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

Jun 142014
 

chirhoaoThe modern world, with its prodigious growth of complexity, weighs incomparably more heavily on the shoulders of our generation than did the ancient world upon the shoulders of our forebears. Have you never felt that this added load needs to be compensated for by an added passion, a new sense of purpose? To my mind, this is what is “providentially” arising to sustain our courage – the hope, the belief, that some immense fulfillment lies ahead of us.

If Mankind were destined to achieve its apotheosis, if Evolution were to reach its highest point, in our small, separate lives, then indeed the enormous travail of terrestrial organisation into which we are born would be nor more than a tragic irrelevance. We should all be dupes. We should do better in that case to stop, or at least to call a halt, destroy the machines, close the laboratories, and seek whatever way of escape we can find in pure pleasure or pure nirvana.

But if on the contrary Man sees a new door opening above him, a new stage for his development; if each of us can believe that he is working so that the Universe may be raised, in him and through him, to a higher level  – then a new spring of energy will well forth in the heart of Earth’s workers. The whole great human organism, overcoming a momentary hesitation, will draw its breath and press on with strength renewed.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Future of Man, Life and the Planets

Aug 172013
 

lazarusThe revival of hermeticism in Christianity that, as we said, was foreign to the spirit of the religion of Israel – the latter being based wholly on family and community – was not in any way the result of an ‘Indian influence’ on Christianity. Neither St Anthony of Thebes nor St Paul the Hermit had been influenced at all by India. The same is true for St Jerome and all the other hermits (the Irish Anglo-Saxon hermits included)of whom history has related anything definite.

Christian hermeticism arose out of a profound need of the soul – namely, the need to personally experience the truth of the tradition. And the fact that this need is at the same time the living core of Hindu Buddhist spiritual life, only makes it more plausible that the eternally valid kernel of Hinduism and Buddhism reappeared in transfigured form – that is to say, was resurrected.

Its transfiguration consists in this: the ideal of redemption of the self from the world became the ideal of the redemption of the world: the striving for eternal rest in nirvana became a striving after unity with the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and the  yearning for deathlessness in the world became the hope for resurrection in this world.

The Christianity of the hermits, as the essential core of Indian spiritual life resurrected within Christianity, was no passing phenomenon limited to a few centuries only. Today it still lives with all the intensity of its youth. Though it may not be deserts and thick forests into which one can retire into an undisturbed solitude nowadays, there are still people who have found or created in the deserts of the great cities and among the thickets of the crowds a solitude and stillness of life for the spirit.

And as before, their striving is devoted toward becoming a witness for the truth of Christianity. The way into the depths has not led them to an individualistic brand of belief, but has given them unshakable security in the truth of the Christian revelation as transmitted and taught by the Church.

They know the truth of the following: Extra Ecciesiam non est salus (‘there is no salvation outside the Church’); the Holy Father is not and cannot be the mouthpiece of an ecumenical council; the Holy See alone can make decisions in questions of faith and of morals – a majority of bishops cannot do so, and even less can a majority of priests or congregations do so; the Church is hierarchic theocratic – not democratic, aristocratic, or monarchic – and will be so in future times; the Church is the Civitas Dei (‘the City of God’) and not a superstructure of the will of people belonging to the Church; as little as the shepherd follow the will of the herd does the Holy Father of the Church merely carry out the collective will of his flock; the Shepherd of the Church is St. Peter, representing  Christ – his pronouncements ex cathedra are infallible, and the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven belongs to him, and him alone.

In other words, those who become solitary in order to seek profundity may reach on their path of spiritual experience to the unshakable insight that the dogmas of the Church are absolutely true. And so it can happen that, as they did at the time of the Arian darkening of the Church, the ‘hermits’ of today may again come to the assistance of the Holy See, leaving their solitude to appear in witness to the truth of Peter’s Throne and its infallible teaching.

In those times it happened that St Anthony of Thebes left the desert and hurried to Alexandria to support St Athanasius with the weight of his moral authority – St Athanasius who became the standard-bearer for the divinity of Christ. The darkening that today is described as ‘the present crisis of the Catholic Church’ can lead to the necessity for the solitary sons of the Church to hurry to the aid of the Holy Father, the most solitary of solitaries, in order to save the Church from the abyss toward which she is moving.

Valentin Tomberg, Lazarus Come Forth!

 

May 302012
 

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 an 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 states of manvantara and pralaya.

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

It is in the Iranian and Judaeo-Christian spiritual currents, ie, in Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity – that the idea and ideal of resurrection have taken root.

