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Psalms of Purification and Regeneration

   The primary aim of all religious ritual is the purification of the desires and emotions. This is brought about through meditation and prayer, lyrically expressed in the Psalms, as well as through sacrifice.

   "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven," chants the singer of the 32nd Psalm. "Blessed is the man unto whom Jehovah imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." Of Nathanael Jesus said, "Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile," referring to this ancient song. There is nothing more exquisitely lovely than the simplicity and unpretentiousness of the saintly soul.

   The Christ also said, "In my Father's house are many Mansions," referring to the Mansions of the Soul, or Mystery Schools, which correspond to the Seven Kabbalistic Heavens, or the Seven Crystalline Spheres of medieval astrologers, and also the twelve zodiacal signs. These are emanations of the Divine Wisdom. "As above so below," and all earthly structures likewise are more or less perfect shadowings of a divine archetype. Hence we read in Psalm 127: "Except Jehovah build the house, they labor in vain that build it: Except Jehovah keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

   Only in the degree that we reflect the truth and glory of the heavenly archetype can we know peace, security, wisdom and joy on Earth.

   Consequent upon living in the spiritual universe we achieve the regeneration of the Little Temple of God which is the body: "The plowers plowed upon my back; they made long their furrows. The Lord hath cut asunder the cords of the wicked" (Psalm 129). This refers to the process of regeneration, as the serpent fire ascends within the spinal cord. The watchmen (nerve centers in the body) are awakened only to the detriment of the physical body unless the Lord (spiritual Law) keep the city (consciousness) from error.

   To the regenerated race of the Aquarian and Capricornian Age will come only peace and prosperity; as shown in Psalms 122 and 135:

   Namely, abide in an understanding of New Age Law.

   And again, in Psalm 87: "Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God." And in Psalm 72: "The mountains shall bring peace . . . and the hills, by righteousness." And, "He (the Aquarian Man) shall have dominion also from sea to sea.... His Name shall endure forever.... To him shall be given the gold of Sheba.... All men shall be blessed in him and the whole earth be filled with his glory."

   The new Aquarian civilization has been already pre-dedicated in the rhythms of the Psalms. Their music it was which laid the foundations of the United States of America, a New Order of the Ages; to their singing the sails of the Mayflower were raised aloft to catch the westward driving winds which carried the Pilgrims to the white sands of Cape Cod. In 1737 it was again to the chanting of the Psalms that Benjamin Franklin turned for spiritual inspiration in his new venture. The first verse of Psalm 107 was the text of his argument before the Convention which framed the Constitution of the United States.

   It was Ruskin who said that in Psalms 1, 8, 12, 14, 72 and 75 are to be found a prophecy of the formulation and operation of all just government.

Psalm of Transmutation

   The deepest esoteric instruction can never be given publicly, and the Psalms therefore refer to the Mysteries only under a veil. But whether or not the neophyte is intellectually aware of the meaning of these holy songs, their vibration impinges upon the nerve centers of the body, gradually raising their sensitiveness through the law of sympathetic vibration, until they are sensitized sufficiently to transmit the delicate, but potent, sensations of the inner realms.

   As a consequence of the increased sensitivity of the neophyte, he becomes aware of the spiritual world and its inhabitants, and learns to cooperate with the creative Hierarchies. He now knows what before he had accepted on faith; and such faith as he possesses is rightly designated a scientific faith, for it rests on reason, and has the support of evidence. There can be no complete dedication to Spirit until at least a degree of such first-hand knowledge has been achieved. Until then, there is always a sense of hesitation, perhaps even reluctance, to put behind the temptations of the world. But having once walked in the Light where God is, the soul hesitates no more, but surrenders gladly as something of no value the false gold of the mortal senses in order to make room for the true gold of Spirit. It is then he chants with the Psalmist (27th Psalm): "One thing will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of Jehovah, and to inquire in His Temple."

   With even the lowest degrees of Illumination, we find that we are sufficiently uplifted emotionally to sing (Psalm 84), "Yea, the sparrow hath found her a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord, my king, and my God." One of the sweetest and most inspiring experiences which characterize the early stages of initiatory work of the neophyte is the sense of having found his true spiritual home. Here he may take his ease in the spirit; here he may meet with kindred souls; here he may sometimes know the blessed presence of the great illumined Saints, the Master Initiates. "In my Father's house are many Mansions" — each of these Mansions is the celestial archetype of a Mystery School, the reflection of the Spirits before the Throne. In the human scheme of things, we are able to discern seven Spirits before the Throne; yet the number of Mansions, according to Jesus, "are many"; that is, innumerable. We, however, may think of those Seven Mansions as figured upon the heavens in the Seven Planets, which in the ancient tradition are the outward embodiments of great Archangels. Each of the Planetary Archangels presides over a Ray of the Divine Light, and in a true sense is that Ray, which is not separate from its Source, but is one with it.

