THE EMPRESS

Meditation on the Third Major Arcanum of the Tarot

THE EMPRESS
LTMPERATRICE
Ecce ancilla Domini;
mi hi fiat secundum verbum tuum.
Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord;
let it be to me according to your word.
(Luke i, 38)

LETTER III

The Empress
THE EMPRESS

Dear Unknown Friend.
The third Arcanum, the Empress, is that of sacred magic. Now, there are three
kinds of magic: magic where the magician is the instrument of divine power —
this is sacred magic; magic where the magician himself is the source of the magical
operation —this is personal magic; lastly, magic where the magician is the instru-
ment of elemental forces or other unconscious forces —this is sorcery. The teaching
of the third Arcanum —in view of the context of the Card and its place between
the second and fourth Arcana—refers to sacred or divine magic.
All magic, including sorcery, is the putting into practice of this: that the subtle
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MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT
rules the dense —force, matter; consciousness, force; and the superconscious or
divine, consciousness. It is this latter rulership that the Empress symbolises. Her
crown, sceptre and shield (coat-of-arms) are the three instruments of the exercise
of this power. The crowned head indicates the power of the Divine over conscious-
ness; the right arm (according to the viewer of the Card), which bears a sceptre
topped by a cross mounted on a globe of gold, represents the power of conscious-
ness over force; and the left arm, which carries a shield bearing an eagle, signifies
the power of energy over matter or the volatile over the gross.
The crown is the divine authorisation of magic. It is only magic crowned from
above which is not usurpatory. The crown is that which renders it legitimate. The
sceptre is magical power. It is by virtue of the sceptre that she is not impotent.
The shield bearing the eagle shows the aim of magical power; it is its emblem
and its motto, which reads: “Liberation in order to ascend”. And the steady throne
on which the Empress is seated symbolises the indisputable and inalienable place
which belongs to magic in spiritual, psychic and natural life —thanks to divine
authorisation or the crown, to the reality of her power or the sceptre, and to that
which she has as her objective or the shield. This is the role of magic in the world.
Let us now consider in a more thorough way the crown, the sceptre, the shield
or coat-of-arms and the throne of the Empress, understood as the divine legitimacy,
the power, the objective and the role of magic.
The crown of the Empress differs primarily from the tiara of the High Priestess
of the second Arcanum in that it has two levels instead of three. The dignity or
function that it signifies or confers therefore has bearing upon two planes. Gnosis
has a tiara because she has the task of carrying revelation through three planes
as far as the “book” or tradition. Magic is crowned, since her task is the sublima-
tion of Natute, as indicated by the shield or coat-of-arms with the eagle in flight,
that the Empress holds instead of the book of the High Priestess.
Josephin Peladan defined magic as “the art of sublimation of man”; no other
formula is superior to his (cf. Comment on devient mage, Paris, 1892 p. 135).
This is exactly the emblem — or aim —of magic, if one understands by “sublima-
tion of man” that of human nature. Peladan had a very profound understanding
of the emblem of magic: the shield with the eagle in flight. All his works bear
witness to this. Together they represent a magnificent flight; they aim, as a whole
and each taken individually, at the ideal of the sublimation of human nature.
It is because Peladan bore the emblem of magic: the flying eagle, that this is so.
Isn’t it to have the emblem of magic before one’s eyes that one is invited “to throw
the eagles of one’s desires to the wind”, because happiness “raised to the level of
an ideal, freed from the negative aspects of oneself and of things. . .is the sole
triumph of this world”? (J. Peladan, Traite des antinomies, Paris, 1901, p. 112).
It is this same emblem —the shield with the eagle —that Papus had in mind, in
actual fact, when he defined magic as:
The application of the strengthened human will to accelerate
LETTER ill THE EMPRESS
55
the evolution of the living forces of Nature. (Papus, Traile
methodique de magie pratique, Paris, 3rd edition, p. 10)
He preceded this definition by another:
Magic is the science of love, (ibid., p. 2)
for it is precisely “the accelerated evolution of the living forces of Nature” that
the eagle of the shield of the Empress represents; “the science of LOVE” is the
sceptre of the Empress, which represents the means by which the aim of magic
is attained.
Now, if the shield signifies rhe “what?” and the sceptre the “how?” of magic,
the crown represents here the “by what right?”.
Although magic has disappeared from the criminal codes of our time, the ques-
tion of its legitimacy still persists as a moral, theological and also medical ques-
tion. One asks oneself today, just as in the past, if it is morally legitimate to
aspire—without talking of exercising — to an exceptional power conferring us with
dominion over our fellow beings; one asks oneself if such an aspirarion is not due,
in the last analysis, to vaingloriousness, and if it is compatible with the role that
all sincere and believing Christians reserve for divine grace, be it immediate or
be it acting through the intermediary of guardian Angels and the saints of God?
One asks oneself, lastly, if such an aspiration is not unwholesome and contrary
to human nature, religion and metaphysics, given the limits to which one can
go with impunity towards the Invisible.
All rhese doubts and objections are well-founded. It is therefore a matter not
of refuting them, but of knowing whether there exists a magic which is free from
these doubts and objections or, in other words, whether there exists a legitimate
magic from a moral, religious and medical point of view.
As a point of departure, we shall take these words from the New Testament:
Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came
down also to the saints that lived at Lydda. There he found a
man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years
and was paralysed. And Peter said to him: Aeneas, Jesus Christ
heals you; rise and make your bed. And immediately he rose.
(Acts ix, 32-34)
Here is a spiritual act of healing whose legitimacy is beyond doubt: from a moral
point of view, it is an act of pure charity; from a religious point of view, it is in
the name of Jesus Christ and not the name of Peter himself that the healing is
effected; from a medical point of view it is a perfect cure, without prejudice to
physical or psychic health, that is denoted for the healer. Thar which establishes
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MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT
the indisputable legitimacy of the healing of Aeneas is, firstly, the aim of Peter’s
deed: to restore movement to the person who had been unable to move: second-
ly, it is the means by which the healing was accomplished: the word based on the
essence ofjesus Christ; thirdly, it is the source of the deed: “Jesus Christ heals you!”
These are the three elements of sacred magic which render it legitimate and
in which it is easy to recognise the three insignias of the Empress—the crown,
the sceptre and the emblem. For to give movement to the motionless is the lib-
erating action represented by the eagle on the shield; to realise the healing solely
through the spoken word is to put into play the sceptre surmounted by the cross;
to accomplish it in the name ofjesus Christ is to have the head crowned by the
divine.
