Question: In a recent lesson we were told that the Race Spirit influenced different persons to take a part in great world movements. If the part was unjust, is the person responsible for it? Would he suffer for it?
Answer: The statement was made in the Students' Lesson for September, "Our Invisible Government," that the divine hierarchs who guide evolution from the invisible worlds always find an Ego who is strong, either for good or evil, and use that one when progress demands the fall of an old nation or the raising of a new. However, it would be impossible to induce a Spirit of a brutal and tyrannical nature to play a self-sacrificing and noble part. He cannot change his character overnight any more than the leopard can change his spots, and vice versa, a Spirit of a noble nature will not consent to play the part of a tyrant or autocrat.
Each one will act in harmony with his basic nature, and therefore the divine hierarchs always choose someone who is of a character fitted to the part they want him to play in the coming crises, and place him in such a position that he has the power to carry out his designs, whether for good or ill. On that account he becomes at least partly responsible for his acts and the consequences thereof. If he does well, and by his acts of nobility, justice, and altruism aid a nation to rise, guiding it through the rocks and shoals of its infancy, as did George Washington, for instance, then great honor and glory will naturally be his in some future life where he will be given dominion over others whom he may help. On the other hand, if he plays the part of a Nero in breaking up a great empire, doing as it is said of one of the kings of Israel, "evil with both hands greedily," naturally sorrow and suffering will result. He probably cannot be made to feel all the pain which he inflicted any more than a George Washington can receive all the joy which has come to the millions who have benefited through his wisdom and altruism, but each will certainly receive as much as it is possible to give him, or at any rate as much as is required to make one a good man and the other a better.
Question: I see quite clearly how we can learn great lessons concerning this physical expression of life, but do not see why the Physical World is necessary to teach us ethics or morals. If it were possible to learn ethics and morals in the higher worlds, just why is a Physical World, or what we call the physical expression, necessary?
Answer: Yes, and no. All other worlds are not by any means physical, even to those who inhabit them. It is perfectly true that one feels the handclasp of a friend in the invisible worlds just as we do here, but that is because we think resistance into the hand of the other party and our own. We do this quite unconsciously, of course, but the effect is the same. It lends a resistance to our hands, and our hand stops where it meets the other's, just as it would be stopped by the solid flesh and bone here in this world. However, did we not, when we clap our friend on the back in the first joy of greeting, think this resistance, our hand would go straight through his body, and we can at any time we wish interpolate our own body into his or any one else's without inconvenience to ourselves or to them. Here in the physical world such a thing is of course impossible. Here everything is rigid and solid, comparatively speaking, but it is this very quality that imparts value to the physical world as a school in right and accurate thinking, for that is what it is, as has been explained in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception.
The illustration was there given of how an inventor may mold in his mind, from mind stuff, an engine or a machine which he has designed to do a certain work. The machine which he thus visualized has wheels that revolve perfectly and the whole thing works smoothly, but when he comes to put his ideas down on paper so that workmen may execute his design, it is probable he will find alternations are necessary in this plan, and later when the wheels have physical form in iron and steel, it is quite likely that some of them will rub against each other and cannot be put into the places where he has designed in his mind stuff because those places are already occupied with other wheels. Then it is necessary for him to remodel his idea in such a manner as his physical machine shows him to be necessary, until he has it running perfectly. Thus his thought and idea is corrected by the mistakes as shown in the physical world.
Had there been no physical world he would have had no means of correcting his inaccurate conception of what that machine should be, and it is very important that he should learn to think accurately and correctly. By and by when we are sufficiently evolved we shall not stand laboriously and fashion things with our hands, but we shall conceive the idea of what we want to create in our minds and then we shall speak the word that will bring it into being. Nor will these creations be mere machines. They will be living things. Therefore, if we do not learn to think correctly, we shall create monstrosities that will have to be destroyed because of the evil nature they would develop in whatever Spirit inhabits them.
That brings us to your question about ethics and morals. It is said that "handsome is as handsome does," and also that "beauty is only skin deep." At the same time it cannot be denied that the face is an expression of the soul. We all speak about someone as having a good face, and others as having an evil expression, showing the power of thought to mold the flesh in accordance with the morals and ethics of the person. Therefore, we are learning morals and ethics here, and must learn them in order to understand how to use them to mold the form and features of the things that we shall create. In order to become thoroughly efficient tools, however, our morals and ethics must be intensified a thousand fold, just as we have already seen is the case with thought. Thought is all-powerful in its own subtle realms, but is hampered when working in the resistant material of the physical world. Similarly morals and ethics are also handicapped. They are, however, being developed by exercise as the muscle grows, and there could be no exercise if they were not used in a world where there is resistance. That is a slow process but it makes for efficiency.
If you remember the law of infant mortality, you will also recollect that the little children, who die because an accident or other unfortunate circumstance prevented them from living their purgatory, are taken straight into the First Heaven and there taught by compassionate ones the moral lessons that they should have learned in their previous purgatory. Let us suppose that one of the lessons an Ego had to learn was sympathy, because it had been cruel and hard in its previous life. Perhaps it had tortured animals physically or human beings mentally and found great pleasure in so doing. Such a little child would then be taken to purgatory at a time when an Ego of similar propensities was living its purgatory and expiating acts of cruelty. The child's body would then probably be interpolated into the desire body of the other one and it would feel what he or she would feel — the suffering of the tortured animals on account of their physical pain and the sufferings of his human victims in mental anguish. Thus the child would pick up very quickly the lessons that had to be learned, and be made ready for rebirth in a short time. Thus both the invisible and the visible worlds play their part in teaching us ethics and morals, and there is no doubt that both are indispensable, or the wise beings who guide us on the path of evolution would find other means of more efficiency to teach us the needed lessons.
Question: Is there any basis in fact for the teaching of some schools of esotericism regarding lost souls and stragglers? I have read a book which vividly describes a place called Avitchi, where the souls reside when in the last stages of disintegration. The school in question it seems holds that some souls undergo progressive retrogression, becoming lower and lower in each successive embodiment until ultimately extinguished as individual souls by absorption in the Cosmic Soul. Now, as I understand the Rosicrucian teachings, all souls without exception are on the upward spiral, and while there may be a retrogression as between two successive lives in the Physical World, yet the ultimate outcome is progress, not retrogression. I do not believe that it is any part of the true Rosicrucian teachings that some souls deteriorate until annihilated. The above remarks also apply to stragglers. Kindly advise the correct teaching on this subject.
Answer: The Rosicrucians teach that life is a great school where there are pupils in all different stages of development. In the most advanced class there are some who have learned almost all the lessons that it is possible to teach in our present condition and environment, and these are about to graduate into other conditions where they will be afforded a larger opportunity for advancement. There are also backward Spirits in the lower classes which have, so to speak, been lazy and neglected to grasp opportunities for advancement. Between the lowest and the highest classes there are a great number of gradations, and certain tests for examination are made of humanity as a whole at different points in the evolutionary career, just the same as in a school examinations of the pupils are held at certain times of the year for the purpose of determining if they are fitted to advance into a next higher grade. Those who pass this examination are promoted, while those who fail are required to pass another term in the class where they are so that they may learn the required lessons necessary as a basis for further advancement. Those who pass the examination are saved, and those who fail are lost to the class as a whole. However, this is only temporary, and those who have been backward may catch up gain and at the following examination pass those who were promoted the year before. Then these erstwhile stragglers are saved and the others lost.
So it is also in the school of life. Those who fail to pass the examination at one time, and are temporarily "lost," may catch up gain and even pass those who had once passed them. That is the true teaching concerning the so-called lost souls, and it is confirmed by the Bible. The Greek aionian is translated everlasting, but it has no such meaning as infinite duration. Liddell & Scott's dictionary gives the meaning as an "age, an indefinite period, a lifetime," etc. Thus those who overcome, and are, as the saying is, saved, have a passport to a new age of unfoldment, and are thus given age lasting happiness. Those who fail are given age lasting punishment of being in a lower grade in life's school. Generally speaking, however, the doctrine that a soul or Ego may be lost in the sense of being annihilated is altogether without foundation, for, as it is said, "In God we live and move and have our being," so that if a single Spirit were lost, a part of God would be lost. That of course is unthinkable.
It is said that there is no rule without exception, and there is one condition which almost gives a foundation for the teaching concerning Avitchi promulgated by the Eastern schools. According to their philosophy, there are two states (not places, but states) of consciousness, Avitchi and Nirvana. They say that when the Spirit by repeated embodiments and lives lived in the most noble manner has reached a state of sublime spirituality, it is absorbed by the Cosmic Soul as the dewdrop is swallowed up in the sea. Its individual consciousness plus the fruitage of all its lives is swallowed up by the Universal Spirit, this being according to the Eastern teaching a state of the highest bliss. Conversely, those who by lives of continued evil pass a certain point, commence to sink lower and lower on the scale of attainment, and as their consciousness has been so saturated in evil that there was no room for good, individual consciousness is gradually purged from them in the effort to eradicate the evil, until at last the Spirit stands naked and unconscious. It is then absorbed in the Cosmic Soul, bringing with it only sorrow and disappointment of the most intense nature. But this teaching regarding both good and evil is as already said, contrary to the Western Mystery Teachings, and may at least only apply in such a case as an exceedingly evil black magician. In no case, however, is the Spirit lost, but only the fruitage of its pilgrimage. As we have eternity for our evolution, we may be certain that even such a Spirit would have opportunities later to enter the pilgrimage of evolution which will make it a self-conscious creative intelligence.
Question: Is "legalized Euthanasia," or lawful execution of the aged, infirm, or suffering persons who desire death, such as I read is being considered in a certain city, legitimate in your opinion?
Answer: At first blush and from the standpoint of people not versed in the teachings of esotericism such a measure would seem to have considerable claim to commendation. Most people on seeing an animal suffering agonies and beyond hope of recovery would feel prompted by humane instincts to put it out of its misery, and the questions, "Why should we not do as much for our fellow men and women? Why should we keep them alive in excruciating suffering maybe for months or years when we know they have no chance of regaining their health and that they are looking and longing for death to put them out of pain?" seem from the common point of view to call for acquiescence. However, when we have a knowledge of the law of consequence and are sure that what we sow we reap, if not in this life then in some future existence, the matter appears in a different light.
