When we left the Ego in its pilgrimage through the invisible worlds, we had reached the point where it entered the Third Heaven after having discarded the dense body at death, the vital body shortly afterwards, the desire body upon leaving Purgatory and the First Heaven, and finally before leaving the Second Heaven it also left the sheath of mind behind, and Then entered the Third Heaven absolutely free of any encumbrance. All the discarded vehicles decay, only the Spirit persists, laving for a while in the great spiritual reservoir of force which we call the Third Heaven, in order to fortify itself for the next rebirth into Earth-life.
Sir Edwin Arnold has put this idea so poignantly and beautifully in his "Song Celestial," where he says:
The Law of Consequence determines our existence after death in accord with the life we have lived here. If in Earth-life we were mostly given to low desires and passions our purgatorial existence is the most vivid part of our post-mortem state; the existence in the various heavens will be insipid. If we lived in the higher emotions, life in the First Heaven will be the richest of the different stages. Did we love to plan improvements and was our mind constructive in Earth-life? Then we shall have great benefit from our stay in the Second Heaven, where concrete thought is the basis of concrete things on Earth, but in order to have a conscious existence in the Third Heaven we must have given time and effort to abstract thought which had no relation to time or space.
Most of us are incapable of thinking abstractly and therefore we lack consciousness in the Third Heaven. If we think of "Love" we associate it with some person. We dislike mathematics because it is dry, unemotional and abstract. There is no feeling connected with the statement that twice two is four, but it is this very fact which is of value, for when we rise above feeling we leave bias behind and truth is at once apparent. No one would say that twice two is five, or quarrel over the proposition that the squares of the hypothenuse equals the sum of the squares of the other sides of a triangle. That was the reason why Pythagoras and other occult teachers demanded that applicants for tuition should first have a knowledge of mathematics. A mind used to grappling with mathematics is trained in sequential thought, capable of testing truth apart from bias, and only such a mind can safely be given occult training.
The great majority of people are not yet past the stage where they properly progress along what is called "practical lines," and for them the Third Heaven is simply a waiting place where they are unconscious, as in sleep, until the time is ripe for a new birth. The man, for instance, who had lived a low life of sense-gratification, who had been utterly destructive, would have a painful existence in Purgatory, as he had been very bad. He would rapidly and unconsciously pass through the First Heaven because he had done no good. His destructiveness would render his life in the Second Heaven almost unconscious and he would have absolutely no existence in the Third Heaven, where advanced Egos evolve original ideas which later manifest as genius in Earth-life. Hence such a backward Ego would remain asleep until the time for a new birth would awaken it to another day in Life's School, another chance of improvement.
We often hear people say, upon first hearing this doctrine: "Oh, but I don't want to come back." That is the cry of the weary and tired body, the consequence of a hard life; but as soon as the experience of that life has been assimilated in heaven, the Law of Consequence and desire for more knowledge draws the Ego back to Earth, as a magnet draws a needle, and it begins to contemplate a re-embodiment.
Here again the Law of Consequence is the determining factor, the new birth is conditioned by our past lives. Having lived many times it is evident, of course, that we have met many different persons and had varying relations with them, affecting them for good or ill, or we have been thus acted upon by them. Causes were thus generated between them and us, and many were left fallow, as it were, unable to produce their sequential effect, for one reason or another.
The invariableness of Law requires that these causes should find their consummation some time, and so the Recording Angels who are the Great Intelligences in charge of the law of adjustment, look up the past of each man, at the time he is ready for a new birth, and find out who among the friends or foes are living at that time, and where they are. As we have made an enormous number of such relations in our past, there are generally several groups of such people in Earth-life, and if there are no special reasons why one of them in particular should then be taken, the Recording Angel gives the Ego its choice of the opportunities offered. They select in each case the amount of ripe causation that the Ego is thus to work out, and show to the Ego in a series of pictures a panorama of what the coming life will be in each of the proposed lives, any of which the Ego may then choose. These panoramas run from the cradle to the grave, and give the great outline of the life, but leave room for the Ego to fill in the details by new or free-will action.
Thus, the Ego has a certain latitude as to the place of birth, and it may therefore be said that in the great majority of cases we are where we are by our own choice; it matters not that we do not know it in our brain, the Ego is yet weak, and not able to freely penetrate the veil of flesh, is largely dependent even upon the lower personality to help it grow, and the more we determine in our brain-mind to live for the higher self, the sooner the day will come when the Ego will shine through, and we shall know.
When the Ego has made its choice, it is bound by that choice to go through with the adjustment of debts contracted in former lives and now ripe for liquidation. That then forms the destiny, or the hard and fast conditions of life, which cannot possibly be changed. Any attempt to do so will surely be frustrated, but let no one fall into the delusion that his destiny compels him to do wrong at any time. The law works only for good, and as we have seen, the evil in any life is the first thing purged after death, and only the tendency to do this particular wrong remains, with the feeling of aversion, generated by the suffering experienced in the process of expurgation. When the temptation to commit a similar evil act comes in a later life, this feeling of past pain, which we call conscience, warns and repels us from yielding to the temptation. If we fall in spite of this warning voice, the suffering we experience in Purgatory will add to and strengthen the previous feeling, until our conscience develops the necessary stability to resist the particular evil involved, and from that moment it ceases to be a temptation to us.
Thus we see that no man is ever fated to do wrong, that at least every evul act is an act of free-will, committed even against the resistance of whatever amount of conscience we have previously developed regarding that particular phase of evil.
The question as to the coming rebirth having been decided, the Ego descends first into the Region of Concrete Thought, and begins to draw to itself the materials for a new mind.
As said previously, the man withdraws from his different bodies in the course of his post-mortem career, these bodies go to decay, but there is an atom saved from each, one from the mind also, and it is those so- called "seed-atoms" which are the nuclei of the new vestures in which the Spirit will appear in its coming life.
When now, the Ego descends into the Region of Concrete Thought, the latent forces in the seed-atom of the mind of its previous lives are aroused into activity, and it begins to draw to itself the materials for a new mind, as a magnet draws iron filings around its poles. If we hold a magnet over a heap of shavings of brass, iron, gold, lead, silver, wood, etc., we shall find that it will only take the iron filings, and also that it will take only a certain quantity, according to its strength. Its attractive power is limited to a certain quantity of a particular kind. So with the seed-atom, it can attract in each region only such materials as it has affinity for, and only a certain definite quantity. This material then forms itself into a great bell-shaped thing, open at the bottom and with the seed-atom at the top.
This may be likened to a diving-bell, diving into a sea of gradually increasing density. The materials taken from each realm and woven into the bell add to its weight, so as to make it sink farther and farther until it reaches the bottom.
Thus the returning Ego sinks through the Region of Concrete Thought and in the passage the seed-atom gathers the materials for the new mind.
The descent continues. The Ego, clothed in its bell-shaped garment of mind-stuff, sinks into the Desire World; the forces of the seed-atom saved from its former desire body are awakened, and placed inside a top of the bell. Thence it draws to itself the kind and quantity of the materials needed to furnish the returning Ego with a new desire body appropriate to its particular needs, so that when the densest region of the Desire World has been reached there are two layers in the bell, the sheath of mind-stuff on the outside and the materials for the desire body inside.
