Saturday, December 5, 2015


St. Eustice, by Albrecht Durer

     Occasionally, while I'm doing ordinary things, I unexpectedly fill with a light that radiates from a brilliant crux in the center of my heart. Sometimes, when this happens, the core of light suddenly turns inside out, and I find myself in the middle of the sun. My personality loses meaning while at the same time I stop worrying about what I should do or who I should be.
     Similarly, in the quiet by the Kings River, among snakes and unstable stones and poison oak, I have often lost a clear sense of who I am, only to experience, without effort, another dimension of my self. I keep following paths into the forest until I reach some place where that other part of me surfaces, and I feel a link to the World Soul or Holy Ghost—whatever you wish to name the overarching spirit of the place. That other dimension of my self so often shows up by the Kings River, where I began to love the earth and the moon and know the subtle forces of the sun and the power of the Sun behind the sun.
     In fact, the first time I became filled with light, I was sprawling on a smooth stone at the hole where my Dad and I went fishing a week before he died. I closed my eyes and suddenly I could see my aura lit up like the sun. For many years I had remained stunned and confused by his death. Finally, by that hole, I was experiencing inconsolable grief, as if my real feelings could only surface in the river bottom.
     Whenever I am hungry for light, I follow a Native American path into the Kings River watershed, which includes many creeks and rivulets. Last weekend I returned to the North Fork of the Kings River to search for a pounding stone and discovered that the Rough Fire had ravaged much of the forest. The blaze, halting at the edge of the single-lane road, had left the river bottom untouched. From the edge of the road, I gazed down into the canyon and glimpsed a Native American village site that I had discovered a year ago, and I knew that not far away, hidden by sycamores, a washed out bridge still clung to a huge rock in the middle of the river.
Pestle near Pounding Stone
     A few months ago, high above the road in the area now charred by fire, I had found a pounding stone along a stream, and from there with binoculars I could see far below the village site next to the river, so last weekend I followed the stream bed down to the North Fork, suspecting that I would find another pounding stone at the confluence. Hopping from one unstable rock to another and struggling through brush for twenty minutes, I noticed a megalithic, flat stone looming next to the river. I climbed toward it through dormant poison oak and discovered a pestle. “Eureka,” I smiled as the hair stood up on the back of my neck.
     The pounding stone, with over twenty mortars, stirred up an odd mixture of feelings. From time immemorial Native Americans had settled everywhere they could next to streams and rivers. Evidence of a culture that survived for thousands of years, as long, if not longer, than more technologically advanced civilizations in the Middle East and Africa and Central America and Europe, still remains, yet no one makes an effort to preserve it. Our current society, established after the gold rush, is a mere infant in comparison, and infants have short memories.
     After the discovery of gold in California, one of the first acts of the new government was to allow a bounty on Native American scalps. Rewards ranged from twenty-five dollars to five dollars for every severed head in Shasta County in1855 to 25 cents for a scalp in Honey Lake in 1863. Some regions passed laws that called for collective punishment of the entire village and all of its inhabitants for a crime committed by a Native American, which led to the annihilation of as many as 150 Native American communities. In both 1851 and 1852 California paid out $1 million to militias that hunted down and slaughtered Native Americans. In 1857, the state issued another $410,000 in bonds to pay for anti-Indian militias. State law for several years also provided for the indenture of Native American people. Native Americans could not testify in court to defend themselves or their property. The legislature never ratified the treaties, and the militia and bounty hunters ranged throughout the hills until the Native American population, already decimated by disease, dwindled in a few decades to approximately fifteen percent of the number that had existed before the gold rush. 

Pounding Stone by North Fork of Kings River

     Touching the pounding stone, I suddenly felt an indescribable rage. “Why do I feel betrayed?” I muttered to myself. A moment before, I was simply feeling happy about my discovery. I had no reason personally to feel victimized, yet I felt deeply violated. 
     I've discovered that in the river bottom my rawest feelings, as well as visions and premonitions, surface because the mind tunes to vibrations different from typical modern human consciousness. In the river bottom brain waves that are normally repressed in modern civilization come to the foreground of consciousness, brain rhythms that correspond more to subconscious instincts as well as to the spiritual dimensions of the self. In this case, I believe that I had subconsciously tuned to residual energy retained by the environment, similar to the way a psychic tunes to an object to read the events of the past. As insane as it may sound, I was not experiencing my own emotions—the emotions of those who were truly betrayed over a century ago were stimulating my subconscious mind. And those emotions made me realize that the rich and powerful who always work behind the scenes in politics, like the ones who supported genocide a century and a half ago, could drown this canyon with another dam. They have repeatedly proposed building dams on public land at Temperance Flat on the San Joaquin River and at Roger's Crossing, only a few miles away from this pounding stone. Why not here as well since water is gold and the bottom line is sacred? With ever deadlier weapons, this country has continued to be as savage to other people in the world, most recently in the cradle of civilization itself, as it once was to the people who lived in these mountains for many thousands of years. This pounding stone remains the only memorial for a race that was nearly obliterated, and a portent for the perpetual war for land and resources on other continents. Suddenly this was all very personal: This river bottom, so sacred to me, as well as some of my most significant memories, are every bit as expendable.
     I felt unsettled for a long time, as if I needed to do something to stop any further unspeakable tragedies. I plopped down on the pounding stone and asked out loud, “What do I need to do?” The answer came immediately, “You don't need to do anything.” (An answer that I, in my usual state of mind, would never have expected.) For a moment I felt unconditional acceptance, as if I had encountered a Goddess in some archetypal hero's journey, a feeling that I don't remember ever experiencing in Fresno, CA. For a moment, I felt like I had connected with something eternal, something higher than my personality. All peoples vanish and all structures crumble, leaving the forces of the sun and the moon and the earth and invisible currents that connect us with the cosmos, forces that remain no matter what people do to each other or the world.

