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A response to the muses

 
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borealis



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 132

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:04 pm    Post subject: A response to the muses Reply with quote

(To the muses: My friend helped me edit this, and I spent a great number of hours on the spelling and grammar. There are most likely still a great number of mistakes, I’m sorry in advance.)


There was a post made that has now been accidentally erased, but Kim had challenged a few of the ideas I had down, and I feel that she and others deserve a response. The original question was, "Does modern interpretation of Yod have roots in Cabbalah?" I am not going to get into detail again, but here are some highlights of my answer that were challenged and my response.

Of course, there is more to modern interpretation than a link to Kabbalah. There is also a huge influence from psychology, and I am sure from other places as well; However, I did comment that I believe this link could be true based on a comment made by Marc Edmund Jones. The quote I used was,” Cabalism became the keystone of the Sabian Assembly.” This quote can be found in 'The Sabian Way" by Jonas R. Mathers. A condensation of one of the chapters can be found at http://www.sabian.org/man.htm


I can see other connections to Kabballah and modern interpretation too. The idea that every minor aspect, degree, asteroid, midpoint and pattern has deep meaning mirrors Kabbalahs’ philosophy that every word of the torah has a hidden meaning. See Zohar, Introduction. A paraphrase of the chapter published by the Kabbalah Center goes, "The Rabbi explains that the spiritual forces that protect and watch over us are called the 13 Attributes of Mercy. They are transmitted into our physical world through the first 13 words of the Torah. When judgments are decreed against us, these 13 forces can safeguard us from their influence. We begin drawing this Light of protection to ourselves at the very moment we begin to browse and behold the mystical shapes and sequences of the Aramaic text, and to learn the spiritual insights presented there."

The idea of meditating on sabian symbols mirrors the Kabballah view that meditating on the various words or names in the Torah can also bring to light mysteries and miracles. See Zohar, Vaetchanan, 9: : "They are all gathered by that meditation and all become one body, according to the same mystery. That meditation rises and unites everything in the two sides into one unity. At that time all body parts are gathered and connected into one, so they will all be according to the same meaning above and below, according to the secret of, 'Hashem shall be one, and His name One' (Zecharyah 14:9)."

To move to the next point, I had made a distinction between the Kabbalists who actually studied the Torah and abode by Jewish Law, and the people who try to take and use the power of the Kabballah philosophies with no regard for Mosaic Law or Judaism as a whole. I used the variant spelling (Cabbalah with a 'c', or Kabballah with a 'k') to make distinction; Kim simply said, "This holds no water."

It's true, this was not a very scholarly approach. However, I did have two reasons for it. The first reason is because there is no 'c' in Aramaic or Hebrew. A letter that can sound like an, 's' or a, 'k' makes no sense. True, Jacob, Rebecca and Issaac seem to have been accepted by some, but not by all. Then again, there is the argument that it is the sound of the letter that really counts. The reason the sound has meaning though, is because the sound holds alternate meanings. So does the English word, Cabballah. The English word Cabal (Spelled with a 'c') is defined as 'to conspire' or to 'plot'. Personally, even if 'it holds no water', I feel this is an insult to Judaic mysticism and to Jewish history to continue linking them to a conspiracy. Then again maybe not? Who knows! At least you have my reason.

The last thing that I believe was challenged was a comment that I made regarding Rabbi Luria (An influential Kabballist). I said that he obeyed Jewish Law and would not approve of 'fortune telling' or of 'seeing astrologers' and I also said that, "he was most definitely familiar with Hinduism." Kim then argued that astrology can be found far back into Kabballah history and that she had never heard of anyone ever saying Luria could have been familiar with Hinduism, where did I get this? (Please correct me if I have misunderstood Kim)

I will start with the latter comment, because to me it is the least significant (on this forum.) I was attempting to show that modern astrological interpretation has been influenced and drawn from philosophies that are older than many of us sometimes wish to admit. Also, the older philosophies have most likely been shaped and influenced and drawn from even older ones. (I don't believe I need a quote for that statement.) I said that Kabbalism and Hinduism have some obvious similarities. Which one came first? I guess it depends who you ask. I believe there are some pretty good arguments for either side.

