A reading from The Empress (Arcanum 3, Ghimel) of the G.O. Mebes Tarot Majors Course
Although the alchemists were more or less aware that their insights and truths were of divine origin, they knew they were not sacred revelations but were vouchsafed by individual inspiration or by the lumen naturae, sapientia Dei hidden in nature. The autonomy of their insights showed itself in the emancipation of science from the domination of faith. Human intolerance and shortsightedness are to blame for the open conflict that ultimately broke out between faith and knowledge. Conflict or comparison between incommensurables is impossible. The only possible attitude is one of mutual toleration, for neither can deprive the other of its validity. Existing religious beliefs have, besides their supernatural foundation, a basis in psychological facts whose existence is as valid as those of the empirical sciences. If this is not understood on one side or the other it makes no difference to the facts, for these exist whether man understands them or not, and whoever does not have the facts on his side will sooner or later have to pay the price.
With this I would like to conclude my remarks on sulphur. This arcane substance has provided occasion for some general reflections, which are not altogether fortuitous in that sulphur represents the active substance of the sun or, in psychological language, the motive factor in consciousness: on the one hand the will, which can best be regarded as a dynamism subordinated to consciousness, and on the other hand compulsion, an involuntary motivation or impulse ranging from mere interest to possession proper. The unconscious dynamism would correspond to sulphur, for compulsion is the great mystery of human life. It is the thwarting of our conscious will and of our reason by an inflammable element within us, appearing now as a consuming fire and now as life-giving warmth.
Carl Jung, Personification of the Opposites (Sulphur), Mysterium Conjunctionis
“The Cosmic unity, until now obscure, was opened, and in the heights appeared the heavens with all their mysteries. The earth, hitherto unstable, grew more solid beneath the brightness of the sun, and stood forth adorned with enfolding riches. All things are beautiful in the eyes of the Divine, even that which to mortals appears uncomely, because all is made according to the divine laws. And the Divine rejoiced in beholding His works filled with movement; and with outstretched hands grasping the treasures of nature. “Take these,” He said, “O sacred earth, take these, O venerable one, who art to be the mother of all things, and henceforth let nothing be lacking to thee!”
This devoted and favorite Apostle initiated by Jesus Christ Himself was called ‘Judas.’… Judas was not only the most faithful and devoted of all the near followers of Jesus Christ, but also, only thanks to his Reason and presence of mind all the acts of this Sacred Individual could form that result [of being] the source of nourishment and inspiration for the majority of them in their desolate existence and made it at least a little endurable.
[When at the Last Supper it was realized that more time was required to fulfill the sacred sacrament Almznoshinoo] Judas, now a Saint, leaped from his place and hurriedly said:
“I shall go and do everything in such a way that you should have the possibility of fulfilling this sacred preparation without hindrance, and meanwhile set to work at once.”
Having said this, he approached Jesus Christ and having confidently spoken with Him a little and received His blessing, hurriedly left.
May God, who in the mystery of his vision and power transforms his white radiance into many-coloured creation, from whom all things come and into whom they all return, grant us the grace of pure vision….
He is the sun, the moon and the stars. He is the fire, the waters, and the wind…
Thou the blue bird and thou the green bird; thou the cloud that conceals the lightning and thou the seasons and the oceans. Beyond beginning, thou art in thy infinity, and all the worlds had their beginning in thee…..
There are two birds, two sweet friends, who dwell on the self-same tree. The one eats the fruit thereof, and the other looks on in silence.
The first is the human soul who, resting on that tree, though active, feels sad in his unwisdom. But on beholding the power and the glory of the higher Spirit, he becomes free from sorrow.
Of what use is the Rig Veda to one who does not know the Spirit from whom the Rig Veda comes, and in whom all things abide? For only those who have found him have found peace.
For all the sacred books, all holy sacrifice and ritual and prayers, all the words of the Vedas, and the whole past and present and future, come from the Spirit. With Maya, his power of wonder, he made all things, and by Maya the human soul is bound.
Know therefore that nature is Maya, but that God is the ruler of Maya; and that all beings in our universe are parts of his infinite splendour…
May the seer of Eternity, who gave to the gods their birth and their glory, who keep all things under his protection, and who in the beginning saw the Golden Seed, grant us the grace of pure vision.
