From Findhorn to the Catholic Mystery: On Leaving the New Age Behind

 

Findhorn New Age community

The so-called Universal Hall at the Findhorn Community. Photo courtesy of exoskull Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

Introduction (by a former Findhorn member, now Catholic convert):

What follows is a very personal, autobiographical piece regarding my own conversion journey from New Age mysteries to the Catholic Mystery.

This is an earlier draft of material from my upcoming book Cor Jesu Sacratissimum. It will appear in fuller form in print when the book is released in late 2016. (UPDATE: Book is now available on Amazon worldwide here.)

Now, ripping extracts like this from a book’s totality is no easy thing. For the book supplies a great deal of context which will be absent here.

Let me, then, attempt to supply at least a little of that missing context. I was dedicated to the New Age movement for many years, well before the New Age became popular and mainstream. For I began reading of the Findhorn Community in the late 1970s and first visited there in 1980. Later on, I went to live there on a permanent basis.

But what is Findhorn? Well, as I write, in my book:

The Findhorn Community … has provided a major inspiration for the entire New Age movement. Indeed, according to Vatican document  Jesus Christ The Bearer Of The Water Of Life, the New Age movement had two major sources of  formative inspiration:

The two centres which were the initial power-houses of the New Age, and to a certain extent still are, were the Garden community at Findhorn in North-East Scotland, and the Centre for the development of human potential at Esalen in Big Sur, California, in the United States of America.

At any rate, Findhorn is a place, which has wielded astonishing influence – out of all proportion to immediate appearances. For it is a small community of a few hundred (at best) located in a remote part of the British Isles – further north than Juneau, Alaska. Yet Findhorn exerted a strange, attractive power. People from the far reaches of the world have expended significant time, energy and money to wend their way up to its lonely, windswept peninsula in the far north of Scotland.

For them, Findhorn became a contemporary centre of pilgrimage. Some spoke of it as a modern ‘Mystery School’, where one could undergo processes of spiritual initiation – which in ages past, took place in hidden enclaves, sheltered from the world. For others, Findhorn represented a nascent ‘City of Light’ – an outpost for a new ‘Planetary Civilisation’.

At least, all this is in keeping with numerous images I heard (and used myself!) throughout long years. That is, I do not speak only of the years that I actually resided there – because for nearly two decades of my life, Findhorn was at the centre of all my inspiration and aspiration for a better world.

Yes, I became enamoured of Findhorn and for nearly the next two decades, it was my hope for the world.

Now, as I also relate in my book, after leaving Findhorn in the late 80s, I moved to Cambridge, England – for the express purpose of starting a New Age centre in that great European centre of learning.

I hoped, in fact, to introduce Findhorn-style spirituality to future generations of thinkers and leaders.

Thus, I was utterly, utterly committed to a New Age vision. I wanted to change the world. Much more of this is said in my upcoming book.

However, here we must note that certain powerful influences were at work in my soul. These included the spirituality of Alice A. Bailey and the Theosophists. I also esteemed the Gnostics, the Cathars and A Course in Miracles – a potent neo-gnostic New Age text.

sacred-heart-tridentine

Old French Sacred Heart image used by the Institute of Christ the King in Ireland. Used with permission and gratitude.

Now, the effect of New Age gnosticism and Theosophy in my soul was that of an aloof, depersonalised – even inhuman – spirituality. My spiritual goal was power and detachment. Certainly, it was not identification with the suffering, wounded and pierced heart of Jesus Christ.

 And my upcoming book tries to illumine the profound difference between New Age de-personalisation and Christian personalisation. It also relates how New Agers tend to get trapped inside what I now call the ‘holistic cafeteria’.

They tend to believe – at least unconsciously – that every valid spiritual option is available to them on a New Age menu, which they regard as expressing a universal spirituality.

With this mindset, it is very hard indeed to conceive that the Church offers anything different, anything which is not already on this menu.

Here are some things, dear Reader, that I hope may help provide context for the following extract. I will also mention that another long extract from my manuscript exists at this site – and further context about my New Age life in Findhorn and Cambridge can also be found here. There are also labels at this site for still further entries regarding Findhorn as well as the New Age .

But now, here is the story of how, by the Grace of God, I left the New Age behind and found the Catholic Mystery. It tells of of how I discovered that the ‘holistic cafeteria’, for all its self-professed universalism,  possessed a very limited menu – which had served deny me the most precious things of all …

From Roger Buck. Click to buy from Amazon Worldwide!

Extracted from my Book (Draft) – New Age to Catholic

Helena-Petrovna-Blavatsky

HPB or Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy and ‘grandmother’ of today’s New Age

But before I relate my experience, let me emphasise, once more, who I was on the threshold of my entry into Christianity. For the full extent of my immersion in New Age culture, may still be hard for Catholics to truly fathom.

I was thoroughly submerged in this subculture in every imaginable fashion. I had surfed the New Age web. I had been to New Age festivals, workshops and lectures. I had listened to New Age music, tapes and talks. I had read countless New Age books, magazines and articles. In Cambridge, I even wrote articles for a small circulation journal we published under the name of Sacred Culture.

Through both Findhorn and the Cambridge project, I had had thousands of encounters with all manner of folk devoted to Theosophy, transpersonal psychotherapy, holistic healing, as well as innumerable gurus and teachers …

At some level, I must have thought I had seen it all. Certainly, it would have staggered my imagination thatimagination that Christianity offered essential truths beyond this New Age smorgasbord. I would have supposed that the highest value of Christianity was love – and that the same was true of the New Age.

And I did not think I was arrogant in assuming that New Age spirituality subsumed everything that was essential in Christianity!

All this I repeat and stress. For I know that countless New Agers have minds set like mine was set – set like stone. This mindset will protest: What could the Church possibly offer us that we do not already have access to? What could possibly be new and different to our experience?

Why should anyone need the Catholic Sacraments and an ordained hierarchy to offer them? Why do we need all this ‘Old Age’ stuff? Surely, we have it all. Surely, there is nothing – at least nothing of any significant value – which cannot be found by alternative means.

Surely, the Church has no monopoly on anything! Surely, anything important can also be found within our modern, holistic and universal spirituality!

It was in the autumn of 1997 that my life would change forever. For it was then that I saw something never glimpsed in all my years of New Age exploration. It was then that I first ventured beyond the New Age bubble and began a long process of distancing. Only then could I gain perspective by stepping outside the ‘holistic cafeteria’.

My experience that autumn was all these things yet far, far more. It was, I believe, some form of encounter, which involved Our Sovereign Lord and Master. My language here is deliberately vague. This is as it should be. For I do not really know what I experienced. God knows. I do not.

But I like to think that through His Grace, perhaps I touched the Hem of His Garment.

Whatever I encountered has been the miracle of my life. And whatever happened was, I think, all to do with a distinctively Christian Grace. Clearly, it was not to do with the vague, remote and impersonal ‘Christ consciousness’ that I had talked about blithely for years. Here was something utterly different.

It was the beginning of my expedition towards the intensely personal and human Sacred Heart of Jesus: a journey of spiritual transformation.

‘Spiritual transformation’: Here is a catchphrase much-loved in New Age circles. Some even speak of ‘radical transformation’. Such ‘transformation’ is something that many New Agers consider crucial to the ‘spiritual path’.

But radical transformation involves cost. In my own case, it has meant turning my back and leaving behind decades of effort, friendship and shared aspirations. Few New Agers will generally not be interested in this kind of radical change, which destroyed much of my former identity. Radical: the word comes from the Latin radix for root. And it means to say: from the roots up …

 Christianity offered essential truths beyond this New Age smorgasbord. I would have supposed that the highest value of Christianity was love – and that the same was true of the New Age.

And I did not think I was arrogant in assuming that New Age spirituality subsumed everything that was essential in Christianity!

All this I repeat and stress. For I know that countless New Agers have minds set like mine was set – set like stone. This mindset will protest: What could the Church possibly offer us that we do not already have access to? What could possibly be new and different to our experience?

Why should anyone need the Catholic Sacraments and an ordained hierarchy to offer them? Why do we need all this ‘Old Age’ stuff? Surely, we have it all. Surely, there is nothing – at least nothing of any significant value – which cannot be found by alternative means.

Surely, the Church has no monopoly on anything! Surely, anything important can also be found within our modern, holistic and universal spirituality!

From Roger Buck. Click to buy from Amazon Worldwide!

What is there to say? The New Age had channelled my religious aspiration in narrow ways.  My upbeat outlook trivialised the extent of tragedy in the world – convinced as I was that we were automatically determined for a better world, not far in the future.

As we shall consider later on, matters like the Fall, like sin, evil, temptation and perdition do not much penetrate the New Age mind.

If anyone had told me that real love involves prayer and that prayer is vital, vital because real powers of darkness operate in this fallen world, it would have sounded completely exotic to me. For all the supposed spiritual diversity of the universal ‘holistic cafeteria’, no one ever said: ‘You must pray that your soul be guarded from sin’.

In the ‘inclusive’ New Age, there was no space for the faith of the West for millennia.

Yet, after long years in the New Age, I finally encountered one person who did speak in terms redolent of this. I had entered psychotherapy with a wise and elderly Jungian therapist – who had also been an Anglican pastor. However, he had rejected much of the neo-pagan Jung and was deeply Christian. And significantly, it was only in this dialogue with a devout Christian and nowhere else, that I began to hear a little about the Fall. Here was a Jungian who was not afraid to mix theology with his therapy!

