Posts Tagged kabbalah
“Forgiveness is not an occasional act…it is an attitude”
Martin Luther King Jr.
When you begin the path of conscious living, forgiveness is one of the first aspects you have to deal with; forgiveness both for others and for yourself. Conscious living without forgiveness is not possible for it is forgiveness that first brings to us the awareness that there is another way of living life. Forgiveness is what activates within us true compassion.
In the beginning most of us think about forgiveness as something we do for someone else. We think that forgiveness is an altruistic act until we realize that our inability to forgive actually makes us double victims. Forgiveness sets us free on more levels than we initially may realize.
As with any emotional response, we do not realize in the beginning how multi layered our responses actually are. On a most basic level for example when we feel anger, our anger does not just stem from a present cause but is also tied with all our past hurts, right back to our first experience of pain. It has even been shown that already when we are in the womb our emotional life is shaped by what feelings our mother experienced during pregnancy. As much as we are nurtured and influenced by what the mother physically takes in her body at the time of our gestation, just the same, are we nurtured and influenced by what emotions our mother experiences. Within the womb we are developing in an ocean of amoebic fluids consisting not only of certain physical particles, but also the invisible emotional emanations of the mother.
When forgiveness becomes part of your living you begin to realize that tied with what you thought was your personal response to a present situation are also ancestral hurts, fears, and hopes as surely as the genetic ancestry that shaped your present form. We truly begin to realize that actually we can do nothing just for ourselves. Every thought we think and every feeling we feel is deeply intertwined with everything around us, spanning both the past and the future. When we realize the interconnectedness of everything within creation, it becomes impossible to seek our own self-interests separate and apart from the interests of others. However, we cannot merely seek to become selfless because of some religious creed or dogma imposed upon us from the outside. The awareness of our interdependence and interconnection must be realized and recognized within ourselves.
With conscious living forgiveness becomes an essential tool of purification to allow our vision to become clearer. Seeing the world through forgiving eyes gives you a completely different perspective as your vision is no longer filtered through personal hurts. We are liberated from the suffering of negativity when we forgive others, and we become a cause rather than an effect. In this sense forgiveness is simple wisdom well known to the heart.
Yet, from a spiritual perspective, there is an even more subtle mystery behind this. Through our interactions with one another we create energetic links, positive and negative, and even when we are no longer in one another’s lives on a material level, these links remain active and at play on psychic and spiritual levels. Thus when we have interactions with other beings and other souls we form connections with them, whether positive or negative. Either way, just as feelings of attachment or aversion keeps us attached to the karmic matrix just so feelings of attachment or aversion attaches us to a person karmically. It is this inner mystery that is hinted at in the verse. John 20:23
John 20:23 “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”
Or in another translation;
“Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.”
The Greek word for “remit” is “aphiemi” and means “to send away.” When you cannot forgive someone you form a karmic link with them and when you forgive them “you send them away.” Thus when you cannot forgive someone you are bound to link up with them until what is between you has been resolved.
Positive connections have a tendency to promote and facilitate enlightenment and liberation; but negative connections tend to hold the soul in bondage to ignorance, and all of the sorrow and suffering that follows – it weighs the soul down, as it were. Essentially, holding on to the trespasses others might inflict upon us, we are bound to incarnate again to play out the karmic connection. Likewise, generating negative connections with others by trespasses against them, and they hold on to them we are also bound to the karmic matrix with them. Thus, for the sake of a true enlightenment and liberation, forgiveness is essential to freedom from the karmic matrix. Forgiveness is one of the primary keys to liberate ourselves from bondage to the Law of Cause and Effect.
Accepting responsibility for our energy and our karma isn’t about blaming ourselves, any more than blaming anyone else, but rather it is our empowerment to learn and grow and change – it is our empowerment as a conscious co-creator and for conscious evolution. Since we are not a fixed or static entity, but rather we are a constantly changing phenomenon, naturally our growth and development in the Spirit is a process, a movement – our tikkune (healing) and our self-realization is an ongoing process, so there are many things we will seem to address again and again. In doing so, however, we do it not only for ourselves alone, but we do it for everyone, all our relations. With conscious evolution we realize that we are taking part in the karma of the world and we labor to uplift it. All of this is not quite so personal as it might first appear; it is a movement, a process that we are involved in.
Taking responsibility for our energy is called “confession and repentance” in Christian mysteries, and when the word is liberated from religious dogmatic doctrines we can see there is deep wisdom in this practice as a practice of purification. On a spiritual level, confession is bringing everything into the light, whether positive or negative, in a complete state of openness and honesty, and accepting full responsibility for our energy, our thoughts, words and deeds; and repentance is letting go of shades and shadows, negativity, and reintegrating ourselves with a truer vision of what we are.
Forgiveness allows us to cultivate the silent witness within and allows us to realize that our hurt feelings are a matter of our view and our thoughts, and the play of attachment and aversion. If want to liberate ourselves from the law of cause an effect then essentially our ideal must be that we might be the same in praise and blame alike. This capacity for the silent witness, is very important because as our souls awakens, and as our consciousness expands, we become more and more sensitive, more and more open, and to have such sensitivity and openness we need non-attachment and non-aversion, otherwise it can be quite painful on a psychic or mental-emotional level as our awareness and sensitivity increases.
Our path must be that of a peaceful warrior who puts an end to the violent inclination within ourselves – the violence must end with oneself, and be perpetuated no further. Forgiveness is what defines the boundaries between unconscious and conscious living. It is forgiveness that allows us to truly live love.
“The purity of the moment is made from the absence of time.”
In the stillness between,
in the quiet instant,
there lies a treasure beyond compare,
a song of piercing beauty,
penetrating the deepest secret chamber of my soul.
Within dusk and dawn arise subtle hues
memories of the night
Possibilities of the dawning day.
Within the breathless moment,
in the moment of infinity,
in quiet wonder
I know the miracle of being.
