This is a transcription of the audio lecture Twenty two Arcana of Tarot and Kabbalah 01 Arcanum 1 The Magician originally given live on Gnostic Radio, which you can download for free.
The term ‘Arcana’ is plural. The singular aspect of this term is ‘Arcanum.’ ‘Arcanum’ refers to a type of knowledge, which is for the initiated, or a kind of knowledge that is mysterious for the average person. It is a science or understanding that one has to be introduced to. When we study the twenty-two Arcana, we are studying twenty-two laws, or twenty-two mysteries, that we have to be initiated into experientially in order to understand them.
The twenty-two Arcana of the Kabbalah are twenty-two laws. We know in the Judeo-Christian tradition that we he have ten primary laws, or Ten Commandments, that are discussed very commonly. But there are twelve more. These twenty-two laws, or twenty-two Arcana, contain the entire process of religion, or in other words religare, which is Latin for “union.”
The twenty-two Arcana are steps, or clues, which illuminate religion itself, or this process of union. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, and of course in the Gnostic tradition, these twenty-two laws have been symbolized in various ways. We have already mentioned the Ten Commandments, which are the first and most obvious representation of these twenty-two steps. But there is another less commonly recognized aspect, or symbol, of these twenty-two Arcana: the Book of the Tarot.
The Tarot cards, or the images of the Tarot, form a book of twenty-two images. These twenty-two images symbolize and represent twenty-two Arcana, steps, laws, mysteries, which the initiate needs to understand and know in order to understand and know the Path to self-realization of the Being.
These twenty-two Arcana are also symbolized and represented in the twenty-two characters of the Hebrew alphabet. Each character of this alphabet symbolizes and represents different laws and aspects of the Path to the self-realization of the Being.
So for us who aspire to comprehend and understand that Path, to enter that Path, to make it manifest in us, it is vital that we understand the nature of these twenty-two laws. Within them is the Path itself. More than that, the foundation upon which we work in Gnosis is direct experience. The term ‘Gnosis’ itself indicates that. Gnosis is not a mere belief or a theory; it is a science of direct experiences, or a scientific method which leads to one’s own direct experience of the Truth. The Truth itself is the twenty-two Arcana, so to experience directly the nature of Truth, we study these twenty-two Arcana in order to help us organize our own experiences, to understand them.
When we study the Judeo-Christian tradition, and we look into the book of Genesis, we see that there is a great symbol at the very beginning of the book, in the first few chapters. We find two trees in the Garden of Eden. The first tree is the Tree of Life. This is a symbol of the Kabbalah, or the science of numbers, which we will begin to analyze today.
The Kabbalah is a map of our own consciousness. It is also a map of the universe. The universe and our consciousness are reflections of one another, and the Kabbalah encodes that, it symbolizes that. So the Tree of Life in the Bible is a symbol of this science of numbers. And of course, as anyone who studies the Bible knows, numbers play a huge role throughout the Bible. There are always seven of this and three of that—we see in all religions that numbers have a huge importance; this evidence of the universal presence of Kabbalah, even if it is not called by that name. The twenty-two Arcana introduce us to the science of understanding the symbols of those numbers in order to help illuminate our own path.
The second tree is the Tree of Knowledge, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Bad, or Good and Evil. This tree is the source of the forbidden fruit. In the Bible, it is clearly stated that we should not eat of the forbidden fruit. In order to understand what that means, we need to know what the Tree of Knowledge is; it is symbolic of something within us. The term ‘knowledge,’ of course, is the word ‘Gnosis.’ Gnosis itself is the root of the term knowledge. But in Hebrew, it is the term Daath.
The Tree of Life, which is the first tree that I described, is the Kabbalah, is symbolized in its most common representation as ten spheres. These ten spheres are organized as a structure of three columns on which hang three triangles. So already we see numbers. The Kabbalah, these ten spheres, or Sephiroth, represent levels of consciousness, aspects of our own inner psychology.
The Tree of Knowledge, or Daath, is one more sphere, which is hidden within the Tree of Life. These two trees are said to share the same roots; they are closely interrelated.
When we study Gnosis, or study any religion, it is important for us to understand we have to study both of these trees together. The Tree of Life is the study of our own consciousness, the study of our own psyche, the study of our own Inner Being. And the Tree of Knowledge is the science of Alchemy; it is the secret wisdom, or secret knowledge, which illuminates the Tree of Life.
The sphere of Daath, or the Tree of Knowledge, has always been hidden, has always been esoteric; it is something that one must be “initiated” into (or introduced into). Daath is the Great Arcanum, it is the Truth of truths, the Secret of secrets. It is what has always been veiled in the Temple. It is the Ark of Noah, and the Ark of the Covenant—the great ARC-anum. The Twenty-two Arcana are mere elaborations of the one Great Arcanum.
In the course of these twenty-two lectures, we will be examining these two trees continually, comparing them, understanding them, side by side. This is Kabbalah and Alchemy. These are the two columns of the great hierarchies of God: Wisdom and Love. Daath, this secret knowledge, or esoteric knowledge, related to alchemy, is wisdom; and the Tree of Life, the Kabbalah, is love: the two columns which form the foundation of the Temple, or the support of the Temple.
