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The Rosicrucian Fellowship
P.O. Box 713
Oceanside, California, 92054, USA
The lectures here presented in book form were first
written in twenty lectures and delivered during the month of November,
1908, in Columbus, Ohio, by Max Heindel. He also mimeographed them and
distributed copies to all who attended his lectures in that city, and in other
cities. After his lectures in Seattle, washington, a friend, Mr. William M.
Patterson, traveled with him to Chicago, Illinois, where he not only
financed the publishing, but also assisted Mr. Heindel in proofreading both
The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception and these Twenty Lectures. The latter were then printed in paper-covered pamphlets while the Cosmo-Conception was bound
Max Heindel had spent the winter of 1907-1908 in
Europe where he contacted the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order under
whose tuition he received the contents of these lectures as well as the
wonderful truths contained in The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception. At the time he received this instruction he little realized the extent of the work given into his keeping with the command to disseminate the teachings to a soul-sick
Since the introduction of the Rosicrucian Philosophy and
the opening of a World Headquarters in Oceanside, California, in 1911, books
and pamphlets by max Heindel have been translated and printed in many
languages. People from far and wide are calling for and becoming
interested in these advanced Christian teachings, which are leading
mankind back to the Bible and bring ing to their understanding the satisfying
truths contained in the Christian religion through the explanation of the
mysteries hidden in the Bible.
This book of lectures gives in a very simple manner
the truths of man's own being, explaining the why and wherefore of mysteries
which have driven millions of souls to materialism and caused them to
repudiate the Bible.
The spiritual value of Astrology as a key to the soul
is brought out in one lecture; in another the Astronomical Allegories of the
Bible are clearly defined. The esoteric value of the Lord's Prayer and the
meaning of the Star of Bethlehem are clearly interpreted for the reader;
also the Crucifixion of our Lord Jesus and its esoteric significance. Life
Here and Hereafter, the Angels and their Work with Man, Parsifal and the
Mysteries of the Holy Grail, the Science of Nutrition and Protracted Youth,
and many other subjects are covered in an authentic manner by a Seer who
was the chosen messenger of those great ones, the Elder Brothers of the
--Mrs. Max Heindel
Note: These diagrams were taken from The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, by
Max Heindel, and in some instances are numbered as in that book.
The Riddle of Life and Death
At every birth, what appears to be a new live comes into the world.
Slowly the little form grows, it lives and moves among us, it becomes a factor
in our lives; but at last there comers a time when the form ceases to move
and decays. The love that came, whence we know not, has again passed to the
invisible beyond. Then, in sorrow and perplexity we ask ourselves the
three great questions concerning our existence: Whence have we come? Why
are we here? Whither are we going?
Across every threshold the fearsome specter of Death throws his
shadow. It visits alike the palace and the poorhouse. None are safe: old or
young, well or ill, rich or poor. All alike must pass through this gloomy
portal, and down the ages has sounded the piteous cry for a solution of the
riddle of life, the riddle of death.
Unfortunately there has been much vague speculation by people who did
not know, and it has therefore come to be the popularly accepted opinion
that nothing definite can be known about the most important part of our
existence: Life prior to its manifestation through the gate of birth and
beyond the portal of death.
That idea is erroneous. Definite firsthand knowledge may be had by
anyone who will take the trouble to cultivate the "sixth sense" which is
latent in all. When it is acquired it opens our spiritual eves so that we
perceive the Spirits who are about to enter physical live by birth, and
those who have just re-entered the beyond after death. We see them as
clearly and definitely as we cognize physical beings by our ordinary
sight. Nor is firsthand information about the inner worlds indispensable
to satisfy the inquiring mind any more than it is necessary to visit China
to learn about conditions there. We learn about foreign countries through
the reports of returned travelers There is as much knowledge concerning the
world beyond as about the interior or Africa, Australia, or China.
The solution of the problem of Life and Being advocated in the
following pages is based upon the concurrent testimony of many who have
cultivated the above-mentioned faculty and are qualified to
investigate the superphysical realms in a scientific manner. It is in
harmony with scientific facts, an eternal truth in Nature which governs human
progress, as the law of gravity serves to keep the stars unchangeably in
their orbits about the Sun.
Three theories have been brought forward to solve the riddle of life
and death, and it seems to be universally agreed that a fourth is an
impossible conception. If so, one of the three theories must be the true
solution, or it remains insoluble; at least by man.
The riddle of life and death is a basic problem; everyone must solve
it at some time, and it is of the utmost importance to each individual
human being which of these theories he accepts; for his choice will color
his whole life. In order that we may make an intelligent choice, it is
necessary to know them all, to analyze, compare, and weigh them, holding the
mind open and free from the bias of preconceived ideas, ready to accept or
reject each theory upon its merits. Let us first state the three theories and
then let us see how they agree with established facts of life and how far
they are in harmony with other known laws of Nature, as we should reasonably
expect them to be, if true, for discord in Nature is impossible.
1. The Materialistic Theory holds that life is a journey form the womb
to the tomb; that mind is the product of matter; that man is the highest
intelligence in the cosmos; and that intelligence perishes when the body
dissolves at death.
2. The Theory of Theology asserts that at each birth a newly-created
soul enters the arena of life fresh from God; that at the end of one
short span of life in the material world it passes through the gate of
death into invisible beyond, there to remain; and that its happiness or
misery there is determined for all eternity by its belief just prior to death.
3. The Theory of Rebirth teaches that each Spirit is an integral part
of God; that if enfolds the plant; that by means of repeated existences in
a gradually improving earthly body those latent powers are being slowly
unfolded into dynamic energy; that none are lost, but that all Egos will
ultimately attain the goal of perfection and reunion with God, bringing
with them the cumulative experience which is the fruitage of their pilgrimage
Comparing the materialistic theory with the known laws of Nature, we
find that it is contrary to such well-established laws as those which
declare matter and force indestructible. According to those laws mind cannot
be destroyed at death as the materialistic theory asserts, for when nothing
can be destroyed mind must be included.
Moreover, mind evidently is superior to matter, for it molds the face
so that it mirrors the mind; also, we know that the particles of our bodies
are constantly changing; that an entire change takes place at least once
in seven years. If the materialistic theory were true, our consciousness
ought also to undergo an entire change, with no memory of what preceded; so
that now one could remember an event more than seven years.
We know that is not the case. We remember our whole life; the
smallest incident, though forgotten in ordinary life, is vividly remembered
by a drowning person; also in the trance state. Materialism takes no
account of these states of subconsciousness or superconsciousness; it cannot
explain them, so it ignores them, but in the face of scientific investigations
which have established the verity of psychic phenomena beyond cavil, the
policy of ignoring rather than disproving these alleged facts is a fatal
defect in a theory which lays claim to solve the greatest problem of life:
The materialistic theory has many more defects which render it
unworthy of our acceptance; but sufficient has been said to justify us in
casting it aside and turning to the other two.
One of the greatest difficulties in the doctrine of the theologians
is its entire and confessed inadequacy. According to their theory that a
new soul is created at each birth, myriads of souls have been created since
the beginning of existence (even if that beginning goes back only 6,000
years). According to certain sects, only 144,000 are to be saved; the rest are
to be tortured forever. And that is called "God's plan of salvation";
extolled as proof of God's wonderful love.
Let us suppose a wireless message is received at New York, stating that
a large transatlantic liner is sinking just outside Sandy Hook; that 3,000
people are in danger of drowning. Would we hail it as a glorious plan of
salvation of a small, fast motorboat were sent to their relief, and
succeeded in rescuing two or three people? Certainly not. Only when some
adequate means was provided to save the great majority at least would it be
hailed as a plan of salvation."
The "plan of salvation" which the theologians are offering is worse
than sending a motorboat to save the people on Atlantic liner, for tow or
three are a larger proportion saved out of a total of 3,000 than 144,000 of
all the myriads of souls created on the plan of theology. If God had
really evolved that plan, it would seem to the logical mind that He cannot be
good. If He cannot help Himself, He is not all-powerful. In neither case
can He therefore be God. Such suppositions are, however, unthinkable as
actualities, for that cannot be God's plan, and it is a gross libel to
attribute it to Him.
