Warm Your Heart and Brighten Your Season with this Kabbalistic Interpretation of the Carol “Silent Night”

dawn baby

Singing Christmas carols back in 2004, I had a sudden insight into the kabbalistic symbolism that fills one particular song, “Silent Night.”  The deeper levels of meaning revealed from this viewpoint really enrich the power of this carol, and I thought at this season this would be a perfect topic to share with you.

First, some background on the Kabbalah, so you will understand what I am talking about.  (You can also review the first two articles on this topic here in this blog: Kabbalah 101 for Neo-Pagans: Part 1: Introduction and Kabbalah 101 for Neo-Pagans, Part 2: Kabbalah’s Origins and History).

The Kabbalah, or Tree of Life, is a design made up of ten spheres called sephiroth, in a lattice structure.  Each sephirah is like a drawer in a file cabinet, that contains numerous symbols and mythological archetypes, and shows how they are interrelated.

the Kabbalah
The ten sephiroth of the Tree of Life

Blinded by the Light

At the top of the Tree, the first sephirah, Kether, represents divinity before any definition, comprehension, or duality.  Its color is white or “brilliance,” a color beyond understanding that can only be roughly represented by the purest, most blinding white light you can imagine.  Think about going snow blind in the Arctic.

snow fox in Iceland
snow fox in Iceland

Fire and Ice

The first emanations, or output, from this ultimate Source represent the initial split into the most basic dualities: the second and third sephiroth of Chokmah and Binah.

Chokmah is pure force and ultimate masculinity, the All Father.  Of the four letters in the sacred name of God, Yod He Vau He, representing the four elements of fire, air, water and earth, the Yod, representing fire, is an important symbol of Chokmah.  This letter also represents a rod or phallus, additional symbols of the masculine force of Chokmah.

Ace of Wands - Golden Dawn Tarot
Ace of Wands – Golden Dawn Tarot

The next sephirah, Binah, represents pure form, and the ultimate female, the All Mother — the womb for the phallus of Chokmah.  Binah is a sphere of silence, contemplation and understanding.  Its color is black, representing the shadow that allows three dimensional shapes to become visible out of the blinding light of Chokmah.  It also represents the space between sounds that allows language and music to exist, and the still small voice of inspiration to be heard beneath the incessant chatter of our conscious minds.

High Priestess -- Golden Dawn Tarot
High Priestess — Golden Dawn Tarot

Binah is the Great Sea of our unconscious, and the primal froth from which the first life emerged.  It is the sphere of the Ama or infertile mother – the Maiden or the Crone of the Triple Goddess – and the Aima or fertile mother, the third face of the Triple Goddess.  The addition of the letter I or Yod, the masculine force of Chokmah, to the Ama, transforms her to Aima, symbolic of the impregnation of the Maiden to transform her into the Mother.

The planet (and Roman god) associated with Binah is Saturn, known as the Restrictor.  This planet rules depression, and winter.  Black is also associated with these symbols.  The god’s festival, the Saturnalia, was celebrated in ancient Rome on the 17th of December.

Saturn - Sol Niger
Saturn

“Here Comes the Sun, doo doo doo doo….”

Farther down the Tree, and directly beneath Kether, is the 6th sephirah, Tifareth, the heart of the Tree.  The “planet” associated with Tifareth is the sun.  With all the paths that lead from the Tree’s center, here, to the other spheres, Tifareth does look sun-like, as if it is radiating beams.

Tifareth, the center of the kabbalistic tree
Tifareth, the center of the kabbalistic tree

Tifareth’s color is yellow, and its metal is gold.  It is associated with sacrificed gods, divine kings, and sacred children.  Hercules, Christ, King Arthur, Osiris, and Martin Luther King, Jr. are examples of these roles.  But as it relates to the Christmas carol, we would be most concerned with the way Jesus fulfilled all these roles over the course of his life.

Tifareth is also on the central pillar of the Tree, which balances the right pillar of force and expansion — Chokmah’s pillar — and the left pillar of form and severity — Binah’s pillar.  This is the pillar of equilibrium, and qualities of Tifareth include mildness and tender loving care.

