I have enjoyed watching folks talk about the latest season of Twin Peaks and around the home we have been talking about it quite a bit. I appreciate this post over on the Nightshirt, not least of which for reminding me that this isn’t just a David Lynch joint, that Frost’s influence is key, too. Pointing out the series’s connection to Kubrick’s The Shining also clarifies and I find it exciting to consider how this connects the series to Stephen King and his particular Americana.
The way in which fan fiction operates may serve as a case study for understanding the way in which the klippot can function, specifically as the klippot of a specific operation that can take place under the auspices of the sefirot Yesod. Let me see if I can walk you through my reasoning.
Segol talks for some time aboue the golem operation which is almost always closely related to the Sefer Yetzirah in the manuscripts she studies. As she talks about the gathering of dirt, I am thinking over the long relationship my practice has had with dirt, beginning almost a decade ago when a spirit suggested that I might find the ‘church of dirt’ more suited to my work and disposition, a church that my spirits have repeatedly rooted in an ambiguously Levantine antiquity. It seems like just one more way in which the SY work seems to be one of the capstones of the practice that I already have.
I was reading the recent post over at Hermetic Lessons and it reminded, oh, yeah, right, the Klippot, the places at which the work can take a nasty turn, and if you do the work long enough, you are going to rumble around them, risk falling into them, maybe even stumble right into them and have to make your way out (ugly scenes). That isn’t oogie-boogie scary, it’s just practical caution scary. The first time I saw them laid out neatly it was as idolatry-bloodshed–sexual perversity, but you don’t even have to squint to see Blogos’s blasphemy-insanity-sickness/death in that distinction.
This article on the shadow biosphere came across my reader in timely parallel to some spirit work. While the idea of a shadow biosphere is speculative, I am surely not the only person who read this and thought about the Luria’s already-present klippoth, the ones that spoiled the natural progression of creation.
One of the things I like about an account that distinguishes different sorts of klippoth is that it provides me with a simple but well-structured model of the ‘physics’ of the gnostic fall and the sorts of existence it made possible. I am not big on ‘results centered’ magic, but I do like my models to be as actionable as possible. Here, when I say ‘actionable,’ I mean it to refer to action in its rich, ethical dimensions, not just to its practical, ‘can I do it?’ sense.
It seems like the next arc of this process requires some attention to be paid to the Lurianic sense that this world we live in results from a breakdown in the natural emanation of creation. Luria’s account remains more firmly orthodox than do some of his enthusiastic followers, definitely more so than anything I have or will develop through an appreciation of it. So, let me talk a little about that before I strike out from there.
Reading both the Sefer Yetzirah and Orlov’s Divine Scapegoats has put me back on the track of reading through the edges of Jewish mysticism proper. Obviously, I ain’t never going to be a Jewish mystic, but it’s pretty clear I’m sharing some of the same intellectual real estate. Ha, back in the day, I remember being somewhat startled when a fellow grad student accused me of being a closet Jewish mystic over my reading of Walter Benjamin’s “Theses on the Philosophy of History.”
Following on the last post, let me talk a bit more about what I mean when I say that the Sa’adia diagram might provide the basis for a better ontological account of what exactly is going on with the talk of qlippoth. If we look at the tree as a manifestation of the archetypal forces of creation interacting with an alien matrix that receives it (which isn’t Sa’adia’s point, but one to which his model well extends), then the alien matrix’s own being has to be taken into account. Far from a passive mirror, it responds to the archetypal forces of creation according to difficult to discern internal properties of its being.
On some level, if for no other reason than they are capable of interacting, we can grasp that there is a deep affinity between archetype and matrix. There are many dimensions to the matrix just as there are many dimensions to the archetype. Whether as a result of the interaction with the matrix, or on the basis of its own self-differentiation, the archetype manifests such that it develops multiple points of reflection on itself, the seeds of individual souls. Those seeds possess the same constituting properties of the archetype on a smaller scale.
Let me get clear with what I take to be the most positive feature of the Sa’adia diagram: it provides us with the tools to evacuate the sefirot and see them as dynamic and productive faces of the eternal. The language of the ‘depths’ is evocative and apt: things come from them, yes, but they remain deep and inscrutable.
It takes the tools of apophatic discourse and provides us with the mean to apply them productively. While some folks looking in at apophatic discourse see it as nihilism, in general it’s use has been to produce positive experiences of the divine. The Sa’adia diagram frames that way of speaking exceptionally well.