Revived Qabala

    From the back cover of   Cipher of Genesis,   Samuel Weiser, first published in English in 1970:

This work offers a fundamental new look at the Book of Genesis and contains profound implications for those faiths which are rooted in the Old Testament -- Christianity, Judaism and Islam. It also has something to offer to those who dismiss Genesis as a simplistic story.

The author's case is that the original ideas in the Book of Genesis represents a tradition that has been lost. It is possible that Jesus knew it and tried in vain to expound it. From this perspective, Suares interprets the Gospels of Matthew and John in a new and thought-provoking way.

The first five chapters of Genesis are of far greater significance than a literal reading would suggest. These words cannot be translated into any ordinary language. They were written in a qabalistic code that cannot be understood without knowledge of the code. Each letter of the Hebrew alphabet represents a specific number that in turn signifies the living archetypal forces moving within the Universe. Reading this text can project these forces into our very being and bring the experience of Revelation.

See:   The Cipher of Genesis: Introduction

For purposes of general orientation, these selected passages focus on Qabala and are drawn from The Cipher of Genesis and Suares' translation and commentary on The Sepher Yetsira.

Carlo Suares (1892-1976) has left his Revived Qabala as a spiritual legacy to the third millennium. Suares' work presents us with a completely new formulation of Qabala, alive for our times, and represents both the continuation and revivification of an ancient tradition, and a complete break from past understandings. It fits into none of primary current preconceptions of Qabala -- popular Westernized or Hermeticized Qabalah with its Tree of Life, Sepherot and path-working, Hasidic and Rabbinic formulations based on the Zohar and Lurianic Kabbalah, or the academic study of Jewish Mysticism with its themes and trends of theosophical-theurgical and ecstatic-prophetic Kabbalah.

If it can be categorized in these terms at at all, Suares' work appears to be a radical reformulation of Ma'aseh Bereshyt, the Work of (the letters of) Creation, and in the very sparse tradition of alphabetic, rather than sepherotic, Qabala.

We have repeatedly stated that the letters of the Hebrew alphabet have always been, throughout the centuries, the foundation of the true tradition and the only key to the knowledge of the Hebrew Revelation.           Carlo Suares, Cipher of Genesis, p.32

Suares reformulates Qabala in totally modern terminolgy, using concepts of energy and structure and states of consciousness, and his work is devoid of the familiar structures of medieval and post-medieval kabblalistic thought. It is presented not as knowledge or exegesis but rather as a new way of thinking -- based on "unitive postulates and analogical developments" -- and understanding the universe. This understanding is subject to experimental verification and has nothing to do with belief. Suares' Qabala is not a system of Jewish or other mysticism, or for that matter, a system of any kind at all.

Instead, it's a key.

There is nothing to believe and nothing to practice, only a key to try in a door you may not have realized was there. Behind the door (the sign on it says:)

is the answer to the fundamental question: "How is it that anything at all exists, rather than nothing ?"

     ... the very existence of a speck of dust is in very truth the first and the last mystery. No mystery is greater than any other: the Qabala has always known it, and has therefore never raised the question as to whether God exists. For those of the Qabala, for Abraham, Moses or Jesus, the unknowable unknown is a presence. The knowing of that presence is the unknown. There is no other revelation. It is therefore and above all necessary to reject all interpretations, explanations, creeds and dogmas, all faiths and moral laws, all traditions, philosophies and theologies, so as to allow the unknown to operate directly in our minds. Then thought is free to observe the interplay of life and death and existence because it moves along with it, having shattered its fetters. The Qabala postulates that knowledge is not a formulation but a cosmic energy imparted to the mind by the letter-numbers.     

    Suares, The Cipher of Genesis, p.58

There is no knowledge to be acquired or teachings to be absorbed. If we use the key (or dictionary) and perform the act of decoding (translating), we can verify the existence of the text and understand the meaning for ourselves. The act of de-coding is witnessing the revelation and opening oneself up to the unknown. That's all there is to it.

Suares centers his revelation in the Autiot -- the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, rather than the familiar Sepherot, the transformers of energy or "countenances of God" -- and defines Qabala as the science of the structure of energy: a completely-generalized semantically-accurate projective language dealing with biologically structured energies in different states of organization.

This is the key. With it, you can re-read and translate/decode (for instance) the beginning of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible and verify for yourself the existence, or not, of another language hidden inside the Biblical Hebrew -- and another meaning, which is totally different from (and often the reverse of!) the translations we are used to.

This is not a search for Rabbis' names or esoteric number patterns but rather a direct letter-by-letter and word-by-word translation yielding a "text" written in another language and in another mode of thought. The challenge is to spend about as much time as you would to read the front page of a foreign-language newspaper with a dictionary to refute that claim.

Dictionary | Front Page.

     As long as we are not in direct contact with that which transcends the human mind, the fundamental signficiance of life escapes us. But that primordiality invades us as soon as we decipher the first letter of the first schema of the Revelation, and the witnessing of it is the part of having it revealed, because, after all, the revelation is always there but for its being witnessed.      There is no transcendence other than our intimacy with the unknown. Seeking it is avoiding it. It is everlastingly present in an ever present genesis. Let us therefore re-read that Book, not as an archaic attempt to descibe an unwitnessed creation of the world by a soliloquizing deity but as a penetration of vital energies at work in ourselves.

    Suares, The Cipher of Genesis, p.59

Suares "formulates" Qabala in terms best suited for modern scientific, rational and objective minds, as an analogical/ontological language of structure and energy. This is his "Revived" Qabala, adapted to and in tune with contemporary modes of thought and scientific languages. Suares contrasts the continuity of the Eastern tradition (repetition of ancient wisdoms) with the discontinuity (eternal death and rebirth) and adaptation of the Qabala.

