The Second Power of the Soul: Spirit


Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:5)


I have said in my first post that ‘dwelling in Wisdom’ refers to being ‘born of water’. This entails the comprehension of the Soul’s infinity and existence in God and the consequent birth of the Son in us, little by little, by virtue of the Mother of God. This is the first Power: the birth of God in the human Soul.

The second Power is the higher one, occurring when God is sufficiently experienced and understood by man so that his waters rise up and fill every part of our being. In this instance we meet the Son and embody him. The Soul is then used as the vehicle of the Holy Spirit. Thus we are ‘born of Spirit’ in the unity of the three of the Trinity.

THE SECOND POWER: The Unity of the Three

 “Blessed is the man who dwells in wisdom” (Ecclus 14:22)

“Blessed is the man” says St Paul. The ‘man’ he is referring to is the soul’s masculine faculty and intelligence. Whereas water (the lower Soul) represents the birthing Wisdom that leads us to God, this higher part is the abode of none other than the Son of Man, her divine child, who rightly resides at the summit of our being. This Son is the pinnacle of our divine essence, the very highest that we can possibly be. This man is the Telos of all being. As we reach this celestial peak we steadily acquire God’s Image in the Son and are transfigured in him as we become adept in finding God in the midst of all things, and all things in midst of God.

This segment of the Soul is the part that God alone can use to enter into us so as to act and Will on our behalf. The multiplicity of the world ceases to confuse us and we behold the Spirit of God as the only real Source of all things, as we seek to live and live through his Will alone.

“Therefore if we consider all things in this faculty [of the Soul], we would take them not as things but rather as they exist in God.  That is how we possess them there, for it is in God’s own nature to pour forth all that he has created and even his very self into that place. And therefore we are blessed if we constantly live in this faculty, for then we shall always live in God.” Meister Eckhart

Thus the truest union with God is achieved through the merging with this part of the Soul.  This is one of the higher mysteries of Christianity: to be born of water and Spirit in Christ and to subsequently elevate him to our essential point of action in the world around us after his internalisation.  Only then do we share in the same fiery Spirit of God which gives Life-giving Breath, and we make the unity of the three in the Soul – the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Here in the Soul all things meet in the Word, and we become its reservoir, echoing the Divine Breath and bringing God into the world of man.

This truth is also paralleled in the Sacrament of the Eucharist where bread and wine – and more properly all things – are transfigured in Christ as we ingest him as food. Something higher is born as long as we possess God’s Spirit. But we can only come to it through the Wisdom that gives birth to Soul-realisation. This is what it means to be ‘born of water and Spirit’. Be steadfast in prayer and obedience, for we are One in Him in the Soul’s highest peak only in so far as we continue to strive for Him.

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The First Power of the Soul: Water

divine wisdm

‘Divine Wisdom the Law Giver’ by Jean-baptiste Mauzaisse

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. (John 3:5)


‘Water and Spirit’ are the two Powers of the Soul. The first, water, is the manifestation of the Sophia Perennis or ‘Highest Wisdom’ as the feminine, reflective and birthing aspect of the Soul. It is the lower, subterranean part of the Soul that must be gained before reaching the upper. In archetypes, it is the eternal feminine, the cavernous well of spiritual knowledge.

The second Power of the Soul is the ‘unity of the three’ – the Holy Trinity – as it occurs within man through Spirit. This is the masculine power which constitutes the active, dynamic faculty in Man. It is the Soul’s highest component part, it being the space God occupies in the state of Union with him.

As Christ points out nobody can come to the Kingdom without possessing these two halves of their core being : both Wisdom and Divine Unity.  One leads on to the other.


