esothemes

Reflections, revelations and proposals esoteric: Themes to elucidate the depths of human potential.

Blog Reboot: New Path, New Material and Getting Occult Issues Out of the Way

Welcome to a new beginning; a reboot that in principle is the first and last for this blog. In practice, who knows? All I can say is that my intention is to be consistent from now on. I have tons of cool material to back my claim, and the passion to make it stick. In fact, one of the reasons I have been on “hiatus” is because I have been busy working on pathways of occult possibility and immersed in testing and refining theory into practice.

So far, this blog has been about esoteric themes in a rather general and theoretical sense; about principles and points of view. I consider the latter important in esoteric cultivation. Often emphasis is on the mechanics of practice, to the detriment of the meaning of the main current of what works and why in such matters. In addition, many practitioners have been jaded by compromised if not crushed ambitions as their journey wore on. This is, in my view, especially true of twentieth century ceremonial magic (aka “magick”), in its many popularized offshoots of the light spectrum and its right vs. left psycho politics. Indeed the modern media- meant to be a refreshing font of elucidation and enlightenment- has ended up a quagmire of processed bullshit, tart, bitter and sugar-coated in its marketed variety.

As a trained and published scientist- PhD in experimental physics- I attest that occultism is not an empirical field of knowledge and experience. You can explain some occult phenomena with the existing scientific models, stretched to the breaking point of theoretical speculation, but still within the realm of possibility. You also use reason in occult practice, just as you should in science. However, an occultist does not employ the (empirical) scientific method, even though it may appear that way due to the rigor and attention to detail both types of theory and practice demand. There is no such thing as “occult science”, in my view. Science reveals objectified models of “what” and “how”. The occult is concealed in functional ambiguity, starting from one’s own fundamental sense of “why”.

Word-play aside, a notable difference between the two is that science is about objective perception and thinking, even in its most arcane-like theoretical manifestations, while occultism is about subjective experience, even when it is shared. This is why it is also known as “esoteric” (internal) and “meta-physical” (beyond physical objectivism). One can practice science and occultism separately, or used scientific models in occultism. One can use esoteric skills in scientific exploration as well, but that does not make it scientific practice. Occultism is not quantifiable, after all, and that is the hallmark of the scientific method- hand in hand with objectified mentation.

The above are topics of interest to me, but will not be part of the reboot of this blog. I bid them a fond farewell with this summary, and am moving to the next step. This involves expressing the products of several years of exploration, and refinement without second guessing or debating the good, the bad and the ugly of it. Not to mention refining is ongoing, and nothing is absolutely written in a diamond hard medium. The process, in other words, is far from reaching its conclusion.

Esoteric accomplishment is meant to result in wisdom, which implies cultivating the understanding and skill to affect reality without a material medium, to affect events, to affect minds and bodies (including one’s own of course), to affect destinies, and to reach levels of awareness that encompass a maturation of all- relatively speaking- one’s existence truly is. Technically, maturing in such wisdom will transform an individual into a boon for the world as well as themselves. That’s how it’s supposed to be, in my view at least.

In practice, the ideal is not congruent with the real, even taking into account the exceptions. Namely, esoteric exploration and its application is not one thing. There are many paths, and every one of them requires commitment and making space in one’s life. It doesn’t mean you either give up everything or don’t bother trying. It means, consider your returns to be a function of your investment in terms of commitment- energy, time and one’s own sense of self. Also consider that truly empowering esoteric cultivation results in deep changes in the psyche, that must be faced along with every nook and cranny of former self being exposed at some point. The changes tend to also pop up as events in one’s personal life, but also in the stage of the world at large. The latter is still a reflection of one’s true (greater) psyche- far more than just the workings of a little brain, no matter how complex and miraculous it is touted.

I used to be concerned about sharing information that might affect the recipients of it in ways they don’t understand. I now know that life in general does this; that most of us grow and change, evolve and devolve in directions we do not or cannot foresee let alone choose consciously. At a deeper level, however, there is more going on. Any opportunity to make that deeper level conscious and work in it and with it; recognizing it as a layer of one’s own existential identity, is something to be pursued by those who know where their interests lie.

Thus I have decided to organize specific information, regarding specific topics and practices that I have structured, explored and refined for personal application. Make no mistake; this is not a teaching of any sort. It is more a thought experiment in occult possibility. Herein I will share information on Esoteric Alchemy (Eastern and Western), Hermetic themes, Solomonic conjuring, Runes, Yoga/Tantra and other topics of occult interest. There is much ground to cover, so I may not be as thorough as if I were actually teaching the material. This thought experiment will present basics without claiming a thing, but expressing in a fashion of “as if it were true”. Even the well-read armchair occultist, if not the reader of populist literature will recognize most of the themes I plan to share. There is the Sepher Yetsirah (Book of Shaping) for starters, and the Yoga Aphorisms of Patañjali, and the “Goetic Art” of the Lesser Key of Solomon. There is also some interesting restructuring of Geomancy, Runic script and Taoist binary symbolism (such the Hexagrams of the Yi Ching) fused into a single system of symbol magic and contemplation.

The material is anything but purist, but not purely eclectic- made up or the product of media fantasy- either. It is an expression of basic esoteric principles I have tested over the years and continue to refine through all the opportunities and challenges life offers me. My experiment is in sharing it without expectation, or desire for some sort of payback or even recognition. Frankly there is no need, because the material does not lend itself as second hand information. Unless one works with and owns the material something will likely backfire. The reason is that its all tied to deep existential forces, sentient and impersonal that are not objective. Thus, like the quantum systems populist new age mystics like to use as examples, the observer cannot step apart from the observed.

Note I am not saying I need to authorize anything. This is an experiment so there are no guarantees, and free of the luxury of being credited, aside from the content originating from some sort of established tradition, and adapted to my own disposition and needs. It is simply that I consider real occult knowledge to be interactive, and not simply a dead pattern of information. I would say the stories of occultists having “bad endings” or hard lives have roots in a variety of causes. Some are as they should be; challenges of growth. Others are expressions of folly that can just as easily be avoided with a bit of caution and common sense. I don’t believe any occultism is more dangerous than the attitude of the one involved in dabbling or trafficking in it.

All that being said, we start the new material with my translation of the Hebrew text Sepher Yetsirah. This is no canonical text, but a modern experimental version, compiled from existing edits by Dr. A. Peter Hayman. He calls it The Earliest Recoverable Text, but by no means considers it anything but an exercise in scholarship rendering a possibility of such a text. It is, in my view, a useful attitude for an aspirant of esoteric cultivation to have toward such a work. The aim of my translation was also an experiment to answer a question: How well does the information in this text fit in the context of a manual of occult accomplishment? Is the manual of “Shaping”- or “Creation/Formation” if one prefers- a manual of magic? If so, what are its secrets? Suffice it to say that I have yet to see an interpretation of this work quite like the one I have rendered. So stay tuned, and we shall begin the beginning about which we elaborated in this post…next time.

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Love, the Divine Feminine and Moving the Assemblage Point

The paradigms expressed by Castaneda can be applied using a composite understanding resulting from a complementary synthesis of esoteric approaches. Such associations of esoteric models need to be brought together carefully, thoughtfully and with attention to the particular points of emphasis of each paradigmatic approach. Sorcerers, according to Castaneda, fulfill desires by shifting perception to worlds where corresponding events  are hosted so to speak- where reality naturally conforms toward said outcomes. They do this by means of the shifting of an esoteric point that can be identified on the energy body- abstractly in my view- and manipulated through deliberate alterations of awareness rather than trying to move a localized point literally to another area of the energy body. 

This model or reality frame appears more user-friendly to everyday logic in my view. The mind more readily accepts change through displacement to a different part of a broader landscape than change by altering everything in one’s existing frame directly. Its simpler to view change as a result of going to the place where desired change naturally happens then disrupting the current order to impose change upon it, in other words. Its similar to the ease of moving to a different place in a room in contrast to rearranging the furniture to get the same vantage point from one’s original position.

Regardless, paradigm or not, shifting the assemblage point still amounts to changing our  experience of embodiment. Each set of experiences is defined by lines of force encompassed by the current assemblage point. So we can consider a world to be a set of experiences. That being said, the world we appear to share with others has as many matrices of experience as it does aware entities to have them. In addition, the human assemblage point has the capacity to expand beyond its current definitions; to not just change perspective, but to expand or contract it.

In examining the paradigm of Castaneda’s sorcery, the methods appear  limited to the impersonal mind plane of universal awareness and ultimately reflect its workings. There are places of consciousness beyond that, which address the very heart of being, whose nature is Love, beyond conceptions distinguishing personal from impersonal. But the Eagle described in the Way of the Warrior can easily be experienced without that core essence sustaining the process.