That temple, of course, is our own soul, the Temple of our own Living God. To construct and perfect our own inner temple is the purpose of religion, or religare (Latin for reunion). And the construction of our own inner temple is supported by and made strong by the study of these two trees together.
The Tree of Life in ourselves must become fully illuminated—that is Self-realization. But the illumination, the light, is provided by the Tree of Knowledge. So these two trees, these two columns, are in themselves the science to self-realize the Being.
The twenty-two Arcana, as I stated, are esoteric, or hidden laws. They are symbols. So in the beginning we always begin with the number one. Today’s lecture is about Arcanum one, which is the Magician.
When you observe the first card of the Tarot, you see the Magician. But who is the Magician? We have to understand that. This card is symbolic and imparts to us a vital understanding upon which the basis of the entire set of Arcana rests.
The number one is the number which begins; unity. It is initiative, the beginning. But the number one emerges from nothing. Really, the number one comes from the zero.
When we study the Kabbalah, and look at our map, we see that the Tree of Life unfolds from the Absolute, or from the womb of the Divine Mother. That Womb is the Zero. It is Primordial Potentiality.
Zero is a profound and ancient symbol. It is potentiality, creation, the ocean from which life emerges. The womb of the Divine Mother gives birth to One. So if we see a one and a zero, we see the beginning, the start. We also see the number ten – one and a zero. We also see ‘IO,’ which is the core component of the name of the Divine Mother.
The one in this case is the projective force, the masculine principle, which initiates, which begins. And the one on the Tree of Life, in this context, is representing Kether, or the first Sephira. That one, in its emerging from the womb, is truthfully the first Trinity, or Three in One, which is Kether, Chokmah, and Binah. The Three in One is the Cosmic Christ, the radiant force which illuminates all of life. He is one, but He is three, and He emerges from the zero, from nothing.
This manifestation we call Iod-Hevah, or in other words, the Tetragrammaton – four letters in Hebrew, which represent the Father-Mother with the characters Iod He Vau He. These four letters contain a vast amount of symbolism, but the emphasis that I want to place at this moment is a relationship that exists between the zero, the one, and the Iod, the first character of this Tetragrammaton.
Iod, as a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, is actually the tenth letter. So you see we have the number ten here—the one and the zero, the womb and the Father, the Mother and the Father. The Iod is the tenth character. The Iod in itself represents the man, masculine, the phallus, the creative force. It is indicating the number one in a very strong way. And if you Kabbalistically take the number of Iod, which is ten, and you reduce it with Kabbalistic numerology, it is a one, because one plus zero is one.
The Iod is the impulse, the masculine force which initiates, which drives, which pushes.
When this Three in One, the Trinity, the Cosmic Christ, unfolds itself in order to create, it divides itself. It does so in it’s third aspect: the sephirah Binah.
Within the sphere of Binah, we find the Holy Spirit, or this creative impulse, this fire, which wants to give rise to manifestation. Binah divides itself into male-female, into Abba-Aima, Shiva-Shakti, the masculine-feminine manifestation of the One. This is Iod-He-Vau-He, this is Iod-Hevah, Adam-Eve, the primordial couple, Shiva-Shakti of the Hindus, Osiris-Isis of the Egyptians, Abba-Aima of Judaism, the Yab-yum of Tantrism. Shiva-Shakti (Osiris-Isis), in their union, form Daath, the Tree of Knowledge.
Shiva, or Osiris, is the masculine manifestation of this first Trinity who is One. Shiva is the Three in One Himself, but polarized masculine.
Shakti, his wife, is the feminine polarization of the Three in One.
These two polarizations, male and female, unify themselves; they join once again in order to create, and this is Daath, this is the Tree of Knowledge.
The creation that Daath unfolds (or in other words, that Shiva and Shakti unfold) is their son. Their son is called Horus in the Egyptian pantheon. Osiris and Isis join and produce a son, who is Horus in Egyptian symbolism. This son is Chesed on the Tree of Life, the fourth Sephira.
Chesed is the Magician. Arcanum One is Chesed. Chesed is called Atman in the Eastern traditions. He is our own, individual, personal Father. He has his own Father, who is Kether. So you can see that this Arcanum One, which is singular, which is one, which initiates, has depths, has levels, because our own intimate, inner Father has his Father. Our own Being has his Being.
The Being of our Being is, of course, the Cosmic Christ. The Being of our Being is Kether, but Kether is Three in One. Our Intimate, our Innermost, Chesed, is manifested in order to perform a certain duty, in order to become a perfect magician. Now it is necessary for us to understand what is a magician, what is magic.
The term ‘magician’ has been grossly degenerated in our modern time. It actually comes from a very ancient root. When I pointed out this term ‘Atman,’ this has a relationship with the term ‘magician,’ with its roots. You’ve probably heard of a Mahatma: this is a compound word. It is Maha-atman. Atman, of course, is our own Inner Father, our own Inner Spirit. ‘Maha’ means ‘great’ in Sanskrit: Maha-atman—great spirit, great soul.
