The Qliphotic Magic
What are the Klippah? Eleven Theorems:
(spelling conforms to conventional spelling of 'Kabbalah')
The 'Shells' were originally defined as the basis of sin and suffering in Judaic Mysticism and the source of evil in most schools of Kabbalah (i.e. those schools that don't demonise the Left Hand Pillar). The various schools that describe them are based on different doctrinal perspectives.
Zoharic Klippoth – The oldest texts claim the Klippoth represent separation and gap. Though in the Merkabah the Klippah is the 'spiritual vehicle', and the later Zohar claims that this separation is necessary for the creation of distinct, individual objects. The seperation is just a double edged sword here. Perhaps being a matter of degree.
Talmudic Klippoth – The Talmud claims that the Klippoth are the 'empty shells' of ancient divine powers that still contain isolated sparks giving them a basic limited conciousness. Zombie Gods seperated from the living Deity. Later versions extended this to the mindless 'shells' of the dead, elemental remnants and 'thoughtforms'. Some moralistic teachings also claim these are the bodies of Man after the Fall (physical and/or astral). A broader though darker versions claim that all matter contains such creative 'fallen sparks'. Thus all material bodies vaguely conscious on this reading and Kliphotic and the focus of separation from the 'Godhead'. A foolish ascetic turn, demonising matter.
Hasidic Klippoth – Here the claim is the more Kabbalistic notion that the ancient Sephiroth on the Tree of Life had shells around them to separate them out as unique aspects of Divinity. But the first attempted creation failed when the Tree broke apart and these Sephiroth shattered (or the lower seven did), as they were too rigid, and new more flexible spheres had to form. The broken primal Sephiroth contain a residue of divine power, and are still active in the lower Abyss, but use their power to oppose the new Sephiroth and their unity. They are thus oppositional Kliphotic forces, which also act to ensnare and seperate humanity from each other and their source.
Popular Judaism - In more populistic Judaic versions the separated Klippoth are just those malign aspects of Nature separate from a perceived benign whole, or the proper relation of its parts, manifesting as thunder storms and car wrecks. Destructive, meaningless aspects that dont fit a divinely holistic cosmos.
Modern Lurianic Klippoth – This combines the idea of separation with the notion of the LHP being evil. Basically after creation there forms an imbalance on the Tree in which the LHP is the most powerful - because its concerned with manifestaion and seperation - but the balance is restored by hiving off a portion of the LHP energy in isolated shells, which become the Klippoth.
Sabbatian Klippoth – According to the inverted teachings of the heretical Kabbalist Nathan of Gaza the Klippoth are primeval forces of the Void (or Primal Space before Creation). Thus to encounter Klippoth is to encounter Chaos and the Abyss, and in some sence the Klippoth were seen as the Guardians of the Void. As such they were disconnected from the ordered Cosmos. They are emissaries from the 'In-Between', that chaotic potentia between the dualistic opposites of the ordered Cosmos. Unformed Chaos however is held to be very destructive and so tends to get pushed down into the lower Abyss by the higher forms which rise above it according to Nathan. But the only 'evil' aspect here is merely their potential for chaos and dissolution. This dissolution in itself can be taped however in the dissolution of the personal ego and its reconstruction via the Kliphotic Gates of Knowledge. Nathan of Gaza regarded the Klippoth as potentially liberating, and in his book a Treatise on Dragons, refered to them as Dragons and Serpents. These are evoked or invoked inorder to contact the Void. Another way according to some accounts is to reduce matter to Chaos alchemically. It is from Chaos that all Forms are derived, and so all Forms contain a potential Chaos trapped within them. This Chaotic power can be tapped from certain, unstable forms of matter, such as those in decomposition, fermentation, combustion or catalysis. The basis of alchemy. Therefore Kliphotic powers are said to be associated with all these processes. This Doctrine never became popular in mainstream Judaism and was denounced as heresy, but is close enough to a Lovecraftian model to attract many non-Jewish Occultists today.
Zionist Klippoth - It should also be mentioned that there appears to be an obscure Ultra-Orthodox belief that it was not imbalence but balance that created the Klippoth (or over active RHP?). That the first universe was balenced but this lacked strength and so energy leaked and formed isolated cells that became rebel Klippoth. This destroyed the first Tree and so the next was built stronger with a dominant LHP of severity to keep the Klippoth in check. This is held to explain the harsh nature of Jehovah and the World.
