Les Kabbalistes Chrétiens De La Renaissance * François Secret (1985)
See my article about the Christian Cabala.
This is the first book of Halevi that I read and I have got two more to go. This book is one in a series of the artbookpublisher Thames & Hudson about various esoteric subjects. As it seems all books come for a part in text and a large part in images. This Halevi book has about 30 pages of text and some 60 with images. In total there are 127 illustrations of which 14 in colour. This is not that much, but still.
Anyway, it seems that this book is not only a good introduction to the Brittish kabbalist that still lives, but also to the kabbalah in general. Halevi has a total different approach than what I am used to. You will get the basics of kabbalah, but Halevi has a more practical approach than most introductions. Not that he teaches gematria or notaricon, but he shows the kabbalah of daily life, the tree of life in the contitution of man, of the world, of the world of emotions, etc. This makes kabbalah more than just an interesting esoteric system, a way of looking at the world. Also his approach of teaching is very nice. One example is how he explains the 10 sephiroth using paintings by Rembrandt.
The images he took are well-chosen and go from classic kabbalah to our recent times. Each image comes with a short explanation and several are referred to in the text.
I am really curious what Halevi’s more ‘special’ books are like, but this one I can recommand to anyone interested in the real kabbalah and also those looking for a nice introduction in general.
This is the first ‘real’ book of Halevi that I read. It is not quite what I hoped. Still Halevi’s approach to the subject is more direct, practical and different from any other Kabbalah book that I read so far, but it didn’t result in me getting a more Kabbalistic worldview or something to bring Kabbalah to my daily life.
Well, in a way it did, but the meditation-exercises and this like that are more generally spiritual. Another point is that Halevi uses the Tree of Life for everything which makes Kabbalah more lively than in most cases. All in all a nice start, but I hope the third book that I have of this Brittish Kabbalist is again a step further than this one.
But to the content of this little book. There are 30 short chapters with various subjects. The order is well-chosen and the reader gets further and further immersed in Halevi’s Kabbalistic teachings (which -by the way- he tends to call the Kabbalah). The writer speaks of different situations in life and links them with the Bible (Old Testament of course) and Kabbalah. Also he speaks about the workings and practices of Kabbalistic groups, the Kabbalistic spiritual path, etc.
A nice little book, but I still hope to some day find a Kabbalah-book that really makes Kabbalah live for me.
The third and last Halevi-book that I have is the most practical one. It is a spiritual book with a Kabbalistic basis. Halevi descibes a spiritual path with the development of your different bodies, etc., the workings and practices of Kabbalistic groups and of course as always, based on the four Kabbalistic worlds and the extended Tree Of Life or Jacob’s Ladder.
Especially around the end of the book the content is too high-reached for me and I am no member of a (Halevi) Kabbalistic group which is a subject to which several chapters are devoted.
All in all this is a book to read, try to put in practise, put back in the closed and open again when the time is ripe, so in this sence, definately a good investment.