- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Epitaph | pg. 2 - The Iron Gates of Fate
pg. 3 - The Fate of All Mankind | pg. 4 - Moonchild
pg. 5 - The Court of the Crimson King | pg. 6 - The Purple Piper
pg. 7 - Averroes | pg. 8 - The Keeper of the City Keys
pg. 9 - The Pilgrim's Door | pg. 10 - The Return of the Fire Witch
pg. 11 - The Gardener Plants An Evergreen | pg. 12 - The Prism Ship
pg. 13 - The Grinding Wheel | pg. 14 - On Soft Gray Mornings
pg. 15 - Divining Signs | pg. 16 - The Yellow Jester
pg. 17 - Remember the Future | pg. 18 - The Return of the King
pg. 19 - The I Ching | pg. 20 - Octants

- page index -
The Book of Illumination

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" I chase the wind of a prism ship
To taste the sweet and sour.

The obvious interpretation is that this passage expresses the narrator's desire to experience new perspectives. But the word "prism" is also a Kabbalistic reference.

The Prism Ship

"According to ancient Kabbalists, reality is composed of 10 dimensions. The Kabbalist refers to these 10 dimensions as Ten Sephiroth, meaning ́ten emanationsî of Light.
The structure of the 10 Sephiroth acts as a prism that refracts the Light into various frequencies giving rise to the diversity that composes the entire spectrum of creation."

- Sephiroth

"In the language of earlier Kabbalistic writers the sephiroth represented ten primeval emanations of God, ten focii through which the energy of a hidden, absolute and unknown Godhead (En Soph) propagated throughout the creation, like white light passing through a prism. The sephiroth can be interpreted as aspects of God, as states of consciousness, or as nodes akin to the Chakras in the occult anatomy of a human being."
The ultimate nature of God is neither known nor manifest to us."

Sometimes God Hides

"but just as light can be passed through a prism to produce a rainbow of colours,
so God manifests in the creation as ten divine lights or emanations, usually referred to as sephiroth."

- Kabbalah by Colin Low

And the "sephiroth" is a vessel or ship.

"Sefirot - ten qualities or dimensions from which everything in the world is composed. The ten sefirot are both divine light, and the vessel in which the light is held. According to the kabbalah, the universe is holographic, which means that every discrete part is a microcosm of the whole, and contains the ten sefirot."

- Basic Terms of Kabbalah

"The universal pulse is reflected in a tenfold vessel, the ten kelim or vessels of the Sephiroth."

- Theosophy Libraray Online Great Teacher Series

"In the first stage of formation, the sefirot were not divisible at all in the sense of the ten vessels. Rather, they were a single vessel made of ten. That is, the ten sefirot were bound in one vessel."

(i.e. a "prism ship")

(Yedid Nefesh, Introduction to Kabbalah by Rabbi Y. Bar-Lev, Israel)

- Kabbalah Net issue #7

Frederick II was an Averroist and Averroism, the doctrine of Emanations, was synonymous with Kabbalism.

"Averrhoism was based upon the doctrine of Emanations, which directly opposed the idea of a Creative Deity. The work of Averrhoes was supplemented by that of two Jewish Rabbis, Isaac the Blind and Azariel ben Menachem, whose Commentary on the Ten Sephiroth presented the same doctrine from the Kabalistic point of view. Averrhoism quickly penetrated into the University of Paris and was adopted by some of the foremost thinkers of the day. The Emperor Frederick II openly espoused it and was excommunicated from the Church as a result."

- Great Theosophists Roger Bacon

"The origin of the word "Kabbalah" as a label for a tradition which is definitely recognisable as Kabbalah is attributed to Isaac the Blind (c. 1160-1236 C.E.), who is also credited with being the originator of the idea of sephirothic emanation."

- The Alt.Magick Kabbalah FAQ

"In Jewish philosophy, influences of Neo-Platonism are apparent in Avicebron and Maimonides. In the Cabbala the famous doctrine of the Sephiroth is essentially a doctrine of emanations. It was developed and systematized especially in the thirteenth century."

- Emanationism

"Rambam is Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (another acronym), usually called in English by his Greek name, Maimonides. He wrote the first definitive compilation of Jewish law since Talmudic times, the Mishneh Torah, but for the student of Kabbalah it is the Guide for the Perplexed, Moreh Nebuchim, which is most important."

- Arcana: Kabbalah in English

"Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed was reportedly a favorite of Frederick's."

- The Ornament of the World
by Maria Rosa Menocal'
p. 214

"Frederick was introduced to the works of Maimonides, who died in 1205, by another scholar, Moses ben Salomon from Salerno, who had written a commentary on the Guide of the Perplexed . Other works of this great Aristotelian were known to the Emperor, and some of his conversations prove that he knew them intimately."

