Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

#181
Thanks for the additional information on Cordovero, Steve. Where can I read about what you are talking about? I just know excerpts from "Garden of the Pomegranates" in the Essential Kabbalah, by Mott, which only had the one. The language there would seem to exclude more than one path from Malkuth. On the internet all I see is a book by that title by Regardie.

Thanks also for the link to SV (http://tarotcirkel.files.wordpress.com/ ... -waite.pdf). Now I have something to work with. Here is what I come up with.

The justifications for first fiveincluding the Fool look pretty good. The sixth, V as the Bull is OK. Osiris was the Bull-god, worshiped as such in Alexander VI's depiction of himself, and all the humanists knew that, not just him. For the seventh, I suppose true lovers can be considered twins.

For VII, he says, "The House of Luna". I don't see that in Lilly. Anyway, the Moon is not triumph VII. He adds "Only the exaltation of Jupiter makes us look further". Jupiter would fit the Charioteer, as the truimphator of the gods. OK.

For VIII he has Justice, which fits no historical tarot. Leo is just the Lion. Good enough for Fortitude, but it doesn't fit the C order that he is using.

For IX he has Virgo. House of Mercury. The virgin for knowledge, he says, i.e. Hermit. Makes sense, for when the card had that name.

X is the Sun (in the Sefer Yetzirah order), which fits the Wheel.

For XI he has Libra, "the Balances". Just Justice, in no historical tarot as XI or the twefth triumph starting from the Fool.

For XII he has Water. In some old packs, he says, the Hanged Man is called the Drowned Man. I have never heard of that.

For XIII he has Scorpio. He has "evil house of Mars, the house of death." Well, yes, scorpions are deadly.

For XIV he has Sagittarius. "The Archer, House of Jupiter. This sign seems to claim "the Lovers" too." Not very helpful for getting to Temperance.

After that, his zodiac and element signs are OK. For XV, Capricorn, a goat will do for the Devil. And Aquarius for the Star. And that's it. But at least four of the middle seven--VIII, XI, XII, and XIV-- haven't been justified at all. So it's more than just the two, Justice and Fortitude. I have no idea how to bridge these gaps.

In some C orders, IX is Fortitude and XI as Hermit. But Libra doesn't fit the Hermit, nor Virgo the Chariot.

I was interested in seeing what happens if we apply the A order to the assignments (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-YlU6F53x-_E/U ... .35+PM.png).

Then (remembering that the A order sometimes doesn't number its Bagato) we have the VII equivalent as Chariot in Bologna and Temperance in the Charles VI and Rosenwald. What does Cancer have to do with Temperance? My thought: Cancer has to do with one's feelings and positive Cancer, with being good at managing them. That's what Temperance requires. I don't know if this is a Renaissance analysis or not.

For VIII we have Justice in Bologna and Fortitude in the other two. The latter works.

For IX, Virgo, we have Fortitude in Bologna and Justice in the other two. Perhaps being unattached is required to admnister justice.

For XI, Libra, we have the Wheel. Well, the four sides seem in balance.

For XII, Water, we have Time. There were water clocks; also, water works to dissolve things over time.

For XIII, Scorpio, we have the Hanged Man. OK, the sting that kills.

For XIV, Sagittarius, we have Death. He was shown with a a bow and arrow early on.

For XV, we are at Capricorn again, and everything is like C, allowing for the switch of Angel and World.

In this case X the Sun is correlated with Fortitude in Bologna and the Rosenwald, and the Chariot in Charles VI. The Lion is a solar animal.

So if I take the Rosenwald order as my model, I can, if I stretch myself, get from the Sefer Yetzirah to the tarot. I'm surprised; I totally didn't expect that. These match-ups have the advantage of being more hidden. Libra as Justice and Leo as Strength is way too obvious. Maybe the Sefer Yetzirah isn't irrelevant to the historical tarot after all--not as part of its impetus, don't get me wrong, but as something that fits one of the orders, when then affords a symbolic equivalent to the Sefer Yetzirah. Maybe the Golden Dawn just got the wrong tarot order and SY planets order. Somebody please tell me the flaws in my fuzzy logic.

