Apr 142014
 

soulDuring the period of struggle, questions as to the purpose of life and man’s own being had formulated themselves, but when the answers come they do not answer the questions but rather obliterate them in the experience of the reality itself.

Thus, with regard to the mystery of man’s own being, the answer is not an intellectual exposition of the constitution of man, but rather an awareness of his own inner Self and as a result, the discovery of the world of that Self. When, in that world, we consider the problem of the duality which we all experience in daily life, of a higher Self on the one hand and a lower self on the other, we find a wonderful truth.

Man is essentially divine; as a son of God he partakes of the nature of his Father and shares His Godhead. Man’s own and true home is therefore the world of the Divine; there we live and move and have our own being ‘from eternity to eternity’. In his own world the Ego of man has his own activities and lives a life of joy and splendour beyond all earthly conception. There is, however, one lesson or experience which he cannot learn in his own world, but for which he has to put forth his consciousness into the worlds of outer manifestation where there is manifoldness and the antithesis of “I” and “not I”.

It is there alone that, through the medium of bodies composed of the matter of these outer worlds, the Ego can gain self-consciousness, that is to say, consciousness of himself as a separate individual. The divine world which is the true home of the Ego is a world in which there is not that distinction between Self and not-Self, but in which every part shares of the universal consciousness of the whole. That is why in this world the particular self-realisation which is necessary to the Ego cannot be gained. It is only the three-fold universe of outer manifestation, the physical world, that we find the duality of subject and object necessary for the gaining of self-consciousness.

Thus it is truly for the gaining of knowledge that the Ego puts himself forth into these outer worlds and assumes bodies of the matter of these worlds. It is this going forth of the soul into the worlds of darkness which we find symbolically described in the story of Genesis. Primitive Paradise is not a state which can last, however great its beauty and harmony. The soul must eat of the tree of good and evil, the tree of knowledge, even though at the cost of Paradise.

Having thus become conscious of the desire to know the worlds of matter, the soul is clothed in “coats of skin,” the bodies of matter, and henceforth has to live under the conditions of material existence, “labouring and bringing forth in pain.” The end of this long exile is the redemption or regeneration, which takes place when the soul regains knowledge of her own divinity, and Christ is born in the heart of man. Then Paradise is regained, but now in full self-consciousness, the Ego in his own divine world possessing the fruits yielded by the soul’s descent into the worlds of matter.

J.J van der Leeuw, God’s in Exile

Feb 092013
 

The aim of conscious love is to bring about rebirth, or spiritual childhood. Everybody with perceptions beyond those of male and female must be aware of the change that comes over the man or woman, however old in years, who loves.

It is usually instinctive; yet it symbolizes the still more marvelous change occurring  when a man or woman loves consciously or is aware of being consciously loved. The youth in such cases has all the air of eternity, and it is, indeed, the divine youth.

The creations of such a spiritual child in each of the two lovers is the peculiar function of conscious love; and it depends neither upon marriage nor upon children. There are other creations proper to still higher degrees of love, but they must remain until we have become as little children.

A R Orage, Psychological Exercises, Love

May 232011
 

A mystical act and a gnostic act ‘precede’ in eternity the act of creation as a magical act; this is followed by the activity of formation by the demiurge, or the demiurge hierarchies, who undertake the work of craftsmanship – work which is essentially that of executive or Hermetic-philosophical intelligence.

The classical Cabala furnishes us with a marvellous example of the peace possible between apparently rival doctrines. In its doctrine of ten Sephiroth, it teaches first the mystery of eternal mysticism – AIN-SOPH, the Unlimited. Then it expounds the gnostic doctrine of eternal emanations from the womb of the Divine, which precede – in ordine cognoscendi – the act of creation. They are the ideas of God within God, which precede the creation – the latter being a conscious act and impulsive or instinctive.

Then it speaks of pure creation or creation ex nihilo – the act of the magical projection of the ideas of the plan of creation, ie, the Sephiroth. This creative, magical act is followed – in ordine cognoscendi, always – by the activity of formation in which the beings of the spiritual hierarchies participate, including man. It is in this way that, according to the Cabbala, the world comes into being, that the world of facts or deeds known to us through experience becomes what it is.

Now, ‘olam ha’assiah, the world of facts, is preceded by ‘olam ha yetzirah‘, the world of formation or the demiurgic world; this is the product of ‘olam ha beriah‘, the world of creation or the magical world which is, in turn, the realisation of ‘olam ha atziluth‘, the world of emanations or the gnostic world, inseparate and inseparable from God, who in his true essence is the mystery of supreme mysticism – AIN-SOPH, the Unlimited.

