Monday, March 3, 2014

Watching the Detectives Part 4: Cohle Slaw

After a moment Emmanuel said, "Then I can do nothing regarding the universe without consulting you."
     "And you can do nothing regarding the universe that is contrary to what I say," Zina said, "as you yourself decided, in the beginning, when you created me.  You made me alive;  I am a living being that thinks.  I am the plan of the universe, its blueprint.  That is the way you intended it and that is the way it is."
     "Hence the slate you gave me," he said.
     "Look at me," Zina said.
     He looked at her--and saw a young woman, wearing a crown, and sitting on a throne.  "Malkuth," he said.  "The lowest of the ten sefiroth."
     "And you are the Eternal Infininite En Sof," Malkuth said.  "The first and highest of the sefiroth of the Tree of Life."

Philip K. Dick

The Greater Adept's mundane consciousness is portrayed by the yellow of Atziluth. This symbolizes that the person is living through the Individuality instead of being ruled by the Personality. 

Freud wrote, mystified, "The unconscious is not aware of its own mortality," and Aleister Crowley, more perceptively wrote, "The unconscious is aware of its immortality."

Robert Anton Wilson

It should never be forgotten for a single moment that the central and essential work of the Magician is the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. 

Aleister Crowley

Cohle describes the possibility of other dimensions existing, and he says that’s what eternity is.  He says that if somehow you existed outside of time, you’d be able to see the whole of our dimension as one superstructure with matter superimposed at every position it had ever occupied.  He says that the nature of the universe is your consciousness, and it just keeps cycling along the same point in that superstructure: when you die, you’re reborn into yourself again, and you just keep living the same life over and over.  He also explains that from a higher mathematical vantage point, our dimension would seem less dimensional.  It would look flattened, almost.

Nic Pizzolatto

The kabbalists insisted that the Ein Sof and the sefirot formed a unity “like a flame joined to a coal.” 

I plan on writing an epic poem about this gorgeous pie.
Gordon Cole

I see dead people.
Cole Sear

It's like, in this universe, we process time linearly.  Forward. But outside of our space-time, from what would be a fourth-dimensional perspective, time wouldn't exist. And from that vantage, could we attain it, we'd see our space-time look flattened, like a seamless sculpture.
Rustin Cohle

You'll hit 49 before Crowley.
Lawnmower Man, "After You've Gone"


The Zohar rarely describes the entire sefirotic system.  It even avoids the term sefirot and instead speaks of lights, levels, links, roots, garments of the King, crowns of the King, and dozens of other images for the individual sefirot.  The reader must interpret the symbolism and identify the corresponding sefirah.

As noted above, the term sefirot originally meant numbers or numerical potencies, but in medieval kabbalah the sefirot became stages of God’s being, aspects of divine personality.  Their pattern and rhythm inform all the worlds of creation.  Prior to the emanation of the sefirot, God is unmanifest, referred to as Ein Sof, Infinite, God as Infinity cannot be described or comprehended.  A fourteenth century kabbalist writes “Ein Sof… is not hinted at in the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, or the words of our Rabbis, may their memory be a blessing, but the Masters of Service (the kabbalists) have received a little hint of It.”

Critics charged that the theory of Ein Sof and the sefirot was dualistic, that by positing and describing ten aspects of Divinity, Kabbalah verged on polytheism.  The kabbalists insisted that the Ein Sof and the sefirot formed a unity “like a flame joined to a coal.”  “It is they, and they are It” (Zohar 3:70a).   “They are Its name, and It is they” (3:11b).  From the human perspective, the sefirot appear to have a multiple and independent existence.  Ultimately, though, all of them are one; the true reality is the Infinite.  Nevertheless, the mythological character of the system cannot be denied; it is a prominent feature of the Zohar.

The sefirot are often pictured in the form of Primordial Adam or a cosmic tree growing downward from its roots above.  As the kabbalists were quick to point out, these images should not be taken literally; they are organic symbols of a spiritual reality beyond normal comprehension.


