Source: "Etheric Vision & What It Reveals" by students
(or spirals of force), large and small, some turning left-handed and some
right-handed. This reminds us of the saying that light is energy running in
circles, running freely, whereas matter is "bottled-up" energy. The Cehmical
Ether is the "bottle" for non-living matter; the Life AND Chemical Ether
TOGETHER are the "bottle" for living matter.
The etheric atom and the physical atom are as a rule tightly intertwined,
but occult students (and some others) often feel a sensation as of the etheric
atom "unscrewing" from the physcial atom. Only recently has physical science
come to realize that it does make a difference in Nature whether a force runs
right-hended or left-handed. Formerly the "Law of Parity" expressed the common
belief that it made no difference in Nature which way the forces run. A whole
new branch of science has developed out of the discovery that it does
definitely make a difference, both to structure of matter and the development
Everywhere in Nature one finds the Law of the Spiral; from nebulae and
galaxies in the heavens to the spiralling growth of leaf and bud in plants,
right down into the helix of chromosomes on which the genes are strung like
beads, and down still farther to ions--and to the atomic bases of substances
which live or once had life. There we discover again that the carbon atom
seems to be a special agent of the spiralling habit. For although there are
some non-living molecules and ions which also show the spiralling habit, this
characteristic is frequently the sign of the life forces. We quote: "What
started the right-handedness and left-handedness now so vital to living
things? If some life process must accompany the separation of right-handed
from left-handed materials, how could liufe begin in the first place? If
everything now right-handed were suddenly made left-handed, would life proceed
without interruption and without change? These are deeply studied problems.
Some good guesses have been made, but they have not produced the full answer.
The guesses have come--and perhaps the full answer will come--from examining
the symmetries of the forces acting on matter, along with the symmetries of
the matter on which they act. Crystals furnish one of the most beautiful
examples of order and symmetry. Thinking further, you will find that order and
symmetry have very far-reaching application in all the natural sciences. Today
physicists think of the symmetries of the fundamental particles of which the
universe is made, of the fields of force in which those particles find
themselves, and of the mathematical equations which describe the resulting
behavior of the world. Chemists think of the symmetires of the molecules,
simple and complicated, made of those particles. And biologists think of those
symmetries--that orderliness--in their effort to understand the origin and
behavior of life itself." (CRYSTALS AND CRYSTAL GROWING, Holden and Singer,
ORGANIC VS. INORGANIC MAGNETISM:
Although we may speak of the magnetic rain as "solar ether," it is not a
property of sunlight. It is seen falling through space in dense darkness as
well as in the light. This is why occult science classifies it with the Life
Ether is the particular avenue for its specialization. Its fluidic magnetism
is the source of what is commonly known as "sex attraction," which occult
science views as an activity of the positive and negative poles of the Life
Ether. Polarity, as such, however, is not limited to the Life Ether or to the
sexuality of organically propagating creatures; it is found on higher
spiritual planes as well, where it manifests in a different way.
As evolution advances, the incarnating entity (Ego) is able to specialize
more and more of this cosmic magnetic fluid; and therefore the human being
specializes this energy in far greater quantities than do plants and animals.
Moreover, Max Heindel's inverstigations suggested that the forces entering
through the spleen show different colors according to the various uses made of
it by the different life waves. (TEACHINGS OF AN INITIATE, p. 172).
This colorless ether is in fact the original form of the "animal magnetism"
or "organic magnetism" traditionally assigned to all living creatures, but not
to the mineral kingdom. Sex and heredity are part of the function, but not the
whole function, which is, in general, the promotion of life in the entire
Note that there is a "mineral" as well as an "animal" magnetism. We may
liken the difference between these two kinds of magnetism to that between
inorganic and organic iron. The plant takes the mineral element iron and
transmutes it into organic iron, which is abundant, for example, in the green
leaves of the plant; yet this organic iron is outwardly not in the least like
a lump of iron, or iron ore, from which it is originally derived.
The magnetic field of the Life Ether, as we have seen, builds the embryo in
the womb beginning with the fertilized ovum, and because the child body
requires large quantities of this ether, the child's etheric aura is larger in
proportion to its body than is the adult's. This reserve supply of ether in
the child's aura consists of Chemical Ether atoms as well as a reserve supply
of the cosmic life force. (The "prismatic ether atomk" actually consists of
both Life and Chemical Ether.)
Physical science has as yet discovered neither the colorless solar fluid
nor the fact that it is subject to the human will; yet, if it were not subject
to the human will, it could not be true that the higher life froms specialize
larger and larger quantities of it. The comsic magnetic rain does indeed
respond to the human will, which is focused in the frontal sinus as we know. A
sense of heat often accompanies the downpouring of the cosmic rain. Max
Heindel points out that in early epochs of our evolution this cosmic force
did enter the vital body at the will of the human being, and in a different
way from that by which it enters at present (through the spleen). We can now
begin to RECOVER the conscious use of the cosmic life forces.
Drawing the "inorganic" force through the human magnetic aura converts it
to "organic" magnetism, which the human body needs for growth. hence the
ancient practice of "laying on of hands." The magnetic healer builds, in
effect, an artificial womb of force in which the body of his patient is able
to reconstruct itself. A case is reported of a child born with "buds" in the
place of fingers on one hand, and under months of work by a group of dedicated
church healers (members of an orthodox communion) these "buds" (which are
found in the embryo) unfolded and grew into normal fingers, just as if the
child had been placed back in the mother's womb and grwoth taken up where it
Again Max Heindel has commented that "when it (solar fluid) is sent out by
the brain in particularly large quantities it moves the muscles to which the
nerves lead." But for the work of body-building--which is what healing really
is--still greater quantities of the solar fluid are required, and unless these
are called down from space by way of the frontal sinus (human will), and
thence difrected by the brain, such miracles as we have mentioned cannot be
performed; and oftentimes more than one healer must work on the case. The
group of healers mentioned above knew nothing of the modus operandi of the
cosmic forces, but neverthless successfully invoked them through prayer to a
Divinity whom they pictured as in Heaven. It is noteworthy that most of the
healers were women with their positive vital bodies.
