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For eight years Max Heindel, the mystic and esotericist sent out to the students of The Rosicrucian Teachings a letter each month filled with much valuable information, explaining the cause of many of the difficulties occurring in daily life, not only of individuals but of nations as well, and giving a feasible solution of them. These letters, ninety-seven in number, sent out between Christmas 1910 and January 1919, constitute the subject matter of this book.
Being the authorized messenger of the Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order and consequently in close touch with them, Mr. Heindel was continuously receiving and giving out esoteric information to his students relative to the past, present, and future evolution of life and form, which on account of his tutelage under the Brothers of the Order he was able to verify for himself and to which he was able to add many details. The letters in this book give many side lights on the Rosicrucian philosophy and many practical, helpful hints for living the life of the Christian mystic.
In many of these letters there is a reference to accompanying lessons. Each letter was accompanied by a lesson in pamphlet form. The greater part of these lessons have already been published in book form, and are available for reference by readers of this book. The volumes of lessons published to date are as follows: Freemasonry And Catholicism; The Web of Destiny; Mysteries of the Great Operas; The Mystical Interpretation of Christmas; and Gleanings of a Mystic. The lessons not already published will appear later in a second volume of Gleanings of a Mystic. The readers of these letters will obtain much more from them if they will consult the corresponding lessons as they proceed.
In giving these letters to the world we feel that we are making a contribution of permanent value and importance, and one from which the student of esotericism will obtain much assistance in his progress on the Path.
In a religious movement it is customary to address one another as "sister" and "brother," in recognition of the fact that we are all children of God, who is our common Father. Brothers and sisters are not harmonious at all times, however. Sometimes they are even misguided enough to hate one another, but between friends there can be no feeling but love.
It was a recognition of this fact which prompted the Christ, our great and glorious Ideal, to say to His disciples: "Henceforth I call you not servants. . . .but friends." (John 15:15) We cannot do better than follow our great Leader in this as in all other things. Let us, therefore, not merely be content with the fraternal relationship, but let us endeavor to be friends in the very holiest and most intimate sense of the word.
The Elder Brothers, whose beautiful teachings have brought us together upon the Way of Attainment, honor their disciples in the same way that Christ honored His apostles, namely, by giving them the name of "friend." If you persist in the way upon which you have started, you will sometime stand in their presence and hear that name utters in a voice so soft, so kind, and so gentle that it beggars description or even imagination. From that time there will be no task you would not perform to deserve that friendship. It will be your one wish, your one aspiration, to serve them, and no earthly distinction will appear worthy of comparison with that friendship.
Upon my unworthy shoulders has fallen the great privilege of transmitting the teachings of the Elder Brothers to the public in general and to the students, of the Rosicrucian Teachings in particular. You have requested that your name be placed on my correspondence list, and I gladly extend to you the right hand of fellowship, greeting you by the name of friend. I appreciate the trust you repose in me, and I assure you that I shall endeavor to aid you in every way within my power to deserve your trust. I hope that you will also aid me in my work for yourself and others by a charitable judgment of any shortcomings you may discover in me or in my writings. None need the prayers of others so much as one who must be a leader.
Please remember me in your devotions, and be assured that you shall have a place in mine.
I enclose the first lesson in the hope that the foregoing may establish our relations upon a footing of sincere friendship.
I hope that you thoroughly studied the Christmas lesson and are thoroughly familiar with the phenomenon of the spiritual ebb and flow in the universe so that you will be able to give a reason for your faith in "holy Night." In this month's lesson the idea is carried to a further conclusion, not previously taught publicly. There are other teachings in this little lesson which shed a clearer light upon the immaculate mystery-birth than has ever been given before, and I hope that you will diligently study it during the coming month so that you may realize to the full the transcendent beauty of the sublime Rosicrucian teaching on this subject.
But whether you have studied the Christmas lesson and are able to discourse upon the spiritual ebb and flow or whether you will be able to expound the Immaculate Conception at the end of this month is after all secondary in importance to what you answer to the following question: Did you take advantage of the flood tide of spirituality at Christmas to seek out some one in distress as suggested in the last paragraph of the lesson? Did you put it to practical use in the world's work? I hope you did, for only as we practice the teachings in our immediate circle of influence will they bear fruit in soul growth. We may read till we get mental indigestion, but actions speak louder than words. Also there is a bad place said to be paved with good intentions. Therefore, dear friend, let me urge upon you the necessity of doing! doing! doing!
Often we see in the home, office, shop, or assembly room that a certain things ought to be done. But the attitude of the man of the world is to shirk. He turns away saying: Why should I do it? Let some one else attend to it. We should reason differently, however. We should not plan how little we can do. If so we are not fitting ourselves to become Invisible Helpers. If we see that a task has to be performed, we should say to ourselves: Some one will have to do that; why not I?
In this coming month dear friend, let us take as a spiritual exercise the following of this motto, "Why not !?" If we follow it consistently, we shall reap a greater blessing than we confer upon others. May God abundantly bless you and strengthen you in your efforts.
You have of course studied in some measure the various teachings of the Rosicrucian Order, and when I address myself to you, it is not as if I were speaking to a stranger who is unfamiliar with the teachings or perhaps even skeptical of the existence of such an Order. These teachings have spread like wildfire in the Western world during the past two years, and that of itself shows a power behind them which is not of the ordinary human kind. This you will probably realize better when you have read the lesson for this month, which deals with this mysterious Order and shows it relation to the Rosicrucian Teachings.
Has it ever occurred to you to inquire, my dear friend, what binds you to this fellowship? You know there are not outward bonds, that you have taken no oath of allegiance, and that you have not been entrusted with any secrets. What then constitutes the fellowship of which we speak?
It cannot be the teachings, for they are open to the whole world and are assented to by many who have not requested that they be enrolled as students. Neither is it the enrollment as a student which creates the inner bond, for many study only to benefit themselves and have not fellowship with the rest of us. Rather, it is the service which we perform and the earnestness wherewith we practice the teachings and become living examples to the world of that brotherly love which Christ spoke of as fulfillment of all commandments.
Last month we took for our motto the thought that if a certain task were to be performed which seemingly belonged to no one in particular, we would say, "Why not I?" instead of letting some one else do it or letting it lie. I trust you have performed this unselfish service often, and thus cemented the bonds of fellowship.
In this coming month I would ask you to give your thoughts and your efforts to advance the Rosicrucian Teachings. Do not attempt to convince any one against his will or to proselytize, but try to find out in an unostentatious manner what bothers your neighbor in a spiritual way. Then try to help him with our teachings. But whether you say anything to him about where you received them or not must depend upon your own judgment. The main thing is to spread the Teachings, not to advertise any organization.
Last month I promised to take up further elucidation of the Rosicrucian Order and its relation to The Rosicrucian Teachings, but I forgot that Easter was at hand and would require attention first. I hope you will agree that it is more important to study this great cosmic event, particularly as we live in a Christian land and, I hope, are Christians at heart. In fact, dear friend, the keynote of what I would bring out this month is really a plea for the church, and it is with that end in view that I have printed the poem, "Creed or Christ?" at the end of the lesson.
We are all Christ in the making, the love nature is unfolding in us all, and why should we not identify ourselves with one or another of the Christian churches which cherish the Christ ideal? Some of the best workers among students of The Rosicrucian Teachings are members, yes, and ministers, of churches. Many are hungry for what we feed upon. We cannot share it with them by standing aloof, and we do ourselves harm by neglecting to take advantage of the great opportunity to aid in elevating the church.
Of course there is no compulsion. You are not required to join or attend a church, but if you do go there in the spirit of helpfulness, I can promise you that you will experience a most wonderful soul growth in a very short time. The great Recording Angels, who give to each nation the religion best suited to its needs, placed us in a Christian land, because the Christian religion will help us in soul growth. Even admitting that it has been obscured by creed and dogma, we should not let that prevent us from accepting those teachings which are good, for that would be as foolish as to center our attention upon the spots in the sun and refuse to see its glorious light.
Please think this matter over, dear friend, and let us take for our motto this month, greater usefulness, that we may grow abundantly by striving to improve our opportunities.
I hope you enjoyed last month's lesson. Perhaps you will think it strange, but I have fairly reveled in it myself, for it aroused by devotion most powerfully to think how the Divine Life pours itself out for us periodically so that we may have more abundant life. Without that annual influx of God's life, all life, or rather form, would cease to exist. It is by feeling the higher emotions that we raise ourselves the easiest. It is good to study and to develop our minds, but there is a great danger in this age of becoming ensnared in the meshes of intellect. Paul struck the nail on the head when he said: "Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth." We all wish to know; it is natural that we should, but unless our knowledge serves to make us better men and women, better servants to our fellows, it does not make us greater in the sight of God. Therefore cultivation of right feeling is of enormous importance, and I sincerely hope that you have felt the Easter lesson for that is the only way to get full benefit from it.
Picture to yourself that great wave of divine energy projected from the Invisible Sun which is the manifestation of the Father. Try to feel the awe you would experience if you could see it, as the trained seer can and does. Watch it in imagination as it strikes the earth on Holy Night at Christmas. Let the feeling work upon you about the way it sinks into the earth and is the active cause of the germination in all kingdoms. Christ used the simile of the brooding hen to describe His feelings towards other beings, and if you try to feel the sprouting of all things in nature as indicated in our Easter lesson, you will realize a side of the subject which may have escaped you.
I hope that you will long use this lesson as material for mediation as it is different from one of the intellectual lessons that may be grasped by the mind and put aside. This lesson is of permanent value, and the oftener you take it up and let it work upon your heart, the more closely you will come to the heart of things, which is God, the great and loving Father who pours out His life alike for the tiniest plant and the tallest monarch of the forest; who cares for beast and bird, for the outcast and homeless rover, and for the royal potentate in his palace, without discrimination.
May God abundantly bless you and open up to you the storehouse of His riches, which surpass all earthly enjoyments, and may you feel the wave of love which He pours out afresh from year to year as a reality. Then you will never be lonely if you are alone, and you will be, oh! so much richer, no matter how much you are blessed with earthly love, and so much more able to radiate that most sublime of all emotions, Spiritual Love.
Christ gave two commands to His disciples when He said: "Preach the gospel, and heal the sick." We saw in last month's lesson how closely the office of spiritual advisor is linked with healing of physical ailments, for though the immediate and apparent cause of disease may be physical, in the final analysis all ailments are due to transgression of the Laws of God, which we usually call "Laws of Nature" in our materialistic attempts to eliminate the Divine. Bacon, with rare spiritual perception, said: "God and Nature differ only as the seal and the imprint." As flexible sealing wax is molded to the rigid lines of the seal, so also nature passively conforms to the immutable laws of its Divine Creator, and thus health and a carefree condition are the rule among the lower kingdoms. But when the human stage is reached, when individuality is evolved and we begin to demand choice, prerogative, and emancipation, we are apt to transgress the laws of God, and suffering invariable follows.
There is a side of the Moon which we never see, but we know it is there, and that hidden side of the moon is just as much a factor in creating the tides as the part of the moon which is nearest to us and visible. So there is also a hidden side to man which is as productive of action as the physical being we behold. Transgressions of divine laws upon the mental and moral planes of action are quite as responsible for physical disorders as the hidden side of the moon is effective in producing the tides.
If the above were understood, physicians would no longer puzzle over the annoying fact that while a certain kind and quantity of medicine produces a cure in one cause, it may be absolutely impotent in others. A large and increasing number of medical men are now convinced that the Law of Destiny is an important factor in producing disease and retarding recover, though they are not believers in the fallacy of an inexorable fate. They recognize that God does not willingly afflict us nor aim to get even with the transgressor; they understand that all sorrow and suffering are designed to teach us lessons which we would not or could not learn in any other way. The stars show the period estimated as requisite to teach us the lesson, but even God cannot determine the exact time nor the amount of suffering necessary; we, ourselves, have a prerogative, for we are divine. If we awake to our transgression and commence to obey the law before the stellar affliction ceases, we are cured of our mental, moral, or physical distemper; if we persist to the end of one stellar affliction without having learned our lesson, a more inimical configuration will enforce obedience at a later time.
It is in this connection that the spiritually minded health adjuster may often render most efficient service and shorten the period of suffering by pointing out to a sufferer why he is afflicted. Even when the healer finds himself unable to cope with the disease, he may very often cheer a patient through a period of unavoidable distress by a promise of relief at a certain time. In my ministrations to the sick during bygone years it has not infrequently been my privilege to thus point out the Star of Hope, and, so far as I remember, my predictions of recovery at a set time have always been verified, sometimes in an almost miraculous manner, for the stars are the clock of destiny and are always correct.
In the above you have the great reason why we should study astrology from the spiritual standpoint. In next month's letter I hope to bring out something more definite concerning the Spiritual Panacea, but in the meantime I am sure you will be glad to know that we have bought the land of which I spoke. It is one of the sightliest spots in beautiful southern California; in fact, though I have traveled all over the world, I have never seen a view to compare with that of the site of our future Headquarters. It is situated upon a high tableland, giving free scope to the vision for forty or more miles in all directions. On the north the Santa Ana Mountain Range wards off the cold north winds so that the climate is practically frostless all the year round. Below us to the east is the beautiful San Luis Rey Valley, with its river like a silver band winding its way through fertile fields past the historic old Spanish Mission where the Franciscan Fathers taught the Indians for centuries. Farther eastward the San Jacinto mountain rears its snow-capped peak against a sky of deepest azure. In the south the promontory of La Jolla, with its picturesque caves, hides from view the great natural harbor of Uncle Sam's southwesternmost city—San Diego. Towards the setting sun we behold upon the placid bosom of the Pacific Ocean, San Clemente Island, also Santa Catalina with its wonderful submarine gardens--a composite picture of glory and inspiration, in itself sufficient to evoke all that is purest and best in any one at all spiritually inclined.
We have named this beauty spot of nature, "Mt. Ecclesia," and a building fund has already been started to erect suitable buildings: a School of Healing, a Sanitarium, and last but not least, a place of worship--an Ecclesia, where the Spiritual Panacea may be prepared and sent all over the world to be used by properly qualified helpers.
Last month we started to consider the Sacraments, and it was my intention to write upon Communion this month, but the subject has proved so vast that it takes in almost everything from Genesis to Revelation, besides a number of physiological aspects such as the chemistry of food and the blood; also the atmosphere, etc. Further, it is inseparably connected with the second coming of Christ. It will require more time than I can give to get it out early in the month, also it will cover several lessons. Therefore I thought it best not to use that subject until next month, and in the meantime I have decided to give you a lesson from the new book—The Rosicrucian Mysteries. This lesson is partly taken from the section entitled, "The Mystery of Light, Color, and Consciousness." You will find it most interesting and instructive.
