Filename: +quot;RC1002.TXT+quot; Source: +quot;Ancient and Modern Initiation+quot; by Max

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Filename: "RC1002.TXT" Source: "Ancient and Modern Initiation" by Max Heindel [PAGE 29] THE ARK OF THE COVENANT: It is noteworthy and fraught with great mystic significance that the aroma of VOLUNTARY SERVICE is represented as SWEET-SMELLING, FRAGRANT IN- CENSE, while the odor of sin, selfishness, and transgression of the law, represented by COMPULSORY SACRIFICE upon the Altar of service, is nauseat- ing; for it needs no great imagination to understand that the cloud of smoke which went up continually from the burning carcasses of the sacrificial animals created a nauseating stench to show the exceeding loathsomeness of it, while the perpetual incense offered upon the Altar before the second veil showed by antithesis the beauty and sublimity of selfless service, thus exhorting the Mystic Mason, as a CHILD OF LIGHT, to shun the one and cleave to the other. Let it be understood also that SERVICE does not consist in doing great things only. Some of the heroes, so-called were mean and small in their general lives, and rose only to the occasion upon one great and notable day. [PAGE 30] Martyrs have been put on the calendar of saints because they DIED for a cause; but it is a greater heroism, it is a greater martyrdom sometimes, to do the little things that no one notices and sacrifice self IN SIMPLE SER- VICE TO OTHERS. We have seen previously that the veil at the entrance to the outer court and the veil in front of th East Room of the Tabernacle were both made in four colors, blue, red, purple, and white. But THE SECOND VEIL, which di- vided the East Room of the Tabernacle from the West Room, differed with re- spect to make-up from the other two. It was wrought with the figures of Cherubim. We will not consider, however, the significance of this fact un- til we take up the subject of the NEW MOON AND INITIATION, but will now look into the second apartment of the Tabernacle, the western room, called the Most Holy or the Holy of Holies. Beyond the second veil, into this second apartment, no mortal might ever pass save the HIGH PRIEST, and he was only allowed to enter on one occasion in the whole year, namely, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and then only after the most solemn preparation and with the most reverential care. The Holiest of All was clothed with the solem- nity of another world; it was filled with an unearthly grandeur. The whole Tabernacle was the sanctuary of God, but here in this place was the awful abode of His presence, the special dwelling place of the SHEKINAH GLORY, and well might mortal man tremble to present himself within these sacred [PAGE 31] precincts, as the High Priest must do on the Day of Atonement. In the westernmost end of this apartment, the western end of the whole Tabernacle, rested the "ARK OF THE COVENANT." It was a hollow receptacle containing the GOLDEN POT OF MANNA, AARON'S ROD THAT BUDDED, AND THE TABLES OF THE LAW which were given to Moses. While this Ark of the Covenant re- mained in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, TWO STAVES WERE ALWAYS WITHIN THE FOUR RINGS OF THE ARK so that it could be picked up instantly and moved, but when the Ark as finally taken to Solomon's Temple, the staves were taken out. This is very important in its symbolical significance. Above the Ark hovered the Cherubim, and between them dwelt the uncreated glory of God. "Three," said He to Moses, "I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the Mercy Seat, from between the two Cherubim which are upon the Ark of the Testimony." The glory of the Lord seen above the Mercy Seat was in the appearance of a cloud. The Lord said to Moses, "Speak unto Aaron they brother that he come not at all time into the Holiest Place within the veil before the Mercy Seat which is upon the Ark, that he die not, for I will appear in the cloud upon the Mercy Seat." This manifestation of the divine presence was called among the Jews the SHEKINAH GLORY. Its appearance was attended no doubt with a wonderful spiritual glory of which it is impossible to form any proper conception. Out of this cloud the voice of God was heard with deep [PAGE 32] solemnity when He was consulted in behalf of the people. When the aspirant has qualified to enter into this place behind the sec- ond veil, he finds everything DARK to the physical eye, and it is necessary that he should have another light WITHIN. When he first came to the eastern Temple gate, he was "POOR, NAKED, AND BLIND," asking for LIGHT. He was then shown the dim light which appeared in the smoke above the Altar of sacri- fice, and told that in order to advance he must kindle within himself that flame by remorse for wrongdoing. Later on he was shown the more excellent light in the East Room of the Tabernacle, which proceeded from the Seven-branched Candlestick; in other words he was given the light of knowl- edge and of reason that by it he might advance further upon the path. But it was required that BY SERVICE he should evolve within himself and around himself another light, the golden "wedding garment," which is also THE CHRIST LIGHT OF THE SOUL BODY. By lives of service this glorious soul-substance gradually pervades his whole aura until it is ablaze with a golden light. Not until he has evolved this INNER illumination can he enter into the darkened precincts of the second Tabernacle, as the Most Holy place is sometimes called. "GOD IS LIGHT; if we walk in the light as He is in the Light, we have fellowship one with another." This is generally taken to indicate only the fellowship of the Saints, but as a matter of fact it applies also to the fellowship which we have with God. When the disciple enters the second Tab- ernacle, THE LIGHT WITHIN HIMSELF VIBRATES TO THE LIGHT OF THE SHEKINAH [PAGE 33] GLORY between the Cherubim, and he realizes the fellowship with his FATHER FIRE. As the Cherubim and the Father Fire which hover above th Ark represent the divine Hierarchies which overshadow mankind during his pilgrimage through the wilderness, so THE ARK WHICH IS FOUND THERE REPRESENTS MAN IN HIS HIGHEST DEVELOPMENT. Three were, as already said, three things within the Ark: the Golden Pot of Manna, the Budding Rod, and the Tables of the Law. When the aspirant stood at the eastern gate as a child of sin, THE LAW