I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Monday, May 25, 2015

St Joseph in the Divine Will: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

 St Joseph the husband of Our Lady

We were reading the 25th day meditation of the "Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will" of Luisa Piccarreta about St Joseph being eclipsed and inundated by the seas of the attributes of Jesus and Mary. 

...Now, you must know that for your Mama, for dear and sweet Jesus, and for Saint Joseph, the little house of Nazareth was a Paradise. Being the Eternal Word, my dear Son possessed the Divine Will within Himself, of His own virtue; immense seas of light, of sanctity, of joys and of infinite beauty resided in that little Humanity. I possessed the Divine Will by grace; and even though I could not embrace immensity, as did beloved Jesus – because He was God and Man, and I was always His finite creature – yet, in spite of this, the Divine Fiat filled Me so much, having formed Its seas of light, of sanctity, of love, of beauties and of happinesses; and the light, the love and everything that a Divine Will can possess, which came out of Us, were so great that Saint Joseph remained eclipsed, inundated, and lived of our reflections.

Dear child, in this house of Nazareth, the Kingdom of the Divine Will was in full force. Every little act of ours – that is, working, starting the fire, preparing the food – were all animated by the Supreme Volition, and were formed on the solidity of the sanctity of pure love. Therefore, from the littlest to the greatest of our acts, immense joys, happinesses and beatitudes were unleashed. And we remained so inundated as to feel ourselves as though under a pouring rain of new joys and indescribable contentments...

I immediately perceived the connection of this eclipsed state of Joseph to the ''darkness over the face of the deep'' in Genesis 1. Jesus is that face and his infinite seas are the deep (the mystery of the Incarnation of the God-man). The darkness who is Joseph in Eternity is the protecting dark cloud hiding the mysteries of the Immaculate Conception and Incarnation from Lucifer and his angels. He also hides in the darkness the synergy of the Spirit of God and Our Lady who is the "face over the waters" (the created seas of the attributes (love etc) which is the Mystery of the Immaculate Conception). 

Joseph living and dwelling in the heart of the House of Nazareth, which is the heart of the Kingdom of the Divine Will, is totally eclipsed or darkened and inundated by these seas so that he can become a pure mirror or reflector of these seas in a hidden manner to Luisa and others. In the same manner in which Our Lady is the Dark Lady (Black Madonna) and the Night (Lilah) in order to perfectly reflect the Divine Light so does the darkened or eclipsed Joseph. Our Lady was always dark and inundated or full of grace whereas Joseph had to be darkened (as he was not immaculately conceived) in order to be inundated or filled.

The Servant of God Luisa Piccarretta

I think many in the Divine Will movement have misinterpreted this as meaning that St Joseph lived in some kind of lesser reflection of the Divine Will rather than in the Kingdom of the Divine Will itself. It actually says that Joseph lived in the reflections of the seas which are the Kingdom of the Divine Will. Joseph lives in this Kingdom in a very deep way as he is totally eclipsed (has become nothing like Our Lady) and totally inundated or filled with God's attributes or reflections (emanations/ sefirot). Of course it is true in one sense that just as the seas of Jesus are greater than Our Lady's so Our Lady's seas are greater than St Joseph's as his are greater than Luisa's seas. 

Luisa's Book of Heaven Volume 29 states: 

...After this I continued my acts in the Divine Fiat, and my poor mind stopped in the little house of Nazareth, where the Queen of Heaven, the celestial King Jesus and Saint Joseph were in possession of and lived in the Kingdom of the  Divine Will. So that this kingdom is not estranged to the earth: the house of Nazareth, the family that lived in it belonged to this kingdom and they held it in full vigor... (May 31, 1931)

If Luisa states in clear and concise language that St Joseph was possessed of and lived in Divine Will in the Holy House of Nazareth on earth then that is good enough for me. Those who say otherwise may be sincere but they are on the wrong path in this regard no matter their academic qualifications or  how long they have been studying the writings. No one, including Luisa, can receive a grace that gives them access to a greater sanctity than Jesus, Mary or Joseph. Luisa can only attain such a sanctity as the grace of living in Divine Will on earth through her union with, in and through Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Kingdom of the Divine Will is the Holy House of Nazareth in which Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived in Divine Will on earth (this was heaven or paradise on earth restored). Luisa and all those who follow her in receiving the grace of living in Divine Will can only enter the Kingdom of the Divine Will through entering in a spiritual and mystical manner the Holy House of Nazareth. Luisa also confirms the role of Joseph in her childhood Memories notebook. Jesus told her:

“My daughter, your life must be hidden with Us in the House of Nazareth. If you work, if you pray, if you eat, if you walk, you must give one hand to Me, the other to our Mother; and look at St Joseph to see if your acts are like Ours. 

Then you will be able to say, ‘I make a model of what Jesus, my heavenly Mother and St Joseph do. Then, I copy it.’ I want to repeat My hidden Life in you according to the model you have made. In you I want to find the works of my Mother and St Joseph, as well as My own works...

...My daughter, take heart, don’t be discouraged. If you don’t know how to do something, ask Me to teach you and I’ll do it right away. I’ll speak to you of Our actions, Our intentions, and Our constant Love. I’ll show you how I, like sea, and they, like two rivers, overflowed into each other; that We didn’t have much time to talk, since Love absorbed us so much. See how far behind Us you are? You must work hard to catch up to Us. I don’t want you behind, but with Us; so be silent and pay attention for I do not want you to be behind Us but in Our midst.”

Friday, May 22, 2015

Messianic Kosher Food, Circumcision and Rebbe Nachman: A Hebrew Catholic Teaching

 Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Rebbe Nachman's mystical writings are sometimes misunderstood by his chief disciple Reb Nosan (aka Rabbi Nathan of Nemirov) and other of the Breslovers. When Rebbe Nachman writes of the eating of kosher and non-kosher food and guarding the brit (covenant) etc, he is not writing on the literal level but is using the literal as a vehicle or vessel to ascend to a higher meaning beyond kosher dietary laws and circumcision.

Rebbe Nachman's "Likutey Moharan" is a work of deep mysticism that can be read on many levels. When he speaks of eating kosher food he is referring to acts done in the Divine Will, and eating non-kosher food or meat are acts done in the human will. This alludes to Deuteronomy 8:3: "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live." This can also be linked to "I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart." (Psalm 40:8). The Messiah also says in John 4:34 that his food is to do the Will of God and complete his work. Thus the Jewish discipline of eating kosher is a concrete devotional practice whose inner light is what ultimately counts in regards to the Will of God.

In Likutey Moharan 36 Rebbe Nachman speaks of Psalm 27 in the context of a mystical kavanot-meditations of Kiddush (the Jewish Sabbath evening ceremony of the blessing of wine and bread) of the term "to devour my flesh"(verse 2). He teaches: "to devour my flesh-This alludes that their eating- as it is said "Eat lovers"(Song of Songs 5:1)- namely their strengthening is "Consecrated flesh"(Haggai 2:12). This is to devour my flesh, the aspect of "The ascent of Yesod until Abba and Imma" ...". This Kiddush that is the context for all of his mystical teaching in Likutey Moharan 36 is the mystical Messianic Kiddush of the Eucharist. He refers to two lovers who never part as Abba (Joseph) and Imma (Mary). These two lovers devour the Messianic consecrated flesh and are thus strengthened to defeat the agenda of the foes of God by living in God's perfect Will and converting the fallen seventy pagan nation's wisdom to light and salvation. This light and salvation is the Davidic Messiah himself who became God in the flesh at the Incarnation.

This consecrated flesh is the Davidic Messiah himself who united in intimate virginal spousal love with his mother (Mary) and virginal father (St Joseph) are the foundation (yesod) of the Kingdom of Holiness that is also called the Kingdom of the Divine Will. In Jewish mystical thought yesod (foundation) is associated with the term of brit (covenant/ phallus/ circumcision). The Breslov Rabbis state in regard to Rebbe Nachman's writings that "the term "consecrated flesh" is a figurative reference to the brit, the flesh consecrated through the mitzvah of circumcision and guarded by a highly moral life." This alludes to the Messiah's words about his Messianic Kiddush (Eucharistic Sacrifice Meal) being a new covenant (brit) which we enter through the sacrifice of his flesh and blood.The Messiah himself went through the Jewish rite of circumcision in order to do God's Will as revealed in the Torah and mitzvot which demonstrated a true circumcision of heart. 

The concepts of heart and flesh are united in Jeremiah 31 when he refers to the new Covenant (brit) and the basar lev (heart of flesh). In fact the very term Breslov or Breslev alludes to basar lev. This heart of flesh refers to the Eucharistic Heart of the Messiah which the Messiah also offers to all his lovers. This Eucharistic food for His lovers is the bread or manna of the Divine Will- which is the deepest penetration of the Eucharist at the level of receiving the grace of living or dwelling in the Divine Will. The literary icon of Jesus the Messiah (consecrated flesh), Mary (Imma) and Joseph (Abba) in Rebbe Nachman's teaching focuses us on the purity of heart and flesh needed to receive new revelations or insights into Torah that ascends our minds and hearts to the Messianic, Marian and Josephine levels of living in Divine Will.

Reb Nosan tells us that this mystery of the mystical kavanot-meditations on the Kiddush in Likutey Moharan 36 are further revealed in Likutey Moharan 101 which uses the same verse  in Psalm 27 to discuss this mystery. Rebbe Nachman reads this verse as "When two lovers (mrei'im) come close to eat my flesh, my foes and enemies they stumble and fall" in accord with rei'im in Song of Songs 5:1 and other verses as friends or lovers rather than evildoers. In Likutey Moharan 36 Rebbe Nachman links this mystery of the Messianic Kiddush to the mysteries of YaH and Bereshit that I discussed in my previous blog post in regards to the mysteries of the Immaculate Conception and Incarnation. Like St Paul, Rebbe Nachman has glimpsed the mysteries of the Third Fiat or Heaven and hidden them in his writings in a form that can be read on different levels. 

The Rebbe begins in Likutey Moharan 101 after quoting Psalm 27:2 - "The matter is as follows: "For with YaH, YHVH (The Lord) formed the worlds (Isaiah 26:4). This is "Bereshit created" (Genesis 1:1), since with the Torah, which is called reshit, God created and formed worlds (Bereshit Rabbah 1:1)...". The Yod (Y) is masculine and the Hah (H) is feminine representing Abba and Imma (Joseph and Mary in Eternity in the Mind of God). It is with (or in) the image of Yod (Joseph/ Abba Yosef) and Hah (Mary/ Imma Miriam) that the Universe was formed.

Joseph is the male hidden Torah as the architect (amon) and inner wisdom or intelligence (sekhel) of the Torah as revealed in all Creation. Mary is the female Torah as the blueprint (umanuta) and voice of the Torah as revealed in all Creation (or worlds). Together they are united with YHVH (the Lord) in the flesh (Jesus the Messiah) who is the revealed and living Torah or Word and Divine Will of his Father revealed through Abba and Imma.

St Paul in Romans 8 describes the Universe in the imagery of the Woman in travail giving birth to the Sons of God (those who live in Divine Will). Rebbe Nachman alludes to this weeping and groaning woman in Likutey Moharan 101 as the number 101 in Judaism represents the 101 tears of the Mother. Likutey Moharan 36 of course alludes to the 36ers (Lamed vavniks) who will live in Divine Will and thus be present in all generations. Rebbe Nachman in Likutey 36 also teaches of this Mother or Woman before child birth crying out in 70 birth screams linked to the 70 words of Psalm 20 (Yaankha). This 70 birth calls make reparation (tikkun) for 70 evil traits and through the mystery of the 70 words or crowns of the Kiddush consecration they are redeemed from evil to the light and salvation (y'shua) of the Davidic Messiah and his Divine Will. The Tanya of the Alter Rebbe of Chabad teaches that this transformation of evil and darkness to light and life is called the concept of Yeshua. This in the Zohar is linked to the Davidic Messiah and mysterious child (Yanuka) who raises the Cup of Salvations. Psalm 116:13 "I will raise the cup of salvations and call on the Name of Y-H-V-H".


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Immaculate Conception and Bereshit: A Hebrew Catholic Insight


Today I was reading an article about the unique Greek word kecharitomene (fully graced) that only appears once in the Greek Scriptures. When the Archangel Gabriel greets Mary as Kecharitomene he is not referring to the Incarnation as she has not as yet given her fiat or yes. Kecharitomene is not a noun or adjective. It is a verb in its perfect past participle form. Thus we can say it is referring to a continuing grace that has its origins in her perfect past. The origins of her perfect past refers to her Conception which is perfect or immaculate.

Father Giacinto Marie Dagesse in his wonderful article "Who are you, Kecharitomene? You are the Immaculate Mediatrix of all Graces" writes: "Now, conception indicates a beginning or origin. It is the very movement from potency to act realized. And so, fully in accord with the mind of the Church, we may rightly associate these two personal and actual identifications: Kecharitomene and the Immaculate Conception...The Church teaches: "God, by the one and the same decree, had established the origin of Mary and the Incarnation of Divine Wisdom" (Bl. Pius IX, Ineffabillus Deus). This "origin" of Mary surely refers to her Immaculate Conception...".

I began to ask myself: when was this "one and same decree" conceived and then spoken. It is obvious that it was conceived in the mind of God in Eternity. When did this decree enter time? It was spoken forth in the Beginning of Creation. In Hebrew the word beginning is "reshit". Thus this first origin or beginning of Mary is alluded to in the first word of the Bible Bereshit which means literally "with or in beginning". Thus the word Bereshit refers to the concept of the Immaculate Conception and the Incarnation being in the mind of the Creator and being the template or blueprint for his creating of all Creation. In this sense we can say with St. Hildegarde that Our Lady of Wisdom (Sophia) is in this sense the co-Creatrix as well as Mediatrix of all Graces and Co-Redemptrix from all Eternity in the mind of God.

Bereshit can also be read as Bat Reshit or Daughter of Beginning. The Jewish rabbis associate the concept of reshit with Wisdom based on the verse in Proverbs 9:10: "The fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom..".  They often interpret Bereshit as "With Wisdom or In Wisdom God created the heavens and the earth." The Ramban (Nachmanides) writes in his commentary on Genesis: "...Now Israel, which is called reshit as mentioned above, is the "Kneset Yisrael", which is compared in the Song of Songs to a bride and whom Scripture in turn calls daughter, sister and mother. The Rabbis have already expressed this in a homiletic interpretation of the verse, 'Upon the crown wherewith his mother has crowned Him [Song of Songs 3:11]', and in other places." Similarly, the verse concerning Moses, 'And he chose a first part for himself' [Deut. 33;21], which they interpret to mean that Moses our teacher comtemplated through a Isparklarya (lucid speculum/ clear crystal mirror or looking glass), and he saw that which is reshit (the first) for himself, and therefore merited the Torah. Thus all the Midrashim above have one meaning...." The Ramban reveals that this Bat Reshit (Daughter of Beginning/Wisdom)is the feminine blueprint (umanuta)of Torah in which Moses gazed and beheld the divine mysteries of the Torah. 

Bereshit could also be seen as Bet Reshit- the House or Home of Beginning.  St Lawrence of Brindisi refers to Mary as a House of Prayer, a House of Sacrifice and a House of Holiness (see the article by Father Rosario Sammarco entitled "The House of Sacrifice").The first letter of Genesis "bet" is associated in Judaism with a house and also a woman who is the custodian or Lady Mother of the Home. The Kabbalah also associates the concept of the female Wisdom or Understanding called Binah with the concepts of Mother, Heart and Prayer as the heart of the Mother that prays. 

 As the House of Prayer or Mystical Temple or Dwelling Place she is the model of the Universe and a conceptual or metaphorical co-Creatrix in the immemorial past. As the House of Sacrifice she is the Co-Redemptrix in the memorial present of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. As the House of Holiness she is the Mediatrix of all Graces which culminates in the grace of Living in the Divine Will on earth as in Heaven which has an eschatological focus.

Thus the light of Genesis 1 is that Primordial Light of the Mysteries of  the Immaculate Conception and Incarnation that are hidden in the darkness and primordial waters of Miriam's Well on the twilight between the first and second days. These are the two lights that are one light which Lucifer and his Angels wouldn't receive and pass on.