If we turn to the doctrine of reincarnation (rebirth in human
bodies) which postulates a slow process of development carried on with
unwavering persistence through repeated embodiment in human forms of
increasing efficiency, whereby all beings are in time brought to a height of
spirituality inconceivable to our present limed understanding, we can
readily perceive its harmony with nature's methods. Everywhere in nature is found this slow and persistent striving for perfection; and nowhere is found a sudden process of either creation or destruction analogous to the plan which the theologians and materialists would have us believe.
Science recognizes the process of evolution as Nature's method
of developement alike for the star and the starfish, the microbe and the
man. It is the progression of spirit in time, and as we look about and
note evolution in our three-dimensional universe, we cannot escape the
obvious fact that its path is also three-dimensional, a spiral; each loop
of the spiral is a cycle, and cycle follows cycle in unbroken progression,
as the loops of the spiral succeed each other, each cycle being the improved
product of the preceding and the basis of progress in the succeeding cycles.
A straight line is but the extension of a point, and analogous to
the theories of the materialistic and the theologians. The materialistic
line of existence goes from birth to death the theologian commences the lines
at a point just previous to birth and carries it into the invisible beyond
There is no return. Existence thus lived would extract but a
minimum of the experience from the school of life, such as might be
had by one-dimensional beings incapable of broadening out or rising to
sublime heights of attainment.
A two-dimensional zigzag path for the evolving life would be no better,
a circle would mean a never-ending round of the same experiences. Everything
in Nature has a purpose, the third dimension included. In order that we may
live up to the opportunities of a three dimensional universe, the path of
evolution must be a spiral. So it is. Everywhere in heaven and on earth
all things are going onward, upward forever.
The modest little plant in the garden and the giant redwood of
California with its forty-foot diameter alike show the spiral in the
arrangement of their branches, twigs, and leaves. If we study the great
vaulted arch of heaven and examine the spiral nebulae, which are worlds in
the making, or the path of the solar systems, the spiral is evidently the
way of progression.
We find another illustration of spiral progression in the yearly
course of our planet. In the spring she emerges from her period of rest, her
wintry sleep. We see the life budding everywhere. All the activities of
Nature are exerted to bring forth. Time passes; the corn and the grape are
ripened and harvested, and again the silence and inactivity of winter take
the place of the activity of the summer; again the snowy coverlet wraps the
Earth. But she will not sleep forever; she will wake again to the song of a
new spring, and will then be a little farther progressed along the pathway
Is it possible that a law, universal in all other realms of
Nature, should be abrogated in the case of man? Shall the Earth wake each
year form its wintery slumber; shall the tree and the flower live again, and
man die? No, that is impossible in a universe governed by immutable law.
The same law that wakes the life in the plant to new growth must wake the
human being to further progress toward the goal of perfection. Therefore the
doctrine of rebirth, or repeated human embodiment in gradually improving
vehicles, is in perfect accord with evolution and the phenomena of Nature,
when it states that birth and death follow each other in succession. It is in
full harmony with the Law of Alternation Cycles which decrees that activity
and rest, ebb and flood, summer and winter, must follow each other in
unbroken sequence. It is also in perfect accord with the spiral phase of the
Law of Evolution when it states that each time the Spirit returns to a new
birth it takes on a better body, and as man progresses in mental, moral, and
spiritual attainment in consequence of the accumulated experiences of past
lives he comes into an improved environment.
When we seek to solve the riddle of life and death; to find an
answer that shall satisfy both head and heart as to the difference in the
endowment of human beings, and give a reason for the existence of sorrow
and pain; when we ask why one is reared in the lap of luxury while another
receives more kicks than crusts; why one obtains a moral education, but
another is taught to steal and lie; why one has the face and figure of a
Venus, while another has the head of a Medusa; why one has perfect health
and another never knows a moment's rest form pain; why one has the
intellect of a Socrates, and another can only count "one, two, many," as do
the Australian aborigines, we receive no satisfaction from the
materialist or the theologian. Materialism gives the law of heredity as
the reason for sickness, and in regard to economic conditions a Spencer
tells us that in the animal world the law of existence is "eat, or be
eaten"; in civilized society it is "cheat, or be cheated."
Heredity accounts partly for the physical constitution. Like
begets like, so for as the form is concerned, but heredity does not account
for the moral proclivities and mental trend, which differ in each human being.
Heredity is a fact in the lower kingdoms where all the animals of a certain
species look nearly alike, eat the same kind of food, and act similarly in
similar circumstances, because they have no individual will, but are
dominated by a common Group Spirit. In the human kingdom it is different.
Each man acts differently form others. Each requires a different diet. As
the years of infancy and youth pass the indwelling Ego molds its instrument
so that it reflects itself in the features. Thus no two look exactly alike.
Even twins who could not be distinguished in childhood grow to look different
as the features of each express the thought of the Ego within.
On the moral plane a like condition prevails. Police records show
that though the children of habitual criminals generally possess criminal
tendencies, they invariably keep out of the courts, and in the "rogues'
galleries" of Europe and America it is impossible to find both father and
son. Thus criminals are the sons of honest people, and so heredity is
unable to account for moral proclivities.
When we come to a consideration of the higher intellectual and
artistic faculties we find that the children of a genius are mediocre and
often even idiots. Cuvier's brain was the greatest brain ever weighed and
analyzed by science. His five children died of paresis. The brother of
Alexander the Great was an idiot, and so cases could be cited ad lib. to show
that heredity only partially accounts for similarity of Form, and not at all
for mental and moral conditions. The Law of Attraction, which causes
musicians to congregate in concert halls, and brings about meetings of
literary people because of similarity of tastes; and the Law of Consequence,
which draws one who has developed criminal tendencies into association with
criminals, that he may learn to do good by beholding the trouble incident
to wrong-doing, account more logically than heredity for the facts of
associations and character.
The theologian explains that all conditions are made by the will of
God, who in His inscrutable wisdom has seen fit to make some rich and poor;
some clever and others dull, etc.; that He sends trouble and trials to all,
much to the many and little to a favored few, and they say we must accept our
lot without murmur. But it is hard to look with love to the skies when one
realizes that thence, according to divine caprice, comes all our misery, be it
little or much, and the benevolent human mind revolts at the thought of a
father who lavishes love, comfort, and luxury upon a few, and sends sorrow,
suffering, and misery to millions. Surely there must be another solution to
the problems of life than this. Is it not more reasonable to think that the
theologians may have misinterpreted the Bible than to saddle such monstrous
conduct upon God?
The Law of Rebirth offers a reasonable solution to all the
inequalities of life, its sorrow and pains, when coupled with its companion
law--the Law of Consequence--besides showing the road to emancipation.
The Law of Consequence is Nature's law of justice. It decrees that
whatever a man sows, he reaps. What we are, what we have, all our
good qualities are the result of our labor in the past, thence our talents.
What we lack in physical, moral, or mental accomplishments is due to neglect
of opportunities in the past or to lack of them, but sometime, somewhere,
we shall have other chances, and retrieve the loss. As to our obligations
to others or their debts to us, the Law of Consequence also takes care of
that. What cannot be liquidated in one life holds over to future lives.
Death does not cancel our obligations any more than moving to another city
pays our debts here. The Law of Rebirth provides a new environment, but in
it are our old friends, and our old enemies. We know them, too, for when
we meet a person for the first time, yet feel as if we had known him all
our lives, that is but the recognition of the Ego who pierces the veil of
flesh and recognizes an old friend. When we meet a person who at once
inspires us with fear or repugnance, it is again a message from the Ego,
warning us of our old-time enemy.
The occult teaching regarding life, which bases its solution upon
the twin Laws of Consequence and Rebirth, is simply that the world about us is
a school of experience; that even as we send a child to school day after day
and year after year in order that it may learn more and more as it advances
through the different grades from kindergarten to college, so the Ego in
man, as a child of the Father, goes to the school of life, day after day.
But in that larger life of the Ego, each day at school is a life on earth
and the night which intervenes between two days at the child's school
corresponds to the sleep of death in the larger life of the human Ego (the
Spirit in man).
