The first painting – a bird shaped lamp – in fact belongs to the end of Trinosofia Chapter Two. A guiding star led the initiate through a white door to the turbulent waters of life – Chapter Three – into which he dived, and was tempted by temporal power. You can read Manly P Hall’s translation of each chapter (as I go along), in the Trinosofia Texts page in the title bar.
I have a technical problem with reproducing my drawings here. The yellow in my originals is soft and subtle. But it scans out hard and greenish. Even if I erase the yellow in the original, its shadow is still there. This happens when yellow is placed on white or next to white; if yellow is next to another strong colour, it is ok.
I love the shape of this bird-lamp. Where the wings should be, is a great curved space. The bird turns its head to see. The whole object is a dancer: a “hold” of ballroom grace. The lamp stands on a plinth of granite rocks turning gold. It illustrates the existential interface of psyche, spirit, alchemy with the flat surfaces of our world-view – the rocks bulge out from under the plane of the plinth.
Here are a pair of Lions – scarlet and black – actually indigo blue – in an alchemical sphere. The red one stands for Mars: the indigo one for Saturn.
Between them is a crown. There is an arrow to each side, a bow along the base, and red inscribed tablets above and below. Manly P.Hall translated the (illegible) Greek inscription under the lions, to English, and I had the happy idea to write it out in English: “Each must sprinkle himself with his own wine from the Mountain of Chios. He must drink to God before the wood. He must give himself in exchange for that for which he yearns.”
MPH comments: “… Wood was the symbol of Dionysius, and it was in honour of this god of the wood and of the vine that the ritual of the Communion was first established. To drink of one’s own blood or to sprinkle oneself with his own wine is to be immersed in or tinctured by the inner soul power. Fermentation was the presence of Bacchus or the life in the juice of the grape, and the Greeks used the symbol of intoxication, as do the Sufis of Islam, to represent ecstasy. A man in an ecstatic state was described by them as being one ‘intoxicated with God’.”
I assumed the Lions were alchemical ones, and the sphere a flask, or “Lens”. Not until the drawing was nearly done, did I look at Manly P Hall’s commentary at the back of the book, and discover they represent unregenerate “nobility” and “rulership”. This is because of an inverted symbol on the red lion’s flank which I didn’t spot, because the online reproduction (of the copy of Master R’s painting) blurred it. Inversion turns nobility to misuse of power, and rulership to indiscretion – it moves them backward. Charisma becomes a despot, the red lion lust, the black lion, tyranny. MPH again: “Those who would accomplish wisdom must overcome these animals if they would reach the Crown (Kether) which lies beyond. The black lion is the temptation of power … the red lion is the temptation to possess … there can be no compromise with these monsters of perversion.”
Throughout the full text, Master R signalled the perils of “misuse of power” and”indiscretion”. It is a balance in the soul Triad of the Tree – Tifareth regulates Hesed and Gevura – which must be corrected before the initiate can proceed.
At this point, I include some dakini oracle images from a recent reading for a friend …
… simply because these pictures move around in my mind just now, and form a phrase of life.
Anyway, my Lions: the sphere which contains them is a lens. To each side are the arrows – (2 of Swords, meaning polarity-tension) and under it is the strung bow: continence of the demons, their transmutation to gold mist. I don’t agree with Manly P Hall that the clouds they stand on are the world’s pomp and circumstance. I see the clouds as steam – the accelerated Karma within the alchemic flask or lens. It “sweats” out the lions and makes them glorious to see.
The inscription above them is in an unknown script – I was able just, to see and outline the letter shapes. MPH tells us it says “Bend knee and worship God who sends forth his love in winged splendour from Aries the first angle of the world. The 6th sign Virgo, is the ending and completion of the ages – the symbol of service and renunciation by which the lions may be overcome. He who gives up life for wisdom, shall receive a fuller life…”
While working on the drawing – it took several hours – I felt its vibrant mystery. This happens when the Trinosofia illustrations are tangibly recreated. I don’t know yet their full meaning, but they are energy Keys. The connection is discreet and powerful: the colours seem to glow. I use watercolour pencils and a brush.
