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
 

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)

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

Jan 152011
 

… And concerning that which He said, In this year of Jubilee each of you shall return to his property (Lev. 25:13) and likewise, And this is the manner of release: every creditor shall release that which he has lent to his neighbour. He shall not exact it of his neighbour and his brother, for God’s release has been proclaimed (Deut. 15:2). And it will be proclaimed at the end of days concerning the captives as He said, To proclaim liberty to the captives (Isa. 61:1).

Its interpretation is that He will assign them to the Sons of Heaven and to the inheritance of Melchizedek; for He will cast their lot amid the portions ofMelchizedek, who will return them there and will proclaim to them liberty, forgiving them the wrong-doings of all their iniquities.

And this thing will occur in the first week of the Jubilee that follows the nine Jubilees. And the Day of Atonement is the end of the tenth Jubilee, when all the Sons of Light and the men of the lot of Melchizedek will be atoned for. And a statue concerns them to provide them with their rewards. For this is the moment of the Year of Grace for Melchizedek.

The Heavenly Prince Melchizedek, Dead Sea Scrolls

Jan 042011
 

In the Hall of Flames let me not put to shame my ancestors; descending there, let me not put you to shame.

I fasten a rope to the sacred tree, I twist it in eight folds, that by it I, a magician, may descend to the magical house.

Begin your song in the Hall of Flames; begin your song in the Hall of Flames; why does the magician not come forth? Why does he not rise up?

Let his subjects assist in the Hall of Flames; he appears, he appears, let his subjects assist.

Let the servants never cease the song in the Hall of Flames; let them rejoice greatly, let them dance wonderfully.

Call ye for the woman with abundant hair, whose care is the mist and the rain, call ye for her.

Aztec Hymn to Ixcoçauhqui.

Jan 032011
 

Thou must be informed of the words of Hermes when he laid down his books.

“O sacred books,” he said, “of the Immortals, ye in whose pages my hand has recorded the remedies by which incorruptibility is conferred, remain for ever beyond the reach of destruction and of decay, invisible and concealed from all who frequent these regions, until the day shall come in which the ancient heaven shall bring forth instruments worthy of you, whom the Creator shall call souls.”

Having pronounced upon his books this invocation, he wrapped them in their coverings, returned into the sphere which belonged to him, and all remained hidden for a sufficient space.

Kore Kosmou, Hermes Trismegistus

Dec 282010
 

golden_groveMargaret, are you grieving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leaves, like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! as the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you will weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sorrow’s springs are the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Spring and Fall, Gerard Manley Hopkins