Regarding last month's lesson on Baptism, you will have noted that so far from being only an outgrowth of the dogmatism commonly attributed to the church, it is the symbol of condition which actually existed in the past when humanity was indeed a brotherhood. It is a fact of the greatest significance that until the time of Christ, the law demanded an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but before He commenced to preach the gospel of love to our neighbor and forgiveness towards those who trespass against us, He went under the Waters of Baptism, and there received the Universal Spirit, which will supplant the egoism of today.
Thus He became filled with love, and therefore naturally radiated that quality, as naturally as a stove filled with burning coal radiates heat. We may preach to the stove forever that its duty is to heat, but until we fill it with fuel, it will remain cold. Likewise, we may preach to humanity that we ought to be brothers and love one another, but until we put ourselves "in tune with the Infinite," we can no more love our neighbor than the empty stove can heat. As Paul says, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angles, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal."
The Baptism of Water refers to a past condition when we were irresponsible as the child we take to church today, but the Baptism of Spirit is something yet in the future for most of us, and it is this for which we are striving. Let us pay particular attention to the thirteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians during this coming month. Let us endeavor to practice in our daily lives at least one of the virtues which Paul says lead to illumination, so that we may soon fit ourselves to see face to face the beauties of the Sacraments, which perhaps are now but dimly perceived as through a darkened glass.
I hope you enjoyed last month's lesson on "The Mystery of Light, Color and Consciousness," and that you now have a more thorough realization of what is meant by the saying, "In Him we live and move and have our being," for everywhere, throughout the whole universe, wherever light penetrates, there God also is. Even in the places which we call dark because the constitution of our eyes prevents perception of objects there, organs of vision differently constituted can function as exemplified in the instance of cats and owls.
Christ said, "Let your light shine." To the spiritual vision each human being appears as a flame of light, variously colored according to temperament, and of greater or less brilliancy in proportion to purity of character. Science has discovered that all matter is in a state of flux, that the particles which compose our bodies continually decay and are eliminated from the system, to be replaced by others which remain for a short time until they also decompose. Likewise our moods, emotions, and desires change with every passing moment, the old giving place to the new in an interminable succession. Therefore, they also must be composed of matter and subject to laws similar to those which govern visible physical substances.
We even can, and do, change our mind; we can cultivate it in one direction or another as we please, just as we can develop the muscles of arm or limb, or we can allow the member to atrophy. Therefore the mind also must be composed of a changeable substance. But the ego, the Thinker, never loses its "I"-dentity. In both childhood and old age that "I" remains the same regardless of changes in thoughts, feelings, emotions, and desires. Though the body, which we use as a garment, changes with the passing years, we are eternally and everlasting the same.
The quality of mutability of matter and evanescence of form is the basis of all spiritual progress, however, for if matter were immutable as spirit, there would be no possibility of advancement. So long as we drift with the tide of life and do not consciously control the ebb and flow of matter to and from our being, we are the sport of circumstances. Then when a ray of Mars is projected at a certain angle to the atoms of our body, we feel all the aggressiveness which it carries. A Saturnian beam, on the other hand, brings us depression; it fills us with gloom and fearful forebodings. But as we evolve and arrive at an understanding of the mystery of light, color, and consciousness, we gradually learn to rule our stars. Then by conformity to the laws of nature we become masters of our own destiny; and it is of vital importance that no matter what the aspects which may rule at any certain time we should always assert ourselves and say:
"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
`I' am the master of my fate;
`I' am the captain of my soul."
You saw in the lesson, on Baptism, how we went back to the earliest days of evolution upon our planet to find the significance of that sacrament. You will have noticed also in last month's lesson how the Sacrament of Communion has its root in the beginning of time. Thus it is apparent that unless we are capable of investigating the past history of the human race, we can obtain no clear conception concerning anything connected with mankind. Goethe spoke of "Das Ewig Werdende"—the ever becoming. Change is the mainspring of progression, and if we look upon man as he is now, without regard to what he has been, our deductions as to his future must necessarily be very limited.
The last lesson illustrates the Law of Analogy, showing how man was fostered by Divine Guardians in a manner similar to that in which the little child is care for by its parents to prepare it for the battle of life; and we may be sure that though these guardians have withdrawn from visible leadership, they are still with us and keep a watchful eye upon their former wards, just as we who are parents continue to take an interest in the welfare of our children after they have left our hearth and home to fight the battle of life for themselves.
When we have had our spiritual eyes opened and have learned to distinguish the various classes of beings in the higher realms, that guardianship is one of the most reassuring facts to the observer; for though no one may interfere with the free will of mankind and though it is contrary to the divine plan in any way to coerce a man into doing that which he does not want to do, there is no bar against suggestions along lines which he would be likely to choose. And it is due to the wisdom and love of these Great Beings that progress along humanitarian lines is the watchword of the day.
During the ages which have passed, we in the Western world have particularly felt the sorrow and pain due to war and strife. The struggle for existence is constantly becoming more and more acute; it is dictated by "man's inhumanity to man." But there is also another factor developed by the Lords of Love and Compassion, namely, the altruistic movements, which are multiplying in number at a wonderful rate, and gaining in efficiency as the years go by. It is a noteworthy fact, however, that alms-giving and charity which degrade the recipient are being more and more superseded by help to self-help, which elevates whom we aid as well as those who give. That kind of help involves thought and self-sacrifice, which are fostered by our Invisible Guardians among the stronger who are now their weaker brothers' keepers.
It is a cause for considerable congratulation that a number of students of The Rosicrucian Teachings are workers in institutions conducted along the above lines, and I sincerely hope to see the day when a large majority will be able to take up work of this nature, each in his respective environment. But begin at home, be kind to all with whom you immediately come in contact, and when you have been found faithful in a few things, the larger opportunities will not be wanting.
It is one of the usual human characteristics to eulogize that which pleases us, and deprecate that for which we have an aversion, but I trust that you will have learned from last month's lesson the one great and glorious fact that in the Father's kingdom all things work together for good. Those among us who are content to live upon vegetables, and those among us who feel no desire for strong drink, are usually too prone to look down upon our brothers and sisters who still use flesh food and intoxicants with a feeling of, "I am so much holier that thou"; but you will doubtless have perceived from what has been said in the lesson that such a feeling is entirely gratuitous. Flesh food and alcohol have had a very material share in the world's progress, and were it not for them we should not today be enjoying many of the comforts and labor-saving devices which make life in the Western world so much easier than in primeval times. Neither is the day of their usefulness entirely past; they are necessities in the lives of many people. Besides, as the Good Book says, it is not that which goes into the mouth that defiles, but that which proceeds therefrom; and the attitude of haughty disdain for those who still use flesh foods, or are subject to alcoholism, is far more subversive of spiritual growth than the mere partaking of these foods.
Let us therefore not condemn others, but let us try to see the matter from their side, and allow them to have their free will as we wish to have ours. Neither let us obtrude our views upon them nor seek to make converts to our mode of living among those who are not yet ready. The change ought to come from within, and it should not be dictated by a consideration of the healthfulness of vegetable food, nor by the spiritual acceleration to be gained from a diet prepared without flesh. The highest motive should be compassion for the poor victims which are slain to appease appetites.
It may be said, however, with safety that we eat too much flesh, and like all compounds of nitrogen, such as nitroglycerine, gun-cotton, and other explosives, flesh foods are extremely unstable and dangerous to the system. Therefore we will do well if we urge moderation upon all with whom we come in contact. Science is sufficiently well aware of the facts in the case to furnish ample backing for any one who undertakes this mission. We may not save the lives of as many animals by preaching moderation among our associates as we would if we could convert them to a bloodless diet, but if our motive is to avert tragedy to all possible, that will be the wisest course. Also is we can inculcate a spirit of compassion, the desire for flesh will soon vanish before the spirit of love.
Saturday, October the 28th, at 12:40 P.M. sharp, Pacific time, we are going to break ground for the first building on Mt. Ecclesia, the home-site of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. The house will be comparatively small, and we are striving to make it as inexpensive or we shall not be able to build at all. I am even doing the work of architect and contractor to save expenses. Nevertheless, we consider this first breaking of ground an epoch of greatest import in the young life of our society, for though our private quarters may be cramped we shall have a large workroom and accommodation for several assistants until funds become available for erection of the Ecclesia and other pretentious structures more worthy of our mission in the world.
We realize most keenly that the magnitude of our work in the world depends in a large measure upon the support and cooperation of our associates, and we therefore most earnestly solicit your active assistance upon this momentous occasion, to the end that our society may become a greater power for good than any which has gone before.
You know that thoughts are things; that they are forces of a magnitude proportionate to the intensity of purpose behind them. There is no easier or more effective method of putting our whole being in tune with a certain design, and hurling a powerful thought in a desired direction, than earnest Christian prayer.
Now, I have two distinct requests for your help in prayer, and I hope and trust you will give your most hearty support.
In the first place, though altogether unworthy, it will be my duty as leader to break the ground for our future Headquarters at the time set, and if it is possible for you to withdraw to your closet, please give yourself up to earnest prayer that the Headquarters then being started may grow and prosper in every good way; for the united prayers of our students all over the world will be an immense force in that direction.
But you can do more; the cumulative thought of many friends directed day by day towards a common center will work wonders. Will you send us a prayer every night to strengthen Mrs. Heindel, the workers at Headquarters, and myself, so that we may grow purer, better, and more efficient workers in the service of humanity, and that we may thus become more potent to alleviate the sorrow, suffering, and distress of all who seek our aid?
Further, will you write me once in a while assuring me of your sympathy and cooperation? I may not be able to reply and thank you individually, but you can rest assured that I shall appreciate your expression of good will none the less.
This month I am departing from my usual custom of devoting the student's letter entirely to a review of the previous months lesson, in order to tell you of the ceremony we had at Mt. Ecclesia on the 28th, when we broke ground for the first building on the site of our permanent Headquarters. I feel sure you were with us in spirit, that you are eager to hear about it, and I know the recital will bring us in closer touch.
Our first idea was to forego any outward show or ceremony. We desired to avoid all unnecessary expense as our funds are not, even now, sufficient to finish the building inside, and we shall have to rough it for awhile until conditions are more favorable.
I had intended to go there and hold the service mentally, and alone, but it seemed so cold, dreary, and desolate not to have one friend there in person to rejoice with me on that momentous occasion, not even my dear companion in the work-Mrs. Heindel. Moreover, as this is a very important affair of the Rosicrucian Fellowship and not a personal matter, I felt that opportunity to attend ought to be given the members. The thought grew upon me until I decided to ask the Teacher's advice; and, as he most heartily approved, we made an appropriation for the purpose of celebrating the event in a simple, yet fitting manner, and sent notices to friends in the immediate vicinity.
We made a large cross of the same style as our emblem, and on the three upper ends we had painted, in gilt letters, the initials: C R C. These, you know, represent the symbolical name of our great Head, and designate our emblem as the Christian Rose Cross, which conveys an idea of beauty and a higher life so different from the gloom of death usually associated with the black cross.
This cross and a climbing rose we decided to plant at the same time as we broke ground for the building, so that they might symbolize the verdant life of the various kingdoms traveling to higher spheres along the spiral path of evolution.
On the 27th, Mrs. Heindel and I started for Oceanside, nearly exhausted from the strain of packing and moving. The first rain of the season was falling, and we felt some apprehension concerning the effect on the ceremony; but as we looked toward the almost cloud-hidden mountains in the east, we beheld the largest, most glorious rainbow we had ever seen-a double rainbow in fact-and it's southern foot seemed to stand directly upon Mt. Ecclesia.
Our responsibility to aid thousands of weary hearts to bravely bear their burdens has often seemed beyond our strength; yet always have we found our powers renewed by looking within; and this time it seemed as if all Nature wanted to cheer us and was saying: "Take courage, remember the Work is not yours but God's; trust entirely in Him; He will point the way." So we clasped hands and took heart with new strength to carry on the beautiful work of which Mt. Ecclesia is to be the center.
The day of the ceremony was an ideal California day; the sun shone is a cloudless sky. Wherever we looked from Mt. Ecclesia, oceans, valleys, mountains seemed to smile. Both the workers and visiting members were enraptured with the incomparable beauty of the Headquarters site. Those present were: Annie R. Atwood, of San Diego; Ruth E. Beach, of Portland, Ore.; Rachel M. Cunningham, Rudolf Miller and John Adams of Los Angeles; George Kramer, of Pittsburgh, Pa; Wm. M. Patterson, of Seattle, Wash.; Mrs. Heindel and myself.
At the appointed time I broke ground for the building. All helped to excavate for the cross, which was set by Wm. Patterson. Mrs. Heindel planted the rose, which was then watered by all present. May it grow, may it bloom, to adorn the nakedness of the cross and be an inspiration to purity of life that will cover all past sins, no matter how dark the life may have been. The address—as it should have been delivered-constitutes this month's lesson. Circumstances occasioned some modifications.
Have you grasped the main point in our last month's lesson on the symbolism of the Rose Cross, the crux of the Mystic Christian Teaching? It is Generative Purity.
The great Leaders of humanity always prescribe conditions most conducive to the growth of each race; different religions for the masses, and varying methods of attainment for the few.
In the West conditions are complicated and dangerous. Here the floodgates of passion are, in a large measure, dammed up; not from a sense of the sanctity of the generative act, but because of selfishness and fancied economic necessity. This method often leads to insidious perversion and loose practices. Were not passion so strong, this method might indeed result in race suicide. To require an aspirant born under such conditions to live a celibate life would only given him further incentive to selfishness and self-sufficiency; so it is regarded as a mark of merit when a pupil of the Western Mystery School marries and continues to live a life of chastity.
It has been a detriment to the Western world that various societies have promulgated Eastern doctrines—celibacy among others—here, and it was a severe shock to me when an officer in one such organization deplored the marriage of one of their lecturers, and told how it had embarrassed them that his wife was about to be confined. As the years brought new additions to the family the society has since relegated him to private life.
The exact reverse would have happened to pupils of the Western School. They are most highly honored if able and willing to give a body and a home to one or more waiting spirits, provided, of course, that they live a life of chaste conjugal love during the intervals.
The Western spirit is allowed to test its strength by living in conjugal relations and perchance in accomplishing an immaculate conception such as symbolized by the chaste, beautiful rose which scatters its seed without passion, without shame.
A New Race is being born now. Pure-minded Christian men and women are awakening more and more to the claims of the unborn. Let us celebrate the anniversary of our Savior's birth by praying that pure conditions may soon become general, and that all children may be well-born. Last, but not least, let each of us teach, preach, and live this doctrine.
