Esoterism, Mystery, and Schwaller de Lubicz:
Interview on Beyond the Veil, September 02, 2016
By David W. Mathisen
You can listen to the program here.
The portion of the program containing my interview begins at approximately 72:50 on the podcast, and the horizontal "listening bar" allows you to click anywhere along the bar and then press the triangular "play" button on the left, to access different places on the program's timeline.
The interview runs for approximately an hour, with some commercial interruptions, so we didn't get to quite finish the thought we were discussing at the end -- but it concerns an extremely important subject, which relates to the name of the show, "Beyond the Veil," and the implicit reference to the Veil of Isis, referred to by Plutarch in his discussion of the legend of Isis and Osiris, which I highly recommend reading in its entirety.
There, Plutarch makes reference to a famous statue of the goddess Isis at ancient Sais in lower Egypt, on one of the branches of the Nile's delta -- and to an inscription there which was referenced by other ancient authors and by later philosophers and esoterists down through the ages. According to Plutarch:
In Sais, the statue of Athena, whom they believe to be Isis, bore the inscription: "I am all that has been, and is, and shall be, and my robe no mortal has yet uncovered."The word translated "robe" is also sometimes translated "mantle," and sometimes as "veil."
The profound subject to which these lines are generally understood to be referring involves the mystery of the unseen realm, the invisible realm, the realm of spirit, the sacred realm (set apart from the ordinary realm) . . . the realm of the gods.
Anything we know of that sacred and ineffable realm clearly is never given to us by mortal or earthly agency.
This topic came up beginning around 1:15:00 in the interview, in discussion of the story of Isis and Osiris, and when I mentioned the Veil of Isis, Chris says at about 1:16:06 half jokingly, "Well, you're disclosing the Mysteries here, David!"
This is actually a very serious charge which I believe should be addressed, but because the interview only goes until about 1:17:15, I did not get an opportunity to explain the assertion by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz that the Mysteries actually cannot be "disclosed" or unveiled by mortal means, just as the inscription described by Plutarch from the statue of Isis tells us.
The inscription quite plainly declares that no mortal can uncover the Mystery, and never has done so -- and so, whatever is conveyed to us concerning the divine realm must come from the divine realm.
In Esoterism & Symbol, first published in French in 1960 and first translated into English in 1985, Schwaller de Lubicz declares (in the very opening lines of that work):
Esoterism has no common measure with deliberate concealment of the truth, that is, with secrecy in the conventional sense of the term.
He then goes on to say a couple of pages later:
Esoterism can be neither written nor spoken, and hence cannot be betrayed. One must be prepared to grasp it, to see it, to hear it. This preparation is not a knowing but a being-able, and can ultimately be acquired only through the effort of the individual himself, by a struggle against all obstacles, and a victory over the human-animal nature.
There is a sacred science, and for thousands of years countless inquisitive people have sought in vain to penetrate its "secrets." It is as if they attempted to dig a hole in the sea with an ax. The tool must be of the same nature as the objective to be worked upon. Spirit is found only with spirit, and esoterism is the spiritual aspect of the world, inaccessible to cerebral intelligence. 3.
In all of this, everything which Schwaller is saying seems to be in accord with the declarations of the famous inscription at Sais.
If this is true, then, that no mortal power can reveal that which belongs to the invisible realm, the divine realm, then what is the purpose of the ancient myths and scriptures? What is the purpose of esoteric writings and stories in general?
Schwaller addresses that in Esoterism & Symbol, as one might expect from the title of the book. It is to facilitate that awakening to the gnosis of the other realm, or (to use a better term) to evoke the gnosis that comes from the other realm (from the other realm, and never from this one).
The word "evoke" means to "call out for" or to "call forth" (and has as its root the same soundvoc which we find in other words such as vocal, vocabulary, and vocation).
Thus esoteric teaching is strictly evocation, and can be nothing other than that. Initiation does not reside in any text whatsoever, but in the cultivation of intelligence-of-the-heart. Then there is no longer anything occult or secret, because the intention of the enlightened, the prophets, and the "messengers from above" is never to conceal -- quite the contrary. 75.This important passage shows us what the myths and sacred stories are for: to point us towards the place where the answer can be found -- but which we ourselves must experience for ourselves (no one else can "experience it for us" and then hand their experience over to us to have for our own -- they can only point the way).
To use a metaphor which I believe is very helpful, the esoteric stories function in very much the same way that waxing the car and painting the fence function in the well-known first Karate Kid movie from 1984 (discussed here). Mr. Miyagi did not tell Daniel-san to wax the car and paint the fence in order toconceal -- quite the contrary.
But neither does Mr. Miyagi say very much of anything in the famous scene in which Daniel finally gets his first glimpse into what is going on.
This is because Mr. Miyagi cannot write it down, or speak it -- Daniel-san has to feel it, and once he feels it, then he grasps it. See again the first line quoted from page 3 of Schwaller's work: "Esoterism can be neither written nor spoken, and hence cannot be betrayed. One must be prepared to grasp it, to see it, to hear it."
Daniel-san had to be prepared to grasp it. To be prepared to grasp it, he first had to wax the cars and paint the fence.
Thus, I vigorously deny that I am "disclosing the Mysteries here," as mentioned at the end of that interview.
No mortal can disclose the Mysteries.
But just as Daniel-san needed (desperately) what Mr. Miyagi was pointing him towards, I believe that we also need (desperately) that towards which the ancient myths are pointing us.
And I do not believe the myths are trying to conceal anything from us.
As Schwaller de Lubicz says: "Quite the contrary."----------
I'm very excited to be participating in the Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge, which begins at the end of this month on September 30, and which will also be attended by John Anthony West, whose landmark book Serpent in the Sky was my first introduction to the work of R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz.