The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
October 2000 Vol. 3 Issue 8
The Adventures of the Atoms: A Cosmic Fantasy Inspired by the Stanzas of Dzyan by Grace Green Knoche (1871-1962) was recently added to the Theosophical University Press Online site at www.theosociety.org/pasadena/tup-onl.htm. This "story for children of all ages" traces the evolution of worlds and humanity from the perspective of the life-atoms or living centers of consciousness. As the author explains, "These pages in the Book of the Universe are written in the guise of fantasy but with no part in untruth, for the atom is more than mere laboratory material. It is an evolving being, of infinite change and growth, yet inalterable and constant at its core which is divine." Dr. Knoche, a profound student of Helena Blavatsky's writings, founded and edited the theosophical children's magazine The Lotus-Circle Messenger under G. de Purucker. "The Adventures of the Atoms" series ran from 1931-33 and in the 1940s she prepared it for book form. In 1994-95 Sunrise published the current version.
In October The Fates of the Princes of Dyfed by Kenneth Morris will appear on the TUP site. Here the Welsh author and poet retells stories drawn from the Mabinogian and Bardic tradition with an eye to bringing out their inner meaning. The true function of such stories, he tells us, "is to proclaim indestructible truth in terms of the imagination: to use the symbols provided by the poetic or creative imagination for showing forth those truths which are permanent, because they lie at the heart of life, not on its surface; and which belong to no one age, but to all ages, because all eternity is the birthday of the soul."
With the October/November issue, Sunrise: Theosophic Perspectives begins its fiftieth year of publication. Founded in 1951 by James Long, leader of The Theosophical Society from 1951-1971, it continues to present in accessible language the timeless principles at the core of the world's spiritual, philosophic, and scientific traditions and their application to daily life. Grace F. Knoche, the present head of The Theosophical Society, has edited the magazine since 1971. The magazine is available free online at Theosophical University Press Online. The October/November 2000 issue features articles on consciousness and reality, the inner meaning of Halloween and May Day, flood myths of the world, the Jain spiritual path, and theosophical views on capital punishment.
Every season reveals something of nature's divine genius, and opens doorways in our consciousness to the spiritual promise that lies ahead. The seasons are also qualities expressive of the rhythmic flow and ebb of life. Their beauty suggests they are but reflections of what is going on of far greater moment on inner planes.
Autumn is the crown jewel of the seasons, a blending and culmination of them all. The very essence of it is fulfillment and sacrifice. At the autumn equinox, "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness," advanced human beings, through eons of discipline have earned the right to experience death self-consciously, traversing the planets and the sun itself. Those rare souls who return have conquered death and give up their rest to help humanity.
In our present human stage tests of character and of inner strength come to us constantly in what we may call daily initiations. These are all that we can safely handle; more than this requires a preparedness beyond anything we can now imagine. Yet prepare we must, continually, for preparedness is fundamental in nature, and therefore in our own lives. In the long-range picture we are gods in the making. – Ingrid Van Mater
Monthly Discussion Group
"Consciousness: What Is It?" is our subject. We will discuss such questions as: Is consciousness as real as matter? How can we know what is "real"? What are thoughts, and where do they come from? Is consciousness universal, or confined to human beings and perhaps animals? What happens to our consciousness at death? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge.
The topics for the monthly discussion group for the next few months are:
The doctrine of cycles is one of the most important in the entire cosmic range of the esoteric philosophy, because repetitive or rhythmic action is fundamental in nature. As a matter of fact, every being and thing that exists is an expression of rhythmic pulsation: we are not only the children of cycles greater than ourselves, but actually within our own beings embody cycles because we are cyclical in all our life processes. The same rule applies with identical force to any entity in boundless infinitude, whether a galaxy or an atom.
We perceive cycles by the recurrences of moving beings and things in our world, and are deluded into thinking that these repetitions are caused by some intangible entity called time, while in reality they are caused by the cyclical movements of the bodies or of the consciousness of entities.
A human being is a cycle; an atom is a cycle – in this technical sense. We say that the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening, and we call it a cycle, a day. The time-illusion produced by the moving object – in this case our earth – gives us the notion that a day is produced by an absolute entity called Time.
Cycles themselves are not caused as minor integrals of time by time. Where you have no space, there is no time; where you have no time, there is no space. Space is a substantial entity in occultism, and one of its mayavi [illusory] attributes is what we call time. As Space is eternally enduring, this is the cause of the time-maya. That does not mean that time is nonexistent, but there is no absolute entity apart from things called Time.
All the various and varied phenomena of the infinitesimal worlds of physical chemistry; all the movements of nature everywhere, even astronomical and meteorological phenomena, like storms, periods of drought, electromagnetic outbursts such as the aurorae; the periodic epidemics of diseases – all these are rhythmic, because cyclical. The pulsing of the blood in the human body and the heartbeat manifest cycles as fully as does the sunspot period, or that of the precession of the equinoxes, or the whirlings of the rivers of lives along the circulations of the universe. The unending succession of manvantaras and pralayas [periods of manifestation and rest], whether smaller or greater, rounds and obscurations, etc. – all are cyclical.
What is it in universal Being that sets in motion the various cyclical processes which make up the movements of the worlds? The causes of these interwoven cycles are to be found in the fact that the very swabhava [real nature] of the cosmic life is pulsatory, rhythmic (see the second fundamental proposition in The Secret Doctrine 1:16-17). Yet to state thus baldly that the cosmic life pulsates throughout eternity is incomplete until we add that such rhythmically vibrational activity is the embodied expression of the movement of cosmic intelligence.
Now the cosmic life itself from the standpoint of structure may be looked upon as but an incomprehensibly vast aggregate of all smaller beings and things, each such comprehended entity or thing in itself, in its essence, being a droplet of the cosmic life and intelligence, and therefore embodying its own relative portion of all the cosmic powers and faculties. Thus we have the vibratory and rhythmic movements of the cosmic life, plus all the other interwoven cycles of its incomputable hosts of entities, each one in itself of cyclical character. We have cycles within cycles: cycles within others still greater; or, conversely, cycles of increasing vibrational frequency running into the infinitesimal.
From this we see that every cycle is the life movement of the heartbeat and hence the mind-beat of some cosmic, subcosmic, or infracosmic being or entity. The whirling of a galaxy is an expression of the rhythmic life-pulses of the galactic hierarch throughout all its planes of being, and manifesting, astronomically speaking, on the physical plane as the cyclical wheelings of the galactic body. Similarly so in the world of the infinitesimals, such as the whirlings of the electronic bodies in the atom.
Cycles, then, irrespective of scale or magnitude or hierarchical plane, are the expressions of the pulsations of the life and mind of the hierarchical hosts – of the web of interblending worlds – which not only infill the universe, but actually are it. In short, cycles are the inherent rhythms of life.