We cannot escape our just dues. The suffering that comes to us is needed to teach us a lesson or mellow our character. The only way to shorten such suffering is by an endeavor to understand why we are in the condition that brings us pain. If it is cancer of the stomach, then how have we abused that organ? By overindulgence of food of a nature not suited to our system? Is it the heart? How many times have we lost our tempers and raged like mad, putting a tremendous strain on this part of the body? Or are the other organs of our system weak and debilitated? We may be sure that in some way, either in this life or a previous one, we have abused our body in such a manner as to cause these ailments. Otherwise we would not now be suffering, and the sooner we take the lesson to heart and commence to live a better life more in harmony with the laws of nature we have broken, the sooner our suffering will cease.
It is always in our own grasp to alter conditions, though of course we cannot remedy in a day what it has taken years or lives to break down, but certainly there is no other way in which a permanent cure can be effected. Even if now, by the enactment of such a law as contemplated, the suffering is shortened, we may be sure that when the person so released from his body is reborn his new vehicle will have the tendency to develop the same disease from which he escaped in such an untoward manner. Besides, as has been thoroughly explained in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, this physical body of ours is fashioned in an invisible mold which is called the archetype, and so long as that archetype persists our physical body remains alive. When death occurs from natural causes, or even in the so-called accidents, (which usually are not accidents at all but events used to terminate a life according to the design of the invisible guardians of human affairs) the archetype is disrupted and the Spirit flees.
A suicide, however, is different. In this case the archetype persists after death for a number of years until death should have occurred according to natural events, and being unable to draw to itself the physical atoms it imparts to the suicide during those years of his post-mortem existence a continuous aching feeling, something like a gnawing hunger, or a dull but exceedingly painful toothache. If the plan you mention becomes a law and people are allowed to obtain the services of others to commit suicide (for that is what it really amounts to), there is no doubt that they will suffer in their post-mortem existence in the same manner as the suicide who prescribed his own poison, or cut his own throat. It is a very dangerous plan in other respects, also, and we trust no such practice will be sanctioned by law.
Question: What part of the threefold Spirit is the Higher Self? Is it the Divine Spirit? In the Cosmo it is stated that the Human Spirit is the Ego. Is the Life Spirit not a part of the Ego? Is all the Ego on the physical plane during earth life, or only a parts, as the Hindus teach?
Answer: The higher self is the threefold Spirit: Divine, Life, and Human Spirit, but you must not think of these three as being separated one from the other. The Spirit is undivided as the white light which comes from the Sun through interplanetary space, but as the light may be refracted into three primary colors — blue, yellow, and red — when passing through the denser atmosphere of the earth, so also the Virgin Spirit appears as threefold during manifestation, because sheaths of matter of varying density are placed around it. When it is enveloped only in the substance of the World of Divine Spirit, then it is the Divine Spirit; when the Divine Spirit receives in addition a sheath from the material of the World of Life Spirit, then it becomes the Life Spirit; and when it is finally clothed in the matter of the Region of Abstract Thought it becomes the Human Spirit — the Ego. That is because the Virgin Spirit enmeshed in these three layers of matter is shut off from all consciousness of its Divine Father, and being so blinded by matter that it can no longer see things from the cosmic viewpoint when reaching outward it turns its consciousness inward and beholds itself as separate and apart from all others. Hence, it is an Ego — an individual. At that point then egoism is born, and self-seeking begins.
When the Human Spirit draws around itself for better expression the lower and more concrete vehicles — the mind, the desire body, the vital body — by sinking itself in them, by descending even to the Physical World, it again obtains consciousness of outward things. Then having lost knowledge of the World of God whence it originally came, it commences to conquer the physical world and subdue it to its own ends.
In this respect it differs radically from the Spirits of the other three kingdoms — mineral, vegetable, and animal. The Group Spirit of the mineral has as yet descended only to the Region of Abstract Thought. Therefore the consciousness of the mineral resembles the deepest trance state. The Group Spirit of the vegetable and plant kingdom has descended to the Region of Concrete Thought. Therefore the consciousness of the plant kingdom is akin to that which we have in the deepest dreamless sleep. The Group Spirits of the animals are found in the Desire World, which is next to the world in which we live. Hence the consciousness of the animal is an internal picture consciousness, similar to that which we have in dreams, the pictures being sent by the Group Spirits to the animals to impress upon them what they are to do under certain circumstances. That which we call instinct is thus the wisdom of the Group Spirits, which impresses the animal concerning how it shall act. The Human Spirit alone in all the kingdoms of evolving life on earth is an individualized Ego, and descends into the vehicles which are all gathered in the physical world during the waking hours of the day. Thus we attain to the waking consciousness whereby we are fully aware and awake to all things pertaining to the world in which we then function, are able to use our own reason, express our desires and emotions, and act as dictated by our individual Higher Self — the indwelling Spirit, the Ego.
Question: In the first lecture sent by Mr. Heindel he says something about having engagements with our destiny and being able to cancel them under certain circumstances. Now what I want to know is this: What are those certain circumstances? I realize that now I can build for the future and that things that take place within my own consciousness I can control according to the amount of will that I have and the desire back of that will to try to do what is right. But what about the efforts along the line of wrong influence? What if one pursues the life of the ordinary person and blunders into evil ways? Is he not starting something from which it is impossible to escape? Or can he, by striving to overcome the lower nature, and building a better character, forego the consequences of his own misdeeds? This is a question a friend and I have had many arguments over. She holds to the idea that if we see we are due for an accident or trouble of any kind we can avoid those things by staying away from where they are likely to happen, but it does not seem likely to me that we can escape the past. If we could, we would not build character by running away from anything. Of course, that is a more or less fatalistic view of the matter, but I believe in taking my medicine like a man. Though I kick against the pricks, at the same time I feel disgusted that I am such a weakling.
Answer: There is one important point in the matter which it seems you fail to take into consideration, though it has been plainly and emphatically stated in our literature. "All the laws of nature, including the law of consequence in its application to human life, are under the administration of great Beings of sublime spirituality and superlative wisdom." This law does not work blindly on the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but these great Beings and their agents administer all things with a wisdom that is beyond the comprehension of our finite minds. It has been found, however, that where there is a desire or tendency or possibility of running away from a harvest of sorrow which has accrued from certain ripe destiny, such plans are always circumvented by another move on the part of the invisible administrators of this law.
If you will read again the case cited in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception of a certain lecturer who was warned by Mr. Heindel that if he went out of his house on a certain day he would meet with an accident to certain parts of his body, and how he forgot and thought the 28th was the 29th, took a trip to another town to lecture and was injured, as foretold, in a railway collision. This case will perhaps illustrate our points. The man had been forewarned, he believed in the warning and intended to heed it, but undoubtedly the suffering accruing from that accident was due to him in expiation of certain wrongdoings. Therefore the agents of the law of causation caused him to forget the day of the month.
This principle works also in another way. You seem to think that there is no way of escaping the harvest of the past but there is. We have also repeatedly emphasized the fact that God, or nature, or the agents of this great law, do not aim to "get even" with us. We are here in this great school of life, safeguarded by these laws of nature. They are made for our benefit and not for our hurt, although they limit us in a certain way just as we limit our children's liberties for the purpose of guarding them against dangers of indiscretion. When by our past actions we have laid up a certain store of retribution for ourselves which is to be worked out at some future time, and then see our mistake, turn over a new leaf, and live in harmony with the law we had previously broken, then by that action we wipe the slate clean with respect to our previous peccadilloes. The agents of the great law, seeing that we have ceased from wrongdoing in that particular respect, would not wantonly inflict suffering upon us. Bear this fact in mind: all the laws of nature are under similar divine, intelligent administration, for that is the difference between the fatalistic and the spiritual viewpoints. The hand of God, through His agents, is everywhere, from the greatest things, such as the travel of a planet in its orbit, to the most trivial detail like the falling of a sparrow. It is an actual fact that in God we live and move and have our being. We are under His loving care in everything and therefore nothing can happen to us that is not in harmony with His great divine plan. That plan certainly cannot be fatalistic!
Question: Do you consider Mother Shipton's prophecies authentic?
Answer: Half a century before America was discovered, "Mother Shipton," the Yorkshire seeress, prophesied the discovery of an unknown land in which gold would abound. She saw the automobiles and railroads of today with the many accidents they would cause, the telephone and the telegraph, divers, submarines, airships, and the great iron ships which have superseded vessels of wood. She foresaw the great political upheavals in the world, notably in France, her alliance with England and an amalgamation of the Anglo-Saxon races which may yet come to pass, notwithstanding their present strife. She beheld the emancipation of the Jew and his preferment to positions of prominence, and unprecedented spread of knowledge among those of even the most lowly estate, ending with the prediction of certain upheavals of the earth's crust whereby old lands will become submerged and new land appear, and in 1991 she foresees the end of the world.
The last named prophecies will probably cause most of us to shake our heads in a skeptical manner, but if we give the matter a little thought the idea may not seem so far-fetched. We know that upheavals of the earth have taken place in the past, and earthquakes and volcanic outbursts show us that the subterranean activities are not suspended by any means. The writer has seen for a number of years great subterranean caverns filled with oil and gas which run in a general direction from Maine across the American continent in a southwesterly direction, beneath Southern California and far out into the South Pacific Ocean. Their explosion would make a great gap in the earth. At the same time he sees an archetype in the process of construction which shows the shape the earth will take at that place when a cataclysm or series of cataclysms have broken up the present shape of this continent and the adjoining ocean. Perhaps it is hazardous to set a time when this remodeling of the earth will begin, but the archetype or matrix molded in mind stuff, and representing the creative thought of the Grand Architect and His builders, seems so nearly complete that, judging by the progress made during the years the writer has watched its construction, it seems safe to say that by the middle of the present century (1950), if not before, the upheavals will have started. It is not at all incredible that there may be one of such magnitude in 1991 that the ancient seeress was justified in judging it the end of the world. However, perhaps the writer is premature in judging that the upheavals will start in the middle of the century. They may be deferred to the end. Only time can decide, but certain it is that preparations for a great change have been going on for centuries and are now nearing completion in the invisible world. Therefore, we may expect soon to see Mother Shipton's prophecy concerning this matter fulfilled as the ones mentioned in the beginning our note have been.
We append the prophecy so that our readers may judge for themselves:
Carriages without horses shall go,
And accidents fill the world with woe;
Primrose Hill in London shall be,
And in its center a Bishop's See;
Around the world thoughts shall fly
In the twinkling of an eye;
Water shall great wonders do.
How strange! yet shall be true.
The world upside down shall be,
And gold found at the root of trees;
Through hills man shall ride,
And no horse or ass by his side;
Under water men shall walk,
Shall ride, shall sleep, shall talk
In the air men shall be seen,
In white, in black, and in green.
