International Order of Kabbalists - Research Project Lectures

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Public Lecture: Was presented on January 17th 2023 at 20:00 GMT (IOK Room 1)

The Three Veils of the Unmanifest

This lecture describes metaphorically the nature of the Ain, the Ain Soph and the Ain Soph Aur, the three Veils of the Great Unmanifest, the backdrop and source of all existence.

The number zero of Nothingness

Of all of our public lectures, this one is perhaps the most abstruse and at first sight may seem to be completely incomprehensible. After all, this lecture is an attempt to describe a state of non-existence that is so abstract and beyond any possible level of human consciousness that one may think that this is a complete waste of time and a pointless task to even make an attempt to talk about it at all. The Veils of the Unmanifest represent a reality of such profound mystery, that it will always remain outside and beyond any possible grasp by even the highest and most abstract levels of human consciousness.

The glyph of the Tree of Life clearly shows that there are three Veils lying above and beyond Kether and, although represented only by arcs, they in fact surround and embrace the entire Tree of Life, forming a sphere in the centre of which lies Kether, the Fist Sephirah of Manifested existence.

The Three Veils of the Unmanifest are symbolised collectively by the Number Zero of Nothingness. And yet, they focus into a single point, the Cause of All Causes, the Number One, Kether the Crown, the first crystallisation of Manifestation out of the Unmanifest, the emergence of Positive Existence out of Negative Existence. In mathematics, the number Zero is a special number, for it has no value. Mathematicians say of the Number Zero that, unlike the other numbers One to Nine, Zero is not a number at all but a pure concept. And yet, we use this symbol in everyday life to resolve arithmetic calculations and algebraic equations, without giving it a second thought.

If the Great Unmanifest lies totally beyond any possible understanding or comprehension, it might be asked why waste time trying to discuss something that does not exist? The answer to that question is that although it does not exist in any terms that can be grasped by the higher levels of human consciousness, the Unmanifest exists according to ITS idea of existence.

Quoting from the Cosmic Doctrine, “The Unmanifest is pure existence. We cannot say of it that it is NOT. Although it is not manifest, it IS. IT is the source from which all arises. IT is the only ‘Reality’. IT alone is substance. IT alone is stable; all else is an appearance and a becoming. Of this Unmanifest, we can only say ‘IT IS’. IT is the verb ‘to be’ turned back upon itself. IT is a state of pure ‘being’, without qualities and without history. All we can say of IT is that it is not anything that we know, for if we know anything it must be in manifestation for us to know it, and if it is in manifestation that proves that it is not Unmanifest. The Unmanifest is the Great Negation; at the same time IT is the infinite potency which has not occurred. It is best conceived under the image of interstellar space”.

Although the Sepher Yetzirah describes Kether, the First Sephirah, as the "Primal Glory, because no created being can attain to its essence", the Sepher Yetzirah also states that "Kether is called the Admirable or Hidden Intelligence because It is the Light giving the power of comprehension of the First Principle, which hath no beginning".

Here then, there is a paradox. If no created being can attain to the essence of Kether, then how can the "Light giving the power of comprehension of the First Principle" be realised? The answer lies in the Spritutal Experience of Kether which is Union with God. The Virtue of Kether is Attainment, the Completion of the Great Work, the fullfillment of all of the lessons of Life. It is only after one has become united with All and therefore has attained Cosmic Consciousness, that the ultimate mystery of the Great Unmanifest will be revealed and realised.


To be continued...