In Sanskrit, an H can also be a G: so maha can also be read as maga, mage, magi. A magi is a priest. We know the three magi from the stories of the Bible, the New Testament, which were three kings, or three priests, who came from the east to worship the Christ. But the term magi, or mage, actually comes from ancient Sanskrit and an Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian term, from ‘mag’ or ‘maha,’ and the magi were worshipers of the sun, priests. The sun, of course we know, is a symbol of the Christ. So the real magician is a priest. And working with magic, real magic, is actually a sacred priesthood, a sacred office. Most importantly, the real magician is not the terrestrial person. The one who really works with magic is our own Inner Father, our inner maha-atman.
When we look at the symbol of the card, the image of the magician, we are looking at a symbol of our own Inner Being, our own Inner Father. We see the magician with a serpent on his forehead. The serpent is a symbol of mastery, a symbol of illumination. He carries in his hand a staff, or a rod, which symbolizes power, and that rod, that vertical column is the spinal column. He has one hand up and one hand down. The one hand up is raising the rod, pointing to heaven. The hand down is pointing to the waters beneath his feet, which is an instruction to his son, to his child, which we’ll come to. But the form of his figure, one up, one down, and his body between, forms the character Aleph, which is the first character of the Hebrew alphabet.
Aleph, of course, is number one. It is that first character which initiates, which begins. He is, in himself, that character Aleph. The Being is the Aleph, the Alpha, the first. As far as we are concerned, He is our number one. We are in suffering because we have forgotten Him. We are in pain because we neglect our duty to Him. When our Being becomes once again our number one, first, and we perform our duty in accordance with his directive, we achieve religion, religare.
Before the magician is a table. The table has four sides, it forms a cubic shape. The four here represents a number of things. It represents the four elements that the magician has to command. Anyone who has studied anything of what we call magic knows that the magician works with the elements of nature: fire, water, air, and earth. And the great magician is the one who commands those elements in order to perform his will. Moses, for example, was a great magician. Jesus was a great magician. These were initiates who developed the capacity to command the elements of nature, to calm storms, to raise tempests, to rattle the earth, to have power of the forces of life and death. The terrestrial person is not the one who can do those things, it is the Inner Being, God. But God, that Father, works through the initiate, works through His son, His child.
The four sides of the table also represent the vehicles through which the Being works. So returning to the Tree of Life, we see the sphere of Chesed, who is one part of a trinity with three spheres, Chesed being the first, or highest part. Next to that is Buddhi, Geburah, which is our Divine Soul, Divine Consciousness, which is a feminine aspect of the Being. And next to her is Tiphereth, or Manas, which is a masculine aspect of the Being. So our Innermost, our Atman, our Chesed, has two souls, one masculine and one feminine. But these three are one. The Magician perfected is these three aspects perfectly unified. The number one is unity. That is the goal of the Magician—unity. But that unity is in the soul.
Below this trinity of the Monad, we have the four vehicles that the Monad will work through. The first, in descending order, is Netzach, or the mind, the mental body. The next is Hod, emotion, or the emotional body. The third is Yesod, the energetic body, the vital body, the etheric body. And last is Malkuth, the physical body. These are the four bodies of sin—the four bodies with which we either create problems or create the soul. These four bodies are the laboratory of the Magician. The Magician works with these four aspects of Himself in order to command the elements and reach perfection.
For the Magician to accomplish this goal, for our Inner Being to fulfill His own duty, He needs these four vehicles to be perfected, to be perfect vehicles for His purposes. In other words, the terrestrial person has to work. We, of course, inhabit our physical body. The physical body that we have is made possible, and is alive, because of the Being, because of our own Inner God. We have this physical body because He gave it to us to serve Him.
The body is able to live, digest, function, perceive, and act because of these other vehicles which reside within it. The etheric, or vital, body is the basis of our digestion, all chemical processes, all of the energetic processes. Everything that occurs inside of us that gives us life is based upon the vital body, Yesod. That is one reason why Yesod, or the Ninth Sphere, is called ‘The Foundation.’ It is the foundation of life.
We also have the astral body, which is related to our emotions, and this is the body we use when we dream. When we have a dream, when we fall asleep physically, we begin dreaming, we are actually traveling in our astral body. The physical body rests, the vital body gathers energy in order to restore the physical body, and the rest of us escapes and begins to wander within our own mind. But that wandering is occurring with a vehicle, a vessel. That is the astral body.
We also have the mental body, related to our intellect, or mind, the process of cognition, thought, reasoning. These four parts are the four wheels of the chariot, the four horses of the chariot, the four aspects of the soul that the Magician needs to command.
But what is commanding our intellect now? What is it that is driving our emotional well-being now? Who is in control of our emotions? Who is in control of our thoughts? Who is in control of our actions? Why is it that when we do something wrong, we always say, “Oh, that wasn’t me”? When we lie, when we steal, when we cheat, and we get caught, we say, “Oh, I don’t know why I did that. That just wasn’t me. I’m not like that. I’m not that kind of person.” Then who did it? Who is it that is bringing up all the thoughts and feelings that we are having now? The last time we got really angry, who was in charge of that anger? Who was driving and bringing that anger? Was it your Being? Of course not. This is where the work begins. Anger is related to the element fire: if we cannot dominate our own anger, then we cannot dominate the element fire. We need to be Kings and Queens of nature, controlling all the elements in ourselves.