     These feelings were as unexpected as the visions I sometimes experience in the forest. When I am wandering through the woods, I sometimes envision a golden Celtic Cross in my mind's eye. When this first happened to me, I unexpectedly envisioned an equal-armed cross by itself as I was hiking, and then a golden, truncated pyramid suddenly appeared below it. The equal-armed cross at the top of the Celtic Cross represents power in equilibrium. The truncated pyramid, with its six sides, is a basic solid and represents the three dimensions of matter. Together the cross and the pyramid symbolize the power and harmony of the spirit manifested in the material plane. The first time this vision occurred, I was familiar only with the Calvary Cross and the equal-armed cross. After repeated experiences, I have come to understand the process of spiritual vision: A subtle force in nature stimulates my subconscious mind, which then casts an archetypal symbol that represents the spiritual force onto the “screen” of my consciousness.
     Magical connections with the forest occur when the mind tunes to the vibration of the Earth, known as the Schumann Resonance, or the Heartbeat of Mother Earth. While in nature, I often feel a shift from the intense human focus required in the city, associated with the beta brain wave, to more relaxed states that open the mind to spiritual dimensions. Since the beta state is so often associated with normalcy, it is often difficult to make the shift. Personally, if I have not experienced nature for a long time, I often feel fear as this shift approaches: I am afraid that I will lose my sense of self within the unknown. If I let go of that fear and simply continue on my path, magical things often happen after the other dimension of my self surfaces. I have visions of archetypal symbols with my eyes wide open and hear wise voices and experience intuitions. 
     In nature I have learned to experience spiritual dimensions by being passive and receptive. From my contact with Spirit in nature and in meditation I have developed through vision and contemplation a body of symbols and ideas, which has provided a foundation for understanding the subtle force of the Sun, the Christ-force, as well as other subtle forces revealed symbolically by the Tree of Life. (See previous posts.) The symbols and ideas, still within the planes of form, have led to greater intuitive knowledge and to the sense of being filled with light that I described above.
    In the Qabalah, the Christ force is associated with the Sun, the
Native American Village Site above Washed out Bridge
source of all light and physical life on earth. To the Qabalist some archetypal form of Christianity has and will always exist because the Christ force establishes a state of equilibrium, maintaining harmony throughout the cosmos. In the human mind it exists as an ethical tendency based on sympathy and love that manifests as harmony within the family and the community.

     The vibrations of nature not only help me feel emotions more intensely and enable me to be more psychic, they also bring home to me how fragile I am. My father died of a heart attack at the age of fifty-five. Whenever I go to the river, I feel the lack of his presence deeply, and I can't avoid recognizing my own mortality. Coincidentally, when I recently turned fifty-five, my heart began beating irregularly whenever I ate a bit of gluten: beat, beat, beat, pause, pause, beat, beat, beat, beat, pause, pause, pause, beat,
Pounding Stone, North Fork Kings River
pause....This irregular rhythm would often continue for over an hour. Every time it occurred, I inevitably wondered if I was on the verge of a heart attack. I have eliminated gluten from my diet and no longer experience irregular heartbeats, but gluten, highly toxic to my body, had already wreaked havoc on my digestive system. I have to keep adjusting my diet to avoid other unpleasant, albeit less threatening, problems because I tend now to have an adverse reaction to anything that I eat regularly, as if my immune system has become like Rambo in the jungle, shooting at whatever becomes noticable. The inability to function normally undermines the positive state of mind brought about by my spiritual practices. In the natural world, I also recognize that suffering and death are inescapable aspects of being an animal. Suffering, raw emotion, recognition of mortality have goaded me to grow spiritually. Even if I had lived an ideal life, experiencing the sun every day within the King's River watershed, without suffering I would not have developed spiritual practices that have opened me more to the subtle light that has revealed a life-altering truth: Human beings of all races and ethnicities are essentially magnificent spiritual beings, once the veils have fallen, and all life is part of one infinite tapestry of energy.
     If I had a church, I would arrange to meet on the pounding stone and contemplate the river every Sunday. We would close our eyes and mentally purify ourselves, draining all negativity away into the magma below the earth. We would open ourselves to the forces of nature and drop into the void in meditation for over an hour, waiting quietly for some transpersonal voice or symbolic vision. At some point we would share our adventures in the subtle planes or our sense of connection with the earth or our sympathy for the beings of the earth. We would thank the Holy Spirit for the archetypal symbols that provide spiritual principles for understanding all subtle, cosmic forces, including the Christ force. We would focus on being full of light, harmony, magnificence and abundance. We would imagine that each person is a sun, radiating light for others.
     I smiled as I followed a faint trail, hidden by fallen branches and brush, past the washed out bridge to the other pounding stone. I will never have a church, but I will return as long as I live to this timeless place that enables other dimensions of my self to surface so that I feel the subtle forces within nature—even though my own society just over a century ago destroyed another culture that once settled here from time immemorial. Though my own culture suffers its own dark karma, though I soon pass away, I feel a peace that transcends history, that transcends understanding, as I wander by the river.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


The Annunciation, August Pichon

     Once, when I lived in the desert, a blinding light illuminated the terrain. I felt a sudden heightening of consciousness, a sense of eternity, a hint that something might exist beyond physical existence, but then the light vanished, and the desert seemed even more desolate and barren. I closed my eyes, emptied my mind of all thought, and waited. To my great surprise, I saw a gray figure-eight on its side floating above my head. When I opened my eyes, it disappeared. The next day, I tried again: I closed my eyes and dropped into the void. Suddenly, after a long time—how long I'm not sure because I had entered a timeless state—I envisioned a golden, equal-armed cross with an angel at each end.
     So each day I would close my eyes and drop into the void. Sometimes I would envision a symbol, sometimes I wouldn't. One day the intense light returned, again exalting my consciousness, and once again, the light vanished. When I was meditating, I saw a gigantic tree in the distance and moved toward it, and I could see the symbols that I had envisioned in the tree. Suddenly a great light illuminated branches that seemed like paths, and I understood the connections between the symbols.
     In most ways, I'm average or below. I'm not handsome or buff. I don't wow people with my personality. I don't have great leadership skills. I'm not good at math or at fixing things. I don't even have a decent job. I usually just barely get by, so I was surprised when for a six-month period, I experienced a series of spiritual visions during meditation, especially since before then I had never even considered myself a spiritual person. I consulted a few religious leaders and psychics but never heard a satisfactory answer about why I was having the visions. When I described my vision of a thousand-petaled lotus to a psychic, she exclaimed, “Why, that means you're enlightened!” I didn't, however, feel enlightened, just perplexed.
     When I was growing up, I occasionally experienced unexpected moments of exaltation. Once, when I was four, I felt total bliss for about half an hour while in the foothills near LA. My grandfather and I were ambling up a hill, the dry grass golden in the setting sun. I remember he abruptly turned around and took me by the hand. As we headed back to the picnic area, I suddenly felt ecstatic as we sauntered down the hill. My soul was ballooning with joy because I felt in contact with some great, unseen force that was part of the earth and the trees and the grass. When we reached the picnic area, I knew with absolute certainty, as if I possessed some sacred inner knowledge, that each moment is perfect, no matter how bad things might seem. I wanted to present the good news to my parents and grandparents, but I couldn't find the right words. When we got in the car and headed home, to my great disappointment the feeling subsided as if I had lost contact with an incredible force that might have continued to fill me indefinitely with inexplicable joy.
     Once, when I was a teenager, I attended a concert at a church. The musicians presented a message about Jesus Christ, and their songs about love and brotherhood moved me to the point of tears. I felt joyful the entire evening, but the next day, the world around me seemed stale, and I couldn't find any examples of Christian love or brotherhood anywhere. Often, in my teens, when I experienced stories of Christian love, I felt deeply moved, but the same lack of any further illumination left me stranded in a desert. Over the years, in the struggle to survive, I simply forgot any altruistic sympathies or quickenings of consciousness.
San Joaquin River Gorge

