The Rosicrucian Christianity Lectures
THE ROSICRUCIAN FELLOWSHIP
P.O. BOX 713
OCEANSIDE, CALIFORNIA, 92054, USA
Table of Contents
The lectures here presented in book form were
first written in twenty lectures and delivered during the month of November,
1908, in Columbus, Ohio, by Max Heindel. He also mimeographed them and
distributed copies to all who attended his lectures in that city, and in other
cities. After his lectures in Seattle, Washington, a friend, Mr. William M.
Patterson, traveled with him to Chicago, Illinois, where he not only financed
the publishing, but also assisted Mr. Heindel in proofreading both THE
ROSICRUCIAN COSMO-CONCEPTION and these Twenty Lectures. The latter were then
printed in paper-covered pamphlets while the COSMO-CONCEPTION was bound in
Max Heindel had spent the winter of 1907-1908
in Europe where he contacted the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order under
whose tuition he received the contents of these lectures as well as the
wonderful truths contained in THE ROSICRUCIAN COSMO-CONCEPTION. At the time he
received this instruction he little realized the extent of the work given into
his keeping with the command to disseminate the teachings to a soul-sick world.
Since the introduction of the Rosicrucian
Philosophy and the opening of a World Headquarters in Oceanside, California, in
1911, books and pamphlets by max Heindel have been translated and printed in
many languages. People from far and wide are calling for and becoming interested
in these advanced Christian teachings, which are leading mankind back to the
Bible and bringing to their understanding the satisfying truths contained in the
Christian religion through the explanation of the mysteries hidden in the Bible.
This book of lectures gives in a very simple
manner the truths of man's own being, explaining the why and wherefore of
mysteries which have driven millions of souls to materialism and caused them to
repudiate the Bible.
The spiritual value of Astrology as a key to
the soul is brought out in one lecture; in another the Astronomical Allegories
of the Bible are clearly defined. The esoteric value of the Lord's Prayer and
the meaning of the Star of Bethlehem are clearly interpreted for the reader;
also the Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus and its esoteric significance. Life Here
and Hereafter, the Angels and their Work with Man, Parsifal and the Mysteries of
the Holy Grail, the Science of Nutrition and Protracted Youth, and many other
subjects are covered in an authentic manner by a Seer who was the chosen
messenger of those great ones, the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order.
--Mrs. Max Heindel
NOTE: THESE DIAGRAMS WERE TAKEN FROM THE
ROSICRUCIAN COSMO-CONCEPTION, BY MAX HEINDEL, AND IN SOME INSTANCES ARE NUMBERED
AS IN THAT BOOK.
THE RIDDLE OF LIFE AND DEATH
At every birth, what appears to be a new
live comes into the world. Slowly the little form grows, it lives and moves
among us, it becomes a factor in our lives; but at last there comers a time when
the form ceases to move and decays. The love that came, whence we know not, has
again passed to the invisible beyond. Then, in sorrow and perplexity we ask
ourselves the three great questions concerning our existence: Whence have we
come? Why are we here? Whither are we going?
Across every threshold the fearsome specter
of Death throws his shadow. It visits alike the palace and the poorhouse. None
are safe: old or young, well or ill, rich or poor. All alike must pass through
this gloomy portal, and down the ages has sounded the piteous cry for a solution
of the riddle of life, the riddle of death.
Unfortunately there has been much vague
speculation by people who did not know, and it has therefore come to be the
popularly accepted opinion that nothing definite can be known about the most
important part of our existence: Life prior to its manifestation through the
gate of birth and beyond the portal of death.
That idea is erroneous. Definite firsthand
knowledge may be had by anyone who will take the trouble to cultivate the
"sixth sense" which is latent in all. When it is acquired it opens our
spiritual eves so that we perceive the Spirits who are about to enter physical
live by birth, and those who have just re-entered the beyond after death. We see
them as clearly and definitely as we cognize physical beings by our ordinary
sight. Nor is firsthand information about the inner worlds indispensable to
satisfy the inquiring mind any more than it is necessary to visit China to learn
about conditions there. We learn about foreign countries through the reports of
returned travelers There is as much knowledge concerning the world beyond as
about the interior or Africa, Australia, or China.
The solution of the problem of Life and
Being advocated in the following pages is based upon the concurrent testimony of
many who have cultivated the above-mentioned faculty and are qualified to
investigate the superphysical realms in a scientific manner. It is in harmony
with scientific facts, an eternal truth in Nature which governs human progress,
as the law of gravity serves to keep the stars unchangeably in their orbits
about the Sun.
Three theories have been brought forward to
solve the riddle of life and death, and it seems to be universally agreed that a
fourth is an impossible conception. If so, one of the three theories must be the
true solution, or it remains insoluble; at least by man.
The riddle of life and death is a basic
problem; everyone must solve it at some time, and it is of the utmost importance
to each individual human being which of these theories he accepts; for his
choice will color his whole life. In order that we may make an intelligent
choice, it is necessary to know them all, to analyze, compare, and weigh them,
holding the mind open and free from the bias of preconceived ideas, ready to
accept or reject each theory upon its merits. Let us first state the three
theories and then let us see how they agree with established facts of life and
how far they are in harmony with other known laws of Nature, as we should
reasonably expect them to be, if true, for discord in Nature is impossible.
1. THE MATERIALISTIC THEORY holds that life
is a journey form the womb to the tomb; that mind is the product of matter; that
man is the highest intelligence in the cosmos; and that intelligence perishes
when the body dissolves at death.
2. THE THEORY OF THEOLOGY asserts that at
each birth a newly-created soul enters the arena of life fresh from God; that at
the end of one short span of life in the material world it passes through the
gate of death into invisible beyond, there to remain; and that its happiness or
misery there is determined for all eternity by its belief just prior to death.
3. THE THEORY OF REBIRTH teaches that each
soul is an integral part of God; that it enfolds all divine possibilities, as a seed enfolds the plant; that by means of
repeated existences in a gradually improving earthly body those latent powers
are being slowly unfolded into dynamic energy; that none are lost, but that all
Egos will ultimately attain the goal of perfection and reunion with God,
bringing with them the cumulative experience which is the fruitage of their
pilgrimage through matter.
Comparing the materialistic theory with the
known laws of Nature, we find that it is contrary to such well-established laws
as those which declare matter and force indestructible. According to those laws
mind cannot be destroyed at death as the materialistic theory asserts, for when
nothing can be destroyed mind must be included.
Moreover, mind evidently is superior to
matter, for it molds the face so that it mirrors the mind; also, we know that
the particles of our bodies are constantly changing; that an entire change takes
place at least once in seven years. If the materialistic theory were true, our
consciousness ought also to undergo an entire change, with no memory of what
preceded; so that now one could remember an event more than seven years.
We know that is not the case. We remember
our whole life; the smallest incident, though forgotten in ordinary life, is
vividly remembered by a drowning person; also in the trance state. Materialism
takes no account of these states of subconsciousness or superconsciousness; it
cannot explain them, so it ignores them, but in the face of scientific
investigations which have established the verity of psychic phenomena beyond
cavil, the policy of ignoring rather than disproving these alleged facts is a
fatal defect in a theory which lays claim to solve the greatest problem of life:
The materialistic theory has many more
defects which render it unworthy of our acceptance; but sufficient has been said
to justify us in casting it aside and turning to the other two.
One of the greatest difficulties in the
doctrine of the theologians is its entire and confessed inadequacy. According to
their theory that a new soul is created at each birth, myriads of souls have
been created since the beginning of existence (even if that beginning goes back
only 6,000 years). According to certain sects, only 144,000 are to be saved; the
rest are to be tortured forever. And that is called "God's plan of
salvation"; extolled as proof of God's wonderful love.
Let us suppose a wireless message is
received at New York, stating that a large transatlantic liner is sinking just
outside Sandy Hook; that 3,000 people are in danger of drowning. Would we hail
it as a glorious plan of salvation of a small, fast motorboat were sent to their
relief, and succeeded in rescuing two or three people? Certainly not. Only when
some adequate means was provided to save the great majority at least would it be
hailed as a plan of salvation."
The "plan of salvation" which the
theologians are offering is worse than sending a motorboat to save the people on
Atlantic liner, for tow or three are a larger proportion saved out of a total of
3,000 than 144,000 of all the myriads of souls created on the plan of theology.
