Combinations of the Arcana 4 and Ancient Gnostic Symbolism
Understanding Occult Masonry and the Gnostic Esoteric Work
Let’s remember what we studied in the 2nd class regarding the 3 degrees of Occult Masonry:
Gnosis teaches three stages or steps that anyone who works in the Flaming Forge of Vulcan has to pass through, these are:
2) ILLUMINATION, and
Many curious people who enter into our Gnostic studies want illumination, astral projections, faculties of clairvoyance, practical magic, etc., and when they do not achieve this immediately, they withdraw… No one can achieve illumination without having previously purified themselves. Only those who have achieved Purification & Sanctity can enter into the hall of Illumination.
In the old Egypt of the Pharaohs they knew these steps of the Path; within Occult Masonry they are called:
2) COMPANIONS, and
Candidates remained in the degree of Apprentice for seven years and sometimes longer. Only when the Hierophants were completely sure of the Purification & Sanctity of the Candidates were they then able to pass them on to the second stage. The first faculty that the Candidate develops is the one related with the degree of Listener (or Auditor), which is the faculty of Clairaudience and occult hearing. Let’s remember that the Vowel to help us develop Clairaudience is “E”.
Really, Illumination begins only after seven years of Apprenticeship. Nonetheless, Students believe that spiritual faculties are going to be immediately developed and when they realize that this subject matter is serious, then they flee. This is the sad reality, it is very rare to find someone who is prepared for Adepthood.”
– Paraphrase from Ch.22 of Esoteric Course of Kabbalah
and Ch.22 of The Initiatic Path in the Arcana of the Tarot & Kabbalah
Understanding the Work of ADEPTUS and the Further Symbolism of Arcanum 9
The 22 Arcana, in their essence, pertain to the Ninth Sphere. The Ninth Sphere is Arcanum 9: the Cubic Stone of Yesod and the Hermit. We already know that the 9th Sphere is Sex and that the Key to ascending is to descend without falling: to Transmute the ‘Ear of Wheat’ (the Grain, the Seed) into Gold. We transmute for three reasons:
1st in order to not have the Wrong Working of the Centers (thereby achieving equilibrium within our Human Machine – the internal World);
2nd to Eliminate the Egos (the Three Traitors of Occult Masonry who exist in our interior) which are the Causes of our Errors, Pain and Suffering (thereby canceling our Karma and establishing equilibrium on our Planet – the external World); and
3rd to create the Solar Bodies (thereby crystallizing our Soul, acquiring Being, and enabling ourselves to be the initiator of new Causes – Doing ).
as well as Our Father who is in Secret.
He signals to us with his body
as well as Our Divine Mother.
She is inside the temple
“In the ancient Temples, the descent into the 9th Sphere was the Greatest Test of the supreme dignity of the Hierophant. All authentic White Initiation begins here.“
To Transmute the sexual energy means to learn how to overcome the ‘tempting serpent of Eden’. This serpent reminds us of Arcanum 15 (Samech ס ) and the Astral Light.
In some documents send to one of his students, Eliphas Levi called the letter Samech “the astral serpent” and describes it as “The physical and fatal life – perpetual movement – the great magical agent”. Others have called it “fatal magnetism”. Eliphas Levi explains how to overcome this ‘serpent’ in Ch. 6 of his Dogma of High Magic:
It is for this reason that Apollonius of Tyana completely enveloped himself in a mantle or cloak of fine wool upon which he placed his feet, and drew it over his head. Then he bent his vertebral column into a semi-circle [facing his umbilicus], and closed his eyes after having accomplished certain rites (which were probably magnetic passes and sacramental words) having as their goal to fix the imagination and to determine the action of his willpower.
The woolen mantle or cloak is of great use in magic, and it is ordinarily the vehicle of sorcerers who go to the sabbath, which proves that the sorcerers do not really go to the sabbath, but that the sabbath came to find the sorcerers isolated in their mantle and brought images analogous to their magical preoccupations into their translucid [or imagination], mingled with the reflections of all similar types of acts which have been previously accomplished in the world.