     And I grew deeply cynical. The sense of absolute certainty about the perfection of each moment that I experienced when I was four has occasionally struck me as utterly absurd though I continued to remember how some force elevated my soul and filled me with great peace. As an adult one day I unexpectedly experienced the same feeling in the foothills near Fresno, and I have continued to head out to the mountains every chance I get. No matter how bad my circumstances, while in nature I have often experienced the same kind of joy that I experienced as a child, a connection with some overarching force of deep peace and harmony. Only after I started meditating and envisioning spiritual symbols did I realize that the force goes by different names, World Soul, Holy Spirit, Goddess, and that one aim of occult spirituality is to contact this great force and experience its powerful influence—and through its influence other great forces that in Christianity go by the name of the Son and Father of the trinity.
     Recently I experienced an epiphany about why, during my six-month period of meditation, I had a vision of a golden, equal-armed cross. In the vision, the golden cross floated in a deep, blue sky, and at each end of the cross an angel hovered, each angel in a colored robe, one yellow, one red, one blue and one white. This was the second in a series of visions of archetypal symbols, all of which, I eventually discovered, are associated with the Tree of Life, the great composite symbol of the mystical Qabalah. As I mentioned, the visions came as a total surprise: Before I began meditating at the age of forty-two, I was oblivious to spiritual symbolism in general, so the full meaning of the symbols has often taken me years to understand.
     According to Dion Fortune, the brilliant 20th Century Qabalist, in the bible, which she claims is essentially a Qabalistic book, the different god-names in Hebrew refer to different states of being. The Father, for instance, refers to Kether, the Crown of creation, the first state of being emanated from the unmanifest; the Son refers to Tiphareth, the Christ center below Kether on the middle pillar of the Tree; the Holy Ghost (or Spirit) refers to Yesod, the Foundation, on the middle pillar below Tiphareth . Under Yesod is Malkuth, the Kingdom, where the energies of the Tree manifest (Mystical Qabalah 179). Kether is a state of pure spiritual energy, Tiphareth a point of transition or transmutation between the planes of form and formlessness, and Yesod a subtle plane of form directly “above” the physical plane.
Queen of Pentacles
     Even though I was unaware of it at the time, the vision of the equal-armed cross and the angels revealed the basic structure for rituals that involve the spiritual energies of the Holy Ghost and the four archangels representing the elements that form the background energies of manifestation, the basic structure, in other words, of the banishing and invoking rituals used by occult lodges. Since her book is so dense that at first it seems written in code, it has taken me years to unpack the meaning of Fortune's Mystical Qabalah. In what first seemed to me merely a passing remark, Fortune mentions that the occult lodges worship the Holy Ghost, associated with Yesod, the Foundation from which the physical universe emanated (179). In a previous section, Fortune reveals that the Holy Ghost is the feminine aspect of the trinity (47).
     These two key points have profound implications for Christianity and society as a whole. One of the goals of personal mysticism is communication with the Holy Guardian Angel, or higher self, the Individuality that develops through an evolution (also known as the soul), which is connected to the divine core of being and transcends space and time. The mystic, as Fortune points out, begins in the humble manger, not on the Mount, so the first communications from the higher self come through Yesod, the state of being associated with the Holy Ghost and the feminine principle of creation, in visions of archetypal symbols and voices. The Tree of Life itself, which is a symbol system that represents the unseen forces in the collective consciousness of humanity, comes from Yesod, the subtle realm of form.
     Tiphareth, the Christ center, is the sphere of the Sun, of blinding illumination, where form dissolves in light. Only after shaking free from the physical plane and making initial contact with Yesod, first experiencing spiritual principle through visions of symbols, can the mind begin to make sense of illuminations from the higher planes. The mind slowly builds, piece by piece, a temple of symbols representing spiritual principle, which makes comprehensible the experiences of illumination and exaltation that swing the mind beyond Yesod into the blinding sphere of the Son,Tiphareth, the center of cosmic equilibrium, harmonizing love and spiritual inebriation.
     According to Dion Fortune,

     Illumination consists in the introduction of the mind to a higher mode of consciousness than that which is built up out of sensory experience....Unless, however the new mode of consciousness is connected up with the old and translated into terms of finite thought, it remains as a flash of light so brilliant that it blinds. We do not see by means of the ray of light that shines upon us, but by means of the amount of that ray which is reflected from objects of our own dimension upon which it lights. Unless there are ideas in our minds which are illuminated by this higher mode of consciousness, our minds are merely overwhelmed, and the darkness is more intense to our eyes after that blinding experience of a high mode of consciousness than it was before. In fact, we do not so much change gear as throw the engine of our mind out of gear altogether. This, for the most part, is what so-called illumination amounts to. There is enough of a flash to convince us of the reality of superphysical existence, but not enough to teach us anything of its nature. (180)

Tree of  Life

     Before I knew the Tree of Life even existed, I had during meditation envisioned many of its symbols. Eventually I realized that these symbols have enabled me to translate spiritual principle into “terms of finite thought” so that illumination would not merely blind me. The symbols revealed not only spiritual principle but, in one instance at least, the basic structure of practical magic that connects the practitioner with powerful unseen forces, such as the Holy Ghost and the Son of the trinity as well as Gods and Goddesses and Saviors created by the human mind to represent unseen forces throughout the ages. Contemplation of the paths of the Tarot on the Tree of Life and of the symbolic representations of the Gods, I discovered, is another effective way of translating spiritual experience into comprehensible ideas.
Path 20, Virgo
     The Annunciation, on one level, symbolically suggests this process.The Annunciation is the announcement by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would conceive the Son of God. Gabriel told Mary to name her son Yeheshua, meaning “YHWH is salvation.” The Archangel Gabriel in the Qabalah is assigned to Yesod, the sphere of the Holy Spirit: Through the feminine principle, the conception of the Son, in other words the recognition of higher modes of consciousness, occurs. The higher self links up with the macrocosm, the cosmic consciousness associated with the Father. In fact, the God name of Tiphareth, the Christ center, is “Eloah va Daath,” which can be translated as “God manifested in the mind.” The Holy Ghost elevates the mind beyond the physical into the superphysical, into greater and greater illumination. 
     As Fortune points out, through the type of consciousness associated with Yesod, “mystical experience gradually builds up a body of images and ideas that are lit up and made visible when illuminations take place” (180). In order to build this temple of images, symbols, and ideas illuminated by higher modes of consciousness, the mind must be open to spiritual influences, which requires a passivity and a receptiveness of the mind associated with the feminine Holy Ghost and Yesod, the sphere of psychism and the etheric double. One must go deep into the subconscious mind, below worries and desires and fears and frustrations, to experience these astral treasures with the psychic senses. Spiritual development, instead of just being a series of magnesium flashes of illumination and exaltation, is a gradual expansion of the mind, a process that is aided by the symbol system on the Tree of Life, a gift from the Holy Ghost in the sphere of Yesod.
     Before I began having visions, I was a materialist, believing that only the physical universe exists. To understand my visions, however, I was forced to reexamine my life and expand my idea of the cosmos. I had also experienced accurate premonitions and intuitions which revealed that some part of my consciousness transcends my brain and physical senses, but I had simply forgotten or dismissed them—until I had the visions. When I began piecing the moments of illumination together, I discovered that it is helpful to think of the cosmos as consisting of many types of energy in one vast fabric, from the finest spiritual vibrations to the grossest physical matter, and that as an extension of the cosmos, my being also contains those energies, hence the paranormal experiences of nonlocal consciousness that have occasionally surprised me over the years. At the “higher” end of the pole in the cosmos, the energies are formless, evolving into planes of form, the physical universe being the plane of densest matter. We experience “nonphysical” or subtle planes of form in the imagination when we dream at night or daydream or have visions of symbols. When we simply know something through intuition, consciousness is operating on a higher, formless plane, rising from Tiphareth, the sphere of the Son, toward Kether, the sphere of the Father.