Still, even this wise old man did little to dent the basic tenor of my aloof, depersonalised New Age way. It took something far greater to achieve that. And it happened literally in the Eleventh Hour of an autumn evening, after I had been disseminating the New Age all throughout Cambridge for nearly a decade …

In the Eleventh Hour

For me, there was something indescribable about the early autumn of 1997. In September, I was a month from my thirty-fourth birthday and, for perhaps three weeks, it felt as though something was different in my day-to-day experience. A strange new ambience was present. What the difference was, was hard to pinpoint. But it felt good.

Still, it took years before I fully realised why this was happening to me. At the time, there was simply a vague intimation of well-being that I was unaccustomed to.

What this ‘feeling good’ really was, I did not know. Nor did it prepare me in the slightest for what happened next. This is to say, that I was caught completely unaware by the night of the 18th of September.

But, looking back, I see that what happened that night was a culmination: the unusual inner experience of the last weeks reached a crescendo that night – in a moment of special intensity.

This night has been decisive for my life. I had an experience which has changed me forever. It was an interior event, utterly unlike anything encountered in my long years of New Age meditation. In an intimate moment with Kim (the woman who is now my wife) I glimpsed the Christian Mystery. At least, what I touched that evening, led to a real miracle in my life. From this moment, my Christian conversion began.

How to explain what really happened? It is much easier to say what did not happen. I did not have a vision. Nor did I sense a personality. Perhaps, I can do no better than to say this: Abruptly, I became conscious of a quality of living that seemed unlike anything I had ever felt before. An entirely new quality came to my awareness – one that could actually change my life forever.

Yes, one September night in Cambridge, this burst upon me. I had been reclining, speaking to Kim. I felt a need to speak to her with uncommon frankness about our lives. We were both interacting with an unusual intensity.

And something came to me. I cannot tell you exactly what it was. But I recall standing up in astonishment and saying: ‘I feel like I am in a new world.’

Whatever it was truly dazed me. Still in a daze – maybe half an hour later – I tried to capture this bewildering experience in words in my journal. I even took the unusual step of recording the exact time – such was the sense of immediacy that I felt:

18th September 1997 10:57 pm

Tonight with Kim I felt something I have never felt before … I felt something that, if I were really to feel it, would give me so I felt – all I want … so that by being filled by this, I would thirst no more. It felt as though the lack of this [very special quality] has been the source of all the longing and all the difficulties, and that the fulfilment of this – this that I didn’t even know existed – would be the end of all neurosis. …

It was light, so subtle … I don’t know what it means, but it feels if I am in touch with it, I will have what I need and I will need no more, no other. If I am not in touch with it, I will seek and seek … for all manner of things. I need to be in touch with this, and for this I need to give, commit myself.

More.

Mystery.

I feel like I am in a new world.

The next day I was still struggling to find words:

I feel like I am still in the aftermath of something very, very special … I am entering something else with Kim, with earth, with life – something other than I have ever known.

Unexpectedly that same day I asked Kim to marry me. Until now, there had been hesitancy in committing to her, as I have said. Now, everything was changed. All at once, I knew that I would entrust myself to her.

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But this engagement, profound and sudden as it was, belonged to something greater still that I was experiencing. What was this greater thing? What was this literally Eleventh Hour experience that I have indicated to you, dear Reader, in notes ripped from a private journal, which may seem all-too-cryptic? And what did I mean that I would ‘thirst no more’?

I believe it was the seed of my awakening to the Mystery of Jesus Christ. Though I did not see that immediately. My journal notes do not mention Christ at that point. Though, for reasons which may become clearer, it did not take me long to connect my experience to Him.

Certainly, when I look back at my journal of a few weeks later, I find that I have written something that was very odd and unexpected at that time: ‘I am a Christian’.

Now in my opinion, I was given the Grace of a mystical experience that evening. The fruit of this Grace has spilled out for the whole of my life ever since. If I am right to think of this as mystical grace, there really is no precise way to articulate the fullness of what happened to me. However, a little can perhaps be suggested by expressing certain features of the experience.

One such feature involved a nascent moral sense that something was wrong in the way that I had been living. The tentative quality in my relationship with Kim was wrong, for a start. But there was still more to my realisation. For I saw that my lack of commitment to Kim involved something still further.

It involved a lack of commitment to the whole world. (Although until that point, I thought that I was sincerely engaged in my New Age work for a better world).

But now, I saw that to commit to Kim in marriage was not only to marry her, but also to marry the world. It meant marrying the world that previously I had always subtly refused.

I glimpsed the inverse of all my former spiritual aspiration.  I glimpsed the inverse of my cherished goal – the goal of those Cathars who had refused the earth. I saw what it meant to love the earth, the ground.

The Latin for soil is humus – from which we derive our word humility. All of this is to suggest what healthiness there is in realising that we are not transcendent, detached and aloof beings of the spirit, controlling the physical (or even astral) bodies like Theosophical ‘vehicles’. We are part of God’s Creation. We belong to His earth.

A certain legacy of my involvement with Alice Bailey and the New Age had been to say ‘no’ to the world. Certainly, it involved a ‘no’ to the traditional structures of society, including – though hardly limited to –  religious structures. And it involved aloofness, rather than humility. In the ‘Eleventh Hour’ of a Thursday night in September, I was shown the way out.

From Roger Buck. Click to buy from Amazon Worldwide!

charles-coulombe-120h

And somehow it came to me soon after – as I say, I no longer recall quite how soon – that this new condition of experience had everything to do with Jesus Christ. I saw that this new quality I had felt – this quality of engagement, commitment and marriage to the world – involved the gift of accepting the limited and particular.

I had fancied myself something of a Gnostic. And Gnostics do not like the limited, particular things of this world. They do not like institutions; they do not like worldly things; perhaps, they do not like human personality itself.

For to be personal means to be very particular and limited: It means to be one’s own self and not another.

God honoured this particularity through the Incarnation. The infinite God restricted Himself to a finite human nature: particular, limited, personal. Through Jesus Christ, God became completely personal.

Here was the exact inverse of the Gnostic orientation, with all its horror for the world of the flesh. Frequently, the Gnostics and Cathars wanted to vacate this life i.e. – to abandon this world of ‘evil matter.’  And through much of my life I had also longed for the spiritual liberation of death. But, what the Gnostics spurned, Jesus Christ assumed and raised up …

Now I realised that there was something still greater in this new sense of marrying the world. This is to say, that I saw that to really commit oneself to the world possessed a degree of analogy – albeit in the most minuscule, fallen and broken way – to the deed of Christ. This commitment was the Imitatio Christi.

However humble we may be, in this way, we follow Christ. Unlike the Buddha, Christ had not come to preach liberation from the world. Rather, the Son incarnated into and committed Himself to the world. With the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God offered a new way of relating to the world.

Yes, in September 1997, I beheld something I had never seen before. Today I look at those words, which I wrote that night:

 I felt something that, if I were really to feel it, would give me so I felt – all I want … so that by being filled by this, I would thirst no more.

And years later, the correspondence with the Gospel according to John leaps out:

Then that Samaritan woman saith to him: How dost thou, being a Jew; ask of me to drink, who am a Samaritan woman? For the Jews do not communicate with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said to her: If thou didst know the gift of God and who he is that saith to thee: Give me to drink; thou perhaps wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith to him: Sir, thou hast nothing wherein to draw, and the well is deep. From whence then hast thou living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank thereof, himself and his children and his cattle? Jesus answered and said to her: Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him shall not thirst for ever. But the water that I will give him shall become in him a fountain of water, springing up into life everlasting. The woman said to him: Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst … (John 4: 16)

catholic-mysteryHowever at the time, I honestly do not believe that I knew this passage from John. What I wrote of thirsting no more was hardly a literary or gospel allusion. It was an emotional outpouring, scribbled in a private journal to capture an interior experience.

Certainly, I had not the slightest idea these jottings would ever be published. I was not thinking of ‘living waters’. Indeed as I have said, my journal notes say nothing of Christianity.

The connexion was made only later.

 

The Missing Factor: or the Connection I Failed to Realise

Latin Mass in Limerick, Ireland with the glorious Institute of Christ the King. Photo from the Institute in Ireland. Used with permission and gratitude.

Yes, my jottings were a scramble to express a potent new feeling: ‘I felt something I have never felt before …’ Now at the time, such newness was subtly precluded from my narrow New Age vision. For as we shall see, I came to understand this newness as something genuinely different from the New Age.

Prior to this, it would have seemed absurd that there even could be anything new – at least anything significant – which could not be found in ‘holistic’ spirituality. It would have been still more surreal to think that not only were there wonders unknown to the New Age, but that these same wonders had been preserved within the Church for centuries.

But now, dear Reader, I need to tell you something. There is one factor which I have not mentioned in regards to this mysterious autumn of 1997. Once more, to be clear: My Eleventh Hour experience came as a crescendo to an unusual time-period, which had lasted some weeks by then.

But there was another factor in this timeframe – an all-important factor I now believe – which I have not mentioned in my account, because, at the time, I did not see its relevance.

Yes, initially I failed to connect the dots. Initially, I did not link this unmentioned factor to that crescendo which would re-orient the rest of my life. Only later on, did I see its relevance.

Now, this may seem scarcely believable to you, dear Reader. Because the as-yet unmentioned factor involves the following. I had found myself with a strange, atypical curiosity: a peculiar interest in the Church for the first time in my life. I can still recall being upstairs in a Cambridge bookshop. There was a sale and I noticed a thick tome about Catholicism at a reduced price. I felt a mysterious urge to buy the book – something I can scarcely imagine doing at any prior point in my life.

What I now want to explain, dear Reader, is that the decisive spiritual event in my life happened within this context – a context wherein I felt drawn – tenuously and oddly – to reading about Catholicism. However, what perhaps originally appeared to be little more than a curious distraction proved to yield undreamt-of significance.

For only later, I saw that the decisive spiritual event of my life was linked to my sudden curiosity about the Church. This is because something else was happening as I pursued this peculiar interest, albeit something invisible to me at the time.

But to explain this ‘invisible something else’, one must introduce a matter that may seem bizarre to New Agers, secularists and everyone else who has forgotten that which was once central to all of Christendom …

For I must needs invoke the Mystici Corporis Christi – The Mystical Body of Christ! Yes, this may seem bizarre for everyone who sees the Church simply as a human organisation – and nothing more.

This, of course, is to miss the point completely. Clearly, the Catholic Church possesses a certain needed infrastructure. Yet its organisation is animated by a living spiritual organism – the Mystical Body of Christ.

Now, once more, my journal notes speak simply of thirsting no more. They say nothing of Christianity. Although I did not make the connexion initially, it seems to me, now, that my Eleventh Hour experience involved an encounter with His Mystical Body.

It seems to me that I would have experienced nothing, had it not been for the living spiritual organism of the Church.

Admittedly, I was not baptised. I had not participated in any of the Sacraments of the Church. Nonetheless, Our Lord extends Himself to us through His Church, not only via the Seven Principal Channels of the Sacraments, but via other conduits, as well. There are the Sacramentals, such as Holy Water or the Rosary, for example. What I will now relate seems to be sacramental in this latter sense, at least.

The exact order of events, that autumn in Cambridge, is no longer clear in my mind. But, finding myself strangely interested by Catholicism, I attended a Mass. I ventured curiously into the chapel, with little idea as to what to expect. I wonder, now, if I took the Sacramental of Holy Water as I passed through the doors. I cannot recall. My lack of recollection is a pity, for it may have a bearing on the story I now tell (even if it is only a small bearing).

In any event, being almost entirely ignorant in regard to the Church, I enquired whether I could receive the transformed bread and wine. I was told ‘no’. Still, it was suggested I might go forward during Communion to receive a blessing. I had little idea what this meant.

Upon approaching the Priest, I was distinctly startled. Laying his hand on my head and in a loud voice for all to hear, he blessed me ‘in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit’.

With this Mass and blessing, came a very subtle, yet distinct interior experience. How to capture this in words? I cannot. All I can say is that, within myself, I felt subtly, yet palpably, different afterwards.

This feeling lasted for hours, perhaps for the rest of the day. I had the clear impression that something good had happened to me. And as a result, I felt different for the remainder of the day. Or even for the remainder of my life …? Who knows?! For strange as it may seem, at the time, I did not think much about it. At the time, I never thought to connect this blessing to my Eleventh Hour experience.

Now, to repeat: I can no longer recall the exact sequence of events of that 1997 autumn. Still, I feel almost sure that this blessing in the Mass took place prior to my Eleventh Hour experience. Hence, my hypothesis today: my Eleventh Hour miracle followed the blessing in that chapel and thus was directly connected to my being sacramentally blessed in that chapel.

Even if I failed to make the connexion at the time, years later this hypothesis dawned on me and I gasped in recognition: This is how it must have happened. (The fact that I cannot recall the order of events for certain – whether my experience followed this Mass or not – only goes to show how initially I made no connexion between the interior event and Christianity.)

Yes, I think this Sacramental blessing preceded the miracle of that September night. Yet, even if the Mass did not come first, but happened only afterwards (which I do not believe) it changes nothing I am saying about the Mystici Corporis Christi. For I know that the power of His Mystical Body had already begun to reach me.

Catholic-Traditional-Latin-Mass

Traditional Latin Mass

For the Catholic textbook that I had strangely purchased was written by a man who has been ordained – a Priest – and thus incorporated into His Mystical Body, in a very particular manner. Now, like the Holy Water, could not a book from a member of the ordained – a man not only ordained but plunged daily in the Sacraments – also function as a Sacramental channel for His Mystical Body?

In any event, I recall feeling shocked by the book. I had grown up knowing nothing but a caricature of Protestant Christianity. Here was something clearly different! Here were concepts which I had no idea belonged to the Church! Indeed, I was amazed by how ‘esoteric’ Catholicism was. To my mind at the time, this was a high compliment!

Allow me to elaborate, dear Reader. In doing so, the New Age mindset may be further elucidated. I read Alice Bailey, because I was enamoured of the esoteric. By contrast, the word ‘exoteric’ was pejorative for me. It spoke of boring, dusty old things.

In the argot of my culture, esoteric was ‘cool’; exoteric ‘uncool’. I confidently regarded Christianity as just another tiresome old ‘exoteric’ religion. But now, I read of matters such as the Communion of Saints and Hierarchies of Angels – which were far removed from what I knew of Protestantism. I was stunned. Of course, I no longer remember exactly what I said to my friends, back in those days. But I might well have said words like these:

I’m reading this standard ‘exoteric’ Catholic textbook – and you know what? It’s esoteric! I can’t believe it – it’s actually esoteric!

Such was my New Age idiom. It is reproduced here to illustrate the discovery I made and that other New Agers might make if they had half a chance: the discovery that Catholic Christianity concerns something very different from the dry, literalist connotations they have largely inherited from Protestantism.

I said such things to New Age friends then. And if any of them would really listen to me now, I would say: ‘I fear your understanding of Catholic Christianity is as woefully deficient as my own was. In fact, I would hazard a guess that, even among the most educated of you, seventy-five per cent of what you think you know about Catholicism simply isn’t true.’

Now, that same autumn, I would also discover the intensely Catholic Meditations on the Tarot by Valentin Tomberg. Of this masterpiece, more in a moment. For the moment, my point is that in a Cambridge autumn in the final years of the last century, I came into contact with His Mystical Body for the first time in my life.

At the time, it never occurred that my Eleventh Hour experience might have anything to do with a Priest ordained into the Body of Christ. But years later, I saw it: I had been touched and blessed by a Priest. And it matters not, whether it was the Priest who wrote the book I found in a Cambridge bookshop or if (as I think almost certain) the Priest who blessed me in the chapel of Saint Edmund’s college, Cambridge.

I do not believe this Eleventh Hour experience would have happened without the living mystical organism of the Church intervening in my life.

And given the extraordinary Grace of what happened to me, I cannot help but wish that more non-Catholics would go into a church, take some Holy Water and approach the altar for a blessing …

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On Valentin Tomberg

Valentin Tomberg

Now, after discovering the Catholic textbook by the Priest, I had also turned to another book whose title could trouble certain traditional readers. This is Meditations on the Tarot – the central masterpiece in the Catholic corpus of Valentin Tomberg. How can I even begin to speak of this highly unusual book – except to say that it is a Catholic masterpiece?

Written by a moral genius of the highest order, an elderly man with the most lucid of thinking and the warmest of hearts, this 600 page tour de force is a stunning Catholic synthesis which takes in an immense panorama. That sweeping vista includes (although is hardly limited to): theology, philosophy, history, politics, psychology, science – and yes, matters of a more esoteric nature. No: I cannot even begin to do justice to this world-changing book. So I will not even try.

But for the sake of readers who may be troubled by a work on the Tarot, I must say that the book contains not one word about telling fortunes via Tarot cards! And I would stress the fact that this unusual book played a key part in my conversion. In like manner, I believe it can help others find their way out of a New Age wilderness.

And why do I say this? As our point of departure for this question, let me note that the book was given a foreword by Hans urs von Balthasar, one of most beloved modern theologians of St. John Paul II and nominated by him as a Cardinal. (As it happened, von Balthasar died just before he was to receive the cardinalate).  In his foreword, von Balthasar writes of this book:

A thinking, praying Christian of unmistakable purity reveals to us the symbols of Christian Hermeticism in its various levels of mysticism, gnosis and magic, taking in also … certain elements of astrology and alchemy [seeking] to lead meditatively into the deeper, all-embracing wisdom of the Catholic Mystery.

Still, many a Catholic may remain disturbed, even though these are words from a Cardinal-elect theologian who has been most significant not only for St. John Paul II, but also his successor, Benedict XVI. How to address the admitted emphasis on the esoteric in this book, which, moreover, contains certain unorthodox elements?

From Roger Buck. Click to buy from Amazon Worldwide!

charles-coulombe-120h

It may help if I confess that no other approach than Tomberg’s Catholic synthesis could have led me to enter the Church. The sheer grip of the New Age would have proved too strong for me.  I who had been drawn to the esoteric for my entire adult life could only cross the bridge into the Holy Church through a book such as Tomberg’s.

Yes, my life was changed by what I had found that September evening. But much more was necessary to lead me out of the wasteland and into being a confirmed Catholic. The abyss between the New Age world and that of the Church is vast and gaping – and I needed a bridge. Meditations on the Tarot provided that bridge.

And there are many other souls lost in the wilderness, who can avail themselves of the bridge that Valentin Tomberg built for them. For the New Age movement is filled by many such souls as myself – souls drawn to understanding the Mystery behind the world.

Now, some of this exploration of the Mystery behind the world has been wisely condemned by the Church.  For example, the Holy Church wisely condemns the use of astrology for aspiring to predict and control the future – either one’s own future or another’s. For astrology can certainly be used to invade, manipulate and entrap people.

However, the Church does not condemn every exploration of astrological or Tarot symbolism. Nor does the Church forbid a healthy enquiry into many Mysteries of this world – the Mystery of Angels, for example.

New Agers are people drawn to these mysteries – as though they cannot help themselves. And there are other souls who are somewhat like to them. They reject New Age-ism, but call themselves ‘esoteric Christians’. Unlike New Agers, they revere the Ultimate Mystery at the Heart of the Gospel and yet feel themselves unable to align with the Church.

