Sep 082012
 

The guardian Angel accompanies as a faithful ally the divine image in man, just as vicious inclinations have made their way into the human functional organism which was, before the Fall, the divine likeness. The guardian Angel undertakes the functions, destroyed by original sin, in the likeness, and fills the breach wrought by them. He substitutes himself for functions destroyed through the Fall.

As the prayer of the service of aspersion states it, in praying to God ‘to deign to send from heaven his holy Angel to guard, cherish, protect, visit and defend all those who are gathered together in this place’, the Angel acquits his charge in five ways: he guards, cherishes, protects, visits and defends. he is therefore a ‘flaming star’, a luminous pentagram, above man.

He guards memory, ie, the continuity of the past in the present, which is the preparation for the great future. it is the guardian Angel who takes care that there is a connection between the great ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’ of the human soul. He is a perpetual ‘memento’ with regard to the primordial likeness, with regard to the eternal mission assigned to the soul in the cosmic symphony, and with regard to the special room for the soul ‘in my Father’s house, where there are many rooms’ (John xiv, 2).

If it is necessary, the guardian Angel awakens recollections of the soul’s previous earthly lives, in order to establish continuity of endeavour – of the quest and aspiration of the soul from life to life – so that particular lives are not merely isolated episodes but constitute the stages of a single path towards one sole end.

The guardian Angel cherishes the endeavour, quest and aspiration of the soul engaged on this way. This means to say that he fills in the breaks in the psychic functional organism due to the disfigurement of the likeness, and makes up for its failings – given the soul’s good will towards it. For support never signifies substitution of the Angel’s will for that of man. The will remains free, always and everywhere. The guardian Angel never touches on man’s free will and resigns himself to await the decision or choice made in the inviolable sanctuary of free will – in order to lend his assistance immediately if it is just, or to remain a passive observer reduced alone to prayer if it is not.

Just as the guardian Angel is sometimes constrained not to participate in the soul’s activity – this activity not being in accord with the divine image of the soul – so also he can sometimes take a greater part in human activity than usual – this activity being of a nature not simply permitted but also called for. Then the guardian Angel descends from the point of his ordinary post into the domain of human activity. He then visits the human being.

Such visits of the guardian Angel do sometimes take place – when their possibility and necessity coincide. But what the guardian Angel does unceasingly is to protect the human being. Here he makes up for the failings of the human senses, which are deprived of their clairvoyance from before the original sin. He is the clairvoyant helping the non-clairvoyant with respect to psychic and physical temptations and dangers. He warns, informs and helps to appreciate. Nevertheless, what he never does is suppress the occasions themselves of temptation. For, as St Anthony the Great said, ‘without temptation there is no spiritual progress’. Temptation belongs as an integral part to the exercise of human free will, which is inviolable – both for an Angel and for a demon.

With respect to the last of the five functions of the guardian Angel concerning man, namely his defence, it differs from the others in that it is turned above, towards heaven, and is no longer directed below or horizontally. In dealing with the question of the defence that the guardian Angel accords to his protege, we approach the holy mystery of the very heart of the guardian Angel. For the nature of Angelic love is revealed here, of which the following are some inclinations…

Meditations on the Tarot, unknown author, Letter XIV,  Temperance

 

 

Aug 182011
 

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

Jul 152011
 

The tragic ‘almost’ is a poignant commonplace of epic literature. The Iliad tells how the Trojan War was almost brought to a close by a single combat between Paris and Menelaos. How many lives would have been spared had not Apollo intervened, and for the most petty of reasons!

Paradise Lost shows us Satan seriously considering whether he is making a huge mistake by initiating the temptation in the garden….but, alas, he decides to go ahead with it after all. But nowhere is this motif more forcefully present than in the biblical narrative.

Since the Fall of Adam humanity has come close to ultimate fulfillment and redemption on several occasions. Even now just one small righteous action may be all that separates us from reentering Eden. Noah certainly had his chance to restore humanity. The Flood was like a huge mikveh – a ritual bath for all creation, in which evil was subjected to a series of irresistible hot and cold ‘washing cycles’.

Rabbi Yehuda said that in Gehenom the wicked are punished with water for six months and with fire for six months. Why, during the flood were they punished only by water for twelve months? Six months should have been enough. Rabbi Yosi told him that they were sentenced to both punishments: water and fire. They water that fell upon them from above was cold as snow. And they were also punished by fire because the water that spouted from the deep was scalding.

Thus, they were punished for twelve months, receiving the full sentence of Gehenom. This continued until they were completely removed from the face of the world. During this time, Noah was hidden in the ark. As a result, the Angel of Darkness did not approach him, and the ark roamed upon the waters, as it is written: “And they bore up the ark, and it was lifted above the Earth.” (Genesis 7:17), The Zohar, Vol. 2, pp. 388-390.

But when at last the waters had receded, Noah made a tragic mistake. It was, in fact, the same mistake Adam had made, and it came about in much the same way. Popular belief to the contrary, the forbidden fruit that tempted Adam and Eve was not an apple. it was a grape.

Come and behold: Adam’s wife pressed him grapes and bought death upon him, Israel, and the whole world. When Noah came upon these grapes, he was not well guarded, as it is written: “He drank of the wine, and was drunk; and he was uncovered within his tent.:” (Genesis 9:21)

After the Deluge: Temperance, The Essential Zohar, Rav P S Berg

Sep 262010
 

There is certainly something added to man’s functional organism to play in it the role of a counterweight to the leverage of vicious inclinations and habit which have become established since the primordial Fall. This is the guardian Angel.

