Law of Laws

We have spoken here of the Buddha-Avatar to come, because he will be the guide in the transformation of potential schizophrenic madness into the wisdom of the harmony of the two worlds and of their experience. He will be the example and living model of realisation of the Arcanum which occupies us.

For this reason he is represented as a Buddha in canonical Buddhist art not in a meditation posture with crossed legs, but rather seated as a European – this latter posture symbolises the synthesis of the principle of prayer and that of meditation.

And for this reason also, he is imagined in Indian ‘mythology’ (as an Avatar) as a giant with the head of a horse, ie, as a being with the human will of a giant and, at the same time, intellectuality placed completely in the service of revelation from above – the horse being the obedient servant of its rider.

Thus, he represents in prodigious measure three activities of human will: seeking, knocking and asking – conforming to the saying of the Master of all masters, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew vii, 7).

At the same time, he will not put forward personal opinions or reasonable hypotheses; for his intellectuality – his “horses head” – will be moved solely by revelation from above. Like the horse, it will be directed by the rider. Nothing arbitrary will issue forth. This is the Arcanum at work on the historical plane.

Concerning its application in the domain of the individual’s inner life, it is analogous to the work of spiritual alchemy which operates on the historical plane. This means to say that the individual soul begins initially with the experience of separation and opposition to the spiritual and intellectual elements within it, then advances to – or resigns itself to – parallelism, ie, a kind of ‘peaceful coexistence’ of these two elements within it.

Subsequently it arrives at cooperation between spirituality and intellectuality which, proving to be fruitful, eventually becomes the complete fusion of these two elements in a third element – the ‘philosopher’s stone’ of the spiritual alchemy of Hermeticism. The beginning of this final stage is announced by the fact that logic becomes transformed from formal logic (ie, general and abstract logic) – passing through the intermediary stage of ‘organic logic’ – into moral logic (ie, material and essential logic).

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Moral logic, in contrast to formal logic and organic logic, operates with values instead of notions of grammar, mathematics or biological functions. Thus, if formal logic can go only so far towards the idea of God as to postulate the necessity of admitting a beginning in the chain of cause and effect – postulating a First Cause (primus motor) – and if organic logic, that of functions, cannot come further than postulating in the order of existing in the world of existence of God as the ordering principle – the ‘law of laws’ of the world – moral logic comes to the postulate that God is the ‘value of values’, that he is love.

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XXI, The Fool

Neutralisation of Binaries

You will understand the role played by the mantle enveloping the Hermit, when he employs his lamp for seeing clearly in particular problems, and when he employs his staff for probing his terrain. The ‘mantle’ is the presence at a deeper level of consciousness of the whole truth, and it is this which envelops and inspires all intellectual work relating to particular problems that is carried out by the conscious self with its lamp and staff.

It is this which gives the conscious self direction and style, and sees to it that each solution to each particular problem is in harmony with the whole. The whole truth lives at this deeper level, and is present there as the certainty of absolute faith, as the certainty of the imprint of truth from above.

The initiate is someone who knows everything. He is a person who bears the truth within a deeper level of his consciousness, not as an intellectual system, but rather as a level in his being, as a ‘mantle’ which envelops him. This truth-imprint manifests itself as unshakable certainty, ie, as faith in the sense of the voice of the presence of truth.

Truth attained through synthesis is present at a deeper level of consciousness than that of the consciousness of self. It is found in darkness. It is from this darkness that the rays of light of particular branches of knowledge are emitted, as a result of efforts aspiring to the “neutralisation of binaries” or the “solution of antinomies”.

These efforts are nothing other than excursions into the region of this deeper level of consciousness; they are contacts established with the inner darkness, which is full of revelations of truth.

The knowledge and power drawn from this dark and silent region of luminous certainty can be well described as the “gift of Perfect Night”, mentioned in Kore Kosmou, the sacred book of Hermes Trismegistus. The ‘Gift of Perfect Night’ manifests itself in consequence of such spiritual endeavours as are implied by the ‘neutralisation of binaries’ or the ‘solution of antinomies’. It is, one can say, the very essence of Hermeticism and constitutes at one and teh same time the method which is proper to it and the faculty of knowledge to the exercise of which its very existence is due.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter IX, The Hermit

The Throne

Benediction came my way, through its namesake, clerkish, fey.

When he left, I deemed to stay, my only instinct thus: to pray.

Still, the way of my devotion seemed bizarre and though I wandered

Not enough to halt its progress, in an abstract sense I wondered.

Thus commenced the styled performance; first I seemed to turn the world,

Once, from twice an odd direction. All defied surreal reflection.

While my single was transformed, three dimensions were vitally born.

