Ξενόγλωσσα Κείμενα Εσωτερισμού

 

THE OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE OF BLOOD

( Η Απόκρυφη Σημασία τού Αίματος )

( Max Heidel )

Each one of you will doubtless be aware that the title of this lecture is taken from Goethe's Faust. You all know that in this poem we are shown how Faust, the representative of the highest human effort, enters into a pact with the evil powers, who on their side are represented in the poem by Mephistopheles, the emissary of hell. You will know, too, that Faust is to strike a bargain with Mephistopheles, the deed of which must be signed with his own blood. Faust, in the first instance, looks upon it as a jest. Mephistopheles, however, at this juncture utters the sentence which Goethe without doubt intended should be taken seriously: “Blood is a very special fluid.”

Now, with reference to this line in Goethe's Faust, we come to a curious trait in the so-called Goethe commentators. You are of course aware how vast is the literature dealing with Goethe's version of the Faust Legend. It is a literature of such stupendous dimensions that whole libraries might be stocked with it, and naturally I cannot make it my business to expatiate on the various comments made by these interpreters of Goethe concerning this particular passage. None of the interpretations throw much more light on the sentence than that given by one of the latest commentators, Professor Minor. He, like others, treats it in the light of an ironical remark made by Mephistopheles, and in this connection he makes the following really very curious observation, and one to which I would ask you to give your best attention; for there is little doubt that you will be surprised to hear what strange conclusions commentators on Goethe are capable of drawing.

Professor Minor remarks that “the devil is a foe to the blood”; and he points out that as the blood is that which sustains and preserves life, the devil, who is the enemy of the human race, must therefore also be the enemy of the blood. He then — and quite rightly — draws attention to the fact that even in the oldest versions of the Faust Legend — and indeed, in legends generally — blood always plays the same part.

In an old book on Faust it is circumstantially described to us how Faust makes a slight incision in his left hand with a small penknife, and how then, as he takes the pen to sign his name to the agreement, the blood flowing from the cut forms the words: “Oh man, escape!” All this is authentic enough; but now comes the remark that the devil is a foe to the blood, and that this is the reason for his demanding that the signature be written in blood. I should like to ask you whether you could imagine any person being desirous of possessing the very thing for which he has an antipathy? The only reasonable explanation that can be given — not only as to Goethe's meaning in this passage, but also as to that attaching to the main legend as well as to all the older Faust poems — is that to the devil blood was something special, and that it was not at all a matter of indifference to him whether the deed was signed in ordinary neutral ink, or in blood.

We can here suppose nothing else than that the representative of the powers of evil believes nay, is convinced that he will have Faust more especially in his power if he can only gain possession of at least one drop of his blood. This is self-evident, and no one can really understand the line otherwise. Faust is to inscribe his name in his own blood, not because the devil is inimical to it, but rather because he desires to gain power over it.

Now, there is a remarkable perception underlying this passage, namely, that he who gains power over a man's blood gains power over the man, and that blood is “a very special fluid” because it is that about which, so to speak, the real fight must be waged, when it comes to a struggle concerning the man between good and evil.

All those things which have come down to us in the legends and myths of various nations, and which touch upon human life, will in our day undergo a peculiar transformation with regard to the whole conception and interpretation of human nature. The age is past in which legends, fairy-tales, and myths were looked upon merely as expressions of the childlike fancy of a people. Indeed, the time has even gone by when, in a half-learned, half-childlike way, it was the fashion to allude to legends as the poetical expression of a nation's soul.

Now, this so-called “poetic soul” of a nation is nothing but the product of learned red tape; for this kind of red-tape exists just as much as the official variety. Anyone who has ever looked into the soul of a people is quite well aware that he is not dealing with imaginative fiction or anything of the kind, but with something very much more profound, and that as a matter of fact the legends and fairy-tales of the various peoples are expressive of wonderful powers and wonderful events.

If from the new standpoint of spiritual investigation we meditate upon the old legends and myths, allowing those grand and powerful pictures which have come down from primeval times to work upon our minds, we shall find, if we have been equipped for our task by the methods of occult science, that these legends and myths are the expressions of a most profound and ancient wisdom.

It is true we may at first be inclined to ask how it comes about that, in a primitive state of development and with primitive ideas, unsophisticated man was able to present the riddles of the universe to himself pictorially in these legends and fairy-tales; and how it is that, when we meditate on them now, we behold in them in pictorial form what the occult investigation of today is revealing to us with greater clearness.

This is a matter which at first is bound to excite surprise. And yet he who probes deeper and deeper into the ways and means by which these fairy-tales and myths have come into being, will find every trace of surprise vanish, every doubt pass away; indeed, he will find in these legends not only what is termed a naive and unsophisticated view of things, but the wondrously deep and wise expression of a primordial and true conception of the world.

Very much more may be learned by thoroughly examining the foundations of these myths and legends, than by absorbing the intellectual and experimental science of the present day. But for work of this kind the student must of course be familiar with those methods of investigation which belong to spiritual science. Now, all that is contained in these legends and ancient world-conceptions about the blood is wont to be of importance, since in those remote times there was a wisdom by means of which man understood the true and wide significance of blood, this “very special fluid” which is itself the flowing life of human beings.

We cannot today enter into the question as to whence came this wisdom of ancient times, although some indication of this will be given at the close of the lecture; the actual study of this subject must, however, stand over to be dealt with in future lectures. The blood itself, its import for man and the part it plays in the progress of human civilization, will today occupy our attention.

We shall consider it neither from the physiological nor from the purely scientific point of view, but shall rather take it from the standpoint of a spiritual conception of the universe. We shall best approach our subject if, to begin with, we understand the meaning of an ancient maxim, one which is intimately connected with the civilization of ancient Egypt, where the priestly wisdom of Hermes flourished. It is an axiom which forms the fundamental principle of all spiritual science, and which has become known as the Hermetic Axiom; it runs, “As above, so below.”

You will find that there are many dilettante interpretations of this sentence; the explanation, however, which is to occupy us today is the following: — It is plain to spiritual science that the world to which man has primary access by means of his five senses does not represent the entire world, that it is in fact only the expression of a deeper world hidden behind it, namely the spiritual world. Now, this spiritual world is called — according to the Hermetic Axiom — the higher world, the world “above”; and the world of the senses which is displayed around us, the existence of which we know through the medium of our senses, and which we are able to study by means of our intellect, is the lower one, the world “below,” the expression of that higher and spiritual world. Thus the occultist, looking upon this world of the senses, sees in it nothing final, but rather a kind of physiognomy which he recognizes as the expression of a world of soul and spirit; just as, when you gaze upon a human countenance, you must not stop at the form of the face and the gestures, paying attention only to them, but must pass, as a matter of course, from the physiognomy and the gestures to the spiritual element which is expressed in them.

What every person does instinctively when confronted by any being possessed of a soul, is what the occultist, or spiritual scientist, does in respect of the entire world; and “as above, so below” would, when referring to man, be thus explained: “Every impulse animating his soul is expressed in his face.” A hard and coarse countenance expresses coarseness of soul, a smile tells of inward joy, a tear betrays a suffering soul.

I will here apply the Hermetic Axiom to the question: What actually constitutes wisdom? Spiritual science has always maintained that human wisdom has something to do with experience, and that painful experience. He who is actually in the throes of suffering manifests in this suffering something that is an inward lack of harmony. He, however, who has overcome the pain and suffering and bears their fruits within him, will always tell you that through suffering he has gained some measure of wisdom. He says: — “the joys and pleasures of life, all that life can offer me in the way of satisfaction, all these things do I receive gratefully; yet were I far more loath to part with my pain and suffering than with those pleasant gifts of life, for ‘it is to my pain and suffering that I owe my wisdom.’ ”

And so it is that in wisdom occult science has ever recognized what may be called crystallized pain — pain that has been conquered and thus changed into its opposite.

It is interesting to note that the more materialistic modern research has of late arrived at exactly the same conclusion. Quite recently a book has been published on “The Mimicry of Thought,” a book well worth reading. It is not the work of a theosophist, but of a student of nature and of the human soul. The author endeavors to show how the inner life of man, his way of thinking, as it were, impresses itself upon his physiognomy. This student of human nature draws attention to the fact that there is always something in the expression on the face of a thinker which is suggestive of what one may describe as “absorbed pain.”

Thus you see that this principle comes to light again in the more materialistic view of our own day, a brilliant confirmation of that immemorial axiom of spiritual science. You will become more and more deeply sensible of this, and you will find that gradually, point for point, the ancient wisdom will reappear in the science of modern times.

Occult investigation shows decisively that all the things which surround us in this world — the mineral foundation, the vegetable covering, and the animal world — should be regarded as the physiognomical expression, or the “below,” of an “above” or spirit life lying behind them. From the point of view taken by occultism, the things presented to us in the sense world can only be rightly understood if our knowledge includes cognition of the “above,” the spiritual archetype, the original Spiritual Beings, whence all things manifest have proceeded. And for this reason we will today apply our minds to a study of that which lies concealed behind the phenomenon of the blood, that which shaped for itself in the blood its physiognomical expression in the world of sense. When once you understand this “spiritual background” of blood, you will be able to realize how the knowledge of such matters is bound to react upon our whole mental outlook on life.

Questions of great importance are pressing upon us these days; questions dealing with the education, not alone of the young, but of entire nations. And, furthermore, we are confronted by the momentous educational question which humanity will have to face in the future, and which cannot fail to be recognized by all who note the great social upheavals of our time, and the claims which are everywhere being advanced, be they the Labor Question, or the Question of Peace. All these things are pre-occupying our anxious minds.

But all such questions are illuminated as soon as we recognize the nature of the spiritual essence which lies at the back of our blood. Who can deny that this question is closely linked to that of race, which at the present time is once more coming markedly to the front? Yet this question of race is one that we can never understand until we understand the mysteries of the blood and of the results accruing from the mingling of the blood of different races. And finally, there is yet one other question, the importance of which is becoming more and more acute as we endeavor to extricate ourselves from the hitherto aimless methods of dealing with it, and seek to approach it in its more comprehensive bearings. This problem is that of colonization, which crops up wherever civilized races come into contact with the uncivilized: namely — To what extent are uncivilized peoples capable of becoming civilized? How can an utterly barbaric savage become civilized? And in what way ought we to deal with them? And here we have to consider not only the feelings due to a vague morality, but we are also confronted by great, serious, and vital problems of the very fact of existence itself.

Those who are not aware of the conditions governing a people — whether it be on the up- or down-grade of its evolution, and whether the one or the other is a matter conditioned by its blood — such people as these will, indeed, be unlikely to hit on the right mode of introducing civilization to an alien race. These are all matters which arise as soon as the Blood Question is touched upon.

What blood in itself is, you presumably all know from the current teachings of natural science, and you will be aware that, with regard to man and the higher animals, this blood is practically fluid life.

You are aware that it is by way of the blood that the “inner man” comes into contact with that which is exterior, and that in the course of this process man's blood absorbs oxygen, which constitutes the very breath of life. Through the absorption of this oxygen the blood undergoes renewal. The blood which is presented to the in-streaming oxygen is a kind of poison to the organism — a kind of destroyer and demolisher — but through the absorption of the oxygen the blue-red blood becomes transmuted by a process of combustion into red, life-giving fluid. This blood that finds its way to all parts of the body, depositing everywhere its particles of nourishment, has the task of directly assimilating the materials of the outer world, and of applying them, by the shortest method possible, to the nourishment of the body. It is necessary for man and the higher animals first to absorb the oxygen from the air into it, and to build up and maintain the body by means of it.

One gifted with a knowledge of souls has not without truth remarked: “The blood with its circulation is like a second being, and in relation to the man of bone, muscle, and nerve, acts like a kind of exterior world.” For, as a matter of fact, the entire human being is continually drawing his sustenance from the blood, and at the same time he discharges into it that for which he has no use. A man's blood is therefore a true double ever bearing him company, from which he draws new strength, and to which he gives all that he can no longer use. “Man's liquid life” is therefore a good name to have given the blood; for this constantly changing “special fluid” is assuredly as important to man as is cellulose to the lower organisms.

The distinguished scientist, Ernst Haeckel, who has probed deeply into the workings of nature, in several of his popular works has rightly drawn attention to the fact that blood is in reality the latest factor to originate in an organism. If we follow the development of the human embryo we find that the rudiments of bone and muscle are evolved long before the first tendency toward blood formation becomes apparent. The groundwork for the formation of blood, with all its attendant system of blood-vessels, appears very late in the development of the embryo, and from this natural science has rightly concluded that the formation of blood occurred late in the evolution of the universe; that other powers which were there had to be raised to the height of blood, so to speak, in order to bring about at that height what was to be accomplished inwardly in the human being. Not until the human embryo has repeated in itself all the earlier stages of human growth, thus attaining to the condition in which the world was before the formation of blood, is it ready to perform this crowning act of evolution — the transmuting and uplifting of all that had gone before into the “very special fluid” which we call Blood.

If we would study those mysterious laws of the spiritual universe which exist behind the blood, we must occupy ourselves a little with some of the most elementary concepts of Anthroposophy. These have often been set forth, and you will see that these elementary ideas of Anthroposophy are the “above,” and that this “above” is expressed in the important laws governing the blood — as well as the rest of life — as though in a physiognomy.

Those present who are already well acquainted with the primary laws of Anthroposophy will, I trust, here permit a short repetition of them for the benefit of others who are here for the first time. Indeed, such repetition may serve to render these laws more and more clear to the former, by hearing them thus applied to new and special cases. To those, of course, who know nothing about Anthroposophy, who have not yet familiarized themselves with these conceptions of life and of the universe, that which I am about to say may seem little else than so many words strung together, of which they can make nothing. But the fault does not always consist in the lack of an idea behind the words, when the latter convey nothing to a person. Indeed we may here adopt, with a slight alteration, a remark of the witty Lichtenberg, who said: “If a head and a book come into collision and the resulting sound is a hollow one, the fault need not necessarily be that of the book!”

And so it is with our contemporaries when they pass judgment on theosophical truths. If these truths should in the ears of many sound like mere words, words to which they cannot attach any meaning, the fault need not necessarily rest with Anthroposophy; those, however, who have found their way into these matters will know that behind all allusions to higher Beings, such Beings do actually exist, although they are not to be found in the world of the senses.

Our theosophical conception of the universe shows us that man, as far as he is revealed to our senses in the external world as far as his shape and form are concerned, is but a part of the complete Human being, and that, in fact, there are many other parts behind the physical body. Man possesses this physical body in common with all the so-called “lifeless” mineral objects that surround him. Over and above this, however, man possesses the etheric or vital body. (The term “etheric” is not here used in the same sense as when applied by physical science.) This etheric or vital body, as it is sometimes called, far from being any figment of the imagination, is as distinctly visible to the developed spiritual senses of the occultist as are externally perceptible colors to the physical eye. This etheric body can actually be seen by the clairvoyant. It is the principle which calls the inorganic materials into life, which, summoning them from their lifeless condition, weaves them into the thread of life's garment. Do not imagine that this body is to the occultist merely something which he adds in thought to what is lifeless. That is what the natural scientists try to do! They try to complete what they see with the microscope by inventing something which they call the life-principle.

Now, such a standpoint is not taken by theosophical research. This has a fixed principle. It does not say: “Here I stand as a seeker, just as I am. All that there is in the world must conform to my present point of view. What I am unable to perceive has no existence!” This sort of argument is about as sensible as if a blind man were to say that colors are simply matters of fancy. The man who knows nothing about a matter is not in the position to judge of it, but rather he into whose range of experience such matters have entered.

