Aug 172013
 

lazarusThe revival of hermeticism in Christianity that, as we said, was foreign to the spirit of the religion of Israel – the latter being based wholly on family and community – was not in any way the result of an ‘Indian influence’ on Christianity. Neither St Anthony of Thebes nor St Paul the Hermit had been influenced at all by India. The same is true for St Jerome and all the other hermits (the Irish Anglo-Saxon hermits included)of whom history has related anything definite.

Christian hermeticism arose out of a profound need of the soul – namely, the need to personally experience the truth of the tradition. And the fact that this need is at the same time the living core of Hindu Buddhist spiritual life, only makes it more plausible that the eternally valid kernel of Hinduism and Buddhism reappeared in transfigured form – that is to say, was resurrected.

Its transfiguration consists in this: the ideal of redemption of the self from the world became the ideal of the redemption of the world: the striving for eternal rest in nirvana became a striving after unity with the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and the  yearning for deathlessness in the world became the hope for resurrection in this world.

The Christianity of the hermits, as the essential core of Indian spiritual life resurrected within Christianity, was no passing phenomenon limited to a few centuries only. Today it still lives with all the intensity of its youth. Though it may not be deserts and thick forests into which one can retire into an undisturbed solitude nowadays, there are still people who have found or created in the deserts of the great cities and among the thickets of the crowds a solitude and stillness of life for the spirit.

And as before, their striving is devoted toward becoming a witness for the truth of Christianity. The way into the depths has not led them to an individualistic brand of belief, but has given them unshakable security in the truth of the Christian revelation as transmitted and taught by the Church.

They know the truth of the following: Extra Ecciesiam non est salus (‘there is no salvation outside the Church’); the Holy Father is not and cannot be the mouthpiece of an ecumenical council; the Holy See alone can make decisions in questions of faith and of morals – a majority of bishops cannot do so, and even less can a majority of priests or congregations do so; the Church is hierarchic theocratic – not democratic, aristocratic, or monarchic – and will be so in future times; the Church is the Civitas Dei (‘the City of God’) and not a superstructure of the will of people belonging to the Church; as little as the shepherd follow the will of the herd does the Holy Father of the Church merely carry out the collective will of his flock; the Shepherd of the Church is St. Peter, representing  Christ – his pronouncements ex cathedra are infallible, and the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven belongs to him, and him alone.

In other words, those who become solitary in order to seek profundity may reach on their path of spiritual experience to the unshakable insight that the dogmas of the Church are absolutely true. And so it can happen that, as they did at the time of the Arian darkening of the Church, the ‘hermits’ of today may again come to the assistance of the Holy See, leaving their solitude to appear in witness to the truth of Peter’s Throne and its infallible teaching.

In those times it happened that St Anthony of Thebes left the desert and hurried to Alexandria to support St Athanasius with the weight of his moral authority – St Athanasius who became the standard-bearer for the divinity of Christ. The darkening that today is described as ‘the present crisis of the Catholic Church’ can lead to the necessity for the solitary sons of the Church to hurry to the aid of the Holy Father, the most solitary of solitaries, in order to save the Church from the abyss toward which she is moving.

Valentin Tomberg, Lazarus Come Forth!

 

Feb 032011
 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. An-Soph, Yah, Soph Yah.

Thou, the most Holy Divine Sophia, the substantial image of beauty and the delight of the transcendentally extant God, the bright body of Eternity, the soul of the worlds and the queen-soul of all souls, by the fathomless blessedness of Thy first Son and beloved Jesus Christ, I implore Thee to descend into the prison of [the] soul, fill this darkness of ours with Thy radiancy, melt away the fetters on our spirit with the fire of love, grant us freedom and light, appear to us in a visible and substantial manner, become Thyself incarnate in us and in the world, restoring the fullness of the aeons, so that the deep may be covered with a limit and God may become all in all.

