Sunday, April 7, 2019


To quote Edgar Wind, out of context::

“The claim that in these late Neoplatonic speculations there was a vestige of an ancient mystery religion, older than, Homer and Hesiod, was a theory which it would be difficult either to prove or refute, because a purely oral transmission, if it existed, could of course not be traced or tested with documents.” [1]

  Firstly, I am convinced that such vestiges of the mystery religions have survived. Secondly, that there is an oral transmission, thirdly that it cannot be traced with documents, but can be verified with pictures, images, symbols and other representational and non-representational forms. That puts my cards on the table. I also think it is necessary that we expand our paradigms on the nature of this transmission, beyond the boundaries of the present rationalistic discourses.  We have today, a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, represented for example by H.H. the Dalai Lama and H.H. the 17th Karmapa -  which has its transmission credentials clearly delineated through the centuries.  I am convinced that there are other transmission lineages that are not exoterically documented. Their modus operandi is only visible through the fruits of their action patterns. By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them! And one such Fruit is definitely the Sacred Tarot.

  An exhaustive sacking and plundering of the historical documents of the 15th century has not as yet resulted in identifying the authors of the Tarot.  Yet, parallels, mainly hermetic in nature, or neoplatonic, as is more commonly accepted, are being unearthed at a rapid rate.  In the midst of the cacophony of theories and the multiplicity of versions of the Tarot, how can we maintain a stable and a true transmission, honouring the ancient lineage and the  imaginal inspiration, and archetypal richness that it  embodies?  How can we be true to the ancestral responsibilities that have yet to bear fruit. We see the mess that our culture is in at present, the moral bankruptcy, and gross materialism, ignorance, greed and aggression that rule the day. Some astounding images have been released into mass consciousness by way of the novel. For example I quote Philip Pullman:

"And for the most of that time, wisdom has had to work in secret, whispering her words, moving like a spy through the humble places of the world while the courts and palaces are occupied by her enemies." [2]


"We've had nothing but lies and propaganda and cruelty and deceit for all the thousands of years of human history. It's time we started again, but properly this time . . ."

  "There are two great powers," the man said, "and they've been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn from one side by the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit."  [3]

  One could place the Tarot and its transmission within this context.

  The main motto of The Brotherhood of Light, which produced the so-called Egyptian Tarot, is: Contribute Thy Utmost to Universal Welfare - which is very close, if not identical to the Buddhist: May I gain Enlightenment for the sake of all that lives.

  To me, the Tarot is an instrument of Wisdom operating through Compassion for the benefit of all sentient beings -  and I do not explore other systems, where I find the gestalt is lower than these objectives. In these times when ethics and morality take a back seat, we are sorely pressed for guidance. Though some individuals set themselves up as arbitrators of what the Tarot, should and should not do, including myself, in the long run, we are all part and parcel of a metaprogramme,  which encompasses much wider objectives than the Tarot itself - and here it would be suitable to include those other great reservoirs of wisdom, Astrology, the Kabbalah, Alchemy,  and so forth.  In other words, a Gnostic Renaissance is under way, intuited by C.G. Jung back in the early part of the 20th Century. Nor was he alone in identifying this esoteric cartography. The question remains, as to how we, as islands in the possession of Gnostic wisdom, can set up and maintain systems of plumbing to the mass dehydrations of the psyche that surround us. There are no resources at hand, and the few who should be co-operating, are not doing so. The outlet looks pretty bleak, except for those well insulated within their inner esoteric sanctorum, the very enlightened who seem devoid of any social objectives.

  That is not to say that there are not invisible hands at work behind the curtain of iron materialism. But my point always remains, is that whatever we are doing, it is not enough. The harvest is great and the harvesters few. The trillions of dollars spent on instruments of death and mass destruction, identify only too clearly the seriousness of the situation.  I would like to end these speculation with a small piece by the late Terence McKenna:

