Friday, October 14, 2011

Loser Power and Fugitive Liberal Slave Laws

Arcana III, the Empress. Our Unknown Friend points out that she symbolizes the realm of sacred or divine magic, which is embodied in the formula that the subtle rules -- or is prior to -- the dense, and all this implies.

"Magic" is a loaded word, but UF has a very specific coonotation in mind. First, he notes that the only legitimate magic is that which is "authorized from above." And the only legitimate aim of magic is liberation in order to ascend. And the only legitimate accomplice to this climb involves a combination of the two wills: divine and human, or what we might call (↓) and (↑).

Thus, real magic results from our alignment with the divine will in order to ascend toward greater freedom, which is always grounded in truth. A new power is re-created through the harmonious attunement of divine and human wills.

Elsewhere UF quotes Peladin, who spoke of the application of the strengthened human will to accelerate the evolution of the living forces of Nature. This is accomplished through the science of love.

And remember from the previous card, that love is the essence of unity, or the free unification of twoness in oneness, even while preserving the twoness. "Sacred magic is the power of love, born of the union in love of divine will and human will." Freedom, love, magic, will, ascent, evolution, multiplicity, truth, harmony, generativity, oneness... all of these are interrelated in surprising ways.

"This is the aim of sacred magic; it is nothing other than to give the freedom to see, to hear, to walk, to live, to follow an ideal and to be truly oneself -- i.e., to give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, the ability to walk to the lame, life to the dead, good news or ideals to the poor, and free will to those who are possessed by evil spirits."

I won't bore you with some of the touching letters Bob has received, testifying to the reality of this magic. But he has been blogging about this stuff for many years, and there are now people -- one doesn't want to exaggerate the numbers, but probably in the high single figures -- who couldn't "see" God, but now can; people who couldn't hear, but now do; or people who couldn't walk the walk, but now dance the sacred coondance.

But thankfully, not one of these people would attribute it to Bob. Well, maybe one person, but we haven't heard from him since the restraining order. The point is, they all "get it" -- that the magic results from aligning (↑) and (↓).

Each person will move through the spooktrum in his own way, from spiritual touch, to hearing, to synthesis and comprehension, then projection and vision. No one else can touch or hear or comprehend for you. Each has to be your own, so they will naturally be inflected through the particulars of your own personality.

Even Jesus -- who was a mode of the universal -- was nevertheless a human personality. True, he was "everyone," but he was nevertheless someone. This is what distinguishes him from merely mythological figures that are purely archetypal and therefore conventional.

UF then goes into a very important passage on the inevitable obstacles along the path, one of which is none other than the mind parasites of which Bob speaks in the book. If the object of sacred magic is liberation in order to ascend, then anything that intrudes upon or prevents this process is more or less parasitic.

Well no, that's not quite correct. In fact, it's not correct at all. Earth is not to be confused with heaven. We are not meant to live non-friction lives, for it is precisely these obstacles -- so long as they do not escape certain parameters -- that present the opportunity for growth and transcendence.

In other words there are "legitimate" obstacles, tests and trials that work within the Cosmic Law, and illegitimate ones that may look satanic, but are actually mostly manmade.

For example, the legions of liberal losers occupying various cities across the nation are really just hordes of unwashed air-do-smells who have failed their various spiritual tests.

For this is what losers do: they project their failure on to some external demon of their own creation. But this hardly means they are "powerless." Rather, through their coordinated wacktivity, they bring about a very real loser power that allows them to get what they want without deserving it.

You might say that a kind of black magic results from the alignment of the human will with the forces of darkness and descent. A liberal victim is always rewarded with illegitimate power, otherwise no one would cast himself as one. And this power is ultimately grounded in someone else's existential guilt.

UF makes the critical point that the Adversary never deprives anyone of his freedom. That is not his style, but more importantly, it is not his role. He's not some sort of street thug or community organizer. No: "Temptation is [his] only weapon and this presupposes the freedom of he who is tempted."

But one can obviously squander one's freedom, to the point that one is essentially "possessed" by the demon that one has co-created with the Adversary. As UF describes it, "One engenders an elemental being and one subsequently becomes the slave of one's own creation."

