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The Bible is the wonder book of the ages. Within its pages is found a message for every seeking soul, regardless of where he may be on the path of spiritual attainment. There is hope, counsel and inspiration for the narrowest and most conservative of minds; while at the same time there are glorious words of light for the liberal and questing intellect. There is comfort and instruction for the simplest, and exalted cosmic doctrine for the highest Initiate this earth planet is able to produce.
It is an error to say that the Bible is nothing more than an antiquated book belonging to a time two thousand years in the past. The Bible is a mystery book, a wisdom book of tremendous power, a continuous running cipher created by great Initiates and their helpers through millennia of effort. It belongs equally to the Past, the Present, and to the Future.
So carefully have its secrets been inscribed in the Bible text, coil within coil, that the more spiritual man becomes the profounder are the meanings which this book reveals to him.
As it is written in the Zohar, "Woe to the man who sees in the Thorah (the Law) only simple recitals and ordinary words!...Each word of the Thorah contains an elevated meaning and a sublime mystery...The simple take notice of the garments and recitals of the Thorah alone...The more instructed do not pay attention to the vestment, but to the body which it envelopes."
The Bible will accompany man to the very gates of the New Age, where he will discover that its pages reveal an entirely new concept of the mysteries of spiritual life; for this marvelous book is the true Book of Life upon which will be based the soul sciences of the New Aquarian Age.
When the Bible story is read in the light of New Age interpretations, which relate all characters and events to the individual human being as qualities and attributes to be either cultivated or eradicated, the Scriptures become a living word indeed, immediately applicable to personal problems in daily life, in the present moment of time. The historical aspects then recede into the background. The Bible ceases to be a book of a dead and different past and becomes a guide to the living, pulsating present.
Abraham, whose name means "father of multitudes" was the first of the Initiate teachers sent to the new Fifth Root Race which inhabited the earth after the destruction of the Atlantean continent by the Flood. He came from Ur, the city of "light", and settled in Haran, "a high place." Sarah and Lot traveled with him. Sarah, meaning "princess," signifies the feminine or love principle, and Lot, identified chiefly with Sodom, represents the lower nature. Thus, Abraham journeys into the new land accompanied by both the higher and the lower elements within his nature.
As a pioneer, Abraham represents, astrologically, Saturn, who presides over beginnings of manifestation, and whose forces mold form out of the substance emerging from Chaos.
To the spiritually enlightened it has always been held that every place mentioned in the Bible is here and now, and that every person mentioned is you, yourself. Thus, for example, Abraham's two wives, Sarah and Hagar typify man's higher and lower natures, respectively, and the two sons which they bore represent the attributes and deeds which result from the activities of these two opposing natures in man. Hagar and her son Ishmael, typify the lower self, Sarah and her son Isaac, typify the higher. The name Isaac means joy, the joy that comes with living true to the higher self.
Abraham was first known as Abram and his wife Sarah as Sarai. With Abraham's First Initiation the letter H was added to their names. H, a feminine letter, when added to the names Abram and Sarai, indicates that in their initiatory experiences they had awakened within them the feminine or intuitive principle. The quickening of this principle gives birth to Isaac which, in the present context signifies the joy the soul experiences when it establishes right and harmonious relations with the Over-Soul.
Abraham embodied what may be called the archetype of the Fifth Root Race. Hence the principal events which occurred in his life as recorded in the Bible are to be emulated by all of us in their essential significance.
Abraham reached that high place in spiritual attainment which permitted him to commune face to face with the very Lord of Hosts. But the higher the soul ascends, the more subtle the temptations, and the more severe the ests and trials to be met and overcome. This being so, "many turned back, and walked with the Christ no more."
In his spiritual progression Abraham eventually encountered one of the greatest of all tests on the initiatory path, the one known as the Great Renunciation. Thus it reads in Genesis 22:7-12:
"And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My Father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt-offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me."
This passage reveals Abraham's complete surrender of self. He had the will, the courage and the fortitude to meet the test successfully. In so doing he opened the door to an influx of power and illumination little dreamed by those who have not been so tried and proven. He had unquestioned faith to obey the command of the Lord (law), whatsoever the cost. Such is the course that qualifies one for carrying out some major part in God's great plan for man. Christ's assertion that "He that findeth his life, shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it," is a Temple teaching belonging to the ages.
Again we read in Genesis 22:13:
"Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."
The ram is the symbol of Aries. This sign was called "the lamb bearing one" by the ancients. In its highest aspects, the keywords for Aries are purity, service and sacrifice. It is a sign of the resurrection. Pisces, the last sign in the Zodiac, is the place of sorrow, the garden of tears, the Gethsemane on the Path. Its gate closes, but only to open on the first zodiacal sign, Aries, heralding the arrival of one new-born. Abraham had now arrived at this place in his initiatory development.
One of the supreme spiritual experiences in the life of Abraham was his meeting with Melchizedek, who was one of the world's highest initiatory teachers. He was one of the Chief High Priests of Atlantis and Teacher of the remnant which survived the destruction of Atlantis by the Flood. Noah and his family are generic terms for that remnant.
Melchizedek gave to Abraham the profound spiritual mystery teachings which later became known in the Christian world as the Christ-mass, and which orthodox Christianity speaks of as the Holy Communion. A higher version of this same spiritual mystery was the last and most sublime teaching which the Lord Christ gave to his most advanced disciples during his three year ministry upon Earth. A still higher revelation of this sacred mystery will become central to the teaching and the ritualism of the New Aquarian Age religion.
"After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing that I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezar of Damascus?" —Genesis 15:12
It was after Abraham's meeting with Melchizedek that the Lord came to him in a vision. The question he then asked of the Lord: "What wilt thou give me seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezar of Damascus?"
This question holds the key to an understanding of one of the most esoteric chapters in the Bible. To interpret briefly: The name Eliezar means "help of God." It signifies the awakened powers of divinity within. Eliezar is the pious and faithful steward of Abraham's household, which here signifies the body. He is of Damascus, a city which in biblical symbology signifies a center of illumination and a place where flowers are in perpetual bloom. Hitherto barren of progeny, what Abraham now asks the Lord is, in effect, what is he to bring forth, seeing that the God within is now functioning in a center of light, and that the spirit is in command of his personal attributes and faculties.
That this was an experience in the inner realms is indicated in the statement that his meeting with the Lord was in a vision. The spiritual aspect of the entire experience is, moreover, indicated by the Lord's promise to Abraham that the heir he sought would come forth out of his own "bowels," or interior being. His spiritual offspring was to be without number, as the very stars in heaven. Abraham believed, for the "mortal mind," the physical senses, the unbelieving part of man, gave way to the soul's clear perception of truth on the plane of consciousness to which he had now ascended.
The Lord also promised Abraham that unto his seed would be given the land that stretches "from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." Abraham then asked whereby he would know that such was to be his inheritance. The Lord replied enigmatically: "Take me an heifer of three years old and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon." —Genesis 15:9
He did so. But it was not a bloody sacrifice that he was called upon to perform. The entire experience recorded in this chapter occurred on a superphysical level, and the words describing it must be considered in terms of symbols if their inner meanings are to be apprehended in even the slightest degree. It must always be remembered that the deepest spiritual truths are never committed to writing but conveyed by word of mouth from Teacher to disciple in accordance with the latter's worthiness and understanding. Insofar as they are or can be transcribed in writing, symbols and ciphers of various kinds must convey as best they can what words alone cannot do.
Since this is so, such written references as are made to the highest experiences of the soul are by their very nature obscure and enigmatic to all except those who have attained a state of consciousness that penetrates into the soul of things and makes first-hand observation and corroboration possible. The ceremonialism of the exoteric religionist is but a mutilated fragment of the glorious ritualism to be found in the Bible when this is read in the light of its esoteric content.
Returning to the question of animal sacrifice, such was not the offering of Abraham at this time. The "wing which the soul fashions for high ascent" are not built of the agony and death of any living thing, but by sympathy, compassion, and an all-embracing, unifying love which includes all God's creatures from the highest to the lowest. The inner soul qualities requisite for the high attainment reached by an Initiate like Abraham can be formed in no other way.
Let us apply the astrological key to the sacrifices required of Abraham. The heifer is a symbol of Taurus, and its sacrifice means renunciation of all base desires and selfish love. The goat is the symbol of Capricorn; it signifies the sacrifice of worldly power and ambition. The sheep is the symbol of Aries and represents the resurrection of the life powers through chastity and transmutation. The turtle-dove and pigeons are symbols of Libra, the Balance, and refer to the subtle experiences that test judgment at this stage of attainment.
It is also to be noted that Abraham's sacrifices was made in Mamre, meaning strength, and near Hebron, meaning unity.
"And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; an lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surely that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years." —Genesis 15:12, 13
Here is an outline of all that can be given publicly concerning the process of a certain Initiation. It tells of the ecstasy of spirit which accompanies the "great darkness." When Abraham lost consciousness on the physical plane he was awake in the inner or etheric realms. In God's Book of Remembrance he then reads in cosmic pictures the future events connected with the peoples whom he is being prepared to lead. Abraham's seed, the fruits of the spirit, are not in their home world when on Earth. They are strangers, passing through and serving matter, and subject to its limitations until the lower quartenary of form (400 years) has been transcended by the triune powers of spirit.