We, as an essence, as a consciousness, as the son of that Father, as the child of that Father, have to gain control over ourselves. Our consciousness is a portion of the Being. It is a spark, it is an embryo, that He can work through, but we have to control it. We are a spark of this Monad, called the “essence.” The spark is that little bit of conscious will that we have. Sometimes we call it conscience. It is that part of us that knows what is right and what is wrong—just knows it, does not reason, does not rationalize, does not need anyone to tell it, “Yes, this is right; no, this is wrong.” We just know. That is part of the Being. The Being speaks through that voice of the conscience.
Our job, in order to comprehend and enter into the science of the twenty-two Arcana, is to make that conscience strong. It is made strong by listening to it; by doing what is right; by stopping wrong actions, wrong thoughts, wrong feelings. This is an effort of will.
In the Kabbalah, in the Tree of Life, we look at the trinity of the Monad, we see this sphere Tiphereth, which I mentioned is Manas, the human soul. Really, Tiphereth is the center of will for us. Tiphereth is the knight, the warrior, who fights on behalf of the Magician-King.
The Master Jesus said, “Ye must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.” We are not perfect. Many people nowadays believe that this was a symbolic thing that He said, that we become perfect by believing in Him. But it is not said that way. It is said very clearly, “Ye must be perfect.” This is a very direct statement, and part of a talk in which He is discussing, anyone who has adultery cannot enter heaven; anyone who criticizes, who kills with their words, cannot enter heaven; murderers, fornicators, adulterers, cannot. The reason is heaven is, in levels, the realm of perfection, of perfected beings. How can we, who are imperfect, enter there? We cannot. We enter there by becoming like them, perfected in ourselves, which is a work of will.
The Innermost, the Magician, needs to dominate nature, to control nature, to be a king, to be a priest, who dominates the elements. But in order for Him to do that, he has to arrange the elements on the table in front of Him. The sword is a symbol of will. The sword is the weapon that the initiate must use in order to conquer himself. The vase, the jar, the chalice, has two aspects. It symbolizes the mind, which must be cleansed. It also symbolizes the feminine sexual organ, the yoni. In like manner, the sword represents the masculine sexual organ. And third on the table is a moon. The moon has to be converted into a sun. What this means is that our lunar psychology, lunar being mechanical and belonging to nature, belonging to the realm of the animal, has to be converted into solar, being part of the kingdom of the sun, Christic. The moon in us, the lunar forces, have to be conquered and transformed into solar forces. These are the works that are performed on the table. All of this is empowered, and made possible, by the Holy Spirit, who is symbolized in the card by a bird under the table.
Now all of this work is occurring on top of the waters, the lowest aspect of the card. And inside the waters, we see a perfect stone, a perfect cube. This is pointing to masonry, and the work of the mason is to perfect the stone. The stone resides in the water; it is the Sophic Hydrolith, the Water Stone of Wisdom.
What is a stone and a liquid? What is both stone and liquid? Mercury. Mercury is the symbol of alchemy which indicates the sexual energy. The stone that we have to perfect is our own sexual matter, it is the foundation stone of the temple. Those columns of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge are founded upon this stone, the foundation stone, which the whole temple is built upon. The foundation stone is here in the waters, the lowest part of this card. This corresponds to the Ninth Sphere, Yesod, which is of courses related to our vital, etheric body.
If we place the Tree of Life as a diagram over our physical body, Yesod points to and indicates the sexual organs. Yesod, the Ninth Sphere, is the root of the Tree of Knowledge. It is where we work with the science of alchemy, learning how to transmute our sexual matter, to transform our animal, instinctive sexual forces, lunar forces into solar, perfected, divine, and heavenly sexual forces.
Sex is natural to the human being—part of the creation of God—but sex performed under divine will, under the auspices of the Magician, who needs to manage those forces in order to realize Himself. The Magician, then, standing in the form of the Aleph, this Hebrew character, is that force which initiates. He has the prayer to become that perfect Aleph.
When we analyze this character of Aleph, and we disarrange its parts in order to understand it, we see it is actually made of three primary aspects. And of course, when we see that it has three aspects, we are reminded immediately of the Trinity, three in one, the Trinity which is the basis of the Being. These three aspects are in fact two Iod’s and a Vau, Hebrew characters.
The Iod is the masculine, projective, creative principle.
The Vau is the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. When we count the spheres, we see that the sixth sphere is Tiphereth, the human soul.
The Magician has to work with the two Iod’s and the Vau in order to form the perfect Aleph. When we understand that, then we can see how He does it. The first Iod, we understood, to be in Daath, that hidden sphere between Binah and Chesed. That first Iod is the upper Eden. It is Daath, but related to the Being. It is the potential for the Being to create and manifest. This is that first Iod, the upper Eden. The second Iod is in the lower Eden, in Yesod, in our own sexual waters. So we see that the Iod, this masculine, projective force, is the fire, or the potentiality, which exists within the waters.