But, one could object, the healing of Aeneas has nothing to do with magic.
It is a miracle, i.e. the action of God, and man is nothing here.
Was the apostle Peter there, therefore, for nothing? If this were true, why does
he go up to Aeneas? Why is the divine action of healing not accomplished direct-
ly, without Peter as intermediary?
No, Peter was there for something. His presence and his voice were necessary
in order that the healing could take place. Why?
This problem merits deep meditation, for it encloses the central mystery of the
Christian religion, that of the Incarnation. Indeed, why must the Logos, the Son
of the Father, incarnate and become God-Man in order to accomplish the supreme
work of divine magic —the work of the Redemption?
In order to humble himself!? But, being God, he was humility itself. In order
to participate in human destiny: human birth, life and death? But God who is
love participated, participates, and will always participate in human destiny—he
freezes with all those who are cold, he suffers with those who are suffering and
he undergoes agony with all those who die—You know that in monasteries in the
Near East, at a time when hearts were still beating on the foundation of the divine
Presence, the pronouncing of these words was taught as a miraculous cure for all
afflictions and every suffering: “Glory to your long-suffering, Lord!”
No. the work of the Redemption, being that of love, requires the perfect union
in love of two wills, distinct and free —divine will and human will. The mystery
of the God-Man is the key of divine magic, being the fundamental condition of
the work of the Redemption, which is an operation of divine magic comparable
only to that of the creation of the world.
Thus miracles require two united wills! They are not manifestations of an all-
powerful will ordaining, but are due to a new power which is born whenever there
is unity between divine will and human will. Peter was therefore certainly there
for something at the healing of Aeneas at Lydda. The divine will needed his will
in order to give birth to the power which raised the paralysed Aeneas from his
bed. Such an action, where there is simultaneously an accordance of divine will
and human will, is exactly what we mean by “sacred magic” or “divine magic”.
Should one speak of “magic” when it is a case of a miracle? Yes, because there
LETTER III THE EMPRESS
57
is a magus and the participation of his will is essential for the realisation of the
miracle. Peter goes up to Aeneas and it is he who utters the words which effect
the healing. The participation of Peter is i n d i s p u t a b l e – he was there as a human
magus. Consequently, the use of the word “magic” is quite justified, at least if
one understands by “magic” the power of the invisible and spiritual over the visi-
ble and material.
But this was not “personal magic”; rather it was “divine magic” to which the
healing of Aeneas was due. For Peter could do nothing if his will was not united
with the divine will. He was fully conscious of this, and this is why he says to Aeneas:
“Jesus Christ heals you”. This means to say: “Jesus Christ really wants to heal you.
Jesus Christ has sent me to you in order that I might do what he has said to me.
As far as I am concerned, I am doubly happy to be able at one and the same time
to serve my Master and to heal you, my dear brother Aeneas.”
Here lies the meaning of the two-layered crown which the Empress wears. It
is to be able to be “doubly happy” to serve that which is above and that which
is below. For the crown, just as the tiara, represents the power of service. It is ser-
vice rendered to that which is above and service rendered to that which is below
which constitutes the legitimacy of sacred magic.
The magus in sacred magic plays the role of the last link in the magical chain
which descends from above, i.e. in order to serve as the terrestrial point of contact
and point of concentration for the operation conceived, willed and put into ac-
tion ftom above. In fact, when one is this last link, one wears the crown of legiti-
mate magic. And, let us say it again, all magic that is not crowned in this way
is therefore illegitimate.
Is the legitimate exercise of sacred magic thetefote reserved for the priesthood
alone?
To this, I reply with another question: Is the love of God and of one’s neighbour
reserved for the priesthood alone? Sacred magic is the power of love, born of the
union in love of divine will and human will. Now, Monsieur Philip of Lyons was
neither priest nor doctor, but he healed sick people through a spiritual power which
he said was not his but “from the Friend above”.
The priesthood includes numerous thaumaturgists —St. Gregory, St. Nicholas
and St. Pattick —which is sufficient to convince us that sacred magic is truly
amongst the works of the priesthood. How could it be otherwise, given that the
administration of the sacraments —these universal operations of sacred magic —
constitute the principal responsibility of the clergy and that the individual opera-
tions “decided above” are entrusted above all to those living in the atmosphere
of the universal sacraments? Is it not natural that he who participates each day
in the mystery of the transubstantiation is called, in the first place, to sacted magic?
The life and work of the holy priest of Ars leaves no doubt that the response
is affirmative. The life and work of the holy priest of Ars shows us the loftiness
and splendour of individual sacred magic — beyond the universal sacraments —
which is able to manifest itself in the life and work of a simple country parson.
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MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT
But on the other hand, the life and work of Monsieur Philip of Lyons shows
us the loftiness and splendour of individual sacred magic—without the universal
sacraments —which is able to manifest itself in the life and work of a layman, born
and raised in the country!
Love is active wherever it exists. It is everyone’s vocation; it is no one’s prerogative.
Thus, it is clear from the preceding that gnosis due to mystical experience must
precede sacred magic. This is the meaning of the crown that the Empress wears.
Sacred magic is the child of mysticism and gnosis.
If it were not so, magic would be the putting into practice of occult theory.
This applies only to personal or usurpatory magic. Sacred or divine magic is the
putting into practice of mystical revelation. The Master revealed to Peter what
he had to do—inwardly and outwardly —in order to heal Aeneas at Lydda. It is
here that the order of things in sacred magic is given: firstly, real contact with
the Divine (mysticism), then the taking into consciousness of this contact (gnosis).
and lastly the putting into operation or the execution of that which mystical revela-
tion has made known as being the task to accomplish and the method to follow.
Personal or usurpatory magic follows, in contrast, the reverse order. Here it is
the magician himself who studies occult theory and decides when and how to put
it into practice. If he does so following the advice given by a master in magic, some-
one who has experimented in magic more than he has, the principle remains the
same: it is always the human personality who decides the “what” and the “how”.
Thus Papus says:
What differentiates magic from occult science in general is that
the first is z practical science, whilst the second is above all theo-
retical. But to want to do magic without knowing occultism is
to want to drive a locomotive without having passed through
a special theoretical school. One can envisage the result (p. 4).