The science called "mesmerism" involves the use of these cosmic forces, but
mesmerism is not the same as modern hypnotism, which depends upon suggestion.
"Suggestion" could not have made the embryonic buds unfold into fingers for
the child. neither could "suggestion" delay corruption of a piece of meat, or
a vegetable, as the application of live magnetism has been reported to have
We have said that magnetic force is nearly always allied with some form of
moisture, like the sap of the tree in plants and the blood of animals and
humans, or other fluids. Trees cut down for Christmas trees bleed their sap
away; and as this bleeding goes on, the tree's vital magnetism rushes out, a
veritable hemorrhage of force, soon after cutting; then more slowly until the
tree is dead and its needles brown.
It is painful to any sensitive person to sit in the room with a tree so
palpably bleeding to death; and most occult students prefer a living tree, or
at least a tree culled by the forestry service to make room for a healthier
growth on mountain slopes; or an artificial tree, of which there are many
The solar force flowing in through the spleen is a cosmic force, but still
"inorganic" from the human point of view; which by the alchemy of the
incarnating Spirit becomes an "organic" force of life-magnetism. Iron is
important to the creation of human magnetism, and there are four atoms of iron
in every normal hemoglobin cell; and the presence of iron in the planet is
undoubtedly concerned in the planetary magnetism. But there are also great
magnetic fields in interstellar space--the matrices of future worlds.
We have been speaking of "life" forces, but occult science also speaks of
"death" forces, and as the life force is associated with the Sun, so the death
forces are associated with the Moon. Max Heindel speaks of "the death-dealing
Moon forces" and also "the crystallizing Moon forces." The life-process is a
balance between the upbuilding solar forces and the down-tearing lunar forces.
In some ancient schools of occult science these currents are known as "upward
flowing" and "downward flowing" breaths.
The grwoth cycles of the vital body are set in septenary periods derived
from the crystallizing lunar forces. Seven years is the span of maturation of
the etheric sheath, the vital body being "born" from its sheath at the age of
seven, then the several ethers maturing further, separately, in seven-year
cycles; the Life Ether at fourteen with the desire body; the Light Ether at
twenty-one with the mind; the Reflecting Ether at twenty-eight with the mind's
full maturation. Max Heindel also mentions an ancient tradition of "Moon
beings" whose life span from infancy to old age is but seven years. Such cases
are known to medical science.
We have spoken heretofore of etheric sight and etheric hearing; we must
also take note of an etheric sense of touch. The Life Ether is SENSED, for
example, as a kind of heavy magnetic fluid. One may call it syrupy, if it is
understood that we mean by this that its magnetism gives it this consistency.
When the Invisible Helper dips his hands into the etheric body of the patient
and then withdraws them, the vital body of the patient seems to cling to his
hands. Ordinarily, of course, the patient does not feel his own magnetism, but
the Helper's magnetic aura in this instance is exerting an outside attraction.
This is the "cement" of assimilation about which Max Heindel speaks (THE VITAL
BODY, p. 71). Note that the "cement" of assmilation belonging to the Life
Ether is found BELOW the molecular threshold of the body, whereas the "cement"
of the Chemical Ether is definitely molecular, as shown in the fact that the
lines of force of the vital body carry off these molecules, which many seers
have described. We have said that the molecule is the smallest portion of a
substance which can still be called "matter." When we break down the molecule
we have entered into the world of atoms, and when we break down the atoms we
enter the world of sub-atomic forces. And here on the borderline of matter we
enter the states known to occult science as the Life Ether.*
The Invisible Helper works directly within and upon the molecular structure
of the body in the Chemical Ether, though he can materialize a hand physical
enough to perform massage, make chiropractic adjustments, or even perform
Biochemists naturally assume that all of the electromagnetic phenomena of
the body DERIVE FROM the body's chemistry; the occultist claims that the vital
body has an independeent existence, that it exists prior to the body and is
its continuing matrix. No doubt biochemists will one day take their
insgtruments and test a dead body and, of course, find no electromagnetic
field; this, they will declare, proves that it emanates from the body, which
being dead, has no field. But if the occultist is right, the biochemist will
*"All reactions, including those of living matter, are linked to the
discover his electric field if he evolves sensitive instruments capable of
exploring the space a few feet above the corpse, for there he will find that
for a few days after death, a magnetic field does exist, floating above the
corpse. And even later, if he knew where to look, and where to transport his
instruments, and how to place them, he might discover a human-shaped magnetic
field which corresponded to the dead body but separated from it in space as
well as in time!
But if the theory of a floating magnetic field seems strange, we may recall
that astronomers now postulate that magnetic fields exist in interstellar spce
which--if they do nothing else--speed the comsic rays on their way through the
THE LIFE ETHER AND COSMIC FIRE:
Mention has been made several times of the "Life Fire" which burns in the
Life Ether. It is not merely a physical heat, but a Fire which denotes the
presence of a living spirit. In the so-called "Lost Sayings of Jesus"
discovered in Egypt in 1904 (and again in 1945) the statement occurs:
"Wherever there are two, they are not without God, and wherever there is one I
say I am with him. Raise the stone and there thou shalt find me; cleave the
rock and there I am." There is still in use in certain churches an Easter
Ceremonial in which part of the ritual consists of striking a spark from a
rock, and lighting the Easter candles from the flame built from the spark;
suggesting that the Cosmic Fire (Life Spirit) is meant in these verses.
