Category Archives: Symbolism

Space Time…

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‘…You may as well know now you are far more likely to see the spiritual than you are to read it. The spirit came first and we learned to see before we learned to read. It is nigh on impossible to alter the ramifications of all that and no one really wants to but it is easy to forget. You can look at something for years without seeing it…’  – The Initiate

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In the West we are accustomed to regarding pictures as illustrations of the words used to tell stories. Our earliest reading is accompanied by pictures which frame, direct or manipulate the ideas contained within the words we have just read and our judgements about the skills of the illustrator are formed by and depend on just how closely the depicted image comes to how we have envisaged the related story in our minds eye…

But it was not always this way.

Many of the oldest stories, by which we mean the myths, are tales told to elucidate sacred icons and while it is undoubtedly the case that a picture paints a thousand words it may not be possible for a single word to paint a thousand pictures.

This means that many of our oldest stories are in fact no more than interpretations, which is as it should be and really can only ever be, but it also means that in the absence of the icon to which these interpretations refer there is something missing.

The picture itself!

But the picture itself is not the whole story either because even with the icon and the interpretative story or indeed a number of different interpretative stories and their attendant glosses… there is still something missing and that something is known as context and, what is more, that context can only come from individual lookers and listeners which means… you, but only if you do indeed take care to look and to listen.

To listen properly involves being silent.

To look properly involves using more than the eyes.

This ‘set up’ and its corresponding ‘state of affairs’ really is fundamental to most of what passes for our experience here on earth and one of the gravest errors it is possible to make is to let another person define our experience for us.

All the sacred texts teach this by leaving room for interpretation and by using icons or pictures as the sources of their inspiration.

After all one may spend a lifetime considering the arguments of a thousand and one savants on the likelihood or otherwise of, let’s say… reincarnation without ever being convinced one way or the other and yet, alternatively, one may also be lucky enough to catch the merest glimpse of a series of temple panels which taken together accurately depict the same concept… and instantly know it to be true.

But don’t take our word for it… go out and discover it for yourself!

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Ego and Essence…

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“Individuality, however we may hug its chains, is a partial and definite modality of being: ‘I’ is defined by what is ‘not-I’, and thus imprisoned.”

– A.K. Coomaraswamy.

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In philosophy there is a famous dictum relating to thesis, antithesis and synthesis.
To synthesise and to decipher symbolism requires contemplation.

Contemplation involves the mind in a simultaneous three-fold operation.
Review, Analysis and Enquiry.
When performed with honest intent the ‘unknown’ reveals itself.

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The Codices of the New Testament offer great scope for contemplation.
In the last of our Glastonbury Talks we looked at the work of Maurice Nicoll.
Nicoll’s psychological approach to storytelling opens to us Esoteric Christianity.

Exoteric Christianity insists upon the historical authenticity of the Gospels…
…And posits the notion of a vicarious salvation via belief.
Esoteric Christianity insists upon neither of these two tenets.

Below we reprint a comprehensive analysis of the story of the Marriage of Cana.
This was one of the stories we looked at in Glastonbury.
Our point of departure was the psychological approach outlined by Nicoll.

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Marriage at Cana

1. The Third Day…was a marriage at Cana of Galilee and the Mother of Jesus was there and also Jesus was called…
2. And wine having failed the Mother of Jesus said to him, ‘Wine they have not.’
3. Jesus said to her, “What… to me and to thee Woman? Not yet is mine hour come.”
4. His Mother said to the Ministrants, “Whatever he may say to you… do.”
5. There were six water jugs of stone placed according to the purification of the Jews holding each three measures.
6. Jesus said to them, “Fill the stone jugs with water.” And they filled them… up to the brim.
7. And then he said to them, “Draw out now and bear to the Director of the Apartment.” And they did so.
8. And the Director of the Apartment tasted the water becoming wine and knew not whence it is, yet the Disciples knew from whence they had drawn it, the Director of the Feast did then call the Bridegroom and said to him, “everyman at first the good wine sets forth and when they have drunk freely only then the inferior but you have kept the good wine for now.”
9. This, the first sign of Jesus in his manifest glory at Cana in Galilee.

– John 2…

Relationships

Mother-Son = Stone = ‘Letter of Law’
Bridegroom – (Bride) = Water = ‘Spirit of Law’
(Husband) – (Wife) = Wine = ‘Divine Law’

Psychology

Director of the Apartment = Ego
Director of the Feast = the New Man
Ministrants = Unredeemed aspects of personality
Disciples= Redeemed aspects of personality
Woman = Active Receptivity.

Teaching

All aspects of the personality are redeemed by active receptivity to Divine Dispensation.

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The Dance of Fire and Water III…

‘…As all things are discovered by one,

alone through contemplation,

so all things are born from this one,

alone by permutation…

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… Its father is the Sun,

its mother is the Moon,

the Wind bears it in its belly,

the Earth nurtures it in its heart…’

The Emerald Tablet

Hare-Skin in Moon-Face…

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Sister-Sun and Sister-Moon

walked side by side in the sky…

Both were cold.

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One day they caught a hare,

skinned it, and put it in a cooking-pot to stew…

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While the hare was stewing

The two sisters began to quarrel

over who should take precedence at the meal…

They could not agree

and took to hurling insults at each other.

