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“You must construct your own Qabalah!”

By Psyche | March 21, 2008 | Print This Post | E-mail This Post | 4 Comments

Ges, in a recent post in his journal, placed characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the Tree of Life. 1 It’s reminiscent of the Pokemon kabbalah circulating chaote lists in the late 90s, and various other characters from the pop cultural milieu.

Ten years ago this sort of thing was immediately dismissed as juvenile by those unfamiliar with chaos magick,2 and while sphincters have relaxed somewhat, it may still surprise some to learn that exercises of this sort (or similar enough) were advocated by Crowley nearly seventy years ago.

In “Letter F” of Magick Without Tears, Crowley writes:

[...] If, however, you work at the Qabalah in the same way as I did myself, in season and out of season, you ought to get a very fair grasp of it in six months. I will now tell you what this method is: as I walked about, I made a point of attributing everything I saw to its appropriate idea. I would walk out of the door of my house and reflect that the door is Daleth, and house is Beth; now the word dob is Hebrew for bear, and has the number 6, which refers to the Sun. Then you come to the fence of your property and that is Cheth – number 8, Tarot Trump 7, which is the Chariot: so you begin to look about for your car…As soon as this sort of work, which can be done in a quite lighthearted spirit, becomes habitual, you will find your mind running naturally in this direction, and will be surprised at your progress.3

He was quite adamant that one must construct one’s own kabbalah4, reiterating:

Never let your mind wander from the fact that your Qabalah is not my Qabalah; a good many of the things which I have noted may be useful to you, but you must construct your own system so that it is a living weapon in your hand. 5

Yet how are such notions taken today? How often have we encountered individuals who assert that their method is the One True Way when it comes to such symbolic analysis? 6 As if these novelties, association games, somehow threaten the integrity of the system, when in fact, such syntheses further demonstrate its enduring relevance.

In integrating what is known with a new system the new concepts become more tangible and familiarity with the new system is sped up: this is how we learn.

Crowley goes further; he writes:

Nasty of me: but it has just struck me that it might be just as well if you made a Sepher Sephiroth of your own! What a positively beastly thing to suggest! However, I do suggest it.

After all, it’s simple enough. Every word you come across, stick it down against that number in a book kept for the purpose. That may seem tedious and silly; why should you do all over again the work that I have already done for you? Reason: simple. Doing it will teach you Qabalah as nothing else could. Besides, you won’t be all cluttered up with words that mean nothing to you; and if it should happen that you want a word to explain some particular number, you can look it up in my Sepher Sephiroth.

By this method, too, you may strike a rich vein of words of your own that I have altogether missed.

No doubt, a Really Great Teacher would have said: “Beware! Use my Dictionary, and mine alone! All others are spurious!” But then I’m not a R.G.T. of that kind.7

Would that modern magickians were so humble.

Title quote taken from Aleister Crowley’s Magick Without Tears, page 50.


  1. I have difficulty with Spike as Tiphareth, but really like Dawn as Yesod. [back]
  2. Indeed, there remains the irritating – and utterly incorrect – assumption today that chaos magick somehow implies work with figures from pop culture. [back]
  3. Aleister Crowley, “Letter F”, Magick Without Tears, p. 14 [back]
  4. p. 50 [back]
  5. p. 14 [back]
  6. See “[cref 122]” for more on reactionary modes. [back]
  7. p. 49-50 [back]

Psyche is the editor of and the curator for the occult resource, Psyche also operates a tarot consultation business, Psyche Tarot. She has been published in The Cauldron, Konton, Tarot World Magazine, among other magazines, and her essay “Strategic Magick” appeared in Manifesting Prosperity (Megalithica, 2008).

Psyche's website is


  1. nysidra says:

    A personally created system in the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s hard work, but the results are worth it. You put your soul into it and that energy fuels the resulting system.

    Current score: 0
    • Psyche says:

      Everyone personalizes what they learn, integrates it into what they already know. Even those who would slavishly believe whatever was presented before them have their own personal aesthetic they adhere to, a sense of the “right” way to believe/behave/live.

      Recognizing this seems to be key to playing well with others.

      Current score: 0
  2. [...] your Crowley, kids, “You must construct your own qabalah!“ [back]Formal review to be posted later on [...]

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  3. [...] You can subscribe to our RSS feed, follow us on Twitter, and find us on Facebook. We're so Web 2.0.I can’t seem to escape Crowley. He’s everywhere and in everything. Like q-ball. [...]

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