Nevertheless, in my experience with esoteric cultivation, for the lines of force to define a strong and flexible assemblage point in full compatibility with the subject, Love is the agent that keeps it all coherent. Any pattern is available without the carrier of Existential Love, but it is invariably more brittle and of less impact unless Love is replaced by negating consciousness, the force or spectrum of being that represents the unraveling of creation and in extreme cases, the annihilation of consciousness. This can manifest as forms of psychopathy, punctuated by expressions of hatred as well as latent hatred masked by indifference. Humans, however, are capable of love at the individual level as well as capable of opening to universal well-being even without the core level experience in any conscious manner.

To avoid psychopathic pitfalls, and without more than the average human capacity for love, ethical conceptions are adopted, with selective restrictions to insure clarity of intention, to avoid energy waste through relationship imbalance and to apply strict discipline to ingrain patterns in the assemblage point that serve as a general guide to maintain personal integrity. Thus if one is a compassionate individual, one still remains unaffected by forces of existential negation.

Core Love on the other hand takes care of things for us, so we may focus energy on changes in a way that always feels right. The result is that deeper layers of desire are brought to the surface so our intent may fertilize them and the shift can become a tangible experience. The difference is that the more Love is established the more unconditional our experience of change is. We need not give up anything to get something, or be the source of anything but benefit to the world in fulfilling ourselves.

Core Love and the matrix of desire (field of Yin, the essence of the divine feminine pole of existence) are two factors the Way of the Warrior described in Castaneda’s works does not address. It primarily appears to address the presence of consciousness of this Universe or the Universal Mind. This is not God or Core Consciousness, but a cosmic expression of mind. For the assemblage point to translate into reality experience, the patterns (Yang essence) flowing into convergence must fertilize the matrix of desire corresponding to them. Energy is stored in direct relation to the receptivity of the matrix of desire to those patterns. Compatibility means living the life one is meant to live, while incompatibility means being subject to forces of fate that determine experience whether one desires it or not.

Core Love is the natural fusion of the dynamics of Yin and Yang as described above. It is also inherent in the states of consciousness transcending the universal mind, and what fosters the fusion that guarantees meaningful manifestation. As such, I mean to examine Sorcery in terms of this expanded existential model, which is a direct reflection of mystical experiences. In this installment, we briefly address the three categories of practice that are supposed to bring about a shift in the assemblage point.

As already mentioned:

1) Intent is the Force of consciousness.

2) Stalking assesses one’s existential topography to identify where the assemblage point is, and what is around it. Then one targets a new position accordingly.

3) Altered States (Dreaming, Meditating etc) involve learning to regain fluidity of the assemblage point.

We elaborated on the meaning of intent in the last discussion. Although it wasn’t mentioned, the discussions of existential landscape and increasing one’s potential energy can be directly applied to the practice of stalking. Finally, altered states change the focus of awareness within the existing assemblage point, which make it flexible and more easily movable. Such changes may also directly move the point to a new position.

When intent is insufficient it is often because one’s presence is diminished, because the assemblage point has become rigid, or because one is in a low energy state. What we may not notice, however, is that the response to our practices is undermined. Introspective examination would reveal the matrix of desire is afflicted somehow and deprived of Core connection, even though the universal mind has a near infinite spectrum of options.

It is beyond the scope of this installment to describe just how to utilize the three categories of practice in the context presented. I am posing the elements of the expanded model in a synthesis with the Norse model of the world tree. The synthesis is anything but arbitrary and in the context of mystical experience maps out the esoteric possibilities in a meaningful and applicable manner.

Castaneda’s system does not take into account the receptive (Yin) medium that represents magnetic desire in the manifesting process. This is the divine feminine as the power of existence and experience as substantial as opposed to being some fluctuation of consciousness. In alchemy this medium is described as the Prima Materia. To help compensate for such limitations we can complement the process with a Norse mythic model. This can establish a more flexible and resourceful context for the field of the Yin to be recognized as a participant in the process of manifest existential unfolding.

Changing the assemblage point means accessing states of awareness that correspond to the structures of the World Tree at the root level where the three wells of Wyrd is located. The processes of the Well correspond to the way the assemblage point moves and the activity of the lines of force it sustains. The state of awareness that allows one to access the well consciousness is the same that allows a corresponding motion of the assemblage point. In this case the motion of the assemblage point would appear moderate, since we are working within a physical world framework. Since we are addressing deep level existential issues, however, the motion is anything but moderate. On the other hand, motion likely occurs along lines undetectable by standards where an expanded paradigm was not adopted.

The result is a state of being where one can pattern the flow of events as one wills, continuously or as desire arises. In that state the environment and the subject are so open to each other that former definitions of self are challenged and a constant communion, if not actual dialog, streams between the two.

The Concept of Energy and Castaneda’s Assemblage Point

I am using the esoteric model popularized by Carlos Castaneda as a springboard to explore the concept of energy. The model revolves around the notion of the assemblage point, and describes sorcery as its manipulation at will.

This seemingly hypothetical point that can be identified on the energy body, dictates what you perceive and therefore what you are. The idea is that all exists from Essence or Source, and that this existence is fostered via lines of force carrying the patterns to feed the medium of all that is. A human has a near infinite spectrum of options of being, but at the conscious physical level the options are severely limited. The entity accesses these options though a mobile center of focus. This is the assemblage point.

A given position of the assemblage point, therefore, corresponds to a bounded and specified spectrum of potential experiences, including responses and expressions of initiative. This spectrum includes thought patterns and physical dispositions. It is, furthermore, still a minute portion of the near- if not outright- infinite tapestry of existential experience available to that entity.

At the most directly accessible level, therefore, you can change your body habits, thought and behavior patterns within the range dictated by the current position of the assemblage point. You can do this by simply applying will power and directed action. Effect then follows cause in a more or less logical and linear manner, in accordance to the potentialities of the assemblage point itself. If the assemblage point emphasizes other variables that conflict with the intended changes changes then we find things either don’t change or events bring conditions back to where they were after a brief shift.

The assemblage point includes the world one inhabits as well as one’s own disposition. The lines of power that pass through the assemblage point involve all experience, inner and outer, from who one is to what world one inhabits. Simply put, the greater the shift in the assemblage point, the greater one’s existential experience alters. Castaneda promoted a threefold practice to activate the ability to manipulate the assemblage point: intent, stalking and dreaming. As this is my take on the matter, the definitions are also my own interpretation:

1) Intent is the Force of consciousness.

2) Stalking assesses one’s existential topography to identify where the assemblage point is, and what is around it. Then one targets a new position accordingly.

3) Altered States (Dreaming, Meditating etc) involve learning to regain fluidity of the assemblage point.

To move the assemblage point we require a measure commonly labeled energy, and without it there would be no force and hence no consciousness that is the cause of change. Energy is a term one finds liberally used in esoteric teachings of all types, but the actual meaning of the word is rarely specified, beyond interpreting the equivalent terms in other languages. If we can look at the term as it is defined scientifically and even mathematically, we can draw parallels with esoteric understanding and perhaps expand our occult model and its possibilities of application.

Let’s look at the notion as it is expressed in classical physics (Newtonian Mechanics). Energy is extrapolated from the meaning of force in physics. The esoteric parallel can be understood in terms of consciousness- as we defined intent in the list above. The comparison between esoteric and scientific meanings of force and energy is allegorical and useful for our esoteric application as mentioned. In classical mechanics, force is defined mathematically as the product of mass x acceleration. Mass is defined in physics as matter’s capacity for inertia, the response of the environment to the presence of the body in mention. Mass determines what it takes to counter the motion of an object, and how the object behaves when we apply acceleration and force. We often associate mass with the force of gravity, and confuse it with weight, but the definition involves any applied force. The esoteric parallel to mass is presence.

To get the esoteric parallel of acceleration, we break it down to its fundamental variable, that of distance or displacement. In terms of esoteric parallels, displacement translates to how much- qualitatively speaking- change has altered the conditions of the application of intent. Force is, therefore, the presence increased by a factor of the rate of acceleration of change that applied consciousness engenders. Without getting into the math, work as an esoteric parallel assesses the extent of change in terms of the intent in combination with the arena of application, or what actually was meant to change. Work is the measure of what the applied force does- in terms of the change it causes. To simplify, when an object is moving work and energy are one and the same. Thus the Energy of Change (Transformation Energy) is the same as the work involved to effect said transformation: the experienced initial intent multiplied by the extent of the arena of application. Thus the force applied amplifies its effect through the arena of transformation- represented by displacement in physics.