The Ramban states that the darkness (khoshek) mentioned in the second verse of Genesis is a different darkness than the darkness mentioned further down in verses 4-5. The first darkness is the uncreated male darkness (v'khoshek)and the second darkness is the created female darkness (hakhoshek). The 'vav' at the beginning of this first mention of darkness alludes to the male and the 'hay' on the second one reveals the female darkness. This male darkness that is connected or veils the face over the deep (Jesus) can be associated with the concept of the protection of the Father. 

The Father refers to God the Father and also on another level to the Shadow of the Father the Tzadik Joseph. Thus this conceptual dark Shadow of the Father who is Joseph in Eternity hides or protects the lights of the Immaculate Conception and Incarnation hidden in the dark waters (the female darkness and waters) of Miriam's Well which is also the Mystical Womb from before the Dawn. Our Lady is the Mystical House of Reshit and St Joseph is the protecting Master (or Husband) of this House (or Home). Rebbe Nachman teaches that one can rearrange the letters of BeReShiT to RoSh BeiT (the Head or Master of the House) which he refers to the concept of Joseph. 

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov proclaims Joseph as the Hidden Tzadik who is the Master of the House (Home) in Likutey Moharan 67. "And all this is an aspect of "The Concealment", when the beauty and splendour of the whole world becomes concealed. However there is a Tzaddik who is beauty, splendour and grace of the entire world, and who is symbolised by Joseph, who was "beautiful in form and handsome" (Genesis 39:6), "a beautiful sight, the joy of the entire land" (Psalm 48:3). When the beauty and splendour of this genuine Tzaddik, who is symbolised by Joseph, is revealed in the world by becoming renowned and esteemed, then the eyes of mankind will be opened. And whoever is included in the genuine grace of this Tzaddik, the world's grace and beauty, by following him and surrending his self to become part of this Tzaddik's soul, will have his eyes opened, and he will be able to see."

Rebbe Nachman concludes: "And with this we return to BeREShYT, the beginning, the RoeSh BaYiT, the head and master of the house of the world, namely, the genuine Tzaddik, who is beauty and glory of the world, represented by Joseph, alluded to in the verse, "Joseph is the ruler...he supplies food..." (Genesis 42:6), because he is the RoeSh BaYiT, the master of the house of the world. For he is the one who maintains the Temple and every Jewish house and home...And when the name of this Tzadik, who represents the head of the house, becomes esteemed, the eyes of the Jewish people are opened, as above. So this is the connection of "bereshit' to "l'einei kol Yisrael". Bereshit- this is the master of the house, the Tzaddik, who is the glory of the world, through whom are opened "einei kol Yisael", the eyes of all the Jewish people."  

Thus Genesis 1 in a hidden or mystical manner reveals the concepts of the mysteries connected to the Holy Family of the House of Nazareth who actualize the potential of these primordial concepts in the realities of time and history. Jesus is the presence that dwells in this House, Joseph is the Head or Master of this House, Our Lady is the House and the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta is the mystical bed and bedrock of the house. This House is the Kingdom of the Divine Will which is also called the Kingdom of Holiness.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Ten Levels of Adoration of the Heart: A Hebrew Catholic Understanding

"What is his heart? He said: Mother (Imma), Ben Zoma is out side, and you are with him. The heart(Lev) [in gematria] is thirty-two. These are concealed, and with them the world was created. What are these 32? He said: These are the 32 Paths. This is like a king who was in the innermost of many chambers. The number of such chambers was 32, and to each one there was a path. Should the king bring everyone to his chamber through these paths? You will agree that he should not. Should he reveal his jewels, his tapestries, his hidden and concealed secrets? You will again agree that he should not. What then does he do? He touches the Daughter, and includes all the paths in her and in her garments. One who wants to go inside should gaze there. He married her to a king, and also gave her to him as a gift. Because of his love for her, he sometimes calls her “my sister,” since they are both from one place. Sometimes he calls her his daughter, since she is actually his daughter. And sometimes he calls her “my mother.”..." Bahir 63 

Abraham had to pass 10 tests or trials on his spiritual journey culminating with the Akeidah (Sacrifice) of his unique (yachid) son Isaac. Each of us must also pass these 10 tests or trials either in this world or the next if we desire to enter the World to Come. They can be linked to the ascent or descent of the 10 Sefirotic array and the 10 sayings of Genesis 1 of the Jewish mystical tradition. Unfortunately many of us have to keep repeating our tests as we fail them over and over. They cannot be passed by human will power but only by grace.

First Level

Bahir 63 teaches us that one can’t gaze directly at this Heart and its mysteries but one can gaze at the Mirror of this Heart which is the Mother-Daughter of the Divine King and her garments. One begins this Way of the Heart in union with the Mother through the quality (Hasidut) of Lowliness (Shiflut). Lowliness was demonstrated by Miriam at the Annunciation by her joyful acceptance of the Word of God. To attain this lowliness one must be familiar with the Word of God (the Torah) and then one must humble himself and obey the Word by uniting one’s ‘Yes’ with the ‘Yes’ of Miriam. One thus enters the Kingdom (Malkhut) of the Son (Heaven=Zer Anpin=Son) which is the Divine Presence (Shekhinah) in union with the Mother of the Kehilla which is Miriam as Matronita and Bride (Kallah). One offers his body as a living sacrifice in union with the sacrifice of Yeshua. This is shiflut (Lowliness). This is the inner Grace of the Sacrament of Baptism. One thus enters the Light of the Divine Presence which is also called Metatron. This first stage of the Spiritual Way can be summed up as ‘humble thyself’. This stage in the Mass is genuflecting and kneeling in preparation for the start of the Divine Mysteries.

Second Level

The second stage or level which is the foundation (yesod) of the Eucharistic spiritual life can be summed up as ‘know thyself’. That is, know the truth (emet) about yourself, the truth about life, the truth about sex, the truth about the person and the truth about the heart. This foundation in truth is called Righteousness (Tzaddik). The quality to attain in this second stage is carefulness or watchfulness of the heart. This level is the stage of confession and teshuvah (repentance/return). This is a purifying and turning of the heart to the Divine Heart. One must build a solid, truthful and righteous foundation for the spiritual life by facing the truth and confessing one’s sins through the Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation. This is the level of Name, of finding one’s true identity or name in Christ/Mashiach. In order to discover this truth one must realize the necessity of placing oneself before the Divine Presence in order to adore. 

Yeshua said, “Would you not watch one hour with me?” One is here called to be Watchmen (Notzrim/Christians). This is the first sorrowful mystery. This is the first level of the soul – the level of the vessel called nefesh. At this level we prepare for adoration of the Divine Heart by confessing and naming our sins and we attain to the quality of carefulness or watchfulness of the heart.

In the Mass this second level is also the rite of confession of sins. This second level is the level of Mashiach ben Joseph the Suffering Messiah taking on our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. This 2nd level is also the Mystery of the 2nd Joyful mystery of the Visitation when in joy Elizabeth (Elisheva) names Miriam ha Kadosha as the Mother of God and the New Ark of the Covenant. Confronted with this Divine Truth she becomes aware of her own sinfulness and unworthiness of such a blessing. This level is the Light of Life (Chaim). This 2nd level is the phallus of the Divine Body associated with the righteous one (Tzaddik) Joseph and Messiah son of Joseph. It is the level of guarding the loins by purity and righteous.