The next step downwards brings the spirit into the Etheric Region, where the materials for the new vital body are gathered, and from a part of that material the agents of the Recording Angels fashion a mold or matrix, which is placed in the womb of the mother, to give appropriate form to the new dense body, while the seed-atom is placed in the semen of the father. Without the presence of these two factors no union of the sexes will bring results, and when a marriage is barren, though both partners are healthy and desirous of children, it means simply that no incoming Ego is attracted to them.
As soon as the vital body has been placed the returning Ego, clothed in its bell-shaped covering, hovers constantly near the future mother. She alone does the work upon the new dense body in the first eighteen to twenty-one days after fertilization, Then the Ego enters the mother's body, drawing the bell-shaped covering down over the foetus, the opening at the bottom closes, and the Ego is once more incarcerated in the prison-house of the dense body.
The moment of entrance into the womb is one of great importance in life, for when the incoming Ego first contacts the before-mentioned matrix vital body it sees there again the panorama of the coming life which has been impressed upon the matrix by the Recording Angels in order to give it the tendencies required to work out the ripe causation due to be liquidated in the coming life.
At this time the Ego is already so much blinded by the veil of matter that it does not recognize the good end in view in the same unbiased manner as when making its choice in the Region of Abstract Thought, and when a particularly hard life reveals itself to the vision of the returning Ego at the moment of entering the womb, it sometimes happens that the Ego is so startled and frightened that it seeks to rush out again. The connection cannot be severed, however, but may be strained, so that instead of the vital body being concentric with the dense body, the head of the vital body maybe above the head of the dense body. Then we have a congenital idiot.
Under the most favorable conditions it is a great strain for the Ego to go through the womb, and everything should be done by the parents not to make it more aggravated than necessary; we never can tell where the breaking point is; inharmonious relationship between the parents at the critical periods of gestation, particularly the first, may sometimes prove the last straw.
Before the event we term birth, the coming man is enclosed in another body (the mother's), and thus unable to directly contact the sense- world. This seclusion is necessary to bring the organism to the proper point of maturity, where it is fit to receive these impressions itself. When that point is reached, the protective covering of the womb opens and the new human being enters the arena of the world.
As we have seen, man is a great deal more than the mere dense body, and it must not be imagined that all his vehicles are equally mature when he is born into the Physical World. As a matter of fact they are not; the vital body grows and ripens inside its covering of ether until the seventh year, or the changing of the teeth. The desire body requires protection from the onslaughts of the Desire World until about the fourteenth year it is born at the time we call puberty; and the mind is not sufficiently ripe to be released from its protective cover until the man reaches his majority at about twenty-one. These periods are only approximately correct, for each person differs from all others in regard to exact time periods, but those given are near enough.
The reason for this slow unfoldment of the higher vehicles lies in the fact that they are comparatively recent additions to the economy of the Ego, while the dense body has had much the longest evolution, and is by far the most perfect and valuable instrument we possess. When people who have sometimes but recently come to a knowledge of the existence of higher vehicles are constantly talking and thinking of how nice it would be to fly off in the desire body and leave the "low" and "vile" physical, it shows that they have not yet learned to appreciate the difference between "higher" and "perfect." The dense body is a marvel of perfection, with its strong articulated skeleton, its delicate sense organs, its coordinating mechanism of nerve and brain, which makes it superior to any other mechanism in the world. Looked at in detail, take for instance the large bone of the thigh, the femur, and examine the thick ends. If we split it open we shall see that only a thin outside shell is made of compact bone. This is stiffened by beams and cross-beams of thin cancellated bone, making it of prodigious strength, coupled with a lightness as far beyond the skill of the greatest living structural engineer as differential calculus is beyond an ant.
Therefore, though we realize that some day in the distant future our higher vehicles will attain a perfection far, far beyond that of our dense body, we must remember that at present they are more or less unorganized, and are of little value when detached from the perfect physical organism, and we should in all things give thanks to the exalted Beings who helped us to evolve this splendid instrument whereby we are now functioning in the world as self-conscious human beings and working out our destiny, life after life, becoming each time a little more like our Father in Heaven.
Thus we see that birth is a fourfold event, and in order to do our full duty as educators, it is absolutely necessary that we should know this and the facts that follow from it. We cannot easily tear the unborn babe out of the womb and expose it to the impacts of the outside world--to do so would kill it. It is equally dangerous to break through the wombs of the unseen bodies and expose the immature child to the impacts of the moral and mental world, and though such a proceeding does not always kill the dense body it invariably stunts its capacity, for what hurts one body is detrimental to the other vehicles. To educate the child properly, it is therefore necessary to have a knowledge of the effect of training upon the different vehicles, and the right methods to employ, bearing in mind constantly, however, that general rules do not always apply in individual cases.
We saw that when the Ego had finished its day in the school of life the centrifugal force of Repulsion caused it to throw off its dense vehicle at death, Then the vital body, which is the next coarsest. Next in purgatory the coarsest desire stuff accumulated by the Ego as embodiment for its lowest desires was purged by this centrifugal force. In the higher realms only the force of Attraction holds sway and keeps the goody by centripetal action, which tends to draw everything from the periphery to the center.
This centripetal force of Attraction also governs when the Ego is coming to rebirth. We know that we can throw a stone farther than we can throw a feather. Therefore the coarsest matter was thrown outwards after death by the force of Repulsion, and for the same reason the coarsest material wherein the returning Ego embodies the tendency to evil is whirled inwards to the center by the centripetal force of Attraction, with the result that when a child is born all that is best and purest appears on the outside. The latent evil does not usually manifest until after the desire body is born at about the age of fourteen, and the currents in that vehicle commence to well outwards from the liver. At that time the Ego commences to "live" its individual life and show what is within.
The stars are the clock of destiny; they show the hidden tendencies, and while astrologers are fallible in prediction of events, a good and careful astrologer will be able to reveal the character of a person accurately in 99 per cent of all cases. Thus parents may obtain a guide to the hidden side of a child's nature. But it requires very little ability to cast a horoscope, and it is always better for the parents to learn than to employ a stranger. They will then get a much deeper insight into the character of their child.
With the physical birth the dense body begins to feel the impacts of the outside world, which act upon it as the forces of the mother's body previously did. What these did during ante-natal life, the impacts of the elements continue all through physical life. Up to the time of the seventh year, or change of teeth, there is one particular activity going on, which is widely different from the activities of the succeeding epochs of life. The sense organs take certain definite forms which give them their basic structural tendencies and determine their line of development in one direction or another. Later they grow, but all growth follows the lines laid down in those first seven years, and the mistakes or neglect of opportunities during this period can seldom be retrieved in after life. If the limbs and organs have taken the proper forms, the whole after growth will be harmonious; but if malformation takes place then, the little body will be more or less misshapen. It is the duty of the educator to give the proper environment to the little child in this period, as nature does before birth, for only that can give the sensitive organism the right direction and tendency of growth.
There are two magic words which denote the manner in which the child comes into contact with the formative influences of its environment-- example and imitation. There is under the whole heaven no creature so imitative as a little child, and in this imitation we have the force which gives tendency and direction to the little organism. Everything in a child's environment leaves its impress for good or evil, and we should realize that our slightest action may do incalculable harm or good in the life of our children, and that we ought never to do anything in the presence of the child which we would not be perfectly willing to have it imitate.
It is no use to teach it to mind, or to moralize at this period; example is the only teacher the child needs or heeds. It cannot help imitating any more than water can help running down hill, for that is its only method of growth in this epoch. Teaching of morals and reason comes later; to apply them now is like taking a child out of the womb prematurely; all that the child is to acquire of thoughts, ideas, and imagination must come of itself in the same way that the eyes and ears develop before the birth of the dense body.
