Tarot and Christian Esotericism

TarotChristianHermeticismHi All,

Take a look at this book, Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism, penned by an Anonymous author (1985, published posthumously). The author is usually identified as Valentin Tomberg, the esotericist.

The book has a following among Catholics and was endorsed by Hans Urs Van Balthasar. Take a look at this article: Tarot Esotericism Ignatian Perspective,which nicely articulates  how the book transmits a so-called hermetic wisdom: “At its orthodox core, the Hermetic wisdom boils down to the doctrine of analogy: ‘As above, so below.'”

Here’s an excerpt, in which the author distinguishes Allegory, Secret, Arcana, and Mystery. The Tarot – in the Major Arcana – he maintains offer us symbols of the hidden things (i.e. Arcana) which catalyze necessary spiritual insights. These insights, in turn, prepare us for Mysteries, like the mystery of the Second Birth, which according to the esoteric traditions Christianity, is likened to a Great Initiation. There must be a proper spiritual receptivity, moreover, for the devotee in order to receive from the Tarot the truths of soul to which they may point.

Here’s a passage from the book:

The Major Arcana of the Tarot are neither allegories nor secrets, because alle- gories are. in fact, only figurative represenrations of abstract notions, and secrets are only facts, procedures, practices, or whatever doctrines that one keeps to oneself for a personal motive, since they are able to be understood and put into practice by others to whom one does not want to reveal them. The Major Arcana of the Tarot are authentic symbols. They conceal and reveal their sense at one and the same time according to the depth of meditation. That which they reveal are not secrets, i.e. things hidden by human will, but are arcana, which is something quite different. An arcanum is that which it is necessary to “know” in order to be fruit- ful in a given domain of spiritual life. It is that which must be actively present in our consciousness —or even in our subconscious —in order to render us capable of making discoveries, engendering new ideas, conceiving of new artistic subjects. In a word, it makes us fertile in our creative pursuits, in whatever domain of spiritual life. An arcanum is a “ferment” or an “enzyme” whose presence stimulates the spiritual and the psychic life of man. And it is symbols which are the bearers of these “ferments” or “enzymes” and which communicate them —if the mentality and morality of the recipient is ready, i.e. if he is “poor in spirit” and does not, suffer from the most serious spiritual malady: self-complacency.

Just as the arcanum is superior to the secret, so is the mystery superior to the arcanum. The mystery is more than a stimulating “ferment”. It is a spiritual event comparable to physical birth or death. It is a change of the entire spiritual and psychic motivation, or a complete change of the plane of consciousness. The seven sacraments of the Church are the prismatic colours of the white light of one sole Mystery or Sacrament, known as that of the Second Birth, which the Master pointed out to Nicodemus in the nocturnal initiation conversation which He had with him. It is this which Christian Hermeticism understands by the Great Initiation.

TarotChristianHermeticism

I Ching and the Bible : An Oracle

Joseph Murphy, a metaphysical author of the early twentieth century, combined the I Ching (aka : The Book of Changes), an ancient Chinese oracle, with the timeless wisdom of the Bible. The I Ching consists of 64 hexagrams. One throws coins or lots in order to derive a hexagram in response to one’s question. Murphy linked a biblical verse or idea with each hexagram.

Here I will dispense with Murphy’s philosophical rationale and simply offer you a sample of his oracular offerings. I asked a question about whether a certain relationship will be restored.51IamP75kGL._SL300_

I received: Hexagram 50 with changing lines 1 and 5.  The relating hexagram, which is derived from the changing lines, is hexagram 1.

I have reproduced, below, the commentary on this Hexagram (with moving lines) as described in the traditional I Ching, translated by R. Wilhelm. I place, alongside this reading, Joseph’s Murphy’s biblical rendition of the same hexagram.

In the traditional I Ching (see Wilhelm text below), hexagram 50 represents a caldron, which is a vessel that was used to cook food as offerings in a Temple, for ancestors, or at banquets.  This hexagram points to the inner changes that need to be nourished in order for something good to be accomplished. The moving lines indicate (1) that something impure (causing stagnation) must be removed from the caldron; one may have to accept an inferior position (i.e. being a concubine) for the sake of a better future or result (i.e. represented by one’s son). In moving line (5), the caldron has jade handles, enabling a person to carry it correctly. This indicates readiness; the things in the caldron are cooked. The person carrying the caldron shows proper respect for the offering being made.

With respect to the question asked, the hexagram suggests that the relationship has led to inner transformation; or inner transformation is necessary for the relationship to go forward. With regard to the moving lines: a) There is some stagnation in the relationship; an obstacle needs to be removed. One must accept the inferior conditions, currently, for the sake of a future benefit. b) Eventually, inner changes, represented by cooked things inside of the caldron, will produce a readiness to move ahead again.  Things will be cooked, prepared, and settled.

It is unclear whether the hexagram is to say that inner changes are the goal, to which the relationship has led, or whether the relationship will, in fact, be restored.

The relating hexagram is hexagram 1.  This hexagram indicates new and vigorous beginnings. The inner changes, produced by hexagram 50, will completely renew the relationship or the person asking the question will be renewed — or both.

