The Last Things
The Judgement represents the resurrection of the dead at the sound of the trumpet of the Angel of resurrection. It is a spiritual exercise where the use of intuition—that of the nineteenth Arcanum “The Sun”—has to be carried to a maximum, the theme of resurrection being of the order of “last things”,.
The “last things”—or the spiritual horizon of humanity—are not the same for all. Some believe that everything finishes with the death of the individual. For others there is a “beyond”, an individual existence after death and an existence of a non-material universe after the end of the world. For still others there is not only spiritual life after death for the individual but also his return to terrestrial life—reincarnation—as well as cosmic reincarnation, i.e. an alternation of states of manvantara and pralaya.
Others, again, see for the individual something beyond repeated incarnations, namely the state of supreme peace of union with the eternal and universal Being (the state of nirvana). Lastly, there is a part of mankind whose existential horizon goes beyond not only post mortem existence and reincarnation, but also even beyond the peace of union with God—it is resurrection which constitutes their spiritual horizon.
Therapeutic Impulse of Prophetic Religions
The following parable can be useful to us for understanding resurrection:
Some people near the bed of a sick person give their opinions on his state. One says: “He is not ill. It is his nature which is manifesting in this fashion.” Another says: “His illness is temporary. It will be followed naturally by the re-establishment of his health. ” A third says: “The illness is incurable. He is suffering in vain. It would be better to put an end to his suffering and to give him, through pity, death.” The last one speaks: “His illness is fatal. He will not recover at all without help from outside. It will be necessary to renew his blood, for his blood is infected. I shall give my blood for the transfusion.” And the end of the story is that after treating him accordingly, the ill person—being healed —gets up.
These are the four principal attitudes towards the world.
These three attitudes towards the world, manifested in pagan Hellenism, Hindu Brahminism, and Buddhism, lack the therapeutic impulse of Christianity. The transfusion of blood the Christian ideal is the renewal of the world —‘“a new heaven and a new earth”.
The Fifth Asceticism
There is “natural asceticism”—that of moderation and putting the brakes on desires—with health in view; there is the “asceticism of detachment”—that of the spirit conscious of itself and of its immortality in the face of things that are transitory and of less value—with a view to freedom; there is the “asceticism of attachment”—that of the love of God, where loving him is divesting oneself of all that which intervenes between oneself and the Beloved—with a view to union; there is the “asceticism of activity”—that of active participation in evolution, i.e. of human work and endeavour aiming at perfection; and lastly there is the “asceticism of divine magic”—that of the great work of resurrection. This “fifth asceticism” includes and crowns all the other “asceticisms”, since the work of divine magic presupposes union with the divine will, the realisation and surpassing of evolution, complete freedom of the spirit, and therapeutic action towards man and Nature.
The idea, ideal and work of resurrection appeal to what is most creative, most generous and most courageous in the human soul. Does one not remember St. Paul’s words:
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debator of this world?…For since the world through its wisdom did not know God in his wisdom, it pleased God to save those who believe through the folly of preaching. (I Corinthians i, 20-21)
The “folly of preaching”… today, after nineteen centuries of effort and evolution of human religious, philosophical, scientific and Hermetic thought?…after St. Augustine, St. Albertus Magnus, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventura, the great mystics…after scientific “evolutionism”, depth physics and depth psychology? In other words, is not human thought better equipped and more evolved to see in the idea, ideal and work of resurrection more than the “folly of preaching”?
Raising of Lazarus
A profound meditation on the resurrection is the only way to answer this question.
Both the Marseille and the Fautriez Tarot represent a man and woman contemplating the resurrection from a tomb of an adolescent. The Card represents a kind of “parallelogram of resurrecting forces”—the Angel with the trumpet above, the parental love of the father (on the right) and the mother (on the left) and, below, the arising of the resuscitated one from an open tomb. The man and woman are outside of the tomb; it is only their child—an adolescent—who is resuscitated. Therefore we have before us a parallelogram (see figure).
This geometrical figure portrays the forces realizing resurrection: the sound of the Angel’s trumpet, the parental love of the father and mother, and the effort of arising of the resuscitated adolescent. It is the same composition of operative forces that we find in the raising of Lazarus at Bethany, where Jesus plays the role of the Angel, the father and the mother—all at once.
Jesus wept. So the Jews said: See how he loved him…Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay before it. Jesus said: Take away the stone…So they took away the stone…He cried with a loud voice: Lazarus, come out. The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them: Unbind him, and let him go.
The loud voice crying, “Lazarus, come out” is the sound of the trumpet of resurrection, which changes the love of the mother and the love of the father into a magical call. Lazarus at Bethany, where Jesus plays the role of the Angel, the father and the mother—all at once.
Just as the earthly father and mother give life to the child at his incarnation, where the Angel of life sounds the trumpet in order to call his soul into incarnation—and the “trumpet” formed by his outspread wings is then turned above—so do the celestial Father and Mother restore the child to life at his resurrection, where the Angel of resurrection sounds the trumpet in order to call his soul and his body to resurrection—and the “trumpet” formed by his outspread wings is then turned below.
This is the general meaning of the Arcanum. It is now a matter of understanding the “details”, i.e. of understanding concretely. There still remains a whole world, namely the how of resurrection.
Forgetting, Sleep, Death: Recollection, Awaking, Resurrection.