Now man is in a state of evolution, and for this reason Anthroposophy says: “If you remain as you are you will not see the etheric body, and may therefore indeed speak of the ‘boundaries of knowledge’ and ‘Ignorabimus’; but if you develop and acquire, the necessary faculties for the cognition of spiritual things, you will no longer speak of the ‘boundaries of knowledge,’ for these only exist as long as man has not developed his inner senses.” It is for this reason that agnosticism constitutes so heavy a drag upon our civilization; for it says: “Man is thus and thus, and being thus and thus he can know only this and that.” To such a doctrine we reply: “Though he be thus and thus today, he has to become different, and when different he will then know something else.”

So the second part of man is the etheric body, which he possesses in common with the vegetable kingdom.

The third part is the so-called astral body — a significant and beautiful name, the reason for which shall be explained later. Theosophists who are desirous of changing this name can have no idea of what is implied therein. To the astral body is assigned the task, both in man and in the animal, of lifting up the life-substance to the plane of feeling, so that in the life-substance may move not only fluids, but also that in it may be expressed all that is known as pain and pleasure, joy and grief. And here you have at once the essential difference between the plant and the animal; although there are certain states of transition between these two.

A recent school of naturalists is of opinion that feeling, in its literal sense, should also be ascribed to plants; this, however, is but playing with words; for, though it is obvious that certain plants are of so sensitive an organization that they “respond” to particular things that may be brought near to them, yet such a condition cannot be described as “feeling.” In order that “feeling” may exist, an image must be formed within the being as the reflex of that which produces the sensation. If, therefore, certain plants respond to external stimulus, this is no proof that the plant answers to the stimulus by a feeling, that is, that it experiences it inwardly. That which has inward experience has its seat in the astral body. And so we come to see that that which has attained to animal conditions consists of the physical body, the etheric or vital body, and the astral body.

Man, however, towers above the animal through the possession of something quite distinct, and thoughtful people have at all times been aware wherein this superiority consists. It is indicated in what Jean Paul says of himself in his autobiography. He relates that he could remember the day when he stood as a child in the courtyard of his parents' house, and the thought suddenly flashed across his mind that he was an ego, a being, capable of inwardly saying “I” to itself; and he tells us that this made a profound impression upon him.

All the so-called external science of the soul overlooks the most important point which is here involved. I will ask you; therefore, to follow me for a few moments in making a survey of what is a very subtle argument, yet one which will show you how the matter stands. In the whole of human speech there is one small word which differs in toto from all the rest. Each one of you can name the things around you; each one can call a table a table, and a chair a chair. But there is one word, one name, which you cannot apply anything save to that which owns it and this is the little word “I.” None can address another as “I.” This “I” has to sound forth from the innermost soul itself; it is the name which only the soul itself can apply to itself. Every other person is a “you” to me, and I am a “you” to him. All religions have recognized this “I” as the expression of that principle in the soul through which its innermost being, its divine nature, is enabled to speak. Here, then, begins that which can never penetrate through the exterior senses, which can never, in its real significance, be named from without, but which must sound forth from the innermost being. Here begins that monologue, that soliloquy of the soul, whereby the divine self makes known its presence when the path lies clear for the coming of the Spirit into the human soul.

In the religions of earlier civilizations, among the ancient Hebrews, for instance, this name was known as “the unutterable name of God,” and whatever interpretation modern philology may choose to place upon it, the ancient Jewish name of God has no other meaning than that which is expressed in our word “I.” A thrill passed through those assembled when the “Name of the Unknown God” was pronounced by the Initiates, when they dimly perceived what was meant by those words reverberating through the temple: “I am that I am.”

In this word is expressed the fourth principle of human nature, the one that man alone possesses while on earth; and this “I” in its turn encloses and develops within itself the germs of higher stages of humanity.

We can only take a passing glance at what in the future will be evolved through this fourth principle. We must point out that man consists of a physical body, an etheric body, an astral body, and the ego, or actual inner self; and that within this inner self are the rudiments of three further stages of development which will originate in the blood. These three are Manas, Buddhi, and Atma:

Manas, the Spirit-Self, as distinguished from the bodily self;

Buddhi, the Life-Spirit;

Atma, the actual and true Spirit-Man, a far-off ideal to the man of today; the rudimentary germ now latent within, but destined in future ages to reach perfection.

We have seven colors in the rainbow, seven tones in the (musical) scale, seven series of atomic weights [in the Periodic Table of the chemical elements], and seven grades in the scale of the human being; and these are again divided into four lower and three higher grades.

We will now attempt to get a clear insight into the way in which this upper spiritual triad secures a physiognomical expression in the lower quaternary, and how it appears to us in the world of the senses. Take, in the first place, that which has crystallized into form as man's physical body; this he possesses in common with the whole of what is called “lifeless” nature. When we talk theosophically of the physical body, we do not even mean that which the eye beholds, but rather that combination of forces which has constructed the physical body, that living Force which exists behind the visible form.

Let us now observe a plant. This is a being possessed of an etheric body, which raises physical substance to life; that is, it converts that substance into living sap. What is it that transforms the so-called lifeless forces into the living sap? We call it the etheric body, and the etheric body does precisely the same work in animals and men; it causes that which has a merely material existence to become a living configuration, a living form.

This etheric body is, in its turn, permeated by an astral body. And what does the astral body do? It causes the substance which has been set in motion to experience inwardly the circulation of those outwardly moving fluids, so that the external movement is reflected in inward experience.

We have now arrived at the point where we are able to comprehend man so far as concerns his place in the animal kingdom. All the substances of which man is composed, such as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, etc., are to be found outside in inanimate nature also. If that which the etheric body has transformed into living substance is to have inner experiences, if it is to create inner reflections of that which takes place externally, then the etheric body must be permeated by what we have come to know as the astral body, for it is the astral body that gives rise to sensation. But at this stage the astral body calls forth sensation only in one particular way. The etheric body changes the inorganic substances into vital fluids, and the astral body in its turn transforms this vital substance into sentient substance; but — and this I ask you to specially notice — what is it that a being with no more than these three bodies is capable of feeling? It feels only itself, its own life-processes; it leads a life that is confined within itself.

Now, this is a most interesting fact, and one of extraordinary importance for us to bear in mind. If you look at one of the lower animals, what do you find it has accomplished? It has transformed inanimate substance into living substance, and living substance into sensitive substance: and sensitive substance can only be found where there exist, at all events, the rudiments of what at a later stage appears as a developed nervous system.

Thus we have inanimate substance, living substance, and substance permeated by nerves capable of sensation. If you look at a crystal you have to recognize it primarily as the expression of certain natural laws which prevail in the external world in the so-called lifeless kingdom. No crystal could be formed without the assistance of all surrounding nature. No single link can be severed from the chain of the cosmos and set apart by itself. And just as little can you separate from his environment man, who, if he were lifted to an altitude of even a few miles above the earth, must inevitably die. Just as man is only conceivable here in the place where he is, where the necessary forces are combined in him, so it is too with regard to the crystal; and therefore, whoever views a crystal rightly will see in it a picture of the whole of nature, indeed of the whole cosmos. What Cuvier said is actually the case, viz., that a competent anatomist will be able to tell to what sort of animal any given bone has belonged, every animal having its own particular kind of bone-formation.

Thus the whole cosmos lives in the form of a crystal. In the same way the whole cosmos is expressed in the living substance of a single being. The fluids coursing through a being are, at the same time, a little world, and a counterpart of the great world. And when substance has become capable of sensation, what then dwells in the sensations of the most elementary creatures? Such sensations mirror the cosmic laws, so that each separate living creature perceives within itself microcosmically the entire macrocosm. The sentient life of an elementary creature is thus an image of the life of the universe, just as the crystal is an image of its form. The consciousness of such living creatures is, of course, but dim. Yet this very vagueness of consciousness is counterbalanced by its far greater range, for the whole cosmos is felt in the dim consciousness of an elementary being. Now, in man there is only a more complicated structure of the same three bodies found in the simplest sensitive living creature.

Take man — without considering his blood — take him as being made up of the substance of the surrounding physical world, and containing, like the plant, certain juices which transform it into living substance, and in which a nervous system gradually becomes organized. This first nervous system is the so-called sympathetic system, and in the case of man it extends along the entire length of the spine, to which it is attached by small threads on either side. It has also at each side a series of nodes, from which threads branch off to different parts, such as the lungs, the digestive organs, and so on. This sympathetic nervous system gives rise, in the first place, to the life of sensation just described. But man's consciousness does not extend deep enough to enable him to follow the cosmic processes mirrored by these nerves. They are a medium of expression, and just as human life is formed from the surrounding cosmic world, so is this cosmic world reflected again in the sympathetic nervous system. These nerves live a dim inward life, and if man were but able to dip down into his “sympathetic” system, and to lull his higher nervous system to sleep, he would behold, as in a state of luminous life, the silent workings of the mighty cosmic laws.

In past times people were possessed of a clairvoyant faculty which is now superseded, but which may be experienced when, by special processes, the activity of the higher system of nerves is suspended, thus setting free the lower or subliminal consciousness. At such times man lives in that system of nerves which, in its own particular way, is a reflection of the surrounding world.

Certain lower animals indeed still retain this state of consciousness, and, dim and indistinct though it is, yet it is essentially more far-reaching than the consciousness of the man of the present day. A widely extending world is reflected as a dim inward life, not merely a small section such as is perceived by contemporary man. But in the case of man something else has taken place in addition. When evolution has proceeded so far that the sympathetic nervous system has been developed, so that the cosmos has been reflected in it, the evolving being again at this point opens itself outwards; to the sympathetic system is added the spinal cord. The system of brain and spinal cord then leads to those organs through which connection is set up with the outer world.

Man, having progressed thus far, is no longer called upon to act merely as a mirror for reflecting the primordial laws of cosmic evolution, but a relation is set up between the reflection itself and the external world. The junction of the sympathetic system and the higher nervous system is expressive of the change which has taken place beforehand in the astral body. The latter no longer merely lives the cosmic life in a state of dull consciousness, but it adds thereto its own special inward existence. The sympathetic system enables a being to sense what is taking place outside it; the higher system of nerves enables it to perceive that which happens within, and the highest form of the nervous system, such as is possessed by mankind in general at the present stage of evolution, takes from the more highly developed astral body material for the creation of pictures, or representations, of the outer world. Man has lost the power of perceiving the former dim primitive pictures of the external world, but, on the other hand, he is now conscious of his inner life, and out of this inner life he forms, at a higher stage, a new world of images in which, it is true, only a small portion of the outer world is reflected, but in a clearer and more perfect manner than before.

Hand in hand with this transformation another change takes place in higher stages of development. The transformation thus begun extends from the astral body to the etheric body. As the etheric body in the process of its transformation evolves the astral body, as to the sympathetic nervous system is added the system of the brain and spine, so, too, does that which — after receiving the lower circulation of fluids — has grown out of and become free from the etheric body now transmutes these lower fluids into what we know as blood.

Blood is, therefore, an expression of the individualized etheric body, just as the brain and spinal cord are the expression of the individualized astral body. And it is this individualizing which brings about that which lives as the ego or “I.”

Having followed man thus far in his evolution, we find that we have to do with a chain consisting of five links, affecting: —

  1. The Physical Body;

  2. The Etheric Body and

  3. The Astral Body.

These links are:

  1. The inorganic, neutral, physical forces;

  2. The vital fluids, which are also found in plants;

  3. The lower or sympathetic nervous system;

  4. The higher astral body, which has been evolved from the lower one, and which finds its expression in the spinal cord and the brain;

  5. The Principle that individualizes the etheric body.

Just as these two latter principles have been individualized, so will the first principle through which lifeless matter enters the human body, serving to build it up, also become individualized; but in our present-day humanity we find only the first rudiments of this transformation.

We have seen how the external formless substances enter the human body, and how the etheric body turns these materials into living forms; how, further, the astral body fashions pictures of the external world, how this reflection of the external world resolves itself into inner experiences, and how this inner life then reproduces from within itself pictures of the outer world.

Now, when this metamorphosis extends to the etheric body, blood is formed. The blood vessels, together with the heart, are the expression of the transformed etheric body, in the same way in which the spinal cord and the brain express the transformed astral body. Just as by means of the brain the external world is experienced inwardly, so also by means of the blood this inner world is transformed into an outer expression in the body of man. I shall have to speak in similes in order to describe to you the complicated processes which have now to be taken into account.

The blood absorbs those pictures of the outside world which the brain has formed within, transforms them into living constructive forces, and with them builds up the present human body. Blood is therefore the material that builds up the human body. We have before us a process in which the blood extracts from its cosmic environment the highest substance it can possibly obtain, viz., oxygen, which renews the blood and supplies it with fresh life. In this manner our blood is caused to open itself to the outer world.

We have thus followed the path from the exterior world to the interior one, and also back again from that inner world to the outer one. Two things are now possible. (1) We see that blood originates when man confronts the external world as an independent being, when out of the perceptions to which the external world has given rise, (2) he in his turn produces different shapes and pictures on his own account, thus himself becoming creative, and making it possible for the Ego, the individual Will, to come into life. A being in whom this process had not yet taken place would not be able to say “I.” In the blood lies the principle for the development of the ego. The “I” can only be expressed when a being is able to form within itself the pictures which it has obtained from the outer world. An “I-being” must be capable of taking the external world into itself, and of inwardly reproducing it.

Were man merely endowed with a brain, he would only be able to reproduce pictures of the outer world within himself, and to experience them within himself; he would then only be able to say: “The outer world is reflected in me as in a mirror.” If, however, he is able to build up a new form for this reflection of the external world, this form is no longer merely the external world reflected, it is “I” A creature possessed of a spinal cord and a brain perceives the reflection as its inner life. But when a creature possesses blood, it experiences its inner life as its own form. By means of the blood, assisted by the oxygen of the external world, the individual body is formed according to the pictures of the inner life. This formation is expressed as the perception of the “I.”

The ego turns in two directions, and the blood expresses this fact externally. The vision of the ego is directed inwards; its will is turned outwards. The forces of the blood are directed inwards; they build up the inner man, and again they are turned outwards to the oxygen of the external world. This is why, on going to sleep, man sinks into unconsciousness; he sinks into that which his consciousness can experience in the blood. When, however, he again opens his eyes to the outer world, his blood adds to its constructive forces the pictures produced by the brain and the senses. Thus the blood stands midway, as it were, between the inner world of pictures and the exterior living world of form. This role becomes clear to us when we study two phenomena, viz., ancestry — the relationship between conscious beings — and experience in the world of external events. Ancestry, or descent, places us where we stand in accordance with the law of blood relationship. A person is born of a connection, a race, a tribe, a line of ancestors, and what these ancestors have bequeathed to him is in his blood. In the blood is gathered together, as it were, all that the material past has constructed in man; and in the blood is also being formed all that is being prepared for the future.

When, therefore, man temporarily suppresses his higher consciousness, when he is in a hypnotic state, or one of somnambulism, or when he is atavistically clairvoyant, he descends to a far deeper consciousness, one wherein he becomes dreamily cognizant of the great cosmic laws, but nevertheless perceives them much more clearly than the most vivid dreams of ordinary sleep. At such times the activity of his brain is in abeyance and during states of the deepest somnambulism this applies also to the spinal cord. The man experiences the activities of his sympathetic nervous system; that is to say, in a dim and hazy fashion he senses the life of the entire cosmos. At such times the blood no longer expresses pictures of the inner life which are produced by means of the brain, but it presents those which the outer world has formed in it. Now, however, we must bear in mind that the forces of his ancestors have helped to make him what he is. Just as he inherits the shape of his nose from an ancestor, so does he inherit the form of his whole body. At such times of suppressed consciousness he senses the pictures of the outer world; that is to say, his forebears are active in his blood, and at such a time he dimly takes part in their remote life.

