Sep 142014
 

Judgement20_marseillesThe card that we have before us bears the traditional name “The Judgement”, and what it represents is the resurrection of the dead at the sound of the trumpet of the Angel of resurrection. It is a matter, therefore,  of a spiritual exercise where the use of intuition – that of the nineteenth Arcanum “The Sun” – has to be carried to a maximum, the theme of resurrection being of the order of “last things”, but all the same accessible to intuitive cognition.

Now the “last things” – or the spiritual horizon of humanity – are not the same for the whole of humanity. For some everything finishes with the death of the individual and with the complete dissipation – maximum entropy – of the warmth of the universe. For others there is a “beyond” , an individual existence after death and the existence of a non-material universe after the end of the world. For still others there is not only spiritual life after death for the individual but also his return to terrestrial life – reincarnation – as well as cosmic reincarnation, ie, an alternation of manvantara and prayla. Others, again, see for the individual something beyond repeated incarnations, namely the state of the supreme peace of union with the eternal and universal Being (the state of nirvana). Lastly, there is a part of mankind whose existential horizon goes beyond not only post mortem existence and reincarnation, but also even beyond the peace of union with God – it is resurrection which constitutes their spiritual horizon.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XX, The Judgement

Jul 072014
 

sylvie    An anguish’d heart whose loss hath been so great?
Where are the hours that fled so swiftly by?

In vain the fairest thou didst gain from fate;
Sad is the soul, confused the enterprise;

The glorious world, how on the sense it dies!

In million tones entwined for evermore,

Music with angel-pinions hovers there,
To pierce man’s being to its inmost core,

Eternal beauty has its fruit to bear;
The eye grows moist, in yearnings blest reveres
The godlike worth of music as of tears.

And so the lighten’d heart soon learns to see

That it still lives, and beats, and ought to beat,
Off’ring itself with joy and willingly,

In grateful payment for a gift so sweet.
And then was felt, oh may it constant prove!
The twofold bliss of music and of love.

Goethe, Atonement

Nov 242013
 

soulAnd the God of Gods created the soul, fashioning it for beauty.
He gave unto it the gentleness of a breeze at dawn, the scent of flowers, the loveliness of moonlight.
He gave unto it also the cup of joy, and He said:
‘You shall not drink of this cup save that you have forgotten the past and renounced the future.’
He gave unto it also the cup of sorrow, saying:
‘Drink that you may understand the meaning of joy’.
Then God bestowed within the soul love that would depart with the first sigh of content,
And sweetness that would flee from the first word of arrogance.
He made a heavenly sign to guide it in the path of truth.
He placed in its depths an eye that would behold the unseen.
He created within it a fancy to flow like a river with phantoms and moving figures.
He clothed it in garments of longing woven by angels, from the rainbow.
Within it he placed also the darkness of bewilderment, which is the shadow of light.
And God took fire from the forge of anger,
Wind blowing from the desert of ignorance;
Sand he gathered from the seashore of selffulness
And dust from beneath the feet of the ages;
Thus he fashioned man.
And unto man He gave blind strength that leaps into a flame
In moments of mad passion, and lies down before desire.
God gave him life which is the shadow of death.
And the God of Gods smiled and wept, and He knew a love which hath no bound nor end;
Thus He united man and his soul.

Kahlil Gibran, The Soul

Nov 232012
 

To forget is to dismiss the things which do not interest us to the darkness of latent memory; and to recall things is to call anew to active ego consciousness – because t hey interest us – from the same darkness of latent memory. It goes without saying that it is not the images and concepts which come to birth when we recall them, or perish when we forget them; rather, they are present in our mind or are removed from it.

to be endowed with good ‘concentration’, therefore amounts tot he faculty of chasing away swiftly and completely all images and concepts which are not useful for action. It is mastery of the art of forgetting.

To be endowed with ‘good memory’, in contrast, signifies mastery of the mechanism of recall – of that which renders present the images and concepts which one needs. It is mastery of the art of recalling.

