The Futurity of the Archetype

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. ~ Mark 10:15

The climax to the Letter on the Magician is the transformation of the Child or Puer archetype into the Self archetype represented by the Magician.

Analogy and Play

The value of an analogy depends on the quality of one’s experience. But the method of analogy corresponds to “concentration without effort”. Specifically, the analogy is either directly intuited or it is not. The rational intellect is of not help, except as preparatory work. This preparation requires the accumulation of experiences and study of the teachings. Only in that way can the faculty of immediate perception of analogous correspondences be developed. We read in the Letter:

The practice of analogy on the intellectual plane of consciousness does not, in fact, demand any effort; cither one perceives (“sees”) analogous correspondences or one docs not perceive or “see” them. Just as the magician or juggler has had to train and work for a long time before attaining the ability of concentration without effort, similarly he who makes use of the method of analogy on the intellectual plane must have worked much —i.e. to have acquired long experience and to have accumulated the teachings which it requires — before attaining the faculty of immediate perception of analogous correspondences, before becoming a “magician” or “juggler” who makes use of the analogy of beings and of things without effort as in a game.

As a form of “play”, the method of analogy becomes almost childlike. The child plays rather than works, yet he is concentrated, with a complete and undivided attention. Hence, the Arcanum of the Magician represents intellectual genius which Tomberg defines as the

vision of the unity of beings and things through the immediate perception of their correspondences—through consciousness concentrated without effort.

The Inner Child

Analogously, the attitude of the child needs to be our attitude when approaching the kingdom of God: to once again become whole and undivided. To be sure, that does not mean at all to become puerile; to be child-like is not the same as to be childish.

There is chatter today about awakening the “Inner Child” as though that were some difficult, not to mention desirable, outcome. If you pout when you don’t get your way, you have awakened it.

No, psychurgical practice is the transformation of consciousness rising from plane to plane. Hence, to become again like a child means to recapitulate the childlike qualities at a higher level of consciousness, i.e., intellectual genius. The child “carries only easy burdens and renders all his yokes light.”

Harmony and Equilibrium

Tomberg refers to Carl Jung and Friedrich Schiller to illustrate his point. The Magician represents the man

  • Who has attained harmony and equilibrium
  • Between the spontaneity of the unconsciousness (as understood by Jung)
  • And the deliberate action of the consciousness (as an “I” or ego)

In other words, this state is the synthesis of the conscious and the unconscious elements of the personality. This corresponds to the process of “individuation” as described by Jung. This is the passage from Essays on a Science of Mythology by Jung and Kerenyi referenced in the letter.

The Science of Mythology

One of the essential features of the child-motif is its futurity. The child is potential future, hence the occurrence of the child-motif in the psychology of the individual signifies as a rule an anticipation of future developments, even though at first sight it may seem to be a retrospective configuration. Life is a flux, a flowing into the future, and not a stoppage or a back wash, it is therefore not surprising that so many of the mythological saviors are child-gods. This corresponds exactly to our experience in the psychology of the individual, which shows that the “child” paves the way for a future change of personality.

In the individuation process, it anticipates the figure that comes from the synthesis of conscious and unconscious elements in the personality. It is therefore a uniting symbol which unites the opposites; a mediator, bringer of healing, that is, one who makes whole. Because it has this meaning, the child-motif is capable of the numerous transformations mentioned above: it can be expressed by roundness, the circle or sphere, or else by the quaternity as another form of wholeness. I have called this consciousness-transcending wholeness “self.” The purpose of the individuation process is the synthesis of the self. From another point of view the term “entelechy” might be preferable to “synthesis.” There Is an empirical reason why “entelechy” is, in certain conditions, more fitting: the symbols of wholeness frequently occur at the beginning of the individuation process, indeed they can often be observed in the first dreams of early infancy.

This observation says much for the a priori existence of potential wholeness, and on this account the idea of entelechy instantly recommends itself. But insofar as the individuation process occurs, empirically speaking, as a synthesis, it looks, paradoxically enough, as if something already existent were being put together. From this point of view, the term “synthesis” is also applicable.

from Essays on a Science of Mythology by Jung and Kerenyi
H/T: Matthew Anderson for locating the Jung/Kerenyi passage.

Entelechy and Synthesis

This passage from Jung and Kerenyi illustrates Tomberg’s points beautifully. The child is not the goal, but rather points the way to the goal. In an instinctive way, the child unites the opposites of the conscious and unconscious elements. That is, it is the analogy of the Self, which is the culmination of the individuation process.

The self is the result of a synthesis, viz., of the conscious and unconscious elements. It is also an entelechy, that is, that actualization of a potential. In other words, the Self exists first as a possibility, but the work of synthesis makes it actual.

Note how this esoteric understanding of actualization differs from conceptions common today. The Self represents Wholeness; it is transcendent, not empirical. The Hermetic path leads to wholeness, to a single unified being.

Contemporary ideals of self-actualization involve realizing different empirical possibilities in oneself. Hence, one can be a baker or a rocket scientist, a lover and a mother, a man or a woman, at will. The only requirements are desire and opportunity. However, it is clear that none of those choices represents wholeness, but only an abundance of parts.

The True and the Beautiful

Friedrich Schiller describes the same process in a different way as the synthesis of:

  • Intellectual consciousness which imposes duties and rules
  • The instinctive nature as the drive to play (Spieltrieb)

The true and the desired [the word is “intention” in the German] find their synthesis in the beautiful, which has two effects:

  • It lightens the burden associated with duties of the true
  • It raises the darkness of instinctive forces to the level of light and consciousness

So whoever sees the beauty in what is true cannot then fail to love it. Then the element of constraint imposed by duty will disappear, becoming a delight instead. Keep in mind that not just any desire is beautiful, but only those which correspond to the true nature of things. When this is achieved:

Work is transformed into play and concentration without effort becomes possible.

Notes on Translation

Here are some recommended important translation changes. One deals with the understanding of myth on page 15, which should be replaced with:

These are myths, i.e. in the first place historical symbols referring to time, and not symbols expressing the unity of the worlds in physical, metaphysical, and spiritual space. The Fall of Adam and Eve does not reveal a corresponding fall in the divine world, within the heart of the Holy Trinity.

