This is a roundabout way of talking about spirit work and education. I want to talk about a little work that I have been doing. I don’t want to get into the details of it (I can be a little cautious that way, my nod to the injunctions toward secrecy or, at least, intimacy), but I’m hoping the sketch might still serve as an case study.
So, after having read and reread the Saadia version of the Sefer Yetzirah as well as having dipped in and out of a few other versions (especially the Gra), I figured I was just about ready to do a little work with the letters themselves. A few months of study and I am willing to dip my toes in with one letter…seems about right for me.
I do some work to visualize and activate Aleph. It’s the first letter, after all, and I am very familiar with its shape and form from a youthful interest in physics, mathematics, and infinity. I do that for just a day or three and I get the clear sense that I’ve done enough of that. The next few days, the other mothers rise up spontaneously in meditation and begin to play back and forth in a few permutations.
That settles down, too. Then I have a dream where a single word, a Hebrew name, is repeated quite clearly, three times in a row, where the dream is nothing but the word and its repetition in the darkness. It takes a few minutes of research to discover that the name is composed of three letters that form the linguistic kernel of spiritual concept that appears throughout the Middle East. All of the letters are among the doubles, the letters that animate the seven vertical lines of the Tree of Life and are associated with the planets.
I start to explore a parallelism that seems to play back and forth between these three letters and the three mothers. I do this visually, and what I get are two intersecting triangles, forming a star, each point holding a letter. There’s more to explore there, so I begin to contemplate it more carefully.
I note that the SY groups the doubles in two groups, one a group of three letter and the other a group of four letters. What the dream provided, then, was an alternate version of the first group of three doubles, a permutation of the three doubles.
Next, two of the twelve zodiacal letters present themselves to sit within the center of the star. I misidentify them, mistaking their associations from memory. I don’t realize that until I (finally) start to consider the other four doubles and instead stumble into a section of Kaplan’s commentary that deal with precisely the letters I have placed in the center, assigning to them a special relationship based on one of the two letters place in the Tetragrammeton.
I finish out the sketch of the seal (because by now I realize that’s what I am working on) with the three mothers and three doubles composing the star, inscribed in a circle, inscribed in a square, in which each of the square’s corners contains one of the remaining four doubles. I see ways of adding a second circle to the seal which would allow me to inscribe each of the zodiacal letters to a place.
(I haven’t done that. I feel that requires some further study before I’m quite ready to inscribe them. Projecting how it might go? It seems like an organic movement, not unlike the way a zygote differentiates itself.)
Then, in a snap, I realize that this seal belongs to a specific spirit, one of the three, and that each of the others could be given a corresponding seal anchored by a variation in the central letters. I’ll be chewing on that for a while.
That leads me to some consideration of the Tetragrammaton itself, and I realize that there is a way of understanding it which proceeds from an appreciation of yourself, to an appreciation of your parents, and then an appreciation of the holy community in which all of you are inscribed. Kaplan helped with this, noting that each of the letters of the sacred name can be read as “me, her, him, her.”
That final her? In strict Kabbalism, I suspect that’s Israel, the people as the bride to the divine. Think of the Torah. It opens with the beginning, with Bet, which leads us to him-Adam and her-Eve, but ends with Israel, with the Lamed that serves to join God to individual people. It can also be used to make sense of Revelation, which once again brings me back to early Christianity sharing the same roots as Kabbalism, diverging as Simone Weil notes, for reasons difficult to discern.
Under this rubric, several shifts in my spiritual understanding and several obscure synchronicities find their place. The way in which the seal manifests itself affirms the structure of the how the spirits manifested with my life, duplicating and intensifying them. There is an ethical order affirmed within the unfolding, not just an metaphysical order.