EVEN had we been disposed, which happily we were not, to exalt ourselves on the strength of the loftiness of our mission, the constant proofs afforded us of the paucity of our knowledge in comparison with what remained to be known, would have effectually restrained us. But as it was, we were from the first penetrated by the conviction that only in so far as we succeeded in subordinating the individual to the universal, the personal to the divine, could the work be successfully accomplished. The man must make himself nothing that the God may be all. This was the burden of the injunctions enforced on us throughout; the failures of others through self-exaltation being adduced in illustration. For, as we were plainly given to understand, "many are called but few are chosen"; the weak point in their system, the "Judas" by whom they are betrayed and fail, being generally vanity. They are as instruments which mistake themselves for the mind and hand which wield them.
Humility and Love, the violet and the red, these are the two extremes of the prism which comprise between them all the Seven Spirits of God. Blended, they make the royal purple; but the hue of that purple depends on the spiritual states of the individuals themselves whose tinctures they are. They were, we were told, the tinctures of our own souls as indicated by the colours of our
respective auras. "Mary's" was the "blood-red ray of the innermost sphere," the sphere of the "first of the Gods," wherein "love and wisdom are one." "For the Hebrews Uriel, for the Greeks Phoibos, the Bright One of God." Mine was the violet of the outermost sphere, that of the "last of the Gods," the "Spirit of the Fear of the Lord," and therein of Reverence and Humility; for the Greeks Saturn, and for the Hebrews Satan, the "Angel unfallen of the outermost sphere." Only when man is built up of all the Gods, and bears upon him the seal of each God, having climbed the ladder of his regeneration from circumference to centre, from "Saturn" to the "Sun," is the "week" of his new and spiritual creation accomplished. Similarly the co-operation of all these divine potencies was indispensable to our work. And we were emphatically warned of the dangers both to it and to ourselves, that would come of the lack of the divine presence in respect of any of them. Hence the necessity of maintaining the necessary conditions in ourselves, and the caution addressed to us by "Hermes," in view of the liability of mortals to appropriate to themselves the importance appertaining to their mission when this transcends the ordinary. To this end, in the following Exhortation, he disclosed to us the heights yet to be ascended, saying –
He whose adversaries fight with weapons of steel, must himself be armed in like manner, if he would not be ignominiously slain or save himself by flight.
And not only so, but forasmuch as his adversaries may be many, while he is only one; it is even necessary that the steel he carries be of purer temper and of more subtle point and contrivance than theirs.
I, Hermes, would arm you with such, that bearing a blade with a double edge, ye may be able to withstand in the evil hour.
For it is written that the tree of life is guarded by a sword which turneth every way.
Therefore I would have you armed both with a perfect philosophy and with the power of the divine life.
And first the knowledge; that you and they who hear you may know the reason of the faith which is in you.
But knowledge cannot prevail alone, and ye are not yet perfected.
When the fulness of the time shall come, I will add unto you the power of the divine life.
It is the life of contemplation, of fasting, of obedience, and of resistance.
And afterwards the chrism, the power, and the glory. But these are not yet.
Meanwhile remain together and perfect your philosophy.
Boast not, and be not lifted up; for all things are God's, and ye are in God, and God in you.
But when the word shall come to you, be ready to obey.
There is but one way to power, and it is the way of obedience.
Call no man your master or king upon the earth, lest ye forsake the spirit for the form and become idolaters.
He who is indeed spiritual, and transformed into the divine image, desires a spiritual king.
Purify your bodies, and eat no dead thing that has looked with living eyes upon the light of Heaven.
For the eye is the symbol of brotherhood among you. Sight is the mystical sense.
Let no man take the life of his brother to feed withal his own.
But slay only such as are evil; in the name of the Lord.
They are miserably deceived who expect eternal life, and restrain not their hands from blood and death.
They are miserably deceived who look for wives from on high, and have not yet attained their manhood.
Despise not the gift of knowledge; and make not spiritual eunuchs of yourselves.
For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
Ye are twain, the man with the woman, and she with him, neither man nor woman, but one creature.
The knowledge of the "Seven Spirits" whereby Deity operates in the universe, has been completely dropped out of sight by the Christian world. It is necessary, therefore, if only in vindication of the importance attached to them by our illuminators, to recite the instruction received by us concerning them, which is as follows. It is a chapter from the recovered Gnosis (2): –
"In the bosom of the Eternal were all the Gods comprehended, as the seven spirits of the prism, contained in the Invisible Light.
* * * * *
By the Word of Elohim were the Seven Elohim manifest:
even, the Seven Spirits of God in the order of their precedence:
The Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel, the Spirit of Power, the Spirit of Knowledge, the Spirit of Righteousness, and the Spirit of Divine Awfulness.
All these are coequal and coeternal.
Each has the nature of the whole in itself: and each is a perfect entity.
And the brightness of their manifestation shineth forth from the midst of each, as wheel within wheel, encircling the White Throne of the Invisible Trinity in Unity.
These are the Divine fires which burn before the presence of God: which proceed from the Spirit, and are one with the Spirit.
