Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kabbalah, Qabalah, Cabala

Long before there were religious concepts of good and evil there was magic. In this magic-pool arose an occult philosophy called the cabala. The name is from Hebrew qibbel, which means to receive, and signifies “knowledge handed down by tradition.” For a while it was the secret practice of the Jews. By the time it was introduced into Christianity it brought with it a complex vocabulary and a language of theology, contributing fresh elements to which Christians attached great importance. The cabala supplied mysticism with attractive formulas: The 10 Sephiroth (Numerations), The 32 Ways to Wisdom, The Fifty Doors of Knowledge. Many angels of which there is no mention in the Bible were named. It provided seventy-two names of the deity, appealing to the imagination of seekers about forbidden mysteries. These divine names were introduced into all the ceremonies of sorcery and magic. (720 = 1/5 of a circle, one point of a pentagram)

The cabala is much older than most think. It is likely from before 4000 BC and began as a record of knowledge which was passed on through generations by oral tradition – in accord with the meaning of the Hebrew word. The cabala’s Sephirotic Tree is a descendant of Yggdrasil, from which come all World Trees, Cosmic Trees, and Trees of Life; they are symbols of the mystery of life, death, and regeneration. Depicted with ten circles and three columns, the Sephirotic Tree represents state and information spaces. Every thing is a state-space. Living things are state-spaces with information-spaces in them (Duncan-Enzmann). From the highest to the lowest, the circles on the Sephirotic Tree denote the source-of-all, to the kingdom-of-earth. Knowledge of these concepts opens doors to higher worlds for those who possess it; the cabala attracted both the most elevated of philosophers and the more vulgar practitioners to its esoteric nature. It had influence on the highest and lowest of occult sciences. 

The cabala was considered the exposition of a great secret, a mystical and religious system of philosophy. The human body was believed to be an expression of ten globes, or spheres of brilliant colored light; these globes define the limits of the creative essence. Forming a tree of luminous beauty arranged in three columns – Judgment, Mildness, and Mercy – the globes, columns, and twenty-two pathways between them are all part of the Sephirotic Tree which is one of the major features of cabalism. It is perhaps the most accurate and significant color chart in mysticism.

The cabala is the union of ideas and signs; a trinity of words, letters, and numbers. It is comprised of ten ciphers, twenty two letters, a triangle, square, and circles. Twenty-two connecting channels equate to the Hebrew alphabet; add the ten globes to make thirty-two, which represents the thirty-two nerves that branch out from the divine brain (symbolism found in the 32nd degree of Freemasonry). Color symbolism is important in all systems of magic. The cabala’s sephiroth are white, black, gray, red, blue, yellow, orange, green, purple, and one circle of gold, olive, black, and russet. The iridescent beautiful colors of the globes each represent a human concept. 

Although the Christian cabala was little known, its advocates adapted it to every branch of philosophy, and with it attempted to explain all the mysteries of the world, from stars to life essence. Medieval thinkers such as Agrippa, Paracelsus, and Fludd, perhaps through fear of persecution or the love of things secret and hidden, surrounded this doctrine with illusive mystery, proclaiming it profane and forbidden – reserved only for an elect few. Magicians, adepts, initiates, or cabalists, by whatever name you call them, attempted to penetrate problems which theology could not.

In the 17th century Jacob Boehme, a German shoemaker-theologian, combined the notions of cabala with Christian mysticism. He had a small number of adepts and until the nineteenth century was almost unknown. In this 1675 portrait, the eminent theosopher is surrounded by pentacles and alchemic-cabalistic emblems which link the mysteries of religion and the principles of magic together. 

Today organizations like The Kabbalah Centre offer training in “the world’s oldest body of spiritual wisdom,” opening the hidden keys to the secrets of the universe and mysteries of heart and soul. They promise that if you don’t just learn, but use this wondrous information you will gain clarity and freedom, remove suffering and pain – ultimately erase death itself. What began as a system of recorded natural observation more than 6000 years ago has evolved into a doctrine of magic and immortality; what was secret and forbidden for hundreds of years has incubated, and emerged as a cure for all humanity's ailments.  

About Symbologist Michelle Snyder

Michelle earned her post-graduate degree at the University of Wales. She is an author, speaker, publisher, artist, and teacher. Her artwork, inspired by her love of symbolism and folklore, has appeared in galleries from Massachusetts to California. Michelle is co-owner of White Knight Studio with her husband Jay Robert.
Books by Michelle, available at Amazon:

Symbology: Hidden in Plain Sight:  - history and origin of mythology, folklore, and symbolism; print and eBook formats 
Symbology: My Art and Symbols – a collection of my artwork, with brief explanation of symbols, print only 
Symbology: Fairy Tales Uncovered – identifies historic elements in fairy tales, tracing their roots, print and eBook formats 
Symbology: Decoding Classic Images – presents unique information about antiquity and prehistory, print only
Symbology: World of Symbols – eBook format of most of the information in Symbology
Symbology: Secrets of the Mermaids – an eBook introduction to the symbols of a lost civilization

The Lost Unicorn – an original fairy tale with wizards, damsels in distress, and heroes of course, print and eBook formats.