 Third Level

In regards to the human body we have the concepts of flexion and extension, and in the soul this is called Constricted Consciousness and Expanded Consciousness. These are the 3rd and 4th levels of the spiritual ascent – the levels of mystic vision and prophecy. The 3rd stage is God’s Attribute of Splendour or Majesty (Hod) – it is the Light of Radiance (zohar). It is the level of the left side of flexion or constricted consciousness. In order to attain the grace or quality of this level one needs ‘cleanliness of heart’ and the grace one receives is sincerity of mind, heart and action. This is the level of the 2nd sorrowful mystery of the scourging in order to counteract the 39 spirits of lust. At this level is the inner grace of the sacrament of Holy Orders. It is the level associated with Aaron the High Priest. This is the prophetic level of love of God. This is the level of 1st Ranan adoration or meditation (hitbodedut). There are two levels of Ranan (joyful praise) but this is the level of 1st Ranan Adoration. It is closely associated with Hagah adoration which follows it. Ranan is a method of charismatic prayer/praise. It is emotional heart worship /adoration with ecstatic expressions such as tongues and songs. One arouses the emotions with songs of joyful praise in preparation for entering the level of Hagah adoration. One starts to focus and concentrate on the Lord by lively charismatic praise. In the Mass this is the singing of the Gloria. The 3rd level is the left leg (regel) of the Divine Body associated with mystic vision.

Fourth Level

The 4th level is associated with the Divine Attribute of Netzach. Netzach is Divine Victory/Endurance/Perseverance. This is the level of extension or expanded consciousness. This is the level of the Light of Brilliance (bahir). This is the step of ‘zeal or diligence of the heart’. Its grace or quality is confidence or boldness. It is a boldness to proclaim the Word of God and confidently and with authority to enter into his Eucharistic Presence/Heart.

 This is the level of the inner grace of the Sacrament of Matrimony. The 3rd Joyful Mystery is between this 4th level and the 3rd level – thus we can say that the Mystery of the Nativity is on the left side of Netzach and the right side of Hod. On the right side of Netzach is the 1st Glorious Mystery – the Mystery of the Victory of the Resurrection. This is the Light triumphing over Darkness. 

This is the level of Hagah adoration. Hagah adoration is attained by the use of chants or mantras such as the Rosary, litanies, the Divine Mercy chaplet and the Jesus Prayer. This method of adoration purifies and clears the mind and heart so that it can focus on the Divine Heart. Its goal is to bring one into a state of resting or relaxing within the Divine Heart. 

This is a state of just being with the Lord. This method of adoration induces the melting of the self/heart and being directed by the Holy Spirit. Hagah is called ‘directed existence’ by Rabbi Kaplan in his book “Meditation and the Bible”. It is a receiving from the Divine Attributes of the Divine Heart. It is the stage of gazing and receiving from the Divine Light which is the Sacred Heart. 

This level is also a changing/transforming of the darkness in to light. Rabbi Kaplan explains that one reaches through Hagah to the experience of Nogah (the Meditative Light) and from there one experiences Chasmal – the speaking silence. This is the Word of God coming in the still small voice in the silence of the heart. In the Mass this level is the reading and reflecting on the Word of God and the homily. The 4th level is the right leg of the Divine Body associated with prophecy. This is the Attribute associated with Moses.

Fifth Level

The 5th level is the level associated with the Attribute of Tiferet-Rahamim (Beauty / Compassion). This is called the inner heart or soul. It is also the emotive soul or vital soul called Nashamah (Breath). It is the step of ‘abstention or separation of the heart’. It is the compassionate Heart and measured giving. Its light is Kavod (Glory). It is the level of the inner grace of the Sacrament of Healing/Anointing. Its grace is compassion (rahamim). 

On the left of Tiferet is the 3rd sorrowful mystery of the Crowning of Thorns. On the right side of Tiferet is the 2nd glorious mystery the Ascension. Its inner light ‘Kavod’ is manifested in the 4th mystery of Light the Transfiguration. This is the level connected with divine healing and the archangel of Healing St. Raphael. The angels of this Attribute are called Melakim (Kings or Dominions). Its symbol is the Sun. Its archetype is Jacob or Israel. It is called the Holy One of Israel. In a sense this is the heart within the Divine Heart. It is the Divine Centre of the Heart. Deep calling to deep. 

The adoration method of this level is called Rinah (Joyous Song) or 2nd Ranan adoration. It is a deeper and higher level of ‘charismatic’ praise or emotional worship. One at this stage uses the emotions to elevate oneself to a high spiritual plane. This is the path, says Rabbi Kaplan, “where one rises to the shadow of God’s wings”. The shadow of God’s wings is also called in Judaism the ‘wings of the Shekinah’. 

 At this level one binds or consecrates himself to God. Through this heart-felt praise one enters into spiritual warfare against the Evil Ones and this praise acts as a protective shield (Psalm 149:5,6) against the Other Side (Sitra Ahra). This is the level from which the Holy Spirit’s gifts of ‘healings’ proceeds. The ‘gifts of healings’ comes via a compassionate heart for the sick and suffering. In the Mass this is the level of preparation leading to the Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh. This is the Heart and Torso of the Divine Body.

Sixth Level

The 6th level is associated with God’s Attribute of Din (Judgement) also called Gevurah (power), Justice, Fear, Severity, Strength, Awe and Discernment. This is the constricted consciousness area of concentration. Concentration is also called kevanah (heart devotion). It is the level of ‘purity and perfection of the heart’. It is associated with spiritual prudence or withholding. Its archangel is St Gabriel and its angels the Seraphim (i.e. fiery serpents). This was the choir of Lucifer before his fall. He through pride and harsh judgement rejected Divine Mercy/Love and passed to the Other Side (Sitra Ahra). 

This level is connected with preaching the Word of God with strength and power. It is also the 4th sorrowful mystery of the Way of the Cross. This is the heart of the Dark Night of the Soul whose light is called ‘Nogah’ or glow light. It is the inner grace of the Sacrament of Confirmation. In the Mass it is the words of consecration. 

The spiritual gift (charism) of this level is Discernment of Spirits. It is also the adoration method of Siyach adoration. In this level one is moved by the Holy Spirit into spontaneous mental and verbal praises. It is the level in which one has internal conversations of the heart. Rabbi Kaplan calls this stage “inner directed, unstructured meditation whether verbal or non verbal”. One focuses on a spiritual subject and looks at it from all sides. In general it is a meditation on God’s wonders and teachings. It can also involve spontaneous singing and chanting (Psam104:33,34; Psalm 105:1). It involves spontaneous prayer forms and meditation on one’s spiritual and moral development. 

This method leads to concentrating on one idea and distracting the mind from everyday thoughts. This adoration method causes the soul to float and elevate ascending the Tree of Life which is the Attributes of the Divine Body/Heart. One ascends and gazes on the Attributes of God mirrored in the Mother’s Heart. This is the left arm of the Divine Body associated with the colour red. It is the level associated with the Power of the Precious Blood. 

Seventh Level

The 7th level is associated with God’s Attribute of Hesed (Chesed). Hesed is Love, Mercy, Loving kindness and Grace. The inner light of this level is called ‘Tov’ (good). It is the 5th mystery of light – the Eucharist. This is the level of piety or saintliness which is loving kindness to the Father and to one’s neighbour. It is the level of relaxation and receiving from the Divine Heart of the Lord. 

The inner grace of the Sacrament of the Eucharist is associated with this Attribute of God. The grace of this level is Love (ahavah). This is the Divine Mercy. The Divine Mercy has 13 attributes or aspects. Hesed or Love/Mercy is the life blood of the Heavenly Body (Adam Kadmon). It is the greatest (gedulah) of God’s attributes (Sefirot). It unites the Godhead as One (echad). The ten Sefirot are one Love, one Body, one Tree of Life and one Heart. The 13 aspects of Mercy are one Divine Mercy in the one Heart. The ten Sefirot are also three Lights, and the three Lights are one power of Love. The 10 Sefirot and the three Lights are the 13 aspects of Mercy and they are the one power of Love. The 10 Sefirot are one God in one Essence. The three Lights are the one God of Light. This is a deep mystery of the Triune God.

Maimonides (the Rambam) taught incorrectly that the 10 Sefirot in the Godhead are created Lights or emanations but Nahmanides (the Ramban) taught, in accord with earlier Kabbalists, that the 10 Sefirot were of the Essence of the Deity. The mirrors of the 10 Sefirot in the Creation, in the spiritual world, in Miriam ha Kadosha and in Man are the created emanations of the Divine Light. Unfortunately the Lurianic Kabbalists followed Maimonides rather than Nahmanides.

In the Mass this 7th level is Communion. On the left side of Hesed is the 4th joyful mystery of the Presentation of the Living Shekinah the Holy Child in the Temple and on the right side is the 3rd glorious mystery the descent of the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire. It is the white right arm of the Divine Man. 

