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The Mystical Qabalah

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  2,155 ratings  ·  85 reviews
Dion Fortune's classic, The Mystical Qabalah, explores all aspects of the Qabalah, including the esoteric sciences of astrology and tarot, which form the basis of the Western Mystery Traditions. It provides a key to the practical working of this mystical system for both novice and initiate alike. ...more
Paperback, 360 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Weiser Books (first published January 1st 1957)
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Oct 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Forget the Qabalah you hear about from Hollywood and Madonna. This is an excellent book devoting a chapter to each of the sephiroth on the Tree of Life. Philosophically interesting regardless of your beliefs.
Jun 30, 2009 is currently reading it
I am always "currently reading" this book as it is not the kind of book that one can "finish". ...more
S.M. Dotson
Aug 16, 2007 rated it really liked it
My favorite basic book on the 17th century Kabbalistic tree of Life. Good explanation of how the sephiroth and paths work together. Great primer for building the proper correspondences to each part of otz chiim, which then leads to the phenomenological understanding of the inner workings of the tree.
I've read this one several times, riveted all the more with every read as the concepts resonate and form a whole infrastructure.
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magic-traditions
Very clear introduction to the Qabalah - for NON-Jewish mystics. It is important to note that the Qabalah is used differently in a lot of non-Jewish mysticism than it is in Jewish circles. Very good book. Focuses primarily on the Sephiroth rather than the paths. Fantastic introduction to the topic.
Nov 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the Western Qabalah
The Qabalah is a very complex system, and one can spend liftimes studying it. This is the best introduction to what can seem overwhelming at the start.
Nienke Van kerkhof
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
difficult to stay focused but very interesting
Christina Croft
I love Dion Fortune but I found this book quite difficult to fully absorb and understand. Perhaps it is a life's work to understand it and I have been told this is one of the most staight forward and simple books on the subject. It is something to which I shall return, I am sure, but it is certainly not an 'easy' read, I think!! ...more
James Hein
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is not a book you read in a day. Well you could read it in a day but not really understand it, nor absorb any deeper meaning.

It is a book about the Tree of Life but not the more mundane Kabalah but rather a higher plane perspective.

If read as an intellectual exercise it would provide one lesson. If studied and each item meditated upon it would take a long time and in some cases it would be beneficial to have a lot of background or a guide.

My actual rating is 4.5 stars because some of the id
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
A clear explanation of the philosophical structure of the Hermetic Kabbalah, filled with easily-understandable but profound analogies and metaphors to point the way towards true understanding.

Dion Fortune, being a magician and psychic in the early 20th Century, clothed her discourse with much discussion of the practicum of magic. My interest being primarily to use the Kabbalah as a vehicle to aid thought, I skipped through all the discussion of invocations and ether and psychic emanations.

What i
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So far, the best, most concise book on Qabalah.
S Shah
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
"Zayin... I represent the observance of the Sabbath, as it is written, 'Remember (Zakhor) the day of the Sabbath'" (p.315)

"Above the Abyss the Spirit functions through states from which emerge the qualities of Love, Wisdom and Strength." "On the emotional level there are feelings extended to the ecstacy of divine union which is love, and on the sensory level there is perception extended to the ecstacy of immortality which is strength."(p. 333)

I got really into this book, but at about halfway, i
Abe Fabella
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: occult
This is a very thorough survey and guided tour through the Qabalistic Tree of Life as practiced by occultists of the Golden Dawn variety. I enjoyed it, and it really helped clarify a lot of the functionality of various Sephira including Netzach, Hod and Yesod which have always been a bit hazy in my previous perceptions of them. Kudos Ms. Fortune for illuminating me! Be warned that, although the principles of metaphysics that this book point to are eternal and do not change over time, the author' ...more
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: occult
Finally finished! It took me a long time to get through it, as it is all rather complex, and I could only process small sections at a time.

I don't think this was the best book to pick for a complete novice to this system.
While it is certainly very thorough, it is just so heavy.
But then, maybe that just goes with the territory.

By the end of the book, I must admit I was a little lost and unsure of exactly how to put this system to use, in both tarot and my magick.
This doesn't reflect so much on
Samantha Strong
I've been reading fairly widely regarding ascension paradigms lately, including later books partially based on this one, but there was so much to be learned in the original. It's my first Dion Fortune book, and I really should have started with her earlier. I've been thoroughly confused about Kabbalah up to this point, and this has sorted out many things for me. I'm still confused about it -- I think it would take a teacher to help me really get some of the concepts -- but her clarity is phenome ...more
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: occult
I am certain I will return to this book and refer to it frequently. Dion Fortune's classic work on the Qaballah presents this system and schematic in a clear an logical manner. How I wish she had completed her work on the paths. After reading this book I now understand that this is a map, a memory palace and a structure. By the way, the cover artists sells lovely posters reproducing her work in greater detail, and I found that it helped me to refer to it as I read. ...more
Read this back in the 1990's when I was writing a dissertation comparing aspects of the Kabbalah to the Mahabharata. ...more
Mar 21, 2018 added it
Not for me
Feb 01, 2020 rated it did not like it
Oprah-ass new-age kabbala; rabbis cry.
Review is also available on my blog The Shameful Narcissist Speaks.