In the evening, while watching TV, I copied this strange illustration – (at the end of Chapter Three) of a dark cave with the sea and the sun coming in – adapting it to my inner vision. It too is a lens – an eye. The lit up rocks shine like gold. There’s a little interior landscaping, of trees and a house in the dawn. It is mysterious. Compositionally I am the darkness looking out and into which the redeeming dawn shines. There is a spiral swirl of scribble rock formation.
It belongs with some earlier (1980s) sketches of the inner eye: a sunlit landscape within the cliffs of fall: the Hermetic Underbeing. A friend commissioned from me an oil painting to illustrate G M Hopkins’ poem “O Mind, thou hast Mountains, Cliffs of Fall“. The painting was subsequently stolen from him, and all that I have is this blurred photo. Some years later, I re-drew and painted it for myself. The lost original was precious to me, because a chance paint formation up in the sky suggested a seal’s head … which I developed.
The seal of the ocean was the soul soaring into the sky through a crack in the mountain strata. In the later sketch, a Capricorn goat grazes on the alp. Down the sheer dark cliffs to the right, the seeking soul or initiate tumbles … and to the left, Hermes Trismegistos receives him, opening an inner landscape of the eye.
From Manly P Hall’s commentary to the text :
(for the text, see Trinosofia page in title bar)
“The first initiation is that of earth, represented by the black passageways in the subterranean regions of the volcano. To pass this test the body must be subdued in all its parts and become a perfect instrument of the enlightened will. The bodily atoms and molecules must be vibrated anew …
“The second mystery in the order of the Memphis rite is that of water, and at the beginning of this section the candidate finds himself standing on the shore of a vast underground lake. This is the sea of ether which separates the two worlds. It is the humidic body of the earth, the sphere of generation. He who would reach the Invisible world must cross this sea, that is, become master of the generative powers of nature (and of his thought). Led by the blazing star, the candidate throws himself into the midst of the waves. With his lamp upon the crown of his head (the spirit fire lifted into the pineal gland), he struggles for mastery over the currents of the etheric world.
“His strength fails, and he cries out to the Universal Cause for help. A boat appears, in it seated the king of the earth with a golden crown on his forehead. But the boat is pointed back toward the shore from which the neophyte came. The crowned man offers the kingdoms of the earth, but the disciple of wisdom … cannot be thus easily tempted. Strengthened by the power of right decision and aided by the invisible genii, the candidate fights his way to the distant shore. Before him rises the silvery wall of the moon, the lady of the sea whose dominion he has passed.
“The fire initiation awaits him. Having mastered the vital principle of nature by which growth and propagation are controlled, the candidate next faces ambition, the fire of pride and the flaming tyranny of emotional excess. He beholds the lions, the fire symbols. The key to the course of action is revealed by the hieroglyphics. The lions, the writing and the wall dissolve. The path stretches out through the sphere of eternal flame.
“The alchemical aspect of the symbolism is one of purification or the passing of the elements of the Stone through a bath. In this process they pass from an earthy state through a vaporous or watery condition, to a fiery or gaseous quality. The lunar humidity present in all bodies must be dried out, which led the Greek philosophers to declare that ‘a wise soul is a dry one’ …
‘… The moon rules physical generation or the perpetuation of corruptible forms, but the sun has dominion over spiritual generation, the creation of incorruptible bodies. Man is the progeny of fire (sun), water (moon) and air (the bird of Thoth). The temptation by the king with the golden crown, suggests one of the most common difficulties of the alchemical tradition. Those who attempted the art in most cases failed in their quest for wisdom, because they became fascinated with dreams of wealth. Material gold tempts the alchemist away from his spiritual quest for enlightenment and immortality.”
