Water and the Spirit

If the meaning of the Bateleur is one side of a coin, it must immediately reveal the other side. The letter writer provides several synonyms for the Arcanum of the Bateleur: “intellectual and heart-felt geniousness (“génialité intellectuelle et cordiale”), true spontaneity, and the act of pure intelligence. The pure act is that of the Spirit, it is spontaneous and cannot be controlled. More importantly, it cannot be known directly, but only through its effects, i.e., we become aware of it through its reflection.

Perhaps you have seen photographs in the forest of a very still lake, the trees, clouds, etc., are reflected to perfectly in the reflection off the lake, that it can be a challenge to know if the picture is upside down or not. We are in the position of someone suspended above the lake starting down at it but unable to turn around to look upward. Nevertheless, we can know what is above from what is below. However, if a motorboat crosses lake, causing turbulence, the image immediately becomes distorted and that perfect correspondence has been lost.

Now we know what concentration without effort is. The spirit is the one, the central point of concentration. The world is the many, but united as the reflection of the one spirit. The Arcanum of the High Priestess is that of the reflection of the pure act of intelligence. In other words, the pure act is the Spirit, the active principle, and the reflection is the Soul, the passive principle, which is represented by water. This is the analogical meaning of John 3:5 – “unless  one is born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.” The act of the spirit and its reflection in quiet waters gives us the conscious experience of the Kingdom of God.

Once again, this points us to the reintegrated consciousness, i.e., that before the fall of man. This requires two things: Spirit must become again the divine Breath or Holy Spirit, and the Water must become the Virgin Mary. (NOT “virginal” as translated in the English text.) Now we can understand the analogical meaning of this text from the Creed:

“And by the Holy Spirit [the Lord Jesus Christ] became incarnate of the Virgin Mary.”

Note that this is the analogical meaning of the incarnation, not the “real” meaning. That is, it doesn’t replace the literal meaning, but understands it using the principle of analogy described by the Batelleur. Without the actual incarnation, this understanding would just be philosophical speculation. Without the analogical level, the historical event would be without meaning for us.

So the initiation, the second birth of the Logos in consciousness, requires the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary. The water, i.e., the Soul, must become a perfect mirror. Unfortunately, such as we are, our minds are agitated by the turmoil resulting from the imagination, passions, and personal desires. These are incompatible with real concentration since they scatter the attention of the mind in various directions, destroying the unity of consciousness.

It is as though an imposter self has replaced the Holy Spirit and what we experience in our consciousness are the reflections of this imposter. This imposter keeps a tight grip because the rebirth that we are promised can only seem like a death for him. However, that imposter is not real, but rather a creation of our imaginations, passions, and desires, that we then mistake for our real selves.

This is an ongoing task and not something accomplished immediately after reading the first two letters. To hear the sound of the Holy Spirit, i.e., to consciously experience Him, we must be concentrated, and to be concentrated, we must transcend the turbulences in our soul. Only then can the initiation of rebirth take place.

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