Look at the flack Herman Cain has taken for helpfully explaining to fellow blacks how this works in practice -- that so many are slaves to a dysfunctional ideology that casts them as permanent property of the white liberals who have the power rescue them. Stray from the plantation, as Cain has done, and you realize that the fugitive slave laws are still in force.

UF observes that mind parasites "have been discovered by contemporary psychiatrists and are recognized as real -- i.e., as 'parasitic psychic organisms' independent of the conscious human will and tending to subjugate it."

As such, "One need not fear the devil, but rather the perverse tendencies in oneself! For those perverse human tendencies can deprive us of our freedom and enslave us. Worse still, they can avail themselves of our imagination and inventive faculties and lead us to creations which can become the scourge of mankind."

Let's pause here for a little more red meat for the base. Liberalism is obviously about freedom. But the founders always understood this in the manner outlined above, as spiritual freedom, i.e., the freedom to ascend. For example, in the words of John Adams,

“Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.... We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion.... Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.... We should be unfaithful to ourselves if we should ever lose sight of the danger to our liberties if anything partial or extraneous should infect the purity of our free, fair, virtuous, and independent elections.”

The Democratic party has long since abandoned the classical liberalism of America's founders for an illiberal leftism that is not just its political opposite, but its very negation. It is a collusion of man and his own lower nature in order to bring about hell on earth. Instead of a vertical (natural) freedom conferred by God and protected by the state, it promulgates an unnatural freedom granted by the state.

But just as the state cannot create wealth but only appropriate it by force, it cannot grant real freedom, since that freedom is a priori and intrinsically spiritual. And by attacking and undermining religion itself, the left participates in the creation of a new kind of man-beast hybrid whose narcissistic freedom is for his own sake. It is not even horizontal freedom, but merely the freedom to fall further beneath himself.

It is remarkable that the change chumps and hope fiends of the irreligious secular left -- precisely because they are irreligious -- collectively created the pseudo-religious fantasy of Obama, a shape-shifting cipher and compulsively lyin' Hawaiian who represents the quintessence of soothing hypnosis and oily seduction, the favorite methods of the Adversary. For he is the inverted image of the Empress.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Exiting the Circle of Doubt

As we were saying yesterday, man is uniquely privileged to recognize the Absolute -- which is intelligible, even if never "containable" by any relativity.

But even more than this, "The requirement of recognizing the Absolute is itself absolute" (Schuon).

In other words, the very existence of the Absolute implies an absolute duty to recognize it, which in turn provides the trajectory of our life; for "if the Universe were not Knowledge, the way toward Reality could not be Knowledge" (Schuon).

We might even say that this is the ultimate and unsurpassable meaning of I am your God and You shall have no other Gods before me. The one follows the other, and is a key to man's dignity, because it means "that we accept Truth because it is true and for no other reason" (Schuon, in Oldmeadow).

In other words, man's intrinsic dignity is compromised if, on the one hand, he is like a robot or "logic machine" with no choice in the matter, or, on the other, if he only "knows" that which it is in his narrowly construed self-interest to know -- if, as the Darwinians believe, knowledge is just genetic self-interest in disguise.

Rather, man's dignity is rooted in a kind of "disinterested passion" to know truth.

Thus, God, or the Absolute, is always man's guarantor of dignity. Remove the Absolute and there is no ground or possibility of human dignity, for there is no reason whatsoever for man to be proud of error.

But nor should he be proud of his knowledge, since he can have nothing to do with it aside from recognizing it.

What this means is that man's dignity is not only rooted in truth but in will, in that we must nevertheless choose truth, which is to say, "there must be a participation of the will in the intelligence" (Oldmeadow).

That we can reject truth is, ironically, a seal of man's dignity. Indeed you may have noticed that this is precisely what animates many doctrinaire atheists, who are too proud and dignified to ever lower themselves to the level of religion.

But why should a modified ape even care about dignity, any more than a dog should be self-conscious about licking his privates in public?

Of note, the atheist conflates man's dignity with his ability to doubt. The latter is -- no doubt -- an aspect of his dignity, again, because man is "condemned to freedom" and therefore responsible; but it cannot be the whole story, for doubt has no virtue unless it is in the service of truth.

Doubt necessarily arises in the space between truth and freedom, but it is not an end. Rather, it is always, or should be, in the service of faith, i.e., the faith that Truth both is and is knowable (which amounts to the same thing).

