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, which is why moonbats are so much like insane women, i.e., lunatics; insane men have their own problems).
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, 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. For which reason Mary is the shadow of Eve, the light-filled womb that nurtures and gives birth to the quintessential pontifex.
Thus, Mary-Matter-Maya is "pregnant with God," not just 2000 years ago, but for all time(less). 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 quintessentially feminine, both because of the birth motif, but also because true creativity is fertilized "from above."
Tomberg then goes into the difference between a "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, "His 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 easy 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 ("God is love"). Thus, the recognition of a trinitarian God, which you might say is "one in love" as opposed to being a mere quantitative one.
The point is, this does not mean to imply any dualistic cosmos; but it also isn't a monistic one. Duality, as Tomberg 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.
Tomberg suggests -- and he is absolutely correct -- that 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. Being itself is morally indifferent, perhaps even vaguely sinister, in the absence of the divine light of love.
Tomberg then 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 in so many encounters 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. For us it is a passive or "female" principle, as it is a lunar reflection of the light of the Father. This is none other than Sophia, or wisdom hersoph:
"[T]he 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." In the pathologically feminized mind of the liberal, passions become hardened into irrational pseudo-thoughts that are impervious to reason. Being subjected to Obama is like having your ex-wife as president of the world.
The main principle embodied in the Priestess image is the descent of the Word through the stages of reflection, memory, word, and writing. In the descent of revelation, only the last stage is "the book" (recall that the Christian Bible wasn't canonized until something like 400). 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 Tomberg writes, spiritual touch -- or intuition -- "is that which permits contact between our consciousness and the world of pure mystical experience."
It because of this contact 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." And 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." Rather, as in the case of any other real knowledge, the abstract is rooted in the concrete.
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; and after magic comes the book, MOTT being as fine an example of the latter as one could imagine. As Tomberg 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.'"
In Coonspeak we call it having the tome of your life.
And how eternally grateful we are to the many illustrious pneumanauts who left their living books for us to playgiarize with! 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 demonic partling, whether it is the demon of socialism, 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." There is no cure for disordered love except love rightly ordered.