|Simplified Scientific Christianity|
"When you ask to know who your Ego is, you are asking for just the information which the Dweller on the Threshold to the invisible world hides from you, under the beneficent law of nature which no one is privileged to break. Until you have attained the spiritual strength to pass him and learn for yourself, this must therefore remain hidden from you. Even then there will not be an uninterrupted conscious intercourse between the higher self and the personality. That belongs to a much later stage in evolution when we shall have fully spiritualized our vehicles into soul essence."
Question: Will you please tell me if Mr. Heindel can function on the plane of the Ego? If so will be communicate with my Ego and bring me the following information; I want to know who my Ego is, and what it intends to do with this earth life, also how I can obtain daily and uninterrupted consciousness with it.
Answer: While awake during earth life the Ego functions in the visible world as an indwelling Spirit, but during the hours of sleep the Ego is in the Desire World, where it also remains for a period after death. Later stages in the post-mortem existence are lived in the Region of Concrete Thought which is the Second Heaven. Above that is the Region of Abstract Thought, which is called the Third Heaven, the home of the Ego, who takes excursions into earth life for the purpose of gaining experience and soul growth.
While here on earth ties are formed with others which under the Law of Causation bring certain effects sooner or later. These appear as fate or destiny. By our willful or ignorant transgression of the laws of life we have, in times past, accumulated a debt of evil actions which must some time be liquidated. We must reap what we have sown before we can again become pure and free in spirit. The knowledge of this impending fate, when part of the debt is to be worked out, would paralyze most of us, and to see the whole ugly score would probably crush the strongest Spirit until it has become at least partially enlightened and learned to conform to the laws of nature in a certain measure. When this great light has shone into the heart of any man and he feels himself as a prodigal Spirit, far from our Father in heaven, when he cries out with his whole heart, "I will go to my Father," and this desire for union is ever before his spiritual vision, then for the first time he is confronted with the embodiment of his fate, called by esotericists, "The Dweller of the Threshold."
This entity meets the aspirant at the door between the visible and the invisible world. When he dares to step out into this world which he has previously only seen by spiritual sight, he is confronted by this Dweller on the Threshold and cannot pass until he has acknowledged it. Each neophyte must face this gruesome spectator as Glyndon did in Bulwer Lytton's novel, "Zanoni." It is hidden from ordinary humanity, even between death and rebirth, but the neophyte, as said, must not only face it, acknowledge if, and dare to pass it. He must take a solemn vow to do the things necessary to liquidate the debt of which that is an embodiment, also the vow of silence concerning all therein involved.
When you ask to know who your Ego is, you are asking for just the information which the Dweller on the Threshold to the invisible world hides from you, under the beneficent law of nature which no one is privileged to break. Until you have attained the spiritual strength to pass him and learn for yourself, this must therefore remain hidden from you. Even then there will not be an uninterrupted conscious intercourse between the higher self and the personality. That belongs to a much later stage in evolution when we shall have fully spiritualized our vehicles into soul essence. Therefore, there is only one way for you to find out, and that is by earnest application to the problem yourself. If you continue to seek you shall find, but remember, there is no royal road to this knowledge. No one can give it to you ready-made, or sell it to you, and all we who have gone before can do for anyone is to show him the way and encourage him to walk it regardless of all set backs and obstacles, confident that what man had done, man can do. Each has the same divine power and is as able to succeed as anyone else.
Question: Do the people of the Desire World or Etheric Region see the Sun we see, and do not these regions go round with the world at its atmosphere? If so, why would it not make darkness and day there also?
Answer: The reason why we have day and night, light and darkness, is that the Earth is opaque to our physical sight. Therefore, when the Sun is on the opposite side of the earth we cannot look through this physical globe and see the light, nor can we perceive the light-rays which penetrate through it, by our physical sight, though there is such an invisible light by which psychometers and clairvoyants see just as well in that which we call darkness as in that which we call light. It is true that the atmosphere of the earth revolves with it, and so does the desire stuff which constitutes the Desire World of our planet. However, those who have shed the mortal coil and are in the Desire World see through the earth just as easily as we see through a pane of glass. Furthermore, the greater part of them are usually so far outside the physical earth that even the direct rays of the Sun would not be obstructed by the mineral globe upon which we live in our physical bodies. For these reason there is neither day nor night there. Neither are there seasons which depend in a measure upon what we call day, but there is everlasting day and everlasting light in those worlds.
Question: A gentlemen in sound physical and mental health has had a dream almost every night for some time, and in the dream state he addresses an assembly composed mainly of his friends and acquaintances. In the course of his speech he explains that he is dreaming and that all the people before him are creatures of his dreams. Someone in the audience asks him what proof he has to give that he is right in his assertion, and to this he replies that he will think over the question when he wakes, and states that he will explain his reasons when he meets them in dreamland the next time. They all laugh at him and call him a lunatic. This dream puzzles him considerably and he is anxious to know how he may convince those dream creatures that the experience is really a dream.
Answer: In order to be able to judge intelligently concerning the various states of consciousness of man — waking, dream sleep, etc. — it is necessary to know the constitution and the function of various finer vehicles which, with the dense body, make up that complex being which we call man.
