the mysterious ladder of life

If I asked you to name a famous ladder, it’s likely that something quite ancient would come up as the answer: Jacob’s Ladder. It was the subject of a dream that the biblical Patriarch Jacob had while he was fleeing from his brother Esau, in chapter 28 of the Book of Genesis.

(Above the picture of Jacob’s Ladder from the original Luther Bible of 1534. Source Wikipedia CC by SA)

The biblical God is all-powerful by ‘his’ very nature. He does not ‘transport’ Jacob to heaven – or any other place of safety. He offers him a path; in this case a rather different path to what one might draw on a map of a landscape. The key here is that Jacob still has to climb the ladder; he is not given freedom from the conditions below except by his own efforts. The higher has provide a way. The lower has to climb this narrowly defined route. In so doing, he or she will be transformed. That is the nature of all true developments of the self.

This idea of a vertical path is one taken up in the study of the Qabalah (also Qabala, Kabbalah), whose most famous diagram, the Tree of Life, is often considered to be a ‘ladder of lights’ linking the ordinary ‘earthly’ state of consciousness with a progression to a higher nature that already belongs to us. The Tree of Life is a strange kind of ladder, and offers us multiple routes for most of the journey… but not all.

(Above: the Qabalistic ‘tree of life’ which offers not, one, but two routes between the ground and the heavens)

The idea of stone steps, or, later, a ladder, has always had a magical or mysterious property. In the case of a rugged path up a hill or mountain, the route is created by nature. But in the case of steps or ladders, the making is by the human. It is engineered to take us – all of us who might wish to travel – from one level to another. Not only that but it does so in stages. Each representing an equal amount of effort, safely fashioned to the needs of the human self. A ladder that had gaps of a metre would be little use to us…

The steps may be equal, but the result of taking each one is that our position over the landscape becomes higher each time, and thus introduces an element of risk. If, in the act of mastering the first few steps, we do not learn the importance of staying true to the principles of how the ladder was constructed, we risk moving our balance beyond its centre of gravity and toppling ourselves and the ladder to the ground below. This reflected both the observation skills and the self-discipline of the mystical path. It is no accident that the word disciple resembles discipline.

(From the Ryder-Waite Deck; the card of the ‘Lightning-struck Tower’ is a reminder that the intellect of mankind can only take us so far in our ‘ascent’)

Here, we might be reminded of the Tarot card ‘the lightning-struck tower’. Towers have internal steps leading to a position of greater viewing; a wider perception of the landscape, giving us more contextual information with which to make decisions, though we are now far from the ground and must descend to the world of the ‘ordinary’ if we are to effect changes in the world we inhabit, physically. This is an important point, for the ladder, or set of steps, does grant us the power to better understand the relationship for higher to lower. Careful study and some assistance may allow us to discover a set of ‘creative laws’ by which the lower came into existence from the ‘higher’. To operate with will in this higher ‘plane’ requires a dedication to the truth…

This is the subject of mysticism, or so-called magic. Mysticism is the identification and partaking of a life based on an understanding of how things happen in the higher and lower worlds. Before physics, these were deemed to be ‘God’s work’. Now, we see them as natural results from often invisible causes: for example, electricity. But physics deals with the physical. For the metaphysical, we need to understand our selves.

Magic is the working in harmony with the natural order of creative forces as they ‘descend’ or ascend the invisible ladders of life. The Tree of Life is particularly good at illustrating this, but a deeper discussion beyond the scope of this post.

As humans we have both visible and invisible layers of our ability to do. One of the most powerful of the invisible powers is our gift of imagination, whereby we are able to visualise the state of change we wish to bring about – ideally for the good of all. Morally, this is a tricky issue, for it presumes the practitioner has a better view of reality than other who might be affected as a result…

For this reason, sacred admonitions like ‘Do no harm’ have reverberated down the ages to ward the unwary or the egoic-centred away from use of what is at the top of the ladder.

