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Cain and Abel

topic posted Tue, November 27, 2007 - 6:11 PM by  Auton
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The well known story of Cain and Abel translated to the language of metaphysics may reveal some interesting aspects of time-space relations, they progress into the present and possible insight into the future.
It is a common agreement within the traditionalists that the most significant changes in the history of mankind occurred in relation to the two distinctive ways of life; namely the Nomads (nomadism) and the permanently settled groups (tribes, nations).

Nomadic people had a particular culture: they never built permanent structures, they were constantly on the move (migration), they were mostly warriors-soldiers (khsatrya caste) and developed a highly sophisticated military-strategic culture. They were not concerned by time, they were masters of space. Space meant the ultimate freedom and always upcoming challenges. Symbolically, they represented the Solar, active principle. From the Biblical story, Abel is the primordial symbol of the Nomads: he was a shepherd, the "smoke of his fire was ascending to the sky". On the other side, the settled were closely related to the time, they were more and more constricted in space. In this ancient interpretation, time relates to constriction, while space to expansion. Time and space are related, in a sense that time destroys space- hence the original meaning of the story, where Cain, the permanently settled farmer kills his brother, Abel, the nomad shepherd.

During the progress of history, this relationship was always present, as more and more nomadic groups settled permanently inducing the global "freezing" of space and the accelerating domination of time. Space traditionally is closer to the origin where everything exists in a singular time of eternity. The gradual domination of time represents the deeper disconnection with our origin and the "end of the world" not only related to the decay of space, but the death of time as well. When time reaches the final extreme of constriction and with no continuum, all time will exist in a second.

"And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." Revelations 10:5,6

The number seven is the symbol of the Center (four directions, up and down) where in the shifting of a cycle, the Space will win the final victory over Time, thus restarting a new cycle. The curse marked on Cain will revenge itself, Cain commits a suicide...

The historical progress of "freezing" has well distinctive social, political and cultural phenomenons, while the acceleration of time is a direct experience in our consciousness. More on this in later posts...
posted by:
Auton
Vancouver
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  • Good topic Auton. Another metaphor many are familiar with is the turning of the hourglass by the Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz while Dorothy is imprisoned. The tin man uses his ax to free her just before the sands of time run out, thus beginning the end for the witch, which is accomplished through the combination of fire and water leaving the elements of earth and air to be resolved with the balloon flight home or the grounding of the magical shoes.

    Time to me is associated with the 4th dimension or the astral plane. Oz is a perfect representation of the astral with its realm of dreams and colors beyond our 3D perspective dualistic perspective of black and white. 4D is also where much the pendulum swings as you point out and is reflected in Terrance McKenna's time wave theory - perhaps another way of giving shape to your space/time metaphor.

    I've toyed with the idea the the mark of the beast in Revelation is time which could also be why we have this notion of the "mark of Cain" in our consciousness. Certainly time has been worshiped by those who fear death which also is related to the notion of time as death is an illusory end of time from the perspective of the observer.

    Anyways - just some random thoughts on this. Look forward to more.
    • One other thought - if we recall the story it is Cains jealousy of God's "recognition" of Abels offerings and lack of the same for Cain which prompts Cain to lash out. Perhaps this is saying that Space or Novelty is recognizable in the realm of spirit while time is only recognizable in the realm of matter.
      • would that be similar to the concept of "the fall" as being a response to a sense of shame that we could not give god back anything even though god was able to give us everything. and so we forgot that we were god so that we could give back to god the knowledge of what it's like to not know that one is god?
        • Possibly one of the layers of the onion to explore. My notion of the Fall is the intended descent into matter and duality so we could work our way back to unifed self with the wisdom incorporated on the way.
          • From my book....


            The first inkling we get of Adam, aside from the Emanation of God or lighting up of the world is when we are told that God created Adam, “male and female, he created them.” In Kabbalah “Emanation” is the highest of the four worlds resting at the top of the Tree of Life and is called Atziluth in Hebrew. “Creation” is the next highest world and in Hebrew is called Briah and sits at the upper middle section of the Tree. As the Gospel of John begins we learn that Adam began as a thought or a ‘word’ as did all of God’s creation. We know from Genesis that everything starts out that way. The declaration “Let there be light” is followed by its manifestation “and God saw that it was good.” Every thought is followed up with a release – a letting go that allows it to manifest and be seen.

            Later in Genesis, we learn that God formed Adam out of the clay of the earth. This demonstrates for us the world of Yetzirah or the world of “formation.” Each new phase of Adam’s evolution takes on another layer of physicality moving him further away from his spiritual origins. Yet the “heavenly” template remains. In Kabbalah the “heavenly” or divine Adam that is both male and female is called the Adam Kadmon.