We find in the world four kingdoms: the mineral, which is practically devoid of feeling though it may respond to and react to stimuli, can feel neither love nor hate. Under the steam hammer or in the furnace its form and composition may be changed, but it gives no sign of emotion whatever. Its consciousness is like that of the human being in the deepest trance or in death, when only the physical body is present.
The plant is different. It lives and breathes. It inhales carbon dioxide which forms a large part of its body. It exhales the life giving oxygen. The sap flows in its stem and leaves. In short, it exhibits the same phenomena of life that we do in dreamless sleep, because in that state our dense body is interpenetrated by a vital body composed of ether and a similar vehicle interpenetrates the physical stem, leaves, and branches of the plant. But the plant knows no emotion neither. Love, hate, joy, and sorrow are foreign to it, for it has no desire body such as that possessed by animal or man. Because of the possession of these vehicles animal and man are also able to move about and to aim to gratify their desires. To this end man uses mind, a vehicle not possessed by the animal, and in the waking state all his vehicles are concentric, interpenetrating one another, enable him to live, move, and reason. But the very act of going to sleep means a reversion to the consciousness of the plant, and therefore it necessarily involves a separation of the higher and lower vehicles. The Ego clothed in the mind and the desire body withdraws, leaving the physical body interpenetrated by the vital body, upon the bed.
There are times, however, when we have become so absorbed in our daily affairs, or when we have been tired out, that the Ego cannot accomplish a complete separation of the higher vehicles from the lower. Then the desire body still interpenetrates the brain centers, because the relative position of the various vehicles, so to speak, askew.
In that condition reason is out of the question, and the human consciousness is similar to that of the animal which has no mind and is therefore constitutionally incapable of logic. That is why even the most grotesque and absurd things seem perfectly natural to the dreamer, who accepts them without question just as the animal does, and dreams experienced in that relative condition of man's vehicles are usually absurd in the extreme. But as civilization progresses and egoism becomes superseded by altruism, a different division of the vehicles is made. A part of the vital body composed of the two higher ethers, which are vehicles of sense perception and memory, is taken along during the night. Then the illusory stage of dreamland ceases, and man becomes, as it were, a creature of two existences — one lived out of the body in dreamland, where he comports himself in a reasonable manner, using judgment concerning his own actions, and those of other people whom he may meet. As he has not learned to focus his consciousness when leaving or entering the body, he is not able at all times to accomplish the proper separation of his vehicles, nor to bring back a reliable memory picture of what has occurred. Initiation into the inner spheres alone supplies the necessary knowledge.
Evidently the gentleman in question has his reasoning faculties with him in dreamland, but is not yet aware of the facts concerning that world. He is mistaken in supposing that the audience which he addresses is simply a "creature of his dreams," and is not at all impossible, if he were to gather courage and ask some of those whom he has seen in his dreams if they attended such and such a gathering, that the answer would be in the affirmative. Moreover, if at the time this reply reaches him it is still possible for him to get together with the people whom he saw in his dreams and prepare them for the question before he puts it to them in the day time, he will almost certainly find someone who will remember and who has carried through this identical experience of which he has been writing.
Seeing then that dream life is not an illusory existence but a reality, there is no way of proving to the people of dreamland that it is an illusion.
Question: If it is possible to produce artificially by drugs or otherwise, as I have read, the various mystic states, how is the aspirant to know the genuine from the counterfeit? How distinguish between spiritual enlightenment and psychic intoxication?
Answer: Many scientific investigators engaged in psychic research have frustrated their object by carrying skepticisms to an absurd extreme, so that, as one expressed it in the hearing of the writer, he would not believe in ghosts even if he were to see one, because there are no ghosts and he would know that the thing which he thought to be a ghost must be only an hallucination. They are like the redoubtable Celt who professed to have an open mind willing to be convinced and then added with all the intensity he could put into the phrase: "But show me the man who can do it."
This much good the Psychic Research Movement has done, however: it has collected an immense amount of facts, which are highly valuable in the study of the hidden phases of life when we examine them apart from the construction which the scientific investigators have put upon them.
Among other things it has been noticed in a number of cases where the medium was to all appearance entirely ignorant and uneducated that the trance condition brought out accomplishments which astonished those present beyond words. There is one case on record where a servant girl, who in the normal state was most stupid and uneducated, delivered a discourse in Hebrew of a most scholarly nature while under the trance condition, and the question presents itself as to how these things are possible. There is only one theory which can give an adequate explanation covering all the facts in every case, namely, that we have all come up to our present status in the scale of evolution through many days in the great school of life; each life we have learned some lessons, and we are constantly learning more. Thus we have in the course of time acquired a vast amount of knowledge which is growing day by day and life by life.
