The Synergetic Qabala


A Practical Guide to Contemporary Magick

by Philo Stone, 1983
(Richard and Iona Miller)
Updated by Iona Miller, 1999

"How we long to become that
which we hardly believe we are!"
--Pir Vilayat Khan


Diagram of The Tree of Life.

Tree of Life nested within a Vector Equilibrium Matrix.
The 12-Dimensional Matrix Emanates the Tree of Life


The Vector Equilibrium Matrix underlies all Creation

Radiant Forms


"Radiant Forms"
Iona Miller, 1999


(Updated, 1999):  We live today in a rapidly changing, technological world.  With so many of our cultural institutions and ideas undergoing transformation, where can we turn for a user-friendly approach to the problems of living?  We are bombarded with information from the media about how to transform ourselves and others.  But, where can we find the criteria for what constitutes a change in the right direction?

In the past, we turned mainly to religions which were accepted in our local culture.  But, now we are reaping a harvest of cultural options of values, ideals, and paths.  We can only conclude that orthodox religions have failed to provide an adequate container for many individual's experiences.

Psychology, while it has made much progress since the discovery of the unconscious by Freud, has added to the confusion by presenting many conflicting theories.  Also, it is subject to fads, such as Satanic Panic, False Memory Syndrome, and Inner Child, (what about the Adult?).  One of the first schisms occurred between Freud and his star pupil Carl Jung.  He broke with Freud because he could not accept the basic Freudian doctrine of repressed infant sexuality.

Jung developed his own theories concerning the collective unconscious and its relationship to each person's personal unconscious.  The personal unconscious comes from one's individual experiences, while the collective unconscious is an inherited legacy of all mankind.  Basically, Jung's psychology stressed the quest or search for meaning.

The "search for meaning" or meaningful experience is something we can all relate to as being valuable in, and of, itself.  However, seeking has degenerated into a mind boggling choice between pop psychologies and New Age nostrums.  The psycho-babble is endless, and new treatments are served up like the soup de jour.  Trendy therapy and spirituality is faddish, stylish, and disposable just like our fashions in clothing.

The hard sciences have offered a never-ending series of transforming theories of the nature of reality also.  A short time ago the leading Theory of Everything was based on Superstrings, but that became ungainly and unaesthetic mathematically.  Now the darling is scalar physics and the vacuum potential.  Physics has moved its microcosmic threshold into the realm of the unobservable virtual reality-- the domain of metaphysics.  Quantum Cosmology isn't far behind.  Astrophysicists will tell you that the only galaxy we are sure is made of matter is our own, because the light emitted by antimatter is no different from that emitted by matter.

Perhaps the scientific revolutions, which their paradigm switches, have been slightly more orderly.  But their unsettling effect on an individual's world view still prevails.  Just when you get the Holographic Concept, something new comes along to challenge our notion of how things work.  Even as advanced an intellect as Albert Einstein was unable to accept primal de-stabilizing viewpoints.  He was unable to accept the inevitable implications of his theory of relativity, which results in quantum mechanics.  We can only conjecture that Post Quantum Mechanics would make him roll over in his grave.

As recently as the 18th century an individual might be able to comprehend most branches of the arts and sciences.  These were the times when the mechanistic models prevailed, including classical theories concerning space and time.  In the 19th century this changed radically due to the speculations of the late 18th century philosopher Hume.  He ushered in empirical, skeptical, non-metaphysical thinking which inspired the work of many revolutionary scientists, and dispelled age-old superstitions.

A few examples of this triumph of the rational mind over the pre-rational superstition includes the following:  Charles Lyell in earth history; Darwin in organic evolution; Claude Bernard in general physiology; Pasteur in pathogenesis; Marx, Engles, Herbert Spenser and other in social sciences; Hughlings Jackson and Charles Sherrington in neurophysiology;; Paul Broca and Carl Wernicke in neuroanatomy; Camillo Golgi in neurohistology; James, Freud and Jung in psychology; and James Clerk Maxwell in physics.

