Without making me realize
My soul’s anguished history,
You slip into my house at night,
And while I am sleeping,
You silently carry off
All my suffering and sordid past
In Your beautiful
Hafiz, Your Beautiful Hands
The scientific method is very good a knowing some things, but it can be an impediment to knowing other things. Suppose, for instance, a gentleman is attracted to a certain lady and wishes to become better acquainted with her. Can he achieve this by measuring her, taking her temperature and subjecting her to a CAT scan? Not only will these operations fail to tell him what he really wants to know, but they are likely to so annoy the object of his inquiry that she stops returning his calls.
What he really wishes to know – the intimate secrets of her body and soul – can only be learned if he ceases to be objective. She will entrust her secrets to him only if he displays a clear bias in her favour. And the more exclusive his knowledge of her – that is, the less it can be confirmed by any observer besides himself – the more precious it is to him. The alchemist would argue that all natural phenomena have something in common with the lady.
They unfold some of their secrets to objective, scientific inquiry while bestowing others only on the subjective observer. The soul of a thing – whether animal, vegetable, or mineral – reveals itself only in active relationship to another soul.
Catherine MacCoun, On Becoming an Alchemist
As soon as dusk fell the witness peered into an antiquated telescope positioned by Mysteries’ upper-back window and focused it on the perfect half-moon above the star-crossed landscape.
The portents were all there; love really was in the air.
For starters, Mars had just moved into a visually stunning conjunction with Aphrodite’s blue-white ball of ferocious energy, as the shyly radiant moon made up the third part of a most compelling, cosmic love-triangle.
Mercury hovered expectantly, waiting for the precise moment to convey his timeless message to the lovers and their watchers.
The Day of Transformation was truly dawning and the witness could only wonder if the consciousness of the human race was strong enough to survive the impact. Would the collective mind be blown – short-circuited by the influx of cosmic energy – or would humanity rise to the occasion by using it to accelerate a collective metamorphosis into a higher dimension?
*William Butler Yeats, The Cap and Bells
It wasn’t the flickering light in the upper storey window that drew the Watcher’s attention, for many lights vied for his attention that evening. It was a melody drifting upwards through the gradually darkening sky. A rose-gold sun set the western horizon alight as the lone figure made slow, wide circles in the radiant atmosphere.
Drawn by her irresistible presence below, he descended to the place where she now dwelt. The flame of a candle within licked gently at the surrounding air and a heady scent was carried up to him with the rising music. Deeply he inspired, considering the soul within. She was stretched like a cat upon the bed, with an open book face-down beside her on the pillow. His eye was now fixed.
One golden glance of what should be.
A powerful gust of wind blew the window open and she jumped out of her skin, shaken from her hazy reverie by the sudden noise and rush of cool air. Moving like quicksilver he silently slipped inside, permeating the chamber with a magnificent aura, the robe of divine beauty. He watched as her eyes slowly scanned the space, seeking what or whomsoever had electrified the ether, almost fully aware of the almost unexpected arrival of the thrice-descended master.
With curious concentration she listened to the voice entering her room via the radio that now seemed remarkably significant. A drama was set to unfold, of that she could be sure. Doubtless there was a kind of magic taking place right there and then, with her at the centre of its endlessly opening and closing circle. Luscious chords swelled like the rising ocean, sweeping over her body in sensuous waves. The lost history of time unfolded in his fathomless mind.
She was wearing gold-coloured sandals – shoes that were a gift from her father – and a midnight blue dress. Around her wrist was a bracelet full of charms and with his bright, ancient eyes, he saw that the necklace at her throat was made from the stuff of magic, a gift from her mystery-loving mother.
Once again he had challenged the doors of time to reach her and the wait had seemed an eternity. 2,628 years had passed since she had last been this close to him. On that occasion the moon had been perfectly halved by the shadow of the Earth. Jupiter, then, was at the same point in its orbit as it would be in precisely three and a half minutes that self-same night.
He looked over his shoulder at the gigantic sphere, which slowly turned through the expanding cosmos with an intricately complex, haunting melody. A ray of its light fell upon her in that moment and the ageless diamond of her soul began to dissolve in his mercurial presence.
One shaft of light that showed the way
A sense of fervent devotion rose up inside her like the flames of a secret fire as he stretched out his hands to touch her outspread hair.
This flame that burns inside of me is here in secret harmonies
She had dreams; he could see every colour of every scene.
