Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lunar Illumination


On the fourth day of creation, the two great luminaries (sun and moon) were created. The moon complained to the Creator that it's inappropriate for two rulers to share a single crown, i.e. for the two main luminaries to be equally large and bright. The Creator then asked the moon to remedy the situation by shrinking her size and luminosity. The moon balked, feeling that it’s unfair for her to suffer just for having raised a valid issue.  To pacify her, the Creator offered a few concessions: allowing her to inhabit the daytime sky, referencing her orbit to guide the Jewish calendar and having saintly people named for her. She rejected these offers. The first two, she claimed lacked exclusivity. During the day the sun will render her light irrelevant and the Jewish calendar also references the sun’s orbit. To the third offer, she silently expressed her displeasure. The Creator felt for her pain and instituted that on every new moon, a goat sacrifice be brought on His behalf in the Holy Temple as atonement for having diminished her. Once diminished, the moon's light has been reduced to mere reflection of the sun's radiance. However, in the future messianic age the moon with regain her original stature and once again function as a full luminary in her own right. ~ Adapted from Babylonian Talmud, Chullin 60b and commentaries.

The sun and moon are the sky’s romantic couple. The sun is the male and the moon is the female. In a sense, this is a story about all couples on all levels.  All of creation works on the principle of “couples” - male/female polarity. This is true both for the earthly realm and for all the spiritual realms as well. In Jewish mysticism the traditional definition of male and female is giver and receiver. The entire vast span of creation works on a system of magnetism between male giving and female receiving forces. From this perspective, gender is a role and not a fixed identity - a verb and not a noun. Any entity can be female in one setting and male in another. It all depends on whether the entity at that moment is primarily receiving or giving.

However, it seems that Jewish mysticism only identifies gender by giver and receiver roles only as long as the moon remains shackled in her diminished state. Once liberated, the giving and receiving roles are exposed as mere masks cleverly layered over a higher more underlying definition of male and female. Underneath these masks, the male role is to reflect the Creator’s Infinity, while the female role is to reflect His Oneness. These higher roles were lurking beneath the surface all along - throughout history. They just operated behind the scenes.
 
As demonstrated logically in my earlier writings, the Creator’s Oneness and Infinity are really the same exact concept - just expressed differently. A logical description of one notion automatically ends up describing the other notion. Perfect Oneness ends up describing Perfect Infinity and Perfect Infinity ends up describing Perfect Oneness.

In short, Judaism understands Perfect Infinity as “no boundaries” and Perfect Oneness as  “no parts”, i.e. total seamlessness. Since boundaries have parts and parts have boundaries, every finite entity has parts and every composite entity is finite.  Conversely, a Being devoid of boundaries will be devoid of parts and a Being devoid of parts will be devoid of boundaries. Hence, the Being with no parts and the Being with no boundaries is the same Being. There can be only One such Being because the condition of having no parts and no boundaries means that the Being takes up all of reality and does not leave room for any other entity.

Admittedly, these descriptions of Perfect Infinity and Oneness go very far to explain why we can’t understand Him - as the human mind is only designed to grasp fragmentation. While pointing the way towards understanding Him, these explanations create an encounter with the limits on the human ability to mentally process what’s beyond the finite and segmented. They leave us with no true understanding about Whom the Creator actually is. At best, we end up with an understanding of Whom He isn’t.

Though Perfect Infinity and Oneness in their pristine state describe the same Being, when these states enter the relatively imperfect realms of creation they diverge, even on the highest of spiritual realms. The reason for the divergence is because the creation, marked by fragmentation and finiteness, can’t hold onto these pristine states as a seamless whole. The creation is like a broken mirror. Even while reflecting a whole image, at best, a broken mirror can only provide a piecemeal reflection. As a result of this condition, inside the created realms everything bears imperfection. All single entities exhibit parts and all vast expansive entities exhibit boundaries.

