In Meister Eckhart's Sermons: ‘There is within the soul a castle into which not even the gaze of the Triune God can penetrate’, because it is the castle of pure Oneness.
The Arabs call the constellations of the Zodiac borj (stronghold), as does the ta’wil (esotericism), in so far as they ‘shelter souls from damnation’.
Lastly, the Taoist treatise, The Secret of the Golden Flower, recommends the fortification and defence of the Primeval Castle, which is the home of the hsing, the Spirit or, in Zen terminology, the natural self.
Thus castles are placed among the symbols of transcendence and the Heavenly Jerusalem is depicted in paintings as a castle bristling with towers and turrets and set upon a mountain peak.
The funerary temples which the Pharaohs built beside their tombs were called ‘castles of millions of years’. Just like the royal tombs, they were destined to stand for ever and to link the fate of human grandeur with that of the gods.
Spiritual transcendence is the castle’s protection. Castles shelter beautiful young maidens or Prince Charmings, the former to be awakened from their sleep by a visiting lover, the latter to welcome some ravishingly beautiful female pilgrim. The castle symbolizes the realization of the heart’s desire.
The ‘black castle’ is the castle of utter failure, of unsatisfied desire. It is an image of Hell and of a hopelessly immovable and irrevocable fate. It is a castle without a drawbridge, empty but for the lonely soul who wanders forever within its gloomy walls.
The ‘white castle’ is, on the contrary, a symbol of achievement, of destiny perfectly fulfilled and of spiritual perfection. Between the black and the white, at intervals, stand the other castles of the soul described by the mystics, as successive resting-places along the path of sanctification. The castle of illumination, on the mountain peak, merging with the sky itself, is where the soul will for ever be united with its God and will fully and mutually enjoy that untarnishable presence.
The ‘castle in darkness’ is not necessarily the ‘black castle’, but symbolizes the unconscious, bewilderment or unfocused desire. The ‘lighted castle’, which is again not the same as the ‘white castle’, symbolizes awareness, desire aroused and intentions put in hand.