The material in this booklet is a reprint (with some revisions and additions) of monthly lessons sent out by The Rosicrucian Fellowship to its members, and is a summary of studies and researches conducted by the students in the Esoteric Section of the Fellowship. The conclusions reached, as is often the case in scientific investigations, may have to be revised in the light of future developments and work.
Although Max Heindel had not completed his researches in the ethers at the time of his passing in January, 1919, he left a substantial foundation and what he gave is standing up well under the impact of even the latest scientific findings. He stated many times that the Brothers of the Rose Cross work through scientists and with science; they do not limit their activities to students of The Rosicrucian Teachings, nor to any other specific group. This is an endeavor for all humanity, pointing toward the actual establishment of universal brotherhood on our earth.
The Mystic Christian Teachings were given in a basic form through Max Heindel; a basic physical science come forth through academic representatives. Mankind, consciously and unconsciously, is preparing for the Aquarian Age, when science will be religious and religion scientific. Meanwhile each aspirant must add his small bit to the ever-extending coral reef of knowledge.
Max Heindel has intimated that when the Aquarian Age dawns, some six hundred years from now, or perhaps before that, a new Teacher will appear who will sum up in himself and his Teachings the composite wisdom of our entire past evolution. This great Teacher of the Aquarian Age, he intimates again, will be the reappearance of that Ego who was known in Europe as Christian Rosenkreutz, and again as the Count St. Germain who, he believes, may have been one of his last public incarnations.
In addition to the Teacher of the Aeon, however, a messenger is also sent out once each century from the "Invisible Government of the World," called in esotericism "The Great White Lodge." Esotericists everywhere now agree that between the present year, 1965, and the year 2000, or shortly thereafter, one of these teachers will come forward. The direction of his teachings we may know by the trends of our time: universalism in science and religion, preparing for the "One World" of Aquaria, under the banner of the Christ; and the thrust outward into interstellar space and new cosmic adventures for the human Spirit, and a truly cosmic philosophy to go with it.
Man's immediate Utopia is no mere city on earth's surface, nor any of earth's lands, but the whole living universe, through which the mystic hears the rushing of the Wings of God and the unceasing Song of His Word.
In 1918 Max Heindel wrote: "The process of preparation for the Aquarian Age has already commenced; and as Aquarius is an airy, scientific, intellectual sign, it is a foregone conclusion that the new faith must be rooted in reason and able to solve the riddle of life and death in a manner that will satsify both the mind and the religious instinct." As we have in the past evolved five senses by means of which we contact the present visible world, so shall we in the far distant future evolve another sense which will enable us to see the denizens of the Etheric Region, including those of our dear ones who have left the physical body and inhabit the ether and lower Desire World during the first stage of their career in the spiritual realms.
"Aquarius is an airy sign having special rule over the ethers." The flood which sank the ancient continent of Atlantis, which is the Noachian Deluge of the Bible, dried the air to a degree "by depositing most of the moisture it held into the sea; but when the Sun enters Aquarius by precession, still more of the moisture will be eliminated and the visual vibrations which are most easily transmitted by the dry etheric atmosphere will become more intense, and thus conditions will become more intense, and thus conditions will be more particularly conducive to production of the slight extension of our present sight necessary to open our eyes to the etheric region. California's production of psychics is an instance of this effect of a dry, electric atmosphere, although of course it is not nearly so dry as the air of the Aquarian Age will be."
"But it is well to realize that through aspiration and meditation those who are longingly looking for that day are taking time by the forelock, and may quite easily outstrip their fellows who are unaware of what is in store. The latter, on the other hand, may delay development of the extended vision by the belief that they are suffering from hallucinations when they begin to get their first glimpse of the etheric entities, and the fear that if they tell others what they see they will be judged insane.
"Therefore The Rosicrucian Fellowship has been charged by the Elder Brothers with the mission of promulgating the Gospel of the Aquarian Age, to conduct a campaign of education and enlightenment so that the world may be prepared for what is in store. The world must be leavened with these ideas:
"(1) Conditions in the land of the living dead are not shrouded in mystery, but knowledge of them is as available as knowledge concerning foreign countries from the tales of travelers. (2) We stand close to the threshold were we shall know these truths; and (3), most important of all, we shall hasten the day in our own case by acquiring knowledge of the facts concerning the post-mortem existence and the things we may expect to see; for then we shall know what to look for and will be neither frightened, astonished, nor incredulous when we commence to obtain glimpses of these things."
However, wonderful as these developments are — and because they are wonderful — a responsibility attends them. "Students should realize that a serious responsibility goes with the possession of knowledge, for to whom much is given, of him much shall be required; and if we bury our talent, may we not expect a merited condemnation? The Rosicrucian Fellowship can fulfill its mission only in so far as each member does his duty in spreading the Teachings (and in living the Life), and therefore it is to be hoped that this may serve to call attention of students to the fact of their individual duty."
But let there be no misunderstanding on the nature of this duty. We are not appointed to build up a powerful organization, with great wealth, imposing buildings, and hundreds of thousands of dues-paying members. Our duty is simply to spread the truths pertaining to the New Age, in such wise as circumstances may determine. We do not have to mention the word "Rosicrucian" nor "The Rosicrucian Fellowship;" but if we are asked as to the source of our knowledge then it is our privilege, as well as our duty, to speak the truth, and to give our spiritual background. And of course we should not force our views upon unwilling ears.
Mental hospitals today are full of cases of so-called nervous and mental breakdowns which are in fact nothing else than persons suffering from exposure to psychic forces which they do not understand, and as a result of which they are nervously and emotionally exhausted and go in deadly fear. These conditions are caused by the over-stimulation of the great nerve center of the solar plexus, before the higher centers in the brain have come into play sufficiently to extend a measure of control.
We touch upon this issue only in passing, as a symptom of the sensitization which occurs as the Aquarian Age approaches. It is not only the solar plexus which receives such stimulation from cosmic forces, but other nerve centers, also, including the optic nerve and the brain areas having to do with vision, which in this case is the extended vision pertaining to the etheric region.
Etheric sight ordinarily depends upon the sensitiveness of the optic nerve, but even when the optic nerve is defective or destroyed, it may be that etheric vision can be developed through the use of substitute nerve channels. We are told that much of the defective vision found among us today is due to the increasing densification of the ethers, which is part of the over-all effect of the solar radiation when the Sun nears Aquarius at the vernal equinox by precession.
By means of etheric sight it is possible to see everything that exists in the Etheric Region of the physical world. When this vision first develops it reveals the lowest, or Chemical Ether, which varies from gray-blue, through blue, to violet, or a dark blue that is almost black. Max Heindel speaks of the Chemical Ether as "dark, almost black." Because of the interplay or intermingling of the other ethers in the Chemical Ether, this ether may also seem to be reddish-blue, magenta, violet, or purple, according to the density of the ethers.
When anyone views an object with etheric sight he sees through the object in a manner similar to the way an X-ray penetrates solid substance. It is therefore called X-ray vision, although this is by no means an accurate description. In viewing an object with etheric vision the seer sees first the outer part, then the next adjacent part, and finally on through to the farther side of the object. One may have higher grades of sight (Desire World vision, mental, etc.) and yet not have etheric sight. By means of etheric sight one can see through books, papers, letters, wall, or anything else for a short distance.
In the Aquarian Age when many will have etheric sight it will be extremely easy to study anatomy and to detect a morbid growth, a dislocation, or a pathological condition of the body, for with this vision the doctor will be able to study directly both anatomical structures and physiological processes without hindrance.
As the New Age advances, the masses will develop etheric sight, and with this widespread development it will be largely impossible for one to live a double life and to act differently in the home than one does in public. Were we aware now of the invisible entities thronging our houses, we should often feel ashamed of the things we do and say. The various kinds of entities filling the air are attracted to people who are of like nature with themselves, whether good or evil, and these entities are low on the path of evolution and have not the intelligence to retain a disguise very long at a time, but must, sooner or later, expose their true inner quality.
But whether seen or unseen, the invisible etheric entities feed on the Life Ether of the person to whom they are attracted, if they are permitted to linger in the aura. Consequently they not only tend to influence such persons toward evil, but they also weaken their vital body; and this leads to such cases of nerve exhaustion as result in partial possession or obsession. It is as impossible to rid the aura of such entities without a complete moral and emotional cleansing as to stamp out malaria without draining the swamps and pools where the malaria mosquito breeds.
Where the atmosphere is full of such entities, revealing unerringly the condition of psychic and mental uncleanness of those who entertain them, and when in the New Age virtually everyone has the power to see them, there will be no way of hiding what our prevailing character may be. "There will be no privacy which may not be broken into by any one who desires to see us. it will avail nothing that we send the office boy or maid out to tell an unwelcome visitor that we are 'not in.' This means that in the New Age honesty and straightforwardness will be the only worthwhile policy, for we cannot then do wrong and hope to escape detection. There will be people whose wickedness of character lead them in the ways of wickedness then as now, but they will at least be marked so that they may be avoided."
Concerning etheric vision Max Heindel says further: (Message of the Stars, p. 591-2): "Experience has proved that the afflicted stellar ray from certain parts of the zodiac already mentioned interferes with the etheric vibration sensed by the retina of the eye, and thus impairs the physical sight. if, in the same figure, Neptune is focused through one of these places, the so-called 'yellow spot,' which is blind because sensitized by the spiritual ray of Neptune (i.e. the spinal spirit fire), and thus it may be that a person physically nearsighted, or even blind, may view the spiritual worlds hidden from people whose sight is focused by mercurial vibrations" (in the nerves ruled by Mercury).