Now that you have a little bit of background in the Kabbalah, let me go over the lyrics of the carol so you can see how rich in kabbalistic symbolism it is:

Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright.

Round yon virgin, mother and child,

Holy infant, so tender and mild,

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.

 

Silent night, holy night,

Shepherds quake at the sight.

Glories stream from heaven afar;

Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia –

Christ, our Savior, is born;

Christ, our Savior, is born.

 

Silent night, holy night,

Son of God, loves pure light.

Radiant beams from thy holy face

With a dawn of redeeming grace.

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth;

Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

 “Silent” and “Night” are both attributes of Binah, and they make reflection and understanding possible.  The next line is “Holy Night,” so this is not an evil blackness, or an association of darkness with evil.  This is an affirmation of the holiness and sacredness of the night and darkness, and the relief it brings from blinding, relentless light.

“All is calm” — calmness is associated with the quietness and silence of Binah, or the calm waters of its Great Sea.  “All is bright” — Saturn is sometimes referred to as the sol niger, the “black sun.”  It is the brightness of inspiration that comes out of the darkness of the stilled mind.

“Round yon Virgin” – the Virgin or the Ama.  “Mother and Child” —  Ama is transformed by the Yod of Chokmah’s All Father, into the Aima or Fertile Mother.  The sacred Child of Tifareth is conceived.

The inclusion of “Mother and Child” in the same phrase is telling, because the Child actually doesn’t seem to be born until the next verse.  We can surmise here that the “Silent Night” of the “Mother and Child” is the Child in the quiet womb of the Mother.

The next line, “Holy Infant, tender and mild,” both refers to the sacred Child of Tifareth, and also to the qualities of tenderness and mildness in Tifareth that balance the pillar of expansion (with Chokmah at the top) with the pillar of severity (with Binah at the top).

“Sleep in heavenly peace,” I believe, is a reference to the Child sleeping in the womb of the Mother.  So, all these descriptions of silence and blackness also represent the salt-water sea of the womb, and the child sleeping peacefully within the Mother, within that darkness.

The Dark Night of the Soul

The second line of the second verse – after “Silent Night, Holy Night” is repeated – is “shepherds quake at the sight.”  To reach the understanding of Binah, one must travel up the Tree from our earthly plane – the tenth and last sphere of Malkuth.

Rider Waite Death card
Rider Waite Death card

This means not only suffering the death of the body, but also the death of your Personality as your soul advances in the afterlife, and it is absorbed into your Higher Self — also known as the Christ Self and associated with Tifareth.

Inside the tube
Inside the tube

Finally, even this Individuality dies, just before Binah, as it becomes ready to merge with the ultimate divinity of Kether.  This theory of the afterlife envisions your soul as a kind of raindrop, that ultimately merges with the Great Sea of the Divine from whence it came, at one with God again in the end.

To reach Binah, all of these “deaths” must occur.  This is a terrifying, earth shaking experience for the soul.  We often fear the blackness of the engulfing sea and night.  We prefer to avoid the depression of Saturn, and the restriction and aging – a reminder of our mortality — that Saturn brings.  But it also brings wisdom and understanding.

Dawn Breaks — We’re at Ten Centimeters!

“Glories stream from heaven afar.”  This is a reference to the path connecting Tifareth with Kether.  Tifareth, while not as great a light as Kether, is nevertheless on the path the glories of heaven, or Kether, take — straight down the Tree to earth/Malkuth, and much like the journey down the birth canal.

holy spirit from Kether to Malkuth
From the Cathedral of Santa Maria Nuovo in Monreale, Italy. Credit: Casa Editrice Mistretta, Palermo, Italy.

“Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia.”  The Heavenly Hosts or Angelic Hosts are associated with a sphere farther down the Tree.  But I think here, Heavenly Hosts also refers to the various facets of divinity that are represented in the Tree by the ten sephiroth.

