Jul 312014
 

hebrew-mercy-graceThe Grade of Exempt Adept, associated with Chesed, is perfected when the power of the sphere of Mars, Geburah, has been drawn along the 19th path back to Chesed. In doing this one places oneself in Chesed, for the knowledge of the Great Arcanum, of the Secret of all spiritual activities, is not open to him who has risen no higher than the Grade of Major Adept. That is to say, the 19th Path is not open so long as we are no further along the Way of Return than Geburah, and the power from Geburah must be brought over from the side of Severity on the Tree of Life to the side of Mercy, by a process initiated from the point-of-view afforded by Chesed.

When all the desires of the seeker for light have been unified in the one desire to be a free, unobstructed vehicle for the manifestation of the cyclic activities of the cosmos, he has traversed the first path leading to the Grade of Exempt Adept, the path of the letter Kaph, corresponding to the Wheel of Fortune in the Tarot. After this, by a supreme effort of imagination, he sees behind the mechanistic expression of the Life-Power in the cosmic cycles the operation of a Living Will, and through the 19th Path he transmutes the activities of the serpent-power, and this transmutation is pictured in the Tarot by the woman taming the lion.

Tarot Card 11 - La Force (Strength)You will remember that lion (in Hebrew), the name of the zodiacal sign Leo, is the number 216, and that this is the number of Geburah, one of the names of the sphere of Mars. Note, too, that 216 is 9 by reduction, and 9 is the number of Teth, the letter corresponding to the 19th Path. 216 is also the number of [the Hebrew word for] Sight, the function assigned to the 15th path, and of wrath or excitement, which is the function of the 25th path, that of Probation or Trial. The path to which Sight is attributed is that of Aries, ruled by Mars. And the path to which excitement is attributed is that of Sagittarius. It thus becomes evident that all these [Hebrew] words – strength, the lion, Sight, and excitement, are related to the fiery power which we have learned to associate with the Mars-vibration.

This vibration, you will recall, is especially active in self-consciousness, and the feeling of strength which it gives is misinterpreted by people who have not progressed beyond self-consciousness. The misinterpretation arises from the illusion of separateness, which engenders the feeling of ‘myness’, and this feeling is the root of belief in personal will. This is why the Sephirah Geburah is said to represent personal will, which is merely the misunderstanding of the power of undeviating cosmic law in its manifestation through personal centers of expression.

The Major Adept still feels the illusion, although he has overcome the delusion caused by it. But the Exempt Adept, having in his union with  the One Self so identified himself with the cosmic memory that he never forgets his relation to the Sources of All, is almost wholly liberated from even the illusion. Almost, I say, because there are times when even he who perfectly remembers the Self (Chesed is the Sephirah of Memory) must identify himself with the relative states of being in order to serve, in order to perform the actions necessary to his part in the Great Work. And at such times he feels the illusion of separateness as much as anybody else.

Paul Foster Case, Esoteric Secrets of Meditation and Magic

Nov 102012
 

The whole of magical theory and practice turns on two points – autosuggestion and the astral light. These two points must therefore receive the careful consideration to which their key position entitles them, and not employed as stick-on labels – terms of abuse that explain nothing but discredit everything.

Auto-suggestion is a method of manipulating one’s own subconscious mind and persuading activities that go on beyond the control of the will to obey its behests – performing their subliminal work and delivering the results to consciousness in the form of finished production whose fabrication one has had no conscious part. Remarkable results can be obtained in this way, character and habits being changed and unsuspected energies released to a degree that has to be experienced to be believed.

The technique of this operation is simple – so simple that it eludes our rational minds as an object held too near the eye becomes indistinct – the subconscious mind has to be approached by means of the imagination, completely disregarding reason, will and concentration. One has, in fact, to rely on cannoning off the cushion, for a direct approach defeats itself. There is a knack in his procedure which has to be laboriously acquired, and its satisfactory use depends on the right understanding of one’s condition and needs.

It will be observed that I say ‘satisfactory’, and not ‘effectual’, for it is possible to use autosuggestion most effectually with very unsatisfactory results if one’s philosophy of life is remote from the fact – a by  no means uncommon state of affairs.

