The zodiac is the law according to which everything comes into existence, stays a while, then passes out of existence, to reappear according to the zodiac.
|Vol. 5||MAY, 1907.||No. 2|
|Copyright, 1907, by H. W. PERCIVAL.|
THERE is no death without birth, nor birth without death. For every birth there is a death, and for every death a birth.
Birth means a change of condition; so also does death. To be born into this world the ordinary mortal must die to the world from which he comes; to die to this world is to be born into another world.
In the journey to the beyond countless generations have repeatedly asked, “Whence do we come? Whither do we go?” The only answer they have heard has been the echo to their questions.
From more meditative minds there come the other twin questions, “How do I come? How do I go?” This adds more mystery to the mysterious, and thus the subject rests.
While passing through our shadowland those who are conscious of or who have had glimpses into either side of the beyond say that one may solve the riddles and answer the questions relating to his future by the analogy of the past. These statements are so simple that we listen to them and dismiss them without thought.
It is well that we cannot solve the mystery. To do so might destroy our shadowland before we can live in the light. Yet we may get an idea of the truth by making use of analogy. We may apprehend “Whither we go?” by taking a glance along the perspective of “Whence we come?”
After asking the twin questions, “Whence and Whither?” and “How do I come?” and “How do I go?” there comes the soul-awakening question, “Who am I?” When the soul has earnestly asked itself this question, it will never again be content until it knows. “I! I! I! Who am I? What am I here for? Where do I come from? Where am I going? How do I come? and How do I go? However I come or go through space, through time, or beyond, still, ever and always, I am I and only I!”
From testimony and observation, one knows that he came into the world, or at least his body did, through birth, and that he will pass out of the visible world through death. Birth is the portal leading into the world and the entrance into the life of the world. Death is the exit from the world.
The generally accepted meaning of the word “birth” is the entrance of a living, organized body into the world. The generally accepted meaning of the word “death’’ is the ceasing of a living, organized body to co-ordinate its life and maintain its organization.
This, our, world, with its atmosphere the dregs of eternal Substance is as a speck floating in infinite space. The soul comes from the eternal, but has lost its wings and its memory while coming through the earth’s dense atmosphere. Arrived on the earth, forgetful of its true home, deluded by its vestures and the fleshly coil of its present body, it is unable to see into the beyond on either side of the now and here. Like a bird whose wings are broken, it is unable to rise and soar into its own element; and so the soul dwells here for a little while, held a prisoner by the coils of flesh in the time-world, unmindful of its past, fearful of the future— the unknown.
The visible world stands between two eternities as a great theatre in eternity. The immaterial and the invisible here become material and visible, the intangible and formless take on a tangible form, and the Infinite here appears to be finite as it enters into the play of life.
The womb is the hall where each soul gowns itself in the costume for its part and then launches itself into the play. The soul is forgetful of the past. The paste, the paint, the costume, the footlights and the play cause the soul to forget its being in eternity, and it is immersed in the littleness of the play. Its part over, the soul is relieved of its vestures one by one and ushered again into eternity through the doorway of death. The soul puts on its fleshly robes to come into the world; its part over, it puts off these robes to leave the world. Pre-natal life is the process of costuming, and birth is the step out onto the stage of the world. The process of death is the disrobing and passing back into the worlds of desire, thought or knowledge (♍︎–♏︎, ♌︎–♐︎, ♋︎–♑︎) from which we came.
To know the process of unmasking, we must know the process of masking. To know the transformation during the passing out of the world, we must know of the transformation while coming into the world. To know the process of masking or of the putting on the costume of the physical body, one must know somewhat of physiology and of the physiology of foetal development.
From the time of copulation until the birth into the physical world the reincarnating ego is concerned with the preparation of its vestures, and the building of its physical body which it is to inhabit. During this time the ego is not incarnate, but it is in contact with the mother through the emotions and senses, either consciously superintending the preparation and building of its body or it is in a dream state. These conditions are determined by the previous development of the ego as to its powers and capacities.
Each soul lives in a distinct world of its own, and of its own making, which it relates to or identifies with itself. The soul builds a physical body within and around a portion of itself for a sojourn and experience in the physical world. When the sojourn is at an end it dissipates the physical body by the process called death and decay. During and after this process of death it prepares other bodies in which to live in the worlds invisible to this our physical world. But whether in the visible physical world or invisible worlds, the reincarnating ego is never outside its own world or sphere of action.
After a life just ended the ego causes the physical body to be dissolved, consumed and resolved into its natural sources by the physical, chemical, elemental fires, and there remains nothing of that physical body except a germ. This germ is invisible to the physical eye, but remains within the world of the soul. Symbolizing the physical body, this germ appears as a glowing, burning coal during the process of the death and decay of the physical body. But when the elements of the physical body have been resolved into their natural sources and the reincarnating ego has passed into its period of rest the germ ceases to burn and glow; it gradually decreases in size until it finally appears to be a diminutive burned out cinder of an ashy color. It continues as an ashy speck in an obscure part of the world of the soul during the entire period of enjoyment and rest of the ego. This period of rest is known to the different religionists as “Heaven.” When its heaven period is over and the ego is preparing to reincarnate, the burned out cinder, as the germ of the physical life, begins to glow again. It continues to glow and become brighter as it is brought into magnetic relation with its future parents by the law of fitness.
When the time is ripe for the germ of the physical to begin the growing of a physical body it enters into a closer relationship with its future parents.