The child should be a given playthings on which it may exercise its imitative faculty--something with life, or a doll, jointed, so that it can be put in different positions, and let the child dress it herself; in that way she exercises her formative force in the right manner. Give the boys tools and patterns, or molds and clay. Never give them anything finished, where they have nothing to do but look at it. That leaves the brain no chance for development, and it must ever be the care and aim of the educator at this time to furnish the means of developing the physical organs harmoniously.
In regard to food, great care must be taken in this period, for a healthy or diseased appetite in after life will depend upon how it is fostered in the first septenary epoch. Here also example is the great teacher. Highly seasoned dishes spoil the organism; the plainer the food and the more it is conducive to thorough mastication, the more it promotes a healthy appetite that will guide the man through life and give him the health of body and ease of mind that is unknown to the gourmand. Let us not have one dish for ourselves, however, and another for our child. In that way we may keep it from eating it at home, but we generate a hankering that will seek satisfaction when it gets old enough to have a will of its own. The imitative faculty will then assert itself.
In regard to clothing, let us always be sure that a child's apparel is of full size, and is replaced before it becomes so small that it irritates. Many an immoral nature that has spoilt a life was first wakened by the chafing of a too small garment, particularly in the case of boys. Immorality is one of the worst and most tenacious plague-spots on our civilization. To save our child, let us attend to this point, and seek in every way to keep it unconscious of its sex-organ before the seventh year. Corporal punishment is also an exceedingly fruitful factor in forcing the sex-nature, and cannot be sufficiently deprecated.
In regard to the education of the temperament it will be found that colors are of the greatest significance, although the matter involves not only a knowledge of the effect of colors, but particularly of the complementary colors, for it is the latter that do the work in the organism of the child. If we have to deal with a boisterous, hot-tempered nature, it is soothed and softened by an environment of red. Rooms, furniture and clothing of red will produce in the child the cooling green effect and calm its nerves. One who is of a melancholy and lethargic nature will be roused to action and life by an environment of blue or blue-green, which creates in the child's organs the warm, rousing red or orange.
Nursery-rhymes are of the greatest importance in this period. It does not matter so much about the sense they have, as about the rhythm --that is of supreme importance and builds the organs in a harmony not realized by any of the other aids; therefore, this, and a cheerful atmosphere are the greatest of all means of education, and will even make up to a great extent for the lack of others.
By the seventh year the vital body of the child has reached a perfection sufficient to allow it to receive impacts from the outside world. It sheds its protective covering of ether, and commences its free life. An now the time begins in which the educator may work on the vital body and help it in the formation of memory, conscience, good habits and a harmonious temperament. Authority and discipleship are the watchwords of this epoch, when the child is to learn the meaning of things. In the first epoch it learns that things are, but must not be bothered about their meaning, except what it picks up of its own accord, but in the second epoch from seven to fourteen years, it is essential that the child should learn the meaning of them, but should learn to take things on the authority of parents and teachers, memorizing their explanations, rather than reasoning for itself, for reason belongs to a later development, and though he may do so of his own accord, with profit, it is harmful at this period to force him to think.
In order that the growing child should derive the proper benefit from the instruction of parents and teachers, it is of course necessary that he should have the greatest veneration for them, and admiration for their wisdom, and it behooves us to comport ourselves so that he may always retain it, for if he sees in us frivolity, hears light talk and observes a generally loose conduct, we deprive him of the greatest staff of strength in life, faith and trust in others. It is in this age that cynics and sceptics are made. We are responsible to God for the lives committed to our care, and will have to answer to the Law of Consequence if we neglect, through slothful conduct, the great opportunity for guiding the early steps of a fellow-being in the right path, and example is always better than precept.
There is little use of warnings. Let us show the child living examples of the effects of virtue and vice, paint before his youthful phantasy a picture of the drunkard and thief, and others of the saint, that will affect his vital body in such a way that there will be an abhorrence of the one and an ardent purpose to emulate the other.
In this period the child should also be instructed in the origin of his being, so that he may be well prepared for the storm time of passion which makes adolescence so dangerous; that information should also be given in mental picture and examples from nature, but in such a way as to thoroughly impress the child with the sanctity of the function. It is the bounden duty of the educator to properly enlighten the child. Not to do this is like putting him blindfolded among innumerable pitfalls, with the admonition not to stumble. Tear the bandage away at least; he will be handicapped sufficiently without that.
Let the instructor take a flower, which is the generative organ of the plant, and teach from that, for one who understands the process of generation in the plant will understand it in animal and man also. Let us avoid the mistake of giving the child many names to grapple with, such as "stamen" and "anthers," or "pistillate" and "staminate" flowers. That would frustrate our object by making the children tired of the study. They like fairy tales, and the skillful instructor can make the story of the flower more fascinating than any fairy tale known, and in addition may throw a halo of beauty and sanctity over the generative act which will hover over the child all through life to protect it in temptation and trial when the fires of passion surge around it.
We know that the stamen and pollen are male, the pistil and ovule female, also that some flowers have only one kind, others another kind and still others have both stamen and pistil. We also know that the bees have pollen baskets on their legs and carry pollen to the pistils of other flowers. There the pollen works its way to the ovule which then is fertilized and capable of growing into a new plant and flowers.
With these data and some flowers, let us gather the children, let us tell them and show them how flowers are like families. In some (the staminate) there are only boys, in others (the pistillate), there are only girls, and in some there are both boys and girls. The flower boys (pollen) are as adventuresome as human boys, they ride away into the wide world on winged steeds (bees) as the old-time knights did and search for the princess immured in her magic castle (the ovule in the pistil); the little flower-boy-knight dismounts from his steed (the bee), and works his way into the secret chamber where the princess (ovule) is. Then they are married and have lots of little flower boys and girls.
This narrative may be varied and embellished to suit the fancy of the educator, and can later be supplemented with stories of birds and animals. It will awaken in the child an understanding of the genesis of its own body that will invest the love story of papa and mama with all the romance of the flower boys and girls and obviate the slightest thought of odium connected with birth in the mind of the child.
The desire-body is born about the 14th year, at the time of puberty. That is the time the feelings and passions are beginning to exercise their power upon the young man or woman, as the womb of desire-stuff which formerly protected the nascent desire body is removed. This is in most cases a trying time, and it is well for the youth who has learned reverently to look to parents or teachers, for they will be to him an anchor of strength strength against the inrush of the feelings. If he has been accustomed to take the statements of his elders on trust, and they have given him wise teaching, he will by now have developed an inherent sense of truth that will be a sure guide, but just in the measure that he has failed to do so will he be liable to go adrift.
It is now the time that he should be taught to investigate things for himself, and thus to form individual opinions. Let us always impress upon him the necessity of careful investigation before he judges, and also that the more fluidic he can keep his opinions, the better he will be able to examine new facts and acquire new knowledge. In this way he will reach his majority at 21, when the mind is also fully free, and will be able to take his place in the world as a full-fledged citizen, a credit to those whose loving care shielded him in his years of development, a thoroughbred man or woman.
In the previous lectures we have constantly tried to emphasize the value of the dense body; it is the most priceless of all our material possessions, and strange to say, it is the one we neglect most of all. To protect worthless property we will risk life and limb, throwing away the wheat to save the tares. But it is not our worse crime that we do that upon occasion; the greatest trouble arises from the neglect and disregard which we practice daily, from before birth, to the moment of death.