To go into details of proving this, is probably best suited for a religious forum, which is why I didn't get into that before. If you're interested in finding out for yourself, I would suggest comparing their ideas about spiritual, sacred and original language and how the secret of these languages is unlocked? Who can understand the secret meanings of the scriptures? What are the many paths to enlightenment versus the paths to receiving the Holy Spirit? Do humans have the ability to be released from physical pain? How does one go about doing this? What is the purpose of going into the wilderness and living as a hermit or going off into mountains? What is the purpose of meditation and what should you meditate about? What are their views on resurrection and reincarnation? Who can perform miracles? If you are not in the elite group of mystics or seers, or cannot uphold the strict regiments required for liberation or receiving everlasting life, what kind of options are there and what would your destiny be? How were the traditions passed down through the ages, and what was the status of the people who passed the traditions down?

I could go on and on. If anyone is actually interested, here are some links I have been able to find for English translations of Scriptures so you can decide for yourself:

Daramashastras (Laws and rules, The four orders being householder, student, ascetic, hermit and the laws on food are of particular interest for this study) http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism/dharma/subject_index.asp
Rig Veda http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/rigintro.asp
The Zohar which I have already quoted is at https://www.kabbalah.com/k/index.php/p=zohar/zohar
The Sepher Yetzirah http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/yetzirah.htm

To conclude this point, I only said that Rabbi Luria was most definitely familiar with Hinduism to allude to the fact that a connection between the two worlds would not be considered ludicrous. It is not as big of a deal that requires tons of proof, like say, linking Aztecs with Egyptians who have an entire ocean between them! A comment like this is like saying that a Jehovah Witness is certainly familiar with Catholicism, or that a Buddhist is certainly familiar with Christianity (especially, if that person is known as a great leader.) Even better, it would be like saying that a traditional astrologer like Deb, is certainly familiar with modern techniques like using the modern planets, even if she may not actually actively use them:) Sorry Deb! I couldn't help it:)

The last point that I had to make, which is what I believe the most appropriate for this forum, is the difference between astrology found in Kabbalah history and astrology being practiced as a tool to 'fortune tell'. How could I possibly say that any ancient Kabballist who obeys Mosaic Law would not practice astrology? Well I didn't say that. The following comments are not intended to be any type of critisism to any type of astrologer or to be any way related to my beliefs. This is simply discussion on historical developments of astrology.

Is astrology found in the Zohar and in the Sepher Yetzirah and a number of other ancient texts? Of course it is!! So are palmistry, psychic ability, tarot and numerology. Did they believe it worked? Of course they did! Did they promote astrology as a tool? That’s where it gets more complicated.

See Zohar Volume 10, Section 11. There has just been an incredible and detailed account of how to interpret the lines in a mans hands and then there is verse 130: "In this firmament up above, which covers everything, impressions were set in it to show and know, through these impressions, things and concealed secrets. These are the shapes of the stars and constellations recorded and fixed in this firmament, which covers externally. Similarly, the skin which covers man FROM THE OUTSIDE is like the firmament that covers all, having lines and impressions - which is CONSIDERED TO BE AN ASPECT OF THE stars and constellations of this skin. One may perceive in them hidden things and deep mysteries of the stars and constellations, THAT ARE THE IMPRESSIONS AND LINES IN THE SKIN, through which the wise of heart may study them, and discern the secrets hidden within, as we have stated. And this is the secret of: "the astrologers, the stargazers" (Yeshayah 47:13). ........Rabbi Shimon said: Happy are you, friends that no secret has disappeared from you. How many supernal places await you in the World to Come!.........For all these are the signs by which we recognize men on whom the spirit of Wisdom rests. Yet Moses had no need of them..........For the Holy Spirit came to him and informed him. And through this he could see it all.
https://www.kabbalah.com/k/index.php/p=zohar/zohar&vol=19&sec=660#6733


A very key idea here is that those who are WISE OF HEART may study them and discern the secrets. In many other places the Zohar and the Torah gives message that only the righteous can receive the truth. You must have complete faith in the Most High if wisdom, knowledge and righteousness are to be attained. To illustrate an example of the difference, see Zohar Volume 22, Section 24, Verse 113,

