~ Finis Gloria Mundi ~
The Alchemical Apocalypse and You
Join us on an adventure.
Twelve years ago, a full Jupiter cycle, I wrote a series collectively entitled “The Coming Storm – Peak Oil and You.” The purpose of the essays was two-fold: to bring discussion of energy and resource limitations (Saturn if you will) to the attention of the then still-expanding and utopia-obsessed “New Age”-based spiritual community and (knowing this would be a nearly irresistible hook) use it to talk about the future of Western esotericism and Hermeticism.
The essays attracted a modest amount of attention, in no small part due, I am sure, to the writings of John Michael Greer on similar topics (particularly through his weekly blog The Archdruid Report). In his blog, Greer takes a less metaphysical view (leaving that for his esoteric writings) and focuses instead on energy, cultural, and economic concerns. Although the general message of “Peak Oil and You” was sent and received, there was little or no reply to my efforts to educate “the esoteric community” into thinking about its potential future. Silence appeared to give the message that either it did not matter or that the continuation, strengthening, and (if possible) expansion of Hermeticism and related Western esoteric practices were somebody else’s obligation. Of course, this should not be a surprise, given Hermes himself is credited with saying it would be this way.
Prophecies of Hermes
In their work The Hermetica, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy present a text entitled “The Prophecies of Hermes.” This short work makes the fascinating case that over the generations the pure philosophy of Hermeticism, and possibly by extrapolation that of the perennial philosophy as well, will fall into disrepute and come to near extinction.
“I say that in times to come, no one will pursue philosophy with single-mindedness and purity of heart. Those with a grudging and ungenerous temperament will try and prevent men from discovering the priceless gift of immortality. Philosophy will become confused, making it hard to comprehend. It will be corrupted by spurious speculations. It will become entangled with bewildering sciences like arithmetic, music, and geometry. …Egypt will be widowed. Every sacred voice will be silenced. Darkness will be preferred to light. The pure will be thought insane, and the impure will be honored as wise. The madman will be believed brave, and the wicked esteemed as good. Knowledge of the immortal soul will be laughed at and denied… So I, Thrice Great Hermes, the first of men to attain All-Knowledge, have inscribed the secrets of the gods, in sacred symbols and holy hieroglyphs, on these stone tablets, which I have concealed for a future world that may seek our sacred wisdom.”
One can argue that this is the current situation. East or West, North or South, we see few spiritual practices being undertaken in a strongly traditional context – a context that is both individual and social, and which thereby gives rise to both individual initiation and a certain positive impetus to society as a whole.
Traditionalism and the Kali Yuga
Other cultures have experienced transformations as well, with the dream of a Golden Age being restored to them. As Tibetan Buddhism has moved from being a local religious practice in Central Asia to a worldwide movement, the ideas present within it have globalized as well. The ideas most similar to Western Apocalypticism are those of the Kali Yuga and Shambhala.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, the Kali Yuga or Age of Iron is found in Hindu scriptures. It became a focal point of Traditionalism in the twentieth century and mention of it by name is even in the Golden Dawn Z.2 Document.
From While the Gods Play by Alain Daniélou:
“The human species that have succeeded each other on earth have each achieved a very high level of development and knowledge, then disappeared at the time of planetary catastrophes, leaving, however, traces that served as the bases for the development and knowledge of subsequent humanities, which, when they reach the limits of the knowledge permitted man in the plan of creation, are, in turn, destined to disappear.
The spiritual decadence of man, according to Hindu tradition, goes hand in hand with progress in metallurgy from the Golden Age (Satya Yuga) to the Iron Age (Kali Yuga) or the ‘End Times’…”
The Purana scriptures describe the signs that characterize the very end of the Kali Yuga [which began in 1939, according to Alain Daniélou].