“False friends” in translations refer to words that appear to be the same in two different languages, but whose meaning differs. In this case, the word “moral” has, in English, the connotation of ethical behavior, but the word in French has a wider meaning. In this case, “moral space” makes no sense. Hence, a better rendition would be “spiritual space” or perhaps “intellectual space”. As an example, Dante’s Divine Comedy provides an elaborate spiritual topography as an expression of the unity of the worlds.

Another false friend is “geniality”, which means in English: “the quality of having a friendly and cheerful manner.” However, in French “genial” is related to genius. Now, the archaic meaning of the word in English is “characterized by genius”. So, in the translated text, the word should be understood in this archaic sense.

As a side note, the Philokalia means “love of the beautiful” in ancient Greek. Schiller merges the experience of the beautiful with the idea of the Good (as duty). Curiously, modern Greek translates kalia as “good” rather than “beauty”.

Analogy by Papus

Among angelic minds, according to the authority of Dionysius and St. Thomas, the glory of our theology, that is highest which by its intelligence understands with the fewest concepts and forms what lower minds understand with many and varied ones. ~ Pico della Mirandola, Heptaplus

In the Letter on the Magician in Meditations on the Tarot, we are referred to Papus’ description of the method of analogy:

The open recognition of the relationship of all things and beings has engendered an exactly corresponding method of knowledge. It is the method generally known under the title THE METHOD OF ANALOGY; its role and its import in so-called “occult” science has been illumined in an admirable way by Papus in his Traité éleméntaire de science occulte.

This is my translation from the French of the chapter on analogy in Papus’ book.


After having determined the existence in antiquity of a real science, its mode of transmission, the general subjects which it preferred to study, let’s try to push our analysis further in determining the methods employed in the ancient science that we have seen to be Occult Science (Scienta occulta).

The goal pursued was, as we know, the determination of the invisible through the visible, the noumenon through the phenomenon, the idea through the form.

The first question that it is necessary for us to resolve is to know if that connection of the invisible to the visible truly exists and if that idea is the expression of a pure mysticism.

I believe I have sufficiently made apparent by the example of the book, previously stated, what a study of the visible, of the phenomenon was in comparison to a study of the invisible, of the noumenon.

How can we know what the author wanted to say by seeing the signs which he used to express his ideas?

Because we know that there exists a consistent connection between the sign and the idea that it represents, that is, between the visible and the invisible.

Likewise, we can immediately deduce the idea by seeing the sign. Likewise, we can immediately deduce the invisible from seeing the visible. But in order to discover the idea hidden in the print character, it is necessary for us to learn to read, that is to say, to use a special method. In order to discover the invisible, the occult of a phenomenon, it is also necessary to learn to read by a special method.

The principal method of Occult Science is Analogy. By analogy, one determines the connections that exist between the phenomena.

Three principle methods can lead to the goal of the study of man:

  • One can study man by his organs and their function: this is the study of the visible, study by induction.
  • One can study man through his life, his intelligence, and what is called his soul: this is the study of the invisible, study by deduction.
  • Finally, one can consider, reuniting the two methods, the connection that exists between the organs and their function, either between two functions or between two organs. That is study by analogy.

In this way, if we consider the lung, the science of its details will teach us that this organ receives air from the outside, which undergoes a certain transformation in him.

If we consider the stomach, the same science will teach us that this organ is charged with transforming the food that it receives from the outside.

The science of the phenomena stops there; it cannot go further than the observation of the Fact.

Analogy, seizing these facts and treating them by generalization, that is to say, by the method opposed to the method of the detail, formulates thus the phenomena:

  • The lung receives from the outside something that it transforms.
  • The stomach receives from the outside something that it transforms.
  • Therefore, the lung and the stomach, exercising an analogous function, are analogous to each other.

These conclusions will appear more than bizarre to men devoted to the study of details; but if they remember this new branch of anatomy that is called philosophical anatomy, if they recall the analogy perfectly established between the arm and the leg, the hand and the foot, then they will see that the method that led me to the above conclusions is only the development of what preceded the birth of philosophical anatomy.

If I have chosen as an example the analogy between the lung and the stomach, it is to guard against an error that is made very often and which closes to everyone the knowledge of the Hermetic texts. That is the belief that two analogous things are similar.

That is completely false: two analogous things are no more similar than the lung and the stomach, or the hand and the foot. I repeat that this remark is one that is no longer important for the study of occult sciences.

The analogical method is therefore neither deduction nor induction; it is the usage of the clarity that results from the union of these two methods.

If you want to know a monument, two means are available to you:

  • Go around or rather crawl around the monument while studying its smallest details. You will thereby know the composition of its smallest parts, the relations that they affect between them, and so on; but you will have no idea of the wholeness of the edifice. This is the use of induction.
  • Go up to a high point and look at your monument the best that is possible for you. You will thereby have a general idea of its wholeness; but without the least idea of the details. This is the use of deduction.

The flaw of these two methods jumps to the eyes without the need for numerous commentaries. Each one of them lacks what the other possesses. Reunite them and the truth will be produced resoundingly. Study the details and then go to the top and begin again so that it will be necessary, you will know your edifice perfectly. Unite the method of the physicist to that of the metaphysician and you will give rise to the method of analogy, the real expression of the ancient synthesis.

To do only metaphysics like the theologian is as wrong as doing only physics like the physicist. Build the noumenon on the phenomenon and the truth will appear!

What to conclude from all that? It is necessary to conclude from it that the challenging book, in its critical part, demonstrates for all time the vanity of philosophical methods with regard to the explanation of the phenomena of high physics, and demonstrates the necessity to constantly keep in front of you the abstraction with the observation of the phenomena, condemning irrevocably in advance everything that remains in pure phenomenalism or rationalism.

We have just taken a new step in the study of ancient science by determining the existence of this absolutely special method but that must not yet be enough for us. Indeed, let us not forget that the goal that we pursue is the explanation, however rudimentary that it is otherwise, of all the symbols and of all these reputedly mysterious allegorical stories.

When, in speaking of the analogy between the lung and the stomach, we generalized the facts discovered by experimental or inductive science, we have elevated these facts by one degree.

So, I am asked if there are degrees between the phenomena and the noumena.

It suffices from a little observation in order to realize that many facts are governed by a small number of laws. It is by the study of these laws considered under the name of secondary causes that the works of the sciences bring.

But these secondary causes are themselves governed by a very restricted number of first causes. The study of the latter is moreover perfectly disdained by contemporary sciences which, relegated to the domain of sensory truths, abandon their research to the dreamers of all schools and all religions. However, it is there that Science resides.

