Spiritual Development


Life is the teacher of all teachers, understanding this can help all of us who wish to pass on our experience of finding the way to others, to be ever humble to its tutorage. When we stop developing, in a very real way we stop living, the  flame goes out. When we stop loving the flame goes.  If we become over zealous in any activity we may burn out. There is an art to maintaining the fire and ripening the fruits of life's labors, this we may call spiritual development.
If we study geology we must learn its language, the same for medicine, and so on, spirituality has its language as well. This spiritual language is the language of the Hermetic Art, the art of life and its changes, the art of spiritual development. "The caterpillar spun a cocoon - digested itself, became something else, took wings and flew away". A lesson from life - the great teacher.
Having an understanding of this language is a Foundation Stone to our spiritual development, if you have no cup to hold the waters of life the waters will simply grace your fingers as they run through them. We all experience our soul's language from time to time, it is an art and this art has been passed on from one life to another from time immortal. The art of spiritual development - Alchemy - the art of change.

Here is a story of the soul seen through Kabbalistic eyes, if you follow the links you may understand more.

The alchemist worked to extract the quintessence from the herb, metal ect., this quintessence holds the healing virtue of the substance, its spiritual essence.
In the grail legend the young Arthur had to remove a sword that was magically fused into an anvil. An anvil is a totem of the sepharah Malkuth the kingdom -- this is the same kingdom the Christ so freely spoke of. Kether the first of the sephiroth upon the tree of life is known as the crown. The young Arthur removed the sword from the anvil to become the rightful (riteful) King. In Kether begins what is known as the Lightning Flash, the order of creation - it is also known as the flaming sword. (Genesis 3:24: "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim's and a flaming sword which turns everyway, to keep the way of the tree of life"). Kether is given the God Name of Ehieh, meaning I Am. Removing the sword from the anvil may be expressed as removing it from Malkuth. Malkuth is the home of the elements of which there are four: fire, water, air and earth -- spirit is the quintessence. The young King Arthur is a story of the Alchemic process of extracting the quintessence. It is expressed in the quote from Genesis where God placed Cherubim's and a flaming sword to keep the way of the Tree of Life. We have what is known as an elemental nature, we get fiery, moody (water), argumentative (air), melancholic (earth) -- we say things like I am angry, I am moody and so on. It is here that the 'I Am' (sword) is entrapped in the elements (anvil) -- this is seen in the reversed pentagram - a symbol associated with evil. To remove the I Am from its entrapment within the elements gives us the freedom of choice, not to be possessed by the elements -- in this way we may find our True Will. Christ was crucified upon a cross, the grail gathered the blood of five wounds - a quintessence.

Spiritual development is for me - the freedom to choose, to know thy will and not be possessed by thy whim.The tarot card of the Lovers demonstrates the idea of choice, it shows man and women in the garden of Eden at the crucial moment of choice -- if you remember the story, that choice had consequences. If you consider the story it most certainly enforces the idea of choice and its consequences. Take ownership and responsibility for your choices. The card of the Lovers shows a tree behind both man and women, behind women is the tree of knowledge of good and evil, behind man the tree of life. There is a traditional view of the kabbalistic Tree of Life that the 2 outer pillars represent male and female and the central pillar represents the Tree of Life. This has its place in understanding the mystery but I put before you an alternative -- the 2 outer pillars represent women and the central pillar the male  (to gain a clearer understanding of this you can download Poe and Women, (Click here). This view is consistent with the image upon the Lovers card.  The hermetic kabbalah corresponds the Lovers with the Hebrew letter Zayin the number 7.  Seven days of creation - day and night,   here we can see a relationship with the number 7 and duality. Zayin 7 has the totem of the sword,  consider the idea of Arthur and the sword --- the sword is considered the most powerful of magical weapons, used to control the biggest of demons, only the rightful King can remove the sword from the anvil. Are you prepared to be the ruler of your kingdom?  Choices are yours. The flame separates the light from darkness, it produces light but it is not the light, the flame is the central path. So what do you choose?  Virtue or vice?  The flame is not the light or darkness but it creates the light, the light that shines upon the path showing us the way (seen in the Hermit card).  Some say there are no wrong choices, this has some relevance - if we learn from our choices, good and bad, this process transmutes our karma. The flame burns up purifying and liberating what matters creating light.What flung us from Eden may well return us (simillimum) choices are yours. Let us consider the number 7 and the choice of the Lovers, we have in our culture 7 deadly sins and this idea has been with us for a long time. At this moment in time the popular opinion has been swayed to the idea greed is good, and we are programmed to foster lust, pride etc. - our way of life is unsustainable. The 7 deadlies do not sustain us in any way, they are vampires leaching the very vitality of the soul. Is Greed, envy, hatred etc. ever satisfied, do they serve any man/women or are we servants of them, and how does this fit with the idea of MASTERY - the end result of the spiritual quest? I'm not suggesting any absurd moral dogma, we've got enough of them, what I'm suggesting is a simple solution to what may appear as a vast problem.  There will be no sustainability until we sustain ourselves. The Choices are ours.  The Holy Flame has four divisions, four seasons, four elements,  it is given life by thy fathers will. Holy be the eternal flame. Be as the flame. Develop spiritually, it is the life and light.

Spiritual Alchemy

When a candle burns it does not waste the fat of its sacrificial offering, it transmutes it to light. Only when the wick is exhausted does the flame go out, it does not say I can only transmute the top half of the fat for it is the spiritual part, it does not stop its burning as the wick gets near its end, it continues its quest to create light until its time of liberation. The flame may be instrumental in lighting many other flames in its life and all these flames have the same source - they are all unified, all having the same purpose and source. They shine in every religion yet they are not of any faith, they are the source of every faith.
Spiritual development is a flame, the Great Work begins when that flame is lit - it only ends when there is nothing left to burn, then the wheel stops. Consider the idea of the flame and burning as it is often used as an expression of love, love is the law. As we grow in love we grow in spirituality, as we understand this great truth we become wise. The wiser we become the more refined becomes our love - all flames are one, no religious separation "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire". This is the spirit of God.

(See the Christos Meditation, it is the Flame)

Upon the Tree of Life

For the kabbalisticly minded the body of the candle is Malkuth - the wick is the path of Tau, from Malkuth to Yesod. The path of Tau is the path of Saturn, the Lord of karma and death. Yesod is the burning upon the wick, known as the purifying intelligence. Tiphareth is where the blue/black flame merges with the white light above, this is a place of great transmutation for it is here where the devouring blue/black flame becomes light - the greatest of beauties, for without it what can you see. The white light rises into the supernal resting in Kether where the all-encompassing contains the outer pillars. "For the Lord your God is a consuming fire", "But yeh that cleaves to the Lord your God are alive every one of you this day" (Deut.). You are alive as the flame - know thyself and know God.

Paul Tisdell all rights reserved 2002



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