But I am afraid that power would indeed be a
sad possession though it may seem upon superficial thought to be desirable. Each
of us is full of shortcomings. At times we make but a sorry figure on the stage
of the world. Sometimes we seem to be thrown aimlessly hither and thither by the
shuttle-cock of destiny, while others who are unable to see the beam in their
own eye are criticizing us and making us appear ridiculous. If we saw ourselves
with their eyes, we should lose that most essential attribute--our self-respect;
we should shrink from facing our fellow men.
When we realize that this is so (and thought
upon the matter surely can not fail to convince us), then we might also with
profit put the shoe on the other foot and realize that we ourselves, by sharp
criticism of the trivial shortcomings of others, are taking a very unbrotherly,
unphilosophical, un-wisdom-of-love-like attitude. It is the purpose of the
coming lessons to give us an idea of what has caused in the past some of the
things that we most criticize in others, so that we may be able personally to
avoid similar mistakes; also that we may have that real, true, Christian charity
which VAUNTETH NOT ITSELF, IS NOT PUFFED UP, SEEKETH NOT HER OWN, REJOICETH NOT
IN EVIL BUT IN THE TRUTH, as Paul describes it in that beautiful thirteen
chapter of 1st Corinthians.
I trust that you will approach the lessons
in that spirit and that they may be of lasting benefit to us all.
CONCENTRATION IN THE ROSICRUCIAN WORK
While meditating upon the good of the
Rosicrucian Fellowship the question came up before the writer's mind: "What
is the greatest general hindrance to our progress in the spiritual work?"
And the answer was: "Lack of concentration."
We all have our families who crave and must
have a certain share of our attention. Our work in the world must not be
neglected on any account. We are here to accomplish certain things, and to learn
by them. After these duties have been attended to there still remains for each
of us a little time which we may justly and properly use for our own
development, and it is as important that we properly use this extra time as it
is that we attend to our worldly duties, our family, and our social obligations.
Consider now that in ordinary life we do not
try to become a doctor and practice medicine today, work in a machine shop
tomorrow, and every other day go at some other business. We know that such a
course would not take us anywhere in life. neither do we live in one family as
husband or wife today and assume similar relations in another family tomorrow;
nor do we change our social circle as often as we change our coats or shoes.
Such industrial and social conditions would be absolutely impossible. On the
contrary, we pursue one line of work in the world; we look after one family; we
concentrate our efforts in these departments of our life to the exclusion of all
Why not apply the same common sense to our
spiritual endeavors? We study our business; we plan ahead; we work with all our
might in order to make it a success. We also study the needs of our family and
we plan for them. We know that success, both social and industrial, depends upon
the amount of concentration and the amount of planning we do. If, then, we are
so wise concerning worldly things, which last only for the few years of our
earth life, can we not bring ourselves to use the same common sense to apply
ourselves equally with all our mind and with our heart to the spiritual things
that are everlasting?
In the Atlantean Epoch when the Original
Semites were called out from among their brothers, many of them accounted it a
great hardship. They, "the Sons of God," married "the daughters
of men," with the result which we know from our study of the COSMO.
We are today at another great parting of the
ways. An "Ecclesia," or company of men, is being "called
out" as pioneers of the next great race. Many roads lead to Rome and to the
Kingdom of Christ, but if we fritter our time away walking on one today and
tomorrow choosing another path, we are certain to fail; and I therefore urge all
the students who are in sympathy with the ideas of the Rosicrucian Fellowship to
give up all other religious societies and devote their whole heart, mind, and
spirit to living and spreading our teachings.
Trained, skilled, and devoted workers are
sought in our earthly enterprises. In the heavenly Kingdom loyalty and devotion
also are prime factors.
Let us memorize and concentrate on the first
three verses of the first Psalm, for surely we want to reap the greatest harvest
that we possible can from our spiritual as well as from our material efforts.
THE COSMIC MEANING OF EASTER
As this lesson will reach you about Easter
time, I thought it might be well to devote the letter to that recurring event.
You know the analogy between man, who enters
his vehicles in the daytime, lives in them and works through them, and at night
is a free spirit, free from the fetters of the dense body--and the Christ Spirit
dwelling in our earth a part of the year. We all know what a fetter and what a
prison this body is, how we are hampered by disease and suffering, for there is
not one of us who is always in perfect health so that he or she never feels a
pang of pain, at least no one on the higher path.
It is similar with the Cosmic Christ, who
turns His attention toward our little earth, focusing His consciousness in this
planet in order that we may have life. He has to enliven this dead mass (which
we have crystallized out of the sun) annually; and it is a fetter, a clog, and a
prison to Him. Therefore it is right and proper that we should rejoice when He
comes at Christmas time each year and is born anew into our world to help us
leaven this dead lump wherewith we have encumbered ourselves. Our hearts at that
time should turn to Him in gratitude for the sacrifice He makes for our sakes
during the winter months, permeating this planet with His life to awaken it from
its wintry sleep, in which it must remain were He not thus born into it to
During the winter months He suffers agonies
of torture, "groaning, travailing, and waiting for the day of
liberation," which comes at the time that we speak of in the orthodox
churches as the passion week. But we realize according to the mystic teachings
that this week is just the culmination or crest wave of His suffering and that
He is then rising out of His prison; that when the sun crosses the equator, He
hangs upon the cross, and cries, "CONSUMMATION EST!"--"It has
been accomplished!" That is to say, His work for that year has been
accomplished. It is not a cry of agony but it is a cry of triumph, a shout of
joy that the our of liberation has come, and that once more He can soar away a
little while, free from the fettering clod of our planet.
Now, dear friend, the point to which I would
like to call your attention is that we should rejoice with Him in that great,
glorious, triumphal hour, the hour of liberation when He exclaims, "It has
been accomplished!" Let us attune our hearts to this great cosmic event;
let us rejoice with the Christ, our Savior, that the term of His annual
sacrifice has once more been completed; and let us feel thankful from the very
bottom of our hearts that He is now about to be freed from the earth's fetters;
that the life wherewith He has now endued our planet is sufficient to carry us
through the time till next Christmas.
I hope that this may furnish you with a
point of view for prayerful Easter meditation which will result in abundant soul
WASTE THROUGH SCATTERING ONE'S FORCES
In the March letter I suggested, as you will
remember, the concentration of energy in one direction, advising, as I have done
before, that students devote all their spare time to work in and for one
religious society, rather than scattering and dissipating their energies by
membership in a number of such societies, for it is an impossibility to do
effective work in that manner.
Since that time a few resignations have come
in, which were not unexpected. Among a large membership like that of the
Rosicrucian Fellowship some of those who hold membership in other bodies would
naturally have their greatest sympathy somewhere else, and they would follow
that bent in accordance with my advice. Indeed the surprise is that there have
been only a few resignations, but this is no doubt due to the fact that
Headquarters periodically weeds out those who show little interest, and thus
keeps only the most live members on the list.
But the tone of these resignations does
hurt. One writes: "I am a member of the Episcopalian Church; my pew rent is
paid there, etc., etc." It seems strange that some will not understand that
the Rosicrucian Fellowship is antagonistic to no church or society, particularly
not to the Christian churches. It has been stated repeatedly that we favor
membership in any Christian church. What the letter said was not CHURCHES, but
"religious societies"; and, as said, it was not because we had
anything against societies which work along Christian lines. There is, for
instance the Unity Society of Kansas City, a clean, moral organization under a
noble leadership, so far as we can learn from all reports. But to do one's best
work in that or any other religious society one's entire energy in spare time
should be given to that society alone; and if any member of the Rosicrucian
Fellowship who is also a member of such an organization decides to cast his lot
with them alone he is doing far better by them, far better by the Rosicrucian
Fellowship also, than if he retains his membership in both. On the other hand,
if the weight of his sympathies lies with the Rosicrucian Fellowship, then it is
better for him, better for the Unity Society, better for the Rosicrucian
Fellowship, that he cast his lot entirely with our association.
As we have often said, many roads lead to
Rome, but you can not walk two roads at once. You must walk one in order to get
there. Zigzagging from one to another is a waste of effort. If we do our work in
the world we have but very little time left in which we may legitimately work
for our own advantage along spiritual lines. Therefore we should endeavor to
concentrate our efforts where they will do the greatest good instead of
scattering our energies and attaining very little soul growth in that manner.
