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Questions Dealing With Rebirth
Frequency of Rebirth
Question: Do those now passing over come to rebirth again before the Aquarian Age? If they still have lessons to learn to fit them to live in that age, can they come back and learn them?
Answer: That all depends. the usual time between two births is a thousand years, so as to give people a chance of being embodied once as a man and once as a woman while the sun is passing through each sign of the zodiac by precession, which takes about 2,100 years. This is done because the lessons during that period are so many and so different that they cannot all be effectively learned in the same sexual type of body. Experiences are very different from the standpoint of a man and that of a woman. But this law is like all other laws of nature, it is not blind. It is under the dominion of four great Beings called the Recording Angels, and they have to do with all the details of human evolution. They see that everyone gets a chance to obtain as much experience as he or she can stand. If it is necessary for a person to remain the whole one thousand years in the invisible worlds, he remains. If not, he comes back sooner. Some people come back within a few hundred years because they have evolved to the point where they learn quickly. People who "live the life" as Probationers, who have assimilated their life experience before they leave here and are already doing a good deal of work in the invisible worlds, will not need to spend such a long time on the other side. They have put themselves definitely on the side of the laws of God, and are therefore given greater opportunities for evolution by service.
Man's Responsibility to Animals
Question: When a man lives a life of sorrow and suffering we may account for it by the fact that he is reaping now what he has sown in former lives, but how can we reconcile the awful suffering and torture of animals with the justice of God? What will be the fate of those who now mistreat animals?
Answer: To view life from the standpoint of present conditions alone is just as inconsistent a it is to look upon a man as having neither childhood behind him nor old age before him. Our present life, and many lives before that, have made us what we are now, and from that past is determined in a large measure the direction which we shall follow in future lives. At the beginning of manifestation the Spirit was free and like the Father save in one thing, namely that it had no self-consciousness, and the pilgrimage through matter was undertaken in order that this might be gained. To further this object the Spirit was crystallized into vehicles during the process of involution. A physical, a vital, and a desire body were gradually drawn around it to limit it and shut it off from all other spirits. Then by the gift of mind the Ego or individual was finally formed. Imprisoned in the various veils mentioned, the Spirit can no longer contact the outside world directly, but turning its gaze inward it sees itself and recognizes itself as "I." At the same time, however, it feels its limitations; it recognizes the fact that it is feeding upon husks and that it is necessary to return to the Father's house in order to take again its place as a Son of God.
The resolution to return to the Father is made more intense by the fact that pain and sorrow are experienced on account of the limitations of the present mode of existence. The cramping conditions of the prison house which the Spirit feels are a goad to drive it on. "No one cometh to the Father but by me," said Christ, and it is a fact that whenever the Christ is born within us we become men of sorrow and acquainted with grief. Treading the path of probation, of purity and spiritual endeavor, draws the face with lines of pain, and gradually the body is broken up; it becomes more ethereal and leaves the Spirit more free. In the measure that we subdue our passions we kindle the fire of fellow feeling which will eventually burn up the dross of the flesh and leave the spiritual increment of our natures free to function in the new heaven and the new earth where pain, sorrow, and death are overcome. This will be a foretaste of conditions in the Jupiter Period when we shall function in our vital bodies and be free from the physical vehicle with its attendant discomforts. At present the thought of the ordinary individual has little or no power, but in that day our thoughts will be capable of giving life to a certain lower order of spirits, and therefore it is of the greatest importance that we should first become thoroughly purified before such a terrible power is given us.
The path of evolution is not a circle but a spiral. We are a better humanity than the angels were when they were human during the Moon Period, and the animals which will be human during the Jupiter Period will be a better humanity than we. As the lowest globe at that time will be in the Etheric Region, only a vehicle made of ether will then be used by any being. The finer forces of nature will be available to all during that time, and the humanity of the Jupiter Period as well as ourselves will be able to wield the lightning. Therefore it is necessary that they should know by experience the nature of pain which may be inflicted by the misuse of a superior power. To give them the necessary compassion they have been made in certain respects like ourselves, capable of feeling the pain and suffering incident to physical existence. Thus from the present evil there will come good to both man and beast.
The fact must nevertheless be taken into consideration that there is woe in store for him by whom evil comes. The lower kingdoms act as stepping-stones for the higher. Did not the mineral exist, plant life would be an impossibility, for it could not take root and obtain the sustenance necessary for growth. If there were no plants, animal and man would have no means of obtaining earth bodies. The service rendered by the lower to the higher as stepping-stones can only be paid for by service. The higher owes the lower a debt of gratitude. Christ recognized this, that without pupils there could be no teacher, and in gratitude for the privilege of teaching and bringing into the world the wonderful Christian religion He washed His disciples' feet. In future aeons the lower kingdoms now action as stepping-stones and a means of growth and experience to us will need help and service, which must then be given by us. Thus the human race, which now abuses the animals, will then have to act as their servitors, aiding them to attain the very utmost from the school of evolution as it will be carried on in that day. The animal spirits whose bodies we now torture and destroy will in that day become our pupils, and it will be our duty as their guardians to help them grow and propagate the life we now deprive them of.
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The Necessity of Rebirth
Question: For those brought up in the teachings of Spiritualism and Swedenborgianism it is easy enough to accept the fact of life hereafter and of incidental purgatorial experience therein, but it is not easy for them to understand why it is not feasible for the individual to obtain all the experience necessary for progression in the spiritual world without returning to the physical plane for rebirth in new bodies. If there is an imperative reason for periodical returns to the flesh as Rosicrucianism sees it, will you not state this briefly but explicitly?
Answer: The necessity for rebirth has two phases, one physical and one spiritual. If the mineral components of our bodies did not crystallize, and it were thus possible for us to keep them young and pliable for millions of years, it would not be necessary to take rebirth; we could learn the lessons of life through the unbroken stretch of ages. But on account of our ignorance and abuse of this body it does not usually last a great deal more than three score and ten years, as the tradition is, and probably not much more than half that time as an average. Hence if we lived here only one short life of thirty or forty years, we would be unable to learn all the lessons which should be taught us in this environment, and that would be a waster of energy. We, as human beings, would not think of building an elaborate school and furnishing all the equipment for teaching the pupils and then graduate them after one day's attendance; but that would be exactly analogous to a cosmic system which would require the attendance of pupils at the school of life during only one life-day. When the first school day is over we send the child home to assimilate his lesson and prepare for the next day's schooling, and so on through many days and years.
Similarly, the divine Hierarchies who guide our evolution send us to school on earth each life-day, and at the close thereof we are called to our heavenly home to rest and prepare for the schooling of the next life-day. It would be an absolute impossibility for our schoolmasters to cram all the wisdom to be leaned in the school into the head of any pupil, were he ever so precocious, if the time were limited to one day. But given many successive days, which in the end amount to years, they are able to impart gradually all their knowledge to him. Similarly in life's school: cosmic wisdom and cosmic love cannot be taught in a short time; it takes age, for the divine qualities are not mushroom growths which can be attained over night. They resemble rather the sturdy oak which requires a century to develop, but which has a sturdiness and strength not even remotely approached by the mushroom.