Joseph Murphy’s biblical I Ching relates the caldron image to two biblical verses: “Out of his nostrils goeth smoke as out of … a caldron” (Job 41:20) and  “… the caldrons and the candlesticks … ” (Jeremiah 52:19). For Murphy, the caldron represents one’s subconscious mind, which is full of wisdom and intelligence. The smoke represents one’s spirit.

Murphy cites other pertinent biblical verses in explaining the changing lines. The first changing line cites this biblical verse: “This city is the caldron … I will bring you forth out of the midst of it” (Ezekiel 11:7). Here, “the city is your mind (caldron),” from which must be removed  “negative patterns.” The changing line in the fifth place cites this biblical verse:  “And two golden rings shalt thou make …” (Exodus 30:4). Here, the “ring is symbolic of love, peace, and unity with God. A ring, being a circle, is also a symbol of Infinity and of God’s love. In simple, everyday language, all it means is that you are now getting your conscious and subconscious mind to agree on harmony, health, peace, and right action. As you adhere to this procedure, you will, by the law of attraction, get others to aid and assist you in the realization of your heart’s desire.”

Murphy’s biblical I Ching offers a thought-provoking set of images for scriptural meditation. A more thorough analysis of his book would be required, in order to assess whether his biblical glosses correspond, in any substantial way, to the traditional interpretations of this Chinese oracle.

Follow Up: Nov 19, 2017: The relationship has not yet bee restored, but I was inwardly transformed by the separation so that if it does come back, eventually, it will be reestablished on a different foundation. This inner transformation also represents the completion of a cycle of growth — permitting me to move forward (changing hexagram #1) with renewed self-awareness and passion.

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HERE ARE THE TEXTS OF THE TRADITIONAL CHINESE ICHING (WILHELM) AND MURPHY’S BIBLICAL ICHING

50. Ting / The Caldron

above LI THE CLINGING, FIRE
below SUN THE GENTLE, WIND, WOOD

The six lines construct the image of Ting, THE CALDRON; at the bottom are the legs, over them the belly, then come the ears (handles), and at the top the carrying rings. At the same time, the image suggests the idea of nourishment. The ting, cast of bronze, was the vessel that held the cooked viands in the temple of the ancestors and at banquets. The heads of the family served the food from the ting into the bowls of the guests.

THE WELL 48 likewise has the secondary meaning of giving nourishment, but rather more in relation to the people. The ting, as a utensil pertaining to a refined civilization, suggests the fostering and nourishing of able men, which redounded to the benefit of the state. This hexagram and THE WELL are the only two in the Book of Changes that represent concrete, men-made objects. Yet here too the thought has its abstract connotation. Sun, below, is wood and wind; Li, above, is flame. Thus together they stand for the flame kindled by wood and wind, which likewise suggests the idea of preparing food.

THE JUDGMENT

THE CALDRON. Supreme good fortune.

Success.

While THE WELL relates to the social foundation of our life, and this foundation is likened to the water that serves to nourish growing wood, the present hexagram refers to the cultural superstructure of society. Here it is the wood that serves as nourishment for the flame, the spirit. All that is visible must grow beyond itself, extend into the realm of the invisible. Thereby it receives its true consecration and clarity and takes firm root in the cosmic order. Here we see civilization as it reaches its culmination in religion. The ting serves in offering sacrifice to God. The highest earthly values must be sacrificed to the divine. But the truly divine does not manifest itself apart from man. The supreme revelation of God appears in prophets and holy men. To venerate them is true veneration of God. The will of God, as revealed through them, should be accepted in humility; this brings inner enlightenment and true understanding of the world, and this leads to great good fortune and success.

THE IMAGE

Fire over wood:

The image of THE CALDRON.

Thus the superior man consolidates his fate
By making his position correct.

The fate of fire depends on wood; as long as there is wood below, the fire burns above. It is the same in human life; there is in man likewise a fate that lends power to his life. And if he succeeds in assigning the right place to life and to fate, thus bringing the two into harmony, he puts his fate on a firm footing. These words contain hints about fostering of life as handed on by oral tradition in the secret teachings of Chinese yoga.

THE LINES

Six at the beginning means:

A ting with legs upturned.
Furthers removal of stagnating stuff.
One takes a concubine for the sake of her son.

No blame.

If a ting is turned upside down before being used, no harm is done-on the contrary, this clears it of refuse. A concubine’s position is lowly, but because she has a son she comes to be honored. These two metaphors express the idea that in a highly developed civilization, such as that indicated by this hexagram, every person of good will can in some way or other succeed. No matter how lowly he may be, provided he is ready to purify himself, he is accepted. He attains a station in which he can prove himself fruitful in accomplishment, and as a result he gains recognition.

Six in the fifth place means:

The ting has yellow handles, golden carrying rings.
Perseverance furthers.

Here we have, in a ruling position, a man who is approachable and modest in nature. As a result of this attitude he succeeds in finding strong and able helpers who complement and aid him in his work. Having achieved this attitude, which requires constant self-abnegation, it is important for him to hold to it and not to let himself be led astray.