There has been an explosion of information about the nature of things.  Any self-respecting individual is expected to know much of it, plus have a highly developed emotional IQ.

We all need a model, or worldview, through which existence and our experiences can make some sense.  The vast diversity of such views produced by human culture discloses some arbitrary factors in the construction of these world views.  Our beliefs are subject to many formatory influences.  And for the seeker the scope of the problem of finding a Way that resonates with themselves may seem overwhelming.

What is required is a comprehensive paradigm, or thought-model, which has scope and depth enough to contain the entire continuum of creation from All to Nothing.  This is where the value of Qabala comes in.

The qabalistic techniques were developed in remote antiquity for stimulating latent, or subconscious abilities, with the aim of self-realization and God-realization.  A personal program of spiritual development allows an individual to transform himself according to a consistent, orderly process.  A self-directed individual can recreate himself as an integrated individual.  By facilitating internal processes of creativity, we release our optimal talents and realize our potential for self-unfolding.

The Qabala, with its most important diagram, the Tree of Life, provides a synergetic background for this process of change.  Qabala is extremely relevant to the average reader who is seeking greater self-awareness of objective and subjective worlds.  To this end, the format of THE HOLISTIC QABALA can serve as a lifetime study guide.

In recent history, we have tended to become very specialized in our fields, narrowing the fields of endeavor.  For example, in the field of psychology we now have such rare breeds as ethologists, neuroethologists, sociobiologists, behavioral neurologists, physiological psychologists, biological psychiatrists, psychopharmacologists, behavioral geneticists, etc.

The late Buckminster Fuller suggested that universities and specializations evolved to keep the most intelligent under control.  Rulers thus limited their subjects' knowledge by directing them into specialties.  This prevented them from piecing together the exploitive procedures of the sovereign and formenting revolution.  The sovereigns then promptly exploited the specialized knowledge of the experts.

To find meaning in our modern lives, we need to make a continuing effort to learn about the worlds within and without us--to be generalists--like the old natural philosophers.  There is still a lot of superstition in our culture, and even the New Age has a distinctly anti-scientific, pre-rational orientation.  There are both values and limitations in science and technology.  But rather than reject them, we need to extend their usefulness to ourselves.  We can integrate them in our qabalistic study program.  In this manner we may at least learn something about each aspect of life, and become more well-rounded in our interests, attitudes, and expressions.

We need to balance the pursuits of the mind with the experiences of soul.  The importance of the soul was eclipsed historically for a time due to the rational, empirical attitudes of science.  But now there is a melding.  This is apparent, for example, in such works as THE SPIRITUAL UNIVERSE: How Quantum Physics Proves the Existence of the Soul, by Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D.

The realm of Depth Psychology examines the inner self of the 'psyche' which means not only what is generally called soul, but all the conscious and unconscious processes.  Contents which can be raised from unconsciousness are known as 'preconscious.'  There are two broad divisions of the unconscius--personal and collective.  The Collective Unconscious contains the primal patterns of the behavior, or archetypes.  Known in the past as Gods and Goddesses, these forces are the inhabitants of the mythic realm.

In Depth Psychology the archetype of personal growth and spiritual development is known as the Self.  In Magick, it is called the inner self, or higher self.  It is the transcendent function, the center of the transformative process of "coming to wholeness."  All other archetypes are contained within it, as a series of unions of opposites.

The Self unites and harmonizes such opposites as masculine/feminine; good/bad; hero/adversary, etc.  It also contains the patterns for experience of the cyclic nature of life's crisis points.  Its contents include the quest for meaning and the cycle of death and rebirth.  Containing everything, it represents the maximal potential of any individual.

The Self provides an inner model of oneself in an idealized future.  It confers initiations of the highest value through self-organizing experiences, beyond our conscious understanding or manipulation.  It is mode of transcending the mundane world.  Therefore, Self is both transcendent and personal.  This gives divine worth to each individual manifestation of human nature, and dignity to everyone's personal experience.  Experience of the Self is validating.  The archetypes, symbolized by the Self, shape and define human behavior, attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and the very body itself.