"And it came to pass, when the sun went down, it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces." —Genesis 15:17
Heat, smoke and fire are inseparable from the refining processes that lead to Illumination. That Abraham passed through the "furnace" successfully and qualified himself for higher service is clear from the covenant which the Lord made with him "in the same day" saying, "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates."
The hidden power of the fruit of the vine was realized by the early Fathers, as the following passages from Justin Martyr indicates: "The word blood of the grape was used purposely to express, that Christ has blood, not from the seed of man, but from the power of God. For in the same manner that man does not produce the blood of the vine, but God; so also this passage foretold, that the blood of Christ was not to be of human origin, but from the power of God and this prophecy shows that Christ is not a man, begotten of men according to the common law of men."
Eusebius, a fourth century ecclesiastical historian, makes this comment on the foregoing passage; "...Men are redeemed by the blood of the grape which has God dwelling in it, and is spiritual."
From statements such as these it is clear that what is referred to as "the blood of the grape" has a deep significance. It refers to the purification and transmutation of the blood. Christ told His disciples: "I am the vine, ye are the branches." A faithful aspirant places himself into a closer and more perfect attunement with Christ by means of the bread and the wine, and is thereby able to develop and manifest greater Christed powers within himself.
Both Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria assert that it was Christ who appeared to Jacob in the dream in which he beheld a ladder reaching from earth to heaven, with Angels of God ascending and escending upon it. Above it stood the Lord, who said, "I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father and the God of Isaac" (Gen. 28:13). Cyprian, quoting from Genesis 35:1 writes: "...Believing as all the Fathers did that the God there spoken of who appeared to Jacob when he fled from Esau was Christ."
As mentioned in the third volume of our New Age Bible Interpretation, illumined Masters down through the ages have taught their disciples that the work of Mystery Schools and the various forms of their Initiation were but preparatory steps for the coming of the supreme World Teacher, the Lord Christ. This statement holds true regarding seer-teachers of the Old Testament Dispensation. They were preparing themselves and their followers to later serve the Christ. In his dreams Jacob was being taught to read in the Memory of Nature. There he saw the involutionary-evolutionary ladder which extends from heaven to earth and from earth to heaven, with multitudes of spirits descending into incarnation and reascending into heaven after earth's lessons have been learned.
The Path of Discipleship has been similar in all ages. Aspirants must meet the same tests and make the same over-comings. Only particulars change in the course of succeeding epochs. This initiatory Path is outlined with exceptional fidelity in the life of Jacob. It is recorded in Genesis 32:24 that when Jacob was left alone "there wrestled with him a man until the breaking of day." At the conclusion of this incident it was made clear that the One who prevailed over Jacob the new name of Israel, meaning one who preserves. "For," said He, "as a prince hast thou power with God and with men." The experience here related is a most meaningful one. That the Lord Christ was herein the Teacher and Guardian of Jacob is noted by Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus.
Jacob's experience of wrestling all night with the Angel and refusing to let it go until he received a blessing is a familiar one upon the Path of Discipleship. Spiritual powers latent within each aspirant thereby become sufficiently aroused for him to manifest them within his life. "Let the Christ be formed in you," was St. Paul's admonition to his disciples. This was a necessary attainment before one could become a pioneer of the Christ Dispensation.
In the life of Jacob this was accomplished. He parted from Esau (the lower nature) for all time. In conformity with the inner change that then occurred he was no longer called Jacob, but Israel, a name which also means "one who sees God." Jacob was now an heroic conqueror and a dedicated server. He was qualified to become a worker in the vineyard of the Lord Christ, who declared: "Whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be the servant of all".
Referring again to the verse in Genesis which says that "Jacob was left alone and there wrestled a man with him," Origen writes: "Who else could it be that is called at once man and God, who wrestled and contended with Jacob, that he who spake at sundry times and in divers manners unto the Father (Heb. 1:1) the holy Word of God who is called Lord and God, who also blessed Jacob and called him Israel, saying to him 'Thou hast prevailed with God.' It was thus that the men of those days beheld the Word of God, like our Lord's apostles did, who said, 'That which was from the beginning, which we have seen with our own eyes, and looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life (Jno. 1:1) which Word of Life Jacob also saw and added 'I have seen God face to face.'"
After his wrestling experience, which ended in victory for him, Jacob ascended into Bethel, there to build an altar and dedicate his life to God. Many who pass through this exalting experience are conscious of the presence of the Christ, and of the out-pouring of His tender blessing upon their endeavors. Bethel means "the house of God," and there it is that a victorious candidate makes a complete dedication.
Hyppolytus, an ecclesiastical writer of the third century, and a pupil of Trenaeus, made the following statement with reference to Christ as described in Jacob's prophecy (Gen. 49:9) and also in Revelation (5:5) "Now since the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, on account of his kingly and glorious state, was spoken of before as a lion."
Four of the most distinguished Church Fathers—Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus and Tertullian, assert that it was none other than the Christ who appeared to Moses in the burning bush. This phenomena was a reflection of the Cosmic Christ as He drew closer and closer to the earth prior to His human incarnation. Christ is the Lord of the Sun and Chief among the Fire Spirits, the Archangels. The Christian Dispensation is intimately guided by the Hierarchy of Leo, the Lords of Flame. Hence, the Fire Initiation is directly connected with the Christ Mysteries. This Fire is not a flame that burns but a light that purifies and transmutes. The bush that "burned" became ablaze with light but it was not consumed. This experience of Moses is a veiled account of the exaltation accompanying the Fire Initiation.
For the disciple the preparation for the Initiation by Fire deals largely with the processes of Purification and Transmutation. All of the high initiatory processes are accompanied by celestial music. Richard Wagner, truly a musical Initiate, brought to earth something of the magnificence and splendor which accompanies the Initiation by Fire in the glory of his Fire Music which he gave to the world in his music-dramas, The Valkyrie and Siegfried. The sublimity of these celestial strains, and also those of the final chords of The Gotterdammerung, sound like echoes and re- echoes from the tonal realms in the high heavens.
In agreement with many Church Fathers, Justin Martyr believed that it was Christ who talked with Moses out of the bush, and he took issue with those who confounded God the Father with His Son. "Those who think that it was always God the Father who spoke to Moses, whereas He who spoke to him was the Son of God, who is also called an Angel (and an Apostle), are justly convinced both by the prophetical spirit, and by Christ himself, for knowing neither the Father nor the Son. For they who say that the Son is the Father, are convinced of neither knowing the Father nor of understanding that the God of the Universe has a Son, who, being the first-born Word of God, is also God. And formerly He appeared to Moses and to the prophets in the form of fire as an incorporeal image."
Clement of Alexandria is another authority for the claim that it was Christ who said to Moses: "I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt." It is this Christ power which always delivers an aspirant out of Egypt, the symbolical land of bondage to the senses and to the darkness of mortal mind.
Moses was permitted to view the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey (the Christ Dispensation of the Aquarian-Leo cycle). The saintly Origen tells us that it was the Christ who gave Moses on the holy mountain the Tables of the Law, when Moses was being taught to read the Akashic Records. He saw that the civilization of the Fifth Root Race was to have its foundation in the laws that became known as the Ten Commandments. He saw further that the Christ Himself would bring an extension of these laws, which He did by the precepts enunciated in the Sermon on the Mount. Humanity of the Fifth Root Race is still far from the development scheduled for it in the divine plan. Only a few of its members have reached the evolutionary status where they live in full accord with the Ten Commandments, and fewer still have any conception of the spiritual import of the Sermon on the Mount.
As stated throughout the New Age Interpretation series, polarity is the key word of mystic Christianity. The two columns of polarity are formed by the Ten Commandments (the masculine column) and the Sermon on the Mount (the feminine column). For the Christed man of the coming Aquarian-Leo Race, the Ten Commandments will be the foundation on which he establishes his daily life, while the Sermon on the Mount will be its superstructure as he rises into higher dimensions of unfoldment.
Elijah's ascent into heaven in a chariot of fire is the description of another illumined spirit who was being prepared through the Fire Initiation to work on both inner and outer planes in preparation for the coming Christ. This was likewise the Initiation of the three holy men who were cast into a fiery furnace and yet remained unharmed as recorded in the Book of Daniel. In its entirety this Book contains much information relative to Initiation by Fire.
The Book of Daniel is closely related to the work of the Hierarchy of the Fire Sign Leo. It was the Initiation by Fire, as it guards the Threshold of the Christ Mysteries that the Supreme Teacher referred to when he told Nicodemus "Except a man be born of water and of the spirit [Fire], he cannot enter the kingdom of God," the new Christed order.
We have frequently referred to the Bible as the "Wonder Book of the Ages." This is evinced by the fact that the further one advances spiritually, the more the Scriptures reveal their marvelous hidden secrets. Also, as previously stated, as man enters into the enlightenment of the Aquarian Age he will realize that the Bible is not only the supreme textbook of Light, but that it opens to his unfolding consciousness deeper mysteries and more profound truths than he can imagine at the present time.
Many timeless truths are concealed in the biblical record of David and Solomon, both of whom possessed initiatory powers of a high degree. To prevent spiritual truths which they gave to the world from being misused or desecrated by persons not yet able to grasp and apply them rightly, they were couched in unattractive symbols or embodied in stories that were in keeping with the primitive and sensual development then prevalent.
