THEOSOPHY, Vol. 57, No. 8, June, 1969
(Pages 242-247; Size: 20K)
(Number 20 of a 36-part series)
THE CHRISTIAN SCHEME(5)
ELIPHAS LÉVI seeks to explain the dogma of his Church by paradoxes and metaphors, but succeeds very poorly in the face of the many volumes written by pious Roman Catholic demonologists under the approbation and auspices of Rome, in this nineteenth century of ours. For the true Roman Catholic, the devil or Satan is a reality; the drama enacted in the sidereal light according to the seer of Patmos -- who desired, perhaps, to improve upon the narrative in the "Book of Enoch" -- is as real, and as historical a fact as any other allegory and symbolical event in the Bible. But the Initiates give an explanation which differs from that given by Eliphas Lévi, whose genius and crafty intellect had to submit to a certain compromise dictated to him from Rome.
Thus, the true and uncompromising Kabalists admit that, for all purposes of Science and philosophy, it is enough that the profane should know that the great magic agent called by the followers of the Marquis de St. Martin -- the Martinists -- astral light, by the mediæval Kabalists and Alchemists the Sidereal Virgin and the Mysterium Magnum, and by the Eastern Occultists Æther, the reflection of Akâsa -- is that which the Church calls Lucifer. That the Latin scholastics have succeeded in transforming the universal soul and Pleroma, the vehicle of Light and the receptacle of all the forms, a force spread throughout the whole Universe, with its direct and indirect effects, into Satan and his works, is no news to any one. But now they are prepared to give out to the above-mentioned profane even the secrets hinted at by Eliphas Lévi without adequate explanation; for the latter's policy of veiled revelations could only lead to further superstition and misunderstanding. What, indeed, can a student of Occultism, a beginner, gather from the following highly poetical sentences of Eliphas Lévi, as apocalyptic as the writings of any of the Alchemists?Lucifer, the Astral Light ... is an intermediate force existing in all creation, it serves to create and to destroy, and the Fall of Adam was an erotic intoxication which has rendered his generation a slave to this fatal light ... every sexual passion that overpowers our senses is a whirlwind of that light which seeks to drag us towards the abyss of death, Folly. Hallucinations, visions, extasies are all forms of a very dangerous excitation due to this interior phosphorus (?). Thus light, finally, is of the nature of fire, the intelligent use of which warms and vivifies, and the excess of which, on the contrary, dissolves and annihilates. Thus man is called upon to assume a sovereign empire over that (astral) light and conquer thereby his immortality, and is threatened at the same time with being intoxicated, absorbed, and eternally destroyed by it. This light, therefore, inasmuch as it is devouring, revengeful, and fatal, would thus really be hellfire, the serpent of the legend; the tormented errors of which it is full, the tears and the gnashing of teeth of the abortive beings it devours, the phantom of life that escapes them, and seems to mock and insult their agony, all this would be the devil or Satan indeed. (Histoire de la Magie, p. 197).There is no wrong statement in all this; nothing save a superabundance of ill-applied metaphors, as in the application of Adam -- a myth -- to the illustration of the astral effects. Akâsa -- the astral light(1) -- can be defined in a few words; it is the universal Soul, the Matrix of the Universe, the "Mysterium Magnum" from which all that exists is born by separation or differentiation. It is the cause of existence; it fills all the infinite Space; is Space itself, in one sense, or both its Sixth and Seventh principles.(2) But as the finite in the Infinite, as regards manifestation, this light must have its shadowy side -- as already remarked. And as the infinite can never be manifested, hence the finite world has to be satisfied with the shadow alone, which its actions draw upon humanity and which men attract and force to activity. Hence, while it is the universal Cause in its unmanifested unity and infinity, the Astral light becomes, with regard to Mankind, simply the effects of the causes produced by men in their sinful lives. It is not its bright denizens -- whether they are called Spirits of Light or Darkness -- that produce Good or Evil, but mankind itself that determines the unavoidable action and reaction in the great magic agent. It is mankind which has become the "Serpent of Genesis," and thus causes daily and hourly the Fall and sin of the "Celestial Virgin" -- which thus becomes the Mother of gods and devils at one and the same time; for she is the ever-loving, beneficent deity to all those who stir her Soul and heart, instead of attracting to themselves her shadowy manifested essence, called by Eliphas Lévi -- "the fatal light" which kills and destroys. Humanity, in its units, can overpower and master its effects; but only by the holiness of their lives and by producing good causes. It has power only on the manifested lower principles -- the shadow of the Unknown and Incognizable Deity. But in antiquity and reality, Lucifer, or Luciferus, is the name of the angelic Entity presiding over the light of truth as over the light of the day. In the great Valentinian gospel Pistis Sophia (§ 361) it is taught that of the three powers emanating from the Holy names of the Three, that of Sophia (the Holy Ghost according to these gnostics -- the most cultured of all), resides in the planet Venus or Lucifer.