Furthermore, the constitution of and conditions in the spiritual worlds render them unsuitable for the phases of progression which man must learn in the physical world. At the present time mankind is developing the mind by the use of right thought, which has to be turned into right action, and this can best be done in a realm where conditions are firm and rigid. When an inventor visualizes a machine or contrivance it may seem to work splendidly in his mind, but the wheels which revolve so nicely in his the mental world where interpenetration is the law are often found to rub against each and be in each other's way when the model is made in physical material. This shows that his thought was wrong, and he is then forced to go to work and correct the mistake or abandon his project. Thus the physical condition acts as a corrective, and by showing him his mistake makes it possible for him to learn gradually to evolve the right thought and embody it in a machine that will work. Similarly, a man who undertakes a business project thinks out in detail how it should work, but subsequent developments often teach him that he has miscalculated. Thus he also, by his mistakes, is shown where his thought was wrong, and is given the opportunity to correct it.
These things cannot be learned in the spiritual world, where one goes out of a window or up the chimney, just as easily as through a door, because there everything is fluidic and plastic. Being divine, we have infinite possibilities latent in us, we are gods in the making. Thought is a creative power, and unless we learn how to use it in the right manner it will prove a curse instead of a blessing, both to ourselves and the creatures who are to be helped by us in future ages. In that case we should be unable to help them in the creation of suitable vehicles, as we have been helped and are being helped by other higher than we in the scale of evolution, and we would create monstrosities. Therefore the school of earth is an absolute necessity to teach us to think right, and thereby create right in both the denser and the finer cosmic substances with which we have to work.
Rebirth of Children
Question: It is stated in the Rosicrucian teachings that children who die in infancy are brought to rebirth in from one to twenty years. Do they return to the same station in life, or do they sometimes return to a different environment, more or less desirable, from wealth to poverty, or vice versa?
Answer: This question was asked years ago when the writer was a novice in the investigation of the spiritual world, and it was answered correctly at that time. But later investigations make it possible to give more detail based upon what has actually happened in a considerable number of cases. Notes were made of the results at the time of the investigations, but these have been mislaid. Nevertheless, according to our recollection, it was found that out of twenty children we watched who came to rebirth within five years of the time of death, fifteen or sixteen went back into the same family. It can be seen at the time when a child dies whether it will be a long or a short time in the invisible worlds. We therefore selected another group of twenty which are still in the invisible world and not expected to take rebirth until ten or more years have passed. But the tendencies are already quite plainly shown, for when a Spirit seeks rebirth it is usually drawn to the prospective mother years before it enters the womb, and sometimes women still unmarried are surrounded by their prospective children even before they have become engaged. Judging from this fact what the results will be, we find that out of the group of twenty only three are staying with their former mothers; the other seventeen are scattered among other families, and two of them are keeping company with small girls, showing that they are waiting for them to grow up and become their mothers.
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This tendency of Spirits who are seeking embodiment to follow their prospective mothers around for years sometimes gives rise to laughable and embarrassing situations in connections with mediums who do not understand the conditions. We remember the case of a young lady who went to a seance and was told that she had a child in spirit land who was standing beside her and calling her mother. Naturally she denied the allegation indignantly, and arose and left the meeting. So there was a case where both were right through making diametrically opposite statements; each thought the other dishonest because each lacked the knowledge to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable.
Do Two Wrongs Make a Right?
Question: You state that from the spiritual point of view all things are good, or words to that effect. But take, for instance the unspeakably vile and dastardly crimes being inflicted on the helpless civilian population of some of the nations in the war zone. The theory of rebirth might argue that these wretched people thus suffering may have committed similar atrocities in previous existences, but even so do two wrongs make a right? In view of such conditions one feels almost driven at times to take refuge behind that philosophical doctrine which teaches that the report of the senses is illusory, the bad-dream theory, as an explanation of the evil in the world; or simple materialism, which of course, from its nature does not need to make any of the explanations expected of spiritual teaching. Is there another solution to the problem?
Answer: Yes, indeed, there is, for although we with our finite minds are unable to grasp the intricate details of the tangled web of destiny, still the broad outline of the law of love which works for good through what seems to be evil may be readily discerned by every one. But before we enter into direct discussion of the question, allow us to correct our correspondent. We do not say that all things are good, for if that were true it would be well to continue these atrocities of which our correspondent speaks. Instead, we have always maintained and do still assert that every evil is really good in the making-that is to say, out of that condition something good will come. We do not shrink from calling a cloud a cloud, but we also point to the silver lining which shows that beyond and back of the cloud the Sun still shines as beautifully as ever. And if the sorrow and suffering caused by this war are the means of finally abolishing wars from the face of the earth, surely the cost is not too great.
From you remark that the theory of rebirth argues that the wretched people mentioned may have committed kindred atrocities in previous existences, it is evident that you are under the common misconception that all present conditions must be referred to actions in past lives, and that you are either unaware of or have failed to take into consideration the fact that every moment of our lives we are generating new destiny at the same time that we are working out our old scores. This great and important fact was set forth in the ancient Greek mythology, where the Fates are represented as three-past, present, and future; also in the Norse mythology, where the three Norns, Urda, Skuld, and Verdande, are spinning the thread of fate and unraveling it again. Nor is fate simply a measure to get even. If in one life A stole from B and ruined him, we must not assume that a following life B is going to become dishonest and steal from A. That would indeed be a bad solution of the problem, for it is surely better for a man to lose his money altogether than to retrieve it at the expense of his honesty.
Similarly, supposing that in a previous existence, as suggested, the present victims of military atrocity were guilty of atrocities against those who are now causing them suffering, it would have been far better for their soul growth if they had no revenge rather than in this present life to be made into savage beasts. If the latter were the way the law works, then cruelties and atrocities would multiply, and one could only shudder to think of what is in store for humanity in the next life when the injured civilian of today wreaks vengeance upon the heads of the present military aggressors.
But, thank God, that is not so, A study of the Memory of Nature has shown conclusively the truth of the spiritual teaching that hate ceases not by hate, but by love and service. It has been found in all the cases investigated by the writer—and they number hundreds—that whenever in one life a person has injured another, the suffering brought upon himself by the act during the purgatorial expiation following death has compelled realization and repentance, at least in a measure. he is then placed in a position where he may render some service to the one he injured when both return to physical life. If he grasps the opportunity, well and good; then both parties are benefited; peace on earth and good will are fostered. If he refuses he is placed in a position where coals of fire are heaped upon his head, and then in the third life he may be induced to pay the debt of service. Or he may be made the victim of some one else's wrong-doing and thus learn the sympathy and fellow feeling which induces the required service. But whatever the method, and the possible methods are legion, in some way or other the debt of hate will eventually be repaid by love, for that is the only way that humanity can grow better.
Applying these ideas to the present problem of the sufferings of the civilian population in the war zone (War World I), and while admitting that the past may have something to do with it in some cases, it is undoubtedly a fact that a vast amount of new destiny is now being generated, both by the aggressors and the victims. Neither should it be forgotten that the aggressors are suffering great tribulations themselves as well as their victims. It is a time of suffering all around, and the purgatorial experiences of those who are now allowing their lower nature to run riot will be exceedingly severe. Then when a new life begins and they are placed in a position where they meet their victims, the subconscious memory of the purgatorial suffering will engender the vast majority a desire to make adequate amend, so that out of the fiery furnace of the present affliction there will come a reign of peace on earth and good will among men.