…It is not enough to envelop oneself in woolen fabric in order to isolated oneself from the astral light, one must also (and above all) have imposed absolute tranquility upon one’s mind and one’s heart, as well as to have left the domain of the passions behind and to be assured of perseverance in the spontaneous operations of an inflexible will.
We must also frequently reiterate the acts of this willpower, since … the willpower only becomes confident in itself through acts, just as religions only have influence and last through their ceremonies and their rites.”
This reminds us of the hieroglyphic for Arcanum 9: a sage leaning on his staff, and holding a lamp in front of himself; he is completely enveloped in his mantle or cloak. This is the Initiate, the Hermit (the one who walks the Path alone, who is ‘isolated’), it is synthesized by these two words: ‘Solitude’ and ‘Suffering’. The Hermit is the symbol of the Individual Work, the Work upon Ourselves, which is why we must become experts in Gnostic Psychology and in Meditation.
The Initiate is the one who possesses the lamp of Hermes Trismegistus, the mantle or cloak of Apollonius, and the staff of the Patriarchs. The Lamp is the Light, the Essence, the Consciousness awakened as it is being liberated from its ‘Bottle’ (the Ego). The Mantle or Cloak is our ability to isolate ourselves from unbeneficial influences (to protect ourselves from certain astral currents) in order to not allow ourselves to be disrupted along the Path – remember the Internal Lodge. The Staff is the Spinal Column as a result of our Transmutation (the Wand of the Magician), thus it has seven symbolic knots.
“If you want initiation, write it upon a staff. Whosoever has understanding let him understand, because there is wisdom within…” Initiation is your life itself; it is profoundly internal and profoundly individual.
Initiation is neither bought nor sold, yet nothing is given to us as a gift: everything has its price, everything costs. Whosoever is not owed, is not paid.
Initiations are payments which the Logos makes to the human being when the disciple has sacrificed themselves for humanity. Those who are only preoccupied with their own spiritual progress, and who do not work for others, obtain absolutely nothing. Whosoever wants to progress must Sacrifice for others.
Supreme Affirmation and Supreme Negation: Arcana 5, 6, 15 & 21
We have seen that Arcanum 5 is the number of the pentalpha or five-pointed star, the sign of Divine Omnipotence. Arcanum № 5 is the ineffable symbol of the Verb made flesh, the terrible Star of the Magi. The Pentagram represents the Microcosmic Man who (with arms and legs extended) is the Star of Five Points. The Pentagram with the two points facing upwards represents Satan, and is used in Black Magic to invoke the tenebrous. When the superior angle is facing upwards, it represents the Internal Christ of every person who comes to this world; it symbolizes the Divine and it is used in White Magic in order to call the Divine Beings.
There is a term called ‘Quintessence’ which we can read about in Texts that employ Alchemical Symbolism. This word now means “the pure and concentrated essence of a substance” or “the most perfect embodiment of something”, but the original meaning was “the fifth and highest element (in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy) that permeates all of nature and is the substance of which the celestial bodies are composed”. For those Ancient Philosophers, the Quintessence was the philosophical material for the Great Work.
In Occult Masonry, one has to design this celestial Quintessence through the five-pointed blazing star (called the central fire of nature by the Ancient Philosophers) which is also symbolized by the letter “G”, meaning the generation of bodies among other things. Kabbalistically, we have seen that, depending on how this star is pointed: it is either an upright pentagram (head up, meaning that the person is going towards the Divinity) or it is an inverted pentagram (head down, aimed towards the abyss, away from the Divinity). Eliphas Levi says that 5 is the “number of the science of good & evil” and “the number of the priest”. Therefore, we must choose between good (the upright star) and evil (the inverted star), because this establishes the type of Religion we are practicing, the type of ‘priest’ or ‘priestess’ we are…
All of this means that One must choose their Path, because what one does determines what one crystallizes (what one creates or ‘generates’), and that choice is found in Arcanum 6: “Man between Vice and Virtue”.
Eliphas Levi says that Arcanum 6 corresponds to “The arrow of love… The number of antagonism and of liberty – coupling – the work…” and further that it is “the number of man, since it is that of his generation… the number of radical negation and of absolute liberty.” Levi synthesizes Arcanum 6 as “Liberty & Love”, saying “Liberty & love necessitate work & struggle, and it is thus that the great law of creation manifests itself within us”.