Reviewing last month's lesson, there is the startling statement that in the next epoch we shall abandon our present terra firma and live in the air clothed in a gaseous body. Another writer along these lines has provoked much amusement by a series of articles so wildly imaginary that the opinions which we have heard expressed unanimously vote him champion among story tellers. Yet he stays on earth; his temples are as solid as a rock; and I have hesitated to publish the above mentioned teaching till I decided that duty required me to speak, even if some students do class me as visionary.
The trouble is, we have all become so much more impregnated with materialism than we realize, and it hinders us in our quest. As students of transcendental philosophy, we have accustomed ourselves to regard individual and intermittent life in a ethereal body possible attainment for the few, but that the whole human race may live permanently for a whole epoch in the air!—truly, it made me hold my breath when I realized that the Bible means exactly what it says when it states that we shall meet the Lord in the air and be with Him for the ages.
Looking towards the future through the perspective of the past, however, the idea should really cause no surprise for it is strictly in line with the path whence we have come to our present development. We lived at one time like the mineral and were imbedded in the gaseous earth. We grew outwards from the fiery core during a plantlike existence. Our peregrinations commenced upon the thin earth crust at a later time; and we are now upon the highlands of the earth, far from the inner core where our evolution commenced. The march of progression has been outwards all the while, and it follows that the next step ought to raise us above the earth level.
I am giving this teaching out for consideration because the majority of our students believe in rebirth and the Law of Consequence, which are the main arbiters of destiny during the present dispensation of recurring cycles. Knowledge of these laws is of great value as it enables us to order our life intelligently, building in this life the conditions of the next embodiment.
The majority of Christians have not this great advantage, but they live, nevertheless, through all the tribulations of this Age—the Kingdom of Men-in the grand hope that they may qualify for admission to the Kingdom of God—the next Age. Our view of life has a shorter, theirs, a longer, focus. They live less scientifically than those among us who apply our more exact knowledge of present conditions, but they are fitting themselves for the future Age if they live by the Bible. Their information may be vague, but they live and die in the firm belief of the great and cardinal truth that they will go to Heaven and be with the Lord forever if they are real Christians.
If we believe only in rebirth, we can expect nothing but a continuous return to earth to battle with the Law of Jehovah; we have no part in the Love of Christ. To be perfectly in line with the facts, to be able to live by the whole truth, we must realize that birth and death are evanescent features of this age of concrete existence, but life itself is interminable. John tells us very definitely that though it does not appear what our constitution shall be, we shall be changed to the likeness of Christ and remain deathless throughout the Age; and it behooves us to keep this great hope firmly before us and pray for the Kingdom to come, as our Lord taught.
Our last lesson finished the series dealing with the sacrament of Communion by description of how the spirit alcohol, which is fermented outside the system, is being superseded by sugar, which ferments within. I trust you to see the thread of the argument which has been running through these lessons: That a stimulant from the lethargy attendant upon a meat diet; that the bacchanalian orgies in ancient temples, which properly fill us with horror nowadays, were then of immense value in human development; that the first miracle of Christ and His Last Supper were devoted to a dispensation of the stimulant; that He ordained its use "till He come"; that as consumption of sugar increases, use of alcohol diminishes and, concurrently, the moral standard is gradually elevated; that people grow more altruistic and Christlike in proportion to their use of the non-inebriating stimulant, and that therefore the temperance movement is one of the most powerful factors to hasten the coming of Christ.
But as we cultivate finer and more delicate feelings, we shall shrink in horror also from flesh food; and some day it will be considered as a morbid taste to desire to use the stomach as a receptacle for the corpses of killed animals as it's now adjudged by society a morbid taste to desire strong drink inordinately. As students of the Mystic Christian Teaching we should not judge, however, but recognize the fact that many really require these articles in moderation; but the matter is being adjusted by the invisible leaders of evolution in a manner not yet obvious to casual observers, though it is quite discernible to deeper investigators.
It is evident that evolutionary progress is elevating the lower kingdoms as well as humanity. The animals, particularly the domesticated species, are nearing individualization, and their withdrawal from manifestation has already commenced. As a result it will in time be impossible to obtain flesh food. Then the death knell of "King Alcohol" will have struck, for only flesh eaters crave liquor.
In the meantime plant life is growing more sentient. The lateral limbs of trees produce more abundantly than do vertical branches because in plants, as in us, consciousness results from the antagonistic activities of the desire and vital currents. Lateral limbs are swept through their entire length by the desire currents which circle our planet and which act so powerfully in the horizontal animal spines. The desire currents rouse the sleeping plant life in the lateral limbs to a higher degree of consciousness than is the case with the vertical currents radiating from the center of the earth. Thus, in time, the plants will also become too sensitive to serve as food and another source must be sought.
Today, we have considerable ability in working with the chemical, mineral substances; we mold them into houses, ships, and all the other things which evidence our civilization. We are master of the minerals outside our body, but powerless to assimilate and use them inside our system to build our organs until the plant life has transmuted crystals into crystalloids. Our work with the minerals in the exterior world is raising their vibration and is paving the way for direct interior use. By spiritual alchemy we shall build the temple of the spirit, conquer the dust whence we came, and qualify as true Master Masons prepared for work in higher spheres.
As the subject of marriage, with which our last month's lesson dealt, is in certain sense receiving a further treatment this month, I feel that the letter to students this month may perhaps be most profitably devoted to a point on which I have for a long time wished to speak.
The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception has met with such phenomenal success and called forth so much gratitude and admiration all over the world that I ought to be flattered at the attention it is commanding everywhere. But, on the contrary, I am beginning to feel more and more afraid that the book may miss the mark at which our Elder Brothers have aimed. Its purpose, designated in it is to satisfy the mind by intellectually explaining the world mystery, so that the devotional side of the student's nature may be allowed to develop along lines which the intellect has approved. The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, I believe, has won its way because of this appeal to the intellect and the satisfaction it has given to the inquiring mind. Hundreds, yes thousands, of letters have testified that students who have searched in vain for years have found here what they sought. But few have seemed able, as yet, to transcend the intellectual conception, and unless the book gives the student an earnest desire to transcend the path of knowledge and pursue the path of devotion it is a failure, in my estimation.
In another society formed along these lines, I have known groups to sit in classes for years wrangling before a chart of the atom, delving deep into the minutiae of its spirals and spirillae, but cold and indifferent to the woe of the world around them; and it is with great sorrow and deepening apprehension that I note the development of a tendency in that direction among some of our students, a tendency which I hope may be checked before it kills the heart. "Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth," says Paul, and this is well exemplified in the attitude of leaders in the society to which I have reference, who often belittle the Christian religion on the platform or in print because it lacks an intellectual conception of the universe.
Let me recall to you the warning given by our Teacher in the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception with reference to diagrams: "They are at best only crutches to aid our limited faculties; when we make a diagram to explain spiritual mysteries, it is as if we should take the wheels out of a watch and lay them side by side to illustrate how the watch keeps time." Although charts may be a valuable help at a certain stage of our development, it behooves us always to remember their limitations and strive to attain by our intuition the true spiritual idea. I feel also that it is of the greatest importance that students should keep the true purpose of the Cosmo-Conception, its aim and its end, most clearly and accurately before them at all times. It is stated in black letters on the return postal cards, and I would advise every student to write it in large letters and paste it into The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception where it may be seen each time the book is opened, for though we have all knowledge and can solve all mysteries, we are but as tinkling cymbals unless we have love and use it to help our fellow creatures.
From the teaching contained in last month's lesson you will understand that there is absolutely not foundation for the idea, as commonly held, about lost souls. There is not a single word in the Bible which carries with it the idea that we have become accustomed to associate with the English word "forever." The Greek word is aionian and means "an indefinite period of time, an age"; and when we read in the Bible the words, "forever and ever" they should really be translated "for ages and ages." Besides, as it is a truth in nature that "in God we live and move and have our being," a soul lost would mean that a part of God would be lost, and that of course is unthinkable.
Since writing last month's lesson another point has occurred to me which will illustrate how the "lost" of one Period are dealt with in the next. You remember that we have spoken of the Lucifer spirits as stragglers from the Moon Period and that we stated that they could find no field of evolution in the present scheme of manifestation. The archangels inhabit the sun, the angels have charge of all the moons, but the Lucifer spirits were incapable of dwelling upon either luminary. They could not assist in generation purely and unselfishly as do the angels, but were actuated by passion and selfish desires, so that a separate place had to be found for them. Therefore they were placed upon the planet Mars, a fact well known to the ancient astrologers who have Mars rule over Aries, which has dominion over the head (remember, the brain is built by subverted sex force), and also gave that planet rule over Scorpio, which governs the reproductive organs. Aries is the 1st house in a flat horoscope, denoting the beginning of life; Scorpio is the 8th, signifying death; and therein is contained the lesson that all which is generated by passion and desire is bound to meet dissolution. Thus Mars is, astrologically and esoterically, "the devil"; and Lucifer, the chief among fallen angles, is truly the adversary of Jehovah, who directs the fecundating force from the sun through the lunar agency.
Nevertheless, the Lucifer Spirits are aiding in the process of evolution. From them we received the iron which alone makes it possible to live in an oxygenated atmosphere. They have been, and are, agitators for material progress, and we have no right to anathematize them. The Bible distinctly forbids us to revile the gods. Jude states that not even the archangel Michael dared revile Lucifer, and in the Book of Job the latter is spoken of as among the sons of God. His ambassador to the earth, Samuel, is the angel of death, signified by Scorpio, but is also the angel of life and action symbolized by Aries. Were it not for the stirring martial impulses we might not feel sorrow as keenly as we do, but neither could we make the same progress, and surely "it is better to wear out than to rust out."
Thus you see how these "lost sheep" of a former age are given a chance to retrieve their estate in the present scheme of evolution. They are delayed, and, as stragglers, must always appear evil, but they are not "lost beyond redemption." They may save themselves by serving us, probably by transmuting Scorpio into Aries, generation into regeneration.
The burden of last month's lesson was that it is our duty to pass on the fruits of our study in an endeavor to benefit the world. But mystics usually stand aloof from their fellows and the world looks askance at us and our beliefs. This ought not to be, and analysis will prove that the teachings objected to are relatively unimportant and that the most vital of the teachings will find ready acceptance and prepare the way for further instructions.
The value of any particular teaching depends upon its power to make men better here and now; to make them kind and considerate at home, conscientious in business, loyal to friends, forgiving to enemies; and any teaching which is easily applied, and will accomplish such results, need no further recommendation.
Where shall we look for such a teaching? We have a monumental cosmogony, describing world periods, revolutions, epochs, and races. Will that study make men more kind? Or, if we can get them to pore over the mystery of numbers and names in the Kabala, will they become more conscientious? Surely not; therefore such knowledge is of minor import. Will it make men moral if we teach them of involution and evolution, or if we describe the cyclic journey of the soul through purgatory and heaven? It will not necessarily, at least till we have convinced them that under the Law of Consequence we are subject to rebirth, and reap as we sow. Even a hint of such a belief, however, would turn most people from us.
But, you will ask, what then is left of our teachings? The greatest teaching of all, and the most practical. One that will arouse no antagonism in any devotee of any religion, or even in an agnostic, for it need not be labeled religious. It will produce most beneficent results from the day it is applied, and affect future lives also, regardless of whether the man who practices it ever hears the word Rosicrucian or learns more of our teachings.
If you want to really work in God's vineyard—the world —don't isolate yourself. Abstract study may be good part of the time, but go out in the world; win the confidence of people in church, club, or shop. If you set a good example, they will inquire the secret, and you will be privileged to give them the greatest teaching ever known:
You may talk to them something like this:
"Every night when I have gone to bed I review the happenings of the day in reverse order. I try to judge myself impartially. I blame where blame is due, repent, and resolve to reform. I praise myself, if praise is merited, and determine to do better next day.
"I fail often to keep my good resolutions, but I keep on trying, and little by little I succeed."
It may be well to explain that by reviewing events in reverse order they are more firmly implanted in the memory, but further elucidation should be avoided until you are certain your friend is seeking a solution to the problem of life.
This is discriminative propaganda.
Many letters have been received during the past month voicing appreciation of students in respect to the last lessons, and it has been a source of gratification to note the deep-felt love for the Fellowship and the desire to know "how it all came about." Thus I feel somewhat better about introducing my personal experiences than I did in the first place.
At the same time it cannot be too strongly emphasized that indiscriminate relating of superphysical experiences is one of the most harmful of practices, no matter from what standpoint we look at it. In Lecture No. 11, "Spiritual Sight and Insight," the matter has been thoroughly explained. The "treasure-trove" must be lifted in silence; and from the Greek myth we learn that Tantalus was hurled down into the infernal regions for divulging spiritual secrets. In other words, we cannot attain true illumination while we go hawking our dreams and visions from pillar to post and recount them even to people manifestly unwilling to listen. Thereby we profane and cheapen what we ought to reverence, and the desecration is apt to focus our vision in the infernal regions, the lower strata of the desire world.
Again, such recitals always tax the credulity of those to whom they are related. There is no measure whereby we may gauge their accuracy. They often seem to have no practical bearing upon the problem of life; and even if we have faith in the veracity of the visionary, there is no value in his stories unless we can find an underlying law or purpose. Thus the statement of the law is sufficient without embellishment. Perhaps, the best illustration of this point may be given by relating how I discovered the law of infant mortality which was never published till it appeared in our literature.
My Teacher one day set me the task of following a certain person's life through two previous embodiments and reporting. I had no idea that I was being sent in quest of a law, but thought the purpose was to develop my faculty of reading the Memory of Nature. When ready, I reported the result to my Teacher who inquired particularly the circumstances attending death in each of the two lives. I answered that the man died in battle the first time and from sickness as a child the last. That was correct, and another person's life was given me to investigate. That one died in bed the first time, and also died as a child the last time. A third person's life terminated in a fire the first time, and seemingly also as a child the last time. I say "seemingly," for I could scarcely believe the evidence of my senses, and felt diffident when I reported to my Teacher. I was surprised when he said I was correct. This feeling grew as I, in turn, investigated fourteen person's lives. In the first life they died under varying circumstances; some in battle, others by accidents, and others in bed surrounded by weeping relatives; but in the second life all passed out as children.
The Teacher then told me to compare these lives to find why they died as children, and for many weeks I studied them night after night, but could find not similarity in the conditions of their first death until one Sunday morning just as I was entering my body, it flashed through my brain. I awoke with a shout—Eureka! I almost jumped into the middle of the floor in my joy at having found the key. The horrors of battle, fire, and accident, and the lamentations of relatives alike prevent deep etching of the life-panorama; and the value of a life terminated under such conditions would be lost save for the following death as a child and subsequent tuition first in the first heaven, as fully elucidated in our literature. The law, as there stated, logically explains a mystery of life independent of the accuracy of my story. As I relate it only to give point to our lesson, I feel consistent when exhorting others to silence as to their spiritual experiences.