He is divided, yet not diminished: He is All, and He is One.
For the Spirit of God is a flame of fire which the Word of God divideth into many: yet the original flame is not decreased, nor the power thereof nor the brightness thereof lessened.
Thou mayest light many lamps from the flame of one; yet thou dost in nothing diminish that first flame.
Now the Spirit of God is expressed by the Word of God, which is Adonai.
For without the Word the Will could have had no utterance.
Thus the Divine Will divided the Spirit of God, and the seven fires went forth from the bosom of God and became seven spiritual entities.
They went forth into the Divine Substance, which is the substance of all that is."
As already stated, Hermes is the Greek name for the Second of the creative Elohim above enumerated. Hence his special relation to the New Gospel of Interpretation, the appeal of which is to the Understanding.
Being shown one day in vision the path we had to traverse for the accomplishment of our work, "Mary" exclaimed: –
"What a dreadfully difficult thing
it is to steer one's way amidst such numbers of influences! I see a fine,
bright-shining thread. It is our own path, and it is a pathway of light. But,
oh! so narrow, so narrow, and all around are spirits trying to lure us from it.
Here is Hermes, shining like a silver light. My Genius says that the way to get
the utmost vitality on the spiritual plane is to abandon the plane of the body,
and keep it quite low, by not indulging it. The time for bodily indulgence is
passed with us. Abstinence, we have been told, and watchfulness and fasting are
needful. And the time for the first of these has come. Nothing is gained without
labour or won without suffering. Fasting and Watching and Abstinence, these are
Beads and Rosary. It is a hard way and a long way, and it makes one wishful to
turn back. We are not to be misled by the story, so much dwelt on to you by the
Astrals, of Moses and Aaron (1). They both were failures, who entered not into the
So far as I was concerned, there was yet another rule that was made absolute: this was the rule of Poverty. Desiring at one time to mitigate the rigour of my enforced economies by working with a commercial intent, and to that end endeavouring to finish a tale some time before commenced, I found myself baffled by a complete withdrawal of power. I was well aware that no romance I could
devise would compare with the romance I was living, and that any incidents I could invent would be tame before those of my actual life; but it was not this that withheld me. It was made clear to me that there was now only one direction and one plane in which I was accessible to ideas and in which therefore I could work, and this a direction and plane altogether incompatible with mundane ends. But I had not fully reconciled myself to the loss of my earning power, or resolved to refrain from further efforts in that behalf, when I received the following experience.
I had gone to bed, but not to sleep, for thinking over the matter, when I became aware of the presence of a group of spiritual influences, one of whom, speaking for them all, said to me, in tones audible only to the inner hearing, but distinct, measured and authoritative –
"We whom you know as the Gods – Zeus, Phoibos, Hermes, and the rest – are actual celestial personalities, who are appointed to represent to mortals the principles and potencies called the Seven Spirits of God. We have chosen you for our instrument, and have tried you and proved you and instructed you; and you belong to us to do our work and not your own, save in so far as you make it your own. Only in such measure as you do this will you have any success. For you can do nothing without us now: and it is useless for you to attempt to do anything without our help."
By this and manifold other experiences, we had practical demonstration of the existence of a celestial hierarchy consisting of souls perfected and divinised, divided into orders corresponding to the "Seven Spirits of God," and having for their function the illumination of those souls of men
still on earth who are accessible by them; and to whom they manifest themselves in the forms recognised in the mysteries in which such persons have formerly been initiated.
had also manifold proofs of their power to arrest utterance before persons unfit
to be entrusted with the mysteries. The first instance occurred to myself, and
was in this wise. I was reading some passages in illustration of our work to an
old clerical friend who came to see me in
Not thinking that "Mary" was liable to err in the same way, or caring to tell her of my trespass, I kept silence respecting this experience. But a few weeks later it was repeated for her. She was speaking of our work to a spiritualist friend with whom we were spending the evening, and, in her eagerness, got upon topics which I recognised as forbidden. But before I had time to remind her, she suddenly stopped short and rose from her seat, gasping and dazed, and insisted on returning home forthwith, to our hostess's great amazement and disappointment. Divining what had occurred, I refrained from questioning her until we were outside and alone, when in reply to me she described
exactly what had happened to me, using the words, "I did not want to be choked!" There were other occasions on which I was cut short under like circumstances, by having all that I meant to say suddenly and completely obliterated from my mind.
Being desirous to know more of the adverse influences against which we had been warned, and from which we suffered, "Mary" consulted her illuminator respecting their origin and nature, when the following colloquy ensued: –
"They are," he said, "the powers which affect and influence Sensitives. They do not control, for they have no force. (...) They are Reflects. They have no real entity in themselves. They resemble mists which arise from the damp earth of low-lying lands, and which the heat of the sun disperses. Again, they are like vapours in high altitudes, upon which, if a man's shadow falls, he beholds himself as a giant. For these spirits invariably flatter and magnify a man to himself. And this is a sign whereby you may know them. They tell one that he is a king; another, that he is a Christ; another, that he is the wisest of mortals, and the like. For, being born of the fluids of the body, they are unspiritual and live of the body."
