Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Adoniram and Kabbalistic Dream Questioning

In researching the procedures of "letter reductions" for "The Book of Hebrew Amulets," I spotted the curious use of the name Adoniram in She'elat Chalom, Kabbalistic "Dream Questioning," in which the name in question is written in the following manner:
Considered a "Name of Power," this word/letter combination is written on the palm of the left hand prior to retiring to sleep in order to elicit a clear answer to any unanswered query one might have. It seems the basic reasoning behind this specific use of the word combination in question, is that it serves as a screen through which the sought after answer could be had in the most direct manner.
Now, I am particularly curious as to why the word Adoniram, the personal name of a biblical personality who was responsible for forced labour in ancient Israel, and who was stoned to death when he acted as a collector of compulsory tax, should have this special power? As it is, the name in question means "My Lord is Lofty," and I am well aware that it is associated in Chabad teaching with the Kabbalistic doctrines pertaining to the "sparks" of Divine Light trapped in this world of "Fallen Shards." In this regard, it is maintained that the name Adoniram, meaning "My Master is Exalted," alludes "to the elevation of sparks which reconnects the Godliness trapped in this world, where God is the ‘Master,’ to the sublime ‘exalted’." This peculiar reasoning is backed with further ruminations on the "compulsory tax" referred to in the biblical phrase "Adoniram was in charge of the levy," which is purported to indicate that, from the "perspective" of the earlier mentioned "Divine Sparks," "elevation must occur," and that "it follows that the only obstacle to this elevation is to be found within the person himself." [comments by Chaim Miller in "The Gutnick Edition" of "The Chumash: The Book of Exodus" on related references in the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s "Sefer ha-Ma’amarim Melukat," Vol. 6, p. 39]
This reasoning notwithstanding, I am still curious as to why the name Adoniram, employed in this singular manner in Kabbalistic "Dream Questioning" procedures, should be considered a particularly powerful way in which direct responses can be facilitated from "Spiritual Sources"?
Any further elucidations and indications of primary sources would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Of Moles, Warts and Sacred Lights

In the process of "weeding" my PC of seriously dated documents, I chanced upon the following essay which I wrote in 2003. At the time I had started to collect primary and secondary writings on "Divinatory Arts" in Kabbalah, amongst others texts dealing with determining ones character and destiny by scrutinizing ones anatomy, e.g. "Metoposcopy," "Phrenology," "Physiognomy," "Chiromancy," etc. I recall that as I was perusing the mass of documentation dealing with the topic in question, I was having a running conversation with my "Nefesh," my Instinctual Self. I then wrote the said essay which I thought I would share here, in hopes of adding some cheer to the "Festive Season." After all, I do believe "a smile improves ones face value," and what is more, it is also "sooo very serious"! So here goes:
"I thought I would write a special essay on those 'alien visitors' blemishing our skins, the ones we view with either indifference or distaste, and which can be most uncomfortable when it appears that everyone you encounter is scrutinizing them with a morbid fascination.....especially when you are trying to make decent conversation and finding it difficult to concentrate on the subject at hand with this constant diversion of attention. Of course, the real reason for your discomfort is that some of us are quite self-conscious, and read all kinds of meanings in the most casual glances directed at that insignificant little blemish on ones skin.
'But is that taint really that insignificant?' you ask. 'I better have it investigated in case the little blighter is malignant,' says the Paranoid Self.
'There is a deeper, mystical meaning to it,' says the Divining Self.
'What? A deeper meaning?' you query. 'Well....that depends on its size, and where it is placed on the body,' replies the All-knowing Self complacently.
With the sudden realization that the Diviner could read you like an open book by merely looking at moles, warts and such things, you decide you better shut up about the ones located rather strategically on portions of the anatomy which your Embarrassed Self prohibits you from acknowledging, least of all having publically scrutinized!
Soon you discover that this form of divination is part of an enormous study which was considered of great significance in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, comprising not only the examining of moles, but also 'Physiognomy' — the investigation of the proportions of the face and the body; 'Metoposcopy' — a term referring to analyzing the lines on your forehead; 'Chiromancy' - commonly called 'Palmistry'; etc.
With a grateful motion you dismissively wave such matters away, retorting 'Thank heavens Kabbalah did not indulge in this kind of superstitious foolishness,' only to be told that the subject of physiognomy was, and still is, of major significance in Jewish Mysticism. The Merkabah mystics, amongst others, employed physiognomic criteria 'to determine eligibility for admission into the circle of mystics. These criteria have to do with the character of the nose, lips, eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, and sexual organs, although greatest significance was attached to the lines and letters upon the palm and forehead.'
You suddenly recall that it is written in the Zohar that '.....all happens here below as it does above.....on the firmament which envelops the universe, we see many figures formed by the stars and planets. They reveal hidden things and profound mysteries. Similarly, upon our skin which encircles the human being there exist forms and traits that are the stars of our bodies.' What is more, the famed Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria, was able to read the entire life of a person expressed in the 'letters' revealed on the forehead of that individual. So what is this curious 'mystical art,' and what are the 'profound mysteries' revealed by the 'stars of our bodies'? Soon you find that the subject comprises many diverse opinions, and is much too large to be dealt with in one casual chat, and as Kabbalah in fact addressed all of the mentioned subjects, you choose to focus on the 'metoposcopical' abilities of Isaac Luria, the 'Lion' of Kabbalah, which will at least divert attention away from embarrassing warts....oy gevalt!!
Apparently Isaac Luria had the curious ability to analyse the character of an individual, by detecting and interpreting the Hebrew letters which are evident on the forehead of that person. Chaim Vital, a disciple of Luria, writes in his Sha'ar Ruach ha-Kodesh regarding his master's psychic abilities saying: 'Concerning his attainments, it is impossible for one to relate them [even] in general terms, no less in detail. However, these are the wondrous and true things which I witnessed with my own eyes: He knew how to make a future soul appear before him, as well as the soul of a living or deceased person, from among the early as well as later sages. He could inquire of them whatever he wished concerning knowledge of the future and secret mysteries of the Torah. The prophet Elijah, may his memory be a blessing, would also appear to him and teach him. He could also recognize the letters on the forehead and [was adept at] the science of physiognomy, as well as at [recognizing] the lights that are upon the skin and body of an individual. [He was also skilled at recognizing] the lights in the hair, the chirping of birds, and the language of trees and plants. [He understood] even the speech of inanimate things, as Scripture says: "For the stone shall cry out of the wall [and the beam out of the timber shall answer it]" (Habakuk 2:11). [He knew] the language of the burning candle and the flaming coal; he was able to see the angels who announce all the proclamations (from on high), as is well known, and to converse with them. His knowledge was expert concerning all the plants and the genuine remedies [which they provided]. There are many other such things which cannot even be related. Those who hear of them will not believe them when told. I have recorded that which my eyes have seen in all truth.'
