Source: "The Rosicrucian Christianity Lectures" by Max Heindel
PARSIFAL: WAGNER'S FAMOUS MYSTIC MUSIC DRAMA
As we look about us in the material universe we see a myriad of FORMS and
all these forms have a certain COLOR; and many of them emit a definite TONE;
in fact, all do, for there is sound even in so-called inanimate Nature. The
wind in the tree-tops, the babbling brook, the swell of the ocean, are all
definite contributions to the harmony of Nature.
Of those three attributes of nature: Form, Color, and Tone, FORM is the
most stable, tending to remain IN STATU QUO for a considerable time, and
changing very slowly. COLOR, on the other hand, changes more readily; it
fades, and there are some colors that change their hue when held at differ-
ent angles to the light; but TONE is the most elusive of all three; it comes
and goes like a will-o'-the-wisp, which none may catch or hold.
We also have three ARTS which seek to express the Good, the True, and the
Beautiful in these three attributes of the World-Soul, namely, SCULPTURE,
PAINTING, and MUSIC.
The sculptor who deals with FORM seeks to imprison beauty in a marble
statue that will withstand the ravages of time during millenniums; but a
marble statue is cold and speaks to but a few of the most evolved who are
able to infuse the statue with their own life.
The painter's art deals pre-eminently with COLOR; it gives no tangible
form to its creations; the form on a painting is an illusion from the mate-
rial point of view, yet it is so much more real to most people than the real
tangible statue, for the forms of the painter are alive there is LIVING
beauty in the painting of a great artist, a beauty that many can appreciate
But in the case of a painting we are again affected by the changeableness
of color; time soon blots out its freshness, and at the best, of course, no
painting can outlast a statue.
Yet in those arts which deal with FORM and COLOR there is a creation once
and for all time; they have that in common, and in that they differ
radically from the TONE-ART, for music is so elusive that it must be recre-
ated each time we wish to enjoy it, but in return it has a power to speak to
ALL human beings in a manner that is entirely beyond the other two arts. It
will add to our greatest joy and soothe our deepest sorrows; it can calm the
passion of the savage breast and stir to bravery the greatest coward; it is
the most potent influence in swaying humanity that is known to man, and yet,
viewed solely from the material standpoint, it is superfluous, as shown by
Darwin and Spencer.
It is only when we go behind the scenes of the visible and realize that
man is a composite being: Spirit, soul and body, that we are enabled to
understand why we are thus differently affected by the products of the three
While man lives an OUTWARD life in the Form-world, where he lives a FORM
life among other forms, he lives also an INNER life, which is of far greater
importance to him; a life where his feelings, thoughts, and EMOTIONS create
before his "inner vision" PICTURES and scenes that are everchanging, and the
fuller this inner life is, the less will the man need to seek company out-
side himself, for he is his own best company, independent of outside amuse-
ment, so eagerly sought by those whose inner life is barren, who know hosts
of other people, but are strangers to themselves, afraid of their own com-
If we analyze this inner life we shall find that it is twofold: (1) The
Soul-life, which deals with the FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS; and (2) the activity
of the Ego, which directs all actions by THOUGHT.
Just as the material world is the base of supply whence the materials for
our dense body have been drawn, and is pre-eminently the world of FORM, so
there is a world of the soul, called the Desire World among the
Rosicrucians, which is the base from whence the subtle garment of the Ego,
which we call the soul, has been drawn, and this world is particularly the
world of COLOR. But the still more subtle World of Thought is the home of
the human Spirit, the Ego, and also the realm of TONE. Therefore, of the
three arts music has the greatest power over man; for while we are in this
terrestrial life we are exiled from our heavenly home and have often forgot-
ten it in our material pursuits, but then comes music like a fragrant odor
laden with unspeakable memories. As an echo from home it reminds us of that
forgotten land where all is joy and peace, and even though we may scout such
ideas in our material mind, the Ego knows each blessed note as a message
from home-land and rejoices in it.
This realization of the nature of music is necessary to the proper ap-
preciation of such a great masterpiece as Richard Wagner's Parsifal, where
the music and the characters are bound together as in no other modern musi-
Wagner's drama is founded upon the legend of Parsifal, a legend that has
its origin enshrouded in the mystery which overshadows the infancy of the
human race. It is an erroneous idea when we think that a myth is a figment
of human fancy, having no foundation in fact. On the contrary, a myth is a
casket containing at times the deepest and most precious jewels of spiritual
truth, pearls of beauty so rare and ethereal that they cannot stand exposure
to the material intellect. In order to shield them and at the same time al-
low them to work upon humanity for its spiritual upliftment, the Great
Teachers who guide our evolution, unseen but potent, gave these spiritual
truths to nascent man encased in the picturesque symbolism of myths, so that
they might work upon his FEELINGS until such time as his dawning intellect
shall have become sufficiently evolved and spiritualized so that he may both
FEEL and KNOW.
This on the same principle that we give our children moral teachings by
means of picture books and fairy tales, reserving the more direct teaching
for later years.
Wagner did more than merely copy the legend. Legends, like all else, be-
come encrusted by transmission and lost their beauty and it is a further
evidence of Wagner's greatness that he was never bound in his expression by
fashion or creed. he always asserted the prerogative of art in dealing with
allegories, untrammeled and free.