And again (Letters To Students): "We do not see physical objects outside the eye:* they are reflected in the retina, and we see only their 'image' inside the eye. As light is the agent of reflection, objects which resist the passage of light appear opaque; other substances, like glass, seem clear because they admit light rays readily. When the spiritual sight is used, light of superlative intensity is generated inside the body between the pituitary body and the pineal gland. It is focused 'through' the so-called blind spot in the eye directly upon the object to be investigated. The scope of the direct ray is entirely different from the range of the reflected physical ray. It penetrates a wall without difficulty."
*Recent findings seem to suggest that the function of the retina is more analytical and selective than was formerly believed, but this does not affect the correctness of the above in reference to etheric sight.
The etheric region of the earth's planetary envelope is part and parcel of the physical Earth itself. It is no "spiritual" except in the sense that the entire living universe is the expression of God's beauty and wisdom. It is commonly called "the lowest" of the invisible "spirit" regions, and etheric sight is also called "the lowest" form of "spiritual" sight. "Lowest" it may be, but it reveals a world lying just beyond the borderline of physical sight, magical to those fortunate enough to gaze upon it.
There are several kinds of vision besides the physical which belongs to the normal human eye. We have said that etheric vision depends in part upon the sensitization of the optic nerve. It depends also on a certain degree of looseness between the etheric body and the physical. In certain parts of the world this looseness of the etheric body results in entire populations having a degree of etheric vision, so that the existence of fairies and spirits is never doubted, and magic, both white and black, flourishes. Such people are so responsive to psychic force projected at them by esoteric practitioners that they have been known to lie down and die from no discernible physical cause. This condition is due to the etheric body being pushed out, in whole or in part, from the physical body, as occurs also in the process of hypnosis. We know of one instance where one person, holding the hand of a girl, by a little effort of concentration, and without intending it, drove the etheric double out of the girl's hand and arm, which became cold, clammy, and inert. This girl was highly intelligent, showing that looseness of the etheric body does not infer weakness of intellect.
Hypnotism should not be confused with mesmerism or magnetism; there are real magnetic currents which flow through the vital body, visible as radiating lines of force, and which can be sensed as electrical in nature. Concentrated by an effort of will, they become dense and almost physically tangible. Many persons have seen what they call "magnetic rain" in the atmosphere. This fall of magnetic force is not the same as the "cosmic rays" of modern physics, however. It is susceptible to control by the human will — which, so far as presently known, the cosmic rays are not — and can be directed in various ways. The magnetic forces have some connection with the biological life process; it is not merely electromagnetism, although it is quite obviously capable of acting in that area; as shown in the laboratory experiments where nerve currents have been proved to be a form of electricity.
Esoteric science has shown — long before physical science entered the field — that the forces which run through the nervous system are electromagnetic in nature, and that their diminution or blockage may result in paralysis. It is this magnetic aura which modern biology is exploring, within which every organ of the body has its positive and negative pole; and some, like the heart, having more than one set of poles. The heart has been found to have twelve poles, alternating negative and positive.
Again, it is this magnetic aura which binds the molecules of the body into their organic patterns; and the Invisible Helper is sometimes aware of streams of magnetism flowing through the inner planes when he awakens out of the body at night.
Many persons who have developed a small degree of etheric sight have expressed astonishment when first beholding showers of stars, pyramids, double pyramids, cubes and other geometrical forms issuing from the body. Such figures are the cast-off molecules of which his body is composed and which are being excreted through the action of the radiating vital forces of the etheric body. Students who are interested in making an analysis of these figures may consult scientific magazines and books in which the molecular structure of matter is indicated. There they will find that each molecule has its own characteristic atomic structure, which esoteric investigators have been describing under another terminology.
Note that these microscopic crystals seem to have actual size and shape to the etheric vision. (Sometimes they appear in large clusters). We can understand from this why the seers were not at first able to explain what they saw in terms of laboratory science. This has not been possible until our own twentieth century, with its development of atomic and nuclear physics.
In esoteric science, the Chemical, Life, Light, and Reflecting Ethers correspond to the four classic elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water, as mentioned before, No doubt a new table will have to be constructed to accomodate the new science of our day, but for the layman the old classification is still usable.
The Chemical Ether (corresponding to the element Earth) is that ether through which forces act to sustain and nourish the body. This process includes eliminating what is not good for the body, and the elimination takes place by means of forces acting through the negative pole of the Chemical Ether, as we read in the Cosmo-Conception, whereas the upbuilding and nourishing forces act through the positive pole. When food has been digested and has entered the blood stream, it is visible to the etheric vision as a mass of ether which flows along magnetic lines of force. Without this etheric counterpart of the chemical elements found in the physical blood stream, the food we eat would do no good to the body. There are points deep within the body where to etheric vision the blood seems to be almost wholly gaseous, but biological science of course has found no evidence of this at the present time, partly because the biologist does not expect to find such a condition and partly because his instruments are not adequate to its discovery. The gaseous aspect of the blood could be discovered only in a living, unmutilated body. X-rays cannot show it, nor can any of the other rays now in the hands of the physicist.
Poisons which build up in the blood stream are visible to ettheric sight as black miasma which hangs in curls from the afflicted parts. To the etheric sense of touch, this black miasma feels heavy, and in fact, the heavy feeling which accompanies illness is in part due to the accumulation of large masses of black ether in the body. Water carries much of it away, which is the reason that baths give a feeling of lightness and resiliency; but when the body is sick it continues to generate these poisonous ethers, which then obstruct the passage of the clean solar magnetism or "solar ether" as it is called. This is particularly true of the center at the root of the nose, which becomes clogged with miasma to a superlative degree, and when through spiritual healing and the etheric manipulation of the Invisible Helper this clogging is broken up, there is an immediate improvement. The dense miasma in the vital body also has a part in obstructing the opening of etheric vision by slowing down the action of etheric vision by slowing down the action of the etheric force centers. Coincident with the densification of the ethers into a black miasma, the rest of the vital body becomes attenuated, for the physical body is drawing upon it just as in starvation the stored fat is drawn upon, leaving the body to become emaciated. Actual "holes" develop in the etheric structure, showing that energy is not being specialized by the vital body.
It is at once apparent that the black miasma belongs to the Chemical Ether, which normally, as indicated before, varies in color from blue-gray, through blue-violet, to a blue so dark as to be almost black, depending upon the density of the ethers.
Various persons have seen this ether lying like a blue glove upon the hand, as a blue envelope in which the body is embedded, and as blue fuzzy flames, like a low gas flame, appearing along wall surfaces. Now physicists have shown photographs of free electrons, and these free electrons have the appearance of blue flames — not perhaps exactly as described by persons having etheric vision, but something similar, and suggesting that the Chemical Ether does, in all probability, consist of atomic particles existing in a state yet undiscovered by physical science; not electrons alone, but an amalgam of particles. This Chemical Ether would be a kind of life-plasma, as shown in Max Heindel's description of the etheric "food stream" moving in or with the blood.*
A great many people see the "dots" in the air, which seem to be gold or silver dust (or sometimes multicolored, and which sometimes move in great cloud-like masses before the vision. Ancient seers have described these clouds, out of which "the spirits of the ancestors" would condense and materialize before the physical eyes. This is again a view of the Chemical Ether, as it appears in materialization from etheric to physical formation.
*The word "plasma" has serveal definitions in today's science.
(1) Blood plasma, the liquid part of the blood used in blood transfusions.
(2) A condition of matter in a molten state at high temperatures in which it becomes abnormally conductive of electricity.
(3) A highly ionized gas, which produces a rosy glow (as seen in a stellerator), and is a medium in which radio waves can have a phase velocity greater than the speed of light in that medium. When microwaves are sent through the plasma of ionized gas, the increase in velocity is a measure of the density of the free electrons.
(4) Astronomers similarly to definition three describe a sort of magnetic cloud in interplanetary space in which positive and negative particles are suspended, but the cloud as a whole is neutral in charge.
(3) and (4) approach states which the esotericist refers to as etheric.
Without entering upon a discussion of atomic structure, which in any case demands specialized knowledge, it is evident that a rough correlation can be worked out as between the four ethers and the various atomic forces presently known. The greatest part of the mass of the atom resides in the nucleus, which consists of a complex of forces or particles: the heaviest are first the proton, weighing 1836 times as much as the electron, and then the neutron, which as its name suggests is neither positive nor negative. Protons and neutrons alike are called nucleons because they are part of the nucleus. Still smaller particles have been discovered, some in the nucleus and some falling through space. Scientists are searching among these for the "binder" of the nucleus, which as we have seen is not wholly positive as was originally believed, since it actually consists of more than just the positively charged proton.
The first popularly accepted model of the atom as compared with the Sun and planets is also now challenged. According to this first concept, the proton stood in the place of the Sun, positively charged, and the electrons circulated around the proton like planets around the Sun. The electrons are negative in charge. Now it is suggested that quite possibly, since the electron acts like a wave as well as a particle, and is described as a bundle of energy, the electron may in reality be a wave which completely encircles the central nucleus, with its complex of particles and forces.
However, while there are several diagrammatic schemes, or models to represent atomic structure, all stand in need of verification. it may be that the old solar-system model may still have its use.
We note further that the physicist says that the Earth's aura of electrons extends out to the Moon, which is therefore within the Earth's electronic atmosphere. This is an obvious restating of the esotericist's maxim that the "etheric body" of the Earth extends to and includes the Moon, and is the channel for continued magnetic interaction between the Moon and the Earth, especially as impinging upon and influencing growth of living organisms on the Earth.
The etheric vision reveals both molecules and atoms and the forces locked up within the atoms, and other forces and particles. Esoteric scientists have described them as best they could, but their vocabulary is not the vocabulary of modern science, and until a nuclear physicist develops the etheric vision or an esoteric scientist schools himself in nuclear in nuclear physics, students will have a difficult time in equating their esoteric knowledge with modern physics and chemistry. A few scientists have admitted to the possession of extrasensory perception.
