Question: Will you please describe the silver cord and explain its function in both man and animal? (Vol. II, #137)
Answer: To answer this question fully we must refer to earlier evolutionary conditions.
Three Periods of evolution have preceded our present Earth Period. During the Saturn Period we were mineral-like, in the Sun Period we had a constitution like the plants, and in the Moon Period we developed vehicles similar to the present animals. We say "similar," for the constitution of the world was so different that identical construction would have been an impossibility. Fancy now, an immense globe circling in space as a satellite about its sun. It is the body of a Great Spirit, Jehovah. As we have soft flesh and hard bones, so also the central part of the body of Jehovah is denser than the outside, which is misty and cloud-like. Though His consciousness pervades the whole, Jehovah appears principally in the cloud, and with Him are His angels, and other Creative Hierarchies.
From the great firmament of cloud depend millions of cords, each with its foetal sac, hovering close to the dense central part, and as the vital stream of the human mother circulates through the umbilical cord carrying nourishment to the embryo during antenatal life for the purpose of evolving a vehicle wherein the human Spirit may dwell independently when the period of gestation has been completed, so the divine life of Jehovah brooded over us in the cloud and coursed through the whole human family during this embryonic stage of its evolution, and we were then as incapable of initiative as the fetus.
Since then the Manna (Manas, Mens, Mensch, or Man) has fallen from heaven, from the bosom of the Father, and is now tied by the silver cord to the concrete body during his waking hours, and even in sleep it forms the connecting link between the higher and lower vehicles. This connection is broken only at death.
The cord is quite complex in its construction. One end is rooted in the seed atom in the heart; that part is made of ether. A second part, made of desire- stuff, grows from the great vortex of the desire body located in the liver, and when these two parts of the silver cord join in the seed atom of the vital body located in the solar plexus, this junction of the three seed atoms marks the quickening of the fetus.
But there is still another part of the silver cord, which is made of mind stuff and grows from the seed atom of the mind located at a point which may roughly be described as the frontal sinus where the human Spirit has its seat. It passes between the pituitary body and the pineal gland, thence downwards, connecting with the thyroid and thymus glands, the spleen, and the adrenals, and finally joins the second part of the silver cord in the seed atom of the desire body in the great vortex of that vehicle which is located in the liver. The path along which this part of the silver cord will grow is indicated in the archetype, but it requires approximately twenty-one years to complete the junction. The union of the first and the second parts of the silver cord marks the physical quickening which depends on the complete destruction of nucleated blood corpuscles carrying the life of the physical mother, and the emancipation from her interference by gasification of the blood which is thenceforth the direct vehicle of the Ego. The junction of the second and third parts of the silver cord marks a mental quickening and a consequent emancipation from mother Nature, who has then completed the gestatory process necessary to start the foundation and framework for the temple of the Spirit, which may subsequently build as it chooses, limited only by its past actions.
During the daytime when we are awake in the physical world, the threefold silver cord is coiled in a spiral within the dense body, principally about the solar plexus (epigastrium), but at night when the Ego withdraws and leaves the dense and vital bodies on the bed to recuperate after the labors of the day, the silver cord protrudes from the skull. The ovoid desire body floats above, or near the sleeping form, resembling a captive balloon. There, so far as the child and the undeveloped persons are concerned, the Ego remains, ruminating over the occurrences of the day, until impacts from the physical world, much as the ring of an alarm clock, a call, or the like, vibrates the silver cord and draws the attention of the Ego to its discarded vehicle and causes it to enter.
No occult development is possible until the third part of the silver cord has been developed, but after that event the Ego may leave its dense body and roam the wide world, either consciously after proper training and initiation, or unconsciously, with the help of others, or accidentally, as a sleepwalker leaves his or her bed and returns unaware of where he went or what he did. In either case the third part of the silver cord, which is made of ductile, elastic mind stuff, serves as a link with the lower vehicles. The quality of the consciousness of the Ego when thus away from its dense body depends upon whether it has formed a soul body of Light and Reflecting Ether, which is the vehicle of sense perception and memory, sufficiently stable to take along. If it has, the process of initiation will have taught it how to proceed, and the Ego will have a complete consciousness while away from the body and a dependable memory of what occurred on the soul-flight when it returns; if not, both consciousness and memory are bound to be lacking or faulty to a degree.
Having acquainted ourselves with the construction and function of the silver cord as a link between the Ego and its vehicles, we shall next study its makeup and use in connection with the animal and its Group Spirit. The Western Wisdom Teachings tell us that the habits, tastes, likes and dislikes of each species are due to the fact that they are actuated by a common Group Spirit. All squirrels hoard a store of nuts for a winter period of hibernation, all lions crave flesh, horses without exception eat hay, but one man's meat is another's poison. If we know the habits of one animal we know the habits of all belonging to the same family, but it would be futile to investigate the elder Edison to ascertain the source of Thomas A.'s genius. A treatise on the habits of a horse will apply to all horses, but the biography of one man differs entirely from that of every other human being because each acts under the dictates of an individual indwelling Spirit. The animals of a certain group are directed by a common intelligence, the Group Spirit, by means of the silver cord. Each animal has its own individual silver cord, so far as the two parts are concerned which connect the dense, vital, and the desire bodies, but the third part which is connected to the central vortex of the desire body, located in the liver, is the cord of the Group Spirit. By means of this elastic bond it governs the animals of its tribe, without regard to where in the world they may be, with equal facility. Distance is nonexistent from the viewpoint of the inner worlds, and as the animals have no mind of their own, they obey the suggestions of the Group Spirit unquestioningly.
In this respect children are an anomaly, for they also have only the two parts of the silver cord developed. However, they have a mind from which the third part is growing. Thus the Ego has no direct communication with its vehicles, and therefore the human offspring, which has the greatest possibility, is at the same time the most helpless of all creatures on Earth, amenable principally to the authority of its physical guardians.
But though man is now individualized, and emancipated from direct interference with his action by the leading strings of the cord by which the Group Spirit "forces," (there is no other word which will convey the meaning) the animal to do its bidding, he is not yet fit to rule himself any more than the child, over which we hold authority until it is of age, is fit to take charge of its own affairs, and Race Spirits still continue to rule the nations. Each nation, except America, has its own Race Spirit which broods in the form of a cloud over the land in which its people live, as did the God of the Israelites, and in him "they live and move and have their being." They are his peculiar people, and he is a jealous God. With every breath they inhale this Spirit, and if taken away they long for their native country, because wherever they are taken the air is different and carries the vibration of another Archangelic Hierarch.
As time flies and we advance, we shall also be emancipated from the Race Spirit which has lived in our breath since the time Jehovah Elohim blew nephesh — the vital air — into our nostrils. These Spirits work in the desire body and the Human Spirit, fostering selfishness and egoism. When we learn to build the glorious wedding garment, called the soul body, which is woven by loving self-forgetting service, and the mystic marriage is consummated — when the Christ is immaculately born within — Universal Love will emancipate us forever from Universal Law, and we shall be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect.
"From ev'ry pow'r that holds the world in chains, Man liberates himself, when self-control he gains."
This article was adapted from "The Rosicrucian Philosophy in Questions and Answers, Vol. II," by Max Heindel.