[NB] Shifting Crowns: Geomantic figures (2, 4, 8, 16) and the Saadia Diagram (3, 7, 12)

In the Meccan Revelations, Ibn al’Arabi distinguishes between two equal orders of numbers, the odd and the even, in answer to a debate as to whether two or three is the proper successor to one. Two is the successor to one among the even and three is the successor to one among the odd.

This sort of thinking can be applied to compare and contrast the (1) relationship between the rule of three and its relationship to four (2+2 and 2×2) that yields both the rule of seven and twelve in the Saadia diagram and (2) the relationship between the rule of two in geomantic operations and the relationship to three that produces the sixteen signs of the shield.

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Three, Take Two

The little back and forth I had with Blogos on the last post helped bring home how subtly the rule of three operates across the tree of life. I suspect there is more than I’m seeing even with that awareness, but I want to keep chewing away on it. So, to take a quick tally:

  1.   three horizontal lines that define the channels of the elements,
  2. three pillars that broadly divide the sefirot, and the three planetary channels joining Keter and Malkuth.
  3. three mother letters

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It’s all in the stars

Except when it really isn’t. I put only modest stock in astrological divination. I have, however, experienced the influence of the heavens on the unfolding of my spiritual life. If that seems contradictory to you, then read on. This is the post where I unpack that. I am going to be a little critical of astrology, but as I’ll come circle back round to, I do that to make clear what else we can get at by pushing astrology’s boundaries back.

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Materia and Disposition

I have always found it useful to draw a line between occult and medicinal/chemical/biological/etc. properties of a material. I want to chew that over a bit here in a loosely practical fashion and highlight the importance of the person to the occult operations. I don’t think this will be saying anything groundbreaking, but I want to walk through the idea a little methodically.

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Criticism and Disposition

The Armadel is one of the few places I have seen my specific trinity of potencies identified (to the extent that they seem to recognize themselves in it on some level) as a trinity (the Grimorum Verum is another). That odd little duck gets lumped into what some call the “Arts of Disposition,” a category that seems to fit quite well with my own work with the trinity. It has been less a matter of achieving some specific thing, than of transforming myself.

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Spiritual Disposition and Practice

I want to keep talking about my spiritual practice in this post. The last post focused on the practice itself, but now I want to focus on the individual undertaking the practice. From this perspective, the emphasis shifts toward an appreciation of spiritual disposition. The practices described in the previous post really only become fully intelligible when you realize that they are directed at realizing a kernel of possibilities contained within the singular individual, in this case me. These possibilities are specific to me and my life and so the more clearly I identify them, the better I am able to activate them.

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The Coil of Life

So it may just be that I read about August Kekule’s benzene dream at an impressionable age, or spent too much time scouring the late Merleau-Ponty about the ‘flesh of the world,’ or just watched too much Hemlock Grove (I know, hardly the high culture), but the longer I look at the Tree of Life, the less convinced I am that the tree is the best model for what it describes. And the super-fancy Western Esoteric versions of it that stack trees upon trees? It just feels a little too neat and medieval. Instead, the more I consider it, the more it seems like the best way to think about it is as a coil through which the spiritual ‘juice’ of the world is circulated.

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