The dry Path and the humid Path, symbols of hermeticism
Some women are ‘missed’ Sisters; others have achieved a first symbolic and virtual initiation. In both cases they have suffered a long delay in their spiritual evolution. In order to favor certain male prerogatives in the Vulgar Era (the Iron Age or Kali Yuga) they have been prevented from accessing any relevant initiatory education.
In this dark era for the human heart, because of a wide spread moral and religious costume, the other half of the sky was mistreated and became the scapegoat of collective unconsciousness, “source of all faults and evils”.
Woman, who in the ancient times was the imperfect priestess of sacred, divine and wonderful things, found herself in a morbid physical and psychological subjection. She was repressed to an education that taught her she was inferior, an impure and guilty being that was supposed to be obliging and useful in satisfying the many “physical” expectations of man.
On the contrary, Man and Woman are the expression of the same spiritual matrix (the Monad); therefore they have the same dignity in front of the Great Creator of the Universe.
Man has denied this “celestial” commùnion to his complementary being. He has prevented her from walking beside him towards restoration. All that has been conceived by the dark fantasies of the masters in the Vulgar Era has only partially inhibited the right of women to access the initiatory Path, but it has not jeopardized it.
What the Great Inspirer of Life joined in spirit was separated in the physicality of the matter by the doctrines of worshipped Fathers in the dark age. The only way they could conceive the mystery of masculine and feminine self was related to their senses. Therefore they established an order based on the different attitudes of the physical-animal body, rather than on sensitivity, intelligence and feelings.
The system where supremacy of power and physical strength were paramount set a strange scale of values. Putting the hidden extraordinariness of the inner virtues of man below the formidable ordinariness of the domineering classes’ culture has materialistically and exoterically affected the lesser interpretation of many allegories and symbols. The esoteric allegory on the Dry and Humid Path as well has been interpreted in a minor key. It has been reduced to a literal and physiologic key, where the most appreciated value was the physical attribute of the interpreter of the psycho-drama.
As we have already said, then, the decisive requirement to access the “initiatory” hierarchy was limited to the physical aspects which the aspirant “bore and enjoyed”.
Even with the spiritual denial prevailing in the last Era (1st Golden Age, 2nd Silver Age, 3rd Copper Age, 4th Iron Age) many Initiates kept describing the path of Knowledge and Realization as an inner path. On the contrary of what the religion of temporal power stated, the Initiates passed on a non physical and exoteric view of sacredness. In this vision the humid and dry Path are two parts of the same track. The first part leads to the threshold of lesser Mysteries; the second to the greater Mysteries.
This is a journey to re-discover ancient gifts and the new restoration occurring in the conscience of the initiating. It is a series of inner changes strongly affected by the attitude and the individual characteristics of the aspirant. The latter will be more or less strong-willed or passive, but he will never be completely strong-willed (masculine self) or completely passive (feminine self). All aspirants and adepts will possess both aspects in equal amount.
The character of those who haven’t yet reached mental synthesis will sometimes be ruled by the strong-willed intractable temperament and some other times the passive tractable temperament will be prominent.
Mental synthesis is limpid thought, because it can’t be affected by any emotional drive. It lacks any passional capacity and old hermeticists and alchemists called it “androgynous”. The asexuality of this steady and abstract super-personal intelligence is the only element that distinguishes the superior from the inferior mind. A superior mind is omni-comprehensive, it doesn’t fall under the spell of what attracts or repels personal and emotional taste. When a mind doesn’t come under the spell of sense of attraction or repulsion it only agrees with fairness and truth. His thinking can then discern between good and evil, desirable and unwanted, without fear of being imprisoned by the mere formulation of personal opinions.
It is commonly accepted, not only by esotericists, that the instincts, drives and passions of the physical mind generate the emotional habitat called sphere of desire.
