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

Jan 132014
 

4402The part of them worthy of the name immortal, which is called divine and is the guiding principle of those who are willing to follow justice and you-of that divine part I will myself sow the seed, and having made a beginning, I will hand the work over to you. And do ye then interweave the mortal with the immortal, and make and beget living creatures, and give them food, and make them to grow, and receive them again in death.”

Thus he spake, and once more into the cup in which he had previously mingled the soul of the universe he poured the remains of the elements, and mingled them in much the same manner; they were not, however, pure as before, but diluted to the second and third degree. And having made it he divided the whole mixture into souls equal in number to the stars, and assigned each soul to a star; and having there placed them as in a chariot, he showed them the nature of the universe, and declared to them the laws of destiny.

Plato, Timaeus

Jan 032014
 

chariot-romanDear Unknown Friend

Like the preceding Arcana, The Arcanum ‘The Chariot’ has a twofold aspect. It represents, from one side, he who – having triumped over the three temptations – remains faithful to the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity; and it represents, from another side, the danger of the fourth temptation, which is the most subtle and intimate temptation, and is the invisible synthesis of the three temptations: the spiritual temptation of the victorious through his victory itself. It is the temptation to act ‘in one’s own name’, to act as master instead of as servant….

When you resist a temptation or renounce something desired below, you set in motion by this very fact forces of realisation of that which corresponds above to that which you came to renounce below. It is this that the Master designates by the word ‘reward’ when he says, for example, that it is necessary to guard against practising righteousness before other people in order to gain their regard, ‘for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven’. (Matthew, vi, 1). Reward is therefore the action that one sets in motion above by the renunciation of desire for things below. It is the ‘yes’ from above corresponding to the ‘no’ from below. And this correspondence constitutes a basis for magical realisation and for the fundamental law of Christian Hermeticism. Let us guard ourselves from taking it lightly, for here is given to us one of the principle keys of sacred magic. It is not desire which bears magical realisation, but rather the renunciation of desire (that you have formerly experienced, of course). For renunciation through indifference has no moral – and therefore no magical – value.
*

The charioteer of the Arcanum is the victor over trials, ie, the temptations, and if he is a master, then it is thanks to himself He is alone, standing in his chariot; no one is present to applaud him or to pay homage to him; he has no weapons….The victory achieved in solitude….what glory and what danger it comprises at one and the same time! It is the only real glory, for it in no way depends on human favour and judgement;it is intrinsic glory – the real radiance of the aura becoming luminous. It is, however, at the same time the most real and the most serious spiritual danger which exists. ‘Pride’ and ‘vaingloriousness’, the traditional names which one gives to it, do not suffice to characterise it in an adequate way. It is more than this. It is, rather, a kind of mystical megalomania, where one deifies the regulating centre of one’s own being, one’s ego, and where one sees the divine only within oneself and becomes blind to the divine above and outside oneself. The ‘higher Self’ is then experienced as the supreme and it is far from the supreme and unique being….far from being God, in other words.

It would be as well, now, to dwell on the problem of identification of the self with the higher Self and of the higher Self with God.

C.G. Jung who, having explored the sexual or ‘Freudian’ layer, and then that of the will-to-power or the ‘Adlerian’ layer, of the unconscious (ie, latent or occult consciousness) of the human being, encountered a spiritual (mystical, gnostic and magical) layer during the course of his clinical and psychotherapeutic experience. Instead of drawing back from it or extricating himself from it through a corrosive ‘explanation’, he had the courage and honest to set himself to the laborious study of the phenomenology of this layer of the unconscious. Now, this work proved fruitful. Jung discovered here not only the causes of certain psychic disorders, but also the profound and intimate process that he designated as the ‘process of individuation’, which is nothing other than the gradual birth of another self (Jung called it the ‘Self’) higher to oneself or one’s ordinary ego. The discover of the process of the ‘second birth’ prompted him to extend the range of his exploratory work considerably notably to include symbolism, mystery rituals and the comparative study of contemporary and ancient religions.

