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The vehemence of natural earthly love is limited by its very fruitfulness. The desire which sweeps through the bodies of earth is fulfilled in progeny, exhausted in satiation, or overcome in the renunciation of the Buddha — as the case may be. The song of the solstitial light of summer, the song of St. John's light, is a song of fulfillment and integration for those who live purely and fully according to the rhythm of physical Nature; but it is always a song of climax. Satiation also is a climax for those who crave for impossible self-aggrandizement through the body — a climax of futility. And renunciation, fire of the daring mind, as it burns high and clear through the perils of the Gemini nature, leads the overcomer to a climax of freedom at the symbolical Fourth of July, when he is born of his noble Purpose as a citizen of the spiritual New World.

As June ends in a blaze of purple light, the sun stands high on the throne of the sky. His royal will bears no contradiction. He possesses the earth. He establishes his dominion through the Cancerian home which is being built as an altar to his power as well as a cradle for his progeny. The fulfilled earth is great with child. He is established in her progeny. He is secure in her mother-love to be. The realm of objectivity is conquered because solar man has been able to demonstrate his might, to prove himself in his fatherhood, to objectify himself in the child that now is conceived. He is secure indeed, rooted in the fertile earth. His security is a paean of regal light.

To the purple-blue Light of the skies answers the yellow song of the soil pregnant with maturing crops. The royal will of the Spirit consecrated as lord of manifestation finds its answer in the mature intelligence of the human soul, in the yellow of objective intellectuality. A culture is born, weaving its antiphonal patterns under the sustained vibration of that solar impulse which once was known as the great sacrifice of the Manu and now is solidified into a code of laws, a "rule" of behavior, a discipline of individual and social formation. To the changeful moods of vernal light succeeds the steady glare of summer skies. Light has made of the earth its home and is known in the realm of physiological endeavor by its growing fruitions.

But this physiological realm is not essentially the realm of the light; nor is it the true domain of man. If for a brief time man finds himself glorified in this earthly realm, it is merely in order to root himself in preparation for further endeavors. Man, having experienced through the rapture of love the fulness of the May-day, having known the body and drunk deep of its potent liquor, having danced the ritual of fecundation, arrayed in the glowing beauty which Nature painted upon his emotional soul as a witness to the glory of the mysterious alchemy which Spirit performs through the body — Man, having passed through all this earthly coronation, is now ready to face a nobility more royal, a glory more transcendent. He is ready to enter the "desert", to merge utterly in the ocean of light, and to become an atom of divinity.

No one has ever known the light who has not experienced the desert. It is only when the heavy moisture of the fertile plains is left behind, when the watery power of the emotional life has been dried up, and space is no longer cluttered with chaotic masses of trees, jungles and virgin forests pushing intemperate and superfluous growths to moist skies, that man can experience the purity, the glory of light — the magnificence of stars. Humid fertility belongs to the lunar realm of Cancer. That intense profligate greenness which spreads over the earth with overbearing femininity; that dominant motherhood of love too human, love of bodies and of physical progeny — a motherhood which stifles as well as nurtures; that material pomp of earthly dominion and earth-bent intellectual culture, belongs to the watery symbol of Cancer: the animal that claws and never lets go.

The truly spirit-born man, having fulfilled the needs of nature and rendered to the earth what belongs to the earth, moves on, away from the steaming plains, to the plateaux where the air is clear, translucent and dry. He enters once more the realm of fire. Born of the fire in Aries, he faces rebirth in the light of Leo. He crosses the mountain passes which guard the dazzling vastness of the desert. He becomes one with the light.

The desert's light is a steady light of intense lapis lazuli dotted with gold. Its intensity, its fervor, its vibrancy pierce through and through the wanderer who offers himself to the nuptials of light — nuptials not to be celebrated in this body of flesh, but in the very vibration of that light which not only possesses the desert, but is the desert. Man enters the desert. Man becomes the desert. Then man merges into the light. And in the terrific intensity of this embrace, which is a holocaust, deep sources of life are tapped. Earthly depths are reached, beyond ordinary knowing. In him who did not fear the possession of the desert's light a miracle of life occurs. An "oasis" is born. Palm-trees surge skyward from the fecundated sand, blessed by water. They pray to the sun. They rise, sheltering their trunks in their own dried leaves. They rise, magnificent images of glorified man; and golden, luscious dates hang from the high foliage, filled with sweetness, potent with strength, poems of spiritual fecundity.

