Table Talk 101-120

From Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery by Mary Anne Atwood:

101. The perfection of each man is to submit to have his fundamental faith, which is his individual Logos, perfectly elaborated — i.e., fermented — so as to transmute the whole being, so that the whole body, soul and spirit may be saved in it. Few have ever perfected this, though there were doubtless degrees of it; the birth of this life prevents the complete work; it is not intended to be completed till the time comes.


The danger of diving into the mystery of life through Alchemical seekings is that it tempts you to break the seals upon the book of life artificially in order to hasten the work, instead of waiting for God’s will and pleasure about it. He will hasten up all at last quickly enough.

The Hermetists themselves always war against over-haste. Norton says, “Haste is the Devil’s part”. There is a swiftness in the self-willed magnet working powerfully and to destruction if suffered to do so before its time. Ripley warns against this under the similitude of red poppies — the work gets all burnt up and the artist has to begin over again. Nevertheless in every mistake there is a lesson for future guidance.
102. The Crown, to use Behmen’s and de St. Martin’s phrase, is the Logos. The whole of the Divine purpose appears to be to bring the self-willed opposition into subjection through man’s consent and operation, in order that the original fallen body of the will in Lucifer may become a ground and body to the Divine instead of being apostate. The scheme is wonderful, and appears perfectly marvelous the moment the mind enters into perception of it; that is, the value of man. The body, the really efficient body of the Will, is at present alienated from and in rebellion, as it were experimentally, against its first source.

103. Engelbrecht lived like Swedenborg, in the visionary sphere, and with no education of the intellect, had, it strikes me, the less gauge for truth. One reads his writings without any sense of value, except such as they might be to his own mind, and to such as himself. Behmen’s mind was on quite another ground; it was altogether withdrawn from surfaces, which in him were objective instead of subjective; he looked to them with a light that penetrated and comprehended them.

There is a certain truth in the analogical sphere, but it is only relative. The wise called it the Regio phantastica; all the true Hermetists knew it, and valued it only for the derived light of its essence, not for any light it gave them; it was as a pabalum for them, but only when deprived of all phantasmagoric form. All those little peep-shows are shadows of it, and no doubt children enjoy these things at fairs because their spirits are near this source. A deep intellect will not stay in these spheres, it will be drawn deeper by gravitation to the primary sources of life. Some persons, however, such as perhaps Engelbrecht, misconceive this Evester, as Paracelsus calls it, and having a simple understanding see things pretty truly if they continue faithful of purpose without much self-desire; it is self-desire that adulterates. Vaughan, the Welshman, very elegantly depicts the play of that ether. In Behmen, as in the higher regenerate men, the body became as the iron in the forge, no longer visible as before, but penetrated through and swallowed up with the Light. On that principle, by the bye, pictures of the Ascension and Transfiguration should be painted; they should paint Light, making the central body of the Light stronger than the outside. Like the eye and its iris, a body can only become invisible through excess of light from within it. It is by shutting up of ours in its center that we become sensibly visible to sense; it only emanates from the focus of the eye, and it is that light thrown in to find its own center and origin which awakens that center at last and causes it to coruscate.

104. When the archetypal Light is perceived, it burns up all anterior manifestation, images and representations, images and representations, all that is not of itself; it perceives itself alone, for it is objective and subjective both; it is Truth. There is nothing alien in it or possible to it, for it burns up all that is alien, transmuting all that is not combustible into itself.

105. De St. Martin says, “Numerical numbers are merely the bark of things” (p. 298, Corres.), and outer nature is the bark of them as the tradition of scripture is the bark of the inner law.

My notion of numbers considered theosophically is that they represent, and are the order of the development of, the Divine Law in actual creative operation, and that they are known in their arithmetical forms of addition and subtraction (of which multiplication and division are developments) through their personal representation in theurgic art, by which spirit is added to spirit and multiplied as offspring, producing points, planes, cubes, which being again conjoined, have their confluence in materiality.

The mystic Tetractys of Pythagorus was thus obtained; the source, as he called it, of ever-flowing Nature; such an ens was the basis of the philosophic stone, a metaphysico-chemical birth, emanating according to the creative law, proving itself doubly, triply, by a realization of the first represented will; and this is known in Regeneration, individually proven and proving all.

106. All members that work here for the natural work, work also for the super-essential. All the organs of the senses are brought to bear against the principle of sense or the sensuous medium in the blood; then the hands are taught to war and the fingers to fight, and all natural secretion is superseded by super-essential hyperphysical exudation and tears; for when the connate spirit is deprived of its understanding spirit, as is imaged in the Iliad after the death of Patroclus, and in the grief of Hercules for the loss of Hylas, life flows away, until by self-realization it rallies from a new center.

107. Grammar has its foundation in operations of the Spirit, of which will is the substantive or noun, love the qualitative adjective form; their union coming into self-expression is the verb affirmative, I am.

108. The sensual medium must in the work be brought to its pivot, to its last ens. The residuum from this medium supplies body to the regenerate soul; after that the soul has passed under its Cross. De St. Martin says in allusion to this that “the earth is the crucible for souls as well as bodies”, — see Tableau Naturel, vol II, p. 230. Also the Smaragdine Table — “The power is integral if it be turned into earth”; this earth becomes the punctum saliens of the Divine Cross which before was its punctum.

