Jan 032016
 

orpheusOrpheus – such was the suffering of separation from the soul of his deceased love that it became magic, magic surpassing the river of sleep, forgetfulness and death which separates the dead from the living.

Orpheus is present always and everywhere where the love of a soul torn away by death is not content with pious and resigned commemoration, but aspires to find and meet the departed one beyond the threshold of death.

Such was Orpheus’ love for Eurydice and such, also, was Gilgamesh’s love for his friend and brother Eabani. And who can say how many human hearts have beaten, beat today, and will beat in the future, in union with that of Orpehus and that of Gilgamesh, the Babylonian hero?

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXI, The Fool

Sep 142014
 

Judgement20_marseillesThe card that we have before us bears the traditional name “The Judgement”, and what it represents is the resurrection of the dead at the sound of the trumpet of the Angel of resurrection. It is a matter, therefore,  of a spiritual exercise where the use of intuition – that of the nineteenth Arcanum “The Sun” – has to be carried to a maximum, the theme of resurrection being of the order of “last things”, but all the same accessible to intuitive cognition.

Now the “last things” – or the spiritual horizon of humanity – are not the same for the whole of humanity. For some everything finishes with the death of the individual and with the complete dissipation – maximum entropy – of the warmth of the universe. For others there is a “beyond” , an individual existence after death and the existence of a non-material universe after the end of the world. For still others there is not only spiritual life after death for the individual but also his return to terrestrial life – reincarnation – as well as cosmic reincarnation, ie, an alternation of manvantara and prayla. Others, again, see for the individual something beyond repeated incarnations, namely the state of the supreme peace of union with the eternal and universal Being (the state of nirvana). Lastly, there is a part of mankind whose existential horizon goes beyond not only post mortem existence and reincarnation, but also even beyond the peace of union with God – it is resurrection which constitutes their spiritual horizon.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XX, The Judgement

Dec 102011
 

Merlin appears in the shape of a young squire; Nimue in the form of a little maid ‘but twelve years old’. This number is, in this context, more mystical than chronological in intent.

Together they perform an enchantment that is an evocation of the ideal society of humankind and a reconstruction of the Earthly Paradise or Garden of Eden.

For behold! Out of the forest comes a carole of ladies and knights and maidens and squires, “each holding other by the hands and dancing and singing: and made the greatest joy that ever was seen in any land”…And presently, in the midst of the wild wood, appears an orchard, wherein was all manner of fruits and all manner of flowers, that gave so great a sweetness of flavour that marvel it was to tell. (Vida Scudder, Le Morte d’Arthur of Sir Thomas Malory).

This is no mere infatuation of a magician for a fairy maid. It is a great and pre-ordained work of redemptive magic. Similarly Merlins’ disappearance from the Earth into the world behind outer nature is no falling under a false enchantment but a deliberate sacrificial sacramental act. As Vida Scudder puts it, although she does not appear consciously to realise the deeper implications:

….when she spoke to him of her longing to know how to create the magic tower of air, he bowed down to the earth and began to sigh. None the less he did her will, and on a fateful day they went out through the forest of Broceliande hand in hand, devising and disporting; and found a bush that was fair and high and of white hawthorn full of flowers, and there they sat in the shadow.

And Merlin laid his head on the damsel’s lap, and she began to caress gently till he fell on sleep, and when she felt that he was in sleep she arose softly, and made a circle of her wimple all about the bush, and all about Merlin. And when he waked he looked about him, ‘and him seemed he was in the fairest tower on the world and the most strong; and he said to the damsel; “Lady thou hast me deceived, but if ye will, abide with me, for none but ye may undo these enchantment” And in truth she stayed by him for the most part, “Ye have been my thought and my desire” says she, “for without you have I neither joy nor wealth. In you have I set all my hope, and I abide, none other joy but of you”.

Her impulse is thus love and not self-will. And, whether ‘deceived’ or not, Merlin was well aware, before and after the fact, of the implications of this profound magical union.

Gareth Knight, The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend

Aug 192011
 

Dear Unknown Friend

The preceding Arcanum – ‘The Moon’ – confronted us with the task of human intelligence to liberate itself from the magical enchantment which separates it from spontaneous wisdom, and to unite itself with the latter, ie, to arrive at intuition. The nineteenth Arcanum – “The Sun” – is that of the accomplished union of intelligence and spontaneous wisdom: the Arcanum of intuition.

