And Yet More Perspective
A friend of mine recently told me about the book, Prayers of the Cosmos by Neil Douglas-Klotz. It’s a book that translates probably what are the best-loved prayers of Jesus based on the Aramaic language. Specifically, Mr. Douglas-Klotz focuses on the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes, drawing on his study of ancient languages to give us different ideas of what Jesus may have meant when He said those prayers.
The fascinating thing about Aramaic is that, depending on how you sound the various words, they can mean different things! I believe, to some extent, Hebrew may be similar – which seems to be close to Aramaic. And even in my extremely limited awareness of Hebrew there seem to be some similarities to Aramaic. Consider, for instance, that the word for “peace” in Aramaic is “shlama.” Isn’t that pretty similar to Hebrew “shalom”? I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the roots are the same – and Douglas-Klotz makes mention of several roots of Aramaic words as he cites various interpretations of the lines of these prayers.
In his book, The Hebrew Tongue Restored (which I have not completed reading), author Fabre d’Olivet discusses the uncertainty of exactly how the Hebrew language came into being. Douglas-Klotz says that at the time of Jesus, Hebrew was a temple language. The “common people” all spoke Aramaic.
There are significant differences between the Aramaic meaning of the words and the Greek from which the Bible was mostly translated. Greek was similar to our modern-day languages in that it was a lot more definitive. One word meant one thing and was not layered in the same way as Aramaic.
I find this very interesting after having read the book, The Great Initiates, in which author Édouard Schuré refers to three levels of meaning in the initiatory schools of Hermes, Orpheus and Moses. At first, in reading that, I thought this was due to the teachings, and that somehow one had to be taking the initiations and part of the “inner circle” to be let in on the different levels.
But now, after reading that Aramaic words can be interpreted in different ways, often deepening the root meaning, it makes sense that these levels weren’t part of the initiatory teachings. It was the language itself!
Being a sound healer, consider this interpretation of the Beatitude that reads in the usual Bible, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God”:
“Healthy are those who strike the note that unites; they shall be remembered as rays of the One Unity.”
And here’s what Douglas-Klotz says about the Aramaic word translated as “children”: “…. [it] refers to any embodiment, emanation or active production from that which was only potential before.” (pg. 66)
May that which you do this day and in days to come invite fruitful manifestations from the potential of all-that-can-be.
If you read my blog, you may pick up on the fact that I really love finding things that bridge different traditions. If pressed, I would probably go as far as to say that most, if not all, spiritual traditions have much the same underlying message. Would it help if we were able to become more aware of them – and hopefully gain more understanding of our similarities instead of focusing so intently on our differences?
Here’s Psalm 148 – and yes, the exact wording may vary if you’re using different Bibles:
Praise God from the heavens; praise Him in the celestial heights.
Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts.
Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him, all the shining stars.
Praise Him, heavens of heavens and the waters that are above the heavens.
Let them praise the name of God, for He commanded, and they were created.
He has established them forever, for all time; He issued a decree, and it shall not be transgressed.
Praise God from the earth, sea monsters (dragons in some renditions) and all that dwell in the depths;
Fire and hail, snow and vapor, stormy wind carrying out His command;
The mountains, all hills, fruit-bearing trees, and all cedars; the beasts and all cattle, creeping things, Insects and winged fowl.
Kings of the earth and all nations, rulers and all judges of the land; young men as well as maidens, elders together with young lads.
Let them praise the name of God,
For His name is sublimely transcendent.
It is unto Himself; only its radiance is upon the earth and heavens.”
Now, here’s a Prayer of Thanksgiving from the Native American Onondaga Nation – and I trust you will see the similarity:
“Greetings and Thanks to each other as people
To the Earth, Mother of all, greetings and thanks.
To all the Waters – Waterfalls and Rain, Rivers and Oceans – greetings and thanks.
To all the Fish Life, greetings and thanks.
The Grains and Greens, Beans and Berries, as one we send thanks to food plants.