A great man shall come and go!
Iron in water shall float
As easy as a wooden boat,
And gold shall be found
In a land that's not now known.
Fire and water shall more wonders do,
England shall at last admit a Jew;
The Jew that was held in scorn Shall of a Christian be born.
A house of glass shall come to pass
In England, but alas!
War will follow with the work
In the land of the Pagan and Turk,
And State and State in fierce strife
Will seek each other's life.
But when the North shall divide the South,
An eagle shall build in the Lion's mouth.
Taxes for blood and for war
Shall come to every door.
Three times shall lovely France
Be led to play a bloody dance,
Before her people shall be free,
Three tyrant rulers shall she see —
Three rulers in succession be,
Each sprung from different dynasty;
Then shall the worser fight be done,
England and France shall be as one;
The British olive next shall twine
In marriage with the German Vine.
Men shall walk over rivers and under rivers.
All England's sons that plough the land
Shall be seen book in hand;
Learning shall so ebb and flow,
The poor shall most wisdom know.
Waters shall flow where corn doth grow.
Corn shall grow where waters doth flow;
Houses shall appear in the vales below.
And covered by hail and snow.
The world then to an end shall come,
Nineteen hundred and ninety-one.
Question: In the Cosmo it is stated: "All esoteric schools belong to one of the Seven Planetary Rays, and one can join only the school of the ray to which he belongs. To what ray does the Rosicrucian Fellowship belong? And does this mean that anyone applying for admission thereto, if not of the same ray, would be rejected? Understanding of this point is rendered still more difficult because of the statement, I think, in the astrology books, that our father star is not known until the last initiation.
Answer: There are two sets of people in the world, spoken of in the Masonic Legend as the Sons of Seth and the Sons of Cain, and represented in our modern times by Freemasonry and Catholicism, statecraft and priestcraft — those who listen to the voice of intellect and follow the head, and those who obey the voice of the heart and follow their emotions and feelings. The Sons of Seth, people who go along the devotional path and follow their religion in whatever country they may be, do not come in touch with any Mystery School at any time of their existence. They have followed their spiritual teachers, docile as lambs, as water flows gently in an artificial canal, and among their leaders, from the time of Abel, the shepherd, we find great lights like Solomon, who was later reborn as Jesus, and is now the invisible spiritual pillar of the Church, which he will eventually guide into the haven of the Kingdom of Christ. These people are the divine prototypes, Adam and Eve, created by Jehovah, the regent of Luna, the Queen of the waters of the world and the emotions of men. Our emotions are as unstable as water, which is governed in its periodical ebb and flow by the Moon.
The other stream of humanity, called the Sons of Cain, is that class in whom the divine essence, the Ego, makes itself felt as a burning fire. The original creative instinct is keen within them, for when humanity was in its cradle, they listened to the voice of the Lucifer Spirits and ate of the Tree of Knowledge; hence they became enlightened. The mind prospered at the expense of the heart, and from Cain, Tubal-Cain, and Methuselah have come all the craftsmen of the world. They were the ones who built Solomon's Temple under the leadership of Hiram Abiff, the Master Mason, who was later reborn as the Widow's Son of Naim, raised by the strong grip of the Lion of Judah, and is now working through industry and statecraft under the name of Christian Rosenkreuz to bring his kindred into the kingdom of Christ where the two streams will unite — where there will be neither priests nor kings, but one, even Christ, who will fill the dual office of King and Priest.
In every vast company of men there are always some behind and some in advance, and we may find individuals, belonging to each of these two streams of humanity among the lowest types as well as among the most highly civilized people on earth. All along the path of evolution, there are, as we might say, gates which lead to the path of initiation and which may be unlocked by anyone who has the proper key. The locks are different at different points on the path of evolution, and they are becoming more complicated, for we are all by evolution now learning lessons which were in by-gone ages taught in the process of initiation in the Mystery Schools.
In each life we are born with a new horoscope. Our Ascendant and planets will be very different in each life according to the lessons we have to learn and the liabilities we are to liquidate from the past. In one life we may have Mars as ruler, another life may be ruled by Venus, or any one of the planets. it is designed that the Spirit should learn all things in order to become perfect, and it must therefore evolve under the influence of all the planets in order that everything in its nature may be evenly balanced. Nevertheless, the stamp of our Father Star or Father Fire, is always there, and this makes one who is inherently a martial spirit different from one who comes from the Jupiter Ray, though their horoscopes may be quite similar, perhaps, as in the case of twins.
Children born with the same Greenwich Mean Time in Madrid, New York, or Honolulu would be of widely different types, stamped by their national and racial peculiarities, and yet their horoscopes would be much alike. This illustrates that it is not the horoscope itself that counts, but the invisible influence that is due to the identity of the Father Fire or Father Star; and when a man or woman is ready to enter the gate or path which leads up to the Mystery School, he or she will feel the right spiritual attraction through the basic color vibration of the aura. If this attraction is followed, it is sure to guide him to the right place, where he will not be refused.
Generally speaking, it may be said that all the people of the Western World belong to the Western Wisdom School of the Rosicrucians, and that they make a mistake when they endeavor to enter a school belonging to or teaching the Eastern philosophy. When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, the land of the Bull, where the animal was worshiped when the Sun by precession was in the sign Taurus, he gave the people under his guidance a new symbol, the Lamb. From the time when the Sun by precession went through the sign Aries, the Lamb, it has been and is idolatry to worship the golden Calf (Taurus), or bow down before the serpents and scorpions, which were the priests of that dispensation (because Scorpio is the opposite sign from Taurus). Then came Christ, the Lamb of God, so-called, to inaugurate a new religion; and we hear of a judgment when He shall come again under the sign Libra, the scales, which is opposite Aries, to judge all of the world.
Later, by precession, the Sun passed through the sign Pisces, the fishes, and for two thousand years we have been abstaining from meat on certain days and eating fish, while we worshiped the opposite sign Virgo, the immaculate Virgin. Now the Sun is entering, by precession, within orb of the celestial sign Aquarius, the Son of Man, and in the coming Aquarian Age we shall have an entirely different standard from what we have had before. As a matter of fact, we must learn to worship the Christ within, and this Christ is not the same for each one of us. This is the savior that is to lead us out of our present condition. The difference is the basic planetary ray that is in each and every one of us. So there is the horoscopic ray, governed by the planet which is ruler of our horoscope in each life; there is the individual ray, which is governed by the sub-ray of our Father Fire or Father Star, under which we originated; and, finally, there is the Father Fire or Ray itself. It is this latter which is not revealed until the last initiation. our individual ray is discovered unto us at the time we receive the discipleship instruction, and the horoscopic ray is evident as soon as we cast the figure and know how to read it.
To clear up this point from another angle, let us illustrate by colors. There are seven colors in the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, etc. But within the red we shall also find seven sub-rays, which are red-red, red-orange, red-yellow, etc. The same with the yellow ray — we shall find there yellow-red, yellow-yellow, etc. Similarly under the ray of Mars there are some who are Mars-Saturn, others who are Mars-Sun, others again who are Mars-Venus, and so on. Mars is then the Father Star, while the name of the other planet designates the individual Ray, and therefore we find in the Mystery Schools, all over the world, people who are born with any one of the twelve signs rising and any one of the planets ruling. Also people with individual rays of the Sun, Venus, Mars, Mercury, etc., are found in both the Eastern and Western Mystery Schools. But the Mystery School itself is colored by the deep, overpowering planetary influence of the Father Fire, the Father Star, under which it originated.
You will understand that as the Father Fire is not revealed until the last initiation, the basic nature of any Mystery School cannot be told openly in public. But you must differentiate between the Mystery School and such an association as The Rosicrucian Fellowship and other kindred societies, which are only preparatory schools for their respective esoteric orders. Such schools as The Rosicrucian Fellowship and kindred organizations would naturally be dominated by the planetary influence from the fountain head. This therefore cannot be given.
There are plenty of people who claim that they know all and who will smile mysteriously, or give out misinformation which cannot be controverted and proven false, because it concerns the secrets of initiation. The writer has always made it a rule to say honestly and without hesitation whenever a question was asked to which he could not give an Answer: "I do not know." To profess omniscience is equivalent to a profession of divinity. Though the writer has met quite a number of "professors," he has met very few, if any, "possessors," and you will have to wait for the answer to that question until you come to the proper point in initiation.
Even in the case of the individual ray, which is given to the disciples at the time they enter the path of discipleship, it has been found that people under the sign Gemini, for instance, which would be supposed to be ruled by Mercury, had in their individual ray all the different other planets; and the same with every one of the other signs. The writer has given time and study, endeavoring to find a rule, but it has proven absolutely futile. There is only the one explanation, given by the Elder Brothers, that the individual ray is retained by the Spirit throughout its whole series of lives, and perfectly independent of the horoscopical rays which change according to its birth, environment, and the lessons to be learned in each life.
Question: Can you tell us anything about Christian Rosenkreuz, his person, habitat, environment, or what part of the world he is in? It has been said that he is on the western coast. Please tell me if it is permissible to know.
Answer: No, it is not permissible to know. The whereabouts and the movements of the august head of the Rosicrucian Order are always shrouded in mystery. If you have read about Rosicrucian initiation as explained in the Cosmo you will remember that he does not even appear in the body at the Temple services so far as the lay brothers are able to determine, for though the Temple is built of ether and the twelve Elder Brothers together with the lay brothers function in their soul bodies during the Temple service, the majority among us are able to see a body built of even so tenuous substance as mind-stuff. Hence it is evident that the presence of the head of the Order is altogether spiritual, and it is said that he manifests only to the twelve who like him are able to function in the highest vehicles.
Nevertheless, as has also been explained in the Cosmo, the head of our august Order is always active in the affairs of the world, working with the governments of the nations in the Western World to guide them along the appropriate path of their evolution. To this end he appears in a physical embodiment, at least part of the time, and if memory serves the editor right, a lay sister ventured to put a question concerning this matter to one of the Elder Brothers shortly after the outbreak of the war. The rest of us held our breath in amazement at her indiscretion. She wanted to know if Christian Rosenkreuz was on the throne of one of the warring nations. The Elder Brother appeared considerably taken aback at the question, but told her that such matters could not be discussed, as the slightest inkling of his identity might destroy his usefulness. However, he answered the question so far as to say that Christian Rosenkreuz was not to be found on the throne of any nation, and at the same time he intimated that he was the power behind the throne. Nevertheless, he gave no clue that could lead us to look anywhere in particular. We were of course, left free to indulge in our own speculations, and the editor thought of Russia, where an obscure monk seemed to exercise a strange influence that commenced about the latter part of 1905 when Saturn and Mars were in conjunction in the sign Aquarius, which rules Russia. Since the time of those great riots, this monk has had a strange influence in the Empire. We have never spoken of this to anyone before, but now that we learn from a newspaper clipping that his career has ended, it will probably do no harm if our conjecture is correct. In that case we predict that there are still further developments to be expected and that the monk from Tomsk will be heard from again. If we are mistaken, the speculation can hurt no one and we give it and the newspaper account only for what they are worth.
