The Alchemy of the 19th Arcanum

19 sun - Version 2

Children of the Sun
play with a ball dark and light
with tender and tentative
absorption.

One moment of marriage came
when separateness was so utterly lost
it were pointless to keep track,
lest it seem the last.

The ball that is dark and light
is the Philosophers’ Stone.
It has no edge through day and night
and is soft with the rain of the Sun’s tears.

Poems of Eclipse, 1999

lord-siva-on-his-tao

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Aquariel – an angel of the waters and of the air through the woods of life.

COPYRIGHT – All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2016. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeaquariel.wordpress.com/

Back Desk Mutterings – by Peter Adams

peter mss back desk mutter

This post companions “Character in Bird-Songs”  in my other blog.

I rather go for the mutterings in the crossed-out title! What is going on under the orchestral baton? Often I watched at the back of the local orchestral society at which my parents played, but liking to sit near the percussion, I  was less aware of what seethed beneath the docile strings.

I wondered what it will be like to lose a parent;   now I know. (19 February at 9.15pm:  planted 4th March in North Devon.)  For me, Peter is not ‘lost’, he is loved and he is free in an unlimited way. The truth he listened for is his real statement, and it is all the time eternally full and ripe to live.

I discover the deepest feelings in life released through death;  the music for ‘requiem’, ‘agnus dei’  and ‘dies irae”.

“Back Desk Mutterings” is not dated, nor had it been typed for Peter’s writing class, like the Bird Songs, but may have been drafted during my parents’ Somerset County Orchestra hay-day, in the 1960s and 70s possibly – a work in progress.

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24 Peter Adams

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Back Desk Mutterings

The shadowed anonymity of the back desks brings its own problems.  Far from the brilliance and the tense excitement of that cherished few that encircle the conductor, anxieties of right or wrong loom somewhat larger, the problems emerging suddenly out of that quite other ‘Cloud of Unknowing’.

It must be admitted, it is very useful at times to see the conductor’s beat – at beginnings and endings and those hardly perceptible but so vital withdrawings and pushings-on for instance – but the bottom and active part of the beat, and the lower twitchings of the hands  are often quite concealed behind the broad committed backs of our leaders and their fine heads of hair.  Frequently all that comes our way is the scowl that follows our innocent but uninformed pressings-on.  That we may be more easily aware therefore of his intentions, could any conductor under the height of 6ft 3ins be provided with a stand to raise him and his arms more fully into the view of all those unfortunates committed to following his directions?

norrington 3

Roger Norrington rehearses at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

There is a subtle communication between that half circle of the front desks and the conductor, which seldom percolates far back.  Those sudden quips with their attendant bursts of laughter are missed or at best release a belated grin as they are retailed backwards.  More important, the sharp instruction which follows an abrupt stop is also often missed or only half heard.  Perhaps one of the front desks may half turn his head and snarl out of the corner of his mouth, “Up bow, three bars after X1V!”  The second desks struggle to find the place and write it in, dropping their only pencil meanwhile.  The third desks lean forward asking hoarsely, “What did he say?”   Lurching to their feet, the back desks reach forward, endangering instruments and music stands as they endeavour to find out what is going on.  Not only that, but this paragon of a Heavenly Conductor, if he did change his mind – and even conductors do that – stands calm after issuing his instruction and will not resume whipping the air until he sees that all his players have recorded it and are ready to attack.

norrington 2

But the music has restarted.  The stick flashes and the brass relieved of their boredom are brazen.  The horns twirl their instruments and quaver, and the back desks relapse no wiser into their seats and attempt to catch up among the rush of semi-quavers that surround them.  They say that correct bowing is important, and certainly wrath and scorn fall upon those whose bow flips up, on a ‘down’.  But where and what to mark?  And why should the back desks be condemned to hurriedly copy down the leader’s often hardly legible marks in those few moments of precious relaxation while the front desks quoff coffee and share each others’ jokes?

Sometimes the writer dreams of playing in a Paradisal Orchestra in which the parts are clearly marked with the conductor’s and his leader’s directions, and nowhere is there doubt or misunderstanding.  Ah, what ease and what pleasure thus to play: an ideal situation and yet not impossible;  for lo, in playing for a local choral society recently, this same writer received his music through the post with all the bowings and the conductor’s introductory beats and intentions clearly marked.  All that this fortunate had to do at the rehearsal was to concentrate entirely on the music and the conductor’s interpretation, and he was thus able to play at the performance with confidence and energy.

norrington 1

There is nothing more dissipating of musical energy than anxiety about an entry, or uncertainty about bowing.  Fortunate are the winds who can simply blow.  Only the mouth organ and the concertina share with strings, the up or down dilemma

So confused can this marking of copies become, that it is not unusual to find string-players feverishly marking in their parts at the end of the afternoon rehearsal before an evening performance that is to be the flowering of weeks of preparation.  This means that although they may know the notes, they are virtually sight-reading much of the bowing and dynamics for the benefit of an audience.  And an altered bow marking means changed bowing for the rest of that phrase, and perhaps for a page.  A bow checked in full flight and turned to bring it into line with the others means a break in the stream of the string-tone, and a shattering of the disciplined spectacle of an orchestra in full play.  Attention that is half on the front desks to ensure that one’s playing is right, is attention that is no longer totally in the action of the music of which one is a part.

