There is an ancient story from the Kaballah about how emanations from God created vessels of light in the world. Eventually, the existing vessels in the world overflowed and burst with the outpouring of spirit, dispersing both light and evil to all corners of the world—an allusion to the symbolic and psychological dissolution of the fixed and limiting patterns of thought (Watkins, 2004).
Eva mentioned this story in the first webinar and I suggested we might all want to familiarize ourselves with it before next week's webinar. A shattering of the psyche on some level is required in order for us each to transform, and perhaps, also, to fix the shattered world. A descent is necessary for a re-emergence/rebirth.
One of the better sources I've seen for this story is Mary Watkins' article, "Liberating soul sparks: Psyche, classroom, and community," published in A. F. Dalke & B. Dixson (Eds.), Minding the light: Essays in friendly pedagogy (Peter Lang, publishers).
I'll quote a couple paragraphs here (p. 25). Please share any images or thoughts that arise for you as you read:
In the Beginning
God was everywhere. It is said that in order to create, God had to contract
and concentrate his being, to inhale as it were, so that space for creation could
arise. Just as a garden holds the smell of jasmine, even when the plant is removed,
this space of potential creation was suffused with the light of God's
being. Creation occurred with a series of inhalations and exhalations. The emanations
of God's being first created Adam Kadmon, the primordial man. From
Adam's eyes, mouth, nostrils, and ears die light of God's being streamed forth.
This streaming created vessels of light in which more divine light could be contained
and differentiated. Initially this process went well, GUing three vessels.
But then, as die divine light came from Adam's eyes, it suddenly surged forth
with great intensity, breaking the fourth and the earlier vessels, shattering them,
and dispersing their light into all corners of the world. Both light and evil were
strewn. The shards of light that lodged in each and every being and tiling were
hidden by shells or husks, k/eh)potb, that must be removed for the light to shine
Quakers experience this divine light or "that of God" within each being.
They often speak of this light as a divine seed. In interactions with others,
Quakers attempt to orient toward this divinity within die other. George Fox;,
die founder of Quakerism, instructs, "So feel the seed of God in every particular..
.and then ye come to be the bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh" (Epistie
99, quoted in Brinton, EthicalMysticism 34). This practice, says Fox, allows us
to "answer that of God in every one" (quoted in Faith andPractice 66).
Through the eyes of Lima's story we can experience the way in which crea don
is unfinished and, thus, ongoing. This ongoing work of creation is a work
of restoration, of liberating the hidden sparks of exiled divine light, Once these
sparks are gathered, it is believed that messianic time can begin, a time of peace,
plenty, justice, love, and at-home-ness. In other words, creation was not fmished
by God as imaged in Genesis, with man and woman spoiling it, falling
from a paradisiacal state. Creation was seen as continuing, requiring us for its
f~1~lln1e in nt ways particular to each of our beings. The res toratioi~t hat Lurk
speaks of is not restoration to the past but toward the deeply desired. Luria's
myth works within an interdependent parxdigm of the self. where there can be
no finat coming home for one until the divinity that has been hidden and exiled
is liberated in each and gathered together.