The art of recognizing Hebrew letters on the forehead is based on that section of Kabbalah called 'Chochmat ha-Partzuf,' i.e. the study of permutations, which in turn is based on the idea that the whole of creation was manifested through a divine language. The view that Hebrew was the primordial language of creation found expression in texts like the Sefer Yetzirah, the Sefer ha-Bahir, and the Zohar, but was developed further in the commentaries and other writings of later Kabbalists. The latter were responsible for an extensive literature in which creation is not only considered to be the result of various combinations [permutations] of the glyphs of the Hebrew alphabet, but that all manifestation is actually 'clothed,' as it were, with these letter combinations. It is important to understand that the letters of the Hebrew alphabet are seen by Kabbalists not only as the instruments of creation, but as primordial divine forms. Sacred writ is thus believed to comprise combinations of 'Divine Names,' in which each 'Name' is a focus of divine force. As these 'Names' are manifested in all life, humans are also expressions of the divine language, each individual radiating a different combination of the divine forces represented in the forms of the Hebrew Alphabet.
Eventually the multitude of speculations regarding this theme, developed into a most practical psychic ability in the case of Isaac Luria's, who could 'read' a person in accordance with the sacred glyphs 'made flesh,' so to speak, in the being and body of that individual. In fact, these sacred forms are believed to be present in every aspect of ones being, thus Lawrence Fine wrote in his essay entitled 'The Art of Metoposcopy: A Study in Isaac Luria's Charismatic Knowledge,' that 'According to Chayyim Vital, the twenty-two letters of the alphabet are present in each of the three aspects of the human soul, in ascending hierarchical order, nefesh, ruach, and neshamah. Each is constructed, so to speak, on the basis of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The character and quality of each set of letters are somewhat different in accordance with the different levels of the soul's tripartite division. The letters present in the nefesh are small, those of the ruach are medium in size, and those of the neshamah are the largest of all. These three dimensions of soul clothe one another, as it were, with the body's skin constituting the outer covering of all.'
Vital explained that the letters, also called 'Lights,' are hidden beneath the skin of a wicked person, but in the case of a person who is purifying the different aspects of his/her being, the divine forces and their expression in the power forms of the Hebrew glyphs are openly revealed on the skin, where 'the skilled eye' can observe them. Again Lawrence Fine writes in this regard that 'The appearance of the letters on the skin allows one who can recognize them and determine their meaning virtually to see the divine part of the human personality, the soul itself. One 'sees' the soul in the sense that the letters are a relatively material expression of that which is otherwise immaterial. In the case of one who has sufficiently mended all three grades of soul, the entire alphabet belonging to each grade will appear, at one time or another, on the body's skin, most especially upon the forehead.'
Chaim Vital maintained that the letters of the soul are best displayed on the forehead, because the entire Hebrew alphabet corresponds to Binah, the sphere of "Understanding" on the sefirotic tree, of which the forehead is a symbol. However, the amount and clarity of the letters disclosed by each person is dependent on his or her level of purity and quality of service in this world. Another factor referred to is that these revealed letters can, and do, form themselves into words, which can be observed at certain times. Again quoting Vital, Lawrence Fine wrote 'Certain letters, however, will appear more brightly than at other times under various conditions. When one performs particular mitzvot, the appropriate letters shine especially brightly on that same day. Sometimes a certain word - such as the word chayyim (signaling that a person can expect to continue in life) - will appear briefly and then disappear. One skilled in this art, then, must be careful to gaze at the right time upon an individual's forehead. An exception is the deed of charity (tzedakah), whose letters remain shining brightly upon one's forehead for an entire week. This is demonstrated by the scriptural text: "And his righteousness (tzidkato) endureth forever" (Psalms 111:3).'
As briefly mentioned earlier on, and as Lawrence Fine further elaborated, 'The level of the soul which one has achieved is also discernible on the basis of the size of the letters which appear. Thus, if a person has only perfected the level of nefesh, the letters will be small, and so on. If an individual manifests only one set of letters, having attained only the level of nefesh, and more than one of a particular letter is required to spell out a word on his forehead, the letter will initially appear brightly in one place in the word, and reappear a second or third time as needed.'
For Kabbalists the letters of the Hebrew alphabet corresponds to the ten sefirot, hence there is the further possibility of viewing those glyphs manifested on the forehead in terms of their sefirotic attributions. In this manner one might determine in those letters that are expressed particularly strongly and most frequently, the 'soul root' of an individual understood as a 'sefirotic root.' Some actions strengthens, as it were, the revelation of the glyphs on the forehead. Reciting the daily 'blessings' is said to be of special significance as one such empowering activity. Again Lawrence Fine wrote: 'The lights of the letters which appear on the skin as a result of reciting berakhot (blessings) are special insofar as there is light surrounding each letter; this surrounding light is more luminescent than that of the letter itself. If one sees that the opposite is the case, that the light of the letter is more intense than the surrounding light, it signals that the blessing was not performed properly.'
Now, whilst we have made special reference to the forehead as far as this divinatory art is concerned, it should be clearly understood that the glyphs of power manifests everywhere in your anatomy, as Chaim Vital wrote: 'Know that in each and every organ of a person's body, there are letters engraved, informing us about that individual's actions. But the primary place is the forehead, as indicated earlier.'
It is somewhat difficult to discuss this subject in absolute detail in this already overly long essay, but I would like to include a couple of anecdotes regarding Isaac Luria's mastery of this art as told by his followers.
