lon milo duquette

Book Review – Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course by Lon Milo DuQuette

February, 2019

Book Review
Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course
by Lon Milo DuQuette
Published by Weiser
Copyright November 2018
Pages: 235

This book is a sequel to “Chicken Qabalah” published in 1997. The prologue states this book can stand alone, but it was written assuming the reader has read the first book or is at least “generally familiar with the elementary Qabalistic principles included in that work.”

It is a work of fiction about the teachings of the controversial Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford from the first book, who is finally determined to be dead 21 years after his unexplained disappearance. His unorthodox teachings continue because his previously unknown notebooks, ritual scripts and an assortment of documents were discovered in a storage locker. Lon Milo Duquette draws from this an initiation process “not so much a matter of ‘educating the unawakened student,’ but of ‘awakening the student to be educated.’”

He adds a second subtitle: “The Secret Initiation Ceremonies, Exercises, and Meditations of a (probably completely fictitious) Qabalah Initiatory Society.”

Not having read the first book, it took me a while to appreciate this one, written as a script, complete with stage directions, notes, meditations and instruction that add up to serious teachings.

It helped to listen to a December 28, 2018 podcast with Thelma Now! in which DuQuette related the backstory. He explained “Chicken Qabalah” was a collection of the fundamentals and gags he used for the Monday night magic class he taught at a Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis in Costa Mesa, California.

“Qabalah can be really boring,” he said in the podcast.

He realized people remembered information better when it was attached to a gag, joke or a funny illusion. So every year, he said he made his teaching techniques goofier and goofier. His was pretending to be teaching like an ancient Qabalist teaching at a prep school.

During one class, a man became angry, and sputtering, called DuQuette’s Qabalah teachings “chicken.”

Rather than taking it as the insult it was intended to be, DuQuette realized “an angel of God” had just given him “the name of the kind of Qabalah that I teach.”

DuQuette continued, “I just wanted to say to him, ‘Well you know, my rabbi says that there is no such thing as correct Hebrew pronunciation’ or ‘My rabbi said they probably didn’t even speak Hebrew the way we think.’ … I wanted to say that, but I didn’t have a rabbi to refer him to, so I thought I would make up my own rabbi and refer to myself. That way I could call my rabbi a genius.”

What the rabbi teaches in “Son of Chicken Qabalah” through the materials he left behind is a handbook that will enable readers to create their “own personal Hierarchy of Heaven.”

DuQuette said the book grew out of the course he taught to a small group of competent mystics in China over the course of a year, broken into four three-day seminars held on the solstices and the equinoxes.

Because of the language barrier, DuQuette worked to get across his message in as few words as possible. To help his translator, he scripted everything. Those materials formed this book.

The book presents detailed initiation rituals for the rabbi’s secret society whereby a Holy Teacher and a Worthy Guide lead initiates through a three-degree Qabalah Mystery School. Each degree covers a group of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter is a path on the Tree of Life.

The first three – Mother letters – create space with the directions up and down, right and left, and front and back. Motion in that space creates time.

Next are the seven Double letters, where light is broken into seven layers of the color spectrum and sound is broken into seven vibratory musical notes.

The third section introduces the twelve Simple letters that are the keys to unlock the Twelve Gates to the City.

At each stage, the letters’ meanings are given and explored on multiple levels to embed them into the initiate’s mind. In addition to scripted initiation rituals including music, images and tasks, there are study programs and assignments. It provides a multi-sensory approach that includes mudras, a pitch pipe, flashing colors and mandalas.

The appendix contains a reference library, end notes and a summary of each of the 32 Paths of Wisdom.

In the podcast last year, DuQuette explained, “Instead of teaching Qabalah and memorizing stuff, I thought, ‘I am just going to initiate them; I’m going to implant the Hebrew alphabet systematically step by step: three Mother letters, seven Double letters, twelve Simple letters. I’m going to implant them using the psychodrama of the initiatory process.”

Considering each chapter was presented in a long weekend with a detailed script and precise rituals, and then students had ninety days to complete the exercises, I did not get well enough into this book to get anywhere near internalizing the entire Hermetic Qabalistic universe, let alone be able to it in magical practices.

However, there are enough details and simple explanations that would bring a group or individual on a creation adventure.

DuQuette closes the book writing, “As a matter of fact, using your mastery of the Hebrew alphabet, you could (right now) set to work to create your own personal and unique names from Hebrew letters enumerating to numbers that have eight as a conspicuous factor. Your knowledge of the proper colors reveals what these angels look like; your knowledge of their elemental, planetary, or zodiacal makeup reveals their specific powers and gifts.

“Think about it – your own private hierarchy of spiritual beings – immediately and intimately linked to you, because they are your creations. That’s the kind of thing grown-up Qabalists do! That’s what Qabalah is about! … Create your own angels! Create your own personal Hierarchy of Heaven. Think of it as an exercise, or think of it as your Great Work!”

I glanced way ahead for that, but it convinced me to add this to my collection of magic books. And, should you care about ratings, the five reviews it book got on Amazon are all fives.

Son of Chicken Qabalah: Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford’s (Mostly Painless) Practical Qabalah Course on Amazon

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About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.