There is therefore a continual coming and going between ordinary consciousness of the waking state (or cerebral consciousness) and the domain of memory. Each ‘going’ corresponds to the action of falling asleep or dying. Each ‘coming’ corresponds to awakening or resurrection. Every representation that goes from the field of cerebral consciousness experiences an analogous fate to that stated by the saying: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep…Lazarus is dead.” And every representation that one recalls has a fate analogous to that which took place when Jesus cried with a loud voice: “Lazarus, come out!

Memory therefore supplies us with a key of analogy which allows intelligence not to remain simply taken aback in the face of the problem of resurrection. It renders it intelligible. Indeed, the analogy between the ‘loud voice’ which called Lazarus to life and the inner effort which evokes a memory reveals, mutatis mutandis, the essence of the magic of Jesus’ ‘loud voice’ and of the ‘sound of the trumpet’ of the Angel of the resurrection – as the following shows.

Experience teaches us that we easily forget, and recall with difficulty, the things to which we attach no value – that we do not love. One forgets what one does not love and one never forgets what one loves. It is love which gives us the power to recall at any desired moment the things that our hearts preserve ‘warm’. Indifference, in contrast, makes one forget everything.

It is the same with the ‘awaking and resurrection of the dead’. Here it is not cosmic indifference (what we call ‘matter’) which will effect anything, but rather it is cosmic love (what we call ‘spirit’)which will accomplish the magical act of resurrection, ie, the reintegration of an inseparable unity – the unity of the spirit, soul and body – not by way of birth (reincarnation) but by way of the magical act of divine memory. What can one say about divine memory?

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XX, The Judgement

 

Nov 232012
 

The Fall of Man was not a once for all thing in some historical past but is repeated over and over again by every individual who fails to live according to his or her own creative spiritual integrity. This causes more unbalance and suffering but at the same time gives the opportunity for further intercession of God’s redeeming love.

The Redemption of Sin brought by Christ at the Incarnation is often too narrowly understood. It was, and is, a mark of the forgiveness and redemption of all human error, past, present and yet to come. By our sin we make the universe a prison house for ourselves. But this is transformed by God’s redeeming love into a school for godhead, with the earth as a classroom and the angels and saints of God as the teachers.

The curriculum of the school is the realisation and acceptance of the reality of our own sinfulness, and the seeking with all our heart, mind and strength for the love of the God whom we have rejected. This is not a matter of learning ‘obedience’ in its usual submissive or authoritarian sense, but the learning of love, from which obedience, or common purpose, naturally follows.

Gareth Knight, Experience of the Inner Worlds

Oct 182012
 

The balance of karmic justice is an exact balance; nothing remains unpunished, nothing unrewarded.

Jacob recognised this and separated himself from his family so that they might remain unscathed. He waited alone on this side of the river, because he knew that he was destined to death. But he did not succumb to the temptation of fatalism; he defended himself against death.

He did not allow himself to be led astray by the spiritual falsehood of fatalism, but set love against the knowledge of inevitable death. The power that preserved his breathing is expressed in the words indicating the successful issue of his wrestling: “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32.26).

If he had yielded to the knowledge of death, his breathing would have ceased, and he would have died. The balance of the first principles of breathing – knowledge and love – would have been overthrown in favour of knowledge. But as he resisted knowledge with the whole force of love, at the “breaking of the day” the angel of death, the archai being, surrendered. Love proved itself stronger than death.

Valentin Tomberg, Christ and Sophia

Sep 082012
 

The guardian Angel accompanies as a faithful ally the divine image in man, just as vicious inclinations have made their way into the human functional organism which was, before the Fall, the divine likeness. The guardian Angel undertakes the functions, destroyed by original sin, in the likeness, and fills the breach wrought by them. He substitutes himself for functions destroyed through the Fall.

As the prayer of the service of aspersion states it, in praying to God ‘to deign to send from heaven his holy Angel to guard, cherish, protect, visit and defend all those who are gathered together in this place’, the Angel acquits his charge in five ways: he guards, cherishes, protects, visits and defends. he is therefore a ‘flaming star’, a luminous pentagram, above man.

He guards memory, ie, the continuity of the past in the present, which is the preparation for the great future. it is the guardian Angel who takes care that there is a connection between the great ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’ of the human soul. He is a perpetual ‘memento’ with regard to the primordial likeness, with regard to the eternal mission assigned to the soul in the cosmic symphony, and with regard to the special room for the soul ‘in my Father’s house, where there are many rooms’ (John xiv, 2).

