And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tabernacle for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is clean,
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19, to the chief musician, a Psalm of David
That they should have knowledge of the languages, books, affairs, of those that lie at such a distance from them, it was a thing we could not tell what to make of; for that it seemed to us a condition and propriety of divine powers and beings, to be hidden and unseen to others, and yet to have others open, and as in a light to them.
At this speech the Governor gave a gracious smile and said that we did well to ask pardon for this question we now asked, for that it imported, as if we thought this land a land of magicians, that sent forth spirits of the air into all parts, to bring them news and intelligence of other countries. It was answered by us all, in all possible humbleness, but yet with a countenance taking knowledge, that we knew he spoke it but merrily; that we were apt enough to think that there was somewhat supernatural in this island, but yet rather angelical than magical.
Francis Bacon, New Atlantis
I would urge those who desire the higher knowledge to set immediately about the task of correlating their vehicles of consciousness, and especially the mental one, so that when the higher knowledge is revealed to them they may act as links between that which is above and their fellow-men who as yet stand upon a lower step of the great stair.
I would urge them, if they need any spur to this effort, to remember how much it would have meant to them, when they themselves stood upon that self-same step, had the help which it will be in their power to give been available.
No effort after development is wasted, even if he who strives seems to lose sight of his goal and turn aside. It is the passage of many feet that widens the path for the multitude; we, in our day, will never have to face such trials as did the earlier initiates who broke the way for us.
Dion Fortune, The Training and Work of an Initiate
I am telling you facts, facts that are connected with the intentions not only of certain individuals who are joined together in brotherhoods but also of other beings who influence such brotherhoods and whose influence is also sought by those brotherhoods, beings who are not incarnated in the flesh like human beings but ones who have their body in the spiritual world…
Those brotherhoods who know about the spiritual impulses at work in human evolution saw the approach of that important event of the early 1840s, the battle between certain spirits and some other higher spirits which ended in 1879 when some spirits of an angel nature, spirits of darkness, fell victim to the event that is symbolised as the victory fo Michael over the dragon. On seeing this, those brotherhoods had to decide how to react to it and had to ask themselves: What is to be done about it?
….it was out of good intentions that spiritualism was launched in the world during the 1840s…..well-meaning spiritual mebers of the brotherhoods held the erroneous view that by using mediums they could convince people of hte existence of the spiritual world all around them; and they thought on the basis of that conviction it would then be possible to teach them about higher truths as well…..
….It will be up to humanity during this period to come to grips with evil as an impulse in world evolution….a certain degree of evil must be placed at the service of world evolution in a good sense….
The fact that there are beings invisibly amongst us who are so closely related to human beings, and that human beings are prevented by the way forces of evil play into their lives from recognising the spirit with their reason, means that there will be many opportunities for people to succumb to obscure errors and suchlike…..the human being must be a warrior for the spirit.
What people lack today is the courage to embark properly on researching the spiritual world. …during [this] period the time is approaching when humanity will have to deal very carefully with certain great life questions that have thus far been hidden, in a way, by the wisdom of former times.
Endeavours are to be undertaken to place the spiritually etheric element in the service of external, practical life….
….certain groups of people working in egoistically occult ways are making efforts in certain directions. Initially it was necessary for a specific kind of knowledge to retire into the background for humanity…This knowledge had to disappear, be slept through, so that people no longer had the possibility of drawing soul qualities out of their observations of nature but were instead more thrown back on themselvs. So that human beings could awaken the forces of their own being it was necessary for certain matters to appear first in an abstract form which must now take on a concrete spiritual form…
…a certain quarter seeks to remove the impulse of the Mystery of Golgotha from the world by bringing in another impulse from the West, a kind of antichrist, and that coming from the East the Christ-impulse as it appears in the twentieth century is to be paralysed by distracting people’s attention from the coming of Christ in the etheric realm….
