Scipio's Dream

 

 

Scipio's Dream, which, is nearly all that remains of the Sixth Book of the De Republica, had survived during the interval for which the rest of the treatise was lost to the world. Macrobius, a grammarian of the fifth century, made it the text of a commentary of little present interest or value, but much prized and read in the Middle Ages. The Dream, independently of the commentary, has in more recent times passed through unnumbered editions, sometimes by itself, sometimes with Cicero's ethical writings, sometimes with the other fragments of the "De Republica".

            In the closing Dialogue of the De Republica the younger Africanus says: "Although to the wise the consciousness of noble deeds is a most ample reward of virtue, yet this divine virtue craves, not indeed statues that need lead to hold them to their pedestals, nor yet triumphs graced by withering laurels, but rewards of firmer structure and more enduring green." "What are these?" says Laelius. Scipio replies by telling his dream. The time of the vision was near the beginning of the Third Punic War, when Scipio, no longer in his early youth, was just entering upon the career in which he gained pre-eminent fame, thenceforward to know neither shadow nor decline.

 The Dream

When I arrived in Africa, to serve, as you know, in the office of military Tribune of the fourth Legion, under Manius Manilius as consul, I desired nothing so much as to meet Masinissa the king,1 who for sufficient reasons stood in the most friendly relation to our family. When I came to him, the old man embraced me with tears, and shortly afterward looked up to heaven and said: "I thank thee, sovereign Sun, and all of you lesser lights of heaven, that before I pass away from this life I behold in my kingdom and beneath this roof Publius Cornelius Scipio, whose very name renews my strength, so utterly inseparable from my thought is the memory of that best and most invincible of men who first bore it."

            Then I questioned him about his kingdom, and he asked me about our republic; and with the many things that we had to communicate to each other, the day wore away. At a later hour, after an entertainment of royal magnificence, we prolonged our conversation far into the night, while the old man talked to me about nothing else but Africanus, rehearsing not only all that he had done, but all that he had said.

When we parted to go to our rest, sleep took a stronger hold on me than usual, on account both of the fatigue of my journey and of the lateness of the hour. In my sleep, I suppose in consequence of our conversation (for generally our thoughts and utterances by day have in our sleep an effect like that which Ennius describes in his own case as to Homer, about whom in his waking hours he was perpetually thinking and talking), Africanus appeared to me, with an aspect that reminded me more of his bust than of his real face. I shuddered when I saw him. But he said:

"Preserve your presence of mind, Scipio; be not afraid, and commit to memory what I shall say to you. Do you see that city, which was brought through me into subjection to the Roman people, but now renews its old hostility, and cannot remain quiet" - and he showed me Carthage from a high place full of stars, shining and splendid - "against which you, being little more than a common soldier, are coming to fight? In two years from now you as Consul will overthrow this city, and you will obtain of your own right the surname which up to this time you hold as inherited from me. When you shall have destroyed Carthage, shall have celebrated your triumph over it, shall have been Censor, and shall have traversed, as an ambassador, Egypt, Syria, Asia, and Greece, you will be chosen a second time Consul in your absence, and will put an end to one of the greatest of wars by extirpating Numantia. But when you shall be borne to the Capitol in your triumphal chariot after this war, you will find the State disturbed by the machinations of my grandson.2 In this emergency, Africanus, it will behoove you to show your country the light of your energy, genius, and wisdom. But I see at that time, as it were, a double way of destiny. For when your age shall have followed the sun for eight times seven revolutions, and these two numbers - each perfect,3 though for different reasons - shall have completed for you in the course of nature the destined period, to you alone and to your name the whole city will turn; on you the Senate will look, on you all good citizens, on you the allies, on you the Latini. You will he the one man on whom the safety of the city will rest and, to say no more, you, as Dictator, must re-establish the State, if you escape the impious hands of your kindred."

Here, when Laelius had cried out, and the rest of the company had breathed deep sighs, Scipio, smiling pleasantly upon them, said: "I beg you not to rouse me from sleep and break up my vision. Hear the remainder of it."

            "But that you, Africanus, may be the more prompt in the defence of the State, know that for all who shall have preserved, succoured, enlarged their country, there is a certain and determined place in heaven where they enjoy eternal happiness; for to the Supreme God who governs this whole universe nothing is more pleasing than those companies and unions of men that are called cities. Of these the rulers and preservers, going hence, return hither."