"Do they, then," I asked, "come from within the man?"
"All things," he replied "come from within. A man's foes are they of his own household."
"And how," I asked, "may we discern the Astrals from the higher spirits?"
"I have told you of one sign; – they are flattering spirits. Now I will tell you of another. They always depreciate Woman. And they do this because their deadliest foe is the Intuition. And these, too, are signs. Is there anything strong? They will make it weak. Is there anything wise? They will make it foolish. Is there anything
sublime? They will distort and travesty it. And this they do because they are exhalations of matter, and have no spiritual nature. Hence they pursue and persecute the Woman continually, sending after her a flood of vituperation like a torrent to sweep her away. But it shall be in vain. For God shall carry her to His throne, and she shall tread on the necks of them.
"Therefore the High Gods will give through a woman the Interpretation which alone can save the world. A woman shall open the gates of the Kingdom to mankind, because Intuition only can redeem. Between the Woman and the Astrals there is always enmity; for they seek to destroy her and her office, and to put themselves in her place. They are the delusive shapes who tempted the saints of old with exceeding beauty and wiles of love, and great show of affection and flattery. Oh! Beware of them when they flatter, for they spread a net for thy soul."
"Am I, then, in danger from them?" I asked. "Am I, too, a Sensitive?'' And he said, –
"No, you are a Poet. And in that is your strength and your salvation. Poets are the children of the Sun, and the Sun illumines them. No poet can be vain or self-exalted; for he knows that he speaks only the words of God. 'I sing,' he says, 'because I must.' Learn a truth which is known only to the sons of God. The Spirit within you is divine. It is God. When you prophesy and when you sing, it is the Spirit within you which gives you utterance. It is the 'New Wine of Dionysos.' By this Spirit your body is enlightened, as is a lamp by the flame within it. Now, the flame is not the oil, for the oil may be there without the light. Yet the flame cannot be there without the oil. Your body, then, is the lamp-case into which the oil is poured. And this – the oil – is your soul, a fine and combustible fluid. And the flame is the Divine Spirit, which is not born of the oil, but is conveyed to it by the hand of God. You may quench this Spirit utterly, and thenceforward you will have no immortality; but when the lamp-case breaks, the oil will be spilt on the earth, and
a few fumes will for a time arise from it, and then it will expend itself and leave at last no trace. Some oils are finer and more spontaneous than others. The finest is that of the soul of the poet. And in such a medium the flame of God's Spirit burns more clearly and powerfully; and brightly, so that sometimes mortal eyes can hardly endure its brightness. Of such an one the soul is filled with holy raptures. He sees as no other man sees, and the atmosphere about him is enkindled. His soul becomes transmuted into flame; and when the lamp of his body is shattered, his flame mounts and soars, and is united to the Divine Fire. Can such an one, think you, be vainglorious or self-exalted, and lifted up? Oh no; he is one with God, and knows that without God he is nothing. I tell no man that he is a reincarnation of Moses, of Elias, or of Christ. But I tell him that he may have the Spirit of these if, like them, he be humble and self-abased, and obedient to the Divine Word."
So far from our being sufficiently advanced to escape molestation from the sources thus indicated, there were times when we suffered much from their incursions, even to the hindrance, for the time being, of the work on which our whole hearts were set. Knowing that everything depended on our unanimity, they sought to make division between us, and what they lacked in force was more than made up for by subtlety. (1) Despite all our vigilance, they would insinuate themselves like barbed and poisoned arrows between the joints of our armour, there to rankle and envenom, so insidious were their suggestions. They did not flatter, but
attacked us. So that it was a satisfaction to be assured that they attack those only who are worth attacking. The very nature of our work was such as to invite attack from them, being what they were.
Meanwhile, no experience was withheld that would serve to qualify us for what proved to be an essential part of our work, the "discerning of spirits" in the sense, not merely of perceiving them, but of distinguishing their nature and character. And always was the lesson given in a form which combined with its other features that of total unexpectedness. Especially important was it for us to be able to distinguish between the spirits of the astral, against which we were warned, and spirits in the astral, namely, souls which had not yet accomplished their emancipation, but were in course of doing so. But while as regarded the former we were left to fight the battle for ourselves, as regarded the latter there was a control exercised, and none were permitted to approach us save such as had a message of service which would minister to the solution of a present problem. Of this the following experience was an instance. It helped us to a yet fuller comprehension, both of the reasons which had dictated our association, and of the liabilities to be guarded against.