Moreover it should be understood that if at
any time the policies of the Rosicrucian Fellowship do not meet with the
approval of any one, he is not serving the cause by simply deserting the flag
and railing against us from the outside. If he remains within we listen to him
as one brother listens to another, and we see his arguments from a very
different point of view than if he shows hostility, leaves, and becomes in that
way an opponent. Then the same arguments would lose a good deal of their weight.
We are all agreed about the great and cardinal points of our teachings. Every
one of us surely appreciates the benefit that we have reaped from this
philosophy which we are engaged in promulgating. Is it not meet then that we
should be tolerant in matters of policy, that we may devote all our attention to
EPIGENESIS AND FUTURE DESTINY
While we are studying the "Web of
Destiny--How Made and Unmade," it is expedient, in fact absolutely
necessary, that we should keep before the eye of our mind the fact that life is
not alone an unfoldment of causes set going in previous existences. The spirit,
when it comes back to rebirth, has a varying amount of free will--according to
the life previously led--to fill in details. Also, instead of only unfolding
past causes into effects, there are also new causes generated at every turn by
the spirit, which then act as seeds of experience in future lives. This is a
very important point. It is a self- evident truth, for unless it were so, the
causes that have already been set going must at some time come to an end, and
that would mean cessation of existence.
Thus we are not absolutely forced to act in
a certain way because we are in a certain environment and because our whole past
experience has given us a trend toward a certain end. With the divine
prerogative of free will, man has the power of Epigenesis or initiative, so that
he may enter upon a new line at any time he wishes. He cannot at once steer
himself out of the old life-- this may require a long time, perhaps several
lives--but gradually he works up to the ideal which he has once sown.
Therefore life advances not only by
involution and evolution, but especially by Epigenesis. This sublime teaching of
the Western Wisdom Religion of the Rosicrucians explains many mysteries not
otherwise capable of a logical solution, among them one which has occasioned
many letters to Headquarters. This subject is taken up with some reluctance as
the writer dislikes speaking about the war. The question concerns the connection
between a soldier, a woman of the enemy ravished by him, and the ego born of a
mother who hates it because of the undesired motherhood.
Investigation of a number of cases has shown
that this is a new venture on the part of the spirits coming to rebirth. All
have been incorrigible in their previous environments and it seemed that no good
could come by keeping them there to he sorrow of those with whom they were
connected. The present war conditions, though not made for the purpose, afford
an opportunity to transfer them to another field of action, where the new mother
reaps, through this agency, the fruits of wrongs sown by herself in the past.
Nor is this condition at all peculiar to
war. Very often similar means are used at other times so that we may reap what
we have sown, through another soul who enters into our lives to suffer and to
bring suffering to us. I have in mind a mother who told me a number of years ago
how she rebelled against motherhood; how, after she had gone through the period
of pregnancy with hate and anger in her heart, the little child was born and she
refused even to look at it; but finally she was melted by pity for its condition
of helplessness, and pity later turned to love. The child had all the advantages
that money could give him, but these advantages could not save his mental
balance, and today he sits in a murderer's cell in an asylum for the criminal
insane, while the mother is left to sorrow and to ponder upon what she did or
did not do during the time when that infant was coming to her.
Conversely, there are also occasions when a
spirit, being through with an old environment, comes into a new sphere of action
as a ray of sunshine and comfort to those who are fitted to receive that
blessing by their previous actions. Let us, therefore, remember that no matter
how degraded a being may be he has always the power to sow the seed of good, but
must wait until that seed can flower in a right environment. Each of us, though
bound by his yesterdays, is therefore thus far free respecting his tomorrows.
THE NEED OF SPREADING THE TEACHINGS
Upon re-reading the monthly lesson which
accompanies this letter, embodying the result of investigations made some time
ago, I was struck anew and with added force by the fact of the existence of such
fearsome conditions about us. At the present time when the horrors of the great
war are adding unprecedented numbers to those who pass from the present world to
the invisible realms under harrowing conditions, it seems that an extra effort
ought to be made to offset and to minimize the evil. The Rosicrucian Fellowship
is as yet but a drop in the ocean of humanity, but if we do our share we shall
earn a greater opportunity for service.
There is no remedy for the present
conditions equal to a knowledge of the continuity of life and of the fact that
we are reborn from time to time under the immutable Law of Consequence. If these
great facts with all that they imply could be brought home to a large number of
people, this leaven must ultimately work in such a manner as to change
conditions all over the world. One man, Galileo, changed the viewpoint of the
world concerning the solar system; and though we are only a few thousand, it is
not possible for us to exert an influence upon the opinion of the world when we
know that this is true?
It is often said that people are not
interested in spiritual matters; that you cannot get their ear; but, really, it
is not so. Granting that of the hundred of thousands who went to hear Billy
Sunday, the noted evangelist, a great many were actuated by curiosity or went
to? jeer and sneer, there were also many thousand in whom was a strong desire
for something which they themselves perhaps could not define, and which was the
actuating motive. Recently there was a debate between a New York evangelist and
a lawyer on the subject, "Where Are the Dead?" This debate was held in
a large auditorium accommodating many thousands, and it lasted for three days.
Every seat in the auditorium was taken and, if I remember right, there were many
who could not even find standing room within. No, the world is seeking
something; seeking it with a hungry heart, and it only depends upon us whether
we are going to do our share by putting before the world the rational
explanation of life which has come to us through the Elder Brothers. It is a
great privilege and we should certainly take advantage of it.
But the question is, How? Let me ask you,
would not YOUR newspaper take an occasional article on this subject? There are
certainly a number of people within the Fellowship capable of writing such
articles. A committee could be formed to receive the articles and furnish them
to the members who ask for them and who would agree to take them to the editors
of the newspapers in their respective towns and endeavor to get a hearing for
the Rosicrucian Fellowship teachings through that medium. If an article is well
written it is seldom refused when there is space available, for editors are only
too glad to get something that they think may interest the reading public, even
though they may not be in sympathy with it themselves.
Will some of the students who can write
pleas submit short articles on "The Continuity of Life," and will
those who are willing to undertake to get such articles into their home papers
write and register their names to that we may get action? Address your
communications in this matter to "The Publicity Department," Mt.
I hope that this appeal will meet with a
ASTROLOGY AS AN AID IN HEALING THE SICK
Did you ever realize the reason why Christ
commanded that we should heal the sick? One of the reasons certainly was that
when you have demonstrated that you can heal the body, those who have been
helped will have more faith in your ability also to help the soul. When we have
advanced to the high stature of Christ so that we can at once see the past and
the present; when we are able thus to determine at a glance the causes, crises,
and present stage of a disease, we shall need no other aid in diagnosis and
advice. But until that time we must use such crutches as we have, and foremost
among them is astrology.
Many people who have been unwilling to WORK
for results have come to Headquarters expecting to gain spiritual illumination,
to sprout wings, and to return to the world as wonder workers after a few days'
stay. And naturally, they have been disappointed. But whenever anyone has
honestly and earnestly applied himself to real work, not classes, for a
reasonable time, results have always been attained. We have here a letter from a
friend who stayed at Mt. Ecclesia and applied himself earnestly and honestly to
his studies. We give his experience as encouragement to others to do likewise:
"Dear Friends: The proposition which I
expected to take up after my stay on Mt. Ecclesia turned out to be a graft on
people and not consistent with our ideals at all, and I therefore sent in my
resignation. No sooner, though, did I give up that scheme than I had an
invitation from a prominent physician in Kansas City to do work with him. He
appealed to me as being all right. We were literally stormed with patients. Mrs.
Heindel, it is wonderful how people hunger for something of this nature; they
look for someone to open their lives, and they try to get encouragement from
sources that are more potent and reliable than the hard and dry life-destroying
"Astrology came as a wonderful help to
me to gain their confidence; and by the aid of God, who sent me here, I was able
to send them away, their ailments correctly diagnosed. And the strangest part of
it is that none of them gave me any symptoms. I located both disease and
symptom, and nearly everyone agree that I was right and resolved to live up to
the high principles of manhood and womanhood which I enunciated to them.
