Meditations On The Tarot

esoteric Christian book

Meditations On The Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism (1980) is an anonymously written book that has has become a spiritual classic.[1]


Letter I. "The Magician"Edit

The Magician: "What he does with his hands is with perfect spontaneity - it is easy play and not work."
  • [I]t is the deep and intimate layers of the soul which become active and bear fruit when one meditates on the Arcana of the Tarot.
  • The Major Arcana of the Tarot are neither allegories or secrets. [...They] are authentic symbols. They conceal and reveal their sense at one and the same time according to the depth of meditation.
  • [H]ermeticism, the living Hermetic tradition, guards the communal soul of all true culture. I must add: Hermeticists listen to - and now and then hear - the beating of the heart of the spiritual life of humanity.
  • Of what does this first Card consist? A young man [...] - who is the Magician [...] What he does with his hands is with perfect spontaneity - it is easy play and not work. He himself does not follow the movement of his hands; his gaze is elsewhere.
  • [T]he principle underlying all the [...] Major Arcana of the Tarot is "that of the rapport of personal effort and of spiritual reality." [...T]he first and fundamental principle of esotericism (i.e. of the way of experience of the reality of the spirit) can be rendered by the formula: Learn at first concentration without effort; transform work into play; make every yoke that you have accepted easy and every burden that you carry light! This counsel [is attested by] the words of the Master Himself: "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (Matthew xi, 30).
  • Concentration, as the faculty of fixing maximum attention on a minimum amount of space [...] is the practical key to all success in every domain.
  • Look at a tightrope walker. He is evidently completely concentrated, because if he were not, he would fall to the ground. [...] Yet do you believe that his thought and his imagination are occupied with what he is doing? Do you think that he reflects and that he imagines, that he calculates and that he makes plans with regard to each step that he makes on the rope? If he were do that, he would fall immediately.
  • Concentration without effort [...] It is the profound silence of desires, of preoccupations, of the imagination, of the memory and of discursive thought. One may say that the entire being becomes like the surface of calm water, reflecting the immense presence of the starry sky and its indescribable harmony. And the waters are deep, they are so deep! And the silence grows, ever increasing...what silence! Its growth takes place through regular waves which pass, one after the other, through your being: one wave of silence followed by another wave of more profound silence, then again a wave of still more profound silence...Have you ever drunk silence? [Then] you know what concentration without effort is.
  • With time, the silence or "concentration without effort" becomes a fundamental element always present in the life of the soul. It is like the perpetual service at the church of Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre which takes place, whilst in Paris one works, one trades, one amuses oneself, one sleeps, one dies...It is in like manner that a "perpetual service" of silence is established in the soul, which continues all the same when one is active, when one works, or when one converses.
  • The changing of work, which is duty, into play, is effected as a consequence of the presence of the "zone of perpetual silence", where one draws from a sort of secret and intimate respiration, whose sweetness and freshness accomplishes the anointing of work and transforms it into play.
  • He who finds silence in the solitude of concentration without effort, is never alone. He never bears alone the weights that he has to carry; the forces of heaven, the forces from on high, are there taking part from now on. [...] For silence is the sign of real contact with the spiritual world and this contact, in turn, always engenders the influx of forces. This is the foundation of all mysticism, all gnosis, all magic and all practical esotericism.
  • If one wants to practice some form of authentic esotericism [...] it is necessary to be the Magician, i.e. concentrated without effort, operating with ease as if one were playing, and acting with perfect calm.
  • The tenet of the basic oneness of the world plays the same fundamental role for all theory as that of concentration for all practice. [...] All search for truth [...] postulates its existence, i.e. the fundamental unity of the multiplicity of phenomena in the world. Without this unity nothing would be knowable. How could one proceed from the known to the unknown [...] if the unknown had nothing to do with the known?
  • "That which is above is like to that which is below and that which is below is like to that which is above, to accomplish the miracles of (the) one thing. (Tabula Smaragdina)." This is the classic formula of analogy for all that exists in space, above and below; the formula of analogy applied in time would be: That which was is as that which will be, and that which will be is as that which was, to accomplish the miracles of eternity.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Bonaventura [...] not only make use of analogy but also assign it a very important theoretical role in their doctrines themselves. St. Thomas advances the doctrine of analogia antis, the analogy of being, which is the principal key to his philosophy. St. Bonaventura, in his doctrine of signatura rerum, interprets the entire visible world as the symbol of the invisible world. For him, the visible world is only another Holy Scripture, another revelation alongside that which is contained in the Holy Scripture [...] Now, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventura have been proclaimed (by Sixtus V in 1588, and again in 1879 by Leo XIII) "duae olivae et duo candelabra in domo Dei lucentia" ("two olive trees and two chandeliers shining in the house of God"). You see therefore, dear Unknown Friend, that we are able, you and I, to declare openly our faith in analogy and proclaim aloud the formula of the Emerald Table, consecrated by tradition, without appearing thereby to be infidels to philosophy, science, and the official doctrines of the Church.