This monk was maligned in the highest degree and accused of all the crimes on the calendar, a fact which may make it difficult to believe that he was indeed our holy Brother, C.R.C., but a little reflection soon shows that a bad reputation may be borne by the most spiritual. Was not Christ called a winebibber? Was it not said, "He hath a devil"? and was He not crucified as a criminal? What wonder then that the monk from Tomsk was accused of being drunken and dissolute. What wonder that he was assassinated for the supposed reason that he was winning the Czar over to a scheme for the conclusion of a separate peace with Germany?
There are millions in Russia who mourn him as a saint. He was the poor man's friend. There are others who seek to brand him as a sycophant, a hypocrite and an impostor, but one thing is absolutely certain, he was a man possessed of an unusual power or they would not have feared him.
The following clipping from a newspaper sent by a correspondent is one of a number of accounts which have appeared in various places:
"An incredible reign has just ended at Petrograd. It was the reign of a monk. A simple peasant was Grigori Rasputin when he first appeared in the Russian capital a half score years ago. He came from Eastern Russia — the Russia that merges into Asia and shares its mysticism. This monk trod a path of victory to power. How great this power was over the lives of 180,000,000 people will never be known.
"It is known, however, that Grigori Rasputin — 'Saint Grigori' they called him toward the last — sent explicit orders to ministers, and these orders were obeyed. It is known that his levees in the palace once occupied by the Grand Duke Alexis were attended by the nobility of Russia — by high-born ladies of the palace, by generals in glittering uniforms, by all the high and the mighty of the empire. The poorest also came with prayers and petitions, which were granted with the initialed order of Rasputin to heads of governments.
"It is also said that this saint who came from Asia exercised a mysterious power over the conscience of the Czar; that the Czarina bowed her imperial head to his decrees; that rulers were elevated to the skies or humbled to the dust at his word.
"And the strange story of this monk who brought the darkness of the Middle Ages with him is not based upon hearsay. Since 1912 the representatives of the Russian people have been struggling to free Russia from the grasp of this Richelieu who could barely read and write.
"Again and again has the Duma denounced the 'dark forces' which dominated the palace. Yet so powerful was this exalted peasant from Tomsk that he could defy the unanimous vote of the Duma demanding his elimination from the life of Russia. So strongly was he entrenched in the seat of the mighty that he could issue a decree commanding the Russian press to cease its clamor — and he could enforce his command.
"There is no parallel to the twilight rule of this monk except in the Middle Ages or in the 'Forbidden City' of Peking. In the Forbidden City, the walled stronghold of the Manchus, a concubine in our times rose to be empress dowager of 400,000,000 persons. Her rule was absolute. The shadowy figure of the nominally-reigning emperor was blotted out by the empress dowager's actual power. Tzu-Hsi, with her enameled face and her gorgeous finery, uttered the words that meant life or death to courtiers, governors, and viceroys.
"What went on behind the walls of the Forbidden City none knew. One or two European women were admitted to that domain of slaves and eunuchs. What they reported was exceedingly interesting. It afforded a glimpse into a world which the Europeans believed to have passed forever with the advent of gunpowder, the railroad, and the telegraph. But the machinery that moved that government by women and slaves remained a mystery. The power that controlled the lives of 400,000,000 people remained a shadow.
"The story of Rasputin is more amazing than the story of the dowager empress, Tzu-Hsi. The holy man from Tomsk dominated, not a scheduled oriental harem surrounded by high walls of brick and tradition, but one of the most brilliant courts of Europe — the Europe of today, the Europe that is dealing with tragic facts. The empire that Rasputin swayed with his strange pretensions to a divine mission and divine powers is one of the deciding factors of a decisive period in the history of civilization. The anachronism might well be regarded as incredible.
"And yet this man undoubtedly played, or tried to play, a master's part in the affairs, not only of Russia, but of Europe. All Russia believes that eight years ago Rasputin, by his mysterious powers prevented the outbreak of war between Russia and Austria-Hungary at the moment when the Bosnia-Herzegovina question stirred the fires of international hatred and suspicion to a fresh blaze.
"In the present crisis, amid the solemn surroundings of the Russian Parliament, Rasputin has been accused of seeking to sell his country to the enemy by trying to bring about a separate peace on humiliating terms between Russia and the Central Powers. The crime that brought an end to his mystic overlordship of the imperial mind and conscious has been greeted in the Duma and by the Russian press as an act of national deliverance."
Question: Why is humanity averse to a snake? Is the Group Spirit of the snake man's enemy?
Answer: You are mistaken in your supposition that humanity as a whole is averse to the snake. Many species of snakes are altogether harmless, and very useful animals. Placed in the basement of the house they will keep it perfectly clear of vermin, mice, and rats. In the garden they eliminate destructive animals such as gophers and field mice, which do considerable damage. Therefore the wise farmer looks upon them with very friendly eyes. But the question of aversion is not by any means confined to the snakes. Millions of people are afraid of a mouse, a beetle, a spider, or other harmless animals. it is simply a question of temperament, and no Group Spirit is an enemy of humanity or of any other species of animals. Whatever may seem to indicate that is a wrong view of the matter.
Question: What is the difference between the soul and the soul body?
Answer: This is one of the most intimate questions which has ever been asked, and it cannot be answered directly, but only by illustration. As children learn certain intellectual truths beyond their grasp by a pictorial illustration, infant humanity learned deep religious truths through myths and allegories.
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 becomes more strongly operative as guiding principles of conduct.
But we can perhaps gain a better idea of the difference between soul and soul body if we consider the allegory contained in the ancient Atlantean Mystery Temple, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. This God-given symbol was furnished with all the implements of soul growth necessary for the development of man. Among them there was in the sanctuary the Table of Shewbread. Upon this table there were twelve little cakes made into two piles of six each and on each pile there was a little heap of incense. Now will you remember, please, that the grain from which these cakes were made was given by God to man, but it was necessary for man to plant it, to till the soil, to water and to nourish the tiny plants. He must also harvest them, thresh the grain and crush it into flour. He must knead the dough and bake the read before he could bring it into the temple and have bread to shew as a product of this labor with the God-given grain.
This God-given grain represents opportunity. Twelve kinds of opportunities come to man each year through the twelve departments of life represented by the twelve houses in his horoscope. But many may neglect these opportunities, as the ancient Israelites might have thrown their grain in a corner and let it lie. If so, he will have no bread to shew to the Lord. He will be like the servant with one talent who went and buried it. On the other hand, if he tilled the soil and nourished the grain of opportunity for service in the Lord's vineyard, then there will be an increase which he may harvest and prepare to bring into the Lord's temple at the proper time to shew that he had faithfully cultivated every opportunity for service, and made the most thereof according to ability.
We note, however, that these twelve cakes of shew bread were not themselves offered up to the lord, but on each pile of six there was a little heap of incense which represented the essence of the shew bread. By analogy this is the essence of our service; you will understand why by another little illustration found in the experience we go through to gain physical faculties.
As you remember, during the time when we went to school and learned to write, we made most awkward motions and contortions with the arm and body in order to form letters on the paper. We blotted our copy books so that they looked most hideous, and our attempt at writing was anything but beautiful. Nevertheless, by degrees we acquired the faculty, and in the course of years we forgot all about the experience of those early days when we endeavored to cultivate it. But this is the point: if we had not gone through that cumbersome experience we would not now possess the faculty of writing, and another point is this: after we have acquired the faculty it is unnecessary to remember the cumbersome methods of its acquirement. Similarly also, the coarse physical substance, the grain of the shewbread, was not to be offered to the Lord, but only the essence or aroma thereof, the faculty of skilled service, the benevolence which we have cultivated in doing good to others.
The two little piles of incense were therefore taken to the altar of incense in front of the second veil and lighted. There ascends a cloud of smoke in the outer or eastward part of the temple, but only the aroma, pure and free from smoke, penetrates through the veil into the inner sanctuary. By analogy therefore we may liken the shewbread to the experiences which we go through in serving and helping others; the frankincense which is on top of the pile of shewbread may be likened to the essence of sympathy and helpfulness which we extract from these services, the soul growth contained therein. This is seen about us as a golden aura which constitutes the soul body. But though this glorious vehicle is made of the two finest ethers, it could not by any process amalgamate with the Spirit itself, any more than the incense can burn without emitting smoke and leaving behind a residue of ashes. Therefore by the spiritual alchemy of the evening exercise of Retrospection, or in the natural process after death, this soul body is burned without the veil (in the first heaven), and the aroma or the soul penetrates the veil to the very innermost sanctuary as pabulum for the Spirit.
Thus the Spirit carries with itself the aroma of all its past lives. A younger soul which has had only a few existences from which to draw experiences and soul growth, is cruel and selfish for it has not performed service to others. But one who has gone through many lives, who has learned by sorrow and suffering to feel and to do for others, responds instantly to the cry of pain, because the soul in him or her is the quintessence of service and therefore always ready to aid others regardless of personal comforts and enjoyment.
Question: We have had some discussion in our classes regarding the soul. Some confusion of opinion exists. What is the relation between the soul and the mind? Are the forces of both permanently united to the spirit? Which body will be used in the later stages of development, the mental or the soul body?
Answer: We will turn for our answer to the Cosmo. There we find a chart which embodies the whole scheme of involution and evolution. It is not a very complicated chart, either, and the student who wishes to master the mystery of existence would do well to memorize thoroughly this diagram.
Reading on the left side thereof, we learn that during a stage of unconscious evolution the Spirit grew a threefold body and crystallized into it. This was the dense body, the vital body, and the desire body. In the earth period, the focus of mind was given and this becomes the fulcrum upon which involution turns to evolution. Then a threefold stage of conscious evolution commences during which the growth of a threefold soul is accomplished by spiritualizing the three bodies into the soul. We find that in the remainder of the Earth Period we extract the conscious soul from the dense body; in the Jupiter Period the intellectual soul is extracted from the vital body; and in the Vulcan Period we become creative intelligences by amalgamation of the threefold soul with the mind.
