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THIS IS PART 1 of The PERFECT WAY

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The Perfect Way or,

The Finding of Christ

by

Anna Bonus Kingsford

& Edward Maitland

 

 

 

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Part 1 of 2 THE PERFECT WAY or The Finding of Christ

BY ANNA BONUS KINGSFORD AND EDWARD MAITLAND

THIS IS PART 1 of The PERFECT WAY

Click Here to go to Part 2

 

     

 

 

THE PERFECT WAY

        AbstractPreface

       Lecture the FirstFirstIntroductory

       Lecture the SecondSecondThe Soul; and the substance of existence

       Lecture the ThirdThirdThe various orders of Spirits; and to discern them

       Lecture the FourthFourthThe Atonement

       Lecture the FifthFifthThe nature and constitution of the ego

       Lecture the SixthSixthThe Fall (1)

       Lecture the SeventhSeventhThe Fall (2)

       Lecture the EightEightThe Redemption

       Lecture the NinthNinth God as the Lord; or, the Divine Image

      APPENDICES

      Concerning the interpretation of scripture

      Concerning the hereafter

      On prophesying; and prophecy

      Concerning the nature of Sin

      Concerning the "Great Work" and the share of Christ Jesus therein

      The time of the End

      The Higher Alchemy

      Concerning Revelation

      Concerning the Poet

      Concerning the One Life

      Concerning the Mysteries

      Hymn to the Planet God

      Fragments of the "Golden Book of Venus"

            Part -1-Hymn of Aphrodite

            Part -2- A discourse of communion of souls, and of the uses of love

            between creature and creature.

 

      Hymn to Hermes

      The Secret of Satan

      Plates

      Figure - 1 - The Cherubim of Ezekiel and the Apocalypse

      Figure - 2 - The tabernacle in the wilderness

      Figure - 3 - Section of the Great Pyramid of Gizeh

 

(Revised and Enlarged Edition.)

Boston, Mass.:

ESOTERIC PUBLISHING COMPANY,

478 Shawmut Avenue.

1888.

 

 

 

AUTHORS’ EXPLANATION.

These lectures were delivered in London, before a private audience, in the

months of May, June, and July, 1881.

The changes made in this edition calling for indication, are, – the substitution

of another Lecture for No. V., and consequent omission of most of the plates;

the rewriting, in the whole or part, of paragraphs 6 - 8 and 28 in No. I.; 34 -

36 in No. II.; 5 - 8, 12, 13, 22, 23, 42, 43, 54, and 55, in No. IX. (the latter

paragraphs being replaced by a new one); the lengthening of Appendices II, and

VI; the addition of a new Part to Appendix XIII. (formerly No. IX); and the

substitution of eight new Appendices for Nos:. VII., and VIII.

The alterations involve no change or withdrawal of doctrine, but only extension

of scope, amplification of statement, or modification of expression.

A certain amount of repetition being inseparable from the form adopted, – that

of a series of expository lectures, each requiring to be complete in itself, –

and the retention of that form being unavoidable, – no attempt has been made to

deal with the instances in which repetition occurs.

PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION

In presenting an American edition of THE PERFECT WAY, or, The Finding of Christ,

to the reading and inquiring public, we have been actuated by the conviction

that a comprehensive textbook of the “new views,” or the restored wisdom and

knowledge of the ages regarding religion or the perfect life, was imperatively

required, wherein the subject was treated in a manner luminous, instructive, and

entertaining, and which, without abridgement, or inferiority of material or

workmanship, could yet be sold at a price that would bring the work within the

means of the general public.

THE PERFECT WAY will be found to be an occult library in itself, and those

desirous of coming into the esoteric knowledge and significance of life, will be

richly repaid by its study or perusal; and especially will those who feel that

they cannot afford the means or time to purchase and read many books, do well to

make this one of their first choice. To such, and all who are seeking new light,

life, and higher inspiration, we respectfully dedicate the American edition.

PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION.

As the writers rather than the authors of this book, we propose on behalf of a

more ready apprehension of it, and the satisfaction of much questioning

concerning it to take occasion of the issue of this Edition to give a succinct

account of its nature and import.

That which The Perfect Way represents is neither an invention nor a compilation,

but first, a discovery, and next, a recovery. It represents a discovery because

it is the result of an attempt – proved successful by the issue – to ascertain

at first hand the nature and method of existence. And it represents a recovery

because the system propounded in it has proved to be that which constituted the

basic and secret doctrine of all the great religions of antiquity, including

Christianity, – the doctrine commonly called the Gnosis, and variously entitled

Hermetic and Kabbalistic.

In yet another sense does The Perfect Way represent a recovery, and also – for

ourselves – a discovery, seeing that it was independent of any prior knowledge

on our part. This is as regards Faculty. For the knowledges concerned, although

verified by subsequent research in the ordinary manner, were obtained solely by

means of the faculty which consists in perception and recollection of the kind

called intuitional and psychic, and therefore by the method which in all ages

has been recognized as the means of access to knowledges transcendental and

divine. Being fully described in the book (e.g. Lect. i. pars. 4-18; App. iii.,

Part 1, etc.), this faculty needs no further definition here. It is necessary,

however, to state this in relation to it: That the value of the recovery of the

knowledges concerned, great as it is for the intrinsic interest and importance

of subject, is indefinitely enhanced by the manner of its accomplishment. For,

much as it is to know the conclusions of ancient wisdom concerning the most

momentous of topics, and to recognize their logical excellence, it is far more

to know their truth, seeing that they involve the nature and destiny of man in

all time. It is this supreme question which finds satisfactory solution in the

present case. Had the recovery been made in the ordinary manner, namely, through

the examination of neglected writings or the discovery of lost ones, methods

which, however successful would have been altogether inadequate for the results

actually attained, – no step would have been gained towards the verification of

the doctrines involved. Whereas, as it is, for ourselves, and for all those who

with us are cognizant of the genesis of this book, and who are at the same time

sufficiently matured in respect of the spiritual consciousness to be able to

accept the facts, – that is, for all who know to be able to believe, – the book

constitutes of itself an absolute confirmation of its own teaching, and,

therein, of the recovered Gnosis. For, being due to intuitional recollection and

perception, – faculties exercised in complete independence of the physical

organism, – it demonstrate the essentially spiritual nature of existence; the

reality of the soul as the true ego; the multiple rebirths of this ego into

material conditions; its persistence through all changes of form and state; and

its ability, while yet in the body, to recover and communicate of the knowleges

which, in the long ages of its past as an individualized entity, it has acquired

concerning God, the universe, and itself. In respect of all these, the

experiences of which this book is the result, – although themselves rarely

referred to in it, – have been such, both in kind and quantity, that to regard

them and the world to which they relate as delusory, would be to leave ourselves

without ground for belief in the genuineness of any experiences, or of any world

whatsoever. It is not, however, upon testimony merely personal or extrinsic that

the appeal on behalf of this book is rested, but upon that which is intrinsic,

and capable of appreciation by all who have intelligent cognition of the

subjects concerned.

Especially is this book designed to meet the peculiar circumstances of the

times, – so aptly described by Mr. Matthew Arnold when he says that “at the

present moment there are two things about the Christian religion which must be

obvious to every percipient person; one, that men cannot do without it; the

other, that they cannot do with it as it is.” In an age distinguished, as is the

present, by all-embracing research, exhaustive analysis, and unsparing

criticism, no religious system can endure unless it appeals to the intellectual

as well as to the devotional side of man’s nature. At present the faith of

Christendom is languishing on account of a radical defect in the method of its

presentation, through which it is brought into perpetual conflict with science;

and the harassing and undignified task is imposed on its supporters of an

incessant endeavour to keep pace with the advances of scientific discovery, or

the fluctuations of scientific speculation. The method whereby it is herein

endeavoured to obviate the suspense and insecurity thus engendered, consists in

the establishment of these two positions:

(1) That the dogmas and symbols of Christianity are substantially identical with

those of other and earlier religious systems; and

(2) That the true plane of religious belief lies, not where hitherto the Church

has placed it, – in the sepulchre of historical tradition, among the dry bones

of the past; but in the living and immutable Heaven, to which those who truly

desire to find the Lord must in heart and mind ascend. “Why seek ye the living

among the dead? He is not here; He is risen.” This is to say, the true plane of

religious belief is not the objective and physical, but the subjective and

spiritual.

It is true that many men renowned for piety and learning, pillars – accounted –

of the faith, have denounced as in the highest degree impious the practice of

what they call, “wresting Scripture from its obvious meaning.” But their

denunciation of impiety includes not only the chief of those “lesser lights,”

the Christian Fathers and Jewish Commentators, but also those “two great

lights,” Jesus and Paul, seeing that each of these affirmed the mystic sense of

Scripture, and the duty of subordinating the Letter to the Spirit and seeking

within the veil for the meaning. The fact is, that in their use of the term

“obvious,” the literalists beg the questions involved. Those questions are, – To

what faculty is the sense of Scripture obvious, – to the outer or the inner

perception? and, – To which of these two orders of perception does the

apprehension of spiritual things belong? Nothing, assuredly, can be more obvious

than the “impiety” of setting aside the account which Holy Writ gives of itself,

and ascribing to it falsehood, folly, or immorality, on the strength of outward

appearance, such as is the letter. To those whom this volume represents, it is

absolutely obvious that the literal sense is not the sense intended; and that

they who insist upon that sense incur the reproach cast by Paul when, referring

to the veil which Moses put over his face, he says: “For their minds were

blinded; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same

veil remaineth unlifted. Even unto this day the veil is upon their hearts.”

We will endeavour briefly to exhibit the principles of this conclusion. The

first lesson to be learnt in the school of philosophy is the truth that the mind

can apprehend and assimilate that only which presents itself mentally. In other

words, the objective must be translated into the subjective before it can become

pabulum for the spiritual part of man. Truth is never phenomenal, but always

metaphysical. The senses apprehend and are concerned with phenomena. But the

senses represent the physical part only of man, and not that selfhood which the

philosopher intends when he speaks of Man. This, the true ego cannot come into

relation with, or take account of, events and persons which present themselves

phenomenally and objectively only. Thus, they are but vehicles and symbols by

which truths, principles, and processes are conveyed to the subjective

apprehension, – the hieroglyphs, so to speak, in which these are portrayed.

Belonging to time and to matter, persons and events are, – in their phenomenal

aspect, – related only to the exterior and perishable man; while principles and

truths, being noumenal and eternal, are cognizable only by that in man which,

being also noumenal and eternal, is of like nature with them, namely, his

subjective and spiritual part. For the apprehender and that which is apprehended

must belong to the same category. And as the former is, necessarily, the purely

rational principle in man, the latter also must be purely rational. For this

reason, therefore, in order to maintain its proper spirituality, religion must

always – as Schelling points out, – present itself esoterically in universals

 

and in mysteries. Otherwise, being dependent for its existence upon the

continuance of an environment merely physical and sensible, it becomes as

evanescent as is this. From which it follows that so long as we regard religious

truth as essentially constituted of and dependent upon causes and effects

appertaining to the physical plane, we have not yet grasped its real nature, and

are spiritually unconscious and unilluminate. That which is true in religion is

for spirit alone.

The necessary subjectivity of truth was affirmed also by Kant, who regarded the

historical element in Scripture as indifferent, and declared that the transition

of the Creed into a purely spiritual faith would be the coming of the kingdom of

God. Similarly the mystic Weigelius (A.D. 1650) says that in order to be

efficacious for salvation, that which is divinely written concerning the Christ

on the objective plane must be transferred to the subjective plane and

substantialized in the individual, being interiorly enacted by him. And the

pious and learned translator of the Hermetic books, Doctor Everard, writes: – “I

say there is not one word (of Scripture) true according to the letter. Yet I say

that every word, every syllable, every letter is true. But they are true as He

intended them that spake them; they are true as God meant them, not as men will

have them.” (Gospel Treasury Opened, A.D. 1659).

The reason is that matter and its attributes constitute but the middle term in a

series, the Alpha and Omega of which are spirit. The world of ultimate effects,

like that of ultimate causes, is spiritual; and no finality can belong to the

plane of their middle term, this being a plane only of transition. The absolute

is, first, pure, abstract thought. It is, next, a heterization of that thought

by disruption into the atomism of time and space, or projection into nature, a

process whereby, from being non-molecular, it becomes molecular. Thirdly, it

returns from this condition of self-externalization and self-alienation back

into itself, resolving the heterization of nature, and becoming again subjective

and – as only thus it can become – self-cognizant. Such – as formulated by Hegel

– is, under manifestation, the process of universals; and such is, necessarily,

the process also of particulars, which are the product of universals. Wherefore

man, as the microcosm, must imitate, and identify himself with, the macrocosm,

and subjectivize, or spiritualize, his experience before he can relate it to

that ultimate principle of himself which constitutes the ego, or selfhood.

Such a view of religion as this, however, is obviously incomprehensible save by

the educated and developed: its terms and its ideas alike being beyond the

capacity of the generality. This book, therefore, and the work which it

inaugurates, are addressed to the former class; – to persons of culture and

thought, who, recognizing the defects of the popular belief, have abandoned, as

hopeless, the attempt to systematize it and to relate it to their mental needs.

There never can be one presentation of religion suited equally to all classes

and castes of men; and the attempt of the Church to compass this impossibility

has, of necessity, resulted in the alienation of those who are unable to accept

the crude, coarse fare dealt out to the multitude. Enacting the part of a

Procrustes in respect of things spiritual, she has tried to fit to one measure

minds of all kinds and dimensions, in total disregard of the apostolic dictum: –

“We speak wisdom among the full-grown. . But not unto you as unto the spiritual,

but as unto the carnal, unto babes in Christ, feeding you with milk, not with

meat, being not yet able to receive it.”

For these, then, – the uninstructed and undeveloped, – the Church must continue

to speak with veiled face, in parable and symbol. Our appeal is to those who,

having attained their intellectual and spiritual majority have put away childish

things, and who, accordingly, – instead of being content with the husk of the

letter, and ignoring the spirit for the form, or limiting it by the form, – are

impelled by the very necessity of their nature to seek behind the veil and to

read the spirit through the form, that “with unveiled face they may behold the

glory of the Lord, and be transformed into the same image.” They who are thus

ripe will in these pages learn what is the Reality which only Mind can

apprehend; and will understand that it belongs not to the objective and

phenomenal plane of mundane history, but to the subjective and noumenal plane of

their own souls, where seeking they will find enacted the process of Fall,

Exile, Incarnation, Redemption, Resurrection, Ascension, the coming of the Holy

Spirit, and – as the sequel – the attainment of Nirvana, the “peace that passeth

understanding.” For those thus initiated the mind is no longer concerned with

history; the phenomenal becomes recognized as the illusory, – a shadow projected

by the Real, having no substance in itself, and an accident only of the real.

One thing is and abides, – the Soul in man, – Mother of God, immaculate;

descending – as Eve – into matter and generation; assumed – as Mary – beyond

matter into life eternal. One state, supreme and perfect, epitomizes and

resolves all others; – the state of Christ, promised in the dawn of evolution;

displayed in its process; glorified at its consummation. To realize the

assumption of Mary, to attain to the stature of her Son, – these ends and

aspirations constitute the desire of the illuminate. And it is in order to

indicate them anew and the method of seeking them intelligently, that this book

is written.

This preface may – it seems to us – fittingly conclude with a token of the

estimation The Perfect Way has won from persons specially qualified to judge it.

The following is selected from numerous communications to the like effect,

coming, not only from various parts of the world, but from members of various

nationalities, races and faiths, and showing that our book is already

accomplishing far and wide its mission as an Eirenicon.

The veteran student of the “divine science,” a reference to whom, as the friend,

disciple, and literary heir of the renowned magian, the late Abbe Constant

(“Eliphas Levi”), will be for all initiates a sufficient indication of his

personality, thus writes to us: –

“As with the corresponding Scriptures of the past, the appeal on behalf of your

book is, really, to miracles: but with the difference that in your case the

miracles are intellectual ones and incapable of simulation, being miracles of

interpretation. And they have the further distinction of doing no violence to

common sense by infringing the possibilities of Nature; while they are in

complete accord with all mystical traditions, and especially with the great

Mother of these, – the Kabbala. That miracles, such as I am describing, are to

be found in The Perfect Way, in kind and number unexampled, they who are the

best qualified to judge will be the most ready to affirm.

“And here, apropos of these renowned Scriptures, permit me to offer you some

remarks on the Kabbala as we have it. It Is my opinion, –

“(1) That this tradition is far from being genuine, and such as it was on its

original emergence from the sanctuaries.

“(2) That when Guillaume Postel – of excellent memory – and his brother

Hermetists of the later middle age – the Abbot Trithemius and others – predicted

that these sacred books of the Hebrews should become known and understood at the

end of the era, and specified the present time for that event, they did not mean

that such knowledge should be limited to the mere divulgement of these

particular Scriptures, but that it would have for its base a new illumination,

which should eliminate from them all that has been ignorantly or wilfully

introduced, and should reunite that great tradition with its source by restoring

it in all its purity.

“(3) That this illumination has just been accomplished, and has been manifested

in The Perfect Way. For in this book we find all that there is of truth in the

Kabbala, supplemented by new intuitions, such as present in a body of doctrine

at once complete, homogeneous, logical and inexpugnable.

“Since the whole tradition thus finds itself recovered or restored to its

original purity, the prophecies of Postel, etc., are accomplished; and I

consider that from henceforth the study of the Kabbala will be but an object of

curiosity and erudition like that of Hebrew antiquities.

“Humanity has always and everywhere asked itself these three supreme questions:

– Whence come we? what are we? whither go we?

Now, these questions at length find an answer, complete, satisfactory, and

consolatory, in The Perfect Way. (This judgment is irrespective of the mode of

presentation, for any defect in which the responsibility rests with ourselves.)

As the secrecy originally observed is, even were it still desirable, no longer

practicable, we have added our names to the title-page.

CHRISTMAS, 1886.

 

 

 

PREFACE

According to classical legend, the Goddess Athena had once for votary a fair

virgin named Medusa, who, becoming vain of her beauty and weary of the pure

service of the maiden Goddess, introduced folly and defilement into the very

sanctuary of the Temple in which she was wont to worship. Thereupon a terrible

fate overtook her. The beautiful face, which had been the cause of her fall,

assumed an aspect so terrible as to blight and petrify all who looked upon it;

her tresses, once the chief object of her pride: were changed into vipers: and

the hands which had ministered to heaven became as the talons of a bird of prey.

Thus transformed into a Gorgon, she brought forth monsters, and for a time

devastated the earth. At length the hero Perseus, “Son of God,” commissioned by

Athena and Hermes, and armed by them with wings and sword and shield, slew the

terrible creature, and smote off her venomous head. This exploit, – itself

fraught with great perils, – was followed by the achievement of another not less

difficult. Andromeda, daughter of the Aethiopian king, being doomed to become

the prey of a dragon which long had ravaged her father’s coasts, was already

chained to a rock on the seashore and on the point of being devoured, when

Perseus, – divinely guided to the scene of the intended sacrifice – vanquished

the Dragon and delivered the princess. And, having won her love and espoused

her, the son of Zeus bore her away from her father’s kingdom into heaven, to

shine forever beside him, redeemed, immortal, and glorious.

Now the names Medusa and Andromeda have a common root, and signify respectively

“guardian” or “house” of Wisdom, and “the ruler” or “helpmeet” of Man. They are

thus typical names, the first of the Church, the second, of the Soul. And the

two myths of which their bearers are the heroines, together constitute a

prophecy, – or perpetual verity, – having special application to the present

epoch. Medusa is that system which, – originally pure and beautiful, the Church

of God and the guardian of the Mysteries, – has, through corruption and

idolatry, become “the hold of every unclean thing,” and the mother of a

monstrous brood. And, moreover, like the once lovely face of Medusa, the

Doctrine which bore originally the divine impress and reflected the Celestial

Wisdom Herself, has become through the fall of the Church converted into Dogma

so pernicious and so deadly as to blight and destroy the reason of all who come

under its control. And the Perseus of the myth is the true Humanity, – earth

born indeed, but heaven begotten, – which endowed by Wisdom and Understanding,

with the wings of Courage, the shield of Intuition, and the sword of Science, is

gone forth to smite and destroy the corrupt Church and to deliver the world from

its blighting influence. But it is not enough that the Gorgon be slain. A task

yet greater and more glorious awaits achievement. Andromeda, the Soul, the

better part of Man, is on the point of being devoured outright by the baleful

dragon of Negation, the agent of the lower nature, and the ravager of all the

hopes of mankind. Her name, – identical with the terms in which is described the

first Woman of Hebrew story, – indicates her as the helpmeet and ruler of man;

her parentage denotes the origin of the Soul from the astral Fire or Aether,

signified by the land of Aethiopis; the brazen fetters with which she is bound

to the rock, typify the present bondage of the Divine in man to his material

part; and her redemption, espousal, and exaltation by the hero Perseus,

prefigure the final and crowning achievement of the Son of God, who is no other

than the Spiritual Manhood, fortified and sustained by Wisdom and Thought. Of no

avail against the monster which threatens to annihilate the Soul, are the old

devices of terrorism, persecution, and thraldom by which the corrupt Church

sought to subjugate mankind to her creed. The Deliverer of the Soul must be free

 

as air, borne on the wings of a Thought that knows no fear and no restraint, and

armed with the blade, two-edged and facing every way, of a knowledge potent

alike for attack and defence. And he must be wise and free in every sense, bent,

not on destruction merely, but on salvation likewise, and his sword must be as

apt to smite the fetters from the limbs of Andromeda, as to deal the stroke of

death to the Gorgon. It is not enough that he carry to Olympus the dead Medusa’s

head; he must bear thither also a living Bride. His mission is not only to

satisfy the Mind but to content the Heart. The Intellect, –the “Man,” – it is,

who handles the sword of the liberator; and the Intuition, –the “Woman,” – it

is, who weaves and constructs. But for her labour his prowess would be vain, and

his deeds without goal or reward. The hero brings home spoils to the tent, and

hangs up his shield and spear by the hearth-fire. All honour to the warrior,

alike as iconoclast, as scientist, as purifier of the earth. His work, however,

is but initiatory, preparing the way and making the path straight for Her who

carries neither torch nor weapon of war. By her is the intellect crowned; by her

is humanity completed; in her the Son of Zeus finds his eternal and supreme

reward; for she is the shrine at once of divinest Wisdom and of perfect Love.

It is thus evident that classical story, identical in substance with the

allegorical prophecies of Hebrew and Christian scripture, exhibits the work of

the Saviour or Liberator, as having a twofold character. Like Zeus, the Father

of Spirits, whose son he is, the Reason is at once Purifier and Redeemer. The

task of Destruction accomplished, that of Reconstruction must begin. Already the

first is well-nigh complete, but as yet no one seems to have dreamed of the last

as possible. The present age has witnessed the decline and fall of a system

which, after having successfully maintained itself for some eighteen centuries

against innumerable perils of assault from without, and of faction from within,

has at length succumbed to the combined arms of scientific and moral criticism.

But this very overthrow, this very demolition, creates a new void, to the

existence of which the present condition of the world and the apprehensions and

cravings everywhere expressed, bear ample testimony. On all sides men are asking

themselves, “Who will show us any good?” To whom or to what, if the old system

be fallen, shall we turn for counsel and salvation from Doom? Under what roof

shall we shelter ourselves if the whole Temple be demolished, and “not one stone

be left upon another that shall not be thrown down”? What way shall we take to

Zion, if the old road be buried beneath the avalanche? Agnosticism and Pessimism

have seized upon the best intellects of the age. Conscience has become eclipsed

by self-interest, mind obscured by matter, and man’s percipience of his higher

nature and needs suppressed in favour of his lower. The rule of conduct among

men is fast becoming that of the beast of prey: – self before all, and that the

earthly, brutish, and ignoble self. Everywhere are the meaning and uses even of

life seriously called in question; everywhere is it sought to sustain humanity

by means which are in themselves subversive of humanity; everywhere are the

fountains of the great deep of human society breaking up, and a deluge is seen

to be impending, the height, extent, and duration of which no one can forecast.

And nowhere yet is discernible the Ark, by taking refuge in which mankind may

surmount and survive the flood.

Nevertheless this Ark so anxiously looked for, this Way so painfully sought,

this work of Reconstruction so sorely needed, are all attainable by man. The

certainty of their attainment is involved in the nature itself of existence, and

ratified in every expression given to the mysteries of that nature from the

beginning of the world.

The prime object of the present work is, then, not to demolish, but to

reconstruct. Already the needful service of destruction has been widely and

amply rendered. The old Temple has been thrown down and despoiled, and the

“children of Israel” have been carried away captive to “Babylon,” – the mystic

name of the stronghold of Materialism. As it is written; “The vessels of the

House of the Lord” – that is, the doctrines of the Church – “great and small,

and the treasures of the Temple, and of the King, and of the princess, were

carried away to Babylon. And the enemies set fire to the House of God; and broke

down the wall of Jerusalem,” – that is, the Soul, – “and burnt all her towers,

and whatsoever was precious they destroyed.”

It is now time for the fulfilment of the second and last act of the prophetical

drama; – “Thus saith Cyrus,” – that is KurioV the Lord, the Christ; – “All the

kingdoms of the earth hath the God of heaven given me, and He hath charged me to

build Him again a House in Jerusalem.” “Who is there of you, who will go up and

build again the Temple of the Lord God of Israel?”

In these words is expressed the intention of the writers of this book. And if

they have preferred to withhold their names, it is neither because they distrust

the genuineness of their commission or the soundness of their work, nor because

they shrink from the responsibility incurred; but in order that their work may

rest upon its own merits and not upon theirs, – real or supposed; – in order,

that is, that it may be judged and not prejudged one way or the other. Such

reservation is in accordance with its whole tenor. For the criterion alone to

which appeal is made on its behalf is the Understanding, and this on the ground

that it is contrary to the nature of Truth to prevail by force of authority, or

of aught other than the understanding; since Truth – how transcendent so ever it

be – has its witness in the Mind, and no other testimony can avail it. If truth

be not demonstrable to mind, it is obvious that man, who is essentially mind,

and the product of mind, cannot recognize or appropriate it. What is

indispensable is, that appeal be made to the whole mind, and not to one

department of it only.

In this book no new thing is told; but that which is ancient – so ancient that

either it or its meaning has been lost – is restored and explained. But, while

accepting neither the presentations of a conservative orthodoxy, nor the

conclusions of a destructive criticism, its writers acknowledge the services

rendered by both to the cause of Truth. For, like the Puritans, who coated with

plaster and otherwise covered and hid from view the sacred images and

decorations which were obnoxious to them, orthodoxy has at least preserved

through the ages the symbols which contain the Truth, beneath the errors with

which it has overlaid them. And criticism, however fiercely infidel, has, by the

very act of destruction, cleared the way for rebuilding. It has fulfilled the

man’s function, – that of analysis, and made possible the woman’s, – that of

synthesis. And this is according to the Divine order.

In both nature and method, therefore, this book is mainly, interpretative, and,

consequently, reconciliatory. And it is this, not only in respect of the Hebrew,

Christian, Oriental, and Classic systems in particular, but in respect also of

modern thought and human experience in general. It aims at making at-one-ment

between Mind and Heart by bringing together Mercy – that is, Religion – and

Truth – that is, Science. It seeks to assure man that his best and most powerful

friends on every plane are Liberty and Reason, as his worst enemies are

Ignorance and Fear; and that until his thought is free enough and strong enough

to bear him aloft to “heaven,” as well as to “the lowermost parts of the earth,”

he is no true Son of Hermes, whose- typical name is Thought, and who yet is, in

his supremest vocation, the Messenger and Minister of God “the Father.”

ADVENT 1881.

ABSTRACT OF

ARGUMENT AND CONTENTS.

_____________________

PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION

PREFACE

 

 

 


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LECTURE THE FIRST

 

INTRODUCTORY

 

 

PART 1 Purpose of this book; to supply the existing need of a perfect system of

thought and life by one founded in the nature of existence. This not a new

invention, but a recovery of the original system which was the basis of all

religions. Its recovery due to the same means by which it was originally

received, namely, the Intuition, which represents the knowledges acquired by the

Soul in its past existences, and complements the intellect, being itself

quickened and enhanced by illumination of the Spirit. Revelation a proper

prerogative of man, belonging to him in virtue of his nature and constitution,

and crowning the reason. God, the supreme Reason. The Understanding, the “Rock”

of the true Church. Illustrations of Method, classic and rabbinical. Sketch of

Doctrine. Spirit and Matter: their nature, relations, and essential identity.

Existence and Being. The Kalpa, Sabbath, and Nirvana, Divinity of Substance: its

unity and trinity, and mode of individualization and development. The true

doctrine of creation by evolution; found in all religions, as also that of the

progression and migration of Souls; personal and historical testimony to its

truth; recognized in Old and New Testaments. Rudimentary man. The Sphinx.

PART II. Relation of the system recovered to that in possession. The true heir.

Religion, being founded in the nature of existence, is necessarily

non-historical, independent of times, places, and persons, and appeals

perpetually to the mind and conscience. Objections anticipated. Persistency of

religious ideas due to their reality. The apparently new not necessarily really

new. Christianity not exempt from the influences which caused the deterioration

of Judaism. Its future development by means of new revelation foretold by its

Founder. Need of such new revelation to preserve, not only religion, but

humanity from extinction. The “man of sin” and “abomination that maketh

desolate.” Substitution of Gospel of Force by Gospel of Love. One name whereby

is salvation, but many bearers. The Christs.


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LECTURE THE SECOND.

THE SOUL; AND THE SUBSTANCE OF EXISTENCE.

PART I. The Soul, universal or individual, the supreme subject and object of

culture; the essential self, to know which is the only wisdom, involving the

knowledge of God. Mysticism or Spiritualism, and Materialism, the doctrines

respectively of Substance or Spirit, and of phenomenon. Matter a mode or

condition of Spirit, and indispensable to its manifestation. The object of all

religion and subject of all revelation the redemption of Spirit from Matter.

Necessity to creation of the idea of a No-God. The ascent from Nature’s Seeming

to God’s Being. The recovered system and Materialism respectively as Phoebus and

Python.

PART II. The Soul as individual, its genesis and nature: the divine idea,

eternal in its nature, but perishable if uninformed of the Spirit. The “Fire of

the hearth:” the Divine breath. Convergence and divergence: the celestial

Nirvana, and that of annihilation. The end of the persistently evil. The planet

and its offspring. The fourfold nature of existence, alike in macrocosm and

microcosm, due to differentialities of polarization of original substance.

PART III. The Soul as individual, its history and progress: commencing in the

simplest organisms, it works upwards, moulding itself according to the

tendencies encouraged by it; its final object to escape the need of a body and

return to the condition of pure Spirit. Souls various in quality. The parable of

the Talents.

PART IV. Of the nature of God; as Living Substance, One; as Life and Substance,

Twain; the Potentiality of all things; the absolute Good, through the limitation

of whom by Matter comes evil. Subsists prior to creation as Invisible Light. As

Life, God is He; as Substance, She; respectively the Spirit and Soul universal

and individual; the Soul the feminine element in man, having its representative

in woman. God the original, abstract Humanity. The seven Spirits of God.

“Nature.” The heavenly Maria, her characteristics and symbols. As Soul or

Intuition, she is the “woman” by whom man attains his true manhood; The defect

of the age in this respect. No intuition, no organon of knowledge. The Soul

alone such organon.

PART V. Divine Names, denotative of characteristics. Function of religion to

enable man to manifest the divine Spirit within him. Man as an expression of

God. The Christs, why called Sun gods. The Zodiacal planisphere a Bible or

hieroglyph of the Soul’s history. Bibles, by whom written. The “Gift of God”.


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LECTURE THE THIRD.

THE VARIOUS ORDERS OF SPIRITS; AND HOW TO DISCERN THEM.

PART I. The sphere of the astral, its four circuli and their respective

occupants. The Shades; purgatory; “hell;” “devils;” “the Devil;” possession by

devils; “souls in prison;” “under the elements;” spirits of the elements,

subject to the human will; souls of the dead; the anima bruta and anima divina.

Metempsychosis and reincarnation; conditions of the latter; descent to lower

grades; cause of the Soul’s loss.

PART II. The astral or magnetic spirits by which, ordinarily, “mediums” are

“controlled;” reflects rather than spirits; difficulty of distinguishing them

from Souls; elements of error and deception; delusive character of astral

influences; their characteristics; danger of a negative attitude of mind;

necessity of a positive attitude for Divine communication; spirits elemental and

elementary; genii loci; cherubim.

PART III. The sphere of the celestial; the procession of Spirit; the triangle of

life; the Genius or guardian angel, his genesis, nature, and functions; the

Gods, or Archangels.


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LECTURE THE FOURTH.

THE ATONEMENT

PART I. This the central doctrine of religion, and, like the Cosmos, fourfold in

its nature. What the doctrine is not; its corruption by materialism; priestly

degradation of the character of Deity. The Bible represents the conflict between

prophet and priest, the former as the minister of the intuition, and the latter

as the minister of sense.

PART II. The occult side of the sacrificial system. Effusion of blood

efficacious in the evocation of subhuman spirits, as shown by various examples.

These spirits visible in the fume of the sacrifices. Astral spirits personate

the celestials. Abhorrence of the true prophet for bloodshed, illustrated in

Buddha’s rebuke to the priests. The orthodox doctrine of vicarious atonement, a

travesty due to astral spirits, of the true doctrine. Pernicious effects of the

use of blood (or flesh) for food; impossibility, on such diet, of attaining full

perception of divine truth.

PART III. Antiquity and universality of the Cross as the symbol of Life physical

and spiritual. Its application to the doctrine of the Atonement fourfold, having

a separate meaning for each sphere of man’s nature. Of these meanings the first

is of the physical and outer, denoting the crucifixion or rejection of the Man

of God by the world. The second is intellectual, and denotes the crucifixion or

conquest by man of his lower nature. The third, which refers to the Soul,

implies the passion and oblation of himself, whereby the man regenerate obtains

the power – by the demonstration of the supremacy of spirit over Matter – to

become a Redeemer to others. The fourth appertains to the Celestial and

innermost, and denotes the perpetual sacrifice of God’s Life and Substance for

the creation and salvation of His creatures. The pantheistic nature of the true

doctrine.


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LECTURE THE FIFTH.

THE NATURE AND CONSTITUTION OF THE EGO.

PART I. Psyche as the Soul and true Ego the result of Evolution, being

individualized through Matter.

PART II. Man’s two personalities. Karma or the results of past conduct and

consequent destiny. The soul essentially immaculate.

PART III. The Ego more than the sum total of the consciousnesses composing the

system, as representing these combined and polarized to a higher plane. The

Psyche alone subjective and capable of knowledge.

PART IV. The Shade, the Ghost, and the Soul; their respective natures and

destinies.

PART V. The anima Mundi, or Picture-World. The soul of the planet, like that of

the individual, transmigrates and passes on.

PART VI. The Evolution of the Ego, and therein of the Church of Christ, implied

in the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the B. V. M.


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LECTURE THE SIXTH.

THE FALL ( 1 )

PART I. The first Church; its type the Kaabeh, or cube, denoting sixfoldness;

dates from “Paradise.” The Merkaba, or vehicle of God, drawn by the four

elements. The four rivers of Eden. Allegorical character of the Mystic

Scriptures; how recovered by Esdras; their origin and corruption.

PART II. The parable of the Fall: its signification fourfold, being one for each

sphere of existence; the first, physical and social.

PART III. The second signification rational and philosophical; the third,

psychical and personal.

PART IV. The fourth signification spiritual and cosmical. The Restoration

implied in the Sabbath, and prophesied in the Zodiac, and in the arms of Pope

Leo XIII

PART V. A new Annunciation.


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LECTURE THE SEVENTH.

THE FALL ( 2 )

PART I. Interpretation of Scripture dual, intellectual and intuitional, or

exterior and interior; the Soul as the woman, through whose aspiration to God

man becomes Man in the mystic sense, and made in the image of God; and through

whose inclination to Matter he falls from that image. As the fall is through

loss of purity, so the Redemption is through restoration of purity.

PART II. The Soul’s history as allegorized in the books of Genesis and

Revelation.

PART III. Source of errors of Biblical interpretation. The historical basis of

the Fall. The Church as the Woman. Rise and Fall of original Church. A primitive

mystic community. The source of doctrine, interior and superior to priesthoods.

PART IV. Nature and method of historical Fall. The three steps by retracing

which the Restoration will come. Tokens of its approach.


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LECTURE THE EIGHTH

THE REDEMPTION

PART I. The “great work” the Redemption of Spirit from Matter: first in the

individual, next in the universal. Definition of mystic terms used to denote the

process: “Passion,” “Crucifixion,” “Death,” “Burial,” “Resurrection,”

“Ascension”.

PART II. The Man perfected and having power: the “philosopher’s stone,” and

kindred terms; the Adept and the Christ: sense in which the latter may be called

a medium for the Highest; not as ordinarily understood: the Hierarch or Magian,

his qualifications and conditions.

PART III: Design of the Gospels to present perfect character of Man Regenerate;

selection of Jesus as subject; Church’s failure of comprehension through loss of

spiritual vision, due to materialism. Answer to objection; doctrine of

Incarnation; perversion and explanation: method of Gospel symbolism; the

miracles; cosmic order of Gospels.

PART IV. The Sacred Mysteries of Regeneration, celebrated in caves, labyrinths,

and pyramids. The great pyramid a symbol of the Soul’s history; the six Crowns,

or Acts of initiation: “Betrothal,” “Trial," “Passion,” “Burial,”

“Resurrection,” and “Ascension.” The Cup of consummation; the divine Marriage:

its three stages, how represented in the Gospels.

PART V. The Twelve Gates of the Heavenly Salem; the Tabernacle; the Round Table

and its “bright Lord;” the Number of Perfection; the genealogy of the Man

Regenerate; “Christ” no incarnate God or angel, but the highest human. The

world’s present condition due to sacerdotal degradation of truth. Christian

gospels represent later stages only of regeneration, the earlier ones having

been exemplified in the systems of Pythagoras and Buddha. Christianity framed

with direct reference to these, not to supersede but to complete them; Buddha

and Jesus being necessary to each other, as head and heart of same system. Of

these combined will be produced the Religion and Humanity of the future; hence

the import of the connection between England and the East. “Abraham, Isaac, and

Jacob.” The “Kings of the East,” and the “drying-up of the Euphrates.” The

Transfiguration, a prophecy. The “Eastern Question;” its interior significance;

the destiny of Islamism.


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LECTURE THE NINTH.

GOD AS THE LORD; OR, THE DIVINE IMAGE.

PART I. The two modes of Deity; God as the Lord, in the Bible, the Kabbala, and

the Bhagavad-gîtâ. Swedenborg and his doctrine: his limitations and their cause.

The Hermetic doctrine. The “Mount of the Lord.” True meanings of “Mystery;”

sacerdotal degradation of the term, and its evil results.

PART II. Function of the Understanding in regard to things spiritual. Its place

in the systems human and divine. The “Spirit of Understanding,” his various

names and symbols, and relation to the Christ. Cognate myths in illustration.

Hermes as regarded by the Neo-Platonists and by modern Materialists. Mystic and

Materialist, the feud between them. The School of Torturers. The “Mystery of

Godliness,” according to Kabbala and Paul. The Pauline doctrine concerning

Woman; its contrast with the doctrine of Jesus. Woman according to Plato,

Aristotle, Philo, the Fathers, the Church, the Reformation, Milton, Islamism,

and Mormonism.

PART III. Charges whereby it is sought to discredit the system of the Mystics;

Plagiarism and Enthusiasm: the signification and value of the latter. Ecstasy:

its nature and function. Mystics and Materialists, their respective standpoints.

