Jan 062011
 

It was neither the straw of the crib, nor the animals that were present, which guided and enabled the mages from the East to find the Child, but rather the “star” in heaven. Similarly, in Hermeticism one will find only straw and animals if one is not guided by its “star”, which exists only for intuition. Now, it is the nineteenth Arcanum of the Tarot, which invites us to occupy  ourselves quite especially with the “star” of Hermeticism in the heaven of intuition. What is this “star?” The Zohar says:

“And God made the two great lights….originally, when the moon and sun were in intimate union, they shone with equal luminosity. The names JEHOVAH and ELOHIM were then associated as equals…and the two lights were dignified with the same name: MAZPAZ MAZPAZ….The two lights rose simultaneously and were of the same dignity. But….the moon humbled herself by diminishing her light, and renounced her place of higher rank. From that time she has had no light of her own, but derives her light from the sun.

Nevertheless, her real light is greater than that which she radiates here below; for a woman enjoys no honour save in conjunction with her husband. The great light (the sun) has the name JEHOVAH and the lesser light (the moon) has the name ELOHIM, which is the last of the degrees and the close of thought. Originally she was inscribed above among the letters of the sacred name (YHVH), which are four in number; it was only after diminishing herself that she took the name ELOHIM.

But her power is manifest in all directions….EL being “the dominion of the day,” IM” being the “dominion of the night,” and HE in the middle being the remainder of the forces (“the stars”), participating in both dominions.

It is left to us only to cite another passage from an ancient source – from the eleventh book of Apuleius’ Transformations – in order to have all the elements necessary to grapple, sufficiently equipped, with the problem of the “star” of Hermeticism and “The Sun” of the nineteenth Arcanum of the Tarot. Apuleius summarised his great vigil at the temple of Isis – the “arcana of the sacred night” (noctis sacratae arcana) in the following way:

I approached the very gates of death and set one foot on Prosperine’s threshold,  yet was permitted to return, rapt through all the elements. At midnight I saw the sun shining in its brilliant radiance; I entered the presence of the gods of the under-world and the gods of the upper-world,  stood near and worshipped them.

Let us now seek for reality, having in view the above-cited passage from the Zohar and the statement made by Apuleius.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIX, The Sun