By Dion Fortune
(From Knight, Gareth and Fortune: "The Magical Battle of Britain")
Monthly letter No. 18, for May 1944 and No. 19, for June 1944
The initiation of the Sphere of Gebuhra is that of Adeptus Major. Only one of the Greater Adepts can use the Power of the Sword, and unless he can use it, he is not a Greater Adept. The world cannot be ruled by love alone,but only by power in equilibrium, justice and mercy kissing each other.
The four symbols of Gebuhra are the Sword, the cutting instrument and weapon which severs and cuts off; the Spear, the piercing instrument and weapon which is like a projection and extension of force, a solid ray as it were, emanating on the plane of Malkuth; the Scourge, the punishing instrument and weapon that stings but does not slay and whose use is to stimulate the redemption; the Chain is the restraining instrument and weapon which imposes limits on willful evil. These four sacred symbols are the weapons of Gebuhra, and the Greater Adept must be expert in their use.
The tasks of Gebuhra, dual tasks, as all must be that deal in the sphere of manifestation, are to stimulate and to whitstand, these being the positive and negative aspects of the work of the Greater Adept. At a certain stage upon the Path, initiates pass out of the mild sphere of Tiphareth and enter that of the severity of Justice. The Adept who initiates here must know no mercy, for cosmic law knows none, and what he spares, the Lords of Destiny, who rule over evolution, will punish. He aspires high who submits himself to the tests of Major Adepthood, and he must abide his fate. Here is no place for folly or weakness. Good intentions avail him nothing in the sphere of Justice, nor may ignorance be pleaded in extenuation. Achievement is the only test and all weakness is burnt away.
It is not the greatness of the strength that constitutes the test of this Sphere, but its perfection in proportion. An ant is strongest than a man in proportion to its size, yet Nature does not demand of an ant that it shall be as strong as a man, but only that it shall have due strength of an ant. So of a simple nature we do not demand that it shall be as strong as a world leader, but only that it shall have the element of strength proportionate to its gifts; for lack of courage can invalidate the powers of the most gifted creatures, making them of no avail.
The initiate of Gebuhra submits himself to the tests of Gebuhra, which try his courage ad endurance; and if he be no found wanting in these, the Sword of Justice is placed in his hand and he becomes a Greater Adept. He must then wield the Sword with wisdom and courage, for as the Yetziratic Text has it, courage is the characteristics virtue of Gebuhra, which emanates from the primordial depths of Chokmah, Wisdom.
Mercy is not on this Sphere, yet emanates it; and this is a paradox in which is to be found deep meaning. The wielder of the Sword of Gebuhra knows no mercy, but continues to the end. But even as Gebuhra was emanated from Gedulah, Mercy, when the Lightning Flash descends down the Tree, so in its turn it emanates Beauty in the centre of the Pillar of Equilibrium, which "causes the influence to flow into all the reservoirs of blessing and wherein is seen the Vision of the Harmony of Things and wherein are performed the Mysteries of the Crucifixion".
Remember that it is said in the Mysteries that no degree becomes functional till the next degree has been conferred, so mighty works of redemption in Tiphareth do not begin until the Initiation of Gebuhra has been undergone. Thus is Gebuhra balanced in equilibrium between Mercy and Beauty, and this is the secret of its work.
In the great stories of the Table Round which are the Glyphs of Gebuhra, even as the legend of the Graal is the Glyph of Tiphareth, the Knights of King Arthur are famed for their strength towards the strong, their mercy to the weak and their personal beauty. Thus does Gebuhra confer the knighthood of the Mysteries. The army is terrible with beautiful banners. Beauty is the true mean, and resides in right proportion. So always must the power of Gebuhra be wielded in right proportion and wisdom.
The Adept of Gebuhra may not deal in Mercy. When he has performed his work of initiation passes out of his hands into the Sphere of Mercy, but in his hands, Mercy would be weakness, which in folly suffers evil to multiply or yields to temptations of sloth. Ruthless and calm he abides, the servant of cosmic law, and Mercy and Beauty are the fruits of his work.
Whoso serves in the Sphere of Gebuhra as an Adept Major lays his soul upon the Altar of the Sacrifice. When he invokes justice upon another, he appears with him before the Bar of Divine Justice and is judged equally with him. Therefore must his hands be clean and his heart free from guile; for guile and Gebuhra do not abide together, the one counteracting the other. Immediately below Gebuhra, in Hod, Mercury, is the Sphere of Guile, even as immediately above this most dynamic of the Sephiroth is the Sphere of Saturn, the giver of Stability. Whoso has strength needs no guile, though guile be used to cause evil to destroy itself; but is is not the work of Gebuhra, and when the sword is invoked the fight must be straightforward.
