The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
December 2001 Vol. 4 Issue 10
Do I believe in God? That all depends upon what you mean by God. If you mean, do I believe in a Personal God, a Deity outside of man, then I would have to say that my belief in God extends far beyond the usual orthodox view. God has become for me that Divine Intelligence which is the background and foreground of all creation. In other words, to my mind nothing could exist except it were a part of God, an expression of that divine force. Using our Christian terminology, this is what seems true to me:
First, that the Waters of Space of Genesis not only are boundless and infinite, but are the divine Source of all manifested creatures; second, that when God or the Elohim breathed on the Waters of Space the Void became a Fullness, and God burst forth from the Darkness on the face of the deep into Light - and a universe with its hosts of life forms came into being. And third, that because the Elohim (to use again the Hebrew term for Gods plural, not God singular) impregnated every atom of Space with the divine essence, every facet of the universe must be an expression, however infinitesimal, of God - which means, further, that every creature in the heavens and the earth has the opportunity to become self-consciously godlike. Obviously such self-conscious at-one-ment with God isn't accomplished in a day, but must take long ages through time and space until every aspect of God has had the chance to find expression in all the kingdoms. Then when the Great Day comes, all that was emanated from the Darkness of the Void will once again be indrawn into the bosom of God for its period of rest.
Does God have a will for our lives? In one sense, and a very true one, we are that portion of Deity which is at the heart of each one of us. That means that within us is the strength and potency of God's will because it is the will of our own inner god whose divine force is impinging upon our soul. In that sense you could rightly say that man is "predestined" by his own inner god: to come into life and to experience the pain and pleasure of earthly existence.
In the ultimate sense, every entity in space is within the realm of the divine will, under the impulsion of the divine energies that flow through and permeate the universe. We are not the marionettes of some all-powerful Personal God, but free-willing agents. Yet while each has a unique destiny, no man is an island apart and distinct from every other, but part of a great continent of experience and growth that encompasses the whole of humanity. -- James A. Long
Silent Night, Holy Night,
All is calm, all is bright . . .
The simple strains of Silent Night -- magical, replete with promise, fill the silence of this Yuletide, keynoting the grander orchestration of all the other hearts who respond to its ageless call. The haunting melody once more beckons us to a dimly remembered abode we seem ever to seek as a place of refuge and refreshment on our journey through the light and so often dark days of our lives. The inn -- the inward manger of our most true selves -- is always there, alight with a steady flame, a source of warmth and compassion, an eternal guide along our way.
Silent Night, Holy Night - its very simplicity sharpens to a poignancy that penetrates all outer forms; unadorned, it serves more surely than any selective symbol of harmony. Suggestive that the calm and the bright are there, every evening of our spent days: a time to reflect upon and to be rebound to that ancient injunction to love one another. In the stillness of the starlike night of the heart's yearning, a hush falls over the frantic mind. Then peace - peace on earth in the souls of all. One Brotherhood across our broad land.
Though the lamp is low, may it glow, may it glow . . . -- Ruth K. Sisson
This month "God: He, She, or It?" is our subject. We will be discussing such questions as: What do we mean by God? Is there one God, or many Gods? How is Divinity related to humanity, the earth, and the universe? Is God finite or infinite, a being or a principle, everlasting or cyclic in manifestation? Can we rightly apply any human qualities or limitations to Divinity? How does the way we picture the Divine affect our view of ourselves and the world around us? Do our descriptions say more about God or about us? Is God an "unnecessary hypothesis"? Come 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:
Understanding the Christmas story fully involves cosmic clocks because the celebration is deeply connected with the winter solstice. We find evidence of cosmic time-keeping all over the world. The British Isles alone contain over 900 rock formations which serve as cosmic clocks. In Ireland is one of Europe's finest "passage-tombs" at Newgrange. Construction is thought to have begun as early as 3,100 BC. Above the entrance passage is a roof-box that aligns with the rising sun at the winter solstice. For about 20 minutes on this day, the sun's rays touch the ground at the center of the tomb -- a cruciform chamber inside the mound measuring 21.5 by 17 feet. Examples world-wide of pyramids, temples, medicine wheels, rock formations, and other structures serving as cosmic clocks could be multiplied indefinitely.
Why were ancient peoples so interested in charting and recording planetary and stellar movements, the solstices, and the equinoxes? The four points of the year marked by the solstices and equinoxes are also called the sacred seasons. Around the globe there have been, and will continue to be, schools of the Mysteries where people learn about the workings of the universe, their own connection with it, and the natural order of com-passion, harmony, and balance. These Mysteries can be divided into seven phases. The first three had to do with study, discipline, and living what had been understood through study. It might take many lifetimes to complete these first three stages. After this training, those who had learned a great deal about the laws of nature, and had put this knowledge into practice, undergo a transition in their lives. At the winter solstice they experience consciously the process of death and understand that it simply means life of a larger kind. Leaving their bodies behind as if dead, their consciousness goes through the processes of death, passing through the inner circulations of the earth and of some of the planets, and up to the very portal of the sun before returning. If successfully accomplished, this event produces a teacher who has experienced the consciousness behind the laws he earlier came to understand and tried to live by.
A second event, in a higher phase of the Mysteries, also occurs at the winter solstice. It happens very rarely, perhaps not more than once every 2,000 or more years. When the Moon is new, and the Earth, Moon, Venus, Mercury, and Sun are aligned on the winter solstice, an individual can go through a much more exalted experience. He or she runs through a great circuit of terrestrial and cosmic energies, entering the consciousness of the sun itself and returning through the circulations of the cosmos. The entire experience takes fourteen days and, if successful, the candidate arises as a Buddha or a Christ.
Thinking over this series of events allows us to understand more of the story told at Christmas. Individuals who complete these initiations are called "twice-born" and "virgin born" because through this experience the god within has been awakened and they are literally born again of their own spirit. Looking at the gifts the wise men brought the infant Jesus, we see that gold is a symbol for the incorruptible, golden, pure sun, the divine consciousness. And frankincense and myrrh? They were used for embalming the dead. Isn't it interesting that anyone would give a newborn baby objects related to its death? However, initiation is a death, the death of the limited self.
Each of us feels the pull of the winter solstice. At this season each of us undergoes a new beginning, a new initiation, as the god within stirs, however slightly. And without a sense of these wonderful initiation Mysteries being portrayed in our Christmas story, it can become a distant event -- which it is not. It is right here with us, and we will experience it every year as the cosmic clock returns to the winter solstice, when even the worst trials and tribulations have within them the seeds of light and triumph.