There it prophesised day and night until Apollo, finding that his oracles at Delphi, Gryneium and Clarus where deserted, came and stood over the head crying: ‘Cease from interference in my business; I have borne long enough with you and your singing!’ Thereupon the head fell silent.
Orpheus’ lyre had likewise drifted to Lesbos and been laid up in a temple of Apollo, at whose intercession, and that of the Muses, the Lyre was placed in Heaven as a constellation.
Some gave a wholly different account of how Orpheus died: they say that Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt for divulging divine secrets. He had, indeed, instituted the Mysteries of Apollo in Thrace; those of Hecate in Aegina; and those of Subterrene Demeter at Sparta.
Orpheus’ singing head recalls that of the decapitated Alder-god Bran which, according to the Mabinogion, sang sweetly on the rock at Harlech in North Wales; a fable, perhaps, of the funerary pipes made from alder-bark. Thus the name Orpheus, if it stands for ophruoeis, ‘on the river bank’, may be a title of Bran’s Greek counterpart, Phoroneus, or Cronus, and refer to the alders ‘growing on the banks of’ the Peneius and other rivers.
The name of Orpheus’ father, Oeagrus (‘of the wold sorb’ apple’), points to the same cult, since the sorb-apple (French = alisier) and the alder (Spanish = aliso) both bear the name of the pre-Hellenic River-goddess Halys, or Alys, or Elis, Queen of the Elysian Islands, where Phoroneus, Cronus and Orpheus went after death. Aornum is Avernus, an Italic variant of the Celtic Avalon (‘apple-tree island’)
Orpheus is said by Diodorus of Siculus to have used the old thirteen-consonant alphabet; and the legend is that he made the trees move and charmed wild beasts apparently refers to its sequence of seasonal trees and symbolic animals. As sacred king he was struck by a thunderbolt – that is, killed with a double-axe – in an oak grove at the summer solstice, and then dismembered by the Maenads of the bull cult, like Zagreus’ or of the stag cult, like Actaeon; the Maenads, in fact, represented the Muses.
In Classical Greece the practice of tattooing was confined to Thracians, and in a vase-painting of Orpheus’ murder a Maenad has a small stag tattooed on her forearm. This Orpheus did not come in conflict with the cult of Dionysus; he was Dionysus, and he played the rude alderpipe, not the civilised lyre. Thus Proclus writes: ‘Orpheus, because he was the principal in the Dionysian rites, is said to have suffered the same fate as the god’ and Apollodorus credits him with having invented the Mysteries of Dionysus.
The Greek Myths, Robert Graves
The throne on which the Empress is seated represents, as we have said, the role of sacred magic in the world. It is its place in the world and in the history of the world; it is, lastly, its basis. In other words, it is that which attends it, desires it and is always ready to receive it. What is this?
In view of the liberating function of sacred magic, it is all that which is deprived of liberty and is bound by necessity. Concerning this, St Paul says:
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it to hope; because the creation itself will be set free fro its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans viii, 19-23)
It is therefore the mineral, plant animal and human realms of Nature – in a word, Nature it its entirety – which constitutes the domain of sacred magic. The reason for the existence of sacred magic stems from the Fall and the whole domain of the Fall – comprising fallen Nature, fallen man and the fallen hierarchies. These are the beings belonging to it who hope ‘with eager longing’ to be ‘set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.’
How does sacred magic operate towards this end? How, for example, does it deliver man?
The throne of the Empress has a back. It strongly resembles two wings, so that certain interpreters of the Tarot have seen the Empress as being winged. Others, however, see only a back. In view of the context of the card, the meaning of the coat-of-arms bearing the eagle, the sceptre surmounted by the cross, and the two-layered crown, could one not see the back here in the form of two petrified and immobilised wings, but which had once been genuine wings and which are again potentially so?
If this interpretation is accepted, not only would it reconcile the two apparently opposing points of view but also it would agree with all that the card teaches about the sphere, the aim, the power and the legitimacy of sacred magic. To give movement to the petrified wings…would this not be in accord with the liberating mission of sacred magic and with the words of St Paul?
Meditations on the Tarot, Letter III, The Empress
The owl of Zeus’s daughter Athena sat blinking inscrutably in the branches of a large white tree. Artemis, his deer, second‐born child beneath, blinked her virginal eyes and then ran like the wind towards the edge of the emerald forest.