Kekule, the discoverer of the benzene ring, saw the structure of molecules in a dream, or something he called a dream. He says: "The atoms began to play antics before mine eyes....I saw how two smaller ones often united to form a pair, how the two larger ones seized two of the smaller ones, and how the still larger held three or even four of the smaller, and how they all moved in vortices. I saw how the greater formed a row, and how the smaller were drawn along at the side of the chain. I spent the night transferring to paper at least sketches of each of these dream pictures. Thus arose the structure theory....The benzene theory had a similar origin....The atoms again played antics before mine eyes. Small groups kept themselves modestly in the background. My mind's eye, trained by repeated sights of a similar kind, now distinguished larger forms of various shapes. Long rows united, becoming much thicker; all in a movement snake-like and turning. And see, what was that? One of the snakes seizes his own tail....I awoke as by a flash of lightning. This time also I spent the remainder of the night working out the consequences of the hypothesis."
Max Heindel has said in many places that the great Hierophants of the Mystery Schools are working with the modern scientist, and that they have always worked with scientists in the past; with the alchemists, for example, during the Middle Ages. here is a sample of inner-plane help given to a modern scientist, whose standing is unchallenged.
Other scientists also have been helped by their budding clairvoyance; usually it is purely intellectual in nature, an illumined reason, but occasionally one does, for a brief moment, see with etheric vision into the atomic structure of matter, but dares not publish this to the world.
What is the relationship of molecules and atoms to the magnetic aura of which the esotericist speaks and which science is now beginning to explore? Here we stand on the threshold of the second of the four ethers: the Life Ether.
Before proceeding further, however, let us review what we are taught in the Rosicrucian Philosophy about our planet's own etheric envelope. The etheric envelope of the human organism is in fact a miniature replica of the etheric envelope of the Earth globe, and is representative of it in the way that a drop of sea water may be said to represent the ocean.
The physical Earth is surrounded and penetrated by an invisible globe which extends out into space a great distance beyond the atmosphere, traditionally, to the Moon, which is included within the etheric envelope of the Earth. This is the vital body of the Earth. This globe is composed of ether, of which there are four grades: the densest is called the Chemical Ether, and is closest to the Earth. The next is the Life Ether; then comes the Light Ether; and finally, the fourth and rarest, most attenuated, which is called the Reflecting Ether. Ether is substantial, but not physical in the sense that matter as we know it is physical. However, to the trained clairvoyant it is as tangible as the solids, liquids and gases of our common experience. In these ethers the clairvoyant sees the vital forces which give life to the mineral forms of plant, animal, and man. The etheric bodies of all beings that exist on the earth partake of the cosmic forces which flow through the planetary vital body.
The vital body has no power of itself; it is the channel through which the solar life forces pout into the physical body, and also it is the channel through which the dynamic energy of the desire body acts upon the physical to stir it to activity. The vital body determines the direction in which a given force is used, but that force must be supplied from outside — or from "above," if we are thinking in terms of the higher spiritual, mental, and psychic forces.
Just as the Earth's envelope has its positive and negative poles in each sheath or layer from Chemical to Reflecting Ether, reflected at the physical level as the magnetic poles of the earth globe, so each sheath or level of man's etheric body has its positive and negative pole, manifesting in opposite polarity in the two sexes. The Chemical Ether is predominantly positive in the male structure, negative in the female. The organs of the physical body have each their own magnetic field within the etheric body in general, each with at least one pair of poles, and some with more than one.
We have shown that the Chemical Ether is the medium of manifestation for the chemical forces which cause the formation of crystals, poetically explained as the loves and hates of atoms. Other forces in this ether promote assimilation, excretion, and growth. The color of the Chemical Ether is deep purplish, or indigo; sometimes amethystine or bluish violet, clear and transparent in its normal state, but dark to blackness when it carries disease, and when it is called miasma. Miasma is so dense that it is actually tangible even to persons without any particular esoteric development. Max Heindel described a case of illness in which black miasma enclosed the throat of the patient like a collar. He also described it as hanging in curls from the body, in the form in which it exuded from the magnetic atomic vortices of the vital body of the afflicted person.
The "forces" which act through and in the Chemical Ether will be described in a future discourse. We may say in passing, however, that these forces include living intelligences, a class of Nature Spirits, generally called Gnomes in the fairy mythology of the peoples: and other higher intelligences which direct their activities, among them Angels and the human spirits of those whom we call "dead."*
*In common speech it is sometimes customary to speak of "magnetism" when what is really meant is the ether of the vital body itself. Magnetic healers speak of "throwing off magnetism" when they mean that diseased ethers are drawn off from the vital body of the patient and "thrown" down. This is not scientifically correct, as the student will understand from our discussion of the two lower ethers; but it is a common phrase and should be understood in its popular sense.
Thus Max Heindel says that this miasma, when drawn from the patient's body, is subject to gravity and can be burned in a fire or carried away by water. "To the spiritual vision it is a dark or black jelly-like fluid. It lies shimmering and shivering on the floor. If now the patient gets up relieved, and goes over the place where this magnetism has been thrown away, then the miasma will re-enter the body and he or she will be in a worse condition than before."
The Life Ether is the avenue for the operation of forces which have as their primary object the perpetuation of the species — in terms of humankind, the building of new racial forms. The cosmic force which works in the Life Ether is the third Principle of Deity, the Creative Energy of God. The lesser forces working in this ether are, briefly, the Solar-Lunar Race God Jehovah (who works with planets having moons, though His cosmic focus is the solar orb); the Archangelic Race Spirit; the mother and father of each reincarnating Ego; the incarnating Ego itself; Nature Spirits; Angels and Archangels; and spirits belonging to the plant life wave, including the plant Group Spirits. (Minerals generally do no possess a Life Ether).
Like the other Ethers, the Life Ether has two poles, positive and negative. The positive pole predominates in the female structure, the negative pole in the male structure, the reason for this being that the female requires the extra portion of creative energy for the use of the infant body of the Ego who comes to her for rebirth. The forces that work along the positive pole are those which work in the female during gestation, enabling her to do this positive, active work of bringing forth a new living form. The forces which work along the negative pole of the Life Ether enable the male to produce semen, in which the spermatozoon containing the seed atom of the dense body of the incoming Ego is deposited by the Angels.
The Angels are the warders and keepers of the propagative seed atoms of plant, animal, and man. When working with animals, the Angels are assisted by the desire body of the mother. When working with mankind they are further assisted by the desire body of the incarnating Ego itself.
When the Ego is ready to seek rebirth, the Recording Angels determine the sex of the body in which it shall function during that particular earth life, and the archetype is formed accordingly. The factor determining the sex is the Law of Alternation, unless this law is modified by specific circumstances established by the Ego in previous earth existences. The sex is therefore determined before the etheric matrix, made of Chemical and Life Ether, is built.
The law is: When the Life Ether matrix of the incarnating Ego is positive it attracts negative Chemical Ether and physical atoms, through the agency of forces which work along the positive pole of the Life Ether, and the dense body will be female. When the Life Ether matrix is negative, it will attract positive Chemical Ether and physical atoms, through the agency of the forces working along the negative pole of the Life Ether, and the dense body will be male. This work begins in the uterus with the fertilized ovum which is the body itself, at this stage.
The incarnating Ego hovers near its future mother clothed in the embryonic sheath of mind and desire body, while the matrix is placed in the womb of the mother by the Angels. After the seed atom has been deposited in the body of the mother and conception takes place, the ovum being fertilized, the incoming Ego remains outside for a period of from eighteen to twenty-one days while the mother's desire body alone is working on the embryonic dense body.
To the esoteric scientist all elements of heredity inhere in the Life Ether and are manipulated by unseen Intelligences, though the human being assists. The secondary sex traits are also the product of forces working through the positive and negative poles of the Life Ether. It is to be noted that sex traits are not confined to the primary reproductive functions of the body, but that every cell in the body shows a sex difference. For example: each cell in the female body has 23 sets or pairs of chromosomes, each pair identical twins; but in the male body each cell contains one pair that is asymmetric; that is, different. We may say that the "23rd" pair of chromosomes are the sex chromosomes, which in the female body are identical, and described as gthe two X chromosomes; whereas the "23rd" pair of chromosomes in the male body cell consists of two different chromosomes, X and Y. It is the Y chromosome that determines the maleness of the body.
Until 1957 it was believed that there were 48 chromosomes (24 pairs) in the human body cell; but in that year a new kind of microscope revealed that there were in fact only 46 (23 pairs).
We repeat: what we have said here relates to every cell in the body, not to the "gametes" or "marrying cells" alone. Certain cells are set aside in the reproductive organs at the very outset of the incarnational process for the specific purpose of perpetuating the species. Although these cells divide, they do so less often than the other body cells, and are still fresh when the work of reproduction begins. Their way of dividing is also different from that of other cells (meiosis versus mitosis) allowing for variety in transmission of hereditary elements since these are drawn from two people instead of one alone, and many mixtures are possible. When the reserve cell splits in two it forms the "gametes," which are more commonly known as ova and spermatozoa, or egg and sperm cells. The egg cells contain each one X-chromosome; the sperm cells contain each one X-chromosome or one Y-chromosome. Also, each gamete contains only one-half the number of chromosomes of the regular cell, but when the two gametes unite the resulting cell (fertilized ovum) has once more the full number of chromosomes.
The chromosomes carry minute formations called "genes," which are the real agents of heredity. Since each chromosome has as many as 1,000 genes, something like 46,000 genes are available to the incarnating Ego from each of its parents. Thus the "genetic die" or pattern is set in the original cell, which continues to divide in the usual manner of body cells to form the new organism which is to house a human Spirit. Femaleness seems to be the basic condition: the Y chromosome adds the male element. (Compare Cosmo-Conception, Diagram 13)
Under the microscope the genes are seen within the cell as little cross bands on the thread-like chromosomes, sometimes compared to beads. It is said that they are "nature's molds, which make a certain creature conform to the pattern of his forebears."
