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The Occult Power of Proverbs

   It is because Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are especially the textbooks of Illumination that Wisdom, personified as a feminine being, figures so largely in their pages. Wisdom is the feminine principle of God, while Understanding, as used in Proverbs, is the masculine. Wisdom is the inflow of cosmic revelation, but Understanding is achieved through reason and initiatory work. Therefore Proverbs opens with the injunction: "Get wisdom and understanding." This is really the keynote of the entire work. Solomon repeatedly declares that Wisdom is the principal object of the quest.

   It is significant that the esoteric Temple music was both masculine and feminine and was played upon instruments attuned to their respective rhythms. For the Temple aspirant, the cantillation used in Proverbs was designed to play directly upon the two currents which flow within the etheric body. Thus the musical theme of Proverbs may be termed polarity and equilibrium.

   This perfect balance between the two poles of the spirit can never be effected until the lower feminine has been lifted through pure and aspirational living. Proverbs here, as previously noted, also proves to be an adequate textbook for this preparatory work. It is significant also that the cantillation of Proverbs was used principally on Sundays between the Winter Solstice (Christmas) and the Spring Equinox (Easter), this being the great transmutation time of the year and the Holy Season par excellence.

   The rhythmic dualism of Proverbs which plays upon the dual currents is clearly discernible in many of its verses; for example:

   Wisdom is the second or feminine aspect of the Godhead; it is the formative or image-building principle in man and constitutes his most important spiritual faculty. It is frequently described as creative imagination. Probably there is no phase of human psychology less understood than the nature and powers of the imagination. We are familiar with its products, humanly speaking, in the realm of the arts; we are less familiar with its cosmic products, the fruit of cosmic intelligences, creating imaginatively on universal patterns.

   The creative imagination, or feminine principle of the Logos, biblically referred to in the first chapter of the Gospel of John as "the Word", is actually the focusing center of the rhythmic emanations of the four creative Hierarchies of Fire, Air, Water and Earth. The universe and all its manifestations were created and are sustained in creation by the music of the spheres. It is to be borne in mind that the great Archangels referred to both in biblical and apocalyptic or apocryphal literature are representatives of entire Hierarchies, each of which has its own particular function in the spiritual universe.

   Apropos the creative function of music we quote the following from R. Heber Newton's Mysticism of Music: "A scientific musician made chords of music record lines of their sound waves by suspending fine pens from wires of a piano so that they moved delicately over sheets of paper, and by striking chords carefully and allowing sounds to die out naturally, he succeeded in making the vibrations of the sound wave of each chord trace the line of its movements. So the audible world was translated into the visible world. These forms were designs of exquisite beauty and mathematical exactness, strangely suggesting the great typical flower forms (the archetypes of the plant kingdom). These flower forms prove to be those we find throughout the universe from the crystals to the convolutions of certain vast nebulae scattered through space. These cosmic forms are universal and essential."

   Betts in his Geometrical Psychology also describes the archetypal patterns which lie back of all created things. It remains for the occult scientist to add the most important item in this connection, one which will later come to be accepted by the physical scientist, namely, that these "universal and essential patterns" are formed by the all-pervading and unceasing harmony of the spheres, which in its turn is the spiritual "song" (to use an inadequate human word) of Archangelic beings of towering spiritual intelligence.

   Earth's greatest orchestrations are but a faint and insubstantial echo of these celestial strains, and those are repeated within the bodily organism as surely as they emanate from musical instruments at the touch of master musicians. Psalms, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are textbooks of the esoteric music which man must learn both to compose and to execute in terms of daily living, transforming himself into a spiritual instrument upon which Wisdom may produce celestial harmonies.

   The Logos, or Word, therefore, is something more than mere meaningless sound, more than empty, if lovely, patterns. It is the expression of Cosmic Imagination, the feminine formative principle of Deity. Man's health, environment and conditions of life will be in accordance with his use or misuse of this power. He may use it to create and sustain an image and likeness of the perfect archetype of himself and his world as these exist on the Mount of Illumination, or he may create an image in the likeness of the material mind, a Tower of Babel, a pattern of confusion. Solomon, the highest of the Old Testament Initiates, gave his disciples in the Book of Proverbs a compendium of wise words and hard sayings, having as their object to teach the superlative importance of the right use of this image-making faculty of the Wisdom principle which always builds wisely and well.