The basic Judaic idea then is to posit from observation in the context of a holistic living Cosmos (or more traditionally a Divinity) that some elements are fragmented and seperate from it, and therefore out of tune or at odds with the smooth running of universe. The degree of seperation and its extent (ranging from a few abyssal elements, through most of mankind, to the whole of the material world) varies between systems and depends on degrees of optimism and pessimism. Various negative phenomena are explained in terms of this theory and its application varies from superstitious beliefs to Kabbalistic theory. It also seems to have a secret positive aspect. In many of these doctrines an inner light is the link to the holistic whole. The degree of inner illumination corresponds to ones connectedness to the whole. Even the disconnected I said to retain a spark as a potential link back to the whole and a residue of consciousness (consciousness being produced by the holism). This light was refered to in Egypt as the Khabs. (hence Crowleys the Khabs is in the Khu, not the Khu in the Khabs, meaning the light is internal within the soul, rather than an external aura as the Golden Dawn understood Khabs).
The Sabbatian differs in looking at the material externalities of the shell rather than the spirital internalities for the (dis)connecting link, and looking for its positive expansive possibilities rather than its negative isolation. It seems to do this by postulating that a gap must exist externally between the shell and the world, or else it would be connected still. That is there is a material emptiness around the shell as well as a spiritual emptiness within it. Likewise it is only a partial gap as it still interacts with the whole to a certain extent. This means that a Klippoth has an aura of chaos or void around it. Which means encountering a Klippoth is to encounter chaos and being kliphotic is to be within the void. This has obvious magical and transformative possibilities.
(spelling conforms to conventional spelling of 'Qabalah')
Due to an initial difficulty in accessing authentic Jewish Kabbalah, early Hermetic Qabalah tends to be both eclectic and idiosyncratic, though very creative, with regard the Klippah, who were never mentioned in the more familiar Rennaissance Cabala.
Golden Dawn Qliphoth – These isolate powers were termed the Kings of Edom (deposed ancient kings) by MacGregor Mathers and for him represented an initially excessive RHP with consequent imbalence, energy discharge and seperation, left over from a previous universe. An interesting inversion of the traditional Lurianic Din / LHP doctrine, perhaps derived from the Zionist beliefs mentioned above, RHP being the pillar of expansion and harmony, the LHP being that of contraction and disharmony. He idiosyncratically combined this with the Hasidic and Talmudic 'Ancient Ones' from a prior cosmos. Thus he founded the basis of modern Hermetic Kabbalah with its synthesis of various traditions.
Demonic Qliphoth – This is usually simply the correspondence of traditional Demonology with the Tree of Life. Usually ten or twelve orders of Demons and their rulers, seven Hells and twenty two lesser Demons. The idea seems to be the theological concept of rebel angels. It also often draws on Mathers interpretation of the Klippah and so probably dates to the Victorian period.
The Inverse Qliphoth – The basic idea put forward by Israel Regardie, and later Bill Heidrick. For Regardie they are simply the opposites of the well known Sephiroth on the Adverse Tree. The 'Evil Twins'. Heidrick elucidates a more detailed Demonic hierarchy of inverted or distorted Sephiroth. Both modes are ruled by Satan, who represents the disunion and oppositional dualism of a distorted Kether, the Sephiroth of Unity. In even more dualistic versions, such as that of Heidrick, the twin rulers are often Satan and Moloch.
The remaining are Belial (Beelzebub) – the Confuser of Wisdom; Lucifuge, Lord of Misunderstanding and Confusion; Astaroth, the Greedy Devourer; Asmodeus, the Mindless Destroyer; Belphegor, Lord of Darkness, Disharmony and Death; Baal*, the Hater and Rejecter; Adrameloch, the Ignorant Weakling; Lilith~, Corrupting Mistress of Freaks; Nehema; Queen of Fear (in the normally secure foundation of Malkuth).
But for Regardie the Qliphotic also includes 'evil matter' and the 'shells of the dead', harking back to matter as that seperated and seperating, and so the supposed source of dualism. Presumably this ties in with the above in the sense that the Tree of Life is a transcendent structure, or the ideal cosmic unity, while the material world (including the astral realm) is entirely seperated off and so Kliphotic, which manifests itself in the Adverse Tree of Matter deep in the lower Abyss.