Our vehicles also have become better, more sensitive and refined, but no body on earth is capable of expressing all that the indwelling Spirit knows. Nor is it intended by divine Hierarchies who guide our evolution that it should, for this versatility would prevent us from concentrating our efforts upon the particular lessons we need to learn here in a particular environment. Take, for instance, the case quoted of the stupid servant girl whom the trance medium showed to be a scholar. Judging from the facts of the case she had, in the opinion of the writer, a brilliant mind in a former existence, but was probably proud, arrogant, and overbearing. Hence it became necessary to teach her a lesson in humility, and she was born in a humble environment where no educational advantages were offered her. Therefore the brain because dull and she drifted into the condition of servitude little short of slavery, which is so prevalent in Central Europe, that she might learn a much needed lesson in humanity.
This class of cases shows then a possession of a much greater amount of knowledge and experience which lies latent and hidden in every individual and which is accessible when the normal sense of the body has been stilled for the time being.
We may also note that this phenomenon differs very sharply and radically from the psychic activities observable under Spirit control. According to the writer's observation of hundreds of cases, when a medium is controlled by the Spirit, the Ego of the medium clothed in its finer vehicles is driven out of the body, and the controlling Spirit then stands behind the victim manipulating the tongue and the limbs through the medulla oblongata, causing it to move or to speak just as desired. The "light of life" is then seen as a flaming torch rising from the spinal canal and the medulla, where is heard a sound somewhat resembling the humming of an alternating current arc light. Another sounding light projected by the controlling Spirit overshadows and overwhelms the first light and by that means holds the physical body in an unconscious condition. But it is really painful to hear the frantic buzzing of the victim's light of life, struggling against the aggressor.
This phenomenon is absent in the class of cases where the trance is induced by suggestion or auto-suggestion. There also the Ego is driven out of its dense body, and may be seen standing against it manipulating the limbs and the organs of speech and using the body according to its desire, as well as this extraneous position permits. But in this class of cases the light of life hums its song serenely and contentedly; there is no warring influence perceptible such as where there is an obsessing or controlling Spirit. Thus the person with spiritual sight may easily differentiate between this class and the other. Nor does the phenomenon of trance differ in this respect when it has been induced by drugs, at least as far as the writer has been able to observe, except in this particular, of course, that it is impossible for the Spirit to return to its vehicle until the drug has worn off.
"But how is the aspirant to know the genuine from the counterfeit, how distinguish between genuine spiritual enlightenment and psychic intoxication?" asks our correspondent. The trance state is never a mark of spiritual enlightenment, no matter how induced. It is a morbid and abnormal condition, not to be emulated by anyone seeking spiritual enlightenment. There is only one true path to firsthand knowledge, only one right way to spiritual enlightenment, and that is by cultivation of your own soul powers. Build your soul body by patient persistence in well doing, enlighten others who know less than you who wish the little knowledge you now possess, look for opportunities to serve others in the small and menial things, as well as in the greater, according to your ability and opportunity. Then some day you will cease to see through a glass darkly and you will know for yourself without depending upon others.
Question: During sleep does one actually come in contact with relatives and friends who have been out of the body for twenty years, or is it simply the working of memory?
Answer: The usual time of duration of one's stay in the Desire World, after leaving the body at death, is one-third the length of the life lived in the body, but this measure is only a general guide. There are many cases in which the stay is shortened or lengthened. For instance, if a person follows The Rosicrucian Teachings exercises, particularly the retrospection in the evening, he may in this scientific manner, provided he is very earnest and sincere in performance thereof, entirely obviate the necessity of a purgatorial experience. The pictures of scenes where he wronged someone would have been wiped away from the seed atom in his heart by contrition, and thus there would be, for him, no purgatorial expiation. where he had done something commendable, that would be absorbed as pabulum for the soul, and this would materially shorten, if not entirely free to devote himself to the service of humanity in the beyond, and as such he might remain in these lower regions. However, they would not, for him, constitute Purgatory or the First Heaven. Many of the most devout disciples do this humanitarian work for a number of years after passing over.
There are some, however, who go the Second Heaven at once. The soul growth attained during the life of helpfulness which freed them from the purgatorial and First Heaven existence also enables them to carry on certain investigations there and go through a certain schooling which will fit them for a higher and better position as helpers of humanity in a future life. This class, therefore, could not be seen by any friend or relative going out of the body during sleep.
There are other classes who, so to speak, become immortal in evil. Not quite that, but the interlocking of their vital and desire bodies forces them to stay in the lower regions of the invisible world nearest to the physical world in which we live, thoroughly explained in the series of lessons which we are issuing to students on The Web Of Destiny.
This class may consequently be met with for a considerable number of years after they have passed away from the body. It is indeed a curious fact that sometimes these evil persons are sought by former friends who have passed out of the body and need help to contact the physical world. The writer remembers such an instance occurring a few years ago, when an aged relative was about to pass over to the other side. She looked forward very anxiously to seeing her mate who had gone on before her. But as he had already reached the First Heaven, his arms and body had passed away, and only the head remained. Therefore he would scarcely be able to show himself to her when she had passed over, much less influence conditions at the time of the passing, and these were far from being to his liking. Certain things were being done to retard the severance of the Spirit from the flesh and considerable distress was occasioned to the passing person thereby.
