|Simplified Scientific Christianity|
"By the fact of death, it has been possible for the Angels to teach humanity between death and a new birth how to build a gradually improving body. Had man learned in that far past how to renew his vital (etheric) body, as he was taught to generate a dense vehicle at his own pleasure, then death would indeed have been an impossibility and man would have become as immortal as the gods. But he would then have immortalized his imperfections and made progress an impossibility. It is the renewal of this vital body which is expressed in the Bible as "eating of the Tree of Life."
At death, there is a cleavage of the vital body and the higher parts enter the invisible worlds. Its seed atom is retained by the Ego when passing through the heaven worlds to be used as a nucleus for the vital body of a future embodiment.
This life on Earth lasts until the course of events foreshadowed in the wheel of life, the horoscope, has been run; and when the Spirit again reaches the realm of Samael, the Angel of Death, the mystic eighth house, the silver cord is loosed, and the Spirit returns to God who gave it, until the dawn of another life-day in the School of Earth beckons it to a new birth that it may acquire more skill in the arts and crafts of temple-building.
By the fact of death it has been possible for the Angels to teach humanity between death and a new birth how to build a gradually improving body. Had man learned in that far past how to renew his vital body, as he was taught to generate a dense vehicle at his own pleasure, then death would indeed have been an impossibility and man would have become as immortal as the gods. But he would then have immortalized his imperfections and made progress an impossibility. It is the renewal of this vital body which is expressed in the Bible as "eating of the Tree of Life." At the time of his enlightenment concerning generation man was a spiritual being whose eyes were not yet blinded by the material world, and he might have learned the secret of vitalizing his body at will, thus frustrating evolution. Thus we see that death, when it comes naturally, is not a curse but our greatest and best friend, for it frees us from an instrument from which we can learn no more; it takes us out of an environment which we have outgrown, that we may learn to build a better body in an environment of wider scope in which we can make more progress toward the goal of perfection.
During life the collapse of the vital body at night terminates our view of the world about us, and causes us to lose ourselves in the unconsciousness of sleep. When the vital body collapses just subsequent to death, and the panorama of life is terminated, we also lose consciousness for a time which varies according to the individual. A darkness seems to fall upon the Spirit. Then after a while it wakes up and begins dimly to perceive the light of the other world, but is only gradually accustomed to the altered conditions. It is an experience similar to that which we have when coming out of a darkened room into sunlight, which blinds us by its brilliancy, until the pupils of our eyes have contracted so that they admit a quantity of light bearable to our organism.
When the man passes out a death, he takes with him the mind, desire body and vital body, the latter being the storehouse of the pictures of his past life. And during the three and one-half days following death these pictures are etched into the desire body to form the basis of the man's life in Purgatory and the First Heaven where evil is expurgated and the good assimilated. The experience of the life itself is forgotten, as we have forgotten the process of learning to write, but have retained the faculty. So the cumulative extract of all his experiences in Purgatory and the various heavens, are retained by the man and form his stock in trade in the next birth. The pains he has sustained speak to him as the voice of conscience, the good he has done gives him a more and more altruistic character.
No matter how long we may keep the Spirit from passing out, however, at last there will come a time then no stimulant can hold it and the last breath is drawn. Then the silver cord, of which the Bible speaks, and which holds the higher and the lower vehicles together, snaps the heart and causes that organ to stop. That rupture releases the vital body, and that, with the desire body and mind, floats above the visible body for from one to three and one-half days while the Spirit is engaged in reviewing the past life, an exceedingly important part of its post-mortem experience. Upon what review depends its whole existence from death to a new birth.
All ancient people, whether in the East or in the West, know much about birth and death which has been forgotten in modern times, because second sight was more prevalent then. To this day, for instance, many peasants in Norway assert ability to see the Spirit passing out of the body at death, as a long narrow white cloud, which is, of course, the vital body; and the Rosicrucian Teaching — that the deceased hover around their earthly abode for some time after death, that they assume a luminous body and are sorely afflicted by the grief of dear ones — was common knowledge among the ancient Norsemen. When the deceased King Helfe of Denmark materialized to assuage the grief of his widow, and she exclaimed in anguish, "The dew of death has bathed his warrior body," he answered:
'Tis thou, Sigruna
Art cause alone,
That Helge is bathed
With dew of sorrow
Thou wilt not cease they grief,
Nor dry the bitter tears.
Each bloody tear
Falls on my breast,
Icy cold. They will not let me rest.
When she (the author of The Ministry Of Angels) 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 become 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.
When a Spirit is passing out of the body, it takes with it the desire body, the mind, and the vital body, and the vital body is at that time the storehouse for the pictures of the past life. These are then etched into the desire body during the three and one-half days immediately following death. Then the desire body becomes the arbiter of man's destiny in Purgatory and the First Heaven. The pains caused by expurgation of evil and the joy caused by the contemplation of the good in life are carried over to the next life as conscience to deter man from perpetuating the mistakes of past lives and to entice him to do that which caused him joy in the former life more abundantly.
At the moment of death when the seed atom in the heart is ruptured which contains all the experience of the past life in a panoramic picture, the Spirit leaves its physical body, taking with it the finer bodies. It then hovers over the dense body which is now dead, as we call it, for a time varying from a number of hours to three and one-half days. The determining factor as to the time is the strength of the vital body, the vehicle which constitutes the soul body spoken of in the Bible. There is then a pictorial reproduction of the life, a panorama in reverse order from death to birth, and the pictures are etched upon the desire body through the medium of reflecting ether in this vital body. During this time the consciousness of the Spirit is concentrated in the vital body, or at least it should be, and it has therefore no feeling about this matter. The picture that is impressed upon the vehicle of feeling and emotion, the desire body, is the basis of subsequent suffering in the life in Purgatory for evil deeds, and of enjoyment in the First Heaven on account of the good done in the past life.
These were the main facts which the writer was able personally to observe about death at the time when the Teachings were first given to him and when he was introduced by the help of the Teacher to the panoramic reproductions of life when persons were going through the gate of death, but the investigations of later years have revealed the additional fact that there is another process going on during these important days following death.
A cleavage takes place in the vital body similar to that made by the process of initiation. So much of this vehicle as can be termed "soul," coalesces with the higher vehicles and is the basis of consciousness in the invisible worlds after death. The lower part, which is discarded, returns to the physical body and hovers over the grave in the great majority of the cases, as stated in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. This cleavage of the vital body is not the same in all persons but depends upon the nature of the life lived and the character of the person that is passing out. In extreme cases this division varies very much from normal. This important point was brought out in many cases of supposed Spirit obsession which have been investigated from Headquarters; in fact it was these cases which developed the far-reaching and astounding discoveries brought out by our most recent researches into the nature of the obsession from which the people who appealed to us were suffering. As might be expected, of course, the division in these cases showed a preponderance of evil, and efforts were then made to find out if there was not also another class of people where a different division with a preponderance of good takes place. It is a pleasure to record that this was found to be the case, and after weighing the facts discovered, balancing one with another, the following seems to be a correct description of the conditions and their reasons:
The vital body aims to build the physical, whereas our desires and emotions tear down. It is the struggle between the vital body and the desire body which produces consciousness in the Physical World, and which hardens the tissues so that the soft body of the child gradually becomes tough and shrunken in old age, followed by death. The morality or immorality of our desires and emotions acts in a similar manner on the vital body. Where devotion to high ideals is the mainspring of action, where the devotional nature has been allowed for years to express itself freely and frequently, and particularly where this has been accompanied by the scientific exercises given in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, the quantity of the chemical and life ethers gradually diminishes as the animal appetites vanish, and an increased amount of the light and reflecting ethers takes their place. As a consequence, physical health is not as robust among people who follow the higher path as among people whose indulgence of the lower nature attracts the chemical and life ethers, in proportion to the extend and nature of their vice, to the partial or total exclusion of the two higher ethers.
Several very important consequences connected with death follow this fact. As it is the chemical ether which cements the molecules of the body in their places and keeps them there during life, when only a minimum of material is present, disintegration of the physical vehicle after death must be very rapid.
At death a separation takes place; the seed atom is withdrawn from the apex of the heart along the saturnine pneumogastric nerve, through the ventricles and out the skull (Golgotha); all the atoms of the vital body are liberated from the cross of the dense body by the same spiral motion, which unscrews each prismatic atom of ether from its physical envelope.
This process is attended with more or less violence according to the cause of death. An aged person whose vitality has been slowly ebbing may fall asleep and wake up on the other side of the veil without the slightest consciousness of how the change took place; a devout and religious person who has been prepared by prayer and meditation on the beyond would also be able to make an easy egress; people who freeze to death meet with what the writer believes to be the easiest of accidental deaths, drowning being next.
But when a person is young and healthy, especially if of an irreligious or atheistic turn of mind, the prismatic ether atom is so tightly entwined by the physical atom that a considerable wrench is required to separate the vital body. When the separation of the physical body from the higher vehicles has been accomplished and the person is dead, as we say, the light and reflecting ethers are separated from the prismatic atom. It is this stuff, as described in the Cosmo-Conception, which is molded into pictures of the past life and etched into the desire body, which then begins to feel whatever there was of pain or pleasure in the life. The part of the vital body composed of the prismatic chemical and life ethers then returns to the physical body, hovering above the grave and disintegrating synchronously with it.
The higher vehicles — vital body, desire body and mind — are seen to leave the dense body with a spiral movement, taking with them the soul of one dense atom. Not the atom itself, but the forces that played through it. The results of the experiences passed through in the dense body during the life just ended have been impressed upon this particular atom. While all other atoms of the dense body have been renewed from time to time, this permanent atom has remained. It has remained stable, not only through one life, but it has been a part of every dense body ever used by a particular Ego. It is withdrawn at death only to re-awaken at the dawn of another physical life, to serve again as the nucleus around which is built the new dense body to be used by the same Ego. It is therefore called the seed atom. During life the seed atom is situated in the left ventricle of the heart, near the apex. At death it rises to the brain by way of the pneumogastric nerve, leaving the dense body, together with the higher vehicles, by way of the sutures between the parietal and occipital bones.
When the higher vehicles have left the dense body they are still connected with it by a slender, glistening, silvery cord shaped much like two figure sixes reversed, one upright and one horizontally placed, the two connected at the extremities of the hooks.
One end is fastened to the heart by means of the seed atom, and it is the rupture of the seed atom which causes the heart to stop. The cord itself is not snapped until the panorama of the past life, contained in the vital body, has been reviewed.
Care should be taken, however, not to cremate or embalm the body until at least three days after death, for while the vital body is with the higher vehicles, and they are still connected with the dense body by means of the silver cord, any post-mortem examination or other injury to the dense body will be felt, in a measure, by the man. Cremation should be particularly avoided in the first three days after death, because it tends to disintegrate the vital body, which should be kept intact until the panorama of the past life has been etched into the desire body.
The silver cord snaps at the point where the sixes unite, half remaining with the dense body and the other half with the higher vehicles. From the time the cord snaps the dense body is quite dead.
In the beginning of 1906 Dr. McDougall made a series of experiments in the Massachusetts General Hospital, to determine, if possible, whether anything not ordinarily visible left the body at death. For this purpose he constructed a pair of scales capable of registering differences of one-tenth of an ounce.
The dying person and his bed were placed on one of the platforms of the scale, which was then balanced by weights placed on the opposite platform. In every instance it was noted that at the precise moment when the dying person drew the last breath, the platform containing the weights dropped with a startling suddenness, lifting the bed and the body, thus showing that something invisible, but having weight, had left the body. Thereupon the newspapers all over the country announced in glaring headlines that Dr. McDougall had "weighed the soul."
Esotericism hails with joy the discoveries of modern science, as they invariably corroborate what esoteric science has long taught. The experiments of Dr. McDougall showed conclusively that something invisible to ordinary sight left the body at death, as trained clairvoyants had seen, and as had been stated in lectures and literature for many years previous to Dr. McDougall's discovery.
But this invisible "something" is not the soul. There is a great difference. The reporters jump at conclusions when they state that the scientist have "weighed the soul." The soul belongs to higher realms and can never be weighed on physical scales, even though they registered variations of one-millionth part of a grain instead of one-tenth of an ounce. It was the vital body which the scientists weighted. It is formed of the four ethers and they belong to the Physical World.
As we have seen, a certain amount of this ether is "superimposed" upon the ether which envelopes the particles of the human body and is confined there during physical life, adding in a slight degree to the weight of the dense body of plant, animal, and man. In death it escapes; hence the diminution in weight noticed by Dr. McDougall when the persons with whom he experimented expired.
This feature of life after death is similar to that which takes place when one is drowning or falling from a height. In such cases the vital body also leaves the dense body and the man sees his life in a flash, because he loses consciousness at once. Of course the silver cord is not broken, or there could be no resuscitation.
When the endurance of the vital body has reached its limit, it collapses in the way described when we were considering the phenomenon of sleep. During physical life, when the Ego controls its vehicles, this collapse terminates the waking hours; after death the collapse of the vital body terminates the panorama and forces man to withdraw into the Desire World. The silver cord breaks at the point where the sixes unite, and the same division is made as during sleep, but with this important difference, that though the vital body returns to the dense body, it no longer interpenetrates it, but simply hovers over it. It remains floating over the grave, decaying synchronously with the dense vehicle. Hence, to the trained clairvoyant, a graveyard is a nauseating sight and if only more people could see it as he does, little argument would be necessary to induce them to change from the present unsanitary method of disposing of the dead to the more rational method of cremation, which restores the elements to other primordial condition without the objectionable features incident to the process of slow decay.
