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Promethea #21 - Binah, the black mother

 
 
the Fool
02:29 / 28.06.02
We arrive at the godhead and are immersed in warm feminine energies.

I had a very strange experience reading this issue. My house had been invaded by all these hippy girl buskers, who played guitar and sang while I read. I thought this was entirely appropriate for a journey through the temple of the black mother. There were fortune cookies. My fortune read - "You are in good hands tonight". Also, our houses black cat 'Wicca' sat in the centre of 3 of the girl buskers. She stared intently at me for a while. I felt Binah was in the room. So much feminine energy. Sweet and gentle. The virgin rather than the whore.

So, how was it for you?
 
 
the Fool
02:32 / 28.06.02
I just realised I posted this in magic rather than comics. Though with this comic I'm really not sure where a discussion of it fits? Moderators feel free to move if it becomes too ladden with comicbookgeekery.
 
 
cusm
04:17 / 28.06.02
That depends... Do you want to talk about the comic, or Binah?
 
 
the Fool
07:00 / 28.06.02
I'd like to do both but it probably should be moved to comics...
 
 
FinderWolf
15:02 / 28.06.02
I think it could stay here if we talk about the magickal themes contained therein. Either or, really.

This issue perfectly summed up the female -- the confounding, beautiful, mysterious, compassionate, inscrutable, unknowable, life-giving, sensual, wild, maternal energy that we men spend our whole lives trying to figure out and get close to.
 
 
FinderWolf
15:02 / 28.06.02
I think it could stay here if we talk about the magickal themes contained therein. Either or, really.

This issue perfectly summed up the female -- the confounding, beautiful, mysterious, compassionate, inscrutable, unknowable, life-giving, sensual, wild, maternal energy that we men spend our whole lives trying to figure out and get close to.
 
 
Ierne
15:36 / 28.06.02
So much feminine energy. Sweet and gentle. The virgin rather than the whore. – the Fool

Um...I should hope there's a bit more to womanhood than virginity or whoredom... ?

And a bit more to Binah than "female"...???

Can we avoid stereotyping here? Please?
 
 
The Natural Way
15:45 / 28.06.02
Esp this: "the confounding, beautiful, mysterious, compassionate, inscrutable, unknowable, life-giving, sensual, wild, maternal energy that we men spend our whole lives trying to figure out and get close to."

Help.

These principles are described as male and female according to biological function only, they are not there to describe the characteristics of individual women. For instance, Yin is female/receptive. This doesn't mean "Hey! That woman over there's some deep, receptive babe!", rather that, during sex/childbirth, the woman's body plays a receptive role - receiving and creating. I repeat: these principles are not some measure of female personality.
 
 
Bill Posters
18:18 / 28.06.02
So much feminine energy. Sweet and gentle.

Um Fool... you don't get out much these days do you?

Seriously, I think stereotyping like that is fairly common in magick... and it has come in for some criticism from feminist sociologists. Usually I find chaos magick a bit more likely to go for fluid gender traits and general genderfuck stuff, one of the reasons I like it.

And at the risk of sounding really ignorant, could anyone briefly explain Promethea to me? I'm not very well-up on comix. Is it about the Kabbalah? Would I like it? Should every mage read it? Am I missing something? Tell me tell me tell me!
 
 
cusm
18:21 / 28.06.02
Female in this sense is just another symbol, not an explaination of the actual people of that gender. That gets a bit sticky sometimes when we start confusing what the symbol is to represent for what the symbol is made of.
 
 
FinderWolf
23:23 / 28.06.02
>> Esp this: "the confounding, beautiful, mysterious, compassionate, inscrutable, unknowable, life-giving, sensual, wild, maternal energy that we men spend our whole lives trying to figure out and get close to."

>> Help.

>> These principles are described as male and female according to biological function only, they are not there to describe the characteristics of individual women. For instance, Yin is female/receptive. This doesn't mean "Hey! That woman over there's some deep, receptive babe!", rather that, during sex/childbirth, the woman's body plays a receptive role - receiving and creating. I repeat: these principles are not some measure of female personality.

Well, jeez! Thanks for just attacking my views/thoughts by assuming that I could not conceive of any other applications of the themes in this issue than the ones I posted.