Let’s remember that Master Samael says regarding this same number: “Arcanum № 6 is enchantment, equilibrium, the loving union of Man & Woman. It is the terrible struggle between Love & Desire. Here we find the Mysteries of the Lingam-Yoni, the connection.”
Arcanum 6 is, then, Sex and this indicates to us that in Sex is either our liberation (through chastity) or our enslavement (through passion). Thus, it is the Affirmation of the Internal Christ and the Supreme Negation of Satan. It is the struggle between the Spirit and the Bestial Animal, between God and the Devil; and this is expressed in the Seal of Solomon.
In Arcanum № 6 we find the struggle between the Two Ternaries. The superior triangle in the Seal of Solomon represents the Immortal Eternal Triad. The inferior triangle represents the three traitors who live within ourselves (the Demon of Desire, of the Mind, and of Ill-Will). They are the three evil friends of Job and the three assassins of Hiram Abiff.
The Initiate finds themselves between the two triangles and has to decide upon one path or the other: that of Light, or that of Darkness. The problem is absolutely sexual (this is why we must work with the creative energy). The key is found in the Sacred Serpent, or the ‘Rooster’ who represents the I.A.O., the Verb, the Word.
The Solomon’s Seal is also esoterically referred to as the Star of Bethlehem or the Star of Christmas. The God-Child can never be born in the Heart of the Initiate without the splendor and life of the brilliant Star of Christmas. One must work with the Arcanum A.Z.F. in order to be able to incarnate it. We have entered the world of Willpower and of Love. In order to enter the amphitheatre of Cosmic Science one must steal the Fire from the Devil…
The Devil is one of the names for Arcanum 15, and Huiracocha uses “Baphomet, Lucifer” as its names. The 15th letter of the Sacred Alphabet is Samech [ ס ], which Levi calls “the astral serpent … the devil”. Levi also describes this Arcanum as the “physical and fatal life – perpetual movement – the great magical agent” and further elaborates on this by saying “the devil, in black magic, is the great magical agent employed for evil purposes by a perverse willpower.”
Master Samael says “Arcanum 15 of the Tarot represents the male goat of Mendez, Lucifer, Typhon Baphomet, the Devil” and that the “Mystery of Baphomet is Sexual Alchemy, based on comprehension and the transmutation of the Creative Energies.” The word ‘Baphomet’ should be read in reverse: “Tem-o-h-p-ab”, which is from the Latin words: “TEMPLI OMMUN HOMINUN PACIS ABBAS”, meaning: “The Father of the Temple, Universal Peace to Men”. When we work with the Arcanum A.Z.F. we steal the Fire from the Devil and, in this way, the five-pointed star shines.
Thus, when properly rectified, Arcanum 15 is the ‘Whitened Brass’ (this is related to the esoteric duality of Light & Darkness symbolized in the colors Black & White). In the Sacred Temples of Egypt, when the neophyte was suffering the ordeals of Initiation, a Master drew near and quietly whispered: “Remember that Osiris is a black God”.
Black is the specific color of darkness and of shadows. It is the color of the Devil and of the Primitive Chaos where all the elements and seeds of life are totally mixed up and disordered. It is the symbol of the Earth Element, of the Night and of the radical Death of all the Psychic Aggregates. We need to “Whiten the Devil”, and this is only possible by fighting against ourselves, by dissolving that ensemble of Psychic Aggregates which form the “I”, the Myself, the Oneself. Only by dying within ourselves can we ‘Whiten the Brass’ and contemplate the Midnight Sun (the Father). This means overcoming temptations and eliminating each and every one of our Inhuman Elements.
– From the writings of Eliphas Levi, Samael Aun Weor and Huiracocha
Eliphas Levi: The Astral Light and the Mystery of Shin
The mystery of Shin ש is revealed by understanding the key to the Occult Sciences. According to Eliphas Levi, Shin ש is the mediating fire; it is the horns of Moses and the fork (or trident) of Satan. The ternary exists in the universal light, and is called by the Kabbalists “od”, “ob” and “aour”:
2. It is called “ob” [ וב ] when it is passive, and it is then the passive magnetism of somnambulists and mediums: it is through “ob” that the Pythonesses divined (as it is said in the Bible with regard to the witch of Endor);
3. And it is called “aour” [ אור ] or ‘universal gold’ when it is equilibrated; and it is thus that Creation begins through the establishment of equilibrium in this light which then becomes the instrument of Creation.