In his anxiety over this condition the husband of the lady secured assistance from a friend whose interlocking vital and desire body made it easy for him to manifest. This Spirit took a heavy cane standing in the room, and knocked a book out of the hand of the passing lady's daughter, which so frightened those present that they stopped their demonstration, allowing the mother to pass out. The poor man who performed this phenomenon had already been more than twenty years in the invisible world, and so far as the writer can perceive there seemed to be no sign of dissolution of the sin body wherein he had clothed himself; he may remain there for perhaps twice or three times as long.
Question: What is the nature of the grotesque and hideous things seen by persons suffering from delirium tremens? Are they only temporary creatures of the imagination, or have they actual existence in the lower part of the Desire World? And how comes it that drunkard is endowed with spiritual sight?
Answer: We will take the latter part of the question first, for then it will also appear what the things are which are seen in delirium tremens.
In the first place, let us realize that there are several kinds of Spirits. There is the Ego, a true spark from the Divine Fire, now hidden beneath a number of opaque coverings: mind, desire body, vital body, and last but not least, the most opaque of them all, the dense body — the veil of flesh which most effectively shuts out the Spirit from the divine consciousness and confines it to the narrow limits of a brain and body.
By the process of evolution these vehicles are being spiritualized. Their vibrations are being raised, and by degrees the Ego is beginning to find itself, as the prodigal found himself, far away from the Father, and desirous of returning. Then by certain definite processes, he is gradually re-awakening cosmic consciousness. The divine power of organs which have served him as spiritual media in the far past, are re-awakened to new activity. This is particularly the case with the pituitary body and pineal gland. When he has learned to vibrate these little organs, he has developed a new sense which we may call spiritual vision, for then he sees the Invisible World and the occupants thereof. There are other steps by which he may, after awhile, become a full-fledged citizen of these realms while still living in the physical body, which he can then leave or re-enter at will. With this phase of the subject we are not at the present time concerned. Be it noted, however, that only a Spirit can set these little organs in vibration, or re-awaken their latent activities.
Where there is coin there is usually an imitation base metal. The Spirit also has its counterfeit. The true divine Spirit is an emanation in God — not from God, but in God. It is a Spirit of Life. But a spurious spirit is also obtained by fermentation and decay. This is a spirit of death. We name it alcohol. This drug, being spirit, also has the power to raise the vibrations of the little organs spoken of, but being the base product of a base process, it cannot but degrade the individual Spirit with whom it comes in contact. Therefore drunkards generate low thoughts which clothe themselves in hideous forms. Various sub-human classes of Spirits, also sometimes ensoul thought forms thus generated and keep them alive for a long time, feeding on the fumes of blood in slaughter houses, or the odor from the brewers' fermenting vats and the rum sellers' aging whiskey, not to speak of the despicable desires emanating from frequenters of such low places.
Therefore, when a person has so saturated himself with this spurious spirit of alcohol that the little organs of spiritual vision have had their vibratory rate accelerated to such a degree that the Spirit world can be perceived, he naturally sees that which is akin to him. As tuning forks, when struck, set other tuning forks of identical pitch into vibration, so also everyone is attracted to others of the same nature. These grotesque and hideous figures are really etheric and inter-etheric, between the Desire World and the ether, penetrating both. They are not a product of his imagination, but realities of a more or less lasting nature created by the drunkards and sensualists of the two worlds.
Question: Why is it that clairvoyants give such differing views and ideas of what they see in the invisible worlds that it is utterly impossible to reconcile their accounts?
Answer: This question has been thoroughly explained in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. It hinges to a considerable extent upon the fact that in the invisible world forms are so plastic that they can change their shape in the twinkling of an eye, thus giving the untrained seer an entirely wrong idea. Hence training is absolutely necessary to observation there as here, but you are mistaken in the idea that all disagree. There are a considerable number of people who have developed the spiritual sight, or perhaps have acquired it involuntarily, but who nevertheless see things alike and thus corroborate one another's statements. We have, for instance before us the review of a book written by a hospital nurse who had been present at many deathbeds and there observed exactly the same thing that we have written in our various books for the last ten years. The book is called, "The Ministry of Angels," a term which the author applies not only to the great Hierarchy next above humanity, as the term is used in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, but to all human beings who have passed beyond the veil. However, apart from that the book is full of experiences which have been duplicated by the writer in thousands of instances. We may take a few instances from the resume of this book, given in The Occult Review, to show the similarity of the experiences of this lady with our teachings as set forth in the Rosicrucian literature.
When she was about eighteen years of age, a girl friend called Maggie was suddenly taken very ill and died in her arms. Immediately after her heart had ceased to beat, she says, "I distinctly saw ascend from her body something in appearance like smoke or steam as it rises from a kettle in which water is boiling." The emanation rose only a little distance and there resolved itself into a form like that of my friend who had just died. This form, shadowy at first, gradually changed until it became well defined and clad in a pearly white, cloud-like robe, beneath which the outlines of the figure were distinctly visible. The face was that of my friend, but glorified with no trace upon it of the spasm of pain which had seized her just before she died."
This is just as we have taught: at the moment of death, when the silver cord has been ruptured in the heart, the vital body rises out through the sutures in the skull and hovers a few feet above the body. Writing on the subject of deathbeds of the patients she nursed, she remarks that often, irrespective of the physical condition or frame of mind of the dying, just before the end came they would seem to recognize someone who was not of them at the bedside and who was unseen by them.