It is the level from which the 13 aspects of Divine Mercy blaze forth from the Divine Heart. It is the level of Shasha adoration in which one enters into tranquil rapture by the power of the Holy Spirit – “Be still and know that I am God”. The soul is unaware of outside happenings in this state. Shasha adoration is meditation of intense passion on the Love/ Mercy (Hesed) of God. It is a vision of Divine Love and Mercy. Shasha is a gazing at the Divine Mysteries and receiving. Shasha is to reach the goal of one’s meditation and to be totally absorbed and enraptured in adoration by the Divine Mercy which is the Divine Heart. It is utter sincerity and peace. 

It is the level of ‘running and returning’ (see Ezekiel 1:14) and if one stayed too long the body could not survive the intensity of the burning fire of God’s Love. Shasha adoration ascends to the level of contemplation (hitbonenut) which is the adoration of the 8th, 9th and 10th levels of the spiritual ascent of the Tree of Life which is the Divine Heart and Glorious Face of the Lord. Beyond this only a person of the highest and deepest spirituality can probe beyond Hokmah (Wisdom) into the Divine Will. The highest possible level to attain while in the flesh is called ‘Living in the Divine Will’ which was the level that Miriam ha Kadosha attained. Contemplation (hitbonenut) is the level of understanding (binah) by gazing with intense concentration (kevanah/heart devotion) on a subject until one understands it completely. This can start at the level of Siyach adoration (6th level) and ascend through Shasha until the higher levels.

Eighth Level

The 8th level is associated with the Attribute of Binah (understanding). this is the level of deep prayer of the heart. This is the level of deep joy (simcha). The fruit of this level is humility or littleness. This is the level of the Magnificat. As mentioned above this level is closely associated with the Imma-Mother and the Divine Heart. It is the level of the 5th sorrowful mystery. In the Mass it is the fruits of Communion via reflection and thanksgiving. It is an entering into Divine Joy. 

Ninth Level

The 9th level is associated with Hokmah (Wisdom) and is the level of Divinization (Divinicise). It is a high level of Fear and Awe of Divine Majesty and Fear of sin which together are Divine Wisdom. This is Beginning (Reshit). This is the level of the 4th glorious mystery of Miriam’s assumption body and soul into Heaven. It is the level of nothingness or self- nullification and selflessness. 

Tenth Level

The 10th level is that of Ruach or Spirit. It is called Keter (Crown). It is the level of the 5th glorious mystery of the crowning of Miraim ha Kadosha in Heaven. Her crown is the Divine Heart of her Son. This is the level of Divine Knowledge and Divine Union. It is the level of complete Holiness. It is the level of total unity or union with God. In Hassidut it is called ‘Yachid’. Yachid is the only begotten son mentioned in the Akeidah of Isaac. We can say that the three lights or roots which are the source of the 10 sefirot are the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Father is the level of emunah (faith), the Son is Will (Ratzon) and the Holy Spirit is Desire (taanug).

Thus this is a Hebrew Catholic Way of Adoration of the Divine Heart. In Judaism this Mystical way is called the ‘running of the heart’. This is the 32 paths of Wisdom /Torah. These 32 paths are mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis with the 32 times that God (Elohim) is mentioned. These 32 paths are linked to the 10 numbers that are the 10 Sefirot and the 22 letters of the Hebrew Alphabet which are the Alef and Tav (in Greek Alpha and Omega). The first ten utterances of ‘God said’ are seen as the ten Sefirot which created the world. They are ten utterances that are One Word manifesting over 7 days. This is linked in Jewish thought with the 10 utterances or commands on Mt. Sinai which is One Torah manifesting in 7 voices. The other 22 times God (Elohim) is mentioned is connected with the 22 letters of the alphabet.

The three ‘mother’ letters are linked to the three ‘God made’ expressions. The term ‘Mother’ is linked to Understanding (binah). This is because it is the Mother (Imma) who understands and mirrors God (Elohim) to the deepest level. ‘God made’ is connected to the concept of the Mother gazing at and reflecting the Three Divine Lights which are the Triune God. The three mother are the letters alef, mem and shin. Mem is the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is associated with the Attribute of Divine Mercy/Love (Hesed/ Ahavah) in its 13 aspects. The path of Mem is the path that connects the Divine Majesty with the Divine Victory. The mem is closely connected with the Mashiach who is born by Miriam.

The alef represents the source of Wisdom - the Father. Alef is the path connecting Divine Mercy and Divine Judgement in the Heart of the Divine Body. In the heart of the Son one can see the Father. Shin is the path connecting Divine Wisdom with Divine Understanding by the power of the Holy Spirit. Mem is associated with the spiritual waters (mayim), alef with the spiritual air (avir) or breath and shin with the spiritual Fire (esh). Mem is connected to the Hay (H) of the Divine Name, Alef with with Yod (Y) of the Divine Name and Shin with the Vav (V) of the Divine Name.

Mem in a sense envelops the whole Divine Heart or Diamond. The thirteen shining triangular Mems are the thirteen triangular paths found in the diagram of the Sefirotic Tree or Body. This appears as the Divine Diamond. This is the Son as King of Mercy.The Alef is connected with the concept of the Alef and Tav which are the paths within the Divine Heart. This is the Father as the source of Wisdom that dwells in the deepest reaches of the Divine Heart of the Son.

The Jewish mystical tradition holds much light or knowledge but it is in fragments like a jig saw puzzle. In Yeshua ha Mashiach the Hebrew Catholic is called to unify these traditions and to purify them with the spiritual waters of the Son and the spiritual fire of the Holy Spirit. Then they will reflect the Divine Beauty hidden within them. This unity is the mystery of the Divine Heart. Assess to this Divine Heart is through adoration in and with and through the heart devotion of the Mother. The mysteries of the Divine Heart is the mystery of the unification of the Divine Name Yod Hay and Vav Hay by the Shin. The Shin represents the 3 pillars of the Sefirot and thus is Adam Kadmon who is the soul of the Mashiach ben Joseph. 

The letter Shin represents the Wisdom and Understanding of the Triune Godhead and the Incarnation of God becoming Man for the salvation (yeshuah) of the world. This is YHShVH (Yeshuah). This is the Divine Name of power. This the power of Love called the Divine Heart of YHShVH. Yeshuah is the name that turns darkness into Divine Light. Yeshua is also called Metatron and Yahoel. Metatron is also called Naar (Youth) and Yeled (Child). This is the Holy Child of the Zohar that raises the Cup of Yeshuah (salvation).

The seven mentions of ‘God saw’ in Genesis 1 are connected to the seven double letters of the alphabet. This is connected with the seven Sacraments and the seven mansions of St Teresa of Avila. They are the seven vertical lines or paths ascending upwards from the seven lower Sefirot. The remaining 12 mentions of Elohim in Genesis represent the 12 elemental letters of the alphabet. These are the diagonal lines of paths in the Diagram of the Sefirotic Tree or Body.

Let us adore this Heart which is so pierced by man’s indifference. Let us follow the Way of the Divine Heart by loving and adoring the Heart with the love of the Mother’s Heart. This is Eucharistic Adoration as it is the adoration of the Eucharistic Heart of Yeshua. These are the 32 paths (netivot) of ascending within the Heart and one will be led by Miriam HaKedosha along the paths best suited to their personality and level of development. This is the Heart of her Son. This is not written to try and convert Jews to the Catholic Faith but it is written to help Hebrew Catholics to go deeper into the mysteries of our Faith and to develop our own Hebrew spiritual theology that can enrich the whole Church. This is only my very poor effort to contribute to this development.