If God had really evolved that plan, it would seem to the logical mind that He
cannot be good. If He cannot help Himself, He is not all-powerful. In neither
case can He therefore be God. Such suppositions are, however, unthinkable as
actualities, for that cannot be God's plan, and it is a gross libel to attribute
it to Him.
If we turn to the doctrine of reincarnation
(rebirth in human bodies) which postulates a slow process of development carried
on with unwavering persistence through repeated embodiment in human forms of
increasing efficiency, whereby all beings are in time brought to a height of
spirituality inconceivable to our present limed understanding, we can readily
perceive its harmony with nature's methods. EVERYWHERE IN NATURE IS FOUND THIS
SLOW AND PERSISTENT STRIVING FOR PERFECTION; AND NOWHERE IS FOUND A SUDDEN
PROCESS OF EITHER CREATION OR DESTRUCTION ANALOGOUS TO THE PLAN WHICH THE
THEOLOGIANS AND MATERIALISTS WOULD HAVE US BELIEVE.
Science recognizes the process of evolution
as Nature's method of development alike for the star and the starfish, the
microbe and the man. It is the progression of spirit in time, and as we look
about and note evolution in our three-dimensional universe, we cannot escape the
obvious fact that its path is also three-dimensional, a spiral; each loop of the
spiral is a cycle, and cycle follows cycle in unbroken progression, as the loops
of the spiral succeed each other, each cycle being the improved product of the
preceding and the basis of progress in the succeeding cycles.
A straight line is but the extension of a
point, and analogous to the theories of the materialistic and the theologians.
The materialistic line of existence goes from birth to death the theologian
commences the lines at a point just previous to birth and carries it into the
invisible beyond at death.
There is no return. Existence thus lived
would extract but a minimum of the experience from the school of life, such as
might be had by one-dimensional beings incapable of broadening out or rising to
sublime heights of attainment.
A two-dimensional zigzag path for the
evolving life would be no better, a circle would mean a never-ending round of
the same experiences. Everything in Nature has a purpose, the third dimension
included. In order that we may live up to the opportunities of a three
dimensional universe, the path of evolution must be a spiral. So it is.
Everywhere in heaven and on earth all things are going onward, upward forever.
The modest little plant in the garden and
the giant redwood of California with its forty-foot diameter alike show the
spiral in the arrangement of their branches, twigs, and leaves. If we study the
great vaulted arch of heaven and examine the spiral nebulae, which are worlds in
the making, or the path of the solar systems, the spiral is evidently the way of
We find another illustration of spiral
progression in the yearly course of our planet. In the spring she emerges from
her period of rest, her wintry sleep. We see the life budding everywhere. All
the activities of Nature are exerted to bring forth. Time passes; the corn and
the grape are ripened and harvested, and again the silence and inactivity of
winter take the place of the activity of the summer; again the snowy coverlet
wraps the Earth. But she will not sleep forever; she will wake again to the song
of a new spring, and will then be a little farther progressed along the pathway
Is it possible that a law, universal in all
other realms of Nature, should be abrogated in the case of man? Shall the Earth
wake each year form its wintry slumber; shall the tree and the flower live
again, and man die? No, that is impossible in a universe governed by immutable
law. The same law that wakes the life in the plant to new growth must wake the
human being to further progress toward the goal of perfection. Therefore the
doctrine of rebirth, or repeated human embodiment in gradually improving
vehicles, is in perfect accord with evolution and the phenomena of Nature, when
it states that birth and death follow each other in succession. It is in full
harmony with the Law of Alternation Cycles which decrees that activity and rest,
ebb and flood, summer and winter, must follow each other in unbroken sequence.
It is also in perfect accord with the spiral phase of the Law of Evolution when
it states that each time the Spirit returns to a new birth it takes on a better
body, and as man progresses in mental, moral, and spiritual attainment in
consequence of the accumulated experiences of past lives he comes into an
When we seek to solve the riddle of life and
death; to find an answer that shall satisfy both head and heart as to the
difference in the endowment of human beings, and give a reason for the existence
of sorrow and pain; when we ask why one is reared in the lap of luxury while
another receives more kicks than crusts; why one obtains a moral education, but
another is taught to steal and lie; why one has the face and figure of a Venus,
while another has the head of a Medusa; why one has perfect health and another
never knows a moment's rest form pain; why one has the intellect of a Socrates,
and another can only count "one, two, many," as do the Australian
aborigines, we receive no satisfaction from the materialist or the theologian.
Materialism gives the law of heredity as the reason for sickness, and in regard
to economic conditions a Spencer tells us that in the animal world the law of
existence is "eat, or be eaten"; in civilized society it is
"cheat, or be cheated."
Heredity accounts partly for the PHYSICAL
constitution. Like begets like, so for as the FORM is concerned, but heredity
does not account for the moral proclivities and mental trend, which differ in
each human being. Heredity is a fact in the lower kingdoms where all the animals
of a certain species look nearly alike, eat the same kind of food, and act
similarly in similar circumstances, because they have no individual will, but
are dominated by a common Group Spirit. In the human kingdom it is different.
Each man acts differently form others. Each requires a different diet. As the
years of infancy and youth pass the indwelling Ego molds its instrument so that
it reflects itself in the features. Thus no two look exactly alike. Even twins
who could not be distinguished in childhood grow to look different as the
features of each express the thought of the Ego within.
On the moral plane a like condition
prevails. Police records show that though the children of habitual criminals
generally possess criminal tendencies, they invariably keep out of the courts,
and in the "rogues' galleries" of Europe and America it is impossible
to find both father and son. Thus criminals are the sons of honest people, and
so heredity is unable to account for moral proclivities.
When we come to a consideration of the
higher intellectual and artistic faculties we find that the children of a genius
are mediocre and often even idiots. Cuvier's brain was the greatest brain ever
weighed and analyzed by science. His five children died of paresis. The brother
of Alexander the Great was an idiot, and so cases could be cited ad lib. to show
that heredity only partially accounts for similarity of Form, and not at all for
mental and moral conditions. The Law of Attraction, which causes musicians to
congregate in concert halls, and brings about meetings of literary people
because of similarity of tastes; and the Law of Consequence, which draws one who
has developed criminal tendencies into association with criminals, that he may
learn to do good by beholding the trouble incident to wrong-doing, account more
logically than heredity for the facts of associations and character.
The theologian explains that all conditions
are made by the will of God, who in His inscrutable wisdom has seen fit to make
some rich and poor; some clever and others dull, etc.; that He sends trouble and
trials to all, much to the many and little to a favored few, and they say we
must accept our lot without murmur. But it is hard to look with love to the
skies when one realizes that thence, according to divine caprice, comes all our
misery, be it little or much, and the benevolent human mind revolts at the
thought of a father who lavishes love, comfort, and luxury upon a few, and sends
sorrow, suffering, and misery to millions. Surely there must be another solution
to the problems of life than this. Is it not more reasonable to think that the
theologians may have misinterpreted the Bible than to saddle such monstrous
conduct upon God?
The Law of Rebirth offers a reasonable
solution to all the inequalities of life, its sorrow and pains, when coupled
with its companion law--the Law of Consequence--besides showing the road to
The Law of Consequence is Nature's law of
justice. It decrees that whatever a man sows, he reaps. What we are, what we
have, all our good qualities are the result of our labor in the past, thence our
talents. What we lack in physical, moral, or mental accomplishments is due to
neglect of opportunities in the past or to lack of them, but sometime,
somewhere, we shall have other chances, and retrieve the loss. As to our
obligations to others or their debts to us, the Law of Consequence also takes
care of that. What cannot be liquidated in one life holds over to future lives.
Death does not cancel our obligations any more than moving to another city pays
our debts here. The Law of Rebirth provides a new environment, but in it are our
old friends, and our old enemies. We know them, too, for when we meet a person
for the first time, yet feel as if we had known him all our lives, that is but
the recognition of the Ego who pierces the veil of flesh and recognizes an old
friend. When we meet a person who at once inspires us with fear or repugnance,
it is again a message from the Ego, warning us of our old-time enemy.
The occult teaching regarding life, which
bases its solution upon the twin Laws of Consequence and Rebirth, is simply that
the world about us is a school of experience; that even as we send a child to
school day after day and year after year in order that it may learn more and
more as it advances through the different grades from kindergarten to college,
so the Ego in man, as a child of the Father, goes to the school of life, day
after day. But in that larger life of the Ego, each day at school is a life on
earth and the night which intervenes between two days at the child's school
corresponds to the sleep of death in the larger life of the human Ego (the
Spirit in man).
