Oct 022011
 

The first Arcanum – the principle underlying all the other twenty-one Major Arcana of the Tarot –  is that of the rapport of personal effort and of spiritual reality.

It occupies the first place in the series because if one does not understand it (ie, take hold of it in cognitive and actual practice), one would not know what to do with all the other Arcana.

For it is the Magician who is called to reveal the practical method relating to all the Arcana. He is the “Arcanum of the Arcana”, in the sense that he reveals that which it is necessary to know and to will in order to enter the school of spiritual exercise whose totality comprises the game of Tarot, in orer to be able to derive some benefit therefrom.

In fact, the first and fundamental principle of esotericism (ie, of the way of experience of the reality of the spirit) can be rendered by the formula: Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light!

This counsel, or command, or even warning, however you wish to take it, is most serious; this is attested by its original source, namely the words of the Master Himself: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew, xi, 30)

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter I, The Magician

Jan 092011
 

With respect to the magnificent quarternary of  traditional magic: “to dare, to will, to be silent and to know,” it is formulated – mutandis mutatis – by the Master in the following way:

Ask and it will be given you; Seek, and you will find; Knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, And he who seeks finds, And to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew vii, 7-8)

It is a matter of daring to ask, of the will to seek, of being silent in order to knock and of knowing when it is opened to you. For knowledge does not happen automatically; it is what is revealed when the door is opened. This is the formula of the synthesis of effort and grace, of the principle of work and that of receptivity, and, lastly, of merit and gift.

This synthesis enunciates the absolute law of all spiritual progress and, consequently, all spiritual discipline. It is the law which every Christian disciple, of every Christian spiritual school, obeys. And Christian Hermeticism, ie, the whole of traditional mysticism, gnosis, magic and occult philosophy, passed through baptism and transfiguration by the fire, light and life of Christianity, is in no way an exception here.

It should not be forgotten that Christian Hermeticism is not a religion apart, nor  a church apart, nor even a science apart….it is the connecting link between mysticism, gnosis and magic, expressed through symbolism – symbolism being the means of expression of the dimensions of depth and height (and therefore of enstasy and ecstasy), of all that is universal (which corresponds to the dimension of breadth), and all that is traditional (corresponding to the dimension of length).

Being Christian, Hermeticism accepts the cross of the universality, the tradition, the depth and the height of Christianity, in the sense of the apostle Paul when he said:

That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God. (Ephesians iii, 18-19).

This is the complete formula of initiation.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VI The Lover

Oct 292010
 

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing.

When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but he said to them: It is I; do not be afraid. (John vi, 16-20).

And Peter answered him: Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water. He said: Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out: Lord, save me! Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying: O man of little faith, why did you doubt? (Matthew xiv, 28-31).

Jesus Christ walking on water reveals still another mystery than that of the sun of the spiritual world, the centre of celestial gravitation. For not only did he stand on the water – which would suffice to reveal and demonstrate this truth – but he also walked on the water, ie, he moved in a quite definite direction in the horizontal sense. He walked towards the boat where his disciples rowed.

There, in his walking towards the boat, it is already contained in germ – essentially revealing it – his whole work, temporal and eternal, ie, his sacrifice, his resurrection, and all that is implied in his promise: “Lo, I am with you always, until the end of the world: (Matthew xxviii, 20).

The boat with his disciples is, therefore, and will be until the end of the world, the aim of the I am walking on the water. His enstasy, his profound centreing in himself, does not distance him from the navigation of the agitated sea of history and evolution, and does not make him disappear into the other sea – the calm sea of nirvana – but rather, on the contrary, it entails that he walks, until the end of the world, after the boat with this disciples.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XII, The Hanged Man

Oct 132010
 

In the last analysis it is KARMA which is the law governing  the adjustment of mutual debts between beings. But the working of the “heaven-earth” balance surpasses the justice of karma; it is that of the justice of grace.

“Gratia gratis data….” the sun shines on the good and wicked alike. Is this morally right? Is it the justice of grace here which is higher than the protective, distributive, punitive justice of the law? This is so. There is the sublime “other justice” of grace, which is the meaning of the New Testament. For the Old Testament is to the New Testament as karma is to grace.

Grace also makes use of the balance, ie justice. It is the balance whose one scale is on the earth and whose other scale is heaven. The Lord’s prayer reveals to us the principle of the justice of grace and the operation of weighing by means of the “heaven-earth” balance.

There it is said: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” And then the Master adds: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew vi, 12, 14 – 15).

The sun shines on the good and wicked alike. But it is certainly necessary to open the windows of a dark room in order for light to be able to enter there. The light of the sun is in no way created or merited by us. It is a gift, pure and simple – gratia gratis data. Nevertheless, it is necessary to open our windows in order for it to enter into our abode, just as it is necessary to open our eyes in order to see it. The practical meaning of the “heaven-earth” balance is that of cooperation with grace. Human effort is therefore not for nothing in the domain of the working of grace.

Neither election from above (Calvinism) nor faith alone below (Lutheranism) suffice for the requirements of the “heaven-earth” balance. Chosen or not chosen, having faith or not, it is necessary for us, for example to “forgive those who trespass against us” here below in order for our trespasses to be forgiven above.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VIII Justice

Jul 212010
 

The heart itself, or the twelve-petalled lotus, which alone of the centres is not attached to the organism, and which can go out of it and live – by the exteriorisation of its “petals”, which can be rayed outwards – with and in others, will become a traveller, a visitor and anonymous companion of those who are in prison, those who are in exile, and those who bear heavy loads of responsibility.

It will be an itinerant Hermit, traversing ways leading from one end of the earth to the other, and also ways through spheres of the spiritual world – from purgatory to the very feet of the Father. Because no distance is insurmountable for love and no door can prevent it from entering – according to the promise which says: “and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew xvi, 18).

It is the heart which is the marvellous organ called to serve love in its works. It is the structure of the heart – simultaneously human and divine, a structure of love – which by way of analogy can open our understanding to the significance of the meaning of the following words of the Master: “And lo, I am with you always, to the end of time.” (Matthew xxviii).

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter IX, The Hermit