The Bow in the Cloud
by Max Heindel


    I have a few preliminary explanations to make, a few reasons why the subject of "The Bow in the Cloud" is taken up. I recently dictated the manuscript for a book which I since have been editing. In the course of the dictation, certain points came up, one of them being the life force that enters the body through the etheric counterpart of the spleen.

    Upon investigating, it was seen that this force manifests in different colors, and that in different kingdoms of life it works differently; therefore much was to be looked up before making the information public. A friend, after reading some of the manuscript, sent to his library in Seattle for a book published about forty years ago called Babbitts' Principles of Light and Color. I referred to this book and found it most interesting, written by a man who was clairvoyant. After spending an hour studying the book, I turned to investigation myself, with the result that a great deal of new light was shed upon the subject. It is a deep and profound subject, for the very life of God seems to be embodied in these colors.

    In tracing light and color back through the Memory of Nature, I came to a point where there was no light, as has been shown in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. Then I followed the different stages of planetary formation and continued on down to the point where the bow was seen in the cloud. The whole investigation made such a profound impression upon me as to fill me with devotion.

    It is stated in the Bible that "God is Light," and nothing can reveal to us the nature of God in the same degree as that symbol. If a clairvoyant went back into the far, dim past and looked upon this planet as it was then formed, he would see at first, as it were, a dark cloud, without form, coming out of chaos. Then he would see this cloud of virgin substance turned by the Creative Fiat into light -- its first visible manifestation a luminous fire mist. Then he would see a time when moisture gathered around that fire mist, and later, the period spoken of as the Moon Period. Still later he would observe the darker and more dense stage called the Earth Period.

    In the Lemurian Epoch of the Earth Period, crustation of the Earth began when the seething, boiling water was evaporated. We know that when we boil and reboil water, it incrusts the kettle; likewise, the boiling of the moisture on the outside of the fiery Earth ball formed the hard and crusty shell that constitutes the surface of the Earth.

    The Bible says, relative to the next epoch, that it did not rain upon the Earth, but that a mist went forth from the Earth. From the damp Earth at that time issued a mist that completely surrounded it. Then it was impossible for us to see the sunlight as we do now; the Sun had the appearance of a street light of the present time on a dark night; it had an aura around it. In that misty atmosphere, we dwelt in the early period of Atlantis. Later the atmosphere cooled more and more, and the moisture was condensed into water, finally driving the Atlanteans from their land by a flood such as is recorded in the various religions

    When that misty atmosphere enwrapped the Earth the rainbow was an impossibility. This phenomenon usually occurs when there is a clear atmosphere in some places and a cloud in others. At last, humanity saw the rainbow for the first time. When I looked upon that scene in the Memory of Nature, it was most wonderful. There were refugees who were driven from Atlantis, which is now partly under the Atlantic Ocean and also included parts of what are now known as Europe and America. These refugees were driven eastward till they came at last to a place where the land was high and where the atmosphere had partially cleared. There they saw the clear sky above. Suddenly there came up a cloud, and from that cloud came lightning. They heard the roll of thunder, and they who had escaped peril by water and had fled under the guidance of a leader whom they revered as God, turned to him to ask: "What have we come to now? Shall we be destroyed at last?" He pointed to the rainbow which stood in the cloud and said: "No, for so long as that bow stands in the cloud, so long shall the seasons come one after another in unbroken succession;" and the people with great admiration and relief looked upon that bow of promise.

    When we consider the bow as one of the manifestations of Deity, we may learn some wonderful lessons of devotion, for while we look upon the lightning with awe and hear the thunder with fear, the rainbow in the sky must always provoke in the human heart an admiration for the beauty of its sevenfold path of color. There is nothing to compare with that wonderful bow, and I wish to call your attention to a few physical facts concerning it.

