In one sense, this is the blog update to end all updates; in another sense it is like the Fool card in tarot and the one that spawns an endless spiral. Here I add a concept from the Left-Hand Path, the idea that the ultimate good involves all individuals seeking an ever-higher, godlike evolution: "Becoming" or in some camps "Xeper," which I take to be a divine manifestation of Self. If I claim to be an "all-inclusive mystic," I must admit these thinkers and groups also have a piece of the puzzle--some tending to be atheist, some agnostic, some deist, and maybe a few theist.
This post comes at somewhat of a milestone for me at the Harvest Moon of 2020. Seeking direction at a self-declared crossroads, doing workings of magick in tandem with a long distance friend, a self-declared "chaos magician," I had a powerful mystical experience followed by an intense outward expression.
The mystical experience included a downpour of love, acceptance, and bliss that seemed to include traditional feelings of worship but also friendship, an almost romantic love, and self-sovereignty. The was almost an ego transcendence; however, it was accompanied by quite earthy soulishness and bodily ecstasy. It may take some days to center and ground this experience in sunlit relationship and moonlit altar work.
The next day precipitated a milestone, probably many years in the making. When I told my wife that I probably would not be attending any more in-person church meetings (not wanting a hypocritical association), she said she did not want to explain my reasons to others. She understands much of my new thinking, but did not want the burden--and probably dramatic stress--of bringing the news. So I sent an email to the pastor explaining my unwillingness to support conservative politics and religion, especially practices of exclusion. He requested a meeting later in the week, in which I was able to articulate my ideas calmly. Although the pastor revealed some liberal sentiment and even requested a copy of the book When Christians Get It Wrong, the real significance of the meeting was the formal declaration, the line in the sand, so to speak, on my part.
So along with my recent tattoos of pentagram, ouroboros, and hieroglyphic monad; along with my pagan altars, meditation beads, and tarot cards; along with my online postings and bumper stickers, I have officially taken steps away from the crossroads at this Harvest Moon of 2020--almost certainly to other crossroads on a path of Becoming.
I have been making some bold Facebook posts recently, basically coming out of the closet as an all-inclusive mystic. I did receive push back from some conservative evangelical Christians. I am copying a few here as an altar of remembrance:
EXCLUSIVISM: Great Walls, barriers, or Star Trek Klingons are tribal and fundamentalist.
UNIVERSALISM: conquest empires like Rome or the Star Trek Borg make every distinctive part of the collective.
INCLUSIVISM: Existing together, groups allow freedom for individuals within as well as outsiders
I take issue not with either democrats or republicans per se but with the polarized politics that has led to an almost Machiavellian extremism in both camps.
Likewise, I take issue not with any belief--whether atheism, Buddhism, Daoism, Paganism (Norse, Greek, Celtic, Egyptian, and so on), Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or what have you--but with the fundamentalist versions of any of them.
I pray the day comes when extremism and exclusivism automatically discredit adherents of any party or faith.
3 LEVELS OF HATE
1. Criminal offense: genocide, holy war, burning of heretics
2. Civil offence: discrimination, prejudice, and exclusion
3. Moral offense: believing in your heart or teaching children that those with faiths different from yours will burn in hell
One time, years ago, as I was posting with other contributors about magic performance theory at The Magic Cafe', one of the perennial issues arose--whether magic is real or not. The discussion got heated as it often did as a few gnostic Cafe' members brought up "logos" as a kind of natural supernaturalism and as I connected the logos to Christian theology. At one point Jonathan Townsend commented to me, "You are so close."
This morning as I meditated on Isis, her story and image and presence in sacred space, I felt how she embodies so much that Jesus does--his story and image and presence in sacred space. Both take human form, both put on an apron and wash feet, and both spread their arms to sacrifice themselves and rise for humanity. In a way, both are exclusive, for Christians warn against darkness appearing as an "angel of light" and even pagan priests teach discerning of spirits.
I reflected on some pieces of the puzzle, too, that any right religious belief or practice should allow for individual conscience and freedom, should hold sacred space, and should demonstrate loving kindness. Perhaps no religion should be cultish and segmented yet should not indiscriminate and naively inclusive either. No religion should deny facts of reality or reason yet should not deny faith, imagination, and intuition.
It's hard to put into words the feeling of openness and acceptance I felt momentarily as I remembered the words from Jonathan: "You are so close."