In a school there are many grades. The older children who have
attended school many times have very different lessons from the tots in the
kindergarten. So in the school of life, those in high positions, endowed
with great faculties, are our Elder Brothers, and the savages are but
entering the lowest class. What they are we have been, and all will in time
reach a point where they will be wiser than the wisest we know. Nor should
it surprise the philosopher that the powerful crush the weak; the elder
children are cruel to their younger brothers at a certain stage of their
growth because they have not at that time evolved the true sense of right,
but as they grow they learn to protect weakness. So will the children
of the larger life. Altruism is flowering more and more everywhere, and
the day will come when all men will be as good and benevolent as are the
There is but one sin--Ignorance; and but one salvation--Applied
Knowledge. All sorrow, suffering and pain are traceable to ignorance of how to
act, and the school of life is as necessary to bring out our latent
capabilities as is the daily school which evokes those of the child.
When we realize that this is so, life will at once take on an
altogether different aspect. It does not matter then what the conditions are
in which we find ourselves, the knowledge the we have made them helps us to
bear them in patience; and, best of all, the glorious feeling that we are
masters of our destiny and can make the future what we will, is of itself a
power. It rests with us to develop what we lack. Of course we still have
the past to reckon with, and perhaps much misfortune may yet accrue from
wrong deeds, but if we will cease to do evil we may look with joy to every
affliction as liquidating an old score and bringing the day nearer when we
shall have a clear record. It is no valid objection, that often the most
upright suffer the greatest. The great intelligences who apportion to each
man the amount of his past score which is to be liquidated in each life always
help the man who pays the debts of his past without adding new delinquencies,
by giving him as much as he can bear, to hasten the day of emancipation;
and in that sense it is strictly true that "whom the Lord loveth he
The doctrine of rebirth is sometimes confounded with the theory of
transmigration, which teaches that a human soul may incarnate in an animal.
That has no foundation in Nature. Each species of animal is the emanation
from a Group Spirit, which governs them from the outside, by suggestion. It
functions in the Desire World; and as distance does not exist there, it can
thus influence its members, not matter where located. The human Spirit, the
Ego, on the other hand, enters right into a dense body; there is an
individual Spirit in each person, dwelling in its instrument and guiding
it from within. These are two entirely different stages of evolution, and
it is as impossible for man to incarnate in a animal in an animal body as for
a Group Spirit to take human shape.
The question, "Why do we not remember our past existences?" is
another apparent difficulty. But if we realize that we have an entirely new
brain at each birth, and that the human Spirit is weak and engrossed in its
new environment, so that if fails to make a full impression on the brain in
the days of childhood, when it is most sensitive, it is not so surprising
after all. Some children do remember the past, especially in the earliest
years, and it is one of the most pathetic phases of childhood that they
are so thoroughly misunderstood by their elders. When they speak of the
past, they are ridiculed, and even punished for being "imaginary." If
children speak of their invisible playmates, and of "seeing things," for many
children are clairvoyant, they met the same harsh treatment, and the
inevitable result is that the little ones learn to keep still until they lose
the faculty. Sometimes it happens, however, that the prattle of a child is
listened to and results in some wonderful revelations. The writer heard of
such a case a few years ago on the Pacific Coast.
A little child in Santa Barbara ran up to a gentleman by the name
of Roberts on the street and called him papa, resisting that she had lived
with him and another mama in a little house by a brook, and that one morning
he had left the cabin and never returned. She and her mother had both died
of starvation and the little one finished quaintly, "But I didn't die; I
came here." The story was not told at once, or succinctly, but in the course
of an afternoon, by intermittent questioning it came out. Mr Roberts' story
of an early elopement, marriage and emigration from England to Australia,
of the building of a cabin by a stream with no other houses near, of
leaving his wife and baby, of being arrested, denied permission to notify
his wife because the officers feared a trap, of being driven to the coast
at the point of a gun, of being taken to England and tried for a bank
robbery committed the night he sailed for Australia, of proving his
innocence; of how only then notice was taken of his persistent ravings about
a wife and child who must starve to death, of the telegram sent, the search
party organized and the answer that they had found but the skeletons of a
woman and a child. All these things corroborated the story of the little
three-year-old tot; and being shown some photographs in a casual way, she
picked out the pictures of Mr. Roberts and his wife, though Mr. Roberts had
altered much in the eighteen years which intervened between the tragedy
and the Santa Barbara incident.
It must not be supposed, however, that all who pass through the gate
of death reenter as quickly as that. Such a short interim would give the
Ego no chance to do the important work of assimilating experiences and
preparation for a new Earth-life. But a three year old child has had no
experience to speak of, so it seeks a new embodiment quickly, often
incarnation in the same family as before. Children often die because a
change in the parents' habits has frustrated the working out of their past
acts. It is then necessary to seek another chance, or they are born and die
to teach the parents a needed lesson. In one case an Ego incarnated eight
times in the same family for that purpose before the lesson was learned.
Then it incarnated elsewhere. It was a friend of the family who acquired
great merit by thus helping them.
The Law of Rebirth, where it is not modified by the Law of Consequence
to such an extent as in the above cases, works according to the movement of
the Sun known as the precession of the equinoxes, by which the Sun goes
backward through the twelve signs of the zodiac in the so-called
sidereal or world-year comprising 25,868 of our ordinary solar years.
As the passage of the Earth in her orbit around the Sun makes the
climatic changes which alter our conditions according to seasons and change
our our activities, so the passage of the Sun through the great world-year
makes still greater changes in climate and topographical conditions, in
respect to civilization, and it is necessary that the Ego should learn to
cope with it all.
Therefore the Ego incarnates twice in the time it takes the Sun to
go through each one of the signs of the zodiac, which is about 2,100
years. There are thus normally about 1,000 years between two incarnations
and, while the experiences of a man are widely different from those of a
woman, the conditions are not materially different in a thousand years, so
the Spirit usually incarnates alternately as a man and a woman. But that is
not a hard and fast rule; it is subject to modification when such is required
by the Law of Consequence.
Thus occult science resolves the riddle of life into the Ego's quest
for experience, all conditions having that purpose in view, and all being
automatically determined by desert; it robs death of its terror and its
sting, by placing it where it belongs, as an incident in a larger life,
similar to the removal to another city for a time; it makes the parting from
loved ones easier by assuring us that the very love we feel will be the means
of re-uniting us, and it gives us the grandest hope in life that some day we
shall all obtain the knowledge which illumines all problems, links all our
lives, and best of all, as taught by occult science ,we have it in our own
power, by application, to hasten that glorious day when faith shall be
swallowed up in knowledge. Then we shall realize in a higher sense the
beauty of Sir Edwin Arnold's poetic statement of the doctrine of rebirth:
Never the Spirit was born!
The Spirit shall cease to be never!
Never was time it was not,
End and beginning are dreams.
Birthless and deathless remaineth
the spirit forever.
Death has not touched it at all,
Dead though the house of it seems.
Nay! but as one layeth
A worn-out robe away.
And taking another sayeth:
This will I wear today,
So putteth by the spirit
Lightly its garment of flesh
And passeth on the inherit
A residence afresh.
Where Are the Dead?
A little thought will soon make it apparent to any investigator that
we live in a world of effect which is the result of invisible causes.
Matter and form we see, but the force which molds the matter into form and
quickens it is invisible to us. Life can not be cognized directly by the
senses; it is invisible and self-existent, independent of the varied forms
we see as its manifestations.
Electricity, magnetism, and steam are names given to forces never
seen with physical eyes, though, by conforming to certain laws discovered by
experiment, we have made them our most valuable servants. We see their
manifestations in moving streetcars, in railways and steamships; they light
our path at night and carry our message around he globe with a speed that
annihilate space, bringing the antipides to our very doors in seconds of
time. They are at our beck and call at any and all hours, tireless and
faithful in the performance of innumerable tasks, yet, as said, we have
never seen these, our most faithful and valuable servants.
These Nature Forces are neither blind nor unintelligent as we
mistakenly think; there are many classes of them and they work along
different avenues of life. Perhaps an illustration will make clear their
status in relation to us. Let us suppose a carpenter is making a fence and
a dog is standing by watching him. The dog sees both the carpenter and his
work, though it does not fully comprehend what he is doing. If the
carpenter were invisible to the dog it would see the fence being slowly
built, it would see every nail driven, it would perceive the manifestation
but not the cause, and it would then be in the some relation to the carpenter
as we are to the Nature Forces which manifest about us as gravity,
electricity, and magnetism.
