Monday, 15 December 2014

Bass, Oil, and Candle Light

All About That Beis
If you're a follower of popular music (which I'm not) you might be familiar with Meghan Trainor's "All about that bass" (no treble). You may also be familair with, what I consider to be a better version, Kate Davis' and Post-Modern Jukebox cover, "All About That Bass".

[Side note: Kate Davis has an interesting video on TEDex about her journey as a musician. OK, she's still just starting out but if you're trying to find your right magical path - she has a few pearls of wisdom to offer].

Celebrating Because of What?
Anyway, in case you're wondering what this all has to do with magic and mysticism... please bear with me a moment longer. You see, the The Maccabeats released - "All About That Neis" for the festival of Hanukkah. (If you want to get the story in summary, here is the round up by Veronica Monica).

Whilst Hanukkah is one of my favourite festivals.. The  Maccabeats  have me rather confused whether the celebration is about 1. the miraculous military victory or 2. one day's worth of oil burning for eight days. In truth I think of the battles as a conflict between the Hellenized Jews and their Greek army supporters versus the Jews who wanted to take back the Temple and overthrow Greek cultural imperialism.

This next bit is based on a recent lecture by a Rabbi B***...

Thirteen Breaches in a Small Wall
So what do the Rabbis have to say on the Hanukkah conflict? After all the Greek and Jewish cultures go back a fair way together and there were bound to be some influences upon each other. Well, apparently the Rabbi's don't have much to say about it. This extract from Misha Yomit is pretty much the only bit:
Within it was a latticework, ten tefa~im high, and thirteen breaches were there that the kings of Greece breached, and they repaired them again, and decreed thirteen prostrations opposite them. Within it was the Heil ten amot, and twelve steps were there, the height of each step was half an amah, and its depth half an amah. All the steps that were there, the height of each step was half an amah, and its depth half an amah, except those to the ulam. All the doorways and the gates that were there, their height was twenty amot and their width was ten amot, except that of the ulam. All the doorways that were there had doors, except that of the ulam. All the gates that were there had lintels, except the Gate of Tadi, where there were two stones leaning against one another. All the gates that were there were changed to be golden, except the Gate of Nikanor, because a miracle was performed in their case. But some say: Because their copper had a yellow hue.
A fence in the Temple had thirteen holes poked in to it... that's all they have to say on the Israel versus Greek conflict. So what was so important about this wall? It acted to delineate the public from the private domain in the Temple. Which meant that it was possible to carry in the private domain in the Temple during festivals. Wow, what a fuss over something so trivial...

However, it also represented the idea that there is creation and something beyond creation. The Divine is not simply within creation and that is all that exists. The Divine is just as far removed from the spiritual worlds as from the physical world.

And that is an idea that the Greeks did not like. There was in their minds no Divine existence beyond reality they knew, hence the thirteen breaches (gemmatria of thirteen is echad, Hebrew for one). To them there was just reality and nothing else.

So why does this matter?
Simple because it influences everything we do in relation to magic and mysticism. If there is Divine outside of reality and it can still have a relationship with us via the means of prophecy - then it means that there is a purpose to everything and we each have a role to play.

If not, then it's all just chaos and we can do whatever we desire.

It is, in my current way of thinking, the difference between using one's abilities in magic to act in service... or for personal gain.

I wish you a happy Hanukkah.

*** if you want his name, please contact me. I am not including it here as it could violate my law of unintended stakeholders.