We have not have to argue for the moment who is right and who is wrong; it is sufficient to note the existence of this triple gradation:

  • Infinite domain of FACTS.
  • More restricted domain of LAWS or secondary causes.
  • More restricted domain of PRINCIPLES or first causes.

We can summarize all this in a diagram:

analogy pyramid

This gradation, based on the number Three, plays a considerable role in ancient science. It is on it that is largely based the domain of analogy. We must also pay some attention to its developments.

These three terms are found in man in the body, life, and will.

Any part whatever of the body, a finger for example, can be removed from the influence of the will without ceasing to live (radial or ulnar paralysis); it can moreover be, by gangrene, removed from the influence of life without ceasing to move.

There are therefore three distinct domains: the domain of the body, the domain of life exercising its action by means of a series of special drives (the great sympathetic, vasomotor nerves) and localized in the blood corpuscle. The domain of the will acting through the special drives (voluntary nerves) and having no influence on the organs essential to the maintenance of life.

We can, before going further, see the utility of the analogical method for clarifying certain obscure points, and this is how:

If any thing whatever is analogous to another, all the parts of which that thing is composed are analogous to the corresponding parts of the other.

In this way, the ancients established that man was analogical to the Universe. For that reason, they called man the microcosm (small world) and the Universe the macrocosm (large world). It follows that, in order to know the flow of life in the Universe, it suffices to study the vital flow in man, and reciprocally, in order to know the details of the birth, growth, and death of a man, it is necessary to study the same phenomena in the world.

All that will appear quite mystical to some, quite obscure to others; also, I ask you to have patience and to refer to the following chapter where all the necessary explanations on this subject are found.

The State before the Fall

In the right order of nature, the flesh is subject to the spirit and not the reverse. ~ The Cloud of Unknowing

In Letter III: The Empress of The Meditations on the Tarot, we learn the three effects of the Fall of Adam:

  • toil
  • suffering
  • death
Arcanum After the Fall Replaced Before the Fall
Magician Toil Mystical Union with God The mystical spontaneity of the first Arcanum is that relationship between man and God which was before the Fall.
High Priestess Suffering Directly reflected revelation or gnosis The gnosis of the second Arcanum is that consciousness which was before the Fall.
Empress Death domain of life or creative, sacred magic Sacred magic is that life which was before the Fall.

With these clues, we can return to the first Arcanum of the Magician to unpack it. First of all, the principle of this Arcanum underlies all the others, viz.,

The connection between personal effort and spiritual reality

More specifically, the Magician reveals the practical method for this relationship to the other Arcana. It is insufficient to know cognitively; personal effort is also required. The fundamental principle of esoterism, which shows the way to the experience of the reality of the spirit:

  • Learn at first concentration without effort
  • transform work into play
  • make every yoke that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light

Hence the first practical task is to learn concentration, which is “the suppression of the fluctuations of the mental substance” (Patanjali). In practical terms, these fluctuations are the intellectual and sensual imagery that occupies our minds. The arise spontaneously, scattering attention; that is the opposite of concentration.

Calm and silence are the conditions for concentration, when the mind is free of the spontaneously arising images. Therefore, the cultivation of inner silence is the necessary prelude to any meditation on the Tarot.

If the Magician—the first Arcanum—underlies all the other Arcana, then the World—the last Arcanum—unifies all the other Arcanum into a Whole. However, it is not so simple, since the World, when analyzed, actually comprises four Worlds. These four worlds are the background for psychurgical practice, leading from the Fallen state to the State before the Fall. These worlds can be characterized like this:

  • Action: The world of sensual and intellectual imagery.
  • Formation: The destruction of this imagery, i.e., the emptying of the mind
  • Creation: The Silence necessary to receive Revelation from above
  • Emanation: Pure creative activity

Do you see how this ties in with the esoteric principle of the Magician?

In the fallen state, the mind is perturbed with the spontaneously arising fluctuations of sensual and intellectual imagery. In this state, the mind is attached to the lowest plane of toil, suffering, and death, as it cannot conceive of anything superior.

The practice of the destruction of this imagery leads to the next plane of awareness, the world of Formation. This is the task of concentration. However, this task is no longer experienced as toil; on the contrary it is effortless.

When Calm and Silence are achieved, we can enter into the world of Creation. Without Silence, knowledge require suffering: intellectual doubt, moral quandaries, illusions. However, in this state, gnosis is possible since a calm consciousness is the perfect reflection of the revelation from above.

In the fallen state, the World is experienced as oppressive, a system of unchanging laws, the plaything of ineluctable destiny. In the world of Creation, life returns, and the world is understood once again as a creative work of art. This means, in the end, that the Universe is Open. It cannot be encapsulated in any system of laws, or scientific theory, or in a catechism. This is how the project begins, although it never ends:

The Arcana of the Tarot are magic, mental, psychic and moral operations awakening new notions, ideas, sentiments and aspirations, which means to say that they require an activity more profound than that of study and intellectual explanation. It is therefore in a state of deep contemplation—and always ever deeper—that they should be approached. And it is the deep and intimate layers of the soul which become active and bear fruit when one meditates on the Arcana of the Tarot. Therefore this “night”, of which St. John of the Cross speaks, is necessary, where one withdraws oneself “in secret” and into which one has to immerse oneself each time that one meditates on the Arcana of the Tarot. It is a work to be accomplished in solitude and is all the more suitable for recluses.

Prolegomena to the Minor Arcana

The second part of Letter XXII on The World deals with the Minor Arcana. It describes a program to follow, both in terms of knowledge and inner work, in order to approach the Minor Arcana. This is an outline that highlights the main points of that program.

The Four Worlds

The Minor Arcana deals with the complete Cabbala of four complete trees, corresponding to four distinct, but interpenetrating, worlds.

Thus, the 10 Sephiroth of each world are represented by the pip cards of its corresponding suit.

Moreover, the four elements have a role in each world. The elements are represented by the four face cards of each suit.

