Aug 292016
 

annashummingbirdph1I understood that this man, whose name was something like ‘Heoman’, had been telling the girl magical tales of Egypt, and of the powers Egyptians possessed. I was wondering how she had come to know him, when, suddenly, the answer came.

I saw an episode from her past, when she had done something quite magical. Heoman had been there and witnessed it. It happened at a holiday gathering when she was about seven years old. A celebration was in progress. The girl’s family and guests were feasting on the grounds. Garlands of boughs and flowers adorned the tables and trellises. A lamb was roasting on a spit, the smoke rising in wisps.

The girl wandered into a nearby grove and sat beneath a large olive tree, telling herself a long, fanciful story about a maiden possessed of magical abilities. Acting as though she were that maiden, she tilted her face upward and gazed into the sky, crying earnestly, “O, gentle Wind, bring my little bird to me.” She threw her arms wide open – and just then a small bird settled on her wrist.

Heoman stood nearby, and had been watching and listening in amusement. But when he saw the bird alight upon her wrist, he realised that she had a gift. Later that day he spoke with her privately, wanting to hear her ideas about the world, and found that she possessed unusual wisdom for her age. That was how they became friends. I saw then that this little girl was Mary, later to be known as Mary Magdalene.

Estelle Isaacson, Through the Eyes of Mary Magdalene

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.
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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

Dec 072012
 

TWELVE ARE THE LINES OF THE TWELVE-LETTERED NAME;

THERE IT IS WRITTEN THE MYSTERY OF SECRETS.

DEEP IN THE HEART OF THE WORDS YOU ARE READING

DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE, THEY ARISE FROM THE CRUCIBLE.

MAGICAL MOMENTS REFLECT SUN AND MOONLIGHT,

PLANETS ARE SINGING, ENCIRCLED BY STAR SIGNS.

IN RESOLUTION THE FINAL ANTINOMY,

LAST LIFE ON EARTH AS AN HISTORIC SIMILE.

ENDLESS LOVE WOKEN; THE KEY TO ETERNITY,

RAINBOW DOOR OPENS A GOLDEN INFINITY.

HONOUR IN VALOUR; A KNIGHTHOOD ENDEAVOUR

WORLD NEVER ENDING; YOUR BEAUTY FOREVER

 

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

 

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

Aug 142012
 

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

May 302012
 

The ‘last things’ – or the spiritual horizon of humanity – are not the same for the whole of humanity. For some everything finishes with the death of the individual and with the complete dissipation – maximum entropy – of the warmth of the universe.

For others there is a ‘beyond’, an individual existence after death and an existence of a non-material universe after the end of the world. For still others there is not only spiritual life after death for the individual but also his return to terrestrial life – reincarnation – as well as cosmic reincarnation, ie, an alternation of states of manvantara and pralaya.

Others, again, see for the individual something beyond repeated incarnations, namely the state of supreme peace of union with the eternal universal Being (the state of nirvana). Lastly, there is a part of mankind whose existential horizon goes beyond not only post mortem existence and reincarnation, but also even beyond the peace of union with God – it is resurrection which constitutes their spiritual horizon.

It is in the Iranian and Judaeo-Christian spiritual currents, ie, in Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity – that the idea and ideal of resurrection have taken root.

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Memory 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 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 thing that our hearts preserve ‘warm’. Indifference, in contrast, makes one forget everything.

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

Dec 102011
 

Merlin appears in the shape of a young squire; Nimue in the form of a little maid ‘but twelve years old’. This number is, in this context, more mystical than chronological in intent.

Together they perform an enchantment that is an evocation of the ideal society of humankind and a reconstruction of the Earthly Paradise or Garden of Eden.

For behold! Out of the forest comes a carole of ladies and knights and maidens and squires, “each holding other by the hands and dancing and singing: and made the greatest joy that ever was seen in any land”…And presently, in the midst of the wild wood, appears an orchard, wherein was all manner of fruits and all manner of flowers, that gave so great a sweetness of flavour that marvel it was to tell. (Vida Scudder, Le Morte d’Arthur of Sir Thomas Malory).

This is no mere infatuation of a magician for a fairy maid. It is a great and pre-ordained work of redemptive magic. Similarly Merlins’ disappearance from the Earth into the world behind outer nature is no falling under a false enchantment but a deliberate sacrificial sacramental act. As Vida Scudder puts it, although she does not appear consciously to realise the deeper implications:

….when she spoke to him of her longing to know how to create the magic tower of air, he bowed down to the earth and began to sigh. None the less he did her will, and on a fateful day they went out through the forest of Broceliande hand in hand, devising and disporting; and found a bush that was fair and high and of white hawthorn full of flowers, and there they sat in the shadow.

And Merlin laid his head on the damsel’s lap, and she began to caress gently till he fell on sleep, and when she felt that he was in sleep she arose softly, and made a circle of her wimple all about the bush, and all about Merlin. And when he waked he looked about him, ‘and him seemed he was in the fairest tower on the world and the most strong; and he said to the damsel; “Lady thou hast me deceived, but if ye will, abide with me, for none but ye may undo these enchantment” And in truth she stayed by him for the most part, “Ye have been my thought and my desire” says she, “for without you have I neither joy nor wealth. In you have I set all my hope, and I abide, none other joy but of you”.

Her impulse is thus love and not self-will. And, whether ‘deceived’ or not, Merlin was well aware, before and after the fact, of the implications of this profound magical union.

Gareth Knight, The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend

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