The Essenes related their concept of Law to the tetragrammaton – the 4 letters YWHW that we tend to translate into “Yahweh.” This word is often interpreted as the Hebrew name for God. Yet Murray Webber, author of the book, An Introduction to Gnostic Hebrew Qabbal (© 1995) tells us that what should be pronounced for the tetragrammaton is the word, Adonai. The words God and Lord, he firmly states, are not interchangeable in Hebrew (page 18)!
Furthermore, in the section on the Hebrew letter Daleth -- the 4th letter (every letter in Hebrew has a corresponding number), Webber notes that many spellings of the word for Spirit or Creator in a variety of languages are made of four letters!
He uses the English word, Lord, rather than God, then mentions these others:
Yod He Vav He (YHVH, the tetragrammaton) for Hebrew
Dieu --- French
Gott --- German
Odin --- Norse
Jove --- Roman
Zeus --- Greek
Atma --- Hindu
Nebo --- Assyrian
Isis --- Egyptian
OK, I’m sure there are others that don’t match that formula, but isn’t it fascinating? The Hebrew alphabet consists of 22 numbers (2+2 = 4). And the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Tav, has the numerical value 400 (4+0+0 = 4), and also a large multiple of 4.
And here’s more to be excited about – while I have a very limited knowledge of languages, how about the word, Love? It’s 4 letters, too. And also in Spanish (Amor), French (Aime) and German (Leib).
I have some exposure to a system of numerology, but at this point am curious about what any of my readers might think about this. What is significant for you about the number 4?
After my last post, you may wonder, “Really? No Lord? Well, what is this Law then?”
In all honesty, I’m not sure I know. But I’m pondering it!
I shared the Essene Gospel quote ("Without beginning, the Law creates thought and life") with a friend last week, who honestly shared with me that she doesn’t particularly like that word, the Law. I think it’s because, as Szekely openly discusses, that word has a pretty specific meaning in our day and age. Our minds go to “rules” and things that must be abided by – or… (or what? Arrest? Jail? Disownment? Divorce? And any other unwanted things you can come up with). Szekely also says we may think of scientific laws, and notes that even these change as the progress of humanity advances.
He says that the “Law,” as referred to by the Essenes, is what is everywhere and the very nature of all we are aware of in our existence. There is the law of gravity, which dictates how an object will behave if it falls. There is also a law that has set the orbits of the sun, the moon and the planets. There is a law of karma – we often notice that we receive in kind to what we give. In this sense, the Law is also omniscient. And, if it is everywhere and contained in all, it is also omnipresent.
These are qualities that are usually ascribed to “God.” And in relation to God, Szekely makes a point that really caught my attention. He says, “The first chapter of Genesis tells us that God created man in his own image, but history throughout the ages reveals the opposite process, whereby man is continually creating gods.” (The Essene Book of Creation, page 9.) Whether our concept of God is an older gentleman with a long white beard sitting on a throne, a jolly fat man holding his belly, an ibis or other animal per some ancient Egyptian renditions, or more immaterial things such as love, wisdom or reason, Szekely contends that those concepts are limited. He states that the Essenes did not limit their interpretation of this Power, either materially or immaterially.
What concept of God do you hold? What are its limits? Can we even wrap our minds around a REALLY limitless, omnipresent and omniscient Essence/Being/Energy…. ? What might be different if we were able to?
There are many writings of the Essene Gospels. The communions with the angels that I have written about in past blogs comes from Books 2 and 3. Book 1 focuses on Jesus’s teachings about health – including fasting, eating living things, and daily practices of immersions in water, sunlight and air. Book 4 is titled “Teachings of the Elect,” and includes some more communions (Angel of Sound being one) and an illustration, through the story of “The Humble Grass,” of how all aspects of nature are inter-connected.
Within books 2 and 3 is also the Essene recounting of Moses’s receiving the Ten Commandments (yes, different from the Bible in use today) and a comprehensible rendition of Revelations.
What’s on my mind today comes from “The Essene Book of Creation,” also by Edmond Bordeaux Szekely. This is not written in poetic form, as much of the communions with the angels in books 2 and 3 are. It is more a commentary, including quotes from what Szekely says is the text of Essene Book of Creation, written before the creation story in the Bible.
Right from the beginning, Szekely captures my attention. He reminds us of the beginning of our Bible’s version: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth….” He goes on to say that the Essene version is quite different. Per Szekely, the Essene version states, “Without beginning, the Law creates thought and life.”
