The Word Foundation


Harold W. Percival



Section 11

A Fourth Civilization. Wise men. Rises and falls of cycles. Rise of the latest cycle.

Then began a Fourth Civilization in the recurring cycles of Four Civilizations, on the human earth. The last one began untold years ago and developed gradually upon a reconstructed earth, and has not yet reached its height.

Some of the decadent inhabitants of the former earth survived the submersion and wandered, sailed or drifted to mountains whose tops were above the water. New exiles came out of the chambers of the earth crust. The absence of comforts, the privations and the hardships of the inhospitable earth separated the tribes and forced the survivors into uncouth savagery. They lived and were like animals. To eat, to propagate and to save their lives took up all their time and effort. They had no fires, no homes. There were terrific storms and tremors of the earth. They were scattered over different parts of the earth and there was no communication among the savage groups. Some were more peaceful than others, but none had a social order.

There appeared then among these struggling groups men of a kind superior to them. They came from the interior of the earth and were of superior intelligence, so that the savages saw that it was useless to fight against them. These men taught the savages the use of fire and how to make rude implements, and established primitive social order. They gave some grains to the rude people, showed them how to grow them and taught them to build houses. These Wise Men were the leaders of the different groups. Gradually they taught the people to domesticate some animals, to weave, to work in metal and to build with stones. After many efforts and failures, intervening ages of darkness and convulsions of the earth, which were brought about because of the thoughts and vices of the people, minor civilizations arose again.

During some of these minor civilizations the people had vast cities which were the centers of great cultures. They had buildings of wood, of stone and of metals. The metals were light but of great strength and were tempered to be hard or soft, to conduct heat or to resist it. A kind of red metal generated heat. The buildings were in the shapes of squares, circles and triangles. Some of the dwelling houses enclosed courts and gardens, in which were grouped flowers, some of gorgeous hues, some of delicate shades, some of multicolored leaves. Some of these flowers of pronounced colors were filmy and light and parted from the plant and floated in the air for days, wafting their fragrance abroad. The people used woods which were as enduring as stone. They could make stones which had the structure of natural stones and fuse the joints so that no seam could be found. They could grow crystals and produce precious stones with heat, by the use of a metal which, once fashioned in a shape, was thereafter not affected by heat and could be reduced only by sound. In their gardens were fountains that spouted perfumed and varicolored waters, which sparkled in the sunlight. Birds hovered, with feathers of delicate tracery floating for several yards about them.

They had underground passages through which they moved to distant parts of the earth within a day; for in these passages they created a current that went with them so that they did not meet the friction of the air. The people were skilled in the making of many kinds of incense from earths and plants. They used the scent of it as a sort of fragrant food and to produce emotions. The burning of incense was also a means by which elementals could come. The clouds of incense were the material from which the elementals first got their bodies.

Some of the people communicated with fire, air, water and earth elementals of the causal, portal, form and structure groups. Each of the classes of elemental beings was of different color, size and shape. Some were in permanent bodies, others were in bodies that changed in shape, appeared and disappeared. Some of them responded to thoughts, others to words or signs. Others obeyed figures which had to be drawn to direct them. The elementals could not think, but did all the service required of them. So the people with elemental aid guided animals, cultivated the soil, reaped the harvests, drove vehicles on land, on and under the water, in the air, on subterranean roads, and worked the simple machines which alone were in use in the arts and industries. Most of the elementals so employed were in human form and could not be distinguished from the humans. In fact, the humans learned from the elementals in workmanship and art and so were able to weave their fabrics as if nature herself had grown them. So they learned the movements of nature in the making of her products and could work wonders in stone, metal and wood. Elemental choristers and musicians furnished exquisite music, vocal and instrumental, melodies and symphonies, impossible to humans and their instruments. Often these elementals were made to recite the history of the earth and of races that had passed away.

All this was done under the direction of the Wise Men, who were the rulers and who had instructed the people in the control and use of the elementals. In this a double purpose was served. The elementals were by association with humans impressed by the reflection of the Light of the Intelligences and their matter was improved. The human beings learned from nature the processes of her workmanship.

Some of the elemental beings thus called into service and some in nature who were free, were of exceeding beauty and loveliness. By association with them the human beings acquired the grace and developed the beauty of nature. To that they added the brightness of their intelligent doers which the elementals lacked. The people had been instructed by the Wise Men about the doer and its duties to the Triune Self, about the nature of the elementals of the four groups, how they worked and how to control them, about how to benefit and help them and about the elemental hierarchies in the four elements and the gods of the elements.

The most advanced among the people were taught about the nature of the sexes; how to conserve and direct these powers in the maintenance of health, the prolongation of life and the refinement of the physical body for future generations. They were also taught the history of the past and warned against being controlled by the elementals, as this would bring about their downfall.

In the generations which followed, the human beings mixed with elementals, men and women united with the beautiful but unintelligent entities of nature and the issue was usually devoid of an indwelling doer. Owing to the ease of communication, elemental gods appeared and demanded worship from the human beings, so the people became nature worshippers. Rites and ceremonies were gradually developed into religious systems. This was a beginning of religions. The people were easily led into the worship of these gods because of the beauty amongst which the people lived.

Four religions flourished for the worship of the hierarchies of fire, air, water and earth. Each religion had many sects, worshipping all kinds of gods, from refined to gross types. The gods manifested in living fire that burned without combustion, in sounds, in sacred streams and pools, in sacred groves, and through stones. These gods were in forms, apart from the gross element through which they manifested.

