Sep 212010
 

The Card, “The Pope” puts us in the presence of the act of benediction. It is essential to have this in mind when one undertakes the interpretation not only of the structure of the whole Card but also of each of its particular elements.

One should therefore never lose from sight that in the first place it is a matter of benediction and everything associated with it – no matter who the Pope may be or who the acolytes kneeling before him are, and no matter what the two columns behind the Pope signify, and no matter what his tiara and the triple cross he is holding symbolise.

What is benediction? What is its source and its effect? Who has the authority to bestow benediction? What role does it play in the spiritual life of humanity?

Now, benediction is more than a simple good wish made for others; it is also more than a magical impress of personal thought and will upon others. It is the putting into action of divine power transcending the individual thought and will of the one who is blessed as well as the one who is pronouncing the blessing. In other words, it is a sacerdotal act.

The two sides of the Cabbala – the “right” side and the “left” side – and the two columns of the Sephiroth Tree, the pillar of Mercy and that of Severity, and similarly the two pillars of the Temple of Solomon, Jachin and Boaz, correspond exactly the the two columns of prayer and benediction on this Card. Because it is Severity which stimulates prayer and it is Mercy which blesses.

the venous “blue blood” of Boaz ascends and the arterial “red blood” of Jachin descends. The “red blood” bears the vivifying benediction of oxygen; the “blue blood” rids the organism of the “severity” of carbonic acid. It is the same in the spiritual life. Spiritual asphyxia menaces he who does not practise some form of prayer; he who practises it receives vivifying benediction in some form. The two columns therefore have an essentially practical significance – as practically spiritually as rerspiration is for the life of the organism.

Thus, the first practical teaching of the fifth Arcanum – for the Major Arcana of the Tarot are spiritual exercises – relates to spiritual respiration.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter V, The Pope

Jul 212010
 

The posts of Emperor and Pope are realities beyond as well as on this side of the threshold which separates ‘day’ and ‘night’. And the Pope of the fifth card is the guardian of this threshold. He is seated between the two pillars – the pillar of day or prayer and the pillar of night or benediction.

The Emperor of the fourth card is the master of the day and the guardian of the blood or quintessence of the nocturnal reality of the day. The Pope is the guardian of respiration or of the reality of the relationship between day and night. That which he guards is the equilibrium between day and night, between human effort and divine grace. His post is founded on primordial cosmic deeds. Thus the first book of Moses says:

….and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. (Genesis i, 4 – 5).

And the act of separation of the intelligible from the mysterious signifies at the same time the establishing of cosmic respiration, which is the analogy of ‘the Spirit of God moving above the face of the waters.’ For the divine breath (ruach ‘elohim) above the profoundness of peace (‘the waters’ –  it is this which is the psychological as well as th e cosmic reality of nirvana) is the divine prototype of respiration.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter V, The Pope

Jul 212010
 

The Buddha recognised and at the same time denied the fact of reincarnation. He recognised it as fact and he denied it as ideal. Because facts are transitiory; they come and go.

There was a time when there was no reincarnation; there will be a time when it will no longer be. Reincarnation commenced only after the Fall and it will cease with Reintegration. It is therefore not eternal, and therefore it is not an ideal.

There are therefore two truths: the one is actual and temporal and the other ideal or eternal. The first is founded on the logic of facts; the other on moral logic. Now, Psalm 85 designates actual truth (emeth) by the word truth (veritas) and truth based on moral logic (chesed) by the word mercy (misericordia). The Psalm says:

Mercy (chesed) and truth (emeth) will meet;

Justice (tsedek) and peace (schalom) will embrace each other.

Truth (emeth) will spring up from the ground (meeretz).

And justice (tsedek) will look down from the heavens (mischamaim).

Psalm 85, 10 – 11

Here is the problem of ‘double truth’ in its entirety – and here is the moving prophecy that the two truths, the factual and the moral, will at some time meet and that their revelation in man – justice (tsedek) and peace ( schalom) – will embrace each other!

But they will meet only slowly and, given the actual state of affairs, they often still contradict one another, at least in appearance. This is why St. Paul  had to say that “the wisdom of the world is folly with God (I Corinthians iii, 19). And this is why also the divine wisdom is often folly before this world….

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter V, The Pope