“Now there is present in the world at the moment, or at least I like to think so, an impulse which I have named the archaic revival. What happens is that whenever a society really gets in trouble, and you can use this in your own life-when you really get in trouble-what you should do is say "what did I believe in the last sane moments that I experienced" and then go back to that moment and act from it even if you no longer believe it. Now in the Renaissance this happened. The scholastic universe dissolved. New classes, new forms of wealth, new systems of navigation, new scientific tools, made it impossible to maintain the fiction of the Medieval cosmology and there was a sense that the world was dissolving. Good alchemical word-dissolving. And in that moment the movers and shakers of that civilization reached backwards in time to the last sane moment they had ever known and they discovered that it was Classical Greece and they invented classicism. In the 15th and 16th century the texts which had lain in monasteries in Syria and Asia Minor forgotten and untranslated for centuries were brought to the Florentine council by people like Gemistos Pletho and others and translated and classicism was born-its laws, its philosophy, its aesthetics. We are the inheritors of that tradition but it is now, once again, exhausted and our cultural crisis is much greater. It is global. It is total. It involves every man, woman and child on this planet, every bug, bird and tree is caught up in the cultural crisis that we have engendered. Our ideas are exhausted-the ideas that we inherit out of Christianity and its half-brother science, or its bastard child science. So, what I'm suggesting is that an archaic revival needs to take place and it seems to be well in hand in the revival of Goddess worship and shamanism and partnership but notice that these things are old-10,000 years or more old-but there was an unbroken thread that, however thinly drawn, persists right up to the present.” 

Yours sincerely, Samten de Wet. Cape Town.

[1] Edgar Wind, Pagan Mysteries of the Renaissance, p.22

[2] Philip Pullman, The His Dark Material Trilogy.

[3] Philip Pullman, The Subtle Knife, Scholastic, London, 1997.

[4]Terence McKenna, Lectures on Alchemy


Carl .G. Jung:

"Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away - an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of an absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains. In the end the only events in my life worth telling are those when the imperishable world irrupted into the transitory one."

Ramona M. Uritescu:

“On the contrary, the true artist/writer attempts ultimately to carry over, or transmute into language the effect, in the guise of disruption and aporia, that her/his secret, which renders her/him different from everyone else, has on her/his inner forum, on her/his life. in other words, just as her/his perception of truth, her/his insight into the human condition is forged and re-forged, in a continual process of becorning, by and through that key encounter which repeats itself with certain variations throughout her/his life, in the same way language is disrupted, dragged "hors de ses sillons coutumiers" (Deleuze, Critique et clinique 9), is deterritorialized and disemboweled, in order to shape another "language," a "minor language" (to use yet another Deleuzian term) that grows rhizomatically in the cracks of the old language's ruins. [1] Hence the great importance of a writer' s style.”  [2]

[1 For a discussion of the "rhizome model" as opposed to the "tree model, see Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, “Introducton: Rhizome” 3 -25.

[2] Ramona M. Uritescu, The Magician’s Modem Avatars: A Study of the Artist Figure in the Works of Marcel Proust, Thomas Mann and Franz Kafka, MA Thesis, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, August 1998, p.4

From:  Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987,  tr. Brian Massumi.

Friday, April 5, 2019




  During her visit to South Africa in 1972,  the Ven. Sister K. K. Palmo [Fred Bedi] transmitted a Chenrezi (Avalokiteśvara)  practice with the Title:



by the Yogi, Thang-tong gyalpo (ཐང་སྟོང་རྒྱལ་པྟོ)  (with selected notes from the textual commentary of H. H. Karmapa XV.)

At that time, I had typed out the text with an electric typewriter and made photstat copies.  The quality was not very good, and there were a few spelling mistakes. The attached PDF – thongtang_chenrezi.pdf -  is the first time a clear copy of the text has been made available.

The Yogi, Thang-tong Gyalpo was an extraordinary being, much revered in present day Bhutan:  WIKIPEDIA informs us that:

Thang Tong Gyalpo , Thangtong Gyalpo  ཐང་སྟོང་རྒྱལ་པོ,  (thang stong rgyal po) (1385 CE–1464 CE or 1361 CE–1485 CE), also known as Chakzampa and Tsondru Zangpo, was a great Buddhist adept, yogi, physician, blacksmith, architect, and a pioneering civil engineer.  He is known for writing an Avalokiteśvara sādhanā entitled For the Benefit of All Beings as Vast as the Skies, which is practiced in dharma centres today. He is well known for founding Ache Lhamo, (Tibetan opera), and is famous for his extensive travels in China, Tibet, and other eastern countries, building numerous temples and metal bridges and founding monasteries in Derge and elsewhere. Several of the 58 iron chain suspension bridges around Tibet and Bhutan that he built to ease travel and pilgrimage though the Himalayas are still in use today. He is often shown in murals with long white hair holding some chain links from his bridges.