The guardian Angel accompanies as a faithful ally the divine image in man, just as vicious inclinations have made their way into the human functional organism which was, before the Fall, the divine likeness. The guardian Angel undertakes the functions, destroyed by original sin, in the likeness, and fills the breach wrought by them. He substitutes himself for functions destroyed through the Fall.

In praying to God “to deign to send from heaven his holy Angel to guard, cherish, protect, visit and defend all those who are gathered together in this place,” the Angel acquits his charge in five ways:¬† he guards, cherishes, protects, visits and defends. He is therefore a “flaming star”, a luminous pentagram, above man.

He guards memory, ie, the continuity of the great past in the present, which is the preparation for the great future. It is the guardian Angel who takes care that there is a connection between the great “yesterday, today and tomorrow” of the human soul. He is a perpetual “memento” with regard to the primordial likeness, with regard to the eternal mission assigned to the soul in the cosmic symphony, and with regard to the special room for the soul “in my Father’s house, where there are many rooms” (John xiv, 2).

If it is necessary, the guardian Angel awakens recollections of the soul’s previous earthly lives, in order to establish continuity of endeavour – of the quest and aspiration of the soul from life to life – so that particular lives are not merely isolated episodes but constitute the stages of a single path towards one sole end.

The guardian angel cherishes the endeavour, quest and aspiration of the soul engaged on this way. This means to say that he fills in the breaks in the psychic functional organism due to the disfigurement of the likeness, and makes up for it failings – given the soul’s good will towards it. For support never signifies substitution of the Angel’s will for that of man. The will remains free, always and everywhere. The guardian Angel never touches on man’s free will and resigns himself to await the decision or choice made in the inviolable sanctuary of free will – in order to lend his assistance immediately if it is just, or to remain a passive observer reduced alone to prayer if it is not.

Just as the guardian Angel is sometimes constrained not to participate in the soul’s activity – this activity not being in accord with the divine image of the soul – so also he can sometimes take a greater part in human activity than usual – this activity being of a nature not simply permitted but also called for. Then the guardian Angel descends from the point of the ordinary post into the domain of human activity. He then visits the human being.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIV, Temperance

Aug 122010
 

The guardian Angel accompanies as a faithful ally the divine image in man….the Angel acquits his charge in five ways: he guards, cherishes, protects, visits and defends. He is, therefore, a “flaming star”, a luminous pentagram, above man.

He guards memory, ie, the continuity of the great past in the present, which is the preparation for the great future. It is the guardian Angel who takes care that there is a connection between the great “yesterday, today and tomorrow” of the human soul. He is a perpetual “memento” with regard to the primordial likeness, and with regard to the special room for the soul “in my Father’s house, where there are many rooms.” (John xiv, 2).

If it is necessary, the guardian Angel awakens recollections of the soul’s previous earthly lives, in order to establish continuity of endeavour – of the quest and aspiration of the soul from life to life – so that particular lives are not merely isolated episodes but constitute the stages of a single path towards one sole end.

The guardian Angel cherishes the endeavour, quest and aspiration of the soul engaged on this way [but] support never signifies substitution of the Angel’s will for that of man. The will remains free, always and everywhere.

Just as the guardian Angel is sometimes constrained not to participate in the soul’s activity – this activity not being in accord with the divine image of the soul – so also can he sometimes take a greater part in human activity than usual – this activity being of a nature not simply permitted but also called for. Then the guardian Angel descends from the point of his ordinary post into the domain of human activity. He then visits the human being.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIV, Temperance

Jul 102010
 

it is said that Angels are in perpetual contemplation of God. They are, if one understands by contemplation the state of being in  permanent contact with the Holy Trinity and of being blinded by its light. It is the ‘dark contemplation’ of which St John of the Cross spoke which is that of the Angels. They do not see God; they are united to him substantially.

With respect to guardian Angels, neither do they see one another, nor do they see entities of the other hierarchies – Archangels, Principalities, Powers, Virtues, Dominions, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim. For the presence of the transcendental divine light in them envelops in darkness their perception of the intermediary spheres between God and mankind.

It is the latter sphere that they see, or rather, the ‘spheres’ of their proteges. It is here that they make use of this clairvoyance, which the human being – who has lost it – has need of for the protection it affords. It is here also that the Angels display the geniality of synthetic and profound understanding – without parallel – which has merited them, on the part of human beings, with the attribute of ‘omniscience’.

They are not omniscient, but the facility with which they orientate themselves in human things and grasp at them – at contact with which their ‘dark’ divine wisdom becomes resplendent – has so impressed human beings who have had the experience of consciously meeting with them that they have been led to consider them as omniscient. It is to this impression that has been gained of Angels that the word ‘genius’ owes its original meaning, namely that of superhuman intelligence.

But – and this is the tragic side of Angelic existence – this geniality shows up only when the human being has need of it, when he makes room for the flashing forth of its illumination. The Angel depends on man in his creative activity. If the human being does not ask for it, if he turns away from him, the Angel has no motive for creative activity.

He can then fall into a state of consciousness where all his creative geniality remains in potential and does not manifest. It is a state of vegetation or ‘twilight existence’, comparable to sleep from the human point of view. An Angel who has nothing to exist for is a tragedy in the spiritual world.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIV, Temperance