Archive for cabala

Concealed Background of Scriptures

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, culture, faith, freethought, Hebrew scripture, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , on February 1, 2011 by chouck017894

Long before the Hebrew scriptures were crafted in 7th century BCE Jerusalem, the nomadic Hebrew tribes were clearly influenced by older cultures they touched upon during their wanderings across the ancient Near East.  In their extended wanderings, often across barren regions, the creative powers that other cultures personified as gods were more easily comprehended by them as a singularly harsh deity that was grudgingly supportive.  Not surprisingly, tribal leaders found it politically convenient to insinuate that they embodied some supernatural connection to that power, and the concept of a priest-like go-between was the accepted custom. 

Centuries later when the nomadic Hebrew tribes had wandered with their herds into the more agricultural region of Canaan, the rank of priest was virtually one and the same as tribal leader.  Even in the more advanced cultures that the Hebrew tribes touched upon—cultures such as Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria—were commonly presided over by priest-kings.  The more prosperous Hebrew tribes that had settled in the northern regions developed into the kingdom of Israel as the southern secondary Hebrew tribes tended their flocks and herds in the more rugged hill country.  But the northern kingdom of Israel fell to Assyrian invasion, and the priests in the little 7th century BCE village of Jerusalem, fearing a similar fate, threw their lot in with the young tribal leader Josiah who dreamed of bringing the scattered tribes of the south into a cohesive society.  To aid and abet Josiah in this ambition, the priests of Yahweh embarked upon a propaganda program to not only inspire allegiance of the people but to intimidate any neighboring cultures that entertained any ideas of taking control of the territory of Judah.

In the process of composing a “history” for their tribal region and the cult of Yahweh, the priests drew upon two teaching devices that they had collected (but little understood) in their wanderings and which were regarded as ancient even then.  One was astronomy-inspired teachings of Sumerian origin that once used  groups of stars (constellations) to illustrate lessons of creation and cosmology.  These astronomy-based educational props were referred to as “logi.”  The second device drawn upon was a text known as Ha-Qabala —a set of guide lines better known today as the Cabala or Kabala.  This is commonly, but erroneously, said to be an occult mystical philosophy of rabbinical origin, which became widely transmitted in medieval Europe.  But the analytical eminence upon which the Ha-Qabala later became interpreted in that medieval timeframe pre-dated any esoteric rabbinical interpretation of the Hebrew scripture.

There is a claim among Cabalists, undoubtedly with much justification, that a kind of religious metaphysics  was taught by word of mouth among some of the Tannaim—i.e. the earliest theology-shapers of Judaism.  Certainly oral instruction preceded the invention of writing.  Not generally known among Bible scholars is that the opening book of the Bible, Genesis, was originally presented in cabalistic script.  The key to cabalistic script lies in understanding the code that was used, which involved the use of graphs derived from twenty-two proper names and which correspond to numbers, symbols and ideas.  The difficulty in translating from this original code was formidable, for the cabalistic presentation of twenty-two proper names did not simply designate identifiable things: the names were regarded as being the things themselves!  This is difficult for most of us to comprehend who are trained in the A-B-C approach to teaching.  We do not use words that have an ontological link with the essence of the object that the words specify.  That is to say, the words that we use do not emanate from the objects that are designated.  An example is the opening line of Genesis; in the schemata of the cabalistic Genesis the words are: Bereschyt Bara Elohim.  From this the Yahweh priests interpreted “In the beginning God…”

Ancient Cabalistic insight was not concerned with any specific persons, nor was it concerned about the history of any group of persons.  Neither did that insight embrace the notion of a humanlike discriminatory god.  The Cabalistic texts from which the priests worked was encoded with names such as Aleph, Bayt, Ghimel, etc., and these pertained to projections of biologically structured energies at various stages of manifestation.  In other words, the Creation process.  The ontological connection with names taken from the Ha-Qabala reveals a startlingly different understanding of Creation than the Yahweh priests interpreted it.  The subject is too vast to be adequately covered here, but consider these few names from the Ha-Qabala texts as examples of how priestly translations perverted the scientific significance of the complicated texts.