Thus to the profane, the Astral Light may be God and Devil at once -- Demon est Deus inversus: that is to say, through every point of Infinite Space thrill the magnetic and electrical currents of animate Nature, the life-giving and death-giving waves, for death on earth becomes life on another plane. Lucifer is divine and terrestrial light, the "Holy Ghost" and "Satan," at one and the same time, visible Space being truly filled with the differentiated Breath invisibly; and the Astral Light, the manifested effects of the two who are one, guided and attracted by ourselves, is the Karma of humanity, both a personal and impersonal entity: personal, because it is the mystic name given by St. Martin to the Host of divine Creators, guides and rulers of this planet; impersonal, as the Cause and effect of universal Life and Death.
The Fall was the result of man's knowledge, for his "eyes were opened." Indeed, he was taught Wisdom and the hidden knowledge by the "Fallen Angel," for the latter had become from that day his Manas, Mind and Self-consciousness. In each of us that golden thread of continuous life -- periodically broken into active and passive cycles of sensuous existence on Earth, and super-sensuous in Devachan -- is from the beginning of our appearance upon this earth. It is the Sutrâtma, the luminous thread of immortal impersonal monadship, on which our earthly lives or evanescent Egos are strung as so many beads -- according to the beautiful expression of Vedantic philosophy.
And now it stands proven that Satan, or the Red Fiery Dragon, the "Lord of Phosphorus" (brimstone was a theological improvement), and Lucifer, or "Light-Bearer," is in us: it is our Mind -- our tempter and Redeemer, our intelligent liberator and Saviour from pure animalism. Without this principle -- the emanation of the very essence of the pure divine principle Mahat (Intelligence), which radiates direct from the Divine mind -- we would be surely no better than animals. The first man Adam was made only a living soul (nephesh), the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit,(3) says Paul, his words referring to the building or Creation of man. Without this quickening spirit, or human Mind or soul, there would be no difference between man and beast; as there is none, in fact, between animals with respect to their actions. The tiger and the donkey, the hawk and the dove, are each one as pure and as innocent as the other, because irresponsible. Each follows its instinct, the tiger and the hawk killing with the same unconcern as the donkey eats a thistle, or the dove pecks at a grain of corn. If the Fall had the significance given to it by theology; if that fall occurred as a result of an act never intended by nature, -- a sin, how about the animals? If we are told that they procreate their species in consequence of that same "original sin," for which God cursed the earth -- hence everything living on it -- we will put another question. We are told by theology, as by Science, that the animal was on earth far earlier than man? We ask the former: How did it procreate its species, before the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, of the Good and the Evil, had been plucked off? As said: "The Christians -- far less clear-sighted than the great Mystic and Liberator whose name they have assumed, whose doctrines they have misunderstood and travestied, and whose memory they have blackened by their deeds -- took the Jewish Jehovah as he was, and of course strove vainly to reconcile the Gospel of Light and Liberty with the Deity of Darkness and Submission." (War in Heaven.)(4)
But it is sufficiently proven now that all the soi-disant evil Spirits who are credited with having made war on the gods, are identical as personalities; moreover, that all the ancient religions taught the same tenet save the final conclusion, which latter differs from the Christian. The seven primeval gods had all a dual state, one essential, the other accidental. In their essential state they were all the "Builders" or Fashioners, the Preservers and the rulers of this world, and in the accidental state, clothing themselves in visible corporeality, they descended on the earth and reigned on it as Kings and Instructors of the lower Hosts, who had incarnated once more upon it as men.
Thus, esoteric philosophy shows that man is truly the manifested deity in both its aspects -- good and evil, but theology cannot admit this philosophical truth. Teaching the dogma of the Fallen Angels in its dead-letter meaning, and having made of Satan the cornerstone and pillar of the dogma of redemption -- to do so would be suicidal. Having once shown the rebellious angels distinct from God and the Logos in their personalities, the admission that the downfall of the disobedient Spirits meant simply their fall into generation and matter, would be equivalent to saying that God and Satan were identical. For since the LOGOS (or God) is the aggregate of that once divine Host accused of having fallen, it would follow that the Logos and Satan are one.
