This volume contains mystical writings of Max Heindel on the little understood subject of Nature Spirits and Nature Forces. It is a correlation from his many books, lovingly collected in one volume by one of Max Heindel's students.
Max Heindel is known as the most advanced of Western
Mystics and has in his numerous books given to the world a mine of information
about Nature Spirits, the little people with whom he had such interesting
experiences. The writer has listened to many stories (which unfortunately have
not been put in writing) of his experiences with these Spirits, of how they
live and their appearance. He had many times remarked that he would sometime
write an entire book on the Nature Spirits, but his very arduous work of
pioneering interfered with this much needed work. However, from time to time
he gave out information in his writings which has now been correlated and we
are thus able to give it to the world in a condensed volume. In the fifty-four
years in which he was permitted to occupy his physical vehicle, he gave to the
world a number of most valuable books. The wonder book, the Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, has been translated into many languages. This is only one of
a number of books which he left for the world to gain knowledge from and to
enjoy. His astrological books are credited as being the most comprehensive
textbooks on the market. His simple and clear manner in imparting knowledge is
his greatest charm.
—Augusta Foss Heindel, April 15, 1937
To speak of ethers as an avenue of forces conveys no meaning to the average mind, because force is invisible. But to an esoteric investigator the forces are not merely names such as steam, electricity, etc. He finds them to be intelligent beings of varying grades, both sub- and superhuman. What we call "laws of nature" are great intelligences which guide more elemental beings in accordance with certain rules designed to further their evolution.
In the Middle Ages, when many people were still endowed with a remnant of negative clairvoyance, they spoke of gnomes and elves or fairies, which roamed about the mountains and forests. These were the earth spirits. They also told of the undines or watersprites, which inhabited rivers and streams, of sylphs which were said to dwell in the mists above moat and moor as air spirits, but not much was said of the salamanders, as they are fire spirits, and therefore not so easily detected, nor so readily accessible to the majority of people.
The old folk-stories are now regarded as supersitions, but as a matter of fact, one endowed with etheric vision may yet perceive the little gnomes building green chlorophyll into the leaves of plants and giving to flowers the multiplicity of delicate tints which delight our eyes.
Scientists have attempted time and again to offer an adequate explanation of the phenomena of wind and storm but have failed signally, nor can they succeed while they seek a mechanical solution to what is really a manifestation of life. Could they see the hosts of sylphs winging their way hither and thither, they would know who and what is responsible for the fickleness of the wind; could they watch a storm at sea from the etheric viewpoint they would perceive that the saying "the war of the elements" is not an empty phrase, for the heaving sea is truly then a battlefield of sylphs and undines and the howling tempest is the war cry of spirits in the air.
Salamanders are found everywhere, and no fire is lighted without their help; but they are mostly active underground. They are responsible for explosions and volcanic eruptions.
The classes of beings which we have mentioned are still subhuman, but will all at sometime reach a stage in evolution corresponding to the human, though under different circumstances from those under which we evolve. But at present the wonderful intelligences we speak of as the laws of nature, marshal the armies of the less evolved entities mentioned.
To arrive at a better understanding of what these various beings are, and their relation to us, we may take an illustration: Let us suppose that a mechanic is making an engine, and meanwhile a dog is watching him. It sees the man at his labor, and how, from the crude iron, steel, brass, and other metals the engine slowly takes shape. The dog is a being from a lower evolution and does not comprehend the purpose of the mechanic but it sees the workman, his labor, and the result thereof, which manifests as an engine.
Let us suppose further that the dog were able to see only the materials which slowly change their shape, assemble, and become an engine but that it is unable to perceive the workman and to see the work he does. The dog would then be in the same relation to the mechanic as we are to the great intelligences we call laws of nature, and their assistants, the Nature Spirits, for we behold the manifestations of their work as force moving matter in various ways but always under immutable conditions.
In the ether we may also observe the angels, whose densest body is made of that material, as our dense body is formed of gases, liquids, and solids. These beings are one step beyond the human stage, as we are a degree in advance of the animal evolution. We have never been animals like our present fauna, however, but at a previous stage in the development of our planet we had an animal-like constitution. Then the angels were human, though they have never possessed a dense body such as ours, nor ever functioned in any material denser than ether. At some time, in a future condition, the earth will again become ethereal. Then man will be like the angels. Therefore the Bible tells us that man was made a little while lower than the angels. (Hebrews 2:17.)
