May 102015
 

1126The soul who cries is more living, and therefore fresher and younger than when it does not cry.

The ‘gift of tears’ was always considered by the masters of Christian spirituality as a grace from the Holy Spirit, for it is thanks to this gift that the soul surpasses itself and ascends to a degree of intensity of life which is certainly above that to which it is accustomed.

Now, the ‘gift of tears’ is a comparatively recent spiritual phenomenon in the history of human spirituality. In the ancient world one wept only ritually, ie through verbal lamentations and through prescribed gestures of mourning or grief, and it was amongst the chosen people, Israel, that real weeping began.

It was as a manifestation of the share that the chosen people had in the mission of preparing for the coming of Christ – who wept at the time of Lazarus’ resuscitation and who sweated sweat and blood during the night in the Garden of Olives – that real weeping came to have its rudimentary origin from the womb of this people. And to this present day the Jews preserve, cultivate and respect the ‘gift of tears’. In fact, every revelation in the narrative of the Zohar is preceded or accompanied by the weeping of the one who had it and who comes to share it with the others.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter II, The High Priestess

Sep 102012
 

When a person wishes to unify the Blessed Holy One and His Divine Presence (the male and female aspects of the Divine), he must banish all other thoughts. [Such thoughts] are the Klipot, regarding what is written, “There are many thoughts in the heart of man” (Proverbs 19.21). One must bring the Divine Presence into his mind, as the verse continues, “But the counsel of God will abide.”

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This is the mystery of Unification. The individual who is worthy of the World to Come must unify the name of the Blessed Holy One. He must unify the upper and lower levels and limbs, uniting them all bringing them all to the necessary place, where the knot can be bound.

This is the mystery of “Hear O Israel, God is our Lord, God is One.”

The mystery of “Hear” is the Name which becomes seventy names.

This is the unifying category, Israel. It is called the Elder Israel, since there is also a lesser [Israel]. Regarding [the latter] it is written, “Israel is a child and I will love him” (Hosea 11.1). But [the one alluded to in “Hear O Israel] is the Elder Israel.

[This Elder Israel is] a single mystery and a single unifying category. “Hear O Israel” thus includes the [supernal archetype] Female and her Husband.

The Zohar

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

May 162011
 

The Zohar tells us that the moon “renounced her place of higher rank” – that of equality with the sun – and that “from that time she has had no light of her own, but derives her light from the sun. Nevertheless, her real light is greater than that which she radiates here below.”

Here below, therefore, the moon reflects the light of the sun, whilst above – where her name is ELOHIM – “her power is manifest in all directions…EL being ‘the dominion of the day’, IM being ‘the dominion of the night and HE in the middle being the remainder of the forces (‘the stars), participating in both dominions.”

Now, the moon, in so far as she is the nocturnal luminary above, she shines with her own light, and it is the sun which reflects her. In other words, the moon is ‘solar’ above and ‘lunar here below, whilst the sun is ‘solar’ here below and ‘lunar’ above.

It is in this sense that EL, the radiant part of the moon’s name above, has the “dominion of the day”, ie, it is the visible sun – reflecting the invisible moon during the day. Similarly, the visible moon reflects the sun (become invisible) during the night. The spiritual moon is therefore the sun which shines at midnight. And it is the spiritual moon – or Isis – Sophia – that Apuleius “saw shining at midnight in its briliant radiance.” For the long vigil in the Isis temple resulted in a vision of the cosmic principle of Isis, ie, the spiritual moon or the “sun at midnight.”

All these things, although presented to us in mythological clothing, relate to the profound reality of the relationship of intelligence and wisdom, and their union – intuition. For intelligence corresponds to the moon, wisdom to the sun, and intuition to the restoration of the “intimate union” of the two luminaries.

Here below intelligence reflects wisdom – or, if it is eclipsed (see Letter XVIII, The Moon), it reflects the terrestrial world of external experience. But there is another intelligence above, a trancendental intelligence, whose “light is greater than that which it radiates here below”, and which – united intimately to wisdom – is “inscribed above among the letters of the sacred name (YHVH), which are four in number”, and which shines in the middle of the night “in its briliant radiance.”

This higher intelligence, this “sun at midnight”, which is the conjunction of the spiritual sun and spiritual moon – or, in other words, the intimate union of intelligence and wisdom – is the “star” of Hermeticism, and it is “The Sun” of the nineteenth Arcanum.

“The Sun” of the nineteenth Arcanum is the “sun at midnight”, ie, the sun that Apuleius “saw shining at midnight in its brilliant radiance,” and it is this “sun” which is the “star” of Hermeticism across the ages. It is the principle of intuition, or the intimate union of transcendental intelligence and wisdom.”

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIX, The Sun