Sunday, September 1, 2013

Practical Thoughts about the Tunnels of Set: The Method of Qliphothic Inversion

Working with the Qliphoth can be difficult for a practical minded magician. The challenge is that the Nightside of the Tree of Life generally represents the negative side of reality, not dark or evil elements in any positive sense but rather the realms of non-being. As such their main positive manifestation in our daily world is in terms of a dissolution, disruption and destruction that resists all control and channeling. They don’t represent, then, a positive power of destruction that can be used or channeled. Any such use or channeling is as likely to destroy the will and work of the magician as the intended target. While walking the Tunnels of Set offers a treasure of mystical insight their practical promise is exceptionally difficult to work out. It is a bit like trying to use an acid that immediately devours any container we might temporarily use to hold it or any path we might attempt to guide it down in order to achieve some end. The energy entailed precisely resists any form the magician might give it. The tunnel of Raflifu and its connection with the Nightside Qliphoth corresponding to Yesod offer, I feel, a break in this difficulty and I would like to say something of how this is so.

It will help to consider for a moment the general theory of sigil magic as a representative of a typical occult method for the achievement of practical goals. The psychoanalytic theory grounding one understanding of the sigil method revolves around the relationship between the unconscious and the mental censor. The idea is that one must find a way to get a message to the unconscious so that it might actualize the symbolized desire. The censor, however, keeps any direct messages from passing into or out of the unconscious. The process of creating and charging a sigil, then, serves to dodge the censor by means of a code unread by the conscious mind. The important point of this entire system is that the unconscious is fundamentally positive, this is one reason why negative words such as “no” or “not” should be avoided in the statement of one’s desire. The unconscious does not recognize any words of denial, it is the fundamental positive force of affirmation. Denial and negation only enter into the psychic make-up through external imposition, for example through the societal norms making up the Super Ego, the force of which constitutes the censor. Taking the unconscious on its own, however, there is no denial or negation. The pure experience of the unconscious is that of a constant overflowing life, specifically desire, which is beyond good and evil. In beginning to make our transition to a discussion of the Qliphoth it is worth considering the status of the demonic in relation to the unconscious. One of the more common interpretations of the nature of demons is that they are externalized elements of the unconscious. This interpretation allows for us to understand their evil nature, it arises from the conflict between basic desire and social-psychological forces of denial and limitation. In and of themselves, without a contrast with the necessary limitations of everyday life, demons are not evil. As such their power can be tamed and directed in the same way that the Super Ego normally structures and directs the powers of basic desire to form the Ego.  
The question, then, is whether the Qliphoth are different from standard demonic energies. The common understanding seems to be a mixture of two different, and fundamentally contradictory, theories. The standard Qabalistic story tells of a first creation during which the Sephiroth of the Tree of Life shattered. This Shattering of the Vessels gave rise to incomplete shards of creation nonetheless endowed with divine power and life. These shells make up the Qliphoth, which formed themselves into a shadow reflection of the original broken tree. The calling of the Qabalistic Magician is to reconstitute these shells in a process extending the divine creation to its leftover tatters. In this way creation is slowly completed through the ongoing work of redeeming creation’s primordial failed fragments. This ties into the basic medieval occult view of the holy magician’s ability to control and direct the power of demons through the redeeming power in the names of God. In other words, modernizing this view we are left with the Qliphoth as elements of the unconscious able to be controlled, formed, redeem and used. 

