Oct 082016
 

white-swan-dreams-take-flight-tinted-kelli-swanThe lovers of Brahman ask:

What is the source of this universe? What is Brahman? From where do we come? By what power do we live? Where do we find rest? Who rules over our joys and sorrows, O seers of Brahman?

Shall we think of time, or of the own nature of things, or of a law of necessity, or of chance, or of the elements, or of the power of creation of woman or man? Not a union of these, for above them is a soul who thinks. But our soul is under the power of pleasure and pain!

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They also saw the river of life impetuously rushing with the five streams of sense-feelings which come from five sources, the five elements. Its waves are moved by five breathing winds, and its origin is a fivefold fountain of consciousness. This river has five whirlpools, and the violent waves of five sorrows. It has five stages of pain and five dangerous windings and turnings.

In this vast Wheel of creation wherein all things live and die, wanders round the human soul like a swan in a restless flying, and she thinks that God is afar. But when the love of God comes down upon her, then she finds her own immortal life.

*

God is found in the soul when sought with truth and self-sacrifice, as fire is found in wood, water in hidden springs, cream in milk, and the oil in the oil-fruit.

*

Where the fire of the Spirit burns, where the wind of the Spirit blows, where the Soma-wine of the Spirit overflows, there a new soul is born.

Svetasvatara Upanishad

Jul 052015
 

cosmic_triangle_by_fraser0206-d4b9qmnShe opened her door and her window, and the heart and the soul came through, To her right hand came the red one, To her left hand came the blue*

 

As soon as dusk fell the witness peered into an antiquated telescope positioned by Mysteries’ upper-back window and focused it on the perfect half-moon above the star-crossed landscape.

Ahhhhh!

The portents were all there; love really was in the air.

For starters, Mars had just moved into a visually stunning conjunction with Aphrodite’s blue-white ball of ferocious energy, as the shyly radiant moon made up the third part of a most compelling, cosmic love-triangle.

Mercury hovered expectantly, waiting for the precise moment to convey his timeless message to the lovers and their watchers.

The Day of Transformation was truly dawning and the witness could only wonder if the consciousness of the human race was strong enough to survive the impact. Would the collective mind be blown – short-circuited by the influx of cosmic energy – or would humanity rise to the occasion by using it to accelerate a collective metamorphosis into a higher dimension?

 

*William Butler Yeats, The Cap and Bells

Jul 312014
 

hebrew-mercy-graceThe Grade of Exempt Adept, associated with Chesed, is perfected when the power of the sphere of Mars, Geburah, has been drawn along the 19th path back to Chesed. In doing this one places oneself in Chesed, for the knowledge of the Great Arcanum, of the Secret of all spiritual activities, is not open to him who has risen no higher than the Grade of Major Adept. That is to say, the 19th Path is not open so long as we are no further along the Way of Return than Geburah, and the power from Geburah must be brought over from the side of Severity on the Tree of Life to the side of Mercy, by a process initiated from the point-of-view afforded by Chesed.

When all the desires of the seeker for light have been unified in the one desire to be a free, unobstructed vehicle for the manifestation of the cyclic activities of the cosmos, he has traversed the first path leading to the Grade of Exempt Adept, the path of the letter Kaph, corresponding to the Wheel of Fortune in the Tarot. After this, by a supreme effort of imagination, he sees behind the mechanistic expression of the Life-Power in the cosmic cycles the operation of a Living Will, and through the 19th Path he transmutes the activities of the serpent-power, and this transmutation is pictured in the Tarot by the woman taming the lion.

Tarot Card 11 - La Force (Strength)You will remember that lion (in Hebrew), the name of the zodiacal sign Leo, is the number 216, and that this is the number of Geburah, one of the names of the sphere of Mars. Note, too, that 216 is 9 by reduction, and 9 is the number of Teth, the letter corresponding to the 19th Path. 216 is also the number of [the Hebrew word for] Sight, the function assigned to the 15th path, and of wrath or excitement, which is the function of the 25th path, that of Probation or Trial. The path to which Sight is attributed is that of Aries, ruled by Mars. And the path to which excitement is attributed is that of Sagittarius. It thus becomes evident that all these [Hebrew] words – strength, the lion, Sight, and excitement, are related to the fiery power which we have learned to associate with the Mars-vibration.

This vibration, you will recall, is especially active in self-consciousness, and the feeling of strength which it gives is misinterpreted by people who have not progressed beyond self-consciousness. The misinterpretation arises from the illusion of separateness, which engenders the feeling of ‘myness’, and this feeling is the root of belief in personal will. This is why the Sephirah Geburah is said to represent personal will, which is merely the misunderstanding of the power of undeviating cosmic law in its manifestation through personal centers of expression.