In leaving the vital body the process is much the same as when the dense body is discarded. The life forces of one atom are taken, to be used as a nucleus for the vital body of a future embodiment. Thus, upon his entrance into the Desire World, the man has the seed atoms of the dense and the vital bodies, in addition to the desire body and the mind.
When a man dies, he at once seems to swell out in his vital body; he appears to himself to grow into immense proportions. This feeling is due to the fact, not that the body really grows, but that the perceptive faculties receive so many impressions from various sources, all seeming to be close at hand.
When the man dies and loses his dense and vital bodies there is the same condition as when one falls asleep. The desire body, as has been explained, has no organs ready to use. It is now transformed from an ovoid to a figure resembling the dense body which has been abandoned. We can easily understand that there must be an interval of unconsciousness resembling sleep and then the man awakes in the Desire World. It not infrequently happens, however, that such people are, for a long time, unaware of what has happened to them. They do not realize that they have died. They know that they are able to move and think. It is sometimes even a very hard matter to get them to believe that they are really "dead." They realize that something is different, but they are not able to understand what it is.
When the moment arrives which marks the completion of life in the Physical World, the usefulness of the dense body has ended, and the Ego withdraws from it by way of the head, taking with it the mind and the desire body, as it does every night during sleep, but now the vital body is useless, so that too is withdrawn, and when the "silver cord" which united the higher to the lower vehicles snaps, it can never be repaired.
We remember that the vital body is composed of ether, superimposed upon the dense bodies of plant, animal, and man during life. Ether is physical matter, and therefore has weight. The only reason why the scientists cannot weight it is because they are unable to gather a quantity and put it upon a scale. But when it leaves the dense body at death a diminution in weight will take place in every instance, showing that something having weight, yet invisible, leaves the dense body at that time.
The "silver cord" which units the higher and lower vehicles terminates at the seed-atom in the heart. When material life comes to an end in the natural manner the forces in the seed-atom disengage themselves, pass outward along the pneumogastric nerve, the back of the head and along the silver cord, together with the higher vehicles. It is this rupture in the heart which marks physical death, but the connecting silver cord is not broken at once, in some cases not for several days.
In lecture No. 3 we say that the vital body is the storehouse of both the conscious and subconscious memory; upon the vital body is branded indelibly every act and experience of the past life, as the scenery upon an exposed photographic plate. When the Ego has withdrawn it from the dense body, the whole life, as registered by the subconscious memory, is laid open to the eye of mind. It is the partial loosening of the vital body which causes a drowning person to see his whole past life, but then it is only like a flash, preceding unconscious; the silver cord remains intact, or there could be no resuscitation. In the case of a Spirit passing out at death, the movement is slower; the man stands as a spectator while the pictures succeed one another in the order from death to birth, so that he sees first the happenings just prior to death, the years of manhood or womanhood unroll themselves; youth, childhood, and infancy follow, until it terminates at birth. The man, however, has no feeling about them at that time. The object is merely to etch the panorama into the desire body, which is the seat of feeling, and from that impress the feeling will be realized when the Ego enters the Desire World, but we may note here that the intensity of feeling realized depends upon the length of time consumed in the process of etching, and the attention given thereto by the man. If he was undisturbed for a long period by noise and hysteria, a deep, clear-cut impress will be made upon the desire body. He will feel the wrong he did more keenly in Purgatory and be more abundantly strengthened in his good qualities in Heaven, and though the experience will be lost in a future life, the feelings will remain, as the "still, small voice." Where the feelings have been strongly indented upon the desire body of an Ego, this voice will speak in no vague and uncertain terms. It will impel him beyond gainsaying, forcing him to desist from that which caused pain in the life before, and compel him to yield to that which is good. Therefore the panorama passes backward, so that the Ego sees first the effects, and then the underlying causes.
As to what determines the length of the panorama, we remember that it was the collapse of the vital body which forced the higher vehicles to withdraw, so after death, when the vital body collapses, the Ego has to withdraw, and thus the panorama comes to an end. The duration of the panorama depends, therefore, upon the time the person could remain awake if necessary. Some people can remain awake only a few hours, others can endure for a few days, depending on the strength of their vital body.
When the Ego has left the vital body, the latter gravitates back to the dense body, remaining hovering above the grave, decaying as the dense body does, and it is indeed a noisome sight to the clairvoyant to pass through a cemetery and behold all those vital bodies whose state of decay clearly indicates the state of decomposition of the remains in the grave. If there were more clairvoyants, incineration would soon be adopted as a measure of protection to our feelings, if not for sanitary reasons.
Our latest investigations indicate that where a man spiritualizes his vehicles, the constitution of the vital body, made of ether, is most materially changed. In the ordinary man there is always a preponderance of the two lower ethers — the chemical and life ethers — which have to do with the upbuilding and propagation of the physical body, and a minimum of light and reflecting ethers, which are concerned with sense perception and the higher spiritual qualities. After death the body of the ordinary man is laid in the grave and the vital body hovers about two feet above the mound, gradually disintegrating. The dense body disintegrates simultaneously. However, when we say it decays, we really mean that it becomes much more alive than it was while man inhabited it, for each little molecule is now taken charge of by a separate, individual life. It begins to associate with its neighbors; the unity of an individual life is superseded by a community of many lives.
Therefore we speak of such decaying corpses as alive with worms. The denser and the more gross this vehicle is, the longer time it will require for disintegration, because the vital body hovering above has a tenacious magnetic hold that keeps the dense molecules in check. The two higher ethers vibrate at a much more rapid rate than the lower, and where a man by spiritual thoughts has massed around him a great volume of this ether, which then composes his vital body, the vibrations of the dense body also become more intense. Consequently, when the man leaves his body at death there is little or nothing of the vital body left behind to keep the components of the physical body in check. The disintegration is therefore very rapid. This we cannot easily prove because very few people are sufficiently spiritual to make the difference noticeable, but you will recall that in the Bible it is said of certain characters that they were translated. Also, the body of Moses was so vibrant that it shone, and this body was not found, etc.
These were cases where the body was rapidly returned to the elements, and when the Christ's body was laid in the grave its disintegration took place almost instantaneously.
However, so long as the archetype of the physical body persists, it endeavors to draw to itself physical materials which it then shapes according to the form of the vital body. Thus it is difficult for the Invisible Helper who passes out of his body to refrain from materializing. The moment his will to keep away from himself all physical impediments is relaxed, materials from the surrounding atmosphere attach themselves to him as iron filings are drawn to a magnet, and he becomes visible and tangible to whatever extent he desires. Thus he is enabled to do actual physical work wherever it is necessary, no matter if he be thousands of miles away from his body. Therefore the Spirits who pass away from this earth life are unable to materialize save through a medium where they extract her living vital body, drape themselves therewith and thus attract the physical substances necessary to make themselves visible to the sitters.
During life and in the waking state of consciousness, the vehicles of the Ego are all together and concentric, but at death the Ego, clothed in the mind and desire body, withdraws from the dense body, and as the vital functions are at an end, the vital body also is taken out of the dense body, leaving it inanimate upon the bed. One little atom in the heart is taken out and the rest of the body disintegrates in due course. But at that time there is an extremely important process going on, and those who attend the passing Spirit in the death chamber should be very careful that the utmost quiet reigns there and in the whole house, for the pictures of the whole past life which have been stored in the vital body are passing before the eye of the Spirit in a slow and orderly progression, in reverse order, from death back to birth. This panorama of the past life lasts from a few hours to three and one-half days. The time is dependent upon the strength of the vital body which determines how long a man could keep awake under the most severe stress. Some persons can work for fifty, sixty, and seventy hours before they fall down exhausted, while others are capable of keeping awake only a few hours. The reason why it is important that there should be quiet in the house of death during the three and one half days immediately following death is this: During that time the panorama of the past life is being etched upon the desire body which will be the man's vehicle while he stays in Purgatory and the First Heaven, where he is reaping the good or ill that he has sown, according to the deeds done in the body.
Now, where the life has been full of events and the man's vital body is strong, a longer time will be given to this etching than under conditions where the vital body is weak, but during all that time the dense body is connected with the higher vehicles by the silver cord and any hurt to the dense body is felt in a measure by the spirit, so that embalming, post-mortem examinations and cremation are all felt. Therefore, these should be avoided during the first three and one-half days after the time of death, for when the panorama has been fully etched into the desire body, then the silver cord is broken, the vital body gravitates back to the dense body and there is no more connection with the Spirit, which is then free to go on with its higher life.
When the body is buried, the vital body disintegrates slowly at the same time as the dense body, so that when, for instance, an arm has decayed in the grave, the etheric arm of the vital body which hovers over the grave also disappears, and so on until the last vestige of the body is gone. But where cremation is performed the vital body disintegrates at once, and as that is the storehouse of the pictures of past life, which being etched upon the desire body to form the basis of life in Purgatory and the First Heaven, this would be a great calamity where cremation is performed before the three and one-half days are past. Unless help were given, the passing Spirit could not hold it together. And that is part of the work that is done by the Invisible Helpers for humanity. Sometimes they are assisted by nature spirits and others detailed by the Creative Hierarchies or leaders of humanity. There is also a loss where one is cremated before the silver cord has broken naturally, the imprint upon the desire body is never as deep as it would otherwise have been, and this has an effect upon future lives, for the deeper the imprint of the past life upon the desire body, the keener the sufferings in Purgatory for the ill committed and the keener also the pleasure in the First Heaven which results from the good deeds of the past life. It is these pains and pleasures of our past lives that create what we call conscience, so that where we have lost in suffering we lose also the realization of wrong which is to deter us in future lives from committing the same mistakes over and over again. Therefore, the effects of the premature cremation are very far reaching.
A phenomenon similar to the panorama of life usually takes place when a person is drowning. People who have been resuscitated speak of having seen their whole life in a flash. That is because under such conditions the vital body also leaves the dense body. Of course there is no rupture of the silver cord, or life could not be restored.
Unconsciousness following quickly in drowning, while in the usual post-mortem review the consciousness continues until the vital body collapses in the same manner that it does when we go to sleep. Then consciousness ceases for a while and the panorama is terminated. Therefore also the time occupied by the panorama varies with different persons, according to whether the vital body was strong and healthy, or had become thin and emaciated by protracted illness. The longer the time spent in review, and the more quiet and peaceful the surroundings, the deeper will be the etching which is made in the desire body. As already said, that has been a most important and far-reaching effect, for then the sufferings which the Spirit will realize in Purgatory on account of bad habits and misdeeds will be much more keen than if there is only a slight impression, and in future life the still small voice of conscience will warn so much more insistently against mistakes which caused sufferings in the past.
Never since the world was has there been such universal sorrow as there is at the present time (1914). But besides this, we must not forget we are now laying up for ourselves a great deal of future suffering; for, as has been explained in the Rosicrucian literature, it is impossible for these people who are now so ruthlessly and suddenly torn away from their bodies to review their past life, and thus the etching of the life panorama does not take place as it should. Therefore these Egos will not reap the fruit of their present existence as they should in Purgatory and the First Heaven. They will come back minus this experience at some future time; and it will be necessary, in order that they may regain what they have lost, to let them die in childhood so that they may have the new desire body and vital body imprinted with the essence of their present life.
We saw that when the Ego has finished its day in the school of life the centrifugal force of Repulsion caused it to throw off its dense vehicle at death, then the vital body, which is the next coarsest. Next in Purgatory the coarsest desire stuff accumulated by the Ego as embodiment for its lowest desires was purged by this centrifugal force. In the higher realms only the force of Attraction holds sway and keeps the good by centripetal action, which tends to draw everything from the periphery to the center.
In the Second Heaven as much of the vital body as the Life Spirit had worked upon, transformed, spiritualized, and thus saved from the decay to which the rest of the vital body is subject, will be amalgamated with the Life Spirit to insure a better vital body and temperament in the succeeding lives.
When we left the Ego in its pilgrimage through the invisible worlds, we had reached the point where it entered the Third Heaven after discarding the dense body at death, the vital body shortly afterwards, the desire body upon leaving Purgatory and the First Heaven, and finally before leaving the Second Heaven it also left the sheath of mind behind, and then entered the Third Heaven absolutely free of encumbrance. All the discarded vehicles decay, only the Spirit persists, laving for a while in the great spiritual reservoir of force which we call the Third Heaven, in order to fortify itself for the next rebirth into Earth-life.
The vital body is composed of four ethers. The two lower ethers are particular avenues of growth and propagation. In the vital body of a person whose chief concern is with the physical life, who lives as it were, entirely for the sensual enjoyment, these two ethers predominate, whereas in a person who is rather indifferent to the material enjoyment of life, but who seeks to advance spiritually, the two higher ethers form the bulk of the vital body. They are then what Paul calls the soma psuchicon, or soul body, which remains with man during his experiences in Purgatory and the First Heaven where the essence of the life lived is extracted. This extract is the soul, whose two chief qualities are conscience and virtue. The feeling of conscience is the fruit of mistakes in past earth lives, which will in future guide the Spirit aright and teach it how to avoid similar missteps. Virtue is the essence of all that was good in former lives, and acts as an encouragement to keep the Spirit ardently striving upon the path of aspiration. In the Third Heaven this amalgamates thoroughly with the Spirit and becomes a part thereof. Thus in the course of his lives man becomes more soulful, and the soul qualities of conscience and virtue become more strongly operative as guiding principles of conduct.