Medicine Herbs of the world and their keepers, greetings and thanks.
To all Animals and their teachings, greetings and thanks.
The Trees – for shelter and shade, fruit and beauty – greetings and thanks.
To all Birds, large and small, joyful greetings and thanks.
And from the Four Directions: The Four Winds, thank you for purifying the air we breathe and giving us strength. Greetings.
The Thunderers, our grandfathers in the sky – we hear your voices. Greetings and thanks.
And now the Sun, for the Light of a new day and all the fires of life. Greetings and thanks.
To our oldest grandmother, the Moon, leader of women all over the world, And the Stars, for their mystery, beauty and guidance, greetings and thanks.
To our Teachers, from all times, reminding us of how to live in harmony, greetings and thanks.
And for all the gifts of Creation; For all the love around us, greetings and thanks.
And for that which is forgotten, We Remember.
We end our words.
Now our minds are One.”
(This can be purchased – see https://www.syracuseculturalworkers.com/products/poster-greetings-and-thanks-to-the-natural-world)
Musing on Mem
For the past 2-3 years I have been intrigued with studying the Hebrew alphabet. Why on earth is that, you may wonder…
When I was taking the classes to learn the use of tuning forks for healing, a learning tool that was used to show us the impact of vibration was cymatics. Cymatics is the term for being able to see the shape that a vibration creates. Sound can be resonated and, via a machine that connects to a smooth surface such as glass, sand or thin filings placed on top of the glass form a shape or pattern that is unique to the frequency being sounded. It is a way to see directly the impact of vibration on matter! (And by the way, the designs are quite lovely.)
Here’s a link to a page that gives a few examples of the patterns that form with different sounds:
OK, so what does this have to do with the Hebrew alphabet? As part of the tuning forks class, it was mentioned that there are two languages in which, when a letter is sounded, the form it takes cymatically is very close to how the actual letter is written in the language. By now you have probably guessed that one of those is Hebrew. The other is Sanskrit.
That said, I enjoy synchronicities. Last night I attended a memorial service at a local Jewish organization following the shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway, CA. One of the readings handed out talked about the vastness of the Torah.
One reason of the far-reaching quality of the Torah is to make sure that “everyone finds his or her place… Our journey always begins from… where we find ourselves, and from there we proceed out into the broad expanse of the sea. We all have a… home harbor in Torah… [that] speaks uniquely to our soul and propels us forward. One person feels the beauty of Shabbat, another feels the pull of Torah study, and yet another feels the exquisite pleasure of philanthropy.” These offer a variety of ways for the person to experience the essence of G-d. (Quote taken from the Mishnah Neshamah for Mrs. Lori Gilbert-Kaye.)
And what does this have to do with Mem? Edward Hoffman, in his book The Hebrew Alphabet, has this to say about the letter, mem.
"Mem begins and closes the Hebrew word for water (mayim), and symbolizes for Jewish mystics the vast sea of human consciousness containing depths concealed from view…. We each have deep regions of intuitive knowledge and sensitivity seldom acknowledged…. [in today’s world]. Yet these watery realms of spirit are vital to our overall well-being. As the Zohar (the basic Kabbalah text) poetically advises, “Just as the celestial stream flows on forever without ceasing, so must one see that his own river and spring shall not cease in the world.” (page 56)
This was also the message of the memorial service that honored the life of the woman who died by unselfishly taking action to save the Poway Rabbi’s life. “Lori’s soul, however, was not killed, for a soul is indestructible.”
Her part in the watery energy of Mem continues on. Which brings to mind a quote from Hindu guru, Paramahansa Yogananda. Here’s what he says about the soul: “Our real self, the soul, is immortal… We exist, and that existence is eternal. The wave comes to the shore, and then goes back to the sea; it is not lost. It becomes one with the ocean or returns again in the form of another wave. This body has come, and it will vanish; but the soul essence within it will never cease to exist. Nothing can terminate that eternal consciousness.”