“… commune with your soul on your bed, and be silent …” Psalm 4:4
I awoke this morning and I did not move, neither did I open my eyes. I remained still and became aware of time moving from my past to the present and to the future. As I remained still, and allowed the past and the future to swirl around in the moment, I became aware that even in my stillness, by simple being aware everything is continuously changing. Even in my stillness a present moment is being created that is always different. Yet, here I still am, and while I am doing nothing I am changing. Just as a rock that remains unmoved for thousands of years in one place, is never the less still changing. Perhaps in another thousand years it will become grains of sand, and perhaps through some fierce burning fire even change into glass.
I continue to remain still and motionless seeing thoughts and emotions swirl around my awareness. As long as I remain still, I remain between being asleep and awake and am just a being in becoming. As soon as I move I will be incarnating into my being a set of beliefs of who and what I am, of what I am becoming. As long as I remain still I abide in just becoming in the fluidity of moment, but as soon as I move a paradigm of meaning will shape my awakening and as such I will embody a set of beliefs. In truth my beliefs are based on arbitrary hopes of possible becomings birthed in hidden desires. All I can really know for sure is that I am becoming whether I remain still or not. Right now I have a choice to remain still and still become, or I can consciously awake within a chosen paradigm of becoming. I can choose to be in the eye of the storm of my becoming, or on the extremities and experience suffering.
“Pain is unavoidable, suffering is not.”
No becoming is without pain, knowing and observing our becoming ease the suffering. Being a being in becoming, we observe our pain and happiness as flickering moments shaping our becoming which still remains an essential mystery.
In the Kabbalah Binah consciousness is the mind and heart actively engaged in thought and desire, akin to our ordinary state of consciousness, and Hokmah consciousness is the mind and heart completely silent, without thought or desire – a state of pure awareness, thus just being.
There is a term called Hashmal which indicates the simultaneous experience of Binah and Hokmah consciousness and is called “Speaking Silence,” or Dynamic Silence. There is silence and there is voice, and there is no contradiction between them, but they are one and the same. This “speaking-silence” appears in Ezekiel, at the culmination of Ezekiel’s vision, when it says God speaks to him out of silence. In Exodus 20:18 it is written; “and all the people saw the sounds.”
In this state of consciousness, one actually experiences a silence of the mind and stillness of emotions and desires, yet, at the same time, thoughts and desire-energy continues to flow. It is a supramental state of pure awareness, yet, at the same time one continues to experience the mental and vital states. The experience of Hashmal or Speaking Silence is the experience of being in the now – a zone of complete silence in the mind and vital, which is in the midst of the mind yet also beyond it, and at the same time there are thoughts and images and emotion – a complete stillness and motion at the same time. This allows a linking of the various levels of consciousness and thus a free flow and exchange between them.
Although Hashmal is a very lofty attainment and requires a radical change in consciousness, we can relate to this experience through the experience of love. Just as we cannot actively seek out love, as seeking it directly often obstructs it all together, we rather have to cultivate the conditions necessary through which we may naturally and spontaneously experience love, just so it is with Hashmal. In the Mysteries the social identity of the neophyte, the focus of the self-aware person, was temporarily dissolved so that the individual could experience “wide-field” cognitive ecstasy in the presence of the Other, the Beloved. For initiation to be undergone in a way that assured that the content of illumination would be retained, a long process of depersonalization was required, thus a process of clearing away all unauthentic concepts of self.
To experience love we must first clear what will obstruct our ability to experience true love, otherwise will not see our beloved as they are but rather we will see the projections of our needs and our desires and be sorely disappointed. The experience of Hashmal is the state within which the Gnosis Mind manifests and we are able to behold the true nature of reality; hence Reality as It Is. Within the Gnosis Mind the knower and that which is known becomes one. In the moment of sexual ecstasy the beloved and the lover becomes one, yet continue to exist as two distinct individuals simultaneously. Just so it is with Hashmal. We can only “run and return” to this state of being.
“The god Eros lives in the gap between
what we have and what we seek,
what we are and
what we are becoming.” –Connie Zweig
Eros perhaps, it could be said is the passion for transformation, the passion that transfuses and transfigures all forms, sweeping one form-thing-being through another, interfusing self and other, human and divine, perpetuating the eternal mystery of these brief encounters.
Diotima, a seeress and midwife from Mantinea in the Peloponessus, is famed for telling Socrates that “Eros is a mighty daimon, for its power mediates what is divine and what is mortal.” (Symp. 202 E) When Socrates proposes that “Eros is a part of the beautiful (to kalon),” Diotima corrects him, saying “No, love – that is, Eros is an esthetic bent, the passion for engendering and expressing the Beautiful – tes genneseos kai tou tokou en to kalo.” The “esthetic bent” as Diotima called it, is intimately linked to our capacity for love. Love and Eros enhance and complement each other at every turn. Love includes the capacity to embrace and transmit the Beautiful.
Thoughts returns to their arising. A bare tree in the icy winds of winter. All drawn within. In days long ago a mighty wizard cut a wand from its branches, gathered Mistletoe clinging to its limbs. Owls reared their chicks in its safety. Lovers whispered sweet caresses in its shade. Be quiet now and rest in a winter’s dream as your acorns dreams in the dark body of the Mother. Dream of mighty trees swaying in the Spring’s enlivening breeze. Softly I heard the Mother hum a song of dreaming, of dreams arising, within her womb.
Drifting in the Dark Sea
Formless potency of the Primordial Night
Chaos envelops me
and I surrender
In this night
a dream arose
Images rising from
the dark depths
of my soul
and stirs fathomless
What image will you choose
to represent those desires stirring
in the womb of the night
What will be the colours
of your wings?
What does your voice cry out for
in the night?
so that together we may
weave a bright new dream
Let us play for a while longer
in the starry night skies
of our imagination
before we give birth to a new dawn.
