by: Roger Weir
We start our second cycle with Vision 1 and as a prelude I'd like to read you two quotations. These quotations are separated by four and a half centuries on opposite ends of the world. These two quotations present a seed epitome of wisdom. The first is from China, about 330BC. This is from the Chuang Tzu,
There is beginning, there is a time before beginning, there is a time before the time before beginning. There is being, there is non-being, there is a stage before non-being, there is a stage before the stage before non-being. Still, as for being and non-being, I do not know which is really being and which is non-being. Now I have just said something but I do not know whether what I have said is really saying something or not.
The comparative quotation is from the Poimandres, the first of the Hermetica, written in Alexandria about 90AD, some four and a half centuries later and about 10,000 miles apart,
AThe monad because it is the beginning and root of all things, is in them as root and beginning. Without a beginning there is nothing, and a beginning comes from nothing except itself if it is the beginning of other things. Because it is a beginning, then, the monad contains every number, is contained by none, and generates every number without being generated by any other number. But everything generated is imperfect and divisible, subject to increase and decrease. None of this happens to what is perfect. And what can be increased takes its increase from the monad, but it is defeated by its own weakness, no longer able to make room for the monad.
We are taking as our tuning fork this pair of classics of wisdom, from the planetary heritage, to being our Vision phase. One of the reasons why this has never been presented this way is that it requires decades and decades of sophistication, what used to be called erudition, and not just scholarship, because we'll see that in the ecology of consciousness what is scholarship in the integral becomes very quickly sophism, superficial and artificial in the conscious ecology of its four phases.
In order to help us to address this unprecedented spread of not just learning on my part, but of learning on our community, our part, we must take advantage of a flow which we have understood characterises human community in experience. In the communal experience of feelings, that have images, that can be languaged and told in narratives, that the flow of the mythic horizon of experience becomes particularly poignant and trustworthy if its flow is through the field of nature. And to consider nature as a field and experience as a river, we used the simile of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean. If it were not for the Gulf Stream of the Atlantic Ocean, there would be icebergs in London. It makes human life possible and human life is possible in the contours of the way in which experience is able to flow in the ineffable field which nature is.
So our whole first year of learning was to sensitise us to not preemptorally look at things and then decide and do on the basis of those things, but to consider a beautiful little statement that Roman Jakobson once said, 'Static perception is a fiction.' Not only are things vibrant in their energy frequency and constantly emergent but our perception is also only able to focus on them when it is tuned with them. All of the existentials emerge whole out of the field of nature. We know by the 21st century that even such an existential as space, as a frame, emerges out of an ineffable field itself.
Experiments, a couple of months ago, confirmed Einstein's wondrous imaginative vision that space, if it is in the proximity of a massive gravity well, which is the bending into a severe slope of the fabric of space-time, that there will be some noticeable dragging of the frame of space around a powerful gravity source and we know now that this is exactly the case. Space is not the openness within which things are; things which are and exist include space as one of those things itself. So it does not come from openness of space at all. The field of nature is not an open space that now needs to be filled but the expansion of the cosmos expands itself and pulls with it space time itself as a thing, as a unity, as a monad. And so space time itself is an existential and not the condition within which existence occurs at all.
The conditional is the field of nature and as long as experience is able to really flow in the natural field, the existentials, the things of the universe, the things that are there, coming out of nature, like ourselves will be able to have a sync formation, gestalts that really belong together. What will occur out of this is that the flow of experience will be natural. The plant, the animals, the minerals, the metals, fire, air, water, stars, the earth, everything will be consonant in the flow. The French phrase for the ineffable quality of that was coined by Lucien Levy-Bruhl when he was trying to find a way to talk about how Palaeolithic man fit into nature perfectly, he used the French phrase, 'participation mystique'. It was a mystical participation and he knew when he was in the flow because the things of life cooperated with him so that he could live. So that his community, so that the family, the clan, the tribe, the larger groups, the entire community would be able to verify their experience, their life flow, their cycle, not because it fit the rituals of things, but because it flowed freely in the field of nature.
