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.
Sometimes Tumblr does a nice job of churning up just the right set of quotes to start me thinking toward a topic. I want to sit these two quotes together here so that I come back to them more easily than digging back through Tumblr history. So, this is another notebook in the noting something down sense.
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.
After I did the Kondo sweep of my book collection, I went through the books that I was keeping and pulled out a shelf’s worth of books to set aside. These were the books that were especially important to me, not necessarily for what they were in themselves, but for what the represented and for how they spoke to each other when organized together. In the spirit of the Kondo cleaning, a book made it onto the shelf according to whether it felt like it belonged.
I recently came across a book, The Pheasant Cap Master and the End of History: Linking Religion to Philosophy in Early China by Marnix Wells. I’m liking it a lot—my main complaint is that the book deserved better production values than it got (typos, images missing, uneven layout; nothing that prevents the text from being useful, thankfully). The core of the book is a translation of a third century BCE treatise by Heguanzi, the “Pheasant Cap Master,” but includes a lengthy scholarly discussion of the manuscript’s context. That’s useful for me, since my familiarity with Chinese material remains rather shallow.
As I have been reading about sidereal astrology, I have been trying to work out the conceptual points of contact and divergence between it, tropical astrology, and the material in the Sefer Yetzirah (SY). These last few days, reading the SY, it has begun to come into view. What I am seeing in even a summary account of India’s astrological traditions suggests that the tropical/sidereal distinction doesn’t capture the conceptual ferment in astrological antiquity I am glimpsing through the SY.
Stacey’s been reading up on her Indo-European myths lately, most especially the rival god/brothers, and it has brought Dumezil circling back into our discussions. Because I have been thinking so much about the Kabbalistic material from the point of the view of the Fall, I started to plug that into his model. What happens if we look at Dumezil’s exploration of Indo-European myth as the study of a thorough permutation of the sefirotic diagram? It goes interesting places almost right away.
The little back and forth I had with Blogos on the last post helped bring home how subtly the rule of three operates across the tree of life. I suspect there is more than I’m seeing even with that awareness, but I want to keep chewing away on it. So, to take a quick tally:
- three horizontal lines that define the channels of the elements,
- three pillars that broadly divide the sefirot, and the three planetary channels joining Keter and Malkuth.
- three mother letters
i have talked about this indirectly by way of things like the Yeatisan Vision materials, but it seems like the sort of thing that is worth saying straightforwardly. It feels like we are between eras, in some transitional period where the spiritual powers that regulate this world are changing, that there is a changing of the guard in the celestial court.
This will be a brief post, entertaining strange thoughts.
I have talked a bit about tradition, especially my preference for using the term to refer to a very specific set of historical relationships between living people. I’m sure that seems unnecessarily fiddly to some, but one of advantages of limiting the term is that it exposes more clearly the domain of spiritual experience to which it does not apply, namely the eruption of gnosis.