Sandro_Botticelli_-_The_Virgin_and_Child_(The_Madonna_of_the_Book)_-_Google_Art_Project “Blessed is the man who dwells in wisdom(Ecclus 14:22)

Notice above St Paul says ‘who dwells in wisdom’. Wisdom – often referred to as maiden Philosophy by the ancient Greeks and Romans – is a maternal word in the etymology. This use of ‘wisdom’ suggests ‘passivity’ or rather the Divine passivity i.e. the latent part of God which his omnipotence and infinity. Everything and everyone is surrounded in these concurrent and changeless waters. Yet none would comprehend God’s infinity if not for the Highest Wisdom which aids in birthing understanding of him. Thus we ourselves, enabled by Lady Wisdom, undergo the ‘Virginal birth’ which is entirely a spiritual rebirth – not a physical one – as it dawns on us that God truly is and inhabits the Soul.

Through spiritual contemplation the lower mysteries of the Soul that are revealed in Wisdom are reflected upward to where God resides in the higher Soul.  Hence a path to God is cleared and we begin to find Him everywhere, positively identifying him in every situation. Though it must be said the Wisdom we find in reflection is not intellectual wisdom, but rather a coalescing knowingness that stems from the reception of the Holy Spirit. On each occasion the Spirit approaches us the Mother of God bears a little more of her Son to us, a little more of God’s ineffable waters is revealed.

“The Father is active, and the Son is passive, which comes from the fact that the latter undergoes the process of being born. Since the Son is eternally begotten wisdom, in which all things are contained in diversity” – Meister Eckhart

Hence by ‘being born of water’ the Mother of God allows us the opportunity to climb into the upper Soul and we begin to understand our true identity and its mysteries. For this reason in the Catholic tradition we say ‘Ask our Lady anything and she will deliver it to the Son who will never refuse her’ – Our Lady is the key to the Son, ask her how to attain him and she will not hesitate to enlighten you.

“[Mary] the Mother of the Church, carries on in heaven her maternal role with regard to the members of Christ, cooperating in the birth and development of divine life in the souls of the redeemed.” Pope Paul VI, Credo of the People of God


However to partake in such experiences we must be detached from the multiplicity and appetites of the worldly existence. We must start to hold these things in proper relation to ourselves, not being dominated or swayed by externals. Thus we ‘unite these things in the Son’ says Eckhart. We are freed from ‘things’ only when we unswervingly steer our thoughts and actions in service of the Father without regard for profit or loss, from the point of view of discovering the Son in them. The Holy Spirit can only approach us when we can endure prayer, contemplation and detachment, not for their own sake, but in service to the Lord. Thus we need to ‘dwell in Wisdom’ to acquire discipline in living for things greater than ourselves. Blessedness will follow.

Coming to understand the Soul is the mythic quest borne out of Love. Because attachment and self-love stop us from uncovering the Son we must defeat them. Thus we become the great Dragon-slayer, spearing our inner serpents – pillars of vice and other weaknesses – the things that hold us back from claiming Princess Wisdom who crests the tower of the Soul’s eternity. We make ourselves worthy of her before we can possess God’s infinity by this self-purification. Detachment however does not mean that we don’t care about life. On the contrary the image of the knight is one of fierce, righteous action. Therefore we seek to embrace life to its fullest by acting in God’s Will, upholding his commands, and seeking Him in everything that we do.

St. George Slays the Serpent to Gain Lady Wisdom (Panting by Raphael)

St. George Slays the Serpent to Gain Lady Wisdom (Panting by Raphael)

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The Soul acts as God in the World


Above: The Anima Mundi, the neoplatonic concept of soul-action in the world


Today many people contend that God does not act in the world. Our existence they claim is full of unrewarded good deeds. They say that evil typically goes unnoticed or unpersecuted by the higher power, and this is evidence enough he can not or will not act in this domain. It is assumed that if God did exist he would intervene on the behalf of the righteous and lavish boons upon his followers.

However this above interpretation of God is for me unsatisfactory. It lacks metaphysical dimension. It’s a rather ‘all too human’ conception where God is painted with patently natural characteristics and is therefore subject to our human emotions and conditions. But we know that God is purely transcendent, and not the anthropomorphic ‘sky-man’ image that prevails in our popular-culture. These faulty ideas of God can be traced to a fanatically materialistic undercurrent that is the hallmark of modernity. Such assumptions are in fact ideological in nature and lack any real intellectual substance.

