LECTURE THE FIFTH (1)
THE NATURE AND CONSTITUTION OF THE EGO
01. EVOLUTION as revealed by the facts of physical science is inexplicable on the materialistic hypothesis, as also are the facts of occult experience and science. This is because, by its failure to recognise consciousness as subsisting prior to organism, and inherent in substance, that hypothesis ignores the condition essential to evolution.
02. But for evolution something more even than consciousness is requisite – namely, memory. For memory is the condition of segregation; the cause and consequence of individuation. Hence every molecule, both in its individual and its collective capacity, is capable of memory; for every experience leaves, in its degree, its impression or scar on the substance of the molecule to be transmitted to its descendants. This memory of the most striking effects of past experience, is the differentiating cause which, accumulated over countless generations, leads up from the
amæba to man. Were there no such memory, instead of progress, or evolution, there would be a circle returning into and repeating itself: whereas, the modifying effects of accumulated experience convert what would otherwise be a circle into a spiral, whose eccentricity – though imperceptible at the outset – becomes greater and more complex at every step. (1)
03. Consciousness being inherent in substance, every molecule in the universe is able to feel and to obey after its kind – the inorganic as well as the organic, between which there is no absolute distinction, as ordinarily supposed. For even the stone has a moral platform, embracing a respect for and obedience to the laws of gravitation and chemical affinity. Wherever there are vibration and motion, there are life and memory; and there are vibration and motion at all times and in all things. Herein may be seen the cause of the failure of the attempt to divide the ego from the non-ego. Strictly speaking, there is one thing and one action; for unconsciousness is no more a positive thing, than darkness. It is the privation, more or less complete, of consciousness, as obscurity is of light.
04. We come to speak of the substantial ego, the soul or Psyche, the superior human reason, the nucleus of the human system. (2) In every living entity there are four inherent powers. We are speaking now not of component parts but of forces. The first and lowest mode of power is the mechanical; the second is the chemical; the third is the electrical – an order which includes the mental; and the fourth is the psychical. The first three belong to
the domain of physiological science; the last to that of spiritual science. It is this last mode of power which belong to the “Immaculate” and Essential. It is inherent in the Substantial, and is, therefore, a permanent and indefeasible quantity. It is in the Archë, and is wherever there is organic life. Thus is Psyche at once the “living mother” and “mother of the living.” And she is from the Beginning latent and diffused in all matter. She is the unmanifest, by the divine Will made manifest; the invisible, by energy made visible. Wherefore every manifested entity is a Trinity, whose three “persons” are – (1) that which makes visible; (2) that which is made visible; and (3) that which is visible. Such are Force, Substance, and the expression or “Word” of these.
05. Of this Energy, or Primordial Force, there are two modes – for everything is dual – the centrifugal, or accelerating force, and the centripetal, or moderating force; of which the latter, in being derivative, reflex, and complementary, is as feminine to the other’s masculine. By means of the first mode substances become matter. By means of the second mode substance resumes her first condition. In all matter there is a tendency to revert to substance, and hence to polarise Soul by means of evolution. For the instant the centrifugal mode of force comes into action, that instant its derivative, the centripetal force, begins also to exercise its influence. And the primordial substance has no sooner assumed the condition of matter, than matter itself begins to differentiate – being actuated by its inherent force – and by differentiation to beget individualities.
06. Then Psyche, once abstract and universal, becomes concrete and individual, and through the gate of matter issues forth into new life. A minute spark in the globule,
she becomes – by continual accretion and centralisation – a refulgent blaze in the globe. As along a chain of nerve-cells the current of magnetic energy flows to its central point – being conveyed, as is a mechanical shock, along a series of units, with ever-culminating impetus – so is the psychic energy throughout nature developed. Hence the necessity of centres, of associations, of organisms. And thus, by the systemisation of congeries of living entities, that which in each is little, becomes great in the whole. The quality of Psyche is ever the same; her potentiality is invariable.
07. Our souls, then, are the agglomerate essences of the numberless consciousnesses composing us. They have grown, evolving gradually from rudimentary entities which were themselves evolved, by polarisation, from gaseous and mineral matter. And these entities combine and coalesce to form higher – because more complex – entities, the soul of the individual representing the combined forces of their manifold consciousnesses, polarised and centralised into an indefeasible unity.
08. While the material and the physical are to each other respectively the world of Causes and the world of Effects, the material is, itself, the effect of the spiritual, being the middle term between the spiritual and the physical. It is therefore true that organism is the result of Idea, and that Mind is the cause of evolution. The explanation is, that Mind is before matter in its abstract, though not in its concrete condition. This is to say, that Mind, greater than, and yet identical with, that which results from organism, precedes and is the cause of organism.
