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  BIBLE:

Wonder Book of the Ages

BY CORINNE HELINE

 

 

PART II: INITIATORY HIGHLIGHTS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT



CHAPTER V: FORWARD



  The four Gospels present four independent records of the life and mission
of Christ Jesus. They differ in their approach and treatment of this most
profound subject. The so-called "higher criticism" has looked upon some of
these variations as inconsistencies and, in some instances, even as
contradictions. This would, therefore, cast some doubt on the authenticity of
the records as a whole. However, when the Gospels, sibgly and together, are
studied in the light of Initiation, they will be found to support each other
to a degree not even suspected by the average interpreter of these sacred
documents.

  Thus, for example, Matthew and Luke begin their records with the birth of
the child Jesus. This is entirely omitted in the Gospels of both Mark and
John. Mark commences his Gospel with the baptism of Jesus, at which time the
Christ became incarnate in human form. John opens his record, not with an
introduction to the Master Jesus, but to the Word--the word that is to be
identified with the Cosmic Christ. Later follows the introduction to the
Christ in connection with the miracle performed at the wedding feast in Cana
when He turned water into wine.

  From the many references that Paul makes to various spiritual mysteries
connected with the life and works of Christ Jesus there can be no doubt
that, as a result of many profound insights he himself experienced in relation
to the spiritual world, he had come to recognize that the nature of many of
these were beyond the grasp of those who had not yet made sufficient
preparation for tyheir understanding and acceptance. This he expressed in the
frequently quoted words, "There is milk for the babes and meat for the
strong."

  Any one making a careful study of the Epistles of St. Paul cannot fail to
note the extent to which they deal with inner plane activities. He writes, for
instance, "I was caught up into the third heaven, whether in the body or out
of it I know not." This is an experience familiar to many disciples of our
day.

  At the time of St. Paul's transcendent illumination which occurred on the
road to Damscus, the outer world was so obscured that his whole attention was
sharply focussed on the life and activities of the inner world. Then, too, it
was that he was permitted to come into the presence of the Lord Christ and to
realize the meaning of the mission He had undertaken in becoming the
indwelling planetary Regent of this earth, and the profound significance this
holds for the future of mankind and the earth's redemption.

  Paul, who before his Damascus experience had been an arch enemny of Christ
and His followers, later became one of the most deeply dedicated and ardent
missionaries of all the followers of the Master.

  Paul stresses the fact that it is because the Christ, a divine being
incarnated in human form, suffered even as man suffers, that He is able as
none other, to feel for those who are weak and heavy laden. This it is that
calls forth His love and compassion with such power and universality as to
make Him the Saviour and the Redeemer of the world. As a poet has beautifully
expressed it: "The rose does not yield its full fragrance until the petals are
crushed. The wells of true sympathy spring only from a broken heart."

  It was the failure to undertand the inner significance of the events in the
life of Christ Jesus that brought out the taunts from the many that followed
Him as He bore His cross up Calvary: "He saved others, himself He cannot
save." But it was Christ's mission to outline the way for man, and to teach
him how to follow in His steps. "Whosoever will come after me," said He to His
disciples, "let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me."

  And so, as the supreme Way-Shower, it was for Him to bear the cross up the
slopes of Golgotha for His own crucifixion. It was also in the divine pattern
that He was to live out on the physical plane the betrayal which exemplifies,
in the life of man, how the lower nature is ever betraying the higher, or the
Christ within, until such time as the lower nature is transmuted, and so
finally destroys itslef as did Judas the betrayer.

  A study of what may be called the internal content of the Gospel, brings to
light the successive steps to be taken on the path that leads to Initiation.
They are twelve in number. These are set forth in the principal events
recorded in the life of Christ Jesus. They begin with the Immaculate
Conception, Resurrection and Ascension. The life of Christ as outlined in
Gospels corresponds to the cosmic pattern for the all-encompassing processes
of spiritual evolution.

  The first steps upon the path are described in the Gospels of Matthew and
Luke. Tje kore advanced steps are recorded by Mark and John. As previously
observed, Mark begins his record of the life of Jesus, with the baptism by
John the Forerunner; Saint John, the most advanced of all the Master's
disciples, commences his record of the Master with an account, as previosuly
observed, of the miracle performed at Cana.

  If all Mystery Schools teaching the way of Initiation were closed, their
secret work would yet remain discoverable in the Bible. It is in recognition
of this fact that the principal furnishings of the Masonic Lodge are the Bible
and the Square and Compass. In their symbolism, the Masonic Fraternity
preserves the essential elements of the initiatory processes as these are
outlined from many points of view in that supreme textbook of life, the
Christian Scriptures.

