Dec 242016
 
Kate Georgall, Bird in Snow

Kate Georgall, Bird in Snow

I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love

For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting

Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.

The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,

The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy

Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony

Of death and birth.

You say I am repeating something I have said before. I shall say it again.

Shall I say it again? In order to arrive there,

To arrive where you are, to get from where you are not,

You must go by a way wherein there is no ecstasy.

In order to arrive at what you do not know

You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.

In order to possess what you do not possess

You must go by the way of dispossession.

In order to arrive at what you are not

You must go through the way in which you are not.

And what you do not know is the only thing you know

And what you own is what you do not own

And where you are is where you are not.

 

T.S. Eliot, East Coker, Four Quartets

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

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

 

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

Jul 232011
 

It was the last day of  the Sacred War when I first lay eyes upon the Tagos. I learned that he had come with many horsemen under his command and – together with the hoplites of Cleisthenes – finally razed Crisa to rubble on the Earth. As the cursed polis burned, however, a band of the rebels somehow escaped and stormed up the winding road to Delphi, where they set about slaughtering the saints in their beds.

I was thirteen years old. The saint Timocrates, who escaped the fate of the others while he was tending the holy lantern in the Corycian Cave, snatched me from my chamber and took me for hiding to the secret place of dedication. I saw the fear in his eyes as he spoke. “I must protect the temple. You will remain here, still and silent as a statue, and pray that the God stays with us.”

Then he was gone, leaving me to cower like a new-born goat in the cold, dark place, my only comfort God’s eternal flame as I listened to the sounds of death and destruction crashing like cymbals on the ground above. I do not know how long I was there, only that I moved neither lip nor limb as instructed and hoped the God would protect us, seeing as all else had failed.

I occupied myself with continual prayers to the beloved Deity, King of Light, until I was deep in his hypnotic embrace and did not even notice that the sounds of death progressively ceased, though I knew from the changing light that the sun had risen. When, with an immense clattering of noise – blood splattered but gleaming – a great warrior entered into that sacred space, the first thought to enter my sleep-stilled head was that Apollo himself had come to claim me. So it was that I ran with outstretched palms and tears of joy, right into the arms of the Tagos, my hair flowing like golden rain behind me.

The saints who tutored me were not like this man, who came to me clothed with the sun. He was handsome as only the God could be, that I recall clearly. When I recognised his costume and saw the insignia of Apollo upon his breast I fell into a trance, as if I were already the high priestess. I do not remember if he said a word then, only that he looked at me with a strange light in his eyes as he carried me up to greet the new Dawn.

May 292011
 
flowers of summer

flowers of summer

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.

Burne-Jones

But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Mar 132011
 

How was Jesus of Nazareth able so to experience the destiny of humankind and how did this experience bring with it the descent of the Healer? He carried within himself both a  comprehensive knowledge of the Zoroaster “I” and, united in his physical nature, the conscience of humankind and the third hierarchy. The fact that this conscience lived in his physical nature indicates its highest development.

Within itself, his astral body continued the inner impulse effected in it by the hierarchical being Jesus in his former union with the Christ. This astral body was made up of the condensed inspirations of the Archangel Jesus, who, while functioning as an angel, had in the past been interpenetrated by the Christ three times. The active aftereffects of this earlier interpenetration made the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth a body of “longing after Christ.”

On the other hand, the whole organization of this body (likewise the result of its participation in the earlier healing influence of Christ on humankind) participated fully in all human destiny. We could even say: In its upward flow, the astral body of Jesus was human longing: in its downward flow, human suffering.

No physical body could have borne such an astral body had the “I” living within it not possessed an unusual power of cohesion, and had its superhuman sensibility to shock not been balanced by a force able to return it to equilibrium. Because the Zoroaster “I” could give a wisdom-filled direction to the immense forces of the longings of the Nathan Jesus, the physical organisation was empowered to bear those longings; because the being of Buddha radiated into the astral body of the Nathan Jesus, the tranquil calm of Buddha flowed into the intensely agitated life of the soul.

This current of calm preserved the physical organism from destruction by a fiery excess of pain; the centralising Zoroaster force preserved it from congealing in an excess of longing. Thus the astral nature of the Nathan Jesus united within itself the greatest possible capacity for ecstasy – for expanding in purest self-surrender – with the greatest possible capacity for enstasy, or concentrated repose in the self. The first faculty made it possible to sustain the ordeal of the baptism in Jordan, that is to say, the absorption of the cosmic being of the Christ; the other gave proof of its power soon after, during the temptation in the wilderness.

