Apr 302017
 

When you took me down from the cross
And out me into the sepulchre
It became the altar on which will put
Those who will sacrifice me.
The cloth in which I was wrapped
Will be called the corporal.
This vessel into which you put my blood,
When you gathered it from my body,
Will be called the chalice.
The pattern which will lie on top of it
will signify the stone
Which was sealed over me
When you had put me in the sepulchre.

Robert de Boron, Joseph of Arimathea

Dec 122013
 

SunSymbolWisdom is the that streams out from the interior of a being in many directions. It is what dwells, actively present, in the interior of the being itself, comprehending its surroundings not in a one-sided way, but many-sidedly. If we wish to represent this schematically, we draw a point – for wisdom is contained within the human being. Out of the point, wisdom issues forth in many-sided forms. Thus we have the sign of the Sun. This is the expression of wisdom – which is inner and, at all the same time, comprises everything. It radiates forth equally in all directions – it is universal. The life force is in fact this striving of the inner being outward towards universality.

And the struggle that wisdom, as well as life, must endure in existence consists precisely in the fact that a power must be developed out of wisdom that can put up a resistance to one-sidedness, to impact from without, from right and left. For wisdom is the condition of a being that is capable of relying upon itself, of not needing any point of support, whether from right or from left, of relying upon nothing save its own inner strength of being, and of not being drawn into one-sidedness.

This is the power that lives in the principle of wisdom. It was shown in the Gospels in deeply moving portrayal when Christ Jesus was scourged by his fellow human beings. The ability to be centred in oneself – to stand, out of the power of one’s own inner being, in spite of all assaults from without – this is the power that is developed through scourging. What constituted the essential heart of the old Sun, what caused the planet to shine forth, was the same power that manifests and endures in the scourging. The planet of the scourging was the old Sun.

And if we now move on to the old Moon, we find the astral element being poured out into existence through the Spirits of Movement. At the same time, this astral element was taken hold of by Lucifer, and a battle then took place in the the heavens. Human Karma began on the Earth, but cosmic karma began on the old Moon. We can also put it this way: If the human fall into sin took place on Earth, then the cosmic fall into sin took place on the old Moon. And as a guardian was placed on Earth to guard the threshold, so also – when the spirits fell – a guardian was placed on the old Moon, one who took karma onto himself. This guardian was the realiser of spiritual karma.

By remaining true to themselves, spirits received the dignity of the guardian of the divine intentions. The dignity of the guardian is what is expressed by the crown of thorns. The crown of thorns symbolises a dignity that indeed corresponds to a state of being crowned, but at the same time it wounds the one who is crowned. For the power that the guardian, the representative of karmic necessity, must unfold from within is the power of inexorableness. It is the principle of taking a oral stand so that the Truth and the Law will be fulfilled. Pity must be overcome by the being who assumes this guardian’s mission.

alchemyAnd so the spiritual beings who had to represent the karma of the worlds needed, on the one hand, to look upon the Luciferic being with the greatest pity, and on the other hand they had to repeatedly overcome this pity in order to stand unshakably on the cosmic threshold. The power that reveals itself in being crowned with thorns is that of being obliged to judge while experiencing an inward pity that must, however, be constantly controlled and overcome. Thus this crown pricks the wearer himself. And that is what happened in the cosmos during the time of the old Moon that during this time the crown of thorns came into being in the Cosmos.

If we now pass on further to the development of the Earth, we find earthly existence represented by the cross. The carrying of the cross is the fundamental note, the fundamental motif, of earthly existence, and every being connected with the Earth has to experience it in some form or other. During the development of the Earth, humanity must, on the whole, reach the stage of carrying the cross; again and again individuals will have to take the cross upon themselves and learn to bear it through the whole cycle the whole circle, of their experiences. The symbol of the Earth itself expresses bringing to fulfillment of the carrying of the cross.

Valentin Tomberg, Indian Yoga in Relation to the Christian-Rosicrucian Path

 

Jan 082012
 

And to be sure, the Resurrection is a victory, but it is at the same time the emergence out of this night into the world that has no desire to understand.

Once again, the Lord enters into his relationship, not only with the Mother, but also with the disciples, who constantly fail to understand and constantly must be converted anew.

Of course, the Lord now carries the mark of the Resurrection, but the sign of the night remains, and at no time will the Mother forget how it looked beneath the Cross. And John will never recover from it; he is the witness, he knows what he saw.

