Jul 312014
 

hebrew-mercy-graceThe Grade of Exempt Adept, associated with Chesed, is perfected when the power of the sphere of Mars, Geburah, has been drawn along the 19th path back to Chesed. In doing this one places oneself in Chesed, for the knowledge of the Great Arcanum, of the Secret of all spiritual activities, is not open to him who has risen no higher than the Grade of Major Adept. That is to say, the 19th Path is not open so long as we are no further along the Way of Return than Geburah, and the power from Geburah must be brought over from the side of Severity on the Tree of Life to the side of Mercy, by a process initiated from the point-of-view afforded by Chesed.

When all the desires of the seeker for light have been unified in the one desire to be a free, unobstructed vehicle for the manifestation of the cyclic activities of the cosmos, he has traversed the first path leading to the Grade of Exempt Adept, the path of the letter Kaph, corresponding to the Wheel of Fortune in the Tarot. After this, by a supreme effort of imagination, he sees behind the mechanistic expression of the Life-Power in the cosmic cycles the operation of a Living Will, and through the 19th Path he transmutes the activities of the serpent-power, and this transmutation is pictured in the Tarot by the woman taming the lion.

Tarot Card 11 - La Force (Strength)You will remember that lion (in Hebrew), the name of the zodiacal sign Leo, is the number 216, and that this is the number of Geburah, one of the names of the sphere of Mars. Note, too, that 216 is 9 by reduction, and 9 is the number of Teth, the letter corresponding to the 19th Path. 216 is also the number of [the Hebrew word for] Sight, the function assigned to the 15th path, and of wrath or excitement, which is the function of the 25th path, that of Probation or Trial. The path to which Sight is attributed is that of Aries, ruled by Mars. And the path to which excitement is attributed is that of Sagittarius. It thus becomes evident that all these [Hebrew] words – strength, the lion, Sight, and excitement, are related to the fiery power which we have learned to associate with the Mars-vibration.

This vibration, you will recall, is especially active in self-consciousness, and the feeling of strength which it gives is misinterpreted by people who have not progressed beyond self-consciousness. The misinterpretation arises from the illusion of separateness, which engenders the feeling of ‘myness’, and this feeling is the root of belief in personal will. This is why the Sephirah Geburah is said to represent personal will, which is merely the misunderstanding of the power of undeviating cosmic law in its manifestation through personal centers of expression.

The Major Adept still feels the illusion, although he has overcome the delusion caused by it. But the Exempt Adept, having in his union with  the One Self so identified himself with the cosmic memory that he never forgets his relation to the Sources of All, is almost wholly liberated from even the illusion. Almost, I say, because there are times when even he who perfectly remembers the Self (Chesed is the Sephirah of Memory) must identify himself with the relative states of being in order to serve, in order to perform the actions necessary to his part in the Great Work. And at such times he feels the illusion of separateness as much as anybody else.

Paul Foster Case, Esoteric Secrets of Meditation and Magic

Aug 092013
 

Ace of Wands_MarseilleThe Minor Arcana of the Tarot represent the way of ascent from consciousness belonging to the world of action (the phenomenal world) through the world of formation and the world of creation to the world of emanation. Thus, it is a matter of four degrees (including the summit) of ascent from the world of sensual and intellectual imagery which corresponds to pentacles, to the world (or degree) of destruction of this imagery – or the ‘wilderness’ – which corresponds to swords, so as to attain to that degree of spiritual poverty which is necessary to become a receptacle for revelation from above – which degree corresponds to cups. The summit is attained when the cup of consciousness which receives the revelation from above is transformed – by cooperating with revelatory action – into this latter. It then becomes revelatory activity itself, being actively united with the world of emanation. Then the degree of wands or scepters is attained, ie, that of pure creative activity.

Therefore the way begins in the world of coins or pentacles. This is the world of the imagery of facts, intellectual constructions and imagined ideals. Here consciousness surrounds itself with a world of images – n the one hand the memories of experiences, and on the other hand the formulae and schemes of the intellect, as well as those of moral imagination, which latter we call ‘ideals’. This world of images is neither reality nor illusion. It consists of values/images corresponding to reality and which are therefore ‘convertible’ into reality; for this reason coins are its symbol. For just as pieces of money are not themselves board, heating and lodging but can be converted into board, heating and lodging, so do memory images and the formulae and schemes of the intellect and moral imagination represent realities – being ‘worths’ that may be converted into reality.