This is a concentration of physical conscience characterized by a vibration (tone) so slow (square wave) that it can be penetrated by the energetic immobility of physical matter. In its first development, physical mind appears strongly ruled by the sensations of this energy. All the sensations coming from the outside are so important for the physical conscience that they overwhelm any inner sensation. The only exception is a feeble echo expressed in the waking conscience as “sense of fairness”, “sense of good” and “sense of beauty”.
The inferior mind is concentrated on itself and on the good or bad sensations of its individual life; in its cognition it is unconscious and separate from the sense of any reality that is not reflected in elements such as knowledge and memories and in all that it can’t find in itself.
Usually the inferior mind offers resistance to be penetrated by what it doesn’t recognize and what is not part of its mnemonic construction. It opposes the “difference” as a threat to the integrity of its specificity. By analogy, this is the same impulse that drives a single individual or a race to protect itself through the preservation of its genes. Apropos, we must remember the old prohibition to belong to a clan, a race or a religion considered superior to one’s own or to marry an outsider in order not to contaminate the purity of the stock or the symbol of faith. Although this repulsion is now not so obvious and hidden by the apparent opening of social costumes, it is still present in all social groups today.
Curiosity in its most genuine expression, viz. separate from fantasy, is the drive that opposes the immobility or devolutionary tendencies of an immature mind. On the contrary, curiosity and creative imagination are the right “propellant” to distract the mind from the continuous excitement caused by the drives of the inferior nature.
The physical mind instinctively reacts to the anarchy of every impulse it receives; without paying attention, it tries and focuses its abilities in satisfying them. Applying rational faculties to the achievement of advantages related to the drives of passion rather than to primary physical needs means to access the humid and lunar sensual Path.
The sensual Path is the large road of the profane; the middle Path is the narrow track of the initiate.
The sensual path hides the principle of seduction in the desire for something.
Indeed, the feeling of desiring something or someone is caused by the object “seducing” the subject.
Seduction is a sensual element that causes the idea of desire; the latter creates the drive to satisfaction. Most of the physical and emotional vital energy is exhausted in these three elements. But like any other element, they too contain something that contradicts them.
For example, if man follows certain models in his appearance because he craves other people’s approval, this common identification makes him a conformist. Therefore he gets rid of any originality he possesses. If the models he follows are mediocre and marginal, his choice will be devolutionary. When approval is refused, hostility, suffering and frustration start. This kind of pain can find several ways to manifest itself, such as self-destruction and psycho-somatic malaise, isolation and the refusal, or even hatred, towards “others”.
The search for satisfaction is a desire that, like many others, brings the drive to own the object of desire and possession; as the etymology of the word explains, the latter is the egoistic extension of the sexual sphere*.
*In Italian the second part of the word possesso [possession], sesso means “sex”.
Appearance and possession are two important elements of the sensual Path where the profane experience occurs.
The sensual way is a tormented process. It is always in the balance between the avidity for new satisfaction and the worry of not achieving it. It stands between pessimism following the refusal, fear of losing what we have and suffering for what we have lost.
This is why it is said that essentiality is the fortress that makes the Initiate untouchable.
The desire without the achievement of what we aspire to is an illusion of the sensual sphere as well. This is also true for a devout proposition if it isn’t realized because of laziness, egoism, fear or omission. Even the desire for something highly moral such as ascetic stoicism can become a sexual element, because on the initiatory Path there shouldn’t be anything to be desired, but rather to be practiced in silence. There is no point in talking to people who know; likewise using words for those who “don’t have ears to hear” is useless and detrimental as well as dangerous for the man who “by revealing reveals himself”.
To practice means to give a cadence to the destruction of inner limits, with determination but without aggressiveness. With practice we can gradually force the emotional boundaries and disintegrate (as opposed to integrate) the undesired contents of a physical nature which is in itself humid and passive. To practice an initiatory teaching with the intention of “reaching its goal” is not desire but aspiration; the latter is the most sacred value of the adept.