~Demonic Klippoth are problematic when they corrupt other archetypes such as Baal and Lilith, it may be worth replacing them with Baal Zebub and Lamashtu.
Imbalanced Qliphoth – Dion Fortune argued the Qliphoth were the result of an imbalanced Sepheroth, too much mercy and passivity producing weakness, or too much activity and severity causing cruelty. The misuse of natural magical forces was also Qliphotic. This preserved the old Judaic tradition that the shells represented either a rigidification or over energising of the Sepheroth, such as:
Kether- Futility, Chokhmah– Arbitrariness, Binah- Fatalism, Chesed– Ideology, Gevurah- Bureaucracy, Tipheret- Hollowness, Netzach- Routine, Repetition, Habit, Hod- Rigid Order, Yesod- Zombieism, Robotism, Malkut- Stasis.
These seem a more RHP demonisation than a LHP one. An excess expansion rather than an inversion. It is also a very radical theory as it supposes the Qliphotic Tree is not a broken away relic from a perfect Tree, as in Judaism, but that the Tree itself is still imperfect and this scheme represents it modes of imperfection.
Nightside Qliphoth - Kenneth Grant claimed that Qliphoth are the repressed aspects of what he considers the rational, solar-phallic Sepheroth, that is they are the instinctual, lunar-feminine realms associated with the Faceless One, or Lilith, and the other Qliphoth. They are connected by the Tunnels of Set, the shadowy inversion of the Paths of the Tree. This is the Nightside of the Tree an alternative reality reached though Daath. It is an archaic primeval realm in which dwell the Ancient Ones, who are sometime associated with Lovecraft's Great Old Ones by Grant. It draws heavily, and creatively, on Nathan of Gaza.
Chaotic Qliphoth – Some modern ecological Occultists have associated the Qliphoth with those aspects of Nature, usually made or modified by Man, that have lost their connection with an holistic ecology. Thus most modern technology is in fact Qliphotic.
It is difficult to rationalise these schemas into a coherent whole, a general trend seems to be a psychologising of the cosmos with the Void being a cosmic unconcious. Thus encountering Qliphoth is like encountering isolated complexes and repressed material from the unconscious in these theories. There is also an attempt to define the nature of the Qliphotic Sepheroth in the lower Abyss. With one theory describing them as extreme versions of the true Sepheroth, a kind of neurotic repression of the excluded powers, and another as a lack or inversion of them, like the inverted dreamworld on the threshold of the deep unconscious. All could be taken as true if we see these as RHP, MP and LHP features, Infinite Excess, Lack and Inversion. And perhaps regard the three absyssal trees in the lower Abyss, budding off discharged imbalences in each of the pillars, each of which holographically generate a whole new Tree (the whole being contained even in Klippothic parts thanks to the spark of unity they retain). The idea of an inverted Tree in the lower Abyss is found in traditional Kabbalah, with little explanation. It also seems to have been accepted by Lurianic Kabbalists, indicating that in their scheme too a discharge of Kliphoth from the LHP was even then concievable as generating a whole inverted Tree. This scheme would Kabbalistically imply three earlier failures in the Tree. Such an idea has been developed by London based Occultist Abraxis Oscurum in his Four Fold Klippah schema.
The Nightside Tree is quite different it is not just the repressed elements within the Kabbalistic system but the very inversion of the system itself, and so an alternative universe reachable only through Daath in the higher Abyss. Thus the Great Work here enters a meta-level here, not only are we concerned with internal repressions recognised by a patriarchal system but also the external repression that give birth to that patriarchy. Thus when we have balenced the Tree with regard to the forces of the lower Abyss, we must still take on the forces of the higher Abyss and transcend the limits of the tradional Tree into a greater Tree of Life worthy of the name.
All of these insights will contain an essence of truth, a truth that may be inconcievable as a whole, but from looking at them all a better perspective will be achieved.