Forgetting, sleep and death are opposed to remembering, wakefulness and birth in the earthly life of man. It is said that sleep is the younger brother of death; by the same token it would be right to say that forgetting is the younger brother of sleep. They are three degrees of a single thing, namely the process of elimination of a conscious and living being. It is noteworthy that the account of Lazarus’ resurrection that we quoted above also brings the chain forgetting-sleep-death into consideration. It is said:
Our consciousness during the sixteen hours of the waking each day is only a weak part of the whole, only a focal point of action, i.e. of judgement, word and deed.
At each moment our consciousness is limited to judging, saying or doing. The rest is “elsewhere”. All that you know of astronomy, chemistry, history and jurisprudence is absent and relegated to the darkness of temporary forgetfulnes when you discuss your garden with the gardener. In order to act, it is necessary to forget.
Action requires that one draws from the darkness of temporary forgetfulness all the memory images and concepts of knowledge which could be useful. In order to act one has to recall.
To be endowed with “good concentration” means chasing away all images and concepts which are not useful for action. It is mastery of the art of forgetting. To be endowed with “good memory”, in contrast, signifies mastery of the mechanism of recall—of that which renders present the images and concepts which one needs. It is mastery of the art of recalling.
Automatic, Logical and Moral Memory
Memory therefore supplies us with a key of analogy which allows intelligence not to remain simply taken aback in the face of the problem of resurrection. It renders it intelligible. Indeed, the analogy between the “loud voice” which called Lazarus to life and the inner effort which evokes a memory reveals, mutatis mutandis, the essence of the magic of Jesus’ “loud voice” and of the “sound of the trumpet” of the Angel of the resurrection—as the following shows.
One forgets what one does not love and one never forgets what one loves. It is love which gives us the power to recall at any desired moment the things that our hearts preserve “warm”. Indifference, in contrast, makes one forget everything.
It is the same with the “awaking and resurrection of the dead”. Here it is not cosmic indifference (that we call “matter”) which will effect anything, but rather it is cosmic love (that we call “spirit”) which will accomplish the magical act of resurrection, i.e. the reintegration of an inseparable unity of spirit, soul and body, not by way of reincarnation, but by way of the magical act of divine memory..
Threefold Akashic Chronicle
The clinical experience of modern neuro-pathology establishes that nothing is forgotten from the totality of man’s psychic life. Just as the microcosm, the human being, forgets nothing, so does the macrocosm, the world, not forget anything. What occult literature calls the “Akasha chronicle” is to history so the psychic unconscious is to the conscious self’s memory in action. And just as total psychic memory is not inactive, often affecting psychic health, so does the Akasha chronicle often play a decisive role in the unfolding of universal history.
With respect to total psychic memory, one has to distinguish between three “memory tableaus”: the pure and simple “tableau of the past”, the “logical tableau”, i.e. the structure of the past, and, lastly, the “moral tableau”, i.e. the travelled way of the past. These three “tableaus” of psychic memory correspond to automatic memory, logical memory and moral memory. Automatic memory is the psycho-physical faculty of reproducing all the facts of the past. It places the tableau of the past, purely and simply, as raw material at the disposal of the conscious self so that the latter makes use of it and extracts from it the elements that it needs.
Automatic memory is the “trump card” of childhood and youth. Thanks to it they can learn an enormous quantity of things. Automatic memory is weakened in proportion to the extent with which age increases. A certain effort is necessary to make up for and fill in its ever more frequent lapses. It is then logical effort which comes to aid the semiautomatic functioning of the failing mechanism of associations. It is the logical sequence of cause and effect which then replaces little by little the automatic play of associations. One is led more and more to replace the semiphotographic tableau of memory of the past by the tableau of facts relating to the logical relationships between them.
Logical memory, is where the force of the past is intelligence instead of irrational automatism of associations. One does not recall things simply because they took place, but rather because they played a role whose effects reach the present. Just as automatic memory with time gives up its supremacy to logical memory, so does the latter yield its dominant role to moral memory.
In old age moral memory more and more replaces logical memory, and the force of memory then depends on the intensity of the moral and spiritual life. The moral memory in old age of a person with an awakened heart can, in principle, replace without fault all the functions of automatic memory and logical memory.
The threefold Akasha chronicle corresponds to automatic memory, logical memory and moral memory. However Occult literature makes a case for only one, which is customarily spoken of as a kind of cinematographic film of the world’s past.
The more remote the past, the more two contrary tendencies are manifested: namely that of ascent towards higher spheres and, simultaneously, that of descent towards lower spheres. One could say that it is divided into two parts, where one rises above and the other descends below (see figure).
A twofold process takes place in the Akasha chronicle: it is spiritualized and at the same time concretized, to the extent that the distance from the present into the past increases. One could compare this process with trees in autumn: the leaves are separated from the tree; they fall onto the ground and the tree stands out in more austere and precise against the sky.
This is comparable to abstraction. Only that which is essential is retained, so a similar process takes place in the Akasha chronicle. A selection of the essential is retained, whilst the “waste” which remains—like dead leaves—constitutes another Akasha chronicle: the lower chronicle. This latter descends from sphere to sphere and ends in the subterranean sphere.
“Book of Life”
The higher chronicle is the intelligent memory of the history of the world. It is the “book of truth” that one can not only read, i.e. see, but also “swallow”, i.e. assimilate in such a way that it becomes always present in us —and which “will be bitter to your stomach, but sweet as honey in your mouth” (Revelation x, 9). The other book, the “book of archives” or the “book of facts”, is no part of initiation, i.e. it cannot be “swallowed”; one can draw items of information from it only by procedures such as psychometry, mediumistic clairvoyance, or also by the intermediation of beings who have access to the subterranean region where it is to be found.