Huck: your shift from 32 to 64 is interesting. Applied to "paths" on the Tree of Life, I assume that would mean that they work both ways, so down the Tree as well as up. 32 paths, but 64 ways.

Added on Aug. 23: A fixable flaw in the above argument about the applicability of the Sefer Yetzirah to the A order tarot sequence is my statement about XV to XXI: " For XV, we are at Capricorn again, and everything is like C, allowing for the switch of Angel and World." Actually it isn't quite the same as with the C order. Even though the order of subjects is the same, what is on the cards, which is what allowed some of the correlations, is not.
The type A Star card does not show an Aquarius-like figure pouring jugs of liquid. It has people looking at a star and pointing. I see no way of getting to Aquarius from that! It is too much of a stretch to say, "Well, it is the Star of Bethlehem, ushering in the Age of Pisces, and it's only 2000 years til the Age of Aquarius." Nobody was thinking that far ahead. However I think one way of making the connection is as follows. The Rothschild only showed a Star, nothing else. In classical literature a mythologically important star (as opposed to planet or constellation) was Sirius, the Dog Star, in Egypt Sothis, whose rising signaled the coming Nile Flood. Aquarius was on the western horizon at that time.

Another difficulty is the Moon card. I see no way of connecting the astronomers on the A type Moon cards with Pisces. But the Moon taken by itself governed the main motions of the sea, the tides, and Pisces is an association to the sea. Another association has to do with its place in the sequence: the Moon governs the month after the rise of Sothis, i.e. the period of the rising Nile flood.

A third difficulty is the Sun card. Its A type scene was of a lady with a distaff. What does that have to do with Jupiter? Again, it is just the Sun itself, as on the Rothschild. Just as Jupiter is the god who dominates over thel others, so does the Sun dominate over the other celestial bodies. Another association, again pertaining to the card's place in the sequence: the month after the Moon's month is the Sun's.

So in every case, by means of just one association, it is possible to get from the tarot image to the corresponding Sefer Yetzirah assignment.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

#182
Huck: thanks for the link to Mary Greer's post. It sounds in The Occult Tarot like Dummett and Decker admitted to only one mistake that Greer helped them correct, on "pantacle/pentacle", and that the part on Kircher was a mix-up and omission they found on their own, as though their notes or even intent had gotten confused in the process of publication.

I was still curious about "pantacle" and "pentacle". Why did Levi use, and apparently invent, the word "pantacle"? Was it because he wanted a word all his own, not bound by traditional meanings? Perhaps he thought "pentacle" meant only five pointed or cornered figures. But did "pentacle" always mean five? It appears not. In French and English, it seems to have meant just what Levi meant by "pantacle". The Oxford English dictionary has, for "pentacle":
Etymology: < Middle French pentacle talisman, most often in the form of a five-pointed star (a1555; French pentacle (now hist.)) and its etymon post-classical Latin pentaculum (1531 in the passage translated in quot. 1569 at main sense) < penta- penta- comb. form + -culum -culum suffix. Compare Italian pentacolo, pentaculo five-pointed star (1483). Compare PENTANGLE n.
Then the definition and first recorded use:
pentagram, esp. one enclosed in a circle; a talisman or magical symbol in the shape of or inscribed with a pentagram. Also, in extended use: any similar magical symbol (freq. applied to a hexagram formed by two intersecting or interlaced equilateral triangles). pentacle of Solomon n. = pentangle of Solomon n. at PENTANGLE n. 1.