In order to make this more clear, we will turn to the section on alchemy and soul growth. There we read as follows:
"The dense body was started in the Saturn Period, passed through various transformations in the Sun and Moon Periods, and will reach its highest development in the Earth Period.
The vital body was started in the Sun Period, was reconstructed in the Moon and Earth Periods, and will reach perfection in the Jupiter Period, which is its fourth stage, as the Earth Period is the fourth stage for the dense body.
The desire body was started in the Moon Period, reconstructed in the Earth Period, will be further modified in the Jupiter Period, reaching perfection in the Venus Period."
"Referring to Diagram 8 will show that the lowest Globe of the Jupiter Period is located in the Etheric Region. It would therefore be impossible to use the dense physical vehicle there, as only a vital body can be used in the Etheric Region. Yet it must not be supposed that after spending the time from the beginning of the Saturn Period to the end of the Earth Period in completing and perfecting this body, it is then thrown away that man may function in a "higher" vehicle!
"Nothing in nature is wasted. In the Jupiter Period the forces of the dense body will be superimposed on the vital body. That vehicle will then possess the powers of the dense body in addition to its own faculties and will therefore be a much more valuable instrument for the expression of the threefold Spirit, than if built from its own forces alone.
"Similarly, Globe D of the Venus Period is located in the Desire World (see Diagram 8). Hence neither a dense nor vital body could be used as an instrument of consciousness. Therefore the essences of the perfected dense and vital bodies are incorporated in the completed desire body, the latter thus becoming a vehicle of transcendent qualities, marvelously adaptable and so responsive to the slightest wish of the indwelling Spirit that in our present limitations it is beyond our utmost conception.
Yet the efficiency of even this splendid vehicle will be transcended when in the Vulcan Period its essence, together with the essences of the dense and vital bodies, are added to the mind, which becomes the highest of man's vehicles, containing within itself the quintessence of all that was best in all the vehicles. The vehicle of the Venus Period being beyond our present power of conception, how much more so is that which will be at the service of the divine beings of the Vulcan Period!
During involution the creative Hierarchies assisted man to arouse into activity the threefold Spirit, the Ego, to build the threefold body, and to acquire the link of mind. Now, however, on the seventh day (to use the language of the Bible), God rests. Man must work out his own salvation. The threefold Spirit must complete the working out of the plan begun by the Gods.
The Human Spirit, which was awakened during involution in the Moon Period, will be the most prominent of the three aspects of the Spirit in the evolution of the Jupiter Period, which is the corresponding Period on the upward arc of the spiral. The Life Spirit, which was started into activity in the Sun Period will manifest its principal activity during the corresponding Venus period, and the particular influences of the Divine Spirit will be strongest in the Vulcan Period, because it was vivified in the corresponding Saturn Period.
All three aspects of the Spirit are active all the time during evolution, but the principal activity of each aspect will be unfolded in those particular periods, because the work to be done there is its special work.
When the threefold Spirit had evolved the threefold body and gained control of it through the focus of mind, it commenced to evolve the threefold soul by working from within. How much or how little soul a man has depends upon the amount of work the Spirit has done in the bodies. This has been explained in the section describing post-mortem experiences. (See the Cosmo). As much of the desire body as has been worked upon by the Ego is transmuted into the emotional soul, and is ultimately assimilated by the Human Spirit, the special vehicle of which is the desire body.
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.
As much of the dense body as has been worked upon by the Divine Spirit becomes the conscious soul, because the dense body is its material emanation.
The conscious soul grows by action, external impacts, and experience.
The emotional soul grows by the feelings and emotions generated by actions and experiences. The intellectual soul as mediator between the other two grows by the exercise of memory, by which it links together past and present experiences and the feelings engendered thereby, thus creating "sympathy" and "antipathy" which could not exist apart from memory, because the feelings resulting from experience alone would be evanescent.
During involution the Spirit progressed by growing bodies, but evolution depends upon soul growth — the transmutation of the bodies into soul. The soul is, so to say, the quintessence, the power or force of the body, and when a body has been completely built and brought to perfection through the stages and periods as above described, the soul is fully extracted therefrom and is absorbed by the one of the three aspects of the Spirit which generated the body in the first place, thus:
The conscious soul will be absorbed by the Divine Spirit in the seventh revolution of the Jupiter period;
The intellectual soul will be absorbed by the Life Spirit in the sixth revolution of the Venus Period; The emotional soul will be absorbed by the Human Spirit in the fifth revolution of the Vulcan Period. So much for the evolution of soul. We will now turn to the mind and the various stages which brings it to perfection.
We read in the Cosmo: "At the present time, however, the mind is not focused in a way that enables it to give a clear and true picture of what the Spirit imagines. It is not one pointed. It gives misty and clouded pictures. Hence the necessity of experiment to show the inadequacies of the first conception, and bring about new imaginings and ideas until the image produced by the Spirit in mental substance has been reproduced in physical substance.
At the best, we were able to shape through the mind only such images as have to do with form, because the human mind was not started until the Earth Period, and therefore is now in its "form" or "mineral" stage. Hence in our operations we are confined to forms, to minerals. We can imagine ways and means of working with the mineral forms of the three lower kingdoms, but can do little or nothing with living bodies. We may indeed graft living branches to a live tree, or a living part of animal or man to another living part, but it is not life with which we are working. It is form only. We are making different conditions, but the life which already inhabited the form continues to do so still. To create life is beyond man's power until the mind has become alive.
In the Jupiter Period the mind will be vivified to some extent and man can then imagine forms which will live and grow, like plants.
In the Venus period, when his mind has acquired "feeling," he can create living, growing, and feeling things.
When he reaches perfection, at the end of the Vulcan Period, he will be able to "imagine" into existence creatures that will live, grow, feel, and think.
In the Saturn Period the life wave which is now man started on its evolution. The Lords of Mind were then human. They worked with man at that Period, when he was mineral. They now have nothing to do with the lower kingdom, but are concerned solely with our human development.
Our present animals started their mineral existence in the Sun Period, at which time the Archangels were human. Therefore, the Archangels are the rulers and guides of the evolution of that which is now animal, but have nothing to do with plant or mineral.
The present plants had their mineral existence in the Moon Period. The angels were then human. Therefore they have special concern with the life that now inhabits the plants, to guide it up to the human stage; but they have no interest in the minerals.
Our present humanity will have to work with the new life wave which entered evolution in the Earth period and now ensouls the minerals. We are now working with it by means of the faculty of imagination, giving it form — building it into ships, bridges, railways, houses, etc.
In the Jupiter Period we shall guide the evolution of the plant kingdom, for that which is at present mineral will then have a plantlike existence and we must work with it there as the angels are now doing with our plant kingdom. Our faculty of imagination will be so developed that we shall have the ability, not only to create forms by means of it, but to endow those forms with vitality.
"In the Venus Period our present mineral life wave shall have advanced another step, and we shall be doing for the animals of that period what the archangels are now doing for our animals — giving them living and feeling forms.
"Lastly in the Vulcan Period it will be our privilege to give them a germinal mind, as the Lords of Mind did to us. The present mineral will then have passed through stages similar to those through which the Angels and Archangels are now passing. We shall then have reached a point in evolution a little higher than that of the present Lords of Mind, for remember there is never an exact reproduction anywhere, but always progressive improvement, because of the spiral.
"The Divine Spirit will absorb the Human Spirit at the close of the Jupiter Period; the Life Spirit at the close of the Venus Period, and the perfected mind, embodying all that it has garnered during its pilgrimage through all the seven Periods, will be absorbed by the Divine Spirit at the close of the Vulcan Period."
From the foregoing it will be clear that there is a distinct evolution of soul and another equally distinct evolution of the mind. Yet they are not at all independent of one another, but work in perfect unison, as for instance, the heart and lungs work together to keep up the rhythm of the body. Therefore it will be neither the mental, nor the soul body that we shall use in the later stages of our development, but a composite vehicle containing increasingly the essence of all our bodies, which will then be a composite garment of the Spirit, so wonderful and glorious that it is beyond even our faintest conception at the present time.
Question: There seems to have been a great decline of faith in recent years. What remedy is there for this from the esoteric viewpoint?
Answer: There is an esoteric reason for the decline of faith, and it is useless to discuss a remedy until a cause has been found. No haphazard measure will turn humanity permanently back to the path of rectitude. Let us first consider some of the causes commonly given, and then we shall understand the esoteric scientific reason all the better.
We often hear it sneeringly said that the reason the churches stand empty is that the minister has no new message, but is continually rehashing the old Bible stories. The reproach loses its force the moment the question is asked: "Have we learned the Bible by heart?" We expect a child to repeat the multiplication table indefinitely until he knows and can apply it. It is more important that we should know the Bible thoroughly than that the child should remember the table; hence repetition is necessary.
The Athenians on Mars Hill were always seeking some new thing that would give them food for discussion, but something more is required for soul growth. Paul specifically informs us that although we may know all the mysteries, and all knowledge, and have not love, it profits us nothing.
The reproach of the empty pews rests particularly upon the Protestant churches of all denominations, and it may not be out of place therefore to draw a comparison between their method and the method of the mother church. If we are anxious to learn we must put prejudice aside and strive to look at the merits and demerits of each in an unbiased manner.
Let us first look into the ordinary Protestant church, where the minister strives to give the people the gospel. Many of the pews are empty. Among those present the ladies outnumber the men by six to one or more. The minister is usually earnest and strives to be eloquent when he addressed the Deity in prayer, but he has heard the reproach of repetition so often that he is always afraid of having one service resemble another in the slightest degree. A new prayer, a new sermon, a new song from the choir, everything as new as possible, so as to escape that dreadful reproach. He is almost a nervous wreck because of the haunting thought that his people may think him "stale."
Next, let us go to a "popular" church and see what methods they use. The minister in these churches is always "progressive" and "up-to-date." There is often a gymnasium and a physical culture instructor attached to the establishment. Every night in the week there is a meeting connected with this, that, or the other club. There are picnics, lawn parties, and dances in the summer, and church suppers in the winter. Meetings for men and meetings for women are usually sandwiched in, so that the whole is one dazzling phantasmagoria with never a dull moment during the week, and on Sunday — ah, that is the real treat, the great attraction — then the pastor entertains, as only he knows how. He is assisted by a matchless choir of high priced artists trained by an equally high priced conductor. The music is not particularly religious, save as all good music fresh from the heaven world speaks to the spiritual man, and awakens the memories of our eternal home. But it is a treat to the music lover and draws hundreds on that account.
