Friday, 24 February 2017

Weaving and Flower Beds

Today I finally had some time to practice meditating on the 231 gates. It's detailed in chapter 2 of Sefer Yetsirah. I use Abulafia's head movement for each letter and used the initial vowel of each letter. For example: Ah for Aleph, Beh for Bet, Gi for Gimmel, etc. It took just over an hour and that was rushing it a bit.

231 Gates

The curious thing is that during the latter part of the meditation, it felt like the letters were being woven together. In Sefer Yetsirah is states in Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's version in Chapter 1 Verse 11:

"...He engraved them like a sort of garden
He carved them like a sort of wall
He covered them like a sort of ceiling..."
I have learned from one of my teachers that the garden is like a flower bed. The ceiling can be like a thatched roof - woven together. Another meditation I do feels very much like arranging the letters in a flower bed. I wonder what meditative technique builds the walls...?

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Small Movements in Time - Part 2: Response to Blogos' Response

Blogos posted recently in response to my previous article. Within the framework of the Hermet Lessons it makes perfect sense and fits with the Metabilism of Time work that he has posted over the past few years.

In reponse to his response I would like to post a fuller extract from Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz that talks more about the concepts of "space," "time," and "soul" that recur in Sefer Yetsirah.

“The Thirteen Petalled Rose” by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz


“...The world of action, however, is only one world in a general system of four fundamental dimensions of being, or four different worlds, each with its own cosmos of varying essences. These four worlds have been called, in order from the highest to the lowest, “emanation,” “creation,” “formations,” and “action”. Thus, the world directly above ours is the world of formation. To understand the difference, one must first understand certain factors common to all four worlds. These factors were traditionally known as “world,” “year,” and “soul”; nowadays we would call them “space,” “time,” and “self” (experience of one’s being). Each world is distinguished from the others by the way these three factors are manifested in it. For example, in our world, physical place is a necessary external element for the existence of things; it is the background against which all objects move and all creatures function. In the higher worlds, and also in the world of spiritual action, that which is analogous to space in the world of physical action is called a “mansion.” It is the framework within which various forms and beings converge and connect. Perhaps one may compare it to those self-contained systems – known in mathematics as “groups” or “fields” - in each of which all the unit parts are related in a definite way to the other parts and to the whole. Such systems may be inhabited or full to capacity, or they may be relatively sparse or empty. Whatever the case, such a system of related existences constitutes a “place” in the abstract – a “mansion” in the higher worlds.

Time also has a different significance in the other worlds. In our domain of experience, time is measured by the moment of physical objects in space. The “year” as it is called abstractly constitutes the very process of change; it is passage from one thing to another, from form to form, and it also includes within itself the concept of causality as that which keeps all transition from form to form within the bounds of law. Indeed, upon ascending the order of worlds, this time system becomes increasingly abstract and less and less representative of anything that we know as time in the physical world; it becomes no more than the purest essence of change, or even of the possibility of potential change.

Finally, what we call “soul” is, in the physical dimension, the totality of living creatures functioning in the time and space dimensions of this world. Although they are an essential part of this world, they are distinguished from the general background by their self-consciousness and knowledge of this world. Similarly, in the higher world, the souls are self-conscious essences acting within the framework of the mansion and the year of their world...”

Space, Time, Soul – My understanding To Date

This extract from Rabbi Steinsaltz, a man I consider to have a vast knowledge of both revealed (i.e. written & oral law) and concealed Torah (i.e. Kabbalah), contains some critical elements in the understanding of the other “worlds” and the entities that operate within them.

In terms of “place”, entities in the various worlds can interact with those that they are similar to. However, opposites can only come together in this world of action. The angels of anger have no commonality with the angels of joy and hence are unable to properly interact in the world of “Yetsirah”. “Place” in that realm is not one dictated by physical space, that only exists as such in the lower parts of the world of action. Now imagine what “place” may be in the worlds of “Beriyah” and “Atzilut” - what the entities are that populate those worlds and how they “move” in the dimensions of place?

Time in the world of “Yetsirah” flow in the reverse order to what we experience in this world of action “Assiyah”. Time does not operate in a way that we can really understand in the world of “Atzilut”, it’s the mere hint of the potential for change.

“Soul” is another distinguishing quality of the four worlds that I do not understand sufficiently to explain.

