Jun 032016
 

Hagia-Sophia-underground-tunnelsThe post of Emperor does not belong any longer either to those who desire it or to the choice of the people. It is reserved to the choice of heaven alone. It has become occult. And the crown, the sceptre, the throne, the coat of arms of the Emperor are to be found in the catacombs…in the catacombs – this means to say: under absolute protection.

And just as no parliament will replace the spiritual reality of the post of Emperor – the throne of David cannot be replaced by collectivity – so will no oecumenical council replace the spiritual reality of the post of Pope or the ‘throne of Melchizedek, king of plenitude (Salem)”. Whether the “cannon shot” predicted in the esoteric circles of the Occident be given or not, whether the sacerdotal throne remains visible or whether it be installed in the catacombs, it will certainly remain present for ever in the future history of humanity – despite what the prophets of its destruction may say.

Meditations on the Tarot

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

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

 

May 102015
 

1126The soul who cries is more living, and therefore fresher and younger than when it does not cry.

The ‘gift of tears’ was always considered by the masters of Christian spirituality as a grace from the Holy Spirit, for it is thanks to this gift that the soul surpasses itself and ascends to a degree of intensity of life which is certainly above that to which it is accustomed.

Now, the ‘gift of tears’ is a comparatively recent spiritual phenomenon in the history of human spirituality. In the ancient world one wept only ritually, ie through verbal lamentations and through prescribed gestures of mourning or grief, and it was amongst the chosen people, Israel, that real weeping began.

It was as a manifestation of the share that the chosen people had in the mission of preparing for the coming of Christ – who wept at the time of Lazarus’ resuscitation and who sweated sweat and blood during the night in the Garden of Olives – that real weeping came to have its rudimentary origin from the womb of this people. And to this present day the Jews preserve, cultivate and respect the ‘gift of tears’. In fact, every revelation in the narrative of the Zohar is preceded or accompanied by the weeping of the one who had it and who comes to share it with the others.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter II, The High Priestess

Dec 022014
 

Portae_LucisLet us turn now to the idea of tsimtsum – the ‘withdrawal of God’ in the Lurianic school of the Cabbala. The doctrine of tsimtsum reveals one of the ‘three mysteries’ in the Cabbala: sod hajichud, the mystery of union; sod hatsimtsum, the mystery of concentration or divine withdrawal; sod hagilgul, the mystery of reincarnation or the ‘revolution of souls’. The two other ‘mysteries’ – the mystery of union and that of the revolution of souls – will be treated later, in other letters. Concerning the ‘mystery of the divine withdrawal (or concentration)’ which interests us here, it is a question of the thesis that the existence of the universe is rendered possible by the act of contraction of God within himself. God made a ‘place’ for the world in abandoning a region interior to himself.

The first act of En-Soph, the Infinite Being, is therefore not a step outside but a step inside, a movemetn of recoil, of falling back upon oneself, of withdrawing into oneself. Instead of emanation we have the opposite, contraction…The first act of all is not an act of revelation but an act of limitation. Only in the second act does God send out a ray of His light and begin His revelation, or rather His unfolding as God the Creator, in the primordial space of His own creation. More than that, every new act of emanation and manifestation is preceded by one of concentration and retraction. (Gershom G. Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism).

In other words, in order to create the world ex nihilo, God had first to bring the void itself into existence. He had to withdraw within in order to create a mystical space, a space without his presence – the void. And it is in thinking this thought that we assist at the birth of freedom.

Freedom is not determined by God; it is part of the nothing out of which God created the world….The void – the mystical space from which God withdrew himself through his act of tsimtsum – is the place of origin of freedom, ie, the place of origin of an ‘existence’ which is absolute potentiality, not in any way determined. And all of the beings of the ten created hierarchies are the children of God and freedom born of divine plenitude and the void. They carry within themselves a ‘drop’ of the void and a ‘spark’ of God. Their existence, their freedom, is the void within them. Their essence, their spark of love, is the divine ‘blood’ within them. They are immortal, because the void is indestructible. Further, these two indestructible elements – the meonic element (ov – void) and the pleromic element (plenitude) – are indissolubly bound to one another. (Nichoas Berdyaev, The Destiny of Man).

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter IV, The Emperor

Sep 142014
 

Judgement20_marseillesThe card that we have before us bears the traditional name “The Judgement”, and what it represents is the resurrection of the dead at the sound of the trumpet of the Angel of resurrection. It is a matter, therefore,  of a spiritual exercise where the use of intuition – that of the nineteenth Arcanum “The Sun” – has to be carried to a maximum, the theme of resurrection being of the order of “last things”, but all the same accessible to intuitive cognition.