The key concept of the Klippoth is seperation or isolation. In a World seen as holistic this will be seen as evil and the cause of suffering. Such isolate cells will be seen as either cut off from other cells and the world and so lacking in energy (and associated with 'psychic vampirism') or supercharged with static energy like a capacitor, and ocassionally discharging, a negative or positive state depending on origin or energy status at that time. On the other hand they are the basis of the individuation and objectification that allows differentiation and diversity. The latter however are perhaps best seen in terms of the window (heh) that allows energy to flow in and out of the shell (a channel through the gap, or channels, perhaps chakras?). Such shells are thus semi-detached but not completely detached. It is easy to contextualise such relations either as external energy relations or internal psychologies, all things being parallel (as Microcosm-Macrocosm). The human individual is essentially Klipphotic but not fully, the totally Kliphotic is sociopathy. Similarly it can be applied to any closed off system, a Nationalist State could be said to be Kliphotic, as could a dogmatic belief system.
There is an important distinction of what seperates in the above accounts, one account claims things (ie matter, material objects, bodies, beings, minds, concepts) emerge from a living chaos and are always seperated by chaos (the 'in-between', whether material chaos, as in 'quantum potentia', or conceptual chaos as in indeterminacy or Derrida's 'differance', mental and physical being two aspects of the same 'thing'). Chaos also serves as an energy conduit, or basis of exchange, between things, if it has a 'window'. This chaos is the face of the Klippoth. Therefore the openness or closedness of the thing, or system, emerging from chaos, is determined by the degree of chaos in its boundaries. Thus Klippoth control the 'window', or the permeability of the shell. They thus become identified with the creation of shells.
The rival account is that it is the 'structured matter' that emerges from primal chaotic matter that is the source of seperation. Whereas the first account is monistic, mind-matter emerging from living chaos spontaneously, and the psycho-physical vital energy involved being a property of chaos, and the mind-matter emerging from it. The second account is dualistic. Here primal chaotic matter is dead but is vitalised by living spiritual energy which 'enters' zones of it. When structured things emerge from this dead chaos, under the influence of living spirit inside them, their material shell partially, or completely, isolates them from each other, and spirit, and restrict the flow of energy. Thus matter seperates. In this account Klippoth are both primal and structured matter and opposed to the influence of formative spirit. The first account could be called Dionysian, and conforms to the ideas of thinkers like Heraclitus, Nietzsche and Klages. The second account could be called Apollonian, and conforms to classical thought and the thinking of the likes of Plato and the Rationalists. Arguably the first account is possibly true, while the second seems impossibly dualistic.
A theory of extremes is also evident in the accounts. Influenced by the morally dualistic notion that prefers one pillar of the Kabbalistic Tree over the other, usually the RHP, or Tree of Life, over the LHP, or Tree of Knowledge (though sometimes inverted), following biblical sanction or because the LHP represents seperation and so seen as potentially Klipphotic. The negative pillar is regarded as becoming over powerful - as evidenced by the 'immoral' state of the world - and not held in check by the positive pillar, so in the Kliphotic account that incorporates this tradition balance is sought not through strengthening the positive pillar but through a discharge of energy from the negative pillar. But the discharged energy gets encapsulated in its own shells and creates an Adverse Tree in a separate realm called 'the Other' (also called 'the Left', when the LHP is discharged. Note, as each Sepheroth contains all the others a whole Tree is regenerated). This Tree itself however is unbalenced becomes the opposer of the valued pillar on the now balenced Tree. Becoming the basis of the Klippoth and source of suffering. An alternative version has the over dominance of the pillar of severity represented by the over rigidity of an early Tree, which shatters and discharges energy downwards, where new, or old, spheres reform around it, creating an unbalenced Kliphotic Tree, beneath the now regenerated and more flexible upright Tree. Again the unbalenced forces act against the balenced. Dion Fortune took a simpler, more dynamic version of this in which either pillar can become overcharged, as can any sphere, and a more traditional compensation is sought, but the overcharged sphere becomes a temporary Klippoth. Note, in this theory Klippoth must be transitory and the Tree unstable and imperfect. One reason the Adverse Tree theories may be popular is that after an initial problem the imperfection separates and leaves the Tree a perfect divine structure (even the compensatory theory implies an ongoing imperfection in the Tree). All these theories are more or less equivalent, with Fortune's theory being less morally absolute and more relativistic, but equally dependent on the ideal of constant harmony and moderation. Surely a limited and culturally biased viewpoint, which itself surpresses other possibilities.