Magic being a practicalscience demands preliminary theoretical
knowledge, as with all practical sciences, (p. 5)
And lastly:
Magic, considered as a science of application, limits its action
almost solely to the development of relationships existing be-
tween man and Nature. The study of the relations existing be-
tween man and the higher plane, the divine plane, in all its varia-
tions, relates more to theurgy than to magic (p. 142). (Papus,
Traite methodique de magie pratique, Paris, 3rd edition, pp.
4-5. 142)
Here is an entirely characteristic definition, which leaves nothing more to desire,
of what we have designated as “arbitrary” or “personal magic”. Magic of this sort
does not include that which is higher than man: the divine plane. Here man is
the sole master —as he is elsewhere in all the practical sciences.
LETTER III THE EMPRESS
59
As a general rule, the principal director in every operation is the
human will; the means of action, the implement used, is the
astral or natural fluid, and the end to achieve is the realisation
(generally on the physical plane) of the undertaken operation.
(Papus, La science des mages, Paris, 1974, p. 69) [But] . . . re-
garding ceremonial magic and naturalism, we can only condemn
them as much as for their uselessness as for the formidable
dangers that they contain and for the state of soul which they
s u p p o s e . . . In fact, one understands here, under this last des-
ignation (ceremonial magic), an operation where the human
will and intelligence ALONE are active, without divine concur-
rence. (Papus, Traite elementaire de science occulte, Paris, 1888
pp. 430-431)
The “formidable dangers” of arbitrary or personal magic have been described
by all those who have had direct or indirect experience of this. Henry Cornelius
Agrippa (De Occulta Philosopbia, vol. iii). Eliphas Levi (TranscendentalMagic.
Its Doctrine and Ritual) and Papus have said sufficient to prove that arbitrary or
personal magic is most dangerous.
For sacred or divine magic, one risks only that it is inoperative, because of an
error—which can be distressing—but it comprises no danger.
Before finishing here with the dangers of corrupt magic, 1 would like to add
what is elaborated by Jean Herbert in his preface to the French edition of Arthur
Avalon’s Serpent Power, where he puts the reader on guard against the tempta-
tion of trying to practise the tantric method and evoking the “serpent power” (kun-
dalini), raising it up to the head, to the sahasrara (crown) centre:
He who attempts this without being guided by an authentic-
master—which is almost certainly impossible in the O c c i d e n t –
will find himself in a situation quite analogous to that of a child
whom one allows to play with all the drugs filling a pharmacy,
or to walk with a lighted taper into a firework factory. Incurable
heart problems, slow destruction of the spinal marrow, sexual
disorders and madness await those who risk this. (Arthur Avalon,
La puissance du serpent; trsl. J. Herbert, Lyons, 1959, Intro.)
Here is the bouquet of the “flowers of misfortune” which is offered to the begin-
ner without a guru, or with a non-authentic guru!
Let us return to sacred magic. Having characterised its “crown” or divine
legitimacy, we should now consider its “sceptre” or power.
The sceptre of the Empress comprises three parts: a cross, a globe and a staff
topped by a little bowl or bulb. The staff is narrower below, beneath where the
Empress holds it, than above, where it supports the globe surmounted by a cross.
The globe is divided into two by a belt or “equatorial zone”. Thus, it can be said
that it is formed from two cups, one upside down, supporting the cross and turn-
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MEDITATIONS ON THH TAROT
ed downwards or “below”, the other turned upwards and supported by the staff,
is open towards the “above”.
Now, the joining together of the cup surmounted by a cross and of another sup-
ported by a staff—which constitutes the sceptre of the Empress —is the symbolic
expression of the method of the realisation of the potentiality represented by the
crown. // is the union of two potential wills in the crown, become actual in the
sceptre. The cup surmounted by the cross and turned downwards or “below” is
the divine will, whilst the cup supported by the staff and turned upwards or “above”
is the human will. Their active union is the sceptre or the power of sacred magic
This power results from the influx from the cross which flows from the upper cup
into the empty lower cup and from there descends through the staff in order to
be concentrated at its extremity as an “acorn” or a drop. Or to express it in other
words: the Holy Blood from above concentrates itself and becomes a “drop” of
human blood by the human word and action.
Perhaps you will say: but this is the Holy Grail, it is the mystical Eucharist of
which you speak!
Yes, this is exactly to do with the Holy Grail or the mystical Eucharist. For it
is there, and only there, that the power of sacred magic resides. This power is.
in the last analysis, that of twofold sincerity—divine and human —united in the
human word or action. Because not one word or action is truly sincere when it
is only cerebral, and when it is only cerebral then it is not a flow of vital blood.
The more sincerity there is in the human word or action, the more there is the
vital essence of blood. When it happens —and the Angels fall down in adoration
when this occurs —that the human wish is in accord with the divine, the Holy
Blood is then united to the vital essence of the human blood and the Mystery
of the God-Man is repeated, and also the miraculous power of the God-Man is
reiterated. Here is the power of sacred magic —or its sceptre.
Dear Unknown Friend, do not think that 1 have only combined these things
intellectually, after having read books on the Holy Grail and treatises of mystical
theology on the sacrament of the Eucharist. No, I would never write of the mystery
of blood as the source of sacred magic —even if I “knew” these things —if I had
not visited and returned many times to the Chapel of Holy Blood at Bruges. There
I have had the unsettling experience of the reality of the Holy Blood of the God-
Man. It is this experience, with the effect of rejuvenating the soul—what am I
saying!?— not only rejuvenaring the soul, but even elevating it in the sense of the
healing of Aeneas effected by St. Peter: “Rise, and make your bed!”—it is this ex-
perience, I say, which has revealed to me the mystery of the Holy Blood and the
source of the power of sacred magic. Do not let the personal character of what
.
U-TI-hKlHTHHKMPRESS
61
I am writing obscure this for you. I am an anonymous author and I remain so
in order to be able to be more frank and sincere than is ordinarily permitted to
an author.
The aim of sacred magic, as we have said, is represented by the shield that the
Empress holds in place of the book which the High Priestess holds. Sacred gnosis
has as its aim the communicable expression (or “book”) of mystical revelation,
whilst the aim of sacred magic is liberating action, i.e. the restoration of freedom
to beings who have partially or totally lost it. The eagle in flight depicted on the
shield signifies this emblem of sacred magic, which could thus be formulated:
“Give freedom to he who is enslaved.” And this includes all the works mentioned
by Luke:
Jesus cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and
on many that were blind he bestowed sight. And he answered
them: Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind
receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the
deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news
preached to them. (Luke vii, 21-22)
This is the aim of sacred magic; it is nothing other than to give the freedom to
see, to hear, to walk, to live, to follow an ideal and to be truly oneself— i.e. to
give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, the ability to walk to the lame, life
to the dead, good news or ideals to the poor and free will to those who are possessed
by evil spirits. It never encroaches upon freedom, the restoration of which is its
unique aim.
