[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] From a Vision to a Seal

This is a roundabout way of talking about spirit work and education. I want to talk about a little work that I have been doing. I don’t want to get into the details of it (I can be a little cautious that way, my nod to the injunctions toward secrecy or, at least, intimacy), but I’m hoping the sketch might still serve as an case study.

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[NB] Education, the Communal Body

So, this post is meant to be something of a response to two posts (here and here) over on Hermetic Lessons, a continuation of the discussion started on an earlier post on this blog. Reading those posts, I am starting to see that there are a few intuitions we share, as well as a few on which we diverge.  Categorized as a notebook to emphasize that this is one more contingent mask through which I’m thinking.

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Astro-myths: Stars and the Invisible

I have been contemplating the Popol Vuh (PV) in relationship to the astronomical dimensions of Mayan myth that I have been absorbing (slowly) through The Star Gods of the Maya. The PV is broken up into several movements, cycling from the cosmic, to the mythic, to the historical. As I consider those layers, as I consider those layers in relationship to the heavens, I am led to two related insights.

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The New Jerusalem Configuration

Revelation contains some weighty initiation-grade work and I want to talk around that a little more. Even as I am critical of its legacy, its heart is in the right place. Before I start to argue that I want more than it offers, I also want to be clear that it really does have valuable things to offer. This discussion requires shifting gears and looking at the text as a compact ritual, either intended to operate on the imaginal level or as an imaginal correlate to a much more concrete rite.

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Shield Chart–Tree of Life Conversion?

There are a few geomantic charts that I have taken over the years to which I will return. They were the ones taken at key moments or directed toward understanding important elements of my spiritual work. Sometimes, when I feel like I need to pay especial attention to one, I will recopy it and walk through the mathematics of it. It sounds silly, I know, because the chart is right in front of me, but the act of thinking it through again with eye and hand deepens my appreciation of what is going on in the chart.

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Permutation (I)

I have been blogging quite a bit about applying the concept of permutation detailed within the Sefer Yetzirah more broadly. Much of this has to do with my sense that this practice isn’t unique to the Kabbalistic material, though it has rarely been so thoroughly detailed. While looking at so much material as an expression of permutation may seem a little abstract, I think the takeaway from that is anything but.

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[NB] Reading Dreyer’s Vedic Astrology

I have been talking and thinking about sidereal astrology enough that I felt like I needed a little more knowledge about it. When I saw Ronnie Gale Dreyer’s Vedic Astrology on the shelf at my local occult shop, I picked it up. Flipping through it has been modestly illuminating from an abstract point of view, but I figured I might as well go ahead and take a look at my own chart. That provides a clear path through the material.

It brings back memories.

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Apophasis and Permutation in the Sefer Yetzirah

I will probably sit down sometime soon and think about adding a few new categories and subcategories around the discussions of the Kabbalistic material. I’m holding off a little because I want to have a sense of the directions it is opening. For this post I want to talk a little more about the apophatic dimension of the sefirot that I see underscored in Sefer Yetzirah (SY).

This returns to some of the practice-minded implications that began this growing series of posts around the SY.

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Permutations: Sefer Yetzirah and Astrology

“Oh, do not be stupid, boy!” Mrs Whatsit scolded. “You know perfectly well what I am driving at!”
“You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict from, but freedom within it?”
“Yes,” Mrs Whatsit said. “You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”
—Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time (192)

The Sefer Yetzirah account of permutation stood out boldly on this morning’s reading. It seems to be one of the most basic elements of the material and forms one of the keys to the operations both within the Kabbalistic material and to the broader magical techne of which it forms a part. Sheesh, it is easy to see the influence of the practice on the grimoire tradition and the Enochian practices of Dee and Kelley.

The discussion of the twelve elemental lines (the diagonals) opens so many doors. it begins with the simplest of things, the permutation of pairs. For reasons that are only partially clear to me, the permutation of Tet and Yud (shaping Leo and Virgo) gets my engines running. But the pairs are really only the training wheels of the permutations. The text proceeds to expand the practice to include the total permutation of the diagonals, the rearrangement of the constellations into all of their possible orders. That is wild! That entails working through the latent potentialities of the firmament itself.

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