The Word Foundation

Three worlds surround, penetrate and bear up this physical world, which is the lowest, and the sediment of the three.

—The Zodiac.

THE

WORD

Vol. 6 DECEMBER, 1907. No. 3

Copyright, 1907, by H. W. PERCIVAL.

CONSCIOUSNESS THROUGH KNOWLEDGE.

THIS article will attempt to show what the mind is and its connection with the physical body. It will point out the immediate relationship of the mind to the worlds within and about us, indicate and depict the actual existence of the abstract world of knowledge, show how the mind may consciously live in it, and how, with knowledge, one may become conscious of Consciousness.

Many a man will say that he knows he has a body, that he has life, desires, sensations, and that he has a mind and uses it and thinks with it; but if questioned as to what his body actually is, what his life, desires and sensations are, what thought is, what his mind is, and what the processes of its operations are when he thinks, he will not be confident of his answers, just as many are ready to assert that they know a person, place, thing or subject, but if they have to tell what they know about them and how they know, they will be less certain in their statements. If a man has to explain what the world is in its constituent parts and as a whole, how and why the earth produces its flora and fauna, what causes the ocean currents, the winds, the fire and the forces by which the earth performs its operations, what causes the distribution of the races of mankind, the rise and fall of civilizations, and what causes man to think, then he is at a standstill, if for the first time his mind is directed to such questions.

The animal man comes into the world; conditions and environments prescribe his mode of life. While he remains the animal man, he is satisfied to get along in the easiest way in a happy-go-lucky manner. So long as his immediate wants are satisfied, he takes the things which he sees without questioning as to their causes, and lives an ordinary happy animal life. There comes a time in his evolution when he begins to wonder. He wonders at the mountains, the chasms, the roar of the ocean, he wonders at the fire and its all-consuming power, he wonders at the tempest, the winds, the thunder, lightning, and at the battling elements. He observes and wonders at the changing seasons, the growing plants, the coloring of the flowers, he wonders at the stars twinkling, at the moon and at its changing phases, and he gazes and wonders at the sun and adores it as the giver of light and life.

The ability to wonder changes him from an animal to a human, for wonder is the first indication of the awakening mind; but the mind must not always wonder. The second stage is the endeavor to understand and make use of the object of wonder. When animal man reached this stage in evolution, he watched the rising sun and the changing seasons, and marked the progress of time. By his methods of observation, he learned to make use of the seasons according to their cyclic recurrence, and he was assisted in his efforts to know by beings who, aeons before, had passed through the school which he was then entering. To judge correctly the recurring phenomena of nature, this is what men to-day call knowledge. Their knowledge is of such things and events as are demonstrated and understood according to and in terms of the senses.

It has taken ages for the mind to build up and cultivate the senses and to gain a knowledge of the physical world through them; but in gaining a knowledge of the world the mind has lost the knowledge of itself, because its functions and faculties have been so trained and adjusted to and by the senses that it is unable to perceive anything which does not come through or appeal to the senses.

To real knowledge, the ordinary mind stands in the same relation as did the mind of the animal man to the world in his period. Man is to-day awakening to the possibilities of the inner world as the animal man awoke to those of the physical world. During the last century, the human mind has passed through many cycles and stages of development. Man was contented to be born, to be nursed, to breathe, to eat and drink, do business, marry and die, with the hope of heaven, but he is not now so contented. He does all this as he did it before and will continue to do in civilizations yet to come, but the mind of man is in a state of awakening to something else than the humdrum affairs of life. The mind is moved and agitated by an unrest which demands something beyond the limitations of its immediate possibilities. This very demand is an evidence that it is possible for the mind to do and to know more than it has known. Man questions himself as to who and what he is.

