Sep 152011
 

Imagining Orpheus is a different matter. Most people can recall two things about him: that he was a musician, and that he went down to the Underworld to fetch his wife Eurydice. His story is the archetypal myth of the power of music.

With the lyre that was the gift from Apollo, Orpheus could move everything in creation, from stones, trees, and beasts, through humans, to daimonic and even divine beings (whom we might call angels and gods).

Armed only with his songs, he charmed the denizens of Hades and persuaded Pluto and Persephone to let him take Eurydice back.

Orpheus was a prince of Thrace, the land to the north of Greece. His mother was Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry. Some say his father was Apollo, and certainly Orpheus stands under the patronage of that god. Apollo also had northern connections, either coming from Hyperborea (the land beyond the north wind), or else visiting that far northern land after his birth on the island of Delos.

Where was Hyperborea? As it was said to contain a circular temple to the sun, some have identified it with Britain, and its temple with Stonehenge, a monument far older than any in Greece.

Stonehenge, and the people who constructed it, were Apollonian in the sense of being dedicated to the sun, to astronomy, mathematics and music. A number of modern researchers have penetrated beyond the limitations of academic prehistory to reveal, through intuition, the bases of this ancient science.

John Mitchell, the pioneer in this regard, has reconstructed the diagrams and dimensions that seem to lie at the basis of megalithic design. Jean Richar has shown that there is an imaginary zodiac whose twelvefold symbolism links mythology with the geography of the Aegean area. Paul Broadhurst and Hamish Miller have traced a plethora of Apollonian sites in geometrical alignment, all the way from Ireland to Palestine.

Mitchell, in addition, has traced the myth of ‘perpetual choirs’ maintained at ancient sanctuaries for the purpose of what he calls ‘enchanting the landscape’. If one is attentive to such findings, it is clear that there was a high and orderly civilisation well established by the third millennium BC, of which the archaeologists know almost nothing.

This enchantment of the landscape is exactly what Orpehus is reputed to have done with his music, casting a benign spell over nature and bringing peace among men. As part of his mission, he reformed the cult of Dionysus and tried to persuade his followers to give up their blood sacrifices. In place of Dionysian orgies, Orpheus founded the first Mysteries of Greece. The purpose of these, as far as we can tell, was to transmit some kind of direct knowledge that was helpful in facing the prospect of death.

Orpheus’s journey to the Underworld to fetch Eurydice should be understood in the context of the Mysteries. In the earliest versions of the myth, he did succeed in restoring her to life.

Joscelyn Godwin, The Golden Thread, The Orphic Mysteries

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

 

 

Apr 232011
 

“Hope!” the birds sing as you enter
Into space. The sidereal turning
Back reveals undying memories,
Log-book of a life-times’ journeys.

Starlight is the love inflection –
Four plus one, the whole quintessence –
Flame, Air, Water, Earth, Reflection,
Quantum leaps in five directions.

Twelve the signs that mark the time-piece,
Zodiacal months and sections.
Fiery Water, Earth-Air, star suite.
‘Now behold the Ram,’ says Hermes.

Vernal sun – the fiery Aries’
Golden fleece – lights Pallas, mighty,
Guardian over Argive heroes;
Asteroid of winged Niké.

This the key to hidden gateways –
Look beyond to see the secret –
Clio fixed for all the greats’ days.
Thalia the Muse, the Grace says:

Mar 122011
 

The sign of walking on the water culminates with the Christ walking on the waves during the night experience of the disciples saying, “It is I; be not afraid” (John 6.20). Thus the disciples find the strength and means to reach the shore. The words “It is I; be not afraid” contain a revelation of the true kingly nature of Christ.

It does not call the Christ to govern (as the five thousand wished), but bestows on human beings the spiritual force of self-determination. The kingly nature of the Christ is his capacity not only to give humankind freedom, but also to give the needed strength to assert that freedom. In the spiritual moral sense, it would be proper to say that the royal nature of Christ involves giving kingly dignity to human beings.

Because the disciples had that night experience of the I AM as the true kingly nature of the Christ, they could say the following day the words spoken by Peter, which were just the opposite of what the five thousand had wished. The words of Peter express an intention that is different from that of the multitude. Jesus confirmed it with these words: “Have not I chosen you twelve?” (John 6.70). Then he added, “and one of you is a devil”.

The added words point to the fact that within the circle of the twelve, there is one who will not follow the will expressed by Peter, but the will of the five thousand, which, at the critical moment, would make the Messiah an earthly king. Thus, the sign of the feeding of the five thousand contains both streams of Christian destiny as well as the seed of Judas’ tragic destiny.

That destiny of Judas arose (in that particular incarnation) because he was situated between two streams of will – that of the five thousand who wanted a king, and that of the disciples, who had experienced the “Son of the living God” as the I AM. Judas shared that night experience of the cosmic waves, but it had the opposite effect, leading him to become convinced that the “multitude” would never be able to withstand that trial.

He could no longer believe that the many would ever be able to hear the voice of the I AM within, and the destiny of the multitude aroused his pity. So he took the side of the many, who (it seemed to him) would be sacrificed for an elect few. And because he had taken the side of the many, he believed, for example, that it would have been better to give the beggars the money that Mary, the sister of Lazarus, had spent on the costly ointment with which to annoint the feet of Jesus Christ.

For Judas, it was not a matter of individual human relationship to the needs of others; rather, his criterion was formed by an abstract idea of humanity in keeping with the principle that the whole is greater than the part. And this is why the evangelist tells us that Judas did not oppose Mary’s action because he had the cause of the beggars at heart, but because he thought only in terms of the quantitative aspect: “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein” (John 12.6).

Judas was a “thief” in the sense that, in reality, he deprived the community of what he aspired to receive for the community. This is exactly the tragedy of Judas: he did not wish to be a thief; he did not want to deprive the community (the many), yet it was this wish that made him a thief. Thus, in the beginning Judas was a thief in the cosmic sense of diabolos (a term used for Lucifer in the Gospels), then he became a murdering thief when Satan entered him – that is, when Ahriman appeared as the karma of Lucifer.

The destiny of Judas among the twelve was to fully bear the two crosses of human activity: the cross to the left and the cross to the right on Golgotha. His apostolic mission to humanity (what he proclaimed to humanity) was the bitter truth about the nature of human activity without Christ. The mission of the twelve apostles was to bring the message of Christ to humanity from twelve perspectives. Judas, however, had the terrible mission of imparting knowledge of what human activity becomes when it is without the Christ.

Judas represented one aspect of the Christ mystery – the negative side in the sign of the Scorpion. This is why he belonged to the circle of the twelve, although right after the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus Christ stated that, although he had chosen all twelve, nonetheless one among them in their circle had the mission that diabolos (Lucifer) has in the circle of the zodiac.

Christ and Sophia The Signs and Miracles in John’s Gospels