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The Lesson Of Easter
And again it is Easter. The dark, dreary days of winter are past. Mother nature is taking the cold, snowy coverlids off the earth, and the millions and millions of seed sheltered in the soft soil are bursting its crust and clothing the earth in summer robes, a riot of gay and glorious colors, preparing the bridal bower for the mating of beasts and birds. Even in this war-torn year the song of life sounds loudly above the dirge of death. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" Christ has risen—the first fruits. He is the resurrection and the life; whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Thus at the present season the mind of the civilized world is turned towards the feast we call Easter, commemorating the death and resurrection of the individual whose life story is written in the Gospels, the noble individual known to the world by the name of Jesus. But a Christian mystic takes a deeper and more far-reaching view of this annually recurring cosmic event. For him there is an annual impregnation of the earth with the cosmic Christ life; an inbreathing which takes place during the fall months and culminates at the winter solstice when we celebrate Christmas, and an outbreathing which finds its completion at the time of Easter. The inbreathing or impregnation is manifested to us in the seeming inactivity of winter, but the outbreathing of the Christ life manifests as the resurrection force which gives new life to all that lives and moves upon the earth, life abundant, not only to sustain but to propagate and perpetuate.
Thus the cosmic drama of life and death is played annually among all evolving creatures and things from the highest to the lowest, for even the great and sublime cosmic Christ in His compassion becomes subject to death by entering the cramping conditions of our earth for a part of the year. It may therefore be appropriate to call to mind a few ideas concerning death and rebirth which we are sometimes prone to forget.
Among the cosmic symbols which have been handed down to us from antiquity none is more common that the symbol of the egg. It is found in every religion. We find it in the Elder Eddas of the Scandinavians, hoary with age, which tell of the mundane egg cooled by the icy blast of Niebelheim but heated by the fiery breath of Muspelheim until the various worlds and man had come into being. If we turn to the sunny south we find in the Vedas of India the same story in the Kalahansa, the Swan in time and space, which laid the egg that finally became the world. Among the Egyptians we find the winged globe and the oviparous serpent, symbolizing the wisdom manifest in this world of ours. Then the Greeks took this symbol and venerated it in their Mysteries. It was preserved by the Druids; it was known to the builders of the great serpent mound in Ohio; and it has kept its place in sacred symbology even to this day, though the great majority are blind to the Mysterium Magnum which it hides and reveals—the mystery of life.
When we break open the shell of an egg, we find inside only some varicolored viscous fluids of various consistencies. But placed in the requisite temperature a series of changes soon take place, and within a short time a living creature breaks open the shell and emerges therefrom, ready to take its place among its kin. It is possible for the wizards of the laboratory to duplicate the substances in the egg; they may be enclosed in a shell, and a perfect replica so far as most tests go may be made of the natural egg. But in one point it differs from the natural egg, namely, that no living thing can be hatched from the artificial product. Therefore it is evident that a certain intangible something must be present in one and absent in the other.
This mystery of the ages which produces the living creature is what we call life. Seeing that it cannot be cognized among the elements of the egg by even the most powerful microscope (though it must be there to bring about the changes which we note), it must be able to exist independently of matter. Thus we are taught by the sacred symbol of the egg that though life is able to mold matter, it does not depend upon it for its existence. It is self-existent, and having no beginning it can have no end. This is symbolized by the ovoid shape of the egg.
We are appalled at the carnage on the European battle fields, and rightly so because of the manner in which the victims are being taken out of physical life. But when we consider that the average human life is only fifty years or less, so that death reaps a harvest of fifteen hundred millions in half a century, or thirty millions per annum, or two and one-half millions every month, we see that the total has not been so greatly increased after all. And when we have the true knowledge conveyed by the egg symbol that life is uncreate, without beginning and without end, it enables us to take heart and realize that those who are now being taken out of physical existence are only passing through a cyclic journey similar to that of the cosmic Christ life which enters the earth in the fall and leaves it at Easter. Those who are killed are only going into the invisible realms, whence they will later take a new dip into physical matter, entering as all living things do the egg of the mother. After a period of gestation they will re-emerge into physical life to learn new lessons in the great school. Thus we see how the great law of analogy works in all phases and under all circumstances of life. What happens in the great world to a cosmic Christ will show itself also in the lives of those who are Christs in the making; and this will enable us to look more cheerfully upon the present struggle than would otherwise be the case.
Furthermore, we must realize that death is a cosmic necessity under the present circumstances for if we were imprisoned in a body of the kind we now use and placed in an environment such as we find today, there to live forever, the infirmities of the body and the unsatisfactory nature of the environment would very soon make us so tired of life that we would cry for release. It would block all progress and make it impossible for us to evolve to greater heights such as we may evolve to by re-embodiment in new vehicles and placement in new environments which give us new possibilities of growth. Thus we may thank God that so long as birth into a concrete body is necessary for our further development, release by death has been provided to free us from the outgrown instrument, while resurrection and a new birth under the smiling skies of a new environment furnish another chance to begin life with a clean slate and learn the lessons which we failed to master before. By this method we shall some time become perfect as is the risen Christ. He commanded it, and he will aid us to achieve it.
The Scientific Method Of Spiritual Unfoldment—Material Analogies
While we were coming down by involution into concrete existence our line of progress lay entirely in material development; but since we have rounded the nadir of materiality and are beginning to rise above the concrete, spiritual unfoldment is becoming increasingly important as a necessary factor in our development, although we still have many great and important lessons to learn from the material phase of our existence. This applies to humanity in general but particularly, of course, to those who are already consciously beginning to aspire to live the higher life. It may therefore be expedient to review from another angle the Rosicrucian teachings as to the scientific method of acquiring this spiritual unfoldment.
People of the older generation, particularly in Europe and the eastern states of America, will undoubtedly remember with pleasure their travels along quiet country lanes, and how time and again they have passed by a rippling stream with an old rustic mill, its creaking water wheel laboriously turning the crude machinery within, using but a small fraction of the power stored in the running water, which was going uselessly to waste save for such partial use. But later on a new generation came and perceived the possibilities to be realized by a scientific use of this enormous energy. Engineers began to construct dams to keep the water from flowing in the former wasteful manner. They diverted the water from the storage reservoirs through pipes or flumes to the water wheels constructed upon scientific principles, and they husbanded the great energy which they had stored by letting in only enough water to turn the water wheels at a given speed and with a given load.
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But while the scientifically constructed water wheel was a giant compared with its crude predecessor, it was subject to some of the same limitations; its enormous energy could only be used at the place where the power was located, and such places are usually many miles from the centers of civilization where power is most needed. By working with the laws of nature, man had secured a servant of inexhaustible energy; but how to make it available where most needed, that was the question. To solve that problem, again the laws of nature were invoked; electric generators were coupled to the water wheels, the water power was transformed into electrical energy and an endeavor made to send it from the sources of its development to the cities where it might be used. But this again required scientific methods of working with the laws of nature, for it was found that different metals transmit electricity with varying facility, the best of them being copper and silver. Copper was therefore chosen as the less expensive of the two.
Let the student observe that we cannot compel these forces to do anything; whenever we use them it is by working with the laws that govern their manifestation, by choosing the line of least resistance to obtain the maximum of energy. If wires of iron or German silver, which have a comparatively high resistance, had been chosen as transmitters, a great deal of energy would have been thus lost, besides, other complications would have resulted which we need not enter into for our purpose. But by working with the laws of nature and choosing the line of least resistance, we obtain the best result in the easiest manner.
There were other problems which confronted these experimenters in their transformation of the water power used in the old water wheels, to electricity usable many miles from the source of power. It was found that an electric current would always seek the ground by the nearest path if there were any possibility of so doing. Hence it became necessary that the wire carrying the electric current be separated from the earth by some material that would prevent it from thus escaping, exactly as a high wall keeps a prisoner behind it. Something had to be found for which electricity had a natural aversion, and this was discovered in glass, porcelain, and certain fibrous substances, thus solving by scientific means and ingenuity, working always with the laws of nature, the problem of how to use the best advantage in distant places the great energy which the old crude mill wheel had wasted at its source.
The same application of scientific methods to other problems of life, such as gardening, has also secured wonderful results for the benefit and comfort of humanity, making two hundred blades of grass grow where formerly by the crude old methods not one even could find sustenance. Wizards like Luther Burbank have improved upon the wild varieties of fruit and vegetables, making them larger, more luscious and palatable, as well as more prolific; and wherever, haphazard practices of former days, the same beneficial results have been achieved. But as said before, and this is very important for our consideration, everything that has been done has been accomplished by working with the laws of nature.
The Hermetic axiom, "As above so below," enunciates the law an analogy, the master-key to all mysteries, spiritual or material, and we may safely infer that what holds good in the application of scientific methods to material problems will have equal force when applied to the solution of spiritual mysteries. The most cursory review of religious development in the past will be sufficient to show that it has been anything but scientific and systematic, and that the most haphazard methods have prevailed. On account of their capacity for devotion, a few have risen to sublime heights of spirituality and are known through the ages as Saints, shining lights upon the pathway, showing what may be done. But how to achieve that sublime spirituality has been and is a mystery to all, even to those who most ardently desire such development, and these are, alas, comparatively few at the present time.
The Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucians have, however, originated a scientific method, which, if persistently and consistently followed, will develop the sleeping soul powers in any individual, just as surely as constant practice will make a person proficient in any material line of endeavor. To understand this matter it is necessary to realize the facts in the case; it was the old crude mill wheel that gave the scientific engineer his ideas of how to utilize water power in an efficient manner and to much greater advantage. If we first study the natural development of soul power by evolution, we shall then be in a position to understand the great and beneficial results to be derived from an application of scientific methods to this important matter. Students of the Rosicrucian teachings are of course familiar with the main points in this process of humanity's development by evolution, but there may be a number who are not so informed, and so for their sake we will give a little fuller outline than might otherwise be necessary.
Science says, and correctly so, that an invisible, intangible substance called ether permeates everything from the densest solids to the air which we breathe. This ether has never been seen, measured, or analyzed by science, but it is necessary to postulate its existence in order to account for various phenomena such as, for instance, the transmission of light through a vacuum. There, science says, ether is the medium of transmission of the light ray. Thus the ether carries to us a picture of our vision, and impresses it upon the retina of our eyes. Similarly, when a motion-picture operator photographs a number of scenes in a play, the ether carries pictures of all objects, the motions they make, etc., to the minutest details, through the lens of his camera to the sensitized plate, leaving a complete record of all the scenery and every act of the actors in that play. And if there were in our eyes a similar sensitized film of sufficient length to hold the pictures, we should at the end of our life have a complete record of every event that had taken place in it, that is, provided we could see.
But there are a number of people who are deficient in various senses; one thing however, they must all do to live: they must breathe. And nature, which is only another name for God, has thus rightly decreed that the record be kept by this universally used means. Every moment of our action in the drama of life from the first breath to the last dying gasp, the ether which is drawn into our lungs carries with it a complete picture of our outside environment, of our actions and the actions of other people who are with us, the record being impressed upon one single little atom placed in the left ventricle at the apex of the heart where the newly oxygenated blood, thus carrying with it a different picture for every moment of our life, passes by in a continual stream. Therefore all that we say or do from the least to the greatest, from the best to the worst, is written in our heart in indelible characters. This record is the basis of the natural slow method of soul growth by evolution, corresponding to the crude and ancient water wheel. In the next section we shall see how it is thus used and how by scientific means soul growth may be accomplished and soul power unfolded by an improvement on this process.