WAS WITHOUT AS A TASKMASTER to bring him to Christ. It exacted with unre- lenting severity an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Every trans- gression brought a just recompense, and man was circumscribed on every hand by laws commanding him to do certain things and refrain from doing others. But when THROUGH SACRIFICE AND SERVICE he has finally arrived at the stage of evolution represented by the Ark in the western room of the Tabernacle, the TABLES OF THE LAW ARE WITHIN. He has then become emancipated from all outside interference with his actions; not that he would break any laws, but because HE WORKS WITH THEM. Just as we have learned to respect the property right of others and have therefore become emancipated from the commandment. "Thou shalt not steal," so he who keeps all laws because he wants to do so has on that account no longer need of an exterior taskmaster, but gladly renders obedience in all things because HE IS A SERVANT OF THE LAW AND WORKS WITH IT, FROM CHOICE AND NOT THROUGH NECESSITY. [PAGE 34] THE GOLDEN POT OF MANNA: Manas, mensch, mens, or man is readily associated with the MANNA that came down from heaven. it is the HUMAN SPIRIT that descended from our Fa- ther above for a pilgrimage through matter, and the Golden Pot wherein it was kept symbolizes the golden aura of the soul body. Although the Bible story is not in strict accordance with the events, it gives the main facts of the mystic manna which fell from heaven. When we want to learn what is the nature of this so-called BREAD, we may turn to the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, which relates how Christ fed the multi- tudes with LOAVES AND FISHES, symbolizing the mystic doctrine of the 2000 years which He was then ushering in, for during that time the sun BY PRECES- SION OF THE EQUINOX has been passing through the sign of the fishes, Pisces, and the people have been taught to abstain at least one day during the week (Friday) and at a certain time of the year from the fleshpots which belonged to Egypt or ancient Atlantis. They have been given the Piscean water at the temple door, and the Virginian Wafers at the communion table before the al- tar when they worshiped the Immaculate Virgin, representing the celestial sign Virgo (which is opposite the sign Pisces), and entered communion with the sun begotten by her. Christ also explained at that time in mystic but unmistakable language what that LIVING BREAD, or manna, was, namely, the Ego. This explanation will be found in verses thirty-three and thirty-five, where we read: "For [PAGE 35] the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven and giveth light unto the world--I am (EGO SUM) THE BREAD OF LIFE." This, then, is the symbol of the golden pot of manna which was found in the Ark. This manna is the Ego or human spirit, which gives life to the organisms that we behold in the physical world. It is hidden within the Ark of each human being, and the Golden pot or soul body or "wedding garment" is also latent within every one. It is made more massive, lustrous, and resplendent by the spiritual alchemy whereby service is transmuted to soul growth. It is THE HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS, eternal in the heavens, wherewith Paul longed to be clothed, as said in the Epistle to the Corinthians. Every one who is striv- ing to aid his fellow men thereby garners within himself that golden trea- sure, laid up in heaven, where neither moth nor rust can destroy it. AARON'S ROD: An ancient legend relates that when Adam was expelled from the Garden of Eden, he took with him three slips of the TREE OF LIFE, which were then planted by Seth. Seth, the second son of Adam, is, according to the Masonic legend, father of the spiritual hierarchy of CHURCHMEN working with humanity through Catholicism, while the sons of Cain are the CRAFTSMEN of the world. The latter are active in Freemasonry, promoting material and industrial progress, as builders of the temple of Solomon, the universe, should be. [PAGE 36] The three sprouts planted by Seth have had important missions in the spiritual development of humanity, and one of them is said to be the Rod of Aaron. In the beginning of concrete existence generation was carried on under the wise guidance of the angels, who saw to it that the creative act was ac- complished at times when the interplanetary rays of force were propitious; and man was also forbidden to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. The nature of that tree is readily determined from such sentences as "Adam KNEW his wife, and she bore Cain"; "Adam KNEW his wife, and she bore Seth'; "how shall I bear a child seeing that I KNOW not a man?" as said by Mary to the angel Gabriel. In the light of this interpretation the STATEMENT of the Angel (it was not a curse) when he discovered that his precepts had been disobeyed, namely, "dying thou shalt die," is also intelligible, for the bodies gener- ated regardless of cosmic influences could not be expected to persist. Hence man was exiled from the etheric realms of spiritual force (Eden), where grows the tree of vital power; exiled to concrete existence in the dense physical bodies which he has made for himself by generation. This was surely a blessing, for who has a body sufficiently good and perfect in his own estimation that he would like to live in it forever? Death, then, is a boon to the spiritual realms for a season, and build better vehicles each time we return to earth life. As Oliver Wendell Holmes says: [PAGE 37] "Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul! As the swift seasons roll. Leave thy low-vaulted past, Let each new temple, nobler than the last, Shut tree from Heaven with a dome more vast, Till thou at length art free, Leaving thine outgrown shell By life's unresting sea." In the course of time when we learn to shun the pride of life and the lust of the flesh, generation will cease to sap our vitality. The vital en- ergy will then be used for regeneration, and the spiritual powers, symbol- ized by Aaron's Rod, will be developed. The wand of the magician, the holy spear of parsifal the Grail king, and the budding Rod of Aaron are emblems of this divine creative force, which works wonders of such a nature that we call them miracles. But let it be clearly understood that no one who has evolved to the point in evolution where he is symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant in the West Room of the Tabernacle ever uses this power for selfish ends. When Parsifal, the hero of the soul myth by that name, had witnessed the temptation of Kundry and proved himself to be emancipated from the greatest sin of all, the sin of lust and unchastity, he recovered the sacred spear taken by the black magi- cian, Klingsor, from the fallen and unchaste rail king, Amfortas. Then for many years he traveled in the world, seeking again the Castle of the Grail, and he said: "Often was I sorely beset by enemies and tempted to use the [PAGE 38] spear in self-defense, but I knew that THE SACRED SPEAR MUST NEVER BE USED TO HURT, ONLY TO HEAL." An that is the attitude of everyone who develops within him the budding Rod of Aaron. Though he may turn this spiritual faculty to good account in order to provide bread for a multitude, he would never think of turning a single stone to bread FOR HIMSELF that his hunger might be appeased. Though he were nailed to the cross to die, he would not free himself by spiritual power which he had readily exercised to save others from the grave. Though he were reviled every day of his life as a fraud or charlatan, he would never misuse his spiritual power to show a sign whereby the world might know without the shadow of a doubt that he was regenerate or heaven-born. This was the attitude of Christ Jesus, and its has been and is imitated by every- one who is a Christ-in-the-making. [PAGE 39] THE SACRED SHEKINAH GLORY: The Western Room of the Tabernacle was as dark as the heavens are at the time when the lesser light, the moon, is in the western portion of sky at eventide with the sun; that is to say, at the new moon, which begins a new cycle in a new sign of the zodiac. In the westernmost part of this darkened sanctuary stood the Ark of the Covenant, with the Cherubim hovering above, and also the fiery Shekinah Glory, out of which the Father of Light communed with His worshipers, but which to the physical vision was invisible and therefore dark. We do not usually realize that the whole world is afire, that fire is in the water, that it burns continually in plant, animal, and man; yes, there is nothing in the work that is not ensouled by fire. The reason why we do not perceive this more clearly is that we cannot dissociate fire and flame. But as a matter of fact, FIRE bears the same relation to FLAME as SPIRIT to [PAGE 40] the BODY; it is the unseen but potent power of manifestation. In other words, the true fire is dark, invisible to the physical sight. IT IS ONLY CLOTHED IN FLAME WHEN CONSUMING PHYSICAL MATTER. Consider, for illustra- tion, how fire leaps out of the flint when struck, and how a gas flame has the darkened core beneath the light-giving portion; also how a wire may carry electricity and be perfectly cold, yet it will emit a flame under cer- tain conditions. At this point it may be expedient to mark the difference between the Tab- ernacle in the Wilderness, Solomon's Temple, and the later Temple built by Herod. There is a very vital difference. Both the MIRACULOUSLY ENKINDLED FIRE on the Brazen Altar in the eastern part of the Tabernacle and the in- visible SHEKINAH GLORY in the distant western part of the sanctuary were also present in Solomon's Temple. These were thus sanctuaries in a sense not equaled by the Temple built by Herod. The latter was, nevertheless, in a sense the most glorious of the three, for IT WAS GRACED BY THE BODILY PRESENCE OF OUR LORD, CHRIST JESUS, IN WHOM DWELT THE GODHEAD. Christ made the first selfsacrifice, thereby abrogating the sacrifice of animals, and finally at the consummation of His work in the visible world RENT THE VEIL and opened a way into the Holy of Holies, not only for the favored few, the priests and Levites, but that WHOSOEVER WILL may come and serve the Deity whom we know as our Father. Having fulfilled the law and the prophets Christ has done away with the OUTWARD sanctuary, and from henceforth the Al- tar of Burnt Offerings must be set up WITHIN the heart to atone for wrong- [PAGE 41] doing; the Golden Candlestick must be lighted WITHIN the heart to guide us upon our way, as the Christ WITHIN, the Shekinah Glory of the Father, must dwell WITHIN the sacred precincts of our own God Consciousness. THE SHADOW OF THE CROSS: Paul in his letter to the Hebrews gives a description of the Tabernacle and much information about the customs used there which it would benefit the student to know. Among other things note that he calls the Tabernacle "a shadow of good things to come." There is in this ancient Mystery Temple a promise given which has not yet been fulfilled, a promise that holds good today just as well as upon the day it was given. If we visualize in our mind the arrangement of things inside the Tabernacle, we shall readily see the shadow of the Cross. Commencing at the eastern gate there was the ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERINGS; a little farther along the path to the Tabernacle itself we find the LAVER OF CONSECRATION, the Molten Sea, in which the priests washed. Then upon entering the East Room of the Temple we find an article of furniture, THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK, at the EXTREME LEFT, and the TABLE OF SHEWBREAD at the EXTREME RIGHT, the two forming a cross with the path we have been pursuing toward and within the Tabernacle. In the center in front of the second veil we find the ALTAR OF INCENSE, which forms the center of the cross, while the Ark placed in the westernmost part of the West Room, the Holy of Holies, gives the short or upper limb of the cross. In this [PAGE 42] manner the symbol of spiritual unfoldment which is our particular ideal today was shadowed forth in the ancient Mystery Temple, and that consumma- tion which is attained at the end of the cross, the achievement of getting the law WITHIN as it was within the Ark itself, is the one that we must all concern ourselves with at the present time. The light that shines over the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies at the head of the cross, at the end of the path in this world, is a light or reflection from the invisible world into which the candidate seeks to enter when all the world has grown dark and black about him. Only when we have attained to that stage where we perceive the spiritual light that beckons us on, the light that floats over the Ark, only when we