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Letter I

Posts: 11
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Joined: 11 years ago
Dear Known and Unknown friends
I hope this message finds you well and happy.
I was moved to start another Meditations on the Tarot study cycle so during a wonderful course held in Assisi by the book's publisher, Robert Powell, where a couple of people said the would like to see a revival here.
All things considered their suggestion seemed timely - it is about ten years since the peak of our group activity and we've all had plenty of time to digest the previous material and maybe go partially or all around The Wheel along the way.
I said that I would start again on the full moon, which strictly speaking is tomorrow, but the thought is in my head today so here we are.
My idea for the forthcoming cycle is to simply share an extract from the book, starting with Letter I, The Magician, on each full moon or thereabouts. I may or may not supply some form of commentary. If anyone is moved to respond I hope you will freely do so, but if not I am happy to send these notes into the ether for you to ponder in silence should you prefer.
Timing being of the essence, I am also mindful that we are approaching the Autumn Equinox. A well known occultist called Mark Stavish (keeper of the alchemical tradition founded by Jean duBuis, The Philosophers of Nature), pointed out that this is prime time for banishing negative influences, psychic parasites, astral larvae and dangerous egregores. As a fresh start is in order, this strikes me as a prudent measure not only for individual, but also group work.
I am told that it is the Saturday, Sunday and Monday closest to the Equinox (next weekend, in other words) when the banishment is most important and effective, but it seems one cannot take such measures often enough. Following recommendations given by the author in Meditations on the Tarot, I have long used the Psalm of David for such purposes:
Let God arise, may his enemies be scattered,
May those who hate Him flee before Him.
As smoke is drive away so drive them away,
As wax melts before fire may the wicked perish before God.
In addition to this, I have recently begun to use another formula in addition to the one cited above, which was later adapted in the Lesser Banishing rite of the Pentegram (or so I'm told, this isn't a ritual I've performed myself). The words may strike a chord in some people for they are also the basis of a fairl well known prayer given to children before bed time:
In the name of God, God of Yisrael, may Michael be at my right, Gabriel at my left, Uriel before me, Raphael behind me, and the presence of God above me.
This may be done whilst tracing an upright Pentagram in the air, or not as the mood may take you. I tend to light a candle when I'm saying such prayers, and try to do so on or around 9.00pm in the evening. This is a habit I adopted from the Silent Minute inaugurated by Wellesley Tudor Pole as a form of national spiritual resistance to the Nazis. This was officially observed by the nation every Thursday during the most intense period of WWII.
These things completed, I will now share an extract from The Magician, the key to the full set of Arcana, whose letter is Aleph and who represents the first Yod of the divine name. Assuming that by now every reader of MotT understands the requirement for us to achieve concentration without effort, and has accepted that the yoke should be easy and the burden light, the reading for this moon is as follows:
Hermeticism, the living Hermetic tradition, guards the communal soul of all true culture. I must add: Hermeticists listen to - and now and then hear - the beating heart of the spiritual life of humanity. They cannot do otherwise than live as guardians of the life and communal soul of religion, science and art. The do not have any privilege in any of these domains; saints, true scientists, and artists of genius are their superiors. But they live for the mystery of the communal heart which beats within all religions, all philosophies, all arts and all sciences -  past, present and fugure. And inspired by the example of John, the beloved disciple, they do not pretend, and never will pretend, to play a directing role in religion, science, art, in social or political life;but they are constantly atttentive so as not to miss any occasion to serve religion, philosophy, science, art, the social and political life of humanity, and to this to infuse the breath of life of their communal soul - analogous to the administration of the sacrament of Holy Communion. Hermeticism is - and is only - a stimulant, a 'ferment', or an 'enzyme' in the organism of teh spiritual life of humanity. In this sense it is itself an arcanum - that is to say the antecedent of teh Mystery of the Second Birth or the Great Initiation.
This is the spirit of Hermeticism. And it is in this spirit that we now return to the first Major Arcanum of the Tarot.
from Letter I, p6-7.
Blessings to you all, may the Holy Spirit guide us.
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Posts: 11
Topic starter
Joined: 11 years ago

In his Tarot Majors Course, GOM begins the lesson by talking about binaries - 'the totality of two polar opposite regions' - using the example of the Magician's hands which are pictured in a 'dual position'. Examples of binaries include:

Spirit - Matter

Life - Death

Good - Evil

Consciousness - Power of Realisation

GOM defines the term 'initiation' as being 'the power to neutralise these last two binaries'.

Binaries are resolved by the discovery of a third, unifying term, which in geometric terms would see the line of the poles transformed into an upward pointing triangle which indicates the midway point between the two opposites. This is described as 'The Ternary of the Great Arcanum'.  We might equally  use this third term as the starting point for discovering the two binaries.

The 'Theosophical Ternary' is also established and is said to contain the three basic elements of Archetype, Man and Nature. It is in the activity of Man that we perceive the great Spirit-Matter binary, and the first step along the road of 'self initiation' involves neturalising this antimony. For example:

Spirit - Energy - Matter

An analogy is drawn with another 'stepped ternary':

Ideas - Forms - Material Objects

Spirit/Ideas are seen as analogous with the 'Mental' plane, which is ruled by Angels, Matter/Material Objects with the 'Physical' plane, which is ruled by Elementals, and the midway point of Energy/Forms with the 'Astral' plane, which is ruled by Spiritus Directors.