Qabalah 15.  This lesson is the bridge that takes you into the intermediate qabalah lessons

The Breaking of the Vessels
(Lurianic Qabalah)

The Breaking of the Vessels is another version of the fall of the Garden of Eden. The Lurianic Qabalists espouse this particular version of the “Fall.” The event that is called the Breaking of the Vessels begins with the destruction of the failed worlds of God’s first attempt at a Universe. This universe was called Chaos or Tohu in Hebrew. According to Lurianic tradition the spheres (sephirot) took shape not in the linear pattern called the Tree of Life, but instead formed in a series of concentric circles that rested inside Adam Kadmon. The outermost circle was Keter, and inmost circle was Malkut. Ain Soph Aur rested just above Keter almost touching but not quite. At this point in creation the spheres were still connected to each other. They were bound together in a series of Lights or perhaps points in space. These Lights were given containers or vessels to hold this Divine Light. These containers allowed the spheres to organize and form into their nature of being.

The event that is truly called the Breaking of the Vessels occurred when the Divine light was issued into the containers. The Light first struck the Supernals and was contained within them, but the Light in them became unstable and lacked direction.

When the light connected with the next six spheres, it did it with so much force that it burst open the containers and destroyed them, sending the fragments in all directions. Finally when the light hit Malkut it caused the container to crack, but not shatter.  This crack allows the Divine light to enter the physical realm but it also allows other less desirable things in, too.

When the Light hit the various spheres some of it returned to its source, but most of it was drawn down along with the fragments of the broken and shattered vessels. The pieces of the vessels became what are known as the Qlippot (also spelled Kellipoht and Qlippoth). The Qlippot is the origin of all that is evil in this universe. The light that was trapped by the Qlippot supplied the energy needed to form the Qlippotic realm. Thus evil was formed out of God’s waste material (Note this is the origin of legions of evil and unwashed spirits inhabiting the universe).

One of the greatest consequences of the Breaking of the Vessels is that each Sephirah that was lower than the Supernals was dropped downward one notch from its original location. This left Malkut plunged and mingled with the lowest levels of the Qlippot and thus the universal order that the Spheres were supposed to embody was lost, making this damaged Tree of Shadows and Shells completely at odds with its former order.

In the Lurianic Tradition it is believed that God created the Qlippot on purpose.  The Creator intended the Vessels to be weak so that evil could come into being. This would allow humanity the right and freedom to choose between good and evil. The right to choose and act upon your choice actually leads to the ultimate restoration and reconstruction of the Vessels — or so the ancient Qabalists believed and taught.

Study Questions:  Send your answers to the Mystery School with Qabalah 15 from _______ (your magikal name) in the subject line.

1. What Qabalistic tradition espouses the Breaking of the Vessels?

2. What is the name of the failed first universe?

3. Lurianic Qabalah places the spheres in a series of concentric circles. True or False?

4. What three spheres were able to receive the Divine Light and not be damaged by it?

5. Which vessels were unable to receive the Divine light completely and were thus shattered by it?

6. What formed out of the fragments of the broken Vessels?

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