The Abraham Cycle: Psychological Archetypes of Genesis
To start with, don't make the mistake of thinking that these characters are either historical or religious
figures. They are explicit archetypes of psychological evolution and the development of consciousness in
humans. They exist both beyond space-time (as myth) and inside the human psyche, where they may be found
with a little effort. The Abraham Cycle is located near the beginning of the great epic poem and psychohistorical
narrative known as the Hebrew Bible. The essential theme of the story is the interplay
of the two partners in the Game of Life
-- intemporal, discontinous, infinite consciousness
Yod, existence, duration and space-time.
See the Beginning and, as usual, the
Alphabet, because we will be
talking about the spellings of the names of the major characters, with the Hebrew letters considered
as abstract formative energies
or "fundamental powers of creation"
(Gershom Scholem). Note: all Hebrew letters are
hyperlinked to their descriptions.
These archetypes can be found operating in both the individual and collective mind. They represent particular stages in the development of consciousness in humans both over thousands of years and every day within ourselves. The stage of Abraham, relatively early in the game, concerns the birth of an individualized bearer of the internal light, its separation from the primitive instincts and magical thinking of the Ur of the Chaldees, and the light's taking root in the symbolic land of Canaan -- duality and adaptational challenge -- through the seed of Abraham and his descendants.
How it takes root, both then and even right now, is through a triadic movement. Abraham, number 1 in the Cycle and bearer of Aleph (1), enters from the land of pre-duality. Yitzhaaq, Isaac, his son, the second generation and number 2 of the Cycle, takes root in the duality of Canaan. Isaac (spelled Yod-Tsadde-Hayt-Qof) contains the seeds of both male (Qof) and female (Tsadde) perfection but because he is, in fact, the carrier in space-time (Yod) of unevolved (Hayt) potentials, he must pass on his blessing to number 3 -- Jacob -- who resolves the Cycle by prevailing over Esau, wrestling with Elohim and transforming into Israel, where Aleph is resurrected again in the human psyche. The Cycle (the sequence of the names of the Patriarchs and their wives) begins with the letter Aleph of Abraham and ends with the Aleph-Lammed of Israel, the same Aleph-Lammed that begins Elohim, without using the letter (Aleph) anywhere in-between.
Aleph, supreme consciousness unconscious of itself, carried by Abraham, enters a land -- call it space-time, or life, death and duality -- where all its developmental potentials will be challenged and maximized, and where its carriers will be prevented from settling down into a fixed adaptation. The "time" it takes to develop its un-evolved potential -- always guarding against a premature birth -- is the state of Yitzhhaq, Issac. Isaac, whose name means "laughter," consists both of totally evolved male (Qof) and female (Tsadde) structures and a pool of totally undifferentiated energy (Hayt) between them (its an in-joke). Both Isaac and Jacob begin with the letter Yod, marking them as existential states, in space-time. Note Genesis 25, 4-6 binds Isaac to duality -- he must not marry a Canaanite, but he cannot leave the land of Canaan.
Gen 24:6: And Abraham said unto him, Beware thou that thou bring not my son thither again.On the other hand, Jacob must leave Canaan and return to the land of his mother's brother (Laban) to marry.
So, after delays (because the time was not right), Isaac has a son, Yaacob, Jacob, who is rooted in existence (Yod) and actualizes (Ayn) cosmic consciousness (Qof) in an individual container/body (Bayt). Jacob (who represents Aleph) and his twin brother Yissav/Esau (who represents Yod) have a dispute over who is the eldest and who is deserving of YHWH's blessing -- who is the "son of YHWH " and who is the "son of the Earth." Jacob, though he is the second twin, is psychologically older, and in a scene recapitulating on a new level the scene between Cain and Abel (they both occur near a "field") Esau recognizes this fact. With Rivka/Rebekkah's help, Jacob receives Isaac's blessing, but, contradictorily, Esau inherits all the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above and Jacob is out on his own (what was the true nature of the "blessing?). Later, after freeing Leah and Rachel from Laban, Jacob is pursued by Esau, who still bears a grudge. Jacob and his family stop for the night by the side of a stream, where while alone he is attacked by a representive of YHWH with whom he wrestles through the night (consuming all his "dark" unevolved evolutionary potentials), and finally, receives this blessing at dawn:
Gen 32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
In existence (Yod), the cosmic Breath (Sheen) acts on the cosmic container (Raysh) and frees Aleph (1) in factual movement (Lammed). This is the schema that, by definition, can never settle down into a fixed adaptation. Psychologically, Israel is totally free of the past, living in, and transmitting, the Immanence.