To the thinking man the truth is more complex. There is no whimsical god who rests on the clouds as just a passive observer of the universe; this cannot be God, as God is the active principle within man. It can be seen that the transcendent God is most definitely ‘present’ in the world: to quote the gospel of Thomas, “The Kingdom of Heaven is spread out upon the Earth, and men see it not.”


Meister Eckhart asserts that: ‘The only representative of God on earth is the Soul.” The soul exists in the man as the unrealised, ideal part of himself which as Eckhart says is God’s actual presence on earth. God is not in the clouds or far away, he is right here, personified in the highest structure of man. One’s Soul is the highest component in the model of the Divinity, being one and the same as it.

Therefore if ‘God is to act’, then he must do so through us, to the extent that we are One with Him. This is the essential truth of the Son of God, the embodiment of ourselves in Christ. Our body is transfigured into a celestial form in the offering of selfless-service to the Lord. In this way the mundane body surpasses its base nature as we allow God to Will on our behalf; we abandon mere self-love and find detachment amid action, laying the foundation for the most powerful prayer. We are God in the Soul as long as this experience lasts, a representation of him in the Son.

Inexhaustible Chalice 5This is also the basis of the transformative Eucharistic rite as we strive for God in the flesh in the here and now:

“This food [the Eucharist] of love draws the soul above distinction or difference, beyond resemblance to divine unity. This is what happens to the transfigured spirit. When the divine heat of love has drawn out all the moisture, heaviness, unfitness, then this holy food plunges such a one into the life of God. As Our Lord himself said to St Augustine,I am the food of the strong: believe and feast on me. You will not change me into yourself; rather you will be changed into me’.

– Johannes Tauler


A man is only ever the sum of his intentions, as to do a thing, or to achieve something – to realise an act – he first must create the original intent in order to accomplish it. This motive force behind a person’s actions, beliefs & opinions form the very basis of our lives,  they comprise our very character. As a result they are the determining factor in every situation.

Therefore we can see how devotional prayer and selfless living can affect a powerful transformation in the real world for the better. That is: it lays the foundational intention from a higher aspect for our future action and trajectory. It directs our personal and group efforts and aims it squarely where they need to be exacted. The higher we aim our intention – especially through prayer and God-contemplation – the more we take on a celestial aspect. We literally become the object of our highest desire in the opening up of the Soul.

“We are what we love. If we love a stone, then we are a stone, if we love a person, then we are that person, if we love God – I hesitate to go on, for if I said that we would then be God, you might want to stone me. But let me refer you to the Scriptures.”

– St. Augustine

People always reveal their true character by their intent, hence why I question the mechanisations of modernity. Its motivations only ever reach to the lowest level: to money, celebrity, indulgent sex & food, opinion, vulgar democracy, mediocrity, mass-conformity via sub-culture et al. The modern hates anything that is real, that requires them to be Godly, to create and act selflessly.

So always remember you ARE what motivates you, you are your intentions. Prayer brings insight into what you are, among other things. Seek out that highest part of yourself and attract God to you. Partake in the highest mission: the representation of him in the world.

“Men attract not that which they want, but that which they are”

– James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

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Between Darkness and Light – The Descent into Hades

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“At Tara today in this fateful hour
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And fire with all the strength it hath,
And lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness
All these I place,
By God’s almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the powers of darkness.”

St Patrick’s Armour, A Lorica of Protection


At the equinox there arrives an equilibrium between darkness and light. It is the moment just before the sun emerges in final victory and renewed splendor after its period of cold hibernation in the barren underworld. From these black underlands the radiant Helios brings back the primordial maiden of Life, who now soars beside him in his solar chariot. With the two enjoined, spring is thereby ushered back into the world of man.