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This gallery includes sketches of
Timothy West with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Click to view:

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john eliot gardiner 1986

john eliot gardiner 1986

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Sketches of Bernstein

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If it were just for our own fun that we played, then none of this would be quite so vital, but “folk come a-flocking to hear” and to see – they even pay for this pleasure – and their interest is probably as much in watching as in listening to our efforts.  It would be well therefore, for us to remember that we are a visual as well as an aural experience, and to ensure that our preparations are both accurate and timely.  For our responsibilities to the audience and to the music are great.

P.A., West Newton,1960s/70s

violin

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Each morning as I wake
and in the evening as I lie
to sleep, I say –

“Come fair, come foul,
come blow or kiss
into my open arms
those are my equal
provender
as into the Now I bow.”

P A, Shebbear
2007/2015

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2016. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address http://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

 

Approaching Death is Life

 

Forest Medicine 2000

Forest Medicine 2000

“What will you do God, when I die?” (Rilke).  What will I do when my father dies?

I am reading the Castaneda books again. The Teachings (which terrified me in my psychedelic twenties) leaves me unmoved now, but the next book, A Separate Reality, awakens my seeing. This idea and its practice is seminal to my vital life. It gets submerged and reappears as a reality and re-membering.

What is seeing? It is when my heart-path sees through appearances and chimes the interconnecting filaments which bond every unique thing like gossamer. We humans are not those mere shapes in which we depress and die: we are egg-auras of the omnipresent flowing filaments, filled with awe and pulsation. When I stop looking, and see, I let go of depressing worries about my father’s discomfort as he grows much weaker, and my mother’s fret, and instead I focus the current. To see is to receive.

1968 sketch

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The current has within it the wisdom of time, place and providence. It gives me freedom, space and sanity. It touches the other with that strength of purpose and surrender.   For me, everything boils down into the practice of seeing.   When this way is open, the silly mind is silent. Seeing floods the mental engine and stops its opera.   Real mind then works efficiently: connections and arrangements are made; the right level of care falls into place; patience knits.

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Paths of Awakening

Paths of Awakening

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In fact the trap-door opens. In the Tree of Life, the Daat catflap opens, so the transpersonal informs and revitalises the personal vehicle Yesod.

I must keep this way open for when I too am crumbling and dying and losing the plot. When it is closed up, I am tired, querulous and crazy. When it is open, I am my real self and sane. The worst thing for we humans about old age and dying, is the conditioned fears, papers and complicated houses, which crowd in and clog us up.

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A warrior learns throughout life to dance to his or her dying: crows (turned silver) fly along the sunset – the image from the Teachings of Don Juan is very beautiful.   The only thing I can do for my dying parent is to be mindful of my warrior-dance and his: to see.   Over his house each morning at dawn flies a carol of starlings almost in murmuration.  (See this link for videos).

A family carries the same principle as a murmuration. (A spiritual or martial movement does the same.) A murmuration is a flock of birds forming fish-like patterns in the sky. The murmuration carries single birds in a singing cloud, constantly changing its shape, and greater by far, than the sum of all its fluttering hearts.

It is the same with the cells and all the moving parts of the body: the individual element serves the greater intelligence, in the natural state. Joy is a dissolution of conflict, as waves become the sea. Through conflict, we grow.  It arises, settles, changes and vanishes.

indian sparrow or crow

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To see is the opposite of the life-habit way of looking-at. Perhaps animals see, and know therefore far more than we do.   Seeing includes the raw fear built into nature and earth’s tension and predators; but the beatitude around the seeing is radically different from our angular human bungalows.

Plants and stones see.   So do stars and angels and demons. So does our planet Earth Gaia, with the sores in her skin: a different order of time.   I then see the days and months and people coming and going in my father’s house and his struggle with failing heart aged 93, as an eye-blink, a preparation for the birth which is his death and planting: it awaits the astrological cadence. It could be weeks or several months, or more. It could be tomorrow. With this view I relax with the rugged rocks of necessity, and can be more present and helpful.

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Seeing as a practice, is a compassionate, tender objectivity.   The seer engages more intimately with the condition than she could when she dramatised about it. To see is a conscious decision to switch off the drama.

My daily drama which blankets life is death.

Approaching the reality of physical death is Life.

I am getting tentative hold of this concept.   I live mostly in the walking dead – thus the conflict of nations and beliefs. As physical death draws near, Life becomes exposed – essence of life and pain: truth.   An essence of life is taken through the birth canal of Daat in the Tree of Life, as the physical heart lets go of its grip, its rhythm with the viscera … and then it flies.  Rekindling my sense of this, may assist my father by resonance, as we are close, we are both Capricorn-Cancer, the coastal path, the human song.

The sea beats against the cliff and the land falls into the sea.   When he read the Castaneda books he said the Sonora desert is a conscious power-point, like the ions along a rocky coastal path, where waves meet the rolling fields. We live and die into this eternal sound of one hand clapping. Time passes.

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house inside

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Contemplatively, I hold him in my arms with this. I renew his philosophy and his quest: his name and form fade into the landscape, into the music and the birds.  His body farmed the land for a teeming moment, for almost a century!  Thank you for the green fields we knew and grew in, and all their names!

Contemplatively I scan the ocean ahead – what will it be like after he dies?