All symbols — desert symbols, difficult perhaps to fathom for those who have not known the magic of oases, the majesty of date-palms, their roots heavily watered by springs which stream up from great depths, their glory-crowns of stately leaves radiating darts of green flame to the sun which plays through them, weaving arabesques upon the torrid sands. Yet magnificent symbols of a realm of life, which is that of flaming spirit — spirit in its intensity, in its superhuman might, in its disregard of the merely human — spirit, tragic to the weak, devouring fire for the watery soul, song of exultation and drunkenness of space to him who is noble and strong, whose power reaches upward like palm-trees, and, because it is watered from the deepest depths, can bear forth the clustered wonder of amber dates to feed the multitudes.

Desert light — desert storms. The sands swirl madly, whipped to frenzy by howling storms. Palm-trees sway in the wind, singing strange dry songs with their sharp leaves. Tremendous extremes meet in violent embraces. Desert-man must face them, unconquered, unbent, singing always his power-chants, his nostalgic songs. This is the life of the man who has faced the spirit and entered the gates that leave behind the soft greenery of the earth: the life of the man who has made an oasis his home — who has faced, therefore, the need to be alone and to make that solitude rich and fruitful.

Solitude is an oasis. Every man reborn of the spirit is alone — alone in the desert of men who are spiritually unborn or dead — alone without rain to soothe his parched mind, his starved longings for cultural ease and softness — alone with the one spring, water surging from his own depth — alone with the stars through intoxicating night, stars shining so large, so close, so vibrant that they are near-presences, loved ones, divine songs that tell strange, ineffable secrets of cosmic wastes, tremendous spaces, in which they too are alone, shining, radiating, giving of themselves . . . but alone. Solitude in the desert. Man in communion with stars. Myriads of them, unknown to steam-laden plains teeming with clinging humanities. Great pageants of glittering light uttering messages which each man of the desert must decipher for him self, must listen to with his own soul reaching upward, straight, strong, like palm-trees. Like palm-trees, men of the desert must be erect spines, columns of life crowned with a sphere of radiating leaves. How symbolic these long palm-leaves, like hardened feathers, so geometric in the patterns they weave on skies and sands, so beautifully grouped round the stem! Symbols of the brain and its myriads of fan-shaped nerves; symbols of those still more mysterious whirls of energies, chakras, of which the head is but the material structure. All the power of the earth concentrated in the head; water of the deepest depths surged skyward; a pulsating, living fountain of life become, as it falls back to the earth, golden clusters of dates. The Date-palm and the oasis — symbols of the avatar, in Leo.

The waterfall in Aquarius represents the descent of spiritual energy to the earth-realm. In Taurus, through the act of fecundation, we see power becoming embodied, energy made into living substance. In Leo, we find man freeing himself from the green earth, communing with the light within, becoming a majestic witness to the spiritual reality that is God — indeed, an atom of divinity. In Scorpio we will find spiritual power stabilized, made collective and forming itself as a Host, in preparation for a new descent. Four aspects of Power based upon four modes of manifestation of the one light.

The Northern Gate of light is a high gate through which light streams forth in a commanding and climactic manner. The summer solstice is a moment of consecration. But what is being consecrated is that which descended into manifestation at the Southern Gate, took embodiment at the Eastern Gate and will reach perfection at the Western Gate. Sacrifice, embodiment, consecration, perfection. Summer light is the light of consecration. It consecrates the home, in Cancer. It consecrates man, the Soul, as an atom of divinity, in Leo. But man can never arise as a solar being unless he has found within his mind that discontent with earthly things, that craving for self-perfection and self-purification which is of Virgo. The Wife and the Virgin meet in his soul; the former to bring him security, the latter divine discontent. The Mother gives him a sense of power; the Vestal, a sense of dedication to a greater selfhood. If he follows the woman in the home he remains bound to the green earth and its yellowing crops; bound to the harvest, as the king is bound to his subjects. Leo, at the physiological level, is king over subjects at the bidding of her who yearned to be queen. The consecration of the home in Cancer forces him into being a leader of men; and he who leads others is bound to others — and bound to his necessary pomp and his necessary showmanship; for these are required of rulers.