But there are some people who are of such an evil nature that they enjoy life spent in vice and degenerate practices, a brutal life, and who delight in giving pain. Sometimes they even cultivate the esoteric arts for evil purposes so that they may have a greater power over their victims. Then their fiendish, immoral practices result in hardening their vital body.
In such extreme cases where the animal nature has been paramount, where there has been no soul expression in the preceding earth life, the division in the vital body spoken of before cannot take place at death, for there is no dividing line. In such a case, if the vital body should gravitate back to the dense body and there gradually disintegrate, the effect of a very evil life would not be so far-reaching, but unfortunately there is in such cases an interlocking grip of the vital and desire bodies which prevents separation. We have seen that where a man lives mostly in the higher nature, his spiritual vehicles are nourished to the detriment of the lower. Conversely, where his consciousness is centered in the lower vehicles, he strengthens them immeasurably. It should be understood that the life of the desire body is not terminated by the departure of the Spirit; it has a residual life and consciousness. The vital body is also able to sense things in a slight measure for a few days after death in ordinary cases (hence the suffering causes by embalming, post-mortem examinations, etc., immediately after death), but where a low life has hardened and endued it with great strength it has a tenacious hold on life and an ability to feed on odors and liquors. Sometimes, as a parasite, it even vampirizes people with whom it comes in contact.
Such beings are therefore one of the greatest menaces to society imaginable. They have sent countless victims to prison, broken up homes, and caused an unbelievable amount of unhappiness. They always leave their victims when the latter have come into the clutches of the law. They gloat over their victims' sorrow and distress, this being a part of their fiendish scheme. There are other classes which delight in posing as "angels" in spiritualistic séances. They also find victims there and teach them immoral practices. The so-called "Poltergeist" which enjoys breaking dishes, upsetting tables, knocking hats over the heads of the delighted audience, and similar horseplay, is also in this class. The strength and density of the vital body of such beings make it easier for them to give physical manifestations than for those who have passed beyond into the Desire World, in fact, the vital bodies of this class of Spirits are so dense that they are nearly physical, and it has been a mystery to the writer that some of the people who are taken in by such entities cannot see them. Were they once discovered, one look at their evil, sneering faces would very soon dispel the delusion that they are angels.
Wherever a person dies who has fostered malice and hatred in his heart, these interlock the desire and vital bodies and make him a more serious menace to the community than anyone can imagine who has not investigated this subject.
Earthbound Spirits, such as previously mentioned, gravitate to the lower regions of the Desire World which interpenetrate the ether, and are in constant and close touch with those people on earth most favorably situated for aiding them in their evil designs. They usually stay in this earthbound condition for fifty, sixty, or seventy-five years, but extreme cases have been found in which such people so remain for centuries. So far as the writer has been able to discover up to the present time, there seems to be no limit to what they may do or how soon they will let go. But all the while they are piling up for themselves an awful load of sin, nor can they escape suffering therefore, for the vital body reflects and etches deeply into the desire body a record of their misdeeds, and when at last they do let go and enter the purgatorial existence, they meet the retribution which they well deserve. This suffering is naturally lengthy in proportion to the time they have continued their nefarious practices after the death of the dense body — another proof that "Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small."
The red cloud of hate is lifting, the black veil of despair is gone, there are no volcanic outbursts of passion in either the living or the dead, but so far as the writer is able to read the signs of the times in the aura of the nations, there is a settled purpose to play the game to the end. Even in homes bereaved of many members, this seems to hold good. There is an intense longing for the friends beyond, but no hatred for the earthly foe. This longing is shared by the friends in the unseen and many are piercing the veil, for the intensity of their longing is awakening in the "dead" the power to manifest by attracting a quantity of ether and gas which often is taken from the vital body of a "sensitive" friend, as materializing Spirits use the vital body of an entranced medium. Thus the eyes blinded by tears are often opened by a yearning heart so that loved ones now in the spirit world are met again face to face, heart to heart. This is Nature's method of cultivating the sixth sense which will eventually enable all to know that man is an immortal Spirit and continuity of life a fact in nature.
At every death the tears that are shed serve to dissolve the veil that hides, the invisible world from our longing gaze. The deep-felt yearning and the sorrow at the parting of loved and loving ones on both sides of the veil are tearing this apart, and at some not far distant day the accumulated effect of all this will reveal the fact that there is no death, but that those who have passed beyond are as much alive as we. The potency of these tears, this sorrow, this yearning is not equal in all cases, however, and the effects differ widely according to whether the vital body has been awakened in any given person by acts of unselfishness and service according to the esoteric maxim that all development along spiritual lines begins with the vital body. This is the basis, and no superstructure can be built until the foundation has been laid.
When an Ego is on its way to rebirth the seed atom of the vital body gathers new material. The polarity of this material determines its sex during the coming life.
The seed atom of the vital body is next aroused into activity, but here the process of formation is not so simple as in the case of the mind and the desire body, for it must be remembered that those vehicles were comparatively unorganized, while the vital body and the dense body are more organized and very complicated. The material, of a given quantity and quality, is attracted in the same manner and under the operation of the same law as in the case of the higher bodies, but the building of the new body and the placement in the proper environment is done by four great Beings of immeasurable wisdom, which are the Recording Angels, the "Lords of Destiny." They impress the reflecting ether of the vital body in such a way that the pictures of the coming life are reflected in it. It (the vital body) is built by the inhabitants of the heaven world and the elemental spirits in such a manner as to form a particular type of brain. But mark this, the returning Ego itself incorporates therein the quintessence of its former vital bodies and in addition to this also does a little original work. This is done that in the coming life there may be some room for original and individual expression, not predetermined by past action.
The vital body, having been molded by the Lords of Destiny, will give form to the dense body, organ for organ. This matrix or mold is then placed in the womb of the future mother. The seed atom for the dense body is in the triangular head of one of the spermatozoa in the semen of the father. This alone makes fertilization possible and here is the explanation of the fact that so many times sex-unions are unfruitful. The chemical constituents of the seminal fluid and the ova are the same at all times and were these the only requirements, the explanation of the phenomenon of infertility, if sought in the material, visible world alone, would not be found. It becomes plain, however, when we understand that as the molecules of water freeze only along the lines of force in the water and manifest as ice crystals instead of freezing into a homogeneous mass, as would be the case if there can be no dense body built until there is a vital body into which to build the material; also there must be a seed atom for the dense body, to act as gauge of the quality and quantity of the matter which is to be built into that dense body. Although at the present stage of development there is never full harmony in the materials of the body, because that would be a perfect body, yet the discord must not be so great as to be disruptive of the organism.
When the impregnation of the ovum has taken place, the desire body of the mother works upon it for a period of from eighteen to twenty-one days, the Ego remaining outside in its desire body and mind sheath, yet always in close touch with the mother. Upon the expiration of that time the Ego enters the mother's body. The bell-shaped vehicles draw themselves down over the head of the vital body and the bell closes at the bottom. From this time the Ego broods over its coming instrument until the birth of the child and the new earth life of the returning Ego commences.
It is stated in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception that the vital body of a woman is positive and the vital body of a man is negative. When the agents of the Recording Angles are assisting an Ego to come to birth, the matter of sex has already been determined, either by the law of alternation or a modification of that law by specific circumstances in the individual life of the Spirit, and the Ego is then helped to draw to itself as sufficient amount of the different kinds of ether as required by its development. These materials are all of certain polarity, either positive or negative. When a matrix made solely from positive etheric atoms is placed in the womb of the prospective mother, these atoms will unerringly drawn to themselves negative physical atoms, and the resultant child body becomes female in consequence. If, on the other hand, the matrix which is placed in the mother's womb is composed of negative etheric atoms, it will attract the positive dense atoms with the result that the male sex organ is most developed and the sex therefore masculine. Life, like electricity, requires both positive and negative expression, otherwise it cannot manifest.
When the Ego is on its way to rebirth through the Region of Concrete Thought, the Desire World, and the Etheric Region, it gathers a certain amount of material from each. The quality of this material is determined by the seed atom, on the principle that like attracts like. The quantity depends upon the amount of matter required by the archetype built by ourselves in the Second Heaven. From the quantity of prismatic ether atoms that are appropriated by a certain Spirit, the Recording Angels and their agents build an etheric form which is then placed in the mother's womb and gradually clothed with physical matter which then forms the visible body of the new-born child.
The silver cord which has grown from the seed atom of the dense body (located in the heart) since conception, is welded to the part that has sprouted from the central vortex of the desire body, (located in the liver), and when the silver cord is tied by the seed atom of the vital body, (located in the solar plexus), the Spirit dies to life in the supersensible world, and quickens the body it is to use in its coming Earth life.
A child's vital body at birth is unorganized. Up until about the age of seven, when the individual vital body is born, it draws from the microcosmic vital body.
In the period immediately following birth the different vehicles interpenetrate one another, as, in our previous illustration, the sand penetrates the sponge and the water both sand and sponge. But, though they are all present, as in adult life, they are merely present. None of their positive faculties are active. The vital body cannot use the forces which operate along the positive pole of ethers. Assimilation, which works along the positive pole of the chemical ether, is very dainty during childhood and what there is of it is due to the macrocosmic vital body, the ethers of which act as a womb for the child's vital body until the seventh year, gradually ripening it during that period. The propagative faculty, which works along the positive pole of the life ether, is also latent. The heating of the body — which is carried on along the positive pole of the light ether — and the circulation of the blood are due to the macrocosmic vital body, the ethers acting on the child and slowly developing it to the point where it can control these functions itself. The forces working along the negative pole of ethers are so much the more active. The excretion of solids, carried on along the negative pole of the chemical ether (corresponding to the solid subdivision of the Chemical Region), is too unrestrained, as is also the excretion of fluid, which is carried on along the negative pole of the life ether (corresponding to the second or fluid subdivision of the Chemical Region). The passive sense perception, which is due to the negative forces of the light ether, is also exceedingly prominent. The child is very impressionable and it is "all eyes and ears."
Although the vital body of an infant is still comparatively unorganized at the time of birth, the ether which is to be used for its completion is within the aura, ready to be assimilated, and if anyone in its surroundings happens to be weak and anemic, and unconscious vampire, he or she draws from the unassimilated store of ether of the infant much more easily than from that of an adult whose vital body is fully organized. Naturally the weak person draws more easily ether that is negatively polarized, as in the body of a boy baby, than the positive ether of the girl baby. Massage of the spleen and stimulation of the splanchnic nerves, carefully and conservatively practiced will aid the etheric counterpart of that organ in its activity of specializing the solar energy upon which the vital processes are as dependent as the lungs are on air.
We usually think that when a child is born it is born and that is the end of it; but as during the period of gestation the dense body is shielded from the impact of the outside world by being placed within the protecting womb of the mother until it has arrived at sufficient maturity to meet the outside conditions, so are also the vital body, desire body, and mind in a state of gestation and are born at later periods because they have not had as long an evolution behind them as the dense body and, therefore, it takes a longer time for them to arrive at a sufficient state of maturity to become individualized. The vital body is born at the seventh year, when the period of excessive growth marks its advent.
Only a small portion of the ether appropriated by a certain Ego is thus used, and the remainder of the child's vital body, or rather the material from which that vehicle will eventually be made, is thus outside the dense body. For that reason the vital body of a child protrudes much farther beyond the periphery of the dense body than does that of the adult. During the period of growth this store of ether atoms is drawn upon to vitalize the accretions within the body until, at the time when the adult age is reached, the vital body protrudes only from one to one and a half inches beyond the periphery of the dense body.
From the first to the seventh year the vital body grows and slowly matures within the womb of the macrocosmic vital body and because of the greater wisdom of this vehicle of the macrocosm, the child's body is more rounded and well-built than in later life.
While the macrocosmic vital body guides the growth of the child's body it is guarded from the dangers which later threaten it when the unwise individual vital body takes unchecked charge. This happens in the seventh year, when the period of excessive, dangerous growth begins, and continues through the next seven years. During this time the macrocosmic desire body performs the function of a womb for the individual desire body.
Were the vital body to have continual and unrestrained sway in the human kingdom, as it has in the plant, man would grow to an enormous size. There was a time in the far distant past when man was constituted like a plant, having only a dense body and a vital body. The traditions of mythology and folk lore all over the world, concerning giants in olden times are absolutely true, because then men grew as tall as trees, and for the same reason.
The vital body of the plant builds leaf after leaf, carrying the stem higher and higher. Were it not for the macrocosmic desire body it would keep in that way indefinitely, but the macrocosmic desire body stops in at a certain point and checks further growth. The force that is not needed for further growth is then available for other purposes and is used to build the flower and the seed. In like manner the human vital body, when the dense body comes under its sway, after the seventh year, makes the latter grow very rapidly, but about the fourteenth year the individual desire body is born from the womb of the macrocosmic desire body and is then free to work on its dense body. The excessive growth is then checked and the force theretofore used for that purpose becomes available for propagation, that the human plant may flower and bring forth. Therefore the birth of the personal desire body marks the period of puberty. From the period that attraction toward the opposite sex is felt, being especially active and unrestrained in the third septenary period of life — from the fourteenth to the twenty-first year, because the restraining mind is still unborn.
