Operation of Sun and Moon
Revised: August 2019 There are three main modes of consciousness known to the present psychological sciences. These are currently labeled: super-consciousness, sub-consciousness and self-consciousness. Yet these three are but One-Super-conscious state pervading over all we can possibly know and discover by any method whatever. More accurately, everything we know or can discover is ONE LIVING CONSCIOUSNESS ITSELF! Even those forms of creation we may think dead, inanimate matter, are in truth, latent states of the living total One-Life. The super-, sub- and self-conscious modes of our being are in fact phases, belts, layers or strata of this omnipresent, Living Consciousness. There are no definitive lines between the three modes actually. They melt into each other. But if we were able to delve into the deepest part of ourselves, into the depths beyond the so-called sub-conscious, we would find ourselves in the realm of Cosmic Consciousness (super-consciousness to the psychological sciences). What is considered self-consciousness is merely one mode of the All-Consciousness that hones down our awareness into a particular scope, into physical manifestations mainly. Some particular units of Itself (the mass of present humanity) focus down awareness so minutely as to believe all the other particulars to be something other than Itself, something even inimical to the separate individual's very own existence. Unbelievably, these particulars go so far as to feel, believe and act totally alone and cut off in a world populated with other particulars reflecting the same false knowledge that all hold to be true and sacred. So we hurt each other in unbelievable myriad ways to the point of killing.
Western Alchemy and eastern Yoga are means by which any self-conscious particular (you and I), through self-consciously co-operating with Its own evolution, may be eternally reunited with the All-Pervading-One, while yet enjoying complete individualization in this physical world, presently.
From antiquity Qabalistic, Alchemical and Hermetic literature has named the procedure of conscious participation for reunification “The Operation of the Sun and Moon, with the aid of Mercury”. In genuine spiritual alchemy the Sun is Super-consciousness. The Sub-conscious and Self-conscious modes are represented by Moon and Mercury respectively in western alchemical literature. Yet, they are actually humanly-appointed divisions of one, Super-conscious Sun, the Gold. Imagine a funnel, if you will, with the narrow end metaphorically called Mercury focusing a water flow. Above this tapered end is a wider portion of our ‘funnel’ serving as a reservoir of turbulent fluidity we may equate with sub-consciousness and metaphorically labeled the Moon. This reservoir is a partial collection of all our memories of thoughts and activities in this life, and of all our previous physical sojourns, co-mixed and mingled with portions of the very deeper level on the fringe of the super-conscious. And beyond those depths lies the permanent, super-conscious water, AIN SUPh AUR, like eternal rain from the infinite, cosmic heavens above the wide end of our funnel example. The Heavenly Dew of the Super-conscious Sun pours down and fills countless metaphorical 'funnels' since the unrecorded beginnings up to and through the never ending forever. Yet all the fluidic matter is ONE SUBSTANCE. When we turn to methods and disciplines of self realization, it is the TRUE SELF who is pulling us back from our separative particularization. IT desires unity for ITSELF, and we are IT.
Seemingly, early in the quest, the idea to seek our source feels personal. This is the aid of our Mercury. When we evolve to a certain point our self-conscious mind seeks out various means for union until we are guided to more serious spiritual disciplines that correspond to our waxing, impassioned desire. The influence is actually funneled from a profoundly deeper level within coming down through sub-consciousness, our ‘Moon', which impels our sulfurous self-conscious zeal. In the beginning both Moon and Mercury, however, are generating imperfect desires, which are immature reflections actually, from the very Source of All. The two lower modes of consciousness reflect imperfections due to multi-layers of erroneous knowledge and ignorant habit patterns gathered and impressed upon subconsciousness through countless incarnations of previous particularizations, previous physical lives. This sub-conscious stratum of ours, between the lower self and the super above all, must be cleansed and purified to reflect the Shinning, Golden Brilliance from above into the below. When we have matured enough along the Path, then the SUPER-CONSCIOUS Sun begins injecting an influx of Cosmic Consciousness into our 'personal' portion of the 'Moon', personal sub-consciousness.
Within the Operation of the Moon, now receiving suggestions from the deeper levels, she slowly changes our sub-conscious habit patterns to conform to the studies and prayers we initiated from our Mercury, our self-conscious intellectual mind. She is gently guided from Universal Mercury into more conducive environments and circumstances (not necessarily more comfortable at the beginning, it seems) to keep us on the chosen path. Qabalists teach that this is Universal Law. This is part of the White Work of the Moon (see WHITE WORK). But there are also layers of accrued darkness and error that are far too deep to be affected from the self-conscious level. Psychiatric therapy, in its present primitive stage, attempts but cannot affect entirely all the 'dross' at these depths, but they also must be transmuted. The deep cleansing is influenced from the super-conscious side by the True, One-Ego, the Sun, seated within the heart of humanity. He, the Christ level, is the True Alchemist concocting, cleansing, purging and burning off all the dross accumulated over eons from the prodigal, outward, involuting particularizations of Itself, now aching desirous return. This is the RED WORK (see same). Virtually all the transmutation work is performed by the Sun, but this Magnum Opus is initially begun from the personal, our Mercury level, and again, it merely ‘seems’ that way. Turn inward toward the work and all existence transmutes before us. Turn outward and away and the wild nightmares grow thicker with the attendant sorrows, pains, repercussions and frustrated desires that result in anger. There is no other way home.
Qabalistically it might be illustrated in this manner. The Tree of Life has the Central Pillar. Malkuth is you and I in our physical bodies. Above (within) Malkuth is Yesod, sphere of the Moon (our sub-conscious selves). Above both is Tiphareth, the Christ Consciousness Ego, the sphere of the Sun. Now, off to the upper left from Yesod is the sphere of Hod, representing our self-conscious intellect, our (lower) manifestation of Mercury. If you remember, Hod on the Tree is astrologically the Sphere of Mercury. This is the “Aid of our Mercury” at the beginning of the Work.
We must not forget the various levels of ‘Mercury’ in the philosophical writings. Remember initially, ALL is ONE-Consciousness with various intensities at Its sub-levels (See MERCURY under the GLOSSARY section of this site). At the beginning of our path towards The One, what we erroneously believe to be our self-conscious activity, our Mercury, is actually the All-Consciousness flowing through us. We simply do not believe that to be true from our present state of immaturity. Another way to say it might be: We begin the seek with the Aid of our Mercury (self-consciousness). However, the completion of the Great Work is performed by the Aid of Universal Mercury, Kether on the Tree, אין סוף אור. However, the extreme levels of both ends are actually the same substance! Kether, כתר, sums to 620. Its lowest Theosophical Reduction sums to 8. Sphere 8 on the Tree is Hod, seat of the human Intellect and assigned astrologically as the Sphere of Mercury.
So, using the terminology of a Qabalist it may then be said that: “The Great Work is performed by Tiphareth and Yesod with aid of Hod (at the beginning), and Kether (at completion).” Can you see this? Can you understand?