Occult Science and the Hermetic Arts

Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?

-Carl Jung

The art of free society consists first in the maintenance of the symbolic code; and secondly in fearlessness of revision, to secure that the code serves those purposes which satisfy an enlightened reason. Those societies which cannot combine reverence to their symbols with freedom of revision, must ultimately decay either from anarchy, or from the slow atrophy of a life stifled by useless shadows.

-A. N. Whitehead

Truth is a perspective of reality, arising from man’s participation, with his conscious existence, in the reality of which he is a part. Hence, the consciousness of a reality intended as its object by the desire to know is accompanied by the consciousness of the quest as an event within the reality intended: the human intentionality of the quest is surrounded by the divine mystery of the reality in which it occurs…

-Eric Voegelin

The universe is the primary revelation of the divine, the primary scripture, the primary locus of divine-human communication.

-Thomas Berry

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How do spiritual masters manifest a lived understanding? And how can we rethink education in light of an integral consciousness? It is in this context that the human creature embarks upon an esoteric method for healing by restoring spiritual balance, with occult science offering empirical evidence for the hidden forces that aid such healing.

In Clymer’s Occult Science, or Hidden Forces (The republication, completely revised, and reinterpretation of L.H. Anderson’s Occult Science and Encausse’s (Papus) Science Occulte), the voice of the Divine Oracle / Arcane Philosophy teaches that “[wo]man is a creature possessing God-like powers and potentialities; with unlimited possibilities; that [s]he may become a creator, not the victim of circumstances, and has within himself[/herself] the power to shape his[/her] environments according to his[/her] Will…”

Paraphrasing, when these powers and forces are properly understood and intelligently developed they indicate a newer and better mode of living. Those with high ideals who study the Occult or Arcane forces of mind and Spirit, the control of matter, and the use of these forces toward achievement in the realm of various fields of human benefit, accomplish seeming miracles, especially in the elimination of vicious habits by influencing these former victims toward a better course in life. It is thus entirely possible to attract, direct and redeem by the thoughts we hold in the mind, those who are inclined to follow destructive tendencies.

“We become, by desire and effort, the receiver and the redirector of any and all forces, powers and energies in the Macrocosm of which we are a replica, and to which we correspond, as we harmonize ourselves with the operating Law…The center of all permanent power is in the Soul, the Spiritual self, but this Center is non-existent until such time as [wo]man awakens to [her/]his possibilities and makes an active effort to awaken this center; bring it into activity and become receptive to the forces powers and energies which are both material and Spiritual, therefore permanent. ”

Our thoughts become magnets, continually attracting to us those things and people toward which our thoughts are turned, so that the nature and quality of  thoughts become the ruling power in a life; the desire-thoughts REbirth us after another higher pattern. Occult truths are absorbed into the thought, to become desires, ultimately permeating the whole of being. When love enters life’s activity, the Soul’s Desire to feel the Willingness to make Efforts necessary activates hidden powers and forces to achieve one’s aim—these inner forces of power providing the experience of rapport with divine presence (experienced intellectually, emotionally, and physically).

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Brian Swimme writes in his chapter “The Art of Forging Cosmic Fire” (from The Universe is a Green Dragon): “The universe gives fire—real fire, the fire of the heavens…Let’s start with your present moments of experience: this involves sensations, thoughts, feelings, expectations, and hopes, the whole subjectivity that defines your now. We think of this as the psychic manifestation of body’s neurophysiological processes. Electricity flows through your nervous system in physical correlation to your subjective experiences…So from a physical point of view, the movement of ions in your brain corresponds to your subjective experience. Different ion flows would give you qualitatively different experiences; or equally true, a qualitatively different mood would manifest as a different movement of ions in your nervous system…right now, this moment, ions are flowing this way and that because of the manner in which you have organized energy from the Sun…what you are thinking and feeling this very moment is possible only through the cosmic fire…we have the power to forge [to shape and discharge in a manner worthy of its numinous origins] cosmic fire. What can compare with that?”

