The first “Chicken Qabalah” book was published in 1997. Upon first hearing that title, I envisioned a circumcised rubber chicken wearing a yarmulke in my mind's eye. It was a profound disappointment to discover that rubber chickens had nothing to do with it. Too bad. Rabbi Lamed Ben Clifford probably would have appreciated it.
This volume is a supplement to the original book. The material it contains was discovered in a storage locker after the Rabbi's death was made official some years after his mysterious disappearance. This enabled Mr. DuQuette to coherently organize and transmit the material presented here.
The contents are detailed initiation rituals in the Chicken Qabalah tradition. There are first, second, and third level initiation ceremonies. The initiates are consciously (and more important, subconsciously) prompted by visual and auditory stimuli during the rituals.
Details for conducting these rituals are clear and specific, as are the various pieces of equipment, the arrangement of the room and altar, and other items as required. Diagrams show the imagery intended for two large floor coverings for use in the second and third level initiations. Once again, there was a total lack of kazoos, whoopie cushions, and plastic vomit in these rituals. Life is full of little disappointments and curiously lacking in rubber chickens. There were so many places in the rituals where those tools of mirth could have reinforced the learning curve. (What's up with that, Lon? We need to talk.)
The initiations are designed to be conducted by a Holy Teacher and a Worthy Guide. The ritual script helps lead initiates through the sectors of the Hebrew alphabet. The first level initiation focuses on the three Mother letters; the second level on the seven Double letters; and the third level on the ten Simple letters. At each stage, the letters are explored on multiple levels to impress them upon the minds of the initiates.
This is a practical how-to-initiate-candidates manual. There are supplemental diagrams and exercises included in the study materials that follow each ritual, along with two copy-machine-ready “study toys” that are to be given to the candidates as they reach the second and third levels of initiation.
DuQuette is rightly famous for his sense of humor in dealing with the occult mysteries. The introduction is scattered with hilarious passages (“the dull chisel of dogma” bit had me holding my gut I was laughing so hard). Humor makes the mysteries more accessible while simultaneously deflating the hubris and pretentiousness so common to the field.
This ritual manual will be a prize for those who wish to formalize their studies in the Chicken Qabalah, and may be of keen interest to those who wish to acquire a deeper and more profound relationship with the Hebrew alphabet, which has a multitude of applications and correspondences in a range of occult practices. Tools of mirth are optional. Well written, beautifully organized, and very accessible – recommended.
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Author: Lon Milo DuQuette
2018, Weiser Books
235 pgs, $18.95 paperback