Tuesday 1 November 2011

The Seed of Inspiriation

In Kabbalah, there are four worlds, the World of Emanations, the World of Creation, the World of Forms (if you know Plato, you'll get that one), and the World of Action.  We live in the World of Action, which is the world change occurs in, and those changes ripple back up to the higher worlds.  Everything in our world begins in the the World of Emanations as seeds of an idea.  You can see these as pre-thoughts, pre-ideas.  This is the Yod floating in the Zoid that will become creation.  In that Yod are all the letters.  It is the seed from which everything comes, the DNA of the universe, if you will.  From the seed of an idea in the World of Emanations grows an idea fully formed.  This idea is in the World of Creation.  This idea grows into a plan, in the World of Forms.  The World of Forms, or Plato's World of the From, is the blueprint for what's in our world.  And the plan is put into action in the World of Action.  All Hebrew roots are verbs, not nouns.

The Gather has spent generations gathering berries, gathering nuts, gathering herbs.  She (or he) has seen that the seed falls to the ground, and that from it grows a new plant.  This is the seed (ha!) of an idea, the World of Emanations.  It dawns on her one day, after all those generations, that maybe the seeds she gathers can be grown, so she doesn't have to worry about where to find them.  This is the idea, the World of Creation.  She decides to try it, decides which seed to try, where to plant them.  This is the plan, the World of Forms (I typed World of Farms; lol).  She gathers them and plants them and they grow.  The action in the World Of Action.  Previous generations might have had the seed, but never had the idea.  They might have had the idea but never formed the plan.  They might have made a plan but never put it into action.

The Gather is now the Farmer.  She watches the plants grow.  And one day, made her, maybe a later generation, notices that when one left or branch becomes sick, it spreads through the plant.  There is another seed.  She realizes maybe she can cut the deceased leaf or branch off to save the rest.  Another idea.  She figures out she can use the knife she uses to skin animals or cut herbs to cut off the leaf or branch.  Another plan.  She does so.  Another action, and pruning becomes part of life.  And so on.

The Hunter has been watching the wolf hunt for generations.  He (or she) has learned from it, improved how he hunts, generation by generation.  One day, he wonders what it would be like to hunt with the wolf instead of watch, instead of hunt apart from the wolf.  This is the seed of an idea, the World of Emanations.  He wonders if he can catch the wolf, and train it to hunt with him.  This is the idea, the World of Creation.  He makes a plan to lure the wolf in with food, get the wolf comfortable with him.  This is the plan, the World of Forms.  He does it, and ends up with a wolf half trusting him, eventually hunting with him, sharing life and food with him.  The action in the World of Action.  And, once again, each step might have happened in previous generations, but it wasn't until him that it was carried out.

And he or his descendant observes the wolf, seeing it's strengths, it's weaknesses.  And they make the connection that with humans, a strong father usually has stronger children, a smart, sunning father usually has smarter children than the ones that aren't as bright.  This is another seed.  He wonders if he got two wolves with the strengths he wants with another one with the same strengths whether the pups would be better than normal. Another idea.  He decides to observe more wolves, either wild ones or the ones he's hunted with, find the ones with the strengths he wants, and get them together to bred.  Another plan.  And he does so.  Another action.  And so on.

A man named J. H. Muller, in 1786, wondered if a mechanical machine, a difference engine, could be designed that could do calculations for him.  This was the seed of an idea, the World of Emanations.  A man named Charles Babbage proposed such a machine in 1822 and set about doing so, designed an analytical engine and an improved difference engine.   They were built but too expensive to manufacture.  This was the idea, the World of Creation.  A man named Konrad Zuse in 1936 designed a new machine from the idea of a difference engine.  His design didn't do one operation, or several operations like the ones before, but could be programmed to do different things.  This was the plan, the world of Forms.  And from there, the modern computer evolves, the action in the World of Action.

I could go on, but my point is that an idea forms that leads eventually to an action.  The idea comes first, not the technology.  Sometimes the idea is successful, sometimes not, but often the failure leads to new seeds, which lead to new ideas.  In scientific terms, the seed is a question, the idea is a hypothesis, the plan is the design of the experiment, and the action is the experiment itself.  And it's our culture, our lifestyle, our setting (which is the term I use in my Social Dynamics) that provides the experiences that bring about the seed of an idea.  Our Gatherer wouldn't have thought to plant seeds if she didn't gather them first.  Our Hunter wouldn't have thought to domesticate a wolf if he hadn't been following the same herds.  Muller, and engineer in the Hessian army, wouldn't have thought of building the difference engine if he hadn't seen the steam powered machines of his time.  He also, by the way, designed and built and improved version of Leibniz' adding machine. Leibniz added division and multiplication to Pascal's calculator and invented the first mass produced calculator.  Without Pascal's seeds, ideas, plans, and actions, Leibniz couldn't have done what he did.  Without Leibniz, Muller couldn't have done what he did.  All this lead to the first computer, which changed the world.  So the seeds that brought about the computer, the ideas, the culture, started at the latest in 1642 with Pascal's mechanical calculator.  The ideas that led to the computer took almost three hundred years to get to the first computer and it's been almost 80 years to get where we are.  Technology comes from ideas.  Then technology spawns new ideas, which spawn new technology, and so one.  A cycle, a process, thought begets change, change begets thought.  Technology doesn't develop apart from thought, in isolation from an idea that came from the culture and the setting of the culture.

The question is, why the 'sudden' change?  Why, after thousands and thousands of years, generations and generations of observing these same things, living this same way, with little change, why, 'suddenly' does someone change all that?  What plants the seed of an idea in the first place, since it never happened before that point?  Around the same time, independently, in at least six places, the change occurs, the seed is planted, germinates, and grows, and the world is never the same.