We began our learning in the first year with Thoreau and the I Ching and one of Thoreau's quality sayings, one of the logoi of the great yogic transcendental sage of Concorde, Massachusetts, 'In wilderness is the preservation o the world.' The ability to return one's experience in its flow, so that it flows freely in the field of ineffable nature, allows for any emergence to include the emergence of the opposites as well as the things themselves. So that there is such a thing, there is not only an electron but of a positive electron called a positron; not only an electron but a hole of an electron which is a positive-negative vacuum area. And so one has, in the ancient wisdom, one has to look not only at what is and its opposite but one has to look at the obverse and its opposite as well and so one has a four-fold quaternary pattern in the weave of the actuality of existence. And to tune one's flow in nature shows that that quaternary, that four-fold-ness of what is existentially now doable and actually acting will have an efficacy.
We looked at a great many American Indian ceremonies where when it is very important to calibrate the ritual movements so that they register the flow of mythic experience in the ineffable field of nature, they will repeat an action four times and will usually repeat those fours in sets of fours. Or there are variants where one would repeat it once so that it is presented doubled and carry through the doubling all the way through, or sometimes, as we will see, it is characterised by four sixes. In Ancient Chinese wisdom the hexagram, the hexagon, was also a geometry of wholeness like the square or like the pair. We'll see that in Chuang Tzu, he says, of the ancient wisdom of Lao Tzu, there are four triple pairs, four sixes of obstacles that keep the Tao, the field of nature, from being the venue limitless mysterious through which the experience of life may flow free. At the very beginning of the book of Chuang Tzu, the title is Free and Easy Wandering. He begins,
'In the Northern darkness there is a fish and his name is K'un.' [K'un is the Chinese word for fish roe so this enormous fish's name is the smallest seed out of which fish come.] 'The K'un is so huge, I don't know how many thousand li he measures. He changes and becomes a bird whose name is P'eng. The back of the P'eng measures I don't know many thousand li across and, when he rises up and flies off, his wings are like clouds all over the sky. When the sea begins to move this bird sets off for the southern darkness which is the Lake of Heaven.'
Then he makes up a fairytale, pseudo-scholarly, non-sophistic source.
The Universal Harmony book records various wonders, and it says 'When the P'eng journeys to the southern darkness, the waters are roiled for three thousand li. He beats the whirlwind and rises ninety thousand li, setting off on the six month gale. Wavering heat, bits of dust, living things blowing each other about - the sky looks very blue. Is that its real colour, or is it because it is so far away [...] when the bird looks down, all he sees is blue too.'
The suspension in the wonder is the beginning of approaching the threshold of the vision. The ancient Socratic caution was that without wonder there is no beginning for philosophy, for the love of wisdom. The sense that something magical can happen, could happen, the sense that something wonderful is possible. One of the earliest outriggers and harbingers of this is that the mind, in its structure integrating experience, will get a sense for the first time that there is an irony possible in life. That irony, that sense of irony, in the structure of the mind integrating experience, when it crosses the threshold into visionary consciousness, the irony will become a sense deeper and we call that a paradox. Irony deepens into paradox. And so Chuang Tzu is the original source for the development of the last 2,300 years of Zen.
It is the original source of Zen because Chuang Tzu, for the very first time, takes the paradox of the mind trying to arrange the free and easy flow of experience in the field of nature, to try and arrange it in terms of the ritual comportment which is also integrated by the mind. And because the mind chose just to integrate the ritual things, the ritual ways, and since it is dictated that 'These are the right ways, these are the selected things', if they are ordered by itself then everything should be [19.20] and is not and has two distinct motions that happen.
First it becomes thinner and thinner so that it becomes superficial and the superficiality of the nth degree is when the superficiality becomes a single film called an abstraction. When something is completely abstract we'd say it is completely dry. It has no juice, it has no thickness, it is only a pure surface, can be manipulated by a mental geometric on the basis of abstraction and now you have an abstract structure of a pure logic that has nothing to do with the juiciness of life, nothing to do with the ineffableness of nature, only to do with the assigned values and shapes of a co-opted ritual world.