The harmony of the Elohim said: “Let there be light [aour], and there was light [aour].” (see Gen 1:3) The universal light reveals its four properties (analogous to the letters of the sacred tetragrammaton יהוה ) by four distinct series of phenomena, which we call: electricity, magnetism, heat and light or splendor. Since what our modern physicists call light is only one of the many phenomena of the universal light, which can be called the radiant visibility or ‘visible light’.
– From the writings of Eliphas Levi
Eliphas Levi: Imagination and the Microcosm-Macrocosm
All forms correspond to ideas, and there is no idea which does not have its proper and peculiar form. The primordial light (which is the vehicle of all ideas) is the mother of all forms and transmits them from emanation to emanation (becoming diminished or altered according to the density of the medium). Secondary forms are the reflections which return to the home (or hearth) of the emanated light. Forms of objects (being a modification of the light) remain in the light whereas the reflection expels them.
Thus the astral light, or the terrestrial fluid (which we call the great magical agent) is saturated with images or reflections of all types. Our soul can evoke and submit these images or reflections to its imagination (which is what the Kabbalists call the diaphane). These images are always present to us and are only erased by more powerful imprints of reality during waking hours, or by the preoccupation of the mind (which makes our imagination inattentive to the moveable panorama of the astral light).
The world is magnetized by the light of the sun, and we are magnetized by the astral light of the world. That which operates in the body of the planet, is repeated in us. There are three analogical and hierarchic worlds within us, as there are in all of nature. Man is the microcosm or little world and according to the dogma of analogies: everything that is in the big world is reproduced in the little world. There are therefore three centers of fluidic attraction and projection in us: the brain, the heart or epigastrum, and the genital organ. Each of these organs is one and double, that is to say, we find the idea of the ternary therein. Each of these organs attracts in one way and repels in another. It is by means of these apparatuses that we place ourselves in communication with the universal fluid, transmitted in us through the nervous system. It is also these three centers which are the seat of a triple magnetic operation.
– From various chapters in Dogma of High Magic (1854) by Eliphas Levi
Eliphas Levi: The Trident of Paracelsus.
Upon one of its teeth one sees a yod [ י ] crossing a crescent on one part, and on the other part an intersecting line, a figure which hieroglyphically reminds us of the zodical sign of the crab .
Upon the opposite tooth is a mixed sign reminding us of that of the twins  and that of the lion .
Between the claws of the crab one sees the sun [ ], and next to the lion one sees the astronomic cross [ + or X ].
Upon the teeth of the middle is hieroglyphically traced the figure of the celestial serpent, having the sign of Jupiter  for its head.
On the side of the crab one reads the word OBITO, meaning “go away, back up”; and on the side of the lion one reads IMO, meaning “come on, persist”.
In the center, and near the symbolic serpent, one reads AP DO SEL, which is a word composed of an abbreviation, a word composed kabalistically and hebraically, and finally a word of a complete and vulgar root: AP, which must be read AR, because they are the two first greek letters of the word ARCHEUS; DO, which must be read OD [ וד ] and SEL [a French word meaning: SALT].
They are the three primary substances, and the occult names of Archeus and Od [ וד ] express the same as the sulfur and the mercury of the philosophers.
Upon the rod of iron, which must serve as the trident’s handle, one sees three times the letter P. P. P., which is a phalloid and lingamic hieroglyph; then the words VLI DOX FATO, which must be read by taking the first letter as the number of the pentagram in roman numerals, and completing it thus PENTAGRAMMATICA LIBERTATE DOXA FATO, a character which is equivalent to the three letters of Cagliostro’s L.P.D. : Liberty, Power, Duty.
On one side, absolute liberty; upon the other, necessity or invincible fatality; in the middle REASON, the kabbalistic absolute which creates universal equilibrium.