The man who feels the mysterious inward pull of the Vestal within, and in whom the song of the Flame resounds — such a one will arise from his earthly home and take himself to the roads that lead to the desert. And if he has been strong and daring enough; if he has tapped the wells of his deepest depths, and if these depths have watered his own oasis and summoned the great palm-trees that sing in the winds the magic chant of the desert — then, one day, as he ventures beyond the oasis and toward the vaster spaces, he will encounter the great symbol that stands before the Western Gates: the Sphinx. And in the Sphinx his Virgin-Self will confront him and ask him to pay the "price" to the Guardian of the Gates; the price of Initiation — his spiritual pride.

The Sphinx: a lion's body with the head of a virgin. Thus has been symbolized the cusp between Leo and Virgo, the solemn moment of choice between the "oasis" and the "sacred city", the path to which lies through the "pyramid". The avatar in Leo is a fiery expression of divine power. It is neither universal, as Aquarian power, nor earthly, as Taurean power. It is individualized power, divine power meeting the established personality (or "home"), formed in Cancer. The negative aspect of the Aquarian avatar is diffusion; of the Taurean avatar, materialism or over-concretization. The negative aspect of the avatar in Leo is individual pride. Here man glories in his wonderful home, his wife, his progeny, his intellect and culture; or else in his superb renunciation, his heroic solitude in the desert, his spiritual experiences, his divine guidance. Here man gets drunk with leadership or with stars and with space. Here man loses all sense of perspective, and makes of his home or his oasis the center of the world, the unique in a world of commonplace.

Spiritual discrimination is needed. Virgo provides it to those who understand the lesson of the Sphinx. For to the self-intoxicated Leo is shown that the lion-part of the mystic symbol is only the lower, sustaining part. Dominating it is the Virgin's head. Just as Pisces needs to bring a sense of summation and synthesis to the diffuse Aquarian power, just as Gemini is needed to intellectualize and make conscious the fecundative energy of Taurus, so the discriminative, self-purifying and self-perfecting activity of Virgo alone may show the Leo power how to reflect upon itself and its past, how to study the records of all those other individuals who also were noble and heroic, and thus to gain mental objectivity and a correct sense of spiritual perspective.

Such a type of activity is symbolized by the head of a sacred Virgin, because objectivity and perspective are only characteristics of a mind unbound to a particular manifestation of divine (male) power. The "married" woman represents the earth impregnated by a particular impulse of spirit, and as such limited in perspective by the boundaries of the home of her progeny, which are those of the sphere of power or wealth of the father. But the "Vestal" is consecrated only to the Fire, which burns all particular forms and emphases, which is free from name and from self.

The sacred Virgin belongs to the All and to no man. She is therefore the smile of universal light, the radiance of the unattached and the free. She is inscrutable as light itself. She answers to all, yet gives herself to none. She tames the lion of pride and directs it. The Sphinx is the Guardian of the Gates of Initiation. It makes of the proud king a servant of the All. It humbles the wise. It leads the individual to the great Host of Those who, as servants of the Fire, are the hierophants of the Pyramid's Mysteries. And within the Pyramid the heroic personality who sang his desert song to the stars will receive, after great ordeals, the directed blessing of that Star which is his true Higher Self.

Behind our Sun stand mighty Stars who guide the destinies of its system. Behind our individualized personality is that other Star which gave it birth, the Monad whose "Ray" it is. No one may reach this Star in consciousness and in actuality who has not passed through the desert, who has not stood as a palm-tree bearing its golden dates under the fierce light of the sun — even though some may feel the Star's guidance in unconsciousness and inspiration. No one may experience its reality who has not been initiated in the Pyramid — the altar to the universal Fire. For the pyramid stands facing the Western Gate of light, and none may enter the "Sacred City" who has not passed through the Fire as a Sphinx, guided by the "Virgin of Light" within his Soul.

The "Virgin of Light": such a name recurs many times in all occult and mystical books. It symbolizes the universal "Sea of Light" as its tides operate rhythmically within the illumined Souls of those who have left behind the green earth and its heavy fluids, circulating slowly within rigid Saturnian structures, allaying the thirst of earth-bent bodies. The mature Woman stands for the fruition of this body-realm, her generous breasts cupped in the image of the Moon, ruler of Cancer: redeemer of the past. She is life particularized, embodied, attached to a "one". But the "Virgin of Light" is life as pure energy flowing through the All at the level of universals; life ever-present, ever rich with unconditioned potentiality, ever radiant, ever potent with the Mystery of the veiled presence of Isis.