Everything in the world is in a state of evolution, human consciousness included. Man has not always had the consciousness he now possesses; when we go back to the times of our earliest ancestors, we find a consciousness of a very different kind. At the present time man in his waking-life perceives external things through the agency of his senses and forms ideas about them. These ideas about the external world work in his blood. Everything, therefore, of which he has been the recipient as the result of sense-experience, lives and is active in his blood; his memory is stored with these experiences of his senses. Yet, on the other hand, the man of today is no longer conscious of what he possesses in his inward bodily life by inheritance from his ancestors. He knows naught concerning the forms of his inner organs; but in earlier times this was otherwise. There then lived within the blood not only what the senses had received from the external world, but also that which is contained within the bodily form; and as that bodily form was inherited from his ancestors, man sensed their life within himself.

If we think of a heightened form of this consciousness, we shall have some idea of how this was also expressed in a corresponding form of memory. A person experiencing no more than what he perceives by his senses, remembers no more than the events connected with those outward sense-experiences. He can only be aware of such things as he may have experienced in this way since his childhood. But with prehistoric man the case was different. Such a man sensed what was within him, and as this inner experience was the result of heredity, he passed through the experiences of his ancestors by means of his inner faculty. He remembered not only his own childhood, but also the experiences of his ancestors. This life of his ancestors was, in fact, ever present in the pictures which his blood received, for, incredible as it may seem to the materialistic ideas of the present day, there was at one time a form of consciousness by means of which men considered not only their own sense-perceptions as their own experiences, but also the experiences of their forefathers. In those times, when they said, “I have experienced such and such a thing,” they alluded not only to what had happened to themselves personally, but also to the experiences of their ancestors, for they could remember these.

This earlier consciousness was, it is true, of a very dim kind, very hazy as compared to man's waking consciousness at the present day. It partook more of the nature of a vivid dream, but, on the other hand, it embraced far more than does our present consciousness. The son felt himself connected with his father and his grandfather as one “I,” because he felt their experiences as if they were his own. And because man was possessed of this consciousness, because he lived not only in his own personal world, but because within him there dwelt also the consciousness of preceding generations, in naming himself he included in that name all belonging to his ancestral line. Father, son, grandson, etc., designated by one name that which was common to them all, that which passed through them all; in short, a person felt himself to be merely a member of an entire line of descendants. This sensation was a true and actual one.

We must now inquire how it was that his form of consciousness was changed. It came about through a cause well known to occult history. If you go back into the past, you will find that there is one particular moment which stands out in the history of each nation. It is the moment at which a people enters on a new phase of civilization, the moment when it ceases to have old traditions, when it ceases to possess its ancient wisdom, the wisdom which was handed down through generations by means of the blood. The nation possesses, nevertheless, a consciousness of it, and this is expressed in its legends.

In earlier times tribes held aloof from each other, and the individual members of families intermarried. You will find this to have been the case with all races and with all peoples; and it was an important moment for humanity when this principle was broken through, when foreign blood was introduced, and when marriage between relations was replaced by marriage with strangers, when endogamy gave place to exogamy. Endogamy preserves the blood of the generation; it permits of the same blood flowing in the separate members as flows for generations through the entire tribe or the entire nation. Exogamy inoculates man with new blood, and this breaking-down of the tribal principle, this mixing of blood, which sooner or later takes place among all peoples, signifies the birth of the external understanding, the birth of the intellect.

The important thing to bear in mind here is that in olden times there was a hazy clairvoyance, from which the myths and legends originated. This clairvoyance could exist in the nearly related blood, just as our present-day consciousness comes about owing to the mingling of blood. The birth of logical thought, the birth of the intellect, was simultaneous with the advent of exogamy. Surprising, as this may seem, it is nevertheless true. It is a fact which will be substantiated more and more by external investigation; indeed, the initial steps along this line have already been taken.

But this mingling of blood which comes about through exogamy is also that which at the same time obliterates the clairvoyance of earlier days, in order that humanity may evolve to a higher stage of development; and just as the person who has passed through the stages of occult development regains this clairvoyance, and transmutes it into a new form, so has our waking consciousness of the present day been evolved out of that dim and hazy clairvoyance which [was] obtained in times of old.

At the present time everything in a man's environment is impressed upon his blood; hence the environment fashions the inner man in accordance with the outer world. In the case of primitive man it was that which was contained within the body that was more fully expressed in the blood. In those early times the recollection of ancestral experiences was inherited, and, along with this, good or evil tendencies. In the blood of the descendants were to be traced the effects of the ancestors' tendencies. Now, when the blood was mixed through exogamy, this close connection with ancestors was severed, and the man began to live his own personal life. Thus, in an unmixed blood is expressed the power of the ancestral life, and in a mixed blood the power of personal experience.

The myths and legends tell of these things. They say: “That which has power over thy blood, has power over thee.” This traditional power ceased when it could no longer work upon the blood, because the latter's capacity for responding to such power was extinguished by the admixture of foreign blood. This statement holds good to the widest extent. Whatever power it is that wishes to obtain the mastery over a man, that power must work upon him in such a way that the working is expressed in his blood. If, therefore, an evil power would influence a man, it must be able to influence his blood. This is the deep and spiritual meaning of the quotation from Faust. This is why the representative of the evil principle says: “Sign thy name to the pact with thy blood. If once I have thy name written in thy blood, then I can hold thee by that which above all sways a man; then shall I have drawn thee over to myself.” For whoever has mastery over the blood is master of the man himself, or of the man's ego.

When two groups of people come into contact, as is in the case of colonization, then those who are acquainted with the conditions of evolution are able to foretell whether or not an alien form of civilization can be assimilated by the others. Take, for example, a people that is the product of its environment, into whose blood this environment has built itself, and try to graft upon such a people a new form of civilization. The thing is impossible. This is why certain aboriginal peoples had to go under, as soon as colonists came to their particular parts of the world.

It is from this point of view that the question will have to be considered, and the idea that changes are capable of being forced upon all and sundry will in time cease to be upheld, for it is useless to demand from blood more than it can endure.

Modern science has discovered that if the blood of one animal is mixed with that of another not akin to it, the blood of the one is fatal to that of the other. This has been known to occultism for ages. If you mingle the blood of human beings with that of the lower apes, the result is destructive to the species, since the one is too far removed from the other. If, again, you mingle the blood of man with that of the higher apes, death does not ensue. Just as this mingling of the blood of different species of animals brings about actual death when the types are too remote, so, too, the ancient clairvoyance of undeveloped man was killed when his blood was mixed with the blood of others who did not belong to the same stock. The entire intellectual life of today is the outcome of the mingling of blood, and the time is not far distant when people will study the influence this had upon human life, and they will be able to trace it back in the history of humanity when investigations are once more conducted from this standpoint.

We have seen that blood united to blood in the case of but remotely connected species of animals, kills; blood united to blood in the case of more closely allied species of animals does not kill. The physical organism of man survives when strange blood comes in contact with strange blood, [except, of course, in the case of incompatible blood types, which mutually coagulate one another] but clairvoyant power perishes under the influence of this mixing of blood, or exogamy.

Man is so constituted that when blood mingles with blood not too far removed in evolution, the intellect is born. By this means the original clairvoyance which belonged to the lower animal-man was destroyed, and a new form of consciousness took its place.

Thus in the higher stage of human development we find something similar to what happens at a lower stage in the animal kingdom. In the latter, strange blood kills strange blood. In the human kingdom strange blood kills that which is intimately bound up with kindred blood, viz., the dim, dreary clairvoyance. Our everyday objective consciousness is therefore the outcome of a destructive process. In the course of evolution the kind of mental life due to endogamy has been destroyed, but in its stead exogamy has given birth to the intellect, to the wide-awake consciousness of the present day.

That which is able to live in man's blood is that which lives in his ego. Just as the physical body is the expression of the physical principle, as the etheric body is the expression of the vital fluids and their systems, and the astral body of the nervous system, so is the blood the expression of the “I,” or ego. Physical principle, etheric body, and astral body are the “Above”; physical body, vital system, and nervous system are the “below.” Similarly, the ego is the “above,” and the blood is the “below.” Whoever, therefore, would master a man, must first master that man's blood. This must be borne in mind if any advance is to be made in practical life. For example, the individuality of a people may be destroyed if, when colonizing, you demand from its blood more than it can bear, for in the blood the ego is expressed. Beauty and truth possess a man only when they possess his blood.

Mephistopheles obtains possession of Faust's blood because he desires to rule his ego. Hence we may say that the sentence which has formed the theme of the present lecture was drawn from the profound depths of knowledge; for truly —

“Blood is a Very Special Fluid.”

 

                                                                                                                  THE ASTRAL WORLD

                  ( O Αστρικός Κόσμος )

                                                                                          by Swami Panchadasi

 Table of Contents:

  1. The seven planes

  2. Astral regions

  3. Reality of the astral

  4. Passing the border

  5. Some lower sub-planes

  6. Disembodied souls

  7. Scenes of the astral

  8. Life and work on the astral

  9. Higher planes and beyond

  10. The astral light

  11. Astral Entities

 

CHAPTER I.

THE SEVEN PLANES.

 

Every student of occultism, from the humblest beginner to the most advanced pupil, has a full realization of the wonders of that strange plane of being known as The Astral World. The beginner, of course, has not the privilege of actually viewing life on this plane, except, perhaps, in exceptional cases, or under extraordinary circumstances. But even he finds constant reference to the subject in the treatise his studies, and soon discovers that that particular plane is the scene and field of some very strange phenomena.

As he advances, and learns more of the occult laws and principles, he develops still greater interest in the subject. And, when he reaches the stage in which he is able to actually sense (by astral vision) on this plane, he finds that a new world of experience has opened out before him.

The oldest occult teachings, as well as the latest, inform the student that there are Seven Planes of Being. The lowest of these planes is that which is known as the Material Plane. Second in order is that which is known as the Plane of Forces. The third is that which is known as the Astral Plane. The fourth is that which is known as the Mental Plane.

Above these four planes are three higher planes, known to occultists, but which have no names that can be understood by those developing only on the lower planes, and which are incapable of explanation to those on the lower planes. I shall refer to some of these higher planes, in this little book, as we proceed, but shall make no attempt to describe them for the reasons just given. Our subject for the present consideration is merely the Astral Plane, and we shall find sufficient interesting facts in

considering the phenomena of that plane without attempting to penetrate the veils of those still higher.

It should be mentioned at this point, that each of the Seven Planes has seven sub-planes and that each of these sub-planes has its own seven subdivisions; and so on to the seventh degree of subdivision. So, you see, there is a most minute classification in the occult teachings. The student of occultism, at the beginning, usually experiences difficulty in forming a clear conception of the meaning of the word "plane" as used in the occult teachings. Consulting the dictionary, he is apt to get the idea of a plane as one of a series of straight layers - one part of a great strata - above and below which are other layers or strata. It usually is quite difficult for the occult teache r to eradicate this erroneous idea from the mind of his pupils, and to substitute the correct concept.

This error arises from thinking of these planes of being as composed of matter, or material substance, which, of course, is incorrect. When it is remembered that even the densest form of matter itself is composed of vibrations of energy ( as recognized by modern science), and that the Forces of Nature are but manifestations of vibrations of energy, one begins to find the key. Instead of the planes rising one above the other in the scale of the fineness, of matter, they are graded according to their respective degrees of vibration of energy. In short, they are planes of vibrations of energy, and not planes of matter at all. Matter is simply the lowest degree of vibrations of energy, that is all. The second common source of error, on the part of the beginner in occultism, is that of picturing the planes as lying one above the other in space. This conception, of course, naturally follows upon the error of thinking of the planes as a series of layers or strata of fine matter; but it also often persists even after the student has grasped the idea that the planes are grades of vibration, rather than of matter. But, finally, the student is impressed with the idea that the planes are not "layers" or "strata" at all.

The planes do not lie one above the other, in space. They have not spatial distinction or degree. They interpenetrate each other in the same point of space. A single point of space may have its manifestations of each and all of the seven planes of being.

Some of the old occultists sought to explain this condition of things to their students in the words of a very celebrated ancient teacher, who originated the aphorism: "A plane of being is not a place, but a state of being." No words can give a better explanation of, or aid, to, the correct mental conception of the idea of a "plane" in the occult sense of the term.

To those students who may find it difficult to form the idea of a number of manifestations, each having its own rate of vibration, occupying the same point of space at the same time, I would say that a little consideration of the phenomena of the physical world will perhaps serve as an aid in the matter. For instance, every student of physics knows that a single point of space may contain vibrations of heat, light of many shades, magnetism, electricity, X-rays, etc., etc., each manifesting its own rate of vibration, and yet not interfering with the others. Every beam of sunlight Contains many different colors, each with its own rate of vibration, and yet none crowding out the others. By the proper laboratory apparatus each kind of light may be separated from the others, and the ray thus split up. The difference in the colors arise simply from the different rate of etheric vibrations. Again it is possible to send many telegrams along the same wire, at the same time, by using senders and receivers of different vibratory keynotes." The same thing has its corresponding analogy in the case of wireless telegraphy. So, you see, even on the physical planes we find many forms of vibratory manifestation occupying the same point of space at the same time.

The Material Plane, with which we are all familiar, has, of course, its seven sub-planes, and likewise its seven-times-seven series of subdivisions, as have all the seven planes. At first we are apt to think that we are perfectly familiar with every form of matter, but this is far from being the case, for we are familiar with only a few forms. The occult teachings show us that on certain of the fixed stars, and some of the planets of our own chain, there are forms and kinds of matter as much lower in vibration than the densest form of matter known to us, as these dense forms are lower than the highest ultra-gaseous forms of matter recognized by us. And, on the other hand, the same teachings inform us that there are in existence, in other worlds, and even (to an extent) in our own, forms and kinds of matter as much higher than these highest forms of ultra-gaseous matter known to us, as the said known forms are higher than the densest form of matter now known to us. This is a startling statement, but every advanced occultist knows it to be true. Physical science formerly classified matter as follows: (1) solids; (2) liquids; (3) gaseous. But modern science has found many forms of matter far more tenuous and rarer than even the finest gas. It now calls this fourth class "ultra-gaseous matter." But occultists know that beyond this fourth sub-plane of matter which science is just now discovering, there lie three other, and still finer, sub-planes, of which science at present has no conception.

Next higher in the scale of manifested being, we find what is known as the Plane of Forces, of which very little is known outside of occult science, although, of later years, physical science has been breaking into this field. In the next twenty years physical science will proceed further in this direction. The research into radioactivity is leading toward further knowledge regarding this plane of manifestation. On the Plane of Forces, we find the seven sub-planes, and likewise the seven-times-seven subdivision. There are forces far below the scale of the ordinary forces of Nature known to man. And, likewise, there are great series of Nature's Finer Forces at the other end of the scale, of which the ordinary man - even the scientist - knows nothing. It is these finer forces which account for many of the wonders of occult science. In particular, the fine force called "prana" or "vital force," plays an important part in all occult phenomena.

Next above the scale of the Plane of Forces, we find the great Astral Plane, the consideration of which is the purpose of this little book.

   

CHAPTER II. ASTRAL REGIONS.

 

In the occult teachings we find frequent references to what are called "the astral regions," and the inhabitants and phenomena of said regions. Like the term "plane," this term "region" has caused much misunderstanding. The old occultists used it in a loose sense, knowing that their pupils clearly understood the real significance. They did not care whether or not other persons understood. But the modern investigator, without the benefit of a teacher, often finds himself confused by this mention of "regions" of the Astral Plane, and frequently finds himself thinking of them in the sense of the "heavens and hells" of the old theology - as definite places in space. But these astral regions are nothing more than vibrational manifestations on the Astral Plane, which have no special reference to any set-aside portion of space, and which manifestations may, and do, occur at almost any point of space. The astral regions occupy the same space as the material regions, neither interfering with the other.