 

 

Many of these are people who have drunk deeply from the esoteric teaching of the Austrian Rudolf Steiner, whom we noted already for his break with Theosophy. In the Nineteenth Century, Steiner had been a philosopher in the idealist stream of Fichte and Hegel and initially rejected Christianity.

Towards his fortieth year, he passed through interior experiences which served to convince him that the Mystery of Golgotha – as he would call it – was the central Mystery of the world. Whatever may be said regarding Steiner’s highly unorthodox views, his regard for the Mystery of Calvary is indeed mighty.  As Christopher Bamford has written:

For Steiner … the incarnation of [Christ’s] Being (His birth, death, descent into the Earth, resurrection and ascension) is more than the redemptive turning point in humanity’s relationship to God. Enormous though that is and hardly to be conceived of, the meaning of Christ’s passage through our human Earth is greater still, and marks a watershed not just in the life of human beings and the earth, but also in the life of the [Angels] and – dare one say it? – even in the Divine Life itself … Christ’s deed continues to transform human nature and the cosmos, as it were, turning these inside -out – so that for human beings today the once transcendent God is no longer beyond, but within a non-exteriorised divine-human interaction, more intimate than our jugular vein.

It is nevertheless the case that Steiner remained opposed to the Church for the rest of his days. And to his towering vision of Calvary, he would add many elements that the Church has long rejected as heretical. Steiner’s philosophy would be forged into Anthroposophy – a system of so-called ‘esoteric Christianity’ likewise divorced from the Catholic faith.

Anthroposophy has drawn untold thousands of souls into its bosom over the last century. Indeed, Valentin Tomberg had initially been an Anthroposophist. As a young man, he rejected the Church and drew on sources like Steiner and Soloviev. In fact, he wrote a number of Anthroposophical works. Shortly after his fortieth year, he renounced Anthroposophy and converted to Catholicism.

Tomberg clearly came to regret Steiner’s efforts to foster a so-called ‘esoteric Christianity’ separated from the Church. For many years later in Meditations on the Tarot, he would write:

Christianity … is one and indivisible. One should not — one cannot! — separate from so-called ‘exoteric’ Christianity its gnosis and mysticism, or so-called ‘esoteric’ Christianity. Esoteric Christianity is entirely within exoteric Christianity; it does not exist — and cannot exist — separately from it.

Now, Tomberg’s early books are in print today and find favour amongst certain Anthroposophists. However, Tomberg left the field of Anthroposophy and requested that the books of his youth never be re-published. His request has not been heeded – with the result that many will confuse the mature Catholic Tomberg with the Anthroposophical Tomberg of his youth. However, whilst speaking in regard to the Anthroposophical books, Tomberg wrote to an Anthroposophical admirer in 1970:

Nothing lies further from me today or would be more tiring than to see the ashes of the Anthroposophical past raised up … Shield me from discussions about [my Anthroposophical work] and similar things, which are now totally alien to me [Emphasis mine].

In any event, Tomberg declared himself unable to renounce his quest for knowledge of the Christian Mysteries. And he saw that there were others like him – whom he called Christian Hermeticists and in some cases, his ‘Unknown Friends’. These were Christians who could not ignore the Hermetic tradition, which stemmed from pre-Christian ages.

Just as the Church could not ignore Plato, Aristotle and the wisdom of ancient Greece, Hermeticists could neither ignore the wisdom of ancient Egypt. For Tomberg, the Hermetic tradition could not be rejected  – just as Aquinas could not reject Aristotle. Rather, Tomberg maintained that the Saints – such as Augustine and Aquinas – had baptised the Greek Plato and Aristotle. And he declared Egyptian Hermeticism needed to be baptised: Christianised rather than repudiated.

No, Tomberg did not reject Hermeticism, but he submitted himself to the Church. This spirit of submission to the Church breathes throughout Meditations on the Tarot:

Monsieur Priest, pardon me concerning what you think to be human pride which wants to penetrate into the mysteries of God, instead of bowing before divine wisdom and goodness and accepting with humility, as befits a Christian, the revealed truths of salvation — which, in so far as they are practised, suffice absolutely for the well-being, happiness and salvation of the soul. I say this to you now as if at confession: I am unable not to aspire to the depth, the height and the breadth of comprehensive truth, to comprehension of the totality of things. I have made the sacrifice of the intellect (sacrificium intellectus) in all sincerity and without reserve, but what an intensification of the life of thought, what increased ardour in the aspiration to spiritual knowledge, that has followed!

I know that the truths of salvation revealed and transmitted by the Council of the Holy Church are both necessary and sufficient for salvation, and I have no doubt whatever that they are true, and I strive to do my best to practice them; but I am unable to arrest the current of the river of thought which bears me towards mysteries that perhaps are meant only for saints—perhaps only for Angels—in any case, that I know without doubt arc reserved for beings more worthy than me. Father, will you grant me absolution?

Yes: Valentin Tomberg left behind the world of so-called ‘esoteric Christianity’ divorced from the Church. He became a Catholic. But, still he cared about – this is to say, he loved – those whom he called Hermeticists. Writing as an elderly man in England in the 1960s, there can be little doubt he recognised the wave of New Age-ism that had already begun to descend on that nation. Indeed, he warned in the gravest terms about Eastern Occultism without Christ.

Having studied Tomberg’s life and writings now these last sixteen years, I cannot help but conclude that Tomberg wrote Meditations on the Tarot in large part for New Age types such as myself, hopelessly in search of Mystery.

He wrote as if to say: ‘Do not renounce your thirst for the Mystery of the World, but see to it that you do not get trapped in New Age mysteries. Rather approach the Christian and Catholic Mystery. And submit yourself to the Holy Church.’ And so in Meditations on the Tarot, he writes:

May the Holy Scriptures be holy for us; may the Sacraments be Sacraments for us; may the hierarchy of spiritual authority be the hierarchy of authority for us.

Yes, Tomberg wrote to liberate future New Agers to come. And it is in submission to the Church that liberation is attained. At least, such is my own experience …

Once more: How I struggled to break free from the New Age!  I honestly do not know if I could have managed the feat without Tomberg’s Catholic vision. And as I transited from the New Age to the fullness of Catholic Tradition – a long process – I could not do so without regard to other Christian Hermeticists.

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Yes, my book, my life owes a debt to these people. Such debts cannot be ignored, even if I now lament Anthroposophy and every form of esotericism which is hostile to the Holy Church.

[Inserted Note: the now published print version goes much more into Tomberg’s thought at this point (and elsewhere in the book) than the early draft version here. But as this is a post devoted mainly to my conversion, we will pass over that to continue here …]

For now, let us consider a last word from Tomberg, written just after the Second Vatican Council in the late 1960s.  For this not only foreshadows much that we address later, it also further reveals how much this erstwhile Anthroposophist now cried out for Catholic orthodoxy, seeing, as he did, that the Church was headed towards the abyss …

The Christianity of the hermits …  was no passing phenomenon limited to a few centuries only. Today it still lives with all the intensity of its youth. Though it may not be deserts and thick forests into which one can retire into an undisturbed solitude nowadays, there are still people who have found or created in the deserts of the great cities and among the thickets of the crowds a solitude and stillness of life for the spirit.

And as before, their striving is devoted toward becoming a witness for the truth of Christianity. The way into the depths has not led them to an individualistic brand of belief, but has given them unshakable security in the truth of the Christian revelation as transmitted and taught by the Church.

They known the truth of the following: Extra Ecclesiam non est salus (“there is no salvation outside the Church”); the Holy Father is not and cannot be the mouthpiece of an ecumenical council; the Holy See alone can make decisions in questions of faith and of morals – a majority of the bishops cannot do so, and even less can a majority of priests or congregations do so; the Church is hierarchic-theocratic  not democratic, aristocratic, or monarchic – and will be so in all future times; the Church is the Civitas Dei (“the City of God”) and not a superstructure of the will of people belonging to the Church; as little as the shepherd follows the will of the herd does the Holy Father of the Church merely carry out the collective will of his flock; the Shepherd of the Church is St. Peter, representing Christ – his pronouncements ex cathedra are infallible, and the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven belongs to him, and him alone. In other words, those who become solitary in order to seek profundity may reach on their path of spiritual experience to the unshakable insight that the dogmas of the Church are absolutely true [Emphasis mine].

And so it can happen that, as they did at the time of the Arian darkening of the Church, the “hermits” of today may again come to the assistance of the Holy See, leaving their solitude to appear as witnesses to the truth of Peter’s Throne and its infallible teaching.

In those times it happened that St. Anthony of Thebes left the desert and hurried to Alexandria to support St. Athanasius with the weight of his moral authority – St. Athanasius who became the standard bearer for the divinity of Christ.

The darkening which today is described as “the present crisis of the Catholic Church” can lead to the necessity for the solitary sons of the Church to hurry to the aid of the Holy Father, the most solitary of solitaries, in order to save the Church from the abyss toward which she is moving . . .

We will return to the immense tragedy of shepherds following their sheep later on. For now, let us simply note one last salient feature to Meditations on the Tarot: It was written in French. And yet Valentin Tomberg was a Russian who lived in numerous European countries, though never France. His early writings were in German. From 1948 till his death in 1973, he lived in England. But he never resided in any Francophone country. And yet when he began Meditations on the Tarot in 1962, he chose to write in French.

This deliberate choice to write in French has much to do with a history of Hermeticists in France, who were Catholic and yet professed genuine fidelity to the Church. We have already met Josephin Péladan and we shall return to his counter-revolutionary Catholic monarchism.