Before we can become who we really are, we must become conscious of the fact that the person who we think we are, here and now, is at best an impostor and a stranger. – Thomas Merton.
The Myth of Who We Are
After many years of intensely exploring all the aspects of what I thought I was, I realized that I was lost in the myth of what I thought I was. From a young age we create a myth about ourselves. We fashion this myth from our early experiences of our interaction with the world around us. For the rest of our lives, unless we ask ourselves what our personal myth are, we live our life according to our personal myth. We limit our potential to what the hero of our myth embodies. If we do not like the way the story of our myth is unfolding we have to change our motivational myth, but first we must uncover just what our personal myth is.
How do we find the origins and the mystery of our personal myth?
The hero must enter the dark caverns of the underworld, look beyond the masking myth of that which we think we are. In the hidden shadows of our being, in that part of ourselves that we hide so carefully from others, there lies the Grail cup of our healing and our real potential.
The theme of the Grail Romance is that the land, the country, the whole territory of concern has been laid waste. It is called a wasteland. And what is the nature of the wasteland? It is a land where everybody is living an inauthentic life, doing as other people do, doing as you’re told, with no courage for your own life. That is the wasteland … The Grail becomes … That which is attained and realized by people who have lived their own lives. The Grail represents the fulfillment of the highest spiritual potentialities of the human consciousness. Joseph Campbell – The Power of Myth
Unless we explore the assumptions we base our lives on we will remain enclosed in an unconscious image of who we are that was created in our child hood and live according to the limitations embodied by that particular image or Archetype.
We believe we are the mask we project but at the same time we know that the disowned part of ourselves is alive and well, and will someday break through the prison of our mask, exposing that which we have disowned and that which we do not want to acknowledge. We fear that the hidden part of ourselves is a hideous monster and by exposing it to the light the ugliness of ourselves will be revealed and we will be shunned by those around us. Especially those whose love and approval we seek. This is just an illusion we created; we are like the ugly old hag in the Arthurian legends that turns into the most beautiful woman when we kiss her with acceptance, even in her ugliness.
Power: Comes from Latin root posse, which means to be able.
We feel bound and limited by what our personal myth represent to us; “I am this” and I am that”, and I can do only this. We feel limited and powerless because we do not understand and know who we are.
The Rainbow of Potential
*The Rainbow Light is the full spectrum of our soul’s energy and the Divine Power – it includes dark radiance, white brilliance, and the entire spectrum of light and color.”
Somewhere in our distant past, one of our ancestors, or more likely a few at the same time, became aware.
I feel… I?
Who, what am I? Like a mirage appearing to the thirsty lost in the desert we never seem be able to reach it. Like a rainbow that appears in the tears of our life, insights to ourselves appear in a blaze of glory, only to disappear into the vastness of the sky.
“If only we can get to the end of the rainbow you can find the pot of gold.”
The problem is that we are looking for the pot of gold instead of looking at the rainbow. We will keep on chasing after rainbows until one day we realize that the pot of gold is understanding the symbol of the rainbow.
The Hebrew word for “I” is Ani, which is spelled with the same letters as the word Ain, which means no-thingness. Thus there is a suggestion that the real I or me is the nothingness within me; that which lies beyond the mirage or the fleeting rainbow. When you turn inside looking for the self, you will not find the self. The instant one turns inward to look at the self, the self vanishes like the rainbow. Yet, when you are not looking for the self, there is a sense of self. We also find this when we are looking for the source of our thoughts; thoughts arise in the mind, abide in the mind, and disappears in the mind, but the source cannot be found. Although this may frustrate us when we are trying to find that pot of gold, it also points to the real bottomless pot of gold.
You are not Limited by your Image of Self
When you observe your thoughts, you will also notice that the mind spontaneously generates thoughts without end – an infinite potential of creation without beginning or end.
The divine destiny of the human being, is implied in the Hebrew word for rainbow, qeshet. Qeshet is spelled Koof-Shin-Tau; Shin and Tau spell the name of Seth, who is the image and likeness of Adam (the human one – transcended human being). Qof, in essence, represents previous cycles in the development and evolution of the mind or soul-stream and, thus, represents karmic conditioning or assumptions of what we are.
In the understanding of Ani-Ain we find an important key to our true nature. According to the masters when Yeshua turned the water into wine at the wedding feast of Cana it was possible because the root essence and nature of water and wine is the same – Ain/no-thingness. Thus, dissolving the Ani (I) of water into Ain, he brings forth the Ani of wine. If you dissolve your Ani (self-image) into Ain what can you bring forth? It contains the essence of what shape-shifting is.
If you think of yourself as limited by what you think you are; bound to one limited manifestation of self or personal history then think about the potential represented in the understanding of Ani-Ain in terms of self-realization. At the very heart of the path to self realization is the ability to dissolve one manifestation of Ani into Ain and thus remanifest Ani at a higher level. You can thus change the limited image of yourself through conscious evolution.
You can dissolve false self-images and bring forth the true image of yourself – a being in becoming
The Hebrew word Eheieh, which literally means “I am” or “I shall be” which is the highest or innermost name of God. Every time we say “I am this” or “you are this” we are actually invoking the holy name Eheieh. This relates directly to third commandment; “Do not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God.” In Hebrew “sin” translates as “missing the mark”. We are missing the mark every time we use the words “I am this” or “you are this” in negative terms. When we speak in such a way so as to uplift ourselves and others, we are uplifted. It is a simple and basic truth – it is the power of Eheieh.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others” Marianne Williamson
Perhaps this musing on ‘Who am I” will also give a deeper insight in what self-love is. John Carroll in his book “the/ western/ dreaming,” describes soul love, as the “hallmark of soul-mate love is that any enquiry about who you are, what you have done or where you have been is entirely superfluous. It is the I am in another, hardly needing to speak, but to acknowledge with gratitude and awe: I am known. Someone walks beside me. Then each to each on their journey of journeys, may repeat: Courage. I am. Don’t fear!”
