Okay, here is where things will start getting weirder and potential incoherencies become more pronounced. So, the Yeatsian materials distinguishes two broad types of arcons, arcons of form and arcons of wisdom. To further understand them, it is necessary to touch a little more on the lunar system that William especially uses to organize his understanding of the spirit messages.
At the center of the system is an image of the moon and its mansions as the model for human soul’s progress through lengthy series of lifetimes (see this post for a lengthy discussion of the difference between the actual mansions of the moon and these lifetimes). The system uses the mansions of the moon as a way of articulating this, describing a series of 28 lifetimes required to complete the circuit.
The material describes each such lifetime as a kind of station of the cross, in which a particular lesson must be learned before the soul can move on. So, while a soul might take only 28 lifetimes to complete a circuit, it may also take more if certain cycles must be repeated in order to come to fruition.
The full moon and new moon represent exceptional moments in the lunar cycle. Whereas the material at other cycles is in process, at the full and new point points they stand outside the process, inspiring it. At the new moon, material manifests as ugliness, detached from sense and manifests as meaningful but lacking content.
By the time the material has been worked through to the new moon, it appears as beauty, defined as an aesthetic and intellectual coherence that stands on its own, without necessary reference to a process that made it possible. So, a soul that becomes trapped here has proven itself incapable of giving voice to its unique being. Without this understanding, it has nothing to comment upon in its successive life, nothing to elaborate.
The soul trapped here is incorporeal. These spirits are the dead capable of delivering a kiss of death. There are two ways to deliver the kiss of death, and discussing those begins to reveal some inconsistencies in the Yeatsian account. We have the kiss as already discussed, as inflicted upon the living, and we have another, stranger expression of the kiss in which the soul embodies itself and gives itself the kiss.
This second kiss seems to contradict the account already given in which the soul being trapped as a disembodied soul forces it to deliver the kiss to the living. There are a few ways to resolve that contradiction, but one makes the most sense to me. When we look at the account of the second kiss, there are three things that differentiate it from the first kiss of death.
- the kiss of death manifests to the newly embodied soul as a constant tendency toward failure.
- this kiss is only resolved by the intervention of arcons who manipulate daimonic reality to provide the embodied soul with the necessary means.
- the kiss results in an arcon of wisdom rather than arcon of form, who ‘cloaks themselves in the dead’ located at either first phase 1 or 15 (represented by the new or full moon).
(1) and (2) suggest that the person reborn with the kiss of death lacks daimonic influence, lacks a daimon, or, lacks a daimon equal to the task of managing a human life. This insight can be applied to all the souls trapped at the full moon phase. These souls get trapped because they have become separated from the daimon that manipulates mask and fate to give them an opportunity to develop spiritually.
This suggests that the arcon may be nothing other than the souls of the dead reworked under drastic circumstances. The hungry ghosts? Most of them would fit neatly into the arcons of form. Having been born of a sort of spiritual parasitism, it would not be unsurprising that they would retain some of the parasitic capacities in arconic form, though one imagines that the the precise nature of the arcon would vary according to the disposition of the original soul that inflicted the kiss of death as well as the way in which their blockage was resolved by the individual upon whom the kiss was inflicted.
The lowest spirits in the Enochian system as well as the spirits toward whom many Spiritists direct their charity are likely the hungrier and less sophisticated arcons of forms. That these spirits are likely the more miserable results of a human life provide some tools for reconsidering the image of hell.
This contrasts neatly with the arcons of wisdom who undergo their transformation into arcon within life itself. Rather than develop through a living person’s work, they develop their kiss in the medium of life itself. The attribution of wisdom to them likely has to do with the way in which their arconic structure more fully realizes a human pattern of life. Also, they may take up residence in the new moon, under the aspect of generation and ugliness. Rather than simply inflict themselves upon the living, they can possess the capacity to inflict an opportunity upon the living, a much more subtle form of influence.
If the material suggests nothing else, it is that all of the arcons will surely be shaped by the specific autobiographical and historical path it takes to achieve its status.
If the daimon and human are separable, we can ask after the original nature of their union and wonder after the path taken by a daimon that departs from its human soul. Does it take up with another human soul, integrate itself with the substance of the world, something else? Are there situations in which a daimon may be suppressed or lost within a lifetime? There is reason to think that any of these may be possible.
The spirits also talk about an ‘avatar,’ a being born of daimons, the production of which is their primary reason for interacting with the Yeatses. This being seems to be the daimonic corollary to an arcon, but its nature is difficult to grasp and may be obfuscated by the spirits themselves.