Spiritual Friendship

Aristotle tells us there are three reasons for friendship: good character, utility, or pleasure, though only the first is not defective, so is the only ground for true friends. So to be one of the Unknown friends, we aspire for the same character and knowledge of the author of Meditations on the Tarot. To understand him, we also engage in the Moral Purification of the Will. A true friend is like another “self”, since they have the same character, share in common activities, and work toward the same goals. In the Introduction to the meditations, the author states his goal: to enrich the Hermetic tradition. Thus his true friends have the same goal and work towards that end.

A different kind of friendship is based on utility or pleasure. Thus two friends may cooperate as long as they are useful to each other or bring each other pleasure. However, such a friendship is shallow and usually ends abruptly when one party becomes useless to the other. There are many more such friend of the Meditations than there are true friends. They have their own agendas and their own goals. The Meditations may be useful to them to attract adherents, students, or paying customers. Sincere seekers of true friendship may the author of the Meditations will often be misled on the path, only to suffer disillusionment later on.

Aristotle tells us that one’s true friends will be few. There are not too many who will read a book such as the meditations. Fewer still will embrace it and its goals wholeheartedly. Few among them will actually do the meditations and develop a disinterested moral character. Among these few, it will be difficult for them to find and get to know each other. Nevertheless, these few friends will somehow recognize each other. True friends of the Meditations will help each other understand the text in depth.

I have translated the following passage from Arcana XX: Judgment, where the author explains this. He clearly expects his true Friends to carry on the work that he himself was carrying on from his own friends. In that spirit, this blog wishes carry on that work. Note especially his plea that NO organisation be established to carry on this work. So beware of any group that has goals that differ from the clearly stated goals of the Author. Be leary of anyone who wants to charge you for classes. Question anyone who claims to have inside or special knowledge apart from the text itself. The sure way to an understanding the Meditations is to do the meditations oneself.

Dear Unknown Friend, you who are reading these lines written in 1965 after some 50 years of effort and experience in the field of Hermetism, please do not regard them as a simple wish in support of the progress of Hermetic historicism, but as a legacy making you who read these lines the agent of such a task, provided you consent to it. Therefore, do what you judge to be good, but I implore you not to do just one thing: to found an organisation, an association, a society, or an order which would be encharged with it. For the Tradition lives, not thanks to organisations, but in spite of them. In order to preserve the life of a tradition, friendship pure and simple is necessary; what is not needed is to entrust it to the care of embalmers and mummifiers par excellence which organisations are, except for the one founded by Jesus Christ.

5 Replies to “Spiritual Friendship”

  1. To take care of this work we must forward this work…not in the sense of copying it but extending it (having absorbed its meaning). Each of us may focus on a dimension or area where we have been led to develop and then share the results with each other.

  2. HULLOO!

    I am writing a manuscript, and I’d like to talk with you about my story. Please be in touch, and THANK YOU so much for this blog.


  3. I recently thought about this letter, though in a somewhat different context, and also posted an extract on my blog:


    Nonetheless I wholeheartedly agree with the author’s plea for students to not found schools, orders, societies and so on – closed circles of magick – when we should have our door wide open to the living God, moving in the sacred spiral of spiritual evolution.

    Blessings to you C!


  4. I see it as follows. You can’t institutionalize truth because most organizations regardless of intentions form ideals and fixed images of what they think the truth is. Have a fixed image of how something “should be” is idolatry. Learning to deal and see the infinite depth of the moment is what this teaching is all about. Institutions are part of the “man-made world.” We, who study this material should always be aware of whether we are at any moment in the real world of interpersonal relationships where agape is the highest form or in the “man-made world” which functions more like a game with rules and penalties and fixed desired outcomes. One can play these games but realize they are games only. You can be “in the world but not of the world.” The unknown friend beckons us to always live in the real world despite where you physically are, or physically doing. In that awareness of the “real world” you are open to possibility and to the gifts from heaven that come and it is that awareness that the friendship of agape can only be found.

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