Just so it is with self-love from which flows all other love and life.
In soft green grassy lake
I drift and merge
in unfathomable depths
A rainbow burst in splendour
seeds of light
scattered in the passing storm
In brief glory
of numinous potential
Today is my birthday, and for me birthdays are like New Year celebrations; a time to reflect and to see what I would like to carry with me into the New Year. So, I wondered where the custom of birthday celebrations with gift giving actually originate from. It appears that long ago it was feared that evil spirits were particularly attracted to people on their birthdays. To protect them from harm, friends and family would to come be with the birthday person and bring good thoughts and wishes Long ago though, most people also did not know on which day they were born and it was mostly kings who celebrated their birthdays. Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor to require birth registration. In ancient Rome a child’s naming day was celebrated, and was called dies lustricus (day of purification). Both boys and girls were presented with the bulla, a locket believed to have magical powers to ward off evil spirits which they did not take it off until they reached adulthood.
Later, some Christians took to celebrating a “naming day,” on the feast day of person’s patron saint after whom the person was named. A patron saint was often chosen because of his or her feast day was on, or near the day a child was born, so a naming day customs became closely linked to the date of birth.
The naming and gift giving associated with birthdays evoked a train of thoughts in my mind.
What you are is God’s gift to you, and what you make of yourself is your gift to God.
On the day we are born we are born with the gifts of who we are. We are given names by our parents or care givers often inspired by what we represent to them, or what our being in becoming evokes in them. Our names can thus also be seen as a symbolic representation of what gifts we have received and what possible gifts we can carry to world. It is in this that perhaps we can most clearly see the “the word made flesh.”
“And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light; and there was light”
In the Kabbalah each of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph-Bet) represents an energy-intelligence which is the foundation of creation. Thus it is said that to know the energy-intelligences represented by the twenty-two letters is to know the spiritual forces and spiritual principles upon which creation is founded, and thus to gain gnosis of the mysteries of creation. Each of these energy-intelligences is behind all things in creation. Every creature and everything in creation is a unique individual manifestation of these energy-intelligences. One can equate this to the elements of the periodic table; a small set of core elements from which the entire universe is created by combination and permutation.
If we look at the word Adam which represent all of humanity – the Human One; Adam is Aleph-Dam, spirit in the blood and Aleph-Bet means spirit in the house or the house of the spirit. When we are born we become the house of the spirit. The spirit in the blood – our genetic heritage and our individual personalities and abilities forms our house – that through which we interact with in the world. That is the primary gift we given on our day of birth. We are then given names which symbolizes our house of being in becoming.
am the silence that is incomprehensible
and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
I am the voice whose sound is manifold
and the word whose appearance is multiple.
I am the utterance of my name. . .
I am the hearing that is attainable to everything;
I am the speech that cannot be grasped.
I am the name of the sound
and the sound of the name.
I am the sign of the letter
and the designation of the division. . .
– The Thunder: Perfect Mind – Nag Hammadi Library, gen.ed. James M. Robinson, 1990
In Genesis Adam, the Human One, is called the “name giver,” for he names all creatures and all that appears in creation, both in the material dimension and the metaphysical dimension. To name implies to know and understand, and to know the name of something implies one has the power of that thing. Adam is, thus, the intelligence that perceives the essence and nature of things, the truth of things. Also according to Genesis, Eve is the Mother of All-Life, yet in Hebrew the name Eve (Havvah or Chavah) can refer to speech, as in the verse, “Night to night yeChaveh [will express] Da’at (knowledge)” (Psalms 19:3). Therefore, Eve, who was created by the Living Word of God, represents the power of speech, and the Supernal Eve is pure speech in which the Living Word (Logos – the pattern that connects) and Wisdom (Sophia) of God is expressed.
Many scholars believe the magic word "Abracadabra" derives from the Aramaic Avrah KaDabra, meaning "I create as I speak." According to Kabbalah each one of us are created as the Ratzon (Will/Desire) of God by speaking us into creation- naming us just like the ten utterances of creation in the Genesis. As we are created in the image of God; we too create as we speak. Our Will/Desire gives rise to thought, which arises as “voice” in the mind; then, speaking our thoughts we manifest them, and actions follow our speech. Our actions, or our movement in the world can be seen directly as speech as every move that we make is a word, for every action has a name. Do we bless or curse the world with our speech? Are our speech a gift to the world?
The moving finger writes; and having writ
Moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy tears wash a word of it.
Omar Kayyams’s Rubiyat
We are the authors of every sentence that we write and move that we make, Everything has a name, so everything is a word and so the world all around us is a book written of which we are contained within. When we read poetry, many of the words are clear and obvious, yet the meaning is often hidden in that which is most obvious. Letters and words do not exist by themselves; everything is in relationship with another. One can only understand the meaning of the words, when one reads the sentence as a whole. If every reaction is linked to its action and all words make sentences, then all that we see before us must be poetry or a story being narrated to us. In our unfolding understanding of who we are, we are still reading the book within which we are a word. Yet, we are also co-authors of this unfolding story.
In our culture and society speech is often devoid or purpose and meaning, could this not be a reflection of the general feeling of life as a meaningless existence? In light of the above I see birthdays from a different perspective. Perhaps the gifts that we receive on our naming days, or birthdays are actually a symbolic question directed to us. What are you doing with the gift you received and what is the gift that you bring to the world? Our birthdays should indeed be called dies lustricus – day of purification – where we sit down and purify our speech so that we may become gifts to the world.
To be human
is to become visible
what is hidden
as a gift to others…
— David Whyte
See also: What’s in a Name, Nexus of …
A question: what is sacred marriage? Is it done between two different people, or within oneself?