"I have seen," she says, "a woman who had been in a comatose state for hours, suddenly open her eyes with a look of glad surprise, stretch forth her hands as though to grasp invisible hands outstretched toward her, and then with what seemed a sigh of relief, expire. I have seen a man who had been writhing in agony, suddenly grow calm, direct his eyes with an expression of joyful recognition to what to those observing him was only vacancy and, uttering a name in tones of greeting, breathe his last breath.
"I recall the death of a woman who was the victim of that most dread disease, malignant cancer. Her sufferings were excruciating and she prayed earnestly that death might speedily come to her. In her agony, suddenly her suffering appeared to cease, the expression of the face which a moment before had been distorted by pain changed to one of radiant joy. Leaping upwards with a glad light in her eyes, she raised her hands and exclaimed. 'Oh, Mother dear, you have come to take me home. I am so glad,' and in another moment her physical life had ceased."
At first the author was not able to see these invisible beings herself, but gradually she developed the spiritual sight, so that she actually did see those who came to meet the dying from the realms of Spirit life and to welcome them into another state of experience.
"The first time I received the ocular proof," she says, "was at the death of L., a sweet girl of seventeen, who was a personal friend of mine. She was a victim of consumption. She suffered no pain, but the weariness that comes from extreme weakness and debility was heavy upon her and she yearned for rest.
"A short time before she expired I became aware that two Spirit forms were standing by the bedside, one on either side of it. I did not notice them enter the room. They were standing by the bedside when they first became visible to me, but I could see them as distinctly as I could see any of the human occupants of the room. In my own heart I have always called these bright beings from another world angels, and as such I shall hereafter speak of them. I recognized their faces as those of two girls who had been the closest friends of the girl who was dying. They had passed away a year before and were then about her own age.
"Just before they appeared, the dying girl exclaimed, 'It has grown suddenly dark, I cannot see anything,' but she recognized them immediately, a smile beautiful to see lit up her face as she stretched forth her hands and in joyful tones exclaimed, 'Oh, you have come to take me away; I am glad, for I am very tired.'
"The two angels extended each a hand, one grasping the dying girl's right hand, the other her left. Their faces were illumined by a smile more radiantly beautiful even than that of the face of the girl who was so soon to find the rest for which she longed. She did not speak again but for nearly a minute her hands remained outstretched, grasped by the hands of the angels, and she continued to gaze at them with the glad light in her eyes and the smile on her face. The angels seemed to relax their grasp of the girl's hands which then fell back on the bed. A sigh came from her lips such as one might give who resigns himself gladly to a much needed sleep, and in another moment she was what the world calls dead. That sweet smile with which she at first recognized the angels was still stamped upon her features."
You will notice that in this last instance the dying girl speaks about the room growing dark, and these and many other facts are taught in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception and elsewhere in our literature. So far as we know, nowhere else has such thorough and definite information been given concerning the passage of the Spirit from the land of the living to the land of the living dead.
The author comments on the materialistic attitude of relatives and friends when brought face to face with the presence of death, and she frequently felt keenly the hopelessness of convincing them of the reality of what she herself was able to witness. In the above instance the father of the girl was an entire skeptic and had convinced himself that there was no future life. His daughter's last words, the smile that lit up her face as she recognized the girl friends who had come to take her Spirit away, he regarded as evidence of a disordered imagination. It was not, however, always so. In the case of a patient who was dying of pneumonia, his wife was seated by his bedside and he called her to draw her attention to their little boy who had died at the age of five or six years and who was waiting for him. "Look, how he smiles and holds out his hands to me," he exclaimed, "cannot you see him?" Though she could not see him like her husband she remarked afterwards, "I am very glad that he saw B. before he died. I shall now be able to think of them as always together and happy, and when I receive my own summons I know they will both come for me."
Eventually our hospital nurse gave up her hospital work and took up private nursing. On one occasion she accompanied a friend to the house of a lady who had been an invalid for many years and needed a nurse. It was her friend, however, who was engaged as the nurse. "When I met her my heart went out to her at once," says the author, "for in a moment there were revealed to me the depth and tenderness of her saintly soul. How I know not. I cannot explain it. This woman, I said to myself, is the friend I have long been seeking and the great hope came to me that I might win her friendship."
The aspiration was not realized in this world, however, but was destined to receive satisfaction in one of those strange friendships in which one of the two friends is on this side of the veil and one on the other. "In the course of time," she writes, "quite a while after her death, she became more intimately my friend than any friend I had who belonged to this life. When she appeared to me it was not to vanish almost immediately but to stay with me and converse with me as plainly and naturally as could any human being. When she was with me I could see her as plainly as I could see any of the everyday objects of life, and she disclosed to me an individuality just as pronounced as that of any person possessed of strong characteristics who still dwelt on this earth."