This admirable magical summary by Paracelsus can serve as a key to the obscure works of the kabbalist Wronski, a remarkable scholar who has been led (more than once) away from his ABSOLUTE REASON by the mysticism of his nation and by the shameful financial speculations of a very distinguished thinker.
Every time, we render him the honor and glory of having discovered, before us, the secret of the trident of Paracelsus.
Thus Paracelsus represents the passive with the crab , the active with the lion , and intelligence or equilibrated reason with Jupiter  or the king-man who dominates the serpent; then he equilibrates the forces by giving the fecundity of the active figure to the passive with the sun [ ], and by giving the space and the night to the active in order to be conquered, and to be illuminated under the symbol of the cross [ + or X ].
He says to the passive: “Obey the impulse of the active, and walk with it through equilibrium even with resistance.” He says to the active: “Resist the immobility of the obstacle; persist and advance.”
Then he explains these alternating forces with the great central ternary: LIBERTY, NECESSITY, REASON. REASON in the center; LIBERTY AND NECESSITY as counter-weights.
Here is the strength/force of the trident: within it is the shank and the base; this is the universal law of nature; this is the essence itself of the verb, realized and demonstrated by the ternary of human life, the archeus or spirit, the ‘od’ [ וד ] or the plastic mediator, and the salt or visible matter.
We have wanted to give something outside of just the explanation of this figure, because it is of the highest importance, and gives the measure of the highest genius to the occult sciences.
One must comprehend after this explanation why, in the flow of our work, we have always inclined ourselves, with traditional veneration for the true adepts, before the divine Paracelsus.”
– From Ritual of High Magic (1856) by Eliphas Levi
The Trident Explained
Based on Levi’s explanation, we can understand the Trident of Paracelsus as follows:
Eliphas Levi: The Human Light, the Astral Light and Love vs. Passion
The astral light has a direct action upon the nerves, which are its conductors in the animal economy of our physical organism, and which carry them to the brain; thus, in a state of somnambulism, one can see the nerves (even without the radiant light, since the astral fluid is a latent light, similar to how physics has recognized the existence of a latent heat). The astral light (being the instrument of life) is naturally fixed to all living centers. It attaches itself to the nucleus of planets just as it does to the heart of man (and by the heart we understand, in magic, the grand sympathetic nervous system), but it identifies itself with the life itself of the being which it animates, and it is through this quality of sympathetic assimilation that it divides itself without confusion. Thus it is terrestrial in its affinity with the sphere of the earth, and exclusively human in its affinity with men.
It is important to distinguish the human light from the astral light, and animal magnetism from universal magnetism. The astral light, subordinated to a blind mechanism and proceeding from centers which tend towards self-service, is a dead light and operates mathematically according to given impulses or according to fatal laws. The human light, on the contrary, is only fatal in the ignorant, who randomly make attempts to work with it. In the seer, human light is subject to intelligent understanding, submitted to the imagination and dependent upon the will.
This human light is ceaselessly projected by our willpower, thereby forming what has been called ‘personal atmospheres’. The body absorbs what surrounds it and continuously radiates by projecting its miasmas (unhealthy or poisonous vapors/germs) and its invisible molecules. The spirit also absorbs and radiates what is around it in such a way that this phenomenon (named by some mystics respiration) really has the influence (both physically and morally) which is attributed to it. Thus, it is really contagious to breathe the same air as sick people, and to find oneself in the circle of attraction and expansion of the wicked.
When the magnetic atmosphere of two people is so equilibrated that the attractiveness of one absorbs the expansiveness of the other, then this produces an attraction which is named ‘sympathy’. Then the imagination evokes in it all the rays or all the reflections analogous to that which it experiences, making a poem of the desires which captivate the will. If the persons are of different sexes, then it produces in them (or more often in the weaker of the two) a complete intoxication of their astral light, which is properly named passion or love.