There is no removing will from knowledge, which is a very different thing from willfulness, which believes what it wants to believe because it wants to believe it.

And faith "is like an 'existential' intuition of its 'intellectual' object" (Schuon), i.e., tacit foreknowledge of an as yet undiscovered world, which casts its shadow "down and back," so to speak. That being the case, it makes no sense to chase after shadows instead of looking to the object casting them.

Even so, the universal journey from the existential periphery to the ontological center is always a choice, even while it is the only realistic choice. For why would anyone choose to to turn away from the central sun and live in a shadowland of darkness and doubt?

As Schuon describes, "The capacity for objectivity and for absoluteness is an anticipated and existential refutation of all ideologies of doubt," because "if man is able to doubt this is because certitude exists" (ibid).

You might say that the atheist transforms a method into an epistemology and even an ontology: the Cartesian formulation that I doubt, therefore I am.

But clearly, I am not because I doubt, but because -- how to put it? -- because it is, i.e., because the Absolute is absolute. Any IS is a kind of absolute. To say that something IS is to say that it exists, and to say that it exists is to affirm that it abides in intelligible being, i.e., Truth.

If doubt were man's final end, it could not be due to his essential animality. Rather, it would reduce him to a station lower than the beasts, "since the intelligence of animals does not experience doubt concerning the reality to which it is proportioned" (ibid.). Again, doubt is a vehicle of our dignity, not the destination.

And this vehicle, although it journeys from the periphery to the center, is also a kind of inspiraling circle, in that "God's vision proceeds from Him and ends in Him, like a circle which originates and closed upon itself" (Schuon).

Thus it is finally nothing in virtue of which it is everything, in that "the world, insofar as it is not God, is reduced to nothing; but insofar as it is not nothing, it is essentially God" (ibid). These extremes -- nothing everything -- meet in the Incarnation.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Singing the Song Supreme

God or no God, Absolute or absolutely relative, O or ø -- either way, man is uniquely privileged to speak of the highest things, because that is what it comes down to. The only question is: how high can One go?

Or, more to the point: how Lo goes O? For it makes no sense to affirm that God doesn't exist. Rather, a more honest statement would be that if God doesn't exist, humans could never know it, because man would have no reason to believe in any absolute, including absolute negation. With no Absolute, all is relative. Period.

By definition there can be only one Absolute, which, in my opinion, is the "sponsor," so to speak, of all the "relative absolutes" we use to negotiate our way through life.

It is similar to the idea that all numbers are simply multiples of one. Until one has the idea of "oneness" -- and note that it is a quality before it is a quantity -- one cannot proceed mathematically. Bion felt that the "discovery" of oneness was the single greatest leap of mankind, i.e., the idea that, for example, five rocks and five sticks share the abstract principle of fiveness.

But because there is only one Absolute it is not possible to map it, because as soon as one tries, one has created two. It is analogous to attempting to map, say, "music." On the one hand we have an abstract system of musical notation, and yet, all of the millions of melodies added together don't come close to exhausting the realm of music, which might as well be infinite. At best, we can dip into this realm of musical potential and channel its infinite possibilities in ways that are deep, interesting, and beautiful.

Might we say the same of God -- or, let us just say O, for to say "God" is already to project a lot of implicit preconceptions? In other words, what if religion, like music, is a way to translate what is otherwise unthinkable into something deep, interesting, and beautiful? Here is how Schuon describes it:

"Metaphysical Truth is both expressible and inexpressible." In fact, I would say that this is what distinguishes the exoterist from the esoterist, or the normotic from the Raccoon: the implicit belief on the part of the former that his particular expression expresses the inexpressible -- that his relativity is somehow absolute (which, of course, makes him God).

I thought of this when I heard of that jackass pastor at the "value voters summit" who suggested that America's founders intended religious freedom to apply only to Christians. This is exactly the same argument Democrats used to deny freedom to blacks: that the founders did not intend for liberty to be a universal principle.

But "truth" and "liberty" in the abstract are much closer to God than any specific formulation. For one thing, truth is only possible if it is freely discovered, so it must be prior to doctrine. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Co 3:17). (I might add that freedom is only possible if it converges upon truth, otherwise it is just meaningless horizontal drifting, AKA the Left.)