The following diagram shows how the elements are represented in the Sephiroth, and the chart summarizes all these relationships.
4 worlds

Cabala World Philosophy Element Suit Figure
Azilut Emanation Pantheism Fire Wands King
Beriah Creation Theism Air Cups Queen
Yetzirah Formation Demiurgism Water Swords Knight
Assiyyah Action Naturalism Earth Pentacles Knave
World Sacred Name Method Cause Ascent Stage
Azilut Yod Mysticism Efficient Creative Activity Perfection or Mystical Union
Beriah He Gnosis Formal Spiritual Activity Illumination
Yetzirah Vau Magic Material Destruction of the imagery Purification
Assiyyah He Hermetic philosophy Final Intellectual and sensual imagery Preparation

The Tetragrammaton

The four suits are also related to the letters of the Sacred Name.

Each plane, or world, has its own methodology of knowledge, which needs to be appropriate to its object.

These methods are: Mysticism, Gnosis, Magic, and Hermetic philosophy.

Causation is understood in a specific way for each world. These are Efficient Cause, Formal Cause, Material Cause, Final Cause.

The Efficient Cause is the Will of God that starts the World Process. From that perspective, the world is an emanation of God.

The Formal Cause is the Essence of Beings, through which all things are made. This involves a separation from God, so Theism is its philosophy.

The Material Cause is the Substance of Beings, from which they are made. This is like the Demiurge that constructs the world from matter in conformity to the Ideas.

The Final Cause refers to the purpose of beings.

(Note: There is an apparent inconsistency in the text about these causes, since Levi’s system is a little different. However, this system seems to me to be more complete.)

Psychurgical Practice

The Major Arcana constitute a teaching program. Their purpose is to awaken consciousness to the laws and forces which are at work beneath the moral, intellectual, and phenomenological surface.

The Minor Arcana require psychurgical practice, i.e., the transformation of consciousness rising from plane to plane. Hence, they are much more than an intellectual puzzle. They require a change of consciousness, which is why we start at the lowest world.

The Minor Arcana require the analysis, synthesis, and elaboration of the Major Arcana as applied to the planes of consciousness. There are 22 paths between the Sephiroth, which correspond to the Major Arcana. Some systems try to work along those paths.

The Ascent of Consciousness

The World of Action is dominated by intellectual and sensual imagery. Although they are not fully illusory, they are also not fully images of reality.

Consciousness is surrounded by memories of experiences, intellectual schemes, and moral ideals.

Psychurgical practice is the ascent from this world to higher worlds. So the first step is to free the mind from is attachments to these mental constructions, which obscure any higher knowledge.

Further Considerations

There are three main points.

  • Practice the emptying of imagery, also called unknowing.
  • Learn to recognize the occult forces behind moral and intellectual movements in the world, and how they manifest.
  • Meditate of the manifestation of the Sephiroth in the world. E.g., what is the Kingdom in the world of Action, what is the Crown? What is considered Wisdom and Beauty in this world? And  so on.

The Minor Arcana

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. ~ Isaiah 43:7

These are the meeting notes for 15 January 2018.

We reviewed the topics and themes that we discussed over the past year:

  • Solovyov, Berdyaev, Bergson, Jung
  • Dante
  • Boehme
  • Concentration without effort
  • Second birth, initiation
  • Centering prayer, meditation, Aurobindo
  • Spiritual vision. Based on Thomas Aquinas and the Law of correspondence. How our sensory experience corresponds to a spiritual reality
  • Hinze, Gichtel, Chakras and the planets

We then discussed possible themes:

After discussion and thoughtful meditation, we decided to make the study of the Minor Arcana as the group project. This will incorporate all the themes discussed to this point; moreover, it will also bring into play the other possible themes listed above.

Of course, as we learned in our Bodhisattva studies, this is best accomplished as the union of Intellectuality and Spirituality. Hence, our meditations must be on something concrete. Specifically, everything must be tested to separate what is of God from what is from “sins, whims, and personal ideas”. Initially, it will not be systematic; each one of us should follow his own interests first. There is no particular hurry.

Since each suit corresponds to a Cabbalistic world, it is necessary to be clear about the characteristics of each of those worlds. In order to provide some background, I will provide this introduction to the worlds, along with some suggestions for further study.

Then, within that world, the pip cards will correspond to the Sephiroth. The picture cards have a different purpose. Furthermore, the worlds interpenetrate, so that the Sephiroth at one level may have a different connotation from the world above or below it.

Keep in mind that the passage from Isaiah from the epigraph reveals the nature of the four worlds.

Azilut (Emanation). This is the unchanging divine world. One is called to that world, as Beatrice called to Dante. This should begin with the Trinity. Eckhart’s and Boehme’s understanding of the Trinity are helpful, as is Solovyov’s as described in Lectures on Divine Humanity.

Sophia, too, as Wisdom appears here. There is a collection of Solovyov’s writings and descriptions of his encounters with Sophia. Bulgakov wrote a short book as an introduction to Sophia.

Mouravieff may have something to add on these ideas.

Beriah (Creation). This is the world beyond space-time, pure consciousness, or Heaven. The world of the higher angels. Pure spirit or thought. Some philosophers have attained to an understanding of this level.

Relating to the named angels may be helpful, starting with Metatron. Dionysius on the Celestial Hierarchy, also St. Bonaventura. The Meditations mention two works by Rudolf Steiner.

Yetzirah (Formation). This the Corporeal world. Also Eden. I’ve found that Wolfgang Smith’s distinction between the Corporeal and Physical worlds is very helpful. He shows that the corporeal world of our ordinary experience, is on a higher plane than the material world studied by physicists.

The features of the body at this level are: Impassibility, Subtlety, Agility, Clarity. (Look them up if you don’t know them.)

Boehme’s description of the Fall of Adam and Eve may be helpful, in showing the transition from corporeality to physicality.

Assiyyah (Action or making). This is the world of man’s making, a factitious world. After the fall he became dense and acquired a material body (“coats of skin”). The upper part of this world is the natural psyche relating to the lower intellectual and emotional centers. Then the descent is to sensations, instincts and the body itself.

Dreaming in the Dog Days

But when the artichoke flowers, and the chirping grasshopper sits in a tree and pours down his shrill song continually from under his wings in the season of wearisome heat, then goats are plumpest and wine sweetest; women are most wanton, but men are feeblest, because Sirius parches head and knees and the skin is dry through heat. ~ Hesiod

In the midst of a restless sleep during a stultifying dog day night, following a massive hurricane, I was entertained by a dream. As I pulled into my driveway, I noticed by two closest college friends with a young boy waiting for me. Although they were my friends, they were not friends with each other. On the contrary, each represented a different, mutually incompatible, trajectory of my life. B. had been my friend since grammar school. As such, he represented the conserving element of my past, the drag of inertia. R., on the other hand, was a new friend; together we explored the lifestyle choices of the social upheavals of that era.