And the others know at least what they heard about it. All of them carry in themselves a vestige of this night. And the fact that the Lord then ascends into heaven and sends out the Spirit and makes the disciples into true apostles, who are permitted to die as martyrs in the manner established by God, does not free them from the fact that the Son died on the Cross for them, it does not free them from this night and from the contemplation of this night.

They remain – and every believer and person at prayer remains – encompassed by the night, by a world that is not of this world, by a fulfillment that goes beyond any promise, by a mystery that does not belong to them, but to God alone.

Since the Son is both God and man at once, the contemplation of his essence and life can move in both spheres; but it must always pass from one over into the other. Neither sphere may be cut short on account of the other.

Adrienne von Speyr, Light and Images

Aug 182011
 

Vision augments experience; inspiration augments knowledge just as it does understanding; and intuition is the metamorphosis and growth no longer of what one experiences and understands, but rather of what one is. Through intuition one becomes another, through inspiration one apprehends new ways of thinking, feeling and acting, and through vision one’s domain of experience is enlarged – one has a revelation of new facts in accessible to the senses and to intellectual invention.

In practice it is not so that vision, inspiration and intuition are successive stages following the order – vision, inspiration, intuition. For there are those on the spiritual path who have only the experience of intuition, and still others who are only inspired, without ever having visions. But whatever the kind of mode of spiritual experience may be, at the final count it is always a matter of becoming, ie, intuition.

Thus one can say that in principle vision and inspiration are only means for arriving at intuition. Now, intuition takes place in the blood, inspiration  in tears and vision in sweat. For an authentic vision always entails an increase of effort in order to bear it, in order to remain upright in the face of it. Vision has a weight, sometimes overwhelming, which demands a great effort on the part of the soul in order not to give way under the weight of that vision.

Authentic inspiration always entails an inner upheaval. It pierces the soul like an arrow in wounding it and in making it experience that profound emotion which is a synthesis of sorrow and joy. The symbol of the Rose Cross – a cross from the center of which a rose blossoms out – renders the essence of the experience of inspiration in the best way I know. The Rose Cross expresses the mystery of tears, ie, that of inspiration, with force and clarity. It portrays the joy of sorrow and the sorrow of joy, which together comprise inspiration.

With respect to intuition, it is no longer a matter either of the weight of riches or of the romance of the engagement of the Rose and the Cross, but rather of consummating the marriage of life and death. What lives, thereby dies; and what dies, thereby is reborn. Thereby blood is mingled with the Blood and is transformed alchemically from the ‘fluid of separation’ into the ‘fluid of union’.

There are three ways of ‘seeing’ the Cross: the Crucifix, the Rose Cross, and the Gilded Cross bearing a rose of silver. The Crucifix is the greatest treasure of vision. It is the vision of divine and human love. The black Cross with a rose blossoming from it is the treasure of inspiration. This is divine and human love speaking in the soul. The Gilded Cross bearing a rose of silver is the treasure of intuition. This is love transforming the soul.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIV, Temperance

Aug 032011
 

His thoughts and actions continually surprise her, so that, increasingly, she “does not understand” his meaning, as for instance when, in the Temple, he leaves her without warning; when he fails to receive her when she visits him; when he refuses to manifest his power in the public ministry, squandering his life and ultimately slipping from her on the cross, substituting the stranger, John, for himself.

With all the strength she can muster she listens to this Word as it grows more and more vast, divine and seemingly alien; its dimensions almost tear her asunder, yet it is for this, for everything, that she gave her consent right at the start. She lets herself be led where she “does not wish to go” – so far is the Word she follows from being her own wisdom. But she consents to this leading; it is a measure of the fact that the Word, which she loves has been “implanted” in her heart (Jas 1.21).

The Christian who tries to be a hearer of the Word can only experience  these hard, ineluctable and ever-increasing demands in his life if he unreservedly  exposes himself to the Word. On the one hand, certainly, he must genuinely listen to the voice within, to God’s voice in his conscience, to the exhortation of the “interior teacher” (as Augustine  calls Christ’s indwelling in us as Word), in an attitude of docility vis-a-vis  the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.

Such an inner listening would correspond in some way to Mary’s inwardly directed contemplation. But it would not be of the same order as her beholding of the Son, bodily present with her, living, acting, challenging her. Without this second element our communion with the Word – hard of hearing and fond of comfort as we are – would be in danger of being stifled.

