Samuel - The Water Drawing Ceremony
Type of spiritual experience
I have no concrete evidence that what I am about to describe is true. All the evidence I have is entirely circumstantial and I have no details on what actually happened, but the evidence to me looks interesting enough to warrant some conjecture.
The 'Water Drawing Ceremony' was used in very very early Temple practise. The dance and its ceremony disappeared with the destruction of the Temple towards the first century.
Solomon's Temple, also known as the First Temple, was the main temple in ancient Jerusalem on Temple Mount. It was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II after the siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC. Rabbinic sources state that the First Temple stood for about 410 years which places its construction sometime in the 9th or possibly 10th century BC. The Second Temple built on the site of the First Temple around 516 BCE lasted until 70 AD. In effect the Temple was being used around the time when the Greek Mysteries were being performed.
The Greek mysteries and this ceremony all disappeared with the spread of Christianity.
And this ceremony bears an extraordinary similarity to the Dionysian rites as well as employing symbolism which is universally related to kundalini energy.
The description that follows is allegorical or if you prefer symbolic, just as it was with the Eleusinian and Dionysian cults. Water is symbolic of energy or spirit, thus the purpose of the ceremony was to celebrate or help the flow of energy round initiates. It was the release of the energy designed to produce the final kundalini experience in the days when the hierophants knew how to manage and control the energy.
A shofar is a horn, but it was made from a ram's horn, the spiralling horn that is also a symbolic representation of kundalini energy.
I think the process was much the same as that used in Qigong Shii Soei Ching and the Chinese system. This is also described as a ‘water path’.
The Water path or Shui Lu is used in 'Marrow Brain washing'. Water path Qigong passes through the spinal cord. Once the person has built up energy and stored it in ' lower Dan Tien', the person uses various techniques to lead the energy into the branch of the Thrusting vessel which is also located in the spinal cord. In the evening, when the energy circulation is strongest in the Huiyin it divides into two flows. One flow circulates in the Fire path outside the spine. The aim is to direct all paths of energy up the spine to 'nourish the brain'. So we have, like the Hindu and Yoga system with Ida ,Pingala and Shushumna three paths with energy flowing round these paths.
There are thus three paths of energy used in this technique – the same three paths shown symbolically in the Sefirot.
You do not need to understand all the complexities of these other systems here, what is key is to understand that the techniques are all common, this technique with its Water drawing ceremony, the Dionysian and Eleusinian mystery ceremonies, the yoga technique and the Chinese Qigong technique. There are other systems too that do the same thing and draw on the same energy flows.
How did all these people know about each other? One way is through out of body experiences, but there was physical travel of ideas too even at this time. And as we have seen, a large number of these ceremonies and ideas go a long way back and were probably preserved and kept as people migrated to various parts of the world.
Beyond this description I have no more details, but I think this is sufficient to provide some clues to what was [possibly] lost in the older Judaic system.
A description of the experience
1 Samuel 10:5-6
One of the most joyful celebrations in Israel was the Drawing of the Water during Sukkot. The Sages noted that "Whoever never witnessed the Simchat Beit Hashoeva has never in his life seen true joy." They have left us wonderful descriptions of the scenes that inspire us with longing to witness it once again.
How was the ceremony conducted? A golden container was filled with water drawn from the pools at Siloam in Jerusalem. When the water carriers reached the Water Gate, they blew three notes on the shofar.
On the right side of the ramp leading to the altar, there were two silver bowls, each with a hole shaped like a narrow spout, one wider than the other. One bowl stood to the east and the other to the west. The shapes of the bowls allowed them to be emptied simultaneously. (The wider spouted bowl held wine, which flows more slowly than water.)
As the evenings of the festival approached, the people made their way down to the Court of the Women. There were golden candlesticks, fifty cubits high, with four gold bowls atop them. Four ladders led to the top of each candlestick, and four young kohanim mounted the ladders, holding in their hands large jars of oil which they poured into the golden bowls. Wicks to light the oil were made from worn-out clothing of the kohanim, and when the candlesticks were lit, the light glowed through out the entire city of Jerusalem.
The greatest Sages and tzadikim would participate joyfully in the celebration, performing the most extraordinary feats. Some of them would bear burning torches in their hands while singing Psalms and other praises of G-d. The Levites would play many various musical instruments, including harps, lyres, cymbals, and trumpets as they stood on the fifteen steps which led down from the Court of Women in the Holy Temple.
Two kohanim were stationed at the Upper Gate of the Temple, holding trumpets in their hands. As the roosters crowed the first light of dawn, they blasted their trumpets, and as they ascended the steps, they blew two additional rounds of tekiah's. They continued walking until they reached the gate which led to the east, whereupon they turned to face the west and uttered the words: "We belong to G-d and our eyes are turned to G-d."
The Sages relate that when the great Sage, Rabbi Shimon ben Gamliel rejoiced at the water festival, he would juggle with eight lighted torches, tossing them into the air, catching one and then throwing another, so that they never touched each other. He would also prostrate himself on the ground, bend down, doing a head-stand, kiss the ground and draw himself up again, a feat which no one else could do.
The Talmud relates many of these displays of prowess which the Sages performed at the Simchat Beit Hashoeva. They record that Reb Levi used to juggle in the presence of Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi with eight knives. Shmuel would do the same with eight glasses of wine, without spilling any of their contents. Rabbi Abaye would juggle before Rabbi Rabba with eight (or some say, four) eggs.
It is written in the name of Rabbi ben Chanania, "When we used to rejoice at the place of the water-drawing, our eyes saw no sleep." It is explained that the entire day was occupied with holy activities, so that the participants in the simcha were busy from day to night.
In the morning the sacrifice was brought, followed by prayers, and then an additional sacrifice. Then they would study Torah and eat breakfast. Afternoon prayer was following by the evening sacrifice and then the water-drawing festivities commenced.
The celebration of the Simchat Beit Hashoeva continued throughout the entire night, lighting up the city so brilliantly that there was no courtyard in Jerusalem which didn't reflect the light of the great candlesticks which illumined the Festival of the Water-Drawing.