Sep 092016
 

me909So three years she throve and prospered, but in the fourth year, (mark again the occult number of perfection,) a great dread came upon her, she was plagued in “the abysmal deeps of personality” with a sore despair. The moment of choice, the turning point had come, that period of which Esoteric Buddhism speaks as occurring for the race in the fifth round but to which some exceptional personalities have forced themselves in this our fourth round. Many occultists will see their own experience mirrored in that of this tormented and lonely soul, contemplating her “palace of strength whereof the foundation stones were laid since her first memory,” only to see in its dark corners, “uncertain shapes, horrible nightmares, white-eyed phantasms and hollow shades enclosing hearts of flame.” Do we not seem to see all the elemental world, led on by the dread Dweller of the Threshold here confronting us? The struggle is even more powerfully depicted but the lesson is learned; the soul may retrieve herself by a lowly life: she throws aside her royal robes, and recognizing the need of mixing with her kind, begs for a “cottage in the vale.”

Poetical Occultism: II, Julius

Jun 032016
 

order-of-rigden-jyepo-1933When Padmasambhava brought Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century, he also brought word of Shambhala, the mystical kingdom, hidden behind snow peaks somewhere north of Tibet. The capital, Kalapa, is located in the center of the kingdom.

Most recently, Master Morya had spoken of ‘Our Abode’: “Shambhala is the indispensable site where the spiritual world unites with the material world. As in a magnet there exists the point of utmost attraction, so the gates of the spiritual world open in the Mountain Dwelling. The manifested height of Mt Guarisankar helps the magnetic current. Jacob’s Ladder is the symbol of Our Abode.”

Nicholas & Helena Roerich, Ruth A Drayer

Aug 172013
 

lazarusThe revival of hermeticism in Christianity that, as we said, was foreign to the spirit of the religion of Israel – the latter being based wholly on family and community – was not in any way the result of an ‘Indian influence’ on Christianity. Neither St Anthony of Thebes nor St Paul the Hermit had been influenced at all by India. The same is true for St Jerome and all the other hermits (the Irish Anglo-Saxon hermits included)of whom history has related anything definite.

Christian hermeticism arose out of a profound need of the soul – namely, the need to personally experience the truth of the tradition. And the fact that this need is at the same time the living core of Hindu Buddhist spiritual life, only makes it more plausible that the eternally valid kernel of Hinduism and Buddhism reappeared in transfigured form – that is to say, was resurrected.

Its transfiguration consists in this: the ideal of redemption of the self from the world became the ideal of the redemption of the world: the striving for eternal rest in nirvana became a striving after unity with the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and the  yearning for deathlessness in the world became the hope for resurrection in this world.

The Christianity of the hermits, as the essential core of Indian spiritual life resurrected within Christianity, was no passing phenomenon limited to a few centuries only. Today it still lives with all the intensity of its youth. Though it may not be deserts and thick forests into which one can retire into an undisturbed solitude nowadays, there are still people who have found or created in the deserts of the great cities and among the thickets of the crowds a solitude and stillness of life for the spirit.

And as before, their striving is devoted toward becoming a witness for the truth of Christianity. The way into the depths has not led them to an individualistic brand of belief, but has given them unshakable security in the truth of the Christian revelation as transmitted and taught by the Church.

They know the truth of the following: Extra Ecciesiam non est salus (‘there is no salvation outside the Church’); the Holy Father is not and cannot be the mouthpiece of an ecumenical council; the Holy See alone can make decisions in questions of faith and of morals – a majority of bishops cannot do so, and even less can a majority of priests or congregations do so; the Church is hierarchic theocratic – not democratic, aristocratic, or monarchic – and will be so in future times; the Church is the Civitas Dei (‘the City of God’) and not a superstructure of the will of people belonging to the Church; as little as the shepherd follow the will of the herd does the Holy Father of the Church merely carry out the collective will of his flock; the Shepherd of the Church is St. Peter, representing  Christ – his pronouncements ex cathedra are infallible, and the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven belongs to him, and him alone.

In other words, those who become solitary in order to seek profundity may reach on their path of spiritual experience to the unshakable insight that the dogmas of the Church are absolutely true. And so it can happen that, as they did at the time of the Arian darkening of the Church, the ‘hermits’ of today may again come to the assistance of the Holy See, leaving their solitude to appear in witness to the truth of Peter’s Throne and its infallible teaching.

In those times it happened that St Anthony of Thebes left the desert and hurried to Alexandria to support St Athanasius with the weight of his moral authority – St Athanasius who became the standard-bearer for the divinity of Christ. The darkening that today is described as ‘the present crisis of the Catholic Church’ can lead to the necessity for the solitary sons of the Church to hurry to the aid of the Holy Father, the most solitary of solitaries, in order to save the Church from the abyss toward which she is moving.

Valentin Tomberg, Lazarus Come Forth!

 

Feb 192011
 

In these twelve men who came together to perform a special mission, the twelve different streams in the spiritual development of mankind were represented. The fact that all possible religions and all possible philosophies belong to the twelve basic types is in itself a mystery.