"I expect to be very busy here and wish
to thank you for the help I have received along this line during the last year
at Mt. Ecclesia. I certainly enjoyed my stay with you immensely and am looking
forward to a great deal of good from my work there; am only sorry I was unable
to stay longer."
What man has done, man can do. Mrs. Heindel
and myself did not get our knowledge along this line without effort. We had to
work hard for it; and others who have worked as hard with the same spiritual
ideals in view, namely, the helping and uplifting of humanity, also find an
illumination that is not given to those who are looking for the material rewards
of life and their own aggrandizement. It seems to me that it is time the
Rosicrucian Fellowship should wake up and take this study earnestly in hand so
that healing centers may be established in every city in the world.
We have started a department in the magazine
where we delineate the horoscope of children to help parents to know their
latent characteristics. There is also a correspondence course for beginners,
besides the course in Astro-Diagnosis and Astro-Therapy for probationers, and we
would advise all who have not yet started to take up the study.
UNNATURAL MEANS OF ATTAINMENT
When one investigates a certain subject in
the invisible world, many fascinating byways open up. he is constantly lured
away from the main line of research by this, that, or the other theme which
attracts his attention, and there is great danger of losing sight of the goal
and of wandering off in a maze of incoherency. Sometimes the temptation to
follow a bypath is stronger than my power of resistance; and recently, while
working on the "Web of Destiny," the figure of a hermit who had
starved his body to the semblance of a skeleton--who had whipped himself till
the blood flowed from sores that were never allowed to heal, and thought he was
serving God by these austerities--led me to search for the origin of this
hideous practice. I have written a lengthy article on the subject for our
magazine; but as the matter is important, and many of the students are not
subscribers to the magazine, I have deemed it best to give you the main facts.
In the ancient Mystery Temples the main
truths now taught by the Rosicrucian Fellowship concerning the vital body were
given to the aspirant to Initiation. He learned that this vehicle was composed
of the four ethers: the Chemical Ether, which is necessary to assimilation; the
Life Ether, which furthers growth and propagation; the Light Ether, which is the
vehicle of sense perception; and the Reflecting Ether, which is the receptacle
The aspirant was thoroughly instructed in
the functions of the two lower ethers as compared with the two higher. He knew
that all the purely animal functions of the body depended upon the density of
the two lower ethers and that the two upper ethers composed the soul body--the
vehicle of service in the invisible world. He aspired to cultivate this glorious
garment by self-abnegation, curbing the propensities of the lower nature by will
power, just as we do today.
But some, who were overzealous to attain, no
matter how, forgot that it is only by service and unselfishness that the golden
wedding garment, composed of the two higher ethers, is grown. They thought the
occult maxim, "Gold in the crucible, dross in the fire; light as the winds,
higher and higher," meant only that so long as the dross of the lower
nature was expelled, it did not matter how it was done. And they reasoned that
as the Chemical Ether is the agent of assimilation, it could be eliminated from
the vital body by starving the physical body. They also thought that as the Life
Ether is the avenue of propagation, they could by living celibate lives starve
it out. They would then only have the two higher ethers, or at least these would
be much larger in volume than the two lower.
To that end they practiced all the
austerities they could think of, fasting among others. By this unnatural process
the body lost its health and became emaciated. The passional nature, which
sought gratification by exercise of the propagative function, was stilled by
castigation. It is true that in this horrible manner the lower nature seemed to
be subjected; and it is also true that when the bodily functions were thus
brought to a very low ebb, visions, or rather hallucinations, were the reward of
these people; but true spirituality has never been attained by defiling or
destroying "the temple of God," the body, and fasting may be as
immoral as gluttony.
Let us endeavor to use moderation in all
things, that we may be worthy examples to others and earn admission to the
Temple by virtue of right living.
THE RACE SPIRITS AND THE NEW RACE
As there are a great number of students who
have not subscribed for the magazine, and as there is a very important article
running now, dealing with the occult side of the war, I feel that it may be best
to devote the monthly letter to a resume of the facts, and trust that this will
also benefit those who take the magazine; for as I do not intend to copy, but
will take up the subject offhand, new points are sure to be brought out.
You remember how every one of the countries
concerned in this sad affair has endeavored to disclaim responsibility from the
beginning. In a sense they are right, for though all have been guilty of pride
of heart and, like David when he numbered Israel, have put their trust in the
multitude of their men, ships, and armament, no war can ever take place that is
not permitted by the Race Spirits. The Race Spirit guides its charges upon the
path of evolution, and, like Jehovah, fights for them, or allows other nations
to conquer them, as required to teach them the lesson needful for their
When seen by the spiritual vision the Race
Spirit appears like a cloud brooding over a country, and it is breathed into the
lungs of the people with every breath they take. In it they live, move, and have
their being, as a matter of actual fact. Through this process they become imbued
with that national fellow-feeling which we call "patriotism," which is
so powerfully stirring in time of war that all feel wrought up about a certain
matter and are ready to sacrifice all for their country.
America has no Race Spirit as yet. It is the
melting pot wherein the various nations are being amalgamated to extract the
seed for a new race; therefore it is impossible to arouse a universal sentiment
which will make all move as one in any matter. This new race is beginning to
appear, however. You may know them by their long arms and limbs, their lithe
body, their long and somewhat narrow head, high crown, and almost rectangular
forehead. In a few generations I expect they will be taken in charge by an
Archangel, who will then begin to unite them. This itself will take generations,
for though the pictures originally stamped in the old race bodies have faded
from sight with the advent of the international marriages, they are still
effective, and the family connections of America with Europe may be traced in
the Memory of Nature found in the Reflecting Ether. Until this record has been
wiped clean, the tie with the ancestral country is not entirely broken, and the
colonies of Italians, Scots, Germans, English, etc., remaining in various part
of this country retard the evolution of the new race. Probably the Aquarian Age
will be here before this condition has been entirely overcome and the American
race fully established.
If you look back at the developments during
the past 60 or 70 years, it must be evident that it has been an age of
skepticism, doubt, and criticism of religious subjects. The churches have become
increasingly empty, and people have turned to the pursuit of pleasure, from the
worship of God. This tendency was on the increase in Europe until the advent of
this war, and it is still a disgrace to certain cities and centers of scientific
thought in America. As a result of this worldwide attitude of mind, fostered by
the Brothers of the Shadow with the permission of the Race Spirits, as Job was
tempted by Satan in the legend, a spiritual cataract has covered the eyes of the
Western world and must be removed before evolution can proceed. How that is
being done will be the subject of the next letter.
THE WAR AN OPERATION FOR SPIRITUAL CATARACT
You are aware from the teachings of the
COSMO that there was one race at the end of the Lemurian Epoch, there were seven
in the Atlantean Epoch, seven in the Aryan, and there will be on in the coming
Galilean Epoch, making in all sixteen races. You also remember that these
sixteen races are called by the Elder Brothers "the sixteen paths to
destruction" because enmeshed in the bodies of any race to such an extent
that it will be unable to follow the others along the path of evolution. During
the Periods and Epochs there is always plenty of time so that the Leaders of
humanity can marshal their flocks into line. But the Jews are an example of what
may happen to people who become so intensely imbued with the racial spirit that
they absolutely refuse to let go. They continue as an anomaly among the rest of
humanity, a people without a country, king, or any other of the factors that
make for racial evolution.
This was the tendency among the nations of
Europe up to the present war. Patriotism, and the racial ideal fostered thereby,
were leading them away from God. An age of doubt and skepticism had been ushered
in by the many scientific discoveries, and the pioneer races in the Western
world were steering very close to the brink of destruction. Therefore it became
necessary for the Elder Brothers to devise measures whereby mankind might be
brought from the path of pleasure to the path of devotion, and this could only
be done by removing the spiritual cataract from a sufficiently large number of
people so that they would then override the doubt and skepticism of the rest.
