Psychological Teachings: Kabbalah

There are many different spellings of the name of the abstract metaphysical system that became the foundation of so many cultural phenomena in the West – Kaballah is a Jewish tradition, Cabala is Christian, Qabalah is Hermetic, and also Practical Kabbalah. The original meaning of the word “Kabbalah” is to receive wisdom from divinity.

For the purpose of this review, let’s see Kabbalah as a perfected Qabalah model that allows to explain many psychological realities. It is perfected, because it is abstracted from the original confusing experience into a meaningful worldview.

Kabbalah was the summary of the knowledge about psyche at the time of its creation. The history of its development is not known. We can say that the location of its development was the Middle East, around 2,000 years ago, framed according to a Jewish culture. It had connections to Neoplatonic, Egyptian, and other schools of thought.

Kabbalah was influential in the Western psychological thought for a very long time. It can be compared to the culture-forming concept such as I Ching in China or Vedas in India where almost everything was aligned to the metaphysical framework, providing a meaningful lineage across entire culture.

So called modern Western psychology is, in fact, a continuation of the Kabbalah teachings. Sigmund Freud as a Jew, and Carl Jung as a Christian, were familiar with Kabbalah, and derived their own theories of the unconscious from it.

The comparative analysis of Kabbalah with Eastern traditions as Taoism and Samkhya reveals significant parallels.

Let’s review the system using “A Kabbalistic Universe” explanation.

There are many different views of the same model of Kabbalah. The dynamic model, known as Lightning Flash, shows the progression of Light of Creation. The static model, known as Tree of Life, shows the metaphysical structure, which enables the progression of Light of Creation.

Lightning Flash Dynamic View

Sigmund Freud’s term “libido” was derived from the concept of energy, known as Light of Creation in Kabbalah.

Tree of Life Static View

Kabbalah allows nesting – a copy of the entire Tree of Life inside of the each World. This technique enables explanation of the inner workings of the subsystems using the same model.

Carl Jung separated psyche into three areas:

  • Persona
  • Shadow
  • Archetypes

The Tree of Life view separates psyche into the following worlds:

  • Formation
  • Creation
  • Emanation

The Bible uses also the forth World from Kabbalah – a physical reincarnation level.

Practical Kabbalah can be understood as a form of psychotherapy such as Jungian individuation or Freudian shadow work.

As we can see, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as religion-based cultures share the same metaphysical system which is compatible with the modern Western psychotherapy, which replaces the religion. In other words, we are still using the same foundation, but with different, more scientific, decorations.

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