The Major Adept still feels the illusion, although he has overcome the delusion caused by it. But the Exempt Adept, having in his union with  the One Self so identified himself with the cosmic memory that he never forgets his relation to the Sources of All, is almost wholly liberated from even the illusion. Almost, I say, because there are times when even he who perfectly remembers the Self (Chesed is the Sephirah of Memory) must identify himself with the relative states of being in order to serve, in order to perform the actions necessary to his part in the Great Work. And at such times he feels the illusion of separateness as much as anybody else.

Paul Foster Case, Esoteric Secrets of Meditation and Magic

Jan 112014
 

adamandeveAdam and Eve are not just two people. They are a metaphor for the primordial Vessel whose existence preceded creation. Just as all the colours of  the spectrum exist within a single beam of sunlight, the Vessel encompassed all matter, space, time and consciousness. And all the souls of humankind were also present in the Vessel.

The Vessel shattered because of a contradiction in its nature. It had been created only to receive, but, in being filled with the Creator’s Light, it had also received and taken on a degree of the Creator’s own nature: the desire to share. All of our existence now is predicated on the goal of transforming this duality into a single desire, the desire to receive for the sake of sharing, in order to be able to finally reconnect with the Creator and receive the fullness of His Light.

This can happen in only one way. The shards of the shattered Vessel – you and I – must choose to make it happen. We must choose of our own free will to transform ourselves into ‘beings of sharing,’ as the kabbalists say, first on an individual level, and ultimately as a collective transformation of all humankind. Not even God can do this for us. Transformation is the supreme expression and the only expression of free will. It is the choice we make in every thought, feeling and action. Adam and Eve faced this choice in the Garden. They chose wrongly, but, their intentions were good.

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The allure of evil makes that choice more difficult, and therefore more worthy. Evil, in its way, therefore serves the Creator. Indeed, by understanding this we can free ourselves from its temptations. A parable in the Zohar dramtises this teaching: A king forbade his son to consort with harlots, but the he hired a harlot to test the strength of his son’s character. The son was tempted – until he realised that the harlot was acting in the service of his father. She then lost all power over him.

The serpent in the Garden (acting in the service of our Father) is essential to our final transformation, but he certainly doesn’t make it any easier! At the time of his fateful encounter with Adam and Eve at the Tree of Knowledge, their state of being was fundamentally different from what ours is now. They embodied the pure energy of desire, and Kabbalah teaches that desire is inherently a positive force.

While the conventional view of our first ancestors portrays them as transgressors, the kabbalists point out that their motivation was to serve God. The serpent understood this also. In fact, he used their positive intentions to manipulate them for his own ends. He fostered the transformation of their pure, undifferentiated desire into desire to receive for themselves alone.

And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You are not going to die, but God knows that as soon as you eat of [the tree] your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings who know good and bad’. (Genesis 3:4)

*

Because Adam and Eve were not fully constituted to receive the Light – because the Vessel had not yet earned an unmediated connection – they were overwhelmed by the moment in the same way that a weak electrical circuit will flash brightly and then burn out at the sudden infusion of a powerful current. The kabbalists literalise this principle through a startling addition to the narrative:

Adam and Even took a second bite!

In the interval, a fundamental transformation had taken place, but not the positive one that had been envisoned. Rather, their desire had lost its sharing intention and had become self-serving. They were farther than ever away from unity with the nature of God, and this is exactly what the serpent had intended. It is essential to understand, however, that the impasse is also an opportunity. By traversing it, we can truly prepare the Vessel. We can earn the Light. We can receive it and take fulfillment in it. Most important, we can share it.

*

We have spoken of Adam and Eve as a couple, but until that second bite of the fruit they were not separate at the spiritual level. This detachment took place at the same instant that the divide widened between the Vessel and the Light. Where there had been unity and equilibrium, there was no dissimilarity and fragmentation. Where there had been eternal existence in Paradise, there was now mortal life in the physical world.

*

After the Fall, immortality consciousness was gone, replaced by a consciousness – a knowledge – of death and evil that instantly expressed itself in the physical dimension of life. But despite all this, the plain fact of immortality remained untouched, but in the same way that the signal that carries a TV programme remains in the air even after the set has been turned off.

With the Fall of Adam, the bad news is that we stopped receiving the programme. But we also began the process of repairing the receiving mechanism and getting it tuned in again. This correction, this tikkun, is our task for however many years it requires and however many lifetimes. When an individual human being truly completes this process, immortality is restored.

