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Question: Regarding homosexuality, I understand that we are reborn twice during each zodiac phase of roughly 2,000 years, once as a female and once in a male body, to give a wide range of experience in each body type. Occasionally we might be born twice as a female so the next time we might be a very effeminate man, and vice versa. Does this have anything to do with why people are attracted to someone of their same sex? What is the esoteric reason behind homosexual relationships and practices, and what are these people doing to their soul growth and evolution?
Answer: Max Heindel, the author of many books on the Rosicrucian Teachings, made no explicit reference to homosexuality. We may, however, reasonably surmise his views on the practice by citing his response to the question, "What is meant by sinning against the Holy Ghost?" We remember that the Holy Spirit is the creative power of God and "a ray from that attribute of God...is used by men for perpetuation of the race. When that is abused, that is to say, whether it is used for sense gratification, whether in solitary or associated vice, with or without the legal marriage, that is the sin against the Holy Spirit. Humanity as a whole is now suffering for that sin. The debilitated bodies, the sickness that we see around us, has been caused by centuries of abuse, and until we learn to subdue our passions there can be no true health among the human race." (Rosicrucian Philosophy in Questions and Answers, Vol. 1, pp. 221-22).
Since homosexual activity involves members of the same sex, it is by definition nonproductive, sterile; it exists at most to gratify the desires of the participants. The same, of course, may be said of heterosexual activity that deliberately avoids fertilization and is engaged in solely for selfish desires.
The questioner’s assumption that several consecutive lives of the same gender (male or female) occasions the predominance of that gender’s traits when the ego is subsequently embodied as the opposite sex does not necessarily follow. The lessons and aptitudes learned during one or several recent lives are integrated into the totality of the ego’s experience gained while inhabiting all its earthly bodies, producing an overall balanced effect.
The writer also suggests that an effeminate man or a masculine woman identifies the homosexual person. This is clearly not the case since, proportionally, at least as many heterosexual persons display these variant gender qualities as do homosexuals. It may be remarked in passing that as humanity approaches the Aquarian Age individual genders will increasingly show a wider range of personal expression and behaviors traditionally associated with the opposite sex.
"Attraction" between persons of the same sex is universal and natural, being based on the innumerable features and qualities that make a person attractive, be they physical, moral, intellectual, or spiritual. If that attraction devolves to the sensual sphere and specifically seeks or responds to the gratification of aroused desire, then that attraction becomes what early Church fathers called concupiscence, and what Anglo-Saxons bluntly call lust.
Same gender relationships are by no means synonymous with homosexuality (as that term is normally construed), since, in the vast majority of instances, sexual expression plays no part in them. In even intimate friendships, mutual appreciation and shared interests, rather than physicality per se, are the primary focus of attention or attraction.
The erosion of moral discipline, occasioned by the increased secularization of society and the weakening of traditional religious authority, manifests generally in greatly increased sexual liberty and licentiousness, including homosexuality.
As for the karma generated by untrammeled sexual activity, of whatever kind, Max Heindel makes clear that "Each person owns his or her body, and is responsible to the law of Consequence for any misuse resulting from the weak-willed abandonment of that body to another." (The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception p. 471).
The additional factor bearing upon homosexual relationships is that they obviate the essential function of and reason for cohabitation and marriage—procreation. Again, quoting from the Cosmo, "it is both a duty and a privilege (to be exercised with thanks for the opportunity) for all persons who are healthy and of sound mind to provide vehicles for as many entities as is consistent with their health and ability to care for the same." (Ibid)
While adoption of a child by a homosexual couple (in those states where it is permissible) is laudable if the motive is the selfless intention of providing the optimum milieu for its development, both the child and society are given a poor model to imitate because it is biologically barren, opposed to the perpetuation of the human race.
Ours is an era in which the quest for spiritual freedom is confused with the liberty to do whatever one likes, while simultaneously demanding exemption from accountability for one’s actions. Ironically, many professing homosexuals are, by virtue of intelligence and material prosperity, especially qualified to care for advanced souls who have a more difficult time seeking the appropriate environment in which to be reborn.
What at present appears to be a surge in the prevalence of homosexual activity may be seen as a transitional phase in a larger process. The dissolution of societal (family) and institutional (religious) structures and guidelines is creating cultural upheavals that manifest as identity crises, troubled experimentation, joyless pleasure-seeking, and insecurity masked as defiance. These symptoms of cultural and creedal change shall in time give way to reformation and reformulation of more inclusive relational structures founded on more altruistic, regenerate practices.