Rebirth and Sex
Question: While Theosophy, representing the wisdom of the East, and the Rosicrucian Philosophy, the wisdom of the West, agree in many respects, there are certain points in which there is a difference between the teachings of these two schools of esotericism. One of these points is concerning rebirth. Theosophy teaches that the interval between earth lives of the average ego is about five thousand years, while the Rosicrucians hold that it is about one thousand years. With reference to the sex of the Ego the Rosicrucians teach that male and female embodiments alternate, while Theosophy holds that the alternation of sex is not in individual lives but by series; that is, a series of seven male embodiments alternates with a female series of equal number. Will you kindly explain these discrepancies?
Answer: It is our invariable rule never to criticize or belittle the teachings of any other spiritual movement. Therefore we can only say that your are correct with respect to the teachings of the Rosicrucians, that the Ego is ordinarily reborn twice during the time it takes the sun by precession to go through a sign of the zodiac, namely 2,100 years. It is also taught that these embodiments are alternately male and female because the conditions on earth do not so appreciably change during two thousand years, and the purpose is to give the Ego all the lessons that can be drawn from experiences on earth under each sign, these varying from the man and the woman. Thus if the Ego is born once as a man and the next time as a woman under the same sign, it will learn practically all the lessons that can be extracted from the conditions existing on earth under such planetary vibrations.
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Each neophyte is given the proof of this shortly after Initiation: he is first told to watch a certain Ego who is passing out of the body. Then he continues to watch its life in the invisible world for a year or two, and when an embodiment is found for it he knows the absolute truth of the doctrine of rebirth. He is always given for this demonstration an Ego which passes out as a child, and therefore seeks a quick re-embodiment.
When that lesson has been learned and he knows from first-hand knowledge that rebirth is a fact in nature, he is taught to watch the lives of certain people in the Memory of Nature so that he may gain an understanding of the various details connected with this matter. This, however, cannot be done until the Initiate has learned to function in the Region of Concrete Thought for the etheric record of the Memory of Nature does not reach sufficiently into the past to give the detailed information. Every Initiate who has progressed sufficiently far knows these matters as well as he knows his name.
The Law of Rebirth is not a blind law. It is under the administration of four great Beings of wonderful knowledge and power. They are called the Recording Angels in the Christian terminology. When it is necessary to vary the interval between death and rebirth in the case of a certain Ego, the necessary modifications are made so that it may be a much longer or a much shorter time before it is reborn.
It has been published in the newspaper reports of lectures given by Mrs. Besant, and it is also generally stated by her followers, that she claims to have been Hypatia in ancient Alexandria, a woman. It is also said that later she was born as Giordana Bruno in Rome, and at the present time she is again in a female embodiment. This, if true, would bear out the teaching of the Rosicrucians rather than that of the school which, as you say, claims there are a series of seven male embodiments followed by a series of seven of the other sex.
Our Debt of Destiny
Question: If a person has a life full of hardship at present and strives to the best of his or her ability to fulfill all duties, will the next life be lived under easier and more bearable circumstances; or if he is an advanced soul must he have hardships in order to learn to help and heal humanity?
Answer: During the earlier part of its evolution mankind committed the most atrocious crimes because actuated entirely by selfishness and disregard for other people's feelings. In those early lives we were cunning, cruel, and seldom did a good deed. In fact, it is recorded that at that time man spent the whole of the interval between earth lives in the purgatorial regions expiating the crimes he had committed during his physical life, and there was not heaven life to speak of. That was the condition spoken of in the Bible as "lost in trespasses of sin," which made it necessary for the Christ to enter the earth and attempt the task of raising the vibrations, so that altruism might gradually conquer egoism and give us a heaven life upon which promotion and progression in our evolutionary career could be based.
Now, it will be evident that during that period of degradation and sin we contracted a great many heavy debts and obligations to one another which we must now work out by love, kindness, and service. Each of us had this burden of the past, and it is that which constitutes the so-called Dweller On The Threshold.
It is said, and said truly, that though "the mills of God grind slowly, they grind exceeding fine," and every transgression under the law merits a just recompense. Therefore the debt of the past must be paid, and in the interval between each two earth lives there is shown to us the pictures of that part of it which must then be paid by the ordinary processes of evolution. We are then allowed to choose our future as we will from among the opportunities presented to us. Therefore if the Ego is, as you say, an advanced one it will choose the hardest life possible so that it may the more quickly dissolve the burden of debt which has accumulated from the past; for the more quickly it is liquidated, the sooner will the Spirit be ready to go on to its highest mission. On the other hand, it is said that "the Lord tempers the wind to the shorn lamb." The weaker souls who are unable to bear up under hardships are therefore given what we see as easier lives where they may pay their debts in small coin, a little at a time, but it will take correspondingly longer before they are finally liberated. Thus there is a good reason why a Job is called a friend and favorite of God, and why it is said that "whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth." By giving us all we can bear according to our request and with our consent the great Hierarchies who are in charge of evolution are really showing us favors. This is why the Christ called those blessed who were persecuted for His name's sake, that is to say, as He emphasized, when it was falsely done.
The light of esotericism upon the problem of sorrow is one of the strongest rays of hope to the one who is blessed with this knowledge. It should give us all heart to bear up under all affliction. Whatever comes to us we have earned, and if we are only careful to learn the lesson and to render the help and the service required of us in each particular case, then we may be sure that we are not only liquidating debts of the past, but also laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven which will revert to us as usable soul power to keep us on the path of rectitude in future lives.
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Determination of Sex
Question: It is stated in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception that a matrix made of ether is placed in the womb of the mother which an Ego is to be reborn, and that the seed atom of the dense body comes from the spermatozoon received from the father. If this is always so should not this method produce children of one sex, with negative or positive vital body from the mother and positive or negative dense body from the father? If not, how do you explain the difference of sex at birth?
Answer: It is also stated in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception that the vital body of a woman is positive and the vital body of a man is negative. When the agents of the Recording Angels are assisting an Ego to come to birth, the matter of sex has already been determined, either by law of alternation or a modification of that law by specific circumstances in the individual life of the Spirit, and the Ego is then helped to draw to itself a sufficient amount of the different kinds of ether as required by its development. These materials are all of certain polarity, either positive or negative. When a matrix made solely from positive etheric atoms is placed in the womb of the prospective mother, these atoms will unerringly draw to themselves negative physical atoms, and the resultant child body becomes female in consequence. If, on the other hand, the matrix which is placed in the mother's womb is composed of negative etheric atoms, it will attract the positive dense atoms with the result that the male sex organ is most developed and the sex therefore masculine. Life, like electricity, requires both positive and negative expression, otherwise it cannot manifest.
Memory of Past Lives
Question: If an individual has attained a high degree of spiritual sight in this life, and then dies, to be reborn at a later period, will he remember who he was, and retain spiritual power as in the former life, or will be have to cultivate the faculty anew?
Answer: When spiritual sight has been cultivated consciously in one life it remains, so far as we know, a faculty of the Spirit in all future lives, improving in scope and power with each existence, under normal circumstances. But there is a case known to the writer where a person has possessed the spiritual sight, along with the faculty of leaving the body and remembering what happened on his soul flights outside the body, in one life, and in the next he made it impossible for himself to exercise these faculties by the use of drink, drugs, and cigarettes, which so addled his brain that it was impossible for the Spirit to impress upon it memories of what happened when it was free from the body.
Out of the body he can still rove about the world where he chooses and take his place in his Order among the other Initiates, but in the body he is hampered by his poor, sick, abused brain. Nor should it seem strange that this is so, for it is only the same principle which allows a man to enjoy spiritual sight despite the fact that he is physically blind. Apart from the loss and the lack which such a man feels there is of course the moral aspect, and it is doubtful in the writer's mind whether this person's next body will have a brain fit to carry memories from the invisible to the visible world. It is our belief that it will probably take lives of right living before he is able to build another sensitive brain which is capable of spiritual transmission.
