If any of you would be interested in an engagement with the Hermetic Qabalah from a critical but sympathetic Christian perspective I would recommend “The Christ, Psychotherapy and Magic” by Anthony Duncan as a fine place to start. Here are a few comments that struck me while reading the book:
Light and fire feature very prominently in the imagery of the Merkabah mystics
[The Qabalists believed] the world [was] created through the language of god: Hebrew
Evelyn Underhill has expressed the difference aptly by stating that ‘magic wants to get, mysticism wants to give’.
The mystic seeks God. The magician seeks the things of God. The magician uses his intellect, the mystic uses his heart.
Mysticism seeks only ‘to be’. Magic seeks ‘to know’.
Our Lord will not fit into the Tree of Life; it must fit into him!
It is, alas, only too manifestly true that the faith and devotion of much of the Western Church has seemed to stop short at the crucifixion.
The Qabalist cannot really grasp the understanding that the Christ has transcended and fulfilled every symbol that the tree contains.
Recognizing the Qabalah for what it is, a pattern of symbols and archetypes, a guide to the structure of both the macrocosmic collective unconscious and the microcosmic individual unconscious, the Christian can probably make considerable use of it. In the detachment which is possible to him because he is in the Christ and a partaker of his Life, he is able to accept the monism of the Qabalah because he is not committed to it as theology. It is merely an understanding of the relationship between the one and the whole within the created order.
Doubts and questionings must always precede a newer, deeper understanding; the believer who has never doubted has never really believed; the ‘dark nights’ have a wider application than mere individual spirituality.
Prayer is an exercise of will; the self-surrender of the will to God in love.
Christian prayer is a dialogue of wills. The time of prayer is a time of giving the undivided attention of the will to God.
It is the opinion of the writer that nothing is likely to be more daunting to the occultist who seeks to become a Christian and to follow the Christian way of prayer than the utter lack of ‘experience’, the total absence of ‘results’ that is exceedingly likely to attend his attempts to pray.
The realm of the demonic is the collective unconscious.