CONTENTS / QUICK FIND:
- The Christian Kabbalah - Part 2 of 2 By Ms. Cynthia M. Smith; GA.
- Ignatian Discernment. By Fr C.R. Sephiroth
- OAS Literary Review Committee Announcement - OAS<
- The OAS on the World Wide Web! By VHSr. Caveat Anima
- Arcana Discussion E-List On The ListServe of Brown University. From the Arcana WWWeb Site.
- An Online Interview with Order President FrPneuma. Submitted by FraterTFP, AOL Religion & Ethics Forum Chat Host
- Liturgical Calendar With Events.
By Cynthia M. Smith
Atlanta, GA; USA
"Brightness falls from the air;
Queens have died, young and fair;
Lord have mercy upon us." --- Thomas Nashe
[Editor's Note: The following text is the second and final part of a two part essay written by Ms. Cindy Smith concerning the Christian Cabala. The First part of the essay was printed in The Crux Mystica, Volume #1, Issue #1. In that portion Ms. Smith asked the questions, "Who is Christ?" and "Who is God?" and attempts to explain the answers to these questions in light of what has been labled, The Christian Cabala, and her own research into the Zohar. Ms. Smith has discussed the works of Agrippa, Pico dell Mirandola, and other sources. She continues her studies and makes some interesting observations - beginning with the works of Reuchlin and continuing with Lull and others. Enjoy! VHSr. Caveat Anima]
The next several sections of Reuchlin's first book is comprised of a series of Old Testament references to almost-saviors. Eve thinks she will give birth to the Savior, but bears Cain instead, and then Abel. Abel is depicted as an almost-savior who greatly desires to be killed by Wood (Cain's club). But this gift wasn't enough to redeem mankind. Even so, says Simon, one day a willing victim will come who will redeem mankind. This is an obvious reference to the Crucifixion of Christ on the hard Wood of the Cross. Reuchlin describes Abel as completely righteous, but fails to explain adequately why the sacrifice of Abel wasn't enough to redeem mankind.
At any rate, page 77 contains a paragraph crucial to Reuchlin's understanding of who the Messiah will be and why:
It was thought, indeed strongly hoped, that [Enos's] name would accord with the kabbalah of the angel, the four-letter name, YHWH, or be at the least, "in mercy" or, more Kabbalistically, that he would have the letter S [i.e., Shin] between the four letters. In the sacred account is written, though the translation here is not too well phrased: "They began to invoke the name of the Lord." The translation is accurate, but some more thoughtful Kabbalists have made a more correct interpretation than is rendered by the literal translation. According to Gematria, "He wanted to be called by the letter S." In the art of Kabbalah this is equivalent to "in mercy." Now according to Notaricon, the letter M stands for "in the middle of" (understood, the four letters YHWH). Thus the phrase is altered to read: "He wanted to be called by the letter S in the middle of the four letter YHWH." Enos would take from the Tree of Life in accordance with the angel's message, and redeem the world, as a Godlike man bearing the name YH-in mercy-WH. Note this well. It is a sacred mystery."
As noted earlier, S and M are two of the "mother letters" representing Fire and Water, chaos and harmony, En-Sof and Malkhut. In this case, Tiferet is the Center of the Tree around which cluster all the Fruit (sefirot). Thus, Tiferet is fire and Malkhut is water, and when Tiferet is in the Middle in union with Malkhut, Tiferet (Jesus) baptizes with fire and water, and gives the Fruit (sefirot) to human beings to consume for their own salvation, His Body being the Fruit (all the sefirot) and his Blood being Malkhut (the Life). Thus did Jesus say, "I am the Way (Tiferet), the Truth (from Hokhma and Bina), and the Life (Malkhut). There is no way to God except through Me (all the sefirot)." Again, Jesus is Jacob's Ladder upon which angels and human beings must ascend to reach En-Sof and descend back to this world. When Shin, or Tiferet, is Balanced in the midst of the Tree, settled in the midst of the Tetragrammaton, then will Yeshua bring salvation to Eretz Yisrael.
Reuchlin goes on to describe how Noah put his faith in wood when he built a wooden ark to save the human race. "A Kabbalistic touch: he put his trust in wood (as Job says, 'There is hope in wood'), and by doing so he was made certain that through wood life was promised to man" (77). Clearly, Simon means that life comes through the wood of the Cross.
Also, just as an Ark of Wood saved Noah and his family, so a new Ark of the Covenant (the Virgin Mary) would bring salvation by giving birth to a man who would save the human race by the wood of his Cross.
Reuchlin moves on to Shem and then to Abraham and Isaac. Abraham offered up Isaac on an altar stacked with saving wood. "According to the prophecy, after all, the original fault could only have wood for its remedy" (79). Disappointingly, however, Isaac was not to be the Saviour who would redeem mankind by wood. Clearly, another kind of wood was intimated. Jacob also was not the Saviour, but Jacob was the first to see heaven opened along with the famous Ladder. He also saw the name YHWH and hencefort "set up the stone he had anointed as a shrine, known as Bethel, and by his labor added in an S, which by the Notaricon method signifies shemen, or 'anointing oil'" (81). An angel then prophesied that, although Jacob was not the saviour, the saviour would come from the tribe of Judah. This is clearly a reference to the New Testament passage which holds that Jesus is "the Lion of the Tribe of Judah." The S, the light of the world, we've already discussed. Jacob, representing Tiferet, thus presaged the kind of Saviour the human race was to expect. Moses knew that he himself could not be the Messiah because Moses was of the tribe of Levi, not Judah. Reuchlin then quotes David who said, "Send your light and your truth...." He then quotes Rashi: "Your light is the Kingdom of the Messiah, as in the writing 'I have prepared a lamp for my Messiah.'"
This means, in my interpretation, that a lamp containing all the colors of the sefirot has been prepared to enlighten the earthly Body of En-Sof. Just as a person is comprised of ten sefirot, so God on earth was comprised of Ten Sefirot of En-Sof. Thus, God's light is the Shekhina (who has no light herself but who reflects all the lights of all the sefirot) of the Messiah who is the visible manifestation of En-Sof.
Reuchlin cites another book called "On Faith and Atonement," which Simon quotes (109):
"There is a way showing the strength of grace that has been bestowed, which is a created strength. The way follows a route of seven exchanges, which are thirteen orders of forgiveness by which the world is to be guided until there be an end to sin and the Messiah come who is the strength ofGod. And in the strength of grace (which is the strength ofangels), and is the strength on which grace has been bestowed (which is the strength of the prophet), there will rest uponhim the spirit of the Name of God, the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
In translation, this says that Yesod of Chesed is the Foundation on which Chesed has been bestowed. In other words, Chesed will be bestowed on man for the forgiveness of his sins through Yesod. This means that from the Strength (Yesod) of God in the Crucifixion of Christ will Grace flow. This is the strength of the Prophet, who is Jesus. Furthermore, upon him, the Messiah, will rest YHVH (Tiferet), Hokhma, Bina, Chesed, Gevurah (pahad).
Simon then cites the Kabbalistic book "Hacadma": "And this is the secret of the king Messiah who will come swiftly, in our days. All his work will begin with the VH and the YH, which is the mystery of the seventh day and this name is his whole name, and everything is accomplished by his hand." Translated, this means that the secret of the Messiah Tiferet will come swiftly, in our days (sefirot). Again, shin will come down between the letters of the Tetragrammaton, which is the mystery of Malkhut (Shabbat). This is the meaning of the Scripture, "The Son of Man is Lord of Shabbat" (Matthew 12:8). The Son of Man is the visible manifestation of En-Sof, the exact image of Adam Kadmon. So that we must understand and perceive him, the visible manifestation of En-Sof appears as Tiferet of Malkhut. As Malkhut contains all the sefirot, so Son of Man Tiferet is King over all the sefirot.
In this way, Reuchlin mixes name-science Kabbalah with sefirotic-system Kabbalah. He points that that "in mercy" comes in the middle of YHVH "together with 'merit' and 'service' and with rigor and harshness." He then cites King David's prophecy that the Messiah "will judge your people in justice, and your poor in judgment." The Gate of Light, chapter 3, says: "Judgment is part rigor and part clemency." And Hosea says: "I shall betroth thee unto me, in justice and judgment, in loving kindness and in mercies." Thus, the Messiah, who is Tiferet, will be betrothed to Malkhut in Chesed and Gevurah. Micah confirms this, saying that the Tetragrammaton will come forth through its property of Mercy.
On page 117, Simon the Jew describes the three worlds, material, formal, and formless -- that is, the lowest world (sense world), the highest (mind and understanding), and the third world, the very highest, which is indescribable and divine. "By such means, we believe," Simon says, "it is not beyond possibility that Kabbalists can in spirit be snatched up to where the Messiah flows into all lesser things, near to the third world."
Here, Reuchlin appears to be making a veiled reference to the Apostle Paul, whom he must regard as a Kabbalists, who says in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4: "I know someone in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows), was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this person (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter." Zoharically, this may be interpreted to mean that Paul was caught up in union with Tiferet and Malkhut whilst they were engaged in sexual intercourse. On the other hand, it may mean that Paul flowed through Keter and was allowed a glimpse of En-Sof himself. The Christian experience seems mixed on this point. Christ is the visible manifestation of En-Sof, yet no thought can grasp En-Sof, who is "unknowable and unutterable" (121), yet who has been made knowable and utterable through Christ. Simon describes En-Sof as "hidden away in the furthest recesses of his divinity, into the unreachable abyss of the fountain of light, so thus nothing is understood to come from him -- as if at ease the absolute Deity held all kinds of things in his compass, himself remaining naked and unclothed, without the cloak of attributes." As we shall see later in this essay, this is exactly how En-Sof appeared -- naked, unclothed, and without his attributes -- to an unforgiving world.
Paradoxically, Reuchlin has Philolaus say in Book II, page 151, "However, no created thing can be drawn into the third world, for there is nothing inherently capable of such sublimity except God. This third world is the very highest of all; it contains the other worlds, and belongs to the Deity alone. It is one with the divine essence, and is thus, it seems to me, rightly named 'the seat of all power.'" Zoharically, one might interpret this to mean that the soul is not created, but begotten, of God (that is, Tiferet and Malkhut), and hence the soul, being a spark of the divine, is capable of ascending to the third world as no created thing can. Mary is often called "the Seat of all Power" or the "Seat of Wisdom" because Christ rests on her lap. When Tiferet dwelt within her, she became the Mother of Mercy, and an earthly third heaven.
On page 155, the Pythagorean Philolaus describes how two is the first number, and one the source of all numbers. One is God. One inherently contains two. Both are God since within God there is only God. Inexplicably, he then states that "these three things are the source and beginning, and do not depart from the one essence of God, they are obviously the one God, for his essence cannot be split up." I'm not sure I follow his logic, but he seems to be saying that One and Two make Three. Thus, One by itself, which inherently contains Two, is also simultaneously Three. An obvious reference to the Trinity. But let's go on. "Two things are counted as derived from the one -- compare how in physical matters a unity becomes duality (do excuse this comparison), or even a tri-ality, while the substance remains the same. It is like a tree trunk and its branches, or, just as good, a man's arm and his fingers. So, from the one, which produces two, three appear. If the essence, strictly separate from these, is added to them, there will be a conceptual 'quaternity' which is an infinitiude, and one, and two, and the substance, completion, and end of all Number. One, two, three, and four, added together, make ten, and nothing more than ten." In this way, Reuchlin suggests through his new mouthpiece, Philolaus, that inherent in the One is the Trinity and from the trinity flow the ten sefirot, the sefirot being within the One (Trinity), emanating from the One, and the One and the Ten being consubstantial (a good Catholic word).
