Featured Arcana: The Devil (XV)

I am continually fascinated by the Major Arcanum, The Devil — he seems to show up in a lot of my daily spreads. 🙂 It’s taken me a while to finally get a better grasp on what he typically means in my life…

The Devil branches from the 6th sephirot to the 8th on the Tree of Life. This indicates a few important aspects of his character:

Another way to think of Hod (sephirot 8) is the allowing of chaos to occur while we simply observe it; we submit and watch it unfold. Or, if 7 represents the raw energy needed to make things happen in our lives, 8 represents the physical form we assign to the Ineffable Energy in order to better connect with it and call upon it for practical use.

So I have come to understand my friend, The Devil, as an archetype of submission to my Shadow Self. (Notice in the imagery of Baphomet the presence of male and female, animal and human…indicating that we are All at all times…)

Coming from a place of Balanced Interpersonal Interaction, the Devil is the name we give our nature when it releases itself from dogmatic control and we submit to our gut instincts. We experiment and see what happens, without apology. Notice the two children, one chained and the other holding the chains– we are in control of our own selves. Though we may feel chained by circumstance, this card reminds us that it is we who hold our own chains…

Ultimately, when the Tree guides us through 8 via the Devil, to the 9th sephirot of Self-Reflection, we find ourselves walking in the Sun… the two children of our nature have broken the chains that bound us and found even greater liberty than we’d had before.

Gaining Deeper Insight

Enjoy the new reference page I’ve just created — gaining a deeper understanding of any Tarot reading, using the branches of the Tree of Life and the Major Arcana as bridges between the Sephirot!

In short, there are 3 Triangles that represent a self-contained cycle that stands at a given point of Life’s development: (1) Divine (Collective) Consciousness, (2) Personal Consciousness/Awareness, and (3) Material Reality. Between each of these is veil, and a number of the Major Arcana act as Bridges across the veils, taking us from triangle to another…The Three Triangles

Really impactful stuff! Check it out here!

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The Freedom of Non-Self

My image of Self is not a "thing," it is only a "process"….

We look at a river, and call it "river"; we look at a table and call it "table"; we look at a rainbow and call it "rainbow." These labels we give to objects are a handy tool language has developed by which we might communicate to each other, and relate to, the nature of the things we see around us. However, isn’t fascinating that all these objects are truly a conglomeration of an infinite mass of smaller "things"? We all know of the molecular world, the particle world… the sub-particle world… atoms… empty space… quarks…. bosons…. etc, etc, ad infinitum! Yet, to communicate this particular conglomeration of stuff in one word, according to the manner in which we interact with it in daily life, is to label it according to its resultant whole as it effects us.

Now, the river, for example: the river is always flowing. At times, it is murky if the mud is stirred, at other times it is still and calm, at still other times it is violent and rushing…. It is never the "same" river, yet we still label it The (Blank) River. It is a process of ever-flowing life.

The rainbow: The only reason one can see it, is the result of a very precise arrangement of water droplets in the air to sunlight, to a receiving optical organ. And two people standing next to each other may see the rainbow in exactly the same way. However, another who may be standing at a certain direction, may not see the rainbow as clearly, if at all. So…. Is the rainbow there, or not? 😉

Recall, do not mistake the label for the thing…. Do not mistake the Idea for the Truth….

…Likewise, let us not mistake the "Me" for Me….

At any given moment – any given Now – "I" am a "different person"… My Ego doesn’t like to think so, and it routinely, subtly, glosses over the differences and variations to try and concoct a succinct whole persona of "Me." But, one day I am "a phenomenal musician," the next "a terrible one." One day I am "together and with-it," the next I am "a complete scatterbrain." So, which is it, then? Or am I not all things at all times for all occasions…. A Process of ever-flowing life, relating to my ever-changing environment. And do I not appear, as an illusion, differently to different people, within the context of different scenarios?

So… What am I? What part of me is Me? "Am I" at all?….

A Breathing Meditation for you:

I breathe in, and I am filled with the Earth…
…filled with the stars above….
…filled with the very cosmos.

I breathe out, and I empty myself….
…empty the illusions, the attachments and aversions…
…empty myself to give my spirit-life back to the Earth…
…empty myself that I may be ready to receive again from the cosmos with the next breath.

I am Nothing, then… And at the same time, I am Everything. Everything is Me.

None of us has ever seen our face. Truly! We’ve perceived the reflection of our face in a mirror, or relied on the comments and perceptions of others outside of ourselves. But, all of those perceptions are out there. From right here we have never ever seen our face. One can ask, then, do we have a face? Or is it only an ever-changing representation of us as a universal being? A label by which others can point to us and relate to us and describe us at any given moment. If so, then let us not fall into the delusion of identifying with any of these labels or ideas, for we are so much more than any of that – we are Nothing. :mrgreen:

It is not that we are trying to "get rid of Self." It’s that there is no Self to get rid of.

