Jan 262014
 

kore kosmou“….I will skillfully devise an instrument, mysterious, possessed of power of sight that cannot err, and cannot be escaped, whereto all things on earth shall of necessity be subject, from birth to final dissolution,–an instrument which binds together all that’s done. This instrument shall rule all other things on earth as well–as man.”

When this was done, and when the souls had entered in the bodies, and–Hermes–had himself been praised for what was done, again the Monarch did convoke the gods in session…

“Let each of us bring forth according to his power. Let us by our own energy wipe out this inert state of things; let chaos seem to be a myth incredible to future days. Set hand to mighty work; and I myself will first begin.”

He spake; straightway in cosmic order there began the differentiation of the up-to-then black unity of things.  And heaven shone forth above tricked out with all his mysteries; earth, stilla-tremble, as the sun shone forth grew harder, and appeared with all the fair adornment that bedeck her round on every side. …

“Take–these–, O holy Earth, take those, all honoured one, who are to be the mother of all things, and henceforth lack thou naught!”

*

The evil now being very great, the elements approached to God who made them, and formulated their complaint in some such words as these: It was moreover fire who first received authority to speak….”Let them be taught to render thanks for benefits received, that I, the fire, may joyfully do service in the sacrificial rites, that they may from the altar send sweet-smelling vapours forth….”

And the air too said: “I also, Master, I am made turbid by the vapours which the bodies of the dead exhale, and I am pestilential, and, no longer filled with health, I gaze down on things I ought not to behold….”

Next water, O my son of mighty soul, received authority to speak, and spake and said: “O Father, O wonderful creator of all things, daimon self-born, and Nature’s maker, who through Thee doth conceive all things, now at this last, command the rivers’ streams for ever to be pure….”

After came earth in bitter grief, and taking up the tale, O son of high renown, thus she began to speak: “The godless rout of men doth dance upon my bosom. I hold in my embrace as well as the nature of all things; for I, as Thou didst give command, not only bear them all, but I receive them also when they’re killed….Bestow on earth, if not Thyself, for I could not contain Thee, yet some holy emanation of Thyself. Make Thou the earth more honoured than the rest of elements; for it is right that she should boast of gifts from Thee, in that she giveth all.”

Kore Kosmou

Jan 112014
 

adamandeveAdam and Eve are not just two people. They are a metaphor for the primordial Vessel whose existence preceded creation. Just as all the colours of  the spectrum exist within a single beam of sunlight, the Vessel encompassed all matter, space, time and consciousness. And all the souls of humankind were also present in the Vessel.

The Vessel shattered because of a contradiction in its nature. It had been created only to receive, but, in being filled with the Creator’s Light, it had also received and taken on a degree of the Creator’s own nature: the desire to share. All of our existence now is predicated on the goal of transforming this duality into a single desire, the desire to receive for the sake of sharing, in order to be able to finally reconnect with the Creator and receive the fullness of His Light.

This can happen in only one way. The shards of the shattered Vessel – you and I – must choose to make it happen. We must choose of our own free will to transform ourselves into ‘beings of sharing,’ as the kabbalists say, first on an individual level, and ultimately as a collective transformation of all humankind. Not even God can do this for us. Transformation is the supreme expression and the only expression of free will. It is the choice we make in every thought, feeling and action. Adam and Eve faced this choice in the Garden. They chose wrongly, but, their intentions were good.

*

The allure of evil makes that choice more difficult, and therefore more worthy. Evil, in its way, therefore serves the Creator. Indeed, by understanding this we can free ourselves from its temptations. A parable in the Zohar dramtises this teaching: A king forbade his son to consort with harlots, but the he hired a harlot to test the strength of his son’s character. The son was tempted – until he realised that the harlot was acting in the service of his father. She then lost all power over him.

The serpent in the Garden (acting in the service of our Father) is essential to our final transformation, but he certainly doesn’t make it any easier! At the time of his fateful encounter with Adam and Eve at the Tree of Knowledge, their state of being was fundamentally different from what ours is now. They embodied the pure energy of desire, and Kabbalah teaches that desire is inherently a positive force.