Yet the Universal Fire is "cold" while it sleeps in the rock and in cosmic
space; it is still "cold" in the plant kingdom, although to the etheric sight
it has the appearance of a delicate flame, not a flame which burns and leaps,
but a steady glow of the pink-orange which characterizes the Life Ether in the
plant kingdom. In animals and men it takes on a deeper rosy or red hue for
just as the radiation of energy and atomic particles are not visible to the
human eye, although they exist, so the "heat" of cold-blooded animals or of
plants is not detectable to human senses in the common range. Apropos of which
we quote Dr. Donald H. Andrews of Johns Hopkins University, who said in a
speech: "If you turn out the lights and stand in the dark, you do not appear
to be glowing; yet if you stand in front of an infrared television camera in
complete darkness the television screen will show you as a glowing form,
beaming with light which radiates out from you as a result of the vibrations
of your atoms. This is an established physical fact."
It is now some ten years since a professor attached to Chicago University,
Dr. Bernard Strehler, and another attached to the national Laboratory at Oak
Ridge, Dr. William Arnold, discovered that green plants give off a faint red
light, much as fireflies do, and then produced in the laboratory a substance
which seems to be the same as that which in the plant emits the red glow. the
red light cannot be seen with the naked eye, they pointed out, but something
producing it must be there. They added: "These findings were made possible by
the study of fireflies and luminous bacteria. it is now thought that there is
a close relationship between light emission which releases energy and
photosynthesis, which stores energy....Even more surprising is the fact that
the same chemical compounds which are responsible for light emission in
fireflies and the luminous bacteria often causing lighted fish at night, are
involved in photosynthesis."
Only in warm-blooded animals and in humankind does the "cold" Fire of space
tale on heat which is felt as such to human sensory equipment.
The heat aspect of the Life Ether in the human body is really a property
conferred by the activity of forces operating in the positive pole of the
Light Ether, with which we are concerned in our next set of lessons. For just
as we have not been able wholly to separate the Chemical Ether from the Life
Ether, so wee cannot wholly separate the Life Ether from the Light Ether. All
of the ethers react and interact one with the other.
As color is associated with sunlight in the common range of vision, so
color is associated with the body magnetism to the etheric vision. the five
colors specialized by the ethers, which stand between violet and red in a
color circle, are not found in the solar spectrum as known to ordinary vision;
they do not occur in the rainbow, which is refracted sunlight. These are the
colors running from beyond-violet, through mid-purple, to magenta or peach-
blossom color, to below-red. But though these colors are not found in the
solar spectrum, they are true primary colors in the Desire World, and the
peach-blossom color is the color of the Life Force as seen in the Life Ether
in the human body. Max Heindel says that this color is not always described in
identical terms by those who see it. He himself calls it pink-blue" or
"pinkish-purple." It is the expression of the Universal Life Spirit, as noted
before, and since it is LIFE ether it appears only in plants, animals, and
man--not in the mineral kingdom. Ordinarily the color of the vital body is
called a "rosy hue."
The Chemical Ether is characterized by blue or indigo, deepening to mid-
purple or near-black.
Other colors may also appear in these two lower ethers but those mentioned
When the solar ether pours through the spleen and is refracted in the seed
atom of the vital body in the solar plexus, it pours through the body so that
every atom of the body, both physical and etheric, receives its stimulation.
The excess force then radiates outward in rose-colored lines. Mr. Heindel's
first thought when studying the ethers was that this force took on its rosy
hue by refraction through each prismatic ether atom: later he decided the
change occurred in the solar plexus seed atom, and a cluster of atoms around
it. (COSMO-CONCEPTION, p. 10) He had not completed his researches at the time
of his sudden death in January, 1919.
Now let us turn oncew more to the view of the vital body available to the
etheric sight of the occult scientist. Necessarily the vital body atom is seen
in conjunction with the physical atom, with which the etheric atom is tightly
entwined. To picture the physical and etheric atom of the body, imagine a
pear-shaped wire basket having walls of spirally curved wire running obliquely
from pole to pole. This is the physical part of the atom. It is shaped nearly
like our Earth and the prismatic vital body atom is inserted at the top, which
is widest, and corresponds to the positive pole of the earth. Since the vital
prism is inserted at the top, the point of the prism extends toward the bottom
of the "basket," which is termed the negative pole. The whole atom, thus
interpenetrated, resembles a top swinging, swaying, and vibrating, in a note
which is set by the archetype and the Sounding Flame in the medulla oblongata.
This suggests that the "prism" is part of the atomic nucleus (of which
little was known during Max Heindel's lifetime), while the "wire basket"
would be, perhaps, the spiralling paths of electrons travelling in the
magnetic vortices determined by the Life Ether. Note that this atom is not
disc-shaped but pear-shaped, as it is now thought the Earth globe may really
be, with the wide part at the South Pole.*
The etheric prisms expand when life force is rushing through them; they
contract ("shrivel up") in fatigue and the lines of force are crumpled and
bent, forcing the Ego to withdraw in sleep. In "THE ROSICRUCIAN MYSTERIES,"
Max Heindel comments that "when the vital body collapses, as it
were, the little streams of force which permeate each atom seem to shrivel up,
and the Ego is forced to abandon its body to the restorative powers of sleep."