"Since THE MOON comprehends good and evil, Yisrael calculate according to it and the children of Ishmael calculate according to it. YISRAEL ARE ATTACHED TO ITS GOOD PART AND THE CHILDREN OF ISHMAEL TO ITS EVIL PART. When it is eclipsed during its fullness, WHICH IS ITS GOOD PART, it is a bad sign for Yisrael, and when it is eclipsed during its waning it is a bad sign for the Ishmaelites. Of it, IT IS WRITTEN, "for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish" (Yeshayah 29:14), namely the wisdom of the Ishmaelites, "and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid" (Ibid.), because they do not know about the creation OF THE STARS but of their customs, according to changes in the world and their calculation. The moon was created on the fourth day OF THE WORKS OF CREATION and when it is waning, when there is poverty, Lilit was created, who is Saturn, which is hunger and thirst and the eclipse of the luminaries. It says of her, "Let there be lights (Heb. me'orot)" (Beresheet 1:14) spelled without Vav, WHICH MEANS A CURSE, AS WRITTEN, "The curse (Heb. me'erat) of Hashem is in the house of the wicked" (Mishlei 3:33), AND ALSO, "but the sinner shall be caught by her" (Kohelet 7:26) and the righteous, "shall escape from her" (Ibid.). THIS IS WHY WE DO NOT START THINGS ON WEDNESDAY"


https://www.kabbalah.com/k/index.php/p=zohar/zohar&vol=49&sec=1718#15650

So, if the constellations and practice of astrology are real and are a part of the master plan, then how and why do the righteous escape? In my very superficial explanation: the Torah tells the story of how Abram becomes Abraham. It explains that as Abram, he was of this world, and the stars and constellations outlined that he would not bear a child with his wife. The 'fortune in the stars' would be true if he continued as Abram. However, once Abram gave complete faith to G-d and he trusted only in the name of the Most High, they established a covenant and Abram became Abraham. He was blessed with the spirit and no longer 'bound to the lower world." see Zohar Volume 3, Section 30, Verse 322,
"And Avraham saw through astrology that he will not have a child. What is written: "And He brought him outside" (Beresheet 15:5). The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, "Do not look to this-THE WISDOM OF THE STARS-but rather to the secret of My Name, WHICH IS THE NUKVA. "You shall father a son!" This is why it is written: "So (Heb. koh) shall your seed be" (Ibid.). KOH is the secret of the Holy Name, through which a son was born to him; HIS SON DID not COME from the Other Side, WHICH IS OF THE STARS AND CONSTELLATIONS."...... Come and behold: It has been said that 'Avraham,' SPELLED WITH THE LETTER HEI, shall father a son, while 'Avram' shall not. If you say that he fathered Yishmael while he was still 'Avram,' THE RESPONSE IS THAT the son promised by the Holy One, blessed be He, was not born while he was 'Avram,' because as long as he was 'Avram' he begot only down below-REFERRING TO YISHMAEL. But once he was called 'Avraham' and entered the covenant, he begot above-IN HOLINESS. Therefore, 'Avram' begets only down below, while 'Avraham' begets in the upper world, as we have stated, because he was attached above to Yitzchak."
https://www.kabbalah.com/k/index.php/p=zohar/zohar&vol=5&sec=218#1901
Note: Yishmael and Yisrael are names of his 2 sons and lineages but these names also show difference between believers and non-believers.

Now, these are only a few of the examples, but the question or challenge was, "Did they (Kabbalah) promote the use of astrology?"

From the wise and righteous they did, to an extent. Astrology was much like a stepping-stone to understanding the big picture. Its' purpose went far beyond 'fortune-telling.' The use of these tools to exclusively try and gain power, or unlock secrets without a true heart would lead to ultimate failure because His Name contains more power. In the end, a true Kabballist, through understanding astrology and studying the torah, and observing strict mosaic law, and completing all the other physical, spiritual and mental tasks assigned would reach a level of understanding far beyond any astrologer. He could become the astrologer who needs no chart, the palm reader with no sight or sense of touch, he could be the tarot reader with no cards, "For the Holy Spirit came to him and informed him. And through this he could see it all."

