It must not be imagined, however, that when the little body of a child has been born, the process of birth is completed. The dense physical body has had the longest evolution, and as a shoemaker who has worked at his trade for a number of years is more expert than an apprentice and can make better shoes and quicker, so also the Spirit which has built many physical bodies produces them quickly, but the vital body is a later acquisition of the human being. Therefore we are not so expert in building that vehicle. Consequently, it takes longer to construct it from the materials not used in making the lining of the archetype, and the vital body is not born until the seventh year. Then the period of rapid growth commences. The desire body is a still later addition of composite man, and is not brought to birth until the fourteenth year, when the desire nature expresses itself most strongly during the so- called "hot" youth, and the mind, which makes man man, does not come to birth until the twenty-first year.
This knowledge is of the utmost importance to parents, as a proper understanding of the development which should take place in each of the septenary epochs enables the educator to work intelligently with nature and thus fulfill more thoroughly the trust of a parent than those who are ignorant of the Western Mystery Teaching.
"God is Light," says the Bible, and we are unable to conceive of a grander simile of His omnipresence, or the mode of His manifestation. Even the greatest telescopes have failed to reach the boundaries of light, though they reveal to us stars millions of miles from the Earth, and we may well ask ourselves, as did the Psalmist of old: "Whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend into heaven Thou art there, if I make my bed in the grave Thou art there, if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea. Even there shall thy hand lead me."
When, in the dawn of Being, God the Father enunciated The Word, and The Holy Spirit moved upon the sea of homogeneous Virgin Matter, primeval Darkness was turned to Light. That is therefore, the prime manifestation of Deity, and a study of the principles of Light will reveal to the mystic intuition a wonderful source of spiritual inspiration. Truly, God is ONE and undivided. He unfolds within His being all that is, as the white light embraces all colors. But He appears threefold in manifestation, as the white light is refracted in three primary colors: blue, yellow, and red. Wherever we see these colors they are emblematical of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three primary rays of divine Life are diffused or radiated through the Sun and produce Life, Consciousness, and Form upon each of the seven light-bearers, the planets, which are called "the Seven Spirits before the Throne." Their names are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus. Bode's Law proves that Neptune and Pluto do not "belong" to our solar system, in the higher sense.
Each of the seven planets receives the light of the Sun in a different measure, according to its proximity to the central orb and the constitution of its atmosphere, and the beings upon each, according to their stage of development, have affinity for some of the solar rays. They absorb the colors congruous to them, and reflect the remainder upon the other planets. This reflected ray bears with it an impulse of the nature of the beings with which it has been in contact.
Thus the divine Light and Life comes to each planet, either directly from the Sun, or reflected from its sister planets, and as the summer breeze which has been wafted over blooming fields carries upon its silent invisible wings the blended fragrance of a multitude of flowers, so also the subtle influences from the garden of God bring to us the co-mingled impulses of all the Spirits, and in that varicolored light we live and move and have our being.
The rays which come directly from the Sun are productive of spiritual illumination, the reflected rays from other planets make for added consciousness and moral development, and the rays reflected by way of the Moon give physical growth.
But as each planet can absorb only a certain quantity of one or more colors according to the general stage of evolution there, so each being upon Earth: mineral, plant, animal, and man, can only absorb and thrive upon a certain quantity of the various rays projected upon the Earth. The remainder do not affect it or produce sensation, any more than the blind are conscious of light and color which exists everywhere around them. Therefore each being is differently affected by the stellar rays, and the science of astrology, a fundamental truth in nature, is of enormous benefit in the attainment of spiritual growth.
From a horoscopic figure in mystic script we may learn our own strength and weakness, with the path best suited to our development, or we may see the tendencies of those friends who come to us as children, and what traits are dormant in them. Thus we shall know clearly how to discharge our duty as parents, by repressing evil before it comes to birth, and fostering good so that it may bring forth most abundantly the spiritual potencies of the Spirit committed to our care.
As we have already said, man returns to Earth to reap that which he has sown in previous lives and to sow anew the seeds which make for future experience. The stars are the heavenly time keepers which measure the year; the Moon indicates the month when the time will be propitious to harvest or to sow.
The child is a mystery to us all. We can know its propensities only as they slowly develop into characteristics, but it is usually too late to check when evil habits have been formed and the youth is upon the downward grade. A horoscope cast for the time of birth in a scientific manner shows the tendencies to good or evil in the child, and if a parent will take the time and trouble necessary to study the science of the stars, he or she may do the child entrusted to his or her care an inestimable service by fostering tendencies to good and repressing the evil bent of a child ere it has crystallized into habit. Do not imagine that a superior mathematical knowledge is necessary to erect a horoscope. Many construct a horoscope in such an involved manner, so "fearfully and wonderfully made," that it is unreadable to themselves or others, while a simple figure, easy of reading, may be constructed by anyone who knows how to add and subtract. Parents who have the welfare of their children thoroughly at heart should endeavor to learn the stellar science for themselves. Even though their ability may not compare with that of a professional astrologer, their intimate knowledge of the child and their deep interest will more than compensate for such lack and enable them to see most deeply into the child's character by means of its horoscope.