It is more than pure and simple healing which is the object of sacred magic;
it is the restoration of freedom, including here freeing from the imprisonment
of doubt, fear, hate, apathy and despair. The “evil spirits” which deprive man of
his freedom are not at all beings of the so-called “hierarchies of evil” or “fallen
hierarchies”. Neither Satan, nor Belial, nor Lucifer, nor Mephistopheles have ever
deprived anyone of his freedom. Temptation is their only weapon and this pre-
supposes the freedom of he who is tempted. But possession by an “evil spirit”
has nothing to do with temptation. It is invariably the same thing as with Frank-
enstein’s monster. One engenders an elemental being and one subsequently be-
comes the slave of one’s own creation. The “demons” or “evil spirits” of the New
testament are called today in psychotherapy “neuroses of obsession”, “neuroses
or fear”, “fixed ideas”, etc. They have been discovered by contemporary psychiatrists
and are recognised as real— i.e. as “parasitic psychic organisms” independent of
the conscious human will and tending to subjugate it. But the devil is not there
to no avail —although not in the sense of direct participation. He observes the
law—which protects human freedom and is the inviolable convention between
the hierarchies of the “right” and those of the “left”—and never violates it, as stands
out in the example of the story of Job. One need not fear the devil, but rather
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MEDITATIONS ON THE TAKOT
the perverse tendencies in oneself! For these perverse human tendencies can deprive
us of our freedom and enslave us. Worse still, they can avail themselves of our
imagination and inventive faculties and lead us to creations which can become
the scourge of mankind. The atomic bomb and the hydrogen bomb are flagrant
examples of this.
Man with the possible perversity of his warped imagination is far more dangerous
than the devil and his legions. For man is not bound by the convention conclud-
ed between heaven and hell; he can go beyond the limits of the law and engender
arbitrarily malicious forces whose nature and action are beyond the framework
of the law. . .such being the Molochs and other “gods” of Canaa, Phoenecia.
Carthage, ancient Mexico and other lands, which exacted human sacrifice. One
has to guard against accusing the beings of the hierarchies of evil to their detri-
ment of having played the role of Molochs, these being only creatures of the per-
verse collective human will and imagination. These are egregores, engendered
by collective perversity, just as there exist the “demons” or “evil spirits” engendered
by individuals. But we have said enough about demons; the problem of “evil
spirits” will be treated in a more detailed and profound way in the fifteenth Let-
ter, dedicated to Arcanum XV-
The throne on which the Empress is seated represents, as we have said, the role
of sacred magic in the world. It is its place in the world and in the history of the
world; it is, lastly, its basis. In other words, it is that which attends it, desires it
and is always ready to receive it. What is this?
In view of the liberating function of sacred magic, it is all that which is de-
prived of liberty and is bound by necessity. Concerning this, St. Paul says:
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the
sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of
its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope;
because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to
decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail
together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves,
who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait
for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans
viii, 19-23)
It is therefore the mineral, plant, animal and human realms of Nature — in a word,
Nature in its entirety —which constitute the domain of sacred magic. The reason
for the existence of sacred magic stems from the Fall and the whole domain of
the Fall -comprising fallen Nature, fallen man and the fallen hierarchies. These
are the beings belonging to it who hope “with eager longing” to be “set free from
its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God”.
How does sacred magic operate towards this end? How, for example, does it
deliver man?
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63
The throne of the Kmpress has a back. It strongly resembles two wings, so that
certain interpreters of the Tarot have seen the Empress as being winged. Others,
however, see only a back. In view of the context of the Card, the meaning of the
coat-of-arms bearing the eagle, the sceptre surmounted by the cross, and the two-
layered crown, could one not see the back here in the form of two petrified and
immobilised wings, but which had once been genuine wings and which are again
potentially so?
If this interpretation is accepted, not only would it reconcile the two apparent-
ly opposing points of view but also it would agree with all that the Card teaches
about the sphere, the aim, the power and the legitimacy of sacred magic. To give
movement to the petrified wings.. would this not be in accord with the liberating
mission of sacred magic and with the words of St. Paul?
Whatever it may be, this interpretation comprises the answer to the question
as to the concrete mode of the liberating action of sacred magic. It is in every way
contrary to the action of constraint of false or personal magic. It sets in opposi-
tion to the action of hypnosis — the waking of the free will; and to suggestion —
the deliverance from possession by fixed ideas and psychopathological complexes.
It sets in opposition to evocation by necromancy— the ascent towards the deceas-
ed effected by the force of love; and to the means of constraint employed by cere-
monial magic with respect to elemental beings (gnomes, undines, sylphs and sal-
amanders)—the gain of their confidence and friendship by corresponding acts.
It opposes to the procedures of the practical Cabbala, which have the aim of sub-
jugating “evil spirits” (in the sense of the fallen hierarchies) —their transforma-
tion into servants through their own accord by resistance to the special tempta-
tions of each of them. For they also are waiting “for the revealing of the sons of
God”, and this revealing signifies for them, in the first place, inaccessibility to
their temptations. Resist the devil, and the devil will be your friend. A devil is
not an atheist; he does not doubt God. The faith which he lacks is faith in man.
And the act of sacred magic with respect to such a devil is that of re-establishing
his faith in man. The purpose of the trials of J o b was not to dispel the doubts
of God, but rather those of the devil. These doubts once dispelled, who was it
then who laboured to give to Job all that he had lost, if not the same being who
had formerly deprived him of everything? Job’s enemy became his voluntary
servant-and “voluntary servant” means to say friend. Sacred magic, finally, op-
poses to the fluidic transfusion of magnetism —the practice of taking upon oneself
the illnesses and infirmities of others, according to St. Paul’s precept:
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
(Galatians vi, 2)
It is in this way that saints practise sacred magic. They would not project their
forces, their vitality or their fluids into someone else, but on the contrary would
rather take from him that which was unhealthy in him. St. Lidvina, for example,
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MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT
who never left her bed or her room for many long years, once smelt strongly of
alcohol. At the same time the cure of an alcoholic was effected in the town
(Schiedam) where she lived.
