Jan 032016
 

orpheusOrpheus – such was the suffering of separation from the soul of his deceased love that it became magic, magic surpassing the river of sleep, forgetfulness and death which separates the dead from the living.

Orpheus is present always and everywhere where the love of a soul torn away by death is not content with pious and resigned commemoration, but aspires to find and meet the departed one beyond the threshold of death.

Such was Orpheus’ love for Eurydice and such, also, was Gilgamesh’s love for his friend and brother Eabani. And who can say how many human hearts have beaten, beat today, and will beat in the future, in union with that of Orpehus and that of Gilgamesh, the Babylonian hero?

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXI, The Fool

Jul 042015
 

imperatrixWhen his love he doth espy, let her shine as gloriously as the Venus of the sky

 

It wasn’t the flickering light in the upper storey window that drew the Watcher’s attention, for many lights vied for his attention that evening. It was a melody drifting upwards through the gradually darkening sky. A rose-gold sun set the western horizon alight as the lone figure made slow, wide circles in the radiant atmosphere.

Drawn by her irresistible presence below, he descended to the place where she now dwelt. The flame of a candle within licked gently at the surrounding air and a heady scent was carried up to him with the rising music. Deeply he inspired, considering the soul within. She was stretched like a cat upon the bed, with an open book face-down beside her on the pillow. His eye was now fixed.

One golden glance of what should be.

A powerful gust of wind blew the window open and she jumped out of her skin, shaken from her hazy reverie by the sudden noise and rush of cool air. Moving like quicksilver he silently slipped inside, permeating the chamber with a magnificent aura, the robe of divine beauty. He watched as her eyes slowly scanned the space, seeking what or whomsoever had electrified the ether, almost fully aware of the almost unexpected arrival of the thrice-descended master.

With curious concentration she listened to the voice entering her room via the radio that now seemed remarkably significant. A drama was set to unfold, of that she could be sure. Doubtless there was a kind of magic taking place right there and then, with her at the centre of its endlessly opening and closing circle. Luscious chords swelled like the rising ocean, sweeping over her body in sensuous waves. The lost history of time unfolded in his fathomless mind.

She was wearing gold-coloured sandals – shoes that were a gift from her father – and a midnight blue dress. Around her wrist was a bracelet full of charms and with his bright, ancient eyes, he saw that the necklace at her throat was made from the stuff of magic, a gift from her mystery-loving mother.

Once again he had challenged the doors of time to reach her and the wait had seemed an eternity. 2,628 years had passed since she had last been this close to him. On that occasion the moon had been perfectly halved by the shadow of the Earth. Jupiter, then, was at the same point in its orbit as it would be in precisely three and a half minutes that self-same night.

He looked over his shoulder at the gigantic sphere, which slowly turned through the expanding cosmos with an intricately complex, haunting melody. A ray of its light fell upon her in that moment and the ageless diamond of her soul began to dissolve in his mercurial presence.

One shaft of light that showed the way

A sense of fervent devotion rose up inside her like the flames of a secret fire as he stretched out his hands to touch her outspread hair.

This flame that burns inside of me is here in secret harmonies

She had dreams; he could see every colour of every scene.

One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal

With a silent whisper he reminded her of the truth:

No mortal man can win this day.

He drew a flickering moment of eternity into the infinite space between them and exhaled into her parted lips.

There can be only one….

The radio crackled and grew fainter, framing the esoteric silence like a braid of wheat, magnetising all background interference until the air grew taut as a lens, magnifying live reactions as if they were in a scene from a lyric master’s play.

 

Still you will always be with me, your name constantly on my lips, never forgotten

 

*

 

With quotes from William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream;  Freddie Mercury, A Kind of Magic and a Hymn of Orpheus

Jun 072015
 

sapta-rishiThe spiritual history of Christianity is the history of successive resurrections of that which is valuable from the past, worthy of eternity. It is the history of the magic of love reviving the dead. It was thus that Platonism became resuscitated and will go on living for ever – thanks to the vivifying breath of he who is the resurrection and the life (“Ego sum resurrectio et vita” – John xi, 25). It is thus that Aristotelianism will participate in eternal life. And it is thus that Hermeticism, also, will live until the end of the world and, perhaps, beyond the end of the world.