It is therefore possible – and for us there is no doubt about it – to reconcile the diverse doctrines concerning the creation; it is only necessary to put each of them in its proper place, or to apply each to the plane which is proper to it. The Cabbala, through its doctrine of the Sephiroth, provides a wonderful proof that this is so.

Pantheism is true for the ‘world of emanations’, (olam ha atziluth), where there are only ideas – within God and inseparable from him; but theism is true when one leaves the domain of uncreated eternity to pass on to the creation, meaning the creation of the ancestors of archetypes of phenomena that we know through our experience. And demiurgism is true when we contemplate the world or plane of formation, or the evolution of beings with the aim of coming into conformity with their created prototypes.

But leaving aside the worlds or planes of formation, creation, emanation and divine-mystical essence, one can confine oneself solely to the plane of facts. Then naturalism becomes true – within the limits of this plane, taken in isolation.

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter II, The High Priestess

Mar 242011
 

One becomes conscious of the pure act of intelligence only by means of its reflection. We require an inner mirror in order to be conscious of the pure act. The breath of the Spirit – or the pure act of intelligence – is certainly an event, but it does not suffice, itself alone, for us to become conscious of it.  Con-sciousness is the result of two principles – the active, activating principle and the passive, reflecting principle.

In order to know from where the breath of the Spirit comes and where it goes, Water is required to reflect it: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God (John iii, 5).

Reintegrated consciousness must be born of Water and Spirit, after Water has once again become Virginal and Spirit has once again become divine Breath or the Holy Spirit

*

Christian yoga does not aspire directly to unity, but rather to the unity of two. This is very important for understanding the standpoint which one takes towards the infinitely serious problem of unity and duality. For this problem can open the door to truly divine mysteries and can also close them to us….for ever, perhaps, who knows? Everything depends on its comprehension.

We can decide in favour of monism and say to ourselves that there can be one sole essence, one sole being. Or we can decide – in view of considerable historical and personal experience – in favour of dualism and say to ourselves that there are two principles in the world: good and evil, spirit and matter, and that, entirely incomprehensible though this duality is at root, it must be admitted as an incontestable fact.

We can, moreover, decide in favour of a third point of view, namely that of love as the cosmic principle which presupposes duality and postulates its non-substantial but essential unity. These three points of view are found at the basis of the Vedanta and Spinozism (monism), Manichaeism and certain gnostic schools (dualism) and the Judaeo-Christian current (love).

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter II, The High Priestess

Mar 242011
 

You will understand the role played by the mantle enveloping the Hermit, when he employs his lamp for seeing clearly in particular problems, and when he employs his staff for probing his terrain. The ‘mantle’ is the presence at a deeper level of consciousness of the whole truth, and it is this which envelops and inspires all intellectual work relating to particular problems that is carried out by the conscious self with its lamp and staff.

It is this which gives the conscious self direction and style, and sees to it that each solution to each particular problem is in harmony with the whole. The whole truth lives at this deeper level, and is present there as the certainty of absolute faith, as the certainty of the imprint of truth from above.

The initiate is someone who knows everything. He is a person who bears the truth within a deeper level of his consciousness, not as an intellectual system, but rather as a level in his being, as a ‘mantle’ which envelops him. This truth-imprint manifests itself as unshakable certainty, ie, as faith in the sense of the voice of the presence of truth.

Truth attained through synthesis is present at a deeper level of consciousness than that of the consciousness of self. It is found in darkness. It is from this darkness that the rays of light of particular branches of knowledge are emitted, as a result of efforts aspiring to the “neutralisation of binaries” or the “solution of antinomies”.

These efforts are nothing other than excursions into the region of this deeper level of consciousness; they are contacts established with the inner darkness, which is full of revelations of truth.

The knowledge and power drawn from this dark and silent region of luminous certainty can be well described as the “gift of Perfect Night”, mentioned in Kore Kosmou, the sacred book of Hermes Trismegistus. The ‘Gift of Perfect Night’ manifests itself in consequence of such spiritual endeavours as are implied by the ‘neutralisation of binaries’ or the ‘solution of antinomies’. It is, one can say, the very essence of Hermeticism and constitutes at one and teh same time the method which is proper to it and the faculty of knowledge to the exercise of which its very existence is due.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter IX, The Hermit

Feb 112011
 

According to Jung, the reality of the unconscious is manifested by action of a numinous character upon consciousness. This is what Jung says concerning the unconscious:

…the unconscious…by definition and in fact, cannot be circumscribed. It must therefore be counted as something boundless: infinite or infintesimal. Whether it may legitimately be called a microcosm depends simply and solely on whether certain portions of the world beyond individual experience can be shown to exist in the unconscious – certain constants which are not individually acquired but are a priori presences.