Having advanced this list of contraries, 1 do not have the intention of judging,
still less of condemning —hypnosis, magnetism, suggestion, all evocation, cere-
monial magic dealing with Nature, and practical Cabbala aspiring to the sub-
jugation of “evil spirits”. The sole aim here is to make clear that which differen-
tiates sacred magic from these practices. They can also serve the good. But sacred
magic can do nothing else than to serve the good.
Are there grimoires of sacred magic? Yes, if one understands by “grimoire” an
arsenal of arms or implements which one makes use of. This arsenal is composed
of formulae, gestures, and figures reproduced by the gestures. But one must not
choose them arbitrarily. The choice must be reserved either according to profound
knowledge confirmed by revelation or otherwise to direct revelation confirmed
subsequently by the knowledge of experience.
With regard to the arsenal of formulae, it is accessible almost entirely to everyone.
For the principal source of the formulae of sacred magic is the Holy Scripture,
the Bible, comprising the New and Old Testaments. The Gospel according to St.
John occupies a prominent place here, for it consists almost completely of magical
formulae. Then come the three other Gospels and the Apocalypse (Book of Revela-
tion). One also finds magical formulae in the Epistles and in the Acts of the
Apostles. As for the Old Testament, one finds them above all in the Psalms, the
Book of Genesis (Bereshith), Ezekiel and the other prophets. There are also the
magical formulae in the liturgical ritual of the Church and in the written or oral
tradition leading back to the saints and to the great mystics. Equally, the text of
the Emerald Table belongs to the arsenal of formulae of sacred magic.
Concerning the “silent” part (i.e. the gestures and figures reproduced by ges-
tures) of sacred magic, their choice must be in the same way either confirmed by
revelation or indicated by it. They consist, as a rule, of the ritual gestures employed
by the traditional Church (Roman or Greek-Orthodox) and of gestures reproducing
a certain number of geometrical figures. Thus it is necessary sometimes to kneel
down, sometimes to be upright, sometimes to prostrate oneself; sometimes it is
necessary to do the gesture of benediction, sometimes that of protection or that
of liberation, etc.
These formulae and gestures are not secret, but one should not betray them.
“To betray” does not signify to divulge them, to make them known to others; one
does not betray a magical formula which is known to nearly everyone solely by
the fact of making it known to others. But one betrays it when one uproots it
from its proper, sacred ground and from the sacred context of the magical opera-
tion to which it belongs and when one brings it down to a lower plane, i.e. when
one abuses it. It is the same as with the formulae by means of which consecration
operates in the Mass. Everyone knows them, but they operate only when they arc
pronounced in the sacred context of the Mass by a person who is alone legitimately
LETTER III THE EMPRESS
65
authorised to do it. It is not secrecy which enables iheir operation; it is the con-
text and it is the niveau of the operation, and it is the legitimacy of the operant
or celebrant. Therefore one does not betray the formulae of consecration by print-
ing them in the missals. But one certainly would betray them if one were to use
them, as a layman, in an arbitrarily improvised or invented “mass”.
The mystery is protected in another way than the secret. Its protection is its
light, whilst the protection of a secret is its obscurity. As for an arcanum , which
is a middle degree between the mystery and the secret, it is the twilight which
protects it. For it reveals itself and hides itself at the same time by means of sym-
bolism. Symbolism is a twilight for arcana. Thus the Arcana of the Tarot are for-
mulae rendered visible and accessible to everyone. They were entertaining in the
past for thousands of people; they were used for telling fortunes by hundreds of
people; a few experienced in them a revelatory effect. Court de Gebelin was
astonished by them; Eliphas Levi was captivated by them; Papus was inspired by
them; others followed them and became subject to the strange and almost irresisti-
ble attraction of the Tarot. They studied it, meditated and commented upon it,
and interpreted it, being stimulated, inspired and illumined by “something” in
the Tarot which simultaneously reveals itself and hides itself in the twilight of
its symbols. And ourselves? Where do we stand in relation to the Tarot? We shall
have a sure knowledge of this after the twenty-second Letter, dedicated to the Minor
Arcana of the Tarot.
The throne on which the Empress is seated represents the second HE of the
Tetragrammaton of sacred magic, i.e. its manifested entirety; her crown corresponds
to YOD, the sceptre to the first HE and the coat-of-arms to the VAU of the Tetra-
grammaton. This is why we have defined the throne as “the role of sacred magic
in the world and in history”. One could equally say that it is the phenomenon
of the whole of sacred magic as it has manifested itself, as it is manifesting itself,
and as it will manifest itself in the history of mankind. It is its historical body
which reveals its soul and spirit. By “body” I mean that which makes possible direct
action in the world of facts. Thus the arsenal or store of magical formulae and
gestures which one uses in the practical exercise of sacred magic are part of its
body. The rituals of its universal operations, destined to serve the whole of man-
kind, and transcending space and time, i.e. the seven sacraments of the universal
Church, in so far as they are rituals, are equally part of its body. Then those who
have the mission or the ability to perpetuate the tradition of sacred magic are like-
wise part of it. This body is like a tree which has a certain number of branches
which bear many leaves, but whose roots are in heaven and whose top is turned
wnwards. ‘ c n as only one trunk and a sap which nourishes and vivifies all its
branches with their innumerable leaves.
Is this the Tree of the Sephiroth of the Cabbala? Or rather the Tree of Knowledge
of Good and Evil? Or, again, the Tree of Life?
The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil has had a triple effect:
toil, suffering and death. Toil or work took the place of mystical union with God,
66
MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT
which union (without effort) is the teaching of the first Arcanum of the Tarot,
the Magician. Suffering replaced the directly reflected revelation or gnosis, whose
direct revelation is the teaching of the second Arcanum of the Tarot, the High
Priestess. And death entered into the domain of life or creative, sacred magic,
which is the teaching of the third Arcanum of the Tarot, the Empress. For sacred
magic is that life which was before the Fall. The gnosis of the second Arcanum
is that consciousness which was before the Fall. And the mystical spontaneity of
the first Arcanum is that relationship between man and God which was before
the Fall. This primordial spontaneity gave the impulse and direction to evolution
and the development of the human being. It was not the struggle for existence,
described by Charles Darwin a century ago. which was the fundamental directing
impulse towards the ideal or aim of evolution before the Fall, but rather that state
of being which we designate today by the term “mystical union”. The principle
of struggle or toil (effort) only came into play after the Fall. Similarly, suffering
did not play the role of awakening consciousness before the time of the Fall; this
role was then reserved for directly reflected revelation, or gnosis. Neither did death
then play the role of liberating consciousness, through the destruction of the forms
which enclose it. that it has played since the Fall. Instead of the destruction of
forms, their continual transformation took place. This was operated by the
perpetual action of life effecting the metamorphosis of forms, in conformity with
changes in the consciousness using them. This perpetually liberating construc-
tive action of life was —and still is —the function of sacred or divine magic. And
it is this transforming function, opposed to the destructive function of death, that
Moses’ Genesis designates by the symbol of the Tree of Life.