09. This Mind is God, as subsisting prior to and apart from creation, which is manifestation. God is spirit or essential substance, and is impersonal if the term persona
be taken in its etymological sense, but personal in the highest and truest sense if the conception be of essential consciousness. For God has no limitations. God is a pure and naked fire burning in infinitude, whereof a flame subsists in all creatures. The Cosmos is a tree having innumerable branches, each connected with and springing out of various boughs, and these again originating in and nourished by one stem and root. And God is a fire burning in this tree, and yet consuming it not. God is I AM. Such is the nature of infinite and essential Being. And such is God before the worlds. (1)
10. What, then, is the purpose of evolution, and separation into many forms – the meaning, that is, of Life? Life is the elaboration of soul through the varied transformation of matter.
Spirit is essential and perfect in itself, having neither beginning nor end. Soul is secondary and perfected, being begotten of spirit. Spirit is the first principle, and is abstract. Soul is the derivative, and is therefore concrete. Spirit is thus the primary Adam; and Soul is Eve, the “woman” taken out of the side of the “man.”
11. The essential principle of personality – that which constitutes personality in its highest sense – is consciousness, is spirit; and this is God. Wherefore the highest and innermost principle of every monad is God. But this primary principle – being naked essence – could not be separated off into individuals unless contained and limited by a secondary principle. This principle – being derived – is, necessarily evolved. Spirit, therefore, is projected into the condition of matter in order that soul may be evolved thereby. Soul is begotten in matter by means
of polarisation; and spirit, of which all matter consists, returns to its essential nature in soul – this being the medium in which spirit is individuated – and from abstract becomes concrete; so that by means of creation God the One becomes God the Many.
12. We have spoken of an outer personality and an inner personality, and of a material consciousness as differing from a spiritual consciousness. We have now to speak of a spiritual energy as differing from a material energy. The energy whereby the soul polarises and accretes, is not dependent upon the undulations of the ether as are material energies. The astral ether is the first state of matter. And to the first state of matter corresponds the primordial force, the rotatory, or centrifugal and centripetal in one. But before and within force is Will; that is, Necessity, which is the will of God. It is inherent in substance, which is the medium in which it operates. Such as the primordial will is in relation to the primordial substance, the individual will is to the derived soul. And when the current of spiritual energy, or will, is strong enough in the complex organism to polarise and kindle centrally, then the individual Psyche conceives Divinity within her and becomes God – conscious. In the rudimentary stages of matter, this current is not strong enough or continuous enough thus to polarise.
13. When Psyche has once gathered force sufficient to burn centrally, her flame is not quenched by the disintegration of the physical elements. These, indeed, fall asunder and desquamate many times during life; yet the consciousness and memory remain the same. We have not
in our physical bodies a single particle which we had some few years ago, and yet our ego is the same and our thought continuous. The Psyche in us, therefore, has grown up out of many elements; and their interior egos are perpetuated in our interior ego, because their psychic force is centralised in our individuality. And when our Psyche is disengaged from the disintegrating particles of our systems, she will – after due purgation – go forth to new affinities and the reversion of matter to substance will still continue.
14. Is it asked – If the soul be immaculate how comes she to be attracted by material affinities? The reply is, that the link between her and earth is that which the Hindus call Karma, namely, the results of past conduct, and consequent destiny. Immaculate though she be in her virginal essence, Psyche is not the “espoused Bride” until the bond between her and the earth be severed. And this can be only when every molecule of her essence is pervaded by spirit, and indissolubly married therewith, as God with Archë in the Principle.
The soul, like water, can never really be other than “immaculate,” and hence the peculiar propriety of water as the mystical symbol for the soul. Being a chemical combination of two gases – hydrogen and oxygen – themselves pure, water itself also is pure and cannot be otherwise. The condition called foulness occurs, not by the admission of foreign substances entering into combination with it, but only by mechanical admixture with these, and the holding of them in suspension in such wise that may be eliminated by distillation. Such is the relation of the soul to “sin.” When regeneration, the equivalent of distillation – is accomplished, “Karma” is no longer operative.
15. The law inherent in the primordial substance of matter obliges all things to evolve after the same mode. The worlds in the infinite abyss of the heavens are in all respects similar to the cells in vegetable or animal tissue. Their evolution is similar, their distribution similar, and their mutual relations are similar. For this reason we may, by the study of natural science, learn the truth not only in regard to this, but in regard also to occult science; for the facts of the first are as a mirror to the facts of the last.