How can I know?  I feel in touch.

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coastal path, near Hartland

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Aquariel – an angel of the waters and of the air through the woods of life.

COPYRIGHT – All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2015. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeaquariel.wordpress.com/

 

 

Mystery with Master R – Part 3: on Mantra and Sound

melchisedek at chartres

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It is more than two months since I began the Master R series here.   A lot of things were going on, in my primary blog:  watching Krishnamurti, and concluding the Lotuses in the Sacred India Tarot Archive … and daily life in the pot.

Meanwhile Mr Master R cooks his precious stones; to invoke him is for me a threshold.  Getting out old journals, I find a mass of writings on my alchemical discoveries with him, a decade ago.   What to begin with?   My notes are dense with theme and symbol.   I shall start here with a few little poems I found, and with a thought on mantric sound.

It is rather a ragbag – perhaps to scan “musically”, with the right brain rather than the left, is best.   Feelings, architecture and images which touch the soul before speech, are ancient music in our bones. At that time, Serapis Bey, the Egyptian Master, was an additional inspiration, so I quote from him here.  The Maestri are one voice with many resonances.

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Serapis Bey in blue

Serapis Bey in blue

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On “Awakening” …

In medieval tapestry
a saint is preaching to gentle, plump lions
with worried dark eyes
to blink the sleep from themselves.

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Hebrew letter Qoph: a Zain (sword) and Kaph (gasping hand)

Hebrew letter Qoph: a Zain (sword) and Kaph (gasping hand)

Spear tip probes
golden sun’s heart
through silver body,
summer singing.

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Hooded falcon
released from the glove
is a sign of one in the Great Work
who lives in the world.

We are tamed|
by our bodybonds,
relationships and patterns.
It has to be.

But when the hood comes off
we fly and seize the prey
and bring it back to the garden, to the glove.
The glove of the Falconer veils love.

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If I have ears to hear,
hear Thee
like the Stars brought close to the eyes,
oak Tree.

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Master R - a new sketch:  he looks as if he has been working rather hard

Master R – a new sketch: he looks as if he has been working rather hard

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On Master R’s Sonnet – (see the two previous posts)

With embryo in womb,
yeast and grain in the vine,
the Eternal alone calls the Soul;
the world knows nothing.

(The door is TAV, and in it flowers the Rose.  Saturn is the root and door by which I give birth, parturition of the seed itself, all in one.  As the Soul makes house “aux flancs d’une mere”, so in damp dark soil does pip to a grain grow bread in the vineyard.  Saturn is the root, and Venus in the throat its calyx or flowering point.)

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Ground plan, Mother and Labyrinth at Chartres

Ground plan, Mother and Labyrinth at Chartres – step into an interior Temple

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labyrinth cross, like a core

labyrinth cross, like a core

On the Magid

When Your consciousness
flowers down into mine,
I am Your destiny;
may You live for ever.

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On the Sacred Labyrinth

Truth must be embodied and lived.  The Hebrew letter TETH – or is it TES? is a snake’s head and neck uplifted from the coil around itself (triple cross) – like the ancient diagram for seed labyrinth oscillation.  The great secret is to lift up the Cross, to raise the level from the plane to the Point or apex of pyramid.  Everything from and as the Point is equal – equal armed Cross. See and experience the labyrinth not only as a plane, but as a dome, a vault, three-dimensionally.

Yod Teth

Yod Teth

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October storm '87 - and those that stood

October storm ’87 – and those that stood

September 2003 – The other day I went on the Heath and visited the Governor Tree (it fell in the October storm of 1987.)  He has enjoyed a restful horizontal burden of summer leaf, and increments of holly.   On the shrine place near him, I found they are still leaving fresh offerings, and they left a poem there – whether to the Governor who stood so tall, or whoever … “

Farewell to Reuben

A grey metallic bird
will take me in its wings and carry me away
from you
who has become
a butterfly in moonlight –

whilst flitting between each delight
tasting each flower
you lost the rose.

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October storm '87 - Destinies across

October storm ’87 – Destinies across

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Arcanum 14 Temperance - Archangel Mikael

Arcanum 14 Temperance – Archangel Mikael

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September 2003:  Notes on Alchemy  – The Hebrew letters RVGZ spell the Vibration of Archangel Mahael.  The word is “wrath”, but actually means vibration.  This resonates with Indian RAJAS, the desire nature, or red dragon.  Alchemy works in the microcosm;  the same Law operates macrocosmically.  The Savage Dragon in the astral plane eats its own poisonous tail around into the Letter SAMECH, the Great Medicine of the avenging Archangel.

Sketch of Heru, Angel of Tarot

Sketch of Heru, Angel of Tarot

This morning, I glimpsed inwardly an angelic being with rainbow feathered robes – could be HERU, of tarot, or the Rainbow of Mahael.   WATCH the angel of this power of incineration.  Watch the Law, the balance of Jupiter and Mars.

sagittarius arrow

Hebrew letter Samech ourobouros serpent

To have an AIM means the courage equal to the aim iam.  The Sagittarian Arrow is aimed into the rainbow, and turns into the circular Hebrew letter SAMECH (whose symbol is a tentpeg).