It will be remembered that assimilation and growth depend upon the forces working along the positive pole of the vital body's chemical ether. This is set free at the seventh year, together with the balance of the vital body. Only the chemical ether is fully ripe at that time; the other parts need more ripening. At the fourteenth year the life ether of the vital body, which has to do with propagation, is fully ripe. In the period from seven to fourteen years of age the excessive assimilation has stored up an amount of force which goes to the sex organs and is ready at the time the desire body is set free.
By the seventh year the vital body of the child has reached a perfection sufficient to allow it to receive impacts from the outside world. It sheds its protective covering of ether, and commences its free life. And now the time begins in which the educator may work on the vital body and help it is in the formation of memory, conscience, good habits, and a harmonious temperament. Authority and Discipleship are the watchwords of this epoch, when the child is to learn the meaning of things. In the first epoch it learns that things are, but must not be bothered about their meaning, except what it picks up of its own accord, but in the second epoch from seven to fourteen years, it is essential that the child should learn the meaning of them, but should learn to take things on the authority of parents and teachers, memorizing their explanations, rather than reasoning for itself, for reason belongs to a later development, and though he may do so of his own accord, with profit, it is harmful at this period to force him to think.
It must not be imagined, however, that when the little body of a child has been born, the process of birth is completed. The dense physical body has had the longest evolution, and as a shoemaker who has worked at his trade for a number of years is more expert than an apprentice and can make better shoes, and quicker, so also the Spirit which has built many physical bodies produces them quickly, but the vital body is a later acquisition of the human being. Therefore we are not so expert in building that vehicle. Consequently it takes longer to construct that from the materials not used up in making the lining of the archetype, and the vital body is not born until the seventh year.
When the vital body is born at the age of seven a period of growth begins and a new motto, or relation rather, is established between parent and child. This may be expressed in the two words Authority and Discipleship. In this period the child is taught certain lessons which it takes upon faith in the authority of its teachers, whether at home or at school, and as memory is a faculty of the vital body it can now memorize what is learned. It is therefore eminently teachable; particularly because it is unbiased by preconceived opinions which prevent most of us from accepting new views. At the end of this second period, from about twelve to fourteen, the vital body has been so far developed that puberty is reached.
Children who die before the seventh year have been born only so far as the dense and vital bodies are concerned and are not responsible to the Law of Consequence. Even up to twelve or fourteen years the desire body is in process of gestation, as will be more fully explained in the next lecture, and as that which has not been quickened cannot die, the dense and vital bodies alone go to decay when a child dies. It retains its desire body and mind to the next birth. Therefore it does not go around the whole path which the Ego usually traverses in a life cycle, but only ascends to the First Heaven to learn needed lessons, and after a wait of from one to twenty years it is reborn, often in the same family as a younger child.
Animals and plants have a vital body, too. Although this vehicle is lacking in the mineral, the disintegration of hard rock, etc., affects the vital body of the Earth.
When we consider plant, animal, and man in relation to the Etheric Region we note that each has a separate vital body in addition to being penetrated by the planetary ether which forms the Etheric Region. There is a difference, however, between the vital bodies of the plants and the vital bodies of animal and man. In the vital body of the plant only the chemical and the life ethers are fully active. Hence the plant can grow by the action of the chemical ether and propagate its species through the activity of the life ether of the separate vital body which it possesses. The light ether is present, but is partially latent or dormant and the reflecting ether is lacking. Therefore it is evident that the faculties of sense-perception and memory, which are the qualities of these ethers, cannot be expressed by the plant kingdom.
Turning our attention to the vital body of the animal we find that in it the chemical, life, and light ethers are dynamically active. Hence the animal has the faculties of assimilation and growth, caused by activities of the chemical ether and the faculty of propagation by means of the life ether — these being the same as in plants. But in addition, consequent upon the action of the third or light ether, it has the faculties of generating internal heat and of sense-perception. The fourth ether, however, is inactive in the animal, hence it has no thought nor memory. That which appears as such will be shown later to be of a different nature.
The separate Ego is definitely segregated within the Universal Spirit in the Region of Abstract Thought. It shows that only man possesses the complete chain of vehicles correlating him to all divisions of the three worlds. The animal lacks one link of the chain — the mind; the plant lacks two links — the mind and the desire body; and the mineral lacks three links in the chain of vehicles necessary to function in a self-conscious manner in the Physical World — the mind, the desire, and the vital bodies.
When an animal is to be born, the Group Spirit, helped by nature spirits and Angels, fashion the vital body of the coming animal, which is then deposited in the womb of the mother and the seed atoms are deposited in the semen of the male; then gestation takes place and an animal is born. Without the presence of the seed atom and the matrix vital body no dense animal body can be formed. Similar conditions govern fecundation in the case of an egg, or a plant seed. They are like the female ova — they are so many opportunities. If an egg is put into an incubator or under a hen, the Group Spirit sends forth the requisite life, accepting the opportunity for embodiment. If a seed is dropped in the soil, that also is fertilized when the proper conditions have been made for its development, but not before. When an egg is crushed, cooked, or in other ways disqualified for its primal designation, or where a seed is stored for years perhaps, there is no life, and consequently we do no wrong when we use these products for food. It is even beneficial to plants when the ripe fruits are removed, because then they cease to take sap from the tree unnecessarily.
The animal has no "individual" Spirit yet, but has a so-called Group Spirit, which informs all the members of a species. The separate animals have three bodies — a dense, a vital, and a desire body — but lack one link in the chain: mind. Hence animals do not ordinarily think, but as we "induce" electricity in a wire by bringing it close to another which is charged, so in a similar way by contact with man a semblance of thought has been "induced" in the higher domestic animals, such as the dog, horse, and elephant. The other animals obey the prompting (which we call instinct) of the animal Group Spirit. They do not see objects in such clear outlines as does man; in the lower species the animal consciousness resolves itself more and more into an internal "picture-consciousness," resembling man's dream state, except that their pictures are not confused, but convey perfectly to the animal the promptings of the Group Spirit.
The animal Spirit has in its descent reached only the Desire World. It has not yet evolved to the point where it can "enter" a dense body. Therefore the animal has no individualized indwelling Spirit, but a Group Spirit, which directs it from without. The animal has the dense body, the vital body, and the desire body, but the Group Spirit which directs it is outside. The vital body and the desire body of an animal are not entirely within the dense body, especially where the head is concerned. For instance, the etheric head of a horse projects far beyond and above the dense physical head. When, as in rare cases it happens, the etheric head of a horse draws into the head of the dense body, that horse can learn to read, count, and work examples in elementary arithmetic. To this peculiarity is also due the fact that horses, dogs, cats, and other domestic animals sense the Desire World, though not always realizing the difference between it and the Physical World. A horse will shy at the sight of a figure invisible to the driver; a cat will go through the motions of rubbing itself against invisible legs. The cats sees the ghost, however, without realizing that it has no dense legs available for frictional purposes. The dog, wiser than cat or horse, will often sense that there is something he does not understand about the appearance of a dead master whose hands it cannot lick. It will howl mournfully and slink into a corner with its tails between its legs.
Dr. McDougall also tried his scales in weighing dying animals. No diminution was found here, though one of the animals was a large St. Bernard dog. That was taken to indicate that animals have no souls. A little later, however, Professor La V. Twining, head of the Science Department of the Los Angeles Polytechnic School, experimented with mice and kittens, which he enclosed in hermetically sealed glass flasks. His scales were the most sensitive procurable and were enclosed in a glass case from which all moisture had been removed. It was found that all the animals observed lost weight at death. A good sized mouse, weighing 12.886 grams, suddenly lost 3.1 milligrams at death.
A kitten used in another experiment lost one hundred milligrams while dying and at its last gasp it suddenly lost an additional sixty milligrams. After that it lost weight slowly, due to evaporation.
Thus the teaching of esoteric science in regard to the possession of vital bodies by animals was also vindicated when sufficiently fine scales were used, and the case where the rather insensitive scales did not show diminution in the weight of the St. Bernard dog shows that the vital bodies of animals are proportionately lighter than in man.
The Angels are particularly active in the vital bodies of the plants, for the stream of life ensouling that kingdom started its evolution in the Moon Period, when the Angels were human, and they worked with the plants as we are now working with our minerals. There is therefore a particular affinity between Angels and plant Group Spirit. Thus we can account for the enormous assimilation, growth, and fecundity of the plants. Man also grew to an enormous size in the second or Hyperborean Epoch, where the Angeles had principal charge. So does the child in its second septenary epoch of life, because then the Angels have full sway, and at the end of that epoch, at fourteen, the child has reached puberty and is able to reproduce its kind; also due to the work of the Angels.
They were the molds which drew to themselves the dense material forming the plant-bodies of the present day and also of the plant-forms of the past, which are embedded in the geological strata of our Earth globe.
These ethereal plant forms were aided in their formation when the heat came from the outside, after the separation of the Earth from the Sun and Moon. That heat gave them the vital force to draw to themselves the denser substance.
The vital body is the most important principle of the plant, it is that which makes the plant grow stem and long in alternating succession, so that the plant grows taller and taller; but there is no variety, the plant goes on repeating all the time. Stem, leaf, and branch — ever the same.
The plants have only a dense body and a vital body; hence they can neither feel nor think. They lack desire body and mind, and therefore a greater gap exists between the plant and its Group Spirit than between the animal and its Group Spirit; hence the consciousness of the plants is correspondingly dimmer, resembling our state of dreamless sleep.
The mineral has only a dense body. It lacks three links to connect it with its Group Spirit. It therefore is inert and its unconscious resembles that of the dense human body in the "trance" state when the human spirit, the Ego, has passed correspondingly beyond it.
In conclusion, let us note that the three worlds in which we live are not separated by space. They are all about us, as light and color, embedded in the physical matter; as lines of cleavage in the mineral. If we let a dish of water freeze, and examine it under a microscope, we shall see the ice crystals divided off from one another by lines. These were present though unseen in the water as lines of force, invisible until the proper condition brought them out. So one world lies embedded in the next above, unseen to us until we provide the proper conditions; but when we have fitted ourselves, Nature, who is ever ready to unfold to us her wonders, expresses ardent joy over everyone who as a helper in evolution thus attains to citizenship in the invisible realms.
As we saw in Lecture No. 3, the plants have a dense and a vital body, which enables them to do this work; their consciousness we also saw, was as a deep, dreamless sleep. Thus it is easy for the Ego to overpower the vegetable cells and keep then in subjection for a long time, hence the great sustaining power of the vegetables.
To function in any world, and express the qualities peculiar to it, we must first possess a vehicle made of its material. In order to function in the dense Physical World, it is necessary to have a dense body, adapted to our environment. Otherwise we should be ghosts, as they are commonly called, and be invisible to most physical beings. So we must have a vital body before we can express life, grow, or externalize the other qualities peculiar to the Etheric Region.
When we examine the four kingdoms in relation to the Etheric Region, we find that the mineral does not possess a separate vital body, and at once we see the reason why it cannot grow, propagate, or show sentient life.
As an hypothesis necessary to account for other known facts, material science holds that in the densest solid, as in the rarest and most attenuated gas, no two atoms touch each other; that there is an envelope of ether around each atom; that the atoms in the universe float in an ocean of ether.
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.
The vital body of the plant is composed only of the two densest ethers — the Chemical Ether and the Life Ether — which enable the plant to grow and propagate, but it lacks the two higher ethers — the Light Ether and Reflecting Ether. Hence it has no sensation or memory of what passes around it. Therefore, amputation of a limb will not be felt by the plant, and in the case of the cliff which is blasted, only the Chemical Ether is present, so that the crystals will have no feelings at all. Still, it would be wrong to infer that there is no feeling in either of these cases, for though the plants and the minerals have no individual means of feeling, they are enveloped and interpenetrated by the ethers and the Desire World of the planet, and the Planetary Spirit feels everything, on the same principle that our finger, having no individual desire body, cannot feel, but we, the indwelling Spirits inhabiting the body, feel any hurt done to the finger.
In order to progress spiritually, man must further develop his vital body.
We are now getting ready for the fast approaching Aquarian Age with its great intellectual and spiritual development. This requires an awakening of the dormant vital body, whose keyword is repetition.
The Ego has several instruments: a dense body, a vital body, a desire body, and a mind. These are its tools and upon their quality and condition depends how much or how little it can accomplish in its work of gathering experience in each life. If the instruments are poor and dull there will be but little spiritual growth and the life will be a barren one, so far as the Spirit is concerned. The higher life (initiation) does not commence, however, until the work on the vital body begins. The means used for bringing that into activity is Love, or rather Altruism. The former word has been so abused that it no longer conveys the meaning here required.
The second help which humanity now has is the Religion of the Son — the Christian religion, the object of which is union with Christ by purification and control of the vital body.