1561. F. Coxe Short Treat. Wickednesse Magicall Sci. sig. Biv, I mynde not here to speake of the tromperye which they haue in this their worke as halowed chalke, water and palme, circle, pentacles and plates used for defence, [etc.].
There is also, in English, "pentangle", first use:
c1400 (▸?c1390) Sir Gawain & Green Knight (1940) 620 Þay schewed hym þe schelde, þat was of schyr goulez, Wyth þe pentangel de-paynt of pure golde hwez... Þe pentangel..is a syngne þat Salamon set sum-quyle, In bytoknyng of trawþe, bi tytle þat hit habbeȝ.
The sign (sygne) of Solomon would seem to be a six pointed star, despite the "pent" in the name; perhaps they thought it had five points at first, and later the descriptor just continued.

I was curious as to what the Italian use of the term was in 1483. One online source (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Talk:pentacle) quotes Luigi Pulci's Morgante, Canto 22 stanza 102, which he says is from 1478. I expect that the 1483 date is that of the publication of the full 28 canto version, of which 23 had been published in 1478. No copy survives of the 1478 twenty-three canto version, although there does of its 1481 reprint. Here it is:

"Malagigi non volle gittar l'arte
Però che ne facea gran conscienzia
E non si può far sempre in ogni parte;
Convien ch'a molte cose abbi avvertenzia
E veste consacrate e certe carte
Esorcizzate con gran diligenzia,
Pentacol, candarie, sigilli e lumi,
E spade e sangue e pentole e profumi."

Here is the English translation (p. 496) by Edoardo A. Lebano:

"Malgigi did not want to use his art,
most scrupulous about it as he was;
nor could he use it indiscriminately.
He had to be concerned with many things--
the proper holy vestments, certain charts,
that needed deftly practiced exorcisms,
pentacles, instruments, and seals and tapers,
and swords and blood and pots, and aromatic vapors."

There is the inevitable question of whether "carte" here might mean "cards" as opposed to "charts". But "cards" doesn't fit the context very well.

(Note added August 27: Upon further investigation, this last is less sure. See my later post in this thread at viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1019&p=15581#p15581.)

On "pentacle" Lebano comments (p. 881):
Note that the "pentacle" was a five-cornered object made of stone, metal, or parchment paper on which magical signs were drawn; the "seals" were magical letters or symbols; the "tapers" were very slender candles used with the magic square or "almandal" needed to conjure up devils; in the "pots," special terra-cotta vessels, were placed carbonized pieces of aromatic wood (Ageno, 717). See also note, XXI, 46-49.
In the other note, Lebano begins (p. 871):
In spite of his religious upbringing (Luigi's younger brother Berardo and Berado's wife, Antonia, both wrote sacred plays), Pulci soon abandoned the observance of Catholic practices to dedicate himself, for a period that lasted at least twenty years, to the study of the occult sciences, which experienced a remarkable revival in Florence toward the second half of the fifteenth century. ...
Well, it's always nice to learn about the social and ideological milieus in which the game of tarocchi was played, early on; apparently it wasn't all devout orthodox Catholics. The footnote goes on to cite various devils that Pulci wrote about to Lorenzo in his letters. I presume this is all a game, but I don't know. I notice that in the above stanza Pulci treats his necromancer with respect: he is sparing in his summoning of devils.

I'd try to pursue the subject further, but Lebano's page references to Ageno don't correspond to any pages by him in the bibliography. When I figure out what is going on I will post something.

Note added Aug. 27: the page references to Ageno are to her edition of Morgante, which fortunately a local library lets me check out. More to followl, for now see viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1019&p=15581#p15581.

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

#183
mikeh wrote:On the internet all I see is a book by that title by Regardie.
Regardie named his book after Cordovero's "Pardes Rimonim" (Which may be translated as Garden (or Orchard) of Pomegranates).
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

#184
mikeh wrote:Thanks for the additional information on Cordovero, Steve. Where can I read about what you are talking about?
Both trees from Cordovero's 'Garden of Pomegranates' can be found from a quick google search (search terms 'tree life cordovero kircher).