During the past few centuries, but particularly in the last sixty
years, science has made giant strides in the investigation of the world in
which we live, and the result has been to reveal in all directions a hitherto
invisible world. With telescopes of increasing power the astronomers have
been reaching out into space, discovering more and more worlds; with
admirable ingenuity they have attached the camera to the telescope, and have
thus been able to photograph suns at such enormous distances from us that
their rays make no impression on our eyes, and can only be caught by hours
of exposure of a sensitize photographic plate.
In the direction of the minutely small, the increasing perfection of
the microscope has achieved similar results; a world that was hitherto
invisible to us has been discovered, containing an exceeding activity of
life and marked by a diversity of form scarcely less complex than the world
we behold through our unaided senses.
The effort of making such investigations through the eyepiece of a
microscope is a severe one, causing intense strain on the eyes; but here also
the camera lends its aid to man. With proper mechanical attachments
and lightning speed it can make permanent records of microscopic phenomena
at the rate of perhaps seventy negatives per second. These may then be
magnified and projected upon a screen as moving pictures; they may be seen
by hundreds of people at the same time in comfort and ease.
We may see how the sap slowly circulates through the veins of a leaf,
or watch the way the blood races like a millstream through the
semitransparent veins of a frog's leg. Maggots in cheese appear as large as
gray crabs meandering hither and thither in search of prey. A drop of water
contains many dark colored balls which grow and burst, throwing out numerous
tiny globes which in their turn expand and fling out offspring. Dr.
Bastian of London has even seen how a little black spot on the spine of a
cyclop (of which there are many in a drop of water) developed into a
parasite which fed on the cyclop.
By means of the X-ray science has been able to invade the innermost
recesses of the dense body of the living human, photographing the skeleton and
any foreign substance which may have become located there by accident.
Thus in many directions a hitherto invisible world has presented
itself to the gaze of the persistent investigators. Who shall say the end has
been reached; that there are no other worlds in space beyond those now
photographed by astronomers; no life dwelling in forms more minute than
those discovered by the best microscopes of today? Tomorrow an instrument
may be designed that will reach beyond all previous devices and show much of
what is hidden today. The infinitude of space, of the great and of the
small seems to be beyond question and independent of our cognition.
In looking over the marvelous achievements of physical science, there
is one characteristic particularly worth while to note; namely, that each
new discovery has been made through the invention of new or the improvement
of previously existing devices to aid the senses; and for that reason the
investigations of science have been limited to the world of sense the dense
Physical World. Scientists have dealt with the chemical elements: solids,
liquids, and gases; but beyond that they have no instruments capable of
reaching, although forced to postulate a still finer matter they call
"ether," because without this finer medium they find it impossible to
account for light, electricity, etc. Thus we see that physical science
inductively recognizes the existence of an invisible world as a necessity in
the economy of Nature.
Both physical and occult science are therefore agreed on that point
and both reach into the invisible world for solutions to problems. They
differ as to the method of investigation and the credence to be given evidence
thus obtained. Material science seeks only for explanation to problems
insoluble on a purely physical basis, such as the passage of light waves
through a vacuum or the resemblance of the flowers of the present season to
those of past summers. In such cases science readily postulates an invisible,
intangible something like ether or heredity and prides itself on its acumen
and the ingenuity of its explanations.
Occult science asserts that there is an invisible cause at the root of all visible phenomena, which when known will afford a more thorough
knowledge of the facts of life than a mechanical concept, and that the most
comprehensive idea of life is obtained by the study of both phenomena of the
visible and the noumena or underlying causes of the invisible world. It
therefore investigates the invisible worlds and offers a more thorough and
reasonable solution to the problems of life than mere facts of science
derived only through observation of the physical phenomena.
Material science postulates ether and heredity as solutions to the
above problems, though unable to offer actual proof of the truth of its
hypotheses except their seeming reasonableness. Yet when occult science
employs similar methods and declares the existence of the Spirit, its
immorality, its pre-existence to birth, and persistence after death, its
independence of the body, etc., physical science sneers and inconsistently
speaks of superstition and ignorance. It demands proof, though the evidence
offered is at least as good as the scientific evidence of the existence of
ether, heredity, and numerous other ideas advanced by science, implicitly
believed in by the multitude that admiringly bows its head in the dust before
any dictum supported by the magic word Science.
No one can demonstrate the truth of a proposition in geometry to a
person unacquainted with the principles of mathematics. For similar reasons
the facts of the inner worlds cannot be proved to the material scientist.
If the person devoid of mathematical knowledge studies that science he will
be easily satisfied as to the solution of the problem. When the physical
scientist has fitted himself for the apprehension of superphysical facts
he will have the proof and be compelled to uphold the very theories he now
combats as superstition.
Occult science commences its investigations at the point where
material science leaves off, at the door to the superphysical realms,
mistakenly called supernatural. There is nothing "supernatural" or
"unnatural"; nothing whatever can be outside Nature, although it may
easily be superphysical, for the Physical World is the smallest part of
the Earth. Unlike the material scientist, however, the occult scientist does
not pursue his investigations by means of mechanical instruments, but by
improving himself; by cultivating faculties of perception latent in every
human being and capable of being awakened by proper training. The words of
Christ, "Seek and ye shall find," were particularly applied to spiritual
qualities, and directed to "whosoever will." All depends upon oneself;
there is none to hinder and many to help the earnest seeker after knowledge.
The discussion of the means and ways are, however, outside the present topic,
and must be left for elucidation in future essays. (Nos. 3 and 11.)
"But," someone will say, "what is the use of troubling about an
invisible world? We are placed here in this workaday material world; what
have we to do with an invisible world? And even though it may be true
that we go there after death, why not take one world at a time?
'Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof'; why borrow more?"
Surely such a view is a most shortsighted one. In the first place,
a knowledge of the after-death state would take away the fear of death which
haunts so many people even while they are in the most vigorous health. In
the most careless life there are times when the thought of the leap in the
dark which must some time be taken dulls the sense of joy in life; and any
explanation offering definite, reliable knowledge upon this important
subject surely ought to be eagerly welcomed.
Besides, as we look about us in the world, we see there is one law
that must be apparent even to the most callous: the law of causation. Each
day our work and condition depend upon what we did or did not do the day
before; it is absolutely impossible for us to tear ourselves away from our
past; to "start afresh." We cannot perform an act that is not connected in
some way with our previous acts, limited and hedged about by former
conditions; and it must surely appear as reasonable to suppose that,
whatever may be the mode of expression of life in the invisible world, it
will be in some way determined by our present mode of life. It would be
logical, also, to declare that if reliable information about this invisible
world were available it would be wise to prepare oneself with it for the same
reason that when we wish to travel in a foreign country we acquaint ourselves
with its geography, laws, customs, language, or other necessary
information. We do this because we know that the more thoroughly we are
primed with this knowledge the more we shall profit by our travel and the
less will be the annoyances due to changed conditions. The same must
logically hold as regards the post-mortem state.
Again some objector will say: "Ah, but that is just the rub!
Whatever the condition after death may be no one knows for certain. Those
who profess to know all differ from each other in their stories, many of
which are unreasonable, impossible--"
In the first place, no man has a moral right to assert that no one
knows, except he himself is omniscient and knows the extent of the knowledge
ofall who live; and it is the height of arrogance to attempt to judge the
mental capacity of all others by the exceedingly narrow ideas which
wiseacres who make such statements generally have. The wise man will always
have an ear open for new evidence, he will be willing and eager to
investigate; and even though there were but one man who professed knowledge
of the invisible worlds, that would not necessarily prove him mistaken.
Did not Galileo stand alone in asserting his theory concerning the movement
of the heavenly bodies, to which the whole western world has since become
As to the difference of the stories told by those who profess to
know about the invisible worlds, this is not only to be expected but is a
valuable feature, as an illustration from daily life will show.