There is yet another “book”—the “book of life’—of which the Apocalypse speaks, where it is said:
Books were opened…also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. (Revelation xx, 12)
The “book of life” is the third Akasha chronicle, which corresponds to moral memory in human life. It contains only what is worthy of living eternally—that which is worthy of resurrection. The third Akasha chronicle—the “book of life’—contains the past only in so far as it is of significance for the future in so far as it is of significance for eternity.
But do not think, dear Unknown Friend, that the “book of life”, consists only of great things。 This chronicle contains many a thing judged as “small”—but which is great in the moral context of life. One finds there, for example, complete texts of manuscripts written by authors—who, as editors, entrusted them to the four winds, addressing them to anyone into whose hands they would perhaps at some time fall. One also hears there the prayer borne by the last breath of a dying atheist or agnostic—the prayer which no one heard and no one expected. One sees there the radiation of the small coins put by “poor widows” in the “temple coffers’-—and many things judged as small by the world.
The “book of life” is the moral memory of the world. It does not contain forgiven and atoned-for sins. For this reason it is constantly modified.
The “book of life” is the essence of karma. Since the Incarnation of Christ, karma has become the affair of Jesus Christ. Not only must the new law replace the old law of “an eye for an eye “but also realise it on the cosmic level by elevating the “book of life” above the “book of accounts” of strict justice. Karma is now, above all, the means of salvation. The cosmic sense of the sacrament of baptism is the act of the passage of the soul from ancient karma to new karma. And it is this truth that one confesses by saying the words of the Creed. For the remission of sins signifies their effacement from the “book of life”.
The three Akasha chronicles are to be found in different spheres:
CHRONICLE OF FACTS
It is the first chronicle, that of facts, from which entities of the left, i.e. of strict justice, draw evidence for their accusations. It constitutes the archives of the cosmic prosecution.
The second logical chronicle is the accounts rendered in the millennial-old debate between the cosmic advocacy and the cosmic prosecution, i.e. between the hierarchies of the right and those of the left, or between good and evil.
The third Akasha chronicle is the source of strength for hierarchies of the right; it supports their faith in justice for the sake of world evolution and humanity, as well as for ultimate universal salvation. It aspires to resurrection—to the reintegration of beings—whilst the second is the history of equilibrium, i.e. the karma of the world, the equilibrium between good and evil. The first chronicle—that of facts, pure and simple—supplies the points of support for the arguments of the hierarchies of the left, who do not believe in mankind and accuse mankind.
“Best of All Conceivable Worlds”
Leibnitz, the German philosopher and radical optimist wrote: “This world is the best of all conceivable worlds.” This from a man, who was more unhappy than is usual, remains incomprehensible, if his nocturnal experience of the third Akasha chronicle is not taken into consideration. Certain individuals are sometimes admitted to readership of the “book of life” by its guardian while they are asleep. They must forget this experience in their day consciousness, since the latter could not support such an increase of knowledge, but what remains to them is its psychic summary in the guise of optimistic faith—such as Leibnitz had. His optimistic faith was the residue in day consciousness of the forgotten nocturnal knowledge
Similarly, it can happen that someone can have the nocturnal experience of reading from the second Akasha chronicle, and as a result be convinced —as, for example, by Friedrich Schiller —that the history of the world is perpetual judgement or karma.
Not only are there diverse Akasha chronicles but also diverse ways of experiencing them. One can “see” the Akasha chronicle, one can “hear” it and one can be “seated” or “immersed” in it. This means to say that parts of the Akasha chronicle can be seen in vision, or can be heard as a dramatic or musical work, or also can become an integral or structural part of the spirit and soul of the one who experiences it. The latter identifies himself with it and it lives and works in him. It is this to which the Apocalypse of St. John aspires when there it is said that a book was swallowed:
“It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter”
For it is characteristic that the intuitive experience of the second Akasha chronicle comprises a state of psychic depression due to the gravity of its contents, but that this depression is transformed into joy as soon as the intuitive experience is grasped and understood by intelligence, i.e. when it becomes “articulated word”. Then it becomes “sweet as honey in the mouth”.
Whatever the way of “reading” the Akasha chronicle is, it is always a matter of extracts from it, for no human spirit—even disincarnated—could bear the whole. One would have to be of the spiritual status of the Archangel Michael to be able to bear the whole of the second Akasha chronicle and of the status of the Cherubim guarding the entrance to paradise to be able to bear the whole of the third Akasha chronicle.
The extent to which the Akashic chronicle is bearable is greater in the case of intuitive experience; it diminishes for inspirative experience; and it is more limited still for visionary experience. Thus, for example, Fabre d’Olivet founded his work Philosophical History of the Human Race on a number of visions from the second Akasha chronicle.
His intellectual speculation established connecting links between the isolated scenes of his visions, and which filled the gaps between what he had seen and what he had not seen. The greater part of his work is speculation. It would therefore be a grave error to consider Fabre d’Olivet’s book as revelation or purely and simply an account of what he read in the Akasha chronicle. There is to be found there not only things where the author’s predilection plays a role, but also quite marked prejudices (for example, that against Christianity). However, this does not bear any prejudice against his merit of having been an “angel of the tradition” at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and of having awoken—perhaps saved—some important aspects of the Hermetic tradition. For it was he who was the first to raise history to the niveau of Hermeticism—which, before was strikingly lacking a vision of the history of the world.
