aleph symbol with title UNSONG

Chapter 44: A World Within Opening Its Gates

The LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give unto all this evil that was come to the decisive step of mathematical abstraction
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1993
Gulf Of Mexico

I.

“TELL ME,” said Uriel, “ABOUT THE WORD ‘KABBALAH’ ITSELF”.

“Well,” said Sohu, “the Hebrew root contains the three letters kuf, bet, and lamed, and means ‘tradition’. Kuf connects Binah to Hesed, and Bet goes from Chokmah to Hesed, so both cross the Abyss and symbolize something transmitted from God to Man. Lamed, on the other hand, goes to Yesod, which signals the background superstructure of the universe. So the whole effect is one of hidden knowledge that points to the Divine, meaning that the connotations of the individual letters perfectly match the connotation of the word, exactly as would be expected.”

“THAT IS VERY GOOD. GO ON.”

“We find analogues in almost every other language. For example, the Arabic ‘qibla’ means the direction you face to pray, which is also about pointing to the Divine, albeit in a more literal sense. In Hindu myth, the sage who brought the secret divine knowledge to Earth was named ‘Kapila’. The Latin ‘capella’ means cloak, which is also about secrets and hidden things, as is the English ‘cabal’, and even the English ‘cable’ if you think of it as an undersea cable transmitting information below the surface. Also some version of the word ‘chaplain’ or ‘kaplan’ means ‘priest’ in pretty much every European language.”

“THAT IS RIGHT AND YOU ARE GOOD,” said the angel, but he was fidgeting with his hands. It was never good when he was fidgeting with his hands.

“All right! Fine! Out with it!” said Sohu. “This is even more annoying than when you criticize me. What did I forget?”

“UM.”

“What did I forget? Just tell me.”

“WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF TURKISH, IN WHICH ‘KAPLAN’ INSTEAD MEANS ‘TIGER’?”

Sohu let out a sigh. “Nothing,” she said. “I make nothing of Turkish. What does a tiger have to do with hidden divine knowledge anyway?”

Uriel quoted:

AND WHAT SHOULDER, AND WHAT ART
COULD TWIST THE SINEWS OF THY HEART?
AND WHEN THY HEART BEGAN TO BEAT,
WHAT DREAD HAND AND WHAT DREAD FEET?

WHAT THE HAMMER? WHAT THE CHAIN?
IN WHAT FURNACE WAS THY BRAIN?
WHAT THE ANVIL? WHAT DREAD GRASP?
DARE ITS DEADLY TERRORS CLASP?”

Sohu applauded, geniunely delighted. It was the first sign the archangel had shown of being familiar with literature. “You know Blake?” she asked.

“KNEW,” said Uriel. “I THINK HE IS DEAD NOW.” Then, “HE DID NOT LIKE ME VERY MUCH.”

“What was he like? Was he all weird and prophetic in person?”

“YES,” said Uriel.

“Neat!” said Sohu.

“YOU SHOULD LEARN TURKISH.”

“Stop trying to make me learn every human language!”

“TURKISH IS INTERESTING. IT IS THE MOST WIDELY SPOKEN LANGUAGE IN THE TURKIC FAMILY AND HAS AN INTERESTING AGGLUTINATION SYSTEM.”

“I don’t want to learn Turkish! I want to learn how to blow up mountains! Or at least see mystical visions like William Blake did! I’ve been good, Uriel! I’ve spent two years now learning all of the correspondences and all sorts of crazy half-reconstructed proto-languages and done everything you asked! This is boring!”

Uriel thought for a long time.

“OKAY,” he said.

“Okay? Really?”

“I WILL TEACH YOU CERTAIN SIMPLE MAGICS, IF YOU AGREE TO CONTINUE YOUR STUDY IN THE CORRESPONDENCES.”

“Really? Really?! You’re the best!” She opened her arms in a hugging motion, although because of the size difference it was no more than symbolic.

II.

“WE DISTINGUISH AMONG FOUR TYPES OF KABBALAH, CORRESPONDING TO THE FOUR WORLDS. THE THEORETICAL KABBALAH CORRESPONDS TO THE WORLD OF ATZILUTH. IT IS THE ANALYSIS OF THE FORM OF ADAM KADMON. THIS FORM IS UNTOUCHABLE AND THE SLIGHTEST CHANGE TO IT WOULD PROBABLY DESTROY THE WORLD.”

“That’s what we’ve been learning so far?” asked Sohu.

“YES. BELOW THIS, CORRESPONDING TO THE WORLD OF BRIAH, IS THE CELESTIAL KABBALAH. THIS IS THE MANIPULATION OF THE RULES BY WHICH THE FORM OF ADAM KADMON PRODUCES EFFECTS IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD. IT IS THE FORM OF KABBALAH WHICH I USE TO RUN THE UNIVERSE. I AM THE ONLY ENTITY WHO UNDERSTANDS THIS FORM, BUT ONE DAY YOU WILL BE CAPABLE OF LEARNING IT AS WELL.”

“Okay.”