Between the opening and the closing parts of the musical program comes the so-called "sermon." One of our contributors relates that once she was horrified on entering a church to see on the pulpit this inscription: "I preach not the gospel." The words of the context: "Woe unto me if," were hidden on the other side of the pulpit, and the effect must have been startling to say the least. However, it is a motto that might be on the pulpit of more than one "progressive" church, for though the "sermon" may open with a quotation from the Bible, that is usually the only reference to the word of God. The rest is an excellent oration on whatever topic may be the most live local or national issue, or if there be a dearth from the general social and political sources, there are always the temperance and purity problems. True, they are worn, like the Gospels, but by taking a bottle of beer on the pulpit, working up a frenzy and smashing the cursed thing, it is still possible to make an appeal to the jaded taste for sensationalism which is ultimately developed by most of the pastor's hearers. But by that time the "progressive" pastor gets a call to go and build up another church elsewhere.
This much is admitted universally: under the continued pastorate of one man the churchgoers lose interest. However, this is not because their ministers are not sincere and hard working. The great majority are exemplary in every way, but somehow they cannot keep their hold on the people. Some denominations allot the churches under their jurisdiction to their ministers for a certain term, and at the end of that time transfer them to another section to work there awhile.
Much may be said both for and against these various schemes, but that is beside the present discussion. Only one remedy for lack of interest seems to have a potency sufficiently powerful to meet the general approval as a producer of at least temporary enthusiasm: the revival.
There people flock to hear a stranger, always of strong, dominant, and aggressive personality, with a voice that can speak in octaves from a low pleading call, catching the crushed sinner, to the clarion cry which sounds like the crack of doom to the recalcitrants. Like the "progressive" pastor, he is ably aided by a trained staff, choir, and orchestra, all arranged to make a powerful appeal to the sensations. People are "converted" by thousands and religion (?) takes on a new lease of life in that community.
But, alas, only for a while. It is a fact needing no more than the bare statement, that after a very little while all but a pitifully small percentage of the converts backslide, and the poor minister must go on laboring to keep the semblance of religion in a community increasingly negligent of spiritual matters.
This state of affairs has become so notorious that comparatively few young men enter the seminaries. There is thus a decline in both churchgoers and ministers, which, if continued, can have but one ending — the extinction of the Protestant church.
When we investigate the methods of the Catholic church for the sake of comparison and to arrive at the correct conclusion regarding its power of attraction, we should first note the absolute contrast between the service there and that in the Protestant churches. If we listen for a moment at the door of a dozen of the edifices of protestant denominations, we shall find that each minister has a different topic, but we may go to any Catholic church in the wide world, and we shall find that they are all using the same ritual at the altar on a given day. What the priest may say from the pulpit is negligible in face of that all-important fact, for words are vibrations. They are creative, as demonstrated when sand and spores form geometrical figures in response to the voice of a singer, and the Mass chanted in countless Catholic churches scattered all over the world reverberates with cumulative power through the universe as one mighty anthem, affecting all who are in tune therewith, raising their religious fervor and loyalty to their church in a manner unapproachable by the isolated and haphazard efforts of individuals, no matter how sincere.
In corroboration of this assertion regarding the cumulative power of a ritual, we may mention the phenomenal hold of Christian Science on its followers. The Christian Scientists have no high priced preachers. Their music is not out of the ordinary. Yet their churches are filled to the doors, and they are branching out at a wonderful rate because they have, first, a message of vital interest, health, and wealth; and second, the esoteric effect of concentrated effort obtained by using identical readings in every Christian Science church in the world, so that the cumulative effect may be felt by every Christian Scientist who is in tune. This effect would be much stronger if the service were really esoteric, and chanted to a certain strain as is the Mass.
Thus, to sum up this phase of the matter, the persistently continued individual attempts of Protestant preachers to guide their people by new and original sermons are a failure, while concerted efforts centered in uniform rituals repeated year after year, as put forth by Roman Catholics and Christian Scientists, and even by the Freemasons and Fraternal Orders, hold the audience.
In order to understand this mystery and apply the remedy intelligently, it is necessary to understand the constitution of man, both during the years of growth and also as an adult.
In addition to the visible body of man which we see with our physical eyes, there are other and finer vehicles that are unseen by the great majority of mankind. Nevertheless they are not superfluous appendages to the physical body, but are indeed much more important from the fact that they are the springs of all action. Without these finer vehicles the physical body would be inert, senseless, and dead.
The first of these vehicles we call the vital body because it is the avenue of vitality which leavens the dead lump of the mortal coil in the years of life, and gives us the power to move.
The second is the desire body, which is the basis of our emotions and feelings, and which galvanizes this visible body into action. These three vehicles together with the mind constitute the personality which is then informed by the Spirit. Each of the bodies we have named has its own essential nature, and we may say that the keynote of the physical body is "inertia," as it never moves unless impelled through these finer invisible bodies. The key note of the vital body is "repetition." That is easily understood,, when we consider that although it has power to move the body, such movements result only from repeated impulses of the same kind. It is taught to coordinate the movements of the body as the Spirits wills. If we go to the organ for the first time and endeavor to play, we are not at once able to move the fingers in the desired manner to produce the proper tones. It requires repeated efforts to execute even the simplest coordinated movements of the fingers requisite to making the proper harmony. Because of this necessity for repetition it is an esoteric maxim that all esoteric development begins with the training of the vital body.
The desire body, which we sense as our emotional nature, on the other hand, is always seeking something new. This desire for change of condition, change of scene, change of mood, love of emotion and sensation is due to the activities of the desire body, which is like the sea in a storm, full of waves, tossing hither and thither, at random and without design, each one powerful and destructive when unbridled and without allegiance to the central directing power.
The mind, indeed, is the focus through which the Spirit endeavors to subdue the lower personality and guide it according to the ability acquired during its evolutionary period. But at the present time it is so vague a quantity that among the great majority of people it cannot be reckoned with, and they are therefore led principally by their feelings and emotions, without much amenability to reason or thought.
Recognizing the great and wonderful power of the emotional body and its amenability to "rhythm," which may be said to be its keynote, progressive theology has addressed itself to and focused its efforts upon appeals to this vehicle. It is this part of our nature which enjoys the entertainments of the sensational vaudeville pastor. This vehicle it is that sways and groans under the rhythmic rant of the revivalist, itself vibrant with emotion, rising and falling in the well calculated measure of the speaker's voice. Unity of pitch is soon established, a state of actual hypnosis where the victim can no more help going to "the mourners bench," than water can refrain from running down hill. They realize powerfully for the time being the enormity of their sins and they are equally anxious to start a better life. Alas, however, the next wave of attraction to their emotional nature washes away all the preacher has said, as well as all their resolutions, and they stand exactly where they were before, much to the chagrin and sorrow of the evangelist concerned.
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 and penalty of death.
Also among other ancient people do we find evidence of a ritual — the Hindus, the Chaldeans, and the Egyptians all used it in their religious services. Among the latter we have, for instance, the so-called Book Of The Dead, as an evidence of the esoteric value and the scope of such ritualistic services. Even among the Greeks, though they were notoriously individualistic and anxious to give expression to their own conception, we find the ritual in the mysteries, and after during the so-called Christian Era we have the same esoterically inspired ritual in the Catholic Church, as a means of fostering soul growth by work on the vital body.
It is not contended that there were no abuses within these various systems of religion, that the priests were always holy men, and that their hands were clean and spotless when they ministered at the sacrifice or ritual. It is indeed true that abuse at times became so great that re-organizations were necessary, and the Protestant movement was inaugurated by Martin Luther in order to get away from the abuses that had sprung up within the Catholic church. However, all these systems had in them the kernel of truth and power in the fact that they worked for the development of the vital body, and therefore, no matter how corrupt the priests might be, the ritual always retained its great power. Hence when the reformers left the ritual behind them, they were in exactly the same position as the Athenians on Mars Hill — they were forced to seek something new. In each denomination there is a desire for truth. Each of the sects today is struggling to solve the problem of life in its own way, but each is striking a new note in a haphazard manner, and therefore they are all failing, while the Catholic church with all its abuses still holds a wonderful sway over its adherents because of the concerted power of the ritual.
In order that we may learn from them how to fill our churches and foster the soul growth in our Protestant people, we must first realize the fact that "in unity there is strength." We must cease our senseless disputes about details. Whether we "sprinkle," or "immerse," whether we are "predestined" or "free" — what does it really matter? None was ever saved because of this hair splitting. The words of Abraham Lincoln, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity," must be adopted before anything else can be done. Agreement to that proposition in true consecration to the great object must be the cornerstone, and on that basic principle a Federation of the Protestant churches could thus be formed. The details of government could be worked out by the membership.
Having attained this point, the important question of ritual could be worked out in two, or perhaps three ways:
(1). It could consist of certain readings from the Bible arranged in such a manner that they would form a connected and consecutive service. A number of such rituals could be written so that each would be suitable for a certain feast, and on ordinary Sundays another ritual could be used in all the Protestant churches of the world.
(2). The ritual of the Episcopal church could be adopted as it is, or in a modified form.
(3). An esotericist capable of getting in touch with the cosmic sources of knowledge might be found and persuaded to write a ritual that would have in it a power unattainable in any other way.
The first of these ways would be the least effective. The last would be the most efficient method of attaining the desired end, but conversely, to obtain a ritual by the last method would be much more difficult.
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 charges 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. Nor does it matter that the ritual is in an unknown tongue, for to the Ego this vibratory message is a divine color chant, intelligible to all Spirits. Neither does it matter that the child repeats like a parrot, without understanding, so long as it does repeat what is given it. The more the better, for these esoteric vibrations are thereby incorporated in its vital body before it sets, and remain with it through life. Every time the Mass is intoned by the servants of the church in any part of the world, the cumulative vibratory power of their effort stirs those who have its line of force in their vital bodies in such a manner that they are drawn to the church with a generally, irresistible force. This is on the same principle that when a tuning fork is struck, others of identical pitch commence to sing.
Some Catholics have turned against the Catholic church, but subconsciously and at heart they have remained Catholic to their dying day, for the vital body is exceedingly difficult to change, and the lines of force build into it during its gestatory period are stronger than almost any individual will.
It follows, therefore, that if we would change the tendency of the world to pursue pleasure and sense gratification to the exclusion of religion, we would do well to begin with the small children. If we gather them at the altar and teach them to love God's house and incorporate certain universal prayers and parts of the ritual in their forming vital bodies, avoiding even the semblance of a "church supper," but cultivating in all who enter the ideal of reverence for a holy place, we shall by degrees build around the physical stone structure an invisible temple of Light and Life, such as described by Manson in "The Servant in the House."
