infiniti science

The obvious is well hidden. The Truth is not a theory. . . . . . . Simplex veri sigillum

Quietism and Madame Guyon

By Paul Dunne


The most effective and advanced Esoteric techniques are free to access and easily acquired, if that is one knows how to find them. Often we already have the ability in a latent and undeveloped form, and once we find a technique or method that works, then we soon begin to develop the Unlimited capabilities of our Inner Self. Each of us is a Child of the Universe, holding within ourselves the potential to reach and manifest the Infinite. It is simply a case of the right keys open the right doors. We might also add here that one of these keys is perseverance with Mystical work, for our Inner abilities will develop steadily over time.

In the current age we live in, the Human Mind is being under developed and under utilised as our focus is ever upon a fast changing world. We are simply so busy trying to keep up with our mundane daily lives, that we are failing to find the Spiritual Contact with the Universal Stillness. We know instinctively that we are missing something very important in our lives, something that will bring us peace, self-fulfillment, self-empowerment and connection with the Forces of Universal Harmony. What we are in fact missing is the Still Point, which is a State of Mind in which the Human Being can access a blissful contact with the Eternal Cosmic Moment of Now that is the Bridge into awareness of Infinity. The Human Mind can be brought into harmonisation with the Cosmic Mind through techniques of Mystical Contemplation. One such technique is the practice of Quietism, and we shall look at its origins, history, purpose and use within this article. It is also hoped that this article will debunk and denude the notion that Mystical techniques are difficult to acquire or use – they are in fact Methods of Great Simplicity. Like the concept of the Tarot Fool, who is one that Knows Nothing, Nought, or has attained the Awareness of Point Zero Energy. The Tarot Fool epitomises the simplicity of the Supreme Mysteries.

How then might we define the term of Quietism? Also what exactly is it? These are very reasonable questions to ask, from those whom are new to the various forms of Mysticism.

Quietism is the finding and attainment of a state of mind that could be defined as Inner Peace and Tranquillity of the Mind, Perfect Calmness, Mental Inactivity, Indisturbance Indifference and Serenity.

The Mystical Meditation system that the Quietist, aims to cultivate consists in the controlled daily meditation practice which involves the withdrawal of the mind from normal worldly interests and anxieties, in order to attempt to develop and evolve an Inner Contact that is a passive and receptive form of Mystical contemplation with the Cosmos. To find the Still Point of Divine Harmony and Bliss of the Unity within All things. The techniques of Quietism are a withdrawn method of finding Self Harmonisation and contact with the Higher Divine side of the Human Being. Its practice requires little more than a comfy chair in a quiet room where one will not be disturbed during these personal and private Meditation sessions. Quietism, to coin a Cosmic Pun, is quite literally the finding of some very high quality “I TIME”, both the I that is our individualised self and the Cosmic I which stands for INFINITE. There are three III’s in the word Infinite and Three is the Number of the Mystical Triad. So in Mystical parlance I is a very powerful thing indeed, and we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that to take personal time out is in anyway selfish. Indeed finding our own space and I TIME is very important indeed within our overcrowded modern society.

To find the Inner Self, or I, we need to set aside some self time. Perhaps anything between 10 minutes and half an hour a day, upon which to develop techniques such as withdrawal into Quietism. A quiet and non-combative withdrawal from the hectic pressures of mundane daily life. A peaceful private rebellion. From the earliest days of childhood we have had impressed upon us that notion that we must not be selfish, hence even the idea and notion of taking a little time out in order to find personal space, may seem challenging and heretical to the lower psyche. It is a part of Mystical development to challenge the status quo of the conditions of the unenlightened lower self. In Mysticism one of the great goals is to become SELF-Ish. To develop the I into a fully awakened Cosmic Being that has full contact with the transpersonal Super-Consciousness. This of course does not mean neglecting friends, family, the day job or the daily grind of chores about the house that still have to be done. However, it is not really selfish at all to want to take half an hour a day out for our own Spiritual Development and SELF Healing. Our half an hour out each day is nought compared to the Universal Consciousness which has taken it’s own Higher Consciousness into the Eternal Still of the Limitless and Un-manifest. The Cosmic Divinity itself is SELF-Ish and we can learn to parallel this Highest Art within the development of our own Mystical Consciousness. If one cannot find a clear half hour during the day, then one can either rise slightly earlier in the morning before the rest of the household get up, or one can stay up half an hour later each night after the household retires to bed. Once a mediation pattern is set up then gradually we get used to having our daily fix, a bit like our 11.30am daily chocolate break, or lunchtime walk. Consciousness responds well to repetitive patterns.