“BELOW THAT, CORRESPONDING TO THE WORLD OF YETZIRAH, IS THE APPLIED KABBALAH. THIS IS THE MANIPULATION OF THE LOWER-LEVEL CONCEPTS AND ARCHETYPES. THE ANGELS AND SOME OF THE GREATEST SAGES HAVE MASTERED IT. SO HAVE YOUR SISTERS AND BROTHER.”

“And below that is…”

“THE WORLDLY KABBALAH. THE USE OF DIVINE NAMES. ANY HUMAN CAN MASTER IT, ONCE THE APPROPRIATE NAMES ARE KNOWN. YOU MAY LEARN THESE ON YOUR OWN. WE WILL START WITH THE APPLIED KABBALAH.”

“Okay,” said Sohu. “Teach me applied kabbalah.”

“YETZIRAH IS THE WORLD JUST ABOVE MATERIAL REALITY,” said Uriel. “IT IS THE WORLD OF ARCHETYPES…”

III.

Uriel cleared his throat to get Sohu’s attention. When she was looking at him, he disintegrated into a bolt of lightning, then reappeared a mile above her head.

“NOW YOU TRY,” he said.

“Humans can’t do that!” she protested.

“YOUR FATHER CAN.”

“My father does a lot of things.”

“YES. THAT ONE IS CALLED KEFITZAT HADERECH. IT MEANS SHORTENING THE PATH. IT WAS PERFORMED BY THE GREATEST SAGES OF OLDEN DAYS. TODAY WE WILL LEARN IT.”

“What? You’re going to teach me to teleport? Uriel, you are the best!”

“YOU ARE AN EMANATION OF DIVINE STRUCTURE, PASSING FROM ATZILUTH TO BRIAH TO YETZIRAH TO THE PHYSICAL WORLD. THE SECRET OF TELEPORTATION IS EMANATING INTO THE PHYSICAL WORLD SOMEWHERE ELSE. SIT DOWN AND CLOSE YOUR EYES.”

Sohu did as directed.

“IN THIS WORLD, YOU ARE A BODY. IN YETZIRAH, THE DREAM WORLD, YOU ARE A COLLECTION OF THOUGHTS AND POSSIBILITIES AND ARCHETYPES. GO TO THAT WORLD.”

“How?”

“YOU DO IT EVERY NIGHT. NOW YOU WILL DO IT WHEN WAKING. STOP THINKING IN TERMS OF THINGS AND THINK OF THE MEANINGS BEHIND THEM.”

“I don’t know the meanings behind things!”

“YES YOU DO. THEY ARE THE CORRESPONDENCES YOU HAVE BEEN WORKING WITH FOR YEARS. SPACE IS A METAPHOR. TIME IS A METAPHOR. ALL THE CLOUDS AROUND US ARE METAPHORS. MY VOICE IS A METAPHOR. TAKE ONE STEP IN THE DIRECTION OF THE THING THAT THEY ARE METAPHORS FOR.”

“I don’t think the clouds are a metaphor.”

“EVERYTHING IS A METAPHOR. EVEN IF THERE WERE A CASE OF SOMETHING NOT BEING A METAPHOR, THE EXISTENCE OF THE CASE WOULD DEFINITELY BE A METAPHOR FOR SOMETHING.”

“What are the clouds a metaphor for?”

“WHAT ARE THE LINGUISTIC CORRESPONDENCES OF THE WORD CLOUD?”

“C-L-D. Clod, also a formless collection of dark earth. Clued, as in clued in, having received revelation. Clade, a collection of life given a form. Compare also “occlude”, to hide the form of. In Hebrew ‘anan’, compare noun, nomen, all ways of reifying and giving form – oh, and noon, perfect brightness, everything revealed, and Japanese ‘nan’ meaning ‘what’ or ‘thing’. In Latin nebula, compare Arabic ‘nabi’, meaning ‘prophet’, one who reveals, gives form to the hidden, and Mount Nebo, where Moses saw the Promised Land revealed before him before he died.”

“WHAT ARE THE BIBLICAL REFERENCES TO CLOUDS?”

“Exodus, 16:10, ‘Behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud.’ Numbers, 12:5, ‘and the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud’. Job, 22:13 ‘How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?” Psalms 18:11 ‘He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.'”

“WHAT ARE THE CLOUDS A METAPHOR FOR?”

“Form and formlessness, light and darkness, things hidden and revealed, God. But no, it isn’t that at all. It’s more than that. It’s hard to explain.”

“NO. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO EXPLAIN. LANGUAGE IS PART OF THE MATERIAL WORLD. THIS IS HIGHER. TAKE ONE STEP TOWARDS THE THING YOU CANNOT EXPLAIN.”

Sohu did.

“OPEN YOUR EYES. BUT LOOK THROUGH THEM, NOT WITH THEM.”

Sohu opened her eyes. She saw things that were hard to explain.

“ARE YOU OKAY?”

“I’m the thing that being okay is a metaphor for.”

“YES. DO YOU THINK YOU CAN GET BACK TO ASSIAH? THE MATERIAL WORLD?”