16. We have already said that our souls are the agglomerate essences of the numberless consciousnesses composing us. Our souls are not, however, limited in capacity to the sum total of those consciousnesses as they are in their separate state; but represent them combined into One Life polarised to a plane indefinitely higher. For the synthetical resultant thus attained is not a mere aggregate of constituents; but represents a new condition of these, precisely as in chemistry H2O – the symbol for water – represents a new condition of 2H+O, and differs from it by a reformulation of state. After such a reformulation, the sum of the activities of the molecules of the resulting product is different from that previously possessed by its factors. In such sense is to be understood the synthesis of consciousness by means of which our individuality is constituted; and – referring this synthetic energy to a yet higher plane – the formulation of the God-consciousness peculiar to our world. This idea was familiar to the ancients. They were wont to regard every heavenly orb as a deity, having for his material body the visible planet; for his astral nature its vegetable and animal intelligences; and for his Soul, man’s substantial part, his spirit being
the Nous of man, and therefore Divine. And as, when speaking of the planet-God they specially meant that Nous, it was said with truth that our Divine part is no other than the planet-God – in our case Dionysos, or Jehovah-Nyssi, the “God of the emerald,” or green earth, called also Iacchos, the mystic Bacchos. (1)
17. Such as all creatures composing the planet are to the planet, all the planets are to universe, and such are the Gods to God (in manifestation). The supreme Ego of the universe is the sum total of all the Gods; His Personality is their agglomerate personality; to pray to Him is to address all the celestial host, and, by inclusion, the souls of all just men. But as in man, the central unity of consciousness constituted of the association of all the consciousness of his system, is more than the sum total of these, inasmuch as it is on a higher level; – so in the planet and the universe. The soul of the planet is more than the associated essences of the souls composing it. The consciousness of the system is more than that of associated world-consciousnesses. The consciousness of the manifest universe is more than that of the corporate systems; and that of the Unmanifest Deity is greater than that of them all. For the Manifest does not exhaust the Unmanifest; but “the Father is greater than the Son.” (2)
18. And here it is necessary that this distinction between the manifest and unmanifest God be insisted on and defined. “No man,” it is declared, “hath seen the Father at any time,” because the Father is Deity unmanifest. And again, “He that hath seen the Son, hath seen the Father
also,” because the Son is Deity in manifestation, and is the “Express Image” or Revelation of the Father, being brought forth in the “fulness of time” as the crown of cosmic evolution. This latter mode of Deity is therefore synthetical and cumulative; the terminal quantity of the whole series of the universal Life-process (Lebens-prozess) as exhibited in successive planes of generative activity, the Omega of concretive developments. But the Father is Deity under its abstract mode, logically precedent to and inclusive of the secondary and manifest mode; the Alpha of all things and processes, the supra-cosmic, primordial Being, impersonal (in the etymological sense of the term) and unindividuated; that wherein consciousness subsists in its original mode, and whereby it is subsequently conditioned and compelled. This unmanifest Deity must necessarily represent some mode of Self-hood; but its nature remains inscrutable to us, and can be known only through the Person of the Son; – that is, in manifestation.
The difference between the two modes of Deity finds apt illustration in the physiology of embryonic development. The first condition of the fecundated ovum is one of generalised and informulate vitality. An activity, at once intelligent and unindividuated, permeates the mass of potential differentiations, and directs their manifestation. Under the direction of this inherent activity, the mass divides, segregates, and constitutes itself into discrete elements; and these in their turn sub-divide, and elaborate new individuations; until, by means of successive aggregations of cellular entities, various strata and tissues are formed. In this way, is built up, little by little, a new glomerate creature, the consciousness of which, though manifold and diverse, is yet one and synthetic. But this synthetic individuality is not of itself. It was begotten in the
bosom of the inherent and primordial intelligence pervading the essential matter out of which it was constructed, and to which, as Father, it is Son.
19. The Gods are not limited in number. Their numbers denote orders only. Beyond number are the orbs in infinite space, and each of them is a God. Each globe has its quality corresponding to the conditions of the elements which compose it. And every physical world of effects has its psychic world of causes. All things are begotten by fission, or section, in an universal protoplast; and the power which causes this generation is centrifugal.
20. God unmanifest and abstract is the Primordial Mind, and the cosmic universe is the ideation of that Mind. Mind in itself is passive; it is organ, not function. Idea is active; it is function. As soon, therefore, as Mind becomes operative, it brings forth Ideas, and these constitute existence. Mind is abstract; Ideas are concrete. To think is to create. Every thought is a substantial action. Wherefore Thoth – Thought – is the creator of the Cosmos. Hence the identification of Hermes (Thoth) with the Logos.