Moses:  The Cabalistic name from which the star of the Exodus tale was derived is traced to Mosheh, properly spelled Mem-Sheen-Hay. The Mem part of the name refers to water—the waters (energies) of Creation.  This was altered in priest translation to mo, the Egyptian word for water, which strengthened the association of the character to that earthly locale.  The kingdom of Egypt in the Exodus saga symbolizes the power and abundance that is the generative source of Creation.  The Sheen part of the name means “breath,” and  implies the stirrings of life which emanate from those primal energies.  The Hay part of the name referred to the activation of life.  The biblical character of Moses therefore personifies the Life Principle in its movement through the elemental energy dimensions to manifest as matter form.  The energy involvement as matter is thus presented as the destined “Promised Land.”

Abram/Abraham:  To understand the Cabalistic meaning with these two adjusted names, we have to first look at the ram part of the name.  The ram component carries the crucial meaning of “Cosmic Dwelling”—or what may be interpreted as the non-manifesting conditions out of which all diverse energy forms of matter are projected.  Thus Ab-ram (or Av-ram) indicated the stage of primal energy development out of ram, so Abram represents the Life Principle at the level of cosmic action.

For this reason the priests of Yahweh declared Ab-ram to be the seed bearer—the biological regeneration factor that is carried into manifestations of life.  These energies evolve and transform as matter forms of life, and this transformation was indicated in scripture with the character’s name being changed from Ab-ram to Abraham.  It is at this point that the four skins of matter are initiated (mental, astral, etheric and dense energies).  In the priest contrived “history,” Abraham is then characterized as a fervent, unquestioning believer in Yahweh.  The Ha-Qabala, however, stated only that the manifested life form recognized its energy alliance with the Life Principle.  This is what is declared by the priests of Yahweh to be God’s covenant with Abraham.  But to advance beyond the imperfect stage of dense matter development, the four energy dimensions from which a matter form is made manifest (the four skins of matter) must be transcended (cut around), and it is from this Cabalistic teaching that the practice of circumcision was instituted as a condition of Jewish faith.

Ararat:  The mountain upon which the scriptural character of Noah is alleged to have landed after the Deluge is given as Ararat, a name derived from a Cabalistic name that vibrates in meaning as “new cycle.”  Noah is depicted as riding upon the waters of Creation into a new cycle of energy involvement that is represented as having taken place over forty days.  This disguises the involvement with, and passage through the four elemental energy planes that manifest as matter—identical with the four energy planes mentioned with Abram-Abraham.  Thus in scriptural myth Noah’s ark was launched upon Creation’s waters to navigate out of timelessness to become grounded upon the peak of matter where a new energy cycle is begun.  The scriptural version then asserts that Noah planted a grape-vine, made wine (of life), and became drunk (intoxicated with life) all in the same day after he landed!

These few examples of the prehistory astronomy knowledge and the Cabalistic source material used to manufacture a “history” of ancestors of the Judaic faith system provide reason for Jews, Christians and Muslims to reevaluate their “holy words;” and maybe reconsider their contentious relationship to each other.

Judaism and Ancient Mystery Religions

Posted in Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, random, religion, thoughts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 1, 2010 by chouck017894

Beneath the surface of Judaism there has always existed a strong element of mystery. For most Jews, however, the zeal for studying the Torah in search of any relationship to the ancient tantalizing mystery religion ingredients are sufficiently gratified by the body of the Mosaic Law, not to mention the redoubtable commentaries that accompany them.  Thus their esoteric heritage has simply faded into the dim corners of Orthodoxy.

Canonical Judaism shows the influence of ancient mystery religions most closely in the so-called wisdom literature that gained prominence in the 2nd and 1st centuries BCE—a timeframe coinciding with the Hasmoneans, a family of Jewish patriots better known as Maccabees.  This also happened to be the timeframe in which the Pentateuch, the Septuagint translation, was being written in Alexandria.  The texts that hint most closely at divine mystery elements are found in Koheleth (Ecclesiastes), Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Chokmah (Wisdom of Solomon), Proverbs, and the Book of Job.  These examples of wisdom literature are most notable for the perspective that is expressed, for the viewpoint does not arrogantly segregate mankind into Jews and Gentiles as is typical of priest-composed texts.  Instead, man’s worth is seen in the wisdom literature to be determined as either wise or foolish.  The Lord that is addressed in these wisdom texts is correctly understood as acknowledgment of the unified principles of Creation that produced and approved all that exists.