Those of us with a naughty streak and wicked sense of humour may be interested to know that the origins of Quietism are from an heretical form of religious Mysticism that was founded by Miguel de Molinos, a 17th-century Priest in Spain. Quietism, again to coin a pun, quietly developed within the Roman Catholic Church in Spain and slowly spread outwards, finding especial prominence in France, where it became widely espoused by a very influential lady called Madame Jeanne Marie Bouvier Guyon who had been born at Montargis in April 1648.

Madam Guyon had come from a good line of parentage, but grew up to be a somewhat slightly troubled and neurotic child. Possibly this was due to her upbringing at a convent run boarding school, where it was said she had certain religious experiences, this is a psychological feature not uncommon of adolescents of this type. She was later befriended as a young woman by the Duchess of Bethune, until marrying the wealthy but much older Monsieur M. de Guyon. Her marriage lasted for twelve years, during which time she had three children, before her husband died leaving her a somewhat wealthy widow. During her widowhood she became friendly with a monk of weak character and failing mind, who was called Father Lacome. He taught her some of the ideals of Quietism and these teachings and doctrines fascinated and absorbed her. She travelled France with the monk spreading the exciting news about Quietism.

Madam Guyon promoted the somewhat esoteric doctrines of Quietism to the French aristocracy. Her greatest Coup d’etat was in winning the support of Madame de Maintenon, King Louis XIV’s wife, and she became a full convert. Another ally in this Dangerous set of Liaisons was her conversion of Archbishop Fénelon. Quietism spread like wild fire and this rather upset the less enlightened mundane authorities who were of course trying to maintain control of their mundane wealth and power. Quietism held the potential to upset the apple cart, as it offered personal empowerment and the opportunity to find Divinity within one’s self rather than in the exoteric church doctrines. Needless to say that a High Commission in France soon investigated and naturally found Madame Guyon’s written works and ideas to be intolerable. Typical of the Witch Finder type attitudes, in 1699 Pope Innocent XII issued orders that prohibited the circulation of Archbishop Fénelon’s book, entitled The Maxims of the Saints. In 1687, the Inquisition arrested nearly 300 Quietists.

Serious trouble had seemingly beset Madam Guyon’s Quietists revolution in 1686, when Father Lacome, along with so many of his fellow brethren in Italy and France, was arrested. He was sent to the Bastille and later remained a prisoner in Lourdes, where he died in 1715. Madam Guyon herself was arrested as a suspected heretic in 1688, and she was confined to a convent, but her old friend and ally the Duchess of Bethune secured her release later that year. Madam Guyon joined a school at St Cyr, run by a Madam Maintenon, and the school provided a relatively safe environment for her to continue teaching the doctrines of Quietism. Madam Guyon was one of those charismatic, charming and well educated people, and a woman ahead of her times. She soon endeared herself to an ever widening number of intellectual and deep thinking religious people. Her circle of contacts widened and Quietism again received some further publicity. However, when it came to light that Madam Guyon had been associated with Father Lacome, Madame Maintenon broke the friendship and requested that she leave the school. She was soon again receiving attention from the authorities, and she was taken before Bossuet the Bishop of Meaux who examined her and cautioned her to desist in her heretical teachings. Madam Guyon was not one to be told and continued openly as a Quietism activist and induced and encouraged others to do the same. The authorities grew intolerant and arrested her, she was sent to the Bastille and detained until 1703. During her imprisonment Fénelon was more or less coerced and forced to sign a recantation of his support for Madam Guyon’s work. He had to agree to disassociate himself from her, and was offered the carrot of becoming Archbishop of Cambric.