But there is another movement that happens, not only superficiality but artificiality. It becomes more and more apparent to this structure of the mind trying to arrange everything on the basis of its assigned ritual comportments, its assigned choice of things, the assigned arrangement out of which all life must then come and must be ordered so that it will be predictable. And what happens is that the artificial obscures the art of the person. The art of the spirit, the art of creativity, the art of the entailential consciousness at play, for we will find, here in the second year, that vision is about differential consciousness being a field.
It is a field that is ineffably coextensive with the field of nature. So that nature, having the mythos, always has the favour that there is a mother nature. Nature is feminine, is of a feminine gender: she. She allows for the birthing of all things, whereas the field of consciousness is constantly mythicised and then envisioned initially as male. The field of differential consciousness and the field of nature have an ability to merge in such a way that their coextensive fields are now super-fertile: not only can they produce existence but they can produce magical existence; not only what is but what could be. And so the range of the possible extends to all possible worlds. As many dimensions as one would need to now play in this super field.
But nature has a peculiar quality also; she is gracious in that she allows, sometimes, for the field of differential consciousness to take the lead and to produce forms that have more dimensions than just the space time of existentials. The forms that come out of the play of differential consciousness are forms of person, forms of spirit, forms of art. Forms which are prismatic in their quality, rather than pragmatic in their quality. Existential forms, rituals, are always action sequences that have a pragmatos. They do do these steps in this sequence and those sequences can be collected, they can be woven, and in human DNA you might have four or five billion such sequences in the genome. They all are specific, they will all have a specificity that what emerges out of them will be whole, it will be monadic. This enzyme will always be this enzyme. That protein, out of 25,000 proteins, that are similar, will always be that protein. If one interruption occurs in a telephone book of sequences it will change and you will get something monadic but different.
And so there is this quality that we are now acquainting ourselves with, beginning with vision, that consciousness in very ancient times seemed magical to human beings like ourselves. The word comes from the old Persian magus, which has a cognate word in the old archaic Chinese: [mia 25.39]. The reason for this is that in the central Asian landmass, thousands and thousands of miles of landmass, the very first successful land caravans were from central Asia, the Greeks called them Scythians. We today would call them Iranians, the Chinese called them Turks. That land bound population of people were the first people on earth to tame horses. The horse was like the ship for coastal areas of civilisation. Once the horse was tamed, one could not only ride a horse but pair the horses, team the horses and now with the great wheeled wagons, one had the ability to have caravans carrying groups indefinitely: as long as you set up stations to refresh the horses, the repair the wagons, you could extend your caravan routes.
By about 2000BC, 2300BC, about the time of Sargon of Akkad, you had caravans going all the way from Samarkand to the middle south of the Gobi Desert, a place called Khotan, Hotan today. From Samarkand to Khotan is many, many, many thousands of miles. From Khotan they were met by complimentary Chinese companies that would take the goods and the technologies all the way into the homeland of China. So when the first dynasty in China was set up, the Xia about 2205BC, the Xia are immediately different from all of the mythic predecessors, they have chariots. They have horses in pairs and wheeled carts like chariots and the chariot becomes one of the great symbols of dynastic China. The splendour of your carriage was always one of the marks of sophistication and superiority in the social pecking order.
Another quality is that for the first time you began to have fruits that never grew in China before they were domesticated in Ancient Iran. For instance the pear, the apricot, the peach, and flowers, the rose. All of these are introduced into China about 70 years ago there was a beautiful monograph written by Bernhard Karlgren from the University of Uppsala in Sweden. It was about 400 pages, very rare to find, I have a copy. It took all those 400 pages to list and describe all of the things introduced into China form the ancient central Asian Scythian Iranians, Turks, and contributed to dynastic China the chariot and jade. You do not find the technology of the chariot and the tamed horses before then and you do not find the valuation that jade because it has two distinct varietals that fit together: there is a dark jade and a light jade. The light jade can be so light it's called mutton-fat jade, as to be almost like a pure translucent soap. The dark jade can be so very dark that it almost disappears into a blackness.Those two jades are different formations in the same mountain range but are carried down by two separate streams that never meet except one place in the downtown of ancient Khoton. And so you find carved jade implements at the same time in Scythian Central Iran, Samarkand, as you do in the first dynasty China.