In this setting, maleness turns into a tendency towards outward expansion and femaleness into a tendency towards inward contraction. The outward male tendency is a reaching towards vastness and is the creation’s imperfect reflection of Infinity. In contrast, the female tendency is a contraction that reaches further inward and is the creation’s imperfect reflection of Oneness. Another way to spot reflections of Infinity and Oneness in the creation is via the concepts of quantity and quality. Quantity tends to be a focus on outward expansion - spreading out by adding more and more. Quality tends to be a focus on inward contraction - discovering higher value in less.  

Of course nothing is totally male or female. This is already guaranteed just by the fact that in their Source, Oneness and Infinity are the same reality. Therefore, their lower reflections retain a reminder of the original Male/Female seamlessness by ensuring that every male contains some female and every female contains some male.  Consequently, every male expansion will be marked by some female contraction. Without the introduction of quality that comes with a female inner contraction, the outer expansion falls apart.

Imagine a company making great expansive strides into many new markets without a commensurate strengthening of internal operations. Obviously, such a situation can’t indefinitely produce success. To avoid getting stretched too thin, the company needs to enhance the quality of its internal operations.

The flip side is also true; every female contraction contains some male expansion.  For example, picture a woman seeking to enhance her inner self by expanding her family and/or her circle of close friends. Sometimes such personal life expansions lead to expansions in physical property as well to accommodate the new scale.

With a clearer understanding of male and female, we can now return to the story of the the sun and moon. Essentially, the story is about the male and female descent into giver/receiver roles, a saga which continues until the moon’s dramatic liberation allows male and female to emerge as twin reflections of Infinity/Oneness. Understanding their story properly, requires clarifying the distinction between each of their lights. The sun and moon’s light must be distinct; otherwise, this leads to several issues: (1) each would render the other redundant (2) doing the exact same job is purposeless and (3) there would be no gender differentiation, identifying one as male and the other as female?

I groped for the distinction between the lights while I wrote my landmark essay called, “Future Couple”. In that essay, I had offered several possibilities which mainly focused on identifying the unique feature of the moon’s light during the messianic era.  Yet, none of my own suggestions truly satisfied my heart. So I left them on the page, as a collection of mere passing considerations. With the tides of time, arrived greater clarity and “as a cork ready to pop”, I felt an inward urge to essay my newly pent up understanding of lunar illumination and by extension all that’s feminine.

The purpose of the sun’s light is more obvious to us than the purpose of the moon’s light. The sun light’s primarily illuminates our outside world, allowing us to clearly see as we need to. However, other than offering a pale drop of light into a looming nocturnal sea of darkness, what’s the moon’s real purpose?  

Unlike the sun’s light, the moon’s light primarily illuminates our inner world, our inner space. When compared to the sun, the moon barely has a presence in outer space, not so much because she’s been diminished, but, rather because her main work is within inner space by illuminating our personalities and emotions.  While the sun emits physical light, the moon projects emotional light.  These celestial roles simply extend from the notion that maleness reflects Infinity and femaleness reflects Oneness. As an inevitable outcome of this paradigm, the role of the sky’s male, the sun, is to illuminate the vastness of outer life, while the role of the sky’s female, the moon, is to illuminate the compacted zone of inner life.

This matches up very well with the main influence western astrology ascribes to the moon. Wherever the moon appears on a western astrological chart, she’s usually channeling a flow of emotional abundance into a certain area of life. Not surprisingly, people born during the zodiac sign of the lunar dominated crab are considered very sentimental.

The presence of a strong emotional side to the celestial crab also compatible with Jewish astrology, which ascribes the power of sight to the Hebrew month of Tammuz; the month associated with this zodiac sign. In Jewish astrology, the twelve powers associated with the zodiac signs are primarily soul powers. Given this context, it’s likely that the power of sight isn’t primarily referring to earthly sight, but, rather to “soul sight” - viewing with one’s inner self.

With both inner and outer sight being of equal importance, both lights should have an equal presence in our lives. If so, why did the moon beg for inequality?  Quite possibly she was concerned that if both lights were on equal footing, they’d compete for humanity’s attention. By her reaction, it is evident that she wanted to give primacy to the richness and spirituality of inner life over the largely mundane involvements with the outer world. On the surface, her concern seems valid. Spiritual growth touches on the whole purpose of creation. Worldly endeavors should not outpace devotional activities.