When finally released from imprisonment Madam Guyon went to live on her son’s estate at Blois. The French had now broadly come to regard her as something of a deluded eccentric, however, hundreds of English and German people still made pilgrimages to Blois, for some now viewed Madam Guyon as a Saintly personality. She undoubtedly suffered for her belief system, in a way that we today would find shocking and completely unacceptable. However, she also undoubtedly found Enlightenment upon her personal Quest. In her writings she coyly revealed that her Quest had not been in vain, and that the Silent Contemplation had brought her the Greatest Gifts. In her own words:

“My Spirit disenthralled became united with and lost in God, and this was so much the case, that I seemed to see and know God only, and not myself.”

Madam Guyon died on 9th June 1717. Apparently personally fulfilled and Enlightened, even though her mission was not fully delivered upon the Earth at that time. However, Mystical Quietism has survived in some forms and is as useful and useable today as it was in her own time.

The quintessential essence of the Art of Quietism is fundamentally that Self Perfection lies within the complete passivity of the Human Consciousness before the Still Point of Cosmic Consciousness. The Higher Consciousness of Universal Stillness thus floods into the Lower Consciousness bringing Supreme Bliss and Enlightened harmonised Being. Taken to a very advanced degree this form of Mystical Consciousness brings cessation of the lower self consciousness, and replaces it with Infinite Consciousness – the Bringing Down of the Cosmic Divinity into a Human Being. In the case of Madame Guyon’s tussles with the alleged earthly authorities, she maintained as her case for defence that she could not possibly sin, for sin was of the (lower) self, and she had rid herself of the (lower) self. These rather Esoteric Doctrines were out rightly condemned by Pope Innocent XI in 1687. A reaction to which the intelligent reader will draw their own conclusions. This Quietism was obviously feared for it was potent and powerful stuff that actually worked in applied practice. Hence the success of the phenomena of Quietism, so much so that this Heretical body of work was suppressed and banned. Forbidden Lore indeed. Yet really this is a rightful gift and inheritance for evolving Humanity, and Quietism could be compared to the Buddhist doctrine of the finding of Nirvana. Incidentally, the proceedings against remaining Quietists in France and Italy lasted until the eighteenth century. So it was not a flash in the pan phenomena, but a practice very highly valued by it’s own adherents.

In Quietism the Human Mind is withdrawn from lower worldly interests into a condition of receptive passively and stillness in which it becomes possible to constantly contemplate and channel a centralised and balanced condition of No-Thing that encompasses ALL-Things. The interconnected Higher / Inner Consciousness of the Cosmos. In it’s simplest form it begins with harmonisation of breathing – that is breathing in gently to the mental count of four, holding the breath for a mental count of two, then gently relinquishing the breath to the count of four, in repetition until there is a harmonised breathing pattern. Then it is a quiet rebellion of Stilling the Mind and attempting not to think or be distracted by the lower thought process, which will eventually be turned off in these Quietism Sessions. You cannot stop the chaotic lower level thought patterns by attempting to turn them off, instead you have to rather learn to dismiss and ignore them. Initially you develop an indifferent attitude to the intruding thoughts of the normal mundane lower consciousness. If thoughts keep intruding then just say to yourself “Yes, I will deal with that later” and keep enjoying the feeling of stillness and peace. Having not a care in the world. Simply you are CONTEMPLATING. In a State of Mind that is Contemplation itself. Contemplation of Nothing. Over time with practice this builds and develops into an indescribable state of Higher Awareness and at One-ment with the Universal Consciousness and increasingly feelings and senses of Higher Awareness awakens and grows into a very fulfilling Realisation. Then awakens our own Higher Potential, which accords with Point Zero Energy and is INFINITE. Those three III’s. This is a gradual working towards a realisation of the Supreme Enlightenment. Knowledge of that which is Unknowable, and which cannot be put into words on paper, for it is beyond Human Language, Number, Symbol or Archetype. It is perhaps best described as “0”.