When we dwelt under the water in the early
Atlantean Epoch, we were, as you know, unable to see the body or even to feel
it, because our consciousness was focused in the spiritual realm. We saw one
another, soul to soul. We were unaware of either birth or death, and we felt no
separation from those we loved. But when we gradually became aware of our
bodies, and our consciousness was focused in the physical world from birth to
death, and in the spiritual world from death to birth, there was a separation,
and consequent sorrow on account of the advent of death. In bygone ages however,
there were still many who were able to see both worlds; they formed quite a
considerable number of the populace. Their testimonies to the continuity of life
were a great comfort to those who had been bereaved, for they believed
thoroughly that those whom they had lost were still alive and happy, though
unable to make themselves known. But gradually the world became more and more
materialistic; faith in the reality of the hereafter faded, and sorrow at the
loss of the loved ones grew more and more intense, until today many believe the
separation is final. To them the word "rebirth" is an empty sound, and
therefore grief is overwhelming.
But this very grief is nature's remedy for
the spiritual cataract. As surely as the desire for growth built the complicated
alimentary canal from the simplest beginning so that the craving for growth
might be satisfied; as surely as the desire for motion evolved the wonderful
joints, sinews, and ligaments wherewith this is accomplished; just as surely
will the intense yearning to continue the relationships severed by death build
the organ for its gratification--the spirit eye. Therefore this wholesale
slaughter of millions of men ha helped and is helping more to bridge the gulf
between the invisible and the visible world than a thousand years of preaching
could do. All through the history of the world it has been recorded that
warriors have seen so-called supernatural manifestations, and there is plenty of
testimony that those visions have also been seen in the present war. The shock
of the wound, the suffering in the hospital, and tears of the widows and
orphans, all are opening the spiritual eyes of Europe, and the age of doubt and
skepticism will pass away. Instead of being ashamed of having faith in God, the
world will honor a man for his piety rather than for his prowess in a not very
distant future. And let us all pray for that day.
CYCLIC MOVEMENTS OF THE SUN
The news printed today in big type on the
front pages of newspapers, news which seems of such vital and absorbing interest
to everybody, is usually forgotten tomorrow, and the papers that contained the
records are thrown into the fire. Likewise the song that is upon the lips of
everybody is usually after awhile relegated to he archives of oblivion. Even the
men who are launched like meteors into the limelight of publicity are usually
soon forgotten, together with the deeds that caused their brief popularity--
for, it? quote Solomon, "All is vanity."
But among the kaleidoscopic changes that are
constantly altering the stage of the world, morally, mentally, and physically,
there are certain cyclic events which, though they are recurrent in their
nature, have a permanency and stability about them which differentiates the
macrocosmic from the microcosmic method of conducting affairs.
In the spring time, at Easter, when the sun
crosses the eastern or vernal equinox, the earth emerges from its wintry sleep
and shakes off the snowy blanket which has covered it with a vesture of
immaculate purity. The voice of nature is heard when the little babbling brooks
begin to trickle down the hillside on their way to the great ocean. It is heard
when the wind whispers in the newly sprouted forest leaves the song of love that
calls forth the bud and the flower which finally bears the pollen that is
carried upon invisible wings to the waiting mate. It is heard in the love song
of the mating birds and the call of beast unto beast. It continues in every
department of nature until the increase of new life has compensated for the
destruction by death.
Through the summer, Love and Life toil
exceedingly with joyful heart, for they are Masters in the struggle for
existence while the sun is exalted in the northern heavens, at the maximum of
his power at the summer solstice. Time goes by, and there comes another turning
point at the fall equinox. The song of the woodland choir is now hushed; the
love call of beast and bird ceases and nature becomes mute again. The light
wanes, and the shadows of night grow longer, until at winter solstice, where we
are now, the earth again prepares for the deepest sleep, for she need the night
of rest after the strenuous activities of the preceding day.
But as the spiritual activities of man are
greatest while his body is asleep, so also, by the law of analogy, we may
understand that the spiritual fires in the earth are brightest at this time of
the year; that now is the best opportunity for soul growth, for investigation
and study of the deeper mysteries of life. And therefore it behooves us to catch
opportunity on the wing so that we may use this present time to the very best
advantage; yet without hurry, without worry, but patiently and prayerfully,
knowing that among all other things in the world which change, this great wave
of spiritual light will be with us in the winter season for ages to come. It
will grow more and more brilliant as the earth and ourselves evolve to higher
degrees of spirituality. We are now doing the pioneer work of spreading the
Rosicrucian teachings which will help to illuminate the world during the
centuries immediately following our present time. There is a law that "you
can get only as you give." Now--this season of the year--is the most
propitious time to give and receive, so let us be sure to let our light shine on
the great cosmic Christmas tree, that it may be seen of men, and that they may
be attracted to the truths which we know to be of such vital importance in the
development of our fellow men.
In concluding this letter I desire to thank
every one of the students for their co-operation in the work during the past
year. Any may we do better work together in the coming year.
THE TEACHER'S DEBT OF GRATITUDE
WE are now at the close of another year of
our lives and at the beginning of a new, and certain thoughts have come to me in
connection with these divisions of our earthly lives.
When Christ was at the end of His ministry,
eating the last supper with His disciples, he washed their feet, despite
protests from some who thought that this was a humiliation for the teacher. But
as a matter of fact it was the symbol of an attitude of mind which is of great
significance as a factor in soul growth. Were it not for the mineral soil, the
higher plant kingdom would be an impossibility; and the animal kingdom could not
exist if the plants did not give it the needed substance. Thus we see that in
nature the higher feeds upon and is dependent on the lower for its growth and
further evolution. Although it is a fact that the disciples were instructed and
helped by Christ, it is also a fact that they were stepping-stones in His
development; and it was in recognition of this fact that He humbled Himself,
acknowledging His debt to them in the performance of the most menial service
It has been the great privilege of the
writer to transmit the esoteric instructions of the Elder Brothers to you and
thousands of others during the past year, and in this he has been aided by all
the workers on Mt. Ecclesia, directly or indirectly. Those who have helped in
the print shop, office, or whatever necessary department have all had their
share in this privilege, and we all thank you for these opportunities for soul
growth which have come to us in satisfying your need.
We trust that we have been of some service
in that respect, and ask your prayers that we may become more efficient servants
in the coming year.
And how about you, dear friend? During the
past year you also have had opportunities to serve others in a similar manner.
Have you used your talents of knowledge transmitted to you to enlighten those
with whom you have come in contact? It is not necessary to stand in a pulpit,
literally or metaphorically, at any time in order to speak to the heart of
others. It is often most effectively accomplished in the little quiet ways, such
that people do not know we are trying to show them something. We trust you have
improved your opportunities to the best of your ability during the past year,
and pray that you may enter the new year with a still more earnest spirit of
service, and that is may prove to be much more fruitful of soul growth than the
past has been.
SPIRITUAL TEACHERS--TRUE AND FALSE
One of the most difficult problems which
confront the leader of a spiritual movement is the impatience of students who
want to reap where they have not sown. They are not patient enough to wait for
the harvest but want results immediately, and if they do not sprout wings within
a specified time set by themselves they are ready to cry "fraud" and
seek and "individual teacher," visible or invisible. So long as he
will "guarantee" results, they are prepared to throw common sense to
the winds and follow him blindly, though he may lead them to the insane asylum
or to a consumptive's grave, or in the cases of those who get off the easiest,
simply separate them from some of their cash.
This condition has been dealt with before
in letters to students, but there are always some who forget and new students
are constantly being added to the class; therefore it is necessary to reiterate
important points from time to time. Hearing recently of one who left a certain
center for an "individual teacher," and who seems on that account to
be envied in a measure by others of the group who have not been so fortunate
(?), it seems expedient to go into the matter again.
Have you ever seen any institution, from
kindergarten to college, where they keep a teacher for every pupil? We have not.
No board of education would sanction such a waste of energy, nor would they
appoint an individual teacher for any one simply because that pupil was
impatient and wanted to get through school "quick." And finally, even
if a board could be found willing to appoint a teacher in a special case who
would "cram" knowledge into the pupils brain, there would be a great
danger of brain fever, insanity, and maybe death in that method.
If this is true in schools of physical
science, how can anyone believe that it can be different with regard to
spiritual science? Christ said to His disciples: "If I have told you
earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of
heavenly things?" No "individual teacher," if such there were,
can initiate anyone into the mysteries of the soul until the pupil is prepared
by his or her own work. Whoever professes to do so brands himself as an impostor
of a low order. And whoever allows himself to be so duped shows very little
common sense; otherwise he would realize that no truly highly evolved teacher
could afford to give his time and energy to the instruction of a single pupil,
when he might just as easily teach a large number.
