23.5 Degrees: The Kabbalah Code by James Twyman - Mania.com

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23.5 Degrees: The Kabbalah Code by James Twyman

Geburah is a Bitch

By Stella Maris     August 01, 2009

Crossing back through the Abyss is a bit tricky...
© Memory Map


Unfortunately for James Twyman, I am well-versed in Kabbalistic symbolism and I know Paris like the back of my hand. Maybe he thought that touring Parisian churches intoning obscure Hebrew "passwords" in order to navigate the multi-dimensional space-time continuum at will would suitably impress his readers but, as anyone who has followed my column can see for themselves, I have been doing this for years.
Therefore, from my point of view, The Kabbalah Code by James Twyman was a complete dog’s dinner.
If you are one of the people who used to write "WTF" under my column months ago, please don't read this book review, because it will only distress you. For those who are curious as to why I'm even bothering, please understand that I fervently believe that publishers should embrace a moral responsibility not to publish disinformation that sends impressionable people off into left field on wild goose chases, therefore I feel that it’s appropriate to issue some kind of health and safety warning encoded into the form of a book review.
Here's the gist of the plot, which is related as "a true adventure".
"Jimmy" Twyman experiences an epiphany after a woman at a promotional appearance tells him that the premise of his previous book, The Moses Code, was flawed.
So, Jimmy decides that he needs to go on a spiritual journey to Paris with his friend Philip Gruber to unlock the information that the Knights Templar encoded into the space-time continuum there in order to release the sequence of events that will save Mankind. Are you still with me?
Okay, so even though Phil's health is fragile after having suffered a serious bout of severe depression, his encylopaedic knowledge of all things metaphysical is essential to this important mission. He solemnly explains to Jimmy that, “What we’re going to do, to my knowledge, has never been attempted before, at least successfully. And if we’re successful, it will change much in the world, hopefully for the better.”
Jimmy and Phil then embark on what I can only describe as a random Google guide to "kabbalistic" Paris. It actually looks like someone sat down at a computer for a couple of days and cyber-searched for Hebrew correspondences to invoke in association with popular Parisian tourist traps. Predictably, they even stop to eat crepes along the way.
Granted, using the template of the sephiroth in the Kabbalistic Tree of Life works well as a literary device. I am guilty of using it myself in my fictional work and even the great master Umberto Eco structures Foucault's Pendulum around this device.
But this is exactly where Jimmy and Phil seriously lose the plot.
Without going into a lot of detail, which will only drive you mad, there is a specific sequence to navigating the ten sephiroth, or levels of consciousness, in the Tree. Actually, there are eleven sephiroth, but Daath is hidden and only becomes relevant at a later stage.
The sequence begins with Kether, which represents the Mind of God, for lack of a better description. The Mind of God then acquires the balance of the male principle in Chokmah and the female principle in Binah. This element then crosses the Abyss in order to manifest into the three-dimensional space-time continuum that we inhabit. We then descend the layers of reality, experiencing the lessons of Chesed, Geburah, Tiphareth, Netzach, Hod, Yesod, finally attaining complete conscious awareness in Malkuth. Each sephira has very specific attributes which are essential for figuring out where you are and where you are going, along with useful angelic orders to invoke in case we need help along the way. This sequence down the Tree from Kether to Malkuth is known as the Lightning Path.
The enlightened consciousness then turns around in Malkuth and re-ascends the Tree in sequence to re-unite with God. Crossing back through the Abyss is a bit tricky... if you get it wrong, you die. And then you have to come back and do it all over again, which is a drag. Conveniently, I have been leaving little helpful hints embedded into my 23.5 Degree columns, if anyone has been paying attention. Anyway, this sequence back up the Tree is called the Serpent Path.
But Jimmy and Phil are all over the place--their journey is more akin to a game of Snakes and Ladders than a life-changing cosmic challenge.
Although the references throughout the book are quite vague, from the God Names that they are chanting in the various chapters, it appears that they begin their journey in Tiphareth at the Basilica of Sacre Coeur in Montmartre. They then jump to Binah at the Eglise Sainte-Maire-Madeleine (which is conveniently just across the street from my very favourite Caviar restaurant in Paris), then over to Chokmah in Our Lady of the Assumption. Then they appear to skip down to Yesod at the church of Saint Roch, which is famous for its reproduction of the Ark of the Covenant. Then down to Malkuth at the Obelisk of Luxor in the Place de la Concorde (where Marie Antoinette was beheaded).
Then they jump up to Geburah at the tip of the Ile de la Cite, where there is a plaque marking the burning at the stake of Jacques de Molay, the last Grandmaster of the Knights Templar. Jimmy and Phil don’t seem to realize that de Molay wasn't actually burned at this exact location, that it is only the closest one can get to the Isle of the Jews, which doesn't exist anymore… so I worry what will happen to Mankind now that they’ve triggered Geburah at an inaccurate coordinate. But, let’s not go there.
After bodging Geburah they stroll over to the famous cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris to trigger off Hod. Then over to Saint Germain l'Auxerrois for Chesed. Netzach is corresponded to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal (whose medal I have on the table next to my bed, thanks to Guillaume). And then finally they end up at Kether in... the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Chartres, outside of Paris. Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. With no comma!
Don't worry if you've lost track by now... it really doesn't matter. It would take months for me to explain to you what is wrong with all this, by which point you wouldn't care anyway.
To add injury to insult, Phil attributes the process of encoding the passworded sequence into the various locations to the Knights Templar, who obviously learned the technique during their sojourn in Solomon's Temple. It’s irrelevant to their spiritual quest that most of the edifices that they visit didn't even exist at the time of the Templars--of course, the Templars would have encoded the programs into these locations, had the order continued... therefore this knowledge must have been passed down through the centuries so that initiates could continue the Templars’ important work.
Intriguingly, an acknowledgement is given to JJ Hurtak, whom I have met on my own travels, for releasing the vestiges of this system into his books which were published in the late 70s and early 80s--but that's another story for another time.
So, that's all I have to say for now. Because I believe in Free Will, I won't recommend not to buy this book. All I'll say here is... always follow your heart, which will lead you on your own path.
Everything you need to know is already inside you.
Newton Coordinate:- The Dedication of Our Lady of the Snows on the Greenwich Meridian. AL-ALHIM GBVR.