The essence and ideals of Quietism may have been summed up almost fifteen hundred years before it’s 17th Century arrival. For Hierotheus, a convert of St Paul, said:

“To me, it seems right to speak without words, and to understand without knowledge, that which is above words and knowledge; this I apprehend to be nothing but the Mysterious Silence and Mystical Quiet which destroys consciousness and dissolves forms. Seek, therefore Silently and Mystically, the Perfect and Primitive Union with the Arch…”

Thus if we interpret aright what old Hierotheus was saying, we get the idea that the Human Mind of the Lower Consciousness deals with mere words and knowledge which gets in the way of forming a true Inner contact with the Highest levels of Cosmic Divinity. The Mysterious Silence is the Still Point known within Mystical Religions such as ZEN, which deal in subtle Mystery Teachings for the Highest level of Human attainment -Enlightenment. By achieving the Still Point we can therefore obliterate awareness of the lower consciousness that usually intrudes in a constant thinking babble, and we can dissolve the illusionary form type perception of physical reality, allowing for transcendent conditions to prevail. The Perfect and Primitive Union is something of a connection with the Primordial Consciousness that has spawned the manifestation of the Cosmos.

Quietism also seems to have evolved from a form of Mysticism practiced by the likes of St Teresa, and from St John of the Cross. They were about seeking the Inner Light of Truth, and their Spiritual Pathways were not about any intellectual quest for Truth. St Teresa taught the importance of Passivity and Silent Prayers. Later the Quietists came to know and believe that an hour practicing their Mystical Contemplations was of far more value than a lifetime of practicing good deeds. Although quite likely really good and great virtuous Divine Deeds could follow and flow forth from the practice of Mystical Quietism.

Quietism is a little known Esoteric branch of Mysticism. It is based upon personal Devotional Service to Humanity, and its adherents do not seek to change any one else’s established systems and principles of their own religion. The Quietist does not seek to criticise, nor offer opinions on the merits or faults of other organised groups of religion. The Quietist knows that little is changed by working outwards towards the exoteric systems, but understands that progress for all Humanity can be made through personal Inner Worlds workings. For to change yourself and to find a personal union with the Divine is to aid all Humanity upon the Path towards Enlightenment. The successful Quietist has succeeded in the Bringing Down of the Godhead into Humankind.

Madam Guyon in her own Words:

“All I had enjoyed before was only a peace, a gift of God, but now I received and possessed the God of peace.” (It was on July 22, 1680, that Madame Guyon experienced this Divine Ecstasy)

“A readiness for doing good was restored to me, greater than ever. It seemed to me all quite free and natural…”

“If one may judge of a good by the trouble which precedes it, I leave mine to be judged of by the sorrows I had undergone before my attaining it.”

Works About Madam Guyon:

Madam Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte Guyon, from the Catholic Encyclopedia
Autobiography of Madam Guyon, from Digitized by Harry Plantinga
Madam Guyon, from The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge
Madam Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte Guyon, from Didier Lebeau

Works By Madam Guyon:

Spiritual Progress
Complete Poetical Works (Authoress of a section of this work)
Song of Solomon / Explanations and Reflections having Reference to The Interior Life
Short & Easy Method of Prayer

Dion Fortune – Esoteric Orders


In all ages and among all races there has existed a tradition concerning certain esoteric schools or fraternities, wherein a secret wisdom unknown to the generality of mankind might be learnt, and to which admission was obtained by means of an initiation in which tests and ritual played their part. Whoever is familiar with the literature of folklore and anthropology knows that this belief exists among primitive peoples, from the Eskimos of the Arctic Circle to the Digger Indians of Tierra del Fuego. Whoever has also studied history knows that it has prevailed from the first dawn of human culture. Today, in the centres of the civilized world, this belief is still alive; and although it may be ridiculed by the orthodox-minded, an unprejudiced observer cannot fail to note that some of the noblest of men have been among its advocates, and that the greatest creative intelligences have, almost without exception, borne witness to a source of inspiration in the Unseen.

It is hard to believe that this rumour should be so widespread and so long-lived if it were entirely without foundation; moreover, the fact that it has the same form among races who have had no intercourse with each other, such as the primitive Mexican and primitive Egyptian, is a further evidence in favour of its truth. It is not possible to demonstrate to those who are without the pale the existence of the organizations to which we have referred, because with the revelations of their secrets comes the obligation of silence. It is permissible, however, to give sufficient information to enable the earnest seeker to discern the path whereby he may approach the entrance to one or another of these schools, and for that purpose the following teaching concerning the esoteric orders and their functions is placed before the reader, though the proofs of the statements therein contained must of necessity be withheld until he shall have entitled himself to receive them.

