Combinations of the Arcana 1 and the Work of the Initiate
The Symbolism of the “S” and the “T” in Gnostic Esotericism
This is the subtle voice, the one which Elias heard in the wilderness; Apollonius of Tyana wrapped himself with his famous wool mantle in order to beg to the Holy Gods, asking them for the enigmatic sound… The mystical note, the magic “S”, conferred upon the old Hierophant the power of consciously projecting himself with his astral body.
Indeed, the “S” has a certain similitude with the Hebraic letter “TSADI” [ צ ], while the triform Greek “Sigma” [ Σ ] is related with the “S” and with the hebrew letters SHIN [ ש ] and SAMEK [ ס ]; the latter means “sustain” and has the numerological value of 60. It has been stated to us (which is known by any Kabbalist) that SHIN has the value of 300 and signifies “Tooth”.
The addition of these two letters [SHIN ש + SAMEK ס ] is therefore equivalent to the 360 degrees of the circle and to the sidereal days of the solar year.
However, we, the Gnostics must go much further beyond all this; we must inquire, scrutinize, search, and discover the intimate existing relationship between the serpent and the cross.
The “S” (Serpent) and the “T” (Cross) are the esoteric symbols that profoundly complement each other. The “S” is simultaneously a Jehovistic and Vedantine truth. It is the serpentine power or mystic fire, the primordial energy or Shakti potential, which lies dormant within the magnetic center of the coccygeal bone. The Sanskrit name of such a magnetic center is Muladhara; this is the church of Ephesus.
The Kundalini is the pristine force of the universe, the electric, occult power which underlies all organic and inorganic matter. The sexual connection of the Phallus with the Uterus forms a cross. The Kundalini (the magic “S”, the snake) is found intimately related with that Cross or Tau. The serpentine fire awakes with the power of the Holy Cross, this is ostensible.
In hebrew ‘Tau’ or Tav [ ת ] has precisely the marvelous significance of ‘Cross’. It ends as the twenty-second letter of that alphabet and with the numeric value of 400…
…If we reflect very seriously on the intimate existing relationship between the “S” and the ‘TAU’ cross or “T” we then arrive at the logical conclusion, that only by means of the Sahaja Maithuna (sexual magic) can the creative snake be awakened.
I have published the clue, the secret, in almost all of my former books. This consists of not ever spilling the Cup of Hermes during the sexual trance. The clue is the connection of the Lingam-Yoni (phallus-uterus) without ever ejaculating the ENS SEMINIS (the entity of semen) or having orgasm, because within that aforementioned substance is found latent the whole ENS VIRTUTIS of the fire.
IAO is the fundamental Mantram of the Sahaja Maithuna. Chant each letter separately while in the Laboratorium Oratorium of the Third Logos (during the sacred copulation)… The sexual transmutation of the ENS SEMINIS into creative energy is a legitimate axiom of Hermetic Wisdom.
The bi-polarization of this type of cosmic energy in the human organism was analyzed ever since ancient times in the Initiatic Colleges of Egypt, Mexico, Greece, India, etc.
The ascension of the seminal energy to the brain is performed thanks to a certain pair of nervous cords that (in the form of an eight) splendidly unfold to the right and to the left of the dorsal spine.
We now have arrived at the Caduceus of Mercury with its wings of the Spirit that are always opened. These pair of mentioned nervous cords can never be found with the scalpel, because they are rather of an ethereal, tetra-dimensional nature.
These are the two witnesses of the Apocalypse, the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth, and if any man will hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies. In the sacred land of the Vedas, these pair of nervous cords are known with the Sanskrit names of Ida and Pingala…
…The ascent of this sacred fire throughout the spinal column, from vertebra to vertebra, from degree to degree, is frightfully slow… It is ostensible that the thirty-three degrees of Occult Masonry (which belonged to those such as a Ragon, or a Leadbeter) correspond with the total sum of these thirty-three spinal vertebrae.
