Jan 032014
 

chariot-romanDear Unknown Friend

Like the preceding Arcana, The Arcanum ‘The Chariot’ has a twofold aspect. It represents, from one side, he who – having triumped over the three temptations – remains faithful to the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity; and it represents, from another side, the danger of the fourth temptation, which is the most subtle and intimate temptation, and is the invisible synthesis of the three temptations: the spiritual temptation of the victorious through his victory itself. It is the temptation to act ‘in one’s own name’, to act as master instead of as servant….

When you resist a temptation or renounce something desired below, you set in motion by this very fact forces of realisation of that which corresponds above to that which you came to renounce below. It is this that the Master designates by the word ‘reward’ when he says, for example, that it is necessary to guard against practising righteousness before other people in order to gain their regard, ‘for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven’. (Matthew, vi, 1). Reward is therefore the action that one sets in motion above by the renunciation of desire for things below. It is the ‘yes’ from above corresponding to the ‘no’ from below. And this correspondence constitutes a basis for magical realisation and for the fundamental law of Christian Hermeticism. Let us guard ourselves from taking it lightly, for here is given to us one of the principle keys of sacred magic. It is not desire which bears magical realisation, but rather the renunciation of desire (that you have formerly experienced, of course). For renunciation through indifference has no moral – and therefore no magical – value.
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The charioteer of the Arcanum is the victor over trials, ie, the temptations, and if he is a master, then it is thanks to himself He is alone, standing in his chariot; no one is present to applaud him or to pay homage to him; he has no weapons….The victory achieved in solitude….what glory and what danger it comprises at one and the same time! It is the only real glory, for it in no way depends on human favour and judgement;it is intrinsic glory – the real radiance of the aura becoming luminous. It is, however, at the same time the most real and the most serious spiritual danger which exists. ‘Pride’ and ‘vaingloriousness’, the traditional names which one gives to it, do not suffice to characterise it in an adequate way. It is more than this. It is, rather, a kind of mystical megalomania, where one deifies the regulating centre of one’s own being, one’s ego, and where one sees the divine only within oneself and becomes blind to the divine above and outside oneself. The ‘higher Self’ is then experienced as the supreme and it is far from the supreme and unique being….far from being God, in other words.

It would be as well, now, to dwell on the problem of identification of the self with the higher Self and of the higher Self with God.

C.G. Jung who, having explored the sexual or ‘Freudian’ layer, and then that of the will-to-power or the ‘Adlerian’ layer, of the unconscious (ie, latent or occult consciousness) of the human being, encountered a spiritual (mystical, gnostic and magical) layer during the course of his clinical and psychotherapeutic experience. Instead of drawing back from it or extricating himself from it through a corrosive ‘explanation’, he had the courage and honest to set himself to the laborious study of the phenomenology of this layer of the unconscious. Now, this work proved fruitful. Jung discovered here not only the causes of certain psychic disorders, but also the profound and intimate process that he designated as the ‘process of individuation’, which is nothing other than the gradual birth of another self (Jung called it the ‘Self’) higher to oneself or one’s ordinary ego. The discover of the process of the ‘second birth’ prompted him to extend the range of his exploratory work considerably notably to include symbolism, mystery rituals and the comparative study of contemporary and ancient religions.

Now, this broadening of his field of exploration also proved fruitful. Jung’s arrival at his discovery (which at first racked him, preventing him from speaking of it to a living soul for fifteen years) had its train of consequences, including the knowledge and description of some dangers or temptations belonging to the way of initiation and the process of individuation which corresponds to it, One of these dangers – which are at the same time trials or temptations – is that which Jung designated by the term ‘inflation’, which signifies the state of consciousness of the self inflated to excess, and which is known in psychiatry in its extreme manifestation by the term ‘megalomania’.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VII, The Chariot

Jan 122012
 

The mystery of the spear wound points us towards spiritualisation of the physical body. The special, pure elixir that flows from the side of the Lord is certainly an esoteric reference to an esoteric process of development that occurred – for the first time, yet symptomatically for all human beings – here on earth within the space of a few hours.

(We need to counter the idea that spiritual processes and the higher developments they bring about unfold exclusively beyond the threshold, and never impinge on the sensory world. It is an erroneous gnostic mode of thought that regards the Christ sacrifice, His transformation and resurrection, as a process solely of spirit and soul. This would be a denial of Paul’s teaching.

What use is spiritual development if it has no reforming effect on the lower bodies? And these lower bodies – particularly the lowest, the physical body – belong to the earthly world and can only be worked upon during incarnation. All development in the spirit aims to enliven the mortal human being.

All higher spiritual development at the same time works and impinges on matter. Serious spiritual work always leads to deed and action in the physical world. The appearance of a divine being in the material world embodied this to the very highest degree).

The spear-wound mystery is one of transformation, of etherisation; and it takes place before the eyes of those present at the time. One of these witnesses became a source of truth for us, leaving his testimony in the form of the Gospel of St John.

If this Gospel by the disciple whom the Lord loved is read in the right way it reveals to us deep truths about the Mystery of Golgotha.

Judith von Halle, Secrets of the Stations of the Cross and the Grail Blood

May 232011
 

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

Jan 082011
 

There are two: one wing holds him in contact with the divine understanding, and the other with divine memory/inspiration. The two wings are therefore related to the contemplative and creative aspects of God which, in their turn, correspond to the divine image and likeness in man of which  Genesis speaks.

The two Angelic wings are the Angel’s links with the eternal sabbath and the eternal creativity of God – or, in other words, with divine gnosis and divine magic. It is by means of the “gnostic” (or “left”) wing that the Angel is in contemplation of divine wisdom, and it is by means of the “magical” (or “right”) wing that he is active in his capacity as messenger or “Angel”.

This is the principle of polarity underlying the duality of the wings. The principle remains valid also for Angels – and for entities from other spiritual hierarchies – who have more than two wings (sixteen, for example). It will be the task of a future science of “Angelology” to grasp the reason or reasons for the plurality of wings of certain Angelic entities.

With respect to us, we have to restrict ourselves to a general explanation of the two wings of Angels, in reminding ourselves that it is a matter here of meditation on the fourteenth Arcanum of the Tarot, whose card represents an entity with two wings.

From tradition we know that there are also human beings endowed with wings….The astral and etheric wings of a human being signify a more-or-less advanced degree of recovery of the divine likeness in him. For certainly it was the lot of men before the original sin to have wings. He lost them subsequently. How are they recovered?

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIV Temperance

May 092010
 

“What, pray tell, of Baha-ullah!”
Spoke at once the latest wise-one.
“He’s accepted all the others
Gone before; the way is union?”

“This, you see”, revealed the Rabbi,
“Charts a line which roughly follows
Down through time, a line of prophets,
Give or take a right-tongued Sophist.

“Eastern influences flourished
In our land, but naught surpasses
Now – or ever – true Kabbalah,
Gnostic scripts were ne’er so magic!

“Not so!” claimed the Vedic master.
“Ours, the early bird of progress
`May pass through the stages faster,
Incarnating ever after.

“Vishnu, here, the force outstanding,
Krishna, there, the force transcending,
Both appear within our scripture,
Bhagvad-Gita; song unending.”

“What of us,” cried out the pagans,
“Surely we’re the lords of mystery?
Since the early days of Egypt,
We’ve survived the Western history!”

“Those who claim that resurrection
Is the sole preserve of prophets,
Born beyond the ancient’s time line,
Listen well, and don’t forget it:

“Old Osiris: dead then risen;
Great Demeter’s daughter: risen;
Dionysus next was risen,
Then the Orphic bard was risen!”