I have this sense, somewhere between an intuition and suspicion, that most people have an affinity for this or that column as it is represented in the Tree of Life, this or that column through which they relate more easily to the divine. The talk of left- and right-handed work in some occult circles seems to be a somewhat simplified version of this. We can talk a bit, then, about the sorts of work in a similar fashion by examining some of the archetypes that attach themselves to these columns.
After the last post, I dusted off a short book I put together a couple of years ago. The book was the root of this blog. After finishing it, it became clear to me that the understanding animating was still inadequate and working through those inadequacies motivated me to start the blog.
At some point during the Quimbanda workshop at Viridis Genii, Jesse mentioned that Kalunga, the Kongo term for the great spiritual sea in which the dead swim, is generally thought to begin about handspan from the body. The dead are just that close, and during exceptionally dangerous times, even closer.
I had heard something like this before, but this time it settled against the Kabbalistic thoughts I had been posting (interesting trivia: one of the older strains of spiritualist work that feeds into Quimbanda was called, simply enough, ‘Kabbalah’). What else surrounds the material world, close but not identical with it? Chokmah and Binah, perhaps?
Following a little from a discussion I had in the comments of the last post, I want to talk a little about how it is possible to use the Kabbalistic tree of life to differentiate and unite two dimensions of creation according to their relationship to the future (i.e., to Keter). In thinking about how Keter serves as the point from which these two dimensions are projected also enriches our understanding of futurity itself.
I did mention that I wanted to try and add a few more visual elements to these discussions, right? I wanted to try and sketch out the way emanation could be modeled using the SY’s description of the sefirot as a starting point.
A little humorous synchrony for me—I had been talking a little about the fire as the lightning in tree of life and when I went over to Hermetic Lessons, what do I find? A similar, better thought out, comparison of fire and lightning. Ha.
I wanted to return to that, though, because it is another point at which the metaphoric apparatus of the Neoplatonism-lite and Neoplatonism-heavy approaches to the sefirotic diagram overlap on the surface but diverge in substance.
I find that after i write a post like the last one, I return to the Kabbalistic material with more clarity. Writing out my current sense of the material also liberates me from that understanding and when I return to the texts, I come to them refreshed. This post pulls together threads spun in this post (on the misunderstandings that result from reading Kabbalistic material with a heavy Neoplatonic bias) and the last post (contemplating the relationship of the sefirot). It should be fairly short.