Question: In the Rosicrucian Philosophy we are told that in the phraseology of the alchemists the Moon forces were spoken of as salt. Has this any significance with regard to the following quotation from Mark 9:49-50: "For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. Salt is good; but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another"?
Answer: Every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. That was a commandment in the Mosaic law, Judaism as we may call it, and was originated by Jehovah. However, the salt has another and deeper significance. The idea is that if the salt is put upon the sacrifice it causes a chemical fire, and that was symbolical of that burning sensation we must feel by remorse for misdeeds we have done. Every transgression shall be punished and expiated by a certain sacrifice. The salt and burning of the sacrifice were symbols of something better to come. The people at that time could not themselves be living sacrifices. They could not have denied themselves anything, but they did love their possessions very, very dearly. Many children they wanted, and much land and much cattle, and therefore if the cattle and the things that they prized most highly were taken from them on account of sin and transgression, they felt it as they could not have felt an injury done to themselves.
Thus this sacrifice was a sort of vicarious atonement, and it stood as a symbol of the time later on when they should be a sacrifice themselves and feel remorse for whatever wrong they had done. Then the sacrifice was not accepted at the altar until it had been salted, and similarly the living sacrifice will not be accepted on the altar of repentance until it has been salted. That is, we must feel a burning anguish, remorse, and contrition for every wrong we have done, and only when we have done that is the sacrifice accepted. Then the sacrifice was burned by a divinely enkindled fire. This indicates that after we have salted the living sacrifice of ourselves with our tears of contrition, laying ourselves on the altar before God, it shall come to pass that, "Though our sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow." The record will be wiped out from the life panorama. Thus we cleanse ourselves, but the first requisite is that the sacrifice must be salted with tears.
The salting of the sacrifices in ancient times may have had something to do with the idea that Jehovah is the Spirit of the Moon and therefore rules the chemical element salt, but the salt of the alchemist was not the ordinary salt. That was the salt of tears and contrition, and the alchemists did not profess to make base metal into gold, either. What they proposed to do was to make the base elements of the body taken from the earth into the gold of the soul, that golden wedding garment that shines around every one who attains to spirituality and becomes a brighter light as he lives a higher and nobler life.
Question: From the Rosicrucian viewpoint, can war be said to be right? What should be the stand of the Rosicrucian student in the present conflict? (World War I)
Answer: In the great crises of life we are brought face to face with certain issues and called upon to make decisions of such importance that they often require reversion of ideas and ideals, even of our most cherished principles as hitherto conceived. When such a crisis comes it will be nothing short of mental, moral, and spiritual suicide to shirk or evade the issue, no matter what the cost. Consistency is said to be a jewel, but if we would be truly wise we must be ready to change or revise our ideas whenever occasion really demands.
The Rosicrucian teaching has always been in conformity with the Bible dictum, "Thou shalt not kill." No qualification was made and some have carried this idea to such extremes that they would not kill a fly. But the majority rightly felt that the injunction was not intended to cover pests and microorganisms which take such a terrible toll of human life. These things, being manifestations of evil thoughts, are without the pale. These people have no intention of allowing their bodies or the bodies of their children to be overrun by vermin rather than to kill the pests, and they realize that extermination of insects was a great basic factor in America's success at Panama. In fact it turned the balance from failure to success, and this principle should be applied wherever necessary. They feel that it would be a foolish application of the injunction, "Thou shalt not kill," to allow beasts of prey or poisonous reptiles to roam about among us to endanger our lives, and they would cheerfully kill to remove such a menace from the community. In their code of ethics the injunction involves only the idea that it is wrong to kill for food, for sport, or for profit. To kill a human being seemed to remote a possibility to most of us that it was not considered even as a contingency. We always denounced capital punishment both on the ground that it is basically wrong and that it is worse than useless for when we free the Spirit of a murderer from his body we liberate him in the spiritual world where he can and often does work on others to influence them to similar crimes. Therefore, it is better to restrain him in a prison and strive to reform him so that even if he does not regain his liberty in this life, he will in future existences respect the sanctity of life of others.
But while it is possible thus to deal with the individual murderer, the case is different when an entire nation runs amuck against another, committing wholesale murder, arson, destruction, and pillage. It is then impossible to imprison a whole nation and more drastic means of self-defense must be found.
In civil life we recognize the law of self-defense, which gives the intended victim of a would-be murderer the right to slay rather than to be slain, and it would be specious to contend that this right is lost because a million murderers dress themselves in uniform or because they go out boldly and brazenly, proclaiming their intention to kill, or because they lie in ambush by companies instead of singly. Being the aggressors, they are murderers, and their intended victims have an unquestionable moral right to defend their own lives by slaying these murderers. Furthermore, there rests upon the strong the sacred duty of protecting the lives of those who are too weak to protect themselves. Even that involves the slaying of the murderers.
From the spiritual standpoint, therefore, the right or wrong of war hinges upon the Question: Who is the aggressor and who is the victim?
This question is easily answered where war is started for the purpose of conquest, or when war is waged for an altruistic purpose such as the emancipation of a subjected people from physical, industrial, and religious bondage. It needs no argument to show that in such cases the oppressor is also the aggressor and the liberator is the defender of inalienable human rights. He is performing a sacred duty as his "brother's keeper."
When this is once understood we cannot be deceived by the jack-o-lanterns of diplomacy, for we have a true light, a simple standard of right and wrong.
Having made up our minds on that point, it follows that it is far more noble and heroic to face a firing squad for refusing to enter the army of the aggressor, or to flee from our native land, or even join the ranks of the defenders in the most menial capacity, than to hold a post of highest honor among the aggressors.
On the other hand it is a sacred duty in accord with the highest and noblest spiritual principles to fight among the defenders. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the merit, and he who shirks this sacred duty to defend hearth and home, kin and country, or who fails to fight for the oppressed, is beneath denunciation. Furthermore, the greater the emergency, the greater the sacrifice that is required.
Nor is this great privilege of sacrifice confined to those of brawn and broad shoulders. Not alone are they bound by duty; the work behind the lines is even more important and all can share according to talent and ability — mental, physical, and financial.
Furthermore, when the occasion arises where defense of others or self-defense becomes unavoidable, the harder the campaign is pushed, the shorter and more successful it will be. Therefore, no half measures should be tolerated, and neutrality under such circumstances must be regarded at least as a sin of omission.
It is well understood by students of esotericism that wars are instigated and inspired by the divine hierarchies who thus use one nation to punish another for its sins. Even a superficial study of the Bible will furnish many instances. This does not always mean that the victor is altogether righteous, but it does show that the vanquished nation has done wrong and merits the punishment inflicted, usually on account of its arrogance and godlessness. Nor is it a sign that because it is victorious for a long time and extremely difficult to conquer, it enjoys divine favor — at least in a measure. Such a course may be brought about by the invisible army who support the arms of the aggressor and prolong the struggle for the purpose of making the final defeat more thorough and disastrous; also to teach the defenders a lesson that could not be learned in a short decisive struggle.
Such, briefly, is the philosophy of war from the spiritual viewpoint, regardless of who are the nations involved. If we apply these principles and tests to the present war (World War I) it must be apparent to everyone who is not biased and will approach the subject with a broad and open mind that the militarists of the Central Empires have been preparing for this war for generations, and on the fifth of July, 1914, at the notorious Potsdam Conference which is now acknowledged by them, they agreed to start the war after a few weeks during which the bankers of these nations were so manipulating the markets as to amass the greatest possible financial resources. This stamps the Austro-German war parties as the aggressors, who under the spell of the Race Spirits have marshaled their millions against all the other nations of the world. In the beginning of the conflict France and England, who were the immediate neighbors of the outraged Belgians, made her cause their own and acted in that respect as their brother's keeper. However, being unprepared, they have been unable to bring the struggle to a decisive termination. Therefore it became necessary for America to enter the conflict and turn the balance, so that peace may be restored and safety secured to those who are too weak to protect themselves.
It has been a matter for rejoicing that whenever the United States has been forced to enter upon a military campaign it has always been either in self-defense or in the still more altruistic role of defender and emancipator of the weak. Were this a war of conquest or aggression, it would be better for any spiritually minded person to face a firing squad as already stated than to participate in such an unrighteous undertaking. On the other hand, seeing that the present struggle which is waged for the purpose of crushing the militarism of Central Europe has taken such a terrible toll of human life with the strength of the allied defenders nearly spent, it is the sacred duty of everyone to aid to the very limit according to his spiritual, mental, moral, or physical capacity, either at the front or behind the lines wherever the judgment of those in charge may require his or her service.
Therefore we would urge each and every one of the students of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, of whatever country now defending the cause of humanity against the militarist party of the Central Powers, to support his or her government to the very best of his ability that we may soon see "Peace on earth and among men good will."
Question: Do you consider the ancient myths of actual value, or are they largely figments of the imagination?
Answer: They contain profound esoteric truths. The contest between light and darkness is described in innumerable myths which are alike in the main features, though circumstances vary according to the evolutionary stage of the people among whom they are found. Generally the appear fantastic to the normal mind because the picture drawn is highly symbolical, and therefore out of tune with the concrete realities of the material world. However, embodied in these legends are great truths which appear when they are stripped of their scale of materialism.
In the first place it should be borne in mind that the contest between light and darkness, as fought here in the physical world, is but the manifestation of a similar contest fought also in the moral, mental, and spiritual realms. This is a fundamental truth, and he who would know truth should realize that the concrete world, with all the things which we now think so real, solid, and enduring is but an evanescent manifestation created by the divine thought, and it will dissolve into dust millions of years before the other worlds which we think of us unreal and intangible are similarly dissolved and we once more return to the bosom of the Father, to rest until the dawn of another and greater Cosmic Day.
It is particularly at Christmas, when the light is low and the night long, that humanity turns its attention to the Southern Sun, and waits in an attitude of expectancy for the moment when it shall again commence its northward journey to bring back the light and life to our frozen hemisphere. In the Bible we learn how Samson, the Sun, waxed strong while his rays grew longer; how the powers of darkness, the Philistines, ferreted out the secret of his power and had his hair, or rays, cut, to rob him of his strength; how they deprived him of his sight by piercing his eyes and finally slew him at the temple of the Winter Solstice.