As for the memory of past lives it is not necessary to wait till a future existence for the development of that faculty, when the spiritual sight has been cultivated, with the aid of the proper teachers, such as the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order. For the neophytes are taught from the beginning to read the Memory of Nature in order to know and differentiate between truth and delusion, first in the record that is kept in the fourth or reflecting ether, which requires only a very slight extension of the physical sight. Then by degree, if they live the life and are diligent, the extension of sight is raised to the records kept in the archetypal region. These are usually opened to them within a few years, and there they can easily investigate their own past. However, we do not believe that that is generally done, for no one goes so deeply into the work without becoming so absorbed in the system of service to others that he has no time to attend to his own selfish inclinations.
Question: It is taught in the Philosophy that every evil act in life is expunged in the purgatorial state after death. It is also stated that death does no liquidate an injury any more than moving to another city pays a contracted debt, that ripe fate has its root in a former life and that we cannot escape from this debt of the past. How can these statements be reconciled? Surely we are not made to suffer twice for the same thing.
Answer: You are right. God does not want us even to pay back once, if by thorough repentance and reform suffering is made unnecessary. But the problem of liquidating a chain of causes in a life is much more complicated than to pay a bill for good received. There are many sides to each case. Let us take as an illustration a drunkard who makes a beast of himself and at the same times abuses his children, depriving them of the necessities of life and the education which they ought to have, who beats his wife, setting the children an example they may follow, and generally lowering their moral standard.
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After death than man will feel in purgatory, first, the tortures of a craving for a drink, which he is not able to satisfy, and second, he will feel all the suffering which he inflicted upon his family. He has then paid for his wrong doing, and it is true that he comes back to rebirth with a perfectly clean slate so far as the actual suffering which he caused them is concerned. But he took a vow to love and cherish the woman who became his wife, and by the performance of the creative act and furnishing the nucleus for a body he assumed the responsibilities of fatherhood toward the children which came to him for help and a suitable environment. These parental responsibilities he also neglected to fulfill, and there is consequently a tie between him and the members of his family. He still owes them a debt of love and service which must be rendered at some future time and therefore in a later life these souls will be brought together and so placed that he may have an opportunity for doing good toward them. If he does not then take the opportunity, he may in a still later life render an adequate service to some one else. It is for his sake that service must be rendered so that the love nature may be evolved and expanded to become universal and all inclusive.
The same rule holds good in all other cases and as the extreme conditions make the best illustrations, we may take as another instance the relationship between a murderer and his victim. After death he suffered in purgatory and the actual debt is there wiped out. But a tie has been established between these two Egos, and in a future life they will again meet so that the murderer may have the opportunity of serving his erstwhile victim, that they may become reconciled as friends. Fellow feeling must become universal, since it is the basic principle in the kingdom of God.
To sum up then we may say that all our debts are paid in purgatory, so far as the commission of wrong is concerned; our debts of love, friendship, and service remain for liquidation in later lives.
Post-Mortem Fate of Vivisectors
Question: Does a surgeon feel in Purgatory all the pains his patients have felt in the operations he has performed? This would seem unfair in cases of constructive surgery.
Answer: Certainly not. The sufferings in Purgatory are the results of moral delinquencies, and the resentment of those who are injured thereby. A surgeon who performs a constructive operation in doing a service which merits the gratitude of the person operated upon and the picture of such an operation in the panorama of life will react upon him in the First Heaven with the gratitude of the person he helped. It will make him more ambitious to serve his fellow men.
On the other hand, those unscrupulous surgeons who persuade people to have operations performed for the love of experimentation, or who take them out of charitable institutions for that purpose will certainly be as severely dealt with as they deserve. As for the vivisectionist's purgatory, we have seen some cases compared with which the orthodox hell with its devil and pitchfork is a place of mild amusement. Yet there are no exterior agents of outraged nature to punish such an one—only the agonies of the tortured animal contained in his life panorama reacting upon him with three-fold intensity (because the purgatorial existence is only one third the duration of the physical life). Those people do not realize in the slightest degree what they are storing up for themselves, or the torture chambers would soon be emptied and there would be one horror less in the world.
Question: According to an article in a recent medical journal, girl babies seems to have a greater power of resistance with respect to the inimical influences which ravage the ranks of infants during the first years of life. It is stated: "Speaking generally, it may perhaps be said that the boy reacts more violently to disease than the girl, is more easily knocked over than the latter, does not recuperate as quickly when the illness takes a favorable turn, and does not offer as much resistance when suffering from chronic ailments." Can you explain this?
Answer: To the esotericist versed in the Rosicrucian Teachings concerning the polarity of the vital body the seeming anomaly is easily accounted for, with many other facts known to the medical profession, but not explained by them.
Man, who has the positive physical body, has a negative vital body. Thus he is not able to resist disease as well as a woman, who has a negative physical body, but a positive vital vehicle. For that reason woman is able to endure a siege of sickness that would kill a man twice her weight and apparent vitality. She suffers more keenly than man, but bears pain with more fortitude. When the favorable turn comes, her positively polarized vital body seems to suck in, as with a million mouths, the solar energy. It swells and begins almost immediately to radiate the streamers so characteristics of health, with the result that the physical body recuperates space.
On the other hand, when a man has been brought very low by sickness and the turn of the tide sets in, his negatively polarized vital body is like a sponge. It will absorb all the solar energy it can get, but the avidity noticeable in the vital body of the woman is lacking. Therefore he lingers a long while in the shadow of death, and as it is easier to give up than fight, he succumbs oftener.
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There is also another reason for greater mortality among boy babies. Students of the Rosicrucian Philosophy are acquainted with the law governing infant mortality, namely, that when the Ego which passes out at death is very much disturbed by the loud and hysterical lamentations of relatives, the turmoil incident to death through railway accidents, fires, wars, and the like, it cannot concentrate its attention on the panorama of life which then passes in review, much as a picture film thrown on a screen.
This panorama should be etched into the desire body to form the basis of feelings of pain or pleasure in Purgatory and the First Heaven, the pain being transmuted to conscience to warn the Ego in future lives not to commit again the mistakes of the past. The pleasure felt on account of goods deeds in life generates virtue to spur the Ego on to better things in later lives. When the Ego is seriously disturbed in its concentration on the life panorama, the etching does not work on the feelings as it should, and thus the life experience would be lost did not the higher Powers interfere and let it die in infancy when next it comes to rebirth. The subtle vehicles are not born at the same time as the physical body. The fruits of the former life are then incorporated into them, after death in infancy, and in a few years the Ego seeks a new embodiment and lives its normal span of time on earth.
Under this arrangement an enormous number of children are predestined to die in infancy, for wars and wakes over the dead, with lamentation, have deprived millions of Egos of peace at the time of death. This present war (1916) will add more millions. Thus infant mortality must continue to grieve our hearts until we learn the science of death and how to help the passing Ego as we have learned to care for the incoming babe. We, with our small and finite minds, have already learned to use the lines of least resistance to attain our ends. We have studied the conservation of energy, and we may be sure that the great Divine Hierarchs who have charge of evolution make use of similar methods with greater efficiency. Hence, as babies must die for the reasons given, what more natural than to let as many as those predestined take a male body with a negative vital body which will more easily succumb to the rigors of physical existence?