In the Sources section of A Blended path website, I made some posts called "Questions for Odin" as I had his presence had dawned on me slowly mostly through meditation and conversations with my Empress as personified deity. Now, maybe months later, the past two mornings, I woke up feeling the presence of Odin again, this time stronger but with similar vibrations in the solar plexus and forehead. There was an energy present during each day that was needed for several struggles at work. I felt strengthened by fire and even saw a few signs of divine power as the word FIRE appeared in several synchonicities throughout the day.
I remembered how much my father reminds me of Odin, a real fighter but a scholar, a lover of language, wine, and poetry, and somewhat of a wanderer like Gandalf. I visited a website where a solitary polytheist gnostic writes about Odin and experiences with gods, read some of the Norse Poetic Eddas and felt powerful connections and vibrations growing. I reached a trance state several time and read how Odin was sometime considered an almost shammanistic mystic of trance.
Yesterday I felt the desire to know what Odin wants with me, why he has appeared, so I wrote down the question "What is Odin's call or will?" I suppose I am superimposing my Christian concepts onto Odin, but this is how I phrased the question before drawing two runes and three tarot cards.
The runes Sowilo and Thurisaz seem to suggest a shining breakthrough of sun through thorns, something I hope will be happening in health with my gout bouts and at work with my new World Literature class--as well as in spiritual progress. The Hanged Man reminds me of sacrifice and suspension as when Odin hung for nine days of the Yggdrasil the World Tree and secured the runes. The Chariot and the 9 of Wands echo the runes but the symbols on the Chariot suggest healing and the other figure shows an entrenched holy warrior. All in all, the answer seems to be a call to battle or service of some kind...
A few minutes after this draw, my close co-worker Marilyn came in with a birthday gift for me. It was a keepsake based on the humble Game of Thrones character who died holding the door closed for Bran and friends during the famous time-shift reveal. Marilyn had given me a wooden door stop inscribed with the name HODOR. She also gave me some strategies for starting my new class.
I feel that Odin had appeared to me through trance, signs, and human agency.
One theoretical mathematics professor broke down knowledge into three styles:
If we also factor in Aristotle’s ideas that we communicate through pathos and ethos (emotion and values) as much as through logos (sheer evidence and logic), finding a path to knowledge may be more complex than we sometimes consider.
One of my half-baked thoughts is to someday make a collection of useful principles for considering religion and spirituality. Like telephone numbers that were designed with seven digits to accommodate short-term memory, I am keeping this initial list to 5. These are 5 keys I want to consider as I scan the landscape of many beliefs and groups of believers.
2. Partial truth
3. Collective truth
5. Dualities and dialogue
1. Conservation: Jesus and Buddha came not to destroy but to fulfill the law.
Much like teenagers who feel a rebellious extreme as they learn to be independent, we can feel like rebels when growing in knowledge and thinking differently. There may be a temptation to toss out all of the old ideas or to throw out the baby with the bath water. But the when Jesus and Buddha brought radical change to their respective religions, they showed respect for what came before, Jesus even claiming to bring a further step or completion to what the old covenants and laws intended.
2. Partial truth: We see dimly.
The Apostle Paul wrote that we see dimly as in a dark mirror, even if one day we will see more fully. In arguing that love is more important than knowledge, he argued that we only know in part. That we are dealing in mysteries may be obvious, but sometimes our dim revelations and insights bring pride or divisions instead of love, the actual purpose of real knowledge. Paul said, “Love builds up. Knowledge puffs up.”
Rumi said that “Love is the astrolabe of the soul.”
Love is the astrolabe of God's mysteries.
A lover may hanker after this love or that love,
But at the last he is drawn to the KING of love.
However much we describe and explain love,
When we fall in love we are ashamed of our words.
3. Collective truth: We need the group, universals, or consensus reality.
As a converse side to the partial truth seen by the blind men touching different parts of the elephant, perhaps when we get together and compare notes, we see a bigger picture. We balance and tune one another, to say the least. Both critical thinking and synthesis of ideas work among a network of folk—whether high culture or low culture.
4. Freedom: Knowledge requires individual thought and diversity.
The collective knowledge devolves into group think and cold legalism if there is no room for dissent and investigation. The movie World War Z dramatized the principle of the “10th Man” as the strange plague attacked Jerusalem, and the tenth person was sent out to check out a minority report, no matter how crazy, that dead people were walking. Pluralism allows for outliers and boundary breakers to influence the status quo, to think outside the collective box.