Eleazar Azikri reports in his Sefer Charedim, how Luria looked at the face of a sage and told him that 'the transgression of cruelty toward animals is inscribed upon your countenance.' Apparently the sage rushed home in a state of great distress, where he found that his wife had forgotten to feed the turkeys. He promptly took appropriate care of these creatures, and returned to Luria. Not knowing what had transpired, Luria looked at his forehead and informed him that the misdeed is no longer evident, at which point the sage proceeded to tell the Ari what had actually transpired.
Amongst the many anecdotes which Chaim Vital preserved in his books, there is the one in which he tells how Isaac Luria clearly recognized the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet, i.e. Alef, Bet and Gimel on Vital's forehead. The first two letters, spelling the word Av (father) were well expressed in normal Hebrew, but the third, the Gimel, was shown upside down. Following the message expressed by these indicators, the Ari instructed his student to show kindness to his father.
Clearly Rabbi Isaac Luria was a man of extraordinary talent and ability which goes way beyond the traditional study of Torah and Talmud. Perhaps Chaim Vital was right when he said 'There is no doubt that these matters [i.e., esoteric knowledge] cannot be apprehended by means of human intellect, but only through Kabbalah, from one individual [directly] to another, directly from Elijah, may his memory be a blessing, or directly from those souls which reveal themselves in each and every generation to those who are qualified to receive them'."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More on the "Forty-two Letter Name" for Health & Healing

Whilst I have earlier shared one specific portion of the "Forty-two Letter Name" employed in spiritual healing, i.e. , the very last portion the Name in question specifically pertaining to the sphere of Malchut, the "Kingdom" of the physical world in which we recide, it should be noted that other portions of the said Divine Name are equally utilized for the same purposes. In this regard, as addressed in fair detail in "The Book of Sacred Names," , the second portion of the first section of the "Forty-two Letter Name" which relates to Chesed (Lovingkindness), is considered exceedingly powerful in terms of the improvement of the health of a sickly individual, especially when it is conjoined with the Name (Adonai).
Then there is also the second section of the "Forty-two Letter Name," i.e. (Karastan) which relates to the sphere of Gevurah (Strength/Severity). It is not only employed in its entirety in Kame’ot and Segulot in conjunction with Psalm 119 for healing purposes, but, when vocalised "Kra Satan," it is loudly exclaimed in healing incantations. Regarding the latter application, we might consider that this portion of the "Forty-two Letter Name" is also shouted three times in exactly the same manner when an individual wishes to obliterate the impact of the “evil eye,” i.e. when at the receiving end of hate, resentment, jealousy, etc.
Here the fundamental reasoning appears to be the letters of the word (Kra—“to tear”), which could be permuted to read (Akar—“to uproot” or “to remove”), hence the statement “K’ra Satan” can be read “remove Satan.” As indicated, this expression is associated with Gevurah, and hence it is believed that this exclamation is invoking the power of severe Judgment (Din), in order to “tear” an individual away from illness. We are also told the letters comprising the Name are respectively the initials of powerful “Spirit Messengers,” all of whom are instantly invoked when “K’ra Satan” is vocalised with mental focus and physical force.
Curiously enough, this portion of the “Forty-two Letter Name” is said to pertain to Moses “splitting and dividing the Yam (sea).” It appears that the invocation Moses employed had separated, literally torn away, the adversary from the Yam. Thus those who use the “K’ra Satan” exclamation in healing incantations, are repeating the procedure Moses employed to separate the waters, albeit the aim being to “separate from disease” rather than dividing the waters of the seas.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Forty-two Letter Name for Health and Healing

Considering a recent query on how the "Forty-two Letter Name" of God might be employed for the purposes of healing and the restoration of health, I thought, whilst there are several related methods doing the rounds, that I would share the one delineated below, since it is particularly effective and relatively easy to execute.
As indicated previously, the seven six-letter divisions of the "Forty-two Letter Name" of God and the "Ana Bechoach" prayer are aligned with the seven lower spheres on the sefirotic tree, as shown below:
In the current instance I wish to focus on the second three-letter subdivision of the seventh portion of the Divine Name in question, i.e. the section of the "Forty-two Letter Name" related to Malchut (Kingdom), which is employed, amongst others, for purposes of health and healing.
As is the case with all these specific sub-divisions of the "Forty-two Letter Name," this portion is conjoined with the Ineffable Name in the following manner:
The unified Name is vocalised (Yitzohayav’t’ha). The main angel associated with is (Gadi’el), some say (Gavri’el). This “Spirit Intelligence” has three assistants, i.e. (Tzadki’el), (Yeho’el), and (Tama’el). The power of this portion of the “Forty-two Letter Name” as well as its associated “Spirit Intelligences,” pertains to increasing the popularity of those who call upon them in the Name of God. In this regard, alignment with these “Spirit Forces” is understood to cause everyone you may encounter to like you, and, what is more, no special purification is required prior to invoking their support.
This is a truly multi-functional portion of the “Forty-Two Letter Name,” since TzoYaT’, Yitzohayav’t’ha, and its affiliated “Spirit Forces,” are called upon for protection in both rural and urban areas, and, curiously enough, they also have the power to halt violent hail storms. Furthermore, anyone suffering from illness will be healed speedily when one adjures the mentioned “Spirit Intelligences” to aid this intention, and when one utters over the afflicted individual. I have employed this Name, its combination with the Ineffable Name, and the associated “Spirit Power” for this very purpose with excellent results. Similarly, TzoYaT’ has the ability to banish malevolent “Spirit Forces” and restore the well-being of an individual who suffers their affliction.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blessing & the Sea of Divine Abundance - Part 2

To return to Even, the cubic stone of Malchut, which is understood to be the foundation of all existence. Zechariah 4:7 calls it Even Rishonah (first stone) and Psalm 118:22 refers to it as Rosh Pinah (chief cornerstone), saying “The Even that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.” This verse is an important part of Masonic studies in both the “Mark” and “Royal Arch” degrees of Freemasonry, and has many hidden meanings. The Shechinah as the (Panim—"Face," "Countenance" or "Presence") of Adonai, is in fact the Rosh Pinah to whom all existence must turn (Ponim).
