Isaac Luria taught what amounts to a 16th-century version of a gnostic myth, organized around three main themes: tzimtzum [“contraction”], shevirat ha-kelim. Rabbi Isaac Luria () is among the most influential, and remarkable, Kabbalists of all time. Called the Ari, or Holy Lion (the name is an. Lurianic Kabbalah takes its name from Isaac Luria (–), one of the great sages of Kabbalah. Lurianic Kabbalah is considered modern Kabbalah.
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This is an informal post, not an academic treatise, so forgive any informal language or references to things that seem to lack reverence for the subject matter. I may also be wrong about any of it- this is just my take on the subject matter, and I am not a Hermetic.
It’s also not a good introduction to Kabbalistic concepts for someone who has never encountered them or other mystical thought. To serve in that capacity is way beyond the scope of this article.
If you’re smart, attentive, and open-minded, however, you might get a decent overview. This article is mainly for people with at least passing familiarity with at least Hermetic Kabbalah. Luianic sorry lurianuc I’m not a good enough writer to make it easier for everyone else.
As of now, I have two different versions of the game that are playable, and am making my final decisions about which version to put out into the world. These two different versions involve making the choice between an intricate and nuanced take on the subject matter that some, but luruanic all, would consider unplayable and a more straightforward take that anyone can understand, but which might gloss some important Kabbalistic ideas.
Despite a previous post that indicated I planned to go forward with the former, I am currently reconsidering the latter. A playable game that gets people curious might be more lugianic than a less easily understood one that turned part of the audience away.
Lurianic Kabbalah is one school of traditional Jewish Mysticism, which cannot be separated from Torah; religious tradition and study.
But on to the differences. The first and most notable difference between the two traditions is that they each have their own version of the Tree of Life, a central glyph that describes the nature of creation and the forces at play in the universe.
In the Lurianic view, it describes the process of creation that the Creator used, and uses every moment to sustain the world. It’s a model of everything, and how the universe works. Its the base code of the Matrix, except the characters are ,urianic Hebrew. When it’s said that God made humanity in “his” image, this is the image.
By working on it and using it, in the Hermetic view, you can change reality. Both have 3 horizontal Paths, 12 diagonal, and 7 vertical paths, but the most obvious difference is that there is only one path to Malkuth in the Lurianic Tree. To the Lurianic Tradition, the idea that Hod and Netzach could directly link to our world would make Yesod redundant, or at least cause problems.
Yesod is the Foundation of our reality; the background pattern that supports our world. Connecting Hod and Netzach to the real world Malkuth permanently would be like creating a short circuit and would overwhelm our world with the raw and primal forces of the upper worlds.
However, doing so intentionally, and in the framework of magical working, might be useful, and so it makes sense that the Hermetics prefer the former tree. This is just my guess on why they use it. The Sephirot spheres actually take on different meanings in the two different systems.
The further you go from Malkuth towards Kether, the larger the differences in interpretation. I’ll be discussing the sephirot from the bottom of the tree, Malkuth, up. Though in Kabbalistic thought, the energies of creation descend from Kether to Malkuth and back again.
In Lurianic Kabbalah, our job here at the bottom is to send or reflect them back up the Tree. As a result, you may begin to perceive more of the Tree without ever leaving Malkuth in the phyiscal or even spiritual sense- you just become aware of the parts of your soul that are already on the higher levels.
In Hermetic thought, it seems that the idea is to do much the same thing, but in a more directly involved way, and to “climb” the tree. Malkuth is similar in Lurianic and Hermetic Traditions. The Lurianic tradition calls this presence the Shekinah- the divine feminine principle, first manifested in Binah, and actualized in Malkuth. A hermetic might see it as linked to magic, and coincidence, and the flow of events that can be tapped into. Either way, Malkuth holds all the forces of the upper sephirot, and balances them into what you see around you.
You can get anywhere from here, eventually. These three sephirot are concerned with tactics- doing something to achieve something else, in Lurianic Kabbalah. Yesod is similar in both Lurianic and Hermetic Traditions, but this is where they start to significantly diverge. In Lurianic Kabbalah, that means relationships- not just interpersonal, but between objects and forces.
It represents things like the divine covenant between the Creator and the created. In Hermetic Kabbalah as I understand it, Yesod is related to the Astral plane- a realm of ideas and concepts- patterns and thought.
