“It is such a mysterious place, the land of tears.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
All were attentive to the godlike man,
When from his lofty couch he thus began:
Meantime the rapid heav’ns roll’d down the light,
And on the shaded ocean rush’d the night;
But anxious cares already seiz’d the queen:
She fed within her veins a flame unseen;
The hero’s valour, acts, and birth inspire
Her soul with love, and fan the secret fire.
His words, his looks, imprinted in her heart:
“He who had my vows shall ever have;
For, whom I lov’d on earth, I worship in the grave”
“O dearer than the vital air I breathe,
Will you to grief your blooming years bequeath
Think you these tears, this pompous train of woe,
Are known or valued by the ghosts below?”
still the fatal dart sticks in her side, and rankles in her heart.
He tells it o’er and o’er; but still in vain,
For still she begs to hear it once again.
The hearer on the speaker’s mouth depends,
And thus the tragic story never ends.
Himself, meantime, the softest hours would choose,
Before the love-sick lady heard the news;
And move her tender mind, by slow degrees,
To suffer what the sov’reign pow’r decrees:
is the death of a despairing queen
Not worth preventing, tho’ too well foreseen?
“See whom you fly! am I the foe you shun?
Now, by those holy vows, so late begun,
By this right hand, (since I have nothing more
To challenge, but the faith you gave before;)
For you alone I suffer in my fame,
Bereft of honour, and expos’d to shame.
Justice is fled, and Truth is now no more!
I sav’d the shipwreck’d exile on my shore;
With needful food his hungry Trojans fed;
I took the traitor to my throne and bed:
Fool that I was—— ’tis little to repeat
The rest, I stor’d and rigg’d his ruin’d fleet”.
All-pow’rful Love! what changes canst thou cause
In human hearts, subjected to thy laws!
Once more her haughty soul the tyrant bends:
To pray’rs and mean submissions she descends.
No female arts or aids she left untried,
Nor counsels unexplor’d, before she died.
“A short delay is all I ask him now;
A pause of grief, an interval from woe,
Till my soft soul be temper’d to sustain
Accustom’d sorrows, and inur’d to pain”.
Thus Hermes in the dream; then took his flight
Aloft in air unseen, and mix’d with night.
Downward the various goddess took her flight,
And drew a thousand colours from the light;
Then stood above the dying lover’s head,
And said: “I thus devote thee to the dead.
This off’ring to th’ infernal gods I bear.”
Thus while she spoke, she cut the fatal hair:
The struggling soul was loos’d, and life dissolv’d in air.
Virgil, from The Aeneid, Book IV
But I determined this with myself that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, bu the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.
For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part; that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also; for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ. Lest Satan should not get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices. Furthermore, when I came to Tro-as to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord. I had no rest in my Spirit, because I found not Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumpth in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish. To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
2 Corinthians 2, St Paul
I am the stag of seven tines.
Over the flooded world
I am borne by the wind.
I descend in tears like dew, I lie glittering,
I fly aloft like a griffon to my nest on the cliff,
I bloom among the loveliest flowers,
I am both the oak and the lightning that blasts it.
I embolden the spearman,
I teach the councillors their wisdom,
I inspire the poets,
I rove the hills like a ravening boar,
I roar like the winter sea,
I return again like the receding wave.
Who but I can unfold the secrets of the unhewn dolmen?
Romance of Taliesin, Robert Graves
The much-lamented loss of Pros Theon had abruptly ended a few short minutes after its owner entered the bathroom, where it was discovered at the bottom of a towering stack of bathroom-reading material and joyfully rescued by its ecstatic owner.
Tremendously relieved, twelve years of life added back on, the Master placed Pros Theon on the desk in the study with a great sense of ceremony, lit an ancient lamp and turned to the penultimate section:
Transformatio Dies (The Days of Transformation)
Translating and interpreting the elaborate text was a mission that took every effort of will and imagination; the fruits of this fabled tome being rare and exotic indeed.
After 23 meticulously strung-together minutes, the Master – who had a surprisingly short attention span for one inclined to meditation – looked up from the text and out of the window for inspiration, directly onto the swaying treetops. Perchance, there was sitting a bird of extraordinary magnitude and power and in that same instant a piercing set of eyes imparted the truth – a reminder – with almost unfathomable simplicity:
‘Forwards backwards; time is taking
Certain steps through every section.
Herein find the secret waiting:
Future from the past; reflection.
Soaring Eagle spread his massive wings and flew towards the window, sight locked like magnetic iron onto the fixated Master, who felt a heavenly upsurge of pure, unadulterated joy and ran in the eagle’s direction, having reverted back to childhood in a twinkling of the eye. In complete innocence the Master was able to grasp one of the bird’s great tail feathers and later attach it to the sun-tinted dream catcher. More memories of Halcyon Days would be captured by this than by all of the other feathers combined.
Twilight fell like whispers of an echo bade by Eros. Venus – like the bloom –transpired, with stars like smelted teardrops.
Vision augments experience; inspiration augments knowledge just as it does understanding; and intuition is the metamorphosis and growth no longer of what one experiences and understands, but rather of what one is. Through intuition one becomes another, through inspiration one apprehends new ways of thinking, feeling and acting, and through vision one’s domain of experience is enlarged – one has a revelation of new facts in accessible to the senses and to intellectual invention.
In practice it is not so that vision, inspiration and intuition are successive stages following the order – vision, inspiration, intuition. For there are those on the spiritual path who have only the experience of intuition, and still others who are only inspired, without ever having visions. But whatever the kind of mode of spiritual experience may be, at the final count it is always a matter of becoming, ie, intuition.
Thus one can say that in principle vision and inspiration are only means for arriving at intuition. Now, intuition takes place in the blood, inspiration in tears and vision in sweat. For an authentic vision always entails an increase of effort in order to bear it, in order to remain upright in the face of it. Vision has a weight, sometimes overwhelming, which demands a great effort on the part of the soul in order not to give way under the weight of that vision.
Authentic inspiration always entails an inner upheaval. It pierces the soul like an arrow in wounding it and in making it experience that profound emotion which is a synthesis of sorrow and joy. The symbol of the Rose Cross – a cross from the center of which a rose blossoms out – renders the essence of the experience of inspiration in the best way I know. The Rose Cross expresses the mystery of tears, ie, that of inspiration, with force and clarity. It portrays the joy of sorrow and the sorrow of joy, which together comprise inspiration.
With respect to intuition, it is no longer a matter either of the weight of riches or of the romance of the engagement of the Rose and the Cross, but rather of consummating the marriage of life and death. What lives, thereby dies; and what dies, thereby is reborn. Thereby blood is mingled with the Blood and is transformed alchemically from the ‘fluid of separation’ into the ‘fluid of union’.
There are three ways of ‘seeing’ the Cross: the Crucifix, the Rose Cross, and the Gilded Cross bearing a rose of silver. The Crucifix is the greatest treasure of vision. It is the vision of divine and human love. The black Cross with a rose blossoming from it is the treasure of inspiration. This is divine and human love speaking in the soul. The Gilded Cross bearing a rose of silver is the treasure of intuition. This is love transforming the soul.
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIV, Temperance
‘‘Here’s the truth.’ He thinks in silence:
‘Now I comprehend my story.
Memories of the tears of Isis
Come and thus reveal my glory.
‘‘More than all the Gods of Greece
Could muster. Pales the golden fleece;
And yet that rogue – the Lord of tricks –
Has caught me in a spell of Nyx.
‘‘Something must rejoin the fragments
Here in time of Egypt’s ruler.
He’ll release the captured psyche
With a force that’s unifying.’