Eyeball ecstasy mystical ascent through prayer in the Heikhalot (Halls) of the Zohar: Mystical ascent prayer in the Heikhalot (Halls) of the Zohar

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Abstract

According to the Zohar, the most important work of the classical Kabbalah, in prayer the soul of the mystic ascends through seven celestial halls or palaces as part of its quest to unify the male and female aspects of divinity, and thereby stimulates Ein Sof, the infinite aspect of divinity to pour down its bounty. As the soul ascends through the halls—diverse qualities of being, imagined, and experienced as an array of lights—it travels higher and deeper, finally arriving at the imageless seventh hall, Shekhinah, now primed to receive the flow of higher realms. This article argues that the ascent is accomplished through pressing on the eyeball to generate phosphenes and associated entoptic phenomena. The stimulation of the eye’s inner light has been associated with shamanic practices and mystical experience as well as commented on by such thinkers as Plotinus, Albert the Great, and Isaac Newton. This study thus contributes to the growing appreciation of “ecstatic” states in the theosophical Kabbalah.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-181
Number of pages13
JournalEnglish Language Notes
Volume56
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Ecstasy
  • Kabbalah
  • Mystical techniques
  • Phosphenes
  • Plotinus
  • Prayer
  • Zohar

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