Now 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 the 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 manvantara and prayla. Others, again, see for the individual something beyond repeated incarnations, namely the state of the supreme peace of union with the eternal and 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.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XX, The Judgement

Aug 282014
 

341878994_8f7ab4aa31Love is strong as death, ie, death does not destroy it. Death can neither let one forget nor let one cease to hope. Those of us – we human souls of today – who bear within ourselves the flame of the memory of Eden cannot forget it, nor can we cease to hope for it. And if human souls come into the world with the imprint of this memory, and also with the impression of knowing that the meeting with the other will not take place for them in this life here below, they will then live this life as if widowed, in so far as they remember, and as if engaged, in so far as they hope.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VI, The Lover

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

Aug 092013
 

Ace of Wands_MarseilleThe Minor Arcana of the Tarot represent the way of ascent from consciousness belonging to the world of action (the phenomenal world) through the world of formation and the world of creation to the world of emanation. Thus, it is a matter of four degrees (including the summit) of ascent from the world of sensual and intellectual imagery which corresponds to pentacles, to the world (or degree) of destruction of this imagery – or the ‘wilderness’ – which corresponds to swords, so as to attain to that degree of spiritual poverty which is necessary to become a receptacle for revelation from above – which degree corresponds to cups. The summit is attained when the cup of consciousness which receives the revelation from above is transformed – by cooperating with revelatory action – into this latter. It then becomes revelatory activity itself, being actively united with the world of emanation. Then the degree of wands or scepters is attained, ie, that of pure creative activity.

Therefore the way begins in the world of coins or pentacles. This is the world of the imagery of facts, intellectual constructions and imagined ideals. Here consciousness surrounds itself with a world of images – n the one hand the memories of experiences, and on the other hand the formulae and schemes of the intellect, as well as those of moral imagination, which latter we call ‘ideals’. This world of images is neither reality nor illusion. It consists of values/images corresponding to reality and which are therefore ‘convertible’ into reality; for this reason coins are its symbol. For just as pieces of money are not themselves board, heating and lodging but can be converted into board, heating and lodging, so do memory images and the formulae and schemes of the intellect and moral imagination represent realities – being ‘worths’ that may be converted into reality.

Now, the world of coins – the world of images – has a twofold significance. It signifies, on the one hand, the wealth acquired by consciousness, and on the other hand it signifies the totality of that which must be renounced if consciousness wants to come to spiritual reality. Because in order to convert money into real things, ie in order to buy them, one has to pay. One has to become ‘poor in spirit’ in order to have the kingdom of heaven.

This payment, where one divests oneself of one’s wealth of spirit, is that of swords. Here, the values/images (or coins_ that one has struck through intellectual, moral and artistic efforts are destroyed, one after the other, in the same (Sephirothic) order in which they were formed. This can last an instant, an hour, or decades. With St Thomas Aquinas it took the time of a single ecstasy, whilst with Plato it seems that it was a slow process extending over several years. With respect to St Thomas, it was probably at the end of 1273 that he underwent the decisive ecstasy.

The ecstasy that St Thomas underwent persuaded him that all that h had written and taught was of little significance. This is a case of passing through the sphere of swords.

4-10Plato, as did St Thomas Aquinas, arrived at the ‘spiritual poverty’ which is necessary to become a ‘cup’ and ‘sceptre’ (or ‘wand’), ie to become a receptacle for the revelation of Being, and then to become an active cooperator – which means to say ‘initiated’ .

The ‘worlds’ or ‘spheres’ of pentacles (coins), swords, cups and wands correspond to the degrees of the traditional way of preparation, purification, illumination and perfection.

What one acquires through observation, study, reasoning and discipline constitutes the degree of preparation, or the world of coins.

This ‘world’ exposed to the action of the breath of the Real, constitutes the degree of purification, or the world of swords.

That which remains after this trial becomes the virtue or faculty of the soul to receive illumination from above. This is the degree of illumination, or the world of cups.

And, lastly, to the extent that the soul raises itself from receptivity to active cooperation with the Divine, it is admitted to the degree of perfection, or to the world of scepters or wands.

These are the things which can serve as a key to the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, for your work, dear Unknown Friend, on these Arcana.

Adieu, dear Unknown Friend.

Festival of the Holy Trinity, 21 May, 1967

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXII, The World

Feb 222013
 

The joy which results from truth and the belief which results from joy – here is the key which opens the door to understanding the Arcanum of the world as a work of art. For it is this Arcanum which will reveal the world to us as a work of divine creative art, ie, the world of Wisdom “who was at work beside him…rejoicing before him always” (Proverbs viii, 30), and it is this Arcanum again which will reveal the world to us as a work of art of deceptive mirage, ie, the world of maya, the great illusion, who plays her game (lila) unceasingly – or, in other words, on the one hand the world which reveals God by manifesting him, and on the other hand the world which hides him by covering him.

But whether it is a matter of a revelatory world or of a deceptive world, whether it is a matter of the world seen in the light of the sphere of the spirit of truth or of the sphere of the spirit of mirage, it is a joy – a twofold joy – which plays the key role here.

What is joy? What is it in its deepest sense?

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXII, The World