In this series of articles about the life and studies of Dana Redfield, I am spreading out the intensely interconnected threads of her life's work so that you can share some of the brilliance of her gaze and the majesty of her vision. For one more article today I will move more deeply into the nuts and bolts of her deep interest in the alphabet.
If you are particularly sensitive to occult energies, please watch your step as I wander with you through Dana's work. There are triggers to psychic opening built in to the material I will cover today. I would suggest laying this column aside if you begin to feel openings occurring for which you are unready.
When I told my husband that I would start this column with a warning, he looked at me quizzically. "Don't you want people to read what you have to say?" he asked. I replied, "Of course, I do. However, some subjects are more powerful than others, and, in my opinion, this subject matter is spiritual TNT."
The story today starts with the Kabbalah and its Tree of Life. The Kabbalah is an interior and mystical aspect of the Jewish religion. Like Sufism in Islam, Zen in Buddhism and Mystical Christianity and White Magic in the Christian religion, the Kabbalah offers hidden keys that claim to unravel the mysteries of the universe.
One of those systems of keys is a Kabbalistic practice called Gematria. The foundation assumption in Gematria is that each letter of the alphabet possesses a numerical value. The Greeks worked with Gematria long before the Hebrews did. And relatively modern scientists such as the 17th century's Isaac Newton worked with the system. It was Newton's belief that "God created everything by number, weight and measure."
Gematria is "the calculation of the numerical equivalence of letters, words or phrases, and, on that basis, gaining insight into interrelation of different concepts and exploring the interrelationship between words and ideas," according to the website inner.org. The underlying belief is that since the Creator spoke the worlds into being, that each letter or sound made has unique characteristics and represents a different aspect of the creative force.
Dana went into the study of Gematria with enormous passion and thoroughness. She felt that in this work lay an avenue of access to altered states of consciousness and the guidance of unearthly beings of a positive and helpful nature. She pointed out that the word "Kabbalah" means "to receive." About this work she wrote:
"Once humans were like animals, largely unconscious of what to us now seems shockingly obvious. When the doors to superconsciousness are flung open, you will tremble, awestruck, as the invisible walls enclosing your perceptions tumble.
"Your mind is like a deaf, dumb, blind charioteer, reins flying, the animal beneath galloping to the call of the wind; the lay of the land. Imagine the shock as a bolt of lightning, instantaneously restoring hearing, vision and voice to the one who knew only movement.
"Fear not. Deep within your mind are ancient memories, wisdoms stamped indelibly by your designers: codes, instructions, maps. First you must comfort body. Like the colt running so long free of rein, the sudden yank will astonish. Tell body, soothe, soothe, I am here. I have the maps, the codes, the keys.
"We are free now."
One example of Dana's process will suffice both to demonstrate the way Gematria works and the incredible blend of scholarship and deep intuition which she brought to her studies. Here is part of the poem she wrote on the letter "Z":
[lyrics start] "Like a time capsule for the heart,
From ox-head A
To weapons in the sky Z
The Archer zinged the arrow Zayin
Across the ages
To find us here
Contemplating the seals." [lyrics end]
When I read that poem for the first time, I needed to look up "Zayin." It is the Hebrew Z, the seventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Its Gematria value is 67. This number in the Hebrew system represents "Understanding" or Binah on the Tree of Life glyph.
However, the letter also means two seemingly paradoxical things. The capital Zayin is shaped like a sword, and therefore means "weapon." However, the letter derives from a root word meaning "sustenance" or "food." Scholars through the centuries have used this paradox to describe the spiritual battle for the discovery of nourishing words of truth.
Zayin being the seventh letter of the Hebrew alphabet, it carries the energy of seven and forms the occult basis for the claim of fundamentalists that the earth was created only 6,000 years ago. According to the Hebrew Kabbalistic tradition, working with Zayin reveals that in the beginning was the Age of Adam, which lasted 2,000 years. That was followed by the Age of Abraham, which also lasted 2,000 years. In its turn the Age of Messiah followed, again lasting 2,000 years. This brings us to the present moment, when the Age of Kingdom begins. This Age shall last 1,000 years. This bit of occult lore also explains to a degree why many fundamentalists feel we are ready to blink out of existence now as the Kingdom comes.
Zayin also represents, in the Hebrew system, Jesus, the Messiah. In this figure, Jesus is seen as the nurturing shepherd, ready to defend his sheep with the sword of his guardianship.
This entire discussion only scratches the surface of the Kabbalistic study of one letter.
Dana worked with the letters, beginning with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life glyph, which has 10 stations and 22 relationships between the various stations. The stations represent the 10 Kabbalistic qualities or utterances of the Creator as He created the universe.
The letters of our English alphabet themselves spoke deeply to her in visions and dreams and took her into the making of a different glyph, which she called the House of Life. She developed a "Tree" or "House" which had 26 stations, each station representing a letter of our English alphabet, which she also saw as the utterances of the Creator making the world. Needless to say, the number of relationships between stations possible in the House of Life is immensely more than the 22 possible in the Tree of Life glyph.
She felt that the letters "serve as symbolic guideposts signifying the development of human consciousness." She saw the beginning letters of the alphabet as being related to the lower chakras, the middle letters as being related to the solar plexus and heart chakras and the concluding letters as being related to the seeker's awakening to the new levels of consciousness connected with the blue, indigo and violet chakras and the shift of the ages.
Dana lived in that House of Life, never doubting for a moment that her work, though perhaps impossible to make entirely manifest, was important. She is a pioneer in creating a coherent system of mythology for the New Age.
She felt that the House of Life was a system that offered four paths of travel through incarnation. There was Right Path, the path of utter goodness. There was Left Path, the path of utter evil. There was Center Path, a path of no power but a safe passage through life on a "Just Visiting" card. And there was Jagged Path, the path of utmost power since it took in all of the other paths and sought balance. Indeed, we are on Dana's Jagged Path together as I write.
Here is her homage to J:
[lyrics start] "On the Jagged Path,
When our jobs are done,
We return to the joy whence we came.
Tune your ears —
The jongleur will lead you
Past your fears." [lyrics end]
Dana died on a Saturday evening, her Alphabet Mosaics book unpublished. She left that book to L/L Research, hoping that we would be able to generate enough donations for a printed version of this unbelievably powerful work to be made. We shall do our utmost to see it into print, and certainly we shall create an e-book of all her work in this area so that it will be available to the world.
I rejoiced at her departing life so quickly, once she became paralyzed from the cancer that had spread throughout her body. Consequently, on the next Monday, when I received the following image from a cranial-sacral therapist, its meaning was not immediately apparent.
As Liz, the therapist, worked on me, she told me of a persistent image she was receiving. In it, there were two pyramids configured like an hourglass. At the point where the two pyramids' points touched was a place of balance which resolved all male and female energies. This point was pierced with a cross.
I was puzzled by her information and took home a card with the glyph drawn by Liz to look at some more. Later it hit me. Dana was saying goodbye to me with her usual style.
In Kabbalah and also in White Magic, the two triangular shapes or pyramids are representative of male and female energies. The Yoni of femininity is the downward-pointing pyramid. The Lingam of masculinity is the upward-pointing pyramid. Placed over each other, they form the Star of David and create the world as we know it. Taken apart again and separated into the hourglass configuration, the figure indicates that life as we know it has ended. And the ascension point, that place of power where the two tips touch, is pierced by the cross of the Jesus we both love so well.
She assured me, with that bundled message, that she had made it into the next adventure. I marvel to think what she shall be creating there!
I open my arms and embrace your spirit. May we on the Jagged Path of life find the vortex within the world which leads us to Love, Light and Life Everlasting.