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.
And this was the death; for the soul’s fire proceeding from the Father’s property turned itself away from the Son’s property, in which alone the divine life consists. Thus the property of the soul remained naked only with its will in the outward Sulphur, and the inward disappeared, and continued steadfast in the eternal unchangeableness, as in an eternal nothing, wherein there was no more any effecting [or working efficacy to bring to pass].
Thus man with his outward body lived barely and merely to the time; the precious gold of the heavenly corporality, which tinctured the outward body, was disappeared, and so the outward body stood barely and alone in the life of nature’s desire, in the soul’s fiery property; understand in the form and property of Mars, in the wrath of God, which is the wrath in Sulphur, the property of God’s anger and the dark world: But seeing the outward body was created out of the time, therefore the time, the constellation with the four elements, presently obtained the dominion in him; and the divine property, the desire of the Deity (which ruled and tinctured time, so that there was a holy life in the creature out of the time), was vanished; its own peculiar love in the divine desire was turned to water, and it became blind and dead in the will and desire of God; and the soul must help itself with the sun’s light.
But seeing that time has beginning and end, and the will with the desire has given up itself to the temporal leader, therefore the dominion of time destroys its own contrived spirit, and so the body also dies and passes away; and this is that which God said to Adam, that “he should not eat of the tree, or plant, of the knowledge of good and evil,” of both properties, lest he died; as it also came to pass, he died in the Sulphur; the Sul in the kingdom of God, the lubet of the divine liberty, out of which the light of God shines, and in which the divine love, the love-fire burns [disappeared and withdrew from him].
Now there was no remedy for him, unless God’s desire entered again into his dead Sulphur, that is, into his Sul, which was dead, into the dead [or mortified] essentiality, and again enkindled it with the love-fire; which came to pass in Christ: And there the heavenly body, wherein God’s light shines, did again arise. But if this must be effected, then the love-desire must again enter into the desire of the enkindled anger, and quench and overcome the anger with the love; the divine water must enter again into the soul’s burning fire, and quench the wrathful death in the astringent fiat, in the desire to nature, that the love-desire, which desires God, might be again enkindled in the soul.
It was neither the straw of the crib, nor the animals that were present, which guided and enabled the mages from the East to find the Child, but rather the “star” in heaven. Similarly, in Hermeticism one will find only straw and animals if one is not guided by its “star”, which exists only for intuition. Now, it is the nineteenth Arcanum of the Tarot, which invites us to occupy ourselves quite especially with the “star” of Hermeticism in the heaven of intuition. What is this “star?” The Zohar says:
“And God made the two great lights….originally, when the moon and sun were in intimate union, they shone with equal luminosity. The names JEHOVAH and ELOHIM were then associated as equals…and the two lights were dignified with the same name: MAZPAZ MAZPAZ….The two lights rose simultaneously and were of the same dignity. But….the moon humbled herself by diminishing her light, and renounced her place of higher rank. 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; for a woman enjoys no honour save in conjunction with her husband. The great light (the sun) has the name JEHOVAH and the lesser light (the moon) has the name ELOHIM, which is the last of the degrees and the close of thought. Originally she was inscribed above among the letters of the sacred name (YHVH), which are four in number; it was only after diminishing herself that she took the name ELOHIM.
But 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.
It is left to us only to cite another passage from an ancient source – from the eleventh book of Apuleius’ Transformations – in order to have all the elements necessary to grapple, sufficiently equipped, with the problem of the “star” of Hermeticism and “The Sun” of the nineteenth Arcanum of the Tarot. Apuleius summarised his great vigil at the temple of Isis – the “arcana of the sacred night” (noctis sacratae arcana) in the following way:
I approached the very gates of death and set one foot on Prosperine’s threshold, yet was permitted to return, rapt through all the elements. At midnight I saw the sun shining in its brilliant radiance; I entered the presence of the gods of the under-world and the gods of the upper-world, stood near and worshipped them.
Let us now seek for reality, having in view the above-cited passage from the Zohar and the statement made by Apuleius.
Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XIX, The Sun