by Mark Stavish
First published 19 April 2010
NOTE: The following essay was first published seven years ago and being made available again on the seventh anniversary of the death of Jean Dubuis.
In light of the recent announcement regarding the death of Jean Dubuis (29 April 1919 – 06 April 2010) I have been asked by many how it is that he most deeply effected me and my spiritual path – in short – my unfoldment as a person. This is a difficult question to answer because the effect was a complex one, subtle, and direct, often taking time to rise to the level of my being consciously aware of it. This is not unique when dealing with a good guide in these matters, but a common occurrence that is experienced personally, and therefore intimate often beyond words. However, on an intellectual level, the starting point of much of this work, the most noticeable areas of Jean’s influence is in my assertion that there is only once set of laws for the universe and that they effect the material and spiritual in the same manner, if not there would be chaos. Or as the Emerald Tablet states, “As above, so below; as below, so above. To accomplish the Work of the One thing.”
I would even go so far as to say there is only on law in the universe – Karma – or, Cause and Effect. Everything is Cause and Effect and that is that. There is nothing special about this principal, however in the West it has taken on moralistic tones. Jean referred to karma as “Universal Justice,” but clearly stated that “karma is not the Law of the Talon” but a pressure that keeps us moving forward when we would rather sleep, it is what aids us in our Becoming. This is in total harmony with the teachings of the Ancient or Original Translation School of Tibetan Buddhism (Nyingma), from which two if its leading luminaries, Khenchen Paldren Sherab and Khempo Tsewang Dongyal stated at one of their annual Dzogchen Retreats that “karma is the activating of one’s own self…everything is karma…everything has a cause, and cause has an effect…cause and effect are always consistent and connected.” We need heed this well, as it is the foundation stone off all that we do.
It is through my first encounter with Jean that I realized that esoteric ideas could, and more importantly must be stated in clear language. For too long I had become accustomed to the meaningless and empty droning of would be adepti as they rambled on from one pseudo-qabalistic or alchemical cliché to another all the while acting as if what they were saying was crystal clear. Jean shattered this notion in a single stroke through his simple and direct explanations of the most complex areas of esotericism known. I remember well the first moment I heard him lecture at the Philosophers of Nature (LPN-PON) Conference held at the Wild Rose Conference Center near Wheaton, Illinois. I was unfamiliar with the material he was discussing on the Flamel Path, but it appeared from the apparatus and other materials that he had a clue about what he was talking about. Later, when he discussed the various ‘mansions’ in qabala, I realized in an instant that this man knew what he was discussing, not from theory, but from experience. Later that year I attempted the “Contact with Eternity” method, called Portae Lucis, and again, remember in vivid and stunning detail the effects it had on me as I stood there one early morning in my apartment living room in East Providence, Rhode Island. All time had ceased to exist and space crushed in on my as it too began to come to an end for me.
Of course it is as a result of the journal published by The Philosophers of Nature, The Stone, and my participation in the organization as the Director of Research for the ORA, or Occult Research and Applications Project that I was able to do my greatest and most significant writing on occult practices. I say significant because the material produced then continues to shape my writing to this day. I was told that Jean read everything that was produced in The Stone, and was pleased with my contributions.
On a more personal level, what I received most from being associated with Jean via PON and its truly selfless staff of volunteers, was the importance of learning to rely on myself for my growth, to learn, but not be dependent on outer teachers and guides, and to balance this independence with, as Jean would say, “not loving my ideas too much” – being open to what could be learned from others, who while may not be perfect, can contribute to my advancement along the Path of Return. While clearly of a Western perspective on esoteric matters, Jean was fond of quoting Siddhartha, Lord Buddha, who said, “Do not believe because you saw the written word of an ancient sage; do not believe on the authority of masters or priests. But accept as truth and conform your life to what agrees with your experience and after a profound study, satisfies your reason and leads to your good.”
One saw this doctrine most strongly emphasized by Jean in some form in nearly every presentation he gave, and early on in his first set of lessons, Fundamentals of Esotericism when he writes about egregores, or collective thought forms created by various esoteric and initiatic organizations. Jean belonged to numerous esoteric orders in France and knew many of the leaders of other groups, including those of the notorious Solar Temple, whose members in Canada and Switzerland committed suicide sparking a flurry of ‘anti-cult’ activity across Europe in the 1990s.