It was evening (1), and we were occupied in our respective tasks, and so entirely engrossed by them as to be disposed to resent any interruption, when "Mary" bent across the table, and speaking in a low tone, said to me, "There is a spirit in the room who wants to speak to us. Shall I let him?" I
assented on the condition that he had something to tell us really worth hearing. She then became entranced, being magnetised by his presence; and after telling me that he spoke with a strong American accent and professed to be a "metaphysical doctor" – meaning, she supposed, a doctor in metaphysics – repeated the following after him; for I could neither see nor hear him: –
"You two have been put together for
a work which you could not do separately. I have been shown a chart of your past
histories, containing your characters and your past incarnations. She is of a
highly active, wilful disposition, and represents the centrifugal force. You,
Caro, are her opposite, and, being contemplative and concentrated, represent the
centripetal force. Without her expansive energy you would become altogether
indrawn and inactive in deed; and without your restraining influence she would
go forth and become dissipated in expansiveness. So extraordinary is her outward
tendency that nothing but such an organism as she now has could repress it and
keep it within bounds. It is for the work she has to do that she has been placed
in a body of weakness and suffering. She is the man and you the woman-element in
your joint system. I can see only her female incarnations, but she has been a
man much oftener than a woman; while you have generally been a woman, and would
be one now but for the work you have to do. Even as a woman she has always been
much more man than woman, for her wilfulness and recklessness have led her into
enterprises of incredible daring. Nothing restrained her when her will prompted
her. She would wreck any work to follow that, and only by combination with your
centripetal tendency can she do the present work. As a man she has been
initiated, once, a long time ago, in
do not hold the existence of moral evil. All things are allowed for good ends; but this is a difficult truth to express."
Here she spoke in her own person, having under his magnetism recovered her own vision and recollection, saying –
"O Caro! I can see your past. You have been – no, it is all wiped out. I cannot
see it now. I am not allowed to see it. Why is this? I see my own past. I see
Here she returned to her normal consciousness, our visitor having taken his departure.
Subsequently, in March, 1881, under the influence of a higher illuminative power, she found herself as one of a group of initiates making solemn procession through the aisles of a vast Egyptian temple, and chanting in chorus the rituals which compose the marvellous "Hymn to the Planet-God, lacchos". (1) For, long as it is, she
was able to reproduce it afterwards. It was thus, by her recovery of the memory of knowledges acquired in past existences, that the divine originals were recovered from which the Bible-writers largely derived at once their doctrine and their diction. This is not to say that these were mere borrowers and unilluminate. It is to say only that they recognised the divinity of a prior revelation, and regarded it as a common heritage. The truth is one.
Among the uses of the painful experience we were now undergoing (1) was this one. It put me on a track of thought of high value in enabling me to determine our respective positions in regard to our work. It was clearly the endeavour of the astral influences by which we were being assailed – the "haters of the mysteries" as our Genii called them (2) – to break down our work by destroying that perfect harmony between us which was the first condition of it. And all my endeavours failing to discover in myself the weak point which rendered us accessible to them, carefully as I sought there for it, I was forced to look for it in her, and was disposed to ascribe it to the survival from the far past of some defect of the affectional nature. For, as we were now learning, man has a dual heredity, that of his physical parentage and that of his spiritual selfhood. From the former
of which he derives his outward characteristics; and from the latter his inward character. The experience just, recited served to confirm the surmise, but it did something else besides. It suggested to me the following explanation of the situation as growing out of the exigencies of our work. That work had for its purpose the accomplishment of the prophesied downfall of the "world's sacrificial system." It meant war to the knife against all the orthodoxies at once, religious, social, scientific. It meant a death – "wrestle, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." [T.N.: Ephesians 6:12] It meant, in short, the destruction foretold by the prophets of "that great city," the world's materialistic system in Church, State, and Society, wherein the "Lord," the divinity in man, is ever systematically crucified, and its replacement by the "Holy City" or system which comes down from the heaven of a perfect ideal.
What, then, I asked myself, was the foremost moral need for the instruments of such a work? Surely it was Courage. But courage subsists under two modes. There is the courage which manifests itself in action and aggression, and there is the courage which manifests itself in endurance and resistance. The former is its masculine mode, the latter its feminine mode. The former connotes Will, the latter connotes Love. And these were the parts assigned respectively to us in our joint system. Will and Love united had made the world; disunited, they had ruined the world; reunited, they would redeem the world. As He and
She, King and Queen,
positive and negative, centrifugal and centripetal, they are the dual powers of
all things, the constituent principles at once of God and of
The tension of feeling induced by the situation had for me reached a pitch at which I had cause for serious apprehension lest my organism prove unequal to the strain. For, resolute though I myself was to endure to the end, come what might, the effort involved had so greatly affected my organic system as nearly to double the number of the heart's pulsations, to the imminent risk of a rupture fatal to life or reason. Such was the emergency when, longing for light and aid, I received at night (1) the following experience, which I reproduce as recorded at the time: –
It seemed to me that I was sole spectator in some circus or hippodrome. And in the arena were some horses, seven in number, harnessed to a common centre, but all facing in different directions like the spokes of a wheel, and pulling frantically, so that the vehicle to which they were attached remained stationary between them, through their counterbalancing each other; while at the same time
it seemed as if it must presently be dragged asunder into pieces. On looking at it more closely, the vehicle seemed to become a person who was attempting to drive the horses, but was unable to get them into a line; and, strange to say, the driver was one and identical both with the horses and the vehicle, so that it was a living person who was in danger of being torn asunder by creatures who were in reality himself. While wondering what this meant, some one addressed me and said that if I would do any good, I must help to control and direct the animals which were thus pulling their owner asunder. And that the only way to do this was by so disposing myself that I should be at one and the same time in the centre with the driver, to help him to curb and direct his steeds, and outside at their heads in order to compel their submission. And not only must I be indifferent to their ramping and chafing, I must even suffer myself to be struck and wounded and trampled upon to any extent without flinching; for only when I was so unconscious of self as to be indifferent as to what might happen to me, would they cease to have power against me. And the reason why I must be also in the centre was that only there could I effectually co-operate with the driver to enable him to do his part in directing what in reality wore the forces, as yet unbroken in, of his own system, into the road it was necessary for us both to follow. We were destined to be fellow-travellers, and our journey was to be made together and with that team. It could not be made by one of us without the other, and the failure to effect a complete conjunction and co-operation would bring certain ruin to the hopes of both of us and of all who looked to us. The owner of the horses, I was assured, could not of himself control them, and I could only enable him to do so by an absolute surrender of myself.