            Here I, although I had been alarmed, not indeed so much by the fear of death as by that of the treachery of my own kindred, yet asked whether Paulus, my father, and others whom we supposed to be dead were living. "Yes, indeed," he replied, "those who have fled from the bonds of the body, like runners from the goal, live; while what is called your life is death. But do you see your father Paulus coming to you?"

When I saw him, I shed a flood of tears; but he, embracing and kissing me, forbade my weeping. Then as soon as my tears would suffer me to speak, I began by saying: "Most sacred and excellent father, since this is life, as Africanus tells me, why do I remain on the earth, and not rather hasten to come to you?"

"Not so," said he; "for unless the God who has for his temple all that you now behold, shall have freed you from this prison of the body, there can be no entrance for you hither. Men have indeed been brought into being on this condition, that they should guard the globe which you see in the midst of this temple, which is called the earth; and a soul has been given to them from those eternal fires which you call constellations and stars, which, globed and round, animated with god-derived minds, complete their courses and move through their orbits with amazing speed. You, therefore, Publius, and all rightly disposed men are bound to retain the soul in the body's keeping, nor without the command of him who gave it to you to depart from the life appointed for man, lest you may seem to have taken flight from human duty as assigned by God. But, Scipio, like this your grandfather, like me, your father,4 cherish justice and that sacred observance of duty to your kind, which, while of great worth toward parents and family, is of supreme value toward your country. Such a life is the way to heaven, and to this assembly of those who have already lived, and, released from the body, inhabit the place which you now see," - it was that circle that shines forth among the stars in the most dazzling white, - "which you have learned from the Greeks to call the Milky Way."

And as I looked on every side I saw other things transcendently glorious and wonderful. There were stars which we never see from here below, and all the stars were vast far beyond what we have ever imagined. The least of them was that which, farthest from heaven, nearest to the earth, shone with a borrowed light. But the starry globes very far surpassed the earth in magnitude. The earth itself indeed looked to me so small as to make me ashamed of our empire, which was a mere point on its surface.

            While I was gazing more intently on the earth, Africanus said: "How long, I pray you, will your mind be fastened on the ground? Do you not see into the midst of what temples you have come? In your sight are nine orbs, or rather globes, by which all things are held together. One is the celestial, the outermost, embracing all the rest - the Supreme God himself, who governs and keeps in their places the other spheres. In this are fixed those stars which ever roll in an unchanging course. Beneath this are seven spheres which have a retrograde movement, opposite to that of the heavens. One of these is the domain of the star which on earth they call Saturn. Next is the luminary which bears the name of Jupiter, of prosperous and healthful omen to the human race; then, the star of fiery red which you call Mars, and which men regard with terror. Beneath, the Sun holds nearly the midway space,5 leader, prince, and ruler of the other lights, the mind and regulating power of the universe, so vast as to illuminate and flood all things with his light. Him, as his companions, Venus and Mercury follow on their different courses; and in a sphere still lower the moon revolves, lighted by the rays of the sun. Beneath this there is nothing that is not mortal and perishable, except the souls bestowed upon the human race by the gift of the gods. Above the moon all things are eternal. The earth, which is the central and ninth sphere, has no motion, and is the lowest of all,6 and all heavy bodies gravitate spontaneously toward it."

            When I had recovered from my amazement at these things I asked, "What is this sound so strong and so sweet that fills my ears?"

            "This", he replied, "is the melody which, at intervals unequal, yet differing in exact proportions, is made by the impulse and motion of the spheres themselves, which, softening shriller by deeper tones, produce a diversity of regular harmonies. Nor can such vast movements be urged on in silence; and by the order of nature the shriller notes sound from one extreme of the universe, the deeper from the other. Thus yonder supreme celestial sphere with its clustered stars, as it revolves more rapidly, moves with a shrill and quick strain; this lower sphere of the moon sends forth deeper notes; while the earth, the ninth sphere, remaining motionless (therefore without sound), always stands fixed in the lowest place, occupying the centre of the universe. But these eight revolutions, of which two, those of Mercury and Venus, are in unison, make seven distinct tones, with measured intervals between, and almost all things are arranged in sevens. Skilled men, copying this harmony with strings and voice, have opened for themselves a way back to this place, as have others who with excelling genius have cultivated divine sciences in human life. But the ears of men are deafened by being filled with this melody; nor is there in you mortals a duller sense than that of hearing. As where the Nile at the Falls of Catadupa pours down from the loftiest mountains, the people who live hard by lack the sense of hearing because of the loudness of the cataract, so this harmony of the whole universe in its intensely rapid movement is so loud that men's ears cannot take it in, even as you cannot look directly at the sun, and the keenness and visual power of the eye are overwhelmed by its rays."