Everything said so far, refers of course to Malchut on the Tree of Life, represented on earth as the (Bet ha-Mikdash—the "Holy Temple"), said to be another cognomen of Adonai. We should understand the Temple to be the place where Adonai dwells, as it is written, “I will give my dwelling place to be among you” (Exodus 26:11). It is in the actual (Mikdash—"Sanctuary") where the Shechinah resides, as it is written “and let them make Me a sanctuary v’Shachanti (that I may dwell) among them” (Exodus 25:8). Again this refers to the sphere of Malchut, and specifically to the Sanctuary and Ark in our Temple, where the Divine Dweller (Shechinah) may rest on the altar, the latter itself comprising a double ashlar of two Avanim (cubic stones).
The realm of physical existence, is in fact the place of the Shechinah, as is written in Isaiah 66:1 “And the earth is my footstool,” but the fact that the Shechinah dwells among us, and as our highest Selves (Neshamot), does not mean that we are always open to Shefah. The Shechinah is not the Divine Abundance, but the container receiving the flow as it is channelled from the higher Spheres on the Tree of Life, which is in turn poured into the Kingdom of physical manifestation. Here a major problem is encountered. Sometimes the Shechinah receives this flow, and then She is called Mikveh ha-Mayim ("Pool of Water"), but there can be periods when the Shechinah does not receive the abundance, and then She is called Yabashah ("Dry Land"). Naturally creation suffers when this happens. Why should the Divine Abundance “dry up” so to speak?
From a Divine Perspective the Shefa is always there, undifferentiated in the Eternal Now, but the “Abundance” flowing into creation, can be restrained when (ha-Tzinorot—the "Divine channels" leading into manifestation) are blocked. This is said to happen when creation moves into states of separation from the Oneness of the Whole, when we no longer recognise ourselves as part of the Selfsameness of One Being, ("I Am," the Oneness of Being). It is extremely important to realise that the Oneness is never separate from us. It is we who separate ourselves, and thus it is also we who are responsible for repairing the Tzinorot, the Divine Channels, by recognising and returning to the Oneness of Being. It is equally important to realise that any recognition of duality in any form is a separation from that Being in Whom all are one.
Kabbalah recognises only one God. Yet this Oneness may be revealed in a multitude of aspects. Still It is One and there is no other. We may see life as the diversification of the One into the many, but Kol (all) are unified in the One. This is what is meant by that great statement of faith “Shmah Israel, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad” (Hear Israel, Adonai our God, Adonai is One). There is not “God” and the “Devil,” there is only “God.” It is therefore written in Isaiah 44:24 “I am the Lord, who made Kol, who alone stretched out the heavens.”

Blessing & the Sea of Divine Abundance - Part 1

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-Olam Asher Kid’shanu b’Mitzvotav.
Blessed are You Adonai, our God, King of the Universe, Who consecrated us to do good deeds.
It is our responsibility to become receptacles for Shefa , the sacred influx of Divine Abundance, which means to literally channel this “Divine Flow” into mundane existence. This is done through service, which is the assistance towards well-being we give to our world and everything within it. It is said that in assisting another individual, the “Divine Channels,” allowing the flow of Divine Abundance and goodness into this world, are restored.
In Jewish mysticism this is considered to be the duty of every Jew, but as far as I am concerned, this is the duty of every person in existence. We are told that it is Malchut, the Kingdom of our mundane existence, which receives the Shefa as it pours from Ain Sof (the Eternal No-Thing) into, and through, all the Sefirot (Spheres upon the Tree of Life). The “Universal Abundance” is directed via the Divine Name (Adonai), into the realm of physical manifestation, thus, every time you attempt to make the world a better place for anyone or anything, you need to bow mentally and express, either aloud or silently in your mind, the blessing “Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu, Melech ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu b’Mitzvotav.” This statement is a formal recognition of and a conscious link to the “Divine Abundance,” understanding the injunction “Close is Adonai to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). Of course the blessing can be simplified to (Baruch Atah Adonai—"Blessed are You Adonai").
The blessing in itself is in fact a magical invocation. Firstly, the language is Divine and links those who utter it to the powerful forces, the Divine Hosts, residing in the subtle “Realms of Being” behind the words. Secondly, during the invocation you surrender to the these Divine Forces, and let your entire being, that is body, mind, soul and spirit, act in unity as a conduit allowing these Spirit Forces to flow into manifestation. In other words, you once again “make the words flesh.”
Looking at and understanding what this blessing is all about is immensely rewarding in terms of expanding ones consciousness. The noun of the verb (Baruch—"Blessed") is (Brachah—"Blessing"), which is synonymous with (Breichah—a "Pool," "Pond" or "Lake") the source of Shefa, the Divine Influx. Every time you say the Brachah you are linked to the Breichah, and then you can be the channel directing the flow to all of creation, if you so will. The Biblical Abraham was said to be the first person to receive this Brachah, which tied him to the Divine Source, the Breichah. He passed this on to his son Isaac, whose children Jacob and Esau battled over it. Eventually Jacob successfully claimed it, and the knowledge of the power of this Brachah was passed on to his twelve sons.
The third word of the Blessing, the Divine Name Adonai , is an extremely powerful God Force, since it contains and directs the powerful forces flowing from the Breichah, the divine reservoir of abundance within the Being of the Most High. In fact, uttering the Name Adonai, instantly links you to this Infinite Source. Kabbalah explains that the Source and its outpouring of Divine Abundance is referred to in Genesis 2:10 — “A river issues from Eden to water the garden, and then it divides and becomes four branches.” It also states that the four divisions refer to the Shechinah, the “Countenance of God,” or Female aspect of the Divine here in manifestation. We know that this verse also refers to Malchut, the Kingdom of this World, with its fourfold cycles (elements, seasons, lunar rhythms, etc.). In fact, anthropomorphic, or physical, representations of the sphere of Malchut on the Tree of Life, often show the Shechinah as Malkah (the “Divine Queen” of the Earthly Kingdom) seated on a cubic throne.
