Essays and Articles

This page is for general articles on Kabbalah and related matters.  Most of what appears here will be written by Adam, otherwise the author’s name will be included with the title and/or introduction.

The Mary Prayer

There are numerous versions of how the Jesus Prayer (otherwise called the ‘Our Father’ or ‘Lord’s Prayer’) might be placed on the Tree of Life but I am not aware of the same for the Mary Prayer (or ‘Hail Mary’/Ave Maria).  In this interpretation, the prayer can be seen to descend and re-ascend the central column of the Tree, invoking the triads in relation to the character and situation described in the Gospels.  The reason I include it here is to demonstrate how prayer can be used to invoke the Tree and, conversely, how the Tree can be used to understand better the aim and intention of prayer.  (See blog page, 27th October 2017.)

First, the prayer itself, slightly adapted to remove some of the medieval, Christian overlay that I believe is too specific an expression of Catholic theology, rather than presenting a broader spiritual overview.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Adonai is with you (Keter-Hokhmah-Binah)                          Blessed are you among women (Hokhmah-Binah-Tiferet)                                                        Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. (Tiferet-Hesed-Gevurah)                                          Holy Mary, Mother of the Manifest Adonai (Tiferet-Nezah-Hod)                                            Pray for us (Nezah-Hod-Yesod)   /   Now (Yesod-Malkhut)   /   At the hour of our (body’s) death/our transformation (Malkhut-Nezah-Hod/Yesod-Da’at)   /   Amen (Malkhut-Keter)

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Adonai is with you (Keter-Hokhmah-Binah)

The prayer derives primarily from the Gospel according to Luke, perhaps the one with the most palpable prayer quality, and the one most obviously rooted in Beriah, the World of Spirit.  It begins with spiritual creativity, not only Mary’s, because its speaker, Elisabeth, is also pregnant, with the child who will become John the Baptist.  Her richly inspired and inspirited greeting of Mary warmly and generously recognises the divine within and surrounding Mary, making the prayer possible, hence the association of her words with the supernal triad (Keter-Hokhmah-Binah) and the triad of spirit (Hokhmah-Binah-Tiferet): the greeting recognises the Divine within Mary (not Jesus but Her own Divine Self) at Keter, the Grace of the Holy One at Hokhmah, and the giving shape to the Adonai manifesting through Binah, and Da’at as the lightning flash crosses to Hesed.

Blessed are you among women (Hokhmah-Binah-Tiferet) 

Here Mary is represented as the Divine principle (Azilut) in its descent to creative motherhood in Beriah, hence the feminine quality of Luke’s Gospel at this point, and contained within this womb of the triad of Spirit is the potentiality of Da’at, through which the Holy One will manifest the Divine Light of Azilut through the medium of the Christ to come, at this time Jesus.  Mary is the perfect manifestation of the feminine essence, which had at that stage in history become corrupted in the matriarchies of paganism and which the ‘church’ that Jesus came to establish was intended to purify.  The fruit of Mary’s womb, more importantly than Jesus the man, is the manifest YHVH-Elohim, become Adonai (the Malkhut of Azilut).

Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, (Tiferet-Hesed-Gevurah) 

Jesus is the individuated form, the vessel born to contain the Divine Light (not to be it, as exoteric Christianity later came to assert – ‘through me‘ means that which I represent (Beriah) and not this ephemeral form (Yetzirah) that I will soon let go.)  Hence ‘Blessed is the fruit of your womb’ takes us to the next step in the manifestation of the Light into the individuated ‘soul’ form of the Christos at the soul triad of Tiferet-Hesed-Gevurah.  The blessing descends again through the central pillar to Tiferet, the fruit of the expansive principle of Hesed and the containing womb that gives structure is Gevurah.  The inclusion of Jesus’s name at this point, despite its being obvious who the fruit is, is necessary, because it identifies Jesus the individual as a distinct expression of the transpersonal Christos.

Holy Mary, Mother of the Manifest Adonai (Tiferet-Nezah-Hod)

The Adonai is now manifest at the Tiferet of Yetzirah, Malkhut of Beriah and Keter of Assiyah.  Mary is awake (as is Elisabeth) to the Divine Light that She holds within Her at the triad of awakening (because it is intended also to wake up the rest of us) and is mother in a more physical and psychological sense too, so that Hod and Nezah are the base of the awakened vessel, Nezah that drives the creative spirit at that level and Hod that contains the message, or blueprint, that will soon take form.

Pray for us (Nezah-Hod-Yesod)    /    Now (Yesod-Malkhut)    /   At the hour of our (body’s) death/our transformation (Malkhut-Nezah-Hod/Yesod-Da’at)    /   Amen (Malkhut-Keter)

The final stage manifests in prayer, initially through the triad of devotion (after all, Mary is at this point pregnant, so the Light is still imminent, not fully manifest in Malkhut); ‘Now’ is Yesod-Malkhut, dealing moment by moment with incarnate experience and drawing the prayer into incarnate form; and ‘the hour of our death’ is the death of the body (since the soul is immortal), but also the many transformations (deaths and resurrections) that accompany the living through the ebb and flow of Hod and Nezah at the psychological level, and the spiritual level if one is awake.  This prayer is clearly intended to help us remain spiritually awake, hence its association with the rosary, perhaps, which can be used an effective form of meditation.

The ‘Amen’ reconnects Malkhut, the Manifest Divine, to Keter, the Immanent Divine, up and down the central pillar.  The last three elements of the prayer are a reminder of the only three certainties in life – we are here now; we will experience the hour of our death;  and Amen, the certainty of God’s transcendent being.

In some ways, Mary seems closer to God in this prayer than Jesus; the latter contemplates a separate God in that other place – Our Father who art in Heaven – while Mary explicitly carries God within her.  The Kabbalist does not equate Jesus with God – except in the broadest sense that we are all children of the Divine Parent (GOD) – but it does aim to make Godhead, the state of Christos, accessible.  This prayer carries the intention of bringing into palpable form an immediate contemplation of God, as Divine Father or Mother, or as neither or as both.

…       …       …       …       …       …       …       …       …       …       …       …       …       …       …       …

Hail to you, oh Shekhina, full of Divine Grace,

The Divine presence is within you.

Blessed are you, the Immanent Feminine,

And Blessed is the fruit of your Holy Womb.

Holy Shekhina, Divine Mother,

Let us know your presence –

Now…

…at the moment of our death (transformation)…

Amen.

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