Fr. Alois Wiesinger makes a rather remarkable point about Genesis, when he writes:
While he was creating woman, “God cast a deep sleep over Adam”, a sleep which in actual fact represented a great release from the senses. Theologians have been at some pains to explain the condition that is indicated by the word Tardemah. Though this word does not really means “ecstasy”, which is the Septuagint rendering, it can nevertheless be rendered as an ecstatic sleep, that is to say, as a state of being in which the soul dwelt outside the world of sense and was active after the manner of pure spirits.
Obviously, this invites comparison with what Rene Guenon writes about the three human states in Man and his Becoming according to the Vedanta. He distinguishes:
- The waking state, corresponding to gross manifestation
- The dream state, corresponding to subtle manifestation
- Deep sleep, which is the causal and formless state
Moreover, he mentions the state of ecstatic trance, intermediate between deep sleep and death. Guenon, drawing inspiration from the Upanishads, repeats ideas from Genesis, even to the allegedly “incorrect” translation of Tardemah as “ecstasy”. So it is worth the trouble to see what Guenon says about this state in Chapter XIV.
These three are states of Atma, that is, the Person or Self, or, in other words, the possibilities of the Person. In the causal state, there is no longer individual existence, that is, the Person is transcendent. In the waking state, he is one corporeal being among many and in the dreaming state, he is creating an illusory world. In the causal state, the Person “has become one”, “has identified himself with a synthetic whole of integral knowledge”, etc. In this state, the Person is at the level of Sat, or pure Being. The intelligible Light is seized directly by intellectual intuition.
Thomas Aquinas also understands God as the act of Being and makes the same claim, albeit from a different frame of reference. He explains that Adam, in this state of deep sleep, knew God in His essence, i.e., at the level of Being.
This has several consequences. First of all, it seems to differ from the Palamite claim that God is known only through his energies and not in his essence; presumably, the situation was different in the Primordial state. But this is consistent with Thomas’ understanding that to “know” something is to participate in its essence. So to know is to be, so in a sense the knower is the thing known, at least in essence. So Adam in that state of deep sleep knew God in his essence and therefore “was” God. However, he was not God in His existence, so we cannot say that Adam, as an individual being (i.e., in one of the states of manifestation), was God, but only as transcendent. With these ideas in mind, one should go back to Guido de Giorgio’s descriptions of this state; it may make more sense.
If anyone needs more, we can point to Johannes Tauler who, by the way, was considered by Alain de Benoist as a representative of “Europe’s religion”. In that, he is correct, although for the wrong reason. Tauler explains:
The more simple, pure, and naked in faith, so much the more praiseworthy, noble, and meritorious it is. This faith merits that God Himself in Himself, in His divine Essence, should be manifested to the soul in many wonderful ways.
This causal state is beyond sensory imagery. In particular, therefore, it is also beyond any psychological process. Hence, the psychologist Carl Jung could not understand it. When he confronted certain yogis during his trip to India in 1938 about this state, he adamantly argued with them that it was simply unconsciousness, not a higher state of consciousness. He claimed, too, that the Indian mind was “primitive” since he “doesn’t think” but instead “perceives thought”. That shows how alienated the modern mind is from its own past, since that attribute is closer to the medieval mind. Ananda Coomraswamy has pointed out that to understand the Indian mind, one need only refer to Western medieval and ancient writings.
Consider, for example, this description from Saint Theresa d’Avila about the difficulties that may assail the contemplative:
There is a necessity of suffering the trouble of a Troop of Thoughts, importune Imaginations, and the impetuosities of natural Notions, not only, of the Soul through the dryness and disunion it hath, but of the Body also, occasioned by the want of submission to the Spirit, which it ought to have.
This is quite clear. The Saint is not “thinking” those “troops of thoughts” but instead is perceiving them as distractions to her own consciousness and arising from an outside source. This is not a matter of interpretation or an invitation to intellectual disputation. To perceive a thought, it is necessary to transcend the flow of thoughts in one’s consciousness. Since life is short and art is long, a man or woman should start young to develop this skill.
Unlike the cultured despisers of their own Tradition who are so common in certain circles in our day, we can provide examples of this state in the true Tradition of the West. For example, Fr. John Arintero writes the following in The Mystical Evolution:
When faithful souls find themselves totally abandoned, arid, cold, mute, lacking affection, and unable to give vent to a single sigh, they raise their dim and darkened eyes to heaven and, directed by the obscure light of faith, they await mercy in silence. As they wait, sweetly enraptured and forgetful of all things, speaking not a word nor hearing nor seeing anything at all, they find themselves in a deep and profound silence which is at times changed into a mysterious sleep. Sometimes they pass entire hours in this condition, but to them it does not seem long because they experience a special attraction for that state.
St. Francis de Sales also writes about this mystical sleep that is beyond, and superior to, any conscious acts.
When you find yourself possessed of this simple and pure filial trust in our Lord, remain in it, without attempting to perform any kind of conscious acts of intellect or will. This simple and trusting love, this loving sleep of the spirit in the arms of the Savior contains in itself as much excellence as you could ever hope to find. It is better to sleep on His sacred Breast than to be awake in any other place.
The crypto-modernists may be put off by such language, but if they are really traditionalists, they will understand how to relate such symbolic and theological language to metaphysical teachings as Rene Guenon claims can be done. This will suffice for now and more details will be part of the private discussion on the Tarot.