21 January, 2009

A Cup of Blessing

The Zohar begins with a description of a rose, containing both red and white. The rose is a reflection of a cup of blessing, from which flows the holy shefa or "everflow" as Rabbi Gikatilla put it: the ever flowing blessings of El Elyon. The rose has thirteen petals, one for each of the thirteen attributes of mercy, and rests upon five leaves, like the five fingers of the right hand that holds the cup.

Ever since I read this passage of the Zohar it has struck me as being a powerful image, and an image of peace at the same time; those two attributes of severity and loving kindness, red and white petals. The image of thirteen petaled rose is then superimposed upon another rose, one of forty-two petals, the rose of mercy or the rose of creation. I get images of roses blooming into greater roses whirling in my head, all of which is subsumed into the flow of the shefa pouring out of a never empty cup. The shefa pours onto us, into creation. But what happens to it?

It is, of course, all around us, all the time. From the perspective of Ayin there has never been a break, all is Light. But for us things are different. Part of the work of the spiritual occultist, the therugos, is to work with that Light, to manifest and hold a cup of blessing, a lower reflection of that higher cup, and to spread the Light into the world, rectifying it. This becomes a work of therugy, of theosis, of sympathy, whatever you like to call it. It is a rectifying of our lower selves to our soul, and our soul to our spirit, the divine genius.

We don't just hold the cup, we become it.

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