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The Secret Doctrine of Israel

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Sephir He Zohar - THE BOOK OF SPLENDOUR has something to tell us at this day which is worth hearing by those who have ears. I do not affirm, God preventing, that it is the only way, for ways are many to the height. From the beginning of things He has called man and woman in all the states of life in childhood and virginity, in espousals and widowhood and He Who makes all things one has called the Lover and Beloved, that they may go up hand in hand and become one in Him.
An in depth look and research into the Judaism's Secret Doctrines, commonly referred to as the Kaballah. Arthur Waite was an avid and capable student of the 'mysteries' and his studies into the Secret Doctrine reveal more than most modern writers on the subject.


I AM entering in this chapter upon that part of my task which is at once most important and difficult. It may be an open question whether I should begin at the highest point of the research and thence work downward or take the opposite course and so as the proverb counsels proceed from small beginnings to the greater end. That is best which seems the simplest, and I have therefore chosen to work upwards from below. I will cite in the first place certain great axioms of the whole subject as these have been proclaimed on the authority of the masters. It is testified that the union of the male and female must be a perfect union in the mystery of faith.

There is also another testimony, already given, and this is that the title to behold the face of Shekinah is one of purity, the scholium on which though it lies far away in the text is that modesty is the union of the male and female ; and it may be noted in this connection that the most cryptic of all texts in the Zohar containing the mysteries of Divine personalities is called The Book of Con cealment or of Modesty.

These things being so, we may consider in the next place what is said on the subject of espousals, as these are known on earth. There is one definition which is in keeping with the tradition at large, and this is that marriage is the union of the Sacred Name here below that is, its completion in each person. The thesis appertaining hereto is that circumcision is the symbol of all purity in sexual intercourse ; that Israel is placed on this account in purity as a starting-point and enters under the wings of the Shekinah.

This sacred sign of the Covenant constitutes the root-matter of the Sacred Name and of the Mystery of Faith. As the sun enlightens the world, so the sacred sign enlightens the body ; as a buckler protects man, so does this : no evil spirit can approach him who preserves it in purity. But as the advantage is greater with which the children of Israel begin their earthly life so is the responsibility greater if they make the covenant of no effect in their own persons.

Now, the Sacred Name is never attached to an in complete man, being one who is unmarried, or one who dies without issue. Such a person does not penetrate after death into the vestibule of Paradise, on account of his incompleteness. He is like a tree that is rooted up, and he must be planted anew that is to say, he must suffer rebirth, as we have seen, in order that the Sacred Name may be completed in all directions.

The command to fulfil the Law, which means the procreation and engendering of children, is to spread the radiance of the Sacred Name in every direction, by collecting spirits and souls which constitute the glory of the Holy one above and below. Whosoever fails to apply himself to the fulfilment of this command diminishes the figure of his Master and prevents it descending here below. The last statement refers of course to the making of man, male and female, in the likeness of the Elohim.

It is said also that the paucity in the descent of souls is the reason why the Shekinah does not come down into this world, but this is in contradiction to the presence of the Indwelling Glory throughout the whole creation. God blessed Adam because they were made together male and female, and blessings are found only where male and female are united for the fulfilment of the purpose of creation, which according to the counsel of the Elohim was to increase, multiply and replenish the earth. It was not good for man to be alone because this end was in a state of frustration.

It may even be that the Zoharic legend concerning the male and female being originally side by side may be only a veiled way of indicating that they were not in the marital estate. Afterwards they were face to face, signifying the fulfilment of the precept. I have now dealt briefly with what may be called the principles at issue, and we have next to see after what manner those who exalted so highly the nuptial state gave instruction, so to speak, on its practice here below.

The doctrine was that no marriage is made on earth before it is proclaimed in heaven, and that the Holy One accomplishes unions in the world above before the descent of souls on earth. About the last point we shall see at a later stage. In practice the Sons of the Doctrine were separated as far from the uninitiated world of Israel as the chosen people at large were separated ex hypothesi by the fact of their circumcision.

There is a particular sense in which it is held that the union here below between husband and wife is the work of the Holy One, and herefrom, as from other considerations, arises the sanctity and necessity of that act which is implied by the word union. After what manner the Divine is said to intervene therein, or perhaps I should say to overshadow it, is indicated by the theory that man is formed below on the model of that which is above.

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