As ether is the avenue of vital, creative forces, and as angels are such expert builders of ether, we may readily understand that they are eminently fitted to be warders of the propagative forces in plant, animal, and man. All through the Bible we find them thus engaged: Two angels came to Abraham and announced the birth of Isaac. They promised a child to the man who had obeyed God. Later these same angels destroyed Sodom for abuse of the creative force. Angels foretold to the parents of Samuel and Samson, the birth of these giants of brain and brawn. To Elizabeth came the angel (not archangel) Gabriel, and announced the birth of John; later he appeared also to Mary with the message that she was chosen to bear Jesus.
We are wont to speak of evolution, but do we ever analyze what it is that makes evolution, why it does not stop in stagnation? If we do, we must realize that there are forces back of the visible which make the alteration in the flora and fauna, the climatic and topographical changes which are constantly going on; and it is then but a natural question, what or who are the forces or agents in evolution?
Of course, we are well aware that scientists give certain mechanical explanations. They deserve great credit; they have accomplished much when we take into consideration that science is but an infant and has only five senses and ingenious instruments at its command. Its deductions are marvelously true, but that does not say that there may not be underlying causes which it cannot, as yet, perceive, but which give a more thorough understanding of the matter than the mere mechanical explanation affords. An illustration will elucidate the point.
Two men are conversing, when suddenly one knocks the other down. There we have an occurrence, a fact, and we may explain it in a mechanical way by saying: "I saw one man contract the muscles of his arm, direct a blow at the other, and knock him down." That is a true version, so far as it goes, but the esoteric scientist would see also the angry thought which inspired the blow, and would be giving a more complete version if he said that the man was knocked down by a thought; for the clenched fist was but the irresponsible instrument of aggression. Failing the impelling force of the angry thought, the hand would have remained inert and the blow would never have been struck.
Thus esoteric science refers all causes to the Region of Concrete Thought, and tells how they are generated there by human and superhuman spirits.
Remembering that the creative archetypes of everything we see in the visible world are in the World of Thought, which is the realm of tone, we are prepared to understand that the archetypal forces are constantly playing through these archetypes which then emit a certain tone, or, where a number of them have massed to create a species of plant, animal, or human forms, the different sounds belend into one grand chord. That single tone or chord, as the case may be, is then the keynote of the form thus created, and as long as it sounds, the form of the species endures; when it ceases the single form dies or the species dies out.
A jumble of sound is not music any more than words massed together haphazard are a sentence. But orderly rhythmic sound is the builder of all that is, as John says in the first verses of his gospel, "In the beginning was the word...and without it was not anything made"; also "the Word was made flesh."
Thus we see that sound is the creator and sustainer of all form, and in the Second Heaven the Ego becomes one with the nature forces. With them he works upon the archetypes of land and sea, on flora and fauna, to bring about the changes which gradually alter the appearance and condition of the earth and thus afford a new environment, made by himself, in which he may reap new experience.
He is directed in this work by great Teachers belonging to the Creative Hierarchies, which are called angels, archangels, and other names, all of whom are God's ministers. They instruct him then consciously in the divine art of creation, both as to the world and the objects in it. They teach him how to build a form for himself, giving him the so-called "nature spirits" as helpers, and thus man is serving his apprenticeship to become a Creator each time he goes to the Second Heaven. There he builds the archetype of the form which he later externalizes at birth.
There are four ethers, called chemical, life, light and reflecting ethers. Forces work along the positive and negative poles of the different ethers. The egos in the Heaven World are part of those forces, and thus the very people whom we call dead are the ones who build our bodies and help us to live. We may also note that no one can have a better dense body than he can build. If one makes a mistake in his heaven world work, he finds it out when he comes to use such a defective body on earth, and thereby learns to correct the fault the next time he builds an archetype.
All the denizens of the Heaven World work upon the models of the earth, all of which are in the Region of Concrete Thought. They alter the physical features of the earth, and bring about the gradual changes which vary its appearance, so that on each return to physical life a different environment has been prepared, wherein new experiences may be gained. Climate, flora, and fauna are altered by man under the direction of higher Beings.
Thus the world is just what we ourselves, individually and collectively, have made it; and it will be what we make it. The esoteric scientist sees in everything that happens a cause of a spiritual nature manifesting itself, not omitting the prevalence and alarmingly increasing frequency of seismic disturbances, which it traces to the materialistic thought of modern science.
It is true that purely physical causes can bring about such disturbances, but is that the last word on the subject? Can we always get the full explanation by merely recording what appears on the surface? Surely not! The esotericist says that if materialism had not been, seismic disturbances would not have occurred.
Man's work in the Heaven World is not confined solely to the alteration of the surface of the earth which is to be the scene of his future struggles in the subjugation of the Physical World. He is also actively engaged in learning how to build a body which shall afford a better means of expression. It is man's destiny to become a Creative Intelligence and he is serving his apprenticeship all the time. During his heaven life he is learning to build all kinds of bodies—the human included.
