In following through the preceding chapter the evolution of life, consciousness and form--the triple phase of manifestation of the virgin spirit--which is the life that gathers the form about itself and gains consciousness thereby, we have spoken as though there were only one class; as though the virgin spirits, without exception, had made constant and uniform progress.
This was done for the sake of simplicity, because stragglers there were, as there are in any great body or company.
In school there are, every year, those who fail to reach the standard required for promotion into a higher grade. Similarly, in every Period of Evolution, there are those who fall behind because they have not attained the standard necessary to pass onward to the next higher stage.
Even so early as the Saturn Period there were some who failed to improve sufficiently to take the next forward step. At that stage the Higher Beings were working with the life, which was itself unconscious, but that unconsciousness did not prevent the retardation of some of the virgin spirits who were not so pliable, nor so readily adaptable as others.
In that one word "Adaptability," we have the great secret of advancement or retardation. All progress depends upon whether an evolving being is flexible, adaptable and pliable, so as to be able to accommodate itself to new conditions, or whether it is crystallized, set, and incapable of alteration. Adaptability is the quality which makes for progress, whether an entity is at a high or a low stage of evolution. Lack of it is the cause of the retardation of the spirit and retrogression of the Form. This applies to the past, present and future, the division of the qualified and the unqualified, thus, being made with the exact and impersonal justice of the law of Consequence. There never was, or ever shall be any arbitrary distinction made between the "sheep" and the "goats."
The hardened unresponsive condition of some of the Saturn beings prevented the awakening of the divine spirit within them, therefore they remained simply mineral, all they had gained being the germinal dense body.
Thus there were two classes, or kingdoms, in the Sun Period, i.e., the stragglers of the Saturn Period, who were still mineral, and the pioneers of the Saturn Period, who were capable of receiving the germ of a vital body and becoming plant-like.
In addition to those two kingdoms there was also a third--a new life wave, which was just commencing its activity at the beginning of the Sun Period. (That is the life wave which now ensouls our animals).
The matter into which the new life wave entered, together with the stragglers of the Saturn Period, composed the mineral kingdom of the Sun Period. There was, however, a great difference in those two sub-divisions of the second kingdom. It is possible for the stragglers to make a "spurt" and overtake the pioneers, who are now our humanity, but impossible for the new life wave of the Sun Period to do that. It will reach a stage corresponding to the human, but under very different conditions.
The division of stragglers and pioneers took place in the seventh Revolution of the Saturn Period, when the divine spirit was awakened by the Lords of the Flame. Then it was found that some of the evolving entities were in such an unresponsive, hardened condition that it was impossible to arouse them. They therefore remained without the spark of spirit upon which their progress depended and they were obliged to remain at the same level, being unable to follow the others in whom the spiritual spark was awakened. Truly, truly, all that we are or are not is the result of our own effort, or our own inaction.
These stragglers and the newly arrived life wave formed dark spots in the otherwise glowing gas sphere which was the densest Globe of the Sun Period, and our present Sunspots are an atavistic remainder of that condition.
In the sixth Revolution of the Sun Period the life spirit was awakened by the Cherubim, and again it was found that some who had safely passed the critical point in the Saturn Period, had fallen behind in the Sun Period and were unfit to have the second aspect of the spirit vivified. Thus there were another class of stragglers, who had lagged behind the crest wave of evolution.
In the seventh Revolution of the Sun Period the Lords of the Flame reappeared to awaken the divine spirit in those who failed to qualify for it at the end of the Saturn Period, but had attained to the point where they could receive the spiritual impulse in the Sun Period. The Lords of the Flame also awakened the germ of divine spirit in as many of the new life wave entities as were ready, but here also there were stragglers.
Thus at the beginning of the Moon Period there were the following classes:
It is necessary to remember that Nature hastens slowly. She makes no sudden changes in forms. To her, time is nothing; the attainment of perfection is everything. A mineral does not change to a plant at one bound, but by gradual, almost imperceptible degrees. A plant does not become an animal in a night. It requires millions of years to bring about the change. Thus at all times there are all stages and gradations to be found in nature. The Ladder of Being stretches without break from protoplasm to God.
Therefore we have to deal, not with six different kingdoms corresponding to the above six classes which entered the arena of evolution at the beginning of the Moon Period, but with three kingdoms only--mineral, plant and animal.
The lowest class in the Moon Period composed the new life stream which there commenced its evolution. It formed the hardest mineral part, yet it must be borne in mind that it was by no means as hard as the mineral of the present time, but only about as dense as our wood.
This statement does not contradict former ones which described the Moon as watery, nor does it conflict with diagram 8, showing the densest Globe in the Moon Period as located in the Etheric Region, which is etheric. As before stated, the fact that the path of evolution is spiral prevents any condition ever being duplicated. There are similarities, but never reproductions of identical conditions. It is not always possible to describe conditions in exact terms. The best available term is used to convey an idea of the conditions existing at the time under consideration.
Class 5 in our list was nearly mineral, yet on account of having passed through and beyond the mineral condition during the Sun Period, it had some plant characteristics.