The true adept aspires to become the model that inspires him, accepting willingly to mould himself in order to realize the high model called “Principle” by the initiatory teaching. In this instance the walk the middle Path means to reach the right balance between oneself and the different elements of the personal work.
The first task that the adept must face is to balance the goal he has set himself, with the instruments he wants to use, the abilities he realistically has, the strength he will have and the right amount of time for its achievement. The association of these first elements in the right proportion makes the adept already a “good builder”.
It is desirable that the adept makes the most of the empiric knowledge gained by those who preceded him in the experience of Initiation. These experiences have different nature and they can be summed up in a specific context to make the initiatory Tradition. In this “container” we can find all the instruments that satisfy the mixture of temperaments of the aspirants. Furthermore it will supply any kind of psychological language used by all of them to interpret their realities, themselves and their emotions. The researcher will be able to experience any means that he will think suitable to his attitude within this big container.
In order to achieve the goal we can use all the means envisaged by Tradition, but not any means.
The “apprentice” is like a plant; his evolution must be looked after with the delicacy of a flower. His instructor will have the same attention as a Master gardener. But if the “flower” decides to “blossom” without waiting for the Master gardener he must remember some rules.
The act of consecration to the ideal of the favorite Principle should stay abstract and detached from any personal element or any representation of a particular physical person.
We can’t rush “certain” maturation times or use violent means. It is not allowed to use harassing practices, extreme deeds, emotionally destabilizing deprivations, constrictions, physical rigors and moral abuses. We must consider illegitimate every practice that leads to self-destruction. In its perversion, behind its mask of pain and sacrifice, it hides negation and annulment of individual identity; at the same time it covertly exalts devotional sensuality.
In order not to fall back into sensuality, even when it is devout, we must be able to distinguish between essentiality and deprivation, essentiality and poverty, essentiality and suffering. Essentiality is a virtue of intelligence, whilst the suffering of certain practices is an unhealthy source of sensual passion.
The renunciation to one’s hedonism is a sensational act in the work of initiatory transmutation; nevertheless because of a supreme impulse of passional narcissism this act can turn into pleasure for martyrdom, pleasure for suffering and pleasure for renunciation.
All this is still a perverted feeling of sensuality.
If the sensual Path originates from a vision excessively egocentric and hedonistic of life, this excess can’t be solved with repression, violence or intransigence. The latter as well is a passional excess. It is wrong to try and uproot the drives of physicality through prohibitions, because the physical essence must not be abused but educated.
The essence of the physical nature must be advanced through the inner persuasion of a slow but deep education; otherwise, by using psychological coercion of strength, fear and ghosts of superstition, it is easy to obtain the opposite effect by reaction. Let’s imagine for a moment the psychological effect of such reactions by introducing the postulate of elementary physics stating that: to each action corresponds an equal and contrary reaction.
The patient and understanding attitude that the adult has for his child’s pranks is useful to educate physicality, even when irreverent and in “free release”. The natural imperfection of humankind finds its justification, rather than its fault, in being part of its manifestation, viz. an integral part of the Great Work of universal creation.
An excess is not driven out with another excess; never dare to persecute the “instrument” that the Divine has created to manifest itself. Let’s forget any excess by finding the balance of the middle.
The middle Path is the narrow track that runs between the white of spiritual transcendence, where no material element can exist in its original form, and the black, where the spiritual element loses vitality in all its attributes because of the immanent materiality.
The Middle Path is therefore the Initiate himself. The man in the right balance between Being (active essence) and Appearing (passive substance).
Let’s now approach the idea of obscure Pentalpha and flaming Pentalpha.
The physical form of every being, both man and woman, is equally humid and passive:
“The physical body is only the humid and obscure container of a lunar and feminine energy-thought; only the luminous energy of the spirit-thought can make it solar and masculine”.
The obscure Pentalpha is the symbol of the elementary condition of the adept, who recognizes some mysteries of the Great Life that impends but hasn’t made them alive yet. It is not enough to learn in order to know. The man who doesn’t realize his knowledge by experiencing its vital essence makes Mysteries dead letter.