In the Book of Genesis we read that the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters. These waters represent the upper Eden, in Daath. These are the waters of Genesis from which creation emerges as an act of magic. This magical creation in Daath is a creation that our own Being performs in order to begin His manifestation. The Inner Christ, manifest as Shiva-Shakti, works in these waters of Genesis. This is that first Iod, the Iod of Iod-He-Vau-He. The creation that emerges from that is Vau. Vau, we know is related to the human soul. That Vau is the spinal column, the human soul. And the last, or the second, Iod, is in Yesod, in the waters of sexuality.
So the Magician, the Innermost, has to work with the will of his human soul to bring together the two Iod’s, the lower Eden and upper Eden, in order to reach perfection. The combination of those elements produces the Aleph, which is the perfect Magician, and this is all an act of will. This can only be done when we as the terrestrial person cooperate. We have to work with the waters of Genesis; we have to work with the two trees; we have to transmute the waters of the lower Eden; we have to comprehend the waters of the upper Eden.
The Magician performs his ritual, his priestly duty, by managing the forces arranged on the table, these four elements. He performs his magic, or his works, upon this altar. And these works are Hermetic Magic, which are works related to the mind in Netzach; He performs his works of Natural Magic, or ritualistic magic in the sphere of Hod, related to the astral plane, or the emotional body; and to unify them and empower them, He works with the process of Sexual Magic in Yesod. You can say in other terms the Hermetic Priesthood, the Natural Priesthood, and the Sexual Priesthood. These are sacred duties—sacred duties that the terrestrial person performs on behalf of the Intimate, the Innermost, empowered by the Innermost, for the benefit of the Innermost.
What this means for us, we have to begin to enforce will, to develop our own willpower, to have the capacity to command our own inner nature. And this begins right now. This is not some theoretical or extremely complicated numerical idea. In order for your own Being, your own inner Magician, to arrange the items on the table and to achieve religion, He has to have a vehicle through which He can work.
If our own will is trapped in our pride, is trapped in our anger, is trapped in our lust, the connection to our Innermost is lost. It is not present. When we remain a slave of our envy, we are not serving the Being. The Gospels state very clearly you cannot serve two masters. We have to analyze ourselves. With each action that we perform, we need to analyze. On whose behalf am I doing this? On whose behalf am I acting? When we feel the impulse to speak to another person, do we consider why we must speak? On whose behalf? Is it because we are angry and we want to express our anger? Is it because our feelings are hurt and we want revenge? We have to question and analyze our every activity in every moment. This is a work of will, conscious will, exercised over our three brains: our intellect, our emotion, and our motor-instinctive and sexual aspect.
This work of will is a work of attention. In synthesis you can say the work of the twenty-two Arcana is a work to perfect attention, to perfect consciousness, to perfect conscience. The work of the Magician is to perfect Himself. But He can’t do that if we remain enslaved, enslaved by our own pride, our own self-justifications, our attachments, our desires.
The Innermost, to become that perfect Aleph, to become that Maha-Atman, that perfect Magician, needs us. Some say that this sounds strange, that God needs us, but it is true. We are a part of Him. We do not exist here just by chance, or just for entertainment. We exist to fulfill a specific role, a defined duty, towards our own Innermost, our own Inner Father. And He in turn has His duty. For Him to perform His work, we have to do ours, and ours is to become His will. That is why in the Lord’s Prayer, we see Jesus gives us this great example, great prayer of tremendous power, “Thy will be done.” “Thy”—my Inner Father. May the will of my Inner Being be done on earth (in me in my physical body) as it is in heaven.
That is a process of conquering all of the wills that we have inside which are opposed to the will of the Innermost. My lust does not want what my being wants. My pride wants to be noticed, wants to be admired, or envied. My Being does not want that.
So in moment to moment analysis of ourselves, we conquer and comprehend each discursive will that we have inside. Every ego that we have, every psychological aggregate, has its own will, and all of these different wills are not the will of the Innermost. To know the will of the Innermost, we have to separate ourselves from the ego.
When we look back at this card of the First Arcanum, we see in the superior portion a pair of eyes, always watching, always looking. These are the eyes of the Father. Every action we perform, every thought we think, every feeling that we entertain, is not just ours to observe. Our Being is inside of us. Your own Inner Father is the root of your existence. He knows every atom that you inhabit. So obviously He knows your thoughts and feelings as well.
How is it that we can allow negative thoughts and negative emotions to flourish in our mind? How is it that we can allow them to continue to express themselves, with their resentment, their criticism, their desires, their accounts against other people. “So and so did this to me. So and so did that to me. I didn’t deserve that.” We allow all of that to persist in our interior, and from time to time we take a little break from our inner song to pray. Somehow we think that the moment we stop to pray, then God is there. God is only there when we pray to Him, is what we think. So we are going all day long imagining scenes of lust, imagining scenes of getting vengeance against our enemies, real or otherwise, and then we take a little break and say, “Oh, God, I remember you.” And we think somehow that that is the only thing He sees, somehow that moment of prayer.