These are my essential minutes; let the words be undiminished.

The scene inside my room was vivid – spirits came but none were livid,

Just my friends, the literal men. Named I them with joy intense.

All the while a throne, my chair, leant askew with someone there.

This the Lord, I knew him well, prone was struck and to him fell.

There I lay in meditation, ‘fore aroused by violent voices

From beyond my supplication. Much bemused I stood, responsive.

Looking out, I strained to hear: “Jump outside to test!”, they jeered.

In my state of heightened reason, this request bore contemplation.

Would to jump bring death through treason, or new life through dedication?

As my mind, suggested, wandered, one leg in and one leg out,

Luck would bring a voice to sunder faith in me and death to doubt.

“Have no fear of tempting strangers, they are but the baleful rest.

Stay inside!” Advised the angel. Once retrieved, the stars I blessed.

Then I felt a force compelling me to stop and face the throne

In a manner thus: Reclining on one side, the right hand zone.

In the posture – just, enlightened – then began the Revelation.

There before my eyes the Saviour, Holy Spirit, Earth’s Creator.

Picture this, the blazing scene: A crown was formed, a three-pronged beam.

For the whole the three incorporates played a part, defining orders.

As the truth came home decoded, safe was I in living quarters.

Draught of Remembrance

If the candidate is found fit for the foregoing experiences, he is then given what is called symbolically the draught of forgetfulness. This means that he is initiated into the secret knowledge that enables him to act without being continually disturbed by the lower memory. This is necessary for the initiate, for he must have full faith in the immediate present. He must be able to destroy the veil of memory which envelops man every moment of his life. If we judge something that happens to us today according to the experience of yesterday, we are exposed to a multitude of errors.

Of course this does not mean that experience gained in life should be renounced. It should always be kept in mind as clearly as possible. But the initiate must have the ability to judge every new experience wholly according to what is inherent in it, and let it react upon him, unobscurred by the past. We must be prepared at every moment that every object and every being can bring to us some new revelation. If we judge the new by the standard of the old we are liable to error.

The memory of past experiences will be of greatest use for the very reason that it enables us to perceive the new. Had we not gone through a definite experience we should perhaps be blind to the qualities of the object or being that comes before us. Thus experience should serve the purpose of perceiving the new and not of judging it by the standard of the old. In this respect the initiate acquires certain definite qualities, and thereby many things are revealed to him which remain concealed from the uninitiated.

The second draught presented to the initiate is the draught of remembrance. Through its agency he acquires the faculty of retaining the knowledge of the higher truths ever present in his soul. Ordinary memory would be unequal to this task. We must unite ourselves and become as one with the higher truths.

Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds

The Philosopher’s Stone

The process of induction (which ‘ascends from earth to heaven’) and that of deduction (which ‘descends to earth’), the process of prayer (which ‘ascends from earth to heaven’) and that of revelation (which ‘descends to earth’) – ie, human endeavour and the action of grace from above – unite and become a complete circle which contracts and concentrates to become a point where the ascent and descent are simultaneous and coincide.

And this point is the ‘philosopher’s stone’ – the principle of the identity of the human and divine, of humanism and prophetism, of intelligence and revelation, of intellectuality and spirituality. It is the solution of the problem posed by St Paul, or rather the accomplishment of the task given by him, when he wrote of the Cross being folly to the Greeks and a stumbling block to the Jews, but which ‘to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, is the power of God and the wisdom of God’. (I Corinthians 1, 22 – 24).

The historical and evolutionary mission of Hermeticism is to advance the progress of the alchemical work engaged in developing the ‘philosopher’s stone’ or the union of spirituality and intellectuality. It is called to be the crest of the wave of contemporary human effort aspiring to the fusion of spirituality and intellectuality. This effort and aspiration is larger than the group of Hermeticists, properly said, who are dispersed in the world. There are probably more people who are not avowed Hermeticists and who are engaged in this endeavour aiming at the fusion of spirituality and intellectuality than there are Hermeticists, properly said.

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The Spirit blows where it will, but the task of the Hermetic tradition is to maintain – without pretension to a monopoly, God forbid! – the ancient ideal of ‘the thelema of the whole world…..which ascends from earth to heaven…..descends to earth, and uniteth in itself the force from things superior and inferior.’ Its task is that of guardian of the great spiritual work.

Meditations on the Tarot, Unknown Author, Letter XXI, The Fool

Two Truths

The Buddha recognised and at the same time denied the fact of reincarnation. He recognised it as fact and he denied it as ideal. Because facts are transitiory; they come and go.

There was a time when there was no reincarnation; there will be a time when it will no longer be. Reincarnation commenced only after the Fall and it will cease with Reintegration. It is therefore not eternal, and therefore it is not an ideal.