He also mentions certain forces which circle the atom and the earth from pole
to equator. ("THE VITAL BODY).
To the etheric vision, points of the etheric prisms are seen sticking out
in every direction. But just as physical vision varies, so also etheric vision
varies from person to person, and although all see much the same thing, it is
seen in varying degrees of sharpness and clarity. Students should therefore
*Max Heindel specifiaclly designates this as the common physical atom; but
modern occult writers point out that it is perhaps not the hydrogen arom, but
an "etheric" atom which is really sub-atomic.
Of the so-called "ultimate physical atom" Max Heindel says: "If we are so
far developed that we are able to leave our dense physical body and take soul
flight into interplanetary space, we shall find that THE ULTIMATE PHYSICAL
atom is spherical in shape like our earth; it is a ball." ("ROSICRUCIAN
Nineteenth century physics once held that atoms were of various shapes;
hence this comment that the true atom is round. Modern physicists say that the
atoms of matter are energy running in circles.
avoid arbitrary statements until they are quite sure that their etheric sight
is reasonably well developed. To one the vital body may appear to be no more
than a vaguely colored mist extending about an inch and a half from the body.
To another this mist resolves itself into a multitude of rose-colored lines of
force. The Chemical Ether may be seen lying close to the body, and to some its
dark blue color may seem to be an empty space like the core of a gas flame.
Many have seen crystals, molecules and particles, streaming from the surface
of the body. sparks of vital energy which shoot from head, face, and hands are
seen now and again by almost everyone. They are also seen around plants and a
blue spark which flies from a seed sometimes signals the presence of a Nature
Spirit which dwells in the seed.
We usually discover that when Max Heindel says "vital body" he means
specifically the Life Ether, rather more than the Chemical Ether, for of
course, "vital" means pertaining to life, but it is the Chemical Ether which
forms the actual etheric double of every single molecule in the human body.
However, each atom is also penetrated and surrounded by a slight aura of the
Light and Reflecting Ethers. ("THE VITAL BODY").
Death of the body occurs when the archetype collapses, which is followed by
the rupture of the seed-atom in the heart and the collapse of the vital body
(as before sleep), forcing the Ego to withdraw from its vehicles. The vital
body is then seen to rise like a twisting column of smoke, which re-froms
itself into the individual's likeness above the body, to which it is still
attached by the lower part of the Silver Cord, and with which it decays
synchronously. Folklore describes this phenomenon as the corpse-candle, and
although it is usually seen as a more or less luminous blue-gray mist, it has
been seen on occasion as green or blue-green in color, changing color in the
process of decomposition.
Death is often accompanied by the sensation of a spiralling motion in the
atoms of the body, but this sensation is not necessarily an indication of
death, and the student need feel no alarm if it occurs. The pre--initiatory
work "unscrews" the ether atoms in a safe way, enabling the Initiate to rise
out of the body, leaving the two lower ethers with the physical body. Only a
certain exercise given by truee occult teachers enables the individual to make
the right cleavage in the ethers, between the two lower and the two higher.
Wrong exercises--especially such as taught in mediumship classes--may cause a
cleavage between the Cehmical and Life Ethers, or between the Chemical Ether
atoms and the physical atoms, and when this happens various diseases, such as
tuberculosis, may result. ("THE VITAL BODY") But in any case, the
"spiralling" of the atoms is a characteristic sensation.
It should also be observed here that when the Chemical and Life Ethers are
driven out of the dense body, deep unconsciousness occurs, which is not sleep;
and when consciousness returns upon the vital atoms re-entering their physical
counterparts, a prickling, tingling sensation is felt. Physiologists say this
is due to the circulation of the blood being restored, for the same sensation
occurs when the circulation is cut off from a part of the body, as when a hand
"goes to sleep." When this happens, the occultist sees the etheric hand
hanging below the physical. Similarly, in hypnosis the etheric "head" is
pushed down around the shoulders of the subject, dividing from above. The
circulation of the blood slows down, too, under such conditions.
The atoms of the physical body have a very slow vibration; the ether atom
prods every physical atom into action and vibration, (including the atoms of
the blood). In the human body the rate of vibration of the physical atom is
NORMALLY an octave below the vibration of the ether atom which ensouls it.
("THE VITAL BODY") The prickling sensation which results from the ether
atom is re-entering the physical atom from which it has been driven out does
not cease until the normal vibration of the body atom, one octave below the
theric, has been reached. Then the dicomfort stops, for nomral activity is
once more established.
Occult science has not yet clarified the relationship between the
planetary, solar, and ether magnetism of living things on Earth. Horoscopes
for persons born in the southern hemisphere are traditionally reversed, so
that where a northern chart shows Aries rising, for example, the southern
chart would show Libra. Is this, perhaps, an effect of planetary polarity?
This is one of the many mysteries still to be solved by the occult science of
STAR AND SPIRAL:
We have seen in an earlier chapter what modern science has to say about the
Spiral. It is a curious fact that the five-pointed Star, always of great
importance to esotericism, is also recognized as a special feature of life on
this planet, as we learn in the new biology. Let us explore a little further
into the part which this symbol plays in the world about us.
On a certain Tarot card (designed by A. E. Waite) is found this interesting
design: a little flower growing which is shaped like a true star with five
points. There really is such a flower, shaped like a five-pointed star, with
the same star form repeated several times, at the heart of the blossom and at
its base. The star itself is a delicate mauve color, not dissimilar to the
pinkish blue of the vital body as Max Heindel describes it; and its petals are
like soft velvet to the touch. It grows principally in Australia, but also
occurs in parts of the Near East and Asia; and it has been "discovered"
recently by California gardeners, for it grows well in Southern California. It
is called the Hoya flower.
