Reflection 7

Mysteries of God, Cosmos, Humanity, week 7

Reflection: assimilating spiritual powers



Life in modern 21st century society demands much from us. It presents many challenges and often it is quite demanding to meet all our obligations. The conditions in which we are now living are much better and more comfortable than those of our ancestors. Still, countless people suffer from alienation, psychosomatic complaints, burnout and depression. It is increasingly recognized that such problems can often be explained by the fact that deeper needs are not being met. Are we doing enough to make our lives truly meaningful? Do we perhaps fragment our attention too much over all kinds of things that ultimately are unsatisfying? Are we not disturbing our peace of mind by being constantly alert to the unimportant messages that pour into our beeping and vibrating devices? Do we pay enough attention to what really matters in life?

The market for providers of solutions to the aforementioned difficulties has grown considerably. Online and offline media pay ample attention to the issues and elaborate on remedies that have proven their worth in practice, such as slowing down, drastically reducing digital communication, mindful living in the now, meditating, movement and minimizing possessions and obligations. The advice is also increasingly not to let your life be dominated by linear clock time, which is symbolized in Greek mythology by the god Chronos, but to  consciously build in quality time, inner time or soul time, symbolized in Greek mythology by Kairos, the grandson of Chronos.

Chronos and Kairos

Grandfather Chronos corresponds to Saturn and is often portrayed as an old man with a long beard holding in his hand an hourglass, an instrument for measuring time quantitatively. Chronos rules in the world that can be perceived with the senses, in the third dimension or 3D. He stands for objectified time, which is the basis for schedules, plans, agendas, appointments and deadlines, all of which are of course very much needed to manage daily life. The rebellious grandson Kairos disregards the usual continuity that thunders through like a train; in this way he can arrive at completely new insights and bring about fundamental changes. He lives in a different kind of time, related to the fifth dimension or 5D, the world of the soul.

Kairos deals with qualitative time that matters, that offers opportunities and enables breakthroughs. Kairos is often portrayed as a young, strong and muscular god with a long
crest where he can be grabbed or else he could quickly be gone. This symbolizes that you should seize an opportunity when it presents itself, that you should always be receptive to the
Kairos moments that arise unexpectedly. What does all this mean if you want to follow the spiritual path that is the central topic of this book? In doing so, it is essential to pay attention to Kairos moments because if you allow Chronos to guide you, you will keep running around as in a spinning hamster wheel until you drop, without moving forward at all. If there is constant turmoil within us, the spiritual light cannot reach us. Then we will barely hear the silent cry emanating from the spirit-spark in the center of the microcosm that we inhabit.

If you constantly stir in a small pond with a stick, the water will remain cloudy; but if you give the pond a rest, the solid particles will settle down, the water will become clear and the light can penetrate down to the bottom, unhindered. When you make time for Kairos moments, you create circumstances that allow you to sense the voice from your deepest inner self. That does not mean however that going the gnostic path consists solely in creating as many Kairos moments as possible. No, the intention is to make your consciousness so clear that during all your daily activities and also during your nightly sleep you are constantly aware of your spiritual mission in this world.

Moreover: during unexpected or planned, beneficial Kairos moments, it  can happen that your attention is completely focused on the things of this world. If you experience a certain contact with the vertical dimension, with the divine world, it is usually only
about hearing the call and not about sanctification, to which humanity has been called. In chapter 14 of her booklet ‘The Seal of Renewal’ Catharose de Petri calls on her readers to work
on sanctification.

‘He who is sanctified can sanctify others. He who possesses something can share his possessions with others. Therefore in another part of the holy language we read: “You shall be holy for I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1:16) This tremendous mantram is of great
significance because he who is in the light, reflects this light all around him. Such a one is as a beacon to those who are seeking the way and he also causes the being of darkness to stand out against the brightness of his light and thereby brings truth and clarity, so that no one can be in error any longer. Therefore sanctify yourself with power by the measures of the gnosis. Sanctify yourself for all those who are still seeking so that they too may be sanctified in the truth.’

Anyone who wants to respond to the call for sanctification must first become aware of the call of the rose heart, which invites us to connect with the divine world. That connection is of course always there, but it is extremely weak because the human system simply cannot tolerate the high vibration of the spirit so easily. Pupils need a concentrated light power in order to be able to go their paths and to achieve the required cleansing, purification and renewal. Independently they can only absorb light power from the atmosphere in a very ‘diluted’ or ‘reduced’ form. In the first instance the required concentrated light power must be given to them. By whom or by what? Either by someone who can himself or herself concentrate the light forces or through a spiritual school.