Identity

The stickiness of Attachments has, at its root, a lot to do with our perception of Personal Identity. We cling because we are afraid of losing that to which we cling– it tells us who we are and guides us in our daily decisions of response and reaction. And without it we fear utterly losing ourselves.

We forget, then, that this fear dwells in the Shadows of separation from the All. With this separation, this deficiency, comes struggle: within ourselves and with others and with nature. There is confusion, stress, and a constant push to maintain the illusion at all cost.

But, when we join the All-consciousness, and see ourselves instead as only a wave upon the cosmic ocean — rising up in a vague shape for an instant before blending again with the rest of the waters — we attain peace in letting our Ego-centric clinging go. We find that we are Everything and Everything is us. All of us.

Therefore, practically speaking, what harm is there in releasing the views, the sensual hits, the pride, the practices, the achievements that supposedly identify us? Of course we can still do these things we enjoy. But, if we are in Oneness and not Deficiency, we will not cling to them for dear life and judge others and their activities as different or beneath us, or see ourselves as any more or less than the entire universe.

This is embracing our Shadow, releasing the grip of the Ego, and rejoining the All. This is life and beauty to the fullest!

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Angel of Shadow

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Our Ego is who we think we are. Our Ego tells it like it thinks it is. The Ego chooses who we are–down to every detail of our personality.

The choices our Ego makes in the construction of our personalities is, partially, firmly rooted in biological information encoded and handed down to us from our ancestors. Why? Because brain neuro-physiology gives rise to thought patterns, and for the brain physiology we’re given at birth, we can thank our parents and all our long line of ancestry! Our Ego’s personality choices are constructed as well in response to the people and objects in our environment surrounding us since childhood; for these things can influence change upon our neuro-communications, giving rise to altered thought patterns.

We are born with a certain template ingrained in us, and, as we grow, our Ego feeds upon our experiences and reinforces its imposition of personality and behavior upon our Beings. It’s all we know growing up; it’s what shapes our opinions and judgments and tendencies…. We are convinced that this is just who we are, and that’s all there is to it.

The Shadow is who/what we believe we are not.

Imagine…

…a horizon that acts like a light prism. On one side is the source of ‘light’, this ‘immaterial’ nature that I have spoken of, that is the source of the emanation of the phenomenal universe. By immanent, I mean something different than “in”. Meister Eckhart (13th-14th German theologian and mystical philosopher) used an example of wine in a wood cask to illustrate the difference between being “in” and being “immanent.” The wine, he said, is in the cask differently than it is in the wood, which it permeates. We can drink the wine in the cask, but not the wine in the wood. So there are these two different meanings of “in”. But it is different, he said, with spiritual immanence. Such immanence means not only that the wine is permeating the wood, but the wood is also permeating the wine, and the wine is the wood, and the wood, the wine. Thus this horizon that I speak of is not a real separation in the phenomena of the world, but rather is a distinction between their manifestation and the nature that is the source of those manifestations, that does not rest apart from them. On this ‘side’ of the horizon, which is the intelligible side, is but the tip of the iceberg that we normally refer to as “reality.”

….This horizon, which acts like a prism, splits the ‘clear light’ that is God’s emanation into separate beams of light, just as a prism does with visible light. These beams are not straight though, but writhe and vibrate, weave and braid themselves, in a constant flux, a constant movement, a constant activity of light that is the manifestation of this phenomenal world (one can see a direct correlation with current “String” theories). These beams are ontological – they are beings and things. They cause various shadows to fall on each other, and it is those shadows on the beams that weave this world of appearances and perceived differences. It is the appearance of the beams on this ‘side’ of the horizon that is durational. The differences between them, which are caused by the shadows that are not real but only apparent, are the material from which we construct the spatial separation of things.

–from Understanding Nonduality

For every aspect of behavior and personality the Ego has chosen for itself, all else is thrown off onto the Shadow. The Shadow is everything the Ego denies….

This is at the root of judgements and bias. For, if my Ego disregards anything that is not Me, and casts it away to the Angel of Shadow, denying its existence, then how easy it is for my nature to look upon that which isn’t Me as less-than-me! Or wrong, or vile, or mistaken… It isn’t what my Ego chose as my personality, therefore it isn’t perfect, and there must be something wrong with that person who exhibits this trait!

