Dec 272016
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is that holy fire, which verse is said
To have? Is that enchanting force decay’d?
Verse that draws nature’s works from nature’s law,
Thee, her best work, to her work cannot draw.
Have my tears quench’d my old poetic fire?
Why quench’d they not as well that of desire?
Thoughts, my mind’s creatures, often are with thee,
But I, their maker, want their liberty.
Only thine image in my heart doth sit,
But that is wax, and fires environ it.
My fires have driven, thine have drawn it hence;
And I am robb’d of picture, heart, and sense.
Dwells with me still mine irksome memory,
Which, both to keep and lose, grieves equally.
That tells me how fair thou art; thou art so fair
As gods, when gods to thee I do compare,
Are graced thereby; and to make blind men see,
What things gods are, I say they’re like to thee.
For if we justly call each silly man
A little world, what shall we call thee then?
Thou art not soft, and clear, and straight, and fair,
As down, as stars, cedars, and lilies are;
But thy right hand, and cheek, and eye, only
Are like thy other hand, and cheek, and eye.
Such was my Phao awhile, but shall be never,
As thou wast, art, and O, mayst thou be ever.
Here lovers swear in their idolatry,
That I am such; but grief discolours me.
And yet I grieve the less, lest grief remove
My beauty, and make me unworthy of thy love.

John Donne, Sappho to Philaenis

Jan 132014
 

4402The part of them worthy of the name immortal, which is called divine and is the guiding principle of those who are willing to follow justice and you-of that divine part I will myself sow the seed, and having made a beginning, I will hand the work over to you. And do ye then interweave the mortal with the immortal, and make and beget living creatures, and give them food, and make them to grow, and receive them again in death.”

Thus he spake, and once more into the cup in which he had previously mingled the soul of the universe he poured the remains of the elements, and mingled them in much the same manner; they were not, however, pure as before, but diluted to the second and third degree. And having made it he divided the whole mixture into souls equal in number to the stars, and assigned each soul to a star; and having there placed them as in a chariot, he showed them the nature of the universe, and declared to them the laws of destiny.

Plato, Timaeus

Sep 172013
 

atalantaThree Golden Apples from the Hesperian grove.
A present Worthy of the Queen of Love.
Gave wise Hippomenes Eternal Fame.
And Atalanta’s cruel Speed O’ercame.
In Vain he follows ’till with Radiant Light,
One Rolling Apple captivates her Sight.
And by its glittering charms retards her flight.
She Soon Outruns him but fresh rays of Gold,
Her Longing Eyes & Slackened Footsteps Hold,
‘Till with disdain She all his Art defies,
And Swifter then an Eastern Tempest flies.
Then his despair throws his last Hope away,
For she must Yield whom Love & Gold betray.
What is Hippomenes, true Wisdom knows.
And whence the Speed of Atalanta Flows.
She with Mercurial Swiftness is Endued,
Which Yields by Sulphur’s prudent Strength pursued.
But when in Cybel’s temple they would prove
The utmost joys of their Excessive Love,
The Matron Goddess thought herself disdained,
Her rites Unhallowed & her shrine profaned.
Then her Revenge makes Roughness o’er them rise,
And Hideous feireenesse Sparkle from their Eyes.
Still more Amazed to see themselves look red,
Whilst both to Lions changed Each Other dread.
He that can Cybell’s Mystic change Explain,
And those two Lions with true Redness stain,
Commands that treasure plenteous Nature gives
And free from Pain in Wisdom’s Splendor lives.

Michael Maeers, Atalanta Fugiens

Jun 032013
 

4402The perfecting of our faculties hereafter, requires the sacrifice of all here

When our covering of a day is dissolved, when time is rolled away for us like a scroll, then we shall more fully enjoy the spirit of life, and drink, with the Redeemer, the fresh juice of the eternal vine, which will restore our faculties to their perfect fulness, to be employed as it may please Him to ordain.

But, in vain should we promise ourselves such enjoyment hereafter, if we have not faithfully performed all our sacrifices here below, not only those belonging to our personal renovation, but those which concern the voluntary offer of our whole earthly and mortal being, by a daily care, on our part, to become orderly victims, without spot and blameless. For, in that invisible region which we enter on leaving this world, we shall find no more earth to receive those different kinds of blood, which we must necessarily pour out, to recover our liberty;and, if we carry with us the corruption, which these different kinds of blood may contain, there would remain nothing for us but suffering and anguish, since the time and place for voluntary sacrifices would be past.

Man:  His true nature and ministry, Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin

Mar 092013
 

The worship of Adonis was practised by the Semitic peoples of Babylonia and Syria, and the Greeks borrowed it from them as early as the seventh century before Christ.

The true name of the deity was Tammuz: the appellation of Adonis is merely the Semitic Adon, ‘lord’, a title of honour by which his worshippers addressed him. But the Greeks through a misunderstanding converted the title of honour into a proper name.

In the religious literature of Babylonia Tammuz appears as the youthful spouse or lover of Ishtar, the great mother goddess, the embodiment of the reproductive energies of nature. The references to their connection with each other in myth and ritual are both fragmentary and obscure, but we gather from them that every year Tammuz was believed to die, passing away from the cheerful earth to the gloomy subterranean world, and that every year his divine mistress journeyed in quest of him

“to the land from which there is no returning, the house of darkness, where dust lies on door and bolt.”

During her absence the passion of love ceased to operate: men and beasts alike forgot to reproduce their kinds: all life was threatened with extinction. So intimately bound up with the goddess were the sexual functions of the whole animal kingdom that without her presence they could not be discharged.

A messenger of the great god Eas was accordingly dispatched to rescue the goddess on whom so much depended. The stern queen of the infernal regions, Allatu or Eresh-Kigal by name, reluctantly allowed Isthar to be sprinkled with the Water of Life and to depart, in company probably with her lover Tammuz, that the two might return together to the upper world, and that with their return all nature might revive.

 

Dec 312012
 

May God, who in the mystery of his vision and power transforms his white radiance into many-coloured creation, from whom all things come and into whom they all return, grant us the grace of pure vision….

He is the sun, the moon and the stars. He is the fire, the waters, and the wind…

Thou the blue bird and thou the green bird; thou the cloud that conceals the lightning and thou the seasons and the oceans. Beyond beginning, thou art in thy infinity, and all the worlds had their beginning in thee…..

There are two birds, two sweet friends, who dwell on the self-same tree. The one eats the fruit thereof, and the other looks on in silence.

The first is the human soul who, resting on that tree, though active, feels sad in his unwisdom. But on beholding the power and the glory of the higher Spirit, he becomes free from sorrow.

Of what use is the Rig Veda to one who does not know the Spirit from whom the Rig Veda comes, and in whom all things abide? For only those who have found him have found peace.

For all the sacred books, all holy sacrifice and ritual and prayers, all the words of the Vedas, and the whole past and present and future, come from the Spirit. With Maya, his power of wonder, he made all things, and by Maya the human soul is bound.

Know therefore that nature is Maya, but that God is the ruler of Maya; and that all beings in our universe are parts of his infinite splendour…

May the seer of Eternity, who gave to the gods their birth and their glory, who keep all things under his protection, and who in the beginning saw the Golden Seed, grant us the grace of pure vision.

Svetasvatara Upanishad

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 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

 

 

Aug 082012
 

The manifestation of Christ’s resurrection in the human soul was the Pentecost. That event is the primal phenomenon of the sixth cultural epoch, which the Apocalypse calls the ‘church of Philadelphia’.

The community of Pentecost was no longer a circle surrounding Jesus Christ, but now a circle from which Christ revealed himself to the outer world. The language he used to reveal himself was such that people of all nationalities were able to understand.

The two main characteristics of the philadelphian spiritual culture are the immanence of Christ in human consciousness and the cosmopolitan community that arises from that consciousness. In this sense, the sixth cultural epoch can be called the epoch of Pentecost.

This name acquires even more meaning because the consciousness that leads to the culture of that time must stand the test of ‘keeping the word’ and ‘not denying the name of Christ’ (3:8); that is, much be concerned with the word of Christ and with a relationship to his being as these become realities in the Pentecost.

What was given then as a ‘dispensation of grace’, however, must now be earned or submitted to before the cultural epoch of the spirit self can be realised. We must study the path that leads from the consciousness soul to the spirit self (manas) in order to understand the meaning of ‘keeping my word’ and ‘not denying my name’.

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When it comes to understanding ideas, the point is not to spin them into a system of logic, but to root them firmly in the spiritual moral organism of Christ’s cosmic work. In the Apocalypse, such work is called the ‘name of Christ’ and ‘not denying’ his ‘name’ is the soul attitude that accepts as true only ideas indebted not just to logic, but also always to the moral forces.

Not to deny the ‘name’ is moral logic, just as amoral, formal knowledge is itself a denial of the name of Christ, since it excludes the voice of goodness from the realm of knowing.

Valentin Tomberg, Christ and Sophia, Letters to Future Churches

May 092012
 

I am telling you facts, facts that are connected with the intentions not only of certain individuals who are joined together in brotherhoods but also of other beings who influence such brotherhoods and whose influence is also sought by those brotherhoods, beings who are not incarnated in the flesh like human beings but ones who have their body in the spiritual world…

Those brotherhoods who know about the spiritual impulses at work in human evolution saw the approach of that important event of the early 1840s, the battle between certain spirits and some other higher spirits which ended in 1879 when some spirits of an angel nature, spirits of darkness, fell victim to the event that is symbolised as the victory fo Michael over the dragon. On seeing this, those brotherhoods had to decide how to react to it and had to  ask themselves: What is to be done about it?

….it was out of good intentions that spiritualism was launched in the world during the 1840s…..well-meaning spiritual mebers of the brotherhoods held the erroneous view that by using mediums they could convince people of hte existence of the spiritual world all around them; and they thought on the basis of that conviction it would then be possible to teach them about higher truths as well…..

….It will be up to humanity during this period to come to grips with evil as an impulse in world evolution….a certain degree of evil must be placed at the service of world evolution in a good sense….

The fact that there are beings invisibly amongst us who are so closely related to human beings, and that human beings are prevented by the way forces of evil play into their lives from recognising the spirit with their reason, means that there will be many opportunities for people to succumb to obscure errors and suchlike…..the human being must be a warrior for the spirit.

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What  people lack today is the courage to embark properly on researching the spiritual world. …during [this] period the time is approaching when humanity will have to deal very carefully with certain great life questions that have thus far been hidden, in a way, by the wisdom of former times.

Endeavours are to be undertaken to place the spiritually etheric element in the service of external, practical life….

….certain groups of people working in egoistically occult ways are making efforts in certain directions. Initially it was necessary for a specific kind of knowledge to retire into the background for humanity…This knowledge had to disappear, be slept through, so that people no longer had the possibility of drawing soul qualities out of their observations of nature but were instead more thrown back on themselvs. So that human beings could awaken the forces of their own being it was necessary for certain matters to appear first in an abstract form which must now take on a concrete spiritual form…

…a certain quarter seeks to remove the impulse of the Mystery of Golgotha from the world by bringing in another impulse from the West, a kind of antichrist, and that coming from the East the Christ-impulse as it appears in the twentieth century is to be paralysed by distracting people’s attention from the coming of Christ in the etheric realm….

…More than anything else, that quarter will strive to make use of the electricity, especially the earth’s magnetism, to bring about effects all over the world. I have shown  you how the forces of the earth rise up in what I have termed the human double. People will discover this secret. It will be an American secret to use the earth’s magnetism in its duality, the northern and southern magnetism, in order to send controlling forces across the whole earth, forces that work spiritually.

What lies in store for humanity is that cosmic forces will be won for humanity in a dual way that is wrong or a single way that is right. This will bring a genuine renewal to astrology, which is atavistic in its old form – a form in which it cannot continue to exist. Those who know about the cosmos will struggle against each other….for the remainder of earthly existence the dead will collaborate with us to a high degree.

The moment you penetrate fully into all the secrets of the double, you will find yousrelf able to assess the value of brains that are merely lumps which you have placed on a scale, lumps which can be brought to life solely by the double.

You must come to realise that all the wishy-washy talk of ‘cosmic religosity’ or ‘how powerful the yearning for it is’, and so on is nothing other than a means of spreading fog over these matters which ought actually to be entering the world in clarity and which, above all, ought only to be carried in clarity into human life as practical moral and ethical impulses.

Rudolf Steiner, Individual Spirit Beings and the Constant Foundation of the Universe