The continuing saga of Jami Lin and the Blender School of Feng Shui

Just because your tattoo has Chinese characters in it doesn’t make you spiritual. It’s right above the crack of your ass. And it translates to “beef with broccoli.” —George Carlin’s New Rules for 2007

What She Says Reality Check
In explaining spiritual feng shui, I often paraphrase Kabbalistic thought (Kabbalah: an alchemical system of universal knowledge with roots as far back as Babylonia). …As I delved further into the depth of this statement, even greater truth was revealed. Through many consultations, I have recognized a direct correlation between the energy centers of our bodies, known as the chakras (from age-old Hindu philosophy), and the bagua. What on Earth is “spiritual feng shui”? That’s not taught by the traditional masters, including the ones whose names Jami Lin loves to mention. It is a New Age product, another panacea purchased by the spiritually hungry hordes.Jami Lin invented her “spiritual feng shui” just as she invented her idea of aromatherapy. How else to explain the bold claim (without corroborating evidence) of a “direct correlation” between two very different cultures, a spiritual belief and a cultural icon?Extraordinary claims like this require just as extraordinary evidence.Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok explains:

Real Kabbalah is the metaphysical understanding underlying the physical commandments and stories of the holy Torah given by G-d to the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai.
Real Kabbalah does not have any Greek, Egyptian or other non-Jewish cultural elements.
It is not Christian, Rosicrucian or Hermetic.
Real Kabbalah has nothing to do with modern “new age” beliefs or eastern religions.

Kabbalah existed before alchemy was invented

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, who wrote the definitive book on Sefer Yetzirah (the oldest book of Kabbalah), says in his Introduction that the work was referenced in the first century CE but tradition attests its existence in Biblical times.

“So ancient is this book,” says Rabbi Kaplan, “that its origins are no longer accessible to historians.” (p. ix)

After the ancient Sefer Yetzirah the next book on Kabbalah, Sefer haBahir, was first published in 1176 at Provence, France.

Rav Kaplan also explains the three types of Kabbalah:

  • theoretical, based on Sefer haZohar
  • meditative (alphanumeric permutations to reach higher consciousness)
  • magical (divine names and chants)

Sefer Yetzirah has always been considered a book of “mystical meditative insight.” (p. x)

Notice that there is no mention of universal or alchemical (or Babylonia) in the authentic history of Kabbalah.

Pagans invented alchemy and borrowed from Kabbalah

Alkimya is an Arabic (and pre-Arabic) word of Egyptian origins. Kamt, quemt, or chemi, all refer to Kemit, ”the black land”: Egypt.

Georg Luck notes alchemy was

based on the magical law of sympathy and contained elements of astrology, mysticism, religion, and theosophy. (p. 361)

Hellenistic magic — “a Greek creation on Egyptian soil,” says Luck — came into the form we recognize only around the first century CE. Hellenistic magic spawned alchemy and ritual magic.

Greeks borrowed the word magic from Persians “to describe religious rites totally foreign to them, totally different from their own, and therefore suspect” —”one person’s religion may be another person’s magic.” (p. 135)

Ritual magic ripped off Jewish and Egyptian culture

Ritual magic appropriated native Egyptian gods (like Thoth) and deities of other religions, because they were seen as repositories of magical powers. The gods were borrowed because they sounded exotic and their rites appeared exotic to the Greeks.

The names Iao, Sabaoth and Adonai are regularly found in ritual magic texts. Iao is a unique rendering of the Sacred Name (using the placeholder YHVH known as the Tetragrammaton) as is Sabaoth.

Adonai (“my lord”) is a common substitution in Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible, for the Sacred Name.
There are magical formulas in ritual magic that call upon “Jesus, God of the Hebrews” and use the 59th Psalm — but (as Luck notes) were “obviously … not used by a Jew or a Christian.”

Alchemy is a rip-off of magical Kabbalah and sympathetic magic, marketed as a worldwide system of knowledge

This is not a respectful or accurate definition of Kabbalah. It is also circular logic to say Kabbalah is a system of knowledge based on alchemy. You just read that alchemy is pagan sympathetic magic that borrowed heavily from magical Kabbalah.

If Lin knows what Kabbalah really is, she will not admit it

Jami Lin denies the history of Kabbalah and the opinions of rabbis and scholars of Kabbalah. Her invention infers that this profoundly Jewish knowledge is a pagan rip-off (as in alchemical system). That is cultural theft and disrespect.

She cannot reconcile her definition of Kabbalah with any of Rav Tzadok”s definitions, or indeed the definitions of most Jews on the subject. She has to ignore the assertion that Kabbalah is the secret innermost chamber of the Torah. It is the only way to keep selling her New Age version of Kabbalah, which concocts a connection between “the bagua” — which one?— and the chakras.