   In the course of ages, as the dwellers upon each planet become sufficiently evolved to benefit by the spiritual power of the Archangel, the Christ, glowing in the Sun, He turns His divine Face upon them, and His light may be seen shining into the planet, and reflecting through every living creature upon it. It is such a Ray of Godhead which descended to the Earth through Jesus of Nazareth, and continues to shine on this dark planet, raising its vibration, transmuting it, and all who dwell thereon, into the angelic realms.

   Yet, strange as it may seem, the attainment of the inward peace and joy is not invariably or unchangingly reflected by peace in our outward environment; if that were so, Jesus would not have been crucified, nor any of the martyrs brought to their death in humiliation and shame. Yet this final suffering marks the end of the way of materiality, and the Mount of Crucifixion becomes the Mount of Resurrection.

   At one moment man sings (Psalm 55), "My heart is sore pained within me; and the terrors of death are fallen upon me ... horror hath overwhelmed me. . . . O that I had wings like a dove! Then would I fly away and be at rest. Lo, then would I wander far off, I would lodge in the wilderness. I would haste me to a shelter, from the stormy wind and tempest." Or as in Psalm 69: "I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien; for the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproach thee are fallen upon me."

   "Therefore let the neophyte take courage in such moments of darkness. They have a purpose. They occur so that the inner light may grow and hasten the day of liberation from the physical casement; for it is a truth not often recognized that it is far easier to give up the world when it is unpleasant and difficult to bear than when it is a garden of delight for the senses. Pleasure is sought for; pain is gladly surrendered. Until the neophyte learns to follow goodness and truth and divine beauty freely, for their own intrinsic worth, he will suffer the pains of the Crucifixion.

   "Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance is darkness" (Psalm 22). The 22nd Psalm contains several statements which every Christian associates with the Crucifixion of the Christ. The neophyte comes to realize that he, too, must take up the Cross, ascend Golgotha, and submit to the partition of his garments as he learns to clothe himself in the luminous vesture of Heaven. The 22nd Psalm was assigned by the early Church for use on Good Friday. Richard Coeur de Leon, the kingly troubadour of the Crusades, chanted this Psalm when his Crusade failed and he was left deserted and desolate.

   "Look on my right hand, and see; for there is no man that knoweth me. Refuge hath failed me; no man careth for my soul" (Psalm 142). "Bring my soul out of prison, that I may give thanks unto thy name." Surely the neophyte bears these words in his heart in contemplation of the Christ, of whom Mary sang that He should deliver them that were in prison (unillumined).

   Metaphysicians stress the practical value of counting one's blessings, particularly in the hour of trial. This is difficult, yet a lesson that must be learned. In Psalm 16: "I will bless the Law, who hath given me counsel; yea, my heart instructeth me in the night seasons." Mabel Collins has spoken of the Hall of Learning, wherein she received her illumined little book, Light on the Path, beloved of all mystics. Truly, God gives counsel, and the heart is instructed at night, when the soul learns to remain awake in the Temple halls. "My heart is glad, and my Glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall dwell in safety."

   In sacred art, the Glory was a specific term denoting the complete aureole of the saint. Ordinarily only a halo is painted over or behind the head of a saint; but the Glory is much more than that, for it encircles the entire body. It is sometimes called the Golden Wedding Garment. In thirteenth century paintings Christ frequently appears in the midst of such a Glory, which is shown in twofold formation; first the ordinary etheric streams forming an ovoid, the lines of force radiating outward from the body; and secondly, within that ovoid, a star formation of wings, in which the magnetic force has the appearance of little golden flames. This star really has six points, but inasmuch as the two upper wings rise together to a point above the head, the effect is that of the pentagram. It was this Vision of the Christ-Star (repeated within himself) which produced the stigmata in St. Francis.

   Whatever interpretation orthodox scholars, Christian or Hebrew, may place upon the mention of the Glory in Scriptures, the mystic knows by his own experience, as also by the pictorial and symbolical representations which have come down to us, that the Glory is the Christ Star.

