Shards of Ohr

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Wednesday gratefuls: Cousin Diane of Clan Keaton. Hanwoo beef. Seoah. Bulgogi. Backsplash ready to go up. Slight snafu in my bank account. Oops. My error. All better now. Bowe. Marina Harris. Being right, being wrong. Tom’s theme. American Day of Atonement. Missed it. Kate and her handiworks. Luke and Elisa, Torah and the Stars. David Sanders, Sefer Yetzirah. Voice and letters as creative powers. Kabbalists. Judaism.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Student’s mind

Tarot Eight of Stones, Skill

 

The filibuster. You know. Gumming up the works all by yourself. Of the Senate of the still most powerful nation on Earth. Sure, there’s a risk. Always. If and/when the GOP controls the Senate, the Democrats would not have the filibuster. But. Voting rights? The Build Back Better bill? Standing up for decisions as opposed to obstruction. Right now that looks pretty good to me. Ditch the filibuster.

 

This morning I had my first Winter semester classes. Torah and the Stars: Astrology and Kabbalah, Pt. II and Sefer Yetzirah, chapter 2. One starting at ten and ending at eleven fifteen, the next starting at noon and going until one fifteen. Both dense. Astrology is dense because folks have been fussing with it since early China, India, and Mesopotamia. Houses, planets, sun signs, north and south nodes, aspects. Natal charts laid out against the chart of the day. Telling stories with Uranus the renegade and that emotional Moon conspiring to challenge a stolid Taurean. Still learning, still unsure how I feel about it.

The Sefer Yetzirah class felt like beef tenderloin compared to the ground sirloin of Torah and the Stars. David Sanders told us to read about quantum mechanics to get ready. I’ve done it. I know more about quantum mechanics now than I did a month ago, but get it? Nope. I do wonder a bit about these, oh my god look at how close the early Kabbalists were to quantum mechanics. Let’s grant that they were close. So what? Quantum mechanics is a better version of thinking about the mysterious forces that rule the physical world.

Bracket the comparison to esoteric physics and the Sefer Yetzirah, a very early Kabbalistic text, stands on its own. We dipped a toe in the idea that voice and sound, especially when combined with letters, can create reality. The underlying question is the creation of something from nothing. If God spoke the universe into existence, what came before God’s speech? In this case God equates to the ein sof, the infinite, the unending. God as undifferentiated, alone, eternal.

Rabbi Luria, a 16th century Kabbalist, proposed that the ein sof contracted, the wonderfully named tzimtzum. pronounced zimzoom. God did that to allow other entities to form, but when God’s eternal light, ohr, flowed into the empty space created by the contraction, the empty space was too weak a vessel to contain it. The empty space shattered and shards of ohr spread out creating the universe as we know it now, or at least the prolegomena to this universe. In fact, the new James Webb telescope has as its mission getting closer and closer to the tzimtzum. Although scientists call it the Big Bang.

The implication of the shattered vessel is that all things contain a shard of ohr, of divine light. The great work of the creation involves reuniting those shards of ohr with their holy source. The Kabbalist’s Tree of Life shows both a downward emanation from the crown, or keter, that part of creation closest to the remaining ein sof, to malkut, this world, and an emanation in the other direction which bears those shards of light back to their source.

Two classes wore me out. One after the other. But, it also makes me happy. My mind has begun to stretch once again, flow within thought worlds: Tarot, Astrology, and Kabbalah. And, the integration of all three. We’ll see where all this goes.

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