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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Binah, Chokmah, Command, Ascription, and a Correction to Geomantic Attributions

I am a bit unorthodox about moving in and out of the Kabbalistic sphere proper and amplifying it through reference to other practices. For the moment, I’m sticking pretty close to home and working with the practices that shared the the same terrain, literally, with Judaism (i.e., from Islam, Christianity, and the various ‘idolatrous’ contemporaries), that passed through the same Baghdad and Babylon, that spilled over into the same Andalusia and Morocco. That probably won’t be where this stops, but it’s where I am right now.

That seems useful in part because there was some mutual recognition of this shared spiritual world, so even as different traditions were developing their practices internally, they were doing so in a polyglot world where they were exposed to others undertaking similar efforts.

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Communitas

Emphasizing the individual dimension of the sort of spiritual work to which the Yeatsian material opens onto a discussion of how to talk about what a community of individuals might look like. The sense of individuality operates in dialogue with the individuality of other people, helping to clear away the demands we unfairly place upon them to follow our spiritual progression, but also allowing us to appreciate both ourselves and others as exemplars. At its best, this sort of support is often (not always) support to go our own way.

As a spiritual undertaking, the members of the community are not just living and breathing fellows, but the less visible and subtle spirits that circulate through it. They, too, ought to be treated with in the same fashion.

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Yeatsian Practice, Brief Addendum

I woke up from a somewhat lengthy and discursive dream this morning and while writing it down realized that it was speaking to my treatment of the Intellect and Mask in the last post as ancillary to the Will and Body of Fate. In truth, that is only half correct.

The crises provide a shift between two phases, one in which the individual manages to establish the communication between the Intellect and Mask and the other in which they establish the communication between the Will and Body of Fate. Deceit and Pity are, precisely, the lack of awareness that communication must be achieved rather than simply exist as a given.

During the phase in which Will and Body of Fate are central, the Intellect and Mask are ancillary. But in the other phase, the Intellect and Mask are central while Will and Body of Fate are ancillary. As-if the spirits were fluids passing moved, under pressure, between two sets of chambers.

The order in which this is worked out has a significant impact on the way in which a soul develops (being one of the key points along which souls are gendered male/female), but it seems like this is also a point along which the issue of primary-solar/antithetical-lunar would come into play. I’m not sure the material fully articulates this.

Hmm.

Yeatsian Practice

When I first started to dig into the Vision materials, I remember looking around the occult scene a bit to see if I could find if anything had done much with them and was a little surprised to see that they hadn’t. Most of what I saw was of the “well, W. B. never really finished the work, and it is simply too incomplete to put into practice.” Which is…well, wrong, but wrong in the useful or, as Dudley Hersbach would say, interesting fashion.

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Mooncalf

Our moon is distinctive by virtue of being an extrusion of the Earth itself, a dead twin. It’s occult power derives in part from this doubling process, for it is not just a neighbor but an affine, an ancestral body. Remember Lucretius who suggested that substances formed from atoms because of an inherent tendency to swerve? Well, look to the moon and its influence on us as a constant introduction of subtle swerves, on the physical and occult planes. Consider the way the moon slowly churns the ocean and where life began.

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