It is not to be denied, however, that a great many deaths in infancy are due to lack of understanding of the complex constitution of a human being which includes subtler vehicles than the one seen and commonly believed to constitute the whole organism. Although the vital body of an infant is still comparatively unorganized at the time of birth, the ether which is to be used for its completion is within the aura, ready to be assimilated, and if anyone in its surroundings happens to be weak and anemic, an unconscious vampire, he or she draws from the unassimilated store of ether of the infant much more easily than from that of an adult whose vital body is fully organized. Naturally the weak person draws more easily ether that is negatively polarized, as in the body of a boy baby, than the positive ether of the girl baby. Hence also in this way the greater mortality of boy babies is to be accounted for, together with many deaths not due to the law as stated.
If this were known and believed a long step would have been taken to save infants, for precautions could then be adopted. In the first place, infants should sleep in a crib as far from the mother as she can reach, so that her aura does not mingle with that of the child. A weak mother should not nurse her child, but obtain, if possible, milk fresh and warm from healthy well fed cows, or better still, goats, for fresh milk is supercharged with the ether of the animal and has a vital energy not appreciated by the chemist who makes a merely physical analysis of its chemical constituents. And last, but not least, massage of the spleen and stimulation of the splanchnic nerves, carefully and conservatively practiced will aid the etheric counterpart of that organ in its activity of specializing the solar energy upon which the vital processes are as dependent as the lungs are on air.
Immortality of the Soul
Question: It is commonly assumed that each individual soul has had a beginning, but is nevertheless so constituted that it is imperishable. This idea was questioned by one who believes that death ends all and I should like to find some argument or passages from the Bible so that I may convince him he is wrong. Will you please help me?
Answer: While there a number of ways in which it is possible to demonstrate that death does not end all, we are afraid that no amount of argument will convince one who is not willing to be shown. You remember the parable Christ told about the rich man and Lazarus who dies, and when the rich man desired that Lazarus be allowed to return from the dead to warn his brothers, Christ said: "If they will not believe Moses and the prophets, neither would they believe if one rose form the dead." And that is the point. We have heard so-called scientists say that they would not be convinced of life after death even though they actually saw a ghost, for having settled by reason and logic to their own complete satisfaction that there are no ghosts, they would consider themselves suffering from a hallucination if they were actually to see an apparition.
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Neither is it possible to give you authoritative statements from the Bible. The Word "immortal" is not found in the Old Testament. Then it was said, "Dying thou shalt die," and long life was held out as a reward for obedience. Nor is the word found in the four Gospels, but in the epistles of Paul it occurs six times. In one passage he speaks of Christ having brought immortality to light through the gospel. In another he tells us that "this mortality must put on immortality." In the third passage he makes clear that this immortality is given to those who seek for it. In a fourth place he speaks of our state, "When this mortal shall have put on immortality." In a fifth place he declares that "God only has immortality," and the sixth passage is an adoration of the King Eternal, immortal and invisible. Thus the Bible does not by any means teach that the soul is immortal, but on the other hand it says emphatically, "the soul that sinneth it must die."
Were the soul inherently and intrinsically imperishable that would be an impossibility. Nor can we prove immortality from the Bible by passages as John 3:16: "God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whose believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life." If we rely upon that word to prove that the soul is without end, possessed of interminable life, we must also accept the passages which state that the souls are doomed to everlasting torment as claimed by some of the orthodox sects. But as a matter of fact these passages do not prove a life of unending bliss or torment. If you will take Liddel and Scott's Greek dictionary and look up the word you will find that the word translated everlasting in the Bible is a Greek word "aionian," which means for a "little while," "an age," "a little time," "a life time." You will readily see that in the case of Onesimus concerning whom Paul writes to Philemon, "for perhaps he therefore departed for a season that thou shouldst receive him forever." This word forever could only mean the few years of Onesimus' life on earth, and not infinite duration.
What then is the solution? Is immortality only a figment of the fancy and incapable of proof? By no means, but we must differentiate sharply between the soul and the Spirit. These two words are too often taken as synonymous and they are not. We have in the Bible the Hebrew word ruach, and the Greek word pneuma, both meaning Spirit, while the Hebrew word neshammah and the Greek word psuke mean soul. In addition to these we have the Hebrew word nephesh, which means breath, but has been translated life in some places and soul in others, as suited the purpose of the translators of the Bible. And that is what creates confusion. For instance, we are told in Genesis that Jehovah formed man from the dust of the earth and blew into his nostrils the breath (nephesh) and man become a breathing creature (nephese chayim), not a living soul.
Regarding death we are told in Ecclesiastes 3:19-20, also in other places, that there is no difference between the man and the animal, "as the one dieth so dieth the other, for they have all one breath," (nephesh again). Thus is indicated that man has no pre-eminence above the beast and all go unto one place. But there is a very definite distinction made between the spirit and the body, for we are told that "when the silver cord is loosed then shall the body return to the dust whence it was taken and the Spirit to God who gave it." The word death is nowhere connected with the Spirit, and the doctrine of the immortality of the Spirit is taught definitely at least once in the Bible: Matthew 11-14, where the Christ said concerning John the Baptist, "This is Elijah." The Spirit which had ensouled the body of Elijah was reborn as John the Baptist. It must therefore have survived bodily death and have been capable of continuity of life.
For the deeper and more definite teachings concerning this matter we must however go to the mystic teaching, and we learn from The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception that the Virgin Spirits sent out into the wilderness of the world as Lightrays from the Divine Flame, which is our Father in heaven, first underwent a process of involution into matter, each ray crystallizing itself into a threefold body. Then mind was given, and became the fulcrum upon which the involution turns to evolution, and epigenesis, the divine creative ability inherent in the indwelling Spirit, is the lever by which the threefold body is spiritualized into the threefold soul and amalgamated with the threefold Spirit, soul being the extract of experience whereby the Spirit is nourished from ignorance to omniscience, from impotence to omnipotence, and thus finally becomes like its Father in heaven.
It is impossible for us with our present limited capabilities to even conceive of the magnitude of this task, but we can understand that we are a long, long, way from omniscience and omnipotence, so that this must require many lives. Therefore we go to the school of life, as the child goes to our schools here. And as there are nights of rest between the children's school days so there are nights of death between our days in Life's Schools. The child takes up its studies each day where it left off the previous afternoon. So also we, when coming to rebirth, take up the lessons of life where we left off in our previous existence.
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If the questions asked why we do not remember our previous existences if we have had them, the answer is easy. We do not now remember what we did a month ago, a year, or a few years ago. How then could we expect to remember so much farther back? We had a different brain attuned to the consciousness of the previous life. Nevertheless, there are people who remember their past existences and more are cultivating the faculty every year, it being latent within each human being.
But as Paul says very properly in the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians, "if the dead rise not, then our faith is vain and we are of all men the most miserable." Therefore the neophyte who has passed the door of initiation into the invisible world is always brought to the bedside of a dying child. He sees the Spirit pass out and is told to watch that Spirit in the invisible world until it seeks new embodiment. For this purpose a child is generally selected which is destined to seek rebirth within a year or two. Thus within a comparatively short time the neophyte sees for himself how a Spirit passed out through the portal of death and enters physical life again through the womb. Then he has the proof. Reason and faith must suffice those who are not prepared to pay the price for firsthand knowledge, which is not to be bought for gold. The price is paid in one's lifeblood.