The term "astral" is derived from the Greek word meaning "related to a star," and was originally used in describing the heavens of the Greeks -the abodes of their gods. From this sense and usage the term widened in application, until it was employed to indicate what might be called the "ghostland" of the ancient people. This ghostland was believed to be inhabited by beings of an etheral nature, not only disembodied spirits, but also angelic beings of a higher order. The ancient occultists of Greece, and other Western lands, thus naturally fell into the custom of using the familiar term to indicate that which we know as the Astral Plane in modern occultism. Of course, the Oriental occultists had their own terms for this plane of manifestation, which terms were derived from old Sanskrit roots, and which were much older than the Greek terms. But, as the use of Sanskrit terms has a tendency to confuse Western students, the best Oriental teachers, today, in teaching Western students, almost always use the old Greek occult terms.

At this point, I must answer a question which usually presents itself to the mind of the intelligent student at about this particular stage of the teaching. It is probably in the mind of the student who is reading these words, at this particular moment. The Question may be stated as follows: "How is it possible for anyone to speak intelligently of the phenomena of the Astral Plane, if that plane is on a higher vibratory scale than the physical senses. How can one visit, and perceive things on, the Astral Plane, without his body being dematerialized?" This question is a natural and perfectly fair one, and evidences the inquiring mind which the true occultist always possesses. And no true occult teacher will hesitate for a moment in frankly answering it. For, remember this always, my students, the occult teaching is not based merely on the principles laid down as "gospel" by the old occultists. Respect, yes! Great respect is paid to these old teachings, of course, but every advanced occultist knows that he must actually experience the manifestation of occult phenomena before he can positively pronounce the same to be an occult truth. Such experience comes to every advanced occultist, when he reaches the necessary stage of development which alone renders such experience safe for him. Like the scientist, the true occultist learns by his own experience, built upon the recorded previous experience of others. To the advanced occultist the phenomena of the Astral Plane is just as real - just as readily sensed - as is the phenomena of the material plane to those functioning upon it. But, to answer the question: One does not have to disintegrate or dematerialize his physical body in order to visit or sense the Astral Plane and its phenomena. There are two avenues of approach to the Astral Plane, as follows: (1) by the employment of the astral senses; and (2) by visiting in the so-called "astral body." Let us consider each of these avenues in turn.

By the term "the astral senses," occultists indicate that wonderful secondary set of senses, corresponding in office to the five physical senses, by means of which man is able to receive impressions on the Astral Plane.

Each of the physical senses of man has its astral counterpart, which functions on the astral plane just as the physical senses do upon the material plane. Thus every man has, in latency, the power of seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, and tasting, on the astral plane, by means of these five astral senses. Nay more, as all advanced occultists know, man really has seven physical senses instead of five, though these additional two senses are not sufficiently developed for use in the average person (though the occultist of fair attainment generally unfolds them into use). And even these two extra physical senses also have their astral counterparts.

In the cases of persons who, accidentally or through cartful training, have developed the power of astral vision - perception through astral sight - the scenes of the Astral Plane are perceived just as clearly as are those of the material plane perceived by the physical sense of sight. The ordinary clairvoyant has flashes of this astral vision, as a rule, and is not able to sense astrally by an act of will. The trained occultist, on the other hand, is able to shift from one set of senses to another, by an act of will, whenever he wishes to do so. In fact, such occultists may function on both planes at the same time, in this way, if they so desire.

In cases of clairvoyance, or astral visioning, the occultist remains in his physical body, and senses the phenomena of the Astral Plane quite naturally or easily. It is not necessary for him even to enter into a trance condition, or any abnormal mental state or condition. And still less is it necessary for him to leave his physical body in such cases. In the instance of the higher form of clairvoyance, he may even sense events both on the physical plane, as well as the astral planes, at a distance -though, strictly speaking, this belongs to a somewhat different order of occult phenomena. To vision astrally, the occultist has merely to shift his sensory mechanism, just as the operator of the typewriter shifts from the small letter type to the capitals by a shift-key. This, then, is the simplest and most common way of occult sensing on the Astral Plane. It is possible to many to whom the second method is impossible. The second avenue of approach to the Astral Plane is that in which the individual leaves his physical body, and actually travels on the Astral Plane in his astral body. The astral body is composed of an etheral substance of a very high degree of vibration. It is not mere matter, and yet is not mere force - it is composed of astral substance which resembles very fine matter, but which is far more tenuous than anything that is known as matter. Ordinarily the astral body can be sensed only by means of the astral vision, but under certain other conditions it takes on the semblance of a vapory form of matter, and is perceptible to the ordinary physical senses as a "ghost" or "apparition," even when the person is in physical life. The astral body is an exact counterpart of the physical body, but survives the latter by a number of years. It is not immortal, however, and finally disintegrates and is resolved into its original elements just as is the physical body.

The advanced occultist, in his astral body, is able to leave his physical body (which remains in a state of sleep trance) and to visit at will on the Astral Plane, even at points in space far removed from his physical body.

He, however, is always connected with the physical body by a thin, cobweb-like, filament of etheral substance, which extends or contracts as he travels away from, or toward, the sleeping physical body. l[f this filament is broken by an accident on the Astral Plane, his physical body "dies" and he is never able to return to it. Such accidents are rare, but occult history has records showing their occasional occurrence. Many persons are able to travel in the astral body, during ordinary sleep, but usually have no recollection of the same upon reawakening. The occultist, on the other hand, travels consciously, and with a purpose, and always is wide-awake on such journeys. He is as much at home on the Astral Plane as on the physical one.

And so, student, you see how the occult teaching regarding the Astral Plane has been obtained; and how such teaching has as firm a basis in actual experience as have those based upon physical observation, experiment, and experience. Moreover, every occultist may verify the teaching for himself - in fact actually does so.

CHAPTER III.

REALITY OF THE ASTRAL.

 

It is customary among occultists to speak of the Astral Plane, simply as "the Astral" as for instance "out in the Astral;" "visiting the Astral;" "phenomena of the Astral;" "inhabitants of the Astral," etc., etc. The student may as well familiarize himself with this use of the term "the Astral," in order to understand, and be understood by, others interested in occult study. Accordingly, I shall from now on use this term, "the Astral," as indicating the Astral Regions, - the Astral Plane -without further explanation.

One of the hardest things for the elementary student to realize is that the Astral is just as real, abiding, and fixed as is the material world. Just as steam is actually as real as water, or even as ice, so is the Astral just as real as the world of the physical senses. For that matter, if we could see our world of matter placed under a sufficiently strong magnifying glass, we should perceive it not as a great body of solid fixed matter, but rathe r as an aggregation of an infinite number of the tiniest particles themselves built into atoms; these built into molecules; and these built into solid masses.

The space between the ions of the material atom is as comparatively great as the space between the planets of our solar system. And every ion, atom and molecule is in constant and intense motion. Under a glass of sufficient power, there would seem to be nothing solid in the material world. If the magnifying glass were to be raised to an infinite power, even the ions would melt into seething nothingness, and there would be nothing left but the ether which has no weight and which is imperceptible to the senses even when aided by the strongest instruments of the laboratory. So you see, the solidity of things is merely relative and comparative. The vibration of substance on the Astral is higher than those of the material plane; but even the Astral vibrations are far slower than those of the next higher plane, and so on. To the traveller on the Astral the scenery, and everything connected therewith, seems as solid as the most solid material does to the physical eye. It really is just as solid as is the astral body in which you visit it, for that matter. As for reality, the Astral is just as real as is the material, in every respect.

The Forces of Nature are not perceptible to the physical eye, except as manifesting through matter - but they are very real as all of us know by experience. you cannot see electricity, but when you receive its shock you realize its reality. You cannot see the force of gravity, but you become painfully aware of its reality when it drops an apple on your head ; or causes you to fall suddenly when you make a misstep on the curb of the street. In fact, it is realized by all advanced occultists, that if there really can be said to be any degrees in reality between things, the balance is in favor of the finer forms of substance and forces, and against the less fine.

So, student, never permit yourself to think of the Astral as something comparatively unreal, or as only relatively existent. I, of course, am not speaking of Reality in the metaphysical sense of the term, for in such sense the entire manifested universe, including all of its planes, is unreal as compared to the One Reality. And, again, do not permit yourself to think of the astral senses as being one whit less real, reliable and important than those of the physical body. Each class of sense perception has its own proper field in which it is king. Each is master in its own realm. And there should be no attempt to draw distinctions of reality between them At the last, they are all but the mechanism of consciousness, or "awareness" each adapted to the peculiar requirements of its environment.

The Astral has its scenery, geography (!), and "things," just as has the material world. These things are just as real as are England, the Vatican, St. Paul's, the Capitol at Washington, Broadway, Picadilly, or the Rue de la Paix; the Great Redwood Trees of California, the Grand Canyon, the Alps, or the Black Forest. Its inhabitants are just as real as any of the great men of the country in which you live, or those of any other country, whose names I hesitate to call, lest they pass from this material plane and thus become "unreal" even before these printed words pass before your eye, so impermanent are the inhabitants and things of even this real (!) material world.

The law of constant change operates on the Astral just as on the material plane. There, things come and go, just as they do here on the material plane. Stop a moment and concentrate on the gist - the matter, and you will see that the difference between the things of the two planes is simply like the difference between red and blue - simply a difference in the rate of vibration of substance. And, this again, is the cause of the difference between steel and hydrogen gas, between electricity and light, between magnetism and heat - simply a difference of vibrations of substance.

Moreover, and this is quite important to the student, the Astral has its laws just as has the material world. These laws must be learned and observed, otherwise the inhabitants of the Astral, as well as the visitor thereto, will reap the result which always comes from broken natural laws. Again, there exists what may be called the "geography" of the Astral, if this material- plane word is permitted in this connection. There are regions, points of space, places, kingdoms; countries, etc., on the Astral, just as on the material plane. Sometimes these Astral regions have no connection with any on the material plane, while in other cases

they have a very direct connection with and relation to, material places and the inhabitants thereof.

One may travel from one region of the Astral to another, by simply an act of will which raises the vibration of the astral body, without it moving a point in space. Again, one may travel in space from one point to another on the Astral, in cases where these points have some relation to points on the material plane.

As an instance of this latter form of travel, I would say that one may travel in the Astral from Berlin to Bombay - in but the twinkle of an eye, as regards time, - by merely wishing or willing to do so. Yes! Time and space have their manifestation on the Astral. But, nevertheless, certain Astral manifestations, on its seven-times-seven sub-planes, may be, and likely are, present THERE in, at, and on, the exact point of space which you are occupying at this moment on the material plane - and this very moment of time, NOW!

If you have the knowledge and power, you, without leaving your seat, may traverse all of these sub-planes, one after the other, witnessing their scenery and inhabitants, their phenomena and activity, and then return to the material plane - all in a moment of time, and without changing a single point in space.

Or, if you prefer, you may travel to any of these sub-planes of the Astral, at your point space, and then travel in space on the Astral to some other place on that sub-plane, and then have the choice of returning either the same way by which you came, or else descending to the material plane and travelling on it, in your astral body, back to where your physical body is resting. Read over these last two paragraphs, until you get the idea clearly fixed in your mind, for by so doing you will be able to comprehend more easily that which I shall have to say to you in the following chapters of this book.

In travelling on the Astral, one meets with many strange inhabitants of that wonderful realm of Nature - some pleasant and others unpleasant. Some of these inhabitants have passed on from the material plane, while others have never dwelt there, these latter forms being natives of the Astral and peculiar to itself.

In my personal class instruction, I have found it advantageous to my students for me to describe the phenomena of the Astral to them in my lectures, in the form of the story of a trip in the Astral, rather than as a dry, technical description. In such lectures, I assume that the students are present on the Astral with me, and that I am acting as their guide. In this way, a much clearer conception of the subject seems to be gained by them. After careful consideration, I have decided to follow this same plan - in part, at least - in some of the following chapters. I need scarcely add that the descriptions given are based upon the actual experiences of advanced occultists, including myself, and are not dogmatic statements of theory, conjectures, or speculations of mere "book occultists." Every fact herein stated may be verified by the experience of any advanced occultist.

 

 CHAPTER IV.

PASSING THE BORDER.

 

I do not deem it advisable to enter into a description of the technical details attendant upon the process of passing out of the physical body into the astral body of finer substance. Any description of this kind, even though it be but merely a suggestion of the facts, might give an untrained person at least a hint of the process, which might lead him to experiment, and which might bring upon him very undesirable results. I shall pass over this stage, for the reasons stated, which will meet with the approval of every advanced occultist and careful student of occultism. Now, student, you find yourself outside of your physical form or body, and clad in your astral form alone. You probably think that I am joking with you, for as you glance at your body you find that it appears not different from your ordinary one. Even your clothing is the same, to the most minute detail - this occurs through perfectly natural laws on the Astral plane, which I cannot take time to explain at this time. You realize, however, that you are indeed out of the physical body, when you turn your head and perceive your own physical form, as well as mine, seemingly sunk in sleep in the arm chairs in which we seated ourselves a few moments ago.

Looking a little closer, you will see that your astral form as well as mine, is connected with its physical counterpart by a tiny, thin, tenuous filament of ethereal substance, resembling a rope of shining spider-web silk. This filament is capable of expansion, and contraction, and enables you to move about freely.

Now concentrate your attention as you have been taught to do, and will that your vibrations increase in rate, but in perfect harmony with mine, so that you will keep in my company instead of moving on to other sub-planes or sub-visions, parting with my company. You would not find it exactly safe or pleasant to leave my presence, until you have learned to pilot yourself in these strange waters.

You will find yourself with me in a strange atmosphere, although you have not moved an inch in space. Behind you, so to speak, you perceive dimly the room in which we were just living; and ahead of you, so to speak, you perceive strange flashes and streaks of phosphorescent light of different hues and tints. These are the vibrations and waves of force, for you are now passing through the Plane of Forces. That vivid, bluish streak is the passage of some electric current - probably a wireless message flashing through space. Back of you, on my table, you see the magnetic ore, or lodestone, paper-weight, which always lies there. But now you see the peculiar phosphorescence around its poles, which is not visible on the material plane.

You also notice a peculiar faint vibratory glow around every physical object - this is the force of atomic and molecular attraction, etc. Still fainter, you find a peculiar radiance permeating the entire atmosphere -this is the outward sign of the force of gravitation. These things are all very interesting, and if you were a learned physicist, or great physical scientist, you could scarcely be dragged from this plane, so interesting would be the study of force made visible. But, as you are not such a person, you will see more interesting sights ahead of you. Now, you feel your life force vibrating at a higher rate, and realize that the sense of weight seems to be dropping from you. You feel as light as a feather, and feel as though you could move without an effort. Well, you may begin to walk. Yes, "walk," I said! You are still on earth, and the floor of the room is still there under your feet. Let us walk through the wall of the room, and out into the street. Don't be afraid, step through the wall as if it were made of fog. There, you see how easy it is. Odd thing, really stepping through a brick and stone wall, isn't it. But it's still more odd when you stop to consider that as we moved the wall really passed through our thin substance, instead of the latter passing through the wall - that's the real secret of it.

Now let us walk down the street. Step out just as if you were in the flesh - stop a moment! There you let that man walk right through you! And he never even saw you! Do you realize that we are ghosts? Just as much a ghost as was Hamlet's father, except that his physical body was mouldering in the ground, while ours are asleep awaiting our return to them. There! That dog saw you. And that horse vaguely feels your presence! See how nervous he is! Animals possess very keen psychic senses, compared to those of man.

But cease thinking of yourself, and look closely at the persons passing by you. You notice that each one is surrounded by an egg-shaped aura extending on all sides of him to the distance of about two or three feet. Do you notice the kaleidoscopic play of blending colors in the aura? Notice the difference in the shades and tints of these colors, and also observe the predominance of special colors in each case! You know what these colors mean, for I have instructed you regarding them in my teaching on "The Human Aura, and Astral Colors."

Notice that beautiful spiritual blue around that woman's head! And see that ugly muddy red around that man passing her! Here comes an intellectual giant - see that beautiful golden yellow around his head, like a nimbus! But I don't exactly like that shade of red around his body - and there is too marked an absence of blue in his aura! He lacks harmonious development.