“It is the lowest instincts that spur the men of the Kali Yuga on. They prefer to choose false ideas. They do not hesitate to persecute sages. Desire torments them. Slovenliness, illness, hunger, and fear spread. There will be severe droughts. The different regions of countries will be in conflict with each other. The sacred books are no longer respected. Men will be without morals, irritable and sectarian. In the age of Kali false doctrines and misleading writings spread…
Many will perish… Most of the new leaders are of working-class origin. They will hunt down the priests and upholders of knowledge. Fetuses will be killed in the stomachs of their mothers and heroes will be assassinated… Thieves will become kings, and kings will be the thieves. Women who have relationships with several men will be numerous… The earth will produce plenty in some places and too little in others. Rulers will confiscate property and use it badly. They will cease to protect the people. Base men who have gained a certain amount of learning (without having the virtues necessary for its use) will be esteemed as sages. Men who do not possess the virtues of warriors will become kings. Scholars will be in the service of mediocre, conceited, and malevolent men. Priests will degrade themselves by selling the sacraments. There will be many displaced persons, wandering from one country to another… They will be surrounded by pretentious, false philosophers. There will be many beggars and unemployed people. Everyone will use hard and vulgar language. No one will be able to trust anyone else. People will be envious…moralizing puritans characterize the period of the end of the Kali Yuga. …Wealth and harvests will decrease… Rapes will be frequent.” [Lingä Purâṉä, ch. 40] (213).
Again, it easily passes for an article from one of today’s newspapers or broadcasts. But do not be discouraged – as you will see, there is hope.
The Kalachakra Prophecies and the Bodhisattva Warrior Kings of Shambhala
The main focus of the Kalachakra teachings center around the mythical Kingdom of Shambhala. Since its introduction by Madame Helena P. Blavatsky, and later exploitation and distortion by René Guénon, Shambhala has grown almost as legendary in the West as in Central Asia where it is said to be located. (Ironically, its fame has only increased by way of New Age advocates and even the political manipulations of those advocating a one-world government and religion.)
As such, it is important to look at what the Kalachakra says regarding the importance of Shambhala and the spiritual state of the world when this importance is activated. While Christians look forward to the Second Coming of Christ, Jews to the arrival of the Messiah, Muslims to the Hidden Imam, and Hindus to the tenth incarnation of Kalki, Buddhists look towards the arrival of Maitreya Buddha at the end of the current degenerate age. Before this happens the teachings – and by this is meant not just Buddhist teachings but all genuine paths, which for the West includes what we generally refer to as esotericism – will fall into decline, human lifespan will be shortened, and suffering will increase.
Within the Kalachakra teachings, the vision of the future world also depicts a continuous degeneration of the world highlighted by the disappearance of virtuous forms of conduct, religion, and philosophy. Parallel to this, the world will see an increase in evil, particularly in “barbarians” who are allied with demonic forces (in some teachings, this is clearly identified with Islam). However, Buddhism (and by extrapolation other systems as well) will not be totally annihilated, but will survive in Shambhala. When conditions have reached their nadir (the end of the Kali Yuga), a great war will take place wherein the human and demonic army will be defeated by the army of Shambhala. After this, the Age of Perfection, for those who survive, will begin. Human lifespan will increase, virtue will be cultivated, and beauty, wealth, good experiences, and all the blessings of cyclic existence and timelessness will be had.
Fulcanelli and Global Warming
Fulcanelli, the mysterious and anonymous French adept whose true identity has been assigned to at least six well-known esotericists, spoke of the Golden Age much in the same way Traditionalists speak of the end of the Kali Yuga. Fulcanelli stated that the current era is degenerate and will end in fire. This fire, however, is not that of nuclear weapons (as many have often suggested from various prophecies); instead, it is a solar event.
This solar heating of the earth might be something akin to a giant solar flare or it could be the effect of the poles suddenly shifting, something many suggest from the prophecy, a result of electromagnetic polarity reversal. Regardless, Fulcanelli gives the impression that it is a naturally occurring phenomenon predetermined by God.
What makes this of interest to us is that from the alchemical (and to some degree Traditionalist) view, all of this is decided by the Will of God, or karma – karma creating a sort of “Ring Pass Not” which humanity cannot go beyond in terms of technological advancement, as well as in terms of spiritual bankruptcy.
