Apophatic implications: A-syncretic

This will be a short piece; I want to think out loud through some ideas coming up around the apophatic material, see how they sound. Take what I say here with something of a grain of salt because I am stating the ideas a bit strongly to see them more clearly.

As I work through the implications of apophatic work, syncretism presents itself again and again as a problem, one intricately bound up with the concern for idolatry that runs through the gnostic material. Kabbalism proper is necessarily anti-syncretic, but I suspect that even less rigorous expressions of this gnostic vein of thought (like my own) must be suspicious of syncretism.

Continue reading “Apophatic implications: A-syncretic”

Geomancy, Elemental Lines, and the Saadia Tree

I have talked a little about this, but I want to resume the discussion at a different level. We can look at the individual signs as a map of affinities, yes, but we can also look at the structure of the sign itself as a model of the middle pillar. To do this, though, we need to take a look at the conflict between the rule of three and the geomantic sign.

Continue reading “Geomancy, Elemental Lines, and the Saadia Tree”

Permutation (I)

I have been blogging quite a bit about applying the concept of permutation detailed within the Sefer Yetzirah more broadly. Much of this has to do with my sense that this practice isn’t unique to the Kabbalistic material, though it has rarely been so thoroughly detailed. While looking at so much material as an expression of permutation may seem a little abstract, I think the takeaway from that is anything but.

Continue reading “Permutation (I)”

Positively Negative

Let me get clear with what I take to be the most positive feature of the Sa’adia diagram: it provides us with the tools to evacuate the sefirot and see them as dynamic and productive faces of the eternal. The language of the ‘depths’ is evocative and apt: things come from them, yes, but they remain deep and inscrutable.

It takes the tools of apophatic discourse and provides us with the mean to apply them productively. While some folks looking in at apophatic discourse see it as nihilism, in general it’s use has been to produce positive experiences of the divine. The Sa’adia diagram frames that way of speaking exceptionally well.

Continue reading “Positively Negative”