From knowledge to mental liberation, stage 14
The mirages of the sensual way
«the road to hell is paved with good intentions»
Kingdom of sorrow and pleasure, the astral conscience is hell on earth. The sensuality that goes with it is more than just practicing sex in different forms and for different purposes. It is more than giving and receiving pleasure in many senses, more than the wish to generate in order to replicate ourselves.
Sensuality is a painful process of growth, always hovering between good propositions, longings and selfishness. The sensual way is the metaphor of the fascination that the physical mind causes and suffers. It is the matrix of deceits, which without it wouldn’t exist, it is the ‘art of deceiving’ especially ourselves.
The astral plane is a state of conscience that produces psychic phenomena similar to mirages. Mental hallucinations can be recognized because of the restlessness that accompanies them. Their phenomena can be recognized in artistic and creative exaltations, like in many episodes of old faith traditions, due to the subjection to extreme environmental conditions, prolonged deprivations or use of vegetable extracts (*).
(*) Psychedelic Catharsis. Mystical-devotional practices resort to the ritual use of perfumes, repetition of sounds, sentences or litanies to induce hypnotic or oneiric states of conscience. They alter the perception of reality until it becomes a cataleptic fantasy. In ancient times religious hallucinations were induced through ‘holy drinks’ containing molecules of psychotropic plants. The search for hallucinatory states in order to obtain divinations or religious visions goes back to sexual magic. It spread through the cult of natural spirits and the deceased. Today physiologic psychology experiments the processes of sight, hearing, time of reaction, learning curves, exertion, effects of drugs such as chemical hallucinogens, psychotropic plants, opiates, morphine, cocaine, their derivates such as anesthetic, depressants, inhibitors and stimulants (see pathologic psychology and social psychology).
The symbolic maze
From the astral conscience originate the numerous kinds of mirages that make the maze of delusions and vanities; at its center seats the ‘Beast’, representing the avidity of animal nature which constitutes the physical man. Each individual characterizes his delusions with his favorite fantasies. They are products of the lower psychism opposed to the thoughts of the higher psychism (see Powers of the mind). In this case the Maze represents the confusion (see mental cloud) that intelligence must clear in order to get rid of the aspects that blind the soul.
Exhibition and narcissism
An egocentric mind is satisfied by parading its convictions and exhibiting its body. This is the stage of ‘cult of oneself’, where the fulfillment of the senses seduces the mind, driving it to renew the moments of satisfaction and content. Because of exaltation and fanaticism, personal cults can become ‘cult of the personality’, leading to the idolatry of living or dead people. This involves several phenomena regarding artists, ideologists, politicians and all the religions where a man is the charismatic head.
In this wheel man is prisoner until he realizes his subjugation and wants to be free from it.
During the stages of lower psychism (emotional, passion or sensual stages) the mind is in search of self-fulfillment; it therefore subjects the body to excesses that damage it, such as eating, drinking, smoking and practicing senseless activities. It does it out of audacity or inconsiderateness.
In other words, in the first stage of growth the mind is attracted by the most inappropriate thoughts, words and deeds. It deteriorates the faculty of thought and worsens the quality of conscience.
The astral mind is characterized by a strong sense of self-destruction and it is attracted by unhealthy and dangerous practices. Its avidity leads it to silly and dangerous situations.
It causes other kinds of damages to itself also by trying to escape life, stopping its own growth and the growth of subtle qualities. Refusing and delaying our destiny is a way of escaping ourselves, hiding from responsibilities. Astral self-destruction can assume complicated forms and transform in many ways that can only generate suffering.
Suffering is the negation of the spiritual principle, which is ‘good’. The attitude of not doing our best to avoid it is caused by an insane sensuality, which the initiatory teaching calls attachment to old forms.
As long as mental slenderness prevails on the sense of conscience, we find density of desire instead of will. The lack of intelligent will makes mind and physical conscience weak and superficial. They are ready to fall in love with appearances, included their own; they want to satisfy the senses that gratify the body.
The solution is intellectual development.
«Passion deafens the conscience and pride blinds it.»
Inner blindness is not so much a moral matter, but rather a lack of sensitivity that becomes another aspect of immaturity. Immatureness of conscience as well can be solved by developing the intellect (which is not sciolism, but the ‘light’ of intelligence, see) and by changing the first orientation (*). As long as it uses only the physical senses to look at its own and the external reality, the mind is forced to a narrow vision fundamentally incorrect, which can only be widened by the intellect.
(*) «…the numerous lines of force inside the square turn into the seven energies that make the horizon of a unique Knowledge.»
The Eight-pointed Star is the symbol of mental orientation.
Horizontal orientation: by committing to the concrete world, we can develop the physical knowledge that reflects the lower plane of the mind (personal mind, note of the author).
Vertical orientation: by committing to the world of abstraction and synthetic vision of ideas, we can develop the inner perception that reflects the higher plane of mind (impersonal mind, note of the author), strengthening the presence of the subtle conscience.