On page 193, he notes that Zaratus, the teacher of Pythagoras, used to call One "Father" and Two "Mother." This can mean either Hokhma and Bina, the supernal father and supernal mother, or Keter and Bina, according to the Christian Kabbalah. "One and two, together with the divine essence, make that quaternitude, the Tetractys, the Idea of all things, which is to be brought to its highest perfection in the decad. This, said Pythagoras, was the source of everlastingness, nothing other than cognition of things in the divine mind operating in accordance with reason" (193). The Trinity and the Ten are One. It is the source of Netsah, nothing more than Hokhma in union with Bina. From the Tetractys flows ten, whose mean is five. Six and four on the left (adding up to ten), then seven and three (adding up to ten). Then eight and two, and nine and one. This is a description of the sefirotic tree whose source is the One whose essence is the Trinity.
En-Sof, the source of light, is the Form Fire (197). This image of Christ as the source of light is replete in the New Testament. 1 John 1:5, "God is light and in him there is no darkness at all." This means God is comprised of the rivers of light called the sefirot and in the Garden of God the sefirot are the light where there is no darkness. John 1:1ff: "In the beginning," a word which, as we saw at the beginning of this essay, refers to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is made more explicit here; "In the beginning was Hokhma, and Hokhma was with Keter, and Hokhma was Keter. Hokhma was in the beginning (which may refer to En-Sof here) with Keter. All things came to be through Hokhma, and without Hokhma nothing came to be. What came to be through Hokhma (who is Keter, remember) was life, and this life was the light (sefirot) of the human race; the light (sefirot) shine in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." This is the meaning of the Scripture passage, "The Father and I are One" (John 10:30). And again, "If I do not perform my Father's works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize [and understand] that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." Thus, Keter is in Hokhma and Hokhma is in Keter, and they are One. All the sefirot are mirrors of light; they reflect one another. Each sefirah comprises nine others. Each sefirah shares in the Mystery of the Ten, the internal reflections maintaining their unity of content and identity of nature within the variations.
On page 185, Philolaus makes an obscure reference to the unsuitability of saltwater fish for sacrifice. "Whoever heard of a fish sacrifice?" (185) he asks. While I'm not entirely sure what he means by this comment, it is clear that Reuchlin himself is making a reference to the Eucharist. In the early Christian church, the fish was an essential part of the eucharistic meal (whereas today only the bread and wine are essential). The reason for this is that (and this is very pre-Zoharic) ICHTHUS are the initials of the Greek letters for Jesus Christ Son of God Saviour. The word ICHTHUS itself, in Greek, means fish and was an early secret symbol of the Christian faith. The source of the symbol was probably the Resurrected Jesus's eating of fish on the beach with the Apostles. Jesus spent half his ministry preaching from fishing boats.
One page 205, Philolaus explains that One is the origin of the mental world, and Two the origin of the corporeal world. The corporeal world consists of point, line, area, and volume -- these four things. After this is a six-sided cube with eight corners -- the architect of the sensible world. Seven, Reuchlin has Philolaus explain obscurely, is a virgin and does not give birth. I have puzzled long and hard over this one. He does not seem to be referring to the Virgin Mary, who certainly did give birth. Seven is the number of the sefirah Netsah. Here, he could be making an obscure reference to the Crucifixion, since Netsah can also mean Victory. Hence, the Virgin Christ was Victorious on the Cross, bring Eternal Life (another meaning of Netsah). But why does Seven not give birth? Netsah is one of the twin sources of semen. But, if Seven is a virgin, then no semen comes from Netsah alone. On the other hand, in Reuchlin's possibly mixed-up system, Seven could refer to Yesod, whose virginity as Christ would make just as much sense. Since Yesod is the male sexual organ itself, it cannot give birth, but only give seed. I confess I'm at a loss over this one. At any rate, he quotes Pythagoras's belief in "infinity, one, and two," God being the source of infinity, form the source of one-ness, and matter the source of other-ness. Then, God unites form and matter, so that other-ness continually seeks itself, its essence, in one-ness, and finding it in infinity, that is, in God.
Page 251 speaks of En-Sof as the naked deity. As we will see at the end of this essay, the naked deity was exposed to the world in Christ. God clothed himself in light until the very end when the rivers of light fled from En-Sof. Page 255: "And at the highest gate is the one creator of all, unknown to man, save the Messiah, for he is the light of God and the light of the nations; he knows God and through him is God known." Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). And, upon restoring sight to the man born blind, "We have to do the works of the one who sent me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." He said this to indicate that the mirrors of light would flee from his body on the last day. But though his lights went out, still the lights burned among those who believed in him, as he said, "While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light" (John 12:36). Jesus passed the lights of his body to his disciples and all who believed in him, who in turn passed the flames to others, who passed them to others, etc. The lights dimmed and went out when the Source died -- "darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon because of an eclipse of the sun" (Luke 23:44). Thus did the Light pass from the world. But on the third day, the light returned, as it is written, "behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them."
On page 271 I was delighted to see Marranus support your comment to me, once, Dr. Blumenthal: "Our teachers assert this too: that angels appear to men in different ways." And women, too, presumably. He quotes Chrysostom, however, who says concerning Joseph: "The angel appears in a dream. Why not openly, as to the shepherds and Zachariah and the Virgin? Because that man was a strong believer and had no need of a vision." I think I would strongly dispute the assumption that visions are for the weak and dreams for the strong. In the first place, I find it difficult to believe that the Virgin's faith was less strong than Joseph's, who did the right thing only because of his dream (whereas previously he contemplated sin). Mary, on the other hand, obeyed God before, during, and after the Vision of the Anunciation. On the other hand, Jesus did say, "An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah" (Matthew 16:4). Those of us who receive visions must accept them as the will of God and pray for understanding with kavvanah. Simon the Jew goes on, "Some men have been quite happy and content just to have seen angels in human form. Others have seen them in the form of fire, or wind and air, at streams and waters, in birds, gems, minerals and precious stones, in prophetic frenzy, through a spirit living inside them, in the shape of letters, or the sound of a voice, and so on. Holy Scripture contains many kinds of vision." Simon adds that the name of God (El) is inside every angel; the angels command obedience because "My Name is in them."
He continues with some really incredible name-science. On page 285, he gives the names of the sefirot. On page 287, he derives the ten names of God from the ten sefirot, and through them to the One Name of the Tetragrammaton. En-Sof is the Alpha and the Omega, which is what Christ calls himself in the Revelation to John. The Crown he identifies as the Father of all Mercies, "whose mystery is that he seals up Essence through Truth." He goes on: "If we multiply Ehieh (meaning 'essence') by Ehieh we will get 441, which is the same as Emeth, the word for 'true' or 'truth,' and the same as Adonai Shalom, which means 'Lord of Peace.' There is more too that comes down to this same source, such as the great Aleph, the Fear of the Lord, the inaccessible light and the days of eternity. As it is written in the book on the ten Sephirot by that great Kabbalist Tedacus Levi, 'His goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.'"
Truth is Tiferet, who is the Lord of Peace, or the husband of Malkhut. Simon goes on to confirm that the earlier mentioned doctrine of the Trinity is supported in Kabbalistic belief: "I think I'm right in replying that infinity itself exists in the three summits of the Kabbalists' tree of ten Sephirot (which you usually call the three divine Persons). Infinity is the most absolute Essence, drawn back in the depths of shades, and, lying or, as they say, reliant upon nothing, is hence called "Nothing" or "Not being," and "Not end" (En-Sof) because we are so damned by our feeble understanding of divine matters that we judge things that are not apparent in the same way as we judge things that do not exist." This is the meaning of the text, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). This means that Bina will come upon the Virgin Mary, cover her with her Shadow, and give birth to Tiferet into the womb of Shekhinah who waits, touching the womb of the Virgin Mary. For Bina is the green line that encircles the universe (Tiferet is green). She is Teshuvah and will bring her people to repentance. She is Form, Hokhma is matter, Tohu va-vohu. They unite to bring forth the Incarnation of En-Sof. Simon says that to Bina is attributed:
Lord, spirit, soul, prayer, the mystery of faith, mother of sons, the King sitting on the throne of mercy, the great Jubilee, the great Sabbath, spiritual foundation, miraculous light, the lightest day, the fifty gates, the Day of Atonement, the inner voice, the river issuing forth from paradise, the second letter of the Tetragrammaton, repentance, the deep waters, my sister, the daughter of my father, and other things."
Tiferet, her Son, is:
"Eloha, enlightening speculation, the wood of life, pleasure, the Line of the Mean, the written Law, the High Priest, the rising of the sun and the color purple. Tedacus Levi writes that it is from this place that the seventy nations are spread out over the earth and that its sign is the Truth of the Lord, and that it is called Peace and has its shape pictured in the moon. Its mystery is the third letter of the Tetragrammaton and this mystery is 'Our father who is in heaven,' the man above or the heavenly Adam, judgment, opinion, Michael, the old man Israel, the God of Jacob."
So, Tiferet is the wood of life who will bring salvation to humankind. He is pleasure because he brings eternal happiness to those who believe in his name. He is the Balance that keeps all the sefirot level. The sign of the seventy nations is Tiferet consort of Malkhut. In Mercy is found true peace. Tiferet comes and he is En-Sof, for all the sefirot are mirrors of light reflecting one another. He is the God of Jacob.
TEXT of PAGE 291:
To the tenth Sephira come the Lord, the kingdom, life, the second cherub, unilluminating speculation, later things, the end, the church of Israel, the bride in the Song of Songs, the Queen of Heaven, the virgin Israel, the mystery of Law as transmitted by word of mouth, the eagle, the fourth letter of the Tetragrammaton, the kingdom of the house of David, the Temple of the king, the doors of God, the Ark of the Covenant and the two tablets in it, the Lord of all the earth.
It's clear here that Shekhinah has united with the Virgin Mary in a mystical union to produce the King of Glory in her/their womb together. Mary, of course, is a strong early symbol of the Church. Mary is the Queen of Heaven and she brought forth into the world the kingdom of the house of David. She is the Temple of Tiferet, her birthgate the doors of God. She is the Ark of the Covenant, for Tiferet/En-Sof is the Covenant between himself and humanity. The two tablets represent Christ who manifests himself in two forms: "I will place my law within them, and write it upon their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jeremiah 31:33). And the second form: "You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by all, shown to be a letter of Christ administered by us, written not in ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets that are hearts of flesh." Thus, we have two tablets: the law written on our hearts and our very being which is a spark of the divine written on our hearts of flesh. There is a giant sign on the doorway leading into our hearts: This Way To God.
On page 295, Simon quotes Psalm 21: "Oh Lord, in your strength the king will rejoice, is understood by Kabbalists as referring to the Messiah: "O Lord, Tetragrammaton, in your strength the king Messiah...' (understand 'comes' or 'operates'). The Messiah is the strength of God and works in the strength of the Tetragrammaton. I understand this from the word YShMH, meaning 'will rejoice,' whose letter transposed make MShYH, meaning 'Messiah.'" Reuchlin seems to be suggesting here that the Messiah is Yesod. Or, perhaps, Tiferet operates by Yesod (his strength).
1 Kings 19:11 (from the New American Bible):
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the YHVH -- but YHVH was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake -- but YHVH was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire -- but YHVH was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
TEXT of PAGE 337:
...but after the fire was a still, small voice, and in that voice the glory of YHVH, which is called Kavod, spoke to him. So will you, after the rough, thorny desert, after the mountain and the rocks and the wind and the earthquake, after the fire and after the voice in the very entrance of the caverns and the caves, so you will hear, once you have shed the mass of your secular occupations, the glory of God saying to you: "What is this place to you? Go on your way." As the narrative goes in 3 Kings 19.
Here, Reuchlin associates Tiferet with Shekhinah. The Hod of Tiferet, which is called Shekhina, spoke to him. After all of nature screams at you, Malkhut of Tiferet says to you that heaven is not a place, but a relationship with God.
On page 343, Reuchlin says that Keter, Hokhma, and Bina are the single crown of Tiferet. God, clothed with ten garments of light (page 345), created the heavens from the light of his last garment, "not the physical ones but the invisible, intellectual spiritual entities, about which the Psalmist says: 'The heavens tell of the glory of God.'" The word is not Shamayim but HaShamayim, not the physical heavens but the spiritual heavens.