stand in the shadow of the cross, can we really know the mean- ing, the object, and the goal of life. At present we may take the opportunities which are offered and perform service more or less efficiently, but it is only when we have by that ser- vice evolved the spiritual light WITHIN ourselves, which is the SOUL BODY, and when we have thus gained admission to the West Room, called the Hall of Liberation, that we can really perceive and understand why we are in the world, and what we need in order to make ourselves properly useful. We may not remain, however, when access has been gained. The High Priest was only allowed to enter ONCE A YEAR; there was a very long interval of time between these glimpses of the real purpose of existence. In the times between it was necessary for the High Priest to go out and function among his brethren, [PAGE 43] humanity, and serve them to the very best of his ability, also to sin, because he was not yet perfect, and then reenter the Holy of Holies after having made proper amends for his sins. Similar it is with ourselves at this day. We at times attain glimpses of the things that are in store for us and the things we must do to follow Christ to that place where He went. You remember that He said to His dis- ciples: Ye cannot follow me now, but ye shall follow me later. And so it is with us. We have to look again and again into the darkened temple, the Holy of Holies, before we are really fit to stay there; before we are really fitted to take the last step and leap to the summit of the cross, THE PLACE OF THE SKULL, that point in our heads where the spirit takes its departure when it finally leaves the body, or off and on as an Invisible Helper. That Golgotha is the ultimate of human attainment, and we must be prepared to en- ter the darkened roon many times begore we are fitted for the final climax. THE FULL MOON AS A FACTOR IN SOUL GROWTH: Let us now consider the Path of Initiation as symbolically shown in the ancient Temples with the Ark, Fire, and Shekinah, and in the later Temples where Christ taught. Note first that when man was expelled from the Garden of Eden because he had eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, Cherubim guarded the entrance with a flaming sword. Passages like the following, "Adam KNEW Eve, and she bore Abel"; "Adam KNEW Eve, and she bore Seth"; "Elkanah KNEW [PAGE 44] Hannah, and she bore Samuel"; also Mary's question to the angel Gabriel, "How shall I conceive seeing that I KNOW not a man?" all show plainly that indulgence of the passions in the creative act was meant by the phrase, "eating the Tree of Knowledge." When the creative act was performed under inauspicious planetary rays it was a sin committed against the laws of na- ture, which brought pain and death into the world, estranged us from our primal guardians, and forced us to roam the wilderness of the world for ages. At the gate of the mystic Temple of Solomon we find the Cherubim, but the fiery sword is not longer in their hand; instead they hold a FLOWER, a sym- bol full of mystic meaning. Let us compare man with a flower that we may know the great import and significance of this emblem. Man takes his good by way of the head, whence it goes downward. The plant takes nourishment through the root and forces it upward. Man is passionate in love, and he turns the generative organ toward the earth and hides it in shame because of this taint of passion. The plant knows no passion, fertilization is accom- plished in the most pure and chaste manner imaginable, therefore it projects its generative organ, the flower, TOWARD THE SUN, a thing of beauty which delights all who behold it. Passionate fallen man exhales THE DEADLY CARBON DIOXINE; the chaste flower inhales this poison, transmutes it, and gives it back pure, sweet, and scented, a fragrant elixir of life. This was the mystery of the Grail Cup; this is the emblematic sig- nificance of the Cup of Communion, which is called "KELCH" in German "Calix" [PAGE 45] in Latin, both names signifying the seed pod of the flower. The Communion Cup with its mystic blood cleansed from the passion incident to generation brings to him who truly drinks thereof eternal life, and thus it becomes the vehicle of regeneration, of the mystic birth into a higher sphere, a "for- eign country," where he who has served his apprenticeship in Temple building and has mastered the "art and crafts" of this world may learn higher things. The symbol of the Cherubim with the open flower placed upon the door of Solomon's Temple delivers the message to the aspirant that PURITY IS THE KEY by which alone he can hope to unlock the gate to God; or as Christ expressed it, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." The flesh must be consumed on the Altar of self-sacrifice, and the sold must be washed in the Laver of Consecration to the higher life where it may approach the Temple door. When "naked," "poor," and "blinded" by tears of contrition it gropes in darkness, seeking the Temple door, it shall find entrance to the Hall of Service, the East Room of the Tabernacle, which is ablaze with light from the Seven-branched Candlestick, emblematic of the luminosity of the full moon, the moon changing in cycles of seven days. In this Hall of Ser- vice the aspirant is taught to weave the luminour vesture of flame which Paul called "some psuchicon," or soul body (1st Cor., 15:44), from the aroma of the shewbread. When we speak of the soul body we mean exactly what we say, and this ve- hicle is in nowise to be confused with the soul that permeates it. [PAGE 46] The Invisible Helper who uses it on soul flights knows it to be as real and tangible as the dense body of flesh blood. But within that golden "wedding garment" there is an INTANGIBLE SOMETHING cognized by the spirit of intro- spection. It is unnameable and indescribable; it evades the most persistent efforts to fathom it, yet it is there just as certainly as the vehicle which it fills-yes, and more so. It is not life, love, beauty, wisdom, nor can any other human concept convey an idea of what it is, for it is the sum of all human faculties, attributes, and concepts of good, immeasurably intensi- fied. If everything else were taken from us, that prime reality would still remain, and we should be rich in its possession, for through it we feel the drawing power of our Father in Heaven, that inner urge which all aspirants know so