Now, just because the Absolute is not (exhaustively) expressible, it doesn't mean it isn't knowable; indeed, we cannot not know it and still think, since all thinking is rooted in it.

One of the fundamental errors of modernity -- perhaps the fundamental error -- is to turn the cosmos upside-down, and imagine that consciousness is somehow built from bricks of inconscience -- that mind is actually mindless, that the secret of life is lifelessness, and that Spirit is just instinct or random error on a grand scale.

But if we properly view the cosmos right-side up, then things like truth, freedom, life, light, and love are at the top; truly, it is a tree with roots aloft and branches down below.

That being the case, everything is a kind of fractal of the whole, which goes back to the idea that all numbers are multiples of one. For to perceive any "one thing" is again to discern the transcendent principle of oneness in the herebelow.

Thus, to say that man is "in the image of the Creator" is both shocking, and yet, a truism. After all, man creates. He knows truth. He loves. He surpasses himself, meaning that he cannot be "contained" or treated as an object. And he is one, or at least tries to evolve toward dynamic wholeness and unity (or diversity-in-oneness).

Schuon notes that the Intellect "opens into the Divine Order and therefore encompasses all that is." The image comes to mind of an ocean current, which is not other than the ocean, and yet, is distinct from it. But as soon as one attempts to define the boundary with precision, one sees that it is impossible, for it is just "water within water."

One might say that man is "self within Self," or (¶) within O, or let us just say "within." Only man can know that his mind is "within" something larger, more vast and expansive, something both containing and grounding it.

I would suggest that to say "God" is to say "man," and vice versa, just as to say "relative" is to say "Absolute," and vice versa. Therefore, especially when we are saying something deep or meaningful, we cannot not speak of God, any more than we can sing of music-lessness. (Although I suppose Phillip Glass tried.)

The Absolute, or O, is expressible, in the sense that "it becomes crystallized in formulations which are all they ought to be since they communicate all that is necessary or useful to our mind. Forms are doors to the essences, in thought and in language as well as in other symbolisms" (Schuon).

So to preserve the mystery of God with a discrete silence is not to cop out or go wobbly just at the critical moment. Rather, this inexpressible essence is precisely that which provokes the forms we use to express it. Do such forms "prove" the existence of God? Yes and no. Does a song prove the existence of music? Or are there only songs, but no such abstract universal as music?

For Schuon, "The aim of metaphysics is not to prove anything whatsoever but to make doctrines intelligible" and "to provide symbols for spiritual assimilation and realization" (Oldmeadow). Thus, we might say that one cannot prove the existence of God, but one can prove his realization in man. And that is enough.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Unleash Your Inner Victim for Wealth and Power!

We left off yesterday talking about that book in the Priestess's lap, which represents the descent of spirit, from the spiritual/experiential "touch" of mysticism down to the religio-philosophical sense, which results in "writing one's book," so to speak. Evidently, in order to become a journeyman transmitter, one must begin as an apprentice lightning rod.

This is what our Unknown Friend is referring to on p. 43, where he writes that "Gnosis without mystical experience is sterility itself. It is just a religious ghost, without life or movement. It is the corpse of religion, animated intellectually by means of scraps fallen from the table of the past history of humanity."

So much contemporary theology is characterized by this problem, that it's easy to see why people reject it. It's not that they want to be irreligious. It just doesn't speak to them, because it is dead.

UF writes that a mysticism that fails to give birth to gnosis "must, sooner or later, necessarily degenerate into 'spiritual enjoyment' or 'intoxication.' The mystic who wants only the experience of mystical states without understanding them, without drawing practical conclusions from them for life, and without wanting to be useful to others, who forgets everyone and everything in order to enjoy the mystical experience, can be compared to a spiritual drunkard."

So many spiritual drunkards! This pretty much summarizes the New Age movement, which is so devoid of sobriety, like the incoherent ranting of Deepak Chopra. Example:

"If Occupy America can channel its anger into awareness, the next step is to ask, 'What is our goal?' When I was down among the demonstrators, I led a meditation on that question, and it seemed to calm down the people around me, which demonstrates, I think, that the whole Occupy movement is about angry idealists, not just people who feel screwed by Wall St., although that is the spark and the point of injustice that somehow must be faced."

So, these angry people need to become self-aware enough to ask themselves what the fuck they're accomplishing by running around half-naked and defecating in public. True, most of us resolve this by age two or three, but some children are a little slow.