The Scientific Method Of Spiritual Unfoldment—Retrospection—A Means Of Avoiding Purgatory
We saw in the last section that a record resembling a picture film, of our life from the cradle to the grave is inscribed upon a little atom in the heart by the action of the ether which we inhale with every breath, and which carries with it a picture of the outside world in which we are living and moving at the time. This forms the basis of our post-mortem existence, the record of deeds of wrongdoing being eradicated in a painful purgatorial experience caused by the fire of remorse, which sears the soul as the pictures of its misdeeds unroll before its gaze, thus making it less prone to repeat the same wrongdoing and mistakes in future lives. The reaction from the pictures where good was done is a heavenly joy, the subconscious remembrance of which will in later lives prompt the soul to do more good. But this process is necessarily slow and may be likened to the action and operation of the old mill wheel. However, it is the way designed by nature to teach humanity how to walk circumspectly and obey her laws. By this slow process the greater part of humanity is gradually evolving from egoism to altruism, and though exceedingly slow it seems to be the only method by which they will learn.
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There is another class which has caught a glimpse of a vision and sees in the distant future a glorified humanity, expressly all the divine attributes and living a life of love and peace. That class is aiming its bow of aspiration at the stars, and is endeavoring to attain in one or a few short lives what its fellow men will require hundreds of embodiments to accomplish. To that end they, like the pioneers in the harnessing of the waters and the scientific transmission of electricity, are seeking for a scientific method which will eliminate the waste of time and energy involved in the slow process of evolution and enable them to do the great work of self-unfoldment scientifically and without waste of energy. That was the problem which the early Rosicrucians set themselves to solve, and having discovered this method they are now teaching the same to their faithful followers, to the eternal welfare of all who aspire and persevere. Just as the engineers who undertook to improve the primitive mill wheel and accomplish the transmission of electricity to distant points achieved their object by first studying the effects and defects of the primitive device, so also the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucians first studied by the aid of their spiritual sight all the phases of ordinary human evolution in the post-mortem state as well as in the physical world, so that they might determine how through many lives progress is gradually attained. They also studied such glyphs and symbols as had been given to humanity throughout the ages, to aid them in soul growth, notably the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, which, as Paul says, was a shadow of better things to come, and they found the secret of soul growth hidden in the various appliances and appurtenances used in that ancient place of worship. As the scenes in the life panorama which unrolls before the eyes of the soul after death, cause a suffering in purgatory which cleanses the soul from a desire to repeat the offenses which generated those pictures, so the salt wherewith the sacrifices upon the altar of burnt offerings in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness were rubbed before being placed before the altar and the fire wherewith they were consumed symbolized a double fiery pain similar to that felt by the soul in purgatory. Confident in the Hermetic axiom, "as above, so below," they evolved the method of Retrospection as being in harmony with the cosmic laws of soul growth, and capable of accomplishing day by day that which the purgatorial experience does only once in a lifetime, namely, cleansing the soul from sin by the fire of remorse.
But when we say "Retrospection," it happens not infrequently that people say, "Oh, that is taught by other religious bodies and I have practiced it all my life; I examine the day's doings every evening before going to sleep."
So far, so good. But that is not sufficient. In order to perform this exercise scientifically it is necessary to follow the process of nature as the electrician did when he desired to insulate the electric current from the ground and found that glass, porcelain and fiber would act as barriers to its passage. We must conform in every particular to the processes of nature in her methods of attaining soul growth. When we study the purgatorial expiation, we find that the life panorama is unfolded in reverse order, from the grave to the cradle, scenes that were enacted late in life being taken up for expiation first, and those which occurred in early youth being the last to be dealt with. This, in order to show the soul how certain effects in life were brought about by causes generated at an earlier stage. Similarly, the scientific method of soul unfoldment requires that the aspirant must examine his life every evening before going to sleep, starting with the scenes which were enacted late in the evening just prior to retiring for the night, then gradually proceeding in reverse order towards the things which were done in the afternoon, then those which took place in the morning, and back to the very moment of awakening. But also, and this is very important, it is not sufficient to merely examine these scenes in a perfunctory way and admit being sorry when one comes to a scene where one was unkind or unjust to another person. There the glyph contained in the altar of burnt offerings gives specific instruction; just as the sacrifices were rubbed with salt which, as everyone knows burns and smarts exceedingly when rubbed into a would, and just as fire, such as is applied on the altar of burnt offerings to the sacrifice, consumes the same offerings, so also the aspirant to soul growth must realize that he is both priest and sacrifice, the altar and the fire burning thereon; he must allow the salt and the fire of remorse to burn and sear into his very heart a deep-felt contrition at the thought of whatever wrong he has done, for only such a deep and serious treatment of the matter will wash the record away from the seed atom in the heart and leave it clean. And unless that is done, nothing has been accomplished. But if the aspirant to scientific soul unfoldment succeed in making this fire of remorse and contrition sufficiently intense, then the seed atom will be cleansed of the sin committed day by day throughout the life, and even the things that have taken place before such exercises were taken up will gradually disappear before that cleansing fire, so that the end of life when the silver cord has been loosened the aspirant find himself without any panorama of life to take up his attention, such as all ordinary people are occupied with who have not been fortunate enough to be taught and to practice this scientific method. The result then is that instead of having to spend in purgatorial expiation a period of time about one-third as long as the life lived in the dense body, he who steadily and unwaveringly practices this method finds himself as a free lance in the invisible world, not bound by limitations which hold and fetter all others, and therefore free to use his entire time while in the lower regions in the service of suffering humanity. But there is a great difference between the opportunities there and here; here one-third of our life is taken up with rest and recuperation, another third is taken up in work so that we may obtain the wherewithal to keep this physical body fed, clothed, and housed; and only the other third is at all available for the purposes of rest, recreation, or soul growth. It is different in the Desire World where the spirit finds itself after death. The bodies in which we function there do not require food or raiment, neither do they need shelter; they are not subject to fatigue either, so that instead of spending two-thirds of the time as here in providing the necessaries of the body, the spirit is there free to use its instruments the whole twenty-four hours, day after day. Therefore the time saved in the invisible world by having lived our purgatory day by day is the equivalent of that portion of an entire earth life which one spends in work. Also during all that time thus saved no thought or care need be given to anything else but how we may help to further the scheme of evolution and aid our younger and less fortunate brothers. Thus we reap a rich harvest and make more soul growth in that post-mortem existence than would be possible in several ordinary lives. When we are reborn we then find ourselves with all the soul powers thus acquired and much further along upon the path of evolution than we could possibly have been under ordinary circumstances.
It is also noteworthy that while other methods of soul unfoldment evolved and taught by other schools carry with them danger which sometimes may bring those who practice them into the insane asylum, the scientific method of soul unfoldment advocated by the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian order is always bound to benefit everyone who practices it and can never under any circumstances cause any harm to anyone. We may also say that there are other helps that have not been mentioned here which are communicated to those who have proved their worth by their persistence, and while they do not directly aim at the evolution of spiritual sight, this will be evolved by all who practice them with the necessary faithful perseverance.
The Heavens Declare The Glory Of God
"The Heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race."
Everywhere for miles around us we see the glorious sunrise, bringing light and life to all; then the day star mounts high in the heavens, later to decline towards the western horizon in a glorious burst of flame as its sinks into the sea, leaving an afterglow of indescribable, variegated tints coloring the heavens as with liquid fire of the softest and most beautiful hues, which the brush of the painter can never paint to perfection. Then the moon, the orb of night, rises over the eastern hills, carrying the stars and constellations upward in her train toward the zenith, and following the sun in its everlasting circle dance; the stellar script thus describes upon the map of heaven man's past, present and future evolution among the ever changing environments of the concrete world, without rest or peace while time lasts.
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In this ever changing kaleidoscope of the heavens there is one star and only one that remains so comparatively stationary that to all intents and purposes and from the standpoint of our ephemeral life of fifty, sixty, or one hundred years it is a fixed point—the North Star. When the mariner sails his ship upon the waste of waters, he has full faith that so long as he steers by that mark he will safely reach his desired haven. Nor is he dismayed when clouds obscure its guiding light, for he has a compass magnetized by a mysterious power so that through sunshine or rain, in fog or mist, it points unerringly to that steadfast star and enables him to steer his ship as safely as if he could actually see the star itself. Truly, the heavens declare the wonders of the Lord.
As it is in the macrocosm, the great world without us, so it is in our own lives. At our birth the sun of life rises, and we begin the ascent through the years of childhood and youth toward the zenith of manhood or womanhood. The ever changing world which forms our environment, including fathers, mothers, sisters, and brothers, surrounds us. With friends, acquaintances, and foes we face the battle of life with whatever strength we may have gained in our past lives, to pay the debts contracted, to bear the burdens of this life, perhaps to make them heavier according to our wisdom or unwisdom. But among all the changing circumstances of life and the vicissitudes of existence there is one great and grand guide which like the North Star never fails us; a guide ever ready like the steadfast star in heaven to help us steer our bark of life into clear sailing—God. It is significant to read in the Bible that the wise men in their search for the Christ (our Great Spiritual Teacher) also followed a star that led them to this great spiritual Light. What would we think of the captain of a ship who lashed the wheel and let his ship drift with the tide, leaving it to the change of wind or fate? Would it surprise us if he were eventually shipwrecked and lost his life upon the rocks? Surely not. The marvel would be if he should reach the shore.
A great and wonderful allegory is written in cosmic characters in the sky. It is also written in our own lives, and warns us to forsake the fleeting life of the material and to seek the eternal life of God.
We are not left without a guide, even though the veil of flesh, the pride of life, and the lusts blind us for a time. For as the mariner's magnetic compass points to the guiding star, so the spirit draws us to its source with a longing and a yearning that cannot be entirely quenched no matter how deep we may sink into materialism. Many are at present groping, seeking, trying to solve that inner unrest; something seems to urge them on though they do not understand it; something ever draws them forward to seek the spiritual and to reach up for something higher—our Father in Heaven.
David said, "if I ascend up into heaven thou art there; if I make my bed in the grave thou art there; thy right hand shall guide and hold me." In the 28th Psalm, he says, "when I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands, thou hast put all things under his feet."
This is nothing new to those who are seeking the Light, who have been doing their very best to live the life; but the danger lies in that they may become indifferent, may become spiritually common-place. Therefore, as the steersman at the helm of the ship is constantly wakeful and watching the guiding compass, so it is of the greatest importance that we continually shake ourselves lest we go to sleep and the ship of our life go off its course. Let us all set our faces firmly towards this star of hope, this great spiritual light, the real and only thing worth while—the life of God.
Religion And Healing
At various times and in different ways humanity has been given religions suited to spur them onward upon the path of evolution. In each the ideal was made just high enough to rouse the aspirations of the class of people to whom it was given, but not so high as to be beyond their appreciation, for then it would not have appealed to them at all. The savage, for instance, must have a strong God, one who wields the flaming sword of lightning with mighty hand. He can look up to such a God in fear, but would despise a God who would show love and mercy.
