbols of Ain are the Ouroboros B the serpent in a circle with its tail in its mouth whose name is Ananta. The Ouroboros represents the alpha/omega B beginning without end, spiraling forever. Another symbol is the Egyptian Goddess, Nuit, as she represents the universe with all stars and planets spraying out in the milk of her breasts.
In Qabalistic philosophy there are Three Planes of the Unmanifest, or Negative Existence. AIN: Negativity, AIN SOPH: The Limitless, and AIN SOPH AUR: Limitless Light. AIN SOPH AUR is a circle whose center is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere. These are the Three Veils of Negative Existence from which Kether is born. To attempt to comprehend this idea we must utilize symbols, the masks of Transcendent realities. Being Unmanifest we cannot think of them in terms of anything we know in a conscious fashion. Though perhaps outside the sphere of our mental understanding, Kether is often shown with its roots in this Unmanifest, drawing energy and life from the Unmanifest into the Manifest. We may use the negative veils behind Ain for meditation to try to get beyond conscious mind limitations. Through meditation on symbols we may proceed into something of an understanding of the Unmanifest, because as Dion Fortune said, symbols are to the mind as tools are to the hand, and extended application of its powers.
KETHER is Pure being - "latency one degree removed from the Unmanifest" There is no division in Kether. Kether is The One. It is a state of existence. Kether is imagined as a Blinding White Light, undifferentiated, yet containing the Potentialities of all things. Kether is formlessness and timelessness. If our myths speak of Creation from space Kether would be seen as the Sky God. If Creation originated in Water, it would be the Primordial Ocean. Another allegory for Kether is the Acorn which contains the Oak.
Kether is The Beginning. It is the first Sephira in the Supernal Triad and is the first impulse toward the manifestation of form. Kether is the prototype of all things, the cause of all things. Its Yesiratic title is 'The Hidden Intelligence' because Kether is what is behind everything and yet can never be seen. Kether, then, is the One, and existed before there was any reflection of itself to serve it for an image in consciousness and set up the fields of polarity or opposites. It transcends all known laws of manifestation by existing alone, without reaction. When we speak of Kether it must be remembered that we do not mean a person or thing but a state of existence and this state of existing substance is utterly inert, pure being without activity, until activity begins with the emanating of Chokmah from Kether.
This affirmation of pure being with no form and no time, eternal, unchanging without attributes or activities which underlies, maintains and conditions all is the primary formula of all magickal working. It is only when the mind is imbued with the realization of this endless unchanging being of the utmost concentration and intensity that it can have any realization of limitless power. The operations of the magickian which aim at the concentrating of energy (and what operations do not?) always start with Kether, because here we touch the upwelling force arising from the great Unmanifest, the reservoir of limitless power. By beginning in Kether, the magickian is drawing unmanifested force into manifestation; s/he is adding to the manifest resources of the universe and provided s/he keeps the forces in equilibrium, the result will be balanced.
This is a point of practical importance. Students have been taught that the three Supernals, Kether, Chokmah and Binah are beyond the range of practical working so long as we are incarnated (in physical bodies). True, they are beyond the range of physical brain linear consciousness, but they are the essential basis of all magickal calculations and if we do not work from this basis we have no cosmic foundation but are poised between heaven and earth finding no place of place of rest or security but must always be working to maintain the magickal stresses that keep the astral forms in physical being.
Kether is concerned simply and solely with the handling of forces and ultimately the bringing of them through into manifestation in form, but Kether does not care what form the forces may assume, for if the magickian concentrates on the result without trying to dictate what form the result comes in, the forces will assume the form that is most consistent with their nature and thus be truer to cosmic law than any design which our limited human knowledge and understanding could assign to them. This is the key to all successful magickal operations.
Symbols of Kether attempt to convey its essence - the Lamp which is the light of creativity. This is the same lamp held by the Tarot arcana, the Hermit, as he poises on the mountain top, alone and seeking wisdom or light. Kether is also the Point, the first potential of existence. The Swastika is also a symbol of Kether, but one must look beyond the corruption of this symbol by the Third Reich. The Swastika is one of our most ancient symbols, with its earlier depictions found on Paleolithic carvings on mammoth ivory for the Ukraine, dated around 10,000 bce. (Barbara Walker, Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets). Its four swirling arms represent the swirlings of energy which will eventually find their way into existence.
Kether is the first swirlings of force coming out of Negative, Unmanifested existence. To try to comprehend this, the Occultist uses symbols, because the mind is not equipped to understand Kether in a conscious linear mind fashion. Just as the mind cannot see music still it can hear and appreciate it. However far we go back to find the beginnings of manifestation, we find a preceding existence, so the Negative veils behind Kether and Ain are more of a philosophical convention, in effect we draw a line here behind Kether, as the First Cause of Manifestation. This as far as our minds may go in trying to comprehend it.
The Qabalist starts with Kether the One and moves backward, rather than with the Absolute, but this is a just a start, for otherwise there is no conception whatsoever. Kether is Ehieh, the Highest God Name, meaning "I AM," or Self-existing One or Pure Being. Kether is the One that contains all, and from MacGregor Mathers we have the statement "Kether is the Malkuth of the Unmanifest", the Limitless Ocean of Negative Light does not proceed from a center, for it is centerless, but it concentrates a center which is the number One of the manifested Sephiroth - Kether, the Crown, the First Sephira."
In trying to comprehend Kether and what is beyond this Sephira, you can expect to find many contradictions and paradoxes as the mind tries to wrap itself around the concepts like "Negative Light". To access the concepts, just allow the images to sink in as you consider them and let them play in your subconscious for a while. Eventually you'll be surprised by that "A - ha!" moment.
© Copyright 2005 Jeff Harrison and Karen Charboneau-Harrison, All Rights Reserved.