    In the first place, the rainbow never appears at noon; it always appears after the Sun has passed downward and has traversed more than half the distance from the meridian to the horizon. The closer the Sun is to the horizon, the larger, clearer, and more beautiful it is. The bow never appears in a clear sky. It usually has for its background the dark and dreary cloud, and it is always seen when we turn our face from the Sun. We cannot look toward the Sun and at the same time see a rainbow. When we look upon the bow from below, it appears as a half-circle above the Earth and us. But the higher we get, the more of the circle we see, and in the mountains, when we reach a sufficient height above the rainbow, we see it as a sevenfold circle --sevenfold like the Deity of whom it is a manifestation.

    Now with these physical facts before us, let us go into the mystic interpretation of the subject. In ordinary life, when we are at the height of our physical activity, when prosperity is the greatest, when everything looks bright and clear to us, we do not need the manifestation of the divine light and life. We do not need that covenant, as it were, that God made with man upon his entry into the Aryan Epoch. We do not care about the higher life; our bark is sailing upon summer seas, and we care for nothing else; everything is so good to us here that there seems to be no reason why we should look beyond.

    But suddenly there comes the tempest, a time in every life when sorrow and trouble come upon us. The storm of disaster tears away from us every physical foundation, and we stand, perhaps, alone, in the world in sorrow. Then when we look away from the Sun of physical prosperity, when we look to the higher life, we always shall see upon the dark cloud of disaster the bow that stands as a covenant between God and man, showing that we are always able to contact the higher life. It may not be best for us then to do so, for we all need a certain material evolution, which is best accomplished when we do not contact too closely the higher life. But in order to evolve and progress and gradually seek a higher and higher state of spirituality, troubles and trials which will bring us into contact with the higher life must come to us in time. When we can look upon trials and tribulations as means to that end, sorrows become the greatest of our blessings. When we feel no hunger, what do we care about food? But when we feel the pangs of starvation and are seated before a meal, no matter how coarse the fare, we feel very thankful for it.

    If we sleep every night of our lives and sleep well, we do not appreciate what a blessing it is. But when we have been kept awake night after night and have craved sleep, then when it comes, with its corresponding rest, we realize its great value. When we are in health and feel no pain or disease, we are prone to forget that there ever was such a thing as pain. But after recovering from an illness or after we have suffered much, we realize what a great blessing health is.

    So, in the contrast between the rays of the Sun and the darkness of the cloud, we see in the latter the bow that beckons us on to a higher life. If we only will look up to that, we shall be much better off than if we continue in the paths of the lower life.

    Many of us are prone to worry about little things. This reminds me of a story of a little boy who had climbed a ladder. He had been looking up as he was climbing, and had gone so far up that a fall would have meant death. Then he stopped and looked down, instantly becoming dizzy. But someone above called to him and said: "Look up, little boy. Climb up here. I will help you." He looked up, and at once the dizziness and fear left him, and he climbed up until taken in at a window.

    Let us look up and endeavor to forget the little worries of life, for the bow of HOPE is always in the cloud. As we endeavor to live the higher life and climb the sublime heights toward GOD, the more we shall find the bow of peace becoming a circle and that there is peace here below as well as there above. It is our duty to accomplish the work we have to do in the world, and we should never shrink from that duty. Still, we also have a duty to the higher life.

    We should remember that we each have within a latent spiritual power that is greater than any worldly power, and as it is unfolding, we are responsible for its use. To increase that power, we should endeavor to devote part of our leisure time to the cultivation of the higher life, so that when the cloud of disaster comes upon us, we shall by the aid of that power find the bow within the cloud. As the bow is seen at the end of the storm, so also, when we have gained the power to see the bright rainbow in our cloud of disaster, the end of that disaster has come, and the bright side begins to appear. The greater the disaster, the greater the needed lesson. When on the path of wrong doing we sooner or later are kindly but firmly whipped into line by the realities of life, we are forced to recognize that the path of truth is upward and not downward -- and that God rules the world.

 


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