Monday, November 10, 2014

The Nistarim

A Jewish legend for you:

It is said, that, among the people, there are thirty six in each generation who are called to greet the Shekhinah, to look on the light of the Holy ONE, hand to hand, face to face, eye to eye.  It is said the whole world was created for them, is being created, moment by moment maintained, for them.  Thirty six, in all the world, see him as though in a bright mirror, another 18,000 have clouded vision. The messiah, they say, will arise from these ranks, when one day they are called.  

They say that, if ever there are less than 36, the world will cease to be.  That if one of these 36 people turn down the mantle; if one of these 36 dies without passing on his legacy, then the world will come to an end.  

And maybe that's the way it should be. Because what kind of a horrible world rests on 36 shoulders? What kind of a horrible G-d hides his face from billions, lets them starve and freeze and rot and die alone and afraid, but makes chit-chat with thirty six of his bros. What the actual fuck, World? Maybe the world ought to come to an end. Maybe it's been enough. Maybe it's time for a student strike at the Invisible College. Better to rule in Hell, right?

and yet...

What kind of Satanist am I if I turn down power, right? When offered a weapon I can wield for my people, is the right thing to do to cast it into the mountain because I don't like the guy who made it? The first thing I teach to kabbalah students is that "כֶּתֶר" doesn't mean King, it means Crown; am I really going to let the crown lie in the gutter? Paris vaut bien une messe, am I right?  Maybe what the Invisible College needs isn't a strike, it's a couple of MOOCs?  If even tantra is going to get jailbroke these days, maybe it's time to jailbreak some real kabbalah, for us all to admit that Shekhina is a Red Goddess, and not a white one.  But in order to jailbreak, you've got to go to jail first, right?

I recently had a dream of Kurukulla, a Tibetan witch-goddess about whom I know almost nothing, but was introduced to by Jason Miller in early October.  In the dream, she told me that she works with two hands; one to empower and one to liberate.  "Work with both hands" is a phrase I know from ATR magical practice, where it means, essentially, someone who works both "white" and "black" magic, to be interested in the elevation of the soul AND in "getting laid and getting paid".  Someone who is in the world, of the world, and also works to transcend the world.  Here's the thing tho, Kurukulla has more that two hands.  I think, perhaps, that's the secret.  Finding the work of the other two hands.

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