What do you think is the main point in last month's lesson? It is not my experiences, although students have attached a great deal of worth to them, but in reality they are insignificant save as they serve to convey teaching of benefit part from them. The greatest value of that which was recorded in last month's lesson is the reiterated and emphatic insistence on absolute personal freedom among students of The Rosicrucian Teachings.
In this respect the Mystic Christian Teaching differs most radically from that given to the souls of the East, where each has his Master—a despot whom he slavishly serves in all things as "Kim" did the Guru he followed, for there is considerable truth and fact in Kipling's story. There, absolute and unquestioning obedience to the command of the exterior Master he sees and serves physically is the means of spiritual advancement; the pupil is entirely without choice or prerogative, but neither has he responsibility.
Among the souls of the West who aspire to spiritual growth, there can be no Master or Guide. We are to learn to stand alone. We may not like it; we may be afraid, and want a Master or Guide to free ourselves from responsibility. In that fact lies the reason, I think, why so many intelligent and cultured people have joined spiritualistic circles and societies promulgating Eastern teachings. Advanced beyond normal Western development, they sense the Great Beyond, and it draws them as the wide expanse of blue sky draws the nestling, despite fears, to trust its untried wings; but the inward urge compels; and, fearing to trust themselves, they grasp eagerly at the hand of "Masters" or "Spirit Guides" in the hope of attaining spiritual power by their help. But the baby must crawl and fall; it must rise, fall again and hurt itself. The experience is unpleasant but unavoidable, and far to be preferred to the consequences of tying the infant to a chair to save it from falling; then its limbs would become useless. And so do the latent spiritual powers of the unfortunates who come under the (to Westerners) baneful domination of Spirit Guides and Eastern Masters.
The Western Teacher is more like the parent bird which pushes the young off the nest if they do not go themselves. We may hurt ourselves, but we do learn to fly. Take my own case: Pushed out in the world with the Rosicrucian teaching and told to spread it, you may be sure I have held by breath many a time as the realization grew of what a gigantic undertaking it is, and how insignificant Mrs. Heindel and I are. Often, when the work seemed about to swamp us, we have prayed and prayed for help, but as we look back we can see what lessons we have learned by the struggle. Sometimes friends have remarked: "Oh, how we wish the money would be forthcoming to build the Ecclesia and schools, so that the work might be carried into the world with greater effect"; but we realize that there are other lessons before us, and that when we are ready, the means for further extension will come; until then, our wings need more training.
It is the same with every student of The Rosicrucian Teachings. We are to learn the lesson of working for a common purpose, without leadership; each prompted alike by the Spirit of Love from within to strive for the physical, moral, and spiritual uplift of all the world to the stature of Christ—the Lord and Light of the world.
You remember reading in the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception about how in the ages from Noah to Christ, under the regime of Jehovah, universal selfishness was fostered in the entire human race. Man was told that "Heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's, but the earth has He given to the children of men." Thus man was urged to seek material possessions, and had no conception of treasures in heaven, which are the fruits of self-sacrifice. As a consequence, his heaven life became more and more barren; spiritual progress waned, and unless a new impulse had been given, it must eventually have ceased.
Then the Cosmic Christ Spirit, the "Redeemer," commenced His beneficent work, and eventually obtained access to the earth through the "cleansing blood of Jesus" when it flowed on Golgotha; and now the Christ Spirit is working from within our globe to attenuate its physical and superphysical constituents. An enormous spiritual inrush was felt at the moment He came into full possession of the earth on Golgotha; so great, indeed, that the intense light blinded the people. From that moment the principle altruism commenced to take a greater hold upon our race; we are gradually ceasing to look to our own interest alone, and are laying up treasure by an interest in the welfare of our fellow men. Had not Christ come, another moon must have been thrown off to rid us of the worst elements, but from this we are being saved by grace through sacrifice of the Cosmic Christ Spirit—a sacrifice that does not involve His death as commonly understood, but is an infusion of the earth with a higher life which enables us to live more abundantly in spirit.
In this coming of Christ to earth we have an analogy between it and the administering of the spiritual Panacea, according to the law, "As above, so below." There is in every little cell of the human body a separate cell life, but over and above that is the ego which directs and controls all cells so that they act in harmony. During certain protracted illnesses the ego becomes so intent upon the suffering that it ceases to fully vivify the cells; thus bodily ailment breeds mental inaction and it may become impossible to throw off disease without a special impulse to dispel, the mental fog and start the cell activities anew. That is what the Spiritual Panacea does. As the inrushing Christ life on Golgotha commenced to dispel the shell of fear bred by inexorable law that hung like a pall about the earth; as it started the millions of human beings upon the path of peace and good will, so also when the Panacea is applied does the concentrated Christ life therein contained rush through the patient's body and infuse each cell with a rhythm that awakens the imprisoned ego from its lethargy and gives back life and health. May God grant that we shall soon be able to bring this great boon to suffering humanity.
If I had asked the students to write me what—in their opinion—was the most important point in last month's lesson, what do you think would have been answered in the majority of the cases? I believe many would feel that the connection between the bread, the wine, and health was the principal idea; and perhaps I may be responsible for that view because I printed those words in bold type. But while it is of signal important that we should grasp this connection between the bread, the wine, and health, and apply it in our lives to the very utmost power of our ability, if we do so for any less reason than given by our Lord, it is essentially selfish, and will not further our development nearly as much as if we do it as He requested, "in remembrance of Him."
Just look at the matter in this light, dear friend, and you will grasp the idea. Under the regime of Jehovah, selfishness crystallized the earth to such an extend that spiritual vibrations were almost stilled. Evolution was coming to a standstill, and the blood had become so impregnated with egoism that the race was in danger of degenerating. The Cosmic Christ then manifested through Jesus to save us. Cleansing the blood from egoism is the Mystery of Golgotha; it commenced when the blood of Jesus flowed, it has continued through the wars of Christian nations whenever men fought for an ideal, and will last until the horrors of war by contrast have sufficiently impressed mankind with the beauty of Brotherhood.
The Christ entered the earth on Golgotha. He is leavening the earth anew and making it responsive to spiritual vibrations, but His sacrifice was not consummated in a moment by dying to save us in the generally accepted way. He is still growing and travailing, waiting for the day of liberation, for the "manifestation of the sons of God"; and truly do we hasten that day every time we partake of food for our finer bodies symbolized by the mystic bread and wine. But we would be much more efficient in accelerating our own liberation and in hastening "the day of our Lord" if we always did it in remembrance of Him.
Do you remember "Sir Launfal's Vision"? It was not the size of the gift that counted; the gold coin he flung to the beggar was materially more valuable than the crust he gave later; but the coin was given in a spirit of impatience to be rid of a loathsome presence. The crust was given in remembrance of the Christ, and for His sake, and that made all the difference.
"And Sir Launfal said: 'I behold in thee,
An image of Him who died on the tree;
Thou also hast had thy crown of thorns,
Thou also hast had the world's buffets and scorns,
And to thy life were not denied
The wounds in the hands and feet and side;
Mild Mary's Son, acknowledge me;
Behold, through him I give to Thee!"
The more we cultivate the spirit of doing all things whatsoever for the sake of Christ and His Liberation,
the better and the more fruitful lives we shall lead.
Looking over the last month's lesson, the most important points are the great antiquity and cosmic origin of the two great movements known now as Freemasonry and Catholicism—movements instituted respectively by the Sons of Fire and the Sons of Water. It is true, as stated in the Cosmo-Conception, that Initiation of human beings did not commence until about the middle of the Earth Period, when the fires of Lemuria were battling with the waters of Atlantis, but it is also true that the education of humanity depends upon the training their instructors have had in previous evolution. The attitude assumed by the two groups of angels has resulted in the above mentioned antagonistic movements. The fallen angels and fallen man are intimately connected with the work of the world under its temporal rulers. From Lucifer, the Spirit of Mars, comes the fiery red blood which is the vehicle of all material energy, ambition, and progress; but also, it is the vehicle of passion, which taints it and has caused it to flow until the earth is red. From Jehovah come the restraining Law and punishment for sin.
Let the diagram below represent the epochs through which the spirit descends and ascends, also the worlds and their corresponding bodies—then the relative connection of the various factors will be plain.
In Lemuria, the land of the Third Epoch, mankind was separated into sexes—male and female. At that time they were spiritual beings reaching downwards into materiality, and the pioneers listened eagerly to the "gospel of the body" which they sensed dimly, but learned to know as time went on and the spiritual world faded from sight. Then the Lucifer Spirits were the teachers of the woman (Eve), and Jehovah addressed himself to man (Adam). Women was then more advanced than man along material lines for we were then upon the descending arc of the evolutionary path.
When the turning point was passed in the middle of the Atlantean Epoch, woman gradually become more spiritually inclined. She commenced to listen to the voice of Jehovah, and to fill the churches in an effort to satisfy spiritual aspirations; while man now expends the Martian energy along material lines originally advocated by the "Light-bringer," Lucifer.
As the white light changes color according to the angle of refraction, so also the viewpoint of the spirit changes with the sex of its vesture; but as the spirit alternates between male and female embodiments, we may readily balance the scales and take the path that most appeals to us, or combine the best path in both. Our later lessons will point the path, but we may say now that He who said, "I am the true Light," is at the end of the path—Lucifer and Jehovah alike are but stepping-stones on the way to Truth and Life.
On the 28th of last month it was a year since we broke ground for the first building on Mt Ecclesia. It was a typical California day of glorious sunshine with a cloudless sky whose deep blue vied with the azure of the Pacific Ocean visible for more than a hundred miles from where we stood on the Headquarters grounds. We were a little flock of nine, mostly visiting members. As we looked over the lovely green San Luis Rey valley towards the great snow-clad mountains in the east and behold the white walls, the red tiled roof, and the gilded dome of the San Luis Rey Catholic Mission, where the Franciscan Fathers wrought and taught for centuries among Mexicans and Indians, it seemed to us an augur.
Here we were, a few enthusiasts, upon a bare piece of land, where we aimed to establish a Spiritual Center. Those ancient Fathers had stood in a similar position, better in some respects and worse in others. Modern methods and transportation facilities enable us to reach the whole world today, while their field was limited to their immediate vicinity. They were obliged to till the soil of the field as well as the soul of their flock to obtain a livelihood. They called upon their charges to perform the physical labor while they planned, and by their joint efforts a temple was erected where all might worship. In that respect they were much better off then we; their full membership was present at the seat of operations and ready to give physical help in the upbuilding of the Mission which was to them what our Headquarters are to the Rosicrucian Fellowship. But we have no wards; we claim no authority, and repudiate interference with individual freedom as much interference is diametrically opposed to the Rosicrucian teachings, which are the highest in the world. "If thou art Christ, help thyself," is flung at the candidate undergoing Initiation when he groans under the trial. No one who is a "leaner" can at the same time be a helper; each must learn to stand alone.
Our associate membership is four times as large as a year ago, and of course the work is vastly heavier—though system and machinery enable three of us who work in the office to do the work of a large staff, and paid help does the housework and gardening. But the routine work of preparing lessons and letters for the various classes, correcting examination papers, the sending each month of about 1500 individual letters to aid our students in difficulties, in addition to class letters, sometimes just swamps us. It seems as if we could not entertain another application for want of help to do the mechanical part of the work. But, miraculously, it seems, the sky suddenly clears, we invent a new method of accomplishing a certain part of the work with greater speed or less labor; and are ready for another increase; as said, we do four times more work than a year ago, with less help and less labor.
But while the Fellowship at large is thus cared for, Headquarters itself has suffered neglect. The proposed School of Healing, the Sanitarium, and, most important of all, the Ecclesia—where the Panacea is to be prepared and powerful healing services are to spread moral and physical health all over the world—all these are but germinal ideas as yet. As the cry of suffering humanity reaches us through many thousands of letters, our longing for the realization of the Brother's plans becomes more intense, so keen in fact that it seems to embody the concentrated yearning of all who have appealed to us in sorrow and suffering.
Our membership is scattered all over the world. We cannot follow the example of the Spanish padres and ask our students to make physical brick and lay it, brick upon brick, as a labor of love. I have never asked any one for a cent—the Rosicrucian Fellowship's work has been supported entirely by free-will offerings and the modest revenue accruing from the sale of my books. Nor can I now make an appeal for a building fund; that must come from the hearts of friends, if at all. But feeling as we do here at Headquarters, the intense throb of pain in the world impels me to cast about for means of realizing the plan to make the Rosicrucian Fellowship headquarters a most efficient Spiritual Center.
A year ago I wrote the students stating the exact moment when we would break ground on Mt. Ecclesia and asked each to enter his closet and be with us in prayer if he could not be with us in person. It is wonderful what an uplift we felt from that united spiritual effort; the initial impulse has furthered the work to an inestimable degree during the past year, and I again feel impelled to invoke your help along similar lines.
The Christian Scientist "demonstrates" when he wishes to build edifices, and money pours into his coffers; the New Thoughter sends out a "demand"; and Christians of all denominations "pray" for funds. They all use one fundamental method, but employ different names. All wish magnificent piles of stone and glass, and they get them. I know that a place and building commensurate with the dignity of our work are necessary, but much as we need them, I cannot pray for sticks and stones nor can I ask you to do so; but I can, will, and do ask you to join me in the prayer that the Rosicrucian Fellowship headquarters may become a most efficient and powerful spiritual center. Pray with your whole soul that the workers at Headquarters be given grace to push the work; make them a focus for your loving thoughts so we may radiate that grace back on a world hungry for just such love. In ourselves we are frail, but through your prayers and God's grace we shall be a mighty force in the world; and if we seek first the kingdom of God, such trifles as building necessary for the work will follow as a matter of course without degrading prayer by making it a means of acquiring physical possessions.
Christmas bells! Have you ever felt their magic in childhood days before doubt crept into your heart and shattered the ideals inculcated by the church? The same bell rang for church on Sundays and for prayer meeting at mid-week, but there was a different ring at Christmas, something unusually festive, something which we now attribute to childish imagination. We miss this something, however much we may congratulate ourselves upon emancipation from what we are pleased to term "the mummeries of the church." Wordsworth, in his "Ode to Immortality," voiced the keen feeling of regret due to loss of childish ideals; nothing the world has to give can take their place, and however we may be blessed with material wealth we are truly poor when the "glamour" of youth has gone and intellectual conceptions stifle much so-called "superstitions."
Paul exhorted us to be always ready with a reason for our faith, and there is a mystic reason for many practices of the church which have been handed down from hoary antiquity. The sounding of the bell when the candle is lit upon the altar was inaugurated by spiritually illumined seers to teach the cosmic unity of light and sound. The metal tongue of the bell brings Christ's mystic message to mankind as clearly today as when He first enunciated the graceful invitation, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Thus the bell is a symbol of Christ, "The Word," when it calls us from work to worship before the illuminated altar where He meets us as "The Light of the World."
