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The Chariot
The Chariot
from the Tarot of Marseilles

7. The Chariot

The breast plate, the canopy and the crown are the three symbols for the salutary measures pertaining to Nature mysticism, Human mysticism, and Divine mysticism.

This is why the "triumpher" of the seventh Arcanum does not lose himself in Nature, why he does not lose God in the experience of his Higher Self and why he does not lose the world in experiencing the love of God.

He holds in check the dangers of rage, megalomania and exaltation.

He is sane .

The four columns supporting the canopy signify the four elements - fire, air, water and earth - taken in a vertical sense, analagous to creativity, clarity, fluidity and precision in the domain of thought, and analagous to warmth, magnaminity, sensitivity and faithfulness in the domain of the heart.

The Chariot has a twofold aspect: on one side it represents he who has triumphed over the three temptations, and on the other the danger of the fourth temptation - the temptation to act in one's own name, to act as a master instead of as a servant.

Then the devil left him, and behold.
Angels came and ministered to him.
                                  (Matthew 4, 11)
Wedding at Cana by Duccio
Wedding at Cana
by Duccio

Immediately after the devil left Jesus in the wilderness, the atmosphere changed. The angels were able to "breathe" and to approach the Son of Man. Here was the mastership of the world of the elements and what took place in the course of time were the seven archetypal miracles described in the Gospel according to John.

And when the devil had ended all the temptation,
he departed from him for a season.
                             (Luke iv, 13)

The Gospel according to St. Luke adds the words "for a season" to the account in Matthew. These words give rise to the supposition that the fourth, most subtle temptation is yet to come.

Identification with Archetypes

Archetypes are formidable psychic forces which must not be taken lightly.

Carl Gustav Jung
Carl Gustav Jung

Jung has written of archetypes: "the epiphany of the hero shows itself in a corresponding inflation: the colossal pretension grows into a conviction that one is something extraordinary; or else the impossibility of the pretension ever being fulfilled only proves one's inferiority, which is favourable to the role of the heroic sufferer.
In spite of their contrareity, both forms are identical, because unconscious compensatory inferiority tallies with conscious megalomania, and unconscious megolamania with conscious inferiority."

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man,
he walketh through dry places, seeking rest;
and finding none, he saith,
I will return unto my house whence I came out.
and when he cometh,
he findeth it swept and garnished.
Then goeth he, and taketh to him
seven other spirits more wicked than himself;
and they enter in, and dwell there:
and the last state of that man
is worse than the first
                    (Luke xi 24 - 26)
Sabbatai Zevi
Sabbatai Zevi,
Jewish Rabbi, 1626 - 76

Jung continues: "once the reef of the second identification - the epiphany of the hero - has been successfully cicumnavigated, conscious processes can be cleanly separated from the unconscious and thus to a possible synthesis of conscious and unconscious thought and action. This in turns leads to a shifting of the centre of personality from the ego to the self."

Inflation is the principal risk of those who seek depth.
Christian monasteries have known of this danger over millennia and have therefore advocated humility. Had Sabbatai Zevi been a member of a spiritual order with a discipline similar to that of Christian monasteries, his illumination would never have led to his revealing himself to a group of disciples as the promised messiah. The effect was dismal:

"Sabbatai Zevi is pursued by a sense of depression, which leaves him no quiet moment and does not even permit him to read, without his being able to say what is the nature of this sadness." (Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism)

A similar criticism is made of some Rosicrucians at the end of the 19th Century:

"They speak of all mankind as infinitely beneath them; their pride is beyond idea, although they are most humble and quiet in exterior. They glory in poverty and declare that it is the state ordered for them; and this though they boast universal riches. They decline all human affections. They mingle most gracefully in the society of women, with hearts wholly incapable of softness in this direction; while they criticise them with pity or contempt in their own minds as altogether another order of beings from men" (Hargrave Jennings, The Rosicrucians. Their Rites and Mysteries, London-New York, 1887)]

I am come in my Father's name,
and ye receive me not:
if another shall come in his own name,
him ye will receive.
                   (John v, 43)

John Custance spent fifteen years in English mental institutions. In his Wisdom , Madness and Folly: the Philosophy of a Lunatic he wrote:

"I feel so close to God, so inspired by His Spirit that in a sense I am God. I see the future, plan the universe, save mankind."