In the case of our cattle and horses we are very careful regarding breeding; we see that the animals are in perfect health and seek out the mate for them which our common sense and experience tell us will bring forth best strain; we inquire carefully into the pedigree of a dog or a stallion before we allow it to become the sire of our stock, but our prospective children get not a thought. We marry for wealth, a home, social standing, etc., and not to secure a partner mentally, morally, and physically fit to be a progenitor of a more advanced generation, and worst of all, marriage is generally regarded as a license to unlimited coition which is in many cases carried on uninterrupted through the whole period of gestation. What wonder that passion rules the child from infancy! Marriage and propagation are social duties for persons in good health and of sufficient means; but excess is a crime, a cancer which gnaws at the vitals of society as the vulture at Prometheus' liver, and cannot be too strongly condemned.
Thus our forefathers have brought us into the world with many a serious handicap in life, and we are hampering our children in the same way on account of lack of thought and self-restraint, yet wondering why there is sickness and pain. If we would take half the care in the selection of mothers and fathers for our children that we do in the case of our animals there would be a great improvement, particularly if the mother were left unmolested during the period of gestation.
But it is not enough that we bring our children thus handicapped into the world; from earliest childhood we ignorantly implant habits in them which are deleterious to health and well-being, particularly by giving them wrong food; teaching them to live to eat, instead of eating to live; to look more to the things that please the eye than wholesomeness, inculcating a taste for highly seasoned dishes which arouse the passional nature most potently. Suppose a builder should try to erect a house from old rags, tin cans, offal and refuse of every kind, and live in it. Would we be surprised if it fell down and hurt him? No! we should be surprised if it did not, and when the catastrophe occurred, we should say that he had himself to blame for flying the fact of Nature. So with ourselves, when we employ analogous methods and build our body from any kind of materials without regard to their fitness, we alone are to blame for the ills resulting. Sickness, decreptitude, and infirmity are all effects from causes which may be in a great measure avoided by a tithe of the thought and care we give to the thousand and one things of minor importance. Let us try to outline the underlying causes which produce disastrous effects.
There is no "faith once for all delivered" in any department of knowledge; truth is many-sided, and new phases are constantly opening to the investigator. Yet there are certain basic laws and facts which are ever true, and it is with such facts that we will deal, because they apply to all without exception, and will be found to be conducive to health in all, though health is a strictly individual matter, independent of looks only conditioned by whether the Ego feels "at ease" in the body. If the Ego feels diseased,, the body is ill, no matter if it looks what we call "the picture of health."
When the antenatal life of a human being commences as an embryo it is a small pulpy globule composed of albumen (white of egg). Then a change occurs: there appear various particles of more solid substance within it, which grow larger, firmer, and finally touch each other. At points of contact they form "joints" and gradually the skeleton is formed. At the same time the pulpy matter becomes more organized and we have the "foetus," a child in the womb.
The growth continues and birth reveals the child as a soft little body, yet immensely more dense and solid than the embryo. Infancy, childhood, and youth bring increased consolidation and in time the acme of solidity is reached in old age, and ended by death.
In each of these epochs of human life the body is hardened beyond what it was previously, the flesh and the bones, the tendons and the ligaments, every part alike becomes hard and inflexible. The fluids also thicken. The joints no longer are oiled by the synovial fluid, because it gets too thick to flow, and the joints become stiff and begin to creak, the blood which in infancy and youth flowed unimpeded through the arteries, veins, and the minute capillaries, which in early life are all as elastic as rubber tubes, flows slowly and stagnates in the contracted, indurated, and inflexible arteries of old age. In consequence the body bends, the flesh shrinks for want of nutrition, the hair falls out, and last the tired heart can drive the blood no longer, so the body dies. The whole course from the womb to the tomb is one uninterrupted process of consolidation, and infancy, childhood, youth, maturity, and old age are but so many stages of the way.
The only difference between the body of youth and age is, that one is soft and elastic, the other hard and rigid, and the vital question is: What is the cause of this ossification, an it be controlled or at least minimized so as to prolong the halcyon days of youth?
To the latter part of the question it may be answered without qualification, that it is possible by knowledge to minimize the consolidating process and to live our appointed time to greater advantage than if we live unthinkingly as most people unfortunately do.
In regard to the cause of ossification which hardens the tissue of our bodies, chemical analysis has proved that any part of tendon, flesh, blood, urine, perspiration, saliva, and, in fact, any part of the body we examine, contains an immense amount of calcareous or chalky matter not present in childhood, so that while, for instance, the bones of a child are composed of three parts of gelatine and one part of phosphate of lime or bone matter, in old age the proportion is exactly reversed so that there is only one part of gelatine to three parts of bone matter, which is the reason why an old man's bones will not knit when broken. A child's bones knit readily because there is plenty of the cementing material in its bones, and very little of the phosphate of lime or bony matter, sulphate of lime or plaster of paris, and carbonate of lime or common chalk, which are the choking substances principally causing rigidity and old age.
The question now arises: What is the source? whence do we get this calcareous choking matter. It seems to be beyond dispute that all the solids of the body are built by the blood, which nourishes every part of the system, and that all that the body contains must first have been in the blood. The blood is renewed from the chyle, the chyle from the chyme and ultimately from the food and drink. Food and drink then, which nourish our bodies must therefore at the same time be the source of the earthy deposits which choke our bodies and produce old age and decrepitude.
Chemical analysis also bears out this inference, for it has shown that the arterial blood which comes fresh from the heart, pure and red, is heavier with earthy matter than the venous blood which contains the impurities of the system. Thus it is proven that the life-giving stream which flows through every part of the body to renew and build, at the same time is the bringer of death, for in every cycle it leaves behind a fresh accumulation of choking lime compounds to harden the tissues.
This is the Waterloo upon which all "perpetual life" theories meet their doom, for it is necessary to eat to live, yet every morsel of food has in it both life and death.
While we, therefore, cannot escape taking death-dealing substances into our system, we may at least regulate our food so that we take as little of it as possible, for there is a great difference in the amount contained in different foods; powdered cocoa for instance is one of the most nourishing foods; but at the same time a most potent clogging agent, containing three or four times as much ash as the worst of all other foods. Chocolate on the other hand is still more nourishing than cocoa and contains no earthy matter at all. Anyone knows that as long as we can supply fuel to a fire and keep it free from ashes it will burn and heat: so with our body which is a chemical furnace, as long as we give it proper food and are able to eliminate the refuse by way of the kidneys, skin, and rectum, we can keep it in health and vigor. By taking only such foods as contain the smallest amount of earthy substance we may put off the evil day when rigidity and old age take the place of the elasticity of youth. It lies with ourselves to do so, and the tables of food-values sent out by the U.S. Government give the chemical constituents of the various foods.
Speaking broadly, and from the chemical standpoint, there are two classes of food (1) the carbonaceous, including the sugars and fats; and (2) the nitrogenous, including the proteins.
The carbonaceous foods are the fuel whence we derive heat and muscular power; they come from the starch and sugar in vegetables, also from butter, cream, milk, olive oil, nuts, fruits, and the yolk of eggs.
These foods contain very little earthy matter; many of them, particularly green, fresh vegetables and fruits are entirely free from it.