  In their initiatory interpretations, the four Gospels are transmitters of
the four streams of divine energies which manifest on the physical plane in
the elements we know as fire, water, air and earth. This truth was well
understood and taught by the Christians of the first and second centuries.

  From an unidentified source we quote:

  "In Palestine, Matthew proclaimed Him as putting the finishing stone to
God's kingdom, of which the foundations were laid in Israel. In Rome, Mark
presented Him as a Conqueror who founded His divine right as King of the World
upon His miraculous powers. In Greece, Luke described Him as the Divine
Philanthropist commissioned to carry out the work of divine grace and
compassion to the worst of sinners. In Asia Minor, John, pictured Him as the
Word made flesh--the Eternal Light and Life who descended into the world of
time.

  Christ--Messiah of Israel......................................--Matthew
  Christ--Mighty Lord of Nature.....................................--Mark
  Christ--Friend and Priest of all Mankind..........................--Luke
  Christ--The Life and Light of the World...........................--John"

  From the foregoing, it becomes apparent that differences in the four
Gospels which some regard as inconsistencies are but varying presentations of
different states of development in the life of an aspirant. Thus one Gospel
record amplifies the other in its recitals of the life and mission of the
Christ. In this, they provide irrefutable evidence of the unfathomable wisdom
that is incorporated in this and every part of the Sacred Scriptures.

  The 12 principal events of the life of Christ Jesus and their
correspondences in the life of the aspirant are the following:

1. Annunciation                             7. Temptation
2. Immaculate Conception                    8. Tranfiguration
3. Birth                                    9. Gethsemene
4. Flight into Egypt                       10. Crucifixion
5. Teaching in the Temple                  11. Resurrection
6. Baptism                                 12. Ascension
 


  Luke 1:26, 27
     "And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city
  of Galilee named Nazareth. To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was
  Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary."

  Among the early Christian Initiates it was not the person of Mary that was
worshipped, glorious and exalted though she were; the object of veneration was
the feminine emanation from the Cosmic Christ which is the innate, potential
divinity within every man, and the realization of which is the supreme work of
Initiation.

  The feminine principle is formative in nature, hence the angelic
Annunciation that the Virgin or Holy Mother would bring forth a son. In its
universal application this it to be understood as the coming to birth of the
mystical Christ in the heart of regenerated man.

  Luke 1:38, 39
  "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to
  thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary arose in those days,
  and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda."

  Within the life of every successful neophyte the process of the
Annunciation is enacted. He becomes conscious, after a certain period of
preparation, of particular changes that are taking place within himself, a
result of incorporating more of the higher ethers into his nature as a result
of a life devoted to serving spiritual purpose.


THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION


  The Immaculate Conception can occur only after an aspirant to the higher
life has dedicated himself to live in obedience to spiritual law and the
spirit of the indwelling Christ. The interval between the Annunciation and the
Immaculate Conception is a time when the neophyte must be prepared to be
tested as to whether he will use the awakened powers to advance his personal
interest or devote them to furthering the good of others. At this stage, many
falter and never pass beyond the first step of the Annunciation. An example of
one who was strong enough to take the second step, the Immaculate Conception,
was Mary, the mother of Jesus. Then it was in an ecstacy that she exclaimed :
"My soul doth magnify the lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my saviour.
For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for behold, from
henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."

  It is through this exaltation of the feminine principle that Mary becomes
the bride of the Holy Ghost. A similar sublime experience is awaiting each and
every one who chooses to pursue the steps leading thereto, steps made by those
who have gone ahead and made clear the way.

  The steps or degrees of Initiation are similar in outline in all Mystery
Schools. Their differences pertain principally to methods of development which
vary according to the particular requirements and evolutionary stages of the
races whom they are designed to serve. Thus the great world Teachers are
recorded as having been born of virgin mothers, and their coming heralded by
angelic annunciation. Also they were immaculately conceived, and that their
birth occurred in a cave, grotto or stable. The exalted ego of a world Teacher
is carefully tended by Divine Beings who guard human evolution. Theirs is a
holy birth, and as such, is ever a momentous event accompanied by gladsome
hosannas of Angels and Archangels.

  To parallel the steps of attainment in the consciousness of man, the birth
is represented as occurring in a dark place, or where beasts feed, symbolizing
a spiritual birth from out of the lower or unregenerate elements in man's
mortal nature.

  Symbolically, the neophyte must leave Nazareth, the place where time was
spent in personal living, and enter upon the path that leads to Bethlehem,
"The house of bread," in preparation for the Holy Birth. In the present state
of mass consciousness, the mind is so occupied with material concerns that the
spirit can not always find ready hospitality. The head, or inn, is so filled
that the spirit must seek lodging elsewhere.

