From time to time as occasion requires we warn students of the Rosicrucian Fellowship in our private individual letters not to attend spirit seances, hypnotic demonstrations, or places where incense is burned by dabblers in occultism. Black Magic is practiced both consciously and unconsciously to an extent that is almost unbelievable. "Malicious animal magnetism," which is only another name for the Black Force, is responsible for more failures in business, loss of health, and unhappiness in homes than most people are aware of. Even the perpetrators of such outrages are, as said, often unconscious of what harm they have done. Therefore it seems expedient to devote a chapter to an explanation of some of the laws of magic, which are the same for the white as for the black. There is only one force, but it may be used for good or evil; and according to the motive behind it and the use that is made of it, it becomes either black or white.
It is a scientific axiom that "Ex nihil, nihil fit" (out of nothing nothing comes). There must be a seed before there can be a flower, but where the first seed came from is something which science has failed to explain. The occultist knows that all things have come from arche the infinite essence of chaos, used by God, the Grand Architect, for the building of our universe; and , given the nucleus of anything, the accomplished magician can draw upon the same essence for a further supply. Christ, for instance, had some loaves and some fishes; by means of that nucleus He drew upon the primordial essence of chaos for the rest needed in performing the miracle of feeding a multitude. A human magician whose power is not so high can more easily draw upon things which have already materialized out of chaos. He may take flowers or fruit belonging to some one else, miles or hundreds of miles away, disintegrate them into their atomic constituents, transport them through the air, and cause them to assume their regular physical shape in the the room where he is entertaining friends in order to amaze them. Such magic is grey at best, even if he sends sufficient of his coin to pay for what he has taken away; if he does not, it is Black Magic to thus rob another of his goods. Magic to be white must always be used unselfishly, and in addition, for a noble purpose--to save a fellow being suffering. The Christ, when He fed the multitude from chaos, gave as His reason that they had been with Him for several days and if they had to journey back to their homes without physical food they would faint by the wayside and suffer privation.
God is the Grand Architect of the Universe and the Initiates of the White Schools are also arche-tektons, builders from the primordial essence in their beneficent work for humanity. These Invisible Helpers require a nucleus from the patient's vital body, which is, as students of the Rosicrucian Fellowship know, given to them in the effluvia from the hand, which impregnates the paper when the patient makes application for help and healing. With this nucleus of the patient's vital body they are able to draw upon virgin matter for whatever they need to restore health by building up and strengthening the organism.
The Black Magicians are despoilers, actuated by hatred and malice. They also need a nucleus for their nefarious operations, and this they obtain most easily from the vital body at spiritualistic or hypnotic seances, where the sitters relax, put themselves into a negative frame of mind, drop their jaws, and sink their individualities by other distinctly mediumistic practices. Even people who do not frequent such places are not immune, for there are certain products of the vital body which are ignorantly scattered by all and which may be used effectively by the Black Magicians. Chief in this category are the hair and fingernails. The Negroes in their voodoo magic use the placenta for similar evil purposes. One particularly evil man, whose practices were exposed a decade ago, obtained from boys the vital fluid which he used for his demoniac acts. Even so innocent a thing as a glass of water placed in close proximity to certain parts of the body of the prospective victim, while the Black Magician converses with him can be made to absorb a part of the victim's vital body. This will give the Black Magician the requisite nucleus, or it may be obtained from a piece of the person's clothing. The same invisible emanation contained in the garment, which guides the bloodhound upon the track of a certain person, will also guide the Magician, white or black, to the abode of that person and furnish the Magician with a key to the person's system whereby the former may help or hurt according to his inclination.
But there are methods of protecting oneself from inimical influences, which we shall mention in the latter part of this chapter. We have debated much whether it were wise or not to call to call the attention of students to these facts, and have come to the conclusion that it does not help anyone to imitate the ostrich which sticks its head into a hole in the sand at the approach of danger. It is better to be enlightened concerning things that threaten so that we may take whatever precautions are necessary to meet the emergency. The battle between the good and the evil forces is being waged with an intensity that no one not engaged in the actual combat can comprehend. The Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucians and kindred orders which, we may say, in their totality represent the Holy Grail, live on the love and essence of the unselfish service which they gather and garner as the bees gather honey, from all who are striving to live the life. This they add to the lustre of the Holy Grail, which in turn grows more lustrous and radiates a stronger influence upon all who are spiritually inclined, imbuing them with greater ardor, zeal and zest in the good work and in fighting the good fight. Similarly the evil forces of the Black Grail thrive on hate, treachery, cruelty, and every demoniac deed on the calendar of crime. Both the Black and White Grail forces require a pabulum, the one of good and the other of evil, for the continuance of their existence and for the power to fight. Unless they get it, they starve and grow weaker. Hence the relentless struggle that is going on between them.