Therefore religions have also changed as man has evolved; the ideal has been slowly raised until it has reach the highest stage in our Christian teaching. The flower of religions is always given to the flower of humanity. In a future age a higher religion will of course be given to a more advanced race. There can be no end to evolution, but we maintain that the invisible leaders of humanity give to each nation the teaching best suited to their condition. Hinduism helps our brothers in the East, but Christianity is the Western teaching, particularly suited to Western people.
Thus we see that the mass of humanity is taken care of by the religion publicly taught in the country of their birth; but there are always pioneers whose precocity demands a higher teaching, and to them a deeper doctrine is given through the agency of the Mystery School belonging to their country. When only a few are ready for such preparatory schooling they are taught privately, but as they increase in number the teaching is given more publicly.
The latter is the case in the Western world at present. Therefore the Brothers of the Rose Cross gave to the writer a philosophy such as published in our various works, and sanctioned the launching of The Rosicrucian Fellowship to promulgate this teaching. The purpose is to bring aspiring souls into contact with the Teacher when by service here, in the physical world, they have shown their sincerity and given reasonable assurance that they will use their spiritual powers for service in the other world when they shall have been initiated therein.
The higher teachings are never given for a monetary consideration. Peter in olden days rebuked Simon the sorcerer, who wanted to buy spiritual power that he might prostitute it for material gain. The Elder Brothers also refuse to open the door to those who prostitute the spiritual sciences by casting horoscopes, reading palms, or giving clairvoyant readings professionally for money. The Rosicrucian Teachings advocates the study of astrology and palmistry by all its members, and furnishes simple teachings on the former in textbooks at merely nominal cost so that all may acquire ability in this science instead of remaining the dupes of professionals, who are often mere pretenders.
During the past few years since we first commenced to disseminate the Rosicrucian teachings they have spread like wildfire over the civilized world. They are studied with avidity from the Cape of Good Hope to the Arctic Circle and beyond. They have found response in the hearts of all classes of people throughout the world. Our adherents may be found in government institutions as well as in the humblest walks of life, all in lively correspondence and close touch with our movement and working for the promulgation of the deeper truths concerning life and being which are helping them.
The Rosicrucian Principles Of Healing
It is a trite saying that "man is of few days and full of trouble." Among all the vicissitudes of life none affect us more powerfully than loss of health. We may lose fortune or friends with comparative equanimity, but when health fails and death threatens, the strongest falter; realizing human impotence we are more ready to turn to divine power for succor then than at other times. Therefore the office of spiritual adviser has always been closely associated with healing.
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Among savages the priest was also "medicine man." In ancient Greece Aesculapius was particularly sought by those in need of healing. The Church followed in his steps. Certain Catholic orders have continued the endeavor to assuage pain during the centuries which have intervened between that day and the present. In times of sickness the "good father" came as a representative of our Father in Heaven, and what he lacked in skill was made up by love and sympathy—if he was indeed a true and holy priest—and by the faith engendered in the patient by the priestly office. His care of the patient did not commence at the sickbed, nor was it terminated at recovery. The gratitude of the patient toward the physician was added to the veneration felt for the spiritual adviser, and as a consequence the power of the priest to help and uplift his erstwhile patient was enormously increased, and the tie between them was closer than possible where the offices of spiritual and medical adviser are divorced.
It is not denied that the double office gave the incumbents a most dangerous power over the people and that that power was at times abused. It is also patent that the art of medicine has reached a stage of efficiency which could not have been attained save by devotion to that one particular end and aim. The safeguards of sanitary laws, the extinction of insect carriers of disease, and the consequent immunity from disease are monumental testimonies to the value of modern scientific methods. Thus it may seem as if all were well and there were no need of further effort. But in reality, until humanity as a whole enjoys perfect health, there is no issue more important than the question, How may we attain and maintain health?
In addition to the regular school of surgery and medicine, which depends exclusively upon physical means for the care of disease, other systems have sprung up which depend entirely on mental healings. It is the custom of organizations which advocate "mind cure," "nature cure," and other like methods to hold experience meetings and publish journals with testimonials from grateful supporters who have benefited by their treatments, and if physicians of the regular school did likewise there would be no lack of similar testimonies to their efficiency.
The opinion of thousands is of great value, but is does not prove anything, for thousands may hold an opposite view. Occasionally a single man may be right and the rest of the world wrong, as when Galileo maintained that the earth moves. Today the whole world has been converted to the opinion for which he was persecuted as a heretic. We assert that as man is a composite being, cures are successful in proportion as they remedy defects on the physical, moral, and mental planes of being. We also maintain that results may be obtained more easily at certain times when the stellar rays are propitious for the healing of a particular disease or for treatment with remedies previously prepared under auspicious conditions.
It is well known to the modern physician that the condition of the blood, and therefore the condition of the whole body, changes in sympathy with the state of mind of the patient, and the more the physician uses suggestion as an adjunct to medicine the more successful he is. Few perhaps would credit the further fact that both our mental and physical condition is influenced by planetary rays which change as the planets move. In these days since the principle of radioactivity has been established we know that everybody projects into space numberless little particles. Wireless telegraphy has taught us that etheric waves travel swiftly and surely through trackless space and operate a key according to our will. We also know that the rays of the sun affect us differently in the morning when they strike us horizontally than at noon when they are perpendicular. If the light rays from the swift-moving sun produce physical and mental changes, may not the persistent ray of slower planets also have an effect? If they have, they are factors in health not to be overlooked by a thoroughly scientific healer.
Disease is a manifestation of ignorance, the only sin, and healing is a demonstration of applied knowledge, which is the only salvation. Christ is an embodiment of the Wisdom Principle, and in proportion as the Christ is formed in us we attain to health. Therefore the healer should be spiritual and endeavor to imbue his patient with high ideals so that he may eventually learn to conform to God's laws which govern the universe, and thus attain permanent health in future lives as well as now.
However, faith without works is dead. If we persist in living under unsanitary conditions, faith will not save us from typhoid. When we apply preventives of proper kind, or remedies in sickness, we are really showing our faith by works.
Like other Mystery orders the Rosicrucian Order has also aimed to help humanity in the attainment of bodily health. It has been written in various works that the members of the Order took a vow to heal others free of charge. This statement is somewhat garbled. The lay brothers take a vow to minister to all according to the best of their ability free of charge. That vow included healing, of course, in the case of such men as Paracelsus, who had ability in that direction; by the combination method of physical remedies applied under favorable stars and spiritual counsel he was highly successful. Others were not suited to be healers but labored in other directions, but all were alike in one particular—they never charged for their services, and they labored in secret without flourish of trumpet or sound of drum.
Our Work In The World
Part I (Issued May, 1912)
Lately there has come to us a realization that the work of the Rosicrucian Fellowship is not our private work; it is the work of the Elder Brothers and every member of the Fellowship. In the accomplishment thereof is a wonderful opportunity for soul growth, and we have no more right to arrogate it to ourselves than we have to deprive members of material food; we must give all the opportunity to aid in the work physically, mentally, or financially according to time, talent, and ability. We also realize that unless we do, the work will be undone, and we shall be unprofitable servants of the Elder Brothers, for the burden is heavier than we can bear; and to prosper, the Great Work requires many laborers. I will therefore give in this lesson a history of the work to date, so that students may be able to view the future work in its true perspective. This will necessitate a liberal use of the capital "I", and students will kindly bear with me in this matter, for no one dislikes introduction of the personal element more than the writer, but in the present case it seems unavoidable.
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We have set down in our literature as an axiomatic teaching that every object in the visible universe is the embodiment of pre-existent invisible thought; that Fulton built a steamboat and Bell a telephone in thought before these things were manufactured in wood and metal. Likewise, an author plans a book in his mind before writing. A Mystery Order must also frame its spiritual philosophy to meet the necessities of the people it is deputized to serve. That work may require centuries. As the work of scientific investigators is carried out in the seclusion of their laboratories, as their tentative conclusions calculated to foster the intellectual advancement of the race are withheld from the masses until proven to the best of the scientists' ability, so also the spiritual teachings intended to foster soul growth among a class of people are kept from the many until their efficacy has been demonstrated in the case of the few.
As inventions, theories, or projects some time pass the experimental stage and are rejected unless fitted for general use, so also a spiritual teaching must either reach a point of completion where it may be launched for general service in the world's work, or else die. Thus it has been with the Mystic Christian Teachings formulated by the Rosicrucian Order to blend with the ultra-intellectual mind of the Western World. Our revered Founder and the twelve Elder Brothers whom he selected to aid him in the work centuries ago probably first made a retrospective study of the trend of thought during our era, and it may be, for millenniums before, and thus they were able to obtain a fairly accurate conception of the direction likely to be taken by the minds of future generations and determine their spiritual requirements. Be their method what it may have been, their conclusions were right when they judged that "pride of intellect, intolerance, and impatience of restraint" would be the besetting sins of our day; and they formulated their philosophy so that it satisfies the heart at the same time that it appeals to the intellect and teaches man how to escape restraint by mastering self. The thousands of appreciative letters from people all over the world, in the highest ranks and in the lowliest walks of life, attest the great soul hunger and the satisfaction that all classes of people find in this teaching. But as time goes on, fifty years, a century or two hence, when scientific discoveries have given color to more of the things stated in the "Cosmo-Conception," when intellects have become yet broader, the Rosicrucian teachings will give satisfaction of soul to millions of enlightened spirits.
This being the case, you will appreciate the care which the Elder Brothers must take before confiding so important a message to anyone, particularly as such a teaching may only be given out at certain times. As the seed of plants is planted at the beginning of the yearly cycle, so also must a philosophical seed such as that of the Rosicrucian teachings be planted and the book published in the first decade of the century, which commences a new cycle, or the opportunity is lost till the next cycle rolls around. One messenger had proven faithless by 1905. Then the Brothers turned to myself, and entrusted the teachings to me after I had passed a certain test in 1908. The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception was published in November, 1909, a little more than a year before the end of the first decade. Friends had edited the original manuscript and did splendid work, but I had of course to revise it before giving it to the printer. Then I read the printer's proof, corrected and returned it, reread it after mistakes had been rectified, read it again after the type had been divided into pages, gave instructions to engravers about the drawings and to the printer about placing them in the book, etc. I was up at six and toiled on till twelve, one, two, or three in the morning for weeks amid endless confusion with tradesmen and the roar of Chicago about my ears, sometimes almost reaching the limit of nervous endurance. Still I kept my faculties together and wrote many new points into The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. Had it not been for the support of the Brothers I must have gone under. It was their work, however, and they saw me through. All that I was expected to do was to work to the limit of my endurance and ability and leave the rest to them, yet I was almost a wreck when the strain was past.
Now, perhaps you will understand my attitude towards the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. I admire and marvel at its wonderful teaching more than anyone else, and can do so without violating proper modesty for the book is not mine—it belongs to humanity. It does not even seem as if I have written it, I feel so absolutely impersonal in the matter. My office is only to see that it is properly published, and the copyright is simply to protect it from being garbled. But as soon as it is possible to find dependable and qualified trustees, the Rosicrucian Fellowship will be incorporated and all my copyrights turned over to them together with all else that belongs to me, for it was a part of the agreement with the brothers that all profit accruing from the work must be put right into it again, a condition to which I willingly assented, for I care naught for money save as needed to further the work, and neither does Mrs. Heindel. The blessed work is the greatest recompense to us, more precious than any material reward.
