From the Seven Churches to the Twelve Gates

The Book of Revelation and Sefer Yetzirah have been intertwined for me such that at this point I tend to think of them as two elements in the life work, two blocks of the same becoming, two books in the hands of twin angels. The last three months or so I have been working through a conversation between myself and spirit about the elemental lines and as that drew to a close, I finally sat down and found my way through Book of Revelation from start to finish.

I continue to find the most compelling element to be the trajectory from the seven churches to the New Jerusalem in which twelve gates open onto a (starship) city shared in common by the redeemed. Whereas as the seven churches are separated by space and self-enclosed, the New Jerusalem gathers together the many in a single place.

The movement from the doubles to the elementals has mirrored that movement, led me back out into this place where I am feeling keenly the contingency of the boundaries that we draw in the magical community, boundaries rooted in history and reinforced by black iron prison of empire. It’s hard not to see some neo-traditionalism as a form of death wish, a love for the emperor’s boot heel. We have to begin where we are, but that toward which we reach ought to gather us together.

That seems like what the movement from the planets to the heavens is about, after all, the movement that animates the promises of Mithraic liberation, too. That there is a road beyond the boundaries of the day into a higher union with each other and the world, one organized by a recognition of our singularity and our community. I don’t know if I have a good way to talk about all this properly.

Cling to reasonableness and friendliness without compromising either, seems like a start.

[NB] Just some fun reading

I have the feeling lately that I’m biding my time a little, waiting form some things to come together on the subtle plane and while that entails plenty of attention, it is of the sort that I find difficult to talk easily about. That leaves a little at loose ends with some of my intellectual work, but it also frees me up to just have a little fun.

I came across a book recently which has been just that: Icon, Cult, and Context: Sacred Spaces and Objects in the Classical World edited by Maura K. Heyn and Ann Irvine Steinsapir. Several of the articles address Dura-Europos and intersect with some of the historical themes that I have been talking about, from the Magna Mater to the grimoiric Baal to Justin’s Book of Baruch.

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[NB] Alloyed Planets

I mentioned briefly that the traditional assignation of metals and planets that circulates through much of the contemporary Anglo-magic scene isn’t the only one available; we have at least two Arabic variants readily available in the archive. This afternoon on a library lunch jaunt I had one of those little library angel moments and stumbled upon a book on the planetary connections made in the Mithras cult. Opening it, I found myself looking straight at yet another variant set of metal assignments.

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The Work of the Mother

I have made the contrast between the great ancestress and the Mithraic mode before, but I want to turn toward it more directly. There is something in it of the contrast between a feminine and masculine mode, but it is more than that, encompasses and overruns that. It reflects a fundamental difference in attitude toward the world and our place in it.

At its heart, the contrast relates to how they approach the mystery of the heavens. What I have called the Mithraic mode isn’t really just about the Mithraic mysteries. Rather, the Mithraic mysteries are a convenient hook upon which to hang a discussion of a certain kind of gnosticism, one that seeks to free the soul from the world and ascend beyond it.

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[NB] Holy Mother: Bulls, Vultures, Venus

Apparently, I’m all about the library angels these last couple of posts.

While I was picking up a copy of Chesnut’s Devoted to Death for my partner, another book caught my eye. It turned out to be some existential / therapeutic examination of death, but it opened with an epigraph about Çatalhöyük, describing the centrality of the bull and the vulture to the imagery of the so-called ‘great goddess.’ I would have shrugged it off had I not turned around and come face to face with Michael Rice’s The Power of the Bull in which Çatalhöyük gets its own chapter.

Continue reading “[NB] Holy Mother: Bulls, Vultures, Venus”