The proteins are the material we use to repair waste of the body incident to work and use. They may be obtained from lean meat, such vegetables as beans, peas, etc., from nuts, milk, and white of egg.
Most people feel that a meal without meat is incomplete, for from time immemorial it has been regarded as an axiom that meat is the most strengthening food we have. All other foodstuffs are looked upon as mere accessories to the one or more kinds of flesh on the menu. Nothing could be more erroneous; science has proved by experiments that invariably the nourishment obtained from vegetables has a greater sustaining power, and the reason is easy to see when we look into the matter from the occult side.
The Law of Assimilation is that "no particle of food may be built into the body by the forces whose task that is (see Lecture No. 6) until it has been overcome by the indwelling Spirit," because he must be absolute and undisputed ruler in the body, governing the cell-lives as an autocrat, or they would each go their own way as they do in decay when the Ego has fled.
It is evident that the dimmer the consciousness of a cell is, the easier it is to overpower it, and the longer it will remain in subjection. In Lecture No. 3 we saw that the different kingdoms had different vehicles and consequently a different consciousness. The mineral has only its dense body and a consciousness like the deepest trance state. It would therefore be easiest to subject food taken directly from the mineral kingdom, mineral food would remain with us the longest, obviating the necessity for eating so often; but unfortunately we find that the human organism vibrates so rapidly that it is incapable of assimilating the inert mineral directly. Sale and the like substances are passed out of the system at once without having been assimilated at all, the air is full of nitrogen which we need to repair waste, we breathe it into our system, yet cannot assimilate it or any other mineral till it has first been transmuted in nature's laboratory and built into the plants.
As we saw in Lecture No. 3, the plants have a dense and a vital body, which enables them to do this work; their consciousness we also saw, was as a deep, dreamless sleep. Thus it is easy for the Ego to overpower the vegetable cells and keep them in subjection for a long time; hence the great sustaining power of the vegetables.
In animal food the cells have already become more individualized, and as the animal has a desire body giving it a passional nature, it is easily understood that when we eat meat it is harder to overcome these cells which have animal consciousness resembling the dream state, and also that such particles will not stay long in subjection; hence, a meat diet requires larger quantities and more frequent meals than the vegetable or fruit diet.
If we should go one step farther and eat the flesh of carnivorous animals, we should find ourselves hungry all the time, for there the cells have become exceedingly individualized and will therefore seek their freedom and gain it so much the quicker. That this is so is well illustrated in the case of the wolf, the vulture, and the cannibal which have become proverbs for hunger; and as the human liver is too small to take care of even the ordinary meat diet, it is evident that if the cannibal lived solely upon human flesh instead of using it as an occasional "tidbit" he would soon succumb, for while too much of the carbohydrates, sugars, starches, and fats do little if any harm to the system, being exhaled through the lungs as carbonic acid gas or passing as water by way of the kidneys and the skin, an excess of meat is also burned up, but leaves poisonous uric acid and it is being more and more recognized that the less meat we eat the better for our physical well-being.
Looking at the matter of flesh-eating from the ethical side also it is is against the higher conceptions to kill to eat. In olden times man went out to the chase as any beast of prey, rough and callous; now he does his hunting in the butcher shop, where none of the nauseating sights of the slaughter-house will sicken him. If each had to go into that bloody place where all the horrors described in Upton Sinclair's books are enacted day after day to be able to satisfy an abnormal injurious habit which causes more sickness and suffering than even the liquor craving; if each had to wield the bloody knife and plunge it into the quivering flesh of his victim, how much meat would we eat? Very little. In order to escape doing this nauseating work ourselves on occasion, we force a fellow being to stand in that bloody pen day after day killing thousands of animals every day of the week; we brutalize him to such an extent that the law will not allow him to sit on a jury in a capital case because he has ceased to have any regard for life. When he gets into a fight as is often the case in the stockyard district of Chicago, and other slaughter cities, he always uses the knife and always unconsciously uses the peculiar twisting cut which makes his stab fatal.
It is no use to say he need not do it. When hunger drives, a man will refuse no means of livelihood; and we, society, who demand this food, force some fellow being to supply it and are therefore responsible for his degradation. We are our brother's keeper both individually and collectively as society.
The animals which we kill also cry aloud against this murder; there is a cloud of gloom and hatred over the great slaughter-cities. The law protects cats and dogs against cruelty. We all rejoice to see the little squirrels in the city parks come and take food from our hands but as soon as there is money in the flesh or fur of an animal, man eases to have regard for its right to live, and becomes its most dangerous foe, feeding and breeding it for gain, imposing suffering and hardships upon a fellow being for the sake of gold. We have a heavy debt to pay to the lower creatures whose mentors we should be; whose murderers we are, and the good law which works ever to correct abuses will also in time relegate the habit of eating murdered animals to the scrapheap of obsolete practices as cannibalism is now.
We are not advocating a vegetarian diet for everyone. Long practice of flesh eating and particularly the temperamental peculiarities of many people make it unsuitable for them to do without meat, yet others, like the writer, find it no trouble to live and grow fat on two meals of meatless dishes. Eggs, fish, and other low forms are necessary to some, others can live months or years on fruit. Diet, like health, is determined individually and no general standard can be set up. At the same time it may be safely said that the less meat we can along with, the better our general health will be. But if we want to do without it altogether, it is absolutely essential that we should study a table of food values so that we get the necessary proteins from the vegetables we eat. No man can go to the ordinary table and get sufficient nourishment if he eats only the vegetables provided as accessories to the meat; he must have beans, peas, nuts, and the like foods which are rich in protein to take the place of the discarded flesh or he will starve. As a hint to brain workers it may be said that carrots contain about four times as much phosphoric acid as any other food. The leaves can be used as salad and they have three times as much phosphoric acid as the carrot itself.
More dangerous to man than any food as a clogging and hardening agent of the system is water. It does not matter how clear and pure it looks, there is an enormous amount of the lime compounds and magnesia in the best we have, and neither filtration nor boiling will take it out. The amount of mineral in the water is easily determined by the way our teakettle "furs up," and it is a mistake to think that the deposit comes from the water that we pour out of the kettle to make tea or coffee with, for it is the solid remains of the water that has evaporated as steam, the water left is harder if anything. The only thing that enables us to live beyond childhood is the enormous eliminative power of the kidneys; were it not for them we should be old in infancy, and if we want to preserve health and youth in old age we must cease drinking and cooking with this death-dealing fluid, using for all internal purposes only distilled water which is absolutely free from the injurious lime-compounds.
The only solvents of a permanent beneficient nature which the writers knows are buttermilk and the juice of grapes, obtained preferably by eating the grape or the juice taken unfermented. A systemic course of treatment with grape juice or buttermilk will open up the closed capillaries and stimulate the blood, so that even aged persons whose flesh has dried up and shrunk will again fill out and take on the look of youth, provided they are not of a too worrying pessimistic nature, for nothing will avail against such a temperament. That, and fear and ignorance in the selection of food are in fact the most productive causes of sickness and the most obstinate foes of the physician.
There are two great aids to health which enable us to get so much more benefit from our food that all who desire to get health or to keep it, ought to employ them. Their names are "thorough mastication" and "enjoyment." They will do more for the welfare of the body than all the drugs or doctors in the world, and like all other habits, they can be cultivated.