And that is why Mem is on my mind – there seems to be something that spiritual people connect with water, life, consciousness, the eternal… Our individual souls, each perhaps ports on the ocean, yet all connected to the other ports via the water that touches them all.
Wishing you the fulfillment of finding your soul’s path and the knowledge that it is everlasting.
When Is the Right Time?
After a February that gave us about two feet of snow and colder temperatures that kept it piled high, we can finally see the ground again. And Spring is doing what it does every year – sending up crocuses, daffodils, wildflowers and tulips.
A vine maple tree grows outside our window. The buds of its leaves are peeking out, little drops of pale green on the sides of the brown branches.
How do they know when to bud? I’ve heard that it’s now believed to be more the length of sunlight during the days than the increase in temperature… but still, how do the leaves on the trees and the stems of flowers know when it’s time to push up and out? And when it’s time to bloom? And how long they bloom? How do they know?
This question comes to mind as I read the passage in the Essene Gospel in one of the sections about the Earthly Mother:, “…. Never can we part from her; Never can we know her depths. Ever doth she create new forms: That which now existeth never was before, That which did exist returneth not again. … In her midst do we live, yet we know her not. … Ever do we till her soil and harvest her crops, Yet we have no power over her. Ever doth she build, ever doth she destroy, And her workplace is hidden from the eyes of men.”
Dorothy Maclean, co-founder of the Findhorn community in northern Scotland and blessed with a strong intuitive communication with all aspects of Nature, wrote in her book, To Honor the Earth: “The life force in the soil comes through the soil population. The transforming of matter or minerals into a form capable of a higher vibrational level – the process you call evolution – begins at the most basic level. … A plant pattern come into existence by using soil, water, heat and air. All these are drawn into form by the invisible workers in the elements…..” (Pg. 52)
How little I understand of that process! However, over the past several years I try to honor the earth and soil more as containing those nutrients that contribute to the life of all plant forms. I return worms, the earth-workers, to soil nearby if they are stranded out on the concrete sidewalks after a rain. Both Dorothy Maclean and Peter Wohlleben (his recent book titled The Hidden Life of Trees is unbeaten for describing the connection between the soil, water, fungi, birds and different trees) mention the importance of fungi in the ecosystem of the soil and feeding of trees. We thoughtlessly rip up mushrooms that crop up in our yards without considering that they may serve a vital purpose.
So as I watch these tender green buds prepare to unfurl and shade our yard once again, I appreciate seeing mystery in the newness of another Spring. The flowers and trees are blessed by forces we don’t yet know that enable them to bloom beautifully for our senses – and I plan to take full advantage of their displays.
What Do You Love about Life?
You may recall that one of the Angels that we honor in practicing the message of the Essene Gospels is the Angel of Work.
When I first read that my thoughts went to, “We have to honor our nine-to-five? What if we hate it?”
From this perspective, I took heart in the part of the short reading for this Angel that says,
“For the honest work of humble hands
Is a daily prayer of thanksgiving.”
That sentence offered me some reassurance that even if the “work” I did seemed simple, if it was done honestly and with good intention, it sounded like it would still be appreciated by God.
Yet lately I’ve been pondering the word, “work.” I made a notation in the margin of my Essene Gospel book that in the Introduction to Gnostic Hebrew Qabal book, it sounded like “work” could more mean “striving.” For me, this expanded the meaning to include things that may not be actual accomplishments, but perhaps more the steps we take towards doing a right thing. After all, there’s the saying that even baby steps, when taken repeatedly over time, can get us to the top of Mt. Everest. Were we to abandon our intention to just take the next step, hour by hour, day by day, we would not achieve our goal. And yet, if we don’t make it to the top of the mountain, is having that goal and doing all that we could to get as far as we did not noteworthy?
So here’s where I’m at now with the Angel of Work. I’ve been attending some spiritual classes recently. The facilitator has asked in the last couple of meetings, “What gets you up in the morning?”