While the invisible vehicles, especially the vital body, are asleep, man may pursue a materialistic career; but once this vehicle has been awakened and has tasted the bread of life, it is like the physical body, subject to hunger — soul hunger — and its cravings will not be denied save after an exceedingly hard struggle. It has been stated here that humanity, the largest part of them at least, are working today upon their desire bodies, and trying to curb their desires by means of law. Where esoteric development is to take place, however, where a man is to become a pioneer, it is the vital body that is to be worked upon, and the vital body is particular and peculiarly acted upon by repetition.
It is necessary to work upon and educate the vital body in such a manner that it may be used in soul-flights. This vehicle, as we know, is composed of the four ethers. It is by means of this body that we manipulate the densest of all our vehicles, the physical body, which we usually think of as the whole man. The chemical and life ethers form a matrix for our physical bodies. Each molecule of the physical body is embedded in a meshwork of ether which permeates and infuses it with life.
Through these ethers the bodily functions, such as respiration, etc., are carried on, and the density and consistency of these matrices of ether determine the state of health. But the part of the vital body formed of the two higher ethers, the light ether and the reflecting ether, is what we may term the soul body; that is to say, it is more closely linked with the desire body and the mind and also more amenable to the Spirit's touch than are the two lower ethers. It is the vehicle of intellect, and responsible for all that makes man, man. Our observations, our aspirations, our character, etc., are due to the work of the Spirit in these two higher ethers, which become more or less luminous according to the nature of our character and habits. Also, as the dense body assimilates particles of food and thus gains in flesh, so the two higher ethers assimilate our good deeds during life and thus grow in volume as well.
According to our doings in this present life we thus increase or decrease that which we brought with us at birth. If we are born with a good character, expressed in these two higher ethers, it will not be easy for us to change this because the vital body has become very, very set during the myriads of years through which we have evolved it. On the other hand, if we have been lazy and negligent and indulgent in the habits which we call evil, if we have formed a bad character in past lives, then it is difficult to overcome because of this set nature of the vital body, and it will require years of constant effort to change its structure. This is the reason the Mystic Christian Teaching says that all mystic development begins with the vital body.
Each time we give ourselves in service to others we add to the luster of our soul bodies which are built of ether. It is the Christ ether that now floats this sphere of ours, and let us remember that if we ever want to work for His liberation, we must in sufficient numbers evolve our own soul bodies to the point where they may float the earth. Thus we may take up His burden and save Him the pain of physical existence.
Apart from the fact that the Eastern School of Esotericism bases its teachings on Hinduism, while the Western Wisdom School espouses Christianity, the religion of the West, there is one great fundamental, irreconcilable discrepancy between the teachings of the modern representatives of the East and those of the Rosicrucians. According to the version of Eastern Esotericism the vital body — which is called linga sharira — is comparatively unimportant, for it is incapable of development as a vehicle of consciousness. It serves only as an avenue for the solar force, "prana," and as a link between the physical body and the desire body, which is called kama rupa, also the "astral body." This, they say, is the vehicle of the Invisible Helper.
The Western Wisdom School teaches as its fundamental maxim that all esoteric development begins with the vital body, and the writer, as its public representative, has therefore been busy since the inception of our movement trying to gather and disseminate knowledge concerning the four ethers and the vital body. Much information was given in the Cosmo-Conception and succeeding books, but the monthly lessons and letters give the results of our researches up to date. We are constantly parading this vital body (vital in a double sense) before the minds of the students so that by knowing and thinking about it as well as by reading and heeding the "nice little sermons" which we use to wrap this information in, they may consciously, and unconsciously, weave the Golden Wedding Garment. We would advise all to study these lessons carefully year after year; there may be much dross, but there is gold among them.
We have here the account of how the stigmata or punctures were produced in the Hero of the Gospels, though the location is not quite correctly described, and the process is represented in a narrative form differing widely from the manner in which these things really happen. But we stand here before one of the mysteries which must remain sealed for the profane, though the underlying mystical facts are as plain as daylight to those who know. The physical body is not by any means the real man. Tangible, solid, and pulsating with life as we find it, it is really the most dead part of the human being, crystallized into a matrix of finer vehicles which are invisible to our ordinary physical sight. If we place a basin of water in a freezing temperature, the water soon congeals into ice, and when we examine the ice, we find that it is made up of innumerable little crystals having various geometrical forms and lines of demarcation. There are etheric lines of forces which were present in the water before it congealed.
As the water was hardened and molded along these lines, so our physical bodies have congealed and solidified along the etheric lines of force of our invisible vital body, which is thus in the ordinary course of life inextricably bound to the physical body, waking or sleeping, until death brings dissolution of the tie. But as initiation involves the liberation of the real man from the body of sin and death that he may soar into the subtler spheres at will and return to the body at his pleasure, it is obvious that before that can be accomplished, before the object of initiation can be attained, the interlocking grip of the physical body and the etheric vehicle which is so strong and rigid in ordinary humanity, must be dissolved. As they are most closely bound together in the palms of the hands, the arches of the feet, and the head, esoteric schools concentrate their efforts upon severing the connection at these three points, and produce the stigmata invisibly.
Exoteric Masonry, which is only the husks of the Mystic Order formed by the Sons of Cain, has in modern times attracted the masculine element with its positively polarized physical vehicles, and educated them in industry and statecraft, thus controlling the material development of the world. The sons of Seth, constituting themselves the Priestcraft, have worked their spell over the positive vital bodies, of the feminine element to dominate spiritual development. And whereas, the sons of Cain, working through Freemasonry and kindred movements, have openly fought for the temporal power, the priestcraft has fought as strenuously and perhaps more effectively by stealth to retain their hold upon spiritual development of the feminine element.
As mankind advances in evolution, the vital body becomes more permanently positively polarized, giving to both sexes a greater desire for spirituality, and though we change from the masculine to feminine in alternate embodiments, positive polarity of the vital body is becoming more pronounced regardless of sex. This accounts for the growing tendency towards Altruism which is even being brought out by the suffering entailed by the great war we are now fighting (1918), for all agree that the nations are seeking to obtain a lasting peace where the swords may be made into plowshares, and the spears into pruning hooks.
We know that our dense body gravitates towards the center of the Earth, therefore a change must take place; also Paul tells us that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. But he also points out that we have a soma psuchicon (mistranslated natural body), a soul body, and this is made of ether, which is lighter than air and therefore capable of levitation. This is the Golden Wedding Garment, the Philosopher's Stone, or the Living Stone, spoken of in some of the ancient philosophies as the Diamond Soul, for it is luminous, lustrous, and sparkling — a priceless gem. It was also called the astral body by the medieval alchemists, because of the ability it conferred upon the one who had it to transverse the starry regions. But it is not to be confounded with the desire body which some of the modern pseudo-esotericists mistakenly call the astral body. This vehicle, the soul body, will eventually be evolved by humanity as a whole, but during the change from the Fifth Epoch to the ethereal conditions of the New Galilee, there will be pioneers who precede their brethren as the Original Semites did in the change from Atlantis to the Fifth Epoch. Christ mentioned this class in Matthew, 11th chapter, 12th verse, when He said: "The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." That is not a correct translation. It ought to be, "The Kingdom of the Heavens has been invaded" (the Greek is biaxertai) "and invaders seize on her." Men and women already have learned through a holy, helpful life to lay aside the body of flesh and blood, either intermittently or permanently, and to walk the skies with winged feet, intent upon the business of their Lord, clad in the ethereal wedding garment of the new dispensation.
Repetition is the keynote of the vital body and the extract of the vital body is the Intellectual Soul, which is the pabulum of the Life Spirit, the true Christ Principle in man. As it is the particular work of the Western World to evolve this Christ Principle, to form the Christ within that it may shine through the material darkness of the present time, reiteration of ideas is absolutely essential.
A very small impact is made upon the vital body when ideas and ideals filter into it through the auric envelope, but whatever it gets from study, sermons, lectures, or reading is of a more lasting nature, and many impacts in the same direction create impressions which are powerful for good or for ill according to their nature.
From the Angels she could get no information; they work with the dense body, but not directly; they use the vital body as transmitter, and cannot make themselves understood to a reasoning brain-being. They get their knowledge without reasoning, for they send out their whole love in their work and cosmic wisdom flows in in return. Man also creates by love, but his love is selfish; he loves because he desires cooperation in generation; the other half he selfishly keeps to build his own organ of thought, the brain, and he also uses that half selfishly to think, because he desires knowledge. Hence he must work and reason to gain wisdom, but in time he will arrive at a much higher stage than either Angel or Archangel. He will then have passed beyond the need of the lower creative organs; he will create by means of the larynx, and be able to "make the word flesh."
Reason is the product of selfishness. It is generated by the mind given by the "Powers of Darkness," in a brain built by selfishly keeping half the sex-force, and promoted by the selfish Lucifers, hence it is "the seed of the serpent," and although transmuted to wisdom through pain and sorrow, it must give way to something higher: to intuition, which means teaching from within. That is a spiritual faculty, equally present in all Spirits, whether functioning for the time being as man or woman, but it expresses itself most prominently in those incarnated in a female organism, for there the counterpart of the Life Spirit — the vital body — is male, positive. Intuition, the faculty of the Life Spirit, may therefore properly be called "the woman's seed," whence all altruistic tendencies spring, and whereby all nations are being slowly but surely drawn together in a Universal Brotherhood of love, regardless of race, sex, or color.
That which is now the physical body was the first vehicle acquired by man as a thought form; it has undergone an immense period of evolution and organization until it is now the splendid instrument which serves his so well here; but it is hard, set, and difficult to act upon. The next vehicle acquired was the vital body, which has also gone through a long period of development and has condensed to the consistency of ether. The third vehicle, the desire body, has been comparatively lately acquired and is in a state of comparative flux. Lastly, there is the mind, which is only as an unformed cloud, not worthy of the name of vehicle, being as yet but a link between the three vehicles of man and the Spirit.
These three vehicles, the physical, vital, and desire bodies, together with the link of mind, are the tools of the Spirit in its evolution, and, contrary to the common conception, the ability of the Spirit to investigate the higher realms does not depend upon the finest of these bodies as much as upon the denser. The proof of this assertion is close at hand, and indeed, anyone who has every seriously tried has had this proof himself. If not, he may have it forthwith simply by following the directions for changing the condition of his mind. Let us say that person has formed certain habits of thought which he does not like. Perhaps after a religious experience he finds that in spite of all his desires these habits of thought will not leave him. But if he decides to cleanse his mind so that it shall contain nothing but pure and good thoughts, he may do this by simply refusing to admit impure thoughts. He will find that after a week or two his mind is noticeably cleaner than at the commencement of his effort; that it holds by preference the religious thoughts he is seeking to generate in it. Even a most abnormally degenerate mind can be thoroughly cleansed inside of a few months. This is actual knowledge to many who have tried it, and anyone who wishes and is sufficiently persistent may have the same experience and enjoy a clean mind in a very short time.
As much of the vital body as has been worked upon by the Life Spirit, becomes the Intellectual Soul, and it builds the Life Spirit, because that aspect of the threefold Spirit has its counterpart in the vital body.
In ordinary life most people live to eat, they drink, gratify the sex-passion in an unrestrained manner, and lose their tempers on the slightest provocation. Though outwardly these people may be very "respectable," they are, nearly every day of their lives, causing almost utter confusion in their organization. The entire period of sleep is spent by the desire and the vital bodies in repairing the damage done in the day time, leaving no time for outside work of any kind. But as the individual begins to feel the needs of the higher life, control sex force and temper, and cultivate a serene disposition, there is less disturbance caused in the vehicles during waking hours; consequently less time is required to repair damage during sleep. Thus it becomes possible to leave the dense body for long periods during sleeping hours, and function in the inner worlds in the higher vehicles. As the desire body and the mind are not yet organized, they are of no use as separate vehicles of consciousness. Neither can the vital body leave the dense body, as that would cause death, so it is evident that measures must be taken to provide an organized vehicle which is fluidic and so constructed that it will meet the needs of the Ego in the inner worlds as does the dense body in the Physical World.
The vital body is such an organized vehicle, and if some means could be found to loosen it from the dense body without causing death, the problem would be solved. Besides, the vital body is the seat of memory, without which it would be impossible to bring back into our physical consciousness the remembrance of super-physical experiences and thus obtain the full benefit of them.
We remember that the Hierophants of the old Mystery Temples segregated some of the people into castes and tribes such as the Brahmins and the Levites, for the purpose of providing bodies for the use of such Egos as were advanced enough to be ready for initiation. This was done in such a manner that the vital body became separable into two parts, as were the desire bodies of all humanity at the beginning of the Earth Period. When the Hierophant took the pupils out of their bodies he left one part of the vital body, comprising the first and second ethers, to perform the purely animal functions (they are the only ones active during sleep), the pupil taking with him a vehicle capable of perception, because of its connection with the sense-centers of the dense body; and also capable of memory. It possessed these capabilities because it was composed of the third and fourth ethers, which are the mediums of sense-perception and memory.
This is, in fact, that part of the vital body which the aspirant retains from life to life, and immortalizes as the Intellectual Soul. Since Christ came and "took away the sin of the World" (not of the individual), purifying the desire body of our planet, the connection between all human dense and vital bodies has been loosened to such an extent that, by training, they are capable of separation as above described. Therefore initiation is open to all.