Love is one of the great instruments of magical power, but it is formally forbidden to the magus (at least as an intoxication or as passion). Sexual love is always an illusion because it is the result of an imaginary mirage or reflection. The astral light is the universal seducer and is symbolized by the serpent of Genesis. This subtle agent is always active, always luxurious in its sap, always flowering with seductive dreams and sweet images. This force is blind in itself and subordinate to every will, whether for good, or for evil. It is an ever renewing circle of unbridled life, and gives vertigo to the imprudent. This corporeal spirit, this fiery body, this impalpable and ever-present ether, this immense seduction of nature, how to define it completely and how to qualify its action? Indifferent to some extent in itself, it lends itself to good as well as to evil; it carries the light and propagates the darkness; it can equally be called Lucifer and Lucifuge: it is a serpent, but it is also a halo; it is a fire, but it can also belong to the torments of hell which offers the promised incense to heaven.
To seize it in oneself, one must (just like the predestined woman, the allegorical VIRGIN WHO MUST CRUSH THE HEAD OF THE SERPENT) put one’s foot upon its head. Kabbalistically, the woman corresponds (in the elementary world) to the element water, and the serpent corresponds to the element fire. Thus, as we have said: To subdue the serpent (to dominate the circle of the astral light) one must place oneself outside of its currents, that is to say: one must isolate oneself…
– From the writings of Eliphas Levi
Eliphas Levi: Willpower and the Astral Light
Every intelligent effort of willpower is a projection of the human fluid or light. In making use of the word fluid, we employ an accepted expression (and we seek to make ourselves understood by these means), but we are far from deciding that the latent light is a fluid. On the contrary, everything prompts us to prefer the system of vibrations in the explanation of this phenomenal existence.
A lucid willpower can act upon the mass of the astral light and (with the help of other willpowers, which it absorbs & encourages) can establish great and irresistible currents. The astral light condenses or rarefies itself according to how the currents accumulate more or less in certain centers. When it lacks sufficient energy for the nourishment of life, then illnesses of sudden decomposition follow (which are the despair of medicine).
The empire of the willpower over the astral light (which is the physical soul of the four elements) is represented in magic by the pentagram. When the magus has attained lucidity, he communicates and directs (at will) magnetic vibrations in the whole mass of the astral light. By means of these vibrations, he influences the nervous system of persons subject to his action, precipitates or suspends the currents of life, calms or torments, heals or renders sick, and finally kills or resurrects…
Magnetism between two people is, no doubt, a marvelous discovery; but the magnetism of a single person makes the willpower lucid and allows one to direct oneself (which is the perfection of the magical art). The secret of magnetic lucidity and to the direction of the phenomena of magnetism is controlled by two things: (1) the harmony of intelligent understandings and (2) the prefect union of their willpowers in a direction which is possible and determined by the science.
The astral light directs the instincts of animals and battles the intelligence (or intelligent understanding) of man and tends to pervert it through the richness of its reflections and through the lies of its images; which become a fatal and necessary action that is directed and rendered still more terrible by elemental spirits and by the suffering souls, whose restless wills seek out sympathies in our weaknesses, and tempt us not so much to destroy us as to make friends for themselves.
Animal magnetism is nothing but an artificial slumber produced by the union (either voluntary or forced) of two souls one of which is awake while the other sleeps (that is to say, of which one directs the other in the choice of the reflections so as to change dreams into visions and to know the truth by means of the images). It is for this reason that the electricity, caloric, light and magnetism, produced through ordinary physical means not only do not produce animal magnetism, but tend, on the contrary, to neutralize the effects of animal magnetism.
This book of consciousnesses which, according to christian dogma, must be manifest on the last day, is none other than the astral light in which the impressions of all the verbs are preserved, that is to say of all the actions and of all the forms (meaning: a person’s causes and their effects).
Our acts modify our magnetic respiration (or magnetic radiation) in such a way that a seer can say, when approaching a person for the first time, if that person is innocent or guilty, and what their virtues or their crimes are.
Those who renounce the empire of reason and who enjoy misdirecting their willpower towards the pursuit of the reflections of the astral light are subject to the alternations of rage and depression which have originated all the marvels of demonic possession. It is true that impure spirits can act upon such souls through these reflections, making use of them like docile instruments and can even habitually torment their organism, within which they come to reside by obsession, or by embryonation.
– From the writings of Eliphas Levi
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