Friday, November 9, 2012

Kabbalah, Qabbalah, and Cultural Appopriation

If you've glanced at more than a few posts on the blog, you'll know that I am not a fan of the kabbalah, at least not how it's generally used within the neo pagan community. I'm a Neoplatonist. Same basic philosophy without the catch-all filing system of the universe business. I've been told that I'll love QBL, I just dealt with teachers who had no perspective, and in some cases, no business teaching anything. I disagree as I've had this icky feeling about QBL before I encountered such people. Thing is, I want to be able to explain what bothers me. I want to understand it (and I don't want it to bother me, I want to have another tool available, another perspective) and so I have continued to study it with amazing teachers who are well versed and well rounded, magically speaking.

Two streams of consciousness have lead to this blog. The first: Posts around the internet about cultural appropriation; Every few months there seems to be a whole new slew of articles and posts about what is and isn't appropriate when drawn to or called to certain deities outside of your current cultural sphere (current = present life, as opposed to past lives). The themes range from you can't do it because that's not your culture this time, to: you can, but you must become immersed in that culture with natives of that culture, to you can because you were in a past life and therefore can do whatever you feel drawn to do.

The second: I've seen many comments about Neo-Platonism vs Qabalah in very different places. Some were along the lines of which came first, how did they influence each other, or the idea that you can't discuss Neoplatonism with some people because they get very defensive about Kabbalah and it's origins, going as far as to call Neoplatonists anti semitic. I've seen it happen.

The questions which have arisen:

Is "Hermetic Qabalah" the cultural appropriation of the Jewish magical system?

Should a true devotee of Kabbalah also practice Judaism?

Is the fact that it's called "Hermetic Qabalah" so as to not be mistaken for Jewish Kabbalah inherently anti semitic?

Just a few questions to ponder.