Courage is equality of the terrain in all things, don’t fuss, get on with it.  Courage doesn’t talk or think or worry;  it acts,  quietly and steadfastly.  The Great Tent or Tabernacle is held down by tentpegs.  Whenever a tentpeg comes to hand, you use it.  You draw a Pyramid, a house with joy, and see it constantly.

“Various events in the field of personal experience are found to be not only reflections of the One Identity, but also direct operations of that One Identity itself.  Plainer than this we do not know how to write.”

Paul Foster Case

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ADAM is our matter, and Eve, divided from him, the subtle from the gross to reflect and reunite, is the Soul.  Eve is the High Priestess, the mirror, fertilised by the Magus in his garden.  His white stalk enters her dark ground, and roses grow, and lilies.

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“Subconscousness is the channel through which we receive instruction from above.”

bota key 2 priestess

bota key 1 Magician

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Mantra

Now the INNER SOUND begins to polish a facet which shines as AEOL – seed syllable of Elder Brother’s own dispeller of darkness.  It is not easy to say ORONTA or AEOL out loud; they ripen greenly still, hidden within the pearl under tongue’s tip, and in the root breath behind my back.  SOHAM, and OM TAT SAT and OM NAMAH SIVAYAH easily come out, they are known in the breath.  Chant them, he says, use them.  You can keep them right under your breath, under your tongue.  But gradually my pearl condenses and clears.

We are not given these.  We mine and find them in the mountains.  They are our deepest star-being. They have a river sound.  This is why AEOL is also AEON, and that describes what I am.  I AM as AEON … the way God knows and calls me.   AM and OM …  A and O are sufficient to roll like marbles and play with, they are holy, wholly sound.   “LO?”, he suggests also, and “E?”, and “LA?” … the Elohim.   “HALLO” is even another!   And “HALO”, which in hungarian háló, means “a net”.

seed syllable Omkara

seed syllable Omkara

You see, you don’t just select or adopt one, for “Hod” – the mind, in the Tree of Life –  goes shopping in the conditions of the “world that feeds on the absence of clarity”.  You find.  It finds your string, and it draws the bow and it sounds.  I wish Mr X could be happy.  This just slipped in, remembering his love of clarity, and his exile, walking in mud. Tzaddi fish hook

My true wishes are not: “Please God wave your wand” but to be able to act.  Else why am I fished by the Pyramid itself?   The plan for Mr X to be at least happier, remains on its shelf, because the prevous attempts and outlines screwed up each time.  It is impossible for countless souls to be happier than they at present are, because it is not yet their time to change.  A far more useful attitude is “respect … without cleverness, their unhappiness”.

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Some stones for polishing …

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A and O are primordial in tarot, rota, torah, look up at the unimaginably distant stars, into that Swan flying along the Milky Way, and see if they somehow sing.   You play with your marble, your sense of being, until it rolling, makes a sound, a music.  OK.  Let it roll.  “You are souls masquerading as humans.  Which one in your acquaintance do you dislike the most?  Herein lies a key and therein lies the treasure.”

ASK AGAIN AND AGAIN … “What do You call me?  What am I?”  Be assured, that seed is known in these deeps.  Roll out the ones, the little polished stones I like,  and listen for which one answeringly chimes.

I see no mission to accomplish, for nothing stands in the way however long I live;  already I ascend and am gathered, as are my cinematic concerns day by day.  My Cross is the inner architecture of the Pyramid itself;  its apex the rose.  He rose from the dead.  From the base line, the point arose.  The geometry is naked.

“I am that part of you which seeks to hear the voice of God and truly listens for it.  So I invite you to enter the vaccuum of silence as you can, when you can.  And there go deep, go deep, go deep and seek to know what is your own sacred sound … find it, polish it, use it …”

I do not need to repeat in what manner this instruction is familiar to me, and what it awakened in this life.  I light a candle to that one in the night.   I let it burn gently in my soul,  for his destiny.  “Go deep, deep as you possibly can … and then return and record what you found …” Even if said unconsciously, it spoke directly from the inner Teacher, the thread snagged and was recognised.  It is this Unity of things in life that stretched beyond the clothes on the washing line.  It lifts from the line, the cosmic point, timelessly, rich beyond all nourishment … and the fish is hooked. “Clarity in issues is the lesson of the night.”   I spelled the Egyptian word for Sun wrong, it is not AMUN RA, it is AMON RA!  you see, again – and this sound is at present favourite.

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Riss's labyrinth - age 9

Riss’s labyrinth – age 9

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The Practice: “Go to the centre of your own skull and see there the sun, the sun, the sun and allow your fears to melt as snow and merge with that inner sun, that great glowing endless being.  This is a practice, a discipline if you will – perhaps one of the greatest you can perform consistently.”

And do this specially whenever over-wrought about the world, or when the dragon’s dying tail lashes despair.   Do it when AFRAID.

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sun moon mercury

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Aquariel – an angel of the waters and of the air through the woods of life.

COPYRIGHT – All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2013. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeaquariel.wordpress.com/

Cathedral Building: The Priestess

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priestess of Isis 2003

priestess of Isis 2003

This is a sequence of meditations on the Tarot High Priestess and on Cathedral building.  I wrote them down in about 1991, just before I learned of vesica pisces.   Vesica pisces is the compass of sacred architecture.  You put a stake in the ground and string to walk a circle around it;  you intersect it with a further circle whose centre is on the circumference, and so on, as the petals grow.  The proportion flowers to a Plan on which the Stone safely stands.