While I marvelled at these things, I ever and anon cast my eyes again upon the earth. Then Africanus said: "I perceive that you are now fixing your eyes on the abode and home of men, and if it seems to you small, as it really is, then look always at these heavenly things, and despise those earthly. For what reputation from the speech of men, or what fame worth seeking, can you obtain? You see that the inhabited places of the earth are scattered and of small extent, that in the spots – so to speak – where men dwell there are vast solitary tracts interposed, and that those who live on the earth are not only so separated that no communication can pass from place to place, but stand, in part at an oblique angle, in part at a right angle with you, in part even in an opposite direction; and from these you certainly can anticipate no fame.

            "You perceive also that this same earth is girded and surrounded by belts, two of which – the farthest from each other, and each resting at one extremity on the very pole of the heavens – you see entirely frost-bound; while the middle and largest of them burns under the sun's intensest heat. Two of them are habitable, of which the southern, whose inhabitants are your antipodes, bears no relation to your people; and see how small a part they occupy in this other northern zone, in which you dwell. For all of the earth with which you have any concern – narrow at the north and south, broader in its central portion – is a mere little island, surrounded by that sea which you on earth call the Atlantic, the Great Sea, the Ocean, while yet, with such a name, you see how small it is. To speak only of these cultivated and well-known regions, could your name even cross this Caucasus which you have in view, or swim beyond that Ganges? Who, in what other lands may lie in the extreme east or west, or under northern or southern skies, will ever hear your name? All these cut off, you surely see within what narrow bounds your fame can seek to spread. Then, too, as regards the very persons who tell of your renown, how long will they speak of it?

            "But even if successive generations should desire to transmit the praise of every one of us from father to son in unbroken succession, yet because of devastations by flood and fire, which will of necessity take place at a determined time, we must fail of attaining not only eternal fame, but even that of very long duration. Now of what concern is it that those who shall be born hereafter should speak of you, when you were spoken of by none who were born before you, who were not fewer, and certainly were better men? – especially, too, when among those who might hear our names there is not one that can retain the memories of a single year. Men, indeed, ordinarily measure the year only by the return of the sun, that is, one star, to its place; but when all the stars, after long intervals, shall resume their original places in the heavens, then that completed revolution may be truly called a year. As of old the sun seemed to be eclipsed and blotted out when the soul of Romulus entered these temples, so when the sun shall be again eclipsed in the same part of his course, and at the same period of the year and day, with all the constellations and stars recalled to the point from which they started on their revolutions, then count the year as brought to a close.7 But be assured that the twentieth part of this year has not yet come round.

            "Therefore, should you renounce the hope of returning to this place in which are all things that great and excellent men can desire, of what worth is that human glory which can scarcely extend to a small part of a single year? If, then, you shall determine to look high up, and to behold continuously this dwelling and eternal home, you will neither give yourself to the flattery of the people, nor place your hope of well-being on rewards that man can bestow. Let Virtue herself by her own charms draw you to true honour. What others may say of you, regard as their concern, not yours. They will doubtless talk about you, but all that they say is confined within the narrow limits of the regions which you now see; nor did such speech as to any one ever last on into eternity – it is buried with those who die, and lost in oblivion for those who may come afterward."

            When he had spoken thus, I said: "O Africanus, if indeed for those who have deserved well of their country there is, as it were, an open road by which they may enter heaven, though from boyhood treading in my father's steps and yours, I have done no discredit to your fame, I yet shall now strive to that end with a more watchful diligence."

