May 162011
 

The Zohar tells us that the moon “renounced her place of higher rank” – that of equality with the sun – and that “from that time she has had no light of her own, but derives her light from the sun. Nevertheless, her real light is greater than that which she radiates here below.”

Here below, therefore, the moon reflects the light of the sun, whilst above – where her name is ELOHIM – “her power is manifest in all directions…EL being ‘the dominion of the day’, IM being ‘the dominion of the night and HE in the middle being the remainder of the forces (‘the stars), participating in both dominions.”

Now, the moon, in so far as she is the nocturnal luminary above, she shines with her own light, and it is the sun which reflects her. In other words, the moon is ‘solar’ above and ‘lunar here below, whilst the sun is ‘solar’ here below and ‘lunar’ above.

It is in this sense that EL, the radiant part of the moon’s name above, has the “dominion of the day”, ie, it is the visible sun – reflecting the invisible moon during the day. Similarly, the visible moon reflects the sun (become invisible) during the night. The spiritual moon is therefore the sun which shines at midnight. And it is the spiritual moon – or Isis – Sophia – that Apuleius “saw shining at midnight in its briliant radiance.” For the long vigil in the Isis temple resulted in a vision of the cosmic principle of Isis, ie, the spiritual moon or the “sun at midnight.”

All these things, although presented to us in mythological clothing, relate to the profound reality of the relationship of intelligence and wisdom, and their union – intuition. For intelligence corresponds to the moon, wisdom to the sun, and intuition to the restoration of the “intimate union” of the two luminaries.

Here below intelligence reflects wisdom – or, if it is eclipsed (see Letter XVIII, The Moon), it reflects the terrestrial world of external experience. But there is another intelligence above, a trancendental intelligence, whose “light is greater than that which it radiates here below”, and which – united intimately to wisdom – is “inscribed above among the letters of the sacred name (YHVH), which are four in number”, and which shines in the middle of the night “in its briliant radiance.”

This higher intelligence, this “sun at midnight”, which is the conjunction of the spiritual sun and spiritual moon – or, in other words, the intimate union of intelligence and wisdom – is the “star” of Hermeticism, and it is “The Sun” of the nineteenth Arcanum.

“The Sun” of the nineteenth Arcanum is the “sun at midnight”, ie, the sun that Apuleius “saw shining at midnight in its brilliant radiance,” and it is this “sun” which is the “star” of Hermeticism across the ages. It is the principle of intuition, or the intimate union of transcendental intelligence and wisdom.”

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIX, The Sun

Jan 062011
 

It was neither the straw of the crib, nor the animals that were present, which guided and enabled the mages from the East to find the Child, but rather the “star” in heaven. Similarly, in Hermeticism one will find only straw and animals if one is not guided by its “star”, which exists only for intuition. Now, it is the nineteenth Arcanum of the Tarot, which invites us to occupy  ourselves quite especially with the “star” of Hermeticism in the heaven of intuition. What is this “star?” The Zohar says:

“And God made the two great lights….originally, when the moon and sun were in intimate union, they shone with equal luminosity. The names JEHOVAH and ELOHIM were then associated as equals…and the two lights were dignified with the same name: MAZPAZ MAZPAZ….The two lights rose simultaneously and were of the same dignity. But….the moon humbled herself by diminishing her light, and renounced her place of higher rank. From that time she has had no light of her own, but derives her light from the sun.

Nevertheless, her real light is greater than that which she radiates here below; for a woman enjoys no honour save in conjunction with her husband. The great light (the sun) has the name JEHOVAH and the lesser light (the moon) has the name ELOHIM, which is the last of the degrees and the close of thought. Originally she was inscribed above among the letters of the sacred name (YHVH), which are four in number; it was only after diminishing herself that she took the name ELOHIM.

But her power is manifest in all directions….EL being “the dominion of the day,” IM” being the “dominion of the night,” and HE in the middle being the remainder of the forces (“the stars”), participating in both dominions.

It is left to us only to cite another passage from an ancient source – from the eleventh book of Apuleius’ Transformations – in order to have all the elements necessary to grapple, sufficiently equipped, with the problem of the “star” of Hermeticism and “The Sun” of the nineteenth Arcanum of the Tarot. Apuleius summarised his great vigil at the temple of Isis – the “arcana of the sacred night” (noctis sacratae arcana) in the following way:

I approached the very gates of death and set one foot on Prosperine’s threshold,  yet was permitted to return, rapt through all the elements. At midnight I saw the sun shining in its brilliant radiance; I entered the presence of the gods of the under-world and the gods of the upper-world,  stood near and worshipped them.

Let us now seek for reality, having in view the above-cited passage from the Zohar and the statement made by Apuleius.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIX, The Sun

Aug 032010
 

I approached the very gates of death and set one foot on Prosperine’s threshold, yet was permitted to return, rapt through all the elements.

At midnight I saw the sun shining in its brilliant radiance;

I entered the presence of the gods of the under-world and the gods of the upper-world, stood near and worshipped them.

Apuleius, ,Transformations: The Golden Ass

Jul 272010
 

Soon after her husband came, and when he had kissed and embraced her, he fell asleep. Then Psyche (somewhat feeble in body and mind, yet moved by cruelty of fate) received boldness, and brought forth the lamp, and took the razor, so by her audacity she changed her kind.

But when she took the lamp, and came to the bedside, she saw ‘the most meek and sweetest beast of all beasts, even fair Cupid couched fairly, at whose sight the very lamp increased his light for joy, and the razor turned his edge.

But when Psyche saw so glorious a body, she greatly feared, and, amazed in mind, with a pale countenance, all trembling, fell on her knees, and thought to hide the razor, yea verily in her own heart; which she had undoubtedly done, had it not through fear of so great an enterprise fallen out of her hand. And when she saw and beheld the beauty of his divine visage she was well recreated in her mind.

She saw his hairs of gold, that yielded out a sweet savour: his neck more white than milk: his purple cheeks, his hair hanging comely behind and before, the brightness whereof did darken the light of the lamp: his tender plume-feathers dispersed upon his shoulders like shining flowers, and trembling hither and thither; and his other parts of his body so smooth and soft that it did not repent Venus to bear such a child.

At the bed’s feet lay his bow, quiver, and arrows, that be ‘the weapons of so great a God; which when Psyche did curiously behold, and marvelling at the weapons of her husband, took one of the arrows out of the quiver, and pricked herself withal, wherewith she was so grievously wounded that the blood followed, and thereby of her own accord she added love upon love; then more and more broiling in the love of Cupid, she embraced him and kissed him a thousand times fearing the measure of his sleep.

But alas while she was in this great joy, whether it were for envy, or for desire to touch this amiable body likewise, there fell out a drop of burning oil from the lamp upon the right shoulder of the God. O rash and bold lamp, the vile ministry of love, how darest thou be so bold as to burn the God of all fire when he invented thee, to the intent that all lovers might with more joy pass the nights in pleasure?

Cupid and Psyche, Apuleius