The colours for Malkuth on the Qabalistic Tree given by Gareth Knight in A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism and Dion Fortune's Mystical Qabalah are:

Assiah: black rayed yellow

Yetzirah: citrine, olive, russet & black, flecked gold

Briah: citrine, olive, russet & black

Atziluth: yellow

Of the four worlds we will look at Atziluth as the highest world and Assiah as the lowest. Thus the development of the ego would be from Assiah to Atziluth. In the Assiatic world the colours of Malkuth are black-rayed yellow. When a baby is born it comes into the physical world in an egoless state. The child's mundane consciousness is a blank slate on which the impressions of life will be written. This is symbolized by the black colour. Also black is the colour of Binah in Briah. The child's first impressions of the world are through its mother (before and after birth). The yellow rays are the Spirit which maintains and supports both mundane consciousness and the physical body. As the child starts to mature it comes into contact with the Yetziratic World. This is its own inner world and the desires and needs can be identified. Then an effort can be made to fulfil them. The citrine is a Yesodic colour and shows that the child needs to be nurtured and to develop its imaginative and intuitive faculties. The infant then starts to explore its feelings. The breast feels good and so does sucking on it. Being left alone is painful.

How many parents have had sleepless nights due to babies discovering this fact? This is symbolized by the olive colour which portrays Netzach (instincts, feelings and emotions) coming into consciousness.

As the child grows it starts to learn mobility and verbal communication. After a few years the child becomes a pupil at a school and the years of education begin. Russet is the colour applicable to this phase of consciousness and it symbolizes the Sephirah Hod (communication and intellect). The fourth colour of Malkuth in Yetzirah is black which in this world represents Binah the All Mother. This suggests that good mothering (whichever parent does it) is crucial in the balanced development of the child, especially on all the inner levels of being.

The circle of Yetziratic consciousness starts again at puberty, represented by the citrine of Yesod which starts the full flowering of the adolescent's Netzach with the onset of sexual feelings symbolized by the olive colour. Late adolescent and early adult intellectual maturation is again represented by the russet of Hod. And the Yetziratic wheel spins on. This cycle can occupy the whole of a person's life. How many elderly people have we met who still show this juvenile psychological make-up of Malkuth in Yetzirah? Some people even regress back to infantile psychology through senility. Thus for a lot of people the upper worlds exist only in their unconsciousness.

Before I discuss the Briatic level of ego consciousness, I would like to illustrate the common way that Western Qabalists draw Malkuth in Briah:

The first symbol that struck me was the quartered circle: a sign of unification and balance. The black quarter is at the bottom. On the left is the russet quarter at the gate of the 31st path leading to Hod. The citrine is at the gate of the 32nd path and the olive quarter relates to the Sephiroth at the end of these paths. I think and feel that the energies of these paths flow freely and with full consciousness into the mundane consciousness of Malkuth. Thus the person who can achieve this level of consciousness would be extremely aware of him/herself.

Before the Briatic level of consciousness is opened, the person must go through a crisis. Our Western mythologies support this fact: Christ crucified; Odin hanging on Yggdrasil; the Mad Merlin of the Vita Merlini; and the wounded Fisher King. For a lot of 20th century people, the mid-life crisis can be the impetus to find themselves. For men, it should be the start of raising into consciousness of the Anima (their unconscious female Self). For women, it is the acceptance of loss of fertility due to menopause and thus the integrating of the Bearded Woman who is an aspect of Binah. The black is this crisis and it is at the bottom of our diagram showing that Briatic consciousness is achieved by passing through the Dark Night of the Soul. In the lower worlds I likened the black to Binah; here it is the awakened Shekinah (and it doesn't matter what sex the person is) preparing to meet the Divine Bridegroom.

The spiritual crisis when successfully resolved stops the cyclical pattern of Yetzirah. The inner tides are subdued and brought into balance. Thus the symbol of the quartered circle: this shows that the elements are in harmonious conjunction within the consciousness and are working at optimum levels in the Ego as represented by Malkuth. This is the level of the Lesser Adept. The Greater Adept's mundane consciousness is portrayed by the yellow of Atziluth. This symbolizes that the person is living through the Individuality instead of being ruled by the Personality. The person is consciously living according to Divine Will or, to express it another way, this person is living his/her Dharma.