Kabbalah is an esoteric Jewish tradition established in Southern Europe in the Middle Ages and its most significant scriptures, The Bahir and The Zohar, are dated to the twelfth and thirteenth centure CE. However, an earlier text, generally described as ‘kabbalah’. is the Sefer Yetzirah, dated to antiquity, possibly late BCE, more likely 1st or 2nd century CE.
Sefer Yetzirah is usually translated as the ‘Book of Creation’, but more properly would be the ‘Book of Formation’. I actually prefer ‘formation’. I’m not a Hebrew scholar, but I do know that ‘creation’ is briah, and yetzirah is based on a verb meaning to form, or to fashion something.The Sefer Yetzirah uses the metaphor of ‘engraving’, to describe the process by which the Divine manipulates its own infinite nothingness into multiple appearances. For Sigil II in The Angel of Secrets series, I decided to use the title ‘The Book of Creation’, just to keep in step with the most common translation of Sefer Yetzirah by Aryeh Kaplan.
Some traditional kabbalists ascribe this text to Abraham, which would make its origins much older than the extant parchments scholars have available for translation. Kaplan points out that this would place Sefer Yetzirah as far back as the 18th century BCE. He also comments that this might not be surprising, because the mystical Vedic scriptures date from that time. It is possible that mysticism had developed in the Middle East at an equally early period, especially in Mesopotamia, where Abraham lived before taking up his patriarchal destiny. Some believe it was written by the revered Rabbi Akiva, during the first or second century CE. However, modern scholars have not come to any consensus about its authorship or date.
Sefer Yetzirah opens with brief, but very precise descriptions of how the Creator formed the universe we find ourselves in:
By thirty-two mystical paths of wisdom Yahweh has engraved all things.
He is the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, the living God, the Almighty God
He is uplifted and exalted.
He Dwells forever, and his Name is holy.
He created His world by three: with a book, with number and with a story. *
With ten sefirot of empty space and twenty-two letters of which three are the principals, or mothers, seven have double sounds and twelve are elemental.
*In the original Hebrew, all three of these are derivations of the same root word.
This is a rough translation I have put together, derived from a variety of sources. Sefirot is the plural of sefira, often translated as a container, or reservoir. In mediaeval kabbalah we come across the sefirot as ‘gates of light’.
In Sigil I: The Book of Raziel, the Gallizur Group used the elemental letters as their code names. I structured the story around twelve parts. In Sigil II: The Book of Creation, the story is structured around seven parts and the villain uses the seven doubles as calling cards at the murder scenes.