While the conventional view of our first ancestors portrays them as transgressors, the kabbalists point out that their motivation was to serve God. The serpent understood this also. In fact, he used their positive intentions to manipulate them for his own ends. He fostered the transformation of their pure, undifferentiated desire into desire to receive for themselves alone.

And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You are not going to die, but God knows that as soon as you eat of [the tree] your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings who know good and bad’. (Genesis 3:4)

*

Because Adam and Eve were not fully constituted to receive the Light – because the Vessel had not yet earned an unmediated connection – they were overwhelmed by the moment in the same way that a weak electrical circuit will flash brightly and then burn out at the sudden infusion of a powerful current. The kabbalists literalise this principle through a startling addition to the narrative:

Adam and Even took a second bite!

In the interval, a fundamental transformation had taken place, but not the positive one that had been envisoned. Rather, their desire had lost its sharing intention and had become self-serving. They were farther than ever away from unity with the nature of God, and this is exactly what the serpent had intended. It is essential to understand, however, that the impasse is also an opportunity. By traversing it, we can truly prepare the Vessel. We can earn the Light. We can receive it and take fulfillment in it. Most important, we can share it.

*

We have spoken of Adam and Eve as a couple, but until that second bite of the fruit they were not separate at the spiritual level. This detachment took place at the same instant that the divide widened between the Vessel and the Light. Where there had been unity and equilibrium, there was no dissimilarity and fragmentation. Where there had been eternal existence in Paradise, there was now mortal life in the physical world.

*

After the Fall, immortality consciousness was gone, replaced by a consciousness – a knowledge – of death and evil that instantly expressed itself in the physical dimension of life. But despite all this, the plain fact of immortality remained untouched, but in the same way that the signal that carries a TV programme remains in the air even after the set has been turned off.

With the Fall of Adam, the bad news is that we stopped receiving the programme. But we also began the process of repairing the receiving mechanism and getting it tuned in again. This correction, this tikkun, is our task for however many years it requires and however many lifetimes. When an individual human being truly completes this process, immortality is restored.

The Essential Zohar, Rav P. S. Berg

 

Mar 262013
 

I have flown up like the primeval ones,
I have become Khepri,
I have grown as a plant,
I have clad myself as a tortoise,
I am the essence of every God,
I am the seventh of those seven Uraei who came into being in the West,
Horus who makes the brightness with his person,
That God who was against Seth,
Thoth who was among you in that judgement of Him who presides over Letopolis together with the Souls of Heliopolis,
The flood which was between them.

I have come on the day when I appear in glory with the strides of the gods,
For I am Khons who subdued the Lords.
As for him who knows this pure spell,
It means going out into the day after death and being transformed at will,
Being in the suite of Wennefer
Being content with the food of Osiris,
Having invocation offerings,
Seeing the sun;
It means being hale on earth with Re and being vindicated with Osiris,
And nothing evil shall have power over him
A matter a million times true.

Spell 83 for being transformed into a Phoenix, The Egyptian Book of the Dead

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

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.

 

#

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.

#

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

 

 

Jun 172011
 

Late in life, Jung’s work with the experimental physicist Wolfgang Pauli encouraged him to take a few steps beyond the pale.

Jung and Paul came to believe that, in addition to the purely physical mechanism of atom knocking against atom, there is another network of connections that binds together events not physically connected – non-physical, causal connections brought about by mind.

Jung’s contemporary, the French anthropologist Henri Corbin, was researching the spiritual practices of the Sufis at this time. Corbin came to the conclusion that the Sufi adepts worked in concert and could communicate with one another in a realm of ‘objective imagination’. Jung coined the same phrase independently.

Later in life the materialistic explanations that Freud had been trying to force on to spiritual experiences also sprang back at him, and he became plagued by a sense of what he called the uncanny.  Freud wrote his essay on ‘The Uncanny’ when he was sixty-two. By thinking about what he feared most he was trying to stop it happening.

