[NB] Trees of Wisdom and Life

I spend a fair bit of my time trying to parse out the Neoplatonic inflections from the Kabbalistic material I am studying, but it’s worth keeping in mind the antiquity of the interactions between the two streams of thought. In part, that is just being intellectually honest. In part, though, it is also because there may be useful Kabbalistic insights entangled in more syncretic models. So, two texts to share and briefly comment on, one from the medieval period, the other from antiquity.

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Yeatsian arconology, pt. 3

[As the title indicates, this is the third in a series. Here are links to Post 1 and Post 2.]

Now that I have a rough map of the terrain, I want to fill in some of the details. I’ll recap just a little and go from there. The summary repeats, yes, but hopefully also adds by concatenation.

From the perspective of the Yeatsian system, the daimonic world conspires to educate us to distinguish desire and understanding. This is a two-pronged education that allows us to appreciate that there is a fundamental gap between what exists and the desires we have. Once we become aware of this gap, we can set about working with what exists and what we desire together. This learning leads us to both modulate our own desires and character in dialogue with our situation in the world and understanding of it.

There are other forces in the world that can interfere with this process, manipulating the daimonic reality for their own ends. This includes the frustrated dead and a range of arcons born out of the frustrated dead’s interaction with the living.

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The Gathering of the Departing

“…their Covens and Fleets have rhythm and pattern. This running together and running of all to a centre and yet without loss of identity, has been prepared for by their exploration of their moral life, of its beneficiaries and its victims, and even of all its untrodden paths, and all their thoughts have moulded the vehicle and become event and circumstance.”—W. B. Yeats, Per Amica Silentia Lunae (75)

This is beautiful, isn’t it? Yeats has such a graceful pen, knows how to turn poetry to the service of spiritual truth. The image of the dead of a people, gathered up beneath the spirit that guarded their religious life, whirling through the spirit of the world…I hope for such a fate. But let us not get too caught up in the beauty to notice the center toward which they are traveling. What is that journey about?

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