Now, among the six crystal systems known to science, "there is no
permissable form with an axis of fivefold symmetry, and therefore no crystal
can have such an axis," (CRYSTALS AND CRYSTAL GROWING, Holden and Singer, p.
163). "It is interesting to reflect upon the difference between crystalls and
living organisms in this respect. Starfish and buttercups, for example, have
axes of fivefold symmetry; but crystals cannot." Therefore there is no star--
no pentangle--in the crystal domain (which includes the largest part of our
solid earth crust), but only in the kingdom of life. The five-petalled wild
rose, ancestor of all modern roses, may also be mentioned with starfish and
It can scarcely be doubted that ancient scientists had observed this simple
fact of Nature, for everywhere the five-pointed Star is the symbol of the
human being, as in Christianity it is the symbol of the Christ Child and
points to the birth of the Christ in every man.
Intimately associated with the esotericism of the five-pointed Star is the
Life Spiral observed throughout the universe. In occult symbolism it is seen
as the serpents entwining the Staff of Mercury, the Caduceus, and as such it
is the representative of the ascent of the threefold spinal spirit fire,
discussed in FREEMASONRY AND CATHOLICISM, and ANCIENT AND MODERN INITIATION by
Esotericists will understand at a glance the supreme importance of this
combination of symbols: the Star and the Spiral, both intimately concerned in
the most complicated life processes.
In Masonic symbolism, in the rites and mysteries of the Rose Corss and Holy
Grail, the Spiral is viewed in the stairway once found in Solomon's Temple.
Historians and archeologists have not been in complete accord as to the kind
of building Solomon's Temple really was, some likening it to the temples of
ancient Ur in Chaldea, Abraham's birth-place, where the Temple of the Moon God
crowned the uppermost of three great stages of mountain-like masonry. Others
have likened it to the ziggurats of Babylon, seven-staged pyramids with a
small domed cella, or sanctuary, on the top story in which the god was said to
appear to the priestess, or priest. We may look upon this "upper room" of the
Babylonian Temple as the PLACE OF THE ORACLE, where the will of heaven was
There were two ziggurats, or stepped pyramids, within the walls of the
greater Babylon: the Temple of Bel within the central area, and the Temple of
Nebo, or mercury, farther east in the suburb of Borsippa, the two connected by
a "sacred way," or walled street. The Tower of Mercury at Borsippa was the
more ancient and the more sacred, and one may well believe that from its
summit the priest-astronomers watched for the tiny star near the Sun which was
the planet Mercury.
The stepped pyramids of Chaldea and Babylonia necessarily had stairways and
inclines leading from one stage to another, until the top story was reached.
Doubtless they also had secret, interior spiralling stairways, as short-cuts
to the summit, known only to the priests and their initiates, as the Great
Pyramids of Gizeh in Egypt would suggest. However, archeologists have never
discovered any such interior passageway in the Babylonian pyramids and towers.
Assyria and Persia shared the Chaldean civilization, and also had towers which
were at the same time observatories and temples. They also housed great
libraries. More clearly, perhaps, than anywhere else, China shows the true
nature of the pyramids and towers built in ancient times: as for example the
famous Altar of Heaven at Peking, with its three marble terraces and nine
concentric circles, its stairways at the four cardinal points; and the
numerous "pagodas," some with as many as thriteen stories, each with its
encircling roof, and containing nothing but a spiralling staircase leading to
the summit, obviously designed for astronomical observatories as well as for
worship of Heaven in a nation where for a thousand years before Christ the
official religion was a purely astronomical one.
In recent times archeologists have discovered in the ruins at Qumran, the
Essene Headquarters on the Dead Sea, traces of a tower, and in it the
suggestion of an upright central pillar around which a stairway once wound.
Was this merely a stroehouse? a watch tower?--or an observatory? Perhaps all
these, and more. It is notable that Mercury, and Mercury's day of the week,
were important to the Essenes. It is said that Wednesday was their Sabbath.
Turning now to Christian Europe, we find that in some accounts the legended
Temple of the Grail also had its high tower, within which was the spiral
stariway leading to the top level where the Grail Chapel was found and the
Grail Mysteries celebrated. What was shown in these Mysteries at the top of
the tower? Obviously the dome of heaven revolving around the dragon-guarded
Pole Star; and just before the dawn at certain times of the year, the planet
Mercury, sparkling like a diamond not far from the rising Sun. For this is
precisely what the earliest legends say: that the Mystery of the Grail is
revealed in the stars of heaven, especially the zodiac and its decans.
Other accounts say that the Temple craftsmen pictured the heavens within
the over-arching dome, with stars and planets moving in their courses.
Similarly, in the Temple of Healing at Mount Ecclesia, the domed ceiling
suggests the vault of heaven, around which the twelve constellations of the
zodiac are ranged, with Leo, the Lion of the Mysteries, over the altar, and
Aquarius, the Son of Man ("Whosoever wills may come") over the door of entry.
In an era when illiteracy was common, it is easy to see how the neophyte
would be taught to visualize the winding stair, and as his physical body
relaxed into the "clear sleep" which is not trance as commonly defined, the
wakeful mind would climb the spiral staircase to the place of Mystery at its
summit, turning always toward the right hand, AND THE NEOPHYTE AWOKE ON THE
INNER PLANES WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF THE TEMPLE OF INITIATION, or at its
threshold, or in the anterooms, according to his merit.
