The "Golden Book of Wisdom" and The Emperor
>> I was wondering if anyone could possibly give me a bit of information on how "Golden Book" is connected to The Emperor and how it would relate to the Tree in an Initiatory context. <<
The Emperor (or Imperator) is associated with the Hebrew Letter Heh which, in the Jewish Kabbalistic tradition of the 32 Paths of Wisdom, is the Second Path connecting Kether to Chokmah. The Torah verse associated with Heh is:
Genesis 1:2 -- "And the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of Elohim hovered over the face of the waters."
And the Path description from the "32 Paths of Wisdom" document reads:
Path #2 -- "The second path is that of the illuminating consciousness. It is the crown (Kether) of creation (Briah), the splendor of the unity, like unto that which "exalts itself as the head over all." The masters of kabbalah call it the second glory."
And to quote from my own commentary upon the 32 Paths of Wisdom:
Here we see the Kethric Light emanating down to Chokmah. This emanation of Light "crowns" Briah. In other words, it stands above the Briatic World of Chokmah-Binah. This descending illumination carries the "splendor" aspect of Kether, the Primal Glory. Therefore, Heh is called the "second glory" and is depicted in the Tarot as an Emperor who "exalts [him]self as the head over all." The Emperor may wear and personify the power that the Crown confers, but he is not the Crown itself.
Heh represents the "first" non-sequential act of creation (Briah) which is/was/will-be a matter of Elohim turning Its attention "downward": Here, Elohim "does" nothing more than take notice of the state of potential and "hover over" attentively. Yet this divine attention is what ultimately sustains the universe since it provides the mental pattern for all that follows.
My understanding of what Bardon hoped to accomplish with the "Golden Book of Wisdom" is: 1) a theory section in which he discussed the occult anatomy of The One Self (i.e., the structure of the universe), and 2) a practical section in which he hoped to teach three things -- (a) the direct perception of essential meaning (or, in Bardon's own terms, "legality"), (b) a first hand, experiential understanding of the occult anatomy of The One Self, and (c) the *direct* creative manipulation of essential meaning / legality.
I would think that the theory section and parts (a) and (b) of the practice section would have been *very* helpful for students at any Step of IIH and that section (c) of the practical section would perhaps only have been appropriate after mastery of Step Eight of IIH.
In his introduction to the "Golden Book of Wisdom" Bardon stated:
"The description of the fourth Tarot-card is of very great help for magicians, spheric magicians and also for quabbalists, for it makes them penetrate deeper into the secrets of wisdom and thereby enables them to solve the greatest problems. **This is not only possible from the point of view of knowledge, but -- what's more important -- from the point of cognition, i.e., the point of wisdom.** An initiate must be able to answer, at any time, any question that he may be asked. If he has taken the right way, he must be capable of solving any problem that he may be facing in connection with the universal laws."
"Logically, it is not possible to accommodate and explain all the wisdom in only one book. Part of it though, is contained in this work. **Above all, the subject matter contained in the preceding three books is illuminated from many aspects, so that any practitioner who becomes absorbed in the study of what this book contains will become more acquainted with the universal laws and their effects by extending his consciousness and enlarging his knowledge.** The more he identifies himself with the comprehensive subject matter, the stronger will he be seized by the greatness of power of these laws, and he will be filled with unbounded awe, will look up to Divine Providence in humbleness."
"Anyone who masters this Book of Wisdom completely will thoroughly know the foundations of hermetic philosophy and may be considered a hermetic philosopher from the standpoint of the universal laws."
The foundation of Wisdom is the *direct perception of essential meaning*. With this faculty, the magician is able to understand any thing and any situation. In his "Golden Book of Wisdom", Bardon would have related his own *direct* perceptions of how our universe is structured, phrased in the "language of intellectuals". And, as was his way, he would invariably have included a section of exercises that reveal an initiatory path which trains the student in the faculties they will need to make their own *direct perceptions* and then how to make Wise, creative use of those perceptions and the Understanding that arises from them.
Hence the Emperor -- one who is absolute sovereign over the "realm". In the standard Tarot image, he is enthroned and bears all the symbols of rulership. Personally, I prefer the image of the "Imperator" from the Tarocchi del Mantegna, which serves as the foundation of the image I developed in my "32 Paths of Wisdom Tarot" for the Letter Heh. In this image, the crowned and enthroned Imperator is gazing into a sphere that he holds in his left hand. At his feet, there stands a Raven. To my mind, this image presents a more accurate depiction of the branch of magic which pertains to the Letter Heh. It is about *direct perception* and about the levels of creative power that *direct perception* opens the initiate to.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
18 Nov 2003