For the starboard soul journeying amid the grey false-dawn of the equinox, the hour of decision necessarily comes upon him. He recognises that though this stasis of darkness and light will not persist indefinitely, it is however symbolic of his personal struggles of the spirit. He notices that the mingling of opposing forces – culminating in spiritual struggle – can produce beneficial transitional effects in aid of his self-understanding. For like the solar-eclipse that imprinted a halo of fire above the Northern European skies, creating a kind of false-dawn, so we too must endure a temporary darkness induced through self-struggle like a moon that eclipses the light of our own sun. This is how we get to God.

In this spiritual struggle, the inner moon moves in front of our light, blocking it momentarily. There results from this movement a ‘Divine darkness’, a Dark Night of the Soul, in which we are seemingly cut off and lost from God. Our sense of loss prompts us to higher action, as we begin our search for him unceasingly. As our eyes become ever attuned in the dimness in our struggles, we begin to comprehend He that is truly magnificent, he the faint nous of light shining in the sullen night. This is the Lesser Sun, God’s burning in the Soul. In this eclipsed state we learn to overcome self-love and temper our sufferings with joy.  Here we fight, struggle, grow, begin to realise, and are slowly absorbed in our fullness into the Pneuma.

As St Augustine said:

“The great sun has created for itself a lesser sun, and veiled it into a cloud, not to render it invisible, but to temper its brightness, so that we should be able to glance at it.”

Hence this higher struggle leads to the joyous and progressive revealing of the reigning white light of the Soul beneath the moon of darkness. The Lesser Sun reveals Greater, and God emerges within properly as Himself. Once uncovered, we perceive that the duality of the false-dawn does not exist. Darkness and light evaporate into the Pleroma, and we behold goodness and the Source of that Goodness as the only real thing.


This inner-conflict we experience can be likened to the Katabasis of the Greek legendary cycles, i.e. a descent into the underworld in order to achieve righteous holiness in the midst of struggle. Heroes such as Heracles and Orpheus came back wholly changed from this subterranean event, cast as new beings for having fulfilled the various oaths and wishes of the gods. Often this was achieved via the rescuing  of the primordial Goddess from the grips of Hades, (the original story of the equinox), thus uniting the seed of the Dead (Persephone) with the seed of the Living (Demeter) to make possible a Divine rebirth of the world. From the union of the solar hero and the maiden Goddess there sprung forth the Divine child of humanity.

Here in Ireland, St Patrick is our ‘equinox Saint’ with his feast-day three days before the stellar equilibrium. The legends relating to him state that he ‘drove out the serpents from the Island of Ireland’. While there is speculation that this means he converted the pagans and killed off many of the Druids (as Ireland has never been home to snakes), I think this is highly improbable, since Ireland was Christianised 150-200 years prior to St Patrick’s arrival.

Rather I understand this to be an important allegory which I term ‘the  Katabasis of St Patrick’. It is a mythologising of one’s own descent into the underworld within, and there by active struggle, overcoming the serpent of self-love so that we might embody the Divine Will which can only manifest in such perfected men of Spirit. By exterminating self-will we may learn to love truly – and to actually live freely – having transcended the conditions of duality by uniting with He who is intrinsically transcendent.

We do not know what God is. God Himself does not know what He is because He is not anything. Literally God is not, because He transcends being. – Johannes Scotus Eriugena

Just as Christ descended into Hades before the Resurrection, so do we emulate him, triumphing over Hell. On our own Katabasis we wear the amour of St Patrick and take on the righteous morality of the ancient heroes. We then in God transform what is dead in us and raise it into New Life just as He was raised. Hell in effect is rendered null as the Soul attaches to the Divinity amid the surrounding ecliptic darkness of present struggle. This is  liberation through the very being of the Saviour; therefore know in the fullness of struggle that we march past the gates of Cerberus only to enjoin with the Eternal Day of the Greater Sun!