An ancient teaching declares: "If you would know the doctrine, you must live the life." This being true, one must conclude that David and Solomon—two illumined souls qualified for assuming spiritual leadership of their people—were not guilty of such reprehensible conduct as a literal interpretation of some biblical stories attributes to them. For example, the women in the life of David really indicate definite stages of his spiritual development rather than various polygamous matings as would appear from a literal reading. Now Solomon is said to have had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines. Numerically 7 and 3 add to 10, the number of spiritual attainment. Such is the significance of this number as used throughout the entire Old Testament.
Solomon is referred to as the highest initiate of the Old Testament Dispensation. The great love he appeared to have for women must not be interpreted as personal infatuation, but as a means of conveying the spiritual fact that he experienced the ecstasy that comes from having attained to union with the exalted Feminine Principle, a state requisite for the high initiatory degree ascribed to him. On the other hand, the several women in the life of David esoterically represent various steps in the progress of an aspirant. Thus, Michal stands for Mars' martial powers, given to be a snare to David: Eglah, the intimate personal love of Venus; Chimham, expansiveness of the Jupiterian consciousness. Hagith, the law and order of a well developed Saturnian nature; Abital, the enhanced attributes of faith and wisdom generally associated with Mercury. David's marriage to Abigail symbolizes a high state of spiritual consciousness (I Samuel 25:2-42).
Abigail pleads for Nabal, the fool, who represents man's lower nature. The foods Nabal refused to share with David signify certain spiritual qualities about which a foolish mortal has no comprehension. After having sent David's men away and then partaken of a drunken orgy, he lived only ten days. The death of Nabal (lower nature) was followed by the union of Abigail (joy of God) and David (the Beloved). This again signifies a union with the "eternal feminine, that draws us ever upward and on"—in this instance to the crowning of David in Hebron (unity) as King of Judah (love and praise). It was not until after this mystic marriage that David began the really great work of his career.
During a seven-year period as King of Judah. David was being prepared for a still higher position as King of Jerusalem, the City of Peace. He was taught to read the Akashic Records (the Memory of Nature) and to study therein the pattern for the world's most glorious Mystery Temple, later externalized by his son Solomon.
Just as there are certain spiritual centers in the body of man so are there corresponding centers of spiritual energy within the planet earth. For untold thousands of years the locations of these earthly centers have been the sites of Mystery Temples. From each one advanced spiritual truths have been disseminated to the peoples within its area of radiation. Jerusalem, the City of Peace, was the site of such a power release.
Esoterically, Jerusalem is at the very heart of the earth. According to the testimony of extended vision, at the very dawn of civilization it was chosen and consecrated by Wise Ones under the guidance of angelic leaders. Here Melchizedek, the Mystery Priest and one of the most exalted members of the White Brotherhood, worked and taught. He brought over into the current Fifth Epoch the sacred wisdom from Atlantis before its final inundation— recorded biblically in the story of the Flood. It was in this sacred area— called by him Salem, City of Peace—that he initiated Abraham, the first of the Mystery observances which culminated in the Lord's Supper, the Feast of Bread and Wine. Later this same eminence became the site for Solomon's Temple, and thereon Abraham passed the supreme test in the Rite of Detachment when he was commanded to sacrifice his son Isaac.
When this holy city had passed into the hands of the Jesuits, they renamed it Jebu and established therein a Temple devoted to the cult of Astarte. About 1000 B.C., after his becoming King of both Judah and Israel, David was inspired to make the city his capital, and he renamed it the City of David. From Jerusalem, located at an elevation that overlooked a wide surrounding territory, there has ever been a mighty inflow and outflow of spiritual energies. And besides being the heart-center of the whole earth and the home of Judah, he of the royal sign Leo, it appropriately became the City of the King.
What is more, Jerusalem was the focal center of the early Christian Mysteries—for which the work of David and the services held in the Temple of Solomon were a preparation. And it is destined to become the center of the Christian Mysteries in preparation for the second coming of the Christ as it was for His previous appearance. In fact, this holy place was the Mecca of the Initiates of both the Old and the New Testament Dispensations. It was the scene of activity for all of the Old Testament prophets excepting Amos and Hosae. Within its environs the Books of the Old Testament were conceived if not actually written. Both Joseph and the Holy Mother were Acolytes of the Jerusalem Temple.
Jerusalem was also the scene of the major part of the Master's work and that of His immediate disciples and followers, many of the latter having their training in communities located in nearby areas of high spiritual radiation—as, for instance, the Mount of Olives where David passed one of his tests of regeneration and where Christ Jesus made His final and complete renunciation in accordance with the will of the Father. And it was in this highly charged city that the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ Jesus took place.
Legend states that the birth of Solomon was attended by Hosts of Angels singing triumphant chorals just as they did at the birth of Jesus. It is also said that the Archangel Gabriel, guardian of mothers and children, was present to bestow his blessing upon the infant.
Nathan, a prophet of God who guided David in ways of Truth, was appointed teacher and guardian of the youthful Solomon. So the child grew and devloped in an environment of righteousness and wisdom, thus qualifying him to perform his great work for the upliftment of mankind.
One day, when Solomon was about thirteen years of age, the Court was assembled in the majestic Hall of Cedars when an Angel appeared and placed a golden leaf in the hands of King David. Upon this leaf was inscribed questions in mystic characters. David announced, "Whoso answers these questions shall become king of Israel after me." Then he read: "What is everything? what is nothing." Breaking the silence that followed, Solomon only made reply: "God is everything, the world is nothing." David continued reading: "What is of most account, and what is of least?" Once more it was Solomon who made reply: "Peace is of most account, and fear is of least."
Solomon's foremost work was to build the great Mystery Temple. Teachings emanating therefrom were to serve the entire present Fifth Root Race throughout its evolutionary span. Mt. Moriah, like the Mt. of Olives previously referred to, was an area of great spiritual power. On it Solomon was instructed to erect a magnificent Temple and dedicate it in service to the divine purpose of bringing about the redemption of mankind. It was ordained that the Lord Christ should be received into this Temple, and that the wondrous meaning and mission of His coming to us should be relayed to the world therefrom. Mankind, however, did not live up to the divine precepts of Solomon; and later Temple servers did not recognize the expected Messiah when He did come. Hence, the day of the Crucifixion inaugurated the doom of the Temple. It was only a matter of time before its complete destruction.
Jesus, foreseeing the fate of Jerusalem and the Temple, wept over the tragedy that was to overtake both. He knew that the city's inhabitants had failed to achieve the high destiny which had been prepared for them. As He beheld the long centuries lying ahead, He saw a future filled with strife and ravaging wars, with their aftermath of sorrow, pain and death, before the day of their redemption. David and Solomon, both high Initiates, came to earth to work for the regeneration of the human race in anticipation of the glorious coming of the Blessed Lord. It was not they who failed. Rather, it was the entire Fifth Root Race.
Solomon, by means of his initiate powers, was able to control denizens of both the upper and nether realms. The forty-nine paths of wisdom were open to him, so mystic legends state. (4 plus 9 gives 13, the initiatory number belonging to the then approaching Christian Dispensation.) He even transmuted the vicious powers of demons into those serving the good of man. He controlled Nature Spirits and, at will, could send them to the furthermost confines of the world. He delivered many persons from bondage to the evil of obsession.
The macrocosm is a reflection of the microcosm. Man's physical body, his temple, is a reflection of the solar Temple of the universe. The Master taught that it was this human temple which might be destroyed and then, through Initiation, be raised up again in three days. In mystic Masonry it is the temple built by two kings and a widow's son. The latter, Hiram or Khurum by name, becomes the Master-Builder—his name meaning high, white, lifted up. King Solomon represents the heart. King Hiram of Tyre the head. Hiram, the master workman and a widow's son, symbolizes an aspirant who is working to unite the love power of the heart with the intellect of the head.
Every masonic candidate is admonished to keep his working tools in the column of Joachin, the head. Boaz, the feminine heart column, is the fallen pillar which cannot be raised until the power of love balances that of reason. Only when love is truly "the fulfilling of the law" will the column of Boaz resume its upright position. These are the two columns that guard the entrance to all initiatory Temples, and every neophyte must pass between them on his quest for Light.
Many are the legends connected with the Molten Sea. This sea, in the form of a flower, was (and is) supported by twelve oxen. As a "widow's son" (neophyte) becomes a "master-builder" by the alchemy of transmutation within himself, his "molten sea" becomes a crystal wherein the outlines of past, present and future are indelibly impressed. This ability enables him to transform his physical vehicle into the "flower body" of an Initiate—a work done under the guidance and instruction of the twelve zodiacal Hierarchies. It was such attainment that placed Solomon among the the Wise Men of all ages. And the "lake" upon which he stood to welcome the Queen of Sheba symbolizes his own personal "molten sea."
Solomon's throne was fashioned of the fine gold of Ophir inlaid with marble and encrusted with rare jewels. On each of the six steps to it were two golden lions and two golden eagles standing face to face, indicative of the Leo- Aquarian Age and its pioneers who have learned to builds the glorious light body typified by Solomon's Temple. No workman was ill during the seven years that the Temple was under construction, nor was the perfect condition of their tools impaired. "When completed, the Temple shone like a golden hill set upon a silver mountain. The altar of bronze increased so that it might embrace the earth. The molten sea encompassed the spirit of all waters. The curtains caught and held the shimmering shadows of blue air; and the candlestick, the glory of celestial fire." Surrounding the Temple was a grove of golden trees bearing perpetual fruits that fell only when approached by an enemy. Within the sanctuary was an ivory wand, the touch of which gave injury to the unclean but proved harmless to the pure. A transparent wall within the interior of the sanctuary remained crystal clear on the approach of the righteous but darkened when the unworthy came near.
