Clothed With The Sun
Being The Book Of The Illuminations
of Anna Bonus Kingsford
~ Section 3, Lections 21 - 30 ~
"Illuminations is the Light of Wisdom, whereby man perceiveth heavenly secrets. Which Light is the Spirit of God within the man, showing unto him the things of God" ~Illuminations No. 11.
No. 21 Concerning The "Man Of Power"
I HAVE said that everything is fourfold, and as is the planet, so also is the man. The perfect man has a fourfold outer body,--gaseous, mineral, vegetable, and animal: a fourfold sideral body,--magnetic, odic, sympathetic, elemental: a fourfold soul,--partaking of the soulic elements of all the grades through which he has passed, being elemental, instinctive, vital, rational: and a triune Spirit,--because there is no external to Spirit,--desirous, willing, obedient. There is nothing in the universe save Man; and the Perfect Man is "Christ Jesus."
"Mercury" fecundated by "sulphur" becomes the master and regenerator of "salt." It is azoth, or the universal magnesia (of the Alchemists), the great magical agent, the light of light fecundated by animating force, or intellectual energy, which is the sulphur. As to salt, it is simple matter. Everything which is matter contains salt; and all salt may be converted into pure gold by the combined action of sulphur and mercury. These sometimes act so rapidly that the transmutation may be made in an hour, an instant, almost without labour and without cost. At other times, owing to the contrary dispositions of the atmospheric medium, the operation may necessitate days, months, or years. Salt is fixed; mercury is volatile. The fixation of the volatile is the synthesis; the volatilisation of the fixed is the analysis. On applying to the fixed the sulphuretted mercury, or the astral fluid rendered powerful by the secret operation of the soul, the mastery over nature is obtained. The two terms of the process are materialisation and transmutation. These two terms are those of the "Great Work,"--the redemption of spirit from matter.
Miracles are natural effects of exceptional causes. The man who has arrived at wishing for nothing and fearing nothing, is master of all.
The Initiate of the highest grade--one who has power to command the elemental spirits, and thereby to hush the storm and still the waves--can, through the same agency, heal the disorders and regenerate the functions of the body. And this he does by an exercise of his will which sets in motion the magnetic fluid.
Such a person, an Adept or Hierarch of magnetic science, is, necessarily, a person of many incarnations. And it is principally in the East that these are to be found. For it is there that the oldest souls are wont to congregate. It is in the East that human science first arose; and the soil and astral fluid there are charged with power as a vast battery of many piles. So that the Hierarch of the Orient both is himself an older soul and has the magnetic support of a chain of older souls, and the earth beneath his feet and the medium around him are charged with electric force in a degree not to be found elsewhere.
Now, the odic or sideral body is the real body of the man. The phenomenal body is secondary. The odic body is not necessarily of the same shape or appearance as the outward body, but it is of the nature of the soul. The creation of man in the image of God "before the transgression," is the picture of the man having power; that is, having an odic body in which the elements were not fixed,--a body such as that of the "risen Christ." What I have said concerning the volatilisation of salt, will help to the understanding of this. But when the "sin of idolatry" had been committed, then man ceased to have power over his own body, and thus became a "pillar of salt," fixed and material. He was "naked."
The man thus referred to attained power over his body by evolution from rudimentary being; and at last, becoming polarised, received the Divine Flame of Deity, and thereby the power over "salt." But by reason of perverse will to the outer, he depolarised, and thereby fixed the volatile. Then he knew that he was "naked," and so lost "Paradise."
Can Paradise be regained? Yes, through the Cross and Resurrection of "Christ." For, as in "Adam" all die, so in "Christ" shall all be made alive. And forasmuch as the earthly dies, the celestial lives. The body can be transmuted into its prototype, the magnetic body. This is the work of the adept. The magnetic body can be abandoned to the odic fluid, and the soul set free. This is the work of post mortem evolution. But to transmute phenomenal body, magnetic body, and soul alike into spirit,--this is the work of "Christ." "I have power," said Jesus, "over my body, to lay it down and to take it up again."
You have said to me, "If the odic or sideral body be the maker of the physical body, how can this differ in form from it? How can a man be outwardly human, and really a wolf, a hare, or a dog?"
When you become an adept you will know that such fact involves no contradiction. The transitions of the sideral body are not sudden. It becomes gradually, and does not undergo changes by cataclysm. It is already partly human before it has ceased to wear the form of a rudimentary man,--that is, of an animal. You have seen this in visions when you beheld the human shape in creatures under torture in the laboratory. And it is still partly rudimentary when it puts on the human. Indulgence in its lower propensities may strengthen it in its old likeness, and accentuate its former propensities. On the other hand, aspiration towards the divine will accelerate the change, and cause it to lose altogether its lower attributes. That which is born of flesh is in the image of the flesh; but that which cometh from the beyond is of the beyond. The womb can bring forth only its own kind, in the semblance of the generators; and as soon as the human is attained, even in the least degree, the soul has power to put on the body of humanity. Hence the odic body always possesses some attribute of humanity. But it may lose this by sin; and in such case it returns, by a fresh incarnation, to the form of the beast. Of such returns to the lower form, some are purely penitential; but most are retributory. The adept can see the human in the beast, and can tell whether the soul therein is an ascending or a descending soul. He can also see the soul in a man; and all men are not to him of the same shape or appearance. If your eyes were opened, you would be astonished at the number of animals you meet in the streets, and the scarcity of men. The parable of the Enchanted City, in the eastern fables, is descriptive of this mystery.