The Book of Job was a direct restructuring of an 1870-1830 BCE  Babylonian account, and is the most consistently theological work in the Hebrew Bible, focusing on an extensive dialogue on one theological issue—the purpose of suffering.  Its superiority stems from the lack of priestly philosophy and religiosity, and being rich in mythopoeic knowledge of reality.  That reality rests in the story of an innocent man not accusing himself as being deserving of the afflictions he suffered and placing the blame squarely where it belongs (on god).  This, of course, was an unacceptable premise for the priests of Yahweh, and so they fitted the superior Babylonian story with an anticlimax to serve their priestly purpose. 

The book of Proverbs consists primarily of short sayings that express terse insights into human affairs, especially of a social and religious nature such as wisdom, wickedness, violence, concern for others, greed, etc.  Authorship is  popularly credited to Solomon, but indications are that these treasures of wisdom were collected well after the time in which Solomon is alleged to have ruled (c. 960 BCE)—like about three centuries after.

The deuterocanonical book Sirach, written c. 180-130 BCE, was a collection of ethical teachings, and has much in common with Proverbs.  The book closes with the assessment that the wisdom and greatness of God is revealed in all his works, not just in the history and people of Israel, and this is what is presented as justifying belief in God. 

Cholomah is a Hebrew word meaning “wisdom,” and is defined in Cabala (Ha Qabalah, Kabala, Kabbala) as the second of ten sefirot (divine emanations), and regarded as the first power of conscious intellect within Creation.  When Cabalists analyzed the Pentateuch (first five book of the Old Testament) they believed that they had found metaphysical and cosmological doctrines to be concealed in the words broken down into their numerical equivalents.  This would seem to indicate that whoever the authors of those opening four book* may have been, they were proficient at understanding and concealing from the masses profound  knowledge of the Creation processes.  (*The book of Leviticus does not fit comfortably or logically into the book lineup of the Israelite’s alleged history; it is all about priestly authority propaganda and nothing more.)

In the text known as Koheleth, which translates something like “speaker of the assembly,” the main speaker claims to be the “son of David and king in Jerusalem,” and reflects often on the meaning of life.  The author’s assessment is that all of man’s actions are “transitory, “temporary,” “empty,” “vain,” “futile,” and “meaningless.”  The stoic flavored text focuses on mortality and the struggle that permeates life, and does not labor over the yearned for reward of Paradise.  The author’s rather cynical outlook is that the lives of the wise and the lives of the foolish both end in death, but he sees wisdom as being the best way to achieve a more self satisfying and well-lived life.  Even so, he could not credit an eternal reward for having cherished wisdom.  This is not typical priestly party-line material. 

Among the mystery items in Jewish observation to this day is the Menorah, the seven-branched candlestick that became the idolized feature of Judaism.  The ceremonial candelabrum allegedly symbolizes the seven days of Creation (Exodus 37:17-24), but it was not a feature in the earliest worship of Yahweh even though the priest-written history composed in 7th century BCE claims that it had always been an item used in veneration of Yahweh, its use having been suggested to Moses by God.  The object was used in Babylonia (and Egypt) and was absorbed into Jewish tradition during the days of  “Captivity” there.  The seven-branched candlestick in Babylonian observances represented the Sun surrounded by the six then-known planets, and it therefore symbolized for them the journey that the soul made after death.  This association of the soul’s journey was a feature in all ancient mystery religions.

The rabbinical explanations of the menorah as representative of the seven days of Creation is perceptibly faulty, for the central light being ascribed to the Sabbath does not correspond with the “Let there be light” command of the fourth day of Creation.  There is a more ancient tradition than the rabbinical one which is echoed in the Zohar (from Cabala, metaphoric discourses on the Torah), which says, “These lamps, like the seven planets above, receive their light from the sun.”  In ancient sun cult observances, such as in Egypt, the central branch of the candlestick properly represented Wednesday.  Thus the rabbinical view that it represented the Sabbath was neither poetically nor historically accurate.  (Incidentally, Moses is portrayed as having been a priest of the Sun god when in Egypt: in that timeframe in which the story is presented the menorah was indeed in use in the sanctuary, and had to face W. S. W.   So, in a manner of speaking, one could say that Moses had been counseled by God to continue in use of the seven-branched candlestick.)  The first cosmic association with the menorah is in Zechariah, who is alleged to have learned in a vision that the seven lamps were “…the eyes of Yahweh that run to and fro through the universe.”  In other words, the seven planets.  Thus the annual lighting of the Temple candelabra at the autumn festival actually commemorates the creation of stars on the fourth “day.”

These few examples drawn from ancient literature and symbolism still exert influence in today’s faith systems.