The Third Day
by Jack Courtis
They very well knew, and were in their consciences convinced, that they had forged false fictitious books, had befooled others, and cheated them, and thereby had diminished regal dignity among all. They knew in like manner what ungodly deceitful figures they had made use of, in so much as they spared not even the Divine Trinity, but accustomed themselves to cheat people the world over. It became as clear as day with what practices they had endeavoured to ensnare the true guests, and introduce the ignorant. In like manner, it was manifest to all the world that they wallowed in open whoredom, adultery, gluttony, and other uncleanness. All of these actions were expressly against the orders of our kingdom. In brief, they knew they had disparaged kingly majesty, even among the common sort, and therefore they should confess themselves to be manifest convicted vagabond-cheaters, knaves and rascals, whereby they deserved to be cashiered from the company of civil people, and severely to be punished.
Are we like this? Do you notice the requirement to confess, that is to truly know who we are and admit that to ourselves and to others? Remember also the spiritual Discipline of confession.
The good artists were loath to come to this confession, but inasmuch as not only the Virgin herself threatened, and swore their death, but the other party also vehemently raged at them, and unanimously cried out, that they had most wickedly seduced them out of the Light. The artists in order to prevent a huge misfortune, confessed the same with grief, and yet withal alleged that what had herein happened was not to be animadverted upon them in the worst sense. For in as much as the lords were absolutely resolved to get into the castle, and had promised great sums of money to that effect, each one had used all craft to seize upon something, and so things were brought to that pass, as was now manifest before their eyes. But that it succeeded not, they in their opinion had not deserved more than the lords; as who should have had so much understanding as to consider that in case any one had been sure of getting in, he would not, in so great peril, for the sake of a slight gain, have clambered over the wall with them. Their books also sold so mightily, that whoever had no other means to maintain himself, was encouraged to engage in such a cousinage. They hoped moreover, that if a right judgment were made, they should be found not to have faltered, and to have behaved themselves towards the lords, as became servants, upon their earnest entreaty.
Note the plea in mitigation of sentence. Even when we are wrong, we try to pretend that we are justified. How little we understand ourselves and how much less we know deep truths
But the answer was given unto them. His Royal Majesty had determined to punish all, and every man, albeit one more severely than another. For although what had been alleged by them was partly true, and therefore the lords should not wholly be indulged, yet they had good reason to prepare themselves for death, who had so presumptuously imposed themselves, and perhaps seduced the more ignorant against their will. Likewise there were those who had with false books violated the royal majesty, their very writings and books being disrespectful of the order of things.
Who is the King that commands the punishment? Kabalistically, he is Keter (Crown) on the Tree of Life and the Divine Spark which animates each of us. We punish ourselves, that is why we cannot fool ourselves.
Hereupon many began most piteously to lament, cry, weep, entreat, and prostrate themselves, all which notwithstanding could avail them nothing, and I much marvelled how the Virgin could be so resolute, when yet their misery caused our eyes to run over, and moved our compassion (although the most part of them had procured us much trouble, and vexation). For she presently dispatched her Page, who brought with him all the cuirassiers which had this day been appointed at the scales, who were commanded each of them to take his own to him, and in an orderly procession, so as still each cuirassier should go with one of the prisoners, to conduct them into her great garden. At which time each one so exactly recognized his own man, that I wondered at it. My companions of yesterday were also given leave to go out into the garden unbound, and to be present at the execution.
We should note that each prisoner has a guide although he is not recognised. Remember that we are "called" to the mystic marriage and guides are provided, even though we usually fail to understand this. Further, we should note that all this is happening in a great garden. This symbolises the place of entry of a higher level of consciousness.
Now as soon as every man was come forth, the Virgin mounted up into her high throne, requesting us to sit down upon the steps, and to appear at the judgment, which we refused not, but left all standing upon the table (except the goblet, which the Virgin committed to the Pages keeping) and went forth in our robes upon the throne, which of itself moved so gently as if we had passed in the air, until in this manner we came into the garden, where we arose altogether. This garden was not extraordinary curious, only it pleased me that the trees were planted in so good order. Besides there ran in it a most costly fountain, adorned with wonderful figures and inscriptions, and strange characters (which God willing I shall mention in a future book). In this garden was raised a wooden scaffold, hung about with curiously painted figured coverlets and tapestries.
CRC is conveyed by the moving throne into the garden. This reminds us of the Merkava (chariot) mysticism, which preceded kabala in its present form. The source of that line of thought is the chariot of fire that takes Elijah into heaven (2 Kings ch 2 v 11,12). CRC finds a fountain. What does this symbolise? Water "wells" up from the depths of the earth. This is the raising of consciousness from deep within us, to the surface. A truly enlightened man does not have a subconscious because he has unified all aspects of his being, both above and below the threshold of ordinary sense awareness. The fountain and scaffold are covered with various symbols. All this conveys the impression of an initiatory experience.