Path 14, Venus

     Immersing myself in nature, the realm of the Goddess, is one way that I began to open myself to the Holy Spirit and the illuminations of higher consciousness, at first unknowingly, then intentionally. The beta mode of consciousness, the dominant mental state in this highly competitive society, allows intense focus on the external world but blocks access to unseen spiritual influences, which is why for me at least there will always tend to be a basic conflict between the driving forces of capitalism and and the subtle forces of the spiritual world, why, in fact, I lived so long in a desert. The affairs of business channel the mind away from spiritual frequencies. In a predominantly masculine, patriarchal, capitalistic culture, a barrier remains: Attaining an understanding of Christ consciousness requires receptiveness and a fair amount of passivity, both qualities associated with the feminine.
     Dion Fortune states that a religion without the Goddess is halfway to atheism: In the Qabalah, the masculine and the feminine as well as the physical and the spiritual are polarities that allow the One to manifest as the Many. To vilify, exploit, or misuse the physical or the feminine is to blaspheme the Source of all creation. By demonizing feminine, passive, receptive states of the mind, patriarchal religions and societies block access to the Holy Ghost, thereby effectively establishing a barrier to understanding the other forces of the trinity. One can experience the illuminations of the Son, the Christ force, but cannot fully understand them without experiencing the feminine state of the Holy Ghost in Yesod—and, let us remember, the Son shows us the Father. Perhaps that is why so many Christians love the Virgin Mary and Saint Francis of Assisi, the great soul who loved all creatures, who empathized so much with the Christ and the suffering of humanity that he experienced the stigmata.

Baby Blue Eyes, San Joaquin River Gorge

     One of the places where I have often experienced the Holy Spirit is the San Joaquin River Gorge, an ecosystem that might soon be utterly destroyed by a dam at Temperance Flat. In an example of an economic development described by Naomi Klein as “disaster capitalism,” which results in a redistribution of wealth from the public sphere into private hands, farmers in the San Joaquin Valley are using the drought as a way to “take” public lands for private benefit even though a large percentage of the water created by a new reservoir would go to water-guzzling crops such as almonds and grapes in a semi-arid region (the biggest crop in the San Joaquin Valley is almonds, and each almond takes over a gallon of water to produce), as well as to commodity crops and fodder crops that have no business being grown in a desert. Ensconced private interests hope that a dam will save the economy because those with wealth, land, and the means of production will be able to continue business as usual. If the dam is approved, the private interests who benefit will not be required to replace unique public land with another public park or to compensate the public in any meaningful way for the loss of land, nor will those private interests be forced to modify their unsustainable practices. 
     The bottom line of capitalism prevails. Based on my experience in the political realm, I've discovered that the public's opportunity to connect with the spiritual forces within nature is rarely, if ever (I am tempted to say “never”), a concern to those with power and money or to the politicians they influence. Approval of the dam would simply be one more example of how capitalism can block connection between the average person and the Holy Spirit, and by extension with the Son and the Father, revealing a basic conflict between Christianity and capitalism.
     To say that in patriarchal societies the feminine gets a bad rap is understating the case. The feminine brings forth physical life, and since whatever is born must die, the feminine also ushers in the King of Terrors. Physical life is corruptible, always subject to the vagaries of time and the infirmities of sickness and old age. But to the Qabalist, “the natural is but the dense aspect of the spiritual”(194), the outer robe of concealment that covers the inner robe of glory. All life, including plants and insects and reptiles and animals, is spirit manifested in matter. Everything dies but rises through regeneration. Spiritual beings exist everywhere around us in physical forms that sometimes ravish us, sometimes please us, sometimes repulse us, sometimes terrify us. The false dichotomy that presents physical energy as impure and spiritual energy as pure suggests that at the heart of patriarchy is the fear of the subtle emotional, sexual, psychic and spiritual power of women, a fear that has manifested throughout the centuries as witch hunts and as an emotional disconnect from the Holy Ghost.

Ace of Cups, Water

     In the Tarot, the equal-armed cross, which “is called by initiates the Cross of Nature, and represents power in equilibrium” (197), is included in cards that represent aspects of the Holy Spirit: Judgement, the Ace of Cups, and The Priestess. In the Tarot, color has great symbolic significance. In the Ace of Cups the cross is black, in Judgement red, in The Priestess white. In the symbol system of the Tree of Life, the black equal-armed cross is associated with Malkuth, the Kingdom, or physical universe; the red in Judgement symbolizes compassion, which is linked through the Archangel Gabriel to Yesod, the etheric plane; the white in The Priestess is associated with the spiritual laws of the supernal spheres above the abyss. The gold equal-armed cross, which appeared in my vision but does not appear in the Tarot, is symbolically associated with Tiphareth, since gold, representing the incorruptibility of the spirit, is the color assigned to the Christ-center. In my vision, the golden equal-armed cross links the Son with the Holy Spirit.

Path 31, Fire

     In the Tarot card Judgement, the Archangel Gabriel, who is associated with Yesod and the Holy Ghost, blows a trumpet to awaken souls in their tombs, and the souls arise in gray, etheric bodies. These souls heed the trumpet call with psychic senses, not physical senses, and rise in exaltation. As in the other two Tarot cards representing Archangels, Temperance and The Lovers, on one level the Archangel represents a higher mode of consciousness linked with the daimon, or higher self. In Judgement, the Archangel Gabriel also suggests the individual's first encounter with the Holy Ghost and the superphysical nature of the psyche, which leads to a reassessment of the nature of existence.
     In the symbol of Venus, the circle on top of an equal-armed cross reveals the perfection of the spirit above the elements in equilibrium. In the Ace of Cups, on the other hand, the equal-armed cross within the circle is being carried by the dove into the cup of manifestation: The Holy Spirit brings the black, equal-armed cross within a pure, white circle to the realms of form where the spiritual and the physical coalesce. In this way also, the Holy Spirit brings the conception of the higher self to the planes of form, resulting in expanding knowledge about higher modes of consciousness and the integration of the psyche.