Imagine, if you can, the twelve great
Brothers of the Rose Cross, each tagging around after on puny pupil! The thought
is a sacrilege. Such truly great and highly evolved men have other and more
important things to attend to, and even the lay brothers who have been initiated
by them are not allowed to bother them for small and unimportant matters.
It may therefore be stated emphatically
that the Elder Brothers do not habitually visit any one in the Rosicrucian
Fellowship, or out of it, as an "individual teacher," and whoever
thinks so is being deceived. They have given certain teachings which form the
basis of instruction in this school, and by learning how to live this silence of
the soul we may in time fit ourselves to meet them face to face in the school of
Invisible Helpers. There is no other way.
I trust that this may fix the idea more
firmly in your own mind than it has been before, and give you a basis for
setting others right who are in danger of being side-tracked.
THE BATTLE THAT RAGES WITHIN
From time to time we are grieved to receive
letters from students in the warring countries chiding us for not taking up the
cudgel in favor of their side. There has not been a day since this sad conflict
began that we have not mourned the dreadful slaughter, though comforted by the
knowledge that it is helping as nothing else could to break down the barrier
between the living and the dead. Thus the war will go far towards abolishing the
sorrow now experienced by the masses when parting from loved ones; also the
present sorrow is turning the Western people from the pleasures of the world to
the worship of God. There has not been a night that we have not worked
diligently with the dead and wounded to allay their mental anguish or physical
Patriotism was very good at one time, but
Christ said, "Before Abraham was, I am." (EGO SUM). Races and nations,
comprehended in the term "Abraham," are evanescent, but "the
Ego," which existed before Abraham, the race father, will also persist when
nations are a thing of the past. Therefore the Fellowship disregards national
and racial differences, endeavoring to join all together in a bond of love to
fight a Great War--the only war in which a true Christian should fight, and one
which a true Christian ought to wage unflinchingly and without quarter--the war
against his lower nature. Paul says: "For I know that in me (that is, in my
flesh) dwelleth no good thing. For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil
which I would not, that I do. 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 that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"
Does not Paul describe here most accurately
the state of every aspiring soul? Are we not all suffering spiritually because
of the conflict within ourselves? I hope there is but one answer, namely, that
this inner war is being waged fiercely and unremittingly by every Fellowship
student; for where there is no struggle, there is a sure indication of spiritual
coma. The "body of sin" has then the upper hand. But the fiercer the
fight, the more hopeful our spiritual state.
In America we hear a great deal of talk of
"neutrality" and "preparedness" for "defensive"
purposes. In the nobler war which we must wage, there can be no
"neutrality." Either there is peace, and "the flesh" rules
us and holds us in abject subjections, or there is war aggressively waged by
both flesh and spirit. And so long as we continue to live in this "body of
death" this warfare will continue, for even Christ was tempted, and we
cannot expect to fare better than He.
"Preparedness" is good. It is
more necessary every day, for just as a physical enemy seeks to trap and ambush
a strong adversary rather than risk open battle, so also the temptations which
beset us on "the path" become more subtle with each succeeding year.
Writer like Thomas a Kempis were wont to
speak of themselves as "vile worms," and to use kindred terms of
"self-abasement," because they knew the great and subtle danger of
"self-approbation." But even that may be carried too far, and we may
feel that we are "very, very good" and "holier" than others
because we abuse ourselves; and we may do it for the pleasure we get from
hearing other people contradict us. Truly, the snares of the desire body are
past finding out.
There is a way to be prepared, and it is
sure: "Look to Christ," and keep your mind busy every waking moment
when not engaged in your daily work, studying how you may serve Him. Endeavor by
every available means to carry out in a practical manner the ideas thus
conceived. The more closely we imitate Christ, the more loyally we follow the
dictates of the Higher Self, the more certainly shall we vanquish the lower
nature and win the only war worth while winning.
EASTER, A PROMISE OF NEWNESS OF LIFE.
This is the Easter lesson, though it does
not say one word connected with the cosmic event of the present season. But it
emphasizes anew the great vital fact that birth and death are only incidents in
the life of the spirit, which is without beginning or end.
Old age, sickness, war, or accident may
destroy this earthly habitation, but we have "a house from heaven"
that no power can move. And so, no matter how closely death may come to us or to
our loved ones, we know that as Good Friday is followed by the glorious Easter,
so also the door of death is but the gate to a longer life where the sickness
and paid which lays our physical body low have no more dominion.
Just think what that means to our poor
brothers who are torn and mangled by the awful inhumanity of man to man, and let
us give thanks that they have escaped from the suffering which they must have
endured if there had been no death to liberate them.
The great majority look upon death as
"the king of terrors," but when we are instructed, we realize that
under our present conditions death is a friend indeed. None of us has a perfect
body, and as it deteriorates in an alarming degree during the few years that we
use it, think how it would feel a million years hence--and a million years are
less than a fleeting moment compared to infinite duration. None but spirit can
endure infinity, and therefore Easter is the earnest of our hope of immortality,
and Christ the first fruits of immortality and many brethren with Him.
Let us then, dear friend, approach the
coming Easter in an attitude of spiritual aspiration to imitate our great
Leader, the Christ, by crucifying our lower nature. May every day of the coming
year be a Good Friday, may every night be spent in the purgatorial prison
ministering to the spirits there confined, as Christ also did, and may every
morn be a glorious Easter on which we rise in the newness of life to greater and
"Take care of the pennies and the
dollars will look after themselves" says a worldly wise proverb. We may
paraphrase and adapt it to the spiritual life by saying, "Take heed that
every day is well spent, and the years will yield much treasure."
DAILY EXERCISE IN SOUL CULTURE
When Christ visited Martha and Mary the
former was much more concerned with preparation for his material comfort than in
attending to the spiritual matters which he taught; hence the rebuke that she
was concerned with many things of lesser moment than "the one thing
needful." There is no doubt that it is positively wicked to neglect
fulfilling one's duties and meeting every obligation honestly incurred in our
ordinary everyday life. But unfortunately most of us make the great mistake of
looking upon our work and duties in the material world as paramount, thinking
that the spiritual side of our development can wait until a convenient time when
we have nothing else to do. An increasing number of people admit that they ought
to give more attention to spiritual matters, but they always have an excuse for
not attending to them just now. "My business requires my entire
attention," one will say. "Times are so strenuous, and in order to
keep my head above water I must work from early morning till late at night. But
as soon as times are a little better I am going to look into these matters and
give more time to them." Another claims that certain relatives are
dependent on him and that when he has fulfilled his obligations to these
dependents he will be able to devote his time to soul growth.
There is no doubt that in many cases these
excuses are legitimate, to a certain extent, and that the one who makes them is
really and truly sacrificing himself or herself for some one else. I remember
the case of a probationer who once wrote in distress that her two little
children were always in need of attention at the times when she ought to perform
her morning and evening exercises. She ardently desired to progress along the
path of the higher life but the care of the children seemed a hindrance, and she
asked what she should do. Attend to her children, of course, as I wrote to her.
The sacrifice involved in giving up her own progress for the sake of her
children's comfort naturally won a rebound to a thousand times more soul growth
than if she had neglected her children for her own selfish interests.
But on the other hand there are many who
simply lack the mental stamina to make the sustained effort. No matter how
strenuous business conditions are, it is possible to devote a little time each
day, morning and evening, to the attainment of spirituality. It is an
exceedingly good practice to concentrate the mind upon an ideal during the time
spent in street cars going from home to the place of business. The very fact
that there is so much noise and confusion, which makes the effort more
difficult, is in itself a help; for he who learns to direct his thought
one-pointedly under such conditions will have no difficulty in obtaining the
same results, or even better, under more favorable circumstances. The time thus
spent will prove far more profitable than if used for reading a newspaper or a
magazine which will call attention to conditions that are far from elevating.