Now, this broadening of his field of exploration also proved fruitful. Jung’s arrival at his discovery (which at first racked him, preventing him from speaking of it to a living soul for fifteen years) had its train of consequences, including the knowledge and description of some dangers or temptations belonging to the way of initiation and the process of individuation which corresponds to it, One of these dangers – which are at the same time trials or temptations – is that which Jung designated by the term ‘inflation’, which signifies the state of consciousness of the self inflated to excess, and which is known in psychiatry in its extreme manifestation by the term ‘megalomania’.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VII, The Chariot

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

 

Sep 152013
 

“Of Beauty….I repeat again thahermest we saw her there shining in company with the celestial forms; and coming to earth we find her here too, shining in clearness through the clearest aperture of sense. For sight is the most piercing of our bodily senses: though not by that is wisdom seen; her loveliness would have been transporting if there had been a visible image of her, and the other ideas, if they had visible counterparts, would be equally lovely. But this is the privilege of Beauty, that being the loveliest she is also the most palpable to sight. Now he who is not newly initiated, or who has been corrupted, does not easily rise out of this world to the sight of true beauty in the other. . . . But he whose initiation is recent, and who has been the spectator of many glories in the other world, is amazed when he sees anyone having a godlike face or form, which is the expression of Divine Beauty; and at first a shudder runs through him, and again the old awe steals over him. . . .”

 

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

Jun 092013
 

stress-chant-omRadiant in his light, yet invisible in the secret place of the heart, the Spirit is the supreme abode wherein dwells all that moves and breathes and sees. Know him as all that is, and all that is not, the end of love-longing beyond understanding, the highest in all beings.

He is self-luminous and more subtle than the smallest; but in him rest all the worlds and their beings. He is the everlasting Brahman, and he is life and word and mind. He is truth and life immortal. He is the goal to be aimed at: attain that goal, O my son!

Take the great bow of the Upanishads and place in it an arrow sharp with devotion. Draw the bow with concentration on him and hit the centre of the mark, the same everlasting Spirit.

The bow is the sacred OM, and the arrow is our own soul. Brahman is the mark of the arrow, the aim of the soul. Even as an arrow becomes one with its mark, let the watchful soul be one in him.

In him are woven the sky and the earth and all the regions of the air, and in him rest the mind and all powers of life. Know him as ONE and leave aside all other words. He is the bridge of immortality.

Where all the subtle channels of the body meet, like spokes in the centre of a wheel, there he moves in the heart and transforms his one form unto many. Upon OM, Atman, your Self, place your meditation. Glory unto you in your far-away journey beyond darkness!

He who knows all and sees all, and whose glory the universe shows, dwells as the Spirit of the divine city of Brahman in the region of the human heart. He becomes mind and drives on the body and life, draws power from food and finds peace in the heart. There the wise find him as joy and light and life eternal.

And when he is seen in his immanence and transcendence, then the ties that have bound the heart are unloosened, the doubts of the mind vanish, and the law of Karma works no more.

In the supreme golden chamber is Brahman indivisible and pure. He is the radiant light of all lights, and this knows he who knows Brahman.

There the sun shines not, nor the moon, nor the stars; lightnings shine not there and much less earthly fire. From his light all these give light; and his radiance illumines all creation.

Far spreading before and behind and right and left, and above and below, is Brahman, the Spirit eternal. In truth Brahman is all.

Mundaka Upanishad

May 122013
 

sunCertain old initiations were often described as a search for the ancestors; and between the seeker and his ancestors were the waters of the womb out of which he had been born.

Initiation awakened the ancestral memory (latent in all people) by teaching the neophyte to extend his ordinary memory beyond the moment of his own birth; and there came to him dim pictures of earthly history – even the visions of the great geological catastrophes or the deluge.

But in this spiritual consciousness all this was experienced not merely as ‘history’ but as the search for the birth of the soul out of the Divine; and so led to a realisation of immortality. Such experiences have been recorded in legendary form and in many ancient mythologies.

Eleanor C. Merry, The Flaming Door

 

 

Feb 222013
 

The joy which results from truth and the belief which results from joy – here is the key which opens the door to understanding the Arcanum of the world as a work of art. For it is this Arcanum which will reveal the world to us as a work of divine creative art, ie, the world of Wisdom “who was at work beside him…rejoicing before him always” (Proverbs viii, 30), and it is this Arcanum again which will reveal the world to us as a work of art of deceptive mirage, ie, the world of maya, the great illusion, who plays her game (lila) unceasingly – or, in other words, on the one hand the world which reveals God by manifesting him, and on the other hand the world which hides him by covering him.

But whether it is a matter of a revelatory world or of a deceptive world, whether it is a matter of the world seen in the light of the sphere of the spirit of truth or of the sphere of the spirit of mirage, it is a joy – a twofold joy – which plays the key role here.

What is joy? What is it in its deepest sense?

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