I find this fascinating! The message is notably different. For me it carries much more of an ongoing process in creation (which can be found in other Essene writings, for that matter). And the creation isn’t “heaven and earth,” but “thought and life.” It isn’t “God” who creates, but “the Law.”
In his discussion of the differences, Szekely notes that the concept of “without beginning” is challenging for the everyday person to understand. With our typical finite way of life, where events and our life spans (as well as that of trees, animals, even our planet) have a beginning and an end, we are comfortable with the thought of the space in which we live (meaning our solar system and the universe as a whole) having a beginning and, conceivably, a termination point.
Yet Szekely points to the fact that science has not been able to identify any limits to the universe! So trying to assign it a beginning may well go against its very essence. In which case “without beginning” could well be the actual truth, even if we do find it hard to wrap our minds around.
As for the rest? I think I’ll leave that for another post.
I don’t draw divinatory cards often, but now and then I get curious about what might arise. Often I have seen them be spot-on; other times I am completely confused by the message I’m meant to receive.
The other day I was in my practice space. The deck of cards I’ve been using more recently (trying to get used to them – a newer set of lovely-imaged Tarot called Nature Spirit Tarot, http://naturespirittarot.com) was not there. But my trusty Medicine Cards deck winked at me, and I decided to see what they had to say.
Let me preface this by saying that at the time I was feeling completely drained. I decided to pull a card to see what animal might have any “words of wisdom” for me while I felt so depleted (while almost chuckling to myself as to why I needed a messenger to tell me what I needed – it was most certainly a nap!).
It had also been three months (thanks to summertime) since my last prayer day – a retreat day I spend in a small room in a wooded setting north of Spokane for prayer, reflection and meditation. Since I started doing those over a year ago, I experience them as vital to my spiritual health – and it gives me time to do some focused prayer for people who have recently asked me to keep them, or their loved ones, in my prayers.
As I energetically scanned the cards, I felt drawn to putting my finger down at a certain point (while I don’t always do this with eyes closed, this time I had). It landed on a spot that bridged two cards.
And the second card? I turned to it, wondering what further explanation of Great Spirit wanted expression. Could it have been any more apropos? Prairie Dog greeted me – the animal of Retreat.
Yes, I thought, I still have five days to get through – and then I get to go on spiritual retreat. There could have been no better validation of the prayer day being what I needed than pulling those cards.
Thank you, Animal Kingdom, for emphasizing the importance of taking some time alone to re-establish a foundation that sustains me.
A few Christmases ago, my husband bought us a juicer. About 4 times a week I make us fresh fruit juice in the morning. Apples are a constant in this process, and whenever I prep them for the juicer, this passage from the Essene Gospels comes to mind:
“The mind of the wise
Is a well-ploughed field
Which giveth forth abundance and plenty.
For if thou showest a handful of seed
To a wise man,
He will see in his mind’s eye
A field of golden wheat.
And if thou showest a handful of seed
To a fool,
He will see only that which is before him,
And call them worthless pebbles.”
Before I read these lines I was a fool. (Still am, in many ways…) Yet now when I cut open apples for juice I thank them for their fertility and remark on how many apple trees would have grown if those seeds had been sown and nurtured. Some apples are truly “fertile Myrtles,” others not so much.
How often do we think of the potential of a seed? I’m currently reading the memoir, West into the Night, by Beryl Markham. She tells of having to move due to drought, and includes this passage -- even expanding on the wisdom referred to in the Essene text. From page 132:
“Look at a seed in the palm of a farmer’s hand. … It holds three lives – its own, that of the man who feeds on its increase, and that of the man who lives by its culture. If the seed dies, these men will not, but they many not live as they always had. They may be affected because the seed is dead; they may change, they may put their faith in other things.
All the seeds died one year at Njoro and on all the farms around Njoro, on the low fields, on the slopes of the hills… The seeds died because they were not nourished; they were starved for rain.”
Once again, I feel the fool. I had never considered the significance of seeds for a farmer. How our perceptions are so tightly woven into our life experiences! The starkness of these paragraphs impacted me profoundly.
Where do seeds appear in our lives? Some we will want; others not. How do we choose which to nourish, and to which do we assign the fate of death? Are there consequences as a result of those we allow to die?
