8.2 THE TEMPLE

In combining the symbols of both kabala and tantra the Apocalypse provides a synthesis of these two complementary metaphysical systems. It thus affords us with a unique and marvellous opportunity to compare these two systems. The two come together in the symbolism of the temple and the tree of life.

Faculties and Correspondances

We are speaking here, of course, of the alleged "temple of Solomon." This temple has been supposed by the literal minded of orthodox religion to refer to an actual edifice of stone and mortar built in Jerusalem. Its last construction was accorded forty six years in the Gospel of John. But the temple on whose porch Jesus walks,141 really represents one of the fundamental doctrines of the secret science of kabala.

The esoteric and kabalistic temple symbolizes nothing other than the living human being. This is the individual and personal expression of self consciousness. Or what I have been calling the energy body.

Whatever actual stone temples may or may not have been constructed in Jerusalem during whatever periods of time, they are irrelevant. All that is relevant is the human temple. It is the psychological edifice of self consciousness.

Even the orthodox refer to the human body as the "temple of the spirit,"142 a sentiment that reflects the underlying metaphysical truth albeit in a simplistic and dualistic manner. As I hope may be plain by now, the supposed dichotomy of the "spirit" and the "flesh" is one that is artificial and contrived. It only indicates by simple analogy the true nature of the event of human being.

Just as the phenomenon we know as light may be experienced in physics laboratories as wave or as particle depending upon how we observe it, so too the event of our human being may be experienced as either immaterial or material or both depending on how we observe ourselves. These various descriptions merely depict different perspectives. The manner in which we look determines what we see.

In the case of light, we know that what we observe as a wave and or as a particle are two mutually exclusive patterns of behaviour. Light can never exhibit both of these patterns at the same time. We always observe light behaving as either a wave or a particle, but never both. Still, it can be either depending only on how we look at it.

By possessing the characteristic of exhibiting two mutually exclusive patterns of behaviour, light presents us with a mystery. What is the true nature of light? Just what sometimes seems to behave as if it is a wave, and at other times as if particle?

Light is not schizophrenic, but it presents us with an apparent paradox. About all we can say about light is that sometimes it behaves as if it is a wave. At other times it behaves as if it is a particle. The patterns of wave and particle are the only ways we can describe the experience we know as light.

Human nature is not schizophrenic any more than light. Yet human nature too presents us with an apparent paradox. What is the true nature of our human being? What is it that sometimes seems to be material and at other times immaterial?

As with the phenomenon of light, in the phenomenon of human nature we observe an event that can not be seen directly. We perceive the effects of the event, not the event itself.

We are like scientists looking at tracks of bubbles in a bubble chamber and trying to figure out what events have caused them to form. We can not see the subatomic particles directly, only their tracks of bubbles in the chamber. From the tracks we infer the behaviour of the particles that caused them to form.

In the bubble chamber of human life we can observe tracks of bubbles and draw inferences from them. If the tracks curve one way we say something material has occurred. If the tracks curve another way we say something immaterial has occurred.

Of course, we must remember that these two categories tell us nothing about the true nature of human being. Just as wave and particle really tell us nothing about the true nature of light. These are only categories of behaviour. Just what it is that can behave in seemingly incompatible ways we have no idea.

You may find it startling even to suggest that we do not observe our own human nature directly. But if you think about it awhile you will realize that this is very true. Our perception is always filtered through our psychic faculties. It can not be otherwise, since our faculties are the very mechanism of perception and observation.

Because this is so, we can no more observe our human nature directly than we can see our eyes seeing. We can make inferences only.

We can only formulate judgements based on what we can perceive. Yet what we perceive is already at least once removed from the reality of our own nature.

This state of affairs, however, is no tragedy for us. True, we can not observe ourselves directly in the strictly scientific sense. We can not observe ourselves as we could monitor the movements of billiard balls on a pool table.

Even though we can not directly observe ourselves we can certainly experience ourselves directly. In the experience we discover the paradox of being events that are both material and immaterial simultaneously.

What we must remember, though, is that our perception is filtered. The paradox is only a result of filtered perception.

The book of Exodus143 describes the building of the Hebrew tabernacle and the installation of its priestly attendants. In 2 Chronicles144 the construction of Solomon's monumental temple in the city of Jerusalem is described at great length. The many details of these two projects do not concern us here. What is relevant for our purposes is only the general ground plan of Solomon's temple. This I have diagrammed approximately in figure 15.

