Aslan and Annika
Here is Part Three of the “Summer Oracle” sequence, containing a second Tarot reading, about three weeks after the first one. For my method, see Part One (23 June) in the series. Again there was a local-interest prompt, but it turned out to mean much more than that, and to develop the earlier one further. It was partly because I didn’t shuffle the deck thoroughly, but … there are no accidents.
In this post, my journal preambles along up until the Tarot spread itself (about half way through), to develop the sense and setting.
Journal, 14 July 2018
Right now? A weight of sorrow and fatigue in my stomach; frail legs and soreness in my being. I go to see my mother this afternoon. It is Le Quatorze, my parents’ wedding anniversary (1947). Hot cloud inside. And be gentle and go slow and be present. Thank God I have no spouse to walkie-talkie all my bad habits at. Sit still and listen. The Infinite Resource is here.
Head by Brancusi, in Paris
That watery break-in yesterday – deluge of sudden rain tossed through wide open windows when I was out – might have damaged a few gramophone records and cds which I hardly ever listen to anyway? … but jogged me again to start clearing excess from the corners of my mind, my house.
Memento Mori – remember death. There is the stillness deep inside. The lighthouse keeper kindles lamp again. Regarding my old friend and teacher whose health recently broke down – which Tarot Key is ‘on call’ for him right now?
Temperance – 14 – the Guardian angel. Just this one, for now.
Key 14 is the “DIVINE REGULATOR” since my childhood. Patience! As Eliphas Levi said, the Tarot keyboard is an encyclopaedia of the cosmos. A student of the Magical Life needs no other book.
So blow fair or foul, the wind is pure.
BOTA Tarot Tableau: three septenaries, seven columns: the keyboard. This deck is published by the Builders of the Adytum in black and white: each student colours and thereby empowers his or her own deck, following the Builders’ strict guidelines. The colours of the Keys have audial resonance also.
Journal 17 July 2018 Brambles and Roses
At my mother’s house in Somerset, huge engagement with a beast of mature bramble, shaggy rose bush and overgrown buddleia – I barbered it all back, cleared the undergrowth and deadwood inside and knitted the rose streamers around the big rotten maple stump to keep it standing. All day: and heavily scratched. Top of ladder gingerly to barber the buddleia. Then we chopped up the vast pile of thorny streamers into three large bags for the dump and enjoyed much fun together about my grandmother, especially her “Let’s hope it’s not twins” the day my sister went into labour with Toby. We also joked about “slavery to the body” – the tyranny of my mother’s old age self-maintenance. I see at the same time, the rhapsodic teenager at Scatwell in Easter Ross – her Land Army experiences during the war … I have all her letters of that time, they were preserved – and her hoity toity upbringing as an Ede – root and branches of her long life. Her new neighbours are delightful. Three thrilled brown children, their strong, warm mother, elegant dad and two cats … all the way from Qatar desert and skyscrapers to green grass, hills, beasts and flowers!
Back in London, I went to visit my old friend, who is in respite care at the moment. The long death runway is a sobering leveller. Those with great esoteric learning are no more protected from the ravages of dislocated ego than anyone else. Watch the thorns, roses and mannerisms – which I know well – coming out. Watch my own, as they are NOW, and what it must be like to be collapsed, weak and fearful. You can’t concentrate to read and you are totally dependent on others, and trapped in your personal unease nightmare. Yet Nature is breaking down the container to release the essence.
Journal 18 July 2018 Ice Cream
Oh my yattering wittering droning Yesod! It is one thing to live with and suffer it all day and every now and then remember to send it a blast from Siva’s third eye. It is another thing to consider how its type – my weed – may blossom into full glory when the rest of my Tree loses its leaves. The personal type comes out as the inexorable process tidies up.
The inexorable process is like an Angel. It isn’t sentimental. It has its job to do, the heart of which is cosmic compassion … transcending and yet still within daily human stress and feeling. When the body of an old teacher breaks down, his feeling of helplessness must be enraging, desperate and dark. Sometimes nothing and no one is reliable. His adventure craves care and tenderness. Sometimes it shines through him, and sometimes it fragments. It is a landscape. All his lifetimes are at work.
I think what’s needed is an accepting silence so he feels heard – and hears the condition and life as it is. And for myself? A golden opportunity to sweep my reactive mind and identify the Complainer. Don’t allow my Complainer to trot endlessly. Send in a searchlight: illumine the reactive chitchat, slow it down. The pudding is in the eating. We are in the Aquarian age; rather than sit at another’s feet, we teach ourselves to be responsible. Recognise the personal drivel and drone and … seeing it, enter its flowering branch of feeling; and pause. That pause is love, which changes its nature!