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A scientist looks at the shadows, facing away from the beams of light, and attempts to discover similarities between them so that they can work out the ‘laws’ of their appearance and changes over time. These laws are imaginative empirical constructions that allow the scientist to explain the appearances and predict their manifestation, and later to create techniques that enables us to reproduce at will these universal aspects of shadows to serve our practical needs.
A poet or artist looks directly at the beams of light and notices that there is a unity that transcends all of these beams which is hidden from us by the immanent horizon within them. They use their creative imaginations to project a reminder of that unity through their creative use of language, color, texture, and shape.
The mystic, before he or she becomes a mystic, is able somehow to turn away from the beams and shadows, and ‘travel’ to the source – all that remains then is unity. No individual any longer, for such individuality was left on the other side of the horizon, like shoes that are left at the entrance to a home. It is not just a ‘turning toward’, but a ‘return to’, that the mystic performs. A ‘turning toward’ would leave the might-be mystic where he or she was standing, only now to have the outlook of a poet or artist, or perhaps a saint who has garnered an intuitive insight. The return, however, is transcendence and the recognition of the full presence that can only be found in wholeness. The mystic returns again because this, here, now, is loved. It has to be loved because that is what it all always already is. Standing closest to the horizon, the mystic is motioning towards the light so that those with their back to it might notice it and turn themselves.
The scientist, the poet, the artist, and the mystic are only beams of light – manifestations of God. Their individuality is apparent, but not real. This is the justification for the assertion of non-identification with the ego that is to be found in all traditions of spiritual nonduality.
But you see, with all this activity here, now, there is really nothing happening to shake up wholeness. It only appears to be the case because of the prism effect of the horizon. It is possible for each beam of light to recognize its own nature in the other beams of light. Each beam exists only as a phenomenal manifestation, but is not real itself because it is an emanation of the whole. Yet it exists as an individuated perspective of that whole. (Understanding Nonduality)

The Shadow, that which we think we are not, which we deny, is also that which we fear. If we deny its existence, that gives us license to ignore and separate ourselves from our fears. But the purpose of the Shadow is to show us plainly what we dislike and are afraid of, that which we judge, and to show us that it is a part of us… so that we might have the chance to choose to embrace it in unconditional love, and begin to erode the Ego’s separation and deficiency.

Likewise, the Shadow of our dream states — our Nightmares — can be thought of as the vehicle by which we can become aware and learn to love and embrace the fears hiding in our deepest unconsciousness.

The shadow is very much a part of human nature, and it is only at night that no shadows exist. –Carl Jung

To fully live is to allow the Higher Self to exist in the here and now. My Higher Self is the full integration of all that I AM…. It is the death of the Ego and the full integration of the Shadow.

Apophasis

Since the substance which is generated [from the One] is form – one could not say that what is generated from that source is anything else – and not the form of some one thing but of everything, so that no other form is left outside it, the One must be without form. But if it is without form it is not a substance; for a substance must be some one particular thing, something, that is, defined and limited; but it is impossible to apprehend the One as a particular thing: for then it would not be the principle, but only that particular thing which you said it was. But if all things are in that which is generated [from the One], which of the things in it are you going to say that the One is? Since it is none of them, it can only be said to be beyond them. But these things are beings, and being: so it is ‘beyond being’. This phrase ‘beyond being’ does not mean that it is a particular thing – for it makes no positive statement about it – and it does not say its name, but all it implies is that it is ‘not this’. But if this is what the phrase does, it in no way comprehends the One: it would be absurd to seek to comprehend that boundless nature; for anyone who wants to do this has put himself out of the way of following at all, even the least distance, in its traces; but just as he who wishes to see the intelligible nature will contemplate what is beyond the perceptible if he has no mental image of the perceptible, so he who wishes to contemplate what is beyond the intelligible will contemplate it when he has let all the intelligible go; he will learn that it is by means of the intelligible, but what it is like by letting the intelligible go. But this “what it is like” must indicate that it is ‘not like’: for there is no ‘being like’ in what is not a ‘something’. But we in our (aporia) do not know what we ought to say, and are speaking of what cannot be spoken, and give it a name because we want to indicate it to ourselves as best we can. But perhaps this name ‘One’ contains [only] a denial of multiplicity. This is why the Pythagoreans symbolically indicated it to each other by the name Apollo, in the negation of the multiple. But if the One – name and reality expressed – was to be taken positively it would be less clear than if we did not give it a name at all…

PlotinusEnneads” V.5.6, Loeb, pp 173-174 (as quoted at Understanding Nonduality)

Gnosticism and Kundalini

This excerpt from the most informative and thoughtful article “Christ and the Kundalini” by Dr. Ramesh Manocha beautifully articulates the true essence of Christ’s long-misunderstood teachings, bringing light to an age-old problem of dogma and religious infighting. Enjoy this brief selection, and click on the link above to read through the entire article; I highly recommend it!