Yours Sincerely

Samten de Wet

(Cape Town, New Moon, 5th April 2019)

Because of the wide distribution of For the Benefit of All Beings as Vast as the Skies,  you are welcome to source the version you are most comfortable with, or search the Internet for further versions of the translation.  For example:

Jason Espada, has curated: A Collection of Prayers by Thang Tong Gyalpo. Gathered from various sources [San Francisco, September 22nd, 2017.]  [ONLINE HERE]

An interesting study:

Manfred Gerner,  Thangtong Gyalpo: Architect, Philosopher and Iron Chain Bridge Builder, The Centre for Bhutan Studies, 2007. [ONLINE HERE


Avalokiteśvara  @ WIKIPEDIA


Friday, March 29, 2019



“I remember you said that death is psychologically just as important as birth and like it it’s an integral part of life. But surely it can’t be like birth if it’s an end, can it?”


“Yes, if it’s an end, and there we are not quite certain about this end, because you know there are these peculiar faculties of the psyche, that it isn’t entirely confined to space and time. You can have dreams or visions of the future, you can see around corners, and such things. Only ignorance denies these facts, you know; it’s quite evident that they do exist, and have existed always. Now these facts show that the psyche, in part at least, is not dependent upon these confinements. And then what? When the psyche is not under that obligation to live in time and space alone, and obviously it doesn’t, then to that extent the psyche is not subjected to those laws, and that means a practical continuation of life, a sort of psychical existence beyond time and space.”

FROM:  Face To Face | Carl Gustav Jung (1959) John Freeman interviews Professor Jung at his home in Switzerland. [ONLINE AT YOU TUBE HERE

PUBLISHED AS:  C.G. Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Princeton University Press, 21 Feb 1987, p.437.  [This collection captures C.G. Jung's personality in more than fifty memoirs and transcripts of interviews for radio, television, and film, ranging from a former playmate's impressions of Jung as a boy to an account of a conversation one month before his death in 1961. The book includes contributions by friends such as Esther Harding, Charles Baudouin, Mircea Eliade, and Miguel Serrano, and others by such figures as Victoria Ocampo, Alberto Moravia, and Charles Lindbergh, who spoke with Jung about UFOs.

Thursday, February 21, 2019


The Three Prophecies

Cap. xviii

[HI 124] 234 Wondrous things came nearer. I called my soul and asked her to dive down into the floods, whose distant roaring I could hear. This happened on 22 January of the year 1914, as recorded in my black book. And thus she plunged into the darkness like a shot, and from the depths she called out: "Will you accept what I bring?"

I: '''I will accept what you give. I do not have the right to judge or to reject."

S: "So listen. There is old armor and the rusty gear of our fathers down here, murderous leather trappings hanging from them, worm-eaten lance shafts, twisted spear heads, broken arrows, rotten shields, skulls, the bones of man and horse, old cannons, catapults, crumbling firebrands, smashed assault gear, stone spearheads, stone clubs, sharp bones, chipped arrowhead teeth –everything the battles of yore have littered the earth with. Will you accept all this?"

I: "I accept it. You know better, my soul."

S: "I find painted stones, carved bones with magical signs, talismanic sayings on hanks of leather and small plates of lead, dirty pouches filled with teeth, human hair and fingernails, timbers lashed together, black orbs, moldy animal skins-all the superstitions hatched by dark prehistory. Will you accept all this?"

I: "I accept it all, how should I dismiss anything?"

S: "But I find worse: fratricide, cowardly mortal blows, torture, child sacrifice, the annihilation of whole peoples, arson, betrayal, war, rebellion-will you also accept this?"

I: ''Also this, if it must be. How can I judge?"

S: "I find epidemics, natural catastrophes, sunken ships, razed cities, frightful feral savagery; famines, human meanness, and fear, whole mountains of fear."

I: "So shall it be, since you give it."