Jean Dubuis, founder of The Philosophers of Nature (LPN-PON), routinely stated that with the Passing of the Nadir it was possible that we would see between one-third and one-half of Earth’s population vanish in some unspecified cataclysm or conflict. He also stated that the various quatrains of Nostradamus were less a prediction than a protection. That is, one school of thought viewed them as a sort of invocation of the limits of human activity rather than as definitive historical activities.
Now this is important to read closely – and pay attention! This means that any concerns we have about the earth, global climate change, social decay, or even Big Brother’s intrusion into our lives is essentially meaningless – it will all get swept into the cosmic dumpster – and possibly sooner than we think. Therein appears to lie the great secret of modern alchemy: Do your best to be the best person you can be, confect the Philosopher’s Stone, and get yourself a lifeboat off the Titanic before the iceberg appears.
Paramahansa Yogananda (founder of the Self-Realization Fellowship and author of the international bestseller Autobiography of a Yogi) predicted four world wars, and that the fourth would be so devastating it would reach into all areas of the earth, cleansing it by fire. From this cataclysm only America would arise, phoenix-like, from the ashes (if such a scenario could be seen as a victory). The time frame for this prophecy was supposedly the late-twentieth century – thus, it has come and gone, without happening. Another of Yogananda’s indications to his disciples was that in one hundred years they would have to start his teachings from scratch; this puts the date around 2030, although more likely 2050. This would not, apparently, require mass destruction, but only the normal weakening that seems to permeate multi-generational systems.
Planetary Cycles – Mundane Astrology and Andres Barbault
“When Pluto with its Thanatos-like powers is aligned with the promethean powers of Uranus there has to be the kind of progress that brings us the ultimate in technological achievements. …If we could make a reasonable promise regarding the future that has a good chance of being kept, it would be that there will be a new phase of technological growth, altruistic in nature, between 2026 and 2028 when the outgoing Uranus-Pluto trine forms a beneficial double sextile from the central Saturn-Neptune conjunction.” (128-9)
“We have to look as well at the interferences at the critical next stage in 2020-2021-2022 where there will be a Jupiter-Saturn-Pluto trio squared by a Uranus-Neptune semi-square: a descent into world chaos with the risk of Europe being at the epicenter.” (Planetary Cycles – Mundane Astrology, P.146)
That thanatos, or death-wish, is currently very strong in Western culture. Of course some will say that it is a transformation, when in fact it is not – it is a deconstruction of everything of value in the West from the last five hundred years. Traditionalists would say this destruction, this thanatos, is an act of suicide that started with World War One. Yet the world is not made up exclusively of the European and Anglo-Saxon worlds, and their Post-Reformation Christian-based philosophical ideals.
We even see in contemporary social history and commentaries – such as in The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy by William Strauss and Neil Howe – where cycles and archetypes are used to explain patterns in the history of the Anglo-Saxon world. Each cycle is said to last between eighty and one-hundred years, and various archetypes of the Prophet, Hero, Nomad, and Artist are involved as being dominant characteristics of each cycle and its parts. This is little more than astrology for the layperson in a safe and digestible fashion.
The Great Eclipse of August 2017
Much of the beloved talk of doom and gloom has shifted its attention to the upcoming August 21st, 2017 full solar eclipse that will be visible across a large swath of the United States. Herein we see an almost hoped-for eruption of the Yellowstone cauldron and what would be the prophecy-fulfilling subsequent events. There is also the relationship between the Sign of Leo, the Sun, and the President of the United States. Here, astrological political pundits who could not accurately predict morning sunrise are prognosticating about America and the world’s future.
In the end, August 21st will come and go and there will be the usual increased possibilities of earthquakes, solar flares, fires, volcanic eruptions, and, of course, impacts on heads of state – this would include governors of those states most strongly impacted. The consequences of an eclipse can last several years and this one is no exception.