On the other hand, the Qliphoth are also considered a reversal or negative image of positive reality. Kenneth Grant plays on this idea when presenting the Nightside of the Tree as the opposite or mirror universe of our own. He thinks about this universe generally in terms of matter and anti-matter. The Nightside represents anti-reality or anti-being. It was this view I assumed in my earlier comments concerning the difficulty of using the Qliphoth. It is worth noticing that in this Grant revolutionizes the standard Qabalistic understanding of the Qliphoth which becomes clear when we ask questions like the following: Are the Qliphoth in a tree reflecting down from below Malkuth or does it represent the other side of the Tree of Life? If the first, we access it below our worldly reality. In the case of the second, as in Grant’s system, the Qliphoth are accessed through Da’ath in the Abyss beneath the Supernal Triad. In the first case the Qliphoth can be found and used amidst the muck of our world even as demonic powers generally are accessible, though not necessarily controllable, by the inexperienced. In the second case a magician must already have the ability to rise to higher levels of reality, climbing far up the tree into the Abyss itself, before the Qliphoth are even accessible. This reserves Qliphothic work for those with extensive experienced in mystical and magical practice.    
Let us entertain that the difference between the Qliphoth and standard demons should be maintained and that the Qliphoth should be understood as being equally as old and fundamental as the Sephiroth. They are not, then, derivative. Rather their “shell” or “fragmentary” nature is derived simply from the fundamental incommensurability of their mode of existence with our own. This allows us to distinguish between standard demons and the Qliphoth. I tend to favor this reading not least because it seems to be confirmed in my own working with the Qliphoth and the extreme and unique challenges I have found contacting or walking the Paths of Set entails. To state this situation briefly, I have found that the Qliphoth are exceptionally hard to access or “walk”. Without fairly extraordinary methods one seems to get little at all, and once one has accessed them they are very hard to either remain within or to make sense of. The method I have developed to address these concerns involves the creation of something like a Nightside persona, a shadow negative of myself through which I can project successfully onto the Nightside and make sense of what I experience there. I have found that without this mask I get, at best, fairly meaningless chaos but, through the use of the mask, the results are deeply meaningful.
On this interpretation, then, the Qliphoth are fundamentally unlike the repressed entities of the unconscious. They have no positive being with which to manifest in this world, but rather can only appear as absence and a loss of form that is fundamentally unable to be directed. This conundrum for the practically minded has led, in my work, to two possible paths for the application of Qliphothic magic. The first is what we might call Choronzon Programming: using the Qliphoth to kick up disturbances in the abyss, whirlwinds in the desert, which manifest as the actions of Choronzon who is the privileged manifestation of the Qliphothic energies in this world. From this perspective the Qliphothic universe can be viewed as a control matrix for Choronzon. This method has vast problems of its own to address and it is not my primary topic here.

The second method is what I call Qliphothic Inversion and it works by means of the Tunnel of Raflifu and the Qliphoth Gamaliel, the Nightside version of Yesod, the sphere of the moon. Raflifu corresponds with the Black Sun, the sun at midnight. From my working with Raflifu I have found that the energies of this Tunnel have an inherent power of inversion. They represent parallel but inverted manifestations which are nonetheless in relation to their opposites in this world. The Black Sun in relation to the sun of day. The realm made up of the Raflifu-Gamaliel correspondence helps make up the Nightside version of the astral sea found centered in Yesod on the Tree of Life. Within Yesod it is possible to create thought forms and astral entities which, properly empowered, can manifest in our daily lives. Gamaliel, the sphere of the “obscene ones” and the children of Lilith known as the Ogiel, is occupied by the distorted obscenities born from the dark mother Lilith in parallel to the astral entities that can be formed by the minds and intentions of humanity in Yesod. Qliphothic Inversion, then, consists in the formation of entities out of the primordial soup of Gamaliel, once one has been able to enter this sphere, and then the projection of these entities through the Tunnel of Raflifu. Raflifu’s inverse relationship to this world results, then, in the opposite manifestation of the created entity in this world.

To offer a simple example, to use this method to achieve wealth one would build up an image of poverty and loss in Gamaliel and then project it along the tunnel of Reflifu. This, in turn, should manifest gain and wealth on the "dayside" of the Tree. 
There are obvious similarities between this method and that of sigilization. There is still something of a sensor to work through, but now that sensor manifests through the inversion of forms in Raflifu into opposite forms in our world. One creates and empowers, amidst the Qliphoth, the opposite reality from the desired one. Surprisingly enough, this offers a far more direct and controlled ability to use the power of the Qliphoth in this reality than any other method I have found though it is not itself without dangers. Should one fail to actually enter the Qliphothic realm one will likely find oneself in Yesod itself, forming and empowering thought forms that will manifest the exact opposite desire from the one originally intended.


  1. Phew...sounds complicated.
    I think I'm going to start with qabalah first and one day with qliphothic magic.

  2. This is absolutely fascinating, especially your use of a negative mask, a Nightside persona. I've been using a similar technique for years to enter and work sigils within what I'm now coming to understand is a Qliphotic domain, probably Raflifu, as it contains a Black Sun and an endless desert of dusk, and howling winds and broken cities. It borders a primordial, viscous black ocean that resonates and reacts to thought patterns, and also bears a gate with a guardian (Nelchael), and the gate leads to what I know now as the Tunnels of Set, though my Nightside self (which always has its chakras open) mentioned there are 32 gates or "seals" in total, 22 tunnels and 10 shells, which seem to correspond to the Qliphoth. I've been working in this region for years, and many strange things have come about in my life due to it, so once I started realizing the similarities between what I thought was just an astral space and the Qliphoth, I've been voraciously reading everything I can get my hands on regarding Qliphoth, including this blog. Any help or advise would be appreciated, as I'm mostly working purely from instinct and some limited knowledge from some works by Crowley, Grant, and some Left Hand Path practitioners. I'm a bit worried that if I continue without proper knowledge, something irreversible will happen around me or to me.