Whoso takes in hand the sword must abide by its judgement. If he err, he will perish by the sword. He may not wield it save in the name of Justice, yet he may wish it to ensure justice for himself as well as for others, for is he not also one of God/dessīchildren? Dare to invoke the might of Gebuhra if your heart be pure and your hands clean. Whosoever has not known the experience of the Initiation of the Sword cannot pass on to the higher Degrees, for it is by the power of the brave that evil is withstood. By the Sword evil is cut off from its source of power; by the thrust of the Spear its onslaught is checked; by the Scourge are its exponents schooled, and by the Chain are they restrained.
The two greater implements and weapons of Gebuhra work in the sphere of abstract force, and the two lesser in the sphere of manifestation through personalities. Never forget, in wielding the powers of Gebuhra, that the most effectual defense is attack. Therefore, do not be afraid to drive at evil with the thrust of the Spear, do not think it incumbent upon you to await its onslaught passively. But remember that in all things there is a rhythm, and even the most dynamic of the spheres alternates between activity and passivity; but until the thrust of the Spear has been given, the work has not begun. Passivity is folly in Gebuhra. There is a method whereby evil is turned back upon itself and caused to sting itself to death with its own venom, but this is not the method of Gebuhra; it belongs to Hod, which lies immediately beneath the Fiery Sphere upon the Pillar of Severity; and there is a method of working whereby the interplay of the Sephiroth, equilibrating among themselves, is used, and Mars can pass on Mercury and Mercury back to Mars, the task of salvation by destruction
The Sephiroth Hod is the Basal Station of the Pillar of Severity, even as Binah is the Apical Station. No Sephiroth can ever be considered by itself, for it stands in terms of relationship, evolutional and functional, to other Sephiroth according to circumstances. In considering problems arising in the Sphere of Severity, the Pillar of Severity as a whole must be taken into account. The function of the Sephiroth Binah is, however, of so abstract and universal a nature that it doe snot require separate consideration when practical applications are under discussion. It represents forces of stability and inertia and is the basis of all organization. It reflects into Chesed and Gebuhra and back into Netzach, thus imparting to the central Sephirah of the Pillar of Severity its dynamic aspect.
Hod is a many-sided Sephirah, as is indicated by the symbolic form of an Hermaphrodite attributed to it. It is associated with Hermes, who lent his sandals and shield to Perseus for the slaying of the Gorgon in the name of Justice, by which myth we may discern the nature of its connection with Gebuhra. The winged sandals lent the swiftness of thought to the feet of the hero, and in the polished shield he saw reflected as in a mirror the deadly head of the Gorgon, thus sustaining no harm from her glances.
Considered from the standpoint of the works of justice, we see in Mars the Lord of Tactics and in Mercury the Lord of Strategy. Hod or Mercury likewise represents the human mind; for evolution has advanced up the Tree through its sphere, thus causing it to become organized in terms of consciousness. It is therefore no formless sphere of force, as is Gebuhra, but a sphere wherein mind operates in terms of that consciousness developed in Malkuth.
When the powers of Geburah descend into Malkuth, they reflect through Hod, wherein they undergo transmutation. Thus it is that with the advance of evolution brute force prevails less and less and the powers of the mind count for more. But let it never be forgotten that Mercury is a god of dual nature, and that in his evil aspect he is the Lord of Lies. Beware of this side of his nature when invoking him, and let the chivalry of the forthright Gebuhra guard you against it, even as the shrewd skill of Mercury directs the blind force of the Sword.
In the Sphere of Hermes that relates to Gebuhra it is well to rely upon the methods of Perseus, and let the sandals of swiftness keep you out of the harmīs way by virtue of the penetrative power of thought which discerns the direction of the attack and evades it. Likewise use the shield of Hermes to gaze in as into a mirror and do not use it as a weapon with which to strike the adversary. Hod is the sphere of the mind, and there are certain factors in mind that make it a two-edged weapon when used for attack. It is too closely connected with the soul for such usage. It should be your aim, when using the powers of Hod in the work of Gebuhra to cause your adversary to destroy himself with his own venom rather than to destroy him with your own hand. In this way you avoid the reaction that falls upon those who take up the sword if the forces be not balanced exactly; and who, in the heat of battle, can hope so to balance them?
When wielding the sword of Geburah, gaze into the shield of Hermes and not upon the face of the Adversary. Set the forces of Geburah in motion with sword or spear, then flit aside on the winged sandals of wisdom and let the rhythm change over from sword to shield. The cosmic forces will not work for you unless you set them in motion; but having set them in motion, stand aside and let them fight for you. Then, when they have done their work, advance again and discipline with the scourge or restrain with the chain as need shall arise. Remember always that after the work of the sword, the scourge or chain is needed to restrain reaction, and you cannot rest immediately upon your laurels. These things concern the dark Pillar of Severity, which ever works in polarity with the Pillar of Mercy, thus establishing equilibrium.