The mystic tends more towards the contemplative view that we are better to harmonise our consciousness with what we find up the ladder, than to inject our egoic nature to force things… That way lies disaster, most of all for the soul of the practitioner. Seeing oneself as ‘working with the good’ is a sure guide for individual action. Even then, we still turn to the above to understand, in depth, what is truly ‘good’. One person’s good is another’s interference. We cannot venture on such a path without taking responsibility for our actions, and understanding that though we are capable of seeing and feeling the good, we may also miss the subtlety of that which operates in a far more intelligent way than we are capable of grasping.

To close this piece let’s return to the simple ladder…

(Above: the humble wooden ladder, and its most wonderful and often overlooked attribute)

The story of Jacob’s Ladder could just as easily have been ‘Jacob’s steps’; but it wasn’t. I can’t speak for the great minds that wrote this part of the Bible, but it’s noteworthy that a humble ladder was depicted as Jacob’s means of ascent. Our final attribute is that you can take a ladder with you, unlike stone steps. At this level, the ladder becomes a metaphor for method rather than physical object. We begin to see how this method of personal growth is reliable because we can take it step-by-step, but we can also take it with us. Each step brings a new internal view of the ‘landscape’, safely adding its stable revelations to the one before. This may remind us of the ancient initiations, by means of which men and women progressed through degrees of understanding, with time to reflect, digest, and put into action what was learned as they rest between the levels.

Like the best symbols, the humble ladder offers a wealth of consideration, and can form the basis of a meditation where we envisage our present state of being to be the result of a the loss of a forgotten ‘land’ above us. Closing our eyes, we let go our cares for a moment and climb that first rung – one of only three – envisaging that we are in a more peaceful yet powerful state. Above us, now, is something we have no conception of… Dare we risk taking another step to glimpse its nature? Mystery Schools are so named for a reason…

©Stephen Tanham 2021

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Midnight Mask

I’m not a fan of horror films. Many are simply exploitative, and the genre in general has normalised extreme violence.

But once in a while I come across something that, to me, is exceptional, and only in the genre of ‘horror’ out of misunderstanding; or even better, because the ‘film’ has two layers of meaning… and if you stick with it, you get to the second, deeper one.

Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, although sci-fi and not horror, was a case in point. It was really about the ultimate evolution of the human race – in the face of its imminent extinction, though that was much easier to ‘get’ if you’d read Arthur C. Clarke’s book – which came after the film, which was jointly produced by Kubrick and Clark. Many people who watched the film had no idea what was really going on…

We’ve recently finished watching the Netflix series of ‘Midnight Mass’, and, though this is classified as a horror/mystery film, it’s really something a lot deeper.

A charismatic young priest arrives on an island some miles off the coast of Maine on the eastern seaboard of the USA. The small Crockett Island is much diminished from its former days of being a fishing haven. Spillage from an oil tanker several years prior has reduced the standard of life to general poverty.

The Catholic Church on the island used to be the centre of its life, but is now sparsely populated. Drugs have found their way into the lives of the younger people; ‘pushed’ into their meagre existence by a couple of low-life types who masquerade as fishing boat mechanics.

As if that wasn’t enough, all the cats on the island are disappearing.

The film’s opening takes place in a quite different location: New York. We later find that the man siting in handcuffs on the pavement between his wrecked sports car and the police vehicle is the emigrated son of one of the fishermen on Crockett Island. Across the glass and metal strewn street, we see the dead body of the girl he’s just killed in the crash – caused by his being drunk. The image of the newly-dead girl, her face encrusted with fragments of shimmering glass, reflecting like jewels, is to haunt him for the rest of the film.

Later, we discover that he’s a successful investment banker on Wall Street… was a successful banker, because he’s sent to jail for several years for causing the death of the girl whose image now follows him.

We fast-forward to the day of his release from prison, when he arrives on Crockett Island on the mainland ferry, to return to life with his ‘only friends’ – his parents. His arrival coincides with that of the sudden appearance of a charismatic young priest, whose mission is to revitalise Crockett Island’s small church, and restore the once-vibrant spiritual life of the remote community.