What motivates us to start a new day? In the Jewish tradition, a prayer is said to God upon awakening that thanks Him for returning the soul to the body so that we can have life for another day.
We have been given the blessing of another day. What is our “work” going to be? How do we honor our God for this gift of a new day?
How about by doing our “work?” What is our passion? What gives us a sense of accomplishment or gratification? It may not be our nine-to-five (unfortunately, for most of us, our jobs are not what ignites our enthusiasm for life). If our passion is not our job, how can we allow some time in our day to do what really floats our boat? Perhaps a little time in the garden… Watching the sunset…. Actually listening to our neighbor after we ask, “How are you today?”…. Spending that extra time playing with the children…. Making a donation – even if small – to our favorite charity… Going out with our dog(s) and throwing a ball for them….
Work is not supposed to be about drudgery. Find something today to bring a smile to your face so when you hit the sack tonight you can think, “Thank you, God, for this day. I’m so glad I noticed that beautiful flower when I took the evening walk around the park with the kids. And the sound of their laughter as they went down the slide opened my heart. For these things, it was a good day. Help me to notice more of your blessings in the days to come.”
Pioneer Sound Healer Jonathan Goldman says that the vowel sound “Ah” is the sound of the heart.
What I have noticed after learning this is the variety of names of God there are where that “Ah” sound is incorporated. In Hinduism we have Brahma, Shiva and Krishna; in Buddhism we have Brahma.
In Judaism we have YHVH, which is not supposed to be pronounced as the ultimate name of God. For those who choose to say it, the first syllable is “Yah.” Other names Hassidic Jews use for the deity are HaShem (again, note the first syllable) and Hevaya (last syllable). One could add Shekinah to this list – a name denoting the presence of God within, and also associated with divine radiance.
While the anglicized name, Jesus, doesn’t fit this model, consider the Hebrew version: Yeshua. There’s that nice “Ah” ending. And the same can be said for many Biblical notables: Isaiah, Joshua, Jeremiah, and perhaps even the first syllable of “Abraham,” depending on the pronunciation of the vowel.
African gods also have some “Ahs.” A quick internet search reveals Abassi, the supreme god of some Nigerian peoples. There is Bemba, god of the Bambara people of Mali, and Chiuta of the Tumbukas of Malawi. The Yoruba have Orisha-Oke, the Sky God.
As an Anthropology student in college I had the opportunity to visit Mexico and the temple ruins there. I was intrigued with the Aztec god’s name, Quetzacoatl. In considering it now, it has two very nice “Ah” sounds.
How about the Lakota of North America using Wakan-Tanka for the divine? And from the Tlingit People’s website: Tlingit tales tell of the creator, Kah-shu-gooh-yah, whose sacred name was never said above a whisper. This being created all living things, in addition to controlling the sun, moon, stars, and daylight. (Hmm… can’t say it louder than a whisper is a little reminiscent of Jews not saying YHVH…)
Some Iroquois deities include Gendenwitha – The goddess of the Morning Star (actually the planet Venus) and Geha – The wind god and father of the good and evil twin deities whose battle represents a large part of the Iroquois Creation Epic. (Yes, there are many other Iroquois gods whose names do not include the Ah sound. But it’s still interesting that these two do!)
Are there more? Probably. I’ll let you do your own research if you’re curious about this. I’ll also invite you to have a personal experience of “Ah.” Use Jonathan Goldman’s Temple of Sacred Sound (http://www.templeofsacredsound.com/), which gives some voice background. This may make it feel less intimidating. Try different tones for your “Ahs.” Notice where you feel resonance in your body. Many times as I sound the vowel “Ah” I feel it go right through my heart area.