Conspiracy of modern science against the Soul. Materialists, ancient and modern,

contrasted.

PART IV. Man’s perception of God sensible as well as mental. The Divine Unity,

Duality, Trinity, and Plurality. The Logos, or Manifestor. The mystery of the

human Facepp.

PART V. The Vision of Adonai.

PART VI. “Christ” as the culmination of Humanity and point of junction with

Deity. The Credo of the Elect.

APPENDICES.

I. CONCERNING THE INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE.

II. CONCERNING THE HEREAFTER.

III. ON PROPHESYING; AND A PROPHECY.

IV. CONCERNING THE NATURE OF SIN

V. CONCERNING THE “GREAT WORK,” AND THE SHARE OF CHRIST JESUS THEREIN.

VI. THE TIME OF THE END.

VII. THE HIGHER ALCHEMY.

VIII. CONCERNING REVELATION.

IX. CONCERNING THE POET.

X. CONCERNING THE ONE LIFE.

XI. CONCERNING THE MYSTERIES.

XII. HYMN TO THE PLANET-GOD.

XIII. FRAGMENTS FROM THE “GOLDEN BOOK OF VENUS.”

PART I. HYMN OF APHRODITE.

PART II. A DISCOURSE OF THE COMMUNION OF SOULS, AND OF THE USES OF LOVE BETWEEN

CREATURE AND CREATURE.

XIV. HYMN TO HERMES

XV. THE SECRET OF SATAN

PLATES.

Fig. 1. THE CHERUBIM OF EZEKIEL AND THE APOCALYPSE.

Fig. 2. THE TABERNACLE IN THE WILDERNESS.

Fig. 3. SECTION OF THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZEH..

“And the Lord God said unto the serpent I will put enmities between thee and the

woman, and between thy seed and her seed: she shall crush thy head, and thou

shalt lie in wait for her heel.” – Gen. iii. 14, 15.

“And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon

under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” – Apoc. xii. I.


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LECTURE THE FIRST.

INTRODUCTORY.

PART I.

THE purpose of the Lectures, of which this is the first, is the exposition of a

system of Doctrine and Life, at once scientific, philosophic, and religious, and

adapted to all the needs and aspirations of mankind. This system is offered in

substitution, on the one hand, for that traditional and dogmatic Conventionalism

which, by its failure to meet the tests of science and to respond to the moral

instincts, is now by thoughtful persons nearly or wholly discarded; and, on the

other hand, for that agnostic Materialism which is rapidly overspreading the

world to the destruction of all that is excellent in the nature of man.

2. But although offered in substitution both for that which experience has shown

to be defective, and that which is so recent as to be only now in course of

reception, the system to be proposed is not itself new; and its present

exposition represents, not an Invention as ordinarily understood, but a

Restoration. For, as will be shown indubitably, there has been in the world from

the earliest ages a system which fulfils all the conditions requisite for

endurance; a system which, being founded in the nature of Existence itself, is

eternal in its truth and application, and needs but due understanding and

observance to enable man by means of it to attain to the highest perfection and

satisfaction he can by any possibility imagine or desire. And, as also will be

shown, this system is no other than that which all the great religions of the

world have, under various guises and with varying degrees of success, striven to

express.

3. Our object, therefore, is to restore and to rehabilitate the Truth, by

divesting it of all the many limitations, degenerations, perversions, and

distortions to which throughout the ages it has been subjected; and by

explaining the real meaning of the formulas and symbols which thus far have

served rather to conceal than to reveal it. That which we shall propound,

therefore, will be no new doctrine or practice; but that only which is either so

old as to have become forgotten, or so profound as to have escaped the

superficial gaze of modern eyes.

4. Now, in order to be entitled to a hearing in respect of a subject thus

momentous and recondite, it is obviously necessary that the claimant should be

able to plead some special qualification in the shape of de possession either of

an exclusive source of information, or of an unusual faculty. Hence it becomes

necessary to include in these introductory remarks an account of the

qualification relied on in the present instance.

5. That which is thus claimed is at once a faculty and a source of information,

and is, in these days, of rare though not novel occurrence. It is that mode of

the mind whereby, after exercising itself in an outward direction as Intellect,

in order to obtain cognition of phenomena, it returns towards its centre, as

Intuition, and be ascertaining the essential idea of the fact apprehended

 

through the senses, completes the process of its thought. And just as only by

the combined and equal operation of the modes termed centrifugal and

centripetal, of force, the solar system is sustained; so only by the equilibrium

of the modes, intellectual and intuitional, of the mind, can man complete the

system of his thought, and attain to certitude of truth. And as well might we

attempt to construct the solar system by means of an exercise of force in one

direction, the human system by means of one sex, or the nervous system by means

of the motor roots only, as to attain to knowledge by means of one mode only of

mind. It is, however, precisely in this manner that the materialistic hypothesis

errs; and by its error it has forfeited all claim to be accounted a system.

6. The Intuition, then, is that operation of the mind whereby we are enabled to

gain access to the interior and permanent region of our nature, and there to

possess ourselves of the knowledge which, in the long ages of her past

existences, the Soul has made her own. For that in us which perceives and

permanently remembers is the Soul. And inasmuch as, in order to obtain her full

development, she remains for thousands of years in connection, more or less

close, with Matter, until, perfected by experience of all the lessons afforded

by the body, she passes on the higher conditions of being; it follows that no

knowledge which the race has once acquired in the past can be regarded as

hopelessly lost to the present.

7. But the memory of the soul is not the only factor in spiritual evolution. The

faculty which we have named the Intuition, is completed and crowned by the

operation of Divine Illumination. Theologically, this illumination is spoken of

as the Descent of the Holy Spirit, or outpouring of the heavenly efflux, which

kindles into a flame in the soul, as the sun’s rays in a lens. Thus, to the

fruits of the soul’s experience in the past, is added the “grace” or luminance

of the Spirit; the baptism of Fire which, falling from on high, sanctifies and

consummates the results of the baptism of Water springing from the earth. To be

illumined by this inward Light, to be united with this abiding divinity, was

ever the ardent aspiration of the seeker after God in all times and of all

lands, whether Egyptian Epopt, Hindu Yogi, Greek Neoplatonist, Arab Sufi, or

Christian Gnostic. By the last named it was styled the Paraclete and Revealer,

by whom man is led into all truth. With the Hindu it was Atman, the All-seeing,

not subject to rebirths like the soul, and redeeming from the vicissitudes of

destiny. By the combined operation of this Light, and the enhancement it effects

in the intuitions of the soul, – enabling her to convert her knowledge into

wisdom, – the human race has been from age to age perpetually carried up to

higher levels of its evolution, and will, in due course, be enabled to

substantialize in itself and to be all that in the past it has known and desired

of perfection.

 

8. These Lectures, then, represent the result of intuitional memory, quickened

and enhanced, we believe, by some measure of the divine influx, and developed by

the only mode of life ever found compatible with sound philosophic aspirations.

And of the doctrine we seek to restore, the basis is the Pre-existence and

Perfectibility of the Soul. The former, because, but for her persistence,

progressive genesis, or gradual becoming, would be impossible. For development

depends upon memory, and is the result of the intelligent application of

knowledge gained by experience, in satisfaction of the needs of the individual;

the sense of need being complemented by a sense of power.

And the Perfectibility; because, as a portion of the Divine Being – which is God

– constituted of the Divine Substance and illumined by the Divine Spirit, she,

the Soul, is necessarily capable of all that her nature implies; and competent

to realize for the individuality animated by her, the injunction of the great

Master of mystical science; “Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is

perfect.”

9. It is necessary for the elucidation of our system to speak yet further of the

constitution of man. Concerning this, our doctrine is that which has prevailed

from the earliest times, and in all philosophical religions. According to this

doctrine, man is possessed of a fourfold nature, a speciality which

differentiates him from all other creatures. The four elements which constitute

him are, counting from without inwards, the material body, the fluidic perisoul

or astral body, the soul or individual, and the spirit, or divine Father, and

life of his system. This last it is whose kingdom is described as the leaven

taken by the woman, – the divine Sophia or Wisdom, – and hidden in three

measures of meal, namely, the soul, the perisoul, and the body, until the whole

is leavened; until, that is, the whole man is so permeated and lightened by it

that he is finally transmuted into Spirit, and becomes “one with God.”

10. This doctrine of the fourfold nature of man, finds expression also in the

Hebrew Scriptures, being symbolized by the four rivers of Eden – or human nature

– flowing from one source, which is God; and by the four elemental living beings

of Ezekiel, and their four wheels or circles, each of which denotes a region and

principality or power. It has its correspondence also in the four

interpretations of all mystical Scriptures, which are the natural, the

intellectual, the ethical, and the spiritual; and also in the unit of all

physical existence, the physiologic cell. For this, as the student of Histology

knows, is composed, from without inwards, first of cell-membrane or capsule,

which is not a separable envelope, but a mere coagulative sheathing of its

fluidic part; secondly, of the protoplasmic medium; thirdly, of the nucleus,

itself a mode of protoplasmic substance; and, lastly, of an element not present

in all cells, and often when present difficult to perceive, namely, the

nucleolus, or inmost and perfectly transparent element. Thus does man, as the

Microcosm of the Macrocosm, exemplify in very detail of his system the

fundamental doctrine of the famous Hermetic philosophy by which the expression

of every true Bible is controlled, the doctrine, namely, of Correspondence. “As

is the outer, so is the inner; as is the small, so is the great: there is but

one law; and He that worketh is One. Nothing is small, nothing is great in the

Divine Economy.”

11. In these words are contained at once the principle of the universe and the

secret of the Intuition. She it is, the Divine woman of man’s mental system,

that opens to him the “perfect way,” the “way of the Lord,” that “path of the

just which, as a shining light, shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” And

her complete restoration, crowning, and exaltation, is the one condition

essential to that realization of the ideal perfection of man’s nature, which,

mystically, is called “the Finding of Christ.”

12. Now, the modes whereby the intuition operates are two, namely, Perception

and Memory. By the former, man understands and interprets; by the latter, he

retains and utilizes. Perceiving, recollecting, and applying, the mind enacts

for itself a process analogous to that which occurs in the physical organism.

For its operations correspond to the three physiological processes of Nutrition,

– prehension, digestion, and absorption.

13. When the uninitiated person, or materialist, denies positively, as, with

curious inconsistency, such persons do deny, the possibility of positive

knowledge, and declares that “all that we know is, nothing can be known,” he

speaks truly so far as concerns himself and his fellows. “The natural man” as

the apostle declares, “perceiveth not the things that are of the Spirit, for

they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them because they are

spiritually discerned. But the spiritual man judgeth all things, and he himself

is judged of no man.” While the two orders here indicated refer to the inner and

outer, or soul and body, of each individual, they refer also to the two great

divisions of mankind, – they who as yet recognize the body only, and they who

are so far unfolded in their interior nature as to recognize the soul also. Of

these last is the initiate of sacred mysteries. Following his intuition, such an

one directs the force of his mind inwards, and, – provided his will is

subordinated to and made one with the Divine will, – passes within the veil, and

knows even as he is known. For, as the apostle says again, “What man knoweth the

things of a man save the man himself? So, likewise, the things of God no man

knoweth, save the Spirit of God within the man. And the Spirit knoweth all

 

things and revealeth them unto the man.” As thus by means of our Divine part we

apprehend the Divine, no such apprehension is possible to him who does not, in

some degree, reflect the Divine image. “For if thine eye be evil, thy whole body

is full of darkness. If, then, the very means of light in thee be darkness, how

great is that darkness!”

14. Matter is the antithetical ultimate of Spirit. Wherefore the enemy of

spiritual vision is always Materialism. It is therefore by the dematerialization

of himself that man obtains the seeing eye and hearing ear in respect of Divine

things. Dematerialism consists, not in the separation of the soul from the body,

but in the purification of both soul and body from the engrossment by the things

of sense. It is but another example of the doctrine of correspondence. As with

the vision of things physical, so with that of things spiritual. Purity alike of

instrument and medium is indispensable to perception.

15. This, then, is the nature and function of the Intuition. By living so purely

in thought and deed as to prevent the interposition of any barrier between his

exterior and his interior, his phenomenal and his substantial self; and by

steadfastly cultivating harmonious relations between these two, – by

subordinating the whole of his system to the Divine central Will, whose seat is

in the soul, – the man gains full access to the stores of knowledge laid up in

his soul, and attains to the cognition alike of God and of the universe. And for

him, as is said, “ There is nothing hid which shall not be revealed.”

16. And it is not his own memory alone that, thus endowed, he reads. The very

planet of which he is the offspring, is, like himself, a Person, and is

possessed of a medium of memory. And he to whom the soul lends her ears and

eyes, may have knowledge not only of his own past history, but of the past

history of the planet, as beheld in the pictures imprinted in the magnetic light

whereof the planet’s memory consists. For there are actually ghosts of events,

manes of past circumstances, shadows on the protoplasmic mirror, which can be

evoked.

17. But beyond and above the power to read the memory of himself or of the

planet, is the power to penetrate to that innermost sphere wherein the soul

obtains and treasures up her knowledge of God. This is the faculty whereby true

revelation occurs. And revelation, even in this its highest sense, is, no less

than reason, a proper prerogative of man, and belongs of right to him in his

highest and completest measure of development.

18. For placed as is the soul between the outer and the inner, mediator between

the material and the spiritual, she looks inwards as well as outwards, and by

experience learns the nature and method of God; and according to the degree of

her elevation, purity, and desire, sees, reflects, and transmits God. It is in

virtue of the soul’s position between the worlds of substance and of phenomenon,

and her consequent ability to refer things to their essential ideas, that in

her, and her alone, resides an instrument of knowledge competent for the

comprehension of Truth even the highest, which she only is able to behold face

to face. It is no hyperbole that is involved in the saying, “The pure in heart

see God.” True, the man cannot see God. But the Divine in man sees God. And this

occurs when, by means of his soul’s union with God, the man becomes “one with

the Father,” and beholds God with the eyes of God.

19. That is not really knowledge which is without understanding. And the

knowledge acquired by man through the soul, involves the understanding of all

things apprehended. Now, to understand a thing, is to get intellectually into,

beyond, and around it; to know the reasons of and for it; and to perceive

clearly that it, and it only under the circumstances, is and could by any

possibility be true. Apart from such knowledge and understanding, belief is

impossible. For that is not belief, in any sense worthy of the term, which is

not of knowledge. And only that belief saves which is conjoined with

understanding. For the Rock on which the true Church is built, is the

Understanding.

20. Such is the meaning of the words of Jesus on the memorable occasion of

Peter’s confession of him. It was not to the man Simon that was applied the

apostrophe, – “Thou art Peter, the rock, and upon this will I build my Church;”

but to the eternal and immutable Spirit of Understanding, by means of which the

disciple had “Found Christ.” Thus the utterance of Jesus had reference, not to

the man, but to the Spirit who informed the man, and whom with his spiritual

eyes the Master discerned.

21. We have said that the soul, with the eyes of understanding, looks two ways,

inwards as well as outwards. It is interesting to remember that this

characteristic of the soul was typified under the image of the two-faced

divinity, Janus Bifron, or, as called by Plutarch, Iannos. Now Janus is the same

as Jonas. Wherefore it is said that Simon, the expositor of the true doctrine,

is the son of Jonas, meaning the Understanding. Janus is also the doorkeeper, as

is Peter in Catholic tradition. And for this reason a door is called janua , and

the first month or entrance of the year, January. Janus thus came to be

regarded, like Peter, as the elder, the renewer of time, and the guardian of the

outermost circle of the system, and one therefore with Saturn. And as the former

was called Pater Janus, so the latter was called Peter Jonas, the Rock of

Understanding. And he is represented, as also is Peter, standing in a ship, and

holding in one hand a staff and in the other a key. By this is signified, that

to the Understanding, born of the experiences of Time, belong the Rod of the

Diviner, – or the power of the Will, – and the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Wherefore, the real chief of the apostles in the true Church, – that which by

its knowledge of the mysteries of existence, alone can open the gates of eternal

life, – is the Understanding.

22. The priesthoods, materializing, as is their wont, divine things, have

applied the utterance of Jesus to the man Simon and his successors in office;

but with the most disastrous consequences. For, ignoring the understanding, and

putting asunder that which God has joined together, – Faith and Reason, – they

have made something other than Mind the criterion of truth.

To this divorce between the elements masculine and feminine of man’s

intellectual system, is due the prevailing unbelief. For, converted thereby into

superstition, religion has been rendered ridiculous; and instead of being

exhibited as the Supreme Reason, – God has been depicted as the Supreme

Unreason. Against religion, as thus presented, mankind has done well to revolt.

To have remained subject, had been intellectual suicide. Wherefore the last

person entitled to reproach the world for its want of faith is the Priest; since

it is his degradation of the character of God, that has ministered to unbelief.

Suppressing the “woman,” who is the intuition, by putting themselves in her

place, the priests have suppressed also the man, who is the intellect. And so

the whole of humanity is extinguished. Of the influences under which

Sacerdotalism has acquired its evil repute, a full account will appear as we

proceed.

23. In these lectures, then, the practice denounced will be exchanged for the

original method of all true Churches. And appeal will be made to that consensus

of all the faculties, sensible, intellectual, moral, and spiritual, comprised in

the constitution of man, wherein consists Common Sense. It is not upon any

authority of book, person, tradition, or order, that we ourselves rely, or that

we invite the attention of others. Reference will indeed be made, as already, to

various sacred and other sources, but only for illustration, interpretation, or

confirmation. For, confident in the knowledge that all things have their

procession from Mind, and that consequently Mind is competent for the

comprehension of all things; and also that Mind is eternally one and the same; –

we have no fear of antagonism between the perceptions of the present and those

of the past, however remote that past be. Only let it be remembered, the appeal

is, in all cases, to perception, and in no case, to prejudice or convention. In

proceeding from God, all things proceed from pure Reason; and only by Reason

which, in being unwarped by prejudice and unobscured by Matter, is pure, can

anything be rightly apprehended.

24. Hence it is that the disposition which refers everything, for instance, to a

book, and this, perhaps, one arbitrarily selected from among many similar books;

or that refuses to accept truth save on the authority of miracle, is a

superstitious disposition, and one that opposes as insuperable a barrier to

knowledge as does the materialism, – no less superstitious, – which,

constructing an hypothesis independently of facts, rejects all evidence which

conflicts with its hypothesis. It is precisely a materialism such as this which,

in the recoil from superstition of one kind, has plunged the age headlong into

superstition of another kind. For the cultus of the present day, – that of

Matter, – is the most stupendous example of Fetish-worship the world has ever

seen. But of this we shall have more to say further on. It is necessary here but

to remind those who worship a book, that things are not true because they are in

a Bible; but that they are in a Bible because previously recognized as true. And

miracles, – which are natural effects of exceptional causes, – may indeed be

proofs of occult power and skill, but are no evidence of the truth of any

doctrine.

25. The following story from the Talmud will serve both to lighten our lecture

and to illustrate our position in this respect:

“On a certain day, Rabbi Eliezer ben Orcanaz replied to the questions proposed

to him concerning his teaching; but his arguments being found to be inferior to

his pretensions, the doctors present refused to admit his conclusions. The Rabbi

Eliezer said, ‘My doctrine is true, and this karoub tree, which is near us shall

demonstrate the infallibility of my teaching.’ Immediately the karoub tree,

obeying the voice of Eliezer, arose out of the ground and planted itself a

hundred cubits farther off. But the Rabbis shook their heads and answered, ‘The

karoub tree proves nothing.’ ‘What,’ cried Eliezer, ‘you resist so great a

miracle? Then let this rivulet flow backwards, and attest the truth of my

doctrine.’ Immediately the rivulet obeying the command of Eliezer, flowed

backwards towards its source. But again the Rabbis shook their heads and said,

‘The rivulet proves nothing. We must understand before we can believe.’ ‘Will

you believe me,’ said Rabbi Eliezer, ‘if the walls of this house wherein we sit

should fall down?’ And the walls, obeying him, began to fall, until Rabbi Joshua

exclaimed, ‘By what right do the walls interfere in our debates?’ Then the walls

stopped in their fall out of respect to Rabbi Joshua, but remained leaning out

of respect for Rabbi Eliezer, and remain leaning until this day. But Eliezer,

mad with rage, cried out: ‘Then in order to confound you, and since you compel

me to it, let a voice from heaven be heard!’ And immediately the Bath-Kol, or

Voice from heaven, was heard at a great height in the air, and it said, ‘What

are all the opinions of the Rabbis compared to the opinion of Rabbi Eliezer?

When he has spoken, his opinion ought to prevail.’ Hereupon Rabbi Joshua rose

and said, ‘It is written, “The law is not in heaven; it is in your mouth and in

your heart.” It is in your reason; for again it is written, “I have left you

free to choose between life and death and good and evil.” And it is in your

conscience; for “if ye love the Lord and obey His voice within you, you will

find happiness and truth.” Wherefore then does Rabbi Eliezer bring in a karoub

tree, a rivulet, a wall, and a voice to settle questions of doctrine? And what

is the only conclusion that can be drawn from such miracles, but that they who

have expounded the laws of nature have not wholly understood them, and that we

must now admit that in certain cases a tree can unroot itself, a rivulet flow

backwards, walls obey instructions, and voices sound in the air? But what

connection is there between these observations and the teaching of Rabbi

Eliezer? No doubt these miracles were very extraordinary, and they have filled

us with astonishment; but to amaze is not to argue, and it is argument, not

phenomena, that we require. When, therefore, Rabbi Eliezer shall have proved to

us that karoub trees, rivulets, walls, and unknown voices afford us, by unusual

manifestations, reasonings equal in value and weight to that reason which God

has placed within us to guide our judgment, then alone will we make use of such

testimonies and estimate them as Eliezer requires.’”

To the same purport the famous commentator, Maimonides, says, “When thy senses

affirm that which thy reason denies, reject the testimony of thy senses, and

listen only to thy reason.”

26. Having spoken of the Soul’s functions, and of her relation to man, we come

now to speak of her nature and history. Whether of the individual or of the

universal, Soul is Substance, that which sub-stands all phenomena. This

substance is original protoplasm; at once that which makes and that which

becomes. The first manifestation of substance is in the interplanetary ether,

called by Homer the “Middle Air,” and known in the terminology of Occultism as

the Astral Fluid. This, be it observed, is not soul, but that whereby soul is

manifest, and in which it potentially subsists. Matter is the ultimate

expression of substance, and represents that condition in which it is furthest

removed from its original state, as the membranous capsule which forms the

circumference of the physiologic cell represents the ultimate expression of the

fluidic contents.

27. The soul may be likened to the nucleus of the cell. The protoplasmic medium

which is found within the capsular envelope and in which the nucleus floats, may

be likened to the astral fluid, whether interplanetary or intercellular. But the

nucleus, the fluidic body surrounding it, and the exterior membrane, are all

equally protoplasmic in nature, and the potentiality of one is in all; the

difference actually observable among them being due only to difference of

condition.

28. All the elements of the cell, however, – the nucleus included, – are

material; whereas Matter itself is, whatever its kind, a mode of Substance, of

which the nature is spiritual. But though Substance is, by its nature, Spirit,

there is a sense in which Spirit is not Substance. This is the sense in which

Spirit denotes will or energy, as distinguished from the Substance in which this

inheres. Under impulsion of the Spirit as thus defined, Substance exchanges its

static for a dynamic condition, repose for activity, becoming molecularized, and

therefore materialized, in the process. It does not, however, cease to be

Substance by becoming Matter; but Matter ceases to be Matter by cessation of

motion. Matter may thus be defined as Substance in a state of incessant, intense

activity, which is the condition of every particle in the universe. From the

microscopic molecule to the planet everything revolves impelled by one force,

and obeying one law.

29. The truth that Matter is Substance in its dynamic condition was well-known

to the hierophants of ancient India and Egypt, and finds expression in the

Hebrew sacred books, –which are Egyptian in origin, – in the phrase, – “And on

the seventh day, God ended his work, and He rested on the seventh day from all

His work which He had made.”

This “resting” – which is not annihilation but repose, – involves the return of

Matter to its static condition of Substance. The idea presented is that of

cessation of active creative force, and the consequent return of phenomenal

existence into essential being. This stage it is which constitutes the

termination of the creative period, and the perfection of every creative work.

It is at once the “rest which remains for the people of God;” the attainment of

perfection by the individual, system, or race; and the return of the universe

into the bosom of God, by re-absorption into the original substance. The

Buddhist terms it Nirvana; and the period of which it is the termination is

called by the Hindus, Kalpa, a word signifying Form. And they hold that the

universe undergoes a succession of Kalpas, being at the end of each reabsorbed

into Deity, Who then rests awhile prior to the next manifestation, reposing upon

Sesha, the celestial “serpent,” or living circle of Eternity, the symbol of

essential Being, as opposed to existence in its strict sense of manifested

Being.

30. For, as will by-and-by be more fully shown, the substance of the soul, and

therein of all things, and the substance of Deity, are one and the same; since

there is but one Substance. And of this substance, the life is also called God,

Who, as living Substance, is at once Life and Substance, one and yet twain, or

two in one. And that which is begotten of these two, and is, theologically,

called the Son, and the Word, is necessarily the expression of both, and is,

potentially, the Universe, for He creates it after His own Divine image by means

of the Spirit He has received. Now the Divine Substance is, in its original

condition, homogeneous. Every monad of it, therefore, possesses the

potentialities of the whole. Of such a monad, in its original condition, every

individual soul consists. And of the same substance, projected into lower

conditions, the material universe consists. It undergoes, however, no radical

change of nature through such projection; but its manifestation – on whatever

plane occurring – is always as is the evolution of its Trinity. Thus – to reckon

from without inwards, and below upwards – on the plane physical it is Force,

universal Ether, and their offspring the material World. On the plane

intellectual it is Life, Substance, and Formulation. On the plane spiritual –

its original point of radiation – it is Will, Wisdom, and the Word. And on all

planes whatsoever, it is, in some mode, Father, Mother, and Child. For “there

are Three which bear record in ‘heaven,’ or the invisible, and these Three are

One. And there are three which bear record on ‘earth,’ or the visible, and these

three agree in one, being Spirit, Soul, and Body.”

31. The soul’s entrance into Matter, and primal manifestation as an individual,

occurs in the lowest modes of organic life, and is due to the convergence of the

magnetic poles of the constituent molecules of some protoplasmic entity, an

action due to the working of the Spirit in the Matter concerned. For all Matter,

it must be remembered, has, and is, Spirit. The focusing of these poles gives

rise to a circular magnetic current, of which the result is an electric

combustion, which is the vital spark, organic life, Soul. It is, however, no new

creation in the ordinary sense of the term. For nothing can be either added to

or withdrawn from the universe. It is but a new condition of the one substance

already existing, a condition which constitutes a fresh act of individualization

on the part of that substance. It has become by self-generation, a soul or

nucleus to the cell in which it has manifested itself. Such is the mode of

operation of Substance, whether as manifested in the human soul or in the

physiologic cell.

32. The doctrine of creation by development or evolution is a true doctrine, and

is in no way inconsistent with the idea of divine operation; but the development

is not of the original substance. Being infinite and eternal, that is perfect

always. Development is of the manifestation of the qualities of that substance

in the individual.

Development is intelligible only by the recognition of the inherent

consciousness of the substance of existence. Of the qualities of that substance

as manifested in the individual, Form is the expression. And it is because

development is directed by conscious, experienced, and continually experiencing

intelligence, which is ever seeking to eliminate the rudimentary and imperfect,

that progression occurs in respect of Form. The highest product, man, is the

result of the Spirit working intelligently within. But man attains his highest,

and becomes perfect only through his own voluntary co-operation with the Spirit.

There is no mode of Matter in which the potentiality of personality, and therein

of man, does not subsist. For every molecule is a mode of the universal

consciousness. Without consciousness is no being. For consciousness is being.

33. The earliest manifestation of consciousness appears in the obedience paid to

the laws of gravitation and chemical affinity, which constitute the basis of the

later, evolved organic laws of nutritive assimilation. And the perception,

memory, and experience represented in man, are the accumulations of long ages of

toil and thought gradually advancing, through the development of the

consciousness, from inorganic combinations upward to God. Such is the secret

meaning of the old mystery story which relates how Deucalion and Pyrrha, under

the direction of Themis (Wisdom) produced men and women from stones, and so

peopled the renewed earth. These words of John the Baptist bear a similar

signification: – “Verily I say unto you, that even of these stones God is able

to raise up children unto Abraham.” And by children of Abraham, are denoted that

“spiritual Israel,” the pure seekers after God, who finally attain and become

one with the object of their quest.

34. As between Spirit and Matter, so between the organic and the inorganic,

there is no real barrier. Nature works in spirals, and works intelligently. In

all that modern science has of truth, in respect of the doctrine of Evolution,

it was anticipated thousands of years ago. But the scientists of old, using a

faculty of the very existence of which those of the present day hear but to jeer

at it, discerned in Soul the agent, and in Mind, the efficient cause of all

progress. They perceived, as all now perceive who only allow themselves to

think, that were Matter, as ordinarily regarded, all that is, and blind force

its impelling agent, no explanation would be possible of the obviously

intelligent adaptation everywhere apparent of means to ends; the strong set of

the current life in the direction of beauty and goodness; and the

differentiation of uses, functions, and kinds, not only in cellular tissues, but

even in crystalline inorganic elements. Why should Matter, if only what

ordinarily it is supposed, – unconscious, aimless, purposeless, – differentiate,

diversify, develop? This is the question the ancients asked themselves; and they

were keen enough to see that in their very ability to ask it, lay the solution

of the problem. For the question was prompted by Mind, and the presence of Mind

in the product man, involves its presence in the substance whereof man consists,

seeing that an extract cannot contain that which is not in its original

abstract.

35. The reasonableness of this proposition is, however, at length beginning once

again to be recognized even in the prevailing school, by some of the more

intelligent of its members; one of these having recently declared it necessary,

in order to account for the facts of existence, to credit Matter with a “little

 

feeling.” (The late Professor Clifford.) This is an admission, which, carried to

its legitimate issue, involves the recognition of the system now under

exposition. For it involves the recognition of God and the Soul. Thus is modern

science, painfully and against its will, working back towards the great doctrine

taught long ages ago in the lodges of the Indian and Egyptian Mysteries, and

verified by the spiritual experience of every epopt who lived the life

prescribed as the condition of illumination.

36. This is the doctrine known as that of the Transmigration of Souls. Of this

doctrine the following concise description is taken from a translation dated

1650 of one of the so-called Hermetic books, which emanating from Alexandria,

and dating from pre-Christian or early Christian times, represent – at least in

a measure – the esoteric doctrine of the Egyptian and other ancient religious

systems. Of this body of writings only a few fragments survive. The passage

cited is from book iv of the work called The Divine Pymander, or Shepherd, of

Hermes Trismegistus.

“From one Soul of the Universe are all those Souls which in all the World are

tossed up and down as it were, and severally divided. Of these Souls there are

many Changes, some into a more fortunate Estate, and some quite contrary. And

they which are of Creeping Things are changed into those of Watery Things, and

those of Things Living in the Water to those of Things living on the Land; and

Airy ones into Men; and Human Souls that lay hold of Immortality are changed

into (holy) Daemons. And so they go on into the Sphere of the Gods. . . . And

this is the most perfect glory of the Soul. But the Soul entering into the Body

of a Man, if it continue evil, shall neither taste of Immortality nor be

Partaker of the Good; but being drawn back the same Way, it returneth into

Creeping Things. And this is the Condemnation of an evil Soul.”

37. The doctrine of the Progression and Migration of Souls, and of the power of

man, while still in the body, to recover the recollections of his soul,

constituted the foundation of all those ancient religions out of which

Christianity had its birth; and was therefore universally communicated to all

initiates of the sacred mysteries. And, indeed, one of the special objects of

the curriculum of these institutions, was to enable the candidate to recover the

memory of his previous incarnations, with a view to his total emancipation from

the body. For the attainment of this power was regarded as a token that the

final regeneration of the individual – when he would no longer have need of the

body and its lessons – was well-nigh accomplished. Thus the prime object of the

ancient lodges which constituted the pre-Christian Churches, was the culture of

the soul as the divine and permanent element of the individual.

38. Various eminent sages are said to have remembered some at least of their

previous incarnations; and notably Krishna, Pythagoras, Plato, Apollonius, and

the Budha Gautama. This last – the “Messenger,” who fulfilled for the mystics of

the East the part which six hundred years later was, for the mystics of the

West, fulfilled by Jesus, – is stated to have recovered the recollection of five

hundred and fifty of his own incarnations. And the chief end of his doctrine is

to induce men so to live as to shorten the number and duration of their

earth-lives. “He,” say the Hindu Scriptures, “who in his lifetime recovers the

memory of all that his soul has learnt, is already a god.”

Socrates also is represented as distinctly asserting the doctrine of

reincarnation; and it was implied, if not expressed in the system formulated by

the superb modern thinker and scientist, Leibnitz.

39. Following the Rabbins and especially the Pharisees, Josephus asserted the

return of Souls into new bodies. Nor are recognitions of the doctrine wanting in

the Old and New Testaments. Thus the writer of the Book of Wisdom says of

himself: “Being good, I came into a body undefiled.” The prophets Daniel and

John are told by their inspiring angel that they shall stand again on the earth

in the last days of the Dispensation. And of John it was also intimated by Jesus

that he should tarry within reach of the earth-life, either for reincarnation or

metempsychosis, when the appointed time should come. And of that great school

which, apparently because it approached too near the truth to be safely

tolerated by a materializing sacerdotalism, was denounced as the most

dangerously heretical, – the school of the Gnostics, – the leader Carpocrates,

taught that the Founder of Christianity also was simply a person who, having a

soul of great age and high degree of purity, had been enabled, through his mode

of life, to recover the memory of its past. And Paul’s description of him as a

“Captain of Salvation made perfect through suffering,” obviously implies a

course of experience far in excess of any that is predicable of a single brief

career.

To these instances must be added that of the question put to Jesus by his

disciples respecting the blind man whom he had cured: “Did this man sin, or his

parents, that he was born blind?” For it shows either that the belief in

transmigration was a popular one among the Jews, or that Jesus had inculcated it

in his disciples. His refusal to satisfy their curiosity is readily intelligible

on the supposition that he was unwilling to disclose the affairs of other souls.

40. The opening chapters of the Book of Genesis imply the like doctrine. For

they present creation as occurring through a gradual evolution from the lowest

types upwards, –from gaseous elemental combinations to the crowning

manifestation of humanity in woman, –and thus indicate the animal as ministering

to the human in a sense widely differing from that ordinarily supposed; for they

represent the animal as the younger self of the man, namely, as man rudimentary.

All this is involved in the fact that the term applied to the genesis of living

things below man, signifies soul, (Heb., “NEPHESH”; i.e., the lowest mode of

soul.) and is so translated when applied to man: whereas applied to beasts it is

rendered “living creature.” Thus, had the Bible been accurately translated, the

doctrine that all creatures whatsoever represent incarnations, though in

different conditions, of one and the same universal soul, would not now need to

be re-declared, or, when re-declared would not be received with repugnance. That

it does produce such a feeling, is a sign how far man has receded from a level

once attained, at least in respect of his affectional nature. For the doctrine

of a universal soul is the doctrine of love, in that it implies the recognition

of the larger self. It represents, moreover, Humanity as the one universal

creation of which all living things are but different steps either of

development or of degradation, progression or retrogression, ascent or descent;

that which determines the present condition and ultimate destiny of each

individual entity, being its own will and affections. Animals appeared first on

earth, not, as is vainly supposed, to minister to man’s physical wants, but as

an essential preliminary to humanity itself. On no other hypothesis is their

existence intelligible for the long ages which elapsed before the appearance of

man.

41. Thus, not only is the doctrine respectable for its antiquity, universality,

and the quality and character of those who, on the strength of their own

experience, have borne testimony to it; it is indispensable to any system of

thought which postulates Justice as an essential element of Being. For it, and

it alone of all methods ever suggested, solves the problem of the universe by

resolving the otherwise insuperable difficulties which confront us in regard to

the inequalities of earthly circumstance and relation.

The importance attached to it by the Egyptians is shown by the fact that they

chose for their chief religious symbol an embodiment of it. For in representing

the lowest as linked to the highest, – the loins of the creature of prey to the

head and breast of the Woman, – the Sphinx denoted at once the unity, and the

method of development, under individualization, of the soul of the universal

humanity.

PART II

42. WE will now define more precisely the nature of the system we seek to

restore, and its relation towards that so long in possession in the West.

Although neither Christian nor Catholic in the accepted sense of these terms, it

claims to be both Christian and Catholic in their original and true sense, and

to be itself the lawful heir, whose inheritance has been usurped by a

presentment altogether corrupt, false, superstitious, idolatrous.

According to the system recovered, the Christ Jesus, Redeemer, and Saviour,

while equally its beginning, middle, and end, is not a mere historical

personage, but, above and beyond this, a Spiritual Ideal and an Eternal Verity.

Recognizing fully that which Jesus was and did, it sets forth salvation as

depending, not on what any man has said or done, but on what God perpetually

reveals. For, according to it, Religion is not a thing of the past, or of any

one age, but is an ever-present, ever-occurring actuality; for every man one and

the same; a process complete in itself for each man; and for him subsisting

irrespective of any other man whatsoever. It thus recognizes as the actors in

the momentous drama of the soul two persons only, the individual himself and

God. And whereas in it alone is to be found a complete and reasonable exposition

of the parts assigned to both in the work of salvation, all competing systems

must be regarded as but an aspiration towards or a degeneration from it, and as

true only in so far as they accord with it.

43. And here it may be remarked, that the doctrine of religion as a present

reality, needing no historic basis, is one which in this age ought to find

especial welcome. For, what now is the condition of men’s minds in respect to

the historical element of the existing religion? None but those who through lack

of education stand necessarily upon the old ways, have any reliance upon it.

Critical analysis – that function of the mind which, in its nature destructive,

is, nevertheless, really harmful only to that which, in being untrue, has not in

itself the element of perpetuity – has laid an unsparing axe to the forest of

ancient tradition. The science of Biblical exegesis has made it obvious to every

percipient mind that sacred books, so far from being infallible records of

actual events, abound with inaccuracies, contradictions, and interpolations;

that sacred persons, if they existed at all, had histories differing widely from

those narrated of them; that sacred events could not have occurred in the manner

stated; and that sacred doctrines are, for the most part, either intrinsically

absurd, or common to systems yet more ancient, whose claims to sanctity are

denied.

44. Thus, to take the leading items of Christian belief, – the whole story of

the Incarnation, the expectation of the Messiah, the announcement by the angel,

the conception by the Virgin, the birth at midnight in a cave, the name of the

immaculate mother, the appearance to shepherds of the celestial host, the visit

of the Magi, the flight from the persecuting Herod, the slaughter of the

innocents, the finding of the divine boy in the temple, the baptism, the fasting

and trial in the wilderness, the conversion of the water into wine, and other

like marvels, the triumphal entry into the holy city, the passion, the

crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension, and much of the teaching

ascribed to the Saviour, – all these are variously attributed also to Osiris,

Mithras, Iacchos, Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, and others, at dates long

antecedent to the Christian era. And monuments and sculptures still exist,

showing that the entire story of the Divine Man of the gospels was, long before

Moses, taught to communicants and celebrated in sacraments in numberless

colleges of sacred mysteries.

45. The Fathers of the Church, – who were well aware of these facts, – dealt

with them variously according to the tone and resources of their individual

minds. Many of the most notable, including St. Augustine, saw the truth in its

proper light; but the explanation accepted was, that the Devil, foreknowing the

counsel and intention of God, had maliciously forestalled the career of the true

Messiah by false semblances, causing it to be enacted in anticipation by a

number of spurious messiahs, so that when the world’s true redeemer should

appear, he might be lost, as it were, in the crowd of his predecessors, and

shorn of all particular glory.

