THE STIGMATA AND THE CRUCIFIXION
As we said in the beginning of this series of articles, the Christian Mystic Initiation differs radically from the Occult Initiation undertaken by those who approach the Path from the intellectual side. But all paths converge at Gethsemane, where the candidate for Initiation is saturated with sorrow which flowers into compassion, a yearning mother love which has only one all-absorbing desire; to pour itself out for the alleviation of the sorrow of the world to save and to succor all that are weak and heavy-laden, to comfort them and give them rest. At that point the eyes of the Christian Mystic are opened to a full realization of the world's woe and his mission as a Savior; and the occultist also finds here the heart of love which alone can give zest and zeal in the quest. By the union of the mind and the heart both are ready for the next step, which involved the development of the STIGMATA, a necessary preparation for the mystic death and resurrection. The Gospel narrative tells the story of the STIGMATA in the following words, the opening scene being in the Garden of Gethsemane:
"Judas then having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees came thither with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore knowing all things that should come upon Him went forth and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered Him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said unto them, I am He.....Then the band and the captain and the officers of the Jews took Jesus and bound Him and led Him away to Annas first.....The high priest then asked of His disciples and of His doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world.....Why asketh though me? Ask them which heard me what I have said unto them; behold they know what I have said. Now Annas had sent Him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.....Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment.....
"Pilate then went out unto them and said, What accusation bring you against this man? They answered and said unto him, If He were not a malefactor we would not have delivered Him unto thee.....Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto Him, Art though the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself or did others tell it to thee of me?.....My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate said unto Him, What is truth?.....Then he went out again unto the Jews and saith unto them, I find in Him no fault at all. But we have a custom that I should release unto you one at the Passover; will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. now Barabbas was a robber. Pilate therefore took Jesus and SCOURGED Him. And the soldiers platted A CROWN OF THORNS and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe and said, Hail, King of the Jews; and they smote him with their hands.
"Pilate therefore went forth again and saith unto them, behold I bring Him forth unto you that ye may know that I find no fault in Him. Then came Jesus forth wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore, and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, Crucify Him, Crucify Him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye Him and crucify Him; for I find no fault in Him. The Jews answered him, We have a law and by our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.....Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend; whoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.....They cried out, Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he Him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus and led Him away. And He, bearing His cross, went forth into a place called the PLACE OF A SKULL, which is, in the Hebrew, Golgotha. There they CRUCIFIED Him and two others with Him, one on either side and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS."
We have here the account of how the STIGMATA or punctures were produced in the Hero of the Gospels, though the location is not quite correctly described, and the process is represented in a narrative form differing widely from the manner in which these things really happen. But we stand here before one of the Mysteries which must remain sealed for the profane, though the underlying mystical facts are as plain as daylight to those who know. The physical body is not by any means the real man. Tangible, solid, and pulsating with life as we find it, it is really the most dead part of the human being, crystallized into a matrix of finer vehicles which are invisible to our ordinary physical sight. If we place a basin of water in a freezing temperature, the water soon congeals into ice, and when we examine this ice, we find that it is made up of innumerable little crystals having various geometrical forms and lines of demarcation. There are etheric lines of forces which were present in the water before it congealed. As the water was hardened and molded along these lines, so our physical bodies have congealed and solidified along the etheric lines of force of our invisible vital body, which is thus in the ordinary course of life inextricably bound to the physical body, waking or sleeping, until death brings dissolution of the tie. But as Initiation involves the liberation of the REAL MAN from the body of sin and death that he may soar into the subtler spheres at will and return to the body at his pleasure, it is obvious that before that can be accomplished, before the object of Initiation can be attained, the interlocking grip of the physical body and the etheric vehicle which is so strong and rigid in ordinary humanity, must be dissolved. As they are most closely bound together in the palms of the hands, the arches of the feet, and the head, the occult schools concentrate their efforts upon severing the connection at these points, and produce the STIGMATA invisibly.
The Christian Mystic lacks knowledge of how to perform the act without producing an exterior manifestation. The STIGMATA develop in him spontaneously by constant contemplation of Christ and unceasing efforts to imitate Him in all things. These exterior STIGMATA comprise not only the wounds in the hands and feet and that in the side but also those impressed by the crown of thorns and by the scourging. The most remarkable example of stigmatization is that said to have occurred in 1224 to Francis of Assisi on the mountain of Alverno. Being absorbed in contemplation of the Passion he saw a seraph approaching, blazing with fire and having between its wings the figure of the Crucified. St. Francis became aware that in hands, feet, and side he had received externally the marks of crucifixion. These marks continued during the two years until his death, and are claimed to have been seen by many eyewitnesses, including Pope Alexander the Fourth.
