Monday, 13 February 2012

Half-Completed Thoughts on Energy and Spirits

This post is really just for my benefit, but since blogspot does not appear to have a “me only” option I will share it with the world. Please note that it reflects partially completed thoughts and I take no responsibilities for any flame wars, existential crisis, or mass paradigm shifts that it may cause.

Read this Post first Basically, a recent post by blogger Ananael Qaa called: Head Sizes and Reality Selection got me thinking about energy and spirits. Before you read the next bit of this post, please follow the link to Head Sizes and Reality Selection, it really is an excellent post. Rather than reality tunnels I think of it in terms of potential waveforms that diverge from or and collapse in to each other. We’re all tuned in to the dominant band of waveforms we call ‘reality’.

3 School of Kabbalah
You may be familiar with the 3 “schools” of study in Kabbalah: 1. Theoretical 2. Meditative 3. Practical

This logical decomposition of Kabbalistic study & practice is pretty modern. An older classification that goes back at least to the days when the Talmud was being edited and recorded (450-550 common era) are:

  1. Sitrei Arayot 
  2. Ma’aseh Merkavah 
  3. Ma’aseh Bereishit

Sitrei Arayot literally means laws of forbidden relationships, which teaches what human couplings are forbidden. Viewed as a whole they describe the natural order of the world. Siblings mating for example goes against that order and never really ends well.

Ma’aseh Merkavah means Work of the Chariot, Action of the Chariot. It refers to the school of mysticism based on the visions of the heavenly spheres and angels as recorded by the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah. Calling it a school of mysticism is a bit of a misnomer as the texts for this school of Kabbalah describe how to perform heavenly ascents, and how to adjure angels to earth for a variety of purposes.

Ma’aseh Bereishit means Work of Creation, Actions of Creation. This school is focused on the use of the 10 sefirot and 22 Hebrew letters to channel the forces of Creation using the names of God. The main text for this school is Sefer Yetzirah, the Book of Creation, which in the past has been used to create humanoid clay figures, called golems, as well as create animals. Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan wrote a fairly recent translation and commentary in which he states that using this book of practical meditation gives the practitioner skill at clairvoyance and telekinesis. This is the reason I’m studying the book at the moment.

The Half-Completed Thought 
Now we get to the point of the blogpost and thanks for reading up until this point… There appears to me to be a split in the paths of magical practice between those who predominantly work with spirits to those who work with energy. (Please note that I am purposefully not defining those terms).

Perhaps my understanding is flawed (and I hope that it is), but the fact that the schools of Ma’aseh Merkavah focus on working with angels and the school of Ma’aseh Bereishit works with Divine energies gives weight to the argument that practitioners lean towards one or the other and rarely, if ever, master both.

Jewish texts on metaphysics describe how the Hebrew letters as both channels of Divine flow (energy) and angels (spirits). As a practitioner though, I cannot seem to relate to them in both their spirit form and energy form at the same time.

Waves and Particles 
In this Wikipedia article: Wave-Particle duality is described how light can travel as both a wave and particle (at least I hope that what it means, the physics is way beyond my feeble grasp of physics). Perhaps light travels as not quite a wave and not quite a particle.

Anyway, the reason why I am throwing this in to the mix is that I think that the Universe is built this way, both for light (frequently used as a metaphor in Kabbalistic texts) and magical practice.

What are your thoughts on this idea?