I want to talk about a couple of things that interest me about the body as an illustration of the sefirot and channels. While the doubles are given witness in the apertures, many of the diagonal lines are given witness in the interior of the body, suggesting a passage from the outer to the inner which are almost the inverse of the relationship of the planets to the constellations. The body’s apertures open into a dark interior where the organs are discovered, while the planets serve as an aperture through which the visible constellations acquire influence on the earth.
Segol brings to the fore a feature of much Jewish literature in antiquity which we don’t often appreciate in the contemporary period, what she and others call a ‘ring structure’ which proceeds to establish order according to a A-B-C-B-A pattern, according to which:
“first there is an introductory section, a prologue that presents the theme and context. The story then proceeds toward its crucial center: the turning point and climax. Once there, the beginning is invoked again, and the tale reverses direction. The second half of the story echoes the first, as if the writer is walking backward through the plot. The ending is a return to the beginning.” Marla Segol, Word and Image in Medieval Kabbalah (43)
Segol proceeds to note how the chapters of the SY proceed in this way, developing complex rings within each chapter, so that you have rings within rings. What I haven’t noticed her to have observed (at least not yet) is the way in which the witnesses themselves play a role in establishing this structure. I’m not exactly surprised at that, since she is engaging in textual analysis and I’m trying to get at a spiritual reality that it manifests.
Creation of the Heavens (AB) – The Time in Which it Transpires (C) – Creation of Human Beings (BA)
Which is also the structure of the Tree of Life diagram itself, with the central pillar the C to the AB/BA of the left and the right. Which is also to suggest a mirroring between the witnesses through a series of displacements. The central pillar anchors time most firmly in the witness of the heavens and the body, with the left and the right manifesting the heavenly and the human, either by way of intensification (mercy, strengthening the temper of the witness) or contradiction (opposing the temperament of the witness).
In other words, the human is the severity of the heavens and the heavens the severity of the human. Which makes time itself an…what, inherently balanced tree? I don’t know.
Thinking in those terms, I would wonder if the assignments if the mirroring looks something like this as regards the apertures and the planets (time is a harder nut to crack!):
Sun :: right nostril
Moon :: left nostril
Saturn :: mouth (okay, and it’s hard not to wonder at the back of the throat and Da’at)
Because each of these fall on the central pillar of their respective trees. The Sun, Moon, and Saturn because of their intimate relationship with the marking of time (albeit Saturn in a subtler way than the obvious movement of Sun and Moon). The nostrils and mouth because they are joined to breathing (the time of the body) and to eating (which, like Saturn) is also joined to the regulation of time, albeit in a less immediate fashion (though if you are hungry or thirsty…).
The other apertures are a little tricky, because I am torn between two impulses. Either, assign the right and left pillar according to the functions (hearing and seeing), or according to the bicameral halves of the brain (left and right).
The functional approach would look something like this:
Venus :: Left Eye
Jupiter :: Right Eye
Mercury :: Left Ear
Mars :: Right Ear
And I admit to liking that, because it suggests the amount of ‘hardware’ the brain has for processing visual stimuli.
The bicameral approach looks more like this (right brain involving that which is more pleasing and the left brain more severe and analytical):
Venus :: Left Eye
Jupiter :: Right Ear
Mercury :: Right Eye
Mars :: Left Ear
And I’ll admit to liking this because the chiasmus of the optic nerve here suggests a certain crossing that I have felt to happen between Mercury and Venus.
Anyway, I’m noodling and thought I would share in case it sparks some ideas on the part of others.