The above terms are non-quantifiable, so the mathematical parallels are meaningless if we cannot read them qualitatively. Addition and subtraction are meaningless since they only occur between quantities of the same measure rather than a synthesis of varying conceptions. Multiplication and division, however, the way different types of qualities come into synergy. We can look at the qualitative interpretation geometrically. The product of two variables can be viewed as a two dimensional array the variables as its corresponding dimensions. Thus, energy is an array of influence defined by force in one dimension and displacement in the other. We cannot speak of energy when there is no change in experience because of it, at least not in terms of the above model. Then the energy is in potential. That means the capacity for displacement exists, such as with an object on the edge of a cliff. If it tips and falls, the energy in potential becomes increasingly kinetic- the type previously discussed- as it accelerates falling, until it hits bottom.

From an esoteric perspective, potential energy is a sort of ground intention-state. As an applied force of intention on autopilot, it includes the fulfillment of basic needs so we may be sustained in our environment and during the course of our life. This does not refer to instincts, which are the way such needs are expressed. The needs are inherent in every living body, and in humans are rather more complex for a variety of reasons. We can call this Intrinsic Intention, noting that we are speaking of a state of relative mental health by the standards of modern society.

To extrapolate the esoteric parallel, potential energy is the measure defined by the response of the world to the entity’s capacity for change, when expanded by the inherent space possibility where an entity can engender change with minimal effort. Perhaps the physics conception would make this easier to understand. Potential energy in mechanics has to do with the capacity of a body to fall. Force must be applied in all directions for anything to move except one: down. If you are standing on something then gravity is acting on you, but you do not move because of it. If, however, you apply a horizontal force to move where a cliff ends, then downward motion commences converting potential energy to kinetic until you hit a lower ground. In parallel, the intentions that keep us alive stem from our very relation to our terrestrial environment its relation to us. If those relations are altered we can fall or slide until we reach a state of greater stabilization, but which would require much greater effort to induce change to a more desired and less limited state.

In Castaneda’s context, the more energy at your disposal, the more effective you are at intending the presence and power of essence into the shifting of your assemblage point. In terms of our discussion pertaining to physics, the energy stored is potential energy. The Intrinsic Intention we described results in an Intrinsic Energy that is variable over the probability landscape defined by one’s assemblage point.

These are just a few concepts examine via drawing allegorical parallels expand possibilities of meaning available in a given occult model. For the model to work, it needs to reflect in reality and be positively rooted in the potentials of the one applying it. It also needs to make sense to the user. Models are anything but arbitrary or convenient. They are the conceptual sieves that channel the energies and forces we have been discussing. They structure energy and reflect it into existential experience to shift it accordingly.

The concepts are full of implications. The allegorical parallels when punctuated by handles of experience are useful toward magical practice. Handles of experience are the states of awareness and of magical potency one embodies via internalized experiences that parallel the conceptions of the model. For example, what does it mean to experience presence? How does the force of intent vary in experience? How does on experience one’s existential topography? Can we focus with mind, breath, voice or movement to experience awareness that parallels the meanings of our model? In doing so we may have managed to map a territory toward the ability to change one’s reality state at will, and travel through times, places and states of being in a natural and deliberate grace.

Trees of Eden: A Map of the Fall [Part II]

In the last installment we described the fall in terms of the symbolism of the Tree of Life of QBLH. Of the sephirot, we noted the fourth was the most likely to be displaced- to become the tenth. Correlating the two models- the 2D Tree of Life and the sephirot of the SY- we note that the fourth sphere of the tree map (from the top) is also the fourth reckoning among the list of ten presented in the SY. The fall among the reckonings leaves us with the fourth process becoming the last, leaving a gap between the third account and the fifth where the sealing of the directions of space occurs. The displaced reckoning involved the power of ignition, represented the power of authority (MLKVTh) the aspirant awakens and applies at that point. After the displacement that power was associated with the Kingdom (MLKVTh) itself rather than the power of the throne itself. It’s like saying the world followed its own rules when humans lost the power to cultivate its authority.

The two models I am correlating describe the same thing from differing premises. Because of this, any change in one map correlates with a change in a parallel change in the other. A revealing application is to take a concept from the SY, such as the depths (OVMQ) of the sephirot, and project it onto the 2D Tree mapping. The affliction upon the (human) fabric of existence can be outlined and one can observe how it has distorted and still distorts evolutionary potential.

The immediate result of the disruption is the divorcing of TVB from RO, and the displacement and subsequent misrepresentation of the mystery (depth) of RO. With the latter displacement the sphere of TVB is left without any sort of reference through which to balance the Covenant. Instead, the sphere of ignition and of the depth of RO– according to the SY- is identified with the worldly state of the subject as well as the world itself. RO (Resh.Ayin.) translates as the view-point of another, who can be a shepherd or guide- for better or ill- a friend or a foe. As the depth of the world it describes an alienating and chaotic place. In terms of its associations with the human microcosm it describes self-alienation and internal conflict as the earthly state of awareness.

Depths of Fallen Tree

The aforementioned diagram (above) depicts the veritable gulf between the upper three sephirot and the remaining seven. The former are contemplative stages in the abstract sense, involving the cultivation of the proper frames of awareness and the required themes of focus to do so. The original final six sephirot involve the sealing of the directions of space. This is not viable, however, without the sphere of power associated with the depth of RO, the sephirah that was supposed to precede them. That pivotal sphere of power, unfortunately, was moved outside the original bounds of the Tree-form.

This analysis, by the way, does not involve pathworking practices of popular modern western occultism. Those would have a starting point in the worldly awareness of the fallen tenth sphere, followed by a progression through the twenty two relationships between the ten spheres of the Tree of Life from highest to lowest number. The ten sephirot as reckonings of esoteric wisdom, on the other hand, are serially progressive and do not involve relationships between them outside their sequential order. In addition, they progress from lowest to highest number. The bottom-up model, furthermore, treats the state of awareness that corresponds to the first three sephirot, as the aim of practice rather than its prerequisite. The bottom-up approach of working the tree leads to divine awareness, while the top down approach can access that very awareness we need to ground for the alchemy to lead to powerful magical application potential.

To reiterate, the fall in the context mentioned here involves removing a fundamental part of a ten-fold alchemy, the part where ignition takes place- and place it at the very end of the sequence, misrepresenting the sequence as a whole and either neutralizing or perverting it. Ideally one progresses to the point of applying a high state of contemplative awareness to the sense of one’s life force and mental will so as to directly connect it to structuring the space around one’s body. This subtle energy structure was, furthermore, meant to be the basis for ignition. Being without the latter would akin to sucking on an unlit cigarette and calling it smoking.

Yet, until the real thing is demonstrated or experienced somehow- until one acquires intimate knowing (DOTh) of the act, the faux process can be convincing in its compromising effects. In this case, the simple correction would be to replace the fallen tenth sephirah in its fourth position. However, regarding the SY, there is no correction because there is no fall indicated in that presentation. One simply follows the reckonings in order. We examine the fall because it is theme that reflects the state of current humanity. In that sense taking the sephirot in their original order has the implications of rectification and reclaiming one’s power of divine authority, something that comes along with the requisite mystical states of awareness the contemplative practices in the text strive to actualize.

With that in mind, let us triangulate our correlations with the biblical account regarding The Tree of Life in relation to the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge. In the QBLH map the Tree of Life has a sphere displaced, something that alters the very shape of the Tree, so that it can be associated with the very different Tree of the fruit of Knowing TVB and RO. The pivotal statement regarding the relationship between the two Trees is implied with the words of YHVH ALHIM in Gen. 3:22:

“Behold, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil. Now, lest he put forth his hand, and also take of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…”

It is noteworthy that the word for Tree (OTz) and that for Spinal Column (OTzH) are quite similar, to the point that one might be an allusion to the other. The third and fourth reckonings of restraint are about what the corresponding depths attempt to inspire when subjects of contemplation. In that context, the third depth (TVB) hints at the favorable conditions to establish a medium of containment (a kind of subtle body), whose weaves and flows support the housing of one’s presence. The fourth is about the ignition of that medium to activate the patterns of Ruach (mind-energy) as one’s own friends and allies. After the fall, this ignition never occurs. The impulse has become a dense and stubborn territory known as matter, and all the rest of the sephirot remain unprocessed (to use a potentially misleading yet adequate modern term).

It is tempting to suggest that the cultivation sequence of the reckonings will not be effective unless one somehow addresses the issue of one’s capacity to manifest events in creation- to perform magic in other words. This is not what is being implied. We are rather pointing out a block to higher awareness that can be directly addressed through persistent cultivation practice. The fall tells us that is that we need to forge a path between the state of existence based on worldly experience and the state of grace marking unconditioned human potential. This time, however, the state of grace will not be based on innocence, but on the very experiences that led to being deprived of grace in the first place.