Depth psychology has employed the descriptors of the ancient metaphysical practice of alchemy.  Alchemy was a process/goal of self transformation with the aim of creating a series of unions of the various contending psychic substances.  These descriptive phases are useful for linking Depth Psychology to the practice of Qabala as they further define the criteria of each synergetic stage.

Pursuits like alchemy, astrology, Qabala and their corresponding imagery provide access to the messages and meanings coming into consciousness from the collective unconscious.  Learning to use any of them is like learning a foreign language, and just as useful.  Jung himself stressed the primacy of imagery in his practice:  "Images are the only reality we apprehend directly; they are the primary expression of mind and of its energy which we cannot know except through the images it presents."

The Qabala, with the Tree of Life provides a meaningful, consistent pattern for perceiving the visible and invisible Universe.  Through it we have a means of classifying all types of experiences we are capable of having, including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.  It provides a philosophical basis for investigating the spectrum of human potential and achievement.

The goal of the process of Qabalistic pathworking is to produce Masters.  The master of the Qabala is a perfect person, a role model for us all.  He lives harmony by being himself, most perfectly.  The Zaddik is highly individual, but always a paragon of ethical virtue, and impeccable in wisdom and understanding.  He teaches his students how to immerse themselves in the divine stream, like most mystical traditions ultimately finding union with God.

Qabala is a theistic meditation practice.  A state of total realization is created through synergetically balancing and raising the consciousness of the aspirant up through all the levels of Existence represented by the Tree of Life.  Ultimately, one merges back into the source.  Qabala provides both training and direct experience.  Once the theories are learned, they must be put into practice.  QBL describes the Creation from Nothing to Everything in one fell swoop.  It is an analogue model of the Absolute.

The experienced qabalist gains an understanding of his limitations and perceptions of reality, enabling his consciousness to contemplate the Truth of Existence, an expansive vision.  If it is God's Will and Grace, he becomes an exemplar among men, a role model for realization of both human potential and mystical attainment.  The Jews called such a person a Zaddik, or Saint.

The Qabala answers visible problems.  It affirms the practicability of personal spiritual development.  Without the transformation of individual consciousness through self-understanding, we are left to witness the breakdown of culture and society in chronic degeneration.

Millennial fever has aggravated  doomsaying and visions of Apocalypse.  However, the employment of qabalistic techniques offers another way.  Epoch-alypse might be viewed as an "alternative to apocalypse.  Holistic Qabala addresses both ancient and modern questions which press on our lives demanding understanding.  These questions range from mild curiosities to adaptive necessities.

Each of the Twelve Volumes of the series stands on its own as a discourse on an aspect of existence or a quality of human potential.  These characteristic potentials are distinct and discrete for each level of awareness.  Taken together, they form a harmonious worldview, uniting inner and outer reality.

Questions outlined include the following:

Vol. 1, MALKUTH, the Sphere of Earth

Vol. 2, THE UNIVERSE, Path 32

Vol. 3, YESOD, the Sphere of the Moon

Vol. 4, HOD, the Sphere of Mercury

Vol. 5, NETZACH, the Sphere of Venus

Vol. 6, ART, Path 25

Vol. 7, TIPHARETH, the Sphere of the Sun

Vol. 8, GEBURAH, the Sphere of Mars

Vol. 9, CHESED, the Sphere of Jupiter

Vol. 10, THE HIGH PRIESTESS, Path 13

Vol. 11, DAATH, the Invisible Sphere

Vol. 12, THE SUPERNAL TRIAD, Crown of Creation


The mystical system known as the Qabala or QBL, originated in the Hebrew culture.  For the Jews, practice of the Qabala meant systematically working oneself up the Tree of Life in an attempt at re-unification with God.  The Tree of Life, with its ten spheres and twenty-two paths provides a map of the inner realms.  It gives the aspirant a means of orienting in imaginal space, as well as a system of initiating and classifying mystical experiences.