Also the particularly festive feeling awakened by the Christmas bells is produced by cosmic causes active at this time of the year, and the present season is holy in very truth as we shall presently see. Those who study the stars know the signs of the zodiac as a cosmic sounding board, each sign vibrant with a particular quality; and as the marching orbs travel in kaleidoscopic procession from sign to sign in ever varying combination, the chords of cosmic harmony known to mystics as the "song of the spheres" sound a never ending anthem of prayer and praise to the Creator. This is not a fanciful idea but an actual fact patent to the seer, and capable of demonstration to thinkers by its effects. And the harmony of the spheres is not a monotone; it varies from day to day and from month to month as sun and planets pass from sign to sign in their orbits. There are also yearly epochal variations due to precession of the equinoxes. Thus there is infinite variety in the song of the spheres, as indeed there must be, for this constant change of spiritual vibration is the basis of spiritual and physical evolution. Were it to cease even an instant, Cosmos would be resolved to Chaos.
For demonstration, observe the nature and quality of the love life poured through the Christ-star, the sun, when it transits the belligerent sign of Aries, the Ram, in spring, Sex love is the keynote of nature; all its energies are applied in generation; then the passional propensities run riot. Compare this with the effect of the sun during December when it is focused through the benevolent Sagittarius, ruled by the planet Jupiter. Its ray is then conducive to religion and philanthropy; the air is vibrant with generosity, and the love life of the Christ-star find its highest expression through this congenial sign. Outwardly reigns the gloom of winter, for the visible symbol of "The Light of the World" has been obscured; but on the darkest night of the year Christmas chimes evoke a ready response to the Christmas feeling which makes the whole world akin, children of our Father in Heaven.
May the mystic music of the Christmas chimes awaken the tenderest chord in your heart, and may the keynote of joy be uppermost in your being during the coming year—this is the Christmas wish of the workers on Mt. Ecclesia.
It is cold in the Northern Hemisphere—old Boreas holds land and sea in his icy grip—but at no other time of the year are the hearts of men so warm. "A merry Christmas" and "A happy New Year" are salutations and expressions of good will which greet us everywhere. To most people they are only a breath flung to the breeze, but nevertheless they leave an atmosphere of kindness which is more important than is usually realized. The world would be richer if such cordial greetings were common all the year instead of being confined to this season. But, "if wishes were horse, beggars would ride" says the proverb; and unless our acts are directed towards the realization of our wishes, the benefit is nil. A certain sulfuric region is said to be paved with good intentions such as "well-meaning men" cherish, but the world needs works more than wishes.
Last month I asked you to join me in prayer for the efficiency of The Rosicrucian Fellowship in uplifting the world, and many letters have been received assuring me that the workers at Headquarters have the constant prayers of students. We know the power of prayer; without that grateful support we could never have endured the physical and mental strain incident to our phenomenal growth. But a few thousands are only as drops in a bucket compared to the millions who are seeking the light.
Christ said; "Let him who would be the greatest among you be the servant of all." The worth of a man is measured by his services to the community. The same is true of an association; but, being a composite body, its efficiency as a whole depends upon the interest and enthusiasm of individual members. We are all under obligation to the Elder Brothers for the light we have received. It is our sacred duty to let that light shine so that others may share our great privilege (not disregarding others duties), and I therefore solicit your personal aid in making a systematic campaign to promulgate the Rosicrucian teachings more widely during the coming year.
This campaign should be carried on with discretion however. Let us beware of disturbing those of contented mind, but if you know of any one seeking for a solution to the Mystery of Life, please send us his or her name and we will send literature. Your name will not be mentioned unless you give permission.
We shall also be pleased to furnish you slips with information about the Rosicrucian Fellowship, as printed on the back of our postcards, if you will write for them. In this way you may interest your friends and open the way for further inquiry, and thus between us we may succeed in bringing the seeker light to his everlasting benefit. In helping your brother in his growth you are also helping yourself.
May spiritual prosperity and abundance of soul growth mark every day of your New Year.
As we give our children picture books to convey moral lessons which they could not grasp intellectually, so the Divine Leaders of infant humanity used myths to convey great spiritual truths which have germinated for ages unconsciously to us, but have nevertheless been potent factors in shaping the line of human progress. You would scarcely think that the Faust myth embodies the great problem of Freemasonry and Catholicism, and shows its ultimate solution, but we shall see in future lessons that this is true. At the present time I take just a point from the great northern epic, The Ring Of The Niebelung, to show how the great truth that the truth seeker must "leave father and mother," as Jesus and Hiram Abiff did, was conveyed to the Children of the Mist (niebel is mist and ungen is children in German), who lived in the foggy atmosphere of Atlantis. Later I may take that legend up for consideration.
Wotan is the chief of the gods, who are always at war with the giants. They build a fortress called Valhalla where the Valkyries, daughters of Wotan, bring the faithful who have fallen in battle defending the faith. Truth lost its universal aspect when its warders walled it in and limited it. But Wotan has other children who love truth so dearly that they flee from Valhalla to be free. They are armed with a sword called "child of distress" (representing the courage of despair), wherewith the rebel against creed and dogma ever arms himself, casts conventionality to the wind, and seeks truth. Wotan sends his minions after the fugitives, and bids Brunhilde the Valkyrie, who represents the Spirit of Truth, to help slay them. She refuses; and Wotan, who has made himself invisible, parries the sword thrusts of his valiant son, Siegmund, who is killed in the unequal fight.
The dominant church does not view with complacence the secession of its children. It would even prostitute the Spirit of Truth to do its bidding, and when that fails, it uses subtle means to accomplish its ends. Its intentions were good, but it has degenerated. As Wotan puts Brunhilde from him in tears to sleep on a fire-girt rock, he tells her that she shall not wake till one appears more free than he himself. Truth cannot be found in creed-bound religion; who seeks it must be untrammeled by allegiance to any one.
Such is Siegfried (translated, he who through victory gains peace), the son of the slain Siegmund and his sister-wife Sieglinda. The latter died after giving birth to him. He is thus free from father, mother, and all earthly ties; his only heirloom is a broken sword, the "Child of Distress." Fostered among the Niebelungen (ordinary mankind), he feels his divinity, and chafes at the limitations of his sphere. His foster father, Mimir, is a cunning smith; but every sword forged by him is shattered by the young giant at the first blow. Oft had Mimir tried to forge the "Child of Distress, and failed; for no coward can do that. So long as we fear the church, public opinion, or anything else, we cannot free ourselves.
The courage of despair overcomes fear, and Siegfried finally forges the sword himself. With it he slays Fafner, the dragon of desire which broods over the treasures of the earth, and Mimir, his foster father, the lower nature. He is then absolutely free. A bird, the voice of intuition, tells him of Brunhilde, the beautiful Spirit of Truth, who may be awakened by one who is fearless and free. Siegfried follows the bird of intuition on his quest; but Wotan, his ancestor, seeks to bar him with his spear, representing the power of creed upon which the sword in Siegfried's hand was once broken. That sword is stronger since Siegfried forged it, and Wotan's spear is weaker since the first blow, for creed always weakens when assailed. Siegfried, the free and fearless one, shatters Wotan's spear; and pursuing his way through the fire to the rock of the Valkyrie, he enfolds the beautiful Spirit of Truth in a loving embrace and wakens her with a kiss.
Thus the ancient myth told the truth seeker what was required to find truth. We must leave father and mother, creed, dogma, conventionalities, preconceived opinions, and worldly desires behind; we must never fear conflict with established authorities, but we must follow the inner voice through fire if need be; then, and then only, can we find truth.
Therefore the Rosicrucians insist that all who come to them for deeper teachings must be free from allegiance to any school, and the candidate is not bound by oaths at any stage. Whatever promises he makes are made to himself, for liberty is the most precious possession of the soul, and there is no greater crime than to fetter a fellow-being in any manner. May we all remain true to the great heritage, and valiantly resists any infringement of this sacred right.
This month I have several important announcements to make and will use the monthly letter for that purpose. You remember that last year, in the series of lessons entitled "Our Work in the World," I spoke of incorporating the Rosicrucian Fellowship and placing the direction of its affairs in charge of trustees, so that that which belongs to the work may be preserved for its altruistic purposes during the centuries to come. Such an incorporation has now been perfected under the laws of California and the Fellowship has legal standing in the world. The Headquarter's site with the buildings now upon it, and the appliances necessary to carry on the work, are now the property of the Fellowship as a whole, safe from individual greed.
This has lifted a great load off the shoulders of Mrs. Heindel and myself. We have accumulated the contributions to the Fellowship, varying from a postage stamp to modest sums of money (for there have been no large amounts given as yet). With these small means carefully expended there exists now the foundation of something so immeasurably great that it is beyond my power of description. You, with your freewill offerings, have helped to create Mt. Ecclesia from the material point of view; yours it is and yours it shall remain, for neither Mrs. Heindel nor I care for money or property, but glory only in the inestimable privilege of being of service. Much more is needed of course, so that the work may fully flower, but we rest our faith in the assurance of the Elder Brothers that when we are ready the things which make for greater growth and greater usefulness of the Rosicrucian Fellowship will come to us. Meanwhile we shall keep on laboring from day to day with the means already at our command; for thus, and thus only, can we fit ourselves for greater service.
It is also a great pleasure to announce that whereas we were before unable to obtain help, we have now several loyal coworkers at Headquarters; but though our office force has doubled within the last few months, so also has the work increased at a most phenomenal rate, and the rush in the office is as great as ever.
As you will remember, our earliest literature took notice of the fact that Science, Art, and Religion had been divorced in modern times, as separation was necessary to the thorough development of each. It was also stated that as Science, Art, and Religion were taught unitedly in the ancient Mystery Temples, so also must a union take place in the future for that is necessary to our spiritual growth. In June we shall start a School on Mt. Ecclesia to give out this composite teaching, with particular emphasis upon the art of healing. Prospectus and further particulars will be mailed to interested students upon application to Headquarters. The expenses will be met by offerings from those who attend.
At the end of last month's lesson a few words were said about men and women practicing Mystic Masonry, and it might appear to some as if we endorse Co-Masonry, but this is emphatically not the case. While we do not upon principle seek disparagingly of any legitimate movement, we have always warned our students against the Eastern religion as dangerous to the Western world, though perfectly suited to the East. Co-Masonry is the outgrowth of a society promulgating Hinduism. In the winter of 1899-1900, the present leader of that society was in Rome, and one of her lieutenants accidentally found the Masonic rites in the Vatican library. These she copied without permission, and gave them to her superior, who took upon herself to write an extra degree. These are now the rites of Co-Masonry.
The foregoing statements are facts which we can prove; and we leave our students to form their own conclusions as the ethical efficiency and powers of soul-building possessed by a movement based upon rites obtained in such a manner. Besides, though we know positively that the rites came from Rome, we doubt that the abstractor eluded the vigilant watchers there. We believe that she unconsciously played into the hands of the Vatican. Thus Co-Masonry is both Hindu and Catholic in its origin. It is not recognized by the regular Masonic bodies, no matter what its founders claim.
In the closing lesson on Freemasonry and Catholicism we summed up the points concerning their cosmic relation in order to draw out the essence of the teaching; now for the closing word—the quintessence of our argument:
The word "Freemason" is derived from the Egyptian phree messen, "Children of Light." These words were originally used to designate builders of the Temple of God—the human soul.
Catholic means "universal," and was originally applied to differentiate the all-embracing World Religion—Christianity—from race religions.
The blood is the vehicle of the spirit; under the regime of Jehovah and the Lucifer spirits it became contaminated with egoism. Both Freemasonry and Catholicism aim to cleanse the blood and foster altruism.
Freemasonry teaches the candidate to work out his own salvation; Catholicism leaves him dependent on the blood of Jesus. Those who use the positive method naturally become the strongest souls; therefore Free-masonry should be fostered rather than Catholicism.
In last month's lesson we saw the value of discord in music; also the corresponding role of evil in the world, namely, to enhance by contrast the beauty and harmony of good. Thus it might seem at a superficial glance as if the apparent evil had been designed by God, the Author and Architect of our system—as if He were responsible for all the pain and sorrow under which the world is groaning. Such is not the case however. The Bible says truly that the Elohim, who were His agents, "saw that it was good" when their labor was done. Our Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception and Lectures 13 and 14 explain in detail the Bible story of how the apparent evil came in through the Lucifer spirits; and that when it had entered, the forces which work for good used it to serve a beneficent purpose and to achieve a higher good than possible without this factor.
In the latter part of the Lemurian Epoch and in the early Atlantean times, man was pure and innocent—the docile ward of guardian angels who guided his every step upon the path of unfoldment. He had no reason; that would have been unnecessary when there was only one path to follow, for in that state there was no choice. The Lords of Venus were sent to foster goodness, love, and devotion. Had no disturbing factor entered, this earth would have remained in a paradise, and man would have been as beautiful flower therein. Pain, sorrow, and sickness would have been unknown. Under the regime of the lunar angels and the Lords of Venus, man would have grown wise and good automatically because there would have been no alternative. When the Lucifer spirits opened his eyes to the other course, and the Lords of Mercury fostered reason to guide him, he became potentially greater than either as required of those who follow the spiral path of evolution.
Thus equipped with choice and reason, it is man's glorious prerogative to elevate himself to the pinnacle of the greatest perfection possible in this scheme of evolution. Therefore Christ said: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works that these shall be do."
Let us learn from the Faust myth to follow in the footsteps of our preceptors by using the seeming evil to accomplish a greater good; let us learn not to be overcome by evil but to overcome it and transmute it into good. There is a saying that "whatever is, is best." If that were true there would be no incentive to strive for anything higher, better or greater. The words of the Savior urge us onward and legends like the Faust myth teach us how to use the seemingly destructive and subversive forces.
To whom much is given, of him much will be required. Students of the Rosicrucian Fellowship who receive the advanced Mystic Christian Teachings are particularly obligated to make great efforts. May we strive with all our strength to live up to our grand privilege.
P.S. Many new students have been added to our list since we asked your daily prayers for the workers at Headquarters. We therefore feel that it will serve a good purpose to reiterate the request to please include us in your devotions and ask that the Rosicrucian Fellowship Headquarters may become a most efficient Spiritual Center. We are, as you know from the prospectus, now about to open the School of Healing, and in this important step we feel the need of the grace of God as never before. Please help us so that we may succeed.
