Sep 082012
 

The guardian Angel accompanies as a faithful ally the divine image in man, just as vicious inclinations have made their way into the human functional organism which was, before the Fall, the divine likeness. The guardian Angel undertakes the functions, destroyed by original sin, in the likeness, and fills the breach wrought by them. He substitutes himself for functions destroyed through the Fall.

As the prayer of the service of aspersion states it, in praying to God ‘to deign to send from heaven his holy Angel to guard, cherish, protect, visit and defend all those who are gathered together in this place’, the Angel acquits his charge in five ways: he guards, cherishes, protects, visits and defends. he is therefore a ‘flaming star’, a luminous pentagram, above man.

He guards memory, ie, the continuity of the past in the present, which is the preparation for the great future. it is the guardian Angel who takes care that there is a connection between the great ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’ of the human soul. He is a perpetual ‘memento’ with regard to the primordial likeness, with regard to the eternal mission assigned to the soul in the cosmic symphony, and with regard to the special room for the soul ‘in my Father’s house, where there are many rooms’ (John xiv, 2).

If it is necessary, the guardian Angel awakens recollections of the soul’s previous earthly lives, in order to establish continuity of endeavour – of the quest and aspiration of the soul from life to life – so that particular lives are not merely isolated episodes but constitute the stages of a single path towards one sole end.

The guardian Angel cherishes the endeavour, quest and aspiration of the soul engaged on this way. This means to say that he fills in the breaks in the psychic functional organism due to the disfigurement of the likeness, and makes up for its failings – given the soul’s good will towards it. For support never signifies substitution of the Angel’s will for that of man. The will remains free, always and everywhere. The guardian Angel never touches on man’s free will and resigns himself to await the decision or choice made in the inviolable sanctuary of free will – in order to lend his assistance immediately if it is just, or to remain a passive observer reduced alone to prayer if it is not.

Just as the guardian Angel is sometimes constrained not to participate in the soul’s activity – this activity not being in accord with the divine image of the soul – so also he can sometimes take a greater part in human activity than usual – this activity being of a nature not simply permitted but also called for. Then the guardian Angel descends from the point of his ordinary post into the domain of human activity. He then visits the human being.

Such visits of the guardian Angel do sometimes take place – when their possibility and necessity coincide. But what the guardian Angel does unceasingly is to protect the human being. Here he makes up for the failings of the human senses, which are deprived of their clairvoyance from before the original sin. He is the clairvoyant helping the non-clairvoyant with respect to psychic and physical temptations and dangers. He warns, informs and helps to appreciate. Nevertheless, what he never does is suppress the occasions themselves of temptation. For, as St Anthony the Great said, ‘without temptation there is no spiritual progress’. Temptation belongs as an integral part to the exercise of human free will, which is inviolable – both for an Angel and for a demon.

With respect to the last of the five functions of the guardian Angel concerning man, namely his defence, it differs from the others in that it is turned above, towards heaven, and is no longer directed below or horizontally. In dealing with the question of the defence that the guardian Angel accords to his protege, we approach the holy mystery of the very heart of the guardian Angel. For the nature of Angelic love is revealed here, of which the following are some inclinations…

Meditations on the Tarot, unknown author, Letter XIV,  Temperance

 

 

Jul 262012
 

Today people divide Christ into aspects such as “historical,” “cosmic,” “mystical” and so on. But Christ in his essence is one and indivisible.

There is only one Christ – the living Christ who is the manifestation of God, the manifestation of Love. Christ is God revealing Himself to the world. As a manifestation of God, Christ cannot be separated from Him, cannot be considered apart from Him.

And when I speak of Christ, I do not mean an abstract principle, but rather an actual incarnation of Love. Love is the greatest reality and not an abstraction. It has form, content and meaning. Christ – whatever conception people have of him as “historical,” as “cosmic,” as “mystical,” – gave to the earth the fullest expression of Love.

This is because as an historic personality, as a cosmic essence, and as a mystical experience, Christ is and remains the most perfect expression of Love. Indeed, no other man on earth before Christ had greater love than His. There is neither in the cosmos without, nor in the mystic depths of the soul within, a fuller expression of Love than that which we personify in Christ.

Therefore, how are the words “historical,” “cosmic,” and “mystical” to be understood?

Manifested on the earth at a certain historical moment as the ideal man, as an example of the real man, Christ is “historical.” And the times in which he lived record an bear witness to Him: “Behold, the man! Behold, the true man in whom Love, Wisdom, and Truth live, and who applies them.”

When he is experienced in the inward depths, he is “mystical,” and when he is comprehended and known as God manifested in the world, he is “cosmic.”

