SOME THOUGHTS ON SPIRITUAL REGENERATION
by Frater Ex Occidente Lux
I am the circle of eternal flame, self-fed,
From this Fire all things proceed,
In it all things have their being,
And to it all return.
This fire is hidden
In the depths of the Waters
Of the Great Sea,
For in the root of the Waters
Is concealed the Fire of the Father.
Paul Foster Case, The Book of Tokens
I always found these two proclamations in the Book of Genesis to be interesting: ‘In the beginning God’, and “Let there be Light”. Even when I was still at elementary school I was puzzled by the thought ‘What is God ?’, and what was this mysterious ‘Light’, which in some way was linked to the notion of ‘God’.
I suppose that these thoughts that haunted me throughout my later childhood, and into my late teens, were really, although unconsciously, the wish for immortality - and I didn’t realise at the time that my thinking about these two proclamations would culminate in my becoming involved with the esoteric in a very serious way.
This search for immortality, for an ‘Elixir of Life’ that would regenerate man’s body and soul and give life eternal to Homo Sapiens, has been actively pursued from time immemorial and continues today. But as the old saying goes, ‘Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it is dark’. This is the darkness of egotism and ignorance of his true nature, of what man is deep down. And this Water of Life, the elixir that the European alchemists and the Chinese emperors tried so hard to find, was already there within their own being, already flowing through every cell in their bodies – but even though it was under their very noses they couldn’t see it, just like Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Purloined Letter’, or like the man looking for his spectacles, who couldn’t find them because they were on his nose. They could not realise that Man is the true Temple of God, for it is written: ‘I have said, Ye are gods’.
Potentially we are already the Philosophers’ Stone and the Grail: it is only a matter of realising that, yet to realise that it is so is the hardest thing in the world. Truth, wherever it is thought to be, is within ourselves. One could say that the flower of truth can be plucked by the weakest child yet cannot be uprooted by the strongest man. The finding of the Grail, or the discovery of the Philosophers’ Stone, is a journey within. For me this journey starts with the kabbalistic Tree of Life, which grows within; with the major arcana of the Tarot; and, of course, with the Holy Bible. Both the Holy Kabbalah and the Tarot are very deep and complex studies so I will not go into them here and now.
In the Book of Genesis we read of the Spirit of God moving over the face of the waters, and we hear the proclamation of IHVH, ‘Let there be Light’. Light is fire and from this come forth the universe and the Earth as we know it, and eventually there is the advent of Homo Sapiens.
Again, we may state that God, or Universal Mind, is all unity; is all that there is, besides which nothing else exists. Fire and Water: the important elements are aspects of this Mind; they do not exist apart from it, but are contained within it. This is the Light that is manifested in millions of suns and galaxies, and is in manifestation as electro-magnetic waves. These ‘lights’, which enable us to exist, are all different aspects of the one divine Fire that flows out from the supernal Godhead – to use kabbalistic terminology – and this is the same fire that can transform man into an enlightened or awakened being. The reforming power of Fire – the spiritual force – is referred to in the Bible, Deuteronomy 4:24, where we read that ‘the Lord your God is a consuming fire’. And we read also, John 4:24, that ‘God is spirit’. Thus we have the combination of Fire and Spirit, which changed and transformed the disciples at Pentecost: they knew that they had found what was so eagerly sought for; they knew that the High Self at the centre of their being was expressing something that existed before the world was. This whole transformation by the spiritual, by fire, is perhaps best understood through the myth of the phoenix, the wonderful bird that having been consumed by fire, rises from the ashes renewed – as do all who follow the Path of Return: ‘Behold, I make all things new’ (Rev. 21:5).
Next, we come to the element of Water: ‘The spirit of God [IHVH] moved upon the face of the waters’. Here Fire and Water act and react together, and why not ? They are both aspects of the One Quintessence, the One Universal Consciousness, and reflect the words of the ancient Tablet of Hermes: ‘As above, so below’. To this I might add, ‘As without, so within’, for Man, who is the Microcosm, contains all that is in the Macrocosm, and the Glory of God (the working together of Fire-Water) flows through Man via blood and breath (Prana).
In the ancient world water was made the symbol of the Mother of the Universe; it was the creative yet passive side of the Quintessence. The divine Will was that which moved the Spirit over the yielding substance of the Great Mother: the Ocean of Being. Spirit means breath, movement, and Water is the substance (Quintessence) that is moved. It must be remembered, however, that these elements are not in any way separate, but are functions of the One, All-pervading Mind.
These elements keep and sustain Man, yet also destroy him at the end of his journey through life. This is the Water which cleanses and heals the one who chooses to take the Path of the road of return. It is an alchemical process carried out in the greatest laboratory (man’s own body), through becoming more aware of the forces and elements of his own body. He realises that of himself he can do nothing, but it is the Universal Consciousness that is at work, and only when the time is ripe does man receive the revelation of his true nature and destiny.
The Path I have chosen is that of the Western Esoteric Tradition, via the Tarot and the Holy Kabbalah. The Tarot and the kabbalistic Tree of Life are the most complete systems of spirituality and the best suited to occidentals like myself – and I say this from the point of view of someone who has tried the Eastern systems. The practice of meditation and contemplation on the Tree of Life, together with the Tarot keys, is something that should be done on a regular basis, but always keeping in mind that each of us, of ourselves, can do nothing: it is the Universal Consciousness that works through us.
In kabbalistic terms we could say that the fiery spirit of Chokmah is transformed in the ocean of the Great Mother, Binah, which produces the Son: the enlightened and regenerated human being, brought about by the Divine Will of Ruach, Adonai. Such a one can say with Job, ‘Though worms destroy this body of mine, yet in my flesh shall I see God’ (Job 19:26). However, I think that Jesus put it all in the simplest and plainest language possible: ‘[I pray] that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one’ (John 17: 21- 23).
With the advent of Christ we can say that time crossed eternity, and in the midst of men was the living Grail filled with the Glory of Kether, and it was from this cup that flowed forth its spiritual nectar to the followers who sought it in all love and sincerity of heart, and this spiritual nectar was the perfect balance between the Father and the Mother (Sophia Pistis).
So ends my brief note on Regeneration, which entails both physical and spiritual transformation, for Spirit is Matter and Matter is Spirit when viewed with the eyes of the awakened. To be awakened is, as someone once said to me, to look into the eye of eternity with the eye of time.