The finer part of the desire body, which constitutes the Emotional Soul, is capable of separation in most people (in fact, it possessed that capability even before Christ came) and thus when, by concentration and the use of the proper formula, the finer parts of the vehicles have been segregated for use during sleep, or at any other time, the lower parts of the desire and vital bodies are still felt to carry on the processes of restoration in the dense vehicle, the mere animal part.
That part of the vital body which goes out is highly organized, as we have seen. It is an exact counterpart of the dense body. The desire body and the mind, not being organized, are of use only because they are connected with the highly organized dense body. When separated from it they are but poor instruments, therefore before man can withdraw from the dense body, the sense-centers of the desire body must be awakened.
The aspirant to the higher life cultivates the faculty of becoming absorbed at will in any subject he chooses, or rather not a subject usually, but a very simple object, which he imagines. Thus when the proper condition or point of absorption has been reached where his senses are absolutely still, he concentrate his thought upon the different sense-centers of the desire body and they start to revolve.
We should be very thankful for the material instrument which we have, for that is the most valuable of all our vehicles. While it is perfectly true that our physical body is the lowest of all our vehicles, it is also a fact that this vehicle is the most finished of our instruments, and without that the other vehicles would be of little use to us at this time. For while this splendidly organized instrument enables us to meet the thousand and one conditions here, our higher vehicles are practically unorganized. The vital body is formed organ for organ as our dense physical body, but until it has been trained by esoteric exercises it is not a fit instrument to function in alone. The desire body has only a number of sense centers which are not even active in the great majority of people, and as for the mind, it is an unformed cloud with the great majority. We should aim today to spiritualize the physical instrument, and we should realize that we must train our higher vehicles before they can be of use. For the great mass of people that will take a long, long time. Therefore, it is best to do the duty that is close to our hands. Then we hasten the day when we shall be able to use the higher vehicles, for that day depends upon ourselves.
We have all become so much more impregnated with materialism than we realize, and it hinders us in our quest. As students of transcendental philosophy, we have accustomed ourselves to regard individual and intermittent life in an ethereal body possible for attainment for the few, but that the whole human race may live permanently for a whole epoch in the air! Truly, it made me hold my breath when I realized that the Bible means exactly what it says when it states that we shall meet the Lord in the air and be with Him for the Age.
When Christianity shall have fully spiritualized the vital body a still higher step will be the Religion of the Father, who as the highest Initiate of the Saturn Period will help man to spiritualize the dense body which was started in the Saturn Period. Then even brotherhood will be transcended; there will be neither me nor thee, for all will be consciously One in God, and man will have been emancipated by the help of Angels, Archangels, and higher Powers.
Prayer, rituals, and exercises are of value in spiritualizing the vital body. If, by continual prayer, we obtain forgiveness for the injuries we have inflicted upon others and if we make all the restitution possible, purify our vital bodies by forgiving those who have wronged us, and eliminate all ill feeling, we save ourselves much post-mortem misery, besides preparing the way for Universal Brotherhood, which is particularly dependent upon the victory of the vital body over the desire body. In the form of memory, the desire body impresses upon the vital body the idea of revenge. An even temper amid the various annoyances of daily life indicates such a victory, therefore the aspirant should cultivate control of the temper, as it includes work on both bodies. The Lord's Prayer includes this also, for when we see that we are injuring others, we look about and try to find the cause. Loss of temper is one of the causes and it originates in the desire body.
Most people leave physical life with the same temperament they bring into it, but the aspirant must systematically conquer all attempts of the desire body to assume mastery. That can be done by concentration upon high ideals, which strengthens the vital body and is much more efficacious than the common prayers of the Church. The esoteric scientist uses concentration in preference to prayer, because the former is accomplished by the aid of the mind, which is cold and unfeeling, whereas prayer is usually dictated by emotion. Where it is dictated by a pure unselfish devotion to high ideals prayer is much higher than cold concentration. It can never be cold, but bears upon the pinions of Love the outpourings of the mystic to the Deity.
The next highest, the Life Spirit, prays to its counterpart, the Son, for its counterpart in the lower nature, the vital body: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
The prayer dealing with the needs of the vital body is "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."
The vital body is the seat of memory. In it are stored the subconscious records of all the past events of our life, good or ill, including all injuries inflicted or sustained and benefits received, or bestowed. We remember that the record of the life is taken from those pictures immediately after leaving the dense body at death, and that all the sufferings of post-mortem existence are the results of events these pictures portray.
The vital body being the storehouse of the panorama of our life, our own sins and the wrong we have suffered at the hands of others are there inscribed, hence the fifth prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," enunciated the needs of the vital body, and be it noted that this prayer teaches the doctrine of the remission of sins in the words, forgive us, and the Law of Consequence in the words, as we forgive, making our own attitude to others the measure of our emancipation.
That (The Rosicrucian Prayer) is the kind of a prayer that lifts, that ennobles a man, and the more a man or woman cultivates that attitude of mind, and entertains those lofty aspirations, the more he or she is lifting the two higher ethers out of the vital body. The churches say, "pray, pray, pray," and they are well within the esoteric teaching, for in that way the vital body is being worked upon by the constant repetition of lofty aspirations.
That is the way everything acts that has only a vital body; so when we wish to act upon the vital body we must do it by this method of repetition. We have the four ethers present in our vital body and the two lower ethers take care of the physical functions, as we remember particularly from the lecture on Spiritual Sight and Insight. We saw there that the two higher ethers had to be taken out when we wanted to function in the higher worlds; and this repeated impact is what makes the division between the two lower and the two higher ethers possible. That is where the churches are still factors in spiritual development, because they tell the devotee that he must pray without ceasing. But we are not to pray selfishly, we are to pray unselfishly, and in harmony with the Universal Good. When we pray for rain and our neighbor for dry weather chaos must prevail, if prayers were to be granted. Neither let us imagine that God is to be bargained with, as would seem to be the conception of some who are loudest at prayer meetings. There is a certain spiritual attitude attained which the mystic knows so well when he enters into his closet.
Law is a curb on the desire nature, but where esoteric or rather spiritual advancement is contemplated, the spiritualization of the vital body must also be accomplished. And that is attained by means of art and religion, in often repeated impacts, for the keynote of the vital body is repetition, as we can see by looking at the plants which have only a dense body and a vital body. There stem and leaf follow each other in upward succession; the plants keep growing them alternately. It was the vital body that built the vertebrae of the human spine one after the other by constant repetition. And memory, for instance, which is one of the faculties of the vital body, is strengthened and developed by constant iteration and reiteration.
When the Protestants left the Catholic Church they truly left many of the abuses behind, but they also left almost everything of value. They abandoned the ritual which everyone may know and understand regardless of poor enunciation upon the party of the preacher. Knowing the ritual, the laity could send their thoughts in the same direction as the thought of the priest who was reading, and thus an enormous volume of identical spiritual thought was massed together and projected upon the community for good or evil.
Those who go to a Catholic church understanding the ritual are still today able to unite their thoughts in spiritual conclave and keep within memory that which has been gone through. Thus they are every time adding a little to the spiritualization of their vital bodies, while the Protestant church members have been affected only in their emotional natures, and that effect is soon thrown out. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, and many have scoffed saying that if God is omniscient He knows whereof we have need without our prayer, and if He is not, He can most likely not be omnipotent, and therefore our prayers are not granted, so that it is useless to pray. But that command was indited from a knowledge of the nature of the vital body, which needs that repetition in order that it may be spiritualized.
Before a ritual can have its maximum effect, however, those who are to grow thereby must become attuned to it. This involves work on their vital bodies while those vehicles are still in the making.
It is a matter of esoteric knowledge that birth is a fourfold event, and that birth of the physical body is only one step in the process. The vital body also undergoes a development analogous to the intrauterine growth of the dense body. It is born about the seventh year of life. During the next seven years the desire body is ripened and comes to birth at about the fourteenth year, when adolescence is reached, and the mind is born at twenty-one, when the age of manhood and womanhood commences.
These esoteric facts are well known to the Catholic Hierarchy, and while the Protestant ministers work upon the emotional nature, which is ever seeking something new and sensational without realizing the futility of the struggle and the fact that it is this most rampant vehicle that drives people from the churches in search of something more new and more sensational, the esoterically informed Catholic Hierarchy concentrates its effort upon the children. "Give us the child up to its seventh year and it is ours forever," they say, and they are right. During these important seven years they impregnate the plastic vital bodies of their charge with their views by means of repetition. The repeated prayers, the time and tune of the various chants, and the incense, all have a powerful effect on the growing vital body.
Thus all efforts to elevate humanity by work upon the unstable desire body are and must always prove futile. This the esoteric schools of all ages have recognized and they have therefore addressed themselves to the changing of the vital body by working with its keynote, which is repetition. For that purpose, they have written various rituals suited to humanity at the different stages of its development and in that way they have fostered soul growth, slowly but surely, and regardless of whether man was aware that he was being worked upon in that manner or not. The Ancient Atlantean Mystery Temple, which we speak of as the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, had certain rites prescribed in the mount by the Divine Hierarch who was their particular teacher. Certain rites were performed during week days. Other rites were used on the Sabbath, and again other rites at the times of the new moons and on the great solar festivals. Nor was it within the province of any one from the high priest down, to alter this ritual, under pain of penalty of death.
During sleep the currents of the desire body flow, and its vortices move and spin with enormous rapidity. But as soon as it enters the dense body its currents and vortices are almost stopped by the dense matter and the nerve currents of the vital body which carry messages to and from the brain. It is the object of this exercise to still the dense body to the same degree of inertia and insensibility as in sleep, although the Spirit within is perfectly awake, alert and conscious. Thus we make a condition where the sense centers of the desire body can begin to revolve while inside the dense body.
The latter (concentration and retrospection) will prove barren of result, unless accompanied by constant acts of love, for love will be the keynote of the coming age as law is of the present order. The intense expression of the former quality increases the phosphorescent luminosity and density of the ethers in our vital bodies, the fiery streams sever the tie to the mortal coil, and the man, once born of water upon his emergence from Atlantis, is now born of the spirit into the kingdom of God. The dynamic force of his love has opened a way to the land of love, and indescribable is the rejoicing among those already there when new invaders arrive, for each new arrival hastens the coming of the Lord and the definite establishment of the Kingdom.
It is a mystic maxim that "all spiritual development begins with the vital body." This is next in density to our dense body. Its keynote is repetition, and it is the vehicle of habits, hence somewhat difficult to change or influence, but once a change has been effected and a habit acquired by repetition, its performance becomes automatic to a certain extent. This characteristic is both good and bad in respect to prayer, for the impression registered in the ethers of this vehicle will impel the aspirant to faithful performance of his devotions at stated times, even though he may have lost interest in the exercise and his prayers are mere forms. If it were not for this habit forming tendency of the vital body, aspirants would wake up to their danger as soon as the real love began to wane, and it would then be easier to retrieve the loss and keep on the Path. Therefore the aspirant should carefully examine himself from time to time to see if he still has wings and power wherewith swiftly and surely to lift himself to his Father in Heaven. The wings are two in number; love and aspiration are their names, and the irresistible power which propels them in intense earnestness. Without these and an intelligent understanding to direct the invocation, prayer is only a babble; properly performed it is the most powerful method of soul growth known.
The atoms in such bodies are vibrating at an exceedingly low rate, and when the course of time one of these people develops to a point where it is possible to further him upon the path of attainment, it is necessary to raise this vibratory pitch of the atom so that the vital body, which is the medium of esoteric growth, may to a certain extent be liberated from the deadening force of the physical atom. This result is attained by means of breathing exercises, which in time accelerate the vibration of the atom, and allow the spiritual growth necessary to the individual to take place.
Years ago, when the writer started on the Path and was imbued with the characteristic impatience common to ardent seekers after knowledge, he read of the breathing exercises published by Swami Vivekananda and commenced to follow directions, with the result that after two days the vital body had been pulled out of the physical. This produced a sensation of walking on air, of being unable to get the feet down on solid ground; the whole body seemed to be vibrating at an enormous pitch. Common sense then came to the rescue. The exercises were stopped, but it was fully two weeks before the normal condition of walking on the ground with a firm step was experienced, and before the abnormal vibrations ceased.
The vital body is like a mirror or, rather, like the film of a moving picture; it pictures alike the world without according to our faculty of observation, and the ideas of the indwelling Spirit from within according to the clarity and training of the mind. Devotion and discrimination, otherwise emotion and intellect, decide our attitude toward these pictures, and their balanced action leads to a well rounded development. When evolved to a certain point they inevitably bring about a process of purification. The man will realize that in order to attain the goal he must lay aside whatever clogs the wheels of progress. A good mechanic aims to have the best tools and keep them in perfect order, for he knows their value in producing good work. Our bodies are tools of the Spirit, and in proportion as they are clogged they hinder its manifestation. Discrimination teaches us what hinders, and devotion to the higher life helps to eliminate undesirable habits or traits of character by superseding mere desire.
In ancient times, certain ceremonies were performed in the Temples to bring about the cleavage of the vital body. In the ancient Mystery Temples the main truths now taught by The Rosicrucian Teachings concerning the vital body were given to the aspirant to initiation. He learned that this vehicle was composed of the four ethers: the chemical ether, which is necessary to assimilation; the life ether, which furthers growth and propagation; the light ether, which is the vehicle of sense perception; and the reflecting ether, which is the receptacle of memory.
