When I began drawing the mandalas, I saw that everything, all the paths I had been following, were leading back to a single point—namely, to the mid-point. It became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the centre. It is the path to the centre, to individuation…I knew that in finding the mandala as an expression of the self I had attained what was for me the ultimate. Perhaps someone else knows more, but not I.
(C. G. Jung)
Cor Jesu, Rex et centrum omnium cordium. (“Heart of Jesus, King and centre of all hearts.”)
(Litany of the Sacred Heart)
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
(Revelation xxii, 13)
Under the combined influence of men’s aspirations, the universe around us is seen to be convulsed by a vast movement of convergence. Not only theoretically, but experientially, our modern cosmogony is taking the form of a cosmogenesis…at the term of which we can distinguish a supreme focus of personalising personality…Just suppose that we identify (at least in his “natural” aspect) the cosmic Christ of faith with the Omega Point of science: then everything in our outlook is clarified and broadened, and falls into harmony.
(Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)
The nineteenth Arcanum—‘“The Sun”—is that of the accomplished union of intelligence and spontaneous wisdom: the Arcanum of intuition.
The Card represents two children placed under the sun, where the one puts his right hand on the neck of the other as if he wanted to draw his head near to himself, whilst the other touches with his left hand the place on the body of the first where his heart is to be found. These two children thus represent intelligence endowed with childlike confidence , and spontaneous childlike wisdom which uses the language of the heart and which tends to draw the attention of the head, i.e. intelligence, to what it has to say. The image is therefore of two children united by bonds of a reciprocal confidence without reserve—where the one indicates and the other understands—placed under the sun.
This relationship excludes tendencies to domination and authority—to pose as a pontiff and to pride oneself on the eminence of the guru or master whose favours one enjoys—which tendencies are also foreign to children.
“The children who are fraternising under the sun correspond to Gemini because this zodiacal constellation brings in the longest days to us”—says Oswald Wirth (Le Tarot des imagiers du moyen age), or, speaking in the language of C. G. Jung, in the circle of twelve archetypal force-images of the collective unconscious which work in the depths of every human soul. For the zodiac is that which the human soul knows unconsciously; it is the book which the soul once “ate” and which is present and active only in his “bowels”—in the depths of his being—from whence it renders him strong or weak, fertile or arid, fervent or tepid, according to whether he is in harmony or not with its teaching-impulse.
The teaching-impulse called “Gemini” can be expressed by paraphrasing the first statement of the Emerald Table of Hermes:
“May that which is below be as that which is above, and may that which is above be as that which is below to accomplish the miracles of one thing.”
This is the principle of analogy put into practice, taking its point of departure from the principle of cooperation. It is the opposite of that of the struggle for existence advanced by Charles Darwin as the principle of evolution called “Sagittarius”. Nature furnishes us at the same time with a great number of proofs of the principle of cooperation in the process of evolution—perhaps as many proofs as there are of the struggle for existence.
The cooperation between spontaneous wisdom and intelligence entails essential sympathy.
Here is a concrete example:
You venerate (i.e. you love and respect) a non-incarnated being—a departed person, a saint, or an angel—in a disinterested manner. Your veneration—which includes love, respect, gratitude, the desire to conform, etc.—creates an invisible link of sympathy. The day will come when you will experience the presence…not a fluidic, semi-electrical presence close to you in space—as in the apparition of a phantom or a ghost—but a breath of radiant serenity, of which you know with certain knowledge that the source from which it emanates is not in you. It fills you but it does not take its origin in you; it comes from outside of you.
This meeting can be either a “conversation through forces” or a “conversation through words”. The revelation to the shepherds at Bethlehem is a “conversation through words” and the experience of the magi —who saw the star of the “king of the Jews…is a “conversation through forces”.
The “star” does not speak, it moves; The meeting whose character is “conversation through words”, in contrast, moves and teaches—it bears also on the domain of intelligence and facts. It guides.
The manger: where the mages from the Orient and the shepherds of Bethlehem meet, of which the octogenerian C. G. Jung said—in calling it a “mandala”—that “all the paths I had been following…were leading back to a single point—namely, to the mid-point” and that “it became increasingly plain to me that the mandala is the centre. It is the exponent of all paths. It is the path to the centre, to individuation”.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said: Under the combined influence of men’s thoughts and aspirations, the universe around us is seen to be knit together and convulsed by a vast movement of convergence. Not only theoretically, but experientially, our modern cosmogony is taking the form of a cosmogenesis…at the term of which we can distinguish a supreme focus of personalising personality.
