The Newsletter of the Northwest Branch of the Theosophical Society
December 2004 Vol. 7 Issue 10
The Occultist does not locate invisible spheres either outside or inside our earth, as the theologians and the poets do; for their location is nowhere in the space known to, and conceived by, the profane. They are, as it were, blended with our world -- interpenetrating it and interpenetrated by it. There are mil-lions and millions of worlds and firmaments visible to us; there are still greater numbers beyond those visible to the telescopes, and many of the latter kind do not belong to our objective sphere of existence. Although as invisible as if they were millions of miles beyond our solar system, they are yet with us, near us, within our own world, as objective and material to their respective inhabitants as ours is to us. But, again, the relation of these worlds to ours is not that of a series of egg-shaped boxes enclosed one within the other; each is entirely under its own special laws and conditions, having no direct relation to our sphere. The inhabitants of these, for all we know, or feel, passing through and around us as if through empty space, their very habitations and countries being interblended with ours, though not disturbing our vision, because we have not yet the faculties necessary for discerning them. Yet by their spiritual sight adepts, and even some seers and sensitives, are always able to discern, whether in a greater or smaller degree, the presence and close proximity to us of beings pertaining to other spheres of life. Those of the (spiritually) higher worlds communicate only with those terrestrial mortals who ascend to them, through individual efforts, on to the higher plane they are occupying.
But invisible worlds do exist. Inhabited as thickly as our own is, they are scattered throughout apparent space in immense number; some far more material than our own world, others gradually etherealizing until they become form-less and are as "Breaths." That our physical eye does not see them is no reason to disbelieve in them; physicists can see neither their ether, atoms, nor "modes of motion," or forces. Yet they accept and teach them.
Do not we know through the discoveries of all-denying science that we are surrounded by myriads of invisible lives? If these microbes, bacteria and the tutti quanti of the infinitesimally small, are invisible to us by virtue of their minuteness, cannot there be, at the other pole of it, beings as invisible owing to the quality of their texture or matter -- to its tenuity, in fact? And yet these minute lives surround us. It is only as they were gradually revealed by science that we have begun to take cognisance of them, as of the effects produced by them. -- H. P. Blavatsky
Christmas is that time of the year when most of us manifest to a greater degree than at any other time that spirit of thoughtfulness for others or forgetfulness of self, which might be termed a communion with our own spiritual self that links us intimately with the gods.
It is the winter solstice, the first of the four sacred seasons -- a beginning season. What does it matter whether it is or is not the exact birthday of Jesus the Christ? It is the birthday of the Christ-spirit within our hearts.
As G. de Purucker put it, "The pathway of beauty, of peace and strength, of the great quiet, is within us -- not within the material body, but within the inmost focus of our consciousness." This is the pathway that the great sages and seers of all ages have taught, as did Jesus the Christ, that great soul of simple words and great truths, so understandable in the first telling, so complicated later by creeds and dogmas; whose birth we truly celebrate at this season of the year by trying to emulate his selflessness. -- Lester A. Todd
Thursday, December 9th, our Tao Teh Ching meetings return permanently to the Newport Way Library. We will continue discussing this Chinese classic starting with verse 29. Feel free to drop in at any meeting!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge
Following meetings (at Newport Way Library):
Thursdays, January 6, February 3, and March 3, 2005
This month "Are There Other Dimensions?" is our topic. We will be discussing such questions as: In what sense is time a fourth dimension? Is the universe formed of dimensions of consciousness, spirit, and other nonphysical sub-stances as fundamentally as it is formed of physical matter and energy? Are there nonphysical planes or spheres of being, perhaps with their own inhabitants? Parallel universes? What does the structure of the universe tell us about ourselves, our paths of development, and how we fit into the cosmic whole? Come and share your ideas!
Open to the public, unsectarian, non-political, no charge
January 13: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?
The topics for the monthly discussions are chosen by members of the Northwest Branch. If there is a subject that particularly interests you, or if you have ideas or suggestions about the meetings, please do not hesitate to email or mail them to the Branch or to mention them after the meetings.
Though all human beings are composed of roughly the same ingredients, every one of us is unique in the way we combine them. No human quality is entirely alien to anyone; each of us is a composite, a whirlpool of flowing forces, attracted and held in shape by a magnet we call our self. The parts are supplied by the world we live in, and we exchange them constantly. Built of the stuff of stars, we are hosts to all the forces in the universe, recipients of the gifts of all the Magi.
The Wise Men and their distinctive gifts are very much in keeping with the allegorical meaning of the Christian Mystery-tale. Luke speaks of three shepherds coming to see the babe -- shepherd being a word used for a religious teacher. The only other gospel to mention the visitation is Matthew, who calls them Wise Men who came from the east, guided by a brilliant star, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In Persia a magus was a wise man, one who possessed special knowledge, and only later the term acquired the connotation our word "magician" has today. The bright star has never been identified. The year of its alleged appearance is unknown, there being no historic record of Jesus of Nazareth.
The biblical tale implies that the three Wise Men (later called kings) were human hierophants and that each represented a planetary deity or divine influence indicated by his name and gift, but nothing so pragmatic as three actual personages visiting the birthplace of a child. Rather is it entirely plausible that our world was undergoing a cyclically recurring event, a confluence of forces emitted by three of the "beneficent powers," as celestial influences are called in the Norse myths, and that these were symbolized by the Magi (cf. The Esoteric Tradition by G. de Purucker, p. 1105 et seq).
Astrophysical research now confirms that a magnetic field permeates and surrounds not only every organism on earth but also the sun and planets in space, and that plumes of magnetic plasma containing the visible globes, pushed outward by the solar wind to immense distances, even cross their neighbors' orbits. The entire system is bathed in the sun's own vital sheath of magnetism, which serves as a common ground to unite each planetary sphere with all the others, the whole forming a living organism round a pulsating sun.
At the winter solstice the universal currents favor a penetration by human consciousness into spheres of life we call divine and, concurrently, a descent may take place into the human arena of a spiritual force from higher worlds: the gods too "descend into hell" to gain experience in their underworld -- our world -- thereby bringing light and inspiration to terrestrial humanity. At such a time a human candidate is being tested, every soul-fiber yielding its separate life to bear together the burden of divinity. When the mystic "birth" is successful, it brings about a new and nobler trend in human thinking, introduced by the one whose whole character has been trained and refined until it is translucent to the godlike radiance. Two weeks after the solstice the Wise Men give, each one, his distinctive quality to the initiate, the soul who had undergone the mystic birth of his higher self at the year's darkest hour, when the solar light had withdrawn from the northern hemisphere. Our earth is then speeding most rapidly along its orbit to a rendezvous with the sun at perihelion, which is also the time of the epiphany -- the closest encounter of the year with the solar splendor.
When an avataric influence makes itself felt through the agency of a human being whose purity and strength have brought him to the point of enlightenment, it is god-power which is being transmitted from the divine intelligences embodied in the celestial universe. Having traversed the crystalline spheres of life surrounding the divine center of our solar system and at each station divested itself of its respective properties, the initiant -- now empty, naked consciousness -- penetrates the precincts of the sacred sun. Returning, it receives from each world its appropriate gift: the gold of incorruptibility born in the crucible of the soul; the aromatic frankincense released by the testing fires; and myrrh -- the willing return to spheres of sorrow. So the "newborn" reenters the sphere of earth, effulgent with solar radiance, the cycle consummated, the vessel broken, the light unconfined.