Also in the Nineteenth Century, there was Eliphas Lévi who had been ordained a deacon in the Catholic Church, but who later wrote of ritual magic of a dark and disturbing kind. Yet in his old age, Lévi preferred the magic of Catholicism:

The ancient rites have lost their effectiveness since Christianity appeared in the world. The Christian and Catholic religion, in fact, is the legitimate daughter of Jesus, king of the Mages. A simple scapular worn by a truly Christian person is a more invincible talisman than the ring and pentacle of Solomon. The Mass is the most prodigious of evocations. Necromancers evoke the dead, the sorcerer evokes the devil and he shakes, but the Catholic Priest does not tremble in evoking the living God.

Catholics alone have Priests because they alone have the altar and the offering, i.e. the whole of religion. To practise high Magic is to compete with the Catholic Priesthood; it is to be a dissident Priest. Rome is the great Thebes of the new initiation … It has crypts for its catacombs; for talismen, its rosaries and medallions; for a magic chain, its congregations; for magnetic fires, its convents; for centres of attraction, its confessionals; for means of expansion, its pulpits and the addresses of its Bishops; it has, lastly, its Pope, the Man-God rendered visible.

Can there be any doubt that these are words from a man who has repented? For he rejects ritual magic as the way of the ‘dissident Priest’ and now honours the Church and the Pope as Christ made visible! At any rate, in his last days on earth, Lévi summoned a Priest who listened to the dying man for the length of an afternoon. It would appear to be his final confession and that he died a penitent Catholic.

In any event, we are not trying to justify everything that these French Hermeticists said or did! No doubt they said and did much of an unhealthy nature. And nor does Tomberg absolve them, either. In fact, he frequently critiques their pretensions as absurd and dangerous.

Nonetheless, it is not irrelevant to our theme, that while the esotericists from Protestant England and Germany repudiated the Church and became at last New Agers or Anthroposophists – in Catholic France, it was different. And it was with this in mind, that Tomberg wrote in French. There is also the matter of the history of French Catholicism – a history revolving around His Sacred Heart – and we shall return anon to this matter of Catholic France.

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Afterword: And so ends this (earlier draft) extract from my upcoming book.

Clearly, I am leading up to very much indeed that I think needs to be stated about the polarisation that now exists between New Agers and Christians. It is, as I say elsewhere in the book and at this site, a polarisation which is most marked of all in the Anglosphere.

For as I argue repeatedly here and in my book, in the Anglosphere we are frequently blinded to the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.

What we Anglophones mean by the word ‘Church’ inevitably carries the baggage of five centuries of Protestantism – whereby the Church was held not so much as a Living Mystery, but rather a congregation of believers wherein people come together to worship, sing hymns and listen to sermons.

(Good things indeed – but hardly the same as having your soul turned inside-out by the mysterious power of the Sacraments, working on you, day-in, day-out.)

I was blinded for 34 years by my own ‘Anglo-Saxon’ Protestant heritage. It never occurred to me that the Church was a Living Mystery that could turn me inside out.

And so I went in search of New Age mysteries. Here is the lot of many English and Americans, disenchanted by a Christianity which they inevitably see through a Protestant prism.

But in Catholic France, it was different. The Reformation never took hold in France and, to this day, the French do not see Christianity with the same Protestant associations that we do.  And so France and other Catholic countries have never succumbed to New Age-ism the way that we Anglophones have. New Age-ism for all its universalist pretensions remains parochial: rooted in the Anglosphere above all (alongside the Protestant countries of northern Europe).

But to further explore these themes with me, dear Reader, you must wait for my book (although you can find many further reflections regarding these things scattered at this website, particularly under the New Age label here.)

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23 Comments

  1. Posted 19 March 2013 at 11:50 | Permalink

    Dear Roger, I promised you the story of my Spiritual Journey …

    I was born and raised in a Roman Catholic home. A real Roman Catholic home. In fact, today, if someone asked me for a proof of my beliefs I would tell them that whatever my mother asks to the Holy Virgin, Our Heavenly Mother concedes to my mom, almost miraculously. I got my primary education at a Catholic School.

    At 13, when I started my secondary education, I went to a lay technical school. There I got aqcuainted with philosophy and I started to have doubts on my faith; doubts that today I could easily answer, but at that time they kickstarted a crises in me. I became quickly interested in magic*. Two different kinds of magic were readily available through the Internet and Libraries at that time: Medieval Grimoire Magic and Neopagan Ritual Magic. I became interested and inmersed in both, and through them I came to know (and practice) Modern Ceremonial Magic (Golden Dawn, OTO, and the like). Through this occult influences I modelled my conception of the Universe. From that point in my life, around age 15 I started to come to the following conclusions, both in logical and temporal order:

    As a Wicca wannabe I asked myself: “Where do the God and Goddess come from? The Absolute, thus the REAL God is the Absolute and since it’s infinite there’s Only One”. So I returned to Monotheism.

    Man is essentially good, but particular men do not always act the good way. This is because Man the Idea and Man the Manifestation are not the same, the latter is a reflex of the former. Thus, Man is flawed. Thus, Man must be Restored to his essential goodness. It is evident that he cannot do it by himself, otherwise he’ll do it at once. So I returned to the Need for Atonement and Salvation.

    At the same time I became interested in Plato, Platonism, Plotinus and Neoplatonism; which I readily adopted since it was something Real, a Real Tradition (though dead, I’d add today) and not a human fabrication like Wicca, and it adjusted way more to my new understandings. Through this I became enamored of Gnostic Christianity, which allowed (I thought) being a Christian (which I really longed because I not only believed in ONE God and the Need for Salvation, but also the figure of Jesus called to me in a way I could not and can not describe) I could also pursue a path of personal salvation and research. I was 17 by that time and I also started reading about Medieval Magic and Astrology more and started to build so real skill in magic with successful operations.

    I never became a member, but had (and kind of have) good relationships with the people from the Johannite Gnostic Church and group way more knowledgeable and concerned with Orthodoxy than many Catholics I know. By reading, studying, preaching I came to understand that altough I considered myself a Gnostic, It was the Orthodox and the Catholic Church the only ones with True Rites: The Sacraments.

    They had strayed from the right beliefs (I thought) but they kept the right rites, all other Christian rites were flawed at best. Thus, searching for a pouring rain of Grace from Above, to guide me in my Spiritual Journey, I started attending Mass, I even went through the Confirmation at my local parish.

    I kept this way till August or so 2009, when I found a book by René Guenón: Initiation and Spiritual Realization, while on a holiday with my girl. I bought it and as I read the book I thought “Wow, this is the real deal, this guy does not write ideas, he writes TRUTH”. As soon as I came home I gathered all his books (bought many, downloaded other, had others lended to me) and I devoured them at the rate of about 1 per day. terms like Tradition, Orthodoxy, Rite, Initiation, Twice Born, Intellect, became my daily food and made me realize that maybe I was wrong, and I could reach Truth by myself, but maybe I had to subject my self to God, and then, if He willed to, I could glimpse it.

    I understood that the Church was a Holy Institution, and that I had to be a member of a Regular Orthodox Exoterism if I wanted to do any real progress in my Spiritual Journey. After much inner struggle and Holy War, I went to my parish priest, told all this to him, confessed my sins and I became a Son of the Roman Church again.
    Now fully Roman, fully Orthodox, I wanted to learn, because the Church has a vast literature and a very deep Theology, so I used the framework laid out by Guenón to start reading the saints and doctors of the Church.

    As I built my Theological understanding I encountered myself with the Christian Neoplatonists (Pseudo Dyonisios, etc) and with the Prayer of the Heart of the Eastern Church. My parish priest lent me a Book of Hours and a few books on Prayer of the Heart, which I know practice, not with the regularity I’d like to, bu alas! my will has become stronger after all this years, but it is still weak!

    I also studied all other Perennialist authors (Schuon, Borella, Hani, Evola, Coomaraswami, Benoist, et al) and found Chesterton and Belloc while searching a political position that could manifest my Catholic and Traditional positions. In Distributism I found it. I quitted (of course) all my dealings with the occult.

    This is only a sketch, I guess you will find many holes and gaps, but if You have any questions or doubts, or if you notice I say anything untrue or impious, please contact me. Ask me, correct me. I beg you that from the depths of my heart.

    Blessings in Christ and Mary

    Juan Senko

    *I believed in magic and astrology all my life, I couldn’t conceive, as modern people do, that it was superstitious nonsense simply because had magic and the like never worked, who’d be foolish enough to still endorse it? and they remained part of the worldview of people from Ancient Times till the Victorian Era. Enough proof for me that they were real.

    • Posted 19 March 2013 at 12:11 | Permalink

      Dear Juan,

      For now I want to limit myself to something very brief. This is because there are several people I have not replied to yet at this site and they need to come first.

      But very briefly for now, I am very, very moved and grateful for all that you share here. Moreover, it serves to underscore a point that the above article tries to make about Valentin Tomberg.

      This is the recognition that there are souls who are drawn as though they cannot help themselves to the profound mysteries of this world.

      In the English-speaking world at least, most of these become New Agers against the Holy Church. But there is another way of living in fidelity to the Holy Church.

      Your story very beautifully illustrates this and I deeply thank you for it. In time, a second reply to your comment will appear as there is more I want to say.

      However, there are other people here who I must and will respond to first, given that I have already taken long months …

  2. Edwin Shendelman
    Posted 21 March 2013 at 14:54 | Permalink

    What I really like about Tomberg is how permeable he is. Christ and the Church definitely form his center but he remains permeable to other ideas and influences. Moreover, he doesn’t as a rule do so in a superficial way (of course if there were any superficialities in how understood a particular spiritual practice or culture it would be excusable when one sees the SHEER scope of his writings). Not everything he writes is 100% Catholic and would be alien to many Traditionalists or Conservatives. But all the same some of what he writes is FAR MORE catholic than what passes for Catholic writing today. That is the paradox.