In a school there are many grades. The older
children who have attended school many times have very different lessons from
the tots in the kindergarten. So in the school of life, those in high positions,
endowed with great faculties, are our Elder Brothers, and the savages are but
entering the lowest class. What they are we have been, and all will in time
reach a point where they will be wiser than the wisest we know. Nor should it
surprise the philosopher that the powerful crush the weak; the elder children
are cruel to their younger brothers at a certain stage of their growth because
they have not at that time evolved the true sense of right, but as they grow
they learn to protect weakness. So will the children of the larger life.
Altruism is flowering more and more everywhere, and the day will come when all
men will be as good and benevolent as are the greatest saints.
There is but one sin--Ignorance; and but one
salvation--Applied Knowledge. All sorrow, suffering and pain are traceable to
ignorance of how to act, and the school of life is as necessary to bring out our
latent capabilities as is the daily school which evokes those of the child.
When we realize that this is so, life will
at once take on an altogether different aspect. It does not matter then what the
conditions are in which we find ourselves, the knowledge the WE have made them
helps us to bear them in patience; and, best of all, the glorious feeling that
we are masters of our destiny and can make the FUTURE what we will, is of itself
a power. It rests with us to develop what we lack. Of course we still have the
past to reckon with, and perhaps much misfortune may yet accrue from wrong
deeds, but if we will cease to do evil we may look with joy to every affliction
as liquidating an old score and bringing the day nearer when we shall have a
clear record. It is no valid objection, that often the most upright suffer the
greatest. The great intelligences who apportion to each man the amount of his
past score which is to be liquidated in each life always help the man who pays
the debts of his past without adding new delinquencies, by giving him as much as
he can bear, to hasten the day of emancipation; and in that sense it is strictly
true that "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth."
The doctrine of rebirth is sometimes
confounded with the theory of transmigration, which teaches that a human soul
may incarnate in an animal. That has no foundation in Nature. Each species of
animal is the emanation from a Group Spirit, which governs them FROM THE
OUTSIDE, by suggestion. It functions in the Desire World; and as distance does
not exist there, it can thus influence its members, not matter where located.
The human Spirit, the Ego, on the other hand, enters right into a dense body;
there is an individual Spirit in each person, dwelling in its instrument and
guiding it FROM WITHIN. These are two entirely different stages of evolution,
and it is as impossible for man to incarnate in a animal in an animal body as
for a Group Spirit to take human shape.
The question, "Why do we not remember
our past existences?" is another apparent difficulty. But if we realize
that we have an entirely new brain at each birth, and that the human Spirit is
weak and engrossed in its new environment, so that if fails to make a full
impression on the brain in the days of childhood, when it is most sensitive, it
is not so surprising after all. Some children do remember the past, especially
in the earliest years, and it is one of the most pathetic phases of childhood
that they are so thoroughly misunderstood by their elders. When they speak of
the past, they are ridiculed, and even punished for being "imaginary."
If children speak of their invisible playmates, and of "seeing
things," for many children are clairvoyant, they met the same harsh
treatment, and the inevitable result is that the little ones learn to keep still
until they lose the faculty. Sometimes it happens, however, that the prattle of
a child is listened to and results in some wonderful revelations. The writer
heard of such a case a few years ago on the Pacific Coast.
A little child in Santa Barbara ran up to a
gentleman by the name of Roberts on the street and called him papa, resisting
that she had lived with him and another mama in a little house by a brook, and
that one morning he had left the cabin and never returned. She and her mother
had both died of starvation and the little one finished quaintly, "But I
didn't die; I came here." The story was not told at once, or succinctly,
but in the course of an afternoon, by intermittent questioning it came out. Mr.
Roberts' story of an early elopement, marriage and emigration from England to
Australia, of the building of a cabin by a stream with no other houses near, of
leaving his wife and baby, of being arrested, denied permission to notify his
wife because the officers feared a trap, of being driven to the coast at the
point of a gun, of being taken to England and tried for a bank robbery committed
the night he sailed for Australia, of proving his innocence; of how only then
notice was taken of his persistent ravings about a wife and child who must
starve to death, of the telegram sent, the search party organized and the answer
that they had found but the skeletons of a woman and a child. All these things
corroborated the story of the little three-year-old tot; and being shown some
photographs in a casual way, she picked out the pictures of Mr. Roberts and his
wife, though Mr. Roberts had altered much in the eighteen years which intervened
between the tragedy and the Santa Barbara incident.
It must not be supposed, however, that all
who pass through the gate of death reenter as quickly as that. Such a short
interim would give the Ego no chance to do the important work of assimilating
experiences and preparation for a new Earth-life. But a three year old child has
had no experience to speak of, so it seeks a new embodiment quickly, often
incarnation in the same family as before. Children often die because a change in
the parents' habits has frustrated the working out of their past acts. It is
then necessary to seek another chance, or they are born and die to teach the
parents a needed lesson. In one case an Ego incarnated eight times in the same
family for that purpose before the lesson was learned. Then it incarnated
elsewhere. It was a friend of the family who acquired great merit by thus
The Law of Rebirth, where it is not modified
by the Law of Consequence to such an extent as in the above cases, works
according to the movement of the Sun known as the precession of the equinoxes,
by which the Sun goes backward through the twelve signs of the zodiac in the
so-called sidereal or world-year comprising 25,868 of our ordinary solar years.
As the passage of the Earth in her orbit
around the Sun makes the climatic changes which alter our conditions according
to seasons and change our activities, so the passage of the Sun through the
great world-year makes still greater changes in climate and topographical
conditions, in respect to civilization, and it is necessary that the Ego should
learn to cope with it all.
Therefore the Ego incarnates twice in the
time it takes the Sun to go through each one of the signs of the zodiac, which
is about 2,100 years. There are thus normally about 1,000 years between two
incarnations and, while the experiences of a man are widely different from those
of a woman, the conditions are not materially different in a thousand years, so
the Spirit usually incarnates alternately as a man and a woman. But that is not
a hard and fast rule; it is subject to modification when such is required by the
Law of Consequence.
Thus occult science resolves the riddle of
life into the Ego's quest for experience, all conditions having that purpose in
view, and all being automatically determined by desert; it robs death of its
terror and its sting, by placing it where it belongs, as an incident in a larger
life, similar to the removal to another city for a time; it makes the parting
from loved ones easier by assuring us that the very love we feel will be the
means of re-uniting us, and it gives us the grandest hope in life that some day
we shall all obtain the knowledge which illumines all problems, links all our
lives, and best of all, as taught by occult science ,we have it in our own
power, by application, to hasten that glorious day when faith shall be swallowed
up in knowledge. Then we shall realize in a higher sense the beauty of Sir Edwin
Arnold's poetic statement of the doctrine of rebirth:
Never the Spirit was born!
The Spirit shall cease to be never!
Never was time it was not,
End and beginning are dreams.
Birthless and deathless remaineth
the spirit forever.
Death has not touched it at all,
Dead though the house of it seems.
Nay! but as one layeth
A worn-out robe away.
And taking another sayeth:
This will I wear today,
So putteth by the spirit
Lightly its garment of flesh
And passeth on the inherit
A residence afresh.
WHERE ARE THE DEAD?
A little thought will soon make it apparent
to any investigator that we live in a world of EFFECT which is the result of
INVISIBLE CAUSES. MATTER and FORM we see, but the FORCE which molds the matter
into form and quickens it is invisible to us. Life can not be cognized directly
by the senses; it is invisible and self-existent, independent of the varied
forms we see as its manifestations.
Electricity, magnetism, and steam are names
given to forces never seen with physical eyes, though, by conforming to certain
laws discovered by experiment, we have made them our most valuable servants. We
see their manifestations in moving streetcars, in railways and steamships; they
light our path at night and carry our message around he globe with a speed that
annihilate space, bringing the antipodes to our very doors in seconds of time.
They are at our beck and call at any and all hours, tireless and faithful in the
performance of innumerable tasks, yet, as said, we have never seen these, our
most faithful and valuable servants.