At the dedication of the Temple, these words were spoken by the Lord, the manifestation of spiritual law: "I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there forever; and mine yes and mine heart shall be there perpetually" —1 Kings IX:3. Legends state that Solomon placed a golden key in the door of the Holy of Holies to the rhythms of heavenly music and chanting: "Open wide the doorway of the Holy of Holies, that the King of Glory may go unto his rest."
The coming of this beautiful queen of wisdom is the triumphal crowning of Solomon's life. The wisdom, of which he sings as being above the price of rubies, was at last his own possession. Before its attainment he never could have penned the matchless Song of Songs, the Song of the Mystic marriage—described as "a love song set to lilies." It proclaims the final blending of the lower nature with the higher, the sublimation of the material into the spiritual. This is the highest achievement of divine alchemy. It must take place within the consciousness and life of a disciple, for it brings him into communion with those celestial planes whereon the glory of the song becomes his own personal experience.
The name Sheba means seven with its sevenfold interpretation: "the Beautiful, the Old, the One, the Giver, the Dangerous, the First, the Last." She was the queen of all Arabian flowers; Balkris, her name, means benediction. Solomon spent three years in preparation for her coming. He built two mighty walls that began at the frontier of Israel and ended at the gates of Jerusalem. One was of silver and the other of gold, and between them was a crystal lake in which the entire world was mirrored. It was thereon that he awaited her arrival. Sheba came arrayed in seven robes as subtle as woven air, and she approached Solomon as he was standing on this crystal "lake" as though he were in water. Her gifts to the king were priceless pearls while his to her were eight green rose trees of mystic Damascus, all starry with blossoms, and jars containing the waters of eternal life from the well of Siloam—the last being a phrase from an old Egyptian Mystery Temple.
"And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her.
"And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine yes had seen it; and behold, the half was not told to me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame of which I heard.
"Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants,
which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom."
—I Kings X:4-8
In the great tent of the king, guests who were assembled for the reception of the gifts were overshadowed by invisible hosts of the angelic choir. Solomon saluted the fair queen with the words: "You are holy as the Ark of God; your body is His house." At these words the king's salutation, many of the guests wavered and departed; but Balkris, Queen of Sheba, swayed and stood upright and alone in the middle of the royal tent.
"Many are called but few are chosen."
Others also wavered and turned away, unable to walk longer in the Master's way—the straight and narrow path of Initiation which leads to the portals of the mystic Temple where gifts are bestowed upon a successful aspirant who is wedded to wisdom and has learned the glory of the house not made with hands, but eternal in the heavens. It is as the completion of this "house" that he earns the wages of the Master and acquires ability to travel in foreign countries, the supreme attainment for pioneers of the human race.
From Jerusalem, Solomon reigned over all Israel the cabalistic period of forty years. At the time of his transition his eyes beheld a vision of the future: the destruction of the earthly tabernacle because it was impermanent, transitory. Said another great Christian Initiate: "Things seen are temporal; things unseen, eternal." Solomon, King of peace, rasining aloft the sacred ring bearing the ineffable name, admonished: Build ye the Temple invisible and eternal."
Both the Psalms and the Proverbs of the Old Testament were used in a number of ways in the magnificent Temple ceremonials. However, they were neither read nor spoken, but were sung or chanted, and were usually accompanied by the graceful rhythms of the sacred dance. The aspirants were taught that sound, or intonation, was the emanation or blessing from God, the Father; that harmony was the emanation or blessing of the Cosmic Christ; and that rhythm and rhythmic motion were the emanation or blessing of the Holy Spirit. Thus it was that the threefold power of the Holy Trinity was expressed in all Temple ceremonials.
The Psalms express various degrees of spiritual attainment. The Ninety-first Psalm is a song of protection. By its use the disciple was taught how to flood his body with pure white light of such power that no harm could touch it, by repeating again and again the powerful affirmation of protective security: "A thousand shall fall at thy right side and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee."
The Twenty-third Psalm is one of promise. "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies." These enemies are not merely personal enemies who wish us ill; they are also the more dangerous enemies that exist within oneself—wrong thinking, false appetites, and uncontrolled emotions, especially the destructive emotions of fear, hatred, malice and the coarser desires of the unregenerated personality.
"Thou anointest my head with oil" (the awakening of the spiritual organs in the head). "My cup runneth over." "Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord (spiritual Law) forever."
Psalm XXIV is a Song of Jubilation. "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory?" The answer to the question is that the Lord is the King of Glory; but the aspirant understands that this also refers to the "Christ Within," for every man is spiritually made in the image and likeness of God.
In our writings we have referred many times to the glorious processionals which take place within the inner realms and which are led by the Christ Himself. Those who are worthy are permitted to witness these processionals and sometimes to take part in them. This, however, can never be until the Christ is awakened within the aspirant's own nature. And so it is that this psalm of jubilation carries two meanings: the joy that is known when the Christ Spirit has entered into the heart of the disciple, and the recognition that by this event he has become worthy to stand in the Presence of our supreme Lord Christ Himself, while he hears the jubilant chorusing of Angels: "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and the King of Glory shall come in."
The Proverbs, as used in the ancient Temple, were powerful healing mantrams. The esoteric scientist understands that the human body is composed of certain groups known as feminine, or negative. The former are under the rulership of the brain and cerebro-spinal nervous system. The latter are under the rulership of the heart and the sympathetic nervous system. It is the inharmonious interaction of these two systems that causes most disease. As the disciple progresses spiritually these two systems are brought into ever closer harmony. A perfect relationship between the two systems is known as the attainment of Balance, or Polarity in the spiritual sense, and with it the body becomes impervious to disease. This is the secret of the perfect bodies possessed by the Masters of Wisdom and high Initiates who have risen in spiritual stature above and beyond disease and death.
Proverbs say truly, "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars." And for the ready and eager disciple the injunction is given: "Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine that I have mingled."
It is because Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are especially the textbooks of illumination that Wisdom, personified as a feminine principle of God, while Understanding, as used in Proverbs, is the masculine. Wisdom is the inflow of cosmic revelation, but Understanding is achieved through reason and initiatory work. Therefore Proverbs opens with the command: "Get wisdom and understanding." This is really the keynote of the entire work. Solomon repeatedly declares that Wisdom is the principal object of the quest.
It is significant that the esoteric Temple music was both masculine and feminine, and was played upon instruments attuned to their respective rhythms. For the Temple aspirant, the cantillation used in Proverbs was designed to play directly upon the two chief currents which flow within the etheric body. Thus the musical theme of both Proverbs and Ecclesiastes may be termed polarity and equilibrium.
The perfect Balance between the two poles of the human spirit can never be effected, however, until the lower feminine has been lifted up through pure and aspirational living. This term, "lower feminine," refers to the emotional nature as still held in subjection by the sense life, and in bondage to selfish aims and purposes. In most ancient writings the human "soul" or "spirit" (ego) was called feminine, and thus the lower aspect of the soul nature was termed the "fallen feminine" which must be lifted up and redeemed.
In the early Church the cantillations of Proverbs were used principally on Sundays between the Winter Solstice (Christmas) and the Spirng Equinox (Easter), this being the most favorable transmutation time of the year and the most holy of seasons.
The rhythmic dualism of Proverbs which plays upon the dual currents of the soul body and two nerve systems is clearly discerning in many of its verses; for example:
The word Sheba means seven, and Sheba's coming to Solomon constitutes the preparation for the soul delights of the Mystic Marriage, which is the spiritual motif of the Song of Songs.
For those whose eyes are open to the true meaning of the Quest, this ancient legend legend of Sheba and Solomon contains many hints as to its purpose and the preparation necessary to its successful conclusion. Solomon, the Wisdom-Seer, had found the Way and had learned to walk therein, preparing for the future embodiment of that One who was to come as a more complete and perfect demonstration of "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." This sublime "Song of Songs" attributed to Solomon sings in its inspired measures of the preparation and the Way.
In this song the alchemist-author has expressed in allegory the formula for making the Philosopher's Stone. The story itself is quite simple. It tells of King Solomon who, upon visiting his vineyard on Mt. Lebanon, comes by surprise upon a fair Shulamite maiden. She flees from him. Later he visits her disguised as a shepherd, and wins her love, after which he comes in state to claim her for his queen. The poem opens with a recital of their marriage in the royal palace.
The Song of Solomon has two principal characters, one masculine, the other feminine. The first bears the name Shelomah (peaceable), the second Shulamith (perfect). It is significant that both names are variations of the same root word, the terminology varying to indicate the gender. Shulamith is the feminine form of Solomon. In the English translations the two characters cannot be differentiated as they are in the Hebrew.
The two poles of spiritual being were recognized in all ancient Temple teachings, and they were symbolized in the two columns or pillars which stood before the Mystery Temples. At the entrance of Solomon's Temple stood the two pillars Joachin and Boaz, together symbolizing Strength and Stability, and also Beauty; they are also known as the two Columns of Victory. Always the candidate must pass between these two pillars in his search for Light, the Light which is in the East.
Solomon's mystic Song is a poetic and allegorical delineation of the steps or degrees which which lead to the development of Cosmic Consciousness, partly evidenced in seership. These degrees, sometimes termed "veils" in the early Mystery Schools, are seven in number and are enumerated thus:
The exultant note which is sounded in King Solomon's Song takes form in the lovely words repeated so often throughout: "My beloved is mine and I am His," while the phrase which completes the chant, "and he feedeth among the lilies," is descriptive of the Path which culminates in the divine Consummation.