1. London, December 1880. Spoken in trance, but not, as in the foregoing, in the speaker's own person, but under dictation heard interiorly; and so also with the three utterances which follow. E. M.
Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, Vol. i, pp. 404-408.]
2. See Dreams and Dream-Stories, No, XIV, "The Laboratory Under-ground."
No. 22: Concerning The "Work Of Power"
YOU have asked me if the Work of Power is a difficult one, and if it is open to all.
It is open to all potentially and eventually, but not actually and in the present. In order to regain power and the resurrection, a man must be a Hierarch; that is to say, he must have attained the magical age of thirty-three. This age is attained by having accomplished the Twelve Labours, passed the Twelve Gates, overcome the Five Senses, and obtained dominion over the Four Spirits of the elements. He must have been born Immaculate, baptized with Water and with Fire, tempted in the Wilderness, crucified and buried. He must have borne Five Wounds on the Cross, and he must have answered the riddle of the Sphinx. When this is accomplished he is free of matter, and will never again have a phenomenal body.
Who shall attain to this perfection? The Man who is without fear and without concupiscence; who has courage to be absolutely poor and absolutely chaste. When it is all one to you whether you have gold or whether you have none, whether you have a house and lands or whether you have them not, whether you have worldly reputation or whether you are an outcast,--then you are voluntarily poor. It is not necessary to have nothing, but it is necessary to care for nothing. When it is all one to you whether you have a wife or husband, or whether you are celibate, then you are free from concupiscence. It is not necessary to be a virgin; it is necessary to set no value on the flesh. There is nothing so difficult to attain as this equilibrium. Who is he who can part with his goods without regret? Who is he who is never consumed by the desires of the flesh? But when you have ceased both to wish to retain and to burn, then you have the remedy in your own hands, and the remedy is a hard and a sharp one, and a terrible ordeal. Nevertheless, be not afraid. Deny the five senses, and above all the taste and the touch. The power is within you if you will to attain it. The Two Seats are vacant at the Celestial Table, if you will put on Christ. Eat no dead thing. Drink no fermented drink. Make living elements of all the elements of your body. Mortify the members of earth. Take your food full of life, and let not the touch of death pass upon it. You understand me, but you shrink. Remember that without self-immolation, there is no power over death. Deny the touch. Seek no bodily pleasure in sexual communion; let desire be magnetic and soulic. If you indulge the body, you perpetuate the body, and the end of the body is corruption. You understand me again, but you shrink. Remember that without self-denial and restraint there is no power over death. Deny the taste first, and it will become easier to deny the touch. For to be a virgin is the crown of discipline. I have shown you the excellent way, and it is the Via Dolorosa. judge whether the resurrection be worth the passion; whether the kingdom be worth the obedience; whether the power be worth the suffering. When the time of your calling comes, you will no longer hesitate.
When a man has attained power over his body, the process of ordeal is no longer necessary. The Initiate is under avow; the Hierarch is free. Jesus, therefore, came eating and drinking; for, all things were lawful to him. He had undergone, and had freed his will. For the object of the trial and the vow is polarisation. When the fixed is volatilised, the Magian is free. But before Christ was Christ he was subject; and his initiation lasted thirty years. All things are lawful to the Hierarch; for he knows the nature and value of all.
When the elements of the body are endowed with power, they are masters of the elemental spirits, and can overcome them. But while they are yet under bondage, they are the slaves of the elementals, and the elementals have power over them. Now, Hephaistos is a destroyer, and the breath of fire is a touch of death. The fire that passes on the elements of your food, deprives them of their vital spirit, and gives you a corpse instead of living substance. And not only so, but the spirit of the fire enters into the elements of your body, and sets up in all its molecules a consuming and a burning, impelling to concupiscence, and to the desire of the flesh. The spirit of the fire is a subtle spirit, a penetrative and diffusive spirit, and it enters into the substance of all matter upon which it acts. When, therefore, you take such substance into your organism, you take with it the spirit of the fire, and you assimilate it together with the matter of which it has become a part.
I speak to you of excellent things. If you would become a man of power, you must be master of the fire. The man who seeks to be a hierophant, must not dwell in cities. He may begin his initiation in a city, but he cannot complete it there. For he must not breathe dead and burnt air. In a city you respire air upon which the flame has passed; you breathe fire, and it consumes your blood. The man who seeks all power must be a wanderer, a dweller in the plain and the garden and the mountains. He must seek the sun, and the breath of night. He must commune with the moon and stars, and maintain direct contact with the great electric currents of the unburnt air, and with the grass and unpaved soil of the planet. It is in unfrequented places, or in lands such as those of the East, in parts where the abominations of Babylon are unknown, and where the magnetic chain between earth and heaven is strong--that the man who seeks power, and who would achieve the Great Work, must accomplish his initiation.
The number of the human microcosm is thirteen; four for the outward body, four for the sideral body, four for the soul, and one for the Divine Spirit. For, although the Spirit is Triune it is One, and can be but One; because it is God, and God is One. At the Last Supper, therefore, in which the Magians symbolise the Banquet of the Microcosm, there are twelve apostolic elements and one Christ. But if one of the elements be disobedient and a traitor, the Spirit is quenched and death ensues.
1. London, December 1880. Received in sleep. This chapter "refers to souls so far advanced as to have well-nigh done with materiality and to no longer need the lessons of earth-life" (Letter, dated August 8 1890, from E. M. to Mrs T.). See Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, pp. 408-410. S. H. H.]
