In harmony with the Hermetic axiom "As above, so below" and vice versa, Solar Systems are born, die and come to birth anew in cycles of activity and rest, as does man.
There is a constant flaming out and dying down of activity in every department of nature, corresponding to the alternations of ebb and flow, day and night, summer and winter, life and death.
In the beginning of a Day of Manifestation it is taught that a certain Great Being (designated in the Western World by the name of God, but by other names in other parts of the earth) limits Himself to a certain portion of space, in which He elects to create a Solar System for the evolution of added self-consciousness. (See Diagram 6.)
He includes in His own Being hosts of glorious Hierarchies of, to us, immeasurable spiritual power and splendor. They are the fruitage of past manifestations of this same Being and also other Intelligences, in descending degrees of development down to such as have not reached a stage of consciousness as high as our present humanity, and therefore these latter will not be able to finish their evolution in this System. In God—this great collective Being—there are contained lesser beings of every grade of intelligence and stage of consciousness, from omniscience to an unconsciousness deeper than that of the deepest trance condition.
During the period of manifestation with which we are concerned, these various grades of beings are working to acquire more experience than they possessed at the beginning of this period of existence. Those who, in previous manifestations, have attained to the highest degree of development work on those who have not yet evolved any consciousness. They induce in them a stage of self-consciousness from which they can take up further work themselves. Those who had started their evolution in a former Day of Manifestation, but had not progressed far at the close, now take up their task again, just as we take up our daily work in the morning where we left off the previous night.
All the different Beings, however, do not take up their evolution at the early stages of a new manifestation. Some must wait until those who precede them have made the conditions which are necessary for their further development. There are no instantaneous processes in nature. All is an exceedingly slow unfolding, a development which, though so exceedingly slow, is yet absolutely certain to attain ultimate perfection. Just as there are progressive stages in the human life—childhood, youth, manhood or womanhood, and old age—so in the macrocosm there are different stages corresponding to these various periods of the microcosmic life.
A child cannot take up the duties of fatherhood or motherhood. Its undeveloped mental and physical condition render it incapable of doing such work. The same is true of the less evolved beings in the beginning of manifestation. They must wait until the higher evolved have made the proper conditions for them. The lower the grade of the intelligence of the evolving being, the more it is dependent upon outside help.
At the Beginning, then, the highest Beings—those who are the farthest evolved—work upon those who have the greatest degree of unconsciousness. Later, they turn them over to some of the less evolved entities, who are then able to carry the work a little further. At last self-consciousness is awakened. The evolving life has become Man.
From the point where the self-conscious individual Ego has come into being he must go on and expand his consciousness without outside help. Experience and thought are then to take the place of outside teachers and the glory, power and splendor he may attain are limitless.
The period of time devoted to the attainment of self-consciousness and to the building of the vehicles through which the spirit in man manifests, is called "Involution."
The subsequent period of existence, during which the individual human being develops self-consciousness into divine omniscience, is called "Evolution."
The Force within the evolving being which makes evolution what it is and not a mere unfoldment of latent germinal possibilities; which makes the evolution of each individual differ from that of every other; which provides the element of originality and gives scope to the creative ability which the evolving being is to cultivate that he may become a God—that Force is called "Genius," and as previously explained, its manifestation is "Epigenesis."
Many of the advanced philosophies of modern times recognize involution and evolution. Science recognizes only the latter, because it (Science) deals only with the Form side of manifestation. Involution belongs to the Life side; but the most advanced scientists regard Epigenesis as a demonstrable fact. The Core Concepts article series combines all three as necessary to full understanding of the past, present and future development of the System to which we belong.
We might use a homely instance to illustrate the building of a Cosmos. Suppose a man wants to establish a home in which to live. He first selects a suitable location and then proceeds to build a house, dividing it into various rooms to serve certain purpose. He makes a kitchen, dining-room bedrooms and bathroom, and furnishes them all to suit the special purpose they are intended to serve.