The Disciple on his way to Initiation into the Mysteries of Light must have overcome not only the pull of earthly fecundity and of self-establishment in a home, but the pride of his individual realizations as a Soul. Only then can he commune with the Virgin within in the pure ecstasy of translucent September skies. Only then can he know the universal "Beloved" and drink of the "Wine" of mystical life. To him who is bound to his own pride the "Virgin of Light" can be but a mirage of the desert, a projection of his own thirst and his own longing. He has left the Woman behind, and her fruitful love; but now he yearns for an escape from his solitary and heroic selfhood. He yearns for a dream really, for a phantasm compensating psychologically for what he has given up.

Only as he gives up also, irretrievably, the pride of having given up does he cease to dream, to long for the unattached effervescence of un-married youth, for the lithe suppleness of virginal forms and emotions that float like clouds in adolescent skies. This desire of mature man for the earthly virgin is but the yearning of his pride for absolution or dissolution. He longs to forget himself and to escape from his spiritual or social responsibilities as an individual. He desires to drink of the sparkling wine of a love evanescent and unburdened with memories; a love which he dreams will have the power to revivify his being, burdened by a home or burnt by the desert's intensity and loneliness — a love which he dreams to be mystical, yet alas! which is but a mirage of his own individual thirst.

This is the negative lure of the Virgin. Where it prevails, there we find symbolically the virgins "thrown to the lions" in the Roman arena, to satisfy the mentalized lust of men and to make settled women sadistically rejoice in the security of their own homes: Christian virgins, virgins who were dedicated to the universal God, who were poems of spiritual light . . . But in the Sphinx, it is the Virgin who dominates and guides. The "lion" becomes a vehicle of power for the consciousness of the Virgin; because, in the purified Disciple and Candidate to Initiation, it is that virginal and consecrated consciousness of universal life which uses the power of the individual Soul in order to become utterance and revelation.

The "Virgin of Light" is unfocalized cosmic energy. It is radiant space before Milky Ways are born as homes to countless suns. It is a sensitized plate upon which the infinite modulations of Light register as voiceless potentialities. It is the un-breathed breath of Wholeness. But the lungs through which this vitalizing breath will pass, releasing its spiritual ozone into the blood of a "Master of the Light", must be purged of selfishness and pride. The alchemical "red-lion" and its hot desires must have been tamed by the Virgin, who will have become in fact the very head or directing force of the lion.

Thus the Sphinx. Every candidate to the Initiation of Fire, which is celebrated in the omnipresent and eternal Pyramid within every man, must become a Sphinx as he approaches the sacred entrance. His consciousness must be transfigured into the mystic countenance of the Virgin. He must have become a Universal, borne by the tamed energies of the individual Soul to the Place of Rebirth, where the Virgin's consciousness will become fecundated by the Star of Initiation, and the lion's body will take wings to soar toward the "New Jerusalem" descending from the skies: the Seed of spiritual mankind.

This spiritual fecundation of the "Virgin of Light" by the Star was often materialized in ancient temples by sacred rituals of fecundation in which consecrated virgins and the High Priest participated. But such ceremonies belong to the realm of Taurus, or else they were perversions of a fact of purely spiritual Nature, the "Immaculate Conception" or Virgin-birth of the Initiate in the sacred chamber of the Pyramid. However, with the Pyramid we enter actually the realm of autumnal light. What has been born of sacrifice at the Spring equinox is reborn of understanding at the Fall equinox. The mysterious nature of this understanding, which is creative and regenerative, is veiled in the enigmatic figure of the Sphinx. Who dares to lift the veil of Isis with a pure heart shall experience the reality of the Sphinx.

This Sphinx is the child of the desert. He is born in those who have fulfilled the desert in their lives, who have not let the roaring lions enter their oases, who have grown a rich harvest of golden dates, whose Soul has communed with the constellations, opening itself to the desert song and the harmony of multitudinous stars. To such a one the Pyramid will have no terror, and the Western Gates of the light no pitfall. He will assume that peace that passeth understanding, that poise of the Middle Path which is wisdom and bliss. And as his feet climb the steep inclines that lead to the snow-white splendor of the Sacred Mountain, he will behold skies of translucent purity and mauve ecstasy. And around his haloed head there will be seen, shining with ineffable radiance, the glory of the Golden Flower, Chrysanthemum of the skies.

This edition copyright © 2008 Michael R. Meyer
All Rights Reserved.

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