Each of these three qualities “space,” “time,” and “soul” of the four worlds are different in each of the four worlds. The fact that Sefer Yetsirah refers to space, time, and soul in each of the chapters is to reinforce this point that they exist in each of the four worlds.

My limited understanding is that in order to move in space, time, and soul mansions/sets of the four worlds – we have to carve, engrave, permutate, etc. them. Else we only end up moving along one of these axis and not all three.

Back to Abulafia

Now back to Rabbi Abraham Abulafia. As written in my previous post – he talks of 3 sets of Sefirot. 10 for space, 10 for time, and 10 for soul.

I understand this to mean that there are 3 sets of 10 in each of the four worlds. So there are for example: a Binah of space, a Binah of time, and a Binah of soul in the world of Yetsirah. There is a Netzach of space, a Netzach of time, and a Netzach of soul in Atzilut.I will leave it up to you to permutate the other combinations...

Does this mean that I believe that there are 120 Sefirot in total? No! There are more. As Rabbi Abulafia writes (pp.14 of Amnon Gross’ Otzer Eden Ganuz (Hidden Treasury of Eden)):

“And it (Sefer Yetsirah) states ‘Ten Sefirot Without What (Beli-mah) their attribute is ten that has no end. And this matter is very important because he [the author of SY] wants to inform us that that the Sefirot are not physical (do not have bodies) that have an end and the Sefirot do not have an end. And if they are ten, then see that they are also tens of ten, and also a thousand that are also ten hundred, and also more that they are tens of thousands and so on until there is no end (Ein Sof). And by this way the truth is hinted when it states [in Sefer Yetsirah] “Their attribute is ten that has no end”. And it did not say ten alone without mentioning the name of attribute. None the less it did not say attributes but rather a single attribute to all of them.”

What I believe Rabbi Abulafia is saying is that when Sefer Yetzira states that the attribute of the Sefirot is ten and it has no end – what it is teaching is that we can assign 10 Sefirot across the four worlds, we can assign ten Sefirot in each of the four worlds, we can assign 3 sets of ten according to place, time, and soul in each of the four worlds…. But that still does not encompass the essence of the Sefirot. The number ten is an attribute that alludes to orders of infinity. Anything less is putting a limit to the Sefirot which I think SY tries to reinforce in chapter one is ultimately meaningless by the repeated mention of Sefirot Beli-Mah (literally without what, without anything… infinite).

Monday, 20 February 2017

Small movements in Time

Blogos' posts on Time have made me take another look at the way Time is written about in Sefer Yetzira. Whilst my focus of practice has until now has been mostly about Space, it's time I started looking deeper in to my relatiosnhip and interactions with Time.

RSA ANIMATE: The Secret Powers of Time
Before I dive in to the deeper part of the post, I just want to point this informative little video about how we relate to time most often.

Getting Textual

In  Abraham Abluafia's Ozter Eden Ganuz (Secret Treasury of Eden) at this link (page 14) it states:

"...And know that the body of a person is created with 10 Sefirot and so is the Year and so is the World and they are 30 Sefirot, and on this we received to write the Name with 3 Yud (letters) and call His Name EL to show that He blesses one with all..." (My poor translation of the above opening sentence).

So what is this Year and World that Abulafia speaks about? Well this is explained by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz in his "Thirteen Petalled Rose" pp.3 writes:
"...These four worlds have been called, in order from highest to the lowest,  "emenation," "creation," "formatioim," and "action". Thus, the world directly above ours is formation. To understand the difference, one must first understand certain factos common to all four worlds. These factors were traditionally known as "world," "year," and "soul"; nowadays we would call them "space," "time," and "self" (experience of one's being)..."

Rabbi Steinsaltz then goes on to talk more about the differences within the four "worlds" (realities) and how time, space, and self differ in each.

Now that we understand that "Time" is a property of the four "worlds", we can understand the references in Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's commentary and translation of Sefer Yetsira (Book of Formation) in 3:3, 4:6, and 5:3.