My life meets an adventurous beauty with the dying: the unknown portal of their birth and moment of illumination. I began “preparing for my death” when I left my parents’ home all those years ago, and sat bound hand and foot to my Chief Feature in the Tree – (the Chief Feature is a Gurdjieff term for the Shadow) – sitting in a big beech at Brockwood after a Krishnamurti talk in 1974; I was in despair. How to liberate? My apparent lack of success over nearly half a century is relative! I made two great discoveries. One was when I identified poetically with the homing-pigeon above the world. In that moment of freedom I outgrew blaming others for my sorrows. I valued my sorrows and stresses in the breadth and varied contour of the landscape I had chosen to fly along.
The other discovery was to slow down my Mercurial thought-centre to align with my physical moving-centre (another Gurdjieff theme). When I slowed it down to the rate of physical speech it lost interest in itself verbally and became a living being. That is what I mean by “entering its branch”. Thinking is unconsciously generated, but when I enter the branch the narrative slows down, becomes aware and even stops.
To enter the branch is to face and value the living space; for most of my automatic thinking is dead.
“Mind is a bundle of thoughts.”
Another discovery was with Ramana Maharishi – his teaching of the aham-vritti, the Raft on which all the vegetation grows. When I notice these things I don’t take the stuff so seriously, and when I don’t take it seriously I start to wean the battle. Moving into the flowering branch (for any thought amounts to that), a living sap replaces the monologue.
Recognise the voice which is being allowed to chair; and let it go transparent. Let my sense of dislocation dissolve back into the unconditional unity of my being. I often find nothing to say, and stay rather long, and complain afterwards. Do I listen to what others say about their doings? Or do I “ice-cream” them with my own flavours?
The Emerald Table of Hermes
In the GREAT WORK OF ALCHEMY Paul Foster Case writes about Libra, Sublimation – the conversion of a solid into vapour bypassing the liquid form, and back to solid as in the Emerald Table. In the Four Worlds the solid is Assiyah, the aerial vapour is Beriah. Liquid in formation are the reflections in Yetzirah between these states. Clouds drift through the alchemical glass vase. Libra’s Tarot Key is 11 – Justice.
This key is called “the Faithful Intelligence”. Justice midpoints the Tarot spectrum of 22 with an illustration of the perfect Law of balance. Discover the “I AM” at the core of human personality by going causally upstream of the world of effects. In the human field, the transformative Life-breaths are incarnations: the rise and fall of samsara or thought. Paul Foster Case mentions the One Law maker: the green apples which ripen on the tree; he says “It takes just as much practice to think an unfamiliar thought as it does to perform an unfamiliar action.” He means, to reverse or change a deep seated mental habit. As my old teacher always said, “Keep practicing”. Fidelity to the practice here and now in the everyday text of my soul, is the intelligence.
This comes near what I am writing about today, concerning my Chief Feature on the skids. PFC says also that true thinking (i.e. not on the skids) is a bodily action. Sublimation is physical labour, and it begins in our minds. Facilitate it visually with the inner eye’s arrangement of complementary colours and balances in Key 11. Regarding my physical activities with climbing and with garden clearance – the labour in these is to stay in balance: core stability. Appraising an art work, from Tifareth towards Gevurah, the aesthetic or critical faculty commands with sword and scales. It earths the heart and throat centres. The cool work of Saturn in Venusian Libra is the Sun’s great work: equipoise.
Before going away at the weekend, I asked the Tarot for a Reflection – for a picture of my old friend and teacher’s condition. The first card was Temperance. I cut the deck 3 times 3 in my usual way (as described in Part One of this sequence), and first I turned over just the centre one.
Now turning over the cards to each side, and the three which underlie Temperance … I find it flanked by Key 18 – the long hard path of the Moon – and Key 19, the Sun’s work with children in the field. Under it there is the same sequence as in the 23 June reading: 20, 6, 16 (followed by 8). Add up 14,20,6,16 to find their apex or central “SHIN” … the sum is 56, reducing to 11 Justice. As in the physical body, she regulates the Tower’s catabolic breakdown and Archangel Gabriel’s Ascension of the human family. Her equipoise is encircled by the four Archangels: Mikael as Yod, Gabriel as Heh, Rafael Vav and Uriel as 2nd Heh.
Tarot Reflection 14.7.2018
What a beautiful portal!
The Archangelic guardians around cosmic centre; they hold my friend at a point between controlled and uncontrolled ascension. Remember also, his Gene Key profile has big Ascension energy through it. The vertical plane descends gently through the horizontal one – the Temperance angel’s regulation: the Healing angel’s blessing on the lovers in Gemini; the horizontal and vertical balance in the round.
“… but to apprehend
the point of intersection of the timeless
with time, is an occupation for the saint …”
T S Eliot, Four Quartets (the Dry Selvages)
Such a glimpse suggests such profound order, that it is the true position of our world. My thought was moving into the capacity to apprehend this pattern which I laid out the other day. I didn’t open it to look until this morning.