21. Nevertheless, there is but one God; and in God are comprehended all thrones, and dominions, and powers, and principalities, and archangels, and cherubim in the celestial world – called by Kabbalists the “Exemplary World,” or world of archetypal ideas. And through these are the worlds begotten in time and space, each with its astral sphere. And every world is a conscient individuality. Yet they all subsist in one consciousness, which is one God. For all things are of spirit, and God is spirit, and spirit is consciousness.
22. The science of the Mysteries is the climax and crown of the physical sciences, and can be fully understood only
by those who are conversant therewith. Without this knowledge it is impossible to comprehend the basic doctrine of occult science, the doctrine of Vehicles. The knowledge of heavenly things must be preceded by that of earthly things. “If, when I have spoken to you of earthly things, you understand not,” says the Hierophant to his neophytes, “how shall you understand when I speak to you of heavenly things?” It is vain to seek the inner chamber without first passing through the outer. Theosophy, or the science of the Divine, is the Royal Science. And there is no way to reach the King’s chamber save through the outer rooms and galleries of the palace. Hence one of the reasons why occult science cannot be unveiled to the generality of men. To the uninstructed no truth is demonstrable. They who have not learned to appreciate the elements of a problem, cannot appreciate its solution.
23. All the component consciousnesses of the individual polarise to form an unity, which is as a sun to his system. But this polarisation is fourfold, being distinct for each mode of consciousness. And the central, innermost, or highest point of radiance – and it alone – is subjective. They who stop short at the secondary consciousness and imagine it to be the subjective, have failed to penetrate to the innermost and highest point of the consciousness in themselves, and in so far are defective as to their humanity. Whereas they who have developed in themselves the consciousness of every zone of the human system, are truly human, and do, of themselves, represent humanity as no majority, however great, of undeveloped and rudimentary men can do. Being thus, they represent Divinity also. Theocracy consists in government by them.
24. Let us take for illustration the image of an incandescent globe, or ball of fire, fluid and igneous throughout
its whole mass. Supposing this globe divided into several successive zones, each containing its precedent, we find that the central interior zone only contains the radiant point, or heart of the fiery mass, and that each successive zone constitutes a circumferential halo, more or less intense according to its nearness to the radiant point; but secondary and derived only, and not in itself a source of luminous radiation.
25. It is thus with the macrocosm, and also with the human kingdom. In the latter the soul is the interior zone, and that which alone contains the radiant point. By this one indivisible effulgence the successive zones are illuminated in unbroken continuity; but the source of it is not in them. And this effulgence is consciousness, and this radiant point is the spiritual ego or Divine spark. God is the Shining One, the radiant point of the universe. God is the supreme consciousness, and the Divine radiance also is consciousness. And man’s interior ego is conscient only because the radiant point in it is Divine. And this consciousness emits consciousness; and transmits it, first, to the Psyche; next to the anima bruta; and last, to the physical system. The more concentrated the consciousness, the brighter and more effulgent the central spark.
26. Again: in from the midst of this imagined globe of fire the central incandescent spark be removed, the whole globe does not immediately become dark; but the effulgence lingers in each zone according to its degree of proximity to the centre. And it is thus when dissolution occurs in the process of death. The anima bruta and physical body may retain consciousness for a while after the soul is withdrawn, and each part will be capable of memory, thought, and reflection according to its kind.
27. Apart from the consciousness which is of the Psyche,
man is necessarily agnostic. For, of the region which, being spiritual and primary, interprets the sensible and secondary, he has no perception. He may know things, indeed, but not the meaning of things; appearances, but not realities; resultant forms, but not formative ideas; still less the source of these. The world and himself are fellow-phantoms; aimless apparitions of an inscrutable something, or, may-be, nothing; a succession of unrelated, unstable states.
28. From this condition of non-entity, the spiritual consciousness redeems him, by withdrawing him inward from materiality and negation, and disclosing to him a noumenal, and, therefore, stable ego, as the cogniser of the unstable states of his phenomenal ego. The recognition of this noumenal ego in himself involves the recognition of a corresponding ego, of which it is the counterpart, without himself: – involves, that is, the perception of God. For the problem of the ego in man is the problem also of God in the universe. The revelation of one is the revelation of both, and the knowledge of either involves that of the other. Wherefore for man to know himself, is to know God. Self-consciousness is God-consciousness. He who possesses this consciousness, is, in such degree, a Mystic.