    • Posted 30 March 2013 at 12:11 | Permalink

      Edwin, thank you. A lengthy response to both your comments here will shortly appear below, together with my response to Agnikan.

  3. Posted 21 March 2013 at 18:23 | Permalink

    “No, Tomberg did not reject Hermeticism, but he submitted himself to the Church.”

    What does it mean that he “submitted himself to the Church”? Does it mean the intellectually agreed with everything every Council declared, or that he agreed with all the traditions, doctrines, and dogmas of the Church, or that he obeyed his parish priest?

    • Edwin Shendelman
      Posted 23 March 2013 at 19:45 | Permalink

      I think there are some important distinctions to make. Tomberg cannot be seen exclusively in terms of his Catholic identity. Spiritually, he was focussed around two different groupings, Roman Catholicism and Christian Hermeticism. The difference is between his religious affiliation and his “spirituality.” For some there is no distinction to made such as those people whose spirituality moves strictly in the orbit of a particular spiritual tradition. Tomberg was not one of these people. His “spirituality” was as unique as a finger-print but his religious affiliation was Roman Catholic. The difference for him vis a vis his spirituality and others is that he acutally gave his spirituality a name: Christian Hermeticism. Christian Hermeticism is not Catholic per se even though for Tomberg it is inextricably linked to it. MOTT contains many assertions that contradict the Church’s teachings for example, the Pre-existence of souls and reincarnation. Others though not contradicted would be alien to most Catholics. I have tried to have conversations with traditional or conservative Catholics on subjects Tomberg was very at ease discussing in his writings and have been looked at like I suddenly started to grow horns and carrying a pitch-fork! This is important to keep in mind. When reading Tomberg it is not simply a matter of making a pilgrimage to the religous affiliation of the author if one chooses to do this it is to be immersed in a whole net-work of spiritual insights and ideas that go beyond the religious affiliation \to an integrated vision of spiritual realities. I would probably say this is NOT a new age cafeteria approach but closer in spirit to the Neo-Traditionalists mentioned by Juan above, though VT could not be identified as a neo-trad per se. Meditations on the Tarot then is a circle within circle: Roman Catholicism and this strange entity VT called “Christian Hermeticism.”

    • Posted 30 March 2013 at 12:13 | Permalink

      Agnikan thank you. A lengthy response to your questions here will shortly appear below, together with my response to Edwin.

  4. Posted 30 March 2013 at 09:22 | Permalink

    Edwin, Agnikan, I would like to say something to you both in one response for your queries evoke the same terrain for me.

    It is a paradoxical, difficult terrain that I walked many years, thinking Tomberg cannot really be as Catholic as he sounds.

    For you are right about unorthodox elements in Tomberg’s writings Edwin and I have acknowledged them elsewhere (for example here).

    But as I walked this hard terrain year after year, I came to the conclusion that I had been in denial and that others were in denial about Tomberg’s obedience to the Catholicism.

    Edwin, you write:

    Spiritually, [Tomberg] was focussed around two different groupings, Roman Catholicism and Christian Hermeticism.

    What this single sentence from you lacks is acknowledgment of the repeated assertion – again and again and again – throughout Tomberg’s Catholic oeuvre (an oeuvre which includes the incredibly traditional legal-political works) that the two cannot, must not be separated.

    Tomberg wants nothing to do with a hermeticism separated from the Church.

    Here is why he implores – as I have quoted him above – that the two must not be separated into “two different groupings.”

    As I will come to below, I think his reasons for stressing this are grave – very grave indeed.

    Due to these grave considerations – of a world become ever more dechristianised, mechanical and centaur like – I really now believe he is imploring us not to make the separation you are making here.

    As I say, we have a hard, paradoxical terrain here …

    In the midst of these hard paradoxes, each of us must weigh the scales of justice as he sees fit.

    What I offer at this weblog is my own fifteen year journey with Tomberg, working, suffering this hard, paradoxical terrain.

    And it is for other people to take or leave it as they fit.

    Agnikan you asked me a question about Tomberg’s submission to the Church. I am coming to that. Let me simply say again all I can offer you or Edwin is the results of my own 15 year effort to do justice. For anyone to take or leave as they like …

    However, I will point out that this journey has included taking in all the length and breadth of Tomberg’s writings, pre-Catholic and post-Catholic. That journey has involved many encounters with people close to Tomberg, even – very briefly – people who knew him in the flesh.

    It also involves contemplating the shocking, shocking transition from 1940 to 1944 where Tomberg abandoned “esoteric Protestantism”, if you like, and began in his legal-political writings to champion a form of Catholicism that by post Vatican II standards is “more Catholic than the Pope”.

    This position in the legal-political works – clearly ultramontanist – constitutes a rejection of the post-Reformation trajectory.

    And it helps to explain why Tomberg remained very critical of Vatican II (see below).

    All this was very hard for me for years to understand, So I well understand you writing Edwin:

    What I really like about Tomberg is how permeable he is. Christ and the Church definitely form his center but he remains permeable to other ideas and influences.

    Yes Tomberg is very permeable to truth wherever he sees it. He honours truth as such.

    Thus his writings integrate insights from psychotherapy, epistemology, political philosophy and much more that is not simply Catholic.

    But I think I may read his thoughts on other religions a bit differently to you, Edwin.

    While Tomberg certainly honoured the greatness of monotheism everywhere he found it, his views on on Protestantism seem harsh indeed. Meanwhile there is a continuous thread of warning regarding Eastern religion – even while sincere religious striving is everywhere admired East and West

    Still, he warns for example that the advanced pupil of Vedanta will forever have dry eyes, whereas tears are born in the Judaeo-Christian tradition … (mott pg 36, 14th arcanum etc)

    The seeming harshness to Protestantism (quotes like “Lutheran heresy” etc) serve to indicate that Tomberg honoured both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as the true Church.

    But this true Church needs to be not only honoured and obeyed – but also not separated or divorced from.

    And any form of separation of Christianity from this Church, whether Reformation or esoteric Christianity is repeatedly rejected.

    I spoke above about the gravity of the world situation. Tomberg has both real continuity and real discontinuity with the “esoteric Protestantism” of Steiner.

    But part of the continuity is a very grave warning about a world in which Christianity decays and dies.

    But Tomberg rejects Steiners solution after 1940 and starting in 1944 – shockingly for a former Anthroposophist – he calls for the State to support the Church – the Catholic Church – in his legal-political works.

    In his last paragraphs to the world, he warns about humanity becoming like the centaur, a clever beast. But no heart. Deprived of Christianity. (see my post here on this, if you like)

    There are very grave things here, I repeat. Tomberg’s permeability, as you put it, Edwin has to be balanced with his very firm NO to many other things.

    Dry-eyed Eastern spirituality, the Reformation, Revolution, hermeticism as something separate to the Holy Church.

    Now Agnikan I come more specifically to your question above:

    “No, Tomberg did not reject Hermeticism, but he submitted himself to the Church.”

    What does it mean that he “submitted himself to the Church”? Does it mean the intellectually he agreed with everything every Council declared, or that he agreed with all the traditions, doctrines, and dogmas of the Church, or that he obeyed his parish priest?

    In seed form however I would say it is answered by the sentence above.

    The hierarchy includes everyone from his parish priest right up to the Pope at the apex ofthe hierarchy.

    Here it is relevant to recall that Tomberg very much affirmed Papal Infallibility.

    As for dogma, Tomberg repeatedly affirms. My copy of Lazarus Come Forth is now packed away in my move to Ireland, but in the section on Moses and the Golden calf, there is a very powerful affirmation of dogma.

    Dogma is a shining star to guide us Tomberg affirms and in his portrayal of those dancing around the golden calf, he clearly is drawing parallels to the post Vatican II situation of dancers around the golden calf. The corrective for this horrendous situation is dogma.

    However, Agnikan dogma is clearly different from “everything every Council declared” as you put it.

    We have already mentioned Tomberg’s severe critique of Vatican II.

    Paradoxically Tomberg’s rejection of Vatican II only further illustrates how deeply traditional he was.

    For when he wrote these words in the late 1960s post Vatican II euphoria, these words were indeed radically traditional

    For when he wrote these words in the late 1960s post Vatican II euphoria, these words were indeed radically traditional:

    “It happened that the “second Pentecostal miracle” hoped for and prayed for by the Holy Father – the proclamation by the World Council of a deepened, elevated and expanded treasure of Church revelation – was replaced by a policy of “keeping in step with the times”.

    The Council did not reflect the timeless inspirations of heaven, but rather the earthly needs, complaints, wishes and demands of the age .

    It became a sort of religious parliament with a “progressive left”, a “conservative right” and a “moderate center”.

    Thus people spoke of a “democratisation” of the Church, now breaking through.

    The “world” remarked with satisfaction: the Catholic Church is moving closer to us; yes, just a little while and it will be part of us – the Council exudes a “fresh wind”, the wind of a free and modern spirit! …

    A fresh wind did indeed blow from the Council.

    It blew up such problems as the abolition of the celibacy of priests suddenly become pressing; the problem of mixed marriages with those another faith; the problem of acceptability of the “pill” and other methods of contraception; the problem of “demythologisation” of the Holy Scripture and of tradition; the problem of the Mass, in the sense of abolishing Latin as the liturgical and sacred language and the substitution for it of many national languages and many other problems associated with conforming to the spirit of the age …

    The “fresh wind” of the council was not the wind of the Pentecost miracle in the Church but a wind blowing out of the “world” into the Church – through a portal which had now been opened.