This leads to the other interesting feature of some of these accounts where it is claimed the Klippoth are the suppressed mirror images of a Sepheroth. That is far from being balenced and harmonious the Tree is in fact imperfect and partial, with its own repressed shadow side. In fact as we've seen it could be claimed that even if the Tree really was harmonious it would still be repressing its opposite 'disharmony' and this would be its shadow side. More common however is the claim that the Tree is patriarchal and rationalistic, and so the shadow side is matriarchal and instinctual. Most typical of all though is the claim that the Sepheroth themselves are not perfectly balenced in opposing pairs, but that further repressed opposites are present, usually seen as undesirable or unnatural in a moral context, within a shadow Tree. This can be seen as the product of a Tree emerging from a Chaos that contains everything, including contradictions, and so there will always be some repressed aspect of it in an ordered universe. These repressed shadows are regarded as the Klippoth. This makes the shadow Tree a representation of the Unconscious Mind of Mankind, with all its repressed material, vices, fears and raw instincts. An interesting theory but far removed from the traditional notion of Klippoth. Some thus refer to all of these as Nega-Sepheroth rather than Klippoth.
A final consideration is the notion that Klippoth are hostile alienated Forces of Nature. This seems to be based on an over optimistic vision of Nature as a human friendly system. However natural disasters are every bit a part of a holistic Nature as happy accidents. What may be included in this category however are those mechanical human inventions that while equally forces of nature are alien to the ecosystem, or disconnected from it, devouring resources and pouring out waste products. Again the idea is of an isolated, closed system relative to the ecosystem.
Thus it appears there are several forms of Klippoth. Which actually corresponds to the tradition of their being four classes of Klippoth with Nogah being the topmost. In fact everything individualised is essentially Klippothic, though as has been stated most are only semi-detached and have 'windows' that filter the energy flow. These are the Nogah Klippoth and include human beings. The more open these are the easier they obtain energy, the more Kliphotic the easier they tire and close off, often resorting to 'psychic vampirism' to recharge. The 'Dark Brothers' as Crowley called them are almost entirely closed off and sociopathic (the closure's effect on their new social psychology) they have little energy and act as 'vampires' almost exclusively. They have no future however as their chance of post mortal survival within the cosmos has been lost. This fate is shared by anything that looses its connection with the world and becomes isolated. The windowless Klippoth might be best described as Klipot, Klifot or Kelipot (a symbolic lack of h's). These are the forces that control and create (effectively are) the shells, they are also rightly called the Coiled Serpentine Klippot (that which grabs it tail and is closed). Though some also use the term Dragon for this. Uncoiled Serpents are the Nogah Klippoth.
We might also include the inverse or Nega-Sepheroth as a form of Serpentine Klippoth repressed opposite forms to the rigid, manifest forms. These classical Klippoth might better be refered to as the Klifot in contradistinction to the Klipot (the rigid closed forms of the primary Sepheroth). Kelipot might define any closed system. These of course are only suggestions though.
Those Forces of Chaos, and the Inbetween that we recognise as Klippoth may be best refered to as Kalipoth. These are the Draconic Klippoth (the winged serpents of contradiction). They are related to the primal Tiamatic Forces. They are also the repressed lunar forces of the Night Side.
We thus have hypothetical Nogah Klippoth, Klipot, Klifot and Kalipoth forms.
Use of Qliphotic Magick
No manuals of Qliphotic Magick exist, as far as is known, other than those of modern speculation, such as the following.
By its very nature Qliphotic Magick will often be 'Black Magick'. The most obvious form is a closing off of something to preserve and build up power, the source of this energy being vampyric. Why anyone should want to do this given the connected access to infinite seas of energy is uncertain, it may represent the desperate countermeasures of a being that knows it is about to disintegrate, or simply a perfection of the natural state of the sociopath. This kind of isolation surrounds the magician with an aura of chaos giving them powerful magical potential. To a certain extent all magicians need to seal themselves off in chaos. This may be the origin of the chariot working. Similarly Qliphotic entities bring chaos and energy and so are sought after as magical allies.
A more positive aspect of Qliphotic Magick is healing, knowing were the pools of isolated energy are and reconnecting them. This can also be a self working, the discovery and reintegration of isolated complexes and dark repressed material within the psyche.