You find this quality of understanding that there is a whole visionary interplay going on in life. Chuang Tzu is the visionary threshold by which dynastic China finally ran itself out of respect for a controlled authority and was completely unsuccessful. The response to the Zen playfulness of Chuang Tzu was for power groups, warlords to increase their greed and their control and China ended up in the control of one man who gave his name to the people, Chin. They are now people of Chin, they are Chinese. He built all of the existing defensive walls into the great wall. But Chuang Tzu constantly was the source of the way in which individuals matured into spiritual persons, all the way through China and all the way into central Asia, all the way into Korea, Japan, into the south, into Indo-China. You find that this quality that comes through is a visionary tone; that if you find the invitation to transform your existence, to recalibrate your mind, it is possible to do so in exactly this way.
The quality here is: learning means learning what cannot be learned; practicing means practicing what cannot be practiced; discriminating means discriminating what cannot be discriminated. Understanding that rests on what it cannot understand is the finest. To someone who is co-opted into the things of the world, co-opted into the social world of the mental structuring, looked upon Chuang Tzu as, at best, mystical, at worst a meddling daydreamer and probably a saboteur of society. What emerged finally was that about 200 years after Chuang Tzu a number of an extremely learned, sensitive group of men - who were all related to the people who ran the power structure, the royal entourage but were junior members of the family - got together and began discussing with each other the Chuang Tzu paradoxes: of the Tao and the Jen that flows through the Tao in such a way that when it flows through the Tao the Tao will let itself be displaced occasionally by the super field of consciousness, so that one's experience, now, one's human heartedness, for an instant, to begin, will not flow through the field of nature but will flow through the field of consciousness.
When it flows through the field of consciousness, experience, now gains an extra dimension it did not have before. It gains a fifth dimension. Instead of being a fourfold structure, it now is a quintessential structure that has like a moveable thumb. It is able to do things it could not do before because the field of consciousness has creative imagination, not as an attribute; it is the wave energy forms and frequencies that emerge out of the field, but not only creative imagining, it has remembering. And so the field of consciousness, with remembering creative imagining, transforms the rituals that experience now will trust to base itself on and recalibrates the symbolic structure that will be used to integrate it. And so experience becomes the teacher rather than just what is sandwiched in between the mind and its prescribed instructions. And so art, in its square of attention, always sources itself in myth.
It is the mythic horizon of an experience which is ambidextrous. It can flow through the field of nature perfectly free and easy and it can flow through the field of differential conscious vision, creative, remembering, full of all possibilities. And so experience, now the mythic horizon, becomes not just a horizon that is like on a surface but it will have a depth to it and it will have a height to it. And one finds this in an aesthetic, an aesthetic that is mental will not pay very much attention to the mysteries of the depth and the mystics of the height. But a really full aesthetic will always have this prismatic quality where experience is able to tutor and tutors in such a way that it does not simply found itself on rituals but is able to take creative what ifs and apply them to the rituals, and to see what will come out of it. In this way, vision, the field of consciousness, is a playful field.
Play is one of the essential tones of vision. When one first becomes tuned to this possibility, crosses the threshed for the first couple of thousand times, it occurs as a moment of insight, or a moment of dejÓ vu, or a moment of wondering, or curious take. This, like the seeds of irony, the sense of irony, can deepen if one's attentiveness is brought to hold, lightly, the further qualities of the frame. That the frame now is not just the natural cycle ending with the mind, but that there is a whole dimension that goes beyond the mind. We'll see with Art that two of the phases go into differential consciousness and two of them remain in integral nature. And so from Myth to Symbol to Vision to Art, is one of the great interpenetrating squares of attention. Out of this square of attention comes the sense of the creative balance that is held not by the individual in the social world, is not held but the character in the community tribe, is not defined by the figure in what you do, but is prismatic of a person who has unlimited possibilities that they could develop, should they choose to do so. We're going to take a little break and come back and look at how the Hermetica founded a particular kind of freedom that is very Taoist, in Alexandria, for the first time, in the first century AD. Let's take a break.