Applying this vision to the situation, the moral was obvious so far as I was concerned, and I wondered whether "Mary" would receive anything
equally suggestive for herself. In the morning, after remaining unusually late in her room, she silently handed me the following account of an experience which had similarly and simultaneously been received by her: –
"I was shown two stars near each other, both of them shining with a clear bright light, only that of one the light had a purple tinge, and of the other a blood colour; and a great Angel stood beside me and bade me look at them attentively. I did so, and saw that the stars were not round, but seemed to have a piece cut out of the globe of each of them. And I said to the Angel, ‘The stars are not perfect; but instead of being round, they are uneven.' He told me to look again; and I did so, and saw that each globe was really perfect, but that in each a small portion remained dark so as to present the appearance of having a piece out; and I noticed that these dark portions of the two stars were turned towards each other. Upon this I looked to the Angel for the explanation.
And the Angel said to me, 'These stars derive their light not only from the sun but from each other. If there be darkness in one of them, the corresponding face of the other will likewise be darkened; and how shall either reflect perfectly the image of the sun if it be dark to its companion star? For how shall it respond to that which is above all, if it respond not to that which is nearest?’
And I said, 'Lord, if the darkness in one of these stars be caused by the darkness in its fellow, which of them was first darkened?'
Then he answered me and said, 'These stars are of different tinctures; one is of the sapphire, the other of the sardonyx. Of the first the atmosphere is cool and equable; of the other it is burning and irregular. The spirit of the first is as God towards man; the spirit of the second is as the soul towards God. The first loves; the second aspires. And the office of the spirit which loves is outwards; while the office of the spirit which aspires is upwards. The light
of the first, which is blue, enfolds, and contains, and embraces, and sustains. The light of the second, which is red, is as a flame which scorches, and burns, and troubles, and seeks God only, and his duty is not to the outward, for it is not given to him to love. God, whom he seeks, is love; and therefore is he drawn upward to God only. But the spirit of his fellow descends. She indraws, and blesses, and confers; and hers is the office which redeems. Wherefore if she fail in her love, her failure is greater than his who hath no love; and to be perfect she must forgive until the seventy times seven, and be great in humility. For the violet, which is the colour of humility, is of the blue. And if she seek her own, or yield not in outward things, her nature is not perfected, and her light is darkened. Let Love, therefore, think not of herself, for she hath no self, but all that she hath is towards others, and only in giving and forgiving is she rich. If, on the contrary, she make a self withinwards, her light is withdrawn and troubled, and she is not perfect, and if she demand of another that which he hath not, then she seeketh her own, and her light is darkened. And if she be darkened towards him, he also will darken towards her, in respect, that is, of enlightenment. And thus her failure of love will break the communion with the Divine, which is through him. He cannot darken outwardly first; for love is not of him. If he darken of himself, it must be within towards God. But that which he receives of God, he gives not forth himself. But he burns centrally and enlightens his fellow, and she gives it forth according to her office. And if she darken in any way outwardly, she cannot receive enlightenment, but darkens the burning star likewise, and so hinders their inter-communion.'
Having thus spoken, the Angel looked upon me and said, 'Ye are the two stars, and to one is given the office of the Prophet, and to the other the office of the Redeemer. But to be Prophet and Redeemer in one, this is the glory of the Christ.'"
Here again was an intimation that on one plane at least of our respective systems she was of masculine and I of feminine potency, with functions to correspond. That these functions were capable of being described in the terms employed was, we felt, no reason for arrogating high places to ourselves. Rather did we consider that everything is according to its degree; and that, as for persons, if the Gods were to wait until they found perfect instruments, or at least perfect persons for their instruments, they would never begin. And this also, that if the world were in a condition to produce such persons, it would have no need of redemption. Had not even Jesus Himself been "crucified through weakness"?
In view of the intensity of the distress undergone in this connection, I found myself recalling the remark of Plato, "Many begin the mysteries, but few complete them." My only wonder was that any should survive the ordeals, if they approached ours in severity. Meanwhile it was said to us by way of encouragement, "Be sure there is trouble in store. No man ever got to the Promised Land without first going through the wilderness."