By means of this lady whom she came to look upon as her guardian angel, she was taken in trance to visit many scenes and people in the other world, and in particular describes her visits to what she terms the heavenly garden and her friend's rest chamber there where she came to rest and meditate. We may regard these descriptions as symbolic, but experience is none the less experience, and sensation none the less sensation, though we thus describe it. Symbolism is in fact in many cases the means by which certain emotions are interpreted by our consciousness which would be unable to realize them in any other form.
"My guardian angel," our author writes, "led me through one of the entrances and I found myself in a spacious chamber filled with subdued light and in which the various shades of color were blended in such perfect harmony that it impressed one as some beautiful and soothing music made visible. The walls were hung with cloud-like draperies in which greens, pinks, crimsons, and golds were blended so artistically that there was nowhere a jarring note of color, but the draperies were unlike any of earth's fabrics. They were distinctly visible to me, but they offered no resistance to my touch. It was like thrusting my hand into a cloud. In the chamber there were several couches that displayed the same soothing, harmonious coloring. Many plants and beautiful flowers were bestowed about the place. 'This,' said my guardian angel, 'is my rest chamber where I come to rest and meditate, and you shall come here and rest with me often.'"
This region, the Summerland of the Spiritualists, with its houses and flowers, its garden of rest, has also been described in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception and other books. Thus all along the line there is perfect agreement between this particular author and the present writer as to facts and observations regarding death and the invisible worlds.
Then we are told that she was taken thence by her friend to visit the toiling millions in some city of the earth to whose sufferings the dwellers in the heavenly garden went to minister. Here she visited a factory and observed that she and her companions passed through walls and partitions as they went from one department to another of the huge building, neither brick walls nor steel beams offering the slightest resistance to their bodies. "I often used to wonder," she remarked, "how Spirits entered houses and rooms in which no doors were opened, and how they left them when all exists were closed." Now she appeared to understand what to us on earth are solid walls appear, when approached close by one in the Spirit body, as though composed of something like fog, and to the passage of the Spirit body through them, they present just as little impediment as does fog to the passage of the physical body. Many things, she observes, that are insoluble mysteries to the human understanding, appear just as little mysteries to the Spirit faculties as seem to us here the common things and experiences of everyday life. To find one's progress here stopped by a brick wall occasions no surprise, and similarly it occasions no surprise to one in the Spirit body to find that the brick wall presents no impediment. We come here to a problem of the fourth dimension which puzzles many in this world and on which this curious record, which in part reads like a fantasy of fairyland, throws some strange light. This also has been covered in a number of places throughout the Rosicrucian literature.
Another incident of a somewhat similar character in the light it helps to throw on this strange mystery of interpenetrating planes is given towards the close of this narrative. In one of her visits to celestial regions our author makes the acquaintance of a man she terms "the mentor." The mentor gave her a bouquet of flowers which she desired to take with her to earth. "When I returned in my Spirit body to my home," she says, "I placed them in a vase, but when next morning in my physical body I went to look at them I discovered that though I could see them as plainly as when the mentor had handed them to me, and could still smell their exquisite fragrance, they were not palpable to my touch. My hands passed through them as they would through a ray of light, and still they remained unbroken with not a single petal deranged. Save myself, no member of my household could see them or smell them. The angels," she adds, and here is a very curious point, "who visit me in my house can handle them as we do earthly flowers, but the latter, of which I always have some in my house, they cannot handle. They see them just as I see them but they offer no resistance to their touch." She asks in bewilderment, "Which is the world of solid reality, and which of intangible appearances, our world or the Spirit world?"
These points have also been covered in the Rosicrucian literature, and we would refer our readers to the story called "Facing the Firing Squad" which appeared in the November, 1917, number of "Rays from the Rose Cross," and gives a description of the last hours of a spy, how he meets death and after the transition visits a sister. During the journey to his sister's home thousands of miles from the place where he met his death, it puzzled him that the air seemed to be peopled with Spirit forms floating through the air just like himself and the Rosicrucian who accompanied him. At first he tried to avoid them but found it impossible. He braced himself for a collision, when to his surprise he found that these people floated right through him and his companion just as if they had no existence whatever. This filled him for the moment with consternation and bewilderment, until the Rosicrucian, observing his dilemma, laughed reassuringly and bade him not to mind. That was the custom in the land of the living dead, for there all forms are so plastic that they easily interpenetrate one another at times, and there is no danger whatever of losing one's identity.
Arrived at the home of his sister they found her seated in a comfortable living room and the spy impulsively rushed over to her and embraced her, only to find to his dismay that she was absolutely unaware of his presence and that his hands instead of grasping her form went right through it. Again he turned to the Rosicrucian and asked what he should do to make himself felt, for this impalpability of a so-called solid body again non-plussed him. Then directions were given and the method used by the living dead to attract attention of those in the physical world described.
Thus there are a thousand and one points of agreement between a number of people who are capable of functioning both in the visible and the invisible worlds. Moreover, this war is greatly increasing the number of those who can perform this feat and eventually we shall all be able to do so, from the least to the greatest. It will be as normal a faculty as sight or hearing. Thus gradually we are becoming more and more acquainted with the invisible worlds and the points of agreement are already far in excess of the points of divergence. Hence there should be no difficulty in accepting the stories from the unseen on that account.
