The Kabbalah and The Two Keys
Doctrine of the Kabbalah
The word kabbalah signifies traditional knowledge. It thus refers to the Oral Law, as handed down from antiquity; and embraces the occult traditions of all lands and all peoples. Often it is used merely as referring to the esoteric doctrines of the Jews; but in its broader sense it includes also the secret doctrine of other races. This secret doctrine, common to many lands, was jealously guarded from the profane, and was never permitted to pass into writing except in such ambiguous terms as to baffle the uninitiated as to its true purport.
In this sense the sacred books of the world, including the Avesta, the Vedas and the Bible are largely kabalistic; for they set forth traditions that are capable of an inner, or esoteric, interpretation. In fact, there are usually several interpretations possible, each more inner version revealing a deeper truth to those who have advanced along the path far enough to comprehend it.
The kabbalah has two divisions; the written kabbalah and the unwritten kabala. Of the unwritten kabbalah, S. L. MacGregor Mathers, in his Kabbalah Unveiled says: "The term 'Unwritten Kabbalah' is applied to certain knowledge which is never entrusted to writing, but communicated orally. I may say no more on this point, not even whether I myself have or have not received it." The author of these lessons is not so modest about his acquaintance with the unwritten kabbalah. He has received it fully, and has also investigated the written traditions of the Jews and of all other peoples having had much influence in shaping the world's thought. And this seems the proper place to point out that the unwritten kabala, like the written kabbalah, is set forth in symbolical language, with purposeful blinds and subterfuges to confuse the uninitiated; so that of the few who undoubtedly exist at the present day who have received it, most remain in as much ignorance of its true interpretation as the majority of students do after studying the more accessible written Kabbalah.
This unwritten kabbalah has been transmitted only through certain secret schools. Those receiving it well merit what is given to them. They are left to their own devices in the matter of interpretation. And because the real keys to its interpretation - astrology and the tarot - have been largely ignored, or distorted, they have floundered sadly in arriving at its meaning. Whether written or unwritten, the kabbalah is a philosophy correlated to esoteric astrology as exemplified by the tarot; and it can only be comprehended fully by those who perceive the true relation between astrological energies and their pictured tarot exemplification.
Excerpt from "The Doctrine of Kabalism" chapter of The Sacred Tarot by C. C. Zain
The Two Keys
In all ages and in every land and clime there are progressive souls whose spiritual vision pierces the murky clouds of dogmatic illusion with which priestcraft and statecraft have ever sought to obscure the sun of divine truth. These bold aspirants to esoteric wisdom have the courage to burst the fetters that chain them to the lifeless creeds which are forced upon a benighted world. They free themselves from the thraldom of prejudice, and from that of servility to popular opinion. They intrepidly turn their faces from the blackness of the dead ages to knock resolutely at the door of the Temple of Knowledge. They realize that only within the sacred precincts of nature's sanctuary burn the altar fires whose light produces the shadowy illusions which are believed by the multitudes who worship them to be the only reality. And they learn that this sanctuary may be unlocked only by the use of two keys.
Such a candidate for initiation, having become as a little child, after divesting himself alike of the shroud of orthodoxy and the incumbrance of current scientific opinion - the one as dogmatic as the other - stands at the entrance of the temple, seeking admittance. This structure is the edifice of nature, the home of Isis, the lodge room of our Grand Master, King Sol; and is referred to in the Bible as Solomon's Temple. Now this name can hardly have been derived directly from so many divergent sources, yet in spite of this, SOL-OM-ON presents some interesting correspondences; for Sol is the Latin name of the Sun God Phoebus; Om is a Hindu name of Deity; and On is the Sun God of Heliopolis, Egypt, which anciently was called the City of On.
The candidate has heard it said, "Knock and it will open; Ask and ye shall receive; Seek and ye shall find." So, sustained by a love of justice, he stands with clean hands and a pure heart at the gate to the sanctuary. After a time his efforts are rewarded by glimpses of the interior as the gates are opened by other hands, or the intuitions of his soul penetrate their opaqueness. His summons are finally answered by the Voice of the Silence, encouraging him to further endeavor; but at the same time admonishing him that there is no vicarious atonement or attainment. Each must unlock the doors that bar his progress and that guard the temple from profanation, for himself.
King Solomon's Temple has two doors; so also, there are two doors to its oracle. He who would enter either must possess their respective keys. The door on the right is opened only with the aid of a golden key; that on the left requires a key of silver. These same two keys with which the outer doors of the temple may be unlocked will also open the doors of the oracle; but the keys that are turned from right to left in the outer doors must be turned from left to right to unlock the inner. That keys are extant by which their possessor may penetrate the barriers of objective phenomena is common knowledge among all well posted occultists. Students of masonic symbolism go further; for they recognize that these keys are two in number. In fact, the literature on ceremonial magic very largely revolves around the two productions, the one entitled, "Clavicula Solomonis" (The Key of Solomon the King), and the other entitled, "Lemegeton" (Lesser Key), there being an English translation of both. But the usefulness of these volumes, if they may be said to have a use, pertains to the history of mystical aberration, and to magical practices of doubtful quality, rather than to any revelation of the mysteries.
Turning from these again to freemasonry, we find the symbol associated with the Fellow Craft degree to be complex. We are in search of keys, therefore the other symbology need not here concern us. But one prominent feature of the symbol are Two Crossed Keys, one of Silver and the other of Gold. These are the keys for which we seek. Masonry in its symbolism has preserved the keys to initiation. They are the keys that unlock the doors of King Solomon's Temple; but precisely what these two keys symbolize in occult science no modern expounder, in so far as I have been able to learn, has explained. Therefore, I shall devote this lesson to bringing to the notice of all and sundry who are interested in occult matters, both the importance and the nature of the key of silver and the key of gold...
Let us consider that nature in all her various manifestations is under law, and that this law invariably is based upon mathematical principles. Mathematical relations are absolute, and pertain as well to spiritual, celestial and angelic spheres, as they do to our humble planet. Everything, from the tremor of a thought wave to the evolution of a universe, operates in strict obedience to numerical law. The eight volved tower of Babel rose on Shinar's plain to exemplify the numbers understood by the Magi to govern race evolution. The pyramids yet stand as a monumental proof of the numerical relations existing between the earth, the universe, and the soul of man.
And though the Pythagorean system of numbers was never placed in writing, and hence is dimly grasped except by the few, yet its fame has echoed down the corridors of time and prompts our soul to listen to the music of the spheres. Mathematics alone enables one to avoid mental pitfalls, and it is due to this fact that the Golden and Silver keys are the most valuable possessions that the occultist can obtain in the world of mental research; for they are each grounded in, and strictly built upon numerical proportions.
To comprehend their function we must have recourse to the Written and Oral Laws. Initiates understand the Written Law to be that Law inscribed in scintillating characters of light, by the ever moving finger of Deity, in the azure dome that spans our midnight sky. It is written in the Language of the Stars, and thus revealed His will to the primitive Assyrian Shepherds. Its study later gave to Egypt her splendor, and made the Chaldean Magi so justly famous. It was the knowledge of this ineffaceable Written Law, the sublime science of the starry heavens, that constituted the wisdom that flowed from the magical schools of Atlantis toward the rising sun; and in the dim and distant past, in those remoter periods of racial childhood, before material struggles had crystallized the sensitiveness of the soul, it was the pure intuitional recognition of the Written Law that constituted primitive religion...
Excerpt from "The Two Keys" chapter of Astrological Signatures by C. C. Zain