…More than anything else, that quarter will strive to make use of the electricity, especially the earth’s magnetism, to bring about effects all over the world. I have shown you how the forces of the earth rise up in what I have termed the human double. People will discover this secret. It will be an American secret to use the earth’s magnetism in its duality, the northern and southern magnetism, in order to send controlling forces across the whole earth, forces that work spiritually.
What lies in store for humanity is that cosmic forces will be won for humanity in a dual way that is wrong or a single way that is right. This will bring a genuine renewal to astrology, which is atavistic in its old form – a form in which it cannot continue to exist. Those who know about the cosmos will struggle against each other….for the remainder of earthly existence the dead will collaborate with us to a high degree.
The moment you penetrate fully into all the secrets of the double, you will find yousrelf able to assess the value of brains that are merely lumps which you have placed on a scale, lumps which can be brought to life solely by the double.
You must come to realise that all the wishy-washy talk of ‘cosmic religosity’ or ‘how powerful the yearning for it is’, and so on is nothing other than a means of spreading fog over these matters which ought actually to be entering the world in clarity and which, above all, ought only to be carried in clarity into human life as practical moral and ethical impulses.
Rudolf Steiner, Individual Spirit Beings and the Constant Foundation of the Universe
You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing but free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin the climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
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
Imagining Orpheus is a different matter. Most people can recall two things about him: that he was a musician, and that he went down to the Underworld to fetch his wife Eurydice. His story is the archetypal myth of the power of music.
With the lyre that was the gift from Apollo, Orpheus could move everything in creation, from stones, trees, and beasts, through humans, to daimonic and even divine beings (whom we might call angels and gods).
Armed only with his songs, he charmed the denizens of Hades and persuaded Pluto and Persephone to let him take Eurydice back.
Orpheus was a prince of Thrace, the land to the north of Greece. His mother was Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry. Some say his father was Apollo, and certainly Orpheus stands under the patronage of that god. Apollo also had northern connections, either coming from Hyperborea (the land beyond the north wind), or else visiting that far northern land after his birth on the island of Delos.
Where was Hyperborea? As it was said to contain a circular temple to the sun, some have identified it with Britain, and its temple with Stonehenge, a monument far older than any in Greece.
Stonehenge, and the people who constructed it, were Apollonian in the sense of being dedicated to the sun, to astronomy, mathematics and music. A number of modern researchers have penetrated beyond the limitations of academic prehistory to reveal, through intuition, the bases of this ancient science.
John Mitchell, the pioneer in this regard, has reconstructed the diagrams and dimensions that seem to lie at the basis of megalithic design. Jean Richar has shown that there is an imaginary zodiac whose twelvefold symbolism links mythology with the geography of the Aegean area. Paul Broadhurst and Hamish Miller have traced a plethora of Apollonian sites in geometrical alignment, all the way from Ireland to Palestine.
Mitchell, in addition, has traced the myth of ‘perpetual choirs’ maintained at ancient sanctuaries for the purpose of what he calls ‘enchanting the landscape’. If one is attentive to such findings, it is clear that there was a high and orderly civilisation well established by the third millennium BC, of which the archaeologists know almost nothing.
This enchantment of the landscape is exactly what Orpehus is reputed to have done with his music, casting a benign spell over nature and bringing peace among men. As part of his mission, he reformed the cult of Dionysus and tried to persuade his followers to give up their blood sacrifices. In place of Dionysian orgies, Orpheus founded the first Mysteries of Greece. The purpose of these, as far as we can tell, was to transmit some kind of direct knowledge that was helpful in facing the prospect of death.
Orpheus’s journey to the Underworld to fetch Eurydice should be understood in the context of the Mysteries. In the earliest versions of the myth, he did succeed in restoring her to life.
Joscelyn Godwin, The Golden Thread, The Orphic Mysteries
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.
“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:
This is the principle of analogy put into practice, taking its point of departure from the principle of cooperation.
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