If it is necessary, the guardian Angel awakens recollections of the soul’s previous earthly lives, in order to establish continuity of endeavour – of the quest and aspiration of the soul from life to life – so that particular lives are not merely isolated episodes but constitute the stages of a single path towards one sole end.

The guardian Angel cherishes the endeavour, quest and aspiration of the soul engaged on this way. This means to say that he fills in the breaks in the psychic functional organism due to the disfigurement of the likeness, and makes up for its failings – given the soul’s good will towards it. For support never signifies substitution of the Angel’s will for that of man. The will remains free, always and everywhere. The guardian Angel never touches on man’s free will and resigns himself to await the decision or choice made in the inviolable sanctuary of free will – in order to lend his assistance immediately if it is just, or to remain a passive observer reduced alone to prayer if it is not.

Just as the guardian Angel is sometimes constrained not to participate in the soul’s activity – this activity not being in accord with the divine image of the soul – so also he can sometimes take a greater part in human activity than usual – this activity being of a nature not simply permitted but also called for. Then the guardian Angel descends from the point of his ordinary post into the domain of human activity. He then visits the human being.

Such visits of the guardian Angel do sometimes take place – when their possibility and necessity coincide. But what the guardian Angel does unceasingly is to protect the human being. Here he makes up for the failings of the human senses, which are deprived of their clairvoyance from before the original sin. He is the clairvoyant helping the non-clairvoyant with respect to psychic and physical temptations and dangers. He warns, informs and helps to appreciate. Nevertheless, what he never does is suppress the occasions themselves of temptation. For, as St Anthony the Great said, ‘without temptation there is no spiritual progress’. Temptation belongs as an integral part to the exercise of human free will, which is inviolable – both for an Angel and for a demon.

With respect to the last of the five functions of the guardian Angel concerning man, namely his defence, it differs from the others in that it is turned above, towards heaven, and is no longer directed below or horizontally. In dealing with the question of the defence that the guardian Angel accords to his protege, we approach the holy mystery of the very heart of the guardian Angel. For the nature of Angelic love is revealed here, of which the following are some inclinations…

Meditations on the Tarot, unknown author, Letter XIV,  Temperance

 

 

Jul 262012
 

Today people divide Christ into aspects such as “historical,” “cosmic,” “mystical” and so on. But Christ in his essence is one and indivisible.

There is only one Christ – the living Christ who is the manifestation of God, the manifestation of Love. Christ is God revealing Himself to the world. As a manifestation of God, Christ cannot be separated from Him, cannot be considered apart from Him.

And when I speak of Christ, I do not mean an abstract principle, but rather an actual incarnation of Love. Love is the greatest reality and not an abstraction. It has form, content and meaning. Christ – whatever conception people have of him as “historical,” as “cosmic,” as “mystical,” – gave to the earth the fullest expression of Love.

This is because as an historic personality, as a cosmic essence, and as a mystical experience, Christ is and remains the most perfect expression of Love. Indeed, no other man on earth before Christ had greater love than His. There is neither in the cosmos without, nor in the mystic depths of the soul within, a fuller expression of Love than that which we personify in Christ.

Therefore, how are the words “historical,” “cosmic,” and “mystical” to be understood?

Manifested on the earth at a certain historical moment as the ideal man, as an example of the real man, Christ is “historical.” And the times in which he lived record an bear witness to Him: “Behold, the man! Behold, the true man in whom Love, Wisdom, and Truth live, and who applies them.”

When he is experienced in the inward depths, he is “mystical,” and when he is comprehended and known as God manifested in the world, he is “cosmic.”

The physical side of Christ is all of humanity united in one body. All human souls in which Christ lives, united into one – this is the physical aspect of Christ. All angels, gathered into the heart of Christ, represent his spiritual aspect. And all divine beings, united in the mind of Christ, are his divine aspect.

This is the “cosmic” Christ, God manifested in the world.