The banker is now reduced to living with his family and being a poor fisherman, again. While the priest enjoys enjoys a rise to local fame – and a full church – with the aid of a series of miracles, although his health seems strangely suspect. As the congregation grows, we see the rise of the usual suspects – the zealot (a woman Deacon) who considers the rest are not holy enough; the town mayor, getting in on the act and asserting his temporal importance; the local violent drunk, whose only soft spot is for his beloved dog.

But the priest keeps ahead of this, and, each week, challenges the congregation to increase their efforts to ‘imitate Christ’. Soon, the church is full. Even the disgraced banker attends; at the behest of his father, though he will not take the communion wine.

Gradually, the entire life of the island gets drawn into this new pattern of life and worship; until, one morning after a storm, the beach is found to contain a long line of all the dead cats that had gone missing…

I’ll not spoil the story, whose plot is clever and surprising. But, throughout the film (series) you can feel what’s happening, even if you don’t understand it. The direction is subtle and sinister – while remaining deeply understated.

Sufficient to say its conclusion is shocking in the extreme, but not for the sake of it. It becomes the meeting and clash of two worlds: the vision of the priest for his flock versus the reality of what’s happening behind the scenes.

The dreadful confrontation between what’s been killing the cats and the full congregation is difficult to watch, but has a purpose way beyond violence. In that conflagration is shown all the best and worst of human nature and the crisis results in a condition where most of the island’s people are faced with possible death.

At the centre of this is the relationship between the disgraced banker and his former girlfriend, from when he lived on Crockett Island, There is a beautiful late-night scene where the two of them talk about their respective views on death and the afterlife – a motif repeated at the very end of the film, as the sun rises on the beach, where the remaining islanders are lined up to greet it…

The purpose of this blog is not, generally, to promote films, but the underlying wisdom of ‘Midnight Mass’ is beautifully and bravely crafted, and results in an ending filled with hope and wisdom, rather than the usual ‘vengeance’ aftermath of such scripts.

The film is also about ignorance, and those who follow what they want to hear, rather than seeking the reality – the truth.

You can’t describe it as a ‘feel good’ film, because it’s too shocking. But you can describe it as a brilliantly crafted story – filled with redemption, in the deepest sense.

©Stephen Tanham 2021

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

SEE: September Zoom Cyber-Room…

*

Silent Eye-Explorations

“The Soul: a work in progress or divine and finished – and just awaiting our death?”

The world ‘soul’ means different things to different people.

Is it possible to be more rigorous with a definition – one that would help us in our individual spiritual paths?

After all, if we are following a map on a long walk through mountains, we measure our progress to the destination by first evaluating where we are, now… Or where we think we are.

In previous talks, we’ve discussed the ‘self’, particularly the egoic self.

What relationship does the soul have to this? Can we set them both in an overall spiritual container; one that shows the journey ahead?

Or, perhaps, we have never lost the soul?

Perhaps that small egoic self, with all its faults and limitations, is the key to the destination and is, itself the journey?

Modern philosophers like Gurdjieff claimed that the soul doesn’t exist until we build it. Is there any truth in this?

Belief and experience can be very different things…

*

https://stevetanham.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/cb164-img_0622.jpg

*

…What was it that broke under such circumstances?

I had asked the question of myself the week before. When you ‘stopped the world’ what was it that broke? Perhaps breaking was too strong a word – it could also be described as a passage from one state of attention to another . . . I sipped the hot coffee, noisily – it was the only way to drink it, fresh from the flask.

“Penny for them?” asked George Dixter, sitting on the park bench next to me. We had bumped into each other the day before, and he had offered croissants and coffee in the park; the place where I had first met him. The weather had turned damp and cold, so he didn’t look out of place in his old Burberry mac, which seemed to accompany him everywhere and in all seasons. On this occasion, and, no doubt in deference to the late autumn, he was also wearing an olive green fedora.

