Filename: RC1090.TXT Source: +quot;The Rosicrucian Philosophy In Questions + Answers, Vol.

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Filename: RC1090.TXT Source: "The Rosicrucian Philosophy In Questions & Answers, Vol. II" by Max Heindel [PAGE 3232] HUMANITY'S AVERSION TO SNAKES: QUESTION NO. 158: WHY IS HUMANITY AVERSE TO A SNAKE? IS THE GROUP SPIRIT OF THE SNAKE MAN'S ENEMY? ANSWER: You are mistaken in your supposition that humanity as a whole is averse to the snake. Many species of snakes are altogether harmless, and very useful animals. Placed in the basement of the house they will keep it perfectly clear of vermin, mice, and rats. In the garden they eliminate de- structive animals such as gophers and field mice, which do considerable dam- age. Therefore the wise farmer looks upon them with very friendly eyes. But the question of aversion is not by any means confined to the snakes. Millions of people are afraid of a mouse, a beetle, a spider, or other harm- less animals. it is simply a question of temperament, and no Group Spirit is an enemy of humanity or of any other species of animals. Whatever may seem to indicate that is a wrong view of the matter. [PAGE 3233] THE SOUL AND THE SOUL BODY: QUESTION NO. 159: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SOUL AND THE SOUL BODY? ANSWER: This is one of the most intimate questions which has ever been asked, and it cannot be answered directly, but only by illustration. As children learn certain intellectual truths beyond their grasp by a pictorial illustration, infant humanity learned deep religious truths through myths and allegories. The vital body is composed of four ethers. The two lower ethers are par- ticular avenues of growth and propagation. In the vital body of a person whose chief concern is with the physical life, who lives as it were, en- tirely for the sensual enjoyment, these two ethers predominate, whereas in a person who is rather indifferent to the material enjoyment of life, but who seeks to advance spiritually, the two higher ethers form the bulk of the vi- tal body. They are then what Paul calls the "soma psuchicon," or soul body, which remains with man during his experiences in Purgatory and the First Heaven where the essence of the life lived is extracted. This extract is the soul, whose two chief qualities are conscience and virtue. The feeling of conscience is the fruit of mistakes in past earth lives, which will in future guide the Spirit aright and teach it how to avoid similar missteps. [PAGE 3234] Virtue is the essence of all that was good in former lives, and acts as an encouragement to keep the Spirit ardently striving upon the path of aspira- tion. In the Third Heaven this amalgamates thoroughly with the Spirit and becomes a part thereof. Thus in the course of his lives man becomes more soulful, and the soul qualities of conscience and virtue becomes more strongly operative as guiding principles of conduct. But we can perhaps gain a better idea of the difference between soul and soul body if we consider the allegory contained in the ancient Atlantean Mystery Temple, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. This God-given symbol was furnished with all the implements of soul growth necessary for the develop- ment of man. Among them there was in the sanctuary the Table of Shewbread. Upon this table there were twelve little cakes made into two piles of six each and on each pile there was a little heap of incense. Now will you re- member, please, that the grain from which these cakes were made was given by God to man, but it was necessary for man to plant it, to till the soil, to water and to nourish the tiny plants. He must also harvest them, thresh the grain and crush it into flour. He must knead the dough and bake the read before he could bring it into the temple and have bread to shew as a product of this labor with the God-given grain. This God-given grain represents opportunity. Twelve kinds of [PAGE 3235] opportunities come to man each year through the twelve departments of life represented by the twelve houses in his horoscope. But many may neglect these opportunities, as the ancient Israelites might have thrown their grain in a corner and let it lie. If so, he will have no read to shew to the Lord. He will be like the servant with one talent who went and buried it. On the other hand, if he tilled the soil and nourished the grain of opportu- nity for service in the Lord's vineyard, then there will be an increase which he may harvest and prepare to bring into the Lord's temple at the proper time to shew that he had faithfully cultivated every opportunity for service, and made the most thereof according to ability. We note, however, that these twelve cakes of shew bread were not them- selves offered up to the lord, but on each pile of six there was a little heap of incense which represented the essence of the shew bread. By analogy this is the essence of our service; you will understand why by another little illustration found in the experience we go through to gain physical faculties. As you remember, during the time when we went to school and learned to write, we made most awkward motions and contortions with the arm and body in order to form letters on the paper. We blotted our copy books so that they looked most hideous, and our attempt at writing was anything but beautiful. Nevertheless, by degrees we acquired the faculty, and in the course of years [PAGE 3236] we forgot all about the experience of those early days when we endeavored to cultivate it. But this is the point: if we had not gone through that cum- bersome experience we would not now possess the faculty of writing, and an- other point is this: after we have acquired the faculty it is unnecessary to remember the cumbersome methods of its acquirement. Similarly also, the coarse physical substance, the grain of the shewbread, was not to be offered to the Lord, but only the essence or aroma thereof, the faculty of skilled service, the benevolence which we have cultivated in doing good to others. The two little piles of incense were therefore taken to the altar of incense in front of the second veil and lighted. There ascends a cloud of smoke in the outer or eastward part of the temple, but only the aroma, pure and free from smoke, penetrates through the veil into the inner sanctuary. By analogy therefore we may liken the shewbread to the experiences which we go through in serving and helping others; the frankincense which is on top of the pile of shewbread may be likened to the essence of sympathy and help- fulness which we extract from these services, the soul growth contained therein. This is seen about us as a golden aura which constitutes the soul body. But though this glorious vehicle is made of the two finest ethers, it could not by any process amalgamate with the Spirit itself, any more than the incense can burn without emitting smoke and leaving behind a residue of [PAGE 3237] ashes. Therefore by the spiritual alchemy of the evening exercise of Retro- spection, or in the natural process after death, this soul body is burned without the veil (in the first heaven), and the aroma or the soul penetrates the veil to the very innermost sanctuary as pabulum for the Spirit. Thus the Spirit carries with itself the aroma of all its past lives. A younger soul which has had only a few existences from which to draw experi- ences and soul growth, is cruel and selfish for it has not performed service to others. But one who has gone through many lives, who has learned by sor- row and suffering to feel and to do for others, responds instantly to the cry of pain, because the soul in him or her is the quintessence of service and therefore always ready to aid others regardless of personal comforts and enjoyment. RELATION BETWEEN SOUL AND MIND: QUESTION NO. 160: WE HAVE HAD SOME DISCUSSION IN OUR CLASSES REGARDING THE SOUL. SOME CON- FUSION OF OPINION EXISTS. WHAT IS THE RELATION BETWEEN THE SOUL AND THE MIND? ARE THE FORCES OF BOTH PERMANENTLY UNITED TO THE SPIRIT? WHICH BODY WILL BE USED IN THE LATER STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT, THE MENTAL OR THE SOUL BODY? [PAGE 3238] ANSWER: We will turn for our answer to page 366 of the COSMO. There we find a chart which embodies the whole scheme of involution and evolution. It is not a very complicated chart, either, and the student who wishes to master the mystery of existence would do well to memorize thoroughly this diagram. Reading on the left side thereof, we learn that during a stage of uncon- scious evolution the Spirit grew a threefold body and crystallized into it. This was the dense body, the vital body, and the desire body. In the earth period, the focus of mind was given and this becomes the fulcrum upon which involution turns to evolution. Then a threefold stage of conscious evolu- tion commences during which the growth of a threefold soul is accomplished by spiritualizing the three bodies into the soul. We find that in the re- mainder of the Earth Period we extract the conscious soul from the dense body; in the Jupiter Period the intellectual soul is extracted from the vi- tal body; and in the Vulcan Period we become creative intelligences by amal- gamation of the threefold soul with the mind. In order to make this more clear, we will turn to page 421 where there is a chapter on alchemy and soul growth. There we read as follows: "The dense body was started in the Saturn Period, passed through various transformations in the Sun and Moon Periods, and will reach its highest development in the Earth Period. The vital body was started in the Sun Period, was reconstructed in the [PAGE 3239] Moon and Earth Periods, and will reach perfection in the Jupiter Period, which is its fourth stage, as the Earth Period is the fourth stage for the dense body. The desire body was started in the Moon Period, reconstructed in the Earth Period, will be further modified in the Jupiter Period, reaching per- fection in the Venus Period." "Referring to Diagram 8 will show that the lowest Globe of the Jupiter Period is located in the Etheric Region. It would therefore be impossible to use the dense physical vehicle there, as only a vital body can be used in the Etheric Region. Yet it must not be supposed that after spending the time from the beginning of the Saturn Period to the end of the Earth Period in completing and perfecting this body, it is then thrown away that man may function in a "higher" vehicle! "Nothing in nature is wasted. In the Jupiter Period the forces of the dense body will be superimposed on the vital body. That vehicle will then possess the powers of the dense body in addition to its own faculties and will therefore be a much more valuable instrument for the expression of the threefold Spirit, than if built from its own forces alone. "Similarly, Globe D of the Venus Period is located in the Desire World (see diagram 8). Hence neither a dense nor vital body could be used as an instrument of consciousness. Therefore the essences of the perfected dense and vital bodies are incorporated in the completed desire body, the latter [PAGE 3240] thus becoming a vehicle of transcendent qualities, marvelously adaptable and so responsive to the slightest wish of the indwelling Spirit that in our present limitations it is beyond our utmost conception. Yet the efficiency of even this splendid vehicle will be transcended when in the Vulcan Period its essence, together with the essences of the dense and vital bodies, are added to the mind, which becomes the highest of man's vehicles, containing within itself the quintessence of all that was best in all the vehicles. The vehicle of the Venus Period being beyond our present power of conception, how much more so is that which will be at the service of the divine beings of the Vulcan Period! During involution the creative Hierarchies assisted man to arouse into activity the threefold Spirit, the Ego, to build the threefold body, and to acquire the link of mind. Now, however, on the seventh day (to use the lan- guage of the Bible), God rests. Man must work out his own salvation. The threefold Spirit must complete the working out of the plan begun by the Gods. The Human Spirit, which was awakened during involution in the Moon Pe- riod, will be the most prominent of the three aspects of the Spirit in the evolution of the Jupiter Period, which is the corresponding Period on the upward arc of the spiral. The Life Spirit, which was started into activity in the Sun Period will manifest its principal activity during the [PAGE 3241] corresponding Venus period, and the particular influences of the Divine Spirit will be strongest in the Vulcan Period, because it was vivified in the corresponding Saturn Period. All three aspects of the Spirit are active all the time during evolution, but the principal activity of each aspect will be unfolded in those par- ticular periods, because the work to be done there is its special work. When the threefold Spirit had evolved the threefold body and gained con- trol of it through the focus of mind, it commenced to evolve the threefold soul by working from within. How much or how little soul a man has depends upon the amount of work the Spirit has done in the bodies. This has been explained in the chapter describing post-mortem experiences. (See pages 95-96 of the COSMO). As much of the desire body as has been worked upon by the Ego is transmuted into the emotional soul, and is ultimately assimilated by the Human Spirit, the special vehicle of which is the desire body. As much of the vital body as has been worked upon by the Life Spirit be- comes the intellectual soul, and it builds the Life Spirit, because that as- pect of the threefold Spirit has its counterpart in the vital body. As much of the dense body as has been worked upon by the Divine Spirit becomes the conscious soul, because the dense body is its material emana- tion. The conscious soul grows by action, external impacts, and experience. [PAGE 3242] The emotional soul grows by the feelings and emotions generated by ac- tions and experiences. The intellectual soul as mediator between the other two grows by the ex- ercise of memory, by which it links together past and present experiences and the feelings engendered thereby, thus creating "sympathy" and "an- tipathy" which could not exist apart from memory, because the feelings re- sulting from experience alone would be evanescent. During involution the Spirit progressed by growing bodies but evolution depends upon soul growth--the transmutation of the bodies into soul. The soul is, so to say, the quintessence, the power or force of the body, and when a body has been completely built and brought to perfection through the stages and periods as above described, the soul is fully extracted therefrom and is absorbed by the one of the three aspects of the Spirit which gener- ated the body in the first place, thus: The conscious soul will be absorbed by the Divine Spirit in the seventh revolution of the Jupiter period; The intellectual soul will be absorbed by the Life Spirit in the sixth revolution of the Venus Period; The emotional soul will be absorbed by the Human Spirit in the fifth revolution of the Vulcan Period. So much for the evolution of soul. We will now turn to the mind and the various stages which brings it to perfection. We read on page 426 of the COSMO: "At the present time, however, the [PAGE 3243] mind is not focused in a way that enables it to give a clear and true pic- ture of what the Spirit imagines. It is not one pointed. It gives misty and clouded pictures. Hence the necessity of experiment to show the inad- equacies of the first conception, and bring about new imaginings and ideas until the image produced by the Spirit in mental substance has been repro- duced in physical substance. At the best, we were able to shape through the mind only such images as have to do with form, because the human mind was not started until the Earth Period, and therefore is now in its "form" or "mineral" stage. Hence in our operations we are confined to forms, to minerals. We can imagine ways and means of working with the mineral forms of the three lower kingdoms, but can do little or nothing with living bodies. We may indeed graft living branches to a live tree, or a living part of animal or man to another living part, but it is not life with which we are working. It is form only. We are making different conditions, but the life which already inhabited the form continues to do so still. To create life is beyond man's power until the mind has become alive. In the Jupiter Period the mind will be vivified to some extent and man can then imagine forms which will live and grow, like plants. In the Venus period, when his mind has acquired "feeling," he can create living, growing, and feeling things. [PAGE 3244] When he reaches perfection, at the end of the Vulcan Period, he will be able to "imagine" into existence creatures that will live, grow, feel, and think. In the Saturn Period the life wave which is now man started on its evolu- tion. The Lords of Mind were then human. They worked with man at that Pe- riod, when he was mineral. They now have nothing to do with the lower king- dom, but are concerned solely with our human development. Our present animals started their mineral existence in the Sun Period, at which time the Archangels were human. Therefore, the Archangels are the rulers and guides of the evolution of that which is now animal, but have nothing to do with plant or mineral. The present plants had their mineral existence in the Moon Period. The angels were then human. Therefore they have special concern with the life that now inhabits the plants, to guide it up to the human stage; but they have no interest in the minerals. Our present humanity will have to work with the new life wave which en- tered evolution in the Earth period and now ensouls the minerals. We are now working with it by means of the faculty of imagination, giving it form--building it into ships, bridges, railways, houses, etc. In the Jupiter Period we shall guide the evolution of the plant kingdom, for that which is at present mineral will then have a plantlike existence and we must work with it there as the angels are now doing with our plant [PAGE 3245] kingdom. Our faculty of imagination will be so developed that we shall have the ability, not only to create forms by means of it, but to endow those forms with vitality. "In the Venus Period our present mineral life wave shall have advanced another step, and we shall be doing for the animals of that period what the archangels are now doing for our animals--giving them living and feeling forms. "Lastly in the Vulcan Period it will be our privilege to give them a ger- minal mind, as the Lords of Mind did to us. The present mineral will then have passed through stages similar to those through which the Angels and Archangels are now passing. We shall then have reached a point in evolution a little higher than that of the present Lords of Mind, for remember there is never an exact reproduction anywhere, but always progressive improvement, because of the spiral. "The Divine Spirit will absorb the Human Spirit at the close of the Jupi- ter Period; the Life Spirit at the close of the Venus Period, and the per- fected mind, embodying all that it has garnered during its pilgrimage through all the seven Periods, will be absorbed by the Divine Spirit at the close of the Vulcan Period." From the foregoing it will be clear that there is a distinct evolution of soul and another equally distinct evolution of the mind. Yet they are not at all independent of one another, but work in perfect unison, as for [PAGE 3246] instance, the heart and lungs work together to keep up the rhythm of the body. Therefore it will be neither the mental, nor the soul body that we shall use in the later stages of our development, but a composite vehicle containing increasingly the essence of all our bodies, which will then be a composite garment of the Spirit, so wonderful and glorious that it is beyond even our faintest conception at the present time. HOW TO FOSTER FAITH: QUESTION NO. 161: THERE SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN A GREAT DECLINE OF FAITH IN RECENT YEARS. WHAT REMEDY IS THERE FOR THIS FROM THE OCCULT VIEWPOINT? ANSWER: There is an occult reason for the decline of faith, and it is useless to discuss a remedy until a cause has been found. No haphazard mea- sure will turn humanity permanently back to the path of rectitude. Let us first consider some of the causes commonly given, and then we shall under- stand the occult scientific reason all the better. We often hear it sneeringly said that the reason the churches stand empty is that the minister has no NEW message, but is continually rehashing the [PAGE 3247] old Bible stories. The reproach loses its force the moment the question is asked: "Have we learned the Bible by heart?" We expect a child to repeat the multiplication table indefinitely until he knows and can apply it. It is more important that we should know the Bible thoroughly than that the child should remember the table; hence repetition is necessary. The Athenians on Mars Hill were always seeking some new thing that would give them food for discussion, but something more is required for soul growth. Paul specifically informs us that although we may know all the mys- teries, and all knowledge, and have not love, it profits us nothing. The reproach of the empty pews rests particularly upon the Protestant churches of all denominations, and it may not be out of place therefore to draw a comparison between their method and the method of the mother church. If we are anxious to learn we must put prejudice aside and strive to look at the merits and demerits of each in an unbiased manner. Let us first look into the ordinary Protestant church, where the minister strives to give the people the gospel. Many of the pews are empty. Among those present the ladies outnumber the men by six to one or more. The min- ister is usually earnest and strives to be eloquent when he addressed the Deity in prayer, but he has heard the reproach of repetition so often that he is always afraid of having one service resemble another in the slightest degree. A new prayer, a new sermon, a new song from the choir, everything [PAGE 3248] as NEW as possible, so as to escape that dreadful reproach. He is almost a nervous wreck because of the haunting thought that his people may think him "stale," Next, let us go to a "popular" church and see what methods they use. The minister in these churches is always "progressive" and "up-to-date." There is often a gymnasium and a physical culture instructor attached to the es- tablishment. Every night in the week there is a meeting connected with this, that, or the other club. There are picnics, lawn parties, and dances in the summer, and church suppers in the winter. Meetings for men and meet- ings for women are usually sandwiched in, so that the whole is one dazzling phantasmagoria with never a dull moment during the week, and on Sunday--ah, that is the real treat, the great attraction--then the pastor entertains, as only he knows how. He is assisted by a matchless choir of high priced art- ists trained by an equally high priced conductor. The music is not par- ticularly religious, save as all good music fresh from the heaven world speaks to the spiritual man, and awakens the memories of our eternal home. But it is a treat to the music lover and draws hundreds on that account. Between the opening and the closing parts of the musical program comes the so-called "sermon." One of our contributors relates that once she was horrified on entering a church to see on the pulpit this inscription: "I [PAGE 3249] preach not the gospel." The words of the context: "Woe unto me if," were hidden on the other side of the pulpit, and the effect must have been star- tling to say the least. However, it is a motto that might be on the pulpit of more than one "progressive" church, for though the "sermon" may open with a quotation from the Bible, that is usually the only reference to the word of God. The rest is an excellent oration on whatever topic may be the most live local or national issue, or if there be a dearth from the general so- cial and political sources, there are always the temperance and purity prob- lems. True, they are worn, like the Gospels, but by taking a bottle of beer on the pulpit, working up a frenzy and smashing the cursed thing, it is still possible to make an appeal to the jaded taste for sensationalism which is ultimately developed by most of the pastor's hearers. But by that time the "progressive" pastor gets a call to go and build up another church else- where. This much is admitted universally: under the continued pastorate of one man the churchgoers lose interest. However, this is not because their min- isters are not sincere and hard working. The great majority are exemplary in every way, but somehow they cannot keep their hold on the people. Some denominations allot the churches under their jurisdiction to their ministers for a certain term, and at the end of that time transfer them to another section to work there awhile. [PAGE 3250] Much may be said both for and against these various schemes, but that is beside the present discussion. Only one remedy for lack of interest seems to have a potency sufficiently powerful to meet the general approval as a producer of at least temporary enthusiasm: the revival. There people flock to hear a stranger, always of strong, dominant, and aggressive personality, with a voice that can speak in octaves from a low pleading call, catching the crushed sinner, to the clarion cry which sounds like the crack of doom to the recalcitrants. Like the "progressive" pastor, he is ably aided by a trained staff, choir, and orchestra, all arranged to make a powerful appeal TO THE SENSATIONS. People are "converted" by thou- sands and religion (?) takes on a new lease of life in that community. But, alas, only for a while. It is a fact needing no more than the bare statement, that after a very little while all but a pitifully small percent- age of the converts backslide, and the poor minister must go on laboring to keep the semblance of religion in a community increasingly negligent of spiritual matters. This state of affairs has become so notorious that comparatively few young men enter the seminaries. There is thus a decline in both church goers and ministers, which, if continued, can have but one ending--the ex- tinction of the Protestant church. When we investigate the methods of the Catholic church for the sake of comparison and to arrive at the correct conclusion regarding its power of [PAGE 3251] attraction, we should first note the absolute contrast between the service there and that in the Protestant churches. If we listen for a moment at the door of a dozen of the edifices of protestant denominations, we shall find that each minister has a different topic, but we may go to any Catholic church in the wide world, and we shall find that they are all using the same ritual at the altar on a given day. What the priest may say from the pulpit is negligible in face of that all-important fact, for words are vibrations. They are creative, as demonstrated when sand and spores form geometrical figures in response to the voice of a singer, and the Mass chanted in count- less Catholic churches scattered all over the world reverberates with cumu- lative power through the universe as one mighty anthem, affecting all who are in tune therewith, raising their religious fervor and loyalty to their church in a manner unapproachable by the isolated and haphazard efforts of individuals, no matter how sincere. In corroboration of this assertion regarding the cumulative power of a ritual, we may mention the phenomenal hold of Christian Science on its fol- lowers. The Christian Scientists have no high priced preachers. Their mu- sic is not out of the ordinary. Yet their churches are filled to the doors, and they are branching out at a wonderful rate because they have, first, a message of vital interest, health, and wealth; and second, the occult effect of concentrated effort obtained by using identical readings in every [PAGE 3252] Christian Science church in the world, so that the cumulative effect may be felt by every Christian Scientist who is in tune. This effect would be much stronger if the service were really occult, and chanted to a certain strain as is the Mass. Thus, to sum up this phase of the matter, the persistently continued in- dividual attempts of Protestant preachers to guide their people by new and original sermons are a failure, while concerted efforts centered in uniform rituals repeated year after year, as put forth by Roman Catholics and Chris- tian Scientists, and even by the Freemasons and Fraternal Orders, hold the audience. In order to understand this mystery and apply the remedy intelligently, it is necessary to understand the constitution of man, both during the years of growth and also as an adult. In addition to the visible body of man which we see with our physical eyes, there are other and finer vehicles that are unseen by the great major- ity of mankind. Nevertheless they are not superfluous appendages to the physical body, but are indeed much more important from the fact that they are the springs of all action. Without these finer vehicles the physical body would be inert, senseless, and dead. The first of these vehicles we call the vital body because it is the av- enue of vitality which leavens the dead lump of the mortal coil in the years of life, and gives us the power to move. [PAGE 3253] The second is the desire body, which is the basis of our emotions and feelings, and which galvanizes this visible body into action. These three vehicles together with the mind constitute the personality which is then in- formed by the Spirit. Each of the bodies we have named has its own essen- tial nature, and we may say that the keynote of the physical body is "iner- tia," as it never moves unless impelled through these finer invisible bodies. The key note of the vital body is "repetition." That is easily un- derstood,, when we consider that although it has power to move the body, such movements result only from repeated impulses of the same kind. It is taught to coordinate the movements of the body as the Spirits wills. If we go to the organ for the first time and endeavor to play, we are not at once able to move the fingers in the desired manner to produce the proper tones. It requires repeated efforts to execute even the simplest co-ordinated move- ments of the fingers requisite to making the proper harmony. Because of this necessity for repetition it is an occult maxim that all occult develop- ment begins with the training of the vital body. The desire body, which we sense as our emotional nature, on the other hand, is always seeking something new. This desire for change of condition, change of scene, change of mood, love of emotion and sensation is due to the activities of the desire body, which is like the sea in a storm, full of waves, tossing hither and thither, at random and without design, each one [PAGE 3254] one powerful and destructive when unbridled and without allegiance to the central directing power. The mind, indeed, is the focus through which the Spirit endeavors to sub- due the lower personality and guide it according to the ability acquired during its evolutionary period. But at the present time it is so vague a quantity that among the great majority of people it cannot be reckoned with, and they are therefore led principally by their feelings and emotions, with- out much amenability to reason or thought. Recognizing the great and wonderful power of the emotional body and its amenability to "rhythm," which may be said to be its keynote, progressive theology has addressed itself to and focused its efforts upon appeals to this vehicle. It is this part of our nature which enjoys the entertainments of the sensational vaudeville pastor. This vehicle it is that sways and groans under the rhythmic rant of the revivalist, itself vibrant with emo- tion, rising and falling in the well calculated measure of the speaker's voice. Unity of pitch is soon established, a state of actual hypnosis where the victim can no more help going to "the mourners bench," than water can refrain from running down hill. They realize powerfully for the time being the enormity of their sins and they are equally anxious to start a better life. Alas, however, the next wave of attraction to their emotional nature washes away all the preacher has said, as well as all their resolutions, and they stand exactly where they were before, much to the chagrin and sorrow of [PAGE 3255] the evangelist concerned. Thus all efforts to elevate humanity by work upon the unstable desire body are and must always prove futile. This the occult schools of all ages have recognized and they have therefore addressed themselves to the changing of the vital body by working with its keynote, which is repetition. For that purpose, they have written various rituals suited to humanity at the different stages of its development and in that way they have fostered soul growth, slowly but surely, and regardless of whether man was aware that he was being worked upon in that manner or not. The Ancient Atlantean Mystery Temple, which we speak of as the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, had certain rites prescribed in the mount by the divine hierarch who was their par- ticular teacher. Certain rites were performed during week days. Other rites were used on the Sabbath, and again other rites at the times of the new moons and on the great solar festivals. Nor was it within the province of any one from the high priest down, to alter this ritual, under pain and penalty of death. Also among other ancient people do we find evidence of a ritual--the Hin- dus, the Chaldeans, and the Egyptians all used it in their religious ser- vices. Among the latter we have, for instance, the so-called BOOK OF THE DEAD, as an evidence of the occult value and the scope of such ritualistic services. Even among the Greeks, though they were notoriously individualistic and anxious to give expression to their own conception, we [PAGE 3256] find the ritual in the mysteries, and alter during the so-called Christian Era we have the same occultly inspired ritual in the Catholic Church, as a means of fostering soul growth by work on the vital body. It is not contended that there were no abuses within these various sys- tems of religion, that the priests were always hold men, and that their hands were clean and spotless when they ministered at the sacrifice or ritual. It is indeed true that abuse at times became so great that re-organizations were necessary, and the Protestant movement was inaugurated by Martin Luther in order to get away from the abuses that had sprung up within the Catholic church. However, all these systems had in them the ker- nel of truth and power in the fact that they worked for the development of the vital body, and therefore, no matter how corrupt the priests might be, the ritual always retained its great power. Hence when the reformers left the ritual behind them, they were in exactly the same position as the Athe- nians on Mars Hill--they were forced to seek something new. In each de- nomination there is a desire for truth. Each of the sects today is strug- gling to solve the problem of life in its own way, but each is striking a new note in a haphazard manner, and therefore they are all failing, while the Catholic church with all its abuses still holds a wonderful sway over [PAGE 3257] its adherents because of the concerted power of the ritual. In order that we may learn from them how to fill our churches and foster the soul growth in our Protestant people, we must first realize the fact that "in unity there is strength." We must cease our senseless disputes about details. Whether we "sprinkle," or "immerse," whether we are "predes- tined" or "free"--what does it really matter? None was ever saved because of this hair splitting. The words of Abraham Lincoln, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity," must be adopted before anything else can be done. Agreement to that proposition in true consecra- tion to the great object must be the cornerstone, and on that basic prin- ciple a Federation of the Protestant churches could thus be formed. The de- tails of government could be worked out by the membership. Having attained this point, the important question of ritual could be worked out in two, or perhaps three ways: (1). It could consist of certain readings from the Bible arranged in such a manner that they would form a connected and consecutive service. A number of such rituals could be written so that each would be suitable for a certain feast, and on ordinary Sundays another ritual could be used in all the Protestant churches of the world. (2). The ritual of the Episcopal church could be adopted as it is, or in a modified form. [PAGE 3258] (3). An occultist capable of getting in touch with the cosmic sources of knowledge might be found and persuaded to write a ritual that would have in it a power unattainable in any other way. The first of these ways would be the least effective. The last would be the most efficient method of attaining the desired end, but conversely, to obtain a ritual by the last method would be much more difficult. Before a ritual can have its maximum effect, however, those who are to grow thereby must become attuned to it. This involves work on their vital bodies while those vehicles are still in the making. It is a matter of occult knowledge that birth is a fourfold event, and that birth of the physical body is only one step in the process. The vital body also undergoes a development analogous to the intra-uterine growth of the dense body. It is born about the seventh year of life. During the next seven years the desire body is ripened and comes to birth at about the four- teenth year, when adolescence is reached, and the mind is born at twenty-one, when the age of manhood and womanhood commences. These occult facts are well known to the Catholic Hierarchy, and while the Protestant ministers work upon the emotional nature, which is ever seek- ing something new and sensational without realizing the futility of the struggle and the fact that it is this most rampant vehicle that drives people FROM the churches in search of something more new and more sensa- [PAGE 3259] tional, the occultly informed Catholic Hierarchy concentrates its effort upon the children. "Give us the child up to its seventh year and it is ours forever," they say, and they are right. During these important seven years they impregnate the plastic vital bodies of their charges with their views by means of repetition. The repeated prayers, the time and tune of the various chants, and the incense, all have a powerful effect on the growing vital body. Nor does it matter that the ritual is in an unknown tongue, for to the Ego this vibratory message is a divine color chant, intelligible to all Spirits. Neither does it matter that the child repeats like a parrot, without understanding, so long as it does repeat what is given it. The more the better, for these occult vibrations are thereby incorporated in its vi- tal body before it sets, and remain with it through life. Every time the Mass is intoned by the servants of the church in any part of the world, the cumulative vibratory power of their effort stirs those who have its line of force in their vital bodies in such a manner that they are drawn to the church with a generally, irresistible force. This is on the same principle that when a tuning fork is struck, others of identical pitch commence to sing. Some Catholics have turned against the Catholic church, but subcon- sciously and at heart they have remained Catholic to their dying day, for the vital body is exceedingly difficult to change, and the lines of force [PAGE 3260] build into it during its gestatory period are stronger than almost any indi- vidual will. It follows, therefore, that if we would change the tendency of the world to pursue pleasure and sense gratification to the exclusion of religion, we would do well to begin with the small children. If we gather them at the altar and teach them to love God's house and incorporate certain universal prayers and parts of the ritual in their forming vital bodies, avoiding even the semblance of a "church supper," but cultivating in all who enter the ideal of reverence for a holy place, we shall by degrees build around the physical stone structure an invisible temple of Light and Life, such as de- scribed by Manson in "The Servant in the House." THE SALT OF ALCHEMISTRY: QUESTION NO. 162: IN THE ROSICRUCIAN PHILOSOPHY WE ARE TOLD THAT IN THE PHRASEOLOGY OF THE ALCHEMISTS THE MOON FORCES WERE SPOKEN OF AS SALT. HAS THIS ANY SIG- NIFICANCE WITH REGARD TO THE FOLLOWING QUOTATION FROM MARK 9:49-50: "FOR EVERY ONE SHALL BE SALTED WITH FIRE, AND EVERY SACRIFICE SHALL BE SALTED WITH SALT. SALT IS GOOD; BUT IF THE SALT HAVE LOST ITS SALTNESS, WHEREWITH WILL YE SEASON IT? HAVE SALT IN YOURSELVES, AND HAVE PEACE ONE WITH [PAGE 3261] ANOTHER"? ANSWER: Every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. That was a command- ment in the Mosaic law, Judaism as we may call it, and was originated by Je- hovah. However, the salt has another and deeper significance. The idea is that if the salt is put upon the sacrifice it causes a chemical fire, and that was symbolical of that burning sensation we must feel by remorse for misdeeds we have done. Every transgression shall be punished and expiated by a certain sacrifice. The salt and burning of the sacrifice were symbols of something better to come. The people at that time could not themselves be living sacrifices. They could not have denied themselves anything, but they did love their possessions very, very dearly. Many children they wanted, and much land and much cattle, and therefore if the cattle and the things that they prized most highly were taken from them on account of sin and transgression, they felt it as they could not have felt an injury done to themselves. Thus this sacrifice was a sort of vicarious atonement, and it stood as a symbol of the time later on when they should be a sacrifice themselves and feel remorse for whatever wrong they had done. Then the sacrifice was not accepted at the altar until it had been salted, and similarly the living sacrifice will not be accepted on the altar of repentance until it has been [PAGE 3262] salted. That is, we must feel a burning anguish, remorse, and contrition for every wrong we have done, and only when we have done that is the sacri- fice accepted. Then the sacrifice was burned by a divinely enkindled fire. This indicates that after we have salted the living sacrifice of ourselves with our tears of contrition, laying ourselves on the altar before God, it shall come to pass that, "Though our sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow." The record will be wiped out from the life panorama. Thus we cleanse ourselves, but the first requisite is that the sacrifice must be salted with tears. The salting of the sacrifices in ancient times may have had something to do with the idea that Jehovah is the Spirit of the Moon and therefore rules the chemical element salt, but the salt of the alchemist was not the ordi- nary salt. That was the salt of tears and contrition, and the alchemists did not profess to make base metal into gold, either. What they proposed to do was to make the base elements of the body taken from the earth into the gold of the soul, that golden wedding garment that shines around every one who attains to spirituality and becomes a brighter light as he lives a higher and nobler life. [PAGE 3263] THE PHILOSOPHY OF WAR: QUESTION NO. 163: FROM THE ROSICRUCIAN VIEWPOINT, AN WAR BE SAID TO BE RIGHT? WHAT SHOULD BE THE STAND OF THE ROSICRUCIAN STUDENT IN THE PRESENT CONFLICT? (World War I) ANSWER: In the great crises of life we are brought face to face with certain issues and called upon to make decisions of such importance that they often require reversion of ideas and ideals, even of our most cherished principles as hitherto conceived. When such a crisis comes it will be noth- ing short of mental, moral, and spiritual suicide to shirk or evade the is- sue, no matter what the cost. Consistency is said to be a jewel, but if we would be truly wise we must be ready to change or revise our ideas whenever occasion really demands. The Rosicrucian teaching has always been in conformity with the Bible dictum, "Thou shalt not kill." No qualification was made and some have car- ried this idea to such extremes that they would not kill a fly. But the ma- jority rightly felt that the injunction was not intended to cover pests and microorganisms which take such a terrible toll of human life. These things, being manifestations of evil thoughts, are without the pale. These people have no intention of allowing their bodies or the bodies of their children [PAGE 3264] to be overrun by vermin rather than to kill the pests, and they realize that extermination of insects was a great basic factor in America's success at Panama. In fact it turned the balance from failure to success, and this principle should be applied wherever necessary. They feel that it would be a foolish application of the injunction, "Thou shalt not kill," to allow beasts of prey or poisonous reptiles to roam about among us to endanger our lives, and they would cheerfully kill to remove such a menace from the com- munity. In their code of ethics the injunction involves only the idea that it is wrong to kill for food, for sport, or for profit. To kill a human be- ing seemed to remote a possibility to most of us that it was not considered even as a contingency. We always denounced capital punishment both on the ground that it is basically wrong and that it is worse than useless for when we free the Spirit of a murderer from his body we liberate him in the spiritual world where he can and often does work on others to influence them to similar crimes. Therefore, it is better to restrain him in a prison and strive to reform him so that even if he does not regain his liberty in this life, he will in future existences respect the sanctity of life of others. But while it is possible thus to deal with the individual murderer, the case is different when an entire nation runs amuck against another, commit- ting wholesale murder, arson, destruction, and pillage. It is then [PAGE 3265] impossible to imprison a whole nation and more drastic means of self-defense must be found. In civil life we recognize the law of self-defense, which gives the in- tended victim of a would-be murderer the right to slay rather than to be slain, and it would be specious to contend that this right is lost because a million murderers dress themselves in uniform or because they go out boldly and brazenly, proclaiming their intention to kill, or because they lie in ambush by companies instead of singly. Being the aggressors, they are mur- derers, and their intended victims have an unquestionable moral right to de- fend their own lives by slaying these murderers. Furthermore, there rests upon the strong the sacred duty of protecting the lives of those who are too weak to protect themselves. Even that involves the slaying of the murder- ers. FROM THE SPIRITUAL STANDPOINT, THEREFORE, THE RIGHT OR WRONG OF WAR HINGES UPON THE QUESTION: WHO IS THE AGGRESSOR AND WHO IS THE VICTIM? This question is easily answered where war is started for the purpose of conquest, or when war is waged for an altruistic purpose such as the emanci- pation of a subjected people from physical, industrial, and religious bond- age. It needs no argument to show that in such cases the oppressor is also the aggressor and the liberator is the defender of inalienable human rights. He is performing a sacred duty as his "brother's keeper." When this is once understood we cannot be deceived by the jack-o-lanterns [PAGE 3266] of diplomacy, for we have a true light, a simple standard of right and wrong. Having made up our minds on that point, it follows that it is far more noble and heroic to face a firing squad for refusing to enter the army of the aggressor, or to flee from our native land, or even join the ranks of the defenders in the most menial capacity, than to hold a post of highest honor among the aggressors. On the other hand it is a sacred duty in accord with the highest and no- blest spiritual principles to fight among the defenders. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the merit, and he who shirks this sacred duty to de- fend hearth and home, kin and country, or who fails to fight for the op- pressed, is beneath denunciation. Furthermore, the greater the emergency, the greater the sacrifice that is required. Nor is this great privilege of sacrifice confined to those of brawn and broad shoulders. Not alone are they bound by duty; the work behind the lines is even more important and all can share according to talent and ability--mental, physical, and financial. Furthermore, when the occasion arises where defense of others or self-defense becomes unavoidable, the harder the campaign is pushed, the shorter and more successful it will be. Therefore, no half measures should be tolerated, and neutrality under such circumstances must be regarded at least as a sin of omission. [PAGE 3267] It is well understood by students of occultism that wars are instigated and inspired by the divine hierarchies who thus use one nation to punish an- other for its sins. Even a superficial study of the Bible will furnish many instances. This does not always mean that the victor is altogether righ- teous, but it does show that the vanquished nation has done wrong and merits the punishment inflicted, usually on account of its arrogance and godless- ness. Nor is it a sign that because it is victorious for a long time and extremely difficult to conquer, it enjoys divine favor--at least in a mea- sure. Such a course may be brought about by the invisible army who support the arms of the aggressor and prolong the struggle for the purpose of making the final defeat more thorough and disastrous; also to teach the defenders a lesson that could not be learned in a short decisive struggle. Such, briefly, is the philosophy of war from the spiritual viewpoint, re- gardless of who are the nations involved. If we apply these principles and tests to the present war (World War I) it must be apparent to everyone who is not biased and will approach the subject with a broad and open mind that the militarists of the Central Empires have been preparing for this war for generations, and on the fifth of July, 1914, at the notorious Potsdam Con- ference which is now acknowledged by them, they agreed to start the war af- ter a few weeks during which the bankers of these nations were so manipulat- ing the markets as to amass the greatest possible financial resources. This [PAGE 3268] stamps the Austro-German war parties as the aggressors, who under the spell of the Race Spirits have marshaled their millions against all the other na- tions of the world. In the beginning of the conflict France and England, who were the immediate neighbors of the outraged Belgians, made her cause their own and acted in that respect as their brother's keeper. However, be- ing unprepared, they have been unable to bring the struggle to a decisive termination. Therefore it became necessary for America to enter the con- flict and turn the balance, so that peace may be restored and safety secured to those who are too weak to protect themselves. It has been a matter for rejoicing that whenever the United States has been forced to enter upon a military campaign it has always been either in self-defense or in the still more altruistic role of defender and emancipa- tor of the weak. Were this a war of conquest or aggression, it would be better for any spiritually minded person to face a firing squad as already stated than to participate in such an unrighteous undertaking. On the other hand, seeing that the present struggle which is waged for the purpose of crushing the militarism of Central Europe has taken such a terrible toll of human life with the strength of the allied defenders nearly spent, it is the sacred duty of everyone to aid to the very limit according to his spiritual, mental, moral, or physical capacity, either at the front or behind the lines [PAGE 3269] wherever the judgment of those in charge may require his or her service. Therefore we would urge each and every one of the students of the Rosicrucian Fellowship, of whatever country now defending the cause of hu- manity against the militarist party of the Central Powers, to support his or her government to the very best of his ability that we may soon see "Peace on earth and among men good will." THE ROSICRUCIAN FELLOWSHIP: QUESTION NO. 164: IS THE TEACHING OF THE ROSICRUCIANS AVAILABLE FOR EVERYONE? IF SO, HOW IS IT MADE AVAILABLE? ANSWER: In order to promulgate this teaching The Rosicrucian Fellowship has been formed, and anyone who is not a hypnotist, professional medium, clairvoyant, palmist, or astrologer, may enroll as a Preliminary Course Stu- dent by writing to the General Secretary. There is no fee for initiation, or dues. Money cannot buy our teaching. Advancement depends upon merit. [PAGE 3270] After completing the Preliminary Course one is put on the Regular Student list for a period of two years, after which if he has become so imbued with the verity of the Rosicrucian teachings that he is prepared to sever his connection with all other occult or religious orders--the Christian Churches and Fraternal Orders are excepted--he may assume the Obligation which admits him to the degree of Probationer. We do not mean to insinuate by the foregoing that all other schools of occultism are of no account--far from it. Many roads lead to Rome, but we shall attain with much less effort if we follow one of them than if we zig- zag from path to path. Our time and energy are limited in the first place, and are still further curtailed by family and social duties not to be ne- glected for self-development. it is to husband the minimum of energy that we may legitimately expend upon ourselves, and to avoid waste of the scanty moments at our disposal that resignation from all other Orders is insisted upon. The world is an aggregate of opportunities, but to take advantage of any one of them we must possess efficiency in a certain line of endeavor. De- velopment of our spiritual powers will enable us to help or harm our weaker brothers. It is only justifiable when efficiency in service of humanity is the object. The Rosicrucian method of attainment differs from other systems in one especial particular: It aims, even at the very start, to emancipate the pu- pil from dependence upon others, to make him SELF-RELIANT to the very [PAGE 3271] highest degree, so that he may be able to stand alone under all circum- stances and cope with all conditions. Only one who is thus strongly poised can help the weak. NATURE OF THE MYTH: QUESTION NO. 165: DO YOU CONSIDER THE ANCIENT MYTHS OF ACTUAL VALUE, OR ARE THEY LARGELY FIGMENTS OF THE IMAGINATION? ANSWER: They contain profound occult truths. The contest between light and darkness is described in innumerable myths which are alike in the main features, though circumstances vary according to the evolutionary stage of the people among whom they are found. Generally the appear fantastic to the normal mind because the picture drawn is highly symbolical, and therefore out of tune with the concrete realities of the material world. However, em- bodied in these legends are great truths which appear when they are stripped of their scale of materialism. In the first place it should be borne in mind that the contest between light and darkness, as fought here in the physical world, is but the manifestation of a similar contest fought also in the moral, mental, and [PAGE 3272] spiritual realms. This is a fundamental truth, and he who would know truth should realize that the concrete world, with all the things which we now think so real, solid, and enduring is but an evanescent manifestation cre- ated by the divine thought, and it will dissolve into dust millions of years before the other worlds which we think of us unreal and intangible are similarly dissolved and we once more return to the bosom of the Father, to rest until the dawn of another and greater Cosmic Day. It is particularly at Christmas, when the light is low and the night long, that humanity turns its attention to the Southern Sun, and waits in an attitude of expectancy for the moment when it shall again commence its northward journey to bring back the light and life to our frozen hemisphere. In the Bible we learn how Samson, the Sun, waxed strong while his rays grew longer; how the powers of darkness, the Philistines, ferreted out the secret of his power and had his hair, or rays, cut, to rob him of his strength; how they deprived him of his sight by piercing his eyes and finally slew him at the temple of the Winter Solstice. The Anglo Saxons speak of the victory of King George over the dragon; the Teutons call to mind how Beowolf slew the fire drake and how Siegfried con- quered the dragon Fafner. Among the Greeks we find Apollos victorious over Python, and hercules over the dragon of the Hesperides. Most of the myths [PAGE 3273] tell only the victory of the newborn Sun, but there are others which, like the story of Samson just recited, and Hiram Abiff of the Masonic Legend, tell also of how the old year's Sun was vanquished after having completed its circle and was then ready to give birth to a new Sun, which rises from the ashes of the old Phoenix to be the Lightbearer of a new year. It is in such a myth that we learn of the origin of the mistletoe, a tale which is told in Scandinavia and Iceland, particularly at Yuletide when the red holly mingles in decorative effect with the white mistletoe--a shadowy symbol of the blood that was scarlet with sin but has become white as snow. The story follows: In ancient days when the Gods of Olympus reigned over the Southland, Wotan with his company of Gods, held sway in Walhall where the icicles re- flected the winter Sun in all tints of the rainbow and the beautiful cover- let of snow made light the darkest night eve without the aid of the flaming Aurora Borealis. They were a wonderful company; Tyr, the God of War, still lives in memory among us, for him we have named Tuesday. Wotan, the wisest among them, is remembered in Wednesday; Thor still is with us as the God of Thursday. He was the hammer swinger. When he threw his hammer after the giants, the enemies of God and man, he made thunder and lightning by the terrific force with which his hammer struck the clouds. The gentle Freya, the Goddess of beauty, for whom we have named Friday, and the treacherous [PAGE 3274] Loke, whose name lives in the Scandinavian Saturday, are other present-day fragments of a forgotten faith. But there was no one like Baldur. He was the second son of Odin and Freya. He was the noblest and most gentle of the Gods, beloved of every- thing in nature. He exceeded all beings, not only in gentleness, but in prudence and eloquence, also, and was so fair and graceful that light radi- ated from him. In a dream it was revealed to him that his life was in dan- ger and this weighted so heavily on his Spirit that he shunned the society of the Gods. His mother Freya, having at length prevailed upon him to tell her the cause of his melancholy, called a council of the Gods, and all were filled with sad forebodings, for they knew that the death of Baldur would be the forerunner of their downfall--the first victory of the giants, or powers of darkness. Wotan therefore cast RUNES, magic characters, which were used to foretell the future, but all seemed dark to him. He could gain no insight. The "Vessel of Wisdom," which might have served them in their need was in the keeping of one of the Norns, the Goddesses of Fate, so that could not help them now. Ydun, the Goddess of health, whose golden apples kept the Gods ever young, had been betrayed into the powers of the giants by the trickery of Loke, the spirit of evil, but a delegation was sent to her, in order that she might be consulted on the nature of the sickness which threatened [PAGE 3275] Baldur, if such it be. However, she only answered with tears, and finally after a solemn council held by all the Gods, it was determined that all the elements, and everything in nature should be bound by an oath not to harm the gentle God. This was done and a pledge was obtained from everything, except one insignificant plant which grew westward of the Palace of the Gods; this seemed so frail and fragile that the Gods deemed it to be in- nocuous. However, Wotan's mind still misgave him that all was not right. it seemed to him that the Norns of good fortune had flown away. Therefore, he resolved to visit the home of a celebrated prophetess by the name of Vala. This is the spirit of the earth, and from her he would learn the Fate in store for the Gods, but he received no comfort from her and returned to Walhall more cast down than formerly. Loke, the spirit of evil, and treachery, was in reality one of the gi- ants, or powers of darkness, but part of the time he lived with the Gods. He was a turncoat, who could be depended upon by neither party, and there- fore he was usually distrusted and despised by both Gods and giants. One day while he was sitting bemoaning his Fate a dense cloud began to rise from the ocean, and after a time the dark figure of the Giant King issued from it. Loke in some terror demanded what brought him hither. The monarch be- gan to reproach him with the contemptible part he, a demon by birth, was acting in consenting to be the tool of the Gods in their warfare against the [PAGE 3276] giants, to whom he owed his origin. It was out of no affection for himself that he was admitted to the society of the Gods, but because Wotan knew well the ruin which he and his offspring were destined to bring upon them and thought by thus conciliating him to defer the evil day. He who from his power and cunning might have been a leader with either party, was now de- spised and rejected by all. The Giant King further reproached him with hav- ing already frequently saved the Gods from ruin and even with furnishing them with weapons against the giants, and ended by appealing to the hatred which rankled in his bosom against Wotan and his whole race as a proof that his natural place was with the giants. Loke acknowledged the truth of this and professed his readiness to aid his brethren by all means in his power. The Giant King then told him that the moment was now at hand when he might seal the Fate of the Gods; that if Baldur was slain their destruction must sooner or later follow and that the gentle God's life was at that time threatened by some as yet undiscovered danger. Loke replied that the anxiety of the Gods was already at an end, for Freya had bound everything in nature by oath not to injure her son. The dark monarch said that one thing only had been omitted. However, what that was lay concealed in the breast of the Goddess and was known to no other. [PAGE 3277] He then sank down again to his dark abyss and left Loke to his darker thoughts. Loke then, having assumed the figure of an old woman, appeared to Freya and by his cunning drew from her the fatal secret; that presuming on the in- significant nature of the mistletoe she had omitted to obtain from it the pledge wherewith she had bound everything else. Loke lost no time in re- pairing to the place where the mistletoe grew, and tearing it up by the roots, gave it to the dwarfs, who were cunning smiths, to form into a spear. This weapon was made with many incantations, and when the spear was com- pleted one called for blood to temper it. A child free from all taint was brought in, th dwarf plunged the spear into its breast and sang: "The death-grasp hear, Ho! Ho!--now 'tis o'er-- Soon hardens the spear In the babe's pure gore-- Now the barbed head feel, Whilst the veins yet bleed, Such a deed--such a deed-- Might harden e'en steel." In the meantime the Gods and the dead braves, who are with them assembled for a tournament, in order to convince Baldur how groundless were his ap- prehensions, now that his life was deemed to be charmed, made him the butt of all their weapons. [PAGE 3278] Loke repaired there also with the fatal spear and seeing the blind and strong God, Hoedur, standing apart from the rest, asked him why he did not honor his brother Baldur by tilting with him, also. Hoedur excused himself on account of his blindness and because he had no weapon. Loke then put the enchanted spear into his hands and Hoedur, unsuspicious of malice, pierced Baldur through the breast with the spear made from the mistletoe, so that he fell lifeless to the ground to the unspeakable grief of all creatures. Baldur is the summer Sun, beloved by everything in nature, and in the blind God, Hoedur, who slays him with the spear, we may readily recognize the sign Sagittarius, for when the Sun enters that sign in December it is nearly without light and is therefore said to be slain by the blind God Hoedur. The bow of Sagittarius, as pictured on the zodiac of the south presents symbolically the same idea as the spear of the story in the Eddas. The legend of Baldur's death teaches the same cosmic Truth as all other myths of kindred nature, namely, that the Spirit of the Sun must die to the glories of the Universe while, as Christ, it enters the earth to bring it the renewed life, without which all physical manifestations on our planet must cease. As death here precedes a birth into the spiritual realms, so also there is a death upon the spiritual plane of existence before a birth can take place into the physical body. As Osiris in Egypt is slain by [PAGE 3279] Typhon, ere Horus, the Sun of the New Year, may be born, so also Christ die to the higher world before He an be born into the earth and bring to us the needed annual spiritual impulse; but our Holy Season commemorates no greater manifestation of Love than that of which the mistletoe is emblematical. Be- ing physically the extreme of weakness, it clings to the oak which is the symbol of strength. it is the very weakness of the weakest of beings that pierces the heart of the noblest and gentlest of Gods so that, compelled by his love for the lowly, he descends to the shades in the underworld, even as Christ for our sake dies to the spiritual world each year and is born into our planet that He may permeate it anew with His radiant Life and Energy. PRAYER: QUESTION NO. 166: WHAT IS THE ROSICRUCIAN ATTITUDE TOWARD PRAYER, IN THE LIGHT OF BIBLICAL ADMONITIONS? ANSWER: In one place the Bible directs us to pray without ceasing. In another Christ repudiates the practice, saying that we should not imitate those who believe they are heard for their many words. There can, of course, be no contradiction between the words of Christ and those of His [PAGE 3280] disciples, and we must therefore reconstruct our ideas of prayer in such a manner that we may pray always and yet without voluminous verbal or mental expression. Emerson said: Although your knees were never bent, To heaven your hourly prayers are sent, And be they formed for good or ill, Are registered and answered still." In other words, every act is a prayer, which, under the law of cause and effect, brings to us adequate results. We get exactly what we want. Ex- pression in words is unnecessary, but sustained action along a certain line indicates what we wish, even if we ourselves do not realize it, and in time, longer or shorter, according to the intensity of our desire, there comes that which we have thus prayed for. The things thus gained or achieved may not be what we really and con- sciously want. In fact, sometimes we may get something we would far sooner be without, something that is a curse and a scourge, but the prayer-act has brought them to us and we must keep them until we can legitimately get rid of them. If we throw a stone into the air, the act is not complete until the reaction has carried the stone back to the earth. In that case the ef- fect follows the cause so speedily that it is not difficult to connect the two. However, if we wind the spring of an alarm clock, the power is stored up [PAGE 3281] in the spring until a certain mechanism releases it. Then comes the effect--the ringing of a bell--and although we may have been sleeping the sleep of forgetfulness, the reaction or unwinding of the spring took place just the same. Similarly, acts which we have forgotten will sometime or an- other produce their results regardless, and thus the prayer of action is an- swered. However, there is the true mystic prayer--the prayer where we meet God face to face, as Elijah met Him. Not in the tumult of the world, the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, do we meet Him, but when all is still the soundless voice speaks to us from within. However, the silence which is re- quired for this experience is not a mere silence of words. There are not even the inward pictures which usually pass before us in meditation, nor are there thoughts, but our whole being resembles a calm crystal-clear lake. In it Deity mirrors Himself, and we experience the unity which makes communica- tion unnecessary either by words or in any other way. We feel all God feels. He is nearer than hands and feet. The Christ taught us to say, "Our Father who are in heaven," etc. That prayer is the most sublime that can be given utterance in words, but this prayer of which I am speaking may at the moment of union give itself utter- ance in the one unspoken word, "Father." The devotee, when he is truly in the mood of prayer, never gets any farther. He makes no requests, for what is the use? Has he not the promise, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want"? Has he not been told to seek first the kingdom of heaven and all other things shall be added? His attitude can perhaps best be understood if we take the simile of a faithful dog looking with dumb devotion into its master's face, its whole soul pouring itself out through its eyes in love. Likewise, only of course with much greater intensity, does the true mystic look to the God within and pour himself or herself out in voiceless adora- tion. In this way we may pray without ceasing, inwardly, while we work as zealous servants in the world without; for let us always remember that it is not intended that we should dream our lives away. While we pray to God within, we must also work for God without. Continued with file "RC1091.TXT" End of File

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