The Neschamah is the intuition. It is the seat of all the psychic abilities of humanity. There is a method of instruction called "The Socratic Method." It is based upon the teaching methods of Socrates. He believed that people did not learn new things. Rather, they remembered things which they had forgotten at death before their current incarnation. By asking questions, Socrates would elicit from the student answers which would lead the student to the discovery of an idea or principle which the student could not have known. Today, this system of involving a student rather than merely telling a student seems to be the most effective way to teach. It allows the student to have a growing, inquiring mind. It also allows for intuitive leaps and bounds, resulting in an individual who is creative rather than a robot only capable of rote repetition.
Part of the definition of Magick is that it is a science. As magicians we should understand modern scientific thought One such canon of science is the Theory of Evolution. Evolution is not, as many think, a smooth line. Rather, it moves in jumps and jerks. Current evolutionary thought calls this "punctuated equilibrium." Likewise, the advancement of mind and humanity has often come in sudden steps. The laser was the accidental result of communications research. Today lasers are used for everything from playing records to brain surgery previously impossible to perform even with the sharpest of scalpels. This is an example of a link to the Divine via the unconscious will. This uncontrolled link is an aspect of the Neschamah. A controlled link to the Divine is an aspect of the Chiah. Thus, from our point of view the Chiah is active while the Neschamah is receptive. As always, it is the goal of the Kabalist to blend opposites and bring balance into manifestation. By allowing the Neschamah to be in our awareness, we develop psychic abilities. By being conscious of the Chiah, we are able to do Magick.
The Ruach is our consciousness, our intellect, our false self. It equates with Freud's idea of the Ego. Notice that it is composed of five parts: memory, imagination, reason, desire, and will. The aspect of will related to the Ruach is different from the Chiah. The Chiah is our True Will. As such, it is in alignment with the will of the Divine. The will of the Ruach is that which is moved by our superficial and transitory desires. The True Will of the Chiah is to create, to love and to seek unity with the Godhead. The will aspect of the Ruach is to have sexual release, to eat good smelling food although you know that food is neither good nor needed, and to be better than those around you, even if it means hardships for them or their destruction.
The Nephesch is the lower self. It is the most superficial layer of the unconsciousness, wherein dwells the darker side of ourselves. It is usually under the tight control of the Ruach. Earlier I equated the Nephesch with the Freudian Id. While correct, it is not precise. The Id is really a process, not an aspect of the mind. It is frequently submerged and hidden within the Nephesch, but it is not exactly the Nephesch. The process called the Id, when submerged in the Nephesch, is said to be controlled by the Ruach. However, when the Ruach does not control the Id and the Nephesch dominates, the Id is free to roam the aspects of the mind and come out in sometimes unfortunate places. Part of the techniques of magick which you have been learning include the control of this Id-energy so that it can be used as you wish under the control of the united Yechidah and Ruach. The Nephesch is also the source of the astral body and the seat of the energy called Prana (correct pronunciation: prahn-yah) in Sanskrit. In the Kabalah this energy is also known as Ruach, but should not be confused with the Ruach meaning consciousness.
Note that there is a difference between the energy called Ruach or Prana and the Id. The Id is a process, a motion, while the Ruach or Prana is that which moves. Freud's earlier definition of the Libido, as described earlier in this course, would have made it the same as Prana or Ruach energy.
Finally, the bottommost Sephira is related to the G'uph, the physical body. Many people wonder how the body can be an aspect of mind. To me, the interrelation is quite obvious on many levels. First, as you incarnate, you "choose" a particularly shaped body depending on the types of experiences you need in life (more on this in the discussion of reincarnation). Also, imagine the different thoughts of someone born with severe handicaps as opposed to a person born physically normal. There are also differences in the psyches of people who are considered ugly and those who are considered beautiful according to the dictates of society. There are even differences in the psyches of people who tend to be slim and those who tend to be obese. The physical body plays an important role as part of the psyche and should not be ignored.
But after all this information, we are left with a feeling of "that's interesting, but so what?" Actually, once you know the basis for
Kabalistic psychology there is much that you can do with it. The two keys to what you can do are:
1. Understanding the Tree of Life, and
2. Understanding the Tarot and how it fits on the Tree of Life.
Let us say that it has been so long since you have been involved in a relationship that you cannot feel desire for someone, even though that person indicates a desire for you. A possible diagnosis here is that you no longer have the memory of what a loving relationship is like. You need something to trigger the memories. Looking at the Tree we can see that what is needed is an infusion of imagination (which is linked by a direct path to the Yechidah, our link to the Divine). Contemplating the card known as The Hermit will bring imagination back into the memory. Spend a few minutes contemplating The Hermit each day for a week. If the goal of bringing up desire has not been achieved, it is probably not because you have failed, but because you have not brought the memory down to the level of desire. Contemplation of The Wheel of Fortune card for a few minutes a day will accomplish this.
Perhaps you feel that you are a very logical person and pride yourself on your reasoning talents. From the standpoint of the Kabalah there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. It is fine to be proud of your talents, and not to do so would be a lie. But perhaps you feel that you are not creative enough in your life. Here, a short period of daily contemplation on the card titled The Devil will reward you immensely. It does not mean that you will be satanically inspired. Hopefully it will allow you to learn about and break out of your "satanic" enthrall-ment to cold logic and reason. Coming from the other side, if you find yourself very creative but with illogical, time-wasting ideas, contemplation of this same card will allow reason to enter your world and guide, but not over-control, your imagination.
Thus, neatly packed into the Tree of Life we have a complete system not only of psychotherapy, but also a system of dealing with day-to-day situations and improving your life. It is also a wonderful way of becoming familiar with the Tree and the Tarot.
Sometime in the future, people will have forgotten that there was a series of "lightbulb" jokes which all began, "How many_s does it take to change a lightbulb?" The answers were frequently blackly humorous. One version of this joke goes, "How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb?" The answer is, "Only one, but it has to want to change." The reason I bring this up is that any time you wish to use magick to change somebody's mind, you must ask for that person's permission first. And the person must give it to you. You have no right to change a person even if it is for the betterment of that person unless that person wants the change. The reason I say this is to suggest that you do not go up to a friend who you think needs changing and say, "Here, look at this card for three minutes a day for the next week" without telling that person the reason and how it works. That person may not want to change in the way you think he/she should. If they ask for your help, fine. If they agree with you after being informed of what you are doing, fine. But changing a person's mind without his/ her permission is nothing but Black Magick, and you will be the one to suffer most. Start working on improving yourself before tying to help others who may be healthier than you think.
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The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.