2. See No. XVIII, "Concerning the Greek Mysteries." Also, Dreams and Dream-Stories, No. IX, "The Banquet of the Gods."
No. 23: Concerning Regeneration
THE difference between the "Son of God" and the mere prophet is that the former is born regenerate, and is therefore said to be "born of a virgin." But regeneration is a union of the soul and spirit, and is not a process in which the body bears a part. In the "Baptism" Jesus received the, Ĉon, or "Dove," and was filled with the Holy Ghost, becoming a Medium for the Highest. The Christ is informed from within, and "needeth not that any man should tell him; for he knows what is in man." But the adept receives from without, and is instructed by others.
The adept, or "occultist," is at best a religious scientist; he is not a "saint." If occultism were all, and held the key of heaven, there would be no need of "Christ." But occultism, although it holds the "power," holds neither the "kingdom" nor the "glory." For these are of Christ. The adept knows not the kingdom of heaven, and "the least in this kingdom are greater than he." "Desire first the kingdom of God and God's righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." As Jesus said of Prometheus, "Take no thought for to-morrow. Behold the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, and trust God as these." For the saint has faith; the adept has knowledge. If the adepts in occultism or in physical science could suffice to man, I would have committed no message to you. But the two are not in opposition. All things are yours, even the kingdom and the power, but the glory is to God. Do not be ignorant of their teaching, for I would have you know all. Take, therefore, every means to know. This knowledge is of man, and cometh from the mind. Go, therefore, to man to learn it. "If you will be perfect, learn also of these." "Yet the wisdom which is from above, is above all." For one man may begin from within, that is, with wisdom, and wisdom is one with love. Blessed is the man who chooseth wisdom, for she leaveneth all things. And another man may begin from without, and that which is without is power. To such there shall be a thorn in the flesh. For it is hard in such case to attain to the within. But if a man be first wise inwardly, he shall the more easily have this also added unto him. For he is born again and is free. Whereas at a great price must the adept buy freedom. Nevertheless, I bid you seek; and in this also you shall find. But I have shown you a more excellent way than theirs. Yet both Ishmael and Isaac are sons of one father, and of all her children is Wisdom justified. So neither are they wrong, nor are you led astray. The goal is the same; but their way is harder than yours. They take the kingdom by violence, if they take it, and by much toil and agony of the flesh. But from the time of Christ within you, the kingdom is open to the sons of God. Receive what you can receive; I would have you know all things. And if you have served seven years for wisdom, count it not loss to serve seven years for power also. For if Rachel bear the best beloved, Leah hath many sons, and is exceeding fruitful. But her eye is not single; she looketh two ways, and seeketh not that which is above only. But to you Rachel is given first, and perchance her beauty may suffice. I say not, let it suffice; it is better to know all things, for if you know not all, how can you judge all? For as a man heareth, so must he judge. Will you therefore be regenerate in the without, as well as in the within? For they are renewed in the body, but you in the soul. It is well to be baptized into John's baptism, if a man receive also the Holy Ghost. But some know not so much as that there is any Holy Ghost. Yet Jesus also, being himself regenerate in the spirit, sought unto the baptism of John, for thus it became him to fulfil himself in all things. And having fulfilled, behold, the "Dove" descended on him. If then you will be perfect, seek both that which is within and that which is without; and the circle of being, which is the "wheel of life," shall be complete in you.
1. London, June 1881. Received in sleep, in answer to an inquiry respecting the advisability of studying occult science. E. M.
Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. ii, pp. 97-98.
2. I.e. his own soul purified from taint of materiality-the soul being always the "mother" of the mystic or interior man. See "Definitions" in Appendix. E. M.
3. A term which signifies forethought. The remonstrance is against undue anxiety and alarm on the soul's behalf while in the path of duty, as implying distrust of the divine sufficiency. See Appendix, note J. E. M.
4. I.e. the flesh itself is their thorn. E. M.
5. The above interpretation concerning Rachel and Leah, as we subsequently ascertained, is on the lines of the Kabala. E. M.
No. 24: Concerning The Man Regenerate
YOU have been told that Jesus and those like him came back voluntarily and were born under conditions different from the ordinary, in that they had accomplished some degrees of their regeneration. These degrees are twelve in all, and constitute twelve labours, twelve gates, or twelve pearls, all of which are of equal value. Jesus was born regenerate in certain degrees, and the whole were completed only after his "resurrection," during the retirement which ended in his "ascension." The last degrees are the most difficult. There are four for the soul, four for the perisoul (or astral), and four for the body, this being the last. And it was this that Paul was so anxious to accomplish, but failed to do. With some the body is never redeemed; but this does not hinder the "divine marriage" of the soul and spirit. This marriage facilitates the redemption of the body, but may take place without it.
There are four zones or divisions in the astral light, and the reflect of Jesus is in the highest only, and cannot be seen by those who have access only to the lower; and not being strengthened by the shadow of the body of Jesus, it has become fainter, until now it is hardly perceptible. This is because his body was indrawn.
Jesus had a great advantage in his birth, owing partly to his own regenerate condition, and partly to that of his parents. Owing to the purity of his mother's blood, she is said to have come of a priestly family. For the same reason his father is said to have come of a royal descent, for the terms "Tribe of Levi" and "House of David" have a mystic meaning.