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Prayer

 

Jul 022011
 

And in the first states of trust, four miracles befall you. These are the signs and evidence of your attainment of the first degree of trust.

These signs are crossing the earth, walking on water, traversing the air, and being fed by the universe. And that is the reality within the door.

After that, stations and states and miracles and revelations come to you continuously until death.

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And if you do not stop with this, He reveals to you the surface signs, you will be admonished with terrors and many sorts of states will befall you. You will see clearly the apparatus of transformations; how the dense becomes subtle and the subtle dense.

And if you do not stop with this the light of the scattering of sparks will become visible to you, and there will be a need to veil yourself from it. Do not be afraid, and persevere in the remembrance of God, for if you persevere in the remembrance of God, disaster will not overcome.

Ibn ‘Arabi, The Journey to the Lord of Power

Apr 232011
 

‘‘Come, fair queen, the virgin Isis,
Wife of mine who loves me tender,
One who made me whole, my goddess,
She who is my soul defender.

‘‘Where the sun doth shine at midnight,
In a place of cryptic splendour,
Let the mage of mathematics
Make an early learning centre.

‘‘In my belt are three magicians
Come to praise a child, the true king,
In whose arms the vernal lamb lies.
Spring has come; the falcon Prince flies.

‘‘‘Royal Stars – Antares, West light;
Formalhaut of Northern waters;
Aldebaran, Bull’s Eye, East Side;
Regulus, the Solstice, South sight –

‘‘Cross in space, the throne upholding.
Fix for Earth the four directions.
Keep in place the sign, the sun’s King.
All uphold the resurrection.

‘‘Let the rainbow – seven colours –
Born of light, be veils for Isis.
Maiden bright, a Holy Mother,
Star more bright than any other.

Oct 132010
 

He saw raised up majestically the sign

That brings hope and comfort to all human souls,

The sign to which many thousand hearts ardently confess –

The sign that overcame the power of bitter death

Fluttering in so many victorious flags:

A refreshing stream filled his heavy limbs

He saw the Cross and dropped his eyes.

He felt again the salvation that sprang from thence,

He felt the faith of half the earth;

But, as he saw the image before his eye,

He felt himself inspired by new, unknown meaning –

The Cross stood densely hung about with roses!

Who added  the roses to the Cross?

The garland of roses swelled, spread on all sides

To surround the hard wood with softness.

Light, silvery clouds soared,

Rose upward with Cross and roses,

And from the centre sprang holy life –

A threefold ray from a single point.

But not a word surrounded the image

To give the mystery sense and clarity.

In the gathering dusk growing grey and greyer,

The pilgrim stood, pondered, and felt himself raised up.

Goethe, The Mysteries

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

Aug 032010
 

The process of induction (which ‘ascends from earth to heaven’) and that of deduction (which ‘descends to earth’), the process of prayer (which ‘ascends from earth to heaven’) and that of revelation (which ‘descends to earth’) – ie, human endeavour and the action of grace from above – unite and become a complete circle which contracts and concentrates to become a point where the ascent and descent are simultaneous and coincide.

And this point is the ‘philosopher’s stone’ – the principle of the identity of the human and divine, of humanism and prophetism, of intelligence and revelation, of intellectuality and spirituality. It is the solution of the problem posed by St Paul, or rather the accomplishment of the task given by him, when he wrote of the Cross being folly to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews, but which ‘to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, is the power of God and the wisdom of God’. (I Corinthians 1, 22 – 24).

The historical and evolutionary mission of Hermeticism is to advance the progress of the alchemical work engaged in developing the ‘philosopher’s stone’ or the union of spirituality and intellectuality. It is called to be the crest of the wave of contemporary human effort aspiring to the fusion of spirituality and intellectuality. This effort and aspiration is larger than the group of Hermeticists, properly said, who are dispersed in the world. There are probably more people who are not avowed Hermeticists and who are engaged in this endeavour aiming at the fusion of spirituality and intellectuality than there are Hermeticists, properly said.

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The Spirit blows where it will, but the task of the Hermetic tradition is to maintain – without pretension to a monopoly, God forbid! – the ancient ideal of ‘the thelema of the whole world…..which ascends from earth to heaven…..descends to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and inferior.’ Its task is that of guardian of the great spiritual work.

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter XXI, The Fool