The singing is like the Logos (Word) at the beginning of time that created the universe.  It is the vibration of sound that launches creation.  All matter is a vibration of energy at various frequencies.  So “Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth” tells of a being that is brought into existence by a vibration of the divine, that passes through all the different facets of divinity — the Heavenly Hosts on the Tree.

angelic choir
angelic choir

Divine Child – Take a Moment to Remember What it Felt Like to Look at the Face of Your Own for the First Time

new born baby
little angel

The third verse: after “Silent Night, Holy Night,” we have “Son of God” – the Son is both “S-U-N” and “S-O-N,” because Tifareth is the sphere of the planet the sun, and also the Son of Binah’s Mother and Chokmah’s Father.

“Loves pure Light” — Light is the pure force or fire of Chokmah.  So, this is saying that, in addition to loving the dark womb of the Mother, the Son also loves the bright light of the Father.  This fits with Tifareth being on the central pillar, balancing pure force and pure form.

“Radiant beams from thy Holy Face” – the radiant beams are reminiscent of the beams radiating from the sun, and the paths radiating from Tifareth in the center of the Tree.  Another name for Kether is the Macroprosus, or “Great Face.”  Tifareth, as its reflection farther down the Tree, is called the Microprosus, or “Little Face.”

“With a dawn of redeeming Grace.”  Dawn here is an important image, because it is celebrated at Yule or the Winter Solstice on December 21.  This is the longest night of the year – again, “Silent Night, Holy Night” – and it is the longest absence of the sun of Tifareth in the blackness of Binah.

Dawn breaking - celebration
Dawn breaking – celebration

Dawn breaking the next morning, then, is the rebirth of Light, the Earth Goddess giving birth to the Sun God.  This was cause for celebration, because the night was so long, that ancient peoples feared the sun would never return.  Dawn the next morning was greeted with great joy, as the sign of the returning strength of the sun.  Jesus’ birth is also seen by Christians as the dawn of new hope in an otherwise dark and sinful world, a world that before that moment could be described as one everlasting dark night of the soul.

“Christ the Savior is born” – here again, saviors are one aspect of Tifareth, not just in Christian terms, but also in the sense of King Arthur or Martin Luther King, Jr. These are leaders that sacrificed themselves to raise the bar for their people, and bring them to a higher plane of social and spiritual evolution.

This is an explanation of the passage of the sun from the seemingly endless night of the solstice, to dawn the next morning — the Child sacrificing the comfort, warmth, peace, and silence of the dark Great Sea of the womb to come forth into the world, to bring new hope.

The Guns fell Silent, and a Lone Voice Broke the Night: “Stille Nacht…”

One last comment on this carol.  There is a very famous story — Garth Brooks wrote a song about the incident called “Belleau Wood” — that during World War I there was a Christmas truce called at midnight of Christmas Eve/Day.  All the soldiers fighting in the trenches ceased firing, as church bells rang out across the countryside marking the hour.

An eerie stillness settled over the snow-blanketed fields.  One German soldier began singing “Stille Nacht,” the original version of Silent Night.  Risking being shot, he stood up and walked out onto the battlefield.

One by one, soldiers on both sides joined him in song, and on the field.  And for those few moments of the truce, they started exchanging chocolate and cigarettes.  Here we have a perfect example of the peace and silence of Binah, manifesting as the cessation of war, and of how important and holy silence can be.

Once we let the noise of our own heads die down, and stop fearing the oblivion of darkness and silence, we can actually see and hear our way clear to more peaceful alternatives.

Have a Blessed and Peaceful Yule, a Joyous Solstice, and a Merry Christmas.

Blessed Be,

Vivienne

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The Light of Hope in the Darkest Hour

Major Arcana XIX: The Sun

The Winter Solstice is fast approaching, and many of you may have been feeling the emotional effects of much shorter days and longer nights.  Fewer hours of daylight mean less serotonin production, sometimes even Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of seasonal depression.

Sometimes this time of the year is depressing because of the holidays.  We get nostalgic for a time when loved ones who are no longer here were still with us, when children had not yet grown and moved away, when times were still good.

This isn’t just a problem of our modern society.  Since time immemorial, human beings have tried to cope with the fact that the sun, vital to all life on earth, source of all health and happiness, seemed to fade in power.