The sanctity of any particular Christ is dependent upon the advance made by him previously to his birth. Jesus had in this respect an advantage over Buddha. He was regenerate in more degrees, and he had no sexual relations as had Buddha. The Twelve Labours refer each to some concupiscence, which is depicted under the figure of a ravenous bird, horse, or some other animal which requires to be subdued. And Jesus had previously accomplished the Labour denoting that particular kind of concupiscence.
Now, of men some must needs be satisfied first intellectually.
These are regenerate first in the mind; and afterwards they attain to the kingdom.
But some begin from within; and these are the most blessed. For they seek the kingdom first, and the rest is added to them afterwards.
These last begin the Great Work in the heart, by means of the affection. And the grace of love attracts the Holy Spirit, and transmutes them from glory to glory, so that the reason, or mind, is suddenly enlightened by the inner reason; and with such the work of regeneration is instantaneous--"in the twinkling of an eye." These are of the type of the woman.
But others--and these are of the masculine type--must perform their work more laboriously; for in them the mind is first illuminated. They pass from without inwards; from the circumference to the centre. And this is but a difference of method, not of ultimates; for the Reason is the heir of all things.
With these the Great Work is a slow process; but their gold is one in kind with that of the first. For when at last the divine marriage consummates their labours, the mind and the body are already redeemed, and beyond the power of death, because they have already the power.
But with those who are regenerate first within, there is suffering of the body, and often death. For two opposing currents meet with violence, and the result may be the rending apart of body and spirit. But yet their death is not as the death of the unregenerate. Because in the very shock of it transmutation takes place: matter, that is, is sublimated, and the man needs no further incarnation. He is free, for he has conquered matter. Wherefore the bond is severed between him and the earthly, and he will return to the earthly no more.
He who is regenerate first in the body and mind, usually lives long, even beyond the limit of mortal life, and absorbs in that period his entire astral being, and often even his body. Thus did Enoch, thus Elias, and some others. I do not name them. And Jesus remained to do this also. For he would leave nothing undone, being in the end Lord of the kingdom, the power, and the glory.
But when he arose from the dead, not having seen corruption, nor fallen under the dominion of death, there remained to him one degree of regeneration to be accomplished-he was not yet "ascended."
For there were then but the eleven; because the twelfth--Judas"--was imperfect. And because of this Judas, Jesus fell under the power of the cross.
[For Judas was the type of his own weakness; since the flesh, not being wholly regenerate, was, in that unfulfilled degree, weak.
And the regeneration of his body not being complete before his crucifixion, his flesh-will still warred against his spirit-will, and he could still find room to say, "Not my will, but Thine be done."
The Martyrs who followed his teaching were braver in the face of death than Jesus, though their pains were, for the most part of them, far sharper.
Tender women, maidens, and youths went fearless and smiling to the stake or the rack, without tear or sigh; but Jesus shrank and wept piteously at the foot of his cross.
Yet a man may be victor in the spirit though his body remain unredeemed. For this redemption of the body--when fully accomplished--is transmutation, and its beginning is the At-one-ment of the will of the flesh with the will of the spirit.]
But when Jesus completed his regeneration, then there were again twelve.
But until Jesus, no man ever attained these twelve degrees and the divine marriage from within. Hitherto the taking of the kingdom had been from without, by violence and labour, after the manner of the Patriarchs.
Now, these twelve degrees are fourfold for almost every part of man; being four for the body, four for the astral, four for the soul, but one for the spirit.
And until Jesus there had been no regeneration of the twelve in this order-from within. Buddha at his death had attained to the ten only.
For of sonic the regeneration is fourfold; being one degree for each kingdom, and the last for the marriage of the spirit.
And with some it is sevenfold; being two for each kingdom, and the seventh for the marriage. Such was the regeneration of the mother and father of Jesus.
But Jesus himself had more than the four, the seven, or the ten; for he had the thirteen.
And first he had four of the soul. With these, two of the astral, and one of the body, he was born.
Afterwards, at the "ninth hour," when he had completed the fourth degree of the astral, he consummated the divine marriage.
Afterwards he achieved three degrees for his body, but the last only after his "ascension" to the mount of the Lord.
No man ever attained thus before. And since the glory is of the Spirit, or divine part, it is said that Jesus by his marriage feast manifested forth his glory.
And the celebration of this marriage was in Jordan; but the manifestation was in Cana.
For Jesus had received the Double Portion; and hence his double glory.
1. London, July 9, 1881. Received in sleep. See also No. XXXIII.
2, Some occultists have made their own failure to discern the reflect of Jesus--a failure here accounted for--a ground for denying his existence. E. M.
