Jul 152011
 

The tragic ‘almost’ is a poignant commonplace of epic literature. The Iliad tells how the Trojan War was almost brought to a close by a single combat between Paris and Menelaos. How many lives would have been spared had not Apollo intervened, and for the most petty of reasons!

Paradise Lost shows us Satan seriously considering whether he is making a huge mistake by initiating the temptation in the garden….but, alas, he decides to go ahead with it after all. But nowhere is this motif more forcefully present than in the biblical narrative.

Since the Fall of Adam humanity has come close to ultimate fulfillment and redemption on several occasions. Even now just one small righteous action may be all that separates us from reentering Eden. Noah certainly had his chance to restore humanity. The Flood was like a huge mikveh – a ritual bath for all creation, in which evil was subjected to a series of irresistible hot and cold ‘washing cycles’.

Rabbi Yehuda said that in Gehenom the wicked are punished with water for six months and with fire for six months. Why, during the flood were they punished only by water for twelve months? Six months should have been enough. Rabbi Yosi told him that they were sentenced to both punishments: water and fire. They water that fell upon them from above was cold as snow. And they were also punished by fire because the water that spouted from the deep was scalding.

Thus, they were punished for twelve months, receiving the full sentence of Gehenom. This continued until they were completely removed from the face of the world. During this time, Noah was hidden in the ark. As a result, the Angel of Darkness did not approach him, and the ark roamed upon the waters, as it is written: “And they bore up the ark, and it was lifted above the Earth.” (Genesis 7:17), The Zohar, Vol. 2, pp. 388-390.

But when at last the waters had receded, Noah made a tragic mistake. It was, in fact, the same mistake Adam had made, and it came about in much the same way. Popular belief to the contrary, the forbidden fruit that tempted Adam and Eve was not an apple. it was a grape.

Come and behold: Adam’s wife pressed him grapes and bought death upon him, Israel, and the whole world. When Noah came upon these grapes, he was not well guarded, as it is written: “He drank of the wine, and was drunk; and he was uncovered within his tent.:” (Genesis 9:21)

After the Deluge: Temperance, The Essential Zohar, Rav P S Berg

Jul 022011
 

And in the first states of trust, four miracles befall you. These are the signs and evidence of your attainment of the first degree of trust.

These signs are crossing the earth, walking on water, traversing the air, and being fed by the universe. And that is the reality within the door.

After that, stations and states and miracles and revelations come to you continuously until death.

*

And if you do not stop with this, He reveals to you the surface signs, you will be admonished with terrors and many sorts of states will befall you. You will see clearly the apparatus of transformations; how the dense becomes subtle and the subtle dense.

And if you do not stop with this the light of the scattering of sparks will become visible to you, and there will be a need to veil yourself from it. Do not be afraid, and persevere in the remembrance of God, for if you persevere in the remembrance of God, disaster will not overcome.

Ibn ‘Arabi, The Journey to the Lord of Power

Jul 022011
 

How beautiful they are,

The lordly ones

Who dwell in the hills,

In the hollow hills.

They have faces like flowers

And their breath is wind

That blows over grass

Filled with dewy clover.

Their limbs are more white

Than shafts of moonshine:

They are more fleet

Than the March wind.

They laugh and are glad

And are terrible:

When their lances shake

Every green reed quivers.

How beautiful they are

How beautiful

They lordly ones

In the hollow hills.

Etain, The Immortal Hour, Fiona Macleod (William Sharp)

Jun 202011
 

Indeed the Idols I have loved so long

Have done my credit in Men’s Eye much wrong:

Have drown’d my honour in a shallow cup

And sold my reputation for a song.

Indeed, indeed, repentence oft before

I swore – but was I sober when I swore?

And then and then came spring, and rose in hand

My threadbare penitence a pieces tore.

And much as wine has play’d the Infidel,

And robb’d me of my Robe of Honour – well,

I often wonder what the Vintners buy

One half so precious as the goods they sell.