This ultimate cosmic blending of the two poles of Spirit which constitutes the Mystic Marriage is represented in the verses with which St. John opens his Gospel: "The Word was with God"; and its music accompanies every verse of Solomon's beautiful marriage song. Veiled, for him who is not ready to essay the Quest, under the likeness of a tenderly human love song, the Song of Songs is to the illumined a revelation from the very Holy of Holies, wherein he stands in the Light Eternal, now no longer seen "as through a glass, darkly," but with transcendant clearness, "Face to Face."
The Book of Job is unique in the Old Testament in that it is, more than any other book, adapted to the needs and requirements of the disciple in the modern world, just as it stands. The disciple can accept this book as a manual of instruction, a textbook for meditation, and as an example of holiness and spiritual strength for emulation day by day.
There are two supreme laws which govern the earth planet. One is the Law of Spirit; the other the Law of Materiality. Every man possesses free will and the ability to choose which law he will live under, whether the causation of materiality or the freedom from all bondage in Spirit. The fruitage of his life will give evidence of his choice.
In that illuminating mystic picture book of life, the Tarot system, these two paths are shown. A youth stands between two maids, each of whom is endeavoring to persuade him to follow her. One is crowned with the fruit of the vine, the other is crowned with stars. The latter sings: "Every man must make his choice, the way his soul shall go."
In the Book of Job the two paths are represented by Elihu—the Way of Spirit, and by Job's Three Friends—the Way of Materiality. The three friends are familiar to all of us, for they represent the lure of the sense life as expressed through the physical body, the desires (or desire body), and the material or "mortal mind."
The Bible states that God loveth him whom he chasteneth, but this is not by way of punishment, it is to bring about rgeneration of the individual. The Book of Job may well be termed the Cosmic Type Pattern of the perfecting of man through affliction. Members of his family were taken from him. All of his worldly possessions were lost, and so also his reputation and good name; and finally he was stricken with a loathsome disease. It was at this place that even his wife advised him to "curse God and die." This represents the narrow place upon the Path where many would-be suicides mistakenly try to escape from their life problems.
But at this point a most wonderful thing happened to Job. This was the coming of Elihu, who typifies the awakening or spiritualizing of the mind, which is referred to in esoteric Christianity as the Christing of the mind. Here the Christian learns to think only Christ thoughts, to speak only Christ words, and to perform only Christ-like deeds. St. Paul spoke of this great transformation as "putting off the old man, and putting on the new." For him it occurred on the road to Damascus. He entered upon this road a bitter enemy and persecutor of Christ and Christians. He left it as their most devoted servant, and his name will remain for all time as one of the brightest lights of Christianity.
With Job's transformation his family was returned to him, his worldly goods were restored and increased tenfold, his reputation was regained and his body completely healed. He now understood the meaning of the words, "Man made in the image and likeness of God."
God is Love—God is All-Good—and the more Godlike man becomes the more all-good will be manifested in his life. When one finds himself surrounded by uncongenial companions or in an inharmonious environment, if he be truly wise, he will not seek to change these conditions by merely external means, but will find a solution for them by going more deeply within himself. Like always attracts like, and that which we give forth will unerringly return again to us.
And so we repeat that of all the books of the Old Testament, the Book of Job best meets the needs of the modern disciple for meditation and for emulation. For today the disciple, like Job, lives in the midst of trials and confusion. He is assailed by the forces of evil within and without, and those questions which Job asked of life he also asks; and again like Job he will receive an answer from on high, and will reap the reward of mastery over himself and his world through continued communion with the Wisdom of the Eternal.
The four Gospels present four independent records of the life and mission of Christ Jesus. They differ in their approach and treatment of this most profound subject. The so-called "higher criticism" has looked upon some of these variations as inconsistencies and, in some instances, even as contradictions. This would, therefore, cast some doubt on the authenticity of the records as a whole. However, when the Gospels, singly and together, are studied in the light of Initiation, they will be found to support each other to a degree not even suspected by the average interpreter of these sacred documents.
Thus, for example, Matthew and Luke begin their records with the birth of the child Jesus. This is entirely omitted in the Gospels of both Mark and John. Mark commences his Gospel with the baptism of Jesus, at which time the Christ became incarnate in human form. John opens his record, not with an introduction to the Master Jesus, but to the Word—the word that is to be identified with the Cosmic Christ. Later follows the introduction to the Christ in connection with the miracle performed at the wedding feast in Cana when He turned water into wine.
From the many references that Paul makes to various spiritual mysteries connected with the life and works of Christ Jesus there can be no doubt that, as a result of many profound insights he himself experienced in relation to the spiritual world, he had come to recognize that the nature of many of these were beyond the grasp of those who had not yet made sufficient preparation for their understanding and acceptance. This he expressed in the frequently quoted words, "There is milk for the babes and meat for the strong."
Any one making a careful study of the Epistles of St. Paul cannot fail to note the extent to which they deal with inner plane activities. He writes, for instance, "I was caught up into the third heaven, whether in the body or out of it I know not." This is an experience familiar to many disciples of our day.
At the time of St. Paul's transcendent illumination which occurred on the road to Damascus, the outer world was so obscured that his whole attention was sharply focused on the life and activities of the inner world. Then, too, it was that he was permitted to come into the presence of the Lord Christ and to realize the meaning of the mission He had undertaken in becoming the indwelling planetary Regent of this earth, and the profound significance this holds for the future of mankind and the earth's redemption.
Paul, who before his Damascus experience had been an arch enemy of Christ and His followers, later became one of the most deeply dedicated and ardent missionaries of all the followers of the Master.
Paul stresses the fact that it is because the Christ, a divine being incarnated in human form, suffered even as man suffers, that He is able as none other, to feel for those who are weak and heavy laden. This it is that calls forth His love and compassion with such power and universality as to make Him the Saviour and the Redeemer of the world. As a poet has beautifully expressed it: "The rose does not yield its full fragrance until the petals are crushed. The wells of true sympathy spring only from a broken heart."
It was the failure to understand the inner significance of the events in the life of Christ Jesus that brought out the taunts from the many that followed Him as He bore His cross up Calvary: "He saved others, himself He cannot save." But it was Christ's mission to outline the way for man, and to teach him how to follow in His steps. "Whosoever will come after me," said He to His disciples, "let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me."
And so, as the supreme Way-Shower, it was for Him to bear the cross up the slopes of Golgotha for His own crucifixion. It was also in the divine pattern that He was to live out on the physical plane the betrayal which exemplifies, in the life of man, how the lower nature is ever betraying the higher, or the Christ within, until such time as the lower nature is transmuted, and so finally destroys itslef as did Judas the betrayer.
A study of what may be called the internal content of the Gospel, brings to light the successive steps to be taken on the path that leads to Initiation. They are twelve in number. These are set forth in the principal events recorded in the life of Christ Jesus. They begin with the Immaculate Conception, Resurrection and Ascension. The life of Christ as outlined in Gospels corresponds to the cosmic pattern for the all-encompassing processes of spiritual evolution.
The first steps upon the path are described in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. The core advanced steps are recorded by Mark and John. As previously observed, Mark begins his record of the life of Jesus, with the baptism by John the Forerunner; Saint John, the most advanced of all the Master's disciples, commences his record of the Master with an account, as previously observed, of the miracle performed at Cana.
If all Mystery Schools teaching the way of Initiation were closed, their secret work would yet remain discoverable in the Bible. It is in recognition of this fact that the principal furnishings of the Masonic Lodge are the Bible and the Square and Compass. In their symbolism, the Masonic Fraternity preserves the essential elements of the initiatory processes as these are outlined from many points of view in that supreme textbook of life, the Christian Scriptures.
In their initiatory interpretations, the four Gospels are transmitters of the four streams of divine energies which manifest on the physical plane in the elements we know as fire, water, air and earth. This truth was well understood and taught by the Christians of the first and second centuries.
From an unidentified source we quote:
"In Palestine, Matthew proclaimed Him as putting the finishing stone to God's kingdom, of which the foundations were laid in Israel. In Rome, Mark presented Him as a Conqueror who founded His divine right as King of the World upon His miraculous powers. In Greece, Luke described Him as the Divine Philanthropist commissioned to carry out the work of divine grace and compassion to the worst of sinners. In Asia Minor, John, pictured Him as the Word made flesh—the Eternal Light and Life who descended into the world of time.
From the foregoing, it becomes apparent that differences in the four Gospels which some regard as inconsistencies are but varying presentations of different states of development in the life of an aspirant. Thus one Gospel record amplifies the other in its recitals of the life and mission of the Christ. In this, they provide irrefutable evidence of the unfathomable wisdom that is incorporated in this and every part of the Sacred Scriptures.
The 12 principal events of the life of Christ Jesus and their correspondences in the life of the aspirant are the following:
Among the early Christian Initiates it was not the person of Mary that was worshipped, glorious and exalted though she were; the object of veneration was the feminine emanation from the Cosmic Christ which is the innate, potential divinity within every man, and the realization of which is the supreme work of Initiation.
The feminine principle is formative in nature, hence the angelic Annunciation that the Virgin or Holy Mother would bring forth a son. In its universal application this it to be understood as the coming to birth of the mystical Christ in the heart of regenerated man.