46. And what, it may be asked, of the personage just mentioned, who plays so

enormous part in the orthodox presentment? He, too, is a perversion of a truth,

the real meaning of which will by-and-by be exhibited. It is sufficient to

remark here, that, in being founded, – as by the current corrupt orthodoxy, – on

the conception of a personal and, virtually, a divine principle of evil,

Christianity is made to rest upon an hypothesis altogether monstrous and

impossible.

47. There is neither space nor need to particularize the strictures to which the

Bible throughout is fairly open, alike on grounds historical, moral, and

scientific; or to speak of the many ecclesiastical Councils which, from century

to century, have dealt with its component books, variously affirming or denying

their canonicity; or to point out the innumerable contradictions and

inconsistencies, of doctrine and of narrative with which it abounds. These

things, already familiar to many, are readily verifiable by all. This only must

be insisted on: to be a student of religion, to be a theologian in the true

sense, it is necessary to have knowledge, not of one religion only, but of all

religions, not of one sacred book only, but of all sacred books; and to deal

with all as with the one, and with the one as with all; to handle the Vedas, the

Bhagavad-Gita, the Lalita-Vistara, the Zend-Avesta, and the Kabbala with the

same reverence as the Old and New Testaments; and to apply to these the same

critical touchstone as to those. It is truth alone which is valuable, and this

fears nothing. The crucible does not hurt the gold. The dross alone falls away

under the test; and of the dross we are surely well rid.

48. And when all this has been done; when the mind, purified from prejudice and

disciplined by experience, has become an instrument of knowledge competent for

the discernment of truth, what, it will be asked, remains to man of his faith

and hope, his God and his soul? We know the reply of the Materialist. He, as has

been wittily said, throws away the child with the water in which it has been

washed. Because he finds impurity obstructing the truth, he rejects the truth

together with the impurity. That which remains is the real, ever-living

religion; a Divine and operating Word, and not a testament of the dead; a God

and a Soul who, as Parent and Offspring, are able to come into direct and

palpable relations with each other. And the Creation, the Fall, the Redemption,

and the Ascension – rescued from the tomb of the past – become living and

eternal verities, enacted by every child of God in his own soul; and Inspiration

once more lifts its voice and is heard among us as truly as of old.

49. For those, then, who, being indeed of Christ, as well as called by his name,

know by personal experience that “the kingdom of heaven is within,” there is no

cause for anxiety as to the issue of any investigation, critical, scientific, or

historical, how keen and unsparing so ever For they know that Religion – which

is the Science of Life Eternal, – appeals, not to the bodily senses, but to the

soul, since no mere physical phenomena can have any relation to spiritual needs.

They know, too, that in representing absolute, eternal verities, religious ideas

are beyond the reach of any power of earth to erase or destroy them. But they

who, on the contrary, have staked their all of faith in God and hope in heaven

upon the special events of a particular period and place, have indeed ground for

dismay and despair when they behold in the sculptured remains of other places

and remoter times, the effigies of the like events, – the crucifixion of

Mithras, the infant Horus or Krishna in the arms of an immaculate mother, the

resurrection of Osiris, and the ascension of Heracles. For they see in these,

the invalidation, or at least the perplexing multiplication, of events which, on

their hypothesis, ought to have happened but once in the world’s – nay in the

universe’s – whole history, and on the correct reporting of which their eternal

welfare depends. The actual value of these facts will appear as we proceed. They

are cited here in demonstration of the fallacy involved in the conception of

religion as a thing dependent on history. Rightly interpreted, they will show

that the Soul has no relation to phenomena, and that “the kingdom of Christ is

not of this world.”

50. The Gospels bear evidence of being compiled or adapted in great measure from

older Oriental Scriptures. But whether or not the events related happened only

in part or not at all; whether they were put into their present form by

Alexandrian Epopts some hundred years after the date assigned in them to the

events they record; or whether their central figure, being himself an Initiate

and Adept in the religious science of Egypt and India, actually rehearsed in his

own person the greater part of the sacred mysteries, – is, happily, but of

secondary importance. And even were it otherwise, it is obvious that the further

we get away from the period of the events relied on, and the more years multiply

upon us, thrusting that past into still remoter times and ever deepening shades

of antiquity, the more difficult must the task of verification become, and the

weaker the influences exerted upon man’s moral and intellectual nature. Alas for

the hopes of the generations yet to be born, if an historical Christianity be

indeed essential to salvation? Nor can we be blind to the injustice and cruelty

of making salvation dependent upon belief in occurrences concerning which only a

learned few can at any time be in a position to judge whether or not they ever

took place; and these, moreover, occurrences of a nature to be a priori

incredible save to an elect few. Assuredly, if any demonstration be needed of

the necessary unsoundness of a system which rests upon history, it is to be

found in the present condition of Christianity. Declining to entrust its

doctrine to Reason, the Church has taken its stand upon historical evidence,

only to find this give way under it; and it is now without any basis save that

of Custom. The time has come in which Christians are Christians, only because

they are accustomed to be Christians. Habit has superseded conviction.

51. Very different is the relation between the human mind and the system under

exposition. Appealing to the understanding, and condemning as superstition the

faith which is not also knowledge, this system meets unshaken the tests alike of

time and of reason; and, so far from looking coldly on science, hails it as an

indispensable ally, stipulating only that it be science, and not that which is

“falsely so called.” Hoping everything and fearing nothing from the light of

reason, it welcomes the searching ray into every recess, and greets with eager

hands the philosopher, the historian, the critic, the philologist, the

mathematician, the classic, the physicist, and the occultist. For its appeal is

to intelligence as developed by knowledge, in the absolute assurance that where

these exist in the greatest plenitude, there it will gain the fullest

recognition.

52. And the intelligence appealed to is not the head only, but is also of the

heart; of the moral conscience as well as of the intellect. Insisting upon the

essential unity of all being, it admits of no antagonism between the human and

the Divine. But holding that the human is the Divine, and that that which is not

Divine is subhuman, it seeks, by the demonstration of the perfection of God, to

enable man to perfect himself after the image of God. And it claims, moreover,

to be the one philosophy wherein that image finds intelligent exposition, and

whereby it obtains practical recognition. To the question why, being in all

respects so admirable, it has become lost or perverted, the answer involves the

history of man’s original Fall, and will in due course appear.

53. There are two or three classes of objectors, to whom reply will now be made

in anticipation. Of these classes one is that which, under the influence of the

prevailing Materialism, holds, that so far from the phrase just employed, “Image

of God,” having any basis in reality, modern science has practically

demonstrated the non-existence of God. If the following reply to this class

involves a reference to regions of being as yet unrecognized in their own

science, it is not upon us that the responsibility for the limitation rests. We

speak of that which we know, having learned it by experience.

54. A true Idea is the reflect of a true Substance. It is because religious

ideas are true ideas that they are common to all ages and peoples; the

differences being of expression merely, and due to the variation of density and

character of the magnetic atmosphere through which the image passes. The fact

that every nation in every age has conceived, in some shape, of the Gods,

constitutes of itself a proof that the Gods really are. For nothing projects no

image upon the magnetic light; and where an image is universally perceived,

there is certainly an object which projects it. An Idea, inborn, ineradicable,

constant, which sophism, ridicule, or false science has power to break only, but

not to dispel: – an image which, however disturbed, invariably returns on itself

and reforms, as does the image of the sky or the stars in a lake, however the

reflecting water may be momentarily shaken by a stone or a passing vessel: –

such an image as this is necessarily the reflection of a real and true thing,

and no illusion begotten of the water itself. In the same manner the constant

Idea of the Gods, persistent in all minds in all ages is a true image; for it is

verily, and in no metaphoric sense, the projection upon the human perception of

the Eidola of the Divine persons. The Eidolon is the reflection a true object in

the magnetic atmosphere; and the magnetic atmosphere is a transparent medium,

through which the soul receives sensations. For sensation is the only means of

knowledge, whether for the body or for the reason. The body perceives by means

of the five avenues of touch. The soul perceives in like manner by the same

sense, but of a finer sort and put into action by subtler agents. The soul can

know nothing not perceptible; and nothing not perceptible is real. For that

which is not can give no image. Only that which is can be reflected.

55. To the other classes of objectors, who are chiefly of the religious and

orthodox order, the following considerations are addressed:

a. The apparently new, is not necessarily the really new; but may be a recovery

– providential, timely, and precious – of the old and original which has been

forgotten, perverted, or suppressed.

b. So far from it being incumbent on Christians to accept the established in

religion as necessarily the true and the right, the condemnation by the later

Hebrew prophets of the established form of Judaism, as no longer in their time

representing the religion divinely given through Moses, imposes on Christians

the duty of exercising, at the least, hesitation before accepting the

established form of Christianity as faithfully representing the religion

divinely given through Jesus. Christendom has been exposed for a far longer

period than was Israel, to influences identical with those which caused the

deterioration denounced by the prophets, namely, the abandonment of religion,

without prophetic guidance or correction, to a control exclusively sacerdotal,

and therein to Tradition uninterpreted by Intuition. And not only so, but on the

first formal definition and establishment of Christianity under Constantine, –

himself an ardent votary of a sun-worship become grossly materialistic, – the

dominant conception was far more in accordance with the principles of

sacerdotalism than with those of its Founder. There remains, also, the strong a

priori improbability that a system identical with that which, in consequence of

the efforts of Jesus to purify it, became his destroyer, – a system exclusively

sacerdotal and traditional – should, even though calling itself Christian, prove

a trusty guardian and faithful expositor of his doctrine.

c. The belief that Christianity was indeed divinely intended and adapted to

effect the redemption of the world from engrossment by the elements merely

 

material of existence, to the recognition and appreciation of its spiritual and

true substance; and the fact that thus far Christianity has signally failed to

accomplish that object, – make it in the highest degree obligatory on

Christians, both to seek diligently the cause of such failure, and to seek it

elsewhere than in an original defect of the religion itself.

d. According to numerous indications – including the express declarations of

Jesus himself – much that is essential to the proper comprehension and practical

application of Christian doctrine, was reserved for future disclosure. History

has yet to record the full manifestation of that “Spirit of Truth,” who was to

testify of Jesus, and lead his followers into all truth. And the world has still

to see the Christ-ideal so “lifted up” and exhibited as, by force of its

perfection as a system of life and thought, irresistibly to “draw all men” to

it.

e. In point alike of character and of time, the present period coincides with

 

that indicated in numerous prophecies, as appointed for the close of the old and

the commencement of a new era. This is necessarily an event which can come about

only through some radical change in the course of the world’s thought. For, in

being, however unconsciously to it self, a product of Mind, the world always

follows its thought. The world has now followed its thought in the direction of

Matter and blind force, until, for the first time in man’s history, its

recognized intellect has, almost with one consent, pronounced decidedly against

the idea of God. This, therefore, is no other than that “time of the end”

whereof the token should be the exaltation of Matter instead of Spirit, and the

obtrusion into the “holy place” of God and the soul, of the “abomination that

maketh desolate,” to the utter extinction of the world’s spiritual life and of

the idea of a divine Humanity. Now is “that wicked one” and “man of sin” – that

is, humanity deliberately self-made in the image of the Not-God – definitely

revealed; and the gospel of Love is confessedly replaced by the gospel of Force.

(It is not a little remarkable, that the foremost symbol of this new gospel

should have for the name the Greek term for force; dynamite being simply

 

dunamiz.) Of the prophecies, moreover, which referred to the period in question,

it was declared that the words should be “closed up and sealed till the time of

the end.” The very discovery of a true interpretation of mystical Scriptures

would therefore constitute an indication that the “end is at hand.”

f. If it be, indeed, that man is not to “go down quick into the pit” that he has

dug for himself, the emergency is one with which religion alone can grapple.

But, so far from the religion already in the world being competent for the task,

it has, by reason of its own degeneracy, ministered to the evil. Wherefore only

by a religion which is not that now in vogue, can man be saved. Time can, of

course, alone determine if, or by what means, the needed redemption will be

wrought. Enough has been said to show that, from the religious point of view,

there is ample reason in favour of according a serious hearing even to doctrines

and claims so strange and unfamiliar to most persons as those herein advanced.

56. Finally, to close this Introductory Lecture, and to reassure those who,

desirous to know more, are yet apprehensive of finding themselves in the issue,

like the patriarch of old, robbed of their gods, we add this final reflection: –

The end in view is not denial, but interpretation; not destruction, but

reconstruction, and this with the very materials hitherto in use. No names,

personages or doctrines now regarded as divine will be rejected or defamed. And

even though the indubitable fact be recognized, that the “one name given under

heaven whereby men can be saved” has been shared by many, that name will still

be the name of salvation, and the symbol of its triumph will still be the cross

of Jesus, even though borne before him by, or in the name of, an Osiris , a

Mithras, a Krishna, a Dionysos, or a Buddha, or any others who, overcoming by

love the limitations of Matter, have been faithful to the death mystically

called the death of the cross, and, attaining thereby the crown of eternal life

for themselves, have shown to men the way of salvation.

Instead, then, of indulging apprehension on the score indicated, let heed rather

be given to the true moral of the story of all the Christs, how many so ever

they be, by whom is enacted in its fullness, while yet in the body, the divine

drama of the soul. For, with Christ, all may, in their degree, be redeemers

alike of themselves and of others; and with him, to redeem, they must themselves

first love and suffer and die. For, as said the German mystic, Scheffler, two

centuries ago, –

  “Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born,

    But not within thyself, thy soul will be forlorn:

    The cross of Golgotha thou lookest to in vain,

    Unless within thyself it be set up again.”


l-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

LECTURE THE SECOND

THE SOUL; AND THE SUBSTANCE OF EXISTENCE.

PART I

1. OUR theme is that which is at once the supreme subject and object of culture,

and the necessary basis of all real religion and science. For it is the

substance of existence, the Soul, universal and individual, of humanity. Only

when we know the nature of this, can we know what we ourselves are, and what we

have it in us to become. For our potentialities necessarily depend upon the

substance whereof we are made.

2. This is not Matter. Wherefore a science which, in being restricted to the

cognition of phenomena, is a materialistic science, cannot help us to an

understanding of ourselves. But, on the contrary, to such understanding such

science is, in its issues, the greatest enemy. Matter is not God: and in order

to understand ourselves, it is necessary to understand God. God is the Substance

of existence. Be that substance what it may, it still is God; and of God no

other definition is possible or desirable, but all conditions are satisfied by

it. To know God, then, is to know this substance; and to know this, is to know

ourselves, and only by knowing this can we know ourselves.

3. Such, and no other or less, was the meaning of the famous mystic utterance

inscribed on the temple porch at Delphi, – Know thyself, – a sentence which,

notwithstanding its brevity, comprehends all wisdom. An attempt, it is true, has

been made to improve upon it in the saying, – Ignore thyself, and learn to know

thy God. By that which is intended in the latter, is, albeit unsuspected by its

framer, comprised in the former. For, as is known to the Mystic – or student of

Substance, such is the constitution of the universe, that man cannot know

himself without knowing God, and cannot know God without knowing himself. And

as, moreover, only through the knowledge of the one can the knowledge of the

other be attained, so the knowledge of the one implies and involves that of the

other. For, as the Mystic knows, there is but one substance alike of man and of

God.

4. This substance, we repeat, is not Matter; and a science which recognizes

Matter only, so far from ministering towards the desired comprehension of

ourselves, is the deadly foe of such comprehension. For, as Matter is, in the

sense already described, the antithesis of Spirit, so is Materialism the

antithesis of the system under exposition, namely, of Mysticism, or, as we

propose to call it, Spiritualism. And here it must be understood that we use

this latter term, not in its modern, debased and limited sense, but in its

ancient proper purity and plenitude, that wherein it signifies the science, not

of spirits merely, but of Spirit, that is, of God, and therein of all Being.

Thus adopting and rehabilitating the term Spiritualism, we define as follows: –

first, the system we have recovered and seek to establish; and, next the system

we condemn and seek to destroy.

5. Dealing with both substance and phenomena, Spirit and Matter, the eternal and

the temporal, the universal and the individual; constituting respecting

existence a complete system of positive doctrine beyond which neither mind nor

heart can aspire; providing a rule of knowledge, of understanding, of faith, and

of conduct; derived from God’s own Self; transmitted and declared by the

loftiest intelligences in the worlds human and celestial; and in every respect

confirmed by the reason, the intuition, and the experience of the earth’s

representative men, its sages, saints, seers, prophets, redeemers, and Christs,

and by none in any respect confuted; – the system comprised under the term

Spiritualism is not only at once a science, a philosophy, a morality, and a

religion, but is the science, the philosophy, the morality, and the religion of

which all others are, either by aspiration or by degeneration, limitations

merely. And according to the degree of its acceptance by man, it ministers to

his perfection and satisfaction here and hereafter.

6. But its antithesis: – Springing from the bottomless pit of man’s lower

nature; having for its criterion, not the conclusions of the mind or the

experiences of the soul, but only the sensations of the body; and being,

therefore, not a science, nor a philosophy, nor a morality, nor a religion, but

the opposite of each and all of these, – the system comprised under the term

Materialism is not a limitation of Spiritualism, but is the negation of it, and

is to it what darkness is to light, nonentity to existence, the “devil” to God.

And in proportion to the degree of its acceptance by man, it ministers to his

deterioration and destruction here and hereafter.

7. Between the two extremes thus presented, having liberty to choose, and power

to determine his own destination, man, according to mystical doctrine, is

placed, in pursuance of the Divine Idea of which creation is the manifestation.

And whereas, implying the culture of the substantial, Spiritualism, as we use

the term, represents Reality; and in implying the culture of the phenomenal

only, Materialism represents Illusion, the choice between them is the choice

between the Perfection and the Negation of Being.

8. But whatever the quarrel of the Spiritualist with Materialism for its

exclusive recognition of Matter, and consequent idolatry of form and appearance,

with Matter itself he has no quarrel. For, although, by reason of its

limitations, the cause of evil, Matter is not in itself evil. On the contrary,

it comes forth from God, and consists of that whereof God’s Self consists,

namely, Spirit. It is Spirit, by the force of Divine will subjected to

conditions and limitations, and made exteriorly cognizable.

9. Matter is thus a manifestation of that which in its original condition is

unmanifest, namely, Spirit. And Spirit does not become evil by becoming

manifest. Evil is the result of the limitation of Spirit by Matter. For Spirit

is God, and God is good. Wherefore, in being the limitation of God, Matter is

the limitation of good. Such limitation is essential to creation. For without a

projection of Divine Substance, that is, of God’s Self, into conditions and

limitations, – of Being, which is absolute, into Existence, which is relative, –

God would remain inoperative, solitary, unmanifest, and consequently unknown,

unhonored and unloved, with all God’s power and goodness potential merely and

unexercised. For aught else to exist that God, there must be that which is by

limitation, inferior to God. And for this to exist in plenitude corresponding to

God’s infinitude, it must involve the idea of the opposite and negation of God.

This is to say: – Creation, to be worthy of God, must involve the idea of a

No-God. God’s absolute plenitude in respect of all the qualities and properties

which constitute Being, must be contrasted by that utter deprivation of all such

properties and qualities, which constitutes Not-Being. Between no narrower

extremes can a Divine creation be contained. By no lesser contrast can God be

fully manifested. The darkness of God’s shadow must correspond in intensity with

the brightness of God’s light. And only through the full the knowledge of the

one, can the other be duly apprehended and appreciated. He only can thoroughly

appreciate good, who has ample knowledge of evil. It is a profound truth, that

“the greater the sinner, the greater the saint.” That exquisite epitome of the

Soul’s history, the parable of the Prodigal Son, is based upon the same text.

Only they who have gone out from God, returning, know God. At once consequence

and cause of the going out from God, Matter is an indispensable minister to

Creation, without which and its limitations Creation were not.

10. But mere creation does not represent the totality of the Divine purpose. And

a creation restricted to the actualities of Matter would be the reverse of a

boon to itself or a credit to God. For by a creation thus limited, Deity would

have shown Itself to be that only which the Materialist imagines It, namely,

Force. Whereas “God is Love.” And Love is that, not which merely creates and

after brief caress repudiates and discards; but which sustains, redeems,

perfects, and perpetuates. And to these ends Matter ministers indispensably, and

therein contributes towards that second creation which is the supplement and

complement of the first. This second creation is called Redemption, and in it

the Creator finds His recognition and glorification, and man his perfection and

perpetuation. For Redemption is the full compensation, both to God and to the

universe, for all that is undergone and suffered by and trough Creation. And it

is brought about by the return from Matter of Spirit, to its original condition

of purity, but individualized and enriched by the results of all that has been

gained through the processes to which it has been subjected; – results which,

but for Matter, could not have been. Matter is thus indispensable to the

processes both of creation and of perfection. For that through which we are made

perfect is experience, or suffering; and we are only really alive and exist in

so far as we have felt. Now, of this divine and indispensable ministry of

experience, Matter is the agent.

11. Such being for the Spiritualist, who also is Mystic and not Phenomenalist

merely, the origin, nature, and final cause of Matter, he has with it no ground

of quarrel. But recognizing it as intended, not to conceal but to reveal God,

and to minister to man’s creation in the image of God, he regards the material

universe as a divine revelation, and seeks, by humble, reverent, and loving

analysis of it, to learn both it and God, and thus to make it minister to his

own perfection. “Imitation,” it has been said, and truly, “is the sincerest

flattery.” And man best honours God when he seeks to be like God. In this

pursuit it is that, following his intuition of Spirit, he ascends from the

exterior sphere of Matter and appearance, – that sphere which, as the outermost

of man’s system, constitutes the borderland between him and negation, and is

therefore next neighbour, to that which, mystically, is called the devil, – to

the interior sphere of Spirit and Reality, where God subsists in His plenitude.

And so, from Nature’s Seeming he attains to the cognition at once of God’s and

his own Being.

12. The system by the knowledge and observance of which these supreme ends are

attained, and which is now for the first time in the world’s history openly

disclosed, has constituted the hidden basis of all the world’s divine

revelations and religions. For from the beginning there has been one divine

Revelation, constantly re-revealed in whole or in part, and representing the

actual eternal nature of existence; and this in such measure as to enable those

who receive it to make of their own existence the highest and best that can

possibly be imagined or desired. Known by various names, delivered at various

places and periods, and finding expression under various symbols, this

revelation has constituted a Gospel of Salvation for all who have accepted it,

enabling them to escape the limitations of Matter and return to the condition of

pure Spirit, and therein to attain immunity, not merely, as is ordinarily

desired, from the consequences of sin, but from the liability to sin. And, as

history shows, wherever it has succeeded in obtaining full manifestation,

Materialism, with all its foul brood, has fled discomfited, like Python, the

mighty Serpent of Darkness, before the darts of Phoebus, to make its dwelling in

the caverns and secret places of earth.

PART II

13. COMING, then, to the proper subject of this Lecture, we will now treat of

the Soul, universal and individual, commencing with the latter.

The soul, or permanent element in man, is first engendered in the lowest forms

of organic life, from which it works upwards, through plants and animals, to

man. Its earliest manifestation is in the ethereal or fluidic material called

the astral body; and it is not something added to that body, but is generated in

it by the polarization of the elements. Once generated, it enters into and

passes through many bodies, and continues to do so until finally perfected or

finally dissipated and lost. The process of its generation is gradual. The

magnetic forces of innumerable elements are directed and focused to one center;

and streams of electric power pass along all their convergent poles to that

center, until they create there a fire, a kind of crystallization of magnetic

force. This is the Soul, the sacred fire of the hearth, called by the Greeks

Hestia, or Vesta, which must be kept burning continually. The astral and fluidic

body, its immediate matrix, – called also the perisoul, – and the material or

fixed body put forth by this, may fall away and disappear; but the soul, once

begotten and made an individual, is immortal, until its own perverse will

extinguishes it. For the fire of the soul must be kept alive by the Divine

Breath, if it is to endure for ever. It must converge, not diverge. If it

diverge, it will be dissipated. The end of progress is unity; the end of

degradation is division. The soul, therefore, which ascends, tends more and more

to union with and absorption into the Divine.

14. The clearest understanding may be obtained of the soul by defining it as the

Divine Idea. Before anything can exist outwardly and materially, the idea of it

must subsist in the Divine Mind. The soul, therefore, may be understood to be

divine and everlasting in its nature. But it does not act directly upon Matter.

It is put forth by the Divine Mind; but the body is put forth by the astral, or

“fiery”, body. As Spirit, on the celestial plane, is the parent of the soul, so

Fire, on the material plane, begets the body. The plane on which the celestial

and creatures touch each other, is the astral plane.

15. The soul, being in its nature eternal, passes from one form to another

until, in its highest stage, it polarizes sufficiently to receive the spirit. It

is in all organized things. Nothing of an organic nature exists without a soul.

It is the individual, and perishes finally if uninformed of the spirit.

16. This becomes readily intelligible if we conceive of God as of a vast

spiritual body constituted of many individual elements, all having but one will

and therefore being one. This condition of oneness with the Divine Will and

Being, constitutes what, in Hindu mysticism, is called the celestial Nirvana.

But though becoming pure Spirit, or God, the individual retains his

individuality. So that, instead of all being finally merged in the One, the One

becomes Many. Thus does God become millions. “God is multitudes, and nations,

and kingdoms, and tongues; and the voice of God is as the sound of many waters.”

17. The Celestial Substance is continually individualizing Itself, that It may

build Itself up into One perfect Individual. Thus is the Circle of Life

accomplished, and thus its ends meet the one with the other. But the degraded

soul, on the other hand, must be conceived of as dividing more and more, until,

at length, it is scattered into many, and ceases to be as an individual,

becoming, as it were, split, and broken up, and dispersed into many pieces. This

is the Nirvana of annihilation. (See Appendices, No. IV.)

18. The Planet must not be looked upon as something apart from its offspring.

It, also, is a Person, fourfold in nature, and having four orders of offspring,

of which orders man alone comprises the whole. Of its offspring some lie in the

astral region only, and are but twofold; some in the watery region, and are

threefold; and some in the human region, who are fourfold. The metallic and

gaseous envelope of the planet, are its body and perisoul. The organic region

comprises its soul; and the human region its spirit, or divine part. When it was

but metallic it had no individualized soul. When it was but organic it had no

divine spirit. But when man was made in the image of God, then was its spirit

breathed into its soul. In the metallic region soul is diffused and unpolarized;

and the metals, therefore, are not individual; and not being individual, their

transmutation does not involve transmigration. But the plants and animals are

individual, and their essential element transmigrates and progresses. And man

has also a divine spirit; and so long as he is man – that is truly human – he

cannot re-descend into the body of an animal or any creature in the sphere

beneath him, since that would be an indignity to the spirit. But if he lose his

spirit, and become again animal, he may descend, and – disintegrating – become

altogether gross and horrible. This is the end of persistently evil men. For God

is not the God of creeping things; but Impurity – personified by the Hebrews as

Baalzebub – is their god. And there were none of this in the Age of Gold,

neither shall there be any when the earth is fully purged. Man’s own wickedness

is the creator of his evil beasts. (Comp. Bhagavat-Gita, 1. xvi.)

19. The soul is not astral fluid, but is manifest by astral fluid. For the soul

itself is, like the idea, invisible and intangible. This may be best seen by

following out the genesis of any particular action. For instance, the stroke of

the pen on paper is the phenomenon, that is, the outer body. The action which

produces the stroke is the astral body; and, though physical, it is not a thing,

but a transition or medium between the result and its cause, – between, that is,

the stroke and the idea. The idea, manifested in the act, is not physical, but

mental, and is the soul of the act. But even this is not the first cause. For

the idea is put forth by the will, and this is the spirit. Thus, we will an

idea, as God wills the Macrocosm. The potential body, its immediate result, is

the astral body; and the phenomenal body, or ultimate form, is the effect of

motion and heat. If we could arrest motion, we should have as the result, fire.

But fire itself also is material, since, like the earth or body, it is visible

to the outer sense. It has, however, many degrees of subtlety. The astral, or

odic, substance, therefore, is not the soul itself, but is the medium or

manifestor of the soul, as the act is of the idea.

20. To pursue this explanation a little further. The act is a condition of the

idea, in the same way as fire, or incandescence, is the condition of any given

object. Fire is, then, the representative of that transitional medium termed the

Astral body; as Water – the result of the combined interaction of Wisdom the

Mother, or Oxygen, and Justice the Father, or Hydrogen – is of the Soul. Air,

which is produced by the mixture – not combination – of  Wisdom and Force

(Azoth), represents the Spirit – One in operation, but ever Twain in

constitution. Earth is not, properly speaking, an element at all. She is the

result of the Water and the Air, fused and crystallized by the action of the

Fire; and her rocks and strata are either aqueous or igneous. Fire, the real

maker of the body, is, as we have seen, a mode and condition, and not a true

element. The only real, true, and permanent elements, therefore, are Air and

Water, which are, respectively, as Spirit and Soul, Will and Idea, Father and

Mother. And out of this are made all the elements of earth by the aid of the

condition of Matter, which is, interchangeably, Heat and Motion. Wisdom,

Justice, and Force, or Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Azote, are the three out of which

the two true elements are produced.

21. Material body, astral fluid or sideral body, soul, and spirit, all these are

one in their essence. And the first three are differentialities of polarization.

The fourth is God’s Self. When the Gods – the Elohim or Powers of the Hebrews –

put forth the world, they put forth substance with its three potentialities, but

all in the condition of “odic” light. This substantial light is called sometimes

the sideral or astral body, sometimes the perisoul, and this because it is both.

It is that which makes, and that which becomes. It is fire, or the anima bruta

(as distinguished from the Divine), out of and by means of which body and soul

are generated. It is the fiery manifestation of the soul, the magnetic factor of

the body. It is space, it is substance, it is foundation; so that from it

proceed the gases and the minerals, which are unindividualized, and from it also

the organic world which is individualized. But man it could not make; for man is

fourfold and of the divine ether, the province assigned by the Greeks to Zeus,

the father of the Gods and men.

22. The outer envelope of the macrocosm and the microcosm alike, the Earth or

body, is thus in reality not elemental at all, but is a compound of the other

three elements. Its fertility is due to the water, and its transmutory or

chemical power to the fire. The water corresponds to the soul, – the “best

principle” of Pindar, – while fire is to the body what spirit is to the soul. As

the soul is without divinity and life until vivified by the spirit, so the body

– earth or Matter – is without physical life in the absence of fire. No Matter

is really dead Matter, for the fire element is in all Matter. But Matter would

be dead, would cease, that is, to exist as Matter, if motion were suspended,

which is, if there were no fire. For, as wherever there is motion there is heat,

and consequently fire; and motion is the condition of Matter, so without fire

would be no Matter. In other words, Matter is a mode of life.

PART III

23. WE come now to the history and progress of the soul. Souls, we have said,

work upwards from plants and animals to man. In man they attain their perfection

and the power to dispense altogether with material bodies. Their ability to do

this is the cause and consequence of their perfection. And it is the attainment

of this that is the object of the culture of the soul – the object, that is, of

religion. Spirit alone is good, is God. Matter is that whereby spirit is

limited, and is, therein, the cause of evil; for evil is the limitation of good.

Wherefore to escape from Matter and its limitations, and return to the condition

of spirit, is to be superior to the liability to evil.

24. Formerly the way of escape for human souls was more open than now, and the

path clearer. Because, although ignorance of intellectual things abounded,

specially among the poorer folk, yet the knowledge of divine things, and the

light of faith, were stronger and purer. The anima bruta, or earthly mind, was

less strongly defined and fixed, so that the anima divina, or heavenly mind,

subsisted in more open conditions. Wherefore the souls of those ages of the

world, not being enchained to earth as they now are, were enabled to pass more

quickly through their avatars; and but few incarnations sufficed where now many

are necessary. For in these days the mind’s ignorance is weighted by

materialism, instead of being lightened by faith; and the soul is sunk to earth

by love of the body, by atheism, and by excessive care for the things of sense.

And being crushed thereby, it lingers long in the atmosphere of earth, seeking

many fresh lodgements, and so multiplies bodies, the circumstances of each of

which are influenced by the use made of the previous one.

25. For every man makes his own fate, and nothing is truer than that character

is Destiny. It is by their own hands that the lines of some are cast in pleasant

places, of some in vicious, and of some in virtuous ones, so that there is

nothing arbitrary or unjust. But in what manner so ever a soul conduct itself in

one incarnation, by that conduct, by that order of thought and habit, it builds

for itself its destiny in a future incarnation. For the soul is enchained by

these prenatal influences, which irresistibly force it into a new nativity at

the time of such conjunction of planets and signs as oblige it into certain

courses and incline it strongly thereto. But if the soul oppose itself to these

influences and adopt some other course, – as it well may to its own real

advantage, – it brings itself under a “curse” for such period as the planets and

ruling signs of that incarnation have power. But though this mean is misfortune

in a worldly sense, it is true fortune for the soul in a spiritual sense. For

the soul is therein striving to atone and make restitution for the evil done in

its own past; and thus striving, it advances towards higher and happier

conditions. Wherefore man is, strictly, his own creator, in that he makes

himself and his conditions, according to the tendencies he encourages. The

process of such reformation, however, may be a long one. For, tendencies

encouraged for ages cannot be cured in a single lifetime, but may require ages

for their cure.

And herein is a reflection to make us as patient towards the faults of others,

as we ought to be impatient of our own faults.

26. The doctrine of the soul is embodied in the parable of the Talents. Into the

soul of the individual is breathed the Spirit of God, divine, pure, and without

blemish. It is God. And the individual has, in his earth-life, to nourish that

Spirit and feed it as a flame with oil. When we put oil into a lamp, the essence

 

passes into and becomes flame. So is it with the soul of him who nourishes the

Spirit. It grows gradually pure and becomes Spirit. By this spirit the body is

enlightened as a lamp by the flame within it. Now, the flame is not the oil, for

the oil may be there without the light; yet the flame cannot be there without

the oil. The body, then, is the lamp-case into which the oil is poured; and

this, the oil, is the soul, a fine and combustible fluid; and the flame is the

Divine Spirit, which is not born of the oil, but is communicated by God from

within. We may quench this Spirit utterly, and thenceforward we shall have no

immortality; but when the lamp-case breaks, the oil will be spilt on the earth,

and a few fumes will for a time arise from it, and then it will expend itself,

leaving at last no trace. Thus, as in the parable of the Talents, where God has

given five talents, man pays back ten; or he pays back nothing, and perishes.

27. Some oils are finer and more combustible than others. The finest is that of

the soul of the poet; and in such a medium the flame of God’s Spirit burns more

clearly and powerfully, and brightly, so that sometimes mortal eyes can hardly

endure its lustre. Of such an one the soul is filled with holy rapture. He sees

as no other man sees; and the atmosphere about him is enkindled. His soul

becomes transmuted into flame; and when the lamp of his body is shattered, his

flame mounts and soars, and is united to the Divine Fire. (See Appendices, No.

IX)

PART IV

28. WE come to treat of that from which the soul of the individual proceeds, and

of which it consists. For, as already observed, it is upon the nature of this

that our potentialities depend. Let us, then, for awhile, ignoring the universe

of things, cast our minds backward to the point wherein, prior to existence,

substance necessarily, subsists alone and undifferentiated, and pure Being is

all.

29. That which subsists before the beginning of things, is necessarily the

potentiality of things. This necessarily is homogeneous. As the Substance of

things, and pervaded by Life, it is Living Substance; and being homogeneous, it

is One. But, consisting of Life and Substance, it is Twain. Constituting the

life and substance of Persons, it is necessarily personal; and being

self-subsistent, infinite, eternal, and personal, it is God; and God is Twain in

One. By virtue of the potency of this duality, God subsists and operates. And

every monad of God’s substance possesses the potency of Twain. Wherever are Life

and Substance, there is God. Wherever God is, there is Being; and wherever Being

is, there is God; for God is Being. The universe is Existence, that is, God

manifested. Prior to the universe, God subsisted unmanifest. Subsistence and

Existence, these are the two terms which denote respectively God in God’s Self,

and God in Creation.

30. Before the beginning of things, the great and invisible God alone subsisted.

There was no motion, nor darkness, nor space, nor matter. There was no other

then God, the One, the Uncreate, the Self-subsistent, Who subsisted as invisible

Light.

31. God is Spirit, God is Life, God is Mind, God is the Subject and Object of

mind: at once the thought, the thinker, and that which is thought of. God is

positive and personal Being; the potential Essence of all that is or can be; the

one and only Self; that alone in the universe which has the right to say, “I”.

Wherever a Presence is, there is God; and where God is not, is no Being.

 

32. In God subsist, in absolute plenitude and perfect equilibrium, all qualities

and properties which, opposed to and yet corresponding with each other,

constitute the elements masculine and feminine of existence. God is perfect

will, and perfect love, perfect knowledge and perfect wisdom, perfect

intelligence and perfect sympathy, perfect justice and perfect mercy, perfect

power and perfect goodness. And from God, as original and abstract humanity,

proceeds the derived and concrete humanity which, when perfected, manifests God.

God is light, truth, order, harmony, reason; and God’s works are illumination,

knowledge, understanding, love, and sanity. And inasmuch as anything is

absolute, strong, perfect, true, inasmuch it resembles God and is God. Perfect

and complete from eternity, God is beyond possibility of change or development.

Development pertains only to the manifestation of God in creation. As God is

one, so is God’s method one, and without variation or shadow of turning. God

works from within outwards; for God’s kingdom is within, being interior,

invisible, mystic, spiritual. And God’s Spirits, Other Spirits of the Invisible

Light, are Seven: – the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of understanding, the

spirit of counsel, the spirit of power, the spirit of knowledge, the spirit of

righteousness, and the spirit of divine awfulness. These are the Powers, or

Elohim, of God. They are coequal and co-eternal. Each has in itself the nature

of the whole. Each is a perfect entity. Of them all is the whole of God’s

substance pervaded. And in their individual manifestations they are the Gods.

33. In God, before the beginning, all things visible and invisible were

potential; and of God’s fullness have we all received. Before the beginning

negation was not. There was no other than God.

34. As Living Substance, God is One. As Life and Substance, God is Twain. HE is

the Life, and SHE is the Substance. And to speak of HER, is to speak of Woman in

her supremest mode. She is not “Nature;” Nature is the manifestation of the

qualities and properties with which, under suffusion of the Life and Spirits of

God, Substance is endowed. She is not matter; but is the potential essence of

Matter. She is not Space; but is the within of space, its fourth and original

dimension, that from which all proceed, the containing element of Deity, and of

which space is the manifestation. As original Substance, the substance of all

others substances, She underlies that whereof all things are made; and, like

life and mind, is interior, mystical, spiritual, and discernible only when

manifested in operation. In the Unmanifest, She is the Great Deep, or Ocean, of

Infinitude, the Principium or Arche, the heavenly Sophia, or Wisdom, Who

encircles and embraces all things; of Whom are dimension and form and

appearance; Whose veil is the astral fluid, and Who is, Herself, the substance

of all souls.

35. On the plane of manifestation, as the Soul macrocosmic and microcosmic, She

appears as the Daughter, Mother, and Spouse of God. Exhibiting in a perfect

Humanity the fullness of the life she has received of God, she is mystically

styled the Blessed Virgin Mary, and in token of her Divine Motherhood and

heavenly derivation and attributes, is represented as clad in celestial azure,

and bearing in Her arms the infant Man, in whom, regenerate and reborn of Her

own immaculate substance, the universe is redeemed. In Her subsist inherently

all the feminine qualities of the Godhead. As Venus, the brightest of the mystic

Seven who represent the Elohim of God, She corresponds to the third, the spirit

of counsel, in that counsel is wisdom, and love and wisdom are one. Thus, in

mystical art She is portrayed as Aphrodite the Sea-Queen, and Mary the Star of

the Sea, and as the soul from whose pure intuition of God proceeds the perfected

man. Correspondingly, in mystical science She appears as Sodium, or Salt, whose

ray in the spectrum, as the place of Venus among the planets, is the third,

whose light is the brightest, and whose colour is the yellow. Among the metals,

copper is dedicated to Venus. For of copper the crystals are the deep sea-blue.

