Saturday, March 15, 2008

from Meditations on the Tarot (Valentin Tomberg)
The Four Esoteric Senses (& The Four Stages of Gnosis)

Each mode of experience and knowledge when pushed to its limit becomes a sense or engenders a special sense. He who dares to aspire to the experience of the unique essence of Being will develop the mystical sense or spiritual touch. If he wants not only to live but also to learn to understand what he lives through, he will develop the gnostic sense. And if he wants to put into practice what he has understood from mystical experience, he will develop the magical sense. If, lastly, he wants all that he has experienced, understood and practiced to be not limited to himself and his time, but to become communicable to others and to be transmitted to future generations, he must develop the Hermetic-philosophical sense, and in practicing it he will "write his book".

The essence of pure mysticism is creative activity. One becomes a mystic when one dares to elevate oneself—i.e. "to stand upright", then even more upright, and ever more upright - beyond all created being as far as the essence of Being, the divine, creative fire. "Concentration without effort" is burning without smoke or crackling fire.

The essence of pure gnosis is reflected mysticism. Gnosis signifies that that which takes place in mysticism has become higher knowledge. That is, gnosis is mysticism which has become conscious of itself. It is mystical experience transformed into higher knowledge.

Now, this transformation of mystical experience into knowledge takes place in stages. The first is the pure reflection or a kind of imaginative repetition of the experience. The second stage is its entrance into memory. The third stage is its assimilation in thought and feeling, in a manner where it becomes a "message" or inner word. The fourth stage, lastly, is reached when it becomes a communicable symbol or "writing", or "book"—i.e. when it is formulated.

from The High Priestess

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