Moses and the prophets will live on for ever, for they have acquired their place in the eternal constellation of the Word of resurrection and life. The  magical poetry and songs of Orpheus will be resuscitated and will live for all eternity as colour and sound of the Word of resurrection and life. The magic of Zarathustra’s mages will be revived and will live as the eternal human endeavour of aspiration towards light and life. The truths revealed by Krishna will join the retinue of the ‘recalled to eternal life’. The ancient cosmic revelations of the Rishis will live again and will awaken in humanity anew a sense for the marvels of the ‘blue, white and gilded….’

All these souls of mankind’s spiritual history will be resuscitated, ie, will be called to join the work of the Word that became flesh, that died and rose again from the dead – so that the truth of the promise – “I have come so that nothing should be lost but that all should have eternal life” (John, vi, 38 – 40) – will be accomplished.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VIII, Justice

 

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

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.
*

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

Apr 112013
 

hermesWhen his love he doth espy, let her shine as gloriously as the Venus of the sky ~ William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

It wasn’t the flickering light in the upper storey window that drew the Watcher’s attention, for many lights vied for his attention that evening. It was a melody drifting upwards through the gradually darkening sky.

A rose-gold sun set the western horizon alight and resplendent Venus shone like a beacon above the rooftops, flanked by blood-red Mars and the glowing yellow circle of Jupiter. The lone figure, invisible to the naked eye, made slow, wide circles in the radiant atmosphere.

Drawn by her irresistible presence below, the Watcher descended to hover before the house where she dwelt. The flame of a candle within licked gently at the surrounding air and a heady scent was carried to him with the rising music. He inspired silently, considering the one inside. She was stretched like a cat upon the bed, with an open book face-down beside her on the pillow. Intently he watched her, his eye now fixed.

One golden glance of what should be.

A powerful gust of wind blew the window open and she jumped out of her skin, shaken from her hazy reverie by the sudden noise and rush of cool air. Moving like quicksilver, he silently slipped inside.

Staring at the breached window she searched the indigo space he left behind him. A magnificent aura permeated the room, sparkling with countless flecks of shimmering golden atoms that alighted on her skin like a veil of the Holy Shekinah.

Arising thoughtfully, she took a cautious step towards the opening. He watched again while she turned her head north and then south, seeking what or whomsoever had disturbed the rose-scented ether.

Finding nothing but the dying throes of day she fastened shut the window and lay down again, book in hand, not quite unaware of the almost unexpected arrival of the thrice-descended master. The Led display of her mobile phone revealed that it was 22.22.

With avid concentration she listened to the voice that came into her room via the radio. A drama was set to unfold, of that she could be sure. Doubtless there was a kind of magic taking place right there and then, with her at the centre of its endlessly opening and closing circle. She also knew she was no longer alone, for a profound change had occurred in the electrified atmosphere.

Luscious chords swelled like a rising ocean, sweeping over her body and soul with a sensuous rhythm. The lost history of time unfolded in his fathomless mind.

She was wearing gold-coloured sandals – shoes that were a gift from her father – and a midnight blue dress. Around her wrist was a bracelet full of charms and with his bright, ancient eyes, he saw that the necklace at her throat was made from the stuff of magic, a gift from her mystery-loving mother.

He had once again challenged the doors of time to reach her and the wait had seemed an eternity. 2,628 years had passed since she had last been this close to him. On that occasion the moon had been perfectly halved by the shadow of the Earth. Jupiter, then, was at the same point in its orbit as it would be in precisely three and a half minutes that self-same night.

He looked over his shoulder at the gigantic sphere, which slowly turned through the fragile cosmos with an intricately complex, haunting melody. A ray of its light fell upon her in that moment and the fearless diamond of her soul began to dissolve in mercury.