Supposing San Francisco had been entirely rebuilt on an imposing
scale with all the latest and most modern improvements, and had decided to
celebrate the occasion by a grand festival. Many thousands would flock to
the Golden Gate to rejoice in the new Phoenix which had arisen from the ashes
of that beautiful city, so suddenly swept from the face of the earth in a
fiery death. Among others would probably come a considerable number of
newspaper men, reporters from different parts of the country, for the purpose
of sending reports to their respective publications. It is a foregone
conclusion that although reporters are trained observers, no two reports
would be alike. Some might have certain points in general. Some would be
unlike the others in every respect, for the simple reason that every reporter
saw the city from his own particular viewpoint and noted only what appealed
to him. Thus, instead of the diversity of reports being an argument against
their accuracy it will readily be seen that they would all be valuable as
different phases of the one whole; and it is safe to say that a man who read
all the different reports would have a vastly more comprehensive idea of
San Francisco than if he had read only one report subscribed to by all the
The same principle holds good concerning the different stories
describing the invisible worlds; they are not necessarily untrue because
varying, but form collectively a more complete narrative.
As to the "impossible" stories, let us suppose that one of our
San Francisco reporters instead of observing had spent the time enjoying
himself, and sent in an imaginary report; surely that would not invalidate
the honest reports. Or let us suppose that one was wearing a pair of
yellow spectacles put on him without his knowledge and he sent a report that
the houses and streets were of gold; that would only show his ignorance in
not knowing that the glasses were that color and not the city; and his
report should not reflect on the sanity and veracity of the others. Lastly,
let us remember that even though some things are at present beyond our
reasoning power that does not prove that they are unreasonable. The fact
that a baby cannot understand square root constitutes no valid argument
against mathematics. In short, no reasonable argument can be made by the
materialist to prove that there is no invisible world any more than the man
born blind can successfully debate against the existence of light and color
in the world about him. If his sight is obtained he will see them. So no
argument from those blind to the invisible world can convince the seer of the
nonexistence of what he sees, and if the proper sense is awakened in such
people they too will perceive a world to which they have previously been
insensible, though it was all about them, as light and color pervade the
sense-world, whether perceived or not.
Passing onward from this negative testimony to the existence of
the superphysical realms, to more positive evidence, an everyday
illustration will show how matter is constantly changing from denser to finer
states in Nature. If we take a block of ice we have a "solid"; by applying
heat to it we raise the vibrations of the atoms which compose it, and it
becomes a "liquid"--"water." If we apply more heat we raise the vibrations
of the atoms in the water to such a rate that it becomes invisible to the
eye; then we have a "gas" which we call "steam." The same matter which was
visible in the ice and in the water has passed from our sight but not out of
existence; for by the application of cold it will be condensed into water, and
then may again be frozen into ice.
Though matter may pass beyond the range of our perception it still
persists. So does consciousness continue though it may be unable to give to
me the slightest sign of existence. That has been proven in cases where a
person has seemingly died, where not the faintest flutter of the heart or
the slightest respiratory movement could be perceived, and perhaps at the
last moment before interment, the supposedly dead would come to life, repeat
every word and describe every action of those who had been around him while
Therefore, when matter, which is indestructible, is known to exist
in states invisible and intangible, and when consciousness is as alert, or
even keener when the dense body is entranced than in ordinary waking life, is
it not reasonable to suppose that this consciousness may mold the matter
invisible to us and function in it when excarnate (as it shapes during earth-life the matter of this world), thus bringing into existence another world
of form and consciousness as real to the excarnate Spirit as this world is
to the eyes dwelling in fleshly bodies?
Even during life in the dense body we know and deal with the
invisible world at every moment of our existence, and the life which we live
there is the most important part of our being--the basis of our life in the
We all have an inner life where we live amidst our thoughts and
feelings in scenes and under conditions unknown to our outside environment.
There the mind shapes our ideas into thought pictures which we afterwards
externalize. All everything we see about us and contact with our senses and
call real, is but the evanescent shadow of the intangible, invisible world.
The visible world has consolidated from the invisible realms in essentially
the same manner that the hard and flinty house of the snail has
crystallized from the juices of its soft body. Moreover, as the house of
the snail is inert and would remain motionless did not the snail move it
about, so the bodies of plant, animal, and man are but inert emanations
from the Spirit which dwells in the invisible world, and except this
indwelling life galvanizes the form into action it is incapable of movement.
These bodies are preserved only so long as they serve the purpose of the
Spirit; when that leaves there is nothing to hold the form together, so it
Furthermore, all that we see about us, as houses, streetcars,
steamboats, telephones, in short, all objects that have been fashioned by
the hand of man are crystallized imaginations which had their origin in the
invisible world. If Graham Bell had not been able to imagine the telephone
it would never have come into existence. It was Fulton's "inner life"
that first witnessed the birth of the steamboat, long before it became the
As to the reality and permanence of the objects in the invisible
world, they are far more so than the visible conditions which we mistakenly
think of as the acme of "reality." We regard our mental pictures and
imaginations as less real than a mirage and speak of them in a slighting
manner as a "mere thought" or "just an idea," when in truth they are the
underlying realities of all that we see in the world about us. An
illustration will further emphasize the point:
When an architect wishes to build a house he does not order lumber
and other material sent to the building site, hire workmen and tell them to
go ahead and build! He formulates an idea, thinks it out, first building
the house "in his mind" with as much detail as possible, and from this
mental model the house might be built if it could be seen by the workmen, but
it is yet in the invisible world; and although the architect perceives it
plainly, "the veil of flesh" prevents others seeing it. Thus it becomes
necessary to bring it within the sense world and make a visible plan which
the workmen may follow. This is the first consolidation of the thought
picture of the architect and when the house is built we see in wood and
stone what was first an idea in the architect's mind and invisible to us.
As the relative stability of the idea and building; it is plain that
the house may be destroyed by dynamite or some other powerful element of
destruction, but the "idea" in the architect's mind even he cannot destroy;
and from that "idea" a similar house may be built at any time while the
architect lives. Even after his death the idea may be found in the Memory of
Nature (of which more will be explained in the next essay), by anyone
qualified for this research; for no matter how long ago the impression was
formed it is never lost or destroyed.
While we may thus inductively "infer" the existence of an invisible
world this is not the only means of proof. There is an abundance of direct
testimony to show that there is such a world, testimony from men and women of
unquestioned integrity whose truth and accuracy are never questioned regarding
other matters, who state that this invisible world is inhabited by those
whom we call dead, who are living there in full possession of all their mental
and emotional faculties, living under conditions which make their life as
real and profitable as ours, perhaps more so. It is further capable of
proof that at least some of them take considerable interest in the affairs
of the Physical World. Suffice it to take two instances of world-wide fame.
There is first the testimony of Jeanne D'Arc, the "maid of Orleans,"
to hearing "voices which spoke to and directed her." Let us consider the
story of her life and see if it does not bear the stamp of truth. Here we
have a simple, pure, and unsophisticated peasant girl, scarcely more than a
child, who had never been outside her native village before going upon her
"mission." She was extremely timid, afraid of disobeying her father, yet
the imperious "voices" drove her to brave his displeasure and she set out
to find the King of France. After much trouble but constantly guided
by voices, she was finally granted an audience by the King. When she
entered the King stood in the midst of his courtiers, a puppet was seated
on the throne, and everyone expected to see her discomfitted, for she had
never seen the King, but, guided by the faithful voices, Jean
unhesitatingly walked up to him and saluted. She convinced him of the truth
of her mission by whispering in his ear an exceedingly weighty secret
known only to himself.
In consequence of this proof the command of the French army was taken
out of the hands of the experienced generals, who had been defeated by the
English at every turn, and placed in the hands of this child who knew nothing
of warcraft herself, yet, taught by her invisible prompters, led the French
troops to victory. Her knowledge of military tactics was the constant wonder
of her associates, and in itself a proof of the guidance she claimed.
Next we see her imprisoned, subjected for years to threats or
cajolery, as the mood of her cruel persecutors prompted, to induce her to
acknowledge that there had been no voices, but the records of the
proceedings of her different trials show in her answers a singleness of
mind, an innocence and a straightforwardness unequalled in the annals of
history, which confounded her judges at every turn. Not even death at the
stake could make her abjure the truth as she knew it, and to this day her
testimony to the guiding voices from the invisible world stands unshaken,
sealed with her life blood. This martyr to truth has lately been canonized a
saint by the church which slew her.