NEW!!!! - The Call of the Dragon and Other Tales of Wonder - four original wonder-tales written in classic fairy tale style. Print and eBook.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Are You A Bully Parent?

Me? A Bully?   Nah!   Never!   Really?   Maybe? 

Me? A Bully?   Nah!   Never!   Really?   Maybe?

If it's time for a reality check, take a close look:

Do you hang out at school or games with the louder, more aggressive parents; regularly voicing negative comments about the abilities of teachers, the principal, teammates, the coach?

Do your friends shy away from including you in casual conversations for fear of what you will say or how you will react? 

Does your partner sometimes avoid you at games, declaring that they are tired of having to apologize for your embarrassing comments or behaviors? Do they head for the other room when you begin your tirades about teachers or the principal?

Are you vigilantly on the alert for any potential injustice that might be perpetrated against your child?

Before you even leave for an event, have you mentally practiced how you will tell off the teacher,  a coach or parent of a kid who gets in your kid's way?

Are you ready and willing, almost anxious, to step in verbally, and maybe even physically, to defend your child?

Do you often think that you know more than the principal, teacher or coach and want others to know?

Can your kid do no wrong? 

Do you always recognize your child as the "best" player, stellar student, star jock, or the queen of the competition? 

Conversely, do you see your child as the constant victim?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you might be a bully parent. 

It can happen all so innocently.  Remember when you just wanted to be the best parent in the world; an advocate for your child and  the one person who could speak up for them when they couldn't do it for themselves? Suddenly that parent is gone; replaced by apparent bully!  

If this has happened to you, and you want to change, there are three simple steps to follow. Stop, Look and Listen.

Stop the negative verbal and body language. Just stop; make a commitment to become more sensitive to identifying and ending any inappropriate language and behaviors. Stop looking for a reason to react. Stop trying to fit in with those parents who spew competitive negativity and try seeking out those who display a more balanced approach to home, school and community.

Look at what is REALLY happening with your child. Is your kid actually demonstrating their talents through good sportsmanship and fair play?  Are they being treated unfairly by their teammates and/or coach? Are they causing problems, part of the problem or the recipient of problems? Are your comments and behaviors necessary and  appropriate or demeaning and destructive?

Listen to what your child is telling you.  If they seek your approval while bragging endlessly about their skills, demeaning others along the way, recognize that they are in need of  redirection.  If your child feels threatened, unhappy or insecure, "hear" what they are telling you and get some help. This may not be the right classroom, team, or activity for your child. Or, this may be the exact place for your child to receive additional instruction and support from a caring adult who partners with you and your child. Listen to the coach, teacher or principal. You may not like or agree with what they have to say. However, they are responsible for the classroom, school or team and have some important and helpful information for you to hear.

Just remember one important fact. Kids copy what they see their parents do. If you act like a bully, so will they. Provide a positive, balanced model of support for your child. Stop, look and listen before venturing onto the field or school yard  next time. And if you cannot, do your child a favor and stay home.

Meriam Wilhelm

Meriam F Whilhelm
Meriam F. Wilhelm brings to her writing over 35 years of practical experience in the academic world working with students at levels from preschool through college. After graduating from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California with both a Bachelors and Masters Degrees, Wilhelm went on to earn 4 state credentials in counseling and administration.
She has taught at the high school level, and has held positions as a college dean, a counselor and an assistant principal at the middle school level. Driven by her desire to have a greater impact on elementary school education, Wilhelm made a mid-career detour, securing her life-long "dream job" as an elementary public school principal.
For the last 10 years under her stewardship and in collaboration with her outstanding teaching staff, her school has achieved and maintained some of the highest test scores in California, and received multiple achievement honors, including two California Distinguished School Awards. Meriam is also a personal recipient of several Honorary Services Awards, and recently received the California PTA's most prestigious award, the Golden Oak Service Award for "significant contributions to the welfare of children and youth in school and community."

Happily married for over 33 years to her "best friend", Meriam is the proud parent of three successful adult children with whom she maintains a close family relationship. As a testimony to her child rearing skills with a strong family focus on life-long education, each of her two sons have completed both Bachelors and Masters degrees, one in engineering, one in business, and her daughter is a Registered Nurse with two related undergraduate degrees. Wilhelm and her husband, a recently retired aerospace executive, live in Southern California and spend time walking on the local beaches and traveling when she is not writing or sewing.

Wilhelm draws from her sometimes challenging earlier life experiences. Being a full time working mom who managed child care demands while actively supporting each of her kid's homework, sports, and scouting demands gave her a unique and relevant basis for the enduring lessons, strategies and recommendations you will find in her writings. Wilhelm gave special import to the value of nightly reading and regularly ended her kids evenings with a Bath, Book and Bed; the title of one of her popular eBooks. Capturing the many actual experiences and demonstrated successful practices from the classroom, the playground, and the "principal's office", she brings a balanced approach to the many challenges parents face as they help their kids to navigate through the elementary school years.