I have some more material about the Priestess and the Moon specifically :  for a later post.

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20 September 1991 – Behind the Rampart:  Solitude

“The divine principle of that which belongs to it,  the perceptions of the pure intelligence, conceal themselves behind the rampart of the body.”

“The Lord and Author of all things whom we call God,  brought forth a second God, visible and sensible … not because he himself has sensibility,  but because he is perceptible to the senses.”   (The Universe,  the Son or Word made flesh)

“In the manifold way of universal life,  the innumerable individualities distinguished by their variations are nevertheless united in such a manner that the whole is one,  and everything proceeds from unity. 

“  … Lend me now all the powers and penetration of thy thought;  for the idea of Divinity which cannot be conceived save by divine assistance resembles a rapid stream precipitating itself onward with impetuousity,  and often therefore outstrips the attention of the listeners and even of him who teaches.”

Hermes Trismegistus:  The Virgin of the World

 

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sleeping beauty, 1957

sleeping beauty, 1957

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A Journey

… CONTEMPLATION now opens into the knowledge that my consciousness is but a point of space in limitless space — not the familiar body at all.

It is a bit vertiginous.   There’s a slight feeling of vertigo, with my awareness working its way ADRIFT. Endless space it is,  it is space with no end, to plummet infinitely deep in all directions.   But it isn’t fear.   It isn’t fear when taken into the heart.

The concept is similar to being in intergalactic cosmos I suppose.   But the reality is that all substance, all matter, every kind of “support” subatomizes to space, to the quantum of being.

The feeling of this was especially strong – it came on while I was sitting at my kitchen table eating my supper and reading Hermes T.  – the passages above; with household chores undone, and chaos everywhere.   My elbow on table, bum on seat, every act or object is  limitless, a sacred invitation within reality, within each dot or point of space … everywhere … the point of it all:  contact.   Touch.  Bottomless contact with the Earth.

Or into measureless depth of water float.   Stay … this “adrift” feeling, opens.   It is hard to leave the shelter of the rock and push off into this  …    (I want to.)  SAMADHI must be when all the dots or points of nothingness open into incandescent and simultaneous Being.

Anyway,  it brought a slowly approaching hint (like just before dawn).  I am the soul or inner fact of the world,  even though there are still thoughts and person-ego, etc.

It wasn’t possible to read or do anything for a bit.   The desire was to sit with it quietly.   So I did.

Small planet Earth in Space.

Knowing this is frightening.   But with a pure and interested party being investigative,  what is there to fear?   To hang out in and as the slowly developing idea of all directions of space without time, doesn’t frighten.  There is beingness,  only beingness,  all alone.   Yet only this must be wanted.

Have I the strength to let go of the rest?

The Cross

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 21 September 1991 – Tools to Build a Cathedral 1

Like the Magus in the First Arcanum,  the Priestess has a set of vocational tools.   They correspond to the Second Degree of the mason’s Craft,  and are read in the Hermetic Cross over her heart.   They are the Plumb,  the Level and the Square.   Correspondingly, these same tools on the Tree of Life are the Triad of the Soul – Hesed, Gevurah, Tifareth.

Hesed is Jupiter (expansion and grace), Gevurah is Mars (severity and restraint) and Tifareth is the Sun (the seat of the inner ruler, the heart, consciousness.)

My view is that levels of initiation are basic, few, and universal.  They are the Law.  Further and higher degrees refine the application.  An Initiation awakens Consciousness in a region which was blind.  Any one Initiation applies to life, and may take many years, even lifetimes.

“Only those who do the Work for its own sake are initiated.  Only the individual who wants to make manifest what Kabbalah reveals, can be an ‘Initiate’.

Zev ben Shimon Halevi

What follows is my own line of discovery.

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1A blend of various traditions.  This drawing, and some of the section which follows, is inspired by The Way of the Craftsman by W.Kirk McNalty – a study of the symbolic structure of craft freemasonry, by a Kabbalist.

Tools of craft Masonry - after Kirk McNalty

Tools of craft Masonry – after Kirk McNalty

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Method, Root and Shoot

Take first the Plumb.  This drops a weight from boundless sky to gravity.   Does it balance and straighten the spine, to build a Cathedral?   The plant roots downward and shoots upward, like the flame of Siva.

Let this movement be a plummet to sink restless mental waves deep down into foundation,  the waters of the interior well.   Let it fall now,  fall through the column of my body, through the chord of spine to its root and beyond,  deep down and out into space, beyond my seat, beyond my tail.   That hidden sphere of space, like the borderless blue night, expands.   It has no speech or picture.

As the plummet sinks, the white flame of Siva rises into the empyrean … like a sunflower.

Feel the core of this ascending/descending stillness.  Feel it stretch: the opening of the grain of space from within the seed of space.   Now time is not here.   I am not.   There is only an opening and informing Source of this moment,  this current.

There came a sense of desolate solitude,  of vertigo in the infinite, being only one point in the infinite, wobbling.   No “friends”.   No thoughts.   No supports.  The Earth in endless space shrinks into the personal-ego and all its possessions. I am afraid because there is nothing around me.   Who am I?   Where are my feet?