Path 13, The Moon

     In the Tarot card The Priestess, the soul is confronted by the feminine principle on a higher arc, on a path across the Abyss between the planes of form and the supernal planes of formlessness. Here the equal-armed cross is white, in opposition to the cross of Malkuth, the Kingdom, suggesting a spiritual logic very different from the ways of the physical world, which suggests that the logic resulting in harmony within higher modes of consciousness is also very different from the logic of brain consciousness and the lower personality. The higher self can bring the soul into balance in a way that the lower personality doesn't expect or understand at first. As in Tarot card The Lovers, for instance, the masculine aspect of the psyche looks to the receptive feminine aspect in order to know the higher self, which is very different from the belief systems of societies with long, embedded attitudes of patriarchy.

Path18, Gemini

     Several times recently during invoking rituals, I have experienced a vision of the jewel in the lotus, which represents the spiritual energy of the Father in the crown chakra, coming down the planes through my primary chakras to the earth. The vision emphasizes for me that one of the most important spiritual practices of our time brings spiritual energy into the mind and manifests it in the world here and now. My visions of the jewel in the lotus coming down the planes is part of a long process that began with my long-ago vision of the golden, equal-armed cross, which is related to the Holy Ghost and the elements in equilibrium, and I am living proof that, with an openness to the feminine aspects of the psyche and the cosmos, and with a little knowledge and effort, the average person can bring powerfully transformative spiritual energies into all levels of his or her sphere of influence.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


The Lovers, Gemini

     Last weekend, I drove with my wife through Los Angeles on our way to San Diego. At two in the afternoon, we were inching along on a freeway and decided to consult SIRI to find another route. We ended up in the LA area for five hours. On every freeway and city street, gridlock was inescapable. For hours, on ten lane freeways we were creeping between one and five miles per hour as more and more traffic streamed in, and I grew more and more dumbfounded that millions of people have agreed to participate in total insanity on a daily basis.
     Once, as the car came to a standstill for the umpteenth time, I remembered a Saturday when I was fifteen, sitting for hours in a lawn chair, staring at the wall, paralyzed by the realization that I could be obliterated any second by a nuclear weapon. What did the other members of my family tell themselves to keep from going insane? How did they maintain a sense of normalcy? How could anyone take life seriously if everything could end up as smoke and ashes with one push of a button? How could we claim to care about each other and allow the threat of global annihilation—or the policy of mutually assured destruction (MAD)?
Eight of Swords, Gemini
     When I was growing up my father was caught in a cycle of changing jobs every few years, which eventually required him to make long commutes in the LA area. He would come home exhausted, filled with quiet rage after a long day at work and an hour and a half of maneuvering through traffic jams. He would occasionally vent his rage in long diatribes against communism. We escaped in the early 1970s by moving to Fresno.
     All of the men in my life as I was growing up were persistently quiet, as if shocked into an inability to express themselves by some unspeakable trauma or defeat. My grandfather had survived being gassed by the Germans in World War I, then had lost his job in Chicago when the Great Depression hit. My father and uncles had grown up in rural Illinois and joined the military the first chance they got. Two of my uncles were shot down, one over Germany, the other over the Pacific, both surviving the crash. As I was growing up, neither the men nor the women in my family hardly ever said a word, as if the women were taking their cue from the men to remain quiet. I am still not sure what kept them so silent, but it occasionally inspired me to question authority and say crazy things about global annihilation, especially at the dinner table.
     While we were fishing, I sensed my father moving beyond thoughts of raw prejudice stemming from fear and anger and frustration. I felt our connection as he cast his line in the water, the dark thought-forms flowing away, the wind slightly ruffling the leaves and the surface of the river. I could sense his love of the water and the rocks and the trees—I could feel it just like when I know that friends are going to call or send a letter. Some people, even though they are silent or rough and intolerant form a bond with you that cannot be broken, a bond that transcends appearances and petty prejudices.