When the Alchemist commits the crime of spilling the Cup of Hermes (referring to the ejaculation of the Ens Seminis), one obviously loses esoteric degrees, because the Kundalini goes down, descending one or more vertebrae in accordance with the magnitude of the fault…”
-paraphrase from Ch.23 of Parsifal Unveiled
Understanding Initiation: Shin ש , Tav ת and the Mysteries of the Cross +
In the Sepher Yetzirah, it says that the three Mothers letters are: Aleph א , Mem מ , and Shin ש (which correspond to Air, Water and Fire), but Eliphas Levi says that the Mother letters can also be “Aleph א , Mem מ , and Tav ת , since the Shin ש and the Tav ת are two contrary and analogous letters which represent being and life”. So let’s try to understand what he is talking about…
We know that Shin ש plays a role in the “Pentagrammaton” of Jesus, Yeshuah or Jehoshuah יהשוה (we discussed this with Arcanum 21). Levi says that “Shin ש, must enter into Jehovah יהוה , in order to become the life of Jehoshuah יהשוה ”. Remember that Shin ש is the letter of the polarized fire and that Jesus says, in Luke 12:49, “I have come to cast fire upon the earth and how I wish it was already kindled!”
When Jesus was crucified, there was a sign above him that had 4 letters: INRI, which esoterically signifies “Ignis Natura Renovatur Integram”, meaning the “Fire Renews Nature Incessantly”. This ‘fire’, that exists in Nature, is the sexual impulse in the human being, and is represented by Shin ש .
We must dominate this fire, this force, in order to not be a Lunatic or Fool (one who becomes the victim of it). This is why Arcanum 21 is called Transmutation in the Gnostic-Egyptian Tarot Deck.
Huiracocha tells us that “Here lies the great confusion for the kabbalists, since card 21 of the Hebrews represents The Lunatic, and is only numbered in the Aryan deck with a zero… The significance of the card is ‘errors of the Past’. It is not called The Lunatic in the Nordic tradition, but The Chaste Innocent from Richard Wagner’s Opera Parsifal.”
So, again, we see that the key to understanding this symbol is related with Chastity or Sexual Purity.
This further explains why Levi says “The rehabilitation of Shin ש is the history of redemption and explains to us the folly of the cross” (which refers to 1st Corinthians 1:18 “For the preaching of the cross is foolishness, to those who perish; but unto us, who are saved, it is the power of God.”)
Those who consider transmutation to be foolishness or lunacy will ‘perish’, because they do not ‘save’ themselves. The ‘power of God’ is found in the cross through the rehabilitation of the sexual fire (Shin ש ).
Related with this, Levi quotes St. Augustine saying: “We are the author’s of our own destiny, but God does not save us without our help…”
|This brings us back to Tav ת , Arcanum 22. Levi says that this letter is “the hierogram of the cross” and that “the cross … the ancient Tav ת of the Hebrews or the X of our alphabet … has been adopted in mathematics as the sign of the unknown, the mystery of mysteries, the force of forces, the light of lights, the glory of glories.”
And, if we study the ancient Semitic letters, we find two interesting things:
|1. The Letter Shin ש almost always has three points, similar to a W, or an E or a 3 (on its side):|
|2. The Letter Tav ת very often has an intersection of 2 or more lines, forming some sort of cross, like a T, an X, or a +:|
Understand, now, that Tav was the Cross ( ת = +) for the ancient Kabbalists, the final letter of their alphabet (similar to the Omega Ω of the Greeks). This is why Arcanum 22 is also called ‘the Crown of Life’, since it represents the supreme sacrifice whereby one is able to incarnate the Divinity.
-paraphrase from many of the writings of Eliphas Levi, including:
The Kabalistic and Occult Philosophy of Eliphas Levi – Volume 1,
and The Kabalistic and Occult Tarot of Eliphas Levi
The Tetragrammaton and the Kabbalistic Significance of the Cross +
Here we are in the heart of the high Kabbalah and the Masonic sign of the cross, which is the key of all the synthetic signs of magic. It now appears to us explained and applied to the dogma of the universal analogy of the letters of the divine quaternary יהוה , but this must be clarified…
The name that the Hebrews gave to God, was (they said) incommunicable: it was the expression of the absolute. The great priest alone knew the true sense and had the true pronunciation, and it was said among the people that this four-lettered name יהוה was the key of heaven and of hell, the great arcanum of magic and the principle of miracles. Now this name (which is indeed the cornerstone of the universal temple) had analogy as its rule and progress as its objective.
