O mouth which inspires and respires the existence of all beings in the flux and reflux of thy eternal Word, which is the divine ocean of movement and of truth.
Eliphas Levi, The Conjuration of the Four Elements
If there is one thing that we humans share it is a craving for nourishment, both of the body and of the soul. During the upcoming Full Moon we may all be collectively nourished as the dwarf planet Ceres will be in conjunction with the Sun tomorrow and opposing the Moon. The Greek goddess Demeter, about whom you can read more here, to me represents first and foremost sustenance and nourishment by the Mother Goddess.
I could think of a number of things that nourish me but for some reason I have been thinking a lot recently about my need and thirst for books and words. Reading is what sustains me, what nourishes my soul and what keeps me alive and alert. In various esoteric doctrines a book is a symbol of the whole immense universe. Rosicrucianism spoke of Liber Mundi – the Book of the World. The Kabbalah speaks of the transcendent letters or words that created the manifest reality. “In the beginning was the Word”, a well-known quote from the New Testament says. Eliphas Lèvi, a French occult author with a wondrous gift of words, whose writings greatly inspired The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, thus emphasized the power of Word in his book The Key of Mysteries: “Light is the instrument of the Word, it is the white writing of God upon the great book of night.”
The nourishing power of words is directly touched upon in the Old Testament in The Book of Ezekiel, where we read: “”Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.”” (Ezekiel 2:9-3:3.) Probably this is how the expression to “devour books” was born. Kafka, whose books I devour with delight, often spoke in his Diaries of his greed for books: “It is as though this greed came from my stomach, as though it were a perverse appetite.” The love of books has a carnal quality – I do not doubt that.
The book is obviously something beyond its paper, glue, cardboard and ink, but nevertheless there is something holy in the act of holding a book. I am not sure I could ever experience the same thing holding my e-book reader, although the emotions stirred by its words may be the same. Perhaps in the future paper books will be rare treasures made according to the high art of hand paper making that is still alive in Tibet and Nepal for example. Only a selected number of books, only those containing words of light, truth and beauty, will be worthy of the sacrificed life of a tree.
An amazing library in the Abbey of St. Gallen, Switzerland