Every midnight the Elder Brothers at their service open their breasts to attract the darts of hate, envy, malice, and every evil that has been launched during the past twenty-four hours. First, in order that they may deprive the Black Grail forces of their food; and secondly, that they may transmute the evil to good. Then, as the plants gather the inert carbon dioxide exhaled by mankind and build their bodies therefrom, so the Brothers of the Holy Grail transmute the evil within the temple; and as the plants send out the renovated oxygen so necessary to human life, so the Elder Brothers return to mankind the transmuted essence of evil as qualms of conscience along with the good in order that the world may grow better day by day.
The Black Brothers, instead of transmuting the evil, infuse a greater dynamic energy into it and speed it on its mission in vain endeavors to conquer the powers of good. They use for their purposes elementals and other discarnate entities which, being themselves of a low order, are available for such vile practices as required. In the ages when men burned animal oil or candles made from the tallow of animals, elementals swarmed around them as devils or demons, seeking to obsess whoever would offer an occasion. Even wax tapers offer food for these entities, but the modern methods of illumination by electricity, coal oil, or even paraffin candles, are uncongenial to them. They still flock around our saloons, slaughter houses, and similar places where there are passionate animals, and animal-like men. They also delight in places where incense is burned, for that offers them an avenue of access, and when the sitters at seances inhale the odor of the incense they inhale elemental spirits with it, which affect them according to their characters.
This is where the protection we spoke about before may be used. When we live lives of purity, when our days are filled with service to God and to our fellow men, and with thoughts and actions of the highest nobility, then we create for ourselves the Golden Wedding Garment, which is a radiant force for good. No evil is able to penetrate this armor for the evil then acts as a boomerang and recoils on the one who sent it, bringing to him the evil he wished us.
But alas, none of us are altogether good. We know only too well the war between the flesh and the spirit. We cannot hide from ourselves the fact that like Paul, "the good that we would do, we do not, and the evil that we would shun, that we do." Far too often our good resolutions come to naught and we do wrong because it is easier. Therefore we all have the nucleus of evil within ourselves, which affords the open sesame for the evil forces to work upon. For that reason it is best for us not unnecessarily to expose ourselves at places where seances are held with spirits invisible to us, no matter how fine their teachings may sound to the unsophisticated. Neither should we take part even as spectators at hypnotic demonstrations, for there also a negative attitude lays one liable to the danger of obsession. We should at all times follow the advice of Paul and put on the whole armor of God. We should be positive in our fight for the good against the evil and never let an occasion slip to aid the Elder Brothers by word or deed in the Great War for spiritual supremacy.
It is well known to students of the Rosicrucian Philosophy that each species of animals is dominated by a group spirit, which is their guardian and looks after these, its wards, with a view to bringing them along the path of evolution that is best suited to their development; it does not matter what the geographical position of these animals is; the lion in the jungles of Africa is dominated by the same group spirit as is the lion in the cage of a menagerie in our northern countries. Therefore these animals are alike in all their principal characteristics; they have the same likes and dislikes with respect to diet, and they act in an almost identical manner under similar circumstances. If one wants to study the tribe of lions or the tribe of tigers, all that is necessary is to study one individual, for it has neither choice nor prerogative, but acts entirely according to the dictates of the group spirit. The mineral cannot choose whether it will crystallize or not; the rose is bound to bloom; the lion is compelled to prey; and in each case the activity is dictated entirely by the group spirit.
But man is different; when we want to study him we find that each individual is as a species by himself. What one does under any given circumstances is no indication of what another may do; "one man's meat is another man's poison"; each has different likes and dislikes. This is because man as we see him in the physical world is the expression of an individual indwelling spirit, seemingly having choice and prerogative.
But as a matter of fact man is not quite as free as he seems; all students of human nature have observed that on certain occasions a large number of people will act as though dominated by one spirit. It is also easy to see without recourse to occultism that the different nations have certain physical characteristics. We all know the German, French, English, Italian, and Spanish types. Each of these nations has characteristics which differ from those of the other nations, thus indicating that there must be a race spirit at the root of these peculiarities. The occultist who is gifted with spiritual sight knows that such is the case, and that each nation has a different race spirit which broods as a cloud over the whole country. In it the people live and move and having their being; it is their guardian and is constantly working for their development, building up their civilization and fostering ideals of the highest nature compatible with their capacity for progress.
In the Bible we read that Jehovah, Elohim, who was the race spirit of the Jews, went before them in a pillar and a cloud, and in the Book of Daniel we gain considerable insight into the workings of these race spirits. The image seen by Nebuchadnezzar with its head of gold and feet of clay showed plainly how a civilization built up in the beginning with golden ideals degenerated more and more until in the latter part of its existence the feet were of unstable, crumbling clay, and the image was doomed to topple. Thus all civilizations when started by the different race spirits have great and golden ideals, but humanity by reason of having some free will and choice does not follow implicitly the dictates of the race spirits as the animals follow the commands of the group spirits. Hence in the course of time a nation ceases to rise, and as there can be no standing still in the cosmos, it begins to degenerate until finally the feet are of clay and it is necessary to strike a blow to shatter it, that another civilization may be built up on its ruins.