Within the life of every successful neophyte the process of the Annunciation is enacted. He becomes conscious, after a certain period of preparation, of particular changes that are taking place within himself, a result of incorporating more of the higher ethers into his nature as a result of a life devoted to serving spiritual purpose.
The Immaculate Conception can occur only after an aspirant to the higher life has dedicated himself to live in obedience to spiritual law and the spirit of the indwelling Christ. The interval between the Annunciation and the Immaculate Conception is a time when the neophyte must be prepared to be tested as to whether he will use the awakened powers to advance his personal interest or devote them to furthering the good of others. At this stage, many falter and never pass beyond the first step of the Annunciation. An example of one who was strong enough to take the second step, the Immaculate Conception, was Mary, the mother of Jesus. Then it was in an ecstasy that she exclaimed : "My soul doth magnify the lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my saviour. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."
It is through this exaltation of the feminine principle that Mary becomes the bride of the Holy Ghost. A similar sublime experience is awaiting each and every one who chooses to pursue the steps leading thereto, steps made by those who have gone ahead and made clear the way.
The steps or degrees of Initiation are similar in outline in all Mystery Schools. Their differences pertain principally to methods of development which vary according to the particular requirements of the races whom they are designed to serve. Thus the great world Teachers are recorded as having been born of virgin mothers, and their coming heralded by angelic annunciation. Also they were immaculately conceived, and that their birth occurred in a cave, grotto or stable. The exalted ego of a world Teacher is carefully tended by Divine Beings who guard human evolution. Theirs is a holy birth, and as such, is ever a momentous event accompanied by gladsome hosannas of Angels and Archangels.
To parallel the steps of attainment in the consciousness of man, the birth is represented as occurring in a dark place, or where beasts feed, symbolizing a spiritual birth from out of the lower or unregenerate elements in man's mortal nature.
Symbolically, the neophyte must leave Nazareth, the place where time was spent in personal living, and enter upon the path that leads to Bethlehem, "The house of bread," in preparation for the Holy Birth. In the present state of mass consciousness, the mind is so occupied with material concerns that the spirit can not always find ready hospitality. The head, or inn, is so filled that the spirit must seek lodging elsewhere.
For greater and deeper reasons than many yet realize, the time of the birth of Jesus is a season of great rejoicing on the inner as well as on the outer plane of life. The physical incarnation of Jesus was made for the purpose of assisting man to the birth of the Christ within so that he too, might come to know individually the sublime experience of Holy Night. This is the work of the New Christian Dispensation. The portals of this new era were opened on the night of the birth of the Master Jesus. The earth then responded to a new rhythm which was set up by Angels in their proclamation: "Peace on earth, and good will among men."
The Gospels, as previously mentioned, are formulas of Initiation of varying degrees which accounts for variations in their records. Thus, for example, Luke makes no mention of the flight into Egypt, an event symbolizing the temporary ascendance of the human over the divine nature. The flight into Egypt, symbolically the land of darkness and materiality, reflects in the life of a neophyte struggling in the earlier stages of his initiatory development as related by Matthew in his account of the Flight into Egypt. The Gospel of Luke, which conveys a higher phase of attainment, passes directly from the Temple Rites of preparation into the fourth step known as the Teaching in the Temple.
In the personal parallel to the Temple episode, Jesus represents the awakened and illumined spirit within, and the Rabbis, the reasoning mind, or the unaided mental faculties which fail to cognize anything beyond the realm of the five senses. Mary, the mother, typifies the feminine or image-making quality of soul, whom the spirit finds it necessary to admonish at times: "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"
The age of twelve is an important time in the life of a child. In the average individual, it marks approximately the birth of the desire body, the age of puberty; in the advanced ego, it marks a corresponding awakening of soul. The spiritual light that has been generated in the course of past lives radiates from the head of a child at birth as mystic artists have generally portrayed it, not only of Jesus, but also of John the Baptist, the boy Samuel and other biblical characters of high spiritual attainment.
The Teaching in the Temple marked a definite stage in the awakening powers of the boy Jesus. We read: "Mary kept all these sayings in her heart." These she recounted to Luke who recorded them with such rare artistry and beauty in his Gospel.
All mystic initiatory rites include the ceremonial of purification with water. The festival of the Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece included baths; The Tabernacle in the Wilderness had its Laver of purification; and in the life of the great Way-Shower of the Christian religion, Christ Jesus, it is the baptism which marks the next great step that we must take if we follow in His footsteps.
The application of water is symbolic of inner purification. Baptism marks the stage where the heart of the neophyte has awakened to the needs and interests of others. He can then no longer live to himself alone. His heart goes out in sympathy, and his hands in practical action to alleviate suffering and to comfort those in distress and despair. When a person has experienced the spiritual awakening that comes with a true baptismal rite, his interests and activities can no longer be limited to his own family or limited circle but must find an expansion that extends into ever widening areas until they embrace the world and the whole of humanity. Love and compassion then goes into redemptive action. There is sorrow for the violators of the law, civil and moral, for criminals condemned to death, for the wretchedness of life at its lower depths and for the cruelties inflicted on our younger brothers of the animal kingdom. With the spiritual inflow at the time of a true mystical baptism, the realization comes to the surface of consciousness that the human family is a unity within the all-embracing Divinity by whom we are ensouled and consequently the good of one is the good of all and the hurt of one, the hurt of all. A deep sense of responsible is then accepted for furthering in all ways possible that which accords with love, truth and justice.
"Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God," admonished one who had passed through the baptismal rite. Upon the head of such a one rests the dove of spiritual power, and where he goes, the clouds of darkness and ignorance melt away so that he, too, hears the voice of God saying: "Thou art my beloved son."
Mystic legends state that at the time of the Baptism, great balls of fire appeared on the waters of the river Jordan. This statement bears the inner significance that the two mighty powers of heart and mind had been united in the life of Jesus, the ideal spiritual prototype of mankind. This blending is the supreme ideal of human evolution and it is its completion in the earth's great Initiate which called forth the declaration, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
The Ego known as Jesus left his body at the Baptism, and the Archangel, the Christ, descended as a dove to inhabit that body during the three years of His earthly ministry. The body of Jesus was Christ's means of ingress into the earth. The plan of redemption was made possible by their union. As Paul writes, in a very literal sense, "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
Of all the lessons which the Christ set before the neophyte in the drama of His life, none is more important than the Temptation, and none is more misunderstood. He was subjected to tests of body, mind and soul in order that He might leave to the human race the unceasing inspiration of a divine example of One who was tempted in all things like themselves, yet remained without sin, as Paul states.
The neophyte's reaction to Temptation shows clearly where he stands on the Path; but this is not the only reason for the trials on the Path. The trials are important because they develop moral, mental and spiritual strength, just as physical exercise and wholesome labor develop the health and strength of the physical body. Christ Jesus gave Himself to be our Exemplar so that we might know the right way to meet Temptation, or trials, of every sort.
As Jesus was tempted after His Baptism, which was an Initiation, so is every neophyte tempted, or tried, after each illumination, or "promotion." This trial comes to him for the purpose of showing him his own weaknesses. Failure in any trial does not mean that he must return to the ways of the world, but only that he must strive the harder to overcome his weaknesses and defects, and then when he is again "tempted," or tested, he will stand firm.
All temptations, or trials, belong to the three general categories of body, soul and mind. The Initiation symbolized in the Baptism of Christ Jesus confers upon the neophyte new powers of soul and mind, which come from the realization that all life is one in God; and he must never use these powers selfishly, no matter how great the need, but only to benefit his fellow men.
It is now that personal ambition suddenly flowers, and most unexpectedly, for the neophyte believes that he has put behind him all worldly desires. He has consciously renounced such desires as petty and of no real value, yet know it becomes possible for him to satisfy them all, and so he must sift his feelings and emotions to be sure that only love of God and mankind is motivating his actions. This is not always easy to determine, because many a personal ambition is innocent in itself, and is evil only in relation to the spiritual orientation of the neophyte on the Path. Self-respect, for example, is retained, but it must not be confused with vanity or egotism. The body is conscientiously cared for, because it is the temple of an indwelling god, but physical health and well-being are not the aim and end of living; the body is seen as the instrument of the spirit. The soul is nourished by the appreciation of arts and crafts, and by the contemplation of the beauties of Nature, but these are seen in their relationship to God as their true source and origin, and creative genius itself is understood to be an aspect of the Creative Power of the Supreme Unity in whom man lives and moves and has his being. The intellect must be trained and its powers cultivated through education and reason, but the acquisition of knowledge can be a false god unless it is related to the whole of life; and the more powerful the intellect, the greater is the need for humility lest the mind be closed to new aspects of truth and awareness. For the intellect the rule is always; "Let that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who made Himself of no reputation...and became the servant of all, even unto death."
Such are the subtle temptations which the illumined disciple meets on the Path, and Christ Jesus shows how they are to be met. He renounced self utterly, and surrendered His will in the service of others, but with the full intelligence of His indwelling ever-watchful Godhead.
Each successive phase of spiritual unfoldment brings with it a special and characteristic trial, according to the temperament and degree of spiritual attainment of the individual; yet, however varied these trials may be, the Christ Example shows the way to victory. The spiritualization of the mind through a complete dedication to the truth of the Spirit constitutes the impregnable armor of the neophyte who is beset not merely daily, but hourly, by the small, insidious temptations of common life, which are the more dangerous in that they are scarcely recognizable as temptations. Hence the admonition of one of the great masters of wisdom: "Pray without ceasing."