Respecting the birth of the various vehicles and the influence which that has upon life, we may say that during the time from birth to the seventh year the lines of growth of the physical body are determined, and as it has been noted that sound is builder both in the great and small, we may well imagine that rhythm must have an enormous influence upon the growing and sensitive little child's organism. The apostle John in the first chapter of his Gospel expresses this idea mystically in the beautiful words: "In the beginning was the WORD...and without it was not anything made that was made... and the word became flesh." The Word is a rhythmic sound, which issued from the Creator, reverberated through the universe and marshaled countless millions of atoms into the multiplex variety of shapes and forms which we see about us. The mountain, the mayflower, the mouse, and the man are all embodiments of the great Cosmic Word which is still sounding through the universe and which is still building and ever building though unheard by our insensitive ears. But though we do not hear that wonderful celestial sound, we may work upon the little child's body by terrestrial music, and though the nursery rhymes are without sense, they are nevertheless bearers of a wonderful rhythm. The more a child is taught to say, sing, and repeat them, to dance and to march to them, the more music is incorporated into a child's daily life, the stronger and healthier will be its body in future years.
There are two mottoes which apply during this period, one to the child and the other to the parent: example and imitation. No creature under heaven is more imitative than a little child, and its conduct in after years will depend largely upon the example set by its parents during its early life. It is no use to tell the child "not to mind." It has no mind wherewith to discriminate, but follows its natural tendency, as water flows down a hill, when it imitates. Therefore it behooves every parent to remember from morning till night that watchful eyes are upon him all the time, waiting but for him to act in order to follow his example. If anyone should attempt forcibly toextract a babe from the protecting womb of its mother, the outrage would result in death, because the babe had not yet arrived at a maturity sufficient to endure impacts of the Physical World. In the three septenary periods which follow birth, the invisible vehicles are still in the womb of Mother Nature. If we teach a child of tender years to memorize, or to think, or if we arouse its feelings and emotions, we are in fact opening the protecting womb of nature, and the results are equally as disastrous in other respects as a forced premature birth. Child prodigies usually become men and women of less than ordinary intelligence. We should not hinder the child from learning or thinking of his own volition, but we should not goad them on as parents often do to nourish their own pride.
When the vital body is born at the age of seven a period of growth begins and a new motto, or rather a new relation, is established between parent and child. This may be expressed by the two words "authority" and "discipleship" In this period the child is taught certain lessons which it takes upon faith in the authority of its teachers, whether at home or at school, and as memory is a faculty of the vital body it can now memorize what is learned. It is therefore eminently teachable; particularly because it is unbiased by preconceived opinions which prevent most of us from accepting new views. At the end of this second period, from about twelve to fourteen, the vital body has been so far developed that puberty is reached. At the age of fourteen we have the birth of the desire body, which marks the commencement of self- assertion. In earlier years the child regards itself more as belonging to a family, and subordinate to the wishes of its parents than after the fourteenth year. The reason is this: In the throat of the fetus and the young child there is a gland called the thymus gland, which is largest before birth, then gradually diminishes through the years of childhood and finally disappears at ages which vary according to the characteristics of the child.
Anatomists have been puzzled as to the function of this organ and have not yet come to any settled conclusion, but it has been suggested that before development of the red marrow bones, the child is not able to manufacture its own blood, and that therefore the thymus gland contains an essence, supplied by the parents, upon which the child may draw during infancy and childhood, till able to manufacture its own blood. That theory is approximately true, and as the family blood flows in the child, it looks upon itself as part of the family and not as an Ego. But the moment it commences to manufacture its own blood, the Ego asserts itself; it is no longer papa's girl or mama's boy; it has an "I"-dentity of its own.
Then comes the critical age when parents reap what they have sown. The mind has not yet been born, nothing holds the desire nature in check, and much, very much, depends upon how the child has been taught in earlier years and what example the parents have set. At this point in life self-assertion, the feeling "I am myself," is stronger than at any other time, and therefore authority should give place to advice. The parent should practice the utmost tolerance, for at no time in life is a human being as much in need of sympathy as during the seven years from fourteen to twenty-one when the desire nature is rampant and unchecked.
It is a crime to inflict corporal punishment upon a child at any age. Might is never right, and as the stronger, parents should always have compassion for the weaker. But there is one feature of corporal punishment which makes it particularly dangerous to apply it to the youth: namely, that it wakens the passional nature which is already perhaps beyond the control of the growing boy.
If we whip a dog, we shall soon break its spirit and transfrom it into a crining cur, and it is deplorable that some parents seem to regard it as their mission in life to break the spirit of their children with the rule of the rod. If there is one universal lack among the human race which is more apparent than any other, it is lack of will, and as parents we may remedy the evil in a large measure by guiding the wills of our children along such lines as dictated by our own more mature reason. Thus we help them to grow a backbone instead of a wishbone, with which unfortunately most of us are afflicted. Therefore, never whip a child; if punishment is needed, correct by withholding favors or withdrawing privileges.
At the twenty-first year the birth of the mind transforms the youth into an adult fully equipped to commence his own life in the school of experience.
Thus we have followed the human Spirit around a life cycle from death to birth and maturity; we have seen how immutable law governs its every step and how it is ever encompassed by the loving care of the great and glorious Beings who are the ministers of God.