Being a trickster, I resolved to deceive them. Pretending not to know them, I casually asked if they had been sent to clear my windshield. To my surprise, they did not recognize me. R. was suspicious and went into my car to look for clues regarding my real identity.

Following him, I found a text and opened it. A secret was revealed to me about the Tarot. I learned I was not in the land where the centre is everywhere. I read the next paragraph, but had trouble understanding it. Multi-coloured balls were dancing around the final word. It was somewhat confusing and I wondered how they could possibly know that to be true. Unfortunately I cannot now recall the word. I suddenly awoke, and the ideas for this essay rushed into my head; I’m afraid I will leave out something essential.

The Crown of Creation

Ace of Pentacles
According to Valentin Tomberg, the Minor Arcana represent an extension to the final Major Arcanum, The World. As such, they represent an ascent, known as Jacob’s Ladder.

The Minor Arcana of the Tarot represent the way of ascent from consciousness belonging to the world of action (the phenomenal world) through the world of formation and the world of creation to the world of emanation.

The suit of Pentacles corresponds to Assiah, or the World of Action. This is the mixed, or dualistic world. Not fully God’s creation, it is the result of Adam’s fall. It is ruled by Satan, the Prince of the World. Tomberg explains:

The world of our experience is the phenomenal manifestation of both the world created by the Word and the evolutionary world of the serpent.

This world is the world of images, intellectual constructions, and imagined ideals. However, these are not liberating, but rather keep humanity enthralled. Boris Mouravieff describes it this way:

Dreamlike imagination, which is somnolent, comes from the Absolute III, and is also found to a certain degree in animals: it is a passive force. The latter form of imagination, the ‘dream of the sleeping serpent’, produces a hypnotic effect on man, keeping him in the state in which the vast majority of humans pass their lives.

Tomberg agrees:

It is the Serpent who is the prince of this world, and who is the author and director of the purely biological evolution following the Fall.

Mouravieff is even clearer on this point.

[Satan] is the Regent of organic life on Earth within the limits of the mental and physical life of the three kingdoms of nature: flora, fauna and man. He dominates them by the action of sexual energy in the four phases of life: conception, birth, growth and finally reproduction. This sexual energy is the dynamic expression of his Love, which is carnal Love, while the spiritual life, which is accessible to man through the mediation of his higher centres, remains outside the sphere of the [World of Action].

His task is thus limited and he carries it out, as we said, by the sexual Love which emanates from him, by the force of attraction between the sexes, and by Illusion, the dreams of the sleeping young Serpent. The current of his Love acts like a drug on both man and woman and, in its different forms, keeps them in a hypnotic state from puberty to the end of their days.

The Sephiroth

For preparation, the first step is to identify the qualities of the Sephiroth as they appear in the World of Action. The loss of “vertical consciousness”, i.e., direct consciousness of the Divine, colours our experiences. By forgetting the vertical, the World of Action seems to be self-sufficient and independent of any transcendent foundation. Thus, the philosophy of naturalism – along with its children materialism, positivism, and atheism – seems a reasonable way to understand this world. Hence, some of the sephiroth might be described this way.

  • 6 Beauty. Beauty is sensual and the images of beauty keep us in a dreamlike state. The beauty of nature ties us to the desire for experience. The beauty of people excites the desire for biological evolution, even past the time when that makes any sense.
  • 5 Justice. Justice is the restoration of equilibrium. So in a dispute, Justice would resolve the two points of view with reference to the Will of God. In the World of Action, humanity replaces God, so that man determines what is good or evil. Since there is no belief in transcendence, Justice devolves into a power struggle between the parties.
  • 4 Mercy. In vertical consciousness, Mercy is oriented toward the supernatural end of man. When that awareness is lost, Mercy is oriented toward man’s natural goals.
  • 3 Intellect. The Intellect is dominated by Science. The aim of the Intellect is not to know higher things, but rather to provide the understanding to manipulate nature.
  • 2 Wisdom. There is no true Wisdom. Rather, cunning, slyness, and artfulness are considered to be the hallmarks of Wisdom.

Of course, a meditation of on the Minor Arcana would have to develop similar ideas more deeply. The pip cards correspond to the ten sephiroth.

What about the Crown of the World of Action, the Ace of Pentacles? For most of humanity, life in the Assiah is a difficult struggle. It is bounded by toil, disease, pain, and death. Even during the good times, their presence casts a shadow over life, and they seem to impinge at the most inopportune times.

Nevertheless, at any time there are those who seem to have mastered life. They have physical beauty, sex appeal, intelligence, ability, health, fame, and, of course, sufficient fortune so that the cost of anything never needs to be considered. They become the objects of envy. I’m sure you can name many such people, but I’ll mention two quite different men, if you consider them objectively: George Clooney and Donald Trump. And there are those who suddenly appear, almost out of nowhere, like Jennifer Lawrence.

Everyone desires that life of leisure, and their images are everywhere. They keep us in a hypnotic state, since very few will ever meet such success. In the Mebes Tarot system, the Ace of Pentacles represents Wealth, both Inner and Outer. Outer wealth is visible and comprehensible to the masses.

Inner wealth signifies what must be given up in order to climb the ladder. Idle wealth is useless, rather it must be what is paid. Now, the Crown of the World of Action is related to the Tiphereth of the World of Formation. That latter is represented by the 6 of Swords, which symbolises the Science of Success.

The Seven Sleepers

This morning, I was dreaming about the Seven Sleepers. In the dream, I was communicating via thought about how we would know when to wake up together. Then we all woke up.