well. To this inner something Christ referred when He said: No man cometh to me except my Father draw him. Just as the true fire is hidden in the flame that encloses it, so that unnameable, intangible something hides in the sould body and burns up the frankincense extracted from the shrewbread; thus it lights the fire which makes the soul body luminous. And the AROMA OF LOVING SERVICE to others penetrates the veil as a sweet savor to God, who dwells in the Shekinah Glory similar created above the Ark in the innermost sanctuary, the Holy of Holies. [PAGE 47] THE NEW MOON AND INITIATION: When the candidate entered at the eastern gate of the Temple looking for light, he was confronted by the fire on he Altar of Burnt Offerings, which emitted a dim light enveloped in clouds of smoke. He was then in the spiritually darkened condition of the ordinary man; he lacked the light within and therefore it was necessary to give him the light without. But when he has arrived at the point when he is ready to have evolved the lumi- nous soul body in the service of humanity. Then he is thought to have the light within himself, "the light that lighteth every man." Unless he has that, he cannot enter the dark room of the Temple. What takes place secretly in the Temple is shown openly in the heavens. As the moon gathers light from the sun during her passage from the new to the full, so the man who treads the path of holiness by use of his golden [PAGE 48] opportunities in the East Room of selfless service gathers the materials wherewith to make his luminous "wedding garment," and that material is best amalgamated on the night of the full moon. But conversely, as the moon gradually dissipates the accumulated light and draws nearer the sun in order to make a fresh start upon a new cycle at the time of the new moon, so also according to the law of analogy those who have gathered their treasures and laid them up in heaven by service are at a certain time of the month closer to their Source and their Maker, their Father Fire in the higher spheres, than at any other time. As the great saviors of mankind are born at the winter solstice on the longest and darkest night of the year, so also the process of Initiation which brings to birth in the invisible world one of the lesser saviors, THE INVISIBLE HELPER, is most easily accomplished on the longest and darkest night of the month, that is to say, on the night of the new moon when the lunar orb is in the westernmost part of the heavens. All occult development begins with the vital body, and the keynote of that vehicle is "repetition." To get the best out of any subject repetition is necessary. In order to understand the final consummation to which all this has been leading up, let us take a final look from another angle at the three kinds of fire within the Temple. Near the eastern gate was the Altar of Burnt Offering. On that altar smoke was continually generated by the bodies of the sacrifices, and the pillar of smoke was seen far and wide by the multitude who were instructed [PAGE 49] in the inner mysteries of life. The flame, the light, hidden in this cloud of smoke was at best but dimly perceived. This showed that the great major- ity of mankind are taught principally by the immutable laws of nature, which exact from them a sacrifice whether they know it or not. As the flame of purification was then fed by the more coarsely constructed and baser bodies of animal sacrifices, exacted under the Mosaic law, so also today the baser and more passionate mass of humanity is being brought into subjection by fear of punishment by the law in the present world-more than by apprehension of what my follow in the world to come. A light of a different nature shone in the East Room of the Tabernacle. Instead of drawing its nourishment from the sinful and passionate flesh of the animal sacrifices, it was fed by olive oil procured from the chaste plant kingdom; and its flame was not shrouded in smoke, but was clear and distinct, so that it might illuminate the room and guide the priests, who were the servants of the Temple, in their ministrations. The priests were endeavoring to work in harmony with the divine plan, therefore they saw the light more clearly that the uninstructed and careless multitude. Today also the mystic light shines for all who are endeavoring to really serve at the shrine of self-sacrifice-particularly for the pledged pupils of a Mystery School such as the Rosicrucian Order. They are waling in a light not seen by the multitude, and if they are really serving, they have th true guidance of the Elder Brothers of humanity, who are always ready to help them at the [PAGE 50] difficult points on the Path. But the most sacred fire of all was the Shekinah Glory in the West Room of the Tabernacle above the Mercy Seat. As this West Room was dark, we un- derstand that it was an invisible fire, a light from another world. Now mark this, the fire that was shrouded in smoke and flame upon the Al- tar of Burnt Offerings, consuming the sacrifices brought there in expiation of sins committed under the law, was the symbol of JEHOVAH THE LAWGIVER; and we remember that the law was given to brings us to Christ. The clear and beautiful light which shone in the Hall of Service, the East Room of the Tabernacle, is the golden-hued Christ light, which guides those who endeavor to follow in His steps upon the path of self-forgetting service. As the Christ said, "I go to my Father," when He was about to be cruci- fied, so also the Servant of the Cross who has made the most of his opportu- nities in the visible world is allowed to enter the glory of his Father Fire, the invisible Shekinah Glory. He ceases then to see through the dark glass of the body, and beholds his Father face to face in the invisible realms of nature. The church steeple is very broad at the bottom, but gradually it narrows more and more until at the top it is just a point with the cross above it. So it is with the path of holiness; at the beginning there are many things which we may permit ourselves, but as we advance, one after another of these digressions must be done away with, and we must devote ourselves more and [PAGE 51] more exclusively to the service of holiness. At last there comes a point where this path is as sharp as the razor's edge, and we can then only grasp at the cross. But when we have attained that point, when we can climb this narrowest