Rather than being afraid of the outcomes or hoping for events that can only be damaging to the nation and its health and wellbeing, I suggest praying for the health and wellness of the country, leadership, and people – or the earthly, solar, and lunar influences that will be aligned on that day. To this end, I remind all of my good Buddhist readers of their obligations and the Prayer of Kuntuzangpo which is said to be especially efficacious at this time. For those on a Hermetic path I would suggest the Liturgy of Hermes as a suitable practice for this time, as well as the “Offering Prayers” found in Words of My Teachers.
While the astrological conditions of an eclipse are considered detrimental, we as individuals can limit or even completely neutralize their impact through esoteric practices – if the core of the practice is genuine and there is sincere goodwill for all beings of all dimensions. You see, while we are very concerned about our own health and wellbeing, we are neither alone on this journey through life as a human, nor are humans as a species the only type of being affected by our individual or collective actions. While animals are the easiest to recognize, there are also beings of other dimensions we can encounter. These include elementals, demons, ghosts of various kinds, as well as demi-gods, gods, and illuminated spiritual entities. Our prayers, or psychic vibrations, are a form of communication to them as well as to our conceptualization of the divine.
The question then arises: If the entire world as we know it (or at least the greater part of it) appears to be heading full throttle over the cliff into a cataclysm of its own making, what are we to do?
While human choices and activities are the dominant player in this scenario, what it fails to address (at least from a “spiritual perspective”) is that the physical world is a place of experience, and not Eden. For the kabbalist, the Earth or Malkuth “fell” from its privileged position, out of Unity and into duality, when Adam and Eve ate the apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Even in obscure references in Tibetan Buddhism we see physical life being described in more gnostic terms as a mistake or accident when ignorance first arose. The cycles of time, or astrology, found across Europe, the Middle East, and deep into Asia all point to cyclic periods of growth and decay: birth, life, and death of civilizations. At times these are said to be on a massive worldwide scale, and at others more regional. What does not change is that, while the outcomes are not written in stone, they are written in the stars, and all that means is that they are astrologically predictable – but not determined for those who pay attention.
There are several schools of Indian and Western philosophy that talk of the Kali Yuga and its fiery end. Some suggest that it can be mitigated, even forestalled, but that purification must come in the end. Some will survive, most will not. You may be among those who are able to find themselves in Shambhala, or in one of the Arks where humanity survives and from which the seed of the new earth will come. As we have seen, according to tradition this has happened before, and if you believe in reincarnation there is nothing to worry about. You will be reborn, if all goes well, in a better time and place.
If we accept the school of Fulcanelli, then we are to make the best use of the time we have here to confect the Philosopher’s Stone and, if all goes well, we will find ourselves in one of the safe havens that will be untouched by the cataclysm. These safe havens cannot be easily found on a map (that is, by those seeking to escape the fruits of their karma), but only by those who have been touched by destiny. That destiny, of course, is the fruit of one’s actions – or, as Éliphas Lévi has said, “We are the sons of our deeds.” So again, you cannot change the fate of the world, only the fate of yourself. Or as Swami Vivekananda stated, even with karma yoga, the spiritual practice of service, all you can really change is yourself. That which is immortal cannot be destroyed.
There is also a school of thought which suggests that the supposed Invisible Hierarchy, Great White Brotherhood, Communion of Saints, Invisible Church, Thirteen Rishis who rule the cosmos, or whatever else we call it, will intervene before things become too dire. What that means is open to interpretation, and a look at the history of the twentieth century would suggest intervention – if it can happen or happens at all – only takes place when humanity has lost control of the situation.
Regardless of which of the above outcomes takes place, everyone is still responsible for their own awakening. We can only do what we can do: reduce, reuse, and recycle when it comes to natural resources. Meditate, practice, organize, come together with others, and help one another on the path. In short, we must take responsibility for ourselves, as that is all that we can do. But, to do so, you must believe in yourself, and that your actions matter – that you matter.
This brings us to the point of all these predictions. They are all asking us one question: Are you ready to die? Or, in a more gentle way, why are you here?
Traditional initiatic practices have always included the notion of death, resurrection, and instatement into a body of cosmic gnosis, wherein one is no longer bound by the forces of duality or the limits of life and death, even if one should continue to experience them. So let me ask you again: Are you ready to die?
