Numerous prominent Western occultists and academic religious scholars have often called the Jewish Kabbalah (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה) the “Yoga of the West.” Without a doubt, the texts that constitute the Kabbalah have all been instrumental in the numerous esoteric paths of the Western world. Whether Christian, Jewish, or even Pagan, all major religious traditions in the West have admired the rich and profound teachings contained within the Kabbalah.
Kabbalah literally means “tradition” in Hebrew, and it refers to an esoteric spiritual discipline to help practitioners connect with the Divine. For hundreds of years, rabbis only taught a select few Jewish men over the age of 40 the secrets of this sacred path. Today, thanks in large part to the work of European occultists involved in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, a whole new generation of spiritual practitioners has access to wonderful translations of these formerly secret teachings.
New Agers and Western occultists nowadays are interested in how similar many of the teachings in the Kabbalah are to other serious esoteric paths. Just a few spiritual disciplines the Kabbalah has resonances with include the Pāli Canon of Theravāda Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Taoist yoga, the scriptures of the Gnostic Christians, Sufism, and Hindu Vedānta. Many occultists have also noted how systems of spirituality such as astronomy and Tarot can be enhanced with a proper understanding of the Kabbalah.
One group working to make the Kabbalah more mainstream is the Kabbalah Centre International. Founded in Los Angeles in 1984, the Kabbalah Centre welcomes people of various faiths to learn the precious teachings of the greatest Kabbalistic texts. Although it’s helpful to have some basic understanding of the Torah and the Talmud, teachers at the Kabbalah Centre assume no prior knowledge of Judaism. Instead, Kabbalah Centre instructors are more interested in looking for similarities between religions as well as ways to incorporate the teachings of the Kabbalah into daily life.
Kabbalah Centres can now be found in major cities around the world. Just a few cities with Kabbalah Centres include Warsaw, Milan, Moscow, Toronto, New York City, and Tel Aviv. Just a few famous students of the Kabbalah Centre include Madonna, Mick Jagger, Rosie O’Donnell, and Lindsay Lohan.