- Frederick II
by Ernst Kantorowicz
(p. 344)

"Maimonides opposed the false claims of magic. While himself a scholar of the kabbalah, he warned against its abuse by less knowledgeable people.
The Rambam's legacy was not restricted to the Jewish world. His influences included the ancient Greek, Aristotle; the early Christian thinker, Augustine; the Persian philosopher-scientist Avicenna (Ibn Sinna); and his Arab contemporary, Averoes (Ibn Rushd)."

- Maimonides: The Rambam

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The Bahir - The Book of Illumination

"The Bahir is one of the oldest and most important of all Kabbalistic texts. Until the publication of the Zohar, the Bahir was the most influential source of Kabbalistic teachings. It is quoted in virtually every major Kabbalistic work and is cited numerous times by the Ramban (Maimonides) in his commentary on the Torah. It is also paraphrased and quoted many times in the Zohar (late 13th century).

The name 'Bahir' literally means 'brilliant' or 'Illumination', and is derived from the first verse quoted in the text of the Bahir "And now they do not see the light, it is brilliant [bahir] in the skies", which itself is a quote from the book of Job (37:21).

Although the Bahir is a fairly small book, 12,000 words in all, it was very highly esteemed. It was first published in Provence in 1176.

One of the most important concepts revealed in it is that of the ten Sefirot."

- What is Sefer haBahir, The Bahir (The Book of Illumination)?

"To taste the sweet and sour."

"In the Bahir, we see, almost without foreshadowing, the primary kabbalistic motifs: the organic concept of God as a dynamic process whose rhythms constitute the universe, alternating egress and regress; the dialectic of opposites within God, such as good and evil, male and female."

- Bahir

"The Taoists believe that everything has it's opposite. Light has Dark. Sweet has Sour. Dry has Wet. Dead has living, and so on and so forth for everything that exists. That's what Yin and Yang are; Yin symbolizes coolness, softness, darkness, shadow, passive, wet, negative, and Yang is warmth, hard, light, bright, active, dry. These concepts are symbolized by the picture of two fish, one dark, one light, endlessly swimming after one another."

- Understanding Yin and Yang

"The Kabbalah teaches that God has both masculine and feminine attributes. This is another important point to remember as this male and female or principle of duality is a common theme throughout the Kabbalah. The logic of duality is thus; the Bible states, "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." (Genesis Ch.1 V. 27). This leads the Kabbalists to believe the Deity possesses both male and female attributes as God created male and female in his image. This concept of duality alludes to the Equilibrium of Contraries or the balance which exists in the universe."

- The Holy Kabbalah

The "prism ship", the kabbalistic Tree of Life, is a means, a way, to enlightnment, a road map for the soul.

"At its heart is the diagram of the tree of life. A symbolic picture of the treasures of the universe-both magickal and material. A symbol rich in rewards for those who have the keys to unlocking it. Those keys are what we will try our best to lead you to. For in unlocking it you will find a road-map to the divine and how the universe was created.

The Tree of Life diagram is a visual reference broken down into ten separate "steps" or "levels of consciousness" called Sephiroth, and each are considered a path in themselves. The word " Sephiroth" meaning VESSEL, because they each contain spiritual guidelines and guidance.
In between the sephiroth there are twenty two paths based on the letters of the hebrew alphabet, with each letter containing its own correspondences like the sephiroth. The paths also correspond well with the Tarot, as well."

- What is Kabbalah

Frederick, the spiritual pilgrim (who waits "outside the pilgrim's door") "chases the wind" of enlightenment conveyed in the teachings of the Kabbalah. He seeks to "taste (experience) the sweet and sour", the male/female, yin/yang of the equilibrium of opposites.

"This wisdom is the recording of what the greatest souls in all of history experienced in the inner eye of the mind and heart. Their experience borders on prophetic vision, and ruach hakodesh, the Holy Spirit, that descends on a person. The vessel through which this wisdom is conveyed are the teachings of Kabbalah. They fulfill the basic need of the soul to find truth and to give purpose and meaning to one's life."

- Kabbalah and Jewish Renewal

Aside from it's Kabbalistic connotations, the "prism ship" could be the album's lone Arabic reference. Stalactites or "mocarae" (ie, designs of several prisms on a concave base) were a common motif in the Islamic architecture of the time. Also, the most noteworthy nautical chapter of Frederick's life involved his sea journey to the Arab land of Jerusalem, where he did indeed "taste the sweet and sour." It was there that he simultaneously reclaimed the Holy Land and alienated the Pope. It is only natural that he would chase, attempt to re-experience, the sense of triumph and accomplishment he must have felt, or at least fondly recall this memory.

In the Court of the Crimson King ~ The Gardener Plants an Evergreen return to
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In the Court of the Crimson King ~ The Grinding Wheel

Sign the Dreambook Dreambook Read the Dreambook

Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
Islands Two Footnotes in the Sand Still Still 2
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