Qabalah, Kabbalah, or Cabbala

What is the difference between the three?



Translated in Hebrew: קַבָּלָה, literally "reception, tradition" or "correspondence" is an esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought of Judaism. Jewish Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between God, the unchanging, eternal, and mysterious Ein Sof (אֵין סוֹף, "The Infinite"), and the mortal and finite universe (God's creation). It forms the foundation of mystical religious interpretations within Judaism.    Kabbalah is not a book, it’s one strand of the Jewish mystical tradition that encompasses many books, the most famous of which is the Zohar (The Book of Splendor). Kabbalah also includes oral teachings that have never been written down.

Christian Cabbala

The Renaissance saw the birth of Christian Kabbalah. Interest grew among some Christian scholars in the mystical aspects of Jewish Kabbalah, which they interpreted under their Christian theology.  Almost from the beginning, Christians were interested in the teachings in the Zohar. While it was written in Hebrew and Aramaic, many learned Renaissance scholars had studied these languages—and there were also apostate Jews who were willing to help in the translation. Passages of the Zohar were first translated into Latin in the fifteenth century. But even before that, there were translations of Gates of Light, a book about the Sephirot written by Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla.


Hermetic Qabalah

Hermetic Qabalah (from Hebrew קַבָּלָה (qabalah), meaning 'reception, accounting') is a Western esoteric tradition involving mysticism and the occult. It is the underlying philosophy and framework for magical societies such as the Golden Dawn, Thelemic orders, mystical-religious societies such as the Builders of the Adytum and the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, and is a precursor to the Neopagan, Wiccan and New Age movements. Our Order, the Fellowship of the Golden Dawn Universum falls under this form of Hermetic Qabalah.

Hermetic Qabalah arose alongside and united with the Christian Cabalistic involvement in the European Renaissance, becoming variously Esoteric Christian, non-Christian, or anti-Christian across its different schools in the modern era. It draws on a great many influences, most notably: Jewish Kabbalah, Western astrology, Alchemy, Pagan religions, especially Egyptian and Greco-Roman (it is from the latter that the term "Hermetic" is derived), neoplatonism, gnosticism, the Enochian system of angelic magic of John Dee and Edward Kelley, hermeticism, tantra and the symbolism of the tarot. Hermetic Qabalah differs from the Jewish form in being a more admittedly syncretic system, however it shares many concepts with Jewish Kabbalah.