Welcome to our latest newsletter, dear readers.
• We open our monthly selection with a new addition to the Matheson Trust Sacred Audio Collection, a very special Jewish song El Mistater (“The God Who Hides”), composed around the 15th century within the Kabbalistic community of Safed (Tsefat), and transmitted for centuries among the Jews of Aleppo in particular. Each one of its stanzas is related explicitly to each of the ten sefirot of the Tree of Life. We present several audio versions and one original translation.
God Self-Hiding within a veiling canopy,
Doctrine kept secret from every thought,
Cause of all causes, crowned with the crown (keter) of the Most High, A crown we give to you,
• In “Revelation as Concealment: The Theology of the Icon Screen”, Father Maximos Constas explains the symbolic meanings of the icon screen, and its place within the theological cosmology of the Byzantine church.
Christ will presently “clothe himself in the royal robe of the flesh woven from the body of the Virgin, and in return he shall reveal her to be the Queen of all created beings”.
The Christ Child gently pushes away the veil of his mother. 13th-century painting by Sienese master Duccio di Buoninsegna. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
• Finally, with “The Mystery of the Veil”, by Frithjof Schuon, we look at the symbol of the veil from the deepest metaphysical perspective and in its broader correspondences through various faiths.
We have a well known example of divine Femininity in Isis of the Egyptians, whom we mention here because of her connection with the Veil… she represents not so much the power of cosmic illusion as that of initiatic disillusion. By removing the veils, which are accidents and darkness, she reveals her Nudity, which is Substance and Light; being inviolable she can blind or kill, but being generous she regenerates and delivers.