The Qlippoth Considered as a “Ghetto”

The common conception of the Qlippoth is quite simple: they are the personifications of the imbalanced force of a particular Sephira. This very simple idea, however, does not begin to explain why they should be considered “evil.” “Evil” implies a moral choice, a decision on the part of these forces. Where there is no choice, there can be no evil. “Evil” also implies an essence or nature, something inherent in the structure of the personification that should not obtain in the context of a continuum of “balance and imbalance.”

There are a number of ways to model the Qlippoth. The one encountered most often is that suggested by the literal meaning of the word “Qlippoth”: shells. This model also tends to associate the Qlippoth with “filth” and, most importantly for our purposes “excrement.” The reason that this is important is that excrement is a deeply rooted metaphor for territorial conflict. The second neurological circuit in the human brain concerns itself with boundaries and the aggression needed to defend them. It is wired into the set of nerves that connects to the anus. As Robert Anton Wilson says “Wild primates mark their territory with excrement, domesticated primates (humans) mark their territory with ink excretions on paper.” Wilson further points out the language of territorial conflict: “Shove it up your ass”, “You’re full of shit” and so on.

The Qlippoth are also typically pictured in a second Tree that either lies beneath the “good” Tree of Life, or, in Kenneth Grant’s system, behind it (sort of). Given the territorial language used to describe the Qlippoth, I would rather see them as the “Shadow” of the “Good” Sephiroth. They are a part of them, but are rejected, and lay outside the borders, “beyond the pale”.

The Qlippoth could be considered, then, the “ghetto” of the Tree of Life. They may in fact be the result of imbalance in a particular Sephira, just as a ghetto can be considered the result of an imbalanced economic system. But they have aquired a moral overlay, just as a ghetto has. They exist because the “system” of a Sephira depends or is assumed to depend on focusing on the “acceptable” manifestations of that energy. Yet they are treated, by virtue of their very victimhood, quite literally like shit. In exactly the same way that the residents of a ghetto are treated as expendable by large corporations who are allowed to build factories which spew out carcinogenic chemicals in just these economically depressed areas.

This is where the metaphor becomes more pertinant. A ghetto is not simply a modern concentration camp with invisible borders that keeps the consequences of economic unsustainability at bay. It is a breeding ground for crime and disease. Thus it represents a real danger to the well being of the people who benefit from the system that created it.

Likewise, we make a mistake if we continue to moralize and consider the Qlippoth entities which are inherently evil, rather than circumstancially dangerous. It is not the Qlippoth which are evil, but the way the Qabalistic system has been used as a way to hide from unpleasant, or simply strange, elements of our own being.

We do well to remember that, in the Abremilin Operation, the first task after achieving Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Gaurdian Angel is to invoke and subdue the Four Princes of Evil. A less domination oriented way of saying this would say invite the Shadow in, and discover with it how you can both work together to achieve the Great Work.

“Evil” is a concept which divides Self from Other. It murders the nuance of a situation, and reduces it to a dualistic “war” that achieves only a partial and temporary victory. As Magi, it is our task to transcend, not only our own genetics and programming, but the oppressive and violent models which have been ingrained in even those systems designed to aid the Great Work. By entering the Ghetto of our own being, we can liberate the valuable and unique elements that lie, probably depressed in a gutter, waiting for their chance to awaken.

  1. jennifer said:

    great post– brilliant metaphor! where is the rest though? seems to be cut off…

  2. That was odd. The essay itself is about two years old, and I guess the end got cut off when I pasted it in. Had to look it up, but it’s fixed now. Not much more left…

  3. music said:

    very interesting.
    i’m adding in RSS Reader

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