What is significant for us about the tabernacle and temple are not the specific measurements, the building materials, the ornamentations, etc. The exhaustively detailed description of these items comprises the bulk of the biblical accounts. Rather, let us notice the temple's various major divisions as indicated schematically in the ground plan.

First an outer court surrounds the corresponding inner court which in turn constitutes the temple environs. Within the temple proper resides the tabernacle. The tabernacle is itself divided by a veil into two chambers. The first of the chambers contains the altar. The second of the chambers is called the holy of holies (the adytum or inner sanctum). The adytum contains the ark.

This last is, of course, the "ark of the covenant." I shall make note of its special contents shortly.

This six fold division of the temple finds expression throughout kabala in various guises. In its most significant form it is the basis of the kabalistic Solomon's seal, or the so-called "star of David."

Faculties and Correspondances

Far from being the mere emblem of the Jewish nation and race, the star represents the kabalistic signet for the process of the individualization of self consciousness. All in all it is a most ingenious symbol.

The two superimposed equilateral triangles represent the two different perspectives we recognize as being the immaterial and material. They are interlaced in the human being as the four related domains of phenomenal expression. These four expressions together form the "perfect square" of ancient symbology with its four equal sides facing outwards towards the four quarters of the cosmos.

Meanwhile, the perfect circle, the one line with neither beginning nor end and equidistant at every point from its formless center, encompasses the perfect square of self conscious expression. In reality the perfect and nonphenomenal circle penetrates and forms the ground upon which and the field in which self expression and all phenomena are based.

Faculties and Correspondances

The author of the Apocalypse uses the symbology of the temple as well as its terminology almost unaltered. The only relevant change he makes is to substitute the expression "temple of God" (naos tou theou) in place of the holy of holies. Otherwise, the terms remain identical. The meanings likewise remain the same.

In order for us to understand the apocalyptic version of the temple, we must first consider somewhat briefly the tetragrammaton. Then we must also examine the sephirotic tree, or "Tree of Life." These two in addition to the temple itself constitute the key symbols of kabala.

As Carlo Suares explains fully, the secret science of kabala via the twenty two letter signs (autiot) of the Hebrew alphabet describes the dynamic creativity of consciousness. This we have been here considering in terms of the metastate.

According to Suares, it was kabala that originated the autiot as the means of expressing the dynamics of conscious activity. It then entrusted the care of this code language to a group of custodians who for the vast majority remained totally ignorant of the precious treasure they bore. In their ignorance, they even assumed the kabalistic code word "Jew" to describe themselves as a distinctive racial group.

But in kabala the word Jew does not refer to any racial group at all, but rather to one who possesses the knowledge of kabala. The progression goes: the rock becomes a vegetable; the vegetable becomes an animal; the animal becomes a man; the man becomes a Jew. It is rather ironic that so many think kabala to be a product of the Hebrew race and religion. Kabala itself lays claim to producing the Hebrew race!

In the kabalistic tetragrammaton, which is I H V H = yod-hay-vav-hay or the Christian misinterpretation of it called "Jehovah," we discover the fundamental equations of the process of phenomenal expression. We have already described these as sensation, feeling, thinking and intuition, and the movement of energy through these various domains. Kabala quantifies these psychic activities by means of the tetragrammaton.

According to kabala, the movement progresses in the sequence sensation, feeling, thinking, and intuition. The tetragrammaton expresses the movement by the equations I H V H. In addition the second equation, H (hay), of the first series I H V H becomes, by a transformation, the initial equation, I (yod) of a second series I H V H. The second series of equations then expresses a different dynamic state of consciousness.

The progression of energy states expressed by the series of equations I H V H repeats itself, working its way through each of the twenty two letter signs (autiot) of the Hebrew alphabet. Each letter sign of that alphabet constitutes what amounts to a mathematical equation.

Hence, in kabala "words" and their combinations are not simply narrative elements. Although the words and the sentences they form may narrate some superficial story, they are really mathematical equations and equations within equations.

Some of these kabalistic equations are of extreme length. Genesis, for instance, runs to thousands of terms. Some of the equations are similar in content to the equations of modern physics. But in kabala the equations express in a quantifiable manner the various energy transformations of state of consciousness.145

The symbolic representation of the tetragrammaton takes the form of the equilateral cross. This four fold figure conformed exactly to the needs of the apocalyptic writer, i.e. the symbolism of the zodiac. With it he could contrive a concise description of self expression.