Question: Animals both wild and domestic suffer many things, and we are taught that the Group Spirits suffer more intensely. Why is this? Do Group Spirits, like us, suffer from their own misdeeds?
Answer: It seems very difficult to conceive that such glorious beings as the Archangels — who are Group Spirits and Race Spirits — can do wrong, at least in the sense that we with our limited understanding attach to that word. Christ is the highest Initiate among the Archangels, and as we know that "He suffered in all things as we, being tempted, yet without sin," there is evidently a higher law. What that is we shall sense when we consider the relation of the Group Spirits to the animals of their species in the light of the law of analogy, which is the master-key to all mysteries.
The following illustration from The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception will probably make the difference clear between man with his indwelling Spirit and the animal with its Group Spirit:
Let us imagine a room divided by means of a curtain representing the Desire World, and the other the Physical. There are two men in the room, one in each division; they cannot see each other nor can they get into the same division. There are, however, ten holes in the curtain, and the man who is in the division representing the Desire World can put his ten fingers through these holes in the other division, representing the Physical World. He now furnishes an excellent example of the Group Spirit which is in the Desire World. The fingers represent the animals which belong to one species. He is able to move them as he wills, but he cannot use them as freely, nor as intelligently as the man who is walking about in the physical division uses his body.
The latter sees the fingers that are thrust through the curtain. He observes that they all move, but he cannot see the connection between them. To him it appears as if they were all separate and distinct from one another. He cannot see that they are the fingers of the man behind the veil, and are governed in their movements by his intelligence. If he hurts one of the fingers he does not hurt them as much as the man on the other side of the curtain. If an animal is hurt it suffers, but not to the extent that the Group Spirit does, because it has no individualized consciousness.
The dense body in which we function is composed of numerous cells, each having separate cell-consciousness, though of a very low order. While these cells form part of our body they are subject to and dominated by our consciousness. An animal Group Spirit functions in a spiritual body which consists of a varying number of Virgin Spirits imbued for the time being with the consciousness of the Group Spirit. The latter directs them, watching over them and helping them to evolve. As its wards progress the Group Spirit also evolves, undergoing a series of metamorphoses, in a manner similar to that in which we grow and gain experience by taking into our bodies the cells of the food we eat, thereby also raising their consciousness by enduing them with ours for a time.
This Group Spirit dominates the action of the animals in its charge until the Virgin Spirits shall have gained self-consciousness and become human. Then they will gradually manifest wills of their own, gaining more and more freedom from the Group Spirit and becoming responsible for their own actions. The Group Spirit will continue to influence them, although in a decreasing degree, as Race, Tribe, Community, and Family Spirits until each individual has become capable of acting in full harmony with Cosmic Law. Then each Ego will be free and independent of interference, and the Group Spirits will enter a higher phase of evolution.
In the light of the foregoing elucidation of the relationship between the Group Spirit and the animals, it is evident that the sufferings experienced through its proxies have the same purpose as the sufferings we experience on account of our direct mistakes, namely, to teach it to avoid whenever possible undesirable conditions which are productive of pain. The man without a gun sees lots of animals when he walks about the fields; they flock to Mt. Ecclesia and other places where the Group Spirit tells them they are safe. The man with the gun truly has to hunt, for the Group Spirit warns its charges of his approach. Besides, the Group Spirit clothes its species in fur or feathers colored to resemble the ground, the trees, or leaves, so as to render them as inconspicuous as possible to those who would hunt them and thereby cause them pain. Thus, because of the desire to avoid pain to itself it exercises its ingenuity to guard its charges. We are not prepared, however, to aver that the desire to escape pain is the prime motive of the Group Spirit in guarding its charges, but the two are linked together as the cause and effect.
But what about the animals slaughtered for food, and the poor creatures tortured in the vivisection hells? How about the poor horses starved and beaten by inhuman drivers? What is the Group Spirit doing to protect them and save itself the pain incident to their condition? It can educate the wild animals of the field to save themselves by various methods, but domestic animals must present a problem of considerable difficulty to the Group Spirit. It has the power to withhold the seed atom necessary to fertilization to preserve the purity of its tribe, and does so in the case of hybrids. However, the prime purpose of existence is experience, so it is forced to admit the Spirits under its guardianship to birth through their legitimate channels even though they are thereby exposed to atrocious treatment at the hands of man. Man must and will help the animals at some future time to atone for his present wrong-doing, and he will have to help the present minerals when they have become animals. The Law of Consequence is just and can be depended upon to balance the scales. In the meantime, the Group Spirits are learning sympathy and compassion. The Race Spirits are learning the same thing through human suffering caused by industrial and national warfare. Eventually the day will come when the lion will lie down with the lamb, eating grass with the ox, when the child may play unharmed with the serpent, when men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, when there will be "peace on earth and good will among men." True, that will require great changes, mental, moral, and physical, but "though the mills of the Gods grind slowly, they grind exceeding small." Divine power has wrought cosmos from chaos; we have therefore reason to trust in its benevolent purpose and believe in its omnipotence to overcome all obstacles in the way of realizing what now appears utopian.
