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The Veils of Negative Existance and the Qliphoth

Author: Ivory Cat

There are two areas on the Tree of Life that need to be addressed to complete
the description of it's structure. First, the area above Kether, the first
Sephiroth, is called the Veils of Negative Existence. The term "Veils"
suggests to us to use these ideas of negative existence as counters with no
true value unto themselves but useful in our calculations of the workings of
the Tree. It is comprised of the Ain, (negativity), Ain Soph, (the limitless)
and Ain Soph Aur (the limitless light). It is out of the last veil that
Kether is born. Fortunes calls these "the algebraic symbols that enable us to
think of that which transcends thought, and which at the same time hide that
which they represent; they are the masks of transcendent realities." She goes
on to say that these are not supposed to be understood, being that they are
only "symbols" of the unmanifest, designated only to give the mind
suggestions towards certain ideas. However, since these are the unmanifested,
the mind really cannot comprehend them. Even though Negative existence is
outside our scope of realization, it is important to try to keep in mind that
we can turn our minds in the direction of this absolute of unmanifest area,
even if we can't reach it. That's because all that has been manifested came
out of an area of the unmanifested. These are abstract symbols for the mind
to ingest, digest, and store for later enlightenment. These abstract symbols
are the seeds for thought and new ideas, and she puts it into perspective
well by stating that Realization is concretizing the Abstract. Although we
may not know it's nature, we know it's effects.

The next area is a highly controversial area called the Qliphoth, and
although I really don't know how to pronounced it, I would guess it would be
something like kle-foth. I have discovered that this part of the tree is
rarely discussed in many of the books and completely avoided like the plague
by many practitioners. I had asked one gentleman who has written a few books
on Qabalah about this area and he wouldn't discuss it with me. I had no idea
whatsoever that this was such a taboo subject, especially since Dion Fortune
does such an excellent job of addressing it. I feel as strongly about this as
she did. I believe that working with an intense system as the Kabalah,
esoteric initiates owe it to themselves to be educated about the whole
system, rather than just part of it. That way they can make better decisions
and obtain higher results, through knowing the undesirable aspects as well as
the desirable.

This not only gives us an edge, but as Fortune puts it "It is a sound
magical maxim not to invoke any force unless you are equipped to deal with
its averse aspect". She also writes that whoever uses the Tree as a magical
system really has no option but to deal with the aspects of the Qliphoth. If
one delves into the magical arena long enough, one will inevitably get bit
where the sun doesn't shine if they are not prepared.

Fortune describes the Qliphoth as "aptly termed the evil and averse
Sephiroth and are the unbalanced and destructive aspect of the Holy Stations
(Sephiroth) themselves". She goes on to write that "Whoever attempts to work
with the positive aspect of a Sephirah must remember that it has a negative
aspect" and it's important to maintain the balance of forces. The Qliphoth is
looked at as the place where one finds the Absolute of all averse conditions
as in absolute lust, absolute envy, etc. It could be looked at as a
reflection of the whole Tree glyph emanating from Kether downward. Or picture
yourself standing on a mirror looking down at your reflection extending from
your feet. For each Sephiroth has an archangel associated to it, each averse
side, or it's Qliphoth has its demon. It is viewed as the equivalent of
proverbial hell, where all the nasty traits or "sins" of human
characteristics are concentrated. I neither recommend or condone anyone to
work in this specifically defined area of Qliphoth.

However, after reading this chapter in The Mystical Qabalah several
times, I have come to another understanding of Qliphoth, maybe I would even
refer to it as "The Lighter Side of Qlipoth". Fortune made a very profound
statement that "We all have the faults of our qualities". In other words,
any of our good qualities taken to the extreme can become undesirable. A
person can be the most helpful soul around, but if it is an extreme nature
and they help anybody all the time no matter what, they can be a down right
butt-in-ski and very irritating. I'll go out on a limb with my own personal
analogy. I was blessed with artistic talent (Netzach), I also inherited the
temperament to go with it. I know I am a bit of a perfectionist with my work
and myself; if I go overboard with it I can become unreasonable. My personal
Qlipoth here is temperament and unreasonability. So I must realize that, and
strive to keep these averse characteristics in balance with my good
qualities. Fortune gives an example; if one invoking the fiery energy of Mars
(Geburah) does so without first purifying oneself, it can lead to the
Martian forces going to extremes, becoming destructive and cruel, or vigorous
and energetic can fall into oppression.

Fortune makes a point of distinguishing between what the occultist refers
to as positive and negative evil, saying that this is an important point in
practice because of how this influences our immediate judgment and conduct.
She defines Positive evil as "a force which is moving against the current of
evolution" and negative as "simply the opposition of an inertia which has not
yet been overcome, or momentum that has not been neutralized." Negative is
the strain between opposites and this strain is needed to keep all in check
with each other, keeps one from dominion over the others.

"Negative evil is the practical corollary of the principle of
Equilibrium." The universe is held together and perpetuated because of the
strain of opposing forces. An example of negative evil is how people view
each other......the evangelical fundamentalist views new agers as "evil", the
hippie was viewed as "evil" by the establishment, when in reality, it just
depends on the perception or the prejudice eyes of the other side! Fortunes
says "Never the less, we cannot dispense with either of these opposing
factors if society is to be maintained in a healthy state; between them we
achieve a steady progress that neither disorganizes society nor permits it to
sink into inertia and decay". If either side were left unchecked, it would
lead to harm. To label one contending force as good and the other as evil is
a mistake and can lead to the fundamentalist heresy of dualism. Very
important to grasp this. She says that we "cannot deal with evil by
destroying it, but only by absorbing and harmonizing it."

She writes that positive evil is another animal. This is something
carried too far, as in a single, dominant political party leading into
political corruption. Each side will have its sympathetic followers and it is
this Qliphothic force that gives the zealot his abnormal power.

"Each Qliphah arose primarily as an emanation of unbalanced force in the
course of the evolution of the corresponding Sephirah. The solution of the
problem of evil and its eradication from the world is not achieved through
suppression, or destruction, but through its compensation and consequent
absorption back into the Sephirah from which it came." It's also important to
understand that forces in equilibrium are static, neutralized. Progress can
not take place in perfect equilibrium. It is not until they become out of
balance that the forces are freed for action, and it is only at this point
that change and growth can take place. As we come to realize this and
understand what our adverse traits are, only then can we attempt to absorb
and harmonize them into becoming our virtuous qualities.