In fact, it is composed of the yod י which, in traditional or kabbalistic hieroglyphics, represents the phallus (or masculine creative organ), the heh ה representing the cteis (or feminine generative organ), and the vau ו equivalent to the lingam (or the harmonious union of the previous two). These are the three original and first letters of the divine name containing the complete idea of the trinity of all religions, then the heh ה is repeated in order to complete the quaternary, in such a way that the first hieroglyphic meaning of the word is this: Nature results from the first active principle, from the first passive principle and from their harmonic union.
As can be seen, the divine personification certainly relates to the first letter yod י (also related to the tribe of Judah). The kabbalists often also write the divine tetragrammaton with three yods י and a kametz ָ , arranged as a cross within a circle and one can already glimpse here into the explanation of the kabbalistic sign of the cross which ends the dogmatic prayer of the christian initiator (the Pater Noster, the Lord’s Prayer).
It is in the mystery of generation that the ancients sought for the revelation of the creative principle. They had found: rigor and active force/strength (yod י ); softness and passive gentleness (heh ה ); harmony, pleasure and fertility through the analogical union of two opposites (vau ו ). Then by observing in nature the universal reign of contrasts (day & night, spring & winter, good & evil), they defined God or the supreme ideal, by the power of good subjugating evil in an eternal agreement with a supreme reason that keeps the universal equilibrium.
Also the name of Jehovah יהוה first spelled and pronounced “Yod heh vau heh”, signifies the four cardinal points with their zodiacal oppositions. By pronouncing it “Jotchavah” or “Yod-heva”, it signifies the father of life and the progenitor of the mother. Pronounced “Iahuvehu”, it signifies the essence of the future or he who will be what he is and who will be because he is. So the Kabbalists (following Hermes’ universal dogma of analogies) take the name of Jehovah יהוה as the prototype of all that is and all that can be, tracing it thus [see the figure below] and they enclose this philosophical cross within a circle.
The most skilled rabbis do not mistake themselves regarding the work of the great religious revolutionary. One reads in the Sepher Toldos Jeschut (a kabbalistic anti-chistian book) that Jeschut (Jesus), stealthily entered into the holy of holies and stole the true characters of the tetragrammaton יהוה and hid them in his thigh (in his yod י or generative organ), and it was by this means that all the miracles were possible for him, since he deposited therein the secret of all revelations. Those who do not find the proofs, have only to fully read (or rather to decipher) the book of revelations with the help of the keys of the Kabbalah.
-paraphrase from The Kabalistic and Occult Philosophy of Eliphas Levi – Volume 2
The Gnostics, Christian Kabbalah and the Cross of Initiation
The primitive church was very hierarchical, and its hierarchy corresponded to three stations recognized in human progress. These were the stations corresponding to the successive and progressive development of the three elective terms of the human soul: sensibility, willpower and love. In order to will something well, one must know it well; in order to know something well, one must sense it well. Men of willpower and of love were therefore those who knew best; and for this reason they were called GNOSTICS.
But each degree of the hierarchy had its formulas; and in fact the same words do not have the same meaning for all. Everyone comprehends according to their degree of intelligent understanding; and such a dogma which presents an illuminated sense to the true Gnostic, is perfectly obscure for an intelligence from an inferior degree. It is for this reason that Christ always spoke to the crowd in parables and then exclaimed: “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.” (see Mark 4:9)
To say the absolute truth to those who can only hear a relative truth is misleading and (in some way) lying to them; because one can be certain that they will give to your teaching (misunderstood by them) any meaning within their reach, but it will necessarily be monstrous and absurd. Such was the crime, or at least the error, of the false Gnostics or Gnostic profaners, who (in speaking of the poorly understood principle of equality between the brothers) wanted to popularize Gnosis or the dogmas of the Kabbalah.
We have said that primitive Christianism had its source in the high Kabbalah. The system of Parables employed by the Savior (so as to form a new dogmatic Esotericism), and the entire Gospel of John and his Revelation or Apocalypse (written entirely in Hieroglyphic Figures only familiar to the initiates of the Kabalah), are sufficient proof. Now let us examine those Figures…”
-paraphrase from The Kabalistic and Occult Philosophy of Eliphas Levi – Volume 2
Remember that Tav was the Cross ( ת = +) for the ancient Kabbalists. And we have seen that Tav ת is related to the Tetragrammaton יהוה because 22 = 2 + 2 = 4, and that the Tetragrammaton can be arranged in the form of a cross. Now let’s look even deeper into the symbolism of the Cross and its traditional or kabbalistic hieroglyphic associations.