For on the inner planes, space is no consideration. The "stepping-off" at
the top of the spiral staircase takes the neophyte at once (without
intermediate travelling) to his destination. Today the philosophy of science
recognizes this condition in what is termed "the collapse of space" and its
correlative, "the collapse of time." It is as if all space intervening between
one point and another vanishes, and the stepover from "here" to "there" is
Sometimes meditation affords a hint of this, for as the mind becomes
spiritually lucid, the neophyte sees into a crystal space, pewrhaps viewing
some distant spot on Earth's surface. He has not left the body, he has not
gone anywhere; yet he senses the reality of the distant place, and is
sometimes seen, or even tangibly felt, or his mental voice audibly heard by
persons living there. He feels that he might put out a hand and touch objects
in that far-off place, for he is "there" and "here" at the same moment.
This "collapse of space" accounts for many starnge dreams in which events
and places seem to melt into one another without rhyme or reason. It also
explains why one and the same Mytery Temple has been "discovered" in many
different places: in the dense dark forest, on mountain summit, in swamps and
marshes, in palaces and courts, in the seeker's own house.
When the neophyte does experience a sense as of movement in inner space, it
means that HIS ATTENTION IS TRACING OUT the intervening distance, and in a
manner of speaking, building a thought-trail or bridge ovwer which he seems to
travel. This is, however, unnecessary. The travel can be immediate, and with
no sense of transition.
Thus to the student in the Mystery School, THE STAR AND THE SPIRAL, in
addition to their outer, exoteric scientific significance, REVEAL SOMETHING
DIFFERENT AND UNIQUE: the spiral ascent of the mind in the tower oc
fonsciousness, and at its summit the bright and blazing star which is the
Invisible Helper himself, shining for the world.
With the dawn, the Helper returns to his body, and as he hovers over it,
feeling the magnetic pull of the vital body drawing him down into the fleshly
sheath, he is aware of the rotating of many wheels of force in his aura; and
while these wheels rotate, he settles gently, with no shock or discomfort,
into the dense physical instrument which lies upon the bed. He there awakens,
to take up anew the cross of the body in the world of time and space.
THE LIGHT ETHER:
THE LIGHT ETHER AND THE SUN:
In our chapter on the Life Ether we learned something about what Max
Heindel designated "the colorless solar ether" and "solar fluid," and we noted
that this solar fluid was visible to etheric sight under several varying
states or conditions: as a kind of "rain" of cosmic force it rushes in through
the etheric spleen, and turns a rose color in the solar plexus. We noted
further that this solar fluid was magnetic, and was felt as such by the
etheric senses, and that although it is called a "solar" ether it is studied
in connection with the Life Ether rather than with the Light Ether, because
the Life Ether is the particular avenue through which it is specialized. As
magnetism it belongs to the "dark" spectrum which exists below and above the
normal range of light visible to the human eye. In cold-blooded creatures and
in the plant kingdom, the solar ether seems "colorless" and "cold" as viewed
by the etheric senses. We can draw a parallel with this condition if we take
in our hands an ordinary iron magnet. This magnet will have a north and a
south pole, or positive and negative, and will pick up iron filings; yet
ordinarily we can neither see light nor feel any sort of sensation emanating
from the magnet. The iron is cold and dark, despite its magnetic field which
is so easily demonstrated.
Only when the Light Ether is acting in conjunction with the Life Ether do
we have the appearance of biological magnetism and the life-fire of warm-
blooded creatures. The colors associated with the activities of the Life
Ether, we observed, were those from ultraviolet to infra-red, and other rays
not yet familiar to the lay public. Perception of these forces and colors,
however, is something else again.
When the occult student begins his study of the Light Ether, he enters into
the range of light, heat, and color of the normal senses, because the so-
called "five senses" are the gift of forces working through the negative pole
of this ether.
We may say further, however, that the Light Ether is the stronghold of the
brain-mind, because it is the seat of all SENSORY PERCEPTION, both within,
below, and above the normal range of the sense organs. Extra-sensory
perception belongs to this Ether in its higher reaches where it impinges upon
and interacts with the Reflecting Ether.
The forces working along the negative pole of the Light Ether are the ones
that vitalize, and in the beginning create, the SENSE organs, especially the
eye, giving them the power to respond to and recognize differences in rates of
vibration, and to classify these vibrations according to the effects they
produce in Ego-awareness. The nervous system is its special field of activity.
We know, of course, that the nerves are in reality part of the sensory-
mechanism of the brain, which is made of the same "gray matter" as the nerves,
and the new biology knows that electrical impulses travel through brain and
Vibrations ranging from 16 to 32 thousand per second the Ego recognizes as
sound. These are vibrations in the air, but there is a super-sound (supersonic
vibration) which is also audible to etheric senses. Another range of
vibrations the Ego recognizes as feelings (heat and cold, soft and hard,
etc.); another as seeing, another as smelling, another as tasting, and so on.
All of which are simply varying rates of vibration recognized by the Ego, the
speed of which produces the different sensations as allocated to the five
senses or kinds of receptors. There are also organs of internal reception:
receptors which report to the Ego such things as weight (the wight sense),
heat (the heat sense), balance or equilibrium (the balance sense), the
relationship of parts of the body to each other (the proprioceptor sense--
essentially a muscle sense); while a "nearness sense," such as blind people
develop, gives the sensation of something near which cannot be seen or felt--
an object which is being approached, or an invisible presence--at which point
the "nearness sense" tapes off into the extra-sensory range of perception.