29. That whereby the mystic is differentiated from other men, is degree and quality of sensitiveness. All are alike environed by one and the same manifold Being. But whereas the majority are sensitive to certain planes or modes only, and these the outer and lower, of the common environment, he is sensitive to them all, and especially to the inner and higher; having developed the corresponding mode in himself. For man can recognise without himself that only which he has within himself. The mystic is sensitive to the God-environment, because God is spirit, and he has developed his spiritual consciousness. That
is, he has and knows his noumenal ego. Psyche and her recollections and perceptions are his.
30. Hence the radiant point of the complex ego must be distinguished from its perceptive point. The first is always fixed and immutable. The second is mutable; and its position and relations vary with different individuals. The consciousness of the soul, or even – in very rudimentary beings – of the mind may lie beyond the range of the perceptive consciousness. As, this advances and spreads inwards, the environment of the ego concerned expands; until, when, finally, the perceptive point and the radiant point coincide, the ego attains regeneration and emancipation.
31. When the physiologists tell us that memory is a biological processus, and that consciousness is a state dependent upon the duration and intensity of molecular nervous vibration, a consensus of a vital action in the cerebral cells; a complexity, unstable and automatic, making and unmaking itself at each instant, as does the material flame, and similarly evanescent – they do not touch the Psyche. For what is it that cognises these unstable states? To what Subject do these successive and ephemeral conditions manifest themselves, and how are they recognised? Phenomenon is incapable of cognising itself, and appears not to itself, being objective only. So that unless there be an inner, subjective ego to perceive and remember this succession of phenomenal states, the condition of personality would be impossible; whereas, there is of necessity such an ego; for apparition and production are processes affecting – and therefore implying – a subject. Now this subject is, for man, the Psyche; for the universe, God. In the Divine mind subsist eternally and substantially all those things of which we behold the appearances. And as in nature there
are infinite gradations from simple to complex, from coarse to fine, from dark to light, so is Psyche reached by innumerable degrees; and they who have not penetrated to the inner, stop short at the secondary consciousness, which is ejective only, and imagine that the subjective – which alone explains all – is undemonstrable.
33. It is necessary clearly to understand the difference between the objective and the ejective on the one hand, and the subjective on the other. The study of the material is the study of the two former; and the study of the substantial is the study of the latter. That, then, which the biologists term the subjective, is not truly so, but is only the last or interior phase of phenomenon. Thus, for example, the unstable states which constitute consciousness, are, in their view, subjective states. But they are objective to the true subject, which is Psyche, because they are perceived by this latter, and whatever is perceived is objective. There are in the microcosm two functions, that of the revealer, and that of the entity to which revelation is made. The unstable states of the biologist, which accompany certain operations of organic force are so many modes whereby exterior things are revealed to the interior subject. Constituting a middle term between object and subject, these states are strictly ejective, and are not, therefore, the subject to which revelation is made. It is hopeless to seek to attain the subjective by the same method of study which discovers the ejective and objective. We find the latter by observation from without; the former by intuition from within. The human cosmos is a complexity of many principles, each having its own mode of operation. And it is on the rank and order of the principle affected by any special operation that the nature of the effect produced depends. When, therefore, for example, the biologist speaks of unconscious cerebration, he should ask himself to whom or to what such cerebration is unconscious, knowing that in all vital processes there is infinite gradation. Questions of duration affect the mind; questions of intensity affect the Psyche. All processes which occur in the objective are relative to something; there is but one thing absolute and
that is the subject. Unconscious cerebration is therefore only relatively unconscious in regard to that mode of perception which is conditioned in and by duration. But inasmuch as any such process of cerebration is intense, it is perceived by that perceptive centre which is conditioned by intensity; and in relation to that centre it is not unconscious. The interior man being spiritual, knows all processes; but many processes are not apprehended by the man merely mental. We see herein the distinction between the human principles, and their separability even on this plane of life. And if our mundane ego and our celestial ego be so distinct and separable, even while vitally connected, that a nervous process conscious to the latter is unconscious to the former much more shall separability be possible when the vital bond is broken. If the polarities of our entire system were single and identical in direction, we should be conscious of all processes and nothing would be unknown to us; because the central point of our perception would be the precise focus of all convergent radii. But no unregenerate man is in such case. In most men the perceptive point lies in the relative man – ejective or objective – and by no means in the substantial and subjective man. Thus the convergent radii pass unheeded of the individual consciousness, because, as yet, the man knows not his own spirit. Being thus incapable of absolute cognition, such as these may be said to be asleep while they live.
