The Occult


When I was mad in Cambridge, all those years ago, I visited a synagogue. I'd never been in a synagogue before. I have a strange relationship with my Jewish heritage, somewhat distant, having grown up as a Christian. My mother's parents weren't religious, the holocaust having killed any semblance of faith, but her father still regarded it as something of a betrayal as he felt that Hitler had done what he'd done to the Jews in the name of Christianity.

Anyway, that's a part of the story I didn't really mean to tell. It had fascinated me, all part of my descent into madness, that the mystical foundation of much of what was called "the occult", at least by the occultists I admired, came out of Jewish mysticism.

The tree of life, numerology and the Hebrew alphabet hold, in these systems of thinking, some of the most powerful expressions of the deepest secrets of the nature of reality. These elements come from the Kabbalah, not something I know much about, but it's essentially medieval Jewish mystical thinking. So Christianity and the Jewish religion both have their foundation in the same mystical roots, as it turns out does the modern occult movement. And I'd never even been in a synagogue.

So I arrived towards the end of a service, people were milling around. I was very obviously homeless, but also apparently harmless, and they were really nice to me. I ended up wondering how I could learn anything here, and I found some children's books on the Hebrew alphabet and sat on the floor and read those.

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