Do you notice those great clouds of semi-luminous substance, which are slowly floating along? - notice how the colors vary in them. Those are clouds of thought vibrations, representing the composite thought of a multitude of people. Also notice how each body of thought is drawing to itself little fragments of similar thought forms and energy. You see here the tendency of thought forces to attract others of their kind - how like the proverbial birds of a feather, they flock together - how thoughts come home, bringing their friends with them - how each man creates his own thought atmosphere.

Speaking of atmospheres, do you notice that each shop we pass has its own peculiar thought atmosphere? If you look into the houses on either side of the street, you will see that the same thing is true. The very street itself has its own atmosphere, created by the composite thought of those inhabiting and frequenting it. No! Do not pass down that side street - its astral atmosphere is too depressing, and its colors too horrible and disgusting for you to witness just now - you might get discouraged and fly back to your physical body for relief! Look at those thought forms flying through the atmosphere! What a variety of form and coloring! Some most beautiful, the majority quite neutral in tint, and occasionally a fierce, fiery one tearing its way along toward its mark. Observe those whirling and swirling tiny cyclonic thought- forms as they are thrown off from that business house. Across the street, notice that great octopus monster of a thought-form, with its great tentacles striving to wind around passing persons and draw them into that flashy dance-hall and dram-shop. A devilish monster which we would do well to destroy. Turn your concentrated thought upon it, and will it out of existence - there, that's the right way; watch it sicken and shrivel! But alas, more of its kind will come forth from that place. Here, will yourself up above the level of the housetops - you can do it easily, if you only realize that you can - there, I have helped you to do it this time, it's quite easy when you once gain confidence. However, if you lose confidence, and grow afraid, down you will tumble to the ground, and will bruise your astral body.

From this height look down around you. You will see a great multitude of tiny candle- like lights - each represents a human soul. Here or there you will see a few much brighter lights, and far apart you will see some that shine like a brilliant electric spark - these last are the auric symbols of an advanced soul. "Let your light so shine!" Behold the radiance emerging from that humble house of religious worship, and contrast it with the unpleasant auric atmosphere of that magnificent church structure next door to it - can you not read the story of spirituality and the lack of it in the cases of these churches? But these sights, interesting though they be, and as useful as they are in illustrating the lessons you have learned in the class, or from the manual, are far less in the scale than those which we shall witness in a moment. Come, take my hand. Our vibrations are raising. Come!

CHAPTER V.

SOME LOWER SUB-PLANES.

Now, student, we are entering the vibrations of the lower sub-planes of the Astral. You must nerve yourself to witness some unpleasant sights, but be not afraid for nothing can harm you here while I am with you. Were you alone here, lacking the knowledge of self-protection, you might find the experience very terrifying. But, even then, though you lacked the higher knowledge, if you would but maintain a positive mental state, and deny the power of the Astral inhabitants to harm you, you would still be safe. A firm mental attitude, and the assertion of your own immunity will act as a barrier through which these influences cannot penetrate. Your first impression is that the material world is still around you, with all its scenes plainly visible. But, as you look you will find that there seems to be a peculiar veil between the scenes and the plane upon which you are temporarily dwelling. This veil, while at least semi-transparent, nevertheless seems to have a peculiar appearance of resistant solidity and you find yourself instinctively realizing that it would be a barrier to the passage of the astral entities back to the material plane.

I now change our vibrations, for a moment, to those of a very unpleasant subdivision of the lowest sub-plane. This is the subdivision which the old occultists were wont to call "the Astral cemetery." We shall stay on this plane of vibrations but for a moment, for it furnishes a ghastly sight, and its atmosphere is most depressing. Now, hold tight to me, and press close up to me, for you will instinctively feel the need of protection. Gazing around you on all sides, you will see what appear to be the disintegrating forms of human beings, and even some animals. These forms seem to be floating in space. They seem real, and yet, some way, not real. You realize that they are not physical bodies, but still they bear too close a resemblance to physical corpses to be pleasant. Take one good look around you, for I shall change our vibrations in a moment.

There, we have left that scene behind us! But before proceeding further, we shall pause a moment and consider what we have just witnessed. These disintegrating astral forms are what occultists know as the "astral shells." The astral shell is really an astral corpse, just as the physical body in the grave is the material corpse. For, as we shall presently see, the disembodied soul eventually leaves the Astral and moves an to what the occultists know as the mental or spiritual planes of being, which are symbolized by the race conception of "the heavens," of which all religions teach. When the soul so passes. on, it leaves behind it the astral body it has inhabited while on the Astral. This astral body, or form, then begins to disintegrate, and in time disappears altogether, being resolved to its original elements. During this process, it dwells on this particular division of one of the lower subdivisions of the lowest Astral sub-plane. This particular division has no other purpose, and is separate and apart from the other subdivisions.

There is a great difference between the astral shells of different individuals, so far as is concerned the duration of the shells in this particular place of disintegration. For instance, the astral of a person of high spirituality and ideals will disintegrate very rapidly indeed, as its atoms have little or no cohesive attraction when once ie is discarded. But, on the other hand, the astral shell of a person of earthly ideals and material tendencies will hold together for a comparatively long time, so strong is the attractive force generated while the shell is occupied by its owner.

Those astral bodies are "dead" and have no consciousness or intelligence, and as a rule cannot even be galvanized into appearing a life as can the class of astral forms known as the "spectres," or "shades," which belong to a slightly different category, and which we shall now glance at for a moment. There! Gaze on the scene for a moment, before I change the vibrations again.

Our momentary glimpse of the subdivision of the Astral upon which the spectral forms abide, was not a pleasant one, but it is interesting because it explains some peculiar features of psychic or occult phenomena which is often misinterpreted. You noticed that instead of floating about in astral space, as did the shells which we saw a few moments back, these spectres acted like shadowy human beings in a dazed or dreamlike condition. You saw them walking dreamily about, without set object or purpose - a weird, unpleasant sight.

These spectres are really astral shells from which the souls have departed, but which have left in them sufficient power, arising from the former thought and will vibrations of their owners, to give them a temporary semblance of life and action, This power gradually wears away, and the shell then sinks to the subdivision which we saw a little further back. In the meantime, it dwells on this particular subdivision. In the case of the soul with high ideals and spiritual aspirations, there are practically no material thought vibrations remaining to "galvanize" the astral body after the soul has withdrawn itself. Its higher nature has neutralized these lower, but strong, vibrations. But in the case of the soul retaining strong material thoughts and desires, the power is much stranger. In the latter class, even after the higher nature of the soul has drawn it upward, above the Astral, these lower mental vibrations may persist in the deserted astral form, and thus give to the latter a semblance of life and activity which, though a counterfeit, may manifest considerable power for a time.

The counterfeit power of these spectral forms steadily decreases, but in some cases it persists for a comparatively long time. As a rule, the power disappears in the way stated, but in certain other cases it is used up, as a spark is rendered bright by blowing upon it, by means of a psychic stimulus from persons living on the material plane. I am now alluding to the power generated in "circles," and through mediumistic persons, on the our plane or earth life. The psychic power so generated,

coupled with the strong mental attraction set up between persons in earth life and the spectral form, may cause the latter to manifest itself to the former, either by more or less complete materialization, or by partial manifestation through the physical organism of the medium, or mediums, present.

In such a case, the spectre, reanimated and "galvanized" into seeming life by means of the psychic power of the medium, or those composing the psychic circle, will strive to manifest itself by speech, automatic writing, raps, or otherwise. But, at the best, its efforts will be feeble and faulty, and the persons witnessing the phenomena will always remember the same with the dim idea that "there was something wrong about it" -something was found to be lacking. In some cases, the vibration of old memories will survive in the spectral form, which will enable it to answer questions fairly well, and to allude to past experiences. But even then, in these cases there will be a shadow of unreality which will impress the careful observer.

Remember, there are many other forms of "spirit return" partial or complete, but much that passes for the real phenomena is really but a manifestation of the presence of these spectral forms of whose real nature we have been made acquainted by our glimpse into their region of abode. Moreover, these entities (if they may be called by that name) borrow ideas and impressions from the minds of the mediums or persons in the circle, in addition to their own shadowy memories, and thus doubly become reflections or counterfeits.

These spectres have really no soul. The soul which formerly occupied the form has departed to a higher plane, and is in ignorance of the performance of its discarded shell. It is pathetic to witness cases where these counterfeit spectral form are accepted as the departed soul of the individual, by those who loved him in earth rife. A lack of knowledge of true occultism often permits of deplorable mistakes of this kind. The true occultist is never deceived in this manner. These spectres are no more "departed souls" or "spirits" than a galvanized physical corpse is the individual which once inhabited it, though the current may cause it to move its muscles and go through the motions of life. It remains a corpse and discarded shell - and that is just what the spectral form is, plus the remaining vibratory echoes of its old mental life.

  

CHAPTER VI.

DISEMBODIED SOULS.

 

You very naturally inquire: "But where are the disembodied souls, themselves? I expected to see them as soon as we crossed the border of the Astral!" Yes! That is the general expectation of the neophyte in occultism, when he gets his first glimpse into the Astral scenes. But, unless he happens to stumble at once upon certain sub-planes, he is apt to

be disappointed. But, the better way ' is to let you learn the story by viewing the various sub-planes, at the same time listening to my explanation of that which you witness on them.

You will notice that our vibrations are now changing, and growing more intense. We are now entering upon a very wonderful sub-plane, or rather, upon one of the subdivisions of such a plane. This region, I ask you to remember, is one the entry to which is strictly guarded by the law of the Astral, and watched over by certain very high spiritual influences. It is a sacred place. No one is admitted here as a visitor, unless he be of high spirituality and pure heart. Even a trained occultist, unless he possess these qualifications, finds it impossible to enter these vibrations. This region is the resting place of the disembodied souls for some time after they have left the physical body. In it they dwell in peaceful slumber, until Nature performs certain work in them for their new plane of life. This stage has been compared to the cocoon-stage, between the stage of the caterpillar and that of the butterfly, In which stage a complete transformation is effected, and the wings of the new life are developed to take the place of the old crawling form.

We are now on this particular sub-plane. Enter upon a contemplation of its wonders, with all reverence and love of all mankind. On all sides, stretching away as far as the eye can see, you perceive the slumbering forms of disembodied souls, each astral form resting in dreamless sleep. And, yet, even if you were not so informed, you would recognize that these forms are not dead, but are merely sleeping. There is none of the atmosphere of death or corpses about this region. Nothing depressing, you notice. Nothing but a sense of infinite calm and peace. Being spiritually developed yourself, you doubtless feel the presence of certain great spiritual entities - though you see them not, because their vibrations are too high for you to see them even by astral vision - these are the great spiritual guardians of this realm, who protect the slumber of the souls at rest herein the Great Watchers of the Sleeping Souls. If you will watch carefully, you will notice here and there a movement indicating the awakening of some of these resting forms. A moment later the form disappears from the scene - it seemingly melts into nothingness. But it still is existent - its vibrations simply have changed, and it has moved on to another sub-plane, or division thereof, without having been aware of the scenes of this place. It has begun its real life after death. Let us move on, leaving this scene behind us, while I explain to you some of the phenomena of this period of existence of the disembodied soul. Let us pause here, on the quiet sub-plane, until the matter is made plain to you.

It is a common teaching of many religions that the disembodied soul enters at once upon its heaven or hell. The Roman Catholic Church, and some branches of Buddhism, however, teach of an intermediate state called Purgatory, or a similar name. Some denominations of the Christian Church hold that all souls slumber in unconsciousness, until the call of the great trumpet of Judgment Day, when all awaken from their long sleep and are judged and sent to the place of reward or punishment, as their cases may deserve. You see on the Astral some things which show you that all of these views have a basis in fact, and yet how imperfect are these conceptions of the theologies!

All occultists know, however, that nearly all of the original religious teachers had a very complete knowledge of the real facts of the Astral, and higher planes, and merely handed down to their followers such fragments of the truth as they thought could be assimilated at the time. All of the theological teachings regarding the Life after Death - heavens and hells - contain some truth, but none contain all the truth. In the majority of cases, the mind of the dying person sinks into the slumber of so-called death, and awakens only after a period of restful, transforming slumber upon the Astral, in the region we have just seen. In some cases, however, there is a brief waking, like a semi-awakening from a dream, shortly after the departure from the physical body, in which case the astral body may appear, visibly, to some friend, associate or loved one - or even in the scenes in which the person usually spent much of his time, as, for instance, his office, shop, study, etc. This accounts for the occasional instances of the disembodied person so appearing, of which there are many well authenticated cases. But even in such event, the disembodied soul soon becomes drowsy, and sinks into the preliminary sleep of the Astral, moving on to the region we have just left. There is a great difference in the time in which the disembodied soul slumbers in this state. Strange and paradoxical as it may appear, the highest and lowest souls in the scale of development, awaken first. The average soul slumbers far longer than either. I will explain the reason of this to you in a moment.

The highly spiritual person, needing but comparatively little transformation to fit him for the higher planes, may slumber here only a very short time, and then passes on to some of the higher astral planes; or, in cases of high development, may omit these higher astral planes, and pass on at once to the plane or planes above the Astral - into what occultists know as the "heavens," which, technically, are regions of the mental plane, and the ones still higher. The average soul, however, slumbers a much longer time, many years, perhaps, and then awakens upon a higher astral plane suited to its requirements.

The low, material soul, as a rule, awakens very speedily, and passes at once to the low plane for which it has an affinity. But, note this difference: the highly developed soul awakens speedily, for the reason that it has less to slough off and be transformed into higher attributes -the work is already partially performed. The average soul, on the other hand, requires a much greater transformation for its scenes of higher activities, and so remains much longer in the transforming sleep; and, last (note the seeming paradox, and its explanation), the low, material soul awakens speedily, not because it has been transformed easily for the higher scenes, but, on the contrary, because it is not destined for these higher scenes - it never reaches them, but descends to a low plane of the Astral, where it lives out its low inclinations and ideals, until it finally sickens of them, at least to an extent, and then is ready for further transformation. All souls, however, high or low, eventually move off the Astral and enter into the place, or rather the state, of the Mental Plane, or the regions of the "heavens," leaving their astral shells behind them. Some of the highest, as I have said, mount to these planes without any intervening stay on the higher Astral, but the majority have their share of Astral life, higher and lower.

On the "heaven" planes, the spiritual souls spend great periods of time enjoying the well-earned bliss. Souls lower in development spend less time there. The low, material souls, scarcely taste the experience of those high regions. I shall speak further regarding this, as we proceed. As a general rule, I would remind you, the higher the advancement of a soul, the greater the time between its incarnations; and vice versa. There are special cases, however, such as the call to duty on the part of a high soul, or a strong attraction to another, or others, approaching reincarnation, which may bring back a high soul in a shorter time than it really deserves - this is simply renunciation. however, on the part of the high soul, and is not a violation of the general rule as stated a moment ago.

Let us now change our vibrations, and visit some of the scenes of Astral life, in which the awakened souls are living, moving, and having their being. A few actual illustrations of life on these planes will teach you more regarding this great subject, than would volumes of books, or years of verbal teaching. Let us begin at some of the lowest sub-planes, and their divisions - the sight is not pleasant, but you will gain a valuable lesson.

  

CHAPTER VII.

SCENES OF THE ASTRAL.

 

We are now vibrating on a very low subdivision of the lowest sub-plane of the Astral. You are conscious of a very unpleasant feeling, and an almost physical repulsion to the atmosphere around you. Some very sensitive natures experience a feeling of being surrounded by a dense, sticky, foul, foggy atmosphere, through which they must almost force their way, whe n they visit these regions. It is akin to the feelings experienced by a high-minded spiritual person on the earth plane, if he happens to enter a place inhabited by persons of a lewd, vulgar, depraved nature and character - this magnified many degrees by reason of the astral laws.