             And he replied: "Strive (Or, you will strive indeed) indeed, and bear this in mind, that it is not you that are mortal, but your body only. Nor is it you whom this outward form makes manifest; but every man's mind is he, - not the bodily shape which can be pointed at by the finger. Know also that you are a god, if he indeed is a god who lives, who perceives, who remembers, who foresees, who governs and restrains and moves the body over which he is made ruler even as the Supreme God holds the universe under his sway; and in truth as the eternal God himself moves the universe which is mortal in every part, so does the everlasting soul move the corruptible body.

            "That, indeed, which is in perpetual movement is eternal; but that which, while imparting motion to some other substance, derives its own movement from some other source, must of necessity cease to live when it ceases to move. Then that alone which is the cause of its own motion, because it is never deserted by itself, never has its movement suspended. But for other substances that are moved this is the source, the first cause (Latin, "principium"), of movement. But the first cause has no origin; for all things spring from the first cause: itself, from nothing. That indeed would not be a first cause which derived its beginning from anything else; and if it has no beginning, it never ceases to be. For the first cause, if extinct, will neither itself be born again from aught else, nor will it create aught else from itself, if indeed all things must of necessity originate from the first cause. Thus it is that the first cause of motion is derived from that which is in its nature self-moving; but this can neither be born nor die. Were it to die, the whole heaven would of necessity collapse, and all nature would stand still, nor could it find any force which could be set in movement anew from a primitive impulse.

            "Since, then, that which is the source of its own movement is manifestly eternal, who is there that can deny that this nature has been given to the soul? For whatever is moved by external impulse is soulless; (Latin, "inanimum") but whatever has a soul is stirred to action by movement inward and its own; for this  is the peculiar nature and virtue of the soul. Moreover, if it is this alone of all things that is the source of its own movement, it certainly did not begin to be, and is eternal. "This soul I bid you to exercise in the best pursuits, and the best are your cares for your country's safety, by which if your soul be kept in constant action and exercise, it will have the more rapid flight to this its abode and home. This end it will attain the more readily, if, while it shall be shut up in the body, it shall peer forth, and, contemplating those things that are beyond, abstract itself as far as possible from the body. For the souls of those who have surrendered themselves to the pleasures of the body, have yielded themselves to their service, and, obeying them under the impulse of sensual lusts, have transgressed the laws of gods and men, when they pass out of their bodies are tossed to and fro around the earth, nor return to this place till they have wandered in banishment for many ages."

            He departed; I awoke from sleep.

 

 

Notes:

1. King of Numidia – a country nearly identical in extent with the present province of Algeria. Its name defines its people, being derived from Greek: νομάδες, "nomads." Its inhabitants were a wild, semi-savage cluster of tribes, black and white. Masinissa, though faithful to the Romans after he had convinced himself that theirs must be the ascendant star, was a crafty, treacherous, cruel prince, probably with enough of civilization to have acquired some of its vices, while he had not lost those of the savage.

2. Tiberius Gracchus, whose mother, Cornelia, was the daughter of the elder Africanus.

3. The Pythagoreans regarded seven as the number representing light, and eight as representing love. Seven was also a perfect number, as corresponding to the number of celestial orbits (including the sun, the moon, and the five known planets), the number of days in the quarter of the moon's revolution, and the number of the gates of sense (so to speak), mouth, eyes, ears, and nostrils. Eight was a perfect number, as being first after unity on the list of cubes; and Plato in the "Timaeus" speaks of eight celestial revolutions - including that of the earth - as unequal in duration and velocity, but as forming, in some unexplained way, a cycle synchronous with the year.

4. By adoption. The younger Africanus was adopted by a son of the elder.

            5. The middle, as the fifth of the nine spheres, enclosed by four; and enclosing four.

6. The lowest because central, and therefore farthest from the outermost or celestial sphere.

7. The Stoics maintained that the visible universe would last through such a cycle as is here described, which in their conjectural astronomy comprehended many thousands of years, and then would be consumed by fire, or somehow be reduced to chaos, and a new universe take its place.

 

The Path of Awakening

The Path of Awakening

According to Gustav Meyrink1

 

The beginning is what man lacks.

It is not that it is difficult for him to find it. It is precisely the preconceived idea of having to find it that becomes a stumbling block.

Life is generous; at every instant it gives us a new beginning. Every second we are confronted by the question: "Who am I?" We do not ask it, and this is why we do not find the beginning.