     We have already stated that in the perception of the fact that existence is a total mystery lies the foundation of any true religious awareness. The mystery, the realization that the fact of existence cannot be explained in words or in any other way, has always been deeply alive in the minds of the men of the Qabala.

     This does not mean that their writings correspond adequately to the needs of our time.

     If they said in symbols what can be set forth today clearly in words, it is because is was thus that they understood and felt. But when we want to understand and feel, we must break through those images and expressions which served them, but which no longer serve. We do not see Abraham and Mosheh as did the ancient cabalists. We see them with our own eyes and judgement. We can and must see them directly. We can penetrate their legendary existences, and so discern that they were not what they are said to have been. We can do this because the historical process functions on a certain sensorial level, whereas the mythical process concerns the psyche, and whether yesterday or today, the Qabala is always in touch, through the psyche with the great unknown.

     ... Certain Asiatic myths carry through the centuries the continuity of their religious and social structures. They can be compared to very old trees of knowledge whose fruits have dried on their branches for lack of any renewed sap. Contrarily, the Qabala has died and has resurrected many, many times amidst spectacular displays, on each occasion accomplishing and then burying its pasts.     Suares, The Cipher of Genesis, p.26-27

To return to the key:

We have not the time to spend in the consideration of antiquated approximations to knowledge. Therefore no mere student of Qabala will ever understand the Qabala from within. Were he to read and re-read the Zohar, learn all about Simeon-Bar-Yohai, Moses of Leon, Abraham Abulafia or Knorr von Rosenroth's Kabbala Denudata, he would be trying to see by looking through the wrong end of a telescope.

     Nothing is important except the knowledge that the key to that Revelation is to be found in the letter-numbers. When once we grasp that, we can grope our way through them, and our very first step will already have been taken inside their cosmic life.

     The Revelation is timeless and is therefore of all time. One cannot contact it if it is imagined to have happened in the past. It is of now when we accept it to be of now. Unless we are fully of our time we are seeking it in its tracks on the sands of time.     Suares, The Cipher of Genesis, p.47

     The knowledge that is called Qabala must no longer be reduced to a mere subject of study for seekers of recondite mysteries. It must now come to full light and penetrate serious minds.

     The synagogues can only ignore it because they have repudiated intelligence. They keep on reading and commenting on an archaic law which has no reality. The real knowledge of the Qabala recedes further and further every day because of the foolish teachings of amateur scholars who, having learned a few tricks which can be played with the letter-numbers, amuse the public with their speculations, or entertain their readers with strange stories concerning some ancient Rabbi.     Suares, The Cipher of Genesis, p.49

Suares asserts that the Qabala is independent of any people or religion or system of beliefs and existed before the Revelation of Abraham that was the entry of Qabala into the historical process.

In particular, the majority of cabalists are Jews enslaved to the Torah, and they have always asserted that one cannot know how to be a cabalist without practising the Mosaic law. In this way Mosaism both annexed and rejected the Qabala and made it unrecognizable.

But the Qabala is not a derivative from, or a superstructure of, of a Heresy of Mosaism. The contrary is true: Moses was directed to give out this very ancient knowledge antedating Judaism in an historical sequence (and it is undeniable that the people who received it became its protective shell).

The Sepher Yetsira leaves no doubt as to its anteriority and its cabalistic method: it never refers to Moses, or to his laws or to the historical Jewish people. It is outside the flow of time. Its only contact with history -- in language that has nothing anecdotal about it -- is the legendary Abraham.     Suares, Sepher Yetsira, p.113

In brief, the Qabala today can be reborn neither in the Synagogue nor in the State that calls itself Israel. Both ignore it, so it ignores them. It has no valid motive for conforming to the very few Mosaic prescriptions which still survive and which every conforming Jew interprets according to his fancy.

It must offer itself freely to minds which are free. It is no longer mysterious and occult. On the contrary, it is intelligible and marvellously intelligent. It is the very souce of the civilizations that have gravitated around the Mediterranean which are today spreading all over our planet.

It states the religious problem as it has to be stated in a time which the further the horizon recedes, the nearer we come to the Mystery.

For such minds as are no longer bounded by ancient horizons and have thus become a mystery unto themselves, the totality of life is present in action. It is the Soliloguy of the One.

This is the true Revelation, plainly visible to all.     Suares, Sepher Yetsira, p.50

Une autre figure singulière, qui se détache dans la nébuleuse des penseurs cabalisants, est celle de Carlo Suarés. Détaché du judaïsme de ses pères, ce peintre et intellectuel d'origine égyptienne établi en France, qui a été par ailleurs l'un des premiers traducteurs de Krishnamurti en français, a écrit plusieurs livres consacrés à la cabale, dont notamment une traduction commentée du Livre de la Création (Sefer Yetsirah) et de nombreux écrits où il se propose de retrouver la cabale authentique qui aurait été, selon sa thèse, déformée par l'idéologie religieuse rabbinique (27). L'influence de la pensée originale de Carlo Suarés a été à peu près insignifiante sur le judaïsme français mais elle s'est exercée sur divers milieux d'origine chrétienne, aspirant à découvrir de nouveaux horizons spirituels. Une fondation qui porte son nom et qui se consacre à diffuser son œuvre picturale est toujours active.

Charles Mopsik: Les formes multiples de la cabale en France au vingtième siècle (PDF)
Carlo Suares (d.1976) was of a very old Sephardi family that arrived in Spain probably with the Arab conquest. They emigrated during the Inquisition to Tuscany, and settled in Egypt in the 18th century. Expelled from Egypt and dispossessed, he settled in Paris and became a French citizen. He had a diploma in architecture from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and he painted a great deal, having "in true Kabbalistic spirit" sought to discover - and found - a synthesis of light. Cipher of Genesis (PDF)