Shekinah

“Perennial” intellectual and spiritual traditions, as René Guénon noted, have “theories of celestial intermediaries” pertaining to terrestrial affairs which in turn distinguish these traditions from modern discourses and modern thinking. As Fritjhof Schuon argued: “Our relationship with the world is something conditional, relative; our relationship with Heaven on the contrary is something unconditional and imprescriptible. The only thing that counts absolutely is our consciousness of the Absolute; all the rest is in God’s hands.” 

In Hebrew and in Arabic, these “theories of celestial intermediaries” are known as Shekinah and Metatron. The concept or theory of Shekinah encompasses multiple conditions and meanings, as Guénon noted. For one, it includes the notion of a divine “presence,” “order,” “a place of divine manifestation,” “light,” and “peace,” all of which stem from “the return of all things to their primordial state.” In turn, the return of all things to their “primordial state” will “herald the messianic era.” In turn, the Metatron is a “consort” to Shekinah which “represents the celestial influence communicating itself to all the worlds” as Guénon argued. The “terrestrial pole” is a “reflection” of the “celestial pole” that is known as the Metatron, both of which are in turn interlocked and interrelated by the “world axis” which reflects the celestial state onto terrestrial affairs and in turn interrelates the celestial to the terrestrial. 

Nevertheless, and as Guénon noted, Metatron can be viewed as having both a “luminous” aspect and a “dark” aspect. The paradox is that Metatron implies both “archetypes of events in the celestial world” and an “apocalyptic number” at the same time. But to associate Metatron with an apocalyptic or “infernal significance” is the result of “simple ignorance” as Guénon argued. What explains both the “luminous” and “dark” aspect of Metatron is the fact that man himself “is by definition situated between an intellection which connects him to God and a world which has the power to detach him from Him” as one scholar argued. Intelligence “is the perception of a reality, and a fortiori the perception of the Real as such” as well as an “ipso facto discernment between the Real and the unreal” as Schuon argued. In turn, intelligence relates to a “cognitive faculty” that can either be “potential” or “virtual” or “effective,” with the first pertaining “to all men” which in turn makes it “the most limited,” while the second “concerns men who are uninformed but capable of learning” and the third “coincides with knowledge.”

Shekinah amounts in large part to “the place of the union of the individual and the Universal” in both a figurative sense and a physical sense. In a figurative sense, the place or location of Shekinah is the heart. And in a physical sense, Shekinah takes root as a result of an “interaction” between “human initiative and divine grace” to borrow from Martin Lings. The “creative ray” of the “Absolute” ends “in the multitude of egos” which are made manifest by the terrestrial world and the formalization of the cosmos by modern minds. Because of the inward nature of Shekinah as a result of the very basic nature of the terrestrial world and the formalization of the cosmos by modern minds, it follows that the individual “is at the same time a door open towards the Self and immortality.” It is the inward attainment of Shekinah which then manifests its outward condition and state, with the inward attainment of Shekinah being guided in large part by a kind of knowledge and wisdom that is largely innate and is acquired through traditional or “perennial” methods and techniques. 

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