I choose to look at the statement of Gen. 3:22 as prophetic. To move toward the Tree of Life, however, we must place the mysteries of TVB and RO side by side to complement each other. They are not antagonistic in this view. In the world, both states are needed and the awareness of when and how to express or work with one and/or the other is the profound wisdom one needs to first open to primordial consciousness as the SY describes it, and to bring that consciousness into the focused application known as magic.

Trees of Eden: A Map of the Fall [Part I]

[Edit: Realized my image didn’t transfer, so had to figure that out. Now this probably makes a bit more sense.]

The following information was a detour from the more concise instructional outline I intended to follow. However, abstract as it may seem it seeks to bridge the implications of the myth of the biblical fall and the trees of eden with the functional mapping given by the ten sephirot belimah. The topic ended more involved than originally anticipated, making this post the first part of a two part intallment. Although the following diverges from the text we are interpreting (The Earliest Recoverable Text of the Sepher Yetsirah), it is still important to fill in certain blanks, even if those blanks aren’t obvious to the causal observer. The topic of the Trees of Paradise has been approached in a previous series of four installments posted here. A comparison would be interesting, especially since this interpretation takes the theory and seeks to establish a context of practice with it.

By emphasizing the power of ten in relation to its numerical neighbors- nine and eleven- the author of our text identifies the reckonings in a specific manner. We surmised that the chosen number of sephirot makes a statement that the power of Shaping (aka Magic) is free of blasphemous or idolatrous qualities. Given the power attributed to numbers, the ten reckonings are more likely to represent divine inspiration than those quantified as nine or eleven. The revelation of ten is a direct and living experience, and is represented by the reality frame (and corresponding occult model) known as the Tree of Life in QBLH.

The Tree of Knowledge (of TVB and RO), on the other hand, is a kindred representation, but one that is incomplete and deleterious in its effects when its fruits are assimilated alone. Without the Tree of Life, the fruits of having intimate knowledge of TVB and RO imprison an individual in a state of being aware of distinctions without the direct gnosis and grace that complete the process of existential autonomy as promised by the serpent of the biblical account. Previously we identified the two trees as one and the same, since the model of QBLH shows the the domain of Knowledge (HDOTh) as being part of the fallen tree. In this installement we examine the myth in terms of two esoteric models: the two dimensional (2D) tree diagrams and the model of the SY with its ten reckonings, which are traditionally taken to describe the same thing. I would say that the situation is not so black and white, because we are dealing with myths and models of reality frames that are magically alive and are not restricted to a three dimensional conceptual reference frame. The premise is simply that the fall as a biblical event, corresponds to the fall in terms of the Tree of Life diagram of QBLH and correspondingly affects the ten sephirot as well in like manner. This correlation is what we examine.

It is noteworthy that the Tree of Knowledge does not exibit some kind of existential toxicity or danger. It isn’t evil or there to cause damage. It serves a purose in the context of human potential. We can consider it, in other words, as part of an alchemical formula of two steps: dissolve and coagula. The second step involves the Tree of Life, which in the mapping of QBLH can be seen as a rectified Tree of Knowledge. In the Hermetic QBLH of the 19th and 20th centuries, the term DOTh was associated with a gateway to the abyss that formed as a result of the biblical fall from grace or “original sin”. Even as the SPIRVTh are can be seen as stages of some form of internalized alchemy, they are also spheres or domains of revelation and empowerment. Suffice it to say that DOTh is “located” between the third and fourth SPIRVTh of the fallen Tree of Life mapping, well known to students of QBLH. The fall causes the tenth SPIRH. It is known as Malkuth and rendered in English as Kingdom, but it also means Royal Power/Authority. According to one view, this SPIRH fell from its fourth position to the tenth. According to another, all the last seven SPIRVTh– representing the seven planets of antiquity- fell down a notch.

I favor the former model. The true bottom SPIRVTh is called Foundation (YSVD), while Malkuth as Power of Authority is coherent with the fourth position, and where it needs to be to function naturally and free of affliction. Below we diagram the evolution of the fall, from the original Tree of Life (far left) to the version considered to be the way the Tree is because of the Fall (far right). The middle figure shows change, from the sphere with number value four, to that with number value (properly forty if we use the numbering of the Hebrew abjad) adjusted to ten when the whole tree accommodates the difference (far right).

The Fall Sequence.png

In the SY the fourth position is identified by the depth (mystery) of RO, which is usually rendered as simply bad or evil. The concept carries much weight, so to avoid philosophical entanglement, let us first look at the letter analysis of the word. The letters Resh.Ayin describe the head (which may be the god-head, one’s own mind, or that of another) of the eye/fountain. Ayin may be a replacement for another letter that conveyed entanglement, something more aligned with the negative interpretation of the word, while RO also means friend and shepherd, someone who watches out for us. Using a similar analysis, TVB describes a weave (pattern of construction or behavior) that supports the house or clan, a state is understandably considered favorable. Contemplating this information gives the third reckoning additional depth and hence empowering potential. When we are open to the revelation of its juxtaposed term (RO), the fourth becomes accessible. According to Hermetic QBLH it is here that the abyss thwarts us.

Eating the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge (HDOTh) of TVB and RO had unavoidable consequences. If you eat (identify with) the fruit (results) of having experiences that you clearly distinguish into TVB and RO, then you are a discerning entity, and make choices accordingly. Without the impact of the Tree of Life, however, one ends up in a state disconnected from divine essence and the immortality of true Identity. That individual exists in a closed system of cause and effect because they are crippled.

HDOTh is, moreover, not intellectual knowledge. It refers to intimate experience and involvement with the subject, which can be taken to refer to sexuality, but I think the scope of the myth falls flat if it’s just about sex. The fall from grace was the result of choosing to evaluate and act on one’s own experience. And the move to materialize was a natural outcome of stepping from grace and into autonomous evolution. This awakening to their autonomy- albeit not fully- resulted in the humans wanting to cover their nudity. From an esoteric perspective, we can view the animal skins given by YHVH ALHIM as reference to corporeal embodiment, required to experience the reality of the fruits they imbibed. The insecurity the two humans felt was the sense that they should be clothed (corporeal), and was misrepresented as shame and immodesty.

The point of the above was to outline the nature of Original Sin, while our Tree of Life mapping puts it into a different context. There are two important reflections of that context in the altered mapping. 1) The original fourth sephirah is depicted as dropping out of the former domain of the Tree, to become new tenth and final one. 2) A gap formed between the third and fifth sephirot. When the dust settled, the former fifth became the new fourth and so on.

For the context of a list of cultivation practices the alteration would have far reaching consequences. To add insult to injury the original fourth account was that last of the abstract themes before the focus was on the directions in physical space. Without it the internalization process would be incomplete. With that step bumped to the tenth position, the directions in space a approached prematurely, and never really come into their own. Leaving the tenth account below the actual foundation of the Tree creates a distance from the other steps, which along with the sephirah taken from its natural position, isolates the reckoning whose depth or mystery is identified by RO, and keeps the process from being activated as intended.

In that sense the Fall is one of human potential itself, or rather the readiness at which human potential can actualize. To extrapolate how that translates in terms of esoteric cultivation can lead to adaptations in practices among other things to increase the scope of the results. It also places the fourth account in a position of importance in relation to the others. To insure it succeeds, the domain designated as Kingdom needs to be returned to its prior position as Royal Authority- the authority of self. It is by this authority that anything animates or charges, is sanctified and can be sealed. It appears to be the turn-on switch for the systems power, the prior being preparation of what is to contain the fire of the throne. Then the directions of space can be ignited and sealed. The topic is continued and wrapped up in the next installment.

The Significance of the Number Ten, and its Neighbors in the SY

In our analysis we will take the ten sephirot belimah as contemplative exercises, and we will see in the reckonings that they apparently involve sensing vital energy- the life force associated with the breath. Such practices would require some preliminary applications of the concept of mental restraint (or control) over inner-outer dialog and fantasy. To shed light on these preliminary applications, implied from the text, I want to go deeper into the letter-by-letter analysis of the names of the numbers ten, nine and eleven in this post.

The names of the numbers defined them before each was associated with a letter of the abjad. The latter association describes the Maccabean Period numbers, dating from the 2nd cent. BCE. The SY itself, furthermore, does not describe the numbers in terms of their abjad correspondences in the section on the SPIRVTh. Ten is not Yod in the text, but OShR. In the next section, however, the Maccabean numbering is implied. There, the twenty two letter-signs of the abjad (semitic alphabet) are called AVTh-YVTh or signs of Yod– in connection with the number ten whose power makes the activation of the abjad possible. The allusion most likely also refers to the nature of the Ezra (Post-Exilic) script. Therein, twenty-one letter forms are literally constructed from the fundamental Ezra glyph for Yod.

