THE SECRET OF THE SOUL
We have now arrived at our final study, which we have approached step by step amid the labyrinth of the mysteries concealed beneath the Veil of Isis. We stand at last upon the very threshold of the sacred Adytum, the “Holy of Holies,” from whence proceeds our final revelation of that inmost conception of Man’s identity with his Creator–the Penetralia of his Being–the last secret of the incarnated soul.
The written word almost fails us–does fail in fact, when we come to the difficult task of externalizing ideas, the sublimity of which is so infinitely beyond the crystallized images of matter that, they can only be realized in their true glory, when the purified soul can view them from the ineffable heights of eternal spirit. We are lost, dazed, at the brilliancy of the spiritual imagery that opens out before us, in its fathomless stretch of the eternities that are past, of the ever- imperishable present, and the unborn eternities yet to be; all of them linked together in one grand chain of spiritual relationship and deathless identity; as Man, the Angel, God; and God, the Angel, Man; as the triune Cycle of Being, within the incomprehensible Cycle of Necessity; which constitutes Nature’s cosmic university for the complete graduation, education, and purification, of that self-conscious, Deific atom of life, whose expression becomes the human soul. Ah! my brothers could you, but for one single instant, realize WHO you are, WHERE you are journeying, and WHAT your final destiny, every earthly moment at your disposal would be rightly used, and every hour considered too short for your efforts to aid your fellow-man. Selfishness, wealth, and power, would be so utterly contemptible in your sight that their possession would be considered a fearful affliction and a curse, the moment they exceeded the comfortable requirements of mundane existence.
Leave self and the world behind you for the present, and, for the moment, leave your life, with its manifold vanities, in the outer court, and together let us cross the threshold and enter the door of the Temple. There! At last we have entered the Sacred Sanctuary, my brother, and we stand face to face with the imperishable truth of our being–the truth which makes us free, the truth which must ultimately prevail, by virtue of its own inherent Divinity; and we realize Man as he really is, not as he outwardly seems to be. We view him as a molecule, composed of a congregation of separate atoms, all of them held in their places by the centripetal force of the central human atom of life. And yet, small as he is, small as his kingdom is, compared with the mighty creation of which he is a part, he possesses all the inherent qualities of the whole. This, then, is our first conception–Man, is a microcosmic molecule, an atom of divine life.
The scene changes within the chamber, and upon the shimmering, luminous veil, yet before us, we view the large and mighty planet called the Earth. Not as a revolving satellite of the Sun, but as she really is, a vital organ of the macrocosm, the stellar womb of the solar system, the matrix which produces the material organic form of humanity. When the Earth was without form and void,” as we are informed in the mystical language of Genesis, the human soul had not yet reached the state, or grade, in the celestial university that desired the Earth and its temporary illusions. Hence this state was void, an unborn idea, the To Be, and darkness, symbolical of complete lack of life and intelligence, “was upon the face of the deep,” silent space.
Again the scene changes, and one by one the numberless planets, planetoids, moons, meteors, comets, and other attendant bodies, pass before the eye of the soul as we gaze upon the curtain of this Sacred Penetralia, each orb belonging to some portion of the Astral Man, each great planet constituting some vital function of the macrocosmic organism, and conferring those qualities upon each and every single atom pertaining to that degree of life, so that the solar system becomes individualized as a grand cosmic organism, its attendant satellites constituting its vital organs, and the shining Zodiac its outward form. So, also, each planet is a living, cosmic individual, intensely alive; living, moving, breathing, and bringing forth its offspring of like substance, matter, in obedience to the potential demand of incarnating spirit. The Sun is alive, glowing with life, and constitutes the heart and arterial center of all the circulating fluids of the stellar anatomy.
Scientists may continue to predict, as they have been predicting, the day when solar radiation will cease, but their predictions will prove as worthless as the sighing of the summer wind, so far as reality is concerned. “It is an incomprehensible mystery to science,” says Sir Robert Ball, in his “Story of the Heavens,” “how the Sun has been able to maintain its heat with such regularity in the past, for there has been no appreciable change in the Earth’s temperature for thousands of years.” What it is to-day it was ten thousand years ago–yea, Sir Robert Ball, and will be in ten thousand years to come. You may wonder, and the Royal College may wonder, but in the meantime the mighty, pulsating Sun continues beating out its rhythmic vibrations of spiritual and dynamic life–continues, and will continue, to send the exhilarating current throughout every atom, to the remotest part of his solar dominions, and the same current RETURNS TO HIM AGAIN, UNDIMINISHED, for the purification which his glowing, transmuting photosphere alone, can give, to be sent forward again, upon its mission of light, life, and love, around the vital, organic worlds of the astral organism. There is nothing lost, no radiation of energy dispersed upon the unformed, lifeless ether. From the radiating solar focus of Divinity it comes, and to him, undiminished it returns, and so on forever and ever; until the last Deific atom has won its laggard way back to the shining throne of God.