Finding himself in certain conditions, growing up in these and being educated according to his wishes, he enters business, but if he continues in business he finds that business will not satisfy him however successful he may be. He demands more success, he gets it, and still he is not satisfied. He may demand society and the gayeties, pleasures, ambitions and the attainments of social life, and he may demand and reach position and power, but he is still unsatisfied. Scientific research satisfies for a time because it answers the inquiries of the mind concerning the appearance of phenomena and of certain of the immediate laws controlling phenomena. The mind may then say that it knows, but when it seeks to know the causes of phenomena, it is again unsatisfied. Art assists the mind in its wanderings into nature, but it ends in dissatisfaction to the mind because the more beautiful the ideal, the less it can be demonstrated to the senses. Religions are among the least satisfying sources of knowledge, for though the theme be sublime, it is degraded by an interpretation through the senses, and though the representatives of religion speak of their religions as being above the senses, they contradict their claims by the theologies which are compounded by means of, and through the senses. Wherever one is and under whatever condition he may be, he cannot escape the same inquiry: What does it all mean—the pain, pleasure, success, adversity, friendship, hatred, love, anger, lust; the frivolities, illusions, delusions, ambitions, aspirations? He may have attained success in business, education, position, he may have great learning, but if he asks himself what he knows from what he has learned, his answer is unsatisfactory. Though he might have great knowledge of the world, he knows that he does not know what he at first thought he knew. By wondering what it all means, he manifests the possibility of his entering into a realization of another world within the physical world. But the task is made difficult by his not knowing how to begin. This need not be long wondered at because the entrance into a new world requires the development of faculties by which the new world can be understood. If these faculties were developed, the world would be already known, and not new. But inasmuch as it is new and the faculties necessary to conscious existence in the new world are the only means by which he may know the new world, he must develop these faculties. That is done by effort and the endeavor to use the faculties. As the mind has learned to know the physical world, so must it, the mind, learn to know its physical body, form body, life, and its desire principles, as distinct principles, and as different from itself. In trying to learn what the physical body is, the mind naturally distinguishes itself from the physical body and can thus the more readily become aware of the composition and structure of the physical and the part the physical body plays and will have to take in the future. As it continues to experience, the mind learns the lessons which the pains and pleasures of the world teach through its physical body, and learning these it begins to learn to identify itself as apart from the body. But not until after many lives and long ages is it able to so identify itself. As he awakens to the lessons of pain and joy and sorrow, health and disease, and begins to look into his own heart, man discovers that this world, beautiful and permanent as it may seem, is only the coarsest and hardest of the many worlds which are within and about it. As he becomes enabled to use his mind, he may perceive and understand the worlds within and around this physical body and his earth, even as he perceives and understands the physical things which he now thinks he knows, but which he in reality knows so little of. As he learns to know his body and the other principles which make him what he is, he will learn to know of the other worlds because each one of the factors which enters into his constitution as man, has its corresponding world from which it draws its sustenance and in which it lives and moves.

There are three worlds which surround, penetrate and bear up this physical world of ours, which is the lowest and the crystallization of those three. This physical world represents the result of immense periods as counted by our notions of time, and represents the results of the involution of older worlds of attenuated etherial matters of varying densities. The elements and forces which now operate through this physical earth are the representatives of those early worlds.

The three worlds which preceded ours are still with us and were known to the ancients as fire, air and water, but the fire air, water, and also earth, are not those of which we know in the ordinary use of the terms. They are the occult elements which are the substrata of that matter which we know by those terms.

That these worlds might be easier of comprehension we will again introduce Figure 30. It represents the four worlds of which we must speak, in their involutionary and evolutionary aspects, and it shows also the four aspects or principles of man, each acting in its own world, and all operative in the physical.

♈︎ ♉︎ ♊︎ ♋︎ ♌︎ ♍︎ ♏︎ ♐︎ ♑︎ ♒︎ ♓︎ ♈︎ ♉︎ ♊︎ ♋︎ ♌︎ ♍︎ ♎︎ ♏︎ ♐︎ ♑︎ ♒︎ ♓︎ ♎︎
Figure 30.

Of the four, the first and highest world, the occult element of which was fire, has not yet been speculated about by modern science, the reason for which will be shown later on. This first world was a world of one element which was fire, but which contained the possibilities of all things which were manifested thereafter. The one element of fire is not that laya center which allows the passage of the visible into the invisible, and the transit of which we call fire, but it was, and it still is, a world which is beyond our conception of form or elements. Its characteristic is breath and is represented by the sign cancer (♋︎) in Figure 30. It, breath, contained the potentiality of all things and was called and is called fire because fire is the moving power in all bodies. But the fire we speak of is not the flame which burns or illuminates our world.

In the course of involution, the fire, or breath world, infolded within itself, and there was called into existence the life world, represented in the figure by the sign leo (♌︎), life, the occult element of which is air. There was then the life world, the element of which is air, surrounded and borne up by the breath world, the element of which is fire. The life world has been speculated on and theories have been advanced by modern science, though the theories as to what life is have not been satisfactory to the theorists. It is likely, however, that they are correct in many of their speculations. Substance, which is homogeneous, through breath, manifests duality in the life world, and this manifestation is spirit-matter. Spirit-matter is the occult element of air in the life world, leo (♌︎); it is that with which scientists have dealt in their metaphysical speculations and which they have called the atomic state of matter. The scientific definition of an atom has been: the smallest conceivable part of matter which can enter into the formation of a molecule or take part in a chemical reaction, that is to say, a particle of matter which cannot be divided. This definition will answer for the manifestation of substance in the life world (♌︎), which we have called spirit-matter. It, spirit-matter, an atom, an indivisible particle, is not subject to examination by the physical senses, though it may be perceived through thought by one who can perceive thought, as thought (♐︎) is on the opposite, evolutionary side of the plane of which spirit-matter, life (♌︎), is the involutionary side, life-thought (♌︎–♐︎), as will be seen in Figure 30. In later developments of scientific experimentation and speculation, it has been supposed that an atom was not indivisible after all, because it could be divided into many parts, each part of which could be again divided; but all this only proves that the subject of their experiment and theory was not an atom, but matter much denser than a real atom, which is indivisible. It is this elusive atomic spirit-matter which is the matter of the world of life, the element of which is the occult element known to the ancients as air.