One of the cardinal points in this month's lesson, and one concerning which widespread misunderstanding exists, had to do with the coming of Christ, and the vehicle he will use. The Bible gives the teaching very clearly, and the Mystic Christian Teachings of the Rosicrucians is in full accord therewith; hence it differs radically from the current conception of this matter, both among the majority of Christians and those who unwittingly or otherwise put forth false Christs to deceive the unwary. It is therefore of vital importance that scholars of the Western School should understand this matter thoroughly, so we will reiterate briefly the cardinal points of the Rosicrucian Teachings given in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception and elsewhere.
Christ is the highest Initiate of the Sun Period; the earth was then made of desire stuff, and His densest body was formed of that material.
No one can form a vehicle of material which he has not learned to mold; hence the Christ Spirit worked with our humanity from without the earth, as group spirits guide animals, until Jesus relinquished his dense and vital bodies at the Baptism. The Christ Spirit then descended into these vehicles, and ministered physically to man until the dense body was destroyed on Golgotha, when he became the indwelling Earth Spirit. The vital body of Jesus was then laid aside to await Christ's second advent.
Christ warned against imitators, and the question arises, How may we know the false from the real? Paul gives us such definite information that if we only heed it we are absolutely safe from deception.
Paul says (1st Cor. 15:50) that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom." He insists that this body will be changed to the likeliness of Christ's own vehicle (Phil, 3:21), and in 1st John, 3:2 we find the same testimony.
Thus it is plain that any one who comes in a physical body proclaiming himself Christ is either demented and an object of pity, or else he is an impostor meriting scorn and reprobation. Nor are we left uncertain regarding the nature of the vehicle in which we shall meet Christ and be like Him. In 1st Thess., 4:17 we are informed that we shall meet the Lord in the air. Therefore we must necessarily have a vehicle of finer texture than our present dense body. The transformation will require ages so far as the majority are concerned.
In 1st Thess. 5:23 Paul states that man's whole being consists of spirit, soul, and body. When we shed the dense body finally as Christ did, we shall function in a body called soma psuchicon (soul body) in 1st Cor. 15:44. This is the "vital body" in our literature, a vehicle made of ether, capable of levitation, and of the same nature as the body which Christ used after the Crucifixion. This vehicle is not subject to death in the same sense as our physical body, and it is eventually transmuted to spirit as taught in our literature and as required by 1st Cor. 15th chapter.
Thus the Mystic Christian Teaching is in perfect agreement with the Bible when it teaches most emphatically that Christ will never come again in the flesh (that would be retrogression for Him). As a larva bursts its imprisoning cocoon and is transformed into a butterfly which wings it way among the flowers, a gorgeous bit of animated beauty—so shall we some day shed this mortal coil which weights us down to earth, and cleave the sky as living souls radiant with glory, hastening to meet our Savior in the land of souls, the New Heaven and the New Earth. This is one of the main doctrinal points of the Rosicrucian School, and we trust that our students will endeavor to thoroughly master the subject so that they may be able to "give a reason" for their faith.
Last month's lesson brought out a number of points not heretofore taught in public. But other mysteries bearing upon the scope and limitation of spiritual powers, and on the preservation of the vital body of Jesus against attack of the black forces, are also involved in the conversation between Faust and Lucifer. When the latter begs that the five-pointed star be removed so that he may leave, Faust asks "Why through the window not withdraw?"
People who study mysticism often have a highly exaggerated idea of the power vested in one who has evolved spiritual sight. As a matter of fact, esoteric investigators are limited by laws of nature appertaining to the invisible world, as men of science are forced to conform to laws of physics.
In order that balance may be maintained, the laws in one realm of nature sometimes act directly opposite to the laws in another. Here in the dense physical world forms gravitate toward the center of the earth. Did not the solidity of the dense body prevent, we could reach the Christ without effort. It requires power to lift a body even an inch above the surface of the earth; spirit forms, on the other hand, have a natural tendency to levitate. It is therefore comparatively easy for a master of the black art to go to Mars propelled by the sex power stolen from his victims. He is naturally attracted to the planet of passion, and as the aura of Mars intermingles with that of the earth the feat is far from difficult. But he cannot penetrate even the first of the nine layers of the earth which lead to the Lord of Love, who is the Spirit of our sphere. Such penetration is the Path of Initiation; it takes soul power, purity, and self-abnegation to reach Christ and that is the reason why so few have anything to say about the earth's inner constitution.
We do not see physical objects outside the eye; they are reflected on the retina, and we see only their "image" inside the eye. As light is the agent of reflection, objects which resist the passage of light appear "opaque"; other substances, like glass, seem clear because they admit light rays readily. When the spiritual sight is used, light of superlative intensity is generated inside the body between the pituitary body and the pineal gland. It is focused "through" the so-called "blind" spot in the eye directly upon the object to be investigated. The scope of the direct ray is entirely different from the range of the reflected physical ray. It penetrates a wall without difficulty, but no spirit in the Desire World can see through glass. Neither Lucifer nor any evil spirit ever dares to go through anything made of that material, even the thinnest windowpane.
Knowing these facts, our Elder Brothers have placed the vital body of Jesus in a sarcophagus of glass to protect it from the gaze of the curious or profane. They keep this receptacle in a cavern deep in the earth, where no uninitiated can penetrate. To make assurance doubly sure, however, vigilant watchers keep constant guard over their precious charge; for were that vehicle destroyed, Christ's only avenue of egress would be cut off, and He would have to remain a prisoner in the earth until the Cosmic Night dissolves its chemical elements into chaos. Thus the mission of Christ as Savior would have failed; His suffering would be greatly prolonged, and our evolution would be enormously retarded. Let us work, watch, and pray for the glad day of His liberation.
One of the most important points brought out last month is the fact that we have power to lengthen our life materially by earnest application to the purpose of existence—acquisition of experience. Whether we know it or not, every act of our lives hastens the end, or defers it, in a measure dependent upon whether the act is in harmony with the law or not. If we do not apply ourselves to the labor of life, or if we persistently follow a path that is subversive of soul growth, our discordant life destroys the archetype.
Rebirth in an altered environment then gives us a chance to retrieve the neglected opportunities. On the other hand, when we live in harmony with the plan of life inscribed in the archetype of our dense body, there is a constructive consonance in their vibrations which lengthens the life of the archetype and, consequently, also the life of the physical body.
When we realize that our life on earth is the seed time, and that the value of our post-mortem existence is in direct ratio to the increment we have earned on our talents, it will be at once apparent how supremely important it is that our faculties should be used in the right direction. While this law applies to all mankind, it is superlatively vital to aspiring souls; for when we work for Good with all our might and main, each added year of life increases our heavenly treasure enormously. Advancing years give greater skill in soul culture, and the fruit of the last few years may easily outweigh that acquired in the first part of the life.
If we feel that this is true, and if we are anxious to reach the highest degree of attainment, the question naturally presents itself, How many we know the right way? And the answer is not difficult; the stars tell the tale. They show our abilities and the time most propitious to sow the seeds of the soul, to help, and to heal. Therefore the Rosicrucian Fellowship places much stress upon the study of the stars. In the horoscope these matters are accurately foreshown. Knowledge of what it says is power, and this knowledge, the power that goes with it, and the resultant soul growth, are within reach of every one who will study the simplified system contained in our corresponding course in astrology. If you have not already started, and are anxious to progress, I would suggest that you send for application blank, begin at once so that you may learn how to use your life to the ultimate of progress.
While I am suggesting immediate steps towards attainment, it may be in season to call attention of students to the fact that when they have been six months (The time is now two years.) on the correspondence list as students, they become eligible to apply for admission to the Inner School; and though the esoteric lessons in healing issued to probationers contain only a faint outline of the teachings given at Headquarters, they are a very material aid to the aspiring soul.
On August 6th at 2:00 P.M., we are going to lay the foundation for the nucleus of our Sanitarium, so that we may commence forthwith to care for the sick and give our students practical experience. Please join us in prayer for the success of the work. More details will be given in the Echoes which we shall publish on the 10th of each month in the future.
The most important point in last month's lesson is the power of passion to degenerate those who indulge in it. This we illustrated in the case of apes, which have been held back and have degenerated into animal-like forms because of their action in abusing the creative force. The responsibility of the Lucifer spirits for that condition has been brought out in the Cosmo-Conception, and also the fact that the apes may overtake us if they advance sufficiently before the middle of the next revolution.
But there is an added responsibility in knowledge, as Christ said: "For unto whom much is given of him shall be much required." And while the transgression in those early days may be overlooked and entail only a retardation during millions of years, the condition of one who has the light of the greater knowledge given to humanity today, and who transgresses the law by abusing the creative force, may become far more serious than that of the class now embodied in the anthropoid forms.
Black Magic is practiced much more commonly than one would suppose, sometimes almost unconsciously, for the dividing line may often lie in the motive. If, however, we abuse our superior knowledge, though we may be more refined in the indulgence of our passions, the result is certain to be disastrous. At this present stage, the vital force (save the insignificant quantity required to propagate the race) should be transmuted into soul power. Let us, therefore, continue steadfastly upon the path of purity so that worse may not befall us than the fate which has met those degenerate humans found as wards of Lucifer in the witches' kitchen—as represented in the Faust myth.
If we are tempted at any time by unclean thoughts, let us at once turn our minds to another subject far removed from sensuality. Above all, let us respect the laws of our country which require the ceremonial of marriage prior to union; for though the words of the marriage ceremony do not mate people, it is, nevertheless, meet that we who profess high spiritual ideals should not offend the common decencies by living together without wedlock. Those above the law render perfect obedience as Christ did, for when we comply with all laws without rebellion because it is right to do so, then we have risen above the law and are no longer in bondage.
Last month's lesson finished our consideration of the Faust Myth; and, taking a review of it as a whole, we note that it brings out the same idea as the Masonic legend. On the one had we have Rosicrucian and Lucifer; on the other, Marguerite and the priests. Marguerite shows faith in the church even in the darkest hour. This faith is her comfort and stay, and eventually she attains to the goal of the spirit. She reaches her heavenly home by faith. Her sins of omission and commission are due to ignorance; but when she sees the evil power embodied in the character of Lucifer and is offered freedom from prison and death, she declines to flee in such company; thereby she has redeemed herself sufficiently to merit a place in the Kingdom. Likewise, the wards of the church, the Sons of Seth, are today depending upon the atonement rather than upon their own deeds. They are looking for salvation through faith as their power of works is but small.
In Lucifer and Faust we find replicas of the Sons of Cain, who are positive, strong, and active in the world's work. The same spirit which imbued Cain with a desire to make "two blades of grass grow where formerly there was but one"—the independent, divine creative instinct which has caused the Sons of Cain in all ages to carry on the world's work—is also strong in Faust; and the glorious use to which he puts the powers of evil, namely, making them build a new land, a free one, where a happy and free people may dwell in peace and contentment, gives us a view of what the future has in store for us.
By our own works, by putting the evil powers to good use, we shall eventually free ourselves from the limitations of both church and state which now hold us in bondage. Though the conventions of society and the laws of the land are now necessary to restrain us from infringing on the rights of others, there will come a day when the spirit will ensoul us and purify us as the love of Faust for Helen purified him and gave him the incentive to use the Lucifer forces in the manner indicated. When we have conquered the desire to work for self, when we become enamored of our work for others as Faust was when with his dying vision he gazed upon the land that was rising from the sea, then we shall never require the restraining feature of the laws and conventions for we shall have risen above them by compliance with the every requirement. Only in that manner can we become really free. It is always easy to tell others what to do or not to do but very difficult to enforce obedience on ourselves even though we may intellectually assent to the mandates of conventionality. As Goethe says:
"From every power that holds the world in chains, Man frees himself when self-control he gains."
The Faust myth tells us there is such a utopian state in store for us when we have worked out our salvation by using the titanic forces within to make us really free. May we all strive by our daily actions to hasten that day.
We receive frequent requests for help from people who unfortunately have belonged to societies where they came under the domination of spirit controls who now haunt and hound them until life becomes a burden. We also receive requests for help from people who have frequented societies teaching the Hindu breathing exercises. The impatience to enter the invisible worlds prompts many such people to take up exercises, the dangerous nature of which they do not realize until it is too late and they are broken down in health and spirit. They they come to us asking for a relief which we have unfortunately been able to give to all who have so far applied, even though some were on the verge of insanity.
Therefore the Rosicrucian literature has been replete with warnings to shun all Eastern breathing exercises, as they are unfit for Western people. It is with considerable sorrow that we have heard of a student who is now ill as a consequence of breathing exercises. We therefore feel that it may be well to once more state the reason for the difference between the Eastern and Western methods so that it may be made clear why it is wise to refrain from such exercises.
In the first place, it is necessary to realize that the evolution of spirit and the evolution of matter go hand in hand. The spirit evolves by dwelling in vehicles of dense matter and by working with the material found in the world. Thus, the spirit progresses, and matter is also being refined because the spirit works with it. The more advanced spirits naturally draw to themselves finer matter than those behind them upon the path of evolution.
As it may do some good it may not be amiss to mention that the writer has had personal experience in the matter. Years ago, when he started on the Path and was imbued with the characteristic impatience common to ardent seekers after knowledge, he read of the breathing exercises published by Swami Vivekananda and commenced to follow directions with the result that after two days the vital body had been pulled out of the physical. This produced a sensation of walking on air, of being unable to get the feet down on solid ground; the whole body seemed to be vibrating at an enormous pitch. Common sense then came to the rescue. The exercises were stopped, but it was fully two weeks before the normal condition of walking on the ground with a firm step was experienced, and before the abnormal vibrations ceased.
In the parable, it is said that some were thrown out who had no wedding garment. Unless we first evolve the soul body, any attempt to enter the invisible worlds spells certain disaster; and any teacher who professes ability to railroad people into the invisible realms is not to be depended upon. There is only one way—patient persistence in well-doing.
The central thought in last month's lesson, and one that we should ponder well is the reason why there are so many different cults, each with its own creed and with the idea that it alone has the truth. The reason for this condition, as shown in the lesson, lies in the fact that the ego has limited itself by entering into a vehicle which separates it from every one else. Because of this limitation, it is incapable of appreciating absolute and universal truth; and, consequently, religions teaching only partial truth had to be given.
The warfare and strife engendered in the world by the segregating influences of creed are not without their benefit either, for were all of the same opinion regarding the great question, "What is truth?" there would be no deep search for light or knowledge; and truth would not leave the strong impression upon us which we gain by the fight for that which we believe. On the other hand, the militancy of the churches shows to those who, as pioneers, are now taking a broader view—who recognize that none have more than a ray of the whole truth at present and who look to the future for enlargement of the cup of their capacity—that sometime they shall no longer see through a glass darkly, but shall know even as they are known.
