Mohaveh’s Cosmology

I’m weird about cosmologies. I constantly make use of them in the middle of things, as a way toward structuring a specific spiritual working, but I am suspicious of them and, to be honest, generally think of them as a bit twee and precious. When it comes down to it, though, in the grand scheme that is the shape of human endeavor. Our ideas make so much possible, but it is their fate to be dissolved in the labors of daily life, to be undone and remade.

And, if I am going to talk about Mohaveh, I have to accept that it comes wrapped in its own cosmology, even if it is the cosmology of a sea anemone, all ragged and hungry. So, let me get to that. The aim here is to provide a cosmology that is both complex and clear, instructive and useful.

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Boston Public Library: Pansophism in Image and Architecture

On a recent family trip to Boston, we spent some time walking through the McKim Building of the Boston Public Library. I wasn’t at all prepared for how spiritual experience it would be—my sister had suggested it because there were supposed to be some good murals to see. They were that, but the entire structure was wired for sound, built up like a temple as much, or more than, a library. By the time I got to the top floor, to the John Singer Sargent murals, my mind reeled with excitement. This was a place that anchored a peculiarly Euro-American vision in deep and old mysteries that transcend them.

I wonder if the place could be set in motion ritually, set to humming, or if it is primarily a place capable of triggering latent patterns in the person contemplating them, but either way it is an amazing structure. I overlooked the gallery dedicated to time, but hopefully there will be another opportunity. As it is, I want to talk about what I did see and start to unpack the wisdom packed into it. I do so first and foremost for someone who might go to the building and use this to intensify their experience of it. Secondarily, though, I hope that the insights will have some general application even for someone who hasn’t experienced the building.

To do that is going to take quite a long post since I will need to talk about both the exoteric and esoteric dimensions of each gallery. Please, avail yourself of the title links to look at the actual murals; the Boston Public Library has a lot of other material beyond what I’m linking, so let yourself wander a little.

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[NB] Of Planets, Trees, and Metals

I have been working my way through a translation of Diwan Malkuta Laita (Scroll of Exalted Kingship) that Jorunn Jacobsen Buckley published. The scroll is a liturgical guide to the consecration of new priests among the Mandaeans and is full of tightly-packed nuggets of their particular Gnostic cosmo-ontology. Considering it as a well-preserved piece of a dialogue with other Gnostic practices from antiquity has been very rewarding.

(I’m not saying it is just a well-preserved bit of dialogue, for it is part of a living Mandaean practice, too. I am, however, outside of that living practice, so for me it is most readily accessible as evidence rather than as testimony.)

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The Secret Structure of the Days: Letters and the Book of Baruch

The movement to the elemental lines in the witness of the body is a movement from the visible to the invisible, from the outer to the inner. There is a distinct but parallel movement in the witness of time. That isn’t immediately apparent in the ascription of the elemental letters to the months, but when you examine the way in which the day can be divided into two sets of twelve esoteric hours you can glimpse the elemental lines within the day itself.

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[NB] More Reflections on Type: Elemental Functions?

I have talked a little here and there about the way in which each of Jung’s core functions (Intuition, Thinking, Feeling, and Sensation) can be mapped onto traditional elemental correspondences, but lately I have been thinking that the better comparison may be the elemental lines within the tree of life diagram. Admittedly, I have been thinking about them an awful lot, but there is a logic there that carries between the two systems and encourages me to think that Jung’s psychological types might flourish better in an occult or magical account of the psyche than in an academic psychology.

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[NB] A String of Knots

Okay, so I have a few things that I keep thinking about or which are being put forward for me to think about, things that will probably make their way into posts of their own, but right now I want to see what I can do to just get them out of my head and put them in front of my face, see what other connections might arise thereby. Notebooking, so caveat lector.

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[NB] Planets, Doubles, and the Doctrine of Signatures

I have discovered there is a rhythm that works fairly well for me as I work my way deeper into the Sefer Yetzirah. I take a set of lines and begin working through them as a structure, contemplating them as they are represented on the diagram with which I focus my work alongside their witnesses. After a lot of that, I find myself drawn toward the letters proper, which is usually when things get more intense. After I have spent some time with the letters, the next structural unit starts to come to the fore, although with each step the previous letters remain present and active.

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[PSA] Edited Page, Pictures

Working through the Elemental lines of the Sefer Yetzirah made clear that I needed to update one of the geomancy pages a bit. I haven’t quite gotten a full revision done, but I’ve done some work toward that end. It’s a bit messy, really, updating as I learn, but I like having stable pages where that gets reflected, so for now I’m sticking to the plan of having stable pages that get edited to reflect improvements in my understanding.

This revision also saw the addition of diagrams. They are just photos of hand drawn material, but they are definitely an improvement over the wall of text. One of the three images is included below. It represents my current take of how to map a number of kabbalistic concepts onto the Gra diagram. Inset to the right are diagrams of each of the three kinds of lines (Elemental, Double, Mother) on their own, with the sefirot and klippot dotted in for reference.

A drawing of the tree of life as described in this essay. Sefirot are represented as blue squares, elemental lines are in red, double lines are in black, and mother lines are in gree.