Let's come back and set ourselves for the second cycle. Remember that this is a very complex parfait. Its sources and roots go back to every major tradition on the planet. One thing that helps us is to at least set ourselves to try to begin and maintain and to look upon this as yoga. I used to call it the yoga of civilisation. It's not something that you have to make time to do. It is like learning to type and then you can use that facility. It's like learning to read and write and then you can use that facility. All of the qualities that are needed to live in a rapidly complexifying situation are here. The longest cycle takes the entire year and is distributed, that snow shoe effect, is distributed in small tiny readings of maybe 15 minutes per week. There are four different tracks of this, for these year-long reading journeys and for the second year I've distributed the journeys so that there's one from China, there's one from India, there's one from Arabia, there's one from Europe.
The European is Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and the Arabic is Scheherazade's One Thousand and One Nights, the Arabian Nights, and the beautiful translation that was done just a little while ago but Husain Haddawy and you'll find in the programme outline the readings. The Chinese is The Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en who is the greatest of all Chinese novelists, and the Ramayana by Valmiki. Valmiki is the classic author on a par with Vyasa who wrote the Mahabharata, whereas there is only one Mahabharata there are many versions of the Ramayana and Valmiki's is the original. Valmiki was a deep forest sage, so perfect in his yoga that the white ants in the forest built a nest over him and he was covered in this conical robe of a while anthill and that's what his name means, Valmiki.
He was a yogi on the level of Milarepa, who meditated on the slopes of Mount Everest in a cave so long that the spider webs and the different things covered him and matted him. He would hold a yogic hand and collect the pine needles and through Tummo, spirit energy, he would heat this into a little bit of a soup and he lived on that. He lived so long in that cave in that way that when robbers came to the cave to hide their treasures they didn't recognise it was a man. The same with Valmiki: a hunter in the forest didn't recognise and shot this bird with his arrow and the bird, mid song, was killed and Valmiki came out of his yoga and uttered a curse and the hunter shrivelled into a wisp of soot. Then Valmiki went back into his deep super Samadhi and realised that the words in that frequency carried an energy like a ray beam. And so he composed the Ramayana as a massive epic of healing ray beam phrases called Rigs which is the Vak, which is the power of words, of language, to make energy real in that way, and have an effect.
So Valmiki, Scheherazade, Wu Cheng'en and Chaucer, those year-long reading journeys are like one of the helixes in the DNA and the two helixes do not go the same way, they go opposite and this is how they get their great interchange. What is contained in each of those helixes are the chromosomes and our phases act as the chromosomes. The individual presentations, week by week, are the genes. In this way there is a spiritual biochemistry that can be imparted, will be there for you in whatever way you use it, whatever selection you choose to have. The more that you utilise it the more it will work. So the year-long readings, the presentations, week by week, are spontaneous and they're live, and you can have a record of them by the DVD or the audio. The audio is extremely important and that is about three days after the presentation or after seeing a DVD, just play the audio or the CD.
The hearing is extremely important because the hearing goes from the mythic process phase to the visionary process phase instantly. It's like the relationship between the Anahata Chakra and the Sahasrara chakra. The heart chakra has direct resonance with the zahorastra chakra. It doesn't have to go through the Ajna, it doesn't have to go through the intermediate chakras at all. It can, if one is raising Kundalini but it can be instantaneous. So the audio tapes about three days after. The presentation notes are meant to be read in sync with the presentations, about the sixth day, just before you would have a new presentation. So that if you have the Symbols presentation notes which are just out now, you would read in six days the notes to Symbols 1.