A few years earlier he had experienced the number sixty-two coming at him insistently – a hat check ticket, a hotel room number, a train seat number. It had seemed to him that the cosmos was trying to tell him something. Perhaps he would die at the age of sixty-two.

In the same essay he described the experience of walking round a maze of streets in an old Italian town and finding himself in the red light district. He took what he thought would be the most direct route out of this district, but soon found himself back in the middle of it. This seemed to happen no matter which direction he took.

The experience can only remind us of Francis Bacon. It was as if a maze were changing shape to keep the wanderer from finding the way out. As a result of these experiences Freud began to suspect that there might be some complicity between his psyche and the cosmos. Or perhaps the cosmos was manufacturing meanings independently of any human agency and, as it were, beaming them at him?

Jonathan Black, The Secret History of the World

May 272011
 

Here is the circle of science: ascending from the visible to the invisible in theory, and descending from the invisible to the visible in practice. It is the ancient symbol of the serpent which bites its tail.

Because the circle is closed – not in the sense of the circle’s dimension, since it can grow indefinitely, but rather in the sense that it is always will be a circle without opening (in contrast to the spiral, which is an “open circle”).

The forces of warmth, magnetism, electricity and nuclear forces are thus discovered – and a series of other forces, more hidden and still more subtle, can be discovered – but only forces are discovered, ie, the causes of mechanical movement. It is in that this circle is closed that it is why – without intervention from outside of it, such as that of Teilhard de Chardin – it is a prison and captivity for the spirit.

What is true of natural science is also true of personal or arbitrary magic. The latter proceeds exactly as the former – ascending in theory and descending in practice. Modern authors on magic are perfectly right in advancing the thesis that magic is a science and that it has nothing to do with miracles as such:

Magic is the study and practice of the control of Nature’s secert forces. It is a science – pure, or dangerous – like all sciences….(Papus).

We have to add here only that this is true, and also that “Nature’s secret forces” are secret only for a limited time, notably until their discovery by natural science – which simply discovers and renders controllable the “secret forces” of Nature one after the other. It is therefore only a question of time until the pursuit of magic and that of natural science coincide and become identical.

But, on the other hand, it is also true that the closed circle of science, which is a prison and captivity for the spirit, applies also to personal magic. Magic, in so far as it is a science – and it is one – has the same fate as science, ie, captivity in a closed circle. And when Papus says further on in the introduction to his Traite methodique de magie practique that, “Magic, we could say, is the materialism of the future knights of Christ….”

He admits with this statement the fact of the captivity of magic as such – in a closed circle of a single aspect of the world, which he names “materialism”. And he gives expression to his hope that in the future there will be an intervention from beyond this closed circle by future magicians (“knights of Christ”)…in other words, that future Teilhard de Chardins will do for magic what he has done for science: that they will open the closed circle and transform it into a spiral.

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter XVII, The Star

May 232011
 

A mystical act and a gnostic act ‘precede’ in eternity the act of creation as a magical act; this is followed by the activity of formation by the demiurge, or the demiurge hierarchies, who undertake the work of craftsmanship – work which is essentially that of executive or Hermetic-philosophical intelligence.

The classical Cabala furnishes us with a marvellous example of the peace possible between apparently rival doctrines. In its doctrine of ten Sephiroth, it teaches first the mystery of eternal mysticism – AIN-SOPH, the Unlimited. Then it expounds the gnostic doctrine of eternal emanations from the womb of the Divine, which precede – in ordine cognoscendi – the act of creation. They are the ideas of God within God, which precede the creation – the latter being a conscious act and impulsive or instinctive.

Then it speaks of pure creation or creation ex nihilo – the act of the magical projection of the ideas of the plan of creation, ie, the Sephiroth. This creative, magical act is followed – in ordine cognoscendi, always – by the activity of formation in which the beings of the spiritual hierarchies participate, including man. It is in this way that, according to the Cabbala, the world comes into being, that the world of facts or deeds known to us through experience becomes what it is.