"Ah, but," some one may say, "while she was no doubt honest, she was
but a simple peasant girl, unaware that she was suffering from
hallucinations!" Strange hallucinations which enabled her to unhesitatingly
pick out the King she had never seen and tell him a secret unknown to any
other person, to accurately describe battles while they were being fought
many miles away, as afterwards verified by participants.
But let us pass on to our second witness, who is by no means of
the "simple minded." In that respect Socrates is an absolute contrast to
Jeanne d'Arc, for his was the keenest intellect, the greatest mind we
know, unexcelled to the present day. He also sealed his testimony to the
voice of guidance from the invisible world with his life blood, and we may
take it as a self-evident fact that it must have been an exceedingly
intelligent voice or it would never have been able to counsel so great a sage
To hold that he was insane or suffering from hallucinations will
hardly meet the case, for a man who, like Socrates, would weigh all other
matters with such nicety, is above suspicion in that respect, and the more
reasonable course it to acknowledge that "there are more things in heaven
and earth" than we know individually or collectively, and then start to
That is indeed what the most advanced people are doing in our day
and age, realizing that it is just as foolish to be too skeptical to
investigate as to be overcredulous and take for gospel truth everything we
hear. Only by properly informing ourselves is it possible for us to arrive
at a conclusion worth of our manhood or womanhood, no matter whether we decide
one way or the other.
Recognizing this principle, and the signal importance of the subject,
the Society for Physical Research was formed more than a quarter of a
century ago and numbers among its members some of the brightest minds of our
time. They have spared no pains to sift truth from error in the many thousands
of cases brought to their attention, and as a result we find that one of
the most prominent scientists of our time, Sir Oliver Lodge, as president of
the society, gave to the world several years ago the statement that
"the existence of an invisible world, inhabituated by the so-called dead,
and their power to communicate with this world, had been established
beyond peradventure in such an abundance of cases as to leave no room for
Coming as that statement does, from one of the greatest of modern
scientists, one who has brought to his psychic studies a mind sharpened by
science, who was well protected against being duped in any way, such
testimony should command the highest respect among all who are seeking for
Having thus submitted inductive, deductive, and direct evidence, we
may add that the existence of another world, intangible to the five senses
but readily investigated by means of a "sixth sense," is a fact in
Nature, whether we recognize it or not, as light and color exist around
"blind" and "seeing" alike. It is the blind man's loss that he cannot see
the light and color all about him. It is ours if we are "blind" to the
superphysical realms; but to all who will take the trouble to awaken their
latent faculties, the opening of the proper sense is but a matter of time.
When that time comes we shall see that the so-called "dead" are all about us,
and that in fact "there is no death," as John McCreery says in the following
There is no death. The stars go down
To rise upon another shore,
And bright in heaven's jeweled crown
They shine for evermore.
There is no death. The forest leaves
Convert to life the viewless air;
The rocks disorganize to feed
The hungry moss they bear.
There is no death. The dust we tread
Shall change beneath the summer showers
To golden grain or mellow fruit,
Or rainbow-tinted flowers.
There is no death. The leaves may fall,
The flowers may fade and pass away--
They only wait through wintry hours
The warm, sweet breath of May.
There is no death, although we grieve
When beautiful familiar forms
That we have learned to love are torn
From our embracing arms.
Although with bowed and breaking heart.
With sable garb and silent tread
We bear their senseless dust to rest
And say that they are dead--
They are not dead. They have but passed
Beyond the mists that blind us here
Into the new and larger life
Of that serener sphere.
They have but dropped their robe of clay
To put a shining raiment on;
They have not wandered far away,
They are not "lost" or "gone."
Thou unseen to the mortal eye,
They still are here and love us yet;
The dear ones they have left behind
They never do forget.
Sometimes upon our fevered brow
We feel their touch, a breath of balm;
Our spirit sees them, and our hearts
Grow comforted and calm.
Yes, ever near us, though unseen,
Our dear, immortal spirits tread--
For all God's boundless Universe
Is Life--there are no dead.
Spiritual Sight and the Spiritual Worlds
In the first lecture we saw that the only theory of life which will
bear the searchlight of reason is the theory That the human Ego is immortal,
That Earth-life is a school and that the Ego returns to that school life
after life to learn its lessons under the twin laws of Nature: the Laws of
Consequence and Rebirth, thus progressing steadily towards the goal of
The foregoing solution to the riddle of life naturally elicits the
question: But if those whom we call dead are really alive, why do we not
see them and where are They? That question was answered in the second
lecture where it was shown inductively, deductively, and by direct
incontrovertible testimony that there is an invisible world about us
inhabited by the so-called dead who are living there in full possession of
their every faculty, and that the only reason why we do not ordinarily
perceive them is because we lack the necessary sense. The blind fail to
observe light and color because they lack physical sight. We are blind
to the spiritual worlds because we lack spiritual sight. All have this
"sixth" sense latent and it is capable of being awakened in all without
exception by proper methods, as shown in Lecture No. 11 of this series.
In the present lecture we are to investigate the inner worlds and it
may not be out of place to give a general idea of how the clairvoyant
knows about the invisible worlds and to show the scope and limitations of
"Clairvoyant" is the name given to persons who see objects invisible
to ordinary humanity. The name means simply "clear-sighted," and contrary
to the generally accepted idea, there are different kinds of
clairvoyants. Some are like a prisoner behind a barred window, who can see
everything within his limited range of vision, and according to whether
his window chances of face upon a narrow prison-yard or upon a wide expanse
of country, will be his scope of vision. If his view is further hampered by
a shutter which he cannot control, which opens and shuts independently of his
will, we shall understand That his observation is of little value to himself
or others. Some clairvoyants are like this prisoner. When the shutter is
opened They have a view of whatever happens to be going on in That part of the
inner world which They chance to see at a given time and place. They cannot
help seeing whether the vision pleases them or not; They must endure it until
it passes away of itself. Such people are called negative, involuntary
Others again, while limited in the scope of their vision, have control
of the shutter, which They open and shut at will, seeing anything which
comes within range. They are also negative, but are able to see "at will" and
are called voluntary clairvoyants.
Then again others have a faculty which may be likened to the state of
a prisoner whose prison is a glass house situated upon a hill and supplied
with telescopes of the highest magnitude, shaded by blinds of such a
construction that they would open as soon as he looked at them, and close as
soon as he turned away. Thus he would have perfect control over his vision,
being able to see or not and to turn his gaze to any subject he desired to
investigate and would therefore be a voluntary, trained clairvoyant.
There is a higher stage where the prison doors are opened, and the man
is able to leave the dense body at will, go into the invisible worlds and
investigate at close range the things he wishes to know about, which the last
named class could view only from a distance. Leaving the dense body at will
is of course the ideal method--then the man is not only a clairvoyant; he is a
citizen of two or more worlds. That stage is not generally reached by a
mere investigator, but by such as have taken a vow to dedicate their lives
to the service of humanity. They are then called Invisible Helpers, and
work under the guidance of the great Leaders of Humanity--our Elder
While many people make the mistake of being incredulous of the
existence of supersensuous worlds, there are also people who go to the other
extreme--when they have become convinced of the verity of the invisible
world--and think that when anyone can "see" clairvoyantly all truth is open
to his vision and he at once "knows all about" those higher worlds.
That is a great mistake--the fallacy of such an idea is readily
understood by comparison with everyday affairs. We do not consider That
because a man who was born blind has been made to see, he at once "knows all
about" everything in the Physical World; nay, more, we know that even those
of us who have had our eyesight all our lives are far from having a
universal knowledge of the things about us. Logic and analogy are violated
by applying such a supposition to the inner worlds. In fact, no clairvoyant,
however accomplished, has a knowledge of everything there, but only knows what he has investigated. A blind person who has obtained sight must learn
to use his eyes to gauge distance, etc.; so must the infant; and so the
clairvoyant must be trained before his faculty becomes of value, and it is
invariably the case that the more proficient people become the more modest
They are in their statements and the more willing to defer to the versions
of others, knowing how much is unknown and realizing how few of the many
sides of a subject the single investigator can cover.