This ratio of the reading of the notes to a previous phase sets up a particular kind of wave: it's a vector ratio wave. The audio to the presentation - either by DVD or live - will set up another different kind of ratio and vector resonance. The year-long reading is proportioned so that it will function and provide a third kind of proportion ratio. All of these ratios are brought together in a very complex way, a math not yet given names beyond those that Einstein and some of his confreres used early in the 20th century, tensors, and you can check on that and see, but this is an advance over that, even. All of this is meant to give you the tone which will register for you, in your body, in your experience, in the way in which you are able to structure thought, in the ways in which vision is freed up and in the ways in which the personal, spiritual art is able to emerge fresh. Fresh means fresh just now, not to emerge and then statically be that, but to at any particular moment be fresh at that particular moment because it will be a six dimensional spiritual conscious time space.
Out of this, out of that, will be generated a very high frequency, a flow, very much like experience, but the flow of that is a seven dimensional historical kaleidoscopic consciousness. It will be able to function like vision functions in the place of nature, like art functions in the place of ritual. The kaleidoscopic consciousness of history can function in the place of the mythic horizon without missing a beat. Now, mental structures that reach out to pre-emptively include in their mental structures consciousness find on their refinement that there is now such a thing as the unconscious, which of course is the ineffable, mysterious Tao field of nature. It is not unconscious, it is just not in the square of attention. The square of attention can shift, it can move, and it isn't that things fall into unconsciousness; it is that they are not in the square of attention but they are still part of the contexting that occurs.
So one learns to carry it with you and whenever you have a particular square of attention, you can recalibrate and use it on any basis whatsoever. If you are out in nature you can base that square of attention so that everything, from what you are doing, to what you are feeling and experiencing to what you are able to think about, to reflect, will be in that square of attention. But when you go into a threshold of differential consciousness, to the extent that you do, nature will give way to that and let that proceed, the same with an artist; an artist will never be a ritual comporter and a really great artist doesn't follow ritual at all, constantly changes it. One of the great South American poets, Juan Jimenez, when he received the Nobel Prize for Literature said, 'If they give you ruled paper, write the other way. Write across the lines.' Poetry is not meant to be on those lines. It doesn't have lines. It has contours that may go off the page.
What we are doing here is to give ourselves enough attentiveness so that it not only becomes second nature but it becomes what could be called third nature as well. This is a way to lead into the Hermetica. The Hermetica are wisdom conversations. They are like super advanced Plato dialogues. Their figure, their character, their individuality is all recalibrated and transformed by a spiritual teacher named Hermes Trismegistus. Now the original Hermes in the Greek mythos was both the messenger of the Gods to man, whenever Olympus wants to send a message Hermes takes the message on winged feet and with his Caduceus which he can maze man, can maze other gods, even. So that they are labyrinthianly brought out of the sequence of time space so that they cannot interfere with what needs to be. What needs to be is not just the directive of Olympus, of Zeus, but what needs to be is more comprehensive than what the Olympians gods were themselves, of what Zeus could do and the Greek word for that of course was moira, meaning fate. Even the gods were subject to fate. So what needs to be is that that fatedness must continue.
The Hermes of the messenger of the gods was also a psychopomp. He was the guide of the souls after death through the netherworld. The Egyptian origin and cognate of that was Thoth. Thoth is the Ibis bird headed figure who is able to make the language, the mythos, into the right shapes so that they have the right sound, they are the right words, said in the right sequence in just the right way that if you use - they used to be called spells in the old translations - they are not really spells, what they are are linguistic audio keys. If you use those keys at the right moment, what bars your way will open. So they are keys because the netherworld is compartmentalised to stop you in very consistent ritual ways and those ritual ways are glued, they are annealed to symbolic conceptual ways, so that only by using a magic language in the mythic mode can you unlock the ritual aspect of that gate and the symbolic aspect of that gate at the same time. So you have to have a magical mythos language to be able to do this.