Well I’m sorry to point out to you, as painful as it might sound, that He is there all the time, so those twenty-three hours and fifty-nine minutes that you were lost in fantasies about the past and future, dreaming about making money, or dreaming about becoming famous, your Being is there too. These eyes are always watching inside of you.
Will needs to be there all the time in us, the will to change; the will to fight against our own, stubborn, animal nature. Never forget the presence of your Being inside. If you maintain the continuity of the awareness and remembrance of your own Inner God, you are establishing Self-Remembering, the remembrance of the Inner Self, the remembrance of the Being. This is to treat every moment as a moment spent inside of a temple, to feel within yourself that in each instant, you are in the presence of the most unimaginable divinity. And when you are confronted with the impulses of your own lust, your own fear, your own hate, recall and remember the presence of your own Inner God, and exercise the will of your consciousness to remember Him, and to observe yourself through His eyes, as He sees you.
That effort is the foundation of the entrance into the direct understanding of the twenty-two Arcana. These eyes are always watching, always present, always observing, and you see in their shape, the symbol of infinity, the symbol of the infinite. That infinite, of course, is the Being of the Being. When we look at the way nature unfolds on the Tree of Life, we see that this first triangle of Kether, Chokmah, and Binah is related to the infinite, that is the Being of the Being, the infinite manifestation which comes out of the unmanifest.
When the Being is working, when our own Innermost is working, to unify Himself as Aleph, to work in the waters of the upper Eden, which are the Akashic energies, the Akashic Tattwa, and working the lower Eden, in the waters of Genesis, of transmutation of sexual matter, the Innermost is doing that as a work of will as His son or daughter, the human soul, is entering into initiation. The process of initiation, as a soul, is a process of working with these waters, working with the psyche, and working with laws.
In this process, the initiate is trying to work with these two waters directly. In relation to the upper, the initiate has to meditate in order to comprehend the Akashic Tattwa, the higher aspects of energy related to the Being. Meditation is how we become closer to God. By concentrating on God, by remembering God, by focusing on our Inner Being, we are working with forces to bring us closer to Him. If we forget Him, we will not become closer to Him. But the more we remain in Self-remembering, the more we meditate to comprehend the nature of the Being, the more we are working directly with the waters of the upper Eden to penetrate and comprehend Him, to understand Him who is inside.
At the same time, we have to work with the waters of transmutation through the magic of Yesod. And in this way by transmuting our sexual forces, we are gathering the energies and forces of the Holy Spirit, which brings us closer to God. When we reject that, when we fornicate, when we abuse our sexual forces, we become further and further from God, more and more emptiness in our hearts, more and more loneliness, more of a spiritual vacuum, this void, painful void that we feel in the heart when God does not fill us.
To become closer to God, then, we work in these two ways: transmutation and meditation. This creates a dynamic exchange, the center of which is the human soul, as a work of will. That human soul is the Vau, that character Vau which symbolizes the spinal column upon which those fires of Yesod must rise. That constant flow and exchange of energy produces a current fueled by meditation and transmutation, and that current is what draws together the two Iod’s to the Vau to create the perfect magician.
The waters of the upper and lower Edens merge in the perfected Vau, or the human soul. And that Aleph, or the Innermost, as the transformer of that energy, moves. The Aleph spins.
That spin is produced by will—will over desire, will over nature, will over the four elements. That is the work to arrange the elements on the table; that is the work to create the perfect Aleph.
Audience: The books say that ego and Being cannot coexist, yet you stress that the Being is always present. How is that possible?
Because you still have an essence, you still have a consciousness. Your Being is in you, because you still have a connection with Him. But He’s only in you to a certain point, a very small percentage relative to the amount of consciousness that you have free of ego.
If you became completely absorbed in your ego, one hundred percent, your Being becomes divorced from you and you fall from the Tree of Life like a leaf falling off of a tree. And then the Being is not there. You just become dead matter—a leaf tossed by the winds of Karma to be recycled by nature.
So long as you maintain some percentage of free consciousness inside, you maintain the connection to your Being. The more consciousness you free, through performing the Work, the stronger your connection to your Being becomes. And of course, the Work in the end is to eliminate all the ego, so the Being can completely inhabit you and incarnate in you. But it is a process of steps to reach that.
Does that make sense?
Think about that.
Audience: Say you wake up more percentage of the consciousness, but you still have that much more ego. You said the Being is always present in your lust, in your anger—He’s always present.
Okay. It is true that the Being is present even when your ego is there, and the reason is because your consciousness is trapped inside of that ego. Your consciousness belongs to the Being.
Your Being is the animating fire in every cell of your body. Your Being is the animating fire of everything that you are. He is also in your ego, but as Lucifer. So He knows you inside and out.
Audience: Can you explain why the Sephiroth work in three’s?
The Law of Three is one of the fundamental laws that nature is based upon. The Trinity is a form of balance. You have a first force which initiates, which begins. You can also call them notes. This would be the note ‘Do,’ the note that begins something.
But any time you have a projective force, you immediately imply a receptive force, you have projective and receptive. So then you have two forces that are opposing one another. In order to create balance, you have a third, which creates harmony. So that is just a fundamental structure which you find everywhere in nature. And that is one of the things that indicates and shows the intelligence that resides in all matter, in all phenomena.
