The Soul’s Choice

Here, for immediate download, is the current version of a very short essay I have been working on entitled, The Soul’s Choice.  It contains an outline of a contemplative, nondual understanding of various Christian modes of discourse together with a model of spiritual formation illustrated by an arrangement of images from The Tarot of Marseille.  The images (which also appear, below) are on the second page of the PDF and will need to be printed out or “rotated clockwise” in your Adobe Reader (under the “View” menu).  

Keeping in mind our anonymous author’s warning in Letter VIII that we should avoid attempting to “explain” a symbol by reducing it to a few general abstract ideas, perhaps the following bullet points can serve, nonetheless, as a kind of abbreviated “key” that may provide a point of departure, for some, that will lead to a more profound realization:

  • The Wheel of Fortune, in this context, is meant to suggest separation and duality (cf. fallen creation, maya)
  • The World (Le Monde) indicates union/nonduality (cf. true nature, nirvana, the kingdom of God)
  • The Moon points to the empirical ego and, more generally, discursive thought (induction, deduction, ratiocination)
  • The Sun suggests the light of awareness (cf. the transcendental ego; Divine Intelligence/Nous/Logos)
  • The Tower points to the destiny of the egoic mind (i.e. the inevitable end of “the story of me”, however successful “I” may be along the way)
  • The Hanged Man suggests the possibility of “dying before we die” (transcending the ego/being crucified with Christ)
  • The Devil indicates the temptation of duality/forgetfulness
    (in material, ideological and/or sensual pursuits)
  • Temperance alerts us to the call of conscience
    (mindfulness/remembrance/Divine presence)
  • The Ace of Swords indicates the rule of the empirical/dualistic/egoic mind (cf. Vaentin Tomberg’s “emancipated personality”)
  • The Ace of Coins suggest the ego’s preoccupation with “laying up treasure on earth” (wealth, power, prestige)
  • The Ace of Batons points to Spirit/Presence/Awareness
    (God’s will, our real will)
  • The Ace of Chalices suggest the heart that is open to Spirit
    (“set your affections on things above”)

Note the correlation and, at the same time, the contrasts that can be drawn between each side of the arrangement of images:

  • Ace of Swords (vs. Ace of Batons)
  • Ace of Coins (vs. Ace of Chalices)
  • Upside Down Men in The Tower (vs. The upside down Hanged Man)
  • Two Dogs howling at The Moon (vs.  Two Children playing in The Sun)
  • The Rat-Race around The Wheel (vs.  The sacred animals at rest around the spacious “LeMonde”)

Note also that the images that make up the two (oval) “mandalas” are symmetrical — the one on the left suggesting a world of superficial appearances that obscure the richer and more profound Reality on the right.  Living in ignorance of this “vertical” dimension of our lives, our world seems out of joint, our lives absurd, and all our efforts ultimately in vain.  The good news, however, is that the kingdom of heaven is within us, among usat hand:

Luke 17:20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

“His disciples said to him: On what day will the kingdom come? It will not come while people watch for it; they will not say: Look, here it is, or: Look, there it is; but the kingdom of the father is spread out over the earth, and men do not see it” (Gospel of Thomas 113).

Once again, the arrangement of Tarot images in the PDF are also included, below– only a slight revision to the one I have shared repeatedly, over the last few months –but be sure to have a look a the first page of the PDF, too! 🙂

–> The Soul’s Choice (PDF)

[Note: It goes without saying that this material has been inspired in large part by my study of our anonymous author’s Meditations on the TarotI am also indebted to Paul Nagy for his feedback on the arrangement of images.]

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