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Memory supplies us with a key of analogy which allows intelligence not to remain simply taken aback in the face of the problem of resurrection. it renders it intelligible. Indeed, the analogy between the ‘loud voice’ which called Lazarus to life and the inner effort which evokes a memory reveals, mutatis mutandis, the essence of the magic of Jesus’ ‘loud voice’ and of the ‘sound of the trumpet’ of the Angel of resurrection – as the following shows.

Experience teaches us that we easily forget, and recall with difficulty, the things to which we attach no value – that we do not love. One forgets what one does not love and one never forgets what one loves. It is love which gives us the power to recall at any desired moment the thing that our hearts preserve ‘warm’. Indifference, in contrast, makes one forget everything.

it is the same with the ‘awakening and resurrection’ of the dead’. Here it is not cosmic indifference (that we call ‘matter’) which will effect anything, but rather it is cosmic love (that we call ‘spirit’) which will accomplish the magical act of resurrection, ie, the reintegration of an inseparable unity – the unity of spirit, soul and body – not by way of birth (reincarnation) but by way of the magical act of divine memory.

Oct 292010
 

When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea rose because a strong wind was blowing.

When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat. They were frightened, but he said to them: It is I; do not be afraid. (John vi, 16-20).

And Peter answered him: Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water. He said: Come! So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out: Lord, save me! Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying: O man of little faith, why did you doubt? (Matthew xiv, 28-31).

Jesus Christ walking on water reveals still another mystery than that of the sun of the spiritual world, the centre of celestial gravitation. For not only did he stand on the water – which would suffice to reveal and demonstrate this truth – but he also walked on the water, ie, he moved in a quite definite direction in the horizontal sense. He walked towards the boat where his disciples rowed.

There, in his walking towards the boat, it is already contained in germ – essentially revealing it – his whole work, temporal and eternal, ie, his sacrifice, his resurrection, and all that is implied in his promise: “Lo, I am with you always, until the end of the world: (Matthew xxviii, 20).

The boat with his disciples is, therefore, and will be until the end of the world, the aim of the I am walking on the water. His enstasy, his profound centreing in himself, does not distance him from the navigation of the agitated sea of history and evolution, and does not make him disappear into the other sea – the calm sea of nirvana – but rather, on the contrary, it entails that he walks, until the end of the world, after the boat with this disciples.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XII, The Hanged Man

Jul 212010
 

The posts of Emperor and Pope are realities beyond as well as on this side of the threshold which separates ‘day’ and ‘night’. And the Pope of the fifth card is the guardian of this threshold. He is seated between the two pillars – the pillar of day or prayer and the pillar of night or benediction.

The Emperor of the fourth card is the master of the day and the guardian of the blood or quintessence of the nocturnal reality of the day. The Pope is the guardian of respiration or of the reality of the relationship between day and night. That which he guards is the equilibrium between day and night, between human effort and divine grace. His post is founded on primordial cosmic deeds. Thus the first book of Moses says:

….and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. (Genesis i, 4 – 5).

And the act of separation of the intelligible from the mysterious signifies at the same time the establishing of cosmic respiration, which is the analogy of ‘the Spirit of God moving above the face of the waters.’ For the divine breath (ruach ‘elohim) above the profoundness of peace (‘the waters’ –  it is this which is the psychological as well as th e cosmic reality of nirvana) is the divine prototype of respiration.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter V, The Pope

Jun 122010
 

History – as, moreover, the life of the individual – is ‘worked’ by day and by night. It has a diurnal aspect and a nocturnal aspect. The former is exoteric, whilst the latter is esoteric. The silence and obscurity of the night is always full of events in preparation – and all that which is unconscious or superconscious in the human being belongs to the domain of ‘night’.

This is the magical side of history, the side of magical deeds and works acting behind the facade of history ‘by day’. Thus, when the Gospel was preached by the light of day in the countries around the Mediterranean, the nocturnal rays of the Gospel effected a profound transformation in Buddhism. There, the ideal of individual liberation by entering the state of nirvana gave way to the ideal of renouncing nirvana for the work of mercy towards suffering humanity. The ideal of mahayana, the great chariot, then had its resplendent ascent to the heaven of Asia’s moral values.

This is the formula of the twofold teaching – by the speech of day and by the knowledge of night; of the twofold tradition – by verbal teaching and by direct inspiration; of twofold magic – by the spoken word and by silent radiation; and lastly, of twofold history – ‘visible’ history by day and ‘invisible’ history by night.

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…and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night (Genesis i, 4-5)

And the act of separation of the intelligible from the mysterious signifies at the same time the establishing of cosmic respiration, which is the analogy of ‘the Spirit of God moving above the face of the waters’. For the divine breath (ruach ‘elohim) above the profoundness of peace (‘the waters’ –  it is this which is the psychological as well as the cosmic reality of nirvana) is the divine prototype of respiration.

Unknown author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter V, The Pope