Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Swan Initiation

There is an expression "swan song" which means death or dying. This expression comes from the thought (Middle Ages) that swans sung before they died. It is a clue to the Swan level of initiation.

In the writings of Basil Valentinus, the Swan represents the third level of initiation - Raven and Peacock being first and second. In this level Inspiration as the Divine Word, the harmony of the Spheres, sounds forth.
"In the third degree he meets death and must sing the Swan's song. He then dies to everything earthly."
- Notes from Walter Stein's The Ninth Century
The next stage, is often shown as The White Swan. Now the alchemist begins to experience the inner world as being light filled - the initial inner brightness which is often erroneously mistaken for true illumination. This is merely a first conscious encounter with the etheric world, and in comparison with physical sense experience is for many souls so overpowering as to be pictured as bright white light. The alchemical tradition recognised this and symbolised this stage as the White Swan. The swan is a bird which is rarely seen in flight, but rather swimming upon lake or river, gracefully moving on the surface of water- in soul terms, on the soul's surface, its etheric interface with the physical.

-Adam McLean, The Birds in Alchemy

More on the Swan as the Aum, taken from:
The Voice of the Silence by H. P. Blavatsky

I found this interesting, that the parts of the bird were "parts" of the AUM. I wonder if this was pictured in meditation?:
"Kala Hamsa, the "Bird" or Swan. Says the Nada-Bindu Upanishad (Rig Veda) -
"The syllable A is considered to be its (the bird Hamsa's) right wing, U, its left, M, its tail, and the Ardha-matra (half metre) is said to be its head."

"Some Sanskrit mystics locate seven planes of being, the seven spiritual lokas or worlds within the body of Kala Hamsa, the Swan out of Time and Space, convertible into the Swan in Time, when it becomes Brahma instead of Brahma (neuter).
A Yogi who bestrides the Hamsa [Swan] (thus contemplates on Aum) is not affected by Karmic influences or crores of sins."
Through contemplation on the AUM the student passes from the world of images to the world of God - the Archetypes.

From the Contents Rudolf Steiner's of 

Esoteric Lessons Part III: Berlin, 12-21-'04

AUM, I acknowledge myself or I am: A. 

I acknowledge mankind or man is: U. 

I acknowledge the Godhead or God is: M. (Or I acknowledge life: M)

Feel responsible for every thought, feeling and action. Every moment that we experience in this way brings us forward a little. What would I be without other human beings? Helpless. Streets are paved by others. When I get up in the morning people have already worked for me. My karma is connected with that of other men. I may have been an accomplice to a murderer because I didn't improve him in a previous life. One man's gain is someone else's loss. Teachers taught me. People worked for me from the moment I was born. So do good for all mankind.


Larry Clark said...

Thank you very much!

888 said...

In the hands of the Moors who held Granada there was at that time a sacred treasure,
with the possession of which a kind of hidden knowledge was associated. It was a sacred relic connected with a form of Alchemy. Destiny brought it about that this object and the knowledge associated with it fell into the hands of Francisco Almeida. Almeida felt that he had the right to dispose of it after his own insight, but the Order of St. Iago did not agree with him, and desired to keep for itself the right of disposal, both of the relic itself, and of the hidden knowledge which went with it. Almeida however insisted on his right and eventually passed on the relic and the knowledge to a certain man from Alsace, whose name was Stefan Rautter. This individuality is known to history under the pseudonym Basil Valentine. His writings, preserved by his pupils and circulated in manuscript form, were at a later time collected and published by Thlde, secretary of theRosicrucianOrder. Thldes edition contains a few biographical remarks by Basil Valentine himself, but the real name of
the latter is not given; it is only inserted in handwriting in one of the extant copies of the edition. Basil Valentine here mentions, among other things, that he undertook in peril of his life a journey to St. Iago di Compostella, and he remarks that those who may now benefit from the knowledge which he brought from thence should thank God that he was enabled to complete the arduous journey.
Basil Valentines work contains the great secret of Alchemy, which consists in the study of certain transmutations of carbon, referred to mysteriously as the prima materia. The secret is not revealed; it is only hinted at in a half-jocular form, where it is said that the disciple of Alchemy must not take it amiss if he be called upon to dirty his hands with coal.
Basil Valentine also mentions that he came to England. Thomas Malory, who here
became his pupil, repeats the same jest in the story of the knight, Beaumains. Indeed, the
entire seventh book of Malorys Morte dArthur proves him a pupil of Basil Valentine; only
what Basil refers to as the stone that goes through many colors is for Malory the knight of
many-colored amour.
It was Almeida, therefore, who withheld the knowledge from the Order of St. Iago and
was responsible for giving it to Basil Valentine. The hidden knowledge, and the preparation
in question, was preserved from thenceforth in the Rosicrucian schools of Alchemy. This
knowledge is indeed very ancient, and in the last resort goes back to the time of Alexander
the Great, who learned the secret of substance and of its medical use from his tutor, Aristotle.
The coal, the transmutation of which is the subject of Alchemy, is indeed none other than
the carbon that is contained in every living substance. In the living body of man this carbon
does indeed take on all colors, inasmuch as all the organs are made up of its compounds.
Carbon builds up the human body, which is not only alive, but also permeated in its living
substance by soul and spirit. What Basil Valentine calls the Philosophers Stone is none other than the human being looked at from the threefold aspect of Body, Soul, and Spirit.
Therefore the Philosophers Stone is represented as consisting of three substances, though
one in essence. In the Mystery Schools of Antiquity it was always known that the human
being must experience a transmutation in body, soul, and spirit if the ordinary consciousness
is to be changed into a higher, clairvoyant consciousness. To describe this transmutation
in the language of carbon chemistry was the essential content of Basil Valentines Alchemy.
Thus Almeida brought the Royal Art from Granada to Compostella and from thence, by the
hand of Basil Valentine, to Alsace and to Thomas Malory in England.
-Walter Stein