It is no wonder that one of the old Egyptian writers, whose work survives on graven stone, said, some four thousand years ago: "What manner of foul region is this into which I have foolishly come? It is without water; without air; it is unfathomably deep; it has the darkness of the blackest night, when the sky is overcast with dense clouds, and no ray of light penetrates their curtain. Souls wander hopelessly and helplessly about herein; in it there is no peace, no calm, no rest, no quiet of the heart or mind. It is an abomination and desolation. Woe is the soul that abideth herein!"

Looking around you, in the dim, ghastly light of this region, you perceive countless human forms, of the most repulsive appearance. Some of them are so low in the scale as to seem almost beast-like, rather than human. There are still lower forms on the subdivisions just below this one, but I shall spare you the disgusting sight. These creatures are disembodied souls, in the astral body, living on the low plane to which they descended when awakening from their very brief astral sleep. If you will peer through the enveloping fog, you will become conscious of the presence of the material world as a sort of background. To you it appears detached, and removed in space, but to these creatures - these low souls - the two planes seem to be blended. To them, they appear actually to be abiding in the scenes and among the persons of the lowest phases of earth life. Even you find that you can see only the very low earth-scenes in the background - the higher scenes appear blotted out with great smears, like a censored newspaper page in war times. To these poor souls there is no earth world except these scenes which accord with their old desires.

But while apparently living amid these old familiar and congenial low earth-scenes, these souls are really suffering the fate of Tantalus. For while they plainly see these scenes, and all that is going on in them, they cannot otherwise participate in the revels and debaucheries which they perceive plainly - they can SEE only - as for the rest they participate only vicariously. This renders the place a veritable hell for them, for they are constantly tantalized and tormented by sights of scenes in which they cannot participate. They can exercise simply "the lust of the eye," which is but as a thorn in the flesh to them. On all sides, on earth-life, they see their kind (in the flesh) eating, drinking, gambling, engaging in all forms of debauchery and brutality - and while they eagerly cluster around, they cannot make their presence felt (under ordinary circumstances) nor can they participate in the scenes which they witness. The lack of the physical body is indeed a very hell to them, under such circumstances.

The astral atmosphere of low dram-shops, pool rooms, gambling halls, race tracks, "free-and-easies," brothels, "red-light" districts - and their more fashionable counterparts - are filled with these low astral forms of souls across the astral border. Occasionally, they are able to influence some earth companion, who is so saturated with liquor, or overcome by drugs, that he is physically open to such influences. When they so influence him, they strive to lead him into further degradation and debauchery, for, in so doing, they obtain a reflex gratification, as it were. But I shall not dwell upon this subject - it is too loathsome. In some instances, the sojourn on this low astral sub-plane sets up such a strong desire for rebirth in the flesh, among similar scenes, that the poor soul eagerly presses forward toward reincarnation on a similar low plane. In other cases, I am glad to say, the experience so sickens and disgusts the poor soul that it experiences a revulsion and disgust for such things, in which case the current of its desires naturally carries it in the opposite direction, and it is given the opportunity to rise in the scale of the Astral, where its better tendencies are encouraged, and a better rebirth finally results.

At the end, however, in nearly all cases "living-out" results in "out-living," and even the lowest rises in time. Some few souls, however, sink so low as to be incapable of rising, and they meet the final fate (not of damnation) of annihilation. Even in these hells of the astral, however, the degraded souls are "punished not for their sins, but by them" as an old writer once forcibly stated it.

But this particular scene is not the only one on this sub-plane of the Astral - it has many counterparts. I cannot take time to show them all to you, or to describe them in detail. I can illustrate the idea, however, by stating that close to the scene you have just witnessed, is another in which the actors are those miserly, money-loving souls, who have sold all their better nature for the mess of pottage of worldly gain. The punishment, by the sin rather than for it, is similar to that of the low souls in the preceding scene. They are tormented by the sight, but are tantalized by not being able to participate. The result is practically similar to that mentioned in the last case - some find desire increased, and others find disgust and nausea and thus seek the way to higher things. There are hundreds of similar regions on the lower Astral, some of which are much higher, however, than those we have just considered. All of them serve as a Purgatory, or place of the burning-out of desires of a low kind - not the burning of material flames, but by the fire of the desire itself, as we have seen. This idea of burning away, or purging, of the low desires, is found to permeate nearly all religions, and has its basis in the facts of the Astral.

Changing our vibrations, and mounting to higher sub-planes, we pass rapidly from scene to scene. You appear astonished to notice that many of these scenes seem to be set to scenery, like a great theatre. You notice with wonder the artificial nature of this astral scenery, and wonder at the fact that the people on these scenes seem to regard this scenery as natural and real, instead of make-believe. It all seems very shadowy and imperfect to you, but very real to them. The secret is that the scenery is the creation of the minds of those taking part in the scenes, and those who have preceded them on this plane. It is all make-believe - a mirage,

so to speak - but very real to those taking part in the scenes. It is not the purpose of this little book to describe the chemistry of the Astral by means of which it is possible for the mind to build up scenery, etc., from the astral substance. To the advanced occultist, who has studied deeply the occult chemistry, the matter is as simple as is the formation of ice from water, which in turn was once steam - and at the same time as wonderful. The traveller on the Astral always will bear witness to the wonders of that plane, the scenery of which is all built up in this way, though he may not be able to explain the chemistry of its formation.

In this way, on the various higher planes of the Astral, including some of the comparatively lower planes, we find beautiful mountains and valleys, rivers and lakes, citie s, towns, villages and country land - in fact, all forms of scenery known in earth life. We also see buildings of all kinds, and all varieties of household utensils, implements, furniture, etc. All are built from the astral substance by means of the imaginative minds of the dwellers on those planes. To the visitor they seem most unreal - one can actually see through them, and on all sides of them at one time, as in the case of a transparent crystal. But to the dwellers on the Astral they are as solid and real as are their material counterparts -and no doubt regarding their solidity ever enters the mind of the Astral inhabitant.

And what is the purpose of all this theatrical make-believe of the Astral you well ask. You will see in a moment, when I give you the key that unlocks the secret doors of the Astral life and its meaning.

CHAPTER VIII.

LIFE AND WORK ON THE ASTRAL.

 

What I have just said regarding the nature of the astral scenery must not be taken as indicating that the Astral, itself, is merely imaginary or unreal in any sense. Nor is the substance of which the scenery is composed any less real than the substance of which the material world is composed. On the material plane, substance manifests as matter; while on the astral plane it manifests in a finer form of "stuff" or material. Again, on the material plane, the material, or matter, is shaped by the physical forces of nature, or, perhaps, by the mind of man using the original material in order to build "artificial" structures or forms. On the Astral, on the other hand the astral material is not thrown into shape by physical forces, but is shaped and formed only by the thought and imaginative power of the minds of those inhabiting that plane. But these shapes, forms and structures of the astral material are not to be thought of as existing merely in the mind of the astral dwellers. They have an independent existence of their own, being composed of astral material, though shaped, formed and built up directly by the mind-power of the astral dwellers, instead of by the physical forces of nature. The astral scenery, etc., survives the passing away of the mind which built it up, and disintegrates only after the passage of considerable time, just as do the material things on the earth plane. As for the power of the imagination of man, do not be deceived for a moment - for this is one of the most efficient powers in nature, and operates strongly even on the material plane, though on the Astral its power is more easily recognized by the senses. To the dwellers on the Astral, their scenery, buildings, etc., are as solid as are those of the material plane to the dwellers thereupon.

Passing through the various sub-planes, and their divisions, on the Astral you notice a great variety of scenery, and a great difference in the character and occupations of the inhabitants. But, you notice one general characteristic underlying all of the differences, namely, the fact that all of these persons (astral dwellers) seem to be filled with an intense earnestness, and manifest a degree of concentration which gives to them an appearance of being preoccupied. This, often, to such an extent that they seem to be oblivious to our presence and passage through their midst, unless we address them directly. Again, everyone seems to be busy, even when their tasks are those of sport or play. The key to the occupation and pursuits of the dwellers on the Astral is found in the principle that the life of the soul on the comparatively higher divisions of the Astral consists in a working out of the intellectual desires, and ordinary tendencies, tastes, likes, and aspirations which they were unable to manifest fully in earth-life. I do not mean the low sensual desires, or purely animal tastes, but rather the "ambitions" and similar forms of desires of strong inclinations. Many of these inclinations may be very creditable and praise-worthy, rather than otherwise, but they are all concerned with physical manifestations, rather than with spiritual unfoldment and evolution in the strict sense of these terms. The higher planes are those in which the spiritual forces bud and flower, and bear fruit - the Astral, even on its highest planes, is the scene of the living-out, and working-out, of earthly intellectual and similar ambitions and aspirations.

The higher the plane of the Astral world, the less are the old earth scenes in evidence, even in the shape of the dim background we saw as we progressed on our journey. As we mounted on the scale, these old earth scenes grew very dim, and where we are standing now, on the fourth sub-plane, they are practically out of sight. This particular sub-plane is not particularly elevating, but nevertheless is interesting to the student.

As we pass from scene to scene, we see the "happy hunting grounds" of the American Indians, thickly settled with these old aborigines who have been dwelling there for quite a period of time. They are busy, and happy hunting their astral buffaloes, and other game (all artificially created by their imagination, from the astral substance, and having no real existence as living, feeling animals). A little further on, we witness similar forms of the "Spirit-land" of other primitive people, in some of which the disembodied warriors fight and conquer great hosts of artificial foes, and then have great feasts according to their old customs. Valhalla is here, as well as the other imaginary Paradises of the old races of men. But their inhabitants are dwindling in number, being caught up in the current bearing them on to reincarnation. But, note this, that while there is nothing elevating in the pursuits followed in these scenes, there is nothing degrading or lowering, from a strictly spiritual point of view. But, there is in evidence always a living-out, and wearing-out, of the old desires of this kind, to make room for higher ones - all tends toward spiritual evolution.

Raising our vibrations rapidly, and passing over many degrees of scenes of this kind, we find ourselves on a considerably higher plane. Here we see men engaged in what would be called "useful work" in earth life. But they are performing it not as labor, but rather as a joyous recreation. Observing closely, you will see that the work is all of an inventive and constructive nature. The men and women are perfecting that in which their interest was engaged while on earth life. They are improving on their work, and are filled with the joy of creation. They remind one forcibly of Kipling's mention of the future state when: "...no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame; but each for the joy of the working." On some of these sub-divisions we see the artist busily at work, turning out wonderful masterpieces; also musicians creating great compositions, of which they had vainly dreamt while in earth-life. The architect builds great structures - the inventor discovers great things. And all are filled with the joy of work, and the ecstacy of creative imagination.

But, make not the mistake, student, of regarding this as merely play, or as possibly a form of reward for well-done world work, though, of course, both of these elements play their part in the general working of the Law. The main thing to remember is that in this work on the Astral, there is an actual mental advance and progress.

Moreover, in many cases, here on these very planes of the Astral there is being built the mould from which will actually pour great inventive and creative achievements, on the material plane, in the future incarnations of these souls now doing work on this plane. The Astral is the great pattern shop of the world. Its patterns are reproduced in matter when the soul revisits the earth scenes. Many a work of art, musical composition, great piece of literature, or great invention, has been but a reproduction of an Astral pattern. This will help to explain the feeling common to all great performers of creative, imaginative or intellectual work - the strange feeling that their work is but a completion of something at which they had previously wrought - a re-discovery, as it were. Again, in this work-play of the Astral, the soul is always at work using up old ideas, aspirations, etc., and discarding them finally. In this way real progress is made, for after all even earth-life is seen to be largely a matter of "living-out and out-living" - of mounting higher on the steps of each mistake and each failure. In the work of the Astral many old ideas are worked out and discarded: many old longings exhausted and discarded; many old ambitions manifested and then left behind on the trail. There is a certain "burning up, and burning out" of old mental material, and a place made for new and better material in the new earth life. Often, in this way, on the Astral there is accomplished as much in the direction of improvement and progress, as would be possible only in quite a number of earth-lives. Life on the Astral is very earnest and intense - the vibrations are much higher than on the material plane. Bearing this principle in mind, these Astral scenes which you are now witnessing take on a great and new meaning. You recognize them as very important schoolrooms in the great school of life. Work is being done here that can not be accomplished elsewhere. Everything has its meaning. There is no waste effort, or useless activity in the universe, no matter what the careless observer may say to the contrary. The Astral is no joke of the universe - it is one of its great, real workshops and laboratories of the soul. It has its distinct place in the work of spiritual unfoldment and evolution.

  

CHAPTER IX.

HIGHER PLANES AND BEYOND.

 

Raising our vibrations a little, we now enter upon the great second sub-plane of the Astral, with its seven subdivisions and its many minor divisions and regions. Almost before I tell you, you will feel the religious atmosphere pervading this region, For this is the plane upon which the religious aspirations and emotions find full power of expression. On this sub-plane are many souls who have spent some time on the other sub-planes of the Astral, doing their work there and then passing on to these scenes in order to manifest this part of their natures.

But, I wish to call your attention to the occult distinction between "spirituality" and "religion." Spirituality is the recognition of the divine spark within the soul, and the unfoldment of the same into consciousness; while religion, in the occult sense, consists of observance of certain forms of worship, rites, ceremonies, etc., the holding to certain forms of theology, and the manifestation of what may be called the religious emotions. The religious instinct is deeply implanted in the hearts of men, and may be called the stepping-stone toward true spirituality - but it is not spirituality itself. In its higher forms, it is a beautiful thing, but in its lower ones it leads to narrowness and bigotry - but it is a necessary step on the Path, and all must mount it in order to reach higher things.

This second sub-plane of the Astral is filled with a multitude of souls each of whom is endeavoring to manifest and express his own particular shade of religious conception. It may be said to contain all the heavens that have ever been dreamed of in theology, and taught in the churches -each filled with devotees of the various creeds. Each of the great religions has its own particular region, in which its disciples gather, worship, and rejoice. In each region the religious soul finds "just what he had expected" and hoped to find on "the other shore." Some remain content in their own place, while others growing dissatisfied drift toward some sub-region, or group, which comes nearer to their newly awakened conception of truth.

In passing rapidly through these regions, you will find that each has its own particular environment in exact accordance with the beliefs of the persons inhabiting it. Some have the appearance of a plain, old-fashioned meeting house, on an immense scale; while others resemble a gigantic cathedral, filled with gorgeous decorations and paraphernalia, and echoing with the sound of glorious litanies and other ritualistic forms of worship. Each has its officiating priests or preachers, according to its regulations. You see at a glance that the environment, scenery, buildings, decorations, etc., are built up from the astral substance by the imaginative power of the minds of those congregating at each point. All the stage-setting and properties are found fully in evidence (I say this in all seriousness, and with no attempt to be frivolous or flippant) - you may even see the golden crowns, harps, and stiff haloes, in some cases, and hear the sound of "the eternal chant of praise." I regret to be compelled to call your attention to the regions of some lower forms of religion, in which there is a background picture of a burning hell, at which the devotees gaze with satisfaction, feeling the joy of heaven intensified by the sight of the suffering souls in hell. It is a satisfaction to tell you that the suffering souls, and their hell, are but fictitious things created by the imagination from the astral substance - a mere stage setting as it were. Dante's Inferno has its adequate counterparts on the Astral Plane.

I ask you, particularly to gaze upon this most horrible scene before us. A large severely furnished edifice is shown, with seated congregation wearing stern, hard, cruel faces. They gaze toward the top of a smoking bottomless pit, from which rises a sort of great, endless chain, each link having a huge sharp hook upon which is impaled a doomed soul. This soul is supposed to rise to the top of the pit once in a thousand years, and as each appears it is heard to cry in mournful accents: "How long - how long?" To this agonized question, a deep stern voice is heard replying: "Forever! Forever!" I am glad to tell you that this congregation is dwindling, many evolving to higher conceptions, and practically no new recruits arriving from the earth-plane to fill the depleting ranks. In time, this congregation will disappear entirely, and the ghastly stage scenery and properties will gradually dissolve into astral dust and fade from sight forever.