For the Fall changed the destiny of humanity —so that mystical union became
replaced by struggle or toil, gnosis by suffering and sacred magic by death. This
is why the formula announcing the “good news” that the effects of the Fall can
be overcome and that the way of human evolution can return to that of mystical
union instead of struggle, that immediately reflected revelation or gnosis can re-
place the teaching of the truth through suffering, and that sacred magic or trans-
forming life can take the place of destructive death —this is why. I say. this for-
mula has the tenor of the following:
I AM THE WAY. THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE. (John xiv. 6)
This formula is at the same time the summation of the first three Arcana of the
Tarot, i.e. the arcanum of the true way or mystical spontaneity, the arcanum of
revealed truth or gnosis, and the arcanum of transforming life or sacred magic.
Sacred magic is therefore the Tree of Life, inaccessible to arbitrary fool-hardiness,
but manifesting itself in the whole history of mankind by the agency of those who
know how to say, “Ecce ancilla Domini, mi hi fiat secundum verbum tuum” (cf.
Luke i, 38: “Behold. I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according
to your word”) or rather. “Ecce servus Domini, faciam secundum verbum tuum”
LETTER III THE EMPRESS
67
(“Behold the servant of the Lord, I will do according to your word”). It manifests
itself in human history by a miracle: namely, that human supra-biological life
continues from century to century, from millennium to millennium, and its source
does not dry up; that the sacred fire above the altars of hearts and the altars of
stone is not extinguished from century to century, from millennium to millenni-
um; that goodness, truth and beauty do not lose their attraction from century
to century; thar, in spite of all, there is faith, hope and charity in the world; that
there are saints, sages, geniuses, benefactors, and healers; that pure thought, poetry,
music, and prayer are not being engulfed by the void; that there is this universal
miracle of human history; and that the miraculous exists. Yes, the miraculous does
exist, for life is only a series of miracles, if we understand by “miracle” not the
absence of cause (i.e. that it would not be caused by anyone or anything —which
would be more the concept of “pure chance”), but rather the visible effect of an
invisible cause, or the effect on a lower plane due to a cause on a higher plane.
Incomprehensibility is not at all the distinctive quality of a miracle; on the con-
trary, a miracle is often essentially more comprehensible than a so-called “natural”
and “explained” phenomenon. It is, for example, more comprehensible that Teresa
Neumann, in Bavaria, lived for decades without any food other than the host —
in view of the fact that matter is only condensed energy and energy is only “con-
densed” consciousness — than the “well explained” fact of a single cell which, in
multiplying itself by division, produces quite different cells for the brain, muscles,
bones, hair, etc., which group themselves in such a way that the result is a com-
plete human or animal organism. When someone tells me that all this is explain-
ed by heredity, chat such are the “genes” contained within the first cell that it
results in such an organism, then I nod in agreement, but I am completely hood-
winked.
The Tree of Life is the source of the miracles of generation, transformation, re-
juvenation, healing and liberation. Conscious participation with it, ad perpetranda
miracula rei unius as the Emerald Table expresses it, is the “great work” of sacred
magic.
One can understand rhe idea of the “great work” when one compares it with
the ideal of modern exact science. For the idea of science is power— practical tech-
nical power and intellectual technical power. The intellectual aspect of the scien-
tific ideal is to reduce the multiplicity of phenomena to a limited number of laws
and then reduce these to a single simple formula. It is a matter, in the last analy-
sis, of mechanising the intellect in such a manner that it calculates the world in-
stead of understanding it. Then one would attain intellectual technical power.
The practical aspect of the scientific ideal is revealed in the progress of modern
science from the eighteenth century to the present day. Its essential stages are the
discoveries and putting into man’s service, successively, steam, electricity and atomic
energy. But as different as these appear to be, these discoveries are based only on
a single principle, namely the principle of the destruction of matter, by which
energy is freed in order to be captured anew by man so as to be put at his service.
68 MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT
It is so with the little tegular explosions of petrol which produce the energy to
drive a car. And it is so with the destruction of atoms, by means of the technique
of neutron bombardment, which produces atomic energy. That it is a matter of
coal, petrol, or hydrogen atoms, is not important; it is always a case of the pro-
duction of energy as a consequence of the destruction of matter, for the practical
aspect of the scientific ideal is the domination of Nature by means of putting in-
to play the principle of destruction or death.
Imagine, dear Unknown Friend, efforts and discoveries in the opposite direc-
tion, in the direction ol construction ox life. Imagine, not an explosion, but rather
the blossoming out of a constructive “atomic bomb”. It is not too difficult to im-
agine, because each little acorn is such a “contructive bomb” and the oak is only
the visible result of the slow “explosion”—or blossoming out— of this “bomb”. Im-
agine it, and you will have the ideal of the great work or the idea of the Tree of
Life. The image itself of the tree comprises the negation of the technical and
mechanical element. It is the living synthesis of celestial light and elements of
the earth. Not only is it the synthesis of heaven and earth, it constantly synthesises
that which descends from above and that which ascends from below.
Now, the ideal of Hermeticism is contrary to that of science. Instead of aspiring
to power over the forces of Nature by means of the destruction of matter, Hermeti-
cism aspires to conscious participation with the constructive forces of the world
on the basis of an alliance and a cordial communion with them. Science wants
to compelNaxure to obedience to the will of man such as it is; Hermeticism —or
the philosophy of sacred magic —on the contrary wants to purify, illumine and
change the will and nature of man in order to bring them into harmony with the
creative principle of Nature (natura naturans) and to render them capable of receiv-
ing its willingly bestowed revelation. The “great work”, as an ideal, is therefore
the state of the human being who is in peace, alliance, harmony and collabora-
tion with life. This is the “fruit” of the Tree of Life.