And, inasmuch as She, as love, is the enlightener, and as salt the purifier, and

the pure in heart see God, so is its sulphate a balm for ailing eyes. As Pallas

or Minerva, She is “Our Lady of Victories,” adversary of demons and dragons,

wearing the panoply of heaven, and the insignia of wisdom and righteous war. As

Isis or Artemis, She is pre-eminently the Initiator, the Virgin clothed in

white, standing on the Moon, and ruling the waters.

36. Also is She “Mother of Sorrows,” whose bitterness pervades all things below;

and only by her salting with affliction, purification by trial, and purchase of

wisdom by dear-bought experience, is the perfection that is of Her attained.

Nevertheless She is also “Mother of Joys,” since Her light is gilded by the

solar rays; and of Her pain and travail as the soul in the individual, comes the

regeneration of Her children. And She is for them no more a sea of bitterness

when once their warfare with evil has been accomplished: for then is She “our

Lady, Glory of the Church triumphant.” Thus is the Microcosm.

37. In the Macrocosm She is that Beginning or Wisdom wherein God makes the

heavens and the earth; the substantial waters upon whose face He, the Energizing

Will, moves at every fresh act of creation, and the ark or womb from which all

creatures proceed. And it is through the “gathering together”, or coagulation,

of Her “waters” that the “dry land” of the earth or body, which is Matter,

appears. For she is that spiritual substance which, polarizing interiorly, is –

in the innermost – God; and coagulating exteriorly, becomes – in the outermost –

Matter. And She, again, it is, who as the soul of humanity, regaining full

intuition of God, overwhelms the earth with a flood of Her waters, destroying

the evil and renewing the good, and bearing unharmed on Her bosom the elect few

who have suffered Her to build them up in the true image of God. Thus to these

is She “Mother of the Living.”

38. And as, on plane physical, man is not Man – but only Boy, rude, froward, and

solicitous only to exert and exhibit his strength – until the time comes for him

to recognize, appreciate, and appropriate Her as the woman; so on the plane

spiritual, man is not Man – but only Materialist, having all the deficiencies,

intellectual and moral, the term implies – until the time comes for him to

recognize, appreciate, and appropriate Her as the Soul, and, counting Her as his

better half, to renounce his own exclusively centrifugal impulsions, and yield

to Her centripetal attractions. Doing this with all his heart, he finds that She

makes him, in the highest sense, Man. For, adding to his intellect Her

intuition, She endows him with that true manhood, the manhood of Mind. Thus, by

Her aid obtaining cognition of substance, and from the phenomenal fact ascending

to the essential idea, he weds understanding to knowledge, and attains to

certitude of truth, completing thereby the system of his thought.

39. Rejecting, as this age has done, the soul and her intuition, man excludes

from the system of his humanity the very idea of the woman, and renounces his

proper manhood. An Esau, he sells, and for a mess of pottage, his birthright,

the faculty of intellectual comprehension. Cut off by his own act from the

intuition of spirit, he takes Matter for Substance; and sharing the limitations

of Matter, loses the capacity for knowledge. Calling the creature thus

self-mutilated, Man, the age declares by the unanimous voice of its exponents,

that Man has no instrument of knowledge, and can know nothing with certainty,

excepting – for it is not consistent even in this – that he can know nothing. Of

this the age is quite sure, and accordingly – complacent in its discovery –

styles itself Agnostic. And, as if expressly to demonstrate the completeness of

its deprivation in respect to all that goes to the making of Man, it has

recourse to devices the most nefarious and inhuman on the pretext of thereby

obtaining knowledge.

40. Whereas, had but the soul received the recognition and honour her due, no

pretext had remained for the abominations of a science become wholly

materialistic. For, as the substance and framer of all things, she necessarily

is competent for the interpretation of all things. All that she requires of man,

is that she be duly tended and heeded. No summit then will be too lofty of

goodness or truth, for man to reach by her aid. For, recognized in her plenitude

she reveals herself in her plenitude; and her fullness is the fullness of God.

PART V

41. The wise of old, who, exalting the Woman in themselves, attained to full

intuition of God, failed not to make recognition of Her in the symbols whereby

they denoted Deity. Hence the significance of the combination, universal from

the first, of the symbols I, O, the unit and the cipher, in the names

designative of Deity. For, as the Line of force, and the Circle of comprehension

and multiplication, these two represent at once Energy and Space, Will and Love,

Life and Substance, Father and Mother. And though two, they are one, inasmuch as

the circle is but the line turning round and following upon itself, instead of

continuing into the abyss to expend its force in vain. Thus Love is

self-completion by the union of corresponding opposites in the same substance,

and Sex has its origin in the very nature of Deity. The principle of duality is

for the Kabbalists – the heirs and interpreters of Hebrew transcendentalism –

the true God of Hosts. Hence the universal use of its emblems religious worship,

wherein nations gave the preference to the one or to the other, according to

their own characteristics.

42. While these symbols conjoined find expression in terms Jehovah or Yahveh,

Jove, Jao, and numerous similar appellations of Deity, the names Zeus, Dyaus,

Theos, and Deus represent but the forceful and masculine element in the feminine

azure sphere of the sky, the electric flash from the bosom of the heavens. That

name of Deity which, occurring in the Old Testament, is translated the Almighty,

namely, El Shaddai, signifies the Breasted God, and is used when the mode of the

Divine nature implied, is of a feminine character. The arbitrary and harsh

aspect under which Jehovah is chiefly presented in the Hebrew Scriptures, is due

not to any lack of the feminine element either in His name or in His nature, or

to any failure on the part of the inspired leaders of Israel to recognize this

quality; but to the rudimentary condition of the people at large, and their

consequent amenability to a delineation of the sterner side only of the Divine

character. It is according to the Divine order that this, the masculine element

of existence, should be the first to find exercise. In the initiation of any

system, the centrifugal, or repellant mode of force must precede the centripetal

or attractive mode; since only when the former has accomplished its part, is

there opportunity for the exercise of the latter. True, the Love Who prompts to

creation is present from the beginning; but She reserves the manifestation of

Herself until the subject of Her creative impulsion is able to bear its part in

the recognition of Her. First Will, therefore, then Love; first Projection, then

Recall; first Expansion, then Contraction; first Centrifugal, then Centripetal;

first Motor, then Sensory; first Intellectual, then Intuitional; first Sensible,

then Spiritual; in short, first Man and then Woman, – such invariably is the

order by which the Universal Heart of existence manifests its essential dualism

of nature and operation. And in the sequence set forth in the Bible – the

sequence, of Law and Gospel, of Old Testament and New – the same rule prevails.

To the masculine function is accorded precedence in point of time; to the

feminine, in point of dignity. And it is thus that the manifestation of the

Divine will and power in Creation is followed by the manifestation of the Divine

love and wisdom in Redemption, and that the agent of this last is always the

“woman.” She it is who, by Her intuition of God, bruises the head of the Serpent

of Matter, and Her sons they are who get the victory over him.

43. Even where not yet recognized by men in general, there were always some by

whom the true character of Deity in this respect could be discerned. And to

these are due all those utterances in which the mystical Scriptures express the

justice, mercy, long-suffering, and other qualities of the Divine nature, which,

in being moral and of the soul, are feminine, and when manifested of the Spirit

as persons, take form, not as “Gods”, but “Goddesses.” They to whom this truth

was known were prophets: and they spoke, not of that which appertains to any one

period, but of that which is eternal, though finding expression more or less

palpable at various periods. And that thereby they knew so much, was not the

outer sense and reason, but the inner perception and recollection – the

knowledge, that is, which the soul of the individual has of her own larger self,

the Soul of the Universal. For only Soul can read Soul. And only he is a prophet

who has acquired the knowledge of his own soul. And that which above all else

the Soul tells him, is that God is, first and foremost, Love; and that, inasmuch

as God is the Substance of humanity, whatever subsists in the Divine nature

must, in due course, first in the individual and next in the race, find full

expression and recognition.

44. If it be asked whether God can indeed find such expression in man, and, if

so, how so great a marvel comes about, we reply that it is precisely the purpose

of these lectures to afford demonstration on both points. For the object of the

system under exposition is this, and no more, no less. For that object is – as

was the object of all sacred mysteries, whether of our Bible or other – to

enable man anew so to develop the Soul, or Essential Woman, within him, as to

become, through Her, a perfect reflection of the universal Soul, and made,

therefore, in what, mystically, is called the image of God.

45. An illustration will conduce to the comprehension of this. We are, let us

suppose, in a meadow covered with grass and flowers. It is early morning, and

everything is bespangled with dew. And in each dewdrop is everything reflected

from the sun itself down to the minutest object. All reflect God. All is in

every drew-drop. And God is in each individual according to his capacity for

reflecting God. Each in his degree reflects God’s image. And the capacity of

each, and the degree of each, depend upon the development and purity of his

soul. The soul that fully reflects the sun, becomes itself a sun, the brightness

of the Divine glory and the express image of the Divine persons.

46. Such, in all mystical Scriptures, has ever been the mode in which perfected

souls have been regarded. For, in being the redeeming element in man, that

whereby he escapes from the dominion of spiritual darkness and death, – from the

limitations, that is, of an existence merely material,– the soul is as a

spiritual sun, corresponding in all things with the solar orb. Wherefore all

they who, by virtue of their constituting for men a full manifestation of the

powers of the soul, have been to them as a redeeming sun, – have been designated

Sun gods., and invested with careers corresponding to the apparent annual course

of the sun. Between the phenomena of this course and the actual history of the

perfected soul is an exact correspondence requiring for its recognition but due

knowledge of both. And it is because the soul’s history is one, and this a

history corresponding with the sun’s, that all those who have earned of their

fellows the supreme title of Saviour of men, have been invested with it, and

represented as having exhibited the same phenomena in their own lives. Thus the

history ascribed alike to Osiris, Zoroaster, Krishna, Mithras, Pythagoras,

Buddha, and Jesus, has not, as sciolists vainly imagine, been plagiarized in one

case from another, or borrowed from some common source in itself unreal; but it

has been lived, spiritually, by the men themselves indicated by those names.

And, being the history of the soul of the Man Regenerate, it corresponds to that

of the sun, – the vitalizing center of the physical system, – and has

accordingly been described in terms derived from the solar phenomena as

indicated in the zodiacal planisphere. Thus the soul’s history is written in the

stars; and the heavens are her chroniclers, and tell the glory at once of her

and of God. A Bible is always a hieroglyph of the soul. And the Zodiac is simply

the first and most stupendous of Bibles, – a Bible which, like all other Bibles,

was written by men who, attaining to the knowledge of their own souls, to that

of all souls, and of God, Who is the Life and Substance of souls.

47. And these were men who followed steadfastly that Perfect Way, which is in

the power of each, according to his degree, to follow, until, by the development

of their own natural potentialities, they attained to that which, mystically, is

called the Finding of Christ. And this is the perfection which, in that it is

God, is its own exceeding great reward. For the “gift of God is eternal life.”

As God is One, so is the Soul one; and these are One also both in nature and

method. All that is in God as universal subsists also in God as individual.

Wherefore God is nothing that man is not. And what man is, that God is likewise.

God withholds nothing of God from man. For “God is love,” and “love hath nothing

of her own.”

48. This is the doctrine of the Soul, mystically called the Woman. It is a

doctrine which, by showing men that of which they are made, and therefore that

which they have it in them to be, makes them, when they receive it, heartily

ashamed of being what, for the most part, they are. (See Appendices, No. I, Part

I.)


l-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

LECTURE THE THIRD

THE VARIOUS ORDERS OF SPIRITS; AND HOW TO DISCERN THEM.

PART I

01. WE have spoken of the Soul and of Spirit. We come now to speak of Spirits;

for the understanding of these also is necessary to a true doctrine concerning

Existence. But though speaking especially of Spirits, it will be necessary to

refer also to Souls; for though Spirits, properly so called, have not souls,

Souls have spirits. In either case, however, we shall treat mainly of the

Unembodied, or the Disembodied. And as the region or sphere which is immediately

contiguous to the Material, and which we ourselves enter upon quitting the

Material, is the Astral, it is this and its occupants, which will first engage

our attention.

02. To understand fully the place and value of this sphere, it is necessary to

have in the mind a clear conception of the places and values of all the spheres

which are comprised in and which constitute that manifestation of Being which is

termed Existence. To this end we will commence with the following succinct

recapitulation .The Spirit and Soul, which are original life and substance, are

Divine and uncreated. The astral and material bodies are the “created” that is,

the manifested – part. The astral – which is called also the sideral, the odic,

the magnetic, the fiery – is fluidic, and constitutes the bond between the soul

and the material body. It is the original body being that which makes and that

which becomes. The original, permanent individual consists of soul and spirit;

and when manifested it is by means of the astral or fluidic body, of which the

material or fixed body is the outer manifestation – the manifestation, as it is

called, in ultimates.

03. Every creation, or complete manifested entity, whether it be macrocosmic or

microcosmic, is a compound of two dualisms, which are respectively celestial and

terrestrial, or spiritual and material. The celestial, or kingdom of heaven,

which consists of soul and spirit, is within. And the terrestrial, or kingdom of

this world, which consists of astral body – the seat of the anima bruta – and of

phenomenal body, is without. Of these two dualisms, each is to the other the

Beyond. And between them, saving only where one and the same Divine Will – the

will which has its seat in, and which is, the Spirit – pervades the whole being,

is antagonism. They are respectively the spiritual man and the natural man. But

in the suffusion of the entire personality thus constituted, by one and the same

Divine Will, consists what mystically is termed the At-one-ment, or

reconciliation between man and God, but which is commonly called the Atonement.

04. As the whole is, thus, fourfold, so with the exception of the spirit, are

the parts. The external, material body, whether of planet or of man, is fourfold

in that it is gaseous, mineral, vegetable, animal. The astral body, or perisoul,

is fourfold, being magnetic, purgatorial, limbic, cherubic, – terms presently to

be explained. The soul is fourfold, namely, elemental, instinctive, vital,

rational. And the spirit is threefold, or triune, because there is no external

to spirit. Being threefold, it is the Essence, the Father, the Word; and is

desirous, willing, obedient. And being God, it is one, because God is one. And

thus the magical number, mystically called the number of Perfection and of the

Woman, the number Thirteen, derives its sanctity from the constitution of the

perfected individual.

05. The astral sphere, zone, or circulus, – variously called the perisoul, the

magnetic, sideral, and odic fluid or body, – is the same with the “wheel” of

Ezekiel, of which the four living creatures are the four elemental spirits. It

contains four orders of entities, which are represented by four magnetic circuli

or wheels encircling the earth, and full of lives. The highest and uppermost of

these circuli is that of the elemental spirits or “winged creatures”; the second

is that of the souls; the third is that of the shades; and the fourth and lowest

is that of the magnetic spirits commonly called astrals.

06. These circuli correspond to Air, Water, Earth, and Fire, beginning at the

outer and uppermost and going inwards and downwards. The magnetic emanations, or

astrals, are under the dominion of the Fire. They are not souls, or divine

personalities; they are simply emanations or phantasms, and have no real being.

07. Every event or circumstance which has taken place upon the planet, has an

astral counterpart or picture in the magnetic light; so that, as already said

there are actually ghosts of events as well as of persons. The magnetic

existences of this circle are the shades, or manes, of past times,

circumstances, thoughts, and acts of which the planet has been the scene; and

they can be evoked and conjured. The appearances on such occasions are but

shadows left on the protoplasmic mirror. This order, then, corresponds to that

of Fire and is the fourth and lowest.

08. The next circulus, the third, with its spirits, corresponds to Earth, and

contains the shades, Lares and Penates, of the dead. These are of many different

kinds. Some are mere shades, spiritual corpses, which will soon be absorbed by

the fourth circulus just described and become mere magnetic phantoms. Some are

“ghosts,” or astral souls not containing the divine particle, but representing

merely the “earthly minds” of the departed. These are in Limbo or the “Lower

Eden.” Others are really Souls, and of the celestial order, or anima divina, who

are in Purgatory, being bound to the astral envelope, and unable to quit it.

They are sometimes called “earthbound spirits,” and they often suffer horrible

torments in their prison; not because this circulus is itself a place of

torment, but because to the anima divina the body, whether material or astral,

is a “house of bondage” and chamber of ordeal. The strong wills, love, and

charity of those on earth may relieve these souls and lessen the time of their

purgatorial penance. Of some of them the retention is due ignorance, of others

to sensuality, and of others to crimes of violence, injustice, and cruelty.

09. This sphere is also inhabited by a terrible class, that of the “devils,”

some of whom are of great power and malice. Of these the souls are never set

free; they are in what is called “Hell.” But they are not immortal. For, after a

period corresponding to their personal vitality and the strength of their

rebellious wills, they are consumed, and perish for ever. For a soul may be

utterly gross at last, and deprived of all spirit of the Divine order, and yet

may have so strong a vitality or mortal spirit of its own, that it may last

hundreds of years in low atmospheres. But this occurs only with souls of very

strong will, and generally of indomitable wickedness. The strength of their evil

will, and the determination to be wicked, keep them alive. But, though devils,

they are mortal, and must go out at last. Their end is utter darkness. They

cease to exist. Meanwhile they can be evoked by incantation. But the practice is

of the most dangerous and wicked kind; for the endeavour of these lost spirits

is to ruin every soul to which they have access.

10. In the sense ordinarily understood, there is no personal Devil. That which,

mystically, is called the Devil, is the negation and opposite of God. And

whereas God is I AM, or positive Being, the Devil is NOT. He is not positive,

not self-subsistent, not formulate. God is all these; and the Devil, in being

the opposite of these, is none of them. God, as has been said, is Light, Truth,

Order, Harmony, Reason; and God’s works are illumination, knowledge,

understanding, love, and sanity. The Devil, therefore, is darkness, falsehood,

discord, and ignorance; and his works are confusion, folly, division, hatred,

and delirium. He has no individuality and no being. For he represents the

Not-being. Whatever God is, that the Devil is NOT. Wherever God’s kingdom is

not, the Devil reigns.

11. It is the principle of Not-being which, taking personality in man, becomes

to him the Devil. For by divesting him of his divine qualities, actual or

potential, it makes him in the image of God’s opposite, that is, a devil. And of

such an one the end is destruction, or, as the Scriptures call it, eternal

death. And this of necessity from the nature of the case. For evil has not in

itself the element of self-perpetuation. God alone is Life, or the principle of

eternal generation. And, as Life, God comprises all things necessary to life, to

its production, that is, to its perfection, and to its perpetuation. And God is

Spirit, whereof the antithetical ultimate is Matter. The Devil is that which

gives to Matter the pre-eminence over Spirit. That is, since there is nothing

but God’s creation to be set in opposition to God, the Devil exalts the mere

material of creation in the place of God. Of such preference for Matter over

Spirit, for appearance over reality, for Seeming over Being, the end is the

forfeiture of reality, and therein, of Being. In representing, therefore, the

contest between good and evil, – a contest corresponding to that between light

and darkness, – creation represents the contest between Being and Not-being. To

“give place to the Devil,” is thus, in its ultimate result, to renounce Being.

And, as a free agent, man is able to do this. God, while giving to all the

opportunity and choice, compels no one to remain in Being. God accepts only

willing service, and there is no such thing as compulsory salvation. God – that

is Good, – must be loved and followed for the sake of God and Good, not through

fear of possible penalties, or hope of possible rewards.

12. Now the sign, above all others, whereby to distinguish the Devil, is this:

God is, first and foremost, Love. The Devil, therefore, is, before all else,

Hate. He is to be known, then, first by the limitation, and next by the

negation, of Love.

13. The Devil is not to be confounded with “Satan,” though they are sometimes

spoken of in Scriptures as if they were identical. The truth concerning “Satan”

belongs to those greater mysteries which have always been reserved from general

cognition. (See Appendices, No. XV.)

14. Not withstanding that the Devil is the Nonentity above described, he is the

most potent, and, indeed, sole power of evil. And no one is in so great danger

from him, as he who does not believe in him. The whole function of the Christ is

to oppose, and rescue men from him. And therefore it is written, “For this cause

is Christ manifest, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

15. But, be it remembered, though there is no self-subsistent, positive evil

being, – such as the Devil is ordinarily presented, – but only the negation of

God, – which is to God what darkness is to light, and the outermost void to the

solar system, – there are evil spirits, the souls of bad man on their downward

way to final extinction. And these are wont to associate themselves with persons

in the flesh for whom they have affinity. And they do this partly in order to

gratify their own evil propensities by inciting to wickedness and mischief, and

partly to obtain from them the vitality necessary to prolong their own

existence. For, as their career approaches its end, they become so low in

vitality that a sentence of expulsion from the person in whom they have taken

refuge may involve their immediate extinction, unless they can find other

location – a contingency obviously contemplated in the case of the Gadarene

demoniacs. The ailments, physical or mental, of men are sometimes caused or

aggravated by extraneous malignant entities of this order. And occultists hold

that they even share with the elementals the power of inducing the conditions

under which sudden storms and other elemental disturbances occur. Evil spirits

have no chief, no organization or solidarity; nothing that corresponds to God.

The worse they are; the lower and nearer to extinction. The conditions which

attract them are due to men themselves, and may be result of pre natal

misconduct.

16. The next and second circulus of the planet, – that which corresponds to the

Water, – is the kingdom of the souls which are mystically described as being in

“Brahma’s bosom.” These are the purified who are at rest before seeking

reincarnation. This circulus is not confined to human souls. Therein are all

creatures both great and small, but without “fiery” envelope. Between these and

the kingdom of the earthbound souls in prison to their own astral bodies, a

great gulf is fixed; and they cannot pass from one to the other save on

accomplishing their purgation. “Thou comest not out thence until thou hast paid

the last mite.” The souls in the second circulus, however, though purified, are

still “under the elements.” For purification is not regeneration, though a

necessary step towards it. And not being ready for transmutation into spirit,

they must, sooner or later, seek fresh incarnations. They are, therefore, still

in the sphere of the planet. Whereas the regenerated or transmuted souls have

passed beyond the astral zone altogether and it contains no trace of them. This

second circulus was placed under the dominion of the sea-god Poseidon, because,

first, being protoplasmic and devoid of any limiting principle, water

corresponds to the substance of the Soul. Next, it is the baptismal symbol of

purification from materiality. And, thirdly, it is the source of life and the

contrary of fire. “Let Lazarus dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my

tongue,” cries the soul in the prison of the “fiery” body to the soul in the

zone of the water.

17. To the first and highest circulus belong the spirits of the elements, which

pervade all things, not only of the Macrocosmic planet, but of the Microcosm

man. Of these elementals, the air-spirits preside over the function of

respiration, and the organs which accomplish it. The water-spirits preside over

the humors and secretions of the body, and in particular the blood. The

earth-spirits have for their domain the various tissues of the body. And animal

heat, assimilation, and nutrition are dependent on the fire-spirits.

18. An initiate of the highest grade, on who has power to hush the storm and

still the waves, can, through the same agency, heal the disorders and regenerate

the functions of the body. And he does this by an impulsion of will acting on

the magnetic atmosphere, every particle of which has a spirit capable of

responding to the human will.

19. The common phrase, “Spirits of the dead,” is incorrect. There are only

shades of the dead souls of the dead. But these last are of two kinds, the

earthly, or anima bruta, and the heavenly, or anima divina. The shade, larva, or

spectre – which is the outer element of the ghost – is always dumb. The true

“ghost” consists of the exterior and earthly portion of the soul, that portion

which, being weighted with cares attachments and memories merely mundane, is

detached by the soul and remains in the astral sphere, an existence more or less

definite and personal, and capable of holding, through a Sensitive, converse

with the living. It is, however, but as a cast-off vestment of the soul, and is

incapable of endurance as ghost. The true soul and real person, the anima

divina, parts at death with all those lower affections which would have retained

it near its earthly haunts, and either passes on at once to higher conditions,

attaining its perfection by post mortem evolution, or continues its

peregrinations in a new body. This, the true soul, may, by Divine permission,

and on special occasions, communicate with the living, returning for that

purpose from the purgatorial world; but such an event is of the rarest and most

solemn kind. Reincarnation pertains only to the true soul. The astral soul, or

fluidic envelope, does not again become incarnate; so that they are not in error

who assert that a person is never twice incarnate. That which transmigrates is

the essential germ of the individual, the seat of all his divine potencies. In

some this exists as a mere dim spark, and in others as a luminous sun.

20. Metempsychosis, in its strict sense, consists in the overshadowing of a soul

already incarnate, by one which has completed its transmigrations, and become

freed from Matter and all planetary bonds. This divine overshadowing differs

both in kind and in degree from those astral visitations which are familiar to

so many under the names of “guides,” and “controls,” and which as will presently

be shown, are often not even “ghosts,” but mere astral mirages of the seer or

the invoker. When not of this kind, the control is either of the spirits known

 

as Elementals, or of the shades or larvæ of the recently dead, the Manes, Lares,

and Penates of the Latins. The river Lethe, of which the dead are said to drink

in order to attain oblivion of their past before returning to new earth-bodies,

represents the process of separation between the anima divina and anima bruta,

whereby the former doffs for a time the garment of its memory. Souls may,

according to circumstances, either become reincarnate immediately after such

divestment of their astral part, or their astral part, or proceed to accomplish

their purification in the purgatorial world. (See Appendices, No. II.)

21. It is as penance or expiation that souls re-descend from the human into the

animal form. This return occurs through the forfeiture of the divine-human

spirit, so that the spirit itself does not incur dishonor. True, the penance

involves disgrace; but the disgrace is not in the penance, but in the sin

through which the need for the penance is incurred. The man who sullies his

humanity by cruelty or impurity, is already below the grade of humanity; and the

form which his soul assumes is the mere natural consequence of that degradation.

Form is the expression of qualities. These are dependent upon the condition of

substance, so that the soul takes necessarily its form according to its

condition. And this is dependent upon the will or affections of the individual.

Wherefore it is an error to hold “Nature” responsible for fierce and horrible

creatures. All that “Nature” does, is to enable creatures to take form according

to the image in which they have made themselves by the tendencies they have

voluntarily encouraged. She allows that which is interior to the individual to

manifest itself exteriorly. Were this not so, no character of any creature could

be known by its appearance. The “mark set upon Cain” has its counterpart in the

stripe of the tiger; and the crustacea denote selfish spirits, who are hard

exteriorly to all the world, and soft only interiorly to themselves. The adept

in Psychology can tell whether the soul of an animal is on its upward or its

downward path. He can discern also the animal beneath the human form, when the

progressing soul has not yet wholly shed the animal nature; for the exterior

form of humanity is reached in full while its interior reality is reached in

part only. Thus, for the adept there are more animals than men to be seen in the

streets of a city, despite the humanity of their forms. The individual is

already partly human before it has ceased to wear the form of a rudimentary man,

that is, of an animal. The matrix can bring forth only its own kind, in the

semblance of the generators; and as soon as the human is attained, even in the

least degree, the soul has power to put on body of humanity. Thus, too, the

adept can see the human shape in creatures under torture in the physiological

laboratory. He can discern the potential form of a man with limbs and lineaments

resembling those of his tormentors, hidden within the outward form as a child in

its mother’s womb, and writhing and moaning under the lacerations of the knife.

And he sees also the tiger and the devil rapidly developing within the still

human forms of the torturers, and knows certainly that to such grades they will

descend on quitting the human. For he knows, having learned it by the long

experiences of his own soul, that God, who is before all else Love, is also

before all else Justice, and this because God is Love; for Justice is Sympathy.

Wherefore, by the inexorable law of Justice, he who makes existence a hell for

others, prepares, inevitably, a hell for himself, wherein he will be his own

devil, the inflictor of his own torments. His victims will, indeed, find

compensation at the Divine hands; but for him will be no escape, no alleviation,

until “he has paid the last mite.” For the pitiless, and for the pitiless alone,

there is no pity. Such, the adept of spiritual science knows absolutely, is the

doom that awaits both the tormentor himself, and, in their degree, those who by

accepting the results of his practice, consent to his method.

22. That which leads to the loss of the soul, is not isolated crime, however

heinous, or even a repetition of this; but a continued condition of the heart,

in which the will of the individual is in persistent opposition to the Divine

Will; for this is a state in which repentance is impossible. The condition most

favourable to salvation, and speedy emancipation from successive incarnations,

is the attitude of willing obedience, – freedom and submission. The great object

to be attained is emancipation from the body, – the redemption, that is, of

Spirit from Matter.

PART II

23. WE will now speak particularly of that order of spirits by which,

ordinarily, “mediums” are “controlled;” or, more correctly, sensitives are

influenced, since these spirits which are called astrals, have no force, and

cannot exercise the least control. Born of the emanations of the body, they

occupy the perisoul, or fluidic astral and magnetic bond which unites the soul

to the body.

24. In this fluid, which is the magnetism of the earth, – the lowest circulus of

the Fire, – and which may be more clearly denoted by the term latent light, –

analogous to latent heat, – take place those changes, currents, and

modifications which result and are expressed in the phenomena – of late days

familiar to numbers – produced by astral spirits. Through this fluidic element

are passed two currents, one refracted from above, and the other reflected from

below, – one being celestial, as coming direct from the spirit, and the other

terrestrial, as coming from the earth or body; and the adept must know how to

distinguish the ray from reflection. When a medium, or sensitive, passes into

the negative, and thence into the somnambulic state, the mind of such sensitive

is controlled by the will of the magnetizer. The will of this second person

directs and controls the procession and expression of the image perceived. But

the magnetizer, unless an adept, will not be able to discern the true origin of

the images evoked.

25. Now, in this magnetic sphere are two orders of existences. Of these orders,

one is that – already mentioned – of the shades of the dead; the other consists

of reflects of the living; and the difficulty of distinguishing between these

two orders is, to the uninitiated, a source of error. Error of a more serious

kind arises through the complex character of the astral region itself, and the

variety of the grades of spirits by which every division is tenanted. Spirits of

the subhuman order, moreover, are wont under control of the wish of their

invokers, to personate spirits of a higher grade.

26. It will thus be seen that the elements of deception are broadly, twofold. In

the first place, to enter the astral region, is not to enter the celestial; and

the ray reflected from below, and which bears the imprint of the body, may

easily be mistaken for the ray refracted from above, and which alone is pure and

divine. In the second place, the astral region itself contains various orders of

spirits, of which some only bear relation to actual souls, and the others

consist of phantasmal and illusory reflects. These latter, – the astral spirits

properly so called, – are in no cases entities, or intelligent personalities;

but reflections, traces, echoes, or footprints of a soul which is passing, or

which has passed, through the astral medium; or else they are reflections of the

individual himself who beholds or who evokes them, and may thus represent an

equal compound of both sensitive and magnetizer.

27. Now, the atmosphere with which a man surrounds himself, – his soul’s

respiration, – affects the astral fluid. Reverberations of his own ideas come

back to him. His soul’s breath colours and savors what a sensitive conveys to

him. But he may also meet with contradictions, with a systematic presentation of

doctrine or of counsels at variance with his own personal views, through his

mind not being sufficiently positive to control all the manifestations of the

electric agent. The influence of the medium, moreover, through which the words

come, interposes. Or, as is often the case, a magnetic battery of thought has

overcharged the elements and imparted to it a certain current. Thus, new

doctrines are “in the air,” and spread like wildfire. One or two strongly

positive minds give the initiative, and the impulse flies through the whole mass

of latent light, correspondingly influencing all who are in relation with it.

28. The merely magnetic spirits are like mists which rise from the damp earth of

low-lying lands, or vapours in high altitudes upon which if a man’s shadow falls

he beholds himself as a giant. For these spirits invariably flatter and magnify

a men to himself, telling one that he is, or shall be, a king, a Christ, or the

wisest and most famous of mortals; and that if he will be wholly negative, and

give himself up entirely to them, suppressing his own intelligence and moral

sense, they will enable him to realize his utmost ambition. Being born of the

fluids of the body, they are unspiritual and live of the body. And not only have

they no aspirations beyond the body, but they ignore, and even deny, the

existence of any sphere above their own. They speak, indeed, of God, especially

under the name of Jehovah, but with complete ignorance of its meaning; and they

insist on material renderings and applications of any doctrine of which they may

catch the terms. They are profuse alike of promises and of menaces, and indulge

freely in prophecies. But when informed of their failures they declare that even

God cannot surely foresee the future, but can judge only according to apparent

probabilities. Of contradictions in their own statements they are altogether

unconscious; and be these gross and palpable as they may, they remain wholly

unabashed by the disclosure of them. Especially are they bitter against the

“Woman.” For, in her intuition of Spirit, they recognize their chief enemy. And

whenever they attach themselves either to a man or to a woman, they make it

their endeavour to exalt the masculine or force element, of mind or body, at the

expense of the feminine element. And these, generally, are their signs. Is there

anything strong? they make it weak. Is there anything wise? they make it

foolish. Is there anything sublime? they distort and travesty it. And where

suffered to expatiate unchecked, they descend to blasphemy and obscenity without

measure, and incite to courses in turn sensuous, vicious, malicious, or cruel,

encouraging to gross and luxurious living, – the flesh of animals, and

stimulants being especially favourable to their production and nurture. They are

the forms beheld in delirium, and are frequent agents in producing the phenomena

of hysteria. They are the authors, too, of those hasty impulses by yielding to

which people do in a moment mischief which a lifetime cannot efface or repair.

And, as they live upon the vital spirits of the blood, they deplete the vital

energy, and are as vampires to those upon whom they fasten. They are able,

moreover, to carry elsewhere the knowledge they get from any one; – being the

“powers of the air” spoken of in Scripture, and the “bird that carries the voice

and tells the matter.” For the term rendered “bird” signifies a winged creature,

and implies an astral. Hence one of the reasons for observing secrecy concerning

Sacred Mysteries. For, by seeming to have knowledge of these, the astrals are

able to persuade and mislead people, mixing up a little truth with dangerous

error, and getting the error accepted on the strength of the truth, or of some

Divine name or phrase with which they associate it, themselves being ignorant of

its import. Being impersonal, they have no organon of knowledge, for this is of

Soul, and the astrals have no positive existence, but subsist subjectively in

human beings. Having no souls, they are not individuals, and have no idea of

right and wrong, true and false, but, like a mirror, reflect what comes before

them, and, in reflecting, reverse it. Catching any prominent quality in a

person’s mind they make the most of it by reflecting and magnifying it. Hence

they are not to be heeded. We must heed only the God within. Of the enormous

ladder within us, at the apex of which is the Absolute, these magnetic

phantasmagoria are at the base.

29. Unable to grasp or conceive of anything beyond the atmosphere of their own

circle, the astral phantoms – unless under the influence of a strongly positive

mind – deny altogether the existence of the upper dualism, which, with the

lower, constitutes man a fourfold being. They assert, indeed, that man consists

of body and soul; but they mean thereby the material body and earthly mind, and

represent these as constituting the man. The soul and spirit, which are really

the man, have for them no existence; and they usually refuse, in consequence, to

admit the doctrine of Transmigration or Reincarnation. For, as they are aware,

the body and perisoul perish, and the anima bruta cannot transmigrate or become

reincarnate Their inability to recognize the soul and spirit, leads them to deny

the existence of any source of knowledge superior to themselves, and to assert

that they themselves are man’s true and only inspiring spirits and guardian

angels. And one of their favourite devices consists in building up, out of the

magnetic emanations of the individual, a form which they present as his own

“counterpartal angel” and divine spirit, from whom, say they, he was separated

in what – affecting Scripture phraseology – they call the Adamic period of his

being, and by reunion with which he attains his final perfection. In this they

travesty at once the doctrine of that divine marriage between soul and spirit,

which, occurring in the individual, constitutes his final perfection, or

Nirvana; and the relations of the genius, or true guardian angel, with his

client. For, being unintelligent, they fail to perceive that perfection is to be

attained, not by accretion or addition from without, but only by development or

unfoldment from within. Thus the process itself of regeneration, becomes

altogether an absurdity in their hands. And in this, as in all other matters,

the object of the astrals is to obtain all credit and support for their own

order, by substituting for the Spirit a spirit, and this one of themselves.

30. It is to astral instigation, generally, that are due the various communities

and sects which have for their basis some peculiar relation between the sexes.

That modern form of the cultus of what is called “Free Love,” which sets forth,

not the human, but the female body as the temple of God, and with this couples

the doctrine of “counterpartal angels,” is entirely of astral contrivance. And

so also is the notion, far from uncommon, that by abjuring the ordinary marriage

relation, and devoting herself wholly to her astral associate, a woman may in

the most literal sense, become an immaculate mother of Christs. It is to their

materialization of this and other doctrines, which properly are spiritual only,

– and, notably, as will by and by be shown of the doctrine of Vicarious

Atonement, – that is due the degradation of Christianity from a spiritual to a

materialistic, and therein to an idolatrous religion, and its consequent

failure, thus far, to accomplish its intended end. But of this more on a future

occasion. It is sufficient to add here in this connection, that, not in doctrine

only, but also in practice, – as in the formation of habits of life, – astral

influence is always exerted in the direction of the gross, the selfish and the

cruel. It is always the influence under which men, whether they be conscious of

it or not, lower the standard of their conduct, and seek their own gratification

at the cost of others. Of those hideous blots upon modern life, the frequent

sins of violence, greed, and intemperance, the astrals are active promoters. And

to them is due in no small degree that extension of the doctrine of vicarious

sacrifice – originally their own invention – from the sacerdotal to the social

and scientific planes, which has made of Christendom little else than a vast

slaughterhouse and chamber of torture. No less than the priest of a sacrificial

religion, are the butcher, the sportsman, and the vivisector, ministers to the

astral in man. Nevertheless, though thus indictable, these spirits are not in

themselves evil. They do but reflect and magnify the evil which men harbour and

encourage in themselves.

31. It is characteristic of the astrals, that always strenuously insist on the

most absolute passivity on the part of those whom they influence or address.

This condition of unintelligent passivity must be carefully distinguished from

the reasonable reflective state favourable to divine communion, and called the

“Night-time of the Soul.” Such is the unsubstantiality of the astrals, that the

smallest exercise of an adverse will throws them into confusion and deprives

them of the power of utterance. They shun a person in whom the flame of the

spirit burns up straightly and ardently; but where it spreads out and is

diffused, they flock round him like moths. The more negative the mind and weak

the will of the person, the more apt and ready he is to receive them. And the

more positive his mind and pronounced his will, – in the right direction, – the

more open he is to Divine communication. The kingdom of the Within yields, not

to indifference and inaction, but to enthusiasm and concentration. Wherefore it

is said, “To labour is to pray; to ask is to receive; to knock is to have the

door open.” When we think inwardly, pray intensely, and imagine centrally, then

we converse with God. When we allow ourselves to be inert and mechanically

reflective, then we are at the mercy of the astrals, and ready to accept any

absurdity as divine truth.

32. The astrals, it will be useful to many to be assured, not only cannot confer

the Divine life, they cannot rise to be partakers of it themselves. In

describing them, the exigencies of language compel the use of terms implying

personality. But it must be clearly understood that these “spirits” are mere

vehicles, and are no more possessed of independent volition or motive than is

the electric current by which telegraphic messages are conveyed, and which, like

them, is a medium of thought; or than the air, which, according to

circumstances, transmits the germs of health or of disease. Thus, although they

are not intelligent personalities, they are often the media of intelligent

ideas, and operate as means of communication between intelligent personalities.