As the cycle of involution proceeded, the life world, leo (♌︎), precipitated and crystallized its particles of spirit-matter or atoms, and these precipitations and crystallizations are now spoken of as astral. This astral is the world of form, symbolized by the sign virgo (♍︎), form. The form, or astral world contains the abstract forms of, on, and in which the physical world is built. The element of the form world is water, but not the water which is a combination of two physical constituents which physicists call elements. This astral, or form world, is the world which, by scientists, is mistaken for the life world of atomic matter. It, the astral form world, is composed of molecular matter and is not visible to the eye, which is susceptible to physical vibrations only; it is within, and holds together all forms which, in their materialization, become physical.

And last we have our physical world represented by the sign libra (♎︎). The occult element of our physical world was known to the ancients as earth; not the earth which we know, but that invisible earth which is held in the astral form world, and which is the cause of the remaining together of the particles of matter and their appearing as the visible earth. Thus, in our visible physical earth, we have, first the astral earth (♎︎), then the astral form (♍︎), then the elements of which these are composed, which are life (♌︎), pulsing through both these, and breath (♋︎), which is of the fire world and which sustains and keeps all things in constant motion.

In our physical world are focussed the forces and elements of the four worlds, and it is our privilege to come into the knowledge and use of these if we will. Of itself, the physical world is a crumbling shell, a colorless shadow, if it is seen or perceived in itself, as it is seen after pain and sorrow and misery and desolation have withdrawn the glamour of the senses and compelled the mind to see the emptiness of the world. This comes when the mind has sought and exhausted their opposites. These gone, and nothing to take their place, the world loses all color and beauty and becomes a bleak, arid desert.

When the mind comes to this state, where all color has gone out of life and life itself seems to be to no purpose other than to produce misery, death soon follows unless some event occurs which will throw the mind back on itself or awaken it to some feeling of sympathy, or to show it some purpose in thus suffering. When this does occur, the life is changed from that of former habits, and according to the new light which has come to it, it interprets the world and itself. Then that which was without color takes on new colors and life begins over again. Everything and all things in the world have a different meaning than formerly. There is a fullness in that which before seemed empty. The future seems to hold new prospects and ideals appear which lead unto new and higher fields of thought and purpose.

In Figure 30, the three worlds are shown with their respective men standing in the fourth and lowest, the physical body, in the sign libra (♎︎). The physical man of libra, sex, is limited to the world of virgo-scorpio (♍︎–♏︎), form-desire. When a mind conceives itself to be only the physical body and its senses, it attempts to contract all of the worlds of its various men into the physical body and it acts through its senses, which are those avenues of its body which lead into the physical world; so that it relates all its faculties and possibilities to the physical world alone, and thereby shuts out the light from the higher worlds. The physical nature of man, therefore, does not, or will not, conceive of anything higher than its physical life in this physical world. It should be well borne in mind that we have reached the lowest period in involution into the physical world and body of sex, libra (♎︎), having originally come from the breath, or fire world, conceived by the sign cancer (♋︎), breath, involuted and builded in the sign of leo (♌︎), life, precipitated and fashioned in the sign virgo (♍︎), form, and born into the sign libra (♎︎), sex.

The fiery world of breath is the beginning of the development of mind in the absolute zodiac; it is the beginning of the involution of nascent mind of the highest, the spiritual man, which had begun in the zodiac of the spiritual man at aries (♈︎), descended through taurus (♉︎) and gemini (♊︎) to the sign cancer (♋︎), of the spiritual zodiac, which is on the plane of the sign leo (♌︎) of the absolute zodiac. This sign leo (♌︎), life, of the absolute zodiac is the cancer (♋︎), breath, of the spiritual zodiac, and is the beginning of the involution of the mental zodiac; this begins at the sign aries (♈︎), of the mental zodiac, involves through taurus (♉︎) to cancer (♋︎) of the mental zodiac, which is life, leo (♌︎), of the spiritual zodiac, and thence downward to the sign leo (♌︎), of the mental zodiac, which is on the plane of virgo (♍︎), form, of the absolute zodiac, on the plane of cancer (♋︎), of the psychic zodiac, and the limit of the physical zodiac as marked by the sign aries (♈︎), of the physical man and his zodiac.