The theory of instinct and the findings of biology in connection with the symbiotic relationship between plant and insect have long made us familiar with these things…A general proof of the rightness of this expectation lies in the ubiquitous occurrence of parallel mythologems, Bastian’s ‘folk-thoughts’ or primordial ideas; and a special proof is the autochthonous reproduction of such ideas in the psyche of individuals where direct transmission is out of the question…

Mythologems are the aforementioned ‘portions of the world’ which belong to the structural elements of the psyche. They are constants whose expression is everywhere and at all times the same. (C.G. Jung, Medicine and Psychotherapy).

The unconscious – with its numinous action – is therefore not confined to the individual soul; it surpasses it in every direction. Being ‘something boundless’, the unconscious is the world seen under its psychic aspect. Which means to say that it consists not only of innate – ie, prenatal, individual tendencies and inclinations, but that it also includes what we have designated as ‘spheres’ – namely the ‘sphere of the Holy Spirit’ and that of the ‘false Holy Spirit’.

Action of a numinous character from the unconscious, thus conceived, is certainly a criterion sufficient to distinguish the manifestation of the reality of the unconscious from the manifestation of the subjectivity of the individual soul through the latter’s spontaneous fantasy, feeling and intellectuality, but it does not at all suffice to distinguish the truth within this reality, ie, to distinguish the action of the sphere of the Holy Spirit from that of the sphere of mirages. For the sphere of mirages, also, is real – but reality is one thing and truth is another thing. A mirage is certainly real, but it is not true; it is deceiving.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXII, The World

Jan 052011
 

Truly, our life is guided – from the other side of it, so to speak – with a far greater wisdom than is ours in guiding it from this side. Often in later life we meet a human being who becomes of extreme importance in our life. When we think back: How did we live until  the moment when we met him?

Then our entire life seems like the very pathway to the meeting. It is as though we had tended every step, that we might find him at the right moment – or that we might find him at all, at a certain moment.

We need only ponder the following: Think, my dear friends, what it signifies for fully conscious human reflection. Think of what it means to find another human being in a given year of life, thenceforth to experience, work or achieve – whatever it may be –  in common with him.

Think what it means, what emerges as the impulse that led up to it, when we reflect on this quite consciously. When we begin to think: How did it happen that we met him? It will probably occur to us that we first had to experience an event with which many other people were connected, for otherwise the opportunity would not have arisen for us to meet him in this life. And, that this event might happen, we had to undergo still another event….and so on.

We find ourselves in the midst of the most complex chain of circumstances, all of which had to occur, into all which we had to enter, so as to reach this or that decisive experience. And now we may perhaps reflect: If the task had been set us – I will not say at the age of one, but let us say at the age of fourteen – to solve the riddle consciously: to bring about in our fiftieth year a decisive meeting with another human being; if we imagine that we had to solve it consciously, like a mathematical puzzle – think what it would involve!

Consciously, we human beings are so appallingly stupid, whereas what happens with us in the world is so infinitely wise, when we take into account such things as these. When we begin to think along these lines, we become aware of the immense intricacy and deep significance in the workings of our destiny or karma. And this all goes on in the domain of the human kingdom. All that thus happens to us is deep in the unconscious life. Until the moment when a decisive event approaches us it lies in the unconscious.

Rudolf Steiner, Karmic Relationships, Esoteric Studies, Vol. 1

Sep 242010
 

Nobody knows precisely what – if anything out of the ordinary – will occur on 21.12.2012, but it may be wise in any case to treat this date as a feasible deadline.

Accepting this premise at face value, for what it is worth – which potentially is either everything or nothing – means there is nothing to lose but everything to gain, but not vice versa, for this reason: The authorities on Mayan culture – the ancestors, as it were – have said that this date is a point of transformation, for better or worse, depending on how the balance tips.

In other words, if the world and all of humanity have not, by this time, made a positive evolutionary step towards a less material, more spiritual, less painful, more peaceful, less hateful, more loving state of reality, natural and supernatural, then the change will be for the worse and might even be catastrophic.

If, however, humanity takes up the ‘Sword of Peace’, ‘Belt of Truth’ and so on, aspiring to and attaining love through truth with hope and faith, then the change will be for the better. The Stairway to Heaven and Gateway to Paradise will manifest and reopen to us. The Tree of Life will be restored and soulmates reunited. It might even be the case that our ability to survive at all will depend on the degree to which our hearts and minds are filled with love and light, the extent to which our soul/spirit is free and in touch with the Divine.