By joining the horizontal and vertical planes of the Universal Cross, Low and High join, feminine (horizontal plane) and masculine (vertical plane) get together in the unknowable center that brings together the two halves of the world; material and subtle conscience are once again a ‘unity’.
In the sephirothic tree the unknowable center is the Da’ath Sephirah: the Abyss of Transformation.
Whilst during the higher mental stage man becomes what he thinks, during the domain of the astral conscience, he tries to look like his dreams, relentlessly defending his obsessions (see particular truths and circumscribed realities).
Every conditioning can be canceled by balance. A balanced conscience brings serenity for body and mind. Furthermore, a balanced conscience recognizes the sense of justice thanks to the inborn virtue of the subtle conscience.
(*) Accomplishing mental synthesis. Plato said that: «…since unity exists before duality, the coincidence of the opposites existed before their separation. Therefore the opposites are opposed to each other but not to unity.» Therefore two antithetical aspects like material and subtle conscience are resolved and overcome in their synthesis (the superior mind). The most effective way of realizing the synthesis is to resolutely detach the center of conscience from the material pole, keeping it steady and constant in the higher point of balance and domain. It starts from reason and common sense and it reaches spiritual comprehension. This development can’t exclude what Kant calls moral conscience (the Socratic syneědesis) which originates, as Kant himself said, «from being aware of the existence of an inner tribunal in man, called voice of God».
A feeling of balanced justice is the best antidote against the mirages of the sensual way. It is the threshold of the ‘Middle Way’; this is the name given to the narrow inner path that leads to Initiation.
Symbology of the Middle Way
The Middle Way is the path that goes from the dissolving white of spiritual transcendence, where material elements can’t exist, and the black of the densest materiality, where the spiritual element loses every attribute.
In the operative sense the Middle Way is the conscience of the initiate that, advancing in its inner process, is in the right balance between being and appearing. Being a subtle conscience that works in a material appearance (see Appendix), free from distinctions and personal expectations. At the end of the process, called initiatory elevation or spiritual re-birth, it can participate to the ideal and universal service (see work in white), which involves the spiritualization of the humankind (see Appendix).
These are the ideals which a free thought in a free mind works at.
Metaphors on the individualization of the species
‘Clothed in skins’
«And God made coats of skins for Adam and his wife and he clothed them […] Then God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken» - Genesis, 3/21-24.
The ‘coats of skins’ are an allegory referred to the corporal features given to the prototypes of the humankind. Adam was the proto-type of masculine and Eve the proto-type of feminine.
The metaphor illustrates the metamorphosis that led spiritual man to embody himself (see fallen angels). The human spirit separated from the divine nature that generated it and it took the attributes of the physical-animal body, becoming sexed.
In other words, it is the metaphor of a ‘spirit’ that, after separating in male and female, individualizes itself by embodying itself into the earthly clothes of a physical body.
Like birds driven out to grow
Once the conscience (now earthly) is aware of its animal physicality, it must face the discomforts of physical survival. It soon learns that pain can be compensated by pleasure; therefore its search becomes very important.
Suffering, fears, work, pain and death are the keys of the new scenario, where the drive to reproduce and preserve oneself rules. The drive to self-preservation becomes the first element of his self-affirmation as well as giving him pleasure.
Still a long time afterwards men remembered the painful awakening in the earthly adventure, considered by many as a disgrace or the consequence of a sin.
Is it true? In nature we witness other ‘repudiations’. Let’s try and imagine the extreme sorrow of the bird when its mother pushes it outside the nest, in order for it to grow. It doesn’t understand why it has been thrown out. It suffers and complains. It would like to go back but it is not allowed. Once it grows, it flies and forgets. If that hadn’t happened, it would never have wings.
Thinking beings, on the other hand, transmit to each other the memory of the ‘expulsion’ with confused tales, which don’t explain why the ‘state of grace’ has been lost. Like desperate birds they think they have committed something awful in a world that was supposed to be only ‘serenity, sense, benefit and joy’. They ended up by handing down a ‘terrible memory’ of the events; but they don’t know what, how and when. Some of them imagined fibs that were the starting point for all primitive religions.
The divine Workers
«…when men began to multiply on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, God’s sons (called Eloim, note of the Author) saw that men’s daughters (physical-animal forms, note of the Author) were beautiful and they took for themselves wives (other refused, note of the Author) of all that they chose. […] and the Mighty men were born (animal forms gifted with consciousness, note of the Author)…» - Genesis 6
Another truth is that the ‘spirilla of spirit’ that inseminated man, actually ‘animated’ his matter (see the four elements of nature). By inseminating Man’s matter, spiritual spirilla are (gradually) inseminating the planet (the matter of the planet).
The fallen angels are the willing pioneers that animate the passive forms (the daughters) generated by man to make them divine Workers (see ‘humid and solar way’) of the Great Work called to consecrate the planet.
By Athos A. Altomonte