Thus we see that man learns to build his vehicles in the Heaven World, and to use them in the Physical World. Nature provides all phases of experience in such a marvelous manner and with such consummate wisdom that as we learn to see deeper and deeper into her secrets we are more and more impressed with our own insignificance and with an ever growing reverence for God, whose visible symbol nature is.
Whenever we are confronted by one of nature's mysteries which we are at a loss to explain, we simply add a new name to our vocabulary which we then use in learned juggling to hide our ignorance of the subject. Such are the ampere which we use to measure the volume of the electric current, the volt which we say indicates the strength of the current, and the ohm which we use to show what resistance a given conductor offers to the passage of the current. Thus by much study of words and figures, the master minds of electrical science attempt to persuade themselves and others that they have fathomed the mysteries of the elusive force which plays such an important part in the world's work; but when all is said and they are in a confidential mood, they admit that the brightest lights of electrical science know but very little more about it than the schoolboy who is just beginning to experiment with his cells and batteries.
Similarly in the other sciences: Anatomists cannot distinguish the canine from the human embryo for a long time, and while the physiologist talks learnedly about metabolism, he cannot escape the admission that the laboratory tests whereby he endeavors to imitate our digestive processes must be and are widely different from the transmutations undergone in the chemical laboratory of the body by the nourishment we take. This is not said to disparage or belittle the wonderful achievements of science, but to emphasize the fact that there are factors behind all manifestations of nature—intelligences of varying degrees of consciousness, builders and destroyers, who perform important parts in the economy of nature—and until these agencies are recognized and their work studied, we can never have an adequate conception of the way the nature forces work, which we call heat, electricity, gravity, chemical action, etc. To those who have cultivated the spiritual sight, it si evident that the so-called dead spent part of their time in learning to build bodies under the guidance of certain spiritual Hierarchies. They are the agents in the metabolic and anabolic processes; they are the unseen factors in assimilation, and it is therefore literally true that we should be unable to live save for the important aid rendered to us by those whom we call dead.
In relation to the nature forces we learnedly explain how heat from the sun evaporates the water of the rivers and oceans, causing it to ascend to the cooler regions of the air where it condenses to clouds which finally become so saturated with moisture that they gravitate towards the earth as rain to replenish the rivers and oceans and be again evaporated. It is all perfectly simple, a nice automatic perpetual motion process. But is that all? Are there not a number of holes in this theory? We know that there are, though we can not digress too far from our subject to discuss them. One thing is lacking to fully explain it, namely, the semi-intelligent action of the sylphs who lift the finely divided vaporized particles of water prepared by the undines, from the surface of the sea and carry them as high as they may before partial condensation takes place and clouds are formed. These particles of water they keep until forced by the undines to release them. When we say it storms, battles are being fought on the surface of the sea and in the air, sometimes with the aid of salamanders to light the lightning torch of separated hydrogen and oxygen and send its awe-inspiring shaft crashing zigzag through the inky darkness, followed by ponderous peals of thunder that reverberate in the clearing atmosphere, while the undines triumphantly hurl the rescued raindrops to earth that they may be again restored to union with their mother element.
The little gnomes are needed to build the plants and the flowers. It is their work to tint them with the innumerable shades of color which delight our eyes. They also cut the crystals in all the minerals and make the priceless gems that gleam from golden diadems. Without them there would be no iron for our machinery nor gold wherewith to pay for it. They are everywhere and the proverbial bee is not busier. To the bee, however, is given credit for the work it does, while the little Nature Spirits that play such an immensely important part in the world's work are unknown save to a few so-called dreamers.
At the summer solstice the physical activities of nature are at their apex or zenith. Therefore "Midsummer Night" is the great festival of the fairies who have wrought to build the material universe, nourished the cattle, nurtured the grain and are hailing with joy and thanksgiving the crest wave of force which is their tool in shaping the flowers into the astonishing variety of delicate shapes called for by their archetypes and in tinting them in unnumbered hues which are the artist's delight and despair. On this greatest of all nights of the glad summer season they flock from fen and forest, from glen and dale, to the Festival of the Fairies. They really bake and brew their etheric foods and afterwards dance in ecstasies of joy, the joy of having brought forth and served their important purpose in the economy of nature.
It is an axiom of science that nature tolerates nothing that is useless. Parasites and drones are an abomination; the organ that has become superfluous atrophies; so does the limb or eye that is no longer used. Nature has work to do and requires work of all who would justify their existence and continue as part of her. This applies to plant and planet, man and beast, and to the fairies as well. They have their work to do; they are busy folk and their activities are the solution to many of nature's multifarious mysteries, as already explained.