One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal
With a silent whisper he reminded her of the truth:
No mortal man can win this day.
He drew a flickering moment of eternity into the infinite space between them and exhaled into her parted lips.
The radio crackled and grew fainter, framing the esoteric silence like a braid of wheat, magnetising all background interference until the air grew taut as a lens, magnifying live reactions as if they were in a scene from a lyric master’s play.
The spiritual history of Christianity is the history of successive resurrections of that which is valuable from the past, worthy of eternity. It is the history of the magic of love reviving the dead. It was thus that Platonism became resuscitated and will go on living for ever – thanks to the vivifying breath of he who is the resurrection and the life (“Ego sum resurrectio et vita” – John xi, 25). It is thus that Aristotelianism will participate in eternal life. And it is thus that Hermeticism, also, will live until the end of the world and, perhaps, beyond the end of the world.
Moses and the prophets will live on for ever, for they have acquired their place in the eternal constellation of the Word of resurrection and life. The magical poetry and songs of Orpheus will be resuscitated and will live for all eternity as colour and sound of the Word of resurrection and life. The magic of Zarathustra’s mages will be revived and will live as the eternal human endeavour of aspiration towards light and life. The truths revealed by Krishna will join the retinue of the ‘recalled to eternal life’. The ancient cosmic revelations of the Rishis will live again and will awaken in humanity anew a sense for the marvels of the ‘blue, white and gilded….’
All these souls of mankind’s spiritual history will be resuscitated, ie, will be called to join the work of the Word that became flesh, that died and rose again from the dead – so that the truth of the promise – “I have come so that nothing should be lost but that all should have eternal life” (John, vi, 38 – 40) – will be accomplished.
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VIII, Justice
The ‘gift of tears’ was always considered by the masters of Christian spirituality as a grace from the Holy Spirit, for it is thanks to this gift that the soul surpasses itself and ascends to a degree of intensity of life which is certainly above that to which it is accustomed.
Now, the ‘gift of tears’ is a comparatively recent spiritual phenomenon in the history of human spirituality. In the ancient world one wept only ritually, ie through verbal lamentations and through prescribed gestures of mourning or grief, and it was amongst the chosen people, Israel, that real weeping began.
It was as a manifestation of the share that the chosen people had in the mission of preparing for the coming of Christ – who wept at the time of Lazarus’ resuscitation and who sweated sweat and blood during the night in the Garden of Olives – that real weeping came to have its rudimentary origin from the womb of this people. And to this present day the Jews preserve, cultivate and respect the ‘gift of tears’. In fact, every revelation in the narrative of the Zohar is preceded or accompanied by the weeping of the one who had it and who comes to share it with the others.
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter II, The High Priestess
this trembling heart
like a magnetized needle
of a compass,
a splayed, obsidian lotus
in a sea of fire
simply returns again
and mysteriously again
to where your soul resides ,
to the breathing star dust
and tender flesh
which temporarily hold
the flowering river
of who you are.
There are no edges to my loving now.
You have heard it said that there is a window
that opens from one mind to another.
But if there is no wall, there is no need
for fitting the window, or the latch.
We take long trips.
We puzzle over the meaning of a painting or a book,
when what we are wanting to see and understand in this world,
we are that.
Does sunset sometimes look like the sun is coming up?
Do you know what a faithful love is like?
You are crying. You say you have burned yourself.
But can you think of anyone who is not hazy with smoke?
Daylight, full of small dancing particles,
and the one great turning,
our souls are dancing with you.
Without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?
They try to say what you are, spiritual or sexual.
They wonder about Solomon and all his wives.
In the body of this world, they say,
there is a soul, and you are that.
But we have ways within each other
that will never be said by anyone.
This human shape is a ghost
made of distraction and pain.
Sometimes pure light, sometimes cruel,
trying wildly to open,
this image so tightly held within itself.
The Sufi opens his hand to the universe
and gives away each instant, free.
Unlike someone on the street who begs for money to survive,
a dervish begs to give you his life.
can he or she know what union is.
That descends only into emptiness.
A lie does not change to truth
with just talking about it.
Soul of this world,
no life, no world remain,
no beautiful men and women longing.
Only this ancient love
circling the holy black stone of nothing,
where the lover is the love,
the horizon and everything within it.
It may be sometimes noisy in the school of love,
but there is never any distinguishing past from present.
No judge decides a precedent here.
In matters of love, judges cannot speak.