Raging Against the Dying of the Light

Cultures all across the planet have developed holidays and festivals to try to bring some light to the darkness.  In Germany, Yule logs would be cut and brought inside to burn in the fireplace, to fill the home with light and warmth.  Trees would be decorated with candles.

In India, Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is a joyous celebration.  The Mayan royalty in Mexico would bleed themselves in excruciatingly painful ways, to give strength to the sun to ensure it would rise again.

No one knows exactly when Jesus was born, though it’s thought he was likely born sometime in the fall.  However, his birthday was set on December 25th for a number of political and psychological reasons, not least of which were the hopeful associations of the returning Solstice sun.  Christ is viewed by Christians as the Light of the World, and his birth as the hope of all mankind, a light kindled in the darkness of a sinful world.

The Wolf at the Door

What all these traditions have in common is our childlike fear of the dark.  We instinctively fear the bitter cold of a black winter’s night that threatens to freeze us to death, haunted by hungry wolves.  The thought of our gradually emptying larders, with months to go before planting season, used to be terrifying.

Our ancestors used to wonder if this year would be the year that the sun wouldn’t rise again in the morning, if that cold, dark night would go on forever and that planting season would never come again.

The Norse vision of the end of the world, Ragnarok, ended in ice, not fire, after a wolf swallows the sun.

So it is not new to be afraid at this time of year.  It is not unusual to feel hopeless or despairing.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

I am available to talk most mornings at AskNow.com, from 9 am to 1 pm EST: (800) 227-5669 ext 232644.  Just check my schedule at AskNow.

Radiant Beams From Thy Holy Face Bring a Dawn of Redeeming Grace


The key to remember, whatever your tradition, is that the sun will rise again the morning after the Solstice!  And that day will be just a little bit longer than the day before, even though it’s only by a couple of minutes.  And the days will grow steadily longer from there, because the worst will be behind us.

These next couple of weeks, while the days are still getting shorter, may be the hardest to get through.  But keep strong, thinking about that ray of hope on the other side, that literal ray of light shining through with that sunrise.  Think of the promise that those two minutes more of daylight bring, of the return of warm weather, a spring yet to come.

Spend this Solstice night snuggled up with loved ones and pets in the warmth and security of your home.  Or go out and celebrate with your friends, and make a joyful noise.  “Rage, rage, against the dying of the light!” (Dylan Thomas)

Alternatively, find someplace you can be safe, and warm, and fed, and spend the night meditating on the image of a candle flame, or bonfire, or perpetual light kept by vestal virgins, until you can greet the rising sun in the morning.

And always, always, keep the most important light burning within you — the light of hope and love.

“In the velvet darkness of the blackest night
Burning bright, there’s a guiding star
No matter what or who, who you are
There’s a light (Over at the Frankenstein Place)
There’s a light (Burning in the fireplace)
There’s a light, light in the darkness of everybody’s life
The darkness must go down the river of nights dreaming
Flow morphia slow, let the sun and light come streaming
Into my life, into my life
There’s a light (Over at the Frankenstein Place)
There’s a light (Burning in the fireplace)
There’s a light, light in the darkness of everybody’s life

— Rocky Horror Picture Show, Songwriter: Richard O’Brien

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You Are Loved Unconditionally – Open Your Heart and Let that Love Pour In to Heal Your Life, Now!

Ace of Cups - Let your heart be filled to overflowing with unconditional love

There is so much healing that needs to be done in the world.  So much damage has been done in people’s lives.  This is one tool I know from experience will work for many wounds.

How you approach the source of that love is going to be unique to you.  It depends entirely on what you are comfortable with.  For some, the source is their own Higher Self, a more advanced form of their own psyche.  It’s a kind of self love.

Others can accept unconditional love from their Guardian Angel, a very personal entity they view as assigned specifically to them.  That makes it more approachable than more impersonal forms of deity.

For many, seeking out ancestors who have crossed over to the other side of the Veil is the solution.  Our families, whether they knew us in life or not, and whatever their relationship with us was like while living, have a purified, unconditional love for their descendants on the other side.  All petty, ego-based emotions gradually fall away.  All that is left is the best of the best, the deepest and most abiding forms of love.