Israel and Canaan are complements: the realization of maximum psychological development in the land of no-fixed-adaptation. The "State of Israel" is an internal contradiction: Israel is by definition the stateless state. And the land of Canaan, center of conflict, is where duality and contradiction are most intensified.
Aleph enters duration (as proto-history) with Abraham and resurrects -- in space-time -- as Israel, having conquered duality with a three-fold movement. According to Suares, there have been three incarnations of Israel -- Jacob, Elijah and Yhshwh, Jesus.
Can you find these archetypes within yourself? Do you have an essence which is connected to the infinite? Do you have the potential to perfect both the male and female structures of consciousness within you, while not yielding to the temptations of easy solutions? And finally, do you have the potential to actualize cosmic consciousness in a body? If so, which side is prevailing -- the infinite, unknowable life-death of Aleph, or the duration and continuity of Yod?
The Abraham Cycle: Feminine Transformation and Psychological Development
Before we look at the archetypes of masculinity and feminity and their relationships in the Abraham Cycle, it may help to remember that Iysch and Esha (Aleph-Yod-Sheen and Aleph-Sheen-Hay) are the abstract archetypes or symbolic beings of man and woman in contrast to the individualized-in-spacetime functions of Adam and Eve. Their essence and common element is Aleph-Sheen, Hebrew for fire. In man, the fire exists (Yod), but has no life. In woman, it is alive (Hay) but doesn't exist. Further, the Hebrew words for male and female describe the male as open to evolutionary possibilities while it is the female who carries and safeguards the cosmic Aleph, Qof. Note both energies are present in the individual: "male and female created he them."
In order that Aleph should be born into human society, the passive female side of Adam,
obviously, must transform itself and rise above the female "containing element" (the body). Until this
has happened, the activity of the male will only be chaotic agitation. The theme of the necessary transformation
of the feminine is very important in the Bible. We shall meet it again in the feminine archetypes of Esha,
Hhevah, Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel, etc. ... up to Mary, mother of Jesus. All these are symbolical personifications
of what women must learn to become. It is unfortunate that inadequate translations have prevented women from
grasping the truth concerning themselves as it is set forth in the Book of Genesis. Thus women allow themselves
to be misled into allowing the male -- in such fatuous roles as a high priest of racism waving the Bible, or some
head of state invoking divine verngence in a "holy war" -- to exert every possible pressure to persuade all
humankind that "God" is a "He", with "his" code of morals, "his" wars, etc. etc.
Carlo Suares, Cipher of Genesis, 1970
And here we are, today. Embedded, or actually, encoded, into the story of Abraham are three primary archetypes of perfected feminine consciousness -- Sarah, Rivka/Rebekkah and Rachel. At each of the three stages of the myth, the feminine lead plays a central role in advancing the action towards the birth of Israel. The central theme concerns the relationship between man and woman found in each of the three pairs as defined by the binary opposition sisterhood-chattel.
Abraham goes down into Egypt and tells everyone Sarah is his sister.  Pharoah takes her as chattel but returns her to Abraham when he finds out she is really his wife. The same thing happens again with Abimelekh, King of Gerar after Abraham repeats that Sarah his sister.  This time, however, YHWH tells Abimelehk in a dream that he is a dead man for taking another man's wife and Abimelekh returns Sarah with a thousand (1000=Cosmic Aleph) pieces of silver. Years later, Isaac and Rebekkah are in the kingdom of Abimelelk, and what does Isaac say? 
Maybe if we really thought the Bible was Holy, we'd pay more attention to it and take its symbols more directly into ourselves. If it is really God's Word, what excuse do we have if we've been told the same thing three times?
Women are defined as not property at the very beginning of the myth of individual psychological evolution known as the story of Abraham. Their free, equal, independent status and actions -- insisted upon by their male partners -- determine the course of development that will result in the birth of Israel, archetype of unconditioned consciousness. Without their intervention, development would not happen at all.
It should be obvious that the feminine has been subjugated under male authority and domininance since the beginning of history. Yet at the very beginning of history, in the myth of Beginning, a clear counter-statement is made -- women are not property and should be treated as equals by men. The women in the Abrahman Cycle make their own decisions which directly result in the development of the seed of the inner light. The key to psychological development, on all levels -- personal, interpersonal, social -- is in the liberation of feminine consciousness from repetitive female structures by a process of sublimation or deconditioning. Two thousand years later in the myth, Yhshwh will make the liberation process more explicit by casting out seven devils -- psychological resistances -- from Mary Magdalene.
