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.

 

 

Nov 122011
 

Let us consider the domain of forgetting and remembering – the memory.

Memory is magic, in the subjective domain, which effects the evocation of things from the past. It renders past things present. Just as a sorcerer or necromancer evokes the spirits of the dead by making them appear, so does the memory evoke things of the past and make them appear to our inner mental vision.

The present remembrance is the result of the magical operation in the subjective domain, where one has succeeded in evoking from the black void of forgetfulness a living image from the past.

A living image from the past….imprint? symbol? copy? phantom? It is all of these at once. It is an imprint in so far as it makes use f my imagination to represent a reality which goes beyond its imaginary representation; it is a copy in so far as it only aims at reproducing the original from the past; it is a phantom in so far as it is an apparition from the black abyss of forgetfulness and in so far as it recalls to life the past in making it present to my inner vision.

What is the force at work in the subjective magical operation of remembering? There are four types of memory that one experiences: mechanical or automatic memory, logical memory, moral memory and vertical or revelatory memory.

Vertical or revelatory memory is not a memory of the past in the sense of the horizontal line: today, yesterday, the day before, but rather in the sense of the vertical line: here, higher, still higher. It is a ‘memory’ which does not link the present to the past on the plane of physical, psychic and intellectual life, but which links the plane of ordinary consciousness to planes or states of consciousness higher than that of ordinary consciousness to planes or states of consciousness higher than that of ordinary consciousness.

It is the faculty of the lower self to reproduce the experience and knowledge of the higher self or, if you like, the faculty of the higher self to imprint its experience and knowledge upon the consciousness of the lower self. It is the link between the higher eye and the lower eye, which renders us authentically religious and wise, and immune to the assaults of sceptism, materialism and determinism.

It is also this which is the source of certainty, not only of God and the spiritual world with its hierarchical entities but also of the immortality of our being and reincarnation, wherever it is a matter of reincarnation. “Dawn is the friend of the muses” and similar proverbs relate to the benefits of vertical memory form which one benefits in the morning, after the return of consiousness from the plane of “natural ecstasy” or sleep.

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter XIII, Death

Nov 092011
 

This ‘cord’, or other form of attachment, was coiled so tightly that I had to build up a lot of momentum by swinging my arm until, eventually, I discerned that my dream self was rocking forwards and away from its usual place. By this time I was feeling a genuine sense of achievement and without further ado my astral body dragged itself out and clung to the end of the bed.

I paused to gather my thoughts, well aware that I could be sprung back into place by that massive cord at any second and that any kind of registered shock or doubt, however mild, would have had the same effect. I was pleased to be still in control, surprised in fact, as my powers of concentration were not usually so effective. Or so I thought.

I took a few moments to accustom myself to the new situation and the pull of the cord loosened as I relaxed. I obeyed my first impulse without question, and this was to go and tell John what was happening. (To have a thought or impulse when in that state leads to its automatic enactment, as there are not the usual barriers to action that we find on the material plane. The ideas of the pure will are transformed into action without restraint and I remember very vividly the way things seemed).

The location of my visual perspective during this daytrip was at the usual level for me height-wise but my actual sight was ‘tunnelled’, by which I mean that it was as if I had one eye rather than two, while my peripheral vision was restricted. It was a bit like looking through a telescope, but in reverse, as things seemed a bit smaller, or more distant than usual; less substantial perhaps, or reflections of themselves.

I buoyantly moved towards the stairs, from the bottom of which I could see John lying oblivious on the sofa, watching sport in his blue dressing gown. He seemed further away than he would have done if I had been there in body rather than soul.

I felt like I had achieved quite a success and was rather elated. I wanted to convey this to John so he could witness what had happened. I attempted to call his name several times before suddenly realizing that I wasn’t actually making a sound, even though the effect of the name forming in my mind was the same to me as if I were speaking out loud.

At that point it also occurred to me that visiting another person in spirit might not be a wise enterprise, as it might be seen as an invasion of their privacy. Rather than risk an unpleasant surprise for anyone on my first outing, I turned back towards the bedroom. A braver or less cautious person than I would probably have ventured much further, for better or worse. Some people would probably make it into outer space without too much worry but I am rather timid, and I was worried about what might happen to my body if I left it unmonitored for too long.

The door of my room was closed. It did not occur to me to question how I’d walked through it because my attention was drawn to a piece of writing pinned near to the top of it. I had somehow entered another dimension and, as I raised my hands to take hold of the script, I noticed that they looked curiously unlike my physical hands. I examined them briefly, remembering all the time that to see one’s hands whilst in a dream-like state is indicative of consciousness and self-control within that state. I started to read the verse.

Aug 272011
 

To understand the magnitude of a divine incarnation, it is necessary to understand the source and nature of the consciousness that is incarnate in the avatar.