Dion Fortune, Circuit of Force, 7

 

Sep 272012
 

The fifteenth card of the Tarot contains an important warning to all those who take magic seriously: it teaches them the magical Arcanum of the generation of demons, and of the power that the latter have over those who have engendered them.

We who have had experience of the demon or egregore in question above, and of the demon engendered by a collective will infatuated by national ambitions and making use of an imagination drawn from the province of biology – the national-socialist demon or egregore – know from first-hand experience what terrible power resides in our will and imagination, and what responsibility it entails for those who unleash it into the world!

How true it is that he who ‘sows the wind, shall reap the whirlwind’ (Hosea ix, 7)…and what a whirlwind!

We know that the ‘great pests’ of our time are the egregores of ‘ideological superstructures’, which have cost humanity more life and suffering than the great epidemics of the Middle Ages.

And having this knowledge, is it not time that we said to ourselves: let us be silent. Let us make our arbitrary will and imagination silent; let us impose on them the discipline of silence. Is this not one of the four traditional rules of Hermeticism: to dare, to will, to know, to be silent? To be silent is more than to keep things secret; it is more even than to guard oneself from profaning the holy things to which a respectful silence is owed. To be silent is, above all, the great magical commandment of not engendering demons through our arbitrary will and imagination; it is the task of silencing the arbitrary will and imagination.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XV, The Devil

Nov 122011
 

Let us consider the domain of forgetting and remembering – the memory.

Memory is magic, in the subjective domain, which effects the evocation of things from the past. It renders past things present. Just as a sorcerer or necromancer evokes the spirits of the dead by making them appear, so does the memory evoke things of the past and make them appear to our inner mental vision.

The present remembrance is the result of the magical operation in the subjective domain, where one has succeeded in evoking from the black void of forgetfulness a living image from the past.

A living image from the past….imprint? symbol? copy? phantom? It is all of these at once. It is an imprint in so far as it makes use f my imagination to represent a reality which goes beyond its imaginary representation; it is a copy in so far as it only aims at reproducing the original from the past; it is a phantom in so far as it is an apparition from the black abyss of forgetfulness and in so far as it recalls to life the past in making it present to my inner vision.

What is the force at work in the subjective magical operation of remembering? There are four types of memory that one experiences: mechanical or automatic memory, logical memory, moral memory and vertical or revelatory memory.

Vertical or revelatory memory is not a memory of the past in the sense of the horizontal line: today, yesterday, the day before, but rather in the sense of the vertical line: here, higher, still higher. It is a ‘memory’ which does not link the present to the past on the plane of physical, psychic and intellectual life, but which links the plane of ordinary consciousness to planes or states of consciousness higher than that of ordinary consciousness to planes or states of consciousness higher than that of ordinary consciousness.

It is the faculty of the lower self to reproduce the experience and knowledge of the higher self or, if you like, the faculty of the higher self to imprint its experience and knowledge upon the consciousness of the lower self. It is the link between the higher eye and the lower eye, which renders us authentically religious and wise, and immune to the assaults of sceptism, materialism and determinism.

It is also this which is the source of certainty, not only of God and the spiritual world with its hierarchical entities but also of the immortality of our being and reincarnation, wherever it is a matter of reincarnation. “Dawn is the friend of the muses” and similar proverbs relate to the benefits of vertical memory form which one benefits in the morning, after the return of consiousness from the plane of “natural ecstasy” or sleep.

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter XIII, Death

Nov 092011
 

It was clear from the start that the work was more brilliant than any other I had encountered and as the story unfolded I drank it in like nectar, the most sublime poem that had ever been written. I tried to commit the piece to memory but so perfect was the arrangement of words that my mind could barely comprehend their beauty, let alone learn them completely. Only one word would I remember, and this stood out as clearly as the others eluded me:

Rainbow

This is the only thing that I remembered for sure from what I read, that an early or integral part of it was of a rainbow, sign of God’s covenant with the Earth. But if the words were veiled, the meaning of the writing was evident at once.

I held in my hands the most heart-breaking love story that had ever been written by one (a male) for the other, at one and the same time human and divine, natural and supernatural. The character of the author was laid bare by the words but the object of his love seemed to have been absent from his existence for an eternity, or no longer present, except as a memory or product of the imagination. A tale of lost or unrequited love.