Later, at the time of the winter solstice, we are at the other pole of the yearly cycle where the days are short and the nights long; physically speaking, darkness hangs over the Northern Hemisphere; but the wave of spiritual light and life which will be the basis of next year's growth and progress is now at its greatest height and power. On Christmas night at the winter solstice when the celestial sign of the Immaculate Virgin stands upon the eastern horizon at midnight, the sun of the new year is born to save humanity from the cold and the famine which would ensue were its beneficent light withheld. At that time the Christ Spirit is born into the earth and commences to leaven and fertilize the millions of seeds which the fairies build and water that we may have physical food. But, "Man shall not live by bread alone." Important as is the work of the fairies, it fades into insignificance compared with the mission of Christ who brings to us each year the spiritual food needed to advance us upon the path of progress, that we may attain perfection in love with all which that implies.
In the Moon Period, contact of the heated sphere with cold Space generated moisture, and the battle of the elements commenced in all its fierceness. The heated ball of fire endeavored to evaporate the moisture, force it outwards and create a vacuum wherein to maintain its integrity and burn undisturbed. But there is and can be no void in nature, hence the outrushing steam condensed at a certain distance from the heated ball and was again driven inwards by the cold of Space, to be again evaporated and propelled outwards in a ceaseless round for ages and ages, as a shuttlecock between the separate Hierarchies of Spirits composing the various Kingdoms of Life, represented in the Fire-Sphere and Cosmic Space which is an expression of the Homogeneous Absolute Spirit. The Fire Spirits are actively striving to attain enlargement of consciousness. But the Absolute rests, ever clothed in the invisible garment of Cosmic Space. In "It" all powers and possibilities are latent, and It seeks to discourage and check any attempt at expenditure of latent power as dynamic energy required in the evolution of a solar system. Water is the agent It used to quench the fire of active spirits. The zone between the heated center of the separate Spirit Sphere, and the Point where its individual atmosphere meets Cosmic Space, is a battleground of evolving spirits at various stages of evolution.
The present angels were human in the Moon Period, and the highest Initate is The Holy Spirit (Jehovah).
As our humanity and the other Kingdoms of Life on earth are variously affected by the present elements, so that some like heat, other prefer cold; some thrive on moisture and others require dryness; so also in the Moon Period among the angels, some had affinity for water, others abhorred it and loved the fire.
From the Cosmic angle or viewpoint we note that Solomon's Temple is the Solar Universe, and Hiram Abiff, the Grand Master, is the Sun which travels around the twelve signs of the zodiac, enacting there the mystic drama of the Masonic Legend. At the Vernal Equinox the Sun leaves the watery sign Pisces, which is also feminine and docile, for the belligerent, martial, energetic, fiery sign Aries, the ram or lamb, where it is exalted in power. It fills the universe with a creative fire which is immediately seized upon by the innumerable billions of nature spirits who therewith build the Temple of the coming year in forest and fen. The forces of fecundation applied to the countless seeds slumbering in the ground cause them to germinate and fill the earth with luxuriant vegetation while the group spirits mate the beasts and birds in their charge so that they may brong forth and increase sufficiently to keep the fauna of our planet at normal.
The objective consciousness by which we obtain knowledge of the outside world is dependent upon what we perceive through the medium of the senses. This we call "real," in contradistinction to our thoughts and ideas which come to us through our inner consciousness; their reality is not apparent to us in the same way as that of a book or table, or other visible or tangible object in space. Thoughts and ideas seem misty and unreal, therefore we speak of a "mere" thought, or of"just" an idea.
The ideas and thoughts of today, however, have an evolution before them; they are destined to become as real, clear, and tangible as any of the objects of the outside world which we now perceive through the physical senses. At present, when a thing or a color is thought of, the picture or color presented by the memory to our inner consciousness is but a dim and shadowy one compared with the thing thought of.
As early as the Jupiter Period there will be a marked change in this respect. Then the dream pictures of the Moon Period will return, but they will be subject to the call of the thinker, and not mere reproductions of outer objects. Thus there will be a combination of the pictures of the Moon Period and the thoughts and ideas consciously developed during the Earth Period, that is, it will be a self-conscious picture-consciousness.
When a man of the Jupiter Period says "red," or speaks the name of an object, clear and exact reproduction of the particular shade of red of which he is thinking, or of the object to which he refers, will be presented to his inner vision and will also be quite visible to the hearer. There will be no misconception as to what is meant by the words spoken. Thoughts and ideas will be alive and visible, therefore hypocrisy and flattery will be entirely eliminated. People will be seen exactly as they are. There will be the thoroughly good man and the downright evil man, and one of the serious problems of that time will be how to deal with the latter. The Manichees, an Order of still higher spirituality than the Rosicrucians, are at present studying that very problem. An idea of the condition anticipated may be gained from a short resume of their legend. (All mystic orders have a legend symbolical of their ideals and aspirations.)
