The Nourishing Power of Words

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.

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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.

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An amazing library in the Abbey of St. Gallen, Switzerland

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42 Responses to The Nourishing Power of Words

  1. Katalina4 says:

    “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.”
    Beautiful in sentiment and phrasing…

  2. I have had difficulty reading for long periods in front of the pc. God bless the book under my arm. Plus, I like to see my favorite books weather over time from reading. That’s a special experience.

  3. Soul Fields says:

    I was nourished by you expressing your love of words.

    “In various esoteric doctrines a book is a symbol of the whole immense universe” reminded me of the forever fascinating Akashic records, often symbolized by a library, and including our personal soul journeys as well. I´m one of those who also link personal akashic records being included in our DNA-codes, partly at the least.

    PS. I recently saw a meditation picture of a new chapter in my “life book” with a simple title: New Beginning. (It is something beautiful, because the letters were so elegant. :D)

  4. james369 says:

    I agree… a physical book has a presence that an electronic facsimile can never have. A book has an energy all of its own, whereas a text file is essentially sterile. Perhaps in some way, we are better able to substitute the presence of the author with a book’s physical presence, since a sacred book embodies something of the sacredness it purports.

  5. What a lovely post!!! I have used the phrase ” devour books ” many times and thought I had created it, guess not! I am not an E-Reader/Kindle person and my home is basically taken over by books and my cat! If you place a sacred book by your heart, you can feel it’s energy or vibration. I do not want to a world without actual tangible books. On another note, thanks for the Ceres reference. Between you and Gray, I am taking the hint to explore my Ceres more!

    • Linda, there is the so called trail of the planets very near to where I live and it includes both Ceres and Pluto among the other usual suspects. I think Ceres deserves a strong position in the pantheon. At least I want to believe it as she is on my MC.

      • trail of planets? intriguing….. I reread the Ceres section of Asteroid Goddesses and the grief and loss aspects apply to me personally and professionally, there is more to consider as we both have her on an angle!

        By the way, I picked up Soul Centered Astrology by Alan Oken at the conference, thinking it was one you recommended. Is that the correct book?

      • There is a lot to consider about Ceres, I agree.
        Info on planet trail: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2008/11/visiting-zrich/ If you come here, I’ll take you there! 🙂
        To be honest, I only read Alan Oken online, I do not have this book, but Gray always quotes him in his posts and I always found these quoted great.

      • thanks for the link! I tried to recall your recommendations. I aksed you this before and forgot your reply. Besides Liz Greene ( who I adore), which astrology authors are your ” go-to” references? I want to learn more about the esoteric and mythical route.

        thanks Monika!

      • I am afraid I do not have any recommendations. A few years back I used to read a lot on astrology but nowadays nothing interests me. Besides Liz Greene I still like Raven Kaldera. I definitely see myself as a mythological astrologer. Oh, and I love to read Rudhyar, he is never boring. If Gray of esoteric embers wrote a book, I would run to get it probably. 🙂

      • I would too! Gray has the late Gemini rising on my moon and your sun so he projects our need to learn and dessiminate our knowledge very prominently 🙂

        I do have a book by rudyhar I that I won in a reaffle on houses, will give it another look. I never heard of Raven Kaldera. Why did I associate Oken with you, another mystery?
        I see myself as a transpersonal/ psychological astrologer who enjoys the richness of the myths. Yet my difficulty with details can create obstacles with some of the mastery.

  6. Such a beautiful post, written with beautiful words, by a beautiful human.
    ✿ღ✿ღ.¸¸ღ♫*¨`*•..¸ƸӜƷ ✿ღ ✫❀✿ღ✿ღ.¸¸ღ♫*¨`*•..¸ƸӜƷ ✿ღ ✫❀

  7. The whole process repeats again and again throughout the Bible, .Like the Shamir, according to one legend, The legend of Solomon’s temple.for instance. the number 3 which is symbolic of the Prince of Wisdom. In essence, is the Temple of Wisdom being built by the serpent, and that serpent is none other than that of, or similar to, the internal kundalini, later to be developed into the Kabbalah. The Temple is like the alchemy method and is remade. Then again and again, until finally the Christ is the temple,. And now, according to the texts, we can all meet with this Christ and we can all have the knowledge. We just need to understand that the true Christ is all and in all. There is truth in the previous statements for sure; these books but to gasp in awe at the power of the kundalini simply because ancient man found it enlightening at the time. Legends always seem to make good reading and be entertaining as well. Thank you for sharing.