Eliphas Levi says that the “insertion of the vertical phallus into the horizontal cteïs forms the stauros of the gnostics, or the philosophical cross of the masons”.
Samael Aun Weor goes even further, explaining to us that the insertion of the phallus inside the cteïs “forms a cross. The cross of Initiation that we must take upon our shoulders”. [see Arcanum 4] He says that the root of all White & Black doctrines is in Sex: “Christ has his plan of action. Jahve has his. The chosen follow Christ. The great majority fanatically follow Jahve. Nevertheless, all of them hide behind the cross.”
Let’s recall the statue of Crestos or Harpocrates synthesized as a Rooster whose beak is converted into a Phallus, found at the Vatican in Rome. At the foot of this Statue there is a sign in Greek that says: “ΣΩΤΗΡ ΚΟΣΜΟΥ” (or “SOTER KOSMOU”), meaning “[THIS IS THE] SAVIOR [OF THE] WORLD”! Regarding this statue, Huiracocha says “…when we receive initiation, then we realize the importance of this symbol and that THE TRUTH par excellence is enclosed in it…”
-from the Appendix of Gnostic Rosicrucian Astrology
The Rose Cross and the Temple of Jerusalem
In regards to the cross, Levi says “At the center of the cross blooms the mystical rose, the rose of light, the flower of life and of love whose petals are arranged with order and represent the hearts of the elect in their harmonious hierarchy. The rose … is the symbol of the Great Work”. The Great Work has been realized when the Rose of the Spirit blooms upon the Cross of our Body. The physical, ethereal, astral and mental are the four bodies of sin; these also form the temple or the abode of our Spirit, the Innermost, Intimus or Inner Being. The mental & astral bodies are the two columns of the Masonic temples: Jakin & Boaz, which have their foundation in the cubic stone of Yesod, the etheric body.
During the time of the Pharisees, had not the Jews lost the science of the corner-stone, the cubic stone, the philosophical stone, in a word, the fundamental stone of the Kabbalistic Temple? One can comprehend, then, that genuine Christianism (far from being a Jewish heresy) was the true orthodox tradition of Judaism, and that only the Scribes and Pharisees were the sectarians. The Sephira Yesod is the Philosophical Stone of the Alchemists, the Cubic Stone, the mysterious Amphorasep stone of the Hebrews, and is found within the sexual organs.
Jesus says in Matthew 16:18, “Thou art Peter [Petros], and upon this rock [petras] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Peter, Patar, the illuminator, is the Master of Sexual Magic, the generous Master who always awaits us at the entrance of the terrible path. Peter’s original name is Patar with its three consonants P.T.R. which are radical.
T: the Tau or Tav, the Divine Hermaphrodite, the man and woman sexually united.
R: this letter is vital in the INRI, it is the sacred and terribly divine Fire, the Egyptian RA.
Peter’s Doctrine is the Maithuna and the Key of the Maithuna is that the couple should withdraw from the sexual act before reaching the spasm. Restrained desire will transmute the seminal liquid into Creative Energy. The Sexual Energy ascends up to the cerebrum. This is how the cerebrum is seminized; this is how the semen becomes cerebrized. The Maithuna is the exercise that permits us to awaken and develop the Kundalini, the igneous serpent of our magical powers. When the Kundalini awakens, it ascends along the medullar canal of the spinal column. The Kundalini opens the seven Churches of the Apocalypse of Saint John which are situated along the spinal column.
No one can incarnate the Intimate Christ without previously having built the temple upon the living rock or cubic stone (sex). We must raise the seven columns of the temple of wisdom. The word INRI is written with fiery characters upon each one of the seven columns of the temple. The seven degrees of the power of the fire are only developed with sexual magic.
Realization is, then, the essence of the christian doctrine. The entire christian revelation is contained in this phrase: THE VERB IS MADE FLESH. This means that faith, which proves itself through works, can now replace hypotheses that led to nothing but fables. Now magic is transformed into sanctity, wonders became miracles, and the multitudes (previously excluded by ancient initiation) are called to the royalty and priesthood of virtue.
