Monday, February 4, 2008

Shin, Aleph, and Mem - 3 Mothers

In the Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation) which is attributed to Abraham, the creation of the world is described in several ways. Creation is described with the ingredients of ten numbers (Sephiroth), and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. How these numbers and letters play out in different combinations against other combinations is the whirlwind of creation, or the tree of life.

The Book of Creation says that the alphabet has three mothers, or foundation letters. These are; Shin, Aleph, and Mem. This is a macro description of creation. We are taught:

“The three mothers are A, M, SH; and in the beginning as to the Macrocosm the Heavens were created from Fire; the Earth from primeval Water; and the Air was formed from the Spirit, which stands alone in the midst, and is the Mediator between them.” (Sefer Yetzirah 3:3)

Aleph the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is thought to correspond to Tiferet (like vav ties them together) as the mediator, of not only mem (water), and shin (fire), but of all the Sephiroth.

What does this all mean? It is a description in ancient Hebrew thought, of the creation, the three degrees of glory – both in the macro and how they apply to man in the micro or in his soul.

Shin corresponds to the Celestial Kingdom (everlasting burnings), to the mind of man. Aleph corresponds to the Terrestrial Kingdom, to the heart of man. And Mem corresponds to the Telestial Kingdom, to man’s belly. Where we make our decisions from, the belly, heart, or mind, largely will determine which kingdom we inherit.

“These three mothers again represent in the Microcosm or Human form, male and female; the Head, the Belly, and the Chest; the head from the fire, the belly from water, and the chest from the air lieth between them.” (Sefer Yetzirah 3:4)

Now, what does this have to do with mysticism? A description of the creation, and the Plan of Salvation with the differing kingdoms is a description of the temple, the center of mysticism.

The universe testifies of Christ, which is the macro, and the sanctification of the individual testifies of Christ in the micro.
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22 comments:

Anonymous said...

To My Friends of Faith,

Recently a friend at our church brought this "film" to my attention.
Her son apparently was sent this web link from someone.

It's a movie clip (that has been recently released, or is about to,,, I'm not sure),,
anyway, it depicts Mormons as flesh eating ghouls, and it is just awful. www.thebookofzombie.com


On behalf of myself and my husband, and our Mormon friends,
I would like to make sure that young people are NOT subjected to this terrible conception of our faith.


please let me know if you are able to help.


regards, Betty Toms

David Littlefield said...

Well, we will be sure not to follow your link, LOL.

-David

Doc said...

I gotta like mind being the top, but is heart really terrestrial. A mind with no heart is a frightening thing. I suppose a celestial being has all the parts of lower creation as well.

Its interesting that neuroscientists are starting to learn there is no cognition without emotion, the two are inextricably intertwined.

David Littlefield said...

Doc:

Good points. In Cabalistic thinking there are two explanations of creation, one says that God existed everywhere and his full power and influence was everywhere. That at some point he pulled back part of His influence in degrees, what was left at each degree (of glory) were the laws that governed that degree (Sephiroth).

So each higher degree would include the Sephiroth of lower degrees.

And I have been meaning to finish our discussion over at your posting Spirit and Mind, and will when I get a little time.

-David

mckenzi said...

"Where we make our decisions from.." Are my intentions fear/shame based, or love based?

David Littlefield said...

Mckenzi:

My statement "Where we make our decisions from.." is meant in a descriptive way, not as an attempt to manipulate, though if I can encourage people to repent I am not above that.

What is meant is that we make decision based on Celestial, Terrestrial, or Telestial principles. We either feed or bellies, serve our hearts, or live by intelligence.

In D&C 93:36 we read:

“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.”

Or in other words, the “glory” where God dwells (the Celestial) is the glory were intelligence rules.

I don’t think it’s fear mongering to say that we will inherit an eternal kingdom based on our minds, hearts, and actions.

-David

mckenzi said...

I am agreeable. That is how I was relating to the post. I think it's really neat. I hope to expound more when I can.

mckenzi said...

What I was thinking is that judgement/shame may reside in the head/ego. Fear in the belly. And love in the heart. I like what doc said.