It has been said that those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword, and that you resist not evil. It must ever be borne in mind when considering such sayings, and many others, that the grade of the hearer must be taken into consideration. As another saying has it, there is milk for babes and strong meat for strong men and women. Gebuhra is a grade, and a high grade, in the Hierarchy of the Mysteries. Upon its initiates devolves a very serious responsibility. The powers of the Macrocosm can only function in the world of men and women through the medium of men and womenīs souls. No special miracle will smite from heaven the enemies of God, but men and women many arise, dedicated and courageous men and women; men and women of might and vision, and through them the cosmic powers work. To them is opportunity given; around them the powers are organized, and through them justice is done and the way cleared for the Lords and Ladies of Light. In meeting aggression with mildness, do not forget that time plays a part in the suffering of the victims of the oppressor, and there is a limit to the time that they can endure, and why should you show mercy to the evil at the cost of the suffering of the innocent?
There is another saying which says : Smite and spare not. Cruelty and oppression can never learn the evil of their ways in any school save that of suffering. If you say to the oppressor: Cease to do evil and learn to do good, and it shall be well with you, s/he will answer you: It is well with me now. If, having conquered him/her with the sword and the spear, you let him/her be the one to cry peace, when it serves his/her purpose, s/he will again take up the weapons of aggression, knowing that when it serves his purpose he can cry peace once more. S/He has much to gain and little to lose by his/her acts of aggression, if, when s/he has had enough of strife s/he can count on mercy. But if s/he knows that the scourge and the chain wait to complete the work begun by the sword and spear, s/he will count the cost before s/he embarks upon his/her evil ways afresh, and the innocent and the simple shall sleep safe and reap where they have sown.
Until the final day, the women and men of Gebuhra, its initiates and servants, must keep guard over the peace of the world to defend the defenseless and do justice among men and women, restraining the strong and upholding the weak. There is no other way whereby Godīs will may be made to prevail, and it is folly to think otherwise. Mercy has its place, but only as the equilibrator of Justice. And Justice has its place, but as the equilibrator of Mercy.
The equilibrium induced by the counteracting influence of the Pairs of Opposites is for ever the Law of Manifestation. The watch must be kept in the world of men and women and in thetake Unseen World of Causation; the servants of justice may not rest from their arms, but must be ever at their posts lest the defenseless fall victims to the oppressor. It is the take of the strong to guard the weak and ensure justice. They may not refuse battle without dishonor. When there is strife, they must wield arms upon one side or the other.
Those who thread the Path pass on from grade to grade. Not all are in the grade of Geburah, but none may evade the grade and gain the goal. And remember this - to fail a grade does not mean merely that back to the grade below, but that you return to the commencement of the Path and start all over again. It may be that by virtue of the experience gained thereon, you shall pass onwards swiftly, but it does not mean, it cannot mean other, than that those who cannot or dare not or will not wield the sword of Gebuhra when duty calls must return to the hewing of wood and the drawing of water for a while.
Likewise, even as there is a Tree in every Sephirah, so there is a sphere of Gebuhra in the soul of every man and woman. In the soul of the balanced being - and none other can achieve - all the Sephiroth are of equal power, each after its kind. Thus, and thus only can equilibrium be achieved. According to its stage of evolution, will be the degree of conscious activation of the Sephiroth in the Microcosm and according to the Path by which the soul has come will be proportional development among them. This may be gravely irregular if development has been ill-balanced, as it is liable to be if superstition and not wisdom direct the choice or rejection of experience. Beyond the level of individualization, the Sephiroth function in accordance with the activities of the corresponding macrocosmic spheres as mediating to them through the group soul of the race to which they belong. Here again, force may be well or ill-balanced according to the wisdom and justice that rule the racial tradition. Do not expect perfection in the sphere of manifestation, for when perfection is reached, the universe enters upon the Night of the Gods and sinks into its rest in the Unmanifest. As long as life endures the discipline of manifestation, the Servers of Gebuhra must stand guard to see to it that unbalanced force is kept within due bounds.