It is thanks to Fabre d’Olivet that a current of esoteric history was set in motion, which was represented by Saint- Yves d’ Alveydre, H. P. Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner. Since then esoteric historicism has undergone an unparalleled development: grandiose works have seen the light of day—from the Akasha Chronicle and chapters on cosmic history in Occult Science by Rudolf Steiner.
Each of these authors of esoteric history has gaps in his experience of the Akasha chronicle—and has filled them by his own intelligence and erudition.
One cannot swear by any particular work. Collective work is necessary from generation to generation—i.e. a living tradition, where each continues the work of his predecessors, confirming the truth, filling in gaps, and correcting errors of interpretation or vision. Henceforth it will be a matter not of isolated flashes of genius, but rather of a continuous collective endeavour of a slow but continuous growth of the light whose dawn was Fabre d’Olivet’s work.
The History of the World is the Judgement of the World
Dear Unknown Friend,
I beg you not to regard what is written here as a vow made for the future of Hermetic historicism, but rather as a testament making you who read these lines a trustee of the task in question. But one thing I implore you not to do: to found an organisation, an association, a society or an order which is charged with the task. For the tradition lives not thanks to organisations, but rather in spite of them. One should content oneself purely and simply with friendship in order to preserve the life of a tradition; it is not necessary to entrust it to the care of the embalmers and mummifiers par excellence that organisations are, save for that founded by Jesus Christ.
Akasha chronicle can reveal itself in the human soul—either as an arrow as with Leibnitz and Schiller (“This world is the best of all conceivable worlds” and “the history of the world is the judgement of the world”), or by a series dramatic pieces of revelation, its effect is always cosmic optimism (the faith of Teilhard de Chardin!) and a greater sense of historical responsibility (the preoccupation of Jung). Your soul has the same gain, whether you have the vision of long extracts from the Akasha chronicle when awake or whether you have only its psychic summary during sleep. The experience of the book of life always has the effect that belief in God and in ultimate universal salvation—including the devil (the faith of Origen! )—becomes unshakable, and all experience of the second chronicle (the karma of the world) always has the effect that it awakens the sense of the individual’s responsibility for the universal lot (the meaning underlying the belief in “ten righteous men who justify the world”).
Sense of Historical Responsibility and Cosmic Optimism
Experience of the first chronicle, (“the film which reproduces the past in all its details”), is comparable to that of organized espionage: it supplies information—useful and useless, in a jumble —from which the meaning and logical sequence must be extracted through a work similar to that done by a well-trained journalist or historian. This chronicle hardly teaches; it only informs. And it informs in such a way that it supplies a mass of facts simultaneously—without any selection and perhaps without relationship to the problem which interests you. The effect is that the human soul feels itself lost before an excessive number of unknown and even incomprehensible facts. It tires and fills to repletion even the most curious of minds.
The Akasha chronicle—vast and grand as it is—can be concentrated to a single word, to a single magical sound. And this magical concentration of the Akasha chronicle—the memory of the world—is precisely the trumpet of the Angel who figures in the “parallelogram of resurrecting forces” that the Card of the twentieth Arcanum of the Tarot represents.
Trumpet of Angels
The trumpet of the Angel is the entire Akasha chronicle concentrated in a single word or sound—awakening, vivifying and resuscitating. It always signifies the transformation of a world of mystical experience and gnostic knowledge into magical action.
The “parallelogram of forces” operating the resurrection consists of: the parental love of the father and mother, the sound of the trumpet from above, i.e. the magical summary of the Akasha chronicle, and the effort to arise of the one being resurrected. Until now we have been occupied with three of the forces of the parallelogram of the Arcanum. It remains, therefore, to try to penetrate the fourth force meditatively—that of the active reaction to the action of the three forces which have been the object of our meditation until now.
Thus, it is a matter of considering such problems as the role of human endeavour (the theological problem of “work and grace”), the significance of resurrection (if it is complete, i.e. embraces spirit, soul and body, or if it is only spiritual) and, lastly, the nature of the resurrected body.
Work and Grace
Man cannot resurrect himself. All the religious doctrines on resurrection, (Zoroastrian, Judaic, Christian and Islamic), agree. Man does not resurrect himself; he will be resurrected…resurrection whether we like it or not?…come what may?
In other words, is resurrection something which purely and simply happens to man, without any participation on his part, or is it a comprehensive act which embraces the entire circle of that which is above and that which is below—including human will?
Let us return once again to Lazarus’ resurrection at Bethany. Did Lazarus come out of the tomb like a somnambulant obeying the order of a hypnotist, i.e. under magical constraint? Or did he come out because the voice that he heard had awoken in him all the love, all the hope and all the faith which vibrated in it, and thus he experienced the ardent desire to be near the one who called him?
Eliphas Lévi in the third book of his work The Key of the Mysteries gives a positive answer to the last question. He says:
The sacred books indicate to us the procedure which must be employed in such a case (to recall the soul of the deceased person to his body). The prophet Elijah and the apostle St. Paul employed it with success. The deceased must be magnetised by placing the feet on his feet, the hands on his hands, the mouth on his mouth. Then concentrate the whole will for a long time, call to itself the escaped soul, using all the loving thoughts and mental caresses of which one is capable. If the operator inspires in that soul much affection or great respect, if in the thought which he communicates magnetically to it the thaumaturgist can persuade it that life is still necessary to it, and that happy days are still in store for it below, it will certainly return, and for the man of everyday science the apparent death will have been only a lethargy.