It seems like the Creator agreed with her general concern. However, not with the solution she had hoped for. The Creator might of had a concern of His own that a humanity wrapped up in a rich inner life would, at best, pay only cursory attention to outer life.  He wanted His world developed and such efforts require focus on outer life. Besides, humanity’s very first test took outer focus - as the snake and the tree were both entities outside of Adam and Eve. If passed, the sun and moon would have immediately reverted to equal stature. In theory, the diminishment was going to be immediately remedied.

However, this didn’t happen. The test wasn’t passed and the moon remained in her diminished state.  In her reduced state her spiritual vibes radiated too softly to reach people with as much impact as the more obvious radiation of her solar counterpart. As a result, among humans inner life became passively secondary to the overriding demands of the outer world, such as earning a livelihood and raising children.  

With our inner emotional signals overtaken by a sea of outer stimuli, it is often difficult to truly hear the voice of one’s heart.  At times, a person has to tune into very refined inner subtlety in order to truly hear. This helps explain why settings designed to draw out deeper and more intimate emotions, often rely on a combination of decreasing unwanted outer stimuli and managing wanted outer stimuli, compatible with the emotions trying to be reached. For example, think of a delicately crafted Japanese garden or a well planned art museum. With such techniques, humans allow for a taste of the moon’s future role in the present.

In the future era, the moon will regain her full stature. Her signals will be strengthened.  Consequently, focusing on inner life will be considered at least as valuable as focusing on outer life. It will be an era marked by people deeply caring for each other and placing special emphasis on the art of prayer. For many it will be their very first taste of what it means to truly care for another and to really pray. During this upcoming era, the Creator will demonstrate His Love for humanity as never before. He’ll show them special favor by sharing with them fresh divine mysteries and bringing them into the sacred emotional space of a uniquely special relationship with Him.

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3 comments:

  1. In my house, I am Cancer the Crab aka the moon and my wife is Leo the lion aka the sun but the masculine and femine roles are reversed. Seriously the Shechina a femine aspect from HASHEM rules the moon. RP

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    1. Thank you for your cute response. Interestingly, when I attended classes in genetics I was told that gender is a spectrum - some are closer to one end of the spectrum and some to the other (which is really saying the idea from Kabbalah known as "hitkallelut").

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  2. Joseph had a dream in which the sun (Jacob), the moon (Rachel), and the eleven stars (his brothers) bowed down to him (All did this, except Rachel, who died. This will happen in a future event.) When the sun, moon and stars were created, they would eventually have human counterparts. This would be Jacob, Rachel, and the children who would become the twelve tribes. As Jacob appears to be shining, he's actually taking a back seat to Rachel--the Moon, the Shekinah. She's working in a spiritual world underground, so to speak, because what's she's doing to bring her children home can't yet be seen. In the night sky, she's the constellation Andromeda. She's in the earth now as a human counterpart, also, as is Jacob. While Jacob is actually in spiritual darkness at this time--but very successful on earth, Rachel is laboring-crying and weeping for her children who can't yet see the great Light. Rachel, who is on the earth once again, is not accepted by the world. Her travail is great because she's the only one powerful enough to stand up to God. She can match God word-per-word. She is not afraid to challenge Him. By her own merits, she's able. After all,it was her idea to forgive her sister. She didn't wait to be told as the great men of the Bible did. She stood up to God and asked why a powerful God as He was jealous of mere idols. She wanted with all her heart for God to forgive His people and her children. That was her hearts desire, so He promised her a part in the Redemption process of His people. She's in extreme travail to do this.

    In the night sky ( as Andromeda), she realizes who of her children is, and is not ready, to absorb her light. It pains her to kick some of her children away, but she knows if they came to the Light now, God would have a premature baby on his hands. She knows they must overcome and complete the circle. She'll endure until the end of the age knowing really there will be no passage of time, so she endures, but the moaning, weeping, and wailing from her continues.

    Not only is she moaning for her children, she moans for the sun (Jacob) who can't see her working in a spiritual underground. He can't see the Light of her Skekinah just yet.

    As Rachel births ben Joseph (ben Ephraim) she'll bow down in the upper worlds.

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