Jul 172011
 

You must take things by storm: you must thrust intelligence outside itself by an act of will (Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution)

This is the essence of ‘Bergsonian yoga”, ie, the practical method of making intelligence unite itself with instinct on the principle of sympathy, so that the latter can extend its subject matter and reflect upon itself – or, in other words, so as to develop intuition.

Now, the endeavour that Bergson had in mind is what the Cabbala calls KAVANA, and the result of this endeavour – that Bergson calls “intuition” – is called DAATH. KAVANA is profound meditation, ie, the endeavour of intelligence which aims at plunging into the depths of darkness surrounding it.

KAVANA differs essentially from Cartesian meditation, where it is a matter notably of the concentration of the clarity of intelligence itself within itself, and also from Kantian meditation, where intelligence strives to rise above itself by making itself the object of observation, analysis and criticism.

Profound meditation or KAVANA is neither only concentration of the light of intelligence with a view to intensification of its clarity, nor is it only the endeavour of intelligence to arrive at knowledge of itself. Profound meditation is the endeavour of intelligence to probe the dark depths which surround it and to which it finds access by means of sympathy, instead of through the exercise of its own logical, analytical and critical faculties.

Speaking in terms of the Cabbala, it is therefore a matter of the marriage of the principle of intelligence – the Sephirah BINAH – and the principle of wisdom – the Sephirah CHOKMAH – in the ‘middle pillar’ of the Sephiroth Tree. DAATH is therefore the state of consciousness that the church calls ‘intellect illumined by grace’ (intellectus gratia illuminatus) – grace being the principle actualising within us latent knowledge of the ‘image and likeness of God’, and intellect being ‘Bergsonian’ intelligence which unites with and understands things that it would never have understood from within itself.

It is therefore ‘illumined’.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XVIII, The Moon

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