graphic frame for living mysticism class
Thursday Jan. 31st 2013
Existence and its Shadow, or the Fundam‚Äčentalists'‚Äč "God and the Devil".

In metaphysical/spiritual terms our lives are made up of images that take shape in the mind and then become the events and experiences of our worlds. Mind is always the builder, whether it be the Mind of God or the Big Universe, or the smaller universe/world of the Collective Mind or the Individual Mind. Images and archetypes are in the mind, taking on forms and shapes in the world we see and experience.

In Tarot it is the Magician, the first numbered card of the Major Arcana, that creates the world you experience. The Magician, pictured with the symbols of the four suits of Tarot, uses these symbols to take up existence or life, to take up space and form in the cosmos. But a Magician can also be one who practices "sleight of hand", deception, illusions. In other words, he can be a bit of a trickster, much like Coyote of Native American tradition or Loki of Nordic tradition. In Qabalistic teaching this is called "The Intelligence of Transparency", pointing to the truth that all created form, including all physical form, is transparent, illusory, changeable, temporal, doesn't last. Master Magicians like Jesus have demonstrated this, as in the changing of water to wine, the feeding of the multitude, healings and so on. Physical form is not solid.....which could make it a lot of fun if we didn't take it so freaking seriously! Remember Coyote! Remember Loki!

But, alas, we forget. And so, enter the Tarot Devil, with all of his gruesome images and associations, chains and the like, a naked couple bound to the Devil and each other. Oh Weh! Robert Wang in his "Qabalistic Tarot" writes that "the Devil represents the average person's misperception of reality, the belief that our material condition is ''real" in the true sense of the word". And that "the Devil is intended to be seen as a humorous figure, the bogey-man of our collective childhood." All this, he says, makes the Devil "laughable". In fact, the Devil is associated with mirth in the Qabalistic teaching, and his intelligence is called "Renovating Intelligence". Remember all that old religious stuff about God putting the Devil in our path to keep us on our toes, or maybe trip us up! Well, there's some truth to that in Qabalistic terms where the devil keeps things hopping and exciting. "Renovating Intelligence" doesn't allow things to get old, stale and boring. We have to keep on facing our shadow sides in the unconscious, our inner demons of guilt and fear that are constantly tripping us up in life. But remember, the Magician and the Devil are both symbols of changeable and illusory realities. Form is transitory, therefore life is transitory, therefore all that we do in life is transitory. It is only judgement that seems to hang on and that judgement is our own. Judgement is not of God or the Big Universe who, of course, understands the dimensions of creation and existence. In fact, love is the only thing that is eternal. The rest is experience, learning and good theatre if you want to make it so.

We all have, symbolically speaking, the Magician and the Devil as part of our make-up (an interesting and unintended pun in the light of my previous reference to theatre!) The more you recognise yourself and your mind as the author of your creation, the less fear and dread the Devil will cause you, and the more fun and creative expression your Magician will have. Yes, there is work involved, much of it. But it is a journey out of hell and out of the hellish, fearful and guilt ridden images that your mind has created. These images are not real, never have been. But, in as much as you give them weight, substance and belief, you experience them as real. We all do. But it's not terminal! Remission is possible and, ultimately and inevitably, healing.

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