Uniting of Divine Will with Human Will
No one who has had a little authentic experience of the spirituality of the world could doubt that there was not a shadow of constraint in the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection—and, consequently, that there will not be any shadow of constraint in the universal miracle of the resurrection of the dead.
The resuscitation at the “sound of the trumpet” and the parental love of the father and mother are essential factors in resurrection. The act of arising by the resuscitated adolescent— in the twentieth Arcanum —is not a semi-mechanical result of the operation effected from above, but rather a free and conscious “yes” from the heart, intelligence and will of the resuscitated one. Just as Lazarus came out of the tomb moved by love, hope and faith, so does the adolescent of our Arcanum raise himself, being moved not by the sound of the Angel’s trumpet and by the force of appeal of his father and mother, but rather by his own reaction to this appeal and this sound—by his love, hope and faith in response to the appeal.
The Arcanum of resurrection is therefore one of morality, wholly contrary to one of power. Resurrection is the effect of the union of divine love, hope and faith with human love, hope and faith. Not only the human spirit and soul but also all the atoms of the human body respond “yes” in chorus, which is the free expression—a cry from the heart of the whole being and of each particular atom—of the love, hope and faith of man, and of Nature For man represents Nature towards God and he represents God towards Nature. For this reason, in addressing ourselves to the Father who is in heaven, we say: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
What would be the good of praying to the all-powerful Father for his kingdom to come and for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven if we were not the connecting link between him and Nature?…if the Father still reigned in Nature, and if all that took place on earth were his will only?.. .if he had not yielded his rule over Nature to others, and if other wills than his were not developing on the earth?
The Lord’s Prayer
The earth, i.e. Nature, has been given by the Father to the free human being as the field of deployment of his freedom. And it is this freedom alone which can address this prayer to the Father in the name of the whole of Nature: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
This prayer means to say: I desire your kingdom more than mine, for it is my ideal; and your will is the heart of hearts of my will—which languishes after your will, which is the way that my will seeks, the truth to which my will aspires, and the life from which my will lives. This prayer is therefore not only an act of submission of the human will to divine will, but it is above all the expression of hunger and thirst for union with the divine will; it does not adhere to fatalism, but rather to love.
St. Augustine made the remarkable statement: “God is more myself than I myself am”; he knew how to pray the Lord’s prayer. One learns to pray the Lord’s prayer by becoming more and more conscious of what it is essentially concerned with. The Lord’s prayer that one prays in the Mass of the Catholic Church—after the preparation, the reading from the Epistles and the Gospels, the oblation of sacrifice and consecration, and at the beginning of the participation in the sacrifice (communion)—is preceded by the following words: “Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Saviour gave us: Our Father…”. The Lord’s prayer requires preliminary elucidation and instruction. One has to have understood that our will is truly free only in union with that of God. Miracles are not proofs of divine omnipotence, but rather of the omnipotence of the alliance of divine will and human will.
For this reason, anyone who preaches the pure and simple omnipotence of God sows atheism for the future. For he makes God responsible for the wars, concentration camps, and physical and psychic epidemics from which mankind has suffered and will suffer again. And sooner or later one arrives at the conclusion that God does not exist. The contemporary Marxist-communist movement has, truth to tell, no other argument for the non-existence of God than the lack of direct intervention by the all-powerful divinity. This argument amounts to that of the rulers and soldiers against the divinity of Christ, when they said to the face of the crucified One:
He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ, the Chosen One of God! The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar, and saying: If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!…One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying: Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!
But the other criminal crucified with him understood that it was not omnipotence which was at stake, but rather love—and he said:
We are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. And he said: Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingly power.
He said, “Your kingly power”—meaning the reign of love and not that of omnipotence,. “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” when well understood, guards us from making divine omnipotence a stake of faith. It teaches us that divine will is not done on earth as it is in heaven, and that it is necessary for the human will to pray that it may be done.
It is similarly so for the resurrection. It is not a unilateral act of divine omnipotence, but rather an act resulting from the union of divine and human will. Therefore it is not a semi-mechanical event, but rather a moral event, the effect of the free union of two free wills.
Resurrection is the synthesis of life and death. After the resurrection the resuscitated one can act as if he were living and, at the same time, he is free from terrestrial links as if he were dead. On the one hand, the risen Christ appeared in the midst of his disciples and disappeared again; on the other hand, he ate with them. He materialized and dematerialized himself freely. He entered through closed doors, and he ate “broiled fish”. He was therefore free as a disincarnated spirit and could act—show himself, speak and eat—as an incarnated person.
The risen Christ was difficult to recognize. He hardly resembled the Master that the disciples and women knew so well. Thus, Mary Magdalena took him to be the gardener; the two disciples on the way to Emmaeus only recognized him at the moment that he broke the bread; the disciples did not recognize his appearance by the sea of Tiberias—and it was only after he had spoken that John, initially alone, recognized him and said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” “When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his clothes, for he was stripped for work, and sprang into the sea”.
The risen Jesus Christ difficult to recognize, because he was ageless. He did not have the appearance of Jesus on the eve of Calvary. Just as he was on Mt. Tabor, so was he transfigured at his resurrection. He was not only the synthesis of life and death, but also the synthesis of youth and old age. For this reason it was difficult for those who knew him between the ages of thirty and thirty-three to recognize him: at one time he appeared older to them, at another time younger.
And here we arrive at the full problem of the resurrection body. What is it?