3. For another and more profound meaning of the derivation from David, see note to No. XXXVIII. E. M.]
4. I.e. in the Mysteries, on which the Gospels are based. E. M.
5. Concerning the Double Portion, see No. XXXVII
No. 25: Concerning The Christ And The Logos
NOW, Christ Jesus--the perfected spiritual, not physical, man--is the culmination of the human stream which flows upwards into the bosom of God. Man, arising by evolution from the lowest, finds his highest development, as man, in the Christ. Having reached this point, he is the perfect Son of Man, in that he is produced in and of Humanity; and being such, and because he is such, he receives the baptism of the Logos. Now, the Logos is the Adonai a word which implies Duality. And the Adonai is the Son of God, the Only-Begotten, the Two-in-One, whose manifestation is possible only through the Christ. The Celestial Trinity is composed of Substance, Force, and Law. Force is Original Life, or God the Father. Substance is Original Being, or God the Mother. Indissolubly conjoined, together they are Living Substance, the En-Soph or Boundless One of the Kabala. In themselves incapable of manifestation, they become manifest in and through Law, their Expression, Word, Logos, or Son. But the Logos is celestial, and the human could not know him in his divine nature. That the human may touch and know the divine, it is necessary for the two natures to meet. This is accomplished in "Christ Jesus." Christ signifies the Anointed. He is human in pedigree; and his Christhood is attained only when he receives into his own spirit the Logos. Then is accomplished the union of the two natures, the divine and the human. The two streams meet and mingle, and thenceforth man knows and understands God--through the Christ. For the Christ, having received the Logos, is Son of God, as well as Son of Man; and the Son of God in him reveals to him the Father. Man as human only could not say, as the Christ says--"I and the Father are One." It is the in-dwelling Word who enables him to say this--"For He who dwelleth in the bosom of God (the Logos) even He hath revealed God." Having received the Law, or Word, the Christ receives also the Father and the Wisdom of God through the Word or Son, because Adonai--being the Duality--manifests both of these to and in the Christ. Hence Stephen, dying, exclaimed--"Behold, I see the Heavens open, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God." In this utterance he declares the union of the Human and the Divine. He declares that in Christ, Adonai is manifest; and that in consequence of this union, humanity is exalted into Heaven. For humanity can attain to the celestial only through "Christ." When man penetrates into this sphere he is "in Christ Jesus." And, as Paul says, "being in Christ he is in God, and God in him; for Christ is God's." God, so to speak, lays hold of man in Christ, and draws him into Heaven. For at this moment both rivers meet, and flow one into the other in indissoluble union, the Logos in the Christ, the Divine in the Human, the God in Man.
1. London, July 12, 1881. Received in sleep.
2. The name invariably substituted by the Hebrews for Jehovah in speaking. See Part II, No. VIII: also Part III. E. M.]
No. 26: Concerning The Perfectionment Of The Christ
JUST after I had been speaking of the mistake made by Christians in regarding Jesus. as a ready-made perfection, I received a momentary vision confirming what I had been saying. For it represented to me the gradual perfectionment of the Christ through suffering, or experience; and a voice uttered aloud the words "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to have entered into his glory?" And other like passages also were suggested to my mind.
Soon after this I found myself in my sleep sitting on a hill-side and carving a Cross out of wood. And a young man came to me and said, "I alone know how to make crosses, and I will show you if you will come with me." And I took him for Jesus and I followed him, and in our converse, which was long, but of which I remember but a small part, he spoke much of the difficulty that lies in the way of any one who wishes to attain a full revelation owing to the deterioration of man's system through impure habits of life and especially in respect of food, through which the blood is tainted and the tissues rendered incapable of the sensitiveness necessary for perfect interior vision. Even with all his advantages of as pure a paternity and maternity as the earth afforded, he said, he himself had been unable to attain to perfect knowledge, and now, after nearly two thousand years of further degeneration, it is hopeless to attain all. That will come only when the world has for many generations lived purely, and the human system has recovered in a great degree the perfection which properly belongs to it, and which it once had. It is to man frugivorous, and to him alone, that the Intuition reveals herself, and of her comes all revelation. For between him and his spirit there is no barrier of blood; and in him alone can the spirit and the man be at one.
1. Paris, October 1, 1879. Received in sleep. Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, p. 315.
2. Luke xxiv, 26 (Douay Version): Heb. V, 7, 8, 9; I Pet. iv, 1.
3. But afterwards believed him to have been Hermes, assuming, as is his wont, a character in accordance with his message. E. M.
No. 27: Concerning Christian Pantheism
THE crucifixion of Jesus was an actual fact, but it had also a spiritual signification; and it is to this spiritual meaning, and not to the physical fact, that the whole of the mystical writings of the Christians refer.
The fundamental truth embodied in the crucifixion is Pantheism. God is in all creatures; and the stage of purification by fire, through which all being is now passing, is the crucifixion of God. Jesus, as the most perfect of initiates, is selected by the Christian mystics as the representative of God. He is for them, as Buddha for the Buddhist mystics, God manifest in the flesh. In his crucifixion, therefore, is the symbol and type of the continual crucifixion of God in his suffering creatures, which crucifixion is the means and cause of their purification, and thus of their redemption. "These," says God, "are the wounds wherewith I was wounded in the house of My friends." Which means, "I am wounded in the body or person of all creatures who are Mine--who are sealed unto Me." For "the house of my friends" is nothing more than the mystical phrase for the temple of the body of others. "Enter thou into my house, O Lord!" cries the holy soul who desires to be visited while in the body by the Divine Presence. And the Man-God, showing His five mystical wounds to the Angels, thus declares, "These are the wounds of My crucifixion wherewith I am wounded continually in the persons of those who are Mine. For I and My brethren are one, as God is One in Me."
1. Received in sleep. Paris, June 22, 1879. Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, pp. 305, 309-310.
2. Zech. xiii, 6. judged by the context, either the passage is corrupt or the citation is from some Scripture not now extant. E. M.