The "Quick Lunch Counter" is one of the greatest sins of our nation. A man runs post haste from his office to the high uncomfortable chair found in these places. In five minutes he swallows as many courses, rushes back to his office, and then wonders why he feels uncomfortable and drowsy. Perhaps he feels forced to employ alcoholic stimulants in order to "brace up."
All that can be avoided by taking time to eat in comfort.
The question is not how much we eat, but how much we assimilate. When we swallow a large quantity of food nearly whole we get less nourishment than if we take the time necessary to masticate and enjoy our food. Not that we should make it a labored process, but that we should regard eating as the welcoming of a friend into our house, where we are gladly doing all in our power to make him comfortable. Our bodies are in fact comparable to large hotels where we are the hosts and the cells in our food are the guests. They come and go, staying a longer or a shorter time and are a profit or a loss to the proprietor according to whether he makes them feel at home or not.
Imagine two hotels, one run on the basis of cordiality and helpfulness, where the proprietor meets each guest at the door with a cordial shake of the hand and where an ideal, contented set of servants are anxious to anticipate the slightest wish of the guests. Of course things will go swimmingly in that hotel; the guests will feel satisfied and stay long because they will be loath to leave so kind a host. Similarly, if we meet our food with "the glad hand," we shall find that it will fit in easily. If we masticate it in thorough enjoyment, we are making arrangements for its comfort, as the hotel proprietor does for his guest by having a bath and other necessaries in readiness. Enjoying the food, our mental attitude is even more important than mastication. The man who finds fault with his food is like a hotel proprietor who would meet his guests at the door with a scowling face and ask: "What do you want here? I don't like you; I have to take in guest such as you in order to keep my hotel running, but I want you to know that I don't like it."
What wonder if travelers who were forced to enter such a hotel should get angry, cause trouble, and try too get away as soon as possible; what wonder that the man who sniffs and snorts at his food gets indigestion. Whose the fault for his condition but his own? Faultfinding and hate drive the good of our food away from us just as much as they estrange us from friends; enjoyment of food and friend will knit the ties with both closer. As the amount of work we may do in the world, both spiritual and material, depends upon the condition of our bodies, it is of the greatest importance that we cultivate health and prolong youth to the limit of our allotted stay here if it is possible. By following the general directions here given, it will soon be perceived that there is an improvement in the bodily condition which will give fuller and freer scope to the mental faculties.
In the previous lectures we have been considering man as a unit, showing how man, a Spirit, has several bodies, or vehicles of consciousness besides the dense body, and how he uses these bodies in gathering experience as a workman uses tools; how experience is garnered in each life and assimilated between death and the next birth, so that in each new Earth-life, we have as faculty the sum of all our experience in our former lives; and how we are thus progressing towards the glorious goal of perfection, which all will eventually attain before we cease returning to this Earth, were each life in a dense body is as a day at school to a child. When we have learned all that is to be learned here, there are other and higher evolutions that we may enter, just as a child enters the grammar school after passing through kindergarten. Endless progress is before the Ego, limitations are unthinkable, for the human Spirit is a spark from the Infinite, enfolding all possibilities.
Man is not only a unit, a separate entity, however; at least, he is that only in a relative sense, for he is a member of a family, a community, a nation, one of the inhabitants of the Earth, and through that related to other worlds with their inhabitants, for they are all inhabited, as some astronomers, arguing from analogy, have asserted. Occult science also teaches that they are inhabited, and this teaching is founded on firsthand knowledge, gained and verified by means of faculties possessed by some, though as yet latent in the many.
This view of the Universe and our little Earth, though strange to most people, should not be nearly as hard to believe as the seven-day Creation Story, when taken literally, for if God created the Earth in that brief space of time, He must also have mixed in the fossil remains; twisted the strata, made the glacier-marks and the mark of erosion by water--all for His own glory, and to the eternal mystification of man. It is certainly more logical to hold that the different heavenly bodies are inhabitants for evolving life and form, than that they are merely lamps hung up in the firmament to light our little mite of Earth
This relation of the Sun, Moon, and planets is shown in every one of the different world religions, the Christian religion included, and the olden temples are monuments to the faith now nearly forgotten in the Western World; yet as relevant today as in the days of old.
The great Pyramid of Gizeh, which stands upon the edge of the vast desert of Sahara, at the head of the Delta of the Nile, is one of the oldest structures on the Earth and one of the witnesses to the knowledge of the ancients concerning the true cosmic relationship for they built these cosmic measurements into that monumental pile.
Many theories have been advanced regarding the age and object of this Pyramid. Astronomers have pointed out that in the year 2170 B.C., Alpha Draconis, the pole-star then, pointed directly down the slanted entrance-way on the north side of the Pyramid. Professor Proctor asserts that it was also in the required position 3350 B.C.; but Egyptologists say that this is far too late; and as the latter figure takes into consideration the relationship then existing between Alpha Draconis and Alcyone, which can occur only once in a sidereal year (25,868 solar years), and as the Dendera Zodiac shows that the ancient Egyptians had records of three sidereal years, the age of the pyramid may be 78,000 years or older. This age has at least as much claim to scientific belief as Professor Proctor's date.
The occult investigations which are based upon the imperishable records found in the Memory of Nature fix the date of construction at about 250,000 B.C. when it was used as a temple of initiation into the Mysteries, and was the shrine in which a great talisman was kept.
H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine tells us that the construction of the pyramids was based on the program of the Mysteries and of the series of Initiations...hence the Pyramids are the everlasting record on Earth of these Initiations "as the course of the stars are in heaven." The cycle of Initiation was a reproduction in miniature of that great series of cosmic changes to which astronomers have given the name of...sidereal year (25,868 ordinary years).
"Just as, at the close of the cycle of the sidereal year (measured by the precession of the equinoxes round the circle of the zodiac), the heavenly bodies return to the same relative positions...so, at the close of the cycle of Initiation, the inner man has regained the pristine state of divine purity and knowledge" from which he departed to perform the pilgrimage through matter, but richer by the experiences he has gone through.
Being a symbol, it must of course embody all, or at least a part of the most prominent features of the things symbolized; and thanks to the able, if somewhat narrow-minded works of Professors Piazzi Smith and Proctor, both astronomers of repute, but ranged on opposite sides in regard to the question concerning the use of the Pyramid--we have an overwhelming amount of proof of the relation of the measurements of the different parts of the Pyramid to terrestrial and cosmic cycles and distances.
Professor Proctor's testimony is the most valuable, because he is a dissenter from the theory that the Pyramid was constructed by divine architects; and would do, and does do anything he can, in honor, to refute such a theory, attributing the numerous measurements which he works out, and their relation to cosmic measures to "mere coincidence"; a method which caused Mme. Blavatsky to vent her rare sarcasm upon him, as "the champion coincidentalist." He admits that "all the theories concerning its origin leave unexplained the most striking features of the Great Pyramid, save the one wild (?) theory which attributes its construction to divine architects"...also that "the theory that it was used for astrological purposes is supported by all known evidence, and strong though that support is, it derives greater strength from the failure of all other admissible theories to sustain the weight against them." In another place he admits that the only difficulty with the astrological theory arises from "our inability to understand how men ever had such fullness of faith in astrology as to devote many years of labor and enormous sums of money to the pursuit of astrological researches, even for their own interests."