For a language based on pictograms, interpreting words as a synthesis of images is useful, as it complements assigning meaning according to conventional vocabulary. Given that the primary representation of a number is its name, the esoteric reading of the word in mention would hold the very nature of the number itself in that context. Where there is, moreover, a plurality of meanings in a word it is interpreting meaning as a synthesis of glyph images allows for a revealing of common roots to the varying patterns of meaning. If we avoid using Maccabean letter numbering we can still rest assured that, the cardinal name of any number provides all we need regarding that number’s qualitative nature.

In our given analysis, the central number theme is that of OShR (ten). The first letter-sign describes a “vision” or “well-spring”- the glyph of Ayin being that of an eye or top-down view of a fountain. The other two letters (Shin.Resh) denote authority, a person, divinity, or an awareness (head or mindset) that nourishes and sustains. Such a vision/eye or fountain can describe a revelation or some other treasure- material or not. We can render the cumulative meaning as: “eye/fountain of nourishing-penetrating intelligence”, implying revelation. Thus, in the context of occult wisdom, ten can be said to describe an authentic revelation. In our text this would be the product of the Singular Covenant.

That only scratches the surface. The fact that the letter Shin has two pronunciations opens an even more interesting path of interpretation for OShR. The first proncunciation is with the sibilant sh as in shoe. The second is pronounced as an s, as in the word snake. OShR (Ayin, Shin and Resh) takes on the second form and is pronounced OSR, with the Shin being phonetically equivalent to the letter Sammek. As such, Sammek might have been the original glyph of the word before the sounds became assimilated. Regardless of whether this is literal fact or not, the phonetic association alone hints at some link to the properties of the corresponding letter. Thus we can also render the writing- and interpretation- of the word with Sammek instead of Shin, at least for purposes of esoteric interpretation. Perhaps this is similar to the refinement the SY tells us to perform with the letters- to see if they have even more to reveal.

The letter Sammek is usually rendered with a glyph signifying a thorn bush, or a pillar, and among its variants these are the most common interpretations. One view points to the letter as a representation of a date-palm, and the date-palm being the representation of the Tree of Life itself. Thus the word OSR can be analyzed via its glyphs of eye, thorn tree and other, where the latter can be another person, a state of awareness or even divinity. The word OSR would then be- as an equation of letter-glyphs- interpreted as “the eye/vision of the Divine Tree.

To compare with the neighboring numbers let us consider that the text tells us the SPIRVTh are OSR (as pronounced), not ThShO and not AChTh OShRH. In examining the number nine just as we examined the number ten we find that a glyph-by-glyph interpretation of the word ThShO gives us the glyph array: sign, nourishing breasts and eye. Nine is a mark or the authorization/representation of the eye being given its fill. It is the number that reaches for decimal fullness, a number of assessment and regard, but at the same time, it is also a sign and not the fullness itself. Like some sort of preliminary symptom, it gives information on what it represents- like an idea of something- but is not the thing it describes.

The Hebrew word corresponding to the number eleven, on the other hand, is made up of two words: The first word, AChTh, is the feminine form of the number “one”. The second word is the feminine form of the cardinal number name for ten. The word for “one” can, therefore, be analyzed as the kindred sign, making AChTh OSRH– the word for eleven– “the kindred sign of the vision of the divine tree of joy, life, worship or any form of ecstatic expression”. If the number ten, in this context, relates to the divine tree or tree of life, then the number eleven relates to its kindred or sister-signature. To interpret the letter Tau meaning mark or signature as purpose would imply we are speaking of the kindred Tree to that of Life, which is The Tree of Knowledge (of TVB & RO).

To sum up, the letter equation for the name of the number eleven is the twin-purpose of the vision (or fount of abundance) of the Living Tree, something we may identify as the sign of the Tree of Knowledge. The number nine is the mark of the vision’s nourishing and fortifying qualities, something required for understanding the Tree’s archetypal meaning and raison d’etre. The particular quality of nine is that it represents the nourishing and penetrating qualities of vision. This is the mark that represents the visionary process and its sensory apparatus. In terms of this interpretation, proximity to the power of ten apparently activates these visionary qualities and may imply the step before actual contact with the revelation of ten. Eleven is an image of the revelation’s effects. It comes after the fact, and appears to be a dynamic of consequence. More simply, nine represents the subjective apparatus, and eleven is the next step in the experience of revelation, a step that involves being aware of what might distort or compromise the experience.

The point made is that the two numbers flanking ten represent the pitfalls of attempting to relate to a genuine revelation. In the pitfall of nine, one idolizes the products of thought. In the pitfall of eleven, one idolizes that which is already objectified as the form of the revelation itself. The experience of the Tree of Life is a truly divine revelation that is nourishing. It is an experience of participation rather than being preoccupied with semiotics (the mental conception of the experience). Nine and eleven are represent states that do not involve direct intimacy with the experience (a notion expressed in QBLH as DOTh– intimate knowing).

The numbers appear to confirm the commandment against idol worship. This may refer to mental idols (deified concepts) as well as prostrating to false revelations as opposed to opening to the reality of such an experience. Ultimately, the nature of these three numbers is coherent with the terms of an aspirant’s focus throughout the application of the teachings around the SPIRVTh BLIMH. As such, understanding them promotes avoiding any misconceptions regarding the aforementioned Covenant.

In conclusion, for the capable aspirant, the process of divine alignment that is the Covenant is based on terms the SY expresses indirectly, if not literally, in the verses. The apparently simple remark of the reckonings being ten (neither nine nor eleven), is a resource for contemplation and analysis that can provide insight to the attitude best sustained to insure maximum benefit from the cultivation process. It also opens doors for further exploration of the meanings at the heart of the biblical narrative. We shall explore some of these in the next installment before moving on to the material that involves instructions for the system described in The Earliest Recoverable Text.

The Foundation of the Sephirot and The Covenant at their Core

In the last installment we introduced the twelve verses describing the ten sephirot belimah. We briefly outlined the thesis of our context regarding that particular portion of the Earliest Recoverable Text (ERT) of the Sepher Yetsira. We also offered a perspective as to what these ineffable sephirot might be in the context of a manual of esoteric alchemy and the magic of the word.

For the purposes of our analysis, we take the SPIRVTh BLIMH and the AVTh-YVTh as two autonomous esoteric teachings, where the former can still be approached as a prerequisite path for immersion in the latter. Both the ten and the twenty-two path groupings, moreover, constitute advanced practices that are best undertaken after an extended period of dedicated preparation. This appears to be the view of the author(s) of the SY, who liken progress to conflict and struggle in the last chapter of the ERT.

This exposition on the SY as a manual of esoteric cultivation more or less restricts itself to the ten sephirot as constituting a path of internal alchemy and occult empowerment. In this one can be transformed- in the sense of maturation- by its revelation. While application as magical practice is not directly specified, the creative aspirant is free to explore if that the system can be worked for direct results beyond the context of the Hebrew adjad.

The more one practices and gains proficiency, therefore, the more one establishes a hands-on understanding of the system, where cultivation is the first and ubiquitous step. The text is brief, but the path it outlines is anything but easy. Thus, any progress can and should be tested as a way to round out the material, something the SY affirms for working with the letters, but not in this ten step summary. Because this path covers many bases of internal potential, we can creatively extend its wisdom to other modes of esoteric mapping, such as the Tarot, the art of spirit conjuring, land magic and using thej power of the word with other languages and writing systems.

For purposes of clarification we divide our twelve verses into three subsections. The first with two verses introduces the system and its basic structure and origin. We are given a fundamental key here, without which the system falls flat. This is the Covenant. The second subsection- with four verses- describes some preliminary practices, fundamental for the mastery of the reckonings. These are laid out in the six verses of the third subsection.

Our examination of the first two verses of the aforementioned twelve, omits  transliteration to get straight to the point, given the translation itself is fairly straight-forward. The verses are:

I. Ten reckonings of restraining from a count of ten fingers, five opposite five and a sole Covenant in the center comes out of a working with annunciation and [both] tongue and mouth [pronunciation].

II. Ten reckonings of restraining: Ten and not nine; ten and not eleven. The initiate was with wisdom, and learned in knowledge extracted from them and tested by them. And he declared the standing place [teaching] on behalf of his heirs [disciples], and restored Shaping according to its foundation.

The first verse tells us the ten accounts- of cultivation- can be counted on the fingers of each hand. Like the fingers they are paired, with one juxtaposed to the other. This will be explained more thoroughly in subsequent verses. More importantly, this verse introduces us to the principle that balances each pair and forms the common ground of all of them. This is the core of the teachings, a Singular Covenant, viewed figuratively as a mystic alignment at the very center of the system of stages. The working or empowerment of the center is described as accomplished via the power of the word (vocalized, sub-vocal or mental), with emphasis on pronunciation (tongue and mouth).