“I think so. Maybe. Yes.”

“DO IT. BUT COME BACK IN A PLACE DIFFERENT FROM WHERE YOU LEFT.”

“How?”

“IS SOHU BEING IN A DIFFERENT PLACE AN EQUALLY GOOD METAPHOR FOR THE LEVEL YOU ARE CURRENTLY AT AS SOHU BEING IN THE ORIGINAL PLACE?”

“Yes.”

“THEN WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?”

Upon hearing this, Sohu was literally enlightened.

IV.

“I turned into a lightning bolt I turned into a lightning bolt I turned into a lightning bolt and then I went places I can go anywhere!”

“YES. YOU HAVE BEEN MENTIONING THAT FOR THE PAST TWO DAYS.”

“I know! It’s great! Hey, I can go to a restaurant and get something to eat other than manna! I can do it as lightning.”

“YOU LEARN HOW TO TELEPORT AND YOUR FIRST THOUGHT IS TO USE IT AS A MORE EFFICIENT FORM OF DRIVE-THRU?”

“No, my first thought was ‘I turned into a lightning bolt this is so awesome’. My second thought was using it to go to restaurants.”

“NOW THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED HOW TO ENTER YETZIRAH, YOU MUST CONTINUE TO LEARN HOW TO MASTER IT. BY MANIPULATING YETZIRAH YOU CAN CAUSE POWERFUL DOWNSTREAM EFFECTS IN ASSIAH.”

“Can I create food?”

“I HAVE A JOB FOR YOU”.

“What?”

“A WHILE BACK I FORGOT TO HAVE A SOLAR ECLIPSE.”

“You forgot? A solar eclipse?”

“THEY USED TO BE AUTOMATED BEFORE THE SKY CRACKED. NOW I DO THEM BY HAND. BUT AFTER EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED IN MADRID, I GOT DISTRACTED AND FORGOT. I SHOULD HOLD AN EXTRA ONE TO CATCH UP.”

“Don’t you think having an extra solar eclipse at a time when it’s not supposed to happen will be really weird?”

“I WILL GRADUALLY SPEED UP THE SUN AND SLOW DOWN THE MOON SO THEY INTERSECT. NO ONE WILL NOTICE.”

“Uriel, people have calculated the exact dates of all solar eclipses up to like the year 3000.”

“OH.”

“Why don’t you just let this one pass?”

“SOLAR ECLIPSES HAVE IMPORTANT KABBALISTIC SIGNIFICANCE. THE SUN REPRESENTS TIFERET. THE MOON REPRESENTS YESOD. VERY BRIEFLY THESE TWO SEPHIROT CANCEL EACH OTHER OUT, ALLOWING DIRECT COMMUNICATION BETWEEN KETHER AND MALKUTH.”

“What does that mean?”

“YOU WILL SEE.”

“That sounds sinister.”

“YOU WILL STEP INTO YETZIRAH DURING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE. WHILE YOU ARE THERE, YOU WILL SEE VISIONS OF THE PAST AND FUTURE.”

“What kind of visions?”

“I DO NOT KNOW.”

“You look worried. Is everything all right?”

“UM.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I AM NOT SURE YET. THE OMENS ARE BECOMING OMINOUS.”

“Aren’t omens ominous by defin- ”

“NO.”

Sohu thought for a second.

“Uriel, did you really forget a solar eclipse?”

“UM.”

“Something’s wrong, isn’t it?”

“NO ONE WILL NOTICE IF THERE IS ONE EXTRA SOLAR ECLIPSE.”

“I promise you, we notice these sorts of things!”

“THERE WAS A WHOLE YEAR WHEN THE MONTH OF MARCH LASTED AN UNMEASURABLE AMOUNT OF TIME AND NOBODY COMPLAINED.”

“1969? Uriel, everyone complained! It was horrible! I read about the Long March in history books! People are still traumatized by that!”

“OH. UM. I AM REALLY SORRY.”

“…it’s okay. You tried your best. And there haven’t been any infinitely long months since then.”

“THERE WAS AN ETERNAL SEPTEMBER ONE TIME, BUT THAT WAS SOMETHING DIFFERENT.”

“Uh huh.”

“THIS WILL NOT BE LIKE THAT. I JUST NEED TO SPEED UP THE SUN AND SLOW DOWN THE MOON AT THE SAME TIME. EVERYTHING WILL GO WELL.”

“Mmm hmm.”

“THE SUN WILL BE IN THE RIGHT ALIGNMENT NEXT MONTH. YOU NEED TO PRACTICE GOING INTO YETZIRAH SO YOU CAN DO IT INSTANTANEOUSLY WHEN THE TIME COMES.”

“Aye aye!”

“YOU SEEM ODDLY HAPPY ABOUT THIS.”

“Do you know what this is?”

“A SOLAR ECLIPSE?”

“It’s the first time I can help you with something important!”

“AH. SO IT IS.”

“I am going to practice all month and together we are going to rock this solar eclipse.”

“IS THAT A GOOD THING OR A BAD THING?”

“Good.”

“OKAY.”

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