Among all the foolish nonsense which has been published about the Rosicrucian Order there is one great truth—that they aimed to heal the sick. Earlier religious orders have sought to advance spirituality by castigating and abusing the body, but the Rosicrucians exhibit the tenderest care for this instrument. There are two reasons for their healing activities. Like all other earnest followers of Christ they are longingly looking for "the day of the Lord." They know that abuse of sex prompted by the Lucifer spirits has caused and is responsible for disease and debility, and that a sound body is indispensable to the expression of a sound mind. They have therefore aimed to heal the body that it may express a sane mind, and pure love instead of perverted love, for conception under such conditions hastens the Kingdom of Christ by producing bodies of finer and finer texture to replace the "flesh and blood (which) cannot inherit the kingdom," because physiologically unfit.
Christ gave two commands to his messengers: "Preach the gospel" (of the coming Age) and, "Heal the sick." One is as binding as the other and, for the foregoing reasons, as necessary. To comply with the second command the Elder Brothers have evolved a system of healing which combines the best points in the various schools of today with a method of diagnosis and treatment as certain as it is simple, and thus a long step has been taken to lift the healing art from the sands of experiment to the rock of exact knowledge.
On the night of the 9th of April, 1910, when the new moon was in Aries, my Teacher appeared in my room and told me that a new decade (cycle) had commenced that night. The night before, my work with the newly formed Los Angeles Fellowship Center had terminated. I had traveled and lectured six out of seven nights a week and several afternoons besides. Since my Chicago publishing experience I had been sick and was withdrawing from public work to recuperate. I knew it was very dangerous to leave the body consciously when ill, for the ether is then usually attenuated and the silver cord breaks easily. Death under such conditions would cause the same sufferings as suicide, so the Invisible Helper is always cautioned to stay by his body when it is suffering. But at my Teacher's request I was ready for the soul flight to the Temple, and a guard was left to watch the sick body.
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Our Work In The World
As we have stated previously in our literature, there are nine degrees of the Lesser Mysteries, of whatever school, and the Rosicrucian Order is no exception. The first of these corresponds to the Saturn Period, and the exercises having to do with it are held on Saturn's day at midnight. The second degree corresponds to the Sun Period, and that particular rite is celebrated every Sunday. The third degree corresponds to the Moon Period and is held on Monday at midnight; and so one with the remainder of the first seven degrees. Each corresponds to a Period and is held on the day appropriate thereto. The eighth degree is celebrated at the new moon and the full, and the ninth degree at the summer and winter solstices.
When a disciple first becomes a lay brother or sister, he or she is introduced to the rite held upon Saturday nights. The next Initiation entitles him also to attend the midnight services at the Temple on Sunday nights, and so on. It is to be noted, however, that while all lay brothers and sisters have free access in their spiritual bodies to the Temple during all days, they are barred from the midnight services of the degrees which they have not yet taken. Nor is there a visible guard who stands at the door and demands a password of each as he desires to enter, but a wall is around the Temple, invisible yet impenetrable to those who have not received the "open sesame." Every night it is differently constituted so that should a pupil by mistake or through forgetfulness seek to enter the Temple when the exercises are above his status, he would learn that it is possible to bump one's head against a spiritual wall and that the experience is by no means pleasant.
As already said, the eighth degree meets at the new and full moon, and all who have not attained are debarred from that midnight service, the writer among them, for this degree is no mere mummery to be obtained by the payment of a few paltry coins but requires a measure of spirituality far beyond my present attainment, a stage to which I may not attain in several lives, though not wanting in effort or aspiration. You will therefore understand that on the night of the new moon in Aries, 1910, when the Teacher came for me, it was not to take me into that exalted gathering of the eighth degree, but to another session of a different nature. Besides, though this session was held in the night as it occurs in California, the time is different in Europe. The exercises of the new moon had been held in Germany hours before, so that when I arrived at the Temple with my Teacher the sun was already high in the heavens.
When we entered the Temple some time was devoted to an interview with my Teacher alone, and in it he outlined the work of the Fellowship as the Brothers would wish to have it carried out. The keynote of it all was to refrain from organization, if possible, or at least to make organization as loose as we could. It was pointed out that no matter how good the intentions may be in the beginning, as soon as position and power are created which may gratify the vanity of men, the temptation proves too great for the majority, and in the measure that the free will of members if interfered with, the object of the Rosicrucian Order, to foster individuality and self-reliance, is defeated. Laws and by-laws are limitations, and for that reason there should be as few as possible. The Teacher even thought that it would be possible to get along without any at all.
It is in line with this policy that I had printed upon our letterheads, an International Association of Christian Mystics; for there is a vast difference between an association that is entirely voluntary and an organization which binds its members by oaths, pledges, etc. Those who have taken the Obligation as Probationers in the Rosicrucian Fellowship know that that obligation is a promise to themselves and not to the Rosicrucian Order. The same tender regard for the maintenance of the fullest of individual liberty is in evidence throughout the whole range of the Western Mystery School. We have no masters; they are our friends and our Teachers, and they never under any condition demand obedience to any mandate of theirs nor command us to do this or that. At most, they advise, leaving us free to follow or not.
I may say here that this policy of not organizing had already been adopted in starting the study centers at Columbus, Ohio; Seattle, Washington; and Los Angeles; but since then I have gone further along this line in trying to spread the teachings to individuals from a world center rather than to establish more centers in different cities. In some places bands of students have desired to unite for study and spiritual elevation. To this end all assistance has been given them, but as said, I have made no effort to bring about formation of study centers but leave students to do as they feel prompted.
The new work of healing, of which I shall presently speak, necessitated permanent headquarters. As we are living in a concrete world under material conditions, it seems to be necessary that headquarters should be incorporated under the laws of the land in which we live, so that that which belongs to the work may remain available for the use of humanity after the present leaders have been released from life. Thus far we cannot escape hard and fast conditions of organization at headquarters, but the association at large must remain free so that the highest spiritual growth and the longest life may be attained. It is sad to contemplate, however, that though such are our intentions, the day must come when the Rosicrucian Fellowship will go the way of all other movements; it will bind itself by laws, and usurpation of power will cause it to crystallize and disintegrate. But then we have the consolation that upon its ruins will rise something greater and better, as it has risen above other structures that have served their purpose and are now on the way to dissolution.
After the before mentioned discussion we entered the Temple, where the twelve Brothers were present. It was arranged differently from what I had seen it before, but lack of space forbids a detailed description. I shall only mention three spheres suspended one above the other in the center of the Temple, the middle sphere being about half way between floor and ceiling; also that it was much larger than the two others, which hung one above and one below.
The various modes of vision above the physical are: etheric or X-ray sight, color vision, which opens up the Desire World, and tonal vision which discloses the Region of Concrete Thought, as explained very fully in "The Rosicrucian Mysteries." My development of the latter phase of spiritual sight had been most indifferent up to the time mentioned, for it is a fact that the more robust our health, the closer we are enmeshed in the physical and the less able to contact the spiritual realms. People who can say, "I never had a day's sickness in my life," at the same time reveal the fact that they are perfectly attuned to the physical world and totally incapable of contacting the spiritual realm.
This was nearly my case up to 1905. I had suffered excruciating pain all my life, the after effects of a surgical operation on the left limb in childhood. The wound never healed until I changed to a meatless diet. Then the pain ceased. My endurance during all the previous years was such that the pain never showed by a line on the face, and in every other respect I had perfect health. It was noticeable, however, that when blood flowed as the result of an accidental cut, it would not coagulate, and a great quantity was always lost; whereas after two years on a clean diet the accidental loss of an entire nail in the morning resulted in the loss of a few drops of blood only. I was able to use the typewriter the same afternoon. There was no festering as the new nail grew.
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Upbuilding of the spiritual side of the nature, however, brought disharmony to the physical body. It became more sensitive to conditions around. The result was a breakdown. This was all the more complete because of the before mentioned endurance that kept me on my feet for months after I should have given in, with the result that I came very close to death's door.
As death is the permanent dissolution of the tie between the physical and spiritual bodies, those who are near death approach the condition existing when severance is about to take place. Goethe, the great German poet, received his first Initiation while his body was prostrated nearly unto death. I had not progressed so high, but my studies, aspirations, and an exercise practiced for a long time which I thought then I had devised but which I now know was carried over from the past, all combined to make it possible for me during that first sickness to slip out of the body for a short while and then return. I did not know how I did it, and was unable to do it at will. A year later I did it again by accident. That, however, is beside the case. The point I wish to bring out is that the rupture of physically robust health is necessary before it is possible to attain poise in the spiritual world, and the stronger and more vigorous the instrument, the more drastic must be the method of breaking it down. Then come years when there is an unbalanced fluctuating condition of health, until finally we are able to adjust ourselves so as to maintain health in the physical world while we retain the ability to function also in the higher realms.
Thus it has been with me: strenuous work both physical and mental, even to the present day, has kept the physical instrument in anything but an enjoyable condition. Friends have cautioned me, and I have tried to heed their warnings, but the work must be done, and until help comes I am forced to continue regardless of health; and Mrs. Heindel is with me in this as in all else. Out of this precarious condition, however, has come an increasing ability to function in the spiritual world. While, as said, at the time of the experience here related my tonal vision and the ability to function in the Region of Concrete Thought was indifferent and chiefly confined to the lowest subdivision thereof, a little assistance from the Brothers that night enabled me to contact the fourth region, where the archetypes are found, and to receive there the teaching and understanding of that which is contemplated as the highest ideal and mission of the Rosicrucian Fellowship.
I saw our headquarters and a procession of people coming from all parts of the world to receive the teaching. I saw them issuing thence to carry balm to afflicted ones near and far. While here in this world it is necessary to investigate in order to find out about anything, there the voice of each archetype brings with it as it strikes the spiritual consciousness a knowledge of what the archetype represents. Thus there came to me that night an understanding which is far beyond my words to express, for the world in which we live is based upon the principle of time, but in the high realm of the archetypes all is an eternal now. These archetypes do not tell their story as this is told, but there is borne in upon one an instant conception of the whole idea, much more luminous than can be given by the reciter in words. I have not dared to attempt telling it during the time which has since elapsed, but in the following section I shall endeavor to give you a picture thereof.
Our Work In The World
The Region of Concrete Thought, as you will remember from our other teachings, is the realm of sound, where the harmony of the spheres, the celestial music, pervades all that is as the atmosphere of the earth surrounds and envelops everything terrestrial. Everything there may be said to be wrapped in and permeated by music. It lives by music and grows by music. The Word of God there sounds forth and forms all the various types which later crystallize into the things we behold in the terrestrial world.
On the piano five dark keys and seven white constitute the octave. Besides the seven globes upon which we evolve during a Day of Manifestation there are five dark globes which we traverse during the Cosmic Nights. In each life cycle the Ego withdraws for a time to the densest of these five, that is, Chaos, the formless world where nothing remains save the centers of force known as seed atoms. At the beginning of a new life cycle the Ego descends again into the Region of Concrete Thought, where the "music of the spheres" at once sets the seed atoms into vibration.
There are seven spheres, the planets of our solar system. Each has its own keynote and emits a sound varying from that of every other planet. One or another among them vibrates in particular synchrony with the seed atom of the Ego then seeking embodiment. This planet then corresponds to the "tonic" in the musical scale; and though the tones from all the planets are necessary to build up an organism completely, each is modified and made to conform to the basic impact given by the most harmonious planet, which is therefore the ruler of that life, its Father Star. As in terrestrial music so also in the celestial there are harmonies and discords, and these all impinge upon the seed atom and aid in building the archetype. Vibratory lines of force are thus formed, which later attract and arrange physical particles as spores or sand are marshaled into geometrical figures by bowing a brass plate with a violin bow.