You have but this one life. There is no guarantee of any other, even if you believe in reincarnation; belief does not make it fact, nor does the possibility of past-life memories, as they may belong to the collective consciousness of which we are a part, and not be unique to us alone. Even if rebirth is a fact, there must be conditions to bring it about, as well as teachings to make use of our time once incarnate again. There is no guarantee that teachings will be available, nor the ability to understand or practice them, nor a teacher to explain the subtle points. Take advantage of the current moment and be free.
New Age Fantasies of the Apocalypse
Much of what has been and is being passed around as New Age prophecies of a technological Eden after the Time of Cleansing required to save Mother Earth and bring humanity into one-world harmony is, as John Michael Greer has so eloquently put it, “Nothing more than the Book of Revelations dressed up in techno-drag.” You see, it is not a new vision at all, only an old one rehashed to make it more palatable to those who rejected, but were deeply shaped, by the old one.
Even if all these predictions are wrong, and we do get the Techno-Eden dreamed of by New Age One Worlders, it does not change the fact that you may not be around to enjoy it. In the end you have but this one life to make any difference with. The past is gone and the future is not here.
The opportunity to achieve illumination and the state of immortality of awakened consciousness is running out, be it from astrological doomsayers or simply because you will die – maybe even today. Make the very best of yourself, of your time, talent, and resources, for the benefit of all – both those in the visible and the invisible, human and non-human, as you will stand before the Judge of Souls in the Hall of Truth, and there, with your heart in the balance, answer to yourself for your actions.
How is this to be done? It is done through our practice, and not just on a meditation bench or ritual chamber, but in and through our daily actions. Have a vision, a goal, and use it as a means of self-expression that is productive and provides you with a tool for your path.
The Consequences of Our Practices
It is very easy to lose sight of our practices and the potential they hold for us and for others. As we have pointed out before, if everyone held the idea of peace, then the world would be at peace. While such a goal may be beyond realization at this time (in that it requires others to participate with shared values and commitment as well), it does not mean our efforts are wasted. We never know who we affect in a positive manner.
In his book The Tree of Evil, William Gray states:
“A natural question here is “What use of my tackling Evil in me while nobody else seems to bother? How far is my pathetic little effort liable to alter anything else?” The answer is that since all energies operate in a “chain,” and every living individual is one “link” of some specific “chain,” effects of individual alterations with any Self-state [self-concept or awareness] may be much more far reaching than might be guessed by the “link” concerned. …It is possible for minimal individuals to make maximal differences within whatever Life-framework forms their extensions of existence. …There need be no doubt whatever in anyone’s mind that if they could succeed in clearing their Self-areas [unconscious] from the principle of Evil to any considerable degree, they would make a most positive contribution towards decreasing its influence everywhere. …An act of Self-exorcism consists of “invoking,” or calling up clearly into conscious focus, whatever one would be rid of, then neutralizing this by a countermeasure of intention …The important point of this process is that it must be truly, deeply, sincerely, and wholeheartedly meant by whoever operates it. …No well-meaning Archangels or other Entities of Inner Existence will…do the dirty work for which that Self is entirely responsible.”
It is for this reason that we emphasize Purification Practices in all of our works, and in Kabbalah for Health and Wellness in particular.
In a more direct and simple manner, we can also see the importance of our practice in the timeless admonition that the greatest service we can render to ourselves and others is to rid ourselves of ignorance and become Awake to our own Nature.
We encourage each of you to join with us as we explore the means, methods, and fruit of self-actualization, self-expression, and self-awakening through this newsletter VOXHERMES. We do not ignore the problems of the world, but instead help the individual solve his or her own problems and become a light unto others – a veritable chain of illumination that can inspire and assist those who wander as well as those on the Path to fulfill their deepest aspirations.