  For greater and deeper reasons than many yet realize, the time of the birth
of Jesus is a season of great rejoicing on the inner as well as on the outer
plane of life. The physical incaranation of Jesus was made for the purpose of
assisting man to the birth of the Christ within so that he too, might come to
know individually the sublime experience of Holy Night. This is the work of
the New Christian Dispensation. The portals of this new era were opened on the
night of the birth of the Master Jesus. The earth then responded to a new
rhythm which was set up by Angels in their proclamation: "Peace on earth, and
good will among men."


FLIGHT INTO EGYPT


  Matthew 11: 13, 16
     "And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to
  Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother,
  and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod
  will seek the young child to destroy him. Then Herod, when he saw that he
  was mocked of the wise men, was exceedingly wroth, and sent forth, and slew
  all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof..."

  The Gospels, as previosuly mentioned, are formulas of Initiation of varying
degrees which accounts for variations in their records. Thus, for example,
Luke makes no mention of the flight into Egypt, an event symbolizing the
temporary ascendance of the human over the divine nature. The flight into
Egypt, symbolically the land of darkness and materiality, reflects in the life
of a neophyte struggling in the earlier stages of his initiatory development
as related by Matthew in his account of the Flight into Egypt. The Gospel of
Luke, which ocnveys a higher phase of attainment, passes directly from the
Temple Rites of preparation into the fourth step known as the Teaching in the
Temple.

  Luke 11: 40-42; 46-49

     "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and
  the grace of God was upon him.

     Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the
  passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after
  the custom of the feast.
     
     And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple,
  sitting in the midst of doctors, both hearing them, and asking them
  questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and
  answers.

     And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him,
  Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought
  thee sorrowing. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye
  not that I must be about my Father's business."

  In the personal parallel to the Temple episode, Jesus represents the
awakened and illumined spirit within, and the Rabbis, the reasoning mind, or
the unaided mental  faculties which fail to cognize anything beyond the realm
of the five senses. Mary, the mother, typifies the feminine or image-making
quality of soul, whom the spirit finds it necessary to admonish at times:
"Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"

  The age of twelve is an important time in the life of a child. In the
average individual, it marks approximately the birth of the desire body, the
age of puberty; in the advanced ego, it marks a corresponding awakening of
soul. The spiritual light that has been generated in the course of past lives
radiates from the head of a child at birth as mystic artists have generally
portrayed it, not only of Jesus, but also of John the Baptist, the boy Samuel
and other biblical characters of high spiritual attainment.

  The Teaching in the Temple marked a definite stage in the awakening powers
of the boy Jesus. We read: "Mary kept all these sayings in her heart." These
she recounted to Luke who recorded them with such rare artistry and beauty in
his Gospel.

 THE BAPTISM


  Mark 1:10, 11

  "And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of
Galilee, and was baptized of John in the Jordan.
  And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and
the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
  And there came a voice from heaven saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom
I am well pleased."

 
  All mystic initiatory rites include the ceremonial of purification with
water. The festival of the Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece included baths; The
Tabernacle in the Wilderness had its Laver of purification; and in the life of
the great Way-Shower of the Christian religion, Christ Jesus, it is the
baptism which marks the next great step that we must take if we follow in His
footsteps.

  The application of water is symbolic of inner purification. Baptism marks
the stage where the heart of the neophyte has awakened to the needs and
interests of others. He can then no longer live to himself alone. His heart
goes out in sympathy, and his hands in practical action to alleviate suffering
and to comfort those in distress and despair. When a person has experienced
the spiritual awakening that comes with a true baptismal rite, his interests
and activities can no longer be limited to his own family or limited circle
but must find an expansion that extends into ever widening areas until they
embrace the world and the whole of humanity. Love and compassion then goes
into redemptive action. There is sorrow for the violators of the law, civil
and moral, for criminals condemned to death, for the wretchedness of life at
its lower depths and for the cruelties inflicted on our younger brothers of
the animal kingdom. With the spiritual inflow at the time of a true mystical
baptism, the realization comes to the surface of consciosuness that the human
family is a unity within the all-embracing Divinity by whom we are ensouled
and consequently the good of one is the good of all and the hurt of one, the
hurt of all. A deep sense of responsible is then accepted for furthering in
all ways possible that which accords with love, truth and justice.

  "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God,"
admonished one who had passed through the baptismal rite. Upon the head of
such a one rests the dove of spiritual power, and where he goes, the clouds of
darkness and ignorance melt away so that he, too, hears the voice of God
saying: "Thou art my beloved son."

  Mystic legends state that at the time of the Baptism, great balls of fire
appeared on the waters of the river Jordan. This statement bears the inner
significance that the two mighty powers of heart and mind had been united in
the life of Jesus, the ideal spiritual prototype of mankind. This blending is
the supreme ideal of human evolution and it is its completion in the earth's
great Initiate which called forth the declaration, "This is my beloved Son, in
whom I am well pleased."