I find MPH’s commentary very apt, beautiful, and directly relevant to matters I struggle over, at present: to apply the inner alchemical vision to lessons of daily life, psychology, training and practical assistance to myself and others. I feel an absolute greenhorn. The problem is one of regulating my inner vision to the exterior text. My ideas with people turn out to be raw and naive.
An awakened human life flows along the ground, admixturing, composting the subtle with the gross. The crucible, the mortar and pestle of each day, grinds fragrance. With this idea, the fragrance opens and goes out into the world a little – a tiny puff of Universe prana confected in the soul. My role is here, making, mixing and breathing it out – the subtle particle with all situations open to it. I, we, transmit solar-neutrinos which pierce the magnetic shield. The quantum is homeopathic. The mountains, the pits of daily life, are small ruts in a muddy lane.
Meet the world’s inconsolable suffering yet again, the increase of evil trafficking, and a woman in North London who rescues children from it and starts to rehabilitate them … and find yet again, that my role is not on that front-line. I am too open and easily distressed.
Here is the Master as Bulwer Lytton’s Zanoni … and a gem on the table surface.
… and here are two drawings I did for another friend last week – initiations by water and by fire:
… and by Air: a turning Mevlana Dervish
Enough said! Mercury and Rahu/the North Node that day, together TURNED Direct in Scorpio.
Finally – Master R’s Third Violin Sonata. A gem, this one! a thoughtful opening Adagio, with the answering Andante a bit later. The second of the two Allegros (pp 16/17) when played up to speed, seems to turn and turn – a joyous whirl of planets and galaxies around their polar axes, around the Dervish’s left foot on the ground …
the law of the Dance.
Link to Three Trees of Life
POST SCRIPT – I came across what I wrote in July 2003 when I first studied the Trinosofia:
In Section Three of the Trinosofia (I read it last night with little understanding but a sense of rest) the pilgrim comes to a white marble platform, and the star falls into the surging sea, and the pilgrim goes in after the star. In the surging sea, and struggling to swim and survive to the far dark shore, the pilgrim meets a king in a golden boat who says to come with him, the foremost in the world. But the pilgrim says he will trust in God alone, and the king sinks, and soon the pilgrim swims hard and reaches the land, a shore covered with green sand. Here the next instructions are displayed on a silver wall or “gate” which vanishes as soon as he’s read them. Two lions on a cloud guard a Crown. Around them is an iron circle. To each side, and below, are two arrows and a bow. Above and below the iron circle are inlaid scarlet panels, the one has greek inscriptions, the other, sacred letters. There are also apparently sacred letters on the flank of the lion.
To go into the surging sea in this path through the white pure door of the Adept, is Courage into the vibration, into noise-interference to which I am hypersensitive and judgemental. The Holy One is at the heart of All. Receive and rock with the impressions, unconditionally, tendering their timeless points, and smiling. The Lord of the World sinks: I am carried by the Waters, swimming by my effort. The green sand of the shore is in the sense that the sand is like the Spirit, blown in whorls by the wind, and has the same gematria as blood; and when you melt sand it turns to glass – the crystal of the Soul. Here it is green – the natural state. Green sand.
You only really see or are shown what you have already understood by travelling it. The lions are the sea, and they guard Kether, which sometimes masquerades as an earthly crowned sovereign.* The iron circle is mars-like, and the bow and arrows and the writings imply Guidance. The lions represent Fire, and in the illustration they are elegantly and gracefully drawn, snaking their tails on a sea of clouds. Fire, entering water, becomes air – the breath of JHVH. And even the Lions breathe each other in and out.
The two arrows remind me of the equilibrium of the Two of Swords. The bow along the bottom is aimed into the One Thing – the “absence of two” in the Crown.
*I must make my own path of discovery even when the Sovereign himself appears – or as some say, if you see the buddha on the path, kill him. Don’t be spoon fed.
Aquariel – an angel of the waters and of the air through the woods of life.
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