Milk or solid food

Thus we can understand why the apostle Paul writes to the congregation in Corinth: ‘I fed you with milk, not with solid food; for you were not yet able to bear it’ (1 Corinthians 3: 2). In most churches this text is explained as follows: People who have only recently become Christians should have a very simple explanation of the faith and later on, when they have grown a bit more in their faith, the more difficult aspects that are harder to understand can be discussed. After all, newborn babies do not eat kale but milk, which they can tolerate. In spiritual circles, milk is often seen as a symbol of exoteric teachings, based on the literal meaning of sacred texts; and the solid food then represents esoteric teachings, arising from a deeper, symbolic understanding of those same texts.

Both interpretations are of course not wrong, but the interpretation from a gnostic understanding goes a bit further. In doing so, it is important to keep in mind that the milk
referred to does not come from an animal such as a cow, goat or sheep, but from a human being. The milk that the mother provides for the infant is the result of the birth of a baby.
Paul was a man and of course he could not bear children and his body could not give milk. However, he was the spiritual father of the Christians whom he took under his care, for he
awakened and resuscitated the spiritual soul within them. He was able to provide them with spiritual food in the form of life energy of higher vibration that he had concentrated in himself, that flowed out of his body and that he symbolically referred to as milk.

This phenomenon is also referred to as darshan and relates to being in the personal energy field of an initiate. Darshan is a Sanskrit word that literally means that you are within someone’s field of vision. In this connection J. van Rijckenborgh speaks in his book ‘The Elementary Philosophy of the Modern Rosycross’ about the benedictio, a word that refers to blessing. When a person is under the radiating power of the universal Brotherhood, which is also represented as the spiritual Sun, then that power is transmuted and radiated in him. That radiance is referred to in Psalm 121 as ‘the shadow on your right hand’ (see hymn 18).

What would Paul mean by solid food? Solid food is eaten by people who can feed themselves independently, so they do not need an intermediary in order to support themselves. People
who can themselves eat and tolerate solid food symbolize those pupils who are so advanced on the Gnostic Path that they are directly under the radiant power of the Universal Brotherhood
and are therefore able to independently attract, concentrate, transform and radiate. They do this partly unconsciously and partly consciously, in order to allow the divine element in them to grow, while at the same time enabling the inner touch and inner growth in others who are open to it.

The activity of consciously working, both individually and collectively, in order to contribute to the realization of the Divine plan is also called gnostic magic. From this description you can immediately deduce the difference between ‘ordinary magic’ and gnostic magic. Ordinary magic is practiced from the ego. It does not emanate from the rose of the heart and it is not aimed at the realization of the plan of God, but at the realisation of personal wishes. Gnostic magic has its origin in the prayer that is also formulated as ‘not my will, but Your will be done’.

Paul as a gnostic

Orthodox Christian churches regard Paul as the apostle who brought the pure gospel to the Gentiles who were already fighting the gnostics who later on were hated so much by the church of Rome. Jan van Rijckenborgh recognized early in life that Paul’s letters are gnostic. Much later the progressive American theologian Elaine Pagels confirmed this assumption on the basis of scientific research, which she published in book form in 1975.

One of the gnostic writings found in Nag Hammadi is entitled ‘Prayer of Paul the Apostle’ (see hymn 19). Most likely its author is not the same person as the author of Paul’s letters as included in the New Testament, but possibly he was his direct or indirect student. Paul was a gnostic who, from about the year 50, founded a spiritual school with various congregations in countries around the Mediterranean. He did so on the basis of inspiration from the Christ impulse which was so powerfully active at that time that it is now sometimes called the big bang of Christianity. Paul saw the individual congregations and their members as part of the body of Christ, the Corpus Christi. Paul writes to the church of Corinth as follows:

‘For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many’ (1 Corinthians 12:12-14).

Paul referred to the separate churches as the ‘ecclesia’, a word from the Greek; and all congregations together were in his opinion the large ecclesia with a visible and an invisible aspect. In his letter to the Ephesians he calls the invisible aspect a temple:

So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in
the Spirit’ (Ephesians: 2:21-22).

Jesus founded a spiritual school and Paul was one of the many apostles who built upon it to enable people to connect with the spirit. The baptism that Jesus and Paul spoke of is usually
seen as a sacramental or symbolic act, whereby a student who joins a community is submersed in water. That is correct of course, but baptism can also mean that the person concerned is taken up into the powerfield of a spiritual school, which is part of the body of Christ or the invisible temple. Hermes Trismegistus mentions exactly the same process when he speaks of immersion in a mixing vessel that has been sent down.

‘He sent down a great mixing vessel, filled with the powers of the Spirit and He appointed a herald and bade him proclaim to the hearts of men: Immerse yourselves in this mixing vessel, you souls who can; you who believe and trust that you will ascend to Him who sent down this vessel; you who know for what purpose you were created. Those who gave heed to this proclamation and were purified by immersion in the powers of the Spirit, became partakers in the Gnosis, the living knowledge of God, and, as they had received the Spirit, became perfect men’ (Corpus Hermeticum 7:8-9).