   In these Wisdom sayings we recognize once more the two pillars which uphold the universe, familiar in all Mystery lore. As we have seen, Wisdom is the feminine pillar, Understanding is the masculine. Wisdom is the inflow of inspiration from the height of Illumination; Understanding is the activity of reason, lifted up above the world and its ways into the sphere of pure Truth where it can function unhindered by any of the obstacles of the time-space world. These are the two wings of Spirit, the two sections of a balance which must be maintained in equilibrium before the glory work of Initiation may be accomplished.

   "To understand a proverb, and the interpretation" (Proverbs 1:6): is the sole aim of the esotericist, when he turns to his Bible for help on the Way of Light and the Quest of Perfection. "The words of the wise, and their dark sayings" are there revealed. The novice is warned against the false promises of evil and evil-doers. There can be but one conclusion to the path of evil: "Your destruction cometh as a whirlwind", "distress and anguish cometh upon you", for "the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." In the final analysis, evil is self-destroyed. Harried and threatened within and without, even when the evil doer appears to prosper, his very prosperity becomes an instrument of destruction: the glutton destroys himself by his gluttony, the killer knows not when the sword shall find him, the avarice of the thief condemns him to starvation, the traitorous friend dies alone. "But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil." Thus speaketh the Law of the Mother, Wisdom (Proverbs 1:8).

   It is this Mother-Wisdom which crieth without and uttereth her voice in the streets; it is this Wisdom that calls the hearts of her children to a proper understanding and use of the sacred imagination, the feminine creative principle of the universe. She is forever seeking to save her sons from the lure of the "strange woman" (Proverbs, 2nd chapter), who symbolizes the fallen Eve. The fall of this "strange woman" was but a fall in consciousness from the pure spiritual state with its realization of All Good. "Her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life." The entire material consciousness is this "strange woman", in whose house death watches at the threshold. There is no life in her.

   Beginning with the third chapter of Proverbs the reader enters again between the two pillars of the Temple, intellect and intuition, the masculine and feminine principles of consciousness, the Adam and Eve of human life:

   The Earth is always looked upon as feminine in mythology, and here its complement is shown as being in the heavens, the blue color of which symbolizes what is called in the New Testament OUR FATHER WHICH ART IN HEAVEN. "By knowledge (understanding, masculine) the depths are broken up." This refers to the disruptive action of the "invisible Father Fire", which breaks up all outworn conditions in order that new creations may take their place. This aspect of Deity is worshipped in India under the symbol of the God Siva, the Destroyer. The Mother principle is always the Preserver.

   Here the "good doctrine" has reference to the esoteric doctrine which the ancient Israelities shared in common with the so-called pagan nations of antiquity. Observe the emphasis on Wisdom, which "is the principal thing"; and the statement which follows that the "heart" is the source of "life". Here again is a reference to the Wisdom or feminine principle: the divine Heva, as she was before the "fall", Mother of Life and Mother of Wisdom. "Turn not to the right hand nor the left," but go straight forward on that narrowest of all paths which leads to the summits of Illumination, difficult and precipitous though it may be.

   In the fifth chapter, the author again contrasts the true and the false feminine, namely, Wisdom and the "strange woman": "Attend unto my wisdom, bow thine ear to my understanding: The lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil, but her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword; her steps take hold on hell."

   Contrariwise is the caution to resort to the true Wisdom, which is within. It is never to be found by dependence upon others, but always by turning to the light of the intuition, the "voice of the silence."

   The admonition, "Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of water in the streets", refers to the duty incumbent upon every disciple who stands at the Door of Initiation that he share such wisdom as he may possess with those less favored, without distinction or favor according to worldly station or condition.

   The "two pillars" of contrast are repeated in every chapter of Proverbs in one manner or another. Most often they are referred to as Wisdom and Understanding, as the pure Woman and the strange woman, and again as the evil and the good, the true and the false. "The commandment is a lamp; the law is light" (Proverbs 6:23). Beyond the radiance of this lamp, outside in darkness, is the "strange woman", the lure of the sense life which is by no means set aside at the threshold of the unseen worlds. On the contrary, the soul-senses are even keener than the body-senses, and sensualism of soul more dangerous and more subtle than sensualism of the body.

