21 Jul Kamila Bartova Velkoborska
Kamila Bartova Velkoborska
Inner Journey of the Soul in Kabbalah
The Jewish understanding of the soul is not unified. There are a number of expressions used to describe the concept in the Hebrew Bible. These were used interchangeably when only one soul was discussed but with the rise of Kabbalah in 13th century Europe and the influence of the Platonic teachings of the tripartite soul, these names attained distinct meanings. These meanings were not a mere copy of the Platonic ideas but were further developed and elaborated into a system unique to Jewish Kabbalah, with one type of soul representing the highest ideal, the divine spark, attainable only by the most advanced humans. This soul is called “neshamah”. The lowest soul, “nefesh”, is common to all living beings, including animals. In between stands “ruach” – spirit, breath, wind. Souls conceptualised like that attained positions on the sefirotic Tree of Life.
In this talk we will explore the occurrence of the soul’s names in the Hebrew Bible and their use in the Zohar, a mystical commentary on the Torah and the fundamental book of Kabbalah. We will conclude with a suggestion on how to use the concepts of the soul and the kabbalistic texts in the practice of a contemporary witch or magician.
My name is Kamila Bartova Velkoborska and I am both an academic and a practitioner. My academic background is anthropology of religion and in my active years I did an extensive fieldwork focused on pagan ritual practice both in my home country, Czech Republic, and abroad. My spiritual practice contains two main streams. As a member of the Brotherhood of Wolves and an owner of a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog I am involved in shamanic rituals and wolf mysteries. At the same time, I am an active initiated Wiccan. Several years ago I started studying esoteric Kabbalah as a part of research connected with my training in the craft. Soon this area became my main interest that has outgrown the requirements of the wiccan practice. Apart from studying Western occult literature on Kabbalah, I turned my attention to Jewish materials, both mediaeval and contemporary, and started studying Biblical Hebrew. In my personal research and practice I combine all these diverse streams – shamanism, witchcraft, magic, Western Mysteries, Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism.
Since the year 2020, I have been regularly contributing articles on Kabbalah under the name Papaver to the magazine Femme Occulte.