To Know Home, Not Go Home

The story of Adam Kadmon always sits up against the story of the dismembered giant that pervades the Indo-European mythologies. In the case of Adam Kadmon, you have this figure in the mind of God that serves as the blueprint for the work of creation. Adam the created, the Adam of the Garden, clearly partakes of this figure’s nature in some way, too, for while he does not possess the force of Adam Kadmon to create, he still possesses the names of things which activates those forces. The dismembered giant, by contrast, tends to be a monster or tyrant who must be destroyed and broken apart to provide the material for the created world.

The two myths, in turn, provide a somewhat different basis for spiritual work. The work of Adam Kadmon is a work of reunion, of manifesting on the face of the Earth the forces of Heaven that Adam of the Garden broke through disobedience, it is about making whole a unity that was perfect and good prior to it. The work of the giant is messier, a struggle against a world that is literally made of tyranny. Both myths are gnostic after their fashion, and God may be appended to either without difficulty. How are we to navigate between these? I would daresay a lot of us want the myth of Adam Kadmom to be true, but all too often in the face of the world end up believing in the myth of the giant.

I don’t think we have to choose. The means of their synthesis exists. I won’t presume their is one path to the synthesis, but mine led me through Africa, through the myths of the Dogon and Dagara (specifically the stories of the Bagre rite described by Jack Goody). I personally suspect that there is a historical connection between the beliefs of these people and the beliefs of the ancient Sumerians and that this link can most likely be found in the religious cults dedicated to the heavens that likely found their way to Africa by way of the Islamic expansion, maybe even attached to heterodox Sufis. Regardless of whether the historical connection exists, though, the gnostic beliefs of these African peoples do provide a way to link these two myths. (Seriously, though, Apkallu and Nommo are interesting to compare…)

In these stories, we find both expressions of the Kadmon and giant myth. The creation has an element that goes awry and to set this process right, another element of creation is sacrificed and scattered to begin the process of correction. The broken giant is here not the tyrant, but the solution to the tyranny, capable of correcting the process because the broken pieces are of the same sort as the disordered piece. Like a virus (or like PK Dick’s ZEBRA), it insinuates itself into the disordered giant and sets about transforming it and returning it to functioning order. As the tyrant flesh composes everything, so too can the healing flesh make use of everything. When it finds us, it does not liberate us from the tyrant, but it gives us a vision of a healthy creation, of where we would belong had not the disordered giant caused problems. It gives us a sense of home and then a kick in the pants to set about trying to manifest that as best we can.

“Our radio tuned to the voice of a star” (by way of suggestion only)

I’m a little punchy with the sick, so be kind regarding the kookiness.

11 thoughts on “To Know Home, Not Go Home

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