Beinsa Douno, Christ, Manifestation of Love

May 302012
 

The ‘last things’ – or the spiritual horizon of humanity – are not the same for the whole of humanity. For some everything finishes with the death of the individual and with the complete dissipation – maximum entropy – of the warmth of the universe.

For others there is a ‘beyond’, an individual existence after death and an existence of a non-material universe after the end of the world. For still others there is not only spiritual life after death for the individual but also his return to terrestrial life – reincarnation – as well as cosmic reincarnation, ie, an alternation of states of manvantara and pralaya.

Others, again, see for the individual something beyond repeated incarnations, namely the state of supreme peace of union with the eternal universal Being (the state of nirvana). Lastly, there is a part of mankind whose existential horizon goes beyond not only post mortem existence and reincarnation, but also even beyond the peace of union with God – it is resurrection which constitutes their spiritual horizon.

It is in the Iranian and Judaeo-Christian spiritual currents, ie, in Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity – that the idea and ideal of resurrection have taken root.

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Memory supplies us with a key of analogy which allows intelligence not to remain simply taken aback in the face of the problem of resurrection. it renders it intelligible. Indeed, the analogy between the ‘loud voice’ which called Lazarus to life and the inner effort which evokes a memory reveals, mutatis mutandis, the essence of the magic of Jesus’ ‘loud voice’ and of the ‘sound of the trumpet’ of the Angel of resurrection – as the following shows.

Experience teaches us that we easily forget, and recall with difficulty, the things to which we attach no value – that we do not love. One forgets what one does not love and one never forgets what one loves. It is love which gives us the power to recall at any desired moment the thing that our hearts preserve ‘warm’. Indifference, in contrast, makes one forget everything.

it is the same with the ‘awakening and resurrection’ of the dead’. Here it is not cosmic indifference (that we call ‘matter’) which will effect anything, but rather it is cosmic love (that we call ‘spirit’) which will accomplish the magical act of resurrection, ie, the reintegration of an inseparable unity – the unity of spirit, soul and body – not by way of birth (reincarnation) but by way of the magical act of divine memory.

May 232012
 

Christian Hermeticism itself can only be knowledge of the universal which is revealed in the particular. For Hermeticism there are no ‘principles’, ‘laws’ and ‘ideas’ which exist outside of individual beings, not as structural traits of their nature, but as entities separated and independent from it.

For Hermeticism there is neither a ‘law of gravitation’ nor a ‘law of reincarnation’, there is only the attraction and repulsion of beings (atoms are beings also) in so far as gravitation is concerned, and only the attraction of beings to earthly life, with its joys and sorrows, in so far as reincarnation is concerned.

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Laws are immanent in beings, as logic is immanent in thought, being part of the very nature of thought. And true progress, true evolution, is the advance of beings from life under one law to life under another law….it is thus that the law ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ is in the process of gradually being replaced by the law of forgiveness. It is thus again that the law ‘the weak serve the strong, the people serve the king, the disciple serves the master’ will one day give way to the law shown by the Master through the act of the Washing of the Feet.

According to this higher law, it is the strong who serve the weak, the king who serves the people, the master who serves the disciple – just as in heaven, where Angels serve human beings, Archangels serve Angels and men, Principalities serve Archangels, Angels and human beings, and so on. And God? He serves all beings without exception.

Thus the ‘law’ of the struggle for existence that Darwin observed in the domain of biology will one day cede its place to the law of cooperation for existence which exists already in the cooperation of flowering plants and bees, in the cooperation of different cells in an organism, and in cooperation in the human social organism. The end of the ‘law’ of the struggle for existence and the future triumph of the law of cooperation for life has been foretold by the prophet Isaiah:

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
And the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
And a little child shall lead them.

This will be, because the new ‘law’ – ie, a profound change in the psychic and physical structure of beings – will replace the old ‘law’, firstly in consciousness, then in desires and affections, then lastly in the organic structure of beings.

‘Law’ succeed one another and change. They are not immutable metaphysical entities. It is the same wiht respect to ‘principles’ and ‘ideas’. The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath; so the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath (Mark ii, 27028) – here is the relationship between beings, on the one side, and laws, principles and ideas, on the other.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter IX, The Hermit