The instruction to "Mary" had not only justified my surmise, it also met and corrected her in respect of the chief cause of our trouble. This was her disposition, at astral instigation, to withhold from me the products of her illuminations, and even to refrain from writing them down (1), on the specious pretext that they were meant for her own
exclusive benefit, and were too sacred to be given to the world, or even to me; and she had failed to discern the source and motive of these suggestions. So effectually had what were really spirits of darkness disguised themselves as angels of light.
The importance attached to the occult significance of our "tinctures" received illustration in this wise. Permission had been given us to make an exception to the rule of secrecy imposed with regard to certain of the Scriptures received by us, in favour of a friend who took so warm an interest in our work as to be eager to render it material aid in the future should occasion arise. It was her mission, she declared, to do so. But when the day appointed for the reading came, "Mary" was so ill that her going seemed to be impossible, and the question accordingly arose as to whether I might go alone and read them without her. We had no sooner begun to consider the point than she became entranced, and was shown a large open volume, the book of the Greater Mysteries to which our Scriptures belonged, surrounded by an Iris composed of all the colours of the rainbow. She was then shown the following lines, which I wrote down as she repeated them: –
"The one in Red guards his privileges, and claims to be present whatever is read.
For the air is filled with the haters of the Mysteries.
Therefore for your sake the chain must be complete;
And the Light must be refracted round you seven times.
He who is Red stands within the holy circle.
And the Violet guards the outermost.
For the Word is a Word of Mystery, and they who guard it are Seven.
Beware that nothing you hear be told unless the circle be perfect.
And this charge we lay upon you until the work be accomplished.
Fire and sword and war are against you; you walk in the midst of commotion.
And your life is in peril every hour until the words be completed."
Up to the latest moment of the interval before the appointment it seemed impossible for her to go. She then suddenly recovered as by miracle, and was able to attend the reading.
liabilities of our position subsequently (1) received this further
illustration. "Mary" was introduced in sleep, by her Genius, into an apartment
in the spiritual world which purported to be the laboratory of William Lilly,
the famous astrologer who had foretold the great plague and fire of
"You also have these Scriptures !" she exclaimed. "Yes," said he, "but I keep them for myself alone."
"And why so," she asked, "since, if you have them, they are for the learning of others likewise? Will you not rather communicate these saving truths to thirsty souls?"
"I will communicate them," said he, fixing his eyes on her intently, "when I can find Seven Men who for forty days have tasted no flesh, whose hands have shed no blood, and whose tongues have tasted of none."
"But if you find not Seven?"
"Then, mayhap, I shall find Five."
"And if not Five?"
"Then, maybe, I shall meet with Three."
"But even this may be hard to find, and if you should not meet with Three, what then will you do?"
"One Neophyte would not be able to protect himself."
In communicating to her the results of his calculations, he had said that owing to the propensities indulged in certain of her former lives, she had made for herself a destiny which ensured suffering and failure, except when living in a similar manner; doing which she would have a life of unbounded success. "But," he continued, "your horoscope has nothing for you but misfortune so long as you persist in a virtuous course of life, and, indeed, it is now too late to adopt another. I speak herein according to your Fortune, not in regard to your Inner life. With that I have no concern. I tell you what is forecast for you on the material and actual planisphere of your Nativity. (...) I see nothing but misfortune before you. Yea, if you persist in virtue, it is not unlikely that you may be stript of all your worldly goods, and of all you possess, and this evil fortune will follow your nearest associates."
To her enquiry, "Can I never overcome this evil prognostic?" he replied that she could do so
only by outliving the time appointed for her natural life in the career indicated, and added this advice, "Steel yourself; learn to suffer; become a Stoic; care not. If Misfortune be yours, make it your Fortune. Let Poverty become to you Riches. Let Loss be Gain. Let Sickness be Health. Let Pain be Pleasure. Let Evil Report be Good Report. Yea, let Death be Life. Fortune is in the Imagination. If you believe you have all things, they are truly yours.” He concluded with an explanation reconciling destiny with free will, and vindicating the divine justice, in a manner which removed all our difficulties on those points, and, as we later came to learn, was entirely in accordance with the Hindu doctrine of "Karma," of which at this time we had never heard. (1)
There was no exaggeration in the terms of the warning of danger. We were constantly made aware of the presence of the malignant entities above described focusing their influences on us to prevent the accomplishment of our work, and requiring the utmost vigilance on our part, as well also as on the part of our illuminators, to thwart their purpose. And we had good reason to believe that our difficulties and dangers were enhanced through "Mary's" attendances at the schools and hospitals, owing to the evil nature of the influences there dominant under a regimen grossly materialistic, and her liability to be fastened upon and accompanied home by them. The outer walls of her spiritual system – it was explained to us – were not yet completed, owing to the vastness of
the circuit of her selfhood; and hence her accessibility to the incursion of noxious influences from without. The treatment of the patients by men trained in the physiological laboratory, and bent upon turning the hospital ward also into a laboratory with the patients themselves for the victims of cruel and wanton experimentation, would send her home boiling with indignation and wrath, to the destruction of the serenity and self-control requisite for our spiritual work.
