[NB] Rethinking Correspondence

The Sefer Yetzirah makes a distinction between the different domains upon which the sacred letters (channels) exert their generative force. There are three witnesses, Universe, Cycle, and Soul. Thus according to the Saadia version, Kaf produces the Sun, Tuesday, and the right nostril. So, while the Sun, Tuesday, and the right nostril are all Kaf-ish, Tuesday isn’t ‘solar’ anymore than the Sun is ‘Tuesday-ish.’

What they share is a common tie to a generative force, and we can call one by the other only through a sort of dual deployment of synecdoche and metaphor. We can call the Sun Tuesday-ish in a manner similar to how we can call a scepter crown-ly by both the scepter and crown being proper to a queen. There is truth to such poetical affirmation, but they are truths that unfurl only as the synecdoches are either followed back to their origins (mystical contemplation) or serve to call forth the creative word (magical invocation).

We can speculate that this way of thinking sits at the root of other practices with historical relationships to this material. When we’re looking at the <i>Ghayat al-Hakim/Picatrix</i> and reading about the way in which a certain rite mixes stone, dress, and the disposition of the heavens, we can read it as the ritualist’s ideal rite, a rite in which they trust (rightly or wrongly) to have identified a common set of generative forces (channels) which each element in the ritual invokes after is own fashion. That way of approaching it also provides some lines of exploration for how a ritual might be unpacked, used in part, mingled with other elements in a sort of grand permutation. What happens when the jester wears the crown or the soldier carries a scepter?

As an aside, when we talk about the body as one of the domains through which the tree of life manifests its generative powers, I’m starting to wonder what happens when we pay attention to dress in that context. What happens when we look to costuming to invoke forces on the body by the deployment of color, texture, and so on?

[NB] Obeah, Signification, Sorrow

“Obiya is about your soul set aflame in spiritual congruence and in this way the Obeahman is the maker of his or her own ontology made possible by manipulation of the transmutative matter inherited in the cosmic matrix. In this way the Obeahman is reminiscent of the modern Chaos magician but instead of sensitivity with social paradigms he or she holds sensitivity with the shifting arches of creation.”—Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, Obeah (37)

I keep opening the book to this passage and it begins to dawn on me that the distinction Frisvold is making here sits atop a rich vein of wisdom. The distinction between Obeahman and Chaos magician sits well with my own distinction between witch and wizard (obeah and chaos magic each being instances of the patterns). That in turn sits atop the engine of signification, of metonymy (esp. synecdoche) and metaphor. All of which lies cradled in the human way of being in this world and of using the world to see into others.

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