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great ship, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”(Matt 20:40)


Harrowing of Hades, fresco in the parecclesion of the Chora Church, Istanbul, c. 1315, raising Adam and Eve is depicted as part of the Resurrection icon

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On the Completion of Good Works – Lenten Advice from the Christian Mystics



“Thus through their good customs and virtues they should fix their eyes only on the service and honor of God. Without this aspect the virtues are worth nothing in God’s sight.

Christians, then, should rejoice not if they abide by good customs and accomplish good works, but if they do these things for love out of God alone, without any other motive. They should keep in mind that the value of their good works, fasts, alms, penances, and so on, are not based on quantity and quality so much as in the love of God practiced in them. They should not set their hearts on the pleasure, comfort, savor and other elements of self-interest these works and practices usually entail, but recollect their joy in God and desire to serve him through these means. Thus all the strength of their will in regard to these moral goods will be recollected in God.

As a result, these activities, once human, now become divine. And God will vest the soul with new knowledge when the other old ideas and images are cast aside [Col 3:9]. This is achieved in the state of union when the soul, in while God alone dwells, and has no other fiction than that of an altar on whirl; God is adored in praise and love.”

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The Dragon-Slayer seeks his Princess as the Key to the Soul


“Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law.”
― Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy


The Bridal quest is a common mythological phenomenon that occurs within European folklore. It relates to the classic dragon-slaying knight archetype, who must rescue a high-born princess as she waits forlornly in a far away fortress for her hero. He thereupon wrests her away from bondage and sets her free by virtue of his true love for her. The two then live in union in the ‘ever hereafter’ – dwelling forever in the eternity.

The inner meaning of this is clear from studying various sources. The Virginal Princess is indeed Lady Wisdom herself; that is, she is the pure, uncorrupted, spiritual knowledge needed to transverse the pit of self-ignorance, thus enabling us to revert back to our original form in God through the primacy of the Soul. She, the ‘Highest Wisdom’ – the Sophia Perennis in Greek – is held to be the penultimate accessory for success in this journey to the First Principle.



(Left: Thor slays the serpent Jormungandr, Right: St George vanquishes the Dragon and rescues the Maiden [top right])

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair, so that I may climb the golden stair.” – Rapunzel, the Brothers Grimm

The dragon-slaying hero of the myths is always of the same innate character. He takes the form of a man or  god, who is called forth by a higher presence to partake in a noble venture, that lies above the mundane existence of his life. It tasks him with the completion of a grand crusade, a quest for knowledge, for the grail, which will in turn bestow upon him nothing less than immortality and eternal renown. Most usually in the fairy-tales he is called to his mission by an omniscient, ethereal female voice, beckoning him to ascend a mountain, tower, castle or into the clouds in order to defeat some evil which holds it captive there. Such is the case in the stories of Rapunzel, Snow White, The Snow Queen, Tristan and Iseult etc.

Also we see this correlation in the European myths. Perseus saves Andromeda from the peril of the sea serpent; the descent of Baldur into Hel to aid Idunn and to help her rejuvenate the world at spring; Bel does the same for Brigid in Irish myth; and so on. In nearly every iteration, the Princess is virginal and ever-young (eternal), forever and undying, waiting just beyond the bounds of reality for the hero to embark on his mission to surmount it and claim her.


In the process of ascending the golden stair to his bride Wisdom, the knight-soldier must  overcome many obstacles, whether they be internal, supernatural or otherwise. This is crucial, as without slaying these inner and outer evils he would not be worthy of her in the first place. He therefore must persevere in the ‘mind of God’ in order to breach the prison of the ordinary, self-willed conditions of life; he overcomes them. Hence the old reality disappears and he is able to come into being with the Soul, the Mirror of God.

