The celebrity Kabbalah craze just keeps hitting them headlines. Here’s some of the latest news and gossip.
We’ve all heard that Deborra-Lee Furness is back in Australia with hubby Wolverine … ahem, sorry … Hugh Jackman for movie launches and whatnot. Well it seems while away she’s developed an interest in Kabbalah amongst other things.
“She doesn’t wear a red string bracelet on her wrist, but Deborra-Lee Furness has admitted exploring the teachings of Kaballah, the religion spruiked by celebrities such as Madonna.
Furness, who has happily settled back into Sydney life with hubby Hugh Jackman, has revealed her time living in the US prompted a curiosity about Kabbalah and Scientology.
Just when we thought Furness and Jackman were down-to-earth Aussies like the rest of us!
“I am interested in Buddhism, I will look at Kabbalah. I will look at Scientology. I am a curious woman and I am not going to just say, I don’t believe in that,” said Furness, during a candid interview with AAP reporter Jonathon Moran.
“So when I was in New York I had some girlfriends that were involved [in Kabbalah] and I read about it and it has a lot of good stuff to say. But I am not in a cult.”
While Furness never became a fully fledged convert, she has regularly attended Kabbalah sessions.”
For the original article see here.
But then I come across this. It seems there are rumours that kabbalah’s most famous follower, Madonna is finding it’s time for another image shift.
“The pop world’s most unusual partnership may be over. Madonna and Kabbalah, the once obscure sect she championed – and upon which she has lavished millions of dollars – appear to be on the verge of separation. Close friends say the singer has talked of loosening her red Kabbalah wristband and is wearying of the mystical Jewish belief system. She has decided to give it up, they say, having tired of the financial burden and the effect her strong beliefs have had on her relationship with husband Guy Ritchie.”
“Madonna is also said to be concerned that following Kabbalah separates her children from more conventional customs such as Christmas, which they do not currently celebrate.”
Now a couple of questions arise for me at this point, not in terms of Madonna’s practice but in terms of our own, that is, other Emerging Church bloggers. What are the unpaid bills of the church here? How can we interact more effectively and sensitively with devotes of kabbalah, qabala, etc, that we come across in our journey? What is good new for them? Are we coming across them in our journey or are they another post-modern demographic who are slipping under the radar of the church? And for those of us who are contemplatives, how can our practice be better informed by both the insights and problematic aspects of kabbalah so that is more robustly contextual?
5 thoughts on “Celebrity Spirituality”
Is Kabbalah big in the ‘burbs?
The Cabala broke out of its distinctly Jewish context at the time of the Renaissance when Pico Mirandola “baptised” certain aspects of it into Christianity.
The Cabala was then reconfigured in the late nineteenth century magical and occult movements like the Order of the Golden Dawn, and by people interested in Theosophy. In these frameworks the Cabala was interrelated with astrology and tarot. It became premised on the hermetic theory of “Correspondences”, what is symbolic on the ultimate level and present in the cosmos corresponds to the basic make up of human beings.
These latter sources have inspired “New Age” and some “Neo-Pagan” practitioners as the Cabala has come into its own again with the parallel interests in numerology, astrology, tarot and magic. Madonna has been associated with a specific group led by an American Jew, but other cabalistic Jewish thinkers are not entirely happy about Madonna and the group she has participated in.
So, while there is no immediate measuring stick on “who is into the Cabala”, it was in evidence in spirituality festivals (like Mind Body Spirit) via various exhibitors, and in a range of magazine articles and books. If you buy a book on tarot, often it will include discussion about the 22 Major Arcana cards linked to the 22 emanations depicted on the Cabalistic Tree of Life. Similarly, quite a few serious books about the art of astrology (as opposed to buying the 2007 forecast book for Virgo) will discuss the 12 signs of the zodiac and its connection with the Tree of Life.
While it has become “commodified” in “celebrity religion” (which is often ephemeral or transient), there are enough serious practitioners of the Cabala around(whether traditionally Jewish or magical/alternate spiritualities).
Christians have been using the Cabala since at least the thirteenth century, when Blessed Raymond Lully used it to convert Muslims.
I have posted a link to Yanis Dambergs lullian art site on my blog.
Deborra-Lee should have taken a look at xenu.net.
The red string thing actually does make some sense. There is the idea within Judaism that it is anti demonic (I presume because it symbolises blood) and that on the Day of Atonement a red piece of string in the temple would turn white if Isreals sins were forgiven.
I was wondering if you might be able to start a post about astrology because I have found out some interesting things about it.
There’s a brief synopsis of red string practice at http://www.kabbalah.com/k/index.php/p=life/tools and it confirms this talisman is anti-demonic for practitioners but unfortunately it doesn’t explain why red string is red. Your guess is probably a reasonable one but it would be good to have confirmation from somewhere. Interesting legend, I hadn’t hear that one.