When God desires to create, He seeks out an appropriate place in space, which He fills with His aura, permeating every atom of the Cosmic Root-substance of that particular portion of space with His Life, thus awakening the activity latent within every inseparate atom.
This Cosmic Root-substance is an expression of the negative pole of the Universal Spirit, while the great Creative Being we call God (of whom we, as spirits, are part) is an expression of the positive energy of the same Universal Absolute Spirit. From the work of one upon the other, all that we see about us in the Physical World has resulted. The oceans, the Earth everything we see manifesting as mineral, plant animal and human forms—all are crystallized space, emanated from this negative Spirit-substance, which alone existed at the dawn of Being. As surely as the hard and flinty house of the snail is the solidified juices of its soft body, so surely all forms are crystallizations around the negative pole of Spirit.
God draws from the Cosmic Root-substance outside His immediate sphere; thus the substance within the nascent cosmos becomes denser than it is in Universal space, between Solar Systems.
When God has thus prepared the material for His Habitation, He next sets it in order. Every part of the system is pervaded by His consciousness, but different modification of that consciousness in each part of division. The Cosmic Root-substance is set in varying rates of vibration and is therefore differently constituted in its various divisions, or regions.
The above is the manner in which the Worlds come into being and are fitted to serve different purposes in the evolutionary scheme, the same as the various rooms in the house are fitted to serve the purpose of everyday life in the Physical World.
We have already seen that there are seven Worlds. These Worlds have each a different "measure" and rate of vibration. In the densest World (the Physical) the measure of vibration, though in the case of light-waves reaching a rate of hundreds of millions per second, is nevertheless infinitesimal when compared to the rapidity of the vibration in the Desire World, which is next to the Physical. To get some conception of the meaning and rapidity of vibration, perhaps the easiest way is to watch the heat vibrations rising from a very hot stove, or from a steam radiator near a window.
It must be borne constantly in mind that these Worlds are not separated by space or distance, as is the earth from the other planets. They are states of matter, of varying density and vibration, as are the solids, liquids and gases of our Physical World. These Worlds are not instantaneously created at the beginning of a day of Manifestation, nor do they last until the end; but as a spider spins its web thread by thread, so God differentiates one after another of the worlds within Himself, as the necessity arises for new conditions in the scheme of evolution in which He is engaged. Thus have all the seven Worlds been gradually differentiated as they are at present.
The highest Worlds are created first, and as involution is to slowly carry the life into denser and denser matter for the building of forms, the finer Worlds gradually condense and new Worlds are differentiated within God to furnish the necessary links between Himself and the Worlds which have consolidated. In due time the point of greatest density, the nadir of materiality, is reached. From that point the life begins to ascend into higher Worlds, as evolution proceeds. That leaves the denser Worlds depopulated, one by one. When the purpose has been served for which a particular World was created, God ends its existence, which has become superfluous, by ceasing within Himself the particular activity which brought into being and sustained that World.
The highest (finest, rarest, most ethereal) Worlds are the first created and the last eliminated, while the three densest Worlds, in which our present phase of evolution is carried on, are but comparatively evanescent phenomena incident to the spirit's dip into matter.
The evolutionary scheme is carried through these five Worlds in seven great Periods of Manifestation, during which the Virgin Spirit, or evolving life, becomes first, man—then, a God.
At the beginning of Manifestation God differentiates within (not from) Himself these Virgin Spirits, as sparks from a Flame, of the same nature, capable of being fanned into Flames themselves. Evolution is the fanning process which is to accomplish that end. In the Virgin Spirits are enfolded all the possibilities of their Divine Father, including the germ of independent Will, which makes them capable of originating new phases, not latent in them. The latent possibilities are transformed into dynamic powers and available faculties during evolution, while the independent Will institutes new and original departures—or Epigenesis.
