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.
When Orlov discusses the Slavonic Jewish Apocalptic materials, he makes much of how they relate directly to the Yom Kippur rite of antiquity, to the ritual of atonement. While he doesn’t establish a priority between them, he traces out their parallelism. The same structure appears in Revelations. The rivalry of the Lamb and the Beast, for example, plays an essential role in the book’s development and it, too, derives from the rite of atonement’s logic.
However, what I want to think through here is the nature of that derivation. It seems to be a derivation by way of reply rather than of repetition. The apocalyptic material both comments upon the rite of atonement and elaborates it. Whether we want to call that a development is up in the air, but it is definitely a thorough permutation.
In the Meccan Revelations, Ibn al’Arabi distinguishes between two equal orders of numbers, the odd and the even, in answer to a debate as to whether two or three is the proper successor to one. Two is the successor to one among the even and three is the successor to one among the odd.
This sort of thinking can be applied to compare and contrast the (1) relationship between the rule of three and its relationship to four (2+2 and 2×2) that yields both the rule of seven and twelve in the Saadia diagram and (2) the relationship between the rule of two in geomantic operations and the relationship to three that produces the sixteen signs of the shield.
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.
Yesterday was a good day in numerous small ways and one of them was following a little nudge to wander by the library. I walk by the new books shelf and the first thing I see is Divine Scapegoats: Demonic Mimesis in Early Jewish Mysticism by Andrei A. Orlov. After having just had a lengthy post about mimesis, it feels like someone dropping an anonymous note through my mail slot, so I picked it right up.
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
Threes are all over this blog, such that it seems a little silly to even try to provide a set of links that would survey it. It’s an understatement to say that the rule of three in the Saadia tree of life excites me (I’m starting to feel like I need that blog post on autodial). I wanted to talk about it last, though, because I didn’t want to pin all my associations with three-ness to the rule of three in a bout of confused over-enthusiasm. This post is more calm that it would have been previously, but there is still a bit of enthusiasm; please forgive me if this post is a little more fragmented.