This stone is extremely significant since a cognomen for the Name Adonai is the word (Even—"Stone"). Adonai is the foundation of everything in this realm of three-dimensional existence, and since all existence is fully dependent on Adonai, this Divine Name is also called (Kol—"All"), the Whole in which there is no lack. It is thus written in Isaiah 44:24 “I am the Lord, who made Kol who alone stretched out the heavens.” Here we are brought once again to the earlier mentioned Breichah, the pool of Infinite Abundance, also called (Yam—"Sea"). This is referred to Biblically in Psalm 104:25 “There is a sea, vast and wide, with its creatures beyond number, living small and great.”
Of course this vast “Sea of Abundance” not only refers to physical manifestation, but also to mind, soul and spirit. Therefore it is also called (Yam ha-Chochmah—the "Sea of Wisdom"), because all knowledge, on all levels of manifestation, is within it. Once again it was said that this was given to Abraham, as it is written “And YHVH, blessed Abraham with Kol” (Genesis 24:1). As indicated, he in turn passed it on as a birthright to Isaac, who in turn bequeathed it to Jacob, who said “For God has favoured me and I have Kol” (Genesis 33:11).
(More to follow)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Maggidim: Spirit Messengers - Part 2

It should be noted that from the sixteenth century, the invocation of Maggidim became quite commonplace amongst Kabbalists, whereas prior to that it was a specialised and rare occurrence. Through Maggidism the Kabbalist draws on the vast spiritual realm of sages, saints and celestial guides, the realm of Elijah, as well as the embodied essences of scriptures. In the eighteenth century Moses Chayim Luzzatto wrote to a friend concerning his own Maggid, saying: “I admit that since 1727 God has been gracious to me by dispatching to me a Holy One from heaven who reveals to me.....nightly secrets....He promised me that I would be privileged to hear [the utterances] from the very mouth of the prophet Elijah and even the living words of the lord. And as he promised, so it came. When the appointed time arrived, the prophet Elijah revealed himself to me, followed by the Holy Souls who abide on this earth ready to fulfil the tasks of the Lord.....and with their assistance I composed many and important works.”
This occurred when Rabbi Luzzatto fell asleep while chanting Yichudim, which are Kabbalistic mantras and formulas comprising Divine Names. He woke up suddenly when a voice called to him in Aramaic, saying: “I have come down to reveal hidden secrets of the Holy King.” At first Rabbi Luzzatto was afraid and trembling, he listened to the voice enumerating Kabbalistic teachings, and what must have been a surprise to him, was that the Maggid did not appear physically, but spoke with his own mouth and voice.
It was only after several occurrences that the voice admitted to being a Maggid, promising the young Kabbalist “formulas to keep in mind every day,” and Rabbi Luzzatto’s relationship with the Maggid eventually grew so deep that he received immediate and pertinent answers to his questions. Later the Maggid stopped the Rabbi from using Kabbalistic formulas, replacing them with a Holy Name, at which time came the promise of visual contact with Elijah. The prophet in turn appeared and promised the Kabbalist contact with the archangel Metatron, the Angel of the Presence and “Great Guardian of Heaven,” and, as Luzzatto later reported in his diary: “I can recognise each one of them. Also there are Holy Souls who come, their names I know not, and they tell me new things which I write down.....All these things I am doing while falling on my face and while seeing the Holy Souls as if through a dream in human forms.” The Rabbi lived for three years in almost continuous ecstasy, while keeping very quiet about his revelations. Afterwards, with the aid of a close friend, he started imparting his messages to others.
The whole process of meeting and mingling with Maggidim is due to the practice of Devekut, Divine Union or Cleaving to God. Again the practice of Devekut results in prophecy, communication with Maggidim, and even in power over the laws of nature. This happens because Kabbalists, through their attempts towards spiritual perfection, return to their source, or “soul root” as it is sometimes called. The mental power and compassion of Kabbalists would then vastly expand as they become gradually more Godlike. The more this happens, the greater becomes the ability to communicate with “Celestial Intelligences.” As Kabbalists continue to utter Sacred Names of God, also employing different breathing patterns, procedures understood to be tying them to the Spirit World, they obtain a high level of prophetic ability and raise themselves into vastly expanded states of consciousness.
We should note that the practice of Devekut leads to a sacred Zivug, or coupling, a sacred sexual act between God and the soul, which is often followed by the appearance of a Maggid. In a relationship of this nature with God, incredible, spontaneous states of ecstasy occur, in which Kabbalists are flooded with a Divine influx or bliss called Shefa. This would literally turn the practitioner into a physically incarnated Divine Messenger or Maggid, and then it is believed this Kabbalist could fulfil the function of instructing others.
I should stress again that everything discussed here, and all manifestation, whether materialised outside or inside ones own being, are part of the universal “I Am.” Each one of us creates our own realities, and if the Maggidim, the “spirits” of external and internal manifestation are conversing with us, it is due to the fact that we are ready and “open” to “meaningfulness.” It all depends on the alertness, the awakeness, of the Kabbalist as to whether he/she gets the messages or not. It depends equally on whether that individual is open, receptive and expanded enough to actually get the meaning, i.e. trained enough in the practice of approaching life in terms of meanings, and finding for oneself through this the symbols of consciousness, the relevant “Inner Language” without which one would not get very far.
Life will have no meaning if you do not attempt to discover the meaning, or give it meaning if it does not have any for you. One should at least try to interpret the relevance while still on the ground, so to speak, so that when you eventually get off the surface of this mundane existence into loftier realms, all the meanings will “speak” to you. You must first build communication, a process of great importance, in which acknowledging “god-forces,” your emotions, is imperative, since those are the responses from the spirit world.
We know these “subtle intelligences” can appear beautiful or hideous, protective or menacing, depending on the thought or emotion which has given them life. We know to some extent that creation and manifested life originate in the physical and mental attributes of man himself, and if you do not know this, then it is time you start thinking about it. All life existing everywhere is created by your Self. All life, the whole universe in fact, is created by your Self. By this I do not mean the small part incarnated in the body, but the “I AM.” It is like the illustration based on the famous “Through the Looking Glass,” showing Alice standing on a checkerboard floor and staring into the “looking glass” in which she observes her own reflection as a shadow. Within this shadow she observes universes, galaxies, suns, moons and planets, but what she does not realise is that she is looking at herself. She thinks she is looking at things out there, while in reality it is all a reflection of Self.