The different occult schools declare themselves to be the holders of a secret traditional science, communicated to them, in the first place, by divine founders, and enriched and revised from time to time by great teachers; this science concerns the study of the causes that lie behind observable phenomena and condition them. After preliminary tests as to character and fitness, the occult fraternities are prepared to communicate the theory of this science to accepted candidates, and subsequently to convey the powers for its practical use by means of ritual initiations. These, briefly, are the claims made for the occult schools by those competent to speak on their behalf.

It is very frequently, and very reasonably, asked why it is that societies avowedly formed for the service of humanity, and having such valuable teaching to give, should not freely communicate it to all corners; should not, moreover, conduct active propaganda work in order to induce people to come and share in their wisdom, and not, as they appear to be doing, hide themselves away as if seeking by every possible device to avoid observation and prevent themselves being discovered by those who would learn from them.

The answer to this question will be found when the nature of occult science is understood. It concerns certain little-known powers of the human mind and certain little-understood aspects of nature. Were its researches into these subjects purely theoretical there would be no need to guard their findings so carefully, but the knowledge of the facts thus discovered immediately reveals their practical applications; knowledge bestows power in this field of research, even more than in the fields explored by orthodox science, for the power thus rendered available is the power of the mind, and the effects of the use of this power are so far-reaching, whether for good or for evil, that it is a thing not lightly to be trusted into the hands of any human being, Just as the Dangerous Drugs Acts restrict the purchase and administration of potent drugs, so do those who are the custodians of this ancient traditional knowledge seek to safeguard its use. Being of so subtle a nature, it is impossible to guard it from abuse at the hands of the unscrupulous, and therefore its custodians do all in their power to prevent such persons from gaining access to it. Hence the restrictions with which its teaching is hedged about. But the restrictions are no more severe than those which attend the practice of medicine, for which a five years’ onerous apprenticeship is required. We are so accustomed, however, to see spiritual teaching freely given, to hear the call, ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters of life and drink freely.’ that we cannot understand a policy which refuses any stream from this spring to those who are athirst. The reason lies in the fact, which cannot be too clearly understood by its would-be neophytes, that occult science is a mental, not a spiritual thing, and is neither good nor bad in itself, but only as it is used. It is potent for good or for evil; it can save souls which no other means could approach, and it can, even without evil intention, destroy them. It is no child’s play, and few there be who are suited to that path to the heights. Nevertheless, for such as can adventure it, here is a noble quest for the soul, a true crusade against the Powers of Darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places. In the hidden places of the world there is so much occult evil, little suspected by those who have not met it face to face, that men and women of courage, strength, and the necessary knowledge are needed to deal with it.

The training given in occult schools is designed to produce the adept, a human being who, by intensive training has raised himself or herself beyond the average development of humanity, and is dedicated to the service of God. Certain work in connection with evolution and the spiritual development and safeguarding of the nations is undertaken by highly-trained men and women, though their work is never seen and the place of their training is never known. Their actual training it may be said, is given on the Inner Planes, and only the preliminary training which fits them for the Inner Schools takes place on the physical planes. Consciousness is prepared for its Great Quest, and adventures alone into the Unseen.

Not much can be told concerning this training and not many are suitable for it, but enough has been said to give food for thought.

Esotericism, Occultism and Mysticism

Before embarking upon the study of the subject of this book, The Esoteric Orders and their Work, it is necessary to define the sense in which the term esotericism is used to include all aspects of super-physical science. To do this is a matter of some difficulty as it is a relative term, being used in contradistinction to exotericism. Esotericism begins where exotericism ends; and as the boundaries of exoteric science are always advancing so the boundaries of esotericism are always receding; that which was taught to the initiates of Egypt is taught to the schoolchildren of England. Reading, writing and arithmetic were once occult arts. So also are the profounder aspects of hypnosis, though some of its minor aspects have been rediscovered by exoteric scientists. As evolution advances, the average man becomes capable of that which once was only possible to the exceptional man. As the civilized man is to the savage, so is the adept to the average man. The powers of the civilized man appear miraculous to the savage because he does not know the laws to which they conform; but the civilized man knows only too well that he does not transcend the realm of law when he flies like a bird or heals the sick; he achieves his results by knowing certain natural laws and utilizing them, and so does the adept.