Yet such was the real philosophical view of the now disfigured tenet in antiquity. The Verbum, or the "Son," was shown in a dual aspect by the Pagan Gnostics -- in fact, he was a duality in full unity. Hence, the endless and various national versions. The Greeks had Jupiter, the son of Chronos, the Father, who hurls him down into the depths of Kosmos. The Aryans had Brahmâ (in later theology) precipitated by Siva into the Abyss of Darkness, etc., etc. But the fall of all these Logoi and Demiurgi from their primitive exalted position, had in all cases one and the same esoteric signification in it; the curse -- in its philosophical meaning -- of being incarnated on this earth; an unavoidable rung on the ladder of cosmic evolution, a highly philosophical and fitting Karmic law, without which the presence of Evil on Earth would have to remain for ever a closed mystery to the understanding of true philosophy. To say, as the author of the Esprits Tombés des Paiens (p. 347) does, that since "Christianity is made to rest on two pillars, that of evil and of good; on two forces, in short: hence, if we suppress the punishment of the evil forces, the protecting mission of the good Powers will have neither value nor sense" -- is to utter the most unphilosophical absurdity. If it fits in with, and explains Christian dogma, it obscures the facts and truths of the primitive wisdom of the ages. The cautious hints of Paul have all the true esoteric meaning, and it took centuries of scholastic casuistry to give them the present false colouring in their interpretation. The verbum and Lucifer are one in their dual aspect; and the "Prince of the Air" is not the "God of that period," but an everlasting principle. If the latter was said to be ever circling around the world, the great Apostle referred simply to the never-ceasing cycles of human incarnations, in which evil will ever predominate unto the day when Humanity is redeemed by the true divine Enlightenment which gives the correct perception of things.... The identity of thought and meaning is the one thing that strikes the student in all the religions which mention the tradition of the fallen Spirits, and in those greater religions there is not one that fails to mention and describe it in one or another form.
THE CHRISTIAN SCHEME
JESUS: A True Nazarene
(Part 21 of a 36-part series)
Back to the
"Christianity in the Light of Theosophy"
complete list of articles.
Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".
FIVE (5) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
(5) NOTE.--"The Christian Scheme," begun in November, 1967, is collated from the works of H. P. Blavatsky. It recounts the historical background and early development of Christianity. This issue from: "Is Pleroma Satan's Lair?" (S.D. II, 506-15).
Back to text.
(1) Akâsa is not the Ether of Science, as some Orientalists translate it.
Back to text.
(2) Says Johannes, Tritheim, the Abbot of Spanheim, the greatest astrologer and Kabalist of his day:-- "The art of divine magic consists in the ability to perceive the essence of things in the light of nature (astral light), and by using the soul-powers of the spirit to produce material things from the unseen universe, and in such operations the Above and the Below must be brought together and made to act harmoniously. The spirit of Nature (astral light) is a unity creating and forming everything, and acting through the instrumentality of man it may produce wonderful things. Such processes take place according to law. You will learn the law by which these things are accomplished, if you learn to know yourself. You will know it by the Power of the spirit that is in yourself, and accomplish it by mixing your spirit with the essence that comes out of yourself. If you wish to succeed in such a work you must know how to separate Spirit and Life in Nature, and, moreover, to separate the astral soul in yourself and to make it tangible, and then the substance of the soul will appear visibly and tangibly rendered objective by the power of the spirit" -- (Quoted in Dr. Hartman's Paracelsus.)
Back to text.
(3) The real original text of I Corinthians, rendered Kabalistically and esoterically would read (15:44-5): "It is sown a soul body (not 'natural' body), it is raised a spirit body." St. Paul was an Initiate, and his words have quite a different meaning when read esoterically. The body "is sown in weakness (passivity); it is raised in power" (43) -- or in spirituality and intellect.
Back to text.
(4) By Godolphin Mitford, later in life, Murad Ali Bey. Born in India, the son of a Missionary, G. Mitford was converted to Islam, and died a Mahomedan in 1884. He was a most extraordinary Mystic, of a great learning and remarkable intelligence. But he left the Right Path and forthwith fell under Karmic retribution. As well shown by the author of the article quoted "The followers of the defeated Elohim, first massacred by the victorious Jews (the Jehovites), and then persuaded by the victorious Christians and Mohamedans, continued nevertheless.... Some of these scattered sects have lost even the tradition of the true rationale of their belief -- to worship in secrecy and mystery the Principle of Fire, Light, and Liberty. Why do the Sabean Bedouins (avowedly Monotheists when dwelling in the Mohamedan cities) in the solitude of the desert night yet invoke the starry 'Host of Heaven'? Why do the Yezidis, the 'Devil Worshippers,' worship the 'Muluk-Taoos' -- The 'Lord Peacock' -- the emblem of pride and of hundred-eyed intelligence (and of Initiation also), which was expelled from heaven with Satan, according to an old Oriental tradition? Why do the Gholaites and their kindred Mesopotamo-Iranian Mohamedan Sects believe in the 'Noor Illahee' -- the Light of the Elohim -- transmitted in anastasis through a hundred Prophet Leaders? It is because they have continued in ignorant superstition the traditional religion of the 'Light Deities whom Jahveh overthrew' (is said to have overthrown rather); for by overthrowing them he would have overthrown himself. The 'Muluk-Taoos' -- is Maluk -- 'Ruler' as is shown in the foot-note. It is only a new form of Moloch, Melek, Molech, Malayak, and Malachim" -- Messengers, Angels, etc.
Back to text.