Thursday, August 16, 2007


In a post yesterday, I pointed out that Vassula Ryden, a seer promoted by Athol Bloomer, of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, channeled her material through an occult technique called automatic writing. Her source was said to have been the angel Daniel according to the "Touchstone" article written by Fr. Mitch Pacwa.

Now I would ask you to turn to an article at the Jewish Heritage Online Magazine (JHOM) titled "Voice. Angel or Spirit: Maggid As Heavenly Agent or: Mystical Communication of the Supernatural". In that article is the following passage:

The 16th century kabbalists of Safed used the term maggid (lit. "one who relates") to refer to heavenly messengers that visited human beings. The maggid acted as an advisor, but sometimes provided incorrect or misguiding instruction. (In his discussion of maggidim, the Safed kabbalist Moses Cordovero actually included dybbuk-like demons and evil spirits within the category.) A maggid could present itself to a person in the shape of a vision, the well-known examples being manifestations of Elijah or Metatron. Maggidim appeared in dreams, or they communicated with individuals through automatic writing. A maggid could also manifest itself in a person's voice, a phenomenon termed "automatic speech." Maggidism was considered one of the normal forms of charismatic life.

If Maggidism is part of charismatic life, is this what Athol Bloomer has in mind when he tells us that: "Prophecies given to Aharon are received through the charismatic level of prophecies not through apparitions or inner locution."

Maggidim are associated with the Jewish heretic Sabbatai Zevi according to the JHOM article:

Later, during the 17th and 18th centuries, the Shabbetaean movement sparked the appearance of many maggidim. Among them was that of Moses Hayim Luzzatto, which spoke through his mouth in a voice that could not be heard by anyone else. A disciple of Luzzatto reports,

He was visited by a maggid, a holy and awe-inspiring angel, who revealed to him marvelous mysteries . . . and this is the [unusual] procedure: this angel speaks out of his mouth, though we, his disciples, do not hear anything.[3]

By Luzzatto's time, Hayyim Vital's intricate descriptions of maggidim had been canonized together with the teachings of Luria, and were being employed to judge the purity of maggidic manifestations. It was used to condemn Luzzatto's maggid as a heretical product of Shabbetaeanism.

Athol Bloomer is also associated with Sabbateanism via Jacob Frank, Zevi's disciple.

An interview on ABC Radio National (click the "show" button), dated February 8, 2004, between Rachael Kohn and Daniel C. Matt also mentions automatic writing.

Daniel C. Matt "is a leading authority on Kabbalah and is engaged in translating the definitive edition of the Zohar" according to the article. The Zohar is "the principle book of kabbalah" and is a "compendium of mysticism, myth and esoteric teaching which came to light in 13th Century Spain." According to the interview, Matt worked for a year as a teaching assistant to Gershom Scholem.

Here is a portion of the interview:

Rachael Kohn: Spiritual technology, it's called these days. But the text [Zohar - ct] itself, in its original, is unpunctuated, it flows on, there aren't any paragraphs. It makes one think it was a kind of stream of consciousness, a dream writing. How do you think it was composed?

Daniel Matt: Yes, it's interesting you say 'stream of consciousness', because one possibility is that parts of it may actually have been composed through a technique known as automatic writing.

We know that some of the Kabbalists would meditate on certain divine names, one name in particular was called Shem Ha Kofev, the writing name. There's a certain combination of Hebrew letters forming a divine name, and if you meditated on it, you would go into trance and actually be able to compose automatic writing.

Now this sounds very bizarre but we know for example that in the 20th century, Carl Jung, the great analyst, used techniques of automatic speech and automatic writing in order to plumb the depths of his patients' subconscious. And it may be that the author of The Zohar himself went into such a trance, and composed The Zohar, and feeling the depths of his soul.

Certainly then when he came out of that trance, I think he did some very careful conscious editing. But that may have contributed to this style. He's in a different state of mind. If you compare the writings where Moses de Leon admits that he's the author, there's a whole group of writings where Moses De Leon writes systematic books of Kabbalah, but they're not as moving, they're not as powerful, they're not as lyrical as The Zohar, it's as if he's been freed from his normal ego consciousness. He's inhabiting another realm, and is expressing a new depth.

Matt also indicates that the Zohar contains Buddhist-influenced material. He tells us as well that "the roots of that revivalist movement known as Hassidism, really lie in the Kabbalah."

One additional source claims that the Zohar is the result of automatic writing. That source is Leo Baeck College. In an article titled "Shabbat Balak" written by Dr. Moshe Lavee, dated June 28, 2007, Lavee writes:

Our Sidrah presents Balaam, a prophet who was not able to control his prophecy; a blinkered visionary who found that his words were not in his own hands, but rather in those of something or someone else. He realized he could not be rented for any cause or freelance prophecy services. He learned that his life and words were not fully in his control. Other forces also dictated his sayings.

About a decade ago, inspired by the style of the teachings (‘Torot’) of R. Nachman of Bratslav, as well as by some academic scholarship speaking about the writing practice of Tikune Zohar as ‘automatic writing’, I did some experiments writing in this manner. It is a frightening field to enter, having your pen (or clicking fingers) running faster than your thoughts, and exposing yourself to inner statements with which you are not necessarily ready to cope. I have attempted try to present here a translation of one of the products of these experiences. The tangled syntax is part of the genre, so please take a long breath before every sentence/paragraph.

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