All forms of religion, high and low, oriental and occidental, ancient and modern, are represented on this plane. Each has its own particular abode. It would delight the heart of a student of comparative religion to visit these scenes. There are some beautiful and inspiring scenes and regions on this plane, filled with advanced souls and beautiful characters. But, alas, there are some repulsive ones also. It is marvellous, in viewing these scenes, to realize how many forms human religion and theology has taken in its evolution. Every form of deity has its region, with its worshippers. It is interesting to visit the scenes once filled with the worshippers of the most ancient religions. Many have only a handful of worshippers remaining on this plane; while in some cases, the worshippers have entirely disappeared, and the astral scenery of the region, its temples and shrines, are crumbling away and disappearing just as have the old temples disappeared on the material plane.

On the highest of the sub-planes of the Astral we find many regions inhabited by the philosophers, scientists, metaphysicians, and higher theologians of the race - those who used their intellectual power in striving to solve the Riddle of the Universe, and to peer Behind the Veil, by the use of intellect alone. High and low are met with here. There are as many schools of philosophy and metaphysics here, as there were religious sects on the plane below. Some are pitifully weak, crude and childish in their conceptions - others have advanced so far that they seem like demi-gods of intellect. But even this is not true "spirituality," any more than is the religious formalism and dogmas of the plane below. All has its place, however, and everything is evolving and unfolding. It is interesting to note then on this plane, and the one below, are to be found groups of disembodied souls who persist in declaring that "there is no hereafter for the soul;" "the soul perishes with the body;" etc. These deluded souls believe that they are still on the material plane, in spite of appearances, and they have built up quite a good counterfeit earth-scenery to sustain them. They sneer and sniff at all talk of life outside of the physical body, and bang their astral tables with their astral fists, to prove how solid all real things are - they believe only that which is solid and "real." This, indeed, is the very irony of astral life.

You have noticed certain glorious forms on these regions, student, as we have passed through these scenes, and I have promised to inform you as to their character. These were those highly evolved beings, once men like ourselves, who have voluntarily returned from higher spheres to teach and instruct along the lines of religion and philosophy, combining the best of both, and leading upward toward Truth those souls who have arrived at a possible understanding of these things. It is verily true, on the Astral as well as on the earth plane, that "when the pupil is ready, the Master appears." The Astral has many, very many of these Elder Brothers of the Race, working diligently and earnestly for the uplift of those struggling on the Path.

I may say here, that an understanding of the nature of the various regions of the Astral, and the scenes thereof, will throw light upon the fact that the reports of "the other side" given by disembodied souls at spiritualistic seances, etc., are so full of contradictions and discrepancies, no two seeming to agree. The secret is that each is telling the truth as he sees it in the Astral, without realizing the nature of what they have seen, or the fact that it is, at the best, merely one aspect among millions of others. Contrast the varying "heavens" just mentioned, and see how different the reports would be coming from some of their inhabitants. When the nature of astral phenomena is once understood, the difficulty vanishes, and each report is recognized as being an attempt to describe the Astral picture upon which the disembodied entity has gazed, believing it to be actual and real. I wish here to tell you, student, some little about the planes higher than the Astral. These planes transcend adequate description. Enough to say, here, that each soul on the Astral, even the very lowest, finally sinks into an astral slumber when it has completed its work on that plane. Before passing on to rebirth, however, it awakens for a time upon one of the subdivisions of the next highest plane above the Astral. It may remain awake on this plane, in its appropriate subdivision, for merely a moment of time, or for many centuries even, depending upon its state of spiritual unfoldment. During this stay on these higher planes, the soul communes with the higher phase of itself - the divine fragment of Spirit -and is strengthened and invigorated thereby. In this period of communion, much dross of the nature is burnt out and dissolved into nothingness, and the higher part of the nature is nourished and encouraged. These higher planes of Being constitute the real "heaven world" of the soul. The more highly advanced the soul, the longer does it abide between incarnations on these planes. Just as the mind is developed and enabled to express its longings and ambitions, on the Astral, so is the higher portions of the soul strengthened and developed on these higher planes. The joy, happiness and spiritual blessedness of these higher planes are beyond ordinary words. So wonderful are they, that even long after the soul has been born again on earth, there will arise within it memories of its experiences upon those higher planes, and it will sigh for a return to them, as a dove sighs for its far-off home towards which its weary wings urge its flight. Once heard, the harmony of the heaven-world is never forgotten - its memories remain to strengthen us in moments of trial and sorrow.

These, then, are the real "heaven worlds" of the occult teachings -something far different from even the highest Astral planes. The reports of the mystics are based on experiences on these planes, not upon those of the Astral. Your soul has truly informed you regarding the reality of the existence of these wonderful regions and scenes - it has not deceived you.

Therefore, hold fast to the ideal and the vision - follow the gleam, follow the gleam!

  

CHAPTER X.

THE ASTRAL LIGHT.

 

It must not be supposed for a moment that the Astral is simply a plane of Nature created for a place of temporary abode and development for souls which have passed out of the physical body - a mere stopping place between reincarnations. Important as are the planes of the Astral in the progress of the disembodied souls, they form but one phase of the activities of this great plane of Nature.Indeed, even eliminating the disembodied souls from the Astral, there would be enough strange and wonderful phenomena on that plane, as well as enough wonderful inhabitants and dwellers on some of its sub planes, to still render it the place and region of interest that it always has been to occultists. Before we finish out astral journey, and return to earth life, let us take a hasty glance at these wonderful phases of astral phenomena and life.

THE ASTRAL LIGHT. Changing our vibrations, we find ourselves entering a strange region, the nature of which at first you fail to discern. Pausing a moment until your astral vision becomes attuned to the peculiar vibrations of this region, you find that you are becoming gradually aware of what may be called an immense picture gallery, spreading out in all directions, and apparently bearing a direct relation to every point of space on the surface of the earth.

At first you find it difficult to decipher the meaning of this great array of pictures. The trouble arises from the fact that they are arranged not one after the other in sequence on a flat plane, but rather in sequence, one after another in a peculiar order which may be called the order of "X-ness in space," because it is neither the dimension of length, breadth, or depth - it is practically the order of the fourth dimension of space, which cannot be described in terms of ordinary spatial dimension. Again, you find, upon closely examining the pictures that they are very minute - practically microscopic in size - and require the use of the peculiar magnifying power of astral vision to bring them up to a size capable of being recognized by your faculty of visual recognition. The astral vision, when developed, is capable of magnifying any object, material or astral, to an enormous degree - for instance, the trained occultist is able to perceive the whirling atoms and corpuscles of matter, by means of this peculiarity of astral vision. Likewise, he is able to plainly perceive many fine vibrations of light which are invisible to the ordinary sight, In fact, the peculiar Astral Light which pervades this region is due to the power of the astral vision to receive and register these fine vibrations of light.

Bring this power of magnifying into operation, you will see that each of the little points and detail of the great world picture so spread before you in the Astral Light, is really a complete scene of a certain place on earth, at a certain period in the history of the earth. It resembles one of the small views in - a series of moving pictures - a single view on the roll of film. It is fixed and not in motion, and yet. We can move forward along the fourth dimension, and thus obtain a moving picture of the history of any point on the surface of the earth, or even combine the various points into a larger moving picture, in the same way. Let us prove this by actual experiment.

Close your eyes for a moment, while we travel back in time (so to speak) along the series of these astral records - for, indeed, they travel back to the beginning of the history of the earth. Now open your eyes! Looking around you, you perceive the pictured representation of strange scenes filled with persons wearing a peculiar garb - but all is still, no life, no motion.

Now, let us move forward in time, at a much higher rate than that in which the astral views were registered. You now see flying before you the great movement of life on a certain point of space, in a far distant age. From birth to death you see the life of these strange people, all in the space of a few moments. Great battles are fought, and cities rise before your eyes, all In a great moving picture flying at a tremendous speed. Now stop, and then let us move backward in time, still gazing at the moving pictures. You see a strange sight, like that of "reversing the film" in a moving picture. You see everything moving backward - cities crumbling into nothingness, men rising from their graves, and growing younger each second until they are finally born as babes - everything moving backward in time, instead of forward. You can thus witness any great historical event, or follow the career of any great personage from birth to death - or backward. You will notice, moreover, that everything is semi-transparent, and that accordingly, you can see the picture of what is going on inside of buildings as well as outside of them. Nothing escapes the Astral Light Records. Nothing can be concealed from it.

You have gazed at the great World Picture in the Records of the Astral Light - the great Akashic Records, as we Hindus call it. In these records are to be found pictures of every single event, without exception, that has ever happened in the history of the earth - recorded just exactly as it really happened, moreover, the record being ultra-photographic and including the smallest detail.

By travelling to a point in time, on the fourth dimension, you may begin at that point, and see a moving picture of the history of any part of the earth from that time on to the present - or you may reverse the sequence by travelling backward, as we have seen. You may also travel in the Astral, on ordinary space dimensions, and thus see what happened simultaneously all over the earth, at any special moment of time, if you wish.

As a matter of strict truth, however, I must inform you that the real records of the past - the great Akashic Records - really exist on a much higher plane than the Astral, and that which you have witnessed is but a reflection (practically perfect, however) of the original records. It requires a high degree of occult development in order to perceive even this reflection in the Astral Light, and unaided by my own power you could not perceive these sights at this time. An ordinary clairvoyant, however, is often able to catch occasional glimpses of these astral pictures, and may thus describe fairly well the happenings of the past. In the same way, the psychometrist, given an object, may be able to give the past history of the object, including a description of the persons associated therewith.

  

CHAPTER XI. ASTRAL ENTITIES.

 

Without intending to go deeply into this subject - for the same is reserved for the sole teaching of the advanced pupil, and must not be carelessly spread before others - I think it well to call your attention to the fact that on certain planes of the Astral, there exist certain entities, or living beings, which never were human, and never will be, for they belong to an entirely different order of nature. These strange entities are ordinarily invisible to human beings, but under certain conditions they may be sensed by the astral vision. Strictly speaking, these strange beings do not dwell upon the Astral at all - that is, not in the sense of the Astral as a part of space, or a place. We call them Astral entities simply because they become visible for the first time to man, when he is able to vision on the Astral, or by means of the Astral senses and for no other reason. So far as place, or space, is concerned these entities or being dwell upon the earth, just as do the human beings. They vibrate differently from us, that is all. They are also usually of but a microscopic size, and would be invisible to the human eye even if they vibrated on the same plane as do we. The astral vision not only senses their vibrations, under certain conditions, but also, under certain other conditions, it magnifies their forms into perceptible size.

Some of these astral entities are known as Nature Spirits, and inhabit streams, rocks, mountains, forests, etc. Their occasional appearance to persons of psychic temperament, or in whom a degree of astral vision has been awakened, has given rise to the numerous tales and legends in the folk-lore of all nations regarding a strange order of beings, to which various names have been given, as for instance: fairies, pixies, elves, brownies, peris, djinns, trolls, satyrs, fauns, kobolds, imps, goblins, little folk, tiny people, etc., etc., and similar names found in the mythologies and legends of all people. The old occultists called the earth entities of this class by the name of "gnomes;" the air entities as "sylphs;" the water beings as "undines;" and the fire, or ether, beings as "salamanders."

This class of astral entities, as a rule, avoid the presence of man, and fly from places in which he dwells - for instance they avoid large cities as men avoid a cemetery. They prefer the solitudes of nature, and resent the onward march of men which drives them further and further into new regions. They do not object to the physical presence of man, so much as they do his mental vibrations which are plainly felt by them, and which are very distasteful to them.

A certain class of them are what may be called "good fellows," and these, once in a while, seem to find pleasure in helping and aiding human beings to whom they have formed an attachment. Many such cases are related in the folk lore of the older countries, but modern life has driven these friendly helpers from the scene, in most places. Another class, now also very uncommon, seems to find delight in playing elfish, childish pranks, particularly in the nature of practical jokes upon peasants, etc. At spiritualistic seances, and similar places, these elfish pranks are sometimes in evidence.

The ancient magicians and wonder workers were often assisted by creatures of this class. And, even today in India, Persia, China, and other Oriental lands, such assistance is not unknown; and many of the wonderful feats of these magicians are attributable only to such aid. As a rule, as I have said, these creatures are not unfriendly to man, though they may play a prank with him occasionally, under some circumstances. They stem particularly apt to play tricks upon neophytes in psychic research, who seek to penetrate the Astral without proper instruction, and without taking the proper precautions. To such a one they may appear as hideous forms, monsters, etc., and thus drive him away from the plane in which their presence may become apparent to him. However, they usually pay no attention to the advanced occultist, and either severely let him alone, or else flee his presence - though cases are not unknown, in the experience of the majority of advanced occultists, when some of these little folk seem anxious and willing to be of aid to the earnest, conscientious inquirer, who recognizes them as a part of nature's great manifestation, and not as an "unnatural" creature, or vile monstrosity.

ARTIFICIAL ENTITIES. In addition to the nonhuman entities which are perceived by astral vision, or on the Astral plane - including a number of varieties and classes other than those mentioned by me, and to which I purposely have omitted reference for reasons which will be recognized as valid by all true occultists - there are to be found on the Astral or on the earth plane by means of astral vision, a great class of entities, or semi-entities, which occultists know as "artificial entities". These artificial entities were not born in the natural manner, nor created by the ordinary creative forces of nature. They are the creations of the minds of men, and are really a highly concentrated class of thought- forms. They are not entities, in the strict sense of the term, having no life or vitality except that which they borrow from, or have been given by their creators. The student of occultism who has grasped the principle of the creation of thought-forms, will readily grasp the nature, power, and limitations of this class of dwellers in the Astral. The majority of these artificial entities, or thought-forms, are created unconsciously by persons who manifest strong desire-force, accompanied by definite mental pictures of that which they desire. But many have learned the art of creating them consciously, in an elementary form of magic, white or black. Much of the effect of thought-force, or mind-power, is due to the creation of these thought-forms. Strong wishes for good, as well as strong curses for evil, tend to manifest form and a semblance of vitality in the shape of these artificial entities. These entities, however, are under the law of thought-attraction, and go only where they are attracted. Moreover, they may be neutralized, and even destroyed, by positive thought properly directed in the way known to all advanced students along these lines.

  Another, and quite a large, class of these artificial Astral entities, consist of thought-forms of supernatural (!) beings, sent out by the strong mental pictures, oft repeated, of the persons creating them - the creator usually being unconscious of the result. For instance, a strongly religious mother, who prays for the protective influence of the angels around and about her children, and whose strong religious imagination pictures these heavenly visitors as sent by the side of the children, frequently actually creates thought-forms of such angel guardians around her children, who are given a degree of life and mind vibrations from the soul of the mother. In this way, such guardian angels, so created, serve to protect the children and warn them from evil and against temptation. Many a pious mother has accomplished more than she realized by her prayers and earnest desires. The early fathers of the churches, occidental and oriental; were aware of this fact, and consequently bade their followers to use this form of prayer and thought; though they did not explain the true underlying reason. Even after the mother has passed on to higher planes, her loving memory may serve to keep alive these thought-form entities, and thus serve to guard her loved ones. In a similar way, many "family ghosts" have been created and kept in being in the same way, by the constantly repeated tale and belief in their reality, on the part of generation after generation. In this class belong the celebrated historic ghosts who warn royal or noble families of approaching death or sorrow. The familiar family ghosts walking the walls of old castles on certain anniversaries, are usually found to belong to this class (though not always so).