The Essential Zohar, Rav P. S. Berg

 

Aug 092013
 

Ace of Wands_MarseilleThe Minor Arcana of the Tarot represent the way of ascent from consciousness belonging to the world of action (the phenomenal world) through the world of formation and the world of creation to the world of emanation. Thus, it is a matter of four degrees (including the summit) of ascent from the world of sensual and intellectual imagery which corresponds to pentacles, to the world (or degree) of destruction of this imagery – or the ‘wilderness’ – which corresponds to swords, so as to attain to that degree of spiritual poverty which is necessary to become a receptacle for revelation from above – which degree corresponds to cups. The summit is attained when the cup of consciousness which receives the revelation from above is transformed – by cooperating with revelatory action – into this latter. It then becomes revelatory activity itself, being actively united with the world of emanation. Then the degree of wands or scepters is attained, ie, that of pure creative activity.

Therefore the way begins in the world of coins or pentacles. This is the world of the imagery of facts, intellectual constructions and imagined ideals. Here consciousness surrounds itself with a world of images – n the one hand the memories of experiences, and on the other hand the formulae and schemes of the intellect, as well as those of moral imagination, which latter we call ‘ideals’. This world of images is neither reality nor illusion. It consists of values/images corresponding to reality and which are therefore ‘convertible’ into reality; for this reason coins are its symbol. For just as pieces of money are not themselves board, heating and lodging but can be converted into board, heating and lodging, so do memory images and the formulae and schemes of the intellect and moral imagination represent realities – being ‘worths’ that may be converted into reality.

Now, the world of coins – the world of images – has a twofold significance. It signifies, on the one hand, the wealth acquired by consciousness, and on the other hand it signifies the totality of that which must be renounced if consciousness wants to come to spiritual reality. Because in order to convert money into real things, ie in order to buy them, one has to pay. One has to become ‘poor in spirit’ in order to have the kingdom of heaven.

This payment, where one divests oneself of one’s wealth of spirit, is that of swords. Here, the values/images (or coins_ that one has struck through intellectual, moral and artistic efforts are destroyed, one after the other, in the same (Sephirothic) order in which they were formed. This can last an instant, an hour, or decades. With St Thomas Aquinas it took the time of a single ecstasy, whilst with Plato it seems that it was a slow process extending over several years. With respect to St Thomas, it was probably at the end of 1273 that he underwent the decisive ecstasy.

The ecstasy that St Thomas underwent persuaded him that all that h had written and taught was of little significance. This is a case of passing through the sphere of swords.

4-10Plato, as did St Thomas Aquinas, arrived at the ‘spiritual poverty’ which is necessary to become a ‘cup’ and ‘sceptre’ (or ‘wand’), ie to become a receptacle for the revelation of Being, and then to become an active cooperator – which means to say ‘initiated’ .

The ‘worlds’ or ‘spheres’ of pentacles (coins), swords, cups and wands correspond to the degrees of the traditional way of preparation, purification, illumination and perfection.

What one acquires through observation, study, reasoning and discipline constitutes the degree of preparation, or the world of coins.

This ‘world’ exposed to the action of the breath of the Real, constitutes the degree of purification, or the world of swords.

That which remains after this trial becomes the virtue or faculty of the soul to receive illumination from above. This is the degree of illumination, or the world of cups.

And, lastly, to the extent that the soul raises itself from receptivity to active cooperation with the Divine, it is admitted to the degree of perfection, or to the world of scepters or wands.

These are the things which can serve as a key to the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, for your work, dear Unknown Friend, on these Arcana.

Adieu, dear Unknown Friend.

Festival of the Holy Trinity, 21 May, 1967

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXII, The World

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

 

Aug 082012
 

The manifestation of Christ’s resurrection in the human soul was the Pentecost. That event is the primal phenomenon of the sixth cultural epoch, which the Apocalypse calls the ‘church of Philadelphia’.

The community of Pentecost was no longer a circle surrounding Jesus Christ, but now a circle from which Christ revealed himself to the outer world. The language he used to reveal himself was such that people of all nationalities were able to understand.

The two main characteristics of the philadelphian spiritual culture are the immanence of Christ in human consciousness and the cosmopolitan community that arises from that consciousness. In this sense, the sixth cultural epoch can be called the epoch of Pentecost.

This name acquires even more meaning because the consciousness that leads to the culture of that time must stand the test of ‘keeping the word’ and ‘not denying the name of Christ’ (3:8); that is, much be concerned with the word of Christ and with a relationship to his being as these become realities in the Pentecost.