The physical side of Christ is all of humanity united in one body. All human souls in which Christ lives, united into one – this is the physical aspect of Christ. All angels, gathered into the heart of Christ, represent his spiritual aspect. And all divine beings, united in the mind of Christ, are his divine aspect.

This is the “cosmic” Christ, God manifested in the world.

Beinsa Douno, Christ, Manifestation of Love

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 292012
 

The father in the parable of the prodigal child had neither sent his son far from his paternal home in order to lead a life of debauchery, nor had he prevented him from leaving and forced him to lead a life which was pleasing to him (the father).

All he did was to await his return and to go and meet him when the prodigal son was approaching his father’s home. Everything which took place in the story of the prodigal son, save for his return to the father, was clearly contrary to the will of the father.

The history of the human race since the Fall is that of the prodigal son….and the key formula of the history of humanity is to be found neither in the progress of civilisation in the process of evolution or in any other ‘process’, but rather in the parable of the prodigal son, in the words:

Father, I have sinnerd against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants. (Luke xv, 18-19).

Letter IV, The Emperor, Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author

Jan 222012
 

The resurrection within Christianity of the Hindu and Buddhist spiritual life, to which the church owes the arising of the whole monastic movement and the founding of religious orders in late antiquity, is not the last event of its kind in church history.

Others followed according to the law that all truth and love of the past that have timeless values are called back out of the realms of forgetting, sleep and death into the daylight of Christian spiritual life through the call that from age to age reminds, rouses and awakens.

Through this call sounding forth from Him who is the Resurrection and the Life, saying ‘Lazarus, come forth!’ – the most noble and valuable aspects of pagan antiquity were also resurrected.

The Platonic and Aristotelian treasury of thought arose radiant in transfigured form and inspired great spirits of the church to take up the philosophia perennis, in which lay the task of lifting up the chalice of pure human thinking and sacrificial offering to divine revelation.

For this was the essential aim of the scholastics: the raising up of the chalice of crystal clear human thinking upon the altar of Godhead – the Godhead manifesting in divine revelation.

Lazurus, come forth!, Valentin Tomberg

Aug 192011
 

Dear Unknown Friend

The preceding Arcanum – ‘The Moon’ – confronted us with the task of human intelligence to liberate itself from the magical enchantment which separates it from spontaneous wisdom, and to unite itself with the latter, ie, to arrive at intuition. The nineteenth Arcanum – “The Sun” – is that of the accomplished union of intelligence and spontaneous wisdom: the Arcanum of intuition.

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“The children who are fraternising under the sun correspond all the better to Gemini because this zodiacal constellation berings in the longest days to us” says Oswald Wirth (Le Tarot des imagiers du moyen age), thus locating the nineteenth Arcanum in the zodiacal circle of twelve cosmic mysteries or, speaking in the language of C J Jung, in the circle of twelve archetypal force-images of the collective unconscious which work in the depths of every human soul.

For the zodiac is that which the human soul knows unconsciously; it is the book which the soul “ate” and which is present and active only in his “bowels” – in the depths of his being – from whence it renders him strong or weak, fertile or arid, fervent or tepid, according to whether he is in harmony or not with its teaching-impulse.

Now, the teaching impulse called “Gemini” can be expressed by paraphrasing a little the first statement of the Emerald Table of Hermes:

May that which is below be as that which is above, and may that which is above be as that which is below to accomplish the miracles of one thing.

This is the principle of analogy put into practice, taking its point of departure from the principle of cooperation.

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One of the highest aspects of the principle of Gemini, the principle of cooperation, is that which is present in intuition: that of the cooperation between spontaneous wisdom and intelligence. Here it is a matter of a state of consciousnes where  intelligence advances from formal knowledge to material knowledge, ie, from knowledge of the relationships of the things to knowledge of the things themselves.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIX, The Sun

 

 

Aug 182011
 

Vision augments experience; inspiration augments knowledge just as it does understanding; and intuition is the metamorphosis and growth no longer of what one experiences and understands, but rather of what one is. Through intuition one becomes another, through inspiration one apprehends new ways of thinking, feeling and acting, and through vision one’s domain of experience is enlarged – one has a revelation of new facts in accessible to the senses and to intellectual invention.

In practice it is not so that vision, inspiration and intuition are successive stages following the order – vision, inspiration, intuition. For there are those on the spiritual path who have only the experience of intuition, and still others who are only inspired, without ever having visions. But whatever the kind of mode of spiritual experience may be, at the final count it is always a matter of becoming, ie, intuition.

