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.