One of the biggest problems with modern political entities is the question of cybernetics, or “the helmsmen” : who watches the Watchers? Who guards the guardians? This problem is not very effectively answered today; if there was a famine in the year 1200, you knew where the nobleman who was feasting on venison lived, what his name was, & whether or not he had contributed to the problem. Likewise, the king oversaw them in their turn, & perhaps an emperor looked over the king.
Modern man doesn’t have an answer to “who the guardians” are, in either the terrestial life, or the life-to-come. Only the “Free Market” regulates such matters.
Esotericism (however) has a very precise, and relatively homogeneous answer to this problem, which goes even beyond political solutions. The “Guardian of the Threshold” is an entity personal to each human being, and consists of the sum total “bad” or negative acts of that being – this “doppelganger” constrains, judges, and (perhaps) terrifies that being, in this life & the next. Tomasso Palamidessi articulated the strongest doctrines concerning this entity, but this idea is by no means peculiar to merely him. Papus mentions the movement through the Zodiac houses which every being undertakes as part of its journey, and one of these entities or houses is “the guardian”. Likewise, Max Heindel speaks of the way the thought/mental, vital, and spiritual bodies interact in a way that is suggestive of the idea that we are surrounded by our own cosmic creations:
“Repulsion is the centrifugal force and if that is aroused by the thought there will be a struggle between the spiritual force ()the will of the man) within the though-form, and the desire body. This is the battle between conscience and desire, the higher and the lower nature. The spiritual desire0stuff needed to manipulate the brain and muscles. The force of repulsion will endeavor to scatter the appropriated material and oust the thought. If the spiritual energy is strong it may force its way through to brain center and hold its clothing of desire-stuff while manipulating the vital force, thus compelling action, and will then leave upon the memory a vivid impression of the struggle and the victory. If the spiritual energy is exhausted before action has resulted, it will be overcome by the force of Repulsion , and will be stored in the memory, as are all other thought forms when they have expended their energy.”
(page 26, Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception)
These facts or truths may be behind the old medieval belief that demons were attempting to pluck man off the ladder, or carry his soul to hell when he died. Heindel goes on to speak of “ripe Fate” which not even the Lords of Destiny will enable man to “shirk”.
Franz Bardon also makes mention in his magical system of mental “larva” which are generated by frustrated or misused desire.
Valentine Tomberg speaks of the “Guardian” in some detail in Chapter XVIII of Meditations on the Tarot, particularly in relation to conscience.
“The guardian of the threshold spoken of in the Hermetic tradition is the great judge, charged with preserving the equilibrium of that which is above and that which is below. The traditional iconography of the Church represents him with a sword and balance. The sword is his vivifying and healing action, giving courage and humility to the soul which hungers and thirsts for the depths, and the balance is his action of presenting the precise account of what must be paid in order to have the right to go further.”
Thus, we see that behind the old medieval traditions of visions, temptations, sin, the devil, etc. lurked a very prescient sense of the true reality of man’s situation, which is always perilous, always blessed. The modern world derides “shame cultures” as inherently backwards and perverse, yet it has nothing better to put in its place, nor has it managed to do away with “shame”, if for no other reason than that it can pass all the progressive legislation it wishes to, it cannot abolish the reality of the Guardian of the Threshold. This Guardian waits for every man, and for those who cannot don the armor of St. George whereby to triumph over the old serpent, a heavy price will be paid.
Such a spiritual truth is surely behind the old Scripture verse : “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that, the judgement”. Even re-incarnation or the Lords of Destiny will not save a man from paying the full and terrible price for those deeds, for “re-birth” is not an erasure of karma, but rather a further ripening of it, a passing to an new & developmental state.
There is, in the Christian religion, one possible way out of karma, but it is not a release from its burden, but rather a servant-like assumption of it in a state of pleromic Love, the highest state of Being identical to the Lord Himself. This is known as “forgiveness” and “the new birth”, and rather than being a blank check for modern people to silence their inner “guardians” of conscience, it represents a higher path which allows a victory where perhaps none is possible. This can occur at the whim of the Lord, and therefore, is not ultimately subject to earthly protocol or guarantees, either in its favor (extra ecclesiam non est salus) or (as the case today is) against it as a presumption upon grace in the form of graceless and shameless culture.