Jonathan Goldman also has a 2-CD set of toning sacred vowel sounds to the notes of the musical scale, and “Ah” is incorporated in that for the heart chakra. His website says it's out of stock at this time, but here's a link to it on a site called DailyMotion: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xy9ltu
Another nice chant you can try for this is Guru Ganesha Singh’s “Ma.” Yes, it has the “m” consonant, but you can still move into a nice, extended “Ahhhh” sound while singing along with this. The toning/chant is a tribute to the Feminine – specifically, the word for “mother” and a mother’s love for a newborn child. Towards the end, he moves into singing, “Bountiful Am I; Blissful Am I; Beautiful Am I” – which he says on the CD package are wishes a mother in India has for her child.
Open wide! Sound “Ahhhh…” And have a peace-filled day.
I have two books I consult to learn about the meanings of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. One is titled, “The Hebrew Alphabet: A Mystical Journey” by Edward Hoffman. The other is, “An Introduction to Gnostic Hebrew Qabal” by Murray Webber. The writings about each letter are a bit different in the two books, and I value both to provide insights in my incorporation of this material into my spiritual seeking.
Recently I have taken to randomly opening one of these book before I retire and reading the information provided for the letter revealed.
Yesterday in my Essene practice I was mindful of the Angel of Water. I opened The Gnostic Hebrew Qabal to the letter, Mem. Mr. Webber notes that Mem, spelled out with the letter Yod in between two Mems, is the Hebrew word for water. He states that the metaphysical meaning of water is the “reflection of our un-seeable consciousness.”
Curious that I managed to “randomly” select the Hebrew letter associated with the angel I’ve been honoring that day, I go to Hoffman’s Hebrew Alphabet book to see what he has to say about Mem. Imagine my amazement to read: “Mem begins and closes the Hebrew word for water (“mayim”) and symbolizes for Jewish mystics the vase sea of human consciousness containing depths concealed from view.” I'm not accustomed to seeing such agreement between the two authors!
Interestingly, Hoffman goes on to tell us, “Mem also begins the Hebrew word, maggid, referring to both a wise teacher and a spirit guide. For in Jewish mysticism, when we attain a certain spiritual level, our mentors are no longer flesh-and-blood, but can appear as transcendental beings.”
There is more of interest that Hoffman writes about Mem -- for instance, it is the letter that starts the word for angel, which he says literally means “messenger.” I find this interesting in light of the “Angels” of the Essene Gospels. We could interpret these as messengers related to the concept of nature or spiritual/mental qualities that each represent, rather than an actual Being. Of course, there are those who love the concept of Angelic Beings, and this works fine, too.
But what grabbed my attention was that, on the day of the Angel of Water, I synchronistically choose the Hebrew letter associated with that quality. I recalled Edmond Szekely’s material from the Essene Book of Creation in which he refers to the essence of water representing the complexity of life itself. I also considered the message of water as representing the depths of our consciousness that we are not consciously aware of in our normal daily routines. The Breathwork practice that I both guide and participate in provides a way for me to access those depths. Through that deeper and wider awareness, learning about the expanded aspect of ourselves as humans can be a teaching in itself – one that does not necessarily require an outer teacher. (Though having someone else to share the experience with who may be able to shed some light on it is certainly helpful.)
These were ways I was enriched by the Essence of Water yesterday: deeper levels of self; holder of Life; part of our physical being (our cells are mostly water – and our blood is the essential liquid circulating through our bodies), and a reference to spiritual teachings. Becoming aware of each different aspect led to a feeling of the intricacies of connections of things I would not typically see as related.
These synchronicities feed my soul.
World Sound Healing Day
Jonathan Goldman, a pioneer in sound healing, announces Feb. 14th is World Sound Healing Day.
In The Essene Gospel of Peace, Book Four, mention is made of the Holy Stream of Sound. There are three Holy Streams – that of Life to be honored in the morning; that of Sound to be honored “in the heat of noontide,” and that of Light to be held in mind before one sleeps.