David Littlefield said...

mckenzi:

I'm sorry, I miss understood your point.

And, what happened to the Church Ladies?

-David

mckenzi said...

Do you like church ladies? I don't think the local ladies like it. lol. I should redirect them elsewere. I am not trying to be contentious but I do have something to say about womens' inhumanity to women. Would you link to church ladies if I fix it? :)

David Littlefield said...

mckenzi:

Yes I liked the Church Ladies.

I thought they were fun. But on a serious note, the cruelty between women is amazing to me. I have three boys and one girl. I was always concerned because three girls can’t get along for any long period, two will side-up against the third. At a boys camp they would all run in a pack and have fun, when there was a problem it was worked out and soon forgotten. Now girls camp, whooo, fighting an bickering, and grudge upon grudge.


If you put them back on, I will give you a link. I don’t really have a high volume, but I will send you what traffic I can.

-David

Elijah Sandalphon said...

Interesting comments David. Your attribution of Shin to the celestial kingdom is quite astute. Your attribution of Aleph as terrestial and Mem as telestial is also quite acceptable. However, it also important to note that the order of Aleph and Mem are somewhat reversible throughout the entire Kabbalistic system. Not only does the natural progression of the ALEPH-BET run ALEPH-MEM-SHIN but their conception of the entire universe was also in the order of Earth-Air-Water-Fire. For the ancient Hebrews the waters were held above the air. This is why it rains. The Sun, Moon, and Stars were also above the water. This of course hides a deep seated Kabbalistic conundrum in which the Shekinah is both the consort of God and the Meshiac. This same lesson is taught in the tetragramaton YHVH with Heh appearing twice within the name. This allusion is also repeatedly discussed in the Zohar. IOW one has to be careful in simply assigning an order to MEM-ALEPH-SHIN because it is equally correct to view the order as ALEPH-MEM-SHIN.

David Littlefield said...

Hey Elijah!

Nice to see you.

Good comments.

A few thought,

I agree things are a little flexible. After all, these are imperfect illustrations of complicated truths. The reason I feel free to give the order of Men, Shin, and Aleph is because that is the way the Sefer Yetzirah describes the order. But, I try to be flexible in my thinking.

I am planning a post on the Tetragrammaton, where I will share my ideas on the double use of “heh.”

Stay tuned.

-David

David Littlefield said...

Some Cabalistic thinking describes Mem not as clear water but more of mud, containing all of the mater of the physical universe. That as Mem was divided The fire of stars was created in the likeness of the Celestial realms. The Aleph (air or space) mediated between them.

I think we can learn some physics here, but the real lesson is what these symbols in man (micro), and the universe (Macro), represent, they represent glories or dimensions.

A mans’s belly is not really the Telestial Kingdoms, nor are his lungs the Terrestrial Kingdom, but these are a symbol of spiritual things, IMHO.

-David

Elijah Sandalphon said...

DL- A mans’s belly is not really the Telestial Kingdoms, nor are his lungs the Terrestrial Kingdom, but these are a symbol of spiritual things, IMHO.

ES-I have noticed in your responses that you often respond to those who offer cautions in interpretation with the above type of response. Do you for a moment think that ANYONE thinks that C/Tr/Te are really the Head/Chest/Stomach? These are symbols of spiritual things. Symbols are only as strong as the representative links they share with the upper worlds and the links symbols share with other symbols. Therefore caution should always be taken when linking an OLD symbol to a novel concept. This is exactly what you have done when you link aleph, mem, and shin to the telestial, terestial, and celestial kingdoms.

A strength of linking Mem with the telestial kingdom is the in linking it with Mem you are linking it with Mi and Mah which can also be linked to the heavenly mother and arguably to the HG which has as it domain the telestial kingdom.

However unless one realizes that the ordering of Mem and Aleph are interchangable then you may assume that HM is somehow subservient to YHVH. This is in no way the case.

Elijah Sandalphon said...