The Anglo-Saxons speak of the victory of King George over the dragon; the Teutons call to mind how Beowulf slew the fire drake and how Siegfried conquered the dragon Fafner. Among the Greeks we find Apollos victorious over Python, and Hercules over the dragon of the Hesperides. Most of the myths tell only the victory of the newborn Sun, but there are others which, like the story of Samson just recited, and Hiram Abiff of the Masonic Legend, tell also of how the old year's Sun was vanquished after having completed its circle and was then ready to give birth to a new Sun, which rises from the ashes of the old Phoenix to be the Lightbearer of a new year.
It is in such a myth that we learn of the origin of the mistletoe, a tale which is told in Scandinavia and Iceland, particularly at Yuletide when the red holly mingles in decorative effect with the white mistletoe — a shadowy symbol of the blood that was scarlet with sin but has become white as snow. The story follows:
In ancient days when the Gods of Olympus reigned over the Southland, Wotan with his company of Gods, held sway in Valhalla where the icicles reflected the winter Sun in all tints of the rainbow and the beautiful coverlet of snow made light the darkest night eve without the aid of the flaming Aurora Borealis. They were a wonderful company; Tyr, the God of War, still lives in memory among us, for him we have named Tuesday. Wotan, the wisest among them, is remembered in Wednesday; Thor still is with us as the God of Thursday. He was the hammer swinger. When he threw his hammer after the giants, the enemies of God and man, he made thunder and lightning by the terrific force with which his hammer struck the clouds. The gentle Freya, the Goddess of beauty, for whom we have named Friday, and the treacherous Loke, whose name lives in the Scandinavian Saturday, are other present-day fragments of a forgotten faith.
But there was no one like Baldur. He was the second son of Odin and Freya. He was the noblest and most gentle of the Gods, beloved of everything in nature. He exceeded all beings, not only in gentleness, but in prudence and eloquence, also, and was so fair and graceful that light radiated from him. In a dream it was revealed to him that his life was in danger and this weighted so heavily on his Spirit that he shunned the society of the Gods. His mother Freya, having at length prevailed upon him to tell her the cause of his melancholy, called a council of the Gods, and all were filled with sad forebodings, for they knew that the death of Baldur would be the forerunner of their downfall — the first victory of the giants, or powers of darkness.
Wotan therefore cast Runes, magic characters, which were used to foretell the future, but all seemed dark to him. He could gain no insight. The "Vessel of Wisdom," which might have served them in their need was in the keeping of one of the Norns, the Goddesses of Fate, so that could not help them now. Ydun, the Goddess of health, whose golden apples kept the Gods ever young, had been betrayed into the powers of the giants by the trickery of Loke, the spirit of evil, but a delegation was sent to her, in order that she might be consulted on the nature of the sickness which threatened Baldur, if such it be. However, she only answered with tears, and finally after a solemn council held by all the Gods, it was determined that all the elements, and everything in nature should be bound by an oath not to harm the gentle God. This was done and a pledge was obtained from everything, except one insignificant plant which grew westward of the Palace of the Gods; this seemed so frail and fragile that the Gods deemed it to be innocuous.
However, Wotan's mind still misgave him that all was not right. It seemed to him that the Norns of good fortune had flown away. Therefore, he resolved to visit the home of a celebrated prophetess by the name of Vala. This is the spirit of the earth, and from her he would learn the Fate in store for the Gods, but he received no comfort from her and returned to Valhalla more cast down than formerly.
Loke, the spirit of evil, and treachery, was in reality one of the giants, or powers of darkness, but part of the time he lived with the Gods. He was a turncoat, who could be depended upon by neither party, and therefore he was usually distrusted and despised by both Gods and giants. One day while he was sitting bemoaning his Fate a dense cloud began to rise from the ocean, and after a time the dark figure of the Giant King issued from it. Loke in some terror demanded what brought him hither. The monarch began to reproach him with the contemptible part he, a demon by birth, was acting in consenting to be the tool of the Gods in their warfare against the giants, to whom he owed his origin. It was out of no affection for himself that he was admitted to the society of the Gods, but because Wotan knew well the ruin which he and his offspring were destined to bring upon them and thought by thus conciliating him to defer the evil day. He who from his power and cunning might have been a leader with either party, was now despised and rejected by all. The Giant King further reproached him with having already frequently saved the Gods from ruin and even with furnishing them with weapons against the giants, and ended by appealing to the hatred which rankled in his bosom against Wotan and his whole race as a proof that his natural place was with the giants.
Loke acknowledged the truth of this and professed his readiness to aid his brethren by all means in his power. The Giant King then told him that the moment was now at hand when he might seal the Fate of the Gods; that if Baldur was slain their destruction must sooner or later follow and that the gentle God's life was at that time threatened by some as yet undiscovered danger. Loke replied that the anxiety of the Gods was already at an end, for Freya had bound everything in nature by oath not to injure her son. The dark monarch said that one thing only had been omitted. However, what that was lay concealed in the breast of the Goddess and was known to no other. He then sank down again to his dark abyss and left Loke to his darker thoughts.
Loke then, having assumed the figure of an old woman, appeared to Freya and by his cunning drew from her the fatal secret; that presuming on the insignificant nature of the mistletoe she had omitted to obtain from it the pledge wherewith she had bound everything else. Loke lost no time in reappearing to the place where the mistletoe grew, and tearing it up by the roots, gave it to the dwarfs, who were cunning smiths, to form into a spear. This weapon was made with many incantations, and when the spear was completed one called for blood to temper it. A child free from all taint was brought in, the dwarf plunged the spear into its breast and sang:
"The death-grasp hear,
Ho! Ho! — now 'tis o'er —
Soon hardens the spear
In the babe's pure gore —
Now the barbed head feel,
Whilst the veins yet bleed,
Such a deed — such a deed —
Might harden e'en steel."
In the meantime the Gods and the dead braves, who are with them assembled for a tournament, in order to convince Baldur how groundless were his apprehensions, now that his life was deemed to be charmed, made him the butt of all their weapons.
Loke reappeared there also with the fatal spear and seeing the blind and strong God, Hoedur, standing apart from the rest, asked him why he did not honor his brother Baldur by tilting with him, also. Hoedur excused himself on account of his blindness and because he had no weapon. Loke then put the enchanted spear into his hands and Hoedur, unsuspicious of malice, pierced Baldur through the breast with the spear made from the mistletoe, so that he fell lifeless to the ground to the unspeakable grief of all creatures.
Baldur is the summer Sun, beloved by everything in nature, and in the blind God, Hoedur, who slays him with the spear, we may readily recognize the sign Sagittarius, for when the Sun enters that sign in December it is nearly without light and is therefore said to be slain by the blind God Hoedur. The bow of Sagittarius, as pictured on the zodiac of the south presents symbolically the same idea as the spear of the story in the Eddas.
The legend of Baldur's death teaches the same cosmic Truth as all other myths of kindred nature, namely, that the Spirit of the Sun must die to the glories of the Universe while, as Christ, it enters the earth to bring it the renewed life, without which all physical manifestations on our planet must cease. As death here precedes a birth into the spiritual realms, so also there is a death upon the spiritual plane of existence before a birth can take place into the physical body. As Osiris in Egypt is slain by Typhon, before Horus, the Sun of the New Year, may be born, so also Christ die to the higher world before He can be born into the earth and bring to us the needed annual spiritual impulse; but our Holy Season commemorates no greater manifestation of Love than that of which the mistletoe is emblematic. Being physically the extreme of weakness, it clings to the oak which is the symbol of strength. It is the very weakness of the weakest of beings that pierces the heart of the noblest and gentlest of Gods so that, compelled by his love for the lowly, he descends to the shades in the underworld, even as Christ for our sake dies to the spiritual world each year and is born into our planet that He may permeate it anew with His radiant Life and Energy.
Question: What is the Rosicrucian attitude toward prayer, in the light of Biblical admonitions?
Answer: In one place the Bible directs us to pray without ceasing. In another Christ repudiates the practice, saying that we should not imitate those who believe they are heard for their many words. There can, of course, be no contradiction between the words of Christ and those of His disciples, and we must therefore reconstruct our ideas of prayer in such a manner that we may pray always and yet without voluminous verbal or mental expression. Emerson said:
"Although your knees were never bent,
To heaven your hourly prayers are sent,
And be they formed for good or ill,
Are registered and answered still."
In other words, every act is a prayer, which, under the law of cause and effect, brings to us adequate results. We get exactly what we want. Expression in words is unnecessary, but sustained action along a certain line indicates what we wish, even if we ourselves do not realize it, and in time, longer or shorter, according to the intensity of our desire, there comes that which we have thus prayed for.
The things thus gained or achieved may not be what we really and consciously want. In fact, sometimes we may get something we would far sooner be without, something that is a curse and a scourge, but the prayer-act has brought them to us and we must keep them until we can legitimately get rid of them. If we throw a stone into the air, the act is not complete until the reaction has carried the stone back to the earth. In that case the effect follows the cause so speedily that it is not difficult to connect the two.
However, if we wind the spring of an alarm clock, the power is stored up in the spring until a certain mechanism releases it. Then comes the effect — the ringing of a bell — and although we may have been sleeping the sleep of forgetfulness, the reaction or unwinding of the spring took place just the same. Similarly, acts which we have forgotten will sometime or another produce their results regardless, and thus the prayer of action is answered.
However, there is the true mystic prayer — the prayer where we meet God face to face, as Elijah met Him. Not in the tumult of the world, the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, do we meet Him, but when all is still the soundless voice speaks to us from within. However, the silence which is required for this experience is not a mere silence of words. There are not even the inward pictures which usually pass before us in meditation, nor are there thoughts, but our whole being resembles a calm crystal-clear lake. In it Deity mirrors Himself, and we experience the unity which makes communication unnecessary either by words or in any other way. We feel all God feels. He is nearer than hands and feet.
The Christ taught us to say, "Our Father who are in heaven," etc. That prayer is the most sublime that can be given utterance in words, but this prayer of which I am speaking may at the moment of union give itself utterance in the one unspoken word, "Father." The devotee, when he is truly in the mood of prayer, never gets any farther. He makes no requests, for what is the use? Has he not the promise, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want"? Has he not been told to seek first the kingdom of heaven and all other things shall be added? His attitude can perhaps best be understood if we take the simile of a faithful dog looking with dumb devotion into its master's face, its whole soul pouring itself out through its eyes in love. Likewise, only of course with much greater intensity, does the true mystic look to the God within and pour himself or herself out in voiceless adoration. In this way we may pray without ceasing, inwardly, while we work as zealous servants in the world without; for let us always remember that it is not intended that we should dream our lives away. While we pray to God within, we must also work for God without.