2379 Ebb and Flow of Mystical Forces


Mystics say that energy flows in cycles. Daytime cycles are related to the rotation of the earth, monthly cycles to the moon, annual cycles to the relative position of the sun and stars. Light and dark are connected with expansion and contraction, loving kindness and restraint. Kabbalists apply this mystical cosmic framework to everything, including angelic and demonic energies. 

Mainstream Judaism determines the beginning of a day from sundown to sundown. Kabbalists naturally follow this calculation from the point of view of Jewish law, but from an energetic perspective, the daily kabbalistic cycle flows between the zenith of high noon and the nadir of midnight. 

From noon until midnight, the sun appears to be declining. This means the power of loving kindness is waning. As it reaches its lowest ebb, the time in which the energy of darkness is strongest, accusing angels have their greatest power. The Kabbalist says that this point is the darkest of the night, the moment when restriction and judgment are at their full power. If we were abandoned in the mystical midnight of creation, we would disappear. We could not survive the judgment. Thus, in the poetic language of Kabbalah, at precisely this instant, God "enters" the celestial Garden of Eden.8

 That is to say, at the moment when the physical universe is in greatest jeopardy, the darkest moment of the day, the force of expansion materializes and revitalizes the center of creation. 

Of course, Jewish mystics understood that midnight in one part of the world is different than in other parts. They knew that God was, so to speak, continuously entering the Garden. It may be difficult to envision midnight as a moving line, but from the viewpoint of God-ing as a process, this is a perfect match. From where we stand, the loving kindness of the Divine brings Its light to our midnight, exactly when we need it for survival. When we become objective, however, we realize that it is always midnight somewhere. Thus, God is perpetually entering the garden, forever bringing Its light to everybody's midnight at all times, a continuous process.

Angels are also constantly "angel-ing." The Zohar says that accusing angels move about the world during the dark hours before midnight. Clearly this is relative to the observer. Objectively, however, it could be midnight a thousand miles to the east (one hour difference), in which case God has already entered the Garden (there), which by definition sends the accusing angels into hiding. 

This is another interactive relationship. Angelic and demonic energy is not independent and self-sufficient, but is a part of the system of the universal ebb and flow. The more we are able to appreciate this cosmic fluctuation, the more our horizons widen to appreciate the intricacy of the interrelational process between creator and creation.

Another example is the zoharic statement that all celestial beings chant praises to the Holy One. As soon as night falls, three hosts of angels range themselves into three parts of the universe. Over these three hosts of angels stands a chieftain called a hayyah, an angelic force which is said to be the support for the divine throne. The nighttime chanting continues until daybreak. Then humans take up the praises three times a day in prayer. Accordingly, praise is offered six times in twenty-fours, three in the day by human beings and three at night by angels.8


As Kabbalists were well traveled, it did not take much to figure out that when I am offering praise in my morning prayers, the angelic hosts not far from me are still engaged in their nighttime praises. Thus, the idea of praise being offered six times a day only applies to where one is standing. From an objective viewpoint, however, praise and prayer are continuous day and night, unfolding as the earth revolves. This resembles a kaleidoscope ceaselessly opening, or a flower constantly blooming, and is a wonderful image to contemplate.