*

“The children who are fraternising under the sun correspond all the better to Gemini because this zodiacal constellation berings in the longest days to us” says Oswald Wirth (Le Tarot des imagiers du moyen age), thus locating the nineteenth Arcanum in the zodiacal circle of twelve cosmic mysteries or, speaking in the language of C J Jung, in the circle of twelve archetypal force-images of the collective unconscious which work in the depths of every human soul.

For the zodiac is that which the human soul knows unconsciously; it is the book which the soul “ate” and which is present and active only in his “bowels” – in the depths of his being – from whence it renders him strong or weak, fertile or arid, fervent or tepid, according to whether he is in harmony or not with its teaching-impulse.

Now, the teaching impulse called “Gemini” can be expressed by paraphrasing a little the first statement of the Emerald Table of Hermes:

May that which is below be as that which is above, and may that which is above be as that which is below to accomplish the miracles of one thing.

This is the principle of analogy put into practice, taking its point of departure from the principle of cooperation.

*

One of the highest aspects of the principle of Gemini, the principle of cooperation, is that which is present in intuition: that of the cooperation between spontaneous wisdom and intelligence. Here it is a matter of a state of consciousnes where  intelligence advances from formal knowledge to material knowledge, ie, from knowledge of the relationships of the things to knowledge of the things themselves.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIX, The Sun

 

 

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

May 162011
 

The Zohar tells us that the moon “renounced her place of higher rank” – that of equality with the sun – and that “from that time she has had no light of her own, but derives her light from the sun. Nevertheless, her real light is greater than that which she radiates here below.”

Here below, therefore, the moon reflects the light of the sun, whilst above – where her name is ELOHIM – “her power is manifest in all directions…EL being ‘the dominion of the day’, IM being ‘the dominion of the night and HE in the middle being the remainder of the forces (‘the stars), participating in both dominions.”

Now, the moon, in so far as she is the nocturnal luminary above, she shines with her own light, and it is the sun which reflects her. In other words, the moon is ‘solar’ above and ‘lunar here below, whilst the sun is ‘solar’ here below and ‘lunar’ above.

It is in this sense that EL, the radiant part of the moon’s name above, has the “dominion of the day”, ie, it is the visible sun – reflecting the invisible moon during the day. Similarly, the visible moon reflects the sun (become invisible) during the night. The spiritual moon is therefore the sun which shines at midnight. And it is the spiritual moon – or Isis – Sophia – that Apuleius “saw shining at midnight in its briliant radiance.” For the long vigil in the Isis temple resulted in a vision of the cosmic principle of Isis, ie, the spiritual moon or the “sun at midnight.”

All these things, although presented to us in mythological clothing, relate to the profound reality of the relationship of intelligence and wisdom, and their union – intuition. For intelligence corresponds to the moon, wisdom to the sun, and intuition to the restoration of the “intimate union” of the two luminaries.

Here below intelligence reflects wisdom – or, if it is eclipsed (see Letter XVIII, The Moon), it reflects the terrestrial world of external experience. But there is another intelligence above, a trancendental intelligence, whose “light is greater than that which it radiates here below”, and which – united intimately to wisdom – is “inscribed above among the letters of the sacred name (YHVH), which are four in number”, and which shines in the middle of the night “in its briliant radiance.”

This higher intelligence, this “sun at midnight”, which is the conjunction of the spiritual sun and spiritual moon – or, in other words, the intimate union of intelligence and wisdom – is the “star” of Hermeticism, and it is “The Sun” of the nineteenth Arcanum.

“The Sun” of the nineteenth Arcanum is the “sun at midnight”, ie, the sun that Apuleius “saw shining at midnight in its brilliant radiance,” and it is this “sun” which is the “star” of Hermeticism across the ages. It is the principle of intuition, or the intimate union of transcendental intelligence and wisdom.”

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIX, The Sun

Aug 032010
 

The process of induction (which ‘ascends from earth to heaven’) and that of deduction (which ‘descends to earth’), the process of prayer (which ‘ascends from earth to heaven’) and that of revelation (which ‘descends to earth’) – ie, human endeavour and the action of grace from above – unite and become a complete circle which contracts and concentrates to become a point where the ascent and descent are simultaneous and coincide.

And this point is the ‘philosopher’s stone’ – the principle of the identity of the human and divine, of humanism and prophetism, of intelligence and revelation, of intellectuality and spirituality. It is the solution of the problem posed by St Paul, or rather the accomplishment of the task given by him, when he wrote of the Cross being folly to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews, but which ‘to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, is the power of God and the wisdom of God’. (I Corinthians 1, 22 – 24).