I am shown that the Tower now at 2nd Heh in fact performs and completes a role of perfection. Particles of disorder are rearranged through Tarot’s depth into the beautiful resonance of our natural state breaking its seedcase and giving voice. The seed splits to germinate. This is implicit through all phenomena. All phenomena contain their origin. That is what stops the mind.
Archangel Gabriel of the Waters 2002
Journal 19 July 2018 THE GREAT BREATH
My friend T-Wigg took me last night to a Prom of Messiaen’s Turangalila. And how! – There within massive musical mandalas stood the four shouting Archangels with their jaws falling right open and down to the ground! In Tarot they look very demure.
The Archangels – as in Ezekiel’s Chariot – are four of everything: the compass points North, East, West, South: the News.
My depressions with this and that are an obscuring veil, behind which stands the Archangelic Fact with its wondrous music. When I cannot integrate the keynote, it oppresses rather than uplifts. Key 11 in the centre is the attunement. The resonance is found when mind is at rest.
So of course I can. Choose Reality. In Turangalila the Angels don’t only shout, they weave a profoundly tender pattern of ascendent birdsongs.
Many messages are in this new reading. The Sun and Moon – the wolf-and-dog shadow the children. The Archangels’ explicit nature is to regulate, to announce, to heal and to arouse – and their protective field whether I know it or not, is omnipresent. Why? Not because I’m special or do good works, but because I ask and recognise. It demonstrates that the veil by which the human surface and its political sores is generally interpreted, is an incomplete and erratic picture. I am able to see this because I live in a stable environment, not in a refugee concentration camp or a bad marriage. Again as I so often repeat, I must honour what is Real, and not bury my nose in newspaper. So Mr T went to tea with the Queen … ? What’s new? I am the human condition. When I start to die, I don’t want to be distracted. Make Reality my aim! and call on the beloved Master R.
In the Sun key the children play: in the Moon the wolf-and-dog strive and seek. The Guardians appear to us in these different ways. “Sun” “And” “Moon” in Hebrew (letters Resh Vav Cheth) spell RVCh, Ruach, the holy breath of cosmic harmony. (NB, the Ch refers to Key 7 the Chariot whose sign is Cancer ruled by the Moon. Tarot Key 18 is the Moon vibration itself, in the deck. The letter Vav’s symbol is a nail, joining parts of speech together; the conjunction ‘and’.)
The mood swings the scales in the steady hand of Justice. She holds the lifted Sword, the Word, in her right. To her right is the sound of one hand clapping. To her left is the thunderclap. At her feet is the human landscape cleansed with rain: “love and you shall know”. Above her head the Weather making angel twixt Sun and Moon … awakens the lion and eagle from the mud.
I started to study Sublimation in the Great Work, whose Key is 11; then my Tarot reflection added up to 11 its apex! But of course … The addition sum of the Four Archangels (whichever way round) is bound to be 11, cosmic equilibrium, the Tarot midpoint. The Queen of Justice sits likewise at the heart of the Tarot Tableau (see above) with its interwoven sequence of Tetragrams.
In my concern for my old friend, I stumbled on this heavenly order … the Guardians of his soul, the Tree and the teaching.
Justice is a Karmic goad. Her pressure is painful until alignment is slipped into. In this Reflection she midpoints horizontally (20, 11, 16) the keys of Resurrection and Catastrophe. Give to her my centre of gravity as a human mite, and calm the mental waters. In the Vertical sequence (14, 11, 6), the garden is watered and fired, and grows up into conscious Life and Love. Rather than label the Eternal Life, rediscover it. Gradually the resting-place dawns. The letter SAMEKh is the royal tent-peg.
Elementally the four Archangels are: Mikael Fire, Gabriel Water, Rafael Air and Uriel Earth. They came out in the order of the Tetragram Cross which I learned with Mouni Sadhu. The Hermetic Virtues in the order of fire, water, air, earth are: to Dare, to Keep Silent, to Know and to Try. My present way of life strange as it may seem, with so much coming and going, is my Temple’s architectural footprint. Draw water from the well. Cultivate optimism – the higher wavelength – in the face of pessimist default. Make your thinking different!
Regarding spiritual labels: it is the habit of most humans to label and wear their spiritual affinity. For me this felt nice at the beginning, but it deteriorates and eventually dies into political badges. Best not to wear it, but to find it. To label and wear is the natural desire for security. The Great Work only needs watering with the continual art of discovery.
Identifying with any teaching exclusively becomes a badge and makes dying difficult. We must transmit the good NEWS but paradoxically keep it silent. This seems to be my general task, as I can write it, but not so easily speak it. “Love and you shall know.” I love the Archangels of Justice and their cosmic joke for me with Messiaen’s Turangalila symphony. All things decay and are reborn. Decay in our earthly terms is painful, but as the dross dissolves, there is joy.