Class 4 was almost plant and did evolve to a plant before the close of the Mood Period. It was, however, more nearly allied to the mineral kingdom that the next two classes, which formed the higher kingdom. We may therefore group classes 4 and 5 together, as forming a sort of half step, a "mineral-plant" kingdom, which composed the surface of the ancient planet of the Moon Period. It was something like our present peat, which is also a state between the mineral and the plant. It was soggy and wet, consistent with the statement that the Moon Period was watery.
Thus the fourth, fifth and sixth classes composed the different gradations of the mineral kingdom in the Moon Period--the highest being nearly plant and the lowest the hardest mineral substance of that time.
Classes 2 and 3 formed the plant kingdom, though they were both really more than plants, yet were not quite animal. They grew in the mineral-plant soil; they were stationary like plants; yet they could not have grown in a purely mineral soil, as our plants do now. Good examples of what they were like may be found in our parasitic plants, which cannot grow in a purely mineral soil, but seek the food already specialized by the real plant or tree.
Class 1 was composed of the pioneers of the life wave of virgin spirits. In the Moon Period they were going through a sort of animal-like existence. Yet they were like the animals of our time only in so far as they had the same vehicles and were under the control of a group-spirit, which included the whole human family. In appearance they were very different from our present animals, as shown by the partial description given in the previous chapter. They did not touch the surface of the planet, but floated suspended by umbilical-like cords. Instead of lungs they had a gill-like apparatus through which they breathed the hot steamy "fire-fog." These features of the Moon existence are still recapitulated by the embryo during the period of gestation. At certain stages of development it has the gills. The Moon beings at that time had also the horizontal spine of the animal.
During the Moon Period several more divisions of classes occurred than in the preceding periods, because there were, of course, stragglers who failed to keep abreast of the crestwave of evolution. As a result there were, at the beginning of the Earth Period, 5 classes, some of them containing several divisions .... These divisions occurred at the following times and for the following reasons:
In the middle of the fifth Revolution of the Moon Period, when the Seraphim bestowed the germ of the human spirit upon the pioneers who had fitted themselves to pass on, some were found wanting when weighed in the balance and therefore unfit to receive the spiritual impulse which awakened the threefold spirit.
In the sixth Revolution of the Moon Period the Cherubim reappeared and vivified the life spirit of those who had been left behind in the Sun Period but had since reached the necessary stage of development (Class 2 in our previous list), and also in those stragglers of the Sun Period who had now evolved a vital body during their plant existence in the Moon Period. (These latter were class 3 in the previous list.)
Class 4 in the previous list had been going through a low stage of plant existence; nevertheless the majority of them had evolved the vital body sufficiently to allow of the awakening of the life spirit.
Thus, the three last named all possessed the same vehicles at the beginning of the Earth Period, although only the two first named .... belong to our life wave, and have a chance of even yet overtaking us if they pass the critical point which will come in the next Revolution of the Earth Period. Those who cannot pass that point will be held over until some future evolution reaches a stage where they can drop in and proceed with their development in a new human period. They will be debarred from going forward with our humanity because it will be advanced so far beyond their status that it would prove a serious clog to our progress to drag them along. They will not be destroyed, but simply held in waiting for another period of evolution.
Progression with our present wave of evolution is what is meant when "salvation" is spoken of in the Christian religion, and it is something to be earnestly sought, for though the "eternal damnation" of those who are not "saved" does not mean destruction nor endless torture, it is nevertheless a very serious matter to be held in a state of inertia for inconceivable milliards of years, before a new evolution shall have progressed to such a stage that those who fail here can have an opportunity to proceed. The spirit is not conscious of the lapse of time, but it is none the less a serious loss, and there must also be feeling of unhomelikeness when at last such spirits find themselves in a new evolution.
So far as the present humanity is concerned, that possibility is so small as to be almost negligible. It is said, however, that of the total number of virgin spirits which started evolution in the Saturn Period, only about three-fifths will pass that critical point in the next Revolution and go on to the end.
The greatest apprehension of occult scientists is materialism, which if carried too far, not only prevents progress but will destroy all the seven vehicles of the virgin spirit, leaving it naked. Such an one will then have to commence at the very beginning of the new evolution. All the work it has done since the dawn of the Saturn Period will have been utterly wasted. For this reason, the present period is to our humanity, the most critical of all. Therefore occult scientists speak of the Sixteen Races, .... as "the sixteen possibilities for destruction." May the reader safely pass them all, for their grip is worse than the retardation in the next Revolution.
Speaking generally, class 5 in the foregoing list was given the germ of the divine spirit during the seventh Revolution, when the Lords of Flame reappeared. Therefore they were pioneers of the last life wave, entering evolution at the Moon Period. They passed their mineral existence there. The stragglers of that life wave were thus left with only the germ of a dense body.
In addition to the above, there was also a new life wave (our present mineral kingdom) entering upon its evolution at the beginning of the Earth Period.
At the end of the Moon Period these classes possessed the vehicles ...., and started with them in the beginning of the Earth Period. During the time which has elapsed since then, the human kingdom has been evolving the link of mind, and has thereby attained full waking consciousness. The animals have obtained a desire body, the plants a vital body; the stragglers of the life wave which entered evolution in the Moon Period have escaped the hard and fast conditions of rock soils; while the life wave that entered evolution here in the Earth Period forms the hard rocks and stones.
Thus have the different classes obtained the vehicles ascribed to them in diagram 3, to which the reader is referred.