These Nature Forces are neither blind nor
unintelligent s we mistakenly think; there are many classes of them and they
work along different avenues of life. Perhaps an illustration will make clear
their status in relation to us. Let us suppose a carpenter is making a fence and
a dog is standing by watching him. The dog sees both the carpenter and his work,
though it does not fully comprehend what he is doing. If the carpenter were
invisible to the dog it would see the fence being slowly built, it would see
every nail driven, it would perceive the manifestation but not the cause, and it
would then be in the some relation to the carpenter as we are to the Nature
Forces which manifest about us as gravity, electricity, and magnetism.
During the past few centuries, but
particularly in the last sixty years, science has made giant strides in the
investigation of the world in which we live, and the result has been to reveal
in all directions a hitherto invisible world. With telescopes of increasing
power the astronomers have been reaching out into space, discovering more and
more worlds; with admirable ingenuity they have attached the camera to the
telescope, and have thus been able to photograph suns at such enormous distances
from us that their rays make no impression on our eyes, and can only be caught
by hours of exposure of a sensitize photographic plate.
In the direction of the minutely small, the
increasing perfection of the microscope has achieved similar results; a world
that was hitherto invisible to us has been discovered, containing an exceeding
activity of LIFE and marked by a diversity of form scarcely less complex than
the world we behold through our unaided senses.
The effort of making such investigations
through the eyepiece of a microscope is a severe one, causing intense strain on
the eyes; but here also the camera lends its aid to man. With proper mechanical
attachments and lightning speed it can make permanent records of microscopic
phenomena at the rate of perhaps seventy negatives per second. These may then be
magnified and projected upon a screen as moving pictures; they may be seen by
hundreds of people at the same time in comfort and ease.
We may see how the sap slowly circulates
through the veins of a leaf, or watch the way the blood races like a millstream
through the semitransparent veins of a frog's leg. Maggots in cheese appear as
large as gray crabs meandering hither and thither in search of prey. A drop of
water contains many dark colored balls which grow and burst, throwing out
numerous tiny globes which in their turn expand and fling out offspring. Dr.
Bastian of London has even seen how a little black spot on the spine of a cyclop
(of which there are many in a drop of water) developed into a parasite which fed
on the cyclop.
By means of the X-ray science has been able
to invade the innermost recesses of the dense body of the living human,
photographing the skeleton and any foreign substance which may have become
located there by accident.
Thus in many directions a hitherto invisible
world has presented itself to the gaze of the persistent investigators. Who
shall say the end has been reached; that there are no other worlds in space
beyond those now photographed by astronomers; no life dwelling in forms more
minute than those discovered by the best microscopes of today? Tomorrow an
instrument may be designed that will reach beyond all previous devices and show
much of what is hidden today. The infinitude of space, of the great and of the
small seems to be beyond question and independent of our cognition.
In looking over the marvelous achievements
of physical science, there is one characteristic particularly worth while to
note; namely, that each new discovery has been made through the invention of new
or the improvement of previously existing devices to aid the senses; and for
that reason the investigations of science have been limited to the world of
sense the dense Physical World. Scientists have dealt with the chemical
elements: solids, liquids, and gases; but beyond that they have no instruments
capable of reaching, although forced to postulate a still finer matter they call
"ether," because without this finer medium they find it impossible to
account for light, electricity, etc. Thus we see that physical science
inductively recognizes the existence of an invisible world as a necessity in the
economy of Nature.
Both physical and occult science are
therefore agreed on that point and both reach into the invisible world for
solutions to problems. They differ as to the method of investigation and the
credence to be given evidence thus obtained. Material science seeks only for
explanation to problems insoluble on a purely physical basis, such as the
passage of light waves through a vacuum or the resemblance of the flowers of the
present season to those of past summers. In such cases science readily
postulates an invisible, intangible something like ether or heredity and prides
itself on its acumen and the ingenuity of its explanations.
Occult science asserts that THERE IS AN
INVISIBLE CAUSE AT THE ROOT OF ALL VISIBLE PHENOMENA, which when known will
afford a more thorough knowledge of the facts of life than a mechanical concept,
and that the most comprehensive idea of life is obtained by the study of BOTH
phenomena of the visible and the noumena or underlying causes of the invisible
world. It therefore investigates the invisible worlds and offers a more thorough
and reasonable solution to the problems of life than mere facts of science
derived only through observation of the physical phenomena.
Material science postulates ether and
heredity as solutions to the above problems, though unable to offer actual proof
of the truth of its hypotheses except their seeming reasonableness. Yet when
occult science employs similar methods and declares the existence of the Spirit,
its immorality, its pre-existence to birth, and persistence after death, its
independence of the body, etc., physical science sneers and inconsistently
speaks of superstition and ignorance. It demands proof, though the evidence
offered is at least as good as the scientific evidence of the existence of
ether, heredity, and numerous other ideas advanced by science, implicitly
believed in by the multitude that admiringly bows its head in the dust before
any dictum supported by the magic word Science.
No one can demonstrate the truth of a
proposition in geometry to a person unacquainted with the principles of
mathematics. For similar reasons the facts of the inner worlds cannot be proved
to the material scientist. If the person devoid of mathematical knowledge
studies that science he will be easily satisfied as to the solution of the
problem. When the physical scientist has fitted himself for the apprehension of
superphysical facts he will have the proof and be compelled to uphold the very
theories he now combats as superstition.
Occult science commences its investigations
at the point where material science leaves off, at the door to the superphysical
realms, mistakenly called supernatural. There is nothing "SUPERnatural"
or "UNnatural"; nothing whatever can be outside Nature, although it
may easily be superphysical, for the Physical World is the smallest part of the
Earth. Unlike the material scientist, however, the occult scientist does not
pursue his investigations by means of mechanical instruments, but by IMPROVING
HIMSELF; by cultivating faculties of perception latent in every human being and
capable of being awakened by proper training. The words of Christ, "Seek
and ye shall find," were particularly applied to spiritual qualities, and
directed to "whosoever will." All depends upon oneself; there is none
to hinder and many to help the earnest seeker after knowledge. The discussion of
the means and ways are, however, outside the present topic, and must be left for
elucidation in future essays. (Nos. 3 and 11.)
"But," someone will say,
"what is the use of troubling about an invisible world? We are placed here
in this workaday material world; what have we to do with an invisible world? And
even though it may be true that we go there after death, why not take one world
at a time? 'Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof'; why borrow more?"
Surely such a view is a most shortsighted
one. In the first place, a knowledge of the after-death state would take away
the fear of death which haunts so many people even while they are in the most
vigorous health. In the most careless life there are times when the thought of
the leap in the dark which must some time be taken dulls the sense of joy in
life; and any explanation offering definite, reliable knowledge upon this
important subject surely ought to be eagerly welcomed.
Besides, as we look about us in the world,
we see there is one law that must be apparent even to the most callous: the law
of causation. Each day our work and condition depend upon what we did or did not
do the day before; it is absolutely impossible for us to tear ourselves away
from our past; to "start afresh." We cannot perform an act that is not
connected in some way with our previous acts, limited and hedged about by former
conditions; and it must surely appear as reasonable to suppose that, whatever
may be the mode of expression of life in the invisible world, it will be in some
way determined by our present mode of life. It would be logical, also, to
declare that if reliable information about this invisible world were available
it would be wise to prepare oneself with it for the same reason that when we
wish to travel in a foreign country we acquaint ourselves with its geography,
laws, customs, language, or other necessary information. We do this because we
know that the more thoroughly we are primed with this knowledge the more we
shall profit by our travel and the less will be the annoyances due to changed
conditions. The same must logically hold as regards the post-mortem state.
Again some objector will say: "Ah, but
that is just the rub! Whatever the condition after death may be no one knows for
certain. Those who profess to know all differ from each other in their stories,
many of which are unreasonable, impossible--"
In the first place, no man has a moral right
to assert that NO ONE knows, except he himself is omniscient and knows the
extent of the knowledge of ALL who live; and it is the height of arrogance to
attempt to judge the mental capacity of all others by the exceedingly narrow
ideas which wiseacres who make such statements generally have. The wise man will
always have an ear open for new evidence, he will be willing and eager to
investigate; and even though there were but one man who professed knowledge of
the invisible worlds, that would not necessarily prove him mistaken. Did not
Galileo stand alone in asserting his theory concerning the movement of the
heavenly bodies, to which the whole western world has since become converted?
