Review by Bonnie Cehovet
Like many in the Tarot world, the Qabalah (in any of
its numerous spellings) strikes terror into my heart!
How in the heck am I supposed to make sense of
anything this complex? I can barely follow a very basic
discussion concerning the Qabalah - which in ways, may be a
blessing, as no two people in these discussions ever seem to
agree on anything, and tangents break off all the
OK I have to admit, I have had some bits of luck with
getting a basic understanding of the Qabalah as it relates
to the Tarot - specifically through the works of
Ellen Cannon Reed ("The Witches Qabala: The Pagan Path
and the Tree of Life, Samuel Weiser, Inc, 1997) and
Alexandra Genetti ("The Wheel Of Change Tarot", Destiny
Books, 1997). These ladies have done a marvelous job of
presenting their work - my hat is off to both of them. This
is where my personal study of the Qabalah began.
To get past the very basics was not easy - the material
is complex, dry and ... well, not easily palatable!
And then the good Rabbi came along. The very first
thing that he did was to expand my vocabulary and sense
of literature - all in one fell swoop of chicken
feathers! I quote:
Revered Hebrew scholar, Gershom G. Scholem wrote:
For a long time we have known that
literary forgeries represent a flight into anonymity and
pseudonymity just as often as they indicate trickery; and not
for nothing have we retained the foreign word
"pseudepigrapha" to designate in particular a legitimate category
of religious literature ... the Zohar is the most
important but by far not the only example of such love of
masquerade in Jewish literature."
What does this mean in
plain English? It means that Lon Milo Duquette presents
this as the work of Rabbi Lamed Ben CLifford, of the
"Zerubabbel Institute of Philosophical Youth" (ZIPY), with
introductions to each chapter in Mr. Duquette's own words. Quite
frankly, this was the only way that the good Rabbi could be
kept in check!
While a sense of humor and the Qabalah
at first glance do not seem destined to be in the
same room, I found this presentation heartwarming,
palatible, tremendously funny (picture me in my living room,
with only my cat as company, laughing so hard that I
have tears running down my cheeks) ... and very
instructive. The reason that you cannot read this book straight
through is not that the material is so difficult, it is
that you have to take time outs to wipe your eyes and
blow your nose.
The Rabbi himself takes over the FAQ
chapter of this book. It is quite important that we
understand who Chicken Qabalist's are, and where they fit
into the scheme of things. There is also an authentic
certificate in this book that the reader may fill out and
present as Qabalistic credentials. The problem here is
that the certificate is IN the book - i.e. part of it.
I considered making a photocopy, but that seemed
like a sham. I mean - I want to see the real thing when
I am checking someone's credentials. I haven't quite
decided how I am going to handle this one yet.
The "Ten Command Rants" is a nice introduction to the work in this
book. Here we begin to glimpse the divine nature of the
Qabalah - according to the Rabbi, of course!
realizing it, in the ensuing chapters we are led through the
formation of the Sepher Yetzirah, the Hebrew alphabet (not a
small study in itself), the Four Qabalistic Worlds and
the Four Parts of the Soul , the Tree of Life ... and
much, much more.
The key here is the journey - the
journey is important, not where it leads you. Enjoy the
journey, learn from the journey - but do not become the
journey. There is a great deal of material presented in
this book - and it is intended only as a beginning. The
reader is encouraged to work with the information, to
allow it to become part of them.
There are many
excellent graphs and charts presented here. The path is made
very easy to create one's own workbook, and bring the
Qabalah into reality. If you allow it to, the Qabalah
readily takes a three dimentional form - it has a face, it
has a sense of "being".
I recommend this book to all
levels of students. Why all levels? Because if you think
that you understand it, you might not, really. And, if
you really do understand it, by reading this book you
may see a whole new way to present it to your own
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.