But empires do not fall without a strong physical blow, and therefore an instrument of the race spirit of a nation is always raised up at the time when that nation is doomed to fall. In the tenth and eleventh chapters of Daniel we are given an insight into the workings of the invisible government of the race spirits, the powers behind the throne. Daniel is much disturbed in spirit; he fasts, for fully three weeks, praying for light, and at the end of that time an archangel, a race spirit, appears before him and addresses him: "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days, but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the king of Persia." After he explains to Daniel what is to happen, he says: "Knowest thou wherefore I came unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when i am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come, and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael, your prince." The archangel also says: "In the first year of Darius the Mede, even I stood to confirm and to strengthen him."
So when the handwriting is on the wall, some one is raised up to administer the blow; it may be a Cyrus, a Darius, an Alexander, a Caesar, a Napoleon, or a kaiser. Such a one may think himself a prime mover, a free individual acting by his own choice and prerogative, but as a matter of fact he is only the instrument of the invisible government of the world, the power behind thrones, the race spirits, who see the necessity of breaking up civilizations that have outlived their usefulness, so that humanity may get a new start and evolve under a new and a higher ideal than that which ensouled it before.
Christ himself when upon earth, said: "I came not to bring peace, but a sword," for it was evident to Him that as long as humanity was divided into races and nations there could be no "peace on earth and good will among men." Only when the nations have become united in a universal brotherhood is peace possible. The barriers of nationalism must be done away with, and to this end the United States of America has been made a melting pot where all that is best in the old nations is being brought together and amalgamated, so that a new race with higher ideals and feelings of universal brotherhood may be born for the Aquarian Age. In the meantime the barriers of nationalism have been partially broken down in Europe by the terrible conflict just past. This brings nearer the day of universal amity and the realization of the Brotherhood of Man.
There is also another object to be gained. Of all the terrors to which mankind is subjected, there is none so great as death, which separates us from those we love, because we are unable to see them after they have stepped out of their bodies. But just as surely as the day follows the night, so will every teardrop wear away some of the scale that now blinds the eyes of man to the unseen land of the living dead. We have said repeatedly and we now reaffirm that one of the greatest blessings which will come from the war will be the spiritual sight which a great number of people will evolve. The intense sorrow of millions of people, the longing to see again the dear ones who have so suddenly and ruthlessly been torn from us, are a force of incalculable strength and power. Likewise those who have been snatched by death in the prime of life and who are now in the invisible world are equally intense in their desires to reunite with those near and dear to them, so that they may speak the word of comfort and assure them of their well being. Thus it may be said that two great armies comprising millions upon millions are tunneling with frantic energy and intensity of purpose through the wall that separates the invisible from the visible. Day by day this wall or veil is growing thinner, and sooner or later the living and the living dead will meet in the middle of the tunnel. Before we realize it, communication will have been established, and we shall find it a common experience that when our loved ones step out of their worn and sick bodies, we shall feel neither sorrow nor loss because we shall be able to see them in their ethereal bodies, moving among us as they used to do. So out of the great conflict we shall come as victors over death and be able to say: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?"
"If I were to do business on the principles laid down in the Sermon on the Mount I would be down and out in less than a year," said a critic recently. "Why, the Bible is utterly impracticable under our present economic conditions; it is impossible to live according to it."
If that is true there is a good reason for the unbelief of the world, but in a court the accused is always allowed a fair trial, and let us examine the Bible thoroughly before we judge. What are the specific charges? "Why, they are countless," answered the critic, "but to mention only a few, let us take such passages as, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven;' 'Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth;' 'Take no thought for the morrow, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink.' Such ideas point the way to the poorhouse."
"Very well," says the apologist, "let us take the last charge first. King James' version says: 'No man can serve two masters. Ye cannot serve God and mammon, therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than food and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grasses of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for after all these things do the Gentiles seek; your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.'"
