There is in man – notably in his soul, and not in his body – a seed of evil of his own, without which temptation coming from outside would not exert any action on him. Because temptation would be impotent if it did not find a terrain already prepared in the human soul.
The unfortunate misunderstanding locating innate human evil in the body instead of in the soul is due to a tendency towards a materialistic interpretation of our Biblical story of paradise and the Fall. It is the body which, rightly. has more reason to be ashamed of the soul inhabiting it, than the latter of the body.
For the body is a miracle of wisdom, harmony and stability, which does not merit scorn but rather the admiration of the soul. For example, can the soul boast of moral principles as stable as the body’s skeleton? Is it as indefatigable and as faithful in its sentiments as, for example, the heart, which beats day and night? Does it possess a wisdom comparable to that of the body, which knows how to harmonise such opposing things as water and fire, air and solid matter?
Whilst the soul is torn by opposing desires and feelings, this ‘contemptible’ body knows how to unite opposing elements and make them collaborate: the air that it breathes, the solid matter of food, the water that it drinks, and the fire (warmth) that it produces unceasingly within it….and if this does not suffice to change scorn into respect, admiration and gratitude, the one can recall, if on is a Christian, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, inhabited this flesh and that he honoured it to the point of uniting himself with it in the Incarnation.
Similarly, if one is a Buddhist or Brahmanist, one should not forget that Buddha and Krishna, also, inhabited this flesh and that it served them well in the accomplishing of their respective missions. Negative ascetisism, directed against the body and not for celestial things, is the practical consequence of the materialistic interpretation of paradise and the Fall. However, the fact alone that a Cherubim “was placed at the east of the garden of Eden, with a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis iii, 24), suffices to drive away any shadow of a doubt: here it is a matter of a plane higher than the terrestrial plane, and it was therefore souls who committed the original sin – and the body had nothing to do with it.
Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XVI, The Tower of Destruction