Fate or Free Will?
Question: Can we by force of will control the aspects shown in our horoscope? Have we any right thus to change the destiny brought over form our last life?
Answer: Can we by force of will control the aspects in our horoscope? That is a pretty big question, but we may say that if the aspects in one's horoscope can't be controlled, and we have to do thus and so, then we might as well lie down and take our medicine and drift along. If fate rules and we are helpless on the sea of life, what in the world would be the use of studying astrology? What would be the one factor that is not shown in the horoscope, and that is the will of man. That is what makes all the difference.
Let us suppose that two people have the same aspects coming on in their horoscopes; they may have been born close to the same time and may get horoscopes that are very much alike in some respects. They have the same sign rising and the same planets are in conjunction. Suppose they have the same afflictions coming on to one of the major planets, and one sits down and says, "I can't help it. Here it is. I have simply got to go through with it. There is no use fighting." And the other would say, "I am not going to submit. I am going to stand up in my boots and fight." The mental attitude of the latter would change events entirely for him.
That is why we never can predict with absolute certainty. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred we can predict with certainty because most people drift with the tide, but that is just the reason for studying astrology. By means of the stellar science we know what is coming, and if we see something evil, we can say, "I know there is a certain influence coming and I am not going to submit to it." We have seen, however, so many, many cases where people are ruled by their stars in spite of all. We have told people a certain influence would come up and that they would act rashly to their great hurt if they weren't careful, and at the very moment predicted they would go and do just the very thing they have been warned against.
However, there is this great comfort: the stars impel but they cannot compel. That is the basis upon which we should work with the stars to bring out all the good of our horoscope. When we see the good aspects coming, something that makes for soul growth, try to work with it by all means. People are too often prone to let good aspects take care of themselves, as well as the evil. Whether we are going to take up our part, is something that can't be foretold.
Have we any right to change destiny brought over? Certainly, that is what we are supposed to do. In a former life we drifted into a certain stellar position, and we had to bring it over with us. Now we are here just for the purpose of learning to guide ourselves and rule our stars, and that is just what the science of astrology is given to us for. We must try to do the best we can with this knowledge, otherwise it may become a curse. There are people who constantly watch their horoscopes with the attitude of: "I am going to be sick and I can see death is certain," etc. If that is the way they are going to use it, it is better not to study astrology.
Interfering With Karma
Question: Is it wrong to interfere with karma, or should we assert our divinity and rise above circumstances by affirmation of our godhood?
Answer: A question like the above was asked Mr. Heindel at one of his recent lectures in Los Angeles, and he answered about as follows: While all great religions are God-given, there is a Western religion for the Western people as well as Hinduism for the people of India, and there is no good reason why the West should copy Eastern terminology and force people in the West to learn Sanskrit when the West has its own excellent language, with terms capable of explaining everything. To make the matter clear, we will take an instance which occurred a number of years ago. There was at that time a controversy in a certain society which makes the mistake of promulgating Eastern teachings and using their terms in the West. The dispute was about the word "Avyaktam."
Not even the Hindus are certain about the meaning of their terminology. Tons of paper and barrels of ink were used to settle the controversy and the following seems to be the definition upon which they finally compromised: "Avyaktam" is Parabraham clothed in Mulaprakriti, from which its Upahhis are made during the Manvantara, and into which they are again resolved on arrival of the Arolaya." Mr. Heindel then said that he hoped the audience understood the meaning of "Avyaktam." When the audience laughed and shook their heads, the speaker expressed himself as being sorry for their lack of understanding of such a highly learned explanation, he would try the ordinary, garden variety of English and see if that would explain. "Avyaktam is Deity clothed in Cosmic Root Substance, from which its vehicles are made during the Day of Manifestation, and into which they again resolve on arrival of the Cosmic Night."
When the audience had declared they comprehended this explanation, Mr. Heindel said it is the same with the word "karma." Everybody in the U.S. and a large part of the world besides, knows what a "debt of destiny" is without explanation, and there are a number of other English words which may be used with better effect than the Hindu word karma, which is meaningless to the majority of Westerners. The speaker also held that such words as "astral" and "incarnation" were out of place because they have been conceived to mean something not warranted. He was sorry that the word "incarnation" had been used in our earliest literature, notably in the Cosmo. The Elder Brothers who gave him the teaching in German always used the word "Wiedergeburt" which means rebirth, and there is a great deal of difference between the two terms which may not appear at first sight.
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It is possible for a Spirit to incarnate in an adult body by ousting the owner from his vehicle, by obsessing the body, but when we say rebirth, there is, and can be, only one meaning. In view of these facts he urges upon students never to use the term "incarnation" but always the word rebirth. Continuing he answered the question as follows: We will now take up the first part of the question, Is it wrong to interfere with destiny? And to arrive at a conclusion, let us first realize who made the destiny! WE did. We set the force going which has now ripened into destiny, and having made it, we certainly have the right to change it in so far as we are able. In fact this is the hallmark of Divinity—to rule ourselves. The very greatest majority of mankind is ruled by the heavenly orbs which may be called the "Clock of Destiny." The twelve signs of the zodiac mark the twelve hours of the day and night, the planets may be likened to the hour hand and show the year when a certain debt of destiny is ripe for expression in our lives. The Moon indicates the month, and attracts certain influences felt by us without our knowing that they are being exerted, or without our realization of what they are for.
However, these influences will tend to bring our actions in line with the destiny which we have made in previous years or previous lives, and invariably the thing which is foreshown will come to pass.
That is it will unless we exert ourselves. Yes, there is an unless, thank God, for if it were not so, if there were no possibility of changing destiny, then we might as well sit down and say, "Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die." We should then be in the hands of inexorable fate, and unable to help ourselves. But, thank God, there is one chance which is not shown in the horoscope, namely, that the human Will may assert itself and frustrate Fate. You remember that beautiful little poem in the Cosmo:
"One ship sails east and another sails west
With the self same wind that blows.
"Tis the set of the sail, and not the gale
Which determines the way they go."
It is of the utmost importance that we set the sails of the barque of our lives as we want and never scruple about interfering with fate.
This disposes also of the idea of "affirmations" as a factor in life. This in itself is folly. It is work and action that we need in life, as you will readily see by an illustration. Suppose a little seed of those beautiful carnations were endowed with speech, and it came to us saying, "I am a carnation." Would you not Answer: "No, you are not a carnation, you foolish little thing. You have the potentiality in you, but you will have to go out into the garden and bury yourself for a while and grow. By that process alone can you become a carnation, never by affirmation." Similarly with ourselves. All the "affirmations" of Divinity are in vain unless accompanied by actions of a divine character. Deeds will prove our divinity as words never can.
The Fruit of Evolution
Question: What is it we bring back after our evolutionary journey? If spirit is perfect in the beginning, what can we add?
Answer: We are taught that in the beginning of manifestation God, the Great Spirit, differentiates within Himself (not from Himself) a number of Spirits which are as sparks from a flame, partakers of the divine nature, yet no one will contend that a spark is as good and as illuminative as the flame, though of the same substance. Before the differentiation these Spirits possessed and partook of the divine all-consciousness, omniscience, and other attributes. These divine faculties are latent in them, and the pilgrimage through matter, the evolutionary journey, is designed for the purpose of fanning these sparks into flames and unfolding the attributes which are in latency to potency, so that they may become dynamic powers, ready for use by each individual Spirit.
