When I was younger and had more time I was fortunate enough to be a member of a number of secret societies-organizations whose meaning for existance were to initiate its members into a deeper, inner contact with their spirituality and, consequently, the world around them. The regimen consisted of study and praxis-and while it may seem rigorous to those of us who today live in a heavily secularized society that has compartmentalized all aspects of the human experience, safely consigning (confining?) it to a brief interlude during a single day of the week, I am sure that men and women of earlier times would scoff at the great latitude we were given.
Study and practice, study and practice, study and practice. We were told that if we kept our course (a word whose double meaning only just now comes to me) the experiences we sought would occur. Perhaps we were all seeking different things-or seeking for different reasons. But one experience would, at the end of all debates emerge as a common goal: Illumination.Illumination, the enlightenment of the West. The interface of our mortal consciousness with the part of us that is divine and eternal. The singular experience whereby all that ever was or will be is unveiled in all its monistic simplicity. Rarely do any attain such a state of being. I’m told it’s the result of several life-times.
More often than not, we get brief glimpses of eternity. Numinous ports in our lives that open us up to the vastness of being where we find stars burning in ourselves and others. And these singular moments were what we sought and hoped for in our work. It all sounds so lofty, rarefied states of being that remove us from the common spheres of men on the earth. But it’s not-or, rather, it doesn’t have to be.
One of the systems I was required to work with contained spiritual visions at each stage. To have the vision was to have accomplished that part of the work. A lot of students enter into it expecting big things to happen. Sometimes they do. More often, after some months of furtive attempts and no concrete results, they move on to something else in hopes of securing a more real experience. The Mysteries were divided into the lesser and the greater, with transitions of great expectation between them. Between the lesser and the greater is the vision of a sphere called Netzach-which literally in Hebrew means ‘victory’. Netzach is referred to often as the most ‘occult’ of all the spheres. It’s meaning was the most hidden, the most occluded from humanity. Certain clues were given: its power was said to be nature, it fulmination to be found in the act of love. Surely, a deep meditation was required to obtain the secrets that Netzach had to offer. Or was it? Sometimes, the we fail to see that the universe is, in fact, about us. The grand adventure that is life takes place all around, and it doesn’t require a great fury to sound it out.
I travel the same path to work every day. I go down a road with so many other vehicles, all fairly racing in our attempts to defy the infamous Atlanta Georgia traffic. To my left, as I bear down Post Road, I see rolling fields, emerald whatever the time of year. Rivulets hunch the valley and a gossamer, whispering fog veils the hills. Burns of orange and russet and purple shoulders of the dawn. Cows lowing in the country. Above, clouds like torn shreds of candy from a fair. A horned moon, set amid blue mists and then life falls in and I’m in the middle of what’s to come that day…Read More