For billions of believers worldwide, a Higher Power or Source or some form of divinity is that source of unconditional love for them.

It doesn’t matter what your individual approach is to that river of light.  The only thing that matters is that you be willing to tap into that emotion, that acceptance, that feeling of being loved unconditionally.

Regardless of how other human beings on the physical plane treat you, that source of unconditional love is always there with you, and will never, ever leave you. 

It has to be more than just an intellectual exercise, though.  You legitimately need to feel, in your heart, that you are loved unconditionally.  When you know that feeling, you know you are never alone.

If you are ever not aware of it, it is because you have turned your awareness of it off, that is all.  It will be there waiting for you again, the second you turn your attention back to it.

Some people may have trouble capturing that feeling.  You may find that “getting it” intellectually is not the same thing as legitimately being able to feel unconditionally loved.

I assure you, this is not because the love is not there for you, or because you are not worthy of that love!  It is only your willingness to accept your worthiness, to accept the love, that we need to work on!

No matter who you are, what you have done, or what state of being you are in, YOU ARE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY! 

That is what unconditionally means — no conditions.  If there are any barriers between you and that unconditional love, you are the one putting them up, likely because you feel unworthy of that love in some way.  We can work on that, because EVERYONE DESERVES TO BE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY!

I will do another blog on the Eight of Swords card to talk about our own negative self talk, self doubts, and the limitations we otherwise place upon ourselves.  That will address some of what you can do to break through these boundaries you may have placed on yourself.

In the meantime, call me at AskNow.com to talk about it: (800) 227-5669 ext 232644.  I can help you work through these blocks one by one, and untangle the reasons for feelings of unworthiness.

That does not let you off the hook for your own actions, though!  You should still spend at least a few minutes each day turning your thoughts to that source of unconditional love, and opening yourself up to let it fill you, to the best of your ability.  The more you practice, the better you will get at it.

How to Open Up to Unconditional Love Anywhere

Sit comfortably somewhere you can be undisturbed for at least a few minutes.  (Once you have enough practice at this, you will be able to do this instantly, in any circumstance).

Close your eyes and focus your attention on your heart.  For the purpose of this exercise, I’d like you to imagine your heart is a flower bud, with closed petals.  As you get the idea, you can use whatever imagery works best for you.

Imagine your heart flower’s petals opening, slowly, the way flowers open for the sun.  As the petals open, they reveal a cup or chalice or bowl inside, empty and waiting to be filled, or even already at least partially filled with clear, shining fluid that represents pure love.

Become aware of the fact that you are loved, unconditionally, the way a parent loves a child, the way you may love your own child, if you have one, or a beloved pet.  However unconditional love feels familiar to you, tune into that feeling, and know that the Universe, in whatever form you have chosen to connect to it (your ancestors, your angel, your Source, etc). has that love for you.

Imagine the cup in your heart filling with shining light/fluid, until it is overflowing and completely overwhelmed by it, and you can’t even see the cup anymore — just this beautiful light.  More important is the emotion that goes with it, that you truly feel and know what it is to be loved unconditionally.

Let the energy spilling from your heart start filling your entire body, expanding beyond your body’s boundaries to fill your aura, and beyond.  Again, the important thing is not the imagery, but the emotion that goes with it.

This feeling, of being loved unconditionally, has miraculous healing powers

As you feel the unconditional love filling you, it could be overwhelming.  You may feel like a cup that is overflowing.  You may have an irresistible urge to cry.  That is perfectly normal.  Just let it flow.

Even if you only manage to allow a little bit in, that little bit will start to work on you, to heal you.  You will gradually be able to let more in, over time.

That higher vibrational energy washes through your emotional body, often represented by your aura or astral body.  Emotional pain caused by toxic relationships, abusive people, and traumatic experiences can be modeled as wounds, holes, tears or scars in the emotional body.  Just imagine the unconditional love flowing through you and into those wounds and scars, filling them out, healing them, soothing them, and repairing them.