Modern science has come to the understanding that matter is only condensed energy—which, moreover, was known by alchemists and Hermeticists thousands of years ago. Sooner or later science will also discover the fact that what it calls “energy” is only condensed psychic force— which discovery will lead in the end to the establishment of the fact that all psychic force is the “condensation”, purely and simply, of consciousness, i.e. spirit. Thus, it will be known for certain that we walk not thanks to the existence of legs, but rather that legs exist thanks to the will for movement, i.e. that it is the will for movement which has fashioned the legs so as to serve as its instrument.
Similarly, it will be known that the brain does not engender consciousness but that it is the latter’s instrument of action.
Our physical body is therefore an instrument composed of the will for action and for perception. Its genesis is the vertical line:
Unfortunately, this vertical line is traversed by a horizontal one which runs counter to the freedom of the spirit in the fashioning—by the condensation of psychic forces and energy—of the material instrument in conformity with its task and mission. If our physical body were only the product of our own spirit alone, it would be the perfect instrument of our spiritual freedom. But, unfortunately, it is not so. Because the vertical line of condensation is traversed by the horizontal line of heredity. This constitutes the cross of human existence on earth (see figure).
Heredity and Individuality
To imitate or to create is the choice and the trial of every soul. There are strong, creative—souls, and there are weak, imitative souls. The stronger a soul is, the greater the independence preceding generations. In contrast, a weak soul becomes only a pure and simple copy of the parents. In the former case— in the absence of sufficient information concerning the ancestry of the individual in question—it will certainly be said that, “the genes of a distant and unknown ancestor have prevailed”. But whatever is said the fact remains incontestable that there are some cases where heredity is reduced to a minimum and that there are other cases where it manifests itself as almost all powerful.
Heredity is the same imitation at work in the organic domain as that at work with children, when they are learning to speak and to form the first social qualities. If a child learns to speak by imitating its parents, this is only the consequence of the prior practice of the nervous system, the circulatory system, and the structure of muscles and bones from the shaping of the organism in the uterus during the prenatal period.
Every incarnated human being is the product of the force of imitation, or heredity, and the creative force or self-realization of the eternal individuality. The incarnated human being is at one and the same time representative of his ancestors and his individuality—the latter representing only itself.
The human being is the product “horizontal heredity” and “vertical heredity”, the latter being the imprint of the individuality from above and the former being the imprint of the ancestors here below. The horizontal heredity goes back to the archetype, the “ancestor of ancestors”, i.e. Adam; while vertical heredity rises up to the Father who is heaven, i.e. God. This is why it is so important to allow light from the dogma of the immaculate conception to convince us of its truth, for what is at stake is the line of vertical heredity—“God-man heredity”.
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John i, 14)—this presupposes descent from above, instead of being the product of preceding generations. And it is this which holds out the promise that:
…to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John, 12-13)
Is it possible to state the re-establishment of “God-man heredity” (vertical heredity) more clearly and openly?
The resurrection body is perfect freedom of individuality, without impediment by heredity. It is not an instrument the soul uses, as the soul is not an instrument the spirit uses. The master employs the implement without the latter taking any conscious action. The relationship between spirit, soul and resurrection body is a reflection of the Holy Trinity. Man will be triune, as God is triune. Man’s eternal individuality will be the unity underlying his spirit, his soul and his body. The resurrection body will therefore be one of three “persons” of the human trinity, analogous to the divine Trinity. It will be the “person of action” of the individuality, just as the soul will be the “person of heart” and the spirit will be the “person of contemplation”. Thusthe resurrection body will be the magical realizing agent of the individuality, whilst contemplating eternity by way of his spirit and rendering it light and warmth in his soul.
The resurrection body will be absolutely mobile and will create for each action the “organ” which suits it. At one time it will be radiant light—such as Paul experienced on the way to Damascus—at another time it will be a current of warmth, or a breath of vivifying freshness, or a luminous human form, or a human form in the flesh. For the resurrection body will be magical will, contracting and expanding. It will be the synthesis of life and death, i.e. capable of acting here below as a living person and at the same time enjoying freedom from terrestrial links like a deceased person.
Will it be a new creation?…a sudden and gratuitous gift from God?
To answer this question, we have to deepen the idea we have of physical body. Generally we think it is a quantity of matter borrowed from Nature and organized in such a way as to serve as an instrument of action and as the scene of development of psychic life until its disintegration, i.e. death. “It has been made from dust and will return to dust”. If we replace the Biblical term “dust” by the modern term “multitude of atoms”, this formula from Ecclesiastes expresses our general idea of the body, no matter whether or not we believe in the soul’s immortality. Here materialists and the spiritually-minded are in agreement, for both the former and the latter accept the empirical evidence of the complete disintegration of the individual body at death.
Regarding the Immortality of Spirit, Soul and Body
Hermeticism denies that the individual body undergoes complete annihilation at death. It says that the body is essentially as immortal as the soul and spirit. The immortality of the body, as Hermeticism understands it, differs from the relative immortality that is accorded to it by biology and chemistry and physics (conservation of matter and energy), since it is a matter of individual bodies and not of the survival of the species or the conservation of amorphous matter.