The changes that occurring in lifestyle and technology (the square house, the domestication, the pottery, the metal working, the walls), and the supposition made from these of the changes in thinking, the changes in world view, all these things are interesting but don't get us to the meat of it.  These things are the elements, the symbols, in the Mystery Traditions, the elements the initiate sees when they're ready, be it the Eleusinian Mysteries, the Dionysian Mysteries, the Arcadian Mysteries (my personal favourite), the Mithraic Mysteries, the Orphic Mysteries, the Isis Mysteries, early Christianity, or even modern Feri.  The element, the symbol, the Key, only has meaning to the initiate because they are ready for the Mystery they point to.  This is the heart of mysticism, moving beyond the symbols and elements to the Mystery behind them.  To me, the societal changes are only interesting in that they point to the changes in thinking to brought them about and that they brought about, and those changes are only interesting because the point to the Mystery that caused the initial change, the Catalyst, the planting of that seed of an idea.

Something changed.  Something in six places (is there a seventh we're missing, I wonder) about the same time, after generations upon generations, thousands upon thousands of years (Carl Sagan is saying billions and billions in my head right now).  Was it greed that lead to stockpiling, and that to the rest?  I think not.  The first things they started stockpiling were food, plants and animals, but you couldn't do that without first domesticating them.  It was the realization that they could domesticate that came first, then the action, and only then did greed come in.

But what changed?  Someone drank from the Welsh Cauldron of Inspiration.  Someone was given fire by Promethius.  Someone gave up an eye to drink of the Well of Wisdom.  Someone saw a burning bush and turned aside.  Someone ate from a forbidden tree and gained knowledge.  Someone was baptised in the River Jordan and had the Spirit descend on them like a dove.  Someone was sitting by a river beneath a tree and realized there was another way.  Someone wrestled with G-d in the night.  Someone was taught by angels.  Something happened, and someone, well, at least six someones, realized there was another way beyond what had always been true, the way things had always been.

Not saying it was G-d or a god coming to them, or anything else particularly, just that something changed, something planted that seed, and everything changed, first with them, then their family, then their neighbours and so on.  Not in everyone, of course, but it rippled out like a still pond when a rock is thrown in.  And once that seed of an idea was planted, nothing could ever go back.

From Cain's, the farmer's, line, not from the nomad line, Lamech's wife Adah gave birth to Jabal and Jubal, and his wife Ziilah gave birth to Tubal-Cain and Naamah.  Jabal is said to be the father of all who live in tents and raise livestock, the nomad herders we've talked about.  Jubal is the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes.  Tubal-Cain to all those who forge tools of bronze and iron (and weapons).  And by Jewish tradition, Naamah is the mother of all demons.  Many British traditions look to this passage.  Hence, the Clan of Tubal-Cain, which the association with metal working.  There's a change here. the beginning of stringed instruments, the beginning of forging.  And these things are in the line of Cain, the farmer, who is contrasted with the line of Seth which is seen as the good line.  The author(s) of Genesis seem to think the change brought about in the Neolithic Revolution was a bad thing, just as eating of the Tree and gaining Knowledge is shown as bad.  But the witchcraft traditions usually look to Cain and the line of Cain.  I find that interesting.

From a 1600s York manuscript:
"Before Noah flood there was a man called Lamech as is written in the Scriptures in ye Chatr of Genesis And this Lamech had two wives ye one named Adah by whome he had two sons ye one named Jabell ye other named Jubell And his other wife was called Zillah by whome he had one son named Tubelcaine & one Daughter named Naamah & these four children founded ye beginnings of all ye Sciences in ye world viz Jabell ye oldest Sone found out ye Science of Geomatre he was a keepr of flocks and sheep Lands in the Fields as it is noted in ye Chaptr before sd And his bother Jubell found ye Science of Musicke Song of the Tongue harpe & organ And ye third brother Tuball Caine found ye Science called Smith Craft of Gold Silvr Iron Coppr & Steele & ye daughter found ye ara of Weaving And these persons knowing right well yt God would take vengencance for sinne either by fire or water wherefore they writt their severall Sciences yt they had found in two pillars of stone yt might be found aftr Noah his Flood And ye one stonbe would not burn wth fire & ye othr called Lternes because it would not dround wth wtr etc."
Four children, the Herdsman or Horseman, the Musician or Bard, the Smith, and the Weaver.  All of these hold importance in the later witchcraft of Europe and the British Isles.

The other common thing in many witchcraft traditions is the Watchers, coming down and teaching mankind all sciences and magic, including the things listed in the previous quote.  The story is of the Watchers watching humans and falling in love with the women (from Genesis and from Sumerian myths) and having children, the giants and men of renown in the Tanakh, the "witchblood" in some witch traditions.  And they taught man these things.  Science and math, forging and weaving, magic and witchcraft, domestication and farming.  Basically, that the Neolithic Revolution came about from their teaching.  The seed of the idea.  The fire from heaven.  The Inspiration.  In Sumerian myth, the Apkallu were seven, associated with seven stars.  They are the Watchers and taught mankind, bringing about the first civilization, Sumer.  In Cochrane's Basic Structure of the Craft, there are seven wind gods, the sons of Night and Man, the seven stars.  In Feri, there are seven Guardians, who are the true teachers of the witch.  They are the watchers, and they are seven stars.

Regardless of whether there were watchers or whatever, that point, that seed, that inspiration, that formed in six places around the same time is ingrained in the psyche, the cultural memory, of the people of the earth, and seems present in one form or another in the myths of people throughout the world.  That moment that began the Neolithic Revolution that is such a Mystery is remembered and engraved in all of us.

And that, I think, is the important part of the study of the Neolithic Revolution.  And the ultimate goal and central pillar of mysticism.  And the essence of witchcraft.

~Muninn's Kiss

1 comment:

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