.Spiritual Heroism

There is something out there that can dissipate all our sorrows, instilling both immutable calm and readiness for action.

It sometimes appears in the mind’s eye as a cup or as a sword buried in stone. The object is hidden in an inaccessible place: the sword may rest upon a mountaintop, while the cup that holds the Water of Everlasting Life lies in a subterranean cavern on a remote island. We are likely either searching for the sword or the cup, because we possess the other—or at least a rudimentary version of it. But we need to join them, and while not easy, that can be done. After all, the two do exist together somewhere—in the Tarot, for example.

Why all this mystery? Because it’s called the Mystery Tradition.

But the schools have been closed for 2,000 years, and since then the Ageless Wisdom rests not at the center of civilization but on the outskirts. It is not the sacred science that has moved, of course, for it is the great Unmoved Mover, the axis around which the world turns. Instead it is mankind that has drifted away, cycling through the stages of civilization before arriving at the Age of Iron described by Hesiod, the spiritual winter in which all contact with the divine has been severed.

During such epochs—when the immortal wisdom becomes hidden and when sacred kings and temple priestesses are all extinct—metaphysical knowledge must be sought for and won through an inner battle between the part of us that is human and the part that is divine. The term for this quest for knowledge, enlightenment and awakening of dormant powers is “heroic spirituality.”

Typically brought about by crisis, it is an adventure that takes place when all the temples are closed. People no longer believe in the old gods, or know how to act upon the invisible realm of causation so as to produce effects in the visible realm. The Everlasting Light still shines, but its source must be found, and only the daring hero, guided by ancient books and his own dauntless determination, can find it.

We’re all no doubt familiar with someone who has undertaken this quest for the spirit, who said, in an iconic archetypal film, “I want to learn the ways of the spirit and become a knight like my father,” when his world lay in ruins, and others called the spiritual force a silly superstition.

An old alchemical text says one needs to be born for this undertaking. The thing is, everyone who was ever born for it didn’t know it until the hour arrived, and what seemed impossible suddenly became necessary.


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