The ones I posted were the first things that came to mind in a few seconds -- sure, birth, creativity, the feminine energy applies to SO many other things. I'm aware of that.

But let's not go acting all condescending towards me just because I posted the simplest, most obvious ones. Yipes! Normally people aren't this quick to judge on this board. I'm just a heterosexual male, after all -- what's base is still part of human nature, or so said some dude named Shakespeare.
 
 
Less searchable M0rd4nt
11:01 / 29.06.02
I guess this is just a rather sensitive area, and the post, being short and not very detailed, could have been interpreted as containing/reinforcing certain stereotypical attitudes to females-- which are regrettably common in magick as elsewhere.
 
 
Ganesh
11:42 / 29.06.02
Hmmm. I found the ever-present Irritating Talking Head dialogue more obtrusive in this issue ("Oh, wait, I know. It's the PROMETHEA moth. 'Promethea Saturnaides' or something") and I found myself longing for more of the less portentous, symbolism-lite framing stuff - Stacia's Promethea, Breughel & Ball, the Painted Doll. To be quite frank, the Female Principle stuff made me think more about Alan Moore's sex life than about the "third sphere" or whatever...
 
 
FinderWolf
16:39 / 29.06.02
My point is people could have said "There's a lot more to these themes" and added all those points without mocking or disparaging the points made in the beginning of the thread. However, I understand sensitivity to the themes therein.

But it was, truly, another great issue. And the art -- to die for!
 
 
Stone Mirror
23:21 / 29.06.02
And at the risk of sounding really ignorant, could anyone briefly explain Promethea to me? I'm not very well-up on comix. Is it about the Kabbalah? Would I like it? Should every mage read it? Am I missing something? Tell me tell me tell me!

Well, let's see. Promethea was originally the daughter of a Gnostic sage killed by by a Christian mob in the 5th century. She ran off into the desert where she was taken into the Immateria, the realm of imagination, by Thoth-Hermes. Since then, she's periodically returned to the world (but not exactly our world) when someone of the right temperament bends their imagination in the right way to invoke her. She takes over their body (or, in one case, the body of someone close to the dreamer) and enters our plane from the World of the Imagination.

In short, she's a magical super-hero.

A number of the issues have dealt with the Tarot trumps, sex magick and tantra, and (lately) the trip up the Tree of Life from Malkuth to (as of issue #21) Binah.

I think it's a interesting, if kinda basic, read for magi and aspiring wizards. The art if fabulous, and the back-story is very entertaining for the most part. If you like Moore and Williams, you'll probably like Promethea quite a bit. It was recommended to me by an acquaintance who knew how much I enjoyed The Invisibles.

I'm fascinated that the grimoires of this new millenium have turned out to be comic books. (And vice versa, I suppose...)
 
 
The Natural Way
21:31 / 30.06.02
Wolf: I was just shocked by the implications of yr post. I'm sorry if you were offended - I wasn't really directing my snappy rant at you. Wasn't thinking about you as a person at all really; more as a force for confusion, sexism and all out EVIL (only kidding about the last one).

Just thought I'd better stamp on that weed's roots before they started to sink their nasty fangs into the barbesoil and drain the thread of all intelligence.

Yes. It would of been THAT bad. Everyone would've died. You see! I saved us. Isn't that great?
 
 
the Fool
02:17 / 01.07.02
Um...I should hope there's a bit more to womanhood than virginity or whoredom... ?

It was more the atmosphere of the room. It seemed to take a gentler aspect. More akin to the architype of Maria than that of Babylon.

And a bit more to Binah than "female"...???

I should hope so, tell us more...

Can we avoid stereotyping here? Please?

It is done. Or, at least I shall try. It is the best I can do y'know?
 
 
Stone Mirror
10:14 / 01.07.02
Can we avoid stereotyping here? Please?

I'd like to take the confrontational position here and suggest that, to the extent that we're discussing things like archetypes, no, we really can't avoid "stereotyping", at least not completely...
 
