At the turning point of time
The cosmic spirit-light stepped
Into earthly evolution;
Had ended its reign;
The bright light of day
Streamed into human souls;
The poor shepherd hearts
The wise kings’ heads.
Sun of Christ,
Our hearts —
So that good results
Our hearts beget,
Forcefully will to do.
Foundation Stone Meditation, Rudolf Steiner
The modern world, with its prodigious growth of complexity, weighs incomparably more heavily on the shoulders of our generation than did the ancient world upon the shoulders of our forebears. Have you never felt that this added load needs to be compensated for by an added passion, a new sense of purpose? To my mind, this is what is “providentially” arising to sustain our courage – the hope, the belief, that some immense fulfillment lies ahead of us.
If Mankind were destined to achieve its apotheosis, if Evolution were to reach its highest point, in our small, separate lives, then indeed the enormous travail of terrestrial organisation into which we are born would be nor more than a tragic irrelevance. We should all be dupes. We should do better in that case to stop, or at least to call a halt, destroy the machines, close the laboratories, and seek whatever way of escape we can find in pure pleasure or pure nirvana.
But if on the contrary Man sees a new door opening above him, a new stage for his development; if each of us can believe that he is working so that the Universe may be raised, in him and through him, to a higher level – then a new spring of energy will well forth in the heart of Earth’s workers. The whole great human organism, overcoming a momentary hesitation, will draw its breath and press on with strength renewed.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man, Life and the Planets
God’s will to behold God in the mirror of the Universe sustains existence from the beginning to the end of time. Everything is brought into being for this reason; the history of mankind and the life of each individual are part of this purpose.
Some events, like those in our story, mark a turning point in the world’s evolution, as well as a man’s fulfillment of his destiny. In such moments Divinity sees its own image in a perfected Adam, as the Anointed One of that time reflects the Divine.
The Anointed, Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi
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
For those who immerse themselves in what the fairy tale has to communicate, it becomes a deep, quiet pool which at first seems to reflect only our own image; but behind it we soon discover the inner turmoils of our soul – its depth, and ways to gain peace within ourselves and with the world, which is the reward of our struggles.”
Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment
A mystical act and a gnostic act ‘precede’ in eternity the act of creation as a magical act; this is followed by the activity of formation by the demiurge, or the demiurge hierarchies, who undertake the work of craftsmanship – work which is essentially that of executive or Hermetic-philosophical intelligence.
The classical Cabala furnishes us with a marvellous example of the peace possible between apparently rival doctrines. In its doctrine of ten Sephiroth, it teaches first the mystery of eternal mysticism – AIN-SOPH, the Unlimited. Then it expounds the gnostic doctrine of eternal emanations from the womb of the Divine, which precede – in ordine cognoscendi – the act of creation. They are the ideas of God within God, which precede the creation – the latter being a conscious act and impulsive or instinctive.
Then it speaks of pure creation or creation ex nihilo – the act of the magical projection of the ideas of the plan of creation, ie, the Sephiroth. This creative, magical act is followed – in ordine cognoscendi, always – by the activity of formation in which the beings of the spiritual hierarchies participate, including man. It is in this way that, according to the Cabbala, the world comes into being, that the world of facts or deeds known to us through experience becomes what it is.
Now, ‘olam ha’assiah, the world of facts, is preceded by ‘olam ha yetzirah‘, the world of formation or the demiurgic world; this is the product of ‘olam ha beriah‘, the world of creation or the magical world which is, in turn, the realisation of ‘olam ha atziluth‘, the world of emanations or the gnostic world, inseparate and inseparable from God, who in his true essence is the mystery of supreme mysticism – AIN-SOPH, the Unlimited.
It is therefore possible – and for us there is no doubt about it – to reconcile the diverse doctrines concerning the creation; it is only necessary to put each of them in its proper place, or to apply each to the plane which is proper to it. The Cabbala, through its doctrine of the Sephiroth, provides a wonderful proof that this is so.
