Zone of Illusion




by Michael Maciel

Here is an excerpt from a post on Matthew Livermore’s blog, Valley of Vision:

“Therefore, the thesis that I am advancing with one hundred per cent conviction is that every Hermeticist who truly seeks authentic spiritual reality will sooner or later meet the Blessed Virgin. This meeting signifies, apart from the illumination and consolation that it comprises, protection against a very serious spiritual danger. For he who advances in the sense of depth and height in the ‘domain of the invisible’ one day arrives at the sphere known by esotericists as the ‘sphere of mirages’ or the ‘zone of illusion.’ This zone surrounds the earth as a belt of illusory mirages. It is this zone which the prophets and the Apocalypse designate ‘Babylon.’ The soul and the queen of this zone is in fact Babylon, the great prostitute, who is the adversary of the Virgin. Now, one cannot pass by this zone without being enveloped by perfect purity. One cannot traverse it without the protection of the ‘mantle of the Blessed Virgin’…It is therefore the protection of this ‘mantle’ which is absolutely necessary in order to be able to traverse the ‘sphere of mirages’ without falling prey to the influence of its illusions.”


In Advaita Vedanta, the term “neti neti,” which means “not this, not that,” describes this same method for traversing the zone of illusion. (I sometimes find it helpful to cross-reference Christian principles with those of other religions; looking at a problem from a different perspective can bring clarity to it.)

Arriving at high spiritual states is a process of elimination. Since God cannot be killed, anything that can be gotten rid of is, by definition, not God.

The Zen saying, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him,” also gets at this (more perspective).

The terms “purity” and “virgin” fall into this category. They have nothing whatsoever to do with sexual mores, except when they are used in a secular sense. But we’re not talking “secular” here, are we.

Not being a woman, I have no idea what it’s like to deliver a baby, but the phrases “purity of intention” and “singular will” do come to mind. The whole process seems capable of moving mountains with the unstoppable power of a glacier. Hence the imagery of Mother and Child in the esoteric literature throughout time.

Only one sperm penetrates the egg; all the rest are rejected: neti neti. Virgin to the end. So it is with our single-pointed desire to become one with the Divine (purity of intention). As we rise up in spiritual consciousness, we encounter this “zone of illusion,” and it takes all of our willpower to reject what we find there. The “reward,” or “Holy City,” is what remains after we have killed all the “Buddhas.”

About Michael Maciel

My name is Michael Maciel, and I have studied the Ancient Wisdom Teachings and symbolism for most of my adult life. In the early 1970’s, I was ordained a priest in the Holy Order of MANS, a service and teaching order of which I was a member for the better part of that decade. I now serve on its Board of Directors and teach regular classes on the Mystical Interpretation of the Bible and the Tree of Life Study Plan, which deals primarily with the practical application of the Laws of Creation. Check out my YouTube channel: The Mystical Christ with Michael Maciel
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