Jesus spoke of this consciousness when he proclaimed: “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:). Those who unite their consciousness to God know both the transcendent and the immanent nature of Spirit – the singularity of the ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Bliss of the Uncreate Absolute, and the myriad manifestations of His Being as the infinitude of forms into which He variegates Himself in the panorama of Creation.

*

Within the creative Holy Ghost Intelligence are all the governing laws and principles that manifest, sustain, and dissolve every part and particle of the Lord’s universe. The Holy Ghost inherited from Spirit the independence to create and govern within the mandated vast scope of the manifesting powers endowed to it.

This Creative Power, which gives birth and nurture to creation, is referred to in Hindu scripture as Maha-Prakriti, Great Nature, the potentials of all becomings. When this power goes forth from Ishvara (God the Father of Creation) as Intelligent Creative Cosmic Vibration, it takes on a dual nature.

As Para-Prakriti (Pure Nature) it creates and expresses all good and beauty in harmony with the God-tuned immanent Kutastha Chaitanya (Christ Consciousness). Its divine nature is magnificently expressed in the causal and astral heavenly realms.

But as the Vibratory Power descends into material manifestation, it becomes conjointly a deviant Apara-Prakriti (Impure Nature), creating through the circumscriptive laws of gross matter and the uttermost density of delusion. These two aspects of Prakriti correspond to the Christian designations of Holy Ghost and Satan.

The Holy Ghost in tune with Christ Consciousness creates goodness and beauty and draws all manifestation towards a symbiotic harmony and an ultimate oneness with God.

Satan (from the Hebrew, literally “the adversary”) pulls outward from God into entanglement with the delusive world of matter, employing the mayic cosmic delusion to diffuse, confuse, blind, and bind.

The Second Coming of Christ, Paramahansa Yogananda, Discourse 1 (John 1:1-4) & 7 (Luke 4:1-2, 8)

Aug 192011
 

Dear Unknown Friend

The preceding Arcanum – ‘The Moon’ – confronted us with the task of human intelligence to liberate itself from the magical enchantment which separates it from spontaneous wisdom, and to unite itself with the latter, ie, to arrive at intuition. The nineteenth Arcanum – “The Sun” – is that of the accomplished union of intelligence and spontaneous wisdom: the Arcanum of intuition.

*

“The children who are fraternising under the sun correspond all the better to Gemini because this zodiacal constellation berings in the longest days to us” says Oswald Wirth (Le Tarot des imagiers du moyen age), thus locating the nineteenth Arcanum in the zodiacal circle of twelve cosmic mysteries or, speaking in the language of C J Jung, in the circle of twelve archetypal force-images of the collective unconscious which work in the depths of every human soul.

For the zodiac is that which the human soul knows unconsciously; it is the book which the soul “ate” and which is present and active only in his “bowels” – in the depths of his being – from whence it renders him strong or weak, fertile or arid, fervent or tepid, according to whether he is in harmony or not with its teaching-impulse.

Now, the teaching impulse called “Gemini” can be expressed by paraphrasing a little the first statement of the Emerald Table of Hermes:

May that which is below be as that which is above, and may that which is above be as that which is below to accomplish the miracles of one thing.

This is the principle of analogy put into practice, taking its point of departure from the principle of cooperation.

*

One of the highest aspects of the principle of Gemini, the principle of cooperation, is that which is present in intuition: that of the cooperation between spontaneous wisdom and intelligence. Here it is a matter of a state of consciousnes where  intelligence advances from formal knowledge to material knowledge, ie, from knowledge of the relationships of the things to knowledge of the things themselves.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIX, The Sun

 

 

Jul 172011
 

You must take things by storm: you must thrust intelligence outside itself by an act of will (Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution)

This is the essence of ‘Bergsonian yoga”, ie, the practical method of making intelligence unite itself with instinct on the principle of sympathy, so that the latter can extend its subject matter and reflect upon itself – or, in other words, so as to develop intuition.

Now, the endeavour that Bergson had in mind is what the Cabbala calls KAVANA, and the result of this endeavour – that Bergson calls “intuition” – is called DAATH. KAVANA is profound meditation, ie, the endeavour of intelligence which aims at plunging into the depths of darkness surrounding it.

KAVANA differs essentially from Cartesian meditation, where it is a matter notably of the concentration of the clarity of intelligence itself within itself, and also from Kantian meditation, where intelligence strives to rise above itself by making itself the object of observation, analysis and criticism.

Profound meditation or KAVANA is neither only concentration of the light of intelligence with a view to intensification of its clarity, nor is it only the endeavour of intelligence to arrive at knowledge of itself. Profound meditation is the endeavour of intelligence to probe the dark depths which surround it and to which it finds access by means of sympathy, instead of through the exercise of its own logical, analytical and critical faculties.