In such a way does Life weave its web. We are part of it. Our decisions affect the pattern of the design, yet at the same time it’s ever-changing.
Consider the power of the little seeds.
Yesterday was Friday – the day when my practice of the Essene Gospels honors the Angel of Joy in the morning.
I wrote in an earlier blog about my challenges with Joy. But yesterday I was thinking about the prose in the text for that morning that reads,
“For the Lord is not worshipped with sadness,
Nor with cries of despair.
Leave off your moans and lamentations,
And sing unto the Lord a new song.”
There is wisdom in those words. Many years ago a woman in Jackson, WY who rented me space to offer Eupsychia Integrative Breathworks reminded me, “Energy follows intent.” We could also say that what tends to manifest in our lives is that which we focus on. As a man I know often repeats, “Thoughts have energy.”
So if we wallow in our sadness (I’m not preaching here; believe me, I’ve done my share!) and tend to adopt a life view of ourselves as victims, things will always seem to go wrong for us. “Poor me!” becomes a constant refrain, and we find others who can put up with a constant barrage of our misery. Probably those who reinforce the mindset by sharing their own woes and complaints.
These lines of Essene text urge us: “Leave off your moans and lamentations!” Why might it say that? I think it’s because we are being told not to focus on how we’ve been wronged and all the undesirable things that have happened in our lives. Adopt a new perspective! Sing a new song!
Why? Because what we focus on not only manifests, but multiplies! In her DreamBuilder coaching program, Mary Morrissey tells us that in the Talmud (Jewish scriptures) it says, “Every blade of grass has an angel standing over it urging, ‘Grow, grow, grow!!’” Look at nature – provided it is given the right environment (light, water, clean air, good nurturance) it grows!! We can’t stop it from growing! Plants come up between the squares of a sidewalk; small trees emerge from the clefts of a boulder; flowers nipped at the bud send forth new shoots.
How often we forget that we are part of nature. Our thoughts grow, too. They don’t need much nurturance; just our focus. What are we giving energy to today? A simple, “Stop; Refocus!” to ourselves can create a whole new day.
I love it when different traditions track with each other!
If you've been keeping pace with my posts on the Essene Gospels, you may remember that in honoring the Angel of Earth, the text in Book Four, page 28-29 says, "None can live long, neither be happy, but he honor his Earthly Mother... For your breath is her breath; your blood her blood; your bone her bone; your flesh her flesh.... I tell you truly, you are one with the Earthly Mother ; she is in you, and you in her. Of her were you born, in her do you live, and to her shall you return again."
And here is a Lakota elder giving a brief explanation of the name Oglallah, meaning Pours on Self: "I come from the earth; that's who I am and that's who I'll go back to." Take a listen:
Remember to honor the Earth and to do your part, however small it may seem. Thank you.
Alright, how come the animals seem to visit me on Thursdays? Perhaps because it is easy to witness the energy of Life in them… (Thursday mornings is the time I honor the Angel of Life, per the Essene Gospels.)
In my last post, the animal that greeted me on Thursday was Hummingbird. This past Thursday it was Turkey. In fact, two parents and three young ones! Papa turkey was crossing the road while Mama and the little ones poked around in the low bushes of a front yard near the sidewalk. I slowed down to go by them, and was gratified that they seemed not in the least perturbed by my passage.
This is the second time in the past week I’ve seen Turkey. The other time I had visited with a friend and on coming out her front door to leave, across the street in her neighbors’ lawns was a group of four adults and nine young! As the group moved on towards a yard that proffered food, one of the young’uns didn’t want to leave its cozy hollow in the grass. Finally he (or she) realized he was being left behind, and scurried to find the family.
Back to The Medicine Cards I go. Turkey’s energy, per authors David Carson and Jamie Sams, is that of Give-Away. Carson and Sams say of Turkey: “… it is the deep and abiding recognition of the sacrifices of both self and others…People in modern-day society, who have many times more than what they need, should study the noble turkey who sacrifices itself that we may live. … Help and sustenance is given by Turkey out of the realization that all life is sacred… It is an acknowledgement that what you do for others you do for yourself…. [If Turkey visits you], you are being given a gift. The gift may be great or small, but it is never insignificant. Or you may feel the “spirit of giving” growing in you, and the desire to share with others.”