By attuning to a universe operating in harmony with exact laws (“habits”), the cosmic human can become an agent for its application, with health, well-being, and success becoming a magnetic/attracting force of a power which, as one comes into contact with it, transmutes or spiritualizes the Soul, activating its potential through desired effort to bring material and spiritual forces, powers, and energies into cultural permanence. If mind governs energy/information flow, and the deliberate use of attention governs the mind—whose behavior (energy, force, power) irrupts into nature—then by redirecting one’s Soul/Life-Force towards Love (the “supreme emotion”), one can experience successful living by intentionally emanating its divine presence.

Thich Nhat Hanh writes in his Teachings on Love, “Happiness is only possible with true love. True love has the power to heal and transform the situation around us and bring deep meaning to our lives…Love, compassion, joy and equanimity are the very nature of an enlightened person. They are the four aspects of true love within us and within everyone and everything.”  (The Buddha tells that whoever practices the Four Immeasurable Minds together with the Seven Factors of Enlightenment, the Four Noble Truths, and the Noble Eightfold Path will arrive deeply at enlightenment.)

This is especially reminding of the hermetic arts, with magic, alchemy, astrology, and divination deriving from a common source, a relation binding opposites into the very spiritualized material the Emerald Tablet of Hermes calls “the power of powers” that “overcomes all subtle things and penetrates all solid things,” forged in the space where Heaven descends and Earth ascends to create the world. Alchemy is the sacred science of subtle states of human and cosmos, following nature’s mode of operation, beginning with the unity or wholeness of opposites, to realize their reality in the experience of the world.

“This primal energy, which is associated with fire, order, light, and even being, may also be identified with the Archetypal Image of the soul itself, but also with the imaginal organ that will transform the world itself into soul, that is, effect its transfiguration into the radiant body of incorruptible luminous fire that is its true nature (Green Hermeticism, pg. 151)

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Hildegard understood that once the soul was so purified it became Wisdom and Love, those who were purified were perfected in the three realms of Sophia that are, traditionally, the perfection of the human state—Trismegistus—master of the three realms of the Cosmic Tree of Life: heaven, earth, and the underworld. Here we are reminded of Sophocles’s exclamation in his Fragments,

“O thrice-blessed they

That ere they pass to Hades have beheld

These Mysteries; for them only, in that world,

Is life; the rest have utter misery.”

Indeed it is through the hermetic arts that the entire corpus of Western esoteric philosophy and occult practices can be synthesized, understood, and effectively applied. In this way do the alchemist and magus become a living “philosophical stone,” the mind/brain (mercury) bridging self-consciousness (sulphur) and the body (salt).

Within such a framework we can regard the resonance of cosmic ecology, culture, personal magnetism (“soul-force”), and language, to anticipate an archetypal calculus whose subject includes knowledge to catalyze the rate of spiritual change and better recognize how space can increasingly be held for divinity to incarnate into various bodies. These come down to us through forms like Steiner’s Occult Science and Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga, which further communicate and change the structure of the cognitive mind by embodying a fuller relation to the One’s Self and Cosmic Psyche. This is how Antoine Faivre can point to four fundamental characteristics intrinsic to the esoteric approach to Divine Wisdom: 1) correspondences, 2) living nature, 3) imagination and mediation, and 4) the experience of transmutation (with two other relative/non-intrinsic aspects that frequently appear in such study, 5) concordance and 6) transmission).

If physical action reflects a state of mind, then mental transmutation must have a transformative effect; if one knows the “magical” procedures to induce divine transformation, healing can take place through the restoration of spiritual balance to resolve any crisis. As one Hermetic Axiom of The Kybalion discloses, “If the Universe is Mental, then Mind must be the highest power affecting its phenomena. If this be understood then all the so-called “miracles” and “wonder-workings” are seen plainly for what they are. The ALL is MIND; The Universe is Mental.”

Writing “curricula” (that gets practitioners to a state of eco-spiritual harmony by understanding the principles, patterns, strange attractors, dissipative structures, etc. that exist in our minds as they have been concentrated in alignment to a numinous fire radiating Goodness into a living culture) might be a hubristic case of overreach. But with the future of life on earth hanging in the balance, we need (to know how to effect) a miracle.

The originating  power that conditions our present moment offers a creative intensity, permeating the evolution of an archetypal process to consciously participate in the psychophysical order of the emerging Earth community. By altering the mode of consciousness to assist in the mutual enhancement of a life-force made manifest, humans can begin to take our place in a primal, sacred, and divine state of  co-creative enactivity.

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