Oct 162017
 

Although the alchemists were more or less aware that their insights and truths were of divine origin, they knew they were not sacred revelations but were vouchsafed by individual inspiration or by the lumen naturae, sapientia Dei hidden in nature. The autonomy of their insights showed itself in the emancipation of science from the domination of faith. Human intolerance and shortsightedness are to blame for the open conflict that ultimately broke out between faith and knowledge. Conflict or comparison between incommensurables is impossible. The only possible attitude is one of mutual toleration, for neither can deprive the other of its validity. Existing religious beliefs have, besides their supernatural foundation, a basis in psychological facts whose existence is as valid as those of the empirical sciences. If this is not understood on one side or the other it makes no difference to the facts, for these exist whether man understands them or not, and whoever does not have the facts on his side will sooner or later have to pay the price.

With this I would like to conclude my remarks on sulphur. This arcane substance has provided occasion for some general reflections, which are not altogether fortuitous in that sulphur represents the active substance of the sun or, in psychological language, the motive factor in consciousness: on the one hand the will, which can best be regarded as a dynamism subordinated to consciousness, and on the other hand compulsion, an involuntary motivation or impulse ranging from mere interest to possession proper. The unconscious dynamism would correspond to sulphur, for compulsion is the great mystery of human life. It is the thwarting of our conscious will and of our reason by an inflammable element within us, appearing now as a consuming fire and now as life-giving warmth.

Carl Jung, Personification of the Opposites (Sulphur), Mysterium Conjunctionis

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

Feb 132015
 

fountain_tree_of_lifeAt the very end of the New Testament John described the holy of holies that he saw in his vision. There was the throne of God and the Lamb, there was the river of the water of life, and there was the tree of life. The servants of God and the Lamb saw his face and had his name on their foreheads. They stood in a place of perpetual heavenly light, needing neither lamp no sun, and the reigned fore ever (Rev.22.1-5). For the first Christians, this was their vision of heaven.

They were standing in the temple, but not the temple rebuilt by Herod and completed only a few years earlier. They were standing in the temple as it should have been, as it had once been and as they hoped it soon would be, because in their vision they  were standing in the true temple. The temple they knew – or had known, since there is no way of dating this vision – had  neither the heavenly throne nor the tree of life in the holy of holies. Josephus says that at the end of the second temple period, the holy of holies was empty.

In another part of the vision of the temple, John saw the ark (Rev.11.19) which had been lost for centuries. Later tradition remembered it had disappeared in the time of King Josiah, during the temple purges of 623 BCE. It would be restored in the time of the Messiah, along with the other things that had been in the first temple but not in the second: the fire, the menorah, the Spirit and the cherubim. Since the first temple furnishings symbolised the temple teachings, this was saying that the faith of the second temple was very different from the faith of the original temple.

Margaret Barker, The Mother of the Lord

Nov 092014
 

JohnchrysostomLet every pious man who loves God rejoice in this beautiful and glorious
ceremony!
Let the devoted servant delight to share the joy of his Master!
Let him who has fasted diligently now receive the promised reward!
Let the labourer of the first hour come forward to receive his due,
Let him of the third hour also render thanks and be joyfull
Let him of the sixth hour have no doubt: nothing
will be held back from his wages!
Let him who waited until the ninth hour
approach without hesitation or fear,
and let him who appeared only at the eleventh hour not be afraid,
for the Lord is generous! He welcomes the last as the first.
He gives rest to the labourer of the eleventh hour,
as to the one of the first hour.
He is full of mercy towards the former,
and of kindness towards the latter.
He commends the completed work
and appreciates the intention.
He esteems the act, and he lauds the desire
Enter ye all to the joy of your Master
First come or last, now take your reward!
Rich man or poor, you can celebrate together!
You who have abstained, and you who have neglected to do so,
honour this day! Whether you have fasted or not, exult today! The banquet
is ready: come all and sit down; the calf is fat: let no one go hungry! Enjoy the
banquet of Faith, gather the riches of mercyl Let no one deplore his poverty,
for a Kingdom has appeared which
belongs to us all! Let no one lament his faults, since pardon has sprung from
the tomb! Let no one fear death: foe the death of the Saviour has liberated us!
He who was its prisoner has vanquished it. He who descended into hell has
overcome it. He has struck down the death which tasted His flesh. Isaiah
prophesied about it:
‘Hell was brought low by death when it met You under the earth,’ Hell was
brought low by death because You have annihilated it; brought low by death
because You have laid it low; brought low by death because You have
enchained it. View yourself as flesh,you will find yourself before God; View
yourself as earthly, it is Heaven you will see. Regard yourself as visible,
and you will find yourself face to face with the invisible. Where then is
thy sting, O death? Hell, where is thy victory? Christ is risen, and thou
art brought lowl Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen! Christ is risen,
and the Angels rejoice! Christ is risen and Life remains.
Christ is risen and the tombs are emptied of their dead, Christ
has risen from the dead; For He is the first of them all!
To Him be glory and power for ever and ever.
Amen

St John Chrysostom

May 292014
 

holy_spirit_skyRejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Love never fails: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Jan 062013
 

This devoted and favorite Apostle initiated by Jesus Christ Himself was called ‘Judas.’… Judas was not only the most faithful and devoted of all the near followers of Jesus Christ, but also, only thanks to his Reason and presence of mind all the acts of this Sacred Individual could form that result [of being] the source of nourishment and inspiration for the majority of them in their desolate existence and made it at least a little endurable.