The individual savage may be capable of benefiting by education, or he may not; it depends upon his capacity The average man may be capable of benefiting by initiation, or he may not; it also depends upon his capacity; but each individual should have the opportunity of advancing to the highest development of which he is capable. A certain degree of evolution must be reached before initiation becomes operative; a student does not enter upon a postgraduate course until he has graduated. It is the function of exoteric religion to see to it that each member of the race reaches the normal standard of evolution; it has to seek the lost sheep and raise the submerged tenth. Until a man has learnt the lessons of his faith he is not ready for the lessons of initiation.

It is the function of the Lesser Mysteries to enable each individual admitted to their teaching to attain the highest degree of development of which he is capable. In the Lesser Mysteries are unfolded the latent capacities of man; but in the Greater Mysteries are unfolded the hidden capacities of nature. The Lesser Mysteries deal with the subjective sphere, the Greater Mysteries with the objective sphere, and the one is the essential preliminary to the other. It is not possible for a man to command the elemental essences of nature unless he is master of the elemental aspects of his own nature, for the powers within, if rebellious, will betray him to the powers without. Discipline must precede dominion. We operate upon that which is without by the corresponding aspect that is within. If the nature be not purified, it will make a mixed contact when it touches the Unseen. The operations of occultism are based upon the powers of the will and the imagination; both blind forces. Unless they are controlled and directed by a motive which has relation to the universe as a whole, no ultimate synthesis is possible. The personality must be universalized by the ideal at which it aims in order that it may function as an organized part of the cosmic whole. It is this urge towards universalization which is the ultimate hunger of the soul; the lesser self seeks to achieve it by drawing all things into itself in a rage of possession; the greater self seeks to achieve it by transcending the bounds of self and becoming one with the universe There are two unions to be achieved: the self may become one with the universe by means of universal sympathy—this is the goal of the occultist; the self may also be made one with the Creator of the universe by means of absolute devotion— this is the goal of the mystic. But the occultist, having achieved his own goal, has not yet made the ultimate integration, he has not yet passed from the manifested phenomenal aspect into the cosmic; and the mystic, having achieved his transcendent union, cannot hold it, but must lapse back into the phenomenal universe. The ultimate integration can only be achieved by means of universal sympathy and absolute devotion united in one nature. Into such a one all things are gathered by means of sympathy, and he is in his turn gathered into the All by means of devotion.

This is the ultimate aim of evolution for the manifested universe as a whole; and he who goes by the Way of Initiation does but anticipate evolution. It is the function of the Mysteries to assist the initiate to tread that section of the Path which has already been explored, but beyond lies a section that is known to no consciousness that is in a physical form; this section a man must tread alone with his Master; and beyond lies a section where a man is alone with his God.

Not in one incarnation can this be achieved. Three incarnations of absolute devotion without error may serve; but who is without error, and how far must we be upon the Path before absolute devotion is attained? We cannot step out of the march of evolution with one foot, into the Cosmic Light with the other; it takes many steps to tread the Path, and some of them slip and have to be retraced. The difficulties are emphasized because many embark lightheartedly upon this great and terrible venture, but the fruits of it are not minimized, for they transcend all that eye can see or heart can dream. Neither do we have to wait until the end of the journey before we begin to reap. Day by day the manna fell during all the journey through the wilderness, though Egypt had to be abandoned and the Red Sea over-passed before it appeared.

So in the great journey of the soul to the Promised Land, which is the Way of Initiation, the safety of human habitations has to be left, and the soul journeys houseless and alone into the wilderness and comes to the Red Sea; here it is that the weak turn back and return into slavery to make bricks without straw for which they receive no wages. But if the supreme test of the Red Sea is faced, the waves are parted by an unseen force and the traveller passes through dry-shod, with a wall of waters standing up on either hand; this is the test of faith, for by mundane law those waters should fall; it is only a higher law that keeps them back.

Then, the test being safely passed, though still in the wilderness, waters flow from the rock and manna falls daily, for though still in the world of sense, the traveller has come under the operation of a higher law.

Dion Fortune – Esoteric Orders and Their Work 1928

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