S: "I find the treasures of all past cultures, magnificent images of Gods, spacious temples, paintings, papyrus rolls, sheets of parchment with the characters of bygone languages, books full of lost wisdom, hymns and chants of ancient priests, stories told down the ages through thousands of generations."

I: "That is an entire world - whose extent I cannot grasp. How can I accept it?"

S: "But you wanted to accept everything? You do not know your limits. Can you not limit yourself?"

I: "I must limit myself. Who could ever grasp such wealth?"

S: "Be content and cultivate your garden with modesty."

I: "I will. I see that it is not worth conquering a larger piece of the immeasurable, but a smaller one instead. A well-tended small garden is better than an ill-tended large garden. Both gardens are equally small when faced with the immeasurable, but unequally cared for."

S: "Take shears and prune your trees."

From: C.G. Jung, The Red Book. Liber Novus,  W.W. Norton & Company, New York –London, 2009, pp.305-306




Friday, January 25, 2019


Theodore Roszak:

“Most of the world's mystic and occult traditions have been worked up from the gnosis of primitive and pagan cultures. At bottom, these traditions are sophisticated, speculative adaptations of the old folk religions, which preserve in some form their antique wisdom and modes of experience. Behind the Cabbala and Hermeticism, we can still see the shadowy forms of ritual magic and fertility rites, symbols of a sacred continuum binding man to nature and prescribing value. In all these mystic traditions, to know the real is to know the good, the beautiful, and the sacred at the same time.”

Theodore Roszak, The Monster and the Titan: Science, Knowledge, and Gnosis, Daedalus, Vol. 103, No. 3, Science and Its Public: The Changing Relationship (Summer, 1974), pp. 17-32 .

Where Psyche Meets Gaia", in Roszak, Theodore, Mary E. Gomes, and Allen D. Kanner, ed. Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books, 1995. [ONLINE HERE]

Spirituality in the Work of Theodore Roszak: Implications for Contemporary Ecopsychology, Tristan L. Snell, Janette G. Simmonds, and R. Scott Webster, [Faculty of Education, Monash University, Clayton, Australia. Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia.]


“Despite the recent flourishing of ecopsychology research, risks may be involved if ecopsychology remains a loosely defined paradigm. We suggest that drawing from some of the central themes of Theodore Roszak’s The Voice of the Earth (1992), a seminal text of ecopsychology, may help to elucidate the unique contribution of ecopsychology and its sustained relevance for environmentally focused psychologies. To provide a comprehensive review, we consider The Voice of the Earth by placing this text in the context of Roszak’s broader body of literature, discussing his earlier and more recent works. We particularly focus on the theme of spiritual experience throughout Roszak’s literature, as we believe that this is one of the more unique and important aspects of his work that has implications for the future development of ecopsychology as a paradigm and social movement. In conclusion, we suggest that Roszak’s emphasis on the value of a spiritual or animistic experience of nature, as a means of fostering empathy toward the natural world, may assist in providing meaningful focus to contemporary ecopsychology.”  [ONLINE HERE]




Monday, November 19, 2018


   As work continues with the ongoing project ART & SPIRITUALITY, the research of Jewell Homad Johnson on Robert Motherwell [1915 – 1991) [ROBERT MOTHERWELL @ WIKIPEDIA]  is a welcome discovery. An article/paper and her main thesis are here:

Jewell Homad Johnson, The Modern Artist As Spiritual Adept [University of Sydney]  ONLINE HERE at her Academia page.

And her main ACADEMIA PAGE.

Jewell Homad Johnson, Robert Motherwell: the artist the spiritual the modern. A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts (Research) Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences - University of Sydney May 24, 2015. [ONLINE HERE]

Then, directly from the horse’s mouth, so to speak: Robert Motherwell, The modern painter’s world”, Revisiones, n.º 6 (2010), pp. 69-78.  [ONLINE HERE]

And a Documentary:   Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) STORMING THE CITADEL [ONLINE HERE ON YOU TUBE]

Dedalus Foundation was set up by Robert Motherwell in 1981 to educate the public by fostering public understanding of modern art and modernism through its support of research, education, publications, and exhibitions in this field. [WEBSITE HERE]





To quote Edgar Wind, out of context:: “The claim that in these late Neoplatonic speculations there was a vestige of an ancient mystery relig...