Rumi, Ursa Major: The Great Bear, the Big Dipper
You spend vast trouble to aid your foes. You cut from a spirit its bodily life. You punish vengefully the erring. You falsely arrogate to yourselves the right law divine to shed human blood. You err, and know not that the spirits you so hurt shall in their turn avenge themselves upon you. You have yet to learn the earliest principles of that Divine tenderness and pity which labours ever through us to rescue the debased spirit, to raise it from the depths of sin and passion, and to elevate it to purity and goodness.
You know naught of God when you do such deeds. You have framed for yourselves a God whose acts accord with your own instincts. You have fabled that He sits on high, careless of His creatures, and jealous only of His own power and honour. You have fabricated a monster who delights to harm, and kill, and torture: a God who rejoices in inflicting punishment bitter, unending, unmitigable. You have imagined such a God, and have put into His mouth words which He never knew, and laws which His loving heart would disown.
God – our Good Good, Loving, Tender, Pitiful – delighting in punishing with cruel hand His ignorant erring sons! Base fable! Base and foolish fancy, produced of man’s cruel heart, of man’s rude and undeveloped mind. There is no such God! There is none. He has no place with us: none, save in man’s degraded mind.
Great Father! Reveal Thyself to these blind wanderers, and teach them of Thyself. Tell them that they dream bad dreams of Thee, that they know Thee not, nor can know till they unlearn their ignorant conceptions of Thy Nature and Thy Love.
Yes, friend, your jails and your legalised murder, the whole tenor of your dealings with criminals, are based on error and ignorance.
Your wars and your wholesale murderings are even more fearful. You settle your differences with your neighbours, who should be your friends, by arraying against each other masses of spirits – we see not the body; we care only for the spirit temporarily clothed with those human atoms – and those spirits you excite to full pitch of rage and fury, and so you launch them, rudely severed from their earth-bodies, into spirit life. You inflame their passions, and give them full vent. Vengeful, debased, cruel, earth-bound spirits throng around your earth-sphere, and incite the debased who are still in the body to deeds of cruelty and lust and sin. And this for the satisfying of ambition, for a passion fancy, for an idle princely whim, for lack of something else to occupy a king.
Ah! friend, you have much, very much to learn: and you will learn it by the sad and bitter experience of undoing here – after that which you have now done. You must learn the golden lesson, that Pity and Love are truer wisdom than vengeance and vindictive punishment; that were the Great God to deal with us as you deal with your fellows, and as you have falsely fabled that He will, you would be justly sent to your own imagined hell. You must know of God, and of us, and of yourselves, ere you can progress and do our work instead of our adversaries’……
…..turn to the progressive souls who will receive the teaching of wisdom: speak to them the message of Divine truth that shall regenerate and elevate the world: and for the blind ones, pray that when their eyes are opened, they may not despair at the sight which they shall see.
William Stainton Moses, Spirit Teachings
Reincarnation: An immense and subtle subject. Very few of those now here are in full incarnation; that is to say, the Ego sends down a different ray from itself, one at a time, for the gaining of discipline and experience. It is for this reason that memories of past lives on earth are so very difficult to recover. Ultimately, the Ego absorbs all its rays, and then when the individual’s evolution on this planet is nearing completion sends down into incarnation its completed soul as a single entity.
At least thirty per cent, probably more, of those now on earth are not yet even individualised, being still parts of a group soul. There is no fixed standard by which the umber of incarnations can be gauged, and this number varies in different cases, largely in accordance with the state of each Ego’s development before the present twenty five thousand year round of evolution began.
One who has started seriously on the path of selfless service can call down from the Ego whichever particular rays are needed for the work in hand.
Most people hate the idea that the complete Entity does not incarnate until many separate sections have experienced a series of earthly lives. Those who in a material sense feel complete are the more likely to cut themselves off from communion with their Mother soul. Yet many have the urge to seek out and follow a ‘teacher’, one who is, like themselves, in incarnation. I think it is in Matthew (ch 23) that Jesus roundly exhorts his followers to ‘call no man your father upon the earth….neither be ye called masters’ (or teacher, in some modern versions of the NT). And is all this hunting of the Guru more reprehensible than the flitting from medium to medium, intent on the same quest?
‘Seek and ye shall find’ should be interpreted almost exclusively as a seeking within, that is, a strengthening of the link between one’s incarnated self and one’s whole self; through which a direct road is opened between man and his Creator.
Wellesley Tudor Pole, Letters to Rosamond Lehmann