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Bible Self-Study Supplement

The Preparation and Testing of Moses

   Moses commenced his earthly life in an humble cottage situated on the banks of the river Nile. Not far removed stood the Great Pyramid of Gizeh, silently proclaiming to each succeeding age the existence of a body of knowledge and of superhuman power that has long since been lost to mankind in general. But its secrets have never been lost to an initiated few — among whom were, for instance, the Shepherd Kings. Nor were they to Moses, whose mission was to reinterpret these Mysteries in preparation for the Christian Dispensation to follow.

   Moses remained with his parents during the years of his childhood, receiving from his father, "a man of the house of Levi," and his mother, "a daughter of the house of Levi," the saintly influences they were able to bestow upon him. Then followed esoteric instruction imparted by his guardian Temple priestess, whose name was Thermutis. Josephus, the first century Jewish historian, states that the boy Moses was so beautiful passers-by in the streets would stop to admire him and that laborers left their work in the fields to look upon his magnetic presence whenever occasion offered.

   For an interpretation of this passage it will be helpful to consider first of all the essential theme of the entire Book of Exodus. Cosmically, it is a symbolical presentation of the spirit's emergence from the limitation of form and matter into the freedom of the formless and timeless world. In relation to racial evolution, it portrays experiences encountered by humanity as it disengages itself from the clutches of personal and temporal interests and enters into the joyous, expansive freedom of an impersonal life. In this application it describes emergence from a darkened into an illumined state of consciousness; exodus from an unregenerate life of the senses to a regenerate life in which things of the spirit are of paramount interest. Mystically, the state of subjection to external authority is forsaken for the self-reliant state of dependence on the God within.

   In the Exodus story the Egyptians represent man's lower nature and the Israelites his higher. Egypt is the land of bondage, materiality and darkness; Canaan is the land of freedom, spirituality and light. The wilderness that lies between is an area of doubt, rebellion, want, trial and sorrow that the pilgrim soul encounters while making the transition from a lesser to a greater state of being. Pharaoh signifies the concrete or reasoning mind; Moses, the higher wisdom that comes from first-hand inner knowledge.

   Moses had compassion for those brethren who were aspiring to the light, and removed the objective darkness that stood in their way. "He slew the Egyptian." In terms of his own advancement toward illumination, he subjugated lower elements in his nature. These he buried and left behind him. Having done this, his allegiance was no longer to emotional impulse or fallible human reason; it was to his inner spiritual monitor. In the words of the Exodus account, "Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian."

   Midian means strife. Complete disentanglement from the toils of a sense life and the claims of mortal mind is not an easy accomplishment. To maintain the status attained in a moment of victory calls for sustained effort. For a time there is strife with former proclivities that would return to power.

   Moses was successful in making permanent his gains and in adding others thereto, as is evidenced in the record which tells of his meeting the seven daughters of Jethro, the high priest. These are the seven occult powers he had unfolded in his nature; they are the seven roses, the lotus blossoms, that had bloomed upon the cross of his body.

   Moses was now ready for the promotion symbolized by his marriage to Zipporah, daughter of the high priest (spiritual fruitage), whose name means the shining one. Union with the higher self was consummated. His individual "passover" had been accomplished. His task henceforth was to lead all who were willing to follow him in ways whereby they also might achieve the same glorious unfoldment within themselves.

Moses' Unfoldment of Spiritual Powers

   These are four paths leading to Illumination. They correlate to the four elements in nature and to the four sheaths that make up the fourfold vehicle through which spirit evolves. In each body the spirit generates a certain type of energy; from each element it derives a distinctive power; with each Initiation added soul faculties become operative. Moses, in whose life the Path of Initiation is outlined with exceptional clarity, took all four steps of Illumination, each of which is dealt with in the same sequence as they were taken.

   What Moses did, all may do, for let it be remembered that the attributes and soul qualities which pioneers attain to in Initiation are the same that the majority of mankind will possess in a later development.

The Initiation by Water

   The foregoing from an inspired litany well describes the attainment which enabled Moses to pass successfully through the soul experience of Initiation by Water. His emotional nature had been mastered, and the power of a great calm acquired. This inner poise produces a mind of such crystalline clearness that the thoughts of all persons contacted are readily reflected upon it. No longer is deception possible, for the minds of others are as the pages of an open book, and thought transference becomes a reliable and instantaneous process possible of demonstration at all times.

   "Be still and know that I am God" is the fundamental requisite for that transcendent state of soul exaltation which is mystically termed Initiation by Water. By this attainment, which relates specifically to the emotional body and the desire world, vision is opened to records inscribed in the astral light. From these may be learned the inner significance of all that manifests in the four kingdoms of nature.

