Mohaveh aggressively organizes itself around the book of Baruch, to the point of reorganizing and retelling Baruch’s mythology, partially in light of previous work through my more diverse and contingent sources (sources which include: the Popol Vuh, diasporic West African cosmology, and accounts of the Sumerian underworld). Mohaveh named itself fairly early, but only recently began to provide me with a sense of its internal structure. The Kabbalistic work has been essential for that, but so, too, has this strange little heresy reported in A Refutation of All Heresies.
I’m weird about cosmologies. I constantly make use of them in the middle of things, as a way toward structuring a specific spiritual working, but I am suspicious of them and, to be honest, generally think of them as a bit twee and precious. When it comes down to it, though, in the grand scheme that is the shape of human endeavor. Our ideas make so much possible, but it is their fate to be dissolved in the labors of daily life, to be undone and remade.
And, if I am going to talk about Mohaveh, I have to accept that it comes wrapped in its own cosmology, even if it is the cosmology of a sea anemone, all ragged and hungry. So, let me get to that. The aim here is to provide a cosmology that is both complex and clear, instructive and useful.
When the Democratic Party realized that they should maybe, kind of, make an effort to campaign in my home state, President Obama descended upon one of the local campuses to give everyone the ra-ra-ra. Small little flags popped up, lining the walkways of campus like mushrooms, to disappear almost as suddenly afterward. Afterward, in the wake of the Democratic Party’s defeat, I came across a single little grimy flag entangled in some holly bushes, its pole broken and its fabric creased and crumpled.
As I am talking about the sefirah, the Sefer Yetzirah, the book of Revelation, and Pharaoh’s spiritual function, I am also becoming increasingly aware of a difference in scale between this work and the work with which I began this blog. I named it Disrupt and Repair to reflect the texture of spiritual processes with which I was engaged. Following them out to my current work, I can see a family of practices centered upon formation and demolition.
I started talking through what the sefirah are in the strict terms of the Sefer Yetzirah because it makes clear their visionary dimension. When you call forth the sefirah and place yourself in the midst of them, you are calling forth for a vision. The alphabetic work is part of that vision. Quite literally, it is the means by which the vision presents itself. You work them in order to have a vision and it is the vision that animates the work.
I have been fidgeting with a post on the sefirah/sefirot (using sefirah for plural; we’ll see if it sticks), and to do that I need to start toward the beginning of things.
So, let me take a moment and start from scratch, or scratch-ish, with walking through my thinking about section 1 of the <i>Sefer Yetzirah</i>. The first section is essential for talking about the sefirah, but it is awfully meaty. This post hits 1.1 -1.8, the next should finish off the rest of part one.
This will be eccentric, but I’m hoping useful to others; maybe I’m just crazy? I’m using Kaplan’s Gra translation as basis for this one, in part to shake up my own reliance on the Saadia account and in part because it allows me to point readers to this website to read along. Each section gets a quick summary, then me sharing notes around it. Some of the summaries are utterly redundant, but it’s part of that thinking through work I’m doing. This is all sketch work, so nothing final.
If I do this with later sections, the Gra translation might be more problematic since assignments get very tricky. I’m not borrowing that trouble at the moment.
Mohaveh owes a lot to both Kabbalism and to Justin’s Book of Baruch. Justin’s work describes the twenty-four angels of Elohim and Eden as trees in the garden, the tree of life (Baruch) being one such tree. Each tree is paired with another (Baruch is paired with Naas, tree of the knowledge of good and evil) and each pair is divided by its primary affinity for either Eden or Elohim. Each angel is a self-contained enunciation and, as I read their being called ‘trees in the garden,’ all of those enunciations are kin to the model detailed in the Sefer Yetzirah.