Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Races of Angels

There's a number of posts recently about the nature of entities such as angels and elementals on a number of blogs. Since I can't resist jumping on the band wagon, here is a quote from Maimonides' Mishneh Torah: Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah chapter 2 verse 7:
The different names with which angels are called reflect their [spiritual] levels. Thus, they are called:
1) The holy chayyot, who are above all the others;
2) the ofanim;
3) the er'elim;
4) the chashmalim;
5) the serafim;
6) the mal'achim;
7) the elohim;
8) the sons of the elohim;
9) the keruvim;
10) the ishim
These ten names which are used to refer to the angels reflect their ten [different spiritual] levels. The level above which there is no higher level except that of God, blessed be He, is that of the form called chayyot. Therefore, the prophets state that they are below God's throne of glory.
The tenth [and lowest] level is that of the form ishim. They are the angels who communicate with the prophets and are perceived in prophetic visions. Therefore they are called ishim, because their level is close to the level of human knowledge.
The note to this section states:
These ten names which are used to refer to the angels reflect their ten [different spiritual] levels - We do not find such a listing of the different levels of the angels in the Talmud or Midrashim. The list mentioned by the Rambam is found in the Zohar (Vol. II, 43a), although in a slightly different order.
The Sages of the Kabbalah explain that all existence is an expression of the ten sefirot (emanations) of Godliness. Though these sefirot relfect different qualities of God, and thus transcend entirely the levels of the angels, we do see a certain commonaility between these mystic teachings and the Rambam's conception of the spiritual realms. (See also the Guide for the Perplexed [Vol. II, Chapter 4], which mentions ten levels of spiritual existence).
My personal opinion is that the list of ten races of angels is interesting, I don't think that the list is meant to be in any way exhaustive in terms of non-human entities that we can interact with. Also, the letters of of the Aleph Bet are angels too. Personal experience is the best teacher in my opinion. As Jack put it:
Go out, have an adventure... See what you live beside. Magick is about living, and seeing differently. At least sometimes, anyway.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Boundaries and Practice

Don't worry, this is not a blog post about crossing boundaries or being transgressive. Mainly because I don't understand what the word transgressive means.

Every week my wife and I study a small snippet from the Shulchan Aruch (literally Ordered Table, i.e. code of law) and the last section we studied detailed the different categories of domains. Such as the public and private domain.

In a recent email discussion the topic of boundaries also came up. Seeing as I don't believe in synchonicity, I thought it would be useful to blog a couple of my thoughts on this topic.

* The personal boundaries that we have in Western society is something that I find quite peculiar.
* In my worldview, the world in which we live is very porous in terms of its contact with other realms.
* In fact our bodies too are very porous, entities can and do penetrate your being
* Our minds extend beyond the limits of our head and as the Rambam says, you are where your thoughts are
* If this is the case, who am I and where are the limits of my being?

This question is one that has been on my mind for awhile. I don't have an absolute sense of where my boundaries are and my recent experience of channeling power highlighted that this is tied in to my lack of sense of boundaries. I do not know how much power I can channel. It feels like a lot, but it might only be a small amount.

So in order to answer this question, I will be re-doubling my efforts to meditate on a regular basis and do a series of mini-projects to channel ever greater amounts of power. My untilmate goal is to be able to channel power to an entire city, Detroit to be specific.

I have no idea why I feel drawn to that city or what my connection to it is other than a desire to bring regeneration and rebirth. It's just a feeling and before I attempt that - I need to know my boundaries better and become stronger. Wish me luck!

Monday, 8 April 2013

April Update

Passover was early this year. I had numerous ideas about what to post on April 1st, but none of them materialized in time, this too is for the best.

The past few weeks and months I've been slowly progressing my study of Sefer Yetzirah ((Book of Creation). It's a slow process because it's about experience based learning from what I understand. The other question that has been on my mind is: am I doing enough in service to help others, the land, my tribe?

The thing is.. what motivates me is a sense of wonder and awe at learning the metaphysics of creation (for want of a better term). Learning to date has involved reading, walking, plenty of meditating, a little experimentation and mostly reflection. I do some work in service for others, but also (what I call) tinkering... trying to figure out how things work. I admit that it's not as a mature attitude towards magic as I perhaps should have and thank Heaven the fallout of my misadventures has been relatively light.

Recently I had a conversation with Rabbi Bar-zel Arieh Tzion and he brought together some ideas which prompted this post and the question of: do I have the right balance between learning (aka tinkering) and service?

Rabbi Tzion pointed out that one name for prayer in Hebrew is Avodah, which literally means service. The service of the lips has replaced the service in the Temple. He reminded me of the section in Yehudah Ha-Levi's Kuzari which highlights the importance of praying with the community, it's not just about your own prayers but praying for the benefit of everyone. Rabbi Tzion then expanded that idea by pointing out that Halacha, the Hebrew word for Jewish Law comes from the verb to walk. Halacha is way of of life, a natural way to interact with the worlds both physical and spiritual. And finally he tied those two ideas in with the idea of Tikkun Olam, which means rectification of the world. We're co-creators Rabbi Tzion reminded me, formed from a Divine spark that enables us to heal a fractured world.

When I asked Rabbi Tzion if I had enough knowledge and skill to help others he replied: "Even a shmuck like you gets it right once in a awhile." It's the first compliment he's given me in the past 3, which is not that hard considering he's been ignoring my attempts to contact him for the past 3 months - with one exception. That one exception being my recent power overload, he stopped me from digging myself in to even more trouble. SO perhaps there is hope for my journey to becoming a responsible member of the magical community after all.