Alas, that spring should vanish with the rose!

That youth’s sweet-scented manuscript should close!

The nightingale that in the branches sang,

Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows!

Would but the desert of the fountain yield

One glimpse – if dimly, yet indeed, reveal’d,

To which the fainting traveller might spring,

As springs the trampled herbage of the field!

Would but some winged Angel ere too late

Arrest the yet unfolded roll of fate,

And make the stern recorder otherwise

Enregister, or quite obliterate.

Ah love!  could thou and I with fate conspire

To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,

Would we not shatter it to bits – and then

Re-mould it closer to the Heart’s desire!

Ah, Moon of my delight who know’st no wane,

The Moon of Heav’n is rising once again:

How oft hereafter rising shall she look

Through this same garden after me – in vain!

And when thyself with shining foot shall pass

Among the guests Star-scatter’d on the grass,

And in thy joyous errand reach the spot

Where I made one turn down an empty glass!

Taman Shud (it is completed)

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Jun 182011
 

And go alone I could, and plead your cause
Alone for all: but, by the eternal laws,
Yourselves by Toil and Travel of your own
Must for your old Delinquency atone.
Were you indeed not blinded by the Curse
Of Self-exile, that still grows worse and worse,
Yourselves would know that, thoughyou see him not,
He is with you this Moment, on this Spot,
Your Lord through all Forgetfulness and Crime,
Here, There, and Everywhere, and through all Time.
But as a Father, whom some wayward Child
By sinful Self-will has unreconciled,
Waits till the sullen Reprobate at cost
Of long Repentance should regain the Lost;
Therefore, yourselves to see as you are seen,
Yourselves must bridge the Gulf you made between
By such a Search and Travel to be gone
Up to the mighty mountain Kaf, whereon
Hinges the World, and round about whose Knees
Into one Ocean mingle the Sev’n Seas;
In whose impenetrable Forest-folds
Of Light and Dark “Symurgh” his Presence holds;
Not to be reach’d, if to be reach’d at all
But by a Road the stoutest might apal;
Of Travel not of Days or Months, but Years—
Life-long perhaps: of Dangers, Doubts, and Fears
As yet unheard of: Sweat of Blood and Brain
Interminable—often all in vain—
And, if successful, no Return again:
A Road whose very Preparation scared
The Traveller who yet must be prepared
Who then this Travel to Result would bring
Needs both a Lion’s Heart beneath the Wing,
And even more, a Spirit purified
Of Worldly Passion, Malice, Lust, and Pride:
Yea, ev’n of Worldly Wisdom, which grows dim
And dark, the nearer it approachesHi m,
Who to the Spirit’s Eye alone reveal’d,
By sacrifice of Wisdom’s self unseal’d;
Without which none who reach the Place could bear
To look upon the Glory dwelling there.

Bird Parliament, Farid ud-Din Attar

Mar 022011
 

“I was the only son of my mother and father, and I was exceedingly aspiring, and my daring was very great. I thought there was no enterprise in the world too mighty for me, and after I had achieved all the adventures that were in my own country, I equipped myself, and set forth to journey through deserts and distant regions.

And at length it chanced that I came to the fairest valley in the world, wherein were trees of equal growth; and a river ran through the valley, and a path was by the side of the river. And I followed the path until mid-day, and continued my journey along the remainder of the valley until the evening; and at the extremity of a plain I came to a large and lustrous Castle, at the foot of which was a torrent.

And I approached the Castle, and there I beheld two youths with yellow curling hair, each with a frontlet of gold upon his head, and clad in a garment of yellow satin, and they had gold clasps upon their insteps. In the hand of each of them was an ivory bow, strung with the sinews of the stag; and their arrows had shafts of the bone of the whale, and were winged with peacock’s feathers; the shafts also had golden heads. And they had daggers with blades of gold, and with hilts of the bone of the whale. And they were shooting their daggers.

