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Kabbalah is popularly known as a fashionable system for personal and spiritual insight, its popularity driven by rock stars, sharp-suited West Coast rabbis out for a fast buck and seekers after truth. Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Britney Spears and even Princess Eugenie have all attested to their devotion to this Jewish mystical tradition.

But behind the hype and simplicities of ‘pop-Kabbalah’ lies an ancient, complex and very profound system that can take a lifetime to master. Kabbalah is difficult to define. The very phrase ‘story of Kabbalah’ is as opaque and mysterious as the topic itself. This of course is its appeal. The word itself means ‘received’. For over half a millennium, individuals and movements with no attachment to Judaism have incorporated Kabbalah into their own spiritual traditions. Kabbalah flourished in the Renaissance and its method was adopted in varying measures by Hermeticists, Rosicrucians, Freemasons and tarot card readers. Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibnitz, Carl Jung and Harold Bloom have all admitted to the influence of Kabbalah.

But it all goes back to the Hebrew Bible where the prophet Ezekiel described in detail his vision of the heavenly throne, perceived as a chariot. Today in Israel the power of Kabbalah is taken for granted, particularly among Oriental Jews and the Hasidim. Mystical rabbis bless babies, newly-wed couples, newly-built houses. They will even bless your business or political party for the right fee. Such is the strange and intriguing world of Kabbalah.