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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kabbalah, Tarot Magic & an Evangelist

A while back I received an email from an individual who queried whether Kabbalists believe “in the magic of tarot cards and such,” which the querant ranked amongst the “evil stuff God mentions in the bible to not engage in.” The individual lectured me “to not engage in the things of the world, but to come with prayer and faith to Him and He shall deliver you.” Plainly, I was simply faced with another of those unpleasant, invasive evangelical types, who like to barge in on ones private space, like a bull in a china shop, employing as intense condemnatory rhetoric as possible, and jumping to unfound conclusions without any comprehension of the basic facts of the matter.
Resisting my initial reaction to dispatch individuals such as these to the very conflagration they maintain to be the consequence of “Divine Wrath,” I thought I would attempt a rejoinder in a more civil manner. As can be expected, the “civil response” turned out to be a waste of time, however, I thought others who scrutinize this blog might find something beneficial in the said reply.
“I have yet to find any reference to ‘magic of tarot cards’ in the Bible or anything of the kind in primary Kabbalistic literature. Furthermore, there is no indication anywhere in our Tradition that Kabbalists ‘believe’ in ‘tarot cards and such.’ I do however know that there are many, including my late mentor (William G. Gray), who have applied the tarot in terms of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life in order to get a better understanding of the workings of creation, our role within it, and the meaning of being. It is perfectly clear that some of these applications have indeed turned out to be most fruitful and meaningful.
However, I do not believe the Tarot to be the fundamental issue here. It is clear that you are keen to express the ultimate authority of a brand of religion promulgating no engagement ‘in the things of the world but to come with prayer and faith to Him and He shall deliver you.’ This approach presupposes that all manifestation, the entirety of physical existence is naturally evil, that all humans are automatically sinners for being born into this world, and therefore not warranting a decent place in the hereafter. It further assumes that an enormous gulf exists between a holy God out there somewhere and an exeedingly unholy humanity down here, and that ‘He’ is the ‘master’ whilst we are the ‘slaves.’ Let me make it clear that this is not Kabbalistic teaching. To Kabbalists everything is part of God, and all existence the manifestation of God, hence God can be found even in a stone of most insignificant appearance.....
.....why should you pray as a slave to a master? Why should we grovel in front of a jealous, dictatorial deity; an insecure one requiring our eternal praises; a spiteful deity who, it is said, will cast us into a fire because we did not flatter him enough? That is not my idea of a ‘god’! I do not praise God for God's sake, I praise God for MY sake! I am the one who stands in awe at the wonders of creation around me, and who feels the need to say ‘Baruch ha-Shem! This is a most wonderful example of your handiwork! Now could You show me how I could emulate something like that in my own life?’
The idea of prayer should be a relationship with God, a mutual relationship, through which God and we evolve together. I believe that God manifest is also evolving, because He would not be almighty if He could not. I was taught in Kabbalism that He originates out of Nothing, that He IS but His origination IS NOT. If He thus evolves towards the Infinite Nil of His origination, He will do so eternally, because He will never find His beginning or His end. It is simply a question of the better you make yourself, the better you make God, and thus, because of my belief in the evolution of God, I also know that our evolution has no end. We also evolve eternally. I cannot fathom a condition in which I will be in eternal bliss and ecstasy, one in which I would not be able to grow ever higher, but would be condemned to sameness for ever and ever. I would deplore such a state, because it would be static and boring. I am reminded of a rather profound phrase in a song from the musical ‘Paint Your Wagon,’ which goes something like ‘When I get to Heaven, tie me to a tree, for I’ll begin to roam and soon you know where I will be?’
Besides, what is prayer and how can a ‘God’ hear us? Only THROUGH OURSELVES, and to the extent that we are in contact with ‘God.’ On this earth WE are the ears, eyes and agents whereby It knows man. By making a ‘God’ in the very best and finest form we can imagine It, we are helping that Being become its own Intention. To pray is to entreat, to postulate and to make supplication, and it seems to me the greatest supplication to the Eternal Living Spirit is surely for It to be what It wills within oneself. Our relationship with God should always be based on a continuous flow of energy, generated and projected by Divinity to us, which we have to focus and return for renewal and reprojection to us, to be refocused again and returned to God, and so on. I believe that God and ourselves stand in a reciprocal relationship, each benefitting the other. It is really no wonder that this special relationship is called a ‘Mystical Marriage’ when it is fully realised.”

1 comment:

Jason Bright said...

Your response was very good. I agree and was edified by this. There is a Midrash (can't remember the exact reference) which states that the purpose of creation is for "God to behold God." In other words, the Singularity had to actualize a "frame of reference" in the generation of dualism so that Consciousness could become self-aware. God is evolving or becoming self-aware through the experiential aspect of finite existence. You stated that this process (both infinite and finite) is an eternal process. I havent considered the process to be eternal rather that once the purpose of existence is completed that all will re-assimilate into Singularity. I will consider what you have said in this regard and ponder it. Do you have any reference of this eternal state of evolving from any Kabbalistic sources?