The historical and evolutionary mission of Hermeticism is to advance the progress of the alchemical work engaged in developing the ‘philosopher’s stone’ or the union of spirituality and intellectuality. It is called to be the crest of the wave of contemporary human effort aspiring to the fusion of spirituality and intellectuality. This effort and aspiration is larger than the group of Hermeticists, properly said, who are dispersed in the world. There are probably more people who are not avowed Hermeticists and who are engaged in this endeavour aiming at the fusion of spirituality and intellectuality than there are Hermeticists, properly said.

*

The Spirit blows where it will, but the task of the Hermetic tradition is to maintain – without pretension to a monopoly, God forbid! – the ancient ideal of ‘the thelema of the whole world…..which ascends from earth to heaven…..descends to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and inferior.’ Its task is that of guardian of the great spiritual work.

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

Jun 242010
 

The fundamental thesis of scholasticism was that philosophy is the servant of theology. Intelligence certainly cooperated, but it played only a subordinate role. Thus, scholasticism did not succeed in achieving the marriage of the sun and moon, the result of which is the third principle, called the ‘philosopher’s’ stone in alchemy.

The ‘philosopher’s stone of alchemy is described in the Emerald Table of Hermes Trismegistus as follows:

The father thereof is the sun, the mother the moon.
The wind carried it in its womb; the earth is the nurse thereof.
It is the father of all works of wonder throughout the whole world.
The power thereof is perfect, if it be cast on to earth.
It will separate the element of earth from that of fire, the subtle from the gross, gently and with great sagacity.
It doth ascend from earth to heaven.
Again it doth descend to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and things inferior.

This means to say that the process of induction (which ‘ascends from earth to heaven’) and that of deduction (which descends to earth), the process of prayer (which ascends from earth to heaven) and that of reveleation (which descends to earth) – ie human endeavour and the action of grace from above – unite and become a complete circle which contracts and concentrates to become a point where the ascent and descent are simultaneous and coincide. And this point is the ‘philosopher’s stone’ – the principle of the identity of the human and divine, of spirituality.

It is the solution of the problem posed by St Paul, or rather the accomplishment of the task given by him, when he wrote of the Cross being folly to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews, but which “to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, is the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (I Corinthians I, 22-24).

Now, the historical and evolutionary mission of Hermeticism is to advance the progress of alchemical work engaged in developing the ‘philsopher’s stone’ or the union of spirituality and intellectuality. It is called to be the crest of the wave of contemporary human effort aspiring to the fusion of the spirituality and intellectuality. This effort and aspiration is larger than the group of Hermeticists, properly said, who are dispersed in the world.

There are probably more people who are not avowed Hermeticists and who are engaged in the endeavour aiming at the fusion of spirituality and intellectuality than there are Hermeticists, properly said. …..The Spirit blows where it will, but the task of the Hermetic tradition is to maintain – without pretension to a monopoly, God forbid! – the ancient idea of the ‘the thelema of the whole world – which ascends from earth to heaven, descends to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and things inferior’. It’s the task is that of guardian of the great spiritual world.

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

May 092010
 

“What, pray tell, of Baha-ullah!”
Spoke at once the latest wise-one.
“He’s accepted all the others
Gone before; the way is union?”

“This, you see”, revealed the Rabbi,
“Charts a line which roughly follows
Down through time, a line of prophets,
Give or take a right-tongued Sophist.

“Eastern influences flourished
In our land, but naught surpasses
Now – or ever – true Kabbalah,
Gnostic scripts were ne’er so magic!

“Not so!” claimed the Vedic master.
“Ours, the early bird of progress
`May pass through the stages faster,
Incarnating ever after.

“Vishnu, here, the force outstanding,
Krishna, there, the force transcending,
Both appear within our scripture,
Bhagvad-Gita; song unending.”

“What of us,” cried out the pagans,
“Surely we’re the lords of mystery?
Since the early days of Egypt,
We’ve survived the Western history!”

“Those who claim that resurrection
Is the sole preserve of prophets,
Born beyond the ancient’s time line,
Listen well, and don’t forget it:

“Old Osiris: dead then risen;
Great Demeter’s daughter: risen;
Dionysus next was risen,
Then the Orphic bard was risen!”