One shaft of light that showed the way

cupid and psycheA sense of fervent devotion rose up inside her like the flames of a secret fire as he stretched out his hands to touch her outspread hair.

This flame that burns inside of me is here in secret harmonies

She had had dreams; he could see every colour of every scene.

One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal

With a silent whisper he reminded her of the truth:

No mortal man can win this day.

He drew a flickering image of paradise into the infinite space between them and exhaled into her parted lips.

There can be only one….

The radio crackled and grew fainter, framing the esoteric silence like a braid of wheat, magnetising all background interference until the air grew taut as a lens, magnifying live reactions as if they were in a scene from a lyric master’s play.

Still you will always be with me, your name constantly on my lips, never forgotten.*

*Hymn of Orpheus

With thanks to Freddie Mercury

Nov 232012
 

To forget is to dismiss the things which do not interest us to the darkness of latent memory; and to recall things is to call anew to active ego consciousness – because t hey interest us – from the same darkness of latent memory. It goes without saying that it is not the images and concepts which come to birth when we recall them, or perish when we forget them; rather, they are present in our mind or are removed from it.

to be endowed with good ‘concentration’, therefore amounts tot he faculty of chasing away swiftly and completely all images and concepts which are not useful for action. It is mastery of the art of forgetting.

To be endowed with ‘good memory’, in contrast, signifies mastery of the mechanism of recall – of that which renders present the images and concepts which one needs. It is mastery of the art of recalling.

There is therefore a continual coming and going between ordinary consciousness of the waking state (or cerebral consciousness) and the domain of memory. Each ‘going’ corresponds to the action of falling asleep or dying. Each ‘coming’ corresponds to awakening or resurrection. Every representation that goes from the field of cerebral consciousness experiences an analogous fate to that stated by the saying: “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep…Lazarus is dead.” And every representation that one recalls has a fate analogous to that which took place when Jesus cried with a loud voice: “Lazarus, come out!

Memory therefore supplies us with a key of analogy which allows intelligence not to remain simply taken aback in the face of the problem of resurrection. It renders it intelligible. Indeed, the analogy between the ‘loud voice’ which called Lazarus to life and the inner effort which evokes a memory reveals, mutatis mutandis, the essence of the magic of Jesus’ ‘loud voice’ and of the ‘sound of the trumpet’ of the Angel of the resurrection – as the following shows.

Experience teaches us that we easily forget, and recall with difficulty, the things to which we attach no value – that we do not love. One forgets what one does not love and one never forgets what one loves. It is love which gives us the power to recall at any desired moment the things that our hearts preserve ‘warm’. Indifference, in contrast, makes one forget everything.

It is the same with the ‘awaking and resurrection of the dead’. Here it is not cosmic indifference (what we call ‘matter’) which will effect anything, but rather it is cosmic love (what we call ‘spirit’)which will accomplish the magical act of resurrection, ie, the reintegration of an inseparable unity – the unity of the spirit, soul and body – not by way of birth (reincarnation) but by way of the magical act of divine memory. What can one say about divine memory?

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XX, The Judgement

 

Oct 042012
 

The throne on which the Empress is seated represents, as we have said, the role of sacred magic in the world. It is its place in the world and in the history of the world; it is, lastly, its basis. In other words, it is that which attends it, desires it and is always ready to receive it. What is this?

In view of the liberating function of sacred magic, it is all that which is deprived of liberty and is bound by necessity. Concerning this, St Paul says:

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it to hope; because the creation itself will be set free fro its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans viii, 19-23)

It is therefore the mineral, plant animal and human realms of Nature – in a word, Nature it its entirety – which constitutes the domain of sacred magic. The reason for the existence of sacred magic stems from the Fall and the whole domain of the Fall – comprising fallen Nature, fallen man and the fallen hierarchies. These are the beings belonging to it who hope ‘with eager longing’ to be ‘set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.’

How does sacred magic operate towards this end? How, for example, does it deliver man?