Regarding “spirit intelligences,” I have to admit that my own relationship with them has been rather shaky. My particular “Inners,” as I like to call them, have not been a very forthcoming group, however admirable they may be in other ways. They do their job, but they do not give any prizes so to speak. They are extremely cryptic, and I do not believe they treat anyone else better than they treat me. I have certainly never had a personal hot line to God or lesser celestial authorities. About all I am told is to shut up and get on with the job. Personally I find these “Higher Orders of Life” very hard to deal with, not always particularly cooperative so far as human affairs are concerned, and not very exciting to work with. They seem to choose whether they want to work with you or not, and when these “forces” elect to work with you, they can disrupt your life quite considerably.
These “Inners” have also communicated with me in the form of “Voices,” and I have regularly woken up in the middle of the night to the sound of my own voice. Believe it or not, this is not an uncommon phenomenon, but can be rather perplexing when you suddenly find yourself speaking without having any control over it. All the same, it does not always do to be too meekly acceptant of whatever “Inner Voices” tell you. My own experience of life has led me to treat all “Voices” with extreme caution. I would not rely on them a single inch past the edge of my own judgment. Remarkable as they are, I have found they are purely concerned with the pursuit of their specific spiritual work, regardless of the humans they use as instruments to work with. So far as they are concerned, humans are expendable and disposable if need be.
Provided you listen, and then make up your mind what action you will take and do so on your own responsibility entirely, that will be fine. Never do anything purely because some “Voice” says so. Think it out for yourself, and then do what you will because you agree or disagree with what you heard. If you act blindly, without reasoning, they will ultimately let you ruin yourself. They did not save countless individuals from agonizing deaths. To them, deaths and disasters are but mere incidentals of an overall individual experience of identity through a “Line of Light” covering a lot of Cosmos. They do not see why we should mind being the subjects of their experiments with Existence, any more than we ask why animals or plants should object to our eating or experimenting with them.
If you meet their consciousness with your own on terms of mutual respect, based on acknowledgement of each other’s functions in a common Cosmic cause, you will make a good enough relationship, but the moment you accept everything the “Voices” say without question, you make trouble for yourself. Your only real protection is to become a living “Question Mark” yourself. Query everything all the time, and in the end, let the ultimate decision be yours.
You will naturally wonder why I bother at all with “Spirit Intelligences.” The reason is simply because it was in me before I was born, just as others have it in themselves for the same purpose. Call it “Fate” if you like. We came here to do specific jobs, and until we do them we shall be bound to human bodies.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Maggidim: Spirit Messengers - Part 1

I recently received a query regarding Maggidim (Spirit Messengers), and I thought the topic might be of interest to readers of this blog. As it is, I devoted an extensive chapter on this specific topic in "The Book of Self Creation," in which I also shared a technique on contacting a Maggid. This subject, so often referred to in Kabbalah, reminds me of the tenth century Rabbi Hai Gaon, the famous religious leader and mystic, who wrote: “God arranged the order of creation so that all things are bound to each other. The direction of events in the lower world depends on entities above them, as our sages teach, ‘there is no blade of grass in the world below that does not have an angel over it, striking it and telling it to grow!’
Human souls are also bound to higher levels, and therefore, when a perfect individual becomes involved in Meditation (Hitbodedut) upon Wisdom, it is possible for him to predict the future events. As a result of his deep meditation, his consciousness and mind fall into a trance, and through his deep probing of the mysteries of existence, he reaches the First Cause. The faculties of his heart then become like the Urim and Thumim, mystically bound to the angels in heaven, and he becomes attached to the Ultimate Good.” A Kabbalist can communicate with entitised awareness, whether incarnated in a physical body or not, and included here is the Maggid, which can be a departed Saint, beloved Teacher or Master, an Angel, etc.
It saddens me when modern scholarship, starting already in the nineteenth century, refers to the phenomena of Maggidim as something totally illusory, devoid of all truth, and belonging to the realm of psycho-pathology. Some even apologetically refer to it as a “regrettable weakness” on the part of the person claiming such a contact, while others, including the very religious, see the whole subject of the Maggid as a fabrication, believing it to be heresy and a disgrace.
Despite all this, it is worth noting that many famous Rabbis, Masters and scholars had a Maggid. In fact, Maggidism comprising mentor angels, spirit guides, voices, and so forth, certainly played a massive role in all mysticism, and, as one author puts it, existed in certain periods and amongst certain groups almost like an “epidemic.” So despite modern scholarship referring only to the worshipful “religious-spiritual” side of mysticism, there is no doubt that manifestations like Maggidim are a widespread and valued phenomenon.
The meaning of the word Maggid is “one who relates,” and it ordinarily refers to itinerant preachers. However, on another level, as already indicated, a Maggid is a mentor or ministering angel, spirit guide, or voice, which could in some cases appear in dream as a departed friend, teacher or master, an angel or spirit guide instructing the dreamer, who can question the Maggid. At other times it may appear while the receiver is completely conscious and awake, alone or in the company of other people. Often all present would hear the voice of the Maggid, though at times a contactee would be taken over by the Maggid as in possession, and then the “spirit messenger” would speak through his/her mouth, which is not unlike what sometimes occurs in modern Spiritualism when the medium becomes “controlled.”
Yet not always is the Maggid a spirit classifiable as Elijah, or some known friend, master or angel. The Maggid can be the personified spirit of sacred texts, that is the spirit of the Torah, Mishnah, Talmud, Zohar, Tosefta, or other holy text, seen as conscious living entities, such as in the case of the sixteenth century Rabbi Shlomo Molcho where, at night time, the Mishnah descended as a personified feminine spirit, to whisper revelations into the ear of “Her” servant.
The same holds true for the sixteenth century Rabbi Joseph Karo who had a Maggid appear to him every time he recited the Mishnah by heart, who then spoke, saying: “Peace upon thee, Rabbi Joseph Karo. I am the Mishnah which thou hast studied. I came forth to teach thee understanding.” Then the Maggid would instruct the contactee regarding remarkable mysteries of life and its manifestations, and the teachings related to these mysteries, such as Kabbalistic explanations. Yet, the Maggid never appeared in visual form to Rabbi Karo, but spoke through the Rabbi’s mouth, and, as one author puts it, this is “a genuine case of well-ordered, lucid, automatic-speech,” of course still under the guidance of a Maggid, a heavenly messenger.