Let me just put this out there right now. I read this book because of Final Fantasy VII. It's about the Tree of Life, which is made up of the Holy Sephiroth, the emanations or "God-names" that focus principle archetypes behind evolving human activities. I had no idea the rabbit hole I was diving into, nor did I realize either how well SquareSoft (now Squeenix...unfortunately) had done their research or had managed to align their
Clint McInnis
Apr 26, 2018 rated it liked it
The book is meh... I think it is a very important book for students of esotericism and Qabalah. It is very good for meditating on the various aspects of the sephiroth and the paths as you work through the book. However, it is too much wrapped up in the psychological model for my taste, and is a little bit biased in this regard. For example, she views gods and goddesses simply as thought forms created by human imagination and empowered with veneration, and that astral visions are projections of t ...more
Gabriel Clarke
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Dense, comprehensive analysis of the Western Qaballah's ten sephiroth and the Tree of Life. Nothing is left under-analysed, every new age sin is here committed, frequently for the first time (physicists just catching up to Theosophists? Check. Freud as dimly grasping the truths of the ancient priesthoods? Check...) and the tired early twentieth century trope of race-as-destiny rolls round yet again (if only this had been its last hurrah).

And yet.

There's nothing *fuzzy* about Dion Fortune. When
Oct 15, 2008 marked it as to-read
A perfect compliment to "The Essence of Kabbalah", a smaller volume that includes almost daily devotionals of the Kabbalistic belief system. This book, on the other hand, delves deeper into the meanings and practical uses of the kabbalistic Tree of Life and its sefirophs. Sometimes difficult (in a good way) to wrap your mind around the philosphies and ideas pertaining to this belief system, it turns out to be exactly what I've been looking for in my quest to understand this mystical system. (It ...more
Josh Anderson
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't wait to read her other books. Not that I'd know what a true adept reads like, but Fortune reads like one. This book has the feeling of an Eastern book, but not in a fabricated way, but holistically. There are some sentences or ideas that are a bit dated, but for the most part, id recommend this as an introduction to the (at least magical) qabbalistic system. It does get a bit repetitive, but only to induce several mantras that end up being really effective when used. This system goes mos ...more
N.E. Johnson
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
On the one hand, this is *The* definitive work on Qabalah or at least the Christianized version adapted for European Occultism. On the other hand, it should be noted that it is very long, often boring, and at times quite racist and homophobic (though I'm sure it was scandalously progressive for the 1930's) and it should be noted that it is markedly different than the older Hebrew Qabalah in a few small but rather important aspects. On the plus side again it was one of those works that gave me ma ...more
May 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago when I was first being introduced to Qabalah. There seemed just enough detail to make it interesting (on re-reading it, actually there is a whole lot more that I didn't grasp at first), but not enough to confuse me, and the writing style is clear and concise. It amalgamated my lessons, brought them into perspective, really helped me to understand and whetted my appetite for more. I would recommend this to anyone getting into these teachings as a sound basis. ...more
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I revere this book, because it is-- as others already say-- a masterpiece of clarity among its peers. It has proved utterly invaluable to me in my early studies of occultism; I now have a wealth of starter knowledge on the Sephiroth, and how to get at subjective pathworking. Also, my understanding of practices I've been engaged in for years-- tarot, astrology, etc-- have been profoundly enriched. I cannot over-emphasize the power this book instills in the mind. ...more
Brian Montgomery
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Mystical Qabalah espouses a very practical approach to the Kabbalah. This really works for me. Dion Fortune keeps the information in a nice concise format. When I need even more detail I usually go to A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolismby Gareth Knight. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to delve deeper into the Kabbalah without being overwhelmed.
Parker East
The Mystical Qabalah is far and away the best introduction to the esoteric tradition of the Kaballah available. The only exception I take is to the section on Yesod that needs updating due to out of date scientific analogies. This is a supreme reference to the West's body of mystical heritage that makes other books in the field look decidedly substandard. ...more
The Spiritualist
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: qabalah
A classic.
Dion Fortune gives a thorough and inspiring run down of the Tree of Life and its qabalistic correspondences. The spiritual facts she presents are detailed and correct, no myths here.
This is a book you can read a few times and still enjoy it. It also serves as a reference book in case you need to quickly look up a qabalistic detail.

- The Spiritualist,
David L
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The Starting Point. In some cases the end point. I finally understood the forces that act upon us all. The male and female, the being and nothingness and the forces that move between them that spin the universe along its way and move us. Ad Lucem.
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Violet Mary Firth Evans (better known as Dion Fortune), was a British occultist and author. Her pseudonym was inspired by her family motto "Deo, non fortuna" (Latin for "by God, not fate").

From 1919 she began writing a number of novels and short stories that explored various aspects of magic and mysticism, including The Demon Lover, The Winged Bull, The Goat-Foot God, and The Secrets of Dr. Tavern

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“In brief, the Tree of Life is a compendium of science, psychology, philosophy and theology.” 5 likes
“12. Each symbol, moreover, admits of interpretation upon the different planes, and through its astrological associations can be related to the gods of any pantheon, thus opening up vast new fields of implication in which the mind ranges endlessly, symbol leading on to symbol in an unbroken chain of associations; symbol confirming symbol as the many-branching threads gather themselves together into a synthetic glyph once more, and each symbol capable of interpretation in terms of whatever plane the mind may be functioning upon. 13. This mighty, all-embracing glyph of the soul of man and of the universe, by virtue of its logical association of symbols, evokes images in the mind; but these images are not randomly evolved, but follow along well-defined association-tracks in the Universal Mind. The symbol of the Tree is to the Universal Mind what the dream is to the individual ego; it is a glyph synthesized from subconsciousness to represent the hidden forces.” 5 likes
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