This vertical expansion – the Plumb –  widens horizontally, like opening out the arms,  to each side, to see … that Isolation also is Not.

The “emptiness” is a congeries of opening “points” or subatomic sources of itSelf.   All of these are.   All are empy for all, and each to each, are equally awareness;  a being in touch.   The I is not an astronaut.   The I is emergence … everywhere, as here … of the inward, measureless grains of space for it.   In this way, inexplicably, I find a lateral sustenance.  Vertigo vanishes.

My thought feared for its possession, falling into the grain of space.  But reality  does not wobble, nor does it choose.   All is well.

My momentary silence hears the tune or current of the world.   Let the being of the many I … let it breathe.   Rest within it.   This is the horizontal tool that corrects and levels.   It is the Spirit-level of the mason.  It integrates my formlessness with the walls and windows of life.

The sea, very deep, swells back and forth,  breaking over old rocks which rise out of it.   The surface of the sea is veiled and turgid with the wind.   As I watch,  it seems the wind disappears,  the swell diminishes,  and the surface of the deep sea loses its wrinkling.  It becomes a mirror clear and calm to the shining sky.

pembroke coast

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The Plumb belongs to the Active Pillar of Force on the Tree of Life.   It opens and expands the Sefira of Grace (Hesed) in a Jovian crescendo of consciousness.  The plumbline finds and opens the well.

The Spiritlevel, on the Pillar(passive) of Formation, brings in the factor of restraint.   As “judgement” it sharpens the critical eye to produce a plane from all points of the line,  and to be the structural Gevurah.

The vertical movement is “To Will”.   The horizontal movement intersecting it is “To Be Silent.”

And so the Square,  or right angle tool at Tifereth, the seed or point of intersection, focusses, adjusts and corrects the relationship and aesthetic balance of the Plumb and the Level.   It is Self correcting.   Here is consciousness.   Watch any bricklayer at work, with his vertical and horizontal pieces of string.   Watch a dowser for hidden water with a pendulum and a map.

This is the building of Cathedrals … on the spot, wherever I am.

master mason tools - note the Compass on the Plan

master mason tools – note the Compass on the Plan

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The Widows and the Sons of the Widow

The Western face of the Cathedral has two round Rose windows.  Through these two eyes, the rays of the setting sun enter to journey East … to the Sunrise itself … (through the ISIS of night to the resurrection of OSIRIS).  In the great Cathedral, East and West come to meet one another through the great arch or vault of its pillars, North and South — Bohaz and Jakin.

Rays of sunrise are eyes to see.   Look into your own eyes, and you shall see.   Consciousness is travelling from West to East, towards Sunrise.   The priestess in the cathedral is the rood screen upon which consciousness travels and is projected.   But consider now this Second Arcanum!   Is not the priestess herself travelling blind?

The pillars in whose Middle Space she sits,  are the Sun and the Moon to her own right and left.   If we are on Earth’s Northern hemisphere,  I see from this that the Pillar of the Sun to her right must be due South, while the Moon to her left, representing the night, is due North.  So she herself is journeying Eastward !   towards …

High Priestess - Arcanum 2

High Priestess – Arcanum 2

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The spectrum through “Yang” and “Yin” of the light, south and north, symbolises day and night.   In the primal unity of opposites, the seed consciousness is a whole rotation through states manifest and latent, like the behaviour of the mysterious electron.   In the fourth dimension, all states are the One which is their seed.  The eyes of the priestess are veiled, so she travels in the dark.  (A new degree initiate to Masonry, is blindfolded first.)  The disk of the Moon between her horns, however, receives on its face the full light of the Sun.   So the Moon is Full, in exact opposition to the Sun.   This, in the old Tridentine Mass,  is the position of the Celebrant to lead and receive the Communion.  Towards the altar with his back to the congregation, he leads them and concelebrates.  He is their eyes, facing sunrise.

At Full Moon, when the sun rises on the Eastern horizon, the moon is setting opposite, at the Western antipodes.    Receiving the Sun’s light here in full, for a moment, two lamps in equilibrium, the moon then disappears below the horizon.  She “travels” through the dark fortnight towards conjunction, symbolic reunion.

Thus the priestess,  the bride or “Yin” of ADONAI, passing the antipodeal crest of FULL differentiation, makes her journey eastward along the chequered pavement to orient her knowledge within … “I”.   For “I” am the witness, the place of meeting, of marriage.

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Tarot priestess 2003

Tarot priestess 2003

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She is the feminine priestly power of a congregation.  She also, very swift and still,  is the LAMB.   She sees me rise.   I rise in the East.   I fill her with light, to travel through the dark.   For I am OSIRIS.   I am receiving …  through long ages of my sister ISIS …  an osmosis of all the earthly fragment of my body … up into the arms of my whole Light.   And when we are wed at dawn, she rises with me, and has disappeared.

Here is a mystery clear and bright with paradox, of sacramental sacrifice.   In Arcanum Two, the priesthood is the Bride of the Lamb of God:   the oracle.    Arcanum Four – The Emperor – carries the 5th letter, HEH.   This letter is assigned to Aries and the spring equinox.   He is the Ram, or Lamb.

human pentagram

human pentagram

In Arcanum Five, we shall meet the High Priest, or Hierophant.   His number “Five” refers to the apex of the four elements, or sides of a pyramid,  and also to the divine spark of prana or breath, which enters the clay of life.   In the human Pentagram (YOD HEI SHIN VAV HE ,  Jehoshua, Iesu or “JAH LIBERATES”) he is redemption.   He offers his person to the translation.