The aspirant was thoroughly instructed in the functions of the two lower ethers as compared with the two higher. He knew that all the purely animal functions of the body depended upon the density of the two lower ethers and that the two upper ethers composed the soul body — the vehicle of service in the invisible world. He aspired to cultivate this glorious garment by self-abnegation, curbing the propensities of the lower nature by will power, just as we do today.
But some, who were overzealous to attain, no matter how, forgot that it is only by service and unselfishness that the Golden Wedding Garment, composed of the two higher ethers, is grown. They thought the esoteric maxim, "Gold in the crucible, dross in the fire; light as the winds, higher and higher," meant only that so long as the dross of the lower nature was expelled, it did not matter how it was done. And they reasoned that as the chemical ether is the agent of assimilation, it could be eliminated from the vital body by starving the physical body. They also thought that as the life ether is the avenue of propagation, they could by living celibate lives starve it out. They would then have only the two higher ethers, or at least these would be much larger in volume than the two lower.
To that end they practiced all the austerities they could think of, fasting among others. By this unnatural process the body lost its health and became emaciated. The passional nature, which sought gratification by exercise of the propagative function, was stilled by castigation. It is true that in this horrible manner the lower nature seemed to be subjected; and it is also true that when the bodily functions were thus brought to a very low ebb, visions, or rather hallucinations, were the reward of these people; but true spirituality has never been attained by defiling or destroying "the temple of God," the body, and fasting may be as immoral as gluttony.
There can be no doubt concerning the power of holy water prepared by a strong and magnetic personality. It takes on or absorbs the effluvia from his vital body, and the people who use it become amenable to his rule in a degree commensurate to their sensitiveness. Consequently the Brazen Lavers in the ancient Atlantean Mystery Temples, where the water was magnetized by divine Hierarchs of immeasurable power, were a potent factor in guiding the people in accordance with the wishes of these ruling powers. Thus the priests were in perfect subjection to the mandates and dictates of their unseen spiritual leaders, and through them the people were made to follow blindly. It was required of the priests that they wash their hands and feet before going into the Tabernacle proper. If this command was not obeyed, death would follow immediately on the priest entering the Tabernacle. We may therefore say that as the keyword of the Brazen Altar was "justification," so the central idea of the Brazen Laver was "consecration."
When death came Moses' face shone and Buddha's body became alight. They all reached the stage when the Spirit begins to shine from within — but they died.
The Race Spirit took special care of certain sects of people, for example the Levites among the Jews, who were destined specially for priesthood and they were herded around the temples and were specially bred to be the forerunners and teachers of their brethren. Their system of mating and regulation of the sex life of these special protégées produced a more lax connection between the vital body and the dense body which was necessary in order that initiation might take place and help man to advance. As long as the Race Spirit works with us we are under the law, we are only overcoming the influence of the desire body; therefore, Paul says well, that the law was until Christ — not until Christ came 2,000 years ago, but "until Christ be formed in you." When we release ourselves from the toils of the desire body and live up to the vibrations of the vital body, we become imbued by the Christ Spirit. Then and only then do we rise out of the national, the separating principle. Then do we become capable of being brothers to men.
When Parsifal started to go with Gurnemanz to the Castle of the Grail, he asked Gurnemanz: "Who is the Grail?" "That tell we not, but if thou hast been of him bidden, From thee the truth will not stay hidden. The search but severs from him wider when he himself is not its guider." That means that in the olden times, in the time before Christ came, only a chosen few could follow the path of initiation. Nobody could seek that path — nobody could get beyond the point where the rest of humanity were — save a few chosen ones, such as were the priests and the Levites. These were brought to the temples, and there herded together. They were married to one another in a certain way; certain people were mated with a definite end in view, namely, that they might develop the proper laxity between the vital body and the dense body that is necessary to initiation. A separation has to take place in order that we may lift the two higher ethers out, and leave the other two. That could not be done with the ordinary humanity. They were yet much in bondage to the desire body. They must wait until a later time.
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.
Spiritual development may be positive, as in Adepts, Initiates, and Invisible Helpers; or negative, as in the case of mediumship.
The vital body of every Initiate is always positively polarized, as that makes it better and more receptive instrument for the vibrations which come from the Life Spirit, whose counterpart the vital body is.
It is sometimes asked why Initiates are always men. They are not; in the lower degrees there are many women, but when an Initiate is able to choose his sex he usually takes the positive masculine body, as the life which brought him to initiation has spiritualized his vital body and made it positive under all conditions, so that he has then an instrument of the highest efficiency.
There are women Initiates, and sometimes even Initiates of the Greater Mysteries take upon themselves a feminine body for the sake of a special work which they desire to accomplish. It is true, however, that those who have advanced so far that they have a choice regarding sex usually prefer a male body, and the reason is not far to seek. Woman has a positive vital body but a negative dense body and is, therefore, somewhat at a disadvantage in the world as at present constituted. Striving for the higher ideals and living the higher life, we spiritualize the vital body and transmute it into soul which is always positive — a power usable regardless of sex — and when the Initiate wears a masculine body also, he is thoroughly positive in the Physical World and has a better chance for advancement than when using a feminine vehicle.
Hence one who lives upon a flesh diet must replenish his food supply very often; such material would therefore be unsuitable for the purpose of building a body that has to wait for some time before the Adept enters it. Food consisting of vegetables, fruits, and nuts, particularly when these are ripe and fresh, is interpenetrated by a great deal of the ether which composes the vital body of the plant. These are much easier to subdue and to incorporate into the polity of the body, also they stay much longer there before the individual cell life can assert itself. Therefore the Adept who wishes to build a body ready to wear before he leaves the old one, naturally builds it of fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts, taking them into the body which he uses daily where they become subjected to his will, a part of himself.
Regarding the effect from the esoteric standpoint of this polarization, we may learn much from certain customs in so-called secret societies. As you know, such organizations always place at the door a guard who is instructed to deny admittance to anyone not supplied with the proper password and signs, and that works very well so far as the people are concerned who function only in their physical body. But the so-called secrets of these organizations are not in any sense secrets to those who are able to enter their places of assembly in their vital bodies. It is otherwise in a true esoteric order such as, for instance, the Rosicrucians. No guard is on duty at the door of the Temple when the Mystic Midnight Mass is said each night of the week. The door is wide open to all who have learned to speak the open sesame. But that is not a spoken password; the initiate who desire to attend must know how to attune his soul body to the particular rate of vibration maintained on that night. Furthermore, this vibration differs on the various nights of the week so that those who have learned to attune themselves to the vibration maintained on Saturday night when the first degree meets are as effectually barred from entering the Temple with those who carry on the work Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc., as any ordinary person.
Therefore, "The Path of Preparation" precedes "The Way of Initiation." Persistence, Devotion, Observation, and Discrimination are means of attainment, for by these the vital body is sensitized. By persistence and devotion the chemical and the life ethers become capable of taking care of vital functions in the dense body during sleep. A cleavage takes place between those two ethers and the two higher, the light ether and the reflecting ether. When the latter two have been sufficiently spiritualized by observation and discrimination, a simple formula given by the Teacher enable the disciple to take them out with his higher bodies at will. He is thus equipped with a vehicle of sense perception and memory. Whatever knowledge he possesses in the material world is then available in the spiritual realms, and he brings back to the physical brain, memories of his experience while without the dense body. This is necessary in order to function outside the dense body with full consciousness of both the Physical World and the Desire World, for the desire body is unorganized as yet, and did not the vital body leave its imprint on the desire body at death, we could have no consciousness in the Desire World during post-mortem existence.
There are various grades of spiritual sight. One grade enables a man to see the ordinarily invisible ether with the myriads of beings that invest that realm. Other and higher variants give him the faculty to see the Desire World and even the World of Thought while remaining in the physical body.
But these faculties, though valuable when exercised under full control of the human will, are not sufficient to read the "Memory of Nature' with absolute accuracy. To do this and to make the necessary investigations in order that one may understand how the "Web of Destiny" is made and unmade, it is necessary to be able at will to step from the physical body and function outside in that soul body which we have spoken of as composed of the two higher ethers, this being also invested with the desire body and the mind. Thus the investigator is in full possession of all his faculties, he knows all that he knew in the Physical World, and has the ability to bring back into the physical consciousness the things which he has learned without. When he has this ability he must also learn to balance himself, to understand the things which he sees outside, for mark this: It is not enough to be able to step outside the body into another world and to see things there; we do not by that fact become omniscient any more than we understand what everything is used for and how everything works here in this Physical World because we live here from day to day and year to year. It requires study and application to become thoroughly familiar with the facts of the invisible world as it does with the facts of the world in which we are now living in our physical bodies. Therefore the book, the "Memory of Nature," is not read easily at the first attempt, or at the second either, for just as it takes a child time to learn how to read our ordinary books here, so also, it requires time and effort to decipher this wonderful scroll.
Those who have the true spirituality do not feel saved one day, in the seventh heaven of ecstasy, and the next feel themselves down in the dumps and miserable sinners that can never be forgiven; for their religion is not based upon the emotional nature which feels these things, but is rooted in the vital body which is the vehicle of reason, set and persistent in the path it has once chosen. As new forms are propagated through the second ether of the vital body, so the higher self, the Christ within, is formed through this same vehicle of generation, the vital body, in its higher aspects embodied in the two upper ethers.
But as a child that is born into the world requires nourishment, so also the Christ that is born within is a babe and requires to be nourished to the full stature of manhood. And as the physical body grows by a continual assimilation of material from the Chemical Region, the solids, liquids, and gases, so also, as the Christ grows, will the two higher ethers grow in volume and form a luminous cloud around the man or woman sufficiently discerning to set his or her face heavenward; it will invest the pilgrim with light so brilliant that he walks in the light, as a matter of actual fact. By the exercises given in the Western Mystery School of the Rosicrucians, it becomes possible in time to detach the two higher ethers, and the man may then step away from his physical body, leaving it for a time invested and vitalized only by the two lower ethers; he is then what we call an Invisible Helper.
You will remember that Christ gave not the cup to the multitude but to His disciples who were His messengers and servants of the Cross. At the present time those who drink from the cup of self-abnegation that they may use their force in the service of others, are building that organ (an etheric organ in the throat and head) together with the soul body which is the Wedding Garment. They are learning to use it in a small way as Invisible Helpers when they are out of their bodies at night, for then they are taught to speak the word of power which removes disease and builds in healthy tissue.
There is another class of people in whom the connection between the dense and the vital bodies is more or less loose, so that the ether of their vital bodies vibrates at a higher rate then in the first class mentioned. These people are therefore more or less sensitive to the spiritual world.
This class of sensitive may again be divided. Some are weak characters, dominated by the will of others in a negative manner, as mediums, who are the prey of disembodied Spirits desirous of obtaining a physical body when they have lost their own by death.
The other class of sensitive are strong positive characters, who act only from within, according to their own will. They may develop into trained clairvoyants, and be their own masters instead of slaves of a disembodied Spirit. In some sensitives of both classes it is possible to extract part of the ether which forms the vital body. When a disembodied Spirit obtains a subject of that nature, it develops the sensitive as a materializing medium. The man who is capable of extracting his own vital body by an act of will, becomes a citizen of two worlds, independent and free. Such are usually known as Invisible Helpers.
No Spirit can work in any world without a vehicle made of the material of that world. To function in the Physical World, to fetch and carry, we must have a dense body and a vital body; both are made of various grades of physical matter, solids, liquids, gas, and ether. We may obtain such vehicles in the ordinary way, by going through the womb to birth, or we may extract ether from the body of a medium and temporarily use that to materialize, or we may use the fumes of incense.
This remnant of the hypnotist's vital body is also the storehouse for commands to be carried out at a future time, involving the performance of a certain act, on a certain day, at a certain hour. When the time arrives the impulse is released like the spring of an alarm clock, and the victim must carry out the command, even to murder, yet has no idea that he is influenced by someone else. Therefore, hypnotism is the greatest crime on earth and the greatest danger to society.
It is sometimes contended that hypnotism may be used benevolently for the cure of drunkenness and other vices, and it is readily admitted that, viewed solely from the material standpoint, that appears to be true. But from the viewpoint of esoteric science it is far otherwise. Like all other desires, the craving for liquor is in the desire body, and it is the duty of the Ego to master it by will power. That is why he is in the school of experience called life, and no man can do his moral growing for him, any more than he can digest another's dinner for him. Nature is not to be cheated; each must solve his own problems, overcome his own faults by his own will. If, therefore, a hypnotist overpowers the desire body of a drunkard, the Ego in the drunkard will have to learn its lesson in a future life, if he dies before the hypnotist. But if the hypnotist dies first the man will inevitably turn to drink again, for then the part of the hypnotist's vital body which held the evil desire in check gravitates back to its source, and the cure is nil. The only way permanently to master a vice is by one's own will.
The modus operandi of the invisible manipulator is simply to push the higher vehicles out of the lower bodies of the unresisting medium, step in himself and take control. When he leaves, he also takes part of the medium's vital body to use as a key or lever next time.