   It is a fact little known, even among esoteric students, that in and about the chamber in which their habitual meditation and prayer takes place, an etheric structure is erected which corresponds to the student's own state of development, according to the archetypal law referred to previously which governs all manifest form. If he is an advanced or "old soul", to use a technical term, his spiritual house will be a thing of true and perfect beauty, as cleanly fashioned as a crystal or a frost flower or a glowing jewel. Where evil exists these will have their pictured correspondence in distorted lines, in misshapen features and in dungeons of horror. St. Teresa of Avila in her meditations once discovered herself momentarily shut in her own personal hell. It was a small cave in which she could scarcely find lodging, and in which she was imprisoned, almost suffocating. This she recognized as typifying the punishment her sins deserved if a merciful God did not save her from it. On the spiritual side, such was the structure of Solomon's Temple, prototype of the House of the Holy Grail. Such is the meaning of every church, every edifice of worship. In Catholic Churches the red lamp which burns before the altar represents the etheric heart, and similarly in other ecclesiastic edifices.

   The wise Master in Proverbs, then, sat "at the window of my home," and, "I looked through my casement, at a young man, a disciple, who was free from the body (in the esoteric interpretation), and was being led into the lower regions of purgatory by the subtle allurements of a spirit of the underworld of the soul. Max Heindel, the Rosicrucian occultist, has said that when the novice goes forth from the body, he is never left alone, but is always under the watchful eye of the Teacher, who observes him at all times.

   Many people see or accept no responsibility for their so-called dreams. Whether good or evil they think and speak of them as though they had no essential relation to their own being. But they have, and a recognition of this fact is the first step toward acquiring a control over the dream life and an understanding of what that inner activity really means. Such dreams frequently relate to experiences shared with others and find occasional verification as to their authenticity in their clear remembrance by two or more of the participants.

   From the objective side, the Teacher in Israel is warning the neophytes against the allurements of the sense life. The liver, when viewed with the clairvoyant vision, is seen to be a great vortex of power, the power which is felt running riot in a burst of temper, in the heat of passion or any violent emotion. On the cross of liberation, the dart (forces of transmutation) must strike through the liver before the spirit can be freed by Initiation.

   In deeply devout natures occurs an experience correlated with this, for as. the spear which pierced the side of the Christ as He hung on the cross entered the liver before it penetrated the heart, so a unique mystical experience comes to the soul on the threshold of Illumination. An example of this is the Transfixion of St. Teresa, in which she felt her heart being pierced, and it is said that an actual wound is still visible in her heart, her body after more than two centuries being uncorrupt. The story is that an angel appeared to her, his countenance dazzling to behold. "I saw in his hands," wrote Theresa, "a long dart of gold, and at the end of the iron there seemed to be a little fire. This I thought he thrust through my heart several times, and that it reached my very entrails. As he withdrew it, I thought it brought them with it, and left me all burning with a great love of God."

   Similarly, when St. Francis beheld the Crucified, he felt himself pierced and burning with Divine Love, and afterward found the stigmata upon his body. This is the meaning of the verse, "She (Wisdom) hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table" (Proverbs 9:2). Table in Hebrew means something spread out, and has reference to the aura of the stigmatic. "Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding" (Proverbs 9:5, 6). This represents the voice of the Teacher heard within the heart, who issues the call for neophytes of all time, as did the Christ when He said: "Let whomsoever will come and partake freely of the water of eternal life." Or, in Proverbs: "She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men." (Proverbs 8:2-4).

   Nothing more exquisite than these words are to be found in mystic literature. The Mother is in the high places; but not in high places, only, for She is found by the paths, and by the gates of the city, and standing patiently at every threshold, before every door, calling to the sons of men. Wisdom is everywhere, and everywhere She speaketh excellent things. No heart is so alone or so lowly that Her voice cannot find it: "I love them that love me: and those that seek me early shall find me."

 — Corinne Heline


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