But the Hierophant is an adaptation of the Priestess.  His letter is VAV, his sign is Taurus, the Bull whose horns the Priestess wears.

The Moon – the Priestess – is exalted when it is in Taurus, for plants open their flowers to the Taurean season – April and May.    The earth produces abundantly, and people have “green fingers”.   Taurus is ruled by Venus.    The tides of earth and moon together, when Taureanly attuned, symbolize our subconscious in mature operation.

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BOTA tarot key 2

BOTA tarot key 2

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I read of a masonic tradition called “The Sons of the Widow”.   These are “Masters” upon whom the builders of the Cathedrals would call,  when in need.   In this tradition the Craftsman or builder is journeying from West to the East,  to seek help and instruction.   The Master mason (a Son of the Widow,  or of Man before the Fall)  simultaneously comes to meet him from the East.   On this journey, the Master is looking for something which was lost when the Temple was nearly complete.   In the legend,  Hiram Abiff the chief architect of the LORD, was murdered by two Companions (who wished to possess his powers of operation, and the plans of the Temple)  and hastily buried under a sprig of acacia (springlike)  which revealed to his avengers the deed.   The secrets of the Master were buried with him,  for they are not available to the ungoverned desires of the non-integrated psyche.   They have to be earned.

Light and Shadow 1987, after Eliphas Levi

Light and Shadow 1987, after Eliphas Levi

The Craftsman and the Master mason  are coming together to repair a loss.   They travel the East-West meridian of the setting and rising sun, along which the body of Hiram Abiff was buried,  to complete a sacred Circle that is never complete.         ( … “for mine eyes have seen the Glory …”)

Across the meridian of light there is an arch.  Solomon’s two original pillars,  Jakin and Bohaz,  were “constructed hollow for storage”.   It is said they were built of brass and cast in clay ground outside the Temple.   They are functional pillars of the psyche.   They are the archive.  In their great dual granary are stored as rebirths, deaths and memory, the active and passive seeds of History – the moving surface of the waters.   The pillars portray the masonic Rule of Three.   Their polarity is balanced and neutralised by the evolution of the Third Pillar:  this is Self-awareness –  the gnosis of the Just Man in the space between, like violet incense spiralling toward the lofty vault;  Jacobs Ladder at every point of meeting.

The height of the pillars, or twin spires of a Gothic cathedral, is ballasted by their depth and strength of foundation.   The visible shape heavenward of a great and ancient tree, hints at the hidden sky “below”.   The stem and flowering of the tree reflect as in water the stem and flowering of its subterranean root bowl.   Tree, what a many branched bowl of sky is yours!    Above as below, what a starry sky of stars!   The higher the pillar, the deeper it penetrates the ground and heart – the Masters’ Eye.

And so, the two round Rose windows, through which the rays – (of sunset, or of the moon opposite sunrise) – peer into a cathedral, are themselves the pillars of sight,  south and north.   My eyes are windows.   Who is looking inward?   Who travels in space?

seeds of light

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In ritual,  the pillars of the inner world are approached as a doorway.   There may be a password, prayer or mantra to offer, before being invited in:   or the condition may be dark, or silence.   The veil is drawn back to an approach of inner peace.   What is then seen may have no name or form.   The nature of the work accords with provide-ence and its karmas.   But Meister Eckhart,  journeying among his congregations in fourteenth century Germany from door to door, told them God does His deepest and most mysterious Work in the soul which is at rest.

As well as the pillars and three tools,  the chamber of the Second Degree of masonry contains the bodies of the sun and moon,  the globes of terrestrial and celestial providence,  and the mysterious single letter “G”.

In a nutshell the gesture is:  to see within, be still and touch source.  This is the meridian of light, consciousness, west, east.   Across it there appears the meridian of earth, the archway north, south.   This is the membrane or prima materia, the task of space and time, to grow.   The resistance is the open door when welcomed.  Embrace both planes with arms open wide.  Feel their simultaneous expansion .

 “all experience is an arch where thro’
gleams that untravel’d world whose margin fades
for ever and for ever as I move …”

Tennyson

 The archway is our parents, through whom we look, learn and grow.

parental gothic arch

parental gothic arch

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22 September 1991 – Visitors to Ramana’s Ashram

This morning I went again into this business with the Plumbline and the Level and found it to be a sound “method” or tool.   The sinking of the plummet opens up the spine, perhaps a trace of kundalini or serpent awakening.   There was a feeling of ascent and expansion. The “I” sensation opens and is proud in the upper spine.   Be aware with it, and bring it back into the heart.   Ask “who”.   Let the question be there – that is sufficient.

In so doing, the horizontal beam crosses the vertical, and becomes the mason’s Level.   So the horizontal arms of the Hermetic Cross bring that lateral dimension of space and of being, into play.   Self enquiry, from the point of intersection, defuses any tendency to inflation.

This inner gesture offers up my will to:  THY WILL BE DONE.   This is the prayer for my personality and conditioning to be less obstructive to truth.   It seems yet a considerable “way ahead”;  but I feel the opening of that Way,  nor am I impatient.   Evolution back into source,  into realisation,  is given acording to the Will.   It is all the time here and now the clearing of shadow to be able to see.