In the legend of the Manichees there are two kingdoms, that of the Light Elves and that of the Night Elves. The latter attack the former, are defeated and must be punished. But, as the Light Elves are as thoroughly good as the Night Elves are bad, they cannot inflict evil upon their foes, so they must be punished with good. Therefore a part of the kingdom of the Light Elves is incorporated with that of the Night Elves and in this way the evil is in time overcome. Hate which will not submit to hate must succumb to Love.
The internal pictures of the Moon Period were a certain expression of man's external environment. In the Jupiter Period the pictures will be expressed from within; they will be an outcome of the inner life of the man. He will also possess the additional faculty, which he cultivated in the Earth Period, of seeing things in space outside himself. In the Moon Period he did not see the concrete thing, but only its soul qualities. In the Jupiter Period he will see both, and will thus have a thorough perception and understanding of his surroundings. At a later stage in the same Period this perceptive ability will be succeeded by a still higher phase. His power to form clear mental conceptions of colors, objects, or tones will enable him to contact and influence supersensible beings of various orders and to secure their obedience, employing their forces as he wishes. He will be unable to send out from himself the forces wherewith to carry out his designs, however, and will be dependent upon the help of these superphysical beings, who will then be at his service.
At the close of the Venus Period he will be able to use his own force to give his pictures life and to set them out from himself as objects in space. He will then possess an objective, self-conscious, creative-consciousness.
Most of us walk upon earth and see only a seemingly dead mass, but one of the first facts revealed in our consciousness by Initiation is the living reality of the Earth Spirit. As the surface of the body is dead compared to the organs within, so the outer envelope of the earth, being encrusted, gives no idea of the wonderful activity within. Upon the path of Initiation nine different layers are revealed, and in the center of this rolling sphere we meet the Spirit of the Earth face to face. It is actually true that it is "groaning and travailing" in the earth for the sake of all, working and anxiously waiting for our manifestation as Sons of God so that, as the seeking soul, which aspires to liberation is released from its dense body, the Earth Spirit also may be liberated from its body of death in which it is now confined for us.
Of course, the Earth Spirit is not to be thought of as a larger man, or as having physical form other than the earth itself. The vital body of Jesus, in which the Christ Spirit was focused prior to its actual ingress into the earth, has the ordinary human form; it is preserved and is shown to the candidate at a certain point in his progression. Some day in the far future it will again house the benevolent Christ Spirit upon His return from the center of the earth, when we shall have become etheric, and when He is ready to ascend to higher spheres, leaving us to be taught of the Father, whose religion will be higher than the Christian religion.
The Faust myth presents a curious situation in the meeting of the hero, who is the seeking soul, with different classes of spirits. The spirit of Faust, inherently good, feels drawn to the higher orders; it feels akin to the benevolent Earth Spirit, and bemoans the inability to detain and learn from it. Face to face with the Spirit of Negation, who is only too willing to teach and serve, he finds himself master in a certain sense, because that spirit cannot leave over the symbol of the five-pointed star in the position it is placed upon the floor. But both his inability to detain the Earth Spirit and obtain tuition from that exalted Being, and his mastery over the Spirit of Negation, are due to the fact that he has come into contact with them by chance and not by soul power evolved from within.
When Parsifal, the hero of another of these great soul myths, first visited the Castle of the Grail, he was asked how he had come there, and he answered "I know not." He had just happened to enter the holy place as a soul sometimes gets a glimpse of the celestial realms in a vision; but he could not stay in Montsalvat. He was forced to go out into the world again and learn his lessons. Many years he returned to the Castle of the Grail, weary and worn with the quest, and the same query was asked: "How did you come here?" But this time his answer was different, for he said, "Through search and suffering I came."
That is the cardinal point which marks the great difference between persons who happen to come in contact with spirits from superphysical realms by chance or stumble upon the solution of a law of nature, and those who, by diligent research and particularly by living the life, attain to conscious Initiation into the secrets of nature. The former do not know how to use this power intelligently and are therefore helpless. The latter are always masters of the forces they wield, while the others are the sport of anyone who wishes to take advantage of them.
A student asks: "Is not nature guilty of frequent malformations in the plant and animal world as well as in the human race, and can there be a perfectly whole and sane intelligence with a forceful will in a diseased or malformed body?"
In reply we would ask, what is here meant by nature? Bacon says that nature and God differ only as the print and the seal. Nature is the visible symbol of God, and we are too apt to think of nature nowadays in a materialistic sense. Back of every manifestation in nature there are forces, not blind forces, but intelligences which motivates action. What we speak of as electricity, as magnetism, as expansion in steam, etc., are intelligences which work unseen to us when certain conditions are brought about. Nature spirits build the plants, form the crystals of the rock, and with numerous other hierarchies are working around and about us unseen, but nevertheless busy in making that which we call nature.