Of special interest to the esotericist is the statement (Gamow) that the gene is perhaps a sort of "missing link" between living and non-living matter; hence it is also termed "the living molecule." So we can perhaps start to draw the line at this point between the common molecule which belongs to the field of the Chemical Ether and the living molecule which belongs to the field of the Life Ether.*
The gene is the smallest unit of living matter. Yet "it also possesses characteristics of the complex molecule (like those of proteins) which are subject to all the familiar laws of chemistry." (Gamow). It is estimated that the gene has about a million atoms. Esotericists say that the genes and chromosomes are deposited by forces working in the Life Ether.
Therefore the two lower ethers do in fact constitute a "vital" or "life" body which acts as a matrix, in terms of a network or meshwork of force, into which the atoms of the body are collected in a living pattern or organism. It is taught that the blood and ductless (endocrine) glands are in a special sense the highest product of the vital body; and among the ductless glands the pituitary body, located in the head, is in the words of modern biophysicists the most powerful sex organ in the body. Its secretions govern the fertility cycles in both men and women. It is the focus of the Life Spirit (Macrocosmic Christ) in man, which is a fire. (Occult Principles of Health and Healing) The vital body as a whole is the "reflection" or "emanation." (we might even say, condensation) of the same Principle. (The Vital Body) All hormones secreted and released into the blood stream by the ductless glands are expressions of the Life Ether, but those like the pituitary body and gonads, which secrete sex hormones are especially so; for these are the active participants, with the genes and chromosomes, in the reproductive cycles of the individual and the race. Eventually the Cosmic Christ Life must of necessity supplant the Jehovistic Race Principle, in its entirety.
The number of chromosomes in each cell differs from one species of life to another. Only the human body contains 46 chromosomes. The entire development and practically all properties of the adult organism are determined by the set of genes hidden in each chromosome in every body cell. Every animal or plant "grows around its genes."
This has been compared with the way a lump of inorganic matter is formed. For example certain atomic nuclei carrying a charge of six positive electric units will surround themselves with atomic envelopes of six electrons each, which cause the atoms to tend to arrange themselves in a regular hexagonal pattern, forming the crystals that we call diamonds. It goes without saying that even the very simplest living organism is far more complex than the diamond, "but in both cases we have the typical phenomena of macrocosmic organization being determined to the last detail by microscopic centers or organizing activity." (Gamow).
* It is rightly said that the laws of heredity show a mathematical simplicity and clearness which suggest that "we are dealing with one of the fundamental phenomena of life."
It has been previously shown what physical science has to say about the life forces in the human organism. We take note again that the carbon atom is the crux of the chemical life process, in the words of the scientist: "Whereas the structure of the universe depends upon hydrogen, the structure of life depends upon carbon. Carbon is the essential 'building block' upon which all living things have been constructed. Why should this be? Life requires atoms which have the ability to form themselves into exceptionally large molecules....What gives the carbon atom this special property of adhering to other atoms on so large a scale? It appears to be an ordinary atom distinguished by having six planetary electrons: whereas boron and nitrogen, its neighbors in the atomic table, have five and seven electrons respectively — yet the carbon atom is quite unique. This is due to its peculiar structure. It is known as a quadrivalent atom because it has a power of four in forming combinations of atoms, in comparison with others having more or less. It is this quality that gives the carbon atom its tremendous potentiality of creating more complex structures. In fact, the number of possible compounds, based on this versatile atom, actually runs into millions." (The Living Universe, Gatland and Dempster).
For centuries esoteric science has spoken of the "diamond body" of the Adept, or of the Adept himself as "the Living Diamond." Here in modern biochemistry a hint of revelation shines forth, for this carbon atom, which bulks so large in the life process, is the same form which Nature long ago formed diamonds in the rocky strata of the primordial earth globe. The diamond is the symbol of immortality; but it is more than a symbol. It is a promise.
Behind the diamond lay the energy of sunshine, the pressure of masses of rock, and the heat of the still young earth. The same forces are present in the human organism, though in another form, and shadow forth the ultimate destiny of the human being.
In popular thought "Fire" and "Water" are taken as opposites; but in esoteric chemistry they are in fact complimentaries. And so it is not surprising to discover that intimately connected with the Life Ether is the "colorless solar ether" or "solar fluid," which pours in through the spleen center of the etheric body; for the Life Ether is the particular avenue for the specialization of this solar fluid, Max Heindel states.
Now just as there is a universal or macrocosmic Life Fire (called the Life Spirit, which is the Christ Principle), so also there is a macrocosmic magnetism visible to etheric sight as a kind of rain which seems to fall in slanting lines toward the earth. Many people have seen this fall of cosmic force without knowing what they saw. It is not the same as the "cosmic rays" of modern science, although, since the Sun is a star and the stars are all suns, there is no reason to suppose that this "solar ether" would not include forces emanating from distant stars and nebulae, as well as from our Sun. Matter and light involve electromagnetic phenomena; so too, deos "life," as biologists are now discovering. The "sex force" so-called, is "generated in" the Life Ether, as the solar or cosmic force rushes in through the spleen.
The cosmic magnetic rain is colorless, like water; and as rain consists of separate droplets of water, so too this magnetic rain consists of separate units of force. Moreover, it has an affinity for water, and Mesmer discovered that the oceans are charged with what he termed solar magnetism, and so are lakes, rivers, and streams. And of course the highly magnetic human body reveals its origin in primordial seas in the fact that it is more than 80% water. Mesmer also said that the Sun was a great magnet — which modern astronomy now verifies. (Frontiers of Astronomy, Hoyle).
Plants are rich in the Life Ether, and so are certain animal products such as fresh cow's milk, still warm from the milking. Most of the human needs are met through the ingestion of plant foods, to which is added the magnetism pouring in through the spleen. Some day man will not need to sustain himself on plant food, but will draw his sustenance directly from the cosmic energy field itself.
The universal magnetism rushes through the spleen to the seed atom of the vital body located in the solar plexus; thence it fans out through the body, radiating through the nerves. Without these magnetic currents the body could not function, but would be inert and motionless, like an electric machine with the current turned off. The activity of the vital as it separates the solar fluid is audible to etheric hearing as a steady drone, or hum, and the vortices of force are clearly felt. The keynote of this activity is set by the "Sounding Flame" which burns in the medulla oblongata, which in turn sounds the keynote of the archetype. When the Ego wills action it causes the brain to specialize great quantities of this energy, which pours out to the muscles and compels action. It is the same force which the Ego used earlier when building the body in the maternal womb.*
Max Heindel describes the "million mouths" which in the positive (female) vital body suck in the solar energy in far greater measure than the negative (male) vital body is able to do; and this. he says, accounts for the great recuperative capacity of girls and women. The excess force is supplied to the female vital body for the needs of motherhood, but it is there for use in every day life as well.
Students sometimes see these "mouths" as "circles," and it would seem that these circles are the basic unit of the positive pole of the Life Ether, which determines the shape of the overall magnetic matrix, which is a network, or meshwork, of force. Within the magnetic meshwork are innumerable whirlpools
*Most physicists agree that an electric charge in motion generates a magnetic field; but a few are researching the possibility that magnetism and electricity are not in fact the same thing, and they postulate the existence of "monopolies," which are to magnetism what the electron is to electricity. According to this theory there are both positive and negative "monopoles" just as there are positive and negative electrons. The esoteric student speaks from the standpoint of etheric experience, and therefore speaks of both electricity and magnetism of the body in connection with the two lower ethers; but it is to be observed that the "electrical forces" are most often referred to in connection with the Chemical Ether and the "magnetic forces" with the Life Ether.
(or spirals of force), large and small, some turning left-handed and some right-handed. This reminds us of the saying that light is energy running in circles, running freely, whereas matter is "bottled-up" energy. The Chemical Ether is the "bottle" for non-living matter; the Life and Chemical Ether together are the "bottle" for living matter.
The etheric atom and the physical atom are as a rule tightly intertwined, but esoteric students (and some others) often feel a sensation as of the etheric atom "unscrewing" from the physical atom. Only recently has physical science come to realize that it does make a difference in Nature whether a force runs right-hended or left-handed. Formerly the "Law of Parity" expressed the common belief that it made no difference in Nature which way the forces run. A whole new branch of science has developed out of the discovery that it does definitely make a difference, both to structure of matter and the development of life.
Everywhere in Nature one finds the Law of the Spiral; from nebulae and galaxies in the heavens to the spiraling growth of leaf and bud in plants, right down into the helix of chromosomes on which the genes are strung like beads, and down still farther to ions — and to the atomic bases of substances which live or once had life. There we discover again that the carbon atom seems to be a special agent of the spiraling habit. For although there are some non-living molecules and ions which also show the spiraling habit, this characteristic is frequently the sign of the life forces. We quote: "What started the right-handedness and left-handedness now so vital to living things? If some life process must accompany the separation of right-handed from left-handed materials, how could life begin in the first place? If everything now right-handed were suddenly made left-handed, would life proceed without interruption and without change? These are deeply studied problems. Some good guesses have been made, but they have not produced the full answer. The guesses have come — and perhaps the full answer will come — from examining the symmetries of the forces acting on matter, along with the symmetries of the matter on which they act. Crystals furnish one of the most beautiful examples of order and symmetry. Thinking further, you will find that order and symmetry have very far-reaching application in all the natural sciences. Today physicists think of the symmetries of the fundamental particles of which the universe is made, of the fields of force in which those particles find themselves, and of the mathematical equations which describe the resulting behavior of the world. Chemists think of the symmetries of the molecules, simple and complicated, made of those particles. And biologists think of those symmetries — that orderliness — in their effort to understand the origin and behavior of life itself." (Crystals and Crystal Growing, Holden and Singer, pages 274-275).
