Mind and Mater (10.10.11)
As Rooth notes, the bridge is both conveyance and barrier: "Heaven and Earth were united in the beginning before they were separated by the event of manifestation.... So the bridge represents both the way across as well as the fact of their separation, and in this respect it is equivalent to the axial pillar which both connects and keeps separate." The vertical bridge back to God is the residue, or mysty coontrail, of the Creator's involution into spacetime.
I am intrigued by this implicit idea of "female pope." What could it possibly mean when we combine -- or play with -- the archetypes of pontifex and female? To put it another way, what does female connote in its vertical aspect? I ask this because female is usually associated with all of the words and concepts derived from mother or mater, including matter, meter, mara, maya, mattress, measure. There is the Father Principle, or "pure form," which "fertilizes" pure materiality in order to bring about the manifestation (e.g., the play of purusha and prakriti, or Shiva and Shakti).
Genesis treats this subject in mythological terms, as the woman represents the descending tendency who is seduced by the snake, the ultimate principle of earthbound horizontality. Conversely, Mary is the shadow of Eve (or rather, vice versa), in that she gives birth to the ultimate pontifex, or to the principle within the manifestation. Thus, Mary-Matter-Maya is "pregnant with God," not just 2000 years ago, but for all time. We don't have time to go into Eckhart's many fruitful ideas about the feminine aspect of divinity, e.g., that God perpetually lays on a maternity bed giving birth. Creativity -- which is often seen as a more masculine activity -- is actually far more feminine, both because of the birth motif, but also because true creativity is fertilized "from above."
It can also be fertilized from below. But enough about popular culture and the fallen bastard children of Eve.
UF goes into a lovely little soliloquy on the "gift of tears" which are a sort of fluid membrane between the above and below, a certificate of authenticity of most any encounter with the God of Love. In contrast to the "dry" experience of depersonalized oneness, UF writes that the soul who experiences the miracle of divine love is moved to tears. Only humans cry tears of joy (although our jester will no doubt provide a link to prove to himself otherwise; but this will be a horizontal link, when the only way to actually prove the point is to have the personal experience of the vertical link, i.e., to shed these real tears of joy and/or repentance).
Now, man is in the image of the Creator. The most quintessentially human "faculty" is the intellect, or nous, which actually shares in a part of the "uncreatable" substance of God. Again, it is a purely passive, or "female" principle, as it is a reflection of the light of the Father. This is none other than Sophia, or wisdom herself: "Pure intellect is that which reflects; love is that which acts." (Interestingly, this implies that the solar principle is located in the heart, the lunar principle in the mind; more on which later. But you can well understand why so many so-called "intellectuals" become so pathologically feminized, as they are detached from the solar principle above as well as its manifestation below in the heart, or higher mind.)
UF notes that "the intellect is the feminine side of the soul, whilst the fertilizing imagination is the masculine principle. The intellect that is not fertilized by the imagination guided by the heart is sterile." Here again, we can see why I keep our scientistic jester on the playroll, as he teaches us so much. One thing he teaches us about is the purely feminized mind, which is "all maya," or all quantity. Why would any of us want to return to that cold and dry crone-world?
Back to the Priestess. I won't get into all of the details of UF's reasoning, as I would prefer to focus on the principles. And the main principle embodied in the Priestess is the descent of the word through the stages of reflection, memory, word, and writing. For example, think of the descent of revelation, only the last stage of which is "The Book." In other words, religion begins in the world of principles, or at the center, and moves out to the periphery.
Science, on the other hand, begins with facts -- "the book of nature" -- and attempts to reason from the periphery to the center (which is strictly impossible, as the very conduct of science presupposes the human center). Put another way, the "last stage" of God's involution is the material world, whereas the latter is the starting point of science.
Mysticism is the science of "spiritual touch," and it must be at the heart of all religion. As UF writes, spiritual touch -- or intuition -- "is that which permits contact between our consciousness and the world of pure mystical experience. It is by virtue of this that there exists in the world and in the history of mankind a real relationship between the living soul and the living God -- which is true religion." It is only because of this faculty of spiritual touch -- which is obviously a subtle sense that needs to be nurtured and developed -- that God is something "more than an abstract notion."
But after mystical touch comes gnosis, or the spirit of understanding; and after gnosis, the magical sense, or the ability to put knowledge into action (or non-action, to be precise); and after magic comes the book, MOTT being as fine an example of the latter as one could imagine. As UF writes, if the God-knower "wants all that he has experienced, understood and practiced to be not limited to himself and his time, but to be communicable to others and transmitted to future generations, he must develop the Hermetic-philosophical sense, and in practicing it he will 'write his book.'"
And how eternally grateful we are that so many of these illustrious pneumanauts left their living books for us! For it is only through the very organicity of the living book that the totality of tradition may be "held together," from the top to the bottom, from the center to the periphery, from the vertical to the horizontal. To not have this experience of the living whole is to be possessed by a demon, whether it is the demon of Marxism, or of metaphysical Darwinism, or of materialism, or of scientism. Each of these results in the soul being possessed and ensnared:
"Yes, autonomous philosophical systems separated from the living body of tradition are parasitic structures, which seize the thought, feeling and finally the will of human beings. In fact, they play a role comparable to the psycho-pathological complexes of neurosis or other psychic maladies of obsession. Their physical analogy is cancer."
Ain't it the truth. The only cure is kenotherapy.