Along these archetypal lines of vibration the physical body is later built, and thus it expresses accurately the harmony of the spheres as it was played during the period of construction. This period, however, is much longer than the actual period of gestation, and varies according to the complexity of the structure required by the life seeking physical manifestation. Nor is the process of construction of the archetype continuous, for under aspects of the planets which produce notes to which the vibratory powers of the seed atom cannot respond it simply hums over those which it has already learned, and thus engaged it waits for anew sound which it can use to build more of the organism which it desires in order to express itself.
Thus, seeing that the terrestrial organism which each of us inhabits is molded along vibratory lines produced by the song of the spheres, we may realize that the inharmonies which express themselves as disease are produced in the first place by spiritual inharmony within. It is further evident that if we can obtain accurate knowledge concerning the direct cause of the inharmony and remedy it, the physical manifestation of disease will shortly disappear. It is this information which is given by the horoscope of birth, for there each planet in its house and sign expresses harmony or discord, health or disease. Therefore all methods of healing are adequate only in proportion as they take into consideration the stellar harmonies and discords expressed in the wheel of life—the horoscope.
While the laws of nature that govern in the lower realms are all-powerful under ordinary circumstances, there are higher laws which pertain to the spiritual realms and which may under certain circumstances be made to supersede the former. For instance, the forgiveness of sins upon recognition thereof and true repentance is made to supersede the law which demands an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. When Christ walked upon this earth and healed the sick, He, being the Lord of the Sun, embodied within Himself the synthesis of the stellar vibrations as the octave embodies all the tones of the scale, and He could therefore emit from Himself the true corrective planetary influence required in each case. He sensed the inharmony and knew at once wherewith to offset it by virtue of His exalted development. He had need of no further preparation, but obtained results at once by substituting harmony for the planetary discord which caused the disease wherewith He was dealing. Only in one case did He take refuge in the higher law and say, "Arise, thy sins are forgiven."
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Likewise with the ordinary methods employed in the Rosicrucian System of Healing, they depend upon a knowledge of the planetary inharmonies which cause disease and the correcting influence which will remedy the same. This has sufficed in all the instances which have come under our notice to date. However, there is a more powerful method available under a higher law which may accelerate recovery in cases of long standing, and under certain circumstances where the sincere and heartfelt recognition of wrong exists may even obliterate the effects of disease before destiny, cold and hard, would otherwise so decree.
When we look with spiritual vision upon one who is diseased, whether the physical body be emaciated or not, it is plainly evident to the seer that the finer vehicles are much more tenuous than during health. Thus they do not transmit to the physical body a proper quota of vitality, and as a consequence that instrument becomes more or less disrupted. But whatever may be the state of emaciation of the rest of the physical body, certain centers which are tenuous during health in a degree varying with the spiritual development of the man, become clogged in an increasing degree according to the seriousness of the disease. This is particularly true of the main center between the eyebrows. Therein the spirit is immured, sometimes to such an extent that it loses touch with the outer world and its progress and becomes so thoroughly centered upon its own condition that only complete rupture of the physical body can set it free. This may be a process of long years, and in the meantime the planetary inharmony which caused the initial disease may have passed by, but the sufferer is unable to take advantage of the improved conditions. In such cases a spiritual outpouring of a special kind is necessary to bring to the soul its message, "Thy sins are forgiven." When that has been heard, it may respond to the command, "Take up thy bed and walk."
None among our present humanity can measure anywhere near the stature of the Christ, consequently none can exercise His power in such extreme cases; but the need of that power in active manifestation exists today as much as it did two thousand years ago. Spirit pervades everything in and upon our planet, but in a varying measure. It has more affinity for some substances than for others. Being an emanation from the Christ Principle, it is the Universal Spirit composing the World of Life Spirit that restores the synthetic harmony of the body.
A substance was shown to the writer in the Temple of the Rosicrucians on the memorable night previously mentioned, with which the Universal Spirit could be combined as readily as great quantities of ammonia combine with water. Inside the large central sphere mentioned in a previous lesson was a smaller container which held a number of packages filled with that substance. When the Brothers had placed themselves in certain positions, when the harmony of certain music had prepared the way, suddenly the three globes commenced to glow with the three primary colors, blue, yellow, and red. To the vision of the writer it was plain how during the incantation of the formula the container having in it the before mentioned packages became aglow with a spiritual essence that was not there before. Some of these were later used by the Brothers with instantaneous success. Before them the crystallizing particles enveloping the spiritual centers of the patient scattered like magic, and the sufferer awoke to a recognition of physical health and well-being.
Note:—the four following articles are from manuscripts by Max Heindel which were unpublished at the time of his passing. They later appeared in the magazine, "Rays From The Holy Cross," and are here reproduced.
Eternal Damnation, And Salvation
As we have at the Fellowship during each week a number of classes in which the intellectual side of our natures may have sway, the Sunday evening service, including the address, is intended for the heart side. You know it is the aim of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood to combine the intellect and the heart, therefore the Sunday evening addresses should be devoted largely to bringing out the heart side, the touching of the heart strings. This is something we greatly need, more even than the development of the intellect. We are so apt in our present civilization to run along the intellectual line and seek always for an explanation of our problems that appeals only to the mind, forgetting that which may appeal to the heart also. Therefore the speaker will endeavor to lead you rather along a form of meditation in which the exhortations made may be said to apply more to the heart than to the head, and which apply to himself as well as to anyone else.
During the past week the Elder Brother who has been the Teacher of the speaker for some time, requested that the address of last Sunday be repeated in another form so that we might take up the phase of our philosophy which at present demands our greatest attention, namely, that of fitting ourselves for higher work. If we look at man as he is now, we obtain only a partial view of him, for man as well as everything else is ever becoming; but unless we prepare for that becoming we cannot attain. It is therefore necessary that we continually have our mind's eye directed toward the future in order to know what is before us; also it is necessary to endeavor to live up to our ideals, for only as we live up to them can we in time attain to them.
When we have attained to an ideal, it is no longer an ideal. There was a time when some of us partook of the flesh of animals. Such food was obtained by a tragedy, a taking of life. Therefore we got the idea we would like to discontinue that practice, and after awhile we attained to that ideal and became what are called "vegetarians." Vegetarian food was no longer an ideal to us, because we had attained to it. So in the spiritual life there are ideals that are farther and farther ahead, and which we must always strive to keep for ideals in order that we may in time attain to and live up to the highest that is within us.
We will now touch upon the subject known in the churches as "eternal damnation and salvation." This is something we may have thought we could get away from. We have, no doubt, in years past heard the ministers preaching of hell; telling people of the necessity of applying themselves at once to the problem of salvation in order that they might not be eternally damned. Then perhaps in distrust of such a doctrine, perhaps thoroughly infuriated at the thought that a Creator would create beings in order that he might afterwards eternally torment the greater number of them, we turned away from the church to other religions or philosophies.
Some of us may have turned to Eastern religions that teach the continuity of life and the process whereby man evolves and eventually becomes a god. Perhaps while studying these doctrines we obtained the idea of the infinitude of time to the extent that we became a reproach to the Western World, for there are those who think that the infinitude of time makes it unnecessary for them to apply themselves as we do here. The Western World has been given the doctrine which teaches "eternal damnation and eternal salvation," and although we cannot believe it as taught in the orthodox manner, nevertheless these twin doctrines contain a great truth.
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The intelligent understanding of them hinges upon the derivation of the world "eternal." If we turn to the Greek Bible, we shall find the word "aionian." Taking a dictionary we find that this word means "age-lasting—for an indefinite period of time." In the letter of Paul to Philemon where he speaks of returning the slave Onesimus to him it is said: "Perhaps it was good that he might be taken from you a little while that he might go to you forever (aionian)." Neither Onesimus nor Philemon was immortal, so there "aionian" can only mean for a part of a lifetime and not for eternity; so we see that the latter is not the sense in which we are to take it. But in what sense are we to take it?
When we look about us in the world and contemplate the process of evolution, we may learn that throughout the whole pilgrimage of the spirit from the clod to the god there is eternal progression; that there are many stages, and many points at which the spirit rests for a time, then takes a step forward. We who have studied in our philosophy the various epochs and the periods that were back of the epochs, remember that it was stated that the first real separation of people took place in the latter part of the Lemurian Epoch. There was then what may be called a chosen people; there has a certain division in the desire bodies of some of the people who dwelt in that land at that time. Into those in whom the desire body had divided so that there was some higher desire matter in their make-up, the Human Spirit or Ego could enter, and in that way they became man as we know him today. That was the first race; then gradually there have been other races started: seven during the Atlantean Epoch and five so far in the Fifth Epoch. There will be two more in this Epoch and one in the Sixth Epoch; then we shall be through with races.
Now while this process of evolution has been going on and while this vast company of spirits have been continually progressing from stage to stage, there have been stragglers on the way. Even when we were not yet conscious, there were some who did not progress with their class, because they were not as pliable as were the others; therefore they could not take the next step in evolution. We have now come to the point where the quickest changes take place, where there is less time between races than ever before. So the Elder Brothers look upon the sixteen races in a way that justifies calling them "the sixteen paths to destruction."
Here we have our lesson. There is a step for each of us from one race to the next. We came through the races in the Lemurian Epoch; we went through the seven Atlantean races, then the first of the Fifth Epoch races. We have progressed along with the others; each time we have successfully passed the point where there was a division made, and have in that manner attained salvation. This is exactly on the same plan that children in school are brought up from kindergarten to college. Some have to stay behind each year; they are obliged to remain behind and learn the lessons that they did not learn the year before; but they are given another chance. So there are always some Egos lagging behind and some, more diligent than others, who are at the front.
This is the question for you and me to answer tonight; are we going to be among the laggards, or are we going to apply ourselves as we should and as we can? Having been given this wonderful doctrine, having come to know the wonderful truth of the continuity of life, are we going to hang back and say to ourselves: "There is plenty of time. We do not believe in this doctrine of eternal damnation; we know that all will be saved in time"? There will be some that will attain before others and some that will lag behind; but the question is, Are we going to be a help or a hindrance to the race? We stand today before the people of the Western World as the foremost; we have the philosophy that explains in a better manner than any other philosophy the problems of life. Then the question is, Are we going to use it in a practical manner by applying ourselves to live it—live it in our daily lives?
It does not matter what we believe, but only how we live; it is not a question of faith, but of showing our faith by works. Have we put into our daily lives our ideals? People about us are looking at us, and they see in us either an example of what they ought to be or what they ought not to be. Sunday after Sunday we hear these teachings, we learn the lessons of life, and we meditate upon the word "service"; but how are we living up to that ideal? Are we serving in the world? Are we going out into the world to practice these things, to there live the corresponding life and exemplify the teachings that have been received here? None of us can say we do it to the best of our ability; we all of us fall far short. Then comes the question: Is the ideal too high? No, it is not. There is a way whereby we may live day by day to better and better advantage, which we will now mention.
