Boundaries of the Soul


Understanding Kabbalah in the light of depth psychology has been a lifetime pursuit for me. Both draw upon a simple premise that beyond the physical reality shown to us by our five senses there exist unseen dimensions, or force fields that exert their gravitational pulls upon us.

In my twenties, I dreamt of walking in an old European city at night. The cobblestone street led me to a towering old Jewish synagogue. Awed by its enormity, I circumambulated the edifice, but it was surrounded by a wrought iron gate and bolted shut.

Finding no way in, I finally gave up and started to walk away. Alas, a cobblestone in the street was askew and I tripped and fell to the ground. There in the dark, grappling to come to my feet, I felt something sticking up from the beneath the stones. I pulled out two items. First, an old parchment scroll, hand-scribed with fiery Hebrew letters.

And second, a thick volume of the collected works of C. G. Jung.

The dream came during a period of deep disillusionment. I had been raised in a rigidly Orthodox household and felt that Judaism—at least the patriarchal ways it had been transmitted to me—could not take me to the places I needed to go. I was for all intents and purposes, done with Judaism.

But Judaism was not done with me! My dream was saying: Wait, don’t walk away! There is much wisdom below the surface that you need to know!

Finding the ancient letters of my people buried together with the teachings of Jung told me that Judaism does indeed hold wisdom principles from the deepest strata of the Unconscious. I had read Jung's autobiography and knew that his entire prodigious lifework pointed to the vast perennial wisdom that lives at the root of all humanity.

I had to take a humbling fall to get down, to pull from the earth my religion's mystical teachings: chthonic, often irrational, and always luminous. Over the next 30 years I studied the universal wisdom tradition called Kabbalah.

Depth psychology and Kabbalah are two maps of consciousness: one very ancient and one relatively modern. Both are universal. And both tell us that we humans are profound beings with limitless potential, whose task it is to use the colossal gift of consciousness to transform ourselves and the world. First by becoming our true selves, and then by transcending our personal selves to link up with the Transpersonal Center that exists at the core of all things...

Tirzah Firestone