There is a grade of initiation wherein the initiate must enter the sphere of Gebuhra and abide therein to learn its lessons, and the less of Gebuhra there is in him or her, the longer must s/he abide there. S/He who is already a man or woman of the sword passes on swiftly. There are times of crisis and emergency when even those who have passed on to the Sphere of Mercy may be recalled to man the ramparts of Gebuhra, and none may refuse the call, for who are they to keep their garments unspotted from the world? The stains of toil and the scars of battle are more honorable insignia than the spotless robes of negation. Who was the cleaner at the end of the day of Crucifixition, Herod or the Victim? No greater love is possible than to give oneīs life in selfless service, and such service comprises more than the binding up of the wounds made by aggression, waiting until the victim is injured before aiding him or her. It means also to seek out aggression in its stronghold so that it may have no victims. The work of succor is good, but the work of prevention is better, and the aggressor can only be convinced of the error of his ways by making them unprofitable and painful. The only appeal that touches the heart of a ruthless and cruel man or woman is that of pain to his own person. The way to his/her heart is through his/her skin.
Distinguish, however, between the strong wo/man who is ruthless in the he selfish use of his/her strength and the weak and unprincipled wo/man who plays jackal for the tiger. For such it is enough to make evil unprofitable for them to cease from it, but they can never be trusted not to return to their vomit if it suits them; therefore, although it is not necessary to apply the scourge to their skin as in the case of the strong who have chosen evil, it is advisable to keep it hanging within their sight and to crack it occasionally as an encouragement to persevere in the laborious paths of virtue, for not otherwise can virtue be sustained that is not strong enough to sustain itself.
In judging men and women, and in meeting out punishment and mercy, remember that on the plane of manifestation it is the personality alone that is dealt with; you must deal with them as they are in this incarnation, though taking account of what they were in past incarnations which makes them what they are now, and taking account also of the racial destiny in which they are involved. For in reincarnation the soul abides by the line of tradition, returning where it belongs by nature and custom, save in the case of those who are freed from their bondage in the group soul by virtue of their development.
By teaching the lesson to individuals is the soul of a race instructed. Individuals, in the mass, can drag a race in the dust; individuals, in the mass, can raise it to great heights. This they can do apart from leadership if the spirit of the race is stirring. No leader can lead unless the led follows. It is the spirit of the race that brings forth the leaders; those who speak with another breath are voices crying in the wilderness where there are none to heed. The spirit of the race can bring forth and bring to power nobility, wisdom, courage, and sound minds among its leaders; it can also bring forth demons in human form. It happens sometimes, however, though these times grow rarer as more among men and women become individualized and freed from their bondage to the group soul, that one man may gain dominion over a race and direct its course. This can never be other than evil, for power corrupts. Where there is a great guilt fixed between the leaders and the led you may know that this evil has occurred and that it forebodes disaster. When the spirit of the race itself has given birth to the leaders that guide its destiny, the hierarchy is pyramidal, and the ranks of leadership are constantly recruited from the masses.
If the scene is witnessed of a royal court of great splendour while darkness is upon the face of the land, know that there is a dynasty that will not endure but the people are innocent of evil. If the scene be that of widespread and intelligent co-operation with the workers of oppression, know that the soul of the people is involved, and must share in the expiation. In such a land, only the strong and the ruthless are safe, and only they survive. Each child must be reared in the tenets of ruthlessness and strength, if s/he in his turn is to survive. Goodness and gentleness and justice are without hope and power. Yet even in such a land they are absent from the human heart, for such is the nature of man and woman, who is good as well as evil and evil as well as good, so there is always hope for her/him, though there is always danger for her/him. Make such a land safe for goodness and mercy and they will raise their heads and flourish, but how can they prevail against the forces of organized evil? You will not dispose of evil by making terms with his servants. Destroy the channel of evil; open the channels of good and good will multiply as the corn stifles the well-hoed weeds. What shall it avail to break a nation that has gone over to evil and leaves it broken for evil to re-organize? Nor is it even enough to destroy the organization of evil; good must be organized in its place. The clearest distinction between evil and good is to be found in the spirit of separateness and unity that prevails. Evil always leans to separateness and good to unity. When good builds an empire it holds it by integrating it, thus bringing the blessings of civilization to backward races. When evil builds it, it is founded upon subjugation and exploitation of the conquered peoples. Those who dwell in glass houses must not throw stones. Look well to the ways of your own empire as well as to the imperial ambitions of others.
The power of good gains strength by integration. Draw into the building of the New Age all men and women of good will wherever they may be found. Undermine the powers of organized evil by integrating the forces of good within its sphere by uniting them with the common weal of the worldīs life. Provide a channel of expression for forces that have been directed into evil ways but are not in themselves evil. Deny the dignity of citizenship to none who as individuals may prove themselves worthy. Remember that it is not the power of the weak to resist their environment and weapons, and that weakness is a misfortune, not crime. Let Gebuhra deal with the strong, but let the Spirit of Gedulah guide the weak.
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