The earliest text explicitly referring to
using color as a mystical technique was written by R. David be Yehudah
he-Hasid, a Spanish Kabbalist in the late 13th early 14th century.
R David said: "We are not allowed to
visualize the ten Sephiroth, except in accordance with the rashey
perakim which reach you, such as Magan David to Hesed and Honen ha-Da'at
to Tiferet. "
Therefore, you should always visualize that
colour which is [attributed to the ten Sefirah according to] the rashey
perakim (notes), that color being the hashmal of the Sefirah, the hasmal
being the covering [or dress] of that very Sefirah around [it]. "
Afterward, you shall draw [downward] by your
visualization the efflux from "the depth of the river" to the worlds
down to usó and this is the true [way], received [in an esoteric manner]
by oral tradition." It is forbidden to visualize the Sefirah, so the
colors must be used. The imaginary "colors" are the "covering" of the
R. Moses Cordovero wrote in his "Pares Rimmonim:"
"It is good and fitting if he wishes to
visualize these havayot [that is, the different vocalizations of the
Tetragrammaton] according to their color, as then his prayer will be
very effecive, on the condition that his [mystical] intention is that
there is no other possible way to represent the activity of a certain
attribute [but[ the certain [corresponding] color. And as the colors in
the gate of colors are many, we shall not discuss here the colors. But
when he is interested to direct [his prayer', behold that gate which is
before [the eyes] of the disciple. (Gate 32, chapt. 2)
R. Hayyim Vital mentions the use of
visualization in his "Sha'arey Kedushah." ending with the ascent to
'Aravot, where one should visualize the firmament with a great white
curtain, upon which the Tetragrammaton is inscribed in [color] white as
snow in Assyrian writing in a certain color." He copied this
passage twice from R. Joseph Ashkenazi(MS British Library, 749, fol.
Since it is forbidden to visualize the ten
Sephiroth, except in accordance with rashey perakim (such as magazn
David to Hesed and Honen ha-Da'at to Tefiroth), colors are used by the
Colors are the "covering" of the Sephiroth.
This may have been the "world of lights" which emanated from the
Sephiroth, according to the auhors of Tikkuney Zohar and Ra'ya Meheimma.
late 13th century, R. Joseph ben Shalom
Askenazi write in a MS (Sasoon 290) a recipe included with the
visualization of colors as part of the technique.
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