There is a centre of gravitation of hearts, just as there is a centre of gravitation of the planets. Each Christmas Christ becomes Child anew and the history of mankind becomes the manger. Just as the external sun eternally repeats springtime, summer, autumn and winter, so does the spiritual sun reveal his eternal springtime aspect—his infancy—at Christmas, his eternal summer aspect—his miracles, his eternal autumnal aspect—his passion and resurrection, and his eternal winter aspect—the ascension. Infancy, youth, middle age and old age are eternal.
The difference between the vestiges of the past with which archaeology and palaeontology work and the “psychic layers” of the past established by Jung is that the latter are living,—whilst the materials of archaeology and palaeontology are dead; they are only skeletons of the past.
The idea of resurrection (the theme of the following arcanum 20) is the fullness of all spiritual, psychic and corporeal forces, where they have withdrawn from the domain of action and intelligence to one of latent energy. Resurrection is the divine analogy of the act of human memory.
Resurrection of the body, is therefore preceded by spiritual and psychic “resurrection”, where memory triumphs over forgetfulness. And the history of Christianity is, in the last analysis, the history of these triumphs.
Tthe liturgical year of the Church is where human memory unites with divine memory so as to realise resurrection, i.e. to make the past live in the present. The words of consecration, “This is my body, which is given for you; do this in memory of me,” is the key to the liturgical year. Thus God’s mother, the apostles, saints and martyrs are living and acting in the present.
May those who follow the “star” do so completely and without reserve! May they not seek—once having the “star” before their eyes—scientific confirmation, …or, what would be still worse, direction on the part of science! May they follow the “star” above them and nothing else!
I have in mind Jung’s autobiography in which he followed the method of working:
We find the work of Jung again in the 19th arcanum in the guise of the cooperation of intelligence and transcendental revelatory. Teilhard de Chardin is another example of faithfulness to the “star”. He showed it above evolution, knit together by a vast convergence. Darwinian evolution—this nightmare of a struggle for existence of species without number in life’s feverishly multiplying endeavour, blind and groping, to produce what is most viable—has therefore become henceforth the way leading to personalisation, a movement which has direction and aim. Chardin has crowned Darwinian evolution with this guiding “star” and has transformed it from a nightmare of rampant production. He was not turned aside —neither by enemies of the new from the camp of religion nor by enemies of the transcendental in the camp of science: the “scribes” of Herod. He therefore comes under the seventh beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”
Such was also the faith of John the Baptist before the baptism in the Jordan. His faith was a cry in the wilderness, i.e. the voice of supreme hunger and thirst for the kingdom of heaven. And it is precisely this faith which made John the Baptist the first “eyewitness” of the descent of the kingdom of heaven, the first human being to recognize the Christ.
Faith at first hand (mysticism) arrives at the perfect certainty of intuition as a consequence of the help of intelligence. John the Baptist still had need of this latter in order to have complete certainty. For this reason he—who had seen the Spirit descend upon Jesus—sent two disciples to Jesus to ask him, “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?”
This is why the Master appealed not only to faith but also to intelligence:
You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
This role was understood by Scholasticism in the Middle Ages by “baptising” intelligence and winning its cooperation with faith. St. Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas were full of confidence that the Blood of Calvary would penetrate, warm and transfigure the domain of the cold clarity of thought. Their work was apostolic rather than apologetic. Just as missionaries went to non-Christian countries in order to bear the good news there, so did St. Albertus Magnus and St. Thomas Aquinas go to the non Christianised land of human intelligence in order to Christianise it. This was an act of apostolic faith and apostolic zeal!
Dear Unknown Friend, do not scorn mediaeval scholasticism. It is, in truth, as beautiful, as venerable and as inspiring as the great cathedrals that we have inherited from the Middle Ages. To it we owe a number of masterpieces of thought.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ five proofs of the existence of God will not necessarily convince you, but you will emerge from the meditative work with a clear head and a calm heart.
St. Thomas towards the end of his life arrived at mystical contemplation of God and the spiritual world and said, on returning from this ecstasy, that his written works now appeared to him “like straw”. Indeed, he wrote nothing after this.
The believing thinker thus became a seeing mystic. And this transformation did not take place in spite of his work of scholastic thought, but rather thanks to it—as its fruit and its crowning glory.