A Maggid could bring great visual revelations, even though it may not necessarily itself be visual. Thus the Maggid of Rabbi Karo said: “I shall grant thee to behold Elijah, for the ancient of days will be clothed in white garments and will sit facing thee and will speak unto thee as a man speaketh unto his friend and thine eye shall behold thy teacher and.....He will speak with thee and thou shalt behold him.”
The subject of Maggidism is not only related to automatic speech, but to both clairvoyance and clairaudience. More and more I think you may realise how closely this relates to normal mediumistic states and trances. A Maggidic manifestation is not only related to a spirit messenger, angel, dream figure or automatic speech, occurring during sleep, while in a trance or fully conscious, but is also related to automatic writing. Connected to the latter is the Kabbalistic Chochmat ha-Tzeruf, “Science of Permutation,” but this topic is much too large to address in any great detail in this brief post. Briefly Tzeruf is a method of mentally permuting the letters in Hebrew words as a form of profound meditation, leading to expanded sensory perceptions and ecstatic states.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"And a river went out of Eden" - Part 6

We are informed that through the Names of the four "Edenic Rivers" we can witness the wonders of El Chai, the Powerful Overlord of Life. As noted previously, the very Name of the Eternal One is in (Pishon), the name of the first of the four "Rivers." In this regard we are told that there is no disease in the world which cannot be cured by the letters of this single Name, including the alleviation of conditions like infertility; the elimination of all plagues and epidemics, whether pertaining to man or beast; etc.
Moses Zacutto advised us that there is nothing to compare with the power of the Name in question, which he said can also be employed to control the injurious impact of crawling insects on our world and ourselves. As delineated in the second part of these articles, the "secret" of is in the first four letters of this name expressing the Ineffable Name. Just as the Name Pishon includes fhe Name , so is the Name (Ehyeh) hidden in the first four letters of the Name . In like manner the "secret" of the Name is the Divine Name (Adonai), and that of the fourth "Edenic River," (Frat), is said to be its connection to the (Merkavah), the divine "Chariot Throne," which pertains to the Name (Yabok) being hidden in the Name Frat.
Be that as it may, considering the remarkable powers of the Names of the four "Edenic Rivers," we are informed that these pertain to a most potent segulah, the latter being delineated in "The Book of Sacred Names" as "a unique action or an object, often comprised of Divine Names, special signs, words or phrases, which is considered to be a most precious ‘spiritual treasure’ to be employed in a unique manner, in order to affect a physical outcome in harmony with the intention of the one who employs the segulah." In the current instance the segulah comprises the previously delineated Names of the "four Rivers," including their combinations and permutations, written in soluble ink on parchment (clean white paper will do nicely). For the sake of easy reference, here is the entire set again:
Following the writing of these combinations, the letters comprising the names are dissolved by soaking the parchment in havdalah wine, which is afterwards quaffed by the one requiring the segulah. In this regard, some stress that all the wine must be consumed to the very last drop, whilst others claim that a single drop of this wine is enough to work the full power of this segulah within ones body. Still others maintain that the Names of the four "Edenic Rivers," as well as their mentioned combinations and permutations, should be engraved on the inside of the silver cup, effectively turning the chalice into a kamea or "power object." In this manner the wine, when poured into the cup, would be potently infused with the "forces" inherent in the Names. This is considered to be equally as powerful as writing the Names on parchment and then dissolving them in the wine. There are however some disagreement about this, which include variant instructions regarding the exact amount of the "magically infused wine" one has to imbibe.
Personally I could not care less about such disparities, and have no interest in any of the affiliated bickering, my only concern being the effectiveness of the "method" employed to work the "magic," i.e. whether it achieves the sought-after objective. Notwithstanding this, I believe it would be a damn-sight easier to write the combinations of Names and their permutations on parchment, than it would be to find an individual willing to work the arduous task of engraving that mass of peculiar writing faultlessly on the inside of a silver chalice!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"And a river went out of Eden" - Part 5

Several magical uses of the four Edenic rivers still remain to be addressed, amongst which the most generally employed is their inclusion in amulets intended to aid women suffering difficulties during childbirth. For example, there is a unique magical practice which is enacted on the seventh day of the festival of Sukkot, i.e. Hoshana Rabbah (Great Hoshana). On this day it is customary to make seven hakafot (sacred circumambulations) in the synagogue, whilst carrying the Lulav and chanting Hoshanot (supplications).
For those who do not know, the term Lulav, meaning a palm branch, is used in reference to the “four species” delineated in Leviticus 23:40, which are conjoined into a special construct during Sukkot, i.e. “branches of palm trees,” a single palm branch (lulav) which forms the backbone of the contraption; “boughs of leafy trees,” traditionally three myrtle branches (hadasim) located to the right of the assemblage; and “willows of the brook,” these comprising two willow branches (aravot) positioned to the left. It is customary to carry this palm/myrtle/willow construct in the right hand, whilst holding the remaining “species” which is a “fruit of goodly trees,” traditionally a citron (etrog), in the left hand. Since the “four species” are meant to be conjoined, the two hands are held together during the waving of the lulav.
Regarding the relevant “magical practice” mentioned above, one is instructed to remove five unimpaired leaves from the willow branches after the completion the seven hakafot (circumambulations) and the conclusion of the Hoshana Rabbah prayers. One then has to write the names of the four “rivers” on these leaves, afterwards offering these to a woman who is suffering difficulties during labour, and who is said will then be giving birth forthwith.
Now, whilst this practice is all good and well for any woman about to conceive in the immediate period following Hoshana Rabbah, one might well wonder what “magical support” could be employed for the same purpose at other times when there are assuredly many women who would be enduring problematic confinements. In this regard, there is, amongst others, the following very famous “birth” kamea (amulet) from the Sefer Raziel (Amsterdam 1701 edition):
This amulet is equally employed to support a pregnant woman who encounters difficulties during childbirth. We are instructed that it should be written on a deerskin parchment, however I can attest that it works just as well when written on a sheet of clean, white paper. Afterwards the amulet is tied to the belly-button of the pregnant woman, and one has to whisper in her ear the phrase from Exodus 11:8 reading:
Tze atah v’chol ha’am asher b’raglecha
"Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee."
