At the risk of being outed as a complete heretic I thought I would post a few of my raw thoughts on the use of signs, symbols and sacramental action amongst irreligious spirituality seekers and the esoterically minded.
At the moment I am thinking about developing a white rose blessing as a way of symbolizing the presence of Spirit when praying for someone seeking healing or intercession in alt. spirituality contexts. The white rose symbolizes spiritual life in both the Fool card and Death card of the tarot and I think it has great potential as a sacramental symbol when you also consider that the rose cross is a symbol of esoteric Christianity. For non adepts, the Fool is a paradoxical figure who represents unconventional wisdom, spiritual wisdom, and indirectly, the figure of Jesus. Whilst Death points us to the white rose as the way to overcome adversity, it is the Fool who actually brings it to us. I am thinking we could offer people the healing power of the Spirit that comes through the embodiment of wisdom, Jesus.
Anyway, I am posing this as an alternative / complement to the more conventional laying of hands, to broaden our sacramental options.
In fact, this is not unrelated to my previous post on the Hierophant. Hear I was, considering the option of incorporating a hierophant-style triple benediction into healing exercises and that blog post sort of slipped out while I was mulling over it.
How am I approaching this? Well basically in the same way that some have been exploring how divination is related to prophecy, the similarities and the important differences, I’ve been exploring how spells are related to blessings. Beyond the passive reading of the signs of the times I’m wondering how we can actively use signs and appropriate symbology into crisis rites without falling into the Christian shamanism of the more extreme end of the deliverance ministry movement.
But is symbol use ok when blessing and interceding? Before outing me as a heretic consider that clasping the hands, closing the eyes and kneeling is a symbolic act. We often forget that. And in the scriptures we see use of oil (James 5:14-15), spit (Mark 7:31-37, Mark 8:22-26, John 9:6-7), blood and herbs (Exodus 12:12-13, 21-23) and breathing (John 20:21-23) to confer blessing. I’m sure if I keep searching I can find examples of water, fire, incense and salt too, either in the scriptures or in Christian tradition. So I’ve been thinking about this. I’m not sure how pagans would feel about me spitting and blowing garlic breath over them in the manner of Jesus, but what about blessing them in other ways? In what ways might we appropriately appropriate other signs of Spirit and grace from occult symbology when practicing healing and intercession amongst occultists? Methinks a grail blessing may have great potential amongst retro-romanticist Wiccans for instance. But the white rose blessing is what I’m working on first.
10 thoughts on “Incarnating into Occulture”
I don’t think Waite’s design is the best representation of the Fool card. In fact I think he gets it all wrong.
Have you read The greater trumps by Charles Williams?
Matt thank you for pushing the boundaries- I am very much in favour of broadening our sacramental options, with the proviso that we must know what we are appropriating lest we misrepersent the symbolism- but I am sure that you are more aware of the pit falls than I am anyway!
I like the idea of the white-rose blessing!
Steve in what way do you feel Waite gets it all wrong?
Steve. What’s your preference for then, the Marseilles deck? Like Sally I’d like to hear more about where you are coming from.
On Charles Williams, no I haven’t read The Greater Trumps but this book has been near the top of my ‘must read’ list for a little bit now. Wanting to borrow a copy off Philip next time I’m down his way. Like to hear your thoughts on him too.
For the uninitiated, Charles Williams was the third Inkling, who accompanied C S Lewis and J R R Tolkien on many a lager fueled fantasy journey as they compared notes down the pub.
Lager- in Oxford- surely not!
Yes, I think the Marseilles pack is better.
Charles Williams knew Waite, and i think was associated with him in the Order of the Golden Dawn, though I don’t think he accepted all Waite’s ideas.
But if you haven’t read The Greater Trumps yet, I strongly recommend it. I’m rereading it now for about the 5th or 6th time.
For more Williams links, see The Web of Exchange
I’ve tried about 8 times to post this.
When Typepad isn’t rejecting my attempts to type the illegible letter sequences like xy blob 4 blob z, it gives the following message:
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Please contact the administrator.
On Charles Williams and Waite, they met around 1917. Williams began reading some of Waite’s books in 1914. However Williams was not initiated as a member of the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn that was established in the 1880s (although Waite was for a time a member of it).
Rather Waite began his own group which was officially called the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross and the Fellowship that Waite established in 1915 was not a branch of, nor a revival of, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn that had had MacGregor Mathers in it.
It was in this Fellowship of the Rosy Cross group that Charles Williams was initiated in 1917 and participated in it for 10 years. These details are recorded in R. A. Gilbert’s biography of Arthur Waite that was published in 1987.The Fellowship followed a form of contemplative Christian spirituality which used the symbols of the Jewish Cabala, and drew on elements from Rosicrucian and Masonic thought; but its principal reference point was Christianity. Those who belonged sought “union with God in Christ.”
Williams did tell people he had been in The Golden Dawn, a point noted by his biographer Anne Ridler. It is from this remark that many writers have incorrectly inferred that Williams belonged to the original 1880s group.
Williams ended his association with the Fellowship in 1927 but on what grounds no one is sure; he last spoke face to face with Waite in 1928, and continued correspondence with him until 1931.
Ive been looking into the Marseilles pack more lately but will probably have to read Williams book before I take you up on these comments in more depth.
I can however say that Ive been finding it instructive to delve into both packs as a way of broadening my understanding. Observing where they correspond and where they differ has been leading to some useful insights.
Admittedly the white rose symbol is more an ideosyncracy of the Waite deck; it would be useful to explore why Waite added it.
On the gateway timeouts, I think typepad may have been experiencing some difficulties the other day and at this stage am thinking it had more to do with global issues than this specific blog. Seems to be ok now. If it happens again I’d appreciate a follow up email. Ta.
Coming back from church this morning (in a classroom) we passed the large building of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, and it had a big banner outside, announcing a a New Year’s Eve bash where they will be giving everyone a white rose.
But I’ve just finished rereading “The greater trumps”, and the Waite card definitely doesn’t fit.
I want to peform at the 31\december\2006
I’ve posted a link at:
I searched the web with Google images to try to find authentic Tarot card images, and found none at all, and eventually scanned in my own.