 
Chuckling Duck
17:33 / 01.07.02
This last issue was the most Thelemic of the Promethea issues to date. It was all about Crowley’s interpretation of the highest female principles as the wanton, self-abasing revealer of mysteries (the great whore Babylon) and the pristine, compassionate, unfathomable mystery of motherhood (the virgin mother Marie).
Now, to be fair, Moore has softened Crowley’s misogyny considerably. He gives you the virgin/whore as one archetype among many, and the abasement of the whore is treated as an apotheosis similar to Christ’s crucifixion. Still, it’s a troublesome metaphor. My take on it is you don’t have to accept the comic as Truth to enjoy it as art.
 
 
Ierne
20:17 / 01.07.02
My take on it is you don’t have to accept the comic as Truth to enjoy it as art. – Chuckling Duck

Fair enough – I haven't read this particular issue, and can't say that I intend to. But if it's the *comic* that people want to talk about, there's a forum for discussing comics (and it's a damn fine forum, too). If it's the concept of Binah that people want to talk about, then it's rather pointless to say, well yes, these ideas ARE dubious, but they're in the comic...

There's a lot more going on in terms of understanding the idea that the Kabbalists call Binah than "warm feminine energies." Understanding, Discernment and Intelligence (to name a few concepts associated with Binah) have absolutely nothing to do with human gender.

...no, we really can't avoid "stereotyping", at least not completely... –Stone Mirror

Can't means won't. Why won't you? Why is taking the "confrontational position" here more important to you than discussing the Sephira?
 
 
Chuckling Duck
22:06 / 01.07.02
Perhaps we can discuss the concept of Binah as described by Moore in the comic, how it relates to other understandings of Binah, and our personal reactions to it. That seems to fit nicely in this forum.

Moore covered the Understanding aspect of Binah quite nicely, I thought, although it seemed closer to Heinlin’s idea of “grokking” (understanding something so completely that the seperation between you and the object dissolves) than to Intelligence (the manipulation of symbols and ideas, part of the Mercurian sphere IMHO) or Discernment (which to me sounds like an aspect of Judgement from the Martial sphere).
 
 
the Fool
01:00 / 02.07.02
There's a lot more going on in terms of understanding the idea that the Kabbalists call Binah than "warm feminine energies." Understanding, Discernment and Intelligence (to name a few concepts associated with Binah) have absolutely nothing to do with human gender.

But does it have something to do with 'femaleness'? (if there is such a thing) Perhaps an amalgam of concepts traditionally associated the female? Rather than gender specifically, more a worldview or perspective on reality?

Why is taking the "confrontational position" here more important to you than discussing the Sephira?

I guess I could ask the same question, Ierne.
 
 
Stone Mirror
05:27 / 02.07.02
lerne writes Can't means won't. Why won't you? Why is taking the "confrontational position" here more important to you than discussing the Sephira?

Um, no. "Can't" means "can't"; that's why it's a different word than "won't".

My point being that, just as if one were to talk about the concept of yin, one could hardly do it without falling back on "stereotypical" associations of femaleness, yieldingness, darkness, fecundity, etc.
 
 
the Fool
06:37 / 02.07.02
it seemed closer to Heinlin’s idea of “grokking” (understanding something so completely that the seperation between you and the object dissolves)

That's the sense I sort of got. Understanding as 'profound communication without distortion'. Perhaps this is where passion is connected. Profound communication would allow the direct, undistorted transfer of desire, passion or deepest emotions, perhaps even the undistorted transfer of self.
 
 
The Natural Way
12:36 / 02.07.02
Ierne's an eggy one, but for once I'm w/ hir: there are sacred animals associated w/ every sphere, but we don't all waffle on about the essential nature of lions when we're wittering about the sephira (don't ask me which one) associated w/ them. That was an ugly sentence, but you see what I mean? Yes?

The sacred animals are anthropomorphications (is that a word?)....masks that God wears when he descends into the realm of language and symbol....not real/solid bulls, eagles, lions or women.
 
 
ONLY NICE THINGS
14:51 / 02.07.02
If they are animal masks of a god, my best guess is that they are theriomorphic manifestations rather than anthropomorphisations...

But that's not the point. The point is that huge, unfettered breasts and a chainmail thong are *key* to the mysteries of Binah.
 