There are therefore two truths: the one is actual and temporal and the other ideal or eternal. The first is founded on the logic of facts; the other on moral logic. Now, Psalm 85 designates actual truth (emeth) by the word truth (veritas) and truth based on moral logic (chesed) by the word mercy (misericordia). The Psalm says:

Mercy (chesed) and truth (emeth) will meet;

Justice (tsedek) and peace (schalom) will embrace each other.

Truth (emeth) will spring up from the ground (meeretz).

And justice (tsedek) will look down from the heavens (mischamaim).

Psalm 85, 10 – 11

Here is the problem of ‘double truth’ in its entirety – and here is the moving prophecy that the two truths, the factual and the moral, will at some time meet and that their revelation in man – justice (tsedek) and peace ( schalom) – will embrace each other!

But they will meet only slowly and, given the actual state of affairs, they often still contradict one another, at least in appearance. This is why St. Paul  had to say that “the wisdom of the world is folly with God (I Corinthians iii, 19). And this is why also the divine wisdom is often folly before this world….

Unknown Author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter V, The Pope

Threefold Knowledge: Glory of the Holy Trinity

Our threefold knowledge (mystical-gnostic-magical) of the world has dedicated itself through the course of the centuries to the glory of the Holy Trinity, just as the threefold knowledge of divine revelation through the Holy Scripture (the Old Testament, New Testament and the Apocalypse) does.

Are we not called, we theologians of the world, and you, theologians of the Holy Scripture, to watch at the same altar and to fulfill the same task of not letting the lamp illumined to the glory of God be extinguished in the world?

Is it not our common duty to provide for it, to provide the holy oil of human endeavour so that its flame is never extinguished, so that it always bears witness to God by the very fact of its existence, and so that it continues to burn from century to century?

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The spiritual history of Christianity is the history of the successive resurrections of that which is valuable from the past, worthy of eternity. It is the history  of the magic love reviving the dead. It was thus that Platonism became resuscitated and will go on living for ever Рthanks to the vivifying breath of he who is the resurrection and the life. (Ego sum resurrectio et vita, John xi, 25). It is thus that Aristotelianism will participate in eternal life. And it is thus that Hermeticism, also, will live until the end of the world and, perhaps, beyond the end of the world.

Moses and the prophets will live on for ever, for they¬† have acquired their place in the eternal constellation of the Word of resurrection and life. The magical poetry and songs of Orpheus will be resuscitated and will live for all eternity as colour and sound of the Word of resurrection and life. The magic of Zarathustra’s mages will be revived and will live as the eternal human endeavour of aspiration towards light and life.

The truths revealed by Krishna will join the retinue of the ‘recalled to eternal life’. The ancient cosmic revelations of the Rishis will live again and will awaken in humanity anew a sense for the marvels of the ‘blue, white and gilded…’

All these souls of mankind’s spiritual history will be resuscitated, ie, will be called to join the work of the Word that became flesh, that died and rose again from the dead – so that the truth of the promise – I have come so that nothing should be lost but that all should have eternal life (John vi, 38-40) will be accomplished.

Unknown author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter VIII, Justice

Key to the Apocalypse

Golden Key

The key to the Apocalypse is to practise it, ie, to make use of it as a book of spiritual exercises composed of twenty-eight exercises. For as the Apocalypse is a revelation put into writing, it is necessary, in order to understand it, to establish in oneself a state of consciousness which is suited to receive revelations.

It is the state of concentration without effort (taught by the first Arcanum), followed by a vigilant inner silence (taught by the second Arcanum), which becomes an inspired activity of imagination and thought, where the conscious self acts together with super-consciousness (teaching of the third Arcanum).

Lastly, the conscious self halts its creative activity and contemplates – in letting pass in review – everything which preceded, with a view to summarising it (practical teaching of the fourth Arcanum).

The mastery of these four psychurgical operations, symbolised by The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress and The Emperor, is the key to the Apocalypse. One will search in vain for another.

Unknown author, Meditations on the Tarot, Letter IV, The Emperor

Delphi

Now, since the god inspires me,
I follow where he leads, to open Delphi,
The very heavens, bring you revelation
Of mysteries, great matters never traced
By any mind before, and matters lost
Or hidden and forgotten, these I sing.
There is no greater wonder than to range
The starry heights, to leave the earth’s dull regions,
To ride the clouds, to stand on Atlas’ shoulders,
And see, far off, far down, the little figures
Wandering here and there, devoid of reason,
Anxious, in fear of death, and so advise them,
And so make fate an open book.

Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book 15, on The Teachings of Pythagoras