As the Hebrew culture came into contact with those of the Near East and Europe, there was a fusion of Qabalistic thought and concepts with those of other nations.  This fusion ultimately included Egyptian, Gnostic, Christian, and Oriental elements.  The practices of alchemy, astrology and magic were corresponded with the processes represented on the Tree of Life.  Jews began teaching Qabala to gentiles during the Inquisition, because they anticipated slaughter.

The evolution of this eclectic system culminated in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries in the formation of such groups as the Rosicrucians, Masons, Theosophists and The Order of the Golden Dawn.  These groups synthesized the disparate elements of the western mystical tradition into a coherent whole.

In establishing the Hermetic Qabala, these philosophers clarified the techniques of self-development practiced during the Renaissance.  These doctrines came to Europe through translations by Ficinio, from ancient manuscripts.  The pope commissioned the translations.  There was a paradigm shift from will-power to active imagination, and a renaissance of the mythical.

With the advent of Freud and Jung, the theory of magical development could be restated in psychological terms.  Even though engaging in dramatic episodes in an imaginal "netherworld," the magician also understands himself to be dealing with aspects of his inner Self.

A primary concept in Hermetic Qabala is encoded in the famous axiom, "As Above/So Below."  This includes the idea that each human is a diminutive representation of the entire cosmos.  Man is a microcosmic representation of the entire process of creation.  We find this notion reflected in the modern holistic movement, and notions of a holographic universe.  Emphasis is on the integral nature of our participation in nature and existence.  The desire for psychological wholeness and experience of an integration of the self with all creations is common to both Hermetic magical practice and the holistic psychological orientation.

The Tree of Life provides a map for the journey into the unconscious or transpersonal realm.  It provides conceptual categories for taking information from diverse sources and ordering it.  But we must not confuse the map with the territory, which the psyche, itself.  The Qabala is the traditional model for describing states of mystical experience, but the method of accessing these realms is active magical aspiration and meditation.  There is a melding of will conscious attention, or seeking with the archetypal realm of the psyche.

The Spheres of the Tree of Life graphically depict the discrete states of consciousness available to the soul.  The Paths of the Tree represent the psychological transition states between them.  They are the means of moving from "point A to point B" synergetically.  Taken together, the spheres and paths express all modes of "being" and "becoming" possible in human existence.

In THE HOLISTIC QABALA, the soul-field (represented by the Tree of Life) is considered as the Reality which underlies all perceptual reality.  Our senses actually function as "filters" which prevent us from experiencing a more integrated awareness of existence.  Mystics say that ultimately the soul must even disengage itself from its relationship with the mind, which also distorts soul's pure existence.  But this self-realization of the unencumbered soul is an extremely advanced state.

In the meantime, the Qabala provides a paradigm or thought-model for the aspirant.  The holistic nature of the Qabala is realized through the system of correspondences, whereby diverse symbols are categorized and ordered.  An example of the correspondence system is the underlying unity between the Sphere Tiphareth, the Sun in astrology, gold in alchemy, and the godforms Christ, Mithras, and the archetype "magickal childe."  It would also include characteristic colors, plants, stones, and inner experiences of psychological transmutation.  The Holistic Qabala is a sort of unified field theory disclosing the underlying matrix of both consciousness (or psyche) and matter.  The alchemical analogy is the Unus Mundus, or One World.

Areas included in this correspondence with the ten spheres of the Tree of Life are: philosophy, psychology, physics, mythology, astrology, Tarot, and alchemy.  In The Holistic Qabala, a basis is provided through which these separate areas of study relate through a common theme.

Practical applications are provided for each mode of consciousness and transition-state presented.  Through elaboration from diverse fields of human endeavor, a comprehensive concept of each Sphere is built.  The reader develops a "feel" for the meaning of each sphere and path.  This non-dogmatic approach forms a basis for your own speculations and experiencing.  It is an orientation.  A series of psychological models for moving into and through various stages are suggested.