As to the difference of the stories told by
those who profess to know about the invisible worlds, this is not only to be
expected but is a valuable feature, as an illustration from daily life will
Supposing San Francisco had been entirely
rebuilt on an imposing scale with all the latest and most modern improvements,
and had decided to celebrate the occasion by a grand festival. Many thousands
would flock to the Golden Gate to rejoice in the new Phoenix which had arisen
from the ashes of that beautiful city, so suddenly swept from the face of the
earth in a fiery death. Among others would probably come a considerable number
of newspaper men, reporters from different parts of the country, for the purpose
of sending reports to their respective publications. It is a foregone conclusion
that although reporters are trained observers, no two reports would be alike.
Some might have certain points in general. Some would be unlike the others in
every respect, for the simple reason that every reporter saw the city from his
own particular viewpoint and noted only what appealed to him. Thus, instead of
the diversity of reports being an argument against their accuracy it will
readily be seen that they would all be valuable as different phases of the one
whole; and it is safe to say that a man who read all the different reports would
have a vastly more comprehensive idea of San Francisco than if he had read only
one report subscribed to by all the reporters.
The same principle holds good concerning the
different stories describing the invisible worlds; they are not necessarily
untrue because varying, but form collectively a more complete narrative.
As to the "impossible" stories,
let us suppose that one of our San Francisco reporters instead of observing had
spent the time enjoying himself, and sent in an imaginary report; surely that
would not invalidate the honest reports. Or let us suppose that one was wearing
a pair of yellow spectacles put on him without his knowledge and he sent a
report that the houses and streets were of gold; that would only show HIS
ignorance in not knowing that the glasses were that color and not the city; and
his report should not reflect on the sanity and veracity of the others. Lastly,
let us remember that even though some things are at present beyond OUR reasoning
power that does not prove that they are unreasonable. The fact that a baby
cannot understand square root constitutes no valid argument against mathematics.
In short, no reasonable argument can be made by the materialist to prove that
there is no invisible world any more than the man born blind can successfully
debate against the existence of light and color in the world about him. If his
sight is obtained he will see them. So no argument from those blind to the
invisible world can convince the seer of the nonexistence of what he sees, and
if the proper sense is awakened in such people they too will perceive a world to
which they have previously been insensible, though it was all about them, as
light and color pervade the sense-world, whether perceived or not.
Passing onward from this negative testimony
to the existence of the superphysical realms, to more positive evidence, an
everyday illustration will show how matter is constantly changing from denser to
finer states in Nature. If we take a block of ice we have a "solid";
by applying heat to it we raise the vibrations of the atoms which compose it,
and it becomes a "liquid"--"water." If we apply more heat we
raise the vibrations of the atoms in the water to such a rate that it becomes
invisible to the eye; then we have a "gas" which we call
"steam." The same matter which was visible in the ice and in the water
has passed from our sight but not out of existence; for by the application of
cold it will be condensed into water, and then may again be frozen into ice.
Though matter may pass beyond the range of
our perception it still persists. So does consciousness continue though it may
be unable to give to me the slightest sign of existence. That has been proven in
cases where a person has seemingly died, where not the faintest flutter of the
heart or the slightest respiratory movement could be perceived, and perhaps at
the last moment before interment, the supposedly dead would come to life, repeat
every word and describe every action of those who had been around him while
Therefore, when matter, which is
indestructible, is known to exist in states invisible and intangible, and when
consciousness is as alert, or even keener when the dense body is entranced than
in ordinary waking life, is it not reasonable to suppose that this consciousness
may mold the matter invisible to us and function in it when excarnate (as it
shapes during earth- life the matter of this world), thus bringing into
existence another world of form and consciousness as real to the excarnate
Spirit as this world is to the eyes dwelling in fleshly bodies?
Even during life in the dense body we know
and deal with the invisible world at every moment of our existence, and the life
which we live there is the most important part of our being--the basis of our
life in the dense world.
We all have an inner life where we live
amidst our thoughts and feelings in scenes and under conditions unknown to our
outside environment. There the mind shapes our ideas into thought pictures which
we afterwards externalize. All everything we see about us and contact with our
senses and call real, is but the evanescent shadow of the intangible, invisible
world. The visible world has consolidated from the invisible realms in
essentially the same manner that the hard and flinty house of the snail has
crystallized from the juices of its soft body. Moreover, as the house of the
snail is inert and would remain motionless did not the snail move it about, so
the bodies of plant, animal, and man are but inert emanations from the Spirit
which dwells in the invisible world, and except this indwelling life galvanizes
the form into action it is incapable of movement. These bodies are preserved
only so long as they serve the purpose of the Spirit; when that leaves there is
nothing to hold the form together, so it decays.
Furthermore, all that we see about us, as
houses, streetcars, steamboats, telephones, in short, all objects that have been
fashioned by the hand of man are crystallized IMAGINATIONS which had their
origin in the invisible world. If Graham Bell had not been able to imagine the
telephone it would never have come into existence. It was Fulton's "inner
life" that first witnessed the birth of the steamboat, long before it
became the visible "Clermont."
As to the reality and permanence of the
objects in the invisible world, they are far more so than the visible conditions
which we mistakenly think of as the acme of "reality." We regard our
mental pictures and imaginations as less real than a mirage and speak of them in
a slighting manner as a "mere thought" or "just an idea,"
when in truth they are the underlying realities of all that we see in the world
about us. An illustration will further emphasize the point:
When an architect wishes to build a house he
does not order lumber and other material sent to the building site, hire workmen
and tell them to go ahead and build! He formulates an idea, thinks it out, first
building the house "in his mind" with as much detail as possible, and
from this mental model the house might be built if it could be seen by the
workmen, but it is yet in the invisible world; and although the architect
perceives it plainly, "the veil of flesh" prevents others seeing it.
Thus it becomes necessary to bring it within the sense world and make a visible
plan which the workmen may follow. This is the first consolidation of the
thought picture of the architect and when the house is built we see in wood and
stone what was first an idea in the architect's mind and invisible to us.
As the relative stability of the idea and
building; it is plain that the house may be destroyed by dynamite or some other
powerful element of destruction, but the "idea" in the architect's
mind even he cannot destroy; and from that "idea" a similar house may
be built at any time while the architect lives. Even after his death the idea
may be found in the Memory of Nature (of which more will be explained in the
next essay), by anyone qualified for this research; for no matter how long ago
the impression was formed it is never lost or destroyed.
While we may thus inductively
"infer" the existence of an invisible world this is not the only means
of proof. There is an abundance of direct testimony to show that there is such a
world, testimony from men and women of unquestioned integrity whose truth and
accuracy are never questioned regarding other matters, who state that this
invisible world is inhabited by those whom we call dead, who are living there in
full possession of all their mental and emotional faculties, living under
conditions which make their life as real and profitable as ours, perhaps more
so. It is further capable of proof that at least some of them take considerable
interest in the affairs of the Physical World. Suffice it to take two instances
of world-wide fame.
There is first the testimony of Jeanne
D'Arc, the "maid of Orleans," to hearing "voices which spoke to
and directed her." Let us consider the story of her life and see if it does
not bear the stamp of truth. Here we have a simple, pure, and unsophisticated
peasant girl, scarcely more than a child, who had never been outside her native
village before going upon her "mission." She was extremely timid,
afraid of disobeying her father, yet the imperious "voices" drove her
to brave his displeasure and she set out to find the King of France. After much
trouble but constantly guided by voices, she was finally granted an audience by
the King. When she entered the King stood in the midst of his courtiers, a
puppet was seated on the throne, and everyone expected to see her discomfited,
for she had never seen the King, but, guided by the faithful voices, Jean
unhesitatingly walked up to him and saluted. She convinced him of the truth of
her mission by whispering in his ear an exceedingly weighty secret known only to
In consequence of this proof the command of
the French army was taken out of the hands of the experienced generals, who had
been defeated by the English at every turn, and placed in the hands of this
child who knew nothing of warcraft herself, yet, taught by her invisible
prompters, led the French troops to victory. Her knowledge of military tactics
was the constant wonder of her associates, and in itself a proof of the guidance
Next we see her imprisoned, subjected for
years to threats or cajolery, as the mood of her cruel persecutors prompted, to
induce her to acknowledge that there had been no voices, but the records of the
proceedings of her different trials show in her answers a singleness of mind, an
innocence and a straightforwardness unequalled in the annals of history, which
confounded her judges at every turn. Not even death at the stake could make her
abjure the truth as she knew it, and to this day her testimony to the guiding
voices from the invisible world stands unshaken, sealed with her life blood.
