Oct 202017
 

It should have begun to dawn on our cultural optimists that the forces of good are not sufficient to produce either a rational world-order or the faultless ethical behaviour of the individual, whereas the forces of evil are so strong that they imperil any order at all and can imprison the individual in a devilish system that commits the most fearful crimes, so that even if he is ethically minded he must finally forget his moral responsibility in order to go on living.

The malignity of collective man has shown itself in more terrifying forms today than ever before in history, and it is by this objective standard that the greater and the lesser sins should be measured. We need more casuistic subtlety, because it is no longer a question of extirpating evil but of the difficult art of putting a lesser evil in place of a greater one.

The time for the sweeping statements so dear to the evangelising moralist, which lighten his task in the most agreeable way, is long past. Nor can the conflict be escaped by a denial of moral values. The very idea of this is foreign to our instincts and contrary to nature. Every human group that is not actually sitting in prison will follow its accustomed paths according to the measure of its freedom. Whatever the intellectual definition and evaluation of good and evil may be, the conflict between them can never be eradicated, for no one can ever forget it.

Even the Christian who feels himself delivered from evil will, when the first rapture is over, remember the thorn in the flesh, which even St Paul could not remove.

These hints suffice to make clear what kind of spirit it is that the daughter needs. They are the truths which speak to the soul, which are not too loud and do not insist too much, but reach the individual in stillness – the individual who constitutes the meaning of the world. It is this knowledge that the daughter needs, in order to pass it to her son.

Carl Jung, Mysterium Conjunctionis, The Moon Nature

Jan 152011
 

Manichaeism will endeavour, first and foremost, to preserve purity in outer life; for its aim is to produce human beings who will provide an adequate vessel in the future.That is why such great stress was laid on absolute purity of mind and of life.

The Cathars were a sect which rose like a meteor in the twelfth century. They called themselves Cathars because ‘cathar’ means ‘pure one’. They strove for purity in their way of life and in their moral attitude. They had to seek catharsis (purification) both inwardly and outwardly in order to form a community that would provide a pure vessel. That is what Manicheaism was striving for.

It was less a question of Manichaeism of the cultivation of inner life – for life will flow onwards through other channels – but rather the cultivation of the external form of life.

*

The consciousness will have been established in the successors to the ‘Sons of the Widow’ that evil must be included again in evolution and be overcome, not by strife but only through charitableness. It is the task of the Manichaean spiritual stream to forcefully prepare for this. This spiritual stream will not die out; it will make its appearance in many forms. It appears in forms which many can call to mind but which need not be mentioned today.

If it were to function merely in the cultivation of an inner mood of soul, this current would not achieve what it should do. It must express itself in the founding of communities which, above all, will look upon  peace, love and passive resistance to evil as their standard of behaviour and will seek to spread this view. For they must create a receptacle, a form, for the life which will continue to exist even without  their presence.

Rudolf Steiner, The Temple Legend, Manichaeism

Aug 072010
 

The spiritual revelation recorded in the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel affords us what we need for our task. In that chapter, the karma of evil is boldly outlined. The delineation begins with the picture of “the four winds of heaven [that] strove upon the great sea” (Daniel 7:2).

This figure shows us the cosmic scene of the conflict between good and evil. Space – with its four cardinal points of north, south, east, west – is neither one of the three abstract categories of Kantian philosophy, nor is it merely the distance that must be covered to reach some particular point; it is an ocean of forces at rest, set in motion by four active forces. These four active forces are the spiritual influences within the elemental world – the “winds” that cover the elemental world.

The currents caused by the four “winds” in the elemental world give rise to the four elements, which are impregnated by the four realms of elemental beings (salamanders, sylphs, undines and gnomes). These four groups of elemental beings are simply the lowest expression of the “four winds”. Their origin is rooted in the eternal Trinity, from which issue the cosmic impulses called ‘north’, ‘south’, ‘east’ and ‘west’. The Father being works through the cosmic impulses of north and south’ the Son and the Holy Spirit are active in the impulses of east and west.

When these impulses work together, cosmic good results; when the “four winds” work against one another, the result is cosmic evil. This is why the description of Daniel’s night vision begins with this image: “The four winds of the heaven strove.” These winds striving against one another are the four currents of cosmic evil. They are not controlled from Heaven, but from the depths of the ‘sea’; their origin must be sought in the “four….beasts” that appear out of the depth of the sea:”And  four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse from one another” (Daniel 7:3).

Christ and Sophia, Valentin Tomberg

Jun 192010
 

As I inched myself away from the window and towards the door I was relieved to find the force abating, to the extent that by the time I’d moved a few metres I was able to stand just outside the doorway quite comfortably, without feeling even a breeze.

It was a studio flat and I was now a step away from the front door, which the moment I looked at it ‘blew open’ outwards into an optical illusion that was impenetrable darkness, the edge of an abyss. It had to be an optical illusion, because despite the extremely unusual circumstances, I was fully conscious, and knew full-well that there was a street light right outside the front door and enough ambient light from the city to ensure it was never completely dark, not even in the depths of night.
With the wind raging behind me but all apparently calm in front, the idea of walking out and away was more than appealing. I was just about to do just that when the pitch of the darkness suddenly struck me and I sensed the collusion of this darkness with the evil wind.

I realised in that instant that I was being lured away from my body and knew that I had to go back. I’ve often wondered what would have happened if I had gone outside instead.

Jun 192010
 

I feel so close to God, so inspired by His Spirit that in a sense I am God. I see the future, plan the Universe, save mankind; I am utterly and completely immortal; I am even male and female. The whole Universe, animate and inanimate, past, present and future, is within me. All nature and life, all spirits, are co-operating and connected with me; all things are possible. I am in a sense identical with all spirits from God to Satan. I reconcile Good and Evil and create light, darkness, worlds, universes.

John Custance, Wisdom, Madness and Folly: the Philosophy of a Lunatic

*

He who has found and awakened to the Soul that has entered this conglomerate whole – he is the maker of everything, for he is the creator of all; the world is his: indeed, he is the world itself.

Brhadaranyaka Upanishad

*

Spiritual megalomania is as old as the world. Its origin is found well beyond the terrestrial world, according to the millennial-old tradition concerning the fall of Lucifer. The prophet Ezekiel gives a most moving description of this:

You were the signet of perfection, you were full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; You were covered with every kind of precious stone: Sardonyx, topaz, and diamond, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, carbuncle, emerald, and gold, with which you were adorned, and which were prepared for you on the day that you were created. You were a guardian Cherubim, with outspread wings; I placed you, and you were, on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of stones of fire…Your heart was proud because of your beauty, You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendour. I cast you to the ground, I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you…..

Ezekiel, xxviii, 12-17

Here is the higher (ie, celestial) origin of inflation, superiority complex and megalomania. And since ‘that which is below is as that which is above’, it is repeated below in human earthly life from century to century and generation to generation. It is repeated above all in the lives of those human beings who are detached from the ordinary earthly setting and the state of consciousness belonging to it, and who transcend it, be it in the sense of height, in the sense of breadth, or, lastly, in the sense of depth.

Unknown author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VII, The Chariot