Thus one can say that in principle vision and inspiration are only means for arriving at intuition. Now, intuition takes place in the blood, inspiration  in tears and vision in sweat. For an authentic vision always entails an increase of effort in order to bear it, in order to remain upright in the face of it. Vision has a weight, sometimes overwhelming, which demands a great effort on the part of the soul in order not to give way under the weight of that vision.

Authentic inspiration always entails an inner upheaval. It pierces the soul like an arrow in wounding it and in making it experience that profound emotion which is a synthesis of sorrow and joy. The symbol of the Rose Cross – a cross from the center of which a rose blossoms out – renders the essence of the experience of inspiration in the best way I know. The Rose Cross expresses the mystery of tears, ie, that of inspiration, with force and clarity. It portrays the joy of sorrow and the sorrow of joy, which together comprise inspiration.

With respect to intuition, it is no longer a matter either of the weight of riches or of the romance of the engagement of the Rose and the Cross, but rather of consummating the marriage of life and death. What lives, thereby dies; and what dies, thereby is reborn. Thereby blood is mingled with the Blood and is transformed alchemically from the ‘fluid of separation’ into the ‘fluid of union’.

There are three ways of ‘seeing’ the Cross: the Crucifix, the Rose Cross, and the Gilded Cross bearing a rose of silver. The Crucifix is the greatest treasure of vision. It is the vision of divine and human love. The black Cross with a rose blossoming from it is the treasure of inspiration. This is divine and human love speaking in the soul. The Gilded Cross bearing a rose of silver is the treasure of intuition. This is love transforming the soul.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIV, Temperance

Jun 132011
 

If one has been inwardly active at the stage of preparation and purification for a sufficient length of time, sooner or later there approaches the trial of encountering the “Guardian of the Threshold”, which is also called the trial by fire. Consisting of shame, this fire is an inward expression of the awakened conscience. A person on the path must go through this fire.

It is a matter of recognising one’s own lower nature standing before oneself in undisguised form. This is the “double” that one has generated and expelled. To look in this way upon one’s own human double, undisguised, is a trial of courage. To pass through it one must find the strength not to despair over oneself. One must find the courage not to despair over one’s karma.

Such strength does not arise from the view of what has stood there, confronting oneself. This strength can only be drawn from the power of the humnan I itself. No inspiration can be of help, nor can one derive help from thoughts and memories. One must find one’s own power of courage….this courage is the power that gives rise to imagination. It is needed in order to “paint in spiritual space”. That is the reason one must develop courage for imaginative consciousness. The content of the trial – facing one’s own inner nature – makes it possible to distinguish imagination from illusion. One is then aware of the sources of illusions, and can exclude them.

Having passed the test of courage, the soul then enters into a stage of no  longer having firm ground upon which to stand. The situation is such that the human soul is surrounded by endless possibilities of movement – in all directions, simultaneously. Immersed in the realms of myriad influences and evocations directed towards it, the soul can surrender itself, engage itself with a thousand things.

A power must therefore be created that keeps the soul steadfast and gives it a sense of direction. The soul must develop out of itself the ability to renounce the abundance of spiritual influences. It must become able to restrict itself to one option among this abundance of possibilities. This is at once the trial of self control and the experience of it. And self-control is necessary for inspirational knowledge.

If one goes through this trial by water – if one develops self-control – then one’s soul enters into a region of destiny where one not only has no ground beneath one’s feet and must find one’s own direciton by a kind of “swimming”; the soul also enters a place devoid of air. One enters into an utter loneliness and wilderness of soul life.

The impulses of thinking, feeling and willing cease. One’s soul is like a sailing ship standing with sagging sails in windless weather. It enters into a condition in which all experiences cease. There is no basis upon which to sense, to feel, or to will. The soul is in complete loneliness. Now the soul must find the presence of the spirit out of its own power.

Without surrendering to passivity, it must find the strength for an impulse-to-action within itself. The soul’s awakening at the moment of falling asleep – awakening itself through the strength of its own inner being, through the power of the I itself, without any motive for staying awake – is presence of spirit (presence of mind). The soul is spiritually present when it is silent.

These first three trials – these first three experiences – represent the human ascent into the spiritual world.

Valentin Tomberg, Inner Development, The Occult Trials

 

 

Mar 222011
 

The kind of true interaction between souls should be established on earth which allows souls to develop the forces of freedom, which allows all human events great and small and all attempts to give form to human activity and creation to have as their aim that the human being holds the balance in his soul with regard to what lives and works spiritually. This must come to be an ideal.

The human being becomes free when he is in a position to acquire those soul forces in the external physical world as, for example, the can acquire them when he is able to follow the beautiful forms that live in an art that has its true source in spirit.

