Practical Hermeticism applies itself to educating thought and imagination (or memory) to keep in step with the will. This is why it requires constant effort of thought and imagination combined in order to think, meditate and contemplate in symbols – symbolism being the sole means of rendering thought and imagination capable of not being suspended when the will submits to revelation from above and enabling them to unite with it in its act of receptive obedience, so that the soul not only has a revelation of faith but also participates in this revelation with its understanding and memory.
This is the principle point of practical Hermeticism and, at the same time, its contribution to Christian mysticism. I say Christian mysticism and not Christian mystical theology, because theology rationalises the material of mystical experience in deriving rules and laws, whilst Hermeticism wants thought and imaginaiton to participate in this experience. Its aim is found in the experience itself, not in the domain of explaining it or accounting for it.
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XII, The Hanged Man
Pictured: International Banner of Peace, Nicholas Roerich
We have demonstrated that the primordial Vapour, or that fire and water, are after God, the First Matter of all Things. This two-fold Vapour by inspissation is become water and this water by the action of the invisible spirit therein diffused, has begun to ferment and then to generate Matter. At first, this water was perfectly subtil and pure, but by means of the action of the inward spirit, it becomes turbid, smelled badly and thus generated Earth. It was divided into various parts, into a Spiritual, most subtil, into a half or less subtil, into a half corporeal, and into a Body. At first it was 1 and 2, now it is is 1, 2 and 3, likewise 4 and 5.
It was 1, as a simple Humidity; 2, as a water containing a spirit; 3, when it was separated into volatile, half fixt, and fixt, that is, chemically speaking – into Volatil, Acetum and Alcali; Anima, spirit, Corpus; 4, when it was divided into the four so-called Elements, fire, air, water, earth; 5, when it is by Art, assisted by Nature, formed into an indestructible fiery Quintessence.
Thus said the Poet: “When Death comes to you, All ye whose life-sand through the hour-glass slips, He lays two fingers on your ears, and two Upon your eyes he lays, one on your lips, Whispering: Silence!” Although deaf thine ear, Thine eye, my Hafiz, suffer Time’s eclipse, The songs though sangest still all men may hear.
Songs of dead laughter, songs of love once hot, Songs of a cup once flushed rose-red with wine, Songs of a rose whose beauty is forgot, A nightingale that piped hushed lays divine: And still a graver music runs beneath The tender love notes of those songs of thine’ Oh, seeker of the keys of Life and Death!
“Come! We are Planets, to visit our place – Oceans of timelessness, true outer space – Enter the realm of your mind’s inner eye, Follow its highway, fear not as we try, Tossing and turning, to keep to our course, Troubled by meteors: Flux is our force”.
The stars, which are moving, incline and thee, tell, “Share, thee, our light, the immortal sea wealth. Mythology heroes are with us for learning, Framing the cosmos within which we’re turning. Prayers, cherished hopes and the moonlight of dreams, Knights, ladies, unicorns, charmers and Queens – Shimmer around us in aeons of blue, Promising Earthlings that dreams can come true.”
It is not ‘legitimate initiation’ which constitutes the chain – or rather the flow – of the tradition – but rather the niveau and authenticity of spiritual experience and the depth of thought that it comprises. Therefore it is initiation per se which consitutes the Hermetic tradition across the ages, and not the transmission of initiation by way of rituals and formulae. If the tradition depended only on the latter it would already long ago have been either extinguished or certainly lost in the jungle of quarrels over rights and legitimacy. Now, it is he who knows from first-hand experience who represents the tradition, and it is his authentic knowledge which is his legitimacy.
Four words crystallize the spirit in the place of power. In the sixth month the white snow is suddenly seen to fly. At the third watch the disk of the sun sends out shining rays. On the water blows the wind of gentleness. Wandering in Heaven, one eats the spirit-power of the receptive. And the deeper secret within the secret : The land that is nowhere, that is the true home
The Secret of the Golden Flower, Richard Wilhelm and Carl Jung
With his world-created eye;
He is bound by what he sees
To joy and pain of the World,
He is bound to all
That becomes, but no less
To all that falls headlong
Into dark realms of the Abyss.
With the spirit-endowed eye;
He is bound by what he beholds
To spirit-hoping and spiritual sustaining force;
He is bound by it to all
That has roots in eternities
And in eternities bears fruit.
But man can behold
Only when he feels the inner eye itself
As a member of the Divine Spirit
Which on the stage of the human soul
In the temple of the human body
Works the deeds of Gods.
Mankind is now forgetful
Of the Divine inner realm,
But it is our will to bring it
Into the clear light of consciousness,
And then bear above rubble and ashes
The divine flames in the heart of man.
Lightning-bolts may therefore shatter
Our houses in the world of sense;
We are building houses of the soul
From the iron-firm.
Light-weaving of knowledge.
And downfall of the outer
Shall become ascent
Of innermost soul-being.
Suffering draws near From the powers of material force; Hope rays forth its light, Even when darkness surrounds us; And it will one day Well up in our memory, When after the darkness We can again live in the light. We would not let this inner light be lacking In sun-illumined future times Because we now in suffering Have failed to plant it in our souls.
The Tetragrammaton, the sacred name of God is written in Hebrew as a word composed of four letters – Yod He Vau He (YHVH) – hence the ‘tetra’ prefix. Whilst the name signifies Yahweh, it is pronounced in Hebrew as Adomai and in English became Jehovah.
The root of YHVH is derived from HVH, which means being, life or woman, once interchangeable concepts. In Latin HVH is spelled EVE and the esoteric meaning of the YHVH is, therefore, Eve, the Mother of all living.
A second version of the Tetragrammaton is spelled EHYH and is derived from Hayya, another name of Eve that expresses her connection to women in childbirth
A central tenet of philosophical kabbalah is that God the Father has lost the Great Mother, his feminine aspect, also called the Shekinah. For universal peace and harmony the Holy Mother, the Shekinah must be restored to God the Father. There is an evocative prayer formula we can use to support this cosmic mission which is based upon the Seal of Solomon and signified by ‘fiery water’ as the supreme resolution of elemental binaries.