Without any life, conscience is obscure and separate from its luminous and spiritual primordial nature. The lesser initiate, although full of notions, is still a Shadow of the initiatory Order and of its Hierarchy. The Obscure Pentalpha is an identity separate from the superior part of its conscience. It is still traveling on the humid, lunar and passive Path, domain of the natural form. This form is symbolized by the Cup which must be filled with good spirit through inner metamorphosis.
Thanks to the change in his energetic (nuclear) structure, the greater Initiate expresses in his mentality the subtlest presence of the fifth kingdom of nature*. Although this is a super-mundane kingdom, its access is still “inside” man.
* The five Kingdoms of Nature:
1st kingdom, mineral (in man: the skeleton)
2nd kingdom, vegetable (in man: liquids and humors)
3rd kingdom, animal (in man: instinctual and emotional mind)
4th kingdom, human (in man: superior feeling and abstract thought)
5th kingdom, spiritual (in man: mind enucleated from the material essence).
When the first weak bridge is built (from which the word Ars Pontificia comes from, where the Adept who builds the bridge between “earth and sky”, the holy Alliance, is called pontifex) between physical consciousness and super-consciousness, the lunar mentality of the initiate starts undergoing the solar action of the spiritual mentality.
At this point, the journey of the initiate hides some dangers.
a. The Humid Path / b. starting to dry / c. by effect of Light, / d. emanates vapor /
e. This produces fog and miasmas / f. where the Traveler gets lost / g. and he, blinded, /
h. evokes a guide, / i. to lead him / j. to a safe shelter / k. where he can spend the night.
(the physical and instinctual mind that conceives only what it recognizes in itself)
(from water, which is the symbol of the passion element)
(the “light” is the intelligence of the superior ego and the “heat” is the energy of the soul)
(emotional haze and delusion that can cause the loss of orientation)
(the ghosts of delusion that arise from the passion water element)
(the lesser initiate)
(without the empathic view of the symbolic superior psychic character in the eye of the mind)
(the Master, secret because inner)
(to instruct him)
(the center of hyperphysical conscience that some Initiates call egoical barycenter)
(the life spent by the conscience of the superior ego between two moments of its manifestation)
Generally the greatest dangers come from the mental haze caused by the emotional element of the aspirant. Desire and hope not supported by a plausible expectation are, for example, the recurring error on the path of trials (represented by the planet Saturn). Indeed, it happens that one presumes, without the confirmation of the Master gardener, to have reached some prestigious goal. This happens often. The man who thinks he has initiatory qualities will try and assert them on the outside with great dialectic exercises, most of all to convince himself. For those who witness this without discriminating abilities and critical sense, this will be a dangerous occasion where they might loss of orientation, which is necessary to stay on the “right track”.
Whilst traveling on the humid Path, focused on his own instinctual conscience, man managed to build that field of perceptive experiences called physical mind. All the needs of one’s own material nature find their expression.
In the dialogue, so to speak, between the physical conscience and the eco of inner perception, the Adept focuses on that channel of reception called bridge of conscience. Even when it is only partially active, that channel transmits to the lower mind the drives of the thought of the superior ego. At this point conscience makes another field of perceptive experiences called intuitive mind.
By traveling on the dry Path of abstract thought and conceptually interacting with the synthetic power of the higher conscience of Self, one creates that field of perceptive experiences called superior mind.
All the experiences of one’s own material world add up to those of one’s super-conscious world in this mind. This is the origin of the Initiate. A means between the worlds of the physical self and the hyperphysical self. The vertex of the Pentalpha appears, the 5th kingdom of nature which, for the properties of its own Light, integrates the individuality of the human being with the divinity that Seats in his inner sky. So much so that it becomes a flaming Pentalpha, a Master, a Light of the initiatory Order and a Member of its Hierarchy.