Ideas, words, sentences, whole systems of philosophy, may be borne in on the

consciousness by means of the currents of magnetic force, as solid bodies are

conveyed on a stream, though water is no intelligent agent. The minutest cell is

an entity, for it has the power of self-propagation, which the astral has not.

33. Few are they, even of the highest orders of mind, who have not at times

fallen under astral influence, and with disastrous results. And herein we have

the key, not only to the anomalies of various systems, otherwise admirable, of

philosophy and religion, but also to those discordant utterances of the most

pious mystics, which have so sorely perplexed and distressed their followers.

When we have named a Plato, a Philo, a Paul, a Milton, and a Bœhme, as

conspicuous instances in point, enough will have been said to indicate the

vastness of the field to which the suggestion applies. Few, indeed, are they who

can always find the force to penetrate through the astral and dwell solely in

the celestial. Hence, for the true ray refracted from above, men mistake and

substitute the false ray reflected from below, foul with the taint of earth, and

savouring of the limitations of the lower nature, and, like the image in the

glass, exactly reversing the truth. Wherever we find a systematic depreciation

of woman, advocacy of bloodshed, and materialization of things spiritual, there,

we may be confident, does astral influence prevail. The profound Bœhme frankly

admits his own liability in this respect.

34. Though inhabiting the astral region, the spirits called elemental or

nature-spirits, and presiding spirits or genii loci, are of very different

orders from those just described. Of this last class are the spirits known to

all early nations as haunting forests, mountains, cataracts, rivers, and all

unfrequented places. They are the dryads, naiads, kelpis, elves, fairies, and so

forth. The elementals are often mysterious, terrifying, and dangerous. They are

the spirits invoked by the Rosicrucians and mediaeval magicians, and also by

some in the present day. They respond to pentagrams and other symbols, and it is

dangerous even to name them at certain times and places. The most powerful of

them are the salamanders, or fire-spirits. The ability of the elementals to

produce physical phenomena, and their lack of moral sense, render them

dangerous. In this they differ from the celestial spirits, for to these no

physical demonstration is possible, as they do not come into contact with

Matter.

35. The marvels of the adept are performed chiefly through the agency of the

elementals. And it was the knowledge of and belief in them, on the part of the

centurion in the gospels, that elicted from Jesus his expression of surprise, “I

have not found such faith even in Israel.” For the centurion’s reply had

indicated his recognition of the fact that, just as he himself had soldiers

under him to do his bidding, so Jesus had spirits under him. Others than adepts

may be, and are, thus associated with the elementals; but only for one who, like

an adept, has first purified and perfected himself in mind and spirit, is the

association free from danger to himself or to others. Where not mastered, they

become masters, and exact absolute subservience, showing themselves pitiless in

the infliction of vengeance for disobedience to their behests.

36. To this order and sphere belong the class called by the Hebrews cherubim.

They inhabit the “upper astral” immediately outside and below the celestial; and

are the “covering angels,” who encompass and guard the sanctuary of the

innermost of man’s system, the “holy of holies” of his own soul and spirit.

Passing, by their permission, within the sacred precincts, we enter the presence

of the celestials, of whom now we will speak.

PART III

37. BUT first, in order to comprehend the procession of Spirit, it should be

explained that Life may be represented by a triangle, at the apex of which is

God. Of this triangle the two sides are formed by two streams, the one flowing

outwards, the other upwards. The base may be taken to represent the material

plane. Thus, from God proceed the Gods, the Elohim, or divine powers, who are

the active agents of creation. From the Gods proceed all the hierarchy of

heaven, with the various orders from the highest to the lowest. And the lowest

are the orders of the genii, or guardian angels. These rest on the astral plane,

but do not enter it. The other side of the triangle is a continuation of the

base. And herein is the significance alike of the pyramid and of the obelisk.

The pyramid represents the triangle of Life, fourfold, and resting on the earth.

The obelisk, the summit only of which is pyramidal, represents a continuation of

the base, and is covered with sculptured forms of animal life. For, of this base

of the triangle of life, the continuation contains the lowest expressions of

life, the first expressions of incarnation, and of the stream which, unlike the

first, flows inwards and upwards. The side of the triangle represented by this

stream, culminates in the Christ, and empties itself into pure Spirit, which is

God. There are, consequently, spirits which by their natures never have been and

never can be incarnate; and there are others which reach their perfection

through incarnation. And the genii, dæmons, or guardian angels, have nothing in

common with the astrals, but are altogether different and superior in kind.

Standing, as they do, within the celestial sphere, their function is to lift man

from below to their own high region, which, properly, is also his.

38. The day and night of the Microcosm, man, are its projective and reflective

states. In the projective state we seek actively outwards; we aspire and will

forcibly; we hold active communion with the God without.

39. In the reflective state we look inwards, we commune with our own heart; we

indraw and concentrate ourselves secretly and interiorly. During this condition

the “Moon” enlightens our hidden chamber with her torch, and shows us ourselves

in our interior recess.

40. Who or what, then, is this Moon? It is part of ourselves, and revolves with

us. It is our celestial affinity, – of whose order it is said, “Their angels do

always behold the face of My Father.”

41. Every human soul has a celestial affinity, which is part of his system and a

type of his spiritual nature. This angelic counterpart is the bond of union

between the man and God; and it is in virtue of his spiritual nature that this

angel is attached to him. Rudimentary creatures have no celestial affinity; but

from the moment that the soul quickens, the cord of union is established.

42. The Genius of a man is this satellite. Man is a planet. God, – the God of

the man – is its sun. And the moon of this planet is Isis, its initiator, angel

or genius. The genius ministers to the man, and gives him light. But the light

he gives is from God, and not of himself. He is not a planet but a moon; and his

function is to light up the dark places of his planet.

43. It is in virtue of man’s being a planet that he has a moon. If he were not

fourfold, as is the planet, he could not have one. Rudimentary men are not

fourfold. They have not the Spirit.

44. Every human spirit-soul has attached to him a genius, variously called, by

Socrates, a dæmon; by Jesus an angel; by the apostles, a ministering spirit. All

these are but different names for the same thing.

45. The genius is linked to his client by a bond of soul-substance. Persistent

ill-living weakens this bond; and after several incarnations, – even to the

mystical seventy times seven, – thus ill-spent, the genius is freed, and the

soul definitively lost.

46. The genius knows well only the things relating to the person to whom he

ministers. About other things he has opinions only. The relation of the

ministering spirit to his client, is very well represented by that of the

Catholic confessor to his penitent. He is bound to keep towards every penitent

profound secrecy as regards the affairs of other souls. If this were not the

case, there would be no order, and no secret would be safe. The genius of each

one knows about another person only so much as that other’s genius chooses to

reveal.

47. The genius is the moon to the planet man, reflecting to him the sun, or God,

within him. For the divine Spirit which animates and eternizes the man, is the

God of the man, the sun that enlightens him. And this sun it is, and not the

outer and planetary man, that his genius, as satellite, reflects to him. Thus

attached to the planet, the genius is the complement of the man; and his “sex”

is always the converse of the planet’s. And because he reflects, not the planet,

but the sun, not the man (as do the astrals), but the God, his light is always

to be trusted.

48. The genius never “controls” his client, never suffers the soul to step aside

from the body, to allow the entrance of another spirit. The person “controlled”

by an astral or elementary, on the contrary, speaks not in his own person, but

in that of the spirit operating. And the gestures, expression, intonation, and

pitch of voice, change with the obsessing spirit. A person prophesying speaks

always in the first person, and says, either, “Thus saith the Lord,” or, “So

says some one else,” never losing his own personality.

49. The genii are not fighting spirits, and cannot prevent evils. They were

allowed to minister to Jesus only after his exhaustion in combat with the lower

spirits. Only they are attacked by these, who are worth attacking. No man ever

got to the promised land without going through the desert. The best weapon

against them is prayer. Prayer means the intense direction of the will and

desire towards the Highest, an unchanging intent to know nothing but the

Highest. So long as Moses held his hands up towards heaven, the Israelites

prevailed; when he dropped them, then the Amalekites.

50. Now, there are two kinds of memory, the memory of the organism and the

memory of the soul. The first is possessed by all creatures. The second, which

is obtained by Recovery, be longs to the fully regenerate man. For the Divine

Spirit of a man is not one with his soul until regeneration, which is the

intimate union constituting what, mystically, is called the “marriage” of the

hierophant, an event in the life of the initiate, one of the stages of which is

set forth in the parable of the Marriage in Cana of Galilee.

 

51. When this union takes place, there is no longer need of an initiator; for

then the office of the genius is ended. For, as the moon, or Isis, of the planet

man, the genius reflects to the Soul the Divine Spirit, with which she is not

yet fully united. In all things is order. Wherefore, as with the planets, so

with the Microcosm. They who are nearest Divinity, need no moon. But so long as

they have night, – so long, that is, as any part of the soul remains

unilluminated, and her memory or perception obscure, – so long, the mirror of

the angel continues to reflect the sun to the soul.

52. For the memory of the soul is recovered by a threefold operation – that of

the soul herself, of the moon, and of the sun. The genius is not an informing

spirit. He can tell nothing to the soul. All that she receives is already hers.

But in the darkness of the night, it would remain undiscovered, but for the

torch of the angel who enlightens. “Yea,” says the angel genius to his client,

“I illuminate thee, but I instruct thee not. I warn thee, but I fight not. I

attend, but I lead not. Thy treasure is within thyself. My light showeth where

it lieth.” (Respecting the complete, final recovery of memory, see Appendice.

No.II.)

53. When regeneration is fully attained, the divine Spirit alone instructs the

hierophant. “For the gates of his city shall never be shut; there shall be no

night there, the night shall be no more. And they shall not need the light of

the lamp, because the Lord God shall enlighten them.” The prophet is a man

illumined by his angel. The Christ is a man married to his Spirit. And he

returns out of pure love to redeem, needing no more to return to the flesh for

his own sake. Wherefore he baptizes with the holy Ghost, and with the Divine

Fire itself. He is always “in heaven.” And in that he ascends, it is because the

Spirit uplifts him, even the Spirit who descends upon him. “And in that he

descends, it is because he has first ascended beyond all spheres into the

highest Presence. For he that ascends, ascends because he also descended first

into the lower parts of the earth. He that descended is the same also who

ascended above all the heavens, to fill all things.” Such an one returns,

therefore, from a higher world; he belongs no more to the domain of Earth. But

he comes from the sun itself, or from some nearer sphere to the sun than ours;

having passed from the lowest upwards.

54. And what, it will be asked, of the genius himself? Is he sorry when his

client attains Perfection, and needs him no more?

“He that hath the bride is the bridegroom. And he that standeth by rejoiceth

greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.” The genius, therefore, returns to

his source, for his mission is ended, and his Sabbath is come. He is one with

the Twain.

55. The genius, then, remains with his client so long as the man is fourfold. A

beast has no genius. A Christ has none. For first, all is latent light. That is

one. And this one becomes two, that is, body and astral body. And these two

become three; that is, a rational soul is born in the midst of the astral body.

This rational soul is the person; itself dual, in virtue of its earthly and its

divine parts. And from that moment this personality is an individual existence,

as a plant or as an animal. These three become four; that is, human. And the

fourth is the Nous, not yet one with the soul, but overshadowing it, and

transmitting light as it were through a glass, that is, through the initiator.

But when the four become three, – that is, when the “marriage” takes place, and

the soul and the spirit are indissolubly united, – there is no longer need

either of migration or of genius. For the Nous has become one with the soul, and

the cord of union is dissolved. And yet again, the three become twain at the

dissolution of the body; and again, the twain become one, that is, the

Christ-spirit-soul. The Divine Spirit and the genius, therefore, are not to be

regarded as diverse, nor yet as identical. The genius is flame, and is

celestial, that is, he is Spirit, and one in nature with the Divine; for his

light is the Divine Light. He is as a glass, as a cord, as a bond between the

soul and her divine part. He is the clear atmosphere through which the divine

ray passes, making a path for it in the astral medium.

56. In the celestial plane, all things are personal. And therefore the bond

between the soul and spirit is a person. But when a man is what is mystically

called “born again,” he no longer needs the bond which unites him to his Divine

Source. The genius, or flame, therefore, returns to that Source; and this being

itself united to the soul, the genius also becomes one with the Twain. For the

genius is the Divine Light in the sense that he is but a divided tongue of it,

having no isolating vehicle. But the tincture of this flame differs according to

the celestial atmosphere of the particular soul. The Divine Light, indeed, is

white, being Seven in One. But the genius is the flame of a single colour only.

And this colour he takes from the soul, and by that ray transmits to her the

light of the Nous, her Divine Spouse. The angel-genii are of all the tinctures

of all the colours

57. While in the celestial plane all things are persons, in the astral plane

they are reflects, or at most impersonal. The genius is a person because he is a

celestial, and of soul-spirit, or substantial nature. But the astrals are of

fluidic nature, having no personal part. In the celestial plane, spirit and

substance are one, dual in unity; and thus are all celestials constituted. But

in the astral plane they have no individual, and no divine part. They are

protoplasmic only, without either nucleus or nucleolus.

58. The voice of the angel-genius is the voice of God; for God speaks through

him as a man through the horn of a trumpet. He may not be adored; for he is the

instrument of God, and man’s minister. But he must be obeyed; for he has no

voice of his own, but shows the will of the Spirit.

59. They, therefore, who desire the Highest, will not seek to “controls;” but

will keep their temple – which is their body – for the Lord God of Hosts; and

will turn out of it the moneychangers and the dove-sellers and the dealers in

curious arts, yea, with a scourge of cords, if need be.

60. Of the superior orders in the celestial hierarchy – of those, that is, who,

being Gods and Archangels, are to the Supreme Spirit as the seven rays of the

prism are to light, and the seven notes of the scale are to sound – the

knowledge appertains to the Greater Mysteries, and is reserved for those who

have fulfilled the conditions requisite for initiation therein. (See Appendices,

No. III. Part 1.) Of those conditions the first is the complete renunciation of

a diet of flesh, the reason being fourfold, – spiritual, moral, intellectual and

physical, – according to the fourfold constitution of man. This is imperative.

Man cannot receive, the Gods will not impart the mysteries of the Kingdom of

Heaven on other terms. The conditions are God’s; the will is with man.


l-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

LECTURE THE FOURTH.

THE ATONEMENT.

PART I

1. WE have chosen to speak thus early in our series of the doctrine of the

Atonement, because it is that around which all religious teaching, ancient and

modern, pure and corrupt, is alike grouped, and in which it all centres.

Constituting thus the pivot and point of radiation of Religion itself, this

doctrine, expounded in its pure and ancient sense, is at once the glory of the

saint and the hope of the fallen; expounded in its modern and corrupt sense, it

is to the latter a license, and to the former a shame and perplexity.

2. As will by-and-by be fully shown, sacred Mysteries are, like all things

cosmic, fourfold, in that they contain, like the whorls of a flower, or the

elements of an organic cell, four mutually related and yet distinct Modes and

Ideas. And these four are – from without inwards – the Physical, the

Intellectual, the Ethical, and the Spiritual. We propose in this lecture to

explain the doctrine of the Atonement from each of these points of view, in

order to do which with clearness and without fear of misapprehension, we shall

first expose the common errors in regard to it.

3. The popular and corrupt view of the doctrine of the Atonement presents us

with one of the most salient examples extant of that materialism in things

religious, which constitutes Idolatry. To commit the sin of Idolatry is to

materialize Spiritual Truth, by concealing under gross images the real

substantial Ideas implied, and setting up the images for worship in place of the

celestial verities. Now, the current doctrine of Christ’s Atonement starts with

the irrational, and therefore false, hypothesis, that between physical blood and

moral guilt there is a direct and congruous relation, in virtue of which the

opening of veins and laceration of muscular tissue constitute a medium of

exchange by which may be ransomed an indefinite number of otherwise forfeited

souls.

4. In opposition to this and other kindred conceptions, it is necessary to

insist on the principle which, being, so to speak, the cornerstone and center of

gravitation of Religion, was in our Introductory Lecture prominently placed

before the reader, – the principle that sacred Mysteries relate only to the

Soul, and have no concern with phenomena or any physical appearances or

transactions. The keynote of Religion is sounded in the words, “My kingdom is

not of this world.” All her mysteries, all her oracles, are conceived in this

spirit, and similarly are all sacred scriptures to be interpreted. For anything

in Religion to be true and strong, it must be true and strong for the Soul. The

Soul is the true and only person concerned; and any relation which Religion may

have to the body or phenomena man, is indirect, and by, correspondence only. It

is for the Soul that the Divine Word is written; and it is her nature, her

history, her functions, her conflicts, her redemption, which are ever the theme

of sacred narrative, prophecy, and doctrine.

5. But a priesthood fallen from the apprehension of spiritual things, and only

competent, therefore, to discern the things of sense – a priesthood become, in a

word, idolatrous, – is necessarily incapable of attaining to the level of the

original framers of the Mysteries appertaining to the Soul; and therefore it is

that invariably in the hands of, such priesthood, the Soul has been ignored in

favour of the body, and a signification grossly materialistic substituted for

that which had been addressed only to the spiritual man.

6. To the thoughtful mind there is nothing more perplexing than the doctrine and

practice of bloody sacrifice, commonly believed to be inculcated in that portion

of the Hebrew scriptures which is known as the Pentateuch. And the perplexity is

increased by a comparison of this with the prophetical books in which occur such

utterances as the following:

“Sacrifice and oblation Thou dost not desire: but Thou hast opened ears for me.

“Burnt-offering and sin-offering Thou wouldest not; but that I should come to do

Thy Will.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a lowly and contrite heart, O God.”

And, yet more emphatically and indignantly, the prophet Isaias:

“Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom, give ear to the law of our God,

ye people of Gomorrah.

“To what purpose do you offer me the multitude of your victims? saith the Lord.

I desire not holocausts of rams and fatlings, the blood of calves, and sheep,

and goats.

“When you come to appear before Me, who hath required these things at your

hands?

“Offer sacrifice no more, your new moons and festivals I cannot abide; your

assemblies are wicked.

“My soul hateth your solemnities, when you stretch forth your hands I turn away

Mine eyes, for your hands are full of blood.”

And again Jeremias;

“I, the Lord, spake not to your fathers, and I commanded them not in the day

that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning the matter of

burnt-offerings and sacrifices.

“But this one thing I commanded them, saying, Hearken to My voice, and walk in

My way.

“But they have set their abominations in the house that is called by My Name, to

pollute it.”

7. In the presence of these truly Divine words, what must be our verdict upon

certain contrary declarations and prescriptions in the Pentateuch? We must say,

as indeed all sound criticism and inference based on careful examination of

internal evidence justify us in saying, that the greater part of the Five Books,

and especially the chapters prescriptive of ritual and oblations, are of far

later date than that usually assigned to them, and are not in any sense the work

of the inspired Moses, or of his initiates and immediate successors, but of a

corrupted priesthood, in the age of the kings, – a priesthood greedy of gifts,

tithes, and perquisites; ever replacing the spirit by the letter, and the idea

by the symbol; ignorant of the nature of Man, and therefore ever trampling under

foot his true and better self, the Soul, whose type is Woman; “taking away the

key of knowledge, entering not themselves into the Kingdom, and hindering those

who would have entered.” But for these bloody and idolatrous sacrifices, there

would have been neither occupation nor maintenance for the numerous

ecclesiastics who subsisted by means of them; and but for the false and corrupt

conception of a God whose just anger was capable of being appeased by slaughter,

– and this of the innocent, – and whose favour could be bought by material

gifts, the whole colossal scheme of ceremonial rites and incantations which gave

the priesthood power and dominion over the people, would never have found place

in a system originally addressed wholly to the needs of the Soul. (See

Appendices, No. I., Part II.)

Thus, even with the Old Testament alone as evidence, our verdict must be given

to the Prophet as against the Priest, seeing that while the former, as the true

Man of God directed his appeal to the soul, the latter as the minister of sense,

cared only to exalt his own Order, no matter at what cost to the principles of

religion.

8. Turning to the New Testament, a significant fact confronts us. It is that

Jesus appears never to have sanctioned by his presence any of the Temple

services; an abstention which cannot but be regarded as a tacit protest against

the sacrificial rites then in vogue. Nor in all the utterances ascribed to him

is there any reference to these rites even in connection with the common belief

that they were designed as types of the death supposed to be ordained for the

Messiah in his character of Redeemer and Victim.

9. And truly, it is inconceivable that if the special object and end of his

incarnation had been, as is currently held, to be immolated on the Cross, a

spotless sin-offering for men, in propitiation of the wrath of God against the

guilty, no word implying a doctrine so essential and tremendous should have been

uttered by the Divine Victim himself, or that it should have been left to the

commentators of a century later notably to men who were never the immediate

disciples of Jesus, – Paul and Apollos, – to formulate and expound it. Nor can

we regard as other than fatuous the conduct of a priesthood, which, while

throwing upon the Cross of Calvary the burdens of the salvation of the whole

world in all ages, and teaching mankind that to the innocent sacrifice thereon

offered is alone due their rescue from eternal damnation, yet sees fit to

execrate and brand with infamy the very men who procured the consummation of

that sacrifice, – and to whom, therefore, next to Jesus himself, the world is

indebted for ransom from hell, and for the opening of the gates of heaven, –

Caiaphas Pontius Pilate, and – most important of all – Judas the traitor!

10. The truth is, that far from depicting Priest and Prophet as co-operating for

the welfare of man, the sacred scriptures exhibit them in constant conflict; –

the Priest, as the minister of Sense, perpetually undoing the work performed by

the Prophet as the minister of the Intuition. And so it is seen that when, at

length, the greatest of all the prophetical race appears, the priesthood does

not fail to compass his death also, and subsequently to exalt the crime into a

sacrifice, and that of such a nature as to render it the apotheosis of the whole

sacerdotal system, and to advance the sacerdotal order to the position which,

throughout Christendom, it has ever since maintained.

PART II

11. AT this point another aspect of our subject claims attention. It relates,

not to any particular sacrifice, but to the whole question of the origin and

nature of bloody sacrifices generally. And it involves reference to influences

and motives yet darker and more potent than any mere human desire of gain or

power, in exposing which, it will be necessary to speak of occult subjects,

unfamiliar, save to those, who, being acquainted with the science of magic,

understand at least something of the nature and conditions of “spiritual”

apparitions.

12. The effusion of physical blood has, in all ages, been a means whereby

magicians have evoked astral phantoms or phantasmagoric reflects in the magnetic

light. These efflorescences of the lower atmosphere immediately related to the

body, have a direct affinity for the essential element, called by the old

physiologists, the “vital spirits,” of the blood, and are enabled by means of

its effusion to manifest themselves materially. Thus, as one recent writer says,

“Blood begets phantoms, and its emanations furnish certain spirits with the

materials requisite to fashion their temporary appearances.” (Blavatsky, Isis

Unveiled.) Another speaks of blood as “the first incarnation of the universal

fluid, materialized vital light; the arcanum of physical life.” (Eliphas Levi,

La Haute Magie.) The famous Paracelsus also asserts that by the fumes of blood

one is able to call forth any spirit desired, for by its emanations the spirit

can build for itself a visible body. This, he says, is Sorcery, a term always of

ill-repute. The hierophants of Baal made incisions all over their bodies, in

order to produce visible objective phantoms. There are sects in the East,

especially in Persia, whose devotees celebrate religious orgies in which,

whirling frantically round in a ring, they wound themselves and each other with

knives, until their garments and the ground are soaked with blood. Before the

end of the orgy, every man has evoked a spectral companion which whirls round

with him, and which may sometimes be distinguished from the devotee by having

hair on its head, the devotees being closely shorn. The Yakuts of Eastern

Siberia still maintain the practice of the once famed witches of Thessaly,

offering nocturnal sacrifices and evoking evil spectres to work mischief for

them. Without the fumes of blood these beings could not become visible; and were

they deprived of it, they would, the Yakuts believe, suck it, from the veins of

the living. It is further held by these people that good spirits do not thus

manifest themselves to view, but merely make their presence felt, and require no

preparatory ceremonial. The Yezidis, inhabiting Armenia, and Syria, hold

intercourse with certain aerial spirits which they call Jakshas, – probably mere

astral phantoms, – and evoke them by means of whirling dances, accompanied, as

in the case of the sect already mentioned, by self-inflicted wounds. Among the

manifestations thus obtained is the apparition of enormous globes of fire, which

gradually assume grotesque and uncouth animal forms. (Lady Hester Stanhope.)

13. Reverting to earlier times, we find in the writings of Epiphanius, a passage

concerning the death of Zacharias, which bears directly on the Levitical

practice in regard to this subject. He says that Zacharias, having seen a vision

in the Temple, and being, through surprise, about to disclose it, was suddenly

and mysteriously deprived of the power of speech. He had seen at the time of

offering incense after the evening sacrifice, a figure in the form of an ass,

standing by the altar. Going out to the people, he exclaimed, – “Woe unto you!

who do ye worship?” and immediately “he who had appeared to him in the Temple

struck him with dumbness.” Afterwards, however, he recovered his speech and

related the vision, in consequence of which indiscretion the priests slew him.

It was asserted by the Gnostics that the use of the little bells attached to the

garments of the high-priest was enjoined by the Jewish ordinance-makers with

special reference to these apparitions, in order that on his entry into the

sanctuary at the time of sacrifice, the goblins might have warning of his

approach in time to avoid being caught in their natural hideous shapes.

14. An experience of the writer’s during the summer of the present year,

strikingly illustrates the foregoing citations. Conducted in magnetic sleep by

her guardian Genius into a large hall of temple-like structure, she beheld a

number of persons grouped in adoration around four altars upon which were laid

as many slaughtered bullocks. And above the altars, in the fume of the spirits

of the blood arising from the slain beasts, were misty colossal figures,

half-formed only, from the waist upwards, and resembling the Gods. One of them

in particular attracted the writer’s attention. It was the head and bust of a

woman of enormous proportions, and wearing the insignia of Diana. And the Genius

said: “These are the Astral Spirits, and thus will do until the end of the

world.”

Such were the spurious phantom-images, which, with emaciated forms and pallid

countenances, presented themselves to the Emperor Julian, and, claiming to be

the veritable Immortals, commanded him to renew the sacrifices, for the fumes of

which, since the establishment of Christianity, they had been pining. And he,

able only to see, but not to discern, spirits, took these spectres – as so many

still do – for what they pretended to be, and, seeking to fulfil their behests,

earned for himself the title of “Apostate.” To the impulsion of spirits of this

order are to be ascribed those horrible human sacrifices of which in ancient

times Canaan was the chief scene and Molech the chief recipient. In these

sacrifices the Jews themselves largely indulged, the crowning example being that

of which the high priest Caiaphas was the prompter.

15. But idolatry and bloody sacrifice have ever been held in abhorrence by the

true prophet and the true redeemer. The aspect under which these things present

themselves to the eyes of such men is epitomized in the divine and beautiful

rebuke addressed by Gautama Buddha to the priests of his day, for an exquisite

rendering of which the reader is referred to Mr. Edwin Arnold’s recent poem,

“The Light of Asia.” (p.129ss. The appearance of this remarkable book

constitutes a sign of the times of no small importance.) Buddha, it will be

observed, classed with the practice of bloody sacrifice the habit of

flesh-eating, and included both in his unsparing denunciation. The reason is not

far to seek. Man, as the Microcosm, resembles in all things the Macrocosm, and

like the latter, therefore, he comprises within his own system an astral plane

or circulus. In eating flesh, and thereby ingesting the blood principle, – flesh

and blood being inseparable, – he sacrifices to the astral emanations of his own

magnetic atmosphere, and so doing, ministers to the terrene and corruptible.

This is to “eat of things offered to idols,” for blood is the food of the astral

eidola, and the eater of blood is infested by them.

16. It should be observed that this astral medium and its emanations are

incapable of originating ideas, for these are positive entities and come from

the celestial or spiritual “heaven.” The astral, being reflective merely, and

unsubstantial, receives divine ideas but to reverse and travesty them. Thus, the

doctrine of sacrifice and of atonement are true doctrines, and celestial origin;

but the sacrifice must be of the lower human self to the higher divine self, and

of personal extraneous affections to the love of God and of principles. But the

astral mind, reversing the truth, converts these aspirations into the sacrifice

of the higher to the lower nature, of the soul to the body, and of others to

oneself. Again, the truth that man is saved by the perpetual sacrifice of God’s

own Life and Spirit to be his life and spirit, finds a like distortion in the

notion that man is saved by taking the life of a God and appropriating his

merits. The true meaning of the word “atonement” is reconciliation, rather than

“propitiation.” For “Heaven” cannot be “propitiated” save by at-one-ment.

17. As, moreover, the astral and the physical planes are intimately united, and

both are ephemeral and evanescent, of Time and of Matter, that which feeds and

ministers to the astral stimulates the physical, to its own detriment and that

of the inner and permanent Twain, – soul and spirit, – the true man and his

Divine Particle, – since these, being celestial, have neither part nor communion

with the merely phenomenal and phantasmal. For the astral emanations resemble

clouds which occupy the earthy atmosphere between us and heaven, and which,

filmy and incorporeal though they be, are nevertheless material, and are born of

the exhalations of the earth. To perpetuate and do sacrifice to these phantoms,

is to thicken the atmosphere, to obscure the sky, to gather fog and darkness and

tempest about us, as did the old storm-witches of the North.

Such is that worship which is spoken of as the worship of the Serpent of the

Dust; and thus does he who ingests blood; for he makes thereby oblation to the

infernal gods of his own system, as does the sacrificing priest to the powers of

the same sphere of the Macrocosm.

18. And this occult reason for abstaining from the ingestion of flesh, is that

which in all ages and under all creeds has ever powerfully and universally

influenced the Recluse, the Saint, and the Adept in Religion. As is well known,

the use of flesh was in former time, invariably abjured by the hermit-fathers,

by the ascetics of both East and West, and in short by all religious persons,

male and female, who, aspiring after complete detachment from the things of

sense, sought interior vision and intimate union with the Divine; and it is now

similarly abjured by the higher devotional orders of the Catholic Church and of

Oriental adepts.

Let us say boldly, and without fear of contradiction from those who really know,

that the Interior Life and the clear Heaven are not attainable by men who are

partakers of blood; – men whose mental atmosphere is thick with the fumes of

daily sacrifices to idols. For so long as these shadows infest the Man,

obscuring the expanse of the higher and divine Ether beyond, he remains unable

to detach himself from the love for Matter and from the attraction of Sense, and

can at best but dimly discern the Light of the Spiritual Sun.

19. Abstinence from bloody oblations on all planes, is therefore the gate of the

Perfect Way, the test of illumination, the touchstone and criterion of sincere

desire for the fullness of Beatific Vision.

The Holy Grail, the New Wine of God’s Kingdom on which all souls must drink if

they would live forever and in whose cleansing tide their garments must be made

white, is, most assuredly not that plasmic humour of the physical body, common

to all grades of material life, which is known to us under the name of blood.

But, as this physical humour is the life of the phenomenal body, so is the blood

of Christ the Life of the Soul, and it is in this interior sense, which is alone

related to the Soul, that the word is used by those who framed the expression of

the Mysteries.

PART III

20. THIS brings us to speak of what the Atonement is, and of the sense in which

we are to understand it, in its fourfold interpretation.

First, let us remind the reader, the Cross and the Crucified are symbols which

come down to us from pre-historic ages, and are to be found depicted on the

ruined monuments, temples, and sarcophagi of all nations, – Coptic, Ethiopian,

Hindu, Mexican, Tartar. In the rites of all these peoples, and especially in the

ceremonials of initiation field in the Lodges of their Mysteries, the Cross had

a prominent place. It was traced on the forehead of the neophyte with water or

oil, as now in Catholic Baptism and Confirmation; it was broidered on the sacred

vestments, and carried in the hand of the officiating hierophant, as may be seen

in all the Egyptian religious tablets. And this symbolism has been adopted by

and incorporated into the Christian theosophy, not, however, through a tradition

merely imitative, but because the Crucifixion is an essential element in the

career of the Christ. For, as says the Master, expounding the secret of

Messiahship, “Ought not the Christ to suffer these things, and so to enter into

his glory?” Yes, for this Cross of Christ – the spiritual Phoebus, – is made by

the sun’s equinoctial passage across the line of the Ecliptic, – a passage which

points on the one hand to the descent into Hades; and on the other to the ascent

into the kingdom of Zeus the Father. It is the Tree of Life; the Mystery of the

Dual Nature, male and female; the Symbol of. Humanity perfected, and of the

Apotheosis of Suffering. It is traced by “our Lord the Sun” on the plane of the

heavens; it is represented by the magnetic and diamagnetic forces of the earth;

it is seen in the ice-crystal and in the snow-flake; the human form itself is

modeled upon its pattern; and all nature bears throughout her manifold spheres

the impress of this sign, at once the prophecy and the instrument of her

redemption.

21. Fourfold in meaning, having four points, and making four angles, dividing

the circle into four equal parts, the cross portrays the perfect union, balance,

equality, and at-one-ment on all four planes, and in all four worlds –

phenomenal, intellectual, psychic, and celestial – of the Man and the Woman, the

Spirit and the Bride. It is supremely, transcendently, and excellently, the

symbol of the Divine Marriage; that is, the Sign of the Son of Man IN HEAVEN.

For the Divine Marriage is consummated only when the Regenerate Man enters the

Kingdom of the Celestial, which is within. When the Without is as the Within,

and the Twain are as One in Christ Jesus.

22. Being thus the key of all the worlds, from the outer to the inner, the Cross

presents, as it were, four wards or significations; and according to these, the

mystery of the Crucifixion bears relation:

First, to the natural and actual sense, and typifies the Crucifixion of the Man

of God by the world.

Secondly, to the intellectual and philosophical sense; and typifies the

Crucifixion in man of the lower nature.

Thirdly, to the personal and sacrificial sense, and symbolizes the Passion and

Oblation of the Redeemer.

Fourthly, to the celestial and creative sense, and represents the Oblation of

God for the Universe.

23. First in order, from without inwards, the Crucifixion of the Man of God

implies that persistent attitude of scorn, distrust, and menace with which the

Ideal and Substantial is always met by the worldly and superficial, and to the

malignant expression of which ill-will the Idealist is always exposed. We have

noted that Isaias, rebuking the materialists for their impure and cruel rites,

addresses them as “rulers of Sodom and people of Gomorrah.” So likewise, the

Seer of the Apocalypse speaks of the two divine Witnesses as slain “in the

streets of the great city, which is called spiritually Sodom and Egypt, where

also the Lord was crucified.” This city, then, is the world, the materializing,

the idolatrous, the blind, the sensual, the unreal; the house of bondage, out of

which the sons of God are called. And the world being all these, is cruel as

hell, and will always crucify the Christ and the Christ-Idea. For the world,

which walks in a vain shadow, can have no part in the kingdom of heaven; the man

who seeks the Within and the Beyond is to it a dotard, a fool, an impostor, a

blasphemer, or a madman, and according to the sense of its verdict, it

ridicules, maligns, despoils, punishes, or sequesters him. And thus every great

and merciful deed, every noble life, every grand and holy name, is stamped with

the hall-mark of the Cross.

Scorn and contumely and the cries of an angry crowd surround that altar on which

the Son of God makes oblation of himself; and cross after cross strews the long

Via Dolorosa of the narrow path that leadeth unto Life.

For indeed the world is blind, and every redemption must be purchased by blood.

24. Yes, by blood and tears and suffering, and that not of the body only; for

the Son of God, to attain that Sonship, must have first crucified in himself the

old Adam of the earth. This is the second meaning of the Cross; it sets forth

 

that interior process of pain which precedes regeneration; that combat with and

victory over the tempter, through which all the Christs alike have passed; the

throes of travail which usher in the New-Born. And the crucified, regenerate

Man, having made At-on-ment throughout his own fourfold nature, and with the

Father through Christ, bears about in himself the “marks” of the Lord, – the

five wounds of the five senses overcome, the “stigmata” of the saints. This

crucifixion is the death of the body; the rending of the veil of the flesh; the

uniting of the human will with the Divine Will; or, as it is sometimes called,

the Reconciliation – which is but another word for the At-one-ment. It is the

consummation of the prayer, “Let Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven;”

let Thy will, O Father, be accomplished throughout the terrene and astral, even

as it is in the inmost adytum, that in all the microcosmic system no other will

be found than the Divine.

25. This, also, is the secret of transmutation, – the changing of the water into

wine, of Matter into Spirit, of man into God. For this blood of Christ and of

the Covenant – this wine within the holy Chalice, of which all must drink who

nevermore would thirst – is the Divine Life, the vital, immortal principle,

having neither beginning nor end, the perfect, pure, and incorruptible Spirit,

cleansing and making white the vesture of the soul as no earthly purge can

whiten; the gift of God through Christ, and the heritage of the elect. To live

the Divine Life is to be partaker in the blood of Christ and to drink of

Christ’s cup. It is to know the love of Christ which “passeth understanding,”

the love which is Life, or God, and whose characteristic symbol is the blood-red

 

ray of the solar prism. By this: mystical blood we are saved, – this blood,

which is no other than the secret of the Christs, whereby man is transmuted from

the material to the spiritual plane, the secret of inward purification by means

of Love. For this “blood,” which, throughout the sacred writings is spoken of as

the essential principle of the “Life,” is the spiritual Blood of the spiritual

Life, – Life in its highest, intensest, and most excellent sense, – not the mere

physical life understood by materialists, – but the very substantial Being, the

inward Deity in man. And it is by means of this Blood of Christ only – that is

by means of Divine Love only – that we can “come to the Father,” and inherit the

kingdom of heaven. For, when it is said that “the blood of Christ cleanseth from

all sin,” it is signified that sin is impossible to him who is perfect in Love.

26. But the Christ is not only the type of the sinless Man, the hierarch of the

mysteries; he is also the Redeemer. Now, therefore, we come to speak of the

Vicarious and Redemptive office of the Divine Man, of his Passion, Sacrifice,

and Oblation for others.

There is a true and there is a false rendening of this Mystery of Redemption

which is the central mystery of the Divine Life, the gold of the target, the

heart of Jesus, the bond of all grace, the very core and focus and crown of

Love.

This third aspect of the Cross is in itself two-fold, because Wisdom and Love,

though one in essence are twain in application, since Love cannot give without

receiving, nor receive without giving. We have, therefore, in this double

mystery both the oblation and lifting-up of the Christ in Man, and the Passion

and Sacrifice for others of the Man in whom Christ is manifest. For even as

Christ is one in us are we one with Christ, because as Christ loves and gives

himself for us, we also, who are in Christ, give ourselves for others.

27. But the notion that man requires, and can be redeemed only by a personal

Saviour in the flesh, extraneous to himself, is an idolatrous travesty of the

truth. For that whereby a man is “saved” is his own re-birth and At-one-ment in

a sense transcending the phenomenal. And this process is altogether interior to

the man, and incapable of being performed from without or by another; a process

requiring to be enacted anew in each individual, and impossible of fulfillment

by proxy in the person of another. True, the new spiritual Man thus born of

Water and the Spirit, or of the Pure Heart and the Divine Life; the Man making

oblation on the cross, overcoming Death and ascending to Heaven is named

Christ-Jesus, the Only Begotten, the Virgin-born, coming forth from God to seek

and to save the lost; but this is no other than the description of the man

himself after transmutation into the Divine Image. It is the picture of the

regenerate man, made “alive in Christ,” and “like unto him.” For the Christos or

Anointed, the Chrestos or Best, are but titles signifying Man Perfect; and the

name of Jesus, at which every knee must bow, is the ancient and ever Divine Name

of all the Sons of God – Iesous or Yesha, he who shall save, and Issa the

Illuminated, or Initiate of Isis. For this name Isis, originally Ish-Ish, was

Egyptian for Light-Light; that is, light doubled, the known and the knowing made

one, and reflecting each other. It is the expression of the apostolic utterance,

“Face to face, knowing as we are known, transformed into the image of His

glory.” Similarly our affirmatives is and yes; for in both Issue and lesous “all

the promises of God are Yes,” because God is the supreme Affirmative and

Positive of the universe, enlightening every soul with truth and life and power.