34. The higher the entity undergoing death, the easier is the detachment of the Psyche from the lower consciousness by which she is enshrined. The saint does not fear death, because his consciousness is gathered up into his Psyche, and she into her spouse the Spirit. Death, for
him, is the result, not of any pathological process, but of the normal withdrawal, first, of the animal life into the astral or magnetic; and, next, of this into the psychic, to the reinforcement of the latter, precisely as in the cell about to disintegrate, its protoplasmic contents are seen to become better defined and to increase, as their containing capsule becomes more tenuous and transparent. In this wise have passed away saints and holy man innumerable of all lands and faiths; and with a dissolution of this kind the relations of the redeemed Psyche with materiality may terminate altogether. Such an end is the consummation of the redemption from the power of the body, and from the “sting of death.” Forasmuch, however, as the righteous has attained this condition by what Paul calls “dying daily” during a long period to the lower elements, death for him – whatever the guise in which it may finally come – is no sudden event, but the completion of a process long in course of accomplishment. That which to others is a violent shock, comes to him by insensible degrees, and as a release wholly comfortable. Hence the aspiration of the prophet, “Let me die the death of the just, and let my last end be like his.”
And while the ghost remains below in the astral sphere, the soul, obeying the same universal law of gravitation and affinity, detaches herself and mounts to the higher atmosphere suited to her; – unless, indeed, she be yet too gross to be capable of such aspiration. In which case, she remains “bound” in her astral envelope as in a prison. This separability of principles is recognised in Homer when Odysseus is made to say of his interview with the shades: – “Then I perceived Herakles, but only in phantom, for he himself is with the gods.” (1)
36. The ghosts of the dead resemble mirrors having two opposed surfaces. On the one side they reflect the earth-sphere and its pictures of the past. On the other they receive influxes from those higher spheres which have received their higher, because spiritual, egos. The interval between these principles is, however, better described as of state or condition than as of locality. For this belongs to the physical and mundane, and for the freed soul has no existence. There is no far nor near in the Divine.
37. The ghost, however, has hopes which are not without justification. It does
not all die, if there be in it anything worthy of recall. The astral sphere is
then its place of purgation. For Saturn, who as Time is the
loss of its more material affinities, until these have so disintegrated and perished that its substance is thereby enlightened and purified. But continued commerce and intercourse with earth add, as it were, fresh fuel to its earthly affinities, keeping these alive, and so hinder its recall to its spiritual ego. And thus, therefore, the spiritual ego itself is detained from perfect absorption into, and union with, the Divine.
38. This dissolution of the ghost is gradual and natural. It is a process of disintegration and elimination extending over periods which are greater or less according to the character of the individual. Those ghosts which have belonged to evil persons possessed of strong wills and earthly tendencies, persist longest and manifest most frequently and vividly, because they do not rise, but – being destined to perish – are not withdrawn from immediate contact with the earth. These are all dross, having in them no redeemable element. The ghost of the righteous, on the other hand, complains if his evolution be disturbed. “Why callest thou me?” he may be regarded as saying: “disturb me not. The memories of my earth-life are chains about my neck; the desire of the past detains me. Suffer me to rise towards my rest, and hinder me not with evocations. But let thy love go after me and encompass me; so shalt thou rise with me through sphere after sphere.” Thus even though, as often happens, the ghost of a righteous person remains near one who, being also righteous, has loved him, it is still after the true soul of the dead that the love of the living friend goes, and not after his lower personality represented in the ghost. And it is the strength and divinity of this love which helps the purgation of the soul, being to it an indication of the way it ought to go, “a light shining upon the upward path” which leads from the earthly to the celestial and everlasting.
For the good man upon earth can love nothing other than the Divine. Wherefore, that which he loves in his friend is the Divine – his true and radiant self. (1)
39. Of the four constituent spheres of the planet one subsists in two conditions, present and past. This is its magnetic atmosphere or astral soul, called the Anima Mundi. In the latter condition it is the Picture-world wherein are stored up all the memories of the planet; its past life, its history, its affections and recollections of physical things. The adept may interrogate this phantom-world, and it shall speak for him. It is the cast-off vestment of the planet; yet it is living and palpitating, for its very fabric is spun of psychic substance, and its entire parenchyma is magnetic. And forasmuch as the planet is an entity ever being born and ever dying; so this astral counterpart of itself, which is the mirror of the globe, a world encompassing a world is ever in process of increase.
40. What the disintegrating Ruach is to man, this astral zone is to the planet. In fact, the great magnetic sphere of the planet is itself composed and woven out of the magnetic egos of its offspring, precisely as these in their turn are woven out of the infinitely lesser atoms which compose the individual man. So that by a figure, we may represent the whole astral atmosphere of the planet as a system of so many minute spheres, each reflecting and transmitting special rays. But as the Divine Spirit of the planet is not in its magnetic circle, but in the celestial; so the true soul and spirit of the man are not in this astral sphere, but are of the higher altitudes.