Those among you who have not taken up the exercises recommended in our literature should seriously consider doing so. I most earnestly advise that you take them up, because whether we who do so notice in ourselves an improvement, whether or not it is noticed by others in the world about us, there is nevertheless an improvement. We cannot day after day review our thoughts and deeds without individually living a better life and becoming better men and women. The two Rosicrucian exercises are not difficult and require but little time; nor are we expected to take the time that should be allotted to daily labor for our self-improvement. It is as wrong to do this as to take the bread that should go to others in the family and eat it ourselves. Every kind of selfishness should be shunned. We should endeavor to improve ourselves day by day, and thereby become better men and women, thus enabling us to shed more abundant life upon the Fellowship.
The probationers who are following the exercises and who are identifying themselves with the Rosicrucian teachings in this manner will exert a more helpful and powerful influence than otherwise possible. Therefore I would urge again—and I would not repeat it were it not by special request—that as many of you as can take up these exercises and endeavor to live accordingly, for it is only as we take up and live the higher life that we can fit ourselves for the progression that is to come.
At the time when the sun passes through a new sign of the zodiac, there is always given to humanity a new spiritual impulse. That impulse must have a channel to flow through, and that channel must be ready and able to vibrate to the impulse. Unless there are some people ready who can receive its vibration and give it out, the teaching connected with that spiritual impulse cannot come.
We have read how throughout the past nineteen hundred years the second coming of the Christ has been looked forward to; how some in the time of the Apostles looked for His coming and thought that He was to establish a worldly kingdom on earth. As in the past, so down to the present time we find people looking for His coming—coming as a person. But as Angelus Silesius says:
"Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born,
And not within thyself, thy soul will be forlorn.
The Cross on Golgotha thou lookest to in vain,
Unless within thyself it be set up again."
As a tuning fork that is pitched to a certain vibration will start to sing when another of the same key is struck, so also will it be with us; when we have been attuned to the vibrations of the Christ, we shall be able to express the love that He came to teach mankind, and which we are inculcating by our service every Sunday evening. Until we live up to that love and perceive the Christ within, we cannot see the Christ without.
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Therefore let us remember the little poem:
Let us not waste our time in longing
For bright and impossible things;
Let us not sit supinely waiting
For the sprouting of angel wings.
Let us not scorn to be rushlights,
Ev'ry one can't be a star;
But let us brighten the darkness
By shining just where we are.
The Bow In The Cloud
I have a few preliminary explanations to make, a few reasons why the subject of "The Bow in the Cloud" is taken up. I recently dictated the manuscript for a book which I have since been editing. In the course of the dictation there came up certain points that required investigation, one of them being the life force that enters the body through the spleen. Upon investigating it was seen that this force manifests in different colors, and that in different kingdoms of life it works differently; therefore much was to be looked up before making the information public. A friend, upon reading some of the manuscript, sent to his library in Seattle for a book published about forty years ago called "Babbitt's Principles of Light and Color." I referred to this book and found it most interesting, written by a man who was clairvoyant. After spending an hour studying the book, I turned to investigation myself, with the result that a great deal of new light was shed upon the subject. And it is a deep and profound subject, for the very life of God seems to be embodied in these colors.
Among other things, in tracing back through the Memory of Nature, in regard to light and color I came to a point where there was no light, as has been shown in the "Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception." Then I followed the different stages of planetary formation and on down to the point where the bow was seen in the cloud. The whole investigation made such a profound impression upon me as to fill me with devotion.
It is stated in the Bible that "God is Light," and nothing can reveal to us the nature of God in the same degree as that symbol. If a clairvoyant went back into the far, dim past and looked upon this planet as it was then formed, he would see at first, as it were, a dark cloud, without form, coming out of chaos. Then he would see this cloud of virgin substance turned by the Creative Fiat into light—its first visible manifestation, a luminous fire mist. Then would come a time when moisture gathered around that fire mist, and later the period spoken of as the Moon Period would arrive. Still later would come the darker and more dense stage called the Earth Period.
In the Lemurian Epoch the first incrustation of the earth began when the seething, boiling water was evaporated. We know that when we boil and reboil water, it incrusts the kettle; likewise the boiling of the moisture on the outside of the fiery earth ball formed the hard and crusty shell that constitutes the surface of the earth.
The Bible says relative to the next epoch that it did not rain upon the earth, but a mist went forth from the earth. From the damp earth at that time there issued a mist that completely surrounded it. Then it was impossible for us to see the sunlight as we do now; the sun had the appearance of an arc light of the present time on a dark night; it had an aura around it. In that misty atmosphere we dwelt in the early period of Atlantis. Later there came a time when the atmosphere cooled more and more and the moisture was condensed into water, finally driving the Atlanteans from their land by a flood such as is recorded in the various religions.
At the time when that misty atmosphere enwrapped the earth, the rainbow was an impossibility. This phenomenon usually occurs when there is a clear atmosphere in some places and a cloud in others. There came a time when humanity saw the rainbow for the first time. When I looked upon that scene in the Memory of Nature, it was most wonderful. There were refugees who were driven from Atlantis, which is now partly under the Atlantic Ocean; it also included parts of what are now known as Europe and America. These refugees were driven eastward till they came at last to a place where the land was high, where the atmosphere had partially cleared, and where they saw the clear sky above. Of a sudden there came up a cloud, and from that cloud came lightning. They heard the roll of thunder, and they who had escaped peril by water and had fled under the guidance of a leader whom they revered as God, turned to Him to ask, "What have we come to now? Shall we be destroyed at last?" He pointed to the rainbow that stood in the cloud and said: "No, for so long as that bow stands in the cloud, so long shall the seasons come one after another in unbroken succession"; and the people with great admiration and relief looked upon that bow of promise.
When we consider the bow as one of the manifestations of Deity, we may learn some wonderful lessons of devotion, for while we look upon the lightning with awe and hear the thunder with fear, the rainbow in the sky must always provoke in the human heart an admiration for the beauty of its sevenfold path of color. There is nothing to compare with that wonderful bow, and I wish to call your attention to a few physical facts concerning it.
In the first place the rainbow never appears at noon; it is always after the sun has passed downward and has traversed more than half the distance from the meridian to the horizon that the rainbow appears, and the closer the sun is to the horizon, the larger, clearer, and more beautiful it is. It never appears in a clear sky. It usually has for its background the dark and dreary cloud, and it is always seen when we turn our face from the sun. We cannot look towards the sun and at the same time see a rainbow.
When we look upon the bow from below, it appears as a half circle above the earth and us. But the higher we get, the more of the circle we see, and in the mountains, when we reach a sufficient height above the rainbow, we see it as a sevenfold circle—sevenfold like the Deity of whom it is a manifestation.
Now with these physical facts before us, let us go into the mystic interpretation of the subject. In ordinary life when we are at the height of our physical activity, when prosperity is the greatest, when everything looks bright and clear to us, then we do not need the manifestation of the divine light and life. We do not need that covenant, as it were, that God made with man upon his entry into the Fifth Epoch. We do not care about the higher life; our bark is sailing upon summer seas, and we care for nothing else; everything is so good to us here that there seems no reason why we should look beyond.
But suddenly there comes the tempest, a time in every life when sorrows and troubles come upon us. The storm of disaster tears away from us every physical foundation, and we stand, perhaps, alone in the world in sorrow. Then when we look away from the sun of physical prosperity, when we look to the higher life, we shall always see upon the dark cloud of disaster the bow that stands as the covenant between God and man, showing that we are always able to contact the higher life. It may not be best for us then to do so, for we all need a certain material evolution, which is best accomplished when we do not contact too closely the higher life. But in order to evolve and progress and gradually seek a higher and higher state of spirituality, there must in time come to us troubles and trials which will bring us into contact with the higher life. When we can look upon trial and tribulation as a means to that end, then sorrows become the greatest blessings that can come to us. When we feel no hunger, what do we care about food? But when we feel the pangs of starvation and are seated before a meal, no matter how coarse the fare, we feel very thankful for it.
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If we sleep every night of our lives and sleep well, we do not appreciate what a blessing it is. But when we have been kept awake night after night and have craved sleep, then when it comes with its corresponding rest, we realize its great value. When we are in health and feel no pain or disease in our bodies, we are prone to forget that there ever was such a thing as pain. But just after recovering from an illness or after we have suffered much, we realize what a great blessing health is.
So in the contrast between the rays of the sun and the darkness of the cloud, we see in the latter the bow that beckons us on to a higher life; and if we will only look up to that, we shall be much better off than if we continue in the paths of the lower life.
Many of us are prone to worry over little things. This reminds me of a story recently printed in one of our papers of a little boy who had climbed a ladder. He had been looking up as he was climbing, and had gone so far up that a fall would have meant death. Then he stopped and looked down, instantly becoming dizzy. When we look down from a height, we become dizzy and afraid. But some one above called to him and said: "Look up, little boy. Climb up here, and I will help you." He looked up, and at once the dizziness and fear left him; then he climbed up until taken in at a window.
Let us look up and endeavor to forget the little worries of life, for the bow of hope is always in the cloud. As we endeavor to live the higher life and climb the sublime heights toward God, the more we shall find the bow of peace becoming a circle and that there is peace here below as well as there above. It is our duty to accomplish the work we have to do in the world, and we should never shrink from that duty. Still we have a duty to the higher life, and it is in the interests of the latter that we gather together on Sunday night and by massing our aspirations advance toward the spiritual heights.
We should remember that we each have within a latent spiritual power that is greater than any worldly power, and as it is unfolding, we are responsible for its use. To increase that power we should endeavor to devote part of our leisure time to the cultivation of the higher life, so that when the cloud of disaster comes upon us, we shall by the aid of that power find the bow within the cloud. As the bow is seen at the end of the storm, so when we have gained the power to see the bright rainbow in our cloud of disaster, the end of that disaster has come, and the bright side begins to appear. The greater the disaster, the greater the needed lesson. When on the path of wrong doing we sooner or later are kindly but firmly whipped into line by the realities of life, and forced to recognize that the path of truth is upward and not downward and that God rules the world.
The Responsibility Of Knowledge
At the time in the far, dim past when we began our lives as human beings we had very little experience, and consequently we had very little responsibility. Responsibility depends upon knowledge. The animals, we find, are not amenable to the law of causation from the moral standpoint, although of course, if an animal jumps out of a window, it is amenable to the law of physical causation, inasmuch as when it falls upon the ground beneath, it may possibly break a limb or cause itself some injury. If a man should do the same thing, he would be amenable to the law of responsibility in addition to the law of cause and effect. There is for him a moral responsibility, for he knows better, and he has no right to injure the instrument that has been given him. So we see that we are morally responsible according to our knowledge.
As we have gone through the experiences of many lives, more and more faculties have become ours, and we are born each time with the accumulated talents which are the results of the experiences of those lives. We are responsible, therefore, for the way we use them. It is necessary that we should put these talents to use in life, for unless we do, they will atrophy just as surely as will the hand that is not used and that hangs limp and idle by the side. Just as surely as that hand atrophies, so surely will our spiritual faculties atrophy unless we put them to usury and gain more. There can be no resting, no halting on this path of evolution which we are treading; we must either go forward or else degenerate.
There is, then, evidently much responsibility attached to knowledge. The more knowledge we have, the more responsibility we have—that is very plain. But looking at it from the still deeper viewpoint of the esoteric scientist, there is a responsibility attached to knowledge which is not ordinarily perceived by humanity, and it is this particular phase of responsibility that we wish to discuss here.