Now, ‘olam ha’assiah, the world of facts, is preceded by ‘olam ha yetzirah‘, the world of formation or the demiurgic world; this is the product of ‘olam ha beriah‘, the world of creation or the magical world which is, in turn, the realisation of ‘olam ha atziluth‘, the world of emanations or the gnostic world, inseparate and inseparable from God, who in his true essence is the mystery of supreme mysticism – AIN-SOPH, the Unlimited.

It is therefore possible – and for us there is no doubt about it – to reconcile the diverse doctrines concerning the creation; it is only necessary to put each of them in its proper place, or to apply each to the plane which is proper to it. The Cabbala, through its doctrine of the Sephiroth, provides a wonderful proof that this is so.

Pantheism is true for the ‘world of emanations’, (olam ha atziluth), where there are only ideas – within God and inseparable from him; but theism is true when one leaves the domain of uncreated eternity to pass on to the creation, meaning the creation of the ancestors of archetypes of phenomena that we know through our experience. And demiurgism is true when we contemplate the world or plane of formation, or the evolution of beings with the aim of coming into conformity with their created prototypes.

But leaving aside the worlds or planes of formation, creation, emanation and divine-mystical essence, one can confine oneself solely to the plane of facts. Then naturalism becomes true – within the limits of this plane, taken in isolation.

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter II, The High Priestess

Mar 242011
 

One becomes conscious of the pure act of intelligence only by means of its reflection. We require an inner mirror in order to be conscious of the pure act. The breath of the Spirit – or the pure act of intelligence – is certainly an event, but it does not suffice, itself alone, for us to become conscious of it.  Con-sciousness is the result of two principles – the active, activating principle and the passive, reflecting principle.

In order to know from where the breath of the Spirit comes and where it goes, Water is required to reflect it: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God (John iii, 5).

Reintegrated consciousness must be born of Water and Spirit, after Water has once again become Virginal and Spirit has once again become divine Breath or the Holy Spirit

*

Christian yoga does not aspire directly to unity, but rather to the unity of two. This is very important for understanding the standpoint which one takes towards the infinitely serious problem of unity and duality. For this problem can open the door to truly divine mysteries and can also close them to us….for ever, perhaps, who knows? Everything depends on its comprehension.

We can decide in favour of monism and say to ourselves that there can be one sole essence, one sole being. Or we can decide – in view of considerable historical and personal experience – in favour of dualism and say to ourselves that there are two principles in the world: good and evil, spirit and matter, and that, entirely incomprehensible though this duality is at root, it must be admitted as an incontestable fact.

We can, moreover, decide in favour of a third point of view, namely that of love as the cosmic principle which presupposes duality and postulates its non-substantial but essential unity. These three points of view are found at the basis of the Vedanta and Spinozism (monism), Manichaeism and certain gnostic schools (dualism) and the Judaeo-Christian current (love).

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter II, The High Priestess

Mar 022011
 

“As you may perhaps already have grasped, the Salamanders are composed of the most subtle portions of the Sphere of Fire, fused together and organised by the action of the Universal Fire, of which I will discourse to you some day. It is called the Universal Fire because it is the inherent cause of every movement in Nature. Likewise the Sylphs are composed of the purest atoms of the Air, the Nymphs of the most subtle essences of the Water, and the Gnomes of the finest particles of the Earth.

Adam was closely related to these perfect creatures, for being created out of all that was purest in the four Elements, he combined in himself the perfections of these four races of Peoples and was their natural King. As you will learn later, however, the moment his sin had precipitated him into the dregs of the Elements, the harmony was disturbed and there could no longer be any relation between him, gross and impure as he had become, and these pure and subtle beings.

How remedy this evil? How restring the lute and recover that lost sovereignty? Oh Nature! Why art thou so little studied? Do you not understand, my Son, how easy Nature finds it to restore to man the estate which he has lost?”

Comte de Gabalais, Discourse II