All of these senroy perceptions are properties of the negative pole of the
Light Ether as known to occult science. It is of special interest to the
esotericist to note that the "heat sense" has finally been located by modern
science in a special set of nerves centered in the spinal cord itdelf, which
send out long filaments (nerves) to patches of skin, chiefly around the middle
of the body. (Buttocks and back are most sensitive to temperature.) (READER'S
DIGEST September, 1963, MTYSTERIES OF OUR SIXTH SENSES.)
The heat control center of the body has been generally assigned to the
brain area of the cerebellum or to the medulla oblongata, where occultists say
that the Flame of Life burns.
It is this negative pole of the Light Ether which acts with the Life Ether
in the production of living creatures with a full range of sensory perception,
or physical and etheric consciousness. The thalamus, a tiny organ in about the
center of the head, and in front of the pineal gland, is thought to be the
original or primitive brain, in which the primordial instincts reside; while
the great mass of the brain is the seat of sensory consciousness or awareness.
(The pituitary body is lower down and farther forward than the thalamus.)
Perhaps these are the seats of the subconscious and conscious minds, as
defined by modern analytical psychology. The so-called "sub-conscious" mind of
modern psychology actually includes what the occult scientists term the
"super-conscious" mind, and the forces operative in the Reflecting Ether.
Why is the range of the Light Ether defined in terms of the solar spectrum?
Because all human senses have evolved in a system dominated by our Sun, the
majority of whose rays are in this particular range, from infrared to
ultraviolet. Science had nothing to tell the occultists, until quite recently,
about the activities of the negative and positive poles of the Light Ether.
What the occultist saw with extended vision could not be explained in terms of
academic physics. The situation has changed. A correlation is now possible,
and also an explanation, for which Planck's Quantum Theory is responsible.
According to this theory the basic unit of radiation is the Quantum--a packet
of energy, called a "photon"--which is created continuosuly in free space by
the collisions of positrons and electrons, and are also released from the
interior of atoms when electronic changes occur. No law has yet been
discovered to show just how or when these sparks of energy are created or
liable to be created. There is an "uncertainty principle" in physics.
"Radiation is composed of individual units, known as quanta. When there are
enough of them these quanta arrange themselves in wave patterns. Each pattern
possesses a wave-length." (Hoyle) Thus light is both "particles" (in the sense
of quanta, or energy packets) and waves. Both are visible as such to the
etheric sight. We will understand this better if we think of a few drops of
water, which do not form a wave; but when there are millions of drops of
water, then a wave becomes possible, given right conditions. But we note also
that EACH unit ("PHOTON") IS AT THE SAME TIME BOTH PARTICLE AND WAVE.
"It is worth noting," says Hoyle, "that the shorter the wave-length, the
more energetic the individual quanta (photons) become. it is because of this
that gamma-rays, X-rays, and even ultraviolet light are so destructive of
animal tissue, and why radio waves are so harmless."
He continues: "A further interesting point is that of the vast range of
wave-lengths from radio waves to gamma rays, only the narrow band from four
hundred-thousandths to eight hundred-thousandths (of a centimeter) can be
detected by the human senses." And he explains: "This....is not an accident,
however, because this is just the range in which most of the Sun's radiation
is emitted. It is true that the Sun does emit some ultraviolet and even some
X-rays, but the earth's atmosphere absorbs such destructive radiation quite
strongly, thereby preventing it from reaching the ground. Consequently there
has never been an opportunity for creatures on the Earth to devlop senses
receptive to these wavelengths." (FRONTIERS OF ASTRONOMY, Hoyle) However,
occultists, can and do develop senses receptive to these and other wave-
lengths, by means of forces operative in the negative pole of the Light Ether;
although it is the scientific aspect of light itself that is most easily
observed by the budding occult scientist. All sensory perception belongs to
the negative, or passive, aspect of the Light Ether.
Hoyle goes on to say that more infrared rays than other rays do reach the
ground, due to droplets of water in the air (not vapor) which absorb more
visible light than infrared; but infrared does not affect the human eye.
"Clearly it would be a great advantage to possess eyes that were sensitive to
infrared, as indeed I suspect that birds may. This would go far toward
explaining the amazing sight that birds seem to possess."
Astronomers say that our Sun is a "yellow" or "orange" star, one of the
class known as "Orange" or "Yellow Dwarfs," among the most unstable of stars.
Sunlight is therefore not really "white," but tinged with yellow or gold; and
the Light Ether is also described by the scientist as golden or yellow,
although like sunlight again, it does possess a complete band of colors,
visible to ordinary eyesight as color or as light, but visible to etheric
sight as vibration and sparkling points of energy.
THE OCCULTIST'S VIEW OF THE LIGHT ETHER:
Although all of the four ethers have work to do in every part of the living
organism, each ether has one special work of its very own. The Chemical Ether
is the avenue for forces concerned with upbuilding and nourishing the entire
body; but its special field of action is the bony structure, or skeleton. The
Life Ether promotes growth activities and the perpetuation of the species; its
special area consists of the blood and other liquids of the body, the
generative system, and the endocrine glands. The Light Ether is the avenue for
the COSMIC forces related to sunlight, color, and heat--all tremendously
important in our evolution, but its special area is the nervous system, both
voluntary and sympathetic. The pineal gland and the brain as a whole are the
seat of the Human Spirit (Ego). The brain is the great central receiving and
coordinating center of the nervous system, organizing all sensations as
reported from the sense organs by way of the nerves. We noted in our last
chapter that the tiny thalamus body is thought to be the original brain, and
that instincts and psychic powers still have a focus there, while the upper
brain governs all later evolution of sensory powers.