[When at the Last Supper it was realized that more time was required to fulfill the sacred sacrament Almznoshinoo] Judas, now a Saint, leaped from his place and hurriedly said:

“I shall go and do everything in such a way that you should have the possibility of fulfilling this sacred preparation without hindrance, and meanwhile set to work at once.”

Having said this, he approached Jesus Christ and having confidently spoken with Him a little and received His blessing, hurriedly left.

Gurdjieff

Oct 082012
 

How then is a new spring, a new source of living water to be found? How the rock struck? With which wand, and under what mandate?

It is by the gathering of a few friends with a common purpose. And with a faith in the reality and good will of those in the spiritual world whom they seek to make contact, and from whom they will receive protection, enlightenment and teaching. This gathering of friends in common purpose and respect is the  natural warmth that is spoken of in alchemy.

To warm the alchemical still of the ‘first matter’, the prima materia. To hatch the cosmic egg so that a live chick shall be born. The alchemical bird, that at first needs careful nourishing, but which will grow by due care and process into a powerful creature indeed, an immortal phoenix.

And this element of the alchemical bird being a phoenix is further indication of how the spark of the Mysteries, once lit, is passed on. For the original fire, even if largely smothered, banked up by its own ash so that it hardly gives out further light of heat or living flame, can burst forth again. Any ember from that source of inner fire can be fanned by those who know and care, into a new manifestation of the phoenix – which will rise in a blaze of wonder and glory as powerful as ever it was when first hatched, induced and evoked.

This is a natural path of progress in the Mysteries over the course of time.

Gareth Knight, The Abbey Papers

 

May 262012
 

Doubt is more than a psychological state of indecision; it is the soul’s sojourn in the intermediary sphere between the two fields of attraction – terrestrial and celestial – from which there is no other means of escape than a pure and simple act of faith, issuing from the soul itself without heaven and earth taking any part in it. It is therefore a matter of an act of the free personality in the face of complete silence from heaven and earth. Now, Hamlet is the archetype of this trial, where the following is at stake: either an act of faith, or of despair and madness.

 

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The trial of our times is that of the satisfaction of desires. This applies not only to communists, capitalists and materialists, but also, and no less, to – I shall not say esotericists, but – occultists and magicians. For they are also under the same sign of the [Faustian] trial.

The Arcanum ‘The Fool’ has a double meaning. Indeed, it can be understood in two different ways: as a model and as a warning at the same time. For on the one hand it teaches the freedom of the transcendental consciousness elevated above the things of this world, and on the other hand it clearly presents a very impressive warning of the peril that this elevation comprisses –  lack of concern, inadequacy, irresponsibility and ridicule….in a word, madness.

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The ‘philosopher’s stone’ of spiritual alchemy is described in the Emerald Table of Hermes Trismegistus as follows:

The father thereof is the sun, the mother the moon.

The wind carried it in its womb; the earth is the nurse thereof.

It is the father of all works of wonder throughout the whole world.

The power thereof is perfect, if it be cast on to earth.

It will separate the element of earth from that of fire, the subtle

from the gross, gently and with great sagacity.

It doth ascend from earth to heaven.

Again it doth descend to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and things inferior. (Tabula Smaragdina).

This means to say the 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’ (1 Corinthians i, 22-24).

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

 

 

Apr 232012
 

The most fundamental message of the Christian faith is in the life of Christ, his message and his praxis.

He called for complete liberation…he came to develop a new solidarity between men….he spoke of the poor and oppressed and he lived for the poor and oppressed.

As revolutionaries, we affirm that Christ’s importance was that he lived his own message. When he spoke of the liberation of the poor and oppressed he referred to those who were materially oppressed, with whom he lived and to whom he spoke.

When he spoke of revolution, he did so by concretely fighting against the religious and political power that oppressed people; he denounced these powers and he organised until his martrydom.

He was faithful to his beliefs and to the people until death….in this way he established that practice is the ultimate proof of faith.

Fuerzas Armadas Rebeldes, Guatemala

Nov 152011
 

Wisdom in His eyes does shine serenely,
On the understanding of His lady,
Strength in victory brings to pass their dreaming,
From creative force foundations laid He.

Endless though it was her endless waiting,
Faith eternal, hope and love defeated
Time. And now her knight reveals a true king,
Witness of the virtue oft entreated.

As the faerie queen revised all history,
Every female spirit was encompassed,
Eve from Adam, then the rest, her sisters
Fell as one into Earth’s fiery suntrap.

Mary – stellar priestess, light of heaven –
Body, mind and soul, the one uplifted,
Holds within her hand a starry seven,
All who see her light above are gifted.

Just as Jacob found his soul in Rachel,
So the dove with she at last is rising,
As Sophia stands beside Saint Michael,
Angels all surrounding, deep are sighing.

So the miracle that’s even greater –
More than even Moses made in Egypt –
Over and above the Red Sea parted,
More than manna dew-lit in the desert.

More than all the plagues that conquered Pharaoh,
More than Aaron’s staff that blossomed newly,
Just as Isaac came from out of Sarah,
So the soul-mates knew themselves and truly.