I am a firm believer in “as above so below.” Time and again do I see the principle in operation With the sacred marriage it is no different. The sacred Marriage is known in alchemical terms as Hieros Gamos. It basically means the union of all opposites as symbolised by the conjunction of the archetypal masculine and feminine in the ‘alchemical marriage’, the hieros gamos. In alchemy it results in the grand climax, the achievement of the goal – the lapis philosophorum, the hermaphrodite embodying the united King and Queen. This union engenders the birth of something new, the ‘Rebis’, this ‘divine birth’ symbolising a re-awakening, a new consciousness.
The Hieros Gamos can transpire on all levels, as well as between a man and a woman who consciously enters into a union, to engender “something new.” As in alchemy both has to go through a process of purification first.
To give you further insight into the sacred marriage; in Christian Gnostic traditions the Holy Eucharist is also called the “Wedding Feast,” for the union of the Bridegroom and Bride is celebrated in it. The Bridegroom conveys the wine and the Bride conveys the bread. The “remembrance” alludes to what is conceived through the mystical union of the two opposites. It also relates to what in the Kabbalah is called the ruhaniyut and the sheaf. The ruhaniyut is like the soul of the tree and the sheaf is like the sap of the tree. Both the soul and the sap of the tree are called the life of the tree. Essentially, they are two manifestations of the same thing; the life-power of the tree. Like the masculine and feminine appears to be separate on the lower levels, at higher levels they are one. The remembrance is of the unity. So you can see how the sexual union of the male and female could also become a talismanic representation of the union of opposites.
As above, so below; In the Sophian Gnostic view, the Holy Eucharist is not isolated to the wedding feast, but extends to all of our living, and even food. When we eat and drink, we are eating and drinking the body of the earthly Mother and her children and the Heavenly Father who is the one life-power within and behind the whole of creation. The wedding feast is in remembrance of the unity of all. Everything that we consider to be separate from ourselves can be united within ourselves – in the Bridal Chamber. When we live life mindful of the innate unity of all, we are enacting the sacred marriage. Through conscious living our bodies can serve as the hermetic vessel of transformation. Perhaps in light of this, the following quote from an African oral tradition will cast light on the real purpose of humanity.
Beings were first mineral,
and finally animal.
This hybrid being unifies the three kingdoms.
It is crowned by man.
He signifies unity.
When you hear the phrase “broken heart” the first thing that comes to mind is that of desolate lovers, of hose who had loved and lost. What do we really know about the heart when we embark on the quest for the Holy Grail? The hero or heroine at the beginning of their quest stands on the hilltop overlooking the beginnings of the journey with courage in their hearts and stars of hope and dreams in their eyes. They look at the vista below and to the beyond of the horizon where their vision fades into mistiness, and in their hearts and minds many visions arise of what may lie beyond. Both possible horrors and beauties arise, all that their imaginations could possibly conjure in that moment before the journey begins. Yet, what they do not know when they first set off, is that they will encounter that which is beyond the horizon of their very imagination. That the real purpose of their journey was not what they thought, nor could they possibly have imagined what the divine trickster had lovingly snared them into.
If you follow a desire, it will lead you into unexplored regions with unexpected situations. Some pleasant and some very uncomfortable experiences will follow that will leave you changed and wiser, or destroyed. It will shatter your known universe without a doubt. Desire is what propels involution and evolution, and transcends time and space.
A desire is born from an encounter with someone or something that seduces into a longing to know in the Biblical sense. That is; to merge (experience) in order to know. So eloquently described in “Rites and Myths of Seduction” by Aldo Carotenuto in which he explores seduction as a secret invitation to embrace transformation, an openness to change despite risks and suffering. The ego as such is tricked into a death by the lure of the other. Seduction being defined as “carrying elsewhere,” the sweeping of the subject beyond usual experience….By loving we intend venturing beyond the dominion of one’s own ego, to a foreign dimension that places us before what is extraneousness, the stranger, within us – our double, our shadow. The fear of exposure to the temptation of seduction signifies the unconscious comprehension of the initiatory voyage which, thanks to the other, we will undertake.
This in my experience applies not just to a romantic seduction but anything that stirs a desire in you. In the Kabbalah there is a term called Klippah Nougah. Klippah is like a husk that encloses the true essence of a plant. The plant can only germinate and enfold once the husk is broken, yet, initially the protection of the husk was a necessary protection until the seed was ready to germinate. Nougah means light or Venus, thus actually Klippah Nougah refers to false lights. In Pistis Sophia (Faith Wisdom), we hear the story of the fall and redemption of Pistis Sophia, who while adoring the True Light above, is deceived by a False Light below. She descends and become bound in the dominion of the demiurge, the Ignorance and illusion. Then, enacting cycles of self-purification, grade by grade she ascends to reintegrate with her divinity and the True Light above.
The element associated with the heart in traditional wisdom teachings is air, Ruach, Spirit or Holy Spirit. We tend to think of the element of air as removed from feelings and passion and associate it with intellect. If we expect only to experience passions and pleasures on our spiritual journey and jump from one high to another we might never discover what the heart and spirit truly are, just as we might never discover what love really is if we jump from relationship to relationship. We start life with dreams and concepts of what relationships should be like, from ideas that we get from our early environment and the media. However those dreams are based on false concepts, just as the concepts we have about ourselves are based on a false concept of self.
When we start our spiritual journey it is even more so as what we are seeking is the “unknowable.” Therefore those concepts have to be dispelled before we can progress any further on our spiritual journey. Each time such a concept is dispelled we actually experience a broken heart. A broken heart not only relates to so called matters of the heart but also to all shattered dreams. A broken heart leads to what is known as dark nights of the soul.
Our heart has to be broken many times before we can reach our true heart, for our heart is covered by many layers of encrusting. Although we may feel that our hearts were broken, our true heart cannot be broken, as it is a radiant spaciousness, all inclusive, filled with intelligence, faith, hope and love, and light; what gets broken is the shell of self-cherishing, attachment and aversion that covers and obstructs it. Our true heart is the seat of Faith Wisdom, the gateway between what is above and below, “the pattern that connects,” the spiritual sun, and “a pearl of great treasure.”