Although we may speak of the magnetic rain as "solar ether," it is not a property of sunlight. It is seen falling through space in dense darkness as well as in the light. This is why esoteric science classifies it with the Life Ether is the particular avenue for its specialization. Its fluidic magnetism is the source of what is commonly known as "sex attraction," which esoteric science views as an activity of the positive and negative poles of the Life Ether. Polarity, as such, however, is not limited to the Life Ether or to the sexuality of organically propagating creatures; it is found on higher spiritual planes as well, where it manifests in a different way.
As evolution advances, the incarnating entity (Ego) is able to specialize more and more of this cosmic magnetic fluid; and therefore the human being specializes this energy in far greater quantities than do plants and animals. Moreover, Max Heindel's investigations suggested that the forces entering through the spleen show different colors according to the various uses made of it by the different life waves. (Teachings of an Initiate,)
This colorless ether is in fact the original form of the "animal magnetism" or "organic magnetism" traditionally assigned to all living creatures, but not to the mineral kingdom. Sex and heredity are part of the function, but not the whole function, which is, in general, the promotion of life in the entire organism.
Note that there is a "mineral" as well as an "animal" magnetism. We may liken the difference between these two kinds of magnetism to that between inorganic and organic iron. The plant takes the mineral element iron and transmutes it into organic iron, which is abundant, for example, in the green leaves of the plant; yet this organic iron is outwardly not in the least like a lump of iron, or iron ore, from which it is originally derived.
The magnetic field of the Life Ether, as we have seen, builds the embryo in the womb beginning with the fertilized ovum, and because the child body requires large quantities of this ether, the child's etheric aura is larger in proportion to its body than is the adult's. This reserve supply of ether in the child's aura consists of Chemical Ether atoms as well as a reserve supply of the cosmic life force. (The "prismatic ether atom" actually consists of both Life and Chemical Ether.)
Physical science has as yet discovered neither the colorless solar fluid nor the fact that it is subject to the human will; yet, if it were not subject to the human will, it could not be true that the higher life forms specialize larger and larger quantities of it. The cosmic magnetic rain does indeed respond to the human will, which is focused in the frontal sinus as we know. A sense of heat often accompanies the downpouring of the cosmic rain. Max Heindel points out that in early epochs of our evolution this cosmic force did enter the vital body at the will of the human being, and in a different way from that by which it enters at present (through the spleen). We can now begin to recover the conscious use of the cosmic life forces.
Drawing the "inorganic" force through the human magnetic aura converts it to "organic" magnetism, which the human body needs for growth. hence the ancient practice of "laying on of hands." The magnetic healer builds, in effect, an artificial womb of force in which the body of his patient is able to reconstruct itself. A case is reported of a child born with "buds" in the place of fingers on one hand, and under months of work by a group of dedicated church healers (members of an orthodox communion) these "buds" (which are found in the embryo) unfolded and grew into normal fingers, just as if the child had been placed back in the mother's womb and growth taken up where it left off.
Again Max Heindel has commented that "when it (solar fluid) is sent out by the brain in particularly large quantities it moves the muscles to which the nerves lead." But for the work of body-building — which is what healing really is — still greater quantities of the solar fluid are required, and unless these are called down from space by way of the frontal sinus (human will), and thence directed by the brain, such miracles as we have mentioned cannot be performed; and oftentimes more than one healer must work on the case. The group of healers mentioned above knew nothing of the modus operandi of the cosmic forces, but nevertheless successfully invoked them through prayer to a Divinity whom they pictured as in Heaven. It is noteworthy that most of the healers were women with their positive vital bodies.
The science called "mesmerism" involves the use of these cosmic forces, but mesmerism is not the same as modern hypnotism, which depends upon suggestion. "Suggestion" could not have made the embryonic buds unfold into fingers for the child. neither could "suggestion" delay corruption of a piece of meat, or a vegetable, as the application of live magnetism has been reported to have done.
We have said that magnetic force is nearly always allied with some form of moisture, like the sap of the tree in plants and the blood of animals and humans, or other fluids. Trees cut down for Christmas trees bleed their sap away; and as this bleeding goes on, the tree's vital magnetism rushes out, a veritable hemorrhage of force, soon after cutting; then more slowly until the tree is dead and its needles brown.
It is painful to any sensitive person to sit in the room with a tree so palpably bleeding to death; and most esoteric students prefer a living tree, or at least a tree culled by the forestry service to make room for a healthier growth on mountain slopes; or an artificial tree, of which there are many beautiful specimens.
The solar force flowing in through the spleen is a cosmic force, but still "inorganic" from the human point of view; which by the alchemy of the incarnating Spirit becomes an "organic" force of life-magnetism. Iron is important to the creation of human magnetism, and there are four atoms of iron in every normal hemoglobin cell; and the presence of iron in the planet is undoubtedly concerned in the planetary magnetism. But there are also great magnetic fields in interstellar space — the matrices of future worlds.
We have been speaking of "life" forces, but esoteric science also speaks of "death" forces, and as the life force is associated with the Sun, so the death forces are associated with the Moon. Max Heindel speaks of "the death-dealing Moon forces" and also "the crystallizing Moon forces." The life-process is a balance between the upbuilding solar forces and the down-tearing lunar forces. In some ancient schools of esoteric science these currents are known as "upward flowing" and "downward flowing" breaths.
The growth cycles of the vital body are set in septenary periods derived from the crystallizing lunar forces. Seven years is the span of maturation of the etheric sheath, the vital body being "born" from its sheath at the age of seven, then the several ethers maturing further, separately, in seven-year cycles; the Life Ether at fourteen with the desire body; the Light Ether at twenty-one with the mind; the Reflecting Ether at twenty-eight with the mind's full maturation. Max Heindel also mentions an ancient tradition of "Moon beings" whose life span from infancy to old age is but seven years. Such cases are known to medical science.
We have spoken heretofore of etheric sight and etheric hearing; we must also take note of an etheric sense of touch. The Life Ether is sensed, for example, as a kind of heavy magnetic fluid. One may call it syrupy, if it is understood that we mean by this that its magnetism gives it this consistency. When the Invisible Helper dips his hands into the etheric body of the patient and then withdraws them, the vital body of the patient seems to cling to his hands. Ordinarily, of course, the patient does not feel his own magnetism, but the Helper's magnetic aura in this instance is exerting an outside attraction. This is the "cement" of assimilation about which Max Heindel speaks in (The Vital Body,). Note that the "cement" of assimilation belonging to the Life Ether is found below the molecular threshold of the body, whereas the "cement" of the Chemical Ether is definitely molecular, as shown in the fact that the lines of force of the vital body carry off these molecules, which many seers have described. We have said that the molecule is the smallest portion of a substance which can still be called "matter." When we break down the molecule we have entered into the world of atoms, and when we break down the atoms we enter the world of sub-atomic forces. And here on the borderline of matter we enter the states known to esoteric science as the Life Ether.*
The Invisible Helper works directly within and upon the molecular structure of the body in the Chemical Ether, though he can materialize a hand physical enough to perform massage, make chiropractic adjustments, or even perform surgery.
Biochemists naturally assume that all of the electromagnetic phenomena of the body derive from the body's chemistry; the esotericist claims that the vital body has an independent existence, that it exists prior to the body and is its continuing matrix. No doubt biochemists will one day take their instruments and test a dead body and, of course, find no electromagnetic field; this, they will declare, proves that it emanates from the body, which being dead, has no field. But if the esotericist is right, the biochemist will
*"All reactions, including those of living matter, are linked to the nucleus." (1964-1965).
discover his electric field if he evolves sensitive instruments capable of exploring the space a few feet above the corpse, for there he will find that for a few days after death, a magnetic field does exist, floating above the corpse. And even later, if he knew where to look, and where to transport his instruments, and how to place them, he might discover a human-shaped magnetic field which corresponded to the dead body but separated from it in space as well as in time!
But if the theory of a floating magnetic field seems strange, we may recall that astronomers now postulate that magnetic fields exist in interstellar space which — if they do nothing else — speed the cosmic rays on their way through the universe.
Mention has been made several times of the "Life Fire" which burns in the Life Ether. It is not merely a physical heat, but a Fire which denotes the presence of a living spirit. In the so-called "Lost Sayings of Jesus" discovered in Egypt in 1904 (and again in 1945) the statement occurs: "Wherever there are two, they are not without God, and wherever there is one I say I am with him. Raise the stone and there thou shalt find me; cleave the rock and there I am." There is still in use in certain churches an Easter Ceremonial in which part of the ritual consists of striking a spark from a rock, and lighting the Easter candles from the flame built from the spark; suggesting that the Cosmic Fire (Life Spirit) is meant in these verses.
Yet the Universal Fire is "cold" while it sleeps in the rock and in cosmic space; it is still "cold" in the plant kingdom, although to the etheric sight it has the appearance of a delicate flame, not a flame which burns and leaps, but a steady glow of the pink-orange which characterizes the Life Ether in the plant kingdom. In animals and men it takes on a deeper rosy or red hue for just as the radiation of energy and atomic particles are not visible to the human eye, although they exist, so the "heat" of cold-blooded animals or of plants is not detectable to human senses in the common range. Apropos of which we quote Dr. Donald H. Andrews of Johns Hopkins University, who said in a speech: "If you turn out the lights and stand in the dark, you do not appear to be glowing; yet if you stand in front of an infrared television camera in complete darkness the television screen will show you as a glowing form, beaming with light which radiates out from you as a result of the vibrations of your atoms. This is an established physical fact."