These are all evolving beings, like ourselves, and the very fact that they are evolving shows that they are imperfect and therefore apt to make mistakes which naturally result in malformations, so that it may be said in answer to the question that the invisible intelligences which make what we call nature are guilty of frequent mistakes as well as we.
As to the second part of the question, whether there can be a perfectly whole and sane intelligence with a forceful will in a diseased or malformed body, we may say "Yes, undoubtedly," but as the expression of that intelligence is dependent upon the efficiency of its instrument, it may, naturally, be hampered by the physical deformity, on the same principle that no matter how skilled the workman is, his efficiency depends in a great measure upon the condition of his tools.
The following interesting inquiry is worthy of attention: "It is stated in the Cosmo-Conception that the faculty of space perception is connected with the delicate adjustment of the three semi-circular canals in the ear, pointing in the three dimensions of space. Logical thought and mathematical ability are in proportion to the accuracy of their adjustment.
"It seems that the perception of the fourth dimension has been arrived at by mathematicians of a very high degree. Can you tell me if there is any chance in the arrangement of these semi-circular canals, or what is the process that leads up to the fourth dimensional consciousness?"
"It would also seem that nature spirits and elementals have this fourth dimensional consciousness which is a higher degree of consciousness than that which we now possess and possibly higher than possessed by the bee or the Elberfield horses. Will you please supply the missing link? What makes man or humanity superior to these beings and what is the arrangement of these semi- circular canals in the case of these gifted horses?"
To the majority of mankind figures are exceedingly dry. They are not only uninteresting, but exceedingly tedious, for we are used to living an outward life among other people and friends where we give expression to our desires, feelings, and emotions. The more these are stirred the more interesting we find life and contrariwise the things that do not cause a ripple of emotion are held to be dull and uninteresting. Therefore the majority do not take to mathematics or anything else that will sharpen the mind without at the same time arousing the emotional nature.
We know that God geometrizes, that all the processes of nature are founded upon a systematic calculation which argues the great Master Mind. When God as the great Architect of the universe has built the whole world upon mathematical lines we may know that consciously or unconsciously the mathematician is reaching out in a direction in which eventually he will find himself face to face with God and this in itself argues an expansion of consciousness. When we consider the fact that each one of the semi-circular canals is in fact a supersensitive spirit-level adjusted so as to indicate to our consciousness the motion of our body through the length and breadth, height or depth of space we may easily understand that their accurate adjustment is necessary to space perception. If they are true, then the space perception of that person is perfect, and if he takes up the study of mathematics then his theories will agree with what he sees in the world as actual facts. This in some high minds engenders an actual love of figures so that they may rest such a mind instead of being a source of fatigue may arouse in him the latent spiritual faculties, but not through any change in the semi- circular canals for these are bony structures and not easily changed during the lifetime. There is no doubt, however, that one who has a taste for music or mathematics will later build these canals more accurately in the Second Heaven between death and a new birth.
With respect to the consciousness of the elementals or nature spirits, it is quite correct to assume that they have what may be called a fourth dimensional consciousness, for in addition to the height, width, and depth which are the dimensions of space in the physical world, there is what we may call "thoroughness" in the ethers. With the etheric sight you may look into a mountain and if you have an etheric body such as the nature spirits possess, you may also walk through the hardest granite rock. It will offer no more obstruction than the air does to our progress here, in fact not so much, for here we are hindered by winds. But even among nature spirits there are different entities and a corresponding variation of consciousness.
The bodies of the gnomes are made of the chemical ether principally and therefore they are of the earth earthy; that is, one never sees them fly about as do the sylphs. They can be burned in fire. They also grow old in a manner not so greatly different from human beings.
The undines which live in the water and the sylphs of the air are also subject to mortality, but their bodies being composed of the life and light ethers respectively, make them much more enduring, so that while it is stated that the gnomes do not live more than a few hundred years, the undines and sylphs are said to live for thousands, and the salamanders whose bodies are principally built of the fourth ether are said to live many thousands of years. The consciousness, which builds and ensouls these bodies, however, belongs to a number of divine hierarchs who are gaining additional experience in that manner; and the forms which are built of matter and thus ensouled have attained a degree of self-consciousness; during these long existences they have a sense of their own transitory existence and it is to their rebellion against this state of things that the war of the elements, notably, fire, air, and water, is due. Fancying that they are being held in bondage they seek liberation from the leash by force and having no sense to guide themselves, run amuck in a destructive manner which at times brings about great catastrophes. The consciousness of the gnomes is too dull to take the initiative but they not infrequently become accomplices of the other nature spirits by opening passages which favor explosions in the rock.