  The Ego known as Jesus left his body at the Baptism, and the Archangel, the
Christ, descended as a dove to inhabit that body during the three years of His
earthly ministry. The body of Jesus was Christ's means of ingress into the
earth. The plan of redemption was made possible by their union. As Paul
writes, in a very literal sense, "There is one God, and one mediator between
God and men, the man Christ Jesus."
 


CHAPTER VI: THE TEMPTATION



Matthew IV:1-11

  "Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of
the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty night, he was afterward
a-hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, "If thou be the Son of
God, command that these stones be made bread." But he answered and said, "It
is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that
proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'"

  Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a
pinnacle of the temple. And saith unto him, "If thou be the Son of God, cast
thyself down: for it is written, "He shall give his angels charge concerning
thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, Lest at any time thou dash
thy foot against a stone.'" Jesus said unto him, "It is written again, 'Thou
shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.'"

  Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth
him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and saith unto him,
"All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
Then saith Jesus unto him, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, 'Thou
shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thy serve.'"

 
  Of all the lessons which the Christ set before the neophyte in the drama of
His life, none is more important than the Temptation, and none is more
misunderstood. He was subjected to tests of body, mind and soul in order that
He might leave to the human race the unceasing inspiration of a divine example
of One who was tempted in all things like themselves, yet remained without
sin, as Paul states.

  The neophyte's reaction to Temptation shows clearly where he stands on the
Path; but this is not the only reason for the trials on the Path. The trials
are important because they develop moral, mental and spiritual strength, just
as physical exercise and wholesome labor develop the health and strength of
the physical body. Christ Jesus gave Himself to be our Exemplar so that we
might know the right way to meet Temptation, or trials, of every sort.

  As Jesus was tempted after His Baptism, which was an Initiation, so is
every neophyte tempted, or tried, after each illumination, or "promotion."
This trial comes to him for the purpose of showing him his own weaknesses.
Failure in any trial does not mean that he must return to the ways of the
world, but only that he must strive the harder to overcome his weaknesses and
defects, and then when he is again "tempted," or tested, he will stand firm.

  All temptations, or trials, belong to the three general categories of body,
soul and mind. The Initiation symbolized in the Baptism of Christ Jesus
confers upon the neophyte new powers of soul and mind, which come from the
realization that all life is onew in God; and he musy never use these powers
selfishly, no matter how great the need, but only to benefit his fellow men.

 It is now that personal ambition suddenly flowers, and most unexpectedly,
for the neophyte believes that he has put behind him all worldly desires. He
has consciously renounced such desires as petty and of no real value, yet know
it becomes possible for him to satisfy them all, and so he must sift his
feelings and emotions to be sure that only love of God and mankind is
motivating his actions. This is not always easy to determine, because many a
personal ambition is innocent in iteslf, and is evil only in relation to the
spiritual orientation of the neophyte on the Path. Self-respect, for example,
is retained, but it must not be confused with vanity or egotism. The body is
conscientiously cared for, because it is the temple of an indwelling god, but
physical health and well-being are not the aim and end of living; the body is
seen as the instrument of the spirit. The soul is nourished by the
appreciation of arts and crafts, and by the contemplation of the beauties of
Nature, but these are seen in their relationship to God as their true source
and origin, and creative genius itself is understood to be an aspect of the
Creative Power of the Supreme Unity in whom man lives and moves and has his
being. The intellect must be trained and its powers cultivated through
education and reason, but the acquisition of knowledge can be a false god
unless it is related to the whole of life; and the more powereful the
intellect, the greater is the need for humility lest the mind be closed to new
aspects of truth and awareness. For the intellect the rule is always; "Let
that mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who made Himself of no
reputation...and became the servant of all, even unto death."

  Such are the subtle temptations which the illumined disciple meets on the
Path, and Christ Jesus shows how they are to be met. He renounced self
utterly, and surrendered His will in the service of others, but with the full
intelligence of His indwelling ever-watchful Godhead.

  Each successive phase of spiritual unfoldment brings with it a special and
characteristic trial, according to the temperament and degree of spiritual
attainment of the individual; yet, however varied these trials may be, the
Christ Example shows the way to victory. The spiritualization of the mind
through a complete dedication to the truth of the Spirit constitutes the
impregnable armor of the neophyte who is beset not merely daily, but hourly,
by the small, insidious temptations of common life, which are the more
dangerous in that they are scarcely recognizable as temptations. Hence the
admonition of one of the great masters of wisdom: "Pray without ceasing."