This martyr to truth has lately been canonized a saint by the church which slew
"Ah, but," some one may say,
"while she was no doubt honest, she was but a simple peasant girl, unaware
that she was suffering from hallucinations!" Strange hallucinations which
enabled her to unhesitatingly pick out the King she had never seen and tell him
a secret unknown to any other person, to accurately describe battles while they
were being fought many miles away, as afterwards verified by participants.
But let us pass on to our second witness,
who is by no means of the "simple minded." In that respect Socrates is
an absolute contrast to Jeanne d'Arc, for his was the keenest intellect, the
greatest mind we know, unexcelled to the present day. He also sealed his
testimony to the voice of guidance from the invisible world with his life blood,
and we may take it as a self-evident fact that it must have been an exceedingly
intelligent voice or it would never have been able to counsel so great a sage as
To hold that he was insane or suffering from
hallucinations will hardly meet the case, for a man who, like Socrates, would
weigh all other matters with such nicety, is above suspicion in that respect,
and the more reasonable course it to acknowledge that "there are more
things in heaven and earth" than we know individually or collectively, and
then start to investigate.
That is indeed what the most advanced
people are doing in our day and age, realizing that it is just as foolish to be
too skeptical to investigate as to be overcredulous and take for gospel truth
everything we hear. Only by properly informing ourselves is it possible for us
to arrive at a conclusion worth of our manhood or womanhood, no matter whether
we decide one way or the other.
Recognizing this principle, and the signal
importance of the subject, the Society for Physical Research was formed more
than a quarter of a century ago and numbers among its members some of the
brightest minds of our time. They have spared no pains to sift truth from error
in the many thousands of cases brought to their attention, and as a result we
find that one of the most prominent scientists of our time, Sir Oliver Lodge, as
president of the society, gave to the world several years ago the statement that
"the existence of an invisible world, inhabited by the so-called dead, and
their power to communicate with this world, had been established beyond
peradventure in such an abundance of cases as to leave no room for doubt."
Coming as that statement does, from one of
the greatest of modern scientists, one who has brought to his psychic studies a
mind sharpened by science, who was well protected against being duped in any
way, such testimony should command the highest respect among all who are seeking
Having thus submitted inductive, deductive,
and direct evidence, we may add that the existence of another world, intangible
to the five senses but readily investigated by means of a "sixth
sense," is a fact in Nature, whether we recognize it or not, as light and
color exist around "blind" and "seeing" alike. It is the
blind man's loss that he cannot see the light and color all about him. It is
ours if we are "blind" to the superphysical realms; but to all who
will take the trouble to awaken their latent faculties, the opening of the
proper sense is but a matter of time. When that time comes we shall see that the
so-called "dead" are all about us, and that in fact "there is no
death," as John McCreery says in the following beautiful poem:
There is no death. The stars go down
To rise upon another shore,
And bright in heaven's jeweled crown
They shine for evermore.
There is no death. The forest leaves
Convert to life the viewless air;
The rocks disorganize to feed
The hungry moss they bear.
There is no death. The dust we tread
Shall change beneath the summer showers
To golden grain or mellow fruit,
Or rainbow-tinted flowers.
There is no death. The leaves may fall,
The flowers may fade and pass away--
They only wait through wintry hours
The warm, sweet breath of May.
There is no death, although we grieve
When beautiful familiar forms
That we have learned to love are torn
From our embracing arms.
Although with bowed and breaking heart.
With sable garb and silent tread
We bear their senseless dust to rest
And say that they are dead--
They are not dead. They have but passed
Beyond the mists that blind us here
Into the new and larger life
Of that serener sphere.
They have but dropped their robe of clay
To put a shining raiment on;
They have not wandered far away,
They are not "lost" or "gone."
Thou unseen to the mortal eye,
They still are here and love us yet;
The dear ones they have left behind
They never do forget.
Sometimes upon our fevered brow
We feel their touch, a breath of balm;
Our spirit sees them, and our hearts
Grow comforted and calm.
Yes, ever near us, though unseen,
Our dear, immortal spirits tread--
For all God's boundless Universe
Is Life--there are no dead.
SPIRITUAL SIGHT AND THE SPIRITUAL WORLDS
In the first lecture we saw that the only
theory of life which will bear the searchlight of reason is the theory That the
human Ego is immortal, That Earth-life is a school and that the Ego returns to
that school life after life to learn its lessons under the twin laws of Nature:
the Laws of Consequence and Rebirth, thus progressing steadily towards the goal
The foregoing solution to the riddle of
life naturally elicits the question: But if those whom we call dead are really
alive, why do we not see them and where are They? That question was answered in
the second lecture where it was shown inductively, deductively, and by direct
incontrovertible testimony that there is an invisible world about us inhabited
by the so-called dead who are living there in full possession of their every
faculty, and that the only reason why we do not ordinarily perceive them is
because we lack the necessary sense. The blind fail to observe light and color
because they lack physical sight. We are blind to the spiritual worlds because
we lack spiritual sight. All have this "sixth" sense latent and it is
capable of being awakened in all without exception by proper methods, as shown
in Lecture No. 11 of this series.
In the present lecture we are to
investigate the inner worlds and it may not be out of place to give a general
idea of how the clairvoyant knows about the invisible worlds and to show the
scope and limitations of clairvoyance.
"Clairvoyant" is the name given
to persons who see objects invisible to ordinary humanity. The name means simply
"clear-sighted," and contrary to the generally accepted idea, there
are different KINDS of clairvoyants. Some are like a prisoner behind a barred
window, who can see everything within his limited range of vision, and according
to whether his window chances of face upon a narrow prison-yard or upon a wide
expanse of country, will be his scope of vision. If his view is further hampered
by a shutter which he cannot control, which opens and shuts independently of his
will, we shall understand That his observation is of little value to himself or
others. Some clairvoyants are like this prisoner. When the shutter is opened
They have a view of whatever happens to be going on in That part of the inner
world which They chance to see at a given time and place. They cannot help
seeing whether the vision pleases them or not; They must endure it until it
passes away of itself. Such people are called negative, involuntary
Others again, while limited in the scope of
their vision, have control of the shutter, which They open and shut at will,
seeing anything which comes within range. They are also negative, but are able
to see "at will" and are called voluntary clairvoyants.
Then again others have a faculty which may
be likened to the state of a prisoner whose prison is a glass house situated
upon a hill and supplied with telescopes of the highest magnitude, shaded by
blinds of such a construction that they would open as soon as he looked at them,
and close as soon as he turned away. Thus he would have perfect control over his
vision, being able to see or not and to turn his gaze to any subject he desired
to investigate and would therefore be a voluntary, TRAINED clairvoyant.
There is a higher stage where the prison
doors are opened, and the man is able to leave the dense body at will, go into
the invisible worlds and investigate at close range the things he wishes to know
about, which the last named class could view only from a distance. Leaving the
dense body at will is of course the ideal method--then the man is not only a
clairvoyant; he is a citizen of two or more worlds. That stage is not generally
reached by a mere investigator, but by such as have taken a vow to dedicate
their lives to the service of humanity. They are then called INVISIBLE HELPERS,
and work under the guidance of the great Leaders of Humanity--our Elder
While many people make the mistake of being
incredulous of the existence of supersensuous worlds, there are also people who
go to the other extreme--when they have become convinced of the verity of the
invisible world--and think that when anyone can "see" clairvoyantly
all truth is open to his vision and he at once "knows all about" those
That is a great mistake--the fallacy of
such an idea is readily understood by comparison with everyday affairs. We do
not consider That because a man who was born blind has been made to see, he at
once "knows all about" everything in the Physical World; nay, more, we
know that even those of us who have had our eyesight all our lives are far from
having a universal knowledge of the things about us. Logic and analogy are
violated by applying such a supposition to the inner worlds. In fact, no
clairvoyant, however accomplished, has a knowledge of everything there, BUT ONLY
KNOWS WHAT HE HAS INVESTIGATED. A blind person who has obtained sight must learn
to use his eyes to gauge distance, etc.; so must the infant; and so the
clairvoyant must be trained before his faculty becomes of value, and it is
invariably the case that the more proficient people become the more modest They
are in their statements and the more willing to defer to the versions of others,
knowing how much is unknown and realizing how few of the many sides of a subject
the single investigator can cover.