However, there is something more gained. When the wind blows over a new-mown hay field it absorbs and carries with itself the fragrance of the myriad of flowers. It is laden with the incense peculiar to that field. In another place, where the wind blows through a garden of roses or of orange blossom, it gathers a different scent. Similarly with the evolving Spirits.
Each one, during the fanning process in the evolutionary field, gathers the aroma of its individual experience, and at the end of evolution when, as Prodigal Sons, we return to the bosom of the Father, each one of us will carry with him or her the aroma of his particular and individual experience upon the evolutionary journey. This composite essence, then, will be amalgamated with the great Divine Spirit of the Father; we shall then all be partakers of one another's experience, and the Father will be partaker of all of our experience. Thus there will be a distinct gain to all concerned, for besides having evolved our own individuality we shall learn and partake of the knowledge and experience gathered by all the other Spirits in our life wave.
Rosicrucian Viewpoint of Capital Punishment
Question: Do the Rosicrucians believe in capital punishment, and if so, please state the reasons why. When a man has been executed, does he come under the law of infant mortality in his next life and die as a child the same as victims of accidents?
Answer: The Rosicrucian Teachings are never in conflict with the Christian religion, and we know that according to the doctrine of Christ the principle of retaliation, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," is absolutely wrong. Besides, from the esoteric standpoint there are other good and sufficient reasons why capital punishment is emphatically the worst possible manner of dealing with a dangerous man. So long as such a man is in the physical body it is easy to restrain him and put him in a place where he cannot do society any harm, but when we hang or electrocute him we actually set him at liberty in the Desire World where it is possible for him to influence others to a much greater extent than here.
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Such people who are a menace to society are not slow in finding out their possibilities and taking advantage of them. They incite others who have a grievance against the community to do their work by encouraging them to wreck buildings, commit murder or rape, or perhaps gratify a personal grievance against some enemy by taking his life. Thus one murder will result in a number of other crimes by the practice of capital punishment. On the other hand, if the murderer were imprisoned for the safety of the community it is possible that during the years of his life in such an institution he would change his views. A great many of them do repent of their crimes, and then when released from the body and sent out into the Desire World at death they are no longer a menace to society and will not have an evil influence upon others.
For these reasons capital punishment is really subversive of the purpose for which it is meted out. It does not act as a deterrent to others, but actually fosters crime. Thus, even apart from the facts that the practice of retaliation is absolutely wrong, that we have no right to take a life which we cannot give, and that at times the wrong man is found guilty and executed for a crime he never committed while the real murderer goes free, capital punishment should be abolished to lessen crime.
Referring to your question as to whether a murderer who has been executed will have to die as a child in the next life, we may answer, yes. According to the law of infant mortality, anyone who dies under horrible circumstances so that he does not attend to the panorama of his life, which is reviewed just after death, does not reap the fruits of his past life. When a person is executed, the shock, the anger, and the resentment he feels—the horrors of the whole proceeding—deprive him of the peace and quiet necessary to the post-mortem work so that he will not obtain a record of the life just ended. Therefore, this lack will have to be supplied by educational work done after he has died as a child in the next life exactly on the lines we have shown in other places in our literature where the law of infant mortality is explained.
Young Souls and Old
Question: You speak of young souls. were not all started into this earth life at the same time, or did some come on a previous life wave?
Answer: The detailed explanation of this great question is given in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, particularly in the section on stragglers and newcomers, but we may say briefly that the human life wave now in evolution on the earth comprises about six billion spirits. At the present time (circa 1910) about 1,500 million are embodied, so that there are about three-fourths of the human life wave in the invisible worlds. At certain periods of our development as many as 50 per cent inhabit the earth, clothed in the earthen vessel of physical bodies. It must also be remembered that in addition to these, which belong to the earth ray only, there are other hosts inhabiting Mars, Mercury, Venus, and the other planets.
However, the whole vast company of Virgin Spirits commenced their evolution in our solar system at the same time in a mineral-like existence. Differences soon developed, however. Some were found to be much more adaptable than others and they naturally progressed faster upon the path than their brethren who then become stragglers.
The Lords of Venus and the Lords of Mercury who helped us in our evolution are also Spirits belonging to our life wave and they have evolved so immeasurably far beyond our present status that they may look upon us as a grown young man regards his baby sister or brother.
Question: You sometimes speak of young souls and old souls. were we not all started in this earth life at the same time, or did some come on a previous life wave? Are not all the white people of the same soul age?
Answer: Yes, we started at the same time as the Virgin Spirits on our pilgrimage of evolution, but from the very start there were some who were more adaptable to their environment than others. Therefore from the very beginning there have been some who have straggled behind in life's school, just the same as we find children in our schools at the present day. Some are more precocious than others, and these precocious ones in life's schools are naturally able to pass into phases of evolution carrying with them a higher degree of consciousness than others.
Thus the life wave which is now human has been automatically divided into a number of classes which we now see as white, black, red, and yellow people, and the lowest of the school are now the anthropoid apes. On the other hand there are also some who have been particularly precocious and who have taken higher steps in evolution than the majority of mankind. They are, comparatively speaking, very few, however, and we find them as Initiates, Adepts, and Elder Brothers of humanity who stand at the top of the ladder of the human life wave. Therefore, it is true that we have all been on the road of evolution the same length of time, but some have been more adaptable, more diligent. Consequently they have gathered for themselves a greater amount of experience. That is what really makes the soul age, so that those who have attained the highest amount of knowledge may probably be called "old souls," while those who are behind them are comparatively speaking "young souls." Those Spirits who inhabit the anthropoids we may say are "soulless."
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Judging Soul Age
Question: I should like to ask a question regarding a statement made by Mr. Heindel in some of his writings to the effect that when the ascendant is in Aries it shows that the native is a young soul, or in other words, as it were, in the beginning of material manifestation. Opposing this, Mr. Heindel also says that whenever the ascendant occurs in Scorpio, it indicates that dissolution has taken place as a beginning.
Now while the Aries aspect indicates a physical proposition, the Scorpio aspect leaves one in doubt. Is this Scorpio aspect related to the physical alone and in what manner? Does dissolution follow immediately or is it of a gradual nature, finally culminating in the passing of the sign Pisces?
Mr. Heindel also states that the chart of a seven months' child is difficult to handle in that it seems out of line with the native concerned. I am a seven months' example and can vouchsafe for the truth of this statement, but taking the forepart of this letter into consideration, I am at a loss as to just how I can reconcile conditions in my home as regards the ascendant of each member and the apparent indication and inclination of each as opposed to myself.
Answer: Even if it were true that we have made the statement you ascribe to us that those who have Aries on the Ascendant at birth are young souls, that would be no guide in your case, because you admit being a seven months' child. Therefore, the general principles could not be applied in your case, but as a matter of fact we have never made such a statement. If you look up the passage to which you have reference, you will find that your memory played you a trick. What we have said, and still, say, is that the Spirit is born under all the twelve signs in order that it may gain the experience which comes from each and it may be taken on general principles that those who are born with Aries on the ascendant have just entered upon a new life cycle, a higher spiral on their path of evolution.
Thus it is evident that others in their immediate family or environment may have any of the other eleven signs rising and still be one or more rungs or spirals below or above the one who has Aries on the Ascendant. When this is understood you will also readily realize that when a person reaches Scorpio, the sign of death and dissolution, the fruits of all the lives under the various preceding signs are beginning to ripen and dissolve, so that when the Spirit progresses through Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces, these fruits are gradually assimilated and the seed ripens for the entrance of the soul into Aries and the commencement of a new life cycle.