 
Less searchable M0rd4nt
15:00 / 02.07.02
Wow, I think there's about three threads right here: one for the comic, one for Binah, and one for Achetypes vs Stereotypes and how we separate them. Any takers?
 
 
Ierne
15:15 / 02.07.02
But that's not the point. The point is that huge, unfettered breasts and a chainmail thong are *key* to the mysteries of Binah. – Haus

He always gets away with it, of course. Me, I try to be civil and still get dumped on.

I'll just exit stage left and leave you all to it, alright? Cheers.
 
 
Bill Posters
15:18 / 02.07.02
Ta for the info folx, I'll be checking it out asap.
 
 
6opow
01:47 / 05.07.02
Everyone:

"Can't means won't and won't means can't!
Let us all have a little rant!"

OK, that was terrible. I'd blush but I sanded the skin off my cheeks last week as part of my experiments in how to become less human.

For X's sake Ierne, why do you gotta' be like that?

I mean, you have a valid point in so far as perhaps it is wise to recognize that our categories of male and female aren't as rigid as some might like to think, but man, you crash this thread like a squad of cops in riot gear kicking in the door of the wrong home!

In magick, as in life ('cause life is magick), we need to split things up and categorize, and certainly, these things exist as "true" within the system that we are examining. For example, it is "true' within most qabbalist systems that Binah represents female attributes. Again, I grant you that there is more to "female" than a virgin/whore dichotomy, but it all needs to go somewhere in order for us to even begin to form a coherent picture of reality. I mean, what would it be if you could not distinguish left from right? You'd be fuckin' screwed!

My point is simple: we need to break up and categorize things in order to distinguish existence from non-existence--without our divisions, we'd have nothing. However, it is important to keep in mind that our categories are fluid, and certainly the male/female dichotomy is adrift in the psyche as a sliding scale with only an artificial polarization to define the interim. However, this doesn't give you, Ierne, licence to stamp your foot, and raise a ruckus! It seems to me that the Fool was simply trying to relate his perceptions of a certain archetype, and it seems to me that you are trying to give him a spanking for doing so. Lighten up, eh?
 
 
the Fool
03:10 / 05.07.02
I obviously should have asked Binah to inhabit this thread when I posted it. There hasn't been a lot of understanding goin' on...

But Ierne does have a point. Binah is not a (or the) female archetype. I did a little bit more reading about this sphere of understanding and its functioning within the tree and found references to Binah as the giver of form. Binah takes the boundless creative energies of Chokmah and gives 'birth' to them, hence the sexual metaphor of Chokmah-male/Binah-female (and Binah as the black 'mother'). Binah defines what is possible from the unlimited permutation of infinite creativity.

In this way I think that Binah is perhaps a weaver of reality. Again, a 'weaver' is traditionally (in western culture) seen as a female activity, so the 'female' resonance continues. Also see the three (the number of Binah) Fates, again female, weaving the fabric of the possible, thus knowing the future as it is mapped out instantly in 4d.
Though one could also imagine a weave of reality to be a web, Binah the spider (the black widow?) (I think this reference ended up in white wolf games - the weaver (binah) was driven insane by the forces of chaos and entropy and became the master of order, lord of the technocracy. Attempting to bind all permutations into rigid form).

So I think the 'femaleness' is in fact an anthropomorphisation (or whatever the proper word is here) of the feelings Binah envokes. We take the engergies and give them form based on whatever cultural references resonate with it.

Another tangental thought,

Perhaps within the top three spheres of godhead a dimension drops with each sphere. From Kether to Chokmah - 6th to 5th dimension (Infinite infinites to Infinite possibility. From Chokmah to Binah - 5th to 4th (Infinite possibility to multiple realities), then from Binah on we have coalesing levels of 3d until we have physical reality (multiple realities to singular reality). The three spheres in this idea form a mediation brigde between the impossible and the actual. Much like the Brahman/Atman/Jiva model found in hindu metaphysics, except the hindu model is internal rather than external.
 
 
STOATIE LIEKS CHOCOLATE MILK
18:33 / 09.08.02
Yeah, Bill. I just read these. From about issue 13 to the latest, it's a basic magickal primer. Kinda like DMK with pictures, and better written.
 
  
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