With the exception of service, there is no theme to which Max Heindel recurs with such frequency and earnestness as the cardinal precondition for esoteric development. In Ancient and Modern Initiation (p. 52) his message is succinct and unambiguous: "Purity is the key by which alone he [the aspirant] can hope to unlock the gate to God." In Letters to Students (No. 13) the writer is more sweeping and just as emphatic: The gist of the "symbolism of the Rose Cross [and] the crux of the Western Wisdom Teaching" are one and the same—"Generative Purity." The "Western spirit is allowed to test its strength by living in conjugal relations and perchance in accomplishing an immaculate conception such as symbolized by the chaste beautiful rose which scatters its seed without passion, without shame."
Those individuals who have awakened to the call of holy Being soon encounter what may at first seem a daunting, if not arbitrary disclosure: "Esoteric science teaches that the sex-function should never be used for sense-gratification, but for propagation only." (Cosmo, p. 471) Use of the creative energies for personal gratification retards one’s soul growth because those energies are no longer available to build the luminous soul body.
"As the Holy Spirit is the creative energy in nature, the sex energy is its reflection in man, and misuse or abuse of that power must be expiated in impaired efficiency of the vehicles, in order to teach us the sanctity of the creative force." What exactly constitutes misuse or abuse of this creative energy? Again Heindel does not mince his words or worry about repeating himself: "The sex function is designed solely for the perpetuation of the species and under no circumstances for the gratification of sensual desire." (Cosmo, p. 288)
What are the consequences of ignoring this warning? Heindel informs us in Letters to Students (pp. 86-87): "The condition of one who has the light of the greater knowledge given to humanity today, and who transgresses the law by abusing the creative force, may become far more serious than that of the class now embodied in the anthropoid forms [resulting from the abuse of the creative force]....At this present stage, the vital force (save the insignificant quantity required to propagate the race) should be transmuted to soul power."
In view of the foregoing, the writer’s question and this response enter into a broader consideration of the creative energy as it manifests in human sexuality. In this context, the term homosexuality is used to designate sexual activity between consenting members of the same gender. Absent that activity, or its intention, the term, strictly, does not apply. Since ignorant indulgence in the creative act has brought about eons of human suffering and estrangement from the worlds of spirit, to the point of necessitating the salvatory sacrifice of Christ Jesus that the soul of mankind not be made an eternal prisoner of the material world, it is abundantly clear that any expression of human sexuality—be it homo, hetero, auto, or poly perverse—for purposes other than procreation, is not only a "sin against the Holy Spirit" but "a spiritual evil, [and] the greatest danger to society." (Rosicrucian Christianity Lectures, p. 61)
No less categorically does Heindel write elsewhere that the passion that gives rise to this sexual activity is "poison." "Through passion the spirit has been crystallized into a body and only by chastity can the fetters be loosed, for heaven is the home of the virgin and only insofar as we elevate love from that of sex for sex to the standard of soul for soul can we shatter the shackles that bind us." (Mysteries of the Great Operas, pp. 153-4)
How significant is the continent and dispassionate life? Once again, we may heed the words written by an Initiate in The Web of Destiny (pp. 143-4): The spiritual force generated from the time of puberty, whether used for generation, degeneration, or regeneration, "overshadows every single moment of our existence, and determines our attitude in each and every single phase of life among our fellow men," for it is the very wellspring of our existence, the elixir of life.
While, as stated earlier, Max Heindel made no explicit use of the term "homosexuality", he did make several indirect references to the practice itself. In the article "Death of the Soul" in Teachings of an Initiate, Heindel referred to the Holy Spirit or Jehovah, "who is the warden of the creative lunar force": He "meted out the most terrible punishment to the Sodomites, who committed sacrilege by misdirecting the seed [This identical passage is also found in Chapter 7, page 56, of Gleanings of a Mystic entitled 'The Unpardonable Sin', where Heindel states that Jehovah, as 'warder of the creative lunar forces....meted out a most terrible punishment to the Sodomites who committed sacrilege by misdirecting the seed.'] and the sin of man who wasted it is also a pointer in the same direction...[T]he abuse of this sacred [procreative] function for gratification of the passional nature, and particularly perversion, is recognized by esotericists as the unpardonable sin." (p. 49).
One of Heindel’s earliest references to the angels as "warders of the propagative forces" is contained in The Rosicrucian Mysteries, in which the author mentions the angels who came to Abraham to announce the birth of Isaac and who later "destroyed Sodom for abuse of the creative force" (p. 50-51).
Counterpoised against the carnal expression of the passions is the love of soul for soul (irrespective of physical gender), purged of passion in the furnace of sorrow, which will be our brightest gem in heaven, as its shadow is on earth.
We conclude by quoting the closing words of Heindel’s study on the Immaculate Conception (Gleanings of a Mystic, p. 68): "Is the life of absolute purity beyond some of us yet? Be not discouraged; Rome was not built in a day. Keep on aspiring though you fail again and again, for the only real failure consists in ceasing to try. So may God strengthen your aspirations to purity."
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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