For example both are illustrated on Colin Low's site here:
http://www.digital-brilliance.com/themes/tol.php

or in the book 'Universal Kabbalah' by Leonora Leet here:
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=oMdr ... ro&f=false

A translation of Cordovero's descriptions of both trees is out on the internet somewhere, I don't have the time at the moment to track it down (I thought I had a copy of it, but can't find it--I seem to be losing a lot of things just lately. I can't even ask you to trust me, the way my memory is going I don't trust myself!).

On the division of the alphabet into three groups of seven, see for example here:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jso ... pture.html
Alef as the first letter encompasses all the others: "Alef is their primary source and they all draw from it." The remaining letters are organized in three groups, each consisting of seven letters: bet, gimmel, dalet, he, vav, zayin, ḥet "are the mystery of the rule of Grace," tet, yod, kaf, lamed, mem, nun, samekh "that of the rule of Mercy," and ayin, pe, ẓaddik, kof, resh, shin, tav "that of the rule of Strict Justice" (Pardes Rimmonim, 27:21).
Also Cordovero explains that each letter comes from the Sefirot it is associated with; for example, alef comes from Keter (called Ain, 'nothing', in the Zohar), bet from Hokhmah (called the primordial or first point in the Zohar), gimmel from Binah etc.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

#185
mikeh wrote: Huck: your shift from 32 to 64 is interesting. Applied to "paths" on the Tree of Life, I assume that would mean that they work both ways, so down the Tree as well as up. 32 paths, but 64 ways.
The SY is more about the cube of space with its 3 dimensions than about a tree. We've to part this text from speculations, which appeared 10-7 centuries later, similar as one has to part Tarocchi in the original from ideas, which developed in 18th-20th century.

And it's about a "binary tree". About some math.

Naturally one can compare a sort of "world genesis" to the picture of a tree, which means more the "expansion of a system" and "from inside to outside".
Well, the Chinese started their system with 2 or 3 ideas, formulating "Tao" and "Yin" and "Yang"and they reached on this way 64 or even 4096 symbols and if they would like, some more, in "an expansive movement of a system", which naturally creates different levels with specific values. This development one can compare with a "tree", and one could formulate hierarchic levels inside this development.

How does you sort your files in the computer? You've a first level, and you create some folders, and these folders present a second level. In each of the second level folders you can create further folders (3rd level folders) and so on (4th level, 5th level etc). So you create a "tree", perhaps just for your private interest to get your telephone numbers sorted or your library or your collection of playing cards. One folder is possibly named "Marseille Tarot" and another "Visconti-Sforza", and the Marseille folder possibly contains sub-folders like "Noblet" and "Vievil".

How does you sort your memory and its very much objects? .... :-) ... similar. And it also forms a "tree" or "many trees".

The most simple way to structure your mind is made by simple numbers: 2,3,4 ... and then combinations of the simple numbers. So the I-Ching was made. And so your mind was made.

"32 ways of wisdom" had the idea to unite oppositions. "64 hexagrams" describe 64 different states. "Heaven" is the opposite of "earth". "Difficulties at begin" is the opposite of "high culture". "Waiting" is the opposite of "progress". "Spring" is the opposite of "Autumn". Totally 32 oppositions with 64 different states.

***********

There are so many trees ...

Image


... in the considerations of Christian Knorr of Rosenroth, Kabbala denudata, Sulzbach, 1684

(in "Alchemy and Mystik", by Alexander Roob, 1996)


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_ ... _Rosenroth
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

