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Rigor Mortis; the South Gate

 
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Qliphoth; The Tree Of Death

The Qliphoth/Qlippoth/Qelippot or Kelipot (Heb. קְלִיפּוֹת, the different English spellings are used in the alternative Kabbalistic traditions[1] of Hermetic Qabalah and Jewish Kabbalah respectively), literally "Peels", "Shells" or "Husks" (from singular: קְלִיפָה Qliphah/Kelipah "Husk"),[2] are the representation of evil or impure spiritual forces in Jewish mysticism, the polar opposites of the holy Sephirot.[3] The realm of evil is also termed "Sitra Achra/Ahra" (Aramaic סטרא אחרא, the "Other Side" opposite holiness) in Kabbalah texts. In Jewish Kabbalistic cosmology, the Qliphoth are metaphorical "shells" surrounding holiness. They are spiritual obstacles receiving their existence from God only in an external, rather than internal manner. Divinity in Judaism connotes revelation of God's true unity, while the shells conceal holiness, as a peel conceals the fruit within. They are therefore synonymous with idolatry, the root of impurity through ascribing false dualism in the Divine, and with the Sitra Achra (סטרא אחרא "Other Side"), the perceived realm opposite to holiness. They emerge in the descending Seder hishtalshelus (Chain of Being) through Tzimtzum (contraction of the Divine Ohr), as part of the purpose of Creation. In this they also have beneficial properties, as peel protects the fruit, restraining the Divine flow from being dissipated. Kabbalah distinguishes between two realms in Kelipot, the completely impure and the intermediate. Their four "concentric" terms are derived from Ezekiel's vision (1:4), "And I looked and behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it..."[4] The "Three Impure Kelipot" (completely Tamei "impure") are read in the first three terms, the intermediate "Shining Kelipah" (Nogah "brightness") is read in the fourth term, mediating as the first covering directly surrounding holiness, and capable of sublimation. In medieval Kabbalah, the Shekhinah is separated in Creation from the Sephirot by man's sin, while in Lurianic Kabbalah Divinity is exiled in the Kelipot from prior initial Catastrophe in Creation. This causes "Sparks of Holiness" to be exiled in the Kelipot shells, Jewish Observance with physical objects redeeming mundane Nogah, while the Three Completely Impure Kelipot are elevated indirectly through Negative prohibitions. Repentance out of Love retrospectively turns sin into virtue, darkness into light. When all the sparks are freed from the Kelipot, depriving them of their vitality, the Messianic era begins. In Hasidic thought, the kabbalistic scheme of Kelipot is internalised in psychological experience as self-focus, opposite to holy Deveikut self-nullification, underlying its Panentheistic Monistic view of Kelipot as the illusionary self-awareness of Creation. In most descriptions, there are seven divisions of Hell (Sheol or Tehom; Abaddon or Tzoah Rotachat; Be'er Shachat (בְּאֵר שַׁחַת, Be'er Shachath — "pit of corruption") or Mashchit; Bor Shaon (בּוֹר שָׁאוֹן — "cistern of sound") or Tit ha-Yaven (טִיט הַיָוֵן — "clinging mud"); Dumah or Sha'are Mavet (שַׁעֲרֵי מָוֶת, Sha'arei Maveth — "gates of death"); Neshiyyah (נְשִׁיָּה — "oblivion", "Limbo") or Tzalmavet; and Eretz Tachtit (אֶרֶץ תַּחְתִּית, Erets Tachtith — "lowest earth") or Gehenna),[6][7][8][9] twelve Qliphotic orders of demons, three powers before Satan and twenty-two demons which correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. According to Aleister Crowley, the three evil forms (before Samael), are said to be Qemetial, Belial, and Othiel.[10] According to Israel Regardie, the "qlipothic tree" consists of 10 spheres in opposition to the sephirot on the Tree of Life. These are also referred to as the “evil twins”. They are also the “Evil Demons of Matter and the Shells of the Dead”.[11] Bill Heidrick gives his own interpretation on the adverse tree, saying that the spellings are “mostly reconstructions with alternatives. Nonetheless, it is believed that the majority of the above are at least suitable if not perfect”. He also goes on to say that “These names are sometimes called the 'adverse Sephiroth' instead of the Demonic Orders. A. E. Waite makes this later point in his Holy Kabbalah, page 256.”[12] The following comes from the Notes on the Demonic Orders (Adverse Sephiroth) in Magical Correspondences by Bill Heidrick.
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