A word from MB Wulf

My conversations over the weekend about the Ordo Arcanorum Gradalis caused me to dig up its journal, Hallows.  For those of you not familiar with the OAG, it melded neo-pagan and mystical christian understandings into a sacramental spiritual path centered around the Grail.  To give you a taste of the thought it produced, here is a tiny bit from a long article, “A Mystery of Grain and Grape,” by MB Wulf, from the Lammas 1990 issue of Hallows.  The whole article is intriguing, if you can find a copy - even if it is too pantheist for some theological sympathies….

The eucharistic impulse begins in wonderment.  In wonder, our presently finite minds postulate a dual-directional infinity as a working concept, and ensoul it with an all-pervading deity, who has always existed and always will. Out of the energy/soul mesh of the deity’s own all-pervasiveness, somehow we see the material universe come to birth. Surface the(a)ologies and dogmas weave, diverge, proclaim, and clash, but I’m convinced SOME inkling of divine immanence is at the heart of this wonderment, no matter what creed is acknowledged: the eucharistic impulse begins with the inkling that just as matter is transformed energy, so too did the universe emerge from the All, the deity — not ex nihilo, but in the transformation of the deity’s own mode of existence.  There is the inkling that the deity did not, strictly speaking, “create” the universe, but even more wonderfully, BECAME the universe. Some part of the deity may or may not have held back to remain transcendent, but the implication for matter is about the same either way — matter conveys and expresses the deity.  The deity is good, the deity’s processes are good, and therefore,

MATTER IS GOOD.

We exist in matter.  Therefore,

OUR MATERIAL EXISTENCE IS GOOD.

So the eucharistic impulse begins somewhere in the interface of death dread and recollected divinity. This interface issues forth as commitment.  We are committed to the hallowing of material existence, its upward climb as well as its crushing decline. We do not downgrade its processes, as the ascetic, or buffer ourselves by pathological denial of them, as the hedonist.  Instead, we embrace them in celebration.  (p.14-15)

If, by chance, any readers know the current whereabouts of MB Wulf, I would be glad to be in touch with her.  From Hallows, it appears she was living somewhere in New England in 1990.

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4 Responses to “A word from MB Wulf”

  1. Mark Hoemmen Says:

    It might be pantheist but there’s something attractive about the following point: he eucharistic impulse begins with the inkling that just as matter is transformed energy, so too did the universe emerge from the All, the deity — not ex nihilo, but in the transformation of the deity’s own mode of existence. There is the inkling that the deity did not, strictly speaking, “create” the universe, but even more wonderfully, BECAME the universe. Some part of the deity may or may not have held back to remain transcendent, but the implication for matter is about the same either way — matter conveys and expresses the deity.

    When God breathes life into the universe, the universe begins to participate in the Divine life. That breath is not a one-time event (there is no “one-time event” for a transcendent God!) — it’s a continual sustaining process or always-happening. (Interestingly I had a conversation about this with my brother-in-law who is an orthodox Jew, and he expressed the same idea.) And so in some sense, God is always entering into the universe, God’s creation, and participating in / sustaining its life. Thinking of the universe as an “ex nihilo” is somewhat meaningless because the universe never “detaches” from God (if it did it would cease to exist!); in that sense it doesn’t _matter_ if the universe “contains bits of God” or doesn’t, because God is always immanent in it and participating in it.

    I think this view is more conducive to “the hallowing of material existence” because it moves toward a _completion_ of the creation “event” — to make God “more immanent” by using the leverage that free will gives us to embrace union rather than separation.

  2. John Says:

    Yes, Mark – this is very helpful! Wulf actually develops her thoughts along these lines in the rest of the essay. If you can’t find it, let me know and I can see if my copy will scan. Hallows ran a lot of interesting articles, which deserve reprinting (yo ho, any publishers?), and this is one of my favorites.

  3. Mark Hoemmen Says:

    Hm, I’ve got a shot at finding it in the GTU library in Berkeley. I’ll check there first (not today though, I’ve got some weird knee joint inflammation and so I’m staying home). I’d love to see the article though!

  4. MB. Wulf Says:

    You’ve found her. She’s me. Atheist now.

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