But if for once we were to take it seriously, a new day would arise, whose dusk would spell death for those thoughts that have infiltrated the royal palace and now sponge at the table of our souls.

The coral reef that these thoughts have diligently created in the course of millennia and which we call "our body" is their work and the place where they dwell and breed. If we really want to reach the open sea, we must first open a breach in this reef of glue and lime, and then redissolve it into the spirit that it originally was.

*

Those who do not learn to see on this earth will certainly not learn in the "great beyond."

The key to the power over the lower nature has been rusted since the Flood. It is called, "to be awake."

To be awake is everything.

There is nothing that man can be more certain of than being awake. The truth is that he is caught in a net of sleep and dream that he himself has woven. The thicker the net, the mightier is his sleep. Those who are caught in it are the sleepers who go through life as cattle to the slaughter, dumb, indifferent, and thoughtless.

To be awake is everything.

The first step in this direction is so easy that any child can take it; only the misled has forgotten how to walk, with both feet paralyzed, because he will not throw away the crutches he has inherited from his ancestors.

Be awake in all that you do! Do not think you are already awake. No: you are asleep and dreaming.

Be firm, collect yourself, and briefly behold the sensation that runs through your body: "NOW I AM AWAKE!"

If you can feel this, you will also suddenly realize that, in comparison, the state in which you were a few moments ago is like stupor and sleepiness. This is the first feeble step in a very long journey from slavery to omnipotence. Walk in this fashion from one awakening to the next. There is no pestering thought that you cannot thereby dispel; it is left behind and can no longer reach you. You overshadow it, just as the canopy of a tree outgrows its dried-up limbs.

Once you have reached the point where this awakening also permeates your body, sorrows will fall off you like dead leaves.

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1. The following excerpts are found in G. Meyrink's Das grüne Gesicht (The Green Face; Leipzig: K. Wolff, 1917), 281-287, 291, 294-301, 360-361; and in his Der Golem (The Golem; Leipzig: K. Wolff, 1916), 448-450. The translation from the German is by Joscelyn Godwin. See also Introduction to Magic by Julius Evola, “The Path of Awakening”; http: www.cakravartin.com/.../wp.../Julius-Evola-Introduction-to-Magic.pdf.

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The ice-cold ritual baths of the Jews and Brahmins; the vigils of Buddha's disciples and of the Christian ascetics; the torments of Indian fakirs to keep from falling asleep — these are all nothing but external, crystallized rituals, which like broken columns bear witness to the seeker: "Here, very long ago, stood a mysterious temple dedicated to awakening."

Read the sacred scriptures of every people on earth: through all of them runs the scarlet thread of the secret doctrine of awakening. It is the ladder of Jacob, who wrestled with the Angel of the Lord all "night," until the "day" broke and he was victorious.

If you want to overcome death itself, whose armor is sleep, dream, and dullness, you must climb from one step of awakening to the next. Imagine: the lowest step of this heavenly ladder is called "genius." What name shall we then give to the highest ones? They remain unknown to the multitudes and are considered to be legend.

On your way to awakening, the first enemy that will bar your path is your own body. It will fight against you till cockcrow. However, if you behold the day of eternal awakening that will pluck you from the sleepwalkers who think themselves men and do not know that they are sleeping gods—then even the body's sleep will vanish and the entire universe be subject to you.

Then you will be able to perform miracles at will, without having to wait humbly like a whimpering slave for a cruel God to bestow his grace upon you, or strike your head off.

It is true: you will no longer know the happiness of a faithful and tail-wagging dog that comes from acknowledging a master above itself, whom it must serve. But ask yourself this question: now that you are a man, would you like to trade places with your own dog?

*

All those who experience the earth as a prison, and every believer who cries for redemption—such people unconsciously evoke the world of ghosts.

Do it too, but be fully aware!

Will those who do it unconsciously find an invisible hand to magically transform into solid ground the marshes into which they stray? I do not want to argue, but I don't believe so.

When on the way of awakening you go through the world of ghosts, you will gradually recognize that they too are nothing but thoughts that you can suddenly see with your eyes. This is the reason that they look alien to you and like beings; for the language of forms is different from the language of the brain.2

Then the time has come for the strangest transformation that can ever happen to you: out of the people surrounding you, ghosts emerge. All those who have been dear to you suddenly become larvae, including your own body.