But does not the Bible say that the approach to the Tree of Life is defended
and that “at the east of the garden of Eden God placed the Cherubim, and a
flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the Tree of Life”
(Genesis iii, 24)? Yes, it is defended, but the defence is not absolute and general;
it is specific. Read what the Bible says here: “Then the LORD God said: Behold,
the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he pur
forth his hand and take also of the Tree of Life, and eat, and live for ever. . .”
(Genesis iii, 22). Now, it is a matter here of defence against putting forth the hand
and taking from the Tree of Life, and it is this and only this that the flaming sword
at the garden of Eden prevents.
“Putting forth the hand and taking”—this is the motif, the method and the
ideal of science. It is the will-to-power underlying the scientific attitude which
is prevented by the flaming sword of the Guardian of Eden from repeating the
act committed with respect to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But the
motif, method and ideal of Hermeticism is contrary to that of science. The will-
LETTER III 11II-I MPRESS
69
to-serve underlies the fundamental Hermetic attitude. Instead of putting forward
the hand to take, the human being opens his mind, his heart and his will to receive
that which will be graciously bestowed upon him. The inspiration, illumination
and intuition that he seeks arc not so much conquests accomplished by his will;
they are rather gifts from above, preceded by the efforts of the human will en-
deavouring to become worthy.
The flaming sword of the Guardian of Eden is a weapon of divine magic. This
means to say that it is essentially a “yes” and not a “no”. It is essentially construc-
tive and not destructive. In other words, it invites, encourages and directs all those
who are worthy, all that which is worthy in each person, to the benefits of the Tree
of Life; and it forbids, discourages and sends away all those who are unworthy,
and also all that which is unworthy in each person. The flaming sword is a bene-
diction to those who seek the Tree of Eternal Love which is the Tree of Life, and
at the same time, by the very fact that it blesses, the flaming force prohibits those
who seek the Tree of Life in order to take possession of its fruits. The sword of
the Holy Guardian of Eden is always active in the spiritual life of humanity. It
calls to seekers and it repulses thieves. Thanks to it Hermeticism, the millennial-
old tradition of uninterrupted pursuit of the ideal of the “great work”, exists—in
spite of all the chimera, all the illusions and all the forms of charlatanism, con-
scious and unconscious, which accompany this pursuit.
The sword of the Holy Guardian of Eden works the magical revelation of the
Tree of Life —for everyone, without distinction. It is the magical word stirring ablaze
in human souls ardent desire for the “great work”, the miraculous life. It “will
not break a bruised reed or quench a smouldering wick” (Matthew xii, 20), because
its mission is divine; and it is characteristic of the Divine not only to save every
droplet of sincerity and every spark of love, but also to make them grow and spread.
Because in spite of all corruption that historical experience brings to the light of
day, in totality nothing is corrupt. The traditional teaching of the Church that
“Nature is wounded but not destroyed” (natura vulnerata, non cieleta) is absolutely
true.
The Tree of Life is the unity or synthesis of consciousness, force and matter.
Three is its number. . . because it reflects the unity of the Holy Trinity. It is at the
same time the unity of mysticism, gnosis and magic. This is why one should not
separate them. The Empress, as a symbol of sacred magic, contains within itself
gnosis and mysticism —or the High Priestess and the Magician. These Arcana are
incomprehensible when one takes them separately. In general, all the Arcana of
the Tarot are comprehensible only when considered as a whole.
But it so happens that in human consciousness one separates the inseparable — in
forgetting the unity. One takes a branch of the tree and cultivates it as if it exists
without the trunk. The branch can have a long life, but it degenerates. It is thus
that in forgetting gnosis and mysticism, magic has been taken separately which,
being a branch separated from its trunk, ceased to be sacred magic and became
arbitrary or personal magic. This latter mechanised to a certain degree and became
70
MEDITATIONS ()N II IF. TAK( )T
what one understands as “ceremonial magic”, which flourished from the time of
the Renaissance until the seventeenth century. It was parexcellence the magic of
the humanists, i.e. it was no longer divine magic, but human magic. It no longer
served God, but man. Its ideal became the power of man over visible and invisi-
ble Nature. Later, invisible Nature was also forgotten. Visible Nature was con-
centrated upon alone, with the aim of subjugating it to the human will. It is in
this way that technological and industrial science originated. It is the continua-
tion of the ceremonial magic of the humanists, stripped of its occult element,
just as the former is the continuation of sacred magic, but deprived of its gnostic
and mystical element.
What I am saying here is perfectly in accord with what Papus (and Eliphas Levi)
thought, concerning which one cannot say that he was speaking without knowledge
of the matter. For Papus said:
Ceremonial magic is an operation by which man seeks, through
the play of natural forces, to compel the invisible powers of
diverse orders to act according to what he requires of them. To
this end he seizes them, he surprises them, as it were, in pro-
jecting, through the effect of correspondences which suppose
the unity of Creation, forces of which he himself is not master,
but to which he can open extraordinary outlets.. . Ceremonial
magic is of an order absolutely identical to our industrial science.
Our power is almost nothing alongside that of steam, electrici-
ty and dynamite; but in opposing them by appropriate combi-
nations to natural forces as powerful as themselves, we concen-
trate them, we accumulate them, we compel them to transport
or ro smash weights which would annihilate u s . . . (Papus. Traite
elementaire de science occulte, Paris, 1888 pp. 425-426)
What more is there to say? One can, perhaps, add another statement by Papus,
defining the relarionship between the “scientific mage” or occultist and the sorcerer,
as follows:
The sorcerer is to the occultist as the worker is to the engineer.
(Papus, La science des mages, Paris, 1974, p. 68)
The sorcerer is therefore only an amateur occultist.
Just as contemporary technological science is the direct continuation of cere-
monial magic, contemporary profane art is merely a continuation of gnosis and
magic which have lost sight of mysticism and become separated from it. Because
art seeks to reveal and applies itself to do this in a magical manner.
The ancient mysteries were only sacred art — being in the background conscious
of mysticism and gnosis. But after forgetting this background or, so to say, after
this background receded too far into the background, there remained a gnosis
LK’ITEK III TIII-l HMPRKSS
71
(or a “revelationism”) deprived at root of mystical discipline and experience. In
this way “creative art” originated, and the mysteries became theatre, revelationary
mantras became verses, hymns became songs, and revclationary “pantomimic”
movements became dances, whilst cosmic myths gave way to belles lettres.