Now, the world of coins – the world of images – has a twofold significance. It signifies, on the one hand, the wealth acquired by consciousness, and on the other hand it signifies the totality of that which must be renounced if consciousness wants to come to spiritual reality. Because in order to convert money into real things, ie in order to buy them, one has to pay. One has to become ‘poor in spirit’ in order to have the kingdom of heaven.

This payment, where one divests oneself of one’s wealth of spirit, is that of swords. Here, the values/images (or coins_ that one has struck through intellectual, moral and artistic efforts are destroyed, one after the other, in the same (Sephirothic) order in which they were formed. This can last an instant, an hour, or decades. With St Thomas Aquinas it took the time of a single ecstasy, whilst with Plato it seems that it was a slow process extending over several years. With respect to St Thomas, it was probably at the end of 1273 that he underwent the decisive ecstasy.

The ecstasy that St Thomas underwent persuaded him that all that h had written and taught was of little significance. This is a case of passing through the sphere of swords.

4-10Plato, as did St Thomas Aquinas, arrived at the ‘spiritual poverty’ which is necessary to become a ‘cup’ and ‘sceptre’ (or ‘wand’), ie to become a receptacle for the revelation of Being, and then to become an active cooperator – which means to say ‘initiated’ .

The ‘worlds’ or ‘spheres’ of pentacles (coins), swords, cups and wands correspond to the degrees of the traditional way of preparation, purification, illumination and perfection.

What one acquires through observation, study, reasoning and discipline constitutes the degree of preparation, or the world of coins.

This ‘world’ exposed to the action of the breath of the Real, constitutes the degree of purification, or the world of swords.

That which remains after this trial becomes the virtue or faculty of the soul to receive illumination from above. This is the degree of illumination, or the world of cups.

And, lastly, to the extent that the soul raises itself from receptivity to active cooperation with the Divine, it is admitted to the degree of perfection, or to the world of scepters or wands.

These are the things which can serve as a key to the Minor Arcana of the Tarot, for your work, dear Unknown Friend, on these Arcana.

Adieu, dear Unknown Friend.

Festival of the Holy Trinity, 21 May, 1967

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXII, The World

Oct 022011
 

The first Arcanum – the principle underlying all the other twenty-one Major Arcana of the Tarot –  is that of the rapport of personal effort and of spiritual reality.

It occupies the first place in the series because if one does not understand it (ie, take hold of it in cognitive and actual practice), one would not know what to do with all the other Arcana.

For it is the Magician who is called to reveal the practical method relating to all the Arcana. He is the “Arcanum of the Arcana”, in the sense that he reveals that which it is necessary to know and to will in order to enter the school of spiritual exercise whose totality comprises the game of Tarot, in orer to be able to derive some benefit therefrom.

In fact, the first and fundamental principle of esotericism (ie, of the way of experience of the reality of the spirit) can be rendered by the formula: Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light!

This counsel, or command, or even warning, however you wish to take it, is most serious; this is attested by its original source, namely the words of the Master Himself: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew, xi, 30)

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter I, The Magician

May 092011
 

We have spoken here of the Buddha-Avatar to come, because he will be the guide in the transformation of potential schizophrenic madness into the wisdom of the harmony of the two worlds and of their experience. He will be the example and living model of realisation of the Arcanum which occupies us.

For this reason he is represented as a Buddha in canonical Buddhist art not in a meditation posture with crossed legs, but rather seated as a European – this latter posture symbolises the synthesis of the principle of prayer and that of meditation.

And for this reason also, he is imagined in Indian ‘mythology’ (as an Avatar) as a giant with the head of a horse, ie, as a being with the human will of a giant and, at the same time, intellectuality placed completely in the service of revelation from above – the horse being the obedient servant of its rider.