It was clear to us that no experience was to be wanting to exhibit the contrast between the world's actual and the world's possible. The overthrow of "the world's sacrificial system" meant salvation for man and beast. The condition of all really redemptive work is a "descent into hell." The following instruction to us is a typical one: –
"Teach the doctrine of the Universal Soul and the Immortality of all creatures. Knowledge of this is what the world most needs, and this is the keynote of your joint mission. On this you must build; it is the key-stone of the arch. The perfect life is not attainable for man alone. The whole world must be redeemed under the new gospel you are to teach."
The following "Counsel of Perfection" which was received (1) by "Mary," is an exquisite expression of the same theme: –
I dreamed that I was in a large room, and there were in it seven persons, all men, sitting at one long table; and each of them had before him a scroll, some having books also; and all were greyheaded and bent with age save one,
and this was a youth of about twenty, without hair on his face. One of the aged men, who had his finger on a place in a book open before him, said:
"This spirit, who is of our order, writes in this book, – 'Be ye perfect, therefore, as your Father in heaven is perfect.’ How shall we understand this word 'perfection'?" And another of the old men, looking up, answered, "It must mean Wisdom, for wisdom is the sum of perfection." And another old man said, "That cannot be; for no creature can be wise as God is wise. Where is he among us who could attain to such a state? That which is part only, cannot comprehend the whole. To bid a creature to be wise as God is wise would be mockery."
Then a fourth old man said: – "It must be Truth that is intended; for truth only is perfection." But he who sat next the last speaker answered, "Truth also is partial; for where is he among us who shall be able to see as God sees?"
And the sixth said, "It must surely be Justice; for this is the whole of righteousness." And the old man who had spoken first, answered him: – "Not so; for justice comprehends vengeance, and it is written that vengeance is the Lord's alone."
Then the young man stood up with an open book in his hand and said: – "I have here another record of one who likewise heard these words. Let us see whether his rendering of them can help us to the knowledge we seek." And he found a place in the book and read aloud: – "Be ye merciful, even as your Father is merciful." And all of them closed their books and fixed their eyes upon me.
That it was possible at all for her to study medicine in a school in which vivisection was an all prevailing practice, was only because she set her face resolutely against it, by refusing to attend any place or occasion where or on which it took place, and relying for her own education chiefly on
private tuition. It was an essential part of her plan to prove that such experimentation was not necessary for a degree. And this she effectually demonstrated by accomplishing her student-course with rare expedition and distinction, despite her many and severe illnesses and her frequent change of professors. For one after another resigned the office on account of her refusal to allow them to experiment on live animals at her lessons. Not until she had secured her diploma did she enter a physiological laboratory. And then only in order to qualify herself by personal experience to denounce the practice. For herself it was not necessary, she declared, to see a murder or a robbery committed to know that it is a crime.
The following incident shows how adverse the conditions of modern life were to our spiritual work: –
"Do not ask me such deep questions just now, for I cannot see clearly, and it hurts me to look. The atmosphere is thick with the blood shed for the season's festivities. The Astral Belt is everywhere dense with blood. My Genius says that if we were in some country where the conditions of life are purer, we could live in constant communication with the spiritual world. For the earth here whirls round as in a cloud of blood like red fire. He says distinctly and emphatically that the salvation of the world is impossible while people nourish themselves on blood. The whole globe is like one vast
charnel-house. The magnetism is intercepted. The blood strengthens the bonds between the Astrals and the Earth. (...) This time, which ought to be the best for spiritual communion, is the worst, on account of the horrid mode of living. Pray wake me up: I cannot bear looking; for I see the blood and hear the cries of the poor slaughtered creatures." Here her distress was so extreme that she wept bitterly, and some days passed before she fully recovered her composure.
acquaintance with any literature kindred to our special work took place toward
the close of our sojourn in
Neoplatonists, Hermetists, Rosicrucians, and other orders of initiates, to Boehme, Swedenborg and "Eliphas Levi," and to see what the various spiritualistic schools of the present day had to say for themselves.
The following recognition of Hermes by one of the greatest of the Neoplatonists, Proclus, who lived in the fifth century of our era, was especially gratifying to us as proving the continuity of our experiences with those of past ages. Proclus, it must be remembered, was so eminent for his wisdom and powers as to be regarded by his contemporaries with a veneration approaching to adoration. Says Proclus, "Hermes, as the messenger of God, reveals to us His paternal Will, and – developing in us the Intuition – imparts to us knowledge. The knowledge which descends into the soul from above, excels any that can be attained by the mere exercise of the intellect. Intuition is the operation of the soul. The knowledge received through it from above, descending into the soul, fills it with the perception of the interior causes of things. The Gods announce it by their presence, and by illumination, and enable us to discern the universal order." Here was exactly the doctrine received by us, and the manner of it, only that the Intuition was further disclosed to us as due to interior recollection, as declared by Plato, as well as to perception.
of the investigations thus begun, and afterwards continued in the library of the
who had the witness to the truth in themselves, and this one and the same truth, it was also made clear that whereas others had received it in limitation, and beheld it as "through a glass darkly," we were receiving it in plenitude and "face to face," to the realisation of the high anticipations of the sages, saints, seers, prophets, redeemers, and Christs of all time; and this, too, at the period, in the manner, and under the conditions declared by them as to mark and make the "time of the end."