The throne of the Empress has a back. It strongly resembles two wings, so that certain interpreters of the Tarot have seen the Empress as being winged. Others, however, see only a back. In view of the context of the card, the meaning of the coat-of-arms bearing the eagle, the sceptre surmounted by the cross, and the two-layered crown, could one not see the back here in the form of two petrified and immobilised wings, but which had once been genuine wings and which are again potentially so?

If this interpretation is accepted, not only would it reconcile the two apparently opposing points of view but also it would agree with all that the card teaches about the sphere, the aim, the power and the legitimacy of sacred magic. To give movement to the petrified wings…would this not be in accord with the liberating mission of sacred magic and with the words of St Paul?

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter III, The Empress

 

 

May 252012
 

I am an anonymous author and I remain so in order to be able to be more frank and sincere than is ordinarily permitted to an author.

The aim of sacred magic, as we have said, is represented by the shield that the Empress holds in place of the book which the High Priestess holds. Sacred gnosis has as its aim the communicable expression (or ‘book’) of mystical revelation, whilst the aim of sacred magic is liberating action, ie, the restoration of freedom to beings who have partially or totally lost it.

The eagle in flight depicted on the shield signifies this emblem of sacred magic, which could thus be formulated: ‘Give freedom to he who is enslaved’. And this includes all the works mentioned by Luke:

Jesus cured many of diseases and plaagues and evil spirits, and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered the: Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. (Luke vii, 21-22).

This is the aim of sacred magic; it is nothing other than to give freedom to see, to hear, to walk, to live, to follow an ideal and to be truly oneself – ie, to give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, the ability to walk to the lame, life to the dead, good news or ideals to the poor and free will to those who are possessed by evil spirits. It never encroaches upon freedom, the restoration of which is its unique aim.

It is  more than pure and simple healing which is the object of sacred magic; it is the restoration of freedom, including here freeing from the imprisonment of doubt, fear, hate, apathy and despair.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter III, The Empress

Nov 172011
 

If one goes deep enough in atomic physics one ends with a situation of pure chance (John Fowles, The Magus)

The Master sighed, deep in thought, and approached an overloaded bookcase standing against the Eastern wall of Mysteries’ upper room, near to the point where horoscopes were cast.

Dazzling sunlight rendered a large cross-section of the case invisible with its blinding rays, while the lower parts were swathed in darkness, forming a vivid chiaroscuro on the rich mahogany canvas.

The lovingly burnished bookcase was home to a myriad esoteric masterworks and timeless classics.  Ancient volumes interspersed with lavishly illustrated fairy tales and poetry written in the green language were stacked two-deep in places, upside-down in others.

It would not be a simple matter to extract from all of this the book that the Master had in Mind. Indeed, at that moment in time it would be impossible.

Scanning the shelves intently, following the words on each well-worn spine with a neatly-nailed forefinger, all but that which the Master sought was readily apparent, the longed-for item merely absent.

The shadow of a home-spun dream catcher – hypnotically swaying above the open window – crept inexorably along the ceiling like a spider’s web as minutes passed by into an hour of fruitless seeking. Church bells began ringing in the middle distance, herald of both an end and a beginning with their call to evensong.

Tension mounted in the upstairs of Mysteries with disturbing alacrity, causing a very mild sweat to break out on the Master’s furrowing brow. Thoughts from what was by any standards a wide-open brow chakra permeated the charged atmosphere with a note of concern.

Where on Earth IS the magic book?

No immediate answer to this question was forthcoming but the brain-racked Master ploughed on undeterred.

Didn’t I see it just after Halle Bop showed up in ’96 and the moon was side by side with Jupiter? 

Or perhaps it had been Venus….

Again there was no answer, but the Master now felt sure this was when the rare and ancient copy of ‘Pros Theon’, which translated into English as ‘By the Gods’, had last been consulted.

Twelve years…. an entire Jupiter-return ago! But where is it now, for heaven’s sake?

Who could say?