Jul 312014

hebrew-mercy-graceThe Grade of Exempt Adept, associated with Chesed, is perfected when the power of the sphere of Mars, Geburah, has been drawn along the 19th path back to Chesed. In doing this one places oneself in Chesed, for the knowledge of the Great Arcanum, of the Secret of all spiritual activities, is not open to him who has risen no higher than the Grade of Major Adept. That is to say, the 19th Path is not open so long as we are no further along the Way of Return than Geburah, and the power from Geburah must be brought over from the side of Severity on the Tree of Life to the side of Mercy, by a process initiated from the point-of-view afforded by Chesed.

When all the desires of the seeker for light have been unified in the one desire to be a free, unobstructed vehicle for the manifestation of the cyclic activities of the cosmos, he has traversed the first path leading to the Grade of Exempt Adept, the path of the letter Kaph, corresponding to the Wheel of Fortune in the Tarot. After this, by a supreme effort of imagination, he sees behind the mechanistic expression of the Life-Power in the cosmic cycles the operation of a Living Will, and through the 19th Path he transmutes the activities of the serpent-power, and this transmutation is pictured in the Tarot by the woman taming the lion.

Tarot Card 11 - La Force (Strength)You will remember that lion (in Hebrew), the name of the zodiacal sign Leo, is the number 216, and that this is the number of Geburah, one of the names of the sphere of Mars. Note, too, that 216 is 9 by reduction, and 9 is the number of Teth, the letter corresponding to the 19th Path. 216 is also the number of [the Hebrew word for] Sight, the function assigned to the 15th path, and of wrath or excitement, which is the function of the 25th path, that of Probation or Trial. The path to which Sight is attributed is that of Aries, ruled by Mars. And the path to which excitement is attributed is that of Sagittarius. It thus becomes evident that all these [Hebrew] words – strength, the lion, Sight, and excitement, are related to the fiery power which we have learned to associate with the Mars-vibration.

This vibration, you will recall, is especially active in self-consciousness, and the feeling of strength which it gives is misinterpreted by people who have not progressed beyond self-consciousness. The misinterpretation arises from the illusion of separateness, which engenders the feeling of ‘myness’, and this feeling is the root of belief in personal will. This is why the Sephirah Geburah is said to represent personal will, which is merely the misunderstanding of the power of undeviating cosmic law in its manifestation through personal centers of expression.

The Major Adept still feels the illusion, although he has overcome the delusion caused by it. But the Exempt Adept, having in his union with  the One Self so identified himself with the cosmic memory that he never forgets his relation to the Sources of All, is almost wholly liberated from even the illusion. Almost, I say, because there are times when even he who perfectly remembers the Self (Chesed is the Sephirah of Memory) must identify himself with the relative states of being in order to serve, in order to perform the actions necessary to his part in the Great Work. And at such times he feels the illusion of separateness as much as anybody else.

Paul Foster Case, Esoteric Secrets of Meditation and Magic

Jun 172011

Late in life, Jung’s work with the experimental physicist Wolfgang Pauli encouraged him to take a few steps beyond the pale.

Jung and Paul came to believe that, in addition to the purely physical mechanism of atom knocking against atom, there is another network of connections that binds together events not physically connected – non-physical, causal connections brought about by mind.

Jung’s contemporary, the French anthropologist Henri Corbin, was researching the spiritual practices of the Sufis at this time. Corbin came to the conclusion that the Sufi adepts worked in concert and could communicate with one another in a realm of ‘objective imagination’. Jung coined the same phrase independently.

Later in life the materialistic explanations that Freud had been trying to force on to spiritual experiences also sprang back at him, and he became plagued by a sense of what he called the uncanny.  Freud wrote his essay on ‘The Uncanny’ when he was sixty-two. By thinking about what he feared most he was trying to stop it happening.

A few years earlier he had experienced the number sixty-two coming at him insistently – a hat check ticket, a hotel room number, a train seat number. It had seemed to him that the cosmos was trying to tell him something. Perhaps he would die at the age of sixty-two.

In the same essay he described the experience of walking round a maze of streets in an old Italian town and finding himself in the red light district. He took what he thought would be the most direct route out of this district, but soon found himself back in the middle of it. This seemed to happen no matter which direction he took.

The experience can only remind us of Francis Bacon. It was as if a maze were changing shape to keep the wanderer from finding the way out. As a result of these experiences Freud began to suspect that there might be some complicity between his psyche and the cosmos. Or perhaps the cosmos was manufacturing meanings independently of any human agency and, as it were, beaming them at him?

Jonathan Black, The Secret History of the World

Apr 172011

Imagination is actually as the eye of the soul, and it is therein that forms are delineated and preserved; by its means we behold the reflections of the indivisible world; it is the mirror of visions and the apparatus of magical life. Thereby we cure diseases, modify the seasons, ward off death from the living and resuscitate those who are dead, because this faculty exalts the will and gives it power over the universal agent.

Imagination is the instrument of the adaptation of the Logos. In its application to reason it is genius, for reason, like genius, is one amidst the complexity of operations. Demons, souls, and the rest, can therefore by really and truly beheld by means of the imagination; but the imagination of the adept is diaphonous, whilst that of the uninitiated is opaque. The light of truth traverses the one as through a crystal window, and is refracted in the other as in a vitreous mass full of scoriae and foreign matter.

The things which contribute most to the errors of the vulgar and the extravagances of the insane are the reflection of depraved imaginations in one another. But the seer knows with an absolute knowledge that the things he imagines are true and experience invariably confirms his visions.

Eliphas Levi, The Mysteries of Magic