DL- Shin corresponds to the Celestial Kingdom (everlasting burnings), to the mind of man. Aleph corresponds to the Terrestrial Kingdom, to the heart of man. And Mem corresponds to the Telestial Kingdom, to man’s belly. Where we make our decisions from, the belly, heart, or mind, largely will determine which kingdom we inherit.

ES- I think from a Kabbalistic perspective some clarification is needed here. Especially since this comment made Doc throw out his question into the ether. While today we think of the head as being the seat of thinking the Kabbalistic writers did not have such a view of the body. The head was the seat of power and the appendage on which sets your crown. Additionally it was equated with fire because it was also associated with "The ONE" or the unity of all things. Therefore you are right Doc. The Head includes all that is below it in one dynamic and working together that is amalgamated by the celestial fire.

Secondly the organ of intellect was thought by the Kabbalistic writers to be the Heart which abides in the chest. This throw quite a twist on what it means to act from the heart and why this could be associated with the Terrestrial Kingdom. I would be more than happy to comment on this further if there is any interest.

Third while David was descent enough to simply put "belly" the Kabbalistic association would better be described as intestines and more importantly the sexual organs. This explains in part why the Kabbalistic writers associated this this with Mem / water. The Kabbalistic writers would associate the bowels and phallus as the source of our emotions be they base or exalted. With this in mind I think you may understand a bit more why David draws a parallel with the Telestial kingdom.

David Littlefield said...

Elijah:

You are a little too sensitive. I was expanding on what we had discussed for the benefit of the entire viewing audience, I was not attacking your Cabalistic prowess.

ELIJAH SAID, taking me to task: “Therefore caution should always be taken when linking an OLD symbol to a novel concept. This is exactly what you have done when you link aleph, mem, and shin to the telestial, terestial, and celestial kingdoms.”

DAVID SAYS: I don’t think I was making any new idea and linking it to some old symbols. The point of my post is that the Plan of Salvation has been taught from antiquity, with the three kingdoms etc. It was taught in Eden, Abraham taught it, Moses taught it, Ezk. taught it, Jesus taught it, Paul taught it, etc.

I was explaining very old concepts, not making new ones.

-David

David Littlefield said...

Elijah Said:

“Third while David was descent enough to simply put "belly" the Kabbalistic association would better be described as intestines and more importantly the sexual organs.”

I believe Elijah has a point here. However, having some understanding of Elijah’s (and many other Cabalaists) view on the associated topics (A conjugal interaction with the Shekinah), I am a little less comfortable with a detailed discussion about that topic. When I speak or write of God, I try to watch closely whatever else I say. If I have nothing else, I have a fear of God.

I do plan to do a post soon about the Bride of Christ.

-David

February 7, 2008 2:31 PM

David Littlefield said...

Or in other words, we can understand the concept of Shekinah, and the bride of Christ, without details of a conjugal interaction. In my opinion, such discussions can border on less than holy ground, and bad taste. Not to mention that I think most such speculations are an abuse of the underlying teachings.

-David

mckenzi said...

I am getting some traffic from your place already. cool.

I became sort of isolated trying to avoid all the cat fights. As soon as I ventured out to be more socialable..whamo! I got entangled with a predator queen bee. lol. But I am learning to be more discerning (kind of late in life) so I can move on and let go. But first have to document for posterity.

Excuse me if I don't always seem to make sense. I hope to make myself more clear in time.

..classy, intelligent conversation over here. I like your style and poise David.

Anonymous said...

David Littlefield said...
Or in other words, we can understand the concept of Shekinah, and the bride of Christ, without details of a conjugal interaction. In my opinion, such discussions can border on less than holy ground, and bad taste. Not to mention that I think most such speculations are an abuse of the underlying teachings.

-David

Are you hiding from the the Mystery of esoteric indoctrination?

Why not just have your ears circumcisized?

at some point to further know the "Truth"
it would make sense to Conjure up the Trinity of Mysticism. Manely P Hall, Aliester Crowley and Albert Pike. And have the Seers of mysticism help us to see beyond the Vail.

Dark is this Topic and heeding to the Voice Prophets of the Dark side of the force, I fear!!!!

David Littlefield said...

Annon:

Well, that's an interesting take on things.

-David