Besides the inclusion of the names of the four “Rivers of Eden” on its four corners, the outer circle of the kamea comprises the names of our “primordial parents” Adam and Chavah; Lilit, the mother of all demons; the names of angelic entities directly affiliated with the matter in question; certain Divine Names; as well as Psalm 91:11, these being:
Adam v’Chavah chutz Lilit [Lilot (?)] chavah rishonah, Shamri’el, Chasdi’el, Sanoi, Sansanoi v’Semangelof, Kuzu B’mochsaz Kuzu
[Psalm 91:11] ki malachav yitzaveh lach lishmor’cha b’chol d’rachecha Amen, Selah.
“Adam and Eve away(?) Lilit [Lilot (?)] the first Eve, Shamri’el, Chasdi’el, Sanoi, Sansanoi and Semangelof, Kuzu B’mochsaz Kuzu,
[Psalm 91:11] ‘For He will give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways’ Amen, Selah.”
The biblical saga of Adam and Eve is well known, but the tale of Lilit, the first wife of Adam, whose remonstrations regarding her marital status which ultimately resulted in her becoming the “mother of all demons,” is perhaps not so well known. We are told that she is not only a sexual temptress of the first order, who, according to the Talmudic legend, lurks around for shed seed, stealing it with the intention of creating demons, in order to torture mankind, but she is also a killer of infants. Regarding the latter, the three angels Sanoi, Sansanoi and Semangelof (or Sana’ui, Sansina’ui and S’man’g’lof according to the Shorshei ha-Shemot), were sent to stop her in her tracks, and hence their names are included in amulets protecting women during childbirth, as well as in those safeguarding infants. The peculiar term (chutz), preceding the name of Lilit in the kamea, has been said to mean “away” or “outside,” however it was also suggested that the final tzadi is a transposition of the letter heh by means of the Atbash cipher. In this regard the word in question could then be perceived to be a hidden reference to (Chavah—“Eve”), and hence it is claimed “the word itself is supposed to be protective for mother and child against Lilith herself.”
The Divine Name construct (Kuzu B’mochsaz Kuzu), the “Fourteen Letter Name of God” which I addressed to a certain extent in “The Book of Sacred Names,” was formed from the letters succeeding those comprising (YHVH Eloheinu YHVH). We are told the latter Name pertains to the sphere of Mercy (Chesed or Gedulah) on the Sefirotic Tree, whereas the transposed version relates to the sphere of Severity (Gevurah), hence its inclusion as a measure of powerful protection in the “birth” amulet under discussion.
Now, focussing attention on the central hexagram of the amulet in question, and starting top right and reading around from right to left, the outer borders and corners of the hexagram comprise the “Forty-two Letter Name of God,” i.e.
Avgitatz Karastan Nagdichesh Batratztag Chakvetna Yaglefzok Shakutzit
I have addressed the "Forty-two Letter Name of God" in great detail in "The Book of Sacred Names." In turn, the centre of the hexagram is comprised of the earlier mentioned phrase from Exodus 11:8, which concludes with the statement (b’shem KVP KPV VKP VPK PKV PVK — “In the name of KVP KPV VKP VPK PKV PVK”).
We should pay some attention to the peculiar Divine Name and its permutations. In Hebrew the word (Kof) refers to an “ape,” hence the inclusion of this term as a Divine Name in this amulet must appear most odd. An acquaintance made the tongue in cheek observation that the word in question might be referring to the “little monkey” about to issue from the womb of the sorely distressed woman, however, I believe there is a lot more hidden here than meets the eye of casual observation. For one thing, the mispar katan (small gematria) of is 15 which is equal to that of , the “Digrammaton,” an important and often employed abbreviation of the Ineffable Name. Furthermore, in perusing the six permutations of the Divine Name in question, it would seem that the central idea behind them is the principle of “opening.” In this regard we might note that the combination , the concluding permutation in the set, which could be read Puk meaning “to totter” or “reel,” also indicates ideas of “producing,” as shown for example in the word (heifik) meaning “to bring out” or “produce.” Furthermore, the letter combination also appears in words pertaining the concept of “opening,” e.g. (pakach) meaning “to open,” as in opening the eyes or ears.
In my estimation these ideas relate directly to the very fundamental purpose of this amulet which was constructed to “open the womb” so as to facilitate easy birth. Curiously enough, the six permutations of are employed separately for the same purpose. In this regard, we are informed that they are to be engraved on a silver coin which the pregnant woman has to put under her tongue, whilst one whispers ten times in her ear a larger portion of Exodus 11:8 reading:
V’yardu chol avadecha eileh eilai v’hishtachavu li leimor tze atah v’chol ha’am asher b’raglecha
“And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down unto me, saying: ‘Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee’.”
This verse is said to comprise several hidden meanings. For example, the gematria of the initials of the words comprising the opening phrase are revealing associations with special Divine Names, e.g. the initials Vav and the Kaf of are said to pertain to the Ineffable Name, since the numerical value of these letters is 26, which is equal to that of . The gematria of the initials of the succeeding three words, , is 72, which is said to indicate the “Name of Seventy-two Names.” In turn, the numerical value of the initials of the words is 66, which is equal to that of with the addition of the kollel, the extra count for the word itself, and the gematria of the word is 91, which is equal to the combined numerical value of the names . We are also reminded that the numerical value of , the Divine Name employed in this instance, is 186 which is equal to that of the Divine Name , etc.
Getting back to the magical technique in question, at the conclusion of working the ritual, the coin should be sold to an individual inside a synagogue or temple, and the money employed in the purchasing of olive oil which is to be donated to that specific place of worship.
In a variant version of the foregoing techniques, we are instructed to write the six permutations of on a cube of sugar, or on a piece of kosher candy, to be consumed by the afflicted woman, whom, we are told, will then give birth forthwith.
(More to follow)