   It is not necessary to here number the many Psalms depicting the trials and testings by which the spiritual gold is at last brought to its supreme purity in the fire; the student will have no difficulty recognizing these. There are many of them, coming from every period of Hebrew history, and having their exoteric application to the sufferings of warfare and Exile and religious persecution. Thus in Psalm 38: "Mine iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden they are too heavy for me." I am pained and bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long." "As. for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me." "My lovers and friends stand aloof from my plague." Even the best beloved may for a time become strangers, testing one subtly and terribly by their misunderstanding and condemnation. Nevertheless, the Light is not far off; and the Psalmist sings: "Hungry and thirsty their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto Jehovah in their trouble and lie delivered them. He led them by a straight [right] way, that they might go to a city of habitation." "Oh that men would praise Jehovah for his lovingkindness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! For he satisfieth the longing soul, and the hungry soul he filleth with good" (CVII).

   This is an important Temple Song. The above stanza, mantramic in value, was used in the regenerative processes as affecting the physical and desire vehicles together with the mind.

   The travail of the neophyte undergoing the suffering incident to transmutation of the lower self is heard in other Psalms also, as in these examples: 'Why standest thou afar off, 0 Jehovah? Why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?" (X). "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (XXII). "How long, 0 Lord? wilt thou forget me forever? How long wilt thou hide thy face from me?" (XIII).

   All of the Psalms of Trial refer primarily to the office performed by the power of Saturn, who is the Tester, the purifier who either sets the seeker's feet more firmly upon the Way, or turns him back from walking with Him further.

   Psalm 38 stresses the communion and support of the Spirit within which enables the neophyte to retain inner poise despite all outer turmoil and to be able instantly to realize a connection with Spirit, and to say, "Be still, and KNOW that I AM God."

   He that puts his hand to the plough and turns back is not worthy of the Kingdom. Subtle, indeed, is the test of disbelief in ones own ability to go forward. Truly it has been said that discouragement is the most effective of all Satan's tools for undermining the human soul. The Psalmist conquers,this weakness: "I will declare my iniquity," then "I will be sorry for my sin." Repentance, restitution, and reform — these are the essential requirements for progress on the Path.

   The victorious chant of the ideal necessary for the great overcoming is Psalm 17: "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." And also in the 9th Psalm we find the same triumphant strain: I will be glad and exult in thee, O thou Most High." The enemy destructions are come to an end, and the cities (mortal consciousness) "which thou hast overthrown, the very remembrance of them is perished. Thou hast not forsaken them that seek thee." The Lord (Law) shall endure forever. This demonstrates how when the inner battle with the lower self is won, the karmic record is changed in the heart. The seed atom in the heart is the one indestructible atom of the entire body. (See Psalms 22:26.) The forces of this atom, containing the record of the life, are taken by the spirit into the inner worlds at death, and there become the basis for its experience first in purgatory and later in the heaven worlds. As one progresses spiritually the heart becomes increasingly luminous with its golden fire and is the root of that fiery Golden Star, which is the Christ Star, mentioned above.

   It is of interest to know that Mary Queen of Scots used the 11th Psalm as a prayer when she knelt upon the scaffold:

The Seven Penitential Psalms

   Among the Psalms of Trial and Testing we may include the Seven Penitential Psalms. These were correlated by the early Church with the seven deadly sins, and the repetition of these Psalms was believed to act as a deterrent to their commission.

   The 6th Psalm is the invocation of divine power against the sir; of anger. It is assigned to Ash Wednesday in the Church Calendar. It opens with the prayer, "O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger," and includes one of the exhortations used by Jesus: "Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity."

   Psalm 32 is the invocation of divine Truth against the sin of pride. "Blessed is he ... in whose spirit there is no guile."

   Psalm 38 is the invocation of divine substance against the sin of gluttony. "Lord, all my desire is before thee." That is, the desire for the Bread, or Manna, which comes down from heaven: Truth and Love.

   In Psalm 51 is given the invocation of divine strength against the love of luxury. "O Lord ... thou delightest not in sacrifice; else would I give it: Thou hast no pleasure in burnt-offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."

   Psalm 102 is the invocation of divine intelligence against the sin of avarice. "Thy servants take pleasure in stones and favor the dust thereof. Yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same. Thy years shall have no end,"

   Psalm 130 is the invocation of divine Love against the sin of envy: "Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, Lord, hear my voice.... My soul waiteth for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning; yea, more than watchmen for the morning."

 — Corinne Heline

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Contemporary Mystic Christianity

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