In ancient times, a mixing vessel was used to blend water and wine. Why? Because pure concentrated wine was considered too strong and could not be tolerated well. The mixing vessel of which Hermes speaks is a powerfield in which the powers of the spirit, symbolized by wine, are active, but in such a concentration that they can be absorbed by people who are part of that powerfield. The vibration in such a powerfield is considerably higher than the general vibration of spiritual power in the atmosphere, yet it can be tolerated by those people who partake in that powerfield. Because that vibration in the ‘mixing vessel’ is considerably higher than normal, the people who consciously live from it can go the path of gnostic awareness and renewal relatively quickly.

Blood, wine and grail

With regard to the mixing vessel, Hermes speaks of processes that can be expressed in words to some degree but can never be fully understood intellectually. This concerns the mystery of
the blood of Christ, of which the apostle John writes: ‘But if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin’ (1 John 1: 7).

As discussed in chapter 5, Hermes formulates this essential cleansing process differently: the expulsion of the twelve chastisements by the ten powers. Those ten powers together actually form what John calls the blood of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament that blood is compared with wine. This is not primarily about the real blood of Jesus that flowed at His crucifixion, but mainly about the universal Christ power, which has been sacrificing itself for the sake of  humanity through the universal Brotherhood every second since the dawn of time. The ancient Christian symbol of the pelican, ripping her chest open to feed her young ones with her heart
blood in order to enable them to grow, portrays something of  this mystery. As pupils progress on the path of the Gnostic Mysteries, they gradually become fit to partially sacrifice their life-power for others, so that on that basis they receive the spirit and become perfect and initiated ones.

The mysteries of the mixing vessel and of the blood of Christ also relate to what is indicated as the mystery of the holy grail. The many stories, legends and myths about it speak of a quest,a search for the holy grail, to which are attributed healing and supernatural powers. The grail was said to make a human being immortal, to impart knowledge of God and to provide those who hunger and thirst for it with eternal nourishment and drink. Very often, the grail is portrayed in stories as a stone – a philosopher’s stone or heavenly stone – a chalice, a cup, a bowl or a vase. These are all objects from the world of the senses that refer to something higher that is purely spiritual. Throughout all times, the grail was seen as the connecting link between eternity and time.

The Biblical Gospels state that a disciple of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea, with the permission of governor Pilate, took Jesus’dead body from the cross and buried it in a cave in his garden. Towards the end of the twelfth century, the Frenchman Robert de Boron wrote a poem about Joseph of Arimathea in which Joseph catches the sweat and the blood of the crucified Jesus in the grail, a bowl or cup that would supposedly also have been used during the last supper of Jesus with his disciples. At about the same time, Chrétien de Troyes wrote ‘Perceval or the Story of the Grail’.

In it, the naive but eager youngster Perceval meets knights of the Round Table, after which he
enters the colorful world of the knights and after many adventures reaches the grail castle, sees the grail, but fails to ask the essential question. Around the year 1210, Wolfram von Eschenbach wrote a more elaborate grail story called ‘Parzival’, partly based on the story of Chrétien de Troyes, in which the central character eventually is crowned king of the holy grail by King Arthur. Various authors have extensively analyzed its voluminous and deep spiritual symbolism. The composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883) based his last musical drama ‘Parsifal’ on it in 1882.

The aforementioned stories of the grail originated in a Christian culture, but the mystery of the grail is universal, timeless and omnipresent. There are also Persian and Russian grail legends. The Egyptian Hermes Trismegistus speaks of a mixing vessel, Celtic texts speak of a cauldron and the Chinese sage Lao Tzu, in the 9th verse of his Tao Te Ching, talks about the filled vase that no hands should touch. The latter refers to the fact that the grail is also connected with a judging power that protects it. The sacred powers may not be sought and used for personal gain and can only be safely approached from a state of surrender. That is why Paul writes: ‘For the one who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not properly recognize the body’ (1 Corinthians 11:29).

Spiritual school

Three interrelated levels can be distinguished within the mystery of the grail: the level of the Universal Brotherhood, the level of a gnostic spiritual school and the level of a pupil on the gnostic path. This order is important, because without the Universal Brotherhood, no gnostic liberation is possible. And for most pupils it is not possible to achieve fulfillment on the gnostic path without a spiritual school. Spiritual schools are not founded by random people, but by those sent from the Universal Brotherhood. They possess a certain aptitude and a fullness of experience, which is often the result of many spiritually striving lives from previous incarnations of the microcosm they inhabit. At a relatively young age they are able to realize the grail in themselves, which is a structure of force lines within their personality that offers them the ability to receive, transform and radiate light forces.

