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

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

 

 

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

Sep 082012
 

The guardian Angel accompanies as a faithful ally the divine image in man, just as vicious inclinations have made their way into the human functional organism which was, before the Fall, the divine likeness. The guardian Angel undertakes the functions, destroyed by original sin, in the likeness, and fills the breach wrought by them. He substitutes himself for functions destroyed through the Fall.

As the prayer of the service of aspersion states it, in praying to God ‘to deign to send from heaven his holy Angel to guard, cherish, protect, visit and defend all those who are gathered together in this place’, the Angel acquits his charge in five ways: he guards, cherishes, protects, visits and defends. he is therefore a ‘flaming star’, a luminous pentagram, above man.

He guards memory, ie, the continuity of the past in the present, which is the preparation for the great future. it is the guardian Angel who takes care that there is a connection between the great ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’ of the human soul. He is a perpetual ‘memento’ with regard to the primordial likeness, with regard to the eternal mission assigned to the soul in the cosmic symphony, and with regard to the special room for the soul ‘in my Father’s house, where there are many rooms’ (John xiv, 2).

If it is necessary, the guardian Angel awakens recollections of the soul’s previous earthly lives, in order to establish continuity of endeavour – of the quest and aspiration of the soul from life to life – so that particular lives are not merely isolated episodes but constitute the stages of a single path towards one sole end.

The guardian Angel cherishes the endeavour, quest and aspiration of the soul engaged on this way. This means to say that he fills in the breaks in the psychic functional organism due to the disfigurement of the likeness, and makes up for its failings – given the soul’s good will towards it. For support never signifies substitution of the Angel’s will for that of man. The will remains free, always and everywhere. The guardian Angel never touches on man’s free will and resigns himself to await the decision or choice made in the inviolable sanctuary of free will – in order to lend his assistance immediately if it is just, or to remain a passive observer reduced alone to prayer if it is not.

Just as the guardian Angel is sometimes constrained not to participate in the soul’s activity – this activity not being in accord with the divine image of the soul – so also he can sometimes take a greater part in human activity than usual – this activity being of a nature not simply permitted but also called for. Then the guardian Angel descends from the point of his ordinary post into the domain of human activity. He then visits the human being.

Such visits of the guardian Angel do sometimes take place – when their possibility and necessity coincide. But what the guardian Angel does unceasingly is to protect the human being. Here he makes up for the failings of the human senses, which are deprived of their clairvoyance from before the original sin. He is the clairvoyant helping the non-clairvoyant with respect to psychic and physical temptations and dangers. He warns, informs and helps to appreciate. Nevertheless, what he never does is suppress the occasions themselves of temptation. For, as St Anthony the Great said, ‘without temptation there is no spiritual progress’. Temptation belongs as an integral part to the exercise of human free will, which is inviolable – both for an Angel and for a demon.

With respect to the last of the five functions of the guardian Angel concerning man, namely his defence, it differs from the others in that it is turned above, towards heaven, and is no longer directed below or horizontally. In dealing with the question of the defence that the guardian Angel accords to his protege, we approach the holy mystery of the very heart of the guardian Angel. For the nature of Angelic love is revealed here, of which the following are some inclinations…

Meditations on the Tarot, unknown author, Letter XIV,  Temperance

 

 

May 262012
 

Doubt is more than a psychological state of indecision; it is the soul’s sojourn in the intermediary sphere between the two fields of attraction – terrestrial and celestial – from which there is no other means of escape than a pure and simple act of faith, issuing from the soul itself without heaven and earth taking any part in it. It is therefore a matter of an act of the free personality in the face of complete silence from heaven and earth. Now, Hamlet is the archetype of this trial, where the following is at stake: either an act of faith, or of despair and madness.

 

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The trial of our times is that of the satisfaction of desires. This applies not only to communists, capitalists and materialists, but also, and no less, to – I shall not say esotericists, but – occultists and magicians. For they are also under the same sign of the [Faustian] trial.

The Arcanum ‘The Fool’ has a double meaning. Indeed, it can be understood in two different ways: as a model and as a warning at the same time. For on the one hand it teaches the freedom of the transcendental consciousness elevated above the things of this world, and on the other hand it clearly presents a very impressive warning of the peril that this elevation comprisses –  lack of concern, inadequacy, irresponsibility and ridicule….in a word, madness.

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The ‘philosopher’s stone’ of spiritual alchemy is described in the Emerald Table of Hermes Trismegistus as follows:

The father thereof is the sun, the mother the moon.

The wind carried it in its womb; the earth is the nurse thereof.

It is the father of all works of wonder throughout the whole world.

The power thereof is perfect, if it be cast on to earth.

It will separate the element of earth from that of fire, the subtle

from the gross, gently and with great sagacity.

It doth ascend from earth to heaven.

Again it doth descend to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and things inferior. (Tabula Smaragdina).

This means to say the the process of induction (which ‘ascends from earth to heaven’) and that of deduction (which ‘descends to earth’), the process of prayer (which ‘ascends from earth to heaven’) and that of revelation (which ‘descends to earth’) ie human endeavour and the action of grace from above – unite and become a complete circle which contracts and concentrates to become a point where the ascent and descent are simultaneous and coincide.