So like Ben Zoma let us ascend and gaze with the Mother at the mysteries of the Divine Heart so that we too can receive the crazy/mad/insane Love of the Heart. Our Rabbinic brothers may, like they did of Ben Zoma, say we are insane and have misunderstood the mysteries. Nevertheless let us lift up our Jewish brethren in adoration to the Light and Love flowing forth as Living Waters from the Divine Heart in the Blessed Sacrament which is the Cup of Salvation. We expectantly await the day when the veil will be lifted and we are one in the knowledge that the Divine Heart is Yeshua ha Mashiach.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Apollo and his Nine Muses and the Jewish Mystical Tradition

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov wrote of the mysteries of the 10 stringed lyre[1] and the music, song, dance and melody pulsating through all creation[2] and often hidden in the depths of the stories, folktales and sciences of the nations. The master storyteller was seen by him as the Master of Prayer[3] a kind of spiritual troubadour.  Rebbe Nachman was a true romantic[4] who embraced the Hasidic most-moved Mover[5] as the God of Israel rather than the dry intellectual concept of the Unmoved First Mover of Greek philosophy. The concept of the ten-stringed lyre or harp is at the heart of his Hasidic and kabbalistic understanding of reality.  The Greek Mythological concept of the Nine Muses of inspiration reaches into the primeval wisdom (Sophia) of the Greeks.[6] Behind the masculine mask of the intellectualism of Greek Philosophy is hidden the ever burning wildness of the feminine Greek Mythology of the wild, dancing, singing, leaping world of the creative muses.

Homer the earliest of the Greek writers tells of these muses set in a world that has little in common with the male-dominated cultures of the Mediterranean but of the Goddess dominated northern cultures of Europe descended from the lost Tribes of Israel. At the core of the Greek understanding of the nine muses is the concept of the lyre just as it is in the mystical tradition of Israel and of King David. As the words lyric and lyre suggest, in the ancient world lyric poetry and storytelling would be accompanied by the musical instrument of the lyre.[7] This goddess is the Matronita and Holy Wisdom of Biblical and Jewish tradition who has been transformed into the Greek Sophia. This Sophia is embodied in the nine muses.  The ten strings of the Davidic lyre represent the sefirot of Jewish mysticism seen in the feminine mirror of the Tree of Life. The Davidic Messiah or Bridegroom of the Song of Songs and Psalm 19 becomes the Apollo of Greek mythology. The Davidic Queen-Mother and Bride is the Sophia of Greek wisdom. Sophia is also Aphrodite the Goddess of Love and desire. 

The Greek origin of the term muses comes from the word for desire (mosis). This has a link to Moses and his sister Miriam who led the women in the spiral circle dance at the Red Sea. The circle dance of the nine Muses alludes to this mystical and spiral dance at the heart of all wisdom. This is feminine wisdom –the wisdom of the mother and the Goddess as the one who dances according to the music of the lyre played under Divine Inspiration which is the Divine Will or Desire for Creation. Apollo or the Davidic Messiah is this Sun of the Divine Will who is the Muse-Leader- the one who leads us to join the rounds or spiral circles of Living and Dancing in the Divine Will. This is the source of all man’s wisdom, learning, knowledge, creativity and inspiration.
Miriam and the women in the circle spiral dance

Joseph Campbell’s understanding of the monomyth as the common pattern that lies hidden within the great mythologies of man can be useful in helping to understand the role of the nine muses in this great mythological wisdom tradition underlining all cultures. This is the music and melody of the mystical lyre of Apollo and David. Campbell also in his writings writes about the nine muses. He states: “…so are the Muses-clothed in the garments of this world-not opposed to the unclothed Graces, but in triple rhythm (3 times 3) the earthly heralds of their paradisial dance. And they are nine because (as Dante tells of his own Muse, Beatrice) their root (the square root of nine being three) is in the trinity above. Beyond the frightening visage of all-consuming time, the arts-the Muses-initiate us to the enduring harmony of the universe, the planes or aspects of which are controlled by the planets and their spheres…” [8]  

The three primordial muses that embody the nine Muses were Aoide (song or tune), Melete (practice or occasion) and Mneme (remember) as the daughters of Mnemosyne (Memory personified). Thus Mnemosyne alludes to Miriam and Aoide as the song or tune of her dance of faith (emuna). Melete is the delight or pleasure (taanug) of the dance itself. Mneme is the choreography of the dance as an act of the Will (ratzon). These three primordial muses represent the three chords of the Mystical Lyre according to Greek mythology.

The three muses may also allude to the three tribes of Judah (Aiode), Benjamin (Melete) and Levi (Mneme) who remember the Lord and become cut off from the nine muses and Apollo representing the Lost 10 Tribes of Israel in which Joseph or Ephraim is seen as Apollo.  Judah and Aoide represents the Torah or Divine Word, Benjamin and Melete the practice of the mitzvoth (Commandments) and Levi and Mneme the Divine Service (Avodah) of the Temple. The nine Muses thus may represent the nine main areas of academic learning and the arts. Thus the separation of Judah and Israel represent the separation of the Sacred Arts from the Secular or Human Arts and Sciences.

The nine desires or muses are the Divine Desire to Create through his sefirot (attributes). Campbell writes “…Now, according to Hesiod (eighth century B.C.), the nine Muses were the daughters of Mnemosyne, "Memory," and Zeus. Born of Memory, they cause the soul to remember its forgotten higher estate…”[9]. The bearded Zeus alludes to Moses and the concept of desire (Mosis) in Greek.  The Greek term Anamnesis (memory or remembrance) is used in the Catholic Faith to describe the Eucharistic Sacrifice or Memorial as it manifests the Divine Life from Eternity into Time. The linking of immemorial and primeval beyond time with the memorial in time is the Eucharistic Mystery that is made present through the Mystery of the Incarnation. This Divine Dance and Song of Remembrance occurs within the heart and womb of the Mother from all Eternity in the mind of God.

She ponders or remembers all these things in the depth of her heart (Luke 2:19). She is truly the Sophia or Binah (Understanding) who understands and remembers with the heart. Her heart is like a ten string lute or lyre that plays the Divine Song of Creation with its three –fold chords of the fiats of Creation (Aoide), redemption (Mneme) and sanctification (Melete). Her crown of twelve stars proclaims her as the Mother of all the twelve Tribes of Israel and the Mother of Wisdom who plays her ten-stringed lyre or harp with three chords which unites all in harmony or unity (Harmonia). This mystical Harmonia is also Gaia (Mother Earth) and Calliope who represents in time the Little Daughter of the Divine Will Luisa Piccarreta.
Our Lady of Sion with her Twelve Stars

Campbell lists the fourfold categories of the function of mythology in our lives which are Metaphysical, Cosmological, Sociological and Pedagogical.[10] Using Campbell’s fourfold categories of the function of mythology can be helpful as long as we don’t fall into the errors of Campbell of separating mythology from reality by a limited understanding of the use of metaphors. Using the metaphors of mythology and the Old Testament and Jewish traditions doesn’t do away with a literal historical level of understanding. The Metaphysical concerns our relationship in God, the Cosmological our place in the Universe, the Sociological our encounter with our culture and society and the Pedagogical concerns our personal learning and growth as a human person. The Metaphysical function we can associate with the three primordial Muses, the Cosmological with Apollo the Muse-leader and the muses Urania and Polyhymnia, the Sociological with Erato, Thalia and Tepischore and the Pedagogical with Melopomene, Euterpe and Clio. Calliope who represents the discipline of Theology unites all the Muses as one in the Sophia in perfect harmony (Harmonia).

All mythologies have been constructed based on actual events and personalities that have then been mythologised. One can study this literal historical level and still gain much from also the metaphoric use of the myths and stories. The power of the metaphors is that they point to realities in history and in our human lives. In the Church this metaphorical level is called the spiritual senses and are grouped into three- moral (or hermeneutical), allegorical (or symbolic) and anagogical (or mystical). All these metaphors in mythology and in Scripture point to the realities of the incarnation, birth, life, death and resurrection of the God-Man and his mother, St Joseph and Luisa. Even then these realities can be used in a metaphorical manner to enrich our spiritual and human lives in all areas of learning.