For in the illuminations vouchsafed to us the key had been restored which unlocked the meaning of the symbols in which the doctrines of all the churches, pre-Christian as well as Christian, had been at once concealed and revealed, to the elucidation of all the problems which have so sorely perplexed the world, and the verification, by actual experience, of the truth contained in them. No longer now was there for us any doubt as to the meaning of allegories such as the Fall, the Deluge, the Exodus, and others were now shown us to be; or of prophecies such as those of the crushing of the serpent's head by the Woman and her seed; the return of Astrea with her progeny of divine sons; the fall from heaven of Lucifer and Satan; the Return of the Gods; the reign of Michael, "that great prince who standeth for the children of God's people"; the breaking of the seals, and opening of the books; the recognition of the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place; the budding of the fig-tree, and the end of that "adulterous generation"; the revelation of "that wicked one, the mystery of iniquity and son of perdition, whom the Lord, at His coming in the clouds of
heaven with power and great glory, shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and destroy with the brightness of His coming"; the two Witnesses, their resurrection from the dead, and their ascent into heaven; the drying up of the great river Euphrates, and the coming of the kings of the East by the way thus prepared; the binding of Satan, and the acceptable year of the Lord to follow; the exaltation to heaven, and clothing with the sun, of the mystic "Woman" of the Apocalypse; the advent of the angel flying in mid-heaven, having an eternal gospel to proclaim unto every nation, and tribe, and tongue, and people; the coming of many from the East, and the West, and the North, and the South, to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; and the battle of Armageddon, and the end of the world. To all these, and other sacred enigmas of like nature, the key had been given us. And they one and all proved to be prophecies of one and the same event, the restoration of the faculty of inward understanding, and of the divine knowledges which only through it are possible. And whereas this was the faculty, the corruption and loss of which had made the Fall, which was that of the original Church, so was it the faculty, the purification and restoration of which was to reverse the Fall, accomplishing the Redemption. For by it man will regain his mental balance, in virtue of which he was "made upright," and become again sound, whole, and sane, and be by condition that which he has been divinely declared from the first to be by constitution, – an instrument of understanding, competent for the comprehension of all truth. For only thus is he really
man, and made in the divine image; seeing that he is not really man, but infant only, until he attains his spiritual majority and is able to understand. And that which thus makes him man on the plane mental and spiritual, is that which makes him man on the plane physical. It is his recognition and appropriation of the "Woman" of that plane, the mystic "Woman" of Holy Writ, the mind's feminine mode, the Intuition. It is of her first identification by us, as the key to the whole mystery of the Bible, that the manner will now be recounted.
(112:1) The occasion of the
receipt by A.K. and E.M. of the above was one of peculiar interest. It was given
in reference to a visit from the late Laurence Oliphant, an account of which
will be found in Life A.K. It will suffice to say here that, having heard of their work,
Oliphant came to them as an emissary from his chief in
(112:2) See note p. 70.
(114:1) The above reference is to an experience of mine which does not call for relation here. E.M.
(119:1) Says E.M. in Life A.K – "The subtlety with which my most sensitive places were searched out, and the mercilessness with which they were probed by the influences which had now obtained access to us, seemed to me to belong altogether to the infernal." (Life A.K. Vol. I. p. 318.) S.H.H.
(120:1) The date was 27th March, 1880. S.H.H.
(122:1) The Hymn to the Planet-God has been referred to on p. 79. It is given in full in the P.W. pp. 341-349: a portion of it concerning the passage of the Soul, and concerning the Mystic Exodus, are given on pp. 169-173 post. The method of the recovery by A.K. of this most important Hymn “was such as to constitute it a proof positive of the great doctrine set forth in it, the doctrine of Reincarnation; for it was as one of a band of initiates, making solemn procession through the aisles of a vast Egyptian temple, chanting it in chorus, that 'Mary,' being asleep, recollected it." (Life A.K. Vol. I. p. 456.) S.H.H.
(123:1) That is, the "strained conditions" under which their association was then maintained and their work carried on. (Life A.K. Vol. I. p. 374.) S.H.H.
(123:2) See p. 130.
(125:1) On the night of the 23rd June, 1880. This vision was received by E.M. as he pondered and while he was awake. (Life A.K. Vol. I. pp. 376-377.) S.H.H.
(129:1) Some of A.K.'s illuminations have thus been lost to the world. (Life A.K. Vol. I. p. 374.) S.H.H.
(131:1) On the 13th-14th January, 1881. (Life A.K. Vol. I. p. 435.) S.H.H.
(133:1) A full account of this interview with William Lily is given in Life A.K. Vol. I. pp. 435-441.
(134:1) On the 9th April,
(136:1) Christmas Day, 1880. (Life A.K. Vol. I. p. 430.)
(137:1) the time referred to was September, 1878. Life A.K. Vol. I. pp. 285-385.