A post-mortem guest post by Paul Foster Case about the mystery of the inner fire, the source energy of enlightenment. A priceless spiritual gem indeed.
Kabbalistic interpretation of the letter [Heh, the letter associated with Tarot card 4] emphasizes the outward movement of the personalized consciousness. The Sepher Yetzirah, for example, makes Heh correspond to the sense of sight. This attribution is directly related to the idea that a window affords a means of outlook.
Comparative anatomy has demonstrated that man has the most complex brain-machinery for seeing. In man vision has reached its highest development.
No one will deny that this development has been a dominant influence in human progress. When we call knowledge “enlightenment” we bear witness that we civilize ourselves by seeing. Civilization is the fruit of science, and trained vision leads to scientific discovery. This is just as true of the civilization now being established through the spread of occult science as it is of that which is the product of purely physical investigation. To discover the laws of superphysical planes, one must have eyes to see the facts of those planes; hence one of the principle aims of occult training is to develop a higher faculty of sight, now latent in most people, that enables its possessor to see things invisible to the untrained man.
Sight is a constructive sense. The modern world, considered as a human adaptation of natural conditions, has literally been seen into existence. Our cities, our railroads, our great canals, are all materialized visions, and in every stage of construction, from beginning to end, sight guides the whole operation.
Sight rules the world of art. Painting, sculpture, and all their derivatives, including photography and motion pictures, address themselves directly to our eyes. Moreover, the progress of literature, in all its branches, and the development of music, has been made possible by the conversion of sounds into visual symbols.
In Plato’s day practically all instruction was oral, and the orator was a great force in the affairs of nations. Today we have correspondence schools for almost everything, and editors mold public opinion. Some, indeed, try to persuade us that we write and read too much; yet they themselves contribute to the very condition they deplore. They have to write against writing to get what, in remembrance of bygone days, we still call a “hearing.”
We might go on to show how religions invariably spring from the experience of seers possessing the higher order of vision previously mentioned, how the very propagation of the species is probably more affected by vision than by any other sense—and so multiply examples until this one topic had been expanded into a large book—but we should add nothing to our certainty that sight dominates our lives. Let us, then, turn our thoughts from what it does to some consideration of what it is.
In seeing we are most directly influenced by the radiance which is the motive power in all terrestrial activity. Our eyes transform light into thought. Hindu scientists knew this long ago, and their books tell us that the subtle principle of sight is Tejas, the fire-element. Tejas is red; its form is triangular; its property is expansion. Among the planets it is represented by Mars. It has more centers of influence in our bodies than any other Tattva. Among them are: the eyes, the optic nerves, the sacral plexus, the prostatic ganglion, the solar plexus, which is the great storage-battery of Tejas in the torso; the stomach, and the duodenum. “Tejas” is also the Sanskrit name for the brain. This Tattva maintains the bodily heat, is active in digestion, and is the sex-force that yoga practice transforms into “Ojas,” which Swami Vivekananda defined as “the highest form of energy attained by constant practice of continence and purity.”
In the Hindu pantheon, Tejas is personified as Agni, primarily the god of the altar-fire, but later the Supreme God of the Vedas. He also represents lightning (that is, electricity) and solar force. Like the Latin Janus, also a sun-god, Agni has two faces. As the sacrificial fire, he is the mediator between gods and men. As a ruler he rides a ram and carries a notched banner.
Now, the Bible compares God, the Father, to a consuming fire; declares the Son, Christ, to be one with the Father, and the mediator between God and men; and compares his countenance to the sun. The symbology of the Roman Catholic Church, moreover, represents Christ as the “Agnus Dei,” and more than one writer on comparative religion has been struck by the similarity between “Agnus” and “Agni.” Even more remarkable than this likeness of names, however, is the fact that the Agnus Dei is a young ram carrying a notched banner, which displays a solar cross of equal arms.
This representation of Christ is stamped on a circular wax medal, the circumference of which is divided into twenty-four equal parts, indicated by dots on the face of the medal near the edge. Such an Agnus Dei is illustrated in Webster’ s New International Dictionary. The circular shape and the cross on the banner show that it is a solar emblem, and the dots around the edge correspond to the twenty-four hours of the day.
Both Agni and Christ, then, are associated with fire, and their common symbol is the ram, which, in astrology, is Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. Aries is the positive sign of the fiery triplicity. Its ruling planet is Mars. In the Sepher Yetzirah it is assigned to Heh. Thus we see that the Kabbalists associate Heh not only with sight but also with the element, the planet, and the symbolic animal that suggest sight to every properly instructed Hindu.
Each sign of the zodiac represents a part of the body. Aries corresponds to the head. Thus it denotes the controlling power in human personality, for the head governs the whole organism. It contains the sense-organs that give us our experiences and is the seat of the mental faculties that explain experience and make it a guide for action. All that a man does begins in his head. It decides the whole course of his life. From the raw material of sensation it forms the desires, judgments, and volitions which, taken together, make up the history of the man. We build our lives in our heads, which therefore correspond to the kind of consciousness Kabbalists have in mind when they say that the letter Heh stands for the path of Constituting Intelligence.
To constitute is to make anything what it is, to make up, to frame, to compose. These defintions are all grouped around one central thought. They bring to mind a power able to form the elements of existence into a coherent whole.
This power, says the Kabbalah, “constitutes creation in the darkness of the world.” That “darkness” is the primordial substance from which all forms are built. It is the inferior nature of Spirit, the “mysterious illusive power, difficult to cross over.” Through it, and in it, the Constituting Intelligence finds expression. By the works of Prakriti, Purusha becomes manifest as the Grand Architect and Master Builder of the Universe, but Prakriti is absolutely dependent upon Purusha. The power that sets matter to work is not the power of matter, but of Spirit. Matter is the mother-principle symbolized by the High Priestess and the Empress; it is the great procreatrix, but its generative activity results from its union with the father-principle, which the Tarot personifies, first as the Fool, and then as the Magician. The High Priestess becomes the Empress by her union with the Magician, and by his union with her the Magician becomes the Emperor.
“…What we do is the result of what we think, and our circumstances are the fruit of our deeds.”
Heh, then, as a symbol of Constituting Intelligence, denotes the executive and realizing power that initiates our thought-processes and controls their results. This is the objective mind, which, in controlling the operations of the subjective mind by suggestion, determines the character of our thought-habits, and thus influences all our actions and rules our destinies. For what we do is the result of what we think, and our circumstances are the fruit of our deeds.
This is an excerpt from The Secret Doctrine of the Tarot, chapter VI, by Paul Foster Case published in Word Magazine.
You can read the complete article here.