My copy (below) of Figure IV from the original in the Most Holy Trinosofia took a couple of days. By drawing these figures, I come into relationship with them, and to understand their mystery. In the original’s low-res facsimile online, the outlines are blurred.
The Trinosofia text of Chapter Four is in the title bar, above. As I worked into the drawing, the coiled serpent, Cup and Sword in sheath came into focus. These are powerful symbols. Taking them into my inner life, they come to Life. I go over and over the colours until they are rich and strong together, and begin to speak.
The green snake coiled twelve times in the shape of a cone, suggests the Zodiac, and forms an altar. Actually it is twisted about a spear – I didn’t realise this till nearly the end; I thought the spear’s shaft was the snake’s dragon tail.
The cone-coiled Kundalini has been in my inner eye for some weeks now.
I had a problem also with the Cup, until I realised its base stands on the serpent, whose coil is the altar.
I wrote in my journal: “A musician who plays well, has to practice a lot. The prodigy is a quality of INTENSITY – of an intense commitment. The intensity is of a certain kind. It is where the intellect is transfigured through deep feeling … the point ( … seeking words for this!) – is always this moment sinking back into the root of the slow breath, a silent kindling, like a pyre. The wood glows and flows. The sacrament opens the back of my neck and shoulders: a living phoenix.”
I associated the phoenix with Master R long before I found it in the Trinosofia. Since last October when I drew this bird, the archetype is powerful and transformative in my life.
A silent sage in his cave, reaches further into life than all the talking gurus. An individual reaching the subtle level, begins to dissolve. The point of dissolution, of dissolving, in Alchemy, is the white ash becoming the Bird. Its song has tremendous subtle energy and commitment: the translation of varied densities of life to an element that nourishes the human community. Today’s coiled serpent has red phoenix wings, half opened. It supports a Cup, next to a Blade – the sheathed Sword. Master R knew Indian Alchemy, and his Shakti-Siva archetypes – but he wasn’t telling. In his day, the serpent had rather a bad press, it was considered unregenerate. In our day, it is Yoga.
Manly P Hall’s comment is illumining: “The twelve coils of the snake are emblematic of the philosophic year and the spiral course of the sun through the Zodiacal constellations. In the preparation of the Wise Man’s Stone, the elements pass through twelve stages of augmentation. In each of these cycles, the power of the matter is intensified, a fact which is suggested by the increasing size of the serpent’s spirals. The figure is also reminiscent of what the sages termed the philosophic vortex – the natural form of the soul power in the human body.
“Beside this strange altar stands the jewelled sword. Faintly traceable upon its sheath are the ancient symbols of the eye, the heart and mouth – life in the heart, light in the eye, breath in the mouth. The life, the light and the breath are the sources of all things, and from their union in the cruciform symbol, the candidate must fashion the weapon for his protection against the elemental darkness. The cycle symbol must be overcome by wisdom. This is the “Sword of quick decision” by which the Oriental neophyte must cut low the snaky branches of the world banyan tree, the emblem of the self-replenishing cycles and the law of rebirth.
“The serpent is the spiral of evolution; the cup contains the shining Nirvanic sea into which the soul is finally merged; the sword is the illumined will – the same sword which solves the enigma of life’s Gordion knot by cutting it with a single stroke.”
In Master R’s interior journey – see Trinosofia Texts in the title bar and scroll down to Chapter 4 – the traveller walks through fire – the desire nature – which doesn’t burn him ; and strikes the bronze snake a resounding blow. The walls of the globe around him, fall away into space, and the traveller is lifted swiftly up through the demons of the underworld. He scatters them with the cruciform sword and bursts from Hades into the light of day.
Manly P Hall again, on the alchemical philosophy: “The circular space is a distilling vessel which stands in the midst of the furnace flame. The serpent represents elements within the retort, and the candidate portrays other elements which have the power to dissolve and corrode the serpent. The rising of the candidate upward through the walls of the globe here signifies the vapours which, ascending through the long neck of the distilling vessel, escape from the heated inferno below.”
In the elder Trinity the Cup is the woman, the Sword the man, and the snake is Life’s electro-magnetic current or force-field. In the Trinosofia’s Chapter 5, they will transpose to the Altar, Bird and Torch. See also my earlier post, The Yeast and the Grape.
On the Everlastingness
“The spirit of this time has condemned us to haste. You have no more futurity and no more past if you serve the spirit of this time. We need the life of eternity. We bear the future and the past in the depths. The future is old and the past is young. You serve the spirit of this time, and believe that you are able to escape the spirit of the depths. But the depths do not hesitate any longer, and will force you into the mysteries of Christ.”
Philemon and C.G.Jung – THE RED BOOK
Here is Violin Sonata No.2, by Master R in his Comte de St Germain persona, during a London visit (circa mid 1750s). The opening movement has a beautiful serenity.
May the Life, the Light and the Breath be in and of our work.
Aquariel – an angel of the waters and of the air through the woods of life.
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