As he says in Religion and Art: "One might say that where Religion be-
comes artificial, it is reserved for art to save the spirit of Religion by
recognizing the figurative value of the mythic symbols, which Religion would
have us believe in a literal sense, and revealing their deep and hidden
truth through an ideal presentation. . . .Whilst the priest stakes every-
thing on religious allegories being accepted as matters of fact, the artist
has no concern at all with such a thing, since he freely and openly gives
out his work as his own invention. But Religion has sunk into an artificial
life when she finds herself compelled to keep on adding to the edifice of
her dogmatic symbols, and thus conceals the one divinely true. . . beneath
an ever growing heap on incredibilities recommended to belief. Feeling
this, she has always sought the aid of art, who on her side has remained in-
capable of a higher evolution so long as she must present that alleged real-
ity to the worshiper in the form of fetishes and idols, whereas she could
only fulfill her true vocation when, by an ideal presentment of the
allegoric figure, she led to an apprehension of its inner kernel--the truth
Turning to a consideration of the drama PARSIFAL we find that the opening
scene is laid in the grounds of the castle of "Montsalvat." This is a place
of peace, where all life is sacred; the animals and birds are tame, for like
all really holy men, the knights are harmless, killing neither to eat nor
for sport. They apply the maxim, "Live and let live," to all living crea-
It is dawn, and we see Gurnemanz, the oldest of the Grail-knights, with
two young squires under a tree. They have just wakened from their night's
rest, and in the distance they spy Kundry coming galloping on a wild steed.
In Kundry we see a creature of two existences, one as a servitor of the
Grail, willing and anxious to further the interests of the Grail-knights by
all means within her power; this seems to be her real nature. In the other
existence she is the unwilling slave of the magician Klingsor and is forced
by him to tempt and harass the Grail-knights, whom she longs to serve. The
gate from one existence to the other is "sleep," and she is bound to serve
who finds and wakes her. When Gurnemanz finds her she is the willing
servitor of the Grail, but when Klingsor evokes her by his evil spells he is
entitled to her services whether she will or not.
In the first act she is clothed in a robe of snake skins, symbolical of
the doctrine of rebirth, for as the snake sheds its skin, coat after coat,
which it exudes from itself, so the Ego in its evolutionary pilgrimage
emanates from itself one body after another, shedding each vehicle as the
snake sheds its skin, when it has become hard, set, and crystallized so that
it has lost its efficiency. This idea is also coupled with the teachings of
the Law of Consequence, which brings us as reapings whatever we sow, as in
Gurnemanz' answer to the young squire's avowal of distrust in Kundry:
Under a curse she well may be
From some past life we do not see,
Seeking from sin to loose the fetter,
By deeds for which we fare the better.
Surely 'tis good she follows thus,
Helping herself while serving us.
When Kundry comes on the scene she pulls from her bosom a phial which she
says she has brought from Araby and which she hopes will be a balm for the
wound in the side of Amfortas, the king of the Grail, which causes him un-
speakable suffering and which cannot heal. The suffering king is then car-
ried on the stage reclining on a couch. He is on his way to his daily bath
in the near-by lake, where two swans swim and make the waters into a healing
lotion which assuages his dreadful sufferings. Amfortas thanks Kundry, but
expresses the opinion that there is no relief for him till the deliverer has
come, of whom the Grail has prophesied, "a virgin fool, by pity
enlightened." But Amfortas thinks death will come before deliverance.
Amfortas is carried out, and four of the young squires crowd around
Gurnemanz and ask him to tell them the story of the Grail and of Amfortas'
wound. They all recline beneath the tree, and Gurnemanz begins:
"On the night when our Lord and Savior Christ-Jesus ate the last supper
with His disciples He drank the wine from a certain chalice and that was
later used by Joseph of Arimathea to catch the life-blood which flowed from
the wound in the Redeemer's side. He also kept the bloody lance wherewith
the wound was inflicted, and carried these relics with him through many per-
ils and persecutions. At last they were taken in charge by Angels, who
guarded them until one night a mystic messenger sent from God appeared and
bade Titurel, Amfortas' father, build a Castle for the reception and safe-
keeping of these relics. Thus the Castle of Montsalvat was built ON A HIGH
MOUNTAIN, and the relics lodged there under the guardianship of Titurel with
a band of holy and chaste knights whom he had drawn around him, and it be-
came a center whence might spiritual influences went forth to the outside
"But there lived in yonder heathen VALE a black knight who was not
chaste, yet he desired to become a knight of the Grail, and to that end he
mutilated himself. He deprived himself of the ABILITY TO GRATIFY his pas-
sion, BUT THE PASSION REMAINED. King Titurel saw his heart filled with
black desire, and refused him admittance. Klingsor then swore that if he
could not serve the Grail, the Grail should serve him. He built a castle
with a magic garden and populated it with maidens of ravishing beauty, who
emitted an odor like flowers, and these waylaid the knights of the Grail
(who must pass the castle when leaving or returning to Montsalvat), ensnared
them to betray their trust and violate their vow of chastity, thus they be-
came the prisoners of Klingsor and but few remained as defenders of the
"In the meantime Titurel had turned the wardenship of the Grail over to
his son Amfortas and the latter, seeing the serious havoc wrought by
Klingsor, determined to go out to meet him and do battle with him. To that
end he took with him the holy spear.