Prior to establishing The Philosophers of Nature, Jean resigned all of his affiliations, stating that one must be free to be truly initiated in the interior path – of which alchemy and qabala were the principal tools – as the means and methods used by many modern groups are ineffective and that the leaders of many of these groups are often well meaning but incompetent, wasting time and energy arguing over the authenticity of various lineages, as well as that many are actually deceiving their members about the actual motives of the organization’s leaders, or were simply using the organization as source of revenue. The means of maintaining hold over a large membership that did not always have direct contact with other members or the leadership except through correspondence, according to Jean, was through the collective mind or egregore. For this reason, Jean encouraged those who would pursue their Path, to do so alone, or in small study groups, but to avoid collective rituals. For this reason, the Philosophers of Nature never held any collective rituals, and on the one occasion I was asked to lead those attending a conference in a ‘Eucharistic’ practice, it was done within the context of a lecture to avoid any suggestion of creating a group mind.
I eventually resigned all of my affiliations as a result of this and other factors not relevant at the moment, to test Jean’s theory. While it took a while for the effects of the collective mind to wear off I eventually began to understand what he was referring to and how the collective mind can turn from being a guide in the beginning, into a crutch, and eventually obstacle in the end if we are not careful and observant.
Oddly, it was Jean’s insistence that he was ‘no guru’ that led me to explore more deeply the role of teacher –student relationships in Western occultism. The old ways of mentorship are for the most part dead, and yet it is only through the ‘living word’ that teachings come alive. This contact with a living, breathing example is essential for everyone at points along their journey. People impact other people in ways that a book, video, or correspondence course simply cannot do. On closer examination it was clear that what Jean meant by not being a guru was that he was not authoritarian in his teaching. Each person had to make what he taught their own, test it out, and see if it fit. He claimed no special authority based either on initiation, lineage, or secret teaching of any kind – only personal experience -which he freely shared as a possible guide for others. In fact, his whole focus was to assist people to learn methods that they could apply that would place them in contact with their ‘Inner Master’ and thereby be free of the constraints of accidental or intentional error on the part of human guides.
A peculiar effect was that as a result of Jean’s utter contagious confidence in the path he outlined and tools provided, I disposed of the greater part of my library on several occasions, pruning out material that was no longer directly supportive of my practice. As my practice became more focused, and graduated, taking more time to go deeper into each step of the process, I discovered that the most important books I had were none other than my own notebooks, the record of my experiences, and that is was there that I would find both the questions and answers that would be the moving force on my Path. This was particularly true of Pathworking on the Tree of Life, and when I later directed others, over a multi-year period in the process, many stated that those were the most effective and deeply meaningful experiences they have ever had.
Many of us believe, and Jean may have even stated it at some point, that in some respects it was getting more difficult to do alchemy than in the past. The costs involved, along with various health and safety laws – in the last decade alone – have made it very difficult to perform mineral alchemy in contemporary urban settings. Mineral alchemy has always required copious amounts of time, talent and treasure and increasingly it seems that they are in short supply. Jean stated that esotericism was changing, as does everything, and he dedicated himself to perfecting a method of self-initiation that could be undertaken fairly easily by anyone resulting in the Portae Lucis method mentioned earlier, as well as a series of machines that through visual, auditory, and magnetic stimulation to the brain could produce controlled and reliable Out of Body experiences. I had the opportunity to ‘test ride’ one of the earlier versions of these machines and can attest to their effectiveness. With Jean’s passing, their future remains uncertain.
Jean touched many people with his healing abilities, as expressed through alchemy as well as directly through the mind. This effect was further multiplied by the many people who benefited through making spagyric and alchemical tinctures of their own, as a result of the lessons and articles he wrote, and sharing them with family and friends. One of the most powerful and simple tinctures to make was explained by Jean under a paper entitled, “Alchemy Without a Laboratory” and detailed his experiences and method for making a tincture out acorns that has some surprising power and wide reaching healing capacity.
For me, the best way to remember Jean, particularly on a Sunday night when I have a tall glass of red wine before me, is through a poem he wrote. The following was translated by Patrice Maleze, Jean’s close friend and companion in alchemical matters for many years, and well known to those who attended PON conferences.
There is no god or devil,
No Jesus or Buddha
There is only each of us in only one Being in Unity.
You and me in Duality.
Tonight when I am you and me,
I know that I AM the Child of the Naught [Nothingness],
When facing our Father, the Naught,
I will dominate him, I must to become the Infinite Being of Eternity.
Nothing else is but a temporary, yet necessary Illusion.”
That thunder you hear, just may be a wresting match going on in heaven.