The mind of most people is like a sieve. As
water runs through the sieve so also thoughts flit through their brain. These
thoughts are good, bad, and indifferent--mostly the latter. The mind does not
hold on to any of them sufficiently long to learn its nature, and yet we are apt
to entertain the idea that we cannot help our thoughts being what they are. On
that account the great majority have formed the habit of listless thinking which
makes them incapable of holding on to any subject until it is thoroughly
mastered. It may be difficult to do, but certainly when the power of
thought-control has been gained, the possessor holds within his hand the key to
success in whatever line he may be engaged.
Therefore I would urge you in connection
with this series of lessons, The Occult Effect of the Emotions," which you
are receiving that you take the above personally to heart and set aside a
portion of each day for the purpose of gaining thought-control. There are a
number of helpful hints given by various authors, but I will think the matter
over and try to give some general hints. This is very difficult because so much
depends upon the temperament of the student. The instruction should really be
individual, rather than collective, to bring the best results.
THE REAL HEROES OF THE WORLD
Though my letter is dated the first of the
month it was written earlier of course--in fact, the evening before
"Decoration Day," the day when all patriotic Americans are supposed to
honor the dead heroes who fought for the integrity of the Union.
As I thought over the matter it occurred to
me that it seems always to require a calamity or a catastrophe to make me forget
self and rise to the call of a cause or to the need of the occasion regardless
of consequences. They always respond in war, earthquake, fire, or shipwreck.
But why should it require such cataclysmic
events to bring out the virtue of self-sacrificing service when they are needed
every day and hour in every home, hamlet, and city? The world would be so much
better off if we did our noble deeds daily instead of only on occasion of
exceptional stress. It may be noble to die for a great cause, but it is surely
nobler to live a life of self-sacrifice, covering many years, cherishing others
and helping them to be better and nobler, than to die in the attempt to kill a
There is many a father who struggles years
and years to give his children what he terms "a chance in life." There
are thousands of mothers who toil a lifetime at "hard labor" to aid in
this work for the young. There are millions of such heroes who are never heard
of because they helped their fellows to live instead of causing them to die.
Is this not an anomaly--that we honor an
army of men for more than half a century because they killed, killed, killed,
while that greater army which fostered all that is best on earth lie forgotten
in their graves?
As followers of Christ, let us pay tribute
to the heroes and heroines who through years of suffering fought for others by
rendering tender care in childhood's helpless days, by unflagging service in
times of sickness, by patient participation in poverty and in any and every
trouble that might befall.
Nor let us wait till they have passed to
the beyond, but let us honor them here and now. Neither should we set one day in
the year apart for the payment of such tribute, but we should honor them every
day of our lives, and we should seek to lighten their burdens by emulating their
How shall we find them? they wear no
uniform, neither do they wear their hearts upon their sleeves. They are
everywhere, and if we seek we shall find them. The quicker we join their ranks,
the sooner we shall honor ourselves by lightening their burdens as it becomes
all true servants of the Master. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
THE WORK OF THE RACE SPIRITS
IN a few days we shall celebrate in America
"The Glorious Fourth," our Independence Day, and we shall waste a lot
of perfectly good and useful powder that might be put to better use, in order to
show our "patriotism." A considerable number of fires and accidents
will occur if we may judge from many precedents.
To what purpose all of this we may see by
the heartrending spectacle of the war which for almost two years has made tears
a mockery, for no symbol of sorrow is adequate to the occasion. let us realize
that had there been no "patriotism," there could have been no war; and
realizing its baneful influence, let us learn to say with Thomas Paine,
"The world is my country, and to do good is my religion." This, it
seems to me, is the gospel we ought to preach to our fellow men in whatever
country we happen to be, for this attitude of mind will be one of the factors in
accomplishing our emancipation from the Race Spirit feeds on war, for it causes
the nation which it rules to sink its internal differences for the time being
and its people to cluster close to one another for defense or aggression against
the common foe. Thus they vibrate in harmony to an extent greater than usual,
and this strengthens the Race Spirit and delays the advent of Christ to that
extent. So long as patriotism holds the nations in bondage to the Race Spirits,
the Universal Kingdom cannot be started.
I would therefore urge that the students of
the Rosicrucian Fellowship refrain from participation in any patriotic exercises
of a martial nature. Practice Universal Brotherhood by never mentioning or
recognizing differences of nationality, for we are all one in Christ.
STRUGGLES OF THE ASPIRING SOUL
From time to time letters of discouragement
are received at Headquarters from people who are smitten by conscience because
they are unable to live up to their high ideals, and they feel that it would be
more honest to abandon the faith and live as others live who make no
professions. They say that while they read and study or listen in church to
passages which exhort them to love their enemies, to bless them that curse them,
and to pray for those who despitefully use them, they are heart and soul in
accord with these sentiments and would gladly follow these precepts; but when
they meet such conditions in the world, they cannot comply with the Biblical
command, and therefore feel that they are hypocrites.
If man were a homogeneous whole, if spirit,
soul, and body were one and undivided, that these people are hypocrites would be
true. But spirit, soul, and body are not one, as we realize to our sorrow from
the very first day that we feel the desire to tread the path of the higher life.
And in this fact lies the solution of the problem. There are two distance
natures in each of us. In the days of our unaspiring life the higher spiritual
nature is asleep, and the worldly personal self is undisputed lord of all our
actions. Then there is peace and serenity. But the moment the spiritual nature
wakens, the war begins. As we grow in spirituality, the struggle is intensified
until some time in the future the personality will succumb, and we shall gain
the peace that passeth all understanding.
In the meantime we have the condition
whereof our students complain (with Paul, Faust, and every other aspiring soul),
that to will is easy, but that the good that they would, they do not, and the
evil that they would not, that they do. The writer has felt, and feels most
keenly every day of his life this discrepancy between this teachings and his
actions. One part of his being aspires with an ardor that is painful in its
intensity to all the higher and nobler things, while on the other hand, a strong
personality, exceedingly difficult to curb, is a source of continual grief. But
he feels that so long as he does not "pose" as a saint, so long as he
honestly admits his shortcomings and professes his sorrow for them, and so long
as he uses the inclusive "WE" in all his exhortations, he deceives no
one, and is not a hypocrite. Whatever he says he takes to himself first and
foremost, and, however, unsuccessful, he strive to follow the Rosicrucian
teachings. If everyone else among our students feels troubled on the same score
as the correspondents who have inspired this letter, we hope that this may set
Besides, what else can we do but go on?
Having once awakened the higher nature, it cannot be permanently silenced, and
there will be the misery of regret and remorse if we abandon effort. We have
several times called attention to the way the mariner guides his vessel across
the waste of waters by a star. He will never reach it, but nevertheless it
brings him safely through the rock shoals to the desired haven. Similarly, if
our ideals are so high that we realize we shall never reach them in this life,
let us also keep in mind that we have endless time before us, and that what we
cannot accomplish in this life-day will be achieved tomorrow or later. Let us
follow the example of Paul and "by patient persistence in well-doing"
continue to seek for spiritual glory, honor, and immortality.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE LIFE
You know of course that the Fellowship
teaches rebirth to be a fact in nature, and you believe in this doctrine because
it explains so many facts in life which we are otherwise unable to account for.
But I wonder how many students have really taken the practical use of this truth
to heart, and are fixing their attention upon it by consciously and
systematically molding themselves and thus making their environment for future
It is true that in the Second Heaven we
devote all of our time to making the environment for our future life, forming
the earth and the sea, providing the conditions for the flora and fauna, and
generally shaping things to give us a suitable arena for our coming life work.
But we do that according to the way we have been living here in this present
life. If we have been lazy and shiftless here, living in a happy-go-lucky
manner, it is not likely that when we come to the Second Heaven we will be
careful to prepare a fertile soil, which we may later till. Therefore our next
embodiment will probably find us with the barest means of existence at hand, so
that under the whip of necessity we may learn to exert ourselves.
It is similar with our moral qualities.
When we are ready to descend into the next embodiment, we can only build into
our new vehicles what we have garnered in this. Therefore it is wise for us to
commence now, when our next life is in the moldable clay stage, to make our
ideals what we would like them to be and to make the environment in which we
would like to be raised.
We are without a doubt all ready to agree
in the first place than our present bodies are not as we wish them. Diseases of
all sorts come to most people; some are subject to pain all their lives, and no
one is ever able to go through life from the cradle to the grave without having
at least some suffering. Thus each one of us may well picture himself in a
future life with a healthy body in which he will be free from diseases that are
now his worst plague.