One of the times I see Turkey is either on my way to or from the place I go for my Prayer Days. While I don’t do the 90-minute drive in the winter, I spend a day in a rustic one-room Poustinia House in the woods as often as I can in good weather. The gift of time in prayer, spiritual reading, meditation and singing/chanting is always blessed with an appearance of Turkey. They roam wild in the woods where I stay but if I miss seeing them there, at least one will show itself somewhere on the trip back.
These times I chose to see Turkey’s message as that of the blessing of the deepening connection between myself and the friend I spent time with. As if that weren’t enough, today on my morning walk I found a table in a shaded part of a yard with Ziploc bags of what looked like yellow cherry tomatoes. A sign propped up on the table read, “Shiro Plums. Please take some.” I tried one; it was sweet and juicy. I took some in a small bag, and on seeing the man in his backyard as I resumed my walk I shouted a thank you. “My tree is full of them! Come back if you want more!” he said. Another gift!
This Thanksgiving, say a blessing to Turkey for the gift of its life to you so you and your family may enjoy that special time together. Perhaps you have been blessed with the sight of Turkey families sometime during the year. What other gifts seem to appear around the times of those sightings?
Recall the saying, “as without, so within” – for all of Nature also lives in families just like us. When we see that which is around us, let us look for what is similar within us. That way the circle becomes complete.
My practice of the Essene Gospels has deepened the closeness I’ve felt with trees since I was young.
In the communion with the morning Angel of Life, the Essene Gospels say, “....Go then, toward the high-growing trees, And before one of them which is beautiful, high-growing and mighty, say these words: ‘Hail be unto thee! O good, living tree, made by the Creator!’ Then shall the River of Life flow between you and your Brother, the Tree….”
The tree I most often go to on the day I honor the Angel of Life is not really the most high-growing and mighty. It is a pine tree that grows in the park a couple blocks away from me. In November, 2015, Spokane (where I live) was hit by a severe windstorm. Hundreds of trees came down and there were power outages throughout the city, some lasting up to 9 days.
This tree was one whose trunk had split in two about 4 to 5 feet above the ground. One side came down in the storm, leaving a gaping wound in the trunk of the half that remained. In fact, the trunk was so thin at that point I was sure it would not be long before it, too, broke and the tree would make its trip to tree heaven.
But that has not happened. The tree amazes me with its strength! This year the tips of its branches proudly sported a whole foot of new growth! It has not yet filled in its weak spot and has not leaked a lot of sap to heal itself, yet it soldiers on. Whenever I greet it with my, “Hail, O Great Tree made by the Creator!” I partake of its powerful example of resilience. I thank the tree for its message and express gratitude that it still lends its energy to our park – as well as my hope that it may do so for many years to come.
May you open this day to some of the messages from Nature around you, and be inspired.
Last Friday I was out for my usual morning walk. The way I practice the Essene Gospels, Friday morning is when I honor the Angel of Joy.
It is summer as I write this – a time when all of nature is resplendent in its growth. I view this as a time of great Joy for the natural kingdom, as it shows off the height of its beauty, the peak of its growth for the yearly cycle.
In the morning, I caught sight of a Hummingbird flitting its way through the branches of a tree. As the day progressed, I saw two more. What a synchronicity! For in the system of numerology I use, three is the number of manifestation. (The joining of two creates the energy to manifest a third – a “baby,” perhaps – or an insight that rises above the polarity of two opposing thoughts…)
In the Native American traditions of Jamie Sams and David Carson from their 1988 book, The Medicine Cards, Hummingbird is the animal that brings the energy of Joy to us. Sams and Carson state, “The song of Hummingbird awakens the medicine flowers. Hummer sings a vibration of pure joy. Flowers love Hummingbird because nectar-sucking brings about the reproduction of their families. Plants flower and live because of Hummingbird… Hummingbird feathers open the heart. Without an open and loving heart, you can never taste the nectar and pure bliss of life. To Brother and Sister Hummingbird, life is a wonderland of delight–darting from one beautiful flower to another, tasting the essences, and radiating the colors.”
Isn’t it wondrous when synchronicities occur that can bring deeper meaning? I honored this day as a treasure, one in which a spiritual practice and nature came together to bring me a blessing:
“As without, so within.”
May you also find Joy in your Earthwalk.
Susan C. Moyer, MSW
Is a sound healer and transformational coach. She has 25+ years experience in using alternate states of consciousness to access deeper healing on all levels: physical, psychological, mental and spiritual.