Knowing that there is a cosmic reason for creed, we should neither seek or force advanced ideas upon those who are as yet limited by the spirit of convention, nor imitate the militant missionary spirit of the churches, but, as the Bible says, give our pearls of knowledge only to those who are tired of feeding on the husks and who long for the true bread of life.
Discourse upon subjects related to this higher knowledge may help those who are aroused from the spiritual lethargy unfortunately so common in our day and age. But argument will never do any good, for those who are in an augmentative mood are not convinced by anything we may say. The realization of truth, which is alone potent to break down the barriers of limitation that engender creed, must come from within and not from without.
Therefore, though we should always be ready to answer the questions of those who wish to know, and be ready to give the reason for our faith, we should also be on our guard so that we may not force our opinion upon others; that, having escaped one fetter, we may not be bound by another, for liberty is the most precious heritage of the soul. Hence the Elder Brothers in the Western World will not accept a pupil who is not free from all other bonds, and they take care that he does not obligate himself to them or any one else. Thus alone can the ring of the Niebelung and the ring of the gods be dissolved. May we all strive to live up to this ideal of absolute liberty, at the same time, of course, taking care not to infringe upon the rights of others.
Christ said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." Suppose that weeds were endowed with speech, Would we believe their claims if they professed to be grape vines? Indeed not, we would look for the fruit. And unless they were able to produce, their protestations—no matter how vociferously made—would make no impression. We are thus sufficiently wise in material matters to guard against deception; then why not apply the same principle to other departments of life? Why not use ordinary common sense? If we did, no one could impose on us in spiritual matters, for every realm in nature is governed by natural law, and analogy is the master key to all mysteries and a protection against deception.
The Bible teaches us very, very clearly that we should try the spirits and judge them accordingly. If we do this, we shall never be deceived by self-styled teachers; and we shall save ourselves, our relatives, and the Fellowship we love much sorrow and anxiety.
Let us, therefore, analyze the matter and see what we have the right to expect from one who lays claim to being a teacher. To do this we may first ask our selves, What is the purpose of existence in the material universe? And we may answer that question by saying that it is evolution of consciousness. During the Saturn Period, when we were mineral-like in our constitution, our consciousness was like that of the medium expelled from her body by spirit controls at materializing seance, where a large part of the ethers composing the vital body has been removed. The physical body is then in a very deep trance. In the Sun Period, when our constitution was plant-like, our consciousness was like that of dreamless sleep, where the desire body, mind, and spirit are outside, leaving the physical and vital bodies upon the bed. In the Moon Period, we had a picture consciousness like that which we have in dreams, where the desire body is only partially removed from the dense vehicle and the vital body. Here in the Earth Period our consciousness has been enlarged to cover objects outside ourselves by placing all our vehicles in a concentric position, as is the case when we are awake.
During the Jupiter Period, the globes upon which we shall evolve will be located similarly to what they were in the Moon Period. And the internal picture consciousness which we then possessed will be externalized, as the Jupiter Period is on the ascending arc. Thus, instead of seeing the pictures inside ourselves, we shall be able, when speaking, to project them upon the consciousness of those we are addressing.
Now, therefore, when any one professes to be a Teacher, he must be able to substantiate his claim in that manner; for the true Teachers, the Elder Brothers, who are now preparing the conditions of evolution which are to obtain during the Jupiter Period, all have the consciousness pertaining to that period. Thus, it will be seen that they naturally and without effort use this external picture speech, and thereby at once given evidence of their identity. Only they are able to guide others with safety. Those who have not evolved to that point, even though they may be self-deceived, and through their intentions may be good, are unreliable and should not be trusted. This is an absolutely infallible gauge; and the claims of any one who cannot show this fruit are of no more value than the claims of the weed mentioned in our initial paragraph.
All of the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order possess this attribute; and I trust no one among our students will in the future allow himself or herself to be deceived into following exercises or going through ceremonies devised by any person who is not able to produce the fruit, and call up living pictures in the consciousness of those with whom he speaks.
At the close of last month's lesson we saw that Siegfried, the truth seeker, had arrived at the end of his quest. He had found the truth. Meditating upon the subject it occurred to me as profitable to devote this letter to a straightforward answer to the question: "Where shall we seek truth, and how shall we know without doubt when we have found it."
To be absolutely certain about this matter is of very great importance. For many who accidentally find their way into the Desire World, such as mediums for instance, are enmeshed in illusion and hallucination because of inability to know truth. Moreover, the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order give probationers a definite scientific teaching on this point; and in order to guard against the danger spoken of above, they make an actual test before admitting any one to discipleship. All must come up to a certain standard in this matter. It may, of course, surprise you that this discussion is not reserved for probationers or disciples, but the Rosicrucian Fellowship does not believe in secrecy or mystery. All who wish may qualify for any degree; and this qualification is not a matter of form but of living the life.
In regard to the first part of the question then, "Where shall we seek truth?" There is only one answer—within. It is absolutely a matter of moral development; and the promise of Christ that if we live the life we shall know the doctrine is true in the most literal sense. You will never find truth by studying my own or any other books. So long as you run after outside teachers, myself or any one else, you are simply wasting energy. Books and teachers may arouse your interest, and urge you to live the life, but only in so far as you make their precepts a part of your inner self are you really seeking in the right direction. The Elder Brother—whom I, perhaps mistakenly, speak of as Teacher—has never taught me directly since the first short period when that which is embodied in the Cosmo was given. And in the last year I have learned not to ask question for I have noticed that whenever I did so he simply gave me a hint as to how I, myself, might obtain the desired information. Now, instead of asking questions, I ask for directions as to how I may solve a problem. So you see that it is by using our own faculties, which may be compared to he talents spoken of by Christ, that we get the information of most value to ourselves.
The second part of the question, "How may we know the truth?" is best answered by referring the student to the evening exercise given in the Lecture No. 11, Spiritual Sight And Insight. It may be performed by any one regardless of whether he or she is a probationer of the Rosicrucian Fellowship or not. The teacher said at the time of giving it that if it were possible to prevail upon the most depraved person in the world to perform this exercise faithfully for six months, he would be permanently reformed; and those who are faithful have found that it sharpens all mental faculties, particularly the memory. Besides, by this impartial judgment of oneself night after night, one learns to discern truth from error in a degree not attainable in any other way. Not all our students may feel inclined to take up probationership, and we never urge any one to do anything in the Western Wisdom School. But if you really want to know the truth I can honestly recommend this method. It develops an inner faculty and no matter what statement is made to you, once you have developed this, you will know at once whether it rings true or the reverse.
After the Transfiguration scene, when the Christ and His disciples were making ready to descend from the Mount, the latter would fain have stayed and suggested making dwelling places so that they might remain. This was not permitted, however, for there was work to do in the world which would have remained undone had their plan been carried out.
The Mount of Transfiguration is the "Rock of Truth," where the freed spirit may behold the eternal realities. There is the Great Now (the past symbolized by Moses and Elijah) the prophets of the ancient dispensation met Christ, the ruler of the Kingdom which was to come. Every spirit who is permitted to behold the supernal splendors of this celestial realm, to hear the sublime strains of the harmony of the spheres, and to view the wonderful color-play which accompanies the music, is likewise loath to leave. Were it not that we seem to lose our form and personality, and encompass this whole realm within ourselves, we should probably not have the strength to return to earth, but this feeling that we retain "heaven within" fortifies us when it is time to again turn our gaze outwards and attend to the work in the world.
Objects in the physical world always hide their inward nature or construction; we see only the surface. In the Desire World we see objects outside ourselves, inside and out, but they tell nothing of themselves or the life that ensouls them. In the Archetypal Region there seems to be no circumference, but wherever we direct our attention, there is the center of all, and our consciousness is at once filled with knowledge concerning the being or thing at which we are looking. It is easier to catch in a phonograph the tone which comes to us from heaven than to set down the experiences we encounter in that realm, for there are no words adequate to express them; all we can do is to try to live them.
But to live them, however imperfectly, we must be in the world; we have no right to remain secluded with the truth we have found. That is the great lesson taught when Siegfried leaves his beloved. He must not remain. Life is a constant flux; stagnation is the cardinal sin, for new experiences are the very life breath of progress. If we have found truth, it is our bounden duty to seek also a field where it may be of use. And according to our judgment in that matter, and the diligence wherewith we plant and water, will be our harvest.
This is a matter we should each carefully consider: "What use am I making of the teachings I receive?" We may be off in the mountain in dreamland, though we live in a city, and as deaf to the cry for light which sounds in our very ears as if the seeker were thousands of miles away. Unless we give out by our lives—which speak louder than words—the truth we have found, we incur a heavy responsibility, "for unto whom much is given, of him shall much be required." Let us remember that "Knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth," and that service is the standard of true greatness.
In the February letter we discussed the question: "Where shall we find truth, and how shall we know when we have found it." But there is no use in seeking truth, or in knowing truth when we have found it, unless we put it to practical use in our life—and it does not follow that we will do that merely because we find it. There are people, comparatively many, who scour the civilized world to find rare treasure of ancient art—pictures or coins. There are many who manufacture imitations of the genuine articles, so the seeker after these things runs the risk of being duped by clever rogues unless he has means of knowing the genuine from the spurious.
In this respect he is beset by the same danger as the truth seeker, for there are many pseudo-cults and clever inventions that may baffle us. The collector often shuts his find up in a musty room and gloats over it in solitude; and not infrequently after years, or maybe when he has died, it is found that some of the things he guarded most jealously and treasured most highly were spurious and imitations of no value. Similarly, one who finds what he believes to be truth may "bury his treasure" in his own breast, or "put his light under a bushel," to find, maybe after many years, that he had been swindled by an imitation. Thus, there is need of an infallible final test, one which eliminates all possibility of deception, and the question is how to discover and apply it.
The answer is as simple as the method is efficient. When we ask how collectors discover that a certain article they prize is an imitation, we shall find that it is usually by showing it to some one who has seen the original. We may deceive all of the people part of the time and a part of the people all of the time, but it is impossible to deceive all the people all of the time; and had the collector shown his find publicly instead of hoarding it in secret, he would have quickly learned by the collective knowledge of all the world whether his find was genuine or not.
Now mark this, for it is very important: Just as surely as the general secretiveness of collectors aids, abets, and fosters fraud on the part of the curio dealers, so also the desire to have and to hold for oneself great secrets not known to the "rabble" fosters the business of those who trade in "occult initiations" with elaborate ceremonial to beguile victims into parting with their cash.
How can we test the worth of an ax but by using it and thus finding out whether it will keep its edge in actual wearing work? Would we buy it if the salesman required us to put it in a dark corner where no one could see it, and forbade us to use it? Certainly not! We would want to use it in our work, and there it would show whether it had "temper." If it were found "true steel," we would prize it; if not, we would tell the salesman to take back his worthless stuff.
On the same principle, what is the sense in "buying" the wares of secrecy mongers? If their wares were "true steel," there would be no need of secrecy, and unless we can use them in our daily lives, they are of no value. Neither is a good ax of value to us unless we use it; it rusts and loses its edge. So it is obligatory on every one who finds truth to use it in the world's work, both as a safeguard to himself to make sure that it will stand the grant test, and to give others a chance to share the treasure which he himself finds helpful. Therefore it is very vital that we follow the command of Christ: "Let your light shine."
In regard to last month's letter one of the students writes: "in your letter it would seem to be implied that there is no secrecy or discretion on the part of the individual who knows esoteric things, to be exercised in giving them out, and no personal responsibility incurred; at least your meaning does not seem to be made plain."
It is, of course, impossible to cover a subject of this magnitude in a letter or several letters. But the question about the responsibility of giving out truth does really concern us in so far as the danger of misuse goes. My correspondent also says that "there are certain sects in this country which have certain powers that they use for selfish and avaricious purposes," and asks whether it would be wrong to withhold esoteric powers from them. Certainly not. But the Elder Brothers take care of that, and they are the real custodians of anything that is highly dangerous. Hypnotism, of course, is dangerous, but not to such an extent as the esoteric powers about which our correspondent asks.
During the ancient Israelitic dispensation darkness reigned in the Holy of Holies, and it was only permitted a few priests and Levites to enter the Temple. The High Priest alone was admitted into the Holy of Holies once a year. But at the Crucifixion the veil was rent, the Temple was flooded with light, and since then no secrecy has prevailed in Initiation. Yet it is in a certain sense as secret as ever, for as I said in last month's letter, it does not consist in ceremony at all. It is an inward experience, and we must have the power within ourselves to live that experience before it can come to us. It is secret in the same sense that the mysteries of square root are a secret to the child. No initiation fee could convey an understanding to the childish mind of the subject; he must live through a number of years and gradually mature to a point where it will be possible to enlighten him. When that point is reached, there is no difficulty about enlightenment. He will understand and see truth very readily.
It is exactly this truth of which I was speaking in last month's letter. The disciple must go through a period of training and by that training become mature and mellow to such an extent that he can live the truth within. Then when the time comes, it is very easy for the Teacher or Initiator to show him for the first time how to apply the trust which he has found, to use the power which he has stored up, and then he is initiated. But this experience cannot be told to anyone else. It is absolutely useless to try to convey it. It is not through ceremony or any other outward show that it comes to a man but as an actual result of his own past doing. Therefore he can apply its truth in his daily life, though others may be as absolutely unable to get at it as the child is incapable of appreciating what is happening when an example in square root is being done before its eyes. Thus are the real, vital truths guarded from all till the key of merit unlocks the treasure box.
From last month's lesson it will be evident, strange as it may seem, that the opera Tannhauser is the legendary plea for the much discussed woman's suffrage, which we hear so much of in modern times. It is evident also, as said last month, that like produces like; and a woman who is timid and afraid, who has been forced into marriage in a brutal manner, who feels herself owned, a chattel, not free to voice her ideas and ideals, cannot produce a noble, strong, and fearless offspring, one with the courage to adhere to its ideals. Therefore, so long as we hold woman in bondage, deny her rightful place in the world as the helpmate and companion of man, so long do we retard the race and our development.
This is the esoteric reason why full equality must come about.
If men did but thoroughly realize and understand the idea that we are born in alternate embodiments, they would very soon accede to woman's just requests—if for no other reason than the selfish one that in their succeeding life they who are now men will take on the womanly garb, and have to live under the conditions which they are now making. Thus any man who is now holding back the just privileges from womankind will some day have to labor under these same conditions, while those who at present for which they are now contending without having to ask for them; but as the writer sees this matter, it is not exactly the privilege of voting so much as the moral equality which the woman feels she ought to have, and certainly she has a God-given right to that as well as man.
One point brought out in Tannhauser should particularly appeal to those who want to live the higher life, and that is that Tannhauser is held as strictly accountable before those of his friends who know of his crime as he is by the church. There is no double standard of morality in nature. Sin is sin by whomsoever it is committed, and more than that, to whom much is given of him much shall be required.