I do not see these philosophies as that odd, or strictly from a Kabballistic view point. I have only recently been learning about Horary and Deborah wrote a wonderful article on posing questions at: http://www.skyscript.co.uk/horary_questions.html
This articles outlines prime examples of other people believing that there are more divine things at play, and how these forces should also be consulted.

As a conclusion, there is a difference between studying and practicing; Learning and knowing; Giving people insight into future events and dazzling the crowds with accurate predictions to placed on a pedestal. I hope that any astrologer around here, including the proffesionals, would place their ethics above power and money on their list of reasons to practice astrology. Much of modern interpretation seems to avoid 'telling the future' and instead guides us through personal analysis. This angle really seems to me, to be an effort to be in synch with Jewish Mysticism while being able to throw out the whole study the torah, learn the language, eat Kosher food.....part. Anyway, I'm not saying I agree or disagree and I'm sure that there is a lot more to it than that too. This is only the tip of the iceburgh.

-- WARNING: This post is just a post. A student who has no authority, credentials, or published pieces has submitted it. It should be taken as being from a student who has a passion for the subject and wishes to voice an opinion, and nothing else. --
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Kim Farnell



Joined: 18 Dec 2003
Posts: 256

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm only addressing the points that were aimed at me, too little time to discuss more at present.

Quote:
Kim simply said, "This holds no water."


I no longer have your original post to refer to, or my reponse, but that comment was directed specifically towards your assertion that the relationship between Kabbalah and astrology wasn't possible before Hermetic Cabbalism as Jewish law prohibits astrology. I quoted the example of the Sefer Razael, which is a heavily astrological kabbalistic text and dates from the thirteenth century which is earlier than Hermetic Cabbalism.

Quote:
Kim then argued that astrology can be found far back into Kabballah history and that she had never heard of anyone ever saying Luria could have been familiar with Hinduism, where did I get this? (Please correct me if I have misunderstood Kim)


I said that apart from a speculative comment from Gershom Scholem I have never seen anything that says that Isaac Luria was familiar with Hinduism and yes, did ask where this came from. Luria reputedly was a palm reader amongst other things, which is why I was puzzled by your assertion that he wouldn't approve of fortune telling.

Kim
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borealis



Joined: 05 Nov 2005
Posts: 132

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I completely understand your comments. I should have been more clear the first time around. I was really excited that someone had a comment that got things back on topic.

P.S. I am a big fan of your work:)
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Sue



Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 945
Location: Australia

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2006 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have to admit that I know very little about Jewish Kabbalah but have an interest in Christian Cabala in the historical sense. Some of the most interesting writing I have seen on Cabala is by Frances Yates. One of the best books she wrote on this topic is ‘The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age.’ She differentiates between Kabbalah as the Jewish tradition and the Hermetic Cabala of the Christian tradition. She sees that the first person to develop Cabala in the Christian sense was Pico della Mirandola who started this tradition around the 1480’s or thereabouts. It was not long before the Jews were thrown out of Spain. Yates argues that it was from the Spanish Jews that Pico learned about Cabala and then developed it into the Hermetic tradition that he was emersed in at the time. So the big difference between the two traditions as far as Yates is concerned is that the Jewish tradition developed from Moses whereas the Christian tradition developed from Hermes Trismegistus. The Hermetic Cabala became huge in the Elizabethan Age with people like Cornelius Agrippa and John Dee being keen followers. It became an avenue, along with Neoplatonism, for religious reform during the Renaissance and was often tied to alchemy. It was enormously influential in its time. It seems to me on the surface of it that there would be closer links to astrology through Hermetic Cabala than Jewish Kabbalah but I really haven't looked at it closely.
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MzLoretta



Joined: 15 Jul 2006
Posts: 13
Location: Shasta County, Northern Cali

Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2006 4:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

borealis, I am completely and utterly humbled by your post. In my 35 years of studying and reading Astrology .... I have never come across such a heartfelt, right to the spirit, beautiful, spirit rich post on an astrology forum.

Your heart is completely there. You used your spellcheck wonderfully, and your intent, meticulous research and passion came through loud and clear!!!

The muses are pleased and we're glad you're on the planet with the rest of we mere mortals. You have obviously tapped into the ancestors of this wonderful art....and they have kindly offered their wisdom to all of us through you.

Bows...

Smooch,

Mz. Loretta

aka Bambi
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