Greek Kabala Series
Greek Kabala Part 6
by Jack Courtis
We have heard a great deal about the 3 journeys. It is time that we begin to understand them. So far, we know that there is a masculine journey, a feminine journey and a combined journey. Clearly, the concept of a journey is related to significant life changing experiences. Most of them are unpleasant and according to our present society, are to be avoided. That is because our society is geared to instant self-gratification (easy credit, fast foods, instant entertainment) and avoids anything unpleasant. That avoidance includes salvation as a process of personal transformation because as we shall see, salvation requires discipline, hard work and total commitment. It is hard to be committed while we drink beer, eat a hamburger and watch TV. That is much easier than fasting, studying, meditating and praying. Our society would rather "feel good" than do any spiritual work.
That still does not explain why we must take the journeys. The reason is that before we are liberated by salvation, we must have every human experience. Thus we have all incarnated as men and therefore we have all been rapists. We have all incarnated as women and thus have all been raped. As women we have all had abortions. We have all been gay. We have all incarnated in different races and therefore been racists and the victims of racism. We have committed crimes and been the victims of crime. We have been rich, we have been poor; we have been powerful, we have been weak. And so it goes on. To have every human experience requires more than one incarnation; it demands thousands. For a society that craves instant self-gratification, this is not a cheerful prospect. The easiest course is simply to deny that salvation needs effort on our part.
We have in fact done just that and deny the need for hard work in order to be saved. We use a theology that matches our society’s needs. Our current understanding of theology tells us not to worry, because Jesus did it all for us 2,000 years ago. His crucifixion is sufficient for us to be saved today without any effort on our part. This old theology is very popular but it may not be true for you. If it is not, then the Greek Tree of Life is the road map for all the journeys that we must take.
You did not expect to read any of this did you? If you don’t like it, you had better stop now, because if you continue, you may not be able to stop.
But why should we take the journeys anyway? Won’t reincarnation and karma take care of everything? Yes they will, but very slowly. The point is that we can choose to accelerate our own progress by choosing to have those experiences that our society sees as unpleasant and unnecessary. To do that, we need discipline. For those who want to come along, let us begin.
The Combined Journey
We start with this, because it is the easiest to comprehend. On the surface it appears to be referring to the physical nature that is shared by men and women. On the Greek Tree it is symbolised by the 12 letters attributed to the signs of the zodiac and the body parts associated with them. It will be helpful to see these attributions in table form:
|Beta||Β , β||B, b||2||Aries||Head|
|Gamma||Γ , γ||G, g||3||Taurus||Throat|
|Delta||Δ , δ||D, d||4||Gemini||Shoulders|
|Zeta||Ζ , ζ||Z, z||7||Cancer||Chest|
|Kappa||Κ , κ||K, k||20||Leo||Heart|
|Lambda||Λ , λ||L, l||30||Virgo||Stomach|
|Mi||Μ , μ||M, m||40||Libra||Intestines|
|Ni||Ν , ν||N, n||50||Scorpio||Genitals|
|Pi||Π , π||P, p||80||Sagittarius||Thighs|
|Rho||Ρ , ρ||R, r||100||Capricorn||Knees|
|Sigma||Σ , σ||S, s||200||Aquarius||Ankles|
|Tav||Τ , τ||T, t||300||Pisces||Feet|
Both men and women have the same body parts listed above. Whatever affects their bodies is an experience common to each. All of this is a metaphor and substitutes symbols for individual experiences. Obviously, this journey has 12 steps. What are they? There are many explanations, in fact as many explanations as there are people. Here is one explanation; the key to it is the number 12. We need experiences that will counter the damaging effects of our obsession with self-gratification and "feel good". There is one word that describes such experiences: discipline. According to tradition, there are 12 spiritual disciplines of 3 types, with 4 examples of each type:
Let us now place the 12 steps on the road map of the Tree of Life, so that we can see where we have to go. As we shall discover, it is difficult to correlate the 12 disciplines with the 12 steps, but that is also a part of the journey.
Let us now look at the disciplines. The inner disciplines we do alone and we can hide that fact from our relatives, friends and the people we work with. The cumulative effect of fasting, study, meditation and prayer, takes time to be noticed if we keep our behaviour confidential.
However the outer disciplines immediately mark us for attention. Our normal behaviour will change so radically, that we shall be treated as a threat, for indeed we are. To behave with submission, service, solitude and simplicity, is to reject the entire basis of our present culture. We are a threat precisely because we are taking control of our own spiritual destiny. When we combine with other like-minded people in the group disciplines, we become intolerable. Our society has turned worship and celebration into entertainment, thus demonstrating its lack of understanding. Confession is thought of in simple psychological terms and guidance in spiritual matters is lacking. What a threat we are if we work on all 12 disciplines.
This is your second warning to stop now and go no further, if you do not like what you are reading.
We shall not discuss the 12 disciplines in detail here, because it has been done elsewhere. Further, the correlation of the 12 disciplines with the 12 signs of the zodiac and the 12 body parts is difficult. For example, fasting affects:
- The head (Aries) because what we see and hear needs as much control as what we eat and drink.
- The stomach (Virgo) and intestines (Libra) because of what we eat and drink.
- The genitals (Scorpio) because our sexual behaviour is strongly affected by what we see and hear in the head (Aries).
Study, meditation and prayer affect the head (Aries) and by changing our behaviour, affect all of our body parts. In other words the correlation between the 12 disciplines and the 12 signs of the zodiac is not linear. It is a non-linear relationship and understanding that is part of the combined journey.
There is only one issue to be observed at this time. The experience of the 12 disciplines in the combined journey results in the integration of our vehicles of consciousness body, soul and spirit, with our male and female nature. It is precisely because we each have a male and female nature that requires us to make each of the 3 journeys. Look at the diagram below:
What has this to do with the body parts? Are we doing a journey in the body? A well known relaxation technique begins at the head and moves down the body in the order of the above table. But it is more subtle than that. Think of the acupuncture meridians. If you visualise yourself as a point of light (an esoteric exercise of the Mysteries) and literally take the journey from head to feet as per the table, you are stimulating the flow of chi through the meridians. Quite apart from health, it has a more profound effect of transforming your physical body into a body of spiritual light. Is this journey worth taking?
The combined journey is a process of integration and wholeness. It must be performed by both men and women in the same way. The time for separate journeys comes after this. Why? The combined journey is the minimum standard for our spiritual lives because to proceed without having done it, is dangerous. Yes, it can be dangerous to live spiritually. The danger is in dealing with forces we do not understand and before we are ready for them. The whole point of the spiritual life is to deliberately set into motion the hidden processes of the kosmos. The power to do so is granted to us by God in his infinite mercy. The wisdom to do so must be very painfully earned by us. The power to set kosmic forces into motion is based upon the knowledge of how it is done, knowledge that is locked into the Tree of Life.
As the minimum standard the 12 disciplines are the least that is required of us. After them, the journeys get serious. This is your third and final warning. In the Mysteries, you only get three warnings.
Now what about the female journey?