We can become a new Daniel or Moses who excel in the Sacred Arts as well as the Secular Arts which all have one source in Holy Wisdom. Daniel represents those who come to faith and the sacred arts first and then study the secular. Moses represents those who learn the secular arts first and then come to faith and the Sacred Arts. Mankind can unite the Song of the three primordial muses with the dance steps of the nine secular muses to create a beautiful culture and society that is in harmony with all Creation so that the Divine Will may be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Pico della Mirandola was a Catholic who used the wisdom of Kabbalah and the Greek wisdom in a deeper exploration of the Catholic mysteries of the faith as a theologia poetica. This draws on the concepts of the nine muses united to the Kabbalistic sefirot. This theologia poetica concept closely reflects the Greek understanding of the creative inspiration for the Arts being rooted in deep poetry. Poetry here has a wider understanding connected with movement, dance, song, music, tune, melody, lyrics and storytelling. Traditionally the muses' Arts are listed as Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (historical poetry), Euterpe (flutes, music and lyric poetry), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry), Melpomene (tragedy, dance and song), Terpsichore (dance, music and delight), Erato (love poetry), Polyhymnia (geometry, grammar and sacred poetry), Urania (astronomy). [11] Today we might list them as Calliope (Theology), Clio (History and Geography), Euterpe (Music), Thalia (Drama), Melpomene (Literature), Terpsichore (Art), Erato (Dance), Polyhymnia (Mathematics), Urania (Physical Sciences). The ancients demonstrate an important point that knowledge and learning is not dry scientific intellectualism but beautiful musical and lyrical poetry that resonates with the soul.[12]

"We have forgotten to pray to God with our feet. We have forgotten that once in the great past a divine being touched us and we were nearer to God." This saying was attributed by my step-grandmother, Madame Nadine (Mirceva) Wulffius, to her teacher Sergei Khudekov the great historian and balletomane of the Russian Imperial Ballet.  Wulffius herself was a Ballet Dancer and teacher, choreographer and teacher of the history of Dance trained in the Imperial Ballet in St Petersburg, performing in the Latvian Theatre in its earliest days and running her own ballet schools in Latvia and Australia.[13] The generation of my grandmother in the world of Dance and the Ballet understood the unity and harmony uniting all the Arts. She was not just interested in the techniques of the Dance but the cultures, history, mythology and stories behind the choreography of the dances. A rediscovery of the muses and their connection with Sophia is a truly romantic project needed after the dry intellectualism of the modernist and post –modernist era.

Jacob Meskin writes about philosophical thought as “the choreography of the dance of real life” , in an article about the great French Jewish philosopher and thinker Emmanuel Levinas.[14] This ‘choreography of thought’ transcends the reality of the dance and links the dancer to the tracings (reshimu) of the ‘beyond’ from where inspiration flows. This ‘beyond’ is at the same time primordial and eschatological and can be linked to the concepts of the ten Sefirot within the seven days of the Creation week in Genesis 1.[15] This is the primordial source of Sophia as Apollo and the nine dancing, singing and playing muses (desires).[16] It is from this source that all man’s creativity and inspiration flow. Rebbe Nachman understood this form of storytelling knowledge[17] as a way to reach the generations and to awaken them to the beyond.[18] Levinas in his writings saw the importance of a fruitful encounter between Greek and Hebrew learning[19] that would not be oppositional but a true perceiving and sharing of face to face encounter[20]. However Levinas encounter seems to lack the spontaneous joy and delight found in the Greek Mythology of the poetic muses and Hasidic Judaism.[21] Greek philosophy separated from Greek mythology becomes a dry and sterile intellectualism just as Kabbalah and legalistic study of Torah cut off from the vibrancy of Mussar and Hasidut also tends towards a dry sterile intellectualism.[22] This intellectualism overemphasises the vertical analytical approach to knowledge and is suspicious of the lateral mystical approach to knowledge and learning that allows a true encounter and sharing of wisdom.[23]

The Greek Sophia is represented by the Davidic Queen Mother who is the Mystical Miriam in the feminine array of the Sefirot as the mirror of the Tree of Life who is Son of Man and Adam Kadmon. The  Helladic nine muses have their parallels in the matriarchs of the Bible. Urania the oldest of the muses parallels Eve the Mother of all the Living. Polyhymnia parallels Tzadika Naamah (the Righteous Naamah) the wife of Noah who is also known as Emzara as the Mother of the Seed (zera). Erato parallels Sarah the wife of Abraham. Thalia parallels Rebecca the wife of Isaac and Tepsichore parallels Rachel the wife of the Patriarch Jacob. Melopene parallels Tzipporah the wife of Moses as the Bird of Desire. Euterpe parallels Elisheba the wife of the High Priest Aaron and Clio parallels Asenath the wife of the Patriarch Joseph the Ruler of Egypt. Calliope the Chief of the Muses parallels Bathsheba the first Queen Mother of Judah and Israel the wife of King David and the mother of King Solomon.

 St Paul lists nine feminine fruits of the Spirit (the uncreated feminine Sophia) which alludes to the nine muses of Greek mythology and literature.  Thus Calliope is Eirene (Peace), Clio is Enkrateia (Self-control), Euterpe is Pistis (Faithfulness), Thalia is Prautes (Gentleness), Melpomene is Makrothymia (Patience), Terpsichore is Chrestotes (Kindness), Erato is Agape (Love), Polyhymnia is Chara (Joy), Urania is Agathosyne (Goodness).[24]  The Latin Vulgate lists 12 fruits of the spirit which includes the three primordial muses as Generosity (Xenia), Modesty (Sophrosune) and Chastity (Hagneia). For those called to the celibate consecrated life Generosity (Xenia) becomes Obedience (Hupakoé) to all and modesty (Sophrosune) becomes poverty or simplicity (Haplotes). These three primordial muses embody the Sophia as the Muse of the Muses or Desire of Desires in a unique way. She is the one who Desires to live in Divine Will like a dry thirsting desert (Arabah) longing for water[25].
Miriam and the women at the Red Sea

The nine Muses can also be linked to the Nine Wave Maidens who were the nine daughters of Aegir and Ran in Norse Mythology. [26] Miriam means the Bitter Sea or the Lady of the Sea  and alludes to the concept of her Living in the Seas or Waters (mayim) of Divine Will. In Norse mythology she is remembered as Ran the Sea Goddess.[27] Her nine desires or Wave (in Hebrew Gal) Maidens are: Himinglæva - she is the one that through her one can see the heavens which alludes to the concept of the Saphhire Blue pavement or Sea in Judaism, Dúfa - the Pitching or dipping one alludes to the bronze sea or laver, Blóðughadda - Bloody-Hair a reference to red sea foam in the northern Red Sea (wine coloured sea of Homer), Hefring – Riser, Udr- Frothing Wave, Hrönn - Welling Wave, Bylgja Dröfn - Foam-Fleck and Kólga - Cool Wave.[28] This concept of the wave (gal) is linked to the circle spiral (galgal and gilgul) dance of Miriam and the women at the Red Sea.[29] Some scholars associate the nine mothers of Heimdall (a Norse messianic Apollo-like hero) with the nine daughters of Aegir. One also needs discernment as the side of Evil (the Other Side) can pervert and twist this use of mythology and turn it to the other side. The realm of evil imitates the good- it is never original.

The Scriptures speak of the reunion of Judah with the Lost Tribes of Israel, this will involve a unity between Jews (Judah) and Christians (the Lost Tribes). This reunion will be a new encounter between the Greek and Hebrew understandings of Wisdom which will lead to the spiritual Resurrection from the Dead for the Church and the world[30]. It will be a time of a new blossoming of science and the arts seen as a joyous and humble pursuit of wisdom that is rooted in the Divine Revelation of the Incarnation in time and eternity.

A focus on the concept of the muses points us to humility. A man who invokes the muses like Homer, Herodotus, Virgil, Hesiod, and Dante and myriad others show that he doesn’t take the glory for his creative endeavour to himself but acknowledges that great inspirations that result in highly creative works have their source in the beyond. They also help us not to make structured systems that are not open to the creative power of love, joy, freedom and festivity of soul. They help us to see the underlying choreography of the dance of life and its hidden and sweet melodies that unify all under the banner of Holy Wisdom or Sophia who lives and dwells in the divine Will or Desire.

If we desire to become like God in his attributes (Sefirot) we will live in the Divine Will or Desire and the fruits of the muses will be ours. We will be Divinised and live in the divine freedom and joy of the Sons and Daughters of God no matter our exterior circumstances and sufferings. This will allow us to give others the freedom to be who they are without them needing to conform to my own belief structures and rules to receive our love and acceptance. We will break open every sealed box and leap forth like the leaping gazelle of the Song of Songs in a river of creative and inspirational activity. Then we will truly live the spirit of the Torah as Sons of the Divine Will and leave behind the mentality of the letter of the Law which enslaves and keeps us in the position of servants.