According to Hermeticism, the essence of the body is not the matter of which it is composed nor the energy which is produced in it, but rather the fundamental will underlying matter and energy. And it is this will which is indestructible, because it exists prior to the birth of the body—and without it birth (here in the sense of incarnation) would not be possible. More particularly, there is an essential difference between incarnation-birth and propagation-birth (in the sense of the propagation of the species). The former is adapted to the individuality who is incarnating, whilst the latter aims at the reproduction of the parents and ancestors without regard to the individuality who is going to incarnate. Incarnation-birth is thus ruled by the law of the vertical, whilst propagation-birth falls under the law of the horizontal. The first is orientated towards the individuality above; the second is orientated towards the species, the race and the family, i.e. the past below. In the first case the individuality incarnates himself; in the second case he falls into incarnation.
Therefore, it is thus that the body, in accordance above all with the individuality and not according to the line of hereditary descent, is the work of the will of the individuality who is descending to incarnation acting hand in hand with the will receiving him below. This united will constitutes the indestructible and immortal kernel of the body. It is the “philosopher’s stone”, which arranges the matter and energy given by Nature in such a way that it is adapted to the individuality. Such an “individualised” body certainly returns to Nature (at the moment of death) the substances and energies that it had been given, but its active principle, its formative will-energy, survives death. It is the living memory, the formative will-memory, of the body that is born—in so far as it is thus born—under the law of the vertical. Thus the poet Baudelaire, in a moment of illumination through love, wrote:
Preparation of the Resurrection Body
Baudelaire will not be alone in keeping “the form and the divine essence” of the body of the beloved. There is also One, One who is greater than he—and whose love is greater than his—who will guard them for all eternity. For if the love of the loving one preserves “the form and the divine essence” of the decomposed body of the person whom he loves, this is all the more reason for God—who is love—to preserve “the form and the divine essence” of this body. And it is this form and this essence which will resuscitate at the resurrection.
Thus, the resurrection body is prepared during the course of the ages. Each particular human incarnation is effected according to the law of the cross, i.e. it is vertical and horizontal at the same time. In reality it is only the proportion between the vertical of incarnation and the horizontal of heredity —i.e. the preponderance of the vertical over the horizontal or vice versa— which makes a particular incarnation emphasise either the law of the vertical or that of the horizontal. Hence the process of the growth of the resurrection body is gradual. The resurrection body matures from incarnation to incarnation, although in principle it should be possible for a single incarnation to suffice. In fact, however, it is so that many incarnations are necessary to bring the resurrection body to maturity.
What is the destiny of the kernel of the indestructible body—“the form
and the divine essence” of the body—after death? Does it ascend
with the soul and spirit to the spiritual world, leaving the mortal
Death—disincarnation—signifies the separation of the soul and spirit
from the physical body, including its indestructible kernel or
resurrection body. Whilst the soul and spirit ascend to the spiritual
world—accompanied by the forces of vitality, the “etheric body” and
the “astral body”, i.e. psychic habits, desires, character and psychic
dispositions) —the resurrection body descends in the opposite sense,
below, towards the centre of the earth. As it is active will during life, its
descent is due to progressive relaxing of the will.
Jesus cried out with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. (Matthew xxvii, 50-53)
The evangelist is specific that it was the bodies of the saints which came out of the opened tombs and not the souls of the saints which descended from heaven and which were revealed to the inhabitants of the holy city. On the other hand the bodies of the saints were not at all material bodies; otherwise they would have gone in procession to Jerusalem instead of appearing there. It was the bodies of the saints and not just any kind of dead. The bodies were resurrection bodies which had already attained a certain advanced degree of maturity.
With respect to the resurrection of Lazarus (the seventh miracle in the Gospel according to St. John), this is the unique case of a threefold miracle— namely the recall of the soul of a departed one to terrestrial life, the healing of a body which had already been four days in the tomb and from which there was already an “odour” (John xi, 39) and, lastly, the evocation of Lazarus’ resurrection body and its union with the healed material body.
The three statements concerning Lazarus—‘“Lazarus is ill”, “Lazarus has fallen asleep” and “Lazarus is dead” that one finds in the gospel account (John xi)—are related to the threefold miracle of the healing, the awakening and the resurrection of Lazarus.
Assumption of Mary
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is the unique event, where death did not occur. Instead of separating from the material body and from the soul in order to descend below to the place of rest of the “sleep of peace”, the resurrection body remained united with the soul and the material body, and ascended—united with the soul—to the spiritual world. The material body did not decompose but was wholly absorbed by the resurrection body. The tomb of the Blessed Virgin was in fact empty. The tradition which relates this is exact. One would search in vain for the terrestrial tomb of the Blessed Virgin; one would find nothing of it, since it does not exist.
The mystery of the Assumption is not identical to that of the resurrection. The latter is the last act of the drama of the Fall and the Redemption of mankind, whilst the Assumption brings out the history of the spirit and soul of non-fallen Nature. It is a matter of the destiny of an entity who appeared in the fallen world without ever having been touched by original sin and the Fall that it brought with it, i.e. a virgin entity, in the most profound sense of this word.
The Blessed Virgin is virgin Nature, soul and spirit since the dawn of the world, united in a human person— Mary, daughter of Joachim and Anne. The Virgin Mary is therefore at one and the same time a human person and a cosmic entity: Wisdom, according to Solomon, the “Virgin of light” of the gnostic Pistis Sophia, the “Virgin of the world” of the ancient Hermeticists, and the Shekinah of the Cabbalists. The dialogue between the Archangel Gabriel and Mary has a cosmic significance. It was in the name of the divine Holy Trinity that the Archangel announced the Incarnation to come, and it was in the name of the threefold holy virgin Nature—Mother, Daughter and Holy Soul—that Mary gave the response which was the turning-point of the history of the world: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word”—Luke i, 38). The eternal dialogue between creative will and executive will—where divine fire becomes light, where light becomes movement, and where movement becomes form—was projected in time and concentrated in the dialogue between the Archangel and Mary!