#186
SteveM wrote: Also Cordovero explains that each letter comes from the Sefirot it is associated with; for example, alef comes from Keter (called Ain, 'nothing', in the Zohar), bet from Hokhmah (called the primordial or first point in the Zohar), gimmel from Binah etc.
http://what-when-how.com/jews-and-judai ... d-judaism/
The letters, as written in the Torah, are reflections of the heavenly letters. Their relation to each other is like that of the male and female which attain fulfillment only in union (Zohar, 2:228; cf. 3:220). This characteristic is also expressed in the shape of the letters: alef is male, bet female, gimmel is again male, dalet female, and so forth (Zohar Hadash, Ruth). The form of the letters is not accidental; they are "spiritual essences whose external shape corresponds to their internal essence." The spiritual counterpart of each letter derives from the individual *Sefirot; thus, for instance, alef comes from Keter ("Crown"), bet from Hokhmah ("Wisdom"), gimmel from Binah ("understanding") and so on (M. Cordovero, Pardes Rimmonim, 27:2; Sefer ha-Temunah, the end of alef). When a person pronounces or uses letters of the alphabet, it awakens the spiritual essence contained in them and "sacred forms" come into being which rise and unite with their origins, the heavenly letters, "which are the sources of emanation"; there they become subtle and incorporeal, similar to what they were before they took on a definite material shape in man’s mouth (Cordovero, op. cit., 27:2; 9:3; 15:3; idem, Shiur Komah, 53; idem, Elimah (Ms.), 132; Sefer ha-*Kanah, 24; *Dov Baer of Mezhirech, Or ha-Emet, 12; idem, Maggid Devarav le-Yaakov, 28). The whole doctrine of the spiritual, supernatural character of the letters seems to have originated under the influence of the Pythagorean theory of numbers.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

#187
SteveM wrote:
SteveM wrote: Also Cordovero explains that each letter comes from the Sefirot it is associated with; for example, alef comes from Keter (called Ain, 'nothing', in the Zohar), bet from (called the primordial or first point in the Zohar), gimmel from Binah etc.
If the Zohar indeed said "Ain" and "aleph comes from Ain (= nothing = zero)", then it indeed would agree with that, what somehow is expressed in SY in hidden form with "aleph = zero" and "aleph (= 0) + mem (= 12) + shin (= 20)" = 32.

And the "primordial point or first point" would be not "Hokhmah", but "Kether". Which sounds logical, cause Kether stood for "1" or first Sephira and "Hokhmah" for "2" and 2nd Sephira.

I don't doubt, that there was a number system with aleph = 1, beth = 2 and mem = 40 and Tau = 400 (there is a lot of evidence of this use), but there's no guarantee, that there was only one number system, about which Jewish thinkers might have thought of occasionally.

Scholem came to the conclusion, that there were lots of kabbalists, and more or less "every one had his own system" (or similar).
So contradictions were likely not rare, similar to the talkings of Tarot historians, who mostly agree on some points and disagree on others.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

#188
Huck wrote:
And the "primordial point or first point" would be not "Hokhmah", but "Kether". Which sounds logical, cause Kether stood for "1" or first Sephira and "Hokhmah" for "2" and 2nd Sephira.
In relation to Keter as Ain, Chokmah was considered the 'primordial point', the beginning. "Wisdom (Chokmah) comes from Nothing (Ain/Keter).

The wiki entry (not the most reliable source I know) on Chokmah provides some quotes in relation to this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chokhmah_(Kabbalah)
According to the Bahir: "The second (utterance) is wisdom, as is written: 'Y-H-W-H acquired me at the beginning of His way, before His deeds of old' (Prov 8:22). And there is no 'beginning' but wisdom."[2]

Chokhmah, the second of the ten sefirot, is the first power of conscious intellect within Creation, and the first point of 'real' existence, since Keter represents emptiness. According to the book of Job, "Wisdom comes from nothingness".[3]

Chokhmah is the primary ("beginning") force in the creative process, Creativity, as it is said: "You have made them all with Chokhmah ." The first word of the Torah (in Genesis, Breishit means "In the beginning (God created the heavens and the earth)", is translated (Targum Yonatan) as "With Chokhmah (God created...)."