Also See Dark Nights of the Soul
You ask my thoughts
through the long night?
I spent it listening
to the heavy rain
beating against my window.
I awoke and I did not know where I was. Is it the middle of the night, early morning? What day is it, weekday, weekend? What woke me up? In the distance I hear rumbling thunder.
I started to write this blog because I was searching for the Meaning of Life, finding myself in a particularly Dark Night of the Soul. I saw both my parents die in quick succession, saw all I had strived for, fall to pieces, and even spiritually I encountered some devastatingly disillusionments. I was abruptly thrown out of my comfort zones, and found myself in what appeared an impossible situation, with only Selchie’s choices facing me. I was seriously challenged in every area of my life, and saw no guiding lights to aid me through what I had to face. All my dreams just collapsed into impossibles. I had to re-revalue all my beliefs, and all that I thought was good or bad.
I looked at my parents lives, and at those of my ancestors, and was filled with its irony. How could something that started so brightly, with such good intentions, end so tragically? I looked at my own life and asked myself how is it possible that I could have been so wrong, so deluded, and yet so deeply felt that I was doing the right thing, and even though I truly walked my talk? I even started to question my own sanity. I looked at life around me and so no better examples to guide me through the dark night. Even the wonderful promise and the miracle of what happened in my country; South Africa, was now revealing its darker side, shattering the euphoric hope that the peaceful marriage of the conflicting parties brought. The hard realities of our transformation was revealed in all its ugliness, with seemingly impossible challenges facing our newly united country. Yet what I saw in the rest of the world looked even worse, and quite clearly the environmental degradation was even worse than originally thought.
Is there any meaning to life, I asked myself. Does all of life end in bitter tragedy? Even those who have lived a good and successful life, are doomed to die the slow and painful death of old age. For so many years, I kept a positive outlook, no matter what happened, and did indeed believe that everything happens for the best, but now I felt my innocent trust shattered. Like Persephone, I found myself abruptly torn from Spring’s innocent wonder, and thrown into the dark world of Hades. I was filled with despair, and could see no way out. I ran this way and that way, searching frantically for a way out. Every way I tried only ended in a dead end. I cried for help but no help came. I had to admit to myself that I was trapped, and did not know the way out, neither could I expect any rescue. No bitter tears I cried, nor hopeful inspirations could free me from the Dark Night I found myself in. All I could do was to surrender and wait; I had reached the limits of my imagination. Painfully, and slowly, from the ashes of my life started to emerge the meaning of life, my personal philosophy. Even though I knew the night could still get a lot more cold and dark, and even though I stopped saying a long time ago that it at least could not get worse, because it certainly can, I could sense meaning in the chaos. Slowly my scintilla * started to sparkle.
There is no danger to life from a blizzard as long as you keep your head. The fact that so many white men freeze to death in the North is chiefly due to another of their superstitions about cold, to the effect that when you are caught in a storm without shelter you must keep moving continually, because if you stop and sit down, and especially if you go to sleep, you are sure to freeze to death. The Eskimo rule, which is exactly the opposite of this, is a sensible one. Just as soon as you make up your mind that you lost. And don’t move until you know where you are going. A white man, following his principle, will walk about until he is thoroughly exhausted and usually until his clothes are wet with perspiration. The time finally comes when he has to stop through weariness and sleepiness. His powers of resistance have been brought so low that freezing to death is the common, and in fact the nearly universal, outcome.
Of course the best thing when you are lost in a winter storm is to put up a snow-house, but that is sometimes impossible, either because a man does not know how, or else because the snow is too soft and cannot be cut into blocks. The thing to do then is to find a small stone or a piece of sod or anything else that can be brushed free of snow. Sit on this with your back toward the wind; rest your head on your knees and go to sleep if you can. Sleeping will help you to pass the time away, and there is no danger in it, for as soon as you begin to get cold the chill will wake you up – always provided that your clothes are dry and that you are not exhausted before you sit down….
On one of his caribou-hunts from this camp Natkusiak was caught by just such a blizzard as that in which I had been about a week before, and was away for two days. A man fully dressed at this season of the year wears two coats – a thick outer one and an inner one made of fawn-skin. Natkusiak on this occasion was wearing only the thin fawn-skin, and we were therefore considerably worried about him; but on the third morning he came home all safe and smiling, saying that he had had the best sleep of the winter. My Life With The Eskimos – Vilhjalmur Stefansson 129-130
How often do we in the western culture not keep on walking until when caught in one of winter’s blizzards? We rant and rave against the elements, at the unfairness of our situation, but we do stop until we fall asleep exhausted, our resources spent. Could not this be equated to the Dark Nights of the Soul, life’s disturbances, and crisis? Do we in this world, at this time not find ourselves in one of winter’s blizzards? We know the writing is on the wall, but we believe we must just keep on walking, until we find our direction. Above all do stop and sleep and dream of the way ahead.
Thomas Moore writes; “ … the body in distress reveals the state of the soul. In William Blake’s language, the body is the soul.” The earth also is our wider body and in distress, reflecting the state of humanity’s soul. Illness itself, reflects Thomas Moore, is a Dark Night of the soul. “ Illness uncovers a world of meaningful issues that you may have covered over with lively preoccupations of your active life. Now there are no distractions. You have to look closely at what has been revealed.”