Art, being separated from the living organism of the unity of the Tetragram-
maton, is necessarily removed from gnosis as well as from sacred magic —from
which it springs and to which it owes its substance and the sap of its life. The pure
revelation of gnosis has become more and more a game of the imagination and
the power of magic has degenerated more and more into aesthetics. Richard
Wagner understood this and wanted to remedy it. The work of Wagner followed
the aim of the reintegration of art —to effect reunion with gnosis and mysticism
so that it becomes sacred magic again.
Josephin Peladan endeavoured to do the same in France. He even had dazzling
success but this was short-lived — for reasons which he well understood subsequent-
ly. Silence is the indispensable climate for all revelation; noise renders it absolutely
impossible.
The religious life, as everyone knows, is not exempt from decadence —when it
ceases to be founded in mysticism, illumined by gnosis, and actuated by sacred
magic. It grows cold without the fire of mysticism, it clouds over without the light
of gnosis and becomes impotent without the power of sacred magic. There re-
mains then only theological legalism supported by moral legalism —hence the
origin of the religion of the scribes and Pharisees at the time of the New Testa-
ment. This is the twilight which precedes its night, its death.
FAITH is the experience of divine breath; HOPE is the experience of divine
light; and LOVE is the experience of divine fire. There is no authentic and sincere
religious life without faith, hope and love; but there is no faith, hope and love
without mystical experience or, what is the same thing, without grace. No intellec-
tual argument can awaken faith; what it can do, at best, is to eliminate obstacles,
misunderstandings and prejudices, and thus help to establish the state of interior
silence necessary for the experience of the divine breath. But faith itself is the divine
breath whose origin is found neither in logical reasoning, nor in aesthetic impres-
sion, nor in human moral action.
The divine and flaming Word shines in the world of the silence of the soul and
moves” it. This movement is living faith — therefore real and authentic — and its
light is hope or illumination, whilst all springs from the divine fire which is love
or union with God. The three “ways” or stages of traditional mysticism— purifi-
cation, illumination antiunion — are those of the experience of divine breath or
faith, divine light or hope, and divine fire or love. These three fundamental ex-
periences of the revelation of the Divine constitute the triangle of life — for no
spirit, no soul and equally no body would be able to live if entirely deprived of
all love, all hope and all faith. They would then be deprived of all vital elan (the
vital elan advanced by Henri Bergson as the general impulse behind evolution),
out what else could this be but some form of love, hope and faith operating at
72
MEDITATIONS ON THE TAROT
the basis of all life? It is because “in the beginning was the Word” and “all things
were made through him” (John i. 1,3), and it is because the primordial Word still
vibrates in all that lives, that the world still lives and has the vital elan which is
nothing other than love, hope and faith inspired from the beginning by the creative
Word.
In this sense Browning was right in having said. “Nature is supernatural”. For
its supernatural origin still manifests itself in its vital elan. To want to live! Good
Lord, what a profession of faith, what a manifestation of hope and what ardour
of love!
Love, hope and faith are at one and the same time the essence of mysticism,
gnosis and sacred magic. FAITH is the source of magic power and all the miracles
spoken of in the Gospels are attributable to it. The revelation — all the revelations
of gnosis have only one aim: to give, to maintain and to increase HOPE. The book
that the High Priestess holds on her knees is written so that hope may continue
unceasingly. For all revelation which does not give hope is useless and superfluous.
Mysticism is fire without reflection; it is union with the divine in LOVE. It is the
primary source of all life, including religious, artistic and intellectual life. Without
it, everything becomes pure and simple technique. Religion becomes a body of
techniques of which the scribes and Pharisees are the engineers; it becomes
legalistic. Art becomes a body of techniques—be they traditional or innovative — a
field of imitation or experiences. Lastly, science becomes a body of techniques
of power over Nature.
But the Arcanum of sacred magic, the Empress, calls to us to take another way.
It calls us to the way of regeneration, instead of that of degeneration. It invites
us to de-mechanise all that which has become solely intellectual, aesthetic and
moral technique. One has to de-mechanise in order to become a mage. For sacred
magic is through and through life — that life which is revealed in the Mystery of
Blood. May our problems become so many cries of the blood (of the heart), may
our words be borne by blood, and may our actions be as effusions of blood! This
is how one becomes a mage. One becomes a mage by becoming essential— as essen-
tial as the blood is.
Eliphas Levi puts as the sub-title to the chapter devoted to the third Arcanum
of the Tarot in his Transcendental Magic. Its Doctrine and Ritual: “Plenitudo Vocis”.
His choice is more than happy, it is inspired! Indeed!—”fullness of voice”—could
one better describe the essence itself of sacred magic!? Yes, it is “fullness of voice’
with which sacred magic is concerned; it is the voice full of blood; it is the blood
which becomes voice. It is being in which there is nothing mechanical and which
is entirely living.
The third Arcanum of the Tarot, being the arcanum of sacred magic, is by this
very fact the arcanum of generation. For generation is only an aspect of sacred
magic. If sacred magic is the union of two wills —human and divine —from which
a miracle results, generation irself also presupposes the trinity of the generator,
the generant and the generated. Now, the generated is the miracle resulting from
LETTER III THEEMPRESS
73
the union of the principles of generator and generanr. Whether it is a matter of
a new idea, a work of art, the birth of a child, is not important; it is always the
same law of generation which operates; it is always the same arcanum —that of
fecundity—which is in play; and it is always the same mystery of the Incarnation
of the Word which is the divine prototype here.
We have said above that sacred magic is life such as it was before the Fall. As
life is always generative, the arcanum of sacred magic is at the same time that of
generation before the Fall— vertical generation, from a higher plane to a lower
one —instead of horizontal generation, which is accomplished on a single plane.
The formula of this mystery is well known: ETINCARNATUS EST DE SP1RI-
TU SANCTO EX MARIA VIRGINE. It contains the trinity of the generator above,
of the generant below, and the generated —or: the Holy Spirit, the Holy Virgin
and the God-Man. It is at the same time the formula of sacred magic in general,
because it expresses the mystery of the union of divine will and human will in
the element of blood. The blood — in its triple sense, mystical, gnostic and magical
— is the “sceptre” or power of sacred magic.
At this point, dear Unknown Friend, 1 shall withdraw and leave you alone with
your Angel. It is not fitting that my human voice arrogates the right of uttering
things which are a more profound continuation of what is outlined above.

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