Many haunted houses are explained in this way, also the ghost may be "laid" by anyo ne familiar with the laws of thought-forms. It must be remembered that these artificial entities are of purely human creation, and obtain and their apparent and mind from the action of the thought- force of their creators. Repeated thought, and repeated belief, will serve to keep alive and to strengthen these entities otherwise they will disappear in time.

Many supernatural visitors, saints, semi-divine beings, etc., of all religions have been formed in this way, and, in many cases, are kept In being by the faith of the devotees of the church, chapel, or shrine. In many temples in oriental countries, there have been created, and kept alive for many centuries, the thought-form entities of the minor gods and saints, endowed in thought with great power of response to prayer, offering, and ceremonies. Those accepting the belief in these powers, are brought into harmony with its vibrations, and are effected thereby, for good or evil.

The power of the devils of savage races (some of whom practically are devil-worshippers, arise in the same way. Even in the early history of the western religions, we find many references to the appearance of the Devil, and of his evil work; witchcraft diabolical presences, etc., all of which were created thought-form entities of this kind. Many of the effects of sorcery, black-magic, etc., were produced in this way - the element of belief, of course, adding greatly to the effect. The Voodoo practices of Africa, and later, of Martinique; and the Kahuna practices of Hawaii, are based on these same principles. The effect of "charms," etc., depend on the same laws, including the effect of faith. Even certain forms of "spirits," so-called, of certain forms of spiritualistic seances arise from this principle, and have never been human beings, at all. An understanding of this principle will aid in the interpretation of many puzzling phases of psychic phenomena. "SPIRIT RETURN." Nothing that I have said must be taken as denying the reality and validity of what the western world knows as "spirit return." On the other hand, I am fully familiar with very many instances of the real return to earth-life of disembodied souls. But at the same time, I, as well as all other advanced occultists, are equally aware of the many chances of mistake in this class of psychic phenomena. Shades, and even astral shells, too often are mistaken for departed loved ones. Again, many apparently real "spirit forms" are nothing more or less than semi-vitalized thought-form artificial entities such as I have just described.

Again, many mediums are really clairvoyant, and are able to unconsciously draw to some extent upon the Astral Records for their information regarding the past, instead of receiving the communication from a disembodied soul - in all honesty and in good faith, in many cases. Occultism does not deny the phenomena of modern western spiritualism - it merely seeks to explain its true nature, and to verify some of it while pointing out the real nature of others. It should be welcomed as an ally, by all true spiritualists.

ASTRAL VISION. It must not be supposed that the astral vision dawns suddenly upon anyone, in full force. Rather is it a matter of slow gradual development in the majority of cases. Many persons possess it to a faint degree, and fail to develop it further, for want of proper instruction. Many persons have occasional flashes of it, and are entirely without it at other times. Many "feel" the astral vibrations, rather than seeing with the astral vision. Others, gain a degree of astral vision by means of crystal gazing, etc. That which is frequently referred to as "psychic sight," or "psychic sensing," is a form of astral visioning or sensing. Psychism is bound up with astral phenomena, in all cases.

In this little manual, I have sought to give you, in a few lines, the great underlying facts of the Astral Plane. I have crowded very much into a very small space, so that you will have to read and study my words very carefully, in order to get the full meaning. In fact, this is not a book to be read on and then laid aside - rather, it should be re-read and re-studied, until all the essence is extracted.

 The glimpses of a number of the sub-planes of the Astral should give you a general, clear idea of many other scenes on that great plane. Remember, these scenes are typical of those witnessed by any advanced occultist who is able to travel on those planes - as you, yourself, may verify when you are able to vision on these planes. They are under-drawn, rather than overdrawn. Some of the more startling and "sensational" scenes have been omitted altogether, as I have no desire to attract, or cater to, those seeking sensation - my work is for the earnest student, alone.

 Use this manual as a key to unlock many mysteries not as a book to while away an idle hour. Do not have any "idle hours." Do not try to "kill time." Be an earnest, thoughtful, occultist, ever unfolding and evolving as you progress along The Path! Look Forward, not Backward! Look Upward, not Downward! Have Faith, not Fear! For, within your soul is aSpark of the Divine Flame, which cannot be extinguished!

 

KING SOLOMON'S TEMPLE

( Ο Ναός τού Σολομώντος )

Historical Fact or Fiction ?

  

The building of King Solomon's Temple about the year 1000 B.C. has fascinated the Archaeologists and scholars of history for many years, and the subject has a special interest for all Masons. The interest, however, often is not followed by the Mason past the acceptance of the ritual, plus his knowledge of the Bible story. Many of the lessons of Freemasonry are based upon the building of King Solomon's Temple and have been handed down to us through Masonic legend as developed in early Masonic catechisms and charges.

In the earliest rituals, the legend of the Temple did not appear, but through the passage of centuries, it has gradually acquired an allegorical and spiritual significance to all Masons and is an integral part of our Speculative Freemasonry of today.

As we examine the "Old Charges" of the Craft for evidence of the origin of the tradition with respect to King Solomon's Temple, we find it is not mentioned in the oldest of our "Charges", the "Regius Manuscript of 1390". The tradition begins with the second known oldest manuscript called the "Cooke Manuscript of 1410". Most experts agree that the "Cooke Manuscript" could have been written from earlier texts transmitted orally and compiled in written form in 1410. In the "Cooke Manuscript", mention of the building of the Temple is quite short, but with each manuscript that followed it becomes more prominent until by the beginning of the sixteenth century (when the "Dowland Manuscript" was written about 1500), the tradition had become more elaborate an established. From that time until the present day, it has been a part of Speculative Freemasonry.

The question still asked by some Archaeologists and researchers to this day is, "did King Solomon s Temple really exist?" If it did exist, then why have the Archaeologists not found some trace of it? As they point out, in all the excavations that have been made in the area, not one have turned up any solid evidence of it having ever existed. Our only authority and source comes from the Holy Scriptures where the Biblical story of the Temple is found in the Books of I Kings, Chapter 3 to 12, II Chronicles, Chapter 1 to 10, and Ezekiel 40 to 43, of the Old Testament. These accounts give a full description of the building and the events leading up to the building of that magnificent structure and its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in the years following the death of Solomon.

Regardless of a possible conflict between the Bible student and the archaeologist on this particular historical account, the story of the Temple has remained as a part of Masonic ritual and degree work for some six centuries. It provides a Biblical background for the Craft Ritual and a foundation for the beautiful symbolism of the tools used in the Masonic Lectures.

It is not my purpose to attempt to prove or disprove the existence of the Temple, for whether it did or did not exist does not alter the fact that it is intriguing both in symbolism and in Craft history. The student who wishes to probe for differences and compare the Masonic ritual and the Biblical account can find a number of small differences between the two. Some of our historical writers believe that part of this is attributed to the earlier enthusiasts of the Craft seeking to improve ritual matters by the injection of common sense resulting only to bequeath tangled problems which have to be unravelled by those that follow.

Since every stone of Solomon's Temple has disappeared, our earliest account is in I Kings VII, 15 to 22. This account was written during the Exile some 400 years after the Temple was built and when the original Temple was in ruins. The other account in 11 Chronicles III, 15 to 17, which gives a parallel account, was not written until 200 years still later, which means that neither of the authors could have actually seen the Temple. The account of the building and the measurements had to be recorded from the stories and accounts passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation. The possibility of the story being fabricated is quite small, but if so, it would constitute one of the greatest hoaxes in history and carried through some six centuries. There are also two other points to remember. The Old Testament is a saga of the Hebrews and thus embraces a vast amount of incidental historical matter, social customs, and laws. From this, our early Masonic ritual writers have drawn freely. Secondly, we read and view the Old Testament in our native tongue and twentieth century thinking. But, if it were possible to show any of the biblical writers a copy of our English version, not one of them would be able to understand the part for which he was responsible. It is not only the translation of the words, but the meaning for which the author meant at the time of writing. As new archaeological discoveries are made, though small in themselves, we allow historians to come a bit closer to putting the puzzle together.

Although our Masonic ritual only deals with the Temple itself, it was only a small part of the total complex of the Palace and grounds of King Solomon's time. But being such an elaborate structure in wealth, the Temple was the work of art. Never before or since has a structure cost so much in treasure and labour. it is probably the most famous structure ever erected.

Since the Jews were not skilled workman, but tradesman, most of the labor (all but 30,000) came from other countries. In II Chronicles 2, verses 17 to 19, we read that Solomon numbered the strangers within the land at a "hundred fifty three thousand six hundred". Such a vast army of workers would need tens of thousands more to feed and administer it, and the food requirements for such an army would require approximately 4,500 tons of food per month, which was an amount greater than was possible to raise in all of Palestine at that time. So not only workers but food for them had to come from outside the country controlled by Solomon.

All of this colossal effort was to construct a building no larger than most churches of today, measuring approximately 105 feet long (including the porch) and 30 feet wide. The time consumed in construction was seven years or more. The enormous wealth used in the construction of the Temple as written in I Chronicles is as follows: one hundred thousand talents of gold (a gold talent is 131 lbs. troy); one thousand talents of silver (a silver talent is 117 lbs., troy) from Solomon's treasurer. Also from the private purse of David was three thousand talents of gold, and seven thousand talents of refined silver. From the people came five thousand talents and ten-thousand drams of gold, and ten thousand talents of silver. The value of the metals alone added up to the most costly project in history, and this does not account for the brass and iron, precious stones, woods, fine linens, skins and fabrics. The lavish use of gold, and the amounts mentioned are almost staggering to the mind.

As we study the events of that era and the importance that the construction had on the trade roots of the other countries, it would be logical to assume that some mention of Solomon, the Temple, and the trade roots would be recorded in the histories of those countries. Yet the only record found is in the Old Testament.

Despite some of the questionable aspects of King Solomon's Temple, there have been numerous recent archaeological pointers bearing evidence to the existence and the activities of King Solomon as a great builder. One of these is the recent excavated city of Megiddo, which is considered to be one of the most remarkable finds ever made in Palestine and which has illuminated a period which archaeology attaches to the age of Solomon. In the reign of Solomon, Megiddo was made the capital of his fifth administrative district and he set forth an elaborate plan for the rebuilding of the city by his able architects. A recent excavation first discovered in 1928 and since uncovered , consists of stables for horses, and space for chariots and grooms, all made from limestone pillars arranged in stalls each with a hewn limestone trough.

Adjacent to these stalls were found foundations and parts of walls which were obviously sheds for chariots and barracks for grooms. In the center was an open parade-ground. In all, there was excavated, accommodations for 450 horses. Subsequent diggings have disclosed the fact that only the southern part of the stables were of the Solomonic origin and the northern part of the excavation added at a later date. Dr. John Gray, noted archaeologist and Hebrew history expert, comments that the stable accommodations at Megiddo indicates that the statement in 1 Kings 10:26 that Solomon had 1400 chariots is no exaggeration but an accurate report. For in addition to the discovery at Megiddo, ruins of stables from the same period have been discovered at Taanach (near Megiddo) and also at Eglon. Solomon, we are told in I Kings 10, built chariot cities in which to keep his twelve thousand chariot horses. Megiddo is one of the places mentioned.

Another large scale discovery by the Hebrew University expedition, led by Archaeologist Prof. Yadin, is what he believes to be a section of King Solomon's Palace and an old city wall at Megiddo. The wall is of Phoenician style; 6 feet 11 inches thick. This could be another link missing for ages. Other diggings at this city have revealed details of Solomonic construction and furnishes the best picture of Solomonic buildings thus far found. The whole town was apparently converted to governmental use and when rebuilt the various features of the construction bear witness to the help of Phoenician Architects engaged by Solomon from Hiram of Tyre. The masonry construction of the Phoenician influence was entirely different from anything found in the preceding strata.

Another indirect archaeological find in recent years is what is believed to be the Solomon Copper mines discovered by Dr. Nelson Glueck, Professor of Biblical Archaeology, Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio. These deposits of copper ore were found in the area south of the Dead Sea which at the time was controlled by Solomon. This discovery is of more importance to Masons than that of the Stables of Megiddo because of the direct connection with Solomon's Temple activities. The discovery would explain the source of raw materials for the "two brass pillars", the Brazen Sea, the Brass Altar, the "ten bases of brass", and all the vessels which Hiram made and presented to King Solomon for the House of The Lord (I Kings 7).

Also discovered by Dr. Glueck at the tip of the Gulf of Aqabah, the north-eastern arm of the Red Sea, is what he believes to be Ezion-geber of I Kings 9:26, which was the copper smelting refinery. The sight itself is in a curious location where the winds from the north blow constantly and force through a natural wind tunnel to act as an artificial compressor to force air to feed the furnaces. The structure uncovered was found to be as curious as the location. The walls were pierced with two rows of flues, inter-connected by a system of air channels to form the furnace for an elaborate large smelter or refinery. Pottery found on the sight dates back to the time of King Solomon. Some of the walls of the unearthed smelter have stood almost to their original height for nearly thirty centuries. It is believed by Dr. Glueck, that by the size of the smelter, thousands of labourers had to be employed in its use, which means they also had to be housed, fed, and protected at the site. Skilled technicians of all kinds had to be assembled and materials, food and clothing had to be hauled in and out of the area. If Dr. Glueck is correct, then Ezion-geber could be one of King Solomon's least known but greatest accomplishments in conjunction with the building of the Temple and its utensils.

Although the Temple of Solomon has not been excavated, other Kings Palaces of the period have been found. For example, the Palace of Sargon II, King of Assyria. There, 31 courts, 209 rooms, and a Temple have been uncovered showing the typical Solomonic style of stone-masonry. Also, the Temple of Hercules, and the 8th century B.C. Temple unearthed at Tainat in Syria. These discoveries are both before and after the reign of Solomon, but we note that the plan of each is similar to that of the Temple of Solomon, usually containing a porch with pillars, a main hall, and holy of holies.

In many cases, the archaeologist have found many additional resemblances in individual items of ornaments and construction.

The Phoenician method of building a wall of strength was to alternate three courses of hewn stone and a course of cedar beams. This construction is mentioned in I Kings 6:36 as the wall of the inner court of King Solomon's Temple. The same method has been uncovered at several other sites including the Temple courtyard at Ras Shamra in Syria. Also copied in some of the structures uncovered are the Phoenician carved decorations of palm-trees and open flowers and chains used for borders and panels. Dr. G. Ernest Wright, who has written several books on Biblical Archaeology concludes that the Temple of Solomon was a typical Phoenician temple though more elaborate. Solomon, being the wise man that he was, borrowed much from his culturally superior neighbors. We get the same story from the history of architecture. Solomon's Temple, though well planned, as described in Biblical history, was decorated like some of the north Syrian buildings that have been uncovered.

Without any direct benefit that might have been derived from archaeological discoveries made on the site itself, we can only piece our odds and ends together. For while excavations have been made in the Jerusalem area, comparatively little work has been done on the suspected site of the Temple. The famous Rock where Abraham was about to offer up his son Isaac and where David met and appeased the destroying angel is by tradition named the site where King Solomon's Temple once stood. It is now the site of the Mosque of Omar, or Dome of the Rock, and the Moslems are reluctant to having their holy places excavated and disturbed.

Thus we can perhaps view with some patience the finding of solid evidence of one of the basic stories in our ritual and live with the Biblical record and the archaeological discoveries such as the diggings at Megiddo, Ezion-geber, Tainat and Ras Shamra. We have reason to hope that, with the passage of time and the efforts of the archaeologists, the site of the Temple will be uncovered and erase all doubts about the accuracy of our present source of history and make the Bible stand out more and more brightly against the background of the Craft.

References:

l. Bible

2.King Solomon's Temple in the Masonic Tradition - by Alex Horn.

3.Archaeology of Palestine and the Bible - by W.F. Albright.

4.Biblical Archaeology - G. Ernest Wright.

5.Transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge - Vol. 80 and 82.

  

 Homer Zumwalt 33ο