Spiritual megalomania is as old as the world. The prophet writes:

Ezechiel
The Prophet Ezechiel
by Michelangelo
You were the signet of perfection,
You were full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
You were towered with every kind of precious stone:
    Sardonax, topaz, and diamond,
    Chrysolite, onyx, and jasper,
    Sapphire, carbuncle, emerald, and gold;
    With which you were adorned,
    And which were prepared for you
    On the day that you were created.
You were a guardian cherubim, with outspread wings;
I placed you, and you were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. . .
Your heart was proud because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendour.
I cast you to the ground;
I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.
                                                (Ezechiel, xxviii, 12-17)
Truman
President Truman
authorized the atomic
bombing of Japan
oppenheimer
Robert Oppenhemer
"the Father of
the Atomic Bomb"

Here is the celestial origin of inflation, superiority and megalomania. Since "that which is below is as that which is above", it is repeated below in earthly human life from century to century and from generation to generation. The reformer who wants to correct or save humanity sees himself as the bearer of a mission of universal significance and feels himself to be more and more important.

Also there are politicians who have exercised a deadly, suggestive influence on the popular masses, blinding and inciting them to acts of cruelty, injustice and violence, of which each individual taken separately would be incapable.

Dr. Faustus was one hundred more times innocent with regard to mankind than those who invented the atom bomb . . . as good citizens and scientists.

Occultism

Jacob Boehme
Jacob Boehme
shoemaker and mystic

Neither black magic nor nervous disorders are the special dangers of occultism. Its principal dangers are the superiority complex, inflation and megalomania. The ancient saying "ora et labora" ("work and pray") are the only remedy I know against megalomania. Jacob Boehme was a shoemaker and was illumined:

"The door became opened to me, so that in a quarter of an hour I observed and knew more than if I had attended a university for many years. . . I recognised the Being of Beings, the firmament and the abyss . . . thereupon I turned to worship of God."

He no way thought he became a greater shoemaker than before. Work and worship protected him from megalomania.

Jacob Boehme
Saint Teresa of Avila

The reality of visionary experiences depends on whether they make the recipient more humble or more pretentious.
The experience of her meeting with the Master made Saint Teresa of Avila more and more humble.

What is there to say about people who are "naturally" humble and who have not "seen and heard"?

Dear Unknown Friend, the answer that seems right to me is that all those who are humble have certainly seen and heard.
Humility can be the result of the memory of the soul prior to birth, or it can be due to the memory of nocturnal experience during sleep. As with the meeting which made Saul, the Pharisee into Paul, the Apostle, such "face to face" meetings with a higher being are a gift from above. Our part is only "to seek", "to knock" and "to pray", but the decisive act comes from above.

The Three Forms of Mystical Experience

Empedocles
Empedocles
  1. Union with Nature: the obliteration of the differentiation between the individual's psychic life and surrounding Nature. This underlies not only the shamanism and the totemism of primitive peoples (see Malidoma of the Dagara people), but also the ardent desire of poets and philosophers for union with Nature, (see Wordsworth and Shelley).

    Empedocles threw himself into the crater of Mount Etna to unite himself with the elements of nature.

    The effect of hashish, alcohol, mescalin, etc, can produce states of consciousness analagous to mystical participation. The characteristic trait of this form is intoxication.


  2. Empedocles
    The Ancient of Days
    by William Blake
  3. The Transcendental Self consists in separating the ordinary empirical self from the Higher Self. By contrast with intoxication this mystical experience is one of coming to one's senses - or sobriety. The Indian school of Sankya is an example of this in its purest form.


  4. Experience of the Living God.
    The term is coined to express the state where the ardent enthusiasm of Nature mysticism and the profound peace and sobriety of the `higher Self meet.

    This is the Beatific Vision - the meeting of the soul with God, face to face in love - of Saint Augustine, Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Teresa and Saint John of the Cross in the Christian tradition; and of the Bhagavad-Gita, Ramanuja, Madhva and Citanya in the Hindu tradition.

    The Holy Cabbala puts at the centre of spiritual experience the Holy Face of the Ancient of Days.

Tabernacles

These three mystical experiences have their "skins" or "hygienic laws" or "tabernacles" - movable dwelling places in the desert. They fall under the law of temperance or measure. Equilibrium or justice is the subject of following Arcanum, Justice.

The Eighth Arcanum: Justice

Introduction to the Tarot

The Seven Miracles of St. John's Gospel by Valentin Tomberg

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