On page 353, Marranus finally gets around to making some obvious, unveiled remarks about Christian belief. They speak of the power of the Cross. "With the sign of the Cross," he says, "and the name of Jesus they still the seas, abate the winds and repel thunderbolts." He then explains how YHSVH is equivalent to IESU, the true Messiah. Simon then reveals how "the better Kabbalist sages tried to liken this figure of the Cross to the tree of the bronze serpent set up in the desert, though they did so silently and secretly." The Torah reference is Number 21:8, whereas the New Torah reference isJohn 3:14, "And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life."
Johanne Reuchlin's book, DE ARTE CABALISTICA, was fascinating and I greatly enjoyed employing my knowledge of the Zohar to its precepts and applications. I have not yet begun to learn Kabbalah.
PERSONAL INTERPRETATION OF THE PASSION:
Note: Anne, in Hebrew, means "full of grace, mercy, and prayer." It is my middle name and the name under which I chose to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. I was named after the mother of Our Lady. Poetic license.
Tanna Anne said, What is the meaning of the passage, "in Adam all die" (1 Cor. 15:22)? Adam sinned when he ate of the Tree of Knowledge (Hokhma), for "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). Yet how do we explain Heb. 4:15, which tells us that the Holy One, blessed be He, was tested in every way that we are, yet without sin? Come and see. "So, too, it is written: 'The first man, Adam, became a living being,' the last Adam a life-giving spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45). The first Adam, because of his sin, lost his supernal image, and the ages waited for the life-giving Adam to become manifest. And the Holy One, blessed be He, came in the form of En-Sof (Phil. 2:6). Yet Tiferet did not regard equality with En-Sof a thing to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself (of the sefirot), taking the form of a slave, coming in human appearance (Adam Kadmon); and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to Malkhut, Who sent Him to the Cross. Because of this, En-Sof exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Yeshua (YHSVH) every knee should bend, in the upper world, the lower world, and in sitra achra, and every tongue confess that ha-Mashiach Yeshua is Tiferet, for the sake of Malkhut in Keter.
This is how it happened. Come and see.
Tiferet is the Center of the Tree; all the sefirot are in him. See, it is written, Yeshua said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12) and also, "But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays" (Malachi 3:20). All colors shine forth from the Sun (En-Sof); all colors shine forth from Yeshua. Yeshua said, "I am Tiferet, Hokhma, and Malkhut. No one comes to Keter except through me" (John 14:6). Once a Companion has come to Keter, he perceives En-Sof, the imperceptible. Philip wished to see the inexpressible; "Show us Keter," he said (John 14:8ff). Yeshua said to him, "Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen Keter....I am in Keter and Keter is in me....Keter is working through me...." For this reason, Yeshua gave us a new commandment, that we should pass chesed from one to another. When a Companion touches a Companion, chesed passes between them, and En-Sof is made manifest.
Yeshua said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, one of my Companions will betray me" (John 13:21ff). Yeshua then communed with Judas, summoning the powers of sitra achra. So it is written, "After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered into him" (John 13:27ff). Then Tiferet commanded Samael, as the husks began to surround Tiferet to protect him from those who would prevent his glorification, "Go, do what you must do, and quickly." Samael and Lilith then began to take delight in one another, but Samael lusted after Malkhut. As Samael and Lilith writhed, Judas burned with lust for the blood of Mercy, and the Assembly of Israel rewarded him by crowning him with thirty husks from sitra achra (Matthew 26:15). This is the meaning of Ye shall know a tree by its fruit and the bad tree producing bad fruit will be thrown into the fires of sitra achra. And, if the eye is dark, the whole body is filled with darkness, and how great is that darkness! It would have been better that Yehuda had never been born.
A prostitute anointed netzah and hod with her tears. Mary of Magdala anointed keter with nard. Thus they prepared him.
Tiferet said, "I am manna. This is my soma. This is the Whole Being of En-Sof. Eat." He gave the Companions the Cup: "This is my blood of Yesod (the Covenant), which will be shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Do this in remembrance of me. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again from Shekhinah until the Day when I drink her new in the Upper World within En-Sof." How will this happen? Come and see.
"Keter," Tiferet prayed, "take this Cup away from me. Yet not my will, but yours, be done." And an angel came and comforted him. The Sanhedrin questioned him, "Are you ha-Mashiach, the Son of Hokhmah?" YHSVH answered, "You will see the Son of Hokhmah between Chesed and Gevurah, and coming with all the sefirot" (Mark 14:62). Then they took away the light of his eyes (v65), spat on him, ordered him to prophesy, and struck him. Thus began the Passion of En-Sof.
Pilate (Samael) asked Yeshua, "Are you Tiferet [consort] of Malkhut?" (Mark 15:2). Tiferet, separated from Malkhut, said sadly, "You say so." Pilate said, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?" Tiferet responded, "My Consort does not belong to the lower world. If Malkhut belonged to this world, my soldiers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Judeans. But as it is, my holy wife is not with me," he concluded sadly, knowing that he would unite with her soon. So Pilate said to him, "Then you are Tiferet?" Tiferet answered, "You say I am Tiferet. For this I was born and for this I came into the lower world, to testify to Hokhma and Bina, my supernal father and supernal mother. Everyone who belongs to hokhma-bina listens to my voice." Puzzled, Pilate/Samael, who could only see up the sefirotic tree as far as Malkhut, responded, "Who is Hokhma/Bina?"
A discussion arose among the sefirot. Who will be first to return to En-Sof? Malkhut declared she could not leave until the Uncreation was complete, for in her rested all the sefirot. Yesod said, "I am the Sign of the Holy Covenant. I cannot leave." Netsah said, "I am the eternity of God. How can I leave?" Hod said, "I am the Splendour of God. How can I leave?" Tiferet bowed his head. "I am the Center; all touch me. I cannot leave until all have gone." Chesed and Gevurah together declared, "We must flow together upward and downward (that is, up towards the Upper World, and down upon the Lower World). We cannot leave before accomplishing this." Bina said, "I make sense of the Beginning." Hokhma said, "I am the application of the Understanding." Together, they said, "We cannot leave before the Inexpressible." Then Keter arose in their midst. "I am the Crown of Adam. I am the inexpressibility of the Endless. Last to speak, I am first. I will return from whence I came." Of them all, Keter was the strongest.
That is how it happened.
En-Sof was scourged. They bound his two hands to a pillar on either side and stripped him of his garments (Makkoth 3:12). They made him bend low (Makkoth 3:13), as it is written, "the judge shall cause him to lie down." Thus was the nakedness of the Lord of Glory exposed to His creatures. They gave him one-third of the stripes in front and two-thirds behind (Makkoth 3:13). And the Roman soldiers, according to the will of En-Sof, whipped En-Sof with all their might (Makkoth 3:13). Hokhma and Bina suffered [they whipped his shoulders]. Chesed and Gevurah suffered [they whipped his lower back and arms]. Tiferet suffered [they whipped his chest]. Yesod suffered twofold [for shame of exposure as they whipped his buttocks]. Netsah and Hod suffered [they whipped his legs].
The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and adorned Him with Keter. Then Keter suffered [they beat him about the head]. As blood flowed from Hokhma and Bina, as blood flowed from Chesed and Gevurah, as blood flowed from Tiferet, [as blood flowed from Yesod eight days after the birth of En-Sof], as blood flowed from Netsah and Hod, so blood flowed from Keter down his face. Then they wrapped the Supernal Mother and the Supernal Father in purple. "Hail, Tiferet," they jeered, "Consort of Malkhut!" Then was the Lord presented to the Assembly of Israel, who cried, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" For Samael had raped Shekhinah and Judgment flowed, who also suffered. Pilate shouted at the Assembly of Israel, "Behold En-Sof!" Shekhinah replied, "Crucify Him!" Shocked, Pilate asked, "Shall I crucify your Consort?" Shekhinah replied, "We have no King but Caesar (that is, Samael)." Thus did the Assembly of Israel deny the Kingship of God. At the denial of the Endless, the Inexpressible bled tears, and returned to En-Sof.
Still in shock at the loss of Keter, Yeshua groaned as the wooden beam was laid upon Hokhma and Bina. As the Holy One, Blessed be He, was driven with whips on the Via Dolorosa, he saw his holy Mother. Stunned beyond comprehension, Wisdom and Knowledge fled the already depleted Garden, and the Holy One, blessed be He, was driven to his knees. Weakened by the loss of Hokhma and Bina, and unable to rise, the soldiers of sitra achra moved the heavy wooden beam onto the shoulders of one Simon of Cyrene. When he saw the strange woman, he stumbled a second time. She touched him with clean linen, wiping Keter's blood from his face. At the sight of his disciples beating their breasts and wailing over him, he stumbled a third time, saying to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me. Weep rather for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time people will say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' for if things such as these happen when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
When they reached the place called Calvary (the Skull), they laid him on the ground, and drove huge nails into Gevurah and Chesed. Gevurah and Chesed, thus united, fled into En-Sof. Then they lifted him up upon the Cross. When the soldiers of sitra achra crossed his feet, they drove the nail simultaneously into Netsah and Hod. When the Splendour of God was thus driven into Eternity, they fled, united, into En-Sof. Tiferet said, "Keter, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Yesod, the Foundation, suffered extreme exposure, greatly humiliated, yet he refused to leave Tiferet. The Assembly of Israel gazed upon Yesod, yet Yesod felt no desire for her, possessed as she was by sitra achra, only shame that all the powers of sitra achra should thus stare at him exposed. "Mercy!" Yesod cried. And, touched by Mercy, Yesod fled to En-Sof. Thus was Tiferet left alone on the Cross. They nailed an inscription above him: "This is Tiferet Consort of Malkhut."
Malkhut, seeing the inscription, sneered at him, "He saved others, let him save himself if he is the Chosen One, the Messiah of En-Sof." They offered him wine, but he would drink no wine until he had drunk of Malkhut. A penitent thief said, "Tiferet, remember when you are reunited with your Consort, Shekhinah." Tiferet replied, "Amen, I say to you, today you will with me among ALL the sefirot."
Looking down from the Cross, Tiferet realized he could not yet be released until he had released all. When he saw his holy Mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Behold your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your Mother." His disciple obeyed him and he had nothing left. Then was Tiferet truly alone.
As Malkhut continued to jeer at him, Tiferet, in despair, whispered, "I thirst." They offered him wine, but he thirsted not for wine, but for Malkhut; yet Malkhut repulsed him. He refused the wine. He would have nothing but Malkhut. And there was only one way to obtain her. Tiferet was afraid. His despair intensified. He yearned for unity. At noon darkness came over the whole land and the Tree of Death reigned supreme. When Tiferet saw the darkness, he was terrified, trembling. I can't do it alone, he thought, though he knew he must. In the deep darkness of his despair, he called for help. "Eloi, Eloi!" he cried beseechingly to Those Who Had Fled, "lema sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God! Why hast thou forsaken me?" Again, they tried to make him drink wine, but only Malkhut, Malkhut, who leered at him with the branches of the Tree of Death. A shadow fell over him. Crying aloud, Tiferet said, "Keter, into thy hands, I commend my spirit. It is finished." When he said this, Tiferet moved towards En-Sof, the Veil of the Sanctuary was torn in two, that is, the Sitra Achra separating Malkhut from Tiferet was torn apart, Malkhut was freed, the earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened (the Tree of Death became again the Tree of Life), and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. In joy, Tiferet and Malkhut united, and blessings flowed to the Upper and Lower worlds. Stunned at this unexpected turn of events, one of the soldiers of sitra achra stabbed Tiferet, but blood and water (red and white, Chesed and Gevurah, flowing from Tiferet and Malkhut), flowed from the side of En-Sof, cleansing the world of its uncleanness, freeing humanity from its slavery to sin, and sending the husks into retreat. After sitra achra fled from the soldiers, they said, "Truly, this was the Son of God!"