In the Gospel of Peace, Christ explains that the experience of spirituality is foremost. …He says “Seek not the law in your Scriptures for the law is life, whereas the Scripture is dead. I tell you truly Moses received not his laws from God as writing but through the living word. The law is living word for living God to living prophets for living men. In everything that is life to the law is the law written, for I tell you truly all living things are nearer to God than the Scripture which is without life. I tell you truly that the Scripture is the work of man, but life and all its hosts are the work of our God. Wherefore do you not listen to the words of God which are written in his works? And wherefore do you study the dead Scriptures which are from the hands of men?”

Thus Christ’s law is a living, cosmic and experiential one, and is actuated by the awakening of the spiritual experience within the seeker, not by intellectual study or by following those who themselves have not truly had the experience…. More so, self realisation is a process of genuine, inner spiritual transformation which must be experienced to be understood, since it lies beyond the domain of scriptural description or theological definition. Since it is gained by the grace of the Divine Mother( Holy Spirit) alone, it is most certainly not possible to organise or institutionalise this experience in human terms.

…Christ’s spirituality differed radically from our modern understanding. His teaching was dynamic and zen-like focusing on the experience of inner purification and transformation, the elevation of the seeker’s awareness into the state (not concept or dogma) of self-realisation. He sought to overthrow the immoral culture of the Romans and to deliver to the dogmatic, letter-bound Jews the mystic fulfilment promised to them in the Mosaic covenant.

Central to his teaching was the understanding that the feminine aspect of God, God the Mother, was the means by which self-realisation and spiritual evolution to god-awareness occurred. Christ venerated the Divine Mother as the Holy Spirit. It is this power, described in the East as residing in the human being as the Kundalini, that is the last vestige of the Goddess-tradition in the Christian West.

…..Why did the Churches suppress these true christian traditions? Partly because they are patriarchal institutions based on the questionable dogma of Paul who perceived women (and therefore the feminine principle) as inferior entities. Partly also because spirituality which focused on the Divine Feminine would also focus on the redemptive power of God the Mother and on Her role as the grantor and matriarch of mystical experience. This kind of understanding, like all mystics and mysticism, defies organisation, dogmatic hierarchies and institutions preferring the role of individual experience, revelation and progressive growth toward divine awareness.

The Holy Ghost, then, threatened to neutralise the fear-oriented dogma which the Churches have used, in the name of Christ and Spiritual Truth, to maintain their secular power and wealth.

…Consider Christ’s warning “he who has blasphemed against the holy ghost shall be damned forever”. What then of the Churches who have virtually edited the divine feminine out of the Western Cultural tradition in order to maintain their grip on the masses?

(©Copyright Knowledge of Reality Magazine 1996-2005. All rights reserved.)

Cosmic Contemplations II

The Multiverse

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I am fascinated with the concept that, beyond the notion of “mere” parallel universes, the multiverse of our cosmos can very well be thought of to perhaps be of an unfolding or branching nature, that of fractal, self-simulating replication, with hierarchies of universes and their particles embedded and superimposed one upon the next… Likewise, Stephen Hawking’s quantum wormholes suggest:

…there is a certain probability that a small chunk of space and time can suddenly pop into existence. A wormhole is a fluctuation in the space-time field, just as a virtual particle is a fluctuation in an energy field. The wormhole can connect to any of an endless number of preexisting parallel universes otherwise inaccessible to us.

The Gnostic Scriptures detail the unfolding of the cosmos in very much a similar fashion…

The One Who Is is ineffable. From the foundation of the world, no power…no nature has known the One Who Is. Only the One Who Is knows itself. The One Who Is is immortal, eternal, without birth…

The One is like the eternal foundation of the multiverse, from which the many branches sprang….

…He is all mind, thought, reflection, consideration, reason, and power…These are the sources of all that is…

The Collective Consciousness is woven throughout the Cosmos…

…The Lord of all is properly addressed not as Father but Forefather. The Father is the beginning of what is visible…reflection, because he reflects unconceived first existence…Afterward he revealed many other beings…who are self-conceived and reflective… In the beginning, thought and insights came from Mind…

From here on, the Immortals beget a descending hierarchy of aeons, fashioned after the ones who conceived them. Aeons that are similar yet fragmented branches from those that conceived them. From that of the Light (Savior) and Faith (Pistis), came spiritual beings who came together and disclosed…

…seventy-two powers. Each of the seventy-two in turn disclosed five spiritual powers, bringing the number to three hundred sixty powers. They are united in will.
In this way Immortal Humanity came to symbolize our realm. The first one to conceive…functions as a symbol of time. The Savior [Light] symbolizes the year. The twelve powers are symbols of the twelve months. The three hundred sixty powers who derive from the Savior stand for the three hundred sixty days of the year. And the angels who came from them and who are without number stand for the hours and moments.

The birth of Time…

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