It should also be understood that the number of births under any particular sign varies according to the adaptability of the Spirit and the readiness wherewith it learns the lessons that have been set for it by the divine Hierarchies. There may be only one birth under Aries in a certain life cycle and perhaps five or ten under other signs, and vice versa, so that if two Spirits were to enter birth under the sign Aries on the same spiral of evolution and one were diligent in learning his lessons in the school of life, he might be promoted to the Taurus or even the Gemini class before the other left Aries. Then he having a particular liking for Gemini work might speed on past the other who would be slow in the Cancer path, and so on. There are no definite rules. Everything depends upon the inherent quality of the Ego, and what one does is no criterion whatever for what another may do. Thus you cannot judge the status of any one merely by examining his Ascendant.
There is only one method that gives an approximate solution of the problem and shows what is the intention of the divine Hierarchs concerning a particular life, and that is by comparing the relative progression of the Ascendant and the Midheaven. When you do this you will note that one of them moves faster than the other. Supposing, for instance, that you progress the horoscope of a person for forty years. Let us say that one degree of Aries is on the Midheaven and one degree of Cancer on the Ascendant at birth. Suppose, then, that at the age of forty the Midheaven has progressed to Taurus 5 and the Ascendant to Leo 15. This shows that the Midheaven has traveled 35 degrees while the Ascendant has traveled 45. The Midheaven denotes the spiritual tendencies and opportunities in life, while the Ascendant shows the material side. Thus is it evident that the opportunities placed before the Ego have been mainly material and the tendency of his evolution in the particular life under consideration would be of the earth, earthly.
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But, mark this: the horoscope, as we have repeatedly reiterated, shows only tendencies, and it is quite possible for a person with such a horoscope to determine to go his own way and cultivate all the spiritual opportunities he possibly can. If he has sufficient will power to do this he may change his life entirely. Another, who Midheaven progresses faster than his Ascendant, might find it difficult to attain material success, but would have all the opportunities for soul growth he could wish placed in his path. He also may determine that he will rule his stars and succeed in worldly things, but whether he does or not depends upon the strength of his will pitted against the suasion of the stars.
Spiritual Aspects of Birth Control
Question: Will you please explain the Rosicrucian viewpoint toward birth control?
Answer: In the first place we should remember that there are about sixty billion Spirits in our life wave, going the cycle of life and death, living part of the time in the visible and part in the invisible worlds. At the present time there are only fifteen hundred million people in physical existence. This is about the lowest ebb, and that usually happens at the end of an age. During the million years or more since we came out of Atlantis the average has been fifty to sixty million people. It may also be stated that the Western people are the cream of this evolution, and therefore it has fallen to our lot to grapple with the great problems which are always incidental to a transition stage.
Woman has been the arbiter of the world's destiny in past civilizations, while man has had his way in others as is now the case. We are now upon the eve of a transition to a new Age where woman will again wield the scepter of power and man will have to submit to her dictates, but before that comes to pass an era of equality will come. This is called the Aquarian Age by esotericists, and we are beginning to feel its effects since the middle of the last century when the Sun by precession came within orb of the cusp of Aquarius. It is, however, at the present time, still in ten degrees of Pisces. At the slow rate of travel of the equinox the Sun will not reach the last degree of Aquarius until about six hundred years have passed. But during that time there will of course be so many wonderful changes in our physical, moral, and mental status, that we are unable at the present time to conceive what we shall be like then.
We who are now in the body will be followed by groups of Spirits still more evolved than we, who will bring about great reforms, and by the time the people on earth at the present time are reborn about four hundred years of the Aquarian Age will be passed, so that the world will be well started on the line development peculiar to that time. The backward Spirits who are born into the atmosphere of great intellectual attainment will thereby gain an immense uplift on the same principle that an electric conductor which is brought into close proximity to a highly charged wire will automatically receive a charge of a lower voltage. Thus each class or group which rises helps also to raise those who are below it in the scale of evolution. The matter of population, then, is not entirely governed by individuals, or by man-made laws. The Divine Hierarchs who guide our evolution arrange the matter as required for the highest good for all concerned, and the number of population is in their hands rather than in our own.
This does not mean that we cannot or should not exercise birth control in some degree as suggested by those who are responsible for that movement. It is also true that one must help people where they are and not where they ought to be. The Rosicrucian teachings emphasize the fact that like attracts like, and therefore it is a duty upon the part of those who are well developed physically, morally, and mentally to provide an environment for as many incoming Spirits as their physical and financial circumstances will permit. This duty is still more binding upon those who are also spiritually developed, for a high spiritual entity cannot enter into physical existence through a vile parentage. But when a couple has reached the point where it is deemed either dangerous to the health of the mother to bear more children, or where the financial burden would be above their means, then they should live a life of continence, not indulging the passional nature and seeking by artificial means to bar the way for incoming Egos to take advantage of the opportunity for rebirth offered them by the sexual indulgence of such a couple.
This naturally requires considerable spiritual advancement and self-control. There are few who are capable of living such a life, and one might as well preach continence to a stone wall as to the average specimen of humanity. He cannot understand that it is necessary. He even believes that it would interfere with his health, for false statements about the necessity of exercising the natural function has led to many deplorable results. Even if he could be persuaded that he ought to deny himself for the good of his mate and the children he has already brought into the world, he would probably be utterly unable to restrain himself, particularly because people in such moderate circumstances can usually not afford to have separate sleeping quarters. Therefore it may be necessary to teach these people birth control by scientific means. However, we submit that though they are unable to understand the reason why continence should be practiced, and unable to practice it because of lack of self-control, the spiritual teachings should be given repeatedly so that as the steady drop wears the stone, in time the coming generations will learn to depend on their own will power to accomplish the object of keeping their lower nature in check. Without this educational feature looking towards a spiritual emancipation, information concerning physical methods of limiting the birth rate in families that are overburdened is dangerous in the extreme.
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There is another phase of the matter which deserves elucidation. It has been said that, "the attitude of the mother's mind just prior to the reception of the seed atom is all-important in determining what sort of child she will bring into the world. A fit of temper or violent passion at this sacred moment leaves the gateway unguarded and invites the wrong sort of entity to enter." Besides the people in the world we see, the whole atmosphere about us teems with different other entities who are attracted to beings of a like nature. Just as musicians congregate in music halls, sportsmen in yacht clubs and on race tracks, etc., so do these entities gather around people of a nature similar to their own. As drunkards and gangsters gather around our physical saloons, as immoral men and women meet in so-called red light districts, so also immoral spirits gather around a home where the passions of the lower nature are indulged perhaps many times during the night or day.
There is a certain class of beings, male or female demons living in the ether, who were called by the ancient alchemists incubi and succubi, which feed upon the passions of others. What chance has a mother in such an environment of attracting desirable Spirit to take rebirth through her? And although conception is almost never synchronous with the union of the parents, but may take place at any moment within two weeks or more of that event, a mother surrounded by such influences in the home is never free from them. Some of the religions of some of the people called savages require to this day that the generative act be performed in the temple, and that is as it should be. There is no more important act in life, and instead of being condemned as a shame it ought to be exalted to the dignity of a sacrament and performed under the holiest and most inspiring circumstances possible. Were this done today as in the so-called Golden Age, we should find an upliftment and an improvement in the conditions of the world as we would not deem possible to accomplish in centuries.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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