of all paths, then we are fitted to follow Christ into the beyond and serve there as we have served here. Thus this ancient symbol shadowed forth the trial and triumph of the faithful servant, and thought it has been superseded by other and greater symbols holding forth a higher ideal and a greater promise, the basic prin- ciples embodies in it are as valid today as ever. In the Altar of Burnt Offerings we see clearly the nauseating nature of sin and the necessity of expiation and justification. By the Molten Sea we are still taught that we must live the stainless life that of holiness and consecration. From the East Room we learn today how to make diligent use of our oppor- tunities to grow the golden grain of selfless service and make that "living bread" which feeds the soul, the Christ within. And when we have ascended the steps of Justification, Consecration, and Self-Abnegation, we reach the West Room, which is the threshold of Lib- eration. Over it we are conducted into greater realms, where greater soul unfoldment may be accomplished. But through this ancient Temple stands no longer upon the plains where the wandering hosts pitched their camps in the hoary past, it may be made a much more potent factor for soul growth by any aspirant of today that it was by the ancient Israelites provided he will build it according to pattern. [PAGE 52] Nor need the lack of gold wherewith to build distress anyone, for now the true tabernacle must be built in heaven-and "HEAVEN IS WITH YOU." To build well and true, according to the rules of the ancient craft of Mystic Ma- sonry, the aspirant must learn first to build within himself the altar with its sacrifices, then he must watch and pray while patiently waiting for the divine fire to consume offering. Then he must bathe himself with tears of contrition till he has washed away the stains of sin. Meanwhile he must keep the lamp of divine guidance filled that he may perceive how, when, and where to serve; he must work hard to have abundance of "bread of shew," and the incense of aspiration and prayer must be ever in his heart and on his lips. Then YOM KIPPUR, the Great Day of At-one-ment, will surely find him ready to go to his Father, and learn how better to help his younger brothers to ascent the Path. [PAGE 53] THE ANNUNCIATION AND IMMACULATE CONCEPTION: Much is said in certain classes of the Western World about Initiation. This in the minds of most people seems usually to be associated with the oc- cultism taught in the religions of the far East; something that is peculiar to the devotees of Buddhism, Hinduism, and kindred systems of faith, and which in nowise appertains to the religion of the Western World, par- ticularly to the Christian religion. We have shown in the preceding series on "Symbols and Ancient and Modern Initiation: that this idea is entirely gratuitous, and that the ancient Tab- ernacle in the Wilderness pictures in its symbolism the path of progression from childlike ignorance to superhuman knowledge. As the VEDAS brought light to the devotees who worshiped in faith and fervor on the banks of the Ganges in the sunny South, so the Eddas were a guiding star to the sons of the rugged Northland, who sought the Light of life in ancient Iceland where the sturdy Vikings steered their ships in frozen seas. "Arjuna," who [PAGE 54] fights the noble fight in the "Mahabharata," or "Great War," con- stantly being waged between the higher and the lower self, difference in nowise from the hero of the northern soul myth, "Siegfried," which means, "He who through victory gains peace." Both are representative of the candidate undergoing Initiation. And though their experiences in this great adventure vary in certain respects called for by the temperamental differences of the northern and southern peoples, and provided for in the respective schools to which they are re- ferred for soul growth, the main features are identical, and the end, which is enlightenment, is the same. Aspiring souls have walked to the Light in the brilliantly illuminated Persian temples where the sun god in his blazing chariot was the symbol of Light, as well as under the mystic magnificence of the iridescence shed abroad by the aurora borealis of the frozen North. That the true Light of the deepest esoteric knowledge has always been present in all ages, even the darkest of the so-called dark, there is ample evidence to show. Raphael used his wonderful skill with the brush to embody it in two of his great paintings, "The Sistine Madonna" and the "Marriage of the Virgin," which we would advise the interested reader to examine for himself. Copies of these paintings are procurable in almost any art store. In the original there is a peculiar tint of golden haze behind the Madonna and Child, which [PAGE 55] though exceedingly crude to one gifted with spiritual sight, is nevertheless as close an imitation of the basic color of the first-heaven world as it is possible to make with the pigments of earth. Close inspection of this back- ground will reveal the fact that it is composed of a multitude of what we are used to call "angel" heads and wings. This again is as literal a pictorial representation of facts concerning the inhabitants of that world as could be given, for during the process of purgation which takes place in the lower regions of the Desire World the lower parts of the body are actually disintegrated so that only the head, containing the intelligence of the man, remains when he enters the first heaven, a fact which has puzzled many who have happened to see the souls there. The wings of course have no reality outside the picture, but were placed there to show ability to move swiftly, which is inherent in all be- ings in the invisible worlds. The People is represented as pointing to the Madonna and the Christ Child, and a close examination of the hand wherewith he points will show that it has six fingers. There is not historical evidence to show that the Pontiff actually had such a deformity, neither can that fact be an accident; the six fingers in the painting must therefore have been due to design on the part of the painter. What its purpose was we shall learn by examination of the "Marriage of the Virgin," where a similar anomaly may be noted. In that picture Mary and Joseph are represented together with he Christ Child under such condi- [PAGE 56] tions that it is evident that they are just on the