The following analogy:invites us to occupy ourselves quite especially with the “star” of Hermeticism in the heaven of intuition. What is this “star”? The Zohar says:
And God made the two great lights…originally, when the moon and sun were in intimate union, they shone with equal luminosity. The names JEHOVAH and ELOHIM were then associated as equals…and the two lights were dignified with the same name: MAZPAZ MAZPAZ…The two lights rose simultaneously and were of the same dignity. But…the moon humbled herself by diminishing her light, and renounced her place of higher rank. From that time she has had no light of her own, but derives her light from the sun.
The Zohar and Apuleius have helped us to understand the “intimate union of the sun and moon”—or of wisdom and intelligence—in the guise of the midnight sun. A third ancient document, Apocalypse of St. John, presents the problem in its entirety.
And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Revelation xii, 1)
The Zohar and Apuleius speak of the moon and the sun joined—the sign which is the sign of Isis. We find this sign again in the apocalyptic vision of the woman enveloped by the sun and with the moon under her feet. But the apocalyptic vision adds here a third element: the twelve stars.
The philosophy of Vedanta is based on the one hand on experience of the will as the element underlying all intellectual, psychological, biological and mechanical movement, and on the other hand on the experience of the “inner eye” or detached transcendental Self, which observes the movements produced by the will. The will creates the multiplicity of mental, psychic, biological and mechanical phenomena, in contrast to the unity of “the Seer in seeing” (the transcendental Self). The transcendental Self does not move, therefore it does not change, therefore it is immortal, therefore it is not an entity separated from the real essence of the world, and thus it is one with it. The true Self of man and the essence of the real world—or God—are identical. Aham Brahma asmi (“I am Brahma”)— this is the formula which gives a summary of the experience and conclusions drawn by the Vedanta.
The hexagram is not at all the symbol of good and evil, but rather it is that of the threefold pure act or “fire” and the threefold reaction, “be it done unto me according to thy word” or “light of fire”, i.e. “water”. “Fire” and “water” signify that which acts spontaneously and creatively on the one hand, and that which reacts reflectively on the other hand—the latter being the conscious “yes”. This is the elementary meaning of the “seal of Solomon”—elementary in the sense of the elements “fire” and “water”, taken on their highest level.
But the still higher meaning that this symbol hides—or rather reveals—is that of the luminous Holy Trinity, i.e. that of understanding of the Holy Trinity. The two triangles reveal the luminous Holy Trinity in the work of creation accomplished by the creative Word and animated by the “yes” of Wisdom-Sophia.
The Zohar puts forward the idea of the luminous Holy Trinity. It teaches that the great name of GOD YHVH reveals the Father (Y = י), the supreme Mother (H = ה), the Son (V = ו) and the Daughter (the second HÉ of the divine name YHVH). Also revealed is the Shekinah (identified with the “community of Israel”)—the true “Rachel weeping for her children” in exile and who is the “beautiful virgin who has no eyes”. The Messiah-king who “descends and reascends through all the heavens in order to exercise, with all the prophets who are to be found, the universal function of salvation”; and the Ruach hakodesch, the thirty-two ways of wisdom are incorporated in the “holy breath” by which God is revealed, to the prophets, at the foundation of creation ”. The Messiah is the seventh term or principle of the hexagram Father, Son, Holy Spirit; Mother, Daughter, Holy Soul (the Shekinah, or the “community of Israel”). He is the agent of the luminous Holy Trinity.
It is as a woman that the Shekinah appears to the visionaries among the Cabbalists, like Abraham Halevi, a disciple of Luria, who in 1571 saw her at the wailing wall in Jerusalem as a woman dressed in black and weeping for the husband of her youth. The weeping Lady of La Salette also wept at the foot of a wall no less real than the wailing wall in Jerusalem—the wall of universal sin which is placed between humanity and divine grace—but she differs from the Shekinah of the visions of the Cabbalists and Hassidim in that she is not solely an aspect of the Divine, but rather is a human person who existed in the flesh.
Similarly, the Messiah, whom many have seen and met during the last twenty centuries, is no more only a spirit who “descends and reascends through all the heavens in order to exercise, with all the prophets who are to be found, the universal function of salvation”, but rather is a human person who existed at the bosom of the visible community of Israel twenty centuries ago. For just as the Word became flesh in Jesus Christ, so did the Bath-Kol, the “Daughter of the Voice”, become flesh in Mary-Sophia. The Church worships her as the Virgin, as the Mother and as the celestial Queen, corresponding to the Mother, the Daughter and the “Virgin of Israel” of the Cabbala, and to the Sophianic Trinity—Mother, Daughter and Holy Soul—mentioned above.
