Generally speaking we understand Qabala to be an ever-evolving theoretical, practical, religious and artistic tradition. Its aim is to awaken free consciousness and to redeem or save humanity against all odds, so to speak - or to free it from the tragic forces of nature by basically experimental means.
Historically, there are four different traditions of Qabala - they can be called Hermetic Qabalah, Jewish Kabbalah, Industrial Kabala and Philosophical Cabala.
Jewish Kabbalah is posited by Gershom Scholem as having originated in medieval Spain with texts like the Zohar and the writings of Isaac Luria. From the perspective of secularized history, this is the "original" Kabbalah. Derived from Jewish scripture and neoplatonic mysticism, available only to Rabbis over the age of 40, it is a system of meditation techniques, symbols and a metaphysical picture of the godhead. Perhaps this is the purest and most intensely lived form of Kabbalah - in the sense that its adherents are more disciplined and knowledgeable than those of any other tradition. However it is inescapably parochial - this version is only available to male Jews over the age of 40. This parochial aspect is its major flaw - along with, perhaps, a certain dogmatism.
The tradition of Jewish Kabbalah, however, sees itself (against the view of secular scholarship) as far more ancient - as originating in ancient Egypt, as a primordial wisdom as old as humanity itself. Many of the purportedly ancient texts of the Kabbalah (like the Zohar and the Sefer Yezirah) have been shown to be forgeries. Nevertheless, we can't know for sure that there isn't some kind of ancient tradition that pre-existed the writings that were first set down in medieval Spain. This tradition would be older even than exoteric Judaism itself - we associate it with ancient Egypt and Hermes Trismegistus. A major virtue of this tradition is that, to the extent that it exists, it pre-exists not just modern science but also ancient philosophy (i.e. it is older than Plato). It has a certain heritage that commands deep respect. Its flaw of course is that it is basically imaginary. Its contours must be filled in.
This task has been executed by Industrial Kabala, perhaps most easily associated with figures like Madame Blavatsky, Aleister Crowley, and Ken Wilber. Industrial Qabala is an attempt to synthesize Hermetic Qabalah with Chinese and Indian esoteric traditions, and lives in the context of modern capitalism, as a sort of counterforce to total administration and scientific rationality. It is connected to underground music and fine art in various ways. Its major virtue is that it is synthetic/syncretic and genuinely magical and empowering (in the sense of operating on mysterious forces), and its major flaw is that it is not adequately rational - thus potentially victim to both dogma/ideology and to dissipation.
Finally, Philosophical Cabala is a tradition of speculative thought that sincerely engages the dominant tradition of philosophy from Plato to Kant, and, following Hegel and Emerson, seeks to conceive of a speculative human freedom within the bounds of rationality - working with rather than against science, incorporating materials from contemporary mathematics, economics and psychology. Post-structuralism, speculative realism, accelerationism and American pragmatism all participate in this tradition in different ways. Its major virtue is that it is allied with objective scientific truth and refuses dogma of all kinds (unlike Industrial Kabala), and its flaw is that it is incapable of gaining real power in the world - it lives mostly in the university.
Transcendental Qabala - which I am working to develop - is simply a synthesis of these four forms, aiming to make use of their virtues while avoiding their flaws. Thus we can delineate some of its aspects.
1. With Jewish Kabbalah, Transcendental Qabala situates itself in a particular historical tradition. Specifically it identifies contemporary secular multiculturalism as a radicalization of American protestantism (thus identifying itself with the Unitarian Transcendentalist movement of the 19th century), affirms this fact, and seeks to radicalize it further. Transcendental Qabala is the child of Judaism, Islam and Christianity, though it rejects most of the exoteric dogmas of each of these. It recognizes that the principles of equality and freedom that it seeks to foster are historically situated, not eternal absolutes. It also seeks to extract or purify fundamental concepts and practices underlying the terms faith, hope, love, and chastity. It nevertheless aims to be universal - even more universal than Christianity. Also, unlike current secular multiculturalism, it is apocalyptic: it seeks to fundamentally transform human nature.
2. With Hermetic Qabalah, Transcendental Qabala looks back to the most ancient wisdom available in the historical record - the Vedas, the Daodejing, the Bible, refusing to grant authority to any human achievement since then, whether religious, philosophical, prophetic or scientific. In other words - unlike contemporary secularism, it does not write off ancient ascetic wisdom. This perhaps the most difficult aspect to explain in words.
3. Like Industrial Kabala, it interfaces with contemporary developments in art and music, as an alternative way of life, but it refuses the excesses and irreverence of this tradition. More specifically, it refuses to simply be an alternative. It isn't sustaining a free space temporarily or acting as a respite - it aims to transform the world in its image.
4. Like Philosophical Cabala, it engages with psychoanalysis, mathematical physics and economics, incorporating a critique of ideology and affirming rigorous rationalism. But unlike the philosophy tradition, It is transmitted across a wider culture (by virtue of its extractions from these other aspects of Kabbalah - it engages with art, music and religious traditions).