It is now some ten years since a professor attached to Chicago University, Dr. Bernard Strehler, and another attached to the national Laboratory at Oak Ridge, Dr. William Arnold, discovered that green plants give off a faint red light, much as fireflies do, and then produced in the laboratory a substance which seems to be the same as that which in the plant emits the red glow. the red light cannot be seen with the naked eye, they pointed out, but something producing it must be there. They added: "These findings were made possible by the study of fireflies and luminous bacteria. it is now thought that there is a close relationship between light emission which releases energy and photosynthesis, which stores energy....Even more surprising is the fact that the same chemical compounds which are responsible for light emission in fireflies and the luminous bacteria often causing lighted fish at night, are involved in photosynthesis."
Only in warm-blooded animals and in humankind does the "cold" Fire of space tale on heat which is felt as such to human sensory equipment.
The heat aspect of the Life Ether in the human body is really a property conferred by the activity of forces operating in the positive pole of the Light Ether, with which we are concerned in our next set of lessons. For just as we have not been able wholly to separate the Chemical Ether from the Life Ether, so wee cannot wholly separate the Life Ether from the Light Ether. All of the ethers react and interact one with the other.
As color is associated with sunlight in the common range of vision, so color is associated with the body magnetism to the etheric vision. the five colors specialized by the ethers, which stand between violet and red in a color circle, are not found in the solar spectrum as known to ordinary vision; they do not occur in the rainbow, which is refracted sunlight. These are the colors running from beyond-violet, through mid-purple, to magenta or peach- blossom color, to below-red. But though these colors are not found in the solar spectrum, they are true primary colors in the Desire World, and the peach-blossom color is the color of the Life Force as seen in the Life Ether in the human body. Max Heindel says that this color is not always described in identical terms by those who see it. He himself calls it pink-blue" or "pinkish-purple." It is the expression of the Universal Life Spirit, as noted before, and since it is Life ether it appears only in plants, animals, and man — not in the mineral kingdom. Ordinarily the color of the vital body is called a "rosy hue."
The Chemical Ether is characterized by blue or indigo, deepening to mid-purple or near-black.
Other colors may also appear in these two lower ethers but those mentioned are basic.
When the solar ether pours through the spleen and is refracted in the seed atom of the vital body in the solar plexus, it pours through the body so that every atom of the body, both physical and etheric, receives its stimulation. The excess force then radiates outward in rose-colored lines. Mr. Heindel's first thought when studying the ethers was that this force took on its rosy hue by refraction through each prismatic ether atom: later he decided the change occurred in the solar plexus seed-atom, and a cluster of atoms around it. (Cosmo-Conception,) He had not completed his researches at the time of his sudden death in January, 1919.
Now let us turn once more to the view of the vital body available to the etheric sight of the esoteric scientist. Necessarily the vital body atom is seen in conjunction with the physical atom, with which the etheric atom is tightly entwined. To picture the physical and etheric atom of the body, imagine a pear-shaped wire basket having walls of spirally curved wire running obliquely from pole to pole. This is the physical part of the atom. It is shaped nearly like our Earth and the prismatic vital body atom is inserted at the top, which is widest, and corresponds to the positive pole of the earth. Since the vital prism is inserted at the top, the point of the prism extends toward the bottom of the "basket," which is termed the negative pole. The whole atom, thus interpenetrated, resembles a top swinging, swaying, and vibrating, in a note which is set by the archetype and the Sounding Flame in the medulla oblongata.
This suggests that the "prism" is part of the atomic nucleus (of which little was known during Max Heindel's lifetime), while the "wire basket" would be, perhaps, the spiralling paths of electrons traveling in the magnetic vortices determined by the Life Ether. Note that this atom is not disc-shaped but pear-shaped, as it is now thought the Earth globe may really be, with the wide part at the South Pole.*
The etheric prisms expand when life force is rushing through them; they contract ("shrivel up") in fatigue and the lines of force are crumpled and bent, forcing the Ego to withdraw in sleep. On page 138 of Rosicrucian Mysteries Max Heindel comments that "when the vital body collapses, as it were, the little streams of force which permeate each atom seem to shrivel up, and the Ego is forced to abandon its body to the restorative powers of sleep." He also mentions certain forces which circle the atom and the earth from pole to equator. (The Vital Body)
To the etheric vision, points of the etheric prisms are seen sticking out in every direction. But just as physical vision varies, so also etheric vision varies from person to person, and although all see much the same thing, it is seen in varying degrees of sharpness and clarity. Students should therefore
Of the so-called "ultimate physical atom" Max Heindel says: "If we are so far developed that we are able to leave our dense physical body and take soul flight into interplanetary space, we shall find that the ultimate physical atom is spherical in shape like our earth; it is a ball." (Rosicrucian Mysteries)
Nineteenth century physics once held that atoms were of various shapes; hence this comment that the true atom is round. Modern physicists say that the atoms of matter are energy running in circles.
avoid arbitrary statements until they are quite sure that their etheric sight is reasonably well developed. To one the vital body may appear to be no more than a vaguely colored mist extending about an inch and a half from the body. To another this mist resolves itself into a multitude of rose-colored lines of force. The Chemical Ether may be seen lying close to the body, and to some its dark blue color may seem to be an empty space like the core of a gas flame. Many have seen crystals, molecules and particles, streaming from the surface of the body. sparks of vital energy which shoot from head, face, and hands are seen now and again by almost everyone. They are also seen around plants and a blue spark which flies from a seed sometimes signals the presence of a Nature Spirit which dwells in the seed.
We usually discover that when Max Heindel says "vital body" he means specifically the Life Ether, rather more than the Chemical Ether, for of course, "vital" means pertaining to life, but it is the Chemical Ether which forms the actual etheric double of every single molecule in the human body. However, each atom is also penetrated and surrounded by a slight aura of the Light and Reflecting Ethers. (The Vital Body)
Death of the body occurs when the archetype collapses, which is followed by the rupture of the seed-atom in the heart and the collapse of the vital body (as before sleep), forcing the Ego to withdraw from its vehicles. The vital body is then seen to rise like a twisting column of smoke, which re-forms itself into the individual's likeness above the body, to which it is still attached by the lower part of the Silver Cord, and with which it decays synchronously. Folklore describes this phenomenon as the corpse-candle, and although it is usually seen as a more or less luminous blue-gray mist, it has been seen on occasion as green or blue-green in color, changing color in the process of decomposition.
Death is often accompanied by the sensation of a spiralling motion in the atoms of the body, but this sensation is not necessarily an indication of death, and the student need feel no alarm if it occurs. The pre — initiatory work "unscrews" the ether atoms in a safe way, enabling the Initiate to rise out of the body, leaving the two lower ethers with the physical body. Only a certain exercise given by true esoteric teachers enables the individual to make the right cleavage in the ethers, between the two lower and the two higher. Wrong exercises — especially such as taught in mediumship classes — may cause a cleavage between the Chemical and Life Ethers, or between the Chemical Ether atoms and the physical atoms, and when this happens various diseases, such as tuberculosis, may result. (The Vital Body,) But in any case, the "spiraling" of the atoms is a characteristic sensation.
It should also be observed here that when the Chemical and Life Ethers are driven out of the dense body, deep unconsciousness occurs, which is not sleep; and when consciousness returns upon the vital atoms re-entering their physical counterparts, a prickling, tingling sensation is felt. Physiologists say this is due to the circulation of the blood being restored, for the same sensation occurs when the circulation is cut off from a part of the body, as when a hand "goes to sleep." When this happens, the esotericist sees the etheric hand hanging below the physical. Similarly, in hypnosis the etheric "head" is pushed down around the shoulders of the subject, dividing from above. The circulation of the blood slows down, too, under such conditions.
The atoms of the physical body have a very slow vibration; the ether atom prods every physical atom into action and vibration, (including the atoms of the blood). In the human body the rate of vibration of the physical atom is normally an octave below the vibration of the ether atom which ensouls it. (The Vital Body) The prickling sensation which results from the ether atom is re-entering the physical atom from which it has been driven out does not cease until the normal vibration of the body atom, one octave below the theric, has been reached. Then the discomfort stops, for normal activity is once more established.
Esoteric science has not yet clarified the relationship between the planetary, solar, and ether magnetism of living things on Earth. Horoscopes for persons born in the southern hemisphere are traditionally reversed, so that where a northern chart shows Aries rising, for example, the southern chart would show Libra. Is this, perhaps, an effect of planetary polarity? This is one of the many mysteries still to be solved by the esoteric science of the future.
We have seen in an earlier section what modern science has to say about the Spiral. It is a curious fact that the five-pointed Star, always of great importance to esotericism, is also recognized as a special feature of life on this planet, as we learn in the new biology. Let us explore a little further into the part which this symbol plays in the world about us.
On a certain Tarot card (designed by A. E. Waite) is found this interesting design: a little flower growing which is shaped like a true star with five points. There really is such a flower, shaped like a five-pointed star, with the same star form repeated several times, at the heart of the blossom and at its base. The star itself is a delicate mauve color, not dissimilar to the pinkish blue of the vital body as Max Heindel describes it; and its petals are like soft velvet to the touch. It grows principally in Australia, but also occurs in parts of the Near East and Asia; and it has been "discovered" recently by California gardeners, for it grows well in Southern California. It is called the Hoya flower.
Now, among the six crystal systems known to science, "there is no permissible form with an axis of fivefold symmetry, and therefore no crystal can have such an axis," (Crystals and Crystal Growing, Holden and Singer, p. 163). "It is interesting to reflect upon the difference between crystals and living organisms in this respect. Starfish and buttercups, for example, have axes of fivefold symmetry; but crystals cannot." Therefore there is no star — no pentangle — in the crystal domain (which includes the largest part of our solid earth crust), but only in the kingdom of life. The five-petaled wild rose, ancestor of all modern roses, may also be mentioned with starfish and buttercups.
It can scarcely be doubted that ancient scientists had observed this simple fact of Nature, for everywhere the five-pointed Star is the symbol of the human being, as in Christianity it is the symbol of the Christ Child and points to the birth of the Christ in every man.
