Contemplate in Symbols

Practical Hermeticism applies itself to educating thought and imagination (or memory) to keep in step with the will. This is why it requires constant effort of thought and imagination combined in order to think, meditate and contemplate in symbols – symbolism being the sole means of rendering thought and imagination capable of not being suspended when the will submits to revelation from above and enabling them to unite with it in its act of receptive obedience, so that the soul not only has a revelation of faith but also participates in this revelation with its understanding and memory.

This is the principle point of practical Hermeticism and, at the same time, its contribution to Christian mysticism. I say Christian mysticism and not Christian mystical theology, because theology rationalises the material of mystical experience in deriving rules and laws, whilst Hermeticism wants thought and imaginaiton to participate in this experience. Its aim is found in the experience itself, not in the domain of explaining it or accounting for it.

Meditations on the Tarot, Letter XII, The Hanged Man

Pictured: International Banner of Peace, Nicholas Roerich

Ray forth within your own individual limitations

To ‘ray forth within your own individual limitations means nothing else than to become an individual – but limited – sun. And that is the star principle.

It is different from the sun principle in that the latter works unboundedly, universally (‘the sun shines upon good and evil alike’) which the star principle is an individually concentrated and limited sunlike quality. It differs from the moon principle, however, in that it does not reflect light but rays it forth out of itself. “Stars”, in this sense, are “sun seeds”, sprouting sun corn.

There thus arises a wonderful picture out of a deeper consideration of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand: in the centre, high up on the mountain, Jesus Christ, as the shining and life-giving sun; then the circle of disciples as the silver moon; and round about the mountain a swarm of thousands of stars – the people.

The people, the five thousand, experienced more than the stilling of their hunger; they experience the reality of the hierarchical principle, as it was founded on the fourth day of creation. That is the reason why, after the feeding, the wanted to make Jesus Christ king (john vi, 15).

For during the “sign” they experienced the kingly effects of the cosmic ruling centre point, but interpreted this experience according to the concepts of their ordinary day consciousness in such a way that they said: “Truly this is the prophet that should come into the world” (john vi, 14), and they thought that he should become king in an earthly sense. This interpretation brought the divine cosmic nature of the event down onto the level of human earthly nature. Therefore Jesus “withdrew again into the mountains by himself” (John vi, 15).

Lazarus, come forth! Valentin Tomberg, The Seven Miracle’s of John’s Gospel


Tomberg: Apocalypse, Israel and Atlantis

In the sense of the Apocalypse, we can best understand the choosing and the significance of the chosen people, or the undying Israel, by studying the history of humankind with the purpose of discovering the origin of the chosen people. We must go back to a time when civilisation flourished in Atlantis, the continent of West Europe, which was later submerged.

That civilisation was especially distinguished from that of today by the fact that it was based on very different human faculties. Modern civilisation is founded on the human faculty of thinking and the experiences that reach us through the mind, whereas the Atlantean civilisation was based on faculties that would be viewed today as ‘magical’.

The faculties of Atlanteans relied on a far more intimate relationship between humankind and the natural environment than exists in modern times. For Atlanteans, an external natural event was as direct inner experience; similarly, the inner experience of Atlanteans exerted an influence on the outer events of nature.

The will had the power of not only moving a person’s limbs, but it could also effect the forces of nature. The will had the power of not only moving a person’s limbs, but it could also affect the forces of nature. Likewise, the spoken word had a power that today, when speakers lecture or declaim – we can no longer conceive of. It could heal or kill, build or destroy, through the natural force that accompanied it.

Christ and Sophia (The Chosen People, The Nature of the Old Testament) Valentin Tomberg