Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tracing the Bet - Part 2

As mentioned previously regarding the attribution of the "Twelve Banners" to the Zodiac, in Lurianic Kabbalah the attributions of Elul and Adar are reversed, and the same applies to the associated verses, as shown in Sharabi’s “Or Levanah.” We should also remember that the twelve permutations are attributed to the central six sefirot on the Tree of Life, specifically:
Additionally, the “Four Banners,” comprising three permutations each, respectively corresponding to the four directions, i.e. the first three permutations starting with the letter Yod pertain to Mizrach (East); the second set starting with the first Heh corresponds to Darom (South); the third group starting with the letter Vav relates to Ma’arav (West); and the last three permutations starting with the final letter of the Tetragrammaton, Heh, pertain to Tzafon (North).
While Aryeh Kaplan lists these specific directional attributions in his “Sefer Yetzirah,” even here there are some differences of opinion. For example, Moses Cordovero offers a different set of attributions in “Pardes Rimmonim,” e.g. he assigns the first three to the South; the second set to the North; the third group of three to the East, and the last three to the West. What is perhaps strangest of all, is Cordovero’s version of the “Twelve Banners,” which is totally at odds with Gikatilla’s original version, as shown in the following table. The highlighted permutations indicate the differences between the two sets.
It is worth noting that the arrangement Aryeh Kaplan described in his “Sefer Yetzirah,” comfortably aligns with the exercises involving the application of these specific twelve permutations in the “Tracing the Bet” meditations.
Before we finally get to share a few practical applications, it is worth perusing the attribution of the twelve permutations to the hours of the day. In this tradition the daily cycle is marked from sunset to sunset, rather than from sunrise to sunrise. Hence the daily cycle comprises two sub-cycles of twelve hours each, the first from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.; the second from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The pattern of twelve permutations follow the two sets of twelve hours in exact order, e.g. the cycle is repeated in each twenty-four hour cycle. In related teachings, we are told that the twelve hours comprising the “night cycle,” pertain to the twenty-four permutations of ADONAI, while the twelve hours of the “day cycle” are associated with two sets of twelve permutations, respectively those of YHVH and EHYEH. For our purposes, the simple attribution of the twelve permutations of the Tetragrammaton to the hours of the day in two sub-cycles of twelve hours each, works perfectly well without any need for further complexities at present.
(More to follow)

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