eve of departure for Egypt, and a Rabbi is in the act of joining them in wedlock. The left foot of Joseph is the foremost object in the picture, and if we count we shall find it represented as having six toes. By the six fingers in the Pope's picture and the six toes of Joseph, Raphael wants to show us that both pos- sessed a sixth sense such as is awakened by Initiation. By this subtle sense the foot of Joseph was guided in its flight to keep secure that sacred things which had been entrusted to his care. To the other was given a sixth sense that he might not be a blind leader of the blind but might have the "seeing eye" required to point out the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And it is a fact, though not commonly known, that with one or two exceptions when political power was strong enough to corrupt the College of Cardinals, all who have sat upon the so-called throne of Peter have had the spiritual sight in a greater or lesser degree. We have seen in the articles on "Symbols of Ancient and Modern Ini- tiation," which preceded the present article, that the Atlantean Mystery Temple known as the Tabernacle in the Wilderness was a school of soul growth; and it should not surprise us to learn that the four Gospels con- taining the life of Christ are also formulae of Initiation, revealing an- other and a later Path to power. In the ancient Egyptian Mysteries, Horus was the first fruit whom the aspirant endeavored to imitate, and it is sig- nificant that in the Ritual of Initiation which was in vogue in that day and [PAGE 57] which we now call the "Book of the Dead," the aspirant to Initiation was al- ways addressed Horus so-and-so. Following the same method today we might appropriately address those following the Christian Path of Initiation as Christ so-and-so, for as a matter of fact all who tread this Path are really Christs-in-the-making. Each in his or her turn will reach the different stations of the Via Dolorosa, or Path of Sorrow, which leads to Calvary, and experience in his or her own body the pangs and pains suffered by the Hero of the Gospels. Initiation is a cosmic process of enlightenement and evolu- tion of power; therefore the experiences of all are similar in the main fea- tures. The Christian Mystic form of Initiation differs radically from the Rosicrucian method, which aims to bring the candidate to compassion through knowledge, and therefore seeks to cultivate in him the latent faculties of spiritual sight and hearing at the very start of his career as an aspirant to the higher life. it teaches him to know the hidden mysteries of being and to perceive intellectually the unity of each with all, so that at last through this knowledge there is awakened within him the feeling that makes him truly realize his oneness with all that lives and moves, which puts him in full and perfect tune with the Infinite, making him a true helper and worker in the divine kingdom of evolution. The goal attained through the Christian Mystic Initiation is the same, but the method, as said, is entirely different. In the first place, the [PAGE 58] candidate is usually unconscious of trying to attain any definite object, at least during the first stages of his endeavors, and there is in this noble School of Initiation but no Teacher, the Christ, who is ever before the spiritual vision of the candidate as the Ideal and the Goal of all his striving. The Western world, alas! has become so enmeshed in intellectual- ity that its aspirants can only enter the Path when their reason has been satisfied; and unfortunately it is a desire for more knowledge which brings most of the pupils to the Rosicrucian School. It is an arduous task to cultivate the compassion which must blend with their knowledge and be the guiding factor in the use of it before they are fitted to enter the Kingdom of Christ. But those who are drawn to the Christian Mystic Path feel no difficulty of that nature. They have within themselves an all-embracing love, which urges them onward and eventually generates in them a knowledge which the writer believes to be far superior to that attained by any other method. One who follows the intellectual Path of development is apt to sneer superciliously at another whose temperament impels him along the Mystic Path. Such an attitude of mind is not only detrimental to the spiritual development of whoever entertains it, but it is entirely gratu- itous, as the works of Jacob Boehme, Thomas a Kempis, and many other who have followed the Mystic Path will show. The more knowledge we possess the greater condemnation also shall we merit if we do not use it right. But love, which is the basic principle in the Christian Mystic's life, can never [PAGE 59] bring us into condemnation or conflict with the purposes of God. It is infinitely better to be able to FEEL any noble emotion that to have the keenest intellect and one which is able to define all emotions. Hairsplit- ting over the constitution and evolution of the atom surely will not promote soul growth as much as humble helpfulness toward our neighbor. There are nine definite steps in the Christian Mystic Initiation, com- mencing with the Baptism, which is dedicatory. The Annunciation and Im- maculate Conception precede as matters of course for reasons given later. Having prepared our minds by the foregoing consideration, we are now ready to consider each stage separately in this glorious process of spiritual unfoldment. The Christian Mystic is emphatically not the product of one life, but the flower of many preparatory existences, during which he has cultivated that sublime compassion which makes him feel the whole world's woe, and conjures up before his spiritual vision the Christ Ideal as the true balm of Gilead, its practice the only palladium against all human grief and sorrow. Such a soul is watched over special care by the divine Hierarchies who have charge of our progression along the path of evolution, and when the time is ripe for him to enter that life in which he is to run the final race to reach the goal and become a Savior of his kind, angels are indeed watching, waiting, [PAGE 60] and singing hosannas in joyful anticipation of the great event. Like always seeks like, and and naturally the parents are carefully se- lected for (and by such a noble soul from among the "sons and daughters of the King." They may be in the poorest circumstances from a worldly point