by Jack Courtis
Introduction: Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians and the Kosmic Internet
Tabula Smaragdina Hermetis - (Book One, 12th diagram)
On the "Interpretation and Explanation of the Tabula Smaragdina Hermetis"
Mons Philosophorum (Book One, 6th diagram)
Primum Mobile (Book Two, 12th diagram.)
Virgin Sophia (Book Two, 1st diagram)
Figura Divina (Book One, 21st diagram)
The Hermetic Philosophy (Book One, 8th diagram & text)
by Jack Courtis
This diagram shows the Rosicrucian concept of the Creation. This is a process that continually evolves. It is not a static thing that is forever fixed and unchangeable. The process is dynamic because creation has never stopped, it continues now and forever. This has subtle implications for our ordinary understanding of evolution. It also has immense implications for our understanding of God. Why? Does God evolve? Is this the real reason that we evolve, because we are the mechanism of God’s evolution? As each of us gains liberation and merges in full self-consciousness with God, does He gain from this? Is this why our true spiritual nature is to be Divine Sparks, fragments of the Divine Fire?
Some of the answers are in the diagram. It has a structure of 4 parts; the top circle emanates the first star, it emanates the three circles that encompass the second star, they emanate the third star. This structure is consistent with the 4 kabalistic levels of reality, from the top: Emanation, Creation, Formation, Action. They correspond to the divine principle within its three vehicles of consciousness: Divine Spark, spirit, soul, body. Even God manifests this way: Divine Fire, Logos, Christ, Jesus. Vehicles of consciousness are required by us, but God only requires vehicles of manifestation. God is completely conscious throughout His Creation, we are not. However God needs vehicles in order to manifest because he needs to contain His power so as not to destroy what He has created. This table summarizes these issues:
|Top circle||Emanation||Divine Spark||Divine Fire|
Top Circle - Emanation
Now let us look at this scheme in detail. The top circle is itself comprised of 5 concentric circles. Why 5 and not 3? After all isn’t the Holy Trinity the ultimate expression of truth? Look closely. The Trinity is mentioned in the next level down as part of the first star. What’s going on? If you look very closely at the bottom level, at the third star, you will see 5 groups each of 3 related circles. There are 5 concentric circles Above and 5 groups of circles Below. The Above and the Below are the great polarity and this is the mechanism of God’s work. Since we are made in God’s image and likeness, we as the Below are like the Above. We share in God’s attributes. What we do affects Him. As we evolve, He evolves. We do so by re-uniting the Above and the Below by the Chymical Marriage.
The center circle has inscribed in it, Eternal Nature not Created. As best as we can understand, this is God’s true nature. The next three circles are the seeds of the Trinity. The second circle out is the Eternal Quintessence. This is the aspect of the Holy Spirit. The third circle out is the Prima Materia of God. This is the aspect of the Father. The fourth circle out is the Tria Principia Divina Persona Essentia. This is the aspect of the Son. The fifth circle out is God’s Spirit, God’s Life, God’s Light, Divine Fire, all of which find expression in Humanity. Now we understand the concept of the Divine Fire and the Divine Spark. When we evolve to self-conscious union with God, the Divine Spark will merge with the Divine Fire. Then we shall discover we were never apart.
In the fifth circle out there are 3 little diagrams each of 4 principles configured in different ways. These are the seeds of the elements plus the fixed, mutable and cardinal qualities of the zodiac that will emerge fully formed in the level of Action. This is where we live in our ordinary consciousness and the zodiac is the primary mechanism for our evolution. No wonder the seeds already exist in the level of Emanation. As Above, so Below.
First Star - Creation
Kabalistically, this is the level of Creation. At the center of the star we are told that Eternity produces Nature’s Time. This is a different kind of time from our present consciousness. It demonstrates that time differs on each level of reality and is therefore fundamental to reality. Around the outside of the star is inscribed, Nothing else is, nothing else was, nothing else will ever be, in eternity and in time. Eternity is a kind of time and it is a long time, but it is not timelessness. In the top circle, there is timelessness. In the first star, there is eternity. Time as such is lower still. This is a mystery for deep contemplation.
This central time is the hidden 7th point in the midst of the 6 points of the star. Here we see God’s vehicle of manifestation the Logos. This is Greek and is translated as "Word". The star contains a trinity of Word, Spirit and God, which is contrasted with another trinity, of Son, Father and Holy Ghost. Word corresponds to Son, Spirit corresponds to Father and God corresponds to Holy Ghost. We have a polarity of trinities. Is this because God manifests through 3 vehicles and we have 3 vehicles of consciousness?