Besides, in the Physical World forms are
stable and do not easily change, but in the inner worlds everything is in the
most intense motion. Forms change in a way and with a faculty that is but dimly
pictured in our fairy tales. The wonder is not that involuntary or untrained
clairvoyants often sadly mix things, but rather that they ever see anything
right. The training consists in teaching the neophyte how to LOOK BEYOND THE
FORM which is evanescent and illusory TO THE LIFE which is the same no matter
what "form" it may take. For only when the "life" can be
seen is there safety from glamour.
Before proceeding to the investigation of
the invisible worlds, we must first state the Rosicrucian conception of the
Physical World, as it differs somewhat from the generally accepted views.
THE CHEMICAL REGION OF THE PHYSICAL WORLD
In everyday life we distinguish between
solids, liquids, and gases. These are grouped by science into about seventy
inorganic elements, such as hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon. From these
elements all FORMS are built.
We also discriminate four kingdoms:
mineral, plant, animal, and human, but that distinction has reference to four
streams of evolving Spirits at various states of development, manifesting as
LIFE, which molds the chemical elements into the multitudinous FORMS we see
This fourfold stream of life is more or
less firmly enmeshed in the forms it has build according to the stage of
development reached by the various streams of Spirits.
The Spirits which compose the Mineral
Life-Stream are so feeble, and hence so closely allied with the matter they
shape into inorganic crystals, that they seem inseparable from it. This
life-stream is known as chemical force.
The Spirits in the Plant Life-Stream
assimilate the crystallized chemical elements and modify the crystals into
crystalloids when building their more complex bodies.
These plant-forms, when taken in turn by
the Animal and Human Life-Streams, are grouped as cells and organs which
collectively compose the more intricate vehicles of the two higher kingdoms.
While the three more evolved streams of
life are working with the chemical matter, the mineral-life imbedded therein
becomes inert, or, in a certain sense, it dies; but the moment the plant-life,
animal-life, or human-life has departed from a FORM, which we then call
"dead," the mineral-life native to the chemical matter is once more
free to assert itself and manifest as the chemical forces which make for decay
and resolve the form into its original constituents.
Some scientists attribute feeling to
minerals, to "dead" plants and "dead" animal tissue. The
observations of science are correct, but it is a serious misnomer to call That
"FEELING" which is merely a RESPONSE TO IMPACTS of the mineral-life
which ensouls the form when not appropriated to the use of one of the higher
life-streams. The mineral life-stream embodied in the tissue which the
scientific experimenters use merely registers an impression; it is incapable of
true feeling, such as pleasure and pain. These are soul qualities and predicate
an "inner" consciousness capable of "working over" the
impressions made upon it. This is as yet beyond the mineral-life, and therefore
all forms AS SUCH are as devoid of feeling as the chemical elements of which
they are composed. Science recognizes this when it states That there is no
feeling in a finger which is hurt, but inconsistently relegates the feeling of
pain to the brain. The occult scientist holds that ALL FORM, brain, brawn, or
bone, equally lack feeling, for FEELING IS A LIFE-PROCESS neither inherent in
the solids, liquids, or gases, nor acquired by them during the time They are
appropriated by the evolving life-streams to furnish the substance for the
various forms through which these life-streams express themselves in the dense
visible Physical World.
Thus, if man possessed no more than the
dense body he would be as incapable of manifesting life as are the chemical
substance of which That body is composed, and if there were only this VISIBLE
Physical World, there could never have been any other forms than the inert
crystals. Plants, animals, and man would have been impossible achievements in
THE ETHERIC REGION OF THE PHYSICAL WORLD
The Rosicrucians, in harmony with other
occult schools, divide each world into seven "regions" or states of
matter. Our visible world comprises but three such regions, viz.: Solid, Liquid,
and Gaseous. The invisible ether occupies the four remaining regions, and it is
with the investigation of this fourfold ether that the research of occult
These four states of ether are called the
Etheric Region. Either is the medium through which the solar energy flows into
the dense bodies of plant, animal, and man, and thus it forms a basis for the
manifestation of life and vitality. The names and specific functions of these
four states of ether, counting from below, are as follows:
(1) The Chemical Ether is the medium of
manifestation for the chemical forces which cause the formation of crystals,
manifesting as the loves and hates of the atoms, the "elective
affinity" spoken of by Goethe whereby alcohol and water readily mix, but
oil and water refuse to commingle. Other forces manifest in this ether to
promote assimilation, growth, and excretion as seen in the higher kingdoms of
plant, animal, and man. The chemical ether alone is active in the mineral
chemical elements in their native state.
(2) The Life Ether. A fish can live and
move in water; animal and man cannot. They live in air which suffocates the
fish. So each realm of Nature is the medium of manifestation for intelligences
of diverse constitution, at varying stages of development and having different
missions in the economy of Nature. While the forces operating in the chemical
ether are solely concerned with the maintenance of the separate form, the life
ether is the vantage ground for the propagative forces which have for their
object the perpetuation of the species or race. It is thus active in plant,
animal, and man.
(3) The Light Ether is the medium of
manifestation of the forces which produce heat, motion, and the circulation of
the blood in animal and man and of the sap in plants. Through it the green
chlorophyll is deposited on the leaves, and so is the coloring on flowers,
animal, and man. It is the avenue of ingress for the solar force which builds
the eye and is the avenue of sight. The forces in this ether are only partially
operative in the plant, fully in animal and man.
(4) The Reflecting Ether is the substance
of the highest region of the Physical World, and the images or records of all
that is or ever has been in the Physical World can be found there. Therefore we
say That it contains "the Memory of Nature." Here the architect's idea
for a building spoken of in the second essay is recoverable at any time, whether
he is dead or living. But the Reflecting Ether deserves its name in more than
one way, for the images found there, though reproducing objects found in the
Physical World, are nevertheless but reflections of images in a much higher
world, where the records are permanent, much clearer, and more definite. The
record in the reflecting ether is only read by involuntary clairvoyants and
psychometrists who have no choice, even though they may have heard of the
existence of the higher records. Sometimes the occult pupil also reads the
record in the reflecting ether when he first starts to investigate the invisible
realms, but he is instructed as to its scope and does not deceive himself into
thinking that it is the ultimate of perfection, and in time learns to use the
This ether is a most important realm in
Nature; it is the avenue of ingress whereby the Ego manipulates the brain and
the nervous system and controls its dense body; and in the reflecting ether the
Ego in man makes the record of its experiences which we call memory.
Science teaches that alike in the densest
solid and in the rarest gas no two atoms touch, but all float, as it were, in a
sea of ether. That is true, but it is only part of the story; if that were all,
it would be impossible to explain logically the difference between the four
We know that in order to function in the
visible world it is necessary to have a dense body. Without such a body we would
be "ghosts," invisible to other physical beings.
The same is true of the other worlds. In
order to function in them or express their peculiar qualities, we must first
have a vehicle made of their materials; and as it is necessary to have a dense
body before we can act in the Physical World, so we must have a vital body
before we can show life, assimilate, grow, or propagate. The mineral stream of
life at present embodied in the matter of the Chemical Region, has no separate
vital body. The plant, animal, and man have vital bodies, but they are as
differently constructed as their respective dense bodies, varying as to the
quality, quantity, and organization of their component etheric matter.
Yet even the possession of a dense body and
a vital body is not sufficient to account for all the facts of life. If there
were no other realms in Nature, movable animal and human bodies would be
impossibilities; and even if such had been created, having the POWER to move,
the incentive to motion and action would be lacking. The occult scientist finds
action has its inception in
THE DESIRE WORLD
Like the Physical World, this realm of
Nature is also composed of seven regions which divide the matter according to
relative density and other qualities.
When we speak of matter there, it is
something very different from that of the Physical world. The difference is very
hard to describe, because all our terms are coined with reference to the sense
world, and the best That can be done is to give some faint idea of what it is or
is not like.
In the first place, though desire matter is
one degree less dense than physical matter, desire stuff is not by any means
"finer" physical matter. It is true That the ultimate atom of all
physical forms is the same; That the mountain, the mayflower, the mouse and the
man are all built of the same kind of atoms; yet we do not say that the mouse is
a "finer" degree of mountain. A similar difference is embodied in the
statement of the relative density of the two kinds of matter, which makes one
amenable to law inoperative in the other.