Prior to the beginning of the pilgrimage through matter the Virgin Spirit is in the World of Virgin Spirits, the next to the highest of the seven Worlds. It has Divine Consciousness, but not Self-consciousness. That, Soul-power, and the Creative Mind, are faculties or powers attained to by evolution.
When the Virgin Spirit is immersed in the World of Divine Spirit, it is blinded and rendered utterly unconscious by that matter. It is as oblivious to outside conditions as is man when in the deepest trance. This state of unconsciousness prevails during the first period.
In the Second Period it rises to the dreamless sleep state; in the third Period it reaches the dream stage, and in the middle of the Fourth Period, at which we have now arrived, the full waking consciousness of man is attained. This is a consciousness pertaining to only the lowest one of the seven Worlds. During the remaining half of this Period, and the entire three remaining Periods, man must expand his consciousness so as to include all of the six Worlds above this Physical World.
When man passed through these Worlds in his descent his energies were directed by higher Beings, who assisted him to turn unconscious energy inward for the building of proper vehicles. At last, when he was far enough advanced and equipped with the threefold body as a necessary instrument, these higher Beings "opened his eyes" and turned his gaze outward upon the Chemical Region of the Physical World, that his energies might conquer it.
When he has fitted himself by his work in the Chemical Region, his next step in progress will be toward an expansion in consciousness that will include the Etheric Region; then the Desire World, etc., etc.
In the Rosicrucian terminology, the names of the seven Periods are as follows:
1. The Saturn Period
2. The Sun Period
3. the Moon Period
4. The Earth Period of our Earth
5. The Jupiter Period
6. The Venus Period
7. The Vulcan Period
These periods are successive rebirths.
It must not be thought that the above mentioned Periods have anything to do with the planets which move in their orbits around the Sun in company with the earth. In fact, it cannot be too emphatically stated that there is no connection whatever between these planets and the periods. The Periods are simply past, present or future incarnations of our Earth, "conditions" through which it has passed, is now passing, or will pass in the future.
The three first mentioned Periods (the Saturn, Sun and Moon Periods) have been passed through. We are now in the fourth, or Earth Period. When this Earth Period of our Globe has been completed, we and it shall pass in turn through the Jupiter, Venus and Vulcan conditions before the great septenary Day of Manifestation comes to an end, when all that now is will once more be merged in the Absolute for a period of rest and assimilation of the fruits of our evolution, to re-emerge for further and higher development at the dawn of another Great Day.
The three and one-half Periods already behind us have been spent in gaining our present vehicles and consciousness. The remaining three and one-half Periods will be devoted to perfecting these different vehicles and expanding our consciousness into something akin to omniscience.
The journey made by the Virgin Spirit from unconsciousness to omniscience, unfolding its latent possibilities into a kinetic energy, is a process of marvelous complexity and only the roughest outline will at first be given. As we progress in our present study, however, more details will be filled in, until the picture is as complete as the writer is capable of making it. The attention of the student is called to the definition of terms that are given as new ideas are being presented. He is earnestly importuned to familiarize himself with them, as the intention is to simplify the matter by using only one familiar English name for the same idea throughout the work. The name will be as descriptive as possible of the idea to be conveyed, in hope that thereby much of the confusion arising from a multiplex terminology may be avoided. By paying strict attention to definition of terms, it should not be too difficult for any person of average intelligence to acquire a knowledge of at least the outlines of the scheme of evolution.
That such a knowledge is of the utmost importance will, we think, be conceded by every intelligent individual. We live in this world, governed by the laws of nature. Under these laws we must live and work, and we are powerless to change them. If we know them and intelligently cooperate with them, these nature-forces become most valuable servants, e.g., electricity and the expansive force of steam. If, on the other hand, we do not understand them and in our ignorance work, contrary to them, they become most dangerous enemies, capable of terrible destruction.
Therefore, the more we know of the working methods of nature, which latter is but the visible symbol of the invisible God, the better able we shall be to take advantage of the opportunities it offers for growth and power; for emancipation from bondage and for elevation to mastery.