You that come to birth
And bring the mysteries
Your voice-thunder makes us happy
Roar, lion of the heart,
And tear me open.
i thank You God for this amazing day:
for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky:
and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes
Eve is the Hero of the Garden of Eden (chapter 3 from When Eve Was a Goddess): The Hebrew name of Eve is Hawwah. This word means both life and breath. Without Eve there would not be any life (with its precious breath) here on our Earth.
What experiences led Abraham and Sarah to become the matriarch patriarch of a new religion? Led them to beginning a cultural thread which culminates in a whole new vision of religion? There were many experiences but the focus today is looking at their possible initiation into the Mysteries. In spiritual systems throughout time and throughout the world, when an initiate has experienced the Great Mysteries, they are initiated in ceremony. One mark of this experience is to earn a new name. In this thread, I am are going to look at two definitive cases of new Biblical names, and one speculative one. The first is Abram (Avram) and Sarai from Ur.
Look at where they travel to in the course of their lives: EgyptThere was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there. Genesis 12:10
As discussed in my previous blog, Egypt had the most ancient and most prominent of all mystery schools. Even through there is no record of it, it would make sense that Abram and Sarai had some contact with the ancient Egyptian mystery schools during their time there. further evidence that they had an experience of the Great Mystery is that soon after this sojourn, Abram has a personal conversation with divinity or Biblically speaking, forms a covenant with God:No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. Genesis 17:5
Changing a name changes the course of one’s life.And God said to Abraham, “As for your wife, Sarai, you shall not call her Sarai, but her name shall be Sarah.” Genesis 17:15
What is the significance of adding the “ha” sound to Abram’s name and its variation, “ah” to Sarai’s? The Kabbalah speaks about Abram’s name change; “From under the Throne of Glory, God took the letter ה [pronounced “hey” or “ha”], with which the world was created, and crowned Abram by implanting it in his name, which became Abraham.”[i]
This is the same breath of life, already discussed as the “wind of divinity.” Here is the thread: http://themysticpagan.com/breath-vibration-song-and-creation/
It is surely conceivable that Abram and Sarai went through an initiation process and ceremony. When Abram became Abraham, and Sarai became Sarah, it was the breath of life “with which the world was created” that was incorporated into their core being. The addition of the power syllable made palpable their connection to all of creation through the agency of breath.
After receiving her new name, Sarah learns she will give birth:she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her Genesis 17:16
Abraham and Sarah with their awakened, renewed interconnection to the power of breath, are about to create new life or in a Biblical context, become the matriarch and patriarch of “nations.” As above so below; creation as it occurred in the heavens when god’s breath blew over the waters. This is reflected in human life. Ha, the seed of creation, is an outward manifestation of their inward spiritual journey.
Next post: Another Biblical name change.
[i] Munk, Rabbi Michael L, The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet, Mesorah Publications, ltd, 2009; 87. From Yalkut Reuveni, a Kabbalistic work written in 1660.
I used these photos to illustrate this post because the animals are all engaged in play with obvious breath actions. Felines do it really well. The mama lion is playing with her cubs, the gibbon baby is playing with his father, and two baby snow leopards are rough-housing. Breath is about movement, laughter and play. In can also be about crying, release of stress, and sorrow. Breath is all manner of living and life!
When chanting, experiment with different breath patterns.
- Are you breathing into your diaphragm?
- Your upper chest?
- Your pelvic area?
- Your toes?
- Are you breathing with your mouth?
- Your nose?
- Do you draw the syllables out in one breath?
- Or many?
- Do you chant on the breath in?
- The breath out?
Hazrat Inayat Khan was a Sufi mystic who lived from 1882 until 1927. His mission in life was to bring together or “harmonize” the traditions of East and West through the agency of music. In his book, The Music of Life (Omega Publications, 2005; 206) he discusses why a musical meditation using sacred symbols is so powerful; “Breath runs through all three: body, mind and soul. Seeing from this point of view, one will realize that man has never been separated from God that with every breath man touches God. He is linked with God by the current of breath.”