Thus, he represents in prodigious measure three activities of human will: seeking, knocking and asking – conforming to the saying of the Master of all masters, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew vii, 7).

At the same time, he will not put forward personal opinions or reasonable hypotheses; for his intellectuality – his “horses head” – will be moved solely by revelation from above. Like the horse, it will be directed by the rider. Nothing arbitrary will issue forth. This is the Arcanum at work on the historical plane.

Concerning its application in the domain of the individual’s inner life, it is analogous to the work of spiritual alchemy which operates on the historical plane. This means to say that the individual soul begins initially with the experience of separation and opposition to the spiritual and intellectual elements within it, then advances to – or resigns itself to – parallelism, ie, a kind of ‘peaceful coexistence’ of these two elements within it.

Subsequently it arrives at cooperation between spirituality and intellectuality which, proving to be fruitful, eventually becomes the complete fusion of these two elements in a third element – the ‘philosopher’s stone’ of the spiritual alchemy of Hermeticism. The beginning of this final stage is announced by the fact that logic becomes transformed from formal logic (ie, general and abstract logic) – passing through the intermediary stage of ‘organic logic’ – into moral logic (ie, material and essential logic).

*

Moral logic, in contrast to formal logic and organic logic, operates with values instead of notions of grammar, mathematics or biological functions. Thus, if formal logic can go only so far towards the idea of God as to postulate the necessity of admitting a beginning in the chain of cause and effect – postulating a First Cause (primus motor) – and if organic logic, that of functions, cannot come further than postulating in the order of existing in the world of existence of God as the ordering principle – the ‘law of laws’ of the world – moral logic comes to the postulate that God is the ‘value of values’, that he is love.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXI, The Fool

Jan 082011
 

There are two: one wing holds him in contact with the divine understanding, and the other with divine memory/inspiration. The two wings are therefore related to the contemplative and creative aspects of God which, in their turn, correspond to the divine image and likeness in man of which  Genesis speaks.

The two Angelic wings are the Angel’s links with the eternal sabbath and the eternal creativity of God – or, in other words, with divine gnosis and divine magic. It is by means of the “gnostic” (or “left”) wing that the Angel is in contemplation of divine wisdom, and it is by means of the “magical” (or “right”) wing that he is active in his capacity as messenger or “Angel”.

This is the principle of polarity underlying the duality of the wings. The principle remains valid also for Angels – and for entities from other spiritual hierarchies – who have more than two wings (sixteen, for example). It will be the task of a future science of “Angelology” to grasp the reason or reasons for the plurality of wings of certain Angelic entities.

With respect to us, we have to restrict ourselves to a general explanation of the two wings of Angels, in reminding ourselves that it is a matter here of meditation on the fourteenth Arcanum of the Tarot, whose card represents an entity with two wings.

From tradition we know that there are also human beings endowed with wings….The astral and etheric wings of a human being signify a more-or-less advanced degree of recovery of the divine likeness in him. For certainly it was the lot of men before the original sin to have wings. He lost them subsequently. How are they recovered?

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIV Temperance

Nov 062010
 

“The taking of the poison Monkshood is an example of one illegitimate way into the Spiritual world: however, if the entry is complete, and the entrant is not an initiate, then there is no return.

“This is one reason – one reason among many – why the Schools keep their secrets from the common herd. You can enter the Spiritual world in a split second, if you want. The problem is alawys that of finding a way back.

“Just so, you can enter the world of the demons, if you are not too worried about returning to the Earth. But” – he grimaced – “I am reasonably confident that you would want to come back pretty quickly, if you caught sight of the demons.”

He paused, and perhaps because he was thinking of the dog which follows the Fool around in the Tarot card, he nodded towards us. “Have you ever been attacked by a wild animal?” He must have known what our answer would be.

“A dog,” we replied truthfully, “a mad dog.”

Mark Hedsel, The Zelator

Sep 232010
 

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Apr 212010
 

Matt Wingfield

Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light!

This counsel, or command, or even warning, however you wish to take it, is most serious; this is attested by its original source, namely the words of the Master Himself:

“My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew xi, 30)

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter I, The Magician