Proclus tells us that according to tradition the pyramid ended at one time in a platform, with the head of the grand gallery projecting upward from the center, and Professor Proctor grows enthusiastic over the possibilities of the Pyramid as an observatory when in that architecturally unfinished, but astronomically perfect state, closing his eulogy by saying that "given modern instruments" it might have remained the most important astronomical observatory in the world. He shows how the opening of the grand gallery points to the zodiac, so that as the Sun, Moon, and planets pass around their course in the heavens, they would throw a shadow into the grand gallery at a different angle for each day of the year or month and that thus their positions could be measured in a most efficient manner.
The most important measurements embodied in the pyramid are:
Each side measures 913.15 inches at the base; thus the sum of the 4 sides is 36,526 inches. Allowing 100 inches for each day in the year, gives us 365 1/4 days, or exactly the number of days in a year, even to the quarter day which we save up for four years and use in the leap year.
The length of one of the diagonals of the base is 12,934 inches, so the sum of them both is 25,868 inches or 1 inch for every year in the great sidereal or world-year.
As the base of the Pyramid measures the time it takes the Earth to revolve around the Sun in its yearly course, it would be a fair inference that the height of the Pyramid ought to measure the distance of the Earth from the Sun and it does.
The height of the pyramid is 5,819 inches. That multiplied by a thousand million inches equals 91,840,000 miles, which Professor Proctor admits is more likely the true distance of the Earth from the Sun, than any calculated by the astronomers. Therefore, "wild theory" or not, the evidence is all in favor of the supposition that divine architects built the pyramid, and that ought to convince us of this theory.
At a later period in its history, occult information tells us that the Pyramid was the temple of the mysteries which have now degenerated into "Masonry." In one of the rites called "the gate of death," the candidate was tied to a wooden cross and carried into a subterranean crypt, where he remained entranced for three and one-half days. During that time, while his dense body lay inert, the Ego, clothed in its finer vehicles, was consciously roaming the Desire World in the hierophant's charge. He was put through the "trials by fire, Earth, air, and water." That is, he was shown that when functioning in such a body none of the elements could harm him; that he could then pass through a mountain as easily as through air; that he could live in a roaring furnace or on the bottom of the Great Deep in perfect ease and comfort. At first the neophyte is usually afraid of the elements, therefore the initiator is present to help and give assurance to the neophyte.
At sunrise on the fourth day, he was carried to the platform of the Pyramid, where the rays of the rising Sun woke him from his sleep (during which he had been visiting Purgatory).
When awakened, he was given "the Word," and was called "first-born."
This rite lingers yet as the third degree in Masonry; the death and resurrection of Hiram Abiff, the "Widow's son," the Grand Architect of Solomon's temple and hero of the Masonic legend. Dragon, the eminent French Masonic authority, says that the legend of Hiram is an astronomical allegory representing the Sun from the summer solstice downward. "During the summer the Sun calls forth songs of gratitude from all that breathes, hence Hiram who represents it, can give the Word, that is to say LIFE to all. Then the Sun enters the southern signs at the fall equinox, nature becomes mute, and Hiram, the Sun, can no longer give the sacred Word; he meets the three murderers: the zodiacal signs Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius, which the Sun goes through in October, November, and December. The first strikes him with a 24-inch rule emblematic of the 24 hours the Earth takes to revolve on its axis. The second strikes him with an iron square, symbolizing the four seasons, and at last the mortal blow is given by the third murderer with a mallet, which, being round, signifies that the Sun has completed its circle and dies to give room for the Sun of another year."
The initiates of the temples in Egypt were called "phree messen" which means "children of light" because they had received the light of knowledge, and it is this which has been changed into "Free Mason."
In the religion of Judaism we hear of a God making certain promises to a man by the name of Abraham. He promised that he would make Abraham's seed as numerous as the sands upon the seashore; and we are told how he dealt with Abraham's grandson, Jacob, who was the husband of four wives, by whom he had 12 sons and one daughter. These are looked upon as the forefathers of the Jewish nation.
This also is an astronomical allegory dealing with the migration of the heavenly bodies, as will be evident from a careful perusal of the 49th chapter of Genesis and the 33rd chapter of Deuteronomy, where the blessings of Jacob upon his sons show how they are identified with the 12 signs of the Zodiac; Simon and Levi sharing the sign of Gemini, the twins, and the feminine sign Virgo being allotted to Jacob's only daughter, Dinah. The four wives are the four phases of the Moon and Jacob is the Sun.
This is similar to the teaching we find among the Greeks, where Gaia, the Earth, is the wife of Apollo, the Sun; and among the Egyptians, where heat and moisture, the Sun and the moon, were personified as Osiris and Isis. The sacred rivers Jordan and Ganges are also connected etymologically with the river Eridanus, which is one of the constellations. It means "source of descent," and for agriculturists such as were these ancient people, these rivers were the source of the waters of life. Josephus tells us that the Jews carried the 12 signs of the Zodiac on their banners, and camped around the tabernacle which held the seven-branched candlestick representing the Sun and the heavenly bodies which move inside the circle formed by the 12 signs of the Zodiac.
The Jews located their temples so that the four corners pointed N.E., S.E., S.W., and N.W., and the sides directly North, East, South, and West, and like all solar temples the main entrance was in the East, so that the rising Sun might illumine its portal and herald each day the victory of light over the powers of darkness; this to bring to the nascent humanity the the message that the contest of light and darkness on the material plane is but the counterpart of a similar contest in the moral and mental worlds where the human soul is groping its way towards the light, for the battle of light and darkness in the material world, like all other phenomena, is a suggestion of the realities in the invisible realms, and these truths were given to man as myths by divine leaders who led him until his growing intellect gave birth to arrogance which caused his benefactors to withdraw, and let him learn by the hard knocks of experience. Then he forgot them and has come to regard the ancient stories of gods and demi-gods as imaginary. Yet, even the early Christian church was imbued with this knowledge of the significance of the solar myth, for the Cathedral of St. Peter at Rome is built facing East, like all other solar temples, telling humanity of the "Great Light of the World" who is to come and dispel the spiritual darkness which as yet envelops us; the Light-bringer who shall bring peace on Earth and good will among men, causing the nations to beat their swords into plough-shares and their spears into pruning-hooks.
The Jews greeted the Sun with the morning-sacrifice; and took leave of him at sunset in a similar manner by an evening oblation, offering up on their sabbath and additional sacrifice to the lunar "Race-god," Jehovah. Him they also worshiped by sacrifice at the New Moon.
One great feast was Easter, when they celebrated the Passover; the time when the Sun "passes over" his "easter(n) node; leaving the southern hemisphere where he winters and commencing his northern journey in his chariot of fire, hailed with joy by men as their savior from hunger and cold which would inevitably result if he stayed in south declination always.
The last of the Jewish feasts and the most important is the feast of the Tabernacles, when the Sun crosses its western node in autumn, having yielded to man the "bread of life" wherewith to sustain his material being until the next return of the Sun to the northern heavens.
For the above reasons the six southern signs which the Sun occupies in winter are always called "Egypt," the "land of the Philistines," etc.-- a name for something that is bad for "God's people"; whereas the northern signs in which the Sun is in the fruitful season are "heaven," "the promised land," which "flows with milk and honey."
We see this in such passages as the one where the celebration of the Passover is enjoined "to remember the coming out of Egypt." This feast is a rejoicing over the emergence of the Sun from the southern signs, also from the recorded fact that Jacob was with Joseph in Egypt when he died. At the winter solstice when the Sun of the past year has completed its journey and reached its lowest degree of south declination it is in the zodiacal sign Sagittarius. By reference to Genesis 49:24 where the dying Jacob speaks of the "bow" of Joseph, it is easy to identify him with the sign Sagittarius which represents a centaur in the act of drawing his bow, and thus the story of Jacob dying in Egypt with Joseph, is reenacted each year when the Sun dies in the sign Sagittarius at the winter solstice.