However, this has no connection at all with the Elberfield horses or kindred animal prodigies. These are the wards of their respective group spirits and it is probably the last time they will seek embodiment in an animal form. When that happens, such spirits are relegated to Chaos where they must wait during the Cosmic Night for their less gifted brothers until the time when it is possible to begin their human evolution in the Jupiter Period.
Even among esoteric scientists it is counted among the most difficult problems to investigate the mysterious construction of the earth. Every esoteric scientist knows how much easier it is to thoroughly and accurately investigate the Desire World and the Region of Concrete Thought and bring back the results into the Physical World than to investigate completely the secrets of our physical planet, because to do that fully, one must have passed through the nine lesser Mysteries and the first of the Great Initiations.
Modern scientists know very little about this matter. So far as seismic phenomena are concerned they very frequently change their theories, because they are constantly discovering reasons why their previous hypotheses were untenable. They have, with all their usual splendid care, investigated the very outside shell, but only to an insignificant depth. As for volcanic eruptions, they try to understand them as they try to understand everything else, in a purely mechanical way, depicting the center of the earth as a fiery furnace and concluding that the eruptions are caused by the accidental admission of water and in other similar ways.
In a certain sense, their theories have some foundation, but in this case they are, as always, neglecting the spiritual causes, which to the esotericist appear to be the true ones. To him, the world is far from being "dead." On the contrary, its every nook and crevice is permeated by spirit, which is the leaven that causes changes in and upon the planet.
The different kinds of quartz, the metals, the disposition of the various strata—all have a much higher significance than the materialistic investigator has ever been able to grasp. To the esoteric scientist, the way in which these materials are arranged is full of meaning.
To the trained clairvoyant sight of the Initiate of the various degrees of the Mysteries, the earth appears built in strata, something like an onion, one layer or stratum outside another. There are nine such strata and the central core, making ten in all. These strata are revealed to the Initiate gradually. One stratum becomes accessible to him at each Initiation, so that at the end of the nine lesser Initiations he is master of all the layers, but has not yet access to the secrets of the core.
In ancient parlance these nine steps are called the "Lesser Mysteries." They take the neophyte consciously through all that relates to his past evolution, through the activities of involuntary existence, so that he is able to understand the manner and meaning of the work he then performed unconsciously. He is shown how the present ninefold constitution (the threefold body, the threefold soul, and the threefold spirit) was brought into existence; how the great creative Hierarchies worked on the virgin spirit, awakening in it the Ego, helping it to form the body; and also the work he himself has done, to extract from the threefold body as much of the threefold soul as he now possesses. One step at a time is he led through the nine steps of the lesser mysteries, the nine strata.
When the advancing man has passed through the nine lesser Initiations, gaining thereby entrance to all the layers of the earth, entrance into the core is yet to be won. That is opened to him by the first of the Four Great Initiations, in which he learns to know the mystery of the mind, that part of his being begun on earth. When he is ready for the first Great Initiation he has developed his mind to the degree to which all men are destined to attain at the end of the Earth Period. In that Initiation he is given the key to the next stage, and all work done by him after that will be such as humanity in general will do in the Jupiter Period, and does not concern us at present.
Diagram 18 will give an idea of the arrangement of the earth's strata, the central core being omitted to indicate more clearly the lemniscate formation of the currents in the ninth stratum. In the diagram the strata are represented as being of equal thickness, though in reality some are much thinner than others. Beginning at the outside, they appear in the following order:
(1) The Mineral Earth: This is the stony crust of the earth, with which geology deals as far as it is able to penetrate.
(2) The Fluid Stratum: The matter of this stratum is more fluid than that of the outside crust, yet it is not watery, but rather more like a thick paste. It has the quality of expansion, like that of an exceedingly explosive gas, and is kept in place only by the enormous pressure of the outer crust. Were that removed, the whole of the fluid stratum would disappear in space with a tremendous explosion. These correspond to the Chemical and Etheric Regions of the Physical World.
(3) Vapor Stratum: In the first and second strata there is really no conscious life. But in this stratum there is an ever flowing and pulsating life as in the Desire World surrounding and interpenetrating our earth.
(4) Water Stratum: In this stratum are the germinal possibilities of all that exists upon the surface of the earth. Here are the archetypal forces which are back of the group spirits; also the archetypal forces of the minerals, for this is the direct physical expression of the Region of Concrete Thought.
(5) Seed Stratum: Material scientists have been baffled in their efforts to discover the origin of life, how the first living things came forth from previously dead matter.