The ten sefirot, united at last, gazed around them for En-Sof into whom they had fled, but saw Nothing. Joseph of Arimathea wrapped the Body in clean linens and laid the Body in a freshly hewn tomb. Then En-Sof rested in the world of the dead on Shabbat, according to the Commandment. The sefirot rested in the Upper World on Shabbat, according to the Commandment. The women rested on Shabbat, according to the Commandment. A legend from the nations told magi from the east of the king to be born in Israel. Just so, a legend from the nations explains the reaction of the sefirot to the Body: "The Gods gathered like flies around the Sacrifice" (Gilgamesh). This happened in the deep darkness just before the morning. As protons, electrons, and neutrons surround the nucleus, the sefirot surrounded the ended Endless. For the sefirot had fled to Upper regions of En-Sof; now they returned to the nucleus, the kernel of their being. Keter was first. Come and see. It is like a family that has lived in a house for many years, but move away for a time. All the furniture is removed from the house. Later, the same family moves back into the house. All the furniture is returned to the same place. Each family member returns to their favorite spot. Here is the question: Is it the same House? Keter was first. This is the meaning of the passage, "When Simon Peter arrived...he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place" (John 20:6-7). Thus Keter was first. For Keter was always the strongest. He smelled the sweetness of the Sacrifice and, like a fly attracted to honey, he ate the Sacrifice, and became One with En-Sof. When Inexpressibility returned to En-Sof, Wisdom and Intelligence followed. As Gedula/Gevura flowed upon the lower world and upper world, so Gedula/Gevura flowed into En-Sof. Timelessness reentered Endless in Splendour. Yesod, the glue holding all the sefirot together, reestablished the Foundation of Adam, pulling gently upon Tiferet and Malkhut. Yet Tiferet hesitated, and Malkhut with him. The sweet smell of the Sacrifice was overpowering, and Tiferet yearned to return, yet the memory of his experience with the Tree of Death gave him pause. "Come," said Shekhinah. "Let us together reestablish the Kingdom of God." "Yes," responded Tiferet. "Together, let us give humankind everlasting Life!" And together Tiferet Consort of Malkhut and Malkhut Consort of Tiferet brought everlasting Life to humankind through the forgiveness of sins by the Mercy of God.
That is how it happened.
When the women went to the tomb to Anoint the Sacrifice, the stone sealing the tomb was rolled back, and a white-robed angel said to them, "Do not be amazed! You seek En-Sof, the Crucified. He is not here; he is risen! Behold, the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, "He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'" Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Blau, Joseph Leon. The Christian Interpretation of the Cabala in the Renaissance. Columbia University Press, 1944.
Franck, Adolph. The Kabbalah: The Religious Philosophy of the Hebrews. University Books, Inc., 1967.
Ginsburg, Christian D. The Kabbalah: Its Doctrines, Development, and Literature. Second Impression. George Routledge & Sons Limited, 1920.
Halevi, Z'ev ben Shimon. Adam and the Kabbalistic Tree. Samuel Weiser, Inc., United States, 1974.
Halevi, Z'ev ben Shimon. School of Kabbalah. Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, Me., 1985.
Pick, Bernard. The Cabala: Its Influence on Judaism and Christianity. The Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago, London, 1913.
_____ Pico della Mirandola's Encounter with Jewish Mysticism.
Reuchlin, Johannes. De Verbo Mirifico. (1494)
_____ De Arte Cabalistica. (1517).
_____ Faksimile-Neudruck in einem Band. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, 1964.
Reuchlin, Johannes. De Arte Cabalistica (On the Art of Kabbalah). Translation by Martin and Sarah Goodman. Abaris Books, New York, 1983.
Scholem, Gershom. Kabbalah. Copyright 1974 by Keter Publishing House Jerusalem Ltd. Published by the Penguin Group.
Secret, Francois. De Cabbalisticis Inventis Libri Duo. Nieuwkoop, B. de Graaf, Paris, 1978.
Swietlicki, Catherine. Spanish Christian Cabala. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, 1986.
by Frater C. R. Sephiroth
"The God of Jesus Christ chooses to relate to us as a loving Father to adult children. He desires that we be mature and responsible partners in the work of continuing creation and redemption. At the same time, his is not the only 'voice' which men and women hear; there are conflicting voices competing for our attention. Discernment is the process of discovering which among the voices we are hearing is God's voice."
---Weeds Among the Wheat
by Thomas H. Green, S.J.
Continuing from my previous article, I would like to conclude discussion of discernment by offering a slightly different methodology. The conventional methodology previously described is in no way inferior to what is termed "Ignatian Discernment". There are quite a few similarities between the two methods. In many ways the two can be considered as methods for extroverts and introverts. The conventional rules of discernment help negotiate a fairly clear and well-lit path through ones spiritual journey. As we have seen, they are quite concrete though not totally rigid. They are largely popular because of their ease in use by outsiders like Spiritual Directors or pastors and are easy to use in group discernment.
In dealing with mystical experiences and esoteric transformative paths, however, the conventional rules of discernment may be difficult to apply. This is again is not because of any lacking or invalidity of the rules for discernment but by the fact that mystical experiences are introverted by their nature and virtually disjoint from any extroverted explanations or interpretations. An extroverted set of rules is as wholly unable to chart and direct mystical experiences as mere words are able to aptly express them.
Two excellent books are available to help explain this interior process. The first is St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises. It is essentially a set of retreat masterís notes with some suggestions on how an experienced retreat master and spiritual director can aid in the spiritual journey of an Ignatian retreatant. The difficulty that many folks have in reading this fine work is that they do not have the background of ordained and committed priesthood and training under an Ignatian retreat master in order to fulfill the unstated assumptions St. Ignatius has for the reader.
In concert with St. Ignatius' book then is needed a tutorial for the rest of us who are not quite up to par with the minimum requirements. An excellent book for this is Thomas H. Green's Weeds Among the Wheat. In this book, Fr. Thomas aptly deals with the tricky internal movements of the Ignatian discernment techniques. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to explore and use the Ignatian method of discernment.
Ignatian discernment is first of all a holistic approach. There are certainly parts of it that aspirants fine quite satisfying to their ego. It should be stated up front that any method of discernment is not to be used as a method of rationalization. St. Ignatius has a definite individual in mind who has reached a certain level of spiritual maturity.
(1) Committed faith in the Lord. A true desire to accomplish Godís work in the concrete, confused situations of life.
(2) Openness to God. Willingness to let God be the boss, to do what He wants rather than what we want.
(3) A knowledge of God - an experiential knowledge born of 1ove.
This is not necessarily a common quality, especially among beginners in the spiritual way. Almost always among the less mature, but often for the more mature as well; a co-discerner may be needed. The role of the co-discerner or spiritual director is to help the other to become a mature, discerning prayer himself or herself.
Essential qualities in the-heart of the discerner (necessary for hearing God in the first place):
(1) Humble: a healthy self doubt that we know what is best (often goes along with obedience, docility).
(2) Charitable: slow to judge harshly. Realizes that my discernment is for me, not necessarily for anybody else.
(3) Courageous: has the courage to take a risk. (Objectively, we may be mistaken, but the Lord does not, thank God, always ask us to be right.)
St. Ignatius then lists the various kinds of decisions against which we may encounter the need for discernment. These are fairly broad categories and not necessarily far reaching implications of some aspect of esoteric study. The amazing nature of these tools of discernment is their applicability to the mundane as well as esoteric decisions in life.
The first type of decision is the unchangeable one. These of course require no discernment at all. It is important that we identify intractable decisions so that no time is wasted determining a course of action when no options are open. Such unchangeable choices are marriage, priesthood, family, etc. Especially in this category are things in the past. None of us can change the past so what we "shoulda done" is inconsequential except in the context of what we should do "next time".
The next category then are decisions which offer us choices. It is important to layout exactly what choices we have and clearly delineate them. The choices must be good in themselves. God is never going to lead us into sin.
The next step is then to present the situation and choices before God in fervent prayer. This may be integrated into any various methods of meditation where our purpose is explicitly stated. In the quiet time of meditation or perhaps in a subsequent dream, the answer will come to us. St. Ignatius refers to this as God speaking to us.
If God speaks to us in an overpowering way, then the only discernment needed is whether what we are hearing is truly from God. This is St. Ignatius' "first time". Such numinous experiences can not adequately be described but those that have had them nod their heads in understanding when listening to others who try to explain such contact.
If we are hearing nothing at all from God but only using our own reason, knowledge, and good judgment, this is not really discernment either, speaking properly. This is St. Ignatius' "third time." Here we find the value in a trusted spiritual director and in the Greek maxim "Know Thyself".
The real time for discernment is what St. Ignatius calls the "second time," between the "first time" of mountaintop revelations from the Lord and the "third time" of purely rational judgment. According to Ignatius, the "second time" is when God speaks to our hearts through consolations and desolations, and our job is to discern those spirits. Ignatius would also expect us to bring any important decision reached in the ìthird timeîóthrough our own reasoning and judgmentóto God and see whether it can be confirmed through the process of the discernment of spirits in the "second time." Here is where we might apply the conventional rules of discernment to verify the true will of God.
St. Ignatius defines consolation as follows:
"I call it consolation when an interior movement is aroused in the soul, by which it is inflamed with love of its Creator and Lord, and as a consequence, can love no creature on the face of the earth for its own sake, but only in the Creator of them all. It is likewise consolation when one sheds tears that move to the love of God, whether it be because of sorrow for sins, or because of the sufferings of Christ our Lord, or for any other reason that is immediately directed to the praise and service of God. Finally, I call consolation every increase of faith, hope, and love, and all interior joy that invites and attracts to what is heavenly and to the salvation of oneís soul by filling it with peace and quiet in its Creator and Lord."
We can see that consolation may take on may various forms. We might feel strong emotions of being inflamed with passion even tears or joy or sorrow. At other times even the same person might feel a more quiet and deep but nonetheless distinct emotion. Yet whether this mountaintop experience is soaring or subdued, the common denominator is an deep sense of peace in the Lord.
Here is what St. Ignatius says about desolation:
"I call desolation what is entirely the opposite of what is described [above], as darkness of soul, turmoil of spirit, inclination to what is low and earthly, restlessness arising from many disturbances which lead to lack of faith, lack of hope, lack of love. The soul is wholly slothful tepid, sad, and separated, as it were, from its Creator and Lord. For just as consolation is the opposite of desolation, so the thoughts that spring from consolation are the opposite of those that spring from desolation.
Conversely, desolation is not peaceful but involves various forms of turmoil - a loss of peace, perhaps even a total loss of feeling at all. Again we may at times sense a swirling storm or a tepid blase, but underneath will be the marked absence of the peace of the Lord just as consolation is marked by a definite sense of peace.
Notice that both consolation and desolation are states of feelings. Although we are not normally supposed to trust our feelings, in the process of discernment they are crucial. True discernment is to test our feeling states so that we can act properly on them. We must discern them, so that we can separate the wheat from the weeds. Then we must act on them, because faith and hope and love without works are dead.
The meaning of our feelings changes depending on the fundamental state of our soul (whether we have ever given ourselves to God or, in Baptist talk, been saved). For those who have made the fundamental choice to follow God, the feelings of consolation and peace lead us to God. For those who have not yet chosen God, the feelings of desolation and lack of peace are sent to lead them to God. Those outside the will of God can be lulled to sleep, their consciences killed, otherwise. For Christians of the sort we are dealing with, the feelings of consolation and peace should normally be leading them closer to god and god¹s will. Feelings of doubt and lack of peace may shake their faith and lead them to doubt their most fundamental commitments.
So, is desolation always a Sign That We Are On the Wrong Track or Outside of God's Will? No. While desolation is never directly from God, he allows us to be tested by the enemy. The important thing is not to waver in our fundamental decisions because of turmoil or lack of peace. This is maybe St. Ignatiusí most important rule of all: in a time of desolation or lack of peace, we should never make an important decision or change one that has already been made. When we are in a state of desolation or lack of peace, we should do the opposite of what our feelings tell us to do. If we don¹t feel like praying, we should pray more.
