[NB] Clever and Misleading

kabbalah_comic

I chuckled a little when I first saw this, because it is a charming bit of wit to play the contrasts here, but almost immediately I also noticed the titles of the book of book on the Kabbalist’s lap. They don’t reference any specific Kabbalistic texts, they are just an assortment of the sefirot names, which sort of misses the point, almost as badly as the trend-chasing fauxballah student parodied in the strip. While the fauxballist’s ideas are transparently silly, as is their ignorance of the roots of the practice, the way in which the cartoon frames the contrast diminishes Kabbalism proper, too.

(Yes, I know, it is just a cartoon. And this is just a blog post using it as a jumping off point to make some basic points.)

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[NB] Magical images: Comics

I have been thinking about this for a bit and wondering after the relationship between the magical renaissance of the 90s and the comics renaissance of the 90s. You have big ol’ honkin’ magician powerhouse in the form of Alan Moore, followed by the chaos magic darling in the form of Grant Morrison. It’s hard, too, to separate out the neopagan renaissance from the work of people like Neil Gaiman. I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest one caused the other, but they formed something of a trashy archive in the Foucauldian sense, a set of practices and disciplines united by a common armature, a common set of intuitions and forms that made it easy for one to inspire the other.

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Grafting the Branches

One of the reasons I have enjoyed evacuating the sefirot is that it so clearly allows me to see the common roots of Kabbalism and Sufism in a broadly Middle Eastern magico-mystical thinking that likely sinks its roots into prehistory (regionally and, if Gordon’s right, globally; speaking of dragons, yeah, we’re probably going to have a discussion about serpents in the near future, but that requires a detour through personal practice that I’m not quite sure how to get at for this format).

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