So when we study Kabbalah, we are just putting in a symbolic form something that you can directly perceive in almost any aspect of nature that you look at. Make sense?
Audience: Something is missing.
Yeah. It is a symbol of how things work in nature.
Audience: In terms of the three dimensions…
No, it is not so much related to that. That is a different point of view. The Trinity in this sense is the law of creation, how things are created. So when we look at groups of threes, we are looking at how certain forces working in harmony create.
When you talk about dimensions, this is another thing. So there are dimensions within dimensions, but within those, the Law of Three is functioning.
Audience: Is it dangerous to practice transmutation without meditation?
The question is very interesting. One can practice transmutation and not meditate and certain results will occur. To transmute means to harness a force and change it. ‘Trans–’ is the basic prefix there, which indicates ‘from one thing to another.’ And ‘mutate’ means ‘change’—to transmute.
But, firstly we have to grasp who performs the transmutation. Who is it that is the Magician that changes lead into gold? Who is that alchemist? It is the Being, the Innermost.
The one who performs magic is the Inner Being. The one who transmutes the energy is the Inner Being. The one who performs the ritual, or empowers the mantra, is the Inner Being. We as a terrestrial person are just a vessel, a vehicle.
We can perform the exercise of a ritual and it will have no effect. We can perform the exercise of transmutation and it will have no effect if the Being is not there, if the will of the Being is not within it.
To know the will of the Being requires that you speak His language. The language of the Being is symbolic, and it is very sophisticated. That language is the Kabbalah; that language is numbers; that language is in the images of the Tarot and many other symbolic forms that the Being will speak through.
If we perform an exercise of transmutation, that is good, because this is what the Being needs. But the fruit of that exercise is given out by the Being himself. The Magician, the one who has that power, will not give the fruit to someone who does not deserve it.
That is why we read in the book The Mystery of the Golden Blossom, when the Master Samael Aun Weor says that the Divine Mother never rewards treason. And there is a story given of a person who was a famous Gnostic instructor who spoke beautifully about the teaching, who was practicing alchemy and transmuting his sexual forces, but was not rewarded by his Divine Mother. Why? Because he did not meditate, he did not comprehend himself. The Divine Mother could not reward him the fruits of transmutation because he did not understand how to use it. He was remaining trapped in egotistical desires.
Said another way, Gnosis is not mechanical. Self-realization is not mechanical. The process of awakening the Kundalini is not a simple theorem that says “If you take A and add it to B, you will get C.” It does not work that way.
Gnosis, or the realization of the Self, is an act of will of the Innermost, of God. For us to receive illumination, understanding, power, transmutation, comprehension, any of the fruits of these practices, all of that is given by the Innermost. So yes, you can transmute, but if you do not meditate, if you do not comprehend yourself, your Being will give you nothing, because your Being needs you to become perfect, and perfection is achieved through comprehension of error, comprehension of oneself, comprehension of phenomenon.
If you do not understand why you have your anger, and how your anger makes you behave, then you will remain angry. If you do not understand why pride is a sin, you will remain in sin, and your Being, God, will never give power to a sinner. The Magician will not give power to a fornicator or an adulterer. The Christ cannot free someone who remains identified with their own selves.
You have a question?
Audience: What you were just referring to, when you say meditation, in this sense is there any particular technique or…
Okay, meditation in this sense, what I am referring to, is conscious comprehension without the interference of the ego. ‘Conscious,’ meaning with the consciousness. Self-observation is the basis of it, yes, but real meditation is the activity of the consciousness free of ego.
‘Consciousness’ has to be understood in this case to know what that means. That means that to be in real meditation there is no “I,” there is no “Me,” there is no ego, there is no pride, there is no anger. You have to learn the science of meditation, how to separate from the ego, how to observe the ego as a free consciousness. In other words, you have to learn how to enter into the state of Dhyana, or Pratyahara, which is a silent mind.
And from that process of Dhyana, Dharana, and Samadhi, we then learn how to activate the consciousness and be free from the animal mind. In that state, we are Will. We are manifesting and experiencing the two aspects of the Being as soul, Divine Soul and Human Soul, Divine Consciousness and Human Consciousness. That is what meditates. And to access that you have to separate yourself from intellect, from emotion, from sensation, from all these lower parts. And this is a discipline.
There are many techniques that can lead you to that experience, whether from Zen, or from Buddhism, or from Hinduism, even Christianity, many techniques. But the essential experience remains the same: we have to become free of the ego in order to comprehend the ego itself. The ego cannot comprehend the ego. My pride cannot comprehend itself, only my consciousness can, because my consciousness is part of the Being.
Audience: On the card, there is a symbol above the eyes. Can you explain what this represents?
The symbol above the eyes is a magical glyph, which is a kind of encoding of a Kabbalistic principle. You see three lines, but they are unified, so it is a symbol of Kether. Kether is three in one.