No. 28: Concerning The "Blood Of Christ"
BEING asleep I saw myself in a large room like a library, for it had in it a great many shelves filled with books; and there were several persons in it to whom I was speaking of the Christs, their origin and mission, and part in the history of mankind. And I spoke much of Jesus, representing that the doctrine of his immaculate conception was to be understood only in a mystic sense, and that all the story we have of his birth refers solely to his initiation, which is the true birth of the Son of God. And I proved this by many texts and passages from the gospels themselves and other writings. And I spoke also of the origin of Jesus, and how he had been made perfect through suffering. Of this suffering we hear, I said, but little in the one life of his which is recorded in the gospels. The suffering referred to is a long course of trial and upward progress experienced in former incarnations. And I named some of the more recent ones, but have not been enabled to retain them.
Coming to his passion and death, I explained that these were no atonement in the sense ordinarily understood. For that God does not take the mere shedding of innocent blood as any satisfaction for the moral guilt of others. But that the mystical Blood of Christ by which we are saved, is no other than the secret of the Christs whereby they transmute themselves from the material to the spiritual plane, the secret, namely, of inward purification. And I showed that throughout all the sacred writings the word blood is used as a synonym for life; and that life in its highest, perfectest, and intensest sense, is not the mere physical life understood by materialists, but the essence of that life, the inward God in the man. And when it is written that those in the highest courts of heaven are they who have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb, it is signified that they have attained redemption through their perfect attainment of the secret of the Christs. And when also it is said that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin, it is signified that sin is impossible to him who is perfectly spiritualised, and has been baptized with the spiritual baptism. The blood of Christ, therefore, is not the material blood of any man whatsoever. It is the secret and process of spiritual perfectionment attained by the Christ, and that whereby all who, following his method, know God and are initiated, become redeemed and attain the gift of eternal life. And many other things I said, being, as it seemed to me, taught of some spirit, and not knowing beforehand what things I was to say.
Now I perceived behind me, a little to my right, a beautiful marble image of Pallas Athena, which stood in a small recess in the wall, and there fell upon it a bright golden light like sunshine, which varied from time to time to all the seven colours, but more frequently to the violet than to the others. And the light was chiefly on the head and bosom of the figure, which was clad as a warrior with helmet, shield, and spear. And I could hardly determine as I looked at it whether it were a living or a marble form, so life-like was it.
A little while later all the people to whom I had been speaking were gone away, and I was in the room alone with my mother. She was in great distress and agitation, regarding me as lost and as an apostate from Christianity, nor would she listen to any explanation I could make on the matter. She wept bitterly, declaring I had broken her heart, and made her old age a sorrow and a burden to her by my apostasy, and that I should be utterly cast away unless I repented and returned to the orthodox belief; and she besought me on her knees to recant what I had said. No words can convey the intensity of my pain, and the trouble of spirit caused me by this conduct of hers. My mother seemed to swoon at my feet with the excess of her emotion; and I was on the point of yielding to her entreaties when I saw the door of the room open and a Spirit enter. He came and stood beside me, and said these words, "Whoso putteth his hand to the plough and looketh back, is not fit for the kingdom of God. And whoso loveth father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me."
Then the dream passed away and I remember no more: but a deep feeling remained impressed on my mind that the scene was but the rehearsal and foreshadowing of something that would actually occur in my future life.
1. Paris, October 17, 1879. Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, pp. 315-317.
2. Initiation does not necessarily involve the agency of any human institution. The true initiator is in every case the Divine Spirit in the aspirant himself. E. M.
*** It is a satisfaction, which the sympathetic reader will share, to be able to state that, by taking the dream as a warning rather than as a positive prediction, and observing caution accordingly, opposition of the kind described was reduced to a minimum, and no breach of affection or serious unhappiness ensued.
The image of Pallas illumined by the seven rays denotes the Divine Wisdom in its plenitude, and manifesting all the ---Seven Spirits of God." As beheld on this occasion, it was an emphatic intimation that the doctrine enunciated was uttered under the inspiration of them all, and especially of those represented by the two dominant rays, Love and Reverence. E. M.
No. 29: Concerning Vicarious Atonement
The Crucifix is the emblem and symbol of the Son of God, not because Jesus shed his blood upon the cross for the sins of man, but because the Christ is crucified perpetually so long as sin remains.
I STOOD in my sleep on the balcony of a house. It was night, and so dense and dark and impenetrable that neither earth nor star, nor any object, could be distinguished. Nevertheless, though not knowing where I was, I was conscious of being in or very near to a city.
And I beheld floating about in the darkness, small tongues of flame exactly resembling in appearance the flame of a candle. They moved of themselves as if they were living creatures who, directed their motions with intelligence and will. They sank and rose and passed through the air in all directions, and nothing but them was visible, so intense was the darkness.
And as I watched the flames, two of them came floating towards me, and entering the house, glided round the room, and then returned to me on the balcony, and stopped and alighted, one on each of my hands, and there remained awhile. And then the whole scene passed away and the following succeeded.
I saw a child, a boy at school, who thought himself unjustly treated by the woman who kept the school, and sorely oppressed and persecuted. And he went into the room where she sat, and in a fury broke and destroyed everything upon which he could lay his hands. And the paroxysm of his anger made him appear as one possessed. He dashed beautiful vases to the floor, and trampled flowers under his feet, and tore to pieces rich draperies, for the room was furnished and decorated in a very costly and splendid fashion. And then he suddenly turned on the woman, and seizing her by the hair, beat her and tore her garments, and scratched her hands and face. And all the defence she made was a few words of remonstrance. And I was shocked and terrified, thinking she was dead, and wondered what would become of the child who had the fury of a wild beast and the strength of a man.