The story of Samson is another phase of the solar myth. As long as Samson's hair was allowed to grow, his strength would increase; Samson is the Sun, and its rays represent Samson's hair. From the winter solstice in December to the summer solstice in June the Sun's rays grow, and he gains in strength with every day. This frightens the "powers of darkness," the winter months, the Philistines, for if this Light-bringer continues to reign their kingdom will come to an end; and they counsel together against Samson to discover wherein his strength lies. They secure the cooperation of the woman Delilah, which is the sign Virgo, and when Samson, the Sun, passes through that sign in September he is said to have laid his head in the woman's lap, and to have confided his secret to her. She shears him of his locks, for at that time the rays of the Sun grow shorter, and lose their strength. Then the Philistines or winter months come and carry the debilitated giant into their prison: the southern signs where the Sun is in winter. They put out his eyes or deprive him of his light and at last bring him to their temple, their stronghold, at the winter solstice; there they subject him to infamous indignities, believing they have vanquished the light completely, but with his last remaining strength the fettered solar giant shatters their temple and although he dies in the effort, he overcomes his enemies and thus leaves the way clear for another Sun-child to be born to save humanity from the cold and famine which would result if he had remained bound in the toils of the powers of darkness, the Philistines, the winter months.
The lives of all the saviors of mankind are also founded upon the passage of the Sun around the circle of the zodiac, which pictures the trials and triumphs of the initiate, and the fact has given rise to the erroneous conclusion that these saviors never existed, that the stories are merely Sun-myths. This is wrong. All divine teachers sent to man are cosmic characters, and the ordering of their lives is in accord with the marching orbs, which contain, as it were, an anticipated biography of their lives. Each came with divine spiritual light and knowledge to help man to find God, and therefore the events in their lives were in accord with the events which the physical light-bearer, the Sun, encounters on his pilgrimage through the year.
The Saviors are all born of an immaculate Virgin, at the time when darkness is greatest among mankind, as the Sun of the coming year is born, or begins his journey, on the longest night of the year, when the zodiacal sign Virgo, the Virgin, stands on the eastern horizon in all latitudes between 10 and 12 P.M. She remains as immaculate as ever, after she has given birth to her Sun-child; hence we see the Egyptian goddess isis sitting on the crescent moonnursing her divine Babe Horus; Astarte, the immaculate lady of Babylon, with her babe Tammuz and a crown of seven stars over her head; the lady Devaki in India with her infant Krishna, and our own Virgin Mary giving birth to the Saviour of the Western World under the star of Bethlehem. Everywhere the same story: the immaculate Mother--the divine Babe--and the Sun, Moon, or stars.
As the material Sun is weak and has to flee from the powers of darkness, so all thee divine light-bringers are searched for and forced to flee from the powers of the world; and like the Sun, they always escape. Jesus fled before King herod. King Kansa and King Maya re his counterparts in other religions. The baptism occurs at the time when the Sun passes through the sign Aquarius, the Waterman, and when he goes through the sign of the Fishes in March we have the fast of the Initiate, for Pisces is the last of the southern signs, and all the stores laid by from the bounteous gifts of the Sun of the previous year and nearly exhausted, and man's food is scant. The fish-food of Lent which occurs at this time is a further corroboration of this solar origin of the fast.
At the vernal equinox the sun "crosses the equator" and at that time the "crossification" or crucifixion occurs, for then the Sun-god commences to give his life as food for his worshipers, ripening the corn and the grape, which is made into the "bread and wine." To do that he must leave the equator and soar heavenward. Similarly it would benefit humanity nothing spiritually if their saviors stayed with them, therefore they soar heavenwards as "sons (or suns) of righteousness," ministering to the faithful from above, as the Sun does for man when high in the heavens.
The Sun attains its highest point of north declination at the summer solstice; he then sits upon "the throne of his father," the Sun of the previous year; but he cannot remain there more than three days, then he is carried downwards towards his western node. Likewise the Saviors of mankind ascend to the throne of the Father, to be reborn from time to time for the good of mankind, which truth is embodied in the sentence of the nicaean creed: "thence he shall return."
The movement known as the "precession of the equinoxes," whereby the Sun crosses the equator on the 21st of March at a different point each year, determines the symbol of the Savior. At the time of the birth of Jesus the Sun crossed in about the 5th degree of the sign Aries, the Ram. Consequently Christ was "the lamb of God." There was a dispute, however. Some thought that owing to what is called the orb of influence, power of the Sun was really in the sign Pisces, the fishes, and that the symbol of Christ should have been a fish. As a relic of that dispute we see that to this day the Bishop's mitre is in the form of the head of a fish. At the time of Mithras, the persian Savior, the Sun crossed in the sign of the Bull, hence we find Mithras riding on a bull, and this was also the foundation for the worship of the Bull Apis in Egypt. At present the vernal equinox is in about 10 degrees of Pisces, the fishes, so that if a savior were born now he would be a "Fish-man" like Oannes of Nineveh, corrupted into Jonah and the whale by the Bible.
The four letters said to have been on the cross of Christ and the method of fixing Easter in commemoration of the event, also go to show the cosmic character of the occurrence; these letters, I.N.R.I., are commonly supposed to have meant Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judaeorum, but they are also the initial letters of the Hebrew names of the four elements: Iam (water), Nour (fire), Ruach (air or spirit), Iabeshah (Earth). It would be foolish to fix the anniversary of the death of an individual as Easter is fixed by the Sun and Moon, but it is the proper thing in respect of a solar festival and a cosmic character, related to the sun as spiritual light-bringer to physical luminary.
When the Sun leaves his throne at the summer solstice, June 21, he passes into the sign leo, the Lion of Judah. Then we have the Catholic feast of the "Assumption" on August 15, in Leo. Thence, onward to his western node, he enters the sign of the Virgin about August 22. Thus the Virgin is born from the Sun as it were.
This brings to mind the astronomical solution to that passage in Revelation, "I saw a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet." That phenomenon happens every September just after the new Moon; for viewed from our Earth, the Sun covers or clothes the sign Virgo all through September, and as the Moon is leaving the conjunction of the Sun, that appears to be beneath the Virgin's feet. When John the Baptist is represented as saying concerning Christ that "he must increase, but I must decrease," he is symbolizing the Sun at the summer solstice when it must decrease in light for the coming half year, while Christ by his birthday at Christmas is identified with the newborn Sun which increases the length of the day until the middle of summer.
Thus we see that the contest of Light and Darkness in the physical world is closely connected in the scriptures of the different religions with the contest of the powers of spiritual light and life against those of darkness and ignorance; that this truth is universally spread among all peoples in all ages. The myths of the dragon-slayers embody the same truth, where the Greeks tell of the victory of Apollo over Python, and of hercules over the dragon of the Hesperides, the norseman tells of the contest of Beowulf slaying the fire-drake, of Siegfried slaying the dragon Fafner, and of St. George and the dragon. In our materialistic age these truths are temporarily relegated to oblivion or regarded as fairy stories without any basis in truth; but the time will come and is not far distant when these relics will again be restored to honor as embodiments of great spiritual truths.