The plan of all great allegorical temples throughout antiquity is founded upon the multiplication of the cube by the cross, first around which a circle can be described, and then the cubic cross that can move in a globe. These notions, which are rendered more intelligible by a diagram, have been handed down to our own days in Masonic initiations, and they are a perfect justification for the name attributed to the modern societies in question, for they are also the fundamental principles of architecture and the science of building.
-from the writings of Samael Aun Weor and Eliphas Levi
The Philosophical Cross or Plan of the Temple
This picture was translated from Eliphas Levi’s History of Magic, however Levi reproduced the image from masonic documents. It can be used for meditation by concentrating upon it in order to understand its significance. It is both the Cross and the Layout of the Temple…
-Taken from the writings of Eliphas Levi given in the Appendix of
The Kabalistic and Occult Tarot of Eliphas Levi
The ‘Point of Support’, Death and the Work of the Initiate
Archimedes said, “Give me a point of support and I will move the universe.” Archimedes searched for the lever to move the universe. This lever exists. Eliphas Levi says that this lever is the Astral Light. The Astral Light is the sacred fire of the Holy Spirit, the light of the Logos, whose nature and divine powers are like living and conscious electricity, but not the same as physical electricity…
When a person is impelled by their conscious spiritual willpower, they awaken the sacred fire of the Holy Spirit (which, as a coiled serpent, abides in every person within the coccygeal ganglion) and excites this fire and impels it into activity, then this fire will convert itself into the agent for the work of Telesis or the intelligent work of perfection within the Initiate.
The Initiate’s reward is the liberation from the Wheel of Reincarnations and union with God, but they have to have previously substituted their mortal physical body with the immortal solar body, the body of gold, the “To Soma Heliakon” (named in this way because it is as resplendent as the Sun), and their soul is betrothed with their Spirit, the Innermost, Intimus or Inner Being.
The Astral Light, lever of Archimedes, is the Kundalini. Whosoever develops the Kundalini can place their body of flesh and bone into the fourth dimension and transport themselves to distant Thule, the Land of the Gods. Whosoever knows how to pray and ask Mother Kundalini, could well beg her to put them into the fourth dimension and transport them to the Sacred Island. Kundalini is the lever with which we can place ourselves in the fourth dimension with our physical bodies.
The invention of the lever immediately differentiated primitive man from the animal, and in fact was linked with the real appearance of concepts. In reality we can be sure that the beings living on Earth are divided into two groups: those who know the action of the lever and those who do not… We need the lever of Archimedes, the Super-astral Serpent, in order to put ourselves into the fourth dimension and transport ourselves with our body to the Land of the Gods. The hour has arrived to liberate the mind and to awaken the Kundalini.
When we finish with all of our sins, then the “I” is dissolved, then we incarnate the soul and the Spirit. Indeed, this is how we become human beings in the most complete sense of the word. If we have not eliminated the “I”, then the only thing that continues after death is the “I”, our legion of “I’s”. The ego or the “I” returns in order to satisfy its desires. Death is, then, the return to conception. This is the wheel of Arcanum 10. Those who still have not dissolved the “I” and who have neither incarnated the soul nor the Spirit, live within the internal worlds with their consciousness asleep; they only have a subjective consciousness and subjective perception.
On the other hand, after the death of the physical body of a true human being (who has the soul and Spirit incarnated), that person lives completely awakened in their solar astral body; they enjoy the internal worlds of consciousness and enjoy objective perception.
If one studies the Egyptian Book of the Dead, one sees that it is Isis who is called to put the “Ego” to death. Without the Divine Mother the death of the Ego is impossible. With the death of the Ego the Essence is freed, it is liberated, and becomes lost in Osiris (the Divine Christ). We have to die in order to free ourselves from the Tragic Wheel…
Therefore, whosoever wants to liberate themselves from this Wheel has to dissolve the “I” and incarnate their soul. This work is very difficult and those who achieve it are rare. Indeed, the kingdom of Malkuth is a terrible filter. The waste from this filter is what is normal, in our times, and is swallowed up by the Abyss. The gold, the chosen one, the true human being, the angel, is Malkuth’s conception…
-paraphrase from the writings of Samael Aun Weor
1) The old character Chinese character for “Shaman” is very similar to the shape of the Philosophical Cross:
b) Wikipedia page on the meaning of “Wu” 巫
2) The traditional shape of the Muladhara Chakra is also has some similarities with the Philosophical Cross:
Wikipedia page on Muladhara
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