And of course we are all familiar with the old abracadabra, the magic world. Thoth is the inventor of the specific tuning of language so that it is magical mythic at the very same time so that the flow of the mythic language and the flow of the visionary language is synergised, braided in such a way that that key will unlock that gate and in the netherworld in Egyptian classical ways there are twelve gates. Each gate has a keeper and before each gate is an enormous area, of indeterminable size, called a cavern and you can be in that cavern forever if you don't know how to go through that gate. Only by knowing the complete sequence of the twelve magical mystical language keys can one go through all twelve gates and if you do death has not stopped you, you may rise with the sun in the morning.
Now the original Thoth emerges about the time of the third dynasty in Ancient Egypt about 2700BC. The Pharaoh, the King at the time was named Zosur, sometimes spelled Djsor or Zo. Zosur is the first one to be able to build a true pyramid and his architect was named Imhotep. The architect was also the architect of his health, he was the primal physician as well as the primal architect. And he is like the original Thoth who was able at the crucial part of the underworld where if you are going to be admitted, even before the challenge of all the gates, your soul must be weighed on some scales. If you soul is too sullen, to heavy, you will tip the scales and your soul will be fed to this particularly slimy, green Ghostbuster monster. That's it, you don't get to go anywhere ever. You're part of kidney soup.
What your soul is weighed against is a plume, an ostrich plume, which was the symbol of Maat and she was justice in the sense that justice is not heavy, it is light in the sense that the ostrich plume on earth is very light but its existentiality is equal to a hammer. One of the little tricks done by one of the astronauts on the moon was to take a hammer and a feather, and show them in front of the camera and the whole planet, that if you drop them on the moon together they fall at the same rate. Only in the field of nature and in the field of consciousness will this be known and so you want to make your soul as light as an ostrich plume because it doesn't have to be any heavier than that, it doesn't have to be defended anymore than that.
One of the great romantic lines that Edmond Rostand used in his great play Cyrano de Bergerac, where Cyrano is dying and he gives his great soliloquy at the end and completes it by saying, 'And one thing remains unstained above the world and that is my white plume.' Egyptology was just beginning to take hold in romantic France at the time. The quality of the first Hermes of Thoth was deepened about the time of Chuang Tzu, about 325BC, and the second Hermes you almost never hear about because it was not called second Hermes, it was called The Good Spirit, in Greek Agathos Daimon, the good spirit. The Good Spirit came from Nubian African Egypt - the second Hermes was black - and had a particular quality of being able to deepen and further. So that not only was there the magic language of the original Thoth - the psychopomp and messenger service of the Hermes - but that there was a quality where it was not just the heart or the soul, not just the heart of one's character and not just the soul of one's individuality, but it was the prismatic spirit of your person, the jewel of your spirit, that is not so much a thing but is a radiance, that can be changed and not ruined forever, indefinitely. It has more facets than there are angles in the universe.
And so the radiance of the spirit, the second Hermes, the second Thoth, the Good Spirit, paid particular attention to this, about the time when Alexandria was first being built, about the time when Chuang Tzu was writing in China, about the time that Chandragupta Maurya was setting up the great Mauryan dynasty in India, many things happening cognate in the world at that time. What came out of that generation was a couple of generations later a deepening where the reflective quality of the symbolic thought got used to looking as much forward into the spiritual person as backward into the mythic character. And all of a sudden you got a realisation that the symbols were a transparency through which must then be a flow which takes something from this world and allows it to be cosmic.
And so at that time there came to be used, about the 160s BC, the term in Egypt, one of the disciplined priests of the Osyrian religion named Hor, short for Horus, began to see that there is a great and great and greater. Not quite Trismegistus, and about the same time there was a quality of the founding of Qumran in Israel and of the tuning of the Therapeutae, Neo-Pythagorean community outside of Alexandria. There was this attentiveness that there is something here that goes to like a third level. That where there is this world and then there is a spiritual prism that not only transcends but transforms the things of this world and recalibrates the mind of this world but that that opens up a further field of complexity. And that the form that comes from that further field is the cosmos itself, in all of its scintillating infinitude. And so the Hermes Trismegistus, thrice greatest, was the teacher who could carry one through both transforms, both recalibrations and return you back to the cosmic infinitude.