"The wily Klingsor did not meet Amfortas in person, but evoked Kundry and
transformed her from the hideous creature who appears as the servitor of the
Grail to a woman of transcendent beauty, and under Klingsor's spell she
meets and tempts Amfortas, who yields and sinks into her arms, letting go
his hold upon the sacred spear. Klingsor then appears, grasps the spear,
inflicts a wound on the defenseless Amfortas, and [but for the heroic ef-
forts of Gurnemanz] he would have carried Amfortas a prisoner to his magic
castle. He has the holy spear, however, and the king is crippled and suf-
fering, for the wound will not heal."
The young squires spring up, fired with ardor, vowing that they will con-
quer Klingsor and restore the spear. Gurnemanz sadly shakes his head, say-
ing that the task is beyond them, but reiterates the prophesy that the
redemption shall be accomplished by a "pure fool, by pity enlightened."
Now cries are heard: "The swan! Oh, the swan!" and a swan flutters
across the stage and falls dead at the feet of Gurnemanz and the squires,
who are much agitated at the sight. Other squires bring in a stalwart youth
with bow and arrows, and to Gurnemanz' sad enquiry, "Why did you shoot the
harmless creature?" he answers innocently, "Was it wrong?" Gurnemanz then
tells him of the suffering king, of the swan's part in making the healing
bath. Parsifal is deeply moved at the recital and breaks his bow.
In all religions the quickening spirit has been symbolically represented
as a bird. At the baptism, when Jesus' body was in the water the Spirit of
Christ descended into it AS A DOVE. "The Spirit moves upon the water," a
fluidic medium, as the swans move upon the lake beneath the Yggdrasil, the
tree of life of norse mythology, or upon the waters of the lake in the leg-
end of the Grail. The bird is therefore a direct representation of highest
spiritual influence and well may the knights sorrow at the loss. Truth is
many sided. There are at least seven valid interpretations to each myth,
one for each World, and looked at from the material literal side, the com-
passion engendered in Parsifal and the breaking of his bow mark a definite
step in the higher life. No one can be truly compassionate and a helper in
evolution while he kills to eat, either in person or by proxy. THE HARMLESS
LIFE IS AN ABSOLUTE ESSENTIAL PREREQUISITE TO THE HELPFUL LIFE.
Gurnemanz then commences to question him about himself; who he is, and
how he came to Montsalvat. Parsifal displays the most surprising ignorance.
To all questions he answers, "I do not know." At last Kundry speaks up and
says: "I can tell you who he is. His father was the noble Gamuret, a
prince among men, who died fighting in Arabia while this child was yet in
the womb of his mother, Lady herzleide. With his last dying breath his fa-
ther named him Parsifal, the pure fool. Fearing that he would grow up to
learn the art of war and be taken from her, his mother brought him up in a
dense forest in ignorance of weapons and warfare."
Here Parsifal chimes in: "Yes, and one day I saw some men on shapely
beasts; I wanted to be like them, so I followed them for many days till at
last I came here and I had to fight many man-like monsters."
In this story we have an excellent picture of the Spirit's search for the
realities of life. Gamuret and Parsifal are different phases of the life of
the Spirit. Gamuret is the man of the world, but in time he became wedded
to Herzleide, heart--affliction, in other words. He meets sorrow and dies
to the world, as all of us do who have come into the higher life. While the
bark of life floats on summer seas and our existence seems one grand, sweet
song there is no incentive to turn to the higher; every fibre in our bodies
cries, "This is good enough for me," but when the billows of adversity roar
around us and each succeeding wave threatens to engulf us, then we have wed-
ded heart-affliction and become men of sorrows, and are ready to be born as
Parsifal, the pure fool, or the soul who has forgotten the wisdom of the
world and is seeking for the higher life. So long as a man is seeking to
accumulate money or to have a good time, so miscalled, he is wise with the
wisdom of the world; but when he sets his face toward the things of the
spirit, he becomes a fool in the eyes of the world. He forgets all about
his past life and leaves his sorrows behind him, as Parsifal left Herzleide,
and we are told that she died when Parsifal did not return to her. So sor-
row dies when it has given birth to the aspiring soul that flees from the
world, who may be in the world to perform his duty but is not of the world.
Gurnemanz has now become imbued with the idea that Parsifal is to be the
deliverer of Amfortas and takes him along to the Grail-castle. And to
Parsifal's question, "Who is the Grail?" he answers:
That tell we not; but if thou hast of Him been bidden,
From thee the truth will not stay hidden,
Methinks thy face I rightly knew,
The land to Him no path leads through,
And search but severs from Him wider,
When He Himself is not its guider.
Here we find Wagner bringing us back into pre-Christian times, for before
the advent of Christ, Initiation was not free to "whosoever will" seek in
the proper manner, but was reserved for certain chosen ones who were given
special privileges in return for being dedicated to the temple-service, such
as the Brahmins and the Levites. The coming of Christ, however, wrought
certain definite changes in the constitution of man so that now all are ca-
pable of entering the pathway of initiation. Indeed, it had to be so when
international marriages took away caste.