Vladimir Solovyev, Prayer for a Revelation of the Supreme Mystery

Jan 172011
 

And this was the death; for the soul’s fire proceeding from the Father’s property turned itself away from the Son’s property, in which alone the divine life consists. Thus the property of the soul remained naked only with its will in the outward Sulphur, and the inward disappeared, and continued steadfast in the eternal unchangeableness, as in an eternal nothing, wherein there was no more any effecting [or working efficacy to bring to pass].

Thus man with his outward body lived barely and merely to the time; the precious gold of the heavenly corporality, which tinctured the outward body, was disappeared, and so the outward body stood barely and alone in the life of nature’s desire, in the soul’s fiery property; understand in the form and property of Mars, in the wrath of God, which is the wrath in Sulphur, the property of God’s anger and the dark world: But seeing the outward body was created out of the time, therefore the time, the constellation with the four elements, presently obtained the dominion in him; and the divine property, the desire of the Deity (which ruled and tinctured time, so that there was a holy life in the creature out of the time), was vanished; its own peculiar love in the divine desire was turned to water, and it became blind and dead in the will and desire of God; and the soul must help itself with the sun’s light.

But seeing that time has beginning and end, and the will with the desire has given up itself to the temporal leader, therefore the dominion of time destroys its own contrived spirit, and so the body also dies and passes away; and this is that which God said to Adam, that “he should not eat of the tree, or plant, of the knowledge of good and evil,” of both properties, lest he died; as it also came to pass, he died in the Sulphur; the Sul in the kingdom of God, the lubet of the divine liberty, out of which the light of God shines, and in which the divine love, the love-fire burns [disappeared and withdrew from him].

Now there was no remedy for him, unless God’s desire entered again into his dead Sulphur, that is, into his Sul, which was dead, into the dead [or mortified] essentiality, and again enkindled it with the love-fire; which came to pass in Christ: And there the heavenly body, wherein God’s light shines, did again arise. But if this must be effected, then the love-desire must again enter into the desire of the enkindled anger, and quench and overcome the anger with the love; the divine water must enter again into the soul’s burning fire, and quench the wrathful death in the astringent fiat, in the desire to nature, that the love-desire, which desires God, might be again enkindled in the soul.

Jacob Boehem, The Signature of All Things

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

Jul 092010
 

The “I” is the member of the human being that continues on from incarnation to incarnation. The result of each incarnation continues to live in the “I”, forming what is often called a “string of beads” in Indian symbolism, of which the individual “beads” are the “I” being of various incarnations, while the “string” represents the continuity of consciousness from incarnation to incarnation.

Thus, the “I” being of former lives lives on and represents the “inner” past that is inseparable from an individual. This miracle of healing indicatees a power that affected not only the present but also the past “” being – the “I” that passed through death with the responsibility for the previous life course.

“I” consciousness of the past, which preserves its activity from the previous incarnation and in which many human beings live and act, is called consciousness of the “dead” in the Gospels, and those who live under the “I” impulse of the past are simply called “The dead”. Thus, healing the paralysed man involved more than merely the present “I”; the “dead”, in particular, heard the “voice of the Son” and experience a conversion in his past consciousness. “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will (John 5:21).

These words of Jesus Christ have a direct connection with the healing and refer to it. And words that follow express it even more clearly: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John, 5:25). True, only a few of the dead had heard this voice – a fact expressed, for example, in these words: “Let the dead bury their dead.” (Luke 9:60). This is the fundamental challenge to which we must respond if we wish to gain spiritual hearing. It is a summons to conquer ourselves again and again and, shutting out all personal impulses, repeatedly listen in silence to the voice of conscience.

The sounds that the spiritual world uses to speak are moral and spiritual voices, not fixed “vibrations” for the purpose of being caught by a sensory organ. Those voices can be heard only after the soul has adapted to the voice of conscience; those who are prepared to follow the dictates of conscience without hesitation are thus prepared to hear the voices of cosmic conscience.

Christ and Sophia, Valentin Tomberg