Question: The Cosmo says that the Desire World is fluid, and composed of everchanging light and color. Is it not correct to picture the darkest colors at the lowest regions gradually blending into the lighter colors and in the Region of Soul Power finding pure white light?
Answer: Yes, in one sense you are right. Color depends upon vibration, the rapidity of the rate and wave length. For instance, in the colors of the spectrum red has a much longer wave length and a slower rate of vibration than violet, which is at the other end of the solar spectrum, but the colors in the Desire World are not at all the same colors that we see here. Here color is caused by the reflection of the Sun's rays in the atmosphere. There light is a property of matter. One might almost say that from the viewpoint of that world desire stuff is light and light is desire stuff. That is not quite correct, but almost so.
Furthermore, the colors which we would call dark there are brighter than the brightest sunlight here. That is why we do not see them. Our eyes cannot respond to that rate of vibration. You should not consider the Desire World being above and higher than the Physical World in the sense of space being involved. The desire matter is here. It interpenetrates every physical atom. Even the ether is pervaded by it, and the dark, to the spiritual sight almost black, chemical ether, seems almost inseparable from the lowest grade of desire stuff. They are so dense that they seem nearly gaseous, and it has often been a wonder to the writer that people cannot see them and the beings moving therein.
Question: Are Group Spirits enemies on the spiritual plane as their charges such as wolves and sheep are on this plane?
Answer: No, there is no enmity connected with the whole matter, either in the visible or invisible world. The wolf does not hate the sheep it eats any more than the ox hates the grass. It is simply a question of obtaining the food wherewith to sustain life, and the work of the Group Spirits with their charges is furthered in no small measure by the resulting game of hide and seek, played by the beasts of prey and their quarries.
The main object of existence is the evolution of consciousness, and the ingenuity displayed by one class of animals in capturing another, the patient concentration of the cat watching the mouse hole, and the many varied schemes used by other animals to catch the unwary, are easily counterbalanced by the vigilance displayed by the animals preyed upon in their wild state, when they are totally dependent upon the group Spirits to save them from their pursuers. If there were not this struggle for existence the evolution of consciousness would be much more long-drawn than it is and therefore the predatory habits of the carnivorous animals serve a good purpose in nature as well as all other seeming anomalies.
Question: Is there any foundation for the belief in mermaids? If so, what is their origin? What purpose do they serve?
Answer: Undines, mermaids, and mermen are not figments of the fancy. They are real. We are so fond of looking upon this world as a great big perpetual motion machine, and we try to explain everything on one scientific theory or another. People will say that the sun heats up the ocean, that the water evaporates, rises into colder strata, and there condenses into clouds, which are moved over the lands by wind, and when condensed sufficiently, the seawater falls as rain. Then it runs back to the sea as rivers, and that is all there is to it.
Yes, but how could all this happen without somebody being at the head of it and somebody working at it. We know very well a building is made of bricks. one brick is laid on top of another, and it is built to whatever height is desired. But the bricks do not get up there themselves. They have to be carried, and it is the same in the economy of nature. The workmen, the nature spirits, are found everywhere. They have their work and evolution just as we have and everything in nature is an orderly process. These undines, mermaids, and mermen are concerned with the condensation of the water and with the work of keeping the things in the water in order, building up plants and such like things, just the same as the gnomes build the flowers on land. We say that a plant grows, but just as bricks have to be put together in a house, so the atoms have to be put together in plants.
In the case of human beings, those who are in the Second heaven are preparing to build new bodies, and they learn to build better bodies by working on us to build these bodies. Later they come back to earth with added experience and that helps them to build a better body next time. Similarly, the little nature spirits we call gnomes help to build the plants and flowers, and the sylphs are the agents in carrying up the water that has been broken up by the undines, into the skies where it condenses into clouds. Then the sylphs are the cause of the winds and move the clouds about and bring about the storms and the rain. Thus one department in nature works with the others. The salamanders are the fire spirits and perhaps the least known, but they also have their work to do in breaking up earth conditions, etc. You remember Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream." That is an actual fact. It is this way: at the winter solstice when everything is dead, when the earth is asleep under its winter blanket, the new impulse to life, the Christ Life, is poured into the earth and begins to work out towards the periphery, bringing life to seeds in the ground and giving them the vitality the need to sprout. It also infuses vitality in all beings that live upon the earth. This Christ Life takes birth at the winter solstice when the Sun is at its lowest point of declination. Thus in the winter we have more spirituality, for that divine life impulse comes to us anew every year and the Savior is thus born to save His people from the cold and famine that would result if the Sun were always in that southern part of declination.
The impulse is spiritual for there is no physical activity going on in nature at that time. On the other hand, in summer all is activity in the world. The summer solstice is the apex of the physical impulse, and it is at that time that the nature spirits have their festival. They do enjoy themselves, and glory and feel thankful that they have brought forth and that they have helped to work this miracle of fecundation and expression of all physical things that have come to birth. At that time the fructification begins, the fruit begins to ripen, and then we go down towards the harvest, which is at the fall equinox. So these nature spirits have a great work to do. It is not only true that they are, but they play a very, very important part in the world's work.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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