    It was not the effect of the Church on the world, but the effect of the world on the Church.

    Against the will and hope of the now deceased Pope John XXIII and of his successor, Paul VI, it happened that the Second Vatican Council became a door which opened to the world, but in such a way that the “world’s wind” blew into the Church.

    The Council for which Pope John XXIII prayed did in fact fail; it failed … to guard the “portal” where the way begins which leads to degeneration, to exhaustion, and to death (hades) – the “way of the world”.

    This failure to guard the threshold the portal opening up to the “way of the world” … is nothing else and can be nothing else but the way to death …”

    Edwin, Agnikan, here are some fruits of my own struggle with the issues you evoke. I hope they are of help.

    A last note on Tomberg and Protestantism.

    I will shortly be putting up a post about leaving Liverpool for Ireland.

    But that post is relevant to all that I am saying above about the gravity of the world situation.

    Indeed my Liverpool post invokes Tomberg’s hard position on Protestantism and tries to suggest why by comparing “Catholic Liverpool” to the rest of “Protestant England”.

    It is all to do with the dying of non-sacramental Christianity and Tomberg’s warnings …

    Update: That post invoking Tomberg on Protestantism and England is now here.

    • Edwin Shendelman
      Posted 30 March 2013 at 14:50 | Permalink

      I think my point is that throughout his writings, I mean MOTT and Lazarus, Tomberg tried to present an integrated vision of spiritual reality. This vision revolves around a number of points such as Catholicism, Hermeticism, Kabbalah and other things. It is a vision I am convinced of on its main points. There is no question that religiously the Tomberg was Catholic, saw himself as such and commited himself to the Church in a world of other options. But the integrated vision of spiritual reality he had was not Catholic on all points though he strove mightily to move these diverse ideas in the orbit of the Church. How successful was he? I think he was comfortable in his mind on the synthesis and integration he acheived and I say this not because I knew him , obviously I didn’t, but on the confidence of his assertions that comes through. But the Church he commited himself to would be silent on many of his assertions, witholding judgement or may even condemn others. Obviously the Church is not monolithic and different people in the Church would receive his ideas differently but universal or complete acceptance? No.

      I think the paradox can be understood on how he understood the word “tradition.” He saw tradition not so much a matter as passing on what you were given–like a relay race let’s say–but as a creative engagement with what was passed on that allowed for personal discoveries. In this sense–if you accept his assertions–his work may be “Catholic” in a broad sense of the word. But in my experience most traditional Catholics do conceive of their “Catholic” so broadly.

      • Edwin Shendelman
        Posted 2 April 2013 at 13:41 | Permalink

        More thoughts…the relationship between the Church (Catholicism) and Christian Hermeticism can be seen through the metaphor of blood relationships such as a parent and a child. A father and a son are two distinct persons. But no matter if the father disowns the son or the son wants nothing to do with the father neither can ever sever the blood relationship. It is immutable. Something of the parent is in the child and the child in the parent. But for all that they remain distinct. Having a had a number of discussions with Catholics on ideas in the purview of Christian Hermeticism I can say unfortunately that Catholics do not as a rule recognize these ideas as “Catholic.” There are Catholic “elements” but many other elements as well.

        I think you are wanting to point out how traditional he was as a Catholc against Modernist tendencies perhaps to bolster a Traditionalist Catholic view. But this has to be balanced by the simple fact that he was an ecumenicist par excellence, ironically, a fruit, of the modern era.

        • Posted 30 April 2013 at 10:06 | Permalink

          Edwin, I wonder if we will just need to agree to disagree.

          I understand why you would call Tomberg an “ecumenicist par excellence”. As there is so much in Tomberg that honours with his whole heart every sincere striving towards God in every religion. This is beautiful.

          Thus to repeat myself, I shared your perspective for years.

          But I don’t want to waste energy simply saying the same thing again and again.

          So I will just paste in above what I wrote already:

          his views on on Protestantism seem harsh indeed. Meanwhile there is a continuous thread of warning regarding Eastern religion – even while sincere religious striving is everywhere admired East and West.

          Still, he warns for example that the advanced pupil of Vedanta will forever have dry eyes, whereas tears are born in the Judaeo-Christian tradition … (mott pg 36, 14th arcanum etc)

          The seeming harshness to Protestantism (quotes like “Lutheran heresy” etc) serve to indicate that Tomberg honoured both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as the true Church.

          But this true Church needs to be not only honoured and obeyed – but also not separated or divorced from.

          And any form of separation of Christianity from this Church, whether Reformation or esoteric Christianity is repeatedly rejected.

          In my opinion calling Tomberg an “ecumenicist par excellence” fails to do justice to these threads.

          You speak of my bolstering a traditional Catholic view.

          Are you open to the idea that you might be bolstering an ecumenicist view – which in my view sits uneasily with these other aspects of Tomberg’s thought.

          Ecumenicists don’t generally speak with language like “Lutheran heresy” or that Vedanta may forever condemn one to a spirituality without tears.

          But I want to stop repeating myself now.

          Let us agree to disagree, Edwin.

          You and I, I feel, have an existential relationship with Valentin Tomberg. I am struggling to honour his legacy as best I know how.

          I feel the same will be true of you, Edwin.

          Even if our struggles lead us to very different conclusions, I honour that in you.

          • Edwin Shendelman
            Posted 1 May 2013 at 14:53 | Permalink

            Tomberg’s thought is subtle and nuanced. He is not an ecumenicist of “all religions are equal” type. Clearly, Christianity is yard-stick, and the RC Church in particular by which he measures what is true.
            But think…the breadth of his ecumenicism is vast and rather unique really, much more so than others one would immediately think of. It covers all kind of Western esoterica, Jewish Kabbalah, Protestant theosophy (Boehme), Indo-Tibetan yoga and tantra, Aboriginal spirituality and so much more. Moreover, it is usually done with thoughtfulness and depth. Where he is “negative” in the examples you mentioned it is not so much to be harshly critical of a certain system or religion but to make a larger point. He thinks sometimes dualistically, sometimes dialectically. This means often to make a point he high-lights a certain approach and its possible negative consequences to show how such a “problem” is solved by the Judeo-Christian-Hermetic tradition.
            But he also is clear and quick to point out that those who faithfully keep their “garden” of any religion or spiritual tradition is rewarded by the Father. This is in line with Traditionalist or Perennialist thinking.
            You are right. I relate to him existentially for it has enabled me to call myself a Christian without jettisoning all that I have found valuable elsewhere.

          • Posted 1 May 2013 at 18:22 | Permalink

            Edwin, these things I know, having held and struggled with them for 15 years.

            Having also held his warnings against committing spiritual adultery by exchanging Christianity for other religions, his warning against Kabbalism without Christ and indeed the long – very relevant – text I have given below to Suzanne below and much, much else besides.

            (Also relevant is the above text where he has nothing good to say about Vatican II – the most ecumenicist of all councils by far).

            I have reached different conclusions to you.

            But let us agree to disagree.

  5. Suzanne
    Posted 29 April 2013 at 16:22 | Permalink

    It is interesting that a third of my personal library are books by
    Rudolf Steiner. I have to say that it was Steiner that gave me a closer relationship with Christ and has made me want to go back to my Catholic roots. However I am not ready to give up on him ( Steiner ). I wonder if Tomberg would feel the same since Vatican 2. I will order his book on ” Meditations on the Tarot “. I have had it on my wish list for at least a year now and am encouraged by you to read this.
    Thanks

    • Posted 30 April 2013 at 10:23 | Permalink

      Thank you Suzanne. I hear and appreciate your testimony that Steiner has both brought you closer to Christ and fostered you wanting to go back to your Catholic roots …

      It is very hard to sum up my very, very complex feelings about Rudolf Steiner without giving people the wrong idea. (Really, I might have to write a small book on the topic. And I am sure I would still be misunderstood.)

      But my reason for giving his veneration for the crucifixion on Calvary – the entire universe changing Mystery of Golgotha as he saw it – was an attempt to render him justice and help separate him from the New Age movement with which he is tragically all-too- swiftly associated with.

      As for Tomberg’s thinking post Vatican II, well there is a LOT in Lazarus Come Forth which was written post-Vatican II.

      I have already quoted his critique of Vatican II above.

      But that hardly meant he believed in giving up on the Church after Vatican II.

      Here is another remarkable passage from Lazarus Come Forth indicating what he felt was necessary in this crisis of the Church:

      “The Christianity of the hermits … was no passing phenomenon limited to a few centuries only. Today it still lives with all the intensity of its youth. Though it may not be deserts and thick forests into which one can retire into an undisturbed solitude nowadays, there are still people who have found or created in the deserts of the great cities and among the thickets of the crowds, a solitude and stillness of life for the spirit.

      And as before, their striving is devoted toward becoming a witness for the truth of Christianity. The way into the depths has not led them to an individualistic brand of belief, but has given them unshakable security in the truth of Christian revelation as transmitted and taught by the Church.

      They know the truth of the following: Extra Ecclesiam non est salus (“there is no salvation outside the church”); the Holy Father is not and cannot be the mouthpiece of an ecumenical council; the Holy See alone can make decisions in questions of faith and morals – a majority of the bishops cannot do so and even less can a majority of priests or congregations do so; the Church is hierarchic-theocratic – not democratic, aristocratic or monarchic – and will be so in all future times; the Church is the Civitas Dei (“the City of God”) and not a superstructure of the will of the people belonging to the Church; as little as the shepherd follows the will of the herd does the Holy Father merely carry out the collective will of his flock; the shepherd of the Church is St Peter, representing Christ – his pronouncements ex cathedra are infallible, and the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven belongs to him and him alone.