With respect to the moral and mental
faculties we are also far from perfect, and each one may therefore take up with
profit the subject of improvement in that direction. Do we realize that we have
a critical spirit, a sharp tongue, a hasty temper, or other kindred faults which
bring us into trouble with others and make life unpleasant in our environment?
Very well; by holding in mind and visualizing our ideal self for the
future--having equipoise under all circumstances, being soft-spoken, kindly, and
affectionate, etc.--we shall build these ideals into the thought form we have
already shaped for ourselves in that distant day. And according to the intensity
of the concentration which we apply tot he matter will be the result. In so far
as we endeavor now to cultivate and aspire virtues, we shall possess them then;
and this applies to faculties as well. If we are solely now, by the aspiration
to maintain order we shall later bring back that virtue. Are we lacking the
sense of rhythm? Very well, it may be ours in the future by asking now.
Mechanical ability, or any thing else that is necessary to give us the life
experience we seek, may be had in the same way.
Therefore we ought systematically to set
aside a certain time at intervals, as frequent as is consistent with our other
duties, to think forward and plan for future life--what sort of a body, what
faculties, virtues, and environment we wish. When we are able to make our choice
intelligently, we are undoubtedly given a great deal more latitude than if we
had not thought about the matter at all.
You understand of course that the highest
form of aspiration to virtue is the constant endeavor to practice in it our
daily lives. But while we are endeavoring to cultivate virtues, as we should, by
practice, it is scientific to plan ahead the use we shall make of the future
life just as we now plan ahead the use of the day that is before us. I trust
that this idea may take root among the students and be consistently carried to
its legitimate consummation, for in that way it will be bound to have a
wonderful effect upon the future of ourselves and the future of the world about
DESCENT OF THE CHRIST LIFE IN THE FALL
We are now at the fall equinox where the
physical sun is leaving the northern hemisphere after having provided us with
the necessities of life for the coming year; and the spiritual tide which
carries on its crest the life which will find physical expression in the coming
year is now on its way towards our earth. The half-year directly before us is
the holy part of the year. From the feast of the Immaculate Conception to the
Mystic Birth at Christmas (while this wave is descending into the earth) and
from that time to Easter (while it is traveling outward) a harmonious, rhythmic
vibratory song, not inaptly described in the legend of the Mystic Birth as a
"hosanna" sung by an angel choir, fills the planetary atmosphere and
acts upon all as an impulse to spiritual aspiration. Not upon all in even
measure, of course, but according to their general character.
Some do not feel this spiritual save at all
because of their depravity, but it works in, on, and with them just the same,
and in time they will respond. Others are so engrossed in their buying and
selling, their marrying and giving in marriage, their loves and their ambitions,
that they are not conscious of it save at the time when it is at its maximum
strength, namely, namely, Christmas, and then it expresses itself only as a
spirit of super-sociability and generosity; they like to feast and give
presents. A more advanced class feels the wave of holiness from the very
beginning of its descent, and realizes the important effect of its harmony and
rhythm in furthering efforts in the direction of soul growth. They profit
accordingly by making the most efforts during the months from the fall to the
spring equinox. It is like swimming with the tide.
For that reason I am devoting this letter
to call your attention tot he annually recurring phenomenon. Whether you are
conscious of it or not, the powerful spiritual vibrations of life-giving Christ
wave are in the earth's atmosphere during the winter months, and may be used by
you to a much greater advantage if you know it and double your efforts than if
you are unaware of the fact.
Let us therefore each take stock of the
particular sins which most easily beset us, for now is beginning the most
favorable time of the year for their eradication. Let us also take stock of the
virtues we lack and feel most need of cultivating, for this is the time to do
the work most efficiently. By careful, systematic work in the holy winter months
we may make great strides in our efforts to realize our spiritual aspirations.
Having made up our minds as to the personal
work, let us look about us to see who in our circle of acquaintances seem to be
seeking for spiritual enlightenment, and who would be likely to lend an ear to
our teachings. This requires discrimination, for we have no right to force our
ideas upon unwilling ears any more than we would be justified in beating a drum
in their rooms for an hour or two each day. If we find that they do not take
kindly to what we have to say, it is better to leave them; but there are many
who may be awakened in winter under the spiritual Christ vibration who could not
be reached in summer. I therefore trust that we may use all the coming months in
a way which shall profit us greatly from the spiritual standpoint.
THE REASON FOR THE TRIALS THAT BESET THE OCCULT STUDENT
From time to time we receive letters from
students complaining that since they have taken up the higher teachings, and are
trying to live in conformity with them, everything seems to go wrong with their
affairs. Some feel a determined opposition in their homes, others suffer in
business, and some are even affected in health. Some, according to temperament,
are ready to give up, and others grit their teeth in persistence in
well-doing" despite the trials. But all are unanimous in asking why this
marked change in their affairs. Each receives the best help we can given to
solve his individual problems, but as we feel that there are many among the
students who have been similarly tried, it seems appropriate to state the reason
for this condition.
In the first place, the aspiring soul
should realize that the adverse conditions happen for good according to a firmly
established law of nature whereby God aims to aid him in the quest. Trials are a
sign of progress and a cause for great rejoicing. This is how the law acts:
During all our past lives we have made ties and have incurred debts under the
Law of Causation. These debts continue to increase so long as we live the usual
selfish, haphazard lives, and we may liken each debt to a drop of vinegar. When
the turning point comes and we cease to make vinegar, the law of justice
requires that we take our medicine. But we are allowed to determine whether we
will take it in large doses and have it over quickly or whether we prefer to
take it in very small sips and string it out over a number of lives. This choice
is not made by words but by acts. If we take up the work of self-improvement
with enthusiasm, if we cut our vices out by the roots and LIVE the life we
profess, the Great Beings whom we know as the Recording Angels give us a
stronger dose of vinegar than they would if we merely talked about the beauties
of the higher life. They do that to help us toward the day of liberation from
our self-made bonds and not to harm or hinder us.
In view of these facts we can understand
the Christ's exhortation to rejoice when men revile us and accuse us falsely for
His sake. Boys pass a barren tree with indifference, but as soon as the tree
bears fruit, they are ready to throw stones and rob it. So it is with men also:
while we walk with the crowd and do as they do, we are unmolested, but the
moment we do what they know in their hearts to be right, we become a living
reproach to them even if we never utter a word of censure, and in order to
justify themselves in their own eyes they begin to find fault with us. In this
respect those who are most closely associated with us in the home or in business
are more prominent than strangers who have no connection with us. But whatever
the form or the source of such trouble it is a cause for congratulation, for it
shows that we are doing something effectively progressive,; so let us keep on
undismayed and with unflagging zeal.
SPIRITUAL STOCK-TAKING DURING THE HOLY SEASON
Christ likened the aspiring souls of His
time to stewards who had received a certain number of talents from their lord
and were supposed to go into trade with them that they might increase the
capital entrusted to their care. We understand from this parable that all who
aspire to serve Him are required likewise to use their God-given talents in such
a manner that they show a gain in soul growth when in due season they are called
upon to give an account of their stewardship.
This accounting, so far as the majority of
mankind is concerned, is put off till the Reaper has closed the ledger of life
and they find themselves in Purgatory to receive the result of the things done
in the body, whether they be good or ill.
But what would we think of a business man
who pursued such a reckless method of conducting his affairs? Would we not feel
that he was steering straight for the rock of bankruptcy if he did not balance
accounts and take stock of his assets and liabilities every year? Surely we
would feel that he deserved to fail because of his neglect to follow ordinary
If we realize the value of system and the
benefit of constantly knowing clearly how we stand with respect to our material
affairs, we ought also to pursue the same safe methods regarding our spiritual
affairs. Nay, we should be much more circumspect in the conduct of the heavenly
matters than in worldly matters, for our material prosperity is but a watch in
the night compared to the eternal welfare of the spirit.