What was given then as a ‘dispensation of grace’, however, must now be earned or submitted to before the cultural epoch of the spirit self can be realised. We must study the path that leads from the consciousness soul to the spirit self (manas) in order to understand the meaning of ‘keeping my word’ and ‘not denying my name’.

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When it comes to understanding ideas, the point is not to spin them into a system of logic, but to root them firmly in the spiritual moral organism of Christ’s cosmic work. In the Apocalypse, such work is called the ‘name of Christ’ and ‘not denying’ his ‘name’ is the soul attitude that accepts as true only ideas indebted not just to logic, but also always to the moral forces.

Not to deny the ‘name’ is moral logic, just as amoral, formal knowledge is itself a denial of the name of Christ, since it excludes the voice of goodness from the realm of knowing.

Valentin Tomberg, Christ and Sophia, Letters to Future Churches

Jul 222012
 

I would urge those who desire the higher knowledge to set immediately about the task of correlating their vehicles of consciousness, and especially the mental one, so that when the higher knowledge is revealed to them they may act as links between that which is above and their fellow-men who as yet stand upon a lower step of the great stair.

I would urge them, if they need any spur to this effort, to remember how much it would have meant to them, when they themselves stood upon that self-same step, had the help which it will be in their power to give been available.

No effort after development is wasted, even if he who strives seems to lose sight of his goal and turn aside. It is the passage of many feet that widens the path for the multitude; we, in our day, will never have to face such trials as did the earlier initiates who broke the way for us.

Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate

Feb 112012
 

One can no longer deny the fact that, in the psychic domain, nothing dies and that the whole past lives present in the diverse layers of the depths of consciousness – the ‘unconscious’ or subconsciousness – of the soul….

…For this reason nothing perishes and nothing is lost in the domain of the psyche; essential history, ie real joy and suffering, real religions and revelations of the past, continue to live in us, and it is in we ourselves that the key to the essential history of mankind is to be found.

It is in we ourselves that there is to be found the ‘Edenic’ layer, or that of paradise and 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.

You will know, ie, you will have certainty that the Biblical narrative is true in the most profound and authentic sense of the word – in the sense that you must deny yourself, deny the witness of the inner structure of your own soul, in order to be able to doubt the intrinsic truth of Moses’ account.

The descent into the depths of your own soul in meditating upon the account of paradise in Genesis will render you incapable of doubt. Such is the nature of the certainty that one can have here….

….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’. Now, 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 state (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 awaens within oneself 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 enstasy is effected. one can compare it to a chemical experiment undergone on the psychic and spiritual plane.

The second initiation experience – that we have designated ‘Pythagorean’ from a historial 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.

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

 

Jan 212012
 

Everyone must face and deal with the three temptations. However, if one approaches the spiritual world across the ‘threshold’ that is guarded by the ‘Guardian’, then one has the task of recognising the forces of the three temptations in one’s own being and of ridding oneself of them.

This means leaving them on this side of the threshold while one’s consciousness is still on the other side. For this, one must become free of the body in one’s thinking (thinking must become ‘body-free’); feeling must become free of the influence of chance; and willing must be cleansed of the lust for power.

If, for example, one were to carry lusting after power across the threshold into the spiritual world, one could thereby bring about tremendously destructive effects. For the will is strengthened to such a degree in the spiritual world, that it manifests in ways of which a person in the state of consciousness on this side of the threshold has no inkling.

Therefore the Guardian of the Threshold stands on the threshold and shows us our double. That is, the Guardian shows us our subconscious, reveals it to us so that we have before us an unerring and true picture of the extent and inner constitution of all the powers that we carry within us – powers that entangle us in the three temptations of existence.

if we are brave enough to withstand this sight without despairing over our own nature, without losing all courage so that we become, as it were, living ashes – if we have the courage to endure this truth – then we can cross over the threshold. Transformations then occur within our thinking, feeling and willing.

Indeed, one’s thinking becomes something quite different from what it was before. Until then, if we reflected upon something in order to draw logical conclusions, our thinking flowed onward from one thought to the next.

Now it becomes transformed into a stream directed upward. A thought becomes a question that ascends to the hierarchies and with persons who have died – then we return with the answer and recall it upon awakening in ordinary consciousness. Thought becomes an answer. The power of thinking becomes the power of vertial memory.

Feeling, for its part, is transformed. It becomes no longer the expression of what one feels with regard to oneself. Instead, it becomes an ever-widening circle that takes up not only what one has in one’s soul as impressions and sensations from without, but also what lives as missions and tasks within other beings.