Here’s what is said about the Holy Stream of Sound: “…. It can only be heard in the silence. … For as it is written, in the beginning was the Sound and the Sound was with God, and the Sound was God. I tell you truly, when we are born, we enter the world with the sound of God in our ears, even the vast chorus of the sky, and the holy chants of the stars in their fixed rounds; it is the Holy Stream of Sound that traverses the vault of stars and crosses the endless kingdom of the Heavenly Father. It is ever in our ears, so do we hear it not. …. It was this Sound which formed the earth and the world, and brought forth the mountains, and set the stars in their thrones of glory in the highest heavens…” (Pgs. 33-34)
Jonathan Goldman provides us with an interactive Sacred Temple of Sound for access to do simple toning. Spend about 10 minutes chanting the sound Om, Ah (he says this is the sound of the heart), Hu or the Divine Name. Try a couple of them! I’m willing to bet you’ll feel better afterwards – and you’ll have helped raise your vibration and that of the area around you, too!
Today is Tuesday, and another of those days when Mother Nature is blessing us with much energy from the Angel of Water in spite of this being the day I like to honor the Angel of Air. Air made itself known over the weekend, with a day of blizzardy conditions that would have made even Wyoming proud. That has been followed with dumps of snow – as if Mother Nature is determined to give us all winter’s worth in one week.
Before shoveling the white stuff, I read from the Essene Gospels section titled “The Sevenfold Peace.” The individualized passages can correspond to the energies to be honored on the different days. Choosing what I delineated for Day Three (using Saturday as the Sabbath, Day Seven, Tuesday becomes Day Three – Angel of Air in the morning), this part caught my attention:
“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….
So it is with our thoughts….
No man can serve two masters;
Neither can evil thoughts abide in a mind
Filled with the Light of the Law.
He who hath found Peace with the mind
Hath learned to soar beyond
The Realm of the Angels.”
Where are your thoughts taking you today?
Doing Your Being
Last Friday, I did a little Inner Journey of my own – to some music, of course! As I let my breath take me to levels deeper than waking consciousness, the opening tracks were full of celebration and life. I felt as if the dancers were sharing the energy of the music and their pounding feet with the Earth itself – and that somehow all were participating in deep appreciation of being alive. Yes, the Earth, too! And as Life coursed through plants, their buds burst forth into beautiful blooms and vibrant colors filled my inner sight with Beauty.
It’s interesting that this experience followed several weeks of doing my best to be more mindful of Joy. I attended a weekend retreat Jan. 11-13th in which the presenter put out a variety of different photo-sized pictures on a table, asking us to select the one that moved us the most. There were mothers and babies, a galactic spiral with an infant, older people with smiles shining from their wrinkles and one with several spiritual leaders. I was about to pick the one with the galaxy and the newborn, until one at the end of the table caught my attention. I immediately grabbed it – an expression of the most pure Joy I’ve seen in a long time.
I hear that this photo has made many appearances in a variety of online places and no one has apparently been able to find where/how it originated. So I hope it’s OK to re-post here so you can see what injected a good dose of that elusive emotion (for me, anyway) into my day.
This image of the laughing girl and camel now graces my bathroom mirror and the drawing I did after my bliss-filled journey is propped up on my dresser. Life is meant to be joyful. In fact, whenever I get in touch emotionally with Life, I can feel its joy! My work with the Essene Gospels has brought this to my awareness. (As I’ve shared on this blog before, Joy has not been an emotion I’ve had much familiarity with over the years.)
Joy is also the Essence of “doing your Being,” as my mentor Jacquelyn Small used to drum into us. Nature does its being. Even in the cold weather, the birds have been singing away. I think of them reveling in awakening to a new day and being their cheerful selves (well, that’s how their songs impact me… I’ll admit to anthropomorphizing before I’m accused!) And while the trees are sleeping in these shorter days and colder temperatures, I have no doubt that when they are nudged by Spring into another season of warmth and light, they experience delight in being able to leaf out and come into the fullness of their Being as Summer reaches its zenith.
And a "coincidence" -- while the Joy-filled photo was put out on a Sunday, my exultant inner journey occurred on Friday. Friday is Angel of Joy day, of course!
I’m doing what I can to be in Joy today – even if it’s just a little. How about you?
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.