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ProfessorW 8/1/2009 12:20:01 AM

Great review.  It sounds as though this scribbling belongs - with so many others - on the dung-heap initiated by Mr B.  I think I'll stick with Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure!  At least it doesn't pretend to be more than it is.

All our thoughts, I'm sure, will be with Our Lady of the Snows this year!


GIJew 8/1/2009 2:15:47 PM

Another pos written by someone that thinks he's the Maharal reborn. Reminds me of Revolver and its agonizingly inane plot.

Rosenbaum 8/1/2009 6:24:07 PM

Of course, it's too late now to correct historical errors, but here's a mid eighteenth century map of the no longer extant island referred to as the Ile aux/des Juifs, Ile des Javiaux and Ile Louvier:



StellaMaris 8/2/2009 2:40:29 AM

Brace yourself, GIJew... it's gonna get worse. There are at least two more books being written around this theme that I know of. The Kabbalah, especially the later Christian Kabbalah is going to become the new "in" theme in this genre after we've been pummelled with Freemasonry when Dan Brown's book is released in Sept. 

This is one of the reasons why Chip asked me to come back to Mania - so that I could write about this material BEFORE it started being published. That's why a lot of what I'm writing doesn't make any sense, because most of it hasn't happened yet...

Rosenbaum - sorry, you've got the wrong side of the Ile de la Cite, you need to go west to find the Isle of the Jews, which was later fused with the Ile de la Cite. 

What you've got there are the two islands which later became the Ile Saint Louis (which was originally used to graze cows). 

The Ile Saint Louis enters our story later on, in a very interesting manner...

Rosenbaum 8/2/2009 3:30:03 AM

 Stella, you're absolutely right!  Wikipedia misled me:


Various (unreliable) Internet sources assume Ile des Juifs = Ile des Javiaux = Ile Louvier.  I now appreciate that these assumptions are no more than the deposits left by the previous occupants of the Ile des Javiaux and the Ile Louvier/Ile des Vaches!

As a result I have forfeited my right ever again to cock a snook at D. Brown for placing Versailles north of Paris!

StellaMaris 8/3/2009 12:15:05 AM

Rosie, I think you've just demonstrated why it's a bad idea for an author to Google their research. It's always better to write about something that you have firsthand experience of... 

Rosenbaum 8/3/2009 12:00:52 PM

 QED,  as the Ancient Greeks used to say.  But doesn't my gaffe mean that I am ideally qualified to write second-rate, second-hand "historical" fiction?  The Roman philosopher, Socrates, once wrote: I know that I know nothing.  I thought of changing that to: I write because I know nothing.  Do you think I could get published?

RogerXXII 8/4/2009 9:45:38 PM

 I wish it were legal to chain certain authors to a post, say on the parvis de Notre Dame, and pelt them with pulped copies of their literary turds.


As they used to say back home...  "Il y a des claques qui se perdent"

ProfessorW 8/5/2009 11:37:26 PM

 Roger's comment reminded me of one of the earliest reviews of Wagner (of whose music I am, incidentally, a fan!):

"There is no law against composing music when one has no ideas whatsoever. The music of Wagner, therefore, is perfectly legal."

- The National Paris 1850

However, I suspect that only writer of quality historical fiction who will be read in a 150 years' time will be Piedmontese...

sfkhooper 2/13/2010 3:02:21 PM

Thank you, Stella, for this frank review of the Twyman offering. I was considering purchasing this book as a gentle introduction to Kabbalah, but I see now this might not be the best course to take. As a staunch atheist I have always put my "faith" in science although as a youth I suspected there was something profoundly connective about vibrations or frequencies, so I flirted with spiritulism for a short while many years ago. Recent quantum discoveries have brought me back to the search for a truth and I am fascinated by the fact that so many recent discoveries seem to be common knowledge to those that have studied The Kabbalah. So, author and contributors, I ask of you all, is there a text that could be recommended as an introduction to the Kabbalah?

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