The Three Reasons for Desolation:
(1) Our own negligence.
(2) God¹s desire to test our love and make us grow stronger.
(3) To teach us that consolation is a pure gift and that we cannot earn or control or manipulate it.
The Enemy's Tactic is Sending Desolation:
(1) He uses nagging threats and subtle pressures as psychological warfare to get us to abandon the good that God wants us to do.
(2) He wants us to keep our dark thoughts secret, not talk about them (1ike a false lover who wants to seduce us). This is an important blockage to the pastoral relationship; the enemy obviously doesn't want us to share what is going on inside us when we are troubled.
(3) He attacks us at our weakest point (vanity in the vain, timidity in the timid, etc.).
While desolation is never a sign of god's presence and action, consolation is not always a sign of them either. We must learn to discern true consolation from pseudo-consolation. One big problem is to distinguish the true period of consolation from what Fr. Green calls the "afterglow." This is a time after the direct presence of the Lord has passed but when a person still is feeling all good and warm and holy; often we make decisions and resolutions during such a period, and these are not necessarily from the Lord. Fr. Green compares such a period to a glider that has been pulled along by a jet plane and then cut loose. The glider can go on in the air for a long time, but it is no longer attached to the power and safety of the jet. This can be a dangerous time for the soul.
In the end, decisions reached during such a time (or any other time) must be judged by their fruits. This is a common technique to both forms of discernment. One method of assuring this is to judge the beginning, middle, and end of our inspiration. A journal and a spiritual director or ³spiritual friend² are invaluable here. They provide an external metric by which we can chart internal changes (if we are honest).
In the Beginning we ask ourselves such questions as "Am I praying at the right time, the right place and for the right reasons?" 'Am I neglecting important duties or avoiding important responsibilities?" The desire to pray under the wrong circumstances can be a temptation if used as a form of escapism or if the method and timing put onesí life out of balance. We should resist this kind of desire with a little prayer that God make clear to us if it is really God wanting us to pray at a time when we ought to be doing something else.
The Middle portion of our inspiration is the part in which the enemy can enter into our actual prayer times. The most common method is through spiritual pride and judgment of others. If these occur, we can no longer trust the consolation. These kinds of corruption of consolation are signs that our prayer may not be purely from the Lord. Other signs are feelings of anger or resentment during prayer times. St. Ignatius is quick to mention that these human failings are not to discourage us. All of us have our own human imperfections, but we must take note of them. Not only can such corruption improperly influence our resolve or decision but they can also adversely affect the focus and resolve of meditation and ritual.
At the End of our inspiration we must ask "Where does the consolation lead?" "What are we moved to do or say or think as a result?" "Are we moving closer to or farther away from God and Godís purpose for us?" Here again we see the importance of a journal and a spiritual director/friend to help us discern.
Just as in the parable of the weeds and the wheat, we are not to be too discouraged when we find weeds in our own life. Nor should we set ourselves to the task of pulling out those weeds. Just as in the parable, we risk pulling out the good in us as well. Instead, we must know what is weeds and what is wheat in our lives, encouraging the wheat to grow. The weeds serve to keep us humble and to avoid the sin of pride and judgment of others. As we mature, the weeds will take care of themselves as the wheat comes into the harvest. Therein comes a deep and abiding peace in the Lord.
OAS LITERARY REVIEW COMMITTEE ANNOUNCEMENT - FALL 1996
The Order of the Astral Star formally announces that we are taking applications for our Literary Review Committee for the 1997 calendar year. We will be seeking three additional participants of our own Society to serve on this committee, and will consider all members including Associate, Regular, or Honorary Members. The committee does not meet together formally. The members will each be given a number of books to review for the Order's Journal, The Crux Mystica. Shipping/Postage costs will be reimbursed by the Order.
In 1996, the Literary Review Committee included our GHFr. Pneuma (President), our GHSr. Alethia (Vice President), and our VHSr. Caveat (Reporter). The literary works reviewed by this committee in 1996 included: 1) Philip H. Farber's Future Ritual: Magick for the 21st Century, Published by Eschaton Publishing, IL (ISBN: 1-57353-107-3 ) and 2) Nicholas Whitehead's Patterns in Magical Christianity Published by Sun Chalice Publishing, NM (ISBN: 0-9650839-7-7)
Due to increased responsibilities, our GHFr. Pneuma and GHSr. Alethia will be leaving the committee in January 1997. The purpose of the committee is to assist the Order's Reporter, VHSr. Caveat Anima in the review of literary works submitted by Publishers and Authors for the Order's Journal. Our GHFr. Skarff (Chancellor) will be joining the Literary Review Committee for 1997. Due to an increase in publishers seeking our Order's formal review of various works, we will increase our committee to a total of five (5) members. Currently we plan to review two books by Samuel Weiser, Inc., including: 1) Patricia Telesco's Seasons of the Sun: Celebrations from the Worlds Spiritual Traditions (ISBN: 0-87728-872-0) and 2) Dr. Pamela Eakins's Priestess: Woman as Sacred Celebrant (ISBN: 0-87728-890-9) by request of the Publisher. We have a couple of other works that the committee will determine after January, 1997.
If you are interested, please contact the Reporter via the Order's Post Office Box: OAS, Inc. / P.O. Box 1482 / Georgetown / KY / 40324-1482, or via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. A decision will be made by the Winter Solstice, and all applicants will be informed of our decision. We thank the applicants in advance for their kind considerations.OAS
Literary Review Committee
Calendar Year - 1996
Author: Phillip H. Farber Published: Eschaton Publications, 1995; ISBN: 1-57353-107-3;
FUTURE RITUAL: MAGICK FOR THE 21st CENTURY AND BEYOND
Cost: $9.95 US; 131 Pgs.
Review: By VHSr. Caveat Anima
The Committee read Future Ritual largely in part based on what others have said of the book on-line. Our GHFr. Pneuma has worked with the author, Philip H. Farber as a Co-Chat Host for the Ceremonial Magick Round Table (CMRT) in the Religion and Beliefs Community Forum (RBCF) on AOL (America On Line).
Philip Farber, also known on-line as P. Stuart (for the Primordial Stu) is a very knowledgeable, and capable magician, and he speaks intelligently and more importantly, from personal experience. He speaks in a very clear and definite manner, and with great wit and humor. He is easily understood by beginner and advanced student alike - normally at any rate. More on this comment under "Writing Style." The reviewers thought that if Mr. Farber had a book out, it was bound to be a good one - and worth the effort to track down and read. In the end, we were right.
The author of Future Ritual is a Thelemite, a follower of the teachings of Aleister Crowley. He makes no bones about it - nor should he. His techniques are based on the very best theories and practices of Aleister Crowley, modified for modern times. Many readers of this Journal will have their reservations about reading a work based on such a perspective. We ourselves do not always agree with Philip, but he makes a very good and logically sound case for his arguments. More importantly, Philip teaches from his own experiences - sighting directly from his own personal Ritual Diary in an honest and luminary manner. Future Ritual is laid out as a manual of practical instruction based on experience - and not mere arm chair dream theory or wishful thinking. This alone makes Future Ritual a must read, even if you do not follow any of the practices for yourself.
With this said, we have a few critical comments to make before we advise our readers what letter grade we give this particular work.
Future Ritual is written in the neo-writing style of generic sexual neutral language. If a student is not used to this particular writing style, it will make the book a bit more difficult to read - at least at first. The reason for sexually neutered language is purely politically motivated. We know that Philip does not normally speak or write in such a difficult language style, nor have we read other authored works of his that are written in this particularly difficult style.
An example taken from Future Ritual, Section 1 - Invocation beginning on page one (1), the last paragraph follows: "S/he drew a circle about hir and pace the perimeter, vigilant, guarding hir newly-formed temple from anything that might interfere with hir will. S/he drew in deep breaths and uttered strange words that vibrated through the circle, through the air, through hir body. Before hir, behind hir, to hir right and left, entities were called forth, protecting hir space."
Fortunately, this particular writing style is significantly softened by the end of the first third of the work itself. It may have been a requirement of his publisher at Eschaton Publishing that this work be written in the neo-sexual generic neutral style. If this is the case, we recommend that in future editions, the language style be reverted to the standard and excepted style of writing.
Most members of the Literary Review Committee would much rather have seen Mr. Farber write this work in the masculine language, occasionally substituting a feminine pronoun or two. The traditional comment at the beginning of the book some such: "Note: Through out this book, I have used the words 'man' and 'candidate' to mean both men and women. For the sake of brevity, I have used the pronounds, 'his', and 'him' implying also 'her'. In selected places I have also used the form 'he/she' and 'him/her' to emphasize the former," etc. and other such standard phrases that would more than suffice in demonstrating that the author in no way is sexist nor supports discrimination based on gender.
The book is organized well, though it does not includes a table of contents. The first thing that the reader comes to is a page that states the author's definitions of Ritual, Future, and Magick. The Introduction of the work was written by noted author, Genesis P-Orridge. Philip H. Farber then proceedes with 15 short chapters of text. These topics include: 1-Invocation; 2-Intent; 3-Banishing; 4-Consecration; 5-Interlude: A Goat-Tale - which is a very creative side essay written with humor, and makes some very interesting observations and points; 6-Resources; 7-A Moment of Silence; 8-Invocation; 9-Microcosmic / Macrocosmic Systems; 10-Mythology for the New Aeon; 11-Ritual Intensifiers; 12-The Controversial Chapter (Activation Techniques); 13-Pitfalls; 14-FutureRitual; 15-Closing; A set of six appendixes: A-The Greater Ritual of The Pentagram; B-The Star Ruby; C-The Star Saphire; D-The Rose Cross Ritual; E-Notes on Liber Samekh; F-The Declaration of Individual Autonomy.
ACCURACY OF INFORMATION:
For the most part, we found the current work very accurate with regards to information and uses of bibliographic sources. We ourselves located only one particular piece of information that was not correct. In the footnote on the bottom of page number sixty-one (61) footnote number 18, the author writes: "I was tempted to include a short biography of Crowley at this point, but there have been so many good ones published lately, it seems unnecessary. Take a look at Israel Regardie's The Eye in the Pyramid..." which should read... "Take a look at Israel Regardie's The Eye in The Triangle..." In future revisions, this should be changed.
DISAGREEMENTS WITH THE VIEWS OF THE AUTHOR:
Chapter 12 is called, and rightly so, The Controversial Chapter (Activation Techniques). In this chapter, Mr. Farber discusses in a very intelligent manner the uses of drugs in spiritual development. The author admits that he himself has experimented with and used various substances (drugs) to alter his perspective of reality.
His opening argument is very obvious, and true. He makes sound points concerning the nature of drugs and of drug use as understood by modern mainstream American Society. On page seventy-three (73), paragraph two he writes: "I think that an open, honest approach to drugs is our best course to reduce violence and alleviate quite a bit of needless suffering. Openness and honesty, you will note, does not include lumping all drugs into one undifferentiated mass. heroin and LSD are as different as, for instance aspirin and alcohol. Openness does not involve blanked denial such as 'Drugs Kill' or 'Just Say No'; it does, however, involve teaching people (youth and adults) to clearly weigh different kinds of evidence and to make individual decisions - on any subject. It seems strange to me that openness and honesty, which are highly valued in most other circumstances, are not the accepted means of conduct."
As everyone is probably aware, the Order of The Astral Star does not support the usage of illegal drugs in religious rituals or rites, nor in one's daily life. In fact, the Order has a clause stating it's position concerning drug usage in it's Constitution. We believe that most of the time, drug use is used as a fast short cut for achieving altered states of conscious.
We believe that Mr. Farber is correct to state that what we really need in today's culture is a bit more honesty concerning the issues of drug usage. However, if Mr. Farber freely feels that drugs are all lumped together by members of modern society, he is plain wrong. In most states, and by federal law enforcement agencies, there are several classification of drugs. Drugs are usually classified as Schedule 1, Schedule 2, Schedule 3, etc. We have a hard time believing that most people in The United States today lump aspirin and alcohol in with the same class as Heroin or LSD. That is pushing the argument about to the breaking point of reality in our opinions.