Chinese Houses, Tarweed, Ithuriel's Spears near Fence

     My father has been gone almost forty years. In that time, we have edged even closer to the brink due to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction combined with perpetual destabilization of economies and societies, as well as global warming, overpopulation, ecocide, dwindling resources, species extinction, pollution...and we keep scrambling around rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The question remains: How can a society become sane?
     One day a few years ago, I was swallowed up by eternity. I had a vision: In the middle of the desert, the wind started whipping around the rocks, lifting away the sand. I was afraid that the wind would carry all the sand away, and suddenly there was nothing left, only a golden snake biting its own tail in a deep blue sky. Suddenly I was inside the snake. At first, I was afraid, but then the darkness comforted me. I realized that I could change perspective anytime. With one thought, I could be outside of the golden snake again. When I was outside, I discovered that I was a mere atom compared to the snake and the sky, so after awhile I shifted back inside.
     Oddly, like most of my visions, but unlike most of my memories, the golden ouroboros remains crystal clear, as if symbols from the archetypal plane are more real and enduring than experiences of daily life. That vision seems like a pretty good symbolic depiction of eternity, which suggests that maybe I shouldn't worry about the end of the world, but I don't live on the archetypal plane—I live with a family and a community that I need to protect, so the problem remains: How can anyone help their own culture get a little saner?
Nine of Swords, Gemini
     I wasn't on drugs when I had the vision. Once, though, a long time ago, a friend handed me a tiny tab of paper as we were finishing a meal at a restaurant and commanded, “Put this under your tongue. It'll dissolve in a few seconds and will take affect in about ten minutes.” I was still young enough to try new things. The simple act of placing that tab under my tongue resulted in a crazy, indelible memory from an otherwise ordinary night in America. Oddly those few hours of insanity give me some perspective on what it means to be sane.
     My friend had never taken any drugs in front of me, nor had he ever shared drugs with me before, and I wasn't exactly sure what he had handed me, but we had just finished a grueling week of canvassing for environmental and social justice. I trusted him completely after struggling in the trenches with him for several months. After we left the restaurant, suddenly the breeze on my skin induced ecstasy. My friend drove us to a gas station, and it seemed like pumping gas was one of the most magnificent acts that a human being could perform. We ended up at a local club, and the rock and roll was astounding, every note absolutely perfect, lifting me into greater and greater heights of exaltation.
     At the club, we hooked up with another canvasser, then drove out to a reservoir at about two in the morning. We kicked back in the car for awhile, and I noticed a fly between the dashboard and the windshield. I wondered what it was like to be a fly, and my sight suddenly broke up into numerous facets. I heard a great buzzing, which annoyed me until I realized the sound was coming from me—I was the fly, but my consciousness wasn't processing the fly's perspective in a way that I could comprehend. However, even though I had become the fly, I didn't feel different, as if one overarching consciousness was experiencing life from countless perspectives. I suddenly felt trapped, so I stepped out of the car, and human sight immediately returned to me. The grass was breathing, each blade aware of me. I hiked toward the woods and felt many eyes watching me in the darkness. I sensed a great hatred toward people emanating from the forest. I didn't understand why until I turned back: The reservoir had eaten away all life from the hillsides.
     I told my friends that I was going to the car because I needed sleep, and they nodded at each other knowingly. One of them chirped, “Okay, go ahead, but you're not going to sleep.” I stretched out on the back seat and realized that I was dreaming with my eyes wide open. I knew that I would not get to sleep for a long time. I would just have to deal with it, possibly, I remember thinking, for the rest of my life.
Ten of Swords, Gemini
     When dawn finally arrived, we drove back to town. I stepped out of the car onto some gravel and suddenly knew that an absolute logic exists behind everything in the cosmos. Forces beyond my comprehension and control had operated throughout the ages, eventually depositing pieces of gravel on the dirt for a parking lot. Complex processes had occurred so that one piece of litter was resting upon the gravel at the exact moment that I stepped out of the car. Each atom was in a particular time and place for a reason that as a human being I would never be able to fathom. At the same time, I understood that all processes were linked and that I was part of every thing that had ever lived or would ever live. I felt so exhausted that I almost lost my balance.
     Back at the apartment, I tried to sleep but started hallucinating. When I went to the bathroom, everything synthetic on the sink—hair brushes, toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, combs—elongated and twisted and wiggled and bent as if the plastic in the bathroom had gone crazy, unable to stay still for a second. I went back to bed and finally fell asleep after many hours. The odd thing is that I didn't feel frightened by the hallucination, only trapped in a bizarre reality.
     My friend had subjected me to an acid test, which shook me to the core. I would never knowingly take LSD again because of its potential for inducing psychosis. I eventually came out of it, but others have not. However, if I had not placed that tab under my tongue, I would never have experienced some of the potentials of the human mind. I felt indescribable ecstasy while performing the most mundane acts, such as walking down the street and pumping gas. I experienced the reality of a humble fly and recognized that its consciousness is probably not very different from my own. I understood that everything is sentient and perhaps keenly aware of the damage that people have done to this planet.
     While hallucinating, I understood that chemicals in my brain made all synthetic items seem alive and totally insane, just as before taking the drug, chemicals in my brain had provided me with “normal” human consciousness. My experiences seemed to be more than the result of a chemical reaction, though. The drug seemed to suppress normal brain consciousness and allow another dimension of my psyche to surface, some part of me that could experience absolute joy in the smallest acts and connect with the humblest of creatures and understand the absolute logic of the cosmos, a logic that extends all the way back to the beginning of time and will continue to the very end—if indeed there is a beginning or an end—an absolute logic that usually appears like randomness to my very limited human brain.
     I felt trapped in a strange reality for many hours, but then again I have been trapped in the bizarre, collective reality of the human race my entire life. I have trusted relatives, friends, teachers, politicians, doctors, capitalists, and authorities on this or that, believing in our accepted collective reality even as our species continues to lurch toward global destruction.
     After my trip, I understood the meaning of “turn on, tune in and drop out.” In other words, tune in to the vast, living cosmos and drop out of meaningless behaviors. Cut through the bullshit and live a meaningful life.
     A psychic once suggested that the acid trip woke me up to the spiritual nature of things. That experience, along with paranormal experiences that I've had since that time suggest that consciousness is essentially nonlocal. In other words, consciousness is not limited to what my physical senses perceive or to what my brain processes in one particular place and time. My soul can experience and know things that my physical senses cannot perceive, such as the consciousness of other creatures and people and spiritual entities, and the future and the past, and other dimensions of the cosmos (such as the archetypal plane).
Four of Cups, Cancer
     Based on my experiences, I must conclude that consciousness is limited by the physical senses and the brain, not created by the brain. The part of consciousness that transcends brain consciousness has been known by different names in different cultures throughout the ages: daimon, genius, holy guardian angel, higher self. If consciousness is only created by the brain then the key spiritual experiences of my life are unreal and absurd, in which case many of my clearest, most meaningful memories are merely a sign of insanity.
     In quantum physics, nonlocality describes the ability of objects to know about each other's state, even when separated by large distances, potentially even billions of light years, as if the universe instantaneously arranges particles in anticipation of future events. The cosmos consists of field upon field of entangled, interconnected energy, and consciousness, like physical matter, is energy.

     Spiritual development should take place under the supervision of a master, just as the use of hallucinogenic drugs should only occur under the most controlled conditions. If one is not careful, authentic spirituality and drugs can both lead to insanity. I, unfortunately, have experienced baptism by fire in all aspects of life, never affording the luxury of expert assistance. I do not recommend embarking on any journey into the unseen without at least the most dedicated commitment to the highest good, for anyone traveling through the unknown will eventually encounter evil or the incredibly bizarre. If you encounter angels you will more than likely also encounter devils, and you will need to choose your next step with great care when you do.
     The genius or daimon (not demon) or guardian angel is the nonlocal aspect of the self that transcends space and time. Intuition, sympathy, telepathy, precognition, retrocognition, psychometry are all capacities of the higher self. I can't help but believe that we will edge closer to a sane society when the average person recognizes the transcendent aspect of the self and its connection to all things, past, present, and future.
     For the past few days, at work and at home and even at a restaurant, I have envisioned myself as the Archangel Raphael, with
Three of Swords, Libra
a golden sun at my crown, my hair on fire, and masculine and feminine forces balancing each other within my aura in naked white light, all doubt and suffering and regret cleansed from my mind. During a recent ritual, I was focusing on the feminine principle of the cosmos and suddenly envisioned the Tarot card known as Three of Swords, associated with the supernal sphere of the Goddess. Then I saw the path of The Lovers extending from my heart center to the right side of my brain, the path on the Tree of Life from Tiphareth, the Christ center, to Binah, the supernal sphere of the feminine principle. Then I unexpectedly took on the God form of Raphael, represented on the Tarot card The Lovers, and the powerful living image has stayed with me everywhere I go.
     Raphael means “Healer of God.” One of the most basic forms of healing is the integration of the self. During ritual as I move from one quadrant to another, I often recover a sense of the different dimensions of the self: the spiritual dimension, associated with the higher will (Fire); the conscious mind, associated with the intellect (Air); the subconscious mind, associated with the emotions (Water); and etheric background energies of matter, associated with the physical body (Earth). But the Tarot card known as The Lovers reveals that there is another way to look at the self that includes a distinction between the lower self, the personality within a specific incarnation; the evolutionary personality, or soul, which develops over many incarnations; and the divine spark, or spiritual core of the individual. The card represents great healing—paradise regained—because the lower personality, the soul and the divine spark are integrated into a unified whole.
     As insane as it sounds, the living image of the Archangel Raphael has made me feel more sane than I have ever felt before. I feel integrated and free of negativity. How an Archetype has such a powerful influence on me I don't exactly know, but I do have the sense that the Archetype chose to help me, and I was open enough to the possibilities of nonlocal consciousness to allow it to happen. I have always, at least since I found my spiritual path, felt a great kinship with Raphael. Perhaps, once the soul becomes entangled with healing influences from spiritual dimensions, they remain connected, just like a particle remains connected over great distances with other particles, like one person can remain connected with another, no matter how far away they are.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Path of Daleth, Venus

     (Note: Somewhere along the line, the word "peace" in paragraph eight was changed to the word "peach," twice, which, in the first version,, made the whole paragraph sound absurd.  I almost decided to keep it that way....)

