Preface to a Series on Geomancy: Correspondences as Assemblages

For each of the days of the coming week, you will see a post. Each post is organized around a double letter of the Sefer Yetzirah, a pair of geomantic signs, and a network of correspondences that I have derived from their interaction with each other. These posts are the fruit of a period of exploration and work on my part to introduce the two systems to each other and allow them to engage in a dialogue with each other.

This project develops a sense of mine that magical correspondences have their basis in the active operation of spiritual intelligences and that one of the best ways to develop a flexible system of correspondences is to develop a deeper relationship with the intelligences that produce them. Rather than develop a table of equivalences, the goal of this work is to develop a sensibility for the modes of manifestation for these intelligences.

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Running and Returning

The Sefer Yetzirah enjoins us to both run and return and Ari Kaplan rephrases that in a useful fashion, pointing out that to run is to swing into the mystical and visionary state while to return is to come back to our critical and analytical framework and to subject what we experienced in the visionary state to disciplined contemplation. What we extract from that disciplined contemplation is what we will use to run forth again, to push more deeply into the mystical and visionary.

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[NB] Blocks of Time

One of the tings that I wanted to gently touch on again has to do with something that I said in my last post, about the nature of the work being caught up in hunches, synchronicities, and dreams, one of the reasons that I am quite fond of the tree of life model which treats the sefirot as forms of time. Which is, namely, that it makes clear what so much ritual work is about—a way of developing relationships to time.

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[NB] Menos Macho

These last few weeks, blocks of my past keep bubbling up around my exploration of the Kabbalistic material. The brief aside about the Apocryphon of John, for example, has at its root the recollection of a short story I wrote in high school after having just discovered the Nag Hammadi Library. This is roughly contemporary with my first efforts to take a horoscope and made a tarot deck for myself with index cards, magic markers, and laminating sheets (see, memories). It seems like that is partly because these memories have a place to go, a block of becoming to which they and I both belong.

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[NB] Bland Insight

This post circles around Francois Jullien’s In Praise of Blandness. I first encountered Jullien during my “if I see a Zone Book I read it” phase of my college library wanderings. I stumbled into In Praise of Blandness (also a Zone Book) at a used bookstore and picked it up for old time’s sake.

This book fits into Jullien’s long-running argument about the distinctiveness of Chinese thought from Western European thought. I’m sympathetic to Jullien’s argument, but you can bracket whether or not he is precisely right about the question of cultural difference and appreciate his close portrait of a distinct form of conscious experience.

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[NB] Old Notebooks

Today when I sat down with the ancestors, I started to get this mad little bug to tidy. That isn’t particularly surprising–the ancestors tend to like tidiness. But I found myself grabbing hold of this box that I have been carrying around for a few years without opening. As I finished sorting through it, I widened my efforts to its immediate neighbors.

That is when I came across the notebook that I thought lost. I can’t date it precisely, but it is from my first few years of college back in the mid-1990s. My best guess puts it somewhere in the 1995-1996 range. I had started it as a supplement to a philosophy course I was taking, but it became something very different the summer afterward.

Been thinking (as a note, the semester is over—the notebook was of limited usage)—seems that in much of the writings here I approached the thinkers in a far too confrontational manner; not only is this not useful (one does not water orchids with boiling water), but it is really antithetical to who I am. The attitude puts me outside myself, taking my ability to absorb and contemplate. Remember this.

Oh, yes, hello crazy little me. Whew, why did you think the academy was a good idea again?

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Zero, and Geomancy

I’ve mentioned geomancy, right? For everyday divination, I am far more likely to grab a Tarot deck, but it is geomancy that structures my thinking. I never got deep into the Tarot as map business that a lot of Western esotericists dig in part because it seemed so static. By contrast, geomancy’s figures are mobile and the mathematics that defines them seems better suited to the sort of dynamism I encountered on the spiritual plane.

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