In the distant past of the history of humanity, the mind of man incarnated into the human form, prepared to receive it; it still is marked by the same sign, stage, degree of development and of birth, so that it continues to reincarnate in our age. At this point it is difficult to follow the complications involved into physical man, but continued thought on the four men and their zodiacs within the absolute zodiac, as shown in Figure 30, will reveal many of the truths represented in the figure.

Evolution of the mind of man and the bodies heretofore involved into his physical body, began from the physical, as shown by libra (♎︎), sex, the physical body. Evolution proceeds, first through desire, as marked by the sign scorpio (♏︎), desire, of the absolute zodiac. It will be seen that this sign scorpio (♏︎) of the absolute zodiac, is the complement to and on the opposite side of the sign virgo (♍︎), form. This plane, virgo-scorpio (♍︎–♏︎), of the absolute zodiac, passes through the plane of life-thought, leo-sagittary (♌︎–♐︎), of the mental zodiac, which is the plane cancer-capricorn, breath-individuality (♋︎–♑︎), of the psychic zodiac, which is the limit and boundary of the physical man and his zodiac. It is therefore possible, owing to the involution into the physical body of the corresponding bodies, elements and their forces of the different worlds, for physical man to conceive himself as a physical body; the reason that he may think and think of himself as a thinking physical body is due to the fact that his head touches the plane of leo-sagittary (♌︎–♐︎), life-thought, of the mental zodiac, and also the plane of cancer-capricorn (♋︎–♑︎), breath-individuality, of the psychic zodiac; but all this is limited to the plane of form-desire, virgo-scorpio (♍︎–♏︎), of the absolute zodiac. Owing to his mental potentialities, physical man is able, therefore, to live in the sign scorpio (♏︎), desire and perceive the world and the forms of the world, the plane of virgo (♍︎), form, but while living in this sign and restricting himself by his thoughts to the plane of leo-sagittary (♌︎–♐︎), of his mental world, or zodiac, he can perceive no more than the physical forms and the life and thought of his mental world as represented by the breath and individuality of his psychic personality, through his physical body in libra (♎︎). This is the animal man of which we have spoken.

Now, when the strictly animal man, be it in a primitive condition, or in civilized life, begins to wonder at the mystery of life and to speculate on the possible causes of the phenomena which he sees, he has burst the shell of his physical zodiac and world and extended his mind from the physical to the psychic world; then the development of his psychic man begins. This is shown in our symbol. It is marked by aries (♈︎) of the physical man in his zodiac, which is on the plane of cancer-capricorn (♋︎–♑︎) of the psychic man, and leo-sagittary (♌︎–♐︎), life-thought, of the mental man. Acting from the sign capricorn (♑︎), which is the limit of the physical man, he rises upward in the zodiac in the psychic world and passes through the phases and signs of aquarius (♒︎), soul, pisces (♓︎), will, to aries (♈︎), consciousness, in the psychic man, which is on the plane of cancer-capricorn (♋︎–♑︎), breath-individuality, of the mental man and leo-sagittary (♌︎–♐︎), life-thought, of the spiritual zodiac. The psychic man may develop, therefore, within and about the physical body and may, by his thought and action, furnish the material and lay the plans for its continued development, which begins at the sign capricorn (♑︎) of the mental zodiac and extends upward through the signs aquarius, soul, pisces, will, to aries (♈︎), of the mental man and his zodiac. He is now on the plane cancer-capricorn (♋︎–♑︎), breath-individuality, of the spiritual zodiac, which is also the plane leo-sagittary (♌︎–♐︎), life-thought, of the absolute zodiac.

It is possible for one, when he has developed his mind to the mental zodiac, to mentally perceive the life and thought of the world. This is the limit and boundary line of the man of science. He may rise by his intellectual development to the plane of the thought of the world, which is the individuality of the mental man, and speculate about the breath and life of the same plane. If, however, the mental man should not restrict himself by his thoughts to the strictly mental zodiac, but should endeavor to rise above it, he would begin at the limit of the plane and sign from which he functions, which is the capricorn (♑︎) of his spiritual zodiac, and rise through the signs aquarius (♒︎), soul, pisces (♓︎), will, to aries (♈︎), consciousness, which is the full development of the spiritual man in his spiritual zodiac, which extends and is bounded by the plane cancer-capricorn (♋︎–♑︎) breath-individuality, of the absolute zodiac. This is the height of attainment and development of the mind through the physical body. When this is reached, individual immortality is an established fact and reality; never again, under any circumstance or condition, will the mind, who has thus attained, ever cease to be continuously conscious.

To be Continued.


In the last editorial on “Sleep,” the words “involuntary muscles and nerves” were inadvertently used. The muscles employed during waking and sleeping are the same, but during sleep the impulses causing the movements of the body are primarily due to the sympathetic nervous system, while in the waking state the impulses are solely carried by way of the cerebro-spinal nervous system. This idea holds good through the whole editorial “Sleep.”