 Milton in “Paradise Lost” speaks of his Muse as the Holy Spirit who ascends higher than the muses of the Ancient Greeks. This is also our Chief Muse the Holy Spirit as the uncreated Sophia united in a synergy with Our Lady the created icon of the Sophia who doesn’t leave behind the other muses but transforms them in the New Covenant and encompasses them within her in order for them to soar and leap with her in the feast of the Divine Will which is also the feast of her Assumption (Illui) into Heaven.

The muses also protect us from a pseudo Gnostic emphasis on only the soul or spirit often found in the very heartlands of the Catholic Church. The concept of the muses also emphasises the role of man’s body in singing, dancing and playing in the spiritual and creative endeavour. This wholesome and holistic way is what Christopher Dawson the great 20th century historian calls the erotic life. Dawson writes about the spiritual and mystical Catholic as a man of eroticism, desire and passion like St Francis of Assisi and St Augustine. 
The muse Erato dancing
According to Dawson true erotic love is generous, warm hearted and giving rather than the self-absorbed parsimonious and economic cold "charity" of the bourgeois. Dawson's warning is for all of us who have that hidden closed Pharisaical or Bourgeois mindset within us. He proclaims: "...The question of the bourgeois involves a real issue which Christians cannot afford to shirk. For it is difficult to deny that there is a fundamental disharmony between bourgeois and Christian civilization and between the mind of the bourgeois and the mind of Christ. But first let us admit that it is no use hunting for the bourgeois. For we are all more or less bourgeois and our civilization is bourgeois from top to bottom. Hence there can be no question of treating the bourgeois in the orthodox communist fashion as a gang of antisocial reptiles who can be exterminated summarily by the revolutionary proletariat; for in order to "liquidate" the bourgeoisie modern society would have to "liquidate" itself...". [31] The muse Erato is linked in Greek Mythology to the God Eros.

Dawson champions a Christian ethos that is creative, free, passionate and mystically erotic which owes much to this Catholic tradition of integrating the wisdom of the Romano –Greek culture with that of the Jews. Dawson states:"...Seen from this point of view, it is obvious that the Christian ethos is essentially antibourgeois, since it is an ethos of love. This is particularly obvious in the case of St. Francis and the mediaeval mystics, who appropriated to their use the phraseology of mediaeval erotic poetry and used the antibourgeois concepts of the chivalrous class-consciousness, such as "adel," "noble," and "gentile," in order to define the spiritual character of the true mystic...".[32] Dawson himself would seem to have drawn on the creative inspiration of the muse of epic history Clio herself.

A new Romanticism in education is needed today. The curriculums of the future need to reintroduce the concept of the muses to all areas of learning. The great mythologies and folktales need to be taught as well as the great classics of literature alongside a thorough Biblical education. The boring and dull utilitarian and economic philosophy behind much of higher education today is drying up the wells and springs of true creativity and inspiration. We see the advent of the grey man who tinkers on the edges rather than the man of erotic desire and passion who seeks the holistic panorama of Wisdom and wrestles with Herculean and Jacobean effort with the gods/ God in the beautiful choreography of the Dance of Life. Let us with the muses desire wisdom in all its many varied patterns and disciplines in order to give God the Glory and for the Kingdom of the Creative, Redemptive and Sanctified Fiat of Divine Will to reign on earth as it does in Heaven. Fiat Lux -Yehi Or- Let there be Light.

Apollo watching the nine muses dancing

[1] Chanani Haran Smith, Tuning the Soul; Music as a Spiritual Process in the Teachings of Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav , 53.
[2] Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum, The Wings of the Sun: Traditional Jewish Healing in Theory and Practice, 123.
[3] Aryeh Kaplan, The Lost Princess and Other Kabbalistic Tales of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, 250.
[4] Chanani Haran Smith, Tuning the Soul; Music as a Spiritual Process in the Teachings of Rabbi Nahman of Bratzlav  IJS Studies in Judaica  Volume 10 (Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2009), 59.
[5] Abraham J. Heschel, The Prophets, Vol. II; New York: Harper and Row, 1962. p. 4.
[6] Penelope Murray, and Peter Wilson, eds. Music and the Muses: The Culture of'mousikē'in the Classical Athenian City. Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 372-374.
[7] Jane McIntosh Snyder. The Woman and the Lyre: women writers in classical Greece and Rome. SIU Press, 1991, p. xi.
[8] Joseph Campbell, Creative Mythology: The Masks of God, p.102
[9] Joseph Campbell, Creative Mythology: The Masks of God, p.104
[10] Joseph Campbell. (1969) Lectures II.1.1 The Function of Myth (given at The Esalen Institute in August 1969)
[11]   “Nine Muses” in James Hall and Kenneth Clark. Dictionary of subjects and symbols in art. J. Murray, 1979.
[12]  “Muse” Wikipedia. 2015. < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muse>
[13] “Nadine Wulffius” Wikipedia 2015.
[14] Jacob Meskin, “The Jewish transformation of modern thought: Levinas and Philosophy after the Holocaust” Cross Currents 47.4 (Winter 1997/1998), 505.
[15] Brother Gilbert Bloomer, The Mystical Dance: A Rendezvous of Levinas, Jewish Mysticism and Genesis 1 from a Hebrew Catholic Perspective, <https://www.academia.edu/5228090/The_Mystical_Dance_A_Rendezvous_of_Levinas_Jewish_mysticism_and_Genesis_1_from_a_Hebrew_Catholic_Perspective>  p.1
[16] Penelope Murray, and Peter Wilson, eds. Music and the Muses: The Culture of'mousikē'in the Classical Athenian City. Oxford University Press, 2004, p. 372-374.
[17] Likutey Moharan Vol. VII 60:6 in Rebbe Nachman of. Breslov Likutey Moharan Vol 7 (Lessons 58-64), Jerusalem/New York: Breslov Research Institute, 2007.
[18] Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, The Lost Princess and Other Kabbalistic Tales of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, (Jerusalem/New York: Breslov Research Institute, 2005), xxi.
[19] see Ephraim Meir, Levinas’s Jewish Thought: Between Jerusalem and Athens  (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2008).
[20] David Patterson, “Emmanuel Levinas: A Jewish thinker” Between Reason and Revelation: the Logic of the Semitic dimension in Philosophy (Apr.-Dec 2006), 603-4.
[21] Adriaan T Peperzak, “Judaism and Philosophy in Levinas” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Vol 40 #3 (Dec.1996), 129.
[22] See Brother Gilbert Bloomer, Jewish Thought
[23] See Brother Gilbert Bloomer, Lateral and Mystical Narrative Encounter and Sharing
[24] Galatians 5:22-23
[25]  See Psalm 63:1
[26]John Lindow. Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford University Press, 2002, p.49.

[27] Welch, Lynda C. Goddess of the North. Weiser Books, 2001.
[28] See Hannah Burrows. "Enigma Variations: Hervarar saga's Wave-Riddles and Supernatural Women in Old Norse Poetic Tradition." JEGP, Journal of English and Germanic Philology 112.2 (2013): 194-216.
[29]  Sarah Schneider, Miriam’s Circle Dance: Women and the Circle World
[30] Romans 11
[31] Christopher Dawson, Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind,
[32] Christopher Dawson, Catholicism and the Bourgeois Mind,

Apollo and the Nine Muses Dancing

Note: When I refer to the Blessed Virgin Mary as a Goddess this means that she is God-like and that she perfectly lives in God's Will and has reached the highest level of spiritual divinisation.  She is not in her essence Divine but God-like by adoption. It is the goal of all Christians to become divinised and God-like not by nature but by adoption.  She is not a Goddess who does her own selfish will like many of the stories of the pagan Goddesses. The legends and tales of the Goddess and Godesses in pagan mythologies are distorted versions of this true Goddess who lives perfectly in God's will but still containing many elements (seeds or sparks) of the truth.