Friday, 22 October 2010

Body of Light, part 1

Whilst reading several different books, I started to come across references to a body (garment) of light / astral body. In the extract below Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok describes how this was the original form of humanity and one that we'll eventually return to.

“Protection from Evil” by HaRav Ariel Bar Tzadok (
Chapter 3, pp42-43

“...G-d's great plan for humanity is that we as a race eventually overcome the proverbial “sin of eating the forbidden fruit” and return to how we were originally created in the “Garden of Eden”. Torah tradition is very clear on this point, that the original physical form of Adam (and thus the indigenous natural state of humanity) was a body of light, not one of flesh and blood.

We never lost our original body of light. It never went away. The result of the “sin” was that our light body become encased in a body of flesh. Our consciousness became split between that part which stayed conscious of our light body and now a detached part, which became entrapped in the body of flesh. This is why today we have conscious and unconscious parts to our mind/soul. This is also why we have two bodies, one being our physical body, the other being what today many call, the astral body. The astral body is our true indigenous form. In the language of the Torah, this astral body is called the Haluka D'Rabbanan...”

The remainder of this chapter is well worth reading and I would recommend this book 100%. In the extract below Chajes quotes Rabbi Moshe Cordovero as stating that the body of light is only accessible to the righteous.

“Between Worlds: Dybbuks, Exorcists and Early Modern Judaism” by J.H. Chajes
Chapter 1, pp.19-20

“...The garment of skin ('or) fashioned by G-d for Adam (Gen. 3:21) was created first as light (or). Sin resulted in its corporealization and with physicality came opacity and, tragically, perishability. In other words, when Adam was first created, like the dead, he too was formed of a fine, diaphanous body of light, partaking of immortality.
This original Garment of Light was removed from ordinary men as a consequence of Adam's sin, yet remains available tot he righteous, whose recovery of this ethereal body enables them to communicate with the souls of the dead...” (source: Moshe Cordovero, Or Yakar, 64)

Finally in the translation and commentary of Sefer Yetzirah, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan touches on how this body can be accessed as an astral vehicle to animate a Golem or ascend to the spiritual realms.

“Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation. In Theory and Practice” Translation and commentary by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan.

Chapter 2, pp. 127

“...There is evidence that creating a Golem was primarily not a physical procedure, but rather, a highly advanced meditative technique (see note 62). By chanting the the appropriate letter arrays together with the letters of the Tetragrammaton, the initiate could form a very real mental image of a human being, limb by limb. This could be used as an astral body, through which one could ascend to the spiritual realms.
The formation of such a spiritual body, however, would also result in a tremendous spiritual potential. Once the conceptual Golem was completed, this spiritual potential could be transferred to a clay form and actually animate it. This was the process though which a physical Golem would be brought to life...”

I'd be interested to compare this information with how this subject is dealt with in Hermetic Kabbalah. To see whether it draws on the same or different sources.