When a materializing medium is used by Spirits for the purpose of showing themselves to an audience, they first extract the vital body, or as much thereof as they dare, from the medium, leaving the dense body in the cabinet in a fearful shrunken state. That is dreadful for people unused to such phenomena to see. With this vital body — which, by the way, has been photographed by scientists, as the camera will register rays that are invisible to the eye — they produce the desired phenomena readily, because it is a living thing and attracts matter greedily so long as it has not collapsed in the manner that it does shortly after death. They interpolate physical atoms of the surrounding atmosphere after making a matrix (mold) of the vital body of the medium, and thereby shape a body into any form that suits the Spirit materializing to take upon itself. The vital body of a medium may be used by any number of Spirits during a séance, each one clothing itself in the plastic substance and filling out with atoms from the surrounding atmosphere, even borrowing from the sitters who very often feel much exhausted upon leaving a séance room.
In the case of the materializing medium, we may say that the influence is always injurious. The materializing Spirit entrances the victim and then draws the ether of the vital body out through the spleen, for the difference between the materializing medium and the ordinary person is the fact that the connection between the vital body and the dense body is exceedingly lax, so that it is possible to withdraw this vital body to a very great extent. The vital body is the vehicle whereby the solar currents which give us vitality are specialized. Deprived of the vitalizing principle, the body of the medium at the time of a materialization sometimes shrinks to almost one-half its usual size; the flesh becomes flabby and the spark of life burns very low. When the séance is over and the vital body replaced, the medium is awakened and in normal consciousness. He then experiences a feeling of the most terrible exhaustion and sometimes, unfortunately, resorts to drink to revive the vital forces. In that case, of course, the health will very soon suffer and the medium will become a total wreck. At any rate, mediumship should be avoided, for apart from this danger to the instrument there are other and far more serious considerations in connection with the more subtle bodies, and particularly in connection with the after-death state.
Roughly speaking, we may say that humanity today is divided into two classes — those in whom the connection between the vital body and the dense body is very close, and another class where the connection is more loose. The former class is the ordinary person who is engaged in material pursuits and is altogether out of touch with the spiritual worlds. The latter class is the so-called sensitives, and is again divided into two classes. One class is actuated by the will from within and is positive. From this class comes the trained clairvoyant and the Invisible Helper. The other class is negative and is amenable to the will of others. From this class mediums are recruited.
When the connection between the vital body and the dense body of a man is somewhat lax, he will be sensitive to spiritual vibrations, and if positive he will by his own will develop his spiritual faculties, live a spiritual life, and in time receive the teaching necessary to become a trained clairvoyant and a master of his faculty at any and all times, free to exercise it or not, as he pleases.
If a person has this slight laxity between the vital and dense bodies, and is of a negative temperament, he is liable to become the prey of discarnate Spirits, as a medium. Where the connection between the vital and dense bodies is very lax, so that it may be withdrawn, and the man is positive, he may become an Invisible Helper, capable of taking the two higher ethers away from his dense body at will and using them as a vehicle for sense perception and memory. He can then function consciously in the spiritual world and bring back a recollection of everything he has done there, so that, for instance, when he leaves his body at night he takes up the life in the invisible world in a fully conscious manner, as we do here when we wake up in the morning after sleep and perform our various duties in the visible world. When a person has this lax connection between the vital body and the dense body and is of a negative temperament, the Spirits which are earth-bound and seek to manifest here may withdraw his vital body by way of the spleen and temporarily use the ether of which it is composed to materialize spirit forms, returning the ether to the medium after the seance is over.
It is these elementals who are the originators of many of the spiritualistic phenomena, where more intelligence is displayed than can be accounted for by the action of soul-less shells, particularly at materializations. Though shells may take part, phenomena are always directed by a being with intelligence. The difference between a materializing medium and an ordinary person is that the connection between the dense body and the vital body is more lax in the medium, so that from the latter a part of the vital body can be withdrawn, and also some of the gases and even liquids of the medium's dense body may be used to form the bodies of apparitions. This withdrawal and the process of clothing the shells is generally performed by the elemental who extracts the vital body of the medium out through the spleen. As a rule, the body of the medium shrinks horribly in consequence. When the dense body is thus deprived of its vital principle, it becomes terribly exhausted, and unfortunately the medium often seeks to restore the equilibrium by strong drink, becoming a confirmed drunkard.
God is the Grand Architect of the Universe and the Initiates of the White Schools are also archetektons, builders from the primordial essence in their beneficent work for humanity. These Invisible Helpers require a nucleus from the patient's vital body, which is, as students of The Rosicrucian Teachings know, given to them in the effluvia from the hand, which impregnates the paper when the patient makes application for health and healing. With this nucleus of the patient's vital body they are able to draw upon virgin matter for whatever they need to restore health by building up and strengthening the organism.
The Black Magicians are despoilers, actuated by hatred and malice. They also need a nucleus for their nefarious operations, and this they obtain most easily from the vital body at spiritualistic or hypnotic seances, where the sitters relax, put themselves into a negative frame of mind, drop their jaws, and sink their individualities by other distinctly mediumistic practices. Even people who do not frequent such places are not immune, for there are certain products of the vital body which are ignorantly scattered by all and which may be used effectively by the Black Magicians. Chief in this category are the hair and finger nails. Voodoo magic uses the placenta for similar evil purposes. One particularly evil man, whose practice were exposed a decade ago, obtained from boys the vital fluid which he used for his demoniac acts. Even so innocent a thing as a glass of water placed in close proximity to certain parts of the body of the prospective victim, while the Black Magician converses with him can be made to absorb a part of the victim's vital body. This will give the Black Magician the requisite nucleus, or it may be obtained from a piece of the person's clothing. The same invisible emanation contained in the garment, which guides the bloodhound upon the track of a certain person, will also guide the magician, white or black, to the abode of that person and furnish the magician with a key to the person's system whereby the former may help or hurt according to his inclination.
The vital body of Jesus is very highly developed and was used by the Christ during His three years of ministry.
We know that at death, or at any time when we have to leave this Physical World, we give up our dense body, and our vital body, because they belong to the Physical World. And so Jesus, when he had come to the age of thirty, when he had made his instrument fit for the use of the Great Being, gladly, willingly gave it away. He left it at the Baptism as he would have stepped out at death, that the Christ might step in, and that was seen to descend upon him as a dove.
Christ, as an Archangel, had learned to build down to the desire body, but he vital body and the dense body He had never learned to build. The Archangels had worked on humanity from without before, as Group Spirits do; but that was not enough. The help had to come from within. That was made possible by the combination of Christ and Jesus, and therefore it is true, in the very highest sense, in the most literal sense, when Paul says: "There is but one mediator between God and man — Christ Jesus, the righteous."
It is one of our illusions that the body which we inhabit is alive. As a matter of fact it is nothing of the sort. At least there is such a very small portion of this body which can really be said to be alive that our statement is practically true. The larger portion is absolutely asleep if not entirely dead. That is a fact well-known to science, and something that reason must teach us is so. That is because our spiritual power is so weak that it cannot furnish this vehicle with life to a sufficient extent. In the measure that we fail thus to vitalize the body, it seems like a heavy clod of clay, which we must laboriously drag along with us, until after a few years it crystallizes to such an extent that it is impossible for us any longer to keep up the vibratory motion. Then we are forced to leave the body and it is said to die. A slow process of disintegration takes place to restore the atoms to their original free state.
Contrast now that state of affairs when one of these same earth bodies is taken possession of by a powerful Spirit like that of Christ. You will find an analogy in the case of a man being resuscitated from drowning. There the vital body has been extracted, and the vibratory action of the physical atoms has ceased almost, if not altogether. Then when the vital body is again caused to permeate the physical body it begins to prod every atom into action and vibration.
This attempt to awaken the sleeping atoms causes the intensely disagreeable prickling sensation which persons who have been resuscitated from drowning describe, and this sensation does not cease until the physical atoms have attained a rate of vibration one octave below that of the vital body. Then they are insensate and nothing is felt save as we ordinarily feel.
Take now the case of Christ entering the dense body of Jesus. There the atoms were moving at a speed much lower than the vibratory forces of the Christ Spirit. Consequently the acceleration had to take place, and during the three years' ministry this marked acceleration of the vibration of these atoms would have shattered the body had not the powerful will of the Master assisted by the skill of the Essences held it together. Had the atoms been asleep at the time when the Christ left the body of Jesus, the same as our atoms are asleep when we leave our bodies, a long process of purification would have been required to disintegrate the body. They were, however, as we said, highly sensitized and alive, and therefore it was impossible to keep them in bondage when the Spirit had fled. In future ages when we learn to keep our bodies alive we shall not change atoms and, therefore, bodies so often. Nor when we do, will it take so long as at present to complete the process of purification. The tomb was not hermetically sealed, and would not offer obstruction to the passage of atoms.
This (rapid disintegration of the physical body of spiritual people) the writer has not been able to verify because it is difficult to find men of high spiritual proclivities who have passed out recently, but it would seem that this is so from the fact recorded in the Bible that the body of Christ was not found in the tomb when the people came to look for it. As we have said before in relation to this matter, the Christ spiritualized the body of Jesus so highly, made to so vibrant, that it was almost impossible to keep the particles in place during His ministry. This was a fact known to the writer by the teachings of the Elder Brothers and by what investigation he has made of the subject in the Memory of Nature, but the bearing of this fact upon the general subject of death and the after-existence was not known until lately.
Upon the death of the dense body of Christ Jesus, the seed atom was returned to the original owner, Jesus of Nazareth, who for some time afterward, while functioning in a vital body which he had gathered temporarily, taught the nucleus of the new faith which Christ had left behind. Jesus of Nazareth has since had the guidance of the esoteric branches which sprang up all over Europe.
Upon the death of the dense body of Jesus, the seed atoms were returned to the original owner. During the three years' interval between the Baptism, where he gave up his vehicles, and the Crucifixion, which brought the return of the seed atoms, Jesus gathered a vehicle of ether, as an Invisible Helper gathers physical matter whenever it is necessary to materialize all or part of the body. However, material not matched with the seed atom cannot be permanently appropriated. It disintegrates as soon as the will power assembled in it is withdrawn, and this was, therefore, only a makeshift. When the seed atom of the vital body was returned, a new body was formed, and in that vehicle Jesus has been functioning since, working with the churches.
In 1st Thes. 5:23, Paul states that man's whole being consists of Spirit, soul, and body. When we shed the dense body finally as Christ did, we shall function in a body called soma psuchicon (soul body) in 1st Cor. 15:44. This is the "vital body" in our literature, a vehicle made of ether, capable of levitation, and of the same nature as the body which Christ used after the Crucifixion. This vehicle is not subject to death in the same sense as our physical body, and it is eventually transmuted to Spirit as taught in our literature and as required by 1st Cor., 15th chapter.
Thus we see that it is a property of the vital body to attract to itself physical matter, and it is much easier for one who leaves the body unconsciously to allow the physical particles to flow into his soul body than to keep them away. The soul body, of course, is not subject to death, decay, or collapse. Therefore it is very easily understood that the Christ could use that vehicle to go through the walls into the room where the Disciples were gathered and there draw about Him the necessary material to show Himself in a physical vehicle which was disintegrated the moment He wanted to leave. However, it is noteworthy that it is the disintegration that calls forth an effort and not attraction of physical matter.
Our Elder Brothers have placed the vital body of Jesus in a sarcophagus of glass to protect it from the gaze of the curious or profane. They keep this receptacle in a cavern deep in the earth, where no uninitiated can penetrate. To make assurance doubly sure, however, vigilant watchers keep constant guard over their precious charge; for were that vehicle destroyed, Christ's only avenue of egress would be cut off, and He would have to remain a prisoner in the earth until the Cosmic Night dissolves its chemical elements into chaos. Thus the mission of Christ as Savior would have failed; His suffering would be greatly prolonged, and our evolution would be enormously retarded.
Christ was free to choose His vehicle of entrance into the Earth where He is now confined, but once having chosen the vehicle of Jesus, He is bound to leave by the same way. Were that vehicle destroyed, Christ must remain in the cramping surroundings till Chaos dissolves the Earth. This would be a great calamity, and therefore, the vehicle He once used is most jealously guarded by the Elder Brothers.
In the meantime Jesus has been the loser of all the soul growth accomplished during his thirty years on earth prior to the Baptism and contained in the vehicle given the Christ. This was and is a great sacrifice made for us, but like all good deeds, it will rebound to a greater glory in the future. This vehicle will be used by Christ when He comes to establish and perfect the Kingdom of God, and it will be so spiritualized and glorified that when it is again restored to Jesus at the time when Christ turns the Kingdom over to the Father it will be the most wonderful of all human vehicles.
Of course, the Earth Spirit is not to be thought of as 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.
Now we come to a point involving an important cosmic law which underlies various spiritualistic phenomena and also supports the unique teaching of Rosicrucian Christianity (and the Bible), that Christ will not return in a dense body but in a vital body. It also shows why He must return.
Before A.D. 33 Jehovah guided our planet in its orbit and mankind on the path of evolution from without. On Golgotha, Christ entered the earth which he now guides from within, and will until a sufficient number of our humanity have evolved the soul power necessary to float the earth and guide our younger brothers. This requires ability to live in vital bodies, capable of levitation. The vital body of Jesus through which Christ entered the earth is His only avenue of return to the Sun. Hence the Second Advent will be in Jesus' vital body.
Contemporary Mystic Christianity
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