There is no indication that this is one of the Covenants with Deity mentioned in the Torah. A covenant is an agreement, which in esoteric terms this amounts to an alignment between two parties, one human and one divine. This Covenant is singular because it is distinct, unique and autonomous as well as exclusive to the sephirot system. It is noteworthy that we do not find mention of this Covenant in the verses involving the Hebrew letters. Instead we are given the principle referred as a Central Temple, which serves a different function- specified toward the arrangement of the letter powers themselves. There is only one Covenant, and there is only one Central Temple in this work. The two are independent, but also form a synthesis, just as the thirty two paths themselves form a synthesis in the SY.

Our Singular Covenant– in the context of cultivation- refers to a state of being that constitutes the true prerequisite for the ten teachings to work. The first verse- prior to the twelve of our current discussion- supports the latter assertion. YH in our prior analysis was the one who laid down all thirty two paths, including the ten teachings discussed here. Further support associating the covenant with a state of divine communion or alignment- a state of esoteric illumination- is that it results from working with the power of the word- its power (annunciation) and structure (pronunciation).

In spite of our claims of a straightforward translation the second verse is more ambiguous in terms of how it can be rendered, specifically in the second part. The first part is straightforward in that sense, taken literally as emphasizing the quantity of reckonings being fixed and unalterable. That portion, however, can be examined more deeply as we have done with the number thirty-two. Given the extent of the subject matter, however, we will save that particular analysis for a soon to be published installment dedicated to the three numbers. We will also offer an alternative qualitative analysis for the number ten, which advocates of the Tree of Life model of the SPIRVTh might find interesting.

It makes sense that working with the power of the word, along with basic contemplative practice can result in states of esoteric illumination. These two verses, however, both emphasize the need for preparation. In the first verse the Covenant is introduced, and in the second there is a hint, embedded in the interpretation of the number names, that the teachings are based on a revelation that transcends both the mind and any kind of idolatrous worship.

In the second part of the verse we are introduced to a master who studied these teachings. This is apparently not the founder of the system, but someone who was responsible for its revival. He established the teaching in a way that clarified it so that the wisdom of Creative Shaping- synonymous with magical practice- could once again be built on a proper foundation. That foundation is the Covenant.

The alternative translation of the latter part of the second verse is worth mentioning. It introduces concepts that complement our introductory information of the ten reckonings. Namely the phrase “… he declared the standing place on behalf of his heirs…” can also be rendered “…the standing place of the matter was exalted by his moisture, (wetness or saturation)…” Here we are told that the teachings became exalted because of the master’s a state of awareness- inferred as moisture or saturation. The latter imagery is also used in a verse describing the activation of the letter Aleph, one of the three known as mothers.

The point in presenting this alternative is not to choose between them, but to notice that they actually complement each other and expand the meaning of the text. This may not even be deliberate, but a byproduct of the nature of the written language itself. Whatever the case may be, the master still came to restore the principles of the system to their proper foundation.

The picture we get from this is that the teachings themselves were already known. They must have either become corrupted or lost their edge. To reiterate, it is my view that this proper foundation is a reference to the Covenant. What this covenant is will be somewhat revealed in the next verse which initiates the four that provide us with the foundation to embark on the esoteric adventure that is the accomplishment of the Ten Reckonings of Restraint.

Once the theory is comprehended, the ten basic practices or SPIRVTh can be undertaken in earnest, provided the foundation is respected. This is important to consider because it classifies the work as advanced. To properly undertake it, in other words, one must master advanced states of esoteric practice that already amount to mystic and occult mastery in and of themselves. To make the covenant on an individual basis- as opposed to the context of a human collective- one must be in communion with the other party, attaining it through their own efforts, but quite likely with the requisite grace if the right attitude and heart-set is sustained. Then one can begin to benefit from the fruits of practice.

 

Introduction to the Ten Sephirot Belimah

We have already examined the thesis statement of the SY, and have been introduced to the text in general. The twelve verses that follow are self-contained in their concise yet in-depth coverage that has laid the foundation of much of QBLH philosophy and modern Western occultism. The central theme of this portion of the SY is an esoteric process described by the first three words that begin seven of those verses: OShR SPIRVTh BLIMH. If we want to unravel the allegedly cryptic wisdom of this portion of the text, it is imperative we explore the meaning of the elusive entities known as SPIRVTh.

The advantage of using the Earliest Recoverable Text (ERT) is its liberation from layers of conception representing the crusty residues of centuries of editing. This streamlined version of the SY encourages exploration unburdened by the assumption that everything has to be coded in elaborate complication where ancient occultism is involved. Our own context of meaning- that of esoteric cultivation rather than religious exegesis- facilitates in validating this view. What appear, therefore, to be twilight languages and elaborate allegorical codes are simply descriptions of esoteric means and outcomes that are made clear when one has basic (even if only theoretical) knowledge in the subject matter. There is no need to complicate things with talk of “initiations” and “mysteries”. What we have in this particular text, in this aspirants view, is occult “trade talk”- not the encoded vocabulary of concealing knowledge from outsiders who would either persecute the holders of it or corrupt its principles.

In that sense, there is no need to concoct elaborate stories of creation and complex maps outlining the conceptions of this section to emphasize the religious element over that of inner alchemy. We can simply take the text at face value with but rudimentary theoretical knowledge of basics of contemplation and sensate visualization to come to our understanding. Namely, the ten sephirot belimah amount to steps or processes of esoteric cultivation; exercises where each builds on the previous to construct an elaborate subtle body from a core of established mystical communion, itself the result of extended practice in contemplation and inner focus.

Let us examine each of the three words of OShR SPIRVTh BLIMH, starting with the first term. At the basic level OShR is the word for the number ten. If we interpret it letter by letter, however, we get a sense of the qualitative tone of the word. The letter-signs describe a vision or well-spring; the glyph of Ayin being that of an eye or top-down view of a fountain. The other two letters denote authority (Shin.Resh), a person, divinity, or an awareness (head or mindset) that nourishes and sustains. Such a vision or eye or fountain can describe a revelation or some bestowed treasure, material or not.

The letter-by-letter interpretation may appear to contradict my statements about avoiding complications, but such an interpretation is neither cryptic nor does it complicate our understanding. On the contrary, it complements the immediate meaning and supports it. We will explore this in the next installment using a specific verse of the twelve as an example. Suffice it to say that the word for the number ten Shin as Sin, whereas the first pronunciation defines OShR in the sense of growing rich. Both versions give the sense of accumulation (ten fingers or generally of wealth). We use discretion when choosing to examine a term letter-by-letter. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, after all. Numbers and certain terms of esoteric import, however, demand a deeper level of examination. The words that follow OShR  are often mystified in Cabalistic thought. can keep all this in mind as we examine the other two words.

The word SPIRVTh is the plural of SPIRH, itself a noun form of the verb SPR, which we encountered in the first verse as well as being the title of the work. SPR as a noun means scroll or document. As a verb, the lexicon ascribes a list of meanings to the latter root, such as to account, to count, to reckon, to recount, to relate and to rehearse. SPIRVTh are therefore accountings, reckonings, relatings etc. In other words, the word, which is never found in the singular in any version of the work, is simply a product of keeping an account or relating something. I prefer to the word reckoning, as it conveys a more deliberate intent than a simple description. So far things are rather straightforward, and there is no need to examine the letter-by-letter meaning of the word or its root. The latter simply conveys the transmission of knowledge as patterns of information. The next word should also be straightforward. Yet it has not been taken that way in the traditions that referenced the SY as source material.

Most commentators prefer the interpretation of BLIMH as the compound word BLI (without) and MH (what), interpreted as nothingness, or ineffable. Such a designation is likely at least one reason why the SPIRVTh have been mystified as worlds unto themselves rather than packets of knowledge (esoteric teachings). From the perspective of a concise text designed to convey advanced applications- as opposed to philosophical or religious abstractions- the paradoxical meaning is somewhat redundant despite the alluring Zen-like impression it conveys. The alternative interpretation of the word BLIMH parallels that of its preceding sister term. Namely, it is a noun form of the verb root BLM, meaning to restrain, to curb, to reign in. Literally, the term refers to muzzling. It is understandable that the former interpretation is preferred to the latter when mysterious Zen-like allusions are compared to a reference to some sort of bondage.

