The Way of the Fool – metaphor of the self-initiation
by Athos A. Altomonte
Like any other vital element the igneous sphere of initiation as well works by precise rules. It is not by pure chance that the minor institutions are called ‘Orders'. Starting from this assumption the association between the words order and fool looks, with a play on words, pure foolishness.
We know that for the esotericist the Fool is a Lama of the Tarots (Lamas of the God Toth, conceptually far away from the common game of tarots); the meanings belonging to this card are quite different from the literal ones.
It is the metaphor of a man whose behavior contradicts common sense. It is an eccentric that instead of wearing social masks wears his own convictions. The Fool is different and separate from the profane world; he goes against the mainstream, going up in the world of common thinking with intelligence. He is the nonconformist that doesn't follow the statement everyone does so , but he tries and understand the truth beyond appearance. The Fool talks, but his ideas are not understandable to most people.
Why does a man look enigmatic? Is it because he has uncommon subtle ideas or is he unusual because his ideas come from an obscure heart?
This is the point.
Is it easy to distinguish between a positive but enigmatic mind and a mind that is negative and enigmatic because it is obscure? Obviously it is not easy. History proves that, with countless traces of how the twilight of human conscience has often mixed up bright foolishness for brightness.
In this case the initiatory metaphor shows us that the mind of the Fool is the extravagant but positive mind of a precursor whose diversity is not in his attitude or in his aspect, but rather in the diversity of the path he has chosen to carry out.
The Way of the Fool is the metaphor of self-initiation.
The path of self-search is hard but this Major Lama, together with the others, offers important references useful for orientation. Starting from its number: zero. As we know, the number is the soul of every symbol. (*)
(*) the aim of this short essay is mainly practical; it is meant to be an indication for those who are making the first choices on the initiatory path. These are extremely important choices. For this reason we will deal with the metaphysical Zero very briefly and we will refer our Reader to the many works on Numbers already published.
The value of the absolute zero or metaphysical zero is given by its inside . The membrane that separates manifested space from non-manifested principle. The zero is a symbol of transcendent, of spiritual space . It is a tangible boundary of the Universe in the impenetrability of the macrocosm that reflects its rules in the microcosm in general and in the dimension of Man in particular. Sacred Sciences acknowledge 12 space-temporal dimensions plus an ultimate container and apply this measure (12+1= 13 = 4) both to the macrocosmic plane and to its microcosmic reduction ( regression ): the so-called inferior Universes (below).
The inner space is intended as spiritual , because in it appears the Non-Principle; ‘ a portion of the Garment of He whom nothing can be said about'. Its circumference is made only of attracting (magnetic) energy, which is therefore considered female. The zero in its double aspect positive-negative, that is masculine-feminine, shows the Sound and the space takes shape caused by the vibration produced by the motion of the energy it contains (see image). The metaphysical zero, then, is even more the symbol of the Trinitarian aspect.
It encloses and shows in its field of aggregating energy ( the feminine aspect of space which, according to mystics, is the Body of God) the wave of dynamic energy ( the feminine aspect of the space which, according to mystics, is the Body of God) that, with its energetic current, generates and shapes the forms of its cosmic and planetary manifestation ( the formal aspect of every form, still according to mystics, is the Son of God).
As we have said in the previous note the aim of this short essay is practical rather than intellectual. It is to show the postulant some aspects in order to orientate quickly at the entrance of the initiatory path. Let's start by saying that there are two initiatory paths ; one is virtual and the other is virtuous. The two ideas reflect two different ways of perceiving the initiation and are reflected in the metaphor of the ascent through the narrow and steep road, suitable for the initiate (whose rule is: dare and keep silent ) and through the large road without commitment, chosen by the profane.
The virtual way is the exoterical representation of the virtuous aspects of the initiatory path. The initiatory transformation is only symbolic therefore efforts, crisis and renunciations are not required. Its initiations are virtual and the metamorphoses that occur during their evolution are expressed through suitably decorated garments and paraments. The colors of the decoration should reproduce the change of light in the psychic and spiritual aura of the initiate. Finally, the illumination is reduced to the simple sciolism of esoterical catechisms and to the competence of a ritual gesturing lacking in living sacredness.
The virtuous way is where efforts and suffering amplify the will, the courage and the intelligence of the adept. The initiation is given by a process called inner progress. It is the way of transformation and renunciation. To renounce in this instance means to distinguish oneself from the heavy matter of the inferior nature. This occurs through the conscious dis-integration of the mind from its animal soul. To disintegrate from the animal status means not to acknowledge oneself in its impulses but to reflect the thoughts of the abstract conscience. We say that one is re-integrated with the subtlest part of one's nature, which is not the animal substance.
This introduction has led us to the rule: by recognizing you will be recognized.
The initiatory path is an inner way that doesn't acknowledge exterior Masters and the degree of advancement is not expressed by garments, decorations or paraments, but by abilities, ideas, words and deeds. Even when virtues are not flaunted they must be understood and to be able to do this one must know them. It is necessary to be educated (initiated) to recognize their quality and value. Here is by recognizing you will be recognized. Initiatory virtues are hidden in simplicity and since the true initiates don't use either garments or strange signs to recognize each other, the recognition can only occur through psychic or animic likeness. The man who doesn't perceive the presence of this subtle energy is not alike, because he can't or he doesn't know, he is not able to recognize a higher Brother even when he's facing one. The latter, with amiable discretion and not to cause useless curiosity, will not show himself.
Like any other rule, “by recognizing you will be recognized” as well can be avoided to break the initiate's silence. It is easy. Intelligent curiosity, intuition and clearness of purposes cause interactions to which, for the sake of the truth, the initiate must always reply . Therefore in order to have the right answers one must ask the right questions and this is one of the fundamental rules of Initiation.
To meet an advanced Brother is quite rare and as far as we know is never accidental. Let's stick, then, to certainties, such as that there aren't any exterior Masters, but only guides. As many as the levels or planes of conscience are, symbolized in the ascent of the ‘initiatory mountain'. A re-ascent that occurs entirely inside the adept.
I'd say that for the researcher to recognize a guide is a very important point. It is not easy to get straight to the top of the ‘mountain' and very few people have reached it only by themselves. The mountain is the metaphor of the ascent of the elements called sublimation.
At a certain point of the ascent many stop and stand at the achieved ‘level' giving up the advancement. Therefore when we go up we meet many ‘fellow travelers' that camp out around a bonfire that gives them warmth but not light.
Because of credulousness or ignorance it is easy to be tricked by people who sell themselves as masters or initiates; when the success doesn't arrive, though, it is just as easy to change one's mind. However, during the ascent (metaphor of the inner transformation) the important thing is not to give up. We must not stop for more than a few moments and we must refuse the invitation of those who would like us to stop.
We can learn from those who stop; we can learn from their blank gaps and make them useful. Their renunciation, though, must not be an example. The adept doesn't need their fire. Going further up we meet more guides. Less and less but more ready to encourage, to advise and to support the newcomer in any way and to help him advancing. The man who goes up becomes stronger, more daring and self-confident; he can now see the top and therefore he is certain of its existence.
This is the point where some people sacrifice the close goal and decide to go back to replace a guide that will then be able to continue his ascent. This is one of the least known aspects of the ‘Chain of initiatory Solidarity'; to its tasks are given several symbolic names which are true in the substance. All of them, like those before them, dedicate part of their existence to the service to the humankind.
Athos A. Altomonte