In this tale I beheld the power of love, as if tears that sprang from a broken heart had fallen from the eyes of the beholder and transformed themselves directly into words on a page. This was a passion so great that I wonder how I even bore witness to the fruit of its longing, beauty and sorrow combined with infinity and sown as a microcosm of nature.

So deep was this love that from the pain had been born the work of creation, which encompassed the whole of nature and found fragile first expression in the rainbow, wherein may be seen the depth of love as a blend of enlightenment and tears.

As I read on, enthralled and governed by the power of these words, they were seamlessly transformed into a pictorial continuation of the scene being described. I was completely taken up with what I saw, which seemed to satisfy every yearning for understanding within myself, even though the complete meaning was beyond my realm of knowledge.

I found myself in the outer limit of deep space, truly the middle of nowhere, suspended by the unseen force that was author of the magical words I had just been reading. Below me I  saw planets, but mostly was aware of simply the infinitude of space – the infinity he had to cross in order to reach her. Where had she gone and why – was she lost, had she run, did she die – what terrible catastrophe had befallen them to rend asunder the love that created the universe.

The whole of this space was the filled with the hymn of God to his lost love and my gaze was fixed on this impossible expanse of nothing, the overwhelming sorrow that was wholly without end; how I arrived there I shall never know.

When I became conscious of his mission – his determination against all odds to find her – the scene at once changed and I found my self upon the ground, but not within my room. I saw green fields appearing in front of me as if I were standing at the edge of a botanic kingdom. At the centre of this world was the largest and most wonderful tree I had ever seen. Could this have been the tree of life, I wondered, or the tree of knowledge of good and evil, perhaps?

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

 

 

Apr 172011
 

Imagination is actually as the eye of the soul, and it is therein that forms are delineated and preserved; by its means we behold the reflections of the indivisible world; it is the mirror of visions and the apparatus of magical life. Thereby we cure diseases, modify the seasons, ward off death from the living and resuscitate those who are dead, because this faculty exalts the will and gives it power over the universal agent.

Imagination is the instrument of the adaptation of the Logos. In its application to reason it is genius, for reason, like genius, is one amidst the complexity of operations. Demons, souls, and the rest, can therefore by really and truly beheld by means of the imagination; but the imagination of the adept is diaphonous, whilst that of the uninitiated is opaque. The light of truth traverses the one as through a crystal window, and is refracted in the other as in a vitreous mass full of scoriae and foreign matter.

The things which contribute most to the errors of the vulgar and the extravagances of the insane are the reflection of depraved imaginations in one another. But the seer knows with an absolute knowledge that the things he imagines are true and experience invariably confirms his visions.

Eliphas Levi, The Mysteries of Magic

Apr 162011
 

It is with his inner life that the practical occultist is most concerned….when it comes to dealing with the forces of his own inner life, he must work out his own methods and build his own instruments. This is the real secret veiled in the words describing the thirty-second path [‘Administrative’ or ‘Assisting Intelligence’].

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It must be remembered that subconsciousness works wholly by deduction. Give it a premise, and if the premise is false, it will work out so orderly a sequence of consequences from the initial false statement that only the keenest critics can detect the error.

On the other hand, subconsciousness is just as orderly in its development of the seeds of the right knowledge. Thus, invention ever follows close on the heels of observation. No sooner do we perceive, for example, that our thoughts, words and deeds are integrated with an inseparable from the whole cosmic process than subconsciousness begins to elaborate the consequences of this perception.

She does this in two ways: firstly by developing a philosophy of life; second, by helping us to invent means for better expression of our relation to the whole. These means include methods and instruments for dealing with the forces of our inner life, as well as for controlling the forces and conditions in our environment. It is with his inner life that the practical occultist is more concerned.

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Out of the fury and bondage of the Great Work, which has Time (Saturn) for its primary condition, shall come peace and rest.

The Fall into manifestation is to be followed by the Redemption from the misery that our misunderstanding now brings. The power that brought about the Fall is identical with that which is to bring about the Redemption.  This, in very truth, is the mystery of mysteries that Jesus revealed in his parable of the Prodigal Son.