Now, in the supporting materials for today’s lecture there is a practice which is given. The practice is to meditate and visualize the symbol of infinity. There are accompanying steps and prayers related to this, to ask for assistance, to meditate and pray on the symbol of the infinity.
The beauty of this practice is that it escapes the intellect. It is a kind of koan. If you analyze the practice intellectually, you do not necessarily see why this practice is given in the First Arcanum. What does the eight have to do with the one? How does this practice work? The intellect wants to understand things in a very factual and rigid way. But this practice, the Holy Eight, is quite potent. If you relax yourself totally (relaxed physically, relaxed emotionally, relaxed mentally), allow yourself to become a little drowsy, and you perform this practice, you are working with Hermetic Magic, related to the mind. You are working to exercise the will of your consciousness to maintain attentive awareness, to maintain concentration.
Audience: Do I want to perform the actual meditation on the eight?…
It is up to you.
So this practice teaches you in practical terms things that the intellect cannot grasp, so I encourage you to work with this practice. Do not think about it. Do not analyze it with the intellect. Do not try and figure it out with the intellect. Just do the practice. Do the practice. Use your own natural inquisitiveness in the consciousness to investigate it, to explore it, practically speaking, not just as an idea, but actually do it.
And the more you make the effort, the more will you put into that effort, the more benefit you will receive. If you do it once kind of half-heartedly, you probably will not get anything. The work to activate and realize the twenty-two Arcana in oneself is a work of great will. The Arcanum One is that which initiates, and any beginning is very difficult. To start anything is hard. To start a project, to start a life, to start a new marriage, to start a new job, is hard. The same is true of this type of work. It is difficult. But you have to persist. You have to keep trying. It is a matter of willpower. Relax and make the effort. Your Being is with you. Your Innermost will help you. But to do that, you have to listen to Him.
Any final questions?
Audience: What do you think the difference is between intuition, will, and consciousness?
Difference between intuition, will, and consciousness?
Audience: Is intuition part of the will, is will part of intuition, is consciousness part of… I mean, you get intuition, you say you have to know whether you are doing right or wrong. Obviously it is intuition that is going to tell you that. Now is that part of the will? Is that part of the consciousness?
That is a good question.
What are the differences between will, consciousness, and intuition? In their heart, they are the same. In their essence, they are the same. Consciousness is a continuum of energy. Really, it is the sign of the infinite. That is consciousness. But in us it is discontinuous, right? We are paying attention one minute and we are totally asleep the next.
So, will comes into play as an effort to contain, and focus, and direct that consciousness. Will is the effort to keep that consciousness flowing in the right way. But intuition is knowing how to direct it. You see? They are one thing. When you have an intuition, you know how to direct your consciousness by will.
For example, you are walking down the street—he is always walking down the street—and you see an old friend, and you know from past experiences with this person that this person is very negative and loves to gossip. You have consciousness in that moment because you are working to be aware of yourself. So you are working on focusing and directing your consciousness. So right there you have conscious attention, where you observe that person. You are enforcing your will in that moment. Your mind tells you “This person always wants to gossip with me. I should avoid them.” But your heart tells you, “I need to talk to them.” Which one do you do?
Most of the time you probably listen to your mind. “No, I shouldn’t talk to them. They’re just going to do this and that. It is going to be terrible. Why should I even bother?” But if you listen to your heart, you are listening to intuition. You might go and find that something happens in the exchange between the two of you that you needed. It could be painful, it could be pleasant, whichever.
But the distinction has to be in from moment to moment, if you are paying attention, if you are conscious, you are manifesting will. You have to listen to intuition to give you guidance how to direct that will, how to direct that consciousness through will. And it is always changing. And the mind will always try to interfere—always.
So the will is ‘control consciousness, control mind.’ Keep consciousness active, keep mind passive. It is not easy, but the more you make the effort, the more you maintain continuity of observation, and the more you maintain the continuity of the remembrance of your Being, the more familiar you become.
Audience: What about the symbols, the birds, the bird up top?…
The birds represent aspects of the Holy Spirit. So in this case we can say that the Holy Spirit is that bird which is part of that upper trinity, Binah, the Holy Spirit. So we have the Holy Spirit above and below. It is in both aspects. The bird is present there.
In the same way, we can relate this to the two Edens – upper and lower – because the forces of the Holy Spirit are the fires in the waters of the upper Eden, or those Akashic forces. And the fires of the Holy Spirit are in the waters of the lower Eden in our sexual forces. So here we see the presence of that divine force everywhere.
Audience: What is the difference between the Holy Eight and the circle in terms of infinity?
The symbol of the infinity is showing an exchange, movement, back and forth. So you are seeing how in the upper aspects of the Tree of Life, you have unmanifest moving to manifest, and back, this flux back and forth: manifestation, unmanifestation; cosmic day, cosmic night. That is what the infinity is showing. But that symbol is penetrating all the way through the Tree of Life. The presence of that exchange, back and forth, of forces.
The symbol of the dot in the circle is, for me, more of a picture of one instant. It is capturing the one little photograph, one little frame, of that manifestation out of the womb, that in truth, when you look at how the tree functions, it is in constant motion. The manifestation into manifestation is movement. So that is how I understand the distinction between them.