The Long View, Not the Long Emergency
When I speak with the men and women who are supporting the activities of the Institute for Hermetic Studies, they are aware of the many problems and potential challenges we face, and with that, the seeming hopelessness of it at times. However, they never give up. Each day they get out of bed, are glad to be alive, and go about their work and practice as if it matters – because it does. Alfred DeStefano, the IHS Series Editor, and I were talking early into our publishing activities and we both agreed that the books we are producing are not simply for the present, but for the future as well. We write and produce these books with the intention that they will become classics, available a century and more from now. A century from now is long after many an astrological or psychic prediction have come and gone. It is long after the many reported environmental disasters and cyclic economic collapses that may (and in some instance will) happen. If our work is of value, it will be of value even more so in the future. It is this, the long view, that we have taken.
The unspoken key to our success is enthusiasm. To dedicate our energies, our lives, to accomplishing something of importance for ourselves and others requires that we have passion and commitment to what we are doing and confidence in our choices and in ourselves. There are situations we can change and those we cannot. Regardless, it is our confidence in ourselves, dedication to our practice, and having a powerful, engaging, and inspiring purpose for living that makes all of the difference in our lives and the lives of others.
To this end, we invite each of you to join us in our vision of a better tomorrow for yourself and others. We cannot say what this tomorrow will look like or how it will manifest, only that it is up to each of us to make the best of our time here on planet Earth and contribute to those things which will be of lasting value, which will themselves endure.
Our publishing projects are just one aspect of our vision. Our audio and planned video projects form another, as do our regularly scheduled conferences, and, with these, our newsletter VOXHERMES. Through these, and more, together we can reach out and shape the future into a more beautiful vision than we are often told it will be. But if self-awakening is to have any meaning, it must also include self-awareness and self-expression, and it is through self-expression that all that is good and wonderful inside of us becomes a shared reality with others. This is one of our vehicles for self-awakening through self-expression, and we invite you to participate in it with us.
Seven Affirmations of the Path
- I affirm that my unique individuality is the basis of my enlightenment, and that my physical life is the tool of its expression through which I will come to realize the ancient Egyptian axiom, “The body is the house of the gods.”
- I affirm that my life has meaning, and that expressing that meaning is my divine right and duty, and through it I will come to understand the ancient invocation, “There is no part of me that is not of the gods!”
- I affirm that I will seek to understand and express my full potential daily, and in doing so, come to know the meaning of the injunction from the Temple of Luxor and over the Temple of Apollo at Delphi: “Know thyself and you will know the gods.”
- I affirm that regardless of circumstances I will maintain my personal dignity and self-respect, and as such will always be victorious no matter what I encounter, and realize the meaning of: “Nought but Silence can express.”
- I affirm that I will create myself, or actively participate in and support the work of another, one project or work on a regular basis, as the means of my continued self-expression and, through that, self-actualization. In doing so, I realize that “I became the creator of what came into being, I produced myself, I am the Child of my Deeds.”
- I affirm that to fully realize the above affirmations I will invoke the power of the invisible often, and know that the divine light is the creative life and unifying love of my being. In doing so, I realize the simplicity, directness, and efficacy of the injunction, “Invoke often! And Inflame thyself with prayer!”
- I affirm that in the End, all contradictions are reconciled, and then the most perfect bliss is realized, this being the true New Jerusalem, the Kingdom of Heaven, the Garden of Eden, or the Golden Age Restored. In doing so, I realize, the meaning, of “Heaven and hell are within thee.”
To assist you on your journey, the Institute for Hermetic Studies is changing the format of our newsletter VOXHERMES from a weekly blog into an organized and coherent set of modules or lessons. Each month there will be a lengthy article containing theory and practice, and an additional article containing “Questions and Answers” from readers of our publications. This is to provide a stronger sense of community and consistency, helps each member build self-confidence, and from this support, each may thereby complete their goals.
Additional materials will be added when possible, including video posts, conference calls, and other possible means of assistance to our students, our readers. The program for our first year is going to be an in-depth application of the material given in our audio series Jupiter and the Four Aims of Life: Practices for Health, Wealth, Wisdom, and Bliss. There is no better place to start than with ourselves, and in firmly deciding and committing to achieving the “Four Aims of Life” – our purpose for being here.
Come join us on the Great Adventure! Use the following link to subscribe to VOXHERMES today.