Speaking in terms of the Cabbala, it is therefore a matter of the marriage of the principle of intelligence – the Sephirah BINAH – and the principle of wisdom – the Sephirah CHOKMAH – in the ‘middle pillar’ of the Sephiroth Tree. DAATH is therefore the state of consciousness that the church calls ‘intellect illumined by grace’ (intellectus gratia illuminatus) – grace being the principle actualising within us latent knowledge of the ‘image and likeness of God’, and intellect being ‘Bergsonian’ intelligence which unites with and understands things that it would never have understood from within itself.

It is therefore ‘illumined’.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XVIII, The Moon

May 282011
 

To ‘ray forth within your own individual limitations means nothing else than to become an individual – but limited – sun. And that is the star principle.

It is different from the sun principle in that the latter works unboundedly, universally (‘the sun shines upon good and evil alike’) which the star principle is an individually concentrated and limited sunlike quality. It differs from the moon principle, however, in that it does not reflect light but rays it forth out of itself. “Stars”, in this sense, are “sun seeds”, sprouting sun corn.

There thus arises a wonderful picture out of a deeper consideration of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand: in the centre, high up on the mountain, Jesus Christ, as the shining and life-giving sun; then the circle of disciples as the silver moon; and round about the mountain a swarm of thousands of stars – the people.

The people, the five thousand, experienced more than the stilling of their hunger; they experience the reality of the hierarchical principle, as it was founded on the fourth day of creation. That is the reason why, after the feeding, the wanted to make Jesus Christ king (john vi, 15).

For during the “sign” they experienced the kingly effects of the cosmic ruling centre point, but interpreted this experience according to the concepts of their ordinary day consciousness in such a way that they said: “Truly this is the prophet that should come into the world” (john vi, 14), and they thought that he should become king in an earthly sense. This interpretation brought the divine cosmic nature of the event down onto the level of human earthly nature. Therefore Jesus “withdrew again into the mountains by himself” (John vi, 15).

Lazarus, come forth! Valentin Tomberg, The Seven Miracle’s of John’s Gospel

 

Jan 292011
 

Beyond the three types of memory – mechanical, logical and moral – there is still the kind of memory that we have designated as “vertical or revelatory memory.”

It is not a memory of the past in the sense of the horizontal line: today, yesterday, the day before, etc, but rather in the sense of the vertical line: here, higher, still higher, etc. It is a “memory” which does not link the present to the past on the plane of physical, psychic and intellectual life, but which links the plane of ordinary consciousness to planes or states of consciousness higher than ordinary consciousness.

It is the faculty of the “lower self” to reproduce the experience and knowledge of the “higher self” or, if you like, the faculty of the “higher self” to imprint its experience and knowledge upon the consciousenss of the “lower self”. It is the link between the “higher eye” and the “lower eye”, which renders us authentically religious and wise, and immune to the assaults of sceptism, materialism and determinism.

It is this also which is the source of certainty not only of God and the spiritual world with its hierarchical entities but also of the immortality of our being and reincarnation, wherever it is a matter of reincarnation. “Dawn is the friend of the muses” and similar popular proverbs, such as “the morning hour has gold in its mouth” or “morning is wiser than the evening”, relate to the benefits of vertical memory from which one benefits in the morning, after the return of consciousness from the plane of “natural ecstasy” or sleep.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIII, Death

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

Dec 022010
 

The resurrection is the final victory not only over death (as the separation of the soul from the body) but also over sleep (as the separation of the soul from the world of action) and over forgetfulness (as the separation of consciousness from the world of past memories).

This means to say that resurrection signifies not only the re-establishment of the integral unity of the spirit, soul and body of the human being, but also the uninterrupted continuity of his activity and the uninterrupted continuity of his consciousness – the whole of his memory.

Now, the emergence of complete memory of the entire past is equivalent, for consciousness, to the last judgement, where the whole past is reviewed in the light of conscience. It is conscience itself, the soul itself, which will judge itself.

And it will then find that it is guilty under all the headings of accusation of divine law which live in the completely awakened conscience. And there will not be a single soul that will justify itself before its own awakened conscience. It is not authorised to justify itself. Justification lies in the realm of the Divine and it is only the Divine that is authorised to justify.

Thus, there will at first be the realisation of the complete equality of all members of the human community in the consciouness of their errors and their faults. This consciousness will be common to great initiates, high priests, heads of nations, and simple workers in the diverse domains of human effort in the past.

This great experience to come of human equality – in the light of completely awakened conscience – is prefigured in the penitential rite of the Mass, during the prayer at the foot of the altar, where priest and congregation say together: Confiteor Deo omnipotenti et vobis, fratres, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, opere et omissione: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Unknown author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XX, The Judgement