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Esoteric Brotherhood

   The Zohar contains much information relative to the lower and higher feminine in man under the title of inferior and superior mothers. In the same manner as the physical body is formed in the matrix of the lower ethers, so is the psychical body formed in a matrix composed of the golden Light Ether and the blue-white Reflecting Ether. Again like the material body, which must be sustained by the intake of nourishment, the soul body must be sustained by the food and drink of the spirit. The work of the ego in these two higher ethers gives to each person all that he possesses of aspiration and idealism. This work forms, in fact, the basis of character, and it is the forming of the Christ within. Even the physical body of one who is dedicated to the higher life gradually becomes luminous. The reflection of the two higher ethers first appears as a halo about the head and later extends to encircle the entire body. This radiance is not lost by the spirit between Earth lives but is used to form the matrix of its new celestial body. In the same manner in which the two lower or denser ethers form a matrix for the embryonic physical body at birth so do the two higher or spiritual ethers compose a matrix for the celestial body to be used in the heaven worlds.

   The soul radiance remains with the spirit when it returns into Earth life again and may be seen surrounding the head of an infant in a luminous halo. Nearly all children at birth have something of this reflection. In the case of an advanced ego this halo is a glorious sight such as master artists depict around the heads of the holy Mary and the Master Jesus.

The Song of the Philosopher's Stone

   The thirtieth and the thirty-first chapters of Proverbs are, with the exception of the Song of Songs, perhaps the most mystical passages in the Old Testament. These chapters were written by the most advanced of the disciples of Solomon and contain accounts of their personal experiences. Chapter thirty begins with the statement that these are the words of Agur, son of Jakeh, which means "a son of the pious." Chapter thirty one opens with the words: "The prophecy of King Lemuel, that his mother taught him." Lemuel means "consecrated to God." Every Initiate becomes a high-born, a king and the son or daughter of a king. The mother who taught him represents his ability to commune with the great feminine or mother heart of God, the Wisdom principle which is the dominant motif of the Book of Proverbs. The ability to make this contact depends upon the awakening and the development of the formative or image-building principle in man himself, which is a reflection of the Cosmic Word, the corresponding power of God. As above so below. When man comes to understand this, his creations may become truly good, done in the image and likeness of God, and constituting the New Heaven and the New Earth.

   Chapter thirty contains a veiled allusion to the four primal creative principles which are designated as Fire, Air, Water and Earth in their cosmic manifestations. Of these four substances cosmos is formed, including not alone the exterior universe but also the subtler vehicles of man and the unseen envelopes of the Earth globe which are the robes of life, and into which our evolutionary path will someday take us.

   The virtues of moderation are sung in the first verses of this chapter, moderation in all things being a practice without which it is not possible to rise into the selflessness which the highest aspiration requires. The more esoteric portion of this section begins with verse fifteen:

   One of the two daughters typifies the image-making principle manifesting on the high creative plane, She stands for the same principle as Eve in the garden before the Fall. The alchemist designates that principle as mercury or Wisdom. The other daughter signifies this same principle after man, having partaken of the fruits on the Tree of Good and Evil, took the power of creation into his own hands, having been helped to this by the aid of the Lucifer Spirits, and having learned to misuse the holy creative fire within himself. That is also the theme of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. These two daughters are both constantly calling to all mankind to give, and to give yet more, creatively on the plane to which each is related. The alchemists called the lower feminine, salt.

   Lot's wife, who turned back, became a pillar of salt. The redemption of all such as Lot's wife, considered under the general appellation of the fallen feminine (the Eve in all men which was cast out of the Garden) is the great regenerative work before the world, and the keynote of the New Age religion. The fall of man is symbolized in the Cross, the horizontal bar signifying the fallen feminine pole, and the perpendicular bar the masculine pole. The Wisdom Temples of the New Age, however, will have as their symbol the two upright columns, indicative of the fact that the feminine column has also become upright and that the two attributes of the spirit again function together in their original harmony. This work is strictly individual; it is not a group work. Each man must perform its operations alone, without external aid.

   Continuing this subject, which is the theme of these final chapters, the mystic meanings of three and four are considered: Three is the number of concealed spirit; four is the number of revealed matter. Things which are seen are temporal, things unseen, eternal.