TRANFIGURATION


Mark IX:2-7

  "And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, andf
leadeth them up into a high mountain apart by themselves: and he was
transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceedingly white as
snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And then appeared unto them
Elias and Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said
to Jesus,
  'Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles;
one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.'
  For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid.
  And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the
cloud, saying, 'This is my beloved Son: hear him."
  And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more,
save Jesus only with themselves.


  With the Transfiguration, the work of Christ Jesus for the earth and all
its life properly began. Having undergone the trials of the Temptation, which
for Him was not merely personal but cosmic, the physical body in which He had
been appearing as a man among men was completely transmuted into spirit. The
body was not His own body, but the body given to Him for His use by the Master
Jesus, the purest and most perfect human body ever produced by the human race.
Centuries had gone into its preparation, through a carefully controlled
heredity among the most beautiful and strongest families living at that time,
the family of the princes of the House of David, of whom the heir to the
throne was always called the Messiah.

  In the sudden revelation of the Christhood, the archangelic Glory which was
then indwelling the body of the Master Jesus, the disciples knew that they
stood in the presence of a Cosmic Power. Other Initiates had beheld this same
Glory in earlier times, but far away in the Sun, or in rare instances as an
archangelic Presence in the tmple or in sacred places on the earth, such as
the Field of Ardath at Babylon, or Mount Sinai, and other.

  Some Initiates even then living in the body, but in other parts of the
world, were aware of the Presence on the Mount of Transfiguration in Galilee.
But these three disciples, Peter, James and John, beheld the Glory immediately
present with them, and as they knelt they were encompassed by it, then and
there. It was the selfsame Solar Glory known to all Initiates of all Mystery
Schools in both East and West; but now it burned as a Light upon the earth
itself, not a Light of the solar orb alone. Inlater centuries Initiates would
again behold this Glory in the Sun and experience its projected Image on earth
where its "Ray" centered and burned.

  It was the Cosmic Christ Being, standing in the midst of a Solar Glory, who
on this occasion taught His chief disciples the innermost mysteries of the new
faith of the New Age then dawning, the Piscean Age, which they would then
transmit to the innermost group of disciples of the future.

  Of the Four Gospels, the Gospel of Matthew gives the most detailed account
of this sublime event. To understand what is there revealed, we must
understand that the Christ comes from what we term the world of Life Spirit,
whcih is but another name for the Realm of Universal or Christ Consciousness.
This is His home world. On the Mount of Transfiguration He appeared to His
three most advanced disciples, arrayed in the glorious light vesture
pertaining to that high celestial plane; for the three were there with Him in
consciousness, even though to mortal viewing they were all still standing upon
the earth plane, in respect to the body.

  John later describes this transcendent radiance: "We beheld His glory, the
glory as of the Only Begotten Son of the Father."

  In this universal world the cosmic pictures are found which pertain to our
entire scheme of evolution, the complete and imperishable record of all that
has been experienced by man and his planets since creation's dawn; for this is
the highest of those world in which are kept the Books of God's Remembrance
from which the Angels read. The disciples were raised in consciousness to this
high plane. When we look to the corresponding step in the life of the neophyte
on the Path, we find that the transfiguration marks a high degree or
attainment. The conserved and transmuted life essence within the body
veritably glows with spiritual radiance, a light in darkness, signifying
wisdom in the midst of ignorance. He comprehends anew the words of the
greatest of the three favored disciples who shared the Mystery of the
Transfiguration with the Christ: "If we walk in the Light as He is in the
Light, we have fellowship one with another."

  Upon that Mount of Glory the benediction heard at the Baptism at the
beginning of the three years' ministry is heard once more: "This is my beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased;" but it marks a new and higher phase of the
Christ Labor. At the Baptism when the Voice spoke above Jordan its words were
for the multitude. Here on the Mount of Transfiguration the Voice speaks to
the three most advanced disciples, those who were ready for cosmic vision and
cosmic service. From this Transfiguration the Christ went to Gethsemene and to
the consummation of His work on earth.


GETHSEMENE: THE GARDEN OF SORROW


  After the Transfiguration, which marked the culmination of a cosmic pattern
of attainment, there now remained the steps leading to Liberation.


Mark XIV:26-28;32-34

  "And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives. And
Jesus saith unto them, "All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for
it is written, 'I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.'
But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee."

  And they came to a place which was named Gethesemene: and he saith to his
disciples, "Sit ye here, while I shall pray."

  And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore
amazed, and to be very heavy; and saith unto them, "My soul is exceeding
sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch."


