Philosophical Qabala

The Hebrew alphabet can be divided into nine groups of three letter-numbers each. Each group starts with one of the nine archetypes (numbers 1-9), followed by extensions of that archetype represented as the number times 10, then 100:

Aleph (1) / Yod (10) / Qof (100)
Bayt (2) / Khaf (20) / Raysh (200)
Ghimel (3) / Lammed (30) / Sheen (300)

Dallet (4) / Mem (40) / Tav (400)
Hay (5) / Noun (50) / final Khaf (500)
Vav (6) / Sammekh (60) / final Mem (600)

Zayn (7) / Ayn (70) / final Noun (700)
Hayt (8) / Phay (80) / final Phay (800)
Tayt (9) / Tsadde (90) / final Tsadde (900)

Philosophical Qabala consists of nine basic archetypes, represented by the first nine numbers. These archetypes are the building blocks of the Qabalistic cosmology, or concepts of creation and the Universe. They serve to represent symbolically much greater philosophies, thus the reading of them can be difficult. This primer will serve only to scratch the surface of the Infinity contained within the letter-numbers.

Within each grouping, each letter progresses from one to the next, each letter building on or further explaining the letter before it. Each letter's place in its group must be taken into account when rendering philosophical readings. Also, in this way, does each group progress from one to the next.

Aleph/Yod/Qof describes Infinity as the life-death cycle. Aleph is the abstract concept of all that is and is not; God exists and does not exist at one and the same time. Yod is the projection of this concept into continuity; the cycle itself; a circle in the sacred sense. Qof is the concept of Aleph grounded in reality: It is the life-death cycle in practice; the seasons; generations.

Bayt/Khaf/Raysh is the concept of containers -- the physical supports for the projection of Aleph onto reality. Bayt is the archetype (or concept) of containers, while Khaf symbolizes the receiver that can hold all that will come. Raysh is this archetype in reality: the Universe.

Ghimel/Lammed/Sheen is perhaps the heart of qabala. These three letter-numbers describe the process which we all must undertake, from base creature to god. Ghimel is a root, uncontrolled action (subconscious/instinct) to which Lammed acts as a controlling agent (conscious), allowing Ghimel -- the base creature -- to achieve Sheen, the "spirit" or "breath" of God. Sheen, as the ideal, is often depicted as three flames, which is reminiscent of the Hebrew character for the letter.

Dallet/Mem/Tav is the life cycle. Dallet is the potential for physical existence, Mem the maternal waters where all life originates, and Tav is physical existence (in the sense of the entire cosmos).

At this point, we have created the Universe. From the Infinity of Aleph we built containers from Bayt which could hold the action of Ghimel and allow for the physical existence of Dallet. This is all still rather abstract, however, and we will need the rest of the letter-numbers to create life as we know it.

Hay/Noun/final Khaf is the cycle of the spirit. Universal existence (Hay) is channeled into individual existence (Noun), where it is then exalted back into the cosmos (Kaf). This is the journey of Ghimel to Sheen, but within individual lives, not the abstract Universe.

Vav/Sammekh/final Mem is the birth cycle. Vav is male fertility, while Sammekh is female. Mem becomes both the material and spiritual result of this fruitfulness: A new life.

Zayn/Ayn/final Noun is the potentional of each individual born of the last grouping. Zayn is an open doorway to all possibility, while Ayn (literally "eye") is the vision with which we must recognize our potential in order to exalt it individually (Noun) and overcome the indetermination of the life-death cycle in favor of life (freedom).

Hayt/Phay/final Phay describes the unresolved energy of a wasted existence. This is energy without form (Hayt) and thus without potential (Phay), but it serves as a pool for future potential (Phay) in new lives.

Tayt/Tsadde/final Tsadde is the pool of Phay in existence: The primitive cell of female energy (Tayt) that will grow into womanhood (Tsadde) and thus continue the life-death Infinity of Aleph through birth (final Tsadde).

Producing readings based on philosophical qabala is more difficult than in literal qabala. It requires a more carefully attuned belief system and a decent understanding of qabalistic cosmology, neither of which these primers can honestly produce.

As a quick example of how readings can be rendered, however, take the name of King David: DVD.

This is Dallet-Vav-Dallet. Dallet is the potential for physical existence and Vav is the male fertilizing agent. By philosophical qabala, DVD is the archetypes of both the life and birth cycles -- not only the potential for existence, but the potential for the birth of a male in life (or "that lives"). For a king seeking an heir, the "potential for male births that survive" would indeed make a good name.

But notice that Dallet surrounds the male fertilizing agent: This is a reminder that potential is not existence -- "the potential for male births is only a potential." Furthermore, for Dallet to become Tav it must first cross the maternal waters -- man cannot propogate man alone. That the birth lives is also re-enforced by this arrangement, with the male agent surrounded by lfie, so if nothing else, it describes a child that survives.

In this way, the name "David" is almost an amulet in and of itself -- a talisman to ensure the survival of births, while at the same time doing all it can to ensure that said birth is a male, thus also ensuring the survival of the dynasty.

In Hebrew, David means "beloved," which can be seen to be related to the idea of an heir to the throne, or just a child who survives (either would be beloved).