The Sun breathes. The pulsating process of dynamic respiration, eternally repeated during the grand period of a solar lifetime, renews its vital energies, and supplies itself, with the full abundance of the ever-living spirit, transmitted from the shoreless ether in which it lives. It needs no other food, except the magnetic nutriment it receives from each vital organ, or planet, in return for the electrical life current it transmits to them. Just as the human lungs inflate themselves with the vital atmosphere, (which is only the ether, dynamically diluted by the Earth to harmonize with our conditions), to oxygenate the blood and add fresh fuel to the physical furnace, or supply finer essences to the nervous centers. Just as the human heart, with its continual, rhythmic pulsations, propels forth the circulating fluid to every part of the human frame; so does the central heart and lungs of the Grander Man of the Skies, (the Sun) send forth its vitalizing energy to every part of the universe.
Such are the crowding thoughts, born of interior knowledge, that flood the mind as we view these sacred revelations within the sacred chamber of the soul. As yet, we are gazing upon the undulating flow of the astral light. We yearn within our utmost being to become the center of the Penetralia and gaze upon the glorious radiance of the Adonai, from whose ineffable presence we are only screened by the last shining veil of semi-transparent matter, that waves and trembles with every spiritual aspiration. The soul sends forth its pleading cry for light: “Who and what is God?” Faintly, as the distant vesper sounds upon the cooling eve, comes the answer: “Who and what art thou? What canst thou see? What delectable blessing does Nature vouchsafe to the pure in heart?” We tremble with the awful, yet thrilling, revelation. We know dimly, yet fail to realize in our outward consciousness the full import thereof. We realize wherein the mistaken selfhood hath become the only begotten of the Father, but the revelation is too much, and too little. We know that, faint as the voice seemed to the yet unprepared soul, an echo only, IT WAS THE VOICE OF THE ADONAI BEHIND THE VEIL. And now we crave the knowledge of the Where and Whither.
Again, we see the Earth as the vital function of the interplanetary being. It is composed of substance termed matter, which substance is the aggregation of countless atoms, which science has not, and never can, resolve into their individual selves. These atoms are rings of the atomless ether, which, thus differentiated from the formless ether, become centers of force, the center of such force being a vacuum within the atomic ring–a center so small that a microscope with lens one thousand times as powerful as the most perfect modern instrument would fail to reveal it. These atoms form systems, under the control of another apparent vacuum; or, rather, this vacuum seems to be the focus, or center, about which they revolve. THIS SYSTEM CONSTITUTES A SCIENTIFIC MOLECULE OF MATTER, and, in response to the innumerable vibrations, they assume different forms or dimensions, and become, indifferently, molecules of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, or carbon, as the case may be, all of which are but different modes of motion of the same primitive atoms, there being in Nature but three things–Ether, Intelligence, and Motion. What Ether is, no one knows. We call it the formless spirit, the unmanifest, etc. But, there can be no doubt but, that Motion is the product of Intelligence, since we never see Motion but as the manifestation of evolution, and this is the expression of Mind. Therefore, we have a duality–Ether and Intelligence; one the living spirit, the other the eternal substance for its manifestation.
Every molecule of matter is the outward form, the center of which, is the incarnating spirit, in some degree of progress. Man’s physical organism is a system of life and development for countless billions of them. So the Earth, in its functional expression as the womb of Nature for the outward expression of Man, is only so in a material sense. HE IS PRIOR TO THE PLANET. He (Man) is only the offspring of the planet by virtue of his material body being a part of the substance of the Earth. This life is a stage, only, of his material journey; and, just as Man’s body is continually throwing off useless dead matter and replacing the same with new life, so, too, the countless organic forms of Earth are hourly returning to the ground from which they sprang, and new forms, rising from the same dust, are taking their places.
Here, then, is the sum total: First is revealed to us the grand Astral Man, the Zodiac being the outward idea or form, the Sun and his system the vital functions thereof. The Earth, apart from its functional expression or place, is also an individual. Man, apart from forming a molecule of the planetary womb, by comparison, is also an individual. And, lastly, every molecule of Man’s organism is also, in reality, an individual, and small only by comparison with the human frame. And as there are the high Solar Archangels of the Sun, and a chief amongst these seated upon his throne of fire, so there is an Archangelic Chief of the Earth, surrounded by descending degrees of wisdom and power to Man, who also, in his turn, stands as the Deific center and chief of his being, his soul being the sphere of consciousness, which, when united to the feminine soul, constitutes the Angel of Life, Eternal. Down still we go, and find that this Divine scale of life and being is, from the lowly molecule, system upon system climbing, sphere upon sphere, upward and onward, forever, evermore, and all eternity cannot bring nearer the end of Man’s glorious immortality.