Mabel Collins avers that the story in her book called "The Blossom and the Fruit, or the Story of Fleta, a Black Magician," is a true story. She states that the material for this story was brought from a far distant country in a very strange manner, and that from the standpoint of one who knows, there are in it some of the very deepest truths pertaining to the gaining of knowledge and its use. We are told there how Fleta in the beginning of her embodiments, while still in the savage state, murdered her lover, and that from that murder, through the cruelty involved in it, she obtained a certain power. That power, naturally, according to the deed, went in the direction of black magic. Therefore in the life with which the story deals, she possessed the power of a black magician. She forced her lover to kill an entity in order that she might gain new power. It was in this black manner that she utilized her knowledge.
There is a very deep truth here. All knowledge that is not saturated with life is empty, purposeless, and useless. The life that gives power to knowledge may be obtained in various ways, and may also be put to use in various ways. Once it has been obtained, it may be stored in a talisman, and then used by others for a good or for an evil purpose according to the character of the one who uses it. If it is stored within the one who develops the power himself, then it will be used according to the character of that man or woman. This is on the same principle that we may store up electricity in a battery, so that it may be taken away from the electric station and used for a variety of purposes by others than the one who stored it. So, also, the dynamic power that comes through the sacrifice of life for the purpose of gaining esoteric power, may be used in one way or the other if stored in a talisman.
We see this great fact in life particularly illustrated in the legend of Parsifal. In this beautiful legend, the cleansing blood of the Savior, given in noble self-sacrifice—not taken from another—was received in a vessel which then became a talisman, and was capable of giving spiritual power to many who looked upon it if they were pure, chaste, and harmless. We have also the symbol of the spear which was the cause of the wound from which the blood flowed. This was stained with the cleansing blood, which made it a talisman that could be variously used. During the reign of Titurel the Grail mystery was powerful; but when the Grail was given over to Amfortas, son of Titurel, he went out armed with the holy spear to slay Klingsor. He then ceased to be harmless; he wanted to pervert that great spiritual power and use it to slay an enemy. Even though it was an enemy of the good, it was not right to use that power for that purpose, and therefore the power turned against him. He had ceased to be chaste, pure, and harmless, and then the power gave him the wound that would never heal. So it is also in other cases.
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We read of David the bloody man of war, who was forbidden by the Lord to build the Temple. Even though that Lord was a god of war, having had to punish nations in order to bring them into the right, He could not use the instrument which had been soiled by the blood of His wars for the purpose of building a temple. That had to be left to David's son, Solomon, the man of peace. We are told how Solomon desired wisdom, great knowledge, not in order that he might gain the victory over his enemies, not in order that he might increase his territory and make his people a great nation, but in order that he might better rule the people who had been placed under his care; and knowledge was given to him abundantly.
We also learn how Parsifal, the antithesis of Amfortas, was the offspring of a man of war, a bloody man, who died. Through Herzleide, heart affliction, the posthumous child Parsifal came into the world. In the first part of his career he used the bow, but at a certain stage he broke it, became chaste, pure, and harmless, and by the power of these qualities stood firm in the day of temptation, and wrested the spear from Klingsor, who had had it since the day when Amfortas lost it. Parsifal, in his wanderings between the time when he received the spear and the time when he returned to the Grail Castle, was beset by many temptations and much sorrow, trouble, and tribulation. Men had sought his life, and many times he realized that he might have saved himself by the use of the holy spear if he would have turned it against his enemies. But he knew that the spear was to be used not for hurt but for healing; he realized the sacredness of the power which the sacrificial blood had given to the talisman, and that it must only be used for the very highest purpose.
So we find everywhere that those who come into possession of spiritual power will never make use of it for any selfish purpose. No matter what trouble comes to them, they stand firm on that point. No matter how hard they may be beset, they never for a moment think of prostituting their power for selfish gain. Though such a one, if he likes, may feed five thousand who are hungry and away from their source of supply, he will not take even one little stone and turn it to bread to appease his own hunger. Although he may stand before his enemies and heal them, as the Christ healed the ear of the Roman soldier, he will refuse to use spiritual power to staunch the blood that flows from his own side. It has always been said of such men that "others they saved, themselves they would not save." They could always have done so, for the power is great. But if they had so used it, they would have lost it; they had no right to thus prostitute their power.
Then there is a different kind of mystery from that of the Grail. For instance, John the Baptist's head was placed upon a platter after he had been sacrificed, and others derived a certain power by looking upon that spectacle. The Greek myth tells us of Argus, who had so many eyes that he could see everywhere—he was clairvoyant. But he used his power for a wrong purpose, and Mercury, the god of wisdom, cut off his head, and took away the power. Every time that a man seeks to use spiritual knowledge and power in a wrong way, he will lose them; they cannot remain his.
Even when we look at knowledge from a scientific standpoint, we realize that it takes life, for every thought which we think breaks down tissue in our brain, which is built of little cells. Every cell has its own individual cell life, and that life is destroyed by thinking, or rather, the form is destroyed so that the life can no longer manifest in it. There is always the taking of life in whatever direction we go after knowledge. There are those who take life in scientific experiments out of pure curiosity. There are those who are cruel in the taking of life, as in vivisection, and here, when the quest of knowledge is pursued solely from the motive of curiosity, there is a dreadful debt laid up against a future day, for the equilibrium will surely be restored.
So we find it in the case of Fleta, that the sacrifice of life at one time in the physical world was followed by sacrifice in another world; but through it she gained a power that brought her even to the very temple doors, where she stood and demanded Initiation. Her motives, however, like those of Klingsor, were not pure. She was not chaste, not fitted to have spiritual power in its full measure and to be counted as one of the helpers of humanity; therefore she was banished from the door of the temple, and died the death of the black magician. A veil hangs before that death, and we are not told what is behind it. Those things are perhaps better left untold. But the lesson is just as valid, that we cannot take life nor in a wrongful way amass knowledge without incurring a dreadful liability thereby. The only reason which is satisfactory and proper for the quest of knowledge is that we may thereby serve and help the race in a more efficient way.
At the present time the sacrifice of life in obtaining knowledge is unavoidable; we cannot help it. But we should seek that knowledge with the purest and the best of motives, for the life that we destroy is legion. The esotericist, who sees the life that is coming to birth, the elemental life which is seeking embodiment and which is deprived of its forms by the process of obtaining knowledge, is amazed sometimes at the vast loss of the separate life that is thus sacrificed, and sacrificed to no good purpose. Therefore we reiterate that no one has the right to seek knowledge unless with the purest and the best of motives.
If, on the other hand, we walk the path of duty, if we seek to do those things well and thoroughly which come to our hands, and if we have spiritual aspirations without aiming to force spiritual growth, then we shall be comparatively easily fitted for having higher powers. It is a beautiful feature of the Rosicrucian exercises that they not only give us spiritual knowledge, but they fit us for having that knowledge. We must learn to walk the path of duty, to live the good life. Never mind a long life; so many people, as Thomas a Kempis says, are concerned with living a long life. But never mind this. Rather, let us strive each day to do our duty; then we shall surely be fit to have the higher knowledge that goes with exalted powers.
No matter what our sphere, there is always a place where we may make use of our knowledge, not to preach sermons, not to talk to people from morning till night about the things we know that they may admire our knowledge, but that we may live the spiritual life among them, that we may stand to them as living examples of our teachings. There is for everyone of us this opportunity. We need no look very far for it; it is right here.
Thomas a Kempis has expressed this in a manner which only a mystic can do. He has given the idea in such beautiful words that it would pay us well to read and ponder a few of them in his "Imitation of Christ." He says:
"Every man naturally desireth to know, but what does knowledge avail without the fear of God. Surely, an humble husbandman that serveth God is better than a proud philosopher who studies the course of the heavens, and neglecteth himself.....The more thou knowest, the heavier will be thy judgment unless thy life be also the more holy. Be, therefore, not puffed up, but rather fear for the knowledge that is given thee. If it seem to thee that thou knowest much, remember that there are many things which thou knowest not. Thou knowest not how long thou mayest prosper in well doing."
Therefore let us remember that we should not seek after knowledge simply for the sake of knowledge, but only as a means to the living of a better and a purer life, for that alone justifies it.
The Journey Through The Wilderness
Our subject is taken from the Bible story of "The Temple in the Wilderness," and we shall endeavor to interpret it from the standpoint of the Rosicrucian teachings. It may seem to those who have not studied these teachings that one interpretation is as valid and as worthy of belief as another, but further consideration of the subject may give a somewhat different opinion. Peter, in his second Epistle, first chapter and 20th verse says: "Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scriptures is of any private interpretation." In our daily life we understand that if our opinion on any subject is to be considered valuable, that opinion must be based upon a certain amount of knowledge of the subject. The testimony of witnesses in a court is based upon this principle. If a person well qualified by study or experience expresses an opinion upon a subject, he is listened to with respect and receives due consideration. It should be the same with one interpreting the Scriptures.
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You will notice that Peter says that the Scriptures are not of private interpretation. The Roman Catholics have held during many centuries (and have been censured for so maintaining) that they are an authority on interpretation of the Scriptures. There is some foundation for this position, for every Pope who has ever been at the head of the Vatican, with one exception, has had his spiritual sight unfolded.
It is not claimed that the Popes have wielded their power wisely, but nevertheless they have not been blind leaders of the blind. It is such a claim that Peter makes for himself. He says, "We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty." (II Peter, 1:16) "Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?" says Paul in the 9th chapter of First Corinthians, first verse.
There is thus a foundation for their writings and their teaching, and this foundation is that they have seen and heard. We might go further and show that those who were associated with the Christ when He was upon earth had spiritual sight. They had been taken upon the Mount of Initiation, there they saw Moses and Elijah, who had both long since passed out and were no longer in the physical world. They beheld them, and saw and heard things whereof they might not speak. Therefore by the unfoldment of the sixth or spiritual sense they had a foundation for their teaching. They were capable of interpreting the teaching given them, the proof of which they had seen.
In the Rosicrucian Fellowship we do not believe that the power of spiritual sight is given only to the few but that it is a faculty to be acquired by every human being in the course of his or her spiritual unfoldment. Some day we shall all acquire spiritual sight, and then we shall know that the things previously stated are true. There are some among us who have unfolded spiritual sight, and have by that unfoldment acquired the ability to see beyond the veil, to read from the Memory of Nature, and to find reflected therein from a higher world the causes that produced our present civilization. Some can also see into the future, and thus know of the future work of evolution. The Scriptures have not been taken up by the writer and interpreted according to his personal understanding, but this information is the result of an understanding obtained by means of spiritual vision.
In the first place let it be understood, as previously said in speaking of the Christian mysteries, that the four Gospels are not merely accounts of the life of a single individual, written by four different people, but that they are symbolical of different Initiations. Paul says, "Until Christ be formed in you." Everyone will some day go through the four stages that are depicted in the four Gospels, for everyone is unfolding the Christ spirit within himself. And in saying this of the four Gospels, we may also apply the same assertion to a great part of the Old Testament, for it is a wonderful book of esotericism. When we hoe potatoes, we do not expect to find only potatoes and no earth; neither should we expect to dig into the book we call the Bible and find every word an esoteric truth, for as there must be soil between the potatoes, so must there be dross between esoteric truths in the Bible.