Buddhism, Brahmanism, Vedanta philosophy, materialism, or whatever it may be – all of them can be traced to the twelve basic types; it is just a matter of being quite exact. And so all the different streams of man’s spiritual life – the religions, the philosophies and world conceptions that are spread over the earth – were united in that council of the twelve.

After the period of darkness had passed and spiritual achievement was possible again, a thirteenth came in remarkable circumstances to the twelve. I am telling you now of one of those events which takes place secretly in the evolution of mankind once and once only. They cannot occur a second time and are mentioned not as an indication that efforts should be made to repeat them but for quite other reasons.

When the darkness had lifted and it was possible to develop clairvoyant vision again, the coming of the thirteenth was announced in a mysterious way to the twelve wise men. They knew that the time had come when a child with significant and remarkable incarnations behind him was to be born. Above all they knew that one of his incarnations had been at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha.

It was known, therefore, that one who had been a contemporary of the events in Palestine was returning. And the birth of the child in these unusual circumstances during the thirteenth century could not have been said to be that of a person of renown.

Rudolf Steiner, Intimate Workings of Karma

Jan 072011
 

The pendulum has swung back again—or at any rate is about to start its swing. In speaking of ‘the unity of the world and all things in it’, we must, however, avoid the error of oriental monism which denies the dual existence of Creator and created. According to this view the universe and all the inner worlds therein have been self-created, or at best emanated from a central source.

This means that God is in everything, in the holiest of holies and in the dust on the sandals of the worshipper at the temple gate. As a child of an acquaintance put it with devastating childlike logic. ‘When I stamp on the ground am I stamping on God?’ To this the monist would rush to reply ‘Yes’, but the theist would say ‘No’. The monist would go on to say that as God is also in the child’s foot, sock and shoe, God was stamping on God. The theist would go on to say that although God is not in everything He is omniscient as far as the creation is concerned and is therefore aware of the child stamping and in empathy with both the child and the ground.

All this is not academic, theological or philosophical hair splitting, for the consequences of believing one thing or the other are profound. If we are going to build a philosophical or theological edifice we need to be very certain of the rock upon which it is founded. To believe that all things unfurl of their own accord from nothing is to assume that man is capable of expanding his consciousness until he comes eventually as God, comprehending all — and that animals  expand their consciousness to become humans, plants likewise to become animals, even minerals to become plants.

This is a theory that is, in fact, held by many students of the occult, based on the monist philosophical assumptions of the East It has its superficial attraction as a logical sounding kind of arrangement. It takes in the ideas of human progress and general life evolution that were newly formulated and current in the nineteenth century, and it is hardly surprising that these ideas in occult form were first promulgated in the West in the late nineteenth century by the efforts of the newly formed Theosophical Society.

What Madame Blavatsky, its founder, did really was to take nineteenth-century materialist evolutionary theory as formulated by Darwin and stand it on its head as a spiritual evolutionary theory, in much the same way that
Marx had inverted the spiritual dialectic of Hegel to form the dialectical materialism of Marxism. Both Marxism and Theosophy have a great spurious appeal as seeming  to answer many questions by this agile topsy-turveydom. Unfortunately both are wrong — though this does not alter the fact that Marxism as a political philosophy came to dominate a third of the world and Theosophical monism  dominates  much  of modern occult thought.

It is not our task to try to judge why certain particular nineteenth-century philosophical ideas should retain such a hold into modern times, though in the case of oriental monism and occultism its influence spread because a whole generation of occult students sat at the feet of Madame Blavatsky and imbibed her principles  even if they later rejected some of the superstructure of her philosophy. They later taught others and so the basic assumptions spread — with various modifications to and arguments about the superstructure, but with the entire theological foundations  taken for granted and accepted unchallenged.

The whole Western occult tradition, which had followed an underground course for centuries, burst out into the open, only to be thoroughly mixed, swamped and diluted with Eastern ideas deriving from Hinduism and Buddhism. The true occult heritage of the West stems, however, along with the religion of the West, from Christian and Judaic tradition  — or rather from revealed as opposed to natural religion.

Gareth Knight, Experience of the Inner Worlds, The Sphere of Light

Jun 122010
 

History – as, moreover, the life of the individual – is ‘worked’ by day and by night. It has a diurnal aspect and a nocturnal aspect. The former is exoteric, whilst the latter is esoteric. The silence and obscurity of the night is always full of events in preparation – and all that which is unconscious or superconscious in the human being belongs to the domain of ‘night’.

This is the magical side of history, the side of magical deeds and works acting behind the facade of history ‘by day’. Thus, when the Gospel was preached by the light of day in the countries around the Mediterranean, the nocturnal rays of the Gospel effected a profound transformation in Buddhism. There, the ideal of individual liberation by entering the state of nirvana gave way to the ideal of renouncing nirvana for the work of mercy towards suffering humanity. The ideal of mahayana, the great chariot, then had its resplendent ascent to the heaven of Asia’s moral values.

This is the formula of the twofold teaching – by the speech of day and by the knowledge of night; of the twofold tradition – by verbal teaching and by direct inspiration; of twofold magic – by the spoken word and by silent radiation; and lastly, of twofold history – ‘visible’ history by day and ‘invisible’ history by night.

*

…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 the cosmic reality of nirvana) is the divine prototype of respiration.

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