The Athenians, also, had an analogous feminine triad, which played the principal role in the mysteries of Eleusis: Demeter—the Mother, Persephone —the Daughter, and “Athena the bringer of salvation” —where Athena was at the same time the “community of Athens” or the “soul of Athens” as it were, analogous to the “Virgin of Israel”.
Historical analogies do not suffice. The following “argument of the heart” proved to be decisive, twenty-five years ago, to the one who writes these lines.
Parental love experienced in childhood is moral capital for the whole of life. In childhood we receive two dowries for life: the vital biological asset which is the treasure of our health and vital energy, and the moral asset which is the treasure of health of soul and its vital energy—its capacity to love, to hope and to believe. This experience elevates us even to divine things. For it is the experience of parental love which renders us capable of loving our Father who is in heaven. Parental love bears in itself true senses of the soul for the Divine—which are, by analogy, eyes and ears of the soul.
Parental love consists maternal and paternal love. God is the prototype of all paternity and all maternity.
Love teaches that the commandment, “Honour thy father and thy mother’ is significant in heaven as well as on earth. “Honour thy father and thy mother” is applicable therefore not only to transitory things but also to eternal things. Such is the commandment revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai, and such is also the commandment emanating from the depths of the human heart. One should honour the Father who is in heaven and the celestial Mother. This is why practising believers of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, caring little for the difference stated in dogmatic theology between the celestial Father and Mother, love and honour—in their practice of prayer—the celestial Mother no less than the Father who is in heaven.
Dogmatic theologians may guard against “exaggeration” of Mariology and Protestants may criticise of the cult of the Virgin Mary as “idolatry”, but traditional believers continue to honour and love their celestial Mother as the eternal Mother of all that lives and breathes. The heart has its own reasons, which the intellect does not know. Over the centuries the guardians of dogmatic orthodoxy of a kind such that the latter are constrained to give way, through the centuries to this irresistible impulse: in liturgical forms and in the practice of prayer sanctioned by ecclesiastical authorities, the role accorded to the Virgin Mary does not stop growing. The Queen of the Angels, the Queen of the patriarchs, the Queen of the apostles, the Queen of martyrs, confessors, virgins, and saints, the Queen of peace, is, in the texts of liturgical prayers, also the Mother of God, the Mother of divine grace, and the Mother of the Church. In the churches of the Greek Orthodox Church one sings: “More honoured than the Cherubim, more glorious than the Seraphim—thou who art the true Mother of God, we honour thee”. This way is exactly what is understood by “the direction of the Church by the Holy Spirit”. The Church knows it and has the patience to await—even for centuries—the time when the work of the Holy Spirit will have attained to maturity.
Novenas and the Rosary
I have in mind the practice, universally diffused in the Catholic Church, of the novena—the most practised form of which is the act of prayer consisting of one Pater Noster and three Ave Marias, to which one devotes oneself for nine days. One makes a novena by appealing to the paternal love of the Father (Pater Noster) and to the maternal love of the Mother (the three Ave Marias) simultaneously for nine days, for the sake of a person or a cause. What depth there is underlying this practice that is so simple! In truth—in any case for the Hermeticist—the direction of the superhuman wisdom of the Holy Spirit is manifested here!
Similarly, it is so with the rosary prayer, where appeal to the two aspects of divine parental love in the prayer addressed to the Father and the Mother is made during meditation on the mysteries of the Joy, Suffering, Light and Glory of the Blessed Virgin. The rosary prayer is—in any case for the Hermeticist— again a masterpiece of simplicity, containing and revealing things of inexhaustible profundity…a masterpiece of the Holy Spirit!
You will understand therefore, dear Unknown Friend, that in speaking of parental love and of its two aspects, in speaking of the practice of the novena and the rosary prayer, etc., we are in no way estranging ourselves from the theme of the nineteenth Arcanum of the Tarot; rather, on the contrary, we are penetrating to its very heart. For we are endeavouring to advance from an understanding of what intuition is to its exercise, i.e. from meditation on the Arcanum of intuition to the use of this Arcanum.