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by Hadogenes Phaeton
I have failed at my attempts to create a golem, primarily for lack of trying. Following the directions in Aryeh Kaplan’s translation and commentary on the Sefer Yetzirah (1997, Samuel Weiser, Inc.), I attempted to complete the complex meditation on the 231 gates. It’s very complex, really. The practitioner must meditate upon the 22 letters of the Hebrew alef-bet surrounding him in a ring, and then slowly create and follow paths or “gates” between each of them in order. A golem is typically to be created only as a thought construct, and Kaplan explains that one was created as a physical entity only on the most special of occasions. The act of building a golem required great discipline, concentration, and visualization. The golem-builder needed to be righteous and spiritually pure, which requires quite a bit of work and effort on its own.
My attempt was part of a series of experiments I have been conducting on thoughtforms, which are an old and far-reaching idea in metaphysics. From a psychological standpoint, a thoughtform seems to be a compartmentalized part of the personality whose purpose is to complete a specific task, or perhaps a sub-personality which is created and embedded in the unconscious for a specific period of time. Of course, as with many metaphysical activities, a psychological approach doesn’t quite seem to explain the subjective changes that happen in the metaphysician’s situation. It might help to think of a thoughtform as a metaphysician’s “familiar spirit,” or perhaps like an imaginary friend for adults. This imaginary friend is, however, created with much deliberation and zeal.