This work pays particular attention to the corresponding deities of the different centers.  This is not intended to create any conflicts in monotheistic readers, but is a convenient way of classifying psychological forces.  In ancient times these universal forces were known as gods and goddesses.  So this terminology is retained for expediency.  We come to realize "the many through the One," or "the One through the many."  To know God directly is an overwhelming proposition, but we can integrate discrete aspects, through relationships and identification.

The experience of these archetypal encounters with aspects of the Self is presented as an on-going part of daily life, not just confined the ritual-space.  If we pay attention to it, we can "see through" our mundane experiences to the imaginal realm of the gods and goddesses.  This is Astral vision.  There is a unification of mundane and spiritual life, mediated by the soul.

Sections on astrology and alchemy allow access to the common core of meaning between QBL and other metaphysical disciplines.  The meaning of the various planetary forces are fleshed-out as they are personified.  These dynamic forces of the unconscious relate to the conscious ego via symbols and imagery.  When we have learned the parameters or field-of-influence of these deities, we have gained the ability to recognize and discriminate among them.  Most importantly, we have taken up a conscious relationship with them.

Each chapter culminates in a valuable exercise for grounding in the state of consciousness under consideration.  They are designed to provide both experiential and conceptual understanding.  It is important for psychological balance that intellectual cognition keeps pace with spiritual experience.  Together, cognitive and affective development open the Middle Way.


The Qabalistic worldview divides Creation into four levels of existence:

  1. Assiah, the Physical Plane (Sphere 10)
  2. Yetzirah, the Emotional plane (Spheres 7, 8, 9)
  3.  Briah, the Intellectual Plane (Spheres 4, 5, 6)
  4. Atziluth, the Spiritual Plane (Spheres 1, 2, 3)

 1. THE PHYSICAL PLANE has been described as a pendant on the glyph of the Tree of Life.  Actually, it is de-pendent upon the formative processes of the Higher Planes.  It represents the entire physical world of corporeal matter, including the human body.  It manifests distress in psychosomatic symptoms.  The influence of the archetypes is projected into material form.  The physical plane is the lost accessible region of the subconscious.  Just because events are real doesn't mean they are a content of consciousness.  This can't occur until you can plumb the psychic depths, deliteralize, and see the archetypal core behind man-I-festation.  This is the condition of "normal" ego-consciousness, prior to undertaking the spiritual quest.

 2. THE EMOTIONAL PLANE has a physical analogy known in science as electromagnetic fields.  In the past it was called the Astral Light or Astral Plane.  Psychologically, it is the world of images and their affects.  This is where archetypes are perceived in images or mind-pictures; often this means only a vague awareness or foreboding.  This is also the realm of dream and divination.  The Astral Body is the vehicle of travel in this plane.  Here, both godforms and matter (Maya) are visible.  This is the lunar plane of psychics and mediums; it influences the body through the parasympathetic nervous system or the central nervous system.  Its negative expression is over-emotionalism.

3. THE INTELLECTUAL PLANE marks the upper limit of the mind's influence on spiritual effort.  Beyond this area, there is neither mind nor matter.  In order to journey to these higher realms, the soul must dissolve its knot with the mind, and ascend by the magnetic attraction of God's holy Word.  This is the region of psychological conceptions concerning archetypes.  The aspirant not only has visions of archetypes or godforms, he recognizes these forms or forces when he sees them, and has creative, dialogical relationships with them.  He learns to project his will through the visualization of images.  This is a function of the rational mind, put to spiritual use.  This is the geometrical realm of the Causal Body, termed the Body of Light by mystics.  To psychologists, it is a crystallization of the archetype of the Self.  This stage reflects self-realization or perfect equilibration.  The mind manifests negatively in neurosis.