The ether body of Jesus of Nazareth bore the innocent life spirit of the sister soul of Adam, and hence the forces of human youth bestowed the freshness of the first day of creation on every impulse in the soul of Jesus. When he spoke, he did so as only the most childlike child would be able to speak if it also possessed the most mature wisdom of the ages. The wisdom of the great Zoroaster shone in him with all the freshness of youth, without weariness, without the wounds of innumerable disappointments, and without the heaviness of soul that must be experienced and endured on the paths leading to such wisdom.

Experience leads to wisdom, but it wearies even souls. Therefore, from very early ages, the soul of Zoroaster had carried within itself the experience of the terrestrial history, but it surrendered that earthly experience to a soul that was without it. Thence the wonderful combination of the most mature wisdom arose along with the most childlike mind. Here was a man who could speak in such a way that not only did he speak the truth, but in speaking, restored the life that animated it on the first day of creation. Cosmic dawn lived in the great Western concepts of human destiny when he spoke during the time before the baptism in Jordan.

*

The Nathan Jesus possessed an organism we could call an organism of love, as distinct from an organism of force that reverts to the centaur. The nature of the Nathan Jesus, however, is not exhausted by a study of his astral, ether and physical bodies. Something more belongs to the organism of every incarnate human being, something that envelops that being just as the bodies do. Every incarnate human being brings another kind of “body” that may be called a “karmic sheath”. This sheath is made up of the forces of good and evil, which are not rooted in the three human bodies but are drawn by past karma into one’s environment as a circle of influence, so to speak.

Nathan Jesus was an exception. He had no individual human karma from the past; thus his “karmic sheath” was very different from that of other people. Because he was without past individual karma, he was not surrounded by an individual karmic sheath, but by the karmic sheath of humanity as a whole. This meant, however, that a vast range of human impulses were active in his environment, born by spirit beings who represented them quite accurately.

These particular impulses were active around him, “making smooth the way” for the Christ within him. These impulses revealed themselves in the simple forms of “insight”, “the spirit of sacrifice”, and “penitence.” Later, st Paul – after being transformed by the presence of Christ – understood the scope of these impulses and described them as “faith,” “love” and “hope”.

Christ and Sophia, Jesus of Nazareth

 

Feb 112011
 

When I think like this, I am experiencing light.

You are touched by a feeling – it is true inner sight.

I know those I love as the greater part of me,

But then the reason is unspeakable.

It must remain a mystery.

Still I would pray to feel the action of creation.

It is thought to me – your ecstasy –

My heart, your inspiration.

Is there a simple way to plan the course of each new day?

By free will, you are determining.

You are the teacher.

I am the way.

Hopes, dreams or visions?

The journey is yours –

Cast off all burdens and walk through the doors,

To me.

The encounter with souls?

Be as one:

Perfectly whole like a star. Overcome

Other reflections – those lunar rays

Dazzle the senses to madness in ways

Which mortal connections interpret as bliss.

But wholly uncertain is light-feigned.

RESIST.

A keen mind uncovers the mystery of age

With prophetic books. The curtain is raised

On secrets – the manuscripts – found and unfurled,

Longed-for and meant to bring sight to the world.

The essence of beauty is shown and unbound. Say:

“Darkness be banished to deep underground.”

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 092011
 

With respect to the magnificent quarternary of  traditional magic: “to dare, to will, to be silent and to know,” it is formulated – mutandis mutatis – by the Master in the following way:

Ask and it will be given you; Seek, and you will find; Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, And he who seeks finds, And to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew vii, 7-8)

It is a matter of daring to ask, of the will to seek, of being silent in order to knock and of knowing when it is opened to you. For knowledge does not happen automatically; it is what is revealed when the door is opened. This is the formula of the synthesis of effort and grace, of the principle of work and that of receptivity, and, lastly, of merit and gift.

This synthesis enunciates the absolute law of all spiritual progress and, consequently, all spiritual discipline. It is the law which every Christian disciple, of every Christian spiritual school, obeys. And Christian Hermeticism, ie, the whole of traditional mysticism, gnosis, magic and occult philosophy, passed through baptism and transfiguration by the fire, light and life of Christianity, is in no way an exception here.

It should not be forgotten that Christian Hermeticism is not a religion apart, nor  a church apart, nor even a science apart….it is the connecting link between mysticism, gnosis and magic, expressed through symbolism – symbolism being the means of expression of the dimensions of depth and height (and therefore of enstasy and ecstasy), of all that is universal (which corresponds to the dimension of breadth), and all that is traditional (corresponding to the dimension of length).

Being Christian, Hermeticism accepts the cross of the universality, the tradition, the depth and the height of Christianity, in the sense of the apostle Paul when he said:

That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God. (Ephesians iii, 18-19).

This is the complete formula of initiation.

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