Intimately associated with the esotericism of the five-pointed Star is the Life Spiral observed throughout the universe. In esoteric symbolism it is seen as the serpents entwining the Staff of Mercury, the Caduceus, and as such it is the representative of the ascent of the threefold spinal spirit fire, discussed in Freemasonry and Catholicism, and Ancient and Modern Initiation by Max Heindel.
Esotericists will understand at a glance the supreme importance of this combination of symbols: the Star and the Spiral, both intimately concerned in the most complicated life processes.
In Masonic symbolism, in the rites and mysteries of the Rose Cross and Holy Grail, the Spiral is viewed in the stairway once found in Solomon's Temple. Historians and archeologists have not been in complete accord as to the kind of building Solomon's Temple really was, some likening it to the temples of ancient Ur in Chaldea, Abraham's birth-place, where the Temple of the Moon God crowned the uppermost of three great stages of mountain-like masonry. Others have likened it to the ziggurats of Babylon, seven-staged pyramids with a small domed cella, or sanctuary, on the top story in which the god was said to appear to the priestess, or priest. We may look upon this "upper room" of the Babylonian Temple as the Place of the Oracle, where the will of heaven was made known.
There were two ziggurats, or stepped pyramids, within the walls of the greater Babylon: the Temple of Bel within the central area, and the Temple of Nebo, or mercury, farther east in the suburb of Borsippa, the two connected by a "sacred way," or walled street. The Tower of Mercury at Borsippa was the more ancient and the more sacred, and one may well believe that from its summit the priest-astronomers watched for the tiny star near the Sun which was the planet Mercury.
The stepped pyramids of Chaldea and Babylonia necessarily had stairways and inclines leading from one stage to another, until the top story was reached. Doubtless they also had secret, interior spiralling stairways, as short-cuts to the summit, known only to the priests and their initiates, as the Great Pyramids of Gizeh in Egypt would suggest. However, archeologists have never discovered any such interior passageway in the Babylonian pyramids and towers. Assyria and Persia shared the Chaldean civilization, and also had towers which were at the same time observatories and temples. They also housed great libraries. More clearly, perhaps, than anywhere else, China shows the true nature of the pyramids and towers built in ancient times: as for example the famous Altar of Heaven at Peking, with its three marble terraces and nine concentric circles, its stairways at the four cardinal points; and the numerous "pagodas," some with as many as thirteen stories, each with its encircling roof, and containing nothing but a spiraling staircase leading to the summit, obviously designed for astronomical observatories as well as for worship of Heaven in a nation where for a thousand years before Christ the official religion was a purely astronomical one.
In recent times archaeologists have discovered in the ruins at Qumran, the Essene Headquarters on the Dead Sea, traces of a tower, and in it the suggestion of an upright central pillar around which a stairway once wound. Was this merely a storehouse? a watch tower? — or an observatory? Perhaps all these, and more. It is notable that Mercury, and Mercury's day of the week, were important to the Essenes. It is said that Wednesday was their Sabbath.
Turning now to Christian Europe, we find that in some accounts the legended Temple of the Grail also had its high tower, within which was the spiral stairway leading to the top level where the Grail Chapel was found and the Grail Mysteries celebrated. What was shown in these Mysteries at the top of the tower? Obviously the dome of heaven revolving around the dragon-guarded Pole Star; and just before the dawn at certain times of the year, the planet Mercury, sparkling like a diamond not far from the rising Sun. For this is precisely what the earliest legends say: that the Mystery of the Grail is revealed in the stars of heaven, especially the zodiac and its decans.
Other accounts say that the Temple craftsmen pictured the heavens within the over-arching dome, with stars and planets moving in their courses. Similarly, in the Temple of Healing at Mount Ecclesia, the domed ceiling suggests the vault of heaven, around which the twelve constellations of the zodiac are ranged, with Leo, the Lion of the Mysteries, over the altar, and Aquarius, the Son of Man ("Whosoever wills may come") over the door of entry.
In an era when illiteracy was common, it is easy to see how the neophyte would be taught to visualize the winding stair, and as his physical body relaxed into the "clear sleep" which is not trance as commonly defined, the wakeful mind would climb the spiral staircase to the place of Mystery at its summit, turning always toward the right hand, and the neophyte awoke on the inner planes within the sanctuary of the temple of initiation, or at its threshold, or in the anterooms, according to his merit.
For on the inner planes, space is no consideration. The "stepping-off" at the top of the spiral staircase takes the neophyte at once (without intermediate traveling) to his destination. Today the philosophy of science recognizes this condition in what is termed "the collapse of space" and its correlative, "the collapse of time." It is as if all space intervening between one point and another vanishes, and the stepover from "here" to "there" is instantaneous.
Sometimes meditation affords a hint of this, for as the mind becomes spiritually lucid, the neophyte sees into a crystal space, perhaps viewing some distant spot on Earth's surface. He has not left the body, he has not gone anywhere; yet he senses the reality of the distant place, and is sometimes seen, or even tangibly felt, or his mental voice audibly heard by persons living there. He feels that he might put out a hand and touch objects in that far-off place, for he is "there" and "here" at the same moment.
This "collapse of space" accounts for many strange dreams in which events and places seem to melt into one another without rhyme or reason. It also explains why one and the same Mystery Temple has been "discovered" in many different places: in the dense dark forest, on mountain summit, in swamps and marshes, in palaces and courts, in the seeker's own house.
When the neophyte does experience a sense as of movement in inner space, it means that his attention is tracing out the intervening distance, and in a manner of speaking, building a thought-trail or bridge over which he seems to travel. This is, however, unnecessary. The travel can be immediate, and with no sense of transition.
Thus to the student in the Mystery School, the star and the spiral, in addition to their outer, exoteric scientific significance, reveal something different and unique: the spiral ascent of the mind in the tower of consciousness, and at its summit the bright and blazing star which is the Invisible Helper himself, shining for the world.
With the dawn, the Helper returns to his body, and as he hovers over it, feeling the magnetic pull of the vital body drawing him down into the fleshly sheath, he is aware of the rotating of many wheels of force in his aura; and while these wheels rotate, he settles gently, with no shock or discomfort, into the dense physical instrument which lies upon the bed. He there awakens, to take up anew the cross of the body in the world of time and space.
In our section on the Life Ether we learned something about what Max Heindel designated "the colorless solar ether" and "solar fluid," and we noted that this solar fluid was visible to etheric sight under several varying states or conditions: as a kind of "rain" of cosmic force it rushes in through the etheric spleen, and turns a rose color in the solar plexus. We noted further that this solar fluid was magnetic, and was felt as such by the etheric senses, and that although it is called a "solar" ether it is studied in connection with the Life Ether rather than with the Light Ether, because the Life Ether is the particular avenue through which it is specialized. As magnetism it belongs to the "dark" spectrum which exists below and above the normal range of light visible to the human eye. In cold-blooded creatures and in the plant kingdom, the solar ether seems "colorless" and "cold" as viewed by the etheric senses. We can draw a parallel with this condition if we take in our hands an ordinary iron magnet. This magnet will have a north and a south pole, or positive and negative, and will pick up iron filings; yet ordinarily we can neither see light nor feel any sort of sensation emanating from the magnet. The iron is cold and dark, despite its magnetic field which is so easily demonstrated.
Only when the Light Ether is acting in conjunction with the Life Ether do we have the appearance of biological magnetism and the life-fire of warm- blooded creatures. The colors associated with the activities of the Life Ether, we observed, were those from ultraviolet to infra-red, and other rays not yet familiar to the lay public. Perception of these forces and colors, however, is something else again.
When the esoteric student begins his study of the Light Ether, he enters into the range of light, heat, and color of the normal senses, because the so- called "five senses" are the gift of forces working through the negative pole of this ether.
We may say further, however, that the Light Ether is the stronghold of the brain-mind, because it is the seat of all sensory perception, both within, below, and above the normal range of the sense organs. Extra-sensory perception belongs to this Ether in its higher reaches where it impinges upon and interacts with the Reflecting Ether.
The forces working along the negative pole of the Light Ether are the ones that vitalize, and in the beginning create, the sense organs, especially the eye, giving them the power to respond to and recognize differences in rates of vibration, and to classify these vibrations according to the effects they produce in Ego-awareness. The nervous system is its special field of activity. We know, of course, that the nerves are in reality part of the sensory- mechanism of the brain, which is made of the same "gray matter" as the nerves, and the new biology knows that electrical impulses travel through brain and nerves.
Vibrations ranging from 16 to 32 thousand per second the Ego recognizes as sound. These are vibrations in the air, but there is a super-sound (supersonic vibration) which is also audible to etheric senses. Another range of vibrations the Ego recognizes as feelings (heat and cold, soft and hard, etc.); another as seeing, another as smelling, another as tasting, and so on. All of which are simply varying rates of vibration recognized by the Ego, the speed of which produces the different sensations as allocated to the five senses or kinds of receptors. There are also organs of internal reception: receptors which report to the Ego such things as weight (the wight sense), heat (the heat sense), balance or equilibrium (the balance sense), the relationship of parts of the body to each other (the proprioceptor sense — essentially a muscle sense); while a "nearness sense," such as blind people develop, gives the sensation of something near which cannot be seen or felt — an object which is being approached, or an invisible presence — at which point the "nearness sense" tapes off into the extra-sensory range of perception.
All of these sensory perceptions are properties of the negative pole of the Light Ether as known to esoteric science. It is of special interest to the esotericist to note that the "heat sense" has finally been located by modern science in a special set of nerves centered in the spinal cord itself, which send out long filaments (nerves) to patches of skin, chiefly around the middle of the body. (Buttocks and back are most sensitive to temperature.) (Reader's Digest September, 1963, Mysteries of our Sixth Senses.)
The heat control center of the body has been generally assigned to the brain area of the cerebellum or to the medulla oblongata, where esotericists say that the Flame of Life burns.