In chapter 3 verse 3 (3:3) he writes:
"Three Mothers: Alef, Mem, Shin
He engraved them, He carved them,
He permuted them, He weighed them,
He transformed them
And with them He deipcted
Three Mothers AMSh in the Universe,
Three Mothers AMSh in the Year,
Three Mothers AMSh in the Soul,
male and female"

In chapter 4 verse 6 (4:6) he writes:
"Seven Doubles: BGD KPRT of Foundation
He engraved them, He carved them,
He permuted them, He weighed them,
He transformed them,
And with the He formed
Seven planets in the Universe,
Seven days in the Year,
Seven gates in the Soul,
male and female"

In Chapter 5 verse 3 (5:3) he writes:
"Twelve elementals
Their foundation is [that]
He engraved them, carved them, permuted them,
weighed them, and transformed them,
And with them He formed
twelve constellations in the Universe
twelve months in the Year
and twelve directors in the Soul,
male and female"

Of course, as Rabbi Kaplan writes in his Introduction to Sefer Yetsira the book can be read in the imperative. So instead of stating "He carved,..." it should be read as "You should carve..."

These three verses encapsulate a lot of what chapters 3, 4, and 5 are about. The 3 Mother letters in chapter 3. The 7 double letters in chapter 4 and the 12 elemental (or simple) letters in chapter 5.

By engraving the meaning of the letters, carving away all other thoughts, permutating the letters with the other letters of the aleph-bet, "weighing" them (putting them next to each of the other letters in turm is how I do this), and transforming them (replacing with numerical equivalents) - we can align ourselves with the forces that are channeled through the letters.

Three Mothers in the Year (time). Seven days in the Year (time). Twelve months in the Year (time). Once we are aligned with the Divine flow that forms the framework of Time - we should, in theory, be able to affect time that is different to the way that was described in the RSA video at the beginning of this blog post.

My initial plan is to start with something that I consider to be relatively simple. I'll find a verse in the Torah related to time, then engrave, carve, etc letters and see if I can "dream tomorrow" during the night to predict (experience in advance of my current perception of linear time) what the events of the next day will bring.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Biopsy of the Occult Blogosphere

Digital Ambler recently comment at the end of his article “Work, Lineage, and Auturgy” :

Given the general quietude of the occult blogosphere, and how so much has petered out or calmed down over the past few years (my own blog included!), I wonder if this is a sort of predicament-shift that is facing many people who got into magic around the Great Blogosphere Renaissance, and how many others are wondering this same thing I am now.

It’s a great article and the ending makes much more sense in context of the whole article. I personally think that the occult blogosphere has gone dormant for a bit and when the need arises due to changes in the world, it will either flourish again or go underground (so to speak).

Here are some additional reasons why the occult blogosphere may have reduced in terms of active participants and volume of output. This list is speculative (mostly) and not exhaustive.
  1. Ennui – It can be a lot of work providing regular updates to a blog with good quality updates.
  2. Death – I know of at least one blogger who died. He was a great man and I miss his company.
  3. Family – Changes in family circumstance such as getting married, having kids, getting divorced, becoming a widow(er) are all life changing events that can bring an active blog to a sudden stop.
  4. Success – Strange as it may sound, if a blogger has achieved a level of success with their magical practice where they no longer feel the need to track their progress in a public forum, they may stop blogging and even stop being active practitioners
  5. Social Media – The shift to interactions on Facebook has meant that the frequency of interactions have gone up, even if the quality of those interactions hasn’t necessarily kept pace.
  6. Responses – or lack there-off. Some bloggers need comments and feedback to motivate them to continue to publish online.
  7. Fear – whether it is via the Law of Unintended stakeholders (i.e. people finding out you have a blog on the occult who you’d rather had not found this out) or perhaps fear from success in operations that the practitioner is not able to process and integrate in to their magical world-view – fear is a powerful force that can eat away at even the most resilient of people.
  8. Books – some practitioners reach a certain stage and publish one or more books. Promoting books, even on occult topics, is in my opinion not contributing to the occult blogosphere. The only exception I have in this is people who make their living off teaching magic and hence I have some acceptance of marketing of their courses and books.
  9. Material – some people run out of material. Actually I’m not sure this is even possible, please ignore this entry.
  10. Mission accomplished – everything must come to an end, even a blog. If a blog has served the purpose for the author(s) and it no longer contributes to their life, what is the point in carrying it on?
  11. Egregore – if there was an egregore of the occult blogosphere, it has either starved or otherwise been done away with. There were times in the past when I felt that my blog was alive on some level and need regular feeding with content.
  12. Underground – lastly some bloggers join organizations that do not permit publishing of their activities. Whether it is an occult order or intelligence agency, mum’s the word and any violations are dealt with harshly.