The Star of the Magi

Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are. ~ St. Augustine of Hippo

As was mentioned in Salvation and Evolution last month, it is worthwhile to repeat this:

Our time makes an appeal to the collective endeavour of Hermetists of today to make a third summary, which will be for our time what the Tarot was for the Middle Ages and what the Emerald Tablet was for antiquity. Thus, just as the Emerald Tablet saved the essence of ancient wisdom, and just as the Tarot saved the essence of medieval wisdom, across the deluges which occurred in the time that separates us from them, may the essence of modern wisdom be saved in a spiritual “Noah’s ark” from the deluge which is going to come, and may it thereby be transmitted to the future, just as the essence of ancient wisdom and that of medieval wisdom has been transmitted to us by means of the Emerald Tablet and the Major Arcana of the Tarot. The tradition of Hermetism blossomed in the past and must live in the future. This is why a new, modern summary is required, which will be as viable as the Emerald Tablet and as the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

It is all too easy to forget that the intention of the Tarot is to preserve Hermetic wisdom. It is an example of objective art, since its symbolism will open itself up to those with the developed intuition to grasp its deeper meaning. Without that, the cards become subjective and arbitrary. So in “our time”, we see a multitude of variously themed decks of cards that have no connection at all to Hermetic teachings, but merely reflect the personal judgments of the artist.

In the Letter on the Fool, Valentin Tomberg reveals his experiences in 1920 with the group who had studied the Tarot with the Russian esoterist Gregory Ottonovitch Mebes. Although his claim to have surpassed their understanding of the Tarot is certainly true, the echoes of that original impulse can still be heard in the meditations.

The Spiritual Battle

Mouni Sadhu had also encountered some members of Mebes’ groups and even hinted at an initiation into the Martinist Order. His book on the Tarot is strongly based on the notes he had from that group. As such, that book is interesting as a framework for the Meditations. Sadhu’s book is analogous to the chord progression and the Meditations are like jazz riffs over those chords.
Star of the Magi
Each Arcanum in the Mebes Tarot deck has three levels of interpretation: archetype, human, nature. It also has a scientific name as well as a common name. For example, the full name of Arcanum 17 is the Star of the Magi. The Magi come up in passing in the Meditations through their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The three levels of this Arcanum are:

  • Hope
  • Intuition
  • Natural Divination

Each of these levels corresponds to the knowledge of the three cosmic forces explained by Fabre d’Olivet:

  • Providence. Supernatural Hope is the knowledge of God’s promises.
  • Will. Intuition is knowledge without thinking.
  • Destiny. Also Fate or Karma. Natural Divination is our knowledge of the physical world.

This is how Sadhu describes this Arcanum:

It is not sufficient to be logically convinced under all circumstances, often Hope is necessary. It is not enough to enforce our will astrally, we should also have tact and intuition. It is not enough to know that Fate is pitiless on the physical plane, but it may be useful to know how to foresee its forms by the use of divinatory methods.

Alfred North Whitehead in Process and Reality describes how those forces interact to create new experiences. At each moment, the accumulation of the past exercises a strong influence to prevent change. God’s influence is also present as a creative, but not coercive, lure. Finally, the human Will acts on those possibilities of manifestation at each occasion.

Our knowledge of the physical world is through science and discursive thinking. However, intuition is our knowledge of higher things. That is why the Arcanum of the Star is about intuition, as it reveals aspects of Reality unknown to science. Sadhu explains:

Providence illuminates the present with its Light. … Hope acts and radiates its rays throughout the darkest corners of our consciousness.

Tomberg identifies this light with Hope:

The light-force which emanates from the star … is hope. … Hope is not something subjective. It is a light-force that radiates objectively and directs creative evolution towards the world’s future.

However, it does not act alone but requires humanity’s cooperation. Sadhu, too, recognizes human evolution, but only:

If humanity’s will is allied with the enlightening influence of Destiny, then it is stronger than Fate. In such cases, the history of humanity has an evolutionary character.

That is the only valid path. Unfortunately, there are false paths that lead to destruction: viz., denying the influence of Destiny, denying the voice of Providence, or even succumbing to Fate.

The latter keeps the will asleep, leading to resignation, routine, quietism, or fatalism. Dualism, on the other hand, awakens the will. Specifically, there must be a Yes and a No, the Will is forced to choose. Without the awareness of a spiritual battle, the Will remains asleep. Johann Fichte’s recognized this very clearly. Bryan Magee summarizes Fichte’s insight:

For morality to be possible there must be a choice, and for choice to be a possibility for me it is necessary that something should exist other than my self. Similarly, for moral action to be a possibility for me, there needs to be some challenge, something that exists in opposition to my self, or at least something that is a potential obstruction to my activity. So if I am to be a moral being at all it is necessary that there should be a world which is not me, a world of objects which can obstruct me. On the basis of this central argument Fichte evolved a philosophy according to which what is primal and original is the noumenal moral will, and this will begins into existence the phenomenal world as the requisite field for the self-objectification of moral activity.

This is represented by the two vases, which are poured into the same stream. Tomberg laments:

Here is the tragedy of human life and mankind’s history and cosmic evolution. The flow of continuity in heredity, tradition and lastly evolution bears not only all that which is healthy, noble, holy and divine of the past, but also all that which was infectious, vile, blasphemous and diabolical. All is borne pell-mell, never ending, towards the future.

There must be righteous Anger against the latter qualities, as well as the Courage to choose the former. Together, those are the daughters of Hope, which “transforms the future into promise.” That promise ultimately is the City of God, the state of Reintegration prior to the duality exposed by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The Light of Hope

To live in the light of Hope is to reject the sleep of Fate. Fate is the Eternal Return, in which nothing is new, but is merely the Past repeating itself indefinitely. On the contrary, Tomberg reminds us:

Each day is a unique event and revelation which will never be repeated.

This is compatible with Rene Guenon’s claim that the same state of existence cannot be repeated, as that would be tantamount to the denial of God’s Infinitude.

Fortune Telling

The Patzer’s of Hermetism remain mired in the residues such as the various forms of Divination or the material tasks of the Alchemists. Mouni Sadhu acknowledges that “Everything in the Universe is mutually connected and bound together or interwoven.” Hope, Intuition, and Destiny – as we pointed out – occur at every moment. Regarding Fate or Karma, Sadhu acknowledges:

Karma reveals its mysteries and secrets to us every hour, every minute, and every second. For every one of us these mysteries are written in the starry sky (astrology), on our skulls (phrenology), on our faces (physiognomy) and on our hands (chiromancy). Karma unveils itself in every one of our movements, in the smallest of realisations (graphology, cartomancy) and so on.

The practice of these techniques requires an intuition to experience images. Although many may have such experiences, Sadhu points out that the main difficulty is not the obtaining of such visions, but rather the art of interpreting them. This is only possible through the full domination of the mind which requires the power of concentration. This is a rare quality.