      In other words, those who become solitary in order to seek profundity may reach on their path of spiritual experience to the unshakeable insight that the dogmas of the Church are absolutely true.

      And so it can happen that, as they did at the time of the Arian darkening of the Church, the “hermits” of today may come again to the assistance of the Holy See, leaving their solitude to appear as witnesses to the truth of Peter’s throne and its infallible teaching.

      In those times it happened that St Anthony of Thebes left the desert and hurried to Alexandria to support St Athanasius with the weight of his moral authority – St Athanasius who became the standard bearer for the divinity of Christ.

      The darkening which today is described as “the present crisis of the Catholic Church” can lead to the necessity for the solitary sons of the Church to hurry to the aid of the Holy Father, the most solitary of solitaries, in order to save the Church from the abyss toward which she is moving. ..”

      Again, I warmly thank you Suzanne. I very much appreciate hearing from readers of this website.

      Much more about these things can be found under my label for Valentin Tomberg. (Just scroll down to our labels at the bottom of this page f you are interested).

      • Suzanne
        Posted 30 April 2013 at 15:51 | Permalink

        Thank you Roger for your reply. In the future I will read all posts carefully instead of just skimming through as I did. I came across this sight by accident. It was the name of Findhorn that caught my attention. I definately will check out the rest on Valentin tomberg. I have to say that I am grateful for these sights and contributions. I am a schoolbus driver and live in a small city so finding like minded people is very rare. Thanks to the internet it is a reply away.
        Take care

  6. Clay Masterson
    Posted 29 July 2014 at 13:16 | Permalink

    I just don’t understand how Tomberg can be so enthusiastic about pre-Vatican II Catholicism and so deferential to the hierarchy of the church, and then simultaneously disagree with that authority and hierarchy concerning post Vatican II Catholicism, either you accept the churches authority or you don’t. Either the Church is inspired by the Holy Spirit and Vatican II was absolutely the right and correct position for the Church to take, or the Church is not inspired by the Holy Spirit and none of its decisions have ever been inspired and are all completely arbitrary. It can not be both ways depending on one’s particular fancy, which is obviously the case with Tomberg. There is much I admire and respect about the man, but this type of convert’s zealotry is entirely inconsistent with the entire thrust of his book on submission to Church tradition, hierarchy, and Authority of the Church.

    • Posted 29 July 2014 at 20:03 | Permalink

      Clay, your point is very, very understandable – given how severely Tomberg speaks of Vatican II, which he sees more inspired by the world than by the Holy Spirit.

      These comments from him upset me very deeply in the past. I recall my heart sinking like a stone when I first read them.

      It took me years of inner struggle before I could deal with them. All I can say now is calling Tomberg a zealot or coming from a place of his own ‘particular fancy’ as you put it, now seems insufficient to me to explain the depths of why Tomberg took the course he did.

      The issue of being faithful in the Church, whilst expressing criticism is so complex I fear I cannot do it justice in a comments box. Suffice it to say that there is almost casual rebellion in the Church, people spouting off whenever they feel like it (whether liberal zealots or traditional zealots, if you will) and pained and sombre evaluation of what’s one’s duties and obligations to the Church are before one speaks.

      In Tomberg’s case, I cannot imagine anything other than pained and somber reflection.

      If anyone is interested in Tomberg’s remarks on Vatican II, they can be found here.

  7. Clay Masterson
    Posted 4 August 2014 at 04:34 | Permalink

    Thank you again for your always respectful and thoughtful response.

  8. anon
    Posted 10 January 2016 at 17:55 | Permalink

    Steiner/Waldorf/Weleda/Anthroposophy retains a connection with Catholicism, most helpfully in celebrations of the calendar: St John’s Day, St Michael’s Day etc., in aspects of its pharmacopoeia, and in its literature ( On Raphael’s Madonnas etc ) While undoubtably slightly beyond the pale and cultish in some of its esoteric writing, it is interesting for its ability to infuse children’s education with a profound spiritual awareness, and for its successful business ethic.

    • Posted 13 January 2016 at 09:22 | Permalink

      Thank you, anon. Such a huge topic … I get tongue-tied with it. On the one hand, Steiner is often unfairly lumped with things New Age, when, in fact, he opposed the Eastern roots and agendas of today’s New Age movement. He was also a man who prayed the Lord’s Prayer daily in Latin at 3 o clock, according to one report I read.

      One the other hand, I will simply repeat what I said above:

      Steiner remained opposed to the Church for the rest of his days. And to his towering vision of Calvary, he would add many elements that the Church has long rejected as heretical. Steiner’s philosophy would be forged into Anthroposophy – a system of so-called ‘esoteric Christianity’ likewise divorced from the Catholic faith.

      And really that paragraph hardly goes far enough … There is much more that is problematic than just this …

      And yet Steiner paid the strangest compliment to the Catholic Church. Only Rome he said was awake … more about this statement from Steiner here: http://corjesusacratissimum.org/2011/03/9valentin-tomberg-catholic-tradition-and-the-counter-revolution-part-viii/

  9. Tom
    Posted 2 February 2016 at 03:33 | Permalink

    I keep coming across the name Rudolph Steiner in these last few weeks and to be honest I am not really sure how I wound up navigating to this particular website but upon arrival I decided to read the page and I feel like there is a reason I did. I too was raised Catholic but in my early 20’s rejected the organization based on what I was taught in college history classes about its conduct over the centuries and all the foul things I heard about priests doing to children in the news. I was particularly annoyed that the Catholic Church would persecute nonbelievers and hide knowledge from the masses by declaring certain books heretical and also about how south American cultures were wiped out along with nearly all of their data, knowledge, and wisdom. So I decided I would not restrict my view of the spiritual landscape through a Roman Catholic lense. I studied all the new age topics and all kinds of spiritual paths. Magic, occult, yoga. I felt like my thirst for knowledge was too great to remain confined to what an organization has deemed proper for study and/or contemplation. Within the last year or so I have slowly begun to realize that the “truths” i have sought after for the last decade through reading, meditation, and contemplation are all within the basics of what I was taught growing up. Several hundred books later I have come full circle to the original “Book”.
    Everything I need to know is in the Bible. Although plenty of information has been obscured and/or lost via translation, the necessary foundation is all available, in my humble opinion, that is. I find myself slowly returning to Catholicism. Maybe it is because quite frankly I just love Jesus. I had never abandoned my belief in Him nor had my love and admiration Him ever faltered. I just needed to know what else was available. I do believe in reincarnation, in aliens that are both good and bad, and myriad other things that may be hard to unite with Catholicism but I think it is time for me to read the books mentioned in the above texts. That is probably why I found this page. All in all I am glad that I am Catholic despite my grievances with several organizational decisions made in the past and I would like to thank you for sharing your experience and allowing me the platform to share some of mine

    • Posted 9 March 2016 at 09:05 | Permalink

      Tom, thank you – most belatedly – for your testimony to many deeply moving things, including your love of Jesus and your return home to the Church.

      I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by all the attention around my book and can’t keep up! But although I can’t easily respond to all the complex threads you bring up, still, in terms of your disillusionment with the evil of sexual abuse in the Church, I have a blog here which might just help a little: http://corjesusacratissimum.org/2015/10/sexual-abuse-and-evil-in-the-catholic-church/

      I will also say that I relate to your complex struggles born of being immersed in so many different spiritual streams, as that has been what the first part of my life has been about.

      I am glad if you felt there was a reason that you found this particular page – and I think it is possible you may find other pages here of use in terms of struggles which I imagine we have both gone through.

      May the mercy of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist bring you ever more deeply into Communion with His Most Sacred Heart …

7 Trackbacks

  1. By Meditations on the Tarot and the Vatican on 15 December 2013 at 19:08

    […] And again, speaking very personally, it was only through my repeated reading of Tomberg’s deconstruction of paganism that I could free myself from the New Age. (There is much at this website that is pertinent here, but the interested reader may be referred to an article on Eckhart Tolle as well as a piece on my conversion.) […]

  2. […] were perhaps more awake to global danger – owes its origins to a very curious corner of my New Age past. This is to say, it was seeded in my soul, fifteen years ago, when I was not a Catholic – and […]

  3. By A Tale of Two Books … on 7 July 2015 at 14:02

    […] Finally, there is the world of the Catholic Mystery which I came to know after my 1997 conversion experience, shortly before my thirty-fourth birthday. […]

  4. […] Indeed, he spent 20 years within a New Age mindset, including over two years at Findhorn, the New Age community in the north of Scotland. He had first visited Findhorn in 1980 and was still close to it when he finally converted to Catholicism in 2000. He has written about his conversion experience on his blog. Here is the link. […]

  5. […] Indeed, he spent 20 years within a New Age mindset, including over two years at Findhorn, the New Age community in the north of Scotland. He had first visited Findhorn in 1980 and was still close to it when he finally converted to Catholicism in 2000. He has written about his conversion experience on his blog. Here is the link. […]

  6. By Catholic Musings on Facebook … on 3 November 2016 at 09:55

    […] say this because I know from my own life experience what this is like. Until my astonishing conversion around age thirty four, I was so wrapped-up in both New Age-ism and the all-surrounding secular culture that the term […]

  7. By Prologue to Cor Jesu Sacratissimum: One of Us on 17 December 2016 at 14:29

    […] Indeed, over the years, I shared a number of portions of the book here in draft form – such as this long autobiographical section here regarding my conversion experience. […]

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