Now there were four galleries made one over another, the first more glorious than any of the rest, and therefore covered with a white tarrata curtain, so that at that time we could not perceive who was behind it. The second was empty and uncovered. Again the two last were covered with red and blue tarrata.
The 4 galleries suggest the 4 alchemical elements and the 4 basic aspects of our nature. The white denotes Air and our intuitive aspect; the empty one is Earth and our ordinary sense awareness; red is Fire and our intellect; while blue is Water and our emotional nature. This is the structure of our being.
Now as soon as we were come to the scaffold, the Virgin bowed herself down to the ground, at which we were mightily terrified: for we might easily guess that the King and Queen must not be far off. Now we also having duly performed our reverence, the Virgin led us up by the winding stairs into the second gallery, where she placed herself uppermost, and us in our former order. But how the emperor whom I had released, behaved himself towards me, both at this time, as also before at the table, I cannot, without slander of wicked tongues, well relate. For he might well imagine in what anguish and solicitude he now should have been, in case he were at present to attend the judgment with such ignominy and that only through me he had not attained such dignity and worthiness. Meantime the Virgin who first of all brought me the invitation, and whom hitherto I had never since seen, stepped in. First she gave one blast upon her trumpet, and then with a very loud voice declared the sentence in this manner.
Interestingly, it is now made clear that there is a second Virgin involved. It is she who pronounces sentence.
"The King’s Majesty, my most gracious Lord, could from his heart wish that all and every one here assembled had upon his Majesty’s invitation presented themselves so qualified, as that they might (to his honour) with greatest frequency have adorned this his appointed nuptial and joyful feast. But since it hath otherwise pleased Almighty God, his Majesty hath not whereat to murmur, but must be forced contrary to his own inclination, to abide by the ancient and laudable constitutions of the kingdom. But now that his Majesty’s innate clemency may be celebrated over all the world, he hath thus far absolutely dealt with his council and estates, that the usual sentence shall be considerably lenified. So that in the first place he is willing to vouchsafe to the lords and potentates, not only their lives entirely, but also freely and frankly to dismiss them, friendly and courteously entreating your lordships not at all to take it in evil part that you cannot be present at his Majesty’s Feast of Honour; but to remember that there is notwithstanding more imposed upon your lordships by God Almighty (who in the distribution of his gifts hath an incomprehensible consideration) than you can duly and easily sustain. Neither is your reputation hereby prejudiced, although you be rejected by this our order, since we cannot do all things.
The royal prerogative of mercy is now exercised. This means forgiveness without merit. Although they deserve punishment, these particular prisoners are to get remission of sentence without having to do anything for it. They have failed in one sense, but their failure is only relative. The unstated implication is that they tried to do the right thing and therefore had the right motive. This is their reward.
But for as much as your lordships have been seduced by base rascals, it shall not on their part, pass unrevenged. And furthermore his Majesty resolveth shortly to communicate with your lordships a catalogue of heretics of Index Expurgatorius, that you may henceforward be able with better judgment to discern between the good and the evil. And because his Majesty will before long also for his purpose rummage his library, and offer up the seductive writings to Vulcan, he most friendly humbly, and courteously entreats every one of your lordships to put the same in execution with your own, whereby it is to be hoped that all evil and mischief may for the time to come be remedied. And you are withal to be admonished, never to covet an entrance into this place as the former excuse of seducers will be taken from you and you will fall into disgrace and contempt of all men. For as much as the estates of the land have still somewhat to demand of your lordships, his Majesty hopes that no man will think much to redeem himself with a chain or what else he hath about him, and so in friendly manner to depart from us, and through our safe conduct to betake himself home again."
They are offered the means of discernment - the fire of Vulcan; the fire of intellect, the basis for right discrimination But here is the sting, they are not to return to this place, citing as an excuse, that they have been seduced. The real punishment is to be turned away at the portal of the Mystery Temple.
"The others who stood not at the first, third and fourth weight, his Majesty will not so lightly dismiss. But that they may now experience his Majesty’s gentleness, it is his command, to strip them stark naked and so send them forth."
As for these prisoners, they too are treated with leniency. But they are fully exposed to public gaze as to their true nature. Are we not punished when we are publicly exposed?
"Those who in the second and fifth weight were found too light, shall besides stripping, be noted with one, two or more brand-marks, according as each one was lighter or heavier."
In a spiritual sense, branding means that a "mark" shows up in our aura. This is obvious to those who have eyes to see.
"They who were drawn up by the sixth or seventh, and not by the rest, shall be somewhat more graciously dealt with and thus, for unto every combination there was a certain punishment ordained." These were too long to recount.
Karma acts with extraordinary precision to make the punishment fit the crime. Surely we cannot complain about the consequences of our actions? After all karmic justice is perfect.
"They who yesterday separated themselves freely of their own accord, shall go at liberty without any blame."
They are the humble ones. Those who recognise their own true worth and act accordingly. Are we in this category?