41. Each world has its astral soul which remains always with it. But the world’s true soul migrates and interchanges, which is the secret of the creation of worlds. Worlds, like men, have their karma; and new cosmic globes arise out of the ruins of former states. As the soul of the individual human unit transmigrates and passes on, so, likewise does the Psyche of the planet. From world to world in ceaseless intercourse and impetus, the living Neshamah pursues her variable way. And as she passes, the tincture of her divinity changes. Here, her spirit is derived through Iacchos; there through Aphrodite; and, again, through Hermes, or another god. Here, again, she is weak; and there, strong. Our planet – it must be understood – did not begin this Avatar in strength. An evil karma overwhelmed its soul; a karma which has endured throughout the last pralaya, or interval intervening between the former period of vivification of the planet and its rebirth, to new activities – and which, from the outset of the fresh manifestation – commonly called creation – dominated the reconstruction of things. This planetary karma was, by the Scandinavian theology, presented under the figure of the “golden dice of destiny,” which, after the “twilight of the Gods,” or “night of the Kalpa,” (1) were found again unchanged in the growing grass of a new risen earth. For, as the kabbalistic interpreters of Genesis teach, the moral formations of all created things preceded their objective appearance. So that “every plant of the field before it sprang, and every herb of the ground before it grew,” had its “generation” unalterably determined. And, so long as these moral destinies which constitute the planetary karma remain operative, so long the process of alternate passivity and activity will continue. The revolutions and evolution
of matter, the interchanges of destruction and renovation, mark the rhythmic swing of this resistless force, the expression of essential Justice. “The might of the Gods increase: the might of the powers of evil dwindles.” (1)
42. As with man so with the planet. For small and great there is One Law; though one star differs from another in glory. And so throughout the infinite vistas and systems of the heavens. From star to star, from sun to sun, from galaxy to galaxy, the cosmic souls migrate and interchange. But every God keeps his tincture and maintains indefeasibly his personality.
43. To apply what has been said to the elucidation of catholic doctrine and practice. The object set before the saint is so to live as to render the soul luminous and consolidate with the spirit, that thereby the spirit may be perpetually one with the soul, and thus eternise its individuality. For individuality appertains to the soul, inasmuch as it consists in separateness, which it is the function of soul-substance to accomplish in respect of spirit. (2) Thus, though
eternal and immaculate in her substance, the soul acquires individuality by being born in matter and time; and within her is conceived the divine element, which, divided from God, is yet God and man. Wherefore catholic dogma and tradition, while making Mary the “mother of God,” represent her as born of Anna, the year, of time. (1)
44. The two terms of the history of creation, or evolution, are formulated by the Church in two dogmas. These are (1), the Immaculate Conception; and (2), the Assumption, of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (2) The former concerns the generation of the soul, presenting her as begotten in the womb of matter, and by means of matter brought into world, and yet not of matter, but from the first moment of her being, pure and incorrupt. Otherwise she could not be “Mother of God.” In her bosom, as Nucleus, is conceived the bright and holy Light, the Nucleolus, which – without participation of matter – germinates in her and manifests itself as the express image of the Eternal and Ineffable
Selfhood. To this image she gives individuality; and through and in her it is focused and polarised into a perpetual and self-subsistent Person, at once human and Divine, Son of God and of Man. Thus is the soul at once Daughter, Spouse, and Mother of God. By her is crushed the head of the Serpent. And from her triumphant springs the Man Regenerate, who, as the product of a pure soul and divine spirit, is said to be born of water (Maria) and the Holy Ghost.
45. The declarations of Jesus to Nicodemus are explicit and conclusive as to the purely spiritual nature both of the entity designated “Son of Man,” and of the process of his generation. Whether incarnate or not, the “Son of Man” is of necessity always “in heaven,” – his own “kingdom within.” Accordingly the terms describing his parentage are devoid of any physical reference. “Virgin Maria” and “Holy Ghost” are synonymous, respectively, with “Water” and “the Spirit”; and these, again, denote the two constituents of every regenerated selfhood, its purified soul and divine spirit. Wherefore the saying of Jesus – “Ye must be born again of Water and of the Spirit,” was a declaration, first, that it is necessary to every one to be born in the manner in which he himself is said to have been born; and, next, that the gospel narrative of his birth is really a presentation, dramatic and symbolical, of the nature of regeneration.