What about his statement that Openness does involve teaching people (youth and adults) to clearly weigh different kinds of evidence to make individual decision - on any subject. This is absolutely true - though not as simple a matter as Mr. Farber is attempting to argue. For example, we wonder what ages he considers to be "youth" and what ages are to be considered "adult"? Would he grant a five year old child such ability to weigh "different kinds of evidence" for themselves? We seriously think not. We would like to see some further clarifications made concerning age here and mental state here.
Also it might not be a bad idea to stress that final point he makes, "...to make individual decisions - on any subject" by further having his readers understand and come to grips with the concept that sometimes one pays a price for making wrong decisions in this lifetime. And yes... there are some wrong decisions. If you choose to use drugs - if you get caught, you may just go to jail. You may become physically addicted over time to some drugs - which will be very painful. If the person continues to use drugs inappropriately, they may even forfeit their very life.
He further defends the use of such substances with some very sound reasoning, including the following comment also from page seventy-three (73) in the third paragraph: "The idea of true Will, I believe, and ritual congruence, puts the use of anything (italics and bold type Mr. Farber's) into perspective. For instance, if your intent is to build a house, a hammer is a very useful thing; but if you're just swinging a sledge for the hell of it, you're probably going to do a lot of damage, and maybe even hurt yourself. Likewise with drugs; they are no different than anything else. A tool is only effective when used for the proper purpose, under the correct circumstances."
The argument is well stated, and he leads the reader to come to understand that indeed, if you use some drugs incorrectly, you could cause yourself some harm. We agree that using the right tool for the right purpose is essential. We would also point out that there are individuals who specialize in the usage of tools, and building houses. The amateur who attempts to build his own house without any experience will not build much of a house. It takes experience. One does not begin learning to build a house on their own. They must have help. Those who attempt to use drugs to expand their consciousness will, in the end build a very shabby temple in the end indeed. We stress that one must apprentice one's self to someone who knows what they are doing - and of course once they know how to build for themselves, they will not really need to use hard drugs to achieve the best results.
We understand all of his arguments, and we concede a number of points to him with regards to the "big picture" concerning this topic. However, we do not encourage the student to build their temple by using any drug-hammer. There are other methods of actualization, which the author covers at length - and in a very fine manner.
Mr. Farber, like almost every Thelemite we know, is very much into the "Will" and "Intent" of the Magician. However, we remind him and other Thelemites that sometimes you do not manifest your true "Will" on this plane of existence, even with the best of intentions. What is it they say?? The road to hell is paved with what?? - Good Intentions. Truth and Reality have a very tenuous relationship at best. Reality does not work so simply.
It has been our experience, that even when expanding one's conscious with methods other than drugs, it is often difficult to completely understand and make sense of your experiences. With drugs, the difficulty is increased many fold. For legality sake, even the author states that he does not encourage the student to experiment with drugs. It seems that he knows the fine line he is walking with regards to getting himself in deep legal do do. However, we remind the author that actions speak louder than mere words.
With all of what has been said concerning Chapter 12 of Future Ritual, it may be surprising to most readers of our Journal, that we thank Philip Farber for his courage to write this controversial chapter and then to keep it in his book - probably more than any chapter he has written. Buy the book for this chapter alone. It will definitely make the student think, and that is the real intention of any good teacher. It is because the teachings of the Order are so vastly opposed to his perspective, that we recommend the membership read it. We here are not dictators of thought. It is also true that American society has a very long way to go before we resolve many of the issues that Mr. Farber brings up in Chapter 12. We can not, nor will not resolve anything by keeping them in the dark. Misunderstanding is the basis for hard feelings. Understanding begins one conversation at a time.
Overall, we highly recommend this work to our readers. We have issued it a Grade of B+. The most important feature of this work is that the writer gives the student very practical exercises along the way, from beginning to end. Philip H. Farber explains the uses of Egyptian symbolism as used by Crowley very simply, and realistically. We would recommend this particular work for any member of our Order who has progressed to the 2nd Degree (Grade of Neophyte) within the Order. Future Ritual is a work that provides excellent instruction, and well thought out exercises that will help the student grow towards the light. Future Ritual will be refereed to many times by those who study it, and more importantly, those who actually use it.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT FUTURE RITUAL:
Robert Anton Wilson (Author of Cosmic Trigger, and the Illuminatus Trilogy) - "I found this book absolutely unique -- the first magick manual entirely contemporary with modern science and the only one that will really prepare the student of life in the 21st century."
Genesis P-Orridge (In the Introduction of Future Ritual) - "Future Ritual describes very precisely an essential set of Thelemic magickal considerations and exercises with full instructions and texts. These are invested with the authority of the past, especially that collated and developed by Aleister Crowley and associates. They are also permeated with the consideration and prerequisites of the present, illuminated with, linguistic precision, and interdisciplinary parables by the astute and pared commentaries of Philip H. Farber. Most crucial between past, present and future. It suggests, quite rightly, that the individual has an innate right to explore and to know; to expect the unexpected in all ways, to divine the divine inside and outside their physical vehicle; to accumulate an effective and rewarding system of "magick" by means of which to maximize both their known, and potential comprehension of this state of being we call being alive."
TO CONTACT THE AUTHOR:
To contact the author, Phillip H. Farber, contact him via the publisher at: Escahaton Productions, Inc., 60 East Chestnut Street, #236, Chicago, IL 60611. Or write to him by sending e-mail to: email@example.com.
PATTERNS IN MAGICAL CHRISTIANITY: Author: Nicholas Whitehead (aka Colston Brown)
Published by: Sun Chalice Books, 1996;
Cost $12.95, US; 192 Pgs.
Review By: VHSr. Caveat Anima.
Mark Nicholas Whitehead has done an incredible job with his current work, Patterns in Magical Christianity. At long last, a work has been put together that states in no uncertain terms, "Christianity is a magical religion" right from the beginning of the work, and then proceedes to demonstrate this basic truth.
Patterns in Magical Chrsitianity is written in a very scholarly style, and yet is very easy to read and follow.
The book is organized logically, and includes a table of contents, the authors acknowledgements, a preface, and an introduction to the work, followed by seven chapters of text including: 1-The Sphere, 2-The Axis, 3-The Holy Fire, 4-The Center, 5-the Wheel of Life, 6-The Three Worlds, and 7-The planes of Being; An appendix that includes a mentioned ritual opening meditative technique called, The Kenotic Opening, which is used to empty yourself of desire, and emotion is included; a very scholarly and worthwhile bibliography of sources used in the present work; and an index of terminology used in the book, making it easy to cross reference particular areas of interest.
This work is must reading for the Aspiring Christian Mystic who seeks to become a practical Magician. For this reason, Nicholas Whitehead's Patterns in Magical Christianity has been added to the REQUIRED reading list for the work of an Aspirant in the Order of The Astral Star by Order's 2nd Adept, The Praemonstria. We have graded Patterns in Magical Christianity a solid "A".
What can be said about the present work is that Pattens in Magical Christianity takes a really close look at the history of Christianity in an exoteric sense, and reveals the esoteric side of the Christian Faith with utter beauty. There are numerous exercises that are not - strictly speaking - best for the Aspirant, but will actually be used for many years as the student progresses on his/her spiritual journy. This is not a work that will be used once, and put down to gather dust in the library - if the student is wise that is. Nicholas Whitehead has used metaphores and parables well, describing concepts in light of other concepts admirably. He includes a number of very well thought out exercises for the student to work on. This is a theoretical book, that is also very practical in nature. We wish Nicholas Whitehead a continued successful writing career, and great success, and a very, very long printing with this present work in particular.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT PATTERNS IN MAGICAL CHRISTIANITY:
Gareth Knight (Student of Dion Fortune and Author of A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism, The Rose Cross and The Goddess: The Quest for the Divine Feminine Principle, and Magic and the Western Mind: Ancient Knowledge and the Transformation of Concsciousness) - "Magic is an age old means of using the imaginative and inutitive faculties in a self-transformative way; and its application to th eprofound symbolism of mystical Christian traditions has a startling potential. Nicholas Whitehead provides a deeply researched and eminently practical way of bringing the two together to safe and rewarding effect. This is practical mysticism and enlightened magic in formidable combination."
Canon Anthony Duncan writes - "This is a book which should be required reading for all theological students and seminarians. It represents a long and grieviously neglected heritage which the early Fathers of the Church took for granted and which was current throughout the West until the Reformation ansd its aftermath submerged much of Christian thinking and understanding in a tide of, too often arid, intellectualism. Like the early Christian Fathers, Mr. Whitehead claims the whole of this intuitivist heritage of image and symbol for Christ. Christ alone makes sense of it, Christ alone fulfills it. And Christ redeems it from the darkness to which rationalism has, in both bear ad ignorance, tended to consign it. This is a most faithful book, both to its subject matter and to Christ, the fulfillment of it."
TO CONTACT THE AUTHOR:
To contact the author, Mark Nicholas Whitehead, (aka Colston Brown) direct your questions and inquiries ot the Publishier at: Sun Chalice Books, P.O. Box 9703, Albuqurque, NM, 87119. Or write to him by sending e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By VHSr. Caveat Anima
The Order of The Astral Star is alive and well on the World Wide Web. We regularly receive e-mail from all across the United States, and in fact, from all around the world. We have learned that there are many more people into forms of Christian Magick and Mysticism out there than we could have possibly have hoped for.
For those people who have a computer and are hooked into the world wide web, we would like to invite you to visit the Order's Public World Wide Web site, located at: http://www.astralstar.org/ or our mirror site via: http://go.to/astralstar/ At our home page you will find out all about the Order and it's work from reading our official documents on line, including The FAQ's About The OAS, and by reading past issues of The Order's official journal, The Crux Mystica. We have a very extensive list of what are called "links" to other esoteric and occult web sites in our "WWWeb Encyclopedia of Occult Sites". Additionally we have chosen to post an on-line calendar of our own Magickal Christian Liturgical year, with noted special events and gatherings. Additionally, we have a number of other organizations calendars linked at this location for the reader.
We would very much enjoy hearing your comments on our home pages. We can be reached via e-mail at: email@example.com or at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For those of you who chose to do so, we maintain a very complete "WWWeb Electronic Post Office," were we have e-mail forms with links to all of our Order¹s Officers, and a number of our Members as well. We also provide links to organizations that we are formally affiliated with.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Wendi Fisher (aka Kessira Tannis) of Kissimmee, Florida for her past assistance with our Order's Public World Wide Web Site. Wendi will no longer be involved with the Order's site due to geographical location and a will to pursue other personal interests. We wish her every success in all of her future ventures.
Along another line of thought, let me remind our readers that though the Astral Star does not have it's own electronic discussion or news group, many of our members do participate in such an on-line discussion group for Christian Magicians called, "Fiat LVX". To subscribe, send an e-mail message to: email@example.com with the line: subscribe fiatlvx (email@address) (your real name), where (email@address) is your own e-mail address that you want your subscription to be received at. For more information, please refer to the article, "Magickal Christianity on The Internet - Parts I & II," in the 1996 Vernal Equinox issue (Volume #1, Issue #1) of The Crux Mystica.
We have many plans for usage of the World Wide Web in the future, and will let the readers know about upcoming developments as they are made available. Until then, we wish you happy surfing, and remind all of our friends to "Practice Safe Cyber!" Remember to install an anti-viral program utility before you serf! ;-) In the meantime, here is a list of e-mail address that may be helpful to you. - Jen.
THE ORDER OF THE ASTRAL STAR, INC.:
INDIVIDUAL OFFICERS AT:
GHFr. Pneuma Asteros (Michael)
GHSr. Alethia Asteros (Debbie)
AMER - St. Louis, MO:
Ms. Chris Carlisle
WPPA - Mechanicsburg, PA:
Ms. Silver Ravenwolf.
