Ah, the Qabala. This topic is probably one of the most misunderstood and only partially used topics in a Witch's fund of knowledge. It doesn't help that the Qabala comes to Pagans from Ceremonial Magic, and that the language used to discuss the Qabala tends to be full of 'Thou must's and complicated formulas for posture alignment and times of day in which to meditate. Too complicated you say? Maybe. But let me try to at least show you some interesting ways of looking at the Qabala. You might even enjoy yourself <g>.
The word Qabala means 'tradition' (it is alternatively spelled: Kabbalah and Qabalah, but also Cabala, Qaballah, Kaballa, and so on). There are three forms of this tradition: Jewish, Mystical and hybrids. As a witch, I find the Mystical Qabala relevant to me, and so that is what I will focus on within these pages. (For one thing Jewish Qabala believes that to use it, you have to be able to read the Torah.)
One of the things I find fascinating about the Qabala is that its tradition states that it's scholars must continually re-present its knowledge, updating it as more wisdom regarding our world is found. So, for example, I have a text in my files in which a scholar discusses the Qabala in terms of Quantum Physics. As a result, it continues to live in each successive generation, not just preserved intact but expanding in its scope and usefulness. Aleister Crowley (a Qabalist) believed that each magician must, after careful study, adapt the Qabala to his (or her) own magickal framework. An example of this is Paul Hume's Wiccan Pentagram Ritual, which combines the Lesser Banishing Pentagram ritual of Ceremonial Magic with Wiccan traditions.
When studying the Mystical Qabala, it is helpful to focus on one node or 'sephiroth' at a time. Build a Tree of Life using paper circles out of colored paper appropriate for each aspect (i.e., blue for Binah, red for Hod, etc.). Mark on each circle all the associations (color, sound, breath, attributes) and meditate upon each one. Then tape it to your wall. As the Tree of Life grows, so will your understanding.
For those of you who love to read, there is a Reading List, compiled from various Qabalistic authors. I make no promises as to your ability to understand everything, but you will get a broad range of information from these authors.
One final note, however. You do not need to read a lot of books by dead scholars to understand the Qabala. Look at the Tree, think about the correspondences, meditate upon each Sephiroth, and you will find that they make sense. If you go a step further and begin to use the sephiroth in the context of your rituals (using their names, for example when calling the Quarters), they will begin to make even more sense.
The Tree of Life is a journey -- where are you on its path?