The common letter in all these permutations of Aleph's spouse is Raysh, formative of the cosmic container/mind. The union or copulation of Aleph (male) with Raysh (female) is Aleph-Waw-Raysh, Awr, Hebrew for light. Each of the feminine archetypes is wedded to an incarnation of Aleph, or Aleph in a particular state in the individual or collective psyche. Each union engenders the inner light.
Sheen, 300, Rouhh Elohim, arises from within universe (Raysh) itself -- life is endogenous, not endowed from the outside. Raysh is the only letter whose last letter is the first letter of the next letter. The two Sheen's of Raysh and Sheen (the only places they appear in the fully-spelled-out alphabet) are the two intertwined energies of structuration: the breath from above (turning spirit into matter); and the breath from below: turning matter into spirit.
The Abraham Cycle: Core Module for Cosmic Consciousness
Taking the long view, we are near the
beginning of the Age of Aquarius.
Two thousand years ago, the birth of Jesus occured near the beginning of the
Age of Pisces.
Two thousand years before that, Abraham sacrified a Ram instead of Isaac at the beginning of the Age of Aries.
Four thousand years ago, YHWH established a double convenant with Abraham and his descendants: a convenant
of the tongue (knowledge passed down from before the Deluge through the Sons of Elohim: Qabala) and a convenant of the
flesh (circumcision ) -- a double convenant for the mind and the body.
Abraham is a purely archetypal figure. He leaves the light of non-duality and collective consciousness and sets out on a path of individuation, the path chosen for him by YHWH, the "El" or personal God of Abraham, into the land of duality and conflict. This path is developmental and leads eventually to the birth of Israel, who transcends duality as an incarnation and resurrection of Aleph -- from within spacetime -- and who then sees God "face-to-face."
Abraham is the "father" of nearly everyone in the West. Buried in the psyches of believers and non-believers alike is the core myth of the Western Spiritual revelation and the beginning of its realization in history. Abraham is outside history but inside ourselves, where the structure of the myth describes the embodiment of timeless Aleph in us and the possibility (or not) of its resurrection in the developmental process of space-time, Yod, where either Esau (material) or Jacob (spiritual) energies are blessed.
And where are we in the realization of our own core myths? Do we believe Abraham was an ancient Biblical figure rendered obsolete by Jesus? Or that he is a piece of early Jewish folklore? Whichever way we go, towards belief or towards disbelief, towards religion or towards science, we miss the truth -- that the myth is the myth of our own psychological individuation and differentiation from collective beliefs, our own slow fulfilling of our developmental potentials, of our own choices that determine the actual state of our spiritual evolution, and our own possibility of dying to ourselves and awakening to unlimited freedom.
Four thousands years ago (in pre-history) Abraham signed his Contract with God, known as the Abrahamic Revelation. Six hundred years later (in proto-history), Moses created a protective shell for the Revelation in the bodies and psyches of the Jewish people. Fourteen hundred years after that (at the edge of history) Jesus shattered the shell and said "the Kingdom of God is within you."
And here we are, two thousand years later, either waiting for our reserved seat in heaven or living in a Godless, materialistic universe. Certain fundamental contradictions never seem to get addressed. Is individual and societal and technological development part of God's plan, post-Jesus, or not? If so, what are their characteristics, and towards what end, pre-Apocalyse, so to speak? Is He just keeping us in a two-thousand year suspense before he destroys all the wicked, and all the Jews, and everybody else except for 82,000,000 American Evangelical Born-Again Jesus-in-their-hearts Christians? Is there some point to civilization, spirituality-wise?
Returning to the long view, Abraham lived at a time when the Sun's rising on the first day of Spring was in Aries, a sign "formed" (according to ancient Hebrew wisdom) by the letter Hay, life. Since you've visited the Hypertext Alphabet recommended above, you know that Hay/5 is a single digit archetypal letter. Because of the precession of the equinoxes, Jesus was born at the beginning of the Age of Pisces, formed by the Hebrew letter Qof/100, Cosmic Aleph, and sign of the perfected man. We are now entering the Age of Aquarius, formed by Tsadde/90, feminine structuration and perfected womanhood.
Precessing backwards in the zodiac -- in Aries, the Ram, Abram receives "life" (Hay) from YHWH and becomes Abraham. This happens on an archetypal level. In Pisces, Jesus is an incarnation of Israel, a realization of the perfected man, Ben-Adam. This happens on a cosmic or universal level (Qof=100) which impacts spacetime (Yod/10). The Age of Aquarius will happen on both existential and cosmic (Tsadde=90/900) levels and its emblem will be feminine.