She sped through the trees until she reached the pebble‐dashed shore of the finite see, where Poseidon threw waters from the churning, ink-black ocean out to land. A vast breaking wave upheld the glistening form of her darling, new‐born brother, Phoebus Apollo.
The top of his fin cut the air like a knife, carving out a circle of pure white light. Seven sacred colours framed his perfect, golden mind, as Artemis declared to him: “We two are one, combined!”
Her love for him supplanted all other desire. “Give me now my silver arrows”, she called out, “for I shall strike down dead any one who dares come between us!”
“Swim, enchanting sister, while my light is still cool, deep, into the salt-filled waters. A weapon such as this,” he held above him a golden bow, “may only be brought from the abyss”. His answering voice was like an echo of her dream before she dreamt it.
She cast off her linen robe and dipped one foot into the ocean, shielding her eyes from the blue‐lit morning star as it rose on the Eastern horizon. Every other face turned toward it as she made her way to the bottomless abyss, heedless of the dragon chained within.
He looked over his shoulder at the gigantic sphere, which turned through the fragile cosmos with an intricately complex, haunting melody. The light danced like fireflies in his eyes as the diamond of her soul was melted into quicksilver.
One shaft of light that showed the way
She gave up a prayer with feeling, hands raised up in her outspread hair.
This flame that burns inside of me is here in secret harmonies
She had had dreams and he could see every colour of every scene.
One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal
With a silent whisper he reminded her of the truth:
No mortal man can win this day.
He drew the flickering image into the endless space between them and exhaled into her parted lips.
There can be only one….
Bring glorious, ardent, lovely, fam’d desire, and warm my bosom with your sacred fire
IO was, is and will always be, the symbol of the two polarities. I = positive masculine force, O = feminine force. These two forces in combination create. IO is always related with androgyny. Andros (Greek) = man, Genica = woman.
We are not talking about the male of feminine physical body, but talking about polarities. IO means male of female forces out of form. IO is the Divine Androgyny. PITAR, the Pitaras, is related to parents.
In this case it is the forces that create; therefore they are called parents, not man and woman, but male and female forces. Divinity has no form but is the symbol of the parents or God, who is both female and male energies.
Jupiter is the Father of the Gods – referring to the first couple, the forces that created the universe, the representation of God in each one of us. In Kabbalah, we find the word Jehovah, which is again Androgynous. Iod Heve = IO = Male and Feminine aspects of Divinity. Jehovah Elohim is also the God of Gods, and is the origin of life – he made man and made him male -female in his own image.
The first man created was also androgynous. Adam was not a physical being with masculine sexual organs, but was androgynous, with both sexual polarities at the same time. Jupiter is the superior part that is above the Spirit. Our own Spirit emanated from Iod-Heve, Jehovah, Jupiter, IO PITAR.
Jupiter is in Christianity the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is also an androgynous force – meaning that it polarises itself into masculine and feminine. The forces of the Holy Spirit, when descending from above to the physical plane, express themselves through the sexual organs of all the human beings, all the animals, all the plants, all the minerals.
So these forces of the Holy Spirit are everywhere – everywhere is light and life. The Holy Spirit is called the Giver of Light an Life. Kabbalah in Christianity: the Sacred Family – Joseph, Mary and Jesus. These are also related with Initiation. In the word Joseph with find – IO – and Cephas (stone).
And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jonah: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, a stone. John 1.42
this stone is the Philosophical Stone of Yesod, it is the Ninth Sphere of the Tree of Life. This stone is the sexual organs. When we say IO – SEPHAS, we say “the power of IO in the Stone” – this is Joseph. Mary – Miriam – but esoterically we say RAM-IO, is the symbol of the feminine aspect of the Holy Spirit. This is represented in woman.
This is how the pentagram is being born in each one of us. When it is the right way up, it represents Jesus, because Jesus is the perfect man. The perfect man is written with five letters – the Pentagrammaton. This is the Sacred Family in relation to Divinity, in relation to Jupiter. Therefore, all Solar Initiates are children of IO-PATAR, IO-PETER, IO-Piter, the forces of IO within the Stone of Yesod.
The World of the Klipoth, Samael Aun Weor