Desire matter is particularly characterized
by the ease with which it is molded into different forms and is capable of
changing from one form to another. Plasticity is far too poor a name for this
quality; besides, desire matter is also an embodiment of light and color of such
luminosity, such scintillating, iridescent hues as make our brightest colors and
our most glorious sunsets seem dull and dead by comparison. It was this dazzling
luminosity which caused the mediaeval alchemists to designate it
"astral," "starry," though it has nothing to do with the
stars. A faint conception of what it is like may be had by taking an abalone
shell and watching the changing play of colors while moving it to and fro in the
To obtain a reasonable understanding of the
Desire World, we must realize That it is the world of feeling, desire, wishes,
and emotions. As our bones, blood, and flesh are formed of chemical matter, so
our desires and emotions are formed of the matter of the Desire World; and as
our dense bodies are subject to gravity and other physical laws, so our desires,
etc., are dominated by Attraction and Repulsion, the two great forces in the
Repulsion is the predominant force in the
three lower or denser regions. Attraction alone holds sway in the three upper
regions where matter is rarest, but is also present to some degree in the three
lower regions, where it opposes the force of Repulsion.
The central region is the region of
"Feeling." Here "INTEREST IN" or "INDIFFERENCE TO"
an object or idea sways the balance in favor of one or the other of the two
forces, attraction or repulsion, thereby relegating the object or idea which
engendered the feeling to the three higher or the three lower regions, or, as
the case may be, expelling it from our lives. An illustration will show the
principle and show how these "twin feelings" are the mainsprings that
move the world by means of the "twin forces."
Both animals and man have a desire body and
are swayed by the twin feelings and the twin forces. A tigress in the jungle
will pass a loaf of bread with indifference, but she will feel interested in the
owner. Her interest will rouse the force of attraction, yet she will endeavor to
kill him. The destructive act is not the end and the aim, however, but only a
necessary step towards assimilation. If she spies another beast of prey having
designs on what she considers her booty, that also will cause her to feel
interest. But in that case the feeling of interest will arouse the force of
repulsion, and if a fight ensues, destruction of her adversary will be an end in
itself. In the above case and in cases where the animal desires of man are
factors, the twin forces and twin feelings operate alike, but there is a
difference in the composition of the desire body of man and animal.
The desire body of an animal is composed
solely of matter from the four lower regions of the Desire World. Hence it is
incapable of feeling any but the animal desires for food, shelter, and the like.
A saint would feel the keenest remorse if he had inadvertently spoken a hasty
word; the tigress remains undisturbed by any sense of wrong, though she kill
daily. The reason is that man's desire body is composed of the matter of all the
seven regions of the Desire World, so that he is capable of feeling in a higher
sense than the animal. Another illustration will make the point clear:
Three men are walking along a road. They
see a sick dog, covered with sores, evidently suffering intense pain, and
This much is evident to all three men; it
is the testimony of their senses. Now comes the "feeling." One feels
"indifferent" to the animal and passes on without another look,
leaving the dog to its fate. Not so the others. They are both interested and
remain; but this feeling of interest manifests differently in the two men.
The interest of one man is of a
sympathetic, helpful nature, impelling him to care for the poor beast, to
endeavor to assuage its pain and nurse it back to health. In him the
"feeling" of "interest" has aroused the "force" of
The other man's interest is of an opposite
nature. He sees only a loathsome object, which offends his esthetic sense, and
he wishes to rid himself and the world of such a pest as quickly as possible; he
is in favor of killing the animal outright, and burying it. In him the
"feeling" of interest has generated the destructive "force":
Thus we see that all action or refrainment
from action (which is negative action) is due to the twin feelings: Interest,
which starts the twin forces of Attraction and Repulsion; and Indifference, that
simply cuts us off from the object or idea it is directed against. If our
interest in an object or idea generates repulsion, that, of course, also causes
us to endeavor to expurgate it from our lives, but, as shown by the
illustrations, there is a great difference in the action of the force of
repulsion and the feeling of indifference.
Thus we see that a dense body formed of the
inert substance of the Chemical Region, quickened and vitalized by the vital
body composed of the ethers of the Etheric Region, receives the incentive to
action from the desire body, an incentive which the animals follow absolutely,
but which in man is checked by another factor--reason, which sometimes causes
him to act contrary to desire. Were there no other realms in Nature but the
Physical World and the Desire World, That factor would be non-existent. We could
have mineral, plant, and animal, but man, a thinking, reasoning being, would be
an impossibility in Nature.
THE WORLD OF THOUGHT...
must be taken into consideration to account
for man. For from its substance the mind is formed to act as a brake upon the
impulses of the desire body, dictating action contrary to the urge of the twin
feelings because of wider viewpoint arrived at by reason.
The World of Thought also consists of seven
regions in which the matter is classified according to density and quality;
besides, it is divided into two main sections: "The Region of 'Concrete'
Thought" and "the Region of 'Abstract' Thought."
In the three lowest divisions of the Region
of Concrete Thought are the archetypes of everything we see in the Physical
World, as mineral, plant, animal, and man, of the continents, rivers and oceans;
and here the trained clairvoyant whose faculty enables him to reach these high
realms sees also the universal ocean of flowing life, in which all forms are
immersed, sees the same vital impulse moving from form to form in rhythmic
cycles, sustaining the form specialized by the Ego of man or the animal and
plant Group Spirit.
These archetypes are not merely models in
the sense we generally speak of models, as a thing in miniature, or in a finer
material; they are creative archetypes, molding all the visible FORMS, such as
we see in the world, in their own likeness, or rather likenesses, for often many
of the archetypes work together to form a certain species, each archetype giving
part of itself to build the required form. They are marshaled and directed by
"The Archetypal Forces" which are found in the fourth division. From
the substance of the four lower divisions our mind is formed, enabling man to
also form thoughts and make images which he may afterwards reproduce in iron,
stone, or wood, so that by means of the mind which he obtains from this world
man becomes a creator in the Physical World like the archetypal forces.
But what is that which directs the mind as
the Archetypal Forces guide the operations of the archetypes? It is the Ego, and
it gathers its clothing or garment from the three highest sections, which are
called the Region of Abstract Thought and Ideas.
Thus we see that man is a very complex
being, and a citizen of three worlds to which he is correlated by an unbroken
chain of five vehicles, thereby giving him a full waking consciousness which
enables him to see objects in space outside himself in clear and sharp contours.
The animal has no "individual"
Spirit yet, but has a so-called "Group Spirit," which informs all the
members of a species. The separate animals have three bodies--a dense, a vital,
and a desire body--but lack one link in the chain: Mind. Hence animals do not
ordinarily think, but as we "induce" electricity in a wire by bringing
it close to another which is charged, so in a similar way by contact with man a
semblance of thought has been "induced" in the higher domestic
animals, such as the dog, horse, and elephant. The other animals obey the
prompting (which we call instinct) of the animal Group Spirit. They do not see
objects in such clear outlines as does man; in the lower species the animal
consciousness resolves itself more and more into an internal
"picture-consciousness," resembling man's dream state, except that
their pictures are not confused, but convey perfectly to the animal the
promptings of the Group Spirit.
The plants have a dense body and a vital
body; hence they can neither feel nor think. They lack desire body and mind, and
therefore a greater gap exists between the plant and its Group Spirit than
between the animal and its Group Spirit; hence the consciousness of the plants
is correspondingly dimmer, resembling our state of dreamless sleep.
The mineral has only a dense body. It lacks
three links to connect it with its Group Spirit. It therefore is inert and its
unconsciousness resembles That of the dense human body in the "trance"
state when the human Spirit, the Ego, has passed correspondingly beyond it.
In conclusion, let us note that the three
worlds in which we live are not separated by space. They are all about us, as
light and color, imbedded in the physical matter; as lines of cleavage in the
mineral. If we let a dish of water freeze, and examine it under a microscope, we
shall see the ice crystals divided off from one another by lines. These were
present though unseen in the water as lines of force, invisible until the proper
condition brought them out. So one world lies imbedded in the next above, unseen
to us until we provide the proper conditions; but when we have fitted ourselves,
Nature, who is every ready to unfold to us her wonders, expresses ardent joy
over everyone who as a helper in evolution thus attains to citizenship in the