This feminine is the counterpart or Bride of the cosmically-realized male Aleph, Qof/100, Jesus. If the Bride is sufficiently developed over the next two thousand years, on individual and collective levels, mankind may be in a position to realize (formative: Ayn) the cosmic nuptials of Qof and Tsadde on earth when the sun rises in Capricorn on the first day of spring, two thousand years from now.
[Finally, we can spend a little time with the source code running at the heart of the myth inside the husk we know as the story of Abraham. The program, actually a vital sub-routine in a much larger project, is designed to input an Aleph and output an Israel. It is written in a language called QBL, popular around the time the universe was created, and one of a small set of true UPL's (Universal Programming Languages) capable of programming an indeterminate number of dimensions in an indeterminate number of universes.]
Twelve (of the available twenty-two letters) are used in a twenty-eight letter sequence, from Abraham to Israel, beginning with the Aleph-Bayt of the alpha-bet and ending with the Aleph-Lammed of Elohim, God.
Raysh (cosmic container or mind) appears five times, in all the women plus Abraham and Israel. Yod (existence) and Qof (cosmic consciousness) appear three times each. Aleph (infinite consciousness) and Sheen (Aleph's agent arising from within the universe -- see Raysh again) disappear after Abraham and Sarah but are resurrected in Israel.
Israel inherits the existence (Yod) of Isaac and Jacob, the cosmic metabolism (Sheen) of Sarah, the cosmic mind (Raysh) of Abraham, Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel, the intemporal (Aleph) of Abraham and the organic movement (Lammed) of Rachel.
Aleph needs eleven intermediaries used twenty-six times before it can live in Israel. In addition to those mentioned, a container (Bayt: Abraham, Rebekka and Jacob), life (Hay: Abraham, Sarah and Rebekka) male and female images of perfection (Qof and Tsadde: Issac), and real possibility (Ayn: Jacob), unevolved potential (Hayt: Isaac and Rachel) and proliferation (Mem: Abraham).
Last, a closer look at the syzygies (as cosmological opposites) of the male and female pairs and their outcome in Israel. The men of the lineage embody evolutionary energies (their sequences -- the letter-numbers of their names -- run small to large) while the women embody involutionary energies (their sequences run large to small).
Aleph as Abraham enters space-time. The sequence is 188.8.131.52.600, moving from the archetypal (1,2,5) through the existential (the transmuted Mem/40) to the cosmic (200,600). He is joined by Sarai/Sarah whose energies -- 300.200.10/5 -- go in the opposite direction. Abraham and Sarah (Essence and Energy) are mostly cosmic beings (200, 300, 600) plus Aleph (1) and its individual container Bayt (2). They are both alive with Hay (5) but not in existence.
The second phase of the Cycle finds Isaac (10.90.8.100) in the land of duality and existence (10). Isaac contains the seeds of male (100) and female (90) perfection inherited from Abraham and Sarah but is bound to space-time by YHWH and is in a dangerous position. He must give birth to Israel, but his evolution (8) is not complete. Rivka/Rebekka is a perfected feminine consciousness. Her numbers are 184.108.40.206: the cosmic psyche (200) in an individual container (2) giving birth to cosmic Consciousness (100) alive (5).
Which she does with Israel. The third generation, Jacob and Rachel, completes the conquest of Canaan (duality) by transcending it. Jacob -- 10.70.100.2 -- in existence (10) has the capacity to realize (70) cosmic Consciousness (100) in an individual body/container (2). Rachel -- 200.8.30 -- is his counterpart, again going in the opposite direction of structuration. Rachel provides a cosmic constainer (200) for Jacob's cosmic consciousness (100). Movement (30) arises from unstructured (8) energy. This functional organic movement, the last letter (Lammed) of Rachel's name, is the last letter needed to spell Israel from the letters already given. Israel is the realization of Jacob's potential to incarnate the cosmic Aleph (Qof).
Israel, the synthesis and outcome of the Abraham Cycle and generalized archetype of the fully-realized human consciousness. Again:
Israel: in existence (10), the cosmic Breath (300) acts on the cosmic container (200) and frees Aleph (1) in factual movement (30). This is the schema that, by definition, can never settle down into a fixed adaptation. Psychologically, Israel is totally free of the past, living in, and transmitting, the Immanence.
Later in the myth, he will appear as Jesus:
|See: Eastern and Western Spirituality|