Sep 012016
 

mother lettersIf 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 direction by a kind of ‘swimming’; the soul also enters here into a space devoid of air. One enters into an utter loneliness and wilderness of soul life.

The impulses of thinking, willing and feeling 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 the presence of the spirit (presence of mind).

The soul is spiritually present when it is silent. The power of the soul to keep itself awake at the moment of falling asleep is this presence of spirit. It makes intuition possible, and is necessary for intuitional knowledge.

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

Valentin Tomberg, Inner Development, The Occult Trials

Aug 062015
 

solomonThe scientific method is very good a knowing some things, but it can be an impediment to knowing other things. Suppose, for instance, a gentleman is attracted to a certain lady and wishes to become better acquainted with her. Can he achieve this by measuring her, taking her temperature and subjecting her to a CAT scan? Not only will these operations fail to tell him what he really wants to know, but they are likely to so annoy the object of his inquiry that she stops returning his calls.

What he really wishes to know – the intimate secrets of her body and soul – can only be learned if he ceases to be objective. She will entrust her secrets to him only if he displays a clear bias in her favour. And the more exclusive his knowledge of her – that is, the less it can be confirmed by any observer besides himself – the more precious it is to him. The alchemist would argue that all natural phenomena have something in common with the lady.

They unfold some of their secrets to objective, scientific inquiry while bestowing others only on the subjective observer. The soul of a thing – whether animal, vegetable, or mineral – reveals itself only in active relationship to another soul.

Catherine MacCoun, On Becoming an Alchemist

 

Jul 032015
 

eagleAn indeterminate length of time later the witness re-emerged, relieved of magazine and whiskey glass but clutching to heart an exceedingly large, old and important-looking volume. The disappearance of Pros Theon had ended a few short minutes after its guardian entered the large, cluttered bathroom, whereupon it was joyfully rediscovered amidst a towering stack of books.

Unspeakably relieved with seven years of life added back on, the witness placed the priceless treasure on the polished wooden desk with a great sense of ceremony, lit an ancient lamp and turned to the penultimate section:

Μεταμόρφωσις λκυονίδες (Transformatio Dies)*

Translating and interpreting the metamorphosing text was a mission that took every effort of will and imagination, the fruits of the prophetic tome being rare and arcane indeed. At a certain point – in need of divine assistance – the witness looked over the text and out of the window for inspiration, focusing on the swaying tree tops as a breath-taking vision manifested with perfect clarity in the darkening ether.

A great supernatural bird – a huge white-headed eagle – awoke prophetic memory with his clairvoyant eyes then spread his enormous wings and took to flight towards the window. His sights were locked with terrible precision on the fixated witness, who felt a heavenly upsurge of pure joy and ran in the eagle’s direction as if physically lifted from the chair, having reverted back to childhood in a twinkling of the eye.

They reached the window as one and were simultaneously faced with the realisation that a window between worlds was separating them. The knowledge brought both grief and gratitude in equal measure, as the love-struck witness was just able to grasp one of the bird’s magnificent tail feathers and later attach it to the sun-tinted dream catcher. More evocations of Halcyon Days would be captured by this than all the other feathers combined.

 *

 

“What you seek is seeking you”

*

 

* Days of Transformation

Apr 252015
 

reginaldwilloughbyNow from where do the higher beings obtain this plan? We find an answer to this if we consider that there are still higher stages of evolution where the plans are devised. That is where world evolution is worked out. These higher stages are indicated to us by the Ancients, for instance by Dionysius, the pupil of the Apostle Paul, and also by Nicholas Cusanus. His perception was:

Higher than all knowledge and perception is the lack of perception. But this Unknowing is a higher knowing, and this lack of perception is a higher perceiving.

When we stop looking at what we hold in our thinking and concepts of the world, and turn ourselves to what wells up, to our inner powers, then we find something still higher. The Masters can weave the [third] Logos because they have ascended still higher than the nature of thinking. When the higher powers are developed, then, in such beings, thought appears as something different. It then corresponds to our spoken word within us. The thought which constitutes the innermost being for the Masters can itself be the expression of a higher being, just as the word is the expression of thought [with us].

If we ourselves consider thought as the word of a still higher being, then we come near to the concept of a the Logos. Knowledge taken out from thought stands on a still higher level.

When we behold the world we find the atom at the one extreme. It is an image of the plan that proceeded out of the depths of the spirit of the Masters, which is the Logos. If we now look for the transformation of man himself during the great world epoch, then we are led back again into the world.