As Chokhmah emanates from Keter, the first dawning of the "Infinite Light", it "appears" in an obscure and undefined state that is a virtual non-being. Thus the verse states, "and Chokhmah emerges from nothingness" (Job 28:12, see Zohar II, 121a, Zohar III, 290a, commentaries). The light of the Ein Sof becomes unified in the world of Atzilut through clothing itself first in the sefira of Chokhmah.

In the Zohar Chokhmah is the primordial point which shines forth from the will of God and thus, is the starting point of Creation. All things are still undifferentiated at this point and only become intelligible at Binah.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

#189
SteveM wrote:
Huck wrote:
And the "primordial point or first point" would be not "Hokhmah", but "Kether". Which sounds logical, cause Kether stood for "1" or first Sephira and "Hokhmah" for "2" and 2nd Sephira.
In relation to Keter as Ain, Chokmah was considered the 'primordial point', the beginning. "Wisdom (Chokmah) comes from Nothing (Ain/Keter).
Yes, this maybe for some level of consideration, in another level of consideration we have Kether = 1 or first sephira and Chokmah = 2 or second sephira.

Well, I think, we've had also West-European philosophs and thinkers, whose texts became rather complicated (Cusanus for instance, as far I remember), when they started to talk about the nature of "1" or "2", far above the level of common use merchants, who precisely knew, what "1" was and that "2" had 100% more.

One cannot easily mix such human occupations. Everybody wishes to be understood under his own definitions, otherwise his considerations make no sense.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Dummett's "Il Mondo e L'Angelo" & More

#190
Huck, the only reason I refer to the paths on the tree in relation to the Sefer Yetzirah is that it was in that context that the Golden Dawn used the Sefer Yetzirah. Its relation or not to the tarot is to be sure independent of the Tree.

Thanks for the references to Cordovero, Steve, and the part on the 7s. Now I just need to see what Cordovero actually said.

I don't know how old the so-called "early" form of the tree was. If Cordovero said it, then it is clearly in the purvue of Christian Kabbalists by the early 17th century (1697 at the earliest).

But I find it very difficult to believe that the system with only one path from Malkuth was "modern", as I will explain. In any case that is the one that the Christian Kabbalists of the 16th century would have known, not only from the picture on the front of Gates of Light but from the work itself, which in the Latin translation/abridgement was a major source for Reuchlin. Similar ideas are also reflected in Pico, who I'm not sure knew Gates of Light.

In dealing with Kabbalah, yes, there were many systems. I think we have to focus on the ones we have evidence of being used in the 15th-early 16th century Italy in one milieu of the tarot. i.e. the humanists.

Gates of Light was from 13th century Spain, considerably earlier than Cordovero. On p. 1 the translator has a picture of the Tree as it seems to be described (but not pictured) by Gikatilla. It has 18 paths, three more than in the frontispiece to Portae Lucis. That picture left out three important ones, the vertical connection between 1 and 6 and the horizontal connections between 4 and 5 and between 7 and 8. There is still only one connection between 10 and 9.

This is important, because 10, "Kingdom", is the sefiroth governing the Kingdom of Israel, i.e. the chosen people. "Foundation" is the Foundation of God's connection with the chosen people, i.e. the covenant, in particular the "lower covenant" of the flesh and the visible, i.e. circumcision and the rainbow God showed Noah, p. 77 at http://books.google.com/books?id=u6fXjw ... on&f=false (I give others for reference; EL-CHaY is a name of Yesod. All of God's benefits depend on the bond of the covenant. That's why there is only one path to Malkuth Then energy and benefits from 7 and 8 flow down only to Yesod, as he says at the beginning of the next chapter, p. 115-116. "These two names known as YHVH TZVAOT and ELoHIM TZVAOT are both able to empty all the outpouring from the channels and the upper Spheres and bring them to the attribute EL CHaY" (http://books.google.com/books?id=u6fXjw ... ow&f=false

In Pico's Conclusiones, as translated by Farmer, we have:
28.4 The sin of Adam was severing of kingdom from the other shoots.

