The heart receptacle
The heart resides within the being as the cave in the hollow of the mountain. Now, if the mountain is generally represented by a triangle pointing upwards (Δ), the heart and the cave are symbolized by a triangle pointing downwards (∇). Represented in this way, the heart suggests a receptacle not only able to take the form of a cave, but also of a vase or a cup.
The cave at the heart of the mountain
Located in the hollow of the mountain visible from anywhere, the cave is a hidden place inaccessible to profanes and reserved for initiated beings only.
The cave is a representation of the cosmic world (macrocosm) where the ground symbolizes Earth and the vault Heaven. The physical being that enters into the cave will go through two more births besides the physical one:
- A birth of psychical order to become a true human being, that means centred within himself;
- A birth of spiritual order to come to be a total being, i.e. centred in the world.
If the first birth takes place in the cave, the second corresponds to a way out of the cave, of the cosmic world, alongside a vertical axis linking the initiated being to the summit of the mountain and beyond.
The “cavity of the heart” is made in the image of the cave where the initiated being receives the influences of the world beyond. Moreover, it is not by chance that the “cavity of the heart” and the cavity of the mountain have the same Sanskrit root
The heart is usually considered as the centre of life. If it is unquestionably true in the physical and physiological order, it is equally true in a superior order. In the Hindu tradition for instance, the heart is not only the residence of the living soul (
jivatma), but also of the manifestation of the Principle at the source of everything, of the “Self” (
Atma) in life (
jiva). In other words, the supra-human remains asleep in the heart of the human being. The heart symbolizes the Union, in the sense of the word Yoga, of the human with the supra-human, the individual with the universal.
Consequently, any manifestation order potentially contains the development possibilities in the superior order. In the world of the individual (microcosm), the physic warms up the psychic, the psychic the spiritual and the spiritual the world beyond, the non-manifested world. This also holds true for the cosmic world (macrocosm).
If the World Egg constitutes the germ of the world manifestation, the cave or the “cavity of the heart” represents the matrix of the development of all possibilities of the being. Nevertheless, the heart conceals these possibilities at a potential state only and it is up to the being himself to make them alive.
The sealed vase in the Egyptian tradition
In the Egyptian tradition, the mountain could only be represented by the pyramid and the cave or the “cavity of the heart” by the inner chamber situated at the vertical of the summit of the structure.
The inner chamber preserved the place devoted to the initiation to the mysteries from the curious eyes. The accomplishment of the rites was the concern of an organization, guardian of a knowledge going back to the primeval tradition of non human origin. The realization of the “little mysteries” allowed the initiated being as well as the qualified profane to fully attain the human being states; the access to the “great mysteries” was only reserved to the initiated beings able to discover the supra-human states.
The access to the supra-human states opened the heart of the initiated being to the knowledge of the Principle at the source of everything. A knowledge dozing in the being's heart at a potential, virtual state.
The hieroglyph representing the heart was a sealed vase (). The vase was full or empty depending on the way it was observed:
- For the uninitiated, the vase could only be full of (manifested) things;
- For the initiated, the vase was empty (of any manifestation), but full (of non-manifested).
The vase was sealed to place its content out of profanes' eyes and make it accessible to initiated beings only. The discovery of the initiatic “secret” stands beyond appearances and its major feature consists in its inalienability.
The heart played an essential role in the Egyptian tradition: it was the centre of life, will and understanding within each being. Mummified, the body kept the heart as single organ. At the time of the judgment of the dead, the god Anubis checked, while the god of the dead Osiris looked on, if the heart of the defunct was lighter than the feather of the Maat, i.e. the Rule governing the cosmic world. It was a matter to make sure that the heart was freed from the earthly gravities to reach the atmosphere lightness and, especially, the imponderable celestial clarity.
Thanks to the initiation rites, the beings were able to apply to the individual (microcosm) level the rules ensuring the smooth running of the cosmic world (macrocosm). Thus, the initiated being became answerable for the harmony between the world beyond and the world below. The most important was not to fight the evil forces here below, but to initiate the beings to the mysteries of the world beyond. The ancient Egyptians had understood that in order to improve the society, it was firstly necessary to improve oneself.
The cup in the quest of the Holy Grail
The quest of the Holy Grail is sufficiently known not to be mentioned here in its totality. The legend, going back to the 12th century, is a Christian written adaptation, the traces of which date back to the Celtic oral tradition.
The Holy Grail is the cup that would have been firstly used for the celebration of the Holy Last Supper and then to collect Christ's blood at his crucifixion. Joseph of Arimathea presented the cup of the last supper to the flank of Jesus on the cross. The cup symbolizes the Heart of Christ from which gushed the “immortality fountain”. In some representations, the cup itself rests on a stem crossed by three rings symbolizing the manifestation of the three worlds (terrestrial, intermediary and celestial) and the three orders (physical, psychic and spiritual) associated with the being. It is an image of the Principle, of the One or God at the origin of the cosmic world.
According to the legend, the cup was cut by the angels in the emerald which fell from Lucifer's forehead at the time of his fall into hell.
This stone echoes the third eye of Shiva. This central eye that sees everything in the eternal present is associated with the Principle, the Unity at the origin of the dualistic manifestation of the world symbolized by the binocular vision.
Then, the Grail was confided to Adam in the Garden of Eden. It was his turn to lose it after having been turned out of the Garden of Eden. During his fall, Adam abandoned his heavenly nature, his centred, unified state, to discover his ordinary condition of a divided being that only saw the world through the angle of duality.
It follows that the possessor of the Grail was also the guardian of the primeval tradition. Its loss inevitably led to the fall, the remoteness from the Centre symbolized by the Garden of Eden or the summit of the mountain. Its transmission, on the other hand, was associated with the tradition and the reintegration into the original state.
Afterwards, the cup was successively transmitted before ending up in the hands of Christ. At Jesus's death, it was carried by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus to the Breton's country where the famous epic of King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table began. After many events, the Grail was raised to Heaven where it rediscovered its original place. That also meant that the primeval tradition under its manifested form was lost or concealed for beings. Nevertheless, it is still present in the Heart of Christ and, at a potential state, in the heart of beings who are thirsty for the knowledge collected at the source.