Within the star is inscribed the Latin word Fiat that means "let there be". Now we understand why this is the level of Creation. In Genesis ch 1 we are told that God said "let there be" and Creation came into existence. The star is also arranged as two triangles one with its point up and the other with its point down. The fundamental polarity of the Above and the Below yet again. Why? Because God creates by polarity. There are 6 points of the star with God as the hidden 7th point and there are 6 Days of Creation with the 7th Day of Rest. God is the point of "rest" within the star. But what do we mean by saying that God creates by polarity? Let us look at the Days of Creation in Genesis ch 1:
First Day: Light divided from darkness.
Second Day: Waters divided from waters.
Third Day: Dry land divided from seas.
Fourth Day: Day divided from night.
Fifth Day: Birds of the air and creatures of the waters created.
Sixth Day: Man created as male and female.
Seventh Day: God rests.
Thus the 6 pointed star with the eternal, "resting" center point, is crucial to understanding the process of creation. The 7th point at the center of the star is the like the still center of a hurricane. It is the dynamic stillness from which comes power, force and energy.
Second Star - Formation
In accordance with Genesis ch 1, Ruah Elohim, the Spirit of God, hovers above the waters in order to create form. This is the level of Formation. Look closely at the diagram and you will see a significant increase in complexity. The second star is in the center of 4 circles, three large and one small. These circles are the key to understanding the process of formation. The large circles are in the form of a triangle around the second star. The first circle emanates from the first star and then separates into the left and right circles. This is like the Tao separating into yin and yang. Polarity again. The second star emerges from the creative tension between the two side circles as they strive to establish a symbiotic relationship between their yin/yang natures. It is important to note that we normally think of polarity as antagonistic. That is yin opposed to yang. This causes destruction. However polarity is constructive when yin and yang enter into relationship with each other. In this case their relationship generates the second star which in turn, forms that which is below it.
Note that on the level of Creation, God creates the polarities that at the level of Formation enter into relationship with each other.
The level of Formation is more complex than the level of Creation and requires more detailed consideration. The first circle comprises of 5 concentric circles and thereby mirrors the top circle at the level of Emanation. In the center is the word Hyle. It is Greek and means "substance" or "essence". This is what creates "form". On the outside concentric circle is the Latin word Natura. Thus the myriad forms of nature, have the same essence and are of one substance. Outside this circle are the 4 principles we have already seen as seeds at the level of Emanation; One Spirit, One Life, One Light, One Fire. Also outside, is inscribed the declaration: O Nature! thou art truly a created image and likeness of thy God. Nature is the image of God and we are the image of nature. Thus we are the image of the image. What then is reality? The answer to that question comes in contemplating the separation of the top circle into the left and right circles around the second star.
In the left circle there is a sun surrounded by the word Hyle. It is of one substance with the sun at the center of the right circle. There are 3 concentric circles each containing 4 signs of the zodiac, thus emphasizing the 3 qualities of cardinal, mutable, fixed. However, the signs are in a peculiar order and so are the qualities. This is an indication that we are to meditate on this circle. It is named "Philosophy" and is the masculine yang aspect. From this masculine circle come the 4 seeds: human, animal, vegetable, mineral. Notice the higher aspects of those seeds: Prima materia, Natura, Elementa, Essentia. The right circle has the declaration Ethereal Form, Material Form, inscribed on the outer of the 3 concentric circles. The metals, elements and alchemical principles are contained in them. This circle is named "Chemistry" and is the feminine yin aspect. The right circle receives the seeds from the left circle and brings them into form. The two circles are related in that the left explains the Above and the right explains the Below. The second star between them, is a form of the "Chymical Marriage". It explains their relationship.
The result of the union of the two circles, is the second star that lies between them in the diagram. It is 6 pointed and mirrors the first star. Around its points there is inscribed, Natura because Nature is the creator of form. At its center is Chaos surrounded by the 4 elements. As a consequence of chaos mathematics, we now understand that this Chaos is not a disordered jumble with random effects. In fact, this is the source of law and order. We know that because of the Latin inscription in the form of a cross around the center: Unus substantia, tria principia (one substance, three principles). That is; One God, Three Persons. The second star is the "child" produced by the Chymical Marriage. In its turn, the second star now emanates the Philosophical Mercury of the small fourth circle that is immediately beneath it. This small circle is the connecting link between the level of Formation and the level beneath it, the level of Action.
Third Star – Action
Can you see the third star? Look closely. It is a 6 pointed star that is made of 5 groups of 3 circles plus the polarity of Anima (soul) and Spiritus (spirit). These are two of the vehicles of consciousness of the Divine Spark. Where is the third vehicle, the body? It is the bottom of the 5 groups of 3 circles. What then of the other groups? Patience. And where is the Divine Spark? That is the Mercury group.