Like all liberals, there is one thing Deepak knows: that nothing will change until you embrace and celebrate your inner victim. "Eventually, all change starts there, by ignoring the odds and the threat of punishment, by standing up and saying 'I accuse you of injustice.'" Yes, all personal growth begins with an unwavering commitment to the ideal that It's all someone else's fault!

UF makes the important point that true contemplation picks up where discursive reason leaves off. "Discursive thought is satisfied when it arrives at a well-founded conclusion. Now, this conclusion is the point of departure for contemplation. It fathoms the profundity of this conclusion at which discursive thought arrives."

Obviously, the contemplation of depth is not explained by the object of contemplation. Truly, it is the miraculous vertical rabbit hole that leads us in and up: "contemplation discovers a world within that which discursive thought simply verifies as 'true.'"

Please note that what UF is saying doesn't only apply to the world of scientific truth, but to religious truth as well.

Again, there are spiritual books that are deep, and many more that are shallow. Both disclose "truth," but what a difference! It's like a great artist and a Sunday painter drawing the same landscape. Who knows, the latter might even be more technically "accurate," so what explains the depth of the former? Here again, it is that sense of mystical touch, which the gifted artist is then able to convey on canvas.

There is something much deeper than the simple binary question, "is it true or false?" Think of a great novel. Was it true or false? Did the events really happen as described?

What foolish questions! As UF writes, contemplation "perceives more the significance of the truth discovered by discursive thought," and then tries to trace this depth back to its ultimate source. How does one do this? "By listening in silence. It is as if one wanted to recall something forgotten."

It is analogous to the "tip of the tongue" phenomenon, in which you know it's there, but have to relax into it -- perhaps even forget in order to remember. Or, perhaps it's like the distant stars which disappear when you stare directly at them, but reappear in your peripheral vision. There is an infinite amount of light that will elude you if you attempt to stare it down with scientism!

No, this is the realm of vertical recollection, or what Plato called anamnesis. As UF points out, horizontal memory renders the past present, while vertical memory "renders that which is above as present below."

This is perhaps the key to understanding scripture, which, if reduced to mere horizontality, becomes functionally useless. No, that's an exaggeration. The point is, it will still operate vertically, even if you imagine that it is horizontal. It can still work its magic, but if you insist too much on the horizontality, it can diminish the verticality.

As the mystical sense is analogous to spiritual touch, the gnostic sense is analogous to hearing. Obviously, it is this that Jesus is attempting to highlight when he speaks of having ears but being unable to hear, for true hearing takes place on the level of vertical depth. This kind of deep hearing can only take place in an environment of expectant silence or passive openness, i.e., (---) and (o).

You will notice that we listen to a great artist in a different way than we do to the typical hack. One of the reasons for this is that the true artist has earned our respect, as we know from experience that there will be an added dimension of depth to his work if only we give it sufficient time. There are no hidden depths in the mediocre artist.

UF goes into a little riff on the nature of art, which he compares to the magical sense of projection: "The talent of the artist consists in this: that he can render objective -- or project -- his ideas and feelings so as to obtain a more profound effect on others than that of the expression of ideas and feelings by a person who is not an artist. A work of art is endowed with a life of its own," very similar to the process of birth itself.

UF concludes the chapter by noting that scientistic materialism can only be "true" if we exclude all of the other planes that make the horizontal plane of natural facts possible, and isolate the realm of quantitative facts from the rest of reality.

At the polar opposite of this is the Hermetic-philosophical sense, or the "sense of synthesis," which is capable of a vision of the whole: "The scientific sense... summarizes the facts of experience on a single plane, in the horizontal. Hermeticism is not a science and will never be one. It can certainly make use of sciences and their results, but by doing so it does not become a science."

Or, one could say that profane science is the study of the relative, which is change itself. But Hermeticism is essentially the science of the changeless, which is to say, metaphysics. Metaphysics is the science of the permanent, of those things that cannot not be, for example, the Absolute, and by extension, the Infinite. Or, of Beyond-Being, and its child, Being.

Again, science can verify truth on a single plane, while the gnostic sense investigates the depth of said truth. Thus, any philosophy of naturalism can only appear to be true to the extent that one fails to ponder its depth and significance.