"Finally, the convicted vagabond-cheaters who could move up none of the weights, shall as occasion serves, be punished in body and life, with the sword, halter, water and rods. And such execution of judgment shall be inviolably observed for an example unto others."
Those who deceive in spiritual matters, are the worst. They are punished in the polarity of their nature (body and life) by the 4-fold aspect of their being (sword, halter, water, rods). How would we stand up to such justice? Would we accept it as the inevitable consequence of our behaviour, or complain that we have never been deceitful in spiritual matters? Denial in the face of judgement, is an aggravating factor that diminishes any mitigation of sentence to which we are entitled.
Herewith our Virgin broke her wand, and the other who read the sentence, blew her trumpet, and stepped with most profound reverence towards those who stood behind the curtain. But here I cannot omit to tell the reader concerning the number of our prisoners: of whom those who weighed one, were seven; those who weighed two, were twenty one; they who three, thirty five; they who four, thirty five; those who weighed five, twenty one; those who were six, seven; but he that came to the seventh, and yet could not well raise it, he was only one, and indeed the same whom I released.
Let us pause and look at the numbers. There are 2 Virgins. One breaks her wand to symbolise the end of the process by which power and authority are exercised. The other blows her trumpet for the same purpose. Those with eyes, let them see the wand; those with ears, let them hear the trumpet.
There are 7 weights and various prisoners who reach different levels. What does this mean? Let us analyse it this way:
Weight Prisoners Psychic centre Level on Tree of Life Alchemical attribute
Tree of Life
|3||35||Naval||Hod - Netzach||Fire|
|5||21||Throat||Gevurah - Chesed||Salt|
|6||7||Brow||Binah - Chakmah||Sulfur|
The clue is in the fact that the number of prisoners totals 127. By kabalistic addition:
127 = 1 + 2 + 7 = 10
There are 10 sefirot on the Tree of Life. There are also 7 levels on the Tree. CRC is giving us the highest level of achievement, reached by various prisoners. This is measured by the psychic centre that they reach. In turn this correlates with a level on the Tree. Would we do any better? Incidentally, the prisoner who reaches the 7th weight, cannot raise it, yet he is the one released by CRC. This is a clue about the nature of Grace and its relationship to right conduct. We must work hard to achieve sufficient karmic merit, before Grace is freely given to us. However, there will be no Grace until by our own efforts, we achieve the minimum standard.
But of them who wholly failed there were many, yet few who drew all the weights from the ground. And these as they stood before us, so I diligently numbered, and noted them down in my table-book. And it is very admirable that among those who weighed anything, none was equal to another. For although among those who weighed three, there were thirty five, yet one of them weighed the first, second, and third; another the third, fourth and fifth; a third, the fifth, sixth and seventh and so on. It is likewise very wonderful that among one hundred and twenty six who weighed anything, none was equal to another. And I would very willingly name them all, with each man’s weight, were it not as yet forbidden me. But I hope it may hereafter be published with the interpretation.
What do these numbers mean? After all, CRC tells us that there is an interpretation. Let us put them in a table and analyse the sequence of odd and even numbers (polarity again):
1st, 2nd, 3rd weights 1, 2, 3 1 + 2 + 3 = 6 = 3 x 2
3rd, 4th, 5th weights 3, 4, 5 3 + 4 + 5 = 12 = 3 x 4
5th, 6th, 7th weights 5, 6, 7 5 + 6 + 7 = 18 = 3 x 6
The above table emerges from those "who weighed 3". If this refers to the 3rd psychic centre, then this correlates to the alchemical element Fire and the intellectual aspect of our being. In the table, the odd number 3 appears in a fixed sequence, but the even numbers vary. The total values are the product of a "fixed" number and of "volatile" numbers. Remember the Tablet of Hermes? Does it not tell us to separate the "subtle" (volatile) from the "gross" (fixed)? In this table, we have taken a step towards understanding what this separation consists of, but a step only.
Now, this judgment being read over, the lords in the first place were well satisfied, because in such severity they dared not look for a mild sentence. For which cause they gave more than they were desired, and each one redeemed himself with chains, jewels, gold, moneys and other things, as much as they had about them, and with reverence took leave. Now although the King’s servants were forbidden to jeer any at his going away, yet some unlucky birds could not hold laughing, and certainly it was sufficiently ridiculous to see them pack away with such speed, without once looking behind them. Some desired that the promised catalogue might with the first be dispatched after them, and then they would take such order with their books as should be pleasing to his Majesty; which was again assured. At the door was given to each of them out of a cup, a draught of forgetfulness, so he might have no further memory of misfortune. What is this cup of forgetfulness?
The Greeks believed that a river of forgetfulness divides the inner and outer worlds. Perhaps it is a boundary between this level of reality and the next higher level. It is the boundary we cross at death and birth. We do not remember our previous incarnations. This forces us to live life as we find it and do the best we can, with what we have and who we are. This is a great blessing. Forgetting our past mistakes relieves us of a great burden of guilt. It gives us a fresh start.