God is the Sun of the soul, whereof the physical sun is the hieroglyph, as the

physical man is of the true eternal spiritual Man.

28. The light is positive, absolute, the sign of Being and of the everlasting

“Yes;” and “the children of the Light” are they who have the gnosis and eternal

 

Life thereby. But the negation of God is “Nay,” the Night, the Destroyer and the

devil. The name therefore of Antichrist is Denial, or Unbelief, the spirit of

Materialism and of Death. And the children of darkness are they who have

quenched in themselves the divine Love, and “know not whither they go, because

darkness hath blinded their eyes.” Hence the Serpent of the Dust is spoken of as

“the Father of Lies,” that is, of negation; for the word “lie” means nothing

else than “denial.” “No denial is of the truth,” says St. John, “for this is

Antichrist, even he that denieth. Every spirit which annulleth Jesus (or the

divine Yes) is not of God. By this we know the spirit of Truth, and the spirit

of Error.”

29. Christ Jesus, then, is no other than the hidden and true man of the Spirit,

the Perfect Humanity, the Express Image of the Divine Glory. And it is possible

to man, by the renunciation – which mystically is the crucifixion – of his outer

and lower self, to rise wholly into his inner and higher self, and, becoming

suffused or anointed of the Spirit, to “put on Christ,” propitiate God, and

redeem the earthly and material.

30. And that which they who, in the outer manifestation, are emphatically called

Christs – whether of Palestine, of India, of Egypt or of Persia, – have done for

man, is but to teach him what man is able to be in himself by bearing, each for

himself, that Cross of renunciation which they have borne. And inasmuch as these

have ministered to the salvation of the world thereby, they are truly said to be

saviors of souls, whose doctrine and love and example have redeemed men from

death and made them heirs of eternal life. The Wisdom they attained, they kept

not secret, but freely gave as they had freely received. And that which thus

they gave was their own life, and they gave it knowing that the children of

darkness would turn on them and rend them because of the gift. But, with the

Christs, Wisdom and Love are one, and the testament of Life is written in the

blood of the testator. Herein is the difference between the Christ and the mere

adept in knowledge. The Christ gives and dies in giving, because Love constrains

him and no fear withholds; the adept is prudent, and keeps his treasure for

himself alone. And as the At-on-ment accomplished in and by the Christs, is the

result of the unreserved adoption of the Divine Life, and of the unreserved

giving of the Love mystically called the Blood of Christ, those who adopt that

Life according to their teaching, and who aspire to be one with God, are truly

said to be saved by the Precious Blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of

the world. For the Lamb of God is the spiritual Sun in Aries, the spring-tide

glory of ascending Light, the symbol of the Pure Heart and the Righteous Life,

by which humanity is redeemed. And this Lamb is without spot, white as snow,

because white is the sign of Affirmation and of the “Yes;” as black is of

Negation and of the devil. It is Iesous Chrestos, the Perfect Yes of God who is

symbolized by this white Lamb, and who, like his sign in heaven, was lifted up

on the Cross of Manifestation from the foundation of the world.

31. In the holy Mysteries, dealing with the process of that second and new

 

creation, which – constituting a return from Matter to Spirit – is mystically

called Redemption, – every term employed refers to some process or thing

subsisting or occurring within the individual himself. For, as man is a

Microcosm, and comprises within all that is without, the processes of Creation

by Evolution, and of Redemption by Involution, occur in the Man as in the

Universe, and thereby in the Personal as in the General, in the One as in the

Many. With the current orthodox symbolism of man’s spiritual history, the

Initiate, or true Spiritualist, has no quarrel. That from which he seeks to be

saved is truly the Devil, who through the sin of the Adam has power over him;

that whereby he is saved is the precious blood of the Christ, the Only-begotten,

whose mother is the immaculate ever-virgin Maria. And that to which, by means of

this divine oblation, he attains is the Kingdom of Heaven and eternal Life. But,

with the current orthodox interpretation of these terms, the Initiate is

altogether at variance. For he knows that all these processes and names refer to

Ideas, which are actual and positive, not to physical transcripts, which are

reflective and relative only. He knows that it is within his own microcosmic

system he must look for the true Adam, for the real Tempter, and for the whole

process of the Fall, the Exile, the Incarnation, the Passion, the Crucifixion,

the Resurrection, the Ascension, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. And any mode

of interpretation which implies other than this, is not celestial but terrene,

and due to that intrusion of earthy elements into things divine, that conversion

of the inner into the outer, that “Fixing of the Volatile” or materialization of

the Spiritual, which constitutes idolatry.

32. For, such of us as know and live the inner life, are saved, not by any Cross

on Calvary eighteen hundred years ago, not by any physical blood-shedding, not

by any vicarious passion of tears and scourge and spear; but by the

Christ-Jesus, the God with us, the Immanuel of the heart, born, working mighty

works, and offering oblation in our own lives, redeeming us from the world, and

making us sons of God and heirs of everlasting life.

33. But, if we are thus saved by the love of Christ, it is by love also that we

manifest Christ to others. If we have received freely, we also give freely,

shining in the midst of night, that is, in the darkness of the world. For so

long as this darkness prevails over the earth, Love hangs on his cross; because

the darkness is the working of a will at variance with the Divine Will, doing

continual violence to the Law of Love.

34. The wrongs of others wound the Son of God, and the stripes of others fall on

his flesh.

He is smitten with the pains of all creatures, and his heart is pierced with

their wounds.

There is no offence done and he suffers not, nor any wrong and he is not hurt

thereby.

For his heart is in the breast of every creature, and his blood in the veins of

all flesh.

For to know perfectly is to love perfectly, and so to love is to be partaker in

the pain of the beloved.

And inasmuch as a man loves and succors and saves even the least of God’s

creatures, he ministers unto the Lord.

Christ is the perfect Lover, bearing the sorrows of all the poor and oppressed.

And the sin and injustice and ignorance of the World are the nails in his hands,

and in his feet.

O Passion of Love, that givest thyself freely, even unto death!

For no man can do Love’s perfect work unless Love thrust him through and

through.

But, if he love perfectly, he shall be able to redeem; for strong Love is a Net

which shall draw all souls unto him.

Because unto Love is given all power, both in heaven and on earth;

Seeing that the will of him who loves perfectly is one with the Will of God:

And unto God and Love, all things are possible.

35. We come now to the last and innermost of the fourfold Mysteries of the

Cross; the Oblation of God in and for the Macrocosmic Universe.

The fundamental truth embodied in this aspect of the holy symbol, is the

doctrine of Pantheism; God, and God only, in and through All. The celestial

Olympus – Mount of Oracles – is ever creating; God never ceases giving of the

Divine Self alike for Creation and for Redemption.

God is in all things, whether personal or impersonal, and in God they live and

move and have being. And that stage of purification through which the Cosmos is

now passing, is God’s Crucifixion; the process of Transmutation and Redemption

of Spirit from Matter, of Being from Existence, of Substance from Phenomenon,

which is to culminate in the final At-one-nient of the ultimate Sabbath of Rest

awaiting God’s redeemed universe at the end of the Kalpa. In the Man Crucified,

we have, therefore, the type and symbol of the continual Crucifixion of God

manifest in the flesh, God suffering in the creature, the Invisible made

Visible, the Volatile Fixed, the Divine Incarnate, which manifestation,

suffering, and crucifixion are the causes of purification and therefore of

Redemption. Thus, in the spiritual Sense, the six days of creation are always

Passion Week, in that they represent the process of painful experience, travail,

and passing through, whereby the Spirit accomplishes the redemption of the Body;

or the return of Matter into Substance. Hence in the sacred writings, God, in

the person of Divine Humanity, is represented as showing the Five Mystical

Wounds of the Passion to the Angels, and saying: – “These are the Wounds of My

Crucifixion, wherewith I am wounded in the House of My Friends.” For, so long as

pain and sorrow and sin endure, God is wounded continually in the persons of all

creatures, small and great; and the temple of their body is the House wherein

the Divine Guest suffers.

36. For the Bread which is broken and divided for the children of the Kingdom is

the Divine Substance, which with the Wine of the Spirit, constitute the holy

Sacrament of the Eucharist, the Communion of the Divine and the Terrene, the

Oblation of Deity in Creation.

37. May this holy Body and Blood, Substance and Spirit, Divine Mother and

Father, inseparable Duality in Unity, given for all creatures, broken and shed,

and making oblation for the world, be everywhere known, adored, and venerated.

May we, by means of that Blood, which is the Love of God and the Spirit of Life,

be redeemed, indrawn, and transmuted into that Body which is Pure Substance,

immaculate and ever virgin, express Image of the Person of God! That we hunger

no more, neither thirst any more; and that neither death, nor life, nor angels,

nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor

height, nor depth, nor any creature, be able to separate us from the Love of

God, which is in Christ Jesus.

That being made one through the At-one-ment of Christ, who only hath Immortality

and inhabiteth Light inaccessible;

We also beholding the glory of God with open face; may be transformed into the

same Image, from glory to glory by the power of the Spirit. (See Appendices,

Nos. V. VIL)


l-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

LECTURE THE FIFTH.

THE NATURE AND CONSTITUTION OF THE EGO.

PART I

01. EVOLUTION as revealed by the facts of physical science is inexplicable on

the materialistic hypothesis, as also are the facts of occult experience and

science. This is because, by its failure to recognize consciousness as

subsisting prior to organism, and inherent in substance, that hypothesis ignores

the condition essential to evolution.

02. But for evolution something more even than consciousness is requisite, –

namely, memory. For memory is the condition of segregation; the cause and

consequence of individualization. Hence every molecule, both in its individual

and its collective capacity, is capable of memory; for every experience leaves,

in its degree, its impression or scar on the substance of the molecule to be

transmitted to its descendants. This memory of the most striking effects of past

experience, is the differentiating cause which, accumulated over countless

generations, leads up from the amæba to man. Were there no such memory, instead

of progress, or evolution, there would be a circle returning into and repeating

itself: whereas, the modifying effects of accumulated experience convert what

would otherwise be a circle into a spiral, whose eccentricity – though

imperceptible at the outset – becomes greater and more complex at every step. [

See Unconscious Memory, ch. Xiii., by S. Butler. 1880.]

03. Consciousness being inherent in substance, every molecule in the universe is

able to feel and to obey after its kind, – the inorganic as well as the organic,

between which there is no absolute distinction, as ordinarily supposed. For even

the stone has a moral platform, embracing a respect for and obedience to the

laws of gravitation and chemical affinity. Wherever there are vibration and

motion, there are life and memory; and there are vibration and motion at all

times and in all things. Herein may be seen the cause of the failure of the

attempt to divide the ego from the non-ego. Strictly speaking, there is one

thing and one action; for unconsciousness is no more a positive thing, than

darkness. It is the privation, more or less complete, of consciousness, as

obscurity is of light.

04. We come to speak of the substantial ego, the soul or Psyche, the superior

human reason, the nucleus of the human system. [ Using the term Psyche in the

higher sense usually attached to it by the post-Homeric Greeks, and not that of

the animal life as by Paul.] In every living entity there are four inherent

powers. We are speaking now not of component parts but of forces. The first and

lowest mode of power is the mechanical; the second is the chemical; the third is

the electrical, – an order which includes the mental; and the fourth is the

psychical. The first three belong to the domain of physiological science; the

last to that of spiritual science. It is this last mode of power which belong to

the “Immaculate” and Essential. It is inherent in the Substantial, and is,

therefore, a permanent and indefeasible quantity. It is in the Arche, and is

wherever there is organic life. Thus is Psyche at once the “living mother” and

“mother of the living.” And she is from the Beginning latent and diffused in all

matter. She is the unmanifest, by the divine Will made manifest; the invisible,

by energy made visible. Wherefore every manifested entity is a Trinity, whose

three “persons” are, – (1) that which makes visible; (2) that which is made

visible; and (3) that which is visible. Such are Force, Substance, and the

expression or “Word” of these.

05. Of this Energy, or Primordial Force, there are two modes, – for everything

is dual, – the centrifugal, or accelerating force, and the centripetal, or

moderating force; or which the latter, in being derivative, reflex, and

complementary, is as feminine to the other’s masculine. By means of the first

mode substances become matter. By means of the second mode substance resumes her

first condition. In all matter there is a tendency to revert to substance, and

hence to polarize Soul by means of evolution. For the instant the centrifugal

mode of force comes into action, that instant its derivative, the centripetal

force, begins also to exercise its influence. And the primordial substance has

no sooner assumed the condition of matter, than matter itself begins to

differentiate, – being actuated by its inherent force, – and by differentiation

to beget individualities.

06. Then Psyche, once abstract and universal, becomes concrete and individual,

and through the gate of matter issues forth into new life. A minute spark in the

globule, she becomes – by continual accretion and centralization – a refulgent

blaze in the globe. As along a chain of nerve-cells the current of magnetic

energy flows to its central point, – being conveyed, as is a mechanical shock,

along a series of units, with ever-culminating impetus, – so is the psychic

energy throughout nature developed. Hence the necessity of centres, of

associations, of organisms. And thus, by the systemization of congeries of

living entities, that which in each is little, becomes great in the whole. The

quality of Psyche is ever the same; her potentiality is invariable.

07. Our souls, then, are the agglomerate essences of the numberless

consciousnesses composing us. They have grown, evolving gradually from

rudimentary entities which were themselves evolved, by polarization, from

gaseous and mineral matter. And these entities combine and coalesce to form

higher, – because more complex, – entities, the soul of the individual

representing the combined forces of their manifold consciousnesses, polarized

and centralized into an indefeasible unity.

08. While the material and the physical are to each other respectively the world

of Causes and the world of Effects, the material is, itself, the effect of the

spiritual, being the middle term between the spiritual and the physical. It is

therefore true that organism is the result of Idea, and that Mind is the cause

of evolution. The explanation is, that Mind is before matter in its abstract,

though not in its concrete condition. This is to say, that Mind, greater than,

and yet identical with, that which results from organism, precedes and is the

cause of organism.

09. This Mind is God, as subsisting prior to and apart from creation, which is

manifestation. God is spirit or essential substance, and is impersonal if the

term person be taken in its etymological sense, but personal in the highest and

truest sense if the conception be of essential consciousness. For God has no

limitations. God is a pure and naked fire burning in infinitude, whereof a flame

subsists in all creatures. The Cosmos is a tree having innumerable branches,

each connected with and springing out of various boughs, and these again

originating in and nourished by one stem and root. And God is a fire burning in

this tree, and yet consuming it not. God is I AM. Such is the nature of infinite

and essential Being. And such is God before the worlds. [ Terms implying

succession, when used in relation to the infinite and eternal, are to be

understood logically, not chronologically.]

10. What, then, is the purpose of evolution, and separation into many forms, –

the meaning, that is, of Life? Life is the elaboration of soul through the

varied transformation of matter.

Spirit is essential and perfect in itself, having neither beginning nor end.

Soul is secondary and perfected, being begotten of spirit. Spirit is the first

principle, and is abstract. Soul is the derivative, and is therefore concrete.

Spirit is thus the primary Adam; and Soul is Eve, the “woman” taken out of the

side of the “man.”

11. The essential principle of personality, – that which constitutes personality

in its highest sense, – is consciousness, is spirit; and this is God. Wherefore

the highest and innermost principle of every monad is God. But this primary

principle, – being naked essence, – could not be separated off into individuals

unless contained and limited by a secondary principle. This principle, – being

derived, – is, necessarily evolved. Spirit, therefore, is projected into the

condition of matter in order that soul may be evolved thereby. Soul is begotten

in matter by means of polarization; and spirit, of which all matter consists,

returns to its essential nature in soul, – this being the medium in which spirit

is individualized, – and from abstract becomes concrete; so that by means of

creation God the One becomes God the Many.

PART II

12. WE have spoken of an outer personality and an inner personality, and of a

material consciousness as differing from a spiritual consciousness. We have now

to speak of a spiritual energy as differing from a material energy. The energy

whereby the soul polarizes and accretes, is not dependent upon the undulations

of the ether as are material energies. The astral ether is the first state of

matter. And to the first state of matter corresponds the primordial force, the

rotatory, or centrifugal and centripetal in one. But before and within force is

Will; that is, Necessity, which is the will of God. It is inherent in substance,

which is the medium in which it operates. Such as the primordial will is in

relation to the primordial substance, the individual will is to the derived

soul. And when the current of spiritual energy, or will, is strong enough in the

complex organism to polarize and kindle centrally, then the individual Psyche

conceives Divinity within her and becomes God- conscious. In the rudimentary

stages of matter, this current is not strong enough or continuous enough thus to

polarize.

13. When Psyche has once gathered force sufficient to burn centrally, her flame

is not quenched by the disintegration of the physical elements. These, indeed,

fall asunder and desquamate many times during life; yet the consciousness and

memory remain the same. We have not in our physical bodies a single particle

which we had some few years ago, and yet our ego is the same and our thought

continuous. The Psyche in us, therefore, has grown up out of many elements; and

their interior egos are perpetuated in our interior ego, because their psychic

force is centralized in our individuality. And when our Psyche is disengaged

from the disintegrating particles of our systems, she will, – after due

purgation, – go forth to new affinities and the reversion of matter to substance

will still continue.

14. Is it asked, – If the soul be immaculate how comes she to be attracted by

material affinities? The reply is, that the link between her and earth is that

which the Hindus call Karma, namely, the results of past conduct, and consequent

destiny. Immaculate though she be in her virginal essence, Psyche is not the

“espoused Bride” until the bond between her and the earth be severed. And this

can be only when every molecule of her essence is pervaded by spirit, and

indissolubly married therewith, as God with Arche in the Principle.

The soul, like water, can never really be other than “immaculate,” and hence the

peculiar propriety of water as the mystical symbol for the soul. Being a

chemical combination of two gases, – hydrogen and oxygen, – themselves pure,

water itself also is pure and cannot be otherwise. The condition called foulness

occurs, not by the admission of foreign substances entering into combination

with it, but only by mechanical admixture with these, and the holding of them in

suspension in such wise that may be eliminated by distillation. Such is the

relation of the soul to “sin.” When regeneration, the equivalent of

distillation, – is accomplished, “Karma” is no longer operative.

PART III

15. THE law inherent in the primordial substance of matter obliges all things to

evolve after the same mode. The worlds in the infinite abyss of the heavens are

in all respects similar to the cells in vegetable or animal tissue. Their

evolution is similar, their distribution similar, and their mutual relations are

similar. For this reason we may, by the study of natural science, learn the

truth not only in regard to this, but in regard also to occult science; for the

facts of the first are as a mirror to the facts of the last.

16. We have already said that our souls are the agglomerate essences of the

numberless consciousnesses composing us. Our souls are not, however, limited in

capacity to the sum total of those consciousnesses as they are in their separate

state; but represent them combined into One Life polarized to a plane

indefinitely higher. For the synthetical resultant thus attained is not a mere

aggregate of constituents; but represents a new condition of these, precisely as

in chemistry H2O – the symbol for water – represents a new condition of 2H+O,

and differs from it by a reformulation of state. After such a reformulation, the

sum of the activities of the molecules of the resulting product is different

from that previously possessed by its factors. In such sense is to be understood

the synthesis of consciousness by means of which our individuality is

constituted; and, – referring this this synthetic energy to a yet higher plane,

– the formulation of the God-consciousness peculiar to our world.

This idea was familiar to the ancients. They were wont to regard every heavenly

orb as a deity, having for his material body the visible planet; for his astral

nature its vegetable and animal intelligences; and for his Soul, man’s

 

substantial part, his spirit being the Nous of man, and therefore Divine. And

as, when speaking of the planet-God they specially meant that Nous, it was said

with truth that our Divine part is no other than the planet-God, – in our case

Dionysos, or Jehovah-Nyssi, the “God of the emerald,” or green earth, called

also Iacchos, the mystic Bacchos. [ See Appendices No. XII. The Earth’s place in

the “Seven Planets” is that of the green ray in the spectrum. Hence the emerald

“Tablet of Trismegistus” and signet of the Popes.]

17. Such as all creatures composing the planet are to the planet, all the

planets are to universe, and such are the Gods to God (in manifestation). The

supreme Ego of the universe is the sum total of all the Gods; His Personality is

their agglomerate personality; to pray to Him is to address all the celestial

host, and, by inclusion, the souls of all just men. But as in man, the central

unity of consciousness constituted of the association of all the consciousness

of his system, is more than the sum total of these, inasmuch as it is on a

higher level; – so in the planet and the universe. The soul of the planet is

more than the associated essences of the souls composing it. The consciousness

of the system is more than that of associated world-consciousnesses. The

consciousness of the manifest universe is more than that of the corporate

systems; and that of the Unmanifest Deity is greater than that of them all. For

the Manifest does not exhaust the Unmanifest; but “the Father is greater than

the Son.” [ See Appendices, No. X., I.]

18. And here it is necessary that this distinction between the manifest and

unmanifest God be insisted on and defined. “No man,” it is declared, “hath seen

the Father at any time,” because the Father is Deity unmanifest. And again, “He

that hath seen the Son, hath seen the Father also,” because the Son is Deity in

manifestation, and is the “Express Image” or Revelation of the Father, being

brought forth in the “fulness of time” as the crown of cosmic evolution. This

latter mode of Deity is therefore synthetical and cumulative; the terminal

quantity of the whole series of the universal Life-process (Lebens-prozess) as

exhibited in successive planes of generative activity, the Omega of concretive

developments. But the Father is Deity under its abstract mode, logically

precedent to and inclusive of the secondary and manifest mode; the Alpha of all

things and processes, the supra-cosmic, primordial Being, impersonal (in the

etymological sense of the term) and unindividualized; that wherein consciousness

subsists in its original mode, and whereby it is subsequently conditioned and

compelled. This unmanifest Deity must necessarily represent some mode of

Self-hood; but its nature remains inscrutable to us, and can be known only

through the Person of the Son; – that is, in manifestation.

The difference between the two modes of Deity finds apt illustration in the

physiology of embryonic development. The first condition of the fecundated ovum

is one of generalized and informulate vitality. An activity, at once intelligent

and unindividualized, permeates the mass of potential differentiations, and

directs their manifestation. Under the direction of this inherent activity, the

mass divides, segregates, and constitutes itself into discrete elements; and

these in their turn sub-divide, and elaborate new individuations; until, by

means of successive aggregations of cellular entities, various strata and

tissues are formed. In this way, is built up, little by little, a new glomerate

creature, the consciousness of which, though manifold and diverse, is yet one

and synthetic. But this synthetic individuality is not of itself. It was

begotten in the bosom of the inherent and primordial intelligence pervading the

essential matter out of which it was constructed, and to which, as Father, it is

Son.

19. The Gods are not limited in number. Their numbers denote orders only. Beyond

number are the orbs in infinite space, and each of them is a God. Each globe has

its quality corresponding to the conditions of the elements which compose it.

And every physical world of causes has its psychic world of effects. All things

are begotten by fission, or section, in an universal protoplast; and the power

which causes this generation is centrifugal.

20. God unmanifest and abstract is the Primordial Mind, and the cosmic universe

is the ideation of that Mind. Mind in itself is passive; it is organ, not

function. Idea is active; it is function. As soon, therefore, as Mind becomes

operative, it brings forth Ideas, and these constitute existence. Mind is

abstract; Ideas are concrete. To think is to create. Every thought is a

substantial action. Wherefore Thoth – Thought – is the creator of the Cosmos.

Hence the identification of Hermes (Thoth) with the Logos.

21. Nevertheless, there is but one God; and in God are comprehended all thrones,

and dominions, and powers, and principalities, and archangels, and cherubim in

the celestial world, – called by Kabbalists the “Exemplary World,” or world of

archetypal ideas. And through these are the worlds begotten in time and space,

each with its astral sphere. And every world is a conscient individuality. Yet

they all subsist in one consciousness, which is one God. For all things are of

spirit, and God is spirit, and spirit is consciousness.

22. The science of the Mysteries is the climax and crown of the physical

sciences, and can be fully understood only by those who are conversant

therewith. Without this knowledge it is impossible to comprehend the basic

doctrine of occult science, the doctrine of Vehicles. The knowledge of heavenly

things must be preceded by that of earthly things. “If, when I have spoken to

you of earthly things, you understand not,” says the Hierophant to his

neophytes, “how shall you understand when I speak to you of heavenly things?” It

is vain to seek the inner chamber without first passing through the outer.

Theosophy, or the science of the Divine, is the Royal Science. And there is no

way to reach the King’s chamber save through the outer rooms and galleries of

the palace. Hence one of the reasons why occult science cannot be unveiled to

the generality of men. To the uninstructed no truth is demonstrable. They who

have not learned to appreciate the elements of a problem, cannot appreciate its

solution.

23. All the component consciousnesses of the individual polarize to form an

unity, which is as a sun to his system. But this polarization is fourfold, being

distinct for each mode of consciousness. And the central, innermost, or highest

point of radiance – and it alone – is subjective. They who stop short at the

secondary consciousness and imagine it to be the subjective, have failed to

penetrate to the innermost and highest point of the consciousness in themselves,

and in so far are defective as to their humanity. Whereas they who have

developed in themselves the consciousness of every zone of the human system, are

truly human, and do, of themselves, represent humanity as no majority, however

great, of undeveloped and rudimentary men can do. Being thus, they represent

Divinity also. Theocracy consists in government by them.

24. Let us take for illustration the image of an incandescent globe, or ball of

fire, fluid and igneous throughout its whole mass. Supposing this globe divided

into several successive zones, each containing its precedent, we find that the

central interior zone only contains the radiant point, or heart of the fiery

mass, and that each successive zone constitutes a circumferential halo, more or

less intense according to its nearness to the radiant point; but secondary and

derived only, and not in itself a source of luminous radiation.

25. It is thus with the macrocosm, and also with the human kingdom. In the

latter the soul is the interior zone, and that which alone contains the radiant

point. By this one indivisible effulgence the successive zones are illuminated

in unbroken continuity; but the source of it is not in them. And this effulgence

is consciousness, and this radiant point is the spiritual ego or Divine spark.

God is the Shining One, the radiant point of the universe. God is the supreme

consciousness, and the Divine radiance also is consciousness. And man’s interior

ego is conscient only because the radiant point in it is Divine. And this

consciousness emits consciousness; and transmits it, first, to the Psyche; next

to the anima bruta; and last, to the physical system. The more concentrated the

consciousness, the brighter and more effulgent the central spark.

26. Again: in from the midst of this imagined globe of fire the central

incandescent spark be removed, the whole globe does not immediately become dark;

but the effulgence lingers in each zone according to its degree of proximity to

the centre. And it is thus when dissolution occurs in the process of death. The

anima bruta and physical body may retain consciousness for a while after the

soul is withdrawn, and each part will be capable of memory, thought, and

reflection according to its kind.

27. Apart from the consciousness which is of the Psyche, man is necessarily

agnostic. For, of the region which, being spiritual and primary, interprets the

sensible and secondary, he has no perception. He may know things, indeed, but

not the meaning of things; appearances, but not realities; resultant forms, but

not formative ideas; still less the source of these. The world and himself are

fellow-phantoms; aimless apparitions of an inscrutable something, or, may-be,

nothing; a succession of unrelated, unstable states.

28. From this condition of non-entity, the spiritual consciousness redeems him,

by withdrawing him inward from materiality and negation, and disclosing to him a

noumenal, and, therefore, stable ego, as the cognizer of the unstable states of

his phenomenal ego. The recognition of this noumenal ego in himself involves the

recognition of a corresponding ego, of which it is the counterpart, without

himself: – involves, that is, the perception of God. For the problem of the ego

in man is the problem also of God in the universe. The revelation of one is the

revelation of both, and the knowledge of either involves that of the other.

Wherefore for man to know himself, is to know God. Self-consciousness is

God-consciousness. He who possesses this consciousness, is, in such degree, a

Mystic.

29. That whereby the mystic is differentiated from other men, is degree and

quality of sensitiveness. All are alike environed by one and the same manifold

Being. But whereas the majority are sensitive to certain planes or modes only,

and these the outer and lower, of the common environment, he is sensitive to

them all, and especially to the inner and higher; having developed the

corresponding mode in himself. For man can recognize without himself that only

which he has within himself. The mystic is sensitive to the God-environment,

because God is spirit, and he has developed his spiritual consciousness. That

is, he has and knows his noumenal ego. Psyche and her recollections and

perceptions are his.

30. Hence the radiant point of the complex ego must be distinguished from its

perceptive point. The first is always fixed and immutable. The second is

mutable; and its position and relations vary with different individuals. The

consciousness of the soul, or even – in very rudimentary beings – of the mind

may lie beyond the range of the perceptive consciousness. As, this advances and

spreads inwards, the environment of the ego concerned expands; until, when,

finally, the perceptive point and the radiant point coincide, the ego attains

regeneration and emancipation.

31. When the physiologists tell us that memory is a biological processus, and

that consciousness is a state dependent upon the duration and intensity of

molecular nervous vibration, a consensus of a vital action in the cerebral

cells; a complexity, unstable and automatic, making and unmaking itself at each

instant, as does the material flame, and similarly evanescent, – they do not

touch the Psyche. For what is it that cognizes these unstable states? To what

Subject do these successive and ephemeral conditions manifest themselves, and

how are they recognized? Phenomenon is incapable of cognizing itself, and

appears not to itself, being objective only. So that unless there be an inner,

subjective ego to perceive and remember this succession of phenomenal states,

the condition of personality would be impossible; whereas, there is of necessity

such an ego; for apparition and production are processes affecting – and

therefore implying – a subject. Now this subject is, for man, the Psyche; for

the universe, God. In the Divine mind subsist eternally and substantially all

those things of which we behold the appearances. And as in nature there are

infinite gradations from simple to complex, from coarse to fine, from dark to

light, so is Psyche reached by innumerable degrees; and they who have not

penetrated to the inner, stop short at the secondary consciousness, which is

ejective only, and imagine that the subjective – which alone explains all – is

undemonstrable.

32. A prime mistake of the biologists consists in their practice of seeking

unity in the simple, rather than in the complex. They thus reverse and invert

the method of evolution, and nullify its end. They refuse unity to the man, in

order to claim it for the molecule alone. Claiming unity and, thereby,

individuality, for the ultimate element, indivisible and indestructible by

thought, – for the simple monad only, –they divinize the lowest instead of the

highest, and so deprive evolution of its motive and end. Whereas Psyche is the

most complex of extracts; and the dignity and excelence of the human soul

consist, not in her simplicity, but in her complexity. She is the summit of

evolution, and all generation works in order to produce her. The occult law

which governs evolution brings together, in increasingly complex and manifold

entities, in numerable unities, in order that they may, of their substantial

essence, polarize one complex essential extract: – complex, because evolved from

and by the concurrence of many simpler monads: – essential, because in its

nature ultimate and indestructible. The human ego is, therefore, the synthesis,

the Divine Impersonal personified; and the more sublimed is this personality,

the profounder is the consciousness of the Impersonal. The Divine consciousness

is not ejective, but subjective. The secondary personality and consciouness are

to the primary as the water reflecting the heavens; the nether completing and

returning to the upper its own concrete reflex.

33. It is necessary clearly to understand the difference between the objective

and the ejective on the one hand, and the subjective on the other. The study of

the material is the study of the two former; and the study of the substantial is

the study of the latter. That, then, which the biologists term the subjective,

is not truly so, but is only the last or interior phase of phenomenon. Thus ,

for example, the unstable states which constitute consciousness, are, in their

view, subjective states. But they are objective to the true subject, which is

Psyche, because they are perceived by this latter, and whatever is perceived is

objective. There are in the microcosm two functions, that of the revealer, and

that of the entity to which revelation is made. The unstable states of the

biologist, which accompany certain operations of organic force are so many modes

whereby exterior things are revealed to the interior subject. Constituting a

middle term between object and subject, these states are strictly ejective, and

are not, therefore, the subject to which revelation is made. It is hopeless to

seek to attain the subjective by the same method of study which discovers the

ejective and objective. We find the latter by observation from without; the

former by intuition from within. The human cosmos is a complexity of many

principles, each having its own mode of operation. And it is on the rank and

order of the principle affected by any special operation that the nature of the

effect produced depends. When, therefore, for example, the biologist speaks of

unconscious cerebration, he should ask himself to whom or to what such

cerebration is unconscious, knowing that in all vital processes there is

infinite gradation. Questions of duration affect the mind; questions of

intensity affect the Psyche. All processes which occur in the objective are

relative to something; there is but one thing absolute and that is the subject.

Unconscious cerebration is therefore only relatively unconscious in regard to

that mode of perception which is conditioned in and by duration. But inasmuch as

any such process of cerebration is intense, it is perceived by that perceptive

centre which is conditioned by intensity; and in relation to that centre it is

not unconscious. The interior man being spiritual, knows all processes; but many

processes are not apprehended by the man merely mental. We see herein the

distinction between the human principles, and their separability even on this

plane of life. And if our mundane ego and our celestial ego be so distinct and

separable, even while vitally connected, that a nervous process conscious to the

latter is unconscious to the former much more shall separability be possible

when the vital bond is broken. If the polarities of our entire system were

single and identical in direction, we should be conscious of all processes and

nothing would be unknown to us; because the central point of our perception

would be the precise focus of all convergent radii. But no unregenerate man is

in such case. In most men the perceptive point lies in the relative man, –

ejective or objective, – and by no means in the substantial and subjective man.

Thus the convergent radii pass unheeded of the individual consciousness,

because, as yet, the man knows not his own spirit. Being thus incapable of

absolute cognition, such as these may be said to be asleep while they live.

PART IV

34. THE higher the entity undergoing death, the easier is the detachment of the

Psyche from the lower consciousness by which she is enshrined. The saint does

not fear death, because his consciousness is gathered up into his Psyche, and

she into her spouse the Spirit. Death, for him, is the result, not of any

pathological process, but of the normal withdrawal, first, of the animal life

into the astral or magnetic; and, next, of this into the psychic, to the

reinforcement of the latter, precisely as in the cell about to disintegrate, its

protoplasmic contents are seen to become better defined and to increase, as

their containing capsule becomes more tenuous and transparent. In this wise have

passed away saints and holy man innumerable of all lands and faiths; and with a

dissolution of this kind the relations of the redeemed Psyche with materiality

may terminate altogether. Such an end is the consummation of the redemption from

the power of the body, and from the “sting of death.” Forasmuch, however, as the

righteous has attained this condition by what Paul calls “dying daily” during a

long period to the lower elements, death for him, – whatever the guise in which

it may finally come – is no sudden event, but the completion of a process long

in course of accomplishment. That which to others is a violent shock, comes to

him by insensible degrees, and as a release wholly comfortable. Hence the

aspiration of the prophet, “Let me die the death of the just, and let my last

end be like his.”

35. In dissolution, the consciouness speedily departs from the outermost and

lowest sphere, that of the physical body. In the shade, spectre, or astral body

(Hebrew, Nephesh) – which is the lowest mode of soul, – consciousness lingers a

brief while before being finally dissipated. In the astral soul, anima bruta, or

ghost (Hebrew, Ruach) consciousness persists, – it may be for centuries, –

according to the strength of the lower will of the individual, manifesting the

distinctive characteristics of his outer personality. In the soul (Hebrew,

Neshamah), the immediate receptacle of the Divine Spirit, – the consciousness is

everlasting as the soul herself. And while the ghost remains below in the astral

sphere, the soul, obeying the same universal law of gravitation and affinity,

detaches herself and mounts to the higher atmosphere suited to her; – unless,

indeed, she be yet too gross to be capable of such aspiration. In which case,

she remains “bound” in her astral envelope as in a prison. This separability of

principles is recognized in Homer when Odysseus is made to say of his interview

with the shades: – “Then I perceived Herakles, but only in phantom, for he

himself is with the gods.” [ As pointed out by Dr. Hayman, Pindar similarly

emphasizes the distinction between the hero and his immortal essence. And

Chaucer has the line: “Though thou here walked, thy spirit is in hell”(Man of

Law’s Tale). These distinctions are more than poetic imaginings. They represent

occult knowledges as verified by the experience of all ages.]

36. The ghosts of the dead resemble mirrors having two opposed surfaces. On the

one side they reflect the earth-sphere and its pictures of the past. On the

other they receive influxes from those higher spheres which have received their

higher, because spiritual, egos. The interval between these principles is,

however, better described as of state or condition than as of locality. For this

belongs to the physical and mundane, and for the freed soul has no existence.

There is no far nor near in the Divine.

37. The ghost, however, has hopes which are not without justification. It does

not all die, if there be in it anything worthy of recall. The astral sphere is

then its place of purgation. For Saturn, who as Time is the Trier of all things,

devours all the dross, so that only that escapes which in its nature is

celestial and destined to reign. The soul, on attaining Nirvana, gathers up all

that it has left in the astral of holy memories and worthy experiences. To this

end the ghost rises in the astral by the gradual decay and loss of its more

material affinities, until these have so disintegrated and perished that its

substance is thereby enlightened and purified. But continued commerce and

intercourse with earth add, as it were, fresh fuel to its earthly affinities,

keeping these alive, and so hinder its recall to its spiritual ego. And thus,

therefore, the spiritual ego itself is detained from perfect absorption into,

and union with, the Divine.

38. This dissolution of the ghost is gradual and natural. It is a process of

disintegration and elimination extending over periods which are greater or less

according to the character of the individual. Those ghosts which have belonged

to evil persons possessed of strong wills and earthly tendencies, persist

longest and manifest most frequently and vividly, because they do not rise, but

– being destined to perish – are not withdrawn from immediate contact with the

earth. These are all dross, having in them no redeemable element. The ghost of

the righteous, on the other hand, complains if his evolution be disturbed. “Why

callest thou me?” he may be regarded as saying: “disturb me not. The memories of

my earth-life are chains about my neck; the desire of the past detains me.

Suffer me to rise towards my rest, and hinder me not with evocations. But let

thy love go after me and encompass me; so shalt thou rise with me through sphere

after sphere.” Thus even though, as often happens, the ghost of a righteous

person remains near one who, being also righteous, has loved him, it is still

after the true soul of the dead that the love of the living friend goes, and not

after his lower personality represented in the ghost. And it is the strength and

divinity of this love which helps the purgation of the soul, being to it an

indication of the way it ought to go, “a light shining upon the upward path”

which leads from the earthly to the celestial and everlasting. For the good man

upon earth can love nothing other than the Divine. Wherefore, that which he

loves in his friend is the Divine, – his true and radiant self. [ See

Appendices, Nos. II and XIII, Part 2.]

PART V

39. Of the four constituent spheres of the planet one subsists in two

conditions, present and past. This is its magnetic atmosphere or astral soul,

called the Anima Mundi. In the latter condition it is the Picture-world wherein

are stored up all the memories of the planet; its past life, its history, its

affections and recollections of physical things. The adept may interrogate this

phantom-world, and it shall speak for him. It is the cast-off vestment of the

planet; yet it is living and palpitating, for its very fabric is spun of psychic

substance, and its entire parenchyma is magnetic. And forasmuch as the planet is

an entity ever being born and ever dying; so this astral counterpart of itself,

which is the mirror of the globe, a world encompassing a world is ever in

process of increase.

40. What the disintegrating Ruach is to man, this astral zone is to the planet.

In fact, the great magnetic sphere of the planet is itself composed and woven

out of the magnetic egos of its offspring, precisely as these in their turn are

woven out of the infinitely lesser atoms which compose the individual man. So

that by a figure, we may represent the whole astral atmosphere of the planet as

a system of so many minute spheres, each reflecting and transmitting special

rays. But as the Divine Spirit of the planet is not in its magnetic circle, but

in the celestial; so the true soul and spirit of the man are not in this astral

sphere, but are of the higher altitudes.