The Dominicans disputed the fact, but at length made the same claim for Catherine of Sienna, whose STIGMATA were explained as having at her own request been made invisible to others. The Franciscans appealed to Sixtus the Fourth who forbade representation of St. Catherine to made with the STIGMATA. Still the fact of the STIGMATA is recorded in the Breviary Office, and Benedict the 13th granted the Dominicans a Feast in commemoration of it. Others, especially women who have the positive vital body, are claimed to have received some or all of the STIGMATA. The last to be canonized by the Catholic Church for this reason was Veronica Giuliana (1831). More recent cases are those of Anna Catherine Emmerich, who became a nun at Agnetenberg; L'Estatica Maria Von Moerl of Caldero; Louise Lateau, whose STIGMATA were said to bleed every Friday; and Mrs. Girling of the Newport Shaker community.
But whether the STIGMATA are visible or invisible the effect is the same. The spiritual currents generated in the vital body of such a person are so powerful that the body is scourged by them as it were, particularly in the region of the head, where they produce a feeling akin to that of the crown of thorns. Thus there finally dawns upon the person a full realization that the physical body is a cross which he is bearing, a prison and not the real man. This brings him to the next step in his Initiation, viz., the crucifixion, which is experienced by the development of the other centers in his hands and feet where the vital body is thus being severed from the dense vehicle.
We are told in the Gospel story that Pilate placed a sign reading, 'JESUS NAZARENUS REX JUDAEOREM" on Jesus' cross, and this is translated in the authorized version to mean, "Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews." But the initials INRI placed upon the cross represent the names of the four elements in Hebrew: IAM, water; NOUR, fire; RUACH, spirit or vital air; and IABESHAH, earth. This is the occult key to the mystery of crucifixion, for it symbolizes in the first place the salt, sulphur, mercury, and azoth which were used by the ancient alchemists to make the Philosopher's Stone, the universal solvent, the ELIXIR-VITAE. The two "I's" (IAM and IABESHAH) represent the saline lunar water: a, in a fluidic state holding salt in solution, and b, the coagulated extract of this water, the "SALT OF THE EARTH"; in other words, the finer fluidic vehicles of man and his dense body. N (NOUR) in Hebrew stands for fire and the combustible elements, chief among which are SULPHUR and PHOSPHORUS so necessary to oxidation, without which warm blood would be an impossibility. The Ego under this condition could not function in the body nor could thought find a material expression. R (RUACH) is the Hebrew equivalent for the spirit, AZOTH, functioning in the MERCURIAL mind. Thus the four letters INRI placed over the cross of Christ according to the Gospel story represent composite man, the Thinker, at the point in his spiritual development where he is getting ready for liberation from the cross of his dense vehicle.
Proceeding further along the same line of elucidation we may note that INRI is the symbol of the crucified candidate for the following additional reasons:
IAM is the Hebrew word signifying water, the fluidic LUNAR, moon element which forms the principal part of the human body (about 87 per cent). This word is also the symbol of the finer fluidic vehicles of desire and emotion. NOUR, the Hebrew word signifying fire, is a symbolic representation of the heat-producing red blood laden with martial Mars iron, fire, and energy, which the occultist sees coursing as a gas through the veins and arteries of the human body infusing it with energy and ambition without which there could be neither material nor spiritual progress. It also represents the sulphur and phosphorus necessary for the material manifestation of thought as already mentioned.
RUACH, the Hebrew word for spirit or vital air, is an excellent symbol of the Ego clothed in the mercurial Mercury mind, which makes MAN and enables him to control and direct his bodily vehicles and activities in a rational manner.
IABESHAH is the Hebrew word for earth, representing the solid fleshy part which makes up the CRUCIFORM EARTHY BODY crystallized within the finer vehicles at birth and severed from them in the ordinary course of things at death, or in the extraordinary event that we learn to die the mystic death and ascend to the glories of the higher spheres for a time.
This stage of the Christian Mystic's spiritual development therefore involves a reversal of the creative force from its ordinary downward course where it is wasted in generation to satisfy the passions, to an upward course through the tripartite spinal cord, whose three segments are ruled by the moon, Mars, and Mercury respectively, and where the rays of Neptune then lights THE REGENERATIVE SPINAL SPIRIT FIRE. This mounting upward sets the pituitary body and the pineal gland into vibration, opening up the spiritual sight; and striking the frontal sinus it starts the CROWN OF THORNS throbbing with pain as the bond with the physical body is burned by the sacred Spirit Fire, which wakes this center from its age-long sleep to a throbbing, pulsating life sweeping onward to the other centers in the FIVE-POINTED STIGMATIC STAR. They are also vitalized, an the whole vehicle becomes aglow with a golden glory. Then with a final wrench the great vortex of the desire body located in the liver is liberated, and the martial energy contained in that vehicle propels upward the SIDEREAL VEHICLE (so- called because the STIGMATA in the head, hands, and feet are located in the same positions relative to one another as the points in a five-pointed star), which ascends through THE SKULL (Golgotha), while the CRUCIFIED CHRISTIAN utters his triumphant cry, "Consummatum est" (it has been accomplished), and soars into the subtler spheres to seek Jesus whose life he has imitated with such success and from whom he is thenceforth inseparable. Jesus is his Teacher and his guide to the kingdom of Christ, where all shall be united in one body to learn and to practice the RELIGION OF THE FATHER, to whom the kingdom will eventually revert that He may be All in All.
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