“So it follows that those who have reason have freedom to will or not to will, although this freedom is not equal in all of them. […] human souls are more free when they persevere in the contemplation of the mind of God, less free when they descend to the corporeal, and even less free when they are entirely imprisoned in earthly flesh and blood.”
― Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy

Also, we must understand too that he is never in any real danger as long as he stays true to the vision of the quest, despite being surrounded by the conjurings and torments of evil. These evils only have one purpose – to send him back off the road and in so sabotaging his efforts of comprehending the Soul. The truth is that our Knight already has what he’s seeking, it has been in his possession from the very start of the everything (his Soul), but it takes the completion of his grand quest for his realisation. As Boethius describes in The Consolation of Philosophy, where Philosophy (meaning love of wisdom) is represented in her traditional form of the young maiden visiting a man who journeys inwardly amid deep despair and conflict:

“He is in no real danger. He merely suffers from a lethargy, a sickness that is common among the depressed. He has forgotten who he really is, but he will recover, for he used to know me, and all I have to do is cloud the mist that beclouds his vision.”

This Knight cuts a universal figure that ultimately stems from the primordial Solar-tradition outlined my other posts. He is Thor, St. Michael, St. George, Lugh, Baldur, Perseus, Hercules and many, many more – the great dragon-slayers questing for the redemptive Soul-bride. Similarly the Holy Spirit who gives birth to the only-begotten Son can only do so through the Mother of God, who is pure, virgin and who in turn completely requisite to the Son of God. All this goes to show that in order to realise the Soul – the part of ourselves that is identical to God, and so to become One in him – we must first gain the ‘highest wisdom’ via the Holy Spirit, so as to be capable of embracing the Son.

“We are all Mothers of God, for God is always needing to be born” – Meister Eckhart



Thor, when he slew the apocalyptic Midgard serpent at Ragnarok (pictured above) prepared the world for a mystical rebirth in which the gods then inhabited a new ascended space, as well as in the bodies of men. We may take this as the realised purpose of our existence – to reach a state of dwelling as Christ the Son in God.

We, the hero, embodied in the metaphor of the dragon-slayer, seek out the Princess in the Sophia Perennis as the highest form of self-knowledge. The Gnostics termed the total envelopment of her in us as Gnosis – the state from which we rise up into the Soul. We need only embrace the sacramental life of the Christian living in order to possess her, and taking up our cross – in this way slaying all world-serpents (the weakness of self-will), follow Christ until her attainment.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Jesus Christ (Matt 7:7)

By William Blake

By William Blake



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On True Penance – Lenten Advice from the Christian Mystics

It being the start of Lent, I would like share some valuable words of advice concerning true penance by the Medieval Catholic mystic, Meister Eckhart. I hope that it helps you out, as much as it helps me, in getting closer to the Heart of God.


ON TRUE PENANCE (from ‘The Talks of Instruction’)

“Many people think that they are achieving great things in external works such as fasting, going barefoot, and other such practices which are called penances. But true penance, and the best kind of penance, is that whereby we can improve ourselves greatly and in the highest measure, and this consists in turning entirely away from all that is not God or of God in ourselves and in all creatures [mind-body appetites], and in turning fully and completely towards our beloved God in an unshakeable love so that our devotion and desire for him become great.

In whatever kind of good work you possess this the more, the more righteous you are, and the more there is of this, the truer the penance and the more it expunges sin and its punishment.. This is true penance, and it is based especially and consummately on the precious suffering in the perfect penance of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This form of penance is a mind raised above all things into God, and you should freely practice those kinds of works in which you can and do possess this the most. If any external work hampers you in this, whether it be fasting, keeping vigil, reading or whatever else, you should let it freely go without worrying that you might thereby be neglecting your penance. For He is not so much concerned with our works as with the spirit with which we perform them all and that we should love Him in all things. The reward for all your works should be that they are known to God and that you seek God in them. Let this always be enough for you. The more purely and simply you seek him, the more effectively your works will atone for your sins.

You could also call to mind the fact that God was a universal redeemer of the world, and that I owe him far greater thanks therefore than if he had redeemed me alone. And so you too should be a universal redeemer of all that you have spoiled in yourself.”

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