From the WWWeb Page of Arcana
What is (was) ARCANA?
ARCANA is a mailing list for scholars and students of the occult. It is an academic discussion group and therefore is not a place for role-playing or posturing. However, you need not be an expert, learned scholar, or trained practitioner to join -- sincere interest is sufficient.
The occult, as discussed on ARCANA, does not generally include psychic phenomena, hauntings, UFOs, &/or related topics; New Age &/or related topics; and matters as such. Although Wicca, paganism, and other religions sometimes come into the discussion, they are not the primary or even a major focus of the list.
While the topics discussed on ARCANA may range widely (as long as they pertain to the occult in some manner or another), special emphasis is placed on the serious and academic treatment of these subjects.
Topics of discussion include but are not limited to: the history, literature, and language of occultism; famous occultists and occult groups, past and present; spells, summonings, and magic paraphernalia; daemonology; modern literary occultism in the context of its source materials; the Tarot; alchemy, etc.
Disruptive behavior and intolerance of others' beliefs are not tolerated. Respect for the usual rules of netiquette and of scholarship (documentation of sources; avoidance of plagiarism, copyright violations and ad hominem attacks) is expected.
ARCANA is hosted on the LISTSERV at Brown University. The list's address is firstname.lastname@example.org. LISTSERV commands should be sent to email@example.com, not to the list!
ARCANA is managed by a committee of listowners. Questions and problems should be directed to them at arcana firstname.lastname@example.org. edu. This address forwards your messages to all the listowners and is the best way to reach someone who can help you quickly. Please do not write to individual list owners, since all of them are not on duty at all times.
To maintain the usefulness of this list and to avoid the wrath of fellow members all subscribers are asked to observe the following conventions:
As not all mail readers will display the sender's address, all posts should be signed with the author's name and user id. Elaborate signature files are not necessary or recommended.
Messages are best kept short, confined to one subject and given a clear subject heading. If you change the subject, please change your subject heading as well! Long messages are certainly valid, as necessary, but these should be given a clear subject heading indicating this. Remember, some subscribers may have to pay for their incoming mail by the byte. We suggest that posts be kept to a maximum of 250 lines. Anything larger than that should be broken up into smaller posts. Alternatively, you could also mention the long file in a short note to the list and email the long file to interested parties.
The basic language of the list is English; courtesy strongly suggests that translations of texts quoted from other languages be provided. Remember, we are not all scholars of Latin, Greek, Thessalian, Icelandic, Old High German or other "arcane" languages. Discussion of popular representations of the occult should be grounded in and refer back to historical or textual reality.
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Messages should be written in a spirit of mutual respect, avoiding inflammatory statements and personal invective. Derogatory statements regarding the practice or practitioners of any religion are inappropriate. If you must argue in heated tones, please take this correspondence off-list (in private e-mail). The list owners (further) reserves the right to remove any member whose postings are disruptive to the peaceable conduct of the list.
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We require that new subscribers submit a profile before they can be added to the list.
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Profiles of all new members are posted to the list unless you explicitly request that we not do so. Profiles are sent to the list to introduce new members, stimulate discussion, and encourage correspondence between individuals. However, a request that a profile remain confidential will be honored.
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Please mail the following information to:
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Other Occult Resources On The Net.
Rather than duplicate the work of others who have the time and, perhaps, the energy to catalog the World Wide Web of the Occult, we'll just list general-purpose links here.
For general starting points, we recommend taking a look at either Anders' Magick Page(s) at: http://www.nada.kth.se/~nv91-asa/ or http://www.nada.kth.se/~nv91-asa/magick.html ; Shawn Fennessey at: http://scuba.uwsuper.edu/~sfenness/ ; Occult Archives at: http://scuba.uwsuper.edu/~sfenness/occult.html . Both are comprehensive and exhaustive lists of occult resources on the net. Whether you are simply browsing the web or have a specific topic in mind, these are both good places to start searching.
Ron Hale-Evans maintains a list of occult book sources at: http://www.webcom.com/~rwhe/grimoire-links.html.
The Inner Sanctum Occult Network has lots of links and information about occult matters at: http://inner-sanctum.com/~magus/
Mike Graffam's Mysticism, Philosophy, and Arts Page is a good source of information on Kaballah, Sufism and other mystic traditions. It is located at: http://www1.mhv.net/~mgraffam/
Adam Forrest's Hermetic Fellowship Website (http://www.teleport.com/~aforrest/HFWeb/HFindex.html) specifically deals with the Western Magic Tradition, but has an excellent collection of links to many occult resources. It can be reached at: http://www.teleport.com/~aforrest/HFWeb/HFResources.html
Finally, Hyper-weirdness by Web may also lead you to some strange shores. Check it out at: http://www.physics.wisc.edu/~shalizi/hyper-weird/kooks.html
(If you know of any other general-purpose occult link pages, please e-mail your suggestion to the ARCANA listowners at: email@example.com .)
[Editor's Note: Many of our Society's members who are on the Internet subscribe to this, very active, and very well run list. Arcana is one of the older Discussion lists on the net, and it remains one of the best. Topics of interest to Christian Magicians and High Ritual &/or Ceremonial Magicians often come up! We recommend this list enthusiastically. - VHSr. Caveat, 6th Adept & Reporter.]
[Web Master's Note: Jan. 01, 1999: We regret that ARCANA LIST is now defunct, and is no longer active. We encourage readers with interest to visit our current Web Links Page [http://weblinks.astralstar.org] and/or our E-Lists Page [http://elists.astralstar.org] to locate a more current and updated list of online resources.]
...Appears As A Guest In AOL's R&E Forum Advanced Ceremonial Magick Round Table Discussion:
Submitted By FraterTFP,
AOL Religion & Ethics Forum Chat Host
[Editor's Note: On Aug. 14th 1996, Our GHFr. Pneuma, The Chief Adept & President of The Order of The Astral Star, was invited to be a guest speaker on AOL (America On-Line) in the Religion & Ethics Forum in the Advanced High Ceremonial Magick Chat. These are a few exerts from that conversation, which lasted about an hour. We sincerely thank FraterTFP of the AOL Religion and Ethics Forum for inviting our President to participate in that Forum, and for his providing us with a copy of the chat log from which this was edited. Thanks Chris! - VHSr. Caveat]
FraterTFP :Welcome to Advanced Ceremonial Magick Round Table. Tonight we have a guest speaker. We are honored with the prescence of the Chief Adept of The Society of Christian Mystics: The Order of the Astral Star, Fr Pneuma.
FraterTFP : Welcome Fr Pneuma! :-)
DotfromOz : Once again... 93, Pneuma, my friend!
Fr Pneuma: Hello everyone, wow, a full house, I am honored ;-)
FraterTFP : ...if you all will give him a moment to introduce himself I'm sure he'll be happy to accept questions. :-)
img width=20 height=20 src="http://www.astralstar.org/image/button/star.g8.jpg" HSPACE=6>Fr Pneuma : Let me take this opportunity to thank FraterTFP and SandmanTFP for having me here this evening.
FraterTFP : Frater, tell us a little about yourself.
Fr Pneuma : o.k. I am a High Ceremonial Magician with my roots still in esoteric Christian Mysticism. I am married (for 12 years), have no children, and studied my undergrate degree in Religion with a minor in Philosophy from Georgetown College. I am involved with *Golden Dawn Style* ceremonial magick and enjoy Israel Regardie, Dion Fortune, Aleister Crowley, and A.E. Waite's work, among others. ;-)
Fr Pneuma : Many of you have seen me on line before, so don't be shy ;-) this is your opportunity to find out what I really think about various topics.
Paracelcus : ? :-) Frater Pneuma
Fr Pneuma : Yes Paracelcus...
Paracelcus : Your magical name is of a gnostic nature. What was your first experience of such nature?
Fr Pneuma : Well, it is not meant to suggest a gnostic nature, but I do understand where you are comming from. I started studing E.S.P., Astrology and Tarot when I was a youth. I started these studies in conjunction with about 10 other young folks (teenagers actually). Our Order didn't move into High Ceremonial Magick until we were in college. My first encounter with a ceremonial magician was with a professor / college administrator who had been past Praemonstrator-Chief Adept of a Golden Dawn Temple in Louisville, KY.
Fr Pneuma : My first real religious experience occured in a Southern Baptist Church, when I heard the Almighty call my name at an Altar call. At first I thought was loosing it, but my body just, *stood up*. I respect gnostical perspectives, but see them as only half of the total experience, ;-) I hope that answered your ?. ;-)
Paracelcus : ! It did indeed. :-)
Fr Pneuma : Who is next?
FraterTFP :(Que: Quee / Si / Trog)
Queegquag : Thank you for coming FrPneuma - can you tell (us) a little about the order of OAS?
Fr Pneuma : Queeg... Wow! Where do I begin with this one?! o.k. let us see. I have anticipated this question to some degree, so I posted our Order's FAQ's in the Ceremonial Library. Basically, we are Ceremonial Magicians that have just kept our Christian Base. It was formed on Nov. 1sr 1980, and became incorporated just in 1993 as a non-profit corporation. We regard all members of 1st Degree, which we call Adelphon as (being) peers, regardless of additional degrees of knowledge, though those are respected. I encourage you to check out our Society's web site at: http://www.concentric.net/~scmoasa/ for more info.
Fr Pneuma : ;-) next ?
FraterTFP :si is up next :-)
Si Magus : ?
Si Magus :Have you ever attempted any of the rituals in books (such as The) Key of Solomon, (or) Albertus Mangus works? (I mean) have you used (the) rituals in such texts as (the) Key of Solomon, etc (historical texts) and have you had any dealings with "demons" (evocation, adjuration, etc.)?
Fr Pneuma : We study classical grimoires within our Order in the Adept grades, after five years of kabbalistical study. In fact, I am preparing for a major *goetic* evocation coming up in December...
Si Magus : ok.
Fr Pneuma : We (basically) use Donald Michael Kraig's protocols in his book, Modern Magick: (Eleven Lessons in The High Magickal Arts), though we have corrected his errors with regards to how to make a triangle of the art. In the Goetia, he has his colors wrong.
Fr Pneuma : next ?
FraterTFP :Trog is up. :-)
Fr Pneuma : ::looks out to the audience - Don't you just love computers?:: ;-)
TROG 218 : I have a dilemma when seeing new folks. On one hand I think the group experience is the most valid, yet I can't encourage all groups. What should a person do to have a good solitary life as a CM, join a groug?!
Fr Pneuma : Good ?
Fr Pneuma : Groups are not necessary. They provide commradeship, and can help point people in new directions. I cherrish my group, they are family. But the real magickal work has to be done by you the individual.
TROG 218 : Well, alone I was confused. In a group I am more founded (i.e. grounded). I never got into the deeper religious feelings I find with a group, or, "post-affiliation".
Fr Pneuma : That is an interesting observation. Group energy does increase the experience of the individual IMO, (in my opinion). But real work (still) begins with the individual.
Nebet Het : :::waves to everyone -- Have a great chat -- enjoy your speaker! :-) :::
Fr Pneuma : next ? or comment.
TROG 218 :Agreed, but there is a huge difference "post-initaition" that I wish all could enjoy w/o a group....
Fr Pneuma : That too is true. But I know (of) no way to give a person a groupless group experience. ;-)
FraterTFP : Si is up again :-)
Si Magus : Would you agree that High (Magick) is primarialy a "demonic" sytem? Historically. And please do not (mind) my question, I've been practising (it myself) about 12 years
Fr Pneuma : I don't know if I would call it a "demonic" system. Not in my tradition. It all depends on how you mean by the term *demon* and how you view the world at large.
Si Magus : "Do not misinterpret my question" should have read Spirit based. I (mean I) don't mean evil or good. demon=spirit.
FraterTFP :I think he's sayin(g) Daemon Michael :-)
Fr Pneuma : ahhhhh, computers.... :-/
Fr Pneuma : Yes, I understood that now Frater... :-)
Si Magus : No, I mean demon.