The arrangement of the 5 groups of circles is the work that we have to do here and now. First let us observe that the groups are arranged in 2 interlaced triangles; one with point up and the other with point down. Secondly, the 5 groups are the Below in relation to the 5 concentric circles of the top circle, the Above. In this manner we have polarity emphasized again. Thirdly let us analyze the structure of the third star. That will lead us to the
Upward pointing triangle:
Group 1: Philosophical Mercury, Philosophical Sulfur, Philosophical Salt.
- These are the 3 alchemical principles and are the basis of the Great Work. They correspond to our 3 vehicles of consciousness spirit, soul and body.
- They are the Below aspect of the 3 persons of God in the top circle of Emanation, which is the Above. This is a further polarity we must reconcile through the Chymical Marriage.
- Each principle "opens up" to full expression in each of the next 3 groups: Mercury is the Man/ Woman/ Moon Child triangle; Sulfur is the Death/Corruption/Solution triangle; Salt is the Green Lion/ Calcination-Sublimation/Distillation-Circulation triangle.
- The Chymical Marriage is the union of the two interlaced triangles by the processes begun through the 3 alchemical principles.
Group 2: Death/ Corruption/ Solution.
- This is the beginning of the Great Work and Death is its first step – death of the ego. If we are not prepared to do that, we cannot proceed. It is a choice and an act of will. We must each do it for our self.
- "Corruption of one", say the Wise, "is the generation of another". Everything must be reduced to its prima materia so that it can be regenerated. In the putrefaction of dung, is the Stone. It is the reversal of the creation process.
- By Solution the Stone is separated into its 4 elements so that by Art, the Wise may proceed with the Great Work to transmute the Stone of the Philosophers into the Philosophers Stone. This is the first part of the injunction: solve et coagula.
- The Death group is not only the opening up of the principle of Sulfur, it is also related to the vehicle of consciousness Soul, on the inverted triangle. Can the soul die? Can it be separated?
Group 3: Green Lion/ Calcination-Sublimation/ Distilation-Circulation.
- The Green Lion swallows the sun and transforms the prima materia into liquid gold. Is that clear enough?
- By Calcination, the substance is heated in a furnace and reduced to fine powder with a change in its composition. What is the furnace? What is the heat? Try the effect of prayer upon the body.
- According to the Wise, "Our Sublimation is nothing but the exaltation of the body, that is, its transformation into spirit, which cannot be without a gentle fire." This group is clearly related to the vehicle of consciousness Spirit, but what is the gentle fire? What about meditation?
- By Distillation, the 4 elements are reconstituted in a pure form and by Circulation descend either as fiery drops of blood, or as drops of the Virgin’s milk, or as the dew of heaven, to transform the contents of the vessel. That’s easy enough isn’t it? No? Think of that which is distilled and circulated as the Chi moving through the acupuncture meridians. The alchemical vessel is the vehicle of consciousness, the body. That which is circulating within it, is clearly not physical.
Let us pause and consider what we seen thus far. Our nature is constituted by a polarity that is here depicted as two inverted triangles. The Mercury group is our Divine Spark, Soul and Spirit are separated out and the Coagulation group, is our body. We have to undergo a number of processes to achieve the Chymical Marriage and then produce the Man/ Woman group as the result of the union. Let us proceed with the inverted triangle.
Downward pointing Triangle:
Soul has already been explained as the second star and Spirit has been explained as the first star.
Group 4: Coagulation/ Tincture/ Augmentation-Multiplication.
- The other half of the alchemical koan solve et coagula, is the process of Coagulation. This normally happens to insoluble substances once they are heated to a certain temperature. Having coagulated, they cannot be dissolved. This process occurs in the distilling vessel (the body) and is the reconstitution of the matter of the Great Work in its final form.
- The Tincture is both white and red and is the combination of the Virgin’s milk and the pelican’s blood. It is the purified essence of the Great Work in liquid form. Combined, it becomes the Elixir of Life.
- By Augmentation we project the Tincture into the matter and transmute it into gold. According to the Wise, by Multiplication we "…convert (the matter)…….into the true sun-making and moon-making (substance)".
The Coagulation group is the result of all the work done in the previous groups and its effect is to transform our body as a vehicle of consciousness, so that it can interact with the other vehicles, soul and spirit, in order that the body can truly become a sun-making and moon-making substance. Why? So that the two triangles can unite in the Chymical Marriage and produce the final group.
Group 5: Man/ Woman/ Moon Child.
- It is simple enough to understand that the polarity of our masculine and feminine natures must unite in symbiotic relationship. Normally, we think that this is the final purpose of the Chymical Marriage. Clearly, it is not.
- Who is the Moon Child? This is the Divine Spark in full self-conscious realization and complete awareness, here and now at the level of reality, Action. Meditate on this, pray for it to happen in your life. This is the purpose of the Great Work.
What a magnificent scheme of creation, the Rosicrucians have.