MURPHY

50. TING/THE CALDRON Above: Li, the Clinging, Fire Below: Sun, the Gentle, Wind, Wood

The Judgment “Out of his nostrils goeth smoke as out of … a caldron” (Job 41:20). The caldron is another name for your deeper mind, which is full of wisdom, power, and love. The smoke coming out is your exaltation; the Spirit within you is God. You are inspired from on high and everything you do will prosper. The Image “ … the caldrons and the candlesticks … ” (Jeremiah 52:19).

It is said man is the candle of the Lord, symbolizing the fact that you are to shed your light (intelligence) in all phases of your life. Believe that God is guiding you and that Divine-right action governs you in all ways and the caldron (your subconscious mind) will then respond. From this, you will find harmony and peace in your life.

The Lines

Six at the bottom: “ … This city is the caldron … I will bring you forth out of the midst of it” (Ezekiel 11:7). The city is your mind (caldron), and you must cleanse it regularly and systematically by giving yourself a transfusion of faith, confidence, love, joy, and goodwill. As you fill your mind with these qualities, you neutralize and wipe out all negative patterns in your subconscious mind (the caldron). The lower is always subject to the higher. You are on the way to great accomplishments and achievements.

Six in the fifth place: “And two golden rings shalt thou make …” (Exodus 30:4). Gold means power, purity; a clear sky and fair weather, a clean mental and emotional atmosphere. A ring is symbolic of love, peace, and unity with God. A ring, being a circle, is also a symbol of Infinity and of God’s love. In simple, everyday language, all it means is that you are now getting your conscious and subconscious mind to agree on harmony, health, peace, and right action. As you adhere to this procedure, you will, by the law of attraction, get others to aid and assist you in the realization of your heart’s desire.

Murphy Ph.D. D.D., Joseph. Secrets of the I Ching: Get What You Want in Every Situation Using the Classic Bookof Changes (p. 160). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eclipses: spiritual significance (links)

1. Atlantic Monthly Article: Eclipses and Religious Significance

This article offers a balanced perspective.

2. Here’s a good survey on the spiritual significance of eclipses in religious history:

Christianity Today on Eclipse

Note: Some predict doom and gloom. The eclipse today, they suppose, is a divine portent for judgment; they cite scriptures from Joshua, Joel, and Revelation.  As this article points out, however, today’s eclipse is a natural occurrence: “The events described in Joshua, Joel, and Revelation are not regular natural occurrences, they are special supernatural events.”

3. Bible Verses on Eclipses

See link above

4. Jewish Prophecies re: Eclipses

See link above — for your interest

Jacob’s Ladder: music, mysticism, marvel

John #22 

Hello, Lightworkers:

Today I’ll refer you to some different perspectives about this fascinating text in the Gospel of John, pertaining to the ladder that extends from earth to heaven. What is this ladder?

John 1: 51 (Jesus’s saying) alludes to Jacob’s ladder in Genesis 28:12 (Jacob’s dream)

John 1:51: “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Genesis 28:12 “He dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”

1. Jewish Mysticism – Kabbalah: Jacob’s Ladder as Prayer :

Kabbalah on Jacob’s Ladder

2. Here is a good article, summarizing Christian interpretation:

Christian Interpretation Jacob’s Ladder

3. African American Spirituals (see links below )

a) Angelic Choir

b) World War II Recruitment Film

c) Here is a Scottish Male Choir, singing the African American Spiritual   We are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder: African American Spiritual

4. Esoteric: Lecture by Manly Hall: The Physical dimension is a manifestation of an Invisible dimension. So taught Manly Hall, an esotericist and mystic.

Neville Goddard: Jesus Christ as our Unlimited Potential

Is Jesus Christ a person of history, whom you read about in books? Or, a figure equal to God, as the third person of the holy Trinity? How about: your own creative potential? So taught Neville Goddard.

Neville Goddard (1905-1972), a new thought teacher (in his own original way), combined ideas about personal empowerment with esoteric readings of scripture.

With respect to personal empowerment, he taught a manifestation technique, whereby the imagination, by means of heart-felt desire, is capable for bringing about the good that it envisions. He learned his esoteric biblical spirituality, evidently, from one Abdullah, an Ethiopian Jew, who was also the teacher of Joseph Murphy.

His talk on Jesus Christ (1968), to which I link below (the written version), maintains that Jesus is wholly spiritual, considering Matthew 11:11 : “Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Since Jesus belongs to the kingdom of heaven, he is not born of woman. After all, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 15:50).

As a totally spiritual being, Jesus is equated not with a human being so much as with God’s plan for salvation. God empties himself of his divinity, in dying on the cross. In this way, God merges with human beings, in order to become the very breath of life within each of us.

Through the plan of salvation, according to Neville, God expands his creative power, unfolding himself within the individual.

Human beings should worship not Jesus the man but rather the Truth, which we may cultivate by recognizing the Christ, as our own unlimited potential.

Here’s one of his writings on Jesus:   Neville on Jesus Christ

Other References:

https://freeneville.com/neville-goddard-wiki/