If this is intended to mean that we should wastefully squander all we have in prodigal or riotous living, then it is of course not only impractical but demoralizing. Such an interpretation is, however, out of keeping with the tenor and teaching of the whole Book, and it does not say so. The Greek word merimnon means being overly careful or anxious, and if we read the passage with this alteration we shall find that it teaches a different lesson which is entirely practical. Mammon is the Syriac word for riches, desired by foolish people. In the preceding paragraph Christ exhorted them not to become servants or slaves to riches, which they must leave behind when the silver cord is broken and the spirit returns to God, but seek rather to live lives of love and service and lay up treasures of good deeds, which they might take with them into the Kingdom of Heaven. In the meantime, He exhorted, be not overly anxious regarding what you shall eat and drink and clothe yourself with. Why worry? You cannot add a hairbreadth to your height or a hair to your head by worrying. Worry is the most wasteful and depleting of all our emotions, and it does no good whatever. Your heavenly Father knows you need material things, therefore seek first His kingdom and righteousness and all else needed will be added. On at least two occasions when multitudes came to Christ in places far from their homes and distant from towns where refreshment was obtainable, He demonstrated this; He gave them first the spiritual food they sought and then ministered to their bodily needs direct from a spiritual source of supply.
Does it work out in these modern days? Surely there have been so many demonstrations of this that it is not at all necessary to recount any special one. When we work and pray, pray and work, and make our lives a living prayer for opportunities to serve others, then all earthly things will come of their own accord as we need them, and they will keep coming in larger measure according to the degree to which they are used in the service of God. If we regard ourselves only as stewards and custodians of whatever earthly goods we possess, then we are really "poor in spirit" so far as the evanescent earthly treasures are concerned, but rich in the more lasting treasures of the Kingdom of Heaven; and if we are not out and out materialists, surely this is a practical attitude.
It is not so long ago that "caveat emptor," "Let the buyer beware," was the slogan of the merchants who sought after earthly treasures and regarded the buyer as their legitimate prey. When they had sold their wares and received the money, it did not matter to them whether the buyer was satisfied or not. They even prided themselves on selling an inferior article which would soon wear out, as evident in the short-sighted motto, "The weakness of the goods is the strength of the trade." But gradually even people who would scorn the idea of introducing religion into their business are discarding this caveat emptor as a motto, and are unconsciously adopting the precept of Christ, "He that would be the greatest among you, let him be the servant of all." Everywhere the best business men are insistent in their claim to patronage on the ground of the service they give to the buyer, because it is a policy that pays, and may therefore be classed as another of the practical precepts of the Bible.
But it sometimes happens that in spite of their desire to serve their customers, something goes wrong and an angry, dissatisfied customer comes blustering in, decrying their goods. Under the old shortsighted regime of caveat emptor the merchant would have merely laughed or thrown the buyer out of the door. Not so the modern merchant, who takes his Bible into business. He remembers the wisdom of Solomon that "a soft answer turneth away wrath," and the assertion of Christ that "the meek shall inherit the earth," so he apologizes for the fault in the goods, offers restitution, and sends the erstwhile dissatisfied customer away smiling and eager to sing the praises of the concern that treats him no nicely. Thus by obeying the practical precepts of the Bible, keeping his temper in meekness, the business man gains additional customers who come to him in full faith of fair treatment, and the added profit in sales made to them soon overbalances the loss on goods which may have caused the dissatisfaction of other customers.
It pays dividends in dollars and cents to keep one's temper and be meek; it pays greater dividends from the moral and spiritual standpoints. What better business motto can be found than in Ecclesiastes: "Wisdom is better than weapons of war. Be not rash in thy mouth, be not hasty in thy speech to be angry, for anger resteth in the bosom of fools." Tact and diplomacy are always better than force; as the Good Book says: "If the iron be blunt we must use more strength, but wisdom is profitable to direct." The line of least resistance, so long as it is clean and honorable, is always best. Therefore, "Love your enemies, do good to them that despitefully use you."
It is good practical business policy to try to reconcile those who do us harm lest they do more; and it is better for us to get over our ill feeling than to nurse it, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap, and if we sow spite and meanness, we breed and beget in others the same feelings. Furthermore, all these things will apply in private life and in social intercourse just as in ordinary business. How many quarrels could be avoided if we cultivated the virtue of meekness in our homes; how much pleasure would be gained; how much happiness would come into our lives if in social and business relations we learned to do unto others as we would that they should do unto us!
There is no need for the great mental strain that so many of us are working under concerning what we shall eat and what we shall drink. Our Father in Heaven does own the earth and the fullness thereof; the cattle on a thousand hills are His. If we learn truly to cast our cares upon Him, there is no doubt that the way out of our difficulties will be provided. It is a fact, acknowledged by all authorities who have investigated the subject, that comparatively few people die from lack of necessities of life, but a great many die because of overindulgence of the appetites. It is the practical experience of the writer and numerous others that if we do our work day by day as it appears before us, faithfully and to the best of our ability, the wherewithal for the morrow will always be provided. If we go according to the instruction of the Bible, doing all "as unto the Lord," it does not matter what line of honest work we follow; we are then at the same time seeking the Kingdom of God. But if we are only time servers, working for fear or favor, we cannot expect to succeed in the long run; health, wealth, and happiness may attend us for a little while, but outside the solid foundation of the Bible there can be no lasting joy in life and no real prosperity in business.