It is therefore proposed that we accept the deadline and begin in earnest a fully conscious, united mission to help save the world by 21.12.2012, else be left to wonder forever what might have been.

So from the present date (September 24 2010) there are 819 days to go until deadline, which is boiling down to a significant number 9 in this book. As to how we might proceed – seeing as 9 might indeed be significant – perhaps now is the time for us all to hang the Hermetic lamps out, so they are brought beyond the mantle more fully. Each to his or her own, thereby, with a mission to shine a light. Upraise sparks.

Jul 052010
 

The Arcana of the Tarot, I must stress, are spiritual exercises. And the ninth Arcanum, the Hermit, is one of them.

*

One undertakes the essential thing about this exercise, namely the endeavour to draw light from darkness, ie, an effort aiming at knowledge which appears to you to be not only unknown but unknowable.

In fact, every serious antimony signifies psychologically: “the light that I possess is polarised at two poles; between these two luminous poles there is only one darkness”. Now, it is from this darkness that the solution to the antimony, the synthesis, must be drawn. It is necessary to create light from darkness. One could say that it is a matter of an act analogous to the Fiat lux (“let there be light”, Genesis i,3) of the first day of creation.

Experience teaches us that there are two kinds of darkness in the domain of consciousness. One is that of ignorance, passivity and laziness, which is ‘infralight’ darkness. The other, in contrast, is the darkness of higher knowledge, intense activity and endeavour still to be made – this is  ‘ultra light’ . It is a question of this latter ‘darkness’ in instances where it is a matter of resolving an antimony or finding a synthesis.

Modern Hermetic literature takes account of the ‘neutralisation of binaries’, ie, the method where one finds the third term, or neutral term, for the two terms (‘binary’) corresponding to the active and passive principles….The method of ‘neutralisation of binaries’ is generally considered by Hermetic and occultist authors as the traditional method of Hermeticism.

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter IX, The Hermit

Jun 192010
 

It is in we ourselves that there is to be found the ‘Edenic’ layer, of that of Paradise before the Fall, of which an account is to be found in the book of Genesis of Moses. Do you doubt the essential truth of this account? Descend into the depths of your own soul, descend as far as the roots, to the sources of feeling, will and intelligence – and you will know.

It expresses in symbolic language the first layer (first in the sense of the root of all that is human in human nature) of human psychic life, or its ‘beginning’. Knowledge of the beginning, initium in Latin, is the essence of initiation. Initiation is the conscious experience of the initial microcosmic state (this is the Hermetic initiation), and of the initial macrocosmic stage (this is the Pythagorean initiation).

The first is a conscious descent into the depths of the human being, to the initial layer. Its method is enstasy, ie, experience of the depths at the foundation within oneself. Here one becomes more and more profound until one awakens within oneself to the primordial layer – or the ‘image and likeness of ‘God’ – which is the aim of enstasy. It is above all by means of the sense of spiritual touch that this experience is effected. One can compare it to a chemical experiment undergone on the psychic and spiritual plane.

The second experience – that we have designated ‘Pythagorean’ from a historical  point of view – is based above all on the auditory sense or sense of spiritual hearing. It is essentially musical, just as the first is substantial or alchemical. It is by ecstasy – or rapture, or going out of oneself – that the macrocosmic layers (spheres or heavens) reveal themselves to consciousness. Pythagoras’ ‘music of the spheres’ was this experience, and it is this which was the source of the Pythagorean doctrine concerning the musical and mathematical structure of the macrocosm.

Christian esotericism unites these two methods of  initiation. The Master had two groups of disciples – ‘disciples of the day’ and ‘disciples of the night’ – the first being disciples of the way of enstasy and the latter those of the way of ecstasy. He also had a third group of disciples ‘of day and night’, ie, those who possess the keys to both doors at once, to the door of ecstasy and that of enstasy. Thus, the apostle, John, author of the Gospel of the Word-made-flesh, was at the same time he who listened to the heart of the Master.

He had a twofold experience – macrocosmic and microcosmic –  of the Cosmic World and the Sacred Heart, of which the litany says: Cor Jesu, rex et centrum omnium cordium. It is thanks to this twofold experience that the Gospel which he wrote is at one and the same time so cosmic and so humanly  intimate – of such heights and depths simultaneously. There, the macrocosmic solar sphere and the microcosmic solar sphere are united, which explains the singular magic of the Gospel.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VI, The Lover