Last week’s colors were the first pair in the system, 1. Red Red. This week we’ve jumped clear to the end with 48. Black White Purple. If Red Red had me thinking about the beginning of cycles and Infrared, this one immediately stirred up the end of cycles and Ultraviolet. Going from 1 to 48 initially induced a bit of whiplash, but ultimately I saw it as a continuation, the two together creating a container. There is a theme here of totality, of everythingness, of spectrums, of the whole spectrum.
The other night D was asking a string of “why” questions, in typical kid fashion. Most were pretty rooted in daily life, until out of nowhere she said:
“What is The Universe?”
Well. That’s a term that gets tossed around casually, blurring the scientific and the spiritual. I didn’t really know what context she had heard it in, so I fumbled through a long explanation:
“You know how we live in a city? And that city is in California? And California is in a country, the United States? And the United States is in a continent, North America? And North America is on Planet Earth? And Planet Earth is part of a solar system, with other planets like Mars and Jupiter and Saturn all going around the Sun? And the Sun is a star among all the other stars in the sky that might have their own solar systems? And all those stars are in space? The universe is all of the things in all of space together. The Universe is all of the things that exist, from super big and far away to super close and tiny, like all the cells in your body. The Universe is everything.”
“Oh,” she replied. Then simply: “I think that The Universe is magical outer space.”
The Universe is Magical Outer Space. I mean, that is certainly the way many people use the word.
I use the term “The Universe” pretty liberally myself. I suppose it has filled a hole in my speech where the word “God” used to be. I’ve moved away from evoking the idea of a god as God for many reasons, yet that doesn’t change my need to reference or communicate with a spiritual entity outside of myself. And somehow that spirit does feel like an amalgamation of all things, rendered sentient.
So what is it about the concept of totality that makes it seem holy? How is it that everything that exists when in aggregate is suddenly magical? Or even stranger, how is it that everything that exists would have some sort of authority as a unit?
I’m working on allowing the word “God” back into my speech. Or at least not censoring it. Not because it fits my personal ontology: it doesn’t. But it is starting to feel more restrictive not to use it. I have a more pronounced struggle with this in Hebrew actually, where the unutterable, unpronounceable name of God is most often said as “Adonai,” which translates to “My Lord.” Lord, Master, King: these terms of patriarchal power do not gel with my concept of divinity. But I am quite used to this word “Adonai,” and alternatives like “Ruach” for “Spirit” often feel paltry. “The Universe” doesn’t feel quite right either.
Maybe this problem exists by design: how could true holiness have a name? Could we just refer to it as The Everything? Maybe it is the Kabbalistic “Ein Sof” that I actually resonate with most: “(There Is) No End.” But my initial question remains: what makes Everything holy? Its ineffable oneness? Its boundlessness? Both?
I remember being a kid and having someone try to explain to me that God was everywhere and in everything. “You mean God is in this hamburger? You mean I am EATING GOD??
All of the Purples evoke the concept of consciousness and its source on an individual level. So perhaps Black White Purple—the ultimate Purple, the penultimate Rainbow Squared color combination—would have us consider a collective consciousness, a collective intelligence. Not just on a human scale, or even a planetary or galactic scale, but a universal scale. A multiversal scale, even.
This is Week Four of the Omer: Netzach, meaning Endurance, Dedication, Eternity. How holiness transcends even the incomprehensible expanse of time. According to Reb Zalman’s system, Netzach is the color Yellow. Conveniently, Yellow is the complementary color of Purple. Together they are the power of consciousness. Perhaps the power of infinity. (For more on counting the Omer, see Year 5 Green Green.)
Blessed are you, The Everything, the Magical Outer Space in which, of which, and for which all particles shimmy eternal as one.