The moment you engage in the latter, you have disproved it, for you have revealed a vertical depth of truth and being for which naturalism can never account. You have left materialism behind. For to listen in expectant silence in the vertical space is to be "instructed by God."

It is the very opposite of the infantile approach advocated by Deepak, in that it is necessary for Truth to speak to our striving for illusory power. Real change begins there, by standing up and saying, I accuse me of being an assoul.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning Meditations: The High Priestess and Lunar Popette

Next up in our weekly discussion of Meditations on the Tarot: Letter II, the High Priestess. But before moving on to her, is there anything else we should say about the Magician?

Yes, a couple of lucends. UF makes the critically important point that, with regard to the spiritual world, everything hinges upon the depth of experience. This is not analogous to scientific knowledge, which has no "depth" per se, and may be passed from mind to mind like any other object. The dominance of this latter modality is precisely what leads naive minds to conclude that the world is epistemologically flat, which of course is nonsense (or only sense, rather). For one thing, if that were true, it could never be known, for the knower could not rise above what he knows.

We'll leave to one side for the moment Polanyi's argument that the scientific enterprise is actually much closer to spiritual epistemology -- and vice versa -- than scientists realize. The point is, the arcana of which UF writes are like preconceptions, or "empty categories," which must be filled by experience in order to become genuine knowledge. As he writes, "all superficial, incomplete or false experience is bound to give rise to superficial, incomplete and false conclusions." Therefore, the "effectiveness and value depend on the fullness and exactitude of the experience upon which it is based."

For you post-literate sophisticates out there who imagine there is something essentially stupid about religion, always consider the source, as there will always be an abundance of stupid people such as yourselves, especially as more of you are spiritually maimed by the privilege of a higher education. This is axiomatic. It is not analogous to your scientistic religion, which any mediocrity can understand.

Qualifications count all the more in any knowledge that is embodied and not just theoretical. I am not impressed if my brain surgeon has merely been to medical school. I want to know if he has assimilated the knowledge and successfully put it into action. I don't want him merely to "know stuff." I want him to physically be the knowledge, to incarnate it in action.

Here again, there is something analogous to being childlike. As UF writes, "The little child does not 'work' -- he plays. But how serious he is, i.e., concentrated, when he plays! His attention is still, complete and undivided, whereas with one who approaches the kingdom of God it becomes again entire and undivided.... The Master did not want us to become puerile; what he wanted is that we attain the geniality of intelligence and heart which is analogous -- not identical -- to the attitude of the child...."

It is in this mode of relaxed work-play that we may regain the unity of consciousness, or the union of conscious and unconscious minds; or, if you like, left and right brain, or heart and head. The Magician embodies the higher synthesis "of the conscious and unconscious -- of creative spontaneity and deliberately executed activity." It is theodidactic soul-jazz, which eventually gets to where it's going, although never by the same route, and never where you imagined.

Bob looks at it this way: "Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." Children -- well, my child, anyway -- are always laughing. Humor and human are of the same essence. Therefore, the journey to hyperborea calls for some seriously deep and laughty revelations. In turn, one can see how the empyrean is unreachable for an embittered comic such as Bill Maher, who is only capable of humor so low, so cheap, so broad, that even Larry King gets it.

Now, on to the High Priestess. Here again we have a somewhat rambling and chaorderly chapter that I will do my best to reduce to its essence.

There is a reason the Priestess follows the Magician, and this has to do with the distinction between the pure Light of knowledge -- which is analogous to the sun -- and its reflection in the book (in her lap) -- which is analogous to the moon (the moon is always female, and not just because of the moonstrual cycle).

UF then veers into an important aside; here again, his constant asides can be disorienting, but speaking as Bob's Unconscious, I am completely sympathetic. The Unconscious is not "linear"; but this is hardly to say that it is not logical. Rather, it simply follows its own logic. You might call it "night logic," or the logic of the Dream. This logic is rich, holographic, fractal, non-linear, and pregnant with implications. Rather than A leading to B leading to C, it's more like....

Well, frankly, unconscious logic is also intrinsically imagistic, and the image that comes to mind is a lung, an upside down tree, or a burning bush that is never consumed by the Fire. Think of how oxygen enters through a single passage, but then fractally branches off into innumerable byways, until it literally touches the individual blood cells. That is how religious in-spiration works as well. It is how one touches the divine -- or rather, vice versa. And God breathed into him the breath of life, and man became a living being. His ex-halation is our in-wholation (hale and whole are etymologically related).