In reality, according to the esoteric explanation of evolution, the question should be how the "dead" things originated. The life was there previous to the dead forms. It built its bodies from attenuated vaporous substance long before it condensed into the earth's solid crust. Only when the life had left the forms could they crystallize and become hard and dead.
Coal is but crystallized plant bodies; coral is also the crystallization of animal forms. The life leaves the forms and the forms die. Life never came into a form to awaken it to life. Life departed from the forms and the forms died. Thus did "dead" things come to be.
In this fifth stratum is the primordial fount of life from which came the impetus that built all the forms on earth. It corresponds to the Region of Abstract Thought.
(6) Fiery Stratum: Strange as it may seem, this stratum is possessed of sensation. Pleasure and pain, sympathy and antipathy have here their effect on the earth. It is generally supposed that under no possible circumstances can the earth have any sensation whatever. The esoteric scientist, however, as he watches the harvesting of the ripe grain and the gathering of fruit from the trees in the autumn, or the plucking of flowers, knows the pleasure experienced by the earth itself. It is similar to the pleasure felt by the cow when its bursting udders are ebbing relieved by the sucking calf. The earth feels the delight of having yielded nourishment for its progeny of Forms, this delight reaching its culmination in the harvest time.
On the other hand, when plants are torn out by the roots, it is patent to the esoteric scientist that the earth senses a sting of pain. For that reason he does not eat the plant foods which grow under the earth. In the first place they are full of the earth force and deficient in sun force, and are additionally poisoned by being pulled up by the roots. The only exception to this rule is that he may partake sparingly of the potato, which originally grew on the surface of the earth, and has only in comparatively recent times grown beneath the soil. Esotericists endeavor to nourish their bodies on fruits which grow toward the sun, because they contain more of the higher sun force, and have not caused the earth pain.
It might be supposed that mining operations would be very painful to the earth, but the reverse is the case. Every disintegration of the hard crust causes a sensation of relief and every solidification is a source of pain. Where a mountain torrent washes away the soil and carries it toward the plains, the earth feels freer. Where the disintegrated matter is again deposited, as in a bar outside the mouth of a great river, there is a corresponding sense of uneasiness.
As sensation in animals and men is due to their separate vital bodies, so the feeling of the earth is particularly active in this sixth stratum, which corresponds to the World of Life Spirit. To understand the pleasure felt when mining operations are disintegrating the hard rock, and the pain when deposits gather, we must remember that the earth is the dense body of a Great Spirit, and to furnish us with an environment in which we could live and gather experience, it had to crystallize this body into its present solid condition.
As evolution proceeds, however, and man learns the lessons pertaining to this acme of concretion, then earth will become softer and its Spirit more and more liberated. This is what Paul meant when he spoke of the whole creation groaning and travailing, waiting for the day of liberation.
(7) Refracting Stratum: This part of the earth corresponds to the World of Divine Spirit. There are in esoteric science what are known as "The Seven Unspeakable Secrets." For those who are not acquainted with these secrets, or have not at least an inkling of their import, the properties of this stratum must seem particularly absurd and grotesque. In it all the forces which are known to us as the "Laws of Nature" exist as moral, or rather immoral forces. In the beginning of the conscious career of man they were much worse than at present. But it appears that as humanity progresses in morals, these forces improve correspondingly; also that any lapse in morals has a tendency to unleash these Nature Forces and cause them to create havoc upon the earth; while the striving for higher ideals makes them less inimical to man.
The forces in this stratum are thus, at any time, an exact reflection of the existing moral status of mankind. From the esoteric point of view, the "hand of God" which smites a Sodom or a Gomorrah is not a foolish superstition, for as surely as there is individual responsibility to the Law of Consequence which brings to each person the just results of his deeds whether for good or evil, so is there also community and national responsibility, which brings upon groups of men corresponding results for their collective acts. Nature Froces are the general agents of such retributive justice, causing floods, or earthquakes, or the beneficent formation of oil or coal for various groups, according to their deserts.
(8) Atomistic Stratum: This is the name given by the Rosicrucians to the eighth layer of the earth, which is the expression of the World of Virgin Spirits. It seems to have the property of multiplying many fold the things in it; this applies, however, only to those things which have been definitely formed. An unshapen peice of wood, or an unhewn stone has no existence there, but upon anything which has been shaped, or has life and form (such as a flower or a picture), this stratum has the effect of multiplication to an astonishing degree.
(9) Material Expression of the Earth Spirit: There are here lemniscate currents, which are intimately connected with the brain, heart, and sex organs of the human race. It corresponds to the World of God.
(10) Center of Being of the Earth Spirit: Nothing more can be said about this at present except that it is the ultimate seed ground of all that is in and on earth, and corresponds to the Absolute.