Then, after an interval, I saw a young girl, the daughter of the woman who had been thus assaulted. She was kneeling before a furnace and watching something in the flames. And she turned and looked at me and said, "The punishment due to the child is a terrible one, and cannot be escaped. He is condemned to be branded with a red-hot iron on the palm of each hand, and then to be expelled from the school. The brands are now beating in the furnace."
Saying this, she turned again to the furnace, and then with a rod drew out the iron and branded herself on each hand. And I saw the flesh shrivel up with the heat. Then she held up her palms towards me, and said, "See and read what is written on them." And I read on each hand the word, burnt into the flesh, "Guilty." "And now," she added, "I am going to quit this house my home, as I am banished." "You!" I cried. "You are not the guilty one! What have you done to deserve this? I do not understand."
And she answered, "I told you the punishment due to the child cannot be escaped. And I have taken it upon myself of my own free will, although I am innocent, and the beloved daughter of her who has been so grievously offended and injured. As he would have been branded, I am branded. And as he would have been expelled, I am expelled. Thus have I redeemed him. I suffer for him. justice is satisfied, and he is pardoned. This is Vicarious Atonement."
Then, as she spoke these words, a wind blew in my face, and I breathed it in, and being inspired, spoke thus, with a loud voice:--
"O fool, to imagine that justice can be satisfied by the punishment of the innocent for the guilty! Rather is it doubly outraged. How can your being branded on the hands save the child? Hath not the Word of God declared, 'No man shall take the sin of another, nor shall any make atonement for his brother's trespass; but every one shall bear his own sin, and be purified by his own chastisement.' And again, is it not written, 'Be ye perfect'? And as no one can become perfect save through suffering, how can any become perfect if another bear his suffering for him? To take away his suffering is to take away his means of redemption, and rob him of his crown of perfection. The child cannot be pardoned through your assumption of his chastisement. Only if through suffering himself he repent, can he receive forgiveness. And so with the man who sins against the Creator by outraging his intuition and defiling the temple of God. The suffering of the Creator Himself for him, so far from redeeming him, would but rob him of his means of redemption. And if any declare that the Lord God hath thus ordained, the answer is, 'Justice first, and the Lord God afterwards!' But only through the perversion of ignorance can such doctrine be believed. The Mystery of Redemption has yet to be understood.
"This is that Mystery. There is no such thing as Vicarious Atonement; for none can redeem another by shedding innocent blood. The Crucifix is the emblem and symbol of the Son of God, not because Jesus shed his blood upon the cross for the sins of man, but because the Christ is crucified perpetually so long as sin remains. The saying, 'I am resolved to know nothing save this one mystery, Christ Jesus and Him crucified,' is the doctrine of Pantheism. For it means that God is in all creatures, and they are of God, and God as Adonai suffers in them.
"Who, then, is Adonai? Adonai is the Dual Word, the manifestation of God in Substance, who manifests himself as incarnated Spirit, and so manifesting himself, by love redeems the world. He is the Lord who, crucified from the beginning, finds his full manifestation in the true Son of God. And therefore is it written that the Son of God, who is Christ, is crucified. Only where Love is perfect is Sympathy perfect, and only where sympathy is perfect can one die for another. Wherefore the Son of God says, 'The wrongs of others wound me, and the stripes of others fall on my flesh. I am smitten with the pains of all creatures, and my heart is pierced with their hearts. There is no offence done and I suffer not, nor any wrong and I am not hurt thereby. For my heart is in the breast of every creature, and my blood is in the veins of all flesh. I am wounded in my right hand for man, and in my left hand for woman; in my right and left feet for the beasts of the earth and the creatures of the deep; and in my heart for all.'
"The Crucifix, then, is the divinest of symbols because it is the emblem of Christ and token of God with man. It is the allegory of the doctrine of Pantheism that man becomes perfect--the soul becomes God--through suffering. He who is wise, understands; and he who understands is initiated; and he who is initiated loves; and he who loves knows; and he who knows is purified. And the pure behold God and comprehend the Divine, with the mystery of pain and of death. And because the Son of God loves, he is powerful, and the power of love redeems. He being lifted up, draws all men unto him. This is the mystery of the Seven Steps of the Throne of the Lord. And the Throne itself is of white, a glory dazzling to look upon. And in the midst of that Light is one whose appearance is that of a lamb that hath been slain. And he is Christ our Lord, the manifestation of Adonai, whose love hath thrust him through and through. And to him is given all power to redeem in heaven and on earth. For he opened his heart to all creatures, and gave himself freely for them. And because he loved, he laboured and grudged not, even to death. And because he laboured he was strong, for love laboured in him. And being strong he conquered, and redeemed them from death. They were not forgiven because Christ died; they were changed because he loved. For he washeth their souls white with his doctrine, and purifieth them with his deeds. And these are his heart's blood, even the word of God and the pure life. This is the atonement of Christ and perpetual sacrifice of the son of God. Believe and thou shalt be saved: for he that believeth is changed from the image of death to life. And he that believeth sinneth no more, and oppresseth no more. For he loveth as Christ hath loved, and is in God and God in him. The blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin, not by the purchase of pardon with another's gold, but because the love of God hath changed the life of the sinner. The penitent saves himself by suffering, sorrow, and amendment. By these he rises and his life is redeemed. And it is the Christ that redeems him by giving his heart's blood for him. It is Christ in him who takes his infirmities and bears his sorrows in his own body on the tree. And the same which was true of old is true to-day, and for ever. Christ Jesus is crucified continually in each one until the kingdom of God come. For wherever is sin, are suffering, death, and oppression; and where these are the Christ shall be manifest, and by love shall labour, and die, and redeem."
