The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 

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Cosmic Walk — a spiral story of our Universe according to Science, Kabbalah, and Spirit

The Cosmic Walk is a ritual telling of the story of the universe from both a scientific and spiritual perspective, turning the physical history of our universe into a sacred story. The version offered here uniquely incorporates Kabbalah, dividing our history into seven stages, corresponding to the seven lower Sefirot and the seven days of Creation. Fifty years ago in 1972, when humanity saw Earth from space for the first time, this story reached one of its most remarkable apexes. The story continues... but we will continue to be part of the story?

Spiral Speak, Sam Brown, Abiquiu, New Mexico,

The Cosmic Walk begins when participants enter a darkened room or congregate outdoors after it has begun to get dark, arranging themselves around a spiral rope, dotted with candles, that represents the timeline of the entire universe, starting from its center, leading to the outside edge, where human history begins. The leader begins reading one of the versions of the timeline, and after each juncture is read, the next candle is lit. The reading continues until all the candles are lit and we reach the present day. Then people take time to meditate, sing, dance, and bring into their hearts this story of miracles.

The neohasid version of the Cosmic Walk also includes dates related to Judaism and to other religions. (Most other versions of the Cosmic Walk only reference Christianity in the human history section.) Lastly, it includes paleogeography, and it is also the most scientifically detailed and complete version that I am aware of. The ritual itself is awesome and awe-inspiring. Detailed instructions for how to set up the Cosmic Walk are included with the script you can download here. (You can also check out other versions of the Cosmic Walk here.)

Here are the links to neohasid's Kabbalistic version of the Cosmic Walk:



Here is an outline of the seven days:

Chesed—Love: expansion through love, free energy created out of nothing, the revelation of light...

Gevurah—Might: creation through limiting, shattering, destruction. Our planet is born...

Tiferet—Balance and Beauty: the intertwining of expansion and restriction, which leads to dynamic growth, death and birth. Earth comes to LIFE!...

Netzach—Eternity: in Kabbalah, the eye of prophecy — reflection, sight, and insight. Earth becomes aware...

Hod—Majesty: life reaches upwards! Extraordinary, diverse powers, patterns and forms of life are revealed through each unique combination of Chesed and Gevurah, flow and hardness...

Yesod—Extension in love: the evolution of relationships, feelings, and the fulfillment of the promise of love and care...

Malkhut—Shekhinah-Reign, Presence: the full manifestation of divinity in the physical world; the planet, all creatures and ecosystems, and the whole Universe, become unified in the cultures and consciousness of humanity. Earth sees herself!...

Here's the introduction:

The Cosmic Walk retells the history of our Universe according to current science as a sacred story that fits into our spiritual and religious traditions. It was created by Sister Miriam MacGillis (from Genesis Farm, and further developed by the eco-spirituality movement). This version here is by Rabbi David Seidenberg.

As a Jewish telling, this version includes references to the evolution of Judaism, and it structures the telling according to the "seven days of creation" which, according to Kabbalah, are actually the seven lower Sefirot, the qualities through which God created the world. This version also includes many new details about religion and science, including paleogeography and continental drift. The spiral rope we use for this ritual represents 13.7 billion years of this unfolding story. One eighth of an inch equals about one and a half million years; ten feet equals about one and a half billion years.

The symbol of the spiral is fundamental to the experience of the Cosmic Walk. When the story of the Universe is told in science museums and textbooks, time is often represented by a straight, very long line, with the whole of human history being only the tiniest sliver at the very end, visually (and spiritually) separated from the rest of history by whatever happened just before us.

The implied message is that we are an insignificant coda to a vast but unconscious story. In contrast, as we walk the spiral, the beginning is visible from every point; we stand in relation to the whole story at all times. Similarly, we are taught that our solar system is one of billions and trillions of specks in comparison with the whole of the Universe. But if there is only a one in one billion trillion chance of life beginning on a planet like ours, then a billion trillion such planets might be created in order for life to evolve! The vast magnitude of the Universe may be the precondition for life to exist.

All of these miracles, exactly as they happened, were needed in order for us to be here. You are invited to be a witness to this story, and to experience gratitude, awe, or any other emotions that arise. At the end of the telling, you can sit silently, or walk the spiral. After a few minutes of meditation following the story, chanting, dancing, drumming and all kinds of celebration are welcome!

In the beginning... We begin with what we call 'The Big Bang'. In Kabbalah, we begin with tzimtzum, contraction, followed by Love.



Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006