If we now look for the transformation of man himself during the great world epoch, then we are led back again into the world.

Just as man has descended, has plunged down to the physical plane, so is it also with the world as a whole. What contributes to the development of man’s self lies around him in the world.

But then we are led down to the lower planes, which however, themselves contain the higher planes….the Lodge of the Masters.

Rudolf Steiner, Atoms and the Logos

 

 

 

Oct 022014
 

angelI thank Thee, O Lord,

for Thou hast redeemed my soul from the Pit,

and from the hell of Abaddon

Thou hast raised me up to everlasting height.

I walk on limitless level ground,

and I know there is hope for him

whom Thou hast shaped from dust

for the everlasting Council.

Thou hast cleansed a perverse spirit of great sin

that it may stand with the host of the Holy Ones,

and that it may enter into community

with the congregation of the Sons of Heaven.

Thou hast allotted to man an everlasting destiny

amidst the spirits of knowledge,

that he may praise Thy Name in a common rejoicing

and recount Thy marvels before all Thy works.

 

The Dead Sea Scrolls, Hymn 10

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.

Apr 142014
 

soulDuring the period of struggle, questions as to the purpose of life and man’s own being had formulated themselves, but when the answers come they do not answer the questions but rather obliterate them in the experience of the reality itself.

Thus, with regard to the mystery of man’s own being, the answer is not an intellectual exposition of the constitution of man, but rather an awareness of his own inner Self and as a result, the discovery of the world of that Self. When, in that world, we consider the problem of the duality which we all experience in daily life, of a higher Self on the one hand and a lower self on the other, we find a wonderful truth.

Man is essentially divine; as a son of God he partakes of the nature of his Father and shares His Godhead. Man’s own and true home is therefore the world of the Divine; there we live and move and have our own being ‘from eternity to eternity’. In his own world the Ego of man has his own activities and lives a life of joy and splendour beyond all earthly conception. There is, however, one lesson or experience which he cannot learn in his own world, but for which he has to put forth his consciousness into the worlds of outer manifestation where there is manifoldness and the antithesis of “I” and “not I”.

It is there alone that, through the medium of bodies composed of the matter of these outer worlds, the Ego can gain self-consciousness, that is to say, consciousness of himself as a separate individual. The divine world which is the true home of the Ego is a world in which there is not that distinction between Self and not-Self, but in which every part shares of the universal consciousness of the whole. That is why in this world the particular self-realisation which is necessary to the Ego cannot be gained. It is only the three-fold universe of outer manifestation, the physical world, that we find the duality of subject and object necessary for the gaining of self-consciousness.

Thus it is truly for the gaining of knowledge that the Ego puts himself forth into these outer worlds and assumes bodies of the matter of these worlds. It is this going forth of the soul into the worlds of darkness which we find symbolically described in the story of Genesis. Primitive Paradise is not a state which can last, however great its beauty and harmony. The soul must eat of the tree of good and evil, the tree of knowledge, even though at the cost of Paradise.

Having thus become conscious of the desire to know the worlds of matter, the soul is clothed in “coats of skin,” the bodies of matter, and henceforth has to live under the conditions of material existence, “labouring and bringing forth in pain.” The end of this long exile is the redemption or regeneration, which takes place when the soul regains knowledge of her own divinity, and Christ is born in the heart of man. Then Paradise is regained, but now in full self-consciousness, the Ego in his own divine world possessing the fruits yielded by the soul’s descent into the worlds of matter.

J.J van der Leeuw, God’s in Exile

Jan 112014
 

adamandeveAdam and Eve are not just two people. They are a metaphor for the primordial Vessel whose existence preceded creation. Just as all the colours of  the spectrum exist within a single beam of sunlight, the Vessel encompassed all matter, space, time and consciousness. And all the souls of humankind were also present in the Vessel.

The Vessel shattered because of a contradiction in its nature. It had been created only to receive, but, in being filled with the Creator’s Light, it had also received and taken on a degree of the Creator’s own nature: the desire to share. All of our existence now is predicated on the goal of transforming this duality into a single desire, the desire to receive for the sake of sharing, in order to be able to finally reconnect with the Creator and receive the fullness of His Light.

This can happen in only one way. The shards of the shattered Vessel – you and I – must choose to make it happen. We must choose of our own free will to transform ourselves into ‘beings of sharing,’ as the kabbalists say, first on an individual level, and ultimately as a collective transformation of all humankind. Not even God can do this for us. Transformation is the supreme expression and the only expression of free will. It is the choice we make in every thought, feeling and action. Adam and Eve faced this choice in the Garden. They chose wrongly, but, their intentions were good.