The Last Judgement
The resurrection is the union of the spirits and the souls of the dead with their immortal bodies—their resurrection bodies—which will be awoken “by the sound of the trumpet” from above, and which will ascend to meet the descending souls. They will unite with the latter, never more to separate from them. Thus the “eternal incarnation” will begin, i.e. the epoch of cosmic history called in Revelation “the heavenly city of new Jerusalem” .
Though the Card represents the resurrection, it bears the name “The Judgement”. Tradition not only associates the resurrection and the last judgement, but also regards them as a single event seen from two sides. On what basis is this so?
The resurrection is the final victory not only over death (as the separation of the soul from the body) but also over sleep (as the separation of the soul from the world of action) and over forgetfulness (as the separation of consciousness from the world of past memories). Resurrection signifies the uninterrupted continuity of his activity and the uninterrupted continuity of the human being’s his consciousness—the whole of his memory. The emergence of the entire past is equivalent, for consciousness, to the last judgement, where the whole past is reviewed in the light of conscience. It is conscience itself, the soul itself, which will judge itself. And it will then find that it is guilty under all the headings of accusation of divine law which live in the completely awakened conscience. And there will not be a single soul that will justify itself before its own awakened conscience. It is not authorized to justify itself. It is only the Divine that is authorized to justify.
There will be the realization of the complete equality of all members of the human community in the consciousness of their errors and their faults. This will be common to great initiates, high priests, heads of nations, and simple workers.
This great experience of human equality and awakened conscience is prefigured in the penitential rite of the Mass, where priest and congregation say together: “I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do…” All strike their breast three times. This rite, whose aim is to awaken the conscience of all a is, at the same time, that of complete human equality before the divine law which operates in conscience. It prefigures the equality at the last judgement.
The last judgement will be mankind’s experience of awakened conscience and restored memory. Mankind will judge itself. God will not accuse anyone. He will only acquit, justify and forgive. It is in response to the “act of accusation” (that the emergence of complete memory of the whole past of mankind will call forth) that he will open the “book of life”. He will bring to light the third Akasha chronicle—the tableau of divine memory containing all from the past of mankind which is worthy of eternity. This will be the divine “defense speech” at the last judgement—the act of indulgence, absolution and pardon. The last judgement will be the sacrament of penance on a cosmic scale, comprising universal confession and universal absolution. It will be only the impenitents who will exclude themselves from the grace of absolution, although it is difficult to imagine impenitence in this situation.
The Church Father Origen could not do so, and believed that everyone, including the hierarchies of evil with Satan at their head, will be saved. Was he right or wrong? By way of answer, I will pose these two questions:
These two questions are addressed to those who believe Origen was wrong in believing in universal salvation. Where they cite the scriptures, which speak of the fate of the damned, they should consider that neither the prophets, nor the Gospels, nor the Apocalypse treat the fate of the damned as inevitable. They say that if sinners are impenitent, then their fate will as depicted in the scriptures. The lot of the damned is certainly real, but there is no one who is to be excluded from salvation. It is not the fear of hell, but rather the love of God which ought to motivate the choice of souls.
The last judgement will be the last crisis. Friedrich Schiller said “the history of the world is the judgement of the world”, i.e. it is a continual crisis, the stages of which are “historical epochs”.
The last judgement will therefore be the culminating point of history. It will be simultaneously the aim, the meaning and the summary of history condensed, i.e. the crisis that is in question in all the particular crises of history. For this reason Jesus Christ, who is the moral and spiritual centre of gravity of history, will be present there. The second coming will be the objective manifestation of the stake of history. In this sense Jesus Christ will be the “judge” at the last judgement. His presence alone will set in relief all that which is not like him, all that which is incompatible with him for the awakened conscience.
But he will not restrict himself to being present; he will participate in the last judgement and will take an active part, namely that of judge. But he will judge in his own way: he will not accuse, he will not condemn, and he will not impose punishments—rather, he will give forces to souls undergoing the trial that the awakening of conscience and complete memory entails. Christ’s judgement is the comforting of those who judge themselves and his eternal commandment addressed to those who judge others is: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone…”. Thus Jesus Christ judged during his life, thus that he judges now, and thus that he will judge at the last judgement.
Our meditation on the last judgement is approaching an end. It is now a matter of summarizing:
Resurrection is the magical operation—divine and human at the same time—in which divine love and human love overcome forgetfulness, sleep and death. For love never forgets; it is always vigilant; and it is stronger than death.
Resurrection is the magical operation—divine and human at the same time—in which divine love and human love overcome forgetfulness, sleep and death. For love never forgets; it is always vigilant; and it is stronger than death.
At the resurrection the human spirit and soul descend from above and unite with their immortal body which ascends to meet them.
It is the love of the Father which makes souls and spirits descend to eternal incarnation; and it is love of the Mother which makes the resurrection bodies—which rest in the womb of the Mother—ascend.
Resurrected man will be the image and likeness of God; he will be triune as God is triune. The three principles of man—spirit, soul and body—will constitute the human trinity after the manner of the Holy Trinity, where there will be three persons and their fundamental unity will be the human individuality.
But the resurrection is at the same time the last judgement. As Paul said:
…each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.