You must take things by storm: you must thrust intelligence outside itself by an act of will (Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution)

This is the essence of ‘Bergsonian yoga”, ie, the practical method of making intelligence unite itself with instinct on the principle of sympathy, so that the latter can extend its subject matter and reflect upon itself – or, in other words, so as to develop intuition.

Now, the endeavour that Bergson had in mind is what the Cabbala calls KAVANA, and the result of this endeavour – that Bergson calls “intuition” – is called DAATH. KAVANA is profound meditation, ie, the endeavour of intelligence which aims at plunging into the depths of darkness surrounding it.

KAVANA differs essentially from Cartesian meditation, where it is a matter notably of the concentration of the clarity of intelligence itself within itself, and also from Kantian meditation, where intelligence strives to rise above itself by making itself the object of observation, analysis and criticism.

Profound meditation or KAVANA is neither only concentration of the light of intelligence with a view to intensification of its clarity, nor is it only the endeavour of intelligence to arrive at knowledge of itself. Profound meditation is the endeavour of intelligence to probe the dark depths which surround it and to which it finds access by means of sympathy, instead of through the exercise of its own logical, analytical and critical faculties.

Speaking in terms of the Cabbala, it is therefore a matter of the marriage of the principle of intelligence – the Sephirah BINAH – and the principle of wisdom – the Sephirah CHOKMAH – in the ‘middle pillar’ of the Sephiroth Tree. DAATH is therefore the state of consciousness that the church calls ‘intellect illumined by grace’ (intellectus gratia illuminatus) – grace being the principle actualising within us latent knowledge of the ‘image and likeness of God’, and intellect being ‘Bergsonian’ intelligence which unites with and understands things that it would never have understood from within itself.

It is therefore ‘illumined’.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XVIII, The Moon

Leopard’s Paw

My eyes were closed and my body, following some sort of direction, arched backwards (with far more grace than would have been natural for a body in such a physically strained position) as if my head wanted to touch my feet. I felt strangely relaxed, as if I knew exactly what was happening, even though I did not have the faintest inkling.

My body seemed incredibly lithe and supple, far more so than usual, as if light were running through my veins. I enjoyed a joyful surge of pure physical strength and energy. I could have been around seven  feet tall, such was the sensation of healthy fluidity, and I experienced curious pleasure through feeling that way. I saw all of this as being a surprisingly desirable first consequence of my exchange with the leopard for its soul: The body.

It must have been warm because my companion removed his shirt before turning me so I was lying face down on the bed, my head close to his chest. He asked if I was Ok, and I was, so it carried on.

My right hand was the focus for the next action and was transformed into something clenched and clawed – almost exactly like a leopard’s paw, I noted with confidence – while my arm bent rigidly as if there was much tension in the limb, at right angles from the elbow. My instinct was to make use of the claws but the action was continued at my left hand as I concentrated intently on the study of my bodily transformation.