Sublimation. What an important stage in Alchemy this is!
Paul Foster Case writes that rather than “lean on some supposedly higher personality” it behoves us to take responsibility for our cosmic debts. Although the Law has perfect precision in this respect, her highest expression transcends the “eye for eye”. Our debt may be forgiven upstream by invoking a higher cosmic currency of the same Law. An alchemist’s inner work enables him or her to “strike the balance without pain”.
Saturn – alchemical lead – is exalted in Libra, whose ruler is Venus. The Libran element is Air: a balanced deep breath – then pause – then exhale. Paul Foster Case suggests ten-minute periods for this practice: sunrise, noon and sunset. I think this kumbakha principle with the breath is common to all traditions, for it harnesses the mental root. Ramana Maharshi counselled to be gently conscious with the breath, like a rider guiding a horse; the rise and fall in the heart.
We are a School of the Soul. I have a potential “being-present relationship” with my teacher, over the last thirty years. We are both Capricorn – gate keepers to the field of asphodel. Get ice-cream on your face – pick up, brush down, look to the Archangelic Guardians for perspective and try again. Yesterday I told him the hardest workers in life are those who are just born and those who are going to die: “now she tells me!” said he.
As for my personal Yesodic monster – it is fear and anxiety, a thin pollution-miasm through my being, about whether I can fit in and get to places during the day. Sublimation is a process of selective elimination: use the Sword of Justice to cut away the brambles and embody the kind of “actions which nourish courage, confidence and decision“. Discard wasteful arguments and controversial topics. Eliphas Levi: “the way to see is not to be always looking.” Choose refreshing amusements! “I” (She of Justice in the book of Tokens) “am the goad of action.” Creative clarity and purity of mind may precipitate mental images swiftly into the physical world: and the miraculous Way appears.
“I am the power of equilibrium
which holds Ruach in balance
between formation and destruction
as a driver with his goad
keeps his ox from straying off the highway.
Yet is this directive power inherent in RVCh itself
for I myself am that great Breath of Life.”
Key 11, The Book of Tokens
by Paul Foster Case
Is this not marvellous with the Tarot reflection? And Ruach the Spirit or divine breath is the Rower of the seas. The GREAT BREATH may be simply visualised as the wavelets to and fro, and the exposed wet sand between.
I feel stronger now. I felt weakly identified with situations and the weather and the glaring miasm which humankind believes itself to be in. It doesn’t matter how much or how often I fail, so long as I pick myself up again and keep going. The daily Underground travel is noisy and exhausting. In the morning here, the well fills up again with wonder.
20 July 2018 Stone Crucible
I love these Archangels (yesterday), and wonder if they demonstrate an incarnation and its rise and fall of embodied life? The breath of life of course is that. I find this (like any practice) not easy to perform formally, but do often remember to come into solar plexus present and breathe consciously a couple of times.
Last night I dreamed I embraced my cher ami in Trieste and rested my head on his right shoulder. He was extraordinarily broad, earthy, firm, warm and trusted. He wore soft dark-brown leather slippers, old ones with a bit of worn fur trim. They were comfortable and much wider than his not large feet. The beauty and strength of the Zodiacal bull embodies an archetypal tenderness – what privilege – I love these nuances. The ordinary human engine does not often notice them and seeks bigger signals perhaps. In the crucible, the nuance is the ineffable nous of Alchemy: trust it.
Asphodel by Paul & Pam Markwell
I saw the other day a washbasin fixed to an outside wall for gardeners: it was hollowed from a big grey Stone, the interior polished smooth. I love the feel of it. Alchemy is the profound treasury of the heart of things: cultivation of the nous. The natural life-breath (as instructed by Paul Foster Case) is soft and joyous acceptance.
Today I went Castling – indoor rock climbing in North London. It was hot and I was tired, but I managed to do that Green traverse a few times – not fluently, but with better balance. I just potter around, doing the same little climbs and overhangs again and again – by now needing proper outdoor rocks and slabs to dance with. The core stability feeling improves. Core stability is in the bones, a balanced flow of movement taking and transferring fleshy weight and stretch. Use not brute strength but the movement.
Alchemy is as alchemy does in “The Violet Crystal”; the jewels in life’s un-ideal management. Alchemy in solitary laboratory does not glow with life, like alchemy which bristles with human oddity, relationship and paradox out of doors and every day. An alchemist lives and lurches along potential stress and pain, occasionally balancing beautifully, the thread. That sums up my way of life. The thread is a musical string, sometimes at perfect pitch. The Archangelic Tetragram Keys 14, 20, 6 and 16 demonstrates the process of any thought or creative intention.
John York and Claudio Jaffe, Wigmore Hall 1986
Aquariel – an angel of the waters and of the air through the woods of life.
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