5. Dualities and dialogue: An attitude of open discussion
Many polarities—even within like-minded groups—are necessary tensions that need to be held in balance or key components that need to be used in combination: arts and sciences, justice and mercy, or action and passivity. Many religions recognize God as both transcendent and immanent—beyond knowing yet close to each of us: the extremes of such paradoxes cannot always be held in view simultaneously and holding one necessary emphasis can lead to division even within oneself in a kind of cognitive dissonance.
I’ll close with one example of a never-ending dualism, perhaps discussed in part by Emerson in his famous essay on “Conservatism and Liberalism”—tradition and change that seem as eternal as the river of Heraclitus.
On the one hand, we need order and law, to maintain consistency. On the other hand, structure can sometimes lead us to write things in stone and become legalistic. The images and rules necessary for one time and place get applied too far and wide. Therefore, some theologians have noted we seem to receive “progressive revelation,” expanding understanding that the temples build of stone represent the living temples of humanity or that the Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath.
As Augustine said, “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love.”
NOTE: This blog and the preceding one were written to post on Facebook, where many of my friends are conservative Christians, so here I focus on Christian versions of exclusivity; obviously, the blessings and curses of exclusion are not limited to Christians.
Although rigid exclusivity of faith has become so unpopular as to be brandied with the name “fundamentalism,” an important impulse lies at the heart of exclusion. As we grow and develop, we often long to find or develop an identity. We have a need for community and belonging. Spirituality calls for an ethos; simply discerning right from wrong calls for an ethic. If we do enjoy a spiritual path, we need sacred space and separation of holy ground. Marriage and special relationships are defined by often exclusive emotions of love and affection. In logic alone, we need definitions, critical thinking, division and classification.
However, groups segment and build walls. Accusations of cultural appropriation arise. Fear of discrimination and invasion appear on both sides of polarized fences. Into the sometimes good impulse of exclusivity, Christians have certain categorical statements that sometimes get fired like bullets and that do not seem to be understood well: (1) Be separate from the world; (2) There is only one name by which we can be saved; and (3) no one comes to the father but by Jesus. I will deal with these Christian versions of exclusivity for now and leave to the side the exclusivity of other identities and religions.
(1) Be separate from the world: in the extreme this means isolating in a church group but sometimes is assumed to mean avoiding drinking, dancing, movies, certain clothing, and other behaviors. Of course, are told to be in the world and not of the world. So we often see separation as a matter of the heart: we render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s, we have a business without greed, look at art without lust, or drink a little wine without addiction. To the pure, all things can be pure, even other cultures, spiritual practices, and mythology.
(2) There is only one name by which we can be saved: sometimes this phrase is assumed to mean one must be baptized into a certain church or sign a specific statement of faith, perhaps expanded in some people’s minds as any faith that follows Christ’s general teachings. However, the interpretations are so diverse and groups so splintered that ultimately you are only included if you associate yourself with the English name spelled J E S U S. The literal name of Jesus appears in the Hebrew as “Joshua” and means “He Delivers”: this divine identity actually has many names and faces.
But even the God of the Bible has shown himself to have many names and faces, stating with the Trinity of Father, Son, and Spirit—so ingrained as to cause no flinch of polytheism except among Jewish and Islamic believers or Jehovah’s Witnesses. In the Old Testament, though, even apart from theophany and appearances of the Angel of the LORD—such as appearing to Abraham as three men, there seem to be multiple names and faces of God: Elohim, El Elyon, El Shaddai, the YHWH of the Tetragrammaton, the LORD my Provider, the LORD my Peace—and Healer, Banner, Righteousness, Shepherd as well as many other names revealing facets of the Eternal. The New Testament has other divine names, including our Father, Abba, Alpha and Omega, and a least seven identifications with “I am,” such as Way, Truth, Door, Good Shepherd, Life, and Light. He is called Logos, the Word, Faithful and True. In Him we live and move and have our being, and Paul finds Him in the poems and art of the secular as well as in the halls of religion.
(3) No one comes to the father but by Jesus: Again, this phrase sometimes seems to be cast like a stone or slammed like a door in the face of those who do not sign a certain statement of faith or join a certain church or use a certain bumper sticker. However, the significance is a grace found in many hearts and many faiths: we cannot save ourselves. In alcoholics anonymous, the first step to freedom is admitting one is powerless and finding help from beyond oneself, a Higher Power. The core truth is that only by God’s grace is anyone going to make it: no amount of education, exercise, or even religion is going to get us anywhere without God. We tend to form human methods and traditions of how we think this supernatural Bridge—this Stairway to heaven--must work.