Again we have seen that the Life Ether specializes the "solar fluid" which
acts as the electricity of the nervous system. Mr. Heindel adds further that
the LIGHT Ether TRANSMITS the motive power along the various nerves which
enables the Ego to move the body. MOTIVE power is not the same thing as the
life energy involved in growth and perpetuation of the species, even though it
may spring from the same primordial root. Note that the solar fluid also
circulates in plants, whcih already have a rudimentary nervous system and
therefgore also the beginning of sensory perception. Modern physics offers
some clarification on these points in the statment that the "photon," the unit
of the electromagnetic spectrum, is itself "chargeless," although it carries
electromagnetic energy. The photons discussed in these lessons on the Light
Ether pertain only to that band of the electromagnetic spectrum which we know
as our Sun's light. The electromagnetic spectrum extends both above and below
The cosmic Fire operative in the Light Ether has been mentioned. The human
Ego is part of this Fire, and its energies play through the Light Ether, not
as a part of the race complex but as an individual, willing, and thinking
Spirit, working out its destiny. Max Heindel says that the Ego works
particularly in the HEAT of the blood.
It is stated in the COSMO-CONCEPTION "...........the forces that play
along its positive pole (i.e. the Light Ether) are the forces which generate
blood heat in the higher species of animal and in man, which makes them
individual sources of heat." (These forces also circulate the blood.) At the
age of twenty-one, when the "mind" is "born"--throws off its protective
sheath--the Ego comes into full control of its own bodies, and the blood heat,
which during adolescence was often overheated, now is held to some where near
the norm of 98.6 Farenheit. This blood heat is necessary to the Ego's
consciousness in the body. If the blood temperature falls too far below or
rises too far above it, the Ego is forced to withdraw from the body, which
then falls into the states we recognize as sleep, coma, or death. The egoic
Fire is the Fire of the alchemist, which eventually creates the "diamond body"
of the Adept.
In the cold-blooded animals it is only the circulation of the blood which
is activated through the positive pole of the Light Ether, the need for heat
no being present.
In plants the forces operative in the positive pole of the Light Ether
circulate the juices, and these forces relate to Sun heat rather than to
sunlight. At the winter solstice--modern research has shown this--in the
northern hemisphere, even in those climes where ice and snow cover the land,
the slight change in the etheric forces when the Sun begins to turn northward
from its southernmost declination causes the trees to awaken, and the sap
begins to move in their roots and deep within their trunks. It is the cosmic
"heat," dormant in the positive pole of the Light Ether, that triggers this
"The forces which work along the negative pole of the Light Ether are those
which operate through the senses, manifesting as the passive functions of
sight, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling. They also build and noursih
the eye." ("COSMO-CONCEPTION")
To the etheric senses, the various colors are actually tangible as well as
visible, and some occult investigators declare that all other sensations have
a correlation to light and color. The different wave-lengths of color in the
beam of sunlight can be felt, and a difference in quality noted. Blind
children can sometimes differentiate between colors, although they cannot see
them as such. Some physicists speak of a "facial vision" developed by these
children; but about forty years ago, Dr. Jules Romain demonstrated (and
recounted in his book, EYELESS SIGHT, now out of print) that most portions of
the skin could be converted to the use of sight. He found areas especially
sensitive to light were the forehead, cheeks, temples, chest, and hands.
Embryologists also say that almost any part of the skin of the embryo can be
used to form eyes. Dr. Romain explained this by saying that the skin is
studded with small cells, called OCELLI, which do in fact resemble miniature
eyes. The occultist has always maintained that so long as the Light Ether is
present, any living organism will always develop sensory perception, and
especially the perception of light, in some sort of eye structure.
The force working along the negative pole of the Light Ether are those
which deposit the chlorophyll and the colors in flowers. All color, in all
kingdoms of Nature are "deposited," by means of forces working through the
negative pole of the Light Ether.
Since we now know that light is not merely waves in an ether but consists
also of actual particles, in "packets" of energy, called the photon, we are in
a position to see that there is a definite and real substance which the Nature
Forces can use and handle in this work of depositing color. These Nature
Forces include fairies, angelic beings, and the human Ego.
Because the Light Ether is the avenue for the forces which promote sensory
perception, and espeically the eye, it is usually true that the student's
early experience with etheric vision relates to the phenomena of this ether.
He generally sees first a sort bluish mist, or cobweb, which seems to fill
space, oftenest in a twilight, or in a dimly lit room or hall, or when he is
coming from a darker room into a lighted one, say along a corridor. This
bluish mist is observed to be in violent motion where the light strikes into
it, for it beats with a rapid motion like that of a hummingbird's wings. Later
he may see that the beating wings (or cobwebs) of light are full of rainbow
colors, in the midst of which innumerable points of silvery light dash to and
fro. The stronger the light the more of these particles are seen, and the
larger they appear to be. They dash about in the atmosphere with great energy,
appearing and disappearing continuosuly, but they do not settle toward the
ground. (Not all of them are basic sunlight, however--some have another
On closer inspection the cobweb in space seems to consist of small
transparent flakes, with a comet-like nucleus--which is the sparkle first
observed, the flake as a whole being transparent and filmy. Physicists speak
of light as consisting of both waves and particles--that is, the photon itslef
is both; and the occultist sees this photon in the range belonging to our
Sun's radiation as described here. The transparent flake would seem to
represent the wave aspect of the photon and the spark the particle aspect; and
the occultist suggests that the first is negative and the latter positive, but
this is tentative.
In the human body complex, the Light Ether is said to be dominantly
positive in men and negative in women. Let us see how this works out. The
senses and colors belong to the negative pole, and women's sensory responses
are often quicker than those of men; they see colors more clearly, and they
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