It is the most terrifying solitude that one can imagine. It is like a pilgrimage through the desert: those who do not find the spring of life in it die of thirst.

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2. The "world of ghosts" or "astral world" is nothing other than the world of deep-seated forces, partly individual, partly collective and super-individual, that are at work in man as a whole. These forces, as soon as the consciousness is freed from its connection with the brain, are projected into and visualized as symbolic images. Man then sees outside of himself that which, being inside of him, he could not really and previously know. In the world of ghosts (or "Similar Natures," as Kremmerz called them) he can know himself and must only know himself. At that time the apparitions look like larvae or ghosts, and a fearful sense of solitude sets in. This experience is eventually followed by another, to which Meyrink alluded when talking about the "deeper  meaning" of each apparition; through the various energies, of which the astral images are a symbol, it is possible to go back to real and cosmic beings, under whose influence man has fallen and who have been essential for his life. If a fire of knowledge and purification burns up the world of ghosts, what emerges from it is the first experience of the kingdom of "Those Who Are." More on this later. (Note by UR)

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This is the sign, or the stigma, of all those who have been bitten by the "Snake of the spiritual world." It almost seems as if two lives must be grafted onto us like a slip onto a common tree, before the miracle of awakening can occur.3 The separation that otherwise occurs in death occurs here through the extinction of memories, or sometimes due to a sudden inner upheaval.

Everybody could attain this if he had the key. The key consists simply in becoming aware of one's "form of the Self or of one's skin, even though one may be asleep, in discovering the narrow crack through which consciousness slips between waking and deep sleep.

The struggle for immortality is a battle for the control over the sounds and ghosts that dwell in us; the waiting for our "Self" to become King is the waiting for the Messiah.

Everything I have said here is also found in the scriptures of every people, namely the advent of a new Kingdom, the awakening, the victory over the body and solitude. And yet a bridgeless abyss separates us from these people: they believe that a day is coming when good people will enter Paradise and evil people will be swallowed into the pit of Hell. We, on the contrary, know that a time will come when many will reawaken and be separated from those who sleep, as lords from slaves, because the sleepers cannot understand the awakened. We know that there is no good and evil, but only "truth" and "falsehood." They believe that "being awake" consists in keeping the senses and the eyes open and the body erect during the night to recite prayers. We know that "being awake" corresponds to the  awakening of the immortal Self, and that sleeplessness of the body is just its natural consequence. They believe that the body must be neglected and despised due to its sinfulness. We know that sin does not exist, that the body is where we have to start and that we have come down to earth in order to transform it into spirit. They believe that it is necessary to go with one's own body into solitude in order to purify the spirit. We know that our spirit must first go into solitude in order to transfigure the body.

It is up to you and to you alone to choose your path: ours or theirs. Your free will has to make the choice.

*

I have said that the beginning of the way is our own body. Those who know this can begin the journey at any time.

Now I will teach you the first steps.

You must become detached from your body, but not as if you wished to abandon it. You must free yourself from it as if trying to separate light from heat.

Here lurks the first enemy.

Those who separate themselves from their bodies in order to fly through space go the way of the witches, who have turned their gross earthly body into a ghostly one and ride it like a broom to Walpurgis Night.

Witches believe they are at the Devil's Sabbat, while their bodies lie senseless and rigid in their rooms. They merely exchange their earthly perception for a spiritual one; they lose their best part to gain a worse one; theirs is an impoverishment rather than an enrichment.

You can already see that this is not the way to awakening. In order to grasp that you are not your body (as most people believe), you must recognize the weapons that your body uses to maintain its power over you.

You are so much at its mercy that your life would end if your heart ceased to beat; also, you plunge into the night as soon as you close your eyes. You believe you can move your body around, but this is an illusion; on the contrary, it is your body that moves itself, merely borrowing your will. You think you can create thoughts. You are mistaken: it is your body that sends them to you so that you think they came from you, and do its bidding.

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3. In this regard, see the mention of the preliminary discipline of "feeling two" found in the essay by Abraxas in this chapter. (Note by UR)

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Sit up straight and resolve neither to move a limb nor to blink, and to remain as still as a statue; then you will see how your body, filled with hatred, rebels against you, attempting to subjugate you again. It will assail you with a thousand weapons and give you no rest until you allow it to move again. By its fierce anger and its excessive struggle, as if flinging dart after dart at you, if you are sly you will realize how much it fears to lose its control and how great your power must be if it is so afraid of you.