28. 31 Circumcision was given to free us from the impure powers that circle about.

28.32. Circumcision occurs on the eighth day because it is superior to the universalized Bride.

28. The sin of Sodom came from severing the last shoot.
The image here is of one connection of the last shoot to the one above it, which saves from the impurity.

Then in Part Two, in which he is using the Kabbalah to refute Judaism, he says:
11>25 Every Cabalist has to concede that the Messiah was to have liberated them from diabolical and not temporal captivity.

11>28. From the principles of the Cabalists it is clearly indicated that the necessity for circumcision is removed by the coming of the Messiah.

11>40. The Cabalists inevitably have to concede this: that the true Messiah will purify men through water.

11>45. It is known very openly in the Cabala why the Son of God comes with baptismal waters and the Holy Spirit with fire.
In other words, Christian baptism takes the place of circumcision, as the essential requirement for receiving God's blessings. If there were more than one path to Malkuth, neither circumcision nor baptism would be needed, as God's blessings would still flow down through sefira 7 and 8.

Now I want to take up the Ein-Sof. Here first is Pico, in Part two of his Conlusiones:
11>4. Ein-sof should not be counted with the other enumerations, because it is the abstract and uncommunicated unity of these numerations, not the coordinated unity.

11>35. If God is known in himself as infinite, as one, and as existing through himself, we recognize that nothing proceeds from him, but know his separation from things, and his total closure of himself of himself in himself, and his extreme, profound, and solitary retraction in the remotest recess of his divinity; and we recognize him as he conceals himself inwardly in the abyss of his darkness, in now way revealing himself in the dilation and profusion of his goodness and fontal splendor.

11>36. From the preceding conclusion, we can know why the Cabalists say that God dressed himself in ten garments when he created the world.
So the Ein-sof is quite separate from the ten, as well as being their "uncommunicated unity". Pico's language in 11>35 of "retraction" is oddly reminiscent of Luria, but it is considerably earlier.
.
Reuchlin insists on having it both ways. On the one hand (On the Kabbalah, p. 285):
Above the Crown is placed En Sof--infinity, and the abyss.
In other words, infinity and zero. I think this is related to Gikatilla's language that EHYE "ascends to the top of Kether" (p. 349). And (Reuchlin p. 286):
They assert that En Sof is Alpha and Omega, for he said "I am the first and the last."
But there is also, like Pico--and also Gikatilla (p. 360f) in his description of the first sefiroth--Reuchlin at the bottom of p. 286:
Infinity is the most absolute Essence, drawn back in the depths of shadows, and, lying or, as they say, reliant upon nothing, is hence called "Nothing" or "Not being" and "Not-end" (En Sof) because we are so damned by our feeble understanding of divine matters that we judge things that are not apparent in the same way as we judge things that do not exist.

But when it shows itself and becomes something and actually subsists, the dark Aleph is changed into the bright [i[Aleph[/i]. For it is written, "As is its darkness so is its light." It is then called the great Aleph, because it desires to come out and be seen as the cause of all things, through Beth, the letter that follows next.Menehem Recanat writes this: "So you will find this letter Beth doing all things."
The dark Aleph is the En Sof; the bright Aleph is Kether. In Gikatilla and Reuchlin they are the same (thus Gikatilla includes AYN in his chapter on the first sefiroth) and also different. 0 = 1. A similar equation holds for Pico, but less focused on Kether and more on all ten.

These two authors, Pico and Reuchlin, were immensely influential in the 16th and early 17th centuries, and to a lesser degree even later. I find them resonating well with the tarot of that time. Kether, the Bagato, creates through Beth, the Popess. Jehovah creates through Wisdom. Without Wisdom, no creation, just a mess. In that sense Beth is the "primordial point", the beginning, even though it is number 2. Reuchlin says of Beth:
[quote[Hence it is called "beginning", although it is the second emanation from infinity, the second Kabbalistic Sefira, through which all things have been made.[/quote]

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