23. Does the Kabbalah provide any shortcuts to spiritual growth and insight, such as through magical names?
It is not widely known that the "magical" formula Abracadabra is in fact a Hebrew phrase, Evra ke-adab'rah, meaning: "I shall create according as to how I shall speak" - implying that it is possible to bring about new creations through the use of words and letters.
Words and formulae of various kinds undoubtedly have tremendous power to create many different kinds of "realities" on many different levels. What we say to others and how we say it can have far-reaching consequences. The same applies to what we tell ourselves, and what we tell God in our prayers. Prayer is our most powerful way to create and develop new realities within ourselves and in the world around us.
The Kabbalistic pathways of prophecy and devotion are bound up with the meditative use of letters, words and divine names in the pursuit of higher levels of consciousness. Such methods might be considered "shortcuts", but they only "work" when practiced by those who are proficient in their use. To take such methods out of context and try to use Kabbalistic meditations as some kind of magical "spells" would be a complete abuse.
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