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William G. Gray's Qabalah

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SlyR  SlyR is offline
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William G. Gray's Qabalah


Has anyone read "Qabalistic Concepts" by William G. Gray?

He proposes a completely different system of assigning Trumps to Paths on the Tree of Life. I think it's pretty bold of him, flying in the face of tradition like he does. I'd like to see what you guys think of his system.
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It has been quite a few years since I have read Gray's Concepts of Qabalah, and would have to revise it before properly commenting.

In a nutshell, I found the book somewhat wanting - though I do think it ought to be considered with his other works on his concept of the Grail.
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New Interest in Gray


Magician/author Phillip Cooper's newest book was published in November by Weiser, entitled "Esoteric Magic and the Cabalah." I am not a 'fan' of Cooper, but thought this was an interesting, accessible book. Cooper makes his case for the Wm Gray assignments. If Cooper's book picks up any steam in the magickal world, there might be a resurgent interest in these assignments. I did not go deeply into them, but on the surface, some of the assignments made sense to me. I hope to spend some more time with this and probably will since I just received a copy of "The Talking Tree" yesterday.

I think it is important to take a fresh approach here, regarding the assignments, and consider any and all. Perhaps in the end, one would return to the GD system, but if so, it would by choice and not because everyone else in the neighborhood was doing it.

Spirituality is a personal endeavor, but to a point. The residual matter of the research of those before us, I have read, is still intact and accessible to all -- on higher planes. All you need in an Akasha Library card!

As I said, the Cooper book is mostly very good, IMHO. I liked it and recommended to a friend who is fairly new to the Qabalah, and she liked it also. It's very clear, matter of fact, and has a nice ritual for scrying the paths. Cooper has you take the pips of whatever spheres you are working (say, for instance, Hod (8) and Netzach (7)) and place those on the table, all the 7s and 8s, according to the magical directions (which he also describes in the book: Swords - East, Wands - South, Cups - West, Pentacles - North) Also one takes the corresponding pathworking arcana card (according to the Gray method, THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE, and GD assignment, TEMPERANCE) and places that in the center of the altar/table. Say the magic word and the inquirer will enter a realm where in which s/he blends all that's on the table and gains insight. It really is a more interesting ritual than I might be portraying here.

According to Cooper, Gray assignments are the only ones that make sense. While I'm not sure of that, I would like to check these assignments out myself.
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Which deck did Gray use?


I had a funny thought...wouldn't it be funny to learn that Gray used the Waite deck? He was very much into his own thing and assigned the paths differently than the Golden Dawn, and Waite was a member of that magical group and no doubt poured a lot of Dawn-ism into the imagery.

I looked thru the Gray books I have an saw no Tarot images, and think it is highly unlikely, but I'd still be curious to know what Gray himself used.

Anybody know?
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I've just realised that Qabalistic Concepts: Living the Tree is a 1997, and thus newer, book than my far older Concepts of the Qabalah. Does anyone know if this newer book is a reprint with a different title of his earlier one(s)?
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JMD...


Hi JMD...notice I got your name correct this time?

Regarding your question on the Gray Qabalah book, I note that on the back side of the title page, there is a note that this newer edition "Qabalistic Concepts" (1997) is a revised edition of the 1984 "Concepts of the Qabalah." However, it does not state what was changed. I thought it might be a new Introduction or something, but if that is so, it isn't evident.

If nobody clarifies this before, I will post what I find out from a message I planted in a Wm. Gray group, that is...if anybody responds.

I'll let you know.
Thanks
OM
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SlyR  SlyR is offline
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I've been thinking about this issue a bit. Here are some random ideas that spring to the top of my head. Chew on 'em and react if you wish:

* Assignments are not Gospel or Law. They are speculation.

* The thing to remember about Kabalah is that it's a template to be superimposed over one's own Religious system, not a religion in itself. Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable to think that a non-GD interpretation is valid.

* Gray's system might not be correct, but it has inspired me to try digging more deeply into the GD associations. Now, more than ever, I want to learn more about the "correct" assignments.