Recently, I read a comment that claimed that someone with such divinatory powers would become wealthy. That shows an ignorance of the methods of the esoteric sciences, as she can conceive them only in the manner of the secular sciences, which are open to anyone. On the other hand, the mastery of the esoteric sciences requires the moral purification of the will. If such powers are used for egotistical motives or monetary gains, they are likely to be lost. Hence, the charging of money for Tarot card readings should be suspect.

Ultimately, Sadhu rejects such divinatory practices, because they are restricted to the level of Fate or Destiny. They leave out both the person’s free will and God’s Providence from the vision of the future.

The Synthesis of Science and Religion

Tomberg asserts that the synthesis of science and religion if the task and mission of Hermetism. Those who like to play at Hermetism remain obsessed with the early material tasks of the Alchemists: the philosopher’s stone, the elixir of life, the panacea, the transmutation of metals, all in their private laboratory. Tomberg offers an alternative.

It is the world which has become the alchemical laboratory, just as it has become the mystical oratory.

This is not the failure of alchemy, but rather its triumph. This new alchemy is the synthesis of salvation and evolution, which is expressed in three ways:

The work of all those who taught a way —

  • the mystical and spiritual way of purification, illumination and union, or
  • the historical and social way of the progress of civilisation through social and moral justice, or
  • the biological way of evolution from the sphere of chemical elements to the sphere of living organisms and from the sphere of living organisms to that of beings endowed with thought and word

— the work of all these, I say, which teaches us a way of individual and collective perfection, is now resplendent in the rainbow of the synthesis of salvation and evolution, the rainbow of mankind’s hope.

Safeguarding the Mysteries

Klein Bottle
Spiritual questions, or debates over the superiority this of that tradition, can be resolved neither by personal predilections nor by empirical and historical considerations. These issues can only be addressed from the understanding of metaphysical principles. It is curious, though symptomatic of the contemporary human situation, that everyone feels competent to opine on spiritual and political matters, although they would not dare to say anything at all about quantum physics or algebraic topology, topics much simpler to understand.

One such principle is that knowledge is being, “to know is to be”. In order to know something of spiritual depth, one must become deep oneself. Frithjof Schuon wrote a book titled The Transcendent Unity of Religions, the point of which is that although on the human plane, different religions may diverge widely, at the level of principle, they must needs converge. Thus, for example, the Catholic monk Thomas Merton can rightly claim that he has more in common with a Zen monk than he does with the average Catholic in the pew.

Hence, the importance of spiritual practice is more important than just knowing doctrines or philosophies. This is what separates the Metaphysician and the Hermetist from the ordinary philosopher. The great Hermetist of the 20th century, Valentin Tomberg, in the Meditations on the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot makes this clear in the following passage: (p 122, my translation)

The goal of spiritual exercises is depth. It is necessary to become deep in order to be able to achieve the experience and knowledge of deep things. And it is symbolism which is the language of depth — so that these are the arcana expressed by the symbols that are the means and the goal of spiritual exercises, from which the living Tradition of Hermetic Philosophy is composed.

Common spiritual exercises create the common link which unites Hermetists. It is not common knowledge which unites them but rather spiritual exercises and the experiences they entail. If three people from different countries who had used Moses’ Genesis, John’s Gospel, and Ezekiel’s Vision as the subjects of spiritual exercises for several years were to meet, they would do so as brothers even though one knew the history of humanity, the other had the science of healing, and the third was a deep cabbalist.

What they know is the result of personal experience and direction, whereas the depth, the level that they have reached — without regard to the aspect and extent of the knowledge that has been gained — is what they have in common. Hermetism, the Hermetic Tradition, is first and foremost, a certain degree of depth, a certain level of consciousness. And it is spiritual exercises that safeguard it.

Salvation and Evolution

At the conclusion to the Meditation on the Arcanum of the Star, Valentin Tomberg makes the following appeal:

In our time, therefore, it is a matter of the task of effecting the third step of the evolutionary spiral of the Hermetic tradition — the third “recovery” of the subject of the Emerald Tablet. Our time makes an appeal to the collective efforts of Hermetists of today to make a third summary, which will be for our time what the Tarot was for the Middle Ages and what the Emerald Tablet was for antiquity… This is why a new, modern summary is required, which will be as viable as the Emerald Tablet and as the Major Arcana of the Tarot.

With this, Tomberg exhorts us to move past the Tarot and to reformulate Hermetic wisdom in a contemporary way. Nay, it is not he but our Mother who exhorts us to our duty to the future. That is the message of the woman in the Star:

It is she who is the Mother of the Future, and this is why her message confronts us with duty towards the future—the duty of the river of the unbroken Tradition. It is necessary for us to make efforts to comply with this!

In this Letter Tomberg relates Salvation to Evolution. Salvation is from the Father and tells us “what”: the Mystery of Salvation through the Son. The Mysteries of the Mother tells us “how”: through biological and spiritual evolution. That is, salvation comes from above, the eternal, the timeless, while evolution is the projection of salvation onto the dimension of time. In the following passage, Tomberg gives us a number of predecessors whose collected efforts teach us the synthesis of Salvation and Evolution.

But let us not forget that this synthesis of today has had its history, and that this is due also to “labor pains”. It was born after a long series of continuous efforts from century to century:

  • the effort of Heraclitus, the philosopher of the perpetual change of matter;
  • that of the Gnostics, who made the drama of the fall and return of Sophia Achamoth resound in human history;
  • that of St. Augustine, the father of the philosophy of history, who brought to light the twofold current in mankind’s history—the “City of Man” and the “City of God”;
  • that of the alchemising Hermetic thinkers who affirmed and re-affirmed untiringly the principle of the transformability of the base into the noble;
  • that of Martinez de Pasqually, who wrote his Traité de la reintegration des êtres (“Treatise on the Reintegration of Beings”);
  • that of Fabre d’Olivet, the author of L’histoire philosophique du genre humain (“Philosophical History of the Human Race”), showing the dynamic operation of the triangle destiny-freedom-providence in mankind’s history;
  • that of H. P. Blavatsky, who added and opposed to Charles Darwin’s materialistic evolution a breath-taking vision of the spiritual evolution of the universe;
  • that of Rudolf Steiner, who emphasized that the center of gravity of spiritual-cosmic evolution – to know Jesus Christ – is also not far from Teilhard de Chardin‘s “Omega point”);

All these efforts have contributed —in a visible or invisible manner —to the synthesis of today. They live, all together, in the contemporary synthesis of evolution and salvation, which is the fruit of this collective effort from century to century. ~ Valentin Tomberg, Letter XVII: The Star [corrected translation]

The Philosophical History of the Human Race

The temptation is to get “stuck” on the Tarot, collecting different versions, and so on, whereas our real task is to understand, develop, explain, and expound on the contents of the Letters. To that end, this post will focus on Fabre d’Olivet’s contribution to the synthesis in his Philosophical History of the Human Race. Need I repeat here that Tomberg regarded this history as the most lucid he had encountered?