  The word Gethsemene is formed of two words in the Hebrew: GATH, "a press,"
also "bitterness," and SHEMEN, "oil," (understanding and wisdom). Wisdom is
always born of pain, until the disciple has at last attained to that high
consciousness where pain has no power over him, either to wound or to
instruct. The "diamond body" of the Adept is impervious to pain and suffering,
and it is indestructible. Christ Jesus was already inhabiting such a body when
He went to Gethsemene and the Way of the Cross, for the purpose of showing to
mankind the Way of Wisdom.

  This is truly one of the deep mysteries of life, where the origin of sorrow
and suffering is not understood and man yearns for bliss and tranquility
without labor.

  Yet the mystic knows that the Garden of Sorrow and the Crucifixion must
ever precede the gladsome hour of the Resurrection morn and the white glory of
the Day of Ascension.

  As the spirit unfolds its inmost divinity which is the image and likeness
of that God who is Love, Gethsemene ceases to be a place of personal sorrow,
but becomes, as it was for the Christ, a place of sorrosing for the grief of
the world. Its plants are watered with his tears shed for the suffering of
humanity, and for the helpless anguish of the multitudes of living creatures
who cannot speak with a human voice. For as one goes forward upon the way
toward high spiritual attainment, he becomes ever increasingly responsive to
the hurts of all living things about him. He feels every pang as it were his
own hurt, and stores it up within his heart.

  The supreme lesson of Gethsemene is to learn to stand alone and say, "Not
my will but, Thine be done." Many times we must follow Christ Jesus upon that
lonely Mount, and drink of that cup, until the lesson has been learned.

  We must drain the cup to its dregs, for it is through the cumulative pain
of compassion which well nigh bursts the heart that we finally die to the
personal self and live henceforth only to the end that we may give ourselves
unreservedly for healing and helping the world. When, by a sort of divine
alchemy, this has been accomplished, passion having changed into compassion,
consciousness awakens to the divine understanding that carries with it the
power to soothe the weary and heal the sick.

  It is no longer possible to blame others for our sufferings, to judge
harshly, to criticize, or to hate. The disciple asks but the one privilege,
that of sacrificing himself upon the altar of humanity, expecting no favors,
no gratitude, no understanding, even from those who are nearest and dearest.
He desires only to live for service. This is an extremely high ideal, but it
is one which all must accept as life's goal before they are fitted to attain
ultimate liberation from Gethsemene.


THE CRUCIFIXION


Luke XXIII:24

  "And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required."

  In the Crucifixion we stand before one of the holy mysteries which must
ever remain sealed from the profane. In preparation for this sacred rite,
Christ Jesus was beaten and scourged. His garments were torn off His body, and
A CERTAIN CLOAK WAS PUT UPON HIM. A crown woven of thorns was placed upon His
head and pressed down into His temples so that blood flowed therefrom.

  From the event of the scourging and crowning with thorns to the carrying of
the cross and the crucifixion on Golgotha, the Christ shows forth the mystery
of stigmatization. The wounds which He suffered appear upon the body of the
devout mystic who meditates deeply upon the Way of Sorrow, and he feels
physically these psychically produced wounds. Most painful of all are the
wounds of the head, which are sensed as if a crown of thorns pressed down
around the skull. This pain results from the awakening of the cranial nerves;
for all of the nerves of the body are sensitized, but these most of all. It is
the ascending spiritual fire which produces these effects, which are
particularly noticeable in the hands, the feet, and the side, corresponding to
the five sacred wounds in the body of our Lord.

  In the Mystery Schools these wounds are alos felt, but they remain
invisible, and the Initiate treads the Via Dolorosa secretly, though indeed in
full view of the unseeing multitude.

Matthew XXVII:27-28

  "Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and
gethered unto him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him and put on
him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it
upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before
him, and mocked him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews.'"


  The scarlet robe is the insignia of royalty but to the mystic it symbolizes
the words of the Christ that he who would be greatest among men must be the
servant of all. Sacrifice for our fellowmen is the one true royalty. Scarlet
is the color of the life's blood poured out in sacrifice, not a sacrifice in
death, but a sacrifice in living usefulness. He holds the reed in His right
hand, representative of the scepter of the King, signifying the power of the
Initiate of the right-hand path, the positive or right-handed way to power
over all evil. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is smitten on the head with the
reed, indicative of the phase of unfoldment in which the "rod of power"
strikes the brain with its fiery force.

  Only the Gospels of Matthew and Mark mention the Reed and the Crown of
Thorns. Both represent the earlier manifestations of the awakened Christ
powers, the fiery Life Spirit Force, whcih at first scoruges the body as it
converts it to a temple for the indwelling godhead. The process culminates in
the symbolical crucifixion of the Initiate, where the fiery Christ Force,
having transmuted the seemingly "dead" body, raises it to the Life
everlasting.