* What if Gray is the most correct? Would any of us be willing to put thousands more hours into unlearning the system with which we are familiar? Is it worth putting that much more effort into a system which doesn't seem to have a lot of popular support?

As of now, I'm leaning toward simply treating Gray's ideas as objects of academic interest and retaining my old views. However, that tricky bastard has made me think. He's inspired me to ask myself just how much stock I'm willing to put into the old ways. That's teaching if I ever saw it.
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Thanks SlyR...yes, thoughtful. I am at a point of rethinking them myself, which is why I posted that.

I suspect the assignments are like the Truth, and each of us must find our own way there. You are right (or we agree), the assignments are not gospel. What causes me to lose sleep, though, is that many decent occultists seem to favor the GD system, and the Gray method is like a specialty group.

Here's a thought...since the Tree is truly a living organism, why can't the assignments actually CHANGE due to circumstances and development? Perhaps in the higher spheres of the Tree. they do all the time, and there is just no need to come back down here and document it, since it might have changed again on a return visit? It's all the same 'stuff,' isn't it? Everything flowing in the Tree is found in Kether, or Malkuth.

I'm curious which deck Gray himself used and have posted that question in a Gray group.

I agree, at a point, reevaluating the paths would be most useful!

I even think a good idea would be to sign in for shock therapy, just enough to forget everything I know about the assignments, but of course, not enough so I forget what the cards are all about, and then place the cards the way I see them fitting on the paths. I did notice that some of Gray's assignments jumped out at me, as in made a whole lot of sense. I don't recall which ones, but will check it out again and see.

That Gray is a bit obscure in Qabalah circles is not important to me, because sometimes the crowd follows the wrong messenger. And besides, I don't think sound occult knowledge can be based on popularity!

Thanks.
OM
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Deck Gray Used


AHA! Oh wait, Crowley already took that title...sorry.

I just got a response from someone in the Gray group, a former student of Gray's. He told me Gray liked working with the Waite-Ryder deck! I KNEW IT! The book, "The Talking Tree," uses that deck for analysis. This student also told me when he worked with Gray, Gray insisted he start with blank cards, as described in the Ritual book.

So now I really need to sit down with all of this and sort it out. The Waite concepts, as we all know, are based on the Golden Dawn, yet Gray himself devised a new set of connections based on his own thinking. Still, the images on the cards are assigned astrologically, and that is important in all Qabalah work (except for that one person who doesn't use it, and is going to counter post me. LOL!) I find the astrological assignments mostly decent with the deck, or at least most of them. THE CHARIOT I never see as Cancer, unless the charioteer has the crabs or something. Hard to tell with that armour on. And THE MOON and Pisces, well, I suppose...But most of the others seem pretty okay to me.

I have to sit down with this information and see what's up.

If I can figure out how to do "it", I could post an attachment, a chart I made of the Gray path assignments on the Tree. I made it in CorelDraw, but imported it into a Word file. Let me see if I can figure this out. If so, I will post it for all of you, those who do not have access to a Gray book.
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Ophiel  Ophiel is offline
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Difference between the Gray books


DMJ - I got an answer to your question about the differences, and I got them from the man who owns the rights to the Gray material.

He told me that the earlier version was incorporated in a series, a trilogy, if you will, that Gray called the Three Pillar Foundation series. Weiser, according to my source, wanted just the one title out of the series, the Qabala Concepts, and mostly changed the name and if they made any other changes, it was completely superficial. Weiser could then offer this book apart from the series.

My source said:

"This [the breaking out of the one title by Weiser] is however most unfortunate since William Gray intended the first three volumes of the Series to represent the three Pillars of the Tree of Life, i.e. "Western Inner Workings" being the Right Pillar or "Orphic Path"; "Concepts of Kabbalah" the Left Pillar or "Hermetic Path"; and "The Sangreal Sacrament" being the Middle Pillar conjoining the outer Pillars in the "Mystic Way." He intended these books to be studied and worked in conjunction. He also intended the four volumes to be an expression of the Ineffable Name (YHVH), with the last title in the Series, "Sangreal Ceremonies and Rituals," as the last letter of the Great Name expressed in word and deed in this realm of existence."
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