of view; it may be necessary to cradle the babe in a manger, but no richer gift ever came to parents that such a noble soul. Among the qualifications nec- essary to be the parents of such an Ego is that the mother be a "virgin" and the father a "builder." It is stated in the Bible that Joseph was a CARPENTER, but the Greek word is "tekton" which means "builder." In Mystic Masonry God is called the Grant Architech. ARCHE is the Greek word signifying primordial substance, and a tekton is a builder. Thus God is the Great Master Builder, who out of primordial substance fashioned the world as an evolutionary field for various grades of beings. He uses in His universe many tektons, or build- ers, of various grades. Everyone who follows the Path of spiritual attain- ment, endeavoring to work constructively with the laws of nature as a ser- vant of humanity, is a TEKTON or builder in the sense that he has the qualifications necessary to aid in giving birth to a great soul. Thus when it is said that Jesus was a carpenter and the son of a carpenter, we under- stand that they were both TEKTONS or builders along cosmic lines. The Immaculate Conception, like all other sublime mysteries, has been dragged down into the gutter of materiality, and being so sublimely [PAGE 61] spiritual it has perhaps suffered more by this rude treatment than any other of the spiritual teachings. Perhaps it has suffered even more from the clumsy explanation of ignorant supporters that from the jeers and sneers of the cynic. The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, as popularly under- stood, is that about two thousand years ago God in a miraculous manner fer- tilized a certain Mary who was a virgin, as as the result she gave birth to Jesus, an individual who is consequence was the Son of God in a sense dif- ferent from all other men. There is also in the popular mind the idea that this incident is unique in the history of the world. It is particularly the latter fallacy which has served to distort the beautiful spiritual truth concerning the Immaculate Conception. It is not unique in any sense. Every great soul who has been born into the world to live a life of sublime saintliness, such as required for the Christian Mys- tic Initiation, has also found entrance through of immaculate virginity who were not besmirched by passion in the performance of the generative act. Men do not gather grapes of thorns. It is an axiomatic truth that like begets like, and before anyone can become a Savior, he must himself be pure and sinless. He, being pure cannot take birth from one who is vile; HE MUST BE BORN OF VIRGIN PARENTS. But the virginity to which we refer does not comprehend a merely physical condition. There is not inherent virtue in physical virginity, for all pos- sess it at the beginning of life no matter how vile their disposition may [PAGE 62] be. The virginity of the mother of a Savior is a quality of the soul, which remains unsullied regardless of the physical act of fertilization. When people perform the first creative act without desire for offspring, merely for gratification of their animal lusts and propensities, they lose the only (physical) virginity they ever possessed; but when prospective parents unite in a spirit of prayer, offering their bodies upon the altar of sacrifice in order to provide an incoming soul with the physical body needed at the present time to further spiritual development, their purity of purpose pre- serves their virginity and draws a noble soul to their hearth and home. Whether a child is conceived in sin or immaculately depends upon its own in- herent soul quality, for that will unerringly draw it to parents of a nature like unto its own. To become the son of a virgin predicates a past career of spirituality for the one who is so born. The "mystic birth" of a "builder" is a cosmic event of great importance, and it is therefore not surprising that it is pictured in the skies from year to year, showing a graphic symbolism in the great world or macrocosm what will eventually take place in man, the little world or microcosm. We are all destined to experience the things that Jesus experienced, including the Immaculate Conception, which is a prerequisite to the life of saints and saviors of varying degrees. By understanding this great cosmic symbol we shall more easily understand its application to the individual human being. [PAGE 63] The sun is "THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD" in a material sense. When in winter time it reaches the extreme southern declination at the solstice on December 23rd, the people in the northern hemisphere, where all the present religions have had their birth, are plunged into the deepest darkness and bereft of the all-sustaining vital power emanating from the sun, which is them partly dead so far as its influence upon men in concerned. It is therefore neces- sary that a new light shine in the darkness, that a SUN OF GOOD be born to same humanity from the cold and famine which must inevitably result if the sun were to remain in the southern position which he occupies at the winter solstice. On the night between the 24th and 25th of December, the sun having com- menced to slowly rise toward the earth's equator, the zodiacal sign of Virgo, the immaculate celestial Virgin, is on the eastern horizon in all northern latitudes (in the hours immediately preceding midnight). In the science of astrology it is the sign and degree on the eastern horizon at the time of birth which determine the form or body of the creature then born. Therefore the Sun of Good is said to have been born of Virgo, the sublime celestial Virgin, who remains as pure after giving birth to her Sun Child as she was before. By analogy the Son of God who comes to save his fellow men must also be born of an immaculate spiritual virgin. From what has been said it is evident that a great period of preparation precedes the entrance of a Christian Mystic into the present sphere of human [PAGE 64] life, though he in his physical consciousness is usually entirely unaware of the fact of the great adventure in store for him. In all probability his childhood days and early youth will pass in obscurity, while he lives an in- ner life of unusual depth, unconsciously preparing himself for the Baptism, which is the first of the nine steps of this method of attainment. 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