In the late fifties or even sixties, he would have cut quite a contemporary dash. But now, he looked like a character out of a period spy movie. I smiled at the thought, but was wary – little that these people did appeared to be accidental.

“Well, two things . . .” I sipped some more of his generously provided coffee and gratefully accepted the fresh croissant which had been procured from the bakery across the road from the park.

“Firstly,” my grin widened as his snakey eyes locked onto mine. Conspiratorially, I lowered my voice. “why the George Smiley outfit?”

He leaned closer, playing the perfect spy, and whispered, “. . . And secondly?”

I couldn’t help it, I chuckled. “Well, secondly, what is it that breaks when we ‘stop the world’.

“Aha . . .” he said, sitting back and mirroring my noisy sipping of the ultra-hot coffee, as though he had just learned some secret from me.

“Well now,” he began, putting down his steaming coffee and flexing his fingers outwards from linked palms. “the first one is easier to answer – play!”

“Play?” I asked, unsure if it were noun or command.

“Yes, play,” he replied. “as in we don’t play enough!

“We?”

“We, as in people,” he replied good-naturedly. “We forget how to play and play is really important!”

I thought about this for a while, while he sipped his coffee. I was about to ask another question when he answered it. “My outfit, as you say, is quirky . . . It makes me feel good because, in it, I’m playing; and I love the reaction of those around me, and it would help stop their worlds if they used it properly – which brings us, nicely, to your second question . . .”

I considered the import of what he had said. They were all playing . . . and yet.

“What breaks,” he continued, leaning closer, again and emphasising the serious side of this play. “is something that hides behind the habitual, which we call the slayer of the now.”

They had mentioned the word slayer, before. I knew it meant something in Buddhism, but I was not sure if they used it in the same way.

“So, stopping the world is an example of an action that defeats the slayer?”

“Yes, as, to a certain extent, does the whole idea of play.” He sipped the last of his coffee and looked at his watch. “Play and stopping the world makes us present to the moment, the now. The real lives only in the now, the rest is a system of mental devices which support the slayer . . .”

He looked at his watch. “I must go.” He said, holding out his hand for my coffee cup which was part of a set belonging to the large flask. It was still half full, but I handed it back to him, expecting that he would empty it onto the nearby grass. He didn’t – instead he reached into his canvas shoulder bag and pulled out a styrofoam cup. Emptying the remainder into this, he passed it back to me.

“You’ll be delighted to learn that Maria Angelo has offered to take the next bit with you!”

Events were happening too fast. I blurted out, “When?”

“It’s on the bottom of the cup,” he replied, striding off around the path.

Carefully, I raised the foam cup and examined its underside. There was nothing. I moved to protest at the departing back of the raincoat, but he beat me to it.

“Oh yes it is . . . ” he shouted over his shoulder.

I stared at the cup more carefully. On its rim, three marks had been added with a blue Biro.

They formed a perfect triangle within the circle…

The Beast in the Cafe – Stephen Tanham

*

The Beast in the Café: Coffee with Don Pedro

Available from Amazon Books

The second before the shutter of life

We were spending a few days in Alnmouth, a tiny Northumberland village with one of the best beaches in the country. I rarely get to swim in the sea these days, but such things are of vital importance to our Collie dog, Tess, who loves to chase a ball down a beach and into the waves.

(One very happy Collie)

It was early morning. I was enjoying our walk. Tess was already wet through and dripping with morning-sun happiness. There were only four of us on the entire beach: a middle-aged couple were walking towards us, along the line of the sea.

I looked at them, then looked again. The woman was carrying two large-lensed cameras, and slightly stooped with the weight. Such heroism demands recognition, so I laughed across at them as they drew level.

“Those are mighty-looking lenses!”