In the full revelation of this divine scheme of creation, so full of light, life, love, joy and harmony, a scheme void of death and annihilation, the mind once more reflects upon the physical illusions of slowly advancing scientific thought. Camille Flammarion, the great psychomaterialist of France, has painted, in his various novels, a lurid, almost horrible, picture of what the mighty universe must become from the logical deductions of his own school of thought; a school which would be best named as transcendental materialism. According to this conception, “thousands, aye, millions of worlds are rushing through space, inert, frozen, and dead. Suns have cooled down and ceased to give forth the life-sustaining element of light, but have still retained their mighty attraction upon their attendant planets, according to the laws of gravity, by virtue of their material mass, and thus hold their planetary offspring in the eternal, cold, icy grasp of death. Our Sun, too, is cooling fast; the Earth has already lost a great portion of her own internal heat. She has passed her prime of life, and death–cold, icy death–has already begun to encroach upon her extremities. The South pole (the feet) is now practically lifeless in one perpetual covering of ice. So, too, her head; her locks are the white of perpetual snow. No longer has she the blush and beauty of youth, no longer adorned with the healthy covering of verdue which youthfulness gives, and as our geologists prove was once the case. So that, although the time may still be long, according to our reckoning of years, it is only a brief moment in eternity when this fair Earth, and also the beauteous splendor of the silent stars, will be locked forever in darkness, and the final sleep of doom.” If this be so, we ask of the inmost soul, if life be but the fitful awakenings of the indestructible spirit, ebbing and flowing in response to the rise and fall of Nature’s cosmic barometer and the transmutations of matter; if life is, in reality, but a brief and passing moment, eternally repeated, from the flush of youth, “the gilded salon to the bier and the shroud, then why, O why should the spirit of mortal be proud?” Why aspire to penetrate the inward realities of life and enter the Holy of Holies–to seek and find out God? As the rushing torrent of this thought swept o’er the mental chambers of the soul and saturated the spirit with its icy sting, as it lay still chained within the prison house of matter, the higher self rose, sublime in its grandeur, and consciousness of divine relationship, and, in the last earthly appeal for light, for divine truth, as to Man and his immortality, it turned in reverence and awe before the still, shimmering veil of the sacred Penetralia. The trial had come, the crucial test, whether of life or death, the final revelation to Man. In purity of heart and humility of soul we await in agonizing suspense. There is a thrilling sensation, as though of ten thousand electric currents consuming the frame, and a swaying to and fro, as if drifting upon an ocean of fire; then a dead silence, so profound that whole eternities seem to pass, without either beginning or end. And the sight of the inward spirit is opened slowly. Who? Where? What? For the shadows have fled, the luminous curtain fades, is gone, and flashing before the inward sight stands the ineffable Adonai. It is I–YOU! There is no God but this, and in one moment the interior consciousness becomes at-one-with-self, God, and from that inconceivable height of profound vision we again look upon Nature. Behold Sun, Moon and planets in all the original magnificence of their nebulous luminosity; from nebulous rings we proceed, stage after stage, each producing its own degrees of life. On, on we pass the ages, the geological cycles of inconceivable duration in time, but only a mere instant in eternity; and on and on, as the changes roll, until we see Earth as she is now; still on, at the ever-urging desire of the triumphant Soul, and a remarkable change is apparent. From forces, at present latent, there comes a change; and, instead of so-called physical; electrical races have superceded the present humanity. Crystallization has ceased; and all things become lighter in density and more ethereal in nature; AND THE ORBIT OF THE EARTH GROWS LESS. Nearer and nearer shines the mighty Sun; first Vulcan, then the swift messenger of the gods are indrawn within the solar vortex, each absorption producing a cataclysmic change upon our Earth. Then comes the turn of Venus, while slowly and surely the orbit of the Earth contracts, and nearer shines the Sun. And, finally, the beautiful Earth, her mission over, the last atom of life beyond her rule, inward she sweeps, and is lost in the mighty ocean of fire as a stone is lost in the lake. Verily is the word of prophecy a literal truth: “The Earth shall be destroyed with fire.” And so on with the rest, each planet in its proper turn fulfilling the functions at present performed by the Earth, each becoming the grand theater of material and ethereal life, and the cometary bodies, to-day chasing unknown orbits in the realms of ether, gradually fall into line when their erratic cycle is ended, taking the places of the present outermost planets.
No such thing as death, no such thing as the dark silence of eternal night, for any organic creation of the Most High. From the Sun they come, and unto the Sun each must ultimately return, even as the body of Man, coming from the dust of Earth, must also return thereto, to be taken up in new forms and furnish substance for other degrees of life. And thus will it be, until the Sun, in its mighty solar heavens of purified spiritual life, will form the last, the final battle ground of matter, receiving ITS NEW LIFE FROM A GREATER CENTER THAN ITSELF. A glorious solar world, well typified in the last Battle of the Gods, and the new Earth–a World whereon the Angels tread in superlatively beautiful forms, clothed with the ideals and emanations of their own divine purity–Souls clothed in Air, treading the ethereal Realms of Light, as the children of God, and the inheritors of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Must the searching eye of the Soul seek further? Must the insatiable thirst of the Spirit launch out upon the trackless infinities of the yet To Be? Must it still penetrate further in the profound beyond, where time ceases to be, where the past, present, and the future, are forever unknown, but exist only as the Deific consciousness of the eternal Now? No. The Soul at last rests satisfied. The final revelation is over.
My brother, we have done; and, in closing, have only to add that, not until the speculating philosophy of earthly schools blends with the Science of the Spheres in the full and perfect fruition of the wisdom of the ages, will Man KNOW and REVERENCE his Creator, and, in the silent Penetralia of his inmost being, respond, in unison with that Angelic Anthem of Life: “We Praise Thee, O God!”