The human being becomes free when there is interchange and communion between two souls of such a nature that the one soul is able to follow the other with ever-growing understanding and with ever-growing love. If it is the human physical body with which we are concerned, then fraternity comes into play; if it is a question of the soul, then we have to look for the forging of those delicate and subtle links that arise between soul and soul, that must find their way right into the structure of our life on earth and must always work towards engendering interest, deep interest, in one soul for the other.

For in this way alone shall souls become free – and it is only souls that can become free.

Rudolf Steiner, The Knights Templar

Mar 132011
 

How was Jesus of Nazareth able so to experience the destiny of humankind and how did this experience bring with it the descent of the Healer? He carried within himself both a  comprehensive knowledge of the Zoroaster “I” and, united in his physical nature, the conscience of humankind and the third hierarchy. The fact that this conscience lived in his physical nature indicates its highest development.

Within itself, his astral body continued the inner impulse effected in it by the hierarchical being Jesus in his former union with the Christ. This astral body was made up of the condensed inspirations of the Archangel Jesus, who, while functioning as an angel, had in the past been interpenetrated by the Christ three times. The active aftereffects of this earlier interpenetration made the astral body of Jesus of Nazareth a body of “longing after Christ.”

On the other hand, the whole organization of this body (likewise the result of its participation in the earlier healing influence of Christ on humankind) participated fully in all human destiny. We could even say: In its upward flow, the astral body of Jesus was human longing: in its downward flow, human suffering.

No physical body could have borne such an astral body had the “I” living within it not possessed an unusual power of cohesion, and had its superhuman sensibility to shock not been balanced by a force able to return it to equilibrium. Because the Zoroaster “I” could give a wisdom-filled direction to the immense forces of the longings of the Nathan Jesus, the physical organisation was empowered to bear those longings; because the being of Buddha radiated into the astral body of the Nathan Jesus, the tranquil calm of Buddha flowed into the intensely agitated life of the soul.

This current of calm preserved the physical organism from destruction by a fiery excess of pain; the centralising Zoroaster force preserved it from congealing in an excess of longing. Thus the astral nature of the Nathan Jesus united within itself the greatest possible capacity for ecstasy – for expanding in purest self-surrender – with the greatest possible capacity for enstasy, or concentrated repose in the self. The first faculty made it possible to sustain the ordeal of the baptism in Jordan, that is to say, the absorption of the cosmic being of the Christ; the other gave proof of its power soon after, during the temptation in the wilderness.

The ether body of Jesus of Nazareth bore the innocent life spirit of the sister soul of Adam, and hence the forces of human youth bestowed the freshness of the first day of creation on every impulse in the soul of Jesus. When he spoke, he did so as only the most childlike child would be able to speak if it also possessed the most mature wisdom of the ages. The wisdom of the great Zoroaster shone in him with all the freshness of youth, without weariness, without the wounds of innumerable disappointments, and without the heaviness of soul that must be experienced and endured on the paths leading to such wisdom.

Experience leads to wisdom, but it wearies even souls. Therefore, from very early ages, the soul of Zoroaster had carried within itself the experience of the terrestrial history, but it surrendered that earthly experience to a soul that was without it. Thence the wonderful combination of the most mature wisdom arose along with the most childlike mind. Here was a man who could speak in such a way that not only did he speak the truth, but in speaking, restored the life that animated it on the first day of creation. Cosmic dawn lived in the great Western concepts of human destiny when he spoke during the time before the baptism in Jordan.

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The Nathan Jesus possessed an organism we could call an organism of love, as distinct from an organism of force that reverts to the centaur. The nature of the Nathan Jesus, however, is not exhausted by a study of his astral, ether and physical bodies. Something more belongs to the organism of every incarnate human being, something that envelops that being just as the bodies do. Every incarnate human being brings another kind of “body” that may be called a “karmic sheath”. This sheath is made up of the forces of good and evil, which are not rooted in the three human bodies but are drawn by past karma into one’s environment as a circle of influence, so to speak.

Nathan Jesus was an exception. He had no individual human karma from the past; thus his “karmic sheath” was very different from that of other people. Because he was without past individual karma, he was not surrounded by an individual karmic sheath, but by the karmic sheath of humanity as a whole. This meant, however, that a vast range of human impulses were active in his environment, born by spirit beings who represented them quite accurately.

These particular impulses were active around him, “making smooth the way” for the Christ within him. These impulses revealed themselves in the simple forms of “insight”, “the spirit of sacrifice”, and “penitence.” Later, st Paul – after being transformed by the presence of Christ – understood the scope of these impulses and described them as “faith,” “love” and “hope”.

Christ and Sophia, Jesus of Nazareth