“Today the rate of change in our society is faster than ever before. People can no longer expect a predictable future and, in many cases, not even a safe one or secure one. This lack of stability in individual lives and social structures is forcing people in every stratum of our existence through an accelerated process of change where they must face the death of the old. As a culture we have been conditioned to fear this great dark unknown and have little knowledge and few tools that teach us the mysteries of this rite of passage. Because we do not understand the purpose of this dark phase and are ignorant of its terrain, we resist death and letting go of some aspects of the past in order to embrace the new. We are filled with terror and panic when we consider the physical death of a the body and planet, or the psychological death of a relationship, way of life, addictions, identity, or belief system. The stress of the dark times in our lives can make us dependent on chemical addictions or compel us to take desperate actions. People are searching for guidance as they struggle with feelings of grief, depression, anxiety, anger, and madness in coping with their losses – both the immediate ones in the fabric of daily life, and the ultimate loss of a loved one or their own imminent death.” Demetra George
What is a successful life? What is my unique purpose, what is the purpose of humanity? Just as Persephone had to lose her innocence, to find her power in Dark Hades, where she ruled as queen, and where she found her unique ability to inhabit both the Dark World and the Bright World, so I had to lose my naive innocence, to find my strength. I see a world of pain, horror, suffering and death, but I also see a world of joy, beauty, wonder and love and purpose. I know that although I do not know all the answers, I know the meaning, or rather I sense the meaning that arises out of the chaotic darkness, like a miraculous birth.
The Western culture is a solar culture based on active masculine heroic qualities, inactivity and surrender feels alien in this environment. Our inner lunar qualities regulates that which is unseen and mysterious to the solar eye, yet it works in conjunction with the active principles, both are needed for life to flourish, each in its own timing. Day and night, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. In the western culture the soulful aspects of our being has been seriously neglected. The soul itself is deep and mysterious; no intellectual discussion will bring any understanding to the soul. The soul’s language is that of Images, music and poetry
Each that we lose takes part of us;
A crescent still abides
Which like the moon, some turbid night,
Is summoned by the tides.
– Emily Dickinson
Dark Nights of the Soul, are a reflection of the inactive feminine principle, the dark moon cycle, and is essentially mysterious. When I reflect on the subject and my personal experiences in it, I feel a strong urge to lapse into poetry, and images and symbols, myths and stories fills my mind. There is a lot of interest today in the goddess aspects, however there is still very little understanding of the Dark Goddess, the Dark Mother, yet she has never stopped to influence our lives in a very direct way, whether seen in a real or symbolic way.
We tend to search for the answers to our life’s challenges in the outer realms, yet the outer realms, the material world, are like symbols in the night sky, clues of a treasure hunt to find the jewel that lies inside us; a Divine archetypal image dormant within us. Some calls our inner guide the daemon or daïmon, to express an inner guiding presence that escorts and inspires our search for truth on our spiritual journey. It is said that the daemon is an invisible presence linked to each one of us from birth, whose purpose and bond with us remains sacred and mysterious, since it is linked to our spiritual awakening process. However, at the beginning of our spiritual quest, the daemon, as an inspiring initiator, guides and attunes our consciousness towards our ideal model. Because the ideal model is our spiritual counterpart, our ego needs to recognize it, and the daemon is that inner presence that shows us the way. However, for the ego to recognize this Divine Archetypal Image inside us, it first has to shed the illusions, and conditioning we acquired in our growing up. This where the dark night comes in …
Dark Nights of the Soul can come upon one in many ways, through, illness through the loss of a loved one, betrayal, love itself, loss of a job, life’s transitions, or just an inexplicable depression where indeed you find yourself lost, and the way ahead obscured in dark confusion. Whatever the cause, it stops you dead in the tracks, as if caught in a winter’s blizzard.
How do know whether you have experienced a dark night of the soul? Just as with love, you know you have experienced a Dark Night of the Soul, when you had been transformed by the experience. The word experience is the key element of the Dark Night, you will have no clue what it is if you had not experienced it. In that aspect alone it is a reflection of the mystery of spiritual transformation, and it is therefore also an experience of creation in process. In reality nothing has any real meaning if it had not been experienced. It is only through experience that any transformation can occur. The alchemists takes raw elements and through active processess breaks down the elements into their pure form, then combine them through the Hieros Gamos out of which is born the fabled philosopher’s egg. What the alchemists do on the outside, they also do on the inside, so that they themselves go through a process of purification, to be transformed through process and be reborn as a new transformed being, a glittering Phoenix, burning with Fiery Intelligence – Divine Genuis. What is experience – that which is felt in your body, thus reaches the soul through emotions.
What is the human being? The human being is a transitional being.
“When we speak of mystics and prophets, enlightened beings and magicians, we are really speaking of individuals who are emerging from the bestial state of humanity toward a new and divine state of humanity, something more than our present humanity – what one might call super humanity. As we look and see this, we realize that our present state is a transitional state of being, something in between what we have been and something else that we are in the process of becoming.
Within and behind all of the encrustation of religious dogma and creed … there is this message of a fiery intelligence and a conscious evolution toward a divine or super humanity. This fiery intelligence, the being-consciousness-force from which creation emerges and that tends to generate increasingly higher and more refined life-forms of increasingly greater intelligence is essentially, what the Kabbalah calls ‘God’ ..The process of working out what is necessary for continued progress in a conscious evolution is called tikkune in the Kabbalah, which means correction, repair, mending, or healing. When it (that which is in the process of creative evolution) is ready, it passes into a cycle of progress, what is not ready goes into a cycle of regress to work out what is needed for progress … ” – Tau Malachi
I think that one can say that both from a metaphysical and scientific point of view we are indeed beings in transition towards a super-humanity, yet we understand so little about the process of transformation from a psychological point of view. What happens to the ‘mind’ of a caterpillar undergoing a metamorphosis? It is now quite widely accepted that thoughts directly influence the physical, however, this knowledge is mainly used to bring about better health, better material conditions and to be happy. But something is missing here, we have forgotten the Chaos Theory, the importance of the seemingly chaotic state within which change occurs. We see chaos as an aberration, an unnatural state of being, something that one must make every effort to escape, yet chaos is the natural agent of transformation, of the process of creation, and evolution.