If we, however, look to the text itself- and this is obvious with the ERT- the fourth verse goes something like: “Ten Reckonings of Restraint: Restrain your mouth from speech; restrain your heart-mind from fantasy…” To those in the know, the reference is to the mental discipline necessary for successful contemplation. Certainly, a modern practitioner would think twice before associating meditation with muzzling the mouth and heart. The the necessity for at least a gentle curbing or reigning-in of the tendency to lose focus, on the other hand, is a necessity for anyone having attempted such a practice in any of its forms.

There is, moreover, the association between the concept of AIN and the ineffable. AIN is a term of indeterminate comprehension; one of those esoteric labels that asks for a deeper letter-by-letter analysis to its conventional meaning of negation. Interestingly BLIMH, AIN, and the standard expression LA are translated as terms of negation without much distinction between them. Something is lost in doing that, however, and that something is context. Rather than practicing simplicity we engage in a selective reductionism that ends up backfiring. Perhaps BLIMH does have a double meaning, emphasizing that the SPIRVTh are not things, even as it conveys some sort of reigning in. Regardless, in today’s QBLH we end up with circles forming a pattern that is either mapped on a human body like the cakras of Indian Yoga; or used to map anything and everything but what a straightforward interpretation would give: paths of wisdom as actual esoteric teachings.

In contrast, AIN is anything but a simple no or nothing. It represents a state of advanced contemplation, emerging from the practice of reigning in our common mental habits. This will be discussed in greater detail in subsequent installments regarding the twelve verses pertaining to the ten reckonings of restraining. Suffice it to say that of the aforementioned verses, the first six describe practices and fundamentals of contemplation that serve as a prerequisite for the actual ten steps or paths of advanced esoteric cultivation. This is where the text reference AIN, and where by rendering it as an esoteric term in itself instead of a simple negative, the meaning of the verses in the context of esoteric cultivation is much clearer.

To anyone familiar with such practices, it goes without saying that the intricate subtleties one must master for even the basic steps cannot be conveyed in a few lines, however concise or condensed. The “manual” that is the SY was more likely addressed to the teacher rather than the student; a kind of reference frame from which to elaborate for the special case of each individual. In addition, if a community of esoteric practice was under severe social stress- as in being under siege or some other form of acute and violent persecution- a few short verses may have been all that could be put into writing in the hopes that later generations could build upon that very basic foundation. This is mere speculation, of course, but not without some basis in the history of the period the original was thought to be compiled (the first or second century of the Common Era).

In the next installment we will organize the twelve verses of interest into three sections. This will facilitate the exploration of the particulars of the esoteric system our analysis will be revealing. The teachings are not limited to the ten accounts, and may constitute one of the earliest formal methods of internal alchemy on record for Western civilization. This wasn’t so much lost or repressed, but instead hidden in plain sight until the Earliest Recoverable Text extracted its core meaning from centuries of gloss.

Sepher Yetsira Verse One: An Occult Thesis Statement in Two Versions

The first verse of the SY (Hayman’s “Earliest Recoverable Text”) is a stand-alone thesis statement that links the ten SPIRVTh with the Hebrew AVTh-YVTh, the letters of the alphabet (properly known as “abjad”). Given, there no vowel diacritics and interpretation is dependent on context, and given the potential ambiguity regarding the spacing between letters in ancient non-canonical Hebrew writings, it is worth looking at more than one translation option. The verse below is transliterated directly from the (given) original. Its translation follows:

1.I. ShLShIM VShThIM NThIBVTh PLAVTh ChKMH ChQQ IH IHVH TzBAVTh BShLSh SPRIM BSPR VSPR VSP(V)R

I. IH of IHVH TzBAVTh, engraved thirty-two advanced applications of Wisdom in a triad of missives: by count and writ and account (rehearsed).

In the name IHVH TzBAVTh the latter word is usually translated as hosts or armies. Generally, however, TzBAVTh refers to any mass of people or things; something like a system in modern lingo. The next step in our exploration is to look at the names in terms of their constituent letter glyphs. Yod-Heh, can be understood in that sense as “act of worship” or “the giving of joyful surrender” or “the branch of worship”. We may interpret the two-letter appellation even more literally within the verse as “the arm of worship engraved…]”. This is but a way of saying that a process of worship, divine surrender or a “living work” resulted in the concrete establishment (engraving) of thirty two pioneered paths of applied human potential (ChKMH).

It is no secret regarding the existence of traditions where seers and mystics reached states of inspired awareness. Through ritual, worship and esoteric focus, they were known to channel works of magic and mystical adoration. It is also no secret that where mystical states are concerned, the acts of worship and contemplation and their objects are a single experience. Thus, we may take YH to be a Divine Name, but in an occult context it is also an experience of mystic import, meaning divine communion from which the revelation was a natural outcome.

The aforementioned context extends beyond a single religion or culture when we consider mystic/esoteric revelation as part of the perennial human condition. At the same time, each culture holds its own unique expression, with different points of emphasis. We can speculate that the original text stretched the boundaries of religious canon, or even “borrowed” from a wider frame of esoteric knowledge beyond that of Torah-based culture. We can surmise that subsequent edits likely attempted to define it closer to that framework of understanding. It would be no stretch of logic, moreover, to conclude that the adaptation to religious canon was imposted at the expense of a wealth of esoteric wisdom held in the original- perhaps the earlier edits as well.

Such a discussion, however, is beyond the scope of this work, which is an experiment in exploring the context of esoteric cultivation for the “Earliest Recoverable Text”. I mention it to introduce the second rendition of the text. The transliteration alters as follows: We split the verse in two by adding a period at the end of IH. Then we arrange the letters of the divine name by changing the spaces according to our context. In this way, IHVH TzBAVTh is re-spaced as IHV HTzB AVTh. The resulting verse is:

1.I. ShLShIM VShThIM NThIBVTh PLAVTh ChKMH ChQQ IH. IHV HTzB AVTh BShLSh SPRIM BSPR VSPR VSP(V)R

I. IH (“An act of divine surrender”) engraved thirty-two advanced applications of mastery. IHV was the Sign-Bearer in a triad of missives: by count and writ and account (rehearsed).

As discussed, in the occult sense divine surrender and its object are one experience. This experience resulted in thirty-two beaten tracks or blazed trails of occult wisdom being carved (established). The words NThIBVTh PLAVTh are literally “hard to understand beaten paths”. They are innovations that mark new territory, extraordinary and sophisticated. In the context of esoteric cultivation I render this: advanced applications.

The second rendering supplies more comprehensive information regarding the text, something fitting for our chosen esoteric context of interpretation. The verse expresses concise economy of phrase the first version lacks. An instruction manual of alchemy or magic- or some form of contemplative cultivation- would likely contain cryptic allusions and turns of phrase. These would dissuade the uninitiated and draw the serious aspirant into deeper layers of understanding. Religious terms would then be included for reasons other than simple devotional propriety.

Just as the name IH may allude to divine communion, the three-letter name IHV has a specific role. It is the sign-carrier by expressions of counting, script and (rehearsed) description. I favor the translation involving IHV as the sign-carrier also due to the emphasis on seals, signatures and the power of the word in this work. The triple letter name IHV can be considered as a consonant substitution of vowels that are sacred and without written form in this tradition. The vowels of IHV are IAU, the primary vowel sounds of Semitic languages. Interestingly, IAU is almost identical with IAO (V- Vav- can substitute for an O or U sound), which is IAΩ in Greek gnostic tradition. Hence from this introductory verse we are exposed to the significance of practices that culminate in the next chapter. It is, moreover, no coincidence in this view that IHV in all its permutations is used to seal the directions of “Sanctified Space”, and hence hold the letters associated with those directions in place. Its mention here can easily be taken as a precursor to that important role.

Of interest are the “tree missives” or means of expression. The last one in particular refers to the “rehearsed account”. This translates SP(V)R, where the V in parenthesis may or may not belong to the oldest recoverable text. The first two missives reflect Hebrew letters as pictograms with number values. They also reflect the ten numberings that express processes of unfolding esoteric empowerment. Number and description go hand in hand throughout the text. The third missive refers to practicing with the power of the word, in a prescribed manner. The reference to the prescribed power of the word is emphasized throughout the text, and is of paramount importance in the path of the SY. Speech in this context can be mental, vocal or sub-vocal.

The paths, themselves pioneered, and thoroughly tried and true, are not just quantified by the word for thirty-two. We can analyze the Hebrew word ShLShIM VShThIM for its qualitative revelation as well. ShLShIM conveys an image of two pairs of breasts with a shepherd’s staff between them, followed by the masculine plural suffix IM, which represents plurality and life-giving abundance. The result is strength in multiplicity and increase, such as a shepherd and the bounty of his flock. ShThIM, depicts nourishment (or penetration) of a sign (or representation dynamic) of the same abundant flows. ShTh is a word for foundation, while the conjunction Vav can be seen as the first word fertilizing and stabilizing the second. To reiterate, the letters of the word for thirty-two describe a great nourishing abundance fertilizing a foundation or base of multiplicity.