In the classic Hermetica, there are 13 treatises that are presented as an order. These 13 treatises as an order have the twelve plus the one. Later on there was added a 14th to it, we only have the copy in Latin because the author was a very sophisticated, wonderful, magical, mystical Roman author named Apuleius who wrote The Golden As: The Transformations , and many other books, On the Spirit of Socrates , A Defence Against Magic and a number of things. He wrote the Asclepius in about 140AD. He was from Northern Africa. But the classic 13 have a very interesting symmetry. At the end of the first of the hermetic treatises is a cosmic prayer of thanksgiving and at the end o the 13th, the rebirth treatise, is another prayer of thanksgiving for the cosmos. The first treatise is called the Poimandres which we are taking, sometimes translated as The Mind Shepherd.
The Mind Shepherd taught this, how to use language in this way if you have ears to hear and will carry you through, all the way to rebirth. Here is the beginning, here is the teacher and the next twelve treatises are the twelve super gates through which you can go and have rebirth. I thought I would just pair them together for you so that you can at least have the experience of hearing the two prayers and maybe you can hear in the two prayers something of your own intuition. Here's the prayer at the end of the Poimandres,
Holy is God, the Father of all; / Holy is God, whose council is done by his own powers; / Holy is God, who wishes to be known and is known by His own people; / Holy are you, who by the Word have constituted all things that are; / Holy are you, from whom all nature was born as image; / Holy are you, of whom nature has not made a like figure; / Holy are you, who are stronger than every power; / Holy are you, who surpass every excellence; Holy are you, mightier than praises. / You whom we address in silence, the unspeakable, the unsayable, accept pure speech offerings from a heart and soul that reach up to you. Grant my request and not fail in the knowledge that benefits are essence; give me power; and will this gift I shall enlighten those who are in ignorance, brothers of my race but your sons. Thus I believe and I bear witness; I advance to life and light. Blessed are you, father. He who is your man wishes to join you in the work of sanctification since you have provided him all authority.
This was a prayer, of course, as you might recognise, from the greatest teacher of the planet who taught in Alexandria before other places, early in the first century. Here is the prayer at the end of the rebirth, the twelfth gate that now opens,
Let every nature in the cosmos attend the hearing of the hymn. Open, O earth; let every lock that bars the torrent open to me; trees, be not shaken. I am about to sing a hymn to the lord of creation, to the universe and to the one. Open, you heavens, and be still, you winds. let god's immortal circle attend my discourse. For I am about to sing a hymn to the One who created everything; who fixed the earth in place; who hung heaven above; who ordered the sweet water away from the ocean and toward land, the habitable and the uninhabitable, as means of mankind's nourishment and creation; who ordered fire to shine on gods and humans for their every use. Together, let us praise him, raised high above the heavens, creator of all nature. He is the mind's eye. May he accept praise from my powers.
Powers within me, sing a hymn to the one and the universe. Sing together, all you powers within me, for I wish it. Holy knowledge, you enlightened me; through you, hymning the intellectual light, I take joy in the joy of my mind. Join me all you powers and sing the hymn. You also, continence, sing me the hymn. My justice, through me hymn the just. My liberality, through me hymn the universe. Truth, hymn the truth. Good, hymn the good. Life and light, praise passes from you and to you. I thank you, father, energy of the powers. I thank you, god, power of my energies; through me your word hymns you; through me, O universe, accept a speech offering, by my word. This is what the powers within me shout; they hymn the universe; they accomplish [...] returns. Accept a speech offering from all things. Life, preserve the universe within us; light, enlighten it; god, spiritualise it. For you, O mind, are a shepherd to your word, O spirit-bearer, O craftsman. You are god! Your man shouts this through fire, through air, through earth, through water, through spirit, through your creatures. From your eternity I have won praise and in your council I have found the rest I seek; I have seen it as you wish. This praise that you have told, father, I have also established in my cosmos.
That was 1,900 years ago in Alexandria. More next week.