What appears as chaotic, meaningless is a part of a cycle of growth. What really appears to us as meaningless is that which we do not understand. Nothing in my experience is meaningless.
Expansion and contraction is within every cycle of life. We have great difficulty in excepting contraction as a natural part of life, we want to be forever expanding, forever happy, forever in the light, but this cycle is in both the macrocosm and microcosm . Why can’t we just be always happy expanding, always happy? Why must we breathe in and out?
“It is a matter of digestion. Every organism must digest everything it receives properly, rhythmically. What is true for the biological world is also true for the psychological. Our anxieties, emotions, sense impressions, griefs, and sorrows, have to be properly digested. If the pressure of undigested experience overwhelms the system, our biorhythms slip out of gear. Likewise, the major experiences and crisis which comprise our biography must be adequately digested before they can unite with the core of our being. Only when the psyche has digested the ‘nutritional’ experiences which come to it can a fresh cycle of impulses trigger a new phase of action. Any imbalance in the digestive process, whether physiological or psychological, will eventually unleash the energies which produce the crisis needed to restore the equilibrium.” William Bryant
The same can also be said of societies that must also go through these stages and indeed, societies also have their dark nights of the soul. Like individuals nations must properly digest their experiences – especially their disasters. The key to this mystery are the cycles of expansion and contraction, in which growth is interrupted and suspended while new refinements of form and function are introduced. These moments reveal phases of interiorization and reorganization which eventually create the super-organized essence, the idea, of the plants contained in the new seeds. In us these ‘contractions are the critical periods between assimilation of experience and the new impulses released for future change – they are our crises.
In the macro-cosmic cycles we know the same processes occurs, where the vessels of former universes are shattered in the process of the creation of new universes – one form of life being transformed into another. The stories of Armageddon and the Apocalypse also reflects this – hence the process of radical transformation that supports the emergence of what amounts to a new specie of humanity, a divine or supernal being.
The Black Mother is not easily understood – she is, perhaps, the most veiled or concealed aspect of Sophia. She is at the very heart of the creative process, and while she may be clearly experienced in the body and life process, yet she may also be experienced as completely disembodied rather than incarnate – completely transcendental. She is the primordial manifestation of the Divine Feminine – the Deep of the Void and Chaos from which all things arise and come into being. In her essence and nature she is unthinkable – completely inconceivable and incomprehensible; and yet she is the very primordial ground from which all being-consciousness-force emerges.
Although transcendental, and such things as beauty and horror are one and the same to her; yet, she is brooding and immanent, ever present in our experience of a constantly changing reality – and as the motivator of constant change or transformation, her immense power goes without saying. Equally, the Dark Mother is the Great Virgin, completely self-contained and hidden in herself, and though the very principle of change, often called ‘Destruction,’ which is the power behind all Creation, yet is she, in her essence and nature, never changed.
Chaotic and unpredictable, uncertainty and unknowing, dread and terrible – these are words that describe her; yet, so also are words such as sweet and all-giving, liberating and uplifting, and illuminating. She is the core of the Creative Process – the journey into Void and Chaos and Destruction from which a New Creation arise: Mother of the Apocalypse!
Yeshua says, “One must be reborn of the Holy Spirit to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” This, in truth, is a mystical death – passing back into the womb of the Deep of Void and Chaos, those Bitter Waters (Marah), to arise as a child of Light. As any woman can bear witness, the fullness of the womb leads to an explosive and chaotic event of giving birth, so that with birth both mother and child pass through a great ordeal – in this the Black Mother is perfectly known by women. Indeed! She is innately known by women within their own deep and unspoken but natural and instinctual qualities.
Here, of course, we speak of the Dark Night of the Soul and the Cloud of Unknowing – which leads to the realization of the True Light. Yet, until there is a mystical death, and the embrace of the depth of Darkness, how shall the Bright Mother, the Queen of Heaven or Enlightement be known? My dear Tzaddik in these matters, Mother Sarah, would often say, “Those who say they know the Bright Mother, never having embraced her Dark Splendor, do not know her, and cannot unite with her in full until they are willing to the Darkness.” …
Kali Imma and Kali Kallah are not well accepted in our society and culture – rather they are ignored and avoided, demonized, as it were, because they cannot be defined and packaged by finite and linear reason, or controlled when invoked. Few women truly embrace her, and even fewer men – yet, it is she who brings about a true and full metanoia (spiritual transformation or conversion).
The difficulty is this – she is the honest truth of life, much of which is deemed unacceptible or undesirable. You see, the Black Mother/Bride is enigmatic, for while she brings into the Light, she also is among monstrous, horrific and demonic things. She is present in everything without exception, and empowers the entire play of cosmic forces – divine, admixed and demonic.
I’m reminded of the truth that action of creation is at one and the same time the action of destruction. This is reflected in the transition of the Maiden to the Mother, for example. The state of the Maiden is shattered as she comes into being as the Mother – that which was passing away as that which shall be comes into being. This is the reality of the present moment, always. This seems directly connected to the twofold action of purification and consecration
She may reveal delights of the senses, yet also the error of grasping at them; she can guide through unseen spaces, revealing deep secrets, and lead us into new horizons; she can heal and nurture, and she can cut straight through our deepest delusions and shatter the bonds of our self-grasping – she becomes so many things to us, and yet she is none of them, for she is the Great Void itself!Tau Malachi
Indeed! She is the Supreme Trickster, operating quite outside of the confines of conventional wisdom and the dullness of unenlightened society – but how can one not love her, she is the perfect delight of liberation! “ –
Next I will explore the stages of a Dark Night of the Soul. In truth this is just a brief introduction…
That sweet night: a secret,
Nobody saw me;
I did not see a thing,
No other light, no other guide
Than the one burning in my heart.
– John of the Cross
*Medieval theologians described the personal brilliance in the Latin word scintilla, the spark that lies at the heart of a person.