Some people prefer to work with colors.  Damage can be seen as a darker or “dirtier” shade, the healing light as white, rose, or some other color you associate with love or healing.  Your aura can be a rainbow of colors, or whatever you envision it being today — our auras change with our moods.  Whatever color feels right to you today, is the color of your aura, today.  Imagine the color of love washing over the darker wounds, until they match the color of the rest of your aura, and your whole aura is shining brighter and stronger.

Some people do better with sound.  You can imagine wounds as being an ugly noise or dissonant sound, the love being a beautiful, harmonic tone or melody, and your aura as a wonderful symphony.  Bring everything into harmony as with the color exercise above.

Perhaps none of these visualizations appeal to you, and something else works better for you.  THAT’S OKAY!  The important thing is for you to use whatever works for you, on a regular basis, until you feel healed and whole again.  Then you keep using it to make your energy stronger, more vibrant, more healthy and loving.  You will start seeing miracles happening in your life!

You Will Be Amazed at What We Can Accomplish Together Through the Healing Power of Love!

This one exercise sounds so simple, though it can be difficult in practice, depending on your blocks and resistance.  But if you are already practicing it when you call me, you will be way ahead of the game, and you will be amazed at what we can accomplish together!

Call me at AskNow.com with any questions, and to move forward from here: (800) 227-5669 ext 232644.  We’ll take a look at your cards to answer your questions about where you are in your life path, and see how best to put that unconditional love to work healing your life!

You should know, in my own human and flawed way, I love you, too.  I love all my clients, because the universe has brought your beautiful souls across my path for a reason.  Getting to touch your lovely energy, and help heal your lives, is a great gift for me that I appreciate every single day!

I look forward to working with you, in light and love!

Vivienne

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Kabbalah 101 for Neo-Pagans, Part 2: Kabbalah’s Origins and History

the Kabbalah

Kabbalah Started as an Oral Tradition Whose Origins are Lost in the Mists of Time

The history of the Kabbalah is a long one, and its origins are steeped in mystery.

Some say it was taught by God to the angels, who then taught it to humanity.  Some say that Abraham received it directly from God as part of their covenant – that the sacred name of God he was taught, Yod He Vau He, contains all the wisdom of the Kabbalah.  Abraham then passed this knowledge on to his descendants, but Joseph was the last in this line, and after his death the Kabbalah was lost.

Another story says that God gave Moses the sacred name containing the Kabbalah from the burning bush, and Moses disguised these teachings in the first four books of the Torah (the Hebrew Bible, part of the Old Testament).  Yet another version suggests that God gave the Kabbalah to Moses on Mount Sinai, along with the tablets containing the Ten Commandments.

These versions might be the closest to the truth.  Moses spent many years in Egypt, and there are a great many Egyptian elements in the Kabbalah.  It is even possible that the Kabbalah was originally an Egyptian system Moses learned during his stay, and took away with him.

The main reason the origins of the Kabbalah have been lost to the mists of time is that it was predominantly an oral tradition, and wasn’t recorded in written format until the first centuries AD.

Kabbalah Gets Written Down for the First Time – and Begins to Fuse With Metaphysical Wisdom from Around the World

The oldest written kabbalistic text is the Sepher Yetzirah, “The Book of Formation.”  It has been attributed to Abraham, but was probably written by Rabbi Akiba around AD 120.

As the tradition was written down for the first time, kabbalistic authors also began to incorporate metaphysical wisdom from their surrounding cultures, such as Hellenistic and Gnostic magic and cosmology.

The next oldest surviving text, the Sepher Zohar, or “Book of Splendor,” was not written until over one thousand years later.  It is believed that Rabbi Simeon bar Yochai wrote this text somewhere in the 13th century AD, but it may have been written by Moses de Leon in the 12th century.  Moses de Leon is also credited with writing the Sepher Bahir, “the Book of Brilliant Light,” that same century.

Over the next few hundred years, there was a fusion of religious and metaphysical ideas from around the world, and one by one these systems became part of the Kabbalah.  The Tree of Life seemed uniquely adapted to not only accommodate these traditions but show how they were interrelated.