However, to dominate your body should not be the ultimate goal you pursue. When you forbid it to move, you must do it only in order to come to know the forces on which its dominion extends: they are legion, almost infinite in number. Your body will send them to fight against you, one after the other, as long as you continue to resist its urges by merely sitting still. The first weapon will be the brute force of muscles that quiver and throb; seething blood that makes the face sweat; hammering of the heart; cold shivers on the skin; swaying of the body, as if your center of gravity had shifted. You will be able to face and defeat all of these forces, thanks to your will. But it will not be the will alone: there is a higher awakening behind it, invisible like Siegfried's magical helm.

This victory too is not meaningless. Even if you were to master your breathing and your heartbeat, you would just be a fakir, which means a "pauper."

The next champions that your body sends against you are elusive swarms of thoughts.

Against them, the sword of the will is powerless. The wilder you strike at them, the more rabidly they buzz around you; even if you succeeded in momentarily getting rid of them, you would become lethargic and thus be defeated in a different way.

To order them to stay still is a waste of energy. There is only one way to escape from them: take refuge in a higher degree of awakening.

How to achieve it is something you must learn on your own.

It is a constant and cautious proceeding with feelings, and at the same time an iron resolution.

This is all I can say about it to you. Any advice that anyone gives to you in this painful struggle is poison. There is a cliff here over which none can help you but yourself.

After reaching this state, you are then confronted by the domain of ghosts, which I have spoken of earlier.

Frightening or splendid apparitions will confront you, making you believe they are beings from another world. In truth, they are only thoughts in visible form over which you do not yet have full control!

Remember: the more solemn they look, the more dangerous they are!

However, when you find the "deeper meaning" hidden in each of these larval beings, you will see with the eye of the spirit not only their living nucleus, but yours as well. Then, everything that has been taken from you will be returned to you a thousandfold, as it happened to Job: then you will be back where you started, as fools claim sarcastically. They do not know that there is a difference between coming home after a long time in a foreign land and always staying home.

Nobody knows if you will be allowed to share in the prodigious forces once possessed by ancient prophets, or if you are destined to enter eternal peace.

Our path leads to the threshold of maturity. Once you arrive at it, you are also worthy of receiving that gift.

In either case, you will have become a phoenix: it is up to you to get there by force.

*

 One of those who still have the key of magic has remained behind, on earth, to seek and to rally those who have been called.

Just as he cannot die, the legend about him cannot die either.

Some say he is the Wandering Jew; others call him Elijah; the Gnostics claim he is John the Evangelist. Naturally, everybody has his own ideas about this figure. A being like him, who has transformed his body into spirit, cannot be tied to any rigid form.

The only true immortal being is the awakened man. Stars and gods disappear; he alone endures and can achieve anything he wants. There is no God above him.

It is not without reason that our way has been called a pagan way. That which a religious man believes about God is nothing but a state that he himself could achieve, if he could only believe in himself. But he obtusely sets up obstacles over which he does not dare to jump. He creates an image to worship, instead of transforming himself into it.

If you want to pray, pray to your invisible Self: it is the only God who can answer your prayers. The other gods hand you stones instead of bread.

When your invisible Self appears in you as an entity, you will recognize it by the fact that it will cast a shadow. I myself did not know earlier on who I was, until I saw my own body as a shadow.

 

The role of Logic

From: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein

6.52 We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered,
the problems of life have still not been touched at all. Of course
there is then no question left, and just this is the answer.

6.521 The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of
this problem.
(Is not this the reason why men to whom after long doubting
the sense of life became clear, could not then say wherein this
sense consisted?)

6.522 There is indeed the inexpressible. This shows itself; it is the
mystical.

6.53 The right method of philosophy would be this. To say nothing
except what can be said, i.e. the propositions of natural science,
i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy: and then
always, when someone else wished to say something metaphysical,
to demonstrate to him that he had given no meaning to
certain signs in his propositions. This method would be unsatisfying to the other
—he would not have the feeling that we were teaching him philosophy—
but it would be the only strictly correct method.

6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands
me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out
through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw
away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)
He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly.

7 Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.