It is this negative pole of the Light Ether which acts with the Life Ether in the production of living creatures with a full range of sensory perception, or physical and etheric consciousness. The thalamus, a tiny organ in about the center of the head, and in front of the pineal gland, is thought to be the original or primitive brain, in which the primordial instincts reside; while the great mass of the brain is the seat of sensory consciousness or awareness. (The pituitary body is lower down and farther forward than the thalamus.) Perhaps these are the seats of the subconscious and conscious minds, as defined by modern analytical psychology. The so-called "sub-conscious" mind of modern psychology actually includes what the esoteric scientists term the "super-conscious" mind, and the forces operative in the Reflecting Ether.
Why is the range of the Light Ether defined in terms of the solar spectrum? Because all human senses have evolved in a system dominated by our Sun, the majority of whose rays are in this particular range, from infrared to ultraviolet. Science had nothing to tell the esotericists, until quite recently, about the activities of the negative and positive poles of the Light Ether. What the esotericist saw with extended vision could not be explained in terms of academic physics. The situation has changed. A correlation is now possible, and also an explanation, for which Planck's Quantum Theory is responsible. According to this theory the basic unit of radiation is the Quantum — a packet of energy, called a "photon" — which is created continuously in free space by the collisions of positrons and electrons, and are also released from the interior of atoms when electronic changes occur. No law has yet been discovered to show just how or when these sparks of energy are created or liable to be created. There is an "uncertainty principle" in physics.
"Radiation is composed of individual units, known as quanta. When there are enough of them these quanta arrange themselves in wave patterns. Each pattern possesses a wave-length." (Hoyle) Thus light is both "particles" (in the sense of quanta, or energy packets) and waves. Both are visible as such to the etheric sight. We will understand this better if we think of a few drops of water, which do not form a wave; but when there are millions of drops of water, then a wave becomes possible, given right conditions. But we note also that each unit ("photon") is at the same time both particle and wave.
"It is worth noting," says Hoyle, "that the shorter the wave-length, the more energetic the individual quanta (photons) become. it is because of this that gamma-rays, X-rays, and even ultraviolet light are so destructive of animal tissue, and why radio waves are so harmless."
He continues: "A further interesting point is that of the vast range of wave-lengths from radio waves to gamma rays, only the narrow band from four hundred-thousandths to eight hundred-thousandths (of a centimeter) can be detected by the human senses." And he explains: "This....is not an accident, however, because this is just the range in which most of the Sun's radiation is emitted. It is true that the Sun does emit some ultraviolet and even some X-rays, but the earth's atmosphere absorbs such destructive radiation quite strongly, thereby preventing it from reaching the ground. Consequently there has never been an opportunity for creatures on the Earth to develop senses receptive to these wavelengths." (Frontiers of Astronomy, Hoyle) However, esotericists, can and do develop senses receptive to these and other wave- lengths, by means of forces operative in the negative pole of the Light Ether; although it is the scientific aspect of light itself that is most easily observed by the budding esoteric scientist. All sensory perception belongs to the negative, or passive, aspect of the Light Ether.
Hoyle goes on to say that more infrared rays than other rays do reach the ground, due to droplets of water in the air (not vapor) which absorb more visible light than infrared; but infrared does not affect the human eye. "Clearly it would be a great advantage to possess eyes that were sensitive to infrared, as indeed I suspect that birds may. This would go far toward explaining the amazing sight that birds seem to possess."
Astronomers say that our Sun is a "yellow" or "orange" star, one of the class known as "Orange" or "Yellow Dwarfs," among the most unstable of stars. Sunlight is therefore not really "white," but tinged with yellow or gold; and the Light Ether is also described by the scientist as golden or yellow, although like sunlight again, it does possess a complete band of colors, visible to ordinary eyesight as color or as light, but visible to etheric sight as vibration and sparkling points of energy.
Although all of the four ethers have work to do in every part of the living organism, each ether has one special work of its very own. The Chemical Ether is the avenue for forces concerned with upbuilding and nourishing the entire body; but its special field of action is the bony structure, or skeleton. The Life Ether promotes growth activities and the perpetuation of the species; its special area consists of the blood and other liquids of the body, the generative system, and the endocrine glands. The Light Ether is the avenue for the cosmic forces related to sunlight, color, and heat — all tremendously important in our evolution, but its special area is the nervous system, both voluntary and sympathetic. The pineal gland and the brain as a whole are the seat of the Human Spirit (Ego). The brain is the great central receiving and coordinating center of the nervous system, organizing all sensations as reported from the sense organs by way of the nerves. We noted in our last section that the tiny thalamus body is thought to be the original brain, and that instincts and psychic powers still have a focus there, while the upper brain governs all later evolution of sensory powers.
Again we have seen that the Life Ether specializes the "solar fluid" which acts as the electricity of the nervous system. Mr. Heindel adds further that the Light Ether transmits the motive power along the various nerves which enables the Ego to move the body. Motive power is not the same thing as the life energy involved in growth and perpetuation of the species, even though it may spring from the same primordial root. Note that the solar fluid also circulates in plants, which already have a rudimentary nervous system and therefore also the beginning of sensory perception. Modern physics offers some clarification on these points in the statement that the "photon," the unit of the electromagnetic spectrum, is itself "chargeless," although it carries electromagnetic energy. The photons discussed in these lessons on the Light Ether pertain only to that band of the electromagnetic spectrum which we know as our Sun's light. The electromagnetic spectrum extends both above and below this belt.
The cosmic Fire operative in the Light Ether has been mentioned. The human Ego is part of this Fire, and its energies play through the Light Ether, not as a part of the race complex but as an individual, willing, and thinking Spirit, working out its destiny. Max Heindel says that the Ego works particularly in the heat of the blood.
It is stated in the Cosmo-Conception: "....the forces that play along its positive pole (i.e. the Light Ether) are the forces which generate blood heat in the higher species of animal and in man, which makes them individual sources of heat." (These forces also circulate the blood.) At the age of twenty-one, when the "mind" is "born" — throws off its protective sheath — the Ego comes into full control of its own bodies, and the blood heat, which during adolescence was often overheated, now is held to some where near the norm of 98.6 Fahrenheit. This blood heat is necessary to the Ego's consciousness in the body. If the blood temperature falls too far below or rises too far above it, the Ego is forced to withdraw from the body, which then falls into the states we recognize as sleep, coma, or death. The egoic Fire is the Fire of the alchemist, which eventually creates the "diamond body" of the Adept.
In the cold-blooded animals it is only the circulation of the blood which is activated through the positive pole of the Light Ether, the need for heat no being present.
In plants the forces operative in the positive pole of the Light Ether circulate the juices, and these forces relate to Sun heat rather than to sunlight. At the winter solstice — modern research has shown this — in the northern hemisphere, even in those climes where ice and snow cover the land, the slight change in the etheric forces when the Sun begins to turn northward from its southernmost declination causes the trees to awaken, and the sap begins to move in their roots and deep within their trunks. It is the cosmic "heat," dormant in the positive pole of the Light Ether, that triggers this awakening.
"The forces which work along the negative pole of the Light Ether are those which operate through the senses, manifesting as the passive functions of sight, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling. They also build and nourish the eye." (Cosmo,)
To the etheric senses, the various colors are actually tangible as well as visible, and some esoteric investigators declare that all other sensations have a correlation to light and color. The different wave-lengths of color in the beam of sunlight can be felt, and a difference in quality noted. Blind children can sometimes differentiate between colors, although they cannot see them as such. Some physicists speak of a "facial vision" developed by these children; but about forty years ago, Dr. Jules Romain demonstrated (and recounted in his book, Eyeless Sight, now out of print) that most portions of the skin could be converted to the use of sight. He found areas especially sensitive to light were the forehead, cheeks, temples, chest, and hands. Embryologists also say that almost any part of the skin of the embryo can be used to form eyes. Dr. Romain explained this by saying that the skin is studded with small cells, called ocelli, which do in fact resemble miniature eyes. The esotericist has always maintained that so long as the Light Ether is present, any living organism will always develop sensory perception, and especially the perception of light, in some sort of eye structure.
The force working along the negative pole of the Light Ether are those which deposit the chlorophyll and the colors in flowers. All color, in all kingdoms of Nature are "deposited," by means of forces working through the negative pole of the Light Ether.
Since we now know that light is not merely waves in an ether but consists also of actual particles, in "packets" of energy, called the photon, we are in a position to see that there is a definite and real substance which the Nature Forces can use and handle in this work of depositing color. These Nature Forces include fairies, angelic beings, and the human Ego.
Because the Light Ether is the avenue for the forces which promote sensory perception, and espeically the eye, it is usually true that the student's early experience with etheric vision relates to the phenomena of this ether. He generally sees first a sort bluish mist, or cobweb, which seems to fill space, oftenest in a twilight, or in a dimly lit room or hall, or when he is coming from a darker room into a lighted one, say along a corridor. This bluish mist is observed to be in violent motion where the light strikes into it, for it beats with a rapid motion like that of a hummingbird's wings. Later he may see that the beating wings (or cobwebs) of light are full of rainbow colors, in the midst of which innumerable points of silvery light dash to and fro. The stronger the light the more of these particles are seen, and the larger they appear to be. They dash about in the atmosphere with great energy, appearing and disappearing continuously, but they do not settle toward the ground. (Not all of them are basic sunlight, however — some have another origin.)
On closer inspection the cobweb in space seems to consist of small transparent flakes, with a comet-like nucleus — which is the sparkle first observed, the flake as a whole being transparent and filmy. Physicists speak of light as consisting of both waves and particles — that is, the photon itself is both; and the esotericist sees this photon in the range belonging to our Sun's radiation as described here. The transparent flake would seem to represent the wave aspect of the photon and the spark the particle aspect; and the esotericist suggests that the first is negative and the latter positive, but this is tentative.