With the Transfiguration, the work of Christ Jesus for the earth and all its life properly began. Having undergone the trials of the Temptation, which for Him was not merely personal but cosmic, the physical body in which He had been appearing as a man among men was completely transmuted into spirit. The body was not His own body, but the body given to Him for His use by the Master Jesus, the purest and most perfect human body ever produced by the human race. Centuries had gone into its preparation, through a carefully controlled heredity among the most beautiful and strongest families living at that time, the family of the princes of the House of David, of whom the heir to the throne was always called the Messiah.
In the sudden revelation of the Christhood, the archangelic Glory which was then indwelling the body of the Master Jesus, the disciples knew that they stood in the presence of a Cosmic Power. Other Initiates had beheld this same Glory in earlier times, but far away in the Sun, or in rare instances as an archangelic Presence in the temple or in sacred places on the earth, such as the Field of Ardath at Babylon, or Mount Sinai, and other.
Some Initiates even then living in the body, but in other parts of the world, were aware of the Presence on the Mount of Transfiguration in Galilee. But these three disciples, Peter, James and John, beheld the Glory immediately present with them, and as they knelt they were encompassed by it, then and there. It was the selfsame Solar Glory known to all Initiates of all Mystery Schools in both East and West; but now it burned as a Light upon the earth itself, not a Light of the solar orb alone. In later centuries Initiates would again behold this Glory in the Sun and experience its projected Image on earth where its "Ray" centered and burned.
It was the Cosmic Christ Being, standing in the midst of a Solar Glory, who on this occasion taught His chief disciples the innermost mysteries of the new faith of the New Age then dawning, the Piscean Age, which they would then transmit to the innermost group of disciples of the future.
Of the Four Gospels, the Gospel of Matthew gives the most detailed account of this sublime event. To understand what is there revealed, we must understand that the Christ comes from what we term the world of Life Spirit, which is but another name for the Realm of Universal or Christ Consciousness. This is His home world. On the Mount of Transfiguration He appeared to His three most advanced disciples, arrayed in the glorious light vesture pertaining to that high celestial plane; for the three were there with Him in consciousness, even though to mortal viewing they were all still standing upon the earth plane, in respect to the body.
John later describes this transcendent radiance: "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten Son of the Father."
In this universal world the cosmic pictures are found which pertain to our entire scheme of evolution, the complete and imperishable record of all that has been experienced by man and his planets since creation's dawn; for this is the highest of those world in which are kept the Books of God's Remembrance from which the Angels read. The disciples were raised in consciousness to this high plane. When we look to the corresponding step in the life of the neophyte on the Path, we find that the transfiguration marks a high degree or attainment. The conserved and transmuted life essence within the body veritably glows with spiritual radiance, a light in darkness, signifying wisdom in the midst of ignorance. He comprehends anew the words of the greatest of the three favored disciples who shared the Mystery of the Transfiguration with the Christ: "If we walk in the Light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another."
Upon that Mount of Glory the benediction heard at the Baptism at the beginning of the three years' ministry is heard once more: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" but it marks a new and higher phase of the Christ Labor. At the Baptism when the Voice spoke above Jordan its words were for the multitude. Here on the Mount of Transfiguration the Voice speaks to the three most advanced disciples, those who were ready for cosmic vision and cosmic service. From this Transfiguration the Christ went to Gethsemane and to the consummation of His work on earth.
After the Transfiguration, which marked the culmination of a cosmic pattern of attainment, there now remained the steps leading to Liberation.
The word Gethsemane is formed of two words in the Hebrew: gath, "a press," also "bitterness," and shemen, "oil," (understanding and wisdom). Wisdom is always born of pain, until the disciple has at last attained to that high consciousness where pain has no power over him, either to wound or to instruct. The "diamond body" of the Adept is impervious to pain and suffering, and it is indestructible. Christ Jesus was already inhabiting such a body when He went to Gethsemane and the Way of the Cross, for the purpose of showing to mankind the Way of Wisdom.
This is truly one of the deep mysteries of life, where the origin of sorrow and suffering is not understood and man yearns for bliss and tranquility without labor.
Yet the mystic knows that the Garden of Sorrow and the Crucifixion must ever precede the gladsome hour of the Resurrection morn and the white glory of the Day of Ascension.
As the spirit unfolds its inmost divinity which is the image and likeness of that God who is Love, Gethsemane ceases to be a place of personal sorrow, but becomes, as it was for the Christ, a place of sorrowing for the grief of the world. Its plants are watered with his tears shed for the suffering of humanity, and for the helpless anguish of the multitudes of living creatures who cannot speak with a human voice. For as one goes forward upon the way toward high spiritual attainment, he becomes ever increasingly responsive to the hurts of all living things about him. He feels every pang as it were his own hurt, and stores it up within his heart.
The supreme lesson of Gethsemane is to learn to stand alone and say, "Not my will but, Thine be done." Many times we must follow Christ Jesus upon that lonely Mount, and drink of that cup, until the lesson has been learned.
We must drain the cup to its dregs, for it is through the cumulative pain of compassion which well nigh bursts the heart that we finally die to the personal self and live henceforth only to the end that we may give ourselves unreservedly for healing and helping the world. When, by a sort of divine alchemy, this has been accomplished, passion having changed into compassion, consciousness awakens to the divine understanding that carries with it the power to soothe the weary and heal the sick.
It is no longer possible to blame others for our sufferings, to judge harshly, to criticize, or to hate. The disciple asks but the one privilege, that of sacrificing himself upon the altar of humanity, expecting no favors, no gratitude, no understanding, even from those who are nearest and dearest. He desires only to live for service. This is an extremely high ideal, but it is one which all must accept as life's goal before they are fitted to attain ultimate liberation from Gethsemane.
In the Crucifixion we stand before one of the holy mysteries which must ever remain sealed from the profane. In preparation for this sacred rite, Christ Jesus was beaten and scourged. His garments were torn off His body, and a certain cloak was put upon Him. A crown woven of thorns was placed upon His head and pressed down into His temples so that blood flowed therefrom.
From the event of the scourging and crowning with thorns to the carrying of the cross and the crucifixion on Golgotha, the Christ shows forth the mystery of stigmatization. The wounds which He suffered appear upon the body of the devout mystic who meditates deeply upon the Way of Sorrow, and he feels physically these psychically produced wounds. Most painful of all are the wounds of the head, which are sensed as if a crown of thorns pressed down around the skull. This pain results from the awakening of the cranial nerves; for all of the nerves of the body are sensitized, but these most of all. It is the ascending spiritual fire which produces these effects, which are particularly noticeable in the hands, the feet, and the side, corresponding to the five sacred wounds in the body of our Lord.
In the Mystery Schools these wounds are alos felt, but they remain invisible, and the Initiate treads the Via Dolorosa secretly, though indeed in full view of the unseeing multitude.
The scarlet robe is the insignia of royalty but to the mystic it symbolizes the words of the Christ that he who would be greatest among men must be the servant of all. Sacrifice for our fellowmen is the one true royalty. Scarlet is the color of the life's blood poured out in sacrifice, not a sacrifice in death, but a sacrifice in living usefulness. He holds the reed in His right hand, representative of the scepter of the King, signifying the power of the Initiate of the right-hand path, the positive or right-handed way to power over all evil. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is smitten on the head with the reed, indicative of the phase of unfoldment in which the "rod of power" strikes the brain with its fiery force.
Only the Gospels of Matthew and Mark mention the Reed and the Crown of Thorns. Both represent the earlier manifestations of the awakened Christ powers, the fiery Life Spirit Force, which at first scourges the body as it converts it to a temple for the indwelling godhead. The process culminates in the symbolical crucifixion of the Initiate, where the fiery Christ Force, having transmuted the seemingly "dead" body, raises it to the Life everlasting.
The sublime Christ, the supreme Way-Shower, as He hangs upon the cross, is the perfect symbol, in general and in particular, of the Path of true spiritual attainment for all mankind—the way of progress for the entire human race.
The body of Christ remained in the tomb throughout Friday night, all of Saturday, and a portion of Sunday, thus outlining the "three mystic days" of the great initiatory formula according to which the disciple is raised to life and heralded as the new-born, or one risen into a new life or higher, more exalted degree of consciousness and spiritual power.
This sublime chapter of John's Gospel may well be termed the deification of the feminine, and it points to the future when this great work has been fully accomplished.
Saul of Tarsus and Mary Magdalene are alike examples of the transmutative power which resides in the Christed consciousness. John, among the disciples, represents the full flowering of the spiritualized feminine, mystically indicated in the gentleness and beauty of his countenance. This placed him at the head of the disciples spiritually, as the best-beloved of the Master, and it is natural that he was the first to understand and accept the glorious truth of the Resurrection.
This event, which is the culmination of earth's evolution, awaits all mankind. For the neophyte it is the Resurrection into higher realms, the power to function in complete awareness separate and apart from the physical body without the severance of death. Every victorious aspirant in whom this Resurrection takes place hears the proclamation of the Angel of the Lord (spiritual Law): "He is not here, for He is risen."
Truly, as Paul stated, "Ye are all heirs and joint heirs with Him." But the most blessed of all His promises is this: "Not only these things but greater than these shall ye do."
"All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth," were the words of His salutation to the disciples as He greeted them in the sacred upper room after the Resurrection; meaning that through His great sacrifice upon Calvary He had now become the true Lord and indwelling planetary Spirit of the earth. Esoteric Christianity teaches that Golgotha was not the end but the beginning of the Christ's redemptive sacrifices for the whole of our planetary body.
