Sep 232012
 

The Catholic Church, strongly influenced by the remains of the impulse emanating from Jundi-Shapur, decreed as a dogma at the Eighth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople in AD 869 that men were not to believe in the spirit. … This was because the Church did not desire that everybody should be enlightened about the Mystery of Golgotha, but that it should be kept hidden. In the year AD 869, belief in the spirit was abolished by the Catholic Church.

The dogma then decreed was to the effect that men must not believe in man as spirit, but only as body and soul, the soul possessing certain spiritual qualities. Thus the truth that man is a being of body, soul and spirit was abolished by the Catholic Church, acting directly under the influence of the impulse of Jundi-Shapur. History often presents a different spectacle from the one in which it is presented for the ordinary use of those whom one party or another would like to control.

Through the Mystery of Golgotha, however, man was related more closely to the spirit. Consequently there are two forces in him: the force whereby in his soul he is allied to death, and the force which liberates him from death and leads him inwardly to the spirit.

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When we can experience powerlessness and recovery from it, the benediction of actual relationship with Christ Jesus is vouchsafed to us. For this experience is the recovery of what we experienced in the spiritual world hundreds of years before our birth. We must seek here, on the physical plane, for its mirror-image in the soul. Seek within yourselves and you will discover the powerlessness! Seek, and you will find, after the experience of powerlessness, the redemption from it, the resurrection of the soul to the spirit….

The Christ experience does not consist of the unitary realisation of the Divine, but of the twofold experience of the death in the soul wrought by the body and the resurrection of the soul wrought by the spirit. A man who can say that he feels not only the Divine within him — as mystical theosophists eloquently assert — but can speak of the two experiences — of powerlessness and the resurrection from it — such a man is speaking of the true Christ experience

Rudolf Steiner, How do I find the Christ

Sep 212010
 

The Card, “The Pope” puts us in the presence of the act of benediction. It is essential to have this in mind when one undertakes the interpretation not only of the structure of the whole Card but also of each of its particular elements.

One should therefore never lose from sight that in the first place it is a matter of benediction and everything associated with it – no matter who the Pope may be or who the acolytes kneeling before him are, and no matter what the two columns behind the Pope signify, and no matter what his tiara and the triple cross he is holding symbolise.

What is benediction? What is its source and its effect? Who has the authority to bestow benediction? What role does it play in the spiritual life of humanity?

Now, benediction is more than a simple good wish made for others; it is also more than a magical impress of personal thought and will upon others. It is the putting into action of divine power transcending the individual thought and will of the one who is blessed as well as the one who is pronouncing the blessing. In other words, it is a sacerdotal act.

The two sides of the Cabbala – the “right” side and the “left” side – and the two columns of the Sephiroth Tree, the pillar of Mercy and that of Severity, and similarly the two pillars of the Temple of Solomon, Jachin and Boaz, correspond exactly the the two columns of prayer and benediction on this Card. Because it is Severity which stimulates prayer and it is Mercy which blesses.

the venous “blue blood” of Boaz ascends and the arterial “red blood” of Jachin descends. The “red blood” bears the vivifying benediction of oxygen; the “blue blood” rids the organism of the “severity” of carbonic acid. It is the same in the spiritual life. Spiritual asphyxia menaces he who does not practise some form of prayer; he who practises it receives vivifying benediction in some form. The two columns therefore have an essentially practical significance – as practically spiritually as rerspiration is for the life of the organism.

Thus, the first practical teaching of the fifth Arcanum – for the Major Arcana of the Tarot are spiritual exercises – relates to spiritual respiration.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter V, The Pope

Jul 212010
 

The posts of Emperor and Pope are realities beyond as well as on this side of the threshold which separates ‘day’ and ‘night’. And the Pope of the fifth card is the guardian of this threshold. He is seated between the two pillars – the pillar of day or prayer and the pillar of night or benediction.

The Emperor of the fourth card is the master of the day and the guardian of the blood or quintessence of the nocturnal reality of the day. The Pope is the guardian of respiration or of the reality of the relationship between day and night. That which he guards is the equilibrium between day and night, between human effort and divine grace. His post is founded on primordial cosmic deeds. Thus the first book of Moses says:

….and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. (Genesis i, 4 – 5).

And the act of separation of the intelligible from the mysterious signifies at the same time the establishing of cosmic respiration, which is the analogy of ‘the Spirit of God moving above the face of the waters.’ For the divine breath (ruach ‘elohim) above the profoundness of peace (‘the waters’ –  it is this which is the psychological as well as th e cosmic reality of nirvana) is the divine prototype of respiration.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter V, The Pope