Below, I re-state Khan’s quote, substituting the spiritual concepts of “humanity” for “man” and “YHVH (Ya-hu-ah)” for “God.” The pronunciation I use for YHVH (Ya-hu-ah) is based on the spiritual knowledge of using prominent power syllables to form the name of divinity. Cross-culturally and throughout the ancient world, names of the divine were created by using power syllables. The pronunciation I use is not correct according to rules of Hebrew grammar. Although there is much argument about the correct pronunciation of YHVH, it is generally agreed that according to Hebrew rules it would be something akin to Yah-weh. This is a good example of how manifest earthly knowledge and spiritual knowledge can appear different and yet both be correct.
Here is my restatement, a divergent translation of his words; Breath runs through all three; body, mind and soul. Seeing from this point of view, one will realize that humanity has never been separated from YHVH (Ya-hu-ah) that with every breath humanity touches YHVH (Ya-hu-ah). Humanity is intertwined with YHVH (Ya-hu-ah) through the current of breath.
A Kabbalist axiom expresses this same concept using different expression:
י ח ו ח“He who can rightly pronounce it, causeth heaven and earth to tremble, for it is the NAME which rusheth through the universe.”
In my book One Gods: The Mystic Pagan’s Guide to the Bible I go deeper into these concepts and discuss more chants. You can help me in getting in this published at my indiegogo link at the side of my home page.
(Quote appears on the title page of The Hebraic Tongue Restored by Fabre d’Olivet, Samuel Weiser, Inc. first printed, 1921, reprinted 1976)
As pointed out by David Tame who has written extensively about music; “Life and matter was created through a sacred word or words spoken by the first god or gods in the myths of the Hebrews, the Celts, the Chinese, the Egyptians, the American Indians and the Quechua Maya.”[i]
In Genesis:the LORD God formed man from the dust of the earth.
He blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. Genesis 2:7-8
In the Rig Veda:“The One [tad ekam] breathed windlessly and self-sustaining. There was one then, and there was no other.”[ii]
In Egypt:“Ra emerged from the Watery Abyss and then all things came into being out of the words of his mouth.”[iii]
In Norse mythology, Ymir is a primordial giant, born when Mist World and Fire World come together. Ymir is known as the “roarer.” In other words, he is one who breathes (and so speaks) really loudly.
In Hawaiian mythos, the world is “chanted into being.” Breath, as the essence of life, is so important to Hawaiian culture that power sounds are incorporated into everyday speech; most prominently in their word of greeting, Aloha. “Alo” means “in the presence of” and “Ha” is the breath of life, that sacred breath we all share.
[i] Tame, David, The Secret Power of Music, Destiny Books, 1984; 206.
[ii] Eliade, Primitives; 110. The translation is by A.L. Basham. Tad ekam is noted as ‘That One’ who ‘breathes without air.
[iii] Bierlein, JF, Parallel Myths, NY: Ballantine Books, 1994; 51.
What are the essentials one needs to live? Most people would answer food, shelter and clothing. All true, but a person can go for a long time without shelter or clothing (depending on the environment), weeks without food, less without water. But the time one can go without breath is measured in minutes. The element needed to create sentient life is breath which is the vibratory animating essence. Breath is equated with the wind and with speech. In order to speak, our breath needs to vibrate the air across our vocal chords. Indeed breath and words are inexorably connected. Unless we draw a breath, we cannot speak.
In the act of creation, god sends a great wind or in the King James Bible, “the Spirit of God moved.” Other translations speak about God’s spirit as hovering or fluttering and then god speaks:
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Genesis 1:2-3
The wind is “elohim’s breath” or more familiarly “god’s spoken word” that stirs the waters. My favorite way to think about it is that “god is singing” life into being. Breath and sacred word come together as song (or chant) and vibration.
Job and nature teaches us, “Ask the fowls and they shall tell thee.”