Interpretations such as the one above are helpful to expand beyond the conventional text meaning. A number is both a quantity and a description of a process. The skill set of the ten accounts and the twenty two symbols is meant to foster abundance and affirmation of life. It is an enhancing dynamic and not one meant to escape the world for a transcendent reality. This is true whether we interpret the text in terms of religious or occult standards. The plurality in this case can involve individual signs or whole semantic groups. Our interpretation is also coherent with the biblical covenant; a contract that involved adherence to a specific divine will in exchange for abundance and welfare for the faithful. The Covenant is a conception we will see mentioned more than once in the Earliest Recoverable Text.

The next post will commence the discussion of the ten reckonings or tallies. In this system these are ten steps of esoteric cultivation and accomplishment, including the preliminary practices necessary to make them work. The discussion will veer from the format of this post, with less emphasis on the interpretation of word and more on the meaning of the content in terms of esoteric accomplishment. Some key terms will be, analyzed for greater comprehension. At least that’s the plan at this point.

The Sepher Yetsira as a Manual of Magic

The Sepher Yetsira (SY for short) is a foundation text underlying QBLH wisdom, although technically not included in its corpus. The title is often translated as Book of Creation- or Formation- which gives the impression of a religious work. It is, in fact, described as such where Biblical Deity established creation via ten “sephirot belimah” (SPIRVTh BLIMH) and twenty two autyot (AVThYVTh). A simplest interpretation associates the sephirot to numbers from one to ten and the signs to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The word yetsirah (YTsIRH), however, comes from a root meaning “to shape”, which does not imply creation ex nihilo, but the creation of form from a pre-existing medium. The image, according to the lexicon, is of a potter forming a pot out of clay, or a woodworker carving an idol from a tree limb. Divine creation, on the other hand, has no pre-existing medium. Either it is out of nothing, or from the nature of Divine Being Itself. The latter outcome leads to the divine identity of creation itself; a belief known as Pantheism.

The SY is a fascinating albeit cryptic text in all its redactions, as it has elements of alchemy, magic, mystical practice as well as the religious symbolism that made it such valuable source material for the later variegated works under the label QBLH. The text and endless commentaries on it are easy to look up these days, something I encourage the interested reader to do, for the sake of better understanding the underlying context of this exposition.

Suffice it to say, the original text was thought to be around 250 words- compared to the 1300 to 2500 word count of existing versions. New material was obviously added over the ten centuries leading to the oldest known copy to date. Our work does not involve the copies that I have examined quite thoroughly. It covers a different and rather novel territory. The verses of the text transliterated, translated and analyzed in this series of posts are extracted from a modern incarnation of the SY.

This was compiled through the extended scholarship of Dr. A. Peter Hayman as a sort of experiment to reconstruct what a version of the text during the Talmudic period might look like. The result is an SY more concise and streamlined than even the shortest canonical version, although Hayman insists on refusing to identify his work as a genuine edition of the Sepher Yetsirah. It is 850 words long, and stands in length between the speculated word-count of the original and the 1300 words of the shortest official text. That’s a difference of at least 450 words. Do these clarify or alter the originally intended context?

If the SY was originally composed two millenia ago, it was most likely an oral teaching put to writing before vowel signs were introduced into Hebrew. As such, even the letter spacing of such a non-canonical text could be ambiguous. Interpreting the written word under those conditions, even for a native speaker, would be a guessing game without a given context upon which to base one’s discerning comprehension. With original context either lost or at the mercy of those opposed to it- highly likely given the tumultuous historic events of the period- the result would be anything but what the original author(s) would have intended. Understanding the esoteric meaning of the SY from the perspective of the existing genuine edits, therefore, restricts the context to that assumed or intended by the many editors of the text.

Then there is the Hayman experiment, which invites us to examine the material common to all edits. This in turn offers an opportunity to perform another experiment: to translate this “earliest recoverable” text of the SY under the context of esoteric alchemical cultivation practices and magical application. If the result is utter nonsense, the experiment is over. If, on the other hand, the discernment, interpretation and analysis of the text can extract from it a working esoteric methodology that can be tested, formalized and applied in a modern format…then we have something worth any additional effort to explore further.

One requirement for successfully applying esoteric context is an in-depth familiarity with the topic. Theoretical knowledge is insufficient for two reasons: a) it doesn’t begin to cover the nuances of occult reality to separate fact from fiction and workable tradition from media hyped speculation, and b) it tends to result in application that is nothing more than an intellectual exercise. Thus testing the methodology resulting from said interpretation of the text would be a waste of time at best. The oral tradition would likely reflect methods used by shamans and mystics the world over to this day, as opposed to the ceremonial type of magic and intellectualized practices predominant in modern QBLH.

That is not to say that esoteric cultivation is completely absent from the credited versions of the work. The well-known story of the Golem of Prague is a description of magic derived from the SY, which in that instance did serve as a Manual of Shaping (reality). The SY certainly advocates using the power of word, meditation and focus of will as well as breathing regulation and visual imaging. The Hayman version simply removes much of the gloss of later commentary incorporated as genuine text. What remains may not be the original, thought to be composed two millennia ago- out of an oral tradition dating back to the Patriarch Abraham. It may not even be in the precise likeness of any former- lost- version of genuine text. It is, however, still Sepher Yetsirah in terms of content.

Forthcoming posts will examine verses of the Hayman text in a specific format. That includes a transliteration of the Hebrew verse into Latin letters, followed by a translation, followed by commentary; the latter intended to clarify the translation and meaning of the corresponding verse. At the end of this text we provide a chart equating Hebrew letters to Latin equivalents for the convenience of those who wish to explore the forthcoming posts. For now my intention is to examine a verse or two per post, and to cover the first thirteen verses (out of forty-one), with the caveat that plans are subject to change, at least where the details are concerned.

The first is an introductory verse. The other twelve pertain to the OShR SPIRVTh BLIMH, whose meaning will be clarified in subsequent posts. When deemed necessary alternative word translations or clarifications are offered in brackets without italics. In the case of numbers and words with semantic ambiguity, such as divine names, we will resort to letter by letter analysis, based on the work of Carlo Suares and the letter glyph interpretations of Early Semitic. Combining the information with experience in esoteric methodology, we hope to extrapolate a system of inner alchemy (esoteric cultivation) and its application based on at least a portion of this earliest available text of the Sepher Yetsirah.

Aside from the Hebrew of Hayman’s extrapolated text, available in the public domain, the material provided here is original. Dr. Hayman himself did not translate his Earliest Recoverable Text into English, at least to my knowledge, but there is at least one public domain translation of this of which I am aware. The translation offered here diverges from that one, but isn’t completely alien to it. This is expected given the particular context involved in the work extrapolated here. Suffice it to say that, while the context employed is always that of esoteric cultivation, presenting a grammatically correct translation, as close to the given Hebrew as possible, while still maintaining contextual fluidity in English, has been top priority. All efforts are made to correct the inevitable mistakes that pop up now and again.

In conclusion I want to note that what I am describing has been a project of translation, commentary and practice involving several years’ labor overall- since 2012- although involvement was not continuous. It has been a challenging labor of love, empowerment and incredible meaning for me. Even more incredible is that the fruits of cultivation extend to horizons I could not have predicted, and which have only begun to reveal their implications in relation to other areas of esoteric interest. Perhaps this work merits more formal publication and other venues of sharing. Such a thing is demanding, in terms of time, energy and overall commitment, and asking for compensation is not where I’m at with this- at least not at this time. I have therefore chosen to explore, examine and explain the implications of the first thirteen verses, which describe a profound, concise and complete system of cultivation. This will be the topic of a number of posts to come. Thereafter, we shall see.

Hebrew Transliteration Scheme

Below is a chart of the transliterated Hebrew alphabet. This will be used in the posts on the Sepher Yetsira or wherever words in Hebrew are involved. Hebrew text is written right to left, while the transliterated version is written from left to right as in English. Transliterated Hebrew will be written in bold and English versions of Hebrew words (not transliterated, as well as directly translated text) will be rendered in italics. These words abide by a rather loose phonetic scheme rather than the transliteration format offered below.

Hebrew

Transliteration

Hebrew

Transliteration

Hebrew

Transliteration

Aleph

A

Yod

I

Qof

Q

Bayth

B

Kaph

K

Resh

R

Gimel

G

Lammed

L

Shin

Sh

Dallet

D

Mem

M

Tau

Th

Heh

H

Nun

N

Vav

V

Sammek

S

Zain

Z

A’ayin

O

Cheth

Ch

Peh

P

Teyth

T

Tsaddi

Tz