Note that his is a “philosophical” history, not an exact sequential reproduction as profane historians try to write. Instead, he relies on his powers of Creative Imagination, which Tomberg describes as reading the Akashic record. There are many theories of history, e.g., the Marxist, the Freudian, racial, materialistic, and so on, but Fabre relies instead of his precise understanding of the three Forces that actually motivate the world process, which we previously described in Providence, Will, Destiny.

  • Destiny
  • Will
  • Providence

Corresponding to those macrocosmic forces, there are these three spheres of life:

  • Instinctive (necessities): sensation, instinct, common sense
  • Animistic (passions): sentiment, understanding, reason
  • Intellectual (inspirations): assent, intelligence, sagacity

These spheres are not fully developed in all human beings. Fabre describes the evolution of man as the progress from the instinctive life based on sensation and motivated by attraction or fear, through the animistic life, and finally to the fully human life of the Intellect or Intuition. Of course, that is not the same as discursive thought which is still in the animistic sphere.

However, the development of the intellect cannot happen automatically, mechanistically, or deterministically. Fabre d’Olivet explains:

Nothing was made in advance with him, although everything was determined there in principle. Providence, whose work he was, willed that he should develop himself freely and that nothing should be forced in him.

The Coming Deluge

With this esoteric key, Fabre explains the development of Marriage, social and political structures, commerce, justice, and so on. In an upcoming post, we will summarize his main points. The Deluge is coming. This is the loss of Tradition and the forgetfulness of esoteric or Hermetic knowledge, which is leading us backwards toward our animal and instinctive natures. The collective ignorance of the human race regards that as “progress”, the liberation from social and religious structures that have sustained the human race, bringing Salvation to many.

Signs of the Deluge: Instead of justice, right is established by force. In place of impartial knowledge, there is a battle of opinions, each held with passionate intensity. The Emerald Tablet saved the essence of ancient Wisdom, and the Tarot saved the essence of Medieval Wisdom. The task of preserving modern wisdom requires a new “Noah’s Ark”, whose form is yet to be determined.

Psychurgical Practice

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. ~ Isaiah 43:7

While pondering the Minor Arcana, I took some time to investigate some more popular treatments of the Tarot. What they have in common is the emphasis on various “layouts” followed by the interpretation of the cards dealt out at random. The suits are arbitrarily assigned to various life areas. For example, one suit may refer to one’s “love life”, another to financial situations, and so on. Thus they are fundamentally limited to the psychological realm, to “improving” one’s life, or to gaining self-knowledge, not via one’s own powers, but rather through an intermediary.

The latter is the most important. There is passivity, in that the “cards” will “reveal” something to me. We will see that, instead, the ultimate goal is “pure creative activity”. That is, we must become the active force in our life, and revelation will come from above, not through chit chat around the cards.

The Kabbalistic Worlds

We are given a much different directive in the Meditations on the Tarot. There we learn that the Minor Arcana serve as an extension to the World Arcanum, and the world is best understood via the symbolism of the Kabbalah.

Hence, the pip cards correspond to the various sephiroth, with the Ace relating to the Kether up to the 10 at Malkuth. The four worlds and their relationship to the Minor Arcana can be summarized in this table:

Cabala World Philosophy Element Suit Figure
Azilut Emanation Pantheism Fire Wands King
Beriah Creation Theism Air Cups Queen
Yetzirah Formation Demiurgism Water Swords Knight
Assiyyah Action Naturalism Earth Pentacles Knave

The four worlds can be represented in the basic Tree of Life in the following diagram.
4 worlds
However, that does not explain the suits, since in that diagram a single suit would suffice. Therefore, there must be a Tree of Life for each of the worlds. In that case, each suit corresponds to the Tree for a world. Now, analogously to the diagram above, the four worlds are hierarchically arranged. They are not merely stacked, but they overlay and interpenetrate each other. Specifically, the Tiphareth of one world is the Kether of the world beneath it.

The single tree diagram explains the figure cards. Each world is reflected in the other worlds, through the system of triads in each world (except the Malkuth).


In the Letter on the World, we read that the purpose of the Minor Arcana is “psychurgical practice”. Here are two definitions of psychurgy, one from the Oxford English Dictionary and the other from the text itself.

OED definition: The ability to understand and enhance the structure, operation, and capabilities of the mind through thinking and self-analysis; the study of this considered as a science.

MoTT definition: The transformation of consciousness rising from plane to plane, i.e., from the plane of action to the plane of emanation.

Jacob’s Ladder

The Minor Arcana represent the way of ascent of consciousness from the phenomenal, physical world up to the world of emanation. These degrees can be summarized like this:

  • Action: The world of sensual and intellectual imagery.
  • Formation: The destruction of this imagery, i.e., the emptying of the mind
  • Creation: The Silence necessary to receive Revelation from above
  • Emanation: Pure creative activity

This is also known as Jacob’s Ladder.

Hence, a complete meditation on the Minor Arcana will start with the Malkuth of Action (the Ten of Pentacles) and end with the Kether of Emanation (the Ace of Wands). That does not include the figure cards.

I’ve made an attempt at a meditation in The Middle Pillar. Of course, it needs to be greatly expanded.

Esoteric Meaning of Action

In order to start with the world of action, we should be clear about its meaning. The world of formation (God formed Adam from clay) is the Garden of Eden. The Fall, then, is into the world of action. The exoteric teaching is that Adam disobeyed God, who then expelled Adam from the Garden. The esoteric teaching, as explained in the Zohar, is the contrary: it was Adam who expelled God from the Garden. Wishing to be like a god, he put himself in God’s place. This resulted in the world of action, godless, and in which the philosophy of naturalism makes sense.