Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [mythsoc]More on good and evil

Expand Messages
  • trudygshaw
    ... From: Jan Theodore Galkowski To: Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2002 1:09 PM Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Was
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 14, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Jan Theodore Galkowski" <disneylogic@...>
      To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2002 1:09 PM
      Subject: [mythsoc] Re: "Was Tolkien a Manichean?"


      >> The mystical tradition, Jewish and otherwise, held that
      >> the universe itself has an ethical aspect, that it is
      > a property of the universe and that wrongdoing introduces
      > disunity and disharmony into it. Thus, the original
      > meaning of "tikkun olam" or "the healing of the world"
      > (lit. "the healing of everything") was motivated by good
      > deads and compassion repairing these rifts. In the
      > Jewish mystical tradition there's also a lot of detail
      > about Shechinah, one of the aspects of God, the prototype
      > for the Holy Spirit of Christianity, being dispersed
      > through the universe and the mystic's job of going and
      > collecting this light back together again.



      As a former Carmelite who still loves John of the Cross, this definitely
      strikes a chord in me. As someone who has *attempted* to understand a bit
      of Jewish mysticism but has even fallen short of that "bit," I'd love to ask
      a couple of questions of someone who does have an understanding of it,
      specifically on the idea of darkness/light, good/evil that we've been
      looking at lately. I'm admittedly taking advantage of the "anonymity of the
      Internet" to ask completely ignorant questions.

      And, Jan, if some of this seems too far off topic, feel free to send me a
      private email about it--if you have the time, of course; thank you for your
      patience in explaining all you have already, and for any future help. But I
      do think the group *might* be interested in the book I talk about later on.
      I've found it fascinating, if difficult [which I'm hoping you can help with
      8-) ] :

      -- Okay, to start off with a *totally* ignorant question: How does the idea
      of the Other Side fit into this discussion of darkness/light, good/evil? Or
      does it? Or have I worded this so badly that it's not even clear what I'm
      talking about?

      -- In John of the Cross's theology of the "dark night" (which has also been
      vastly misunderstood and oversimplified in its own right) he uses the image
      of the light of God being so bright that we cannot see it, so we interpret
      it as darkness. This seems to me to resonate with Jewish mystical thought
      (and with what you've said in the above paragraph) in a way I can't quite
      articulate. Is this totally offbeam, or does it have any possibilities for
      further exploration? (IMVHO, all mysticism shares the same center, even
      though we may never reach it--which is one of the reasons I'm a *former*
      Carmelite, BTW.)

      --And to hopefully bring this email back somewhat to the main purpose of the
      group, here's a possibly related question about a piece of literature that,
      after reading your paragraph, I'm beginning to think may be more
      "mythopoeic" than I realized. Some months ago I got about halfway through
      reading a book called _A Blessing on the Moon_, and then got stalled
      (because of which stalling, I'm afraid, I can't lay hands on it immediately
      and don't remember the name of the author). Anyway, in the story first one
      man and eventually all of the Jews of a Polish village who were killed
      during the Holocaust and buried in a mass grave outside the village, are
      revivified (in a manner of speaking--hard to explain briefly). They don't
      know why this has happened to them, but eventually they learn that the moon
      has been stolen and they come to believe that their purpose is to find it
      and return it to its proper place. At the point I got "stalled," they are
      still on their journey to find the moon and it's not even clear whether
      they've interpreted their purpose correctly.

      To be honest, I think the reason I stopped reading the book is that it was
      so difficult for me to reconcile the seemingly "childish" idea of someone
      being able to actually steal the moon with the seriousness of the story.
      After reading what you've said about the work of the mystic being to collect
      the dispersed light of the Shechinah, I'm beginning to think the idea might
      be anything but childish. Awhile back, we were talking here about the
      difficulty of finding modern mythopoeic literature based on traditions other
      than Western European Christianity, and I'm wondering if this book might
      qualify. (And I *promise* to find it and finish reading it if I can get a
      bit more background to help me understand it!)

      I'm not sure if this has brought the discussion back on topic or taken it
      further away from it...

      -- Trudy
    • juliet@firinn.org
      ... Try this: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0425167135/qid=1024070683/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-9132554-5543830 It says it s by Joseph Skibell.
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 14, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        > --And to hopefully bring this email back somewhat to the main purpose of the
        > group, here's a possibly related question about a piece of literature that,
        > after reading your paragraph, I'm beginning to think may be more
        > "mythopoeic" than I realized. Some months ago I got about halfway through
        > reading a book called _A Blessing on the Moon_, and then got stalled
        > (because of which stalling, I'm afraid, I can't lay hands on it immediately
        > and don't remember the name of the author).

        Try this:
        http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0425167135/qid=1024070683/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/103-9132554-5543830

        It says it's by Joseph Skibell. Interestingly, it also says the main
        character is Chaim Skibelski...perhaps an actual ancestor of Joseph
        Skibell?
      • rbryant42@juno.com
        On Fri, 14 Jun 2002 08:16:40 -0500 trudygshaw writes: [snip] ... You might already be aware of this source, but it bears repeating ...
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 14, 2002
        • 0 Attachment
          On Fri, 14 Jun 2002 08:16:40 -0500 "trudygshaw" <tgshaw@...>
          writes:

          [snip]
          > -- In John of the Cross's theology of the "dark night" (which has
          > also been
          > vastly misunderstood and oversimplified in its own right) he uses
          > the image
          > of the light of God being so bright that we cannot see it, so we
          > interpret
          > it as darkness. This seems to me to resonate with Jewish mystical
          > thought
          > (and with what you've said in the above paragraph) in a way I can't
          > quite
          > articulate. Is this totally offbeam, or does it have any
          > possibilities for
          > further exploration? (IMVHO, all mysticism shares the same center,
          > even
          > though we may never reach it--which is one of the reasons I'm a
          > *former*
          > Carmelite, BTW.)

          You might already be aware of this source, but it bears repeating ...

          There's an excellent overview of the "dark night of the soul" in Evelyn
          Underhill's _Mysticism,_ in my opinion, still the best textbook on the
          overall subject, mainly because of its being an invaluable bibliographic
          resource for the great Christian mystics, and its being written by an
          avowed Christian mystic who set forth her own studies and reflections as
          part of her own personal striving to integrate her mystical experiences
          with her Anglican faith.

          The "darkness" in this case isn't precisely the same kind that's usually
          meant to symbolize evil, but thereby hangs a bit of exposition ... *g*

          The entire text can be found on the 'net at Wheaton's Christian Classics
          Ethereal Library, http://ccel.wheaton.edu/ .

          This might not seem topical, but it is very much so. Miss Underhill has a
          connection with the Inklings by way of her association with Charles
          Williams.


          Under the Mercy,

          R.

          ___________________________________________________________________
          "Coffee...the finest organic suspension ever devised!" -- Cap'n Kate
          Janeway
          E-mail: rbryant42@...
          Page: Y!M ID: rbryant42 *** AIM: rbryant4200a *** ICQ #128520558
          Web: http://www.geocities.com/r_bryant42/
          http://www.geocities.com/rbryant42/
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.