   After Moses had overcome his lower nature he went into the Midian desert. He came at once, not to parched ground, but to a well (esoteric truth). Seven maidens (soul qualities) were drawing water (attracting spiritual sustenance). Moses (an awakened aspirant) helped them (gave conscious cooperation). After this "baptism with the waters of life by the Seven Virgins of Light" — to use a phrase taken from an ancient initiatory chant-he was victor over his emotional nature and was qualified to take up work of a yet higher degree of Illumination.

The Revelation by Fire

   The Initiation by Water took place beside a well. The next higher Initiation by Fire occurred on Horeb, "the mountain of God." Thus, the aspirant climbs the ladder of being and enters increasingly into first-hand knowledge of the inner secrets of nature. Veils of matter are lifted so objective nature is seen to be but a symbol of the subjective world of reality. The very word "Mysteries" is related to the Greek word "mistor" meaning veil.

   The bush that Moses looked upon burned but was not consumed. It was not enveloped in flames, but in light. Flames consume; the spirit of fire nurtures and builds. Flames are the physical externalization of the principle called Fire, and they bear much the same relationship to Fire that the physical body does to the indwelling spirit.

   Complete mastery of one's lower nature is a prerequisite to Initiation by Fire. Passion must be raised to compassion, and the love that once burned for self-gratification must be transmuted into a consuming love for all mankind. This has been poetically expressed in the following lines:

   After Initiation by Fire one's consciousness is awake to the universality of all existence. The sharp line of demarcation that previously existed between the outer and the inner life has been obliterated. Awareness extends uninterruptedly over both waking and sleeping hours. Death holds neither terror nor darkness, for it has been overcome by life.

   When the Ordeal by Fire has been successfully passed, the body sings to a new keynote. Its every atom has been accelerated in motion and charged with greater light. Thought becomes more highly creative and each spoken word is endowed with increased power. Initiation by Fire gives to the initiated a control of the fiery elements in nature, and also of the beings who operate in and through them.

   In a beautiful legend the Talmud has recorded how Moses passed successfully the fiery ordeal; and how, by renouncing all worldly ambitions, he qualified himself to become an impersonal instrument for carrying out God's will among His people.

   When Moses was three years old, says the legend, he was present at a banquet where Pharaoh and his foster-mother, sometimes called Bathia, occupied seats of first rank. Pharaoh took Moses upon his knee; whereupon the child reached up, took off the king's crown and placed it upon his own head. This troubled Pharaoh. Filled with fear, he sent immediately for the councilors who, upon arrival, tested the child by placing before him two crowns, one of gold, the other of fire. If the child chose gold he was to be killed; if fire, his life was to be saved. Moses was young in years, but his soul had the wisdom garnered through many lives. Gold that glittered meant less to him than fire that purified. His life was saved.

   Moses knew and acted upon the precept contained in immortal words uttered centuries later by Christ Jesus when He declared: "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."

   Kabbalists teach that the soul of Seth passed into Moses. Josephus states that Moses was a priest of Heliopolis, the city of the Sun. He received the Egyptian Mysteries and taught them to the most advanced members of his race. In the days of Moses every Initiate, on attaining to this status, received a new name. Those of the highest rank were given the name of Moses or Muse, which means sent. The Greeks used the term "menes," which signifies son of the sun, to indicate a like distinction.

   Moses is often represented with locks of hair formed in the likeness of a ram's horns. A familiar example of this is Michael Angelo's Moses in St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome. These horns are representative of spiritual radiations emanating from this lawgiver's illumined soul. They are, moreover, symbolical of the dual masculine-feminine potencies that manifest in balance in an Initiate.

   Astrologically, the ram's horns are representative of Aries, the sign of the lamb, under which Moses gave his teachings in preparation for the religion of the lamb that was to be inaugurated by the Great Shepherd. The Nazarites, who were individuals set apart by their choice solely for holy ministery, were distinguished by a head dress with ram's horns, called "the mask of Aries."

   The role Moses was to play as leader of the age ushered in under Aries is told symbolically in a Talmudic legend. According to this account, when Moses was born, Pharaoh dreamed that an old man came with a pair of large balances; on the one side he placed all the great men of Egypt and on the other side a lamb. The lamb outweighed all the mighty men. Astrologically interpreted, the great of Egypt represented the forces of the passing Taurean Age, while the lamb (Moses) symbolized the new-born leader of the incoming Arian Age.

   In a discourse on Initiation contained in The Book of Pymander, Hermes writes: "The object of all Initiation is to bring the soul to see true beauty and to attain a knowledge of truth as far as we are permitted to do so." He identifies Initiation with Light. Clement of Alexandria, referring to this Light, declared that those who live by it are the true Christians. He states, furthermore, that Revelation and Initiation are identical.

   John identifies this Light with the life that is the "light of men" which "shineth in darkness (unillumined humanity), and the darkness comprehended it not."

 — Corinne Heline

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