  The sublime Christ, the supreme Way-Shower, as He hangs upon the cross, is
the perfect symbol, in general and in particular, of the Path of true
spiritual attainment for all mankind--the way of progress for the entire human
race.


THE RESURRECTION


John XX:1,2

  "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet
dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom
Jesus loved, and saith unto them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the
sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him."

John XX:11-14


  "But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she
stoopeth down, and looked into the sepulchre, and seeth two angels in white
sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of
Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, "Woman, why weepest thou?" She said
unto them, 'Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they
have lain him.' And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw
Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus."

  The body of Christ remained in the tomb throughout Friday night, all of
Saturday, and a portion of Sunday, thus outlining the "three mystic days" of
the great initiatory formula according to which the disciple is raised to life
and heralded as the new-born, or one risen into a new life or higher, more
exalted degree of consciousness and spiritual power.

  This sublime chapter of John's Gospel may well be termed the deification of
the feminine, and it points to the future when this great work has been fully
accomplished.

  Saul of Tarsus and Mary Magdalene are alike examples of the transmutative
power which resides in the Christed consciousness. John, among the disciples,
represents the full flowering of the spiritualized feminine, mystically
indicated in the gentleness and beauty of his countenance. This placed him at
the head of the disciples spiritually, as the best-beloved of the Master, and
it is natural that he was the first to understand and accept the glorious
truth of the Resurrection.

  This event, which is the culmination of earth's evolution, awaits all
mankind. For the neophyte it is the Resurrection into higher realms, the power
to function in complete awareness separate and apart from the physical body
without the severance of death. Every victorious aspirant in whom this
Resurrection takes place hears the proclamation of the Angel of the Lord
(spiritual Law): "He is not here, for He is risen."

  Truly, as Paul stated, "Ye are all heirs and joint heirs with Him." But the
most blessed of all His promises is this: "Not only these things but greater
than these shall ye do."


THE ASCENSION


  "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth," were the words of His
salutation to the disciples as He greeted them in the sacred upper room after
the Resurrection; meaning that through His great sacrifice upon Calvary He had
now become the true Lord and indwelling planetary Spirit of the earth.

Esoteric Christianity teaches that Golgotha was not the end but the beginning
of the Christ's redemptive sacrifices for the whole of our planetary body.

  During the mystic "forty days," that sacred interval between the
Resurrection and Ascension, the Christ was engaged in many works concerning
not only the human race but all life waves evolving upon the earth. This work
included the various race and group spirits who are guiding the various
streams of evolving life. To each one He gave a new impetus of altruism and
unity, and He also accelerated the vibratory pitch of the keynote of each one,
which sounds in the cosmic pattern or archetype. Truly, with His coming all
the earth sings a new song.

  "Go into Galilee and I will meet you there." Each appearance to the
disciples bears a deeper meaning, and a promise of greater spiritual powers.

  "And He lifted up His hands and blessed them and while He blessed them, He
stood apart from them and was carried into heaven."

  In "rising from the dead" the mystic ceremonial teaches that there is no
death, and by the "Ascension" it teaches that eternal life is the sure
heritage of the Initiate. "In my Father's house are many manisons. I go to
prepare a place for you."

  In the Degree of the Ascension, the Christ opened the way so that whosoever
wills may ascend with Him and partake of the high communion of the spiritual
realms.

  It is not Christianity alone which thus teaches Initiation. The formula of
Initiation has been incorporated into all of the great religions of the world
in the principal events in the lives of the Great Teachers and Saviors who are
central to them.

  As the New Age of Aquarius slowly dawns upon the earth, messengers come
forth from the realms of light to establish an increasingly intimate communion
between the Christ, the disciples, and all those on earth who aspire to follow
the mystic ritual with its twelve steps or degrees as outlined above.

  In the world of the soul, the true disciple still today experiences the
suffering and crucifixion of the entire human race, and the Christ also
continues to suffer perennial crucifixion; for He is with us till the end of
the world, as He said, and the Liberation which He offers to us is the
Consummation of the Cross. The Litanies of the Crucifixion are a chant of
Initiation, dealing with the formula of Initiation as described in the
Gospels. The keynote of this attainment is: "Let the Christ be formed in you."
 


    ASTROLOGICAL CORRELATIONS FROM THE ANNUNCIATIONS TO THE ASCENSION



  The esoteric analysis of the Gospels shows that the outstanding events of
the life of Christ are twelve in number, enumerated thus:

1. Annunciation                                 7. Temptation
2. Immaculate Conception                        8. Transfiguration
3. Birth                                        9. Gethsemene
4. Flight into Egypt                           10. Crucifixion
5. Teaching in the Temple                      11. Resurrection
6. Baptism                                     12. Ascension


  These twelve steps bear an interesting astrological connotation, for it has
been truly said that man's first Bible was the Zodiac, in which he learned to
read all spiritual truth. There he deciphered the cryptic signs which told of
the lives of the Savior Gods, and there the Christian Initiate reads the story
of the life of the Christ.