Kabbalah in the Middle Ages and Renaissance

Christianity and Islam influenced kabbalistic thought during the 12th and 13th centuries.  In the late 15th century, Pico della Mirandola created a system uniting Kabbalah with Zoroastrianism, the philosophies of Pythagoras, Plato and Neo-Platonism, Catholicism, and the Orphic mysteries.

This synthesis opened the way for Agrippa to write his stupendous three volume Occult Philosophy, a compendium uniting centuries of western metaphysical thought that is still considered a major resource today.  Alchemy was added in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the Rosicrucians and Free Masons started utilizing the Kabbalah, incorporating numerology and occultism into its lexicon.

During this same period, the rabbis decided to prohibit teaching the Kabbalah to unmarried men under 40, in an attempt to control what they saw as out of control reinterpretations.  This ban was only lifted a few years ago by the Lubavitcher Rabbi, who decided that it should be taught to everyone, even non-Jews, to prepare the world for the coming Messiah.

Kabbalah Enters Modern Times

In the 19th century, the Golden Dawn, a hermetic order of ceremonial magicians, adopted the Kabbalah as an important part of their metaphysical teachings and practice.  Eliphas Levi brought tarot into the system; and Madame Blavatsky, the founder of the Theosophical movement, added Egyptology, ritual magick, astrology and the Indian tattwa system.

In the 20th century, major kabbalistic writers included Dion Fortune, Gareth Knight, and Aleister Crowley, whose book 777 has a long list of many different gods, goddesses, stones, scents and other attributes and correspondences for the Kabbalah.  Carl Jung’s psychological concepts of the Animus and Anima, Shadow, Persona and Higher Self, and Synchronicity have become part of Kabbalah.

At the end of the 20th century, the pop star Madonna was at the forefront of a huge popularization of these esoteric teachings, and even new discoveries in Quantum Physics seem to have a home in kabbalistic cosmology.

I invite you to join this surge into the 21st century, as we become the latest generation to discover the wisdom and beauty of this mystical system.


See also: Kabbalah 101 for Neo-Pagans, Part 1: Introduction

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Physical Methods of Protection

salt

The protective methods I mention in the 5 part series on the aura here in this blog are rather complex as visualizations go.  However, they have the advantage that they don’t require any physical spell components, or even physical actions outside the mind of the magician. In other words, some people might find it simpler to lie in bed and do a visualization, rather than draw a bath and fill it with salt, protective herbs, or some of the bath mixes used in, for example, the Hoodoo tradition.  These can be as involved as taking a bath in the special mix every night for 7 nights, lighting two white candles, reciting a particular prayer or psalm, and throwing the bath water out in a special way (rather than just letting it go down the drain).[1]  Still, physical methods have their place. Continue reading “Physical Methods of Protection”

Novel Ways to Work with Your Aura and Boost Your Magickal Abilities, Part 5: A Magickal Larder

Major Arcana XIX: The Sun

One technique from Seth’s book, Post Modern Magick , that really intrigued me, was a method for storing spells. He found that performing a spell frequently required a considerable investment of time, energy, and materials.  This meant the work had to be done at a time that wasn’t necessarily a convenient moment, in order for the spell to be released at the precise moment when it was needed. He sought a way to store the energy of a spell so that he could perform the magick at his convenience, in as much detail as necessary, and then release the energy at a later date, at will.

He came up with the idea to use his aura as a kind of bulletin board, and thinks of the spells as sticky notes. He imagines his aura surrounding him, with an inner surface that he can “stick” things to, like a bulletin board or wall. When he performs his spells, at the moment when he would normally release the energy into the universe to start working, he instead siphons that energy off into an astral container – a symbol or sigil appropriate to the purpose of the spell. He then visualizes affixing that 2-dimensional image to the inside wall of his aura, stored for later use. Continue reading “Novel Ways to Work with Your Aura and Boost Your Magickal Abilities, Part 5: A Magickal Larder”

Novel Ways to Work with Your Aura and Boost Your Magickal Abilities, Part 4: A Morning Meditation

In my last article I promised I would discuss my morning routine, and how the aura cleansing technique fits in with it.