During the mystic "forty days," that sacred interval between the Resurrection and Ascension, the Christ was engaged in many works concerning not only the human race but all life waves evolving upon the earth. This work included the various race and group spirits who are guiding the various streams of evolving life. To each one He gave a new impetus of altruism and unity, and He also accelerated the vibratory pitch of the keynote of each one, which sounds in the cosmic pattern or archetype. Truly, with His coming all the earth sings a new song.
"Go into Galilee and I will meet you there." Each appearance to the disciples bears a deeper meaning, and a promise of greater spiritual powers.
"And He lifted up His hands and blessed them and while He blessed them, He stood apart from them and was carried into heaven."
In "rising from the dead" the mystic ceremonial teaches that there is no death, and by the "Ascension" it teaches that eternal life is the sure heritage of the Initiate. "In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you."
In the Degree of the Ascension, the Christ opened the way so that whosoever wills may ascend with Him and partake of the high communion of the spiritual realms.
It is not Christianity alone which thus teaches Initiation. The formula of Initiation has been incorporated into all of the great religions of the world in the principal events in the lives of the Great Teachers and Saviors who are central to them.
As the New Age of Aquarius slowly dawns upon the earth, messengers come forth from the realms of light to establish an increasingly intimate communion between the Christ, the disciples, and all those on earth who aspire to follow the mystic ritual with its twelve steps or degrees as outlined above.
In the world of the soul, the true disciple still today experiences the suffering and crucifixion of the entire human race, and the Christ also continues to suffer perennial crucifixion; for He is with us till the end of the world, as He said, and the Liberation which He offers to us is the Consummation of the Cross. The Litanies of the Crucifixion are a chant of Initiation, dealing with the formula of Initiation as described in the Gospels. The keynote of this attainment is: "Let the Christ be formed in you."
The esoteric analysis of the Gospels shows that the outstanding events of the life of Christ are twelve in number, enumerated thus:
These twelve steps bear an interesting astrological connotation, for it has been truly said that man's first Bible was the Zodiac, in which he learned to read all spiritual truth. There he deciphered the cryptic signs which told of the lives of the Savior Gods, and there the Christian Initiate reads the story of the life of the Christ.
The zodiacal wheel of the heavens is made up of twelve constellations or signs, through which the Sun, Moon, and planets travel around the sky, as viewed from the planet earth. It was discovered by ancient astronomers that these celestial signs seemed to have an influence upon the affairs of earth, and so the science of astrology arose. It was observed that the influence of the planets was stronger in some signs than in others. The sign in which the planet expresses its highest potential and which it rules is its own home sign where it reveals its pure, unalloyed qualities; but it is equally powerful in the sign of its exaltation, though in another way. The exaltation qualities of a planet are realized at their highest only through Initiation, which releases within the soul the corresponding aspects of the planetary forces.
It is interesting to note that exaltation and resurrection were used as interchangeable terms by the early Church Fathers, who understood the relationship between man's spiritual development and the stars in the sky above him. They knew that in the Christ Consciousness mankind would learn to cooperate intelligently with the Cosmic Powers whose action on human destiny was figured in the horoscope.
When astrologers speak of the planet and the sign which it rules, they speak for the most part of physical and material things; the esotericist, who studies the hidden side of the science of the stars, speaks of the exaltation aspects of the planet, which are spiritual in nature as follows:
The Moon exalted in Taurus. The Moon governs the formative or feminine principle, and the hierarchy of angels who have charge of generation.
Mars exalted in Capricorn. Transmutation of desire, which awakens the Christ life within.
Saturn exalted in Libra. Saturn is the tempter or tester, Libra the balance, or trial gate.
Mercury exalted in Virgo. Mercury also rules Virgo. Esoterically, the temple is the body; Virgo is chastity and immaculacy of mind and soul. Mercury exalted in Virgo is the Wisdom attained through purity of mind, body and soul.
Jupiter exalted in Cancer. Cancer is the door of birth, and the gates of heaven. Passwords for entrance are: love, unity and fellowship. The baptism by water is symbolical of the baptism by Spirit.
Uranus exalted in Scorpio. The power of generation when exalted leads to regeneration. This is the most powerful of the exaltations in man's present development.
Venus exalted in Pisces. Love in the house of sorrow. The personal love is raised up into the exaltation of impersonal love embracing all life. Every ego knows the Garden and Golgotha of the love life. It is through sorrow that passion is exalted into compassion, and love for the one into love for the many.
The Sun exalted in Aries. Lifting the spinal spirit fire (cosmic life force) to the head helps build the body celestial, in which man is resurrected from the tomb of the flesh.
Neptune exalted in Cancer. The divinity called the Christ Within raises man to the high superphysical realms where as spirit he may enter into the many mansions prepared by the Christ of the Cosmos.
Nothing is said in the foregoing of the latest discovered planet. Pluto, which circles the Sun beyond the orbit of Neptune, and over which it sometimes crosses. Astronomers surmise that this outermost planet may possibly have been a moon or Neptune at one time and that it may be drawn back to that planet one day. Today, however, as a separate planet, it must be considered as a power in the horoscope, but its true nature is as yet undetermined. Some astrologers think it is of the nature of Mars, constituting an "octave" of that planet; others see in it the "octave" of the earth. The "octave" of a planet is taken to be its "alter ego" or Higher Self, a higher reflection of itself. As octave of the earth, Pluto would have special governance over conditions affecting our planetary evolution in its deep, esoteric meanings.
Pluto moves so slowly around the Sun that it occupies much the same position for a long time, and thus forms many of the same aspects in thousands of horoscopes. These aspects are "set off" by transiting forces, such as faster moving planets, lunations, eclipses, asteroids and comets, thus precipitating great mass movements and revolutionary changes. The same situation would be true with respect to the other planets also in their relationships with Pluto.
Initiate astrologers must eventually resolve all such problems. There will be a New Astrology for the New Age dealing with cosmic configurations, not only those of planets in one system, but also the interrelationships of many solar systems with their planets, and of those with galaxies.
The twelve Disciples represent the twelve principal attributes to be developed in man through the awakening of the Christ power within, which unfold through many stages, exemplified in the events in the lives of the Twelve as recounted in the New Testament. These events are not to be understood as the mere personal record of each individual Disciple; all that is written of them is true of every disciple in every age when treading the Way of Attainment. The Bible is of universal significance; it is only secondarily a biographical record. Primarily it outlines the path of spiritual development for all mankind.
This does not mean that the story of the Disciples has no historic significance. The twelve "Sparks" who incarnate in the twelve Disciples refer to cosmic powers emanating from the zodiac; but they also point to the twelve great religions of the world and their Teacher-founders, who are Saviors. Thus according to the Gospels and the correlative material of esoteric documents such as the Pistis Sophia, the Christ sent to earth the Saviors or Founders of twelve world religions, who circled about Him as the zodiacal signs circle about the sun. Biblical students often fail to see in the passage quoted from Pistis Sophia the esoteric truth, namely, that all of the great world Saviors were forerunners of the Christ. They went before Him to prepare the Way, and then when he was to incarnate in the Master of Nazareth, they were reborn to be His immediate personal helpers and emissaries to the entire world.
The lives of the Disciples therefore have meaning not only for the Christian world but for all the religions of the world.
This verse points to the eventual attainment on the path of discipleship when, by means of regeneration or Initiation, as shown in the life of Christ, the carnal nature is laid aside, having been transmuted into powers of the spirit. It is then that the old gives way to the new, the natural to the supernatural. For the first Disciples this attainment occurs on the Day of Pentecost, and it is in the fires of Pentecost that we learn the true and essential significance of all those events in the life of aspirants which would otherwise remain obscure, for Pentecost is their end and fulfillment, today as in the time of Christ on earth.
The Zealots were a Galilean sect, patriotic in nature, who hated with a terrible intensity everything Roman. They were banded together in a grim determination to rid their beloved land of this hated Roman tyranny, using fire and sword to accomplish their purpose. Simon was among their number. He was of a fiety disposition, dedicated body and soul to the task the Zealots had set themselves, and had become a ringleader of the sect. Like most patriotic and revolutionary bands it had degenerated into a mob, and attracted to its ranks many robbers and outlaws whose motives were not always patriotic, yet they held a common aim of freeing their nation from the Romans.
Now there came into Simon's life the influence of the gentle Nazarene. His life changed. On finding Christ he, who until that time had held bitter animosities and racial hatreds, surrendered them to the nobler impulses that awakened within him. He now inscribed upon his heart the law of the New Regime: Love your enemies, resist not evil, but overcome evil with good.
Such is the law that will govern the New Age that is yet to be, whose keynote is Love. It is the degree to which this Love is applied to the problems of daily life that will determine the disciple's fitness to enter into the Aquarian phase of the Christ Dispensation which is being ushered in at this time.
The Master, like all great spiritual Teachers, taught the necessity of transmuting evil into good and gave instructions toward its accomplishment. Acting on this instruction toward its accomplishment. Acting on this instruction, every Mystery School celebrates a ritual at midnight of every night in which the evil miasma of the globe is gathered up and transmuted into good. This is not an allegorical statement, but a literal one. The work is done each night, and as midnight is present at one place or another on the globe throughout all of the twenty-four hours, this work is continuous, unceasing, as suggested in the black-and-white pavement of the Masonic Mystery Temple.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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