46. As the Immaculate Conception is the foundation of the Mysteries, so the Assumption is their crown. For the entire object and end of cosmic evolution is precisely this triumph and apotheosis of the soul. In this Mystery is beheld the consummation of the whole scheme of creation – the perfectionment, perpetuation, and glorification of the individual human ego. The grave – that is the astral
and material consciousness – cannot retain the Mother of God. She rises into heaven; she assumes its Queenship, and is – to cite the “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary” – “taken up into the chamber where the King of kings sits on His starry throne”; her festival, therefore, being held at the corresponding season in the astronomical year, when the constellation Virgo reaches the zenith and is lost to view in the solar rays. Thus, from end to end, the mystery of the soul’s evolution – the argument, that is, of the cosmic drama and the history of Humanity – is contained and enacted in the cultus of the Blessed Virgin. The Acts and the Glories of Mary are the one and supreme theme of the sacred Mysteries. (1)
47. Now this discourse on the nature and constitution of the Ego is really a
discourse on the nature and constitution of the
(118:1) This lecture was in 1886 written by Edward Maitland for the Second Edition of The Perfect Way, in which Edition it was substituted for the fifth lecture of the First Edition (see Pref.). It was written almost entirely from revelations received by Anna Kingsford, Edward Maitland’s own independent contributions to it being paragraphs 27 to 29 and 45 to 47. On the 29th June, 1886, it was read by Edward Maitland as a lecture to the Hermetic Society (Life of A.K., vol. ii., pp. 17, 33, 257). For the fifth lecture of the first Edition, see Appendix No. 1.
(119:1) See Unconscious Memory, ch. xiii., by
(119:2) Using the term Psyche in the higher sense usually attached to it by the post-Homeric Greeks, and not that of the animal life as by Paul.
(122:1) Terms implying succession, when used in relation to the infinite and eternal, are to be understood logically, not chronologically.
(126:1) See C.W.S., part ii., No. xiii., pp. 251-260. The Earth’s place in the “Seven Planets” is that of the green ray in the spectrum. Hence the emerald “Tablet of Trismegistus” and signet of the Popes.
(126:2) See C.W.S., part i., No. l., p. 204.
(137:1) As pointed out by Dr. Hayman, Pindar similarly emphasises the distinction between the hero and his immortal essence. And Chaucer has the line: “Though thou here walke, thy spirit is in helle” (Man of Law’s Tale). These distinctions are more than poetic imaginings. They represent occult knowledges as verified by the experience of all ages.
(139:1) See C.W.S., part i., No. xl., p. 156, and part ii. No. xiv. (2), p. 270.
(140:1) Hindû term for the period of Kosmic manifestation.
(141:1) The Dharmasastra Sutras.
(141:2) While Christianity teaches the everlasting persistence of acquired personality of the redeemed, and makes redemption consist in this, Buddhism insists that personality is an illusion belonging to the sphere of existence – as distinguished from Being – and makes redemption consist in the escape from it. But the difference between the two doctrines is one of presentation only, and is not a real difference. The explanation is that there are to each individual two personalities or selfhoods, the one exterior and phenomenal, which is transient, and the other interior and substantial, which is permanent. And while Buddhism declares truly the evanescence of the former, Christianity declares truly the continuance of the latter. It is the absorption of the individual into this inner and divine selfhood, and his consequent withdrawal from Existence, that constitutes Nirvâna, “the peace that passeth understanding.”
(142:1) The Hebrew forms of these names – Miriam and Hannah – do not bear quite the same meanings. But, as is obvious from the analogies used and accepted in Catholic teaching, the name of the Virgin has always been related to its Latin signification, so that it is consistent to accept the name of her mother accordance with this practice, especially as the latter is not mentioned by any other Evangelists, but occurs only in Latin tradition.
(142:2) It is true that the doctrine of the Assumption is not a dogma in the technical sense of the term, inasmuch as it has not yet been formally promulgated as an article of faith. But it has always subsisted in the Church as a “pious belief,” and in promulgating it we are but anticipating the Church’s intention; – excepting that we present it as a conclusion of reason no less than as an article of faith. How far our action may be agreeable to ecclesiastical authority we have not thought necessary to inquire. Neither deriving our information from ecclesiastical sources, nor being under ecclesiastical direction, we commit no breach of ecclesiastical propriety. In any case it has the notable effect of securing the fulfilment of the prophecy implied in the choice of his official title and insignia by Pope Leo XIII – the prophecy that his pontificate should witness the promulgation in question. For further explanation see Lect. VI., 39.
(144:1) See C.W.S., part i., No. xlviii. (2), p. 198.
(144:2) See C.W.S., part i., No. l., p. 204.