Two Swords, and Songs of Joy and the Four Worlds

Our two latest library additions, coming from very geographically and historically remote traditions, have to do with the meaning of the sword. The first one is a treatise on Japanese swordsmanship by Kimura Kyuho, “Ignorance in Swordsmanship” (Kenjutsu Fushiki Hen),

We have the sword of worship, of asceticism, as spiritual armor. Beyond this, there are spells which cause fever, spirit possession by foxes, curses of stopping the blood, pulling out fish bones and all sorts of other curses besides… However, doing these suspicious kinds of things and applying them to swordsmanship is a laughable notion. What is called wickedness is not the enemy of righteousness. Stick to the correct method: it is free of mystery. This form of wickedness cannot be used on those who hold to the truth: it is like ice melting in the sun.

• The second text is a very practical and technical text from the Christian Orthodox tradition, “The Sword of the Spirit: The Making of an Orthodox Rosary”,

The Jesus prayer is also associated with the beating of the heart, when the lips may be stilled and there is left to us only a listening, since the prayer says itself in the depth of the heart. We may find all this, and more, symbolized in the later stages of ‘tying the knot.’ Whatever we may learn it is integrated into a whole, but we only see it as such when the knot is finished.

• And finally, the latest addition to our acclaimed Sacred Audio Collection is a sample of Jewish mystical songs, nigunim, including two songs of joy, and the “Tune of the Four Gates”, a tune without words intended to lift the singer and the listener through each of the four spiritual worlds of the Kabbalah, for “Song is the soul of the universe,” and “in the high spheres there exist temples that can be opened through song only.” Click here to listen and for further references.