Recently during meditation I envisioned my soul radiating light like the sun: I felt free, without labels or limiting beliefs, without need for anything better. Then suddenly a golden plate and chalice on a white tablecloth appeared in front of me. A golden, equal-armed cross with a brilliant light around it floated to the right of the chalice. Finally, in my mind’s eye, I saw a golden crown on the white tablecloth. Tiphareth is the Sphere of the Sun, the source of light and life, and gold, which is incorruptible and does not tarnish, is the mineral associated with that state of being. The symbols in my vision reveal the magnificence, harmony and abundance within the human spirit. I also had an epiphany about why I was experiencing the vision: Cumulatively, the moments of inspiration expand consciousness until higher psychism is possible.
I consulted my dog-eared copy of The Mystical Qabalah. According to the author, Dion Fortune, in Tiphareth we find the archetypal ideas behind creation that have emanated from the higher planes. Fortune refers to Tiphareth as the “Treasure House of Images on a higher arc” while making this critical distinction: “but whereas the astral plane is peopled by images reflected from forms, the images of the Sphere of Tiphareth are those formulating, and as it were crystallizing out, from the spiritual emanations of the higher potencies" (The Mystical Qabalah 189).
The lower astral plane reflects the forms within the human mind and the physical plane. The mind during moments of higher psychism in the Sphere of Tiphareth, on the other hand, rises above the lower astral plane to the archetypal ideas emanating from the higher states. Tiphareth, (“Beauty” in Hebrew), is the transition point between the states of force and form and also functions as a point of equilibrium on the Tree. The astral forms of archetypal symbols in Tiphareth, such as the golden, equal-armed cross, embody the spiritual principles that emanate from the higher, formless Spheres.
The mind can only become prepared for this higher psychism through the expansion of consciousness that occurs through repeated experiences of inspiration. Fortune points out that the mystic is at first like a child in a humble manger, not like the Christ giving the Sermon on the Mount. The mystic, in other words, must first “build the Temple” through these moments of exalted and expanded consciousness. After each inspiration, the white heat of pure consciousness eventually diminishes, but “in the brief space of its lasting, changes occur in the temperament, and the mind receives new concepts and undergoes an expansion that never wholly retracts. The tremendous exaltation of the experience dies away, but we are left with a permanent expansion of personality, an enhanced capacity for life in general, and a power of realization of realities that could never have been ours if we had not been forcibly swung across the great gulf of consciousness by the momentum of ecstasy” (183).
Usually we spend our time in what Fortune calls “brain-consciousness,” the surface mind that addresses the demands of daily life. In a stressful capitalistic society, the effective use of brain consciousness is highly valued, to the point that any attempt to expand consciousness beyond the physical plane is considered irresponsible, narcissistic, kooky, impractical, even unsafe. (In most other social situations, of course, I wouldn’t dare to describe experiences of exaltation and expanded consciousness.) This reveals the essential conflict within a society that is both capitalistic and Christian: without the expansion of consciousness produced by inspiration, the individual cannot know the emanations of spiritual principle from the "higher potencies" in the Sphere of the Cosmic Christ.
Every human being can access the Christ-center by remaining open and honoring the multiple dimensions of the psyche. This requires sacrifice, which is the transmutation of force through a shift of focus, a different use of emotional and mental energy. This sacrifice is an aspect of the Mysteries of the Crucifixion, one of the two spiritual experiences of the Sphere of Tiphareth, the other being the Vision of Harmony--the internalization of the harmony, magnificence, and abundance of the human spirit and the cosmos, which occurs in the temple of exaltation.
Take the next path.
Take a vow.