Interesting that the French name for High Priestess is, as you can see, La Papesse, or "The Popess." Interesting because Schuon often refers to the pontiff as the archetype of Man as Such, i.e., Pontifical Man, the latter being the microcosmic vertical principle who bisects all the planes of existence and who contains all potential within himself. The Latin pontifex connotes "builder of bridges," and Man is indeed the ultimate bridge builder, only it is a vertical bridge (or sometimes ladder) between manifestation and principle; or the many and the One; or Heaven and Earth; or the upper waters and the lower waters.

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 mythopoetic terms, as the woman represents the descending tendency who is seduced by the snake, the symbol 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 more feminine, both because of the birth motif, but also because true creativity is fertilized "from above."

UF goes into the difference between "Christian" yoga and yoga-yoga, in that the former aspires to a unity of two rather then the dissolution of twoness into an acosmic and impersonal Oneness. (And don't be put off by the word "yoga," as it simply means the same thing as "religion"; both have to do with "yoking" or "binding" (from the Latin religare, "to bind"). Thus, "my yoga is easy," as it were.

A Christian yoga must be rooted in the principle that there is something higher than oneness; and that higher principle is the yoke of love. And clearly, love is not possible -- or, it is merely an illusion -- if all is actually one. But Christianity teaches that love is not only not an illusion, but the essence of God, even a "name" for God, so to speak. Thus, the recognition of a trinitarian God, which you might say is "one in love" as opposed to one in.... what? I don't know. That was for all those Councils to hash out 1000 or 1500 years ago, and I don't want to rehash it here.

The point is, this does not mean to imply any dualistic cosmos; but it also isn't a monistic one. Duality, as UF suggests, is always pernicious, as it posits two rival "ultimates" which battle it out until the end of time -- which never ends. But it is absurd to think that there could be two ultimates.

You could claim that one of the ultimates is merely an illusion, which is what materialists do. That is, there is a mind-matter duality that is ultimately reducible to matter. This, of course, is a non-starter, as it represents the worst kind of metaphysical nonsense: the intrinsically self-refuting kind.

UF asks, "Does there not exist a legitimate twofoldness?... a twofoldness which does not signify the diminution of unity, but rather its qualitative enrichment?

Hmmm, let's see.... I'm thinking of marriage, which strikes me as a legitimate twofoldness that enriches unity. Is there such a thing as a metaphysical marriage? Well, could this perhaps be what Petey was referring to when he quipped, A little metaphysical diddling between a cabbala opposites, and Mamamaya! baby makes Trinity, so all the world's an allusion?

As the ironically named Three Dog Night taught us, "one is the loneliest number." And as Petey taught us, It was not good that this Godhead, the Most High, should be allone, so He expired with a big bong and said "let there be higher physics," and it was zo. Now God had a lila Word with whom to play with keep him company! The point is, eternity would be intolerably dull and monotheotonous without sometwo to love in threeness: Lover, Loved, and the Love that passes between them. Truly, two's a crowd but three's company.

And God's love would not be particularly admirable if he were merely loving himself by proxy. No, God's love is completely unnarcissary. As UF writes, "If God were only One and if he had not created the World, he would not be the God revealed by the Master, the God of whom St. John says: God is love; and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him."

I suppose I would venture to branch this out a bit, and say that God is also Truth, or Knower, Known, and the Knowledge in between; or Beauty, in the same essential formulation.

The point is, as UF says, mere Being deprived of love "would be the most appalling torment -- the Inferno itself!" Love -- and Truth and Beauty -- is what imbues being with worth, with value and with meaning. What is the Resurrection if not the triumph of love over broken being? Being itself is morally indifferent, perhaps even vaguely sinister, in the absence of the divine light of love.

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.

Now, man the microcosm is in the image of the Creator-metacosm. 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 lunar 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 head; 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 how our troll has so much to teach us. One thing he teaches us about is how, in the pathologically feminized mind, passions become hardened into irrational pseudo-thoughts.

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. And there is no cure for this soul-cancer from within the absurcular realm from which it arises, only via relationship with the higher principle to which the soul is always "feminine."

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