At the castle of the Grail Amfortas is being importuned on all sides to
perform the sacred rite of the Grail service, to uncover the holy chalice
that the sight of it may renew the ardor of the knights and spur them on to
deeds of spiritual service; but he shrinks from fear of the pain the sight
will cause him to feel. The wound in his side always starts to bleed afresh
at the sight of the Grail, as the wound of remorse pains us all when we have
sinned against our ideal. At last, however, he yields to the combined en-
treaties of his father and the knights. He performs the holy rite, though
the while he suffers the most excruciating agony, and Parsifal, who stands
in a corner, FEELS SYMPATHETICALLY THE SAME PAIN, without realizing why, and
when Gurnemanz eagerly asks him after the ceremony what he saw, remains dumb
and is thrust out of the castle by the angry, because disappointed, old
The feelings and emotions unchecked by knowledge are fruitful sources of
temptation. The very harmlessness and guilelessness of the aspiring soul
renders it often an easy prey to sin. It is necessary to soul growth that
these temptations come in order to bring out our weak points. If we fall,
we suffer as did Amfortas, but the pain evolves conscience and gives abhor-
rence for sin. It makes us strong against temptation. Every child is IN-
NOCENT because it has not been tempted, but only when we have been tempted
and have remained pure, or when we have fallen, repented, and reformed are
we VIRTUOUS. Therefore Parsifal must be tempted.
In the second act we see Klingsor in the act of evoking Kundry, for he
has spied Parsifal coming towards his castle, and he fears him more than all
who have come before, BECAUSE HE IS A FOOL. A worldly-wise man is easily
entrapped by the snares of the flower-girls, but Parsifal's guilelessness
protects him, and when the flower-girls cluster around him he innocently
asks, "Are you flowers? You smell so sweetly." Against him the superior
wiles of Kundry are necessary, and though she pleads, protests, and rebels,
she is forced to tempt Parsifal and to that end she appears as a woman of
superb beauty, calling Parsifal by name. That name stirs in his breast
memories of his childhood, his mother's love, and Kundry beckons him to her
side and commences to subtly work upon his feelings by recalling to his
memory visions of his mother's love and the sorrow she felt at his depar-
ture, which ended her life. Then she tells him of the other love, which may
compensate him; of the love of man for woman, and at last imprints upon his
lips a long, fervent, and passionate kiss.
Then there was silence deep and terrible, as if the destiny of the whole
world hung in the balance at that fervent kiss, and as she still holds him
in her arms his face undergoes a gradual change and becomes drawn with pain.
Suddenly he springs up as if that kiss had stung his being into a new pain,
the lines on his pallid face become more intense, and both hands are clasped
tightly against his throbbing heart as if to stifle some awful agony--the
Grail-cup appears before his vision, and then Amfortas in the same dreadful
agony, and at last he cries out: "Amfortas, O Amfortas! I know it now--the
spear-wound in thy side--it burns my heart, it sears my very soul....O
grief! O misery! Anguish beyond words! the wound is bleeding here in my
Then again, in the same awful strain: "Nay, this is not the spear-wound
in my side, for this is fire and flame within my heart that sways my senses
in delirium, the awful madness of tormenting love....Now do I know how all
the world is stirred, tossed, convulsed and often lost in shame by the ter-
rific passions of the heart."
Kundry again tempts him: "If this one kiss has brought you so much
knowledge, how much more will be yours if you yield to my love, if only for
But there is no hesitation now; Parsifal has awakened; he knows right and
wrong, and he replies: "Eternity were lost to both of us if I yielded to
you even for one short hour; but I will also save you and deliver you from
the curse of passion, FOR THE LOVE THAT BURNS WITHIN YOU IS ONLY SENSUAL,
AND BETWEEN THAT AND THE TRUE LOVE OF PURE HEARTS THERE YAWNS AN ABYSS LIKE
THAT BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL."
When Kundry at last must confess herself foiled she bursts out in great
anger. She calls upon Klingsor to help, and he appears with the holy spear,
which he hurls against Parsifal. But he is pure and harmless, so nothing
can hurt him. The spear floats harmlessly above his head. He grasps the
spear, makes the sign of the cross with it and Klingsor's castle and magic
garden sink into ruins.
The third act opens on Good Friday many years after. A travel-stained
warrior, clad in black mail, enters the grounds of Montsalvat, where
Gurnemanz lives in a hut. He takes off his helmet and places a spear
against a near-by rock and kneels down in prayer. Gurnemanz coming in with
Kundry, whom he has just found asleep in a thicket, recognizes parsifal with
the holy spear and, overjoyed, welcomes him, asking him whence he comes?
He asked the same question on Parsifal's first visit and the answer was:
"I do not know." But this time it is very different, for Parsifal answers:
"THROUGH SEARCH AND SUFFERING I CAME." The first occasion depicts one of
the glimpses the soul gets of the realities of the higher life, but the
second, the conscious attainment to a higher level of spiritual activity by
the man who has developed by sorrow and suffering, and Parsifal goes on to
tell how he was often sorely beset by enemies, and might have saved himself
by using the spear, but refrained because it was an instrument of healing
and not for hurt. The spear is the spiritual power which comes to the pure
of heart and life, but is ONLY TO BE USED FOR UNSELFISH PURPOSES; impurity
and passion cause its loss, as was the case with Amfortas. Though the man
who possesses it may upon occasion use it to feed 5,000 hungry people he may
not turn a single stone to bread to appease his own hunger, and though he
may use it to stay the blood that flows from the severed ear of a captor, he
may not use it to stay the life-blood that flows from his own side. It was
ever said of such: "Others he saved; himself he could not (or would not)
Parsifal and Gurnemanz go into the Grail-castle, where Amfortas is being
importuned to perform the sacred rite, but refuses in order to save himself
the pain entailed in viewing the Holy Grail, and baring his breast, implores
his followers to kill him. At this moment Parsifal steps up to him and
touches the wound with the lance, causing it to heal. He dethrones
Amfortas, however, and takes to himself the wardenship of the Holy Grail and
Sacred Lance. Only those who have the most perfect unselfishness, coupled
with the nicest discrimination, are fit to have the spiritual power symbol-
ized by the spear. Amfortas would have used it to attack and hurt an enemy.
Parsifal would not even use it in self-defense. THEREFORE HE IS ABLE TO
HEAL, while Amfortas fell into the pit he dug for Klingsor.
In the last act Kundry, who represents the lower nature, says but one
word: SERVICE. She helps Parsifal, the Spirit, to attain by her perfect
service. In the first act she went to SLEEP when Parsifal visited the
Grail. At that stage the Spirit cannot soar heavenward except when the body
has been left asleep or dies. But in the last act Kundry, the body, goes to
the Grail-castle also, for it is dedicated to the Higher Self, and when the
Spirit as Parsifal has attained he has reached the stage of liberation spo-
ken of in Revelation: "Him that overcometh will I make A PILLAR in the
temple of my God, and he shall go no more out." Such an one will work for
humanity from the inner Worlds; he needs no physical body anymore; he is be-
yond the Law of Rebirth, and therefore Kundry dies.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, in his beautiful poem, "The Chambered Nautilus,"
has embodied in verse this idea of constant progression in gradually improv-
ing vehicles, and final liberation. The nautilus builds its spiral shell in
chambered sections, constantly leaving the smaller ones, which it has out-
grown, for the last build.
Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Sill, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new.
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.
Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn!
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:
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 thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free.
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!
THE ANGELS AS FACTORS IN EVOLUTION
When we speak of evolution, the idea conveyed to the Western mind is
mainly a materialistic one. We have accustomed ourselves to look at the
matter from the purely scientific standpoint: that our solar system has
proceeded from what was once a nebulous fire-mist, in which currents were
generated in a spontaneous manner and started it into motion. It assumed a
spherical shape and threw off rings as it contracted. These rings broke up
and formed planets which cooled and solidified. At least one planet, our
Earth, spontaneously generated simple organisms, which later by the process
of evolution became more and more complex, ascending through the Radiates
(starfish, sea-urchins) to Mollusks (oysters, clam), thence to Articulates
(crab, lobster), into the Vertebrate species. After passing through the
four classes of vertebrates--Fishes, Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals--this
spontaneous evolutionary impulse reaches its highest present stage in man,
who is regarded as the flower of evolution: the highest intelligence in the
The materialistic scientist will pooh-pooh all suggestions of a God, or
any other external agency, as entirely unnecessary to account for the uni-
verse. In support of his position he may take a basin of water and pour
some oil upon its surface. The water is to represent space and the oil the
fire-mist. He will then commence to stir the oil, which will gather in a
ball, and bulging at the equator it will throw off a ring. That will form a
smaller sphere and revolve about the central mass as a planet about its sun.
Then the scientist may triumphantly turn and ask with a pitying smile: Now,
do you see how natural it is, and how superfluous your God?
Truly, it is wonderful how dull the brightest minds may be when influ-
enced by preconceived notions, and it is a marvel that one capable of devis-
ing this splendid demonstration should at the same time fail to see that HE
HIMSELF represents the author of our system, whom we call God, in this ex-
periment. For the experiment would never have been devised, the oil would
never have been poured out or formed into the semblance of sun and planet
but for his thought and action in the matter. So that instead of proving
God a superfluity his demonstration of the nebular theory proves to the
fullest extent the absolute necessity for a FIRST CAUSE--call it God or by
any other name--and Herbert Spencer, the master thinker of the nineteenth
century, saw this and rejected the nebular theory in consequence. He
failed, however, to produce an adequate explanation of the Genesis of a so-
lar system, free from that to him objectionable flaw, and so science, though
unwilling to acknowledge it, still retains a theory of the origin of the
world that requires the intelligent action of a being or beings extraneous
to the universe: a Creator or Creators.
When the scientific theory is properly understood, it is thus in full
harmony with the Bible, which tells us of a number of different Beings who
have been active in the evolution of the Earth and the creatures upon it.
We hear of Angels, Archangels, Cherubim, Seraphim, Thrones, Powers, Princi-
palities, Powers of Darkness, Powers of the Air, etc., and to the enquiring
mind the question naturally occurs: Who are they all? what part have they
played in the past? and what is their present work? For the enquiring mind
cannot believe that Angels are human beings transformed by death to
spiritual entities whose sole pleasure and only care is to toot in a trumpet
or play upon a harp when they did not know one note from another in
Earth-life. Such a supposition does violence to the reason and is out of
keeping with all the methods of nature, which require us to work for our
The occult teaching, in harmony with the Bible and modern scientific
theories as explained in the chapter on the "Occult Analysis of Genesis" in
"The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception" is, that that which is now the Earth has
not always been as dense and solid as it is now, but that it has gone
through three periods of development previous to the one we are now in, and
after the present "Earth period is over, there will be three more periods
before our evolution has been completed."
During the three periods preceding our present state, that which is now
the Earth, and man upon it, have both gradually consolidated from a filmy
ethereal state to a condition that was much denser than is now the case.
While "Involution," the process of consolidation, was going on, the
Spirit, which is now the Ego in man, was building a body or vehicle for each
degree of density. It was unconscious, but helped by different spiritual
hierarchies: the Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim.
When the acme of density was reached the Spirit came to consciousness as
a separate Ego in the material world. That was the turning-point: when con-
scious he cannot be dragged farther down and as his spiritual consciousness
gradually dawns upon him he will spiritualize his bodies, extracting from
each the soul, which is the power of the body from which it is extracted.
In that way he will gradually lift himself out of the dense material re-
gions, and lift the Earth with him during the remainder of the Earth Period
and the three succeeding periods.
At the beginning of evolution the threefold "Virgin Spirit" was naked and
inexperienced. Its Involution involved the BUILDING OF BODIES, which it ac-
complishes unconsciously with the help of higher powers.
When its bodies have been built and it becomes conscious, Evolution
begins. That involves SOUL-GROWTH and must be accomplished by the indi-
vidual efforts of the spirit in man, the Ego. At the end of evolution it
will possess SOUL-POWER as the fruitage of its pilgrimage through matter.
It will be a CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE.
Among the Rosicrucians these seven periods of development have been given
the names of the planets which rule the days of the week, because they are
the seven days of Creation, when that term is used in its widest sense. But
THEY ARE METAMORPHOSES OF THE EARTH and have absolutely nothing to do with
the planets in the sky except that the conditions they represent are about
such as we find upon the planets of the same names. These names are as fol-
lows: (1) Saturn Period, (2) the Sun Period, (3) the Moon Period, (4) the
Earth Period (of which, for reasons explained in "The Rosicrucian
Cosmo-Conception", the first half is called "Mars" and the second half
"Mercury"), (5) the Jupiter Period, (6) the Venus Period, and (7) the Vulcan
Our evolution started upon the Earth, as it was in the Saturn Period,
dark, hot, and of a gaseous substance, taken from the materials of the Re-
gion of Concrete Thought. There "the Divine Spirit" (which is the highest
aspect of the triune "Virgin Spirit," made in the likeness of God) was
awakened by the "Lords of the Flame" (called "Thrones" in Christian
esotericism), who also radiated from themselves a germinal "thought-form" as
a material counterpart of the Divine Spirit. This thought-form has later
developed and consolidated into man's dense body, and thus the highest
spirit and lowest body of man are the fruitage of the Saturn Period.
In the Sun Period the Earth reached the density of the Desire World, and
became a brilliantly luminous fire-mist. There the "Cherubim" awakened the
second aspect of the threefold Virgin Spirit: "The Life Spirit," and its
counterpart, the vital body, was started as a thought-form and made to in-
terpenetrate the germinal dense vehicle which had consolidated and reached
the same density as the Earth; it was then built of "desire stuff."
Thus man had a twofold Spirit and a twofold body when the condition we
call the Sun Period was over.
In the Moon Period the density of the Earth increased so that it reached
the etheric condition of matter known as the Etheric Region. It had a fiery
core, then an envelope of moisture, and outside an atmosphere of FIRE-FOG or
hot, steamy gas. When the water was heated by the fiery core it ascended
outwards, and when cooled by outside space the steam descended again towards
the heated center.
From this moist substance the densest body of these "Water-men" was
built. The thought-form for the dense body had consolidated to a moist gas,
the thought-form for our present vital body had descended into the Desire
World. It was formed of desire matter. To this twofold body the
thought-form for our present desire body was added in the Moon Period and
the "Seraphim" awakened the third aspect of the Virgin Spirit: "the Human
Spirit," and the Virgin Spirit became an "Ego," so that at the close of the
Moon Period man-in-the-making possessed a threefold spirit and a threefold
(1) The Divine Spirit--its counterpart is the dense body.
(2) The Life Spirit--its counterpart is the vital body.
(3) The Human Spirit--its counterpart is the desire body.
The threefold body is the "shadow" of the threefold Spirit, thrown into
the Region of Concrete Thought in the three periods preceding our present
Earth Period. Since then these thought-forms have all condensed; the desire
body, one degree; the vital body, two degrees, and the dense body, three de-
grees before their present density was reached.
The Lords of the Flame (Thrones), the Cherubim and the Seraphim had
worked with man of their own free wills out of pure Love. They could learn
nothing from an evolution such as ours. They have withdrawn now, and in the
Earth Period the "Powers" (EXUSIAI) of esoteric Christianity, called "Lords
of Form" by the Rosicrucians, have particular charge. For this is pre-
eminently the period of "Form" and this spiritual hierarchy has given to
all things the present definite, sharply defined concrete form, whereas
these forms were inchoate and cloudy in the former periods.
Besides the spiritual hierarchies mentioned there were others who helped,
but we will mention only the beings who attained to the human stage of de-
velopment in the three preceding periods. These beings have advanced, of
course, so the men of the Saturn Period are now three steps in advance of
the human, and are called "Lords of Mind." The humanity of the Sun Period
are two steps ahead of us and are now "Archangels," and the humanity of the
Moon Period are one step in advance of us. They are the Angels.
The periods are DAYS of Creation, and between each two periods there is
always an interim of rest or subjective activity, a Cosmic Night analogous
to the night of restorative sleep we enjoy between day and day of our
Earth-life, and when the evolving life emerges from "Chaos" at the dawn of a
new period there is first a RECAPITULATION on an advanced scale of the work
done in former periods before the work of the new period is begun; thus the
acme of possible perfection is achieved.
Therefore man's evolution upon the Earth as now constituted is divided
into "EPOCHS," in which he first recapitulates his past, and then goes on-
ward to conditions that foreshadow development which will only reach their
full expression in future periods.
In the first or POLARIAN EPOCH, "Adam," or humanity, was formed of
"earth." He was in that purely mineral stage corresponding to the Saturn
Period, where he possessed only a dense body fashioned by himself under the
guidance of the Lords of Form. He was imbedded in the dark gaseous planet
that was just emerging from chaos, inchoate and void, as the Bible says; in
the same way that the raspberry is made up of numerous little berries, so
was our "MOTHER-EARTH" made up of the dense mineral-like bodies of all the
kingdoms, and the life-streams expressing themselves as plant, animal, and
man were working to liberate them.
In the second or HYPERBOREAN EPOCH, God said: "Let there be light," the
hot gas became a luminous fire-mist as it was in the Sun Period, and man's
dense body was clothed with a vital body and it floated hither and thither
above the fiery Earth as a large, baggy thing. Man was then plant-like be-
cause of having the same vehicles as the plant has now, and the Angels were
his helpers in organizing his vital body, and remain so to the present day.
This may seem an anomaly, as the Angels are the humanity of the Moon Pe-
riod, where man got his desire body. But it is not, for only in the Moon
Period did the evolving Earth condense into Ether, such as now forms the
substance of our vital body, and there the humanity (the present Angels),
learned to build their densest bodies from etheric materials, as we are
learning to build ours from the solids, liquids, and gases of the Chemical
Region. They became experts at it, as we will be at building a dense body
by the time the Earth Period is ended.
Thus they are specially fitted to be the helpers of other later
life-waves in the functions which are the important expressions of that ve-
hicle. They help in the building and maintenance of plant, animal, and man,
and are thus concerned in assimilation, growth, and propagation. Angels an-
nounced the birth of Isaac to faithful Abraham, but destroyed Sodom for
abusing the creative function. The angel Gabriel (not Archangel, ac-
cording to the Bible) foretold the birth of Jesus and John. Other Angels
announced the birth of Samuel and Samson.
The Angels are particularly active in the vital bodies of the plants, for
the stream of life ensouling that kingdom started its evolution in the Moon
Period, when the Angels were human, and they worked with the plants as we
are now working with our minerals. There is therefore a particular affinity
between Angel and plant Group Spirit. Thus we can account for the enormous
assimilation, growth, and fecundity of the plants. Man also grew to an
enormous size in the second or Hyperborean Epoch, where the Angels had prin-
cipal charge. So does the child in its second septenary epoch of life, be-
cause then the Angels have full sway, and at the end of that epoch, at four-
teen, the child has reached puberty and is able to reproduce its kind; also
due to the work of the Angels.
The third, or LEMURIAN EPOCH, presents conditions analogous to the Moon
Period, but denser, the fiery core of the Earth is in the center, the boil-
ing, seething water next, and the steamy atmosphere or "fire-fog" outside,
for thus "god had divided the land from the waters," as Genesis says; the
dense moisture from the steam, and there man lived on islands of the forming
solid crust scattered in the sea of fire or boiling water. His form was
then quite firm and solid, it had a trunk, limbs, and the head was beginning
to form. The desire body was added, and man brought under the dominion of
Again we have a seeming anomaly, for the Archangels were the humanity of
the Sun Period when the vital body was started, at a time when man had as
yet no desire body, but the difficulty vanishes when we remember that each
of our bodies is the shadow of one of the aspects of the Spirit, as previ-
ously outlined, and that the vehicles are not GIVEN by these hierarchies.
They are merely helpers of man in training a particular vehicle, because of
a special fitness. Thus the Archangels are trainers of our desire bodies,
because they became experts at building and using such a vehicle when they
were human in the Sun Period, for then they built their densest bodies of
"desire stuff," as we are now building ours from chemical mineral matter.
The Archangels are also the main support of the animal Group Spirit, be-
cause the present animals started as minerals in the Sun Period. In the
Lemurian Epoch man was situated as they are now: the Spirit was OUTSIDE the
body it had to guide, but all man's bodies had been impregnated with the
germ of separate personality presently to be explained, so they were not so
easily guided as the animal of today, where the SEPARATE spirit in each
animal is yet unconscious. Desire was rampant and needed a strong curb.
That was supplied to a few of the most tractable among the nascent humanity
in the Lemurian Epoch, and they in time became teachers of the others, but
the majority did not become ensouled.
In the fourth, or ATLANTEAN EPOCH, the real work of the Earth Period be-
gan. The threefold Spirit was destined to enter the threefold body and be-
come an INDWELLING Spirit, so as to obtain full control of its vehicles, but
the link of mind was lacking, and that we owe to the Lords of Mind, who had
previously impregnated the bodies with the feeling of separate personality
which has overborne the earlier feeling of solidarity with all and made it
possible for each to draw individual experience from like conditions.
The Lords of Mind reached the human stage in the Saturn Period. They
were not "gods" come here from an earlier evolution like the Cherubim and
Seraphim, hence the eastern tradition calls them "A-suras," ("Not-gods," and
the Bible calls them "Powers of Darkness"; partially because they came from
the dark Saturn Period, and partly because it regards them as evil. Paul
speaks of our duty of wrestling with them.
Paul is right, but it is well to understand that there is nothing abso-
lutely evil, and that in times past they have been man's benefactors. Evil
is but good misplaced or undeveloped. For instance, suppose an expert
organ-builder making a splendid organ, his masterpiece. Then he is the em-
bodiment of GOOD. But if he follows the organ into church and insists upon
taking the place of the organist when he is no musician, he is EVIL.
When the Lords of Mind were human in the Saturn Period and the Earth was
of the substance of the Region of Concrete Thought, we started our evolution
as minerals, and the Lords of Mind learned to build their densest body of
these minerals, as we are now building our bodies from the present minerals.
Thus they became experts in the use of this "mind stuff," and also set up an
exceedingly intimate connection with US.
Then, when the time came that the threefold body was ready for the Spirit
to enter, man needed a mind to link spirit and body. But that the Gods
could not give. It would have been too great. The Archangels and Angels
could not yet create, but the Lords of Mind just reached the third period
beyond the one where they were human, here on Earth, and became Creative In-
telligences, so naturally they stepped into the breach and radiated from
their bodies the substance from which our mind is formed.
Coming from that source, our mind is naturally separative and prone to
resent authority. It should be the tool of the infant Spirit in governing
the threefold body; a curb upon rampant desire. But it is masterful added
CUNNING to desire, then passion and wickedness and in itself harder to tame
than wild horses; it loves more to rule the lower than to obey the higher.
It ran high in Atlantis. The race degenerated and it became necessary to
start a new race under new conditions.
In the meantime the hot, steamy atmosphere of Lemuria had cooled and con-
densed to a thick fog during Atlantean times. There the "Niebelungen" or
"children of the mist" of the old folk-story lived. They were Atlanteans.
Then "God" commanded that "the waters gather in one place and the dry land
appear." The mist gradually condensed to a flood, which filled the valley
of Atlantis and caused the wicked race to perish, except a few who were a
"chosen people," chosen to be the nucleus of our present Aryan race, to in-
herit a promised land: The Earth as now constituted. These few were saved
as variously related in the story of Noah and of Moses leading God's people
out of Egypt (Atlantis) through the Red Sea (the Atlantean floods), where
Pharoah (the wicked Atlantean king) perished with all his followers.
The spiritual hierarchies had been seriously hampered in their efforts to
help man from the time he received the light of mind, and his understanding
was opened. Then he took matters of which he had no real knowledge into his
own hands. Propagation, for instance, and as a result of his ignorance of
the Cosmic laws in connection, parturition became painful and death a more
frequent and disagreeable experience. Therefore it became necessary to take
stern measures to check the lower nature. This was done by JEHOVAH, THE
HIGHEST INITIATE OF THE MOON PERIOD and ruler of the Angels, supported in
his efforts by the Archangels, who are Race Spirits. (Daniel 12:1).
Jehovah helped man to get control over the mind and desire body by giving
Law and decreeing punishment for its transgression. The fear of God was
pitted against the desires of the flesh. Thus sin became manifest in the
The Archangels, as Race Spirits, fight for or against a nation, as re-
quired to punish one group which has sinned, by means of another. (Daniel
The Angels cause man's corn and grapes to grow or wither, his cattle to
increase or not, his family to multiply or die out, as required to bless him
for obedience to the law of the chief Race Spirit Jehovah, or to punish him
for transgression against the law. Under his sway all the Race-Religions:
Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, etc., have flourished and worked in
the desire body as RELIGIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Jehovah helps man to curb
the desire body because that was started in the Moon Period.
But Law makes for sin; it is separative, and besides, man must learn to
do right apart from fear. Therefore Christ, the Highest Initiate of the Sun
Period, came to teach the RELIGION OF THE SON, which works upon the vital
body, which was started in the Sun Period. He taught that love is superior
to law. Perfect love casteth out fear and emancipates humanity from race,
caste, or nation to Universal Brotherhood, which will become a fact when
Christianity is LIVED.
When Christianity shall have fully spiritualized the vital body, a still
higher step will be the RELIGION OF THE FATHER, who as the Highest Initiate
of the Saturn Period will help man to spiritualize the dense body which was
started in the Saturn Period. Then even brotherhood will be transcended;
there will be neither ME nor THEE, for all will be consciously ONE in God,
and Man will have been emancipated by the help of Angels, Archangels, and
Continued with file "RC1045.TXT"
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