Therefore people who reach an enlightened stage must above all learn to live the clean and pure life in harmony with their professions. If, by enlightenment, we rise above the law, let us, as Paul says, not use our liberty as an occasion to gratify the flesh. The doctrine of "soul mates" and "affinities" has wrecked many a life which but for that would have been crowned with great soul growth.
What the shadow is to light, what "the devil" is to God—that is lust to love. Love is divine, a companionship of free souls. Lust is diabolical, and the transgressor a slave of sin, it matters not whether the outrage has been legalized by the state or blessed by the church. Let us therefore strive to love each other after the spirit rather than after the flesh.
In the last lesson we saw that the Lord of Wartburg asked the minstrel to describe love. As we all aspire to evolve within ourselves that quality, it is perhaps of very great importance that we should look the matter squarely in the face and see what is our greatest hindrance, for surely there can be no question but that we are all lacking woefully in respect to love. No matter what we may seem to others, when we look into our own hearts we stand ashamed, knowing the motives which prompted acts that others consider dictated by love of our fellow men. When we analyze these motives we shall find that they are all dictated by the one trait of selfishness; moreover, this is the one fault we never confess. I have heard men and women stand up publicly or in private and confess to every sin on the calendar save this single one of selfishness. Yes, we even deceive ourselves by imagining that we ourselves are not selfish. We see this trait of character very plainly in others if we are at all observant, but fail to perceive the beam in our own eye; and so long as we do not admit this great fault to ourselves and strive seriously to overcome it, we cannot progress upon the pathway of love.
Thomas a Kempis says: "I would rather feel compunction than know how to define it"; and we may well substitute the word love for compunction. If we could only feel love rather than be able to define it! But love cannot be known now by us except in the measure that we cleanse ourselves from the great sin of selfishness. Life is our most precious possession, and Christ therefore said, "Greater love (or unselfishness) hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
In the measure, therefore, that we cultivate this virtue of unselfishness, we shall attain to love, for they are synonymous, as was shown by Paul in that inimitable thirteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians. When a poor brother knocks at our door, do we give him as little as we can? If so, we are selfish. Or do we help him only because our conscience will not allow us to let him go? Then also this is selfishness, for we do not want to feel the pangs of conscience. Even though we give our lives for a cause, is there not the thought that it is our work? Often I hide my face from myself in shame at that thought in connection with the Fellowship, and yet we must go on. But let us not deceive ourselves; let us fight the demon of selfishness and be ever watchful against its subtle onslaughts. If we find it whispering that we need rest and cannot afford to give our strength for others, or if we feel that we cannot afford to give our substance, let us force the virtue of generosity. As a matter of actual fact, we only keep what we give; our bodies decay and our possessions are left behind, but our good deeds remain ours for all eternity.
It is with considerable reluctance that I again take up the question of breathing exercises and their effects upon the body, but stern necessity compels me to sound anew the warning against the false and dangerous teachings which are promulgated by people who are either ignorant or unscrupulous in their desire for profit. Breathing exercises are absolutely contrary to the teachings of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, for under our teachings spiritual results may only be attained by spiritual methods and not by physical exercises. Unfortunately the great desire of students to attain quickly makes many an easy prey to such people. One of our very promising students is now in an insane asylum because he listened to the promises of a charlatan who offered to initiate him for the sum of twenty-five dollars.
I have just learned that in one of the Fellowship centers a man who has not been affiliated with Headquarters is charging various sums for horoscopes, contrary to our teachings. We annually return from Headquarters many dollars to people who send to us asking for delineations and character reading as well as predictions, because we uphold the principle that a spiritual science may not be prostituted for gold however much we need money; and it grieves us very much to find out that such people, who admit that they know these practices to be contrary to the principles of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, are placed upon the platform of study centers, and stand before the people as teachers and exponents, of the Rosicrucian teachings. This same person has also copied from Hindu books costing but a few cents, breathing exercises which he sells to unsuspecting victims for a dollar.
Now I ask you, dear friends, will you not take this from me, one who has gone the way and knows by experience that there is no express train to the Temple of Initiation. The road is slow and steep and rugged; it must be walked step by step, though the feet bleed, and the heart also with sorrow and suffering. The soul body—the golden wedding garment—which alone is the password by which we can enter, is made by the good deeds done day by day with patient perseverance in well-doing, and by no other method. Breathing exercises cannot take the place of good deeds. Can you not understand that? I know what I am talking about, because in the very earliest stage of my endeavor in spiritual directions, I also found these Hindu breathing exercises. I tried them for two days, and my vital body was partly lifted out of the physical; it then occurred to me that I was in a dangerous condition, and I stopped. But it took me two weeks to recover, during which I felt as if I could not get my feet on the ground, as if I were walking on air; and during those two weeks I suffered greatly. Others may not have the persistence to recover that I did, and may go to the insane asylum. Therefore it is a very dangerous thing to try. There may of course be others on whom they have no effect. But it is very, very dangerous to meddle with fire, and you should not try it. On the other hand, if you will day by day try to serve in the vineyard of Christ, and endeavor to do deeds of mercy, then the golden wedding garment, the soul body, will surely be woven, which one day will admit you to the Temple.
Up to the present time I have especially refrained from commenting upon current topics, but feel that the present cosmic crisis demands something from Headquarters which may guide students in their attitude towards this calamity. The effect of this unprecedented slaughter of human beings is much more far-reaching than is apparent from the physical viewpoint.
In the first place, of course, that viewpoint is the one which appeals to us. We feel and can sympathize with the grief felt in many thousands of homes, where father, son, or husband has been ruthlessly torn away. But the sorrow and suffering that are met with in the physical world fade into insignificance when compared with what takes place in the invisible realms of nature. The thousands and thousands of victims of this cruel war are awakening from the death stupor caused by the sudden transition from the physical life to that of the desire world. They carry with them the scenes of the battlefield; many are stunned and wander about in the most aimless fashion. They cannot realize what has happened. Others again are beginning to sense the fact that they have passed from one phase of existence to another. Then comes to them also the grief for those they have left behind. Thus there is in the world at this time an indescribable, unimaginable amount of sorrow and suffering, mental as well as physical.
In fact, never since the world was has there been such universal sorrow as there is at the present time. But besides this, we must not forget we are now laying up for ourselves a great deal of future suffering; for, as has been explained in the Rosicrucian Lecture literature, it is impossible for these people who are now so ruthlessly and suddenly torn away from their bodies to review their past life, and thus the etching of the life panorama does not take place as it should. Therefore these egos will not reap the fruit of their present existence as they should in purgatory and the first heaven. They will come back minus this experience at some future time; and it will be necessary, in order that they may regain what they have lost, to let them die in childhood so that they may have the new desire body and vital body imprinted with the essence of their present life.
Therefore in some far-off future day we shall find that an epidemic, or something of that nature, will take away many thousands of children, and we, now their contemporaries, will be left to mourn their loss. Oh! that this law of infant mortality were understood. Then we should not have to pray for peace as we are now doing. Let everyone in the Rosicrucian Fellowship pray morning, noon, and night for the restoration of peace at the earliest possible moment. Let us realize the responsibility of knowledge and live up to it, endeavoring daily to discharge it. This knowledge which we have received must be given out wherever it is practicable without intruding upon other people. If the world knew and believed in the law of rebirth and of consequence, if it understood the law of infant mortality, such a thing as this war could never have happened; and the more we try to inculcate these teachings, the better we shall promote peace and good will, and the better serve humanity.
Please be particularly earnest and concentrate every vestige of your power upon the healing work at Headquarters when we have healing meetings. We need all the help we can get.
Another month has gone by and still the European war is raging in all its intensity. Thousands and thousands have passed over the border into the invisible realm, and the distress there as well as here is unprecedented in the history of the world. As you have learned from our literature, the desire world is the world of illusion and delusion; and those poor people who have so suddenly been transferred to that realm with frightful wounds upon their physical bodies also imagine (as very frequently in the case with persons who have met accidents) that the lesions of the physical body are still with them, and they suffer acutely there from these fancied injuries as they would here. That is of course entirely needless. Many of them are going about there with dreadful wounds upon their bodies, particularly those who have wounds caused by bursting shells and by bayonets. It is of course an easy matter for the Invisible Helpers to show any one of these people that his or her injuries are only fancied, yet when there are so many thousands the task is gigantic, and our Invisible Helpers are having a time of unprecedented activity against overwhelming odds.
It is not so much however the anguish that results from such fancied bodily lesions which makes the work. The mental anguish—the concern for those who have been left behind, the fear of fathers concerning their little ones, and the sorrow of the mothers who have been left behind to bring up a family of young children—is the most fearful handicap to a settlement of this dreadful state of affairs that the Invisible Helpers have to meet, and this is the point on which I would like to ask your earnest cooperation.
President Wilson of the United States has appointed October 4th as a day of prayer for peace. It is well always to unite with such movements because our trained thoughts will have a considerable effect and strengthen wonderfully the general appeal. This day should be spent by every earnest student in prayer for the deliverance of the world from this awful slaughter. Their thoughts should be particularly directed towards soothing those who are in this world, and in the invisible world also who are distressed at the severance of family ties. Each one should hold the thought that although the present war seems grievous, nevertheless this is only an incident in a long stretch of time which has neither beginning nor end. As spirits we are immortal, and these things which now seem to us of so great importance, when viewed from the spiritual standpoint and when considering the fact that we are really immortal, are of less moment than now seems the case to us. Whatever befalls, it will be incorporated into the spiritual nature as a lesson to give us a sense of the horror of this carnage which is now devastating the world.
This war, let us fervently hope, will be the last war that will ever mar the peace of the earth; that having learned this costly lesson, mankind will once and for all destroy the implements of war, and beat their swords into plowshares. Let this idea be in the mind of every student on the 4th of October, but as this date is so near at hand that probably this letter will not reach all in time, let every one in the Rosicrucian Fellowship devote Sunday, the 18th, to a prayer for peace. By that time all our students will have received this message, and we shall again be united from morning until evening in this effort to help restore peace to the world. May the kingdom of Christ soon superseded the kingdom of men, for they have certainly shown themselves inefficient rulers.
In almost every mail we receive letters commenting upon the war, but with very few exceptions there has been no expression of partisanship, showing that the writers take a loftier viewpoint than inculcated by the various Race Spirits and commonly given the name of patriotism. This attitude is the only one consistent with the principles of the Rosicrucian Fellowship. We are all joined in an international association, we are all looking for the Kingdom which is to supersede all nations, and the fact that we were born on different parts of the globe and express ourselves in different tongues does not abrogate the command of Christ: "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself," nor excuse us for playing the part of the "robber" rather than that of the "Samaritan." It behooves us in the Rosicrucian Fellowship to rise above the barriers of nationality and learn to say as did that much maligned man, Thomas Paine: "The world is my country, and to do good is my religion." We must cease to be merely national and strive to become universal in our sympathies.
But there is a war that is well worth fighting, a war upon which we may legitimately expend all our energy, a war that we shall do well to pursue with unrelenting zeal, and one of the students puts it so well that we cannot do better than give his letter.
"In reflecting upon the war this thought comes: When men grow weary of the appalling internecine struggle and lay down their arms, and peace holds sway, from this continent, burdened with the dust of friend and foe alike, its rivers running crimson with the best blood of empires, a new Europe will arise, and a higher civilization succeed the one destroyed.
"And the vast host of nameless dead, dying, will prove a mightier power for world peace than had they lived. Thus it is that from the unrestrained passions of men, Deity, just and loving, brings ultimate good.
"If men, and women too, were only one-tenth part as eager to wage war against their real enemy within the human breast as they are to take up arms against a supposed enemy just across a non-existing imaginary boundary line on the face of God's good world, then the Prince of Peace could come into His own. All deadly weapons would be consigned to limbo, and the glorious promise would be fulfilled: 'On earth peace and good will towards men.'
"And so for myself, I resolve that I will not cease my efforts till the last vestige of evil, error, and hate be eliminated, and the lofty trinity of 'Goodness, Truth, and Love reign unchallenged within.'
"In this real struggle I find myself a poor soldier, and the tide of battle often sets in the wrong direction, yet no matter if I fail ten thousand times, the lesson must be learned and shall be learned. Some day, with a stout heart, an indomitable will, and unflagging persistence, the victory will be won and peace will reign—the peace that passeth all understanding."
Let us all join our brother in that noble fight, remembering the words of Goethe:
"From every power that holds the world in chains Man frees himself when self-control he gains."
This is the time when good wishes are in order. "A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year" are greetings soon to be heard everywhere, and in conformity with this ancient usage the workers on Mt. Ecclesia also extend to members all over the world the usual seasonal greetings.
But while we thus cordially wish one another Godspeed and good cheer in the coming year, after all, though the wishes of others may be encouraging and gratifying, they are really of minor consequence. But what we wish ourselves individually is of prime importance. If the whole world conspired against and antagonized us in this wish, we should nevertheless succeed, provided always we were able to put sufficient intensity and insistence into the wish. Do we desire riches? They may be ours by the exercise of will. If we want power and popularity, they also are at our beck and call, provided we clothe our wish with an all-compelling ardor. Are we sick, feeble, or in other ways disabled? We may rid ourselves of these bodily ailments also by an intense desire for health. Social restrictions or hampering family conditions will disappear before the earnest desire of the one who wishes.
But there is another side. Desire is a two-edged sword, and what appeared the greatest good while in contemplation may prove to be a curse when we have achieved actual possession. The greatest fortune may crumble in a few hours by earthquake or a turn of the market, and the rich man always fears he may lose his possessions. To be popular we must be at everybody's beck and call; we have neither rest nor time to follow our own bent. Bodily ailments which seem thorns in the flesh, which seem to rob life of all its joys, and of which we would fain be rid, may be the greater blessing in disguise. Paul had such an ailment and he besought the Lord, who said to him: "My grace is sufficient for thee." So also with inharmonious family conditions, etc. There are in all human relationships certain lessons to be learned for our good, and therefore we should be very careful not to wish them away without always adding the words which were used by Christ during the passion of the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane. Though in the body He shrank from the torture that awaited Him, He said: "Not my will but Thine.' We should always remember that there is only one thing we may pray for with unrestricted fervor and full intensity, and that is that we may be pleasing to God.
And now, dear friends, the Rosicrucian Fellowship is an association composed of many individual members. You are one, and will you join as a member in wishing ourselves, the Fellowship, a greater baptism of God's grace during the year 1915, so that we may more efficiently do our part of the work of God upon the earth and hasten the day of Christ? And will you wish it with such intensity that you will work for that end all through the year with zeal and fervor?
May God bless the Rosicrucian Fellowship and make it a more efficient factor in His work in the world.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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