Binah, Chokmah, Command, Ascription, and a Correction to Geomantic Attributions

I am a bit unorthodox about moving in and out of the Kabbalistic sphere proper and amplifying it through reference to other practices. For the moment, I’m sticking pretty close to home and working with the practices that shared the the same terrain, literally, with Judaism (i.e., from Islam, Christianity, and the various ‘idolatrous’ contemporaries), that passed through the same Baghdad and Babylon, that spilled over into the same Andalusia and Morocco. That probably won’t be where this stops, but it’s where I am right now.

That seems useful in part because there was some mutual recognition of this shared spiritual world, so even as different traditions were developing their practices internally, they were doing so in a polyglot world where they were exposed to others undertaking similar efforts.

Okay, so I mentioned briefly alongside the geomantic attributions their absence from the sefirot of Binah and Chokmah, their absence from the channels of Mars and Jupiter (oops, here is where the mistake comes in—see below). I talked about the quality of moral judgment and how that is quite distinct from divination. I want to take a quick, side-long look at he work of Ibn al’Arabi for amplification:

“The mark of the spiritualized ones as sons of their father is only that they stay free from natural appetites, taking from them only that through which they allow their configuration to abide….Their aspiration lies in joining with their father, who is yā’ī, Divine Spirit, not the command spirit….Thus He differentiates between the spirit of command and the yā’ of ascription….[the spiritualized one] comes to his appetites out of disinterested kindness toward them, as a descent from him to them. Through appetite he exercises a ruling property over appetite’s objects.”—Ibn al’Arabi in The Meccan Revelations, qtd. in William C. Chittick, The Self-Disclosure of God: Principles of Ibn al-‘Arabi’s Cosmology (342)

‘Command’ seems to be quite close to what manifests through the channel of Mars, while ‘ascription’ seems close to what manifests through the channel of Jupiter. What does Chokmah assert? Fundamentally, it is the connection between the individual and the divine, the individual and their having been sanctioned by the divine, of having been animated by breath (following the sympathy between air and the first mother).

This language reflects a common motif in this material, one that identifies one aspect of the diagram as, for the lack of a better word, more real and more genuine than the other. The subtle logic is sound enough: if the source of the unity lies in the divine, than the virtues that lend themselves toward unification are ‘more’ divine than those that lead away from it.

Hence, in the sefirotic diagram, evil is recognized, but good is given pride of place. The way in which Jupiter channels this goodness needs to be more closely examined. It manifests most often in the thundering, through which Jupiter both expands and dominates without violence. When people talk about the terror of the divine, they are talking about this, the overwhelming power that catches them up.

Remember what the thunder said. Datta, Dayadhvam, Damyata: Give, Sympathize, Control. This is where I caught a mistake in my previous post, because there is a set of geomantic signs that describe that: Tristitia and Laetitia. I’m modestly surprised that I overlooked it, despite doing a count.

I’m more fascinated, though, by the way in which I came to realize my mistake. Contemplating Ibn al’Arabi, it dawned on me that there shouldn’t be a lacuna between Chokmah and Chesed, because what unfolds there are the rules of proper behavior, which are quite explicitly discursive and capable of explication within a geomantic context. It was only then, thinking back to my geomantic mapping, that it hit me what I had left out.

What this allows me to recapture is the distinctiveness of Mars that I had originally gotten to by way of ascribing geomantic figures to it by following Greer. What I find especially interesting of freeing Mars from geomantic attributions is that it makes clear the crack that opens in the model around the will that accompanies individuality. It lays open the gnostic framework that makes salvation necessary.

Remember how I was going to trust that many of the insights that I had by way of the more conflated Greer assignments would be recaptured and better elaborated? I think this is one of them. I still get Mars as something distinct from the process of judgment, but now I can see in the signs that descend from that gap a distortion that becomes both more pronounced and complex.

None of the geomantic charges on the pillar of severity can serve as the judge of a chart. The channel of Mars opens with an instability, an innate partiality, that ripples down through the charges of the pillar. The channel of Jupiter, by contrast, is partial, but descends from above, it is partial on the part of the higher, descending downward into Chesed, from which will flow the channel of Venus, whose charges (Amissio and Acquisitio) can be judges and are explicitly distributive figures.

Now, there is still a point at which the freedom of both Mars and Jupiter manifests in common, but that is in reference to Keter. What we see there is the final responsibility of the soul to the divine, the opening of the existential quandary raised by Kierkegaard in <i>Fear and Trembling</i> where the divine issues a test in which the mercy of justice is suspended and the differentiation between good and evil must be undertaken by the individual.

We see, too, the gnostic slippage in which the regulation of severity takes charge of itself and issues commands on its own, giving birth to the tyrant demiurge whose law manifests as the churning of Mercury rather than the balance of Venus, a world of theft rather than gift. As the tree unfurls simultaneously in different times and places, there ends up being more than one demiurge. I suspect that gets us the archonic noise Gordon spends a good bit of time pointing out.

Thinking in this way also highlights the distortion that show up around Yesod, where we also find the diagonals animated by charges that lack the capacity to judge. That makes some useful sense, because this is one of the key points at which the pillars once again join, only now they do so in relationship to Yesod which will have close ties to Malkuth, which is quite decidedly a place where judgment is an achievement rather than a given.

There’s more to discuss with this, especially around these interference patterns that are starting to show up in the diagram. Those interference patterns provide the tools to model many gnostic revelations directly with the diagram of forces the tree of life embodies. But I’ll stop here for now. I’m trying to figure out whether/when I should fall back and re-articulate the core principles I’m working from and toward.

9 thoughts on “Binah, Chokmah, Command, Ascription, and a Correction to Geomantic Attributions

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