Caput Mortuum

 

       The Dead Head. This is the Dead Matter, the Refuse, and the end of the separative state of consciousness that has ultimately surrendered all false will, passions and desires. We cannot surrender our entire separative being at once, because even the surrender is not ours. Never forget ‘we’ have nothing to do with this entire process, from beginning to end. The Crow is the Door of this Art, but it is the One-Ego, our Higher and Holy Guardian Angel who guides us through all the stages. Steps toward surrender are gradual. First they appear as events inflicted upon us by some unseen force, slowly eliminating all the people, places and things held most dear, like some punishment for wrong doings. Gradually we come to realize what is happening within us through our meditations and prayers. The changes become less painful, even joyfully expectant with our unfolding. Ultimately we join with full cooperation, surrendering more of what we now see as false, though once we held most dear, indispensable, and even vital to our well being. It does not stop here, however. Since the rewards are eternal and most glorious, the price is everything. The One-Life wants it all. It seems we never stop surrendering. Those of us with greater vanity, stronger separative wills and powerful desires suffer the most. Caput Mortuum is the greatest sadness. Even its gematria, 162, equals עצב, etzev, 'sadness'. It is Moses in the Wilderness, Jesus on the Cross, the Children of Israel wandering Forty Years, and the Hanged Man of the Tarot. When all our personal Lions and Serpents have been conquered, we may perhaps sympathize with the original author of the D.O.M.A. Rosicrucian Manuscript, wherein the sage cries out:

I KNOW, I WANT, I CAN DO, I LOVE, I GLORY IN, I DELIGHT IN, I SEEK -- NOTHING. I ALSO WISH FOR NOTHING IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH EXCEPT THE LIVING WORD ALONE WHICH HAS BECOME FLESH IN JESUS CHRIST THE CRUCIFIED.1

 

       Two works by Jacob Boehme perhaps best describe Caput Mortuum for the ardent seeker: A Discourse between a Soul Hungry and Thirsty and a Soul Enlightened, and The Supersensual Life. The latter contains dialogue wherein the Scholar beseeches the Master:

Scholar: If I should do thus, I must forsake the world and my life too.

The Master: If thou forsakest the world, thou comest into that whereof the world is made; and if thou losest thy life, and comest to have thy own power faint, then thy life is in that for whose sake thou foresakest it, viz., in God, from whom it came into the body.2

 

       Caput Mortuum is the end of the Black Stage. We are refuse ash in the bottom of The Vessel. From here the White Stage builds. Please refer to STAGES IN THE ART.

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1 Hall, Manly Palmer, Codex Rosae Crucis. Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 1971 ed., pg. 2

2 Boehme, Jacob, Super-Sensual Life. Edmonds, WA: Sure Fire Press, 1985, pg. 5.