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Saturday, November 8, 2008

Panentheism -- Credo XVIII

To cut this short, I started my search for God when I was four and a half years old, inspired no doubt by my beloved grandfather Basil King, who was for many years rector of Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. When I traveled to Prince Edward Island off Canada with my mother and nanny, we stayed in a camp with little wooden cabins and a communal dining hall. I got serious and asked my mother how one got in touch with God. Mother, a mite perplexed, said she supposed one called on Him. A bit later I went out in my little overalls and stood on the porch and shouted, “GOD! OH GOD!!” as loud as I could. Slowly, a huge horse in the field adjoining ambled over and hung his head over the porch rail and freaked me out! Panicking, I tried to open the screen door but couldn’t reach the handle ...

A few days later, I went out and lay down in the grass and looked up through the underside of the waving daisies at the blue sky and felt a sense of wonder at the beauty of it all. I came close. Nature was manifesting something mysterious. I felt wonder and reassurance, a hint.

Fast forward to 1935. I am twelve, staying in a seaside hotel in Nieuport-Bains, Belgium. My father has given me a book about science and I am reading it on my bed. I come across the chapter on atoms and read that every bit of matter is made of atoms and each atom has a nucleus that is filled with energy. I have an epiphany! That energy must be God!! This hits me like a thunderbolt. My heart pounds and I want to rush out and tell the world. So I run out the door and look over the banister down on the bald head of the concierge, who is busy writing up some bills or something. Would he understand? I realize that this is something so tremendous and yet there is no one around to share it with. Yet for me, it is a proof. A certainty because I have experienced it personally.

Years later, I read a quote of the alchemist Agrippa von Nettesheim, which I subsequently would write on the board of every astrology class I was destined to teach: Virtutes divinae in res suffusae. Divine powers are hidden in things.

But it took fifty yearsfor me, here in this house in 1985, to come across a footnote in M-L. von Franz’s edition of Aurora Consurgens, quoting another alchemist, Petrus Bonus (Good Stone!), who stated “To find the Philosopher’s Stone, look with the eyes and see with the heart.” It takes only a step then to realize Jung’s wisdom in saying that the longest journey many of us have to take is from the head to the heart.

The ego as the center of consciousness is the instrument necessary for looking. We have two eyes (Sun/Moon) in the front of our heads, so we only see half. The Self as Jung defines it, is the center and totality of the psyche, but it dwells in the unconscious, so we need the feminine Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) to lead us to the heart and the discovery of cosmic Life, Light, Love. This is surely the Mysterium Coniunctionis that he writes of and, in my opinion, experienced.

In sacred geometry, the cube is symbolic of the manifest world because it can be measured. Ask anyone how many sides it has, and they will respond: six. Ask how many can you see, the answer is three. So perhaps we see only one-half and need to join it to its meaning. To think sym-bolically is Greek for putting together. Thus we might change the definition of a sacrament with one word: A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inner and spiritual meaning!

The Philosopher’s Stone was supposed to turn lead to gold, but the alchemists said Non aurum vulgae, not material vulgar gold. Rather they said, the Stone was lying on the road and wagon wheels roll over it – ob via, obvious; as I’ve said before, nothing is hidden, it is we who are blind. The lead, Saturn, is much in the news these days. It is toxic, as is a life lived without meaning, without love. My Teacher always said, “When you feel down, do something for somebody quick!”

The title of this Credo is Panentheism, which differs from pantheism. Pantheism means God is all. Panentheism means Spirit (God) is within all.

The manifest world is full of Spirit, but it seems we can only see It with a loving eye.


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