  8. MartsArts Poetrypictures says:

    I’m more triggered by meaning and consistency than by words Monika. Sure words have meaning of their own and there are many rich ones. But experience often also great overkill of meaningless verbiage. I think we maybe should use less words and focus on adding meaning.

    Futher I would stand up for reintroducing clay tablets.

    • Plus one for clay tablets.:-) I also dislike empty words. I try to make my posts shorter.
      But having said that, a word well used can seduce my soul.

      • MartsArts Poetrypictures says:

        Your posts mean a lot to me and have a lot of meaning. My comment is about the use of words in general. And sure just concentrated language can be very seducive. Lets call it poetry.

      • I did not take your comment personally, I understood exactly what you meant. But thank you for the reassurance, always nice to hear.

  9. MartsArts Poetrypictures says:

    Ok.

  10. ptero9 says:

    Words, language, have given me so much! Food for the soul, sustenance, for sure. I do have a Kindle though, which allows me to purchase more non-fiction books at a better price, but I do love books. There are certain collections I can’t part with and re-read with the pleasure of being with an old friend.

  11. Synchronous. I was just talking about books v Kindles/Nooks. etc. with one of my best friends 5 minutes before I read this. Hahaha.

  12. Yaz says:

    I’ve noticed that the digestive system is a metaphor for the way in which we digest life’s experiences. People’s digestive problems match their fears, their attitudes and behaviours. We all experience life differently, and avid readers devour other peoples experiences (even in story form) as a way to discover themselves, to learn and to grow. I’ve also devoured books my whole life, because I’ve sought wisdom and my deeper self. This is a great post!

  13. shreejacob says:

    I do love this post! I do love books!! My parents inculcated the love of books in my sister and I from a young age…and I loved getting lost in the movie which played the story I was reading!
    From fictional books only, I have now been having this great urge to only read those which pertain to my interests in the “spiritual” and I am loving it…though sometimes it is hard to read certain book because of my own issues which I need to deal with!
    I love the smell of a new book and the feel of it’s weight in my hands and the feel of wanting to turn the page! 🙂

  14. Stuff Jeff Reads says:

    Great post! I found a copy of “Transcendental Magic” by Eliphas Levi in a used bookstore, but have not gotten around to reading it yet. And I agree with you about print vs digital books. While I believe there is a place for digital books, I will always choose print if given the option. Hey, I still buy vinyl records. 😉

  15. The library image is like a drug. I am blessed in Massachusetts with excellent used bookstores. Piled to the ceiling with treasures. I surround myself with them, but do not have the variety of appetite that you seem to have. I’m glad you do. Thereby, am I exposed to more! Great post.

  16. Books for me hold within their pages Magically imagination… Interestingly I once listened to a tape from a lady who was speaking from the other-side via a medium by direct-voice. I can not for the life of me remember the name of the lady, but the medium was Leslie Flint. you may be interested in listening to some yourself Here http://www.leslieflint.com/recordingsnew.html

    But I remember well she said that the most read books, Novels were given life of a sort in another dimension as our collective consciousness while reading allowed them to manifest almost if your will like a Dream but with substance…. ( I was reminded of the Hologram-Deck on the Star Ship Enterprise in Star Trek…

    Books are tangible and our consciousness is held within that which we pour ourselves into… Like the author of the words, a little of his/herself is shared within the pages as we read, each of us being touched by its power….

    Wishing you a Beautiful weekend my friend and I am loving reading your thoughts
    Sue xox

    • That is incredible, I do remember the Holodec because I am a fan of Star Trek, in fact. I always suspected the books we read live in our subconscious, enriching it. Nothing is ever forgotten there, nothing we read is ever lost. Thank you for these beautiful thoughts. I am going to inspect that link. Have a wonderful weekend,
      Monika

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