 4. THE SPIRITUAL PLANE of existence is that which is inhabited by the archetypal patterns or matrix patterns before they begin to descend into material manifestation.  Their bodies are the lineaments along which the lower planes crystallize.  To reach this plane, all form is sacrificed.  This is the pre-geometrical plane of "information."  Awakened souls and Masters have the ability to travel at will and merge with this World of the Divine.  This higher faculty allows them to see that all the archetypal impulses or forces exist without spatial separation.  Each 'plane' is a new modality without spatial separation.  The archetypal world cannot be conceived of in images, nor the concepts of the mind.  It is the experience of final reunion which makes man and God complete.

Geometrical Construction of The Tree of Life
[Geometrical construction of the Tree of Life]

The Abyss is another landmark described by mystics as part of the inner journey.  It is a large expanse of utter darkness lying between the Intellectual Plane and the Archetypal Plane.  It marks the line of demarcation between the Intellectual Plane and the Archetypal Plane.  It marks the line of demarcation between the primal forces of creation and the formation of phenomena.  It is said to contain a sort of spiritual island, or resting spot.  In QBL, it is called DAATH, and is considered a gateway to another dimension.  In Eastern systems, it is called Anchit Dip.

Described in terms of man's spiritual development, it marks the transition in spiritual practice from using procedures to move one's self higher (self-realization) to receiving the downpour of God's divine Grace (God-realization).  From this point, one cannot advance through personal effort alone.  There is a complementary "reaching down" by the higher forces to meet the soul "half way."

The Abyss is a dangerous place because, here, there is both an upward tendency and a lower tendency.  The lower tendency has to do with the subconscious mind of God (Universal Mind), and its perversity and negative manifestations.  The temptation is to remain at self-realization worshipping one's Self.  This leads to degeneration.  Universal Mind is the final trap for the aspirant, as it seeks to entrap the soul in its time-bound realm.  One can get lost for eternity in the depths of this transcendent imagination with No Exit.

By attaching oneself to the upward tendency, spiritual secrets are reveals to the soul, and the knot with the mind is dissolved.  A god-realized Master who initiates the aspirant during his lifetime aids this process.  He then functions as a soul-guide, ferrying the soul across the Abyss, with the assurance of safety.  He is attached to the Lord or the Light, and if you are attached to him, you can follow by living his teachings.  Remember, no teacher can take you to realms higher than he has experienced.  For the most progress, it is expedient to find a God-realized Master.

This manual describes the Spheres and connecting Paths of the Middle Pillar of the Tree of Life.  Many other magical texts are available describing the basics of QBL, and the student is advised to familiarize himself with them.  The Holistic Qabala, however, presents a series of essays in a modularized format.

The reader may pick and choose among them for subjects of immediate interest.  The book may be studied and re-read to increase comprehension.  It is a complete course and can be re-read with benefit many times.  Also, you will be referred to other sections of the work, which may further define a given topic.

A spiritual science is developed by synthesizing concepts from the past with trends in current research.  The Spheres and Paths are defined in practical, contemporary terms through the corresponding contents of the chapters.  Each chapter is divided into four sections which relate to the planes as follows:

  1. Archetypal (Spiritual) Plane = Philosophy
  2. Intellectual (Causal) Plane = Psychology
  3. Emotional (Astral) = Astrology and Alchemy
  4. Physical Plane = Orientation/Exercise

Each plane contains an entire Tree of Life within it, which resonates with the other planes.  The experience of the paths are appropriately different for each level of awareness.

The format is modularized so the reader may review topics of special interest out-of-sequence.  The linear, or sequential development in which runs throughout the chapters, traces the path of hierarchical development in the consciousness of the adept.  Included under the term "consciousness" are both the rational ego-consciousness, and the diffuse anima-consciousness of the soul, which is prior in existence to the emergence of the ego, and persists after it has merged.

[Four Worlds Tree of Life]
Spheres 1-2-3=Archetypal; DAATH=Abyss; Spheres 4-5-6=Causal;
Spheres 7-8-9=Astral; Sphere 10=Physical

Diagram of the Tree of Life

Next: Holistic Qabala: Table of Contents.
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Date Created:  9/5/99    Last Updated 8/16/02
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