At first, they looked troubled, as though I were some English football hooligan, about to rob them. Then the man said something in broken English and I realised they were Dutch… and I had spoken rather quickly and in a quick-fire humorous way, typical of the English in that situation. The cameras straps were wrapped across and beneath the lady’s breasts, and I realised with horror that my gesticulations might have been horribly misinterpreted.

I back-tracked quickly and explained my admiration for the camera gear, and they began to smile, sharing the humour instead of being anxious about it. I took my rather smaller (iPhone) camera from my jacket pocket and laughed about the comparative size of the photo equipment.

They warmed to the stranger, and for the next five minutes we talked and laughed, as I helped them to say what they wanted to. I speak a little German and French which helps with translation, even if I can’t find all the right vocabulary. People from the Netherlands are often able to converse in three or four languages, but these two had little English. Between us, we persevered and had a pleasant and informative exchange. They went on their way smiling at the early morning encounter with the dog and the man who turned out not to be a football yob…

But the initial look on the face of the lady carrying the massive cameras across her shoulders and chest stayed with me for the rest of the day, and caused me to formulate this post.

Had there been no way of breaching the language gap, they would have left with a very negative view of the encounter. And yet they would have been wrong… Like all of us, their lightning-fast perception and conclusions would have determined how those few minutes of conversation were entered into.

In my head, I could play back the encounter and run it in different ways. Reality, in real-time, doesn’t do that. We might say, traditionally, that the ‘now’ comes at us from the future with a content we can’t fully predict, but which is subject to probabilities. If my last footstep was on a beach in Northumberland, my next footfall is unlikely to be in Utrecht. The world around me is stable – to a degree. But nothing is entirely determined.

This is particularly true of our interactions with others…

We can’t go around greeting each new person as though we were a child, bright with life and openness. In an ideal world we might, but maturity and discretion teach us that human manners have a purpose – not least of which is to prevent us getting thumped.

Over the years of our life, we have built a kind of ‘perception wall’ around us. This wall of sensibilities – an extension of our mind, recognises ‘types’ of events – and people – coming at us from the immediate future. Our enemies or likely potential enemies are well identified, and invoke a whole set of protective behaviours. The violent drunk staggering out of the pub and lurching towards us, swearing, is an example of the invoking of avoidance.

Others are not so well defined. We all use different classifications to mark the approach of that near-future. This creates a gradient of relaxation-warmth at one end, and potential violence at the other. One of the most important human conditions is to be able to exchange positive humour with a stranger; based on a shared set of current circumstances; a shared misfortune of a mild nature (like just missing that bus) is an example.

These occasions leave positive feedback and good memories of those well-spent moments, when vocal and non-vocal cues act as a binding framework for a good-natured encounter. They are like good food. We need them, if only to re-assert our level of humanity and our belief in the goodness of others… something that we be starved of.

Could we take it further and suggest that we actually create our future? My footfall is never going to land in Utrecht, but my pre-judgement of the person approaching me along that pavement has enormous control over the approaching ‘now’.

If you can, try this for a few days. Study the facial expressions of people coming at you, with the willed intention of making a new friend – if only for a moment. Don’t pick someone you like the look of; select a person you wouldn’t normally speak to, but, obviously not one who gives you the chills.

As the very last moment before your ‘meeting’, hold the thought that you have something warm in common. Look onto their eyes, smiling and see what fills that brave space you’ve just created to hold ‘the link’.

You might be surprised what happens, and how you can look back on something that could not have come into existence unless you had altered your expectations…thereby changing the probabilities within the approaching ‘now’. In reality, of course, there is no approaching now, there is only now, filled with constant changes. We do not move into the future. What is around us ‘morphs’ into its new form and we call it time. We measure time by the those changes. Clocks are a form of special agreement as to what the changes represent…

The world is really our world, ‘projected on’ by our expectations, fears and joys.

The Dutch lady with the big lenses didn’t allow for this. The ill-spoken potential ‘English yob’ with the ‘big dog’ had, smilingly and sinisterly, said something abusive in a way she didn’t understand. They were set on leaving the scene, as fast as possible.