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In her rage Sister-Sun picked up the hare-skin

and flung it in the face of Sister-Moon.

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Sister-Moon retaliated by picking up the cooking-pot

and flinging its boiling contents in Sister-Sun’s face.

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Sister-Sun and Sister-Moon

no longer walk side by side in the sky…

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And since that time

Sister-Sun has become boiling hot

whilst the hare-skin she threw at her sister

can still be seen

in the silvery face of the full moon.

 

 

 

Burning down the House…

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Man was always chasing Hare

but Hare was usually too swift for him…

One day, by means of a fluke, Man caught Hare,

“Now, I’ve got you,” said Man and he tied Hare to a tree,

then he set off to look for kindling…

Hare sat quiet, pondering his predicament,

and saw Jackal cresting a rise.

Hare began to call out, loudly…

“What’s up with you,” said Jackal, hearing the commotion.

“Man has tied me here and gone in search of meat,

he means to feed me it but I don’t know how to eat it.”

“Meat eh?” said Jackal, his mouth watering,

“I’ll tell you what, let me take your place, I’m always hungry for meat.”

Hare and Jackal switched places.

Just as Hare had finished tying Hare to the tree Man came back.

He crested the distant rise with a crowd of people who were shouting,

“Burn, burn, burn…”

“What is that they are shouting?” asked Jackal.

“They are boasting about how much meat they’ve brought,” said Hare.

After the fire had died, the charred remains of Jackal were discovered,

but Hare was nowhere to be seen…

 

 

 

 

‘To Be’?…

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The Moon dies and rises to life again.

Moon said to Hare, “Go to Men and tell them,

‘like as the Moon dies and again rises to life,

so will you also.'”

Hare went to Men and said, “Like as I die

but do not rise again to life, so also with you.”

When Hare returned to Moon,

Moon asked him what he had said to Men.

Hare told Moon what he had told Men.

“What have you done,” cried Moon.

Moon took a stick and hit Hare in the mouth with it,

cleaving Hare’s lip.

Hare fled, and is fleeing still…

Considering White-Skunk…

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The Opening dynamic resembles the ‘Edenic’ in so far as a prohibition is transgressed…

‘Do not eat from that tree, for you shall surely die.’

‘Do not cross the lodge, for you shall leave a stench.’

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…And there is also a spacial parallel in that Skunk moves from a state of relative equilibrium to a state of outright hierarchy, although it could, perhaps, be argued that a state of equilibrium in which prohibitions are issued is no state of equilibrium at all.

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At any rate, Skunk moves from a  safe and protected ‘inner’ state to a dangerous and unprotected ‘outer’ state of being, as a result of his actions, as do Adam and Eve as a result of theirs.

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There are, though, some important, differences.

Were we to read Skunk’s tale literally, no one could blame the Plover and Frog sisters for Skunk’s ‘fall’ and no one could regard the sensual life as intrinsically ‘sinful’.

But then, why should we read the tale literally, it is a story after all?

Since when did ‘once upon a time’ suddenly become ‘this is how it is’?

The substitution of a dogmatic belief search, for the willing suspension of disbelief, in relation to stories, is an error which can never lead to  enlightenment.

Skunk’s error, on the other hand, is one of ‘natural order’.

The feminine prerogative of choosing a husband is perverted by his desire.

In satisfying this desire he also, inadvertently, transgresses the original prohibition.

He has to physically move the Plover Sisters from Bald-Eagle’s bed to his own.

From this, all Skunk’s ‘woes’ follow…

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White-Skunk seeks medicine…

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“There will never be another one, like you.

There will never be another one who can, do the things you do.”

Shaman Blues

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…”My musk-sac… my power,” cried Skunk as he drifted along the river on his raft of logs.

Someone hailed him from the river-bank, “Yes, your musk-sac came floating past here,” they said, “we tried to retrieve it, but it was floating down the middle of the river.”

“My thanks, nonetheless,” shouted Skunk, “I will return and show you my good will.”

Skunk continued to wail about his lost musk-sac and a little further on somebody else hailed him from the river-bank, “As a matter of fact your musk-sac floated ashore here, but we pushed the filthy thing back into the current.”

“My curse upon you,” shouted Skunk, “I will pass back along this way and you will feel my vengeance.”

So it went with Skunk on his journey.

Some there were who, sensing its power, had attempted to retrieve the musk-sac for him whilst others, thinking it repulsive when it drifted to the shore, had thrown it back into the current of the river.

Skunk promised boons in abundance to those who had tried to help and the force of his wrath to those who had not.

By now, Skunk had drifted on his raft of logs to the lower reaches of the river.

Here, he went ashore to continue his search over land. …

to be continued

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Creation II…

Image result for sumerian cylinder seals - beer and planets

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… “We find the information on this board to be, ever so slightly, uncomfortable.”

“It’s slave mentality.”

“And it’s metallic mind.”

 “’The blood of the slain God’ is, perhaps, most perplexing.”

“It might be more than that if the Gods were Planetary Beings.”

“How so?”

“There is an asteroid belt orbiting the earth which some claim used to be a planet.”

“Which makes my next question even more pertinent.”

“Shouldn’t that be impertinent?”

“Who, or what, slew the God?”

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