My previous post, posted very late last night (Saturday, November 19), began thus:
Over the past few months, I’ve been reading and rereading, masticating and remasticating, the Gospel of Mark — with quite rewarding results, as new and unexpected meanings keep bubbling up from the depths of the text (unless, of course, it is only my own reflection shimmering on the surface; one never really knows).
I used the metaphor of staring into deep water to express my uncertainty as to whether I was really plumbing the depths of the Bible or just reading my own ideas into it. The same question has troubled me as I’ve been reading Tomberg’s astonishingly deep Meditations on the Tarot. Is the wisdom really there in the cards, or are they just a convenient surface (one of many that would have served equally well) in which his remarkable mind can contemplate its own reflections?
In writing this, I thought also of Nietzsche‘s all-too-well-known line, “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” Whitley Strieber (whose books I have reread more than any others, excepting certain books of the New Testament) puts a more positive spin on the same idea: “Instead of shunning the darkness, we can face straight into it with an open mind. When we do that, the unknown changes. Fearful things become understandable and a truth is suggested: the enigmatic presence of the human mind winks back from the dark.”
Now, when I’m out of the house and have some spare time, I do read and reread the King James Version of Mark in the tiny pocket-sized New Testament I keep in my bag. But my Bible reading when at home is from my wife’s much less portable Good News Bible, which I have been making my way through from the beginning, having never read this particular version before. Today I started at about halfway through Proverbs and read through the first few chapters of Isaiah. At about 6:30 p.m., I read Proverbs 27:19.
It is your own face that you see reflected in the water and it is your own self that you see in your heart.
Some 20 minutes later, I read the following in the GNB’s brief “Introduction” at the beginning of the book of Ecclesiastes.
Many have taken comfort in seeing themselves in the mirror of Ecclesiastes, and have discovered that the same Bible which reflects these thoughts also offers the hope in God that gives life its greater meaning.
As I mentioned, I have also been reading Tomberg’s Meditiations on the Tarot, and have just started the chapter on the Wheel of Fortune. Tomberg writes on page 241: “Three historical personalities have vividly portrayed the idea of the cosmic wheel, although each of them did so in a different way. These are: Gautama Buddha, Solomon and Friedrich Nietzsche.” When he mentions Solomon, the intended reference is to the book of Ecclesiastes, which he quotes several times in the ensuing discussion.