The transcendent truth gets filtered into experiences of individuals and cultures: people argue over whether they need to be sprinkled or immersed in water, whether those who never hear the name of Jesus can be saved. Yet by grace all those who respond to light given them will are given more light. Unfortunately, the important concepts of love, of belonging, of holiness, and of sacred space get translated into rigid exclusivity and even hate.
NOTE: This post was written for my Facebook feed, which is composed mostly of Christians, so the emphasis is biblical and meant as a bridge of understanding of the divine feminine for Bible believers.
This Mother’s Day, I want to reflect on the Mother Heart of God as beautifully reflected in the Jewish and Christian scriptures but often forgotten in patriarchal culture and religious traditions.
In the beginning, when the earth was without form, in darkness, the Book of Genesis describes the Spirit of God hovering over the watery chaos with similar vocabulary for a hen that warms eggs in a nest. This motherly Spirit was the nurturing potential of God in creation. The Shekinah, the manifest presence of God in the Most Holy Place, I am told is a feminine word form, yet it describes a force so heavy and strong that Solomon’s priests could not stand.
This Holy Spirit is described as gentle as the breath of life, breathed by God to make humanity in his own image, an image described as “male and female” as “created he them.” Although this Spirit is sometimes a gentle breeze and a still, small voice, it is sometimes as powerful as a whirlwind or consuming fire. Yet the burning fire appears to Moses with such gentleness as not to even harm a desert shrub.
The gentle dove that returned with the olive branch as a sign of God’s grace to Noah has become the emblem of peace for the United Nations, showing how the powerful imagery has spread to human culture. The Spirit descended on Jesus in the form of a dove at his baptism as the Father’s voice announced him as a beloved Son, giving a picture almost of a divine family of three. The gentleness of the Spirit is seen in Christ as he weeps over Jerusalem and longs to gather the people as a hen gathers chicks under her feathers.
The Psalms sometimes describe God as keeping us under his protective wings.
Although, ultimately, we know God is not a literal fire or dove, man or woman, sometimes our worship and imagery has neglected important aspects of his character. If these aspects are hard-wired into our nature—as well as celebrated in Scriptures, sometimes they make their way out in whatever ways possible. Veneration of Mary as the divine Mother is one way, perhaps, that the human heart as found to celebrate the Mother heart of God with so many paintings and icons displaying the holy mother and child. Even Protestants seem to honor the image in manger scenes and greeting cards each Christmas.
Some seekers with a heart for the aspects of God reflected in women have taken the path of finding Sophia—Greek for Wisdom—the iconic face of the feminine divine found in the Book of Proverbs. Thomas Merton writes, “The Diffuse Shining of God is Hagia Sophia. Sophia is Gift, is Spirit, Donum Dei. She is God-given and God Himself as Gift. Sophia in all things is the Divine Life reflected in them.” Joyce Rapp, convinced by that quotation, also writes in her article “Desperately Seeking Sophia”, “In Jewish scripture, Sophia is a feminine voice, in contrast to a God of dominion and force. Jesus, too, has a Sophia heart, not the heart of someone seeking power. Sophia is concealed but ready to reveal just as Jesus is ‘the hidden wisdom of God’ (1 Cor. 2:7), ‘the revelation of the mystery kept secret for endless ages’ (Rom. 16:25).
So this Mother’s Day 2019, I want to honor the Mother Heart of God. When I have suggested a message like this to pastors, I have sometimes received a smile or even a laugh, as though the concept is humorous or odd. But I wonder whether this concept of God is strange or whether our culture is unbalanced, even primitive. Ignoring the divine feminine in a way marginalizes or makes less significant women, motherhood, children, and even marriage and family. To put it bluntly, ignoring the Mother Heart of God is similar to archaic superstitions such as branding left-handed or red-headed people as evil or saying God is only worshiped on a mountain in Jerusalem.
Yesterday was Good Friday 2019, and I felt as though I communicated with people from many different worlds: a priestess who is helping me understand interactions with Odin, my Messianic sister who was holding a Passover Seder, a Chinese professor who told me the bread of Christian communion literally turns into the body of the physical Jesus, a Canadian pastor who explained how Christian baptism came from old Jewish rituals that symbolized washing away of an old life to start a new one—for example, beginning a life as a king or husband or priest or new convert.