I had to use intelligence, charm and sincerity to dig back to the words of that moment and show that only warmth and shared humour were intended. Our wonderful minds allow for that – and our astonishing language that can hold and describe concepts as vast as present and future.

That next second in all our lives is coming around that corner, now, and its nature is significantly undetermined… until we act with familiarity or with self-defence. And mind precedes action. In that sense, creating our own future is a very real thing.

©Stephen Tanham 2021

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

Real or right

(Above: Collie-heaven… beach, ball, and human to chuck it…)

We are lucky to live in an age where we have at our fingertips (phone or tablet) far more computing power than would have seemed possible on a powerful desktop machine a decade ago.

Applications like computer aided design (CAD) have traditionally demanded more and more power, as the ability to envisage what is in the mind is translated to 3D drawings…and even virtual reality videos.

Photography is one of the fields in which the full power of the technology is readily available to the non-specialist.

Those who follow my blogs – and thank you – will know that I take a lot of photographs. Recently, I discovered that my library on iCloud held 140,000 images! Most of them I’ll never see again, and it’s a pain to sort through even a fraction, so I’ve started being ruthless with how many I keep.

The problem is the supercomputer in my pocket pretending to be a camera. With a bit of human direction, it’s remarkably good at capturing what is around me. Because it’s my phone, diary, dictation machine, notebook and many other things, I’ve always got it with me.

The power of modern phone cameras raises a few questions, chief of which is whether we still photograph ‘the real’?

There is a big difference between the image capture stage and its subsequent processing. If I wish, I can set the camera part to ‘filter’ what is there as it takes the shot. The downside is that I’ve therefore lost a lot of what ‘could have been there’ by post-processing the image, later. For this reason, I normally let the camera take the shot, ‘as it sees it’, adjusting only the composition; and that usually means the range from ‘telephoto’ to ‘close up’.

Phone cameras are poor at zooming into scenes. It’s asking a lot from those tiny lenses – computer-backed or not! But there is a style of landscape that responds well to the limitations of the phone camera. Consider the example below:

(Above: lovers on the shore?)

It’s a pleasing shot, and not posed. I simply kept my distance and let the camera reach into the lives of the two lovely people enjoying their moment; hopefully without intrusion. I have no idea who they were.

But what about this one:

It’s the same photograph, but processed after the event – and on my iPhone. Here, I’ve deliberately modified the look and feel of the original to tell more of the story – the link between the sun in the sky and the ‘receiving’ humans on the shoreline.

You could say it’s slightly ‘alchemical’ in its symbolism; combining ‘Earth’ – the beach; ‘Air’ – the sky; Water – the ocean; and Fire – the sun, now sporting four ‘wings’. The imagery is clear: the humans, below, are recipients of one of the best things in life (Love) via the gift of the ‘elements’, led by the Sun.

What is really there and what’s not? It’s impossible to discuss without getting a bit philosophical. We all see the world slightly differently. My eldest son is slightly colour-blind. He can’t see certain greens. Is his reality less? No two people will actually see the same scene, anyway.

The difference is not limited to perception of colour. We all react to what we see by modifying it with how we feel. We can’t change how our eyes biochemically observe; but we can deliberately choose to see something in a landscape that’s not there. But it might be there inside our powerful imaginations.

If what I’m trying to capture is the ‘feel’ of the event; the mood, even, then what I want often lends itself to the palette of modern editing tools, many of which are immediately available after taking the original photo. A photographic purist would say that I’m altering things; I’m changing what’s there.

Talk to most photographers, and they will say that the suite of digital editing tools they possess is simply the updated ‘dark room’ of days gone by – that photographers have always had ways to enhance what the camera takes.