By mixing Indian thinking with Jewish esoteric wisdom Jami Lin created a shaatnez, which in Jewish teachings is an unholy mixture, a spiritual crime.

Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok reminds us that

Kabbalah uses a highly metaphorical type of language. The misunderstanding of Kabbalistic metaphors is a dangerous thing. The one who wishes to believe that the metaphors are somehow physical is guilty of the most grievous of sins: idolatry and blasphemy.

The chimera that Lin invented is a spiritual morass with deeper implications.

It is a spiritual sin of the greatest magnitude to apply this [New Age] “melting-pot” theory to the spiritual planes. They operate according to different laws of relationships than do the physical realms. Any attempt at merging conflicting spiritual realities leads to massive psychic explosions that cause devastating harm in both the spiritual and physical realms. Attempted mergings of incongruent spiritual realities leads to individual psychoses and well as to wars among nations. It is also the spiritual reason underlying the growth of terrorism.
Ariel Bar Tzadok (2001). Torah and New Age Spirituality

Even more widespread, similar practices that have been established in many cultures worldwide cannot be ignored. This fatuous pronouncement is one of many communal reinforcements popular with the McFengshui crowd. Someone said it once at a McFengshui convention and now everyone says it.

No one questions whether it is true — the faithful can be led to believe just about anything

Lin and her cronies would be challenged to name two other cultures with “similar practices” that are “even more widespread” and to provide details. They bank on their victims knowing even less than they do. They expect customers to passively absorb whatever bovine byproduct is fed to them.

Where to pick up weird ideas

How does the McFengshui crowd invent these ideas? They read only lunatic-fringe books and similar websites, they attend conferences with other cranks who make things up just like them, and they avoid anyone who might challenge their ideas and pontifications.

McFengshui people nurture clients who prefer faith-based reasoning, because that is what they prefer. Besides, they don”t know how to answer questions posed by evidence-based reasoning.

If someone does skewer their concepts, like Lin they can claim they are innocent victims—after all, victimization is a primary tenet of self-help addiction.

Many of the so-called “world”s greatest” of the self-styled “feng shui masters” in Lin”s execrable Earth Design say similar things. They attempt to suck Central and South American civilizations (and many others) into their blender of idiocy. However, their abysmal ignorance of Central and South American civilizations betrays them. The same is true for their knowledge of other cultures.

Briefly, from observing the natural laws, all universal geomantic traditions evolved into methods by which environment can emulate the rhythm of nature so that man could live within its harmonious abundance. The term natural laws relates to a Western understanding of the world based on absolute truth. It is an outgrowth of Western religious philosophy.Gunther Stent, writing in “The Dilemma of Science and Morals” (Genetics, 1974; Sep;78(1):41-51) points out that concepts of objectively valid truth and “natural laws” are foreign to Chinese culture and philosophy.An online dictionary of philosophy says the term natural laws is ambiguous because it refers to two logically independent theories.

The moral theory says that moral laws that govern human behavior are in some way objectively derived from the nature of human beings; this was the thinking of Thomas Aquinas.

The legal theory holds that the authority of some legal standards derives at least in part from considerations of the moral merit of those standards. In all types of natural legal reasoning, moral standards are used to determine the authority of legal norms.

Who likes to talk about “natural laws”?

The primary definers and promoters of the philosophy of “natural laws” are:

  • Christian fundamentalists (many defiantly antisemitic like this Baptist), and most groups with a millenarian philosophy. Sometimes they are indistinguishable from
  • Reactionaries, who read into world events evidence that the universe runs on a system of “natural laws” that dovetails neatly into their millenarian agenda. Think Esoteric Nazism, Christian cultists (like those in Jon Krakauer‘s Under the Banner of Heaven), Aryan cultists and their ilk.
  • New Age cranks who wouldn’t know millenarianism if it poked them in the eye. They simply like the idea of “natural laws,” and the hierarchy of totalitarian societies — provided, of course, that they are at the top. They just don’t see the link between millenarianism and their thinking.

Lin loves meaningless word salad like “Methods by which environment can emulate the rhythm of nature,” although environment IS nature and therefore the “rhythms” are synonymous. We are living in the environment — an envelope of life that exists on this planet.

It is just more more Blender School nonsense.

The unsettling backdrop to Lin’s concoction: she repeats (nearly verbatim) the millenarian and messianic yearnings that Norman Cohn revealed in Cosmos, Chaos, and the World To Come and even more disturbingly in The Pursuit of the Millennium.

Jami Lin finds my analysis and pitches a fit.