Here the sound of my voice woke me, and the vision ended. But presently I slept again, and beheld an infinite expanse of sky, open and clear and blue and sunlit, all in the most intense degree. And across it and upwards flew an eagle like a flash of lightning before me, and I knew that it was intended to signify that with the reproach of innocent blood removed from God, and the Divine character vindicated, there is nought to check the soul's aspiration.
1. Paris, January 31, 1880. Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, pp. 323-325.
2. See note 4 on p. 68.
3. Another meaning was, subsequently, shown to Anna Kingsford as the one intended: "Representing the return of the inspiring spirit to God, the apparition of the eagle was . . . an emphatic declaration of the divinity of the utterance" (Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, p. 325) S. H. H.
No. 30: Concerning Paul And The Disciples Of Jesus
"It is amazing," they said, "that your Church can read in the writings extant concerning our relations with Paul the account of the mistrust, suspicion, and disfavour with which we always regarded him, and not see that he was never one with us."
IN a vision which was given to me last night, it was represented to me that the common view of Paul's character and position with regard to the primitive Church is a totally false one; and the persons who made the communication which I am about to relate, appeared to me to have been personally acquainted with Paul, and to be thoroughly familiar with the events occurring at the time of his apostleship. They told me, with evident indignation, that the Christian Church of to-day entirely misunderstands the relationship really existing between the apostles whom Christ had instructed and elected as his missionaries, and the converted Hebrew sacerdotalist. "It is amazing," they said, "that your Church can read in the writings extant concerning our relations with Paul the account of the mistrust, suspicion, and disfavour with which we always regarded him, and not see that he was never one with us. The very leader and chief of our circle withstood him to the face again and again, as though he had been an enemy of the Church; and on one occasion he was forced to fly from the brethren by night and by stratagem, so great and so bitter was the indignation his view of the faith aroused among us who had been the Lord's friends, and who knew the truth as Paul never saw it. For he imported into that pure and simple rule of life a mass of Levitical and Rabbinical usages and beliefs which we had shaken from us as the dust from our feet. He sunk the realities of the Gospel of Jesus under an overwhelming weight of hard sayings and sacerdotal misrepresentations. He, who had never known the Master as he was, took upon himself to distort his image into that of a strange God whom we had not known. Nor could we recognise in his garbled version of the beautiful and willing martyrdom of the man whom we had so dearly loved, a single trait of his character, or the least resemblance to the doctrine he had taught us. What we had seen and known as the pure and perfect love of a ready death, bravely borne for conscience' sake, Paul presented to us in a new and unlovely guise as the sacrifice of a victim to appease the anger of the God whom Jesus called his Father and ours. Out of that which had been for us a simple rule of life, a simple purging of the old faith, Paul erected the strange and elaborate system which is called 'the scheme of the Atonement.' For us and our Master there had been no 'scheme'; God was reconciled to man by love, and not by sacrifice. But Paul would have a 'new religion,' and a creed hard to understand; and he left to the world a Christianity of his own which we knew not, but which is yours to-day. And in this he did us greater evil and detriment than if he had persecuted and slain us all physically. For by his false conversion he deceived the world and drowned the truth by a flood of strange doctrines. For this we were all against him, and never acknowledged his apostleship, being persuaded that he knew not Christ nor the faith which Christ taught. Had he been content with the truth, we would never have set our faces against him; for he had many gifts, among which his eloquence was not the least. But through his fatal perversion of the faith, and through his fatal love of metaphysical doctrines and of Rabbinical subtleties, he falsified that which was the glory of the Church, and brought into the world the monstrous doctrines of the 'Christianity' which is preached in your churches to-day."
I was further told, that on the night before Paul's escape in the basket let down from the wall of Damascus, a violent altercation had taken place between him and the brethren, in the course of which Paul had maintained that the only chance for the final triumph of the Gospel lay in its erection into a system, and one that must of necessity be sacrificial. They then challenged him upon the point, but he insisted that he saw further into the matter than they did, and that his special mission lay in the elaboration of the plan he had conceived with regard to Christ's position as a mediator between God and man.
[The vision was entirely spontaneous and unexpected. I had not previously given any attention to the subject; nor was I aware that a similar instruction had some time previously been given to my colleague.
The personages I beheld in my vision bore no resemblance to any of the numerous representations of the apostles made by painters, but I was far from being in a sufficiently lucid condition to obtain an impression of their appearance so vivid and distinct as to enable me, as usually is the case, to make a drawing of them. Neither have I been able, with anything like my accustomed accuracy, to reproduce their words. The tone and substance, however, are faithfully rendered. The tone throughout was that of strong indignation, mingled with regret, against Paul; and of scorn at the folly of Christendom in accepting so gross and palpable a perversion of the teaching of Jesus and nature of God as that involved in the sacerdotal doctrine of vicarious atonement.]
1. Paris, July 17, 1877. Referred to in Life of Anna Kingsford, vol. i, p. 181.
2. The "new religion," in this context, "implies the departures made by Paul from the teaching of the original disciples" (Letter of E. M. to Light, 1889, p. 507). S. H. H.
3. Peter iii, 15, 16 (an epistle of exceedingly doubtful authority), evidently represents a desire either to compose or to ignore this feud by treating the difference as more apparent than real. E. M.
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