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Maritain asked:
I am enjoying your book "The Eastern Mysteries". It is an excellent work. I was hoping you could answer a question for me.

Why is there such a stress on the Hebrew language in Golden Dawn thinking? Why is it used rather than say Egyptian or Greek? What is the special connotation in this? Why did Hebrew become the language of all the rituals of the Golden Dawn? What is the significance of this? Does Hebrew have some esoteric power above other languages in their thinking? I have been wondering about this for some time.  I also follow the teachings of Franz Bardon. I must say, I feel his work and abilities greatly surpass the Golden Dawn as well as Mathers. He is quoted as saying the following in "The Key to the True Kabbalah". "To practically study the true Kabbalah, the magician need not have a knowledge of Oriental languages, Hebrew, or any other tongue.  The universal expression of a letter is not it's FORM but it's COLOR or, to be more exact, it's COLOR VIBRATION.  Since the color-vibration of a letter is it's most visible form of expression, anyone can engage in the Kabbalah, regardless of the intellectual language he speaks. This is because Kabbalah is primarily the art and science of expressing the whole universal alphabet by and through COLORS.  The national alphabet he uses is irrelevant. The actual practice is completely individual."  Here, Bardon is going against any rigid adherence to Hebrew as some sort of special "divine language". He states here that it doesn't matter what language you speak because the , "...universal expression of a letter is not it's FORM but it's COLOR". This teaching has made me feel very independent of the seeming needless complexity of the Golden Dawn schema and ritual format. I am curious to see your answers to this interesting question.

David Allen Hulse answered:

You raise some interesting points concerning the study of the Hebrew language in order to understand the Qabalah. I am aware of the work of Franz Bardon. The writings of Bardon are of a very practical nature, and many students of the Hermetic tradition have found great guidance in his writings. My own view of Bardon is that he has been able to contact the source of Hermetic wisdom on his own. His work has been received through the intuition of his own soul. If you find the path that Bardon has established to be the most effective form of magic for you, then I whole heartedly support your choice in the study of the Qabalah. But Bardon's assumption that the core essence of the magical language correspondences lies in the color value of alphabets is contrary to the essence of the Qabalistic magical languages. The core essence is not color but number. Hebrew is one of many languages that can reduce to number. Color is a secondary set of symbolism, but number is the primary root of symbolism. For instance, in the Golden Dawn tradition the Hebrew alphabet is laid upon the 22 petals of the Rose Cross and form a perfect color wheel. This symbolism is of extreme importance for the colors used in all ritual magic, and is the source for the true color symbolism of the Tarot. But it is the language of number that is at the heart of the symbolism of the Qabalah. For the student who is interested in the Qabalah, two of the most important languages in the Western Mystery tradition that must be studied are Hebrew and Greek. These languages when reduced to numerical analysis can produce much wisdom. Hebrew is especially potent in giving esoteric meaning to the number range. It was the first language that I studied in my search for the Qabalah, and it is a language that I continually go back to for deep insight. The naming of God and the angelic kingdom in Hebrew is one of the greatest secrets of the Western Magical tradition. That is why the Golden Dawn put so much emphasis on the Hebrew language in their own rituals. By the way, the color coordinates for the Hebrew alphabet that is used in the Golden Dawn tradition is directly related to the esoteric astrological values for the Hebrew alphabet found in the Sepher Yetzirah (The Book of Formations). In other words, the color symbolism of the Hebrew alphabet is derived from the stars rather then the number value of the individual letters. By the way, the color correspondences for the Hebrew alphabet have never been written down in any ancient text. The Book of Formations does not give this symbolism for the alphabet. But Mathers with the aid of his wife clairvoyantly discovered the most sophisticated color symbolism for the Hebrew Alphabet, the Tree of Life, the Rosicrucian cross and the Tarot. No other author including Bardon has ever developed such a sophisticated Qabalistic color scheme. There is one other deep secret found in the study of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter of the alphabet is a hieroglyphic shape that is defined by the letter name of each letter. Thus Aleph means bull, Beth means house and Gimel means camel.Therefore Hebrew possesses many layers of symbolic meaning. A few of them are the letter sound, the number value of the letter, the hieroglyphic shape, the cosmological value, the corresponding color, the position on the Tree of Life, and the direction in the cube of space. Only Hebrew has this rich of an occult tradition for the magical and mystical practitioners in the West.

I hope this will offer some insight to your very detailed question. Good luck in pursuing the hermetic path via the work of Franz Bardon.
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