41. Each world has its astral soul which remains always with it. But the world’s

true soul migrates and interchanges, which is the secret of the creation of

worlds. Worlds, like men, have their karma; and new cosmic globes arise out of

the ruins of former states. As the soul of the individual human unit

transmigrates and passes on, so, likewise does the Psyche of the planet. From

world to world in ceaseless intercourse and impetus, the living Neshamah pursues

her variable way. And as she passes, the tincture of her divinity changes. Here,

her spirit is derived through Iacchos; there through Aphrodite; and, again,

through Hermes, or another god. Here, again, she is weak; and there, strong. Our

planet – it must be understood – did not begin this Avatar in strength. An evil

karma overwhelmed its soul; a karma which has endured throughout the last

pralaya, or interval intervening between the former period of vivification of

the planet and its re birth, to new activities, – and which, from the outset of

the fresh manifestation – commonly called creation – dominated the

reconstruction of things. This planetary karma was, by the Scandinavian

theology, presented under the figure of the “golden dice of destiny,” which,

after the “twilight of the Gods,” or “night of the Kalpa,” were found again

unchanged in the growing grass of a new risen earth. For, as the kabbalistic

interpreters of Genesis teach, the moral formations of all created things

preceded their objective appearance. So that “every plant of the field before it

sprang, and every herb of the ground before it grew,” had its “generation”

unalterably determined. And, so long as these moral destinies which constitute

the planetary karma remain operative, so long the process of alternate passivity

and activity will continue. The revolutions and evolution of matter, the

interchanges of destruction and renovation, mark the rhythmic swing of this

resistless force, the expression of essential Justice. “The might of the Gods

increase: the might of the powers of evil dwindles.” [ The Dharmasastra Sutras.]

42. As with man so with the planet. For small and great there is One Law; though

one star differs from another in glory. And so throughout the infinite vistas

and systems of the heavens. From star to star, from sun to sun, from galaxy to

galaxy, the cosmic souls migrate and interchange. But every God keeps his

tincture and maintains indefeasibly his personality.

PART VI

43. To apply what has been said to the elucidatior of catholic doctrine and

practice. The object set before the saint is so to live as to render the soul

luminous and consolidate with the spirit, that thereby the spirit may be

perpetually one with the soul, and thus eternize its individuality. For

individuality appertains to the soul, inasmuch as it consists in separateness,

which it is the function of soul-substance to accomplish in respect of spirit. [

While Christianity teaches the everlasting persistence of acquired personality

of the redeemed, and makes redemption consist in this, Buddhism insists that

personality is an illusion belonging to the sphere of existence, - as

distinguished from Being, - and makes redemption consist in the escape from it.

But the difference between the two doctrines is one of presentation only, and is

not a real difference. The explanation is that there are to each individual two

personalities or selfhoods, the one exterior and phenomenal, which is transient,

and the other interior and substantial, which is permanent. And while Buddhism

declares truly the evanescence of the former, Christianity declares truly the

continuance of the latter. It is the absorption of the individual into this

inner and divine selfhood, and his consequent withdrawal from Existence, that

constitutes Nirvana, “the peace that passeth understanding.” ] Thus, though

eternal and immaculate in her substance, the soul acquires individuality by

being born in matter and time; and within her is conceived the divine element,

which, divided from God, is yet God and man. Wherefore catholic dogma and

tradition, while making Mary the “mother of God,” represent her as born of Anna,

the year, of time. [ The Hebrew forms of these names, - Miriam and Hannah, - do

not bear quite the same meanings. But, as is obvious from the analogies used and

accepted in Catholic teaching, the name of the Virgin has always been related to

its Latin signification, so that it is consistent to accept the name of her

mother accordance with this practice, especially as the latter is not mentioned

by any other Evangelists, but occurs only in Latin tradition.]

44. The two terms of the history of creation, or evolution, are formulated by

the Church in two dogmas. These are (1), the Immaculate Conception; and (2), the

Assumption, of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [ It is true that the doctrine of the

Assumption is not a dogma in the technical sense of the term, inasmuch as it has

not yet been formally promulgated as an article of faith. But it has always

subsisted in the Church as a “pious belief,” and in promulgating it we are but

anticipating the Church’s intention; – excepting that we present it as a

conclusion of reason no less than as an article of faith. How far our action may

be agreeable to ecclesiastical authority we have not thought necessary to

inquire. Neither deriving our information from ecclesiastical sources, nor being

under ecclesiastical direction, we commit no breach of ecclesiastical propriety.

In any case it has the notable effect of securing the fulfilment of the prophecy

implied in the choice of his official title and insignia by Pope Leo XIII. – the

prophecy that his pontificate should witness the promulgation in question. For

further explanation see Lect. VI. 39.] The former concerns the generation of the

soul, presenting her as begotten in the womb of matter, and by means of matter

brought into world, and yet not of matter, but from the first moment of her

being, pure and incorrupt. Otherwise she could not be “Mother of God.” In her

bosom, as Nucleus, is conceived the bright and holy Light, the Nucleolus, which

– without participation of matter – germinates in her and manifests itself as

the express image of the Eternal and Ineffable Selfhood. To this image she gives

individuality; and through and in her it is focused and polarized into a

perpetual and self-subsistent Person, at once human and Divine, Son of God and

of Man. Thus is the soul at once Daughter, Spouse, and Mother of God. By her is

crushed the head of the Serpent. And from her triumphant springs the Man

Regenerate, who, as the product of a pure soul and divine spirit, is said to be

born of water (Maria) and the Holy Ghost.

45. The declarations of Jesus to Nicodemus are explicit and conclusive as to the

purely spiritual nature both of the entity designated “Son of Man,” and of the

process of his generation. Whether incarnate or not, the “Son of Man” is of

necessity always “in heaven,” – his own “kingdom within.” Accordingly the terms

describing his parentage are devoid of any physical reference. “Virgin Maria”

and “Holy Ghost” are synonymous, respectively, with “Water” and “the Spirit”;

and these, again, denote the two constituents of every regenerated selfhood, its

purified soul and divine spirit. Wherefore the saying of Jesus, – “Ye must be

born again of Water and of the Spirit,” was a declaration, first, that it is

necessary to every one to be born in the manner in which he himself is said to

have been born; and, next, that the gospel narrative of his birth is really a

presentation, dramatic and symbolical, of the nature of regeneration.

46. As the Immaculate Conception is the foundation of the Mysteries, so the

Assumption is their crown. For the entire object and end of cosmic evolution is

precisely this triumph and apotheosis of the soul. In this Mystery is beheld the

consummation of the whole scheme of creation, – the perfectionment,

perpetuation, and glorification of the individual human ego. The grave – that is

the astral and material consciousness – cannot retain the Mother of God. She

rises into heaven; she assumes its Queenship, and is – to cite the “Little

Office the Blessed Virgin Mary” – “taken up into the chamber where the King of

kings sits on His starry throne”; her festival, therefore, being held at the

corresponding season in the astronomical year, when the constellation Virgo

reaches the zenith and is lost to view in the solar rays. Thus, from end to end,

the mystery of the soul’s evolution – the argument, that is, of the cosmic drama

and the history of Humanity – is contained and enacted in the cultus of the

Blessed Virgin. The Acts and the Glories of Mary are the one and supreme theme

of the sacred Mysteries. [ See Appendices, No. XI.]

47. Now this discourse on the nature and constitution of the Ego, is really a

discourse on the nature and constitution of the Church of Christ. [ See

Appendices. No. X ]


l-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

LECTURE THE SIXTH

THE FALL ( No. I )

PART I

01. IN the city of Mecca, the birthplace of the iconoclast Mohammed, is a square

edifice, thirty feet high, called the Kaabeh, or Cube. The Koran says that is

was the first house of worship built for mankind. It has been known from time

immemorial as Beit-Allah, which name is the exact equivalent of the Hebrew word

Beth-El, House of God. According to Moslem legend, it was originally built by

Adam, after the pattern of a similar structure in Paradise, and was restored by

Abraham. It contains a white stone, – now blackened by time and by the kisses of

pilgrims, – which stone was also, according to tradition, brought from Paradise.

But, ages before the birth of Mohammed, the Kaabeh was an object of veneration

as a Pantheon of the Gods, and the white stone was adored as a symbol of Venus.

02. This cubic House is a figure of the Human Kingdom framed on the pattern of

the Universal Kingdom constructed in the primal Age or “Beginning.” And the

original builder of the Kaabeh is said to have been Adam, because by “Adam” is

understood the first Church of the Elect, the first Community of men “made in

the Image of God.” This Church, having forfeited “Paradise,” and fallen away

from perfection, was restored by Abraham, the Father of the Faithful or

Initiates, this great Ancestor of the chosen people of God being no other than

the personified Church of Brahma in India, whence the Mysteries “went down into

Egypt,” and ultimately into all the world. The name Beth-El given to the Human

House, denotes that man, when “cubic” or six-fold, is the habitation of Deity.

In a future discourse it will be shown that these six stages or “days” of the

creative week of the microcosm, correspond to the processes included in the

Lesser and Greater Mysteries, and are, in order, Baptism, Temptation, Passion,

Burial, Resurrection, and Ascension; the “Marriage of the Lamb” being equivalent

of the Sabbath, or Within of the Cube, the Seventh, last and supremest of all

the Acts of the Soul. The white stone, which, as we have seen, has always been

the object of special veneration, is the well-known symbol of the Divine Spirit,

the nucleolus of the Cell, the Sun of the system, the Head of the Pyramid. It

was regarded as sacred to Venus, because she is the Genius of the Fourth Day,

the Revealer of the Sun and heavenly system, and to her, therefore, was

peculiarly dedicated the emblem of Celestial Light. The Kaabeh is, by its very

name, identified with the Kabbalistic Merkaba, the “car” in which the Lord God

was said to descend to earth, – a phrase indicating the work of Manifestation,

or Incarnation of Divine Being in “Creation.” The Merkaba, or Vehicle of God, is

described by Ezekiel as resembling a throne of sapphire, upon which is seated

Adonai; and supporting and drawing it are four living creatures or cherubim,

having four faces, the face of an ox, the face of a lion, the face of a man, and

the face of an eagle. And there are also four wheels of the chariot, a wheel by

each cherub, “in appearance like chrysolite.” “And their whole body, and their

necks, and their hands, and their wings, and the circles are full of eyes.”

03. The perusal of this descriptive vision, which is identical with certain

passages in the Apocalypse of St. John, was permitted only by the ancient

Hebrews to men who had attained the age of thirty years. [ Epistles of Jerome.]

This age represents maturity, manhood, and reason, as typified in the solar

month. Thus the Ark of Noë in which the Elect are preserved, is thirty cubits in

height; the vision above cited occurs in his thirtieth year to Ezekiel, whose

name signifies Strength of God; and Jesus, at the commencement of his mission of

salvation, “begins to be about thirty years of age.” Similarly the Kaabeh, or

Cubic House of the Microcosm, is thirty feet high.

04. This car, then, – within which Adonai rides, – typified by the Stone, called

sapphire by Ezekiel, and jasper by St. John, is the Human Kingdom; and the

living creatures which draw it are the four elements of that Kingdom, Body,

Mind, Soul, and Spirit, corresponding respectively to the elemental spirits of

Earth, Fire, Water, and Air, which constitute the Macrocosmic system. Of these

living creatures the first in order, from without inwards, is the Ox,

symbolizing the earth or body, ploughed by the sacred Kine of Demeter, laborious

and obedient; the next is the Lion, type of the magnetic or “fiery” mind, whose

reason is destructive and whose energy is rapacious, the seat of daring and of

the masculine will, which, suffered to expatiate uncontrolled, would rend and

profane the sacred mysteries. Third, in order, comes the genius of the Soul,

having a human face, and symbolizing the true Person of the Microcosm, to whom,

as to the Keeper of the House, belongs the constructive reason, the restraining

and conservative force of the system. Last, and “over all the rest,” is the

Eagle, the bird of the Sun or Adonai, type of light, strength, and freedom, and

of the wind on whose wings the Spirit rides. As it is written. “Behold, he shall

come up as an eagle and fly.” All these four cherubim are united in one, and

make one fourfold creature, the wings of one being joined to the wings of

another (Fig. 1.)

05. Over and around the seat or car of Adonai, as described by the seers of both

Old and New Testaments, is a Rainbow, or Arch. This, the symbol of the Cup, of

the Heavens encircling and enclosing the Cosmos, is in the Scriptures termed

Mount Sion and the Mount of the Lord; by the Hindus it is called Mount Meru, and

by the Greeks Olympus, the home of the Gods. And with all it is the symbol of

the Celestial Kingdom, the Uncreate, which “was and is, and is to come;” wherein

dwell the Seven Spirits of Light, the Elohim of the Godhead. From this holy

Mount proceed all the oracles and dispensations of Heaven, and nothing is done

in the macrocosmic or microcosmic worlds that is not first conceived and perfect

eternally in the divine counsel. “For ever, O Lord,” says the psalmist, “Thy

word is written in Heaven.” And for this reason the Scriptures declare that

everything in the Tabernacle of the Wilderness was “made after the pattern of it

in the holy Mount.” For the Tabernacle in the Wilderness is, like the Kaabeh, a

figure of the Human House of God, pitched in the wilderness of the material

world, and removable from one place to another.

06. The Mystery implied in the vision of Ezekiel, is in Genesis presented under

the hieroglyph of the Four Rivers which, flowing from one Source, go out to

water Paradise. This source is in the holy place of the Upper Eden. It is the

 

“well of the Water of Life,” or God, Who is the Life and Substance of all

things. And the Four heads of the river have names corresponding to the zones of

the fourfold unit of existence, as exemplified in the Cell, and therefore to the

faces of the fourfold cherub.

Thus, Phison, the first stream, is the Ancient, or the Body, which surrounds and

encloses the agricultural or mineral Earth, wherein lies gold, prosperity, and

renown. The second river is Gehon, signifying the vale of Gehenna or Purgation,

the stream which traverses “Ethiopia” or Ath-opis, a compound word meaning

literally the Fire-Serpent, or Astral Fluid. This river, therefore, is the

igneous body or magnetic belt. The third river, which is Hiddekel, signifies the

Double Tongue of Two Meanings, the stream which rises from and flows back to

ancient or anterior ages, and which guides to Assyria, the land or place of

Perfection. This river is the Soul, the permanent element in man, having neither

beginning nor end, taking its origin in God anterior to time, and returning

whence it came individualized and perfected. Divine in nature and human in

experience, the language of the Soul is double, holding converse alike with

heaven and earth. The fourth river is Euphrates, that is, the Power of the

Pharaoh, – or Phiourah, Voice of Heaven, the oracle and divine Will of the human

system. And the “paradise” watered by these four rivers is the equilibrated

human nature, the “garden which the Lord God has planted in Eden,” or the

Cosmos; that is, the Particular in the bosom of the Universal.

07. Not without deep meaning and design is the Book of Genesis or of Beginnings

made to open with this description of the Four Rivers of Paradise. For their

names and attributes supply the four wards of the Key wherewith to unlock all

the mysteries of the Scriptures whose Prologue and Argument Genesis represents.

These mysteries are, like the Rivers of Eden, distributed into four channels,

each belonging to a distinct region of the fourfold human kingdom, whose queen

and priestess is the Soul. And of these mystic or secret Scriptures, one of the

most precious profound is the Drama of the Fall, whose acts, depicted in the

first chapters of the Bible, serve, as a series of hieroglyphic tableaux, to

delineate at once the history of Man and the object of Religion.

08. Maimonides, the most learned of the Rabbis, speaking of the Book of Genesis,

says, “We ought not to take literally that which is written in the story of the

Creation, nor entertain the same ideas of it as are common with the vulgar. If

it were otherwise, our ancient sages would not have taken so much pains to

conceal the sense, and to keep before the eyes of the uninstructed the veil of

allegory which conceals the truths it contains.” In the same spirit it was

observed by Jerome, that “the most difficult and obscure of the holy books

contain as many secrets as they do words, concealing many things even under each

word.” “All the Fathers of the second century,” says Mosheim, “attributed a

hidden and mysterious sense to the words of Scripture.” Papias, Justin Martyr,

Irenæus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Gregory of Nazianzen, Gregory of Nyssa, and

Ambrose, held that the Mosaic account of Creation and of the Fall was a series

of allegories. The opinion of Origen on the same subject was plainly expressed.

“What man,” he asks, “is so simple as to believe that God personifying a

gardener, planted a garden in the East? that the tree of Life was a real tree

which could be touched, and of which the fruit had the power of conferring

immortality?”

09. It is hardly necessary to enlarge on this point, or to bring forward further

authorities. Suffice it to say that this interior method of interpreting sacred

writings was, and still is, the method of all who posses the Gnosis, or secret

knowledge of the mysteries, their mere letter being abandoned to the vulgar and

to the “critics,” as the husk or shell, which serves but to conceal, encase, and

preserve the life-giving seed, the priceless pearl of the true “Word.”

10. Both the story of the Fall, and all cognate Myths or Parables, are far older

and more universal than the ordinary unlearned reader of the Bible supposes. For

the Bible itself, in its Hebrew form, is a comparatively recent compilation and

adaptation of mysteries, the chief scenes of which were sculptured on temple

walls, and written or painted on papyri, ages before the time of Moses. History

tells us, moreover, that the Book of Genesis as it now stands, is the work, not

even of Moses, but of Ezra or Esdras, who lived at the time of the Captivity, –

between five and six hundred years before our era, – and that he recovered it

and other writings by the process already described as Intuitional Memory. “My

heart,” he says, “uttered understanding, and wisdom grew in my breast: for the

Spirit strengthened my memory.” If, then, by such means he recovered what Moses

had previously delivered orally to Israel, it is obvious that Esdras must have

been initiated into the ancient tradition in a former state of existence; since

no memory could have enabled him to recover that which he had never known, and

which, – when the Divine commission to rewrite it was given him, – was so wholly

lost that “no man knew any of the things that had been done in the world since

the beginning.” As the Talmud says, “Ezra could not have received the Word, if

Moses had not first declared it.”

11. Neither must it be supposed that we have the Books of Moses as recovered and

edited by Esdras. The system of interpolation and alteration already referred to

as largely applied to the Bible, especially affected the Pentateuch. And

foremost among those who thus perverted it were the Pharisees, denounced in the

New Testament, who greatly modified the text, introducing their own ritual into

the law, incorporating with it their commentaries, and suppressing portions

which condemned their doctrine and practice. According to Spinoza, “there was

before the time of the Maccabees, no canon of holy writ extant; the books we now

have were selected from among many others by and on the authority of the

Pharisees of the second Temple, who also instituted the formulae for the prayers

used in the synagogue. [ Tractatus Theologicol-Politicus ]

12. Sacerdotal or rabbinical as were these interpolations and corruptions, they

effected principally the books of ceremonial law and historical narrative, and

referred to public customs, temple rites, priestly privileges, and questions of

mere national interest. They hardly touched the great parabolic Myths which lie

embedded in the Hebrew Scriptures like so many gems encased in clay. And gems

these are, which, from prehistoric times, have been the universal property of

all initiated nations, and especially of the Hindu and Egyptian races, from

which last indeed Moses originally drew them, as is occultly intimated when it

is said: “And the children of Israel borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver

and jewels of gold; and they spoiled the Egyptians.”

13. With regard to this particular Myth of the Fall, the walls of ancient

Thebes, Elephantine, Edfou and Karmak bear evidence that long before Moses

taught, and certainly ages before Esdras wrote, its acts and symbols were

embodied in the religious ceremonials of the people, of whom, according to

Manetho, Moses was himself a priest. And “the whole history of the fall of man

is,” as says Sharpe in a work on Egypt, “of Egyptian origin. The temptation of

woman by the serpent and of man by the woman, the sacred tree of knowledge, the

cherubs guarding with flaming swords the door of the Garden, the warfare

declared between the woman and the serpent, may all be seen upon the Egyptian

sculptured monuments.”

PART II

14. LET us now examine, in the order indicated by the hieroglyphic symbol of the

Four Rivers, the significations of the mystic story to which it is prefixed.

Taking first the meaning corresponding to the river Phison or the Body we have

presented to us the condition of humanity in the perfect state, with special

reference to the just and harmonious relations existing in that state between

the Body and the Soul. This perfect, condition is exemplified by a picture of

the first Mystic Community, Lodge, or Church of men formed by the image of God,

who under the name of Sons of God, were distinguished from mere rudimentary men

not made in the Divine image, – the still materialistic part of mankind.

This perfect condition was, and still is, reached – in the aggregate, as in the

individual – by a process of evolution, or gradual unfoldment and growth from

the lowest to the highest. They who first attained to this perfect state are

celebrated by Ovid and others as the men of the “Golden Age,” the primal Sabbath

of the world under Saturn. The Age is reached, whether individually or

collectively, whenever the Divine Spirit working within, has completed the

generation of Man, making him spiritually “in the image of God, male and

female,” “Such is the Son of God” having power, because in him the soul

dominates the body, and the body has no will of his own apart from that of the

Divine Spirit.

15. In this aspect of the parable, then, “Adam” represents the bodily or

sensuous nature in man; and his wife his psychic and spiritual nature. The

epithet translated “help,” “helper,” or “helpmeet,” applied to the woman,

signifies an overseeing guide; and the name Isha, by which at first she is

designated, denotes the generative substance, or feminine principle, of

humanity. After the fall she is Chavah, or Eve, a term denoting the circle of

life, and represented by a serpent. As the soul, she has two aspects, the

earthly and the heavenly, and is indicated, therefore, by two kinds of serpent,

the serpent of the dust, or tempter, and the serpent which represents the Divine

wisdom or Sophia: in which aspect she is man’s initiator into divine knowledges.

This heavenly serpent, the representative of the solar ray, – as opposed to the

serpent of the subterraneous fire, – is familiar to us under the name of

“Seraph,” the title given to angels of the highest order in the celestial

hierarchy, and signifying “the burning,” – Sons of the Sun. In Egyptian

symbology the Divine Seraph or Serpent appears constantly, surmounting a Cross

and wearing the crown of Maut, the Mother, that is, the Living Mother, who is

the original and celestial Reason. This is the Serpent on the Cross by looking

to which, another sacred parable tells us, the Israelites were healed of the

venomous bites inflicted on them by the Serpent of the Dust, the earthly and

destructive reason, whose figure is derived, not from the life-giving sun-ray,

but from the flame of the devouring and rapacious fire. And thus it is said in

the Gospel, that by the exhibition of this Divine Wisdom, by the restoration of

the “Woman” or “Mother of the Living” to her rightful throne, will the world

finally be redeemed from the dominion of the serpent of the Abyss, that is, of

the lower and materialistic reason. “For as Moses lifted up the Serpent in the

Wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” For “Christ” is identical

with Amun-Ra, “our Lord the Sun,” offspring of the heavenly Maut. And the means

of delivery for mankind from the “ravenous lion” and the “fiery serpents” of the

outer intellect or earthly “wilderness of Sin” will be the exaltation of the

Dual humanity at once “Mother” and “Son.”

16. In the individual or microcosmic system, the celestial Wisdom or Soul of the

Universe, finds expression as the Soul of the Man. And the condition of humanity

“unfallen” and sinless, is one of obedience on the part of the sense-nature, or

“Adam,” to the rule of the Soul, or “Eve.” But, by the “Fall” this state of

things is directly reversed, and the “woman” or the “Living” becomes subject to

this sense-nature. This is “the Curse.” And the curse will be removed, Paradise

regained, and the second Sabbath of the Golden Age restored, only when the

“woman” is again invested with her rightful supremacy.

17. Eve is said to be taken from the side of the sleeping Adam, because,

although, the Soul subsists in all men, she becomes revealed only in such as

have transcended the consciousness of the Body. When the “Adam” is asleep,

passive, unassertive, the Soul, or Living man, is made manifest. Hers it is to

guide, to rule, to command; hers the vocation of the Seer, the Pythoness, the

Interpreter and Guardian of the Mysteries.

18. Tokens of the superior respect once accorded to the Soul, and to Woman as

the Soul’s representative, abound in the historical remains of Egypt, where, as

we learn from numberless sculptures, writings, and paintings, the goddess Isis

held rank above her husband, the chief instructor in the Mysteries was

represented as a woman, priestly and noble families traced their pedigree

through the female line, and public acts and chronicles were dated by the name

of the high priestess of the year.

19. Such then in the “Edenic” or unfallen state, are the mutual relations of

Adam and Eve, – Sense and Soul. And the parable sets forth the end of the Edenic

Sabbath, the ruin of the Golden Age, the “Fall” of the Church, as brought about

 

by disobedience to the Divine Voice, or Central Spirit to which the Soul ought

to be always dutiful. Sin thus originates with the Soul, as the responsible part

of man; and she whose office is to be to him overseer and guide, becomes his

betrayer. The forbidden fruit communicated by the Soul to Adam is the vital

flame or Consciousness, described by classical poets as the “Fire of Heaven.”

For, as God is supreme and original Consciousness, the first manifestation of

human consciousness has its seat in the Soul. In the pure, Edenic state, or, as

it is called, the state of innocence, therefore, the shrine of this heavenly

Fire is in the spiritual part of man. But Prometheus, or pseudo-thought, – the

spurious thought as opposed to the true Hermetic reason, – steals or “draws

down” this Fire from its original place, and transfers it to the outer man or

body. Thenceforward, the consciousness of man ceases to reside in the soul, and

takes up its abode in the body. That is to say, that man in his “fallen”

condition is conscious only of the selfhood of the body, and until regenerate,

or redeemed from the “Fall,” he does not again become conscious and vitalized in

the soul. To find the Soul is the first step towards finding Christ; that is, as

the Catholic Church puts it, “Mary brings us to Jesus.” The materialistic,

unregenerate man is totally unconscious of his soul. He is aware only of the

body, and his percipience of life is limited to the bodily sense. By the

transference of the vitalizing Fire from the “heaven” to the “earth” of the

human system, the lower nature is inflamed and set at war with the Divine Spirit

or “Zeus” within the man. This act is the Promethean Theft, punished so terribly

by the “Father” at the hand of Hermes, the true Thought, or Angel of

Understanding. For by this act, man becomes bound and fettered to the things of

sense, the victim of a perverse will, which, as an insatiable bird of prey,

continually rends and devours him. Thus is formulated that condition which Paul

so graphically laments: – “I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is

present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; but I see

another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me

into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man! who

shall deliver me from this body of death?”

20. Although, then, sin originates in the soul, the bodily nature is the

ultimate offender. Hence it is to “Adam” that the interrogation is addressed: –

“Hast thou eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not

eat?” And the penalty pronounced upon “Adam” enumerates the sorrows of the body

in its “fallen” state, and foretells its inevitable return to the “dust” and

“earth” of which it is; – a penalty, be it observed, which is not incurred by

“Eve,” the soul. And of her we read that her will, ceasing to polarize itself

inwards and upwards upon her Divine Centre, is now, by the effect of the “Fall,”

directed outwards and downwards towards her earthly mate. Like “Lot’s Wife,” in

another and cognate parable, “she looks back, and straightway becomes a pillar

of Salt.” Salt was, in alchemic terminology, a synonym for Matter. This

transformation into Salt is the converse of the “Great Work”; it is the Fixation

of the Volatile. The Great Work is, in alchemic science, the Volatilization of

the Fixed. By this act of depolarization the soul imprisons herself definitely

in the body, and becomes his subject until that “Redemption” for which, says

Paul, “all creation groans and travails in the pain of desire.”

21. In this first of the four explanations of our parable, the Tree of Life is

the secret of Transmutation or of Eternal Life, of which it is impossible for

the rebellious Adam to taste. For, as long as the elements of disorder remain in

the body, so long as the flesh lusts against the spirit, so long as the

Microcosm admits two diverse wills and is swayed by two adverse laws; – so long

is the Fruit of this Tree unattainable. If it were possible for this ruined and

disobedient Adam to “eat and live for ever,” that eternal life would necessarily

be the eternal hell of the Calvinists, that endless condition of torment and

defiance of God, that life indestructible in the midst of destruction, which

would – were it possible – constitute the division of the universe, and set up

in opposition to the Divine rule, an equal and co-eternal throne of devildom.

22. As, in this reading of the myth, Adam represents the body, Eve the soul, and

the Divine Voice the Spirit, so the serpent typifies the astral element or lower

reason. For this subtle element is the intermediary between soul and body, the

“fiery serpent” whose food is the “dust” that is, the perception of the senses,

which are concerned with the things of time and matter only. This “serpent,” if

not controlled and dominated by the will of the Initiate, leads the soul into

bondage and perdition, by destroying the equilibrium of the system and dividing

the Hearth-Fire. But though, when not thus dominated, the astral fire becomes,

through its function of Tempter, the Destroyer and agent of Typhon or Negation,

it is also, when under the dominion of the married spirit and soul, an element

of power and a glass of vision.

23. The deposition from her rightful place of the Living Mother, Isha, Chavah,

or Eve, typified by the celestial serpent, is then brought about by the

seductions of the earthly and astral serpent. Thence ensues the ruin of the

Edenic order. The soul is subject to the body, intuition to sense, the inner to

the outer, the higher to the lower. Henceforth the monitions of the soul must be

suppressed, her aspirations quenched, her conceptions difficult, her fruit

quickened and brought forth with labour and sorrow. Intuition wars with passion,

and every victory of the spiritual man is bought with anguish. And between the

kabbalistic “woman” and the astral “serpent” there must be perpetual enmity; for

henceforward the astral is antagonistic to the psychic, and between the

intellectual and the intuitional “a great gulf is fixed.” For this astral

serpent is the terrene Fire, and the kabbalistic woman is the Water, the Maria,

which is destined to quench it. “She shall crush his head, and he shall lie in

wait for her heel.”

Such is, on the plane historical, whether of the individual or of the Church,

the meaning of “Paradise” and its “loss” – the gradual attainment of a certain

high grade, an the decline therefrom; a loss, the immediate effects of which

manifest themselves in a subversion of the divine-natural order, and in the

supremacy of the outer over the inner, the lower over the higher.

24. To humanity in Paradise, made in the divine Image, and unfallen, were given

as meat the tree-fruits and the herb-grains; then, as Ovid tells us, “men were

contented with the food which Nature freely bestowed.” For the bodily appetites

knew no law but that of a healthy natural intuition, and obeyed the impulse of

the God within, desiring no other nourishment than that for which alone the body

was anatomically and physiologically designed. But, so soon as it acquired a

perverse, selfish will, a new lust arose; for a new and subhuman nature appeared

in it, the nature of the beast of prey, whose image the fallen body has put on.

That this is literal truth, all the poets, all the seers, all the regenerate

testify, bearing witness also that Paradise can never be regained, Regeneration

never completed, man never fully redeemed, until the body is brought under the

law of Eden, and has cleansed itself thoroughly from the stain of blood. None

will ever know the joys of Paradise who cannot live like Paradise-men; none will

ever help to restore the Golden Age to the world who does not first restore it

in himself. No man, being a shedder of blood, or an eater of flesh, ever touched

the Central Secret of things, or laid hold of the Tree of Life. Hence it is

written of the Holy City: “Without are dogs.” For the foot of the carnivorous

beast cannot tread the golden floors; the lips polluted with blood may not

pronounce the Divine Name. Never was spoken a truer word than this; and if we

should speak no other, we should say all that man need know. For if he will but

live the life of Eden, he shall find all its joys and its mysteries within his

grasp. “He who will do the will of God, shall know of the doctrine.” But until

“father and mother” are forsaken, – that is, until the disciple is resolved to

let no earthly affections or desires withhold him from entering the Perfect Way,

– Christ will not be found nor Paradise regained. “Many indeed begin the rites,”

says Plato, “but few are fully purified.” And a greater than Plato has warned us

that “the Way is strait and the Gate narrow that lead unto Life, and few they

are who find it.”

PART III

25. COMING next to the philosophical reading of our Parable, we find that on

this plane the Man is the Mind or rational Intellect, out of which is evolved

the Woman, the Affection or Heart; that the Tree of Knowledge represents Maya or

Illusion; the Serpent, the Will of the Body; the Tree of Life, the Divine Gnosis

– or interior knowledge; and the sin which has brought and which brings ruin on

mankind, Idolatry.

In this aspect of the Fall, we have presented to us the decline of Religion from

the celestial to the astral. The affection of the unfallen mind is fixed on

things above, spiritual and real, and not on things beneath, material and

phantasmal. Idolatry is the adoration of the shadow instead of the substance,

the setting up of eidolon in the place of the God. It is thus no specific art,

but the general tendency towards Matter and Sense, that constitutes the Fall.

And of this tendency the world is full, for it is the “original sin” of every

man born of the generation of “Adam”; and only that man is free of it who is

“born again of the Spirit” and made “one with the Father,” his own central God.

26. Into this sin of Idolatry the human Heart declines by listening to the

monitions and beguilements of the lower will, the will of the sensual nature.

Withdrawing her desire from the Tree of Life, – the Gnosis, – the Affection

fixes on the false and deceitful apples of Illusion, pleasant and desirable “to

the eyes” or outer senses. “Your eyes shall be opened,” urges the lower will,

“and you shall be as Gods, knowing both worlds.” The Affection yields to the

seductions of this promise, she entangles herself in Illusion, she communicates

the poison to the Mind, and all is lost. Man knows indeed, but the knowledge he

has gained is that of his own shame and nakedness. “Their eyes were opened, and

they knew – that they were naked.” By this act of idolatry man becomes instantly

aware of the body, of sense, of Matter, of appearance; he falls into another and

a lower world, precipitated headlong by that fatal step outwards from the

celestial to the astral terrene. Henceforth the fruit of the divine Gnosis, the

healing Tree, is not for him, he has lost the faculty of discerning Substance

and Reality; the eye of the Spirit is closed, and that of Sense is opened; he is

immersed in delusion and shadow, and the glamour of Maya. Sudden divorce has

taken place between the spirit and the soul. He has lost the “Kingdom, the

Power, and the Glory.” And, so long as he remains in the “wilderness” of the

illusory world, the Gnosis is guarded against him by the Elementary Spirits and

their fourfold swords, which, to the man having lost both the power and the

secret of the Dissolvent, are an impenetrable barrier.

27. We now enter on the Ethical and Psychic interpretation of the myth, which

interpretation is itself a dual character, affecting on the one hand the Church,

on the other the Individual.

In this third aspect of the parable the Man represents the human Reason; the

Woman, Faith, or the religious Conscience; the Serpent, the lower nature; the

Tree of Knowledge the kingdom of this world; and the Tree of Life the kingdom of

God. The religious Conscience set over the human Reason as his guide, overseer,

and ruler, whether in the general, as the Church, or in the particular, as the

Individual, falls when – listening to the suggestions of the lower nature – she

desires, seeks, and at length defiles herself with the ambitions, vanities, and

falsehoods of the kingdom of this present world. Nor does she fall alone. For

ceasing to be a trustworthy guide, she becomes herself serpent and seducer to

human Reason, leading him into false paths, betraying and deluding him at every

turn, until, if she have her way, she will end by plunging him into the lowest

depths of abject ignorance, foolishness, and weakness, there to be devoured by

the brood of Unreason, and annihilated forever. For she is now no longer the

true wife Faith, she is become the wanton, Superstition; and rather than heed to

obey monitions such as hers, he must, if he would save himself, assert dominion

over her and keep her in bondage and subjection to his authority. Better far

that he should be master in the Man, than Superstition, whose method is folly,

whose end is madness and death.

28. The church at her best, unfallen, is the glass to the lamp of Truth,

guarding the sacred flame within, and transmitting unimpaired to her children

the light received upon its inner surface. Such is the function of the

priesthood, in idea and intention; but not, now at least, in fact and deed. For

through the failure of the priesthood to resist the materializing influences of

the world upon the side exposed to the world, the lamp-glass has become clouded

that the light within is either unable to pass through it at all, or passes only

to cast around, instead of genial rays, ghastly and misleading shadows. Or, may

– be, the light has expired altogether; and, not the maintenance of the flame,

but the concealment of its loss, is become the prime object of solicitude for

its whilom guardians.

29. The world’s history shows that hitherto this Fall has been the common fate

of all Churches. Nor is its cause far to seek, seeing that all human histories

are essentially one and the same, whether the subject be an individual or an

aggregation of individuals. A Church is, like every other personal organism, a

compound organism. Between the circumferential containing body, and the central

informing spirit, – having a side turned to each, and uniting the mental with

the spiritual, – stands the soul to which the Church, Priesthood, or Intuition

corresponds, in order by her meditation to reconcile the world to God and

maintain the Man in grace. And so long as, by virtue of the purity of such

medium, the stream of life and light from the central spirit of Truth is enabled

to find free course and circulation, perfect health continues in the system. But

when, inclining towards the outer and lower elements, the Church abandons the

inner and higher, and becomes of the earth earthy, the flame within her shrine,

choked and quenched, departs, leaving the sanctuary tenantless. Then, no longer

of the heavenly, but of the earthly kingdom, the fallen Church becomes the

betrayer and the enemy of man. To confess the truth – that she has suffered the

sacred flame to expire – would, in respect of all for which she is now

solicitous, – her material sway and interests, – be fatal. Hence the fact that

she is naked and empty must be studiously concealed, and all approach forbidden,

that no one not concerned to keep the secret may spy upon her darkened shrine.

Thenceforth the Church stands between God and the people, not to bring them

together, but to keep them apart. With light and spirit lost to view, and the

way to the kingdom of God blocked by superstition, the rational man either

ceases to believe that any such kingdom subsists, and, falling in his turn, he

plunges into the gulf of atheism or agnosticism; or, withheld by his traitor

spouse from attaining the fruition of the Tree of Life, contents himself with

“stones for bread,” and with “serpents” of the astral in place of the true

celestial mysteries.

30. Thus fallen and degraded, the Church becomes, as mankind too well knows, a

Church “of this world,” greedy of worldly dignities, emoluments, and dominion,

intent on foisting on the belief of her votaries, in the name of authority and

orthodoxy, fables and worse than fables, apples of Sodom and Gomorrah, Dead-sea

fruit; – a Church jealous of “the Letter which killeth;” ignorant of, or

bitterly at enmity with, “the Spirit which giveth life.”

PART IV

31. WE now reach the last and innermost interpretation of our fourfold

hieroglyph, the spiritual and creative secret embodied in the Edenic allegory.

This secret is sometimes more obscurely alluded to as the Lapse of heavenly

beings from their first happy estate into sub-celestial spheres, and their final

redemption by means of penance done through incarnation in the flesh. It need

scarcely be said that this imagined Lapse is also a parable designed to veil and

preserve a truth. And in its interpretation is found the creative secret, the

projection of Spirit into Matter; the Fall or Descent of Substance into Maya or

Illusion. Hence results Chavah, the Eve of Genesis, and circle of life

conditioned as past, present, and future, and corresponding to Jehovah, the

covenant name of Deity. In this reading of the parable the Tree of Divination or

Knowledge becomes Motion, or the Kalpa, – the period of Existence as

distinguished from Being; the Tree of Life is Rest, or the Sabbath, the Nirvana;

Adam is Manifestation; the Serpent – no longer of the lower but of the higher

sphere – is the celestial Serpent or Seraph of heavenly Counsel. For now the

whole signification of the myth is changed, and the act of Arche, the Woman, is

the Divine act of Creation. Ase, the root of the Hebrew word for Woman,

signifies the generating female Fire, the Living Substance producing or causing

production. Its Coptic form, Est, gives Esta or Hestia, the goddess of the

temple-fire, for the continual preservation of which the order of Vestal virgins

was established. This word, Est, is identical also with the Latin and Greek

equivalents of IS, whence are derived all the modern European forms of the same

affirmative, as also the names Esther and Easter.