     Once, when I was in second grade, my class took a train ride through Los Angeles. I found a seat away from the other students, and while the train was rattling through a junky industrial section of LA, an adult male voice informed me that I was not coming back. The voice startled me because I knew that no male adults were in the compartment, and I realized with a shock that it had not originated from a human being. After rebounding from my initial fear, I found the premonition comforting even though I had no idea what it meant. I suspected that I would have to wait until I grew up to comprehend its significance, a situation with which I was only too familiar. As the train rushed onward toward its destination, a trance-like peace enveloped me, the sounds of the train gently lulling me and the other passengers, and I had an unexpected insight: The voice meant that I would not be coming back to live another life.
     I had never entertained the notion of reincarnation before, and I
knew that I would not be able to share it with anyone. I was seven years old, growing up in a fundamentalist Christian household. The idea was unfamiliar to me and more than a little unsettling, so I had a gut feeling that it would make everyone else I knew uncomfortable as well. Even so, I felt deep down that it was true. I sensed some higher being or aspect of myself had spoken. This, as you know if you have been following my blog, occurred several other times when I was growing up, and in all other cases, the predictions came true.
Path of Lamed, Libra
     I knew one thing: The voice did not mean that I was never going
to travel on a train through LA again. Sure enough, forty years later I rode on Amtrak through the same blighted region, which still looked as if bulldozers needed to push it into an abyss before any renewal could occur, and as the train was zipping along, I suddenly remembered the strange male voice, and I realized that it might have meant that I was free of the wheel of birth and death. The memory of the premonition, however, raised more questions than it answered.
     If, as my experiences seem to suggest, we each have a higher self, or daimon, that transcends space and time, surely my daimon would have known when I was seven that I would end up a deeply flawed adult who has encountered more than a fair share of challenges and who is easily distracted from spiritual pursuits, which suggests perhaps that the soul's completion of an evolution through the accumulation of experience, not the attainment of spiritual perfection, is the key to release from the wheel of birth and death, if indeed that is what the voice meant. Or perhaps the voice suggested that I would reach a point in this lifetime that would require the complete regeneration of my soul on some other plane. These were only the ramblings of a confused brain, I mused. Maybe the voice was simply wrong, and I hallucinated when I was seven and all the other times that I thought I heard the voice of my daimon, yet the voice was so clear, the feeling of peace so profound. Other spiritual experiences continue to place the premonition in perspective: As I grow older, more and more pieces keep fitting together, as if key moments in my life, interrupted by long periods of the mundane, form an association chain like symbols in a dream.
     After I found my spiritual path during meditation in my early forties, I also began to find myself more and more in circumstances where I recollected the predictions of my higher self in childhood. I have to admit that time remains a mystery to me, but based on my experiences, I believe that our conception of linear time is an illusion, and that we are not limited by the five senses. Something in each one of us can know things about other times and places that cannot be known through the processes of “normal” brain consciousness.
Path of Tau, Saturn
     During meditation recently I experienced traveling rapidly toward a great light. In my vision, I knew that I had the choice of plunging into the light or remaining outside of it. Once inside the light, I sensed the movement of majestic forces, and I heard a voice say, “This is the dance of the Gods.” I experienced a sense that these were great archetypal forces dancing through the cosmos and through each life, and that each human being can know them if he or she chooses. Then the light completely engulfed me, and I heard a reminder that I can contact these forces through the Earth Soul, which I interpreted to mean that we can know the archetypal forces, which have formed the basis for myths and religions and folklore from time immemorial, because their energies manifest on the physical plane. Communion with the Earth Soul for me has opened up an understanding of what archetypal forces are at work in my life. These forces, I've realized, have greatly influenced my life, if not controlled my destiny.
     When my family lived in LA, I never had the desire to venture beyond my street, but after we moved to Fresno, CA, in 1971, I developed a passion for bicycle riding. When I was eleven, I would ride my bike all the time, not through the neighborhood, but to the vacant lots and orchards near our house. We lived just a few blocks away from the north edge of town, and some of the fig orchards were like parks, with well-worn paths and mounds that I used as ramps. Instead of remaining with friends after school, I preferred riding my bicycle alone. I sensed the Earth Soul in these vacant lots and orchards, and I never felt alone even though I was rarely with another person.
     In vacant lots full of weeds and trash, where squirrels and rabbits scurried away from me in absolute terror, the Earth Soul drenched me with a peace beyond understanding even though I was usually near busy streets. Over the years, I have recovered this sense of peace within little weedy lots as well as within the vast Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. Only recently have I come to realize that I have gained far more spiritually from a few hours in vacant lots and fig orchards and campgrounds than from years with the most learned professors—or from interminable sermons.