   The serpent upon the rock symbolizes the new body of Initiation builded through the lifting of the feminine or wisdom principle by the right use of the holy life essence within. The ship in the midst of the sea symbolizes the soul body built of the two higher ethers through pure and holy living. The way of a man with a maid symbolizes the equilibrium of the masculine and feminine forces and refers to the lifting of the fallen column so that the cross becomes the two upright columns which guard the Temple of Initiation and between which every candidate must pass in the quest for Light.

   The contrast between the three and the four (which is, in truth, a complementary rather than a contrasting relationship) continues:

   The reigning servant is the lower nature tyrannizing over the higher; the fool is the sensualist; the odious woman who is married is the lower nature allowed freedom, or license; and the handmaid, like the servant, is ignorance attempting to usurp the place of Wisdom.

   The ants symbolize the earth element and the Earth Initiation; the conies, the water element and the Water Initiation; the locusts, the fire element and the Fire Initiation; the spider the air element and the Air Initiation.

   The lion symbolizes the power of Fire as it manifests in the Initiate; the greyhounds, the power of Air; the he-goat, the power of Earth; and the king, the power of Water. The resurrection of the Feminine or Water principle (emotion) produces the Initiate, the king, the one who overcometh and against whom there can be "no rising up." Self-control is requisite to this achievement. As Solomon's teachings reiterate :"He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls." (Proverbs 25:28)

   The churning of milk and the bringing forth of blood symbolize the two paths of development, the mystic and the occult. The color of the former is white, the latter, red. The mystic builds the radiant soul body of pure and crystalline beauty through love and faith, and its light flowers in the heart. The occultist builds the gleaming red ruby soul through following the path of works and knowledge, and its light flowers in the head,

   The meeting of the two paths on Golgotha represents the culmination of the Great Work. The Kabbalah refers to it as Beauty and the Crown united. Difficult it is, and brings forth much strife between the lower and higher natures. The thorns of the Crucified must become the halo of him who is resurrected.

   This is a cryptic reference, first to the body of generation, the fleshly or mortal man which inevitably goes down to death, "the son of my womb," and secondly, to the higher or jewel-body of regeneration, the body celestial of which Paul speaks, and which is created by spiritual thought, spiritual emotion and spiritual action, the "son of my vows."

   It is not meant as a command to violate the vows the neophyte has made when the Teacher in Proverbs says, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts." (Proverbs 31:6) Reference here is to the ecstasy of spirit, popularly symbolized under the image of wine and wine drinking, in which one forgets the poverty and bondage characteristic of the consciousness limited by the five senses of materiality.

   Verses ten to thirty-one describe the new race in which the feminine principle is redeemed. Literalists interpret these verses to be a description of an "ideal woman." The esoteric interpretation gives us a far more inspiring view of this "woman":

   The above tells of the pioneer who forges ahead in his development and becomes the teacher and helper of those less advanced.

   By their fruits ye shall know them: A fig cannot bring forth thistles, declared the Master in reference to this development. Her loins (desire body) are girded with strength: she has achieved the power of transmutation. The candle goeth not out by night: she has attained the Initiate"consciousness in which she is as actively awake during the hours of "sleep" as when she walks the pathways of Earth in her body.

   The snow and the scarlet refer to the alchemical colors of white and red, or the mighty magic of the blending of head and heart. Her clothing is purple and her girdles delivered to the merchant, indicating the royal garments of service woven by the illumined soul. The girdle is the power of spiritual love, the merchandise of Spirit. "She openeth her mouth with Wisdom," showing that she bears the Lamp of Knowledge for the guidance of her household.

   The fruit of the marriage of Wisdom and Understanding is the "vegetable work" of the alchemist. In the Great Work it is called the Philosopher's Stone. When man hearkens to the interior teaching of Wisdom, the fruit of his hands is selfless, loving service to others; and, under the law of causation, he receives according as he gives. His works praise him "in the gates" of the inner planes.

   True wisdom expresses itself both in spiritual instruction and in practical considerations in the affairs of daily life. In India it is not an infrequent practice for the teacher to cook food for his disciples as a sign of the close spiritual relationship existing between them.

   The Wisdom or formative principle in man has been transformed into a true and undistorted reflection of its divine counterpart at this place on the Path. This means Paradise has been regained, "Riches and honor are in her left hand, and long (immortal) life is in her right."

   Thus concludes the Book of Dark Sayings which describes the holy Path that leadeth to Illumination, and of which the Teacher wrote:

   "In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death" (Proverbs 12:28); "but the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." (Proverbs 4:18)

 — Corinne Heline

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Contemporary Mystic Christianity

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