Those who are sent down to build a spiritual school are thus connected with a concentrated light power, with the Sophia. On that basis they are able to develop teachings, methods and working activities to continue walking the gnostic path together with others. These external aspects are referred to as he Pistis and are attuned to the culture and the time in which they are active. In this way a community with an associated power field is developing, on the basis of the Pistis and the Sophia; an Ecclesia, which can gradually develop into a fullfledged spiritual school, in which the initiation path can be walked, an Ecclesia Pistis Sophia (see image 13).

There are always several spiritual schools active on earth. Their teachings and practices differ, but their ultimate goal is always the same: to help people reconnect with their divine origin.
Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) formlates this idea as follows:
‘Teachings are the barrels, truth is wine. Without barrels, the wine would be lost, but the barrels may be different: they must be, for what vessel can be sufficient for all men, and who could prevent that there are many pitchers, leather bags, and cups? But however the God-given containers may be formed, the wine of knowledge and love flows everywhere. Seen in the light of the gnosis, the divine wine guarantees the earthly container, but seen from the outside, the God-given container guarantees the wine that is still initially invisible.’

Planetary types

A spiritual school can reach fullness when it has many pupils who reflect the spiritual light in a way that is appropriate for their type. Then there is a kind of round table in which all participants contribute to the big picture with their unique gifts and talents. In holy scriptures, fullness is often symbolized by the number seven, which we also find, for example, in the seven colors of the rainbow and the seven tones of the octave. Seven human types were already distinguished in the Middle Ages and were linked to the qualities of the seven classical planets; they are also correlated to other symbol systems such as the staff of Mercury and the tree of life (see image 14). It is a psychological model that is also linked to metals and the phases of life of a person; it can be summarized very briefly as follows.

Moon, silver, the dreamy type
maternal and protective, 0-7 years
Mercury, quicksilver
the mobile and lively type, witty and smart, 7-14 years
Venus, copper
the aesthetic type, beautiful and seductive, 14-21 years
Sun, gold, 4
the radiant type, self-assured and outgoing, 21-42 years,
Mars, iron
the energetic active type, challenging and sporty, 42-49 years,
Jupiter, tin
the ruling type, liberal and confident, 49-56 years,
Saturn, lead
the I-conscious type, serious and ambitious, 56-63 years.

Few people have a personality that can be characterized by one pure type. Most personalities are a combination of a few types. In principle, all types are present in a person, but usually each one manifests only part of itself. The sun type is the personality in which all six other types express themselves in a balanced way. As the soul manifests itself more strongly in the personality as a result of an inner path, the qualities of all types will develop more fully, reducing imbalances and creating more harmony.

When a group of people works together to pursue specific goals, it is important that the qualities of all seven types are present, because this is how the best results are achieved. When pupils of a spiritual school inwardly lift themselves up during a temple service to attract, transform, and radiate spiritual powers, they are like a symphony orchestra in which everyone involved lets his own particular instrument be played by the gnosis, as it is beautifully expressed in Psalm 150 (see hymn 18). Then they praise the Lord in their outer and inner sanctuaries. Then they manifest something of the divine fullness in this world. Then forces are unleashed that are helping, empowering and creative for themselves and for all those who are receptive to the light of the gnosis.

Historians agree that many religious gatherings were held during the period of early Christianity because there are numerous arguments for this. Have there actually been hermetic churches where hermetic philosophy was shared through rituals and hymns? There is no strong evidence
for that, but it is most likely. For example, the initiation ritual with hymn as described in the Nag Hammadi scripture ‘Treatise on the eighth and ninth celestial spheres’ points in that direction (see hymn 20).

Those who have personally experienced the joyful and transformative work of gnostic worship will long to free themselves as much as possible from the slavery of Chronos, for example by planning Kairos moments to participate in that sacred work. Such a person gradually becomes inwardly free from the whirling of the material world and experiences some of the beneficent peace about which Hermes Trismegistus writes.

‘The revered and exalted Maker of the universe is the highest of all things. Apply yourself then to high things, and by becoming like to the source of your being, draw nearer and nearer to Him who
created thee. And know that high things always join themselves to high things, and low things to low things.
You are in the world of things that come to be, and yet you seek to be at rest. But how can anything be at rest in the world of things that come to be? A boat, as long as it floats on the water, cannot be
still or at rest; or if at any moment it is still, it is so only by chance, and forthwith the water begins again to shake and toss the things that float upon its surface.
Then only is the boat at rest, when it is taken out of the water, and drawn up on the land, which is the place of the boat’s origin, and is on a par with the boat in density and weight; then, but not till then, is the boat truly at rest. And even so, the soul, as long as it is involved in the processes of the physical world, cannot be still, nor be at rest, nor get any respite; but if it returns to its source and root, then it is still and is at rest, and reposes from the misery and debasement of its wandering in a foreign land’.
(Admonition of the Soul, Chapter 3)