(Above: This simple ‘beach and tide’ scene has all it needs to take me back to the mood of the moment when it was taken. I wouldn’t want to enhance it. For me, it’s a perfect memory)

In the beach photo above, I’ve reproduced the shot the camera took. No editing, except cropping the image for my purposes. Everything else is unmodified – and I had no desire to impose my own view as to how it should be seen.

The final shot, above and below, is an example of deliberately going out to find an image that matches a desired state. I wanted to find something natural that would suggest the germination of an idea and its transformation in the mind to a solid and workable reality.

The theme was to convey the ‘birth of an idea’, using the mutation of form from the left-over sea ripples (solid) to water, to the eventual flow back into the ‘great mother’ – the sea.

Walking Tess, our collie, along this Northumberland beach as the sun was setting, I glimpsed the scene above. The well-defined ripples led the eye to the water, whose eventually depth absorbed them. The downward gradient of the beach took away the resulting flow from the small pool and it joined the sea.

For me it was a perfect metaphor, but left in its natural state, might not have conveyed the purpose with enough impact. Experimenting with the depth of colour and object ‘definition’, I was able to create something with much more impact.

Real or right? Only the reader can decide in each situation… But the modern photographer now has the tools to be both picture-taker and illustrator; and that can only be a good thing.

The final image, above, is an attempt to create a piece of art from a photograph. The original photo has been dramatically altered to create a ‘dreamy effect’. No ‘real’ photo would have these colours in it, but I wanted a ‘fantasy’ scene.

©Stephen Tanham 2021

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, a journey through the forest of personality to the dawn of Being.

http://www.thesilenteye.co.uk and http://www.suningemini.blog

‘Big Secrets’…

The Lovers - Wikipedia

Key 6 from the Rider Waite Tarot

*

The modern fifty-two-card deck of playing cards retains only one of the Atu, or Keys, or Major Arcana, of the original game of Tarot which was first popularised in mediaeval Europe –

The Joker, which is The Fool of the earlier decks…

Significantly, there are two Jokers which are used to book-end the current deck but usually without taking part in most of the card games now played with the cards.

This hints that The Fool of the Tarot was an adventurer, the human psyche, or soul, who journeyed, there and back again, through the psychological landscapes represented by the rest of the twenty-one Major Arcana of the Tarot, now missing from the current decks…

Because each of the Atu, or Keys of the Tarot are numbered with roman numerals, lettered with Hebrew letters, and assigned zodiacal attributions, the psychological landscapes to which they allude are legion, and do not just traverse, for example, 1-21 and back again but rather every available combination of those sequences in between, both back and forth…

1-2, 2-1, 1-3, 3-1, 2-3, 3-2 etc.

Thankfully, our current predicament demands only that we focus attention on Keys six and fifteen…

*

The Devil (Tarot card) - Wikipedia

Key 15 from the Rider Waite Tarot

 

SEE: August Zoom Cyber-Room…

John the Evangelist (Stained-Glass, Swanbourne Church)

‘John was challenged to drink a cup of poison to demonstrate the power of his faith,

and thanks to God’s grace the poison was rendered harmless.’

Acts of John

*

Silent Eye Exploration…
Charisma versus Persona
If the persona, ‘mask’, is the product of our ‘little self’ (‘s’) could charisma be that of our ‘large Self’? (‘S’) What is the latter and how does it differ from the former?
Dictionary definitions of charisma:
1.The special magnetic appeal, charm, or power of an individual (e.g. political leader) that inspires popular loyalty and enthusiasm? (to enthuse someone is to give them ‘God’)
(Gk. ‘favour’ or ‘gift’ (of the Gods?) fr charis ‘grace’)
Examples… Churchill… Mohammed Ali, Ghandi, Hitler… Glamour… Black Magic… Any Women?
More importantly, perhaps, is it possible for us to cultivate charisma, and if so how can we do so?
Two Wolves… Two Worlds… Inner and Outer…
Reaction and the fractured psyche…
Psychologically speaking anything which the ego ‘rails against’, or reacts negatively to, in the outside world is a projection of the shadow.
By engaging in this process the soul energy is depleted at the expense of the shadow and the charisma is decreased.
Integral techniques…
Conversely, by responding positively, or proactively, to the outside world, the shadow is depleted and the charisma increased.
This process acts like a ‘sacrifice’.
By ‘offering up’ the negative energy… a positive boon is ‘received’.
A Holistic response. which questions the universe…
2. An extraordinary power (e.g. healing) divinely given to a Christian?
Matthew 15:11 – Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man but that which cometh out of a man…
Mark 7:15 – There is nothing from without a man that, entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
Luke 10:8 – And into whatsoever city ye enter and the receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick that are therein…
The synoptic gospel accounts all derive from one or two common sources. They appear to have displaced the instruction to the disciples to hide the technique by which they are to heal the populace.
At (Matt. 10-8) seventy new ‘Disciples’ appear to have been summoned to propagate the teachings.
The gospel of John does not contain this material, however, the compiler of the Gospel, John the Evangelist has a legendary tale attached to his story which embodies the same technique! (see epithet above)
In the Gospel of Thomas the instruction and technique are retained in their ‘proper’ place.
Logion 14 GoT – …If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourself… When you go into any region… When people receive you, eat what they serve you and heal the sick among them for… what goes into your mouth will not defile you rather that which comes out…
Sin Eating ?
Traditionally… A ‘sin-eater’ is a person who consumes a ritual meal in order to spiritually take on the sins of a deceased person. The food was believed to absorb the sins of a recently dead person, thus absolving the soul of the person. Sin-eaters, as a consequence, carried the sins of all people whose sins they had eaten. Cultural anthropologists and folklorists classify sin-eating as a form of ritual. It is most commonly associated with Wales, English counties bordering Wales and Welsh culture.
In wider Christian practice, Jesus of Nazareth has been interpreted as a universal archetype for sin-eaters, offering his life to atone or purify all of humanity of their sins.
Listening?
To listen one needs to be silent. Silent on both inner and outer planes.
The role of the Psychiatrist… ‘A problem shared…’ ‘Get by with a little help’… etc.
The Confession in Roman Catholic utilises the same technique although with its own particular flavour…
Ultimately ‘Divinity’ may simply be a case of accessing One’s RIGht mINd…
Having built or strengthened Charisma, and drawn your seekers, what then would be the teaching?
Be me?
No, Be You…
How?
Find your Self…
Know your Self…
Be your Self…

*

“Show me the place where you are,”

said Judas Thomas, “for I must seek that place.”

Joshua said, “Your teachers have taken the keys of knowledge

and have hidden them. They have not entered the kingdom,

nor have they allowed those who want to enter to do so.

You examine the face of heaven and earth

without recognising the one who is in your presence,

for you do not know how to examine the moment.

Know what is in front of your face,

and what is hidden from you will be disclosed,

for there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed,

and there is nothing covered that will remain undisclosed.

The one who knows all but lacks the self is utterly lacking.

What you look for has come but you do not know it.”

Excerpt – The Living One

*

THE LIVING ONE

Caravan to Cairns

Stuart France

Two young men, a road trip across the Australian Outback, strange encounters in isolated settlements… and a book that will change one of them forever.

From the harsh heat of the dusty road to the cool of the Temple, two stories… one immediate, one timeless… intertwine to illuminate each other.

Many scholars believe that the Gospel of Thomas preserves a glimpse into the oral tradition of the Essenes. The book is a collection of sayings, parables, and dialogues attributed to Jesus. In this unique interpretation author and essayist, Stuart France brings the oral tradition to life, retelling the Gospel in his own words, in the way it may have been told around the hearth-fires of our fore-fathers.

Accompanied by in-depth comments which draw upon the Mystery School Tradition, The Living One provides a new window on an age-old story.

“… fascinating and unique …”  Amazon review

Available in Paperback Amazon UK & Amazon.com

and for Kindle Amazon UK & Amazon.com