Tiger Lilies

     Thanks to weedy lots and pristine forests, like Plato, I feel an intrinsic connection within all living things on the planet: “This world is indeed a being endowed with a soul and an intelligence...a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related” (Timaeus, 29-30).
     In nature the experience of the anima mundi, or World Soul (also known as Earth Soul), often begins with a sudden, almost imperceptible shift from the “monkey mind” to a deep feeling of peace that grows more profound. This peace is often accompanied by a feeling of exaltation because the Earth is like a magnet for spiritual forces. Once in tune with the Earth Soul, my soul begins to sense archetypal forces, and I experience as well a sense of freedom from the petty distractions and illusions of my own life. This sense of freedom has helped release me from the destructive aspects of social conditioning while at the same time making it possible for me to feel a deep sense of harmony.
     As I was driving by a trashed vacant lot recently, I suddenly felt the same sense of regeneration that I experienced as a boy, and I understood the voice I heard so long ago on the train. The voice intimated the attainment of a profound archetypal state: the regeneration of the black Isis, the dead sleep from which one rises completely renewed. A soul that still clings to illusion hesitates to fall into this slumber of annihilation, but the soul sick to death of illusion falls easily into the Abyss where the personality vanishes and the spirit wakes to a sense of oneness and harmony, a condition, which, in its most radical state, is the ultimate spiritual attainment: union with the Source.
Path of Gimel, The Moon
     If my brother had not found the plastic toy camel in the garage (see previous post), I would not have remembered my train rides through LA or a vision that I experienced almost a decade ago. In the vision I was walking in a soft blue monk's habit on a stone path through an enclosed garden. From a distance I could see a stone statue, which I suspected was religious in nature. As I approached, I saw a statue of Jesus on the cross and knelt down, but when I looked up, to my surprise the statue changed into the Virgin Mary.
     This vision occurred while some friends and I were “chakra toning,” a New Age technique for opening the energy centers of the aura, which consists of singing the note associated with each primary chakra for an extended period in turn. In theory, this technique opens the chakras to spiritual vibrations. The toning session begins with the note associated with the lowest chakra and proceeds up the scale without interruption to the highest chakra. By the sixth note, after singing nonstop for about thirty minutes, I had achieved an altered state of consciousness through hyperventilation and experienced the vision.
     I was surprised by the vision for several reasons. First of all, I have never worshiped Christian icons, and before then I had mainly experienced visions of symbols associated with the Tree of Life, the sacred glyph of the mystical Qabalah. Even more surprising to me, in the vision I was a monk in a monastery garden. I had entertained the idea of becoming a pagan priest but never a Christian monk. Moreover, I was wearing a hooded robe of the purist soft blue, which both intrigued and confused me, because I thought that monks only wore black or brown or white robes. Before then, I had never imagined kneeling or humbling myself before the Virgin Mary, or an other feminine deity, an act which I interpreted as show of willingness to sacrifice myself in some way. The very act of becoming a monk, of course, requires sacrificing a worldly life for a spiritual one. Donning the robes proclaims detachment from the ornaments and distractions of the world.
     I told my friends about the vision but soon forgot it since the symbolism seemed boringly conventional. At the time, I did not know enough about the deep symbolism of the Tree of Life in the Western esoteric spiritual tradition. Finally, after many spiritual experiences and over ten years of study, the meaning of the vision, which is more Qabalistic than I had initially imagined, has grown much clearer.
Path of Teth, Leo
     Without even knowing it, for most of my life, I have manifested the archetypal energies of the Goddess, no matter the circumstances. In the vision, I was worshiping the celestial Goddess, the feminine principle of creation, revealing my devotion to Her. Though strange, the vision seemed appropriate to me because of my devotion to the arts and the natural world from childhood on, but the vision revealed a deeper level of meaning that can only be understood in the context of the Tree of Life.
     There is an old saying in the Mysteries: “All the Gods are one God, and all the Goddesses are one Goddess, and there is but one true initiator.” In terms of the Tree of Life, that means that the feminine principle shows up as different Goddesses on different levels, or “paths.”
     The Tree of Life reveals the evolution of the cosmos from the finest spiritual energy to the densest physical manifestation through ten primary states of being known as sephiroth (plural). Each sephira (singular) within the cosmos emerged from the previous state of being and eventually emanated the next. The first three states contain the basic principles of creation, for instance the duality of masculine and feminine and the existence of unity within multiplicity, but remain outside of manifestation. The Virgin Mary is symbolically associated with the third emanation, a supernal sephira on the Tree of Life known a Binah, in a dimension above the Abyss.
The celestial Virgin, the archetypal feminine principle outside of manifestation, therefore experiences immaculate conception, and gives birth to a savior God, the “Son” of the Trinity manifested on this plane. Binah, the sphere of the celestial Virgin, is the primal womb of manifestation from which all form originates, hence its association with Saturn, with stone, and with the sea. The third sephira, though outside creation, ushers in the lord of all terrors. The word Mary comes from the Hebrew word marah, “bitter” or “bitterness.” Binah, the great sea of evolving life, is bitter: Whatever is born must die.
Path of Tzaddi, Aquarius
     The feminine principle, as I mentioned, is associated with other Goddesses on different paths on the Tree, most notably with Netzach, the seventh sephira ruled by Venus—the sphere of nature, beauty and the arts. I was born under the sign of Aquarius, which on the Tree links the sephira of Yesod with the sephira of Netzach, each sephira representing different aspects of the Goddess. In my vision, though, I was worshiping the celestial Goddess. I had already manifested the energy of Venus through my art and adored Demeter through my love of nature. I had found the energy of Luna through meditation and had worked for Ma'at through my struggle for truth and justice. In terms of the Tree of Life, the vision made perfect sense: I have sacrificed my personality, not to manifest the Christ force, but to manifest the energies of the Goddess on different levels.
     Several connecting paths on the Tree of Life, including the Path of Gimel, the Path of Daleth, the Path of Teth, the Path of Lamed, and the Path of Tau, also reflect aspects of the Goddess, so the adventurer on the Tree of Life has the opportunity to meet the Goddess at many points on the journey. In the archetypal hero's journey, the meeting with the Goddess represents a stage in the adventure when a person experiences a relationship that has the power and significance of an all encompassing, unconditional love. Also known as the sacred marriage, the union of opposites, the “meeting” may take place on a purely psychological level, representing the unification of the self during which the hero begins to see himself in harmony with all creation.
Two of Wands
     A psychic, about a year before my vision, told me that my aura is soft blue, which may partially explain why in the vision the monk's habit is blue. Renditions of Mary portray the Queen of Heaven and Earth and the Great Sea in blue also. My monk's garb in the vision is, on one level, an emblem of my adoration for the Goddess. Pure, soft blue is also a symbol of the spiritual level in Chokmah, the sphere of dynamic, masculine energy opposite Binah, which connects the primarily masculine energy of the celestial God with the energy of the celestial Goddess.
     According to Dion Fortune, an authority on the modern Qabalah, the bible, which is essentially a Qabalistic book, contains God-names that pertain to the different sephiroth on the Tree of Life. For instance, all references to the Father concern the Source in Kether, the crown of creation; all references to the Son apply to Tiphareth, the Christ-center; and all references to the Holy Ghost, the feminine principle within the trinity, relate to Yesod, the Foundation, the state of being out of which the physical universe has evolved. The Holy Ghost, which I understand to be the Goddess, the Earth Soul, attracts archetypal spiritual forces like a magnet to the Kingdom, the physical world. The dance of the Gods, feminine and masculine, is the dance of the archetypal energies of one God through different dimensions of the cosmos, energies which ultimately manifest in the physical world.
     The paths of the Goddess bring peace and harmony and a sense of oneness with all creation. The energies of these paths counteract the exploitation and alienation and brutality of a left-brained, male-dominated world. Living in Fresno, CA, I have never received any reward for my art and have occasionally been kicked in the face for speaking truth to power, but I have always felt compelled to manifest the energies of the Goddess anyway due to a crying need for them in this community and this society as a whole. My lower personality, so woefully limited by my five senses, longs for the simple, powerful connection with the Earth Soul, despite any sacrifices or doubt. I don't know what the voice on the train meant exactly so many years ago, but I can't help but feel that it was telling me about regeneration through the Goddess, a renewal resulting in a radical sense of harmony and oneness with creation. At least I know now that all I need to do is find the Goddess again in a weedy lot or a pristine forest to get in touch with my core and with cosmic spiritual forces.