We are nearing the winter solstice, which
is the beginning of a new year from the spiritual point of view, and we are
looking forward to the new outpouring of love from our Father in Heaven through
the Christ Child. This, therefore, is a good time to take stock and ask
ourselves how we have spent the love offerings of last year, how we have exerted
ourselves to gather treasure in heaven. And we shall experience great profit if
we approach this stock-taking in the proper spirit and at the most auspicious
time, for there is a time to sow and a time to reap, and for everything under
the sun there is a time when it may be done with greater chance of success than
at any other season.
The stars are the heavenly time markers.
From them come the forces which influence us through life. On Holy Night,
between the 24th and 25th of December, at midnight, in the place where you live,
you will find that retrospection and the resolutions engendered by it for the
new year will be most effective.
At Mt. Ecclesia and the various Study
Centers a Midnight Service is held on Holy Night, and students attending such
services are thereby debarred from the midnight self-communion. Others may be
unable to hold it at that time for other reasons. For these any of the late
evening or early morning hours will serve nearly as well. But let us all unite
on that night in a concerted spiritual effort of aspiration; and let each
student not only pray for his individual soul growth in the coming year, but let
all unite in a prayer for the collective growth of our movement. The workers at
Headquarters also request your helpful thoughts.
If we all put our shoulders to the wheel at
this time, we may be sure of an unusually individual and collective blessing and
a spiritually prosperous year.
ALL OCCULT DEVELOPMENT BEGINS WITH THE VITAL BODY
Recently a friend who has been taking the
correspondence course a number of months wrote to get a matter cleared up which
is bothering him; and as it may be that others are feeling somewhat similar to
him but have not reached the point of expression, we thought best to use this
letter as an answer. It has sufficient general interest to be of value even to
those who have not looked at the matter in the light seen by our friend. He does
not want to complain, but he asked for the correspondence course in the hope of
getting something to further occult development. Instead he receives each month
a nice little sermon, which he admits is good for both beginners and advanced
students, but where is the schooling? Other authors give certain exercises which
help their followers; will we please give him one that will develop the faculty
No, we cannot do that. The Rosicrucian
teachings are designed to further spiritual progress rather than material
prosperity, and we know of no occult exercise which will bring wealth, either
directly or by abnormally fostering a latent talent. If we did, we would not
teach it, for such use of occult power is black magic. "Seek ye first the
kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto
you," said Christ, and we shall make no mistake by following His advice. If
our friend or any one else wants to develop a latent faculty for the good alone
he may do with it, that spiritual aspiration will, if persistently adhered to
and backed by physical effort (works), eventually bring the desired end without
the need of a special occult exercise.
And about the lessons being "nice
little sermons." Yes, so they are when read superficially. But if they are
studied deeply, there is a great deal of occult knowledge found of much more
benefit to the student than an exercise such as the one our friend wants. There
is, however, "method in our madness" in giving it out just that way.
Perhaps this may not have been apparent to students, and we will therefore try
to make it clear. Kindly bear in mind, however, that the following is a
comparison made for a legitimate purpose; it is not a criticism.
Apart from the fact that the Eastern School
of Occultism bases its teachings on Hinduism, while the Western Wisdom School
espouses Christianity, the religion of the West, there is ONE GREAT FUNDAMENTAL,
IRRECONCILABLE DISCREPANCY between the teachings of the modern representatives
of the East and those of Rosicrucians. According to the version of Eastern
Occultism the vital body--which is called "LINYA SHARIRA"--is
comparatively unimportant, for it is incapable of development as a vehicle of
consciousness. It serves only as an avenue for the solar force
"prana," and as "a link" between the physical body and the
desire body, which is called "KAMA RUPA," also the "astral
body." this, they say, is the vehicle of the Invisible Helper.
The Western Wisdom School teaches us as its
fundamental maxim that "ALL OCCULT DEVELOPMENT BEGINS WITH THE VITAL
BODY," and the writer, as its public representative, has therefore been
busy since the inception of our movement trying to gather and disseminate
knowledge concerning the four ethers and the vital body. Much information was
given in the "COSMO" and succeeding book, but the monthly lessons and
letters give the result of our researches up to date. We are constantly parading
this vital body (vital in a double sense) before the minds of the students so
that by knowing and thinking about it as well as by reading and heeding the
"nice little sermons" which we use to wrap this information in, they
may consciously, and unconsciously, weave the "Golden Wedding
Garment." We would advise all to study these lessons carefully year after
year; there may be much dross, but there is gold among them.
You have our sincere wishes for abundant
spiritual growth during the New Year.
SERVING WHERE BEST FITTED TO SERVE
A question was asked recently as follows:
"You speak so much about SERVICE; just what does that mean? There are in
our Fellowship a number of people who say that they love to serve, but they do
not do anything but what they like to do. Is that service?"
It seems that this question offers food for
profitable thought and that an analysis of the subject may benefit us all, so we
decided to devote the monthly letter to this purpose.
It is evident that they majority of people
in the world will not serve unless there is "something in it" for
them. They are looking for a material reward, and that is the wise way of the
unseen powers to spur them to action, for thus they are unconsciously evolving
toward the stage in soul growth where they will serve for the love of serving.
But they cannot be expected to change over night; there are no sudden
transformations in nature. When the eggshell bursts and a chicken walks out, of
when the cocoon breaks and a butterfly wings it was among the flowers, we know
that the magic was not wrought in a moment. There was an inner process of
preparation prior to the outward change. A similar process of inner growth is
required to change the servants of Mammon to servants of Love.
If we want to make a building larger, all
we have to do is to bring our brick and other building material to the place,
start a force of workmen, and presto! the building begins to grow apace to any
dimensions we desire and at any speed we wish, depending only upon our ability
to furnish labor and material. But if we want to increase the size of a tree or
an animal, we cannot accomplish our object by nailing wood to the tree trunk or
lading flesh and skin upon the back of the animal. The building grows by
external accretions, but in all living things physical growth is from within and
cannot be hurried to any appreciable extent without danger of complication. It
is the same with spiritual growth; it proceeds from within and must have time.
We cannot expect that people who have just begun to feel the inner urge
impelling them into an altruistic association, to renounce in the twinkling of
an eye all selfishness and other vices and blossom out into the stature of
Christ. At best we are only just a little better than we were save for the fact
that we are striving and endeavoring to follow "in His steps." But
that makes all the difference, for we are TRYING to serve as He served.
If that is the motive, it in nowise
detracts from the service of a musician who inspires us with devotion at our
services that he loves his music. Nor does it render the service any less
because the speaker who fires us with zeal in the Master's work loves to clothe
his ideas in beautiful words. Nor does it make the hall less attractive because
the member who swept, dusted, and decorated it loves to make his exterior
surroundings beautiful. Each can, in fact, serve to much better advantage if the
line of service lies along the path of his natural inclinations and abilities,
and we ought to encourage one another to look for opportunities in the line
where each is best fitted to serve.
There is no special merit in seeking out
service in a capacity that is disagreeable to us. It would be a mistake if the
musician said to the caretaker: "I dislike to scrub floors and decorate
rooms, and I know you tremble at the thought of playing, also that you are out
of practice, but let us change places for the sake of service." On the
other hand, if no one were there to play, it would be the decorator's duty to
put diffidence aside and serve as well as possible. If the floor needed
scrubbing and the chairs dusting, the speaker and musician should be willing to
do that work also regardless of personal dislike. Nothing is menial. The same
principle will apply in the home, shop, or office. SERVICE MAY BE DEFINED AS THE
BEST USE OF OUR TALENTS--THE PUTTING OF OUR TALENTS TO THE BEST USE IN EACH CASE
OF IMMEDIATE NEED REGARDLESS OF LIKE OR DISLIKE.
If we strive to do this, our progress and
soul growth will increase correspondingly.
"LOST SOULS" AND STRAGGLERS
We have been asked to give a lesson on
"lost souls" and stragglers. Our correspondent wants to know the
Rosicrucian teachings concerning them. As this very question was dealt with
earlier in this book, in the letter for April, 1912 (No. 17), we cannot do
better than refer our correspondent to it. We trust that it will explain the
matter to him. We should be glad if other students who have questions of general
interest would submit them for elucidation in these letters, for although there
is a question of department in the "Rays," not all our students are
subscribers. Also the problems presented can perhaps be given a little more
intimate treatment here than is possible in a magazine that must go before a
public which is not as well versed in the philosophy as our students.