If it were a place, proximity or distance here would be determined by the relative similarity and interconnectedness between ideas. You can see, though that they are saying similar things, in different clothing. In Lurianic Kabbalah, this is the realm of Yetzirah, Formation- the place where ideas come together, before entering Malkuth, the World of Assiah, or action- reality.
In Lurianic Kabbalah, it is the realm of empathy, and making room for others; selflessness. A person who was very Hod focused would be humble, but perhaps a bit calculating.
In the Hermetic Kabbalah, it is much more concerned with the compartmentalization aspect of this principle; things like systemizing animals, language, symbols, and any other way of getting a handle on a concept. Back in Lurianic Kabbalah, it is not considered mental- those sephirot are further up- but tactical. It represents giving kavbalah to succeed, at least in my interpretation.
Either way, Tribute itself is an exercise in Hod. Taking ground, or holding your ground to succeed. A Netzach oriented person would lurianix noticed entering a room, and might dominate conversations. I could be wrong.
Lurianic Kabbalah – Wikipedia
These are concerned with what humans would call the emotional aspects of the decision-making process in creation. Next, is TipharethBeauty.
In Lurianic Kabbalah, it is an integration of the two forces above it on the tree Gevurah and Chesedand all other forces it connects to. It’s the great mediator. Another example would be the Federation from Star Trek- every culture lurisnic honored, but they work together. I hope that all makes sense.
I am honestly pretty weak on what Tiphareth is to the Hermetic tradition, but I know it has connotations of the higher self, and perhaps ultimate good that we strive for in our actions. A Tiphareth person might be a peacemaker. Gevurah along with Chesed, the next sephirah is one major point of agreement between the two traditions. I think that for gamers these two might be the easiest to understand.
Gevurah is severity and might- the destructive, limiting force. The ability to say no, in a number of ways. A Gevurah person would be harsh and lyrianic, but hold themselves to the same unforgiving standard.
If Gevurah is a dictatorial despot, Chesed is the permissive king that gives away so much that the people have no reason to work for themselves. Want weapons to kill each other? A Chesed person is giving, forgiving, and probably beloved.
But if they go too far, they may overstep your boundaries, and assume too much good will. They grant themselves the same freedom they want for others, and this can be a problem.
This is not usually considered a sephirah, unless Kether is excluded as onebut is instead an emergent property of the tree, when all other sephirot have manifested. In that regard, it’s like the “I see mabbalah line from Mabbalah. It is considered a lower manifestation of Kether, above.
It’s what you’re left with after a transcendent experience of Kether, and you return to the rest of your life. It gets much more esoteric than that, especially when dealing with non-human frames, but that might be good enough for this post. In Hermetic Kabbalah, it seems to refer to a more specific experience one attains through the practice of magic.
Direct Knowledge of the Godhead.
The Lurianic take includes this, but I find it more generally applicable. Binah Understanding is the first feminine principle in Lurianic Kabbalah.
It is called kagbalah mother of form, and covers inductive and deductive reasoning- inferring one thing from another. It is considered a womb where ideas gestate.
It limits the final result by deciding exactly what it will become. It works towards an ultimate good, finalizing a plan. In the Hermetic tradition, as I understand it, it seems to be much more concerned with time, and death, and is called the Dark Mother.
A binah person might be a stern but helpful administrator who finalizes a plan. Chochmah Wisdom is divine inspiration, the eureka moment that comes out of nowhere, in Lurianic Tradition.
It’s the inspiring and great idea that you haven’t gotten around to implementing. Tribute uses it for the eponymous Tribute Key, that lets you transcend your limits and have a triumphant moment where the universe bows down to you.
Any gendered terminology is used because it is part of the tradition I’m talking about. A true Kabbalist believes that the creator is beyond gender, and capable of manifesting either force.
There is no bearded man in the sky, but our feeble minds use simplistic ideas like that to explain things. Here on Earth, we have to live by them, in Kabbalistic thought, but they’re not limitations to the Creator. Lurianic Kabbalah is monotheistic, and so sees sees intermediaries like pagan gods or even angels as to be avoided.
This is another difference between Hermetic and Lurianic approaches. A Tale of Two Trees The first and most notable difference between the two traditions is that they each have their own version of the Tree of Life, a central glyph that describes the nature of creation and the forces at play in the universe. Here is the Hermetic Tree: The Lurianic Tactical Sephirot These three sephirot are concerned with tactics- doing something to achieve something else, in Lurianic Kabbalah.