The numerous Jewish elements within ritual magic indicate that there is a more extensive Jewish element in the thought of the Traditions than has been admitted so far. The Jewish genius for complicated metaphysics and occult speculation has provided occultists with some of their most erudite Traditional sources of inspiration. The Kabbalah, itself a Jewish word for Tradition, embodies these sources. . . . Of the long and complicated story of Jewish mysticism it is only necessary to recall here that an important element is the correspondence between the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and a numerical value—and that on this typically “occult” idea of “sympathies” has been erected an amazing framework of speculation. — James Webb, from The Occult Underground


The Book of Splendours

Eliphas Levi

This book and its companion volume, The Great Secret, comprise the last works of Levi. Born Alphonse Luis Constant in 1810, Levi’s enthusiasm for religion and scholarly pursuits was so great that he entered the seminary at 25 to pursue the priesthood. Although ordained a deacon, he abandoned the goal of priesthood upon realizing his inability to accept celibacy. His career as a scholar and writer brought him greater notoriety as one of the architects of the 19th-century occult revival in France and England. His Dogme et Ritual de la Haute Magie and Histoire de la Magie inspired the work of countless other authors, including Waite’s turgid prose and Crowley’s humorous word-play. The Book of Splendours has as its first part Levi’s commentary on the Zohar, a 13th-century work of Jewish mysticism, by Moses de Leon. Levi effortlessly weaves into his narrative the Hiramic legend of masonry and Krishna. He continues the tradition of a syncretic view of the Kabbalah seen in earlier works of Mirandola and Ruechlin. That view of the Kabbalah, which blends Judaism, Christianity and the pantheons of several polytheistic systems, is perhaps now better known than the historical Kabbalah written of by Gershom Scholem and Moshe Idel. This book remains a lasting testament to Levi’s influence in shaping contemporary occultism. MM

Publisher: Weiser
Paperback: 191 pages

The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism

Daniel C. Matt

The spirit seeker and conjurer alike will marvel at the beauty of The Essential Kabbalah. Matt is a professor of Jewish mysticism at the Center for Jewish Studies and is a graduate of the Theological Union. He is considered by many to be the foremost translator of ancient Jewish mystical writings into modern English. Matt presents what he believes are the Kabbalah’s most important teachings. The resulting translations of the original Hebrew and Aramaic texts are inspiring and truly poetic. GE

Publisher: Harper San Francisco
Paperback: 221 pages

The Kabbala

Erich Bischoff

This reprint of the 1910 publication by Bischoff is one of the most concise and clear books on the Kabbalah. Written in a straightforward question-and-answer style, Bischoff outlines the history of Jewish mysticism from its legendary formation by Moses and its more realistic beginnings in the 1st century A.D. to its adoption by Christian Kabbalists during the Renaissance. Instead of dwelling on the Kabbalah’s more popular role in ritual magic, he discusses the different philosophic and theological strands of the Kabbalah and at what times they developed. The Sepher Yetzirah was written in the 9th or 10th century A.D., whereas Moses de Leon’s landmark mystical work the Zohar was written in the 13th century. The doctrine of the Sephiroth was promulgated by Rabbi Isaac the Blind in the year 1200. The notion of transmigration of souls is discussed and compared with Buddhist and Greek philosophy. These details do much to illustrate the slow and gradual development of Jewish mysticism. The last chapter outlines magic and the Kabbalah and is illustrated with many interesting magic squares and amulets. MM

Publisher: Newcastle
Paperback: 96 pages

Kabbalah and Consciousness

Allen Afterman

“This book enables the general reader to gain insight into the inner life of the Jewish mystical tradition… it concerns itself with the movement from ordinary consciousness toward knowledge of the infinite, the process of rectification by which the eternal is revealed in everyday reality, and an exploration of male and female modes of being.”

Publisher: Sheep Meadow
Hardback: 129 pages

The Kabbalah Unveiled

S.L. MacGregor Mathers

“The Bible… contains numberless obscure and mysterious passages which are utterly unintelligible without some key wherewith to unlock their meaning. That key is given in the Kabbalah.” Medieval alchemists and mystics searched for clues in every letter of the Bible and produced an abundance of Kabbalistic interpretations. The present translation is particularly useful for those interested in the occult and the metaphysical because three Kabbalistic works of paramount importance are included: the Zohar, the Greater Holy Assembly, and the Lesser Holy Assembly, all leading to the proof: “Each effect has a cause and everything which has order and design has a governor.” MET

Publisher: Weiser
Paperback: 388 pages

The Mystical Qabalah

Dion Fortune

Dion Fortune’s most famous work is required reading for all students of the mystic and energetic arts. The book’s basic mission is to explain the Tree of Life, the most important symbol in Kabbalistic magic and meditation. Fortune is from the Golden Dawn school of Kabbalism, in the tradition of MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley, whom she references. This is very high magic, rooted in pre-Christian rabbinical ritual. An often-recommended path for magic students is to begin with Kabbalah forms before progressing to more pagan and arcane systems. GE

Publisher: Weiser
Paperback: 320 pages

On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism

Gershom Scholem

“Scholem guides the reader through the central themes in the intricate history of the Kabbalah, clarifying the relations between mysticism and established religious authority, the mystics’ interpretation of the Torah and their attempts to discover the hidden meaning underlying Scripture, the tension between the philosophical and the mystical concepts of God, and the symbolism employed in mystical religion.”

Publisher: Schocken
Paperback: 240 pages