Tunnel vision open wide

Tunnel vision open wide

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I know and joyfully accept that the time frame for my realisation is immaterial.   There is no “me” to be realised.   There is realisation.   It is a fait accompli … in Ramana, and in others, plain as a gooseberry, and I don’t care how many more births it takes, or how long it has already been,  how much grittiness to be borne.   It is …  in full leaf, like the summer of a tree.   Clap hands for joy!   All this is realisation.   Ramana went through everything.   Then everything disappeared in him.   The in and out of this is beauty.

The granule of eternal living-space, of enquiry, opens.   The tree of life is my body.   The spiritual heart is a little to the right and the physical organ a little to the left, of centre.  Can I see my eye which gives me sight of the world.   Can I with my mind describe the place from which the seeingness arises?.   But in this place there rests – neutrally at first – a knowledge of beauty and of balance,  and of the delicate and continual adjustment of  planes of being.   Watch a cat about to pounce;  he concentrates, moving from side to side before he springs.   Watch an artist, architect, dancer or lover of geometry at work.   Watch the bricklayer on the building site, with his vertical and horizontal pieces of string, stepping back and forth.

The Square or Rightangle is a perpetual instrument of focus in Tifareth.   It is a point of isness, of awareness.   Practice is a fraction steadier than before.   I am certain that this is right.   That is why it is called the “rightangle” of the Cross.   From fluid centre flows forth an energy of love, like the growth of a flower through earth.     There is a deep and matter-of-fact intuition of the symbols of  Christ.

As the arms of the Cross are open wide,  so is the breath or prana.   Like the ascent in an aeroplane through cloud to brighter upper regions, comes a barely perceptible “knowingness” of an inner light or element to breathe which is pure and cool … and rooted in the ground.

curve..

These are gleams of perception.   They are not bursts of ecstasy.   Apart from concentration’s effort to keep my mind still,  I see no visions, hear no voice, nor anything tangible.   This used to disappoint me during “guided meditations” in which it was suggested that I should.   At its best, there is nothing.   There is an intensity of focus,  and a wide quiet pool of space.   At the same time I am aware of my body.   A few very simple ideas or shapes, barely sketched – like the Cross,  like the fact behind the sentimental ikons,  like the heart of the Rose within – ripen and become more solid later;  for instance right now while writing this.   Truly there is the continual faculty of mental distraction,  of thoughts and plans like importunate aspirants …….

Importunate aspirants?    Ah – the cat pounces!   What a revelation!   that my thoughts themselves come with their burden of problems and property, like pilgrims to the Temple !    This is why – now I realise!  I am shown – why visitors to my inner Ashram should not be turned away but welcomed, without hurry and without opinion …  like the way Sri Ramana received all people, animals,  all thoughts of the world that approached His granite couch in the Hill,  day or night.

The enquiry is deeply into and along the current of each visitor, without hurry and without opinion.  It does not reinforce belief in the surface shape or costume of the visitor’s problem.  It gives space and healing and recognition to … the life force which approaches the sage for awareness from within the problem – from within the fluid gesticulation of her colourful silk sari and gold bangles.   The smile of the sage enters into and receives her.

Ramana Maharshi

I first saw or felt the “compassionate” receptivity of thoughts within myself when I attended my first satsang with the London Ramana group a week ago.   There stood a small head and shoulders portrait of Sri Ramana,  with a chunk of red rock from the Hill,  a vase of pink lilies,  some incense, the red dust and white ash of Shiva, and a candle.   And there sat souls, in all of whom dances the Self:  Alan, Alasdair, Rhoda, Nair …

Of course,  the thought tends to feel SO IMPORTANT that it chatters on about its family, the state of the harvest and the economy.   But it is not my enemy.   They are all – each domestic samskara is – my own Self.  I felt the current which strives within all thoughts good and bad, dark and light, complex or noble,  worried or whatever, and how sacred, indestructible, naked and beyond the word it is.

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ramana & mother

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I can see the lady in the sari.   She is his mother.   She squats on the ground by the cave of her long-nailed shaggy-haired emaciated young son in the hot sun.   With every power of persuasion the eloquence of her voice and pliable brown hands, bangles a-jingle can employ,  she weeps, implores and begs him to come back to his family like a good son and have a square meal.   They will build a little temple over him if that is what he wants.

Her young son replied to her with a silence which,  pouring from those dark eyes,  at last one day drew her into the Cave of the Heart, with him  …   whom she had never left.

This is a wonderful mystery of the whole shakti universe being received back into Shiva,  into the ALEPH:   its child.

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“….no problem should now worry me.   The very existence of problems,  says Maharshi, proves our spiritual ignorance.   It is quite true,  for the very putting of a problem means an attempt to bring down Reality to the mental level,  and this is equal to the effort of attempting to draw water with a sieve.   Even an ordinary vessel cannot hold a subtle ethereal substance …   

“The understanding of all this comes only then we have been able to transcend the limitations of the mind-brain.”

Mouni Sadhu  In Days of Great Peace

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Priestess of black Isis

Priestess of black Isis

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Aquariel – an angel of the waters and of the air through the woods of life.

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