He simply substituted the temple terminology for that of the four fold tetragrammaton. By retaining the form of the tetragrammaton, he produced by simple replacement an inside out or transposed version of the throne. He had then only to reverse it.

By the very simple expedient of reversing the order of terms in the kabalistic tetragrammaton the author of the Apocalypse reconstructed the heavenly throne of Ezechiel and the mystical merkabah. In his ingenious reconstruction he disguised both the true meaning and the hidden source of his grand symbol.

As I have suggested earlier, he did this purposely to disguise his real intentions. The heavenly throne is, in fact, the key to decoding much of the apocalyptic symbolism.

Briefly, in the inversion of terms the initial equation I (yod) becomes the inner court or temple, which is the domain of sensation. The first equation H (hay) becomes the holy of holies or adytum, which is the domain of feeling. The equation V (vav) becomes the altar, which represents the domain of thinking. Finally the second equation H (hay) becomes the tabernacle, which is the domain of intuition.146

The kabalistic formulation of the tetragrammaton is, as I noted above, the equilateral cross. Its center connects with the next successive state of conscious expression as the series of equations works its way through the twenty-two autiot.

That center and focal point of the equilateral cross naturally becomes the ark, which represents the fifth domain of inspiration. From this formless well of inspiration every phenomenal expression has its source.

The sacred implements contained in the ark are those items by which its inspiration may be actualized in real life. These are the symbols of the covenant between Abraham and God.

Recall that this covenant became codified by Moses as the commandments and the various Mosaic laws that to this day govern the daily lives of orthodox Jews. Religious literalists like to indicate that when the Romans finally pillaged the stone and mortar temple in Jerusalem they carried away the contents of the ark. These were purported to be stone fragments, supposedly of the original tablets brought down from Sinai by Moses.

But the real ark of creative human potential was not, nor could it ever be sacked by any invading army. Like the real temple of human being, it can only be approached from within. Its sacred contents are the means of creative expression.

The covenant between Abraham and God included circumcision and the twenty-two autiot (Yetsira VI, 4).147 In kabalistic symbolism the word Abraham signifies understanding and the word God consciousness in its dynamic mode. Thus, the understanding (Abraham) of consciousness (God) encompasses both the genitals and the tongue.

These two are the real contents of the ark. For by them the creative potential of consciousness becomes actualized in the real world of life and experience. Speech, whether oral or written, and the capacity for love in the personal sense (amor) really distinguish human life from all other forms that we know of so far.

The nonphenomenal domain and realm of inspiration represents the first logos, overshadowing and penetrating the phenomenal realm. Individualized it becomes the second logos, which is symbolized as the golden altar of the God (which is consciousness). Its four horns of phenomenal expression are simply the domains of sensation, feeling, thinking and intuition.

Thus the golden altar and its four horns symbolize self consciousness and its many faculties and powers of expressing and experiencing. It comes from and cradles within itself the ark of the covenant of consciousness.

Finally, one more term completes our description of the equilateral cross and tetragrammaton. The area outside the four arms of the cross represents the outer court. This signifies the screen of objective or "external" events, upon which the psyche projects its contents.

We can show conclusively the mutual identity of the kabalistic tetragrammaton and the apocalyptic throne, or energy body. All we need to do is to turn the tetragrammaton, with its altered terminology, inside out.

Faculties and Correspondances

The outer court becomes the center of our new diagram. The ark becomes the encircling element. Since the ark symbolizes inspiration, which is the creative energy of consciousness, it is now identical with the integral sheath of the energy body.

The four phenomenal expressions of consciousness are distinguishable as the four sheaths of the psyche. These you may recall are the physical, the mental, the etheric and intellectual.

As I have described at some length earlier, these five elements comprise in various manner the aura and the seven chakras. The subjective aspect of the chakras is sustained by the cerebrospinal nervous system, which is the physical correlate of pingala.

The objective aspect of the seven chakras is sustained by the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, which is the physical correlate of ida.

The nondual union of both the subjective and objective aspects of human experience is sustained by the aura. This is the mysterious and enigmatic physical, and at the same time nonphysical, correlate of the creative power of sushumna.

The various relationships of the tetragrammaton and the energy body may be tabulated thus:

CHAKRA

APOCALYPTIC TERM

EXPRESSION

root & genital

the temple

sensation

navel

the temple of God

feeling

heart

the altar

thinking

throat, brow & crown

tabernacle

intuition

cerebrospinal system

the four horns

inspiration

sympathetic system

the outer court

external events


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