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The fifteenth path begins in the sixth sphere of the Tree of Life, in the grade of Lesser Adept, for the Magus must be perfected in imagination, and must be able to make definite mental patterns. Yet when he does so, it is not of himself, as in the case of the Lesser Adept.

The Magus’ vision is the creative sight attributed to the letter Heh and The Emperor. He sees the world with God’s eyes, and sees it always, therefore, as proceeding in orderly sequence from the centre that is within himself.

The path of the letter Heh is said by Qabalists to be that of the Constituting Intelligence, “because it constitutes creation in the darkness of the world.” Qabalists also say that creation took place with the letter Heh.

The Secret Wisdom of Israel says that the fifteenth path bears the name MOMID, Ma’amiyd (Constituting), because it constitutes the substance of creation in pure darkness. A hint of similar import is in the Gospel of St John. “That which hath been made was life in Him (the Logos), and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness overcame it not.” (John 1:4,5)

The same L.V.X. (ie, light), appears in Bible symbology under the figure of the Lamb, borrowed from the Hindu symbol of Agni, god of fire. The Lamb refers to the mystery of the cosmic sacrifice. In one sense the wise have always regarded creation as a self-sacrifice of the Life Power.

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By traversing this fifteenth path, the aspirant to the grade of Magus associates himself mentally with the cosmic sacrifice. Thus, he unifies his being with the current cosmic, creative impulse. Levi says, you recall, that he who can master the currents of the Astral light becomes the depository, even of the power of God.

Paul Foster Case, The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order, The Grade of Zelator and The Grade of Magus

 

Feb 272011
 

The racial soul of Hibernia has very ancient roots that include a slumbering magical knowledge and contacts with primeval forces beyond those that effect the mainland of Britain and the continent of Europe…[a] unique blend of cultural currents from immense antiquity, allied to the Graeco-Celtic stream, is what produced the great power of the Druids in Ireland…The contribution of the earlier Atlantean cultures was of an extremely well focused power of the imagination, which, in short, amounted to a magical power.

This immensely strong, deliberately magically built, group soul of the remote past, mingled with the concrete mind contacts of ancient Greece, and the allied aesthetic ability, has produced an Irish group soul that is stronger than most others in the world apart perhaps from the Jewish – which also derives from immense antiquity in another way. The Celtic druidism of Ireland reached its peak long before that of the rest of Britain and Gaul, and it was originally from Ireland that the British and Gallic druids drew their teaching and wisdom.

The great problems which later beset Ireland over the centuries derive from a combination of these early great strengths. Because of the diversity of the contending currents within a group soul, there has ever been a tendency to internal dissension, exacerbated by the other races and religious authorities that have tried to interfere. This flared to a crisis at the time of the restimulation of the group soul of the British Isles that brought about the reformulation of the Arthurian legends in the twelfth century.

The conflict of contending forces has also operated, and still operates, upon the religious level. Through the missionary genius of St Patrick, the Irish Christian church formed a nucleus of Celtic Christianity that inspired and informed the West independently of Rome through the Dark Ages, just as in former times the Irish Druids had been a centre of religious and cultural influence.

Although a Christianized form of Druidism lingered on, and indeed, like the Hermetic tradition, formed a link between pagan and Christian spirituality, this role of leadership was not without its cost. Had the new wine been introduced more slowly, as occurred in the rest of Europe, much conflict and suffering might have been avoided. Many of the highly magically trained Irish druids migrated to Wales, France and Brittany whence we have a rich vein of ancient tradition, much of it manifesting as the Arthurian legends.

The time may not be long before the racial soul of Ireland enters a new phase, manages to synthesize its deep conflicting roots and to work more freely with other nations of the west. The whole trend of Ireland in the past has been to esoteric teaching and knowledge, and a renewal of this, as pioneered by Yeats and Lady Gregory, may have more importance than political and commercial initiatives. It is a little premature to summarily dismiss this resurgence as a literary fad of ‘the Celtic twilight’.

Gareth Knight, The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend

Oct 272010
 

When the intelligent and animal souls are held together in one embrace, they can be kept from separating.

When one gives undivided attention to the (vital) breath, and brings it to the utmost degree of pliancy, he can become as a (tender) babe.

When he has cleansed away the most mysterious sights (of his imagination), he can become without a flaw.

Lau-tzu, Tao-te Ching