32. Adam signifies the Red, hence the Blood; and in Blood, Substance becomes

incarnate and takes form as Nature or Isis, which name is, of course, but

another rendering of the affirmative EST. Hence Nature, the incarnate Archë, is

said to be born from the side of Adam, or Manifestation by Blood. “Blood,” as

says “Eliphas Levi,” “is the first incarnation of the Universal Fluid; it is the

materialized vital Light. It lives only by perpetually transforming itself, for

it the universal Proteus, the great Arcanum of Life.”

33. Now, as has been said in a former discourse, Motion is the means by which

Spirit becomes visible as Matter, for Spirit and Matter represent two conditions

of one thing. Therefore by the Tree of Divination of Good and Evil, in this

interpretation, must be understood that condition by means of which Spirit,

projected into appearance, becomes manifested under the veil of Maya.

34. Among the sacred symbols and insignia of the Gods depicted in Egyptian

sculpture, none is repeated so often as the Sphere. This Sphere is the emblem of

Creative Motion, because the Manifesting Force is rotatory; being, in fact, the

“Wheel of the Spirit of Life” described by Ezekial as “a wheel within a wheel,”

inasmuch as the whole system of the universe, from the planet to its ultimate

particle, revolves in the same manner. And for this reason, and as an evidence

of the knowledge which dictated the ancient symbology of the Catholic Church,

the Eucharistic Wafer, figure of the Word made Flesh, is circular. The

sacramental sphere, poised on the head of a Serpent or Seraph, is a common

hieroglyph in Egyptian sacred tableaux; and sculptures bordered with processions

of such emblematic figures are frequent in the ancient temples. The apple, or

round Fruit of the Tree of the Kalpa, – of which, by the advice of the “Serpent”

of heavenly Counsel, the Divine Archë partakes, and thereby brings about the

“Fall” or Manifestation of Spirit in Matter, – is no other than the Sacramental

Host, type of the Bread of Life or Body of God, figured in the Orb of the Sun,

reflected in the disk of every star, planet, and molecule, and elevated for

adoration on the Monstrance of the universe.

35. Only when the Naros, or Cycle of the Six Days, shall again reach their

Seventh Day, will “the Lord of the Seventh” – whom the Latins adored with

unveiled heads under the name of Septimianus, – return, and the veil of Illusion

or Maya, be taken away. The anticipation of the Seventh Day of the renewed

Arcadia, the Seven Days’ festival of liberty and peace, was held by the Greeks

under the name of the Kronia, and by the Latins under that of the Saturnalia.

 

This redemptive Sabbath is spoken of in the gospel as the “harvest of the end of

the world,” when Saturn or Sator (the Sower) as “Lord of the Harvest,” “shall

return again with joy, bringing his sheaves with him.” And when that day comes,

the Fruit of the Tree of Life, or Nirvana, shall be given for the healing of the

universe; rest from motion shall put an end to Matter; and Substance, now by the

“Fall” brought under the dominion of Adam or Manifestation, shall return to Her

original divine estate.

36. It remains only to speak of the symbolic Bow or Cup encircling the

microcosmic car of Adonai, and representing, as already explained, the heavenly

Mount, of which the phenomenal heaven is the transcript. The planisphere of the

heavens, familiar in all ancient astrological science, is divided into two parts

by a line passing from east to west, and representing the horizon. The portion

of the planisphere below this horizontal line comprises the lower and invisible

hemisphere; that which is above, the upper and visible. At the opening of the

year the constellation of the Celestial Virgin, Astræa, Isis, or Ceres, is in

ascension. She has beneath her feet in the lower horizon the sign Python or

Typhon, the Dragon of the Tree of the Hesperides, who rises after her, pursuing

her, and aiming his fangs at her heel.

37. This heavenly Virgin is the regenerate Eve, Maria the Immaculate, the Mother

of the Sun-God. Her first “decan” is that of the Sun, whose birth as Mithras was

celebrated on the twenty-fifth day of December, – the true birth of the year, –

at midnight, at which time she appears above the visible horizon. The figure of

the sun was consequently placed over this “decan” on the planispheric chart, and

rests, therefore, on the head of the Virgin, while the first “decan” of Libra,

which is that of the Moon, is under her feet. In her we recognize the Woman of

the Apocalypse, victorious over her adversary the Dragon, and restoring by her

manifestation the equilibrium – Libra – of the universe.

38. Thus the Heavens eternally witness to the promise of the final redemption of

the Earth, and of the return of the Golden Age, and the restoration of Eden. And

the keynote of that desired harmony is to be found in the exaltation on all the

universal fourfold planes, physical, philosophical, physic, and celestial, of

the WOMAN.

Once again, in the end as in the beginning, shall the Soul rehabilitated, the

Affection regenerated, the Intuition purified, the Divine Substance redeemed

from Matter, be throned, crowned, and glorified.

39. That the time of rising of this Celestial Virgin and of the rehabilitation

of truth by the Woman-Messias of the Interpretation is near at hand, they who

watch the “times” and the “heavens” may know by more than one token. To name but

one: the sign Leo, which upon the celestial chart precedes the ascension of the

Woman, going before her as her herald, is the sign of the present Head of the

Catholic Church. When assuming that title, he declared his office to be that of

the “Lion of the Tribe of Juda ,” the domicile of the Sun, the tribe appointed

to produce the Christ. To the ascension of this constellation, preparing, as it

were, the Way of the Divine Virgin, the prophecy of Israel in Genesis refers: –

“Juda is a strong lion; my son, thou art gone up. The sceptre shall not be taken

away from Juda till the coming of the Messenger – or Shiloh – the expectation of

the nations.”

And not only does the chief Bishop of the Church bear this significant name of

the “Lion,” but he is also the thirteenth of that name, and Thirteen is the

number of the Woman and of the lunar cycle, the number of Isis and of the

Microcosm. It is the number which indicates the fullness of all things, and the

consummation of the “Divine Marriage,” the At-one-ment of Man and God.

Moreover the Arms of Leo XIII. represent a Tree on a Mount, between two triune

Lilies, and in the dexter chief point a blazing Star; with the motto “Lumen in

Coelo.” What is this tree but the Tree of Life? these lilies but the Lilies of

the new Annunciation, – of the Ave which is to reverse the curse of Eva? What

star is this, if not the Star of the Second Advent? History repeats itself only

because all history is already written in “heaven.”

40. For the signs of the Zodiac, or of the “Wheel of Life,” as the name

signifies, are not arbitrary, they are the Words of God, traced on the

planisphere by the finger of God, and first expressed in intelligible

hieroglyphs by men of the “Age of Saturn,” who knew the truth, and held the Key

of the Mysteries. The Wheel of the Zodiac thus constituted the earliest Bible;

for on it is traced the universal history of the whole Humanity. It is a mirror

at once of Past, Present and Future; for these three are but modes of the

Eternal NOW, which, philosophically, is the only tense. And its twelve signs are

the twelve Gates of the heavenly City of religious science; the Kingdom of God

the Father.

41. The philosophy of the day, unable, through its ignorance of the soul, to

solve the riddle of the Zodiac, concludes that all sacred history is a mere

tissue of fables, framed in accordance with the accidental forms of the

constellations. But, as the Initiate knows, these signs are written on the

starry chart because they represent eternal verities in the experience of the

soul. They are the processes or acts of the soul, under individualization in

Man. And so far from being ascribed to Man because written in the Zodiac, they

were written in the Zodiac because recognized as occurring in humanity. In the

Divine order, pictures precede written words as the expression of ideas. The

planisphere of the Zodiac is thus a picture-bible; and the images embodied in it

have controlled the expression of all written Revelation.

PART V

42. THIS discourse was closed for the writer by a vision, an account of which

will form an equally fitting conclusion for the reader. This vision was as

follows: –

“A golden chalice, like those used in Catholic rites, but having three linings,

was given to me by an Angel. These linings, he told me, signified the three

degrees of the heavens, – purity of life, purity of heart, and purity of

doctrine. Immediately afterwards, there appeared a great dome-covered temple,

Moslem in style, and on the threshold of it a tall Angel clad in linen, who with

an air of command was directing a party of men engaged in destroying and

throwing into the street numerous crucifixes, bibles, prayer-books,

altar-utensils, and other sacred emblems. As I stood watching, somewhat

scandalized at the apparent sacrilege, a Voice at a great height in the air,

cried with startling distinctness, “All the idols he shall utterly destroy!”

Then the same Voice, seeming to ascend still higher, cried to me, “Come hither

and see!” Immediately it appeared to me that I was lifted up by my hair and

carried above the earth. And suddenly there arose in mid-air the apparition of a

man of majestic aspect, in an antique garb, and surrounded by a throng of

prostrate worshippers. At first the appearance of this figure was strange to me;

but while I looked intently at it, a change came over the face and dress, and I

thought I recognized Buddha, – the Messiah of India. But scarcely had I

convinced myself of this, than a great Voice, like a thousand voices shouting in

unison, cried to the worshippers: “Stand upright on your feet: – worship God

only!” And again the figure changed, as though a cloud had passed before it, and

now it seemed to assume the shape of Jesus. Again, I saw the kneeling adorers,

and again the mighty Voice cried, “Arise! worship God only!” The sound of this

Voice was like thunder, and I noted that it had seven echoes. Seven times the

cry reverberated, ascending with each utterance, as though mounting from sphere

to sphere. Then suddenly I fell through the air, as though a hand had been

withdrawn from sustaining me: and again touching the earth, I stood within the

temple I had seen in the first part of my vision. At its east end was a great

altar, from above and behind which came faintly a white and beautiful Light, the

radiance of which was arrested and obscured by a dark curtain suspended from the

dome before the altar. And the body of the temple, which, but for the curtain,

would have been fully illuminated, was plunged in gloom, broken only by the

fitful gleams of a few half-expiring oil-lamps, hanging here and there from the

vast cupola. At the right of the altar stood the same tall Angel I had before

seen on the temple threshold, holding in his hand a smoking censer. Then,

observing that he was looking earnestly at me, I said to him: “Tell me, what

curtain is this before the Light, and why is the temple in darkness?” And he

answered, “This veil is not One, but Three; and the Three are Blood, Idolatry,

and the Curse of Eve. And to you it is given to withdraw them; be faithful and

courageous; the time has come.” Now the first curtain was red, and very heavy;

and with a great effort I drew it aside, and said, “I have put away the veil of

blood from before Thy Face; shine, O Lord God!” But a Voice from behind the

folds of the two remaining coverings answered me, “I cannot shine, because of

the idols.” And lo, before me a curtain of many colours, woven about with, woven

about with all manner of images, crucifixes, madonnas, Old and New Testaments,

prayer-books, and other religious symbols, some strange and hideous like the

idols of China and Japan, some beautiful like those of the Greeks and

Christians. And the weight of the curtain was like lead, for it was thick with

gold and silver embroideries. But with both hands I tore it away, and cried, “I

have put away the idols from before Thy Face; shine, O Lord God!” And now the

Light was clearer and brighter. But yet before me hung a third veil, all of

black; and upon it was traced in outline the figure of four Lilies on a single

stem inverted, their cups opening downwards. And from behind this veil, the

Voice answered me again, “I cannot shine, because of the curse of Eve.” Then I

put forth all my strength, and with a great will rent away the curtain, crying,

“I have put away her curse from before Thee. Shine, O Lord God!”

And there was no more a veil, but a landscape, more glorious and perfect than

words can paint, a Garden of absolute beauty, filled with trees of palm, and

olive, and fig, rivers of clear water and lawns of tender green; and distant

groves and forests framed about by mountains crowned with snow; and on the brow

of their shining peaks a rising Sun, whose light it was I had seen behind the

veils. And about the Sun, in mid-air hung white misty shapes of great Angels, as

clouds at morning float above the place of dawn. And beneath, under a mighty

tree of cedar, stood a white elephant, bearing in his golden houdah a beautiful

woman robed as queen, and wearing a crown. But while I looked, entranced, and

longing to look for ever, the garden, the altar, and the temple were carried up

from me into Heaven. Then as I stood gazing upwards, came again the Voice, at

first high in the air, but falling earthwards as listened. And behold, before me

appeared the white pinnacle of a minaret, and around and beneath it the sky was

all gold and red with the glory of the rising Sun. And I perceived that now the

voice was that of a solitary Muezzin standing on the minaret with uplifted hands

and crying: –

                                   “Put away Blood from among you!

                                    Destroy your Idols!

                                    Restore your Queen!”

And straightway a Voice, like that of an infinite multitude, coming as though

from above and around and beneath my feet, – a Voice like a wind rising upwards

from caverns, under the hills to their loftiest far-off heights among the stars,

– responded, –

                                   “Worship God alone!” [ See Appendice, No III,

Part 2 ]


l-------Cardiff Theosophical Society in Wales-------
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, Wales, UK. CF24-1DL

LECTURE THE SEVENTH

THE FALL ( No. II )

PART I

01. OUR subject is again the cataclysmal event mystically called the Fall of

Man. Before entering upon it we will recapitulate briefly what has been said

respecting the nature of man. As already explained this is fourfold. This

fourfold nature is itself included in a dual personality. Consisting of male and

female, Reason and Intuition, Man is, in this sense, a twofold being. But the

masculine moiety comprises the dualism of Sense and Intellect; and the feminine

moiety, the dualism of Soul and Conscience.

02. Owing to this duality of his constitution, every doctrine relating to Man

has, primarily a dual significance and application. And owing to his

fourfoldness, it has also, secondarily, a fourfold significance and application.

The interpretation, therefore, of any doctrine must, to be complete, be at the

least twofold. And since there is between the inner and outer spheres of man’s

being an exact correspondence, by virtue of which, whatever subsists or occurs

in the one sphere has its counterpart in the other, the terms which describe the

one apply also to the other; and no interpretation or application is complete

which does not include both spheres.

03. Thus it comes, – to quote a fragment of Hermetic derivation, – that: –

“All Scriptures which are the true Word of God have a dual interpretation, the

Intellectual and the Intuitional, the Apparent and the Hidden.

“For nothing can come forth from God save that which is fruitful.

“As is the nature of God, so is the Word of God’s Mouth.

“The Letter alone is barren; the Spirit and the Letter give Life.

“But that Scripture is the more excellent which is exceeding fruitful, and

brings forth abundant signification.

“For God is able to say many things in one; as the perfect Ovary contains many

seeds in its Chalice.

“Therefore there are in the Scriptures of God’s Word certain Writings which, as

richly yielding Trees, bear more abundantly than others in the self-same holy

Garden.

“And one of the most excellent is the Parable of the Fall, which, as a stream

parted into four branches, has a fourfold head, and is a word exceeding rich.”

For a parable it is, and not a history, as ordinarily understood, but having a

hidden, that is, a mystic meaning; – a parable, moreover, which, while founded

indeed upon a particular fact, is true for all time, in that it is perpetually

being enacted. Being thus, the Parable of the Fall constitutes an Eternal

Verity.

04. The opening chapters of the sacred books exhibit, then, not merely events

occurring in, and having relation to, a particular place or time, but the

meaning and object of religion at large, the creation of man, the nature of sin,

and the method of salvation; and all these as perpetually subsisting. These

chapters constitute thus a kind of argument or abstract prefixed to the divine

drama of man’s spiritual history. And the key to their interpretation is the

word NOW.

05. For, in the Divine Mind, there is no past, in the Divine economy, no future.

God is I AM, and always IS. The term Jehovah combines in one word the tenses

past, present, and future of the verb I AM. Scripture is a record of that which

is always taking place. Thus, the Spirit of God, which is original Life, is

always moving upon the face of the waters, or heavenly deep, which is original

Substance. And the One, which consists of these two, is always putting forth

alike the Macrocosm of the universe and the Microcosm of the individual, and is

always making man in the image of God, and placing him in a garden of innocence

and perfection, the garden of his own unsophisticated nature. And man is always

falling away from that image and quitting that garden for the wilderness of sin,

being tempted by the serpent of sense, his own lower element. And from this

condition and its consequences he is always being redeemed by the blood of the

sacrifice always being made for him by the Christ Jesus, who is Son at once of

God and of man, and is always being born of a pure virgin: – dying, rising, and

ascending into heaven.

06. For these are, one and all, mystic terms denoting facts of perpetual

recurrence in the history of the Soul, and necessary to salvation. It depends,

however, upon the sense in which they are understood, whether they minister to

salvation or to condemnation. The letter, it is declared, killeth; the letter

and the spirit together have and confer life. For, while interpreted in one

sense – the sense of the spirit – they are divine truths; interpreted in another

sense – the sense of the letter – they are idolatrous falsehoods. And inasmuch

as idolatry consists in the materialization of spiritual mysteries, and the

substitution for the true things signified, of their material symbols; those

interpretations are idolatrous which give to mystical doctrines physical

applications. Now, all Scripture given by inspiration of God is mystical; and,

in its esoteric sense, deals not with material things, but with spiritual

realities, the mystic intention of the things named being alone implied, and by

no means the things themselves. And this rule holds good alike of those two

divisions of Scripture which are called respectively the Old and the New

Testament.

07. In accordance, then, with the fourfold constitution of existence, the

Parable of the Fall has a fourfold signification. But, inasmuch as that which is

true of the race is true also of the individual, and that which is true of the

individual is true also of the race, each portion of the fourfold signification

has a twofold application, namely, to the race and to the individual. For each

alike it is true on the planes spiritual, moral, intellectual, and physical. And

it is constructed in terms derived from this last, because only thus it can find

on any plane universal recognition; – since the physical is the universal mirror

of the unmanifest, and is the only medium capable of reflecting at once all the

three planes above itself. Thus represented in terms derived from the physical,

it possesses a meaning for all, if only as an allegory of the Seasons, for –

having an astronomical basis – such it also is.

08. So far, however, from being intended to represent the actual natural

history, either of the planet or of man, or to be what now-a-days it is the

fashion to call scientific, it is so contrived as to make that history appear to

be the reverse of what it really is. For, read by the superficial sense, it

represents man as created perfect from the first, by a power working from

without; whereas, the truth is, that he is created by gradual development from

rudimentary being, by a power – the Divine Spirit – working from within. For

this is ever the method of the Divine procedure, and it is this that the parable

really implies.

09. But only when it is understood what the mystic books mean by Man, does the

true meaning appear. And as, until this is understood, it is vain to attempt to

interpret those books, a definition of the term Man, as therein employed, must

be our first concern.

A materialistic science, discerning only the outward appearance of things, and

taking, therefore, no account of qualities, necessarily makes the Form all.

Hence, for it, man is but a primate among the animals, and sufficiently defined

under the terms Mammal, Biped, Bimanous, and the like. The notion that the form,

to be valid, must be filled up, and that he who is man in form only, and is

devoid of all the qualities, intellectual, moral, and spiritual, which are

comprised in the term humanity, is not really man, is a notion which does not

enter into the conception of the Materialist.

10. According to mystical doctrine, on the other hand, he who is human in form

only, is but man rudimentary, and to be classed, in all essential respects, with

those lower grades of humanity, the plants and animals. He has, like them, the

potentiality only of humanity, and is no realized humanity. For, according to

this doctrine, man’s supreme function is knowledge; SO that he is not man until

he knows, or, at least, has an organon of knowledge, and is capable of knowing.

Besides, the very term knowledge, has, in this relation, a special meaning. For

the mystic applies it only to the cognition which is of Realities. That alone

for him is knowledge, which has for its subject the nature of Being, his own

nature, that is, and God’s; not phenomena merely, but Substance, and its method

of operation. And, forasmuch as, in order to have this knowledge, a man must

have attained his spiritual consciousness, it follow that, according to mystical

definition, man is not man until he has attained the consciousness of his

spiritual nature. To attain this, and this alone, is to attain true manhood.

And, prior to the attainment of this, the individual is but as an infant,

incompetent to fulfil, or even to comprehend, the functions of manhood.

11. The reason of this it, that man as dual being, not masculine only or

feminine only, but both of these; not man only or woman only, but man and woman.

And he is this in respect, not of his exterior and physical, but of his interior

and spiritual nature. For, since humanity is dual, that which, being man,

represents humanity, must be dual also. And this cannot be on the plane merely

physical, whereon but one moiety only of the human dualism can be expressed in

the same individual. On this plane it takes two persons, a man and a woman to

express the whole humanity. And it is by means of its two sexes that the body

constitutes a symbol of the humanity which, in being interior and permanent, is

alone the humanity which is real.

12. For, – as already stated, – that whereby the man attains to manhood is

woman. It is his power to recognize, appreciate and appropriate her, that stamps

him, physically, man. She it is who, influencing him through the affections

kindled by her in him, withdraws him from his outward and aimless course, in

which left to himself, he would sooner or later be dissipated and lost; and who,

gathering him round herself, as centre, redeems him and makes him into a system

capable of self-perpetuation, supplementing and complementing meanwhile his

masculine qualities as will, force, and intellect with her feminine qualities,

as endurance, love, and intuition. Thus, by the addition of herself she makes

him Man. It is not to the male moiety of the dualism constituted by them, that

the term Man is properly applicable, any more than to the female moiety. Neither

of them separately is Man; and it is by an unfortunate defect of language, that

the masculine half of man is called a man. [ Much and serious misconception has

arisen from the use of the same term to denote both the whole humanity and the

masculine half of humanity. The confusion is identical with that which arises

from the use of the word Earth to denote both the entire globe of earth and

water, and the solid portion only of the globe. As in its former sense earth and

water are equally Earth, the one being as earth masculine, and the other as

earth feminine, so man and woman are equally Man, the one being man masculine,

and the other man feminine. For her as well as for him, the exterior personality

is what mystically is called the “man,” and the interior being is the “woman.”]

He is man male, as she is man female. And only when wedded, that is welded, into

one by a perfect marriage, does Man result, the two together thus blended making

one humanity, – as earth and water make one Earth, – and by their power of

self-perpetuation and multiplication demonstrating the completeness and

perfection of their system.

13. Only because it is already so with Humanity on the inner plane, is it so on

the outer. Whatever the sex of the person, physically, each individual is a

dualism, consisting of exterior and interior, manifested personality and

essential individuality, body and soul, which are to each other masculine and

feminine, man and woman; he the without, and she the within. And all that the

woman on the planes physical and social, is to the man, that she is also on the

planes intellectual and spiritual. For, as Soul, and intuition of Spirit, she

withdraws him, physically and mentally, from dissipation and perdition in the

outer and material and by centralizing and substantializing him redeems and

crowns him; – from a phantom converting him into an entity, from a mortal into

an immortal, from a man into a god. Without her, it were better both for himself

and for others that he should not be at all. On no plane of being is it good

that the man-element be alone. For without Love, Force can but work evil until

it be spent. And such is man and his doom until he finds and is found of her,

the soul and woman within him. She is to him very “mother of the living,” and

without her is no life. And she is this because she is, by her nature, that

wherein the Divine Life, resides. For, as the soul is the life of the man, so is

the spirit, which is God, the life of the soul. Thus is she mediator between man

and God, to draw them together in herself. And only he is truly alive, is truly

Man, and made after the Divine Image, in whom she thus operates. Redeeming him

from chaos and making him a Cosmos, she is the centripetal to his centrifugal,

the attractive to his separative, the constructive to his destructive, the

synthesis to his analysis, the being to his seeming, the reality to his

illusory. With her advent he begins to be; and thenceforth, through her, he can

claim kindred with the I AM.

14. Man, then, in our parable, is represented as created perfect in that he is,

in the mystical sense, male and female; that is, he has a soul – anima divina –

superadded to his exterior personality, – anima bruta, – each of which is

conscious of the separate existence of each. Their attainment of this

consciousness is represented under the allegory of the creation of the woman;

they first then begin to exist for each other. The time chosen for the

attainment of this stage in their history is an important element in the

process. For it is the same for all men. It is not while engaged in the active

exercise of his masculine qualities that man first becomes conscious of his

other and better, because interior and divine, self. His aggressive and

destructive tendencies must have been exhausted, and the animal in him, his own

exterior self, – in a word, the man part of him, – cast into deep slumber,

before the woman in him can reveal herself, and make him conscious of something,

or rather some one, within him, – himself, yet differing from himself, and

higher and better than anything he has before had or been.

15. Once recognized, and her reality and superiority admitted, there is no

height of goodness and knowledge to which she cannot raise him, if but only he

follow her lead, and keep her free from defilement by Matter and Sense, the

direct traffic with which appertains to him. In order properly to fulfil her

function in regard to the man, and attract his regards upwards to her, she must

herself aspire continually to the Divine Spirit within her, the central sun of

herself, as she is that of the man. If, withdrawing her gaze from this, she fix

it on things without and below, she falls, and in her fall takes him with her.

Except through her, he cannot fall; for only through her does he at all rise,

being, by his very nature the lowermost, and of himself incapable of rising. For

he rests on the material plane, and is earth earthy.

16. It is not because Matter is in itself evil that the soul’s descent into it

constitutes a fall and ensures disaster. It is because to the soul Matter is a

forbidden thing. So that the act constitutes a disobedience. The prohibition,

however, is not an arbitrary one, but is founded in the soul’s own nature, as

also is the penalty attached to her transgression. Only by remaining spiritual

substance can soul subsist as soul, having all the potentialities of soul. By

quitting her own proper condition and descending into Matter, she takes upon

herself the limitations of Matter. As between Spirit and Matter there is no

boundary line, it is only by the maintenance of a will set exclusively

spirit-wards that a soul can be held from submitting into the lower condition of

Matter, finally to disintegrate and perish.

17. Such a fall, it will be well to repeat, does not involve the loss of any

portion of the divine Substance. The animating spirit is withdrawn, and the

constituent elements are separated. That only which perishes is the

individuality constituted of these. And it perishes through its own persistent

refusal of that “Gift of God” which is Eternal Life, the gift, namely, of

portion of God’s Self or Spirit. Refusing this, man refuses life, as he is free

to do. God rejects and annihilates no one. Man, by his rejection of God,

annihilates his own individuality. And God cannot make man on any other terms.

And this, for the reason that God is omnipotent. God would not be omnipotent

were the individual indestructible. For then there would be something not God,

possessing all the power of God. So far from this doctrine being an impugnment

of the Divine love and goodness, it is essential to these qualities. God, we

have said, rejects and destroys nothing. But there is in things evil an element

of self-destruction, in the operation of which lies the safety of the universe.

Were the fact otherwise, – could individuals subsist forever in a condition of

opposition to the Divine will, – then would evil itself be eternized; and the

universe, divided against itself, would fall. And, on the other hand, were man

not free to annihilate himself, but salvation were compulsory, existence,

instead of being a solemn reality, would be a farce wherein man and the soul

would be but mechanical puppets altogether unworthy a divine creation. By the

law of Heredity, God’s freedom involves man’s freedom: and this involves the

freedom to renounce God, and with God, all being. Thus is the saying true, “For

him who will not have God, God is not.”

18. It is through the soul, and the soul only, that man learns the Divine will,

and learning it, saves himself. And the clearness with which the soul, on her

part, discerns and transmits that will, depends upon her purity. In this word

purity lies the essence of all religion. It is the burden of the whole Bible and

of all bibles. Always is purity insisted on as the means to salvation; always

impurity as the cause of condemnation. To this uniformity of doctrine the

Parable of the Fall is no exception. With the soul pure, man dwells in Eden and

“sees God.” With the soul impure, he is driven forth into the Wilderness. Such,

on the plane spiritual, is the operation of that great law of gravitation which

– as has been said – is the one law of existence. Salvation and condemnation are

matters of spiritual gravitation. Man tends towards or away from God – the Tree

of Life – according to the specific gravity of his soul. Of this the density

depends upon the nature of the affections cultivated by him. And this, again,

depends upon his own Will, which is free. Wherefore, in being the regulator of

his own specific gravity, he is the arbiter of his own destiny; and according as

he himself wills, he tends inwards and upwards to salvation, or outwards and

downwards to extinction. Yielding to the Tempter Sense, and making Matter not

his means merely but his end, his soul loses at length her spiritual nature.

Nevertheless, while there is life in her there is hope for him. But only through

a return to purity. For only when she has regained her “virginity” and become

“immaculate,” can the Christ – her savior – be born of her.

PART II

19. THE full significance of the Parable under consideration, and the unity of

the mystic Scriptures, become conspicuously apparent when we collate their

various corresponding utterances, as by taking into account those also of the

Book of Revelation. For it is there that the doctrine of the Woman receives its

crowning recognition as the foundation of that true Christianity which those

persistent suppressors of the women – the world’s materializing priesthoods –

have so nearly extinguished. Let us, then, – though at the risk of some

repetition – collate these two utterances, between the delivery of which so many

thousands of years elapsed.

20. In creating Man, God creates one whole and perfect being, formed of two

distinct parts, Adam the earthly, exterior man, and Eve the spiritual and

interior man, his soul and “living mother.” These two are joined together by God

in perfect union as one creature, and made, for the time, indispensable to each

other. Adam, as the manifested personality or man, is not complete, that is, is

not a man having Manhood, until Eve, the soul or woman, is added to him as

helpmeet and guide. By the addition of her the two natures become one Humanity.

21. From this state of perfection Humanity soon falls. For Eve, the soul,

withdrawing her steadfast gaze from the proper object of her regard, namely, her

spirit, God, fastens them on things below, things earthly and material, which

are to her the “forbidden fruit,” since her nature is spiritual. Beholding this

fruit, and finding it pleasant to the eyes, she puts forth her hand and plucks

of it, and gives of it to her husband, or Adam, to eat with her.

22. This is ever the history of sin. The exterior personality cannot of itself

sin, for it is not a responsible being. Sin is of the soul; and it comes of the

soul’s inclination to the things of sense. Taking of this fruit and enjoying it,

she is said to eat it. And at her instigation “Adam” does likewise. And

thenceforth, instead of the soul operating within him to purify and enlighten

him, and lead him upwards towards the Spirit, together they become sensual and

debased. And thus the sin, which has its commencement in the thought of the

soul, afterwards becomes developed into action through the energy of the body or

masculine part.

23. The sin consummated, the result is inevitable. Adam and his wife, the man

and his soul, hear the voice of the Lord God speaking through their conscience.

And sensible that they are no longer clad in the purity which alone enables man

to face his Maker, they fly, as one caught naked, to hide from the Divine

presence. Having rejected God, and no longer looking up to Him, as her Lord and

King, the soul, Eve, falls under the sway of Adam and the body. He rules her,

and her desire is unto him: and thenceforth Matter has dominion in them over the

spirit. The garden of perfection is lost, and the world becomes for them a

wilderness.

24. Meanwhile Adam, being interrogated by the Divine Voice, lays the blame upon

Eve. For, but for the soul within him, the man had not known or been capable of

committing sin; sin being possible only where there is a sense of right and

wrong, which the soul alone possesses. Eve, interrogated in her turn, throws the

blame on the serpent of Matter – sense, or the lower nature – through whose

allurements she has fallen. It is no particular act that thus constitutes sin.

And sin does not consist in fulfilling any of the functions of nature. Sin

consists in acting without or against the spirit, and in not seeking the divine

sanction in everything that is done. For sin is not of the physical but of the

spiritual man. And by the spirit the act is redeemed or condemned. It is sheer

materialism and idolatry to regard an act as itself sinful. For to do this, is

to invest that which is merely physical with a spiritual attribute.

25. The natural result of the soul’s enslavement to Matter, is her liability to

extinction. In her own nature the soul is immortal. That is, she does not

partake the death which befalls the body, but survives to take on other bodies,

and continues to do so until she has finally built up a spiritual man worthy and

capable of enduring for ever. But the lower she sinks herself into Matter, the

lower become her vitality and power of recovery. So that unless she turn and

mend, she must ultimately perish; for she will lose altogether the Divine Spirit

which is her necessary life.

26. Notwithstanding the soul’s fall, then, there is still hope of recovery for

man. She shall yet, she is divinely assured, “crush the serpent’s head.” Not her

seed only, but herself, – the soul, – when fully restored. For this is the true

rendering, both in the Hebrew Scriptures and in the far older Bible of the

Zodiac, – that indefeasible prophecy of the soul’s history. So that she who has

been the cause of the fall, shall be the means also of redemption. “I will put

enmity,” says God to the Serpent, “between thee and the woman, and between thy

seed and her seed: She shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her

heel.” For the fallen soul, retaining in some degree her spirituality, and

recoiling from a merely material estimate of things, constitutes in the man a

constant protest against his engrossment by his lower nature. It is, therefore,

of the soul, restored to her pure estate and not of the body and its animal

propensities, that the redeemed man must be born. The first Adam is of the

earth, earthy, and liable to death. The second is “from heaven,” and triumphant

 

over death. For “sin has no more dominion over him.” He, therefore, is the

product of a soul purified from defilement by Matter, and released from

subjection to the body. Such a soul is called virgin. And she has for spouse,

not Matter – for that she has renounced – but the Divine Spirit, which is God.

And the man born of this union is in the image of God, and is God made man; that

is, he is Christ, and it is the Christ thus born in every man who redeems him

and endows him which eternal life. For in him the man becomes transmuted from

Matter into Spirit. He is the man himself, by regeneration become a son at once

of man and God. Generation, degeneration, regeneration, – in these three terms

is comprised the whole process of the soul’s history.

27. This triumphant consummation of the soul’s course is thus celebrated in the

Apocalypse. “I beheld, “says the seer, “a great wonder in heaven: a woman

clothed with the sun having the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of

twelve starts.” This is the soul invested with the light of supreme knowledge

attained through the experiences undergone in the long series of her past

existences; standing on the moon as victor over materiality and firm in the

faith of a full intuition, – states denoted respectively by the dark and light

portions of the moon; and superior evermore to the changes of mortal destiny,

the stars which represent this being the jewels of her crown, each of them

denoting one of the “twelve labours” necessary to be endured by the soul on her

path to her final perfectionment, and the spiritual gifts and graces acquired in

the process.

28. Of the woman or soul thus exalted the offspring is a “man-child,” who is

persecuted by the “serpent” of the lower world. It is a man-child for several

reasons. First, because it represents the good deeds, and not intention or

thoughts merely, but actual works and positive fruits of a soul overshadowed of

the Divine Spirit, and fertilized by the Divine Love. In the origination of such

deeds, the outer nature of man can have no part; they proceed wholly from the

soul or woman. And they constitute a man-child because deeds imply an exercise

of the masculine element of force. And they are necessary to salvation, not

 

because they themselves can save, but because they indicate the redemption of

the individuals who perform them. Faith and holy longing are feminine, and of

themselves insufficient. They must be supplemented by works – which are

masculine – in order to win acceptance in God’s sight. “For the man is not

without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in the Lord.” And “the Lord”

means and is the whole humanity of man and woman, as subsisting in the Divine

Idea. Without the child, therefore, and this a man-child, the allegory would

have been incomplete.

29. Now the good deeds thus engendered are the special aversion of the devil, or

principle of evil, since, more than all else, they endanger his kingdom. Hence

he is represented as seeking to annihilate both them and the soul which has

given them birth. But though the soul must yet remain in the world to endure

trial and persecution until the time come for God to end her probation and call

her to her final joy with Himself, it is not so with her offspring; but this is

forthwith caught up to God and His throne. For, the good deed once wrought

cannot be destroyed; but God accepts and preserves it, and the devil has no

power over it. Wherefore the latter, finding it useless to pursue the man-child,

redoubles his efforts against the soul, and pours forth a flood of temptations,

in order, if possible, to sweep her from God’s sight. She, however, though still

in the “wilderness” of the flesh, is divinely sustained and delivered. The rest

of her seed, the good deeds she continues to bring forth, are still the subject

of persecution, until the dragon is finally overcome through what mystically is

called the Blood of the Lamb, which is the pure doctrine and life whereby the

elect are made sons of God and heirs of eternal life.

30. In the final exaltation which awaits her as the reward of her faithfulness,

the woman or soul, is described as arrayed by God in the white linen of

righteousness, the emblem of perfect purity, and given to be the bride of His

“only son,” Christ Jesus. This is the man perfected through experience of

suffering, and made regenerate through following his soul’s pure intuition of

God. And is called the “only son,” not because he is a single individual, but

because only he is so designated who comes up to this description. He always is

a son of God, who is the product, not of a soul defiled by contact of Matter,

but of a soul pure and vitalized of the Spirit. The character or “man” thus

reborn is an “only begotten son of God,” because God begets none of any other

kind. Of men such as this are the “saints” who “inherit the earth.” And under

their rule, the “New Jerusalem,” or state of perfection, which “cometh down from

heaven,” – the city which has God for its sun, and which has no temple because

every man is himself a house of God, – replaces the lost garden of Eden.

31. Side by side with this epitome of the history of the pure and faithful soul,

the allegory traces that of the perverse soul, under the type of an abandoned

woman who sits upon the “seven hills” of the “seven deadly sins,” and allies

herself in wickedness with the “kings of the earth.” That is, who yields wholly

to the promptings of the lower nature, and accepts in all its grossness and

cruelty a civilization merely materialistic, in which the body is made all, and

the spirit and every divine principle are set at nought.

32. The completeness of the parable in Genesis appears yet more distinctly when

we compare the curse pronounced on Adam with man’s actual condition in material

respects. The sentence in its proper integrity runs thus: – “And unto Adam God

said. Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife when beguiled of

the devil, and hast eaten of the tree whereof I commanded thee, saying, Thou

shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat

of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to

thee; and thou shalt eat, instead of the nobler fruit of the tree which grows

spontaneously, the grosser herb of the field which requires laborious

cultivation. For, in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou

return unto the ground, out of which thou wast taken; for dust thou art, and

unto dust shalt thou return.” This is, God said to the bodily nature of man:

“Because thou hast yielded to the solicitations of thy mate, the soul, when

turning from God, she inclined to Matter, and from being spiritual became

sensual, thou must lead a hard and painful life, occupied by ignoble cares, and

return by death to the lower elements to perish. Thy mate, meanwhile, though

also liable to perish, shall still have long endurance, but henceforth – until

finally purified and redeemed – shall bring forth her works, as the slave of the

body, in great trouble and compunction for her fallen and degraded condition.”

PART III

33. ALL the mistakes made in Biblical interpretation come of referring

statements of which the intention is spiritual and mystical, implying principles

or states, to times, persons, or places. But, though these are never the

essential element in any such statement, it is, nevertheless true that the Bible

parables are either based upon certain special historic facts or are stated in

terms derived from actual occurrences; just as a hieroglyphical record is

expressed in symbols drawn from the animal world, and yet has no reference to

that world; so that the spiritual significations implied are not without a

correspondence of some sort on the natural plane.

34. Now, the special historical fact upon the lines of which the parable of the

Fall is constructed, is one which – already implied in the account just given of

the soul individual of man – is to be sought in the history of the soul

collective of man, – in the history, that is, of the Church, an account of the

Fall in relation to which will occupy the rest of this lecture. Sacerdotalism

has always claimed for the Church the distinction of being the mystic woman

through whose exaltation redemption occurs. But it has never recognized the

Church as also the woman through whose fall comes the need of redemption. This

reproach the priest has bestowed in a quarter in which originally there was no

idea of bestowing it, and where it by no means belongs, namely, the feminine

moiety of the human race. Yet, notwithstanding this assumption of sacerdotalism,

it is to the fall of the Church from the standard attained in the Edenic period,

that, in one of its aspects, the parable refers.

35. Even so, however, the interpretation is not to be restricted to any single

or special instance. It is only as a type of all Churches that the first or best

Church is employed, precisely as the soul of the first or best man may be

employed as a type of all souls. And any less general application would deprive

the parable of its due place as an eternal and universal verity, and reduce it

to the level of the merely historical and local.

36. Nor, in likening all Churches one to another in respect of their fall, is it

intended to assimilate them in respect of the height from which they have

fallen. All that is meant is, that, whatever the level of sp