Besides, in the Physical World forms are stable and do not easily
change, but in the inner worlds everything is in the most intense motion.
Forms change in a way and with a faculty that is but dimly pictured in our
fairy tales. The wonder is not that involuntary or untrained clairvoyants
often sadly mix things, but rather that they ever see anything right. The
training consists in teaching the neophyte how to look beyond the form which
is evanescent and illusory to the life which is the same no matter what
"form" it may take. For only when the "life" can be seen is there safety
Before proceeding to the investigation of the invisible worlds, we
must first state the Rosicrucian conception of the Physical World, as it
differs somewhat from the generally accepted views.
The Chemical Region of the Physical World
In everyday life we distinguish between solids, liquids, and
gases. These are grouped by science into about seventy inorganic elements,
such as hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon. From these elements all
forms are built.
We also discriminate four kingdoms: mineral, plant, animal, and
human, but that distinction has reference to four streams of evolving
Spirits at various states of development, manifesting as life, which molds
the chemical elements into the multitudinous forms we see about us.
This fourfold stream of life is more or less firmly enmeshed in the
forms it has build according to the stage of development reached by the
various streams of Spirits.
The Spirits which compose the Mineral Life-Stream are so feeble,
and hence so closely allied with the matter they shape into inorganic
crystals, that they seem inseparable from it. This life-stream is known as
The Spirits in the Plant Life-Stream assimilate the crystallized
chemical elements and modify the crystals into crystalloids when building
their more complex bodies.
These plant-forms, when taken in turn by the Animal and
Human Life-Streams, are grouped as cells and organs which collectively compose
the more intricate vehicles of the two higher kingdoms.
While the three more evolved streams of life are working with
the chemical matter, the mineral-life imbedded therein becomes inert, or, in
a certain sense, it dies; but the moment the plant-life, animal-life, or
human-life has departed from a form, which we then call "dead," the
mineral-life native to the chemical matter is once more free to assert
itself and manifest as the chemical forces which make for decay and resolve
the form into its original constituents.
Some scientists attribute feeling to minerals, to "dead" plants
and "dead" animal tissue. The observations of science are correct, but it is
a serious misnomer to call That "feeling" which is merely a response to
impacts of the mineral-life which ensouls the form when not appropriated to
the use of one of the higher life-streams. The mineral life-stream embodied
in the tissue which the scientific experimenters use merely registers an
impression; it is incapable of true feeling, such as pleasure and pain. These
are soul qualities and predicate an "inner" consciousness capable of "working
over" the impressions made upon it. This is as yet beyond the
mineral-life, and therefore all forms as such are as devoid of feeling as
the chemical elements of which they are composed. Science recognizes this
when it states That there is no feeling in a finger which is hurt, but
inconsistently relegates the feeling of pain to the brain. The occult
scientist holds that all form, brain, brawn, or bone, equally lack feeling,
for feeling is a life-process neither inherent in the solids, liquids, or
gases, nor acquired by them during the time They are appropriated by the
evolving life-streams to furnish the substance for the various forms through
which these life-streams express themselves in the dense visible Physical
Thus, if man possessed no more than the dense body he would be as
incapable of manifesting life as are the chemical substance of which That
body is composed, and if there were only this visible Physical World, there
could never have been any other forms than the inert crystals. Plants,
animals, and man would have been impossible achievements in Nature.
The Etheric Region of the Physical World
The Rosicrucians, in harmony with other occult schools, divide each
world into seven "regions" or states of matter. Our visible world comprises
but three such regions, viz.: Solid, Liquid, and Gaseous. The invisible
ether occupies the four remaining regions, and it is with the investigation
of this fourfold ether that the research of occult science begins.
These four states of ether are called the Etheric Region. Either is
the medium through which the solar energy flows into the dense bodies of
plant, animal, and man, and thus it forms a basis for the manifestation of
life and vitality. The names and specific functions of these four states of
ether, counting from below, are as follows:
(1) The Chemical Ether is the medium of manifestation for the
chemical forces which cause the formation of crystals, manifesting as the
loves and hates of the atoms, the "elective affinity" spoken of by Goethe
whereby alcohol and water readily mix, but oil and water refuse to commingle.
Other forces manifest in this ether to promote assimilation, growth, and
excretion as seen in the higher kingdoms of plant, animal, and man. The
chemical ether alone is active in the mineral chemical elements in their
(2) The Life Ether. A fish can live and move in water; animal and
man cannot. They live in air which suffocates the fish. So each realm of
Nature is the medium of manifestation for intelligences of diverse
constitution, at varying stages of development and having different missions
in the economy of Nature. While the forces operating in the chemical ether
are solely concerned with the maintenance of the separate form, the life
ether is the vantage ground for the propagative forces which have for their
object the perpetuation of the species or race. It is thus active in
plant, animal, and man.
(3) The Light Ether is the medium of manifestation of the forces
which produce heat, motion, and the circulation of the blood in animal and man
and of the sap in plants. Through it the green chlorophyl is deposited on
the leaves, and so is the coloring on flowers, animal, and man. It is the
avenue of ingress for the solar force which builds the eye and is the avenue
of sight. The forces in this ether are only partially operative in the
plant, fully in animal and man.
(4) The Reflecting Ether is the substance of the highest region of
the Physical World, and the images or records of all that is or ever has been
in the Physical World can be found there. Therefore we say That it
contains "the Memory of Nature." Here the architect's idea for a building
spoken of in the second essay is recoverable at any time, whether he is dead
or living. But the Reflecting Ether deserves its name in more than one way,
for the images found there, though reproducing objects found in the
Physical World, are nevertheless but reflections of images in a much higher
world, where the records are permanent, much clearer, and more definite.
The record in the reflecting ether is only read by involuntary clairvoyants
and psychometrists who have no choice, even though they may have heard of
the existence of the higher records. Sometimes the occult pupil also reads
the record in the reflecting ether when he first starts to investigate the
invisible realms, but he is instructed as to its scope and does not deceive
himself into thinking that it is the ultimate of perfection, and in time
learns to use the higher record.
This ether is a most important realm in Nature; it is the avenue of
ingress whereby the Ego manipulates the brain and the nervous system and
controls its dense body; and in the reflecting ether the Ego in man makes
the record of its experiences which we call memory.
Science teaches that alike in the densest solid and in the rarest gas
no two atoms touch, but all float, as it were, in a sea of ether. That
is true, but it is only part of the story; if that were all, it would be
impossible to explain logically the difference between the four kingdoms.
We know that in order to function in the visible world it is necessary
to have a dense body. Without such a body we would be "ghosts," invisible
to other physical beings.
The same is true of the other worlds. In order to function in them
or express their peculiar qualities, we must first have a vehicle made of
their materials; and as it is necessary to have a dense body before we can
act in the Physical World, so we must have a vital body before we can show
life, assimilate, grow, or propagate. The mineral stream of life at present
embodied in the matter of the Chemical Region, has no separate vital body.
The plant, animal, and man have vital bodies, but they are as differently
constructed as their respective dense bodies, varying as to the quality,
quantity, and organization of their component etheric matter.
Yet even the possession of a dense body and a vital body is not
sufficient to account for all the facts of life. If there were no other
realms in Nature, movable animal and human bodies would be
impossibilities; and even if such had been created, having the POWER to move,
the incentive to motion and action would be lacking. The occult scientist
finds action has its inception in
The Desire World
Like the Physical World, this realm of Nature is also composed of
seven regions which divide the matter according to relative density and
When we speak of matter there, it is something very different from
that of the Physical world. The difference is very hard to describe, because
all our terms are coined with reference to the sense world, and the best
That can be done is to give some faint idea of what it is or is not like.
In the first place, though desire matter is one degree less dense
than physical matter, desire stuff is not by any means "finer" physical
matter. It is true That the ultimate atom of all physical forms is the same;
That the mountain, the mayflower, the mouse and the man are all built of the
same kind of atoms; yet we do not say that the mouse is a "finer" degree of
mountain. A similar difference is embodied in the statement of the
relative density of the two kinds of matter, which makes one amenable to law
inoperative in the other.