Nature worship was centered upon the sexes. The dual, fiery, creative and destructive power that is hidden in sex was desired, as all nature depends upon that and can get it only through doers while they are in human bodies under the Light of an Intelligence. This worship was kept on a high plane, but it was opposed to the progress of the doer. At first, long sexual fasts and consecration of a holy union, with a dedication of the incoming doer to the worship of the god, sanctified man and woman.

However, after a time, elementals mixed with humans for sensation. Soon sexual misdeeds followed and vice became general. The bodies of men and women were worshipped by the religious rites in use and these were interpreted in a lascivious sense. Sometimes the male was worshipped more, sometimes the female. The warnings of the Wise Men and their history of the past were forgotten or ignored.

Kings and queens appeared with their courts of luxury and power. Gods became jealous of the worship paid to other gods, just as in modern times, and caused wars. The conquered rulers and their people were made to worship the god of the conqueror, or were exterminated. Such wars continued everywhere. The people were brutalized and by that the gods, who were nourished and kept alive by the people, degenerated. Luxury, power, sex worship, poverty and ignorance came from control by the gods. Aristocracies, bureaucracies, demagogies and tyrannies in one form or another succeeded each other everywhere in the course of time. Whenever a cycle of thought had run its course, there was an upheaval in nature and parts of the earth were destroyed.

In great wars the gods took part and fought with their worshippers against their enemies. Water gods caused the waters to rise and rains to fall; air gods drove back the waters and by hurricanes brought destruction to the enemy; fire gods caused walls of fire to descend and consume, and water gods quenched the fire. The earth gods caused the earth to burst and engulf their enemies, or made thick layers of ice to cover parts of the earth.

All of this was done by human agencies. Elementals during their long association with human beings had taught them the wielding and direction of elemental powers. During the wars priests of the various gods used their knowledge. The gods used the intelligence of the men to direct their, the gods’, own forces against the enemy, elemental and human. Wars were waged and elemental powers were used from the air as well as from the earth. Both sides hurled bolts of fire, exploding stones, and directed steaming water and stupefying and deadly gasses; by certain sounds they paralyzed the nerves and shattered the bones. By directing certain currents against the bodies of their enemies, these were set on fire. By cutting off air currents they suffocated their opponents. They conjured up terrifying spectral crab- and spider-like shapes, huge worms and bats, that seemed to suck out the doers of the enemy, while in reality they sucked out the juices of their bodies and left them paralyzed but conscious. These forces were controlled by priestly generals who, in their hidden halls, by sexual practices liberated, and then by sounds and simple instruments directed them. The priests, with astral sight and hearing, saw and heard what was being done by their hosts in distant parts. All had the same advantages, but the more skillful could cut off the vision or the hearing of their opponents or introduce optical illusions and could overcome element with element.

As the cycles ran their courses there were many rises and falls of nations and continents. Innumerable races have so far partaken of this Fourth Civilization. There were red and blue and green and yellow races, who came from different types that were saved from the Third Civilization.

All had a rude beginning, all got their start with the aid of Wise Men who came from the inner earth, all received aid and instruction in the inner and the outer life, all had an early period of power, all were charged with responsibility and duties—and most of them have failed. To all have come from time to time Wise Men, who have reminded them of their duties and have sometimes caused a revival of civilization. But the majority of the doers in all the races has failed to make progress.

An important cycle ended with the sinking of the continent called by some Atlantis. This continent, one of many that have arisen during this Fourth Civilization, had its beginning untold ages past and, according to present reckoning, the last of its sinkings took place from twenty to ten thousand years ago and is mentioned by Plato in his Timaeus.

The remnants of civilization in China, India and around the Mediterranean flared out. Then Europe went through a night and an awakening. The crest of the new wave of the Fourth Civilization is far from being reached. It is to be on an American continent; it began with the founding of the Virginia and Plymouth colonies, notwithstanding the behavior of the early settlers.

During the rises and falls of minor civilizations there have been numerous religions, nearly all of them instituted by the gods of the elements aided by the intellects of theologists or priests. These gods desire worship by human doers, because they thereby get some of the Light that is in the atmosphere of the doers. The Light is in the thought. When the thought is directed to the gods in worship, the gods live by it. When the thought or worship is refused, the gods become angry, cause wars and die out from lack of nourishment. Some gods get their sustenance through thought directly, others need hymns, praise, incense, blood, sacrifices or sexual rites. Sun and star worship, serpent worship and other forms of animal worship, tree worship and stone worship, are some of these religions which have appeared and reappeared in the past of the Fourth Civilization.

Doers who did not reach perfection so as to be united with their Triune Selves during the three preceding Civilizations, and who had not destroyed themselves and become “lost” doers, continued through the various races in the Fourth Civilization. They continued through the various ups and downs and took part in the civilization according to the state to which they had raised or lowered themselves by their thinking.

The animals, plants, flowers and minerals always represented in their appearance and structure the thoughts in which the thinking of these doers had resulted. The entities animating the animal forms were such portions of the doers as could not go on through the after death states. At certain times the facts about the animals were made known to some doers but were lost whenever they would not profit by the information. The types of the animals showed the ferocity, greed or gentleness of the thoughts which were exteriorized in the animal forms.