*

The allure of evil makes that choice more difficult, and therefore more worthy. Evil, in its way, therefore serves the Creator. Indeed, by understanding this we can free ourselves from its temptations. A parable in the Zohar dramtises this teaching: A king forbade his son to consort with harlots, but the he hired a harlot to test the strength of his son’s character. The son was tempted – until he realised that the harlot was acting in the service of his father. She then lost all power over him.

The serpent in the Garden (acting in the service of our Father) is essential to our final transformation, but he certainly doesn’t make it any easier! At the time of his fateful encounter with Adam and Eve at the Tree of Knowledge, their state of being was fundamentally different from what ours is now. They embodied the pure energy of desire, and Kabbalah teaches that desire is inherently a positive force.

While the conventional view of our first ancestors portrays them as transgressors, the kabbalists point out that their motivation was to serve God. The serpent understood this also. In fact, he used their positive intentions to manipulate them for his own ends. He fostered the transformation of their pure, undifferentiated desire into desire to receive for themselves alone.

And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You are not going to die, but God knows that as soon as you eat of [the tree] your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings who know good and bad’. (Genesis 3:4)

*

Because Adam and Eve were not fully constituted to receive the Light – because the Vessel had not yet earned an unmediated connection – they were overwhelmed by the moment in the same way that a weak electrical circuit will flash brightly and then burn out at the sudden infusion of a powerful current. The kabbalists literalise this principle through a startling addition to the narrative:

Adam and Even took a second bite!

In the interval, a fundamental transformation had taken place, but not the positive one that had been envisoned. Rather, their desire had lost its sharing intention and had become self-serving. They were farther than ever away from unity with the nature of God, and this is exactly what the serpent had intended. It is essential to understand, however, that the impasse is also an opportunity. By traversing it, we can truly prepare the Vessel. We can earn the Light. We can receive it and take fulfillment in it. Most important, we can share it.

*

We have spoken of Adam and Eve as a couple, but until that second bite of the fruit they were not separate at the spiritual level. This detachment took place at the same instant that the divide widened between the Vessel and the Light. Where there had been unity and equilibrium, there was no dissimilarity and fragmentation. Where there had been eternal existence in Paradise, there was now mortal life in the physical world.

*

After the Fall, immortality consciousness was gone, replaced by a consciousness – a knowledge – of death and evil that instantly expressed itself in the physical dimension of life. But despite all this, the plain fact of immortality remained untouched, but in the same way that the signal that carries a TV programme remains in the air even after the set has been turned off.

With the Fall of Adam, the bad news is that we stopped receiving the programme. But we also began the process of repairing the receiving mechanism and getting it tuned in again. This correction, this tikkun, is our task for however many years it requires and however many lifetimes. When an individual human being truly completes this process, immortality is restored.

The Essential Zohar, Rav P. S. Berg

 

Mar 262013
 

starsalaAnd for a sure ground of our true calcination,
Work wisely only kind with kind.
For kind to kind has appetite and inclination.
He who does not know this, in knowledge is blind,
And may wander forth as mist in the wind,
Knowing never with profit where to alight,
Because he conceives not our words aright.

Join kind to kind therefore as reason is,
For as every young shoot answers its own seed,
Man begets man, a beast a beast, likewise,
Further to treat of this there is no need.
But understand this point if you will succeed,
Each thing is first calcined in its own kind,
This well concealed fruit therein shall you find.

Twelve Gates (First Gate), Ripley

Oct 182012
 

The balance of karmic justice is an exact balance; nothing remains unpunished, nothing unrewarded.

Jacob recognised this and separated himself from his family so that they might remain unscathed. He waited alone on this side of the river, because he knew that he was destined to death. But he did not succumb to the temptation of fatalism; he defended himself against death.

He did not allow himself to be led astray by the spiritual falsehood of fatalism, but set love against the knowledge of inevitable death. The power that preserved his breathing is expressed in the words indicating the successful issue of his wrestling: “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32.26).

If he had yielded to the knowledge of death, his breathing would have ceased, and he would have died. The balance of the first principles of breathing – knowledge and love – would have been overthrown in favour of knowledge. But as he resisted knowledge with the whole force of love, at the “breaking of the day” the angel of death, the archai being, surrendered. Love proved itself stronger than death.

Valentin Tomberg, Christ and Sophia