Fr Pneuma : ahhhhhh, yes. It is spirit based. Good point. Classical interpretation (from etymology and *old* meanings of words). Not seen much these days. I think I follow you Si Magus. Yes, I agree with your statement.
FraterTFP (Que: Capriver / Sahara / Si / Trog / FraterTFP
Capriver : ?
Capriver : Are you familiar with the celestine prophecy's insights (on) spirit oriented? Insight number ten talks about the revelation, (if) I don't misunderstand it.
Fr Pneuma : No. I have not read them (the Celestine Prophecy). I have a problem with *channeled* writings as a whole... probably why the Book of Revelation is so mis-understood....(in the first place). I should probably read the work Capriver... (Sorry I can't comment any further with regards to the Celestine Prophecies) ;-)
Fr Pneuma : next ?
FraterTFP : Sahara is next :-)
Sahara4926 : Merry meet Fr. P....How did you reconcile your (I'm assuming) Baptist upbringing and your introduction to ceremonial magick?
Fr Pneuma : Holy Cow! Good ? ;-)
Fr Pneuma: I was raised in a rather open minded household. My grandmother was a Lutheran but practiced some form of folk magick. She certainly didn't teach me High Ceremonial Magick. I reconcilled it after I had a long heart to heart with a theosophical professor who taught me that *Religion (mysticism) without Magick is dead, but reminded me that Magick without Religious expression (mysticism) is just down right dangerous*. College helped me a lot, and when as a senior pre-semenarian, I got the discussion from all of the Religious Faculty not to quote them, not to use what they taught me in my pulpit... well, I started to have some serious doubts as to what the Baptist experience was all about. So I looked up their belief statement, and found that I was not Baptist at all. (What I found out was that) With CM, you get into touch with the Almighty itself (however you choose to define that), directly. In short, I would have to say that my answer would boil down to one word: Experience. Over time to be sure, but experience is how I reconcilled the two... ;-)
Sahara4926 :Thanx :-)
Paracelcus :! FrP your description of the gnosis as half the experience was on. The door was then Half open to step in (IMO).... :-)
Fr Pneuma : next ?.
Capriver : what is cm?
Fr Pneuma : CM = Ceremonial Magick.
RudyH4934 :? definition of CM please
FraterTFP :Rudy, please hold your questions and wait to be called on folks :-)
FraterTFP :Si, you're just in time, you had another question?
Si Magus : Not at this time, but may I e-mail you (FrPneuma)?
Fr Pneuma : feel free to e-mail me, any and or all of you. ;-) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sahara4926 : [? (Astral Star) home page?]
FraterTFP :(wasn't it?) http://members.aol.com/scmoasa/
Fr Pneuma : (yes, it is) http://members.aol.com/scmoasa/ [*Note: New site at: http://www.astralstar.org/ ]
FraterTFP :allrighty, I guess that means Trog is up next :-)
TROG 218 : It's been said "all mystics speak the same language," and it seems that all CM's start with religion or some paranormal thing like ESP. Is not CM the highest science of mysticism/gnosis/experiemcialism?
Fr Pneuma : I believe that you are onto something there my friend Trog ;-) CM is for all purposes Practical mysticism. Crowley put in his journal _The Equinox_ the publication's motto, *The method of Science, The Aim of religion!* ;-)
TROG 218 :Secular Humanistic religious gnosis! (LOL!) (Laughing Out Loud).
Paracelcus :! [CM is a tool same as anyother method of union]
FraterTFP :(closing the Que, ten minutes left in the chat)
Fr Pneuma : Did I answer your ? Trog?
TROG 218 :Sure, it was a comment/ ?
FraterTFP :I think he's got a new one Frater :-)
Fr Pneuma : No problem... I think the system is a bit slow, or is it just me Frater? ;-)
FraterTFP :system is slow
TROG 218 : ?
FraterTFP :go ahead and answer Trog real quick like :-)
TROG 218 :But does the knowledge of the HGA end the need for magick/ Potentially?
Fr Pneuma : That depends on who you talk to. For me, Magick and Mysticism are 2 sides of the same coin... at least (here) on this earth. Your HGA will guide you best in the end, but I still test the advice!! ;-) If you agree with Aleister Crowley's point of view, which he obtained from the Grimoire of Abremelin, BTW (By The Way), you could make the case as Crowley did that once you truley obtained *the knowledge and conversation of your Holy Guardian Angel*, then any other *magick* was evil. My problem with this perspective is that if any other magick is evil, then how can perfoming magick to obtain the Knowledge of your HGA not be evil? See, it is a bit more tricky than that. Besides, once you obtained the knowledge of your HGA, what does He/She/It instruct you to do? Anything remotely *magickal* - as in various operations or workings? IMO, the Knowledge and Conversation of your Holy Guardian Angel (HGA) is the true work of the Adept, yet as a Christian Magician, I test *all* advice given me by any entity - even my own higer self, how else would I know the validity of the advice? There is more than one interpretation of the HGA anyway. Is it your Higher Self? Is it a seperate entity? Oppinions vary. Magick is like a gun. It is a skill. It is neither good or bad in and of itself. We have to question those magicians of yonder year, and ask ourselves what have we learned about the nature of the universe *since* they left this earth. We have to do the work for *ourselves*. Like one famous TV show that is on out there, I believe the statement, *The truth is out there* ;-) I also believe that we can experience it for ourselves.
FraterTFP :Gang, we are out of time :-( Thanks for coming and sharing your time and knowledge with us here Michael. I hope that you will come back by again sometime. :-)
Fr Pneuma : It was a real pleasure FraterTFP! You bet I'll be back. Thanks everyone for coming and making my chat a very interesting and worth wild experience. Goodnight everybody. MP / BB / 93 / 69 / and all that other alphabet soup we greet each other with! ;-)
FraterTFP : Goodnight everybody! Thanks for participating in our Advanced Ceremonial Magick Round Table. Thanks for your participation! ;-) We will see you next Wed. night for another exciting Ceremonial Magick Chat!
[Editor's Note: Since our GHFr. Pneuma participated in the Advanced Ceremonial Magick Round Table as a guest, he has since been asked to join the AOL Religion and Ethics Forum as a volunteer Chat Host. He Co-Hosts the Ceremonial Magick Round Table every Wed. Night at 8:30 PM ET with Philip H. Farber (PStuart) on America On Line (AOL). To get to his chat on AOL use the keyword *Magick* without the astricks and enter the Pagan Chat Room. Good luck Michael and Phil - You're going to need it! VHSr. Caveat]
A LITURGICAL CALENDAR FOR CHRISTIAN MAGICIANS
With Noted Festivals and Special Events
September 1996 - March 1997
Date Event/Note OCTOBER '96 10/04/96 St. Francis of Assisi; Moon = Last 1/4 10/06/96 18th Sun. after Trinity 10/12/96 Moon = New; Sun = Solar Eclipse 10/13/96 19th Sun. after Trinity 10/14/96 COLUMBUS DAY 10/15/96 St. Theresa of Avila 10/17-20/96 HTSG: Highland of TN Samahain Gathering at Avalon Isle, Sponsored by Lady Amythest. Set in a primitive camping setting on Pagan Land in the Great Smokey Mountains, this festival celebrates it's 7th year with speakers to include: Isaac Bonewits of ADF; Gavin & Yvonne Frost of The Church and School of Wicca; Nybor & Elspeth of Havyn; Morning Glory & Oberon Zell of CAW; Lady Amythyst of Avalon Isle; and special guest apparence by of Iron Oak, Palm Bay, - FL. For additional info call (706) 369-6813. 10/18/96 St. Luke, Evangelist 10/19/96 Sweetest Day; Moon = 1st 1/4 10/20/96 20th Sun. after Trinity 10/22/96 Sun enters Scorpio. 10/25-27/96 The Church and School of Wicca Samhain Seminar will be at the Whaler Inn, Atlantic Beach NC on the weekend of October 25/26/27 with Gavin & Yvonne Frost. Call (919) 637-5825 for more Info. 10/25-27/96 Magickal Weekend (14th Year). A festival sponsored by Omnistic Fellowship and C.A.S.T. in St. Louis, MO. Call Jim or Joyce at (314) 428-2475 for more Info. 10/26/96 Moon = Full 10/27/96 Daylight Savings time ends Special; 21st Sun. after Trinity 10/27/96 Annual Meeting of AMER, Alliance for Magical and Earth Religions, St. Louis, MO in conjunction with Magickal Weekend. For more info call AMER at: (314) 994-1026. 10/31/96 All Hallow's Eve (Halloween); Samhain NOVEMBER '96 /td> 11/01/96 All Saint's Day; SCMOASA Founder's Day, 1980 11/02/96 All Soul's Day 11/02-03/96 The New Earth Psychic Festival, Lexington, KY, Continental Inn, New Circle Rd., Exit 110 (Off of I-75). For more info call (606)-299-5281. 11/03/96 21st Sun. after Trinity; Moon = Last 1/4 11/10/96 22nd Sun. after Trinity; Moon = New 11/11/96 VETERAN'S DAY 11/17/96 23rd Sun. after Trinity; Moon = 1st 1/4 11/21/96 Sun enters Sagitarius 11/24/96 24th Sun. after Trinity - Thanksgiving Message; Moon = Full 11/28/96 THANKSGIVING DECEMBER '96 12/01/96 1st Sun. in ADVENT 12/03/96 Moon = Last 1/4 12/06/96 Hanukkah begins @ sunset 12/08/96 2nd Sun. in Advent 12/10/96 Moon = New 12/12/96 Our Lady of Guadalupe 12/14/96 St. John of the Cross, Abbot & Mystic 12/15/96 3rd Sun. in Advent 12/17/96 Moon = 1st 1/4 12/21/96 Sun enters Capricorn; Winter Solstice @ 9:06 AM EST 12/22/96 4th Sun. in Advent; Yule 12/24/96 Christmas Even; Moon = Full 12/25/96 CHRISTMAS DAY 12/26/96 St. Stephen, Martyr 12/27/96 St. John, Apostle & Evangelist 12/28/96 The Feast of the Holy Innocent's Day 12/29/96 1st Sun. of Christmas Tide 12/31/96 NEW YEAR'S EVEN JANUARY '97 01/01/97 NEW YEAR'S DAY 01/01/97 The Circumcision of Christ 01/05/97 2nd Sun. of Christmas Tide 01/06/97 EPIPHANY 01/12/97 1st Sun. after Epiphany 01/19/97 2nd Sun. after Epiphany 01/20/97 MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. DAY 01/21/97 Sun enters Aquarius 01/25/97 Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle 01/26/97 3rd Sun. after Epiphany 01/26/97 St. Titus & St. Timothy, Bishops 01/31/97 St. John Bosco, Priest & Mystic FEBRUARY '97 02/01-02/97 The New Earth Psychic Festival, Lexington, KY, Wyndham, Newtown Pk., Exit 115 (Off of I-75). 02/02/97 Presentation of Christ in the Temple 02/02/97 4th Sun. after Epiphany 02/02/97 Imbolc / Candlemas 02/09/97 Septuagesima Sunday 02/11/97 Our Lady Of Lourdes 02/14/96 St. Valentine 02/16/97 Sexagesima Sunday/td> 02/17/97 PRESIDENT'S DAY 02/18/97 Sun enters Pisces 02/23/97 Quinquagesima Sunday 02/25/97 Shrove Tue. (Feast of Marti Gras) 02/26/96 LENT / Ash Wednesday MARCH '97 03/02/97 1st Sun. in Lent 03/09/97 2nd Sun. in Lent 03/16/97 3rd Sun. in Lent 03/17/97 St. Patrick 03/19/97 St. Joseph, Father of Jesus Christ 03/20/96 Sun enters Aries 03/22/97 Vernal Equinox @ 03:03 AM EST/td> 03/23/97 4th Sun. in Lent 03/25/97 The Annunciation of St. Mary, Mother of Jesus Christ 03/30/97 5th Sun. in Lent
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