109. Festina lente, Ne quid nimis, are sayings very applicable to the work, and very important in conducting it, and that whether in its higher or lower form. It may seem strange to say so, but too much haste to be good or perfect involves a self-willed action which defeats the end; it is the duty of man’s will to follow God’s Will as He, according to His time and measure, opens the way. Be not righteous overmuch, says Solomon, showing that we should not exceed the capacity which is given; if we do, it gives power to the contrary principle to react upon the over-run. Note: — The action of the self-will on the soul which exaggerates its religious life may be seen in the history of men, Jewish and Christian, in spiritual pride, in contempt of others, in morbid self-anatomy, in want of charity or allowance for others, in the odium theologicum, whether they who show these qualities were called Pharisees or Katharoi or Devotes or Puritans.

110. The whole work is an action of agent on patient, and the reaction of patient, advancing, on agent. The work is gradual, yet always progressive; each fermented spirit advances upon its origin.

Desire constricts the essence of what it desires and so draws matter about the image of its object.

111. The lucidity and terseness of even Bacon’s style if turned from the a posteriori to the a priori ground, would be equally lucid and perspicuous to those who discovered the latter, but would be eminently abstruse and involved and mystical to such as are of a merely perceptivemind cognizant of sensibles, because the natural understanding and language are inadequate to express things belonging to absolute truth; they were never framed to it. The language of the spirit itself only can clearly express and reveal its own life. Nevertheless the more the inner becomes elaborated by thought through the organization, the more intelligible can its light be made by natural language to the natural understanding.

112. It is true that all inner principles are evolved outwardly, but they are thrown into deviation in the course of evolution by the halting, obstructive movements of the law of individual life.

113. Kirchberger says for de St. Martin (Theos. Corresp., p. 359) that “there is no true government but a Theocracy”, This is a great truth, but the social surface to bear a theocratic government must first be coordinate; the world’s surface can only be governed by the center from which it is derived — that is, its king; and if the divine center moves into a superficial dominion it immediately proceeds to recreate and prepare for the dethronement of the old center by dissolution of the corrupt surface. A perfect law is quite unfit for an imperfect community in immediate form; it works by intermediate degrees of completeness before it attains power to work through to regenerate without destruction of that which, taken up progressively, is valuable (see de St M.’s Reply, p. 364).

114. People in whom the Mars and Venus property is dominant, especially when they both coexist, are drawn very closely in consciousness to the vortex of life —the Sol principle; their knowledge is by experience, not perception or intuition, which are the property of Mercury and Jupiter, which can enunciate far more clearly than the mere emotional spheres, but cannot feel as well, or realize without the voluntary dominance of Saturn and Luna. These supply evidence to their respective light and life.

115. De St. Martin found an entrance into the center of the substantial life which every creature is seeking, and in the perfect law of which all who have truly entered and known the center agree. It is in the identity of this revelation in every individual vouchsafed it, that this agreement arises. For this truth is at once a unity and an universal.

116. Kirchberger was drawn to and worked about the intellectual imagination of the inner life, seeking means of further entrance perhaps, at least sometimes, rather than to become integrated or made anew and converted wholly into the Light he saw. This is the snare of most intellectual seekers; they desire to dive deeply by the one ray of intellect rather than to transfuse its converting light and essence through the darkness of the selfhood on which it shines.

It is true that high revelations may be obtained in that way, intuitions even, but without clothing or realization, unless the spirit of such a seeker returns before it is too late to take up the life which was born with the Light, and which it has left behind in the forgetful enjoyment of its own researches.

116A. Intellectual seekers get quickly deeper, but have more to overcome. Seekers, who are in the Divine order of Love, who are passive, are worked at every surface of the Spirit, and this takes time; for doing is more tedious than seeing, but then it is surer, it takes up everything under God’s Will.

117. Every one can find in himself at moments the true center, if only the thought dives deep enough, and so long as he is there every particular truth will be perceived in its widest acceptation; because without hindrance there is nothing to stop thought there except the law of thought itself. Thus de St Martin’s mind expatiated broadly and freely, asserted universal truths in reply to the particular enquiry of his friend; so he answers him and does not: he answers questions and explodes them. And so in the Hermetic process there is an inquisition into life, in which every question is solved, thrown into solution, and a new basis furnished for further enquiry; and here every solution is a convertive process and progress in entity and hypostatic relation. When I ask you a question or you me, the doing so does not change, though it affects, our life; but there it does both, because the solution enters into the spirit of the enquirer: it is intimate, alchemical; it is light dissolving darkness until there is no more darkness or shadow of a doubt.

You must understand that the intellect is the enquirer and, as individual, is skeptical. The Universal Reason condescends to answer it when not self-seeking and too proud to know. To the true seeker after truth in humility, not in pride, it responds.

Kant saw that, Hegel saw it, Fichte knew it, Schelling saw it, Boehme knew it and proved it by his experienced in-seeing whereby he became it.

118. It requires Light to throw Light upon Light; darkness looking in and endeavoring only darkens. It is the blind leading the blind, or worse than that; it is a blind man dragging about his dog instead of his dog dragging him. Hence by reading St Paul’s Epistles in the atmosphere of the higher Mystics, more knowledge of his meaning, more insight into his depths, is given than can be drawn from any professed commentators. The Theosophic light opens him at a much wider plane of thought than the Theological.

119. In that dream your mind was carried back into its ether; the ethereal consciousness brought into relation with the Universal Ether. That ether is the omnia in omnibus of the Hermetic Riddle. What we have is a scrap of that ether shut in at our birth-conception. All qualities are in it and color it.

120.The first vegetative life is green, it arises with hope; it is hope, the first aspiration to something better, to progress and improvement; it is a beautiful principle, the sensation of it on such as are permitted in consciousness to enter into it is blessed. The purple color is its ripened Life; it is the benedicta viriditas of the masters (Song of Sol., ch. 2)

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