“And a little way from them I saw a man in the prime of life, with his beard newly shorn, clad in a robe and a mantle of yellow satin; and round the top of his mantle was a band of gold lace. On his feet were shoes of variegated leather, fastened by two bosses of gold. When I saw him, I went towards him and saluted him, and such was his courtesy that he no sooner received my greeting than he returned it. And he went with me towards the Castle.

Now there were no dwellers in the Castle except those who were in one hall. And there I saw four-and-twenty damsels, embroidering satin at a window. And this I tell thee, Kai, that the least fair of them was fairer than the fairest maid thou hast ever beheld in the Island of Britain, and the least lovely of them was more lovely than Gwenhwyvar, the wife of Arthur, when she has appeared loveliest at the Offering, on the day of the Nativity, or at the feast of Easter”.

The Mabinogion

Feb 112011
 

According to Jung, the reality of the unconscious is manifested by action of a numinous character upon consciousness. This is what Jung says concerning the unconscious:

…the unconscious…by definition and in fact, cannot be circumscribed. It must therefore be counted as something boundless: infinite or infintesimal. Whether it may legitimately be called a microcosm depends simply and solely on whether certain portions of the world beyond individual experience can be shown to exist in the unconscious – certain constants which are not individually acquired but are a priori presences.

The theory of instinct and the findings of biology in connection with the symbiotic relationship between plant and insect have long made us familiar with these things…A general proof of the rightness of this expectation lies in the ubiquitous occurrence of parallel mythologems, Bastian’s ‘folk-thoughts’ or primordial ideas; and a special proof is the autochthonous reproduction of such ideas in the psyche of individuals where direct transmission is out of the question…

Mythologems are the aforementioned ‘portions of the world’ which belong to the structural elements of the psyche. They are constants whose expression is everywhere and at all times the same. (C.G. Jung, Medicine and Psychotherapy).

The unconscious – with its numinous action – is therefore not confined to the individual soul; it surpasses it in every direction. Being ‘something boundless’, the unconscious is the world seen under its psychic aspect. Which means to say that it consists not only of innate – ie, prenatal, individual tendencies and inclinations, but that it also includes what we have designated as ‘spheres’ – namely the ‘sphere of the Holy Spirit’ and that of the ‘false Holy Spirit’.

Action of a numinous character from the unconscious, thus conceived, is certainly a criterion sufficient to distinguish the manifestation of the reality of the unconscious from the manifestation of the subjectivity of the individual soul through the latter’s spontaneous fantasy, feeling and intellectuality, but it does not at all suffice to distinguish the truth within this reality, ie, to distinguish the action of the sphere of the Holy Spirit from that of the sphere of mirages. For the sphere of mirages, also, is real – but reality is one thing and truth is another thing. A mirage is certainly real, but it is not true; it is deceiving.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXII, The World

Jan 262011
 

By the shore of Gitchie Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
At the doorway of his wigwam,
In the pleasant Summer morning,
Hiawatha stood and waited.
All the air was full of freshness,
All the earth was bright and joyous,
And before him through the sunshine,
Westward toward the neighboring forest
Passed in golden swarms the Ahmo,
Passed the bees, the honey-makers,
Burning, singing in the sunshine.
Bright above him shown the heavens,
Level spread the lake before him;
From its bosom leaped the sturgeon,
Aparkling, flashing in the sunshine;
On its margin the great forest
Stood reflected in the water,
Every tree-top had its shadow,
Motionless beneath the water.
From the brow of Hiawatha
Gone was every trace of sorrow,
As the fog from off the water,
And the mist from off the meadow.
With a smile of joy and triumph,
With a look of exultation,
As of one who in a vision
Sees what is to be, but is not,
Stood and waited Hiawatha.

Hiawatha’s Departure,  from The Song of Hiawatha, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Jan 242011
 

I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne’er beguiled!

And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart’s delight.

So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red.
I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten-thousand shields and spears.

Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.

William Blake, The Angel