Saturday, July 22, 2006
Last Sunday I visited an unfamiliar Roman Catholic church for Mass. In the church were two banners with symbols, one of which included a crown, a lily/dove, and white flames. In attempting to understand the symbolism of this banner, I found that the crown imitated the crown symbol of the Celebration Church. Several possibilities surfaced for the lily/dove, one of which is the Holy Spirit, as it rises above what appears to be flames, though Holy Spirit flames are red or red and yellow.
There is, however, a concept of white flames or white fire within mystical Judaism. According to Rabbi Marc D. Angel:
Rabbinic tradition describes the Torah as consisting of black fire on white fire. The black fire is the ink, the words, the stories and the commandments. The white fire is the parchment beneath the ink. It symbolizes feelings and thoughts that are too deep for words, that it is, with all its vicissitudes and challenges; the white fire represents eternity, or the world at its ultimate fulfillment.
Several other Jewish websites speak of this same concept of black fire and white fire.
Another Jewish concept of white fire associates it with feminism. In the case of Rabbi Malka Drucker's book WHITE FIRE, these women may be lesbian, black, or Asian; or they may be ordained from non-establishment seminaries.
Lastly I found white fire in a book and card set titled ORACLE OF KABBALAH, by Richard Seidman. Here the black and white fire of the Torah become letters on which one concentrates in order to practice divination. As the review of the book explains: "Jewish mystics describe the black letters on the white page of the Torah as "black fire on white fire." Visualize the letters in this fiery way and they come to life with vibrant energy."
"Vibrant energy." "Vibrant Parish Life." And now I have come full circle, from a banner in church that depicted white fire, through a divinatory practice of mystical Judaism, and back again to the Catholic church bulletin where the Vibrant Parish Life flyer promoted the Catholic program.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!