Each morning, just before I start work for the day, I stand in front of an altar I have set up in my bedroom. That altar contains images of several spirits and deities that I work with. I clap my hands and rub them together vigorously, to generate a buzz.  Then I hold my hands cupped together in front of me, gathering energy from my aura’s center in my solar plexus (just above the belly button), and focus it into a glowing ball contained in my hands. I think about what I want to accomplish that day, or what I need (for example, healing, confidence, strength, a peaceful day, a productive day). I then focus that intention into the energy in my hands.  Placing that energy into each container in front of each image of deity, I ask for those things. Continue reading “Novel Ways to Work with Your Aura and Boost Your Magickal Abilities, Part 4: A Morning Meditation”

Novel Ways to Work with Your Aura and Boost Your Magickal Abilities, Part 3: New Cleansing Techniques — An Aura Cleanse

This is an adaptation of a technique mentioned in the book Shaping Formless Fire, by Stephen Mace. He recommends cleaning your aura by imagining it completely burning away. I had to admit, I was quite taken aback by that suggestion! To me, that would mean destroying my defenses, as well as destroying a tangible manifestation of my personal energies. I was completely turned off by the idea.

However, as I thought about it, I found myself combining a similar technique with my usual morning meditation.  This resulted in something akin to the cleansing technique described in the last article for creating sacred space. Each morning, as I imagine my aura surrounding me and infused with power from previous exercises (I’ll describe those in the next article), I imagine a pulse of energy flashing from my core outward in a 360-degree radius, out to the horizon in every direction. Much like a nuclear blast or EMP (electro-magnetic pulse), I envision that pulse of energy incinerating any negativity, pollution, smut, or any other impurities or threats it encounters within that radius.  This leaves me surrounded by a hugely expanded aura that is completely cleansed of any unwanted energy. I start each day feeling like I have a much wider circumference of personal space around me, and I feel like my psychic landscape and my physical space have both been purified and protected. Continue reading “Novel Ways to Work with Your Aura and Boost Your Magickal Abilities, Part 3: New Cleansing Techniques — An Aura Cleanse”

Novel Ways to Work with Your Aura and Boost Your Magickal Abilities, Part 2: New Cleansing Techniques — Creating Sacred Space Wherever You Are

I realize the techniques I list below may not be new to everyone, but I have discovered some novel (to me) ideas for working with your aura from my recent readings and experiments. The books that suggest some of these techniques and inspired me to my own variations on them are Nocturnal Witchcraft, by Konstantinos, Shaping Formless Fire, by Stephen Mace, and Post Modern Magick, by Seth.

Cleansing a space is one of the first steps in performing a magickal ritual, or some of the more complicated spells. Cleansing a space can also be useful when trying to rid a place of a pesky spirit or entity, or to lighten the mood of the room after an argument. Common Wiccan methods for cleansing a space include sweeping the energy from the center of the room outward with a broom; burning heavy, purifying incenses like frankincense and myrrh; ringing a bell with a sweet, clear tone; or smudging with sage (a Native American practice).

The technique used by Konstantinos does not require any of these props or materials, however. He simply uses his own aura, expanding it outward from his body 360 degrees in an ever-widening sphere, until he has reached the limits of the area he wants to clean.   Continue reading “Novel Ways to Work with Your Aura and Boost Your Magickal Abilities, Part 2: New Cleansing Techniques — Creating Sacred Space Wherever You Are”

Novel Ways to Work With Your Aura and Boost Your Magickal Abilities, Part 1: Review of Visualization and Aura Basics

Most of my lessons are aimed at the experienced magickal practitioner, because I don’t want to bore people by rehashing very basic magickal techniques that many of us know inside out. However, I am aware there are some beginners who might need a little more in the way of explanation, so this first section will be a review of some of the concepts and techniques I hope you are already familiar with.

First is visualization. This is the most important tool or skill in your magickal arsenal. You have to be able to imagine the results you want, as clearly and specifically as possible, to get the best return on your energy investment. Continue reading “Novel Ways to Work With Your Aura and Boost Your Magickal Abilities, Part 1: Review of Visualization and Aura Basics”