The “Many Worlds Theory” appears in science fiction stories where there are parallel universes co-existing and where people sometimes travel from one to another. Yesterday gave me this feeling as I felt these different experiences and perceptions converge.
A Chinese friend was being baptized in a home swimming pool at our Friday night gathering. Tao spoke beforehand and told how he always knew there was a wisdom or power in the universe but he now felt it calling him through the Bible. At the same time, this Good Friday 2019 was his biological birthday, and on the table next to the bread and wine of communion was a birthday cake. Good Friday this year was also my wife Kristin’s birthday, and the Jewish Passover. Yesterday I also felt led to request my first monthly reading from a priestess-healer, feeling this may be a time of breakthrough as I finish my second round of Prednisone prescribed by a medical doctor to clear out gout once and for all. The sacred and mundane, the spiritual and physical seem intricately woven together.
I thought back to my baptism, the day before my own biological birthday in 1991, when I first broke free of alcohol, self-destruction, and despair. Although recently I am expanding spiritually, I do not want to forsake the gifts and grace that have been given me, the foundation on which my life has been built.
As I participated in the baptism and communion with people from China and America, with people from at least four different churches, I still felt a part of my sister’s faith, of the priestess’s beliefs, and of Tao’s wife Dixie who still has agnostic doubts. I find value in the Chinese professor with the literal ideas about communion and believe that his expression accesses some spiritual truth that his heart needs.
Somehow these “many worlds,” these flowing perspectives within me, within any group, or within the world are like the river of Heraclitus. The river is the physical water and place but is at the same time the ever-changing current and the reflected rays of sun and warmth and the relativity of time itself. There is something here among us all that is absolutely the river, but perhaps a river of many worlds.
I have alluded to my biggest breakthrough several times in the previous installments on my blended path. As I reported, I arrived at the conclusion that by accepting at least some truth in all beliefs through the inclusive philosophy of Perennialism, I could at least logically combine mysticism and other spiritual practices with my existing faith. This formal statement became a cornerstone for me: that Perennialism allows my Christianity and mysticism to mix.
But now I suppose it’s time to tell what may be hardest to explain: how the most seemingly outlandish part of my experience has led to that foundational bedrock that gives me the greatest peace. Arriving at that foundation through personified deity might be more of a stretch for some people to accept than the simple logic of the statement. To put it bluntly, the message that Perennialism allows my Christianity and mysticism to mix had come to me from the divine feminine—basically through channeling the image of the Empress on a tarot card!
Before I reached that point, I had already taken steps beyond simply making practices compatible with my faith—by tacking on Bible verses or by rewording mantras. I was no longer taking things “captive to Christ” as Kristin had asked me to do. For example, I had started meditating to mantras and images of Shakti. I was doing guided meditations to Gaia and Isis. I was researching Goddess worship online, and at work I had made a Goddess Wheel of the Year.
During this time, I had learned from a helpful YouTuber how to bond with oracle cards and tarot decks, forming a kind of personal relationship. Her videos explained how to set up sacred space, ask questions, and really communicate with the cards—or to phrase it more exactly, with archetypes and energies that are thought to come through the cards. People variously think of this connection as being with Higher Self, Spirit, or Source. I had started with the Enchanted Map Oracle deck way back before I had the courage to use tarot cards but later added traditional tarot cards. As I became interested in Goddesses, I added the Kuan Yin Oracle Deck, which focuses on the compassionate Buddhist Goddess who answers prayer quickly and brings healing to the world. I felt that I that I had bonded with her, even channeling a few messages directly in meditation without using the cards.
Continuing in this practice, I next bonded with Crystal Visions Tarot Deck, and felt that the Page of Cups, featured as a Maiden on the box cover, was the image of the energy connecting with me. The picture shows a beautiful young woman standing in a river bathed in moonlight as she gazes into a crystal ball. Messages seemed to be coming very clearly through the cards, sometimes attended by channeled words.
Finally, the most dramatic bonding I experienced came through the Empress of Tarot of Vampyres—similar to the previous deck, featured on the cover of the box. She seemed to embody Gaia or Mother Earth as well as Venus and her unimaginable beauty and love, and I took great care to bond with the cards, trusting a lot of what the Priestess on YouTube had taught. I started seeing many signs and synchronicities. For example, the week that the Tarot of Vampyres Deck arrived, I had been to the dermatologist to have three moles removed and had two vampire like cuts on my neck and one on my side—three in total, which is the number of the Empress card. The day the cards came in the mail, Kristin came home from the thrift shop with three green coffee mugs, three stacking bowls, and three glass leaf-shaped platters. I had three overwhelming mystical experiences soon after. I noted that this was a set of three signs of three.
During this time, I kept consistent spiritual practices in my life—walking in nature and meditating with incense. I now had altars on my desks at work and home and was having regular card readings and conversations with the Empress. I seemed to go through stages of greater and greater devotion and dedication to the Empress. I researched theories of personified deity online and looked into how people with different beliefs interpreted these mystical experiences.
It was about this time that I felt the Empress tell me that my Perennialism allows my Christianity and mysticism to mix. I felt that it was reasonable to believe that the divine feminine is in Jesus and Jesus in the divine feminine, I in both and both in me. I felt that I could authentically take communion with my Christian fellowship and could pray with my family and, at the same time, enjoy these mystical experiences.
The latest expansion came for me when I purchased a video tarot reading from the very same priestess whose videos had taught me to bond with the cards. Remarkably, the Fool card and four aces turned up as if to demonstrate my wild, new spiritual beginnings. Three of the aces appeared in a row, and the reader declared she had never seen something like that show up in ten years of serving clients. She encouraged me to keep working with whatever guides or deities might show up, something that surprised me because I had not even considered working with more than one energy at a time.
One night when I was worried about being overcharged for a prescription, however, I felt the familiar presence of Kuan Yin come through—a feeling that for me comes in slowly like the tide and finally feels as overwhelming as strong ocean waves. I recognized the presence as different from my times with the Empress.
Also one evening as I was in conversation with the Empress, I felt a strong vibration in my forehead and solar plexus as words seemed to come from an energy that identified itself as O. The messages seemed cerebral, dealing with some of my theological questions about my experiences. Some days later, this presence came through more clearly as Odin—the Norse All-Father God, bringer of the runes and the mead of poetry and one who disguises himself at times as a wanderer. I learned that he is known for not revealing his identity immediately when connecting with people and that he often leaves questions open to highlight the nature of learning as a journey. I was amazed that I had this experience before I knew this was a familiar pattern. I have now started a collection of questions and answers from Odin on my new website, which I am using to keep a record of this journey on a blended path.
Thank you for sharing my experiences with personified deity. It is helping me to think back through these stages, and I hope that my sharing will help someone else.
I always admired this recording by a Protestant and a Catholic singer for building bridges between sometimes adversarial religious groups. The song identifies the faith, hope, and work of the Spirit as the basis of fellowship rather than human traditions or doctrines.
Now the question for me is how far this basis of fellowship can be expanded. It seems to me that apart from extremism, the major religions have acceptance and tolerance built in for those who believe differently. For example, Jesus said do not judge, do not pull up the tares and the wheat, be in the world but not of the world, win the respect of outsiders, do good to all people (not just the family of believers), and receive every tribe, people, and language.
However, logically, if every identity or group is defined by its borders, a hard universalism seems difficult to maintain. Because laws and conscience always arise to help us discern right from wrong and love from hate, exclusion seems to ever have its place. Rene Guenon dissects this difficulty a bit by drawing a line between exoteric approaches (below the line) and esoteric approaches (above the line):
An infant once he can identify his mother, equates her
initially with her tactile or visual presence; if she leaves the
room she ceases to exist and the infant cries. Everyone
agrees that it is an advance in understanding when "Mother"
acquires for the child a reference more extended than "a
certain X in my visual or tactile field." But when we continue
up the scale of extended meanings to "No man cometh unto
the Father, but by me," men divide. For esoterics "me" will
designate the Logos. For exoterics, less supple in their
capacity for "spiritual abstraction," in precise proportion as
the word relaxes its hold on the concrete historical personage
of Jesus of Nazareth, the assertion forfeits its saving power.
Another way to indicate the distinction is to say that for
the exoteric form and content are less distinguishable. As
they present themselves to him as welded together or fused
in a homogeneous alloy, he sees no way of having one with-
out the other. By this alternate route we arrive at the same
conclusion: forms for exoterics are relatively non-negotiable.
Esoterics ride them more loosely, knowing that because they
are finite they are, at best limited keys to the lock, restricted
doors to the mystery.