Pantheism is true for the ‘world of emanations’, (olam ha atziluth), where there are only ideas – within God and inseparable from him; but theism is true when one leaves the domain of uncreated eternity to pass on to the creation, meaning the creation of the ancestors of archetypes of phenomena that we know through our experience. And demiurgism is true when we contemplate the world or plane of formation, or the evolution of beings with the aim of coming into conformity with their created prototypes.
But leaving aside the worlds or planes of formation, creation, emanation and divine-mystical essence, one can confine oneself solely to the plane of facts. Then naturalism becomes true – within the limits of this plane, taken in isolation.
Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter II, The High Priestess
Cosmic steps through every section.
Herein find the secret waiting:
Future from the past; reflection.’
‘Then Osiris, fully risen,
Calls to life, renews gestation,
Metes out Time with fate’s precision,
Orders: ‘Scribe, divine creation.’’
So is seen the mythic cycle,
Turning ever on its axis.
Each was placed upon its system,
Fixed was each by one, another.
One drew out another’s mystery,
So they grew to greater wisdom.
Set were they on points of psyche’s
Evolution, flowering moments.
When to heart and soul one listened,
Heard and wrought it for one’s vision,
Out of that which never dies;
Springs, eternal, the story of the sky.
Charlotte Cowell, The Myth
In these twelve men who came together to perform a special mission, the twelve different streams in the spiritual development of mankind were represented. The fact that all possible religions and all possible philosophies belong to the twelve basic types is in itself a mystery.
Buddhism, Brahmanism, Vedanta philosophy, materialism, or whatever it may be – all of them can be traced to the twelve basic types; it is just a matter of being quite exact. And so all the different streams of man’s spiritual life – the religions, the philosophies and world conceptions that are spread over the earth – were united in that council of the twelve.
After the period of darkness had passed and spiritual achievement was possible again, a thirteenth came in remarkable circumstances to the twelve. I am telling you now of one of those events which takes place secretly in the evolution of mankind once and once only. They cannot occur a second time and are mentioned not as an indication that efforts should be made to repeat them but for quite other reasons.
When the darkness had lifted and it was possible to develop clairvoyant vision again, the coming of the thirteenth was announced in a mysterious way to the twelve wise men. They knew that the time had come when a child with significant and remarkable incarnations behind him was to be born. Above all they knew that one of his incarnations had been at the time of the Mystery of Golgotha.
It was known, therefore, that one who had been a contemporary of the events in Palestine was returning. And the birth of the child in these unusual circumstances during the thirteenth century could not have been said to be that of a person of renown.
Rudolf Steiner, Intimate Workings of Karma
What is essential in order that spiritual truth is not forgotten, and that it lives? Hope, true creativity and tradition are the essential factors. The corroborating testimony of the three ever-present witnesses – spirit, blood and water – is necessary.
True testimony through the spirit, through blood, and through water will never fall into forgetfulness. One can kill spiritual truth, but it will resurrect.
Now, the unity of hope, creativity and tradition is the agent of growth. It is the concerted action of spirit, blood and water. It is therefore indestructible; its action is irreversible; and its movement is irresistible. And it is the agent of growth which is, in the last analysis, the subject of the Emerald Table of Hermes Trismegistus.
“And all things were made by meditation of the One, so all things arose from this one thing by a single act of adaptation,” says the Emerald Tablet (Tabula Smaragdina, 3). Which amounts to saying: as the One is the creator of the essence of all things, thus there is a unique agent which adapts the existence of all things to their essence – the principle of adaptation of that which is born to its created prototype.
This is the agent of growth or the principle of evolution. It is engendered by the spontaneous light of hope (the sun) reflected in the movement of the lower waters (the moon), which produces the general impulse or ‘push’ (the wind), which bears primordial hope towards its realisation in the material domain (the earth), which donates it with its constructive elements (ie, nourishes or ‘nurses’ it). Thus, the Emerald Table continues:
The father thereof is the sun, the mother the moon; the wind carried it in its womb; the earth is the nurse thereof. (Tabula Smaragdina, 4)
Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XVII, The Star