And this point is the ‘philosopher’s stone’ – the principle of the identity of the human and divine, of humanism and prophetism, of intelligence and revelation, of intellectuality and spirituality. It is the solution of the problem posed by St Paul, or rather the accomplishment of the task given by him, when he wrote of the Cross being folly to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews, but which ‘to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, is the power of God, and the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians i, 22-24).

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter XXI, The Fool

 

 

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

Apr 292012
 

The father in the parable of the prodigal child had neither sent his son far from his paternal home in order to lead a life of debauchery, nor had he prevented him from leaving and forced him to lead a life which was pleasing to him (the father).

All he did was to await his return and to go and meet him when the prodigal son was approaching his father’s home. Everything which took place in the story of the prodigal son, save for his return to the father, was clearly contrary to the will of the father.

The history of the human race since the Fall is that of the prodigal son….and the key formula of the history of humanity is to be found neither in the progress of civilisation in the process of evolution or in any other ‘process’, but rather in the parable of the prodigal son, in the words:

Father, I have sinnerd against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; treat me as one of your hired servants. (Luke xv, 18-19).

Letter IV, The Emperor, Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author

Feb 112012
 

One can no longer deny the fact that, in the psychic domain, nothing dies and that the whole past lives present in the diverse layers of the depths of consciousness – the ‘unconscious’ or subconsciousness – of the soul….

…For this reason nothing perishes and nothing is lost in the domain of the psyche; essential history, ie real joy and suffering, real religions and revelations of the past, continue to live in us, and it is in we ourselves that the key to the essential history of mankind is to be found.

It is in we ourselves that there is to be found the ‘Edenic’ layer, or that of paradise and the Fall,  of which an account is to be found in the book of Genesis of Moses. Do you doubt the essential truth of this account? Descend into the depths of your own soul, descend as far as the roots, to the sources of feeling, will and intelligence – and you will know.

You will know, ie, you will have certainty that the Biblical narrative is true in the most profound and authentic sense of the word – in the sense that you must deny yourself, deny the witness of the inner structure of your own soul, in order to be able to doubt the intrinsic truth of Moses’ account.

The descent into the depths of your own soul in meditating upon the account of paradise in Genesis will render you incapable of doubt. Such is the nature of the certainty that one can have here….

….It expresses in symbolic language the first layer (first in the sense of the root of all that is human in human nature) of human psychic life, or its ‘beginning’. Now, knowledge of the beginning, initium in Latin, is the essence of initiation.

Initiation is the conscious experience of the initial microcosmic state (this is the Hermetic initiation), and of the initial macrocosmic state (this is the Pythagorean initiation). The first is a conscious descent into the depths of the human being, to the initial layer. Its method is enstasy, ie, experience of the depths at the foundation within oneself.

Here one becomes more and more profound until one awaens within oneself the primordial layer – or the image and likeness of God – which is the aim of enstasy. It is above all by means of the sense of spiritual touch that enstasy is effected. one can compare it to a chemical experiment undergone on the psychic and spiritual plane.

The second initiation experience – that we have designated ‘Pythagorean’ from a historial point of view – is based above all on the auditory sense or sense of spiritual hearing. It is essentially musical, just as the first is substantial or alchemical. It is by ecstasy – or rapture, or going out of oneself – that the macrocosmic layers (‘spheres’ or ‘heavens’) reveal themselves to consciousness.

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

 

Dec 162011
 

The seventh day is blessed and sanctified, because it is the day not of the world and the movement of the world, but rather of the Father himself alone. It is the seventh part of the circle of movement of the world, when he withdraws and becomes immobile and silent.

Thus it was that the circle of movement of the world was not closed but remained open. And the seventh day was sanctified and blessed as the open part of the circle of movement of the world, in such a way that the beings of the world had access to the Father and the Father had access to them.

But the serpent said: “There is no freedom for the world, in so far as the circle of the world is not closed. Because freedom is to be in oneself, without interference from outside, especially from above, on the part of the Father. The world will always follow the will of the Father, and not its own, in so far as there is an opening in the circle of the world, in so far as the sabbath exists.

And the serpent took his tail in his mouth and thus formed a closed circle. He turned himself with great force and thus created in the world the great swirl which caught hold of Adam and Eve. And the other beings, upon which Adam had impressed the names that he gave them, followed them.

And the serpent said to the beings of the world moving on this side of the closed circle, that he formed by taking his tail in his mouth and setting himself in rotation: Here is your way – you will commence by my tail and you will arrive at my head. Then you will have traversed the length of the circle of my being and you will have within you the entire closed circle, and thus you will be free as I am free.

But woman guarded the memory of the world opened towards the Father and the holy sabbath. And she offered herself for the rending of the closed circle in herself in order to give birth to children issuing from the world beyond it, from the world where there is the sabbath. Thus originated the suffering of her pregnancy, and thus originated sorrow on this side of the world of the serpent.

And hostility came between the woman and the serpent, between the generations of woman, giving birth with pain, and the generations of the serpent, giving birth with pleasure. The former will crush the head of the serpent and the serpent will would the heel of the woman. For woman moves in contrary sense to the movement of the serpent, and her head reaches to the tail of the serpent, and her heels touch the head of the serpent.

This is because in the world (which is the current of the serpent)suffering is its counter-movement. It was through the counter-movement of suffeing that there originated the counter-current(of the sons of woman) which is the thought born from suffering and from memory of the world of the sabbath.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter X, Wheel of Fortune