Thursday, May 22, 2008

Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism update

In response to a recent query from Paul in Ireland it seems worth repeating what I wrote some time ago when I started this web-site. This concerns various comments I made in A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO QABALISTIC SYMBOLISM which many feel somewhat outdated, not to say pontifical and repressive in light of current social and moral attitudes. This is because, like any other book from human hand, it never was infallible, and almost 50 years after it was written is not unnaturally showing the effects of its age. (Like me!) For reasons of publishing economics it has not been possible to revise the text but in the latest one-volume paperback edition from Red Wheel Weiser I have been able to insert a foreword that covers some of these issues as best I may. If anyone does not have a copy of this edition but would like to read the foreword I will be happy to send it by e-mail.


Anonymous said...

The new foreword is included in the preview at Google Books:

I hope this helps.

Peregrin said...

Hello Gareth and Anonymous :)

thanks for the post and the link to the Google Books foreword, which I had not read before.

I have continued on with my original edition: Weiser/Red Wheel seem to have forgotten to get good distributors down here in darkest Australia, and I have been unable to obtain this edition for some time.

This is still one of the basic texts for our courses, so I am glad it is still in print and bouncing around. May it continue to do so for many years, and it's author too :)


Anonymous said...


First a sincere thank-you for
all your many contributions to the life of the mind and the life of the spirit.

This question may be off topic, in a way, but since you are talking about the frailty of all human communication, perhaps you would be willing to comment.

I am not acquainted with all your works but have some acquaintance (and great respect for) the traditions within which you rightly hold a reputation for expertise. The writings that I know very well, and that are most fascinating to me, are "Experience of the Inner Worlds" and "The Magical World of the Inklings." In both of these works (which quite frankly changed my life, though unfortunately so far, more towards confusion than the better, so far) you deal with what to me is a subject of profound interest, consternation and confusion: the relationship between Christian orthodoxy (or some notion of it) and magic and the occult.

In my case, the confusion lies in the fact that after much helpful exposure to various meditative and magical practices, I feel spiritually in need of a relationship with God, Christ and a church (The Church?). I am met with horror by almost everyone on all sides of this question. In addition, I find most churches to be either a) rigidly "orthodox" and judgmental, or b) flabbily empty of much but polite tradition and hyper-rationalism, obsessed with questions like sexual orientation and ordination, which are important, but not helpful to me spiritually, or c) completely off the deep end and devoid of much but ill-informed monist interpretations of Christianity.

Of course, I am aware that this outer confusion reflects my own, but, then again, that is the problem. I am wondering if you plan to write on the question of Magic, the Occult and Christian Orthodoxy. The perspective of someone of your age experience and wisom would be most welcome.

Again, thank you

Anonymous said...

Sorry anonymous, but having nothing more to say about Christian orthodoxy and the occult than what I wrote in EXPERIENCE OF THE INNER WORLDS - which as it happens has just been re-issued in PDF format by Rite Magic.

Anonymous said...

I stopped in passing to read the letter about Christian Orthodoxy and the Occult and it reminded me of an article by Robert King on th eServants of the Light Website ( which you may well be aware of but if not you may find it of interest. I imagine the book you seek would not be unlike this writ large.

Steve said...

Sir Basil,

I would like your update forward to Guide to CS via email.

Your son, Stephen

Jonathan said...

The book is wonderful but unfortunately I feel the modifications made in your forward really are tepid at best , especially about your statements on homosexuality. I encourage you to state clearly and loudly on your blog at the very least , that homosexuality is not against spiritual principles. It is a holy way of being in its own right. Your foreword merely made it seem like it's unfashionable to criticize homosexuality , but didn't directly address that what you wrote about it can be used to justify the same hateful , violent behavior as fundamentalist Christians by asserting it is unnatural. A fundamental lesson of qabalah in my eyes is the vast extraordinary wealth of variety and experiences that the divine principle uses for its expression. Not to mention the compassion and unity of Tiphareth , the mixed gender principles of the hermaphroditic Netzach and Hod meeting in Yesod (sexuality) and that the primal forces of masculinity and femininity in the supernal realms are beyond the forms of physical bodies. I am an initiate of one of the true mystery schools as well, whose headmaster was trained by the true Golden Dawn , and I have no doubt that my sexuality is a holy blessing and expression of divinity.