            The next level for Adam and Eve now that they’ve both been formed is to manifest physically. That Eve was formed from his rib is better translated as from his side as they share a separation now between male and female. They manifest physically by eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. This physical manifestation allows them to incarnate into animal skins and to encounter duality within physical form in the world of “action” which is called Assiyah in Kabbalah. The world of action or Assiyah is the world where we confront and overcome duality in order to find our way back to a united self. Assiyah is also the real meaning of the word Asia in St. John’s Revelation where he refers to the “Seven Churches of Asia.” John is really referring to the seven Chakras or energy centers of the body that live in Assiyah. We can glean this from the messages he provides for each “church” that correlate directly to the meanings behind each of these energy centers within the Eastern spiritual traditions.

            This lesson in duality is commonly referred to as “The Fall” and the serpent is usually cast as the devil. In Gnostic traditions the serpent is viewed in a positive light and is associated with bringer of wisdom or light as in Lucifer. Christ is also considered a light bringer as is Quetzalcoatl his Mayan counterpart described in myth as the plumed serpent. Considering “The Fall” from this point of view holds importance because the process of separation leading to reunification is filled with tremendous creativity and growth. Overcoming separation and striving for reunification may be the only avenue open for us mortals to approach the immortality the Tree of Life promises to provide for us. That we can become like the Gods in not fearing death certainly is within our reach with the right amount of wisdom, understanding, and love.

            In the Tree of Life diagram The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is called Da’at and is considered a non-energy center. Da’at can almost be understood as a black hole which is why it is sometimes referred to as the Abyss. “The Apple” can best be considered though the scientific analogy of the quantum physics concept of the “Strange Attractor.” Since the wavelike images of the “Strange Attractor” look very much like an apple.
            • And since we are on the subject of bible and metaphore, more from my book....

              I ambitiously launched a Kabbalah class at the local Unity Church designed around Gregg Braden’s book The God Code. In part so I could ensure there would be some focus to the summer seminar. But also because Braden’s premise is based in the system of Gematria which correlates traditional Hebrew letters to numerical equivalencies. Exploring his work would be a useful way to introduce the connections between letters and numbers that add depth and dimension to the interpretation and meanings of Hebrew words and to numbers alike. Although this began as a very scholarly approach I noticed over time that something unusual was going on inside me. I began to feel led towards certain information that continued to uncover more and more hidden meaning behind the texts I discussed in the class.

              For example I turned my attention to illuminate the story of “Jacob’s Ladder” as I was familiar with it from Lawrence Kushner book God Was in this Place, But I, i Didn’t Know It. The book featured conversations between several well known Rabbis from centuries past discussing the meaning of the “Jacob’s Ladder” stories each using their own well known style of analysis. As I taught and discussed the story and rabbinical analyses little details of the tale started talking to me. My thesis was that the story revealed that Jacob anointed himself as a Son of God by discovering that the DNA in our body was a direct spiritual link and communication line to higher realms of consciousness.

              Jacob fell asleep with his head on a stone pillow and dreamed that angels are going up and down a ladder. When he awakes he says “God was in this place and I, i, didn’t know it.” He then stands the stone pillow up pours oil over it and calls the place Beth El or “House of God.” The detail that stood out for me was the fact that the same letters make up the word stone and son. Only a change in the vowels would distinguish one word from the other which is another pillar within Kabbalah – similar root letters in a word carry similar meaning. I thought the ladder was a metaphor for the ladder-like structure of DNA, which anthropologist Jeremy Narby later described in his book DNA and The Origins of Knowledge. Through his intensive research on shamanic healing practices Narby has concluded that the recurring imagery of twining snakes, twisting ladders, or magical vines is directly related to shamanic access to the biologic nature of the world. Narby suggests that through disciplined and rigorous training shaman healers gain the ability to tap into the micro-consciousness of human and plant cells that ‘communicate’ answers and solutions to them in trance.
    • Excellent analogue, Steven. It's interesting how Abel's "heroic" aspect and Cain's "negative"attribute was translated over the time and that of the Kenites especially.

      en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenites

      Also I really enjoyed Herman Hesse's Demian that was closely related to this duality...
  • I also think you could go on and look at the relationship between Enlil and Enki.................There is also a some masonic symbolics in the the C & A story as Cain was a son of light or widows son and Able one of man.
    • Unsu...
       
      Good stuff, folks. For years, I have been intrigued by an interpretation presented in author Daniel Quinn's "Ishmael." The book suggests that Genesis was the work descendants of Abel, former nomads (as Auton points out) who bemoaned what had become of their lives since having been overtaken by the peculiar new way of life of the descendants of Cain -- "totalitarian" agriculturalists who assumed the power of the gods and violently began to impose their way of life on all else. The book suggests that we are the descendants of Cain -- "we" being the more than 99 percent on earth who today rely on "totalitarian" agriculture, which involves the killing of anything that gets in the way of our agriculture and our way of life, the hoarding of food and the government and social structures imbedded in this way of life.

      I look forward to more interpretations and ideas.