In the early stages of humanity the gods walked the earth with men, and men were ruled by the wisdom of the gods. In those times humanity copulated only at certain seasons and for the purpose of giving birth to beings. In those times there existed an intimate relationship between the ego who was ready to incarnate and the egos who were to provide the physical body. When an ego was ready and willing to incarnate it made known its readiness by asking those of its own kind and order who were living in the physical world to prepare a physical body in which it might incarnate. By mutual consent the man and woman thus approached began a course of preparation and development which lasted until the birth of the body. The preparation consisted of a certain training and a series of religious ceremonies which were considered to be solemn and sacred. They knew that they were about to re-enact the history of creation and that they themselves were to act as gods in the august presence of the universal over-soul. After the necessary purification and training of body and mind and at the particular time and season suited for and indicated by the ego to incarnate, the sacred rite of copulative sacramental union was performed. Then the individual breath of each merged into one flame-like breath, which formed an atmosphere around the pair. During the rite of copulative union the glowing germ of the future physical body shot forth from the sphere of the soul of the ego and entered the sphere of the breath of the pair. The germ passed like lightning through the bodies of both and caused them to thrill as it took the impression of each part of the body, then centered itself in the womb of the woman and became the bond which caused the two germs of sex to fuse into one—the impregnated ovum. Then began the building of the body which was to be the physical world of the ego.
This was the way when wisdom ruled humanity. Then child birth was attended by no labor pains, and the beings in the world knew of those who were to enter. It is not so now.
Lust, lasciviousness, sexuality, voluptuousness, animality, are the present rulers of men who now desire sexual union without thought of the malignant beings who come into the world through their practices. The inevitable companions to these practices are hypocrisy, deceit, fraud, falsehood and treachery. All together are the causes of the world’s misery, sickness, disease, idiocy, poverty, ignorance, suffering, fear, envy, spite, jealousy, slothfulness, laziness, forgetfulness, nervousness, weakness, uncertainty, timidity, remorse, anxiety, despondency, despair and death. And not only do the women of our race suffer pain in giving birth, and both sexes are subject to their peculiar diseases, but the incoming egos, guilty of the same sins, endure great suffering during pre-natal life and birth. (See Editorial, The Word, Vol. 5, No. 1, p.97.)
The invisible germ from the world of the soul is the idea of and archetypal design according to which the physical body is built. The germ of the man and the germ of the woman are the active and passive forces of nature which build according to the design of the invisible germ.
When the invisible germ has come from its place in the world of the soul and has passed through the flame-breath of the united pair and taken its place in the womb it unites the two germs of the pair, and nature begins her work of creation.
But the invisible germ, although out of its place in the world of the soul, is not cut off from the world of the soul. When departing the world of the soul the glowing invisible germ leaves a trail. This trail is brilliant or of a lurid cast, according to the nature of the being who will incarnate. The trail becomes the cord which connects the fallen invisible germ with the world of the soul. The cord connecting the invisible germ with its parent soul is composed of four strands within three sheaths. Together they seem as one cord; in color they vary from dull, heavy lead to a bright and golden hue, indicative of the purity of the body in process of formation.
This cord furnishes the channels through which are transmitted to the foetus all the potencies and tendencies of character, as they are involuted into the body and which remained as seeds (skandas) to bloom and bear fruit as the body matures in life, and the conditions are furnished for the expression of these tendencies.
The four strands which make up the cord are the channels through which passes the gross matter, the astral matter, the life matter, and the desire matter, to be fashioned into the body of the foetus. Through the three sheaths surrounding the four strands is transmitted the higher matter of the body, namely, that which is the essence of the bones, nerves and glands (manas), the marrow (buddhi), and the virile principle (atma). The four strands transmit the matter which is the essence of the skin, hair and nails (sthula sharira), flesh tissue (linga sharira), blood (prana) and fat (kama).
As this matter is precipitated and condensed there are produced in the mother certain peculiar sensations and tendencies, such, for instance, as the desire for certain foods, sudden sentiments and outbursts, strange moods and longings, mental tendencies of a religious, artistic, poetic and heroic color. Each such phase appears as the influence of the ego is being transmitted and worked into the body of the foetus through its bodily parent—the mother.
In ancient times the father played a most important part in the development of the foetus and guarded himself as carefully for this work as did the mother. In our degenerate times the relation of the father to the foetus is ignored and unknown. Only through natural instinct, but in ignorance, may he now act positively on the passive nature of the woman in the development of the foetus.
Every true scripture and cosmogony describes the building of a physical body in its gradual development. So, in Genesis, the building of the world in six days is a description of the development of the foetus, and on the seventh day the Lord, the Elohim, the builders, rested from their labors, as the work had been completed and man was fashioned in the image of his creators; that is, for every part of the body of man there is a corresponding force and entity in nature, which is the body of God, and the beings who take part in the building of the body are bound to that part which they have built and must respond to the nature of the function which that part is commanded by the incarnated ego to perform.
Each part of the body is a talisman to attract or guard against the powers of nature. As the talisman is used the powers will respond. Man is verily the microcosm who may call upon the macrocosm according to his knowledge or faith, his image-making and will.
When the foetus has been completed it is only the building of the physical being in its sevenfold division that has been done. This is only the lowest world of the soul. But the ego is not yet incarnate.
The foetus, being perfected and having rested, leaves its physical world of darkness, the womb, and dies to it. And this death of the foetus is its birth into its physical world of light. A breath, a gasp and a cry, and through the breath the ego begins its incarnation and is born into and enfolded by the psychic sphere of its parent over-soul. The ego, too, dies from its world and is born into and immersed into the world of flesh.