  The zodiacal wheel of the heavens is made up of twelve constellations or
signs, through which the Sun, Moon, and planets travel around the sky, as
viewed from the planet earth. It was discovered by ancient astronomers that
these celestial signs seemed to have an influence upon the affairs of earth,
and so the science of astrology arose. It was observed that the influence of
the planets was stronger in some signs than in others. The sign in which the
planet expresses its highest potential and which it RULES is its own home sign
where it reveals its pure, unalloyed qualities; but it is equally powerful in
THE SIGN OF ITS EXALTATION, though in another way. The exaltation qualities of
a planet are realized at their highest only through Initiation, which releases
within the soul the corresponding aspects of the planetary forces.

  It is interesting to note that EXALTATION and RESURRECTION were used as
interchangeable terms by the early Church Fathers, who understood the
relationship between man's spiritual development and the stars in the sky
above him. They knew that in the Christ Consciousness mankind would learn to
cooperate intelligently with the Cosmic Powers whose action on human destiny
was figured in the horoscope.

  When astrologers speak of the planet and the sign which it rules, they
speak for the most part of physical and material things; the esotericist, who
studies the hidden side of the science of the stars, speaks of the exaltation
aspects of the planet, which are spiritual in nature as follows:
 


ANNUNCIATION; IMMACULATE CONCEPTION:

  The Moon exalted in Taurus. The Moon governs the formative or feminine
principle, and the hierarchy of angels who have charge of generation.




BIRTH:

  Mars exalted in Capricorn. Transmutation of desire, which awakens the
Christ life within.



 FLIGHT INTO EGYPT:


  Saturn exalted in Libra. Saturn is the tempter or tester, Libra the
balance, or trial gate.



TEACHING IN THE TEMPLE:


  Mercury exalted in Virgo. Mercury also rules Virgo. Esoterically, the
temple is the body; Virgo is chastity and immaculacy of mind and soul. Mercury
exalted in Virgo is the Wisdom attained through purity of mind, body and soul.


BAPTISM:


  Jupiter exalted in Cancer. Cancer is the door of birth, and the gates of
heaven. Passwords for entrance are: love, unity and fellowship. The baptism by
water is symbolical of the baptism by Spirit.


TEMPTATION; TRANSFIGURATION:

  Uranus exalted in Scorpio. The power of generation when exalted leads to
regeneration. This is the most powerful of the exaltations in man's present
development.


GETHSEMENE; CRUCIFIXION

  Venus exalted in Pisces. Love in the house of sorrow. The personal love is
raised up into the exaltation of impersoanl love embracing all life. Every ego
knows the Garden and Golgotha of the love life. It is through sorrow that
passion is exalted into compassion, and love for the one into love for the
many.


 RESURRECTION:

  The Sun exalted in Aries. Lifting the spinal spirit fire (cosmic life
force) to the head helps build the body celestial, in which man is resurrected
from the tomb of the flesh.


ASCENSION:



  Neptune exalted in Cancer. The divinity called the Christ Within raises man
to the high superphysical realms where as spirit he may enter into the many
mansions prepared by the Christ of the Cosmos.


 PLUTO



  Nothing is said in the foregoing of the latest discovered planet. Pluto,
which circles the Sun beyond the orbit of Neptune, and over which it sometimes
crosses. Astronomers surmise that this outermost planet may possibly have been
a moon or Neptune at one time and that it may be drawn back to that planet one
day. Today, however, as a separate planet, it must be considered as a power in
the horoscope, but its true nature is as yet undetermined. Some astrologers
think it is of the nature of Mars, constituting an "octave" of that planet;
others see in it the "octave" of the earth. The "octave" of a planet is taken
to be its "alter ego" or Higher Self, a higher reflection of itself. As octave
of the earth, Pluto would have special governance over conditions affecting
our planetary evolution in its deep, esoteric meanings.

  Pluto moves so slowly around the Sun that it occupies much the same
position for a long time, and thus forms many of the same aspects in thousands
of horoscopes. These aspects are "set off" by tansiting forces, such as faster
moving planets, lunations, eclipses, asteroids and comets, thus precipitating
great mass movements and revolutionary changes. The same situation would be
true with respect to the other planets also in their relationships with Pluto.

  Initiate astrologers must eventually resolve all such problems. There will
be a New Astrology for the New Age dealing with cosmic configurations, not
only those of planets in one system, but also the interrelationships of many
solar systems with their planets, and of those with galaxies.
 

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