Desire matter is particularly characterized by the ease with which it
is molded into different forms and is capable of changing from one form to
another. Plasticity is far too poor a name for this quality; besides, desire
matter is also an embodiment of light and color of such luminosity, such
scintillating, iridescent hues as make our brightest colors and our most
glorious sunsets seem dull and dead by comparison. It was this dazzling
luminosity which caused the mediaeval alchemists to designate it "astral,"
"starry," though it has nothing to do with the stars. A faint conception of
what it is like may be had by taking an abalone shell and watching the
changing play of colors while moving it to and fro in the sunshine.
To obtain a reasonable understanding of the Desire World, we must
realize That it is the world of feeling, desire, wishes, and emotions.
As our bones, blood, and flesh are formed of chemical matter, so our
desires and emotions are formed of the matter of the Desire World; and as our
dense bodies are subject to gravity and other physical laws, so our desires,
etc., are dominated by Attraction and Repulsion, the two great forces in the
Repulsion is the predominant force in the three lower or denser
regions. Attraction alone holds sway in the three upper regions where matter
is rarest, but is also present to some degree in the three lower regions,
where it opposes the force of Repulsion.
The central region is the region of "Feeling." Here "interest in"
or "indifference to" an object or idea sways the balance in favor of one or
the other of the two forces, attraction or repulsion, thereby relegating the
object or idea which engendered the feeling to the three higher or the three
lower regions, or, as the case may be, expelling it from our lives. An
illustration will show the principle and show how these "twin feelings" are
the mainsprings that move the world by means of the "twin forces."
Both animals and man have a desire body and are swayed by the twin
feelings and the twin forces. A tigress in the jungle will pass a loaf of
bread with indifference, but she will feel interested in the owner. Her
interest will rouse the force of attraction, yet she will endeavor to kill
him. The destructive act is not the end and the aim, however, but only a
necessary step towards assimilation. If she spies another beast of prey
having designs on what she considers her booty, that also will cause her to
feel interest. But in that case the feeling of interest will arouse the
force of repulsion, and if a fight ensues, destruction of her adversary
will be an end in itself. In the above case and in cases where the animal
desires of man are factors, the twin forces and twin feelings operate alike,
but there is a difference in the composition of the desire body of man and
The desire body of an animal is composed solely of matter from the
four lower regions of the Desire World. Hence it is incapable of feeling any
but the animal desires for food, shelter, and the like. A saint would feel
the keenest remorse if he had inadvertently spoken a hasty word; the tigress
remains undisturbed by any sense of wrong, though she kill daily. The reason
is that man's desire body is composed of the matter of all the seven regions
of the Desire World, so that he is capable of feeling in a higher sense than
the animal. Another illustration will make the point clear:
Three men are walking along a road. They see a sick dog, covered
with sores, evidently suffering intense pain, and famishing.
This much is evident to all three men; it is the testimony of
their senses. Now comes the "feeling." One feels "indifferent" to the animal
and passes on without another look, leaving the dog to its fate. Not so
the others. They are both interested and remain; but this feeling of
interest manifests differently in the two men.
The interest of one man is of a sympathetic, helpful nature,
impelling him to care for the poor beast, to endeavor to assuage its pain and
nurse it back to health. In him the "feeling" of "interest" has aroused the
"force" of attraction."
The other man's interest is of an opposite nature. He sees only a
loathsome object, which offends his esthetic sense, and he wishes to rid
himself and the world of such a pest as quickly as possible; he is in favor of
killing the animal outright, and burying it. In him the "feeling" of
interest has generated the destructive "force": repulsion.
Thus we see that all action or refrainment from action (which is
negative action) is due to the twin feelings: Interest, which starts the twin
forces of Attraction and Repulsion; and Indifference, that simply cuts us off
from the object or idea it is directed against. If our interest in an object
or idea generates repulsion, that, of course, also causes us to endeavor to
expurgate it from our lives, but, as shown by the illustrations, there is a
great difference in the action of the force of repulsion and the feeling of
Thus we see that a dense body formed of the inert substance of
the Chemical Region, quickened and vitalized by the vital body composed of
the ethers of the Etheric Region, receives the incentive to action from the
desire body, an incentive which the animals follow absolutely, but which in
man is checked by another factor--reason, which sometimes causes him to act
contrary to desire. Were there no other realms in Nature but the Physical
World and the Desire World, That factor would be non-existent. We could
have mineral, plant, and animal, but man, a thinking, reasoning being, would
be an impossibility in Nature.
The World of Thought...
must be taken into consideration to account for man. For from its
substance the mind is formed to act as a brake upon the impulses of the
desire body, dictating action contrary to the urge of the twin feelings
because of wider viewpoint arrived at by reason.
The World of Thought also consists of seven regions in which the
matter is classified according to density and quality; besides, it is divided
into two main sections: "The Region of 'Concrete' Thought" and "the Region
of 'Abstract' Thought."
In the three lowest divisions of the Region of Concrete Thought are
the archetypes of everything we see in the Physical World, as mineral,
plant, animal, and man, of the continents, rivers and oceans; and here the
trained clairvoyant whose faculty enables him to reach these high realms sees
also the universal ocean of flowing life, in which all forms are immersed,
sees the same vital impulse moving from form to form in rhythmic cycles,
sustaining the form specialized by the Ego of man or the animal and plant
These archetypes are not merely models in the sense we generally speak
of models, as a thing in miniature, or in a finer material; they are
creative archetypes, molding all the visible forms, such as we see in the
world, in their own likeness, or rather likenesses, for often many of the
archetypes work together to form a certain species, each archetype giving
part of itself to build the required form. They are marshaled and directed
by "The Archetypal Forces" which are found in the fourth division. From
the substance of the four lower divisions our mind is formed, enabling man
to also form thoughts and make images which he may afterwards reproduce in
iron, stone, or wood, so that by means of the mind which he obtains from
this world man becomes a creator in the Physical World like the
But what is that which directs the mind as the Archetypal Forces
guide the operations of the archetypes? It is the Ego, and it gathers its
clothing or garment from the three highest sections, which are called the
Region of Abstract Thought and Ideas.
Thus we see that man is a very complex being, and a citizen of
three worlds to which he is correlated by an unbroken chain of five
vehicles, thereby giving him a full waking consciousness which enables him to
see objects in space outside himself in clear and sharp contours.
The animal has no "individual" Spirit yet, but has a so-called
"Group Spirit," which informs all the members of a species. The separate
animals have three bodies--a dense, a vital, and a desire body--but lack one
link in the chain: Mind. Hence animals do not ordinarily think, but as we
"induce" electricity in a wire by bringing it close to another which is
charged, so in a similar way by contact with man a semblance of thought has
been "induced" in the higher domestic animals, such as the dog, horse, and
elephant. The other animals obey the prompting (which we call instinct) of the
animal Group Spirit. They do not see objects in such clear outlines as does
man; in the lower species the animal consciousness resolves itself more and
more into an internal "picture-consciousness," resembling man's dream state,
except that their pictures are not confused, but convey perfectly to the
animal the promptings of the Group Spirit.
The plants have a dense body and a vital body; hence they can
neither feel nor think. They lack desire body and mind, and therefore a
greater gap exists between the plant and its Group Spirit than between the
animal and its Group Spirit; hence the consciousness of the plants is
correspondingly dimmer, resembling our state of dreamless sleep.
The mineral has only a dense body. It lacks three links to connect
it with its Group Spirit. It therefore is inert and its unconsciousness
resembles That of the dense human body in the "trance" state when the human
Spirit, the Ego, has passed correspondingly beyond it.
In conclusion, let us note that the three worlds in which we live are
not separated by space. They are all about us, as light and color, imbedded
in the physical matter; as lines of cleavage in the mineral. If we let a
dish of water freeze, and examine it under a microscope, we shall see the
ice crystals divided off from one another by lines. These were present
though unseen in the water as lines of force, invisible until the proper
condition brought them out. So one world lies imbedded in the next above,
unseen to us until we provide the proper conditions; but when we have
fitted ourselves, Nature, who is every ready to unfold to us her wonders,
expresses ardent joy over everyone who as a helper in evolution thus
attains to citizenship in the invisible realms.
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