The four Gospels were written in a manner such that only those who have the right to know can unveil what is meant and understand the underlying facts. So likewise in the Old Testament we find great esoteric truths that become very plain when we can look behind the veil that blinds most of us. Many for the present must forego mystic sight in order to master the conditions of material evolution and thereby perfect themselves for the pursuits of the material world. But we of the Western world are now on the esoteric arc; we are on the shore of the spiritual sea, where we individually shall gather the pearls of knowledge that have been hidden by the matter that has blinded us.
We will now discuss a form of Initiation depicted in a part of the Bible, describing the journey of man from the clod to God. When we enter into the collection of writings which we call the Bible, we find that it begins with five books which are commonly called the five Books of Moses. These tell of the journey of a so-called "chosen people" from Egypt to a promised land, and how they passed through the water called the Red Sea, guided in a manner called supernatural; after many, many years and after many of those who first set out upon that journey had perished, they finally reached the land that was promised. And yet Paul in his letter to the Hebrews speaks of that covenant as having been unable of fulfillment, for that which should have been accomplished failed. This is a fact. When we make a law, there is also a means for transgressing that law; therefore it is impossible for law to save.
There was a time when humanity was in such a state that it was impossible to guide them at all without law—law telling them in all cases what they must do and what they must not do. Therefore it was the mission of their leader to give them such laws, and these were embodied in the five Books of Moses. Historically the Israelites were a people who traveled not from Egypt to Palestine, but who were taken by their leaders from doomed Atlantis, where the condensing moisture in the atmosphere caused floods that rendered the land uninhabitable, into the central part of Asia. This company of men and women had been selected as a nucleus for a chosen race, and they have since become what is known as the Fifth Epoch, or post-Atlantean race. While this may be a historical interpretation, still there is within this story a great spiritual lesson, particularly in that part of the story which we are considering.
In the Cosmo-Conception is given an illustration of two men standing on a street corner; one knocks the other down. An observer might say that an angry thought knocked the man down. Another would contradict that statement and say that he saw the arm lifted and a blow landed upon the man's face, causing him to fall to the ground. The latter version is true, but there was a thought also; the arm was but an irresponsible instrument. It is thought that moves everything, and when we look upon the hidden or esoteric side of effects, we get a far deeper understanding of causes. It is from this viewpoint that we shall speak of the Temple in the Wilderness.
In our Bible there is a description of the first people upon earth. They are called Adam and Eve; but properly interpreted this means the human race, which gradually arrogated to itself the power of procreation and thereby became free agents. Humanity was thus given its freedom and made responsible to the law of Consequence, for it had arrogated to itself the power to create new bodies, and was then separated from the Tree of Life and the state which we are now cognizant of as etheric. When we learn that we have a vital body made of ether, and that it is the tree of life to everyone of us and furnishes us the vitality whereby we are enabled to make the movements of the body, we may understand why the power to recreate and regenerate ourselves was taken away from us lest we learn how to vitalize the imperfect dense body; and we also see why as stated in the Bible, there were placed at the gate of the Garden of Eden Cherubim with flaming swords to guard that region.
This story is told in the beginning of the Bible, but in the end of the book, in Revelation, we are told about a city where there is peace among the people. Two cities are mentioned in the Bible; one, Babylon, a city of sorrow and tribulation, where confusion started, where humanity first became estranged, one from another, where brotherhood ceased; also another city, a new one, a New Jerusalem, is described where there will be peace. We are further told in Revelation that in this New Jerusalem is the Tree of Life, symbolizing the power to regenerate ourselves, whereby we shall regain that health and beauty that we at present lack.
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It was for a good purpose that this power was taken away. It was not through malice in order that man should suffer in sorrow and pain, but because it was only by repeated existences in an inferior body that we could learn to build for ourselves such a vehicle as would be fit to immortalize. Man gradually came down from the etheric state to the present solid condition. He could dwell in the etheric state as easily then as he can today dwell in the present three elements of the physical world. In the past etheric state he contacted internally the life currents that we now contact unconsciously. He was then able to center the energy of the sun in his body and draw it in a manner different from that at present used. This power was gradually taken away from him as he entered the more solid state of the present.
Then began the journey through the wilderness, a wilderness of space and of matter; and we shall continue to so journey until we re-enter the etheric realm consciously—that realm called the New Heaven and the New Earth, where righteousness will dwell and where there will be no more sin. At the present time we are still traveling through the wilderness of space, as we shall see if we study the Bible understandingly. Not the English version, however, as that was prepared by translators who were hampered by an edict of King James instructing them not to translate anything that would in any manner interfere with the existing belief of that time.
The first thing that we learn from the esoteric point of view about the temple that was built in the wilderness is that Moses was called into the mountain and there shown certain patterns. You will remember we have been told in the Cosmo-Conception that in the heaven world there are pattern pictures—archetypes. We find in the Greek language the word "arche" meaning "in the beginning," that is, the commencement. The Christ says of Himself, or rather the Initiate who understands his divinity says: "I am the beginning (arche) and the end." There is in that word "beginning" (arche) the nucleus for everything we have here.
In the temple there was placed an ark, and the ark was arranged in such a manner that the staves could not or should not be taken out of it; during the whole journey through the wilderness those staves must remain there. They were never removed until the ark was taken into the temple of Solomon.
We see here a state where a certain symbol, an archetype, something that comes from the beginning, is made in such a manner that it can be taken up at any time and carried further on. In that ark was the nucleus around which everything in the temple centered. There was the magical rod of Aaron, and there was the pot of manna; also the two tablets of the law.
We have here described a perfect symbol of what man really is, for all the while he is going through this vale of matter and is traveling continually from one place to another, the staves are never under any condition removed. They are not removed until he comes to that state symbolized in Revelation where it is said, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God; and he shall go no more out."
During all the time that has intervened from the moment when man commenced his passage through matter, he has had that spirit of peregrination. He does not remain stationary. Every so often the temple was taken up, an the ark was carried farther on to a new place. So also is man taken from place to place from environment to environment, from condition to condition. It is not an aimless journey, for it has for its goal that promised land, the New Jerusalem, where there shall be peace. But while man is on this journey he must know that there will be no rest and no peace.
This is the result of the law which man has transgressed in a certain sense. It was not designed at the beginning that we should go through such an evolution as this, such a vale of sorrow and tears as we have been and are passing through. We are told that the creative force that was latent within and that we are just beginning to use constructively was first used by us under the direction of the angels, who took care that procreation was carried on at times when the planetary conditions were favorable. Then parturition was painless. Everything was good on the earth. The Lord had made everything so that it was good. But there came a time when the Lucifer spirits, whom we recognize as the stragglers from the angel evolution, had to have a brain in order that they might function in the physical world. Therefore they showed us how we might use our creative force in a manner independent of the guidance of the angels, so that when a body was cast off in death, as it had to be when it became useless, it would be possible for the human being to create another body.
So we have these two classes working in different parts of the body: the Lucifer spirits, that have since worked on us through the spinal cord and the brain; and the angels who have charge of the propagative faculty in so far as it does not interfere with our own action. Here, at this point, is where free will and choice come in and also the Law of Consequence. The animals are not responsible in the way we are; if an animal jumps from a height, it hurts itself in a physical manner, but there the responsibility ends; while if we should do the same thing, we should incur similar physical results and in addition a moral responsibility, for we know better than to injure the physical vehicle unnecessarily. Thus the Law of Consequence attaches to every act of a human being when free will is attained.
Whatever we do that is wrong has in some way to be brought to our notice. Sorrow and pain have been the taskmasters who have guided us aright, and in order that we might in time know how to do right, the Law of Consequence was given. In the ark, which symbolized the human being, there were placed the tablets of the law, and there was also placed the pot of manna. The word "manna" signifies not bread that came from heaven but the thinker, the Ego, which descended from the higher spheres. In almost every language we have the word "man." In Sanskrit, German, Scandinavian, etc., the root is the same. In the ark is the thinker, and he is being carried about in the temple in the wilderness during the present stage of his evolution.
There is in us also the spiritual power symbolized by the rod of Aaron. Aaron's rod, we remember, was one that budded when all others remained barren. There is in each one of us a spiritual power that has become latent during the time we have been going through the pilgrimage of matter, and it is for us to awaken this power. We have spoken a number of times about this spiritual power—how the use of it brings blessings into the world when used as Parsifal used it, and how when misused, as did Amfortas, it brings sorrow.
This spiritual power is latent at the present time because humanity, symbolized by the traveling ark, has not fitted itself to receive it. We are too selfish, and we must cultivate unselfishness before we shall be trusted to wield this wonderful power. Peter is very emphatic in regard to the teachers who may come among us, when he speaks of false teachers and says they will make merchandise of us. Such are they who have lessons in this, that, and the other kind of spiritual science to sell, more than likely in astrology, at perhaps five dollars per lesson. They have these things to give us for the coin of the realm, but we must remember that it is not money but merit that counts in spiritual attainment every time, and it is impossible to initiate a man into higher spiritual powers for a few dollars or any material consideration. Just as it is necessary to load the pistol before pulling the trigger will cause the explosion, so also is it necessary that we have stored up within ourselves the force, the spiritual power symbolized by Aaron's rod, before we can have that power turned to its proper and legitimate use. And this is one of the great lessons in the story of the ark.
If we continue to travel and travel, take rebirth after rebirth, and do not at some time learn to obey the voice of God, hold His commandments holy, and live the good life, we cannot expect to reach the City of Peace, but must be content to remain in the land of sorrow and suffering.
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How then are we to unfold our spiritual power? What is the way, the truth, and the life? We have had the threefold path shown us in the glorious teaching of the Christ. Ordinary humanity all over the world are being worked upon by law, which works upon the desire body and holds it in check. The thinker is pitted against the flesh. But under law no one can be saved. We also have the vital body spoken of in our teaching. This is the vehicle, as Paul has said, of love and attraction. If we can overcome the passionate side of our nature, if we can get away from the lower vibrations of love, if we can cultivate within ourselves purity, and if we can withstand temptation as did Parsifal and live the pure life, then every day we cultivate within ourselves a power. This power is the power of love, which will express itself in our lives in service, and gradually it will accumulate to such an extent that it will be like the powder in the loaded pistol. Then the Teacher will come to us and show us how to liberate the power we have stored up within our being.
It depends upon ourselves how long we shall travel in the wilderness. Everyone of us has the power latent within that will bring him or her into the City of Peace, a place apart from sorrow and suffering. Everyone of us can and must make the start sometime, and the first step is purification, for without the pure life there can be no spiritual advancement. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon," it is said. But mammon is usually interpreted to mean the gold of the world. Yet a man may remain in his business and take care of it for the good of all, not for his own selfish greed and interest, doing everything possible for others, and not be serving mammon no matter how much he may be accumulating. A person may love only a few around him, but there is a higher love that flows out to others not in his own circle which must be observed. Every duty must be fulfilled that we may thereby take advantage of the higher opportunities that are ever opening up before us.
And so we must all learn our lessons in service: service to humanity, service to animals, service to our younger brothers, service everywhere. This alone will bring us out of the "wilderness." It is said that those who were highest in the temple were those who served; and the Christ said, "He who would be the greatest among you, let him be the servant of all." Let us all strive to render this service. It is easy to do if we will. Then some day in the not far distant future we shall hear that gentle voice, the voice of the Teacher, which comes to everyone who serves and who listens to the voice of God.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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