Sainte asked:

Has anyone read this book? I got into it partly because of my interest in Tarot and Sprituality (capitalizaton to highlight the scope of the interest), partly because of my interest in The Grail, and Occult/Esoteric Christianity as portrayed in the Tarot. Anyone anywhere near me on this?

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John Barnwell Foreword by William Bento to: “The Arcana of Light on the Path” by John Barnwell

Within this book, [1] John Barnwell has revealed the hidden harmony that exists between the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot and the 22-fold stanza structure of the epic meditative text Light on the Path. [2] And, by using this esoteric canon of numbers as a bridge — leading from Anthroposophia (“the wisdom of becoming human”), to Theosophia (“the wisdom of God”) — he has revealed further light to illuminate the pathway toward self-initiation. The Arcana of Light on the Path follows his first book The Arcana of the Grail Angel; [3] and demonstrates a seamless continuity in his understanding of some of the most difficult and recondite subjects. Furthermore, The painstaking care he has exhibited in his systematic organization of a coherent and developmental sequence for a plethora of esoteric concepts, shows clearly how such concepts are derived from universal immutable laws, and is evidence of his indebtedness to the Masters of “Arcane Wisdom.” Although, in doing this, he does not add to that which has been given; nor does he subtract from its profound aphoristic simplicity; but rather, he does what few students of esoteric discipline can do —he articulates the implicit hidden structure of its wisdom content, and then places it within the context of each aspirant’s striving.
The linking of the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot, to the numerical sequence of the aphoristic thoughts found within Light on the Path, is an ingenious hermetic approach; which enables the imaginative world of symbolic language to fuse into the inspirational stream of the “Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of Sensations and Feelings”; and thereby, sight and hearing may be enhanced for the student upon the path. It is, however, not given explicitly. For the student must endeavor to train their powers of observation — in order to see the laws working in both the universe, and the individual human life — as they are concealed within the symbolic imagery of the Tarot. They must also learn to hear the inaudible word behind each word spoken by the Master. To do this, the student must forego reliance upon the intellect’s capacity to merely group and fix ideas into categories. Instead, they must open the “hallway” between the ear and the heart — and walk through it empty, and full of unknowing — until the living word of conscience seizes every timbre of their being. If this effort is properly and consistently applied, then sight and hearing may be lifted up into the realms of the supersensible. For thereby, these senses become transformed into new faculties of soul. And the mature student will, no doubt, realize how indispensable such faculties are for orienting oneself to the pleroma of Spiritual Beings who are awaiting one across the threshold. This orientation is neither spatial nor temporal; but rather — it serves to anchor one’s consciousness in the eternal mission of humanity.
In Barnwell’s “Prologue,” this mission is referred to as the “building of the Temple of Man,” and is symbolically represented by the 22 Major Arcana of the Tarot. For within each arcanum, there is encoded a facet of the archetypal human being (Adam Kadmon), as presented by means of the realm of space — the manifest visible world; and yet, its deeper meaning can only be found by one symbol’s relationship to another, one card’s relationship to another — within the context of both space and time, beneath the timeless expanse of the Eternal.
The Tarot, as a “book,” can be read as the ever changing story of the evolution of humanity. For within this “little book,” the past, present, and future are mirrored, and set within a deeply meaningful spatial-pictorial “hologram.” Although it must be the active mind of the student which animates the image, and liberates it from a fixed point in space — to a potential journey in time. Once done, the student is able to identify his consciousness with that which Barnwell calls the “Noble Traveler.”
The inspirational words found within Light on the Path are timeless teachings — which can only be understood by a full immersion within the present; i.e., into a state of consciousness which is able to experience the presence of the Master. Barnwell cites Rudolf Steiner’s identification of Hilarion as the Master behind this classic initiation text (a fact first noted by H.P. Blavatsky); and furthermore, he notes the indications of Rudolf Steiner as to how this adept played a leading role in the Graeco-Roman Cultural Epoch (747- B.C.-1414 A.D.). Implicit in this reference is that most significant of events, which occurred during this period. For the Christ-Logos, as the Divine “I Am,” incarnated into Jesus of Nazareth at the Baptism, and entered into Earth evolution through the Mystery of Golgotha; and thereby, an individuated consciousness was brought about within humanity — with the seed-potential to unfold the “I Am” (Budhi, or Life-Spirit), the “Christ in you,” and more fully participate in the divinity of the Logos without a loss of one’s individuality. In light of this, might it not also be said that Hilarion’s intimate relationship to this time, and this deed, makes his words of guidance extraordinarily important to anyone who might seek to evolve beyond the merely mortal and temporal aspects of their humanity? And so, what was transmitted to Mabel Collins in 1884 can be thought of as a means of preparation for all who dare to be included amongst the forerunners of the Age of Light, which began in 1899.
Although initiatic teachings have a particular relevance for the time in which they are given. Their reemergence throughout the ages, points to the wisdom of timelessness — a universally spiritual quality which is present within all stages of development. Light on the Path is a perennial artistic masterpiece of philosophia (“love of wisdom”); particularly, as it pertains to the spiritual science of initiation. Few texts can compare with its deeply-meditative thought content. The intrinsic nature of each thought is seed-like; and so, by meditating upon an individual seedthought, and nurturing it with warmth of soul — the light concealed within the seed-thought is revealed — and gives rise to something that is truthful and prophetic concerning the path that humanity travels. The inclusion of Rudolf Steiner’s “Exegesis to Light on the Path” emphasizes this point clearly. Barnwell’s good judgment to follow this “Exegesis” with Rudolf Steiner’s “Esoteric Meditations” is sure to be an asset for the earnest student who seeks to find “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” and dedicate themselves thereby to the path of becoming — that is the royal road of the “Noble Traveler.”
I can only say, with the utmost sincerity, that only when the student has suffered to despair the way of the intellect — will they be able to truly appreciate the jewels to be found within Light on the Path. Such a moment of catharsis may lead the aspirant, through serious and consistent practice — to an awakening of the fruits of meditatively acquired knowledge. For through this quiescent effort, the regulation and subsequent transformation of the Astral-Body can take place; thereby, engendering into one’s aura the radiant light of the Spirit-Self (Manas) — as the self-realized consciousness of our divine “I Am.”
The initiatic value of these formulations, which were given by Hilarion to Mabel Collins, should not be underestimated. For meditative concentration, upon these shards of timeless wisdom, can activate the sixth chakra (the “third eye” center; located at the brow), and allow the seventh chakra (the “crown” center; located at the fontanel, or top of the head) to open up to that which streams from the “Mother Lodge of Humanity.” It is experienced, in the words of Rudolf Steiner, when “the pineal gland becomes swathed in golden threads of light raying from the pituitary gland.” It is then, that the moment of illumination arrives — and the deep spiritual content of Light on the Path becomes more than a mere text; but rather, serves as a vehicle for the journey “through the gates of gold” to meet the Masters of the “Mother Lodge of Humanity.”
Making the words of this Master accessible to students upon the path, as we enter a new millennium, is certainly a deed worthy of sincere acknowledgement and gratitude. Barnwell does this, not by merely republishing the text — but by giving us further clarification which confirms the validity of the path today, as well as affirming the possibility for each one of us to embark upon it. In accomplishing this challenging task, the virtues of timelessness and succinctness have been met by him in quite a unique manner. His “Prologue” and “Fragmentary History” can be read and reread for their rich elucidation. Yet, there is another facet of this book which must be commended — it is Barnwell’s “Grail Diagrams.” For within each one of them there is a condensation of wisdom knowledge that can easily occupy our meditations for a lifetime.
Applying the same meditative discipline to these “Grail Diagrams,” that is recommended for the study of the Major Arcana, can yield equally precious insights to the “Noble Traveler.” For the signs upon the pathway will be made visible; and thereby, the Grail mystery of the “building of the Temple of Man,” will also — God willing — gradually become realized before the illuminated gaze of one’s spiritual eye. And the guide upon the path which leads to the accomplishment of the “Temple of Man” will be clearly recognized as Anthroposophia — the harmonious embodiment of human wisdom. This spiritual path, which ultimately ascends through the crown chakra to the glory of the immeasurable, ineffable Divine Kingdom of the Godhead, is the very essence of Light on the Path.
To explicate what lies within these pages, volumes of research and literature would need to be mentioned. However, such a task is not only unnecessary — but would undermine the esoterically crafted diagrams’ true value. To the seeker of merely categorical knowledge, these diagrams may be mistaken for absolute truths; but, for the one who meditatively acquires a love for their dynamic orchestration of living cosmic thoughts, they will become an occult “compass” into virtually all conceivable pathways into the higher worlds. Such a treasure “is worth its weight in gold,” and no “Noble Traveler” should set out upon the path without a genuine respect for its potential to orient consciousness in realms transcending space and time. For these “Grail Diagrams” offer us a western esoteric formulation, as a counterpart to the mandalas of the East — to serve as tools for enhancing our meditative practice, by developing a capacity for “thinking into” the language of the Spirit, which will enable one to find a balanced mood of soul in preparation for becoming filled by the light of wisdom. “Attend you to them,” and be ever mindful of the Light on the Path.
[1] Barnwell, John. The Arcana of Light on the Path: The Star Wisdom of the Tarot and Light on the Path. Bloomfield Hills: Verticordia Press, 2000.
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[2] Collins, Mabel. Light on the Path. London: George Redway, 1888.
[3] Barnwell, John. The Arcana of the Grail Angel: The Spiritual Science of the Holy Blood and of the Holy Grail. Bloomfield Hills: Verticordia Press, 1999.
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