You will understand the role played by the mantle enveloping the Hermit, when he employs his lamp for seeing clearly in particular problems, and when he employs his staff for probing his terrain. The ‘mantle’ is the presence at a deeper level of consciousness of the whole truth, and it is this which envelops and inspires all intellectual work relating to particular problems that is carried out by the conscious self with its lamp and staff.
It is this which gives the conscious self direction and style, and sees to it that each solution to each particular problem is in harmony with the whole. The whole truth lives at this deeper level, and is present there as the certainty of absolute faith, as the certainty of the imprint of truth from above.
The initiate is someone who knows everything. He is a person who bears the truth within a deeper level of his consciousness, not as an intellectual system, but rather as a level in his being, as a ‘mantle’ which envelops him. This truth-imprint manifests itself as unshakable certainty, ie, as faith in the sense of the voice of the presence of truth.
Truth attained through synthesis is present at a deeper level of consciousness than that of the consciousness of self. It is found in darkness. It is from this darkness that the rays of light of particular branches of knowledge are emitted, as a result of efforts aspiring to the “neutralisation of binaries” or the “solution of antinomies”.
These efforts are nothing other than excursions into the region of this deeper level of consciousness; they are contacts established with the inner darkness, which is full of revelations of truth.
The knowledge and power drawn from this dark and silent region of luminous certainty can be